Drumbeat: February 8, 2012

Oil, Food, Water: Is Everything Past Its Peak?

An unprecedented crisis faced America. Oil production was going to peak in just three to five years, resulting in foreign oil addiction and economic calamity. The scientist responsible for slapping the nation into consciousness implored industry and government to act: "The smug complacency that habitually blinds the American public must be torn," wrote David White, chief geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey. It was 1920.

More than 90 years later, tempers still flare over the prospect of global "peak oil." Last week a commentary in the prestigious journal Nature argued, "oil's tipping point has passed." It's the most recent high-profile salvo about whether, or how soon, the petroleum extraction that drives the global economy will reach a plateau and then, inevitably, decline.

Oil prices will rise as supplies tighten? Hardly.

Oil prices, which fell below $97 a barrel on Monday, are not poised to surge in the long run because long-term production is declining. Better technology and, if needed, higher oil prices mean the long predicted peak in oil production is a long way off.

Oil Gains a Second Day on Demand Outlook as API Says U.S. Stockpiles Drop

Oil rose to its highest in a week in New York after a report showed U.S. stockpiles shrank, signaling increased demand in the world’s biggest crude consumer.

West Texas Intermediate futures climbed to $99.65 a barrel, the highest since Jan. 31. Crude inventories fell 4.5 million barrels in the seven days ended Feb. 3, the first drop in three weeks, the American Petroleum Institute said after yesterday’s settlement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast today’s Energy Department report would show supplies rose 2.5 million barrels.

China to Increase Domestic Diesel, Gasoline Prices First Time in 10 Months

China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, raised domestic fuel prices for the first time in 10 months to spur production by refiners including China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and PetroChina Co.

UK prompt gas down 15 pct on ample supply

(Reuters) - British prompt gas prices plunged 15 percent on Wednesday as ample supplies offset above-average demand, but near-term prices stayed at six-year highs as three forecasters raised the possibility of prolonged freezing weather through February.

Energy independence? U.S. is almost there

The U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency, a goal the nation has been pursuing since the 1973 Arab oil embargo triggered a recession and led to lines at gasoline stations.

Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. The U.S. is producing so much natural gas that, where the government warned four years ago of a critical need to boost imports, it now may approve an export terminal. Methanex Corp., the world’s biggest methanol maker, said it will dismantle a factory in Chile and reassemble it in Louisiana to take advantage of low natural gas prices. And higher mileage standards and federally mandated ethanol use, along with slow economic growth, have curbed demand.

Everything you know about shale gas is wrong

I have already shown that we do not have a 100-year supply of natural gas, and that gas production is not profitable at today’s prices. I also noted that the U.S. Energy Information Administration recently slashed its resource estimate by 42 percent.

But now there’s even more bad news: U.S. gas production appears to have hit a production ceiling, and is actually declining in major areas.

How to profit as the shale gas revolution disappoints

There is no doubt that shale will lead to cheaper energy - already gas prices in the US (though not elsewhere) are at record lows - but it’s not a miracle cure. It has problems of its own; and that means there’s a good chance that shale will disappoint some of its more enthusiastic fans, as well as consumers hoping for permanently lower energy prices.

Norway to expand Arctic seabed surveying

(Reuters) - Norway intends to expand surveys of a previously disputed area in the Arctic offshore region bordering Russian waters ahead of potential oil exploration, Norway's prime minister said on Wednesday.

Statoil boosts 2012 spending in shale oil bet

OSLO (Reuters) - Oil firm Statoil is raising capital spending this year as it bets on the development of shale oil in the United States to help raise its output by a third over the next decade.

Encana’s pitch is about more than natural gas

Encana Corp. is North America’s second-largest natural gas company. Just don’t tell Encana that.

Eric Marsh, the company’s man in charge of its U.S. division, on Tuesday tried to hammer home a message Encana has been touting for months. It is expanding its natural gas liquids production. It is searching for oil. It has been stealthily collecting land housing these more valuable resources for ages now. It has more oil and natural gas liquids announcements coming down the pipe. So don’t just call it a natural gas company.

Iran MPs take no action on EU oil embargo, go into recess

(TEHRAN) - Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday went into a near month-long recess without taking any action on a threat to impose a pre-emptive oil embargo on European Union countries.

Dip in Iran’s oil supply gets China to buy from Saudi, Russia

Beijing/London: China is scouring the world for alternative oil supplies to replace a fall in its imports from Iran, as it seeks to negotiate lower prices from Tehran, and has been drawing heavily on Saudi Arabia.

Industry sources told Reuters that Beijing had bought the bulk of an increase in crude oil supplies from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia in the last few months.

Iran defaults on rice payments to India

(Reuters) - Iranian buyers have defaulted on payments for about 200,000 tonnes of rice from their top supplier India, exporters and rice millers said on Tuesday, a sign of the mounting pressure on Tehran from a new wave of Western sanctions.

The default prompted the head of the All India Rice Exporters' Association to call on members to stop rice exports to Iran based on credit, which would be a fresh blow to a country where imports of staple foods are already being hampered by sanctions.

Signs build that Iran sanctions disrupt food imports

(Reuters) - More evidence emerged on Tuesday of the crippling impact of new sanctions on Iran, with international traders saying Tehran is having trouble buying rice, cooking oil and other staples to feed its 74 million people weeks before an election.

New U.S. financial sanctions imposed since the beginning of this year to punish Tehran over its nuclear program are playing havoc with Iran's ability to buy imports and receive payment for its oil exports, commodities traders said.

Iran says to go green as oil sanctions tighten

DUBAI: Iran should invest in renewable energy to preserve its hydrocarbon reserves, Iranian energy minister Rostam Qasemi said on Wednesday, as tightening sanctions make it increasingly difficult for Tehran to sell oil.

With Iran's biggest buyers cutting imports of its crude and looking for other suppliers, Tehran says the time is right for the world's fifth largest oil producer and the second biggest gas holder to go green.

Argentina takes Falklands spat with U.K. to U.N.

(AP) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - President Cristina Fernandez said Tuesday that Argentina will formally complain to the U.N. Security Council that Britain has created a serious security risk by sending one of its most modern warships to the disputed Falkland Islands.

She accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of militarizing their nations' dispute over sovereignty of the South Atlantic archipelago, which Argentines say the British stole from them nearly 180 years ago.

Falkland military claims rejected

Downing Street today rejected Argentine claims that Britain is creating a risk to international security by "militarising" the long-running dispute over the Falkland Islands.

Argentina Suspends Oil Incentive Program for YPF, Pan American

(Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s government suspended a program meant to boost incentives for energy exploration and production for companies including YPF SA, Pan American Energy LLC and Petrobras Argentina SA, the Planning Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

The government expects to save 2 billion pesos a year by suspending the program, according to the statement.

Argentina Could Use Bank Reserves to Pay for YPF, Barclays Says

Argentina has the cash reserves to make a tender offer for Repsol YPF SA’s YPF unit, the country’s largest energy company, and will likely put further pressure on the industry to boost output, Barclays Capital said.

Slaughter in Syria: Rocket attacks, blood in the streets and a relentless fight for freedom

Throughout Syrian neighborhoods, the bombardment does not stop. It is relentless in its power. And it spares nobody, regardless of age.

Rocket and mortar fire pelts the town and the people striving to defend themselves against what they say is a brutal regime.

U.S. military beginning review of Syria options

Although the U.S. focus remains on exerting diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria, the Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command have begun a preliminary internal review of U.S. military capabilities, CNN has learned.

The options are being prepared in the event President Barack Obama were to call for them. Two senior administration officials who spoke about the review to CNN emphasized that U.S. policy for now remains the use of non-military options.

No Libya play for the West in Syria

(CNN) -- Amid growing outrage over civilian casualties in Syria, there are ever more urgent calls to aid -- or at least protect -- the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. There is renewed talk of creating safe havens and humanitarian corridors inside the country. And those demanding tougher measures are again asking why events in Syria should not prompt Libyan-style intervention by NATO and its Arab allies.

Pipeline explosion rocks Syria

An explosion has damaged a pipeline feeding a Syrian oil refinery, adding to pressure on fuel supplies as the uprising against the government of Bashar Al Assad nears its 11th month.

Yesterday a plume of smoke could be seen rising from the pipeline that carries crude from the Rumailan field to a refinery in Homs, Reuters reported.

Five missing after Japan refinery tunnel collapse

Divers were searching for five workers after an undersea tunnel collapsed at one of Japan's biggest oil refineries Tuesday, emergency services said.

Chevron oil refinery bosses could face manslaughter charges after four deaths

MANSLAUGHTER charges are being considered against bosses of the Chevron oil refinery where four people were killed last summer, police have said.

Three men and one woman were killed in the massive explosion at the plant on June 2 in what was described as the UK’s worst refinery disaster for almost four decades.

DEC: Some hydrofracking permits 'conceivable' in 2012

ALBANY -- The state's top environmental regulator said today it's "conceivable" a handful of permits could be issued this year for high-volume hydraulic fracturing, but said a final decision is "months, not years" away.

After Early Gallop, Albany Slows to Crawl in Making Decision on Gas Drilling

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo took office last year, his administration seemed to be in hurry-up mode as it decided whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, a controversial gas drilling process. State regulators kept to tight deadlines to produce for public review an environmental impact study and proposed drilling rules, and the state’s top environmental official said drilling permits could be granted as early as this year.

But now, a decision on the process, known as hydrofracking — its scope, its timing or whether it will happen at all — seems much more uncertain, and the approval process has slowed considerably despite almost four years of study, debate and intense lobbying on both sides of the issue.

Europe at an energy crossroads

BRUSSELS - The invention of the steam pipe, spinning Jenny and other technologies dramatically increased production speeds and revolutionised European society in the 1800s.

We need to stoke the boilers again, but this time we need to do it with affordable, clean and safe energy and that is why the EU stands at an unprecedented energy crossroads, facing an urgent need for huge power investments in the next two decades.

The Real Cost of ‘Peak Oil’

Now that the world is awash in oil, the only people talking about peak oil are those who oppose the idea. They are dancing on what they depict as the grave of what they call a "theory" that wasn’t worth the graph paper it was plotted on.

Well, I still think that the peak oil model is a useful description of what we see happening in the oil industry today—even if West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, closed at a twitch under $100 a barrel last week. (Brent crude, the European benchmark, closed at $114.58.)

Imagine a world without oil: Infographic

Thanks to our oil addiction, such a world would include rolling blackouts, minimal transportation, dwindling food supplies and possibly war.

Malthus’ dire warning rings hollow

The dire predictions of Malthusian overpopulation have never come to fruition in over 200 years of history. To the contrary, history has taken a course that is completely contradictory to what both Malthus and Ehrlich predicted.

Instead of mass starvation, we witness billions rise from poverty. Instead of the iron law of population, we see capitalistic development widen the scope of the human experience. Thanks to the works of economists like Amartya Sen and Julian Simon, we can now see that we live in a world of potential cornucopia, where the engines of capitalism and liberal democracy allow each human being to be ever more confident that the world will improve in his or her lifetime.

The Alternative Energy Matrix

The primary “mission” of late has been to sort possible future energy resources into boxes labeled “abundant,” “potent” (able to support something like a quarter of our present demand if fully developed), and “niche,” which is a polite way to say puny. In the process, I have clarified in my mind that a significant contributor to my concerns about future energy scarcity is not the simple quantitative scorecard. After all, if it were that easy, we’d be rocking along with a collective consensus about our path forward. Some comments have asked: “If we forget about trying to meet our total demand with one source, could we meet our demand if we add them all up?” Absolutely. In fact, the abundant sources technically need no other complement. So on the abundance score alone, we’re done at solar, for instance. But it’s not that simple, unfortunately. While the quantitative abundance of a resource is key, many other practical concerns enter the fray when trying to anticipate long-term prospects and challenges—usually making up the bulk of the words in prior posts.

Why leading for sustainability is different

When I started doing research with organisations determined to achieve higher levels of sustainability, I didn't expect to find anything particularly unique. After all, isn't it just like any other change initiative, with its attendant problems of inertia, resistance and lack of buy-in?

A number of case studies later, however, I'm convinced there are specific ways in which leading organisations towards sustainability-focused goals is different. In particular, those attempting to make this kind of shift need to spend a significant amount of time on three key activities: Defining, translating and containing emotional responses.

Green Big Brother? Why the backlash against environmentalism has grown.

I think there is a deeper issue here related to property rights and theory of the second best. Do individuals have the property rights to continue to produce their current level of greenhouse gas emissions? Put simply, if you live in the suburbs and drive to work and air condition your large house and if you like to barbecue big steak dinners, you are unintentionally producing a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. This is even more likely to be the case if your electricity is generated by coal fired power plants.

Are smart meters a plot to overthrow the United States?

Peak oil theory ignores that, at higher prices, hard-to-access hydrocarbons become producible. In a mirror image, the U.S. energy independence crowd says nothing about the price at which the hydrocarbon bonanza they see will be cost-effective to extract. Mackay writes that popular delusions will always be with us, and the noise surrounding energy suggests he is right.

Why Energy Efficiency Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be

When New Yorker writer David Owen moved his family from Manhattan to a small town in northwestern Connecticut in 1985, it seemed like a green decision. Their tree-shaded house had been built in the 1700s and sat across from a nature preserve. Deer, wild turkeys and even bears could be seen in their yard; woods surrounded their neighborhood. It was a bucolic country existence, something out of a nature poem.

Yet for the global environment, the move was a minidisaster. The Owens' electricity consumption went up more than sevenfold, and the lack of both public transportation and dense housing that's typical of Connecticut (and much of the rest of the U.S.) meant the family had to buy several cars. And those cars got driven — a lot. Owen notes that he and his wife now put some 30,000 miles a year on their odometers, burning carbon with every gallon. Access to trees and wildlife and cleaner air in Connecticut was great, but for the climate, it's dense and efficient Manhattan — where cars are optional and living space is much tighter — that does less damage per capita.

12 greenest cars of 2012

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has released its list of the most environmentally friendly cars of 2012, but there's one glaring omission.

Fisker Stops Work on Car Factory After U.S. Blocks Loan

(Bloomberg) -- Fisker Automotive Inc. said it halted work on a Delaware auto factory to make plug-in sedans after the U.S. Energy Department blocked access to its federal loan, citing unmet milestones.

Fisker is not another Solyndra ... yet

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- When Fisker Automotive announced it was laying off about two dozen workers at its Delaware factory, comparisons arose to Solyndra, the solar cell manufacturer that went bankrupt despite billions of dollars in U.S. government help.

Yes, the California based electric car maker and Solyndra both got a lot of government assistance, but analysts say those comparisons are unfair and premature.

Capitalism's destructive car mania detailed

The car, say Canadian authors Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler, who took a bus ride across the United States, is a doomed jalopy going nowhere. It fails, especially in the “home of the car”, on every green count.

New energy supplies may rock orthodox auto beliefs

New discoveries of natural gas threaten to overturn many assumptions about energy supplies and may also bring big changes in the way cars are powered.

Walk to School in Winter - It's Cool!

TORONTO /CNW/ - February is Heart Month in Canada and Wednesday, February 8 has been declared Winter Walk Day. St. Cecilia Catholic School in Toronto is one of approximately 500 schools across Canada that will be walking - or snow shoeing, skiing or skating to school.

Saudi firm in deal to build $1bn solar project

Saudi-based Idea Polysilicon Company (IPC), a top integrated polysilicon and solar wafers firm, has signed an agreement with Germany's Centrotherm Photovoltaic to help develop its SR4 billion ($1.06 billion) industrial complex in Yanbu.

On the shelves: Post-apocalyptic fiction offers lessons

Authors, again borrowing from current events, are exploring how social and economic collapse could end society as we know it, providing us an alarming window into a very possible future. These books go beyond cautionary tales; they provide important lessons in how to survive both short and long systematic failure.

W.Va. coal group wants Blair Mountain case tossed

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Groups trying to protect Logan County's Blair Mountain from mining have no legal standing to sue because they don't own any of the property involved in the long-running dispute, the West Virginia Coal Association argues in a new court filing.

Farmers Plan Biggest U.S. Crop Boost Since 1984, Led by Corn

U.S. farmers will plant the most acres in a generation this year, led by the biggest corn crop since World War II, taking advantage of the highest agricultural prices in at least four decades.

Honeybee die-off shouldn't sting

For whatever reason -- probably a combination of pesticides, parasites, disease and poor nutrition -- honeybees have been dying off at an alarming rate.

The exact cause is still not known.

Now for the good news. Beekeepers have been able to rejuvenate their hives each year so that by summer the population is back to previous levels.

There's another bit of good news, too. Agricultural yields are rising, which means that while rejuvenating beehives is costly, the cost isn't making its way to the supermarket.

Farmers Can Grow Food for All, as Long as Ecosystems Hold

Thomas Malthus, history’s celebrated pessimist, wrote in 1798 that, should war and disease fail to claim humanity, “gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.”

The concept of "peak food," that the production will reach an apex that can't be topped, is more a function of population than of agricultural limits. The world should be able to produce enough food to feed everyone when the human numbers peak late this century, says José Graziano da Silva, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However, the strains on the global pantry are real. While the Earth has plenty of natural inputs -- land, nutrients and water -- humans face a growing challenge to manage them.

Can Concord grow its own food?

Concord is at the center of a study by a group of graduate students from the Conway School of Landscape Design to assess the town’s readiness to provide its own food.

Given the town’s deep agricultural heritage, said Brooke Redmond of the Concord Community Food Report Project, Concord is well suited to developing its arable land to reduce its dependence on food from far-flung places such as Asia and Australia.

Urban Garden? Check. Now, Chickens.

As with vegetable gardening, the green aspect of backyard chicken keeping is cutting down on the energy use and fuel emissions associated with transporting produce from remote farms to population centers. More important, store-bought eggs can seem far from risk-free for many people after the 2010 outbreak of salmonella that led to the nationwide recall of 500 million eggs.

Cities throughout the United States and Canada are now reforming land-use and health policies to allow and even encourage urban agriculture as a moneymaking enterprise. Yet urban chicken keepers are finding that backyard hens remain controversial. While some urban areas, including Nashville, have loosened chicken restrictions after much debate, others have decided the city is no place for a henhouse.

Green groups slam big oil on 'lobby-busting' tour

OTTAWA — A powerful Canadian oil and gas industry group has been systematically lobbying European embassies in recent months against proposed climate change legislation that discourages high-polluting transportation fuels such as crude oil from the oilsands sector, environmental groups said Tuesday.

South Korean Lawmakers Vote for Limits on Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

Lawmakers in South Korea voted to impose greenhouse-gas limits on the nation's largest companies, overruling industry opposition and laying groundwork for the third emissions-trading program in the Asia-Pacific region.

Seas will rise by 3 feet locally by 2100, report says

NEW ORLEANS — A scientific report issued by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration predicts that the Louisiana coast could see about 3 feet of sea level rise along the already low and vulnerable Louisiana coast by 2100 — a prediction that leaves this Cajun coast drowning and under siege from storm surge for decades to come.

Meteorologist Masters: “The Climate Has Shifted to a New State Capable of Delivering Rare & Unprecedented Weather Events”

Jeff Masters: Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get. I like to think of the weather as a game of dice. Mother Nature rolls the dice each day to determine the weather, and the rolls fall within the boundaries of what the climate will allow. The extreme events that happen at the boundaries of what are possible are what people tend to notice the most. When the climate changes, those boundaries change. Thus, the main way people will tend to notice climate change is through a change in the extreme events that occur at the boundaries of what is possible.

The EIA's monthly Short Term Energy Outlook came out yesterday. I just happened to save the non-OPEC data from their Short Term Energy Outlook published in July of 2010. I found it interesting to compare what they thought non-OPEC all liquids would be in 2011 with what actually happened. The data is in millions of barrels per day.

                     2008    2009     2010     2011     2012    2013
STOE July 2010       49.87   50.55    51.75    52.29    53.03
STOE Feb  2012       49.86   50.47    51.79    51.77    52.54  53.39

Notice their prediction for 2011 was about half a million barrels per day too high and they have revised their prediction for 2012 down by about half a million barrels per day. And the increase they predicted for 2011 did not happen. Non-OPEC all liquids was actually down in 2011, according to the EIA, in 2011 but only slightly so. Crude + Condensate will be down quite a bit more than all liquids, though that data is not completely in yet.

Ron P.

If you adjust for Libya, they were much closer.

Errr... no, they were not. Libya, being an OPEC member, did not affect non-OPEC production.

Ron P.

The Bloomberg article "Oil, Food, Water: Is Everything Past Its Peak?" yet again shows people are missing the point.

What is the point? Global Conventional Oil production has remained relatively flat since early 2005 despite historically high Oil prices. If people indeed believe in Free Market Capitalism, Convention Oil production should be increasing in response to higher prices. It isn't.

B. Miller, conventional oil, which does not include deep water production, Canadian oil sands or the Orinoco bitumen is actually down considerably since 2005 though I don't know by how much since I know of no one who tracks the conventional oil data. The EIA, IEA or BP has no category called "conventional oil".

It is actually crude oil, or more correctly Crude + Condensate that has remained relatively flat since 2005. That does include deep water production as well as all types of tar sands or bitumen. It is actually everything that can be refined into gasoline, diesel and all those other petroleum products. That is why condensate is included since it is very similar to gasoline. It does not include bottled gas, (my term for NGLs), ethanol or any type of biodiesel.

Ron P.

When using "Conventional Oil" I meant it to include condensate, just didn't want to make the effort of spelling it out.

Not trying to upstage anyone. This is a humanitarian crisis and so transcends any single industry, including the Oil Industry.

How about opec ? Does that include any non-conventional ?

OPEC's February Oil Market Report is out today.

Yes it does. The Orinoco Bitumen is considered non-conventional. But OPEC's Oil Market Report, and everyone else, calls it crude oil, just as they should.

There were no big surprises in the latest OPEC Oil Market Report. OPEC production was up 56.2 kb/d, Saudi production was down 106.2 kb/d and Libya was up 191.6 kb/d. The only other thing of note was Iran whose production was down 42.4 kb/d. I don't know if this was due to the embargo or not. They don't seem to have any problem shipping oil to Asia.

OPEC crude oil production in January was still 774,000 barrels per day below their record set in July of 2008.

Ron P.

The conventionality of oil has nothing to do with water depth, but geology. Sometimes, I'll grant you fluid properties. But water depth? Not a chance.

I've been putting it this way: What is the more important metric to US consumers, a doubling in Brent crude oil prices, from $55 in 2005 to $111 in 2011, or a small increase in US crude oil production, from the pre-hurricane rate of 5.4 mbpd in 2004 to 5.6 mbpd in 2011 (through October)?

And regarding global production, here is a link to our "Gap" charts, showing the gaps between where we would have been at the 2005 to 2011 rates of increase in global production and net exports, versus actual values:


Every time I step back and think about the "Big Picture" of Peak Oil, all I can do is say "Wow!" in disbelief.

There does appear to be a concerted ongoing effort to persuade people not to believe "their lying eyes," about what is actually happening regarding global oil supplies.

It seems obvious to me that someone is starting a concerted effort to mislead the American public, most specifically the investor class of the public. In the past week we've seen numerous articles in the MSM debunking both "Peak-Oil" and "Global Warming". Therefore, BAU must continue unabated.

In the short-term, that might result in another rally on Wall Street (that's all they care about). In the long-run, it will make the inevitable crash more severe. The question we must face is how much longer can they continues to lie so blatantly.

My attitude is to approach every day with an optimistic view of my glass being half full, with the understanding that next year I'll have to use a smaller glass!!

...someone is starting a concerted effort to mislead the American public.

Reminds me of Gandhi's First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Maybe we're at the third step?

Unfortunately, this will be a victory where there is nothing to savor. As the saying goes "to the victor goes the spoils". A spoiled planet and a decimated civilization.

Yep. Seems to be a Pyrrhic victory.

At least the fire won't be from burning oil.

A spoiled planet and a decimated civilization.

Granted, we're not going back to planet-as-usual (PAU), far from it. But how spoiled a planet and how much decimation will depend, in part, on how we respond next.

One initial victory would be defeating predictions that there is only one possible social outcome to a decent in energy, resources and population.

Next would be crafting a range of responses that get tested at a community-scale. Something that is happening, sometimes hidden in plain sight.

Reminds me of Gandhi's First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Whatever else he was, Gandhi was a skewed sample. I've held my peace for decades when seeing this quoted since it's positive, and it's, well, Gandhi. But it's a bit like Bill Gates saying "first you write halfassed software based on purloined ideas, then you get it first to market, then you become a billionaire". Which he hasn't, to my knowledge, ever said in so many words.

Usually you lose. It's still worth trying, but few activists get past the "oh good, they're laughing at us" stage of things and even into a real fight.

just saying...

I always take such adages with a pinch of salt. The reality is that 50% of all entrepreneurs fail, most protests don't succeed and only a few become rich. I understand the need for such quotes since you have to keep trying to improve your odds but a little bit of reality is good sometimes.

In all fairness, I hardly think Gandhi was promising success. That adage is simply to help paint the picture of what you are likely to meet, even if you are on the right track.. since that description of the changing forces against you could be a helpful way to envision the different tactics and mindsets you might need to have ready, as the struggle advances.

I don't think it's irresponsible to put forward a vision of success, either. You have to have a way to picture your goals, if you're going to aim for them, since many of your own actions will have to be rechecked against the end-mark, to see if they are, in fact going in the right direction.

'First you ignore your goal, then you laugh at your goal, then you fight your own goals, sometimes you run in circles,.. etc..'

Heaven's, I wasn't criticizing Gandhi for saying it, it's a delightfully pragmatic thing for a machiavellian leader to say, and from all I've read Gandhi was quite a smart cookie. The "Unless, of course, you lose" was presumably left off the end so it would serve its purpose.

Unfortunately, I've heard the quote often from wankers in support of wankery, as though anything which is ignored or laughed at must therefore contain the seeds of greatness.

Putting forth a vision can be a good thing; this quote taken alone falls short of that. If used in the way you suggest, it'd be fine. As a person who has trained up a couple generations of activists, my own style is more "expect failure, but work and plan for succeeding wildly well". Different strokes, I guess.

"It seems obvious to me that someone is starting a concerted effort to mislead the American public, most specifically the investor class of the public."


The propaganda model

Using the propaganda model, Manufacturing Consent posits that corporate - owned news mass communication media — print, radio, television — are businesses subject to commercial competition for advertising revenue and profit. As such, their distortion (editorial bias) of news reportage — i.e. what types of news, which items, and how they are reported — is a consequence of the profit motive that requires establishing a stable, profitable business; therefore, news businesses favoring profit over the public interest succeed, while those favoring reportorial accuracy over profits fail, and are relegated to the margins of their markets (low sales and ratings).

Manufacturing Consent was published in 1988. View the video version here.

...and don't say we weren't warned :-0

And all the articles in the "don't worry, be happy" vein have that same shrill "na na na na naaa" attitude about them, to say "only idiots think the party will end".
One of them even went after Dr. Albert Bartlett, as I recall....yeah, maths..... soooo stoopid! Pass the cheeze doodles.......

Here in NE England (UK) BBC TV local news this week has a reporter driving an electric car. He gave an interesting intro "none of us will be driving diesel or petrol ('gas') cars when oil runs out". Quite cheerful and matter-of-fact about it: no timescale of course. Japanese firm Nissan has a big car production plant locally, has imported a few Nissan Leaf and plans some EV production in the local plant. There are significant numbers of charging points already in the area, and some (will be able to?) can charge a 100 mile range EV to 80% in 30 minutes. Findable by on-board GPS with time estimate related to remaining battery charge.)
I wonder what kind of music is heard by our local viewers?

I can understand why people want to concert an effort to hide the truth about global warming. You see, I have this dirty coal mine in my backyard and my pension relies on it. But why would anyone wanna hide the truth about the energy situation? Those who roduce the energy? No, they can sell even higher if the panic breaks lose. Following the money, where does the trail lead?

Guys on Wall Street trying to sell stocks.

These articles provide cover to tell skeptical investors that stocks will be booming again soon. And when the crisis comes thry can claim it's not their fault, no one saw it coming. Its what they did with housing, and all those housing based bonds.

I'm mostly in gold/silver, with a reasonable amount in cash. And by cash, I mean it's digital equivalent, which is a basic account at a bank. I certainly don't consider bonds of any type cash, and there's no reason to hold a large amount of physical cash unless you are concerned about bank holidays. And of course I'm spending cash on my ongoing preparations.

The problem is that we've had a long boom in stocks, bonds, and housing, which means we face a bust in all three. Even commodities took a beating in 2008, and are always volatile, with higher prices reducing demand.

The question is what to do with surplus, with savings. I don't see a whole lot of options out there. Fiat currency and real money (gold and silver) are the last ones standing.

If they destroy fiat, I'll still have money. If they destroy money. which is hard to do, I'll still have fiat. They aren't going to destroy me completely.

If the game is rigged, at least you can try to opt out. Screw them, let them choke on their losses. The game of life is more important, and you've only got one chance to play.

Nice to have options...

Well it's a question of being liquid. I guess I could build a compound but I prefer to be a nomad for now :)

In what way do you nomad?
The years from 31 to mid 50's rush by.
What about children?
Nothing else is real...
If you listen to the songs of impermanence, perhaps not even they...

If the game is rigged, at least you can try to opt out.

Just a reminder of opting out on the 15th of each month. http://www.unitedwestrike.com/

I agree. My example is kind of visual, but same message:

Oil company lobbyists ==> Congress == !Peak Oil

Haliburton ==> Cheney ==> Bush == !Peak Oil

Oil company lobbyists ==> Congress == !Peak Oil

...and as many other TOD contributors and Drumbeat posters, that are even more well read than I am, cite: "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." -- Mark Twain

Guys trying to sell you an SUV. Guys trying to sell the notion that it (energy issues) is all the fault of pinko-commie-liberals. Guys trying to keep you hooked on oil/coal/gas.

You guys keep talking all you want, your little high mileage Euro sport cars have nothing on this guy:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I still think he has a little more room.

Seven kids? That's seven citations for reckless endangerment. Child Protective Services will have him in jail and the kids in foster homes by night fall.

The ticket for riding without a helmet will be a mere afterthought.

I was just thinking "...what a great daddy". Really. He's got his entire brood (at least as many as he can carry), taking them....somewhere. He looks so focused and determined. Great photo,,thanks!

Maybe he is stopping by the pharmacy on the way home to pick up some condoms?

No, that's not it...

I don't think condoms are on his shopping list!



Umm, no, he looks like he's managing fine without the Viagra too.

Probably he's going to bring the kids to visit mom in the hospital, she collapsed at home from exhaustion and is getting the rest she so badly needs.

Of course, she could also be in the maternity ward where the latest arrival is waiting to see his/her brothers and sisters.

Comments aside from why the heck this guy has so many kids (assuming they're all his), this shows what a bunch of spoiled wimps all those American parents are who as soon as they have one sprog feel they simply must buy the biggest suv/minivan they can.

Have no idea if they are his, but I would assume so. You really have to give him credit for getting the most out of that expensive petrol. I probably use more warming up my car in the morning then he does in a day!

I was walking to the store and this woman called for help. Her people mover's reverse didn't work and she couldn't reverse from the parking spot into the road to drive off. There was a slight slope to help but I could hardly move it. Two others joined in and it was still hard work. Job done I walked away, shaking my head and thinking 'why the hell does she need all that size and weight to move just her and her kid'...

...as I carried on walking.


PS We see bikes like that around here too.

Lots of praise for this anonymous guy...looks like a tragedy waiting to happen to me....meh.

How many folks here would put one or more of their children on this motorbike for a ride with this guy?

He would get my tip of the hat if he captained a trike pedicab with two bench seats for his little passengers...they would be much safer and he would use zero oil, saving money and ensuring a great deal of exercise to boot.

No-one's even pointed out that this is in the rain. They all look quite well cared for. It looks like a happy day in a fulfilled life of a different style.

Incidentally, a correction:

"And regarding global production, here is a link to our "Gap" charts, showing the gaps between where we would have been at the 2002 to 2005 rates of increase in global production and net exports, versus actual values (from 2005 to 2010)"

yet again shows people are missing the point

It's the it's been predicted before fallacy. When did Malthus make his prediction...200 years ago? What's 200 years on a long time scale. Does it prove that he is wrong? Roman Empire survived much longer than 200 years. Hell even Pax Romana was longer than that. But the Roman Empire did ultimately collapse under it's own weight, ushering in the dark ages.

It's OK to say I don't care if you only care about what happens in your lifetime but not otherwise.

Malthus was correct in his prediction, however, he was unaware that the wonders of fossil fuels would allow the world's population to exceed 7 billion before the die-off would begin.

I always find it interesting when Cornucopians talk about Peak Oil "Cassandras" and "The Boy who cried wolf." Of course, Cassandra was always right, but no one believed her, and at the end of the Boy and Wolf story, the wolf did show up.

If people indeed believe in Free Market Capitalism, Convention Oil production should be increasing in response to higher prices. It isn't.

The 1st incorrect position - the existance of "Free Market Capitalism".

The 2nd that "Free Market Capitalism", if it existed would "create" more "Convention Oil production". You can not produce more of what does not exist.

The really neat thing about economics and capitalist theory mongering is

you can always find a "persuasive" (to the masses) excuse.

In this case:

It's the "speculators", silly. (That's why prices are higher than they otherwise would have been!)

Oh yes, one more thing ... /sarcasm

Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?

A new analysis concludes that easily extracted oil peaked in 2005, suggesting that dirtier fossil fuels will be burned and energy prices will rise

Surprising article in a Pop-Sci type magazine. Good to see it picked up and published.

Rat - I've let it slip by several times but now I'll jump on you...nothing personal. LOL. " Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?" I've been hunting oil/NG for over 36 years and never, in my experience, has it been easy. When I started working the GOM in 1975 for Mobil Oil the emphasis was on finding NG because there were so few oil prospects left to drill. And drilling for NG wasn't that easy either. At one point I was drilling off the deepest platform in the GOM: 600'. That might not be impressive as seeing wells drilled in 5,000 -10,000' of water today but 35 years ago it was near the top of the list in the world record book. And chatting with the old farts at the time I never heard stories about "easy oil" from them. I did hear a story about a field geologist dying of worm infections in Venezuela...didn't sound like an easy job to me.

So I will offer you a very personal view of finding oil/NG today: it has never been easier. Between improved engineering and seismic data the technology looks like something out of "Star Trek" compared to what I was working with 35 years ago. In the 80's I hit 23 NG wells out of 25 attempts in a trend where the historic success rate was 20%. I would like to explain my 92% success rate by my tremendous skill set. Unfortunately it wasn't...not entirely anyway. I was using a seismic technology that was old hat 10 years earlier in the offshore arena. Just took a while for some folks like me to apply it onshore. And now I'm using similar tech to explore for deep NG. But my seismic now compared to back then is like comparing one of the earliest desk top computers to the top of the line models out there now. IOW there's no comparison.

Bottom line IMHO: it is easier now to find what oil/NG is left out there. Back 35 years ago I was drilling 12,000' foot holes looking for 1,500 acre reservoirs. Now I'm drilling 16,000' holes looking for 80 acre reservoirs with about the same sucess rate. The real problem is that there isn't nearly that much left to find. We don't drill 8,000' horizontal wells and spend $6 million frac'ng them and drill wells in 5,000' of water because we enjoy it. OK...some of it is very cool. We do it because that's what left to drill. And with modern technology none of that is any more difficult to do then what I was doing in 1975. More expensive. But just as easy...or hard pending on how you want to frame it.

Thanks Rat. Been needing to get that off my chest for a while.

Okay Rockman, I get your point, however there are a couple of points that need to be clarified. First off, let's talk oil and leave Natural Gas out of it. The Scientific American article said the easy oil, not easy natural gas.

The oil sands oil is not easy oil and neither is the Orinoco Bitumen. Come to think of it, the Deepwater Horizon did not have an easy time of it either. And I don't think the deepwater pre-salt oil off the coast of Brazil could be considered easy oil.

That being said, I think you misinterpret the term "easy oil". If there are peanuts scattered about the floor of a large gymnasium I would no doubt find it very easy to find a peanut. However finding a bushel of peanuts, one peanut at a time, would be extremely hard. You find it easy to find oil and drill a well. How easy do you find it to pump a million barrels per day from the wells you found this past year?

The easy oil, the Prudhoe Bays, the Cantarells and the Ghawars, have all been found. We are now finding a lot of peanuts. The Scientific American article was basically a reference to the Nature article of a couple of weeks ago. That article said "We are not running out of oil, but we are running out of oil that can be produced easily and cheaply." And I would agree that we are running out of oil that can be produced easily and cheaply.

Ron P.

Easy oil was gone the first time a new technology was required to get it out of the ground. That happened in about 1901. Since then, we have had progressively "harder" oil. And the Orinoco is flowing oil, calling it bitumen might give someone the incorrect impression that it must be mined like the tar sands.

Prudhoe Bay, Cantarell and Ghawar are not easy oil to the men with a spudding beam. They are impossible oil.

The Venezuelans call their Orinoco oil "Extra-Heavy Oil" rather than "Bitumen". The main difference from Canadian bitumen is that reservoir temperatures in Venezuela are somewhat higher, and as a result it sort of flows, although not very well. Some of Canadian oil sands are of a similar viscosity to Venezuelan Extra-Heavy, but most of it is stickier.

The technique the Venezuelans use to produce their Extra-Heavy Oil is what we would call "Cold Flow" in Canada. Just pump it out and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it only recovers 5 to 10% of the oil in place.

If they used the Canadian Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) method, they could probably boost their recovery rates to the 60 to 80% range, but unfortunately they don't have that technology.

In fact, Venezuelan oil production is declining while Canadian production is rising. Better technology and better economic conditions certain help improve Canadian production.

And better economic conditions and Western technology would certainly help Venezuela as well. Fortunately, the oil isn't going anywhere, and time tends to cure most geopolitical problems. With 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil, no one is going to forget about Venezuela any time soon.

If they used the Canadian Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD)

How about Toe-Heal Air Injection (THAI) we haven't heard much about that in a few years. That was supposed to be the answer.

I haven't heard anything about THAI recently, either, from which I would deduce they haven't had a lot of success with it.

I was on a research project many years ago when we used a similar fire-flood technique, albeit with vertical wells. We didn't have much success with it either. We couldn't control the flame front well enough and kept burning up oil wells.

"Burning up" is something of an understatement. The producing wells used to blow the tubing string 100 feet in the air when the flame front reached them. It really gave the well operators a bad case of nerves.

There was this in the news the other day about THAI developer Petrobank'

Petrobank sells lease for $225m

Petrobank recently laid off more than 20 staff in a corporate "realignment" driven by rising costs. Proceeds from the deal will be used to pay down bank debt, increasing cash flow, the company said.

The Calgary-based company is the developer of toe-to-heel air injection technology, or THAI system, which recovers and partially upgrades heavy or oilsands crude underground.

However, the technology has not performed to expectation at Petrobanks Kerrobert heavy oil project in Saskatchewan, and has yet to achieve commerciality.

The May River property includes the Conklin Demonstration project, where operations have been suspended since September.

Hardly the actions that would accompany a successful application of the technology...

I'm not totally surprised that Petrobank didn't have any success with its THAI project.

The new lease owner, Grizzly Energy, is going to develop it with SAGD, which is by now a very well understood process, and almost guaranteed to work. With the low price of natural gas and the high price of oil, the economics of SAGD are very positive at this point in time.

I arrived at that conclusion when Petrobank was claiming hyping 90+ % recovery. One of the pitfalls of applying laboratory results to field operations. You may be surprised to hear that some of the pillars of TOD were hearlding this as the next great thing.

At current prices it doesn't make sense to burn bitumen when you can burn gas.

Petrobank haven't made any of their pilots produce at decent rates, but at the moment I don't think its worth trying.

And the Orinoco is flowing oil, calling it bitumen might give someone the incorrect impression that it must be mined like the tar sands.

It has been called bitumen for years, especially by those who were trying to pump it out and transport it via pipeline.

Imo Screw Pumps Provide High Efficiency in Transport of Orinoco Bitumen

Properties of Bitumen
Orinoco bitumen has a gravity ranging from 7.5 to 9.5 API and a viscosity of 1.5 million ssu at 77o F. (350,000 centipoises at 25o C). While it is possible to pump liquids with this extremely high viscosity, it is economically impractical since enormous energy levels are required to overcome pipeline friction over required distances.

It don't flow very well at all so they use screw pumps to push it along.

The article talks about Orimulsion which is no longer being produced. Venezuela found they could crack it into petroleum products and get a lot more for it than they could selling it as a type of bunker fuel.

Ron P.

The viscosity range of Orinoco heavy oil speaks for itself, it is relatively unique in this regard, its API gravity vs viscosity. It is flowing oil, and even if it requires some help to push it along, that does not change what it can do. Based on the type of recovery factors California has been able to achieve with similar grades of oil, and what the Canadians have been able to do with actual bitumen, there isn't any doubt that the Orinoco can be recovered, refined, distributed and dropped into someones gas tank without them having a care in the world as to where it came from.

The point is it is called bitumen by everyone including the Venezuelans. Calling it flowing oil is very misleading and may lead people to think you do not need screw pumps to push it along. ;-)

Ron P.

Bitumen can be made to flow by heating it or diluting it with light oil or condensate. Venezuelan "Extra-Heavy Oil" is less viscous than Canadian "Bitumen", but the distinction is rather arbitrary. Venezuelan Extra-Heavy could be extracted more easily if they used steam injection (and their recovery factors would be much higher), and it would flow much more easily in their pipelines if they blended it with diluent. However, their President fired all their heavy oil experts for political reasons a decade ago, so they don't really know how to produce heavy oil any more.

Any refinery that can process Venezuelan Extra-Heavy can process Canadian Bitumen, which is why the US Gulf Coast refineries are so keen for the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. They are designed to handle Venezuelan Extra-Heavy and Mexican Heavy, but production from both Venezuela and Mexico is falling, while production of Canadian Bitumen is steadily rising and it is much cheaper to buy these days.

The real reason a lot of Canadian oil sands production comes from surface mining is that about 20% of the Canadian oil sands deposits are shallow enough to surface mine, whereas all of the Venezuelan oil sands deposits are too deep. The EROEI of surface mining is significantly better than using steam injection, and the recovery of the oil-in-place approaches 99%, whereas the Venezuelan projects are lucky to recover 10% of the oil-in-place using cold-flow.

You are allowed your own speculation, but not your own facts.

Fact 1. Someone has already decided what is bitumen, or heavy oil.

"The World Energy Council (WEC) defines natural bitumen as "oil having a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoises under reservoir conditions and an API gravity of less than 10° API"".


Fact 2. Organizatons which specialize in geologic criteria know it as well.

Definitions, left side of page.


Also, notice the table. The type of resource quantified in North America? Bunches of bitumen. Go Canada! And in South America? Why...oil...of course.

And the people who help write these definitions, what do they call it when they quantify it?

Fact 3.


Notice the Dusseault 2001 reference please. Viscosity 2000-8000 cp.

You may call it whatever you wish of course. I will stick with what it is. Would you be more agreeable if I referred to it as extra-heavy?

Hey, I am not going to argue about it, I am just going to continue to call it what everyone else in the world is calling it... Bitumen. There were 27,000 hits on "Orinoco Bitumen", this is just one of them.

Baseline Air Quality Evaluation for the Venezuelan Orinoco Bitumen Belt

To achieve a harmonic relationship between oil exploration and production activities and the environment, Petroleos de Venezuela and its affiliated companies conducted environmental evaluations of the physical and biotic media in the Orinoco physical and biotic media in the Orinoco Bitumen Belt. This region covers an area of approximately 42000 km with estimated bitumen reserves on the order of 3x10 barrels, one of the largest bitumen reservoirs in the world...

Since the 1970's, Petroleos de Venezuela and its affiliated companies have dedicated significant efforts toward the exploration of the Venezuelan Orinoco Bitumen belt (F.B.O.), one of the largest bitumen reservoirs in the world (3 x 10 bbls).

But if you prefer the term "heavy oil", go right ahead. Some people use that term, but not nearly as many as use the term "bitumen". Bye now,

Ron P.

The people who are geologists and write about this stuff call it oil. References already provided. Call it what you wish, but until you write it up and get the world to accept your definitions instead of the geologists involved, I'll stick with what they call it. Do you even see the WORD bitumen anywhere on the reference?


Pretty crazy title, using the word OIL and all. Perhaps we should start a petition to tell them to stop doing their jobs, using definitions and all, and listen to us instead?

Speaking of "Star Trek", I've often wondered if the modern American submarine's sonar can reveal the geology beneath the ocean's floor. They are loud enough.



Quite simply

They are not interested.

The signals will be processed to show only what they want to see ie anything they may run into or are looking for. Anything else is a distraction. Also a submarine will want to use its sonar to listen not ping. Send out a ping and everyone knows who and where you are, silent running.


Also a submarine will want to use its sonar to listen not ping.

Are you sure about that ? How are they able to tell how far away the object is ?

Seismic studies use an array of frequencies. I don't know about Sonar.

When you hear a noise, how are you able to tell where it's coming from?

Submarines need to be sneaky above everything else.

As a former sub sailor I can say that modern subs almost never use active sonar; it screams "here we are". Modern subs are giant, quiet, passive listening machines; the "Silent Service". They use doppler and other methods to determine distances to objects.

If you are trying to get a good picture of the subsurface rock formations, you need to tow a long string of hydrophones behind the boat to improve the image resolution - say 48 or 96 of them, widely spaced - and I don't think submarines do that.

No, subs don't fool with that sort of thing.

My second deployment to the Persian Gulf was on a Frigate and we were due to come back to the states when an F-14 from the Kennedy went down intact in the Red Sea. We had to stay on station there for a couple of months while a minesweeper(?) with a state-of-the-art towed side-scan sonar array combed the area for the Tomcat. It was very educational; we hosted a couple of US geologists who were the sonar experts, and it occurred to us at some point that we were well outside the area where the jet was reported to have gone down. They said that currents may have moved it :-/ Anyway, we received a unit citation and were told that, although the jet was never found, the data gathered proved to be of high value.

It seems that the Saudis are exploring for oil and gas in that same general area.

No, subs don't fool with that sort of thing.

You sure? My understanding is that these days they indeed do, as part of their passive sonar gear. Much smaller streamers than the ones industry uses however. See for example Towed Array Sonar Systems :
"Submarines deploy thin-line towed-arrays using mechanical handling systems. A thin-line array element includes an outer sheath or hose that contains hydrophones and supporting electronics. When the towed-array is deployed or retrieved, it is fed through a guide tube by a handling system. There is a great interest to quantify the handling system effects on the thin-line towed-array and its internal elements."

The original thread that that we were on was about active sonar verses passive. The towed arrays that (US) subs use are hydrophones; very sensitive listening devices. While I'm sure they can and do detect seismic events, the purpose of these arrays is to listen away from the sub and its machinery, behind the "baffles", a sonic blind spot behind the screw, trying to detect other vessels, primarily other subs.

These arrays may or may not also act as highly sensitive receivers for ulf signals (ultra low frequency) for communications. I can't comment on their active capabilities, but the use of such devices would normally be counter to their mission: to detect other subs and ships, and to remain undetected.
The latter especially applies to ballistic missile subs.

I'm sure someone out there has more up-to-date info on these systems, but I doubt they're gonna join the conversation.

...to get a good picture of the subsurface rock formations, you need to tow a long string of hydrophones behind the boat to improve the image resolution - say 48 or 96 of them, widely spaced ...

Dude, you've been away from seismic for awhile?

These days seismic boats shooting 3D will tow multiple parallel streamers, each 5 or more kilometers long, with thousands of hydrophones each. Schlumberger's "Q" system is perhaps the most extreme example. They can tow as many as 20 streamers, with 4,000 hydrophones each. They record up to 80,000 channels. All this data gets number crunched into a 3D image.

Yeah, I have been away from seismic for a long, long time - I did seismic processing early in my career, back in the early 70's, before many of the people here were born. Back then it was only 2D seismic, one string of hydrophones or geophones, maybe 96 of them, tops. They recorded it all on nine-track or 21-track magnetic tape reels, and the programs were on 80-column punched cards, if you can imagine.

I've seen the 3D images, and they are very impressive, but people are looking for much smaller oil fields than they were back then. The improved resolution doesn't compensate for the fact that there's much less oil available to find nowadays.

I remember hearing the claim, back in the 80's that thhhhe limit on how long seismic survey ships could stay out, was how much data (mag tapes) the ship could hold. We were under endless pressure from the oil companies, because standard practice when a program tries to read a defective tape was to abort the program. But for these guys, a bad tape was only .0001% of the total data, and throwing it out was what they wanted to do. As usual the OS types couldn't grasp that.

Oh, yeah, we didn't worry about a little bad data - it was just noise, like e.g. somebody peeing near the geophones while the recorder was running, which was quite distinctive. The error-correction software would deal with it.

However, we had specially built tape drives with "skew boxes" so we could adjust the skew individually on each track, which for a 21-track tape involved 21 dials. We'd reread and reread the record, adjusting the skew on each track, until eventually it read it, or only have a few dozen samples drop out. If it couldn't read it at all, we'd replace it with the previous record, which after all was only different by a few milliseconds.

We had one marine survey come in that had 6,000 mag tapes, and 3,000 of them were bad. They had damaged the tape drive somehow, and all the tapes from one of the drives were bad.

Rather than spend millions to send the boat out to reshoot the survey, we just went to the tape drive manufacturer and had them build a custom tape drive that could read those 3,000 tapes.

I have considerable experience with seimic exploration, but am somewhat less knowledgable regarding sonar. I believe active sonar tends to use a much higher frequency range than seismic. The general idea is that high frequencies give better resolution, but much less penetration into the earth. Low frequencies penetrate much deeper, but resolve less detail. Some modern seismic projects can actually image the top of the earth's mantle. Sonar would likely image only the upper few tens or at most hundres of meters of the sea bed.

Both submarines and seismic exploration vessels use long towed arrays of hydrophones. Basically just a long streamer towed behind, with hydrophones spaced at intervals along it. Differences in arrival times of a reflected pulse gives information regarding distance and direction. Seismic boats trying to image deep layers pull streamers many miles long. These streamers have little fins attached at intervals, which can be controlled from the boat. These are used to maintain the sreamer at a constant, optimal depth to obtain the best signal. I don't know what the Navy uses, but I presume they have something similar in their arrays, just optimised differently for their specific application.

Processing of this data to extract information requires serious computer power. Many people don't realize that seismic processing has long been one of the big customers for developing high end computing power. Many, many years ago, I remember touring the ARCO seismic processing center in Plano. ARCO had bought one of the first Cray supercomputers, for processing 3D seismic surveys. These days different hardware is used, of course, but seismic processing still uses some of the most powerfull computing power you will find anywhere.

No details but let us just say that the military can get an awful lot of data by just listening ;)


Rockman, by definition if you need those advanced technologies to reach the oil it is harder.

It might be easier for you as the person doing the job, but the job itself is still getting harder.

From the article some guy points out that oil isn't much more expensive than in 1981

"Plus, the price of oil may argue against any such plateau. Adjusted for inflation, today's $100 per barrel is roughly equivalent to prices in 1981, according to environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba."

Of course the price of oil peaked in 1981 for a variety of reasons before coming way down. Sneaky stuff.

Yeah that was after Iran was offline for a year. Let's try that again.

Sounds like 2008, doesn't it? Peak in price, then comes way down. I wonder how many other times this has happened in the US? The price spike and collapse during 1864 looks to be at least as bad as the 70's!

Re: "Honeybee die-off shouldn't sting".

Embedded in the article is this mindboggling statement :-

"Plus, honeybees aren't native to North America to begin with. They were brought here by European colonists. And while the die-off might raise questions about the health of our environment, the loss of the honeybee isn't a direct threat to our ecology."

I suppose he means the ecology that used to be in North America before the arrival of the first European colonists in the 1500's and 1600's. This conveniently ignores the fact that our "ecology" has been manipulated for hundreds of years.

It also conflates several issues - the rise of agricultural yields - items which are, pretty much, wind-pollinated, such as corn, and the apparent stability of prices at the grocery store.

I don't know what planet the writer lives on, but grocery prices have been escalating dramatically, particularly fresh produce - largely bee pollinated.

The fact is feral bee populations have taken an enormous hit - pesticides, loss of habitat, disease. Even if we could turn the clock back to 1400, there are unlikely to be enough native pollinators left to take care of the plants that were in existence at that time. That would pretty much mean the death of the entire food chain that depends on angiosperms.

But, consumers, don't worry - keep shopping.

Perhaps Mr Hargreaves should have stuck to fossil fuels as a topic.

I suppose he means the ecology that used to be in North America before the arrival of the first European colonists in the 1500's and 1600's. This conveniently ignores the fact that our "ecology" has been manipulated for hundreds of years.

Tens of thousands of years, actually. The Indians manipulated their ecology as surely as the Europeans do. The difference is that they used fire instead of metal tools. When Columbus discovered the Western Hemisphere, he discovered two continents with 10s of millions of people, most of them reliant on land management and agriculture. I suggest everyone read 1491. Utterly mindblowing book.

+1 . . . myth of the unpopulated Americas . . .

I'm going to pick that up on the way home - thanks!

Great book suggestion. I was browsing the ebook and this was on page 225 :-

The "milpa" - paraphrasing, this is a field where farmers plant multiple crops all together - maize, avocado, multiple varieties of beans and squash, melons, tomatoes, chilis, sweet potato, amaranth, jicama, mucana (legumes).

This co-planting keeps soil fertility without the use of added fertilisers or pesticides, and provides a nutritionally balanced diet.

absolutely correct.

course if you ask certain treatment-free bee-keepers about die-offs they'll say "what die offs?" it's commercial beekeeping that's in bad shape due to a hundred years of stupid breeding, shrinking gene pools, unnatural feeding, and etc - the usual abuses of big industrial ag. IE all too liberal use of pesticides and treatments to defend against globalized pests.

there are plenty of bee-keepers who have seen it coming and responded by natural breeding, enlarging their gene pools with foreign and wild hives, letting bees adapt to new pests on their own, and generally avoiding all the mistakes of industry. these keepers aren't seeing CCD.

this doesn't diminish the fact that the big industrial poisoning of the biosphere might take them all out sooner or later. ecological succession is often guided simply by seed source...we way more fragile than we think.


Bumblebees. Many commercial greenhouses use them.

Certainly an ingenious technological solution.

The first thing I notice, however, is that feeding of honey and pollen is replaced by feeding of a commercial formula sugar solution. This is sub-optimal nutrition.

The second thing is the size of the population - 400 bees vs 30,000 in a honeybee hive, although, of course, not all are foragers. Not that scalable.

The third thing, not mentioned, is the spread of disease - Crithdia bombi - from commercial bumblebees to the wild population :-


Didn't say I approved. I was a bee keeper for many years, just a few hives. One reason I stopped was that we have a fairly robust feral honey bee population, and plenty of bumblebees, etc., and a friend supplies us with honey. It dawned on me that heavy concentrations of colonies may be promoting the decline- factory farming syndrome; cattle, pigs, chickens, bees, I couldn't see much difference. It was also a lot of work and I became hyper-sensitive to being stung.

On factory farming syndrome, I would agree. This is what has been happening with keeping bumblebees in tunnels. Also, in large, commercial honeybee operations, one hive contracts a disease, and before you know it, it has spread thoughout the population. e.g. varroa mites.

On becoming hypersensitive to stings - I thought I was, after I got one really bad sting, but no further development of that issue since. Fortunately. Although there are always new beekeepers in the city who would be happy to get a couple of hives for free.

Since I've done more varied planting in the garden, I get a lot of native pollinators too.

Edit : I can report that feral pollinators do gather corn pollen, although they aren't instrumental in fertilising the corn plants. I've seen black bees similar in size to honeybees working on corn stalks. GM corn is, therefore, likely to be as dangerous for feral pollinators as for honeybees.

Also, the use of Mason Bees

Non honey, non stinging, non "hiving" (solitary), indigenous, and very efficient pollinators

You just have to build homes for them;



The first results of the 2011 Canadian Census are out, and it appears Canadians are moving to the resource-rich West of the country.

Canada’s future is in the West: 2011 Census

Power and population are shifting to the Prairies and B.C. as Ontario enters a period of relative decline.

The results of the 2011 census released Wednesday confirm what many Canadians already instinctively understand. The country is re-orienting itself away from Central Canada and toward the Pacific. Oil, gas, potash and other resources are drawing migrants and the region’s political and economic influence is growing as a result.

Alberta and Saskatchewan are booming as both immigrants and native-born Canadians flock to the oil fields and resource industries.

Ontario, long the central engine of growth, was the only province in the country to see its rate of growth drop since 2006. It’s also the first time in 25 years that Ontario slipped below the symbolic threshold of the national growth rate.

Overall the Canadian population increased by 5.9 per cent since the last census to 33.5 million, a slight increase from the 5.4 per cent growth between 2001 and 2006.

Canada is the fastest growing country in the Group of 8 industrialized nations, thanks largely to its immigration program, which accounts for about two-thirds of the increase in population.

More sheep mean more fleece.

We may not see many new Prius C in North America

Right away, Yanagihara denied The Nikkei’s 30,000 a month claim, in a very diplomatic way. Yanagihara did not even mention The Nikkei. He however pointed out that the Aqua/Prius C is being built in the Iwate plant of subsidiary Kanto Auto Works in Kanegasaki, and only there. (Keep that in mind, we will revisit this.) He also noted that this specific plant has a maximum capacity of 30,000 units a month, “if we do overtime and such.” He then added that “other cars, such as the Ractis, Belta, Blade etc.” are also being made there. Then he looked me in the eye. A non-verbal “Wakarimashita ka?” (capisce?)


Let’s revisit this: The Aqua/Prius C is being built in the Iwate plant of subsidiary Kanto Auto Works in Kanegasaki, and only there. That includes all cars that are exported. The Prius C is and for the foreseeable future will not be built anywhere else. Now you know how many Toyota expects to sell. For now.

Why does a sub-compact sized car need both an 1.5l engine and an electric motor? My 1.2l conventional diesel is quite powerful enough to cope with normal traffic conditions and to drive at legal speed limits. A one litre petrol engine should be up to the same job without the power boost from an electric motor.

If you only required a car with the power to weight ratio of the average UK vehicle from, say, 1970, then 0.5l should be up to the job.

Bingo. I tiny 3-cyl with GDI and variable valve timing and a 6-spd gearbox. GDI combined with a turbo works very well as the direct injection cools the charge.

But...what problem are we trying to solve?

None of this will make the personal automobile viable again. We can't even afford to maintain the infrastructure in usable form for too much longer, although since it's the only transportation infrastructure we have here such vehicles could be useful for a time.

I dunno, it seems kind of silly to me - all the things on which our societies are built are failing and we've severely damaged the ecosystems upon which we depend and altered the climate, so our descendants will face a radically different future. Heck even we will see a much different future than we expected in our time. I know, let's talk about what kinds of cars they'll drive then.....

I like the image of a future as offered in the four videos of "Quiet Country Cafe", known as 'Yokohama Shopping Log' in Japan: "Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou". There is technology strewn about. Lots of the infrastructure is decayed or drowned. The common people, seemingly few in number, have very low-end things like little propeller planes... while, far overhead, a single futuristic aircraft travels by. This alludes to another world of affluent people still sharing this place in its twilight.

My point being that the wealthy class will still be able to afford the luxuries it has gained knowledge of, grown accustomed to. Everybody else will keep what they can of their world... Like Cuba after the embargo set in. There is a lot of information distributed all around the world in many different economic situations. A uniform dive back to the stone-age is buffered by this reality.

The videos are available on VEOH with English subtitles... subtitles I recommend for Japanese art. The VEOH player downloaded without incident for me/Firefox. The episode numbering is OVA1: ep1 and ep2, OVA2: ep1 and ep2 but the posters confuse these... and two of the episodes start with the same imagery.

OVA1 ep1:

Janka Rupkina

Spirited Away:

Good portrayal of decay there, the manga shows more detail. I think it may have been you that sent me to it first so thanks. There is a new manga out that may be picking up some of the same theme KABU NO ISAKI


By the same author. Thanks!

Check out the movie "Princess Mononoke". A strong and interestingly balanced message about living with nature. Netflix should have it. Subtitles recommended!

His movies include a lot of this theme. "Spirited Away" a bit, too.

Dealing with the detrius of a past golden age is very common in fiction, but I have noticed that the Japanese seem to be ahead of the curve in recognizing that this is our golden age.

Because the object is to run the car on the electric motor only as much as possible. Electricity is damn cheap to drive your car compared to gas/diesel. It is about 1/4th the cost. But batteries are expensive, so you can't get much range without having a very expensive car or including a gas/diesel engine too. Thus, the hybrid.

Simply asking for information, not to be argumentative: How does the 1.2-liter diesel do on a mildly uphill interstate on ramp? Does it get you up to speed to merge into the 65 MPH tightly packed traffic flow by the time you get to the top? Granted that that issue goes away in the longer term, but for lots of people in lots of cities buying cars today, the power to deal with that situation is a daily requirement.

My 1.5-liter Honda Fit's gasoline engine manages it, except for a couple of notoriously short ramps. The 1.3-liter gasoline engine in the Honda Civic hybrid can't, and depends on the extra 20 HP from the electric motor in that type of situation. The Prius' Atkinson-cycle 1.5-liter engine -- which produces less horsepower than the Civic hybrid's smaller engine -- almost certainly can't provide the necessary acceleration without the electric boost either.

I've owned several small engined vehicles through the years including a 1300cc Fiat and my present 1500cc Hyundai, and that has never been an issue. I drive it for economy but if required it has never lacked in power. There is a very steep uphill ramp in my area I sometimes use and it's never been a problem.

But you are talking about power and how fast can you get up to speed - in a world where many people are wizzing around in giant pickup trucks perhaps that is a concern, but that world cannot continue. In a world where fuel is expensive and often scarce and used as essential transportation (because we never did build anything else), then I doubt it will be the paramount issue.

But you are talking about power and how fast can you get up to speed - in a world where many people are wizzing around in giant pickup trucks perhaps that is a concern, but that world cannot continue.

Oh, absolutely. And a 55 MPH or even 45 MPH urban speed limit does away with the problem immediately, assuming that traffic conforms to the limits.

Absolutely. They should drop the speed limit down immediately. It forces everybody to use lots of gas. Not just linearly more, but exponentially more with speed. It also means your vehicle must be able to go, and must go, that fast... which is hard if you can't afford to throw away the money... or if you want to use a different technology to save money... or if you live in the vehicle with everything you own. More families move into their cars and vans everyday.

Engine size

My first car was a 1960 VW Beetle, which had an air-cooled 1200 cc engine in its rear.
It was great in the snow (lots of clearance, plus the weight of the engine over the rear/driving wheels).
1200 cc was enough power to go anywhere.

My diesel is turbocharged, and the turbo boost begins to feed in at about 1800 rpm. 5 speed manual gearbo. If I need that kind of accelleration it will do it, better than a small petrol engine. However, I try to avoid that kind of driving - you do not return 50mpg! That only comes by driving very gently and with minimal accelleration, braking or high speeds. A steady, even speed when at all possible. Will it get up the ramp you encounter ? I don't know, that is more a matter of how well the road is designed. If the ramp is too short, the speed limit on the road should be reduced. There is a major road near my home with lots of very short ramps, and at least 2 accidents a week. However, since average speed tracking cameras were installed, the number of serious accidents has fallen.

We seem to have an inordinate number of accidents at the top of the short ramps where someone has stopped and gets rear-ended by a person who is accelerating hard and is looking backwards to pick a hole in the traffic. I've always thought the ticket in that situation should go to the person who has stopped.

Also not being argumentative. Just sharing an observation of a similar situation, and how it might be relevant to this subthread.

The Pasadena fwy, 110, was built before the modern era. It's onramps and offramps are very very short.

Commuters that drive it have to _time_ the slow lane traffic, and only merge when there is a large empty gap.
Commuters that drive it have to _start_braking_early to safely negotiate the offramps.

Point: BAU is just that. If someone has a "by today's BAU standards" underpowered car, they will have to endure non-pleasant feedback from BAU drivers in their more highly powered vehicles...

...until all drivers are in similar vehicles, if even driving at all.

Yes, we have those too on an older local highway. I've had this car for 13 years now and I did not always drive it for mileage - I got it because it was small and fun and inexpensive. At 2200lbs and maybe 90hp it has more power than is needed. Part of that is knowing where the hp and torque peaks are, how to shift, how to anticipate and being willing to run the engine hard. Redline is not abusing your engine, it just uses a lot of fuel. It cruses well at 80mph. It's mostly a matter of changing attitudes and perceptions. We don't need to wait for a whole lot of new technology, we could start making fuel efficient cars any time - but it still won't save the car culture, or prevent the collapse of the society we built around it.

Q: Why does a sub-compact sized car need both an 1.5l engine and an electric motor?

A: Marketing, at two levels. At the personal level, people don't feel smug about buying the petro-only version, and hence don't pay premium prices. At the larger level, hybrids and EVs are haloware. They provide the car corporations with tons of goodwill they don't deserve. The Volt sells pick-ups.

Occasionally, you need to accelerate hard to get out of trouble. You missestimated how fast that vehicle is coming... oops. The short ramp situation is similar, you often can't see, until you are committed. At those hopefully rare times, gas milage is not important.

Well in this case it's question of solving a problem of too much complexity with even more complexity - a hybrid engine.

But I expect nothing less from Americans, who are individualistic and always looking for individual solutions to problems, which in turn creates more problems.

Imagine if most Americans drove those old Geo Metros. We wouldn't use nearly as much fuel, and the roads would be safe because, well, everybody is driving small cars. You wouldn't need to protect yourself with a heavy cage and 10 airbags.

But no, that's wimpy and socialist and un-American, and can never be an appropriate solution for a culture in which every last person is trying to outrun and outgun everybody else.

So instead you have the spectacle of huge pickups and SUVs sharing the road with Prii. As they say, "only in America."

No doubt a big chunk of the population is brainwashed on the topic, but why hang this on all Americans? It's not that there's ever been a real choice. The capitalists among us saw the car as their meal ticket, and acted accordingly, as they still do. The topic is as far off the table as anything you can think of. That's not because some people love trucks.

And the reason everybody doesn't drive Geo Metros is exactly the same. Small cars means small profits, so are pushed aside and undermined by their producers.

The overclass is the problem.

Michael, I am amazed that they don't re-introduce the Geo Metro. I saw one still driving around a year ago. Maybe once gas gets to $5 per gallon they will re-think the car's fate.

I am amazed that they don't re-introduce the Geo Metro

Couldn't agree with you more, Kindhearted. My favourite car was a little Geo Metro which finally died in 2004 after 11 years of hard driving. I paid next to nothing in gasoline (I swear it operated on vapours), drove it to Timbuktu and back (lots and lots of miles, over 300,000 kms before all was said and done), very few repair bills (like clockwork I could count on $800 every year for maintenance), and had lots of pep on the road (for a four cylinder it sure could go!). I have had three automobiles since then and none have given me remotely the satisfaction of that little roadrunner.

I figure they discontinued it b/c it was too practical.

I think he means the older 3-cyclinder model. Those are rare as hens' teeth.

We have a '99 Geo Metro LSI (4cyl, 4door, auto) that is still used. On the highway at the speed limit its gas mileage isn't so great - about 30 MPG, because it has to rev at 4000 RPM. Were it a stick, if it has an overdrive gear, it'd be much better but the auto doesn't have one. City driving, OTH, is pretty economical.

Unfortunately, I prefer to drive my Suburban to work each day - less than 3 miles there - so I drive about 10 miles a day in the Suburban (lunch hour I go home) and it's way better than scrunching into that little sewing-machine of a car.

Safer too.

Its a bit of a game theory problem. Very similar to a military arms race. I want my family safe, ergo I want the weight of my car to be above average. So does the next guy. So next car generation the cars are 20% heavier. Now I gotta go heavier still. It requires collective action, which means government has to do the nanny thing to intervene.

I have a little different slant the US population is the plus size.You can't put a 44 waist into a 34 pant.I've seen first hand at auto dealerships those looking at cars and seeing the look of a plus size day dreaming at the string bikini rack knowing it ain't happening.You're only going to buy something that you don't need a shoe horn to get in and out of or flash the happy shopper at walmart.

'seeing the look of a plus size day dreaming at the string bikini rack'

I assure you, living in a resort town, they don't just dream - eyes unsee :(


I can pick up a Geo Metro engine with my bare hands. So can you. 3 tiny cylinders of raw, savage power. Drive it like a madman, fully loaded with five and groceries, zoom in and intercept freeway traffic flying up a hill... starting from an on-ramp?... Seen it done. People tinker these things up to 60 MPG. Just be very nice to the engine. Nothing sudden. Happy fluids.

Or convert it to electric - they are VERY popular for that.

I guess the conversion business is further along than I knew. I picked this picture because it demystifies the subject... looks easy!


Isn't that what the Chevy Volt product position should have been? An off-the-shelf bare-bones compact with a simple electrical system?. Lead-acid batteries and a cheap generator to make a hybrid is shown on another page:


It's probably more efficient that way when the driving conditions it's designed for are considered. Smaller engines only result in lower consumption up to the point that the engine has to work harder to push the car around.

Toyota is not messing around, they clearly have good engineers and clearly are aiming to make the most fuel efficient cars out there. Second guess then as you will, but until speed limits are brought down, highways torn down, etc, etc, then they need to build cars that meet the expectations of the world they're building them in. Toyota's hybrids are simply some of the best tech out there.

One issue with a small engine that isn't heavily loaded is that sometimes the exhaust doesn't get the catalytic converter up to working temperature. The emissions are awful until the cat is nice and toasty, at around 500 deg C.

One of the silliest laws we have over here is to force all new petrol cars to have a cat, even when they don't need them. For example Rover had a lovely 1.4L lean burn engine, but to put a cat on it they had to de-tune the poor thing. The result - less power, worse economy and higher emissions, but at least they had a cat on it now, so the government were happy!

The NRC has a draft out of the new Reactor Consequence Analysis for public comment.
Announcement in pdf format

The main SOARCA report, including an appendix discussing the accident at the
Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, is available in the NRC’s electronic documents
database, ADAMS, by entering ML120250406 in the ADAMS search engine.

In Greece, the crisis is making people ill (literally)

Imagine for a moment taking a 40 percent pay cut. Then suffer an increase in sales tax to 23 percent. Add on increased rates for electricity, a new tax on heating oil and the cost of a gallon of gas hitting almost $10. Oh and your pension is not secure, and your kids stay home because there aren't enough teachers. It is enough to make you sick.

And that's precisely what the Greeks are doing. Getting ill. Hospital admissions are up 25 percent. At the same time hospital budgets have been cut 40 percent so there are shortages of medicine and staff.

Expect life expectancy to start falling soon. The extreme cold spell (by Greek standards) is already hitting them hard, there are reports
that woodland is being decimated for firewood. Subsidised basic medicines have been hard to come by for months, because the suppliers have
not been paid. There are reports of parents giving their kids up to adoption because they cannot afford to feed them.

Yesterday a homeless man froze to death in my town (in the UK), just 100 yards from a homeless shelter. I suspect many more will be dying in Greece.

Most people in the UK have no idea how bad things will get soon.

And Greece, the leading importer of Iranian oil in Europe, accounting for one third its domestic supply, is being asked to find other energy sources so Europe can press forward with sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran is turning off the tap. Early.

O, to be Greek these days. Do people in Berlin, Paris or Brussels have any clue the level of resentment building towards Europe from the underbelly?

Oh, I think "leadership" has an idea.

Look at the pronouncements of who's the latest 'boogieman' (err suspected terrorist)

People who speak of 3rd party candidates - they are now branded as 'suspected terrorists' in one of the latest lists.

And does anyone that think if they had been given a referendum or election they would have opted for this?

The drachma would have been in, the Euro out, quicker than a Corfu holiday.

The drachma wouldn't be worth much, probably down at least 60% from where it was in January 2002, but it would be Greek money. Instead, the people are being asked to accept short term pain for long term pain. Primarily to keep French bankers happy and the myth of Europa alive.


being a priest, I am sure you know your 10 commandments, there is an eleventh by the way. it was taught me by my Professor at Sheffield University many many years ago. I was 23 and was union Branch President of my pit, certainly a little rough around the edges I dare say, the coal board and the Union decided that it might not be a bad idea if some of us received a more formal education. We were a mottle lot, not may I add without a certain modicum of talent, five became MPs one a Euro MP two Lord mayors and one a lecture in Russian. Michael Barret-Brown was in charge. His eleventh commandment went something like this, I am sure you will like it.

He that hath shall hath, and he that hath not, shall have what he hath taken away and given too those that hath.

When I see what is happening in Greece, the termination of democracy when the president was deposed because he had the presumption to suggest a referendum and the E.U.immediately afterwards sending in the bailiffs, too extract there pound of flesh, I think of eleventh commandment. I am not a vengeful person but I would like too remind the clowns in Brussels that when you drive people too despair, they have a tendency to react, tumbrils and pitchforks come too mind, although in this case what ever firearms they have got in the house. The E.U. is dead in the water, all that is left now is too help it too sink.

more concisely said as: "Them that has, gets."



Mark 4:25: For he that has, to him shall be given: and he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has.

Matthew 13:12: For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even what he has.

Matthew 25:29: For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away.

mudduck, thank you. The lesson behind the parable of the talents.

My eyes tend to glaze over whenever the far right or the far left lay claim to the mantle of Jesus. The theology of that figure is too rich and textured to be nicely pigeonholed into neat tight black-and-white categories.

For the far right, they tend to overlook the first imperative of the Christian life: humility with a compassionate empathy for the other. "I demand mercy not sacrifice."

For the far left, they tend to overlook that Jesus was a practical down-to-earth realist when it came to human nature: the kingdom of God is not some unrealized utopia but is instead the application of love within the messiness and hardness of life. There is an earthy and practical side to each of the parables expressed in the Gospels. You are sent into the world the way it is, not the way you imagine it ought to be, and by choosing to apply the good, transform the reality in which you live.

So we live in a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Jesus' response would be, 'now what are you going to do about it?' "To whom much is given, much is required." -- Luke 12:48

It just shows how upside down the world is. Forcing the Greeks to live within their means is considered to be unfair! Even if the Greeks defaulted on all their loans i.e. didn't make single penny payment they would still have a budget deficit. The Greek government is going to have to dismantle the safety net not because the Germans demand it but because they can't afford it.

Since when did being able to borrow money become a right? At the moment the Greeks have two choices take a 40% wage cut or go back to the Drachma in which case your wages will be 60% lower in Euro terms plus you will have a balance payment problem to go with your deficit problem. Politically getting out of the Euro in order to cut wages might be the easier thing to do- but it is clearly the worse economic outcome.

Probably worth noting that Greece is perhaps the worst country in the euro zone at actually collecting the taxes its citizens owe. They probably could afford their safety net, if they collected the money that was owed.

The problem with Europe is not the morality of the Greeks.

The Greeks have always been poor at raising taxes and curtailing spending.

In days of yore, whenever they would get into a tight spot, they would devalue the drachma and cheapen the holiday to Corfu.

The problem with Europe is that it had no authority to limit spending, no centralized means of supporting its own super currency, no regulation of its banking sector to monitor lending, no lender of last resort, and a technocratic mindset that put self-aggrandizement first and public policy second.

Last November Europe showed utter contempt for the will of the people. Big brother obviously thought he knew better than the riff raff on the street.

As a Canadian I'm all in favour of austerity. But in order for austerity to work, a people need an end plan. Short term pain for eventual long term gain. That's the piece that is missing. Greece is expected to endure the cuts and pay the piper, all for the sake of the Euro and to keep the markets happy, without any legislative or fiscal means to ease the burden down the road.

The French banks were stupid enough to lend to a high credit risk, i.e. the Greeks. The markets made things worse when hedge funds bought Greek bonds and bad-debt insurance (in the form of credit default swaps) to profit off the country's misery. How did they get away with it? Because despite Europe's fancy bureaucracy and fine job titles, nobody's in charge!

The Eurozone has been stillborn since day one. Instead of enriching its people, it has stumbled from one crisis to the next, impoverishing the periphery while destabilizing the centre. For gad sake, will not somebody put a stake through its heart and put the monster out of its misery.

There was an interesting story on PBS News Hour this afternoon about the German "mittelstand", the mid-sized mostly privately owned manufacturing companies. They are the heart of Germany's domination of export of high tech machinery. One of the business owners commented that it didn't seem right that Germans should work to age 67 before retirement and have to give their savings to Greeks who expected to retire at age 50.

If you separate the many German factory workers from the relatively few bankers its clear to see why the mood in Germany is not very generous.

The greek work 12 h/day, 6 day a week. Don't forget that. And they are still poor.

The way I see it, this is all rooted in inefficiency. If taxes was collected, bribes were not payed, people showd up to work even if they got no bonus for it, they could be rich. Greece is a stunningly well suited area for turism. There alone they could have made lots of money over the years, invested it etc.

But everyone had to make theirown shortcut, until everyone HAD to, just to survive. If youpay taxes properly in Greece, you will not payyour bills. You can't have both.

The real issue (like here, only worse), is not taxing the wealthy. I have the impression the unwritten deal was "we won't tax you rich people, in return we get lots of government services and jobs". Obviously not a sustainable solution. But, a deadlock thats hard to break. I suspect the austerity measures are cutting the benefits for the poor, then loading up with regressive taxes that aren't much threat to the rich. Doesn't sound like a presciption for social stability.

EoS, perhaps not the best prescription for social stability, but it is a way around widespread tax evasion.

The plus side of consumption taxes is that they are easier to collect and harder to avoid. The downside, as you rightly point out, is that they disproportionately hurt lower wage earners over higher wage earners, since the poor spend most of their income on the basics of life.

In Greece, where avoiding the tax man is akin to a national sport, consumption taxes are probably one of the few ways of ensuring some kind of return. For policy makers, better to get a half loaf than no loaf at all.

What the Greeks have yet to learn, or maybe forgot, as well as the uber-rich elsewhere, is that taxes are the price one pays to be a member of a civilized society. Avoiding taxes will in the long run undermine the civility - and stability - of that society.

Well, that's *one* of the issues, but I think the bigger issues is that the option for the Greek government to default, was taken away from them by the Eurozone. Defaulting on debt, is, believe it or not, a sovereign right. The interest paid on the bonds reflects the markets opinion of the *risk* of default. what is happening here is that the bondholders are getting their high interest rates, and default is not being allowed.
Sure, if the Greek gov defaulted, no one would ever lend them money again except at credit card style interest rates, but so what? Then they might start collecting those taxes.

The whole "bailout" is a bailout of the bondholders - the Greek government is will remain just as much in debt as it ever was, while the Greek people are even poorer. They are paying for tis with their lives...

Let them default, and then dig their own way out. That way the German company is not ion the hook for them, only the people that took the risk of investing in their bonds.

A default would devalue the euro, but, especially from a German point of view, that would actually be a good thing.

Yair... probably a trivial aside but the only thing I can ever remember seeing with "made in Greece" (or similar) on the packaging was a gallon can of very expensive but indifferent olive oil.


They had an olive oil scandal in Italy just recently. 3:rd class oil was bought cheeply, mixed in with small amounts of 1:st class oil, and sold as 100% pure premium. Noone has said this occured in Greece, but if the Italians can, the Greeks can too.

Don't know if you can access this show but it was a fascinating expose. Made me much more aware of what to look for in terms of a quality olive oil. Really cannot take anything at face value.

From ancient days, olive oil was the oil of the gods. Of the sacred. Bathe in it. Anoint with it. Burn it in praise. Today, olive oil is the paragon of health foods. The golden foundation of the Mediterranean diet.

But do you know what you’re buying when you buy olive oil? My guest today says the market is swimming in scandal. Musty, grubby, rancid olive oil “deodorized” and passed off as extra virgin. Italian flags slapped on oil from all over. Health benefits promised and lost in fraud.

This hour, On Point: Extra virginity. The sublime and scandalous world of olive oil.



An hour well spent. Thank you.
When I assumed I had bought poor olive oil, who know what I ended up with.

Aside from the obvious "oil" connection, the historical comparisons to light sweet crude were insightful.

Definitely TOD worthy.



You can buy olive oil today from California and I've bought olive oil from Australia. The California stuff is pretty good. Its now getting to the point where they are listing varieties of olives on the label, similar to what higher end chocolate makers do.

Yair... but the point I was making what does Greece export...maybe "financial services"?


Theres a place about a mile from where I live that grows and sells the oil.

and lets not forget mothers abandoning there children,


Came across this article from last month. It's a travel article, but has this interesting bit:

As one older man, walking stick in hand, came over, his golden beast stopping to drink from the village fountain, he made his direct pitch: “Wanna buy a cow?”

“Sorry,” I replied, “car’s not big enough.”

That exchange captured the villages: they are charming, to be sure, but they are also clearly dying. Unlike some of them, at least Rio de Onor had a few young people, but many of its houses were either abandoned or sealed up for use as seasonal countryside retreats. And just about everyone I talked to in the region had the same story: European Union quotas and do-not-grow subsidies had sharply curtailed agriculture; as a result, children of farmers went away to study in Portugal’s bigger cities. This had led to “an incalculable cultural loss,” said António Manuel Martins, Luísa’s uncle, at that pork-heavy lunch. “Thousands of years of tradition and knowledge was lost in the last 40 years.”

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 3, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 14.4 million barrels per day during the week ending February 3, 180 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 82.8 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 8.6 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging about 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 467 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, 474 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 715 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 111 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 0.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 339.2 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 increased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 4.2 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.1 million barrels per day, down by 4.8 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.0 million barrels per day, down by 6.8 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged about 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 1.3 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 4.5 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Total Product Supplied: 17,618 (lowest since May 1999)

4-Week Avg U.S. Product Supplied of Finished Motor Gasoline: 8,038 (lowest since February 2001)

I always knew peak oil wouldn't be a problem. At this rate, we'll be down to 6.5 MMbbls/day gasoline usage in 6 months, no worries. Meanwhile unemployment will be down and the stock market will be at new record highs.

I've read TOD every day for years but I'm still befuddled at the apparent disconnect between what I see on the streets and on the news vs. what I see in that chart.

I always knew peak oil wouldn't be a problem. At this rate, we'll be down to 6.5 MMbbls/day gasoline usage in 6 months, no worries. Meanwhile unemployment will be down and the stock market will be at new record highs.

That has come about mostly as a result of prices that have hurt the average person. Some people might think that is a problem. Those high prices have been a continued drag on the economy.

It's sort of like saying "I always knew overpopulation wouldn't be a problem, because disease and starvation will bring it back under control."

I agree that high prices will "solve" the problem, but that doesn't mean that the high prices themselves are not a problem.

I somewhat agree. Seriously, How long until we ACTUALLY start seeing catastrophic effects from peak oil?

Methinks some of you need to get out more. Just sayin'...

Well the first part of my post was sarcasm, but to an extent the question is valid. I mean, gasoline usage appears to be down around 20% from peak and the country really doesn't seem to be falling apart. Even if employment is really 11% or whatever, people aren't starving in the streets, they aren't stranded at home, and I haven't heard of any credible gasoline shortages in the nation just yet. I've said before that my outlook is probably skewed because I live in the DC area, but I see no signs of any visible changes afoot. I'll travel back home to Detroit sometime this spring to visit my parents and check out the homeland to try and determine that the government trough is really what's masking everything to my eyes.

I'm just looking for someone to explain the sudden freefall in gas/oil usage in the US here in the past several months and reconcile it with the supposed recovery that's being pumped out by the admin and media...and given what I see around me, actually does seem to be tangible. I'm also trying to place myself back in my early 2008 mindset to compare, but that just seems like a million years ago.

I've also posted here that I expect government to try every possible cheat and lie tactic in the book before the system finally dies, so I'm also trying to reconcile just where we're at right now in that progression. The increase in credit will probably continue for a while as consumers gorge on 0% rates until they start defaulting again like in 2008. Then it'll start to get entertaining as the federal reserve goes bonkers, unable to lower rates any further.

My thoughts regarding the drop in oil and gas use has a lot to do with price, a changing economy and weather.

Price is a factor at $3.00+ gas. At that price it's no longer a "throw away" item. People do stop and think twice about running their car in drive thru lanes, leaving their cars warming up in the driveway on cold mornings. My point is that people are not just driving to be driving with gas at $3.00+. We waste so much energy in this country. The higher prices are squeezing the reckless behavior from our energy markets.

Another factor is our changing economy. I am not a Facebook guy, but I've read stories of young people who don't go out anymore. They just sit on their Facebook page instead. Also, the days of large gifts is changing to a world of iPods, iPhones and iPads. My point is that a truck load of iProducts can generage a lot of sales vs a truck load of PC's and monitors due to nothing more than the size of the boxes.

Finally, this has been the warmest winter in the last few years. Heating oil use has to be down year over year. Also, with less snow we have fewer trucks plowing roads and laying down salt. We also spend less time sitting idle on the highway trying to navigate snow routes with a million other cars trying to use the same route.

In the end, it all adds up pretty quickly.

Yeah, I've just seen a lot of formerly simple self-sufficient folks being pushed over the edge by increasing external costs; property taxes, food, energy, kids moving away for jobs, rising medical costs combined with decreasing insurance/medicare coverage, pensions declining... not directly attributable to peak oil, just an overall systemic decline. Mainly elderly, but middle aged folks as well. Still, community is making a difference because society-at-large pays minimal attention. Entitlement recipients?

The changes that are occurring have little respect for the careful planning and frugality they were relying on to get by, and their expectations were always generally humble. While younger folks are affected as well, they are more flexible and mobile - less invested so far; they still have options.

Seriously, How long until we ACTUALLY start seeing catastrophic effects from peak oil?

There is one: the end to economic growth. Since the crash of 2008, we have seen growth "return" twice, only to die pre-maturely. The plane lose speed before it comes of the runway. We are many who say this is a permanent state. Growth will never return.

I am a welder (surprice). In early january, my boss told us we had to take a late vaccation this year, as there is so many incoming jobs. Guess what? As of february the 1:st, I am a "leisure time researcher" as we unemployed people put it jokeingly. Many of the lost jobs we did not get was due to construction plans delayed or canceled, or just not comming in at the predicted rate.

My aunt had to shutdown her cheese store. The official guy they always send in on a buissiness forclosure told her this was happening over the whole country now.

If I can read the signs, we are in for another downturn on the economy.

as there is so are not many incoming jobs

Same thing happened to a family member.

First was told: December is always slow, so enjoy the extended holiday season.

Then told: We will contact you near end of January as things are hectic at the beginning of the year.

Then told: (silence of the lambs)

Seriously, How long until we ACTUALLY start seeing catastrophic effects from peak oil?

All depends on who you are.

I'm betting Carlos Slim personally doesn't see any effects.

You haven't noticed them much either, eh? To heck with catastrophic, how about some wee-little effects, like smaller or fewer traffic jams? How about a little rationing...just a little...just enough to let people know that hey, this oil stuff, we are running a wee bit low, maybe you should walk/bicycle/bus to work just a tad more often.

Jeez, Bruce.
Have you stopped to consider that you might belong to a demographic (as am I and most anyone who will be posting here..) that is more than a little insulated from the effects of PO so far?

There are many people (and other living things) on the planet that don't regularly update their Status on FB so that you can readily see what increasing pain they might be in, pain that might be completely unrelated to Rush-hour delays. Beyond that, there is also the fact that we have a LOT of momentum, and a LOT of fat in the system that is probably got to burn off before we in the 'first-world' really start to see when and how the Great Fires of Modern Industrialism are actually going to be cooling off precipitously and disastrously.. so by the time it's obvious to you, it will very likely be even more 'too late' than it is right now.

I don't care to make detailed predictions about what is to come with all of this. (Because of course, I cannot do so, any more than those who DO. ) You have previously described how the '05 - '10 predictions of Deffeyes or Campbell? failed to come about, and seem to have concluded that the whole 'disaster' thing is probably a miss, then. I don't. I think we're in considerable danger of seeing radical shifts, and all the denials of the need to be ready, the need to change, the instability of this setup have only magnified the vulnerability.

MAYBE it's going to be a gradual change and we'll have plenty of time to adjust for it then, and set up the things we need. And then again, Maybe NOT.

Do you think it's prudent enough to just bet on the 'Best Case'? I don't.

I think the info has been clear enough to tell us that we are in the calm before 'some kind' of storm.

There are lots of non-doomucopian reasons to be prepared. Natural and man made, disasters to name two.

In other words,

Don't sit there holding your breath for 'The Big Show'.. get suited up, or get clear. As they say, There's no such thing as BAD WEATHER, just inadequate gear.

I have described how accurate Deffeyes was, based on his 2005 call, and how far off Colin Campbell was, in his 1989 call. Predicting stuff is tricky. But now that we are the better part of a decade into our post peak world (referencing Deffeyes), we can look around, and see what the transition looks like. To me, poverty still appears to be poverty, crude oil is about as expensive as it was before (except without the rationing the US had to deal with in certain states), and people are still buying 12+ million new cars (and trucks) in the US to randomly ride around in to waste the stuff. Forgive me, but peak oil was supposed to be a solution to some of humanities bad habits, and from that perspective it has not worked very well. Better luck in another decade?

Would you like some Spanakopita with that?

"...and people are still buying 12+ million new cars (and trucks) in the US to randomly ride around in to waste the stuff."

They're just following orders; executing their latest program...

To heck with catastrophic, how about some wee-little effects...

Try this: What Peak Oil Looks Like

Get past the fantasies of sudden collapse on the one hand, and the fantasies of limitless progress on the other, and what you get is what we’re getting—a long ragged slope of rising energy prices, economic contraction, and political failure, punctuated with a crisis here, a local or regional catastrophe there, a war somewhere else—all against a backdrop of disintegrating infrastructure, declining living standards, decreasing access to health care and similar services, and the like, which of course has been happening here in the United States for some years already.

The world price of oil has been above $100 a barrel for about a year now and shows no signs or retreating. That is another good sign.

Ron P.

I volunteer at the county food bank. In a county of under 500,000 people they are feeding over 80,000 people each month according to the web site.

Edit: Apparently not all of the clients are in the county.

"How about a little rationing...just a little...just enough to let people know that hey, this oil stuff, we are running a wee bit low, maybe you should walk/bicycle/bus to work just a tad more often."

We are rationing -- by price.

Does anyone have a plausible explanation for the plunge the last few months?

If there were really a lot of new jobs created then wouldn't you expect gasoline usage to be increasing? But if the economy is actually falling of a cliff like the gasoline usage, then wouldn't unemployment claims be spiking?

Well, if you believe in government statistics...

Unemployment Decline Masks Drop in U.S. Labor Force: Economy

About 88 million Americans aged 16 years or older didn’t have a job and weren’t trying to find one, the new data showed.

An interesting correlation, food stamp participation increase is close to gasoline decrease yoy:

Food stamp use continues to rise

Household participation in the federal food stamp program increased 5.82 percent on a year-over-year basis, while household participation increased 7.46 percent.

I have some anecdotal information, from driving around the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region.
- more people walking (similar to the 2008 crunch) recently
- fewer service vehicles (white vans, etc.) recently
- fewer "high-speed" drivers and more vehicles driving 55(gasp!) on secondary highways
And I didn't realize it until I saw this article about the nearly 10,000 Dollar General stores becoming the next generation of the "corner store".

The average shoppping trip to DG takes 10 minutes, says Montagna, so there is virtually no additional gas used to pull in and out on the way home. A trip to Wal-Mart, on the other hand, is more a dedicated trip, due to its more distant loctations and large parking lots and enormous stores, he argues. Montagna says Wal-Mart has acknowledged that it is losing to dollar stores on the “in-between paycheck shopping trip.”

I've read the ave trip to a walmart is 28 minutes and walmart wants to open Walmart express somewhat like a conveniece store within a mile of DG type stores with a travel time of 8 minutes.

The fix is in, and has been going on for decades under everybody's noses.

I remember growing up in the 80s, back then there were of course strip malls, but no massive one stop stores, there were grocery stores, and general stores, and all sorts of specialty small businesses so you basically had to make several trips to get all shopping done. Now there are "super" walmarts or targets or costcos or whatever where you just make one trip and buy all you need. And now, whoever can't make that one trip can just freeze or slowly decay at home.

The fix is in with the banks too. Extend credit, and when the credit goes bust they are injected with fiat money so they don't take the loss. The losses are socialized to people or businesses who aren't strong or smart enough to find a way around it.

That's why peak oil hasn't resulted in apocalypse. Apocalypse has actually been going on for some time.

It's a Brave New World, and you're a part of it. But you aren't part of the "club" which gets smaller and smaller with every year.


I live in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, perhaps the most diverse neighborhood in the city. Last count: 168 languages spoken here. A recent study showed that it's also one of the healthiest areas economically. The reason? Hundreds of mom and pop stores and restaurants, employing locals, spending locally. We have few chain stores -- one Staples out of the center, one Starbucks. We're fighting to keep it that way.

It's one of the great things about Melbourne (Aust): the huge array of main street shopping precincts across many older suburbs, with great food, fresh produce, sophisticated services, wonderful coffee, electric trams trundling by, lots of multicultural diversity, and a strong sense of local community.

OTOH, wander out to the newer suburbs, and you might as well be in the back-blocks of Las Vegas or Calgary, or a thousand other WalMart zones.

Not the least the disappearing tricks! Many of the things featured in both films (shot around 2002-2003) have gone altogether - and fashions have changed quite a bit too. Gosh the world moves fast!

Hopefully Melbourne hasn't lost any of its beauty :-)

I'm sure it hasn;t lost it's bad (winter) weather.

Speaking as a Sydneysider, of course...

From my last to trip to Oz a year ago, my observation was the the areas in Sydney that were doing the best (= had the happiest people and looked the least grungy) - were those that were like Cargill describes - lots of mom and pop businesses. Their customers are very happy to not drive to everything.

The mom and pop shops also have an ally in their corner that you would not expect - the dreaded tollways!

Over the last 15 yrs, there have been lots of tollways built in sydney, so to get from one part of Sydney to the other, including the "supercentres" can often involve tollway(s), and to avoid them you are driving 1.5x the dist, and 1.5x the time. So for a lot of people, it is a case of either take the train(!) or just don;t bother and shop locally. That also means more money spent on food, and local restaurants and the like, and less on buying "stuff".

Best hopes for keeping it local, by whatever means!

The removal of regulations (or non-implementations there of) has done alot to make what he say in the video possible.

Oil Pares Gains After U.S. Inventories Increase Amid Declining Fuel Demand

Oil pared gains after the U.S. Energy Department reported that inventories climbed as fuel consumption dropped to the lowest level in almost 13 years.

Fisker Stops Work on Car Factory After U.S. Blocks Loan

I'm a big advocate of electric cars but the government should not give them another penny unless they meet their milestones. Fisker has repeatedly missed deadlines, raised prices, and missed product specification goals by a wide margin. If Fisker wants to continue, they need to go raise money in the private equity markets and meet their milestones. If they cannot convince private markets that they are worth investing in then there is no reason why the government should give them another penny. Don't throw good money after bad.

I just don't think a brand new car company making very expensive exotic vehicles can compete against GM, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, etc.

The $7500 tax-credit is a much better incentive system . . . it helps companies that actually deliver real cars. I know Biden wants Fisker to open up that factory in Delaware . . . but if they can't build a car that people want to buy, there is no point in opening the factory.

... and why would they give incentives to produce an EV that lists for $103,000?!

The point of the $7500 tax-credit is to help boost the automotive Li-Ion battery market by getting it to reach mass manufacturing scale. If someone manages to sell a $103K car with a 16KWH battery in it, they did help increase the size of the battery market. Of course the reality is that very few $103K cars will be sold so not much money will go to such cars.

And the DoE involvement with Fisker was not really for the $103K Karma but instead for their follow-on 'Nina' car. But there has been no public showing of this Nina car that will supposedly start rolling off an assembly line in Delaware this years. It is pretty clear that they are not ready and that factory is not opening this year. Fisker should go raise some private capital if they expect to receive any more loan money from the DoE.

And, if it ever materializes, the Nina will be a hybrid, with a gas-burning BMW engine.

What a farce.

The tech is not easy. Fisker went with the Karma for the precise reason that you CAN sell a luxury sports car at $100k, and so for a small producer it is much, much easier to make money. The powertrain had to be created mostly from scratch, whereas for most small producers they rely on exising engines (when Saleen made it's own car, they used a Ford engine, for example, and TVR used Rover based engines until the development of the Speed 6). Small car companies go under constantly, and ones that experiment with alternative production need all the help they can get.

Hybrids are a massive step up from what we're doing now, and shouldn't be looked at with contempt just because they use gasoline. There are many things that still require a car to do, and hybrids are one step into the future, as they have many capabilities that electric cars don't have.

Realistically, the car is a technology that will fade with peak oil, but how long that will take and how that will play out will be interesting to watch. At least for me, the only vehicles I own are bicycles.

The tech is irrational. Why squander scarce resources trying to perpetuate the greatest form of waste in the world? EVs are a threat to the human future.

The tech is irrational in the city, but the further you go from urban areas the more likely you will need a vehicle. The cities and even the suburbs can move to mass transit and bicycles, but there will still need to be vehicles unless there is a collapse, and those vehicles probably won't be horse carts unless there is a collapse. Hybrids seem complicated but turn out to be more reliable than conventional cars. There is nothing irrational about conserving resources.

Right now there aren't many hybrid commercial trucks and tractors (though GM made and expensive and complicated 2 mode hybrid truck, and Ford had the hybrid Escape, which is a small SUV, and Caterpillar has a hybrid bulldozer), but the tech is being developed and put out incrimentally. While I would love to see the day that we don't use fossil fuels, unless we hope for doom we will need to find ways to stretch what is left and use them wisely until we no longer need them.

While some days I hope for doom (when I read about ocean fisheries or other environmental crimes), most days I don't. Hybrids are a proven technology and a can help us have a less rough journey on the way down.

Because the infrastructure and the layout of roads and cities, already built, support it.

The tech is very easy - if you don;t go too hi tech...

The computer industry standardised its main components, and interfaces etc years ago, and the result was a huge boom in sales of personal computers.
While sales of proprietary computers - e.g the early Apples and Mac's were great to use, expensive, and only a fraction of the market.
These guys are doing the same thing.

What is needed instead, is a car that assembles pieces of already existing EV tech, to make a cheap, driveavble suburban car - not a luxury sports car.

A quick check on some of the websites of well established EV conversion business shows that you can get kits to suit mist small-mdeium cars for about $7-10k, plus your batteries.

For batteriesThe batteries they sell - the prismatic ones - are not as good as the A123, but they are cheaper, at about $600/kWh, including the BMS and charger;


So a Volt size 16kWh pack would be about $9600, and Leaf size 24kWh is $14400, and they weigh about 400 and 600lbs respectively.

So it seems to me, that the time is right for someone to buy a brand new small car, like a $12k Kia Rio, do the $20k conversion for $32k, and with the tax credit you are at $25k. This is at retail prices for all - buy in quantity and there is your profit margin.

Better still, would be to buy a an engine-less car from an auto maker and do the conversion.

But this approach would be really ideal for a kit car, especially something like a compact pickup, or any of the cars that are imported as CKD (complete knock down) kits,( leaving out the engine).

The Fiskers and Tesla's are all chasing the high end, what is needed is an EV version of the Dell computer - and the EV doesn;t even need the crash causing Microsoft software!

Paul. I really like that idea. Since it seems I might fall into some money- not a whole hell of a lot but enough to maybe start up a few little businesses here- the EV kit is one I have always liked and may try. At the moment I am playing around with a vw bug conversion which I intended to be a PR for solar PV, and already see I would have been way ahead to do what you suggest with a new small car, Ah well, live and learn.

What progress on that biomass stirling CHP in my shop? Well,- koff, koff-, I gotta confess that I stepped into a pile of doo-doo with that log burner, and have reluctantly fallen back on a pellet burner with a blower so as to get a steady heat on the engine. The engine itself is just fine, sitting there with the haughty air bespeaking its patrician ancestry. Ah well, more live, more learn.

Hi Wimbi,

Almost all the ev conversion websites say the same i thing in regard to donor cars...
"do not choose a car just because you can get it cheap or free. You are about to spend $10-$20k on it, and you need it for ten years to get your payback, so why do it of the wheels might fall off next week?"

I would agree, there are plenty of good, 5-10y cars out there. The older end of that range is often better, as they don;t have "power everything". Not having to worry about power brakes, steering (and windows, seats, etc) makes things a lot easier.

As for the Stirling, is the engine itself actually working?

The gasifier guys are making good progress, check out their latest;



I would think either of these gasifiers coupled to burner feeding your Stirling would work well....

If I read the article correctly, they've received $193 million to assemble cars in Finland:

About 1,500 of those cars, assembled in a factory in Finland, have now been built and about 300 are in customers' driveways, Ormisher said.

I'll let you do the math :-/ It seems to me the money would have been better spent developing/building $20k city cars (actually built in the US) that poor folks can afford. Even the Nina is (was?) expected to cost more than the Leaf. I'm having a tough time getting this (except that Biden is involved). More ammo for the Tea Party....

I'll bet Joe doesn't even ride the train anymore.

"Oil, Food, Water: Is Everything Past Its Peak?"

It is valid to ponder and wonder about isn't it?

But the "peak" is not the same for all of those.

Food and water, for examples, are part of ecological cycles that purify and/or regenerate them periodically in natural processes.

Oil, on the other hand, is finite, i.e., in that context not part of an Earth cycle that reproduces it.

Sanity can reach a peak too, but it does not seem to fit the pattern of oil or of natural processes.

Sound economy and health, as history shows, can reach a peak as well. The collapse of all previous empires (Babylon, Persia, Greco-Macedonia, Egypt, Rome, Ottoman, British, etc.) indicate this.

"An even bigger human accomplishment, and cause for worry, is the rise of the middle class. It's expected to nearly triple in the next two decades, to 4.9 billion people in 2030"

The middle class is decimated in the USA and growing rapidly in India and Asia.

It looks like America has been sold-out and gutted. It has been what is called a leveraged buyout or corporate raiding. A lot of people are suffering and shrieking over this, even without knowing the names. Much of what they note is true. 50,000 factories gone in ten years. Good jobs gone. But the barn doors are swung wide open and everything's gone. It is way too late. We are left to grow crops, strip resources, and service debt.

Like Greece, maybe we should tell the banks to take a running jump at themselves, close our system, and make do with the resources we actually have.


We may have reached a peak that affects even the banksters big time.

That is a measures/countermeasures war. The antibiotics are sown into the environment. The bacteria trade plasmids with each-other. The plasmids are the software-upgrades or modules that, relative to this subject, confer drug resistance. Got the right set of plasmid rings?... Live to see the new day. One little critter can summon a cluster of peers hoping to gather a specifically required ring. "Peers" isn't the right word, for the rings travel among bacteria of different form. Horizontal transfer is so motile that "species" becomes hard to define. You can identify which hospital a resistant strain came from by the plasmids it carries. Different forms of bacteria from the same hospital will share from this catalog. Adaptive systems at their best. The stronger irony arises if the bankster doesn't believe in evolution.

I was surprised to read this (Iran defaults on payment for rice): http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/07/us-india-rice-idUSTRE8160CX201...

Why can't Iran pay for rice with oil?

Well, the Indian government probably isn't growing all that much rice in-house. The actual suppliers almost certainly don't want "oil". They've got no place to put it and no use for it. "Money" would be orders of magnitude more convenient. To get around that little problem, the Indian government would have to involve itself (and in a sanctions-busting way.)

Even if the government wishes to go ahead - and take the international flak - it would at a very minimum take time. Lots and lots and lots of time. Plenty of time to actually come to the decision; then more time to fill out countless acres of paper forms, and yet more time to get them all stamped by just the right bureaucrats.

The Indian government has been pretty clear- since the sanctions have not been imposed by the UN security council they don't need to observe them.

The simplest solution to getting around the American European sanctions which involves the fund transfer process is for the oil to be paid for in Indian Rupees. The Reserve Bank then guarantees a fixed exchange rate vis a vis the dollar for any Rupees held by the Iranians. The Iranians then pay for all their imports in Indian rupees from that account. Their suppliers know they can convert those rupees for fixed amount of dollars which they receive from the Reserve Bank - not the Iranians.

Oh great. Now we are starving Iran as well by effectively cutting off their food imports.

Iran turns to India for wheat as palm oil dries up

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Iran has turned to India for wheat supplies as other sellers divert grain cargoes away from the Middle East country because of sanctions-related payments problems that have caused palm oil imports to grind to a halt.

Indian tea was also added on Thursday to a growing list of Iran's food imports that are being disrupted by U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to scrap a suspected nuclear weapons program.

Looks like the West wants to starve Iran. This cannot end well.

Ah, but are you sure it is the west? Many times this is a government manipulation of the bleeding hearts to blame the sanctions and get them lifted.


The manipulation can work both ways on the political spectrum - left and right. Depends upon how much you sympathize with the country under sanctions.

Margaret Thatcher argued against sanctions for South Africa back in the 1980s. Mrs. Thatcher was many things, bleeding heart was not one of them, but she too used the argument that sanctions are counterproductive because they penalize the vulnerable instead of the powerful .

Mind you, she was right, as well as those who protest on humanitarian grounds. Sanctions do hurt the marginalized first.

The dilemma is that sanctions can work, witness South Africa. Sometimes international pressure has helped to achieve a desired regime change.

Against totalitarian regimes, sanctions have been less successful -- witness Iraq in the 1990s. Tinpot dictators have ruthless means to secure resources for their own maintenance.

Iran, of course, is not Iraq. Being that there is an ongoing power struggle between President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei, it should be interesting to see how events play out. The regime, at least as currently constituted, may not survive.

Of course, if Netanyahu of Israel has his way, bombs will drop. Just like the blitz over London or the carpet bombing of Germany and Vietnam, that's one sure fired way of securing domestic support for an incumbent regime.

Pacific Minas Crude Oil Spot Price: $128.24


Re: Imagine a world without oil

Thanks to our oil addiction, such a world would include rolling blackouts, minimal transportation, dwindling food supplies and possibly war.

Granted that the quote is from a page that is big on blanket statements and short on analysis, I always have trouble with a blanket claim that declining oil availability leads to rolling blackouts in the US. They state their view of the linkage -- that production and transportation of the fuels we use for electricity depend on oil -- but the argument seems to me to be a weak one.

In particular, if there are industries that can absorb higher prices for diesel, production and transport of fuel for electricity generation would seem to be high on the list. There are also options for substantially reducing the use of diesel -- eg, recently there was a discussion here at TOD about electrification or conversion to LNG for long-haul rail traffic. Most of the big mining equipment comes in electric as well as diesel versions. I'm sure that there are less convenient but workable alternatives to diesel for NG drilling operations. NG transport is primarily by pipelines driven by electric pumps. And there's that whole demand-side management thing for electricity that has been demonstrated to significantly reduce consumption.

I do think there are long-term questions about the stability of the electricity supply, particularly for states that are part of the Eastern Interconnect, but I don't think they're particularly tied to declining availability of petroleum. 50% of the EI's electricity is produced from coal; if we're going to do significant things about climate change, that has to change drastically. 21% of their electricity comes from aging nuclear reactors (all but 12 existing commercial power reactors are part of the EI); even if those all get 20-year extensions, they're still retired within the next 40 or so years. 19% from natural gas; a lot of that is moved great distances, and increasing its share will require building new plants, and either major pipeline capacity or major long-haul electricity transmission capacity. And while Texas is the place where drought conditions are currently threatening to require cutting back generation, the Southeast has had at least some of its own drought-related issues with cooling water discharges during peak summer months. With the situation not looking real good right now:

Drought Map

The EI's problems are also affected by sheer scale. Those states generate considerably more electricity per-capita than the rest of the country. And there are simply more people: almost exactly 69% of the people living in the 48 contiguous states. And of that fraction, almost one-third live in the BosWash urban corridor along the Atlantic coast. These are really big problems, requiring quite large actions starting -- at least IMO -- very soon. I think the region will be hard-pressed to make the adjustments fast enough, even if they had unlimited amounts of oil available to them.

Production figures for the Eastern Interconnect based on the EIA's by-state-by-source production data for 2008. Population figures based on Census Bureau data for 2010.

And while Texas is the place where drought conditions are currently threatening to require cutting back generation, the Southeast has had at least some of its own drought-related issues with cooling water discharges during peak summer months.

This is an under-appreciated fact of renewables. Wind and PV solar do not require massive amounts of freshwater. Coal, Natural gas, and nuclear plants do. That makes a big difference in areas like California, Nevada, and Texas that have water supply issues.

That's where the gas turbine plants come in.

Gas turbines and water are a tricky one to call. If you just use the turbine and vent your 1000 F exhaust to the sky, you need very little water.

If you want to use a combined cycle system, then you feed the exhaust into a 2400 psi steam generator, and that needs the usual cooling water supply.

From an energy resource point of view, you really want to use the combined cycle.

I live in the suburbs west of Philadelphia (my handle notwithstanding). Gas at my local station has jumped 20 cents in 3 weeks after being stuck at $3.49/gal. for 3-4 months. It cost $3.69 a gallon for regular unleaded this morning, a $46 fill-up. Brutal. I assume this is due to the local refineries shutting down, since the price of oil has been pretty stable the last couple of months.

Limits to Climate Change Mitigation and the Adaptation Imperative

Sometimes it's difficult to see what's most likely to happen and not the more pleasant scenario, but the Energy Information Administration (EIA) does just that in its energy outlook "reference case." Based on existing laws and policies (i.e. "business as usual"), EIA predicts that annual world carbon dioxide emissions will increase from 30.2 billion tons in 2008 to 43.2 billion tons in 2035.[1] Roughly 278 billion tons of carbon will be pumped into the atmosphere over those 28 years [2] and, according to findings by the National Research Council, Earth's temperature will raise by about 0.5 degrees Celsius because of it.[3] The laws and policies needed to stop these emissions are unfortunately not in the forecast, and it is past time to adapt for the change in climate that is coming.

The failure of international negotiations on climate policy is compounded by the complications and limitations of each available step for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency could make a huge dent and save money, but moving forward requires not only a change in policy but an underlying change in culture.

These limits to mitigation deliver a clear message: It's past time to begin adapting to climate change with the same effort and specificity that communities invest in preparing for a coming hurricane or flood. Many involved in climate policy see this, but many other policymakers do not. We need to be ready for melting ice, rising sea level, floods, droughts, weather extremes, and changing, stressed ecology. We need zoning and other policies to stop people from moving into low-lying coastal cities and areas that will be more prone to flooding and drought. ... Most of all, we need to fasten our political will to action now.

Dutch team has solution for troubled ITER nuclear fusion reactor

The superconducting cables designed for the ITER fusion reactor (cost: 16 billion euros = $21.2 billion) are unable to withstand the planned forty to sixty thousand charge cycles. Barring a solution, the troubled mega-experiment will suffer still more delays and cost overruns. About one third of total expenditures for the reactor are devoted to the superconducting magnet system. UT researcher Arend Nijhuis thinks he has the solution. He has calculated that a different configuration will make the cables more robust. In the first week of March, ITER will run an experiment costing half a million euros to see whether this theoretical solution will actually work in practice.

Tougher laws to smash green smoke screens

... “Greenwashing is corporate spin which involves making misleading or deceptive claims that a company’s products or services are environmentally sustainable or friendly,” said Dr. Matthew Rimmer, an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law. “Such conduct is putting consumers at a disadvantage and giving some businesses an unfair advantage in a market increasingly concerned about the environment and climate change.”

“There is a need to update and reform advertising law, consumer law, and trade mark law,” he said.

Screening Africa's renewable energies potential

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published today a study mapping the potential of renewable energy sources in Africa. The report analyses the current energy consumption in Africa and assesses potential of renewable energy sources - solar, wind, biomass and hydropower - and their cost efficiency and environmental sustainability.

Solar start-ups set new efficiency records

Although Alta Devices and Semprius make different types of solar panels, both start-ups have been breaking records in the past few days. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Alta Devices announced that its solar panels have achieved an efficiency of 23.5%, which has been verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as the highest solar panel efficiency to date. And Semprius, based in Durham, North Carolina, has announced that its concentrated solar panels have achieved an efficiency of 33.9%. Unlike traditional solar panels, concentrated solar panels use lenses to concentrate sunlight at intensities of up to 1,000 suns.

Growing up on a farm directly affects regulation of the immune system

Immunological diseases, such as eczema and asthma, are on the increase in westernised society and represent a major challenge for 21st century medicine. A new study has shown, for the first time, that growing up on a farm directly affects the regulation of the immune system and causes a reduction in the immunological responses to food proteins.

IOW ... Urban life is killing us!

Looks like a step back from Big Dog:


NRC Seeks Comment on Reactor Accident Consequence Research; Public Meetings Feb. 21, 22 in Virginia, Pennsylvania

SOARCA’s main findings fall into three basic areas: how a reactor accident progresses; how existing systems and emergency measures can affect an accident’s outcome; and how an accident would affect the public’s health. The project’s preliminary findings include:
• Existing resources and procedures can stop an accident, slow it down or reduce its impact before it can affect the public;
• Even if accidents proceed uncontrolled, they take much longer to happen and release much less radioactive material than earlier analyses suggested; and
• The analyzed accidents would cause essentially zero immediate deaths and only a very, very small increase in the risk of long-term cancer deaths.

The main SOARCA report, including an appendix discussing the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, is available in the NRC’s electronic documents database, ADAMS, by entering ML120250406 in the ADAMS search engine.

Deep discounts fuel Canadian oil flow into storage


Deep discounts fuel Canadian oil flow into storage

Oil inventories at Canada's largest storage site are on the rise as discounts for the crude plumb new depths, a company that tracks tank volumes across North America said on Wednesday.

Oil volumes at the Hardisty, Alberta, storage site have climbed 350,000 barrels on the week to 8.2 million, which puts capacity use at 48 percent, said Abudi Zein, senior vice-president at Genscape.

That is about midway between the 2011 highs and lows, but the trend is up as production volumes rise in Western Canada and volumes also grow at the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub, depressing prices for land-locked crude supplies in many parts of the continent, Zein said.

Last year's high was about 11 million barrels in August and the low was about 5.8 million in December, he said.

Over the past week, Western Canada Select heavy blend for March delivery has fallen past $35 a barrel under benchmark West Texas Intermediate and has lately hovered in the low $30s per barrel under WTI.

Light synthetic has fallen into the low $20s per barrel under WTI, reaching record discounts. It sold for a premium as recently as December.

Traders and analysts have tied the weakness to surging oil sands production volumes and limited pipeline capacity out of Western Canada. That problem has been exacerbated by surging output from the Bakken shale region of North Dakota, where the crude competes with Canadian supply for pipeline space to U.S. Midwest and Midcontinent markets.

This is probably going to have more serious consequences than most Americans realize (especially US President Obama). It is costing Canadian businesses, not to mention federal and provincial governments, a lot of money, and they are becoming quite upset about it.

The Canadian Prime Minister is currently in China talking to Chinese officials about a new home for this oil, and I suspect the Canadian government is going to do something drastic about the pipeline problem later this year.

In the meantime, anybody who owns a railroad and/or oil tank cars is in a position to make a lot of money, because at these price differentials they can afford to move oil amazing distances.


Where is Canada?

My solution:
Have Burlington build a very short rail loop across the border, and shuttle oil in an almost continuous ring of tanker cars.
Have Canada build a pipeline to get oil to their end of the shuttle.
Have Conoco or somebody build a pipeline from their end of the shuttle to Cushing.
Have Exxon or such build the pipeline from the gulf refineries to Cushing. Probably requires buying out Valero and other international interests.

Have all the above pander to their local politicians, share the wealth with local contractors and landowners.

Then, once a Repub wins the Whitehouse, build the last few miles of pipeline across the border and be done with the nonsense.

Any oil not handled by the Gulf refineries can be exported.

CN Rail has tracks that run all the way from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico, and they are in fact hauling Canadian bitumen all that distance. The problem is a shortage of tank cars. CP Rail doesn't have tracks that run that far, but it does have interconnects with the US railroads like BNSF, and it is also hauling oil.

Enbridge (a competitor of TransCanada Pipelines) has bought Conoco's interest in the Seaway Pipeline, which runs from the Gulf Coast to Cushing, and is in the process of reversing it to run from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. The reversal should be finished this year.

Given the price differentials, it would also be cost effective to haul the oil from Northern Canada to the Gulf by tanker truck, and I'm sure people are doing it. However, the Interstate highways are not built for those kinds of loads and it pounds the highways to pieces if they do it on a large scale.

The problem is that these are stop-gap solutions and they don't really have the capacity to solve the problem. The Keystone XL pipeline would have enough capacity to solve the problem, but the fact it is stalled has convinced Canadian government authorities that the US government isn't serious about importing this oil, and they need to pursue other opportunities, e.g. China.

I wish the Canadians would quit complaining about this and actually do something about it. Why haven't they already started on a GD supertanker port right on the coast so they can ship it all over to Asia and load 3 VLCC simultaneously per day? Seems a more effective use of time than whining. They need to put their money where their mouths are. Since Canada has 27 dodecadillion bbls of proven reserves maybe they can just use all that money and build a pipeline on the sea floor all the way to China. Or if they're so sad about their current oil glut they could just dial production back ;)

Not sure if the smiley is for the last line or the whole post...

But just in case: we haven't built those terminals because any rational person would prefer not to spend that money when they know that oil will go to the States.

You have the biggest army in the world, and you've used it in the past for far stupider things than insuring your access to the largest remaining non-US oil sources on the continent.

We are angry at you, for sure.

That doesn't mean you don't scare the crap out of us at the same time.

We aren't going to see abrupt changes in consumption patterns in North America (no matter how much I would like to) while oil is still available. When it sinks in to the powers that be that the US really, really needs that oil, they'll get it.

Contracts won't matter. Costs won't matter. Citizen opposition won't matter. What Canadians want really won't matter.

If (actually, make that When) the US wants that oil, they'll get it.


That is well reasoned and I agree. When you look back at say, the Roman empire, do you really assign much significance to the various administrative regions? It seems to matter now, and maybe it did to some of them too, but Canada is as much an integral part of the western industrial empire as is any place else, regardless of any minor differences in how it is administered. The Empire needs energy to prop it up, and while a few wealthy folks may be able to game the system selling natural resources to Asia for their own benefit for a while, eventually there can be no doubt about where that petroleum is going to go. There can be no other outcome.

America becomes an agricultural backwater supplying Asia with food and resources.

It was maybe half tongue-in-cheek. If your position is that of the majority, and Canadians are seriously afraid to make an outside deal for fear of the US going bonkers, then it sounds like Canadians need to just suck it up and continue selling it at a discount. Let's be straight, Obama is going to keep his current position until it isn't politically convenient...or he gets booted out of office. For now his nixing of the project keeps the MSM-quoted grade much lower than world prices and throws a bone to the enviro side of his party.

I'm also sure the Chinese are well aware of the situation you're in while negotiating, so they're probably driving a hard bargain.

Hi, Ty.

If your position is that of the majority, and Canadians are seriously afraid to make an outside deal

I don't think my views are those of the majority...the majority doesn't think about this stuff.

I do think that the business-political class (of which I am not really a part) think about this stuff.

And act accordingly.


However it very difficult to take oil by force (and the tarsand stuff too, I expect) - US experience in this regard is not an encouraging precedent. Even "regime change" in Ottawa (and Edmonton) may not assist you to meet your objectives.

From CRS Iran’s Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

Geopolitical Considerations............................................................................................................. 1
Context and Possible Causes of Iran’s Threats.......................................................................... 1
Iran’s Intent to Implement Its Threats ....................................................................................... 4
Iran’s Capabilities to Implement Its Threat ............................................................................... 4
Scenarios for Long Term Low-Intensity Conflict in the Gulf ................................................... 6
Potential Diplomatic Resolution of the Iranian Threat.............................................................. 8
Potential Military Response ...................................................................................................... 8
U.S. Statements of Intent..................................................................................................... 8
U.S. Confidence in Its Ability to Keep the Strait Open....................................................... 9
Potential U.S. and Coalition Military Responses .............................................................. 10
Oil Market Considerations............................................................................................................. 13
Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 15

Ethical Issues in Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

PowerPoint slides to be used at the forums, Tough Decisions: Preparing VA for the Ethical Challenges of Pandemic Influenza

US government (and VA) assumptions
All may be susceptible to the pandemic flu virus
Infection may lead to symptoms in 2 days, but people will be contagious before they become sick
1/3 of population will be ill
1/2 of ill persons will seek health care
Waves of illness will last 6 to 8 weeks in a community
Several waves might occur across the country

Altering of standards of care to save the largest number of lives versus the traditional focus on individual care

Altering of standards of care to save the largest number of lives versus the traditional focus on individual care...


a : the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors

I expect we'll see it take many forms.

In the Spring of 2011 an oil spike was beginning to form. I think it was killed when 30 million barrels of oil was released from the SPR. Does Europe have SPR and did it release oil last year?

Looks like oil is beginning to spike again, this time in the middle of winter. Can we expect another release from the SPR?

Brent is now $118. When it goes above $130 that would confirm another oil spike. It is happening earlier this year compared to last year. Can we expect another release from the SPR?

Maybe, maybe not.

It depends on whether the administration thinks the political hit from an SPR release will be worse than the political hit of high gas prices, and whether they think they can release enough to make a difference.

So, as it is a political decision rather than a technical decision, there is no clear way to predict which way it will go.

All 27 member states of the European Union must have a strategic petroleum reserve within the territory of the E.U. equal to at least 90 days average daily internal consumption.

The release last year was of 30 million for the US SPR, and another 30 mainly from European reserves.

I wouldn't expect another release so soon, without a similar geo-political reason as they had last time with Libya. It wouldn't send out a very "energy independent" message. Just let the markets sort it all (ouch!).

What is scary is that now the price is going up in spite of the fact that there is no obvious reason (unlike last year when Libya went offline).

QE money looking for a home?

I though the natural home of QE money was in a bankers back pocket.

Freezing conditions paralyze Danube River shipping

(AP) SOFIA, Bulgaria — At least four Balkan nations suspended shipping on the Danube River because of severe frost and the vast amount of ice blocking the heavily traveled waterway. Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Serbia made the decision because up to 90 percent of the river's surface is covered with floating ice, authorities said Wednesday.

The conditions are making it extremely difficult to traverse Europe's main commercial waterway, which winds 2,860-kilometer (1,777-mile) from Germany and serves as the natural border between Bulgaria and Romania.

... People in Mostar fell into a "shopping hysteria", emptying shelves and in some cases getting into fist fights over flour, he said.

Why are there so few fish in the Earth's oceans?

A Stony Brook University researcher has found that, contrary to popular belief, there are not plenty of fish in the sea.

... “Our results suggest that ancient extinctions in the marine environment may have wiped out the earliest ray-finned fishes living in the oceans, that the oceans were then recolonized from freshwater habitats, and that most marine fish species living today are descended from that recolonization (leaving less time for biodiversity to build up in the oceans),” he said. “This pattern of ancient extinction and more recent recolonization may help explain why the oceans are now so species-poor, even for fish.”

Article: http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/ee/wienslab/wienspdfs/2012/Carrete-Vega&Wiens...

Erratic U.S. Oversight of Gas Fracking Cited by House Democrats

The Interior Department avoids imposing fines for violations such as deficient casing and cementing, which may lead to tainting of drinking water, and lets some companies break rules while imposing penalties for identical breaches by competitors, according to the report on the House Natural Resources Committee Democrats’ website. The analysis covered cases from 1998 to 2011.

“It’s incomprehensible,” Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, said in an e-mailed statement. “Oil and gas companies have committed thousands of drilling violations, yet they have faced a grand total of $300,000 in fines. That’s roughly a single minute of oil company profits -- the equivalent of levying a 10-cent fine against someone who earns $50,000 a year.”

also APNewsBreak: House Democrats cite lax oversight of oil, natural gas drilling on public land

Can't oil drum institute a policy of not posting silly articles like "oil, food,water" "energy independence:almost there" and "oil prices will rise"? they're obviously meaningless amalgams of words that lack substance and contribute nothing to the discussion on this page. Obviously in the Gandhian stages of resistance we're at the "They attack you" phase and I literally feel a barb every time I skim over their cornucopian delusions and vicious attacks on peak oil "theory".

I literally feel a barb every time I skim over their cornucopian delusions and vicious attacks on peak oil "theory".

Feel free to skip over anything that causes you angst, but PO, like any other theory, must live or die on it's own merit. I've, for the most part, stopped defending it and it seems to be doing just fine. ;-)

As for cornucopian blathering, I think these entries are very valuable as they provide a good sample of the MSM and all the agenda that they entail. Understanding the zeitgeist says much about where things are going, or not going. As Sun-tzu said:"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

Similarly, I regularly check in with CNN, not because I give it credibility, but as a reference for what CNN thinks I should be paying attention to, or perhaps, what the majority are paying attention to.


I too check CNN regularly and usually find the articles sort of "OK". What is really scary are the reader comments. By the time I get around to CNN, perhaps noon PST, there may be 300 or more comments on an article. The average comment is absolutely appalling. The level of ignorance and self assurance is difficult to describe and virtually every issue that arises will be blamed, by someone, on the "socialist, freedom hating, muslim Obama". It is really depressing.


I don't want to drown in my own confirmation bias. I welcome articles that challenge my viewpoint.

I'm older, and have to limit the dosage of stuff that spikes my blood pressure. So I try to keep the exposure down. Hard to live in a world that appears to be going mad.

Whaddya mean 'appears'?


Whatta ya mean "going"?

I literally feel a barb every time I skim over their cornucopian delusions and vicious attacks on peak oil "theory".

1) You may have too thin a skin.
2) You may be far more emotionally invested in something you can't do alot to change.

but really:

3) If you wish to discuss PO with another - having replies, even if they are not your own, is a good thing. How will your become aware of Y as a reply to X if the person who knows of Y doesn't become of aware of X?

"If you wish to discuss PO with another.."

But that's just the problem, Eric, and it comes up over and over again as people try with good intent to have open and honest conversations.. a good many of the articles that alecw94 is frustrated about, it seems to me, are that part of this discussion that are frequently not having a 'discussion' at all. They're pushing an agenda in an unresponsive and ultimately antisocial way. We see it here, when a poster or a few come along and show that they are droning their message out repeatedly, but not making a real attempt to actually engage in a back-and-forth with others. I don't think it's extreme to insist on a fair level of such 'social responsibility', since the lack of it can very quickly degrade the environment, and poison what parts of the conversation are actually being productive and positive. (And such 'droning' and antisocial messaging shows up at both ends of the spectrum, and really is different from simply having people with strongly opposing viewpoints)

Perhaps that is supposed to be protected as a 'Right to Expression'.. but frankly, I think that every right should be tied directly with a responsibility, and the right to 'Express' must come with a proviso that you somehow meet a social responsibility to engage with others on your ideas, to defend your case, to support your points.

I don't have a problem with those articles being represented here, but it does seem like their Razz-a-matazz is a lot louder at the moment, so it does get pretty tiring having all that extra noise in your ears/eyes every day.

It's like doing battle with Climate or Evolution Deniers too much of the time.. it just becomes about throwing bombs back and forth after a while, and scoring points.. There are more interesting and vital things to be working on.

Anti-social messaging shows up all through the spectrum, it isn't isolated to the extremes, and we are all guilty of it sometimes.

No doubt. Guilty as charged..

Then, it becomes a matter of picking how far out into that behavior to draw the line, as well as how to handle it (braying, rudeness etc) when it's within them. For me personally, while I do get drawn in to some useless chest-thumping.. and it's a question of whether it's a debate that has anywhere to go or is it going to be a rehash and the same stalemate? Ultimately, some form of ROI has to be involved.

All said, I think the Original Complainant has a point.. maybe it's not, in my view, that we need to cut that sort of article out, just that it becomes tiresome, and at some point offers fairly little material that's worth chewing on. We get into some very familiar back and forths about how dumb 'the cattle' are, or whatever. I do think that the ones who've been shown the door were as far as I can tell, pretty appropriately done.

I really think Leanan and Kate and TOD still strike as good a balance as I've seen. I don't know what more one can do.. the situation is just tiring and frightening no matter what you do.

Certainly the discussions here have the best signal to noise ratio I've seen, but it is a scary situation as you note and there is quite a bit of room for disagreement over what the best way to deal with it is.

It is important, in my opinion, to see the denier articles. I could stand not to see every single one of them, but if they don't make it in above the comment line someone will almost certainly post them below.

Radiation fears still cloud the crash of Felon 22 [Monticello, UT]

From the time Felon 22 tore apart in the skies over Monticello, UT, in January, 1961, there were fears that atomic bombs on board the plane might have spilled radioactive debris.

Although the flight manifest listed no ammunition, bombs, or rockets, and the co-pilot later told officials that no bombs were carried on Felon 22, the fears have never really gone away.

The Air Force didn’t make matters any better when they arrived on scene several hours after the crash and secured it against local law enforcement, rescue workers and bystanders.

Stratford lands $839,000 in incentives for energy savings

The Town of Stratford has secured $839,086 in incentive funds for an energy savings performance contract, working in partnership with the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.

The $10 million project bundles a complete set of energy efficiency measures across 33 buildings within the town including the Stratford Town Hall, schools, water treatment facilities, office buildings, firehouses and the police station.

Through the Energy Conscious Blueprint and Energy Opportunities programs, the project will include lighting retrofits, water treatment plant upgrades, building envelope improvements, boiler replacements, roof replacements, photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind turbine systems, sustainability management systems and more.

More data is being released from the recent Canadian census, and it indicates some interesting changes in the country. Since I'm Canadian, I find this intensely interesting. For the rest of the world, it is important in that Canada has the third largest oil reserves on the planet, is the largest foreign supplier of oil and gas to the US, and the data indicates the Canadian population is moving to where the energy is - the underpopulated West.

Affordable homes, diverse economies drive the West as Canada’s growth engine

For the first time in the nation’s history, Western Canada has a greater population than all of Quebec, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador combined. The population shift came thanks to the West’s massive resource base and related employment opportunities, of course. Income and corporate tax rates, retirement options, even climate are other factors that favour the West.

But the future depends on new, well-paying jobs and affordable housing, one reason why British Columbia, while still growth-positive, lags behind two other western provinces.

In Alberta and Saskatchewan especially, young families are able to find viable housing options within major metropolitan areas and in their adjacent, suburban communities. Airdrie, which is just north of Calgary, experienced an astonishing 47% growth rate from 2006 to 2011. Okotoks, to the south, saw its population increase 43% and High River, a little further down the highway, grew nearly 21% over the same census period. Strathmore, just east of Calgary, had a 20% growth spurt.

Calgary itself had the highest rate of population growth of any metropolitan area in Canada, at over 12%, with Edmonton just at its heels. And look at Saskatoon: Third highest metropolitan growth rate in Canada. Why? Affordable housing and work that attracts newcomers, mostly immigrants.

Just to put it in perspective, in addition to having over 95% of Canada's enormous oil reserves, Alberta and Saskatchewan have about 60% of Canada's farmland. They are each about the size of Texas - significantly bigger than France - and have enough water resources and farmland that, if they really had to, each could support a population the size of France.

Of course people might disagree with me on that, but I have run the numbers past my computer and can if necessary can discuss this matter at great length.

You are bang on RMG.

The numbers don't lie. However, (you knew there was a however on the way)...the BC stats are skewed with Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna numbers as to affordability, etc. IMHO, no one can afford to live there unless....unless, they already are pretty well fixed and set up, mainly retirees from places in Canada where one doesn't want to retire because of the cold, bugs, and crappy lifestyle, etc.

I live on the coast, 6km from a village of 300 folks, where one can buy a nice home with an ocean and mountain view for under 200 thou. Actually, most of BC (geographically) is affordable. However, except for a recent logging boom, (always cyclical and short-lived), there is no work beyond NE gas and Alberta oil sands. In fact, Westjet (wonderful airline) flies several times a day to Comox for that very reason.

Thank you Western Canadian resources for our opportunities. Personally, I always wanted to see a country called "Western Canada", from Red Lake Ontario to the Pacific. Make your living where the resources are located....then retire where the climate and lifestyle suits. With bank machines that could be anywhere in the world.

I ran into an ex-student who lived in Fort Mac in a fifth wheel(pad rental 1500.00/month) while he obtained his red seal millwright. He just moved back home, has a house, and commutes for camp work. In fact, I know more trades who work away and live here than actually work here. It is a different life and world, altogether. As for where to live, thankfully, it is a personal and possible decision.

Cheers...Paulo (Salmon runs in 5 months....Halibut in two!!)

From my perspective Alberta is a small province. When driving home from BC I can get from Banff through Alberta and most of the way through Saskatchewan in one day. It takes more than two days to get through Ontario.

Alberta and Saskatchewan are much longer south-to-north than they are west-to-east, and go much further north than Ontario does. It is true that Ontario is bigger than each of them, although not bigger than both of them combined.

The fundamental difference is that Ontario's landscape is mostly hard pre-Cambrian rock covered with trees and water, with most of the population living on a small outlier of the US Midwest farmland in the southeast corner of the province. It has almost no oil and gas, and has about 1/4 the farmland of Alberta, or about 1/5 the farmland of Saskatchewan.

It does, however, have far more people than Alberta and Saskatchewan combined, but in the current world, having a lot of people and not many natural resources is not really an advantage.

From NSIDC: Arctic ice extent low overall, high in the Bering Sea

The Arctic Oscillation, which had been in its positive phase most of the winter so far, switched to a negative mode, bringing cold weather to Europe and changing the direction of sea ice movement.

Arctic sea ice extent for January 2012 was the fourth lowest in the satellite record. Including the year 2012, the linear rate of decline for January ice extent over the satellite record is 3.2% per decade.
Based on the satellite record, before 2005 average January ice extent had never been lower than 14 million square kilometers (5.41 million square miles). January ice extent has now fallen below that mark six out of the last seven years.

The Arctic Oscillation affects how sea ice moves in the Arctic, which can affect how much ice melts in the summer months. In December, when the AO was in its positive phase, ice was flowing from Siberia toward North America, and also south out of the Arctic through Fram Strait. That pattern favors a thinner, younger ice cover in the summer.

Times are tough all over:

Bank of America Plaza becomes Atlanta's priciest repo

One of the biggest emblems of Atlanta's real estate boom became the biggest emblem of its bust on Tuesday.

Bank of America Plaza, the South’s tallest skyscraper and an Atlanta skyline icon, was taken back by its lender at a foreclosure auction at the Fulton County Courthouse. The 55-story tower, bought for a record price in 2006 by a California real estate firm, is now metro Atlanta’s priciest repossession.

Ringed by scrum of cameramen, reporters and curious members of metro Atlanta’s real estate community, a lawyer for LNR Partners placed two "credit bids" totaling $250 million. That means it essentially bid not with cash but rather the lender's own interest in the building.

LNR represents the lender, a commercial mortgage-backed security owned by investors...

More data from the recently released Canadian census indicates that, although Canada is the smallest member of the G8 group of nations - the 8 most powerful developed countries on Earth (glossing over China and India, who are rapidly developing) - it is by far the fastest growing G8 member as a result of high immigration rates.

Census 2012: Canada's growth rate leads G8, population hits 33.5 million

Canada's population of 33.5 million people is growing faster than that of any other G8 nation — fuelled primarily by immigration — while the booming West continues to reshape this country's demographic landscape, a new census has revealed.

The latest national head-count, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, shows strong and steady growth in nearly every corner of a country that remains firmly in the grip of a westward shift in population power — one that will see growing political and economic influence from Western Canada, observers say.

Up from 31.6 million at the time of the previous census in 2006, the Canadian population remains the smallest among the G8 but by far the fastest-growing, with a 5.9 per cent growth rate in the past five years that not only exceeds the 4.4 per cent rise in the U.S., but also Canada's own previous increase of 5.4 per cent between 2001 and 2006.

Sustaining the growth spurt is Canada's open-arms approach to immigration, a phenomenon that has become twice as important as natural increase — the difference between births and deaths — in driving the country's population upward.

RMG, you may find Greer's post this week interesting, especially the first couple of comments.

Israel’s real target: Obama: Prime Minister Netanyahu's threats have more to do with challenging Washington than with actually attacking Iran

Netanyahu appears to see an Obama second term as an impediment to further Israeli expansion into the West Bank — or “Judea” and “Samaria,” as Likudniks style it — and has cast his lot with the Republican right. He’s made public appearances with notables like Glenn Beck and “End Times” evangelist John Hagee. Adelson himself has pledged his vast resources to Obama’s defeat.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama reiterated his determination to prevent Iran’s getting nuclear weapons. He said he was “taking no options off the table.” But he also expressed hope that international sanctions could lead to a peaceful resolution.

On cue, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen called this “startlingly naïve.” Only a fool or a Frenchman, the same pundit once opined, could doubt the existence of Saddam Hussein’s WMD. Bombs away!

President Obama also reportedly dispatched Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey to Israel to warn Netanyahu that if he tries to force the United States’ hand, he’s on his own.

But can he make it stick?

For his sake and everybody else’s, he’d better.

With friends like these, ...

Netanyahu appears to see an Obama second term as an impediment to further Israeli expansion into the West Bank — or “Judea” and “Samaria,” as Likudniks style it — and has cast his lot with the Republican right.

That is what those places has been called since biblical time. Once the romans sacked Jerusalm, they wanted to wipe out the name of the jews, and re-labeled the area "Palestine", so that we would foreget about "Judea".

The term "west bank" is something that goes back to when Jordania had controll of the territory, wich was for a couple of decades.

Judea and Samaria is still the historicly correct terminology.



The term Peleset (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in numerous Egyptian documents referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c.1150 BCE during the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first mention is thought to be in texts of the temple at Medinet Habu which record a people called the Peleset among the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign.[9]

...The Hebrew name Peleshet (פלשת Pəlésheth)- usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible more than 250 times. In the Torah / Pentateuch the term is used 10 times and its boundaries are undefined. The later Historical books (see Deuteronomistic history) include most of the biblical references, almost 200 of which are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel, where the term is used to denote the southern coastal region to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.

Fracking is turning squirrels purple. No, really...

I'll bet it's just been hanging out behind a retro-punk hair salon, slummin' in the storm drain.

I never saw a purple cow squirrel.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.

Someone is probably laughing their heads off after catching a squirrel, dying it and releasing it to see what happens.


I don't think it's dyed. As the article notes, it has some white hairs mixed in with the purple. If it was dyed, you'd expect it to be solid purple.

A natural variation, maybe.

I don't think white hair dyes very well. Maybe they should have gone for 'blue hair' ?

I don't think that variation is in natures colour chart. I did have a cat turn green once. Just before taking it to the vet I spotted it rubbing on an algae covered tree. I can't understand why nobody thought of taking a sample though.


Here is a much better picture. It has better color balance. They've played with the first picture to make him really purple. Here, you can see lots of browns scattered about:


I don't think they should have let the purple squirrels go. About 100 years ago, a couple of mutant black squirrels (grey squirrels with black coats) escaped from Calgary Zoo, and now the whole city is infested with mutant black squirrels. They run around freaking out the cats and enticing the dogs into long runs on short chains. Nothing can stop them.

In a few years, Pennsylvania could be covered with mutant purple squirrels. You have been warned.

There are black squirrels in scattered pockets all over north America. Despite the stories of their behaving differently from normal gray squirrels, they do not. They are just squirrels, with darker coats. They aren't mutants.

The black subgroup seems to have been dominant throughout North America prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, since their dark colour helped them hide in virgin forests which tended to be very dense and shaded. As time passed, hunting and deforestation led to biological advantages for grey coloured individuals.

And apparently they did not escape from Calgary zoo but were released on purpose.


t turns out that Tom Baines, then director of the Calgary Zoo, on a visit to Ontario in 1938, obtained seven individuals for display purposes. The squirrels soon multiplied, and, as an experiment, six pairs of the surplus mammals were released beside the Elbow River in the Elbow Park area of Calgary. (Thankfully they were only squirrels and not Tigers or Elephants). The Squirrels readily adapted to their new environment in the developing urban forest which was then becoming well established in Calgary.

In the UK, the native red squirrels have almost been completely wiped out by competition from the larger American squirrel which was introduced into the environment.

I hadn't realized the Zoo released the black Grey Squirrels deliberately. Maybe they were reluctant to talk about that part of it. However, from the first part of the article:

Of the six species of the Squirrel Family to be found within Calgary, the most readily observed and recognized is the tree-dwelling Eastern Grey Squirrel. The other five members are: Least Chipmunk; Richardson's Ground Squirrel; Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, American Red Squirrel and Northern Flying Squirrel.

As the name 'Eastern' might suggest, the Grey Squirrel is not native. Its normal range is in eastern North America, extending from Nova Scotia to Florida and westward from south-eastern Manitoba to eastern Texas. It has been released into a number of western cities: Saskatoon, SK; Vancouver and Victora, BC, and in Calgary, as well as many USA cities. It has also been introduced into Great Britain, which has led to the total extirpation of the native European Red Squirrel within England; a few Red Squirrels still survive in Scotland but as the Eastern Greys expands northward, the Reds are threatened with total extinction. They have also been introduced into Italy and South Africa.

Except that most of the Grey Squirrels in Calgary are black. They have done a fine job of eliminating the native Red Squirrels, frustrate the bejeezus out of the cats, and are pretty good at outsmarting the dogs, too. I had one in my attic and I had to nail a steel grate over the attic vent to keep it out - it just tore through wire mesh. It stood on the eaves and scolded me for weeks afterwords. I'm sure it would have taken a bite out of me if it got the chance.

Fortunately the Zoo didn't release any Siberian Tigers just to see what might happen to the urban environment. The local Mountain Lion population remains intact, and they don't pick off that many kids on their way to school.

Rocky - You need more geology students in Calgary and you squirrel problem might be solved. Ate a lot of squirrel stew when I was in school. I would go over to City Park with my pellet pistol in a grocery bag, snag a few days meals and catch the bus home. Not very difficult since they would run right up to you for a handout. Kinda cold blooded, I know. But geologists gotta eat too. And you know what: squirrel stew is still one of my favorites but I don't hunt much anymore. Too old/citified these days. LOL.

Ah but you weren't faced with the mutant, gun toting, black squirrels they have in Calgary which may eat unsuspecting geologists for lunch :-)

It illegal to shoot red squirrels (protected species) in the UK but you can shoot grey/black squirrels (pest species).

tow - If a geologist can't go mano-a-pawo with one of those critters he should be strip of his rock hammer. It's all about natural selection, ya know: you eat it or it eats you. But someone is gonna get et.

Yes, if you met one of these things face-to-face you might upgrade your pellet gun to a .357 Magnum.

I was standing inside the back screen door with my landlady's cat one day, after she had scattered a few peanuts on the back porch for the squirrels. One of these black squirrels lurched up onto the deck, ignored me, stared at the cat eye-to-eye through the screen door, and then picked up a peanut and started eating it while maintaining eye contact with the cat. Looking at it close up, it was one ugly-looking squirrel - something straight out of a vampire movie - and was nearly as big as the cat was. The cat ran and hid in the basement.

Other times I've seen a cat stalking one of these squirrels, about 2 feet away. The squirrel obviously could see the cat, and just totally ignored it. The cat eventually decided discretion was the better part of valor, and sneaked away.

As for dogs, they seem to have a very accurate idea of how long a dog's chain is, because they'll stand just out of range, pick up a pine cone, and start eating it. The dog will run madly after the squirrel, hit the end of its chain with a crash, and the squirrel will stand there calmly eating its pine cone while the dog barks madly away. The squirrels obviously have it figured out, but the dogs never learn.

If the dog is not on a chain they'll sit up a tree, chatter away, and throw pine cones at it all day while the dog barks away.

I've heard of dogs that would run at a chain, stop short of the end, to trick the squirrel into thinking it was on a shorter chain.

The 'black squirrels' around here have black faces from eating walnuts.

We had a mini Dachshund named YoYo, truly a mighty dog, who tipped the scales at under 7 pounds. He would hide under the bushes about 40 feet from the bird feeder and wait for the gray squirrels to come feed, then dash out to try and catch them before they made it to the tree line. This game went on for years until one day he caught an over-confident squirrel who proceeded to "open a can of whoop-ass" on poor YoYo. We saw the whole thing from the kitchen window. He wasn't the same for weeks; it really messed his pride up. Cats understand their limitations better than dogs.

It varies from dog to dog. I've seen 5pounders that would pick a fight with 100pound dogs. "What is he thinking". I've also seen dogs that were chicken of other animals they could abviously have easily whupped.

No dogs aren't really aware of their limitations. My brother had a little Sheltie that was completely unaware of its size (very small). He used to take it grizzly bear hunting to track down the bears for him.

The dog was deadly in catching gophers (Richardson ground squirrels), but there was a problem on our canoe trips in that it couldn't seem to tell the difference between a gopher and a beaver.

We had to watch it very closely to stop it chasing the beavers. First of all, the beaver were much bigger than it was, second they can be aggressive and have very big teeth (they will even take on a bear if they have to), and third they will try to lure dogs out into deep water and drown them, since they can swim better and hold their breath much longer. It was a real problem keeping the Sheltie from getting itself killed on these trips.

Rocky - Since we're taking a break from the serious: one more story about nature being unnatural. Years ago my cohort's kids came running inside saying there was some weird animal in the garden. So he decided to show the kids what "playing oppossum" meant. He got the kids outside and was going to poke the possum with a stick to make it fold up and play dead. Possum had something else in mind: reared up hissing and started for him. Fortunately possums are slow so he grabbed the kids up and got them inside. So instead of showing them what playing possum was like he showed them how he played chicken. He quickly realised his mistake with telling us that story at Mobil Oil: lots of possum humor/photos started showing up at the office.

Squirrels are not much afraid of cats. Check out the following youtube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pIsCnqG1km4

At 3:50 or so into the video, you have a view of the stray cat colony (cat-squirrel compound?) on Parliament Hill. Cohabitation is an apt description.

Where I grew up the squirrels used to play tag with the cats. Cat chase squirrel, tag squirrel, squirrel chases cat, tags, repeat.


They run around freaking out the cats and enticing the dogs into long runs on short chains.

Yes, because they are 'mutant black squirrels' they have such a power. This power is not an option for the 'normal' squirrel.

Nothing can stop them.

Aye, only the grey is stoppable with peanut butter live traps, .177 and .22 projectile weapons, judo points from a bow, or even the squirrel snare stick. For only the grey can have their tails to Mepps, the skin for halloween costumes, the meat for stew, and if you wish to violate the law in LaCross WI you could worry the grey squirrel via taking the caged grey to the dog park and setting the squirrel free.

Pennsylvania could be covered with mutant purple squirrels.

And when that happens? Paula Dean will have a show telling you how to complement the grape flavour in the squirrel and butter stew.

Folks might not want to laugh too hard. I've known guys who have lost finger/toe nails from frac fluids. And heard of one guy who lost both feet. I've often argued that frac fluids can be dealt with safely. But the frac fluids themselves are not safe. But they are extremely toxic. Often the hands mixing them wear biohazard suits. That's gotta tell you something. They are truly very nasty brews and I'm sure could cause all kinds of odd situation in nature.

I've turned a few folks on to TOD, and a couple have commented that it's a bit too "fringe" for them. I'm DXing (distancing) on the shortwave for the first time in a while tonight, where the real fringe hangs out. Getting unusually good reception on the 49 and 60 meter bands using only a small FM amplified dipole antenna, listening to the doomers and conspiracy theorists, and it occurs to me that most folks, especially those in the 'mainstream', operate on a very narrow bandwidth. While I suppose that's how they function, a form of specialization, folks are missing out on a lot. One wonders how they will react when they get forced out of their various channels going forward.

Now listening to the world news from Radio Havana (English broadcast), 6000KHz. Cuban news coverage is interesting, as is their coverage of US politics and foreign policy, generally refreshingly unbiased ;-) Their report on US Govt. unemployment numbers seems more credible than most US MSM reports, and "US Government reported economic numbers are largely fabricated". Imagine that...

Also, several stories on environmental and alternative energy issues tonight.

you're a HAM ?

CQ...Not yet. I just listen a lot. I've been working on my technician's license but my mentor died and the club I work with is an hour drive. Small steps...

I am studying as well. Though unlike US, Indian Govt is paranoid, the intelligence bureau runs checks on applicants and the whole process takes one year.

Check out the numbers stations. Here's my favorite oldie, two letter RK:



Their report on US Govt. unemployment numbers seems more credible

They have no real 'skin' in the game of either the Government side nor in the Corporate side.

When Bain Capitol owns talk radio stations that comment on the political process - who here thinks the talking heads will be 'fair and balanced' WRT Romney?

Some thoughts on US crude oil production

The average US crude oil production rate in 2011 was about 5.6 mbpd and the average crude oil refinery input in 2011 was about 14.7 mbpd (a peak of 15.5 mbpd in the summer). So, we were reliant on crude oil imports for about 9 mbpd in 2011.

Therefore, for the US not to be reliant on crude oil imports, all we need to is to add another 9 mbpd of crude oil production. In other words, we need to add production that would more or less be equivalent to the peak US production rate of 9.6 mbpd that we saw in 1970:

Or to put it another way, all we need to do is to add the equivalent of Saudi Arabia's 2005 crude oil production rate. However, some of the shale promoters are suggesting that this is possible by 2020, with the right policies.

Note that the average rate of increase in US crude oil production over the past two years was about 0.1 mbpd per year, despite a sizable increase in the number of rigs devoted to drilling for oil.

Boulder City, Nevada is best known as the home of Hoover Dam, once the largest hydroelectric power plant in the country. But the rapid expansion of solar power projects is quickly making a name for the city as the first solar-financed town in America.

A solar power building boom is happening in the community, located about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. This boom will soon generate enough revenue to eliminate Boulder City’s municipal debt and stabilize its financial needs for years to come, according to Mayor Roger Tobler.

Libya Struggles to Curb Militias as Chaos Grows

“This is destruction!” complained Nouri Ftais, a 51-year-old commander, who offered a rare, unheeded voice of reason. “We’re destroying Libya with our bare hands.”

Mission accomplished?

Yup - Libya no longer presents an obstacle to the empire's plans in Africa, and China is not getting that oil.

You can lead a country to democracy, but you can't make it work. They have to make it work.

Oh my! You really think that is what was done?

More like: Here, we smashed your society into rubble. Now make it work.

Nonsense! We did not smash Libya to rubble. The revolt started in Tunesia, spread to Egypt then to Libya. Qadhafi would have killed all the rebels like Assad is trying to do today, except they asked for help from the UN and received help.

You would have far more credibility if you would limit your comments to the truth.

Ron P.

We just lent them a hand to ensure oil supplies. So did the European countries that were getting their oil from libya. All of the other places are not that important as they don't have any oil..

Tunisia and Egypt did not ask or need any help. Egypt does have oil but not much. Syria has a little oil and the rebels did ask for help. It went before the UN and China and Russia vetoed it. All four revolutions were about the same thing, oppressive regimes that treated their subjects like dirt. Ask the Libyans if they revolted over oil. That is nonsense.

Then tell the relatives of those killed in the Pan Am flight that went down over Lockerbie that the only reason the UN helped knock out Gaddafi was because of their oil. The world had the oil when Gaddafi was in power and there will be no more oil because he is gone.

I really don't understand those who say Libya was all about oil. I really don't think they are thinking that through.

Ron P.

There was a revolution in Bahrain as well. Why doesn't the world body go after Bahrain... May I add Saudi Arabia.

We were doing business with Gaddafi Ron, where was the concern for Pan Am victims then? It is about who controls the oil.. There is no benevolence here, just strategy. A game of chess it is.

"The world had the oil when Gaddafi was in power and there will be no more oil because he is gone."

Libya's Agoco hopes for full oil output in April

OPEC cuts 2012 oil demand forecast, pumps more
"The monthly report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Thursday also reported higher supply from its members as Libya's oil industry recovers, with production almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) above target levels in January."

Libya sees pre-war oil production in summer
"TRIPOLI: Libya anticipates a return to pre-war oil output of 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in June or July this year, Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shakmak said on Tuesday.

Oil companies were currently producing at between 60 and 90 percent of their normal output, he told Reuters in an interview.

"In general, if you look at the oil companies, they are all between 60 and 90 percent of the normal production for each company," Shakmak said.

Libya is currently producing 1.3 million bpd, he added, after the civil war which toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi brought flows to a standstill."

Less about oil (although that certainly helped), than refuges. Europe was (rightfully) terrorized at the prospect of a million or so Libyan refuges showing up on their doorsteps.

The Dregs of Dictatorship

The problems we are facing in the Maldives are a warning for other Muslim nations undergoing democratic reform. At times, dealing with the corrupt system of patronage the former regime left behind can feel like wrestling with a Hydra: when you remove one head, two more grow back. With patience and determination, the beast can be slain. But let the Maldives be a lesson for aspiring democrats everywhere: the dictator can be removed in a day, but it can take years to stamp out the lingering remnants of his dictatorship.

Regime change ain't easy.

I would have expected better of you than to simply call me a liar, backed up by nothing but parroting official propaganda so thin anyone should be able to see through it. You should stick to oil related stuff where your incredible naivete isn't showing.

I did not call you any names. I put it as nicely as I possibly could. You said:

Here, we smashed your society into rubble.

My reply: No we did not! The United Nations assisted the Libyan people in overthrowing a despot. That was a good deed if there ever was one. Libya was by no stretch of the imagination smashed into rubble and neither was their society.

People who make outrageous comments should expect some people to be outraged by those comments.

Ron P.

You would have far more credibility if you would limit your comments to the truth.

The term for people who don't tell the truth is liar, so spinning your name calling now is purely semantic BS.

The rest is not worth discussing with you further, even beyond the personal attack. I've read your comments for years and know well that on the topic of peak oil, and ONLY peak oil, you have been able to step past official propaganda. On everything else I may as well watch fox news.

Have a good evening Sir.

Here, we smashed your society into rubble.

We, whoever "we" are, did not smash the Libyan society into rubble. In other words, that is not the truth. I am at a loss as to put it any other way. That simply did not happen and I think everyone on this list, including you, know that this did not happen.

Call it anything you wish but do not call it the truth.

I must apologize to people on this list for losing my cool. But I get so damn tired of people trashing the USA for simply trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves. True, we have made mistakes but to err is human. But helping the Libyan people depose of a despot, via the UN, was not a mistake in my opinion. But to classify the UN effort as "smashing their society into rubble" is a slander that neither the United States or the United Nations deserves. It is an absolute outrage to make such an accusation.

I have, in times past, been highly critical of my country and my native Alabama. I marched for civil rights in the 60s and alienated many of my fellow white Alabamans. Likewise I protested against the Vietnam War and alienated many of my fellow countrymen. But by God I will not trash my country when I believe they are in the right. And the Libyan people were in the right when they tried to overthrow Gaddafi and the United States and the United Nations were on the right side when they assisted the Libyan people.

It simply has become the "in thing" to trash the USA. I have never been part of the "in crowd".

Thank you for your kind attention, Ron Patterson

Libya, like Iraq, is not a cohesive country made up of Libyans. It is a geographic area that was artificially created out of a few separate, formally tribal areas. As in Iraq, those folks don't necessarily like each other. Its all about who wins and who loses, money and power.

Nonconformist, Libya became an independent nation in 1951, well before most Libyans were born. Regardless of how it was created, those inside the borders of Libya consider themselves Libyans. No one in any country necessary "like each other", not in the USA and not in any state in the USA. Therefore the term "liking each other" has no place in this debate. To bring "liking each other" into the debate is nothing but a red herring.

True, to some it is all about who wins, who loses, money and power. But not by any stretch of the imagination is that what it is all about. When the street vendor in Tunisia set himself ablaze, it had nothing to do with money and power. He had his dignity and his only means of support taken from him. It was his only means of saying "I am a person, I have dignity, I have a family to support, I deserve better than treated like a stray dog in the street." He made the supreme sacrifice in hope that those who followed him would have a better life.

He may have been mistaken. But at any rate it was not about who wins or who loses, money and power. It was about simple human dignity.

Ron P.

Tunisia and Egypt are different animals. There was no reason for the west to interfere. There was no oil and no money. Libya has oil in the east and a population center in the west. Perfect scenario for instability. What exactly was the grievance of the folks in the east? That they were not getting enough of the money? That they didn't want to share their oil with the folks in the west? What was our interest in supporting the east over the west? Could it have been access for western oil companys or that Libya was not interested in increasing oil output. Or could it have been that they were pulling away from the US Dollar? If you haven't noticed, Egypt is still run as a dictatorship but we don't seem to have much of a problem with it.

Human dignity didn't have anything to do with NATO involvement in Libya. I don't recall any protest prior to the "uprising" nor any claims that the Libyans were being persecuted. Libya, Iraq, and now Iran are all about the west retaining control of the oil market. Syria is a seragate for Iran so it matters otherwise it would be like any other dictatorship that represses its people, we could care less.

This is the ugly truth of our dependence on foreign oil. When it comes from a country with a small population, how are we going to convince these people that, even if they don't need or want our money, they must pump more oil anyway. Unfortunately, not every dictatorship is as compliant as the Saudis. They are very happy to become very rich by playing the game and recycling their dollars back to the US via their peg to the dollar. We'll see how well their method of buying off their people works. By the way, should the US support the Shia minority in the KSA when they protest Saudi oppression?

Tunisia and Eqypt were different. There wasn't massive deadly force being used against the demonstrators. The regimes (or at least the top of the regime in Eqypt) went long before the situation became desperate. There never was a case for foreign military intervention. Now most of the time the US does intervention for amoral purposes, but this was one of the few exceptions. No doubt other factors went into the calculus, I will propose a few:
(1) The refugee threat.
(2) Gaddafi had been a regional destabilizing force supporting revolutionary insurgents in several countries. Opportunity to get rid of him.
(3) Avoiding a bloodbath.
(4) Creating the perception in the arab world that we are on the side of the people.
(5) Restoring stability in an oil producing country.
(6) Maybe, if we ingratiate ourselves with the eventual winners of the struggle, our companies will be favored for contracts.
(7) Big time media coverage of the attrocities, means the domestic political risk of doing nothing is substantial.
Now 5 and 6 relate to oil.

Obviously, we are not consistent, i.e. in Bahrain (I hope thats the right Gulf state, those Gulf emirates all blur together in my weak brain), we supported the government. So there we didn't take the side of the oppressed. Again several reasons why we might have paused:
(1) We have bases there, and don't want to risk getting on the bad side of the government, should the revolution fail (which was almost certain).
(2) The Saudi's would have been upset at us.
(3) The protestors were overwhelmingly Shite, which means they would identify with Iran. We've made Iran out to our regional rival/enemy, so minimizing Shia influence goes along suppression of the demonstrators.
(4) Not much media coverage in the US, so the political risk of doing nothing was quite low.

So, clearly moral imperatives only go so far in determining foreign policy. That they are not the dominate factor, doesn't mean they are not a factor in decisionmaking.

Now whether the Libya thing turns out OK in the end, is another thing. I'm of the opinion that in struggles like that, that the longer and more bitter the struggle, the more difficult the peace. The chaotic situation there is yet another nail in the coffin for those who would like to intervene in Syria. A lot of huge risks in Syria.
(1) Great power involvement. Russia, and Iran are big backers, and don't want to lose influence.
(2) The Shia Sunni divide is seriously involved in this one. The current government is Shia dominated, the opposition is primarily Sunni. The Shia (correctly I'm afraid), have a great deal to lose if the current government falls. And then this will rile up their co-religionists elsewhere, with Turkey, Eqypt (and north Africa), Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states on one side, and Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and minorities in some of the Sunni states on the other.
(3) Frontline state with Israel.
So Syria dissolving into violent chaos, really is a nightmare scenario. I can't imagine the non Muslim west wanting to get involved.
I can easily imagine Turkey, and or SaudiArabia getting sucked in. Possibly Hezbolla will get sucked in on the Assad/Shia side.

Hold onto you hats......

EoS, I agree. Hold onto our hats indeed.

What many people don't understand is that a full Middle Eastern conflagration could very well presage a scale of warfare not seen since 1945.

They're still tribal areas, and that's what we're seeing now. As the article says, "Nationalism is as thin as a thread."

I must apologize to people on this list for losing my cool. But I get so damn tired of people trashing the USA for simply trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves

Oh please, I am no USA hater but you make it sound like USA is out there with it's military hardware to do charity. Nothing can be farther from the truth. US or in fact any other former superpowers(Russia, Britain) have a history of toppling democratically elected governments and installing puppet dictatorships whenever it suits them. It's no conspiracy theory, it's right there in history books or should I say newspapers.

The objective of extending military help is not to help but to pursue strategic objectives.

We live in a giant lie.

Did anyone watch TV during the campaign to go to war with IRAQ? A new reason why we were going was floated everyday. They finally got "traction", or favorable response and positive engagement, with the charity and democracy angle. Were gonna fix 'em up and set them free.

I have a priceless little book. It is a U.S. field guide "Vietnamese Phrasebook". It has phrases for the occasions of telling the people why we are there and of our intent. "We are here to insure your religious freedom", etc... right down the list of reasons given for going into IRAQ.

I learned of a sad conspiracy a few days ago. The Challenger disaster... the Space Shuttle. "Oh!...What could have caused this!?", the officials confused openly. The search for a reason went on in the media for a long time. Finally, Feynman made a demo in his ice-water and the problem was revealed to us all! Took a genius to figure it out, it did... I guess they duped him into it. Turns out, the NASA management team was fielding a phone call from engineers, just before the flight, begging, begging, them not to launch in the cold. It was fully and immediately understood what had happened. We were all played for our emotion and patriotism. The managers, who acted in service to their political cronies, and the cronies themselves, faded quietly from any direct association with the deaths.


I especially liked the part where we were gonna "shock and awe" 'em

And then they would greet us with flowers ... as their long-wished for liberators.

(BTW, what kind of flowers do they grow in the Iraqi deserts?)

the Libyan people were in the right when they tried to overthrow Gaddafi

"The People" - an interesting historical position is on 'overthrows' is the small percentage of people who actually engage in the action(s) VS the percentage who do not.

Out of those that supported independence and revolution, only some three percent were actively engaged on the battlefield with the full active support of only about 10 percent of those who were pro-independence. Twenty percent of the pro-independence faction did nothing to actively support the cause. This is the root of today’s Three Percenter term.
(I did not know there was such a thing a 3% - till there was a report about some troops that had a 3% tag on their uniform. Seems there are many references to 5% BTW)

It simply has become the "in thing" to trash the USA. I have never been part of the "in crowd".

Pointing out flawed policy, flawed execution, or cases where actions do not match rhetoric is "trashing the USA"?

A simple yes or no answer is all that is needed.

Thank you for your kind attention

Hopefully you'll pay kind attention to the bombing of the largest pipe manufacturing plant in Lybia - the one building the pipeline to irrigate parts of the nation. Hopefully you'll be paying kind attention to the percentage of oil revenues that used to go to the citizens and how much will go to them in the future (VS other pockets). And hopefully you'll be paying kind attention to the mortality rates of infants/others, the heath care status of the citizens, education status and all the other metrics used to measure how well/not well the citizens were doing in Lybia.

Given how much you've care for making the change happen, lets see if you care to track the improvement or lack of improvement of the situation via reporting the previous metrics like health/water/electrification VS the same present metrics.

But I get so damn tired of people trashing the USA for simply trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves. True, we have made mistakes but to err is human.

Really - I try to be reasonable, but I can't believe you can say this with a straight face. You might love the US for the World Series, Cheez Doodles, Twinkies, the 1963 Chevy, and Leave It To Beaver - but no-one can argue that US foreign policy (and its foreign interventions) for the last 60 years has been anything but ruthless self-interest, and most of that has been based on securing oil.

And it has included supporting some of the most gruesome dictators ever to walk the planet. It's not a pretty history to teach all those wonderful wide-eyed kids in school, who want to salute the flag - is it?

Where do you start the list - it is very long - but no matter, I think it's time for well-meaning Americans to understand that from an outsider's point of view, you are not the guys in the white hats, but are in fact usually the bad guys in so many instances. And it's all because of oil now the Commies are out of the picture. That is why Iraq / Afghanistan / Libya are dealt with as they are - but also why Bahrain and Saudi Arabia never will be.

Empires with a lot at stake behave like that - what's new? But I would expect people on here to at least recognise these realities.

...backed up by nothing but parroting official propaganda so thin anyone should be able to see through it.

Twilight, oh to be so enlightened. You see through the propaganda about Libya. I'm glad you do.

There are a few of us, however, who saw Gaddafi through a narrower prism. We naively believed the media reports that he was a tinpot dictator, a thug in statesman's attire, who blew up a nightclub in Germany and an airplane over Scotland, and who terrorized his own people into submission.

Alas, the official propaganda worked: because Darwinian is not alone on TOD in saying good-riddance. Obviously a few of us were hoodwinked into thinking that even anarchy was preferable to the nightmare that was the Gaddafi regime.

That said, oil or no oil, IMHO, North Africa is a better place because NATO supported the rebels.

Then keep an open eye on what happens to Libya as time goes on, and indeed is already happening, and decide if you would have wanted that happening to you. They will likely not achieve the standard of living nor the level of security they had again within our lifetimes, nor will Africa be able to mount any kind of defense against the pillaging of the West. I have no love for any dictators, nor Gaddafi, but there never were any rebels, only other contestant for power vying to lick the boots of NATO for personal gain. Most of them will be disappointed, as such fools always are, but they are not the ones who suffer most. I asked at the time where they got all those 40 year old flags of a despised western toady dictator who only ruled for a short time?

I have no love for any dictators, nor Gaddafi, but there never were any rebels, only other contestants for power vying to lick the boots of NATO for personal gain.

Huh? Never any rebels? Only people out to lick the boots of NATO for personal gain? Mere contestants for power?

What, no legitimate or heartfelt opposition to Gaddafi? Or relief that at long last there might be an end to despotic rule?

What, that the only thing that defined the cause was power? Or the pursuit of exploitation?

What, no room for hope in a better future? Or for a normalcy that may include greater security for one's loved-ones?

There were many things that drove the uprising in Libya. There were many things that roused western governments to lend their support. Sometimes there may have been ulterior motives, for gain or profit, behind the scenes. But please don't overlook the possibility there were noble aspirations involved too.

We're not all wicked all the time, including decision-makers who sit in high places.

Zodok, at least I can now praise the opinions of one priest. Too bad I cannot say that for others of the faith. ;-) But I can vouch for one rebel that was not a contestant for power. His name was Mohamed Bouazizi.

Mohamed Bouazizi (29 March 1984 – 4 January 2011; Arabic: محمد البوعزيزي‎) was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides. His act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring, inciting demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. The public's anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death, leading then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power...

He was publicly humiliated when a 45-year-old female municipal official, Faida Hamdi, slapped him in the face, spat at him, confiscated his electronic weighing scales, and tossed aside his produce cart.

As I said up thread, simple human dignity.

Ron P.

Yes, Darwinian, it seems so long ago, but it is just a little over a year, and how easy it is to forget that the chain of events across northern Africa was launched by the plight and example of a Tunisian street vendor appealing for justice.

And despite a bit of a pause, I don't think this has played itself out yet - not by a long shot. Egypt is far from over. Syria is cracking up under the strain.

I agree, my friend. Simple human dignity, at the end of the day, is what it's all about.

Dignity depends on peace and justice. Peace and justice are enmeshed. You can't have one without the other. No peace, there will be no justice. No justice, there will be no peace. It's why both so elusive, not only on the grand scale (among nations), but more locally, in the street (crime) and in the home (dysfunction and abuse). It's all inter-related.

The good news, IMHO, is that there will always be people, at any given time, striving for both. There is more than a grain of truth in the expression, "evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing." It is why we have police officers. It's why we have nurses. It's why we have firemen. It's why we have doctors. And may I cautiously offer, dare say, it's why we have priests;-)

I am thankful for the angels in my life - angels with very human features and very human flaws. I also thankful that there are times when our countries and our governments try to do the right thing. I am also very thankful for people who volunteer in the armed forces -who are sent into troubled spots to do and witness things I rather not countenance, but who do it for our sake and on our behalf.

Life is complex and very messy. It does not lend itself to easy navigation. But there is much good in it to be celebrated. There is also much good in one other to be strengthened and encouraged. Even among TOD stalwarts like ourselves.

Of course. A lot of folks saw an opportunity and took it, for reasons ranging from aspirational thru idealistic thru pragmatic thru hysteric thru opportunistic thru thuggish to dictatorial. If the long-run replacement of one dictator is anarchy or another crackpot thug, the net result will have been a great deal of trouble, pain and anguish to the populace to no particular purpose. For geopolitical and even for humanitarian reasons there is strong reason to support stability over revolution, and to curb internal abuses thru external pressure to the extent possible. Obviously there is some level of abuse at which international intervention is appropriate--but in my opinion we fail miserably to both extremes at determining when to intervene. Rwanda and Iraq are bookends of that failure. After the fact, there aren't a lot of democratic success stories arising from violent revolution, but I suspect that a power vacuum is a bad place for democracy to grow, so engagement post-revolution seems important. Afghanistan circa 1989 comes to mind.

Yet more analysis of results from the recent Canadian Census, but this time with some messages for the Euro Zone countries.

Canada's economic core shifts west

Discussions of the problems facing the euro zone often distinguish the ‘core’ countries of the north (eg: Germany) and the southern ‘periphery’ (eg: Spain). The recovery is well underway in the euro zone core, but the periphery is still deep in recession. If countries such as Spain still had their own currency, they would have adopted a more expansionary monetary policy. Instead, Spanish monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank, which appears to be focusing its attention on the euro zone core. It’s unlikely that the euro would be appreciating so strongly if the ECB were making policy with Spain in mind.

This story of unbalanced growth in which different regions are obliged to live with a common monetary policy is of course familiar to Canadians. While people may acknowledge that an appreciating dollar is appropriate for Alberta and other commodity exporters, the same appreciation is making life difficult for manufacturing exporters based in Ontario.

But the resemblance seems to end here. Core-periphery tensions in Europe are serious enough to question the viability of the euro, but there are no serious proposals to set up separate currencies for Alberta and Ontario. Why not?

The answer lies in the theory of optimal currency regions developed by the Canadian economist Robert Mundell, which sets out the conditions in which regions would be better served by sharing a common currency.

As does Canada, the euro zone has free flows of capital and a system of transfers that redistributes income across regions. But the key condition that Canada satisfies -- and which Europe does not -- is labour mobility. It is fairly straightforward for an Ontarian to benefit from a booming Alberta economy: he or she can simply move to Alberta. The language and cultural barriers facing a Spaniard wishing to profit from Germany’s good economic fortune are much more formidable.

The Curse of the Petro-State

"Don't study OPEC," the late Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, a brilliant Venezuelan lawyer considered to be the "father" of OPEC, told her. "It is boring. Study what oil is doing to us," he added. As they parted, Pérez Alfonzo presented her with these prophetic words: "Ten years from now. Twenty years from now, you will see. Oil will bring us ruin."

This is a story about the fight between the car versus rail transit in Canada's largest city. The current mayor of Toronto was elected on what he believed a mandate to "Stop the war against the car" and to "Bury the streetcar". He cancelled an $8 billion plan ("Transit City") to build light rail all over Toronto, and replaced it with a plan to add a single subway line which wouldn't interfere with traffic - for $1 billion more, money which the city didn't have.

However, the Toronto city council, led by their Transit Commission Chair, has just shot his "Bury the streetcar" plan down in flames, and re-instituted the "Transit City" light rail plan.

Ford pays price of obstinacy in council’s rebuke of his transit vision

He almost got away with it. For more than a year, Mayor Rob Ford has been pushing his simplistic vision for transit expansion, hoping to prevail through sheer bluster and force of will.

He ignored the host of transit experts who called his vision nonsense. He refused to take his plans to city council, bypassing the city’s supreme democratic body. He spurned the TTC manager and TTC chair who dared to question him. But on Wednesday, council struck back, handing the mayor his worst defeat and rubbishing his transit blueprint.

Transit City, the light-rail network that Mr. Ford declared dead, is suddenly alive and breathing again, having emerged like Lazarus from its underground tomb. Karen Stintz, the estimable TTC chair whom Mr. Ford was foolish enough to underestimate, is the hero of the hour, talked about as a contender for mayor in 2014.

It is hard to imagine a more galling outcome for Mr. Ford, who has said over and over that “people want subways” and that he would never stand for more “streetcars” (his sneering shorthand for light-rail) on city roads.

Yet the mayor has only himself to blame. He killed Transit City on his very first day in office, upending a plan that was negotiated, approved, funded and under construction. He took it on himself to cook up a new one with the provincial government that would have wasted nearly $2-billion by burying a light-rail line designed for surface travel. He promised to build a vastly expensive Sheppard subway without any real idea of how to pay for it.

A little context for those not in the loop.

Has Rob Ford lost his grip?

Doug Ford’s dream of monorails, a glitzy megamall and a Ferris wheel in the Port Lands was about to become a punch line and nothing more. Waterfront control and egos aside, this imminent defeat carried much larger implications for the administration.

... that he would never stand for more “streetcars” (his sneering shorthand for light-rail) on city roads.

Well - it is a subject worthy of comprehensive debate. Living in Melbourne with its extensive network of trams within 15km of the city centre, there is no doubt that "street-cars" on city roads do conflict with vehicular traffic. I love the trams, and would miss them dreadfully (they ripped them all up in Sydney in about 1961) - but I don't think you can argue for them on the grounds of efficiency and improved traffic flow, or indeed less pollution.

They serve a great purpose for those who live in the inner suburbs (blue collar, immigrants, yuppies, students, and the wealthy - who probably rarely catch them), but they certainly take up a lot of real estate, and they slow vehicular traffic on many key arteries. A light rail system close to but off the road surface would be better, but again the cost of retro-fitting it to a large city would be enormous. Subways are dreadful too - apart from the cost, you can only really have long single routes, rather than a more two-dimensional surface network that fills real needs.

Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field: Nature

Methane leaks during production may offset climate benefits of natural gas.

When US government scientists began sampling the air from a tower north of Denver, Colorado, they expected urban smog — but not strong whiffs of what looked like natural gas. They eventually linked the mysterious pollution to a nearby natural-gas field, and their investigation has now produced the first hard evidence that the cleanest-burning fossil fuel might not be much better than coal when it comes to climate change.

I guess shale gas proponents will have to fall back to using the "there is no conclusive proof of Global Warming" argument.

I was also thinking of 'methane leaks' if we were to convert a sizeable portion of are vehicle fleet to CNG.

Currently there are 1000 CNG pumps vs. 200,000 gasoline pumps. Say we incresed the number of CNG pumps to 60,000. and every pump services 100 vehicles a day.

And, say you lost 5 cu.ft. of methane every time you 'filled-up' due to leakage.

Thats 60,000 x 100 x 5 x 365 days = 11 billion cubic feet of NG. Not much relative to the trillions we use every year; but thats over $32 million a year at $3.00/1000 cu.ft

US licenses first nuclear reactors since 1978

It's been 34 years -- and several nuclear accidents later -- but a divided federal panel on Thursday licensed a utility to build nuclear reactors in the U.S. for the first time since 1978.

Sounds like good news?

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Southern Co. SO +0.02% won approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin full construction of two new reactors, each with 1,100 megawatts of capacity, at its Plant Vogle site in Georgia, the power company said Thursday. It's the first new nuclear power facility to be built in the U.S. in 30 years. The NRC voted to approve a combined construction and operating license for Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4. Georgia Power projects Unit 3 to begin operating in 2016 and Unit 4 in 2017. "This is a monumental accomplishment," said Southern Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas Fanning.


This should be the real story

Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion approved 4-1

Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the project. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who has supported the project throughout the process, dissented, saying he was concerned that the reactors would not meet certain safety requirements put in place since Japan's Fukushima Daiichi accident.

" Significant safety enhancements have already been recommended as a result of learning the lessons from Fukushima, and there is still more work ahead of us. Knowing this, I cannot support issuing these licenses as if Fukushima never happened," Jaczko said.

I used to hunt every year in the area and a hunting buddy said there was little doubt this would go forward, even after Fukushima. He works for a concrete supplier for the project. As one can see the Plant Vogtle project is well underway already.

Vogtle utilizes an associated pair of pumped storage reservoirs near Miledgeville, GA, to the west.

Climate Change, Resource Depletion Trigger Dramatic Global Change

... Jerry Marden, an expert with the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), came up with the term “triple crisis” which highlighted the prevailing social and ecological forces that are uniting to threaten the biotic existence of our planet and industrial society. The components of this “triple crisis” include (1) a rapid increase in climate disarray resulting from a vast heating up of the planet caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases, (2) the peaking of the availability of natural gas, oil and coal, which is ushering in a regime of expensive energy, and (3) the depletion of forests, fresh water, coral reefs, wildlife, biodiversity and other natural resources.

A significant part of resource depletion is the end of cheap and abundant oil. The supply of oil on Earth is limited. After some time, we will have consumed 50 percent of the oil, which means that the remaining 50 percent will become costlier, and it will be less and less available, and finally, there will come a stage when there will be no oil or the amount of money and effort needed to be spent on recovering it would make it unfeasible. The time when we would have consumed 50 percent of the oil is known as “peak oil”. It is said that “peak oil” will be a reality one day, and we must prepare ourselves for it.

The rate of resource consumption has been a major cause of the dangers that have wrapped the Earth. This calls for an urgent need for the world to start educating everyone concerning the need to deal with the issue of consumption. Such awareness is especially important in the developing world that does nothing but ape every move of developed countries. This awareness should be directed towards checking the uncontrolled burden that men have been placing on natural resources which have resulted in various conflicts around the world.

Dr. Park Eung-kyuk heads the Korea Institute of Public Administration (KIPA), a state-run think tank under the Office of the Prime Minister, which deals with formulating policies on central and local administration.

As valid as it is, somtimes I think the efforts of the good Dr. Park and so many others is a waste of time.

Sorry but I need a little rant and this is an appropriate spot ;-).

I was watching two so-called stock market experts wrangling over Groupon's recent IPO and more recent earnings miss.

Pundit #1: They are growing exponentially.

Pundit #2: No they're not growing exponentially, they're growing at 20%

I hope Prof. Bartlett didn't hear that.



2C Warming Goal Now 'Optimistic' - French Scientists

The French team said that by 2100, warming over pre-industrial times would range from two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 5.0 C (9.0 F).

The most pessimistic scenarios foresee warming of 3.5-5.0 C (6.3-9.0 F), the scientists said in a press release.

The work differs from previous calculations as it takes into account the reflectivity of clouds and uptake of CO2 by the oceans and other factors that can skew the equation, the authors said.

2C is the new floor

Iran turns to Barter for Food as Sanctions Cripple Imports

Paris/Tehran: Iran is turning to barter — offering gold bullion in overseas vaults or tankerloads of oil — in return for food as new financial sanctions have hurt its ability to import basic staples for its 74 million people, commodities traders said on Thursday.

... Deals revealed on Thursday appear to be among the first in which Iran has had to result to offering cashless barter to avoid sanctions, a sign of new urgency as it seeks to buy food and get around the financial restrictions.

“Grain deals are being paid for in gold bullion and barter deals are being offered,” one European grains trader said, speaking on condition of anonymity while discussing commercial deals. “Some of the major trading houses are involved.”

A margarine factory owner in Tehran said on Wednesday he expected to halt production within months because of a shortage of raw materials.

All Iran had to do was have Russia enrich uranium for them for their planned nuclear plant, instead of enriching themselves. That's it, and they refused, which leads other country's to believe they want to enrich to a higher degree for nuclear weapons.

Here's a link to an article from May 2009:

'Russia confirms plans to help Iran enrich uranium'

The uranium-enrichment arrangement discussed at Thursday's talks between Iran and the six powers - the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - has increased hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Moscow could support tougher UN sanctions against Iran if diplomatic efforts to halt its domestic enrichment program fail.

That article was in May 2009, which means Iran has had plenty of time to make this decision, and know sanctions would be coming if they enriched themselves. The more hardship they are willing to endure via sanctions, the more it looks clear they intend to build a nuke.

Russia has a demonstrated history of utilizing monopoly energy supply structure to exert leverage on client states. The Persians have no desire to be a Russian client state.

It would seem any cost disadvantage to Iran from purchasing enriched uranium from Russia, would pale in comparison to the economic hardships endured by these sanctions.

It's not just about cost, it's about energy security and geopolitical leverage. Russia uses sole source supply as a bully bat.

China fuel price hike no cure for bleeding refiners

BEIJING, Feb 9 (Reuters) - China hiked fuel prices by as much as 4 percent this week to help compensate refiners for rising oil prices, but the increase was too small to staunch the bleeding of most refineries and would leave demand in the world's No.2 consumer intact.

Although users will complain of higher fuel costs, prices now are still far from causing demand destruction, analysts said, adding that only a surge in gas prices to double-digit levels would help cut use by ordinary consumers.

"The imperative to have more than ample stockpiles on hand may be more acute this year in light of the multitude of potential supply disruption risks in the Middle East as well as Africa," Choi said in a research note.

"Oil demand will not contract unless the economy is really in trouble," said a Shanghai-based analyst with a foreign securities firm who asked not to be identified.

China's implied crude oil demand will rise 5 percent in 2012 to 9.9 million bpd, with net import growth seen up 5.9 percent, the research arm of top state energy group CNPC has forecast.

Living with Drought and Thirst: Examples for Texas to Follow

The State Comptroller’s office released a report on the economic impact of the current drought this week. The paper is short (just 12 pages), highly readable, and even has some nice visual breakdowns of the drought.

Water demand in Texas is expected to rise 22 percent by 2060, according to the state’s Water Development Board. They say if we have another drought like the one of record from the 1950s, losses could total $116 billion by then.

As of October 1, 2011, Texas as a whole had received an average of about 11 inches of rain in the previous year, about 16 inches less than normal — and less than Morocco and Tunisia generally see in a year. In the western half of the state, rainfall totals for the year were comparable with those typically seen in the world’s desert regions (Exhibit 2).

Amarillo 	5.8 	Damascus, Syria 	5.3
Del Rio		9.6 	Tehran, Iran 		9.1
El Paso		4.9 	Baghdad, Iraq 		4.8
Lubbock 	5.1 	Khartoum, Sudan 	4.8
Midland/Odessa  4.6 	Kuwait City, Kuwait 	4.6

More than 11,000 megawatts of Texas power generation — about 16 percent of ERCOT’s total power resources — rely on cooling water from sources at historically low levels. If Texas does not receive “significant” rainfall by May, more than 3,000 megawatts of this capacity could be unavailable due to a lack of water for cooling.

Storm warning: Financial tsunami heading this way

In today's global village, national coffers are more interconnected than ever before. And as the current economic crisis has proven, a downturn in one country can travel in a wave across the globe, like a financial tsunami. Now, researchers from Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with the Kiel Institute of World Economy in Germany, have developed a market "seismograph" — a new methodology that measures the interconnections between stock markets across the globe. It has the potential to serve as an early warning system and provide measures to manage and mitigate the spread of financial crisis.

also Stock trading 'fractures' may warn of next crash

The study is the first to focus on an ultra-fast feature of market dynamics that the team, led by Neil Johnson at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, calls a "fracture". Fractures happen when the price of a stock briefly shoots up or down, often before returning to its original level. They take place so quickly, sometimes lasting less than half a second, that they can be invisible to any human following the price. "If you blink you miss it," says Johnson. His research shows that there seems to be a link between these fractures and sudden stock market crashes, known as "black swans".

If fractures are a source of instability, computerised trading algorithms may be to blame. .... Intriguingly, the number of daily fractures increased about a week before the stock market crash of September 2008, and also before a sudden but smaller crash in May 2010, which is still not fully understood.

This ultra-fast computing-controlled trading regime is barely recognised, let alone controlled by any government regulator with an interest in preventing crashes. "Nobody really knows what's going on down there," says Johnson. "It's like the wild west."

Mining merger poses threat to Japan’s coal

Glencore International’s agreed £39.1 billion (R467bn) takeover of Xstrata, making it the biggest thermal coal exporter, poses a new threat to Japanese utilities forced to buy more of the fuel after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Glencore, the largest publicly traded commodities supplier, produces about 20 million tons of power station coal and would boost output fivefold through an acquisition of Xstrata. Japan’s thermal coal imports will probably rise 3 percent to 104 million tons in 2012, according to Daiwa Capital Markets.

“The coal market will likely tighten because the merger accelerates market domination by suppliers,” said Hidetoshi Shioda, a senior analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities. “Japan will increase coal imports because of energy issues after the Fukushima accident.”

States Negotiate $26 Billion Agreement for Homeowners

After months of painstaking talks, government authorities and five of the nation’s biggest banks have agreed to a $26 billion settlement that could provide relief to nearly two million current and former American homeowners harmed by the bursting of the housing bubble, state and federal officials said. It is part of a broad national settlement aimed at halting the housing market’s downward slide and holding the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses.

Despite the billions earmarked in the accord, the aid will help a relatively small portion of the millions of borrowers who are delinquent and facing foreclosure.

S - "It is part of a broad national settlement aimed at halting the housing market’s downward slide and holding the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses". Not sure how valid the analysis is but heard a report on NPR that stated (from those in the trade) that this agreement will lead to a huge uptick in foreclosures. It may help a limited few mortgage owners. But along with the deal the banks will be allowed to go forward with a huge numbers of foreclosures they had been forced to delay while negotiating. As I understand it part of the deal released the banks for a lot of liability those potential foreclosures held for them. In fact, they attributed the recent decline in foreclosures to banks holding off until they had settled.

Bloomberg: The concept of "peak" resources--a hot new paradigm for your toolbelt, investors!

Chinese ‘frustrated’ by Northern Gateway regulatory delays

Chinese oil executives are growing frustrated with regulatory delays in plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline, even as interest in Canadian oil and gas surges in the energy-hungry country, the head of Enbridge Inc. says.

Enbridge chief executive officer Pat Daniel said despite keen interest here in Canadian oil and gas reserves, this seemingly made-in-heaven match is threatened by delays in the company’s efforts to establish a $5.5-billion, 1,177-kilometre pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to a deep sea port at Kitimat, B.C., for shipping to Asian markets.

“They’re frustrated, as we are, in the length of time it takes,” Mr. Daniel said in an interview on the sidelines of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s mission to China. “They’re very anxious to diversify their supply, they’re very dependent on the Middle East for crude.”

The railroads will carry oil to the coast for a few dollars a barrel. Better a few dollars a barrel than a pipeline to Oklahoma and lose $50 a barrel.

Alberta expects energy royalties to soar

After decades of shepherding oil sands development and watching the energy industry spend billions of dollars to extract bitumen, Alberta’s patience is about to pay off.

The government expects bitumen royalties to reach $9.916-billion in 2014-2015, more than double its forecast for 2011-2012, according to the province’s budget released Thursday. In total, non-renewable resource revenue, which includes cash from land sales, will hit $15.971-billion by 2014-15, the government said.

Slews of projects in northern Alberta are hitting a key milestone, triggering higher royalties. As companies pay off their capital investments, they must pay more to the province’s coffers. Relatively new drilling efforts are on the verge of crossing this line, joining the more mature mining projects.

This resource windfall serves as the cornerstone of Alberta’s budget. The government is holding off on new taxes while increasing spending on social programs largely thanks to bitumen royalties. However, Alberta will run a deficit until 2013-2014. Alberta expects to spend $41.1-billion in 2012, with revenue totalling $40.3-billion.

The rapid rise in royalty income will happen because Alberta bitumen royalties are on a before-payout versus after-payout basis. Before payout (i.e. before the oil sands plants recover their capital costs), the royalties are 2% of production. After payout, the royalty rate is 25% of production. As a result of high oil prices in recent years, many of the oil sands plants are on the verge of having paid for their capital costs. After that, it's all gravy for everybody involved.

What does the rest of Canada get out of it?

Taxes and jobs. The Canadian government probably makes more in corporate income taxes and value-added taxes on oil sands production than the Alberta government makes in royalties, and there are people from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland working in the Alberta oil sands.

In fact, Fort McMurray, Alberta is sometimes called, "Newfoundland's second-largest city," because there are more Newfoundlanders working there than any city in Newfoundland except Saint John's.

Money talks and the environment walks.

Non - I suppose a parallel question would be what does Alberta get from the much greater economic activity of the rest of Canada.

Alberta doesn't have enough population to support all the industrial activity required to develop the oil sands, so it has been foisting as much of the work off on the rest of Canada as possible.

In reality it has been high-grading the jobs and trying to keep as much of the better-paying ones itself, while letting the less affluent areas do the lower-paying ones. A lot of the work has been farmed out to the Atlantic provinces - and as a result they are becoming more affluent after about a century of economic depression.

It has had to upgrade its educational system to make this work, but so far it has done a pretty good job of that, too.

Just a FYI...

Over the past couple of days, someone was posting here claiming to be Matt Savinar. It was not really him. (And didn't sound like him, frankly.) I have removed the comments and blocked that account. Matt wanted me to post a message letting people know.

Canada loses in oil discount

The widening discounts dragging down the price of Canadian oil are providing a glimpse at what the future looks like if new pipelines like Keystone XL aren’t built.

The discounts were adding up this week to about $30 to $40 for a Canadian oil sands barrel relative to the price it would have fetched in world markets.

It’s the outcome of rising production from Canada’s oil sands and the Bakken tight oil field in North Dakota and too little pipeline space to move it to refiners, causing oil to be backed up in the U.S. Midwest.

The surprise is that existing pipelines are filling up well before the 2015/1016 time frame, when they were widely expected expected to hit their capacity.

Peters’ oil and gas analyst Cam Sandhar said the discounts are temporary and he doesn’t expect the industry to re-think growth plans.

“An average SAGD project has a break-even WTI price of US$65 to $70 a barrel, so we are not even close to people making decisions on changing project timelines.”

Still, there is mounting anger in the sector that the net effect of U.S. President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries in Texas is costing Canada billions of dollars in lost revenue, while Americans are enjoying artificially low oil prices.

Companies that did not foresee the risk of putting all their eggs in one basket usually always pay the penalty. Why these companies did not have a railroad to ship oil to world markets is their fault not vagaries of world events.

They do have a couple of railroads able and willing to ship all the oil, they just don't have enough tank cars to hold all the oil.

A tank car can hold 600 barrels of oil, and you can run 100 of them in a unit train. That's 60,000 barrels per train. To replace the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have a capacity of 600,000 bpd, you would require 10 trains with 1,000 tank cars to pass any given point on the railroad line every day.

If it takes a week to load the cars and move the them to a port, and another week to unload them and haul them back to the oil sands, then you would need 140 unit trains with 14,000 tank cars to replace the pipeline. It's just not that easy to buy 14,000 tank cars on the spur of the moment.

Mystery of exploding pig poop at factory hog farms:



Oh sh...


That is scarey. People have been raising pigs for a long, long time. Now, starting just a few years ago, an entirely new and highly visible phenomena appears. The foam is describes as being feet thick, far thicker than santorum.

My father used to leave the pig accommodation up to the pigs when he didn't have time to build them something himself. Pigs are actually very smart, and if you give them the materials (e.g. a few bales of hay, some bundles of branches, etc.), they will build themselves some very comfortable living quarters. It will also be remarkably clean and sanitary.

Trying to raise pigs on an industrial basis doesn't work nearly as well. It makes you start to wonder who's smarter - pigs or people.

It makes you start to wonder who's smarter - pigs or people?

My vote is for the oinkers.

I don't see any particular mystery there. Decay leading to a methane foam.

Factory farms are notorious for "casual" waste management and this is an obvious side effect.

Tesla takes wraps off "falcon-winged" Model X SUV