Drumbeat: January 2, 2012

Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks

KAROO, South Africa — When a drought dried up their wells last year, hundreds of farmers and their families flocked to local fairgrounds here to pray for rain, and a call went out on the regional radio station imploring South Africans to donate bottled water.

Covering much of the roughly 800 miles between Johannesburg and Cape Town, this arid expanse — its name means “thirsty land” — sees less rain in some parts than the Mojave Desert.

Even so, Shell and several other large energy companies hope to drill thousands of natural gas wells in the region, using a new drilling technology that can require a million gallons of water or more for each well. Companies will also have to find a way to dispose of all the toxic wastewater or sludge that each well produces, since the closest landfill or industrial-waste facility that can handle the waste is hundreds of miles away.

Disposal Halted at Well After New Quake in Ohio

An official in Ohio said on Sunday that the underground disposal of wastewater from natural-gas drilling operations would remain halted in the Youngstown area until scientists could analyze data from the most recent of a string of earthquakes there.

The latest quake, the 11th since mid-March, occurred Saturday afternoon and with a magnitude of 4.0 was the strongest yet. Like the others, it was centered near a well that has been used for the disposal of millions of gallons of brine and other waste liquids produced at natural-gas wells, mostly in Pennsylvania.

Fracking Threats Seen Hollow in Calfrac Bonds Beating Peers: Canada Credit

Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (CFW)’s bonds are outperforming peers as investors bet that U.S. regulators will continue to allow the practice of hydraulic fracturing, which accounts for almost 90 percent of its sales.

Russia 2011 oil output at new post-Soviet record high

(Reuters) - Oil output in Russia, the world's top crude producer, reached a new post-Soviet high of 10.27 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, up from 10.15 million bpd in 2010, the Energy Ministry said on Monday.

Petroplus French Refinery Halt May Mean Death of Normandy Site, Union Says

Petroplus Holdings AG (PPHN)’s refining halt at units in Normandy today may mark the plant’s end, a union said, shrinking the crude-processing industry in France that may have posted losses of 800 million euros ($1.04 billion) in 2011.

Europe’s largest independent refiner by capacity, unable to buy adequate oil because of a credit freeze, will halt refining at three of its five plants, including at Petit Couronne in northern France, Antwerp and Cressier in Belgium and in Switzerland, it said in a statement Dec. 30. The sites have a combined processing capacity of 337,300 barrels of crude a day.

Drivers cut short journeys by 165 miles to beat fuel costs

The average British car driver travelled 165 miles fewer in 2011 than in the previous year because of rising petrol prices.

Oil will keep GCC warm if the world freezes over

The continued struggle by Europe and the US to shrug off the malaise from the financial crisis of 2008 is likely to restrict growth - even in the buoyant Asian economies that supported high oil prices last year.

"Europe has now entered another recession, only a little more than two years after the last recession ended," says Joachim Fels, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, in a research note. "Our US base case remains anaemic growth of just over 2 per cent next year. Unsurprisingly against this backdrop, growth prospects for emerging-market economies have dimmed further."

Nigerians plan mass strike as fuel subsidy ends

Unions in Nigeria say they'll call a nationwide strike "within days" after the government removed a fuel subsidy that has doubled prices in some parts of the country, Nigeria's Daily Times reported.

Oil slick hits coast of Nigeria

Orobiri - Nigerian villagers say oil washing up on the coast comes from a Royal Dutch Shell loading accident last month that caused the biggest spill in Africa's top producer in more than 13 years.

Exxon Gets ’Disappointing’ $750 Million After Venezuela Seizure

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) must pay about $750 million to Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), a 10th of what the U.S. company is seeking, for assets nationalized by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2007, according to two people with knowledge of the case.

The International Chamber of Commerce in New York, an arbitration court, gave a “favorable” ruling to Venezuela’s state oil company, a spokesman for PDVSA, as the Caracas-based company is known, said yesterday.

Libya's al-Sedr oil port resumes operations - official

(Reuters) - Libya's al-Sedr oil port has resumed operations and will see the first oil shipment sail on Tuesday or earlier, an official from Waha Oil Co said, months after the terminal stopped running during a civil war that ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule.

"The port was damaged by the Gaddafi regime and the facilities are now operational," the official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters on Sunday night.

Iran issues 'Arash ultimatum' to Kuwait

Iran said that it would launch full-scale unilateral development of the disputed offshore Arash gas field in the Persian Gulf if Kuwait does not respond to its offer of joint development, according to a report.

Iran's navy tests cruise missile as part of drill

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's navy said it test-fired a surface-to-surface cruise missile on Monday during a drill in international waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran Makes Nuclear Fuel Rod, Offers to Restart Talks

Iran produced its first nuclear fuel rod, state-run news agencies reported, as the country offered to restart international talks over its atomic program.

Putting the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers above Canada

There are many economic gains to be made in exploiting the Tar Sands, and limited production could actually benefit Canada and go a little towards assuring our future in an increasingly uncertain world. But there are also many major short term gains to be made from exporting this oil to Asia, especially China.

According to Canadian economist Jeff Rubin (one of the few economists who actually understands economics and the role of energy), Canada is losing over $1bn per month in revenue, because they are selling the product at West Texas Intermediate price, rather than world price, as they would to China. However, even Rubin falls a little short on this one, as he fails to note that these companies pay very little tax anyway, compared to their income, and most of the profit leaves the country. Exporting oil to China would actually push Canada’s economy further down.

George F. Will: America’s oil boom

In 2011, for the first time in 62 years, America was a net exporter of petroleum products. For the foreseeable future, a specter is haunting progressivism, the specter of abundance.

Good Bye and Good Riddance to 2011

I’ve long been a proponent of the “peak oil” theory that says oil production has peaked, demand for petroleum products is soaring as China, India and other developing nations become more prosperous, and the price of oil will hit a permanently higher plateau that will cause considerable economic hardship in America’s auto-centric economy. I still believe that. What I did not anticipate was the Marcellus shale revolution. (I’ll withhold any judgment on the environmental impact of the new natural gas-drilling technologies until more authoritative data comes in.) Clean-burning gas will supplant dirty coal as the preferred fossil fuel for electric power generation and, in an added benefit for those who worry about Global Warming, will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

David Nadel Positions For 2012: A Smorgasbord of Global Small Cap Champions

Our investments in materials stocks are focused on companies which produce commodities that are in finite, and in some cases declining, supply. We think this creates a positive pricing dynamic in an investment context of essentially infinite supply of fiat currency in the developed world. As the U.S. dollar, euro and Japanese yen “race to debase” via aggressive money-printing, we expect the price of some commodities to continue to show an upward bias. Consider that the world has already passed “peak-oil” production on a per-capita basis, or consider that gold production adds merely 1.4% to supplies per year, or consider that more than 90% of the silver ever mined has functionally disappeared by being consumed or discarded.

There Will Be Oil - Versus - Peak Oil Now

Claiming there is an oil limit on the economy and why peak oil is inevitable is usually talked down by saying its an unsure theory at best, and controversial, fear mongering or defeatist at worst. The totally simple numbers which prove it are however not Einstein-type mathematics and are not impossible to understand - - only by the badly intentioned or plain stupid.

After Three Decades, Tax Credit for Ethanol Expires

WASHINGTON — A federal tax credit for ethanol expired on Saturday, ending an era in which the federal government provided more than $20 billion in subsidies for use of the product.

The tax break, created more than 30 years ago, had long seemed untouchable. But in the last year, during which Congress was preoccupied with deficits and debt, it became a symbol of corporate welfare. Fiscal conservatives joined liberal environmentalists to kill it, with help from a diverse coalition of outside groups.

Gotham Greens: Sustainable Farming in the Big Apple

In an effort to bring needed fresh produce closer to home with far greater sustainability, a movement in urban agriculture is rapidly gaining momentum. New York City, having such a large and diverse population, is a metropolis ripe for green urban agriculture and is now home to an innovative commercial operation called Gotham Greens.

For Entrepreneurial ‘Change Agents,’ a Green M.B.A.

As we noted in a post in August about a new survey, an increasing number of colleges are beginning to offer courses or entire programs devoted to green business practices in response to growing demand.

Such programs teach students how to manage a business’s social and environmental impact in addition to focusing on profits. The latest school to add its name to this list is Bard, the liberal arts college 90 miles north of New York City, which this month announced that it would begin offering an M.B.A. program centering on sustainability.

More storms on the way unless we learn to manage the land

He discounts the argument that we are seeing the impact of global warming. ''The whole global warming argument misses the point. Yes, we are facing an environmental disaster. Yes, it is urgent. Yes, it is caused by our own activities. But we have misdiagnosed the problem … In terms of dealing with Australia's problems, the global warming industry is a giant con.''

Food, fuel saving is the way forward

The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Broadening access to sustainable energy is essential in solving many of the world's challenges including food production, food security and poverty. For a rapidly developing economy such as India it is all the more critical that there is sustained production and consumption of energy but it is done in a manner that advances environmental sustainability.

Apprehensions that India is rapidly moving towards energy insecurity are real. Energy fuels economic growth, and without growth, it is nearly impossible to lift people out of poverty. So, the challenge of ensuring growth in a sustainable manner is daunting. Obviously, there is no one-step, simple solution to the issues of hunger, poverty and climate change.

Pakistan fumes over UN carbon credits to India

Pakistan plans to challenge a decision of an UN agency to grant carbon credits to India on a hydropower project.

According to Pakistani officials, India secured the carbon credits for its 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo project without mandatory environmental impact assessment clearance from Pakistan.

Carl Pope: Climate Dawn

So what was so great about Q4 of 2011?

Quite simply, the world proved that, if we stick at it, we can do it. After 40 years of U.S. government inaction, the Obama administration completed setting a comprehensive set of carbon emission standards for cars and trucks, standards that, overall, will reduce the carbon footprint of a mile of driving by more than 50 percent by 2025.

"Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks"

This article is interesting reading. One paragraph caught my attention, on page 2 :-

"Some economists and environmentalists say that while the governments of poorer countries may benefit from the new tax revenues and jobs, they may not be paying enough attention to the environmental risks of drilling. They also note that local residents — who bear the brunt of the air pollution, potential water contamination from spills or underground seepage, and truck traffic that come with drilling — may see few benefits."

Farmers in the Karoo are part of a small minority voting bloc, one which has seen its protections continually eroded during the last 10 years. The South African government is becoming increasingly protective of itself - by passing bills like the Secrecy Bill, now the Secrecy Law, which protects certain government actions from becoming public knowledge.

I can easily visualize farmers being ignored for the promise of government officials lining their own pockets.

In South Africa, also, there is the continual fear of land redistribution, as happened in Zimbabwe, where farms were forcibly taken from their owners. It doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to see introduction of fracking as a means of removing farmers by force, or attrition.


Meanwhile, here's the US president on safety, from the same article:

Over the past three years, President Obama has promoted shale gas during visits to China, India and Poland.

“We believe that there is the capacity technologically to extract that gas in a way that is entirely safe,” Mr. Obama said in a speech in May in Warsaw, where the American Embassy co-hosted an international shale gas conference.

“Of course, by ‘entirely safe’, I'm completely ignoring the global warming effects, which are terrifying,” he didn't say. He then didn't continue, “It is simply far too profitable to address that issue at the appropriate level. If we even tried, my government would instantly dissolve.”

Along similar lines, I heard this on the radio this morning.

"India's Economic Battle: Development Vs. Tradition"

"As India's economy rapidly expands, there is a recurring theme that plays out across the country: Plans for major development projects come into conflict with traditional ways of life centered around farming.

One of those showdowns has been dragging on for years in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. A proposed $12 billion steel plant has been facing resistance from local farmers and fishermen, but an endgame may be at hand.

The project is being promoted by the South Korea-based firm POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steel producer."


The question is - is it better to have the "development" in order to "provide jobs", or leave the farmland in place to allow people to remain self-sufficient ?

Or, framed a different way - who really benefits from "development" ?

I heard a funny story today on talk radio that oil companies are run by aliens who are doling out oil in a way they see fit for the betterment of humanity. As soon as we need it they're going to make as much oil available as we need but first we must learn to conserve the resource. So effectively the only way to get essentially unlimited oil is to learn to not burn it so fast.

Boy, it doesn't take a Freudian to interpret that Wish-fulfillment Dream, does it?

In fact, though, it's true in part, just that the Aliens in question turn out to be a Klingon Syndicate chartered to the Planet of Praxis..

(They have a branch office in Ohio, but it's closed due to unstable foundation issues..)


Praxis was a Klingon moon which acted as the Klingon Empire's key energy-production facility.

In 2293, Praxis was destroyed in a large explosion caused by over-mining and insufficient safety precautions.


In a Gallup poll released today, Americans chose dilithium crystals as the “most likely” fuel to run future cars and power plants, with 84% of Americans choosing the crystals over other options including nuclear, hydrogen, corn ethanol, shale gas, and photovoltaic solar panels.

The article was clearly intended as an April Fools joke.
It would be interesting to learn how many readers find it believable.


April is not June.

And really, do you want to bet against the public and what they believe? Or even the lame-ness of polling?

Did you guys "read" the linked-to-article?

A few things should have gotten your critical think-warning flags up in the first instance:

84% of all Americans know what a di-lithium crystal is? Oh really?

Maybe here on TOD we are 99.9% Star Trek fans. But no way do even 50% of Americans know what Star Trek is let alone what di-lithium crystals are.

Moreover, when the so-called MIT professor in the article starts talking as if serious about the science of di-lithium crystals, that should have made you realize the whole thing is a spoof.

They have heard the words before, more often than "fusion" and in similarly unfamiliar context.

I find it somewhat disturbing, but not as disturbing as the people who actually believe in the literal Bible heresy.

NEWSWEEK gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship Test--38 percent failed:

29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

source is here

IMHO there should be two classifications within a country, civilian and citizen. Citizenship should not be by virtue of birth, it must be earned. There can be further classifications within civilian e.g. native and foreign-born.

Rights come with responsibilities, you cannot expect a bunch of ignorant people to elect an enlightened government.

Note the date of the article. The survey has not happened yet.

June 18, 2012 — CAMBRIDGE, MASS


Even I missed that little detail

--- or alternatively: ---

All of us here at TOD are time travelers who have come back from the not distant future to warn you about what will soon happen as a result of Peak Oil. The Gallup poll did happen (for us). You are not yet supposed to know about it. Please keep it as a secret until mid-year.

(Also, please don't tell anyone about the time travel thing.
They'll look at you as if you are crazy.
Assuming they don't already look at you that way on account of you babbling about this Peak Oil thing.

All kidding aside: I think the public in general has been soaked in enough Technotopian day dreaming in the form of Sci Fi of the Star Trek/Matrix/Star Wars variety to the Disney Beauty and the Beast/Wish upon a star and all your dreams will come true fantasies, that they do have this expectation that all will be well because they will it to be.

Limits don't exist in the movies, so, subconsciously, why should they in real life?

Just a thought: some people seem to become immersed in alternatives to reality very easily. I think it has brought about a general infantilization of the population.

Well, interesting as this side-thread has become, it's worth mentioning that when I added in the Trek thing here with the Praxis reference; it was because of the striking similarity between that bit of 'far-flung fiction' to the recent spate of geological activity that likes to happen close to certain drilling and mining processes, and not from some over-reverent faith that Cap'n Kirks Science Magic was out there to save the day for us.

I don't know many Sci-fi heads who are really that confused about the difference between Reality and Fantasy, when it comes down to it. It's pretty well understood to be allegory, brain-teasers, and a bit of relaxing escapism.

But beyond that, the thing that makes any fiction great, is how well it 'Rhymes' with our real experience here and now. I don't deny that there are lots of Techno Day Dreamers in the mix, and many might have Yoda or Spock tee-shirts as well.. but I think it was the Econ 101 and the like of Disney's 'World of Tomorrow' series that threw them off-kilter, far more than Neo bending before bullets..

Just my take..

Live long in Phosphor.


May the faux be with you brother.

On a more serious note, if you want to understand how people in a theocratic state can actually believe the pie in the sky stuff their high priests feed them every day, just watch CNBC Squawk of the Chicken Heads every morning (the daily stock market report) and soak up the words of the all-seeing and all-wise of our theocracy.

Re: "George F. Will: America’s oil boom", above...

Once again, clueless journalists distort the facts. From the article's quote about the USA being "a net exporter of petroleum products" (that is, REFINED petroleum products), the editors jump to "For the first time in 63 years, America was a net petroleum exporter" in the photo caption. And of course, George Will uses this confusion to push for deregulation as the solution to all our energy woes.

So far all the comments on the NY Post site are in agreement... doubtful if the facts would be listened to there.

Re: George F. Will: America’s oil boom

These delusional “oil abundance” stories have been debunked so many times over the past month that I have to assume that each new appearance of this theme must be a deliberate deception. In other words, "liar liar pants on fire!” So the only remaining question to ask is; who is paying George Will to write these lies, and how much are they paying him?

I am not sure who is paying him, but the reasons they are paying him are clear, to put out disinformation as to the state of US oil dependence so that when Obama rejects the Keystone pipeline and all of a sudden the US isn't oil independent any more, and gasoline prices go up just before the election, TPDB can blame Obama.

It is probably worth tens of billions to the fossil fuel industry to not have Obama reelected. Whether they pay a few billion in PACs, or in short term gasoline price manipulation, likely doesn't matter to them.

This myth that the US is a petroleum exporter has appeared so often in the press and been debunked here so regularly that I'm not sure it's worthwhile repeating it again. However, it might be worthwhile to juxtapose it against another article above:

Petroplus French Refinery Halt May Mean Death of Normandy Site

Lower profits from processing crude oil into fuels have forced refiners to cut costs and shut plants across Europe. In the last two years, LyondellBasell, Petroplus and Total have decided to stop refining at their French plants in Berre, Reichstett and Dunkirk on lower European demand.

After the closures, France will have nine working plants compared with 24 in 1977. A permanent shutdown at Petit Couronne would bring the number down to eight.

That's what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic, where refiners are fully exposed to higher international prices and resulting demand destruction. US refiners have been shielded from rising world prices by stranded new Canadian oil sands production and new North Dakota production from frac'ing the old Bakken Formation, but that is really no cause for excessive optimism. The US still imports nearly 2/3 of its oil.

France is actually in a good position because of its extensive high-speed train system and large amounts of nuclear power (80% of French electricity). The fact that it has had to close 15 of its 24 oil refineries is probably an excuse for its planners to say, "We told you so!" with respect to peak oil.


On another site I have been told that the oil from the Canadian tar sands is a highgrade product, needs less refining than "normal" oil and commands an eight dollar premium over WTI.

Could you clarify the situation...perhaps different producers end up with different products?


Well, at this point in time syncrude from oil sands upgraders only receives a $2.75 premium over WTI. However, I believe that it has been $8.00 or so above WTI in the past. In reality it's rather similar to WTI (deliberately so).

The larger difference in price arose because of production problems at the oil sands plants, which drove up the price of sweet light crude locally in Alberta. Once the production problems were solved, the price went back down.

Syncrude is typically about 32°API, 0.1% sulfur.

WTI is about 39°API, 0.2% sulfur.

He doesn't need to collect his money in sacks like Agnew, or a Chicago politician, from a backer telling him what to say..He rakes it in as a syndicated columnist and speaker.He will say or write just about anything that keeps his audience fired up.

The worst thing about this is that he supports or advocates some other positions which are in my estimation reasonable-now all of these positions, and those who support them, are tarred and feathered by association with this misinformation campaign.

Almost all well told lies contain a strong element of truth.I don't follow this guy, but I am fairly certain he has written before about our dependence on foreign oil supply dependency, and the harm it does us.Of course the people who contradict themselves this way in the media are confident (-with good cause-) that the public has too short a memory to realize they are being led around by the nose.

The worst thing about this is that he supports or advocates some other positions which are in my estimation reasonable...

I suppose anyone who opposes the designated hitter rule in baseball can't be all bad.

I suggest that anybody who thinks he is all bad should read his latest column in the Washington Post titled something along the lines of Gingrich-Anticonservative.

He does a far better job of flaying the hide off of Gingrich than ninety percent of "liberal" pundits, for sound "conservative" reasons.

Likewise Charles Krauthamer is generally derided by most liberals as being a dimwit right wing mouth piece, but a thoughtful reading of his latest column titled Are We Alone will convince anyone with an open mind that he is neither a dimwit, nor a spokesman for bau as such.

To the best of my memory, no registration is required at the Washington Post, but registration is fast and free, and there will be no spam.

Incidentally, I hace discovered that by using the "guest" and "family" users accounts which I have set up on my computer, in addition to my own as administrator, I can access sixty article per month from ther NYT, rather than only twenty, without paying.

FYI, If you go directly to the article URL, instead of leaving the few characters after it that NYTimes.com adds when you click thru, then it doesn't count your view to your account.

You can just delete your NYTimes cookies when necessary, and view as many articles as you want.

I used to be very fond of George Will, back in the day, and even after drifting so far outside of the mainstream as I have I don't find him to be that bad. The Washington Post as a whole is a far-right rag by my reckoning (and since buying Slate has turned that once very eclectic magazine into a mainstream mouthpiece nearly devoid of interesting ideas), and serves as a mouthpiece of empire, so I mostly don't read Will because I mostly don't read the Post and not because I dislike his writing or disagree with him (though I often do disagree with him).

Krauthamer, on the other hand, is certainly not dumb, but is so morally reprehensible that I can barely stand to hear his name. He is one of the reasons I stopped reading the Washington Post. He is not merely a massive hawk but a torture supporter, and a key part of the intellectual backbone of the neocon movement. His world is a world where the state has absolute authority, and that is just something I find repugnant in the extreme. I remember that there were pro-torture ads for a little while during the Bush administration, supported by a group of which he was a prominent member. Sadly I can't remember the name of the group or the other public intellectuals, politicians, news personalities, and others in it, though it was a fair size group.

I checked out the article you suggested, and sure enough, at the end he comes back down to worshipping at the altar of the state and political power. I guess when you see that all day it becomes the center of your world. I just can't agree.

The Washington Post as a whole is a far-right rag by my reckoning...

Geeze... I always thought of the Washington Post as a "Great Good Old Left Wing Liberal Rag". And I am a card carrying bleeding heart liberal. The Washington Post has always been my kind of paper. When did it turn into a far-right rag? I must have missed that.

Ron P.

I suspect he meant the Washington Times, which is indeed a right-wing rag.

I would think it kinda hard to confuse them since Sun Myung Moon's rag The Washington Times has about one eighth the circulation of The Washington Post.

Ron P.

I agree with adam in general. The Washington Post is a right wing rag. The Washington Times is a far right rag, off the radar. But it's question of degree. In America, we have a center right party, the Democrats, and a far right party, the Republicans. We don't have a centrist party or a left wing party anymore.

There are very powerful people in America who want us to be involved in the Middle East forever, to protect Israel, the oil producers, and to give the military something to do other than joke around with Canadians and search for a Mexican here or there smuggling drugs across the border. The United States has no natural enemies remotely capable of challenging it, yet it must always seek out enemies. "Islamic terrorists" filled the gap left at the end of the Cold War.

These people, rather than change, will bring the entire nation to bankruptcy and ruin.

I see it differently. In any power structure,power tend to concentrate in all fewer and larger units. At somepoint in time, a power entity will grow so large that it loses touch with what is going on on the ground level. This is going on in the EU right now, for example. This power gathering is a "physical law of politics" and can not be stopped, unless the system is reformed or worse every once in a while. Wich is mostly not the case. And once the power structure has grown to large, it no longer matter what political colour they have, they will become draconical and evil. Left wing or right wing is of no consequence in the big picture.

Like I said, I've found myself outside of the mainstream. The Washington Post's opinion page has mostly been pushing for more imperialism, and with Krauthammer as a central part of that page... To me the foreign policy stance and views on civil liberties are very right-wing. But that doesn't mean much in modern times, as Obama himself who is condemned as a socialist hippy liberal just recently signed a bill enshrining indefinite detention in law. So to me it all looks "right wing" (though the NY Times is notably further left on these issues than the WaPo). I guess by most American's standards I would be a radical, hippie, commie, anarchist who is out to destroy America.

That would make two of us, adamx. I can't begin to identify any more with what passes for acceptable political doctrine in this country. Torture, maim, dominate, pillage, enslave, lay waste the planet... whatever - absolutely anything is acceptable in service of empire. Makes me sick.

So would I also be a redical hippie commie anarchist-and I'm just a plain old fashioned conservative-one that believes government should mind our personal business for us only to the absolute minimum extent compatable with maintaining the peace and well being of the country.

There is nothing truly conservative about the republicans these days;in some respects they are as bad coming from the right as old fashioned commies were coming from the left.

As American papers go, the Washington Post is leftish/ liberal socially, and middle of the road to rightish on business affairs.I used to read it back in my college days , when it was definitely a liberal paper, and for a good many years after that when I lived in or near Richmond, where it is alailable at many convenience stores.It was still fairly liberal by American imo standards at least up into the mid nineties, when I quit reading it regularly.

It has definitely moved a long way to the right in the last decade or so-I have only been reading it again since I was able to get good internet service-about three years ago.I was very suprised to find that Will and Krauthamer are prominently featured these days.IIrc, Will was the token conservative columnist back in the old days, and Krauthamer probably couldn't have got a letter to the editor printed.

I used to read them both in the Washington Times-which is the farthest right of any significant paper I am acquainted with.I still find the times worth reading occasionally due to the fact that it is good at digging up mud on liberals, which NPR is reluctant to do, and it occasionally runs some good stuff on issues overlooked by the Post..I hardly ever listen to anything on the radio except NPR and the BBC.

It was a lot of fun reading the Times during the Clinton scandals era, since I couldn't stand either of them at that time.Hillary still drives me nuts, but I am happy today to admit that my opinion of Bill has been improving from year to year, even before he left office.

Given the opportunity, I would probably vote for him today, considering the alternatives including both the republican front runners and OBama, even if he is the next thing to an axx-make that a billygoat- insofar as his personal habits are concerned.

I really enjoy Wesley Pruden's column, not because I agree with him as a regular thing, which I don't, but rather because he is a very skillful writer and has a certain touch and a certain way of turning a phrase I would like to emulate into my own writing, if I ever graduate to getting a blog or column of my own.

Hard core true believers on both wings ironically believe in the same thing- more government control over everything.IIrc, Hillary's health care bill, which was drafted in great secrecy, contained the word "jail" over a thousand times.

For your amusement from Politicalcompass.org


I have always said that Obama is a moderate Republican and it seems to fit their model.

Pop up some of the charts for other countries (like Ireland). Not many places left where there are "liberal" parties/politicians that actually have liberal positions.

I also find it interesting that the use of "Libertarian" has, on the right side of the politial spectrum at least, almost completely replaced the use of the "Anarchist" label. How many of Ron Pauls supporters (note he actually lands more on the Authoritarian side of the middle) and the Tea Party folks are aware that they are promoters of Anarcho-Capitalist political ideologies.

Re: the WashPost. If I remember correctly all major news outlets in the US are now owned by corporations that have clear conservative control/leanings so it is probably fair to say that there is no strong liberal reporting of any consequence in the US any more.


With this sort of misinformation being spread for political gain and control, with this sort of propaganda, there is no way for people to have a rational conversation, come to reasonable conclusions, and take carefully considered action toward a better future. The comments to George Will's piece show this. Television stations are often highly prized acquisitions.

"Come daylight, and although there was still euphoria there was also tension. Commanders said Tripoli was 80 percent in rebel hands, and that they had taken control of the state TV station."

"A small group of rebel soldiers in Manila take over channel four, a government-run TV station,"

"Hacker reveals plan to occupy airwaves"
"His new project would exploit security gaps in the nation's Emergency Alert System or EAS.
"There's no authentication, there's no encryption, there's no passwords,""

Lyrics to Rock The Nation :
"We livin' in a mean time and an aggressive time
a painful time, a time when cynicism rots the vine"
"Bom-Bom, rock the nation
take over television and radio station
Bom-Bom, rock the nation
give the corporation some complications"

"Are Satellites Vulnerable to Hackers?"
"Tamil Rebels Hijack US Satellite Signal 2007
Rebel independence fighters in Sri Lanka have been pirating the services of a US satellite to send radio and television broadcasts to other countries."

"I guess by most American's standards I would be a radical, hippie, commie, anarchist who is out to destroy America." That's said in a great, light spirit of such fun!
Perhaps, under provisions within the newly signed National Defense Appropriation Act, you would be defined as a terrorist.

The reporters who wrote the WSJ front page story on the US once again becoming a "Net Fuel Exporter" deserve some kind of award for the most misleading story of 2011.

The WSJ is at it again - blowing up a very minor 2.6% gain in US oil output in 2011 into something much bigger than it really was. (see http://ir.eia.gov/wpsr/overview.pdf for oil and refining statistics)

JANUARY 3, 2012

Oil and Gas Bubble Up All Over


You'll know the U.S. energy industry is really on the rebound when North Dakota's newfangled Bakken oil field starts pumping more crude than Alaska's stalwart Prudhoe Bay. Energy experts expect it to happen in 2012.

Dwindling production from the once-mighty Alaskan field has been a symbol of what was once seen as the slow, inexorable decline of U.S. oil. But new technologies have turned that overall decline into an increase, led by the Bakken shale, which in July produced 424,000 barrels a day, to Alaska's 453,000.


I would've hoped the WSJ would dig a little deeper into their subject matter before writing these pieces that are so misleading. I've seen "news happen" a few times in my life and seldom is it reported accurately in the media. This is but another example of using words and phrases in a way that intentionally distorts the topic and attempts to draw a false conclusion in the mind of the reader.

It's these kind of articles that led me to drop my subscription a couple of months ago. While the WSJ gives coverage to subjects overlooked by the rest of the main stream media, the inaccuracy of reporting in areas where I had some level of knowledge finally prevented me from trusting any of the reporting.

Exporting more oil products simply means that we have to import more oil (all other things being equal). That is because US oil output is essentially on a plateau - despite the loudly acclaimed development of deep drilling in the GOM and the oil shale region of the upper Midwest. However the extra oil needed for product exports didn't show up in 2011. The US resorted to tapping its Strategic Oil Reserves to keep the output of US refineries functioning on normal level through 2011. So it actually doesn't make sense to use up vital reserves in part to maintain exports.

I'm not sure exactly how much longer the U.S. is going to be exporting refined petroleum products surplus to the U.S. market; gasoline and diesel. Sunoco, a major refiner here in SE PA is closing down its refineries and exiting the refining business. They have closed the nearby Marcus Hook refinery and are going to close the big south Philly refinery this year. This will for sure cut down on some of the refined product which cannot find sales here in the north east.
Not only are pundits like Will disingenuous in their description of the real state of affairs, but they also obfuscate the reality that domestic demand destruction means refinery shutdowns and a contracting refining industry here at home....... "The Incredible Shrinking U.S. Economy", NOT coming to a theatre near you.

I heard from an employee of a contractor in the North Dakota area that he was working on the construction of a new refinery.

Does anyone know if that is true? It seems at odds to most of the information seen here regarding refineries.

Bakken plans first U.S. refinery in 35 years

The Bakken shale oil bonanza in North Dakota has already upended the U.S. oil market once by reversing a decades-long decline in production.

Now, as the boom fuels a surge in diesel consumption, the remote state may boast a second milestone: construction of the first U.S. greenfield refinery in 35 years.

Tiny by industry standards, the 20,000 barrel-per-day plant -- which received county zoning approval a week ago and now awaits a final state air permit -- illustrates how the tight-oil revolution is reshaping the U.S. energy industry in unexpected ways.

Frenzied drilling activity and a crush of truck and rail traffic across major shale energy fields from Texas to Pennsylvania have fueled a spike in diesel consumption nationwide of more than 10 percent in recent months.

In North Dakota, far from the rust belt refineries of the Midwest and now America's fastest-growing state economy, the $200 million refinery presents a perfect opportunity.

Yes, it is the first new US oil refinery in 35 years, albeit a very small one. It is intended to benefit from two issues - a surplus of oil production in North Dakota, and a shortage of diesel fuel in the same area.

For 250,000 gallons of diesel per day (less than consumption by 200 area drill rigs alone) they plan to spend $200M. How much would it cost to run the 200 drill rigs on CNG gathered from gas being flared?

Thanks for that, RMG.

So, to sum up. We have a tiny new refinery specializing in one product for one specific market. And we're shutting down a large output, full conversion refinery (FCRs can refine lower quality crudes into a wide range of petroleum products).

The south Philly refinery now scheduled to close specialized in ethylene. This is one of the "high profit" products that refineries can produce. It is a primary feedstock for the petrochemical industry; specifically in the manufacture of plastics and other synthetic materials. This same refinery was, as I understand it, also the primary fuel supplier to the very nearby Philadelphia International Airport.

If Sun Co. can't make any money with this operation, what does that tell us?

George F. Will, of course, is not a journalist, if by that we mean somebody who takes his/her mission to be discovery and reporting of facts. He is merely an op-ed ideologue. His task is to discover and state the so-called "conservative" take on major news stories, the facts be damned.

I think most journalists are genuinely, innocently ignorant on energy. Will is simply a liar.

a journalist, if by that we mean somebody who takes his/her mission to be discovery and reporting of facts


The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?


" To keep information from the public is the function of the corporate media."
Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

"One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change."
David Barsamian, journalist and publisher

Another issue lurking in the background is that most newspapers in the USA have cut their staff to the point where there may not be anyone left with enough time to do any fact checking before an article goes to print.

The big TV networks don't seem to be doing much of that anymore either.

The commentors on the George Will article are hysterical. In both senses of the word.

Chicago's 2011 pothole tally hits record

"The tally on Chicago's rutted streets and alleys is in, and it's a record: Crews filled more than 600,000 potholes in 2011, or about 25 percent more than in 2010, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

In a city notorious for aging asphalt and unpredictable winters, 2012 threatens to ring in thousands more pavement craters, despite plans for an aggressive street-resurfacing program aimed at staying on top of the problem."

Increasingly, we are having trouble keeping up with basic maintenance. We'll need to start designating residential streets as unsuitable for larger vehicles, or surfacing with something other than asphalt.

"Potholes represent part of a growing problem with crumbling roads across Illinois.

State roads are wearing out 33 percent faster than they are being repaired, according to a new study by the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.

By the end of 2017, nearly one out of every four miles of roads will be in unacceptable condition if the current pattern continues, the study warned."

Looks like most of the bicycle commuters in the Chicago area will need to use mountain bikes instead of road bikes in the years ahead.

What to do....

Do a better job preparing the roadbeds? Use thicker asphalt? Use concrete on certain high-traffic roads/streets?

Design and field pothole-filling robots?

folks switch to SUVs and Pickups with heavy-duty suspension, big tires, high clearances?

folks switch to microcars which are lighter and result in less wear on the roads?

folks switch to using bicycles and electric scooters as much as possible to have less wear on the streets? Walk more? More neighborhood businesses, grocery stores, neighborhood churches, clubs, etc? Buy as much as possible from Amazon, etc. to save shopping tips? Telecommute more?

Build more Els and trams?

Give up on paving the alleys and use shale instead?

Fire those darn corrupt Dems and elect R's who will privatize street Maintenance, resulting in the streets being paved with gold?

Start a war with Iran and drill, baby, drill to get cheaper oil for asphalt?

Vertical farming?


Personally, I'd opt for the following strategy :-

1. More localised shopping where people can walk or ride bikes
2. Much smaller vehicles, or designated "heavy vehicle" zones
3. More public transportation options
4. Permeable pavers instead of asphalt (funny how the old brick or cobble streets from the 1900's are doing just fine)

The city started a "Green Alley" program a few years back, more for the purpose of storm water management, but would help with resurfacing issues also.


What to do....

Move truck freight to rail.

SringTides and BOSW,

Good ideas...perhaps the City of Chicagi should write a key post on TOD and ask for ideas.

A low-cost idea to brainstorm/crowd-source ideas for their future courses of action...

The first think I think of when I read or hear a situation/problem is: What similar situations have occurred in other places/times and how was the similar situation dealt with there/then?

That is to say, how have other cities with a climate, vehicle mix/density, and soil characteristics similar to Chicago's handled their road/street paving issues?

One plan the city was trying to pass was to get smaller SUV's recategorised into a heavier class in order to pay more license fees.

I was for that, actually, but it was shot down because soccer moms have to have a larger vehicle, and who could ask cash-strapped families of eight people to pay more for infrastructure ?

Sorry...pet peeve...

When the parking meters were privatised, and the rates escalated dramatically, it raised a lot of complaining, but not much reduction in car traffic. One would think that increased pricing would change behavior - maybe the tolerance threshold keeps getting higher.

I do not think an apology is necessary...it is too bad that most folks are not informed or interested in all the complexity of highly interconnected details involved in such seemingly mundane things such as street maintenance.

They are just as happy to bitch and whine and assume incompetence and vote for the next guy or gal who blows them kisses and says elect me, it'll be alright...

...rather than do some research and critical thinking into how their choice/lifestyles affect the situation, and how resources constraints/limits factor in to the situations.

They just want it done/fixed, and don't want to pay any more taxes, or make any inconvenient changes to their lives.

Chigago is in a region that makes roadway design challenging. Part of the problem is from freeze-thaw cycles. Better preparation. i.e. roadbed drainage and consistent compaction helps.

Failure on an interstate highway usually starts at the joints. Joints are sawed across the section and are necessary to prevent uncontrolled cracking of the concrete. These joints need to be sealed and kept sealed. Heavy trafic can cause adjacent blocks of concrete to move relative each other, grinding away and creating a crack where water accumulates, freezes and ultimately result in a 'pothole'.

Another area of concern is quality control on the batching and placement of the concrete. Often a road will need patched within a few years of when it is placed. The DOT does what it can, but 'commercial interests' have a way of winning out over quality, if you know what I mean.

Patching is a whole other world. If this is done in high traffic areas, such as the interstate, a fast set mix with an accelerator is needed because trafic needs to be opened fast. Fast set concrete is generally not durable.

My understanding is that the roads in Germany are more durable because they use a slightly thicker concrete slab. Slab stiffness goes as thickness cubed so going from an 11 inch slab to a 16 inch slab makes it three times stiffer by using only ~50% more concrete. Using 50% more concrete doesn't make the road cost that much more because the concrete is only a small part of the total cost. Most of it is labor.

They also do a lot more and better maintenance in Germany which they willingly pay for with higher taxes.

I had read somewhere that the heaviest vehicle on most side streets was the garbage truck. If you were fortunate in the sense that the truck was picking up your trash while relatively empty, the road damage was noticeably less than the areas where the trucks were collecting while nearly full.


yea, I was thinking about that...garbage trucks, snowplows (in some cities, garbage trucks can have plows attached)...city buses...

garbage trams?

..taking the trash to be sorted and some of it burned in district heating plants?

Since it seems fairly obvious that we are going to have numerous people either on welfare or doing makework jobs for the forseeable future, hence having some of them sort garbage for salvageable materials to be used as fuel, mulch, fertilizer, etc, or as industrial feedstocks, sounds like a potential big winner.

It might not be economic in the narrow sense to pay for this sorting, but considering the potential savings in landfill costs, fuel for city heat and power, and sale of salvaged metal, glass, paper, etc, at least a sifnificant portion of the cost of the program WOULD be recouped.

It might even turn a profit if well managed with proper credit given for savings on the landfill budget, etc.

America threw away (net disposal not counting what was recycled) about $3B scrap value of Aluminum in 2010 (2.73 million tons). That's about 0.5 a quad of wasted energy in addition to the economic value. With 50% overhead you could pay 100,000 people $10/hr full time, just to pick aluminum out of MSW.

We also threw away 11.19 million tons of steel (probably another $1.5B in scrap), and 28.68 million tons of plastic. Total trash not recycled was 164.91 million tons, almost all of which could be recylced, composted, or combusted.

I've been saying since late 2007 (the first Bush stimulus) that this was going to last a while and that we ought to start direct workfare employment. My top two high-labor intensity industries to soak up labor are ragpicking and woodcutting (fuelwood). In PC-speak that's mixed stream waste recycling and biomass harvesting.

I must have the most garbage pickers per capita in my area. We put out an old leaking hot water heater and it was gone with 20 minutes. I once put out an old stove and it was gone in 10 minutes or less. They'll take anything with metal. I've got a bunch of old computers that are going to be a new years gift for one of the scrappers :) (I guess old CPUs have gold in them).

"...having some of them sort garbage for salvageable materials to be used as fuel, mulch, fertilizer, etc, or as industrial feedstocks, sounds like a potential big winner.

Yeah, Mac, folks can pick through the garbage to pay their room and board at the debtors prisons ;-/

Hi Ghung

I don't like it when I have overlooked something as obvious as the possible return of debtors prisons-it's hard on my ego.;-)

Prisons are terribly inefficient they way we run them these days, but if they were to be privatized, and run like the old Soviet gulags....... they could be very profitable indeed.........

I guess the odds against debtors prisons are pretty high, but how could we know? We have no previous experience to help us form an opinion as to what might happen in a collapse.Lot's of us could wind up as indentured servants or worse.

Personally, I would just play it quietly until I had an opportunity to do in my master and make a run for it.I wouldn't likely get away, being old, slow,fat, and broke, but I could make whoever caught me remember the chase-and the booby traps that got some of his buddies.


I watched a documentary about the U.S. prison industry on CNBC called 'Billions Behind Bars'...Billions of dollars, that is!

A few facts they presented:

U.S. has more of its population behind bars (not sure if that is expressed as a percentage of the whole population) than any other country in the World...more than Russia and China combined,some ~ 2 million people.

Some 750,000 people work in the prison industry, more than in the U.S. auto industry.

Some $78B per year is spent in the prison industry.

The gist of the program documented the growing trend of private companies running prisons, touting a lower cost per prisoner as a good deal for the taxpayer...

...but the show pointed out how the private prisons often cut corners by having fewer guards and more lax security, resulting in more violence in the joints.

Also, several ex-employees noted how it was in the best interests of prison companies to keep all their beds full...kind of like of hotel...now there couldn't be any back-room lobbying and dealing to craft laws and goad law enforcement arrest more people and jail more of them for longer times, could there?

And then there is the extra profit from using prisoners to manufacture everything from office furniture to military uniforms...see Federal Prison Industries, nee UNICOR, and similar outfits.

The show pointed out that the answer wasn't more efficient jailing, the answer was how do we have less people in jail to begin with?

End the War on Drugs, anyone?

Putting more and more people in prison, without much focus on rehab, is a bad idea...they are 'gladiator academies', and when the folks are returned to society, as most are, many of them are going to be battle-hardened, and disenfranchised from society.


Next I suppose we can turn some or most of the police over to private contractors, since they will promise to use our tax dollars more efficiently...then maybe judges, then maybe we can outsource our politicians to corporations /explicitly/...

More 'Walmartization' of America...'Always Low, Low Prices' and the thinking stops there!

now there couldn't be any back-room lobbying and dealing to craft laws and goad law enforcement arrest more people and jail more of them for longer times, could there?

There was a recent case where a judge was being subsidised to sentence youngsters to jail.


Debtor's prison is already back (well, not LEGALLY):

I'm surprised this article didn't mention the situation faced by many men who owe child support. What the court will do is order the man to pay their backdated child support and when they fail to comply they are jailed for contempt of court. In many cases though, there is no wilful decision not to pay the child support -- the man may be unemployed, unable to work due to disability/addiction problem or simply lacks the skills and education required to earn a reasonable amount of money.

It's not just men:

“One of my former clients worked at the Piggly Wiggly (supermarket) and they were taking 65 percent of her paycheck,” she said. “It left her in a position where there was simply no way that she could survive on the amount that she had left.”

Don't you have what is called a living allowance?

In New Zealand it goes like this,

Here is what it looks like for a person earning $40,000 P/A living alone with two Children supported:

Calculation details
Your annual taxable income $40000.00
Minus Your living allowance
Multiplied by Your child support percentage rate
Equals Your annual liability

The net after child support and taxes ($6020) is $27,807


Calculation details
Your annual taxable income $100000.00
Minus Your living allowance
Multiplied by Your child support percentage rate
Your annual liability

The next after child support and taxes ($23,920.00) is $55,507

It seems like your expected payment scales off your income in New Zealand. It doesn't work that way there?!

If we actually had such a thing there would be no way for the elite to collect debts from the poor, since the minimum wage in the US is well below what any reasonable setting of a "living allowance" would be.

It varies widely here in the US, since each state has its own rules.

And admittedly, some deadbeat parents intentionally work part time jobs, rather than full time, to avoid paying child support. Or they work under the table, to hide their income. That kind of abuse is what the jail time is supposed to address. But some states do not require that lawyers be supplied to poor people in cases like this, which really seems unfair.

Prisons are terribly inefficient they way we run them these days, but if they were to be privatized, and run like the old Soviet gulags....... they could be very profitable indeed.........


I'm aware of the private prison industry, and it scares the hell out of me that the prisin industry overall is so big...So many people employed in such an undedrtakiung creates too much pressure for more of the same-which is why i am a libertarian in respect to drug laws.

This business of privatized cops is why I also have no patience and but little respect for the the natterings of people who want to make it hard or impossible to arm yourself.As a purely practical matter, they have defacto private policing, since they usually live and work in neighborhoods where four carloads of very respectful (to them) cops show up to arrest a single drunk stumbling home on foot after he parks his car in a ditch.The rest of us are not so fortunate.

I know a bunch of people like that- I have lived and worked in that sort of neighborhood.I have also lived and worked in the sort of neighborhood where you look after yourself, because nobody else is going to.

We have good local cops, but if I needed help in a hurry I would call in a fire rather than a robbery or domestic dispute, if I were able to call in at all..the one time in my life I really WANTED and needed the cops to show up, there were plenty, probably at least a couple of dozen, of them within five miles, but it took over an hour for the first one, with half a dozen buddies, to show up.By then I was at the hospital, getting a stab wound looked after.

I have never made the mistake of being unarmed in a potentially touchy situation since.

I used to have a stunningly beautiful wife, a country girl Angelina Jolie,, who was fond of riding her horse in skimpy clothes on hot moonlight summer nights on the local backroads.I never worried much about her, because in this part of the world, back then, bothering a woman didn't get you arrested-it got you shot, and everybody knew it.

I always tried to go shopping with her after dark when we moved back to the city.


I am curious about how you define "arming yourself". Are there reasonable limits to the right to bear arms? Are shoulder fired missles and nuclear weapons ok? Where would you draw the line? I agree that people should be able to defend themselves, but it seems that some limit would make sense. If you do not agree, would you propose that everyone should have unlimited access to every conceivable weapon?

My opinion is that revolvers and rifles, are ok, but do not see the need for automatic and semi-automatic weapons for personal use.

As usual I agree with most of your points, and may agree with you on arms, though you might draw the line at a much different point.


Hi DC,

I completely disagree with your ideas on semi and full auto.

Thousands of people use semi-auto rifles and shotguns for hunting and/or target shooting (IPSC, IPDA, etc). I think they're perfectly acceptable for personal use. While I don't have a need for a fully automatic rifle myself, I have no problem with properly qualified people having them either. I do have a couple semi-auto rifles (SKS and Ruger 10-22) which I enjoy shooting immensely, though in Canada we're limited to 5 rounds in the magazine for centre-fire (the .22LR has no magazine capacity limit).

Since I'm in Canada, I have extremely limited ability to arm myself for personal defence. In fact, even the pocket knife I carry could land me in front of a judge if I give a cop the wrong answer when asked what it's for (don't say defence). I'm fine if I say "opening boxes". It's pretty ridiculous actually.

It is fine to disagree on where the line should be drawn. I agree that semi-automatic shotguns might ok, particularly for target shooting, why are semi automatics necessary for hunting? Is it really necessary. Let's say semi-automatics are ok, but only "qualified" people can have full auto, isn't that stepping on the rights of those "unqualified" people and their ability to defend themselves, if one person can have them, then everyone should. What about tanks, fighter jets, biological weapons, and nuclear war heads? A man has a right to defend himself and his property, right?

"What about tanks, fighter jets, biological weapons, and nuclear war heads?"

The phrase you are missing is "Crew-served". Cannon and the like have not been considered appropriate for general personal use.

As far as I know, anyone can get a permit for a full auto weapon if the Sate allows it, and if the local law-enformcement will sign off on it. It's a $200 stamp per weapon, and the supply is short, as only weapons built before 1986 are allowed, and the lack of supply has driven up the price.

As for semi-auto's for hunting what is the question. Deer, not so much. Bunnies, definitely. And a lot of people use .223 (5.56 mm) semi-autos on the local coyotes.

My comment was intended as more of a theoretical discussion. In a perfect libertarian world, would we like to see all restictions removed on arms? What do we mean when we say there is a right to bear arms? Should this right be unlimited? It seems that the position of the gun lobby is somewhere close to this. A friend of mine has claimed there is little difference between semi and full auto for someone properly trained and that with practice as many rounds per second can be fired from a semi so that restrictions on full auto make no sense. In my mind this means (if accurate) that the lack of restrictions on semis is rather troublesome. If one can hunt and defend oneself without the semi-automatic weapon does the benefit outweigh potential risk. If one thinks that it does, should there be any restiction at all on full auto? Why not remove the pre-1986 restriction so that poor folks can afford full auto?

In a perfect libertarian world, I am allowed to do anything I want. You, not so much. Therefore the need to define these things is moot.

Add privatized military corporations (i.e. mercenaries if you skip the spin) operating with immunity on US territory to the private prison industry. Plus lots of poor folks unable to pay their debts. Paints a pretty picture, don't it?

Armed, personally, to me means I have a revolver or semi auto pistol within easy reach in a a touchy environment for instance a city redneck neighborhood, also known as a ghetto, black or whiter or brown- there are no red or yellow ones nearby.Around home, I seldom actually carry the pistol, unless I have some reason to think it might be needed.Armed at home means a well secured personal armory - locked in a very good fireproof safe, except for one or two concealed pistols, loaded of course.I put them well out of the reach of small hands, unloaded, when we have visitors.

Semi automatic pistols, rifles and shotguns are perfectly acceptable in my opinion for a typical citizen to own and possess.Full auto weapons are strictly military issue, except for a VERY FEW extremely collectible grandfathered antiques worth tens of thousands each, and properly prohibited.Neither cops nor individuals should possess modern military issue weapons, although I have no problems with a few armored cop cars or flash bang grenades and tear gas and that sort of stuff.

Banning a weapon simply because it looks like a military weapon is foolish but that has unfortunately been policy here in recent times.

My second wife was Jewish, and she lost a lot of family in the Holocaust.If those relatives had been like mine, rounding them up and putting them in cattle cars would have cost Hitler one hell of a lot of troops-and if ordinary decent Germans had had arms-which only a few possessed- a hell of a lot of them would have actively helped the Jews defend themselves.

Less trash in the first place? This may be inevitable anyway. Less consumption = less trash.

Back when I was single, it used to strike me as to how much stuff my neighbors would throw out. For us, we get two trash days a week, and these folks would put out a can stuffed to overflowing each time. With what, I don't know - I didn't really want to dig in and find out..

I tended to not buy all that much stuff - I could get by only putting out the can once every 3 weeks or so.

I suppose like a lot of things, people throw lots of stuff away simply because we have made it cheap and easy to dispose of stuff. If the costs of trash pickup rose to the point where collection no longer occurred and people needed to take their own trash to a pickup station, you would probably find that people would be far more interested in reducing the amount of household waste through various means.

I've harped on waste packaging and disposable items plenty here. Even though we try to buy in bulk and avoid disposables we still generate much more waste than we like. Many types of disposable items can't be recycled and most, once used are useless for anything. Cleaning products, used once and tossed, are a big offender, as are toiletries. We buy shampoo in gallon concentrates that make up to 5 gallons, basic bar soap, wrapped in paper, in bulk, etc. Foodstuff bought in bulk gets stored in salvaged or mason jars (used canning lids seal nicely for dry goods like rice). Buying meats from the counter or butcher, wrapped in paper, avoids the foam and plastic used in prepackaged goods. Recycling is great, but if you never buy and use the stuff in the first place, recycling becomes moot.

If the cost of trash pickup rises, illegal dumping goes up A LOT.

Some of the most egregious waste is computer equipment. Recently my Epson inkjet printer began issuing ominous warnings, "Internal components reaching end of life" or something like that. However it kept on printing for a few more months.

Then finally it refused to print altogether, although all the basic printing innards were working fine. Turns out there's some "pads" or sponge-like things that catch and absorb surplus ink from print operation, or from actions like cleaning the print heads, which squirts out ink droplets with nowhere else for them to go. Once these pads are saturated, your otherwise perfectly good printer is done for...toss it and get a new one. Note they don't actually detect the saturation state - they simply count up the number of copies / clean-heads operation and once past a certain count, it's kaput.

Sure, there is the "take it to the nearest approved Epson repair facility" and they'll crack it open and swap out the pads, and reset the end-of-life counter giving your machine a possible 2nd life ... but that repair will cost you as much or more as buying a brand new printer! And there's absolutely no help or support for technically-savvy owners to open the unit and replace pads themselves - NOT "user serviceable" at all.

For previous customers like me, they offer a "loyalty" deal whereby their top-of-the-line new unit is only $118. I finally knuckled under and took the deal. It's a better printer - wireless and all, improved inks and image permanence - but I hated doing it.

I prefer Laser printers over inkjet printers. I can live without color printing. Cartridges don't dry out. Can be had for around $100 now.

Less than $100! You can get a COLOR laser for $100 on occasion, but the consumables will cost you - some just buy multiple printers for the consumables that are included. For pictures, I use Adoramapix, MPix, or WHCC. Cheaper and they do a fab job - and if you choose their free "color correction" service, you'll get a properly colored print too - I've yet to get as good looking print off a printer attached to my machine.

As you may already know, laser printers are by far the most cost effective way to print - a cheap $50 Brother or Samsung laser printer will come with a starter cartridge that will last about 1000 pages, and then you refill it when it finally runs out (or just buy another one its easier) and get another 3000 pages!

Do you know how long it takes to get through 1000 pages for a typical family even with kids who print out their Barbie.com iron-on butterflies and other similar things? It takes years! When was the last time you printed 10 pages, 20 pages at once? For me, it must've been a copy of my income tax return nearly a year ago ...

I'll never own an ink-based printer again. I've had to recycle too many dried up cartridges to reconsider.

Here, in Mexico, I found it was cheaper to order supplies direct from Brother, including carriage, than buying from the OfficeXXX stores.


I get supplies from PrintPal. Very inexpensive, and so far, so good performance-wise.

I saw a documentary a few months ago about this very same issue, it was really about "planned obsolescence" and deliberate life limiting of products.

To get around the printer's suicide code a Russian programmer has written a script that resets the page counter to zero, might be worth searching for it and revive the printer.

edit found the documentary
The Lightbulb Conspiracy (Full Length - English Subtitles)

Google for it, you may well find the codes to reset the counter. They can be found for some printers. I doubt the pads are saturated, as in sopping wet, and despeatly need changing though you may want to swap them for some pieces of felt.


Many printers (and most Epson printers) actually keep track of ink "shots" in a chip in the cartridge itself. But for some reason :-) it comes up with a wildly exaggerated number, and claims the ink cartridge is empty when it is clearly full of ink. I've gotten low ink warnings on a color cartridge that was never used - just a certain number of power cycles I guess. If just one of the color cartridges is deemed empty, the printer won't work even if you have it in b&w mode!

Unless, of course, you buy a resetter on ebay for $7.99. When you get the message from the printer, just zap the cartridge with the little device and it's reset to zero. I don't ever use color. I buy cheap refilled black ink cartridges that work fine, and keep a mostly empty set of color cartridges in there just to allow the machine to work.

When this printer finally kicks it, I'll probably get a laser printer...

"What to do...."

Legged vehicles. Even ice and earthquakes wouldn't matter. A road is not absolutely required. Sort of a powered horse.. or in this case, a mule:
DARPA/Boston Dynamics "Big Dog":
"Alpha Dog" with 400lb payload:

Could go for those big "Gundam" things:

By the end of 2017, nearly one out of every four miles of roads will be in unacceptable condition if the current pattern continues, the study warned."

This lack of regular maintenance and repair on basic infrastructure is happening because govt's are waiting for a boon of economic growth to provide a jolt of extra funds to make all the repairs that are building up. Trouble is, as oil price continues its inexorable rise, tiny growth will turn to no growth or even recession and then it will be even more difficult to muster up the funds to make those repairs. It's called the long descent and infrastructure degradation is the first major sign of its arrival.

It isn't just Chicago. Here in southwest Wisconsin i've never seen the roads so bad. They finally did fix an area by my home (they had been touching it up with gravel) that was rutted and cratered (I swear the leaks in my car tires were from smashing into those craters). Heavy snow the last 5+ years, hot summers, rain, etc are all taking tolls on these roads. I noticed that they put a foot wide mound of asphalt right down the middle of I-90 around here.... lots and lots of shortcuts and quick fixes.

Have no idea how they address these problems in 20 years. I guess by then traffic will be 1/2 or less then it is now.

Time to move back to rails.

Around here (central NH), the gravel roads are better than the "paved" roads. They do get a bit washboardy sometimes, but no axle-snapping potholes and frost heaves.

The methods of life cycle pavement management are well known in civil engineering and public works circles. However, elected officials rarely listen to their professional staff and cut maintenance in order to fund something sexier. I dealt with this for 13 years as a city public works director and finally gave up and went over to private consulting. For what it's worth, a pothole results from a spot failure (poor drainage, location-specific construction issues, improper utility repairs, etc.), while rutting, cracking, and other pavement failures are more systemic (traffic issues, inadequate design, oxidation of the pavement surface, etc.)

Re: Fracking Threats Seen Hollow in Calfrac Bonds Beating Peers: Canada Credit, up top:

Calfrac Corporate Video:


Will the Resilience Movement Help the World Cope With the Resource Crunch?

I cracked up when I read these words, or thoughts, by a then 18 year old Rob Hopkins:

I vividly remember looking around my friends thinking what a useless lot we were. None of us could really cook, none of us could sew, and none of us could build, grow food, or repair anything. We didn’t know how to use a saw, a hammer, or a chisel. None of us had ever planted a tree, repaired a bicycle, or fixed a shoe. If we were all to be washed up on a desert island together, I doubt that any of us would even have had the wherewithal to eat each other.

Ron P.

My Grange (Laytonville 726) is taking a somewhat different approach. We are in the process of establishing The Grange Center for Self-Reliance that will begin offering weekly programs this spring under three general categories; Wellness, Agriculture and Homesteading and More. Our interest is not in starting a "movement" but rather to provide useful information that individuals can use right now. And, importantly, everything will be free although we'll have a "tip jar" if people are so inclined.

To date, we have outlined far more topics than we can cover in a reasonable time period such as two years. They include not only lectures but also hands-on demonstrations. To get around this we are considering having the participants chose the order in which things are presented.


Sounds terrific. How are you planning to get the word out?

First of all, Laytonville is a small rural "town" in northern California (there are, maybe, 3,000 people scattered over about 600 square miles). Interestingly, it makes getting the word out easier.

We'll certainly get an article or two in our local paper. We'll put up posters on the post office and organic food store's bulletin boards. Most of the other businesses in town would probably also let us stick a poster in their window. We'll try to wrangle some interview time on one of the two public radio stations that serve the area. Our Grange also has a large email list available. We'll also pass the information on to other organizations in the area such as the garden club and Lions. There is also a much larger Grange in the next town south of us who, I'm sure, will be glad to distribute information.

I'm the one who initiated and is heading the program and I'm really excited about its possibilities. We've tried to keep it non-paradigm oriented. By this I mean there is no philosophy involved such as transition or permaculture. All we are saying is, "Hey, here's some neat stuff you might be interested in." For example, we'll be covering nine different food production systems ranging from permaculture to Terra Preta to aquaponics. In the Homesteading and More category we'll cover 12 food preservation methods. This, of course, assumes that this is what the people want. And, there are lots and lots of other things including alternative energy.

Anyone wanting the full list of topics we have so far can email me at detz2 at willitsonline dot com. Just be forewarned that I don't like to carry on much email correspondence.


This one doesn't appear on the Megaprojects list for 2012 or 2013.

Iran plans to boost output at joint oilfield with Saudi Arabia

Iran plans to increase production at the Forouzan oilfield, which is shared with Saudi Arabia, by 40 percent by the end of the next calendar year (March 20, 2013), Iran Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) managing director said.


Foroozan and Esfandiar Project consists of two EPC Projects, EPC1 & EPC2


The addition seems to amount to about 35,000 bpd.

2012 Forecast: Bang and Whimper

..The USA is diving into an economic depression that will make the 1930s look like a Busby Berkeley production number. Compressive contraction will have its way with us, whatever Ben Bernanke thinks. There will simply be less activity of the kinds we're used to - Big Box shopping sprees, hamburger sales, theme park visits, house closings, you name it - than our hypertrophic system requires to keep its own destructive momentum going. Instead, the whole thing will just topple over, inert, like a 99-cent gyroscope giving into the forces of entropy. There will be a lot of bewildered, angry, dispossessed people from sea to shining sea...
Don't imagine for a moment that your grandchildren will be zinging across the landscape in electric cars sampling one theme park after another while "networking" with "friends" on cyborg social networks implanted in their brain jellies. Think of them grooming their mules in the summer twilight.

....if they're that lucky..

Also, the latest Kunstlercast, from Friday: "JHK shares his thoughts on the GOP candidates for the 2012 U.S. election.

Ahhh, the second day of the year and the forecasts are starting to fly!

Step right up...

Here is an amazing article stating how 2012 will be (and I quote) 'Happy days are here again' and a 'magnificent boom' (compared to since 2008).


Also, we are informed that, despite the high house vacancy rate, the U.S> of A is actually seriously underspecified with houses.

Perhaps the author is on some kind of mind-altering medication?

Also: Some graphs on U.S. income distribution from MoJo...


Edit: Wow, JHK went on a tear there!

I bookmarked his blog post and saved it in a MS word do on my computer to review this time next years, if I am still around!

Here's the sort of thing I like about these prognostications - to quote from the "amazing article", starting with the headline:

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Don’t believe the naysayers: An economic recovery is right around the corner.

Economic forecasting is a mug’s game. There are simply too many unknowable factors that affect “the economy” for anyone to make accurate predictions... Plus, if I did possess the secrets to the future, I’d be making a fortune as a speculator, not telling you about it.

It seems as though the article could simply have ended right there...

I really dislike Kunstler's constant channeling of fear, since predicting apocalypse every year to sell books tends to grate on my nerves, but hell, he is damn funny.
But his readers (cf comments on his blog) are downright scary. Is change that terrifying?

"I really dislike Kunstler's constant channeling of fear..."

...excepting the idea that folks need to have the crap scared out of them. It works pretty well for government's war on terror, but what's so scary about economic collapse/contraction, resource depletion, and climate change?

The way I see it, he's just playing the part of the buffoon, and that makes him completely mainstream, and his rants become meaningless because they all end with a "buy my book", or a "my new book on collapse will hit the shelves in june". How can you sell such a topic like you would a book about meditation or bees?

There would be a lot to write about the peak oil gurus and the way they sell themselves (Martenson, Kunstler, Heinberg, Ruppert, the list goes on). John Michael Greer excepted, who's really offering something new, they are not really worthy of respect, in my opinion, because in the end, they are just exploiting a niche market, or presenting themselves as guides in a dire time. I find their attitudes really running counterclockwise to the content of their messages: don't overconsume, but... buy my book and listen to my class, it will save your life.
As a result, they are not serving their cause as much as they potentially could.

As for your point, do people need fear to act? That's up to debate, but from what I have observed, fear tends to make people reckless and stupid. As war on terror shows, by the way.

Greer is brilliant, but as with most authors, has a limited audience. Many authors with broad appeal tend to have sugar coated or dumbed down messages, not what we need these days, IMO.

As for your list, you would brand them "Profiteers of Doom"? If one believes in one's message what's wrong with selling it and paying some bills? Nothing new there. While I'm not about to pay Martenson's subscription fee, his crash course has been quite effective at reaching a certain audience, IMO. We need as many bell ringers as we can get, and if doom sells, so be it. I think you are lumping a broad range of audiences into your worldview. I know folks who don't get the Archdruid, yet relate really well to Kunstler or Heinberg.

I try to benefit from as many angles on a problem as I can get, try to reach a more dynamic understanding. If I feel that someone doesn't truly believe their message I move on. Most of the authors you mention are walking the talk, unlike the Al Gore's of the world. But, as they say, "different strokes..."

As for fear, there's a difference in using it to get someone's attention and using it to maintain control of someone. One gets your kid to wear his bike helmet, the other keeps you putting money in the plate so you won't burn in hell for eternity. The war on terror falls into the second category, IMO.

Martenson, who is selling his "consultation" 500 dollars an hour, is really a profiteer of doom, yes. He is also selling himself as a guide, which makes me really angry at him, because by doing so, he becomes a tawdry prophet of doom.
I mean, for that, on TOD, we have Ron, and for free and without the tawdriness. :p

The others, less so, but it remains that the current state of the world gives them the opportunity to make a living. I think it should be kept in mind before reading them, because it is easy to manipulate an audience that is afraid, to push it towards the edge. Kunstler's readers are a good exemple, they are no longer rational and are self-indulging in doomerism. Which is as counter-productive as ignorance.

I like Greer because he doesn't do that, he always appeals to reason and intelligence, not to the inner dread of the
average reader who is awed by the crisis.

"...he becomes a tawdry prophet of doom.
I mean, for that, on TOD, we have Ron, and for free and without the tawdriness. :p

I'm sure TOD (and Ron, perhaps) would be happy to accept your donation, though we wouldn't want to destroy their credibility :-0

"..tawdry prophet of doom." Jeez...

I was quite proud of my formulation, but I will grant you it might be over the top. XD

Fear is actually a pretty poor way of motivating people. At least for topics like peak oil and climate change. People just ignore it because it's unpleasant to think about and it seems like there's nothing they can do about it. If you want them to do something...don't tell them they're living near the dam.

Quite so, Minister.
Or the other typical response is to get depressed, which is equally unproductive.

I think you guys ignore the fact that fear, as a hook, an attention grabber, is pretty effective, at least the MSM marketing machine thinks so. Insurance and security companies use it all the time. Your government and politicians use it, and the predominant religion in the US is rife with it. They'll also offer up a plan to "weather the storm", whatever the storm du jour may be. Like it or not, it's what folks are used to; at least the ones who haven't started figuring out our predicaments yet.

Greer touched on this a bit in his magic series. Mages all, the names you mentioned above.

The exemples you are offering are sound, but they ask for a simple answer: subscribing to a policy, casting a ballot, etc.
The current problems we are facing require a complete shift in our habits. And in that case, fear is absolutely not an incentive good enough for people to cross the line.

I really dislike Kunstler's constant channeling of fear,

Really? I just love it. ;-)

Ron P.

Somehow, I'm not surprised. At all. :p

Look Simulacrum, I know you don't like doomers like me and other doomers on this list, and you don't even like people who write books about the possible consequences of peak oil like Kunstler and Martenson. But we are just telling it like it is. If you don't like our message then stop complaining and make a counter argument.

Ron P.

I don't mind the message (and even if I didn't it wouldn't make a difference, of course) I mind the way it is conveyed.
Kunstler sells it like it is a Lady Gaga album, and Martenson is acting like he's standing on a ledge holding the tablets of faith.

Here's what I don't like. The popculturisation of peak oil.

What in the hell does that mean? Read this and you will understand my position. I have posted this link many times before but since you are a newcomer to this list you may not have read it. Anyway it is definitely not popculturisation, whatever that is.

Energy and Human Evolution

Ron P.

I know dieoff.org, yes.
As I've told you before, I've been reading the list for a long while before posting here.

But this is besides the point. I am not talking about the message of doomers (it has been discussed before, and since you won't budge and I won't budge, it is of no use to start the debate again), I am talking about the way people like Kunstler and Marteson convey it. Kunstler makes a show of lambasting the popular culture of today, castigating TV, teenagers, consumption, and so on, while at the same time being a complete byproduct of it. Marteson purports he can offer guidance to lost people (in exchange of money, of course), and this kind of hubris is revolting to me.

By acting so, they make the message of peak oil completely trivial. It is just another spike of noise in an endless stream of information, and it is not special, because like everything else, it can be sold and marketed.
Kunstler: We're going down the crapper next year! By the way, buy my book, out in june!
Marteson: We are headed toward disaster, but in the meantime, subscribe to my crash course so that I can advise you how to not die when everybody else will!
Ruppert: Believe me when I tell you, because I'm a cop who's super good at prediction.

I mean, seriously? Does this bazaar look scientific to you?

I was definitely not talking about dieoff.org I was talking about the David Price essay in particular. Have you ever read that essay?

Martenson was a vice president of Pfizer making a six figure income and quit all that, sold his mansion and moved into the country to far a far more humble abode. He was never in this for the money.

But that is all beside the point, complaining about the way peak oilers deliver their message is silly. Everyone is different and everyone delivers their message in a different way. Some you may like and some you most certainly will not like. But peak oilers bad mouthing other peak oilers because of the way they deliver their message gains us nothing.

Have you ever watch Martenson's "Crash Course"? It will take you slightly over three hours and it is worth every minute of it. It definitely does not make the message of peak oil trivial. And neither does his daily blog. Also the Kunstler blogs and podcasts do not trivialize peak oil and neither did his books or his feature length documentary.

I really don't know where you folks who constantly bitch about peak oil writers and bloggers get off. Your complaints are never specific you just complain about the way they deliver their message. The peak oil community would be a lot poorer without people like Kunstler and Martenson.

Popculturisation indeed.

Ron P.

I've read Price's essay, yes.

On the topic at hand:
The world is not the peak oil community... Of course Martenson and Kunstler are not trivializing peak oil to the eye of the believer. But to the outside observer, I really believe they are, because they completely fit the pattern of any set of beliefs that hits the Internet: Books about the subject with gloomy and catchy covers, smiling pictures of the blogger, would be predictions and supposedly sound advice. They are playing the game, and as everyone else, they are perceived as placing a product on the market. Which they are doing, by the way (and I am not saying it is good or bad, just stating the facts), otherwise the Crash Course or the Long Emergency would be free.

In the end, peak oil is trivialized. Because it is like anything else: noise.
And there is nothing silly about complaining about form. Because the coating makes a bigger difference than you seem to believe.

Okay, the world, not just the peak oil community, would be a lot poorer and one hell of a lot less informed without people like Kunstler and Martenson.

No one writes books just to give them away. And the crash course is free. Go to Chris Martenson.com and click on "Watch the Crash Course".

To say that this three hour course, or that "The Long Emergency" is trivializing peak oil is beyond silly, it is totally absurd. One might say the same thing about Catton's Overshoot. And if they did they would be dead wrong. Simply because people write books about subjects they feel deeply about is anything but trivializing the subject.

Ron P.

You are ignoring my arguments without giving a clear rebuttal to my thesis: today, peak oil is sold as you would lawn-mowers (and you could feel really passionate about lawn-mowers, but my point is not about sincerity, it is about the social image of the subject).

And I am well-aware that the crash course is free (I've watched some of it, but it is nothing new), but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Then you have the book, the articles to subscribe to, and the 500 hundred dollars an hour consultation. A whole commercial system.

No, I am not ignoring your argument. You just think I am because your argument is so general, it is a broad brush swipe at Martenson, Kuntsler and apparently anyone who ever wrote a book on the subject.

Chris Martenson is making a fraction of what he made as a Vice President of Pfizer. He has a PhD in neurotoxicology from Duke University, and an MBA from Cornell University. So he uses his experience, knowledge and education to earn a living just like everyone else while he also informs the world about peak oil, how money is created, and the shenanigans of the banking system, and a lot more for free. Just follow his blog, listen to his podcasts and take the crash course, it don't cost a damn dime.

But nooooo.... you would rather criticize those in the peak oil community for not becoming paupers like Jesus instructed his followers to do, give up all your possessions and follow him. You would have Kunstler, Martenson and all others who write books or whatever about peak oil to give up all their possessions, become paupers and spread the gospel of peak oil to the world... for free.

I really don't understand you guys. We are trying to spread the word about peak oil and resource depletion and you, and others, are throwing stones at the messengers. And apparently all because they are trying to make a living just like everyone else. Apparently claiming that making a living while spreading the word, mostly for free, trivializes peak oil.

Ron P.

You are twisting my words... again.

Did I say they should work for free? Of course not.
What I mean is that they should be ethical in their endeavours.
Not rant about a financial collapse in the next six months (which would render financial transactions really hard, even impossible), while advertising for a new book two paragraphs later. How can you and your message be credible if selling your stuff nullifies the content of your words?
Not pretend to be a guide to people (and charge a fee for it) when you are as lost in this mess as we all are.

You can earn money with peak oil whistleblowing, sure. But then you have to be impeccable about it, and not fall in the common traps of marketing, ie selling yourself as a scholar while acting like an entertainer, a kind of guide, or who knows what.

Not that it really matters ... but since you have explained why you don't like the way the 'peak oil' message is communicated by Kunstler or Martenson, why don't you provide an example of how you would *prefer* the 'peak oil' message be communicated. What, in your opinion, is a more effective communication media/method? How would you define success in a communication campaign?

And does the same mode of communication work equally effectively with all audiences...

A good question.
My main problem, I think, is about labels.

Per se, I do not think Kunstler or Martenson's messages a bad thing, and satire or educated whistleblowing definitely have a place in the conversation. But IMO, they should then introduce themselves as such. For instance, Kunstler is funny, and his words hit often really hard, but he tends to distort facts, exaggerate (if we listen to him, the economy would have crashed in 1996), and his knowledge of geopolitics is often... well, for lack of a better word, dubious.
That's fine, but that's called entertainment, not science or even good investigative journalism.
He is doing satire, and he is doing it well, and he should stick to that, not become the uninspired leader of a legion of doomers who need some catharsis to expurgate their inner dread.

As for Martenson, he's a good whistleblower, but he is playing the part of the prophet, of the guide (his website is amazing on this regard), and this sort of hubris has nothing to do with science and reason. He has created a character, "Chris", rational, smiling and sensitive, whom you should trust to help you make your life less painful when the SHTF. And maybe listening to his words will help, sure, but the fact that he would sell himself in such a way is truly disturbing to me.
For the fact is, he's just an average Joe who's giving advice to people, like any leveheaded bloke would do. And he should stick to that.

All in all, my ideal peak oil whistleblower does what he can do, and no more than that. He doesn't try to reach for heights that are not meant for him, because once you're there, you are completely out of your depth. And you start doing stupid things, like having followers (and not in the blogging sense of the word), which is just... scary.

" ...otherwise the Crash Course or the Long Emergency would be free."

Start here.

In the end, peak oil is trivialized. Because it is like anything else: noise.

peak oil is sold as you would lawn-mowers

Simulacrum, only someone who is totally ignorant of the possible consequences of peak oil could write such nonsense. There is a fair chance of high unemployment, crashing stockmarkets and a third worldwar.

Yes, how dare they bitch about all y'alls bitching?


People are not perfect. Me least of all. We are clumsy, unfair, have our issues and deamons of the past that haunt us, we are habitual creatures who fall into some same tracks over and over, we have our own hiden agendas, hidden even to our selves. How any of us would ever write anything that is not loaded with questinable wordings is beyond me. It has been said that "Give me the best men on erth and make them write 6 sentences, and I promise I will find something in it to hang them for".

I just say; look beyond the messenger and the way he puts it, and look at the message. It is, after all, what it is all about.

Yes. Prompted by the link, though, I rather enjoyed Kunstler having fun with prophecy, while touring the recent horizons with his well-practiced jaundiced eye. 2012 does rather present a barn door for target shoots, even with a January hangover.

The Superspike Next Time

In the later part of 2010, I stated here that we could see an oil price ‘superspike’ that might take the price of oil up by 50% or more from about the $80 then by late Spring 2011. I found no record anywhere of anyone making such a specific prediction at that time before I posted to the web. For Brent, the price of oil did rise about 50% in the next five months to over $120, not quite a superspike, but more of a persistent price rise.

This is part of what I said then:

We may now have entered a long term situation where long term oil demand exceeds long term supply. This is possible because there are still some surplus oil inventories around the world, although the quality and location of these inventories outside of governmental control is open to debate. This leads us finally eventually to a more serious problem – the oil [price] ‘superspike’ – which will likely result when the overshoot of demand over supply that appears to have started eventually runs through whatever surplus supplies are available.

Being that the oil markets and products operate with considerable physical lags (such as shipping oil from the Mideast to the US) , when the world gets to its bottom barrel of inventory over the MOLs (minimum operating levels) there may be a sudden realization that there is no longer enough oil to go around. Then the price will go up, and up, and up, $100, $120, even $150 will not be a price barrier because of the built up momentum in our economic systems.

Unfortunately the superspike next time may not only come without much warning, but may be quite extreme. A stray missile or ship collision in the Straits of Hormuz could be the launching point for a rapid increase in the price of oil. This time I am not alone in talking about such a possibility, but it is not just a price spike we will have to be worrying about in 2012.

Possibly the only thing that prevented oil from pushing even past $120 (Brent) last year was the release of about 60 million barrels of oil and oil products in a coordinated effort by IEA countries. The biggest portion of that was a release of 30 million barrels of high quality crude from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

Even assuming that something worse in the way of international conflict doesn’t occur in 2012, oil will still be subject to upside stresses. There is also an additional reason why the price of oil may rise, which was less important factor in prior years – but could still lead to shortages of gasoline and diesel. That is the growing imbalance between the types of oil available as compared to the location and refining capacity of refineries to process that oil. Essentially present oil production trends will lead to the closing of refiners faster than new refineries or improvements can be made, because in general refiners will not adjust fast enough to the lower quality of oil available (which require more upgrades and refinements than higher quality oil).

For example, the Northeast US has been hit particularly hard by the loss of high quality oil from Nigeria. Exports from Nigeria to the US have fallen not only because of political problems – such as direct attacks on oil processing structures and pipelines – but also the shift of more Nigerian oil exports to other nations as they struggle to make up for lost Libyan supplies. (http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_petrol...) Northeast refiners essentially don’t want to make a huge new investment to adapt or rebuild refineries for type of lower quality oil that may be available from other sources. Granted Northeast refiners clearly took advantage of the summer 2011 SPR release, but that release alone used up 10% of the high quality oil reserves in the SPR. So using SPR oil is not a viable long term solution.

But that’s not all. Refiners are also suffering in the wake of the now four year long financial crisis. A major European refiner (Petroplus) may completely close down due to lack of financing to keep its operations going. If so, getting the right oil products to the right place becomes a complex world-wide puzzle when US refiners are also shutting down.

So while the superspike next time may be bad enough to have a negative effect on the world’s economy, possible outright shortages of some key oil products may only compound the damage.

Will it happen soon? It’s possible, although it’s also possible without a Mideast conflict that a financial crisis in OECD nations will slow down oil demand just enough to offset falling oil product supplies. But if 2011 is any guide, it may not be wise to expect 2012 to pass without any surprises.

As they say, predict a price or a time, but not both, so my "fearless" prediction has been that we would see a series of oil price doublings, but given the demand uncertainties, it was impossible to predict the time periods between the doublings. So far, we have seen three Brent annual price doublings, from $13 in 1998 to $111 in 2011. The first doubling took two years. The second doubling took five years. And the third doubling took six years.

Regarding oil importing OECD countries in general, and the US specifically, my position for some time is that we are headed toward "freedom" from our reliance on foreign sources of oil--as we are forced to continue to consume a declining share of a declining volume of Global Net Exports of oil. However, one point to keep in mind is that discrete sources of demand within oil importing OECD countries is not the same as aggregate demand, e.g., what oil price would force Bill Gates to conserve oil?

I actually think that the progressively higher oil price lows are more interesting than the higher highs. If the "doubling" pattern in higher annual lows continues, the next year over year decline will bring us down to an annual average Brent price of about $130. Given (so far) increasing aggregate demand in many developing regions, e.g., Chindia, and among the net oil exporting countries, with higher, or level, discrete demand within oil importing OECD countries (with an overall aggregate decline in most OECD countries), I think that it is more likely than not that we will see something like an average annual price of $130 Brent for the next year over year decline, but time will tell.

New US sanctions, put in place at the close of 2011, already appear to have had an effect on Iran's currency.

Iran currency plunges 10% as US strengthens sanctions
Monday 2 January 2012 11.37 EST

Riyal falls to record low after Obama administration blacklists Tehran's central bank

Iran's currency value has fallen more than 10% in less than a week to record lows, after a US move to tighten financial sanctions against the Islamic republic.

The riyal lurched to as low as 16,800 to the dollar, down from 15,200 at the end of last week. It was valued at 10,500 just a year ago.

"No order has been given for the closure of the Strait of Hormuz. But we are prepared for various scenarios," state television quoted navy chief Habibollah Sayyari as saying.


Europe’s largest independent refiner by capacity, unable to buy adequate oil because of a credit freeze, will halt refining at three of its five plants,

Yet another credit shortage.

More on Nigeria removes Fuel Subsidies


The article notes that Ghana removed their fuel subsidies last week and prices increased 15%. Much of the Nigerian fuel is used for electric generators.

On a related note, Iran is approaching refining self sufficiency due to reduced demand (after tripling prices) and expanded refining capacity (due in part from help by Euro subsidiary of Koch Brothers).

Best Hopes for reduced ELM,


Japan's population decreasing at fastest postwar rate

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's population decreased in 2011 at the fastest pace in the postwar era with the decline, calculated by deducting the number of deaths from that of births, coming to an estimated 204,000, health ministry estimates showed Saturday.

The decrease was over 1.5 times higher than the revised figure of about 125,000 the year before and was the biggest since comparable data became available in 1947, the survey said. It was the fifth straight annual decline since 2007.

The estimated number of newborn babies in 2011 fell to a record-low 1,057,000, down by 14,000, while that of people who died in 2011 hit a record-high 1,261,000, up by 64,000, according to the survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Even allowing for the fact that there are about 16,000 official Tsunami deaths in the figures these are still dramatic changes.

Tectonical deaths are not that uncommon in Japan. But yes, 16 K is alot.

The curve of population decline has just started.

Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world. Any decline in that (as I would expect after the tsunami - 88 year old people may die a year earlier due to stress) will force even larger annual population declines.

A simple calculation - 1,057,000 x 83 years life expectancy = 87.7 million.

And births should be expected to continue to decline - both due to shrinking numbers of young adults and post-Peak Oil economic stress.

Japan has superb infrastructure and excellent export industries in place. Tokyo decided to stop expanding their subway system a decade ago sue to expected declines in population. they no longer use "pushers" to cram people aboard.

Can Japan shrink to what they can import + produce domestically ?

A smaller population will make it easier.

The United States should be so fortunate as Japan wrt starting/undergoing a population decline.

The U.S. population is closing in on 313 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:


The same source states that the U.S. population was ~ 308M in 2010, and ~ 281 M in 2000, a close to 10% increase.


We should welcome an d encourage a reverse trend of shrinking by 10% every decade for 5-6 decades, then stabilizing

2012 313M
2022 282M
2032 254M
2042 229M
2052 206M
2062 185M

The U.S. had a population of ~ 179M in 1960, and ~ 151M in 1950.

I see no inherent relationship between 'greatness' of society and having a high (and continuously growing) population.

The U.S. was quite the viable going concern in 1960 and 150, etc.

FWIW, big engineering projects were undertaken: The Interstate Highway System, the NASA space program, etc.

The U.S. joined with its allies to win WWII with even less population.

Maybe if we had fewer folks, we would value educating each one better...quality over quantity...

Maybe we could concentrate on making most of the stuff we use in the U.S...in the U.S.

Maybe we could concentrate on making long-lasting, high-quality goods again...

Maybe I just woke up from my dream...

Heisenberg, How do you address the problem of too many old and too few young?

I like to rephrase that Q -How do you address the IMPERATIVE of many old and few young as you cut world population to a sustainable level of maybe 1/10 of what we have now?

Answer. Recycle the old (that's me) sooner, before they start to cost a lot, and redo the economy so the young prefer to see less young around.

(I think it's absurd to the extreme that I could and did terminate my old dog in a nice clean painless way but not my mother, who kept asking me to do it.)

I like Woody Allen- "I don't fear death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

I think the Japanese deserve praise and emulation- they are doing what we all are going to have to do.

A lot of thoughts there Wimbi.

As a medium-older person, I'm not in a hurry to be "recycled". I live an extremely low-footprint life. Whatever - I don't cost very much. As we say in the horse business, I'm an easy keeper.

Having said that, when I'm ready to go, I'd like to be able to do it on my own terms. I have a nasty yet unfixable health problem that really is getting sort of tiresome.

I must say, as I read all these proposals and and prescriptions, I really have to ask myself, what's the point? What's the point of being human? Feeding some "economy"? Or something else? Know what I mean?

I don't know. The older I get, the less sure I am about anything.

sgage. Thanks for the comment. I happen to have died a couple of times, and in both cases, I followed (inadvertently) Woody's suggestion to not be there. It was NOTHING- like I mean- zippo. Not just ordinary nothing, nothing to the Nth power. Anyhow, after being pumped up again by a lot of expensive stuff in violation to my own dictat, I have enjoyed a happy life for a while, but with the caveat that I can go out like a 100 watt light bulb popped by a bad little boy's bb gun just any old time at all.

This does not bother me. After that last experience, and after profound thought lasting at least 3 minutes, I have decided that my purpose- everybody's purpose,-is to just keep a-going if reasonable to do so, and while doing so, try to make this place a better one for the next you and me (people are fungible), and pray that the next you is better than you-and me.

Why? Ah, I thought you would ask. Simple- because we CANNOT predict the future- outta sight impossible. So who knows, the future might be just a super great place for all those us's who get to be in it. So our job is to not foreclose on that future. That's why I am so thick about fossil fuels- a goddam crime against me-in-the-future.

All this heavy thinking makes me tired. My real job right now is to figure out why that downdraft gasifier didn't do what I told it to do. Why am I doing it? For fun, that's why.

And thanks for your comment. I think I know what you're saying. Been there myself.

I'm going day to day, best I can, and nothing wrong with that.

Let's have us a great 2012! I am currently drawing energy and hope from a really fine visit I had with some young nieces and nephews over the holidays (no kids of my own). Really good people. On and on it goes...

I don't know if this is inappropriate so delete if you think so but it might help some people:

It is very easy and painless to commit suicide. We have had one family member chose this route and know of others who have. Our knowledge of this came from an article in our local paper.

All the person has to do is stop taking fluids and food. The person will go into a sort of coma after a few days and then die quietly. You don't have to have gore or mess as was the case when a neighbor shot himself in the head some years ago because of his Parkinson's disease.

Yes, it does take family support (in our family's case, it also had the support of her doctor and psychologist; she was in her early 70's) but this choice allows the person to say their "goodbyes" and make any amends so that their life closes out without regret.


Thanks for that kind advice, Todd. That's what my mother did, after my smarter younger brother gave her the right word. She was OK with it, but it was damned dumb for us siblings to talk about her while she was right there in that coma. She could hear, but couldn't make correct sense out of it and as a consequence, shed some tears. I could kick myself for that, and have. Best to say the right goodby early enough.

My favourite last words, said by a FOAF on his (hospital) death bed:

"If I had known it was this easy, I'd have done it long ago."

Beeing thirsty is realy painfull, if it gets to severe. If I had to go, I'd prefer some other method. Death by dehydration is not on my top ten ways to die death wish.

If I had to go, I'd prefer some other method.

Hook up a regulator or oxygen mask to a tank of pure nitrogen and breath it for a couple minutes, you will become hypoxic and quickly lose consciousness and die without any pain or discomfort whatsoever. I have even wondered why advocates of the death penalty have not decided to use this method when executing criminals. I guess a quick and completely painless death would not be a suitable form of justice, eh? Not to mention nitrogen is cheaper than the drugs currently used. So much for not engaging in cruel and unusual punishment...

The reason why they don't want to use it is because it is quick and painless.


If I had to go, I'd prefer some other method

Seems like hardly a winter goes by without a story about people quietly dying from exposure, or monoxide poisoning. How hard could it be?

  1. Get drunk
  2. Pass out face down in a snowbank

or, alternatively

  1. Get drunk
  2. Pass out face down next to the charcoal BBQ you just fired up inside your unventilated kitchen

If you do it right no one need know it wasn't an accident. Take out a major life insurance policy on yourself and name your favorite niece/nephew/grandkid as the beneficiary. Not only do you check out with no fuss and no muss, but some lucky kid is set for life.


I've already thought this one out. You need a cheap aluminum boat with a minimum 2.5hp motor, a fishing pole and bait. (Of course, have the insurance policy up to date and be past the contestability period (2 yrs usually)). Get a good stack of accidental death policies in place, too - they'll probably deny the claims but what the heck they're $12 a shot.

Go out to the middle of a big, cold lake or way out in the ocean, at night. With life jacket on, fall overboard and let the boat run away from you.

As you bob, think of all the good things you've done and left undone. Pray. You'll soon feel warm and fuzzy - and pass peacefully away.

None of this drunk, hypoxic BS.

Beeing thirsty is realy painfull, if it gets to severe.

Dying of thirst when you're young is excruciating; I've certainly been in situations in which I had to go without water for a couple days in a hot climate and it's something you never forget.

However, as a person gets older, they typically lose the desire to hydrate themselves adequately. In many cases, an older person can die painlessly of dehydration by simply not drinking more than they need to quench their thirst. Such a person can sit with a glass of water and sip from it so there is never any distress about being thirsty, just a progressive weakness which becomes a coma. Of course they need to get their legal affairs in order to prevent being put on IV hydration after they lose consciousness. I think this would work better in a warm place than a cold or air-conditioned one. My mother had decided to do it that way, but she died of other causes before the summer came.

They do that already in Russia. It is called tobacco and vodka. Pension cost is not a big issue in russian state economy.

First of all, we can't let 'it's been done this way for as long as we have been around' be the roadblock to change and the excuse to continue the ultimate Ponzi Scheme of overshoot...all in the name of having enough young people to support the old!

As always, the first thing I will recommend is to do a survey and see if any other countries have been experiencing the situation we speak of, and assess how they are handling it (see Japan).

I am talking about a pretty gentle glide slope down in population here...refer to my quick and dirty 'table'. And no, I do not advocate or imply some macabre killing off/culling of old folks. Perhaps the death rate increases due to ending most extreme life-extending measures, and the birth rate should fall somewhat below 2.1, and any net population increase from immigration should stop.

- Older folks will have to work longer, and receive less in retirement/Social Security

- Children will need to take on the responsibility of taking care of their folks in their homes to a greater extent

- 'Heroic' care (in many cases, 'care' to create nursing home zombies) will have to be scaled back, and people should be allowed to make their personal end of life decisions with dignity.

- No doubt there will be a period of adjustment (change in expectations, doing less with less) during this demographic trend reversal....some or many changes will become the 'new normal.'

That's all I have for now, got to go to bed...I would be surprised if folks haven't written whole magazine articles, research papers, books, etc. on your question.

Older folks will have to work longer, and receive less in retirement/Social Security

Already happening in some countries.

'Heroic' care (in many cases, 'care' to create nursing home zombies) will have to be scaled back, and people should be allowed to make their personal end of life decisions with dignity.

Why is it held 'kind' to end an animal's suffering while humans are to be dragged through everything until every last bit of humanity is gone?


Why is it held 'kind' to end an animal's suffering while humans are to be dragged through everything until every last bit of humanity is gone?

Apparently we are special. According to ourselves of course.

Cheery today aren't we Oil Drum ;)

The U.S. was quite the viable going concern in 1960 and 1[9]50, etc... FWIW, big engineering projects were undertaken: The Interstate Highway System, the NASA space program, etc.

As a former government budget analyst, I always point out that a major change occurred in 1965: the US decided that government would provide, largely on the taxpayers' dime, the elderly and the poor with the kind of health insurance that the rich and middle-class had access to (principally through their employers). It was also the point where medical technology really began to take off; that is, where it became possible to spend large amounts of money treating a much wider variety of illnesses and conditions.

The US currently spends about 16% of GDP on health care. The OECD average, excluding the US, is about 8%, and produces generally comparable outcomes. Also worth noting is that the US spends about 4.8% of GDP on military expenditures, versus the non-US OECD average of less than 2.5%, although one can make a reasonable argument that many of those OECD countries are "free riders" on US military spending. Still, it's pretty easy to argue that the US could free up about 10% of GDP to spend on the kind of infrastructure and technology projects that were done in the 1950s and 1960s, simply by adopting the kinds of public policy choices the other OECD countries have made.

You can not just "turn on" a population decline (without killing people). Assume we balance migration and sink fertility to 1.9children per woman. Now every generation would be smaller than the one before. BUT the incoming generation would still be larger than the one that is just now dying. Not untill the dying generation is as large as the incoming one, the pop growth will stop,and after that depopulation begin. This will mostly take a few decades at last. China with its one childpolicy will still grow pop until 2025, IIRC.

Sweden could hit depop tomorrow if we banned imigration. But that is not realy on the menue.

You can not just "turn on" a population decline (without killing people).

No, but if you reduce the fertility rate sufficiently (as Japan, Italy and other modern democratic countries have managed to do without draconian Chinese style imperatives), you create a virtuous cycle that can reduce the population gradually through attrition for decades to come (e.g. replacement rate below naturally occurring death rate). Population growth does not turn on a dime, nor does it have to.

Also, there's a problem with using inflammatory rhetoric such as "killing people" when it isn't even relevant to the topic at hand. This meme is frequently used (successfully) for fear mongering by right-wing propagandists (Alex Jones, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.) who instantly equate reasonable efforts at voluntary population reduction to genocide and Nazi eugenics. This propaganda has become so successful that the regular Fox News viewing public --quite large in the U.S.-- routinely interprets *any* discussion of population growth as liberal "code" for mass murder and FEMA camps.

Now you are putting words in my mouth. Please stop doing that.

What I said was that if you have a growing population, you can not turn it to a decreasing one instantly, without killing people. And that is a fact. If you do - wich I sugest - lower birth rate, it takes time before the dying generation is as large as the new born generation, at wich time pop will start decrease. I explained that already in my post.

Making things up and acusing me for rightwing propaganda just because you fail to read my post and understand what I said will get you nowhere.

Jedi Welder,

I didn't mean to take so long to answer your original question to my post:

Good point...I am well aware of demographic/population momentum....my example 'table' was hurried and sloppy.

So...shift my numbers to the right a few decades to allow a population apogee then an inflection point, followed by a slow and increasing decline in total population.

My point stands: start the process as early as possible...our descendents will appreciate the accomplishment.

Jedi.. Isn't it a simple fact that in a world with too many people, and some groups of people being prudent and carefully reducing their population and some others just bloating theirs, the prudent people will be overwhelmed by the imprudent ones if they let them in? Looks to me that simple logic decrees that to survive, careful countries simply MUST shut their borders to immigrants. Not so? Has nothing to do with racism or cruelty, just logic and foresight.

As I understand it, neither the Japanese or the Chinese allow immigration. Is this true?

Yes, closing borders to imigration is the key to winning this game. I know the japanese do so. If the chinese do so to, or the country is just unpoular to move into, I do not know. Most european countries have a birth/death net loss, but make it up with importing people.

Politicians will never do this move. They want toprolong BAU, and since we who live here already don'tmake enough babies, they know we must import peole to keep growth going. This discussion will always remain hypophetical.

This is totally correct, and worse we cannot ensure a population decline if we do not know that we must, and do not know that it requires everyone to limit the offspring they produce. Well, that's not totally correct. The population will decline if we continue to consume resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than those resources renew. So, to be more specific, I mean that we cannot ensure we have a population decline caused by a sub 2 average number of children without knowing that we must and without knowing how.

As has been pointed out it seems that Japan is headed that way. Unfortunately it has happened through sheer dumb luck and there's nothing to ensure that they will continue to average 2 or fewer. Unless I am mistaken, the Japanese do not have a morality, or even the wide spread knowledge, that says they must stop at 2 and they don't have any laws or other mechanisms to ensure that if one has more than 2, then someone else will have fewer than 2 to offset those extras.

In this thread, someone suggested that living longer was part of the problem, and I want to make it clear that the age we live to does affect the population size, but not forever. If the average age rises from say 50 to 100, then the population doubles just once. However, if we average more than two, the population attempts to double and double forever. Killing yourself early does not help one bit, unless you are a child. This is because when a child dies, a potential baby maker is snuffed out before they can make a baby.

If we flip this around it is safe to say that if we average more than 2 children, we force children to die. I am trying to refine this logic and use it to define and describe the morality that we must have in order to ensure we do not average more than 2.

"The photo was of an operating streetcar amidst the rubble. Lives of total despair and suffering would have been just a bit worse without that bit of transportation."

Deleted the first past of the post. Was using wrong data - or rather wrong cell in spreadsheet :-( Thought it didn't look right. In summary though Russian death rates are falling since peaking in 2003 but are still quite a bit above Japan's although Japan is now well above the world average.

Meanwhile something continues to seriously irritate the lungs of Japanese citizens

Japan: Mycoplasma Pneumonia reported per sentinel weekly

Rates have increased five-fold since mid-March and are well outside of the ten year range.

Respiratory diseases have a direct correlation with the pollution products of oil and coal.

Did something happen recently that would be causing the Japanese to be burning more fossil fuels?

Japan has been massively increasing coal and nat gas consumption over the last decade (although oil has been dropping) without any rise in that indicator. The loss of a few percent of their total energy use in 2011 due to nuclear disasters/shutdowns amounts to little more than fluctuations in the amount of extra oil, coal and gas burned (plus much not burned due to efficiency measures) when compared with historical changes in the last ten years usage.

OK Found the actual data. In 2011 estimated coal usage was actually lower than in 2010 by 0.9%. Nat gas was up 19% on the year as a whole.

The forecasts for 2012 are Case (A) where the nuclear plants restart and Case B where they don't. Source http://eneken.ieej.or.jp/data/4178.pdf dated 22nd December 2011. Natural gas has made up most of the lacking nuclear output.

Edit: Out of curiosity I tried to check the Tokyo real time and historical air pollution monitors on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website. Rather than return the data it is asking me for a user name and a password and then telling me I am unauthorised when I fail to provide one. English main page at http://www.kankyo.metro.tokyo.jp/kouhou/english/index.html with real time at http://www.kankyo.metro.tokyo.jp/kouhou/english/monitoring_today.htm. Perhaps the Japanese page works if anyone knows enough Japanese to find it. I'll have a go using Google translate.

uh oh r4ndom, the data doesn't match your first shot at deflection/distraction - better think of something else quick! I'd go for the "correlation does not imply causation" routine, that always gets 'em.

What? If you have a better theory for what could be causing respiratory distress, spill it, because I'm not making the connection you obviously want me to make here.

Besides, I didn't even need to dig for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeCHOLlDyIg

Where's the containment of all those toxic chemicals being released directly into the atmosphere?

Draw a link with more than supposition and innuendo or take it elsewhere.

NUCLEAR AWAKENING: Fukushima meltdowns set nuclear energy debate on its ear

Japan Times

The Fukushima nuclear crisis changed the national debate over energy policy almost overnight.

By shattering the government's long-pitched safety myth about nuclear power, the crisis dramatically raised public awareness about energy use and sparked strong antinuclear sentiment.

And as the government gropes for a new long-term energy strategy, intense debate both at the political and public level is expected to take place over whether Japan should end its reliance on atomic power just as Germany has vowed to do.

...A June 11-12 Asahi Shimbun poll found that 74 percent of 1,980 respondents answered "yes" to whether Japan should gradually decommission all 54 reactors and become nuclear-free.

And here's an astonishing video of a recent TEPCO/government press conference. The journalists are not happy at all as officials appear to run away.


I like reading books about the olden days in Ibaraki Prefecture---these are non-fiction accounts put together by a general practitioner of medicine (named Dr. Junichi Saga) in Tsuchiura who visited his elderly patients in the 1970s and 80s and recorded their memories and life histories. I think the English title of one is Memories of Straw and Silk. It is amazing to read that many women back then (usually the personal histories focus on the 1910s, 20s, 30s) had 5,6,7,8 or more kids! And I know an old woman who knew someone back when---in the 1950s---who had 18 children! Apparently (and I think not only in Japan) it just used to be routine and standard to have children without stopping. Amazing to think, as I live in Japan now and it is increasingly rare to see pregnant women....that there are empty buildings and houses all over the place....and the population decrease is only accelerating.

As much as it is sad to see abandoned things, I can't help but feel sorry for the women and men in the past who were hostage to their bodies and procreated until they were on the point of death (from starvation, from exhaustion, over-work, etc.) So people now can only afford to dress and feed one person, him or herself. They do that and they can manage without suffering.

I'm not trying to excuse fossil fuels for the mess that they have caused, but the endless pregnancies and bouts of childbirth, continuing on into the 40s or later must have been a real nightmare for so many. As people get older they get weaker and childbirth becomes lethal or extremely dangerous. And they might leave behind 8 or 9 impoverished children with no mother....

Some of the knowledge that we have gotten, such as how to avoid getting pregnant, is very useful. Obviously it is being put to good use in Japan now. Even politicians, who used to talk about raising the birthrate, are sort of relieved....they won't have to build anymore nuclear power plants if this keeps up.

Two questions, if I may.

Firstly, on the construction and empty building side. Is there still a lot of new construction going on in Japan as opposed to rebuilding/refurbishment, much demolition? Here I am seeing more and more malls going up without the businesses to fill them (there is, partly, a separate reason for some of them here but that is tangential to the discussion).

Secondly, with regard to the population. Some countries see the possibility of population decline as a bad thing. The increased ageing of the population. They are trying to stimulate the birth of new consumers. How is the Japanese government dealing with the situation in Japan? Are they accepting it and working to accommodate the change in demographic/population or are they trying to stimulate higher birth rates?


US Crude Oil and Products Imports - 2011

Now that the last 2011 weekly report is in;

Crude Imports
2011 - 8,863,000 b/day
2010 - 9,125,000

Crude + Oil Products Imports
2011 - 8,784,000 (net export oil products)
2010 - 9,748,000

(This was copied from another TOD poster a few days ago)

About 2/3rds to 3/4ths of this drop is due to reduced consumption.

When will we have good information on increased US crude oil production ?

What is the best guess on 2011 average daily crude oil production in the USA ?



It's listed as 5.642 million barrels per day as the average through to Dec 23rd. That's up from 5.498 last year.

That from http://ir.eia.gov/wpsr/overview.pdf

So crude oil production increased by 144,000 b/day in 2011 - a small fraction of our reduced oil imports.



A bit of very rough estimated arithmetic based on the article about Brits driving less leads me to think that the average driver (or car ?) over there only goes abount 5000 or 6000 miles per year.

But the link didn't say how much gasoline prices went up over the course of the year.

My guess is that people in a real bind drove a LOT less and that those with steady secure incomes modified their driving habits not a whit.

If anybody here in this forum ever owned an original Cooper mini I would love to know what sort of real world mileage they got with it and under what sort of conditions.

We have an relatively new one , a Beemer, in the family, that consistently gets very close to 40 mpg US driven at sixty five to seventy five mph on the freeway..So far nobody has driven it enough "around town" to get a good idea what it does in stop and go or on country roads.

Someday I intend to modify a sub compact car in such a way as to maximize the fuel economy by removing some weight and adding some metal or plastic to reduce the aero drag and so forth.

I owned an MG 1100 for a while back in the late 1960's, until the engine lost a rod bearing at around 60k miles. It just could not handle the freeway commute at 65 mph. The transmissions were rather poorly placed, being in the crankcase with the engine oil as lubricant. I don't recall the gas mileage. I rebuilt the engine and then sold it to a lady who drove it for a number of years afterward. The original Mini was an 850cc machine, with the later Mini Cooper being a 1300, as I recall. There was also the Austin America, which was the later version of the MG 1100, only with a better interior and an automatic transmission...

E. Swanson

I owned a Mini Cooper S in the early 70's in Canada. Mixed driving -- half highway, half city. Winter driving where one serious design flaw really bugged --- the distributer cap was mounted low at the front so I'd have to dry it out frequently in deep snow or slush conditions. The heater had trouble keeping the windshield clear in cold weather. The small tires really wore out quickly but were cheap to replace. I remember I got just under 35 MPG overall but I drove lead footed and pushed the engine to the max.

When living on St. Lucia I drove a Mini Moke for a year (1975) -- that was an ideal fun car for the climate and the winding roads -- until it rained. A Moke was a factory manufactured stripped down version Mini without doors and a cloth top with roll down canvas sides. Really ate those tires on the available roads.

I drove a 850 mini in 1976-77 while stationed in Germany. Gas mileage was 28-30mph, but I was a 20 yo GI who spent some time trying to keep up on the autobahn. The mini would slightly outrun a beetle, but not much else. Much better on hills also, better heater but that isn't saying much. One advantage was when the starter failed I could push it jump in slip into second and it would start. Sold it to get a BMW 1602 TI and never looked back.

I have a 2008 Mini Cooper S. It will get 40 mpg on a long trip but mostly I drive it around town and consistently get 32-33 mpg (US).

It accelerates better than my last Porsche, too (a 1974 911S)

I reckon that average pump prices in the UK have gone up just over 10% in the last year. Fuel prices are currently at about the same level as it was in the summer (see the link below) of around 135p per litre (close enough to 8 dollars US per gallon). I cannot speak for the rest of the population but I have gone from driving about 25,000 miles annually to around a 10th of that - I now take the train to work! My personal reduction in fuel spend is somewhere over 5000 USD per year. It is not all roses though, as I now spend about about half that amount on rail fares.


Here in the UK we have had 4 successive years of reduced total transport fuel consumption. The financial cost is clearly reducing the amount driven - I could see it myself in the reduction in road traffic. Also affecting the statistics is the ever improving fuel consumption in new cars (and more people working from home). As mentioned before if you buy a new car over here it is easy to get one with a fuel economy of more than 50 mpg (Imperial gallon). This website gives you an idea of real world car mileage versus the claims made by the manufacturers. Again, all mpg figures are for UK gallons.


From Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks, up top:

The Indonesian government, for example, is considering allowing drilling for shale gas in a part of Java where, in 2006, drilling led to the eruption of a mud volcano that killed at least 13 people, and displaced more than 30,000 residents from 12 villages, according to a team of international scientists.

"Human error" triggered mud volcano:


Muddy Hell-Indonesia:


For a geologic discussion of the Lusi mud volcanoe, see Davies et al,Birth of a mud volcano: East Java, 29 May 2006, from GSATODAY, v. 17 no. 2, Feb 2007. Warning, this is a somewhat large PDF! Some of you with slower internet connections might find it better to locate a paper copy in a university library.

Davies and co-authors conclude: "It is very likely that Lusi was initiated as a result of access by a high-pressure aquifer at depths in the region of 2.5–2.8 km through an open-hole section of the Bajar Panji-1 well to depths at which fractures could be initiated." In their interpretation, the well took a kick from overpressured mud, which entered a shallower formation in an uncased portion of the hole, and iniated fractures allowing it to came up outside the casing.

Re: Oil slick hits coast of Nigeria, up top:


UN slams Shell over Nigeria oil pollution:


Can someone recommend a small portable generator for both camping and emergency home backup purposes? (Or point me to the relevent thread) How many watts do I realistically need in your opinion? I am willing to spend a little more for a better quality machine that will last. Thanks


I'm not going to recommend any particular generator,
since I don't have any field experience with them,
but I know you need better definition of your requirements.

How much power do you use in your home?
How much power do you want available in an emergency?
Are all your appliances on 120V?
Lights? TV? Oven/Stove? Refrigerator? Washing machines?
How much power do those things use?
Do you need them all at once?
In other words, what is your maximum and minimum wattage requirements?

Backup power just to charge your cell phone is a vastly different requirement than backup power to keep your 9 cubic foot freezer going.

If you are camping, you don't need a generator.

Sure you do. Something to charge the IPods,Pads and computers, maybe power the lights in the pop-up camper, heck if you have a full blown RV they usually come equipped with one for just these types of activities. Camping has changed quite a bit since the bad old days.

Stop it, yer killin' me! :-)

In my old-school world, if it requires a generator, whatever it is, it ain't camping...

I'd rather stay home than camp like that...

As far as backup power at home, I think one should first make a list of what items one would want to (or really need to) power during an outage, and for each one the instantaneous power and the average power. And alternatives to its use.

E.g., a freezer full of food is probably high priority to keep powered. It only needs to run once in several hours (or even once a day or two, depending on ambient temperature, size of freezer, how full it is, etc). It may use 100 watts while running, perhaps 200 for a larger one, but may need more than 1000 watts in the first few seconds to start the motor. A very small generator rated 900 watts failed to start my small chest freezer that only uses about 80 watts once it starts.

Other items you may want to run include refrigerator, a few efficient lights, some communications (radio/tv/cellphone/computer), and more.

Things you will NOT be able to run on a small generator: typical electric cooking stove, electric space heaters (perhaps one if you have to and the generator is not tiny), typical domestic water heater, typical well pump, air conditioners...

A generator is noisy, emits toxic fumes, and uses fuel which may be unavailable during an extended outage. You may want to think of alternatives so as to minimize the need to run a generator:

Heat: install a wood stove. You'll have to keep firewood on hand and actually use the stove sometimes to really know how to operate it and to test the installation. Don't expect to hook it up once the power goes out and it's well below freezing outside.

Air conditioning: live without it :-)

Well pump: replace with a 115V slow-start model. And/or: replace the pressure tank with a larger one: some may give you 50 gallons or more after the power goes out, just based on the pressure stored within. Not enough for flushing the toilet many times, but enough for plenty of handwashing, cooking, drinking, etc. You did replace the toilet with a 1.6-gallon flush type, right? Have a bucket to bring water from the creek or rainspout?

Freezer, lights, etc: install a bank of batteries and an inverter. This will run for a while without recharging. If the outage is longer, charge it with solar panels and/or a generator which can be smaller than the size needed for running some things directly. E.g., that very small generator that won't start my freezer will charge the batteries at a continuous power of, say, 500 watts. One hour of such charging will run the freezer for a whole day. To make a meaningful contribution, the solar panels would need be rated at least 100 watts, preferably 200 or more - but you don't need a large and expensive setup. The batteries and inverter are not cheap though.

Water heating: a propane-fueled on-demand tankless heater can run on an inverter. Of no use unless the water keeps flowing though!

Lights: make sure you have LED flashlights (crank-to-charge type are great), batteries of all sorts (charge the rechargable ones periodically), CFL and/or LED lamps to run off the larger batteries/inverter.

Cooking: if it's winter and you're running the wood stove, learn to cook on it. If it's summer, use the camping stove (outside). If you can, get a propane (or natural gas) fueled cooking range for your kitchen, then you can cook normally with no electrical power.

A trick that sometimes works to get a loaded motor started is to connect an unloaded motor to the generator before connecting the loaded motor. The unloaded motor acts as a flywheel and will deliver power back into the grid while it is slowing down.

A chop-saw is a great demo of this. The blade acts as a flywheel.

Another demo with a chop saw is to chop wood with it. Great for prepping firewood from branches. With a small generator running the saw, as you come to speed and then load by digging into the wood, the generator and the saw will track each-other, always turning at the same rates. The two rotating alternating-current electromagnetic machines are locked together.

3500-8000 watts for the house. A bigger single unit starts to weigh and drink a lot. 600 watts for camping... the smallest made.
Honda makes nice, but expensive, stuff. Smallest Honda is 1000w and pricy. Remember, these household-use generators only last about 40 days and 40 nights: It isn't worth pouring a lot of money into them. You have to change the oil, in a 4-stroke, every day of that run. Remember, too, to remove all the fuel from them when putting them away.

The bigger the generator, the more fuel it consumes just idling, like when charging a battery. The same with power inverters: the bigger the inverter, the more power it draws just being "on". This is because of losses in just running the magnetic components. It is best to have small ones and big ones. Do any inverters with multiple cores run with just one of them at low power demand?

There are low RPM diesel generators. Some are out of China.


I needed a generator in New Mexico in the mountains in the snow. In California, I ran solar panels, batteries, and inverters. You can run generator and batteries cheap enough at low levels. At high power levels, it is a lot of battery and inverter... which leads right back to big solar and keep the generator for backup.

Even if a generator only has enough fuel for a few days it may make the difference between being able to use up your food in the fridge/freezer and throwing it away. Homes down here, typically, have a roof tank that holds around 1000 litres of water to supply the house. Many, like mine, have and extra below ground tank of maybe 5000 litres. We get cuts of a few hours, from time to time, though that is a big improvement on about 8 or 9 years ago, I don't notice them with the tank but a neighbour who shunned a tank for a fancy pump system does.


"Camping" has to be one of the most elastic (I.e. Abused) words in the English language. For what it's worth, if you have to carry more than 20-25 pounds for a weekend camping trip and require something more than simple fabric between you and the elements, then it ain't camping!

Portable generators are mostly air cooled and often are overrated regarding their wattage output. As Ron said, decide what your requirements are and then I recommend adding about 50% to the wattage. Most "2500 watt" air cooled generators aren't going to provide 2500 watts for long.

I know folks who love their Honda inverter based generators, but cheaper generators may suffice. Just don't expect to get much more than a thousand hours from one. Look for units with oil filters and coolers (pressurized oil system), and larger oil sumps.

Ghung, What about generators ability to hit short term transients. A buddy of mine wanted one in case we lose power for a week or two due to an earthquake. He just wanted to power the refrigerator and a few lights, doesn't need much average power. But a fride isn't a continuos draw, but runs intermittently off a thromostat. And I'm not sure what the shortterm spike when the compressor first fires up is. I figured you needed serious overkill to be safe. What's your experience here?

I would recommend minimum of a 2000W generator. This will run just about any one thing that can be plugged into a 115V outlet.

I have an early Honda 1000W inverter model and happy with it, but it won't run my new electric chainsaw, and struggles to start my refrigerator. Before buying anything less than 2KW, do your homework.

Besides my PV system, I have two (actually three but I don't run it because it is 23kW) generators; an 8kW unit with a 10kW surge and a small 2kW unit. If I think the power might go out I set our two freezers and the fridge to maximum cold. If the power goes out unexpectedly, I still set them to max cold while the big generator is running. We use the little guy for household lighting, the Internet and TV. The big guy is for the well pump and HWH and is only run as necessary because it will use 1 1/2 gallons per hour at full load.


Well, I am in the early stages of going off grid. I have the PV and the battery and inverter, and am working on that 1kW stirling that sits on my wood stove (I promise photos when I get it all going).

But, in all this churning around, I make a major discovery. All i gotta do is play the breaker box like a piano to get it to do what I want instead of what it is stupidly programmed to do if left alone. Example, only one heavy start gismo on at any one time.

And of course, freezer out in the cold, fridge breathing frosty air thru a hole in the wall going to its HX coils, big high water storage tank. Check out the state of battery charge before doing laundry, etc etc.

A lot of running around? Of course, but don't we all need more exercise? And besides, gives a little excitement to life when you hit the wrong tune on the breakers and you hear something gasp and die.

Yep, I know all this looks mighty silly when I recall everybody else in the world, and the family life during the depression, where my job was to go down to the spring all buzzing with hornets and bring back buckets of water, and my mother did the laundry in a big smoky pot over a wood fire.

"I don't care about the hornets. Just get me that water!"

Just stay out of their landing pattern, don't move too fast, and don't stink too much.


After reading all the suggestive post's here is my suggestion;

A 3.5KW Honda will do just the thing for you. I have had mine now for going on 15 years, and used it quite often. The only thing it wouldn't do is run my 3HP well pump, (that's why I went to a 7.5KW) the little 3.5 would run everything in my house, (I don't have AC and heat,cook, with gas). I also have a swamp cooler. and it pulls that 3/4hp motor with no sweat.

the hermit

I see you live in Saskatchewan. What kind of heat do you have? Water heating?

Figure out your loads as suggested by others,
both for camping and backup. Both in terms of power (watts) and energy (watt-hours).
Also motor starting draw if you can find it.
If you can't find a quoted rating and time of use (to get energy),
you can use a gizmo like a "Kill-a-watt Meter", like:
or similar to log the load of a particular appliance over time.

One way to use a smaller generator is to get some batteries and an inverter,
many of which can handle very high peak loads for starting motors, etc.
If you do get an inverter, you'll be happiest if it provides "real" sine wave AC,
as opposed to square wave or pseudo-sine AC.

I'd start by looking at the FX series (sealed) inverters from
If you're car/pickup camping, maybe all you need for lights, electric toothbrush, razor, i, GPS, etc. is a couple of charged batteries and the inverter.
(if you insisted on toaster and microwave, you'll need the generator OR several PV panels and sunshine).
Say you want fresh margaritas or smoothies - a large blender/juicer may draw 15 amps x 120 volts = 1,800 VA (roughly 1800 watts) - BUT
(a) it may draw a bit more trying to start up, and a 2kw generator idling may not be able to start it.
(b) you only use it for a minute at a time, for maybe 15-30 minutes total over 12+ hours.

Say 2kw (power) for .5 hour, 1 hour to be safe. That's 2kw-hr (energy).
24 volts of 200 amp-hr (1 hr rate, 50 % depth of discharge) batteries will do you. We're talking about 400-500 lbs of sealed lead acid.
The FX2524T inverter is rated at 2500 VA continuous, but 6000 VA surge and 4800 VA for 5 seconds - plenty to start a 1800 VA motor.

If you ran just off a generator, it's idling/stinking/noising all day long for maybe an hour worth of real work.

By charging a battery you can run your generator at it's most efficient point,
then turn the damn noisy, smelly thing off (and it won't waste fuel just idling).
Some of the FX series will control a generator for you.

Two 200+ watt PV panels getting 5+ hours of sun/day will also charge the batteries,
no noise/gas fires/stink/tuneups/etc.

In time you can add a few PV panels and charge controller, and start to move away from fossil fuel.

I would suggest the Kill-A-Watt PS-10 as it has peak measuring capability, better for start up surges from appliances.


If you can afford it buy a low hours usage small professional grade welding machine make by a major American or German or Japanese manufacturer.Hint-you won't find the good makes in big box stores or cheap chain stores.The dealers must have service mechanics and parts to get the dealership franchise if it is real commercial machinery.It will come equipped with 120 V and 240V ac outlets, and probably 120 V dc.It will start a deep well pump, or run all your lights, and a couple of small appliances easy as pie.It will even run a hot water heater if you have the right cord made up, and do the wiring to connect it.

It will easily pay for itself in a week or two at the most, if you otherwise might have to move your family into a hotel because of a hurricane, etc.

Such machines could be had for less than twenty five hundred US a couple of years ago brand new, and if you look hard, you can find one barely used for a lot less.

Such a machine can be expected to last at least two thousand hours, and most of them last two or three times that long.It will not burn a hell of a lot more gas than a home owners machine.

You can ordinarily expect to easily get any needed parts for twenty to thirty years versus five to ten years for homeowners machines.

If you are a good scrounger and would like to spend a few hours learning how to weld, you can learn if you have decent eyesight and reasonably steady hands, in a few hours , well enough that you can easily make enough useful projects with a welder and basic hand tools to pay for it using salvaged metal.

Tomato cages for instance are really easy-you can learn to weld well enough to make them in an hour.Three dollars worth of salvage rebar will make a big one that will last fifty years at least.You will be able to make good clothes line t posts out of used pipe the first day..

OFM, At your urging I checked craigslist and found a Miller for dirt cheap from a construction company liquidating.

Recently on e-bay there was a Lincoln 1800RPM Diesel in which the welder part didn't work and was deemed unrepairable. It also went dirt cheap, but too far away for Me to pickup. The 13,600W generator portion worked fine.

To help with the refrigerator and freezer, add thermal mass in the form of ice bottles for the refrigerator and brine bottles for the freezer.

The following brine concentration is working for me, so far:

2 liters of water and 156 ml of salt.
16 fluid ounces of water and 2.5 tablespoons of salt.

The brine freezes at a temperature lower than 0 C and keeps the food in the freezer frozen until the brine melts. This allows you to run a generator intermittently during a power outage.

All of the above good commentary on generators tells you why I keep pegging away on stirling/wood stove. Stirlings last way more than 4000 days and 4000 nights, and use any old wood you can stuff into the wood burner. They don't stink, they don't make noise, and they don't use any lube.

And they don't exist. Ah well, nobody's perfect.

But in heaven they do. NASA. Look up space isotope power. If they exist anywhere they can exist right here in river city. That's the plan.

And just think of your R&D cost! Nothing. How's that for ROI?

Hm- NASA expensive you say? Well, yes, but I didn't do it.

I use 150gms per litre which gives a melting point of abot -9/-10 C. As some foods start to defrost before they warm to 0C I felt the lower temperature was better.


EDIT: Oh, a good stock of clean water ice cubes in the freezer. Move them to a jug in the top of the refrigerator to help keep that cool and give you some extra drinking water.

See http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8605/850082 and I sent an emai.


Get one with an electric start, or at least one that is easy to start. Power has a nasty habit of going out at the worst possible time. Start the unit on a regular schedule and keep the fuel fresh. You may want to look into getting a kit that allows the unit to run on gasoline, ng or propane.

WTI opened the year at just above $100, up about a dollar and a quarter form the close on Friday and has moved up about another 20 cents since the opening. Anyway we started the year at just a bit over $100 a barrel. Brent has not opened yet.

Bloomberg Energy Prices

Ron P.


Am I correct in saying that is the highest "open" price for WTI on New Year's day ever?

Just barely:

                 WTI    Brent
Dec 31, 2007	95.95	93.68
Jan 02, 2008	99.64	97.01
Jan 03, 2011	91.59	95.82

Well that was the closing price on the first day of trading in 2008 and 2011. I really don't know what the open was. But you can see there was an almost $4.00 jump from the close of 2007.

Brent opened up at $108.23, or within a few cents of that.

Ron P.

The Oil Sands growth since 1984...its like watching cancer grow:



This series of images from the Landsat satellite shows the growth of surface mines over the Athabasca oil sands between 1984 and 2011. The Athabasca River runs through the center of the scene, separating two major operations. To extract the oil at these locations, oil producers remove the sand in big, open-pit mines, which are tan and irregularly shaped. The sand is rinsed with hot water to separate the oil, and then the sand and wastewater are stored in “tailings ponds,” which have smooth tan or green surfaces in satellite images.

The process of extracting oil from the sand is expensive. It takes two tons of sand to produce one barrel of crude oil. Great Canadian Oil Sands opened the first large-scale mine in 1967, but growth was slow until 2000 because the global cost of a barrel of oil was too low to make oil sands profitable.

It was a beautiful place before the heavy machinery showed up...now it looks like a toxic wasteland. I guess that is what "progress" looks like.


Was it really so beautiful before? I have my doubts.

I'm counting on the tar sands to keep us supplied, even at a minimal level, for awhile. If Obama approves Keystone after the election it will be his first good decision.

I'm counting on the tar sands to keep us supplied

Not sayin' they are, OMS, but these sure sound like the words of an addict...

(And whence come your doubts about the boreal beauty?)

Before we start waxing eloquent about the beauties of the boreal forest, keep in mind that half of Alberta is boreal forest, most of it is commercially logged, and a lot of it looks like this.

It's not exactly trackless wilderness.

If you want to see trackless wilderness, go to one of the numerous parks or wilderness areas. Wood Buffalo National Park, directly north of the oil sands area, is one of the largest parks in the world (bigger than Switzerland), and gets only 1,500 visitors a year.

I'm not sure about your personal circumstances, but you better be sure you are ready to feed yourself if I run out of diesel.

"I ain't even got a mule no more."

And what I grow is most certainly not going to get to you by horse drawn wagon.

Seriously, our only POSSIBLE hope of avoiding a hard crash is paradoxically the continuation of bau for a considerable period of time, which just barely, conceivably, if we are EXTREMELY lucky, allow time for the public to gradually get used to living on less energy every year while the renewables industries continue to ramp up in scope of deployment and technical maturity.

We are on the cusp of controlling population growth by non compulsory means, and would be there in the US if we were to the borders, and remain prosperous for another couple of decades. A lot of Europe is already almost there,Japan has made it.

The economic adjustment will be tough, but if we get population under control, everything else falls into place-the oldest most energy inefficient houses and factories will be abandoned,we won't need new roads, we can refurbish existing schools and similar infrastructure to excellent efficiency because refurb is mostly labor, etc.New housing will get to be preferentially built where mass transit can work, and the law can adjust to a new reality-for instance it would probably be MUCH cheaper to run privately owned , specially liscensed and insured minivans on regular routes with the right legal structure than to run empty nearly buses.The driver would be planning to stay all day, at work, and gather up his passengers at quitting time-he could even have quick release bike racks on his van and get some riders within easy biking distances of their destinations.

Hence the driver needs to be paid very little, just enough to cover his additional expense and time.
Zoning can be overhauled to favor local businesses competing for local customers-there is simply no reason for people in a large subdivision to have to drive ten or twenty miles to the closest dentist in a business district.

There is simply no ecologically valid reason why an old couple in a large house shouldn't convert part of it into an apartment for a young couple and thereby just about halve the amount of expense for heating fuel, water, sewer, and so forth.

I'm afraid a hard crash is inevitable, not because it cannot be avoided from a technical pov, but rather because we won't look reality in the eye until it has us by the crotch and the throat.

- Getting out of Iraq

- Ending the dishonor and deceit of 'Don't ask Don't Tell'

- Putting the Europeans at least nominally in charge of the 'Operation Depose Quadaffi' gig

- Approving the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden

- Approving the op to kill the Somali pirates holding the hostage (how much have we heard about the Somali pirates since then?)

For starters

- Approving the op to kill the Somali pirates holding the hostage (how much have we heard about the Somali pirates since then?)

I kept wondering when that was finally going to happen. I couldn't figure out why everyone was walking on eggshells to be careful not to hurt the Somali pirates. My take on it at the time was politically they thought it would come across as predjudice if they shot them. Well, I guess with Obama giving the orders, that accusation was off the table.

One is a vandal if they break a window--
One is a developer if they clear cut a forest.

daddy - You make a valid point. OTOH what would a sat photo of Long Island look like before the colonists arrived compared to what it looks like today? Of, for that matter, if you combined the sat photos of the thousands of municipal garbage dumps how would that compare to the tar and pics?

Sort of like one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. What distruction of the natural habitat is worse: the tar sand site or the subdivisions that most of the TODsters now live in? Where do you draw the line between how one group uses Mother Earth and how another uses their patch? Personally I'll probably never see the tar sand fields. But I've been in NYC a number of times. Not an ugly city per se but I'm sure the original landscape was much prettier a few hundred years ago.

True that. Its no different then bulldozing farm land here in Wisconsin to put in a subdivision. This business as usual stuff is going to kill this planet. We'll burn everything.

Where does it end?

"is going to kill this planet...Where does it end?"

When we're all dead?

At the rate we are trying to kill the planet it won't be long before the planet kills us and declares it was in self defence.


daddy - Where does it end? Easy answer: when populations in anyone area stop expanding. Or when we don't have to encroach future into the wilderness to supply expanding societies. But I don't worry about killing the planet. As having studied geology for most of my lifetime I've seen Mother Earth's brutal efforts make man's impact seem insignificant. We can't destroy the planet. But we can easily destroy the well being and lives of our fellow inhabitants. And as I've said before Mother Earth won't care about our passing anymore than that of the dodo or T Rex.

Before it was turned into a major city, NYC was the site of one of the largest wildlife habitats and natural wetlands on the West Coast of the US. Huge flocks of birds nested there, and herds of deer and antelope used to run through what would become the streets. The seafood was proliferate, too. New York Harbor actually once produced half the oysters consumed in the world.

At this point in time, the total area of forest disturbed by oil sands mining is about half the size of NYC, or about the size of Chicago or Toronto.

The total mineable area of the oil sands is about 0.2% of Canada's vast boreal forests, but it will likely take a century or more to mine it all out.

After they are done they intend to convert it to pasture for buffalo and put in picnic tables, sort of like Yellowstone park. Actually, it probably will end up looking a lot like Yellowstone, without the geysers, but with the buffalo and grizzly bears.

People think I'm kidding when I say things like that, but later today I'm going to take the dog over to the dog-walking park near me, which happens to be an old coal-mine site. Most newcomers here don't know it used to be a coal mine before the mines shut down 30 years ago. Old mines can disappear almost without a trace in a remarkably short period of time.

"Before it was turned into a major city, NYC was the site of one of the largest wildlife habitats and natural wetlands on the West Coast of the US."

And they also moved it to the East Coast. Just kidding, I know what you mean.

Gee ... who would have known? I think we should all be real grateful the good ole boys are up there, slaving away, making great sacrifices, gouging out the tar sands! Buffalo paddocks and a second Yellowstone NP! With grizzlies! I know - I can hardly stand the excitement either.

But first I might ask the Native Americans (and quite a few white folks as well) what they think about what's happened to the Athabasca River.

And New York City is on the east coast btw.

The Native Canadians (we call them First Nations) who live in the oil sands areas are generally positive about oil sands development because 1) they own the mineral rights on their reservations, and 2) many of them have jobs in the oil sands. It`s the ones who live further downstream that are concerned.

Yes, I know I got East Coast and West Coast mixed up. I can`t tell left from right either. (It makes it easy to drive in Britain because I can`t tell whether I`m driving on the left or right side anyway).

"The Native Canadians (we call them First Nations) who live in the oil sands areas are generally positive about oil sands development"

Total BS.

Fort McKay First Nation

The Fort McKay First Nation is a signatory to Treaty 8 and belongs to the Athabasca Tribal Council. The First Nation is composed of Cree and Dene people who have for generations practiced hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering along the Athabasca River. They were nomadic people, but with the introduction of the fur trade, were persuaded to settle near trading posts.

Because of its geographic location, Fort McKay has had many opportunities to work with several oil sands industries by developing its own companies. Fort McKay has seized opportunities for participation in the economy to create sustainable, long-term growth and development within Aboriginal communities.

Visitors - About Fort Mckay

As a First Nation, FMFN is a leader in working collaboratively with industry, and holds a successful and long established record of strong relationship building with the various mining companies operating adjacent to its land. Given the importance of its relationship with industry and its impact on the community, FMFN recently created a new organization—the Sustainability Department—dedicated to building greater efficiency and community access to information and services while continuing its tradition of working with industry for the betterment of the community.

Fort McKay has aimed to maximize its participation in the economy to create sustainable, long-term growth and development within Aboriginal communities. Given its geographic location, Fort McKay has had many opportunities to work with several oil sands industries through developing its own companies. In 1986, the Fort McKay Group of Companies was established, which is fully owned and operated by the community. The Group serves a number of corporate clients in northeastern Alberta: from the oil sands, pipelines and forestry industries to the public sector. In addition to this, Fort McKay First Nation has also established numerous Joint Venture Companies.

We're conversing with a shrill for the Alberta tar sands ... we can expect nothing but BS.

The correct word is shill, and I seriously doubt it.

He's admitted to having skin in that game.

And the negotiators for that tribe did so in bad faith. The tribe have asked them to resign and they don't recognize the agreement as valid.

And that's just one tribe out of about 60 in the region, all of the others of whom have rejected this fiasco out of hand.

It's BS, pure and simple.


The Beaver Lake Cree vs Tar Sands
Happy New Year everyone - here's to a successful start to 2012!
January is a critical month with the appeal against last year's court decision to block Mike Mansfield QC from representing the Beaver Lake Cree being heard on the 9th (internationally famous human rights lawyer willing to represent for free) and the Albertan and Canadian Government's attempt to have the Beaver Lake Cree's treaty rights case thrown out of court week commencing the 30th. If the Beaver Lake Cree win these court hearings, especially the latter, it will send shock waves through the tar sands industry with implications for 50% of all expansion plans. If you haven't done so already, please consider supporting this vital cause...

I worked (in Australia) for 20 years on Indigenous legal rights in the face of massive mining interests - all the way to the High Court. Yeah ... I really know how tough it can be. Even if you can find a small group of possibly left-field Indigenous people who are well paid to support the project. Same Same.

I think the Beaver Lake Cree have a bigger problem in that the rather large Cold Lake Air Weapons Range is in the middle of their traditional hunting grounds and the Canadian Air Force is dropping bombs on it.

However, in 1876 they signed Treaty 6 which, among other things, ceded most of their land to the Canadian government in return for farmland, equipment, seed, and other things. Their biggest problem at that point in time was starvation. (Unlike the US, Canada didn't have any Indian wars, but the buffalo, their main food source, was rapidly disappearing.)

The Plain and Wood Cree Tribes of Indians, and all other the Indians inhabiting the district hereinafter described and defined, do hereby cede, release, surrender and yield up to the Government of the Dominion of Canada, for Her Majesty the Queen and Her successors forever, all their rights, titles and privileges, whatsoever, to the lands included within the following limits, that is to say:

... description of the lands ceded ...

... then a long list of things the Indians received in return ...

Her Majesty further agrees with Her said Indians that they, the said Indians, shall have right to pursue their avocations of hunting and fishing throughout the tract surrendered as hereinbefore described, subject to such regulations as may from time to time be made by Her Government of Her Dominion of Canada, and saving and excepting such tracts as may from time to time be required or taken up for settlement, mining, lumbering or other purposes by Her said Government of the Dominion of Canada

So, the bottom line is that they signed away their lands back in 1876 in return for a reservation of land plus equipment and seed to farm it, plus residual hunting and fishing rights on all the land they signed away.

However, if the government decides to drill, mine, log, or bomb some part of the land they ceded but retained hunting and fishing rights on, they lose the hunting and fishing rights on it. I don't think they have a legal case.

Note also that the Beaver Lake Cree are Treaty 6 Indians, who have the Cold Lake heavy oil deposits under the lands their ancestors signed away. The ones in the Athabasca oil sands area, which has all the mineable sands, are Treaty 8 Indians.

They'll have an ongoing list of problems as long as the other side has the best Lawyers..

..as for the Treaty 8 folks and any other Canadians in the area, they've got a ring in their noses, and oil may seem like an OK salve, but it won't keep the infection out for a lot longer.

One way or another, it's going to blow up in your faces.

I agree ... Indigenous rights in the face of mining might rarely ends well ... even if they have the whole "weight of government" behind them. The tar sands people including RMG - will f*ck them left right and sideways if it is in their financial interests to do so. Way of the world.

Dealing with Indians in northern Canada is quite a bit different than dealing with Aborigines in Australia.

If you are an oil company drilling wells in northern Canada, and are going to build a lease road, you have to fill out a lot of documents explaining how you are going to respect the Indians' traditional hunting and fishing rights, and identify where the Indian burial sites are so you don't accidentally bulldoze any of them.

Then the local Indian tribe shows up and, guess what? They have their own construction company complete with bulldozers, earthmovers, gravel trucks and everything else they need to build a road. They point out that if you hire their construction company, traditional hunting and fishing rights won't be a problem, and they know where all the Indian burial sites are. If you are an oil company, what can you say? "Sure, where do we sign?"

They generally do a pretty good job, and are available on short notice, so next time you need to build a road their company usually pops to mind.

I remember working at a gas plant near Slave Lake. I stayed in the luxurious 200-room Sawridge Hotel, ate at the upscale Sawridge Restaurant, and filled up my vehicle at the Sawridge Truck Stop - all owned by the Sawridge First Nation. I said to myself, "My gosh, these Indians have a lot of money!" So I checked, and as it turns out the Sawridge Indians are all millionaires. All of them.

Sawridge Inns and Conference Centres

Go Where Memories Have Room to Grow

Whether surrounded by the beauty of forests and lakes or nestled in rolling foothills, a Sawridge hotel is a welcome refuge for travellers in Alberta. Each location – our Edmonton Hotel, Fort McMurray, Jasper, Slave Lake, and Peace River – possesses unmatched hospitality and authentic First Nations flavour. Founded by the Sawridge Cree Indian Band of Slave Lake, our company embraces its native heritage, beliefs and values.

Our Alberta hotels are natural, clean and demonstrate respect for the environment. We offer guests the comfort esteemed by the First Nations culture with a level of hospitality that transcends the centuries. Décor is presented in local woods and stone, accented with indigenous art and fireplaces to represent the four elements of air, earth, fire and water. Our goal is to offer the highest grade of accommodations, dining and meeting facilities, and to provide excellent service at all times.

There are Indians, and there are Indians. Some tribes can't afford shoes for their kids (unfortunately they drink up all their treaty money), and some tribes own their own chain of luxury hotels.

I know one guy who moved to the US from England who told once that learning to drive on the "wrong" side of the street wasn't hard - it's getting something out of the car that gets to him (oops wrong door).

I found that, too. Driving on the other side of the road wasn't that big a problem, but I was always getting into the wrong side of the car and then realizing the steering wheel was on the other side.

It was also disconcerting that some things were reversed and some weren't. If everything had been reversed it would have been easier, but some controls were the same as in North America. I was always looking for them to be on the opposite side, and they weren't, and I was always trying to move them the opposite way, and they moved the same way.

The biggest challenge was figuring out the British streets, which made no sense at all. When I was walking around London, the Brits kept coming up and asking ME for directions, because they apparently couldn't figure out the streets either. There was no point in asking THEM for directions because they had no idea how to get anywhere.


Nighttime stretches of road across the USA are being left dark by the theft of copper wiring from streetlights, and police are investigating whether the darkness contributed to some crashes.

Copper thieves also are hitting traffic lights. The problem is particularly acute for localities where the sour economy has already left coffers bare and officials cannot afford to replace the wiring.

In India this problem is quite common where poor and desperate people strip away all public infrastructure. I'll try and post pictures which show the glass at the water dispenser chained to the wall.

Best hopes for improved public infrastructure

Any payments by recyclers should be hand delivered to the recipient by a police officer.

A somewhat bewildering article on Heterodox Economics from The Economist.


Austrian School...Market Monetists...Neo-Chartalism...

The article's summary of all these 'schools' seems to revolve around how to best inject money into the 'economy'...

...I found the article bewildering due to the complete absence of any talk about the effects of automation on employment, the effects of globalization on employment, and the effects of limits to growth...no mention of lower quality and smaller raw material deposits, the increased amount of energy necessary to extract and purify these materials, nor any talk of the saturation of waste 'sinks'...no mention of carrying capacity and population growth...no mention of degradation of ecosystems......

...just magik about creating money of of thin air by various machinations as the be-all, end-all solution to ensure a consistent at least 2-3% 'real growth' (actual increase in goods/services)...forever, I guess...

Fact free macroeconomics. The high priests need new incantations, the old ones seem to be failing.

Near the end of the "Heterodox Economics" article you link to, it says:

His [Mr. Krugman's] analogy implies that economics, like chemistry and physics, makes enough intellectual progress to allow economists to ignore some old thinkers.
But is economics that kind of science?
Its practitioners cannot run controlled experiments on whole economies. The natural experiments that might help falsify theories do not come around often. And when they do, the refutations provided are only ever partial.

Ha ha. Even "they" admit that their orhto- or hetero-dox theology is no science whatsoever in any reality based sense.

Part of the problem is that it could be, but Economics is still apparently an ego-driven discipline in most quarters.

Humility and a willingness to accept when the data shows that you were wrong is the key to good science.

...economics is still apparently an ego-driven discipline in most quarters....

The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis"

He then makes an astonishing confession: "At one major investment bank for which I worked, we used psychometric testing to recruit social psychopaths because their characteristics exactly suited them to senior corporate finance roles."

Here was one of the biggest investment banks in the world seeking psychopaths as recruits...

See also...


I don't think one needs to be a psychopath to do massive damage to society by way of financial shenanigans.

All one needs is a complex computer spreadsheet and few gullible cogs (unthinking people) to advance it through the system.

After all, "the numbers" don't lie, do they?

No ... but you might need some special psycho-pathological qualities to want to perpetrate the crime ... above and beyond "normal" greed criteria (ie, to get rich with little effort).

Peak oil leaves the spotlight as global economic uncertainty rules oil prices

Peak oil theories over the last few years are now not in the spotlight that rules over oil prices this year as the new king of market movers, the “global economic uncertainty” looks set to be a game changer in the coming months ahead.

Peak oil has left the spotlight because the the consequences of the peak oil, “global economic uncertainty” is drawing the spotlight away. Of course there are other things contributing to global economic uncertainty other than $100 a barrel oil. That is just the primary contributing factor.

Ron P.

You'd think "economic uncertainly" would drive oil prices down instead of up. I'd like to hear mainstream economist explain how recessions cause high oil prices.

The average annual rate of increase in annual Brent crude oil prices from 2005 to 2011 (from $55 to about $111) was 12%/year. This was the third of three Brent annual crude oil price doublings that we have seen since 1998.

Increasingly restrictive regulations escalate the costs of oil extraction. More unrest in the unstable Middle-Eastern region particularly the threats of Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz have created upward pressure on oil prices. Speculation magnifies any gains due to the reasons listed above but as the Middle East civil unrest reduces then oil prices will not be exerted to this upward pressure in price.

The current fundamentals are still very strong however as OPEC have reported vast reserves and with current technological progress more oil can be extracted than ever before. Such gains can already be seen in America as it has become a petroleum exporter for the first time in 60 years. In addition there are the vast Canadian tar sands and the oil shales in America each of which have higher oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. In short there are no problems in meeting the demands for oil in the foreseeable future and in time these fundamentals will come through and the public will pay oil prices that reflect the true reality of the situation.

That, I imagine, is what the mainstream economists in the newspaper would say and notice that I never lied and the ending described is exactly what will happen! Oil prices will soon reflect the actual fundamentals of the oil patch. Problem is I did not actually say which direction prices would go, I only implied it would go down.

Well if you insist on playing Devil's Advocate you can argue about "reserves" but you certainly can't say that "America as it has become a petroleum exporter for the first time in 60 years." That's definitely a lie no matter how you spin it.

Well it is my understanding America exports petroleum products. I should have added products to that sentence. I wanted to say it in such a way to give the appearance that America is exporting oil but not committing to an actual lie so only talked about petroleum products. At least that was my idea but I made an error in this area, not easy to lie but not lie! The media are not so stupid I feel and it is all carefully worded to misdirect the viewer to the real truth. The lies are too systematic to chalk it of to simple incompetence.

Well America has been exporting petroleum products for all of the last 60 years so the statement would still be incorrect. If you had said "net exporter of refined petroleum products for the first time in..." then that would be correct.

Combined net oil exports from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia fell from 5.1 mbpd in 2005 to 4.0 mbpd in 2010 (BP, total petroleum liquids).

As Undertow noted, about two out of every three barrels of oil processed in US refineries are imported from foreign producers. It appears that US crude oil production will average between 5.6 and 5.7 mbpd for 2011, versus the pre-hurricane rate of 5.4 mbpd in 2004.

For global net export data, a link:


The supply of globally (net) exported oil (total petroleum liquids) available to importers other than China & India fell from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2010, an average volumetric rate of decline of one mbpd per year.

Combined net oil exports from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia fell from 5.1 mbpd in 2005 to 4.0 mbpd in 2010

Yes, but as usual, I have to expound on the difference between Canada and the rest of the gang. Canadian oil exports to the US increased from 1,633,000 barrels per day in 2005 to 1,970,000 barrels per day in 2010 (EIA data). In other words, Canadian crude oil exports increased by 337,000 bpd from 2005 to 2010.

At the same time, Canadian crude oil imports decreased from 886,000 barrels per day in 2005 to 762,000 bpd in 2010 (NEB data). In other words, Canadian crude oil imports decreased by 124,000 bpd from 2005 to 2010.

The bottom line is that Canadian net crude oil exports increased by 461,000 barrels per day from 2005 to 2010. Almost all of the surplus crude oil was exported to the US.

The entire amount of the net export decrease came from the other 5 countries (Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia). The only conclusion I can draw is that their collective net exports fell from 4.2 mbpd in 2005 to 2.8 mbpd in 2010, or a decline of about 1.4 mbpd over 5 years.

Canadian net crude oil exports increased by 461,000 barrels per day from 2005 to 2010.

The EIA hasn't posted the 2010 numbers yet, even though they were due in late October, but those numbers just don't seem to jive. International Energy Statistics
Canada Crude Oil and Lease Condensate Exports and Imports in thousands of barrels per day.

Canada	  2005	  2006	  2007	  2008	  2009
Exports	 1,360	 1,440	 1,306	 1,370	 1,355
Imports	   907	   831	   840	   831	   791
Net	   454	   609	   466	   539	   564

Ron P.

The BP data base (production less consumption, total petroleum liquids) shows a net export increase of 0.25 mbpd for Canada, from 2005 to 2010:

2005: 3.04 - 2.23 = 0.81

2010: 3.34 - 2.28 = 1.06

Difference = 0.25 mbpd, or 250,000 bpd

I suppose that there may be some variations due to how various parties characterize bitumen, plus refinery gains, and possibly biofuels. In any case, this is what BP shows.

I went to the EIA web site, selected U.S. Imports from Canada of Crude Oil (Thousand Barrels per Day) and got:

  • 2005 - 1,633
  • 2006 - 1,802
  • 2007 - 1,888
  • 2008 - 1,956
  • 2009 - 1,943
  • 2010 - 1,970

Since 99% of Canadian oil exports go to the US, Canadian export data and US import data should be within 1% of each other. I can check the Canadian NEB numbers if you want.

Hahaha. Of course the numbers won`t match because bureaucrats can never agree on anything, but I know that Canadian oil exports have been rising for the last 30 years. I don`t know where the EIA got your data from.

Update: I checked US EIA imports against Canadian NEB exports, and this is what I got:

2005: EIA 1633, NEB 1632
2010: EIA 1970, NEB 1946

So Canadian and US numbers match pretty closely. Canadian gross oil exports are up by 314 to 337 thousand barrels per day depending on the source.

1) Rising marginal cost of extraction as we resort more and more to extracting oil from tar sands, deep water sources, etc. 2) Recession in the west is offset bygrowing oil demand in third-world (esp. BRIC) countries, thus minimizing overall demand-reducing effect on oil price. 3) Geopolitical uncertainty in the MENA. If you are uncertain about future supplies, you will pay more for it to ensure a supply for yourself.

P.S. I taught college- and graduate-level economics for 30+ years.


Subsidized prices in most oil exporting nations, many without price signals @ oil products.


IMO traders rule oil prices and traders look at charts for clues on what to do. IMO most pay little attention to fundamentals and news. Unlike stocks, commodities can not go to zero. And the time to buy is when everyone else is selling. Sell when everyone else is buying.

The media pundits always have to have a story to "explain" market action. Sometimes the are right, but mostly they are wrong.

Recently the weekly oil chart crossed its 20 week moving average to the up side. I consider the weekly chart more important than the daily with all its crazy gyrations.


We are coming into the spring which is usually an up period for oil prices.

Not only that, Obama and some others appear determined to have another confrontation with Iran which will keep the pot boiling.

The daily oil chart looks to me to be in a classic cup and handle formation with an attempted breakout happening right now.


Don't take this as investment advice. I am often wrong in my market analysis and don't really follow any market very closely except the corn market.

The downside of the upturn: a truck driver shortage

U.S. trucking companies may face a 30 percent surge in wage costs by 2014 as rising demand for freight shipments threatens to push the industry’s driver shortage to the longest on record.

The current national shortfall will double in a year to about 300,000 full-time positions, or 10 percent of the workforce, said Noel Perry, managing director at consultant FTR Associates in Nashville, Ind. “The truck-driver population is growing at less than 1 percent a year,” said Jeff Kauffman, a Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. analyst who follows truck and railroad stocks. “Freight’s growing at closer to 4 percent.”

Idaho drivers earn “fairly competitive” wages and benefits, compared with other states, Andrus said. But some competitors — namely, the North Dakota oil fields — are unbeatable. “We can’t come close to the oil field wages,” he said

Truckers also are paying more for diesel fuel than in 2010, putting them at a competitive disadvantage to railroads’ superior efficiency. “Truck is more expensive than rail already,” Kauffman, the analyst, said in an interview. “If it was purely a decision based on price, I probably already have moved to rail.

North Dakota oil boom fuels real estate sales in Arizona

Flush with cash from an oil boom and plentiful jobs, North Dakotans are snapping up homes 1,500 miles away in balmy Arizona, where prices have plunged since the real estate bubble burst.

others Oil riches divide North Dakota prairie land

and North Dakota Thrives as Nevada Suffers in Recovery: Economy

Billions needed to upgrade America’s leaky water infrastructure

... Rapidly deteriorating roads and bridges may stifle America’s economy and turn transportation headaches into nightmares, but if the nation’s water and sewer systems begin to fail, life as we know it will too.

Without an ample supply of water, people don’t drink, toilets don’t flush, factories don’t operate, offices shut down and fires go unchecked. When sewage systems fail, cities can’t function and epidemics break out.

You can live for ~3 days without water but you can live indefinitely without being able to drive to the mall. I think water is a no-brainer personally. Maybe we can blame the evil bottled water companies for sabotaging the nations drinking water in hopes that people will become slaves to bottled water.

Billions needed to upgrade America’s leaky water infrastructure

Just another part of infrastructure, like roads, bridges and tunnels being ignored with the idea that a return to growth will generate sufficient funds to pay for its repair or replacement. Waiting for growth to return may be like waiting for the return of some extinct specie - ain't gonna happen. Once people or better put politicians understand we have to use what we do have to do what we need to do, then maybe we will all start to live within our means. But of course that requires admitting we are on the downslope and no politician can get elected on that platform.

So we push forward out on that limb of infrastructure degradation and producing just as much FF as physically possible with this economy, supporting 7 billion people, and if we can just cut down one more rain forest for some more palm oil ethanol, then who knows, maybe we can eek out some growth! But whatever we do we can't possibly lose our giant trucks, ribs on the barbe and NFL! Give me an good after market muffler gurgling sound and I'll show you an America I love! snark


Billions needed to upgrade America’s leaky water infrastructure

Hrmmm. How much is padding for the "investment banks"?


It has been established in various courts that bank officials literally bribed Jefferson County Commissioners to refinance using outrageously expensive interest rate swap deals, but despite a number of convictions of local pols like former Commissioner Larry Langford (who got 15 years for accepting bribes), Jefferson County will still be stuck paying this tab for the next gazillion years.

Funny you should mention this. At this very moment, the Halifax Water Commission are repairing the lines in front of our home (we've been without water service all day).

Our water rates have been increasing steadily year after year. Last year, the Commission applied for a 41 per cent rate increase and received 17 per cent; this year, they're going up another 12 per cent. And reducing demand doesn't help much. Looking at our last statement, $4.96 was related to our water usage (an average of 125 litres/33.0 US gallons per day) and the remaining $87.01 the standard base charge (the base charge itself nearly doubled this past summer).

The situation for Toronto Hydro is equally bleak.

See: http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1108694--power-blackout-risk-cou...

Back in my days with the Ontario Ministry of Energy, we use to joke that anyone visiting from a third-world country would be appalled by Toronto's antiquated distribution system. I can't say things are much better today.


Paul, funny, there is a thread above about dying of thirst, too. Glad to see the Water Commission is to the rescue.

A big part of the problem for utilities, like water and sewage, is that fifty years ago, these basic services were provided by municipalities with ample access to public funding. Today, that access is severely curtailed. Health care now (speaking from a Maritime Canadian perspective) consumes 50% of provincial dollars, and as medical and pharmaceutical costs rise, its claim on the public coffers threatens to grow ever larger. Provinces are no longer able to fork out grants or subsidies to municipalities (as in yesteryear) and so municipalities are forced to rely fully on rates and fees for practically all of its revenues. What's more, as health care consumes more public dollars on the provincial level, the fiscal burden for community services and welfare gets shuffled off to the municipalities. Now water and sewer has to compete with the poor for meager leftovers. Utilities are forced to go cap in hand directly to the customer to pay for maintenance and service. You can only cut so far before aging infrastructure bights back.

Energy was once heavily subsidized by the provinces, too. The aging grid balks at austerity. All provinces are scrambling to keep their budgets balanced. Once again, the inflow of cash for maintenance of the electrical infrastructure has to come directly from customers.

Boils down to a bigger question: what to do with infrastructure built decades (and in the case of water and sewage, a century or more) ago? Especially as tax dollars once invested in physical infrastructure are now earmarked for social entitlements and keeping people alive.

Our total investment in water and sewer facilities for our house, which can also supply a thousand gallons a day for gardening as needed, is less than twelve thousand dollars, current prices, for a deep well, pumps, pumphouse which doubles as frost free storage for canned goods and so forth, including the water lines.It costs us so little to run it-grid juice- that I can't see any noticeable difference in the electricty bill when we use it to water extensive gardens near the house.I suppose a thousand thousand gallons cost us us about fifteen cents at current rates. I can pump enough for basic household needs for a day with a pint of gasoline or less if the grid is down.Maintainence and repairs have probably averaged less than a hundred dollars a year, current day money, for the last four decades or so.

Well constructed wells last indefinitely, and septic systems seem to last at least fifty years around here.

Newer wells around here are failing regularly. Chinese steel pipe rusting from the inside out.

The spectre of 1932: How a loss of faith in politicians and democracy could make 2012 the most frightening year in living memory

... As commentators often remark, the world picture has not been grimmer since the dark days of the mid-Seventies, when the OPEC oil shock, the rise of stagflation and the surge of nationalist terrorism cast a heavy shadow over the Western world.

For the most chilling parallel, though, we should look back exactly 80 years, to the cold wintry days when 1931 gave way to 1932.

From your link:

Sadly, there seems little point in looking across the Atlantic for inspiration. In 1932, President Herbert Hoover, beleaguered by rising unemployment and tumbling ratings, flailed and floundered towards election defeat.

Today, Barack Obama cuts a similarly impotent, indecisive and isolationist figure. The difference is that in 1932, one of the greatest statesmen of the century, the Democratic politician Franklin D. Roosevelt, was waiting in the wings.

Today, American voters looking for alternatives are confronted only with a bizarre gaggle of has-beens, inadequates and weirdos, otherwise known as the Republican presidential field. And to anybody who cares about the future of the Western world, the prospect of President Ron Paul or President Newt Gingrich is frankly spine-chilling.

...a bizarre gaggle of has-beens, inadequates and weirdos, otherwise known as the Republican presidential field.

Gosh, this seems a bit harsh,, I mean, they all seem to mean well ;-/

And the road to heaven is paved with..... Ooops , I meant "to hell".......

Wow, ...

Today, Barack Obama cuts a similarly impotent, indecisive and isolationist figure.

Indecisive? Impotent?

- Getting out of Iraq

- saving the U.S. auto industry

- preventing a depression, swinging a >700,000 jobs/month loss to a meager, but positive jobs growth per month via the decisive stimulus injections...

Indecisive, impotent?

- Ending the dishonor and deceit of 'Don't ask Don't Tell'

impotent, indecisive and isolationist?

- Putting the Europeans at least nominally in charge of the 'Operation Depose Quadaffi' gig while providing refueling, C4ISR, etc.

- Approving the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden

- Approving the op to kill the Somali pirates holding the hostage (how much have we heard about the Somali pirates since then?)

Now, I am not suggesting that all this stuff is objectively 'right'...perhaps we should have not killed OBL and risked blow-back...maybe we should have not even 'driven from behind' in Libya...maybe the best thing for the planet would have been to let the whole economic shebang implode into an epic depression...

...but the storyline of impotent, indecisive and isolationist?

That dog doesn't hunt.

I have come to understand that no President will likely make a big difference anymore...but some could cause more grief than others.

I see no joy in replacing Obama with an R candidate...the only one they have that would try something radically new and different is Ron Paul...but I can't countenance his views on race (leave it up to the states...government did more damage by interfering with things like slavery than if it had stayed out of the situation)...and I don't dig his homophobia.

Even a radical such as Ron Paul will get very little of agenda accomplished without allies in Congress...he needs a few more than Rand Paul...

I'd probably agree with impotent as there is not the support in the congress to allow him to do what needs to be done. It is not him and he should not be judged when there is a body determined to drive any sort of policy into the ground.


Personally I think the price of food is going to be more critical for the next 360 days or so than the price of oil. In the really vulnerable countries like Egypt the real killer is the fact that people have to spend so much money simply to eat and if they can't afford to eat they'll riot and try to find someone to blame. Food exporting countries are even more willing than oil exporting countries to prevent exports in times of shortages and there have been many precedents for this in recent history.

You are very right. I can't imagine what will happen in Egypt especially. They are low on foreign exchange, and cutting the pipeline to Israel will hurt them even more. If the price of wheat goes up - and they import something like 60% (or is it 40%) of their wheat, so if they price goes up significantly, you can probably expect a real explosion, no matter who controls the government. Didn't Russia ban wheat exports a year or two ago when they had the fires and drought? Of course Egypt is just the most extreme case.

Their foreign exchange is a 3 legged stool and all the legs are being cut off. They rely on fossil fuels, tourism and the Suez Canal. The fossil fuels are subject to sabotage and are finite, the tourism industry has been badly damaged by the unrest and their earnings from the Suez have fallen due to pirates, unrest and will probably fall even further when the Arctic can be safely traversed which will effectively bypass them for a significant quantity of international shipping.

This article is hard to read but it serves the purpose (I think)


I can't imagine what will happen in Egypt especially.

KMO of the c-realm podcast pointed out the small amount of land of the Nile to feed all of the nation. It was under 10% - like 3-5%.

Iran threatens U.S. Navy as sanctions hit economy

Iran threatened Tuesday to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf, Tehran's most aggressive statement yet after weeks of saber-rattling as new U.S. and EU financial sanctions take a toll on its economy.

"Iran will not repeat its warning ... the enemy's carrier [USS John C Stennis] has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf," army chief Salehi said.

and if you spin the wheel again you get ...

Oil Rises to Six-Week High on Global Manufacturing Expansion

another spin of the wheel ...

U.S.: Warships will sail despite Iran's threats

See any way out that doesn't have someone losing a lot of face?

They have "advised, recommended and warned" the USA not to bring the carrier back in. They have not threatened any action if it does despite the headlines suggesting they have.

Got it, thanks. Funny how the misrepresentation of what was said tells you more than the actual story does.

Oh, ye of literal minds. Plausible deniability and all that. Why bother to "warn" against an action unless said action would have adverse consequences - possibly natural ones, but, in this case, consequences created/imposed by those doing the warning? I suppose that if a carrier goes back into the Gulf, then, and only then, we'll know for sure what the "warning" meant.

Iran is throwing down the gauntlet, so to speak, and of course US warships will return to the Gulf. I fear that the western PTB would love nothing better than Iran provoking an attack; a chance for Obama to show he's strong and decisive,, all that. That said, carrier commanders don't like being boxed up in the Persian Gulf. Not a lot of room to maneuver, not very deep, and only one way out.

This may be a good time to fill up the tank, stockpile a bit of fuel JIC.

It may well be but I doubt if Iran will shoot first. Of course with enough confusion we might never know exactly what happened.

Regarding the warning, General Salehi explicitly added that it did not mean that Iran would take "irrational measures" if the US ignored the "warning". By "irrational measures" I take it he meant "we are not stupid enough to attack the carrier if you ignore the warning".

Possibly so. But then why bother issuing the warning?

Why throw dust into the air ?


This is getting to be a pretty repetitive theme, but Chinese interests have bought another piece of the Canadian oil sands:

Athabasca sells oil sands stake to PetroChina

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. said it will sell its 40 percent interest in the MacKay River oil sands project to a unit of China National Petroleum Corp.

Athabasca will receive C$680 million ($672 million) in cash for the stake, subject to adjustments including the repayment of two loans, after regulatory approval for the project triggered an option to sell. The divestiture will reduce the Calgary-based company’s 2012 capital budget by C$190 million, it said in a statement today.

The deal gives Cretaceous Oilsands Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of state-backed China National, 100 percent control over the project that may produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

This deal is interesting because it gives PetroChina a 100% stake in the project. The Chinese have been feeling their way around the oil sands carefully to see how big a percentage of oil sands projects the Canadian government will allow them to buy. Most likely the Canadian government won't blink at 100%.

related PetroChina buys full stake in Canada oil sands project

TORONTO--PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas company, will take full ownership of the MacKay River oil sands project in Canada after Athabasca Oil Sands Corp announced Tuesday it sold the remaining 40% of the development for US$673 million.

The deal continues a trend that has seen China's state-owned oil companies invest billions of dollars in exploration or production ventures in Canada, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. It gives PetroChina full control of one of Alberta's newest oil sands developments. Athabasca had previously sold PetroChina a 60% stake in two oil sands projects owned by Athabasca.

Yes, and from the link Seraph posted:

The Chinese have urged the Canadian government to approve a pipeline to Canada's Pacific coast so that tankers can ship oil sands crude to China. Sinopec, a Chinese state-controlled oil company, has a stake in a $5.5 billion plan drawn up by the Alberta-based Enbridge company to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific coast province of British Columbia.

But, back to the McKay River project, to give people an idea of what PetroChina has bought control of - the McKay River oil sands leases contain about 5 billion barrels of oil. By comparison, the entire United States has about 20 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.


Re: ... "the McKay River oil sands leases contain about 5 billion barrels of oil. By comparison, the entire United States has about 20 billion barrels of proven oil reserves."

That may be an overestimate.

I think you are comparing unconventional oil sands [EROEI 3:1] vs conventional oil [EROEI 15:1].

Also, the 5 billion appears to be the proven + probable + possible oil sand resources vs the proven oil reserves of the U.S.



Rocky - I know you understand NPV (Net Present value) but some don't. Regardless of the nature of a revenue generating project the value of the revenue stream is time sensitive. So $1 earned this year is calculated to be worth much more than $1 earned in Year 10. The owners of an oil sand lease can calculate its NPV by using the projected cash flow based on a lot of assumptions. A major factor is how long it takes for the cash flow to begin and at what rate. The longer it takes to start the lower the NPV...a huge factor in the Deep Water where it might take 5 to 7 years for production to begin. And then how quickly the revenue is generated. Whatever the oil sand players where using for a time frame was recomputed when the president decided to wait a year to make a decision. This should not have decreased the NPV of such projects by much...maybe just several percent. But then comes the big guessing/negotiating game: will it be approved in a year? Not for another election cycle? If approved will lawsuits delay it even longer? The sellers don't have to make such negative projections but the buyers certainly will. This is all part of the negotiation effort. If the sellers are confident of a quick build they'll hold tight. But if confidence weakens they might settle for a lower price...just in case.

Again, I can't really quantify how much or little the pipeline delay has factored into these recent Chinese acquisitions. But when added to the advantage the Chinese have by not being solely profit driven (oil access could become more important than price) it give the Chinese companies a competitive advantage over the rest of the free market. And they don't necessarily have to ship the oil to China to take advantage of it. A simple example: a US refiner wants to buy Venezuelan crude (or from any other nearby source). The Chinese sign a contract to buy the same crude. BTW: at last count the Chinese may have long term contracts on as much as 450,000 bopd from Vz. Then they cut a deal with the Gulf Coast refiner: they'll swap an equivalent value of THEIR Canadian crude for the Vz crude. Such deals have been done many times in the past. The US govt did it with Japan years ago with N. Slope crude. Worked great: saved transportation costs for both parties. There is one potential problem with this angle: both parties have to have access to physical crude: if the US refiner can't sign that contract for someone's crude he has nothing to trade with the Chinese. Or, more realistically, he has to pay more for what crude is available.

Just like the fact that he who owns the gold makes the Golden Rule, the same applies for any commodity.

Syria pipeline attacked amid ongoing killing

Syrian officials and opposition activists blamed each other for an attack on a gas pipeline near the restive city of Homs Tuesday, while a leading opposition group said at least 18 members of the security forces were killed in a separate incident.

Total Buys $2.3 Billion Utica Shale Stake From Chesapeake

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA, France’s largest oil company, acquired a $2.32 billion holding in Ohio’s Utica shale region from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and EnerVest Ltd.

Total will gain a 25 percent stake in 619,000 acres of Utica in eastern Ohio, a shale deposit rich in liquids as well as natural gas, Chesapeake said today in a statement. Chesapeake will get $2.03 billion and EnerVest $290 million.

related http://english.cri.cn/6826/2012/01/03/2724s674398.htm

Devon reaches $2.2 billion shale deal with Sinopec

Devon Energy Corp. reached a deal with Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration & Production Corp. in which the Chinese oil major will pay $2.2 billion for a one-third interest in five alternative shale plays.

The deal is another sign of foreign companies' growing appetite for U.S. oil-and-gas assets.

The drilling carry is expected to fund 70% of Devon's capital requirements, which will result in Sinopec paying 80% of the overall development cost. The companies expect to drill 125 gross wells by the year's end across the five areas.

The French and Chinese Are Digging in Your Yard for Natural Gas

Throw a dart at a map, and you’re likely to hit a country that has been scooping up U.S. shale assets. Norwegian oil giant Statoil this fall agreed to buy a shale pioneer, Brigham Exploration. Anglo-Australian company BHP struck a $12.1 billion acquisition of Petrohawk Energy last summer was driven in part by Petrohawk’s ownership of shale assets. In 2010, China’s Cnooc also bought into oil-and-gas assets in the Eagle Ford Shale project in South Texas.

What's their gas doing under our soil.

S - Based on those numbers Total paid around $15,000 per gross acre. Can't find out but I would bet that's considerably less then CHK paid to lease those lands originally. So not only did CHK make a little profit but also brought in 25% of the future costs to drill. If the rumors that CHK is having difficulty borrowing capital are true, laying off that 25% interest may have been as important as the cash infusion. Based on a guess of $6 million per well, the cash CHK received would pay for their share (65%) of the next 500 wells. And the 25% that the Total interest represents reduces CHK capital requirements to drill those wells by $750 million. A very good day for a company like CHK that needs to drill as many wells as fast as possible to replace depleting reserves yet may be capex poor.

Iran Targets 5 Million Barrels Oil a Day, Tehran Times Reports

Iran plans to produce 5 million barrels of oil a day by 2015 and 1.47 billion cubic meters of natural-gas, the Tehran Times reported.

The Middle Eastern nation plans to add 36 drilling rigs for a total of 134 onshore and offshore by March 2014, the newspaper said, citing National Iranian Oil Co.’s managing director Ahmad Qalebani.

Iran produced 3.56 million barrels a day of oil in November, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Iran’s OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said earlier this year output would reach 5 million barrels a day by 2010.

They haven't seen that level since 1979

chart: http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/output_en/Exports_BP_2011_oil_bbl_IR_...

Oil prices soar as Iran warns US aircraft carrier away from Persian Gulf
Prices rise worldwide amid concerns that tensions between US and Iran over key oil route could lead to supply disruptions


Still quoting only WTI price when Brent is 9~10% higher.

Wastewater well in Ohio triggered earthquakes, expert says
A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday. Research is continuing on the now-shuttered injection well at Youngstown and seismic activity, but it might take a year for the wastewater-related rumblings in the earth to dissipate, said John Armbruster of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.


Is that conclusive yet? One scientist's take on it?

Bank of America severing some small-business credit lines

Bank of America Corp., under pressure to raise capital and cut risks, is severing lines of credit to some small-business owners who have used them to stay afloat.

The Charlotte, N.C., bank is demanding that these customers pay off their credit line balances all at once instead of making monthly payments. If they can't pay in full, they are being offered new repayment plans for as long as five years, but with far higher interest rates than their original credit lines had.

OBTW, thanks for the bailout.

Insight: City-Dwellers’ Higher Consumption Leads to Bigger Carbon Footprint

Hindering urban sprawl is thought to be good for sustainable living. While this may hold true from many viewpoints, from the climate-change perspective it may, in fact, be detrimental.

“When we allocate all life-cycle emissions to the actual consumers, we suddenly see how people living in cities have bigger carbon footprints than those living in rural areas,” said Jukka Heinonen of Aalto University in Finland. This is because city dwellers tend to earn more and consume a lot of goods and services.

The study finds that this elevated consumption of different goods and services makes up a remarkable share of an individual’s emissions, resulting in carbon footprints as much as 20% higher in the city-centre than in the lower-income, more scarcely populated suburbs. Only emissions coming from private vehicles were lower in the city-centre area, but these were nowhere near enough to override the higher emissions from other consumption.

What happens when people with higher incomes live rurally and simply telecommute? I don't think it is a location thing as much as it is an income thing.

Indeed Squilliam. I think that's what the authors seem to be getting at as well.

When we allocate all life-cycle emissions to the actual consumers, we suddenly see how people living in cities have bigger carbon footprints than those living in rural areas,”

[emphasis added]

This goes along with their earlier study (linked on the source page for the article under "related stories":

"For example, if a television is made in a big factory in the countryside, but bought by someone living in a city, the carbon emission generated from the production of that television should be allocated to the consumer, not the factory,"

I suppose there is some logic to that: although the net result (ghg emission) is the same no matter where it's allocated, they are "putting the blame" on the consumer for demanding the product. More income = more products demanded.

That said, I can already see some right-wing pundit in the US picking up the headline Insight: City-dwellers’ higher consumption leads to bigger carbon footprint and turning it into a meme about the evils of (liberal) city dwellers versus the righteous (conservative) suburban dwellers, since of course suburban dwellers are just living out the American Dream of rural life.

Although the study puts "Helsinki Downtown" above "Helsinki Suburbs" (and both above "rural") in terms of ghg emissions, I somehow doubt the "suburbs" of Helsinki are much like American suburbs.

... see how people living in cities have bigger carbon footprints than those living in rural areas ... This is because city dwellers tend to earn more and consume a lot of goods and services.

Richer people have bigger carbon footprints than poorer people.

BIG surprise !

Best Hopes for Sarconol,


Officials Back On Scene Of Massive Gas Line Explosion In Estill County

Company officials determined a gas pipeline, running under Stephen's Branch Horse Farm, ruptured. The explosion sent flames as high as 1,500 feet into the air and was visible from miles away in surrounding counties.

A spokesperson for Columbia Gulf says they are still investigating just what caused the line, which is a transmission line, to explode.

also http://www.wkyt.com/news/headlines/136600733.html?ref=733

and http://www.wlky.com/r/30122310/detail.html

Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy

There’s a French word for someone who’s self-reliant or ingenious: débrouillard. This got sort of mutated in the postcolonial areas of Africa and the Caribbean to refer to the street economy, which is called l’économie de la débrouillardise—the self-reliance economy, or the DIY economy, if you will. I decided to use this term myself—shortening it to System D—because it’s a less pejorative way of referring to what has traditionally been called the informal economy or black market or even underground economy. I’m basically using the term to refer to all the economic activity that flies under the radar of government. So, unregistered, unregulated, untaxed, but not outright criminal ...

The sheer scale of System D is mind-blowing

If you think of System D as having a collective GDP, it would be on the order of $10 trillion a year. That’s a very rough calculation, which is almost certainly on the low side. If System D were a country, it would have the second-largest economy on earth, after the United States.

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/ has many posts on "System D".

"System D" has been my plan A for years now; live modestly, grow, build, salvage your own and cooperate with others who do the same. TAE, today discusses some things along these lines:

There are many forms of decentralization - of opting out of the herd before it goes over the cliff. What they have in common is local resilience, a focus on local self-reliance and a thorough grounding in relationships of trust. As economies contract, so does the trust horizon.

Where there is no trust, systems cease to function effectively. Local initiatives work because they operate within the social space where trust still exists, and as they function, they reinforce those foundational relationships.

We need to be thinking in terms of local currencies, time banking (ie bartering skills), small transport networks, basic local healthcare, neighbourhood watch programs, adapting properties to multiple dwellings and permaculture initiatives that can rebuild soil fertility over time.

Also discussed is the likelihood that governments will attempt (are attempting) to restrict any economic activity not under central control and subject to taxation, regulation and documentation. Good luck with that, especially in my area. Folks around here have a long tradition of informal economic cooperation and don't take kindly to Caesar's interference. Many couldn't survive without some form of (mostly) non-monetary "System D" income. Governments will find out, if they break it, they buy it.

Is the EIA international data ( http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm ) being discontinuated ?

The September figures should have been published around December the 20th, but there is nothing new as of today :(

"EIA said it will "terminate updates" to its international energy statistics, including halting preparation for the 2012 edition of the International Energy Outlook."


This is tragic as far as I am concerned. Now we are left with only JODI. JODI is great but they depend on producing nations reporting, or answering their inquires. Several do not and some are spotty. As a result the JODI data is always incomplete. I have depended on the EIA data to fill in the blanks that Jodi does not provide.

The non reporters that never report to JODI produce about 4 million barrels a day total, then there are the others that are never on time.

Guess we will just have to do without. And I will figure out how to use what data I can get and come up with a very close figure for world C+C production numbers. And this, in my opinion anyway, will give more credibility to JODI which gathers only C+C data and has world C+C peaking, so far, in 2006.

Ron P.

Guess we will just have to do without.

You've got that right, Ron. First the data - then the oil...

"EIA said it will "terminate updates"

Ah, the numbers aren't so great anymore, so they're taking their ball and going home. But wait, you can stay and play. We'll even ignore the fact you add in other liquids.

There was a report of a discontinuation earlier in 2011. Maybe it has come to pass.

Chile declares wildfire 'catastrophe zones'

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera has declared "catastrophe zones" in four regions, after surveying damage caused by wildfires in Chile's forest.

Chile's normally rainy southern regions are suffering from a nationwide heat wave that have followed a prolonged drought

[Australian] Bush fires stretch emergency crews to the limit

... Temperatures have risen to 40C (104F) sparking a wave of fires in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Biggest Hedge Fund in Ships Sees Frozen Gas Beating Oil: Freight

The [LNG] tankers, each holding enough gas to meet about 25 percent of peak daily winter demand in the U.K., will earn as much as $200,000 a day this year, from $140,000 at the end of 2011 ... The cost of hiring an LNG tanker for a year or more averaged $97,630 a day in 2011, from $43,663 in 2010, according to Fearnley LNG, an Oslo-based consultant and brokerage that's a unit of the Astrup Fearnley Group.

That compares with last year's 90 percent decline in rates for the largest oil tankers to $1,214 a day as the biggest fleet in about three decades overwhelmed demand, data from the London- based Baltic Exchange show. Capesizes hauling coal and iron ore averaged $15,639 a day last year, from $33,298 in 2010, according to the bourse, which publishes freight costs for more than 50 maritime routes.

Ever have one of those days when you feel like a zombie?

Deadly parasite turns honeybees into zombie slaves

$72B in lost revenue at stake in B.C. Northern Gateway pipeline

Oil producers could lose $72 billion over nine years if a pipeline to carry Alberta bitumen to the West Coast isn't built, a new report for the Alberta government says as community hearings for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project are about to begin this month in British Columbia.

In a 44-page report submitted before Christmas to the federal government panel reviewing the pipeline project, consultants for Alberta Energy peg potential losses for oil producers in the project at $8 billion every year between 2017 and 2025.

$72 billion is not exactly chump change in the Canadian context - it works out to over $2000 for every man, woman, and child in Canada. Canadian governments are acutely aware of this because they are in a position to collect a large percentage of the money in the form of royalties and income taxes, so there is going to be a lot of political pressure behind this pipeline.

How much is that in Carbon?

You count it for every 'man, woman and child', but it seems the article says the losses are principally for oil producers.

Just put the violin down on the ground and back slowly away..

I'm not sure that constitutes a loss, but rather failed potential profit.

What percentage of those revenues would go to Chinese companies?

Iraq is close to completing a pipeline to increase exports out of Basra.

According to sources in Iraq, their exports will increase from 2.165 million bpd last year to 2.5 mbpd in 2012.

Iraq to export oil from new Gulf terminal in February
Tue Jan 3, 2012 8:02am EST

BAGHDAD, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Iraq plans to start shipping crude from the first of its three new offshore export terminals in the Gulf at the start of February, a move that will boost its export capacity by 900,000 barrels per day, oil officials said.

Iraq's current export infrastructure is outdated and lacks the capacity to handle the expected large increases in production from its southern oilfields.



That increase in exports could go a very long way this year to ward off any supply problems around the world. Is this a potential "game changer for 2012"?


Any geologists (or anyone else) fancy commenting on this?

It is claimed to be from a survey under Reactor 2 at Fukushima and the sample is said to be over 500 millisieverts per hour

Story from Breaking News: Whistle-blower talks, container vessel is melting like honeycomb

Legit or a hoax?

tow - The green drill bit on the left is a "cone" or "rock "bit. As it rotates those little teeth on those 3 pads act like little hammers when they hit the rock and break it apart. You can't make it out but there are little holes in the bit that the drilling mud flows thru to keep it cool and carry the broken rock out of the hole. Based on the pics of the cores below I think the bit on the right is a coring bit. If you were looking down from above it would have about a 3" hole in the middle surrounded by a rim that typically contains industrial diamonds or very hard little teeth. As the bit rotates it cuts a core similar to the pics just below. As the bit drills deeper the core moves up into the drill pipe. They have to remove the drill pipe from the hole to recover the core.