Drumbeat: January 25, 2012

Oil Supply as a Strategic Risk

Concerns about the climate have not inspired a lot of action lately on global energy policy. Now two professors are arguing that supply concerns and rising oil prices ought to be enough to get governments moving, even if the climate does not.

In an opinion piece released on Wednesday by the journal Nature, James Murray of the University of Washington and David King of the University of Oxford point out that global oil production appeared to hit a cap of about 75 million barrels a day in 2005. Since then, they note, small supply bumps have caused big price gyrations, yet even when prices spike above $100 a barrel, supply appears incapable of rising to meet the demand.

The professors make only a glancing mention of the term “peak oil,” a widely touted and widely attacked concept, but their argument resembles some of the less feverish versions of the peak oil case.

IMF: Iran Oil Export Halt May Send Prices Surging 30%

The International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday that global crude prices could rise as much as 30 percent if Iran halts oil exports as a result of U.S. and European Union sanctions.

If Iran halts exports to countries without offsets from other sources it would likely trigger an "initial" oil price jump of 20 to 30 percent, or about $20 to $30 a barrel, the IMF said in its first public comment on a possible Iranian oil supply disruption.

A brighter energy future?

A week after President Obama denied the application for the Keystone XL pipeline — which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands deposits in Alberta to U.S. refineries along the Gulf of Mexico — it’s time for an energy reality check. What does the future hold? It may be better than you think. That’s one message from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest “Annual Energy Outlook,” which projects the supply and demand for fuels through 2035.

Canadian pipeline needs aboriginal consent: chief

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian firm seeking to build a pipeline from oil-rich Alberta to the Pacific Coast needs to obtain the consent of aboriginal bands, some of whom oppose the project, Canada's top native leader indicated on Wednesday.

The comments underline the difficulties facing Enbridge Inc as it tries to push through the C$5.5 billion ($5.4 billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would cross land belonging to many Indian bands, or first nations.

Staying in Afghanistan: Where’s the sense?

Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the Iraq war. Forty-five hundred members of our armed forces have sacrificed their lives. Nearly 32,000 American troops have been wounded on the battlefield of Iraq. And yet this is the news that greeted America this spring: “Syria and Iraq Eager for Cooperation with Iran in Building Joint Gas Pipeline.”

What Detroit Might Tell Us About America’s Future

“This is coming to you,” declares Tommy Stevens, owner of a blues bar in Detroit. By that he means the decay, deflation, and defeat of the middle class that has comprised the last decade of Detroit’s history. That painful story and its meaning for the rest of America is the subject of Detropia, an important, heartbreaking, and yet still occasionally hilarious documentary directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, which premiered this past week at Sundance.

Historic Buildings May Be Greener Than You Think

Despite prevailing conceptions, said Lisa Kersavage, the senior director for preservation and sustainability at the society, many historic buildings actually already incorporate energy-efficient design features — a legacy of having been built before the advent of cheap energy and modern mechanical systems. In those days, natural ventilation and light and the collection of water in cisterns were standard in quality construction.

Farmer Groupies and Chicken Coddlers

Thus the paradox of the modern DIY movement. Farmers have gone from 20 percent to 2 percent of the American workforce since World War II, and 80 percent of Americans now live in cities. Modern Americans may yearn for simplicity and self-sufficiency, but they’re much less familiar with the gritty realities of rural life than even 45 years ago, when more city dwellers knew or were related to farmers. The result is that today’s back-to-the-landers, whether suburban chicken fanciers, serious urban foragers, or just obsessive locavores, have much farther to go before they can even get back to the land.

New federal map for what to plant reflects warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming is hitting not just home, but garden. The government's colorful map of planting zones, most often seen on the back of seed packets, is changing, illustrating a hotter 21st century.

An update of the official guide for 80 million gardeners reflects a new reality: The coldest day of the year isn't as cold as it used to be. So some plants and trees that once seemed too vulnerable to cold can now survive farther north.

Obama Supports Fracking to Create 600,000 Jobs, Vows Safe Drilling for Gas

President Barack Obama pushed drilling for gas in shale rock and support for cleaner energy sources to boost the economy in his final State of the Union address before facing U.S. voters in November.

Hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to free gas trapped in rock, could create more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade, Obama said yesterday. The process, called fracking, is among a list of energy policies Obama said would fuel economic growth.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” Obama said.

Oil Trades Below $100 as Rising U.S. Stockpiles Counter Gasoline Demand

Oil declined a second day in New York as rising U.S. crude inventories countered data showing gasoline demand increased last week in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Futures fell as much as 0.9 percent after dropping 0.6 percent yesterday. Crude stockpiles probably rose last week as imports rebounded, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Department report today. U.S. gasoline demand grew for a second week, MasterCard Inc. data showed yesterday. The European Union embargo on Iranian oil supplies will “bear bitter fruit,” Iran’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said this week.

Asia to Boost West African Crude Imports on Cheaper Brent, China Demand

Asian refineries will boost their imports of West African crude oil for loading in February to the highest in at least seven months amid cheaper Atlantic Basin grades and rising demand in China.

Saudi Aramco buys gasoline for Feb-June -trade

(Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco has agreed to buy at least three to four cargoes of gasoline per month in a term contract for delivery between February to June, trade and industry sources said on Wednesday.

"Aramco is still in the market," one industry source said. "We have seen regular demand from them."

Prices continue to slide on gushers of natural gas

Natural gas's worst start to a year since 2001 has the most accurate forecasters predicting further price declines as surging U.S. shale production threatens to overwhelm the nation's storage facilities.

Natural Gas Spike? Don't Trust It

Poor natural gas bulls. The general public has been patiently bullish on natty for years now, with the kind of fervor that makes you hear unsolicited “buy natural gas” tips from taxi cab drivers in local diners.

(That actually happened to me, when a guy at the counter found out I was a trader.)

Thing is, the actual performance of natty has sucked like an electrolux — nearly cut in half over the past year. We’ve got natural gas coming out our ears, thanks to the miracle of shale.

Electricity Declines 50% as Shale Spurs Natural Gas Glut

(Bloomberg) -- A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy.

North Dakota Oil Boom Brings Blight With Growth as Costs Soar

The gravel road that borders Dave Hynek’s North Dakota farm is designed to carry 10 tractor- trailer trucks a day. In a recent 24-hour period, about 800 passed by.

Some are traveling 90 minutes west to Williston, where schools Superintendent Viola LaFontaine expects as many as 3,800 students this fall, about 57 percent more than her primary schools were built to hold.

Obama Claiming Credit for Energy Gains Angers Industry

(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama is taking credit for higher U.S. oil and gas production and lower imports, angering industry groups and Republicans who say he is working against domestic energy production.

Jeff Rubin: Chilly reception awaits U.S. energy companies in Canada

After Obama sandbagged TransCanada, and all the Alberta producers that were going to supply it, I wouldn’t want to be a U.S. pipeline company looking for regulatory approval in Canada these days

When it comes to energy markets things can change in a hurry. No doubt rainmakers in Calgary’s Petroleum Club are already starting to brush up on their Mandarin. How the goal posts have moved.

Harper Builds Oil Links With China After Obama ‘Slap’ on Keystone Pipeline

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is gaining support among Canadians for his plan to ship oilsands crude to China after President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada Corp.’s $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Keystone XL environmental disaster train derailed for now

A lot of readers may not be familiar with what Keystone is and why it’s such a big deal, politically and environmentally. But it’s time people got up to speed.

This project has all the makings of a mega environmental disaster running through the heart of America that could make the Gulf oil spill seem as easy to clean up as a dropped Big Mac.

Nebraska’s Governor Plans to Urge Obama to Proceed With Keystone

(Bloomberg) -- Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman said he will urge President Barack Obama to reverse his decision denying a permit for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline and let construction begin in segments in U.S. border states.

Kuwait Selects France’s Total as Partner for $9 Billion China Refinery

Kuwait chose Total (FP) SA as the third partner to build a $9 billion oil refinery in China, Kuwait Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Farouk Al-Zanki said.

Analysis - UK NBP gas hub faces rising challenge from Europe

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain risks losing its rank as Europe's dominant gas trading hub in the next decade as rivals in continental Europe enjoy rising trade volumes spurred by deregulated energy markets and a diversifying array of supply.

6 Key Trends And What They Mean For You

As emerging markets continue to boom and the world population continues to rise, the demand for commodities such as oil, gas, minerals and food is only going to increase.

People have talked about 'commodity supercycles' and 'peak oil', but, in basic terms, it is all about supply and demand. Demand is rising, and supply simply can't keep up, leading to rocketing commodity prices. This process began in the mid-Noughties, and has a long way to run.

Peak oil preview: London motorists could soon be without gasoline

Call it a fire drill for the day the world runs out of petroleum. London motorists awoke this morning to a news report that they might not have gasoline.

“There may be severe problems of supply across the whole of London and the southeast to petrol forecourts, with a refinery stopping deliveries which supplies one sixth of the market,” politician Richard Howitt told BBC’s Radio 4. (A petrol forecourt is Britspeak for a gas station).

Petroplus UK refinery to resume fuel deliveries-union

(Reuters) - Swiss refiner Petroplus' British Coryton refinery is expected to resume oil product deliveries out of the site in 24-48 hours, a union official said on Wednesday.

A year after uprising, Egyptians celebrate and protest

CAIRO (Reuters) - Thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak with some seeking a new revolt against army rule and others celebrating the changes already achieved.

It is a year since protesters inspired by an uprising in Tunisia took to the streets in Egypt and the January 25 anniversary has exposed divisions in the Arab world's most populous country over the pace of democratic evolution.

Egypt struggling a year after Mubarak's overthrow

CAIRO – Azouz Ahmed doesn't remember a time when things were as bad as what some Egyptians call the "dark year."

"I wish things would go back to the way they were under Mubarak," Ahmed, 61, said, outfitting a horse with its loose-fitting bridle in a stable on the edge of the desert. "There has been nothing good since the revolution, and there is no work."

UK urges tougher Syria sanctions, Russia issues warning

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Britain called on Wednesday for harsher sanctions on Syria, where an Arab monitoring mission has failed to halt bloodshed in a 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

But Russia underlined divisions at the United Nations, saying it would work with China to prevent the Security Council from approving any military intervention in Syria.

Obama Vows to Stop Iran Nuclear Program by All Means

The United States will use all available options to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal,” Obama said.

Sanctions Against Iran Grow Tighter, but What’s the Next Step?

WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration and its European allies toughened economic sanctions against Iran on Monday — blocking its access to the world financial system and undermining its critical oil and gas industry — officials on both sides of the Atlantic acknowledge that their last-ditch effort has only a limited chance of persuading Tehran to abandon what the West fears is its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

That leaves open this critical question: And then what?

Iran Embargo May Speed Refinery Closures

The European Union’s embargo on Iranian oil threatens to accelerate refinery closures in Europe, the head of Italy’s refiners’ lobby said.

“Asian countries not applying the embargo could buy the Iranian oil at a discount and sell cheap refined products back to us,” Piero De Simone, general manager of Unione Petrolifera, said in an interview in Rome yesterday. “Italy already risks the closure of five refineries and at a European level we’re talking about 70 possible shut downs.”

Iran sanctions could help GCC producers

Saudia Arabian looks set to benefit from sanctions against Iran as the kingdom is one of the few oil producers with capacity to make up any shortfall they will cause.

India says still buying Iran oil, despite new sanctions

(NEW DELHI) - India's oil minister said Wednesday the energy-hungry nation was continuing to import oil from Iran and was not bound by new sanctions imposed by the European Union.

FACTBOX-EU imports more Iranian oil in Q3

(Reuters) - OPEC's second largest producer, Iran, sells large volumes of oil to China, India, South Korea, Japan and Italy. But Greece, Turkey, South Africa and Sri Lanka rely most heavily on Iranian oil as a percentage of imports.

Iran sanctions will hit its economy, but not kill it

In Iran's case expert opinion varies as to just how hard sanctions will hit that economy. But there is consensus around two points: 1) It won't be as bad as Iraq. 2) It's already hurting Iranians and the suffering is bound to get worse.

ConocoPhillips Net Income Rises as Oil Prices Counter Drop in Production

ConocoPhillips (COP), the U.S. oil company that plans to spin off its refining business this year, said fourth-quarter profit rose as higher oil prices and asset sales made up for lower production.

Conoco Phillips agrees $160m payout for China oil spill

Conoco Phillips and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) have agreed to pay $1bn yuan ($158m; £101m) for the oil spill at their Penglai offshore field in China.

Will the Costa Concordia become an oil-spill disaster?

Work is finally under way to begin pumping oil from the stricken Costa Concordia cruise liner. The vast ship ran aground and capsized off the Italian island of Giglio on 13 January. At least 16 people died and the search for bodies continues. Attention is now turning to the vessel's fuel, which could pollute the sensitive marine environment.

Japan task force kept no records of nuclear crisis response

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's energy minister admitted on Tuesday that no records were kept of top level discussions in the critical early days on how to respond to the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

The admission, and apology, by Trade Minister Yukio Edano comes in the face of widespread debate over the government's response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami last March.

Japan's first trade deficit since 1980 raises debt doubts

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan first annual trade deficit in more than 30 years calls into question how much longer the country can rely on exports to help finance a huge public debt without having to turn to fickle foreign investors.

The aftermath of the March earthquake raised fuel import costs while slowing global growth and the yen's strength hit exports, data released on Wednesday showed, swinging the 2011 trade balance into deficit.

ATHENS — Rising oil prices and chilly economic times are prompting increasing numbers of Greeks to chop down trees for winter warmth, a group of forest engineers warned Tuesday.

What’s the Best Way To Get Users To Embrace Mass Transit?

Make it pleasant? Or make it efficient?

Chevy Volt's problems may not be over as GM's CEO prepares to face Congress

The Chevrolet Volt got a clean bill of health, last Friday, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closing its investigation into potential problems with the plug-in hybrid’s battery pack – but that doesn’t mean General Motors’ problems with the Volt are over, as a Congressional hearing is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

China driving schools teaching millions the art of war

China surpassed the United States in 2009 to become the world's largest auto market, and just as newly affluent Chinese are snapping up expensive cars in staggering numbers, driving schools are bursting at the seams.

How Much Energy Does Energy Efficiency Save?

It's obvious that under some circumstances increased energy efficiency won't actually cut energy consumption. The underlying technology of the internal combustion engine, for example, has improved dramatically over the past 40 years making our cars much more energy efficient than they used to be. But one main result of that has been for the cars to get much larger with more powerful engines rather than simply consuming less fuel.

Solar Proving Cheaper Than Diesel in India Making Mittal Believer

India is producing power from solar cells more cheaply than by burning diesel for the first time, spurring billionaire Sunil Mittal and Coca-Cola Co. (KO)’s mango supplier to jettison the fuel in favor of photovoltaic panels.

The cost of solar energy in India declined by 28 percent since December 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The cause was a 51 percent drop in panel prices last year as the world’s 10 largest manufacturers, led by China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), doubled output capacity.

Court rejects UK appeal on early solar subsidy cut

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government on Wednesday lost a bid to overturn a High Court ruling that the timing of its decision to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes was unlawful.

The Court of Appeal rejected Energy Secretary Chris Huhne's claim that he had the power to go ahead with subsidy cuts from Dec. 12, nearly two weeks ahead of the end of the official consultation period.

What happened to the greening of capitalism?

Martin Wolf has presented a provocative diagnosis of the current flaws found in capitalism. Unfortunately, he has nothing to say about the biggest issue of all – how to transform capitalism so that it does not continue to destroy the planet.

Look to future, not dirty past

WE have much to thank the oil industry for — that source of energy has enabled humans to achieve all sorts of things that people living 100 years ago would never have dreamed about. I love the fact that I can take my family on holiday to Tauranga and complete the trip in four hours instead of the week or two it would take by horse. I love the medicines, food, clothing and technology that uses cheap oil and gas in their production and distribution processes.

I also know that future generations are going to look back on us in disbelief that we burned good oil so quickly and carelessly.

Government requires more fruits, veggies for school lunches

Today the government is releasing new nutrition standards for school meals that spell out dramatic changes, including slashing the sodium, limiting calories and offering students a wider variety and larger portions of fruits and vegetables. These changes will raise the nutrition standards for meals for the first time in more than 15 years.

In Brazil, Fears of a Slide Back for Amazon Protection

Since Dilma Rousseff was elected president, the government has shifted its stance on the Amazon to side more with agricultural interests.

Why does agriculture keep getting a climate pass?

Agriculture has been hovering just on the margins of climate change policy. Of course, that’s no coincidence. Precise measurement of the climate impact of many industrial farming practices remains difficult and controversial, and the U.S in particular has resisted any attempts to formalize the agricultural sector’s obligation to climate mitigation.

The reasons for this are two-fold: Big and Ag. After all, it was American agribusiness that exacted virtual exemption from the Obama administration’s failed attempt at a climate bill as a price for its potential support. The EPA continues to develop its carbon emissions tracking plan but the agricultural sector has managed to keep itself out of that, too.

Wasting the Wastewater

Each day, American municipalities discharge enough treated wastewater into natural sources to fill Lake Champlain within six months. Growing pressure on water supplies and calls for updating the ancient subterranean piping infrastructure have brought new scrutiny to this step in the treatment process, which is labeled wasteful and unnecessary by a spectrum of voices.

Clean up world seas to boost economy, UN body says

Cleaner and better-managed seas and coasts would help boost economic growth and reduce poverty and pollution, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report said on Wednesday.

In Mackerel's Plunder, Hints of Epic Fish Collapse

Jack mackerel, rich in oily protein, is manna to a hungry planet, a staple in Africa. Elsewhere, people eat it unaware; much of it is reduced to feed for aquaculture and pigs. It can take more than five kilograms, more than 11 pounds, of jack mackerel to raise a single kilogram of farmed salmon.

Stocks have dropped from an estimated 30 million metric tons to less than a tenth of that in two decades. The world’s largest trawlers, after depleting other oceans, now head south toward the edge of Antarctica to compete for what is left.

Runaway Salmon Stir Conservation Worries

The disappearance of 300,000 farmed Scottish salmon from their cages in a storm has left many wondering whether they will breed with wild ones and upset the gene pool.

Not All Wetlands Are Created Equal

From biological diversity to carbon storage, restored and artificially created wetlands lag far behind wetlands that developed naturally.

Despite Denial, Even Oil Companies Are Planning for Inevitable Climate Change

Having bank rolled climate denial for years, it seems many oil companies and utilities are planning for the inevitability of man-made climate change.

Signs of New Life as U.N. Searches for a Climate Accord

WASHINGTON — Critics and supporters alike agree that the U.N. forum for negotiating international climate change policies is an ungainly mess, its annual gatherings marked by discord, disarray and brinkmanship.

Each year, exhausted delegates and observers return home thinking that there has to be a better way to address what they believe to be one of the defining challenges of our time: the relentless warming of the planet and its impact on the world’s inhabitants.

But the recently concluded meeting in Durban, South Africa, which established a new mandate for concluding a binding agreement of some sort by 2015, has given the process new life and hushed many of its critics. For now.

Fracking complicates the climate debate

(Reuters) - Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have laid to rest concerns about peaking oil and gas supplies for a generation, but they have also made the search for comprehensive policies to restrain greenhouse gas emissions more urgent.

In a world where fossil energy remains abundant and relatively cheap the economy will combust increasing quantities. Oil and gas reserves will last long after the planet has been gently cooked unless governments enact deliberate policies to restrain consumption.

Fracking has solved one problem (peak fuel) but sharpened another (climate change). Policymakers and voters can no longer rely on increasing scarcity, and rising oil and gas prices, to restrain demand and carbon emissions through the market.

In reading the article above re "In Mackerel's Plunder, Hints of Epic Fish Collapse" , one comment struck me right away :-

“It’s going fast,” he said as he looked at the 57-foot boat. “We’ve got to fish harder before it’s all gone.” Asked what he would leave his son, he shrugged: “He’ll have to find something else.”

Whether it is fishing harder or drilling harder, the end result is the same. The "resource" is used up quicker. I was saddened to hear how the meme of "100 Years of Natural Gas" made it unchallenged to the national stage last night.

Certainly "100 years of natural gas" is not a very long road to kick the can down..
nevertheless the GOP rebuttal that the Keystone pipeline was "perfectly safe" without additional EPA review is classic Pollyanna.

Why is this pipeline significantly different than others? How can a pipeline to a pristine coast be preferential to one across an already defiled mid-America?

Like natural gas, the sands WILL be utilized, and fairly soon. As far as blighting the earth goes, I suspect neither will be noteworthy compared to other actions we will collectively take this century and next.

The existing Keystone pipeline runs first W-E in Canada, then pretty much due south in the US. The proposed XL expansion took a long NW-SE diagonal run across Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. That route shortened the length, allowed for collection of Bakken shale oil, and took the new pipeline across part of the Nebraska Sand Hills, a globally-unique wetlands environment. "Already defiled" is probably not an accurate description for that route; existing crude oil pipelines that traverse Nebraska do so well to the west and south of the Sand Hills.

I say "took" because TransCanada has since agreed (with the Nebraska state government) to an adjusted route that lengthens the pipeline and avoids the Sand Hills. Nebraska has agreed to provide up to $2M to help with the environmental impact study for the new proposal. Which is a moot point, of course, until the feds get on the same page.

What PC is saying is that we have to fish harder before it's all gone.

... that we have to fish harder before it's all gone.

I think we could do well not to overcook the common-sense meaning of this statement rather than co-opt it for other purposes - all it is saying is that we need to work more (longer, harder) per kilo of catch, since the fisheries are more and more depleted.

We are not cooking up anything more than exactly what this statement means.
It means what the sense of the "common" person tells him.

The sense of the "common" person tells him that:
1. I need to make a large enough of a monetary "profit" in order for me & my family to survive through tomorrow (or next week, next month)
2. There is an overhead cost for taking my trawler out to sea
3. There is an overhead cost for maintaining my trawler
4. The amount of fish in my holding area is not yet enough to break even
5. No matter what, I've got to fish harder and get more in order to take care of number one for the next day (or two, or three,...)
6. This is true even if it means that on day 7 all the fish will be gone
7. I'll worry about that, if and when it happens. Not now.

I can't really agree with all that (not having access to the inner soul of the hard-pressed fisherman), but will let it go. I think it simply means what is says on the surface ... running faster to stay in the same spot.

What Cargill is saying is that we have to fish harder before it's all gone.

Perhaps some of you would like to purchase a box of my newest invention? Instant water, AquaSolar™? It is the purest solar distilled water available at any cost! One box makes 1 gallon of fresh water. All you have to do is add 3785.41178 ml of Hydrogen Dioxide (not included) and PRESTO! The ultimate thirst quencher! Just pour yourself a nice tall glass! Ahhh!

I take PayPal, Visa, Master Card, American Express, Cash, Checks, Gold and Latinum, might be willing to trade for slightly used Dilithium crystals as well...


Not so fast.

It should be Dihydrogen-monoxide and it should be "naturally produced at high altitudes". Otherwise it might not be the solar distilled variety of this rare compound.

It should be Dihydrogen-monoxide and it should be "naturally produced at high altitudes".

LOL! Correct, HO2 ain't gonna work too well. Blame it on all the extra CO2 I've been breathing lately...

Asked what he would leave his son, he shrugged: “He’ll have to find something else.”

I think the son finds his fathers grave a good place to relieve himself.

The selfishness and shortsightedness is simply astonishing.

The selfishness & shortsightedness illustrated is merely a glaring example of what we all exhibit by living the lives that we do in industrial civilization - driving cars, using gobs of electricity, eating agro-industrial food, and on and on. It's just not quite as easy to see as with the fishermen, but the overuse/depletion/destruction is the same. Leaving nothing worth a damn for those who will follow us.


And I'm one of the guilty ones.

I guess I'll have drive harder and faster before it's all gone.

(But wait! Today's Drumbeat (1/27) says that Peak Oiler's have been wrong all along. Whew. That was a close one.)

“We’ve got to fish harder before it’s all gone.” ..

Boy, Yogi Berra's evil twin must have made that one up.

And the dad's follow up about what he's leaving his kid, "He's going to have to find something else," is right out of standard economics idea of infinite replace-ability.

Which is true, of course, up to a point. When we have fished everything out of the sea, exhausted all of our ag land, and hunted everything out of land and air, there is always soilent green.

And of course humans also can be replaced by much more efficient machined, individually and as a species.

And there are 7B of us, most of who think just like that. Indeed, those who come after are going to have to find something else, because we're damn sure not gonna leave anything we can use now. You'll only drive yourself crazy focusing on it, it's pointless. Focus on your own work, try to preserve something of value, and maybe someone someday will find some small bit of "something else" that's viable due to your efforts. The only small hope is that resource limits stop us from ruining everything.

"You'll only drive yourself crazy focusing on it"

Too late '-/

“We’ve got to fish harder before it’s all gone.” ..

Boy, Yogi Berra's evil twin must have made that one up.

I know people that step on the pedal when their fuel light comes on (so they will get to a petrol station before they run out).

As a youngun, (long before I could drive), I thought of that, and to my then untutored brain it seemed logical, the faster you're going the further you can coast. You need some physics, and some math to understand the folly!

Better yet is to just pretend we have fuel:

My buddy in high school had a Bronco II that was missing the plastic that protects the gauges in the dash. You could touch all the gauges (speed/temp/fuel). One time we were on E and I said to my buddy that he better fill up. He immediately takes his hand and grabs the fuel needle and moves it over to F...and says "Now we have a full tank"....

There is some logic in play here. All vehicles have an optimum speed in terms of miles per gallon (it's somewhere between 35 mph and 50 mph usually) ... it's not necessarily the case that going very slowly will get you to a gas station on a near-empty tank more assuredly.

And at the same time the fishing industry in Europe are continuously launching propaganda attacks at government regulation agencies and environmental groups because -supposedly- the quota's aren't large enough and outsiders (like environment groups) have 'too much' influence while 'not knowing' what they are talking about. To many fishermen environmentalists and regulatory agencies are the enemy.

But, ofcourse, government agencies and environmental groups are not responsible for the near total collapse of e.g. atlantic cod, tuna, mackerel and other species.

An interesting book that is the very beginning of this over fishing is "The History of Salt".


From 1881. Seems to be about salt.

If you like books on such, here is a much better one on sand:

My bad & my apologies. Should have pulled it off the shelf. The book is "Salt, A World History" by mark Kurlansky.

Basically before fisherman began salting their catch they could only stay out a day.
Other interesting parts are the depletion of forests and peat as they were used to boil off water to get salt and salt in cheese making.


That's a much better book!


"By AD 200, the boiling houses had iron pots heated by gas flames. This is the first known use of natural gas in the world."

That's an extremely good book. I picked up a copy at a library sale a few months ago. Very informative!

But, (rubs fore finger against thumb) is it worth its salt?

Ah, but of course it is the government's fault for not regulating fishing properly!

So, as usual, it is bureaucratic, inefficient, big government that is the problem. Government should step out of the way and let the market decide...

Sarcasm aside, I have actually heard that argument in connection with the financial crisis. "It was all the fault of the regulators (for not regulating us banks properly), so blame them, not us!" And in future, please keep those stupid regulators off our backs...

I've seen quite a number of articles recently (many linked via EB) that try and debunk "the tragedy of the commons". Never mind that Hardin defined "commons" in a specific way, referring to resources that are NOT managed in some way, rather are snatched in a free-for-all. Of course there are other possible management schemes. But when they are absent, dismantled or ignored, we get clear examples such as the collapse of the fisheries.

The GHG absorption capability of the atmosphere is another prime example. Tragedy it is.

I've seen quite a number of articles recently (many linked via EB) that try and debunk "the tragedy of the commons".

Don't put too much stock in what you read at EB. Bart is a Marxist ideologue who harbors an irrational hatred of Hardin. Somehow the Marxists got the asinine idea that Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons thesis was a defense of private property, and by extension free market capitalism.

As you rightly point out, that doesn't even come close to the much more nuanced discussion of un-managed resources in an over-populated world that Hardin brilliantly elucidated.

Between the Marxist rants and the endless drivel about all the "green" technology and "eco" this-or-that which will save us (not!) I find EB tedious, at best, and stopped bothering to read it a long time ago.


I keep forgetting to check out Energy Bulletin. Thanks for reminding me that it is a great place to check out non-far-right perspectives on the major issues facing the world. I'll put it back on my "check regularly" list.

Actually I find that Bart et al post on EB article snippets from quite a diversity of views, and I definitely find it useful to keep up with what's there. Of course any given person will disagree with some of what's posted there, same as most of us disagree with many (most?) of the more mainstream articles posted here on the DB. Got to know what's happening out there in the world of competing memes. Which reminds me that Dawkins is another punching-bag for "the left", as are Darwin and Malthus. Those who want to negotiate our unsustainable lifestyles with Nature come from a variety of faith-based world views, be it The Commons or The Market or The Great Turning or The Rapture or The Singularity. Fast Breeders or simply fast breeders. The diverse modes of thinking of humans never ceases to amaze me.

re. Energy Bulletin, etc

For PO info, I check three sources several times a day.
First, I usually go to Peak Oil News because they often have stories first:

Second, I go to EB because I like its format. I usually examine articles on the left-hand side (re. PO). I rarely examine articles on the right-hand side unless they have to do with agri-food, though I should be more broad-minded.
I always read Tom Whipple's Monday morning PO Reviews very closely (and almost anything else by Tom).
Bart and Kristin have been very supportive over the years in accepting my own articles, which have focused primarily on two aspects:
1. the publicly-available military research on PO; and
2. government plans for liquid fuel emergencies

Third, I go to TOD. What I don't like about this site is two things: its linear/vertical lay-out and the various fake names (my own partial name included).
That said, over the years I have learned to work with its linearity and must admit that I can't think of a better way to lay out a discussion format.
Also, I understand that many contributors (eg. Rockman) work in the industry and need to be anonymous when they provide their extremely useful insights.
On the positive side, I find items posted here which I would never find elsewhere, and I really value the observations of many (almost all, really) of you regular contributors.

Bottom line: I think that all three PO websites do things differently, but they complement each other very effectively.
If I were to add a 4th, 5th & 6th they would all be from the UK: Powerswitch, ODAC and APPGOPO.
I appreciate the info from all these sources... I just wanted to put in a special 'plug' for EB.

But what about the Marxists?!! Aren't you concerned about our Purity of Essence?

(I'm watching Strangelove right now.. I feel like it's practically a continuation of the conversations I've had here in the last couple days, INCLUDING the strange naming conventions!)

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame, outlook, way of life, and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine? Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit!

Colonel "Bat" Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: What?

Colonel "Bat" Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.

(Sorry, Jerry, but with all the madness we've got in front of us these days, Marxism doesn't even make the list.. Obey your Thirst!)

But what about the Marxists?!!

Yes, what about them?!?!

Aren't you concerned about our Purity of Essence?

Perhaps they are a follower of George Gordon. (George Gordon School of Law and Mr. Gordon wants to know why you are a practising communist.)

“We’ve got to fish harder before it’s all gone.”

I've engaged many commercial fisheries over the decades, even done away with some (via scientific and public pressure means). Aside from the odd exception here and there, they utterly embody the "tragedy of the commons" concerns.

For the most part there is no morality shown at sea. It's like gang rape on a lonely country road. It's like mad max, apocalypse now, and silent running. The vessel captains do whatever they want to. Quotas, treaties, and other paper niceties fall away on the high seas and Anything Goes. Anything and everything.

I always appreciated Peru (under Philippe Benevides authority) bombing Onassis' whaling fleet with planes. I'd like to see a lot more of that as national policy worldwide. The corporations wouldn't care for it, though.

Be nice to see fishing go back to aboriginal fishing, sail boats below a size, only small outboard motors etc.; i.e. mostly 'local'. Some African local fisheries when fished-out turned to piracy of supertankers and giant cargo. Surprisingly effective at times but no way that it can stop the juggernaut.
EDIT Oops. Similar comments already made down thread.

And whenever you see governments trying to set some kind of limits, you see professional fishermen protesting with signs like "Jobs before fish!". And if fisheries become so depleted government has to stop fishing what do the fishermen do? They'll usually deny there's any shortage at all - there's plenty of fish out there if only those busybody government officials and scientists would let them find it. And even if they acknowledge there is a problem they'll blame anyone and everyone except themselves.

I've stopped buying fish myself - although perhaps the better strategy would be for everyone to buy more fish so we can get the worldwide fisheries collapse over and done with instead of just dragging it out.

Mackerel.. (Leftist Rant Warning)

..Stocks have dropped from an estimated 30 million metric tons to less than a tenth of that in two decades. The world’s largest trawlers, after depleting other oceans, now head south toward the edge of Antarctica to compete for what is left.

This mirrors an interview I did with a Marine Studies Program at Bowdoin College a couple years back for the Penobscot River Restoration Project, about the massive trawlers off the Maine coast, chewing up millions of pounds of 'marine biomass'.. and is yet another example of what I described the other day as the way our machines have kept stuffing our shelves and bellies, so we think we're simply in the land of plenty, but we don't see around the other side of these fat metal boxes to see the daily denuded lands and seas that they are leaving behind them.

Look at THIS hand, not the OTHER one..

Yes, the whole story is told here: What A Way To Go: Life at the end of Empire (must see)

Thanks Ron, that was the best summation of our situation I have ever seen.

Try this one instead
I'm sure you've seen it....

The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See - FULL LECTURE - AlBartlett.org

Rather than 'instead', see 'em both. And...

...William Catton's book 'Overshoot'. I've long considered these sources the three legs that provide a stable platform for understanding the human predicament.

Yes, good catch.

I plan to use it in (or impose it on?) one of my classes.

I feel bad for your class....

17 minutes into it and it's boring, monotone, depressing and pointless....
You want your class to figure out possible local solutions or give up in despair..........

Hey Less...,

The video gets better 20 minutes into it.....

I used to troll for mackerel off Bailey Island, not far from Bowdoin College. In the 1990s there was a Russian factory ship anchored 5 miles off the coast there processing fish meal from menhadden. (You could smell it on shore when the wind was right).
The ship was allowed to dock at the end of the season and Russians would hit the used car lots to take cheap cars back as deck cargo. They had a thing for AMC products like Gremlins and Pacers.

weird. "menhadden" ..? is it a Russian accent for Manhattan?

Menhaden - oily little algae-eating fish.

Here is an article about Menhaden...their importance, and out impact:


I wish I had a link to the Soylent Corporation Oceanographic Survey of 2025, Volume I and II.

Oh wait, here is the 'Last Days of the Ocean' article collection from Mother:


For those that want more info, (depression?) there is an excellent lecture by Dr. Jeremy Jackson titled

Brave New Ocean.

There are various longer and shorter versions to be had just by searching the above title, but I chose this link because there is a lot of other cool stuff there.



fascinating information thanks

Watching for the leftist rant... any time now...

Nope. No leftist rant that I can see. Good, proper and accurate observations, that's all.

If you want to rant, say something about the insanity of imbalancing the oceans by destroying part of the ecosystem. Talk about the greed that allows people [yes, corporations are people; I know because SCOTUS told me they are] to demonstrably destroy their future and that of our children and grandchildren in order to enhance this month's profits. We will die in the name of EBIDTA!

Makes you want to rant, doesn't it! Or cry!

And it comes from all directions... left, right, center! Except that there is no longer a left... only an extreme right, far right, and center right.

// rant off //


Didn't you get the memo? Simply believing in science and empirical evidence-based "facts" makes you a "leftist" in today's America. And as you say, there is no Left left.

Pirate Fishing

The precious marine resources of some of the world's poorest people are being targeted by industrial-scale pirate fishing operations, to feed the seafood hungry markets of Europe and Asia.

The problem is particularly acute in West African waters of Sierra Leone where fish is a vital - and often the only - protein source for millions of people.

Isn't that how the Somali pirate thing got started? The sequence was something like this.
(1) Somilia becomes a failed state, no one to protect the fisheries.
(2) Industrial "pirate" trawlers take the fish.
(3) Somali fishermen say WTF, "if this is how the wolrd treats us, we'll show um".
(4) Fishermen transition from fishing to piracy.

I think you need to insert the part where the gov't sells the fishing rights to the Russians(or insert other country).

Was there even a government to sell them. Once the government is too weak to enforce them, why would anyone buy, when they can just take?

The U.S. trained Somalis on how to interdict ships at sea for inspection purposes.

Inspector: "Do you have anything on board -including personell, worth ransoming?"

"Reality has a left-wing bias."

Perhaps. This article, on the link between prejudice, IQ, and social conservatism, suggests that "strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world."

But the same might hold true on the other end of the spectrum. "It might not be a particular ideology that is linked to stupidity, but extremist views in general."

I heard an interesting observation. Unfortunately, secondhand.

The military man's observation was that in armed conflicts, the extremists survive while the moderates do not fare so well.

This would hold with "degeneracy towards the mean". Where "mean" means average, not mean... English

There was this on PBS last night :-

"In an 'Age of Austerity,' How Scarce Resources Could Shape U.S. Politics"

The author mentions how conservatives would fare better than liberals in a time of scarce resources, since they have - according to the author- less propensity to care about the welfare of others (paraphasing) and would be more likely to take whatever is available for themselves.

A survey (no link sadly) in Australia showed that people prone to attaching an Australian flag to their cars (or themselves) on Australia Day (26 Jan) are more likely to be racist, xenophobic, anti-immigration, and anti-Muslim. Surprise surprise. But our good prime minister came out and scoffed at the survey - don't want to upset all those racist xenophobes, since some of them might vote!

But there is little doubt that flag-waving in Oz is more the refuge of certain types of "patriots", whereas it seems to me it's more acceptable to wave flags in the US, and not be branded too much. We don't go in for that sort of overt nationalistic showiness as a rule, but it is changing.

Didn't you get the memo? Simply believing in science and empirical evidence-based "facts" makes you a "leftist" in today's America. And as you say, there is no Left left.

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing”

Karl Rove

Having worked on a factory trawler in the Bering Sea I can report first hand that the by-catch alone is a tragedy of epic proportions. Admittedly this was 20 years ago, so hopefully it's not as bad now, but I personally witnessed tons of dead fish dumped over the side of the boat, some of it extremely high value such as the 100lbs Halibut the size of small children, and for no other reason than because it was "out of season".

That in addition to the massive steel trawl gear raking the bottom of the sea into a flat, lifeless parking lot.

And that's just the LEGAL stuff. I don't have a link handy, but I recently saw a report about the epidemic of illegal fishing in places like the Philippines where they indiscriminately use dynamite and cyanide to wipe out entire fisheries.

Best hopes for a planet devoid of modern humans.



Having worked on a factory trawler in the Bering Sea I can report first hand that the by-catch alone is a tragedy of epic proportions. Admittedly this was 20 years ago, so hopefully it's not as bad now, but I personally witnessed tons of dead fish dumped over the side of the boat, some of it extremely high value such as the 100lbs Halibut the size of small children, and for no other reason than because it was "out of season".

Yes, we (the collective "we") seem to be hell bent on on destroying our commercial fisheries. There is currently a battle raging regarding dwindling halibut stocks in the NE Pacific. In the recent article International Pacific Halibut Commission hearings open in Anchorage:

The commission reports an Alaska commercial catch for 2011 at 31.6 million pounds, still much more than the 5.9-million-pound sport catch. Charter anglers landed about 60 percent of that. And the sport catch was significantly less than the estimated 10 million pounds of halibut the commission says was caught and discarded dead by trawlers mining the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska for Pollock and perch. It was noted in commission reports, however, that the bycatch was "a 6 percent decrease from 2010 and the lowest since 1986."

In other words, the fish wasted in the by-catch is almost 1/3 as much as the commercial harvest!

That in addition to the massive steel trawl gear raking the bottom of the sea into a flat, lifeless parking lot.

If we were merely overfishing, at least there would be some hope the stock might eventually recover after it crashes. But we are also destroying the marine environment in the process of over fishing. I saw a video awhile back (wish I could find it again) where a group towed a camera along the bottom during and after trawling. Very sad.

I worked a season on a Queensland prawn trawler as a deckie ... we used to shoot all the sharks and dolphins (and many big pelagic fish) that messed with the nets and got caught. Everything went over the side - sometimes massive amounts of it. Hard to deal with if alive and thrashing, it has to be said.

And in my lifetime (59 years) I have watched most of the east coast of Australia descend from good fishing (both recreational and commercial) to a virtual desert. Fishing fleets have been decimated.

As mentioned above - there is no law out at sea (and often only marginal morality and legal enforcement of bag limits and minimum sizes on shore). Anyway most limits are applied way too late - tragedy of the commons indeed.

A further problem with limits is if the scientists recommend a minimum fish size so that they are mature enough to breed the politicians cut the size to placate the fishermen so as to gain their vote. This alone harms the potential for species recovery due to breeding stock being taken out. On top of that the fishermen then use undersize nets to catch even smaller fish and the politicians hum and har as they don't want to lose the votes. Get used to plate of jellyfish, coming to your table soon.


I FISH AND I VOTE was an influential bumper sticker in Australia for quite a long time ... possibly still is. Recreational fishing (backed by commercial fishers - even though they are sometimes in conflict themselves) has had a lot of clout in a lot of electorates (both coastal and rural). But in Australia - hunting is not such a big deal, electorally.

Get used to plate of jellyfish, coming to your table soon.

That epic one liner, “We’ve got to fish harder before it’s all gone.”

can also be restated as:

We've got to frac harder before it’s all gone.

We've got to drill-baby, drill-harder before it’s all gone.

We've got to pipe-baby, pipe-it-harder/faster before it’s all gone.

We've got to burn-baby, burn-it-harder/faster before we're all gone.

It's all good. It's all "common sense".

We've got to pipe-baby, pipe-it-harder/faster before it’s all gone.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth said, "This critical [Keystone XL] project has been delayed by heavy-handed EPA regulations and political stalling by the administration, and this latest move is motivated by a president who doesn't want to anger politically connected environmentalists that care little about creating jobs or lowering gas prices." --source

I agree with step_back mostly - but there is a physical and conceptual difference. Taking too much from a fishery so that it collapses altogether (which is the history of fishing grounds for ... oh ... at least the last thousand years) is a tragedy of the commons issue at the highest level.

But the extraction of oil & gas from the specific (mapped) lease that you have paid for is quite a different matter. The end result might well be pretty similar (the depletion of a large resource in double-quick time), but it is not the same as the depletion of a common (essentially unmanageable) resource like fish. I might be pedantic, but the distinction is an important one, I think.

The end of consumption will proceed like the Black Friday shopping scuffles. “I've got to get my waffle maker before they're all gone.” Out comes the pepper spray. On the national scale the cause will be “I've got to get the last of the crude oil before it's all gone.” But instead of pepper spray or pushing being utilized, we will see sanctions and nuclear weapons brandished.

Welcome shoppers, Libya-mart's goods have flown off the shelves, but please remain calm, Iran-mart will soon be conducting their grand opening.

Adam Smith should have seen it coming: The Invisible Self-Choking Hand

Due to individual greed, each actor, when he sees it starting to go, unilaterally does the following:

1. Fishes harder
2. Fracs harder
3. Drills, extracts and pipes harder, faster and more furiously

... until/before it's all gone

"there is no law out at sea (and often only marginal morality"

For the most part there is no morality shown at sea. It's like gang rape on a lonely country road. It's like mad max, apocalypse now, and silent running.


When no one is looking...

Those who think "dieoff" is something for the indefinite future haven't seen modern fisheries. The dieoff is well underway, and has been for decades.

The amount of "bycatch" is horrendous in many fisheries. Observers - in nations which require them - come to an accomodation with the captain or are at constant risk of death. Treaties deal with a "paper reality" which bears little resemblance to what actually goes on at sea.

Vessels exchange gunfire, even with same-nation fleets. Poking one's head into the docks and vessels is a good way of getting dead.

I've messed deeply (and for the most part successfully) with the whaling fleets, the driftnet fleets, the purse seine fleets, and many others. The scale of destruction of life is staggering. It's hard to become expert on it, because really understanding and interacting with the reality makes one spiritually ill. For anyone who values the earth and its life systems, it's hard to compare it to anything besides human genocides. Mass death, destruction of species, habitats, everything, for no good reason. Cat food. Fertilizer. Fish food for "farmed" fish. I'm slightly dead inside due to learning enough to engage it for decades, can't be helped.

Folks may call me a doomer, but I've been living amid the doom for the last 38 years, dealing with real blood & guts. I've worked to try saving really nice species which now no longer exist.

I seldom write about it or speak about it anymore. Who wants to really know about an ongoing holocaust? The generations of campaigners I trained have mostly gone into careers in which they can forget what they've seen.

Humans have a lot to answer for.

Frodo had it easy - his task was well-defined.

Who wants to really know about an ongoing holocaust? The generations of campaigners I trained have mostly gone into careers in which they can forget what they've seen.

greenish, I concur with what you're saying. Problem is, this rape of the ocean's bounty has been ongoing for so long nobody has any reference to what we've lost.

The Grand Banks of Newfoundland were once one of the richest and most diverse eco-systems in the world. When John Cabot first encountered the banks, he reported that all one had to do was dip a basket into the brine to yield a catch. By the 16th century, almost every European nation was represented as fishing fleets combed the frigid and fertile waters of the shallow reaches of the North Atlantic. The Great Auk, a northern equivalent of the penguin, had been wiped out by the 19th century. By the turn of the twentieth century, Maritime and Newfoundland fishermen were noticing a sizable depreciation of inshore catches. Boats had to go further out to haul in the same catch.

Whales were going the same route as the Great Auk. During the 1930s, 50,000 whales were being hunted annually. The only thing that saved them was a moratorium imposed in 1968.

The lowly cod, however, was to have no such reprieve.

By the mid-twentieth century, technology was brought in to aid fishermen. B/c of sonar tracking and factory ships, cod schools had nowhere to hide. Canada could only impose quotas and supervise fishery activities within a twelve mile jurisdiction until the early 1970s. Meanwhile Canadian, American, European and Asian trawlers were combing and dredging the bottom of the mid to outer banks.

The cod catch peaked in 1968 at 810,000 tons. By the early 1990s, the cod fishery had all but collapsed. Belatedly, a moratorium was declared in 1993. It was too little, too late. The cod could not come back.

What is seen on the ocean toss today is paltry compared to what was there before.

The free hand of the market did not prevent ecology devastation. Nor did it regenerate depleted resources. There is a moral lesson to be learned here. As you say, Frodo had it easy. His task was well defined. So too is the one before us. But we turn away from even recognizing the extent of our callous destruction.

All true, and then some.

Most people simply don't realize what we've done, how far it's gone, how much has been lost.

It would have been nice to live an upbeat life. Knowing what I knew, I was unable to. It's like being in a never-ending war across decades, on the losing side. There is no ring of power to throw into a volcano, just the inexorable crush of too many monkeys screaming for grapes.

ah well.

Real death is quickly so damned quiet. It would take a ghost to know what was never meant to be lost.

I've found that the title of a Harlan Ellison Sci-Fi short story best describes the experience that you describe. ... I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Modern fishing technology is too good. No matter how you try to limit them, just a tiny fraction of the world's fishing capability can decimate whole fisheries.

I never even heard of the Great Auk. When you are born into a world without something there, something missing, you don't know to miss it.

The story is well worth reading.


Sorry to put out such real stuff. Sometimes, it just comes out.

Its better out. Thanks.


Wow Greenish - I had no idea. Never been involved in commercial fishing.

I have some learning to do.

Thank you.

Don't apologize, more people need to hear reality. Too many don't have any clue about the mess we've made.

it's hard to compare it to anything besides human genocides

I agree. I call it piscicide.

I remember the first oil spill disaster recorded by the TV media - the wreck of Torrey Canyon in Cornwall, in 1967.


I was distraught, at the age of 11, at the sight of sea creatures covered in oil. It has always stayed with me. Since then, there have been a lot of other awful sights - slaughter of elephant and rhino for ivory among them. Somehow, the first one is the most real. Maybe we can't help getting hardened over time, or go mad.

Only thing I've found to do is to keep plugging away at the things I have control over, and trying to influence others to do the same. I admit, it's a drop in the bucket.

The Age of Oil has been a catastophe, any way one looks at it.

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place...

Maritime wind farm nears completion
Expected to be producing power by the end of March

A new wind farm between Sackville and Amherst is expected to be producing power by the end of March, with a possible expansion on the horizon.

And another, larger wind farm could be built in New Brunswick.

The current one, located right off the highway between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, will generate 31.5 megawatts of green energy, said Don Bartlett, the chief operating officer of Sprott Power Corp., the Toronto-based company leading the project.

That's enough to power 10,000 homes in the Amherst area, he said.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/01/24/nb-wind-farm-...

As I've been reporting here for sometime, our province is slowly greening our electrical supply. In 2006, some 80 per cent of our electricity was generated through the burning of coal; today, coal's share has fallen to 57 per cent. Wind is assuming a large role in our generation mix. Currently, we have 286 MW of wind capacity in place and when this new facility is commissioned in March that jumps to 317 MW (provincial demand as I type this is just over 1,400 MW).

What's interesting to note is that wind costs in this province are now on par with that of new coal; to whit:

[T]he capital costs of wind projects leads us to produce electricity at a rate that is somewhat higher in the short term than using fuel in existing and partially depreciated fossil fuel burning assets. Although, due to favourable borrowing costs and other factors, NS Power’s wind projects are producing electricity at roughly $83 per megawatt hour (MWh) while the energy from wind farms owned by independent power producers generally costs between $90-100/MWh. This compares to a cost of $60-65/MWh for fossil fuel generation when the capital cost is excluded, or $80-90/MWh including capital costs. The wind projects become more competitive as assets depreciate and coal prices rise.


To the end of 2012, we estimate the incremental cost of meeting the Nova Scotia Government’s renewable energy requirements to be in the range of $15-20 million, representing about 1.5 % of our total business costs. We continue to be confident in the estimate previously provided that the cost of meeting the 25% renewable energy target by 2015 will add 1-2% per year to your power bill. However, increases in fossil fuel prices continue to outweigh these changes. World prices for coal and petcoke, for instance, have risen considerably in the last few years and remain the single largest cost of making electricity in Nova Scotia. In the long run, we expect near-term incremental costs for renewables to help shelter Nova Scotians from escalating fossil fuel prices and provide ever-cleaner sources of electricity.

[My emphasis.]

See: http://cleaner.nspower.ca/

The long-terms outlook for wind looks quite favourable.


Good stuff. I wonder how much wind power NB could have built if they hadn't wasted so much on the refurbishment of the Point LePreau nuclear reactor? It probably seemed like a good idea at the time...

While it is unfortunate there have been cost overruns, this should be a better investment than the $2-3 billion that has been estimated for rebuilding or decommissioning the Mactaquac dam.

Actually New Brunswick has slightly more wind turbine installed capacity (103%) than Nova Scotia as of last month. However, their native load was 127% of Nova Scotia's in 2007, so they appear to be slightly behind on penetration.


A question relating to your favourite topic - lighting.
Have you had any experience with Light Emitting Plasma lights?
I had not heard of these until yesterday, but they seem to be very efficient, and solve some of the problems with LED's, especially for high power /space lighting applications

An interesting technical discussion of their features, and drawbacks, here;

Thanks for these links, Paul; much appreciated. I vaguely recall the US DOE installing plasma lighting in one of their lobbies maybe ten years ago but never heard anything more after that.

I have no clue where NB Power's final tally will come in, but I do know that the replacement power that they're buying from Hydro-Québec runs about a million dollars a day. The last time I checked I believe the cost overruns at that point were in the vicinity of $1.5 billion so we're probably looking at over $3.0 billion by the time the last chapter of this sorry tale is written. That would have bought a heck of a lot of conservation, for sure !

BTW, there was discussion in Monday's Drumbeat about the relative merits of country living, and one potential drawback is that if you do something stupid and hurt yourself you're likely miles away from help. Ed and I were re-caulking the flashing on our cupola earlier this morning and on his way down he slipped on one of the rungs and his left leg fell through the ladder. When his weight shifted and the ladder started sliding sideways, I lost my grip and fell backwards over a retaining wall, landing some two meters below with my head cracking the pavement... so one moment all-is-good and the next I'm flat on my back seeing stars... BIG stars. Just got back from emerg... thankfully, no broken bones and no spinal injury. Lots of pain though... so I'll be popping pain killers and anti-inflammatories like they are Pez for the next little while.

[Telling everyone that he's been trying to kill me... just needs to make it look like an accident.]


Yikes.. it's those close calls that really leave you going 'What if..!?' long afterwards.

Had a close call on a mostly frozen lake once on my skis.. it just keeps coming back to me like a movie where the ending might just be different this time around.

Feel better!

Had a close call on a mostly frozen lake once on my skis.. it just keeps coming back to me like a movie where the ending might just be different this time around.

My moment was on a ski-mountaineering trip, when I fell into a hidden crevasse. Not good, but what was worse was that it was an extremely narrow crevasse, and I could hardly move enough to prussik up. What made it absolutely terrifying was that when I fell in, the rope caught over a big ice block wedged near the surface, and limited how deep I went in. Had I punched through just a meter or so further back, I would have taken a long pendulum and fallen in much deeper, and would probably have been wedged in. Permanently.

One of those days when after it's over, one realizes how good it is to be alive, and how little it takes to not be alive.

Heard of a few scary trajedies like that, where the guy fell in and got wedged so bad they couldn't get him out. One of my buddies got stuck in a crack rockclimbing. Mountain rescue was able to get him unstuck. Then there was that guy solo canyoneering a couple of years back, he cut his arm off with a pocket knife to save himself!

That crevasse episode was about 15 years ago, and I've significantly dialed back my mountain adventures since then. I still get out, but I'm past the big Six Oh now, and I mostly confine myself to more mellow adventures these days. I'm just trying to find the right balance between living a full life....and a long life.

Glad you cheated the reaper, Bob. That's one appointment I hope you put off for a very long time.

I've found myself in one or two similar situations over the years. When I was thirteen I got caught up in an undertow. I remember thinking at the time that here I am in distress, my life seemingly slipping away, and everyone else back on the beach is completely oblivious to my dilemma. Surprisingly, no panic as such, just this overwhelming sense of disbelief.


Thanks Paul.

Yeah, that's the funny part. I was totally calm when it was happening. It's just looking back at it that I'll get into a sweat.. It wasn't even THAT dire a situation, just one of those little things that could go southwards fast.. ask Hitchcock. It's ALL about the suspense!

Still on Strangelove, but I wish I had MASH here to put up next.. I don't mind the misery, fear and blood, as long as I get to have a few laughs along the way as well.

Being totally calm, yet applying 100% of your efforts to maximizing your survival is the needed/rational response. Been there a couple of times. Had I gone into a blind panic instead, I doubt I woulda made it.

Too often, in the undertow situation, the guy makes a deal with god (save me, and...). Then if he survives he becomes a religious fanatic.

No religious fanaticism, EoS, and I have no explanation as to why I didn't panic other than I probably didn't have time to react in any particular way, rational or not; I was most likely overtaken by the event. The only thing I remember other than this great sense of indignation -- hey guys, I'm in trouble over here, I could use some help -- was that I tried to keep track of which direction was up.


What on earth were two of you doing on one ladder!?


Well, I was the one with both feet firmly planted on the ground supposedly holding said ladder but it didn't quite work out that way. I'm rather embarrassed by this. First, the ladder should have been properly secured so that it wouldn't slip. Secondly, I shouldn't have been standing with my back a half step away from a retaining wall. I constantly stress to my guys the importance of safe work practices and the need to do a thorough hazard assessment before they start any work... thankfully, these guys are a lot smarter than their idiot boss.

03h40 local time and I still can't sleep... the slightest movement elicits one of those "Hello, remember me?" responses. What fun.


Heh, Heh. I was just stirring your conscience about taking the proper precautions, imagine what Rockman would have to say :) Working with Mexican workmen sharpens you up to watching out for things. Passed one building site and was amazed to seen someone working at height wearing a safety harness. Even had a rope tied to it. I was impressed until I saw that the rope was tied to a strong point on the ground! Yep, straight down not looped over the scaffold tower he was working on. Now, take more care, we would like your input here to continue and not be cut off suddenly.


I'm trying to figure out how/why that could happen other than complete incomprehension of the purpose of the tie-line but slavish uncomprehending adherence to an instruction to tie off. Given a typical complete unconcern for safety, maybe he wanted purchase to pull against something else (human pulley duty)?

It would have been the former. For the latter they'd have just used some more workers, the whole rope was slack anyway. If I get asked for some rope to use it has become automatic that I ask why until I get the full story eg ' we will tie the rope around the labourer and lower down the side so he can do the work' - TILT!


We do get more prone to stuff like that as we age. I sued to think only clutzes could hurt themselves on a ladder. But, then I was a macho rock climber in my younger days. Now, at 60, I treat them with a lot of respect, just don't have the balance and reflexes I used to (nor the flexible bones). I also rememebr my dad slipped on the ice and nearly knocked himself out. As he wasn't dressed to be outside in freezing weather, it could have been the end of him.

Lots of pain though... so I'll be popping pain killers and anti-inflammatories like they are Pez for the next little while.

Gives new meaning to the mantra, "Better living through chemistry".

Get well. Stay well.



Thanks, Tom. All kidding aside, I'm trying to keep my drug intake to the bare minimum because I suffer from chronic back pain as it is and it's all too easy to become dependent upon these medications. I'm going to tough it out as best I can, but something as simple as a sneeze is enough to send me into outer orbit.

This is where the fall took place: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0902.jpg

I was standing on the third tier when I was knocked back and as best I can tell my side/back hit the the lower retaining wall on the way down and then my head hit the driveway. I'm extremely fortunate that much of the trauma is related to my rib cage; otherwise, there's a good chance I would have been killed or broken my neck.

It's the sheer stupidity of it all that really bothers me; there's absolutely no excuse for an accident of this kind.


It's the sheer stupidity of it all that really bothers me...

Everyone has experienced that "whoops, I shouldn't have done that" moments. When it comes to making our lives comfortable and pain free, we're our own worst enemies.

I haven't met a carpenter who hasn't in a careless moment not tried to saw his finger off. Or an electrician who hasn't tried, at least once, to fry himself. Accidents happen. That's why they're called accidents.

Teaches us to more careful next time. Paul, you're alive. That's what counts;-)

Teaches us to more careful next time.

Not true.
Some individuals (and societies) learn the exact opposite.
Gee wilickers, I got away with it last time, which means I can get away with it again and again.

Need we list some real world examples?

Some individuals (and societies) learn the exact opposite.

That's why we have the The Darwin Awards!

Or the movie trailer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIEQXIkXrPU :-)

Nature has its own way of dealing with lack of insight.

Yeh, they are like that around here plus a good helping of God will protect/ God's will.


Teaches us to more careful next time.

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."
-Will Rodgers

Though I feel for you, and have learned myself what a superb teacher experience can be, I can't help but think:

"Stupidity is SUPPOSED to hurt!"


"Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from poor decisions."

Fantastic quotes, Paleo. I'm going to print these out and keep them close by.


Have you looked into medical TENS units for backpain?

No, not as yet, but it's definitely worth considering.

One of our guys is all of 30 years old and suffers from acute colitis. The man, who is without a doubt the hardest working person I know, experiences severe abdominal pain on a daily basis, yet never complains and always maintains a sunny disposition and is quick with a smile and a kind word. I have tremendous respect and admiration for this young lad, so when I think of what he has to endure day-in, day-out, I have no reason to complain.



Radio-frequency plasma lights:

The search term: induction "light bulb"
returns mostly novel florescents, but some plasma-capsule

electrodeless lamp or light-bulb gives some...

But what I was really looking for was the $30 Edison-based ones I found two months ago...

Hi KD,

Both GE and Osram-Sylvania sell induction/electrodeless fluorescents that retail in the $30.00 price range.

See: http://assets.sylvania.com/assets/documents/CF041.81fe97a7-464b-4ffb-93a...

See also: http://www.goodmart.com/pdfs/ge/genura.pdf

They never really caught on in the marketplace and have been eclipsed more recently by LEDs which offer better overall performance and value. I wouldn't be surprised to see these lamps discontinued at some future date.

I'm not aware of any commercially available plasma lamps that are marketed for general illumination but, again, I haven't been following this technology very closely. My general impression (perhaps outdated) is that these lamps and their supporting hardware are rather pricey and that there are performance issues still to be overcome.



These are different. The plasma light bulbs I'm thinking of have a very small capsule that is excited by the R.F. energy. I believe these make the appropriate black-body spectrum directly.

The capsule:


If you use the term "plasma lamp" and do a Google image search, I made a dollar on each on the ones that look like most of the first row of images... 20 years ago.


I wonder how the fur-heads would react to one of those. I'll have to look up some DIY plans and try.


Give it a try!

Speedy healing to Paul!

Thanks, KD. Feeling much better and happy to be back at work. Some lingering tenderness, but no sharp pain unless I do something I shouldn't.


Sold on wind, the air is going to move like a river, really. Not a difficult job to make it work. South and west of Winnipeg, approximately 150 miles, a wind farm stands and the spacing is ok, but is still eerie to drive through where they're located. Another form of pollution, imo. They need to look like they belong in this world.

Southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta have plenty of room. One wind tower per hundred hectares will be more appealing.

A hundred thousand wind towers out there just above Montana won't be all that bad. Combined with solar, you won't go wrong.

As for biofuels, here's some math:

Canola seed has 40 percent oil content.

The average yield in Canada is 1100 lbs/acre.

The oil content will weigh 440 lbs/acre.

440 lbs/6.2 lbs equals 70.97 gallons per acre.

70.97 gallons/42 gallons per barrel equals 1.7 barrels per acre.

11.3 million acres in Canada planted to canola each year.

19 million barrels of canola oil from 11.3 million acres planted to canola less the auxiliary inputs (fuel, oil for lubrication, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides).

To cultivate, seed, and harvest 11.3 million acres will consume 5 gallons per acre, excluding pesticides/herbicides.

56-60 million gallons of fossil fuels and derivatives used to grow 11.3 million acres of canola in Canada. Probably a low estimate. 8 gallons might be a better guess, nevertheless, it is in the ballpark. Still have to crush it.

113 million acres to grow 190 million barrels of canola oil. You would need 176,562.5 square miles of land to occupy 113 million acres. 350 miles x 500 miles

All of Kansas and Nebraska plus some more.

Too much effort involved, profitable or not. You're going to have to do something else. Feasibility is not going to happen. Doubtful if it will work. Besides, it'll all be gone in 3 days. A full year's growth for 3 days of oil supply. yippee

200,000 square miles of easy on the eye wind towers will produce much more energy and you'll be able to farm the land underneath where possible. Fit in a few thousand square miles of solar and you'll be cooking with gas. You can power the potash mining in Saskatchewan.

Divert rivers to the southern portions of those two provinces for water supply. If the Romans could do it back then, it can be done now.

Better to spend time and efforts on what can be done to stop digging the hole deeper. You have to admit, wind power will fill some of the void.

Estimate source for fuel consumption/100hp diesel:


Slow and steady wins the race. Go Canada!

North Dakota Oil Boom Brings Pain With Growth as Housing, Food Costs Soar, above, ... a pretty good rundown of the huge bubble being blown in N. Dakota; our latest gold rush/feeding frenzy. One wonders how long this will continue and what a mess it will leave behind. Methinks that when this boom goes bust, it will leave the locals agog, abandoned by both oil and economics. Steps should be taken to set up a permanent oil fund as Alaska has done, or there won't be much left except the bills, the hills, and abandoned housing and infrastructure.

I don't get it. What keeps these states from just increasing their severance tax to pay for the boom? The oil and gas are where they are. Do they really think the extractors are going to pack up and leave if the taxes are an extra $1 a barrel? And even if they did, isn't that preferable to what is happening currently?

The same kinds of things described in this article have happened three times in my lifetime in Western Colorado, and are happening right now in Weld County, in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming where drilling into the Niobrara is taking off. Wyoming's severance taxes are much higher than Colorado's, and consequently their state is in much better shape, but Colorado refuses to raise their severance, and instead literally begs the large extractors to give them money to repair the roads being destroyed here. It is insanity.

Honestly, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but there is no way this is happening without some elected official's palms being very greasy. No. Way.

...but Colorado refuses to raise their severance, and instead literally begs the large extractors to give them money to repair the roads being destroyed here. It is insanity.

It's called TABOR. Since 1992, any statewide tax rate increase in Colorado must be approved by the people in a statewide election. For the legislature to put such a measure on the ballot requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers, which the anti-tax conservatives have easily blocked. No private group has been willing to spend the money to collect the signatures to put a citizen initiative to raise the severance tax on the ballot. With good reason; I'm not sure that any statewide tax rate increase has been approved.

And here in broke California they still can't collect a penny of royalities. It would take a 2/3rds majority to raise any tax, and there about 34% who always vote no.

Oy! I could not believe that they voted it down when it got on the ballot as a popular initiative (the oil companies bought a lot of lying ads to convince folks it'd raise retail gasoline prices 1-for-1). We're the number 3 oil state, places as red as Alaska, Texas, and Wyoming all have major severance tax, and CALIFORNIA doesn't. Crazy stupid.

We're the number 3 oil state, places as red as Alaska, Texas, and Wyoming all have major severance tax, and CALIFORNIA doesn't. Crazy stupid.

That's because in places like Texas, Wyoming, and Alaska a lot of the politicians are oil men. Elect oil men to power, and the first thing they will do is raise severance taxes on oil companies - but in the nicest possible way. They know they have a budget to meet, and they know where the money can be found.

A French finance minister once stated it succinctly: "The art of taxation is plucking the most feathers from the goose with the least squawk," or words in French to that effect.

Politicians in California are unclear on the whole concept of budgets and taxation.

An important consideration is whether a particular state is a net oil exporter or not. If you're a large exporter, most of the total severance tax is being paid by people in other states. You may see a modest increase in the retail fuel price, but you see a much larger increase in tax revenues. You can offset the increase in fuel price to your own citizens with a decrease in some other tax, and the state still comes out ahead. California may be a large producer, but is also a very large consumer, so the severance tax is going to be primarily -- perhaps exclusively -- a tax on Californians. Wyoming's severance tax revenue comes largely from people in other states, with the oil industry serving as the tax collector.

Energy resources are not the only way to work this. Nevada taxes the casino/hotels heavily, a tax that falls mainly on out-of-state visitors. Florida works the same deal with various tourist taxes. Most states that get by on lower-than-average combined sales and income taxes are able to do so because they have some form of leverage that allows them to collect taxes from people from other states.

Well, CA is mostly a net importer. But most of the tax woulda been paid out of profits, and maybe slightly reduced production volumes. They can't charge above the world price (plus transport), just to maintain the profit margin. So unless they are (pretax) selling the oil at a discount, there should be little to no effect on the retail price.

It seems pretty obvious that in states like California, Colorado, and now new kid North Dakota, that an awful lot of legislators have had their palms greased for years - probably for generations in some cases - to ensure that minimum royalty regimes are put in place.

But it would seem to me this is irrational ... it would seem to me that the extraction industries should be HAPPY to pay royalties, so that roads, housing, schools, and all sorts of other supporting infrastructure are in place.

But it seems American capitalism is run by dipsticks, and therefore good strategic spending that will ultimately make a return in spades, is aggressively opposed, so the next quarter figures are good. I'm actually not surprised that the US has squandered its natural endowment ... there is no sense of governance that works, it seems to me.

He drank the kool aid.


From the article "Wasting the Wastewater" up top:

Each day, American municipalities discharge enough treated wastewater into natural sources to fill Lake Champlain within six months.

I see that anything involving a rate totally eludes journalists. It's almost like they've take a professional oath to mangle the mathematics.

Amen, brother.

Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization's collapse

... Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as "preppers." Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

... "Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year," said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement.

"We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots," he told Reuters. "The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures."

Interesting - I had heard a little about "preppers" but recently met a prepper couple. Perfectly normal folks except they are accumulating all of the things needed to survive "the end of the world as we know it". What surprised me about the conversation I had with them is that after hearing what they were doing I casually asked if it was learning about peak oil that had caused them to take these actions and I got two blank stares for a few seconds and one of them finally said - "What's peak oil?"

I'm afraid I gave them something else to worry about! It turns out their concerns are just based on observing the craziness going on around the world and concluding that "this sucker is going down".

Living in the boondocks I'd still be a prepper even were I not to call myself one officially. Why? Because $hit happens. For example, last month the water line to my neighbor's cabin broke. Rather than wasting an hour and gas going to town, I simply went to Todd's Plumbing Supply and picked out the needed fittings and fixed the pipe.

We also get snowed in. We always get snowed in at least a week a winter and one time it was three weeks. It would have been a month if we hadn't brought in a bulldozer to plow the road. Had we not had supplies, we'd have been in big trouble.

Same with power. We have an 8kW generator that sucks gas for big demands and a little 2kW one that sips gas for lights and entertainment. Why? Because the grid isn't reliable in the winter and there might not be enough sun for our 3.6kW PV system.

In reality, there are thousands of people who "prep" but don't even know the term.


There is an entire religion with a "Prepper" mentality - LDS. I don't recall seeing the 'prepper' "branding" applied to them however.

I don't put much stock into labels such as 'prepper' or 'survivalist'. By this article's definition most Mormons are preppers, and many "preppers" disagree about what they are prepping for or how to go about it. Most normal folks are preparing for something; retirement, healthcare, whatever. How much food does a family need in the pantry to qualify?

In my case "more independently situated" describes a lifestyle that is more resilient regardless of how things play out, and it goes to not being utterly reliant upon hyper-complex systems that I understand poorly and which force me to participate in, and contribute to, behaviors I consider destructive or a waste of time.

Participation in the madness becomes largely optional. Just tryin' to be more than "undeveloped, unevolved, barely conscious pond scum, totally convinced of their own superiority as they scurry about their short, pointless lives." [MIB]

Here in Queensland, after the big floods of this time last year, the State Government began an education campaign to get people to prepare for natural disasters better. Organisations like Energex already had info in the media basically saying "stay away from dangerous stuff", but the latest Govt campaign is trying to get people to store enough consumables so that a household could last at least three days off-grid. The rationale for three days seems to be that in the Brisbane area, parts of the city were cut off for two or three days, and people ran out of milk, fresh water, and stuff like that. Beyond the suburbs, 'prepping' is more a way of life, since you can be stranded for a month or more in some places.

One problem with the rebuilding effort after the floods is that it has concentrated on the roads, including a bypass on the Bruce Highway that is big enough to land aircraft on, rather than the rail links.

Anything could happen at any time.
Those people who happen to be in the right circumstances with the right supplies will have an advantage.

Absolutely nothing major could happen at any time.
Those who have not displaced themselves and invested in unused goods will have an advantage.

50 years ago, many of my neighbors in Northridge, California had or were digging bomb shelters. My dad had escape plans for the family. He taught me how to deal with a range of weapons.

It could have gone either way.

One word of caution: When you displace yourself to the sparse margins, you keep closer company with the inhabitants of such places.

At the fall of Russia, when things got to the point they are here in America, with all of the capitol and resources looted, there was soon civil war.

One word of caution: When you displace yourself to the sparse margins, you keep closer company with the inhabitants of such places.

Unfortunately, all too true. One of the great downsides of heading out to a rural place to establish a new way of life, is the lack of effective community available to newcomers. Many residents expect you to be there for 30 years before you're considered a true local, and those that DO want to engage with you tend to be the losers, loners, and nutters.

Way of the (rural) world. I actually think a better survival / living strategy is to go somewhere where no-one cares where you came from, or what baggage you might have.

I would argue that very few of them are actually preparing for "civilization's collapse"; they're preparing for a temporary disruption. Another paragraph from the article:

Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a "survival center," complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home.

"Indefinitely" is an open-ended period of time. Think about ten years down the road. Where will the fuel for the generator come from? What will she eat when the freeze-dried runs out? Where will her clothing come from, or the materials to repair the now-leaking roof? Who sets her broken arm? In the case of a real collapse, those are questions that need serious answers. She may be extraordinarily well-prepared for a short-term emergency, but most of the preparations appear to assume that things will recover. Or the description may reflect the biases of the writer, and the woman is better prepared for "indefinitely" than it sounds.

I think back to the small Iowa town where my grandparents lived when I was a little boy. The older houses all still had the accoutrements of the days before electricity had arrived. Wells with hand pumps. Root cellars. Coal-fired furnace without blower (put in when there were still operating local coal mines). A bunch of kerosene lanterns tucked away somewhere. I met the old woman down the street who sewed on a treadle-powered machine. The guy who owned the welding shop was also a competent blacksmith. Lots of remnants from the Great Depression: big gardens, chicken coops, even a few goats. No one was self-sufficient, but as a group the town had a lot of the skills that would be necessary.

You can run off by yourself and hide for a while. But you need at least a village to have any hope of surviving in the longer term.

No one was self-sufficient, but as a group the town had a lot of the skills that would be necessary. You can run off by yourself and hide for a while. But you need at least a village to have any hope of surviving in the longer term.

There was a discussion here a couple of days ago regarding Kunstler's 'World Made by Hand' novels. It's his ability to elucidate just this that give them value, IMO.

A year or so ago here, the conclusion was "community".

It's what we've done. Far from perfect, but feels much better than being where we were, in a rural setting, but just 5 miles from a city, and with no connection to speak of with neighbors. Even though the avg. member of our community doesn't see PO/energy descent/collapse/what have you as we do, awareness is well above that of the 'outside world', and we have connections, arable land, and a model of sharing resources/looking out for each other already in place.

IEA, OPEC & IEF Symposium on Energy Outlooks 2012: Oil market uncertainties addressed in Riyadh

Held under the Chatham House Rule, the Symposium gathered experts from a diverse range of energy fields. A background paper prepared by the IEF (available at www.ief.org), and presentations by co-hosts IEA and OPEC on their short-, medium- and long-term projections set the scene and served to stimulate debate on the methodologies and assumptions applied to a range of regularly published outlooks on the global energy market as well as the degree to which uncertainties influence these projections at any given point in time.

Experts reviewed uncertainties affecting the short, medium and long-term markets, including the impact of income levels and prices on demand. They also discussed the growing role of non-crude liquids in meeting demand growth; shifting of the geographical structure of demand, refining capacity development; and methodologies for assessing oil supplies, and importance of timely, accurate data for short-term forecasts. Longer term issues examined included the importance of policy changes, upstream cost evolutions, and the key roles played by investment and technology in generating new supplies as well as the effects of population growth and demographic changes.

Symposium on Energy Outlooks: Briefing

In the medium term, ... IEA and OPEC are both expecting an increase in OPEC crude production capacity over the medium term until 2015, but with slightly different assessments of the level of capacity increase. The IEA expects OPEC crude capacity to increase by 2.1 mb/d, from 2010 to 2015 (from 35.7 mb/d to 37.8 mb/d) versus close to 4.0 mb/d by OPEC. Consequently, OPEC foresees a steady increase in OPEC spare capacity over the medium term to reach close to 8.0 mb/d by 2015, not far from the IEA which expects the spare capacity to reach 6.8 mb/d by 2015. According to the IEA report, Iraq will account for 80% of the increased capacity, followed by UAE and Angola.

In the longterm ... The IEA WEO mentions that by 2035, aggregate output from fields already in production in 2010 will drop from 69 mb/d to 22 mb/d by 2035, around 4.5% per year. OPEC current projections do not refer to any decline rate figures as well. However OPEC WOO-2009 stated that the production weighted average annual observed decline rate for non-OPEC is around 4.6% p.a., and this is higher than that in OPEC Member Countries. In addition, the IEA WEO oil supply balances the modeled WEO oil demand; the OPEC WOO does the same, but with around 0.2 mb/d allowance for stock building.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 20, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.3 million barrels per day during the week ending January 20, 279 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 82.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging nearly 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 8.9 million barrels per day last week, up by 588 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, 81 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 722 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 146 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 3.6 million barrels from the previous week. At 334.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 4.3 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.2 million barrels per day, down by 4.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.2 million barrels per day, down by 6.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.0 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.5 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

The Big Bounce: Retail Gasoline Sales and Refinery Output Suddenly Improves

Consumers came out of a year-end travel hangover and have now stepped up retail gasoline purchases. MasterCard SpendingPlus reports that gasoline sales have improved by more than 5% from just two weeks ago. From late summer until early on in this new year (about January 10) gasoline sales were in a sustained and continuing decline – of a type usually associated with consumer recessions. It’s not clear what caused the sudden turnaround or whether it is sustainable.

Meanwhile refiners and distributors finally started to play catch up with final demand and increased their overall ‘products supplied’ (refinery output and imported refined products) by more than 6% - about a 1.3 million bpd improvement in just one week.

One confirmation of the strong end product demand is that fact that the largest cross-country pipeline by volume, the Colonial Pipeline, was operating at or near maximum capacity over the last few weeks in the shipment of diesel and gasoline.

Not surprisingly, Midwest refiners are also operating nearing maximum capacity, at a rate of 95%. Midwest refinery companies have invested heavily in upgrades and have turned around their refineries to be better equipped to process cheaper, lower quality oil from the 'tar sands' region of Canada. Northeast US refiners, much in the news lately because of closures and cutbacks, are only operating at about 55% of capacity.

Over the last year, while US crude oil imports haven’t fallen all that much, the quality and location of imports has changed. Essentially imports from Canada into the Midwest have increased while imports from Nigeria into the Northeast have fallen about the same amount. Lacking oil supplies NE refiners don’t want to risk making make costly upgrades. Therefore Northeast refiners continue to scale back – this in spite of increased profit margin per gallon. In fact the difference in the wholesale price of gasoline between the Midwest to the Northeast has changed dramatically in the last six months. Wholesale NYC prices are about 20 to 30 cents higher a gallon than in the Chicago area this week, a mirror image of the pricing in mid-summer 2011.

Still even high NE gasoline prices may not be enough for the Washington-Baltimore-Philadelphia-NYC-Boston metropolis to make it safely through the upcoming ‘summer driving season’ without a shortage. The closures of refiners in Europe and the Caribbean have eliminated a traditional safety valve of imported supplies mostly available when needed.

Consumer demand may be running into a brick wall of constrained supply before long. Stay tuned.

US Gasoline Use Up 1.3% In Week To 8.477 Million B/D - SpendingPulse

After Closing a St. Croix Refinery, Hess Mulls a Three Week Shut Down for Port Reading

Iran Embargo May Speed Refinery Closures

A last minute reprieve for some NE refineries?

Taking advantage of a significant difference in the price of oil between the upper Midwest and the Northeast, a least one refiner has engineered a complicated logistical solution to getting more oil where it is needed:

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters) - - Sunoco plans to run Bakken crude at its 330,000-barrels-per-day refinery in Philadelphia on a more regular basis, a move that could buy time for the beleaguered plant that is scheduled to close in July, trade sources familiar with refinery operations said on Thursday.

Bakken crude is a light, sweet crude from the Bakken shale oil formation in North Dakota. It travels by rail to Albany, New York where it is barged down to storage tanks at Sunoco's shuttered Eagle Point refinery in New Jersey.

Even though transport by rail and barge are more expensive than by pipeline or tanker, the Bakken crude costs less than imported crudes priced off of North Sea Brent, which could boost refinery profit margins.

The Eagle Point and Philadelphia refineries are connected by a pipeline system that run under the Delaware River.


What, no comments yet on SOTU address? Energy-wise, Obama said what I expected him to say. He lulled the citizenry back to sleep, claiming that our need for oil imports is declining and we'll soon be energy independent. He did not mention that despite the recent uptick, and despite decades of technological innovation and huge investment, US oil "production" is 40% lower than its peak in 1970. He also did not mention that the decline in oil imports in recent years is mostly due to a 10% drop in US oil consumption, due to high oil prices and economic contraction. If our oil situation is so rosy, why is this month's gasoline price higher than ever before in January?

Then there was of course the hoopla (quoted on top) about shale gas, with the obligatory promises that it'll be extracted in an environmentally responsible way. I must give him credit for demanding that the chemicals used be disclosed. Of course, it's safe for him to demand things that Congress will not deliver.

I keep seeing and hearing in the last couple of days that our imported oil dependence is at 49% (or 51). It is stated that we are producing 5.5 million bpd now up from a low of 5.1. But isn't our consumption around 18 down from a peak of ~21?

It depends on what numbers you are talking about. There are three principal measurements of oil: (1) Crude + Condensate; (2) Total Petroleum Liquids and (3) Total Liquids, inclusive of low net energy biofuels.

Net Exorts/Imports are usually calculated in terms of total petroleum liquids or total liquids. I think that on a total liquids basis, net imports are equivalent to about 44% of total liquids consumption (EIA, last four weeks running average).

However, we are dependent on imports for about 60% of the crude oil that we process in US refineries (US crude refinery runs, less US crude oil production).

Thanks westexas,
I guess I shouldn't worry about the %'s too much. Even looking at US crude refinery runs less US crude oil production could be misleading. Recently the press has been hyping the exporting of refined products and if my memory serves me correctly we were importing gasoline back around 2007. I just wasn't getting how we went from importing ~2/3 of our oil needs to 1/2.

Here is a link to recent and historical supply data:

And US net imports/exports of refined products:

And total net imports:

Holy crap, are we really importing 5 mambo/day less of crude? This is outstanding! I knew we were importing less, but this is much more than I ever thought we would be capable of in such a short period of time. I say we cranky up Fit/Leaf/Clarity/HondaGX/Volt production and get to the point where the only imports we need are from Canada, and tell the rest of the world to DRINK their oil.

You are looking at total net imports (crude + refined product). The actual decline in crude oil imports, for example from 1/05 to 1/12, has been a lot more modest, about one mbpd. The vast majority of the decline in net imports was due to reduced consumption of refined petroleum products.

The increase in US crude oil production has so far been pretty modest, if we measure from pre-hurricane levels. US crude oil production averaged 5.4 mbpd in 2004 and in 2011, through October, we averged 5.6 mbpd.

But I agree that we are headed toward "freedom" from our reliance on foreign sources of oil, as we forced to continue to take a declining share of a declining volume of Global Net Exports. Note the divergence between US consumption and China, India and the top 33 net oil exporters, in response to rising oil prices:


How many of the 14 million unemployed, underemployed, stop-looking-for-work people do you think are buying Nissan Leafs? They are more likely to be thinking about getting rid of their second car or driving less. To all technotopians on this board, how many of these people do you think are thinking about buying solar panels or insulating their house? Newly economic depressed people don't think of these things. What is on their minds? How about: '$h!t, how can I come up with enough money for rent/mortgage for this month?' 'Should I forgo cable TV, so that I can pay for my cell phone which is important to me in getting a new job?' 'Electricity is getting too expensive - hey I got it; lets walled off a room and lower the thermostat.'

A progressive architect friend of mine is not among these 14 millioners, but he has seen his business went down more than 50% in this housing bust. I know what he is thinking. 'I'll keep my Audi for a bit longer until business picks up again.'

IMHO, the future is not going to be what you think or for example what Guy McPherson thinks - sudden catastrophic collapse. It is going to be like: $h!t i just lost my job, and the field that I have worked in all my life is shrinking. What am I going to do? How am I going to support my family, pay my bills/debts and find work that pays similar amount that I have become accustomed to? Given the circumstances, the Nissan Leaf is the last thing on people minds. The present situation of collapse is like the game of musical chairs. You may survive this round and the next, Bruce, but the game has just begun.

The drop off in crude oil use in the USA is a result of construction dudes and the likes sitting at home watching TV hoping for an economic recovery. It is not because people rushing out buying Nissan Leafs.

I think 14 million unemployed need to understand that their jobs as predatory lenders and selling that 3rd vacation house to yuppies from the suburbs making $100k a year aren't coming back, and accept their new careers mowing lawns and flipping burgers. Until we stop subsiding unemployment, of course we are going to have too much of it.

But to change that 5 mambo/day drop to an even higher number, we need people to NOT buy those nasty SUVs and other socially disagreement car purchases. A decent $1/gal tax perhaps? A floor price for crude? In either case, this is a good trend and we need to encourage it any way possible. Certainly would save the American consumer some money in the long run.

After the UK regulator forcibly removed Press TV from UK regulated satellites last week, Iran now claims that its channels on Hot Bird are being actively jammed.

Jamming signals keep disrupting IRIB

British technicians in Bahrain continue jamming the signal of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) channels on the Hotbird satellite provider.

The transmission of jamming signals on frequency: 12437 MHz, horizontal position, symbol rate: 27500, FEC ¾ began on January 17, 2012.

The blocked channels include provincial channels and a number of international channels such as Press TV, Al-Alam, Al-Kowsar, Jame-Jam and Sahar.

From: Jeff Rubin: Chilly reception awaits U.S. energy companies in Canada, link up top:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper once remarked it was a no brainer for the Keystone XL pipeline to connect Alberta oil sand product to supply U.S. markets. Looking at geography, it is easy to understand the remark. But looking at where market growth will occur, the Prime Minister’s sentiments are misguided.

This is the essence of the argument against Keystone XL. The oil is now dammed up at Cushing. There is such a glut that WTI sells for about $10 per barrel below Brent. Texas has low gasoline prices. There is no shortage of oil in Texas or the U.S. IMO.

Oil prices are as high as they are due to demand outside the U.S.. Yet the U.S. is asked to approve a pipeline that will actually reduce the oil supply for the upper Midwest as oil is shipped to Gulf refineries and from there to South American and wherever needed on the international market. Meanwhile Americans take the environmental risk of transporting it across a part of the U.S. that doesn't need it.

With North Dakota rapidly expanding oil production and ethanol maxed out, why should Americans approve Keystone XL? It provides an outlet for the dirtiest oil in the world and increased production will be of little benefit to Americans. It makes little economic difference if we import from Canada or Nigeria. Political difference, yes. Economic, no.

Tar sands oil will be priced at the going international rate if it makes it across British Columbia. Oil is fungible. If China buys it, that means more oil will be available for Texas refineries who can purchase crude they need on the international market.

Let China have tar sands oil. Let Canada pay the full cost of any pipeline leaks. And let the First Nations people and other Canadians fight about tar sands oil. It's their tar baby after all. They developed it and it's their problem how to market it.

Imagine if the situation were reversed and the tar sands were located in North Dakota. Suppose an American pipeline company wanted a pipeline across Canada to Duluth or Vancouver to ship it to international markets. And suppose those along the route would see little benefit except for a few jobs at construction. I doubt the Canadians would approve it.

There is little to gain for most Americans in increased tar sands production.

For some there is much to lose. Nebraskans have a lot to lose. They along with other upper Midwest states have taken the brunt of anti ethanol propaganda attempting to block ethanol which was largely put out by the same interests who want Keystone XL. What's more they are still at it.

Recently a Texas Senator introduced legislation in Congress that would redefine coal and gas ethanol as renewable fuels. Such nonsense never ends.

Blocking Keystone XL is a good lesson for oil interests, especially in Texas.

What goes around comes around.

IMO, the only real winners in the current situation are Mid-continent refiners, who are paying WTI prices for crude, but generally charging Brent based prices for refined product, as shown by recent WTI crack spreads.

The long term threat to the US is if, probably when, most Canadian crude oil exports are diverted to coastal outlets on their West and/or East Coasts. In effect, US Mid-continent refiners are financially encouraging the Canadians to go away, and of course the recent pipeline decision didn't help.

There were 33 net oil exporters in 2005 with net exports of 100,000 bpd or more (total petroleum liquids).

Of these 33, only 12 of them showed increasing net exports from 2005 to 2010.

Of these 12, only two, Canada & Colombia, are located in the Western Hemisphere.

Of these two, US Mid-continent refiners are currently, in effect, paying Canadian producers about $800 million per month to take their oil elsewhere.

Gas prices here in Colorado have been below the RBOB futures price. I don't know that crack spreads can stay so lucrative here...


The Rocky mountain region refineries are the most profitable among those in the US. Their input cost follows, give or take, the price of Western Canadian Select, which currently is 22 USD below WTI. There is some planned capacity expansion among them, which they would not undertake had they not been profitable.

Benchmark Crude USD/BBL
North Sea Brent $109.71
OPEC Basket Price $111.49
West Texas Intermediate $98.95
Western Canadian Select $77.70

That's why the Rocky Mountain refineries can make money. They're first on the export pipelines from Alberta, and they are competing with refineries that at best are paying WTI prices, and at worst are paying OPEC prices.

There is no shortage of oil in Texas or the U.S. IMO.

Sure there is. That is why the US still imports 8 *million* barrels a day of crude oil.

You are correct that it Cdn oil goes to China that it will free up oil from somewhere else for the US to buy. But look at where that "somewhere else" is.

China would be quite happy to not buy Iranian oil and get it from Canada instead - but does the Us want to buy more from Iran, or KSA, or Venezuela, or Nigeria, or...

Being more dependent on the middle east and Africa, not less, is why there are so many US ships and troops over there. Do you really want to send more of the nations finest to risk their lives, while those at home turn their backs on the only supplier that can avoid the need for that?

The pipeline risk is minimal - there are hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines criss crossing the country - all of them older than Keystone XL will be.

You can say the US doesn't *need* the pipeline, and that is true, but the US does need oil imports for a long time yet. Where do you think is the best place to get those imports from?

Ask a returning Iraq/Afghanistan veteran, or the parent of one who didn't come home, and see if they agree with you.

I'm personally growing quite weary of the whining. Nothing personal.... just sayin', we have far bigger problems coming down the pipe (ptp).

Paul, does it really matter where we buy our oil? No matter what we do, we are continuing the demand for and use of oil; there is still that limit on supply; our use of oil will always drive the cost up, and add to total use, subtracting from remaining fuel in the ground.

And no matter where it comes from, it will still increase co2 levels as we burn it.

As far as I am concerned, we have way too much oil for our environment! And far too little to remedy the problems we are causing, or at least those that might have been remedied.

We are all living in a phantasm world of our own dreams, detached from reality, demanding that it continue. We are nearing a point where our resources are too strained to maintain the illusion any more, and I suppose most people know that to the true, but find it unacceptable and so try to deny it, believing that if they shout it loud enough it will become truth.

So, I disagree on the basis that we do not 'need' to import something that is harmful in every important way. If Obama's shutting down the Keystone helps drive cost up, then good on him! And as for the vets, we have been fighting oil wars for almost 100 years already. And all that those parents want is cheap gas!


Hi Craig,

Does it matter where you get your oil from? I think it does, but then again, I am here in Canada, so it is not really my call. I agree with X in that it really is a political problem. But political problems can cause other problems too. We might see a demonstration of that if Iran shuts down the Strait of Hormuz...

I am not disregarding the environmental issues - I think they remain completely unchanged whether this pipeline is built or not.

You may yet be right in that if rejecting the pipeline leads to higher local prices that it could precipitate some real action sooner. Seems a disingenious way to go about it, but that's gov't...

As for the parents of the vets, the ones I have met (admittedly only three)would pay any price in gas to have their sons back, but maybe they are in the minority.

This is America's decision on an American problem. The problem is, when American solutions to these problems involve doing things to other countries on the other side of the world, it can become everyone else's problem too.

The less the US is involved in the world market for oil, the better off the world is, IMO.

Perhaps then, the US can divert some of its resources away from the MIC and into practical solutions to these things.

Yes. When you ask the parents, they will say they'd pay anything in gas price to get their sons back, and I am sure that all parents would say that. The real difficulty, as I see it, is that BEFORE they lost their sons, it was worthwhile.

Frankly, all the oil in the mideast is not worth a single lost life - American, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, etc.

But then, there is a buck to be made, isn't there? [see rant farther down]


Yes, before they lost their sons, they thought it would never happen to them. And the decision makers who send the troops overseas, never have their own sons in the firing line.

I would like to think that it might be easier, and faster to end the oil (import) wars than to end the use of oil itself, hence my support for the pipeline, but I could well be wrong on that.

It certainly seems the gov has no real intention of ending either anytime soon.

The DOT and other agencies value each life at about $6M from a policy perspective, when evaluating between options that include risk to life.

You'd have stack up a bunch of lives at that rate to justify not having mid-east oil.

Gee... I thought it was ten cents a head


Imagine if the situation were reversed and the tar sands were located in North Dakota. Suppose an American pipeline company wanted a pipeline across Canada to Duluth or Vancouver to ship it to international markets. And suppose those along the route would see little benefit except for a few jobs at construction. I doubt the Canadians would approve it.

Of course they would approve it. You don't have to imagine it - it's becoming a reality. Here's the press release from the Canadian National Energy Board:

NEB Approves Bakken Pipeline Project Canada

CALGARY, Dec. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - In a decision issued today, the National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) announced its approval of the Bakken Pipeline Project Canada application submitted by Enbridge Bakken Pipeline Company Inc. (Enbridge Bakken), on behalf of Enbridge Bakken Pipeline Limited Partnership.

The Board determined that there is enough commercial interest to support the use of the Bakken Pipeline during its economic life. Enbridge Bakken successfully demonstrated that there will be sufficient oil supply markets for the projected production.

The Bakken Pipeline would connect to the Enbridge Pipelines Inc. (EPI) Mainline and would serve as a continuous, long-term source of supply to Eastern Canadian and US Midwest markets, thus maintaining the long-term competitiveness of refineries in those regions.

In its application, Enbridge Bakken requested approval to build and operate a 123.4 kilometre pipeline and a new pump station to transport crude oil from the Bakken and the Three Forks Formations in Montana and North Dakota to refinery markets in North America. With a starting point in Steelman, Saskatchewan, the pipeline will be linked to EPI's Mainline in Cromer, Manitoba.

You Americans are so naive about how the Canadian energy industry works. Canadian pipeline companies would be more than thrilled to transport North Dakota oil to the US Midwest and Eastern Canada, and the Canadian government would be happy to approve it. It has nothing to do with politics, it's all about money. If we can't make money producing it, we'll make money moving it to market for you.

x - Some questions regarding some of your specific points.

"There is no shortage of oil in Texas or the U.S. IMO." The US imports about half the oil we consume...that sounds like a shortage to me. It appears that if there were zero oil production in the US you would still say there was no shortage as long as we continue to import 100% of our needs. Your choice to define "shortage" as you want, of course. But I doubt most would view it the same.

"Oil prices are as high as they are due to demand outside the U.S." The US has less than 5% of the global population and, last I saw the number, we consume 25% of the world's oil production. IOW we consume more than 5X per capita what everyone else on the planet. I suspect that most of the world views demand pressure a tad different than you.

"...why should Americans approve Keystone XL? It provides an outlet for the dirtiest oil in the world and increased production will be of little benefit to Americans." First, the "outlet" already exists. The tar sand oil is being shipped across the mid west today and has been for a very long time. And it will continue IMHO to be shipped (thru the old pipelines that have been in the ground for decades) whether Keystone is built or not. Unless the Canadians build that p/l to the west coast. Then you won't have to worry about Americans burning that "dirty oil". It will still get burned but by the China et al. As far as the US not needing it apparently the refineries strongly disagree with you: last I heard Canada is the single largest source of imported oil for the US.

"There is little to gain for most Americans in increased tar sands production." From that I gather you do not believe in PO. Maybe you're correct and the majority of folks on this site are wrong.

"Blocking Keystone XL is a good lesson for oil interests, especially in Texas." There is virtually no oil/NG exploration and production company in Texas that wants to see Keystone built. I've been getting $100+/bbl for my Texas coastal oil. Gulf Coast refiners, OTOH, would like to see a cheaper source of oil delivered to them. I live across the highway from the largest oil refinery in the US. No doubt that Canadian oil would reduce my gasoline price even lower than it is today.

Don't misunderstand. For my personal benefit, I fully support any effort to keep Keystone from being built. And so does every other oil patch hand I know in Texas and La. Nothing personal folks...it's just business.

There is virtually no oil/NG exploration and production company in Texas that wants to see Keystone built.

Elsewhere one has this:

Such as the bottom line number of Buffett's Burlington Northern, which according to Bloomberg, is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. '“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul."

For my personal benefit, I fully support any effort to keep Keystone from being built. And so does every other oil patch hand I know in Texas and La. Nothing personal folks...it's just business.

The Rock and I will have to agree to disagree on this point. It's my understanding that Port Arthur is virtually the only place in Texas where onshore producers are not getting the WTI price. So anything that brings WTI up closer to global crude oil prices will be welcomed by virtually all onshore producers to the west of Port Arthur.

Don't worry too much about his saying he will allow fracking... He also promised to close GitMo!

The political situation is stuck in the mud, while the energy situation just keeps pincering in. But give them credit where credit is due in DC - they hugged, kissed and clapped a lot.

The interesting thing to me was that he seems to advocate burning all that gas to create energy, with absolutely no comprehension of the process involved, and why gas is not "Clean."

In a complete combustion reaction, a compound reacts with an oxidizing element, such as oxygen or fluorine, and the products are compounds of each element in the fuel with the oxidizing element. For example:

CH4 + 2 O2 → CO2 + 2 H2O + energy


[the article is very good]

The thing to note is that this equation is as clean as it gets. No CO, no inconvenient acids, noxides, or anything. And, that the CO2 part is the problem, b/c no matter what, if you OXIDIZE something that has carbon in it, you end up with CO2, and if we don't stop doing that we will be living on a planet changed beyond our comprehension. Or dying on it!

Earlier in his candidacy 4 years ago, and in his run as POTUS, Obama advocated for 'clean coal.' Now it is 'clean natural gas.' Never mind the ecological ruin occassioned by digging and drilling and fracking. Never mind the geophysical disaster from rising CO2 levels. We MUST have our American Way of Living! It is our God Given Right!

And, the opposition is even nuttier. They're all barking mad!!!


At least burning methane isn't as bad as burning coal. If you actually did capture and sequester the CO2, at least there is less of it per KWhr as well. Of course the current paradigm is, if a process makes electricity .0001% more expensive, we won't do it.

Various states are making (or trying to make) decisions that increase the cost of electricity in order to gain something else. Colorado is taking a rate increase in order to have Xcel replace some of its coal-fired capacity with gas-fired in order to comply with air-quality regulations. Vermont passed legislation denying the Vermont Yankee nuclear station authority to continue operating (a recent court decision says the state doesn't have the authority to do so) even though they know that rates will increase as a result. California is probably going to shut down several gas-fired plants in order to preserve water quality (temperature is the issue), even though rates will increase as a result. Several states that have renewable mandates with an escape clause use a price increase in the 2-3% range (compared to electricity from fossil fuels) as the threshold.

Earlier in his candidacy 4 years ago, and in his run as POTUS, Obama advocated for 'clean coal.' Now it is 'clean natural gas.'

When he was talking about 'clean natural gas', I seem to remember him saying something like, "This is an example of our being able to use an energy source and be environmentally friendly at the same time." Where did he get that idea?

I guess the silver lining though is NG is so plentiful now we can convert all transport to NG and still have a 100 years worth of it. Snark!

I wonder when the President will advance to talking about "clean" out-of-my-"S" gas?

That seems to be the "natural" next step forward. /snark

Report outlines measures to cut carbon emissions from buildings

A new report from the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University today outlines its strategy to transform the UK’s built environment.

The report, Achieving Zero by Dr Brenda Boardman, covers all energy use in all buildings – homes and businesses. The strategy aims to create healthier, more comfortable buildings to live and work in, lift millions of people out of fuel poverty, and improve the UK’s energy security.

Anyone browsed TOD using O2 mobile data in the UK in the last few weeks? Then TOD may have your phone number and so does everyone else!

O2 apology for disclosing mobile phone numbers online

O2 has apologised for a technical problem which caused users' phone numbers to be disclosed when using its mobile data.

The company said it normally only passed numbers to "trusted partners".

A problem during routine maintenance meant that from 10 January numbers could have been seen by other websites.

"We investigated, identified and fixed it this afternoon. We would like to apologise for the concern we have caused," the company said.

They added an x-up-calling-line-id: with your number to HTML headers from January 10th until yesterday. More details at http://lew.io/headers.php

Of course, the thing to remember is that this kind of snafu only brings our data out to those who had no reason to seek it intentionally already. Others have had access to it all for a while now.

The illusion that we can close a door, put up a wall, step away.. and somehow get away from it all. We're breathing the same air.

From Despite Denial, Even Oil Companies Are Planning for Inevitable Climate Change

This is what's being called climate adaptation or climate preparedness. The payoff from investing in adaptation could be substantial.

Great! They're planning how they can profit from the ruin they have caused.

Of course, any plan for 'climate adaptation' or 'preparedness' makes a presumption that the climate will be such that we can adapt or prepare for it, when we do not even know what it is going to be [other than wildly different]. Hell, I will admit it... it could be good. Not really likely, but not impossible. And it could be bad - very bad. Chances are that it will be much worse than that even. And, the energy barons are willing to risk everything, and everyone, on the 2% chance that it will be good, or the 15% chance that it will be bad but we can adapt, so that they can make a profit today - and, just think about it - maybe a profit from charging people for whatever they think they can invent to allow adaptation.

Greed is not good. It is an illness - a mental illness. Those who suffer from it are psychopaths. Those who suffer the most, are sociopathic psychopaths.

Jus' wanna scream!!!!!


S.Africa assesses scenario of Iran oil import cuts

South Africa, which receives a quarter of its crude from Iran, is assessing a worst case scenario in which its oil imports from that country might be halted or cut as a result of widening international sanctions against Tehran.

...South African refineries are designed to treat Iranian crude and that any adjustment to handle other crudes would involve a financial cost.

Perhaps my brother's electric car business will fill the gap...


The Reuters item that provided the basis for the London Petrol Shortage item linked above says "A dismal outlook for the European crude processing industry, amid falling fuel demand, has prompted several companies to put assets on the market. But even rock-bottom prices have failed to attract bidders, even for good quality facilities....

"In a market plagued by overcapacity the demise of Petroplus, whose five European refineries have combined throughput of some 667,0000 barrels per day, could ease supply conditions and help boost margins."

So, the EU and UK don't require the Iranian crude they are going to embargo. Perhaps Iran will just shut it off now instead? I admit to not keeping an ongoing tally (is anyone?), but with the closing of NE USA refineries and these in EU/UK combine to remove well over 1 MBPD of refined product from the global market, whereas often we're treated with the usual bromides of ever increasing demand for oil and its products. I do know new refinereies are coming online elsewhere, but it doesn't appear that we will see an overall increase in global refining capacity despite the mantra of ever increasing demand. In preparing to deny oneself something as important as oil, wouldn't one want to stockpile its products just in case all the talk of being able to take Iran's place is just that--talk?

What we are seeing is generally declining demand in OECD countries, versus generally increasing demand in developing countries, especially China & India, and among the Top 33 net oil exporters (in aggregate). Normalized oil consumption for China, India, Top 33 net oil exporters and US from 2002 to 2010 (BP):


So, it only makes sense that we would see refineries in developed oil importing countries shutting down.

So, I'm inferring the Embargo is just an empty threat since EU/UK soon won't have the refinery capacity to process Iranian crude and that other buyers will be more than willing to puchase what UK/EU doesn't--which is why there's no real concern over the failure/inability of other oil exporters to fill the Iranian "void." It would seem the big loser is the PetroDollar and Dollar Hegemony overall, which will generate economic blowback of an unknown amount--The Fed announced it would keep interest rates unchanged until 2014, while inflation is seen as remaining about 2%. What happens when policy is based on incorrect/deliberately falsified numbers and an unrealistic assessment of future events?

Even if Iranian crude is fully shifted (i.e. it doesn't burn a hole in worldwide C+C production), it would cause quite a lot of difficulties at many refineries. They would all be playing musical input streams, i.e. many would switch from one source of crude to another. Then they got to figure out how to make refineries geared for a particular blend of oils, and beat them into being able to utilize a different mix. What sort of a "makework" hit does this apply to the wolrd economy.

I'm aware that refineries are "tuned" to a particular feedstock. It would be interesting to know what % of which crude is being used by whatever % of refiners and to know which crude was being used by those refineries that have already or are soon to stop working. I know about the recent emphasis to build or expand refineries to deal with the various grades of heavy and sour, which are also the most abundant petroleum types remaining, but where are they and which countries will suffer most because they must import finished products since they cannot refine what crude types are available. IMO, this is an important point that relates to net exports: What good is the oil for sale in the market when you can't process it yourself? And there are many other questions that might be asked, too.

And we've also seen several news items recently about new refineries being built or planned in China and other still-"growing" areas, often with financing from Saudi Arabia.

Conoco To Shut Down 100 Mcf/d Of Natural Gas In '12 Due To Lower Prices

ConocoPhillips (COP) said Wednesday it plans to shut-in only a small portion of its natural-gas production in Canada and the lower 48 states due to lower commodity prices as the bulk of its production is tight to oil liquids output and is still profitable.

"We will have some shut ins of natural gas going forward," said Conoco Chief Financial Officer Jeff Sheets in a conference call with analysts. "It's going be on the order of 100 million cubic feet a day or something like 15,000 to 20,000 (barrels of oil equivalent) per day going forward."

I would love to see the U.S. start buying gas wells and shutting them in to create a Strategic Gas Reserve, raising prices to approximate all-in cost of development, and keeping drilling going.

Help Record Old Weather Data to Predict Climate's Future

Old Weather is 'crowdsourcing' volunteers to assist in transcribing weather readings and location data from First World War ships' logs into a database, in order to identify weather patterns and extremes the world over.

Apologies if this was already linked:


"Tepco Drills a Hole in Fukushima Reactor … Finds that Nuclear Fuel Has Gone Missing"

I don't see a problem with reposting - what'll be interesting is if the responders the 1st time around respond the same way again.

It appears there are looking inside the containment vessel, not the pressure vessel.

And water "steams" at temperatures much less than boiling. Lift the lid on a pot of water that is hot and not boiling and you will see. All that is required is the water be hotter than the air, or the end of the probe.

Injecting sulfate particles into stratosphere won’t fully offset climate change

... The modeling study shows that significant changes would still occur because even increased aerosol levels cannot balance changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation brought on by higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

There is no way to keep the climate the way it is now. Later this century, you would not be able to recreate present-day Earth just by adding sulfate aerosols to the atmosphere,” McCusker said.

Why don't our brilliant leaders and scientists just let us know we have to stop doing what we are doing, instead of trying to figure out a way to keep doing it, only more so? What sort of hubris is involved here, suggesting a plan whose outcome is uncertain, and whose unintended consequences could well exceed the damage they are proposed to prevent?

Mad men.

It is time that people stop just going along, wake up, stick their heads out the window and yell, "I'm mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!"?

At a time when reality becomes distorted, and fictions seem fact and facts fiction, perhaps resorting to an old [but interesting] movie line might just be appropriate.

If only we had someone we would listen to, who would lead us in such an act of resolve.

If only...




If you throw yourself in front of a stampede the result is predictable. Individuals will avoid trampling on you but eventually the herd will give them no choice.

It seems to me that entering the "Damned if you don't"-door would save you in this case .. no? At least you are getting away from that fork guy :-)

Why don't our brilliant leaders...

Because there are only two types.
(1) Hard core deniers.
(2) Those who fear the first group would pillory them if they proposed anything.

Injecting sulfate particles into stratosphere won’t fully offset climate change

What about the sun shield idea at the gravitational midpoint (LaGrange) between the Sun & Earth, to block a small percentage of energy, counteracting GW? That seemed like the best geoengineering idea I've heard so far. Ok, so it would be expensive and there is lead time to build, etc., but once up there it could be like a thermostat. Using radio signals to expand or contract the shield as needed.

An excellent idea Mr. Burns.

How too keep it stationary in space (relative)? Such a shield would necessarily encounter a solar wind, gravity, etc.. It would need some sort of positioning maintenance system. Refined, such a system made up of many movable shields could give its controllers some level of climate control. Its masters could even cast a constant shadow on its enemies; a passive space weapon ;-/

Lagrange points are naturally stable orbital points. Things tend to collect there naturally. The actual pressure of the light being intercepted might be an issue as a source of acceleration, though.

Of course, in reality-land, we have exactly one nation who can put humans into space, and those only into LEO. And no one who can boost any significant mass to L2 or send anyone there to assemble or maintain it.

but once up there it could be like a thermostat. Using radio signals to expand or contract the shield as needed.

You seem to forget this thing is man made. It will fail.

Okay... they send the dang thing up, get it deployed over about a 5,000 sq. k. area (or so), with absolute precision, and with some sort of radio control on size. Then, a) there is a solar storm and the idiot (it can't think) contraption either expands to triple size and goes off line or, b) it flys off to the sun, or Jupiter or some such.

What could possibly go wrong, eh?

Besides, who can do it any more? You presume that 'they' will suddenly become concerned and 'do something.' And that 'they' will have money and resources sufficient to do it. And that 'they' will figure out technology to do it (not sure it is here yet, and the technology part is the strongest one).


The USA can just use it's vast manufacturing sector to produce the spacecraft. And send them up on NASA's current launch vehicle.

*clap* *clap*

Probably cheaper not to emit in the first place. Then consider all the emissions and pollution from millions of rocket launches!
Any geoengineering fixes will only (hopefully) reduce the changes/damages, the system of lots og GHG plus SRM (Solar Radiation Management) won't work the same as the original system.

His computer models simulated a gradually deployed shield that would compensate for the greenhouse effect of rising carbon dioxide concentrations. By the time CO2 levels are double those of pre-industrial times - predicted to be at the end of the 21st century - the shield would need to block 8% of the Sun's radiation.

You're trying to use one process to compensate for another, different process. The two do not line up exactly. So atmospheric CO2 has certain effects, and a solar shield has others, and they only partially overlap. A solar shield won't help oceanic acidification for example. But it will have other detrimental effects.

I believe this to be a slippery slope that will end up being a big net negative - perhaps the worst result being a false sense that we can continue on doing what we've been doing because we'll geoengineer ourselves out of it. But it fits perfectly with the religion of progress and our belief of technological solutions to everything, so I'm expecting something along these lines will be tried.

Injecting sulfate particles into stratosphere won’t fully offset climate change

Even if it did work, it would be a terrible system. It would be this expensive and technologically complex system that would have to be constantly maintained. And then when there is some societal break-down due to peak-fossil-fuels/war/disease/etc., we would no longer be able to maintain it and we would get slammed with the full force of climate change as the particles clear away.

With the permafrost starting to melt it just seems like we have to try something....

How about an additive to airline fuel, maybe something even more effective. That seems like it would be pretty low cost and might help.

I know. How about a bio-derived chemical that could be added to all motor and jet fuels that would cut down on CO2 emissions...





I can forsee a possible scenario going something like this:
Ooops, a serious tipping point crossed!
Emergency cooling (Sulphate injection).
Replaced after maybe a decade by a combination of ground albedo changes (painting everything not organic -buildings, roads fences desert rocks white), plus air capture of CO2. For a somewhat less objectionable longer term fix.

Any sort of "shielding" would reduce visible light. So besides reducing the heating, it would reduce crop yields. I guess we'll have to import our food from another planet.

Not to mention its effect on solar power to replace the need for producing CO2.


Actually, I've seen claims to the contrary. Plants supposedly do better with diffuse lighting, fewer shaded leaves. Full sunlight (on a leaf) is usually overkill.
One problem, while you are ramping up a cooling effect, the driving force for monsoons is lowered -because the land cools quicker than the ocean. So potentially a longterm solution could be rejected because of its shortterm transient effect.

Does 'biopiracy' endanger world food supplies?

The Indian government is preparing charges against Monsanto, the US-based agricultural company that specialises in biotechnology, for appropriating indigenous farming techniques and knowledge to develop a genetically altered eggplant.

Although the company has denied accusations of what has been termed “biopiracy,” the case could set a precedent for the future of global patent laws. Currently, five biotech corporations account for 77 percent of patents on living organisms.

Critics say a 1995 WTO agreement known as the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) set the stage for corporations like Monsanto to enter other countries and create patented seeds using knowledge from indigenous farmers.

Global Map of Biotech Crop Countries in 2010: http://www.isaaa.org/siteimages/resources/briefs/content/brief42-exec-fi...

The fundamental "piracy" here is that living things can be patented. The extensions of copyright and patent to where they don't belong is a crime perpetrated on us by the powerful, while we just sat back and ignored it.

"Intellectual Property" is actually "monopoly", always was and always will be, and is of extremely questionable worth. There is a book on this called "Against Intellectual Monopoly" that is much more thorough on explaining the harms of these things than I can be.

Declining production in California and Alaska is driving increased imports from the Middle East to the West Coast. If Canada exports more oil sands to the Pacific rather than the Gulf, whether or not that oil goes to China, it reduces cost pressure on PADD5, improving the competitveness of CA, AZ, NV, and OR with respect to TX.

Canada backs off on research into icebound energy reserves

... In 2003, Natural Resources Canada said Canadian scientists had made the world's first successful production of natural gas from frozen methane — a vast but hard-to-reach resource said to contain more energy than all the oil and coal in the world combined.

This "probably gives us centuries of reserves" as a backup for when oil and conventional gas supplies run short, the department said at the time. The test site was in the Mackenzie Delta. But now a leading researcher says work has slowed as Natural Resources Canada is no longer devoting significant funding to it.

In some cases the deposits can release pressure suddenly and cause blowouts during drilling, he noted. Early research was based on avoiding these problems, rather than exploiting gas hydrates as a resource.

"We don't have clear defined recovery techniques to avoid the risks", he said. "Until one could safely recover gas hydrates in a commercial offshore (well), they would have to invest quite a bit more in research on how to do this safely and predictably."

Not exactly a mainstream source, but also not an energy/economics focused site: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/01/weve-hit-peak-oil-now-comes-...

It's a summary of an article from Nature (paywalled). The same one the NY Times article I posted up top is about.

The Fed has declared that they will keep the interest rates low for the foreseeable future. The writing is not only on the wall, it is now flashing in big, bold neon signs. This is perhaps last chance to convert some of the paper money into something tangible. A few years from now, the purchasing power of most paper currencies will be a lot lower.

I wouldn't be surprised if in the next 10 years the US $ loses 80%-90% of its purchasing power. Look at how feeble the US $ rally is even when the very existence of Euro is in doubt. The Euro refuses to fall much below $1.30. Why is the US $ not skyrocketing? Just 10 years ago you could get 1.30 Euros for US $1.

Gold jumped about $40 after the announcement; back over $1710. Inflation expected to hold around 2 percent (yeah, we'll see), so banks' effective borrowing rate is around negative 2%. Guess who pays the difference.

We all pay the difference through the loss of purchasing power of our savings. Fortunately, we have not lost all our freedoms yet. People can educate themselves and fight back. If they choose not to, they have only themselves to blame. We cannot control the sociopaths who have taken over the country; but we can choose not to cooperate with them.

We'd have huge inflation if people were working. Since there is no demand for goods, there is no demand for factory purchases (and the borrowing for that). No one can get a loan today, unless they can pretty much prove they don't need one. What I am saying is that the multiplier effect is absent. But for the various QE's and holding rediscount rates at about zero, we would already have debilitating deflation.

Things just aren't working the way the economics guys think they will. Reason: it's B R O K E N.

I am not really sanguine that gold is the best way to go. There are several communities that are issuing their own paper money now. Maybe when TSHTF they will be better off than the rest of us, eh?

As to who pays the dif... well, that'd be the 99% I'd say.

Fun times, aren't they?



I am not really sanguine that gold is the best way to go.

One could use energy. The Technocracy movement of the 1930's suggested that. There is the Lectro. Storage of energy is hard however.

There are several communities that are issuing their own paper money now.

make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts

"Things just aren't working the way the economics guys think they will. Reason: it's B R O K E N. "

Even they're beginning to suspect something is wrong.

Davos elites to seek reforms of 'outdated' capitalism

Economic and political elites meeting this week at the Swiss resort of Davos will be asked to urgently find ways to reform a capitalist system that has been described as "outdated and crumbling."

"We have a general morality gap, we are over-leveraged, we have neglected to invest in the future, we have undermined social coherence, and we are in danger of completely losing the confidence of future generations," said Klaus Schwab, host and founder of the annual World Economic Forum.

"Solving problems in the context of outdated and crumbling models will only dig us deeper into the hole.

"We are in an era of profound change that urgently requires new ways of thinking instead of more business-as-usual," the 73-year-old said, adding that "capitalism in its current form, has no place in the world around us."

Couldn't agree more. Unfortunately what I'm hearing out of Davos is the same old same and totally ignoring the founders wishes.

Need any more proof? This man will destroy the US $ to save his rich banker buddies on Wall St.

Very soon, cash will be trash.

Japan's Former Premier Takes Antinuclear Campaign to Davos

TOKYO—Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan returns to the world stage this week, part of a campaign to reinvent himself as a global antinuclear activist nearly a year after he oversaw his government's widely criticized handling of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

"I would like to tell the world that we should aim for a society that can function without nuclear energy," he said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, previewing his speech scheduled for Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

...Mr. Kan had to make gut-wrenching decisions, including rejecting a request from Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pull workers back from the increasingly dangerous reactors. "It was the first time since World War II that a Japanese leader was asking people to risk their lives," he said.

In his mind, he said, he simulated an worst-case evacuation scenario that included the 35 million people in the Tokyo metropolitan area. "Not only would we lose up to half of our land, but spread radiation to the rest of the world," he said. "Our existence as a sovereign nation was at stake."

Japan kept silent on worst nuclear crisis scenario

Leaked Japanese Report Details 'Worst-Case' Nuclear Scenario

Radioactive iodine in rainwater: [Canadian] Public was in the dark

Canadian authorities didn't disclose the high radiation reading at the time. ... Pellerin [chief of Health Canada's radiation-surveillance division]said he doesn't know why Health Canada didn't make the data public. "I can't answer that. The communication aspect could be improved."

If y'all were paying attention at the time I got a 5X increase in background radiation in central BC 10-20 days after the big bang.

I have great respect for Kan, although he was very pro-nuclear until the disaster, afterwards he realized the extent of the danger and strongly acted to end nuclear power in Japan. For this he was pushed from power. Frankly I am very dissapointed in the Japanese people for not supporting him more, he showed one trait I have almost never seen in a politician, the ability to learn from experience and admit mistakes. Somehow he got blamed for things going badly when he responded much more actively than nearly any Japanese PM in recent times. No good deed goes unpunished?

I'm glad he's still beating the drum against nuclear power. If Tokyo had been seriously contaminated (just a slightly more severe accident and unfavorable winds would have done that, something very much in the realm of reality), then it would have been game over.

I have great respect for Kan, although he was very pro-nuclear until the disaster, afterwards he realized the extent of the danger and strongly acted to end nuclear power in Japan.

Admiral Rickover had a similar epiphany after Three Mile Island.

I suspect that happened to Jimmy Carter as well...

E. Swanson

Only if he is crappy at risk analysis.

For all the whinging about how horrible nuclear is, I have yet to see anyone demonstrate that it is not orders of magnitude safer than what we are doing now.

Rendering half of Japan unlivable and effectively destroying the nation isn't bad enough? That's what Kan said they faced and unlike us he is one of the few people who actually know what was going on. By the way the most recent US fuel pool fire studies are classified for some strange reason but there are some older studies which are bad enough. FOIA NRC emails discuss whether they could even tell the Japanese that certain studies existed never mind what they contained.

But yes if you compare it with runaway global warming then I agree we are between a rock and a hard place. But I really don't see how anyone can make informed decisions on nuclear power (including you) without knowing what unpleasant classified research exists on nuclear power plant potential accidents.

Setting aside the global warming outcome (which has a probability of 1 with continued fossil fuel use), I have yet to hear of a risk from nuclear power that we aren't already living with from fossil fuels.

Scattering radioactive, toxic heavy metals across the countryside? Coal has that one nailed in spades. At least we smartened up enough to stop putting lead in gasoline, but a lot of damage has been done there already.
Random deaths that the innocent victims have no advance warning of? "Clean, Safe" natural gas manages that one quite nicely.
How about the carcinogenic compounds in gasoline?

Sorry, but given the history of nuclear disasters vs. the history of fossil fuel disasters, nuclear is the safer alternative.

Oh come on. Even China hasn't managed to render Beijing actually unlivable yet with fossil fuels although they appear to be trying hard. A nuclear disaster at just one site came close to ending Japan according to the Prime Minister at the time. But you always seem to know better even than the Japanese PM - despite you not having access to the real information.

I used to be strongly pro nuclear then reluctantly pro-nuclear and now "STOP" (at the very least until we know all the facts warts and all). The reasoning being that the more I look the more I see fudged numbers, hidden risk analysis that can't be shown to the public, outright conscious lies by some proponents ("they don't need to know that"). etc. etc.

I am just as upset that much of the stuff I used to parrot many years ago turns out to be false.

And the assumptions of "unlivability" from nuclear contamination assume far lower risk factors than people accept by living in the most polluted cities, by orders of magnitude.

You have to define the risks you are accepting or avoiding clearly and in detail or it's all meaningless prattle.

And the assumptions of "unlivability" from nuclear contamination assume far lower risk factors than people accept by living in the most polluted cities, by orders of magnitude.

A large claim. Got data you are willing to share to sow us that you are just not making this up or just posting more prattle?

You haven't the faintest idea what the real worst case scenario is do you? So you just assume that everyone who says it is much worse than you think is wrong. Even if they happened to be the PM of Japan at the time.

You are arguing from ignorance and appear to be happy with that. Fine, stay ignorant then.

I know the risks in greater detail than anybody posting anti-nuclear propaganda here has bothered with presenting.

Yes, a nuclear power incident can contaminate a fairly large area (see Chernobyl for your worst-case there).

My point is that you are making a big deal about low probability scenarios while all over the world people are dying from the alternative, and for every one that dies many more are injured or made ill.

I would rather live in the shadow of a nuclear plant than alongside a gas pipeline. I would feel much safer there.

My point is that you are making a big deal about low probability scenarios while all over the world people are dying from the alternative, and for every one that dies many more are injured or made ill.

"Low probability scenarios" - They almost lost Japan and might still do!

And Chernobyl was nothing like a worst case scenario either. You really have a huge gap in your knowledge which your denial mechanism (and the fact gory details of the most scary stuff is classified) will probably ever stop you filling in.

I've had enough of your arrogant nonsense. You assume you know better than everyone else and that will never change. I see no point hitting my head against a brick wall of blissful ignorance with you on this subject.

I'd very much appreciate it if you did that. Or if you can't, please argue your position without personal attacks.

Understood, which is why I am breaking off this thread before I melt down in frustration as I clearly can't post the worst case scenarios because they are top secret and I don't have them. So secret that the Japanese government records where they were discussed are now claimed to have been lost. Really...

At Chernobyl the NPP engineers were stunned when the Russian bomb designers spoke to them. As was Gorbachev as he has said in interviews.

I know the risks in greater detail than anybody posting anti-nuclear propaganda here has bothered with presenting.

Rather than making a claim - show proof of this claim.

Bother to present stronger evidence of your claims.

I present support for my claims that fossil fuel usage as a simple fact kills, injures and disables more people than nuclear power all the time. If you can't be bothered to read it as I do yours it isn't my problem.

Are you familiar with WASH-1400, the reactor safety study from the middle 1970's? Do you agree that the low risk of nuclear accidents determined from that study was wildly optimistic? The basic problem with nuclear risk is that the relatively low probability of failure could cause massively large consequences. As a result, it's easy for an analyst to calculate risk/benefit ratios which look great, but which may suddenly be seen as flawed due to subsequent events...

E. Swanson

Not familiar with that particular study.

On the gripping hand, nuclear incidents that generate shocked horror from anti-nuclear advocates generally result in fewer injuries (let alone deaths) than a common pipeline explosion that doesn't even make the top articles on a Drumbeat.

Perhaps people are just desensitized to the damage that fossil fuels do in their extraction and transport (let alone use), or are in deep denial because they fear that we cannot stop using them even if we wanted to?

I used to be strongly pro nuclear then reluctantly pro-nuclear and now "STOP"

I know that journey as I took it also.

When humans are willing to replace the bones of the dead with broomsticks to "protect" an industry - is that something worth "protecting"?

When humans are willing to replace the bones of the dead with broomsticks to "protect" an industry - is that something worth "protecting"?

That is an overly-emotional and bad argument against nuclear power. Scientific research on radiation and nuclear power absolutely should be done. However, it should be done ethically and with consent. I didn't see at all how the very distasteful Sellafield incident was done to "protect" the industry.

Good hard scientific research may end up being the thing that gets people to turn away from nuclear power. A breach of ethics by coroners and pathologists is not a good argument against nuclear power since it has nothing to do with the nuclear power itself.

Thanks for the reference words. I had heard of only the broomsticks but not of the place:


1991 version, I hope, of a popular old song from the 70's. I am unable to verify the recording at this time. Hope it is a good one:

Fuel pool fire studies are classified because they remain very vulnerable to terrorist attacks. There's no containment and little defense in depth against a suicidal attack. What's more they generally contain several cores' worth of spent fuel.
Everything that's sufficiently cooled should be in dry casks, but that's red on the balance sheet.

Fuel pool fire studies are classified because they remain very vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

But that's exactly the problem. Anytime something catastrophic is known to be possible from NPPs it will from now on be classified. Until one day another accident occurs and certain conditions are met. Much to the shock of those few not in the know.

If it is so dangerous that the outcome of certain attacks cannot even be disclosed then it is too dangerous to be in operation. And yes the fuel pool issue is certainly one big red flag but there are plenty of others. And that's before we even think of the "unknown unknowns". I cannot ever support something where the known disastrous risks are deliberately hidden.

By the way I consider there is enough information already in the public domain to allow terrorists to successfully carry out an NPP catastrophic attack. Security through Obscurity was a poor idea in IT and it is an even worse choice for Nuclear Power Plants.

Oh come on - all you need to do is stop the pumps and they blow up. If they built the in-plant power distribution in the basement then salt water intrusion will do it. If the pipes are old and fail that will do it. No water flow = failure. That is the beginning and end of the story at Fukushima, and all the rest is obfuscation to hide the simplicity of the failure mode. That is the "secret". It has nothing to do with terrorism, it has to do with keeping the extreme vulnerability hidden. And the fuel pools are sitting under thin metal covers, no more substantial than the glorified pole barns that make up virtually every building in every industrial park.

And the fuel pools are sitting under thin metal covers, no more substantial than the glorified pole barns that make up virtually every building in every industrial park.

Oh, imagine the Joy when one would have to explain the effect of a tornado or hurricane hitting such a thin metal cover.

"It was such a small point! Who'd ever think it would be struck by a tornado/hurricane". The people of Kansas and New Orleans can imagine....

r4ndom - I agree that FF are toxic but nuclear IS NOT "orders of magnitude safer" ... 10X? 100X?

An example of what 'depleted' uranium has wrought ...

Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege

Dr Samira Alani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.

"We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine," Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.

As of December 21, Alani, who has worked at the hospital since 1997, told Al Jazeera she had personally logged 677 cases of birth defects since October 2009. Just eight days later when Al Jazeera visited the city on December 29, that number had already risen to 699.

"There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we've never seen them until now ...

Most of these babies in Fallujah die within 20 to 30 minutes after being born, but not all. "We have no system to register all of them, so we have so many cases we are missing," she said. "Just yesterday a colleague told me of a newborn with thanatophoric dysplasia and she did not register it. I think I only know of 40-50 per cent of the cases because so many families have their babies at home and we never know of these

Fallujah population = 326,471

Attribution, attribution, attribution. I can think of several possible causes/contributors:
(1) Toxic depleted uranium rounds.
(2) Toxic chemicals in the weapons that were used.
(3) The effect of stress on the population from the death/destruction then rebuilding process.
(4) Toxic effects of dust from cleaningup and rebuilding.
(5) Maybe the hostilities created something else toxic in say the water supply.
Unless there is a study that can sort this out, its is not a useable datapoint, epidemiologically.

The big puzzle is that apparently the Uranium isotope ratios suggest enriched uranium. The study authors had expected to find depleted uranium.

Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq

Samira Alaani1, Muhammed Tafash1, Christopher Busby2*, Malak Hamdan3 and Eleonore Blaurock-Busch4

Author Affiliations

1 Fallujah General Hospital, Althubbadh, Fallujah, 00964, Iraq
2 Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Ulster, Cromore Rd, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, UK
3 The Cancer and Birth Defects Foundation, Office 4, 219 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6DB, UK
4 Laboratory for Clinical and Environmental Analysis, Microtrace Minerals, Rohrenstrasse 20, D-91217, Hersbruck, Germany


Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields

I recall hearing a report (I won't vouch for its veracity, could have been misinformation) about locals looting an abandoned nuclear site, and having no concern whatsoever about the yellow powder coming out of rusted containers. Hard to imagine US forces being supplied with EU rather than DU munitions, not so hard to imagine stuff from Saddam's old nuclear weapons program (pre GulfWar1) not being properly disposed/cared for.

That brings back a recollection of a story that intact drums were emptied of their contents and taken away to use for storage. Another that many chemical warfare alarms were going off and it is thought that some of the alarms may have been due to bomb hits on chemical munitions. Again, I have no way of knowing the truth of those reports or if they were even in the area. It does show that care needs to be taken in apportioning blame.


How many people around the world die each year from asthma triggered by smog?

How many people die in an average year in pipeline explosions?

How many people have died *ever* in nuclear power related incidents?

Orders of magnitude.

How many people around the world die each year from asthma triggered by smog?

Dear readers - note how a life shortening condition is considered here yet the demonstrated life shortening of radiation is ignored.

The other variant: You brought it up, you tell us.

How many people die in an average year in pipeline explosions?

You brought it up, you tell us.

How many people have died *ever* in nuclear power related incidents?

*ever*? You now changing your normal 'they didn't die right then and there' to 'life shortened is able to be considered'?

Otherwise the other variant: You brought it up, you tell us.

Orders of magnitude.

You keep making claims. Yet your posts historically lack links to back up what you have to say. All any of the reader of TOD have to go on is your word, from a historical perspective.

Meanwhile - thyroid cancer is on the uptick.

And depleted uranium from Iraq is detectable on the wind in England

I'll let the readers try and figure out if there is a link.

Since I've already posted the prompt deaths from pipeline explosions regularly, and they continue happening, here's asthma for you.


All nice and broken down by age group, gender and race for the US.

I've already beaten the pipeline explosion horse to death, but if you like I can check to see if there has been another in the past couple of weeks. People die in pipeline explosions on a regular basis.

A pretty crazy thread, folks arguing over who's Faustian bargain I have to live with, which is least destructive,,,, when fact is, I have to live with all of them. All I can tell my grand children is that they're stuck with the lot and the only real choice they have is how much or how little they contribute to the ongoing madness. Here's to being downwind of the whole mess :-/

Breath deep the gathering gloom...

Very true...I read somewhere that soon human sperm counts will be so diminished from industrial chemicals in the water, radioactivite contamination, chemicals that leach from plastic food wrapping into food (especially fatty foods absorb plastic), chemicals in contaminated fish (that means all fish), exposure to toxins at work, such as factories, and so forth that it will be difficult to conceive. I guess people are already having fewer kids anyway....didn't the birthrate in the US go down recently? So people will have fewer grandchildren....population reduction happens due to all kinds of factors.

"Our Stolen Future" is a book whose subject is partly about declining sperm counts, but mostly centers on what and how hormone mimicers work and the threat they pose to future generations. From its website: "The book Our Stolen Future brought world-wide attention to scientific discoveries about endocrine disruption and the fact that common contaminants can interfere with the natural signals controlling development of the fetus."

It may have happened to Carter before TMI. He's still alive, perhaps he could do a key post on TOD?

In 1977 there was the 'nukes need to be talked about WRT how the rest of the world can get 'em and use 'em'.

In March 1979 - Three Mile Island.
In June 1979 - Solar mounted on White House and the mention of renewables by 2020.

But getting the line of thinking from the mouth of the horse who's still alive may be a worthwhile effort.

Of course Carter knows the truth about TMI and what the real worst case scenario was. But r4ndom just assumes Carter can't do risk analysis. Carter the only US president qualified in nuclear engineering had no idea in r4ndom's universe.

President Carter has a lot of experience with Nuclear

When Jimmy Carter faced radioactivity head-on

Years later, he was asked if he was terrified going into the reactor. He paused, growing quiet, before answering.

“We were fairly well instructed then on what nuclear power was, but for about six months after that I had radioactivity in my urine,” Mr. Carter said. “They let us get probably a thousand times more radiation than they would now. It was in the early stages and they didn’t know.”

Has Carter spoken out against nuclear power?

Nobody said that he had, actually.

One of my favourite American Experience episodes.

See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhx3d4BvAH8


Thanks, I'll watch later.

You'd probably be interested in this presentation in 5 parts.

The Three Mile Island Accident Part 1 of 5

Three Myths of the Three Mile Island Accident", presented by Arnie Gundersen at the Pennsylvania State Capitol on March 26, 2009 in remembrance of the 30-year anniversary. As a nuclear engineer and long-time industry executive, Arnie Gundersen's research goes far beyond the 'official story'. He spells out his calculations of the amount of radiation released during the accident, which differ markedly from those of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and official industry estimates.

...Part 3

TMI and Health Effects", a presentation by Dr. Stephen Wing at the Pennsylvania State Capitol on March 26, 2009 in remembrance of the 30-year anniversary. Epidemiologist Steve Wing discusses increases in cancer rates after the Three Mile Island Accident. He also discusses the long-term health effects to human, animal, and plant life following the release of a radioactive plume from the TMI facility on March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear accident in world history at the time.

Thanks, UT. I'll start taking a look at it now (I take it the missing link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l1LYXLwxX0).


Oops. I had noticed that I had pasted the URL with an extra bit on it in the draft. "Fixed it" and broke it even more :-(

Yes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l1LYXLwxX0

All I can say is "wow". I guess I shouldn't be surprised given what else we know but still, holly molly.



If you fancy a bit of reading a truly amazing book is "The Curve of Binding Energy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor"

Theodore Taylor was one of the most brilliant engineers of the nuclear age, but in his later years he became concerned with the possibility of an individual being able to construct a weapon of mass destruction on their own. McPhee tours American nuclear institutions with Taylor and shows us how close we are to terrorist attacks employing homemade nuclear weaponry.

Amazon.com Review
Theodore B. Taylor was among the most ingenious engineers of the nuclear age. He created the most powerful and the smallest nuclear weapons of his time (his masterpiece, the Davy Crockett, weighed in at a svelte 50 pounds) and also spearheaded efforts to create a nuclear-powered spacecraft. But in his later years, Taylor became increasingly concerned that compact and powerful bombs could be easily built not just by nations employing experts such as himself, but by single individuals with modest technical ability and perseverance. McPhee tours American nuclear installations with Taylor, and we are treated to a grim, eye-opening account of just how close we are to witnessing terrorist attacks using homemade nuclear weaponry. The Curve of Binding Energy is compelling writing about an urgently important topic.

Ted Taylor

Theodore Brewster Taylor (July 11, 1925 – October 28, 2004), was a Mexican-born, American theoretical physicist and prominent nuclear weapon designer who later in life became a nuclear disarmament advocate.

Ted Taylor finally turned against all forms of nuclear power as well as weapons as after many years of trying could not come up with a form of nuclear power where he couldn't make a bomb out of it. A must read book in my opinion.

On a lighter note, he's also the physicist who once famously lit a cigarette with a nuclear bomb :-)

Thanks for the recommendation, UT. I'll take a look for it in our public library.


To encourage you further, the author is Pulitzer Prize winning writer John McPhee. The book provoked a huge amount of debate when it was originally published but has slowly been forgotten over time.

And for added weirdness here's a review I just found on Amazon written just after 9/11

World Trade Center First Discussed as a Terrorist Target!, September 18, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Curve of Binding Energy (Paperback)

Perhaps the spookiest "prediction" of McPhee's book is the discussion about how to flatten the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center (WTC) with a small atomic device. This is the first reference, fact or fiction--as far as I can find--that mentions the two 110-story towers as a possible terrorist target. Ironic, eh? All the more ironic, because all it took were two suicide jets to do the job--no atomic explosive needed. But you can't help but wonder if the terrorists of Sept. 11, 2001 (and the first WTC bombing planners) were inspired by this book. In which case, the author must be haunted by the fact that he may have started a "chain reaction" of idea events which led to a prophesy fullfilled?

I liked Ted's suggestion on year around energy storage- dig a big hole and fill it with winter cool to use in the summer, and another big hole to fill with summer heat to use in the winter. Ted knew a lot about digging big holes- real fast.

I have a cistern i use for the winter cool part. Works.

BTW, isn't the terrorist threat all we need to put the kibosh on the nuclear power argument? Has nothing to do with the science, just the highly reliable assumption that people are nuts.

just the highly reliable assumption that people are nuts.

Even if 'the nuts' didn't exist, humanity has the sociopathic nature of Corporations trying to squeeze "profit" - rather than scrap a broken reactor claim to have a fix.

"People are nuts" really is the bottom line.

"famously lit a cigarette with a nuclear bomb"


Too good! Much thanks and an enduring reason to read TOD.

American Experience

If I were exiled to the proverbial desert island and could only take 90 mins of film/video, I would choose the PBS American Experience documentary called, "The Promise of the Land" (David McCullough, 1986?).

It combines two themes: Jefferson's vision of a nation of farmers with organic/traditional farming.
I am so thankful I taped it (on VHS) because I've never seen it replayed, nor does seem accessible either on YouTube or by purchase from PBS.
If anyone has further info on this uplifting documentary, I would certainly appreciate it.

Are you sure you have the title correct? It may be one of the chapter titles of an episode of a different name. I searched and scanned the American Experience website and didn't see it by that name, though what you describe seems familiar. Many great episodes there that I want to revisit! One of my favorites since I hopped trains for a time in my youth: Riding the Rails, part of the "The 1930s series", a good collection if one wants to study the rehearsal for peak everything.

David McCullough

"The Promise of the Land" (1987) - This program looks at agriculture's golden age of prosperity at the turn of the century, the Dust Bowl (a result of our intervention with the land), and current agricultural practices.

Smithsonian World

Episode Detail: The Promise of the Land - Smithsonian World
A comparison of the methods of modern farmers with those of Thomas Jefferson, who considered soil conservation as important as productivity. Interviewed: a Kentucky farmer who decries modern farming practices; a Kansas family that farms without chemicals. Host: David McCullough.


Thanks for that, Kali

It's been several years since I viewed my copy, but the Kansas farm that's referred to is near Home, Kansas.
I forget the farmer's name but he had the most wonderful way of speaking, saying that as a young guy he was going to show his dad the 'modern way' to farm. His father would have none of it, with the result that the original family farm is probably one of very few in North America insofar as it had never had chemicals applied to it.

The Kentucky farmer is Wendell Berry, who also has a gift when it comes to speech. Similarly Wes Jackson who is in the film as well.

All of this, placed in the context of Jefferson's views on democracy and farming, provides a superb, timeless documentary.
It should be aired annually (especially in high schools and Ag colleges), not de-listed/"disappeared."

I think it's just a victim of its age and genre. None of the Smithsonian World episodes is available on DVD or online now, though it appears they were sold on VHS tape at one point, and it might be possible to find used copies.

A search under movies at Alibiris found many Smithsonian World episodes.

Most welcome.

I tried to find it online, but, as seen above, no luck.

Amazon has a copy for nearly eighty dollars. It is past its copyrights*, so it could be distributed or sold as a product (?).

*Unless it is like a Disney item.

It is not past its copyrights. What holds for Disney holds for everyone.

That may be why it is not available. The Smithsonian has their own cable channel now, and presumably a need for programming. If they aren't showing Smithsonian World, it might be because there are rights issues. Contracts for TV shows and movies can be very complicated. Having the right to show it once doesn't mean they have the right to rerun it. Having the rights to sell VHS tapes doesn't mean they can also sell DVDs. And they have to have the permission of everyone involved in the production, which might be difficult if they didn't envision rerunning it 25 years later.

Ah, yes... I'm way off.
I was thinking 15-20 years: patent.


So . . . how is Japan going to supply its power w/o nukes? Well, I guess they are managing right now with most of the nukes turned off. But the country is very dependent on external energy. Nearly 100% dependent on foreign oil. Not much I believe. Natural gas? They do have good geothermal resources.

If Japan were to push hard in renewables, that would be nice to see since they've got great engineering talent. Renewables may really have some breakthroughs in the next 10 years with Germany making them a priority, Dr.Chu directing the DoE to prioritize them, China getting heavily into them, and now Japan being forced to take them seriously.

That said, the laws of physics & thermodynamics limit what can be done.

Information Operations Are Now “Inform and Influence Activities”

Information operations, which has traditionally included fields such as psychological operations and military deception, will now be incorporated into “Inform and Influence Operations” and changes to the doctrine will be reflected in an updated field manual to be released in 2012.

A draft version of the U.S. Army’s new manual obtained by Public Intelligence defines “Inform and Influence activities” as the “integration of designated information-related capabilities in order to synchronize themes, messages, and actions with operations to inform U.S. and global audiences, ...”

The ability to “influence” a population is defined in the manual as causing audiences to “think or behave in a manner favorable to the commander’s objectives” which results from “applying perception management to affect the target’s emotions, motives, and reasoning.

... now we want everybody to go watch the SuperBowl commercials ;-)

FBI releases plans to monitor social networks

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has quietly released details of plans to continuously monitor the global output of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, offering a rare glimpse into an activity that the FBI and other government agencies are reluctant to discuss publicly. The plans show that the bureau believes it can use information pulled from social media sites to better respond to crises, and maybe even to foresee them.

The information comes from a document released on 19 January looking for companies who might want to build a monitoring system for the FBI. It spells out what the bureau wants from such a system and invites potential contractors to reply by 10 February.

The document suggests that the bureau wants to use social media to target specific users or groups of users. It notes that agents need to "locate bad actors...and analyze their movements, vulnerabilities, limitations, and possible adverse actions". It also states that the bureau will use social media to create "pattern-of-life matrices" -- presumably logs of targets' daily routines -- that will aid law enforcement in planning operations.

and the Google Privacy thread from yesterday

This was shown in some movie a few years back. I don't remember which. An algorithm to detect threats based on what people talk about on the Internet. I guess that's how SkyNet looks like. Not your fancy talking lady, rather a boring old bureaucrat browsing through reports generated by the algorithm.

Perhaps you are referring to something like Carnivore, Echelon, or TIA?



Ottawa promises speedier review of oil sands projects

The federal government is working to speed into place changes this year to expedite the regulatory review of new industrial projects.

Ottawa plans to unveil new plans in “months, not years,” Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said in Calgary on Wednesday.

“It’s a matter of deep concern that our regulatory process is not as effective, efficient and expeditious as it should be. So if we’re going to deal with a time issue, we’re going to try to deal with it in a timely way,” he said.

The two-year window allocated for hearings alone on the Gateway project, in particular, has spurred the federal government into action. In an open letter released earlier this month, Mr. Oliver made a blunt assessment: The system “is broken,” he wrote. “It’s time to take a look at it.”

Ottawa is looking to create “definitive timelines from start to finish on the regulatory process,” Mr. Oliver said several weeks ago. He has said that projects should be reviewed within two years of making an application. If regulators are able to stick to their current schedule, Gateway will take 3.5 years.

Re: IMF: Iran Oil Export Halt May Send Prices Surging 30%

There's a story on this just out this evening from the Financial Times:

Iran threatens to act first on EU embargo

If the EU intends to boycott Iranian oil, why should Iran wait and give the EU (and the US) time to prepare? The effects on prices due to a shortage of oil would likely hit about the time the summer driving season began, if Iran acted before the EU's deadline of 1 July. If there actually is any surplus production capacity, such as from Saudi Arabia, Iran's action would force it into the market. If not, the price of oil would surely skyrocket. After that, the confrontation could rapidly worsen...

E. Swanson

This is a fascinating situation in which Obama is obligated to do something to stop Iran from moving forward with their nuclear program, yet the current path he is taking will undoubtedly increase oil price. This may occur to some degree simply due to the implications of freezing assets. Listen to this part of that article:

Financial sanctions against Tehran may be "tantamount to an oil embargo" and would imply supply declines of about 1.5 million barrels per day from the world's fifth-largest oil producer, the IMF said.

That's just a little less than the 1.8mbd export reduction that occurred during the Libyan uprising. Then of course if the Straits get shut, the price could really skyrocket.

Obama's in a pickle. He has to do something about Iran to appease Israel, to hold them back from starting a war with Iran. If a war did get started the US would I am sure defend Israel's flank and maybe get embroiled into a full scale war with Iran, which will divide the nation as to whether or not that was the right response. If he puts the squeeze on Iran, oil prices rise and our economy contracts, which doesn't bode well for his re-election. He's between a rock and hard place on this one, and it could be the defining issue surrounding his re-election bid.

It would be a favor to the world if the exporters reduce their exports either voluntarily or involuntarily (embargo, shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz, etc). The oil that is not exported today stays in the ground and will be exported in the future when the need is greater. Another benefit is that high price will encourage people to buy electric and high mileage cars.

Obama's in a pickle.

Indeed. If he does not act belligerent against Iran then Newt Romney will say he is 'coddling terrorist Iran!'. If he acts belligerent toward Iran then Newt Romney will say 'Look how high the gas prices have risen under Obama!'.

I thinks its more domestically driven than by Israel*. Israel knows an attack would end badly, and won't do it. Its really the fact that the US public buys into the Iran as devil meme. And no politician dares to be seen not be touger than tough. So the senate voted for sanctions one hundred to zero. You can't veto 100 to nothing laws! So he has no choice but to go along, maybe quietly allowing a few countries to make exceptions or delay (but that too has big political risks).

* Of course Israel provided part of the demonization stoking machinery.

And no politician dares to be seen not be touger than tough.

There is at least one old white guy running for the top slot who doesn't have that attitude - wants to pull back the military.

Its (very) debateable whether he's running for the top slot, or just seeking publicity for himself and/or his ideas.

As I noted above, with the many refinery closures in the EU/UK per the item I linked to, the EU/UK seem to believe they can do without Iranian crude or some from another source, so why don't the Iranians test that presumption? But then the "embargo" is riddled with loopholes--"exemption"--for which even BP has asked for, which is to say the UK must ask for. And so forth. The situation is riddled with contradictions and driven by gross hypocrisy. But with several key producers already selling oil sans dollars and other countries signing bilateral trade agreements to be consummated specifically with their own currencies, both the PetroDollar and Dollar Hegemony itself is under a concerted attack from a Bloc already bristling with ICBMs, not an individual nation like Iraq or Libya without any means of deterence. Oh, did I mention China is going to be using Yuan to pay for its hydrocarbon purchases from most GCCC members very soon!

NPR says not to worry, things are getting better and better from an oil POV.

Wow. They are literally denying that the USA peaked . . . they have us blowing past the 1970 peak production number.


Well, at least they kept the consumption relatively flat.

... blowing past the 1970 peak production numbers

Didn't they warn you that, when visiting the Emerald NPR City, it is impolite to look behind the curtain while the Great Wizard of NPR speaks?

Kind of like Churchill's description of Democracy..

NPR is the WORST source of 'Mainstream news' (variable term, of course) available to Americans, except for all the others.

They still bring on Denial Yergin (sp?) and mention 'The Prize' at regular intervals, when they want to talk about oil production.

Like any other 'valid' source, they are less about party and political sides than they are about satisfying the Monied interests that keep their doors open.

As you say above, 'Politeness' is key. Must keep it pleasant.

"Music to Drown By, I must be in First Class!" - Tommy Ryan, 'Titanic'

I'd rather listen to obvious lies than the smug, sneaky deceit of NPR wrapped up as if it were serious analysis. They are as much an imperial mouthpiece as any other, and as effective with certain segments of society as Rush is with others.

I'd rather listen to obvious lies

... which is why I tune in to the Rush Liebombs Show from time to time

... nothing smells better than the fresh scent of Pray & Nay Palms in the morning

Nice 'Publican Radio

National Propaganda Radio

Numb-and-dumb-down-the Public, Radio

a.k.a. Numbdumbdemdown, Propaganda Radio

It is not like NPR is intentionally trying to deceive people on this. They are just reporting what the 'experts' from the EIA and CERA are telling them. You should focus your anger at the notoriously over-optimistic EIA instead.

spec - I'm a little confused: is that chart representing US oil production? Most of the charts I find show US production peaking around 1970 at 9.6 million bopd and that we're currently around 5.2 million bopd. Your chart seems to showing we're producing twice that much today?

Rock, it's everything added together. Roughly from latest EIA weekly data

C+C 5.7
NGL 2.3
Bio 1.0
Refinery Gain 1.1

Total Supply 10.1 mb/day

Checking the EIA's monthly data for October (latest month) they have total US oil supply at 10.312871 million b/day or let's just say 10.3 mb/day :-) The monthly number has tended to be slightly higher than the weekly numbers recently because these include some of what appeared as "adjustments" in the weekly reports.

tow - Thanks...I suspected as much. But "refinery gains": as others have pointed out isn't that double diping a bit: those are liquids coming from oil that has already been accounted for...a change in volume but not BTU content.

An interesting chart from a consumption point of view. But confuses the subject of how oil production has changed over time. For instance one reason NGL's and condensate has gone up s that more rich NG wells are being drilled because there are fewer oil prospects to drill. Obviously just because oil + NGL + condenstate may be constant doesn't mean oil production is flat. And NGL and condensate production wil vary as with the dril rate for NG.. And that doesn't look too optimistic at the moment.

Looking at the chart, the Domestic Supply is called "Liquid Fuels" from the EIA. Just changing what's being counted to obscure what's actually happening.

Today's NPR's "Onpoint" show Does America Have The Juice? was about the supposed new era of plentiful fossil fools. There are a lot of comments, some good, added to that page, not to mention some good callers on the show.

They had two guests on, Juliet Eilperin, who seemed reasonably informed, although put the emphasis on climate rather than supply limits, and Phil Verleger, who seemed completely nuts in the usual way for an economist.

BTW, for a limited time you can download Onpoint shows as MP3 files here

Canada doesn’t have enough workers to tap the oil sands, and the shortage is getting worse

This is almost hard to believe from an American perspective, but the biggest obstacle to growth in the Canadian oil sands is a labor shortage.

A labour shortage and resultant cost inflation are already causing oil producers to cancel new projects, according to investment bank Raymond James. Going forward this problem will get worse, says Raymond James’ Justin Bouchard:

Of the factors leading to a rise in cost inflation, we believe labour shortages are the most significant. This statement is by no means a revelation as labour shortages have been a challenge in the past. However, where our view may differ from the common mantra of oil sands industry participants is in the magnitude of the problem. For one, it is worth pointing out that we are already above peak employment levels experienced during the 2005-2008 oil sands boom. This time around, there is a lack of slack labour availability from the traditional labour pools for the oil sands industry (i.e. east coast Canada) and looking to the higher unemployment levels in the United States as a means to solve the problem is a false hope in our view.

Well . . . it is not the most enticing place to live. Summer is probably nice. But I grew up in Minnesota and that was rough enough in the winters.

No, you wouldn't go there for the weather. Summer is nice, except for the bugs, but winter... If you thought Minnesota was tough in winter... well, it's about the same. Drat, I thought I could impress you with the record lows, but I checked and Minnesota's is slightly colder.

That's why fishermen go there from Canada's east coast - if you're going to work outside in miserable weather, you might as well get paid a lot of money for it.

Maybe if you are comparing Ft. McMurray to International Falls, MN but not if you are comparing it to where people actually live, like Minneapolis (averages in MSP are 10F or warmer this time of year on both lows and highs). Most people can't stand winter up here. Go to city data and read about all the folks from MN and WI who have left for S Carolina, Florida, TX, Arizona...#1 reason being winter. Its crap. There is nothing good about it. Minneapolis is going to be in a world of hurt when natural gas does finally become scarce and the price skyrockets or better yet, shortages start to occur in January.

Very few people actually enjoy winter and half those people are just in denial.

Winter keeps the riff-raff out.


Don in Maine

Very few people actually enjoy winter and half those people are just in denial.

I tend to disagree. Depends on what they're doing. Check out a ski hill, cross country ski or snow board run, or an outdoor rink on a clear, crisp cold day. It's usually crowded.

Children, at least in generations past, would spend all day outside, building snow men, having snow ball fights, and just plain mucking around in the white stuff. Come into the house to change mittens or socks and right back outside again.

I still enjoy shoveling my walkway and occasionally my driveway if the plow doesn't come in time. Hard work with a real sense of accomplishment. Now that I'm over 50 I curtail such activities, but that is b/c of the health risk not displeasure.

I've talked to old codgers who spend years in the woods. Winter was the best time b/c frozen ground improved hauling and mobility. The way they talk, a lot of fond memories amid their hard work.

And personally I really like it when it is cold, really cold. At least one knows how to dress for that. Anyone who has experienced a Maritime Canada winter will tell, the worse weather is when it can't decide if it's winter or spring. Damp and miserable, wind cuts through you.

Nothing wrong with winter. Unless you're too pampered to learn its rewards or too lazy/dense to cover yourself up.

I still (along with the majority of folks I know) say winter blows bananas.

Humans originally came out of Africa...tropics. We weren't meant to live at 45N. Vitamin D? Don't get any of that for almost 6 months up here. No wonder cancer rates are higher up here.

The sooner winter is over, the better. Snow? You can have all of it. I've got about 15 inches in my front yard.

Less then a 100 years from now, the millions (?) that live up here will need to find a new source of heat.

Africa was a long time ago, DLL.

As with Don and R4, I am up here by choice. Winter has challenges, but also rewards.. and as much as 72 and sunny is just super fine, I have no interest in Santa Monica or any other place I've been that has that daily drone of 'perfect conditions'..

I think what you're calling denial in us is what I call projection in you, neighbor.


Check out a ski hill, cross country ski or snow board run, or an outdoor rink on a clear, crisp cold day. It's usually crowded. ......

Nothing wrong with winter. Unless you're too pampered to learn its rewards or too lazy/dense to cover yourself up.

Yes! I totally agree.

Not that I dislike summer, mind you. Each season has its pleasures. And watching the changing of the seasons is a pleasure in and of itself.

One of my most memorable experiences was when I was outdoors in the moonlight and the temperature dropped with the arrival of Jack Frost. Everything went from dull to sparkling in what felt like an instant, although I am sure it took rather more time than my awareness shift.

"...natural gas does finally become scarce and the price skyrockets..."

Of course, there may not be an ideal answer.

In a scenario so bad that people in Minneapolis have no means to heat (reasonably) in January, people in the south will be in a world of hurt in July, possibly dying prematurely in droves (as in Europe in the heat wave a few years ago) for lack of relief from the unremitting, suffocating, debilitating heat. Remember, once again, that most southern cities were quite small - and the region was mainly a thinly populated backwater - before widespread air conditioning. For example, while Phoenix does actually have a historic district, you may never notice it without a GPS.

Few places in North America seem blessed with a nice, livable year-round climate; the seasons are just too intense. Nor would it be very practical to fix that by cramming all 300+ million onto the narrow, earthquake-prone Pacific coastal margin.

I spent 12years in Wisconsin. Winter was by far the best season for outdoor stuff. Ft. McMurray almost surely has much colder winters (and with fewer hours of sun), and much buggier summers. But, I'm sure if you can get away from the toxics released by the oilsands operations, that the fishing is spectaular.

Yes, I agree, one of the nicest benefits of winter, besides the freshness of the outdoors, is no bugs!

And few tourists, or clueless city folk in the backcountry.

Rocky - Not just Canada...if you're talking about experienced/skilled hands. Spent yesterday running a packer/perf gun on a La. well. The fact that many of the hands were half my age didn't bother me too much. But a lot of small/unsafe moves. You know as I do if a hand isn't paying close attention to his safety he isn't paying close attention to getting the job done right. All my vendors have the same complaint: not so much that the new hands don't have any experience, but the general intelligence/safety awareness is very poor. An inexperienced hand with common sense can be trained. The rest are accidents waiting to happen. The job was almost over so there was no point in running this one vendor off then. But I have to call their salesman this morning and tell him their off my bidders list. Not looking forward to it: the salesman is a really good guy...known him for years. Part of the reason he got his job was that he pulled in me and some other old clients to his new company. He has no control over who they send to the well site. But he'll still have to pay the price.

The classic sign of an old, experienced, but not terribly careful rig worker is when he goes into a bar and orders "two fingers" of liquor. Then he puts his hand on the glass to show what he wants, and he's only got two fingers left, widely spaced apart. The equipment is quite unforgiving if you aren't careful enough.

It's a chronic problem - when they have to hire a bunch of new workers, the accident rates go sky-high. When they have been working long enough, Darwinian rules win out and only the careful are left.

As in many risky human endeavors, there are old rig workers and there are bold rig workers, but there are very few old, bold rig workers.

It's a problem that will get worse. Even for engineers, the ones with experience are 60 years old. The 80's low prices caused a generational gap. The promising few are 35...they'll have to pick up the reins, but they are not as sharp or as wise as their elders. The incoming ones are 20, and even if you find sharp and motivated workers, the perspective gap is huge. "They don't make them like us anymore" is something I've heard time and again.

I see the generational gap being a very real issue for the next 10 years. It's also an opportunity for those in automation, since if you can make it operate itself you don't have have to train somebody from scratch. I do think there are some really sharp young people, but few are into engineering. It does seem to be shifting a bit just these past 2 years, though, from what I see on-campus.

Interesting times!

I've not found that to be the case at all in engineering. I work in the energy industry, and generally the 30-somethings are very smart - much more tech savy than the older boomer generation. They're much better with computer modeling, advanced math, and are typically more motivated. The problem we have is that the 60-70 year old guys won't retire. They get into these higher positions and just coast, without actually caring about the quality of work that they do. They could retire if they had to, so they don't feel the need to actually perform on the job, but they're on easy street with the large salaries they get. They're also the ones who will receive large pensions whereas the 30 and under generations aren't offered them.

It's so bad that our company has tried to buy-out large numbers of these people multiple times over the past 4 years, but the older guys won't take up the offers. It's especially sad when they're in management positions, because they make no effort to address the professional development of their younger Engineers. My manager fits into this mold and it goes like this: I get my 2011 goals literally 2 weeks before my *2011* annual year-end performance review at the end of the year in December. Basically my goals for the year end up being what projects I've *already* completed. I spend 2-3 days completing my self evaluation and putting a lot of effort into it, and all my manager does is change every statement I make from "I completed x,y,z under budget by x amount...blah blah" to "Ty completed x,y,z under budget by x amount blah blah". It's like that with all management - Operations, Engineering, etc.

It's extremely difficult to stay self-motivated with this generation in charge. I find myself making up projects that are technically very challenging, very expensive, and completely redundant just in order to keep myself stimulated on the job.

As for the statement "They don't make them like us anymore"...yeah that sounds like something one of these types would repeat...over and over again.

This is a follow up article on the Apple-China-Factories news story

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

I think the MSM is treating this in the usual manner, as a problem of ethics. No mention of how our financial system is designed to perpetually create systems like these. If it's not the Chinese it will be someone else. Our economy is like a parasite and it constantly needs new breeding grounds to generate the surplus we call GDP growth.

I would like to see the global corporations adopt a $2US/hour minimum wage. For their employees and the employees of their vendors.

That would be around 3X the minimum wage here and would introduce some serious distortions in the local economy.


If you offered $2/hour in China you would have a million people lined up outside your front door the next day. People have actually tried that, and that is actually what happens.

You can't really pay much more than the standard wages in a country without seriously distorting the local economy. The population has to gradually work it's way into higher wage levels, which is what will happen in China, probably faster than the US would like to see.

I think Americans should worry more about the wages in their own country. At least Chinese wages are increasing from year to year.

I have a feeling that this is a more likely future than the Mad Max scenario:

Indonesian road warriors bid to nail tyre vandals

People doing anything to make a living, and community volunteers stepping in when the police are too overwhelmed or too corrupt to handle it.

Broken window theory !!

We must break them faster/harder before they are all gone.

Would like to look at the link, but Google wants to know that I did, so I won't. How did Orwell know, so long ago?

Did Google ask you to login before reading the link? Did that to me a couple of days ago.

Yup. I'm resisting such requests for now. Probably at some pt. there will come an article that I just 'have to' see. Then they'll have me, and all my info, and my DNA, and my brainwaves... or am I just paranoid? The internet seems an all too appropriate term for it just now. BB has got us all entangled in it, like it or not.

Here's some more info from a listserve I belong to focused on climate change:

Internet Users Up in Arms Over Google's Orwellian New Privacy Policy
That it's Forcing on All of Us

So much for "don't be evil." On Tuesday of this week, Internet search
(and just about everything else) giant Google
announced a new unified privacy policy for 60 of its online services, including
Gmail, Google+, Google Maps, and YouTube. The policy states that as
of March 1, Google will be able to use data it collects about users
from one service in any of the other services that users are signed
into -- and there's no way to opt out.

Understandably, internet users and privacy watchdogs are up in arms
about the move. Gizmodo's Mat Honan explains what the change will mean for Google users (i.e., pretty much everyone), and why it's dangerous:

What this means for you is that data from the things you search for,
the emails you send, the places you look up on Google Maps, the
videos you watch in YouTube, the discussions you have on Google+ will
all be collected in one place. It seems like it will particularly
affect Android users, whose real-time location (if they are Latitude
users), Google Wallet data and much more will be up for grabs. And if
you have signed up for Google+, odds are the company even knows your
real name, as it still places hurdles in front of using a pseudonym (although it no longer
explicitly requires users to go by their real names).
All of that data history will now be explicitly cross-referenced.
Although it refers to providing users a better experience (read: more
highly tailored results), presumably it is so that Google can deliver
more highly targeted ads. (There has, incidentally, never been a
better time to familiarize yourself with
Google's Ad Preferences.)....
[The new policy] means that things you could do in relative anonymity
today, will be explicitly associated with your name, your face, your
phone number come March 1st. If you use Google's services, you have
to agree to this new privacy policy. Yet a real concern for various
privacy concerns would recognize that I might not want Google
associating two pieces of personal information.

And someone on there just recommended Scroogle as a means around this.

Is this what Peak Oil Wal-Mart looks like? Wal-Mart cuts back on greeters:

The nation's largest private employer has been eliminating greeters on the 10 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift at its 3,000-plus supercenters over the last six months, "chipping away at a 30-year tradition of making sure all shoppers are welcomed to the store," Bloomberg reports. Most supercenters are open 24 hours a day...

...The greeters have been moved to other jobs, like stocking shelves.

No mention of who was stocking the shelves before.

Realated: Developing economies aspire to have an American middle class lifestyle:

Walmart's push into Africa (video). They're calling it "Mass-Mart" it seems.

Thanks Aug. I broke my own rule: Test your links!

The Ruinmen Cometh: This story brought to mind the "Ruinmen" of Greer's Star's Reach:

Police: Douglasville men arrested for stealing iron:

Police say two Douglasville men stole 1,000 pounds of iron from a city building.

Investigators suspect David Rogers and Benjamin Clinton stripped the metal from the ceiling of the old mill on Bankhead Highway.

"In particular they were stealing metal beams, pipes and some wiring," Detective Mac Abercrombie said.

I used to work in this area (west of Atlanta), doing utility surveys, and am familiar with this old mill (not pictured in the online story). It has been abandoned for decades; essentially a ruin. This was one area where I carried my sidearm while surveying and assessing rights of way, 20+ years ago. Many of these old sites were littered with rusty chemical drums and asbestos...condemned. Perhaps the authorities did these guys a favor arresting them.

It was an interesting job, taking me places most folks dare not go, sometimes taking inventory of abandoned industrial pipelines and grid rights of way, requiring me to crawl through collapsing infrastructure.. I'm sure it fed my declinist attitudes.

I'm starting to see these types of stories regularly, I'm sure this is where we are heading. A while ago someone posted a link to this site from Russia, browsing through all the photographs gives you the exact same feeling! It sure makes you feel weird...


or the Google-English translated site


If the plant is to any casual observer long abandoned, then it is hard to think of these guys as thieves, when industrial recyclers would be a more appropriate term.

As sunspot 1402 rotates away to the far side of the sun here is the status of some of the monitoring.

1-4 hours ahead planetary magnetic field: OFFLINE
3 days ahead magnetic field: OFFLINE
USAF 15 min recorded Magnetic Field: OFFLINE (well updating measured value every 3 hours instead of 15 minutes so value is up to 3 hours old)
Proton Flux Prediction: OFFLINE
Space Warn Messages: Inconsistent

And undoubtedly other systems and output relying on some of the above of course.

ACE Spacecraft apparently fully online again.
SOHO real time: Patchy due to broken antenna pointing motor.

The ongoing proton storm which began at 05:30 UTC on January 23rd continues but has now dropped back to S1 levels. There will be bigger storms ahead as we approach solar max. Given the performance so far I'm not expecting much "good" output. I can find no info anywhere about expected resumption dates of the OFFLINE services.

Global warming: Is Arctic ice at a tipping point?

SUMMIT COUNTY — A research effort led by the University of Colorado Boulder is launching a two-year study of Arctic sea ice to determine whether areas like the Beaufort Sea and the adjacent Canada Basin have passed a ‘tipping point’ and now are essentially sub-Arctic zones where ice disappears each summer.

Such ice loss could be causing fundamental changes in ocean conditions, including earlier annual blooms of phytoplankton, which are microscopic plant-like organisms that drive the marine food web.

Soldiers brace for cold as they deploy for Arctic training

After six years of combat in the desert, some Canadian troops are in for a shock as they deploy to the Arctic for a two-week training exercise. Called Arctic Ram, the $17-million exercise in the Northwest Territories is designed to help the soldiers get re-acquainted with severe winter climates and learn to defend our northern borders.

The soldiers -- from the army's 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, the air force, the navy and the Canadian Rangers -- will live in tents with only the heat from lanterns and small stoves. "They haven't experienced the cold like they're going to experience up there, that's for sure," ...

The soldiers are coming from Edmonton, which is the most northerly major city in Canada, so I don't think they are completely inexperienced with cold weather.

Record low in Edmonton: -48.3°C (-54.9°F)
Record low in Yellowknife: -51.2°C (-60.2°F)

The only thing is, Yellowknife is more consistently cold than Edmonton in winter.

January daily mean Edmonton: −11.7°C (10.9°F)
January daily mean Yellowknife: −26.8°C (−16.2°F)

The soldiers have also been in Afghanistan, which is not exactly like Arizona in winter.

Record low in Kabul: -31°C (-24°F)
January daily mean Kabul: -12°C (-10°F)

In fact Russian soldiers suffered terribly from the cold in winter when Russia occupied the country. That was more a matter of bad equipment than anything else, though. Western armies are very well prepared for cold weather.

One too many minuses in that last line.


Sorry, that's what happens when you convert from metric to Imperial on the fly. I've kind of forgotten how Fahrenheit works. Celsius makes so much more sense.

I've kind of forgotten how Fahrenheit works. Celsius makes so much more sense.

I've mused to myself about how I like the Farenheit scale for winter conditions ... and that is 0F is about as cold as I can stand it and going below is *really F'n cold!* None of that weird negative below freezing baloney that one gets with the Celsius scale.

That's how the F scale makes more to me.

The way I think about it is that 0°C is the temperature at which water freezes (i.e. it's time to start worrying about black ice on the road) and 0°F is the temperature that the salt they put on the road to melt the ice stops working (i.e. the efforts of the town salting crews become hopeless), so it's time to remember how to steer a car out of a skid.

That's because Fahrenheit set his zero at the lowest temperature he could achieve, which was the freezing point of a saturated salt/water mixture.

Alternatively, in cross-country skiing terms, 0°C is the warmest temperature that normal waxes work at, and 0°F is the temperature at which it ceases to be fun and turns into a fight against frostbite.

-40° is the temperature at which the two scales intersect (-40°C = -40°F) and is also the freezing point of mercury so the mercury thermometers stop working. It's also close to the boiling point of propane: −42 °C (−44 °F) so propane stoves and heaters stop working, and it's close the the temperature at which my furnace is sized for, so I might have to fire up the gas fireplace in the basement. I will also have to plug in the car because it might not start if I don't. (It's a Japanese design so it starts if it's not too cold, but for some reason the American cars have trouble starting long before -40°)

On the positive side, -40° is cold enough to kill the mountain pine beetle, so I know my pine trees will be safe next year.

On the positive side, -40° is cold enough to kill the mountain pine beetle, so I know my pine trees will be safe next year.

Its things like that that get forgotten when people say higher CO2 and global warming will benefit plants.


I've observed that as temperatures are experienced that are below -10F, the sensation of "cold" doesn't feel any colder than it does at -10f.

How the Big Three forgot Accounting 101

The Big Three were so driven by short-term profits that they forgot – or ignored – basic accounting practices that could have helped guard against production decisions with long-term damage, according to an award-winning study by Michigan State University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

... Krishnan said the problem was worsened by high turnover in the management ranks. "The fact is, five years from now a certain manager may not be working here, so he needs to make his production numbers today so his analysts are happy, his investors are happy, his customers are happy and he makes his bonus," Krishnan said.

In the field interviews, many managers indicated they knew the short-term strategy would hurt their company's brand image, or reputation, in the long-term, but could not alter the culture. "It was something they had an intuition about, but it was like a big moving train that no one could stop," Sedatole said.

To the extent that other industries show the same "perfect storm" characteristics – excess capacity, internal and external incentives to overproduce, and the willingness to offer customer concessions to absorb the unwanted inventory – they could fall into the same trap of harmful overproduction, Sedatole said.

Sounds like NG business

But I don't see the problem with what they did. They pursued their own best interests with no regard to the consequences - isn't that what they were supposed to do in a capitalist society? I was taught that everyone pursuing their own selfish best interests was the key to our success and what made us great.

Hmm, this news shouldn't be taken with any degree of levity...

Household borrowing surge driven by most indebted
CIBC study finds rise in borrowing by Canadians near retirement

The surge in Canadian household borrowing over the last five years has been driven by the most indebted families, according to a report by CIBC World Markets released Thursday.

It suggests that about a third of families that have debt now hold 73 per cent of all household debt in Canada.

The Bank of Canada has repeatedly raised concerns about the record high level of household debt — on average at a debt-to-income ratio of 151 per cent — and what will happen when eventually interest rates begin to increase.


“Canadians nearing retirement who should be in their prime savings years are, instead, getting themselves deeper into debt. We are already seeing an uptrend in bankruptcies for those 50 and over, but the more material impact will be that this group's ability to spend could be severely squeezed upon retirement."

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/01/26/household-debt-cibc-stu...

Anyone suggesting that Canada can skilfully avoid the financial morass that has befallen our southern neighbours could very well be whistling Dixie.


Tangentially related...

Old mortgages rise from the dead, haunt homeowners

No one collects statistics on wrongful foreclosures, or how many people are facing the phantom mortgage debts. But as the industry enters its fifth year of unwinding its mortgage morass, consumer groups, homeowner attorneys and foreclosure-fraud investigators say they are seeing more cases where people who don't owe the banks a dime are getting ensnared in the same hell as those who have missed payments.

They add that such problems are likely to intensify. Former industry employees have testified that they knowingly pushed through foreclosures on the wrong people.

It all casts a pall over a housing market in worse condition than it was during the Great Depression. By some estimates, 12.5 percent of U.S. homes with mortgages are either in foreclosure or the loans are at least 30 days past due, representing about $1 trillion in value.

...Former industry employees have testified that they knowingly pushed through foreclosures on the wrong people.

So why isn't this a crime?! Why aren't these a'holes in prison? Fraud? Theft of property? Conspiracy?

Ilargi's latest rant is on the same subject:

Fannie and Freddie are to a significant extent responsible for the fact that the financial sector has been able to take over and govern US society, including its political sphere. Whenever I say things like this, there are always people that point to all the good the GSEs have done: allowed ordinary people to afford a home etc. But in fact, from the get-go, they have driven up prices by "raising affordability", and that has allowed for the banking sector to get a stranglehold on the US population.

Today this has culminated in a situation where personal debt levels and federal debt levels have reached ridiculous levels. Debts which will never ever be serviced. All that's left is trying to let people continue to believe that they will, until creditors bring down the guillotine. Which they will, simply because there's a profit to be made.

I think that the banksters know this is the end game and are taking it to the limit. They ignore history though; those who have lost everything tend to react badly. Perhaps it's time for Anonymous to create a registry of names and addresses to move things along a bit, when this thing goes critical :-/

Locally, here in France, there's a number of Canadians who've built themselves their very own property bubble. Buying up properties and renovating them at a cost way beyond anything the property can return financially. Seemingly completely oblivious to local conditions and no doubt only possible due to the flow of easy credit from Canada.

Credit in Canada is not easy.

The Bank of Canada has pointed out that Canadians are borrowing too much money, but the banking rules in Canada are very tight and banks are not allowed to lend people money beyond their ability to repay it.

Canadians are buying up property in other countries because European and American economies are in a state of collapse, and the Canadian economy is healthy. They are taking advantage of property selling at distressed prices in other countries.

In most cases they are paying cash for it, because Canadians have a lot of cash these days. The amount of money being generated by natural resource exports, particularly oil, has a lot to do with it.

It's not a true bubble because these people can afford to take the loss if the market collapses. It will be their loss, not the financial system's, and the Canadian government has made it very clear it will not bail them out.

They can weep in their imported French wine if they want to, but they won't get much sympathy.

Scientists: 'Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?'

Because the world's population may double by the end of the century, an outcome that would lead to a considerable decrease in the availability of food, land, and water, researchers said that, bottom line, it would be helpful if a lot of people chose to die willingly, the advantage being that these volunteers could decide for themselves whether they wished to die slowly, quickly, painfully, or peacefully.

Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.

Evey Hammond - V for Vendetta - 2006

Might be lucky to get a choice.

Published H5N1 One Change From Efficient Transmission

"Finally, research laboratories that study H5N1 virus host adaptation, H5N1 virus in mammalian model systems, or use the same virus lineage that was the subject of our studies have a need to know because they may unknowingly develop high-risk variants. The latter group is not hypothetical, as we have identified, from the published literature, laboratories working with H5N1 viruses that may only require –one to three mutations before the viruses used may become transmissible via aerosols."

The above comments from today’s Sciencexpress on “Restricted Data on H5N1 Influenza Transmission" (PDF), highlights the folly of the attempts to censor the Science and Nature papers on the changes required for efficient transmission of H5N1 in a ferret model. The main points of the paper have been widely discussed. Only five changes in two genes produce efficient transmission without the loss of virulence after 10 passages in ferrets. Since the five changes were of known polymorphisms, and two labs had generated similar results, it was clear that the efficient transmission was straightforward and the current H5N1 in circulation posed a much greater risk than was widely appreciated.

Referenced paper at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/01/18/science.1218376.full.pdf

H1N1pdm09 Recombination In Egypt H5N1 Raises Concerns

The recently released H5N1 sequences from Egypt contain H1N1pdm09 sequences in the PB1 and PB2 gene segments. The recent comments by Yoshihiro Kawaoka on the data in the censored Nature paper indicate H5 on an H1N1pdm09 genetic background transmits in ferrets. Although the paper remains censored, the comments suggest H5 was added to 7 gene segments from H1N1pdm11. However, an earlier study suggested that the H1N1pdm09 M gene was critical for the jump from swine to humans, so it is unclear if the other six gene segments are required for transmission.

However, the presence of H1N1pdm09 gene sequences in the H5N1 isolates raise concerns that additional combinations are likely and the status of such combinations are far from clear. The most recent human H5N1 sequence from Egypt are from cases in March 2010. More recently, clusters in Egypt have been confirmed and an increased case fatality rate has been noted, raising concerns that H1N1pdm09 internal genes may be present in human cases in Egypt.

Btw H1N1pdm09 is swine flu.

Yoshihiro Kawaoka comments at

H5N1: Flu transmission work is urgent

Yoshihiro Kawaoka


Published online
25 January 2012

Yoshihiro Kawaoka explains that research on transmissible avian flu viruses needs to continue if pandemics are to be prevented.

...The redaction of our manuscript, intended to contain risk, will make it harder for legitimate scientists to get this information while failing to provide a barrier to those who would do harm. To find better solutions to dual-use concerns, the international community should convene to discuss how to minimize risk while supporting scientific discovery. Flu investigators (including me) have agreed to a 60-day moratorium on avian flu transmission research (go.nature.com/ttivj5) because of the current controversy. But our work remains urgent — we cannot give up.

That was the plot for a bad book; Nature's End.

Of course, the randomly assigned poisoned capsules were not going to be randomly assigned at all.

The first to volunteer should be the scientists as ultimately they're the guys responsible for the mess we're in. Opening Pandora's box and refusing to shut it. Next the technicians who maintain and keep our global planet killing system running. Then the guys who manage and control the system through global political, financial and corporate bureaucracies. Then the useless and massive resource consuming middle classes.

I guess we're nowhere near one third yet, so who's next?

[First, we kill off all the] scientists as ultimately they're the guys responsible for the mess

Ah yes. Yea old fickle finger of blame.
Never points back at itself.

Then again, there are others who favor the bottom up approach -a.k.a. BAU

Is WaPo getting the message? ...

Oil production is booming — but for how long?

Lately, President Obama has been talking up the frenzy of domestic oil drilling under his watch. “Right now,” the president said in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, “American oil production is the highest it’s been in eight years.” Technically, that’s true. But it’s worth taking a longer view. Since 1970, U.S. oil production has actually been in severe decline — and the recent boom is nowhere near enough to reverse it.

... Boosts in oil production has primarily been mainly by new discoveries rather than better technology. And while high prices can spur companies to boost production, they’re no guarantee that the decline can be halted or reversed — in 2010, oil was twice as costly as in 1990, yet U.S. production was still down 25 percent from 1990 levels. (Globally, meanwhile, production has plateaued since 2005.)

They don't get messages, they provide messages, and when one reads what they provide one should always ask "Why am I being told this?"

Is WaPo getting the message?

My guess is no. That's Ezra Klein's blog (though he doesn't write all the posts there). They've been blogging about peak oil for years.

From on top

“It's difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it.”
—Upton Sinclair


Iowa State engineer wants to 'sculpt' more powerful electric motors and generators

... Aliprantis and Li want to take advantage of the fact that most electric motors and generators operate in just one direction - in most applications there's no real need for them to go into reverse. The motors, however, have long been designed to offer equal performance no matter which way they're rotating.

And so the engineers are exploring how electric motors can be improved by optimizing performance in a preferred direction of rotation. ... The teeth that hold coils of wire within an electric motor, for example, have typically been built with a symmetrical shape that maintains performance in either direction. By making the teeth asymmetrical, the engineers hope the motor can pick up some power when rotating in the preferred direction.

"We are trying to develop a systematic way of getting to the right shape," Aliprantis said. "This idea is very simple, but motors are still being designed using techniques that are essentially one hundred years old."

This can perhaps add a bit of efficiency at almost no cost. But it cannot be a Game Changer (TM), since electric motors are already better than 90% efficient.

I wonder if this trick could reduce the amount of copper needed, that would also be useful. Of course, some motors are built with aluminum wire coils to save on the expensive (and heavy) copper.

Case in point: some recent microwave ovens use "inverter" technology, which I take to mean, in part, that the low-frequency AC supply is converted to DC, then to higher-frequency AC, then run through a transformer to up the voltage to 2000-4000 volts to run the magnetron. One advantage is that the high-frequency transformer is a lot smaller and lighter than the 50 or 60 Hz transformer in the older tech microwave ovens. Same as switching power supplies in recent "wall warts" are a lot lighter than the old type. More efficient too. Apparently a bunch of transistors and capacitors are cheaper than a big mass of copper wire. On the other hand, there are reports of those "inverter" microwave devices failing more often than the old transformers. And harder to fix. An example of efficiency being less resilient?

High-frequency "switching" or "Switched-mode power-conversion" power supplies are smaller, lighter, vastly more complex, and cease to function if you so much as look at them wrong. The failure is usually propagated into the control means/circuitry. This makes repair even less likely.

Who should Canada enter into long term oil deals with? China that has money or the US that has debt? The US maybe able to print money today to pay Canada but in the long run it would be far safer for Canada to sell to a customer that is not bankrupt.

Nigeria may be better for US than Canada. Nigeria can be controlled by the US military. It would be unseemly to steal Canadian oil via the military.

Evans-Pritchard on Fracking:


Energy crisis is postponed as new gas rescues the world
Engineers have performed their magic once again. The world is not going to run short of energy as soon as feared.

That's from October 2009 by the way.

Scientific American: Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?

At best, the world is now living off an oil plateau—roughly 75 million barrels of oil produced each and every day—since at least 2005, according to a new comment published in Nature on January 26. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) That is a year earlier than estimated by the International Energy Agency—an energy cartel for oil consuming nations.

How Seawater Could Corrode Nuclear Fuel

Japan used seawater to cool nuclear fuel at the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant after the tsunami in March 2011 -- and that was probably the best action to take at the time, says Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California, Davis.

But Navrotsky and others have since discovered a new way in which seawater can corrode nuclear fuel, forming uranium compounds that could potentially travel long distances, either in solution or as very small particles. The research team published its work Jan. 23 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Uranium in nuclear fuel rods is in a chemical form that is "pretty insoluble" in water, Navrotsky said, unless the uranium is oxidized to uranium-VI — a process that can be facilitated when radiation converts water into peroxide, a powerful oxidizing agent.

This is for TODers who think shipping oil by train is safer than shipping it by pipeline:

Tanker cars leak crude oil after vehicle collides with train in Saskatchewan

OXBOW, Sask. - Emergency crews contained an oil leak Monday from a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train that derailed after a collision with a pickup truck at a crossing in southeastern Saskatchewan.

The accident happened late Sunday night when the truck hit the 81-unit eastbound freight next to a highway a few kilometres east of Oxbow. The train was heading for the northeastern United States.

Emphasis mine. There is no indication where the oil originated from, but given the location of the wreck, there is a real good chance it was produced from the Bakken Formation which underlies North Dakota and Saskatchewan.

The derailment was the second in as many days. On Saturday, more than a dozen grain cars on a Canadian National Railways freight train plunged off a trestle near Wainwright, Alta. The bridge was damaged but no one was injured.

There were two other derailments in Alberta last week.

The suggestion was that shipping semi-solid bitumen by rail to meet an empty tanker in Prince Rupert, then sailing the laden tanker around Haida Gwaii is safer than sailing a tanker full of naptha up Douglas Channel during a hurricane force polar outflow wind, piping said naptha to Fort Mac, piping diluted bitumen back, and then sailing back down the channel without colliding with the next tanker(s) heading in.
Much safer i think.

Yes, but this half ton truck knocked 22 tank cars off the rails when it ran into the side of a train the driver didn't see moving across a level crossing. That sort of thing doesn't happen with pipelines.

image link

If this had happened in Australia, the resulting accident report would conclude that the train was at fault...

Reports (pdfs) from the World Economic Forum 2012 ...

Global Risks 2012 Seventh Edition

Economic imbalances and social inequality risk reversing the gains of globalization, warns the World Economic Forum in its report Global Risks 2012. These are the findings of a survey of 469 experts and industry leaders, indicating a shift of concern from environmental risks to socioeconomic risks compared to a year ago. Respondents worry that further economic shocks and social upheaval could roll back the progress globalization has brought, and feel that the world’s institutions are ill-equipped to cope with today’s interconnected, rapidly evolving risks. The findings of the survey fed into an analysis of three major risk cases: Seeds of Dystopia; Unsafe Safeguards and the Dark Side of Connectivity.

The report analyses the top 10 risks in five categories - economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological - and also highlights "X Factor" risks, the wild card threats which warrant more research, including a volcanic winter, cyber neotribalism and epigenetics, the risk that the way we live could have harmful, inheritable effects on our genes.

Key crisis management lessons from Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters are highlighted in a special chapter.

Energy for Economic Growth Energy Vision Update 2012

More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency

New Models for Addressing Supply Chain and Transport Risk

Gingrich's Moon Base idea reminds me of when Bush jr. held a press conference claiming we would have manned missions to Mars. The facial expressions of the people at NASA were priceless, looking stunned they kept looking at each other to see if anyone else knew what the heck he was talking about. The impression was he made that announcement without ever consulting anyone at NASA! We never heard another word about it, just like we'll never hear another word about Gingrich's Moonbase.

With what industrial base?

Seems Mr. Harper has been drawing up his own "naughty" and "nice" lists.

Oilsands 'allies' and 'adversaries' named in federal documents

The federal government considers the media, the biodiesel industry and environmental and aboriginal groups "adversaries" in its attempt to advocate for Alberta's oilsands, according to documents obtained under access to information legislation.

Energy companies, the National Energy Board, Environment Canada, business and industry associations, meanwhile, are listed as "allies" in a public relations plan called the "Pan-European Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy." It is dated March 2011.

The documents were obtained by Greenpeace Canada and Climate Action Network and released to the media on Thursday. The groups say Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is working hand-in-hand with the oil industry to silence critics.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/26/pol-oilsands-campaign.h...

Can the internment camps be that far behind?


It's apparent that the Conservative government of Canada is putting together a grand strategy for economic development to be in effect for the next couple of decades, and this document is a minor part of the planning process for it.

Prime Minister Harper unveils grand plan to reshape Canada

After five years of minority governments, Stephen Harper finally has the freedom to act.

He’s no longer looking at the limited horizon of the next budget or the next election. He’s planning on transforming Canada for a generation or more. This is Stephen Harper’s blueprint for reform.

Although short on details, Mr. Harper’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday made clear the sweep of his ambition. He will change how Canadians finance their retirement. He will overhaul the immigration system. He will make oil and gas exports to Asia a “national priority” and aggressively pursue free trade in India and Europe.

Several times in his speech, Mr. Harper portrayed his agenda as a fix for a generation – a fix he claimed is necessary to confront the challenges of an aging population. Canada’s demographics, he warned, pose “a threat to the social programs and services that Canadians cherish.” Preserving those social programs will likely mean cuts elsewhere.

“Western nations, in particular, face a choice of whether to create the conditions for growth and prosperity, or to risk long-term economic decline. In every decision, or failure to decide, we are choosing our future right now,” Mr. Harper said.

Mr. Harper further outlined the blueprint for his government by ticking off a list of policy priorities. He said Canada’s investments in science and technology had produced poor results and were a “significant problem for our country.” He said he intends to pursue free trade with the European Union and India and find new energy markets beyond the United States. Regulatory delays for mines and energy projects are also being targeted.

One of the side effects of these policies is that Canada will be one of the few countries prepared for the consequences of Peak Oil. I think that's implicit in the planning priorities.

However, I've said several times before that groups who try to frustrate the government's energy policies through protests and obstructionist tactics will probably receive the "nail that sticks up gets hammered down" treatment. It's not really a touchy-feely hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" group in Ottawa these days. They have a plan and they're going to be quite forceful about putting it into effect - and they have the votes to do it.

'Growth and prosperity'...to infinity and beyond!

Whenever you hear a government talking about immigration and "aging populations" in the same breath its always a prelude to the necessity of maintaining or increasing the immigration rate. Because increasing the population helps keep it young right? So long as you can keep the population growing rapidly that is. Halt or even slow down the growth rate and that aging population problems catches up with you. But Canada's politicians all seem to believe that Canada's population is going to keep growing rapidly forever, so that shouldn't ever be a problem.

A new Green Revolution!


Oh well, my thyroid stopped working back in 1997 anyway...all hail better living through chemistry!

Are we selecting for/breeding roundup and 2,4-D-resitant humans?

Before anyone gets their crying towel out for the U.S. because of the so-called large 'Defense' cuts, please read this first:


Before Obama announced his plan, the Pentagon was counting on annual budget increases over the next 10 years -- totaling roughly $500 billion, according to Panetta. While the new plan calls for its spending to drop in 2013, the budget would then revert to growth, administration officials say. They have not said what the average annual increase would be from 2017 to 2021, but two senior administration officials who asked not to be named said the result after 10 years would still be a larger budget, even after inflation is taken into account.

That means Obama’s proposed changes will shift actual spending less than one percent annually.

I have a good idea of the profit margins typically found with DoD contractors...this will be like going to the buffet in the future and trimming your massive gorging by a percent or two...

Half a trillion?

Why that's just a rounding error in today's economy.

Real men do full digit trillions.

Half a Trillion...over ten years...so roughly $50B per year...and that is taken from the previously-panned Increase in the DoD budget...when we read the article, we see that the budget will decrease slightly in 2013, then resume small increases each year after that.

The wonks say that the total real budget should be a small amount higher in ~ 2021 than it is today.

Smoke and mirrors.

The Post 9-11-2001 MIC empire seems here to stay.

Here is one freakshow to drag into the next drumbeat:

Pregnancy and childbirth are so painful, risky and socially restrictive for women that public funding should urgently be directed to the development of artificial wombs. This is the only way to achieve true equality between men and women for then neither women nor men would then be limited by having children and the burdens of reproducing the species would be shared equally.

All I know is that if men had to give birth, the species would have died out long ago.

I'm not sure that would be any more of a correct assessment of the situation than the 'artificial wombs' == 'equality of child rearing'. The 1st 9 months is important. But so is the years and food before that 1st 9 months. And there is a multi-year commitment after that 9 month timeframe which can be plenty un-equal.

the species would have died out long ago.

oh, "that" species? yes it did.

(Neonatal-enthralled Man)

Didn't a guy named Huxley write about 'artificial wombs'?

You gammas are not supposed to know such stuff. ;-)

Meh, Huxley was optimistic. Now George Orwell is where it was at.