Drumbeat: February 27, 2012

The world in 2050: Deutsche Post DHL releases a study on the future

Scenario 1, Untamed Economy - Impending Collapse
The world is characterized by unchecked materialism and mass consumption. This non-sustainable way of life is fed by the relentless exploitation of resources, a development that stokes climate change and causes natural disasters to mount. In a world characterized by tumultuous growth, demand for logistics and transport services climbs sharply.A global transportation supergrid ensures a rapid exchange of goods between centers of consumption. But as climate change advances, supply chains are increasingly disrupted, a development causing additional challenges for logistics companies.

Scenario 2: Megaefficiency in megacities
"Megacities" have emerged as the world's power centers. They are both the main drivers and beneficiaries of a paradigm shift toward "green" growth. To overcome the challenges of expanding urban structures, such as congestion and emissions, megacities have become champions of collaboration. Robotics has revolutionized the world of production and services. Consumers have changed their habits: Products are now usually rented, instead of purchased. Highly efficient traffic concepts have relieved congestion. A global supergrid with mega transporters, including trucks, ships and aircraft, as well as space transporters, has opened important trade connections between the megacities of the world. The logistics industry has been entrusted to run city logistics, utilities, and system services for airports, hospitals and shopping malls.

Demand for oil and gas to grow 'for decades'

THE world's biggest oil company says the next 30 years are looking good for oil and gas suppliers and consumers, but perhaps not so good for miners.

Texas-based ExxonMobil says there is no sign of peak oil and energy efficiency is growing along with demand.

Exxon's 2012 energy outlook -- which the company is presenting in Australia this week -- backs up the long-held industry view that gas and liquefied natural gas demand will grow steadily over coming decades.

But it also provides less than buoyant forecasts for the coal industry and warns readers not to get too excited about Chinese, Indian and African growth.

Oil Drops From Nine-Month High After IMF Warns on Global Economic Growth

Oil fell, halting its longest rally in two years, after a warning from the International Monetary Fund on the global economy sparked concern that prices have climbed too fast.

Futures slid as much as 1.4 percent in New York after seven days of gains. Oil’s relative strength index signaled that the longest winning streak since January 2010 may have been exaggerated. The world economy is “not out of the danger zone” amid fragile financial systems and rising oil prices, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday. Prices gained the most in two months last week amid tensions with Iran, OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

Oil bulls regain confidence as Iran tensions rise - poll

(Reuters) - Bulls are back in charge of oil markets as they were during the Libyan war in 2011 as fears of an Israeli strike on Iran and a loss of Iranian oil supplies eclipse a collapse in oil demand in debt-laden Western economies.

Gas prices climb for 20th day

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices continued their march toward $4 on Monday, rising for the 20th day in a row.

The nationwide average rose to $3.70 a gallon, up one cent from a day earlier, according to the motorist group AAA.

Only a month ago, the nationwide average was $3.41 a gallon.

$5 gas, 50-cent postage stamps?

(CNN) -- Remember those carefree days when a gallon of gas was only $5? And when you could cheerfully mail a letter for the rock-bottom price of 50 cents?

Just saying those words out loud here to see what they sound like -- just trying to imagine what it will be like, 50 or 60 years from now, when Americans who are young today look back over their lives and recall fondly the second decade of the 21st century, when prices were low and reasonable.

Sorry, But You Can't Blame Oil Prices On The Dollar

U.S. regular gasoline price has spiked almost 4% in one week to $3.688 a gallon as of Feb. 26, the highest level since last September, with residents in three states--Alaska, Hawaii, California-- are already seeing above $4 at the pump, based on AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The current price level is roughly 11% above a year ago. Analysts estimate that every 1-cent increase in the price of gasoline costs the economy $1.4 billion. Consumers are starting to feel the pinch, and a new Associated Press-GfK poll says 7 in 10 Americans find the issue "deeply important".

Why oil prices are so high: Production shortfall, Iran concerns, and low interest rates

Between 1983 and 2005, world oil supply rose by 1.64% per year. If world oil supply had continued to rise at that rate, oil production would have been about 5 million barrels a day higher in 2011 than it actually was. The fact that oil production has remained relatively flat since 2005 is the primary reason oil prices have continued to rise, except during the 2008-2009 recession.

Domestic gas price should be market determined, BP India chief

NEW DELHI: Energy major BP's India arm has said a predictable market-determined natural gas pricing regime is a must for developing future projects in the country and help BP-Reliance joint venture to take crucial investment decisions.

"Clarity on gas pricing is vital for the development of the next wave of projects which will add production beyond 2015, but for which investment decisions need to be made in 2012," BP India head Sashi Mukundan said referring to Reliance Industries-operated D6 block. BP had formally picked up 30% stake in 21 oil and gas blocks of Reliance six months ago.

Blast outside Kathmandu oil office kills 3

Three people, including a child, have been killed and half a dozen injured in an explosion outside the offices of the state-owned petroleum-trading company in Kathmandu, police say.

The firm had been the object of week-long, nationwide protests for hiking fuel prices 10 per cent last month until it relented and reduced prices on January 26. Weeks later, however, the firm hiked prices again by more than it had reduced them.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and Martin Midstream Partners Announce Rail Terminal Joint Venture in Permian Basin of West Texas

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. and Martin Midstream Partners L.P. today announced a new joint venture, Pecos Valley Producer Services LLC, to develop a multi-commodity rail terminal in Pecos, Texas. The new terminal will serve the growing oil and natural gas industries in the Permian Basin. The facility will be constructed and operated by a subsidiary of Watco Companies, Inc., the largest privately held short line railroad company in the United States. KMP holds a preferred equity position in Watco.

Buffett Says Energy Future Bet at Risk

Warren Buffett, who bought about $2 billion in bonds of power company Energy Future Holdings Corp., said the investment is at risk of losing all its value after natural gas prices fell.

Blackstone to finance Cheniere natural gas exports

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cheniere Energy Partners will receive $2 billion in financing from The Blackstone Group to fund the construction of a natural gas export plant in Southern Louisiana.

The facility was built to import natural gas, but huge increases in production of natural gas from shale formations under several states has created a glut of natural gas in the U.S. Prices in the U.S. fell to a 10-year low this winter. Now Cheniere and others are hoping to export natural gas to markets that pay prices up to 5 times higher.

Shell to close Ill. plant after 94 years

Shell Oil Co. plans to close its oil blending and packaging plant in Roxana, where Shell began operations in 1918.

A company spokeswoman says the Wood River Blending Plant is closing because it needs major upgrades and because it is on property Shell doesn't own.

Exxon breaks silence over Kurdistan oil talks

LONDON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil has disclosed its plans to explore for oil in Iraq's Kurdistan in the company's annual report, breaking months of silence over the investment that has outraged Baghdad.

Iran to export power to UAE, Qatar, Oman

(MENAFN) Iran may sell USD2 billion worth of electricity to the UAE, Qatar and Oman once a gas field in the Arabian Gulf is operational, Tehran Times reported.

Iran may be "struggling" with new nuclear machines

(Reuters) - Iran is still relying on old technology to expand its nuclear program, in what may be a sign it is having difficulties developing modern machines that could speed up production of potential bomb material.

Sanctions risk rerun of oil's 2011 flash crash

(Reuters) - Soaring oil prices and the loss of exports from South Sudan, Syria and Iran pose awkward questions for investors and policymakers.

Last year, a similar surge following the outbreak of the Libyan civil war eventually resulted in the flash crash on May 5 and the decision to release emergency stocks by the United States and other members of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on June 23.

Top Japan insurer to cut coverage for ships in Iran

TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Japan's main shipping insurer will only be able to provide a fraction of the coverage to tankers transporting Iranian oil under new European Union sanctions, officials said on Friday.

Starting in July, European insurers and reinsurers will be prohibited from indemnifying ships carrying Iranian crude and oil products anywhere in the world as per sanctions on Tehran.

Russia, Ukraine agents foil Putin assassination plot

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian and Ukrainian special services have arrested a group of suspects accused of attempting to assassinate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia's state television said Monday.

The Channel One said that the suspects were plotting to kill Putin in Moscow immediately after the March 4 presidential election, in which he is all but certain to reclaim the presidency.

Syria promises referendum results as EU imposes new sanctions

(CNN) -- The Syrian regime will announce Monday the results of its much-touted constitutional referendum, but for residents fearing for their lives in Homs -- unsure whether the next government rocket will fall on their house -- the vote is of little concern.

Nigeria ex-Delta state governor James Ibori guilty plea

James Ibori, a former governor of one of Nigeria's oil-producing states, has pleaded guilty in a UK court to 10 counts of money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

British police accuse him of stealing $250m (£160m) over eight years.

BP Ignored Well Test Warning, Transocean Says on Eve of Trial

BP Plc officials overseeing the Macondo well that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico ignored questions about whether safety tests done hours before a fatal blast on the drilling rig were flawed, lawyers for Transocean Ltd. said in a court filing.

BP Said to Consider $14 Billion Spill Settlement

BP Plc and plaintiffs suing over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill are discussing a $14 billion accord that would be funded with money originally set aside by the company for out-of-court settlements, according to three people familiar with the talks.

As one arm of the government seeks to fine BP, another pays it $1 billion

Next week, the massive legal case against BP and other companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster is set to get underway in a New Orleans courtroom. Lawyers for the government will argue that the companies should potentially pay billions for unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history two years ago.

But that didn’t stop the government from increasing its fuel purchases from BP in the year after the spill. BP’s contracts to supply fuel to the military rose 33 percent, to $1.35 billion, in the fiscal year that ended in September, Bloomberg News reported.

Japan cities press utility to switch from nuclear

TOKYO (Reuters) - Three of Japan's major cities called for Kansai Electric Power Co, its second largest nuclear generator, to draw up a plan to switch to other energy sources nearly a year after the country suffered the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

The mayors of Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, home to a total of 5.7 million people, on Monday submitted questions on prospects for alternative energy supplies and price incentives to curb demand.

US faces dilemma on nuclear treaties

It was to be the gold standard: a promise from the UAE to the US that the Emirates would not enrich or reprocess nuclear fuel, a shining example in the Middle East of non-proliferation and international cooperation. Related

Three years later, the UAE remains the only nation that has signed on to such conditions, and the US is facing the reality that other nations are less willing to adopt similar terms in nuclear cooperation agreements, the bilateral treaties that pave the way for knowledge and technology exchange in atomic energy.

Jordan and Qatari bank in nuclear energy discussions

A Qatari bank is in talks with Jordan to back the Arab world's second nuclear energy programme.

Higher bills 'for vacant houses'

Many of the higher energy bills for not using enough electricity may be for vacant holiday cottages, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said this morning.

His comments came after it emerged that more than 100,000 domestic customers of Electric Ireland are being billed with a "low user standing charge" if they use two units or less per day.

Will Price Inflation Of Meat, Corn, Food, And Farmland Continue?

Today's corn prices are triple the price they were three years ago. High corn demand and high gasoline and diesel prices are having a ripple effect throughout every component of the food and agriculture system. In 2011, we saw many grocery store food item prices rise by double digits and Midwestern farmland prices went up 25%, attributable to high corn and soybean returns for farmers.

The consumer is getting squeezed at the supermarket and at the gas pump. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, grocery store prices rose six percent on average, or nearly three times the rate of core price inflation excluding food and energy. The median American family spends ten percent of its after tax income on food, and 17 percent on food plus energy.

Campus food banks help students through tough times

Oregon State is one of a growing number of colleges and universities nationwide that have a food pantry on campus for students and others struggling to get enough food and supplies.

The pantries offer food and supplies, from cereal to meats to produce to toiletries, as well as a feeling of camaraderie and dignity, according to pantry staff members and volunteers.

Monks, nuns fight poverty until it hurts

Elsewhere in the New Testament are Christ's famous words to a rich young man: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor … and come, follow me."

The passage has inspired religious communities since the first centuries of Christianity to take a vow of poverty, putting aside extraneous things and sharing their basic goods. Today, it means giving up personal bank accounts, cars, computers, cellphones, and the like.

Most people would wince at the prospect of giving up those things for a day, let alone a lifetime. For religious orders, however, the sacrifice is not a burden but a form of freedom. If you're free from materialistic distractions and narcissism, you can open yourself up to a loving God — and to your neighbors.

The only way is full steam ahead

Any attempt to stop growth would have an unequal effect on the poor and retired, writes Bryan Leyland, a power industry consultant.

3 doomsaying experts who foresee economic devastation ahead

While bulls are urging investors to get back into stocks, the doomsayers are advising a far different strategy. Dent's investment advice is simple: "Get out of the way." He recommends buying short-term U.S. Treasury bills and the U.S. dollar, which will benefit from safe-haven cash flows. He says stocks will fall sharply in value.

Celente's advice centers on survival. He says buy gold so you don't lose purchasing power when the value of the dollar plummets. He says buy a gun to protect your family against desperate people in search of food and money. He says plan a getaway to places with more stable finances and governments.

Prechter says to keep your powder dry and buy when things get really bad: "When things get really scary, as in early 2009, I get bullish."

Getting ready for doomsday

A recent National Geographic survey produced the statistic that 41% of Americans think it’s more important to prepare for a catastrophic event than save for retirement.

Scott Hunt is co-owner of Practical Preppers, a business that specializes in helping people get ready for any number of world-changing events.

A Pile of Straw at the Bottom of the Cliff

I presented these graphs at the ASPO conference, where they were greeted with polite silence. There were some “investors” at the conference, but they were busy attending a session dedicated to discussing opportunities to invest in the fossil fuel economy. Nobody offered any counterarguments, but then nobody felt compelled to act based on what I said either. Why do you think that is? Why is that reasonably rational individuals who are able to follow an argument and who are unable to refute it are at the same time incapable of making the transition from thought to action? What is stopping them? Humans are clearly smarter than yeast, what does that matter if they are incapable of acting any more intelligently?

8 great fuel-efficient cars

These days, if you're shopping for a new car, you're probably making fuel economy a priority. Here are a few excellent choices.

China to Impose Quotas on Renewable Energy This Year, News Says

China will this year implement a quota-based system for provinces and cities that dictates the amount of renewable energy that they need to consume, buy into their grid and produce, the China News Service reported.

China Copper Demand to Rebound on Clean Energy Use, Nexans Says

China is the world’s largest copper user and demand from its power sector accounts for almost half of consumption. The economy expanded 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the slowest since the second quarter of 2009 as Europe’s debt crisis curbed export demand and the property market weakened. The People’s Bank of China has reduced reserve requirements for banks twice in three months to sustain growth.

Fire rages at RWE's biomass power plant

(Reuters) - RWE npower said on Monday that a fire had broken out in a fuel storage area at its wood-pellet-fired Tilbury power station, which is located to the east of London and is Britain's largest dedicated biomass plant.

Humanity has already had four major ecological collapses: how can we avoid a fifth?

You say most of history we've lived in balance, but when have we stepped out of balance and collapsed?

Well, there have been four collapses in Northern Europe. The first such collapse was round about 3000BC, and that was due partly to climate change ­the temperature got a great deal warmer ­ but also to the fact that we had deforested the uplands, where we lived. By 3000BC we had completely changed the forest and the woodland nature of Britain, and the same is true for most parts of Northern Europe. The climate changed, the soil blew away, we had not kept the hedges or the shrubs or the tree cover to ensure the soil stayed. It's very difficult to say, but it would appear that probably around about one-third of the population died of starvation as a result of the collapse of that agricultural system.

Is Cleaning Coal Worth It?

Later this year, Duke Energy is planning to unveil coal’s best hope: a 618 megawatt coal gasification plant in Indiana that is purporting to scrub the toxins before they would leave the smokestack. It’s a $3 billion public-private initiative that is expected to materialize in September — one that is taking an existing 160 megawatt coal plant and converting it.

Time for a rethink on climate change, say top environmental economists

Governments have done so little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they should consider investing into the Rand D of large scale geo-engineering projects and their governance, according to 26 of the world’s leading environmental economists.

U.K. Government Close to Opening 1 Billion Pound CCS Competition

The U.K. government is almost ready to open a contest for 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in funds that would back carbon capture and storage technology, Energy Minister Charles Hendry said at a conference in London today.

“The U.K. government is taking forward a carbon capture and storage delivery program with 1 billion pounds of capital funding to support a portfolio of commercially focused projects,” Hendry said. He aims for the projects to be commercially deployed in the 2020s.

The greening of faith

Santorum is at odds with his own church on environmental issues.

Global warming feeds bark beetles: Are they unstoppable?

Hear the sound of chewing out in our vast forests of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, the chewing that’s already destroyed half the commercial timber in important regions like British Columbia? That’s the sound of climate change, says biologist Reese Halter. Global warming in the form of a bark beetle.

Halter’s short but disturbing new book, “The Insatiable Bark Beetle,” addresses one of the biggest and most visible issues facing global forests, and particularly the relatively large forests left in the U.S. and Canada. As winters grow warmer and summers drier, the West’s evergreen forests are being eaten alive. And the infestation is not showing any signs of slowing.

I put up my article Why Oil Prices are So High-Production Shortfall, Iran concerns, and low interest rates on Our Finite World. The Oil Drum doesn't seem to be interested in publishing articles of this sort, even though it is important to get simple messages out to the world.

That was a great article Gail, please keep up the good work. I share your frustration on the fact that TOD seems to be less interested oil production shortfall and related subjects. I keep posting on these subjects but they seem to be getting fewer and fewer responses these days. But I don't blame anyone, I think most folks just have burnout on the subject. We have been talking about it for over six years now and I guess folks just want to talk about something else. They were perhaps waiting for the collapse and since it has not happened yet they just said, oh well, on to another subject. ;-)

I found your article on Human population overshoot–what went wrong? Extremely interesting. This sort of thing is what really interest me the most. I was not even aware of Craig Dilworth's book Too Smart for our Own Good. I ordered it immediately. Amazon was out of stock but I found it, new, from another vendor for a few dollars less.

We are destroying our natural environment at a constantly increasing pace, and in so doing undermining the preconditions of our own existence. Why is this so? This book reveals that our ecologically disruptive behavior is in fact rooted in our very nature as a species.

Those two sentences sum up something I have been thinking about for several weeks. I had considered writing an essay on my thoughts on the subject and posting it on the net. But I doubt I will do it now since this book likely does a far better job of it than I could possibly hope to do. I came to that conclusion after reading several reviews of the book. But I must wait, and wait, for the postman to bring me the book. I am more anxious about this book than any book I have ordered, or read, in years.

I must confess I don't read, cover to cover, every book that I order. (I get virtually all my books from Amazon.) Sometimes they are a great disappointment. But a few are turn out to be even better than anticipated. I think this just may be one of them.

Thanks again, Ron P.

I have been buying used books recently, because of the cost involved and the fact that I don't read all of every book I order. That seems to be helpful, especially with older books.

A somewhat related post to Human Population Overshoot: What Went Wrong is the post European Debt Crisis and Sustainability. The European Debt Crisis and Sustainability post gives more background about man's impact on ecological systems.

Hope you keep posting ... I appreciate your comments though I have little to say in response. One feels like a kid amongst grown-ups here. A good place to learn.

+1 from the silent many who read most everything, have done so for years, and greatly appreciate your efforts.

It is your own fault for producing such quality of thought and argueing it so well. Maybe try to say some stupid things from time to time ;)

It can be a little intimidating and one can feel self-conscious about wasting the time of the highly valuable contributors to TOD (I am sure, and certainly hope, you all know who you are).


Expanding on Gail's article; that low interest rates may be helping to keep oil prices high, it has been posited that massive injections of liquidity have indeed fueled 'speculation' in oil, as there are few places to put this cheap capital. "Juicing the system" is one term being bandied about at Zero Hedge and other places. Yet another bubble?

Regarding Ron's comment, "Craig Dilworth's book Too Smart for our Own Good", a nice dialogue between Orlov and Ugo Bardi regarding the speed/form of collapse we may expect in Leanan's link, above: A Pile of Straw at the Bottom of the Cliff.

Scroll down to the comments...

Ugo Bardi said...

As further comments to your post, I have just finished reading the book "Too smart for our own good" by Craig Dilworth. I think it gives an answer to your question

"Humans are clearly smarter than yeast, what does that matter if they are incapable of acting any more intelligently?"

The gist of Dilworth's book is that we are smart, individually, but that we aren't collectively. So, we are very good at solving individual problems, but that has the cost of creating larger collective problems which, then, we can't solve.

Orlov's post adresses my concerns, more of a gut feeling at this point, that decline/collapse may be steeper than many expect; expounds on Bardi's “Seneca Cliff” post from last year, and Orlov's questions as to why his presentation at ASPO in October didn't garner more attention. Worth the read, IMO.

Ghung - "Juicing the system". I like that: simple and easy to understand the implication of short term gain vs. long term downside. The housing boom that created so much GDP growth was great short term...and then came the bust. Low interest rates may have been a factor in pushing the development of the various shale plays. But from recent press releases from companies like Chesapeake, financing these plays seems to be weakening at the same diminished cash flow due to low NG prices is beginning to hamper drilling efforts. And less drilling means less reserve additions which means lower valuation of those public companies which means less credit which means less drilling, etc, etc. After the subprime bust mortgage rates dropped and there was a significant drop in the price for homes. Yet the housing market crashed because few could take advantage of the situation. Takes money to make money. And few had the money.

I see many of the public companies in the shale gas plays having done similar "juicing of the system": by accepting lower ROR than typical in order to book reserves to satisfy Wall Street. But with dropping NG prices (just as falling home values did) Wall Street and the financial community may pull their support from such companies. Already Chesapeake has announced selling NG fields to help fund the majority of the new drilling efforts. And at a time when proven NG reserves are selling at bigger discounts then we've seen for many years. CHK has also been selling off large portions of their self described "huge undeveloped fracture shale oil reservoirs" to help fund drilling. If these plays have such huge profit potential why are they selling off pieces instead of drilling them up themselves? Maybe they're just that capex short. Or maybe the oil patch bankers (who hire the best engineers/geologists around) don't see the same potential. The fact that CHK says they can only borrow less than 10% of their capex requirement might offer some insight to what our bankers believe.

More on "juicing the system", from last year: High oil prices? Blame QE2, not speculators

President Obama declared that there is no silver bullet for rising gasoline prices. What he can do of course is waste tax payer's money, slander and investigate speculators that have carried the risk of the global economy on their backs while keeping the markets functioning.

Why are oil speculators being singled out when every commodity on the globe (except for our abundantly supplied natural gas market) is exploding? If energy speculators are to blame for running up prices, then why then are they leaving natural gas alone? Perhaps it is because we have plenty of supply and it is a domestically traded market that is less susceptible to the value of the dollar overseas...

...The Federal Reserve with QE2 has dramatically increased the price of oil. In August of 2010 oil was as low as approximately 70.76 and now, as the QE2 comes to a close, we see oil hitting about $113.00 a barrel. QE2 drove investment and demand in the emerging markets. The price of Brent crude in august of 2010 was as low as approximately 74.64 and now has soared trading as high as around s$127 plus. ..

And from Friday: Bernanke's QE Pickle: Rising Oil Prices And Vicious Feedback Loops

The recent oil price rally, if sustained, will put Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke between a rock and a hard place. With zero-bound interest rates set to remain in place at least until late-2014, Bernanke and other central bankers in so-called advanced economies will be forced to use quantitative easing to monetarily stimulate their economies, as growth slows.

Excess liquidity will go overseas, as it did during QE2, sustaining emerging market growth and fueling further oil demand strength and higher crude oil prices. A vicious cycle will ensue, where higher oil prices lower potential output in the U.S. and force Bernanke to keep ultra-loose policy to foster growth, apparently perpetuating the cycle.

Natural gas (domestically) and oil are responding differently to "excess liquidity", it seems. It may be as simple, in part, as the fact that oil is easier/cheaper to transport, along with the domestic 'glut' of natural gas. Investors in oil know that demand (and likely high prices) will be there, near term, and they have the cheap capital to bid it up and invest in new prospects. This, as always, will pass, once LNG infrastructure gets built out, as you mentioned below, and more substitution occurs. Question, will the capex and production still be there, and for how long?

Boy if we could get just one more bubble we promise not to piss it away.

Take the word bubble in that sentence and replace it with oil boom and that is a lot like a bumper sticker that was often seen in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma in the mid 1980's and early 1990's.

Obama has done what almost every other politician has done in this situation, he tried to re-inflate the last bubble and attempt to create for a new one. Heck he wants to get re-elected doesn't he?

I saw it up in Alaska. It must be common to all places that pissed away an earlier boom.

I posted a book review on Craig's book on Question Everything on Feb. 2. See: What is a smart species like us doing in a predicament like this?

Ugo picked it up and posted it on his website as well. I do recommend the book to any who hasen't read it, for reasons I give in that post.


George, thanks for the link. Your review is quite long but I will read it and carefully. Also I will follow that blog from now on.


"quite long" Too true Darwinian. But I have two excuses. 1) I'm an academic. 2) It is a complex subject. That is my story and I'm sticking with it!


I think there is a real difference in what people consider important in a post.

I come from a business background, rather than an academic background. Getting to the point quickly, and providing the "answer" in a form that even the chief executive can understand, is viewed as being of high priority in business reports written for high-level audiences.

In an analysis for business purposes, a person starts from a very real business problem, for which an immediate answer must be found, such as, "What reserve number do I include in my financial statement this quarter?" or "What premium do I charge obstetricians for malpractice insurance, given various changes taking place (law changes, interest rates in the future, inflation in the future, etc.)?" The point of the analysis is to get to the best answer possible, given the information available. If something isn't 100% certain, that's OK--that is the way life is. We need to make decisions based on what information is available. There is more emphasis on using today's data than relying on what someone else said in a paper on the subject, since we generally have no way of verifying that past conditions were precisely like today's conditions, and that a prior analysis was not unintentionally biased in some way.

The academic way of approaching problems is fairly different. A fairly narrow slice of a problem is attacked, with one of the major objectives being, "Getting another paper published." There is an emphasis on documenting all of the pieces going into the analysis. The reader is assumed to be another academic, or, in the case of a government official, a staffer for the government official, who has the time and energy to pore over the details, and see if he agrees with the analysis. If he agrees, he will transmit his view to higher-level decision makers.

There can be a conflict when a web site tries to mix these two styles. People coming from one style view their own style as superior to other style. Or they can't quite see how it is possible to come from the opposite style. Some staff members seem to feel that readers will "look down" on TOD, if it includes articles that use more the business approach to handling problems, rather than an academic approach. My articles on Our Finite World follow my approach, which is more the business approach.

Some folks value good answers; others prefer good questions...

Thanks, Ron and Gail, for the reference to Craig Dilworth's book TOO SMART FOR OUR OWN GOOD. Like you, Ron, I ordered it immediately. This question of the human population overshoot is what ultimately interests me the most, too. It hearkens back, for me, to William Catton's OVERSHOOT. Like you. Ron, I don't always manage to read every book I buy from cover to cover, although recently I have been reading through all the books I order, because they all have to do with Peak Oil, overshoot, climate change, the impending food crisis, and all the other forms of societal crisis and collapse.

Truth is that I'm contemplating writing a book on recent theories of crisis and collapse from a Buddhist perspective. Have been practicing Zen Buddhism for almost 24 years now, and I'm afraid I know a lot more about Buddhism than I do about all the other subjects I just mentioned (despite having taught the history of science for a number of years). Nevertheless, I think that Buddhism has something to offer us in the years ahead, if only because the notions of interdependence and ecology are at the very center of Buddhist experience. Like John Michael Greer, I believe that "The Spiritual Dimension" ought not to be thrown out with the bathwater. As a "religion" (if that is really what it is)based on experience rather than faith, Buddhism may have something to tell us about why we've brought ourselves to the edge of the cliff and how we might re-arrange our priorities to make sense of our post-carbon world. That Buddhism, at least Zen Buddhism, is not a proselytizing religion may make listening to its perspective on the human condition easier.

In any case, I want, too, to speak to my fellow Buddhists--many of whom, even the ecologically active ones--have bought into dubious notions that alternative energies (wind, solar, etc.) can scale-up in time to forestall what is likely, at best, to be a very hard landing for our present culture.

Anyway, those are my thoughts about writing. I can also throw into the mix the experience I've had living in a house and barn my wife and I built with our own hands about 34 years ago on 35 acres of land in northern Vermont. Who knows whether I can manage to say anything worth reading; but here in my later years, the project keeps my neurons firing.

At the very least I will keep reading as many of the books and articles mentioned here on TOD as seem relevant. Trouble is, of course, that just as the list gets whittled down a bit, it grows longer again. At some point, I need just to speak from my own experience.

Thanks again, Gail and Ron. The two of you especially have led me to sources of insight and inspiration, and I am deeply grateful for that.

I frequently don't respond to your posts because I find your tone often brusque, unpleasant and often rude. That's a shame because a lot of your data, points and observations are interesting and noteworthy.


Weekend, I was speaking of my originating post, not my replies. They are usually only charts and data. And, as I explained, the reason is simply because people are simply losing interest in the subject of peak oil, overshoot and related subjects. However I do not think my replies are anything you claim. I have posted wrong comments before. When I do, and someone points out my error I correct it immediately. That is the way it should be.

Pointing out someone's error is normal practice on this list and should be. That is not being rude. Perhaps some people think it is rude because they continually post erroneous data and do not post links to back up their claims.

People making erroneous claims but never posting links or other references is one of my pet peeves. And, like several others on this list, I always try to point that out. If you find that unpleasant then so be it but I will continue to ask for links when people make grandiose claims without any citation whatsoever.

Ron P.

Asking for either data or logic to back up a claim is a good thing as is pointing out that somebody may have made a mistake.
However (in effect) yelling (by internet standards) and writing stuff like "you are wrong!", although perhaps true, may be perhaps intended to be constructive but that tone of communication does not resonate with me and does not entice me to discuss/research/debate.
Tone, especially in a single pathway communications (written language)exchange, matters because there are no other clues which may help the recipient to determine the intend of the sender.


I share your frustration on the fact that TOD seems to be less interested oil production shortfall and related subjects. I keep posting on these subjects but they seem to be getting fewer and fewer responses these days. But I don't blame anyone, I think most folks just have burnout on the subject.

If you, westexas or charles Mackay post information on oil production shortfall or related subjects, I usually just absorb the information like a student taking notes. Because when a person knows less about a subject, they tend to acquiese rather than reply. I'm sure many others do the same, but it probably imho doesn't mean a trend of lowering interest. As to why TOD doesn't post articles like Gail's from above, well, who knows how management makes their decisions. It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle.

I alreadys read Charles MacKays posts. they are concies and appear very well researched and accurate. Less hyperbole than other posters, I wonder where he gets his data from!

Ron,I know how it feels.I am trying to spread the message of peak oil here in Belgium by distributing articles etc,etc in parking lots,universities,parks wherever possible etc. The response is discouraging.Do I give up?NO.A few converts are enough.I always end my lecture roughly translated from Dutch "You are free not to believe me but the funeral is yours and I don't care".We peak oilers do what we have to do.I come from India where we have a word called KARMAYOGI which means "do the just deed without caring for the result3.Don't be disheartened.I don't remember but someone said "It is socially unacceptable to be ahead of your time" and this keeps me thriving.

My latest version of the Titanic metaphor:

Consider the first 15 minutes after the Titanic hit the iceberg versus the last 15 minutes before the ship sank. In the first 15 minutes, only a handful of people knew that ship would sink, but that did not mean that the ship was not sinking. In the last 15 minutes, it was readily apparent to everyone that the ship was sinking, but by then it was far too late to try to get to a lifeboat.

What's tragic about the Titanic sinking is that it wasn't necessary for anyone to die. It's true that the rated capacity of the lifeboats was insufficient to carry everyone. However, the lifeboats had been tested in Belfast harbour carrying twice their rated capacity. It was a calm night when the Titanic sank so this was a viable option. What happened instead is that the first few lifeboats to launch were not even full and the remainder were only filled to their rated capacity.

It would seem that the same fate awaits our society. Most people are in denial about peak oil, resource depletion and climate change. The things we could be doing right now to cushion our landing are not being done. By the time most people understand what is happening it will be too late to create a soft landing for everyone. The lifeboats are already leaving, only partly full.

Well, that was just the LAST in a long string of successive tragedies, which is why I think it's still a great Allegory for our PO predicament.

The lifeboats MIGHT have been stuffed full and saved many more lives.. but that in itself would have been a great example of poor resiliency, not enough slack to make up for various errors and inefficiencies. Razor-thin Margins.

Pride. Image. Bluster.

Excellent metaphor.

I would include The One Percent (tm) that actually locked the lower class passengers below decks to die, so there would be less competition for the lifeboats....

Until near the end, some of the third-class passengers remained trapped below decks, prevented by locked gates and stern stewards from reaching the boats.

Even if the locked gates are a fiction, seems quite plausible to a real world metaphor, if such a thing can be labeled that way.



"The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster." - Oscar Wilde

Gail, Leanan, Darwinian, in fact all of you, rest assured that at least for me you are as necessary as food and fresh water. You are great.
I don't post or comment much mostly because to me the subject of Peak Oil is no longer in doubt and I am more interested in the consequences.

In the case of my country, Spain, the consequences are really scary. Not only unemployment is at 24% (among the young 50 %) and poverty is in the increase, probably around 15 million poor (in a population of 46 million) and getting worse.
Contrary to what many people think about Europe Spain doesn't have a system of benefits or JSA Job Seekers Allowance, so when the unemployment benefit ends (it lasts a bit longer than in the USA), that's it.

The stock value of the companies has dropped 80% and more, I mean that they are worth less than 20% of what they were worth in 2008 -It is not reflected in Ibex 35, because those 35 companies mostly work abroad.

In Alicante car traffic has dropped to half of what it was two years ago. It used to be a very rich Mediterranean city, now there are demonstrations by thousands of people every day.

It is a race to the bottom, salaries around 400 euros (like in Uruguay) are now for sure.
The country suffers what I call The Death of the Ten Thousand Cuts. Many children are now in school this winter covered with blankets in class because the Administration can not pay the fuel.

Although Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression has played a part, it is the building bubble that went bust and more important, the Corruption of the Upper Class and the Cretinism of the Lower Class.
The son-in-law of the King is on trial charged with shocking, unimaginable acts of corruption and embezzlement and he is just the most visible actor in this drama, the list of politicians charged with stealing fortunes is endless.

It is ironic, peak oil has also brought on peak crime ! I mean, according to the police there are 1.500 mafia gangs in Spain. Well, they must have been living from something...
Now that the money has run out they are fighting among themselves and no longer can cover their tracks.

Keep up the good work.

PS. Just a couple of links, so you don't think I've invented what I wrote

Urdangarin carried out business as usual despite King’s orders

Valencia officials arrested on suspicion of stealing international aid funds

As an American, I have not heard one word about it.
I can, however, recite, from the news, in detail, Michael Jackson's last moments.
Further, I know who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

I just heard about our "plug-in replacement" administration's support of the leadership of Honduras. Not on the news.

...and a candidate's insane allegations about Dutch involuntary euthanasia. Not on the news.

I remember when the images stopped in Thailand as the protesters were slaughtered, very quietly, and not on the news.

Thanks for the view from the ground. I don't see these news items in Mainstream Media. Crime is almost directly correlated with Poverty (esp in the cities) so it's not a surprise. A year back I read about the experiences of someone who went through the Argentinian crisis. He had the same thoughts.

Maybe you'll find this helpful.

In the case of my country, Spain, the consequences are really scary. Not only unemployment is at 24% (among the young 50 %) and poverty is in the increase, probably around 15 million poor (in a population of 46 million) and getting worse.

Depending on the 'skin color' of the American, the numbers are far worse in America.

My memory says 'Muslim' males are part of a discriminated group in Spain.


Gail’s one of my go-to sources for understanding the net energy/economy link. I’m sure I’m not alone on that score. I read her website regularly. Not sure why she’s not picked-up/re-posted here.

I resonate with your idea that, “folks just have burnout on the subject…” Now, I’m reading that as a comment that it’s the recipients of our message(s) that have burned out: Tired of hearing the same old story for almost a decade.

That’s exactly where I get interested: how to communicate (and motivate) in ways that keep people engaged. I run into some of the same problems that you have mentioned here and elsewhere when I teach and write about human motivation. People seem to want to run a simplistic, uni-dimensional model of human nature when the empirical evidence is much more complex and nuanced (and if that evidence if used right, more hopeful of the outcome).

Since giving up the effort to communicate the facts isn’t an option for most of us, then other changes are called for. Maybe the melody has to change.

Is it time for a new group of people to take over peak oil education? In some ways, that’s how I read Gail’s work. She’s drawing on the solid, technical facts presented here by many competent folks (yourself included). But she’s crafting those facts in a different way than TOD experts might. Or for an audience that doesn’t suffer well our jargon, technical presentations or love of spreadsheets and graphs.

I imagine that we all have dinner with some of these folks most weeks.

Twice a week I lecture to over 180 of them. Every September and January I get to introduce peak oil and net energy to folks who (a) never heard of the concepts before and (b) are in a course that is not about energy descent (at least, they didn’t think it was when they signed up). I get three weeks (6 sessions) before the “drop/add” day lets them drop the class. Without the technical help from people like Gail, yourself and many others here (thank you all), I’d have no facts to convey.

But, frankly, communicating those facts in an engaging and behavior-changing way requires expertise from other sources. And a lot of small experiments in how to convey those facts so that they stick.

The soundest fact may fail or prevail in the style of its telling… - Ursula Le Guin


Thanks Ray and Santaluciae, on behalf of Gail and all the others on this list who have contributed, we deeply appreciate the kind words. But I think Gail probably contributes the most of all, by a very wide margin.

If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask. We do have some oil experts on this list who could probably answer them, though I am not one of them. I am studying the subject and learning just like you, though I have been following the data of every producing country for almost a decade now. My email address is in my profile if either of you guys, or anyone else for that matter, if you have any questions.

Thanks again, Ron P.

We do have some oil experts on this list who could probably answer them, though I am not one of them

You sell yourself short sir.

No one has stepped forward to correct your regular data postings on a regular basis.

Eric, you continually make snide remarks many of my posts. Exactly why do you do that? It adds nothing to the debate.

It does not take an oil expert to copy and paste data from the EIA or JODI.

Ron P.

To throw my two cents in, FWIW, and speaking for myself, there is only so much analysis one can absorb before the thought kicks in - "but what can I *do* ?"

I find myself more interested in reading about what people are doing, both on the web and in my local community.

We used to experience an effect in software consulting called "analysis paralysis" - i.e. companies trying to implement new software systems would try and analyse their business processes to the nth degree - and thus never get to the part about actually putting in the new software.

I'm not, by any means, suggesting that analysis is a bad thing - lots of people are new to the topic of Peak Oil. The analysis is an essential part of the process of folks reviewing their own situation, and making decisions about what they ought to do.

I have been reading on it for seven years. I'm at the point where I've done as much as I think I can do to adapt in place, with the funds I have available - only time will tell if that turns out to have been the right decision - and am more focused on just living my life in a reduced-energy, reduced-consumption kind of way.

Perhaps others are, also, just busy getting on with it.

I keep in mind that it isn't just about the regular posters and commentators. From the TOD Mission Statement:

4. Create a global information community working toward a common goal

The nature of energy impacts vary greatly from country to country. We seek to leverage the open nature of the internet to create a global forum for the discussion of energy problems and solutions wherever these may lie. Your participation is welcome—if not necessary—for the improvement of our energy future. The assemblage of facts on a global scale is a powerful tool to advance understanding of what is a major challenge for humanity.

TOD used to post annual statistics regarding the number of unique individual visits, top commentators, etc. IIRC, unique visits were well into the tens of thousands, most of whom never make their presence known or even register, many new to the subjects discussed here. No community, no TOD.

"Ask NOT what TOD can do for you..."

"Ask NOT what TOD can do for you..."

Of course, that's true. TOD is an invaluable resource, and only as valuable as the contributions of participants. I just think that, for many of the "old timers", life has become more about implementing (and sharing) solutions than about analysis. But we wouldn't have got there without the analysis.

I’m heartened to see the TOD mission statement mention …solutions wherever these may lie.

Energy descent is inevitable. The nature of our response is not.

Many sites do an excellent job with the former. But, perhaps able to imagine only deep, utter collapse, abandon all discussion of the latter.

It's a very tricky balance, looking both at the problems, and looking towards the 'responses' (I won't even try 'solutions' for the moment..) - and keeping space for each of them in the same conversation.

But frankly, while I do rely on seeing the ongoing evidence of the decline data and the informed responses to the MSM Drivel and MisInfo.. I don't disagree with Ron's guess that many of us are weary of a barrage of Oilfield Stats.

I'm here to see where people are going towards, less what we're coming from. I relish Here in Halifax's work and references, Ghungs and FMagyar's experiences, Wimbi's and Toto's experiments and notions.. I don't have a lot of time for the insistence that we have hit 'Game Over' .. I'm looking for the games we need to form on the next level.. if we're lucky enough to get that opportunity.

But, perhaps able to imagine only deep, utter collapse, abandon all discussion of the latter.

I keep trying to do the little I can, but overall I feel that humans, even with being sentient and able to document history, and study and learn, are still unable to self-regulate. History full of citations of 'here is proof a civilization used to be here' but then collapse of that civilization.

Reading about the recent BBC story about how what may have been a mild long-term drought torpedoed the Maya, hits close to home:


All the math showing that even if everyone switched to cars that doubled the global miles per gallon, it is still going to be depleted.

All the facts showing that food production and transport in BAU needs lots of energy from FF.

...makes it hard for me to just assert "We'll figure it out, all will be well. Have faith!".

Label me a doomer that hopes for the best, but is not expecting things to turn out well.

"That was a great article Gail, please keep up the good work. I share your frustration on the fact that TOD seems to be less interested oil production shortfall and related subjects. I keep posting on these subjects but they seem to be getting fewer and fewer responses these days. "

Preaching to the choir syndrome. We know, and have no need to comment when we see that which follows the existing trends.

However, this does not mean we can just ignore it all now. It's like at work. I do a production report every day even when I know the answer, because if I don't get the answer I expect, something important happened. Or it was just a data entry error :-). Either way, monitoring a production process, which is what we are doing in a way, is not always exciting. In fact, it's most profitable when you are bored silly.

I keep posting on these subjects but they seem to be getting fewer and fewer responses these days.

Did you ever consider:

1) a response indicates controversy.
2) a response indicates a need for correction.
3) a response indicates disagreement.

I can not look into your soul and determine why a lack of response troubles you in such a manner. If you are seeking affirmation each time you post a 'correct' post - TOD does not seem to be the place for such. TOD does a better job of honing arguments and correction of flaws in positions (cold pricklies*) VS affirmation when one restates an obvious truth (warm fuzzies*)


Many of us agree with what you say and have nothing more to add. Hence no response.


I'm not a very active member, Im more of a Lurker.
However, I read most of the Drumbeats and haven't skipped any of your posts yet.
On most topics I tend to agree with your point of view.
I like your style, as well.

My experience in anything energy related isn't great, so I have not much to say in response.
Also, since visiting TOD I've been learning a lot. Much is still new to me. Recently I've learned about the Cubic Mile of Oil (CMO) to visualizes the 550 Exajules consumed every year.
There are also more practical projects I've started since visiting, like my Composting Space Heater.

But I digress, all I wanted to say is that I like reading your posts and hope you continue writing them.


Thanks AG, I appreciate the kind words. I am retired and really just read and post here because I find it very rewarding and it is the only place, that I know of on the net, where a person can express his opinions on the subjects of resource depletion and overshoot.

Thanks again, Ron P.

I will chime in as well, simply to say that I, too, appreciate your precise data and your insights over the past several years.
Best wishes from Howe Island, Ontario.



Just read your article. Excellent.

The ongoing oil production growth rate "pause" is one of the most important stories of the decade. I never tire of reviewing different aspects of it.

The fact that you write about it in plain declarative sentences is why I enjoy your posts. I recently had a "peak oil theory" discussion with some acquaintances who were trying to discredit it and I decided to respond that "it is not a theory - it is a graph". Then I showed them one of Ron's JODI graphs of production vs time and it completely stumped them. Finally one of them said - "is that what you mean by peak oil - I did not realize production growth had actually stopped?"

I have decided that from now on my story is just going to be that peak oil is a graph. Let's all watch the graph together.

A very interesting article follows about how many doctors approach their own death, having had a front row seat, so to speak, on how many other people have done it. The docs tend not to opt for very expensive, and frequently unpleasant, techniques that slightly extend their lifespans, at the cost of quality of (remaining) life.

I wonder if there is a parallel here to how most people think of (or more accurately don't think of) Peak Oil, i.e., in both cases there is a strong sense of denial, but the docs tend to be far more realistic than their patients and in a similar sense I think that Peak Oilers are far more realistic about Peak Oil, than is the population as a whole, and Peak Oilers tend to be far more realistic about the extent to which substitute sources of energy and advances in efficiency will allow us to maintain our auto centric suburban way of life.

The common connection of course, in both cases, is a strong sense of denial about the inevitable.

Why Doctors Die Differently

It's not something that we like to talk about, but doctors die, too. What's unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care that they could want. But they tend to go serenely and gently. Doctors don't want to die any more than anyone else does. But they usually have talked about the limits of modern medicine with their families. They want to make sure that, when the time comes, no heroic measures are taken. During their last moments, they know, for instance, that they don't want someone breaking their ribs by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (which is what happens when CPR is done right).

In a 2003 article, Joseph J. Gallo and others looked at what physicians want when it comes to end-of-life decisions. In a survey of 765 doctors, they found that 64% had created an advanced directive—specifying what steps should and should not be taken to save their lives should they become incapacitated. That compares to only about 20% for the general public . . .

Why such a large gap between the decisions of doctors and patients? The case of CPR is instructive. A study by Susan Diem and others of how CPR is portrayed on TV found that it was successful in 75% of the cases and that 67% of the TV patients went home. In reality, a 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than one month. Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life.

I'm not sure that correlation is causation in this case.

Suppose everybody in society was religious, like during medieval times. They had little control over life and death, they accepted it was in God's hands and there certainly wasn't expensive, life saving treatments. Yet humans continued on surviving and reproducing like they always do. So people then must have been both religious and quite accepting of death as a part of life, in some sense.

Now, it's a confusion because religiosity differs immensely between classes, social groups, etc., and we manage to keep death away, hidden, for so long. It's generally, but not exclusively, the lower classes and the less intelligent who are religious. One would expect that, when confronted with a complex yet imperfect system of medical care based on science, they wouldn't really know what to do and what default to "whatever you think is necessary, doc." They can't even process what a respiratory is much less how one's internal organs work. The option is there and so might as well make use of it. Fits in very well with the American mentality of positive, action oriented thinking.

So we've managed to basically trick ourselves, both secularists and the religious alike. The secular scientists and doctors provide the pills and respirators, the religious gobble them up, and the costs are socialized to everyone in the form of inflation, healthcare premiums, taxation, etc.

Isn't part of the problem the fact that people are attracted to a story with a happy ending, and repelled by a negative sounding story, even if true? This is especially if the attractive sounding story might lead to more $$ for someone.

So each web site comes up with its own biases of what it will print, and newspapers are even worse. People assume what they read is true, and don't even realize that there is an alternative way of thinking.

your essay "Human population overshoot–what went wrong?" was very interesting. I wanted to comment, but couldn't (time constrained). But will now.

Anyway, what you are saying:

Isn't part of the problem the fact that people are attracted to a story...

Very True!
I think it is THE problem! Because People build their own "Believe system" based on these stories / parts of stories. This applies to religion, science, or any other subject were the believe system comes into play.

Take for example Christianity. There are more than 2500 different denominations, all based on the Bible - more or less. People choose and pick what "sounds" good and go shopping for the church which comes closest to what they "want" to hear.

And of course the same applies to science - GW, PO, Overshoot, etc. are just a few examples.

As one of the commenter at your essay said, the "truth" has nothing to do with it.

Now just expand where this line of thinking leads us as the human race. I think most of us know ==> If our "own" believe system is not in the way!



PS.: Hat tip to you for allowing an open discussion like this on your blog

"and don't even realize that there is an alternative way of thinking." That would be true also of journalists and their editors. Perhaps even more so by the nature of their jobs: I would guess that they become even more fully immersed in the BAU culture because of whom they continually have contact with.

I am a retired physician (radiologist) and have notarized the current California Advanced Directives checking the box thusly --- (x) a) Choose Not To Prolong Life.

"Part 2 — Instructions for Health Care
If you fill out this part of the form, you may strike out any wording you do not want.
(2.1) END-OF-LIFE DECISIONS: I direct my health care providers and others involved in my care to provide, withhold, or withdraw treatment in accordance with the choice I have marked below:
F a) Choice Not To Prolong
I do not want my life to be prolonged if the likely risks and burdens of treatment would outweigh the
expected benefits, or if I become unconscious and, to a realistic degree of medical certainty, I will not regain consciousness, or if I have an incurable and irreversible condition that will result in my death in a relatively short time."

tex,I think alot of people know but don't want to think about it.I remember what my Dad said to me when I was about 12 and was worried about a school test.He said prepare the best you can,but there are somethings in life you can't prepare for and all the worry and fretting in the world won't do any good unless you can control the outcome.The knowledge gained at TOD I hope will help those that follow help their communities. Thanks and I think there will be a light bulb moment.

Our wonderful family physician, John B. Montana, was diagnosed with acute leukemia late in 2007. Lots of people would have offered blood marrow in treatment, even his estranged brother. But John chose to embrace life in his final months rather than to fight death. He closed his medical practice immediately and spent his final months in travel to Turkey, Greece, Peru. He died in September 2008 surrounded by friends. Our appointments with him were like visits with a friend, but the obituary placed in the New York Times told us how much more there was to him than we'd seen. He set us up with a network of medicos, all of whom remind us of him, but we miss his presence still.

To All here at TOD: I'm one of the many readers -
(though evidently one of very few women)- who don't comment, but I feel I need to add my voice and say how much I have learned here and how much I appreciate all those who make such knowledgeable comments. I too have sometimes - very carefully - started to discuss peak oil with friends - very intelligent folks, dedicated environmentalists - and get really no response - subject just gets quickly dropped. I rarely say anything any more. Once in awhile still try... Denial is more than a river in Egypt!!! Anyway - thanks to all - and Rockman - especially love your comments.

Welcome, Gammakaren. Please do share your experience and insight. We need a diversity of voices and backgrounds here to keep the site vibrant.

academia vs the real world. as time has gone on i have seen this place while still a very good source of information, become skewed to the former. posting basic data and pet theory's of the staff over where it's effecting the real world in foreign policy(for the united states at the very least) and people's every day lives, to a certain extent.

I can understand why though, it's more comfortable. crunching numbers in the abstract, making theory's and counter theory's, etc. It's a way of coping i guess for realizing what they are discussing has real world consequences. the people who died in iraq for example just to make sure it's natural resources are available to the world market is one real world implication. even though lifting sanctions would of had the same effect, just with certain countries loosing face. and the lives that might be lost if the saber rattling at iran turns out to be more then just pure bluff. even though again their is a easier and less deadly way to do it, but again certain countries will be loosing 'face' by doing so.

After our 'successful' intervention in Libya, the UK prime minister Cameron is openly talking of military intervention in South Sudan in order to prop up the oil supply from the country. We no longer pretend it is about 'humanitarian' intervention.


Apparently he was talking about Somalia. I didn't know they had oil...

This story has been brewing for months


Are you genuinely serious, TrueKaiser? Do you actually believe that this forum skews towards the theoretical and "academic", more than the real world? If so, I am totally stunned.

I can understand why though, it's more comfortable. crunching numbers in the abstract, making theory's and counter theory's, etc.

It's a way of coping i guess for realizing what they are discussing has real world consequences.I can understand why though, it's more comfortable. crunching numbers in the abstract, making theory's and counter theory's, etc.

And this is incredibly patronising, and it is certainly unwarranted.

Many real oil-persons are on here day after day, providing more real-world experience about the oil industry than you could find in a thousand oil industry offices, or government agencies, around the world.

People like westexas, at least three times a week, tells us that on the current DATA (real world figures, note), that the availability of imported fuel for importing countries is declining very steadily, and vanishes to zero by about 2030.

And he asks (quite reasonably) - why isn't this the biggest news story every day? And the reason of course, is that business, government, the media, and academia cannot and will not deal with it ... in their world view, the articulating of the data-driven obvious peak oil reality is too awful and too disruptive of BAU.

To my simple mind, TOD is the real world, and just about everyone else is down in Anaheim. Finding a parking spot for the SUV.

For the benefit of our international readers, Anaheim is where Disneyland is located.

Many real oil-persons are on here day after day, providing more real-world experience about the oil industry than you could find in a thousand oil industry offices, or government agencies, around the world.

At least one 'real world' site.

People like westexas, at least three times a week, tells us that on the current DATA (real world figures, note), that the availability of imported fuel for importing countries is declining very steadily, and vanishes to zero by about 2030.

This is a little theoretical though. It vanishes to zero if oil-exporting countries do nothing to diminish their oil consumption drastically (like Iran is trying). And if the worldeconomy not enters a long lasting depression long before 2030.

... to diminish their oil consumption drastically (like Iran is trying).

LOL. I guess your looking for a spot in that same carpark in Anaheim!

Not at all Cargill. I have most of the times the same opinion as Darwinian. A few years ago he guessed that world economic collapse could happen in 2018. It wouldn't surprise me either.
Maybe you don't know what Iran is doing. I am not refering to their nuclear plants, but to the dual-fuel vehicles. Soon all the gas stations have gas and all the cars can run on gas in Iran. And gas is much cheaper.

I love reading Gail the Actuary

Please do not take this the wrong way....

Reading Gail the Actuary is like reading a "Dummy Book"

Peak Oil for Dummies

I just mean she's always very clear, concise, and easy to read

Just the way I like it....


TOD needs to post more Gail the Actuary

Gail has her own platform - be thankful that TOD has shown her her voice has many listeners.

Then link to Gail and read it.

Dear Gail.

I have obviously missed some debate. When you write TOD - do you mean the organisation or the readers?

Im, personally, very interested in those articles and informations that you say TOD is not interested in and I visit this site every possible day.

However, its not often i can contribute anything useful that is not said already and im not good at repeating stuff. The result is that i do not write much here, but almost everything is read and thought about.

A fact is that you (and TOD)are definitely personal heroes of mine!

Yours sincirely
Nicolai, Denmark

She meant special threads like this one: Obstacles Facing US Wind Energy.

Ron P.

Gail was once the main editor of TOD and could post articles at her discretion. Now she has to submit even her own articles to a vote of the TOD Powers That Be.

Mysterious changes happened which resulted in the departure of TOD co-founder "Professor Goose" (Professor Kyle Saunders) and new rules for a "kinder, gentler TOD" put in place - or that was how it was explained.

Although I do not agree with Leanan on every decision (and say so from time to time), I have to say that Leanan continues to allow a reasonable amount of free running in the Drumbeat and things aren't as bad as I feared. That said, I miss a number of participants who left or were ejected after the changes.

I always look forward to reading Gail's articles.

No one was ejected. TOD is a huge amount of work. Nate and Kyle had been wanting to step down or at least scale back for a long time. The changes were in part to allow them to do that. Nobody wanted to push them out; they wanted more time for their personal lives. Which is entirely understandable. They worked very hard for a long time on this site, for no pay. For a lot longer than they wanted to.

By "ejected" I meant the banning of some long term TOD members who fell foul of the tighter guidelines. I'm sure you know at least one or two of the ex-TODers I refer to.

I know we can argue over whether they were "ejected" or effectively banned themselves.

Time moves on though and I remain thankful for TOD and all the unpaid effort put into running it in any case.

Eh, people have been banned or have chosen to leave since the start of TOD. I don't think it had anything to do with the tighter guidelines. Those apply to the people contributing articles, not to the regular posters.

Here's a little more light on the "inner sanctum":

The TOD Powers That Be consist of a moderately large (20+) group of unpaid individuals, each of whom has the following rights:

  1. they can submit an article to the reviewing queue (their own article or some else's)
  2. they can vote "Yes", "Yes with changes" or "No" on an article in the queue

An article needs three "Yes" votes to be published while three "No" votes will block publication. A rotating 'managing editor' works with part-time copy editors to get articles looking good and eventually moved to the TOD front page. Another very talented individual works to keep the Drupal software up and running.

Over the past year that I have been on the editorial board, submission and voting activity has been dominated by a core group of perhaps 8-10. You will recognize them from the attribution in the top posts.

Every editor brings their own bias of course and I will share mine:

I like to see articles that have historical perspective, are data focused in assessing what is happening and how we got here yet are very circumspect in predicting what will happen in the future. I am not particularly interested in discussion of "collapse" and instead like to see articles that have what I refer to as "actionable information" -- information that can guide decision making at the individual, business and local government scale. I am very fond of the aphorism: "Think globally, act locally".

Others on the editorial board have different biases and the hope is that the group possesses enough balance to provide both variety and a minimum level of consistency. Several of the editors also maintain their own blogs where they can write whatever they want.

I hope that helps. It's always unnerving when one doesn't understand how decisions are made.


The process of article submission, and then long lists of "you didn't address this issue sufficiently" and "the article would be better if you re-wrote it this way" get to be wearing. In addition, staff members don't understand financial topics well, so voting gets to be pretty much random, or based on whether an article "looks academic".

I think that review process in some ways can make an article worse, rather than better. My article Obstacles Facing US Wind Energy started out as a list of wind problems, but didn't sound like a diatribe against wind. After I was asked to add more justification for many points, and explain why preconceived notions a, b, c, d, and e weren't really true, the article ended up sounding more like a diatribe against wind. What I said was true, but I hadn't planned on the article sounding as overly-strong as it did in the end.

"I think that review process in some ways can make an article worse,.."

Whether it makes it worse or better seems a bit subjective, and pointless at that, if it's being posted on TOD. It'll be reviewed pretty well here without the editors' input. Takes guts, I'm sure. Greer posted portions of some of his energy related essays here a while back, in part to test some of his data and conclusions. Regardless of background noise or the quality of the post, someone will usually challenge its conclusions. Isn't that the point?

One of the things that draws me here is that the site isn't focused entirely on "actionable intelligence", which is what decision makers, who are in the position of spending perhaps billions of other peoples' money need (they have neither the time nor likely the skills for in-depth analysis). That's what they pay folks like you for. Actionable intelligence is just hyperbole without its underlying analysis, or at least a solid record of success to vet it.

Perhaps the staff here just want you to stir the pot a bit more. Some of your posts/conclusions regarding alternatives have done that pretty well. Just some thoughts...

In my view, your exposition of your views on economics, money, and credit are likely to lead to some folks giving less credence to the more directly energy related aspects of the site. A separation of those topics to another forum seems warranted. There is no question that economics is an important part of the peak oil discussion, but your posts tend to be highly conclusory on relatively weak grounds from my individual POV. That does not prevent me from appreciating some of your other contributions.

While I'm not privy to the editorial process, some familiarity with corporate politics leads me to think that direct engagement of your POV on certain issues may seem counter-productive, if politesse may prevent publication more easily.

You have my deepest sympathies.

I have seen similar situations (if I have understood this one correctly) before on other blogs and in company work groups.

I could say a lot about how an organisation ruins and wears out main contributors - whom very often migrate and create their own new "clubs" so that they can get the joy again of doing what they once did without the spectre of control and "the arbiters of taste panels". Its not a benefit for anyone to create these situations, but nonetheless they happen again and again - often for the reason that some wants to make things better and wont listen to individual complaints nor allow space for personal needs of the contributors. Its what I define as a misshapen democratic "Quality" thought. A (pseudo?)democracy should and can take into account the individuals needs, but wont do it because of the perception that the nice shiny control structures they have made would be soiled. You must fit everything into this nice and square hole. If not, then something is wrong - Not the shape of the hole because we voted and decided that everything is square. The very best contributors are often not square.

But I wont. ;-)

My opinion is very clearly that the filtering process in general is best done by the readers - not by panels or spindoctors or whomever. The hole through to the reader should be rather large and flexible to provide for everyone.

Its fine to review the articles to a small degree before publishing on a discussion forum. There is a limit, of course, and it shouldnt be too high up. On a discussion forum such as TOD - its a benefit and brings life to the community to discuss these articles with their weak points. Even if they reach the same conclusions as the "arbiters of taste" and think this and that could be done otherwise.

The above is, of course, very opiniated, but based upon experience.

I'm sorry for stirring the pot and very possibly making nighttime rantings, but when situations like these happen they often herald bad times and solutions. I hope that my views might open the possibility of the TOD leadership solving this in an amicably way by examining their empathy with the contributors.

All said, I did enjoy the article about the obstacles in windpower and the discussions below it.

Yours sincirely
Nicolai, Denmark

I don't see why it's a bad thing. Maybe if this were a corporation, it would be bad, but a blog? What's wrong with people having their own blogs?

A lot of people were really upset when TAE spun off from TOD. But I think it's turned out to be a great thing. They are free to do what they want, including raising money and selling videos. Everyone who was interested in what they had to say can still follow them. Those who felt finance was not part of our core mission here are also happy. It's been a win-win-win, in my view.

"Cheniere Energy Partners will receive $2 billion in financing from The Blackstone Group to fund the construction of a natural gas export plant in Southern Louisiana."

Last year a single load of LNG was shipped from Chenier's Sabine Pass, Texas, terminal to England. I had assumed this was basically a pilot project to work out the logistics and contract details. What profit there may have been was locked in long before the tanker was loaded. This latest announcement would indicate the project met the minimum requirements. The details weren't released but it's probably a safe bet that all the cost factors (NG/LNG prices, transportation costs, volumes, etc) are fixed by contract ("Cheniere has lined up international customers for the natural gas and received approval from the Department of Energy to export it".) Most LNG exports are done in this manner including 10 to 20 contracts for the LNG tankers. The total cost is significant ("Not including financing costs, Cheniere says it will cost $4.5 billion to $5 billion to build the first two of four trains planned for the site. Cheniere hopes to export 2.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day, about 4 percent of daily U.S. production.")

"Some lawmakers, environmentalists and industrial customers oppose plans to export natural gas. They say it will raise natural gas prices in the U.S. Environmental groups say the process of liquefying and shipping natural gas wastes too much energy and that exporting natural gas will lead to an increase in the controversial drilling process called hydraulic fracturing in the U.S." Fortunately the current federal administration is fine with the plan. The oil patch might want to consider swinging their support to the Democrat party. At the moment this is the best news we domestic NG producers have heard in a long time. From us Gulf Coast NG producers and Illinois coal companies: Thank you Mr. President.

"Scenario 2: Megaefficiency in megacities"
Robotics has revolutionized the world of production and services. Consumers have changed their habits: Products are now usually rented, instead of purchased. "

the left out...

Everyone gets rich through finance and investments.

It's so crazy that it just might work.lol

"Scenario 1: Untamed Economy-Impending Collapse"

"Scenario 2: Megaefficiency in megacities"

I vote 1.

actually that's where your wrong, you think you have a choice but you do not. scenario 1 was chosen for us when our economic system came into being. what you see in that clip is a engineered breakdown of the 'self <-> family <-> community <-> nation <-> world' order system to the family level. otherwise known as 'keeping up with the jones's'. 'i must have one of those cabbage patch dolls for my kid's even if i have to hurt someone for it because i have been convinced it's crucial for my family's well being.'

while scenario 2 in a certain extent(but not as they picture it) is possible because human nature is flexible to a certain point. That path is not available to us because of the majority of the first/western world has been taught since birth for the past century that the behavior in option 1 is normal and acceptable.

the biggest fallacy today is the idea that we still have a choice in the matter of what will happen. instead in reality we are reaping the consequences of choices either we ourselves made in the past without the knowledge we know now, or the choices made by those who lived before us. Just as we are making choices now that will effect the kids alive now or who are yet to be born 10, 15, even 20 years from now. yet i will bet you, at least those who are still alive then that at that time. that the popular discussion will be 'we still have a choice, we must act now to stop this, etc.'

{sarcasm}[irony}I'll be sure to wrap any comments that I intend as sarcastic or ironic thusly in the future....{/sarcasm}{/irony}.

*face palms*. yes i fell for that, irony and such doesn't translate into text.. yet.


That's OK....sometimes I think we live in a post satirical world now anyhow....some of the craziest $#*! turns out to be true!

So you are very optimistic? 2050 is 38 years in the future. Lots of us expect that the collapse will not be impending then--but will already have happened.

At least they realize BAU won't continue.

It's a logistics organization - very much part of the corporate world.

But logistics people, unlike most of their business brethren, seem to understand resource limits and threat it poses to BAU.

"But logistics people, unlike most of their business brethren, seem to understand resource limits and threat it poses to BAU."

Yes - I just attended an Austin meeting of Supply Chain Managers (trucking and railroads) in which Chuck Taylor (a regular attendee at ASPO meetings)gave them a talk on the implications of peak oil to their logistics future. They listened very carefully - and I could tell from the conversations afterwards that some of them were already making adjustments to their businesses assuming peak oil was a big issue to them.

Can't we have a third scenario?

Where people choose smart leaders and make careful choices as far as husbanding natural resources for the precious things they are and actually think about the good of future generations (instead of just lip-serving it to death) and non-human "fellow travelers"?
Where the planet is treated with respect as the only home humans have, or ever will have, instead of a giant kitty litter box?
Not likely I'm afraid.

Did you read the article? They give 5 scenarios.

Nope I only read the post. I didn't realize there was more.

Guilty as charged!

"Scenario 3, Customized Lifestyles"

That was exactly what I was hoping the third choice could be!

Did anyone read the NYT Sunday Review:
and has comment on the "Bad Answers" from Tom Friedman?
More and more articles are hitting big name publications with obviously no supporting references nor signs of in-depth research. But each of these writings keep on reinforcing the cornucopia crowd and give ammunition to the opponents of a open book dialog on our energy future. I thought TF was thorough in his research. From now on, I will have to ignore anything he writes.

Large corporate "news outlets" are nothing more than propaganda trumpets nowadays. Years ago I thought the NYT was about the best news source around, at least in the US. Now I only go to their website to parse the official govt lies.

This was written a couple of days before Friedman's "A Good Question" but hits the nail on the head.
The Emperor's Messenger Has No Clothes: Belén Fernández Dresses Down Thomas Friedman

What's scary about Thomas Friedman is not his journalism, with its underinflated insights and twisted metaphors. Annoying as his second-rate thinking and third-rate writing may be, he's not the first - or the worst - hack journalist.

What should unnerve us about Friedman is the acclaim he receives in political and professional circles.

Ron P.

"More and more articles are hitting big name publications with obviously no supporting references nor signs of in-depth research."

Wouldn't want to bog folks down in important details and tedious math, now would we? Cognative dissonance doesn't sell papers.

Not quite, Ghung. Cognitive dissonance is precisely what distinguishes the NYT. They make nonsense out of reality that is perfectly explainable.

Take the case of the ongoing Iran coverage. I dare anybody to find a single serious reference to the NPT, which is indisputably the controlling legal frame for this matter. That treaty permits all non-weaponized signatories to pursue nuclear energy. It also requires all weaponized signatories to be constantly engaged in regional and world disarmament talks. Between the United States and Iran, then, only one nation is clearly out of compliance with the treaty. It ain't Iran.

Simple, eminently clarifying, factual story. Utterly forbidden.

Well hopefully we can see now how the idea of "Americanism" extends beyond simply the left/right spectrum, how it's an official idealogy and dogma that is promoted by all. Why else would Obama continue disastrous wars and bail out corrupt banks? Because it must be good for America. The NYT and Friedman are the same way.

Morris Berman has been trying to get this point across to anybody who will listen. Peak oil is most likely bad for America, in many ways, though not necessarily disastrous. Thereby, it will be denied.

America is the land of milk and honey, the city on the hill, a cornucopia of freedom and riches. The idea of limits is foreign to the American psyche and forever has been.

Let's defeat those bad guy terrorists, bring democracy to the Islamic world, secure oil, protect Israel, dig for shale gas, build solar panels and electric cars, bail out the banks, and grow to 500 million people, all in one go! We're American, we can do whatever we want!

Tom Friedman like most others is of this ilk.

Indeed, indeed - Mittens Romney's "victory speech" in Michigan today was entirely this stuff ... it is so intellectually bankrupt (apart from being down-right catastrophic). Oh well - at least Newt is a goner.

BTW Australia is playing Saudi Arabia in a Soccer World Cup qualifier, tonight in Melbourne. Perhaps if we win we should get a billion barrels of oil per year - guaranteed!


man, it's nice to see that in black and white, and not just hear myself yelling it at the radio.

"They make nonsense out of reality that is perfectly explainable."

I think they're appealing to folks' confirmation bias at this point. Making folks uncomfortable or insecure doesn't seem like good salesmanship, but I suppose it depends on your interpretation of cognitive dissonance; sort of a slippery term:

The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.

Then, again, considering how popular vampire, zombie and disaster movies are, you could be right. I guess I'm a bit out of touch :-0

I prefer to read the comments, great insight on how people think. Unfortunately this insight gives you a headache. Abiotic oil, infinite solar, collectivism, pinko commie etc are just some of the terms used. In fact I had no idea public transport was an example of communism until I read it there. Usually the more mainstream a website the worse it gets, the average is indeed lower than what you'd expect. I am reminded of Carlin's quotes about how stupid people are.

md - Folks can pick at what he presents as "facts". But he does a good job of avoiding actual numbers (more importantly graphs) that could be argued. What I find the most disappointing is the general tone. In a variety of spins he's essentially tells the public that not only does the US have to worry about future energy supplies/prices but that we may have so much excess that exports will become a major component of our economy.

A few weeks ago, Business Week published an article (1/27/12 "Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong" by Charles Kenny) in the same brand of cornucopia.
I managed to get into an email exchange with Charles over the ensuing weekend to found out that his research was down to two hits on the web. He finally acknowledged that he just added the same reserve twice (a substantial error of 6 trillions of barrels) to his estimate of "proven reserves". But he did not back down when cornered over the confusion between what is in the ground and what could come out and at what rate.
There is a trend in the Editor offices around the major publications to go out with only the good news, whatever the quality. Is there is API slush fund somewhere we do not know about?
On the other hand, I presented a slideshow on Energy and Wealth to my folks in the Hedge Fund I work at. We went enthusiastically over the time allocated, but the overall impression is total ignorance on the subject.
We have to stop preaching the choir- I do not know and with what funds...

md - Congrats on making the effort anyway. As we all know recoverable reserve volumes mean nothing if the rate of recover isn't factored in. If he can't or refuses to acknowledge this simple concept then I see little value in the discussion. Seems to be a common problem with the public: huge inground reserves mean high production rates to them. Especially when they can't grasp the concept that a billion bbls of oil (let alone 42 billion gallons) is a rather small number compared to what the world burns thru every month...about 2.5 billion bbls. Given that probably 99.9% of the public has little chance of understanding even the simple basics of reservoir dynamics there's not much chance of changing their perspective IMHO.

One anecdote for you Fund folks: There's a field outside of San Antonio that has over 10 million bbl of proven recoverable oil. If that seems to impress them just point out that there are about 200 wells producing that oil...at less than 1 bopd per well. Yes: it will take about 150 years to recover those 10 million bbls. Of course, the casings will rust away long before then. Granted this is at one end of the scale. At the other end is a Deep Water GOM oil field doing 400,000 bopd. OTOH it will be depleted in 6 or 7 years. Lots of oil fast...and then it's gone.

Jedi Welder

I must ask a question to wich I do not have the answear. It is regarding sea level rise, and sewer systems. Many sewer-systems in the world are powered by graviy. In other words, just like in company structures, s**t flow downwards.

All such systems have a zero-level; the lowest point in the system.

Now, if such a system is found in a city by the sea, the sea level will become the zero-level. Unless they have pump systems to keep a zero-level below the level of the nearby sea.

I am no city engineer, but my profession has taken me to many Fun and Interesting Places, and I have seen my share of pipe systems. When sea level rises, so will the zero-level in any gravity powered sea-side sewer-system as well. Rise that ocean half a meter or so, and toilets around the world will get their own "spindeltop-moments" at peak flush hours.

I wonder if this is a real problem, or if they have actually thought about this?

Like you say the sewer systems mostly use gravity. But usually what happens the final treatment plant operates near sea level and has to pump it's final product up & out to sea.

This will become more of a energy supply problem as time goes by. The bigger problem is storm-water drainage. Here in Florida, places like St. Augustine and Daytona already have problems with water backing up into roads through drains during storms+high tide.

Don't forget the city sewers are part of the city - and city folk are an odd lot. They somehow think that because they pay taxes they deserve services.

Oh the complaints of people who decided to buy at the bottom where 2 hills met when their basements flooded. Oh how they felt the City should spend a whole lotta money to prevent the once in 10 year flooding of their basement.

Just like the people who have their pipes freeze over in Scotland because the frost line has gone lower, plenty of constructed things won't be good enough for the future Earth Changes.

A lot of sewage from UK cities is treated downstream of the city, then pumped back upstream above the river freshwater intake to the water supply of the city. It is said water is drunk seven times in London before it reaches the sea...
(not actually drunk but passes through the city water pipes)

I don't think London actually pumps sewage back upstream to the water intakes, but it has a very large and elaborate sewage system, built during the 19th century as a result of the Great Stink of 1858.

Much of the London sewerage system is below sea level (London has been sinking into the sea at about 1 foot per century since the Romans founded it), so it requires massive sewage pumping stations a.k.a. lift stations to raise the sewage above sea level before it is released into the ocean.

Lift stations are quite common on sewage systems in low-lying cities.

Original London Abbey Mills Sewage Pumping Station

Looked at the "great stink" link. I had no idea so many people worked in those sewers...

And an interesting bit of etymology: "sewer" is a contraction of "sea-ward".

Road lighting 'could be dimmed'

Lights on thousands of miles of major roads in England could be dimmed during quiet periods in a bid to save money and reduce carbon emissions, it has emerged.

The American bus revival

Motor coaches are the fastest growing form of long-distance transport in the United States, and British-owned companies are leading the charge. So has the US finally learned to love the bus?

... It is unlikely to ever recapture its wartime glory years - the US is simply too big to make coaches practical for most travellers.

But rising petrol prices and a new breed of British-owned discount operators, based in the densely populated north-east corridor, have made the coach a viable alternative to the car, plane or train for a growing number of travellers

"The stigma about buses falls away as buses become useful," ...

related The Intercity Bus: America’s Fastest Growing Transportation Mode

British owned? Did they push out the Chinese? I remember taking the Chinatown bus from Boston to New York. It was famously cheap and nothing else compared. Have these other bus lines stepped up?


"Accurate traffic statistics are not available for intercity bus travel due to the fact that no
federal government agency compiles such statistics, as is done for intercity rail and airplane travel.
Moreover, Greyhound—the largest provider—no longer publicly reports traffic numbers."

I don't live in the Northeast anymore, anybody know what the truth on the ground is?

No figures but some first hand observations:-

Fung Wah- Chicken in your lap (sarc) and good chance your 'bus will catch fire or crash (the two not mutually exclusive) on one leg of a trip to NYC from Boston.

Bolt Bus- Cheap and very nasty...large window could not be closed properly providing a high pitch whistle and stream of freezing air the whole trip.

Limo-Liner...not so bad...but very spendy.

The 'Dollar Bus' between Minneapolis and Chicago is quite nice, cheap and fast, though there is no controlling what how little the person behind you manages to control their screaming kid--pretty much the same on planes...

It is normally $30 each way, but there are various discount rates, and two seats each time go for only one dollar (by lottery, as far as I can tell). My wife takes it regularly since she regularly has business in Chicago. Saves a lot of $ compared to air fare or train, and she doesn't like flying anyway.

Yair...Other peoples kids are one of the downers of long distance public transport...and the lack of parenting skills in our "modern" society only makes the problem worse.

I would be the first to offer help to a Mum struggling with some young'uns on the train if I can see that they are just acting up as kids.

I have zero tolerance though for out of control behavior racing up and down isles, play screaming and so on whether on a train, a plane or in a waiting room, any public place.

It's amazing how a few stern words from a stranger can (sometimes...mostly) restore the peace.


In my NYC days, trips to Maine and Family were often with the Parallel carriers to Grayhound, which was Peter Pan/ Vermont Transit. The buses often were a bit more comfortable, and for a while had movies where GH didn't.

But the GH buses were like the Yogi line, "Noone goes there any more, too crowded.." No shortage of passengers round about New England, it seemed.

"Have these other bus lines stepped up?"

Yes. I used to take the Chinatown but a lot, but got tired of them overselling the bus and never really running on time.

There are several carriers that hit all of the big northeastern cities and are only a couple of buck more than the Chinatown bus; they also have wifi; generally run on time; and send another bus if your bus breaks down (I've heard of the chinatown bus making people find their own way home at 3 in the morning, in the middle of Jersey, when the bus broke down).

From my understanding, the big reason that these carriers have begun to compete with the cheaper buses is because they only do street pickups. So they don't have the huge overhead costs that greyhound has with all of its terminals.

I can't help feeling a little sorry for Buffett. I guess he just didn't understand the natural gas business. Of course this is the same guy who talks against derivatives but still buys them.

House of Commons, Parliament, U.K. Defence Committee - Tenth Report Developing Threats: Electro-Magnetic Pulses (EMP) 2012

... We recommend that work proceed as a matter of urgency to identify how seriously a future Carrington event would affect the UK infrastructure. It is clear that more modelling is required to establish the likely effect of a major space weather event on the National Grid. This should be independently validated and compared with the results of observations of Grid behaviour during space weather events.

The potential effects of a Carrington size space weather event or a high-altitude nuclear EMP weapon would have specific and potentially devastating impacts upon the electrical grid and other aspects of electronic infrastructure, which play an absolutely critical role in UK society. It is therefore vital that the UK electrical grid is as resilient as possible to potential threats such as these. The various Government departments involved must work with National Grid to ensure that its backup procedures and equipment are sufficient to meet the reasonable worst-case scenario for a severe space weather event. Consideration should further be given to the practicability and cost of establishing resilience against the event of a wide-spread loss of transformers, such as could be created by a HEMP weapon. This might be also an area in which other relevant Committees of this House might like to look at in greater detail in the course of their work.

IMO, this is one of those scenarios that not much can be done to mitigate. It's a bit like trying to waterproof a sponge. The costs of hardening entire grid systems, or even critical parts, will be prohibitive at a time when these systems are already stressed, physically and economically. I suspect that 'smart-grid' upgrades may be even more vulnerable. Some of our grid experts may have more to offer, but it seems like planning for the Yellowstone super eruption; not much point,,, just hope it never happens.

The costs of hardening entire grid systems, or even critical parts, will be prohibitive at a time when these systems are already stressed, physically and economically.

Not to mention in the interest of 'improvement' more networked digital controls are being added to the grid. The complexity of such systems in other nations have caused damage which could be seen from space

There is no realistic way to audit all the layers of software and hardware to make sure it is secure. And even with, in theory, the best security "money can buy" did not help the US Senate from being part of a spam botnet, the RSA, the airforce drone keylogger, or Network Solutions.

Taking part of the grid offline, spinning the generators out of sync with the rest of the grid, then attaching the out of sync load would take parts of the grid offline for a long time 'till replacement parts were obtained.

I am just about to go out and replace a crankshaft position sensor on a Jeep. Turns out, the Jeep won't run without it. Inside is a small chip with a Hall Effect sensor, connected to the ECU via three wires in a rather long unshielded cable. I suspect that even a mild EMP would destroy that chip and render the vehicle (and all others like it) inoperative, even if the ECO and other electronics survived. I wouldn't be surprised to find that a nearby lightning strike would kill it as well...

E. Swanson

Unshielded cable. I remember a hard shift problem on my Mom's early '90s minivan. She took it to the dealer 3 times on warranty, before Dad finally bought and downloaded the service bulletins (POTS phone modem) and discovered a known problem with an unshielded signal wire from the automatic transmission which passed too close to the ignition wiring. A few pennies worth of tinfoil fixed that, and lost that dealer our business.

I am just about to go out and replace a crankshaft position sensor on a Jeep.

I have done it. I recommend using a 'grabby tool' to remove the two small bolts, once you have loosened them up with a wrench. If a CPS bolt drops into the bellhousing, the job becomes much more work ;)


As it turned out, my '96 had sufficient space between the rear of the engine and the firewall that I could wriggle my hand down to grab the bolts. I started by loosening the bolts with a long combination of extensions, a universal connector and a 7/16 (or 11mm) socket, working from below. After the bolts had been backed out, it was easy to do the rest. My XJ has a plastic baffle surrounding the CPS which blocks most of the space in the bell housing, so there wasn't much chance of dropping the bolts. The job took less than 30 minutes after a week of "learning"...

E. Swanson

The job took less than 30 minutes after a week of "learning"...


For my particular adventure, it turned out a chip of flywheel gear or starter gear had attached itself to the sensor, as the sensor itself has quite a strong magnetic field. Since the piece of metal was 'on' the sensor, it was not sensing anything else.

I had already purchased a new sensor, so simply put the new one in.

BUT, if I had been in a 'collapse, very financially poor' scenario, I may have just cleaned off the old sensor and reinstalled it. Then returned the purchased new sensor to the store.

Don't know if it helps but the XJ shop manuals are available on line for various models and years and are very detailed. Took a while of Google digging but I found them. Helped me track a wiring fault to a hidden in line splice.


Don't know if it helps but the XJ shop manuals are available on line for various models and years and are very detailed.

I have the paper factory service manual, green, for my 1998 XJ. Saves me over and over. That, and the http://www.jeepforum.com folks, where I also occasionally participate.

I think sharing _any_ knowledge that we can to help each other is a 'good thing.'

Lastly, I tag any work I have done on my 1998 Jeep Cherokee in my Livejournal, using http://mrflash818.livejournal.com/tag/jeep

Hope some of it helps fellow Jeep TOD folks.

Rigzone has an article on factors influencing gas prices
in short, they think that demographics are a significant on miles driven, and therefore on gas consumption.


That was an excellent article. Thanks for posting.

I agree that the large number of retirees should have an outsized effect on vehicle miles traveled (VMT). But the newly minted drivers each year are also not as auto-centric as their parents according to a New York Times article from last November:

For Teenagers, a Car or a Smartphone?

If you combine the generational dynamics of Boomer retirement and changes in youth culture we could be looking at a substantial decline in VMT over the next decade. And this doesn't even include the effect of increasing gasoline prices. Add in the purchase of more fuel efficient vehicles and I would expect to see the recent decline in US gasoline demand to pick up pace over the next decade.

I think this article misses. I don't have good statistics across the USA but Indianapolis has seen a spike in bus ridership this past year. It has to be predominantly a combination of increasing poverty (see food stamp participation) and high gas prices.

Here is the quote from the article:

Both pump prices and unemployment have in the past played a hand in U.S. gasoline demand destruction. But employment trends are gradually improving and gasoline prices, while higher than we would like, are not quite to levels that typically spur behavioral shifts for the average consumer. The culprit is the aging U.S. population!

Here is the contradiction (Nov, Dec, and Jan set new monthly highs in ridership with routes being cut over the past couple of years):

Bus Ridership in Indianapolis

Los Angeles County MTA seems to have statistics saying ridership going up, year over year, for 2010 and 2011.

Systemwide Ridership Estimates
Jan. 2012 Jan. 2011 Jan. 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 1,408,380 1,385,083 1,324,006
Average Saturday Boardings 896,997 920,177 933,905
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 696,002 620,044 680,994
Total Calendar Month Boardings 37,339,989 36,487,702 35,235,614


According to the first graph, "All US Roads Vehicle Distance Traveled", in the article, vehicle miles traveled in 2011 decreased about 40 billion miles. Trey Cowen of RigZone estimates that retirees account for 6 billion fewer miles driven per year. The theory fails to account for 85% of the decline.

From the peak in 2007 to 2011 December the graph shows a decrease of about 75 billion vehicle miles traveled. Cowen's estimate accounts for a decrease of 24 billion vehicle miles traveled during that period or 32%.

I noticed that too. I tried to dig down deeper in what exactly VMT is. So far what I found was that the VMT number Rigzone uses are for all vehicles, not just passenger cars. There is a breakout by vehicle class available but the data is quite messy.
My guess is (and that is all it is at this point) that if you look at Passenger car (whatever you use as cutoff - difficult because certain SUVs are classified as trucks)VMT his hypothesis may tie in better to the data.


I wonder what world Deutche Post resides in.

The world in 2050: Deutsche Post DHL releases a study on the future

The only common thought to the five scenerios given is that it will be Global Warming, and not peak oil (or any peak resource) that will derail BAU. And then, not for very damned long.

Who writes this stuff?


As a rule, businesses that do scenario planning exercises don't include scenarios in which their core business disappears. Hence the implicit assumptions in almost all of their scenarios that some form of logistics -- moving manufactured goods from producer to consumer on a large scale -- will continue to be a viable business.

I think the fundamental question is that as liquid fuel supplies contract, how do those that remain get allocated among possible uses? Personally, I believe in regionalization because I find it difficult to believe that global transportation will be very high on the allocation list. I may be wrong. China may decide that allocating fuel to power massive container ships taking goods to the US in exchange for Treasury bonds is a good use of the fuel. Or the US may decide that allocating fuel to move the shrinking stocks of grain available for export to Japan and Africa are the best use. I just find those unlikely.

Build with CaRe calls for tough new targets

A report published today by Build with CaRe proposes a new EU target of a 40 per cent reduction in primary energy demand by 2050. The existing target is a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, but the EU is currently on track to achieve only half of this.

The report, ‘Refurbishing Europe: An EU strategy for energy efficiency and climate action led by building refurbishment’ by Bruce Tofield and Martin Ingham, associate consultants at UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group, concludes that radically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings is key to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, and Europe should be leading the way.

“Buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of Europe’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, so overhauling their energy efficiency represents the greatest opportunity for energy saving and greenhouse gas reduction”.

also Passive House: Plans

Reduction in U.S. carbon emissions attributed to cheaper natural gas

In 2009, when the United States fell into economic recession, greenhouse gas emissions also fell, by 6.59 percent relative to 2008.

In the power sector, however, the recession was not the main cause.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have shown that the primary explanation for the reduction in CO2 emissions from power generation that year was that a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry's reliance on coal.

RE: Eight great fuel efficient cars. This is a puff piece for some cars that are stylish and better than average for their class in fuel economy. It doesn't even mention the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf, or the Toyota Yaris.

This kind of article is purely intended as page view fodder - stretching the
limited content one multiple pages.

Most people don't think too far ahead when purchasing cars, especially
when it comes to the issue of fuel economy. One woman I spoke to recently
bought a used Chrysler PT Cruiser solely because she liked the color.
The car has been a disaster for her in every way.

Given that cars generally last a long time nowadays (except for the afore mentioned
PT Cruiser), the consequences of making a bad choice in automobiles will
remain with them for a long time. This makes the selection process even more

Only about the size of a grain of rice, it swarms trees with a synchronous attack, thousands or millions of beetles on one tree at a time, overwhelming the tree’s natural defenses such as its resinous sap, which contains terpenes and other chemicals which are designed to repel bugs, fungi, and other invaders. Even trees that aren’t stressed by heat or drought can be overwhelmed by the scale of this attack.

The beetles, it turns out, can hear the sound of trees drying out, a bioacoustic trigger. Female beetles then convert one of the tree’s terpenes into a pheromone, tricking the tree into sending out a massive signal that it is looking for bug mates. Once the tree is fully colonized, they stop the attack and use symbiotic bacteria and other agents to stop the trees’ sap production, then lay their eggs. The larva then eat what’s left of the tree’s nutrient rich parts and we start all over the next year.

From the bark beetle article uptop.

In addition to being a forestry issue and a global heating cautionary tale, it's similar to what we're doing. Huge new amounts of conifer cellulose are being made available by a small change in the situation. So the pine beetles will attain a huge population.... and then it will drop back to the new carrying capacity. This is obvious to the readers here, but it might be a good metaphor when talking to others. The beetles have pretty good tech for the job, but their eventual population crash is already baked into the cake.

...but we're smarter than yeast beetles, aren't we?

That reminds me, I need to get some new pheromone patches to put up on my Lodgepole Pines this spring. They're about 100 years old, almost 100 feet tall, and I'd hate to lose them, particularly if they fell on the house. These particular pheromones put up a "Sorry, No Vacancy, Tree is Full!" sign on the tree that tells beetles to move on to the next tree.

Here in Alberta, the government has actually done a pretty good job of stopping the mountain pine beetles from moving in from British Columbia, but some do get through. The control process involves going through the forests, identifying the infected pines, cutting them down, and burning them.

It's not true that you can't stop the beetle, but it is true that it is a lot of work. BC didn't put any effort into beetle control, so most of their pines are dying.

Under natural conditions, forest fires occur here every 50 years or so, but due to human intervention in fire suppression, the forests are full of old pine trees. The beetles only attack older pines, not the young ones, and under natural conditions most of the old pines are burned down by forest fires before they can become beetle food.

Lodgepole pine are adapted to fires. Their seeds won't germinate until heated in a fire, but after a fire all the seeds start growing at once, and they grow fast and thick enough to choke out all the other trees - it's called a "dogs-hair forest".

If forest fires don't occur, and beetles wipe out all the old pines, then the slower growing spruce and fir, which are resistant to the beetles, will overtop and shadow any small pines, and take over the forest. This is called a natural succession.

Bark beetles are killed by cold temperatures, around -20 C or lower.

They are killed by long periods of cold temperatures. Two weeks of -20°C weather will kill most of them, and two weeks of -40°C will wipe them out completely.

Last winter wiped most of them out here. Unfortunately, this winter has had very little cold weather, so I am going to be engaged in a beetle battle this spring and summer.

In Sweden, the beatles eat spruce, even young live ones. Or we are looking at another species? They live off the inner bark of dead spruce. When we had the Gudrun storm of 2005 wich cut down 10 years worth of forestry in 4 hours we had impossible amounts of dead trees in the woods, and it was made a law to remove them in time, or face the fines. If not, the beetles grow exponentially on the dead trees, and when they have eaten everything they starve. Then, they head on for second grade food, wich is the inner bark of the living trees. Entire areas of trees can die out at once, if not dealt with in time.

We had the same effect after the great storm of 1969. By then they used a pesticde whose name emludes my memory. Turned out to be heavily toxic and became a large enviornmental issue. Totally banned by law. We have no good pesticide for this round.

If you really want to know the difference between the European Bark Beetle and the North American Mountain Pine Beetle, here is a paper that will explain it:

A comparison of outbreak dynamics of the spruce bark beetle in Sweden and the mountain pine beetle in Canada

The European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) and the North American mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) may kill millions of trees during outbreak periods. Both species have also experienced large outbreaks in recent years. But the magnitude of the outbreaks of D. ponderosae is much larger. In this review we compare the outbreak history of I. typographus in Sweden with D. ponderosae in British Columbia in Canada. We also discuss some possible explanations for the difference in outbreak magnitude between the two species. During the last fifty years (1960-2009), three outbreaks of I. typographus have occurred in Sweden which resulted in a volume of about 9 million m3 of killed Norway spruces (Picea abies). During the same period D. ponderosae has killed about 600 million m3 of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) in British Columbia.

In summary, the Pine Beetle has killed over 60 times as many trees in Canada as the Spruce Beetle has killed in Sweden.

I know you are hit harder by this, but I would like to see the relative numbers rather than absolute. Sweden (no 4 in size in Europe) is tiny compared to Canada (no 2 in the world).

The total area of forests in Sweden is 27 million hectares, but in Canada it is 397 million hectares, so the forests of Canada are 14.7 times as large as in Sweden.

The annual harvest in Sweden is about 85 million cubic metres, but in Canada it is 135 million cubic metres, so the annual harvest in Canada is 1.6 times as large as in Sweden.

The spruce beetle killed 9 million m3 of timber in Sweden during the last 50 years, but the mountain pine beetle killed 600 m3 of timber in Canada, so beetles killed 67 times as much timber in Canada as Sweden. Beetles killed about 4.6 times greater a proportion of the trees in Canada as in Sweden.

In Canada in 2008:
0.7 million of the 397 million hectares of forest were harvested,
0.8 million hectares were destroyed by forest fires, and
13.7 million hectares were destroyed by insects.

The area of forest destroyed by insects in Canada was about 20 times as large as the area of forest that was logged.

The area of forest destroyed by insects in Canada in 2008 was about 50% of the total area of forests in Sweden.

See: Important Facts on Canada's Forests

Thanks for the data. This is the kind of stuff that puts things in perspective. Abolute data of just cubic meters lost is useless when the land areas are in different orders of magnitude. Unless you have those numbers also at hand.

From your data we see how big a timber nation Sweden realy are. If we were hit as badly as you by those bugs, that would have cut a big hole in the swedish state budget, as well as breaking many family economies. Lucky the betles can't eat our ore fields...

ORNL tool puts spotlight on nation's electricity generation capacity

... A key driver for this work is the fact that by 2035, 4,775 billion kilowatt hours of electricity generation will be needed to meet annual energy demand in the United States, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration. This represents an annual increase in demand of 0.8 percent. Experts expect the additional electricity to be provided by a mix of power generation plants, and this report provides EPRI and other research groups with a tool to inform their analyses.

Results of the study show potential electric generation capacity of 158 gigawatts for advanced coal, 60 gigawatts/18 gigawatts for dry-cooled and water-cooled concentrated solar, respectively, and 515 gigawatts for large reactor plants.

Report: http://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications/files/Pub30613.pdf

... A key driver for this work is the fact that by 2035, 4,775 billion kilowatt hours of electricity generation will be needed to meet annual energy demand in the United States, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration.

They are talking about electricity generation 23 years in the future, and they have the nerve to call it a fact. That's a great example of what I call the "Act of God" assumption, which assumes that we humans have absolutely no control over how much electricity we use.

They claim it is a fact that DOE say it is so. And it apears that realy is a fact. The blame in your critisism lies on EIA in this matter.

But maybe you meant to say so?

TransCanada to build $2.3-billion Gulf Coast pipeline by late 2013

TransCanada Corp. is splitting up its rejected Keystone XL pipeline project to handle a reroute of the line through Nebraska and intends to build a $2.3-billion pipeline to link a flooded oil storage hub in Cushing, Okla. with Texas Gulf Coast refineries by late 2013.

U.S. President Barack Obama rejected Keystone XL in January after Republicans in Congress forced him to decide on the project amid ongoing studies on a reroute in Nebraska.

TransCanada does not need presidential approval for the Cushing-Gulf Coast line.

The company’s stand-alone newly named Gulf Coast project is meant to bring producers in U.S. states responsible for growing crude output, including in Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota and Montana, new pipeline capacity to move production to the largest refining market in the world.

Also competing for shippers in that space is the Seaway pipeline reversal by Enbridge Inc. and Enterprise Products Partners LP, scheduled to move 150,000 barrels per day from Cushing to the Texas Gulf Coast starting in June and 400,000 barrels per day next year.

Once the two Cushing/Gulf Coast pipelines are fully in service in 2013, it should add something in excess of 1 million barrels per day between the trading hub at Cushing and the refineries on the Gulf Coast. However, as oil sands production continues to increase, a pipeline bottleneck is expected to develop across the Canada/US border by 2014, which will cause oil to back up in Canada instead of Oklahoma. TransCanada does need presidential approval to build a pipeline to relieve that bottleneck.

Rocky - All I can say is: Damn Canadians! I'd nuke the whole country if it weren't for Banff Park. LOL. OTOH could I work the oil sands on rotation out of Jasper? For that I might even consider giving up my US citizenship. If you can't nuke them...join them, eh hoser.

Well, yes, you could work the oil sands out of Jasper if you wanted to. I'm sure many people do it. I know a number of people living here in Canmore who work in the oil sands when they want to make a lot of money in a short period of time. However, other people work in West Africa and elsewhere.

And you wouldn't have to give up your US citizenship. The US government used to take away people's citizenship, but some years ago someone challenged them on it, and the Supreme Court agreed with him that the constitution didn't allow the government to take away someone's US citizenship just because they became a citizen of another country.

The Canadian government doesn't particularly care how many countries you are a citizen of. I know a lot of people here who have dual citizenship, and a few who have triple citizenship.

Well it's official, shale gas has become a "depression"...well not quite yet but it's starting to play out like many on here have been predicting. I'm an engineer for one of the larger energy companies involved in the Marcellus region, heavily involved with shale gas. For the first time, today I heard first-hand that we're starting to lose drillers because the shale gas wells have a decline rate that falls off a cliff almost immediately and they're not justifiable at current prices. It was actually a pretty funny conversation because I was convinced that this person had been reading TOD. The info he was giving me was basically a play-by-play of what's been posted here over the past several years. It was actually rather satisfying to hear that it's going down just like we thought it would.

ty - Interesting especially since the Marcellus players have a $0.50-$1 price advantage over us Gulf Coast producers due to transportation costs. I would have guessed they could have maintained longer than other dry NG players.

Does this mean that export terminal is a bad idea?

Quite the contrary if you're a driller. Anything to support the price of gas would be quite helpful for them. Luckily we are not on the E&P side of things though. Unfortunately for producers, even if we broke ground on a liquefaction plant today, it would still be years before in-service could be declared. Liquefaction plants are complex, power hungry beasts.

Depends on your point of view. As an importer somewhere else it is a great idea. As somebody who's gas prices rise because a bunch of it is sold overseas it is a bad idea. As somebody who works at the compression facility it is a good idea.


It was actually rather satisfying to hear that it's going down just like we thought it would.

I don't know if I would call it satisfying. Saddening is more my take. But I understand the feeling quite well!


"I told you so."?

But not satifying. Not for me, at least.


Yeah not satisfying from a job security standpoint, but it felt satisfying seeing that I've been predicting this for a couple years based on TOD experience.

I heard a senior person say they were dropping back from 100 planned wells to 4 for 2012. But many rigs are moving south to Eagle Ford. Utica is waking up too.

With a $110 billion in new oilsands projects already in development, and new ones expected to be started at the rate of $20 billion/year in the near future, Alberta is facing an acute labor shortage. The Alberta government is starting to actively recruit workers in the US, UK, and other economically challenged places.

Alison Redford wooing skilled workers in U.S.

[Alberta] Premier Alison Redford will be looking for some strong workers today in her trip to the City of Broad Shoulders.

While the main focus of the premier's mission to Chicago this week is highlighting Alberta's energy relationship with the United States - including the role of the oilsands - the province's labour shortage will also be on her mind as she meets with political officials and union leaders.

"There's a lot of work we're going to do down there with respect to labour," she said at a news conference last week.

"We've had discussions with a number of labour organizations in Chicago who've been doing work with decision-makers in the United States - and with the Canadian and U.S. ambassadors - to try to find avenues where we might be able to accelerate access of skilled labour into Alberta."

A new Calgary Economic Development study identifies communities in Canada - the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland - most able to fill 25 jobs that are most needed in the coming years, a list that includes engineers, geologists, nurses, plumbers and carpenters.

The top recruiting spots are Los Angeles, Phoenix and Denver, but Chicago is in the next tier of cities.

Labour demand is expected to climb by more than 600,000 workers by 2021, with about 114,000 more jobs than people in the province.

I think one of the binding constraints on the production of both oil and natural gas is the limited number of petroleum engineers and chemical engineers. It takes more than a few years to educate and train these engineers. If oil (and eventually gas) prices go up and stay up over time, then over a period of about ten years the supply of engineers can be significantly increased.

I would not be surprised if these limitations on the supply of engineers in the short run is more important than limits imposed by geology or by physical capital such as oil rigs.

Of course in the long run geology rules and will set the ultimate limits to the production of oil and gas.

Is there any special visa/work requirements that US citizens must meet before seeking employment in Canada?

To seek employment, No. To work in Canada, Yes. To get a work visa you need a job offer in Canada. See below. Note that as an American, if you are a professional as defined under NAFTA, the Canadian employer is not required to seek a "Labor Market Opinion" and can proceed directly to the temporary job offer.


It is also possible to work in Canada (temporarily) for a U.S. company under NAFTA thru a different process.

Unfortunately, according to the study Calgary pays less than Phoenix (relatively low pay city) or LA for Electrical Engineers and (per me) costs more to live than Phoenix or LA (relatively high cost city) so those two spots probably won't be good targets for my field. They are counting on high long-term unemployment driving folks out of those locales. There are definitely some other categories in the top 25 where there is a substantial pay bonus for relocating to Calgary.

Well, they're going to be recruiting their engineers where salaries are low and unemployment rates are high. That's why the Alberta Premier is shopping for workers in Chicago and not where you are.

Calgary will need about 1,000 more Electrical and Electronics Engineers over the next 10 years. Excerpts from the 2012 Calgary Economic Development Authority Study Recruiting Electrical and Electronic Engineers

Recruiting in Canada
Canada’s three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, have the largest labour force of electrical and electronics engineers... Ottawa ranks fourth...

Workers in these large cities could experience a significant increase in earnings when relocating to Calgary, where wages are about 25 per cent higher.

Top Locations for Recruiting in the United States
Non-US citizens have a higher-than-average probability of making a long-distance move and they comprise 28 per cent of the labour force in San Jose, and 14 per cent in L.A...

Electronics engineers in Chicago have the lowest average salary of top recommended US cities at USD $86,658. The average base salary paid by Calgary employers was CAD $93,182 in 20099 and Denver, Houston and Dallas all have median annual salaries that are lower than average base salary in Calgary.

Top Locations for Recruiting in the United Kingdom and Ireland
Average annual income for electronics engineers in the UK was about £45,000 in 2010 (approximately CAD $72,000), which is lower than the mean annual base pay in Calgary at about CAD $93,200... electronics engineers in Ireland are paid between €32,000 and €64,000 per year (approximately CAD $44,000 to $87,000).

Hello, I was wondering if anyone knows which(if any) kind of jobs one can get up there in Alberta, with a Bachelors degree in energy systems? I'm studying a 5 year swedish engineering program, but I was thinking about taking one year of to work after I finish my bachelor. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The main demand in Alberta is for engineers for new oil sands projects. There are about $100 billion dollars worth of oil sands projects moving forward at the moment, and they will require large numbers of engineers to complete them. Most of the remaining demand is for other energy projects.

The engineering skills in the Alberta occupations under pressure list are:
- Civil Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Chemical Engineers
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineers
- Metallurgical and Materials Engineers
- Mining Engineers
- Petroleum Engineers
- Aerospace Engineers
- Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineer)

It is easy for Alberta employers to bring in foreign employees with those skills, but you do need a job offer from an employer to get a work visa. Experience helps with getting a job offer.

- Aerospace Engineers

Please enlighten me to how this relate to tar sand extraction?

It seems unlikely. It might be an error on the Web site I copied it from. It doesn't appear on Alberta's list of engineering occupations they want Engineering Occupations List

More likely Aerospace Engineers would be wanted in Quebec and Ontario where they have aircraft manufacturing plants.

Maintaining the planes and helicopters used by the oilcos?


Yes, that would probably be one of the largest sources of employment for Aerospace Engineers in Alberta - supporting the fleets of aircraft companies need to get the workers to the oil sands.

Air Oil Sands: a new flight path in Alberta

As a new oil sands boom sweeps across northeastern Alberta, energy companies are turning to increasingly sophisticated air squadrons in an attempt to balance their relentless demand for workers with an urgent need to stave off soaring costs.

Call it Air Oil Sands. Industry giant Suncor Energy Inc. alone moves enough people that it would rank somewhere between Canada's 10th- and 12th-largest airline. Several oil sands companies operate fully functional airports, complete with baggage handlers, and have filled out employment rosters with pilots and mechanics. One airplane charter outfit engaged in oil sands work is bringing in new airplanes so fast it doesn't have time to paint them before they start flying workers.

“The scale is enormous,” says Scott Clements, chief executive officer of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, shaking his head.

RMG's comment about jobs made me stop and think.

More jobs > more demand, higher income, and higher birth rates.
Fewer jobs > lessened demand, lower income, and lower birth rates.
(The last consequence is conjectural. In the past low income implied high birthrates, as numbers of offspring connoted a greater likelihood of support in one's old age, such as it was back then.)
Also, lower birth rates > lower use of energy > less co2.

Perhaps job loss is a positive evolutionary impactor?


"More jobs > more demand, higher income, and higher birth rates.
Fewer jobs > lessened demand, lower income, and lower birth rates"

I don't think your logic necessarily works in a welfare state that bails out failure on the top and bottom ends of society.

For instance people that are busy working at menial jobs may be tired after a long days work and they may not have quite as many children as people taking only government assistance.

Higher income seems to result in lower birth rates, which you will see if you plot a chart of national income versus birth rate for the world countries. The lowest birth rates are in the richest countries, and the highest birth rates are in some of the poorest.

This has the unfortunate consequence that most of the world's children are born in poor countries to parents who can't really afford to raise them properly.

Lowest birth rates are with the wealthiest people - doesn't seem to matter what country. Maybe there is a correlation, though I have not seen any real study done about it. Are they wealthy because they have fewer children, or vice versa?

Many children historically was the social security for the poor. If you have a bunch of kids, maybe they will support you when you get old.

OTOH, fewer jobs result in lower income, and may result in higher births until starvation sets in, which itself is a sterilizing agent.

What may be more important than birth rate is death rate. People are able to live about the same length of life, irrespective of incomes, etc. However, in wealthy countries the life expectancy is quite a bit higher. So, a person who might live 35 years in Maui or Swaziland, could perhaps live to 85 in Japan... 82 in USA, etc.

What might PO impact the most? Considering that it will drop income levels and wealth levels somewhat (or a good deal?)?


If rich people get fewr children,that will serve to acumulate wealth on an even smaller group of people.

Accurate MSM article on the Keystone Pipeline and its effects...

The proposed pipeline would relieve a glut of crude oil backing up in the Midwest and redirect those barrels to Gulf of Mexico ports. From there they could be shipped to world markets and repriced at higher global prices.

But that likely would mean higher prices for drivers in the nation's midsection, who currently are enjoying an unusual discount stemming from a lack of pipeline capacity.


Of course, fish populations are already under intense pressure, but an interesting article. Is anyone doing fish farming for small, fish oil rich fish, like sardines?

Study: Brain suffers when fish oil falls short

People with diets short on omega-3 fatty acids – the kind found in fish oil – were more likely to experience accelerated brain aging, a new study found.

“People with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids had lower brain volumes that were equivalent to about two years of brain aging,” said Dr. Zaldy S. Tan, a member of the UCLA Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology. The study will be published Tuesday night online and Wednesday in the print edition of the journal Neurology.

Tan and his colleagues compared blood levels of two nutrients in omega-3 fatty acids with MRI brain scans and cognitive tests. They found people in the bottom 25% scored lower on such mental tests as problem solving, multi-tasking and abstract thinking.

Wall Street Journal article on same research:


Several studies have shown diets that include fish, such as the Mediterranean diet, lower people's risks of developing heart problems or having a stroke. And some studies, including one of the first set of participants in the ongoing Framingham study, which started in 1948, suggested intake of fatty fish like salmon and tuna can lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia.

But not all studies have found such an association for Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers. One reason for the inconsistent results might have been because most diet-related studies rely on food-frequency questionnaires to determine dietary intake, which might not reflect what's really been consumed over a certain time period.

The study led by Dr. Tan used a measure that looked at the level of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells over three months. The study participants underwent a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scan of the brain and researchers measured total brain volume.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper found that after years of research he had concluded that the two most critical supplements are Omega 3's and Vitamin D3.

Cooper Center on Benefits of Omega 3's:

Cooper Center on Vitamin D:

Well I agree but let's be realistic. An 80 year old who has never a read a book is never going to be as sharp as a 26 year old graduate student.

Though fish oil and diet are a much better way to control cholesterol and decrease vascular risk than taking statins, imo.

The thing is that about 8% of brain matter is composed of omega-3 fatty acids, and it requires consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to build more brain matter.

Children who have a diet deficient in omega-3 fatty acids will suffer poor brain development and neurological problems, whereas it has been shown that older adults who consume more than adequate amounts of omega-3s can build new brain matter and slow brain deterioration due to age. It's been demonstrated that older people who consume lots of omega-3s have a lower rate of dementia and other mental problems than ones who don't

You don't have to eat fish oil to get enough omega-3s in your diet, but fish oil is one of the better sources of it.

Vitamin D is also important because people in Northern climates don't get enough sunlight in winter to produce adequate amounts of it. Non-whites are particularly at risk. It has been shown that 100% of the non-whites in Canada are vitamin D deficient.

Northern Europeans are very white for a reason - under prehistoric conditions, many of the the ones who weren't white didn't get enough sunlight or vitamin D in their diet to survive the long, dark winters.

I get mine from Flax Oil, which can be found at health food stores. You can also buy pills, if you don't like the taste. Personally, I add it to powdered milk. It took me about two weeks to go from choking it down, to loving it.

Grass-fed milk and beef has omega 3's (or at least higher than grain-fed).


A walnut tree in the back yard is also an excellent source of omega 3's. My Gran tells me it also makes an excellent dye for homespun.

Thanks for the off-PO-topic but very useful information. I am also curious if fish farming is practical in a small scale, suburban back-yard type setting.

Charles, westexas,

Most backyard type aquaculture is for species not necessarily high in Omega 3's. Those that are, salmonids, require a spring water source in most cases. Recirculating systems can be made, but I don't think they ever come close to being cost effective small scale. And even with salmonids, there is controversy on the amount of Omega 3's, esp in light that alot of commercial feed is becoming increasingly grain substituted.

Although dated, Mclarney's Freshwater Aquaculture Book, 1988, and his more recent Freshwater Aquaculture, 1998, are excellent references. Both are written as handbooks for small scale NA fish culture, the earlier in my opinion just as good, not quite as pricey.

I could be wrong, but doesn't the good stuff (the Omega 3s) come from what the fish eats?

I would imagine it does since the whole fish comes from what the fish eats.

Ron P.

What is campfire? I've heard it talked about and yet I know nothing about it and why it isn't around anymore.

Campfire used to be a regular Saturday feature. Things that were outside the usual TOD topics were discussed, and people were encouraged to be supportive, or at least friendly rather than "meat-grinding" other people's ideas.

It was Nate's favorite thing, and his baby, and he decided it didn't fit into the new TOD. He was considering bringing it back, either here or at Energy Bulletin, but I think he's decided he doesn't have time.

Nate was more fun before he became Dr. Nate :-/

I think it was more his personal life than his professional life. His loved ones were resenting the amount of time he spent on TOD, and he understood that they are more important than imaginary friends on the Internets.

I understand, and good on him. Perhaps he also realizes that the time to circle his wagons is shorter than many folks think.

...and that's such a cute picture; one of my favorites ;-)

A lot of people around here like to eat ceviche, marinaded raw fish. Some of the favourite fishes for this are reef-grazing fish. The fish pick up toxins from the algae they graze, natural not pollution, and store them in their flesh. The fish don't seem to be infected but it can cause facial paralysis in humans when the fish is eaten. I avoid ceviche. Cooking doesn't destroy the toxin either but then I can choose non-reef-grazing species.


The fish do not actually produce any omega-3 fatty acids themselves, but they consume lots of it in their food - e.g. algae - and they store lots of it in their bodies.

However, you can achieve the same thing with chickens by feeding them flax seed and canola seed, whereupon they produce eggs high in omega-3's. That's my favorite source, after salmon and other fish.

The fish with the highest omega 3's are feeding on zooplankton for a large percentage of their lifespan diet. The zooplankton, (small invertebrates) concentrate the oils for the fish. Piscivorous fish high in Omega 3 will be consuming other smaller, oily fish feeding on the zooplankton, again concentrating the Omega 3's. One exception is the menhaden, which filters prodigious volumes of water. Ultimate source of the oils in these fish, and most zooplanton, appears to be predominately diatoms, an order of the algae. Seems it all comes back to oil on TOD.

Freshwater fish are usually lacking in high oil levels due to diet. The exceptions, especially those that are anadromous and return to sea for a portion of their life, are the salmonids. In certain high mountain lakes of western North America, landlocked, native, cutthroat trout may feed nearly exclusively on certain copepods (zooplankton). These filter feeding copepods will color the flesh of the trout red, like a marine salmon, very unusual for a freshwater trout.

Nice summary.

Is anyone doing fish farming for small, fish oil rich fish, like sardines?

Fish farming - not so much. But fish harvest for protein(and oil) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapata_Corporation It used to be an rock oil firm that became a fish-products firm.

To me the idea of eating fish which was fed corn/grain is weird. It is just so unnatural. When is the last time you saw a salmon cruising through a corn field? Some of the fisheries I've looked at feed the fish fish pellets. In effect they use a fine net to scoop up baby fish, grind them up and compress it into pellets to feed to their captive fish.
The whole system is so screwed up it isn't funny. But hey, did you see the oscars the other day?


I like oscars, but they get a bit big for a home fish tank.

Yeah, those cichlids just won't stop growing, but If I'd known they were high in Omega 3s, I wouldn't have flushed'em ;-/

Tilapia are just big cichlids. As someone who was very serious about his aquarium back in the day, I can't eat 'em :-) It turns out they are not very high in omega 3...

pretty funny though!


I was really into tropical fish a long time ago. I recall, back in the late 1970s, when farming tilapia was discussed as being the wave of the future. Large water filled acrylic tanks sitting in the sun would have algae grow, and the tilapia would eat the algae. This, against the backdrop of the second oil "shortage" (1979?), was one of many solutions being discussed for an oil-poor economy. Of course, in a few quick years, this all became quaint. And, yeah, cichlids are awesome fish. They exhibit some social behavior, and the parents carefully tend to their eggs.


Space Weather Message Code: ALTK05
Serial Number: 677
Issue Time: 2012 Feb 27 2102 UTC
ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 5
Threshold Reached: 2012 Feb 27 2100 UTC
Synoptic Period: 1800-2100 UTC
Active Warning: Yes
NOAA Scale: G1 - Minor
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 60 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents - Weak power grid fluctuations can occur.
Spacecraft - Minor impact on satellite operations possible.
Aurora - Aurora may be visible at high latitudes, i.e., northern tier of the U.S. such as northern Michigan and Maine.

Has dropped back again now but forecast to possibly reach 5 again in next few hours in which case it may be worth looking north if not too far south.

Here's a BBC report about a new paper in the PNAS:

Melting Arctic link to cold, snowy UK winters

The progressive shrinking of Arctic sea ice is bringing colder, snowier winters to the UK and other areas of Europe, North America and China, a study shows.
If less of the ocean is ice-covered in autumn, it releases more heat, warming the atmosphere. This reduces the air temperature difference between the Arctic and latitudes further south, over the Atlantic Ocean. In turn, this reduces the strength of the northern jet stream, which usually brings milder, wetter weather to Europe from the west. It is these "blocking" conditions that keep the UK and the other affected regions supplied with cold air. The researchers also found that the extra evaporation from the Arctic Ocean makes the air more humid, with some of the additional water content falling out as snow.

E. Swanson

On the website gasbuddy.com there is a poll of the week. As most of you probably know, gasbuddy.com lets users send in current gas prices in their area to help others find the cheapest gas. So the people viewing that site are a good represation of Americans, not a specific subset - everybody wants to find the cheapest gas! The poll question is on their main page, toward the bottom on the left hand side.

The reason I bring this up is the poll question this week had to do with whether or not people think we should release reserves from the SPR to combat high gas prices. Fascinating results. Even after all these years I am amazed at how few people get what is going on and how little of an impact (and for how little time)releasing would accomplish.

When did we become such a nation of grasshoppers instead of ants?

I think there is a bias in these numbers since I have found that the strongly-identified right-wingers like to spread their point-of-view more than the rest of America. Right-wing comments dominant on gasbuddy, my local paper, yahoo, etc... This group of right-wingers are internet crusaders.

gog - So I take it you're a right-winger spreading your views here? LOL. Just a little tease. But seriously, you don't think the majority on the left would favor openning up the SPR if for no other reason than to lower profits for Big Oil? I think going after Big Oil would be a popular target with all Joe6Packs regardless of their political bent.

While we're at it I would like to remind folks who missed it last time we had an SPR release: it isn't sold cheap. In fact, the law requires it to be sold at the current crude price. I think the price is benchmarked to La. Sweet Light. So in the short term it probably wouldn't have to much effect on lowering prices. And if the release were stretched out long term? Maybe the exporters would cut their production back some to preserve their depleting reserves as well as add some price support. That's just one of several plausible scenarios IMHO.

TOD is not a website where swallow-the-whole-platform right wingers feel comfortable making comments. They tend to come and go here really quick. I definitely agree that most Americans (irregardless of political persuasion) are misguided on gasoline prices. I just don't think they are the ones making comments and filling out internet polls on gasbuddy. Slashdot may be the a website where a cross-section of Americans make comments, however, that is a cross-section of technical folks so that is a bias in itself.

I was with a nature group over the weekend. They are volunteers who work to protect birds and their habitat. So you'd think they'd have a liberal bias. (Indeed, the local rednecks yelled profanites as they drove by, impugning the manhood of anyone interested in environmental protection.)

But they spent all day complaining about gas prices. One guy in particular went on and on, with the same gripe to anyone who came in earshot. He thinks we were tricked. They told us we could save money by buying fuel-efficient vehicles, and when we did, the oil companies jacked up the price of gas! We should have stayed with our Hummers!

Leanan, being a liberal does not mean you have a true understanding of how the economy works. It usually means you root for the underdog, as most of us liberals do, against the top one percent. And the oil companies are certainly among the top one percent.

Being a liberal usually means you have a very sensitive conscience, you hurt when you see suffering, whether it is human or animal. The less your opinions are shaped by your conscience the further right your political opinions are... usually anyway.

So I can understand how a liberal guy might think those rich oil companies are sticking it to the little folks. A big heart does not necessarily imply wisdom.

Edit: I just heard, on TV, Romney being described as having arrogance without empathy. It made me smile. I thought it a perfect definition for most right wingers. Though not all right wingers are so arrogant but the most of them are without empathy.

Ron P.

Note that people have a hard time learning empathy, and some can have sympathy without empathy. I'm one of the latter, per personality studies I've taken (those team-building things some companies do to see how people fit together, or don't).

Conservatives don't necessarily like little guys being downtrodden either. Self-sufficiency, taking care of your own, and having the ability and option to do so are core conservative values, IMHO. Certainly there are right-wingers who are more sociopathic, but for a good sociopath any belief other than self is an affectation, and it may be that corporations simply provide a better environment for such individuals.

Anyway, I'd say conscience can also be variably calibrated, depending on the target and scope of concern. Those who have concern for the world can be in conflict with those who are doing the best for their family or locale. I combine all this in the concept of tribe; some identify more with work, others with family, state, country, etc. Some make their sports team allegiance a central factor of their lives. For some it is church, and still others political party. Most of us create memberships to several tribes, and wrestle with our own allegiances on occasion.

You gotta be careful with those heathens in other tribes. They'll burn your house, rape your wife, and eat your babies, dontchaknow?

Empathy is not learned behaviour. It is a biological response. Studies in rats show that they display empathy, as do other animals.

If one is unable to show empathy for other creatures, it is likely, for various reasons, that this reaction has been suppressed - possibly by one's environment - or tribe.

It appears to me that people who follow the corporate mindset - a corporation being an artificial construct, and therefore, demonstrably, lacking in empathy - are likely to be best at suppressing empathy. It is nothing to do with "self-sufficiency". One can display both self-sufficiency and empathy.

If one demonstrated any empathy to begin with, the corporation is pretty good at separating one from it. Which is why I have a horror of CEO's running countries.

Ron, I think your paint brush is a little too broad. Most likely on average these groupings would score differently on empathy, but I'd bet the individual variation is at least as large of the group delta. Much, of political affiliation has to do with tradition and identity (like my family has always been X). A bunch more comes from the most salient memes in the worldview. Do you think aiding a struggling person helps them longterm, or breeds dependency? Do you think a decent society is only possible with old fashioned religion? Is a poor person who fell through the support systems cracks a greater chalenge, then some of your tax dollars going to a welfare cheat? Many of these questions are more related to worldview than temperment. If one holds one set of world views versus another, how does that affect the evolution of his temperment?

Geeze Enemy, you ask a lot of questions. I fully realized I was painting with a broad brush. I was just saying "in general" Of course there are always exceptions.

Every human characteristic, empathy, height, blood pressure and anything else can be placed along a bell curve as pointed out in this article about blood pressure. What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

Most things that can be measured will look like this [a bell curve] including:

The brightness of stars, or their size.
The size of grains of sand on a beach.
The size of shellfish (I’ve done this one).
And many, many others including blood pressure.

And that definitely includes empathy. It is where the center of the curve lies that tells the story. If you put "psychopath" at the right end of the curve and a person with so much empathy that he/she cries when reading old movie titles, (Old Yeller), on the other, then most people would fall near the center. If you measured the empathy of liberals, then the center line would fall to the left of the average and the center line of conservatives would fall to the right of most people. That is all I really meant to say.

I will say this with the strongest conviction. Empathy is innate, it is not learned. Many conservatives have deep empathy. Many of these conservatives eventually switch their alliance but some do not. Likewise many people, without much empathy, switch from the leanings of their family if they were liberal, to conservative. But not all.

Your other questions are far too deep and complicated to be dealt with in one post. Though I would love to discuss these with you, but just not today.

Just one more point: This natural variation in all heritable characteristics is the driving force behind evolution. If there were no variation then there could be no evolution.

Ron P.

You can't do only good. Every action has results you want, and results you don't want. The need is to compensate for the unwanted results while maximizing the wanted ones. The tendency is to deny the unwanted results.

There are no side effects, only effects.

"There are no side effects, only effects."

This is one of my mantras...

The pharmacological industry is especially good at sweeping powerful unintended consequences of their drugs under the carpet by calling them "side effects". Read the fine print: "may cause this, that and the other horrific thing to happen." Side effects, my behind.

Just remember, if death occurs, discontinue use immediately!

There are no side effects, only effects.

Nice for medicines.

Leanan, being a liberal does not mean you have a true understanding of how the economy works. It usually means you root for the underdog, as most of us liberals do, against the top one percent.

Well yeah, unless that underdog smokes, eats too much red meat, drives too big a car, reads the Bible too literally, buys too many guns, or talks too loudly about the Constitution. Or unless that underdog happens to live in a country the President needs to bomb in order to look "decisive" and "presidential". Liberals don't give a damn about those people and will happily grind them to powder "for their own good".

Well yeah, unless that underdog smokes, eats too much red meat, drives too big a car, reads the Bible too literally, buys too many guns, or talks too loudly about the Constitution

Jersey, I resent you talking about my family that way. ;-) Really, most of my extended family is, or was when they were alive, Bible thumping rednecks, and I loved every one of them. It is not people that cheer Santorum that bothers us liberals, it is the ignorance they espouse. And we feel deeply sorry them, poor WalMart Republicans who really believe that the Republicans are on their side, poor deluded folks. I know many of them personally. To them politics is all guns, gays and God.

They love guns and God but hate gays. When they start talking about guns and God I keep my silence. But when they start knocking gays I do not. But they have learned that is a sore spot with me and usually don't bring the subject up.

Or unless that underdog happens to live in a country the President needs to bomb in order to look "decisive" and "presidential". Liberals don't give a damn about those people and will happily grind them to powder "for their own good".

Utter nonsense. We all hated it when Bush started the Iraqi war over non-existent weapons of mass destruction. But that was typical right wing behavior. And we all, or the vast majority of us wish we would get out of Afghanistan now. And yes we were glad when the United Nations stopped Gadaffi from "grinding his own people to powder "for their own good". Had someone not stopped Gadaffi he would have slaughtered half his people.

I am always amazed at how conservatives can deny their own handiwork, like Iraq, when it turns sour and then blame it on the liberals. Hey, I live in the Deep South and just about everyone I know is a redneck conservative. Some of them even think Obama started the Iraqi war.

Ron P.

So what you're saying is we liberals "love the sinner, but hate the sin," better than the typical redneck?

This president has greatly distanced many Liberals with the conduct of these wars..

"Liberals don't give a damn about those people and will happily grind them to powder "for their own good". "

Just put down the Kool-aid now... and you ought to spit any out if you still have a mouthful.. these stereotypes are mostly useless, and some are downright toxic for the whole lot of us.

RSPB types are Daily Mail rather than Guardian. Liberals tend to go for the megafauana, but when it comes to birds theres a big overlap between conservation and conservative.

In regards to 'Sanctions risk rerun of oil's 2011 flash crash' article up top, there is a major error about the flash crash of 2010.

The flash crash occurred in May 2010, not 2011, which basically undermines the whole point of the article.

However it is fairly good assessment of why the oil market is constrained.

I am more concerned about why Peak Oil keeps getting misreported in the major media, the biggest recent blunder is the Wall Street Journal article which lead many to believe the US has become a net oil exporter, instead of what really happened - it became a net oil product exporter.

But there are exceptions in the major media. I did find today a very good article in the Baltimore Sun, although it is in the category of 'commentary':

When the pump runs dry
Iran is threatening action that could have shattering consequences for our oil supply; where is our plan for dealing with that crisis?

By Edwin Black
February 27, 2012

The crude realities: America uses approximately 19 million to 20 million barrels of oil per day, almost half of which is imported. If we lose just 1 million barrels per day, or suffer the type of damage sustained from Hurricane Katrina, the government will open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which offers a mere six- to eight-week supply of unrefined crude oil. If we lose 1.5 million barrels per day, or approximately 7.5 percent, we will ask our allies in the 28-member International Energy Agency to open their SPRs and otherwise assist. If we lose 2 million barrels per day, or 10 percent, for a protracted period, government crisis monitors say the chaos will be so catastrophic, they cannot even model it. One government oil crisis source told me: "We cannot put a price tag on it. If it happens, just cash in your 401(k)."


Edwin Black is the guy who wrote Internal Combustion--hardly your average "journalist."

For those interested in the Northeast US refinery situation and its impacts, the EIA has produced a detailed report worth a look:

Potential Impacts of Reductions in Refinery Activity on Northeast Petroleum Product Markets
February 2012

This report updates and expands upon a December 2011 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, Reductions in Northeast Refining Activity:

Potential Implications for Petroleum Product Markets.1

To date, the market transition following the closing of two Philadelphia-area refineries in September and December 2011 has been relatively smooth, but the situation could change. Those closures have been partially offset by the startup of PBF Energy’s Delaware City refinery in October 2011, which had been shut down in late 2009 by Valero before its sale to PBF Energy. However, if Sunoco’s Philadelphia refinery, which alone accounted for nearly a quarter of refinery capacity on the East Coast in 2011, were to shut down in July 2012, petroleum product markets in the Northeast could be significantly impacted. Since September 2011, two refineries in the Philadelphia area (ConocoPhillips Trainer refinery and Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery) and one major Caribbean export refinery supplying the East Coast (HOVENSA’s U.S. Virgin Islands refinery) have closed. In addition, Sunoco has announced plans to idle its remaining Philadelphia-area refinery (Sunoco Philadelphia) in July 2012 if no buyer is found. The three Philadelphia-area refineries (Trainer, Marcus Hook, and Philadelphia) taken together represented 50% of total East Coast refining capacity as of August 2011.


Regional politicians are well aware of the potential impact -- I expect government pressure on the oil companies to continue refining. But what carrot and or stick can the government use to persuade them?

Thanks for the update, Charles. I suppose it's likely Philadelphia will become idle at some point even if Sunoco finds a buyer, so a supply constraint would occur during the ownership change. I imagine the paper was prepared for the Hoimeland Security Committee's hearing as to the threat to national security presented by the refinery closures.

I've always thought it rather odd that the nation has an SPR but no national oil company to refine and distribute its contents, although I certanly know why that's the case.

Thank you for that link, Charles, it's quite an interesting document - more for some of the peripheral issues than the conclusions, which I basically knew without reading it.

I didn't realize the shutdowns would disrupt the distribution system in the NE US so badly. I just assumed that they could reorganize it so it didn't disrupt the distribution of products too badly, but apparently not. It's going to be a mess.

I find it interesting that they are hoping that India will be a source of refined ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for the NE US. That it something that doesn't occur to me as a mitigating factor, but I guess it is an example of the new world order.

One thing that occurred to me (not mentioned in the report) is that the Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick is going to do rather well from the situation. It is the largest oil refinery in Canada and a major supplier of ULSD to the US. With the shutdowns taking so much competing ULSD and other products off the market, it should do very well. Unfortunately it is not on the supply pipelines from Western Canada, so it has to pay OPEC prices for oil, but it can probably push up prices enough to make a good profit on it. The only losers will be the consumers.

Consumers in the Canadian Atlantic provinces should take note because this is going to hit them badly, too.

Very interesting NRC document via http://enformable.com/2012/02/march-20th-2011-navy-vice-admiral-reports-...

NRC Title: Japan's Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File Sunday, March 20, 2011 PDF Transcript

DON COOL: ...Without going to too-far speculation at the moment, it would appear that a good amount of the volatile radioactive material that might have been in that spent fuel pool is now laying on the ground in the 13-plus miles northwest of the facility.

...LARRY CAMPER: Yeah, we're thinking the exact same thing. We're all in the same place. We're ruling out lube oil fire. I don't think any of us are buying that.

DAVE SKEEN: Yeah. Well, I'm still going to go back to we haven't seen any steaming coming out of Unit 4 since early in the event, which leads us to believe that there's no water there to steam.

JOHN MONNINGER: Yep. We agree with you. So the only thing I'm saying is, you know, we would be interested in the calculations but we've got to be extremely careful what we do with them.

DAVE SKEEN: Yeah. We'll leave that up to you, but we'll get that information for you guys to have in your pocket anyway.

JOHN MONNINGER: The — are you ready?

They [US Navy] took some samples [South of Tokyo], and the sample is in microcuries per milliliter, and they say that’s the equivalent of 150 millirem per hour.

JOHN MONNINGER: So what were you told about the equivalent thyroid?

KATHY: 1.5 millirem per hour.

JOHN MONNINGER: So that’s a factor of 100 different than what’s being reported here.


JOHN MONNINGER: They’re [US NAVY] saying 150 millirem per hour.

(Simultaneous conversation.)

JOHN MONNINGER: And that’s what’s, being briefed to the ambassador right now.

If I'm correct in my interpretation, this indicates a huge coverup, no? A Japanese friend of ours who was living in Tokyo came to the U.S. just after the accident and refuses to go back. She absolutely does not believe anything the Japanese authorities say.

The NRC discussed the reason for the Japanese cover-up at the time.

MARTY VIRGILIO: Relative to the protective action guidelines type of guidance coming from Japan is, people, the other thing to keep in mind is they have hundreds of thousands of people displaced who need food, water, and shelter, and food
is food, so they might have to have different priorities than what we consider normal.


DAN DORMAN: I think that's a fair conclusion.

Bottom line seems to be that the Japanese (and the USA and others for that matter) are justifiably terrified of what happened and of the still current state of Fukushima, as well as the possibilities that exist at reactor/spent fuel pools worldwide - so in typical nuclear industry fashion, that's the excuse for the ongoing coverup (or as the NRC put it: "we've got to be extremely careful what we do with [the data]".

If 150 millirem per hour (1.5 milliisieverts per hour) thyroid dose was recorded by in Tokyo area then Fukushima city and areas SE towards the plant would have likely been orders of magnitude above that and these are very serious numbers indeed. Even Tokyo itself should have really been evacuated (at least temporarily) under existing guidelines but that was just impossible. Over 1 million people living in Fukushima Prefecture should be evacuated even today under pre-existing guidelines.

The Japanese continue to run the world's largest "dirty bomb" long term study on themselves.

Of course, the problem with such a large evacuation is that the resulting panic would likely kill large numbers of people. Not to mention the fact that there's almost no place in Japan to move such large numbers of people, even if the move could be managed in an orderly fashion. I recall a comment from decades (by the mayor?) ago about evacuating Los Angeles:

"Given 2 hours notice, we could evacuate Los Angeles in 2 weeks"...

E. Swanson

And the US used the threat of going public and issuing an evacuation notice to all US citizens in Tokyo unless they were given total access at a very high level. I recall Anderson Cooper stating on air that the US was considering such a notice. That would definitely have caused panic and the US got the access it wanted and kept silent.

At least that's the sequence which has been reported by mainstream Japanese sources.

The U.S. military advised dependents of U.S. soldiers to evacuate Tokyo, and on March 20, 2011, the USS George Washington aircraft carrier set sail from Yokosuka, Japan, while still undergoing maintenance. The U.S. military essentially made the announcement for all to hear.

Major US Bases in Japan OK Family Evacuations, "Stars and Stripes", Erik Slavin, March 17, 2011

The U.S. military began voluntary evacuations Thursday at four military bases in Japan following increasing worries over nuclear reactors damaged in the country’s largest recorded earthquake.

The Navy said Thursday afternoon it would start evacuating families from Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Yokosuka Naval Base, near Tokyo. A few hours later, officials at Misawa Air Base, in northern Japan, did the same. Camp Zama, a U.S. Army facility near Tokyo, said it was allowing families and non-essential workers to voluntarily leave.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Leaves Japan Port of Yokosuka as Precautionary Step, Bloomberg, John Brinsley. Mar 21, 2011.

U.S. military considering mandatory evacuations in Yokosuka, March 21, 2011, Chris Lawrence, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

As of Monday, the U.S. Navy had no more warships in port at the base. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which had been undergoing maintenance in Yokosuka, left port Monday in order to get away from the plume of radioactive particles that could blow over the base. Because it left port with a much smaller than normal crew, the George Washington will not take part in the Japanese relief effort.

Bottom line seems to be that the Japanese (and the USA and others for that matter) are justifiably terrified

Report: Gov't "collapsed" during Japan nuke crisis

"The normal lines of authority completely collapsed," Tetsuro Fukuyama, the prime minister's adviser, told investigators.

CBS News correspondent Lucy Craft reported that in the hours after the tsunami struck the nuclear plant, Japanese officials huddled in an emergency bunker struggled to grasp the size of the catastrophe.

"As we listened to our top nuclear experts, we politicians had no idea what they were talking about. Was anyone going to suffer radiation contamination? Would this be another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? No one could give us a straight answer," Fukuyama recalled in the report.

..."Terrified doesn't begin to describe how we felt," Fukuyama told investigators months after the scare. A "no go" zone still remains around the plant because radiation levels are too high. Clean up at the plant is estimated to take 40 years.

"When we learned the reactors had in fact melted down, I was overwhelmed, by our inability," he added

The US continues to move forward with approving new nuclear power plants and extending the lives of existing plants against the explicit wishes of NRC Chairman Jaczko who says lessons have not been taken into account and that his fellow commissioners are acting as if Fukushima never happened.

The UK is pressing ahead as well of course as are others. It is interesting though that the BBC has started to become somewhat more truthful about Fukushima recently after some of the trash they've put out in recent months.

"extending the lives of existing plants..."

This usually includes re-licensing waste storage pools to store much more 'spent' fuel than they were originally designed or licensed for. This is especially true for older Mark I & II Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs). They're packing the spent rods much closer together, increasing cooling requirements and decreasing response time in the event of cooling losses. Yee-ha! Each time I bring this up, the pro-nuke folks avoid this discussion as if this condition doesn't exist, and they certainly don't offer up any viable solutions; just fairy-dust proposals. The industry gives itself a pass due to the government's inability to offer alternatives (such as Yucca Mountain).

The mother of all time bombs....

As someone who is pro-nuclear I'd have to say I was rather incredulous at learning that the reactors at Fukushima included a spent fuel pool located adjacent to the reactor and suspended several stories above ground level. Having the two in such close proxity has certainly complicated efforts to stabilize the reactors and greatly delayed efforts to get more water into the pools.

My preference would be that we build new reactors instead of extending the licenses on reactors that are reaching the end of their design life. While all reactors in the US and Canada have undergone various modifications to improve safety, it can never be the same as a new reactor that is designed to be inherently safer than existing reactor designs.

The biggest safety vulnerability isn't technical at all -- it is management. The accident at Three Mile Island may have started off with a series of technical failures, but the real damage was caused by management instructing the plant operators not to shutdown the reactor unless absolutely necessary. Managements concern was that it would take several days to get a reactor back into operation after a shutdown resulting in a financial loss from having to source power from elsewhere. The prudent thing would have been for the operators to shutdown the reactor as soon as it got into a state they didn't understand. In the case of Fukushima, management were aware that the reactor site could be hit with an earthquake and/or tsunami that was larger than it had been designed to withstand but they opted to just roll the dice instead of dealing with the problem. The management response after the tsunami was also not very effective. While I trust our engineers and scientists to design reactors that are more idiot proof, I don't have any ideas on how to ensure that the organizations that own nuclear reactors will manage them competently.

My impression is that the US Navy has done a much better job of managing their nuclear reactor operations than the commercial power industry has.

As someone who is pro-nuclear I'd have to say I was rather incredulous at learning that the reactors at Fukushima included a spent fuel pool located adjacent to the reactor and suspended several stories above ground level. Having the two in such close proxity has certainly complicated efforts to stabilize the reactors and greatly delayed efforts to get more water into the pools.

I hope you also realise though, that was the way GE designed them and there are many virtually identical units with overloaded, levitated fuel pools operating in the USA today.

Yes, I did realize there are similar units in operation in the US, but I don't know if any of them have had their licenses extended. I think there would be a good case that this reactor model should not be given license extensions.

One such plant is the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant in Massachusetts. It's license is about to expire and is up for renewal. Last week this happened

Nuclear Regulatory Commission chief sides with Pilgrim watchdog group

In a surprising move to side with critics of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is arguing to expand, not limit, the public’s chance to ask plant-safety questions in light of last year’s Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan.

The Fukushima nuclear plant has a similar reactor to the one at Pilgrim, which has been trying for six years to win approval from the NRC for a 20-year extension of its operating license.

“Given the significance of that accident (at Fukushima) and the potential implications for the safety of our nuclear reactors, we should allow members of the public to obtain hearings on new contentions on emerging information,” NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko wrote in a dissenting opinion released Wednesday.

Jaczko was the sole dissenter on the five-member commission, which is appointed by the president.

...In November, state Attorney General Martha Coakley unsuccessfully tried to suspend the relicensing of Pilgrim until the implications of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan have been fully studied. Coakley was particularly concerned about the impact that a meltdown could have on the pool that contains spent nuclear fuel at Pilgrim.

Also in November, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey said in a statement that it would be irresponsible to issue a new license to Pilgrim or any of the 16 other nuclear reactors with pending renewal applications until “the lessons of the Fukushima meltdowns are fully integrated in NRC regulations and plans.”

And Jaczko, the NRC’s chief, worried about silencing any concerns related to Fukushima. To do so, he wrote, would “lead to inconsistent outcomes and, more importantly, unfairly limit public participation in these important safety matters.”

So it really doesn't matter whether you are a member of the public, Chairman of the NRC, State Attorney General or US Rep., the current built in "nukes for ever at all costs" majority on the NRC will just outvote their Chairman and go ahead. And now they want rid of Chairman Jaczko.


Is it a new offensive strategy or an orderly retreat?

As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission dismisses the remaining legal obstacles to granting a license renewal to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station – obstacles that now mainly consist of legal contentions raised by longtime Pilgrim critic Pilgrim Watch – citizens and groups opposed to the relicensure are coming together for what may be a last-ditch effort to forestall that outcome.

"but I don't know if any of them have had their licenses extended."

Read and weap! (list of U.S. BWRs)

...Browns Ferry was TVA's first nuclear power plant; its approval occurred on June 17, 1966 and construction began in September 1966.[1] In 1974, the time of its initial operation, it was the largest nuclear plant in the world. It was the first nuclear plant in the world to generate more than 1 gigawatt of power.[2]

Unit One is a 1,065 MWe BWR built by General Electric. Construction started on Unit One September 12, 1966[1] and originally came online on December 20, 1973. It is licensed to operate through December 20, 2033. ...

Unit Two is a 1,113 MWe BWR built by General Electric which originally came online on August 2, 1974, and is licensed to operate through June 28, 2034. ...

Unit Three is a 1,113 MWe BWR built by General Electric which originally came online on August 18, 1976, and is licensed to operate through July 2, 2036.

"The biggest safety vulnerability isn't technical at all -- it is management."

I would say that mismanagement is at the core of all of our predicaments. That said, decades of mismanagement in all sectors has, indeed, propagated a virtually insurmountable technical problem, which continues to grow. It is now another glaringly, virtually permanent predicament.

"My impression is that the US Navy has done a much better job of managing their nuclear reactor operations than the commercial power industry has."

Speaking from first hand experience, the Navy's nuke program operates under a different, not-for-profit, meme, where the hierarchy, rules and regulations are very well defined, adhered too and enforced. Very little left to chance or heads roll. Our society can't afford this level of management over nuclear power. The shareholders wouldn't have it. The same problem exists for healthcare, IMO.


It looks like their isn't anymore room in the swimming pool:

Begs the question: How do they define 'capacity'?

The storage pool at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vt., was originally licensed to hold 600 spent fuel assemblies. There are now 2,935 assemblies in the pool, or 932 metric tons of radioactive waste.

At Millstone, the pool at the Unit 3 reactor was originally licensed to hold 756 assemblies. It now holds 1,040 assemblies, or 449 metric tons of waste, and is licensed to handle up to 1,860 assemblies.

Millstone’s Unit 2 reactor was originally licensed to hold 677 spent fuel assemblies. It now holds 909 assemblies, or 304 metric tons, and is licensed to hold 1,346 assemblies.

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Generating Station currently holds 2,918 fuel assemblies. Its original license allowed 880 fuel assemblies, according to NRC documents. The license was later updated to allow for 3,859 assemblies.

A link to your graph would be handy. Thanks!


Its too bad they couldn't "burn" some of that waste in another type of reactor.

It seems a tour organized for journalists is coinciding with the release of an independent report.

The report, compiled from interviews with more than 300 people, delivers a scathing view of how leaders played down the risks of the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that followed a massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The report by the private Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation also paints a picture of confusion during the days immediately after the accident. It says the U.S. government was frustrated by the scattered information provided by Japan and was skeptical whether it was true.


There have been releases to the public from both Japanese and British sources where one party has declared a desire to prevent information getting out because they feared public disapproval to commercial fission power.

PBS Frontline tonight (10 pm in our market): Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown

On Feb. 28
FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the worst nuclear disaster of the century.

US Crude + Condensate drops 106,000 barrels per day December to January to 5,749,000 bp/d. EIA Total Energy


Ron P.

The question is where US production is going to go from here. Up to 6 mmbpd or down to 5 mmbpd?

In the long run, U.S. oil production is going to go down. In the short-term and the intermediate-term production will tend to follow oil prices, with a time lag. For example, if you want to turn some oil resources into oil reserves, then all you need is a big increase the the expectations for the future price of oil.

My conjecture is that if oil prices rise from about $100 to about $200 a barrel, the U.S. will continue to have a slow increase in oil production, just as it has has had for the past three years. Globally, the same tendencies are likely to be observed, with higher prices causing oil production to either continue on its current (since 2005) plateau or to rise a little bit. In the long term, geology sets the limits to oil production. In the immediate future and out for maybe another ten years, economics and politics and wars and a limited number of petroleum engineers tend to account account for most of the production fluctuations.

In looking at production of oil changes over the past one hundred years, changes in oil output were determined both by changes in supply (i.e. production) and by changes in demand. This tendency will probably continue for another twenty years or thereabouts. For example, suppose there is a Global Greater Depression that goes on for tweny years; if that were to happen the price of oil might decline a lot and with declining oil prices, production of oil would tend to fall.

"My conjecture is that if oil prices rise from about $100 to about $200 a barrel, the U.S. will continue to have a slow increase in oil production..."

Somewhere along there (and I think we're getting close) a MOL (minimum operating level) of US consumption will run smack into an inability to pay. There's less slack in the system than in 2008, so this may look more gradual, folks will need to make hard choices for a while, but at some point, economics will win and folks will realize they simply can't afford it. Discretionary consumption of oil-related products will drop dramatically. I doubt we'll see $200 oil for long unless developing countries and mandatory usage win out, at which point the US economy is truely screwed. It wasn't designed around $200 oil. Adaptation, expensive substitution, and conservation can only take us so far. At what point will we not be able to afford our own oil?

I always keep in mind that current levels of consumption (and increasing oil prices) are made possible by increasing debt.

This is my comment in Jan 2010


Unemployment along with credit card balances and cancellations will hold diesel and gas consumption World wide at levels that will not support prices over $90. The world economy will remain depressed or worse. Oil may continue to rise thru the rest of the winter but then fall and track last years prices at somewhat higher prices.

Ghung: I think you mostly nailed it; but I think $150 sustained for more than a couple months will crater the world economy EU/US especially. Current prices are all ready generating zero growth.

Actual 2010 prices: WTI 70-90; low $70 May, high $90 last few days of Dec.

Good points, Don. Good to see that you are posting here again. I hope you are well. How are you liking our warm, dry winter?

During the fifty years I have lived in Minnesota, this winter is the mildest ever. We've had relatively warm winters before, but they have been generally snowy. We've had dry winters before, but generally speaking they were colder than average.

IMHO, Minnesota is already feeling the effects of anthropogenic climate change. No way to be sure about this, but the more I read about changing average temperatures and rainfall variations, the more convinced I become that changing weather patterns reflect climate change.

I do not know which is the greater threat to societies--Peak Oil (and before long Peak Fossil Fuels) or climate change.

If you live in Minnesota I would guess that you are seeing ice out happening several weeks earlier on average than it used to. Two years ago in Algonquin Park, most lakes were free of ice around April 1-3. The old record was broken by about 1.5 weeks. With the mild weather we've had this winter, we could be on track for ice out in the first week of April again.

Interesting graph although it is hard to say whether this is just a monthly decline or something more significant. The most alarming data I see however is not with the latest production but the production figures of September 2008. That was quite a collapse in oil production and the only reason I can think of for this decline is the onset of the financial crisis. If that is the case, then that reveals an even more troubling piece of data. That to me suggests that once an economic recession is severe enough we can expect oil production to collapse which will induce further decreases in oil production (due to cutbacks on investment) and thus set-off a dangerous positive feedback-loop. Then again the data is limited so one must exercise caution in making such conclusions and not put too much weight on this observation. Although we should note that this is what Orlov suggests will happen once collapse begins in earnest; global oil production will not resemble a bell curve but a Seneca cliff.

Production doesn't drop (and then rebound) that quickly in response to investment changes. Sept. 2005 Hurricane Katrina, Sept. 2008, Hurricane Ike. Platforms and other infrastructure shut down, then re-started.


Thanks for your graphs -- they are one of the things I look forward to on TOD. To some, the modest growth in production over the past 2 years is proof that the U.S. can become oil-independent if, as Newt says, we are "serious". Yet I think people are going to wonder why, if we are producing "so much more", gasoline prices are still going up. I expect gasoline prices will push U.S. Oil production to the front burner in this year's Presidential campaign and I think it's an issue that Obama cannot win on. Whether it sinks his Presidency or not will be determined by just how much gasoline goes up and how he responds. I expect a big draw down in the SPR.

St Paul's protest: Occupy London camp eviction starts

Police and bailiffs have moved in to remove protesters from the Occupy London camp at St Paul's Cathedral.

Bailiffs have started to remove tents and other equipment from the site. There have been no reports of trouble.

Occupy London was last week refused permission to appeal against a High Court decision to allow their eviction to proceed.

Occupy London, which campaigns against corporate greed, set up the camp on 15 October.

Livestream at http://www.occupylondonsos.org/livestream.htm

BBC News now also live at scene. It is now 2:25am in London

Edit: twitter Occupy London #OccupyLSX tag just vanished from UK Top Trends - it had gone to the top trending topic in the UK then it vanished. I'm somewhat surprised BBC News has dropped its normal overnight programming to stay live with the remaining protestors (Edit: Now they've dropped the live feed). Reports that considerable numbers of people trying to reach the site despite the very late hour.

And, as if by magic, just after twitter censored its feed and the BBC dropped live coverage, the police forcibly removed the last of the protestors. Amazing how that works...

It is truly astounding that anyone would ever take a statement from Exxon-Mobil at face value with regard to the next 30 years of oil supply. My recommendation is build yourself the best mental shield you can muster against ALL forms of advertisement and turn your brain on instead. Think critically about everything you read and especially about anything you watch on the idiot box. Remember these are entities that serve absolutely zero purpose except to enrich themselves and that they are seeking to exert total control over the political process as well. They have declared war on rational policy and in turn on every last living member of the human race, inadvertently including their own employees who have been enlisted to act in the interest of the corporation that pays them rather than themselves, their friends and family. And you don't go to war without armor, so be prepared to question everything you hear and don't be afraid to completely tune out any information that has been tainted by corporate propaganda purposes. Too many others have taken the bait already. Best to protect yourself in this strange new world we've entered.

"It is truly astounding that anyone would ever take a statement from Exxon-Mobil at face value with regard to the next 30 years of oil supply"

I attended the annual "Amundsen Lecture" at the University of Houston on Friday. The invited speaker was Lee Raymond (retired Exxon CEO). His topic was "My Life in the Energy Business". Most of it was a pretty good overview of his experiences. But in the Q&A afterwards someone in the audience asked him about his current view on peak oil. He quickly lashed out "It's a religion". He then mumbled something incoherent about how King Hubbert worked from bad data and did not even know about shale gas. It was a rather amazingly inarticulate response uttered in anger. Even 5 years after retirement he is sticking to his story.

Climate change is set to shake the earth

Unless there is a dramatic and completely unexpected turnaround in the way in which the human race manages itself and the planet, then long-term prospects for our civilisation look increasingly grim

Sorry if this was already posted and I missed it!



GUEST OPINION: New England would benefit from oil pipeline

And just how would Keystone help New England? Keystone would take the oil to the Gulf where it would just as likely get shipped to Brazil, Europe, or China as to New England. Seems like Keystone is the energy equivalent to Jesus to some.

Yet this writer, President and CEO of the New England Fuel Institute, is pretty well informed -- he notes the refinery closures and the WTI price slump due to Cushing oversupply. Still, he holds out hope for a "miracle":

Political opponents continue to argue that the oil markets are global and that any new barrels shipped to Gulf Coast refineries by Keystone XL will simply be refined and shipped offshore. They fail to consider that the Northeast is a market ripe to receive the affordable American energy that the project could provide.

Oh, I see. The Northeast is a market ripe to receive the "affordable" American energy, unlike all those other markets that prefer to pay more. Sheesh.

King - The reality is that the eastern market is, to some degree, an wholesale export market not too different from a foreign buyer. The obvious differences are the transport costs and the buyers' ability to pay. But that's no different than other exported commodities such as grain and corn. If Midwest farmers didn't ship their products down the Miss. River to foreign markets domestic prices would be lower, at least for a while, in theory. OTOH remember that the eastern US gets a lot of gasoline from EU refiners who have a stronger diesel market than for gasoline. If it would be proper for the US govt to restrict export of gasoline to reduce domestic prices should the EU do likewise for their consumers? More importantly, should the major source of US oil imports, Canada, do likewise? Fuel would be much cheaper for those folks if exports weren't allowed...and a lot more expensive for US drives. That's the catch with global commodity trade, isn't it: what helps you with one hand can take away with the other.

And consider this scenario: a number of domestic refineries are closing down due to lack of profitability. The remaining plants keep functioning in part from profits from exports. Eliminate those exports and eliminate that profit. And if you reduce those profits enough there are more refinery closures. Take that to the extreme and the US now imports the majority of the fuel from foreign refiners. is that going to bring about lower fuel prices for US drivers? Something I should point out that I think some folks aren't aware: refineries don't sell oil...they buy it. The higher oil prices rise the more the refiners have to pay. The higher gasoline prices go the less folks buy. Less buying means more price competition for gasoline retailers. And that means lower profits for the whole sellers: the refineries. Yes: historically refiners make their smallest profits during high oil price periods. I know it's difficult to accept but if gasoline were selling for half of what it does today the refiners could be making huge profits.

ExxonMobil refiners are making small profits these days thanks to high oil prices...it's costing them dearly. ExxonMobil exploration & production are doing great, thank you. And having worked for Big Oil I can assure you the folks at XOM E&P could care less how their refiners are doing. That's a different biz unit. Likewise the XOM refiners would buy oil from any other company than XOM E&P if they can get it cheaper. If fact, when I drive through the refineries in Port Author, Texas, I see XOM and Shell tankers filling up from the same taps. None of those drivers know where that oil used to make their loads came from. The difference in the loads is the company specific additives. IOW there is no such thing as ExxonMobil gasoline: just gasoline from whatever source that has XOM's additives mixed in and sold at their stations. The next time someone fills up at an ExxonMobil station the oil may have been produced in Canada, refined at a Valero plant in Michigan, shipped by a ConocoPhillips pipeline to NY state and hauled to the gas station by a Shell Oil tanker. Or that tank of fuel may have been produced from N. Sea field, refined in Norway with the gasoline component shipped to New Jersey in a Maersk tanker and piped to a terminal in NYC and hauled by an independently owned tanker to the gas station.

So...any guess where your last load of fuel came from? The source of the oil? Who refined it? The name on the gas station doesn't really give you a clue, does it?

Having read the US Energy Information Administration's analysis of the situation in the Northeast US, the only conclusion I can come to that people there are screwed.

The big hope the EIA has is that the Northeast can import enough fuel from India, of all places, to get through the next winter. You would have to read through the document to understand the reasoning behind that conclusion. Suffice it to say that the Northeast doesn't have a lot of options. The fuel transportation system doesn't work to get enough fuel there from the rest of the US.

Canada stands ready to supply as much fuel to the NE US as it can. The biggest oil refinery in Canada, the Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick, sells most of its products in the US. However, while it is huge, it is not big enough to fill the gap because it is also supplying fuel to California, California supply issues being what they are. It is also not connected to the oil pipelines from Western Canada, so its customers will have to pay for their fuel based on OPEC prices - people in Atlantic Canada, take note, HereinHalifax especially.

I personally think the best solution for people in the NE US is wind-powered electric trains. That's just because I used to ride wind-powered electric trains to work in Calgary, the oil capital of Canada. It worked perfectly well and was cheap compared to driving. One of the advantages was that it freed up more oil to sell to the US, but unfortunately not the NE US because the pipelines don't reach that far. Although we've tried to build new pipelines, we've had problems building them lately. The environmentalists who apparently all ride bicycles everywhere have blocked them.

Some people have asked, "Why don't Albertans keep their own oil for their own use?" Well, the reason was that they knew where things were going well in advance of most people, and realized they could make more money by selling their very expensive oil to the US for top dollar, and riding the much cheaper wind-powered electric trains themselves.

I know you guys have probably looked at this site many times, but I just noticed the extra settings under the chart. It turns out you can change the currency that each commodity is priced in. It is very interesting to get a full picture of what the price movements look like in other currencies. Take this link, for example. It shows Brent crude price in Euros. So, even though the current oil price doesn't look quite like record levels here...

indexmundi.com : Brent in Euros

What most Americans don't realize is that Brent, the European benchmark oil, is trading at an all-time high in Euros, higher than in 2008. This accounts for a lot of the financial stress in Europe these days.

OTOH, WTI, the American benchmark oil, is trading at well below its 2008 peak in US dollars, so the stress is somewhat less severe in the US than in Europe.

However, Americans should also be aware that it can get worse than this, and probably will. The current market situation is unstable and the price of WTI could rise, the US dollar could fall, or both, which means they too will be paying record high prices for oil.

That's a REALLY good convertible chart, eastex.
THANKS for that!

The Donald on CNBC this morning: "We don't need Saudi Arabia. We don't need Canada."

The CNBC hosts interviewed world renowned energy expert Donald Trump this morning, and the Donald asserted that we don't need any sources of foreign oil, since we have everything we need, under our own feet.

That's very funny. Donald Trump, who has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times (and only lost money personally the first time), is advising Americans that they don't need foreign oil. You must be able to trust his advice, he has a lot of money.

I'm always astounded at the quality of advice you get in the mainstream media.

In reality, US oil production peaked 40 years ago, and the country is now squeezing the last dribs and drabs out of its once massive oil resources, a process only made possible by sky-high oil prices and hydraulic fracturing.

The future lies in using less oil, because that's the only option you're going to get.

World renowned moron and loud mouth. My God why would anyone go to him for energy information? Maybe if you had questions on hair care products or bankruptcy proceedings..

Don't think I'd trust him on anything related to hair. Stick with bankruptcy.

Listen to the whole video here. Donald Trump: Pain at the Pump Devastating

He blames everything on OPEC, President Obama and the environmentalist. And the talking heads on CNBC says the free market could fix everything if it were just left alone. Trump says we don't need OPEC or anyone else. He says we have enough oil right here if we were only allowed to go get it.

Ron P.

The tragedy is that half of American voters are dumb enough to believe it.

Today's Drumbeat has been fantastic.!!!!

For discusssion points, I have copied and pasted several of your posts, with your handles for attribution...(Thank you in particular Saintlucia) and will incorporate them into an essay for my colleagues on debt and PO going forward.

The Titanic metaphor is again right on..Westexas. (We don't need no stinkin lifeboats...he says as he inhales)

I really like my co workers and I feel it is my obligation to send along your ideas with a disclaimer so that folks don't have to read the email if they don't have time or interest.

I work with many young teachers who think that because they have a degree they should have....and life should be.... and well, we know better, don't we?

Thanks for the ideas.


Coming up on the first hour of the Diane Rehm Show (10:00 EST)...

Causes and Implications of Rising Gas Prices

The average price of a gallon of gas nationwide stands at $3.72, rising by 19 cents in the past two weeks, and up now for 21 days in a row. Gas prices have never been this high in February. One big reason: tension around Iran is driving up the price of oil. Forecasters say U.S. gas prices could reach four dollars a gallon by July. President Obama could tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring prices down a bit but his Republican opponents want more domestic drilling. Guest host Tom Gjelten and a panel of experts discuss the economic and political impact of rising gas prices and what it means for consumers.

Dean Baker

co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of, "The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive." Blog is called "Beat the Press"
Coral Davenport

energy and environment correspondent, National Journal.
J. Robinson West

chairman of PFC Energy, an energy consulting firm
John Ydstie

economics correspondent, NPR

If you can't tune in, the audio is usually posted within an hour or so of the broadcast.

[edit: I just finished listening to this. Not one mention of Peak Oil. It was all about logistics, infrastructure, geopolitical factors, etc. Very disappointing, if not unexpected.]

"[edit: I just finished listening to this. Not one mention of Peak Oil. It was all about logistics, infrastructure, geopolitical factors, etc. Very disappointing, if not unexpected.]"

On the other hand, you don't need Peak Oil if all the other factors line up against you. Iran could be sitting on a quadrillion barrels of light crude 500 feet down, but if there is no way to bring it to market, it doesn't matter.

"Iran could be sitting on a quadrillion barrels of light crude 500 feet down, but if there is no way to bring it to market, it doesn't matter."

Nobody is sitting on a quadrillion barrels 500 feet down. That's what matters.

I've been having some issues with connecting to the internet since my ISP of choice was sold to the leading mobile phone operator in the island in a game being played by the worlds richest man and another much less wealthy man, trying to expand his mobile operations into Carlos Slim's territory. As a result this interesting headline story from one of our dailies escaped my notice:

JPS blackout

STATING THAT he could no longer afford the high cost of electricity provided by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), Minister of Mining and Energy Phillip Paulwell said he was now installing a solar-energy system at his home and he urged Jamaicans to do the same.

This coming from the man who can do a something to get the local utility to institute a policy of net meetering instead of the non-incentive that is being offered by the utility, net billing.

Alan from the islands

La Nina winding up, 32% chance of an El-Nino beginning this year.


La Niña, the cooling of the equatorial Pacific waters off the coast of South America that has dramatically affected our weather for most of the past two years, is almost done. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", have warmed rapidly over the past two weeks, and were 0.4°C below average on February 27. This is slightly warmer than the -0.5°C threshold to be considered La Niña conditions, and is the first time since early August that La Niña conditions have not been present. It is likely that SSTs will continue to warm during March and April, and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is predicting that they will declare an official end to La Niña sometime between March and April. A moderate to strong La Niña began in the summer of 2010, weakened briefly during May - July 2011 to neutral status, then re-intensified to a borderline weak/moderate La Niña from August 2011 - January 2012.

Important to note that 2010 broke all temperature records despite being a weak La-Nina year which generally tends to bring cooler temperatures. It will be interesting to see what 2012-13 brings with it.

The world in 2050: Deutsche Post DHL releases a study on the future

The Guardian had a similar piece, linking volcanoes and earthquakes to global warming induced climate change.

That is two major European nations discussing these matters.

I note that there are two approaches, one analyzes global warming in financial, economic terms, the other more in terms of catastrophe.

Chevron giving up oil shale lease in Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.—Chevron Corp. is giving up its experimental oil shale lease in northwest Colorado, saying it wants to free up its resources for other priorities.... Chevron was one of three companies to get a federal oil shale lease in 2007. It had three people working full-time on using carbon dioxide to draw out kerogen, a petroleum-like substance, from rock.

mc - Just MHO but if Chevron had just three full time workers on this potential billion bbl oil play then I would say they gave up on it long ago...if they were ever serious in the first place. But those three workers did allow Chevron to put out those warm fuzzy ads about "the great future" of the oil shales...and Chevron.


whadda slogan

Yes, three people. One to answer the phone, another to open the mail, and a third to manage the other two. I was thinking the same thing, "That's not much of an oil shale research project". Like you, I get the impression that it was more of a PR exercise than an actual attempt to do something useful.

The other possibility is that those three full-time Chevron people are the project managers but all the work is being done by contractors. I was in a different industry, but I do recall multiple projects that were funded and directed by the company where I worked, with two or three company employees directing the work of 100-500 people at outside firms.

Wikipedia has a description of the proposed technology here. Looking at the picture, I suspect that you (for example) would be perfectly capable of managing outside firms to do all of the field work for such an experiment. And at some point, going to senior management and saying, "It ain't working."


On February 24, Judge Naomi Buchwald handed down her ruling on a motion to dismiss in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto after hearing oral argument on January 31st in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Great, Eric. The Judge said, basically, "Well, Monsanto posted a blog that says they do not intend to sue anyone for inadvertent use." With that, Plaintiffs lack standing to sue. Of course, Monsanto refused to sign a release, granting legal guarantee that they would not sue over inadvertent use.

As soon as the judgement is final, Monsanto can legally change their mind and sue any and every Plaintiff for inadvertent use.

Does the word, "travesty" meaning anything any more?


The judge is right. There is no legal case or controversy at issue right now or in the immediate future. The plaintiffs are trying to use the courts to preclude classes of lawsuits that might happen at some indeterminate point in the future. US courts can't do that; that's the job of Congress.

(Congress ought to preclude the suits and put non-GMO farmers' minds at ease.)

There is no legal case or controversy at issue

Alas, this position is true and supported. There are cases where the issue at hand is still unaddressed because the government opts to drop the case VS having the law challenged.

I believe the legal term is "estoppel", and there is now a court record of their claim for not sueing for inadvertent use that can be cited later if they do try to make such a claim.

DNA processing is getting cheaper and cheaper.

In theory one could plant some Monsanto IP free seeds and sample each plant to see if it is in violation. Take the non-violating resulting seeds and propagate them.

Eventually move them from the greenhouse to the outside and check for contamination. When contaminated, demand Monsanto remove the contamination and return the still functional plants. Backup position - they pay for the installation and upkeep of 40 acres of greenhouses or perhaps acceptable a ban on GMO crops within X distance - where X is the wind blown pollen distance. And they pay 100% DNA testing in perpetuity to make sure THEIR IP is kept off of your property.

Extra points if you play the game of IPing the seeds you are using.

Truck those natural pesticide laden organic wegetables 1500 miles!

No such thing as organic once you use a quart of oil and a gallon of gas.

The concept of gmo cultivars can reduce ff inputs and do reduce anthropogenic CO2 may have validity. Verifiable stuff.

Less fuel consumption, fewer pesticides, reduced use of water, focused weed control are all goals, technological advances allow for less use of auxiliary inputs, the economics, the bottom line.

GMO rice, corn, wheat, soybeans, canola etc. will allow for minimum tillage, greater weed control and reduce fuel consumption.

whether or not they are a good thing or a bad thing doesn't matter; neutral and unbiased is best.

Monsanto can't claim ownership of a plant, but the can claim ownership of an idea such as gmo. The have intellectual property rights. They stepped on Percy Schmeiser's toes and had a tiger by the tail. Monsanto found out that playing hard ball isn't always in their best interests.

Let's forget about Bhopal.

My interview with Alan Colmes about gas prices is now up on the Fox News Radio site: http://radio.foxnews.com/2012/02/28/video-what-causes-high-gas-prices/


Oil Records in U.K., Europe Spell Destruction: Chart of the Day

Oil prices breached records in euros and pounds and are approaching all-time highs in Indian rupees and Brazilian reais, raising the prospect that consumer demand will deteriorate, according to Morgan Stanley.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the cost of a barrel of Brent crude in dollars, British pounds, euros, Indian rupees, Chinese yuan and Brazilian reais, expressed as a percentage of the previous record in those currencies. The price rose to 79.28 pounds on Feb. 23, 2 percent higher than the previous record set in April. Oil climbed to 93.71 euros yesterday, compared with a high of 93.46 euros in July 2008.

“Oil prices are already at record highs in many important places that have already been struggling with slowing growth,” Hussein Allidina, head of commodities research at Morgan Stanley in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “That is demand destruction. I wouldn’t rule out the likelihood of seeing no demand growth this year.”

It is interesting to note that all the currencies listed have declined against the dollar except the Chinese Yuan. Even the Euro and the British Pound have lost ground to the dollar since oil peaked in 2008. Those who wrote off the dollar in favor of the Euro seem to have been proven wrong... so far anyway.

Of course the dollar could still collapse but from the looks of this the Euro is at least as likely to suffer hyper inflation just as soon.

Ron P.

Good point Ron - I missed that.

Interesting that when Stoneleigh came to our town for a talk about 3-4 years ago that was one of her key points - that the dollar would continue to strengthen and foreign money would continue to flow into US Treasuries for the next few years. Several audiences members thought that was preposterous.

Feb 28th and it's raining in Minnesota.

But global warming is all some librul plot to trod down the working man or something like that.


I think we should be careful in pronouncing judgements about AGW based on individual weather events. Every time we do so, not only is it scientifically and logically incorrect to derive such conclusions you are providing ammo to the deniers who will quote record snow events in Europe and other places as a counter argument.

The best way to make your point is to show global data.

Fukashima on "Frontline" (tonite at 9 p.m. EST, here in East TN.)

Edit: Sorry - that's on PBS public television.

US Gasoline Demand Continues Unexpected Increase Even While Retail Prices Soar

Per today’s MasterCard Spending Plus report on US retail gasoline sales, surprisingly advanced for the second week in row – even while retail gasoline prices continued to rise. Demand increased a further 2.5%, following the equally surprising 3% increase last week. It was not clear if consumers took advantage of relatively mild winter weather to travel, or if they just filling up their tanks ahead of even more price increases.

However the long term trend of US gasoline demand remains decidedly downward – dropping more than 6% from the same week a year earlier. The MasterCard SpendingPlus report is consistent with a similar 6% plus drop in US gasoline ‘products supplied’ reported by the EIA last week.

It is not clear if the incipient increase in the US economy will be able to make much headway as retail prices continue to rapidly rise. If consumers view the gasoline price increase as temporary, they may not change their spending habits right away.

However consumers may not get any relief from high gasoline prices in the next few months – especially in the Northeast and West Coast. Gasoline output in the Northeast has been severely cutback by regional refinery shutdowns and slowdowns, a problem made worse by a slowdown in imports following the abrupt closure of three Petroplus refineries in Europe. The EIA issued a report which goes into some detail explaining what the Northeast refinery situation is now and what may happen later this year. See Potential Impacts of Reductions in Refinery Activity on Northeast Petroleum Product Markets.

Meanwhile, the API also issued a weekly report today, somewhat echoing the fairly consistent demand for gasoline in this unusually mild winter (for most of the heavily populated Midwest and Northeast states).

U.S. Gasoline Demand Increased 2.5% Last Week, MasterCard Says
February 28, 2012, 2:22 PM EST

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. gasoline demand rose 2.5 percent last week from the prior seven days even as consumption was almost 7 percent below year-earlier levels, MasterCard Inc. said.

Drivers bought 8.49 million barrels a day of gasoline in the seven days ended Feb. 24, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report. Purchases totaled 59.4 million barrels, the ninth week in row of demand below 60 million.


Oil Inventories Rose, Distillates Declined Last Week, API Says
February 28, 2012, 4:56 PM EST

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Oil supplies rose 521,000 barrels last week to 341.9 million, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Distillate fuel inventories fell 3.31 million barrels to 140.1 million, the API’s weekly report showed. Gasoline stockpiles dropped 916,000 barrels to 230.7 million.


With regards to earlier posts, this one is hot off the press:

Reduced Omega-3 Speeds Brain Aging


"Lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with smaller brain volumes and worse cognitive performance, researchers reported.

The structural findings suggest that people with low levels of the nutrients -- found mainly in fish -- have brains that appear to have aged faster than normal, according to Zaldy Tan, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues.

And the cognitive findings suggest they also are likely to lose some of their ability to think abstractly and remember some things, Tan and colleagues reported in the Feb. 28 issue of Neurology....".

Let me add, there is a far cheaper 0mega-3 source: CHIA

"Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25–30% extractable oil, including α-linolenic acid (ALA). Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white.

Chia seed is traditionally consumed in Mexico, and the southwestern United States, but is not widely known in Europe. Chia (or chian or chien) has mostly been identified as Salvia hispanica L. Today, chia is grown commercially in its native Mexico, and in Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia and Guatemala. In 2008, Australia was the world's largest producer of chia.[6] A similar species, Salvia columbariae or golden chia, is used in the same way but is not grown commercially for food. Salvia hispanica seed is marketed most often under its common name "chia", but also under several trademarks....".

Finally, you can use Chia in almond milk, 3 Tbls in 1 cup milk, to cover your breakfast and lunch needs....eat your usual dinner and you can lose weight rapidly and safely. Drink lots of water !

Hey, guys, anyone been following the Fukushima Saltwater-Cooling Uranium Buckyball Contamination story and have any thoughts?

The abstract for the peer-reviewed article is here:


The connect-the-dots-amateur-scientist article is here:


This is the low-ball el-cheapo best-guess technique they used to estimate radiation in particulate form:


I am sincerely hoping some of y'all blow holes in some part of this, or else it looks like I really am hanging up the boogie and surfboards this year, and buying an Inspector and testing the damn backyard swimming pool.

Also e-mailed a physics professor friend. Thanks for your thoughts...


Hello Catalyzt

Emergency Preparedness and Response
Radioisotope Brief: Uranium


Uranium is not all that radioactive. U-235, the form that they enrich for, has a half-life of seven hundred million years: it is not sizzling away. U-238, the left-over form depleted to, has a half-life of almost five billion years. They decay by alpha emission: they can be handled with gloves. The real excitement starts when you whack 'em with a neutron and they split, fission, into pieces with the release of more neutrons.

"Uranium is also a toxic chemical, meaning that ingestion of uranium can cause kidney damage from its chemical properties much sooner than its radioactive properties would cause cancers of the bone or liver."

The chemical, uranyl peroxide, that assembles into spheres and rods, is not pleasant, chemically. The chemical aspect of exposure takes precedence over the radiological concerns.
Here is the MSDS:

The abstract you reference: "Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater" does not illuminate that the enhanced corrosion is due to the solubility of the peroxide in water: Of the fuel-rod, the uranium portion converted into a peroxide dissolves in water.

The link to the third article is the same as the link to the first article. Can you post the third link?

Here is an abstract showing an understanding of self-assembly in 2009:
"Uranyl−Peroxide Interactions Favor Nanocluster Self-Assembly"

Here is a really fun PDF by one of the same authors:
"Nanoscale uranium-based cage clusters inspired by uranium mineralogy"

Go Forth and Multiply
Want to stop the slide in U.S. dominance? Make more Americans.


At first I thought this article in Foreign Policy was a goof...an early April Fools...or a new 'Modest Proposal' type of satire...but I think the author is serious...

Bring on the additional babies and welcome a large continuous inflow of immigrants...if we can't raise GDP per capita, then we need to raise the 'capita' so we can claim the title of top consuming economy for all time to come...

On the other hand, imagine the U.S. population grew just a bit faster -- to, say, 450 million by 2050. The country would then remain the world's economic superpower in terms of what it could buy globally, with a market income more than $3 trillion larger than China's.

Anbody know if there is an actuary table to show if the odds of a mass die off increase with a larger population? Yeah, I know it's one planet and cataclysmic events biological or otherwise don't respect borders drawn on a map.

Building Science stuff.

Reducing Thermal bridging of High Rise Balconies. (youtube)