Drumbeat: March 17, 2012

Obama to Congress: Kill oil industry's tax breaks

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pump prices on his mind, President Barack Obama says Congress should kill tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and help develop alternative sources of energy.

Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address that he expected Congress to consider in the next few weeks ending $4 billion in tax subsidies, a move he has failed to persuade lawmakers to make during his term. He said the vote would put them on record on whether they "stand up for oil companies" or "stand up for the American people."

"They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century or they can place their bets on America's future," Obama said.

Rising Gas Prices Temper Middle-Income Gains Amid Campaign

Rising gasoline prices threaten to temper a hard-won sense of economic momentum for middle-income families in the U.S. as the election campaign heats up.

Middle-income families have seen their purchasing power drop during most of the economic recovery even as stocks soared. Inflation-adjusted median income only began to climb after bottoming out last August, according to Sentier Research, an economic consulting firm based in Annapolis, Maryland.

Oil Rebounds From One-Week Low on Outlook for U.S. Demand

Oil rose and gasoline climbed to a 10-month high on speculation that fuel demand will increase with the economic rebound in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude- consuming country.

Gas prices up for 8th straight day

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The national average price for a gallon of gasoline rose for the eighth straight day on Saturday to $3.835. That is now only about 7% below the record high of $4.11 from July 2008.

What’s Really Driving Up Gas Prices

You’re unlikely to hear any of this from either side of the political aisle, of course. Democrats will mimic the President by pushing “green energy” plans that are mostly Solyndra-like boondoggles and any benefits from the ones that aren’t are years if not decades in the future. Republicans will continue to push the idea that energy price increases are due solely to, or can at least be solved completely by, increasing domestic oil exploration. That assertion seems to be largely disproved by the fact that domestic oil production has increased some 20% over the past three years, and yet prices have risen. The main reason for that, of course, is that most of the factors that determine the price of gasoline and oil are far beyond the control of the President and Congress.

Critics counter President Barack Obama's claims on fuel dependence

Vilsack said that under Obama, foreign imports of oil are down, domestic production is up, the country is using resources more efficiently, and the investment in renewable alternative fuels is advancing.

The facts, according to the EIA: Foreign oil has accounted for less of America’s consumption each year of the administration. Our largest foreign supplier of oil is Canada. Half of our foreign oil comes from the Western Hemisphere. Only 18 percent comes from the Persian Gulf.

Cyclone Lua Batters Western Australian Mining Region

Tropical Cyclone Lua, a Category 4 storm, battered Australia’s northwestern coast in the Pilbara mining region with winds of around 250 kilometers an hour (155 miles an hour).

India’s budget plan sends stocks tumbling

Energy shares fell the hardest on the Sensex, with heavyweight Reliance Industries Ltd. losing 3.3% and Oil and Natural Gas Corp. off 4.7%. The budget included charges on petroleum production.

However, the government also removed duties on imported coal and natural gas, which should benefit some thermal power companies, such as Tata Power Co. and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

India not to tax rupee payments for Iranian oil

(Reuters) - India has exempted payment in rupees for oil imports from Iran from hefty local taxes, a move that would help refiners settle some of their oil trade with the sanctions-hit country if the current mechanism through Turkey folds under fresh sanctions.

Kurds say Exxon still working in North Iraq

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil has not suspended its work in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, an aide to the region's president said on Saturday, after Baghdad said Exxon had frozen its Kurdish deal.

Iraq's Basra oil exports restored to 1.488 mln bpd - shipper

(Reuters) - Oil exports from Iraq's southern Basra terminals were restored to 1.488 million barrels per day on Friday after bad weather reduced exports on Thursday, a shipping source said.

Twin bombings in Damascus kill at least 27

(Reuters) - Twin blasts hit the heart of Damascus on Saturday, killing at least 27 people in an attack on security installations that state television blamed on "terrorists" seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

Oil's well but no sign of Dallas fever in Cork

The announcement that the Barryroe oil field off the Cork coast is commercially viable has been welcomed, but nobody is counting their barrels just yet

Why The Huge Spike in Oil Prices? "Peak Oil" or Wall Street Speculation?

Both the war danger and peak oil explanations are off base. As in the astronomic price run-up in the Summer of 2008 when oil in futures markets briefly hit $147 a barrel, oil today is rising because of the speculative pressure on oil futures markets from hedge funds and major banks such as Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and most notably, Goldman Sachs, the bank always present when there are big bucks to be won for little effort betting on a sure thing. They’re getting a generous assist from the US Government agency entrusted with regulating financial derivatives, the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC).

The Upside to a Natural Gas Downturn

Marin Katusa, Casey Research writes: The energy market is a complex beast, its many parts interconnected through a multitude of linkages. When one part fails, the entire system reacts: certain linkages are burdened with extra stress, while other components sit idle. Only by studying the entire machine can one understand the rippling effects that stem from one change.

4 more tubes fail in tests at Calif. nuke plant

LOS ANGELES - Four more tubes that carry radioactive water at a Southern California nuclear power plant failed pressure tests, prompting new safety concerns, officials disclosed Friday.

The four tubes in a massive steam generator failed Thursday in the Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre coastal plant in northern San Diego County, Southern California Edison said. Three other tubes failed earlier tests, the company said Wednesday, bringing the total to seven.

Target set for shale-gas recovery

China has set a goal of producing 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas a year by the end of 2015 as part of a five-year plan to increase the country's capacity to tap the unconventional resource, China's top energy authority said on Friday.

NC Regulators: "Fracking" Can Be Safe

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina's environmental agency says a high-pressure drilling technique to free underground natural gas deposits can be safe if lawmakers adopt the right precautions.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Friday released its study required by the Legislature of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Chevron halts Brazil drilling after new leak

Chevron has filed to temporarily halt production operations in Brazil after it detected a "small new seep" of oil in the same offshore field where it suffered a high-profile leak in November.

Who's Afraid of Peak Oil?

Today, the United States is experiencing a veritable boom in its oil and gas production.

And make no mistake; it's attracting billions of investment dollars from all around the globe.

In fact, individual investors like us have been reaping the benefits, with $100 per barrel now the norm...

So is the outlook as the rosy as it appears, or are these projections creating a future energy scenario that's too good to be true?

Scaling the world’s tall peaks

Three years after Dwight Eisenhower was sworn in as the 34th president of the United States, a Shell Oil geologist made a prediction that at the time earned him derision from fellow scientists.

He suggested U.S. oil production would peak within 20 years, after which this nation’s transportation systems would become increasingly dependent on foreign oil.

His prediction was scoffed at — until exactly 20 years later, when U.S. motorists got the shock of their lives when the price of gasoline skyrocketed toward $1 a gallon. Those were the days, you may recall, when regular gas could be purchased for anywhere from 30 to 50 cents a gallon.

The sinking of the E-Cat

No matter how we want to see this story, it is clear that Rossi has been victim of his own "no-win" strategy. First, he claimed that he had developed a nuclear device, but he never could provide convincing proof. So he said that he didn't need proof because he could just produce and sell the device - the market would judge it. But if he wanted to produce and sell the device, then he would have to obtain the necessary certifications. And how to obtain the necessary certifications after having declared that the device is based on nuclear reactions and it emits gamma rays? Surely, Rossi's word is not enough to prove that shielding with lead foil is sufficient to remove gamma rays. Maybe there are arcane reasons (as claimed in this paper) that reduce, or even eliminate, gamma ray emission. But just the possibility of such an emission would required extensive investigations and years of work in order to provide the necessary certifications. So, you see? If it is nuclear, Rossi can't sell it. If it is not nuclear, who would buy it? A classic no-win situation.

Chevron accused of graft in Indonesian green project

JAKARTA - Indonesia on Saturday accused five Chevron employees of being involved in a scam to set up a fictitious green project that lost the state some US$270 million (S$339 million), a charge denied by the US oil giant.

Hydrogen cars: A zero-emission longshot

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Imagine an electric car that can be charged in about the time than it takes to fill a gasoline tank and which can then drive hundreds of miles.

This is not a fantasy scenario. In fact, that pretty much describes the hydrogen fuel cell cars several major auto manufacturers, including Toyota and Hyundai, plan to have for sale.

Qatar First Solar Test Facility To Be Ready This Year

DOHA (Bernama) -- Qatar first solar test facility, being established at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) by Chevron Qatar and GreenGulf, is expected to start testing in three or four months, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

How power company was permitted to poison river

IN 2007, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society suspected the Delta power company was discharging harmful substances into the Coxs River, which is part of Sydney's drinking water catchment.

Death stalks us in the air, says OECD in its outlook

URBAN air pollution will become the top cause of environment-related deaths globally by mid-century unless action is taken, one of the world's peak economic groups says.

In a study of the global environmental outlook to 2050, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warns there may be 3.6 million premature deaths a year from air particles, mainly in China and India.

Britain to keep carbon limit high enough for gas plants

(Reuters) - Britain's energy minister promised on Saturday to keep the limit on power plants' carbon emissions high enough until 2045 to ensure that modern gas-fired stations can continue to operate.

Holy Land Leaders: Muslims, Jews, Christians Link to Save the Planet

Can mobilizing the world's faithful save the planet where activists without faith have failed? Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders will be speaking out on climate change next week, while conveying their shared visions on renewable energy at the Interfaith Climate and Energy Conference. It will be held in Jerusalem on Monday, March 19th and you the public are invited to attend.

Antartica belongs to all of us, that's why we must preserve it

What's in it for all of humanity? Why not drill? The answer is actually quite simple.We know that water is going to become a precious commodity and what most people do not know is that seventy percent of the world's fresh water and ninety percent oft he world's ice is in the glaciers in Antarctica. It is our bank, our legacy to future generations. If we mess up that legacy by building hotels, drilling and mining we potentially mess up one of the most important resources to sustain human life there is. If that ice melts due to climate change we have lost our ability to keep that water resource.

Another round of record high temperatures yesterday. Is anybody listening?

Obviously, not the Republicans!!! (Please ignore the add - Ah, Capitalism)

E. Swanson

A local academic meteorologist said on public radio that individual record highs were not indicative of global warming, but that the strongest evidence of climate change was the elevation of nighttime temperatures year round. No record there, but the average low is changing. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the ground barely froze this year. That has implications for insect populations, and adaptations for many species.

I've been wondering about the significance of the difference between daytime highs and nighttime lows. I've been tracking the daily highs/lows here in the Hill Country of Texas. While the average highs (Dec - Feb) have been close to the ten year average the average lows have been 2-3 degrees (F) above average. This week the highs have been a few degrees above average and the nighttime lows have been 15 degrees above average for the last 4 nights.

I just checked our normal low (21) and normal high (40) for this date. today thevtemp reached at least 80 degrees, and for tonight the prediction is 58-60 degrees. We are 40 degrees above normal!! And this is not for just one or two days. We've been 25-40 deg's above normal for the past week with at least another week of it in sight. People are out running around, enjoying this great weather, making happy noises. Yes, I too enjoy the shirt sleeve weather, but I've got this very bad, niggling feeling in the back of my head. Are we like children happily exploring the fascinating ocean bottom, ignoring the tsunami barrelling in on us??

By the way, I'm posting from central Wisconsin.

Since greenhouse gasses keep heat in the system longer than it would otherwise stay around, a more marked increase in night than in day temperatures is a sure signature that the warming is from GW and not from changes in, for example, insolation, which would show increases in day but not as much night temps. Of course, we know anyway from direct measurements that the sun has not suddenly become more active in the last few decades--quite the opposite.

The NCDC site (which is down for "maintenance") has included a database of 4 temperature records for each day, highest maximum, highest minimum, lowest minimum, and lowest maximum temperatures. Quite often, one sees record high minimum temperatures in the same general area which experiences record high maximum temperatures. The NCDC added a fancy graphical presentation in which each data point is plotted on a map and the map could be zoomed between local and full global scale. I think that this addition resulted in excessive demand on the server, which was running very slow a few days ago. Each data request would requite the plotting of a new map, which I suspect was a recipe for a system crash when the number of records became high and interest in the data took off. When the NCDC sorts this all out, we should be able to look back at more than just the record maximum temperatures.

I recall that there has been analysis of night time low temperatures, but I can't recall who did it. Maybe the IPCC AR4 report includes a reference, or the work is more recent. As for averages, I've often seen periods during which both record maximum and record minimum events occur on the same date. It's part of the Spring/Fall transition during which the tropic to pole circulation shifts thermal energy away from the warmth of the Equator toward the heat sink in the Arctic...

E. Swanson

Where do they get this? Record highs that dramatically outnumber record lows certainly are evidence of global warming.

How compelling evidence are they? Depends on the sample size.

The relevant question is over what period and what area would highs outnumber lows. The theory is not North American Warming, but Global. Recall Europe this past winter:

The 2012 European cold wave is a deadly cold wave that started on 27 January 2012 and is bringing snow and freezing temperatures to much of the European continent. Over 550 deaths have been reported.[1] Particularly low temperatures hit several Eastern European countries, reaching as low as −35 °C (−31 °F). The heaviest snow was recorded in the Balkan region, and in Northern Europe, as low as −39.2 °C (−38.6 °F).

Netherlands – A cold wave was registered in the Netherlands, with a low of −18.9 °C (−2.0 °F) in De Bilt, the lowest recorded since 1956,[15] and a national low of −22.8 °C (−9.0 °F) in Lelystad, the lowest temperature recorded all over the Netherlands since 1985.[16] A homeless man was frozen to death on February 2.[17] People have been ice-skating on the canals of Amsterdam.

It's all part of the same thing. The jet stream has destabilized so it has larger loops that stay in place for longer. The pattern of the loop this winter made parts of Alaska and Europe much colder than usual and much of the rest of North America much warmer and drier.

I haven't been following what is happening with ocean circulation (but maybe Black Dog has?), but when/if the Gulf Stream slows down or stops, as some models suggest it may do, very cold temperatures in Europe would become the norm for a while.

Further on the relation between GW effects in the Arctic and recent extremes in mid latitudes (thanks to hank at RealClimate for this link):


Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes
17 March 2012

Enhanced Arctic warming reduces poleward temperature gradient
Weaker gradient affects waves in upper-level flow in two observable ways
Both effects slow weather patterns, favoring extreme weather

It's all part of the same thing. The jet stream has destabilized so it has larger loops that stay in place for longer. The pattern of the loop this winter made parts of Alaska and Europe much colder than usual and much of the rest of North America much warmer and drier.

Agree. This is where the rubber meets the road (real observable changes at the regional level).

Here the abstract to the scientific study of the phenomenon I linked to above:


Arctic amplification (AA) – the observed enhanced warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern hemisphere – is evident in lower-tropospheric temperatures and in 1000-to-500 hPa thicknesses. Daily fields of 500 hPa heights from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis are analyzed over N. America and the N. Atlantic to assess changes in north-south (Rossby) wave characteristics associated with AA and the relaxation of poleward thickness gradients.

Two effects are identified that each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds, and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

My understanding is that Europe has had a warm winter with the exception of the anomalous cold snap. Norway is supposed to quite warm these days.

A 'snap' is not consistent with rivers freezing that rarely freeze.


Thermal mass of large bodies of water.

I can only talk about Denmark. I have been working outside on my roof all winter and we have had an unusually warm winter with a few days of extreme frost. 3 rain-storms and almost no snow. The sea froze during the cold spell at the place where i live - even though the extreme cold only was for 1 maybe 2 weeks.

I live in Sweden. We had a record winter this year. The warmest winter ever. Nov 1st the entire country was free of snow, with exception of some high peaks in the arctic mountains. (Glaciers are off couse always covered, but they are not included in the statistics). This happened last time in 1956. But that year, snow came in Nov 8. Nov 9, we still saw no snow in Sweden, and thus we had officilally broken the all time record. (And since it has gone significantly warmer during recorded history, it ispossible this was the mildest winter since the ice age, but no one know this). Winter remained warm into december, and then it gradually began to advance southwards from the north.

But we ALSO had a cold spell in Europe, and I had my share of freezing. But that was after new year.

It's better to call this weird climate rather than warming climate. The temp anomalies have actually been lower this year (Jan-Feb) compared to previous years


Climate "change".

The whole global "warming" thing is difficult for the uninformed to understand. It ain't 100f degrees out everywhere-and-always so there ain't no global warming. /sarc

Global Warming is the mechanism; Climate Change is the result. I now call it the Climate Calamity since nothing is being done to alter the mechanism to forestall the result.

I know this is an oversimplified explanation, especially for a forum of this caliber, but more or less the reason for the more pronounced increase in higher nighttime mins is attributed to increased cloud cover as forecast by climate change models. Further evidence that the models were/are right.

Your meterologist is right. Compare the Saharan and Sub-Saharan African nights. At the day the temps are realtively similar. After all they are close to the equator and recives muchly the same amout of heat from the sun. But during the night, in Sahara the temp drops, while it remains high during the nights in tropical Africa. What is the differense? In deserts, the air is dry, and water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gaswich keep the heat close to the ground. In the tropics, the air is wet. CO2 have the same effect.

T-shirt weather here in mid France, switched off the heating (ie. the wood fire) as there's sufficient insolation from the sun to warm the house. Probably won't last, but who knows with our crazy weather these days.

Do the recent solar flares have anything to do with it? Do they affect the weather in any way, as well as potentially damage our technology?

"Is anybody listening?"

The problem is: So few are reporting, just as with Peak Oil.

People can't be experts on everything. To some extent people have to rely on others (such as government and the media) to alert people to important issues.

I can't deny I feel a certain anger at how the government, the media and the Oil Industry have, in my view, been criminally negligent in discussing Peak Oil. This is eventually going to come back to haunt them in a big way.

Unfortunately, the people that it should be haunting, like Inhofe, will be dead.
"Unfortunately", "Inhofe" and "dead" in the same sentence: how did that happen?

I imagine that people like Inhofe will continue to deny AGW all their small lives, and when the climate change becomes too obvious for them to deny its existence they will simply fall back on superstition (It's God's will).

How in the world do such people attain positions of influence? I weep for the species ...

Black Dog

Sadly, the people that should be listening (Inhofe,etc) have their eyes and ears closed. I've been following your post on this subject every day this week and you are doing the right thing keeping this conversation alive. I've also been following the comments on the Weather Channel website as well as the Weather Underground. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant the deniers are.

This weeks extremely high temperatures over such a large area for an extended period of time are more than an anomaly. While it may be difficult to claim that any one weather related event is directly related to climate change, this weeks heat wave appears to be far more than a statistical outlier. More probably it is a harbinger of things to come.

I'm concerned that this next summer will result in even more methane plumes being released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. We may have our first ice free summers in the arctic ocean sooner than anticipated. If we haven't already hit the tipping point, we are on the cusp of runaway global warming.

From BBC ... Climate 'tech fixes' urged for Arctic methane

... Scientists told UK MPs this week that the possibility of a major methane release triggered by melting Arctic ice constitutes a "planetary emergency".

The Arctic could be sea-ice free each September within a few years. Arctic Sea Ice Volume

At a meeting in Westminster organised by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG), Prof Salter told MPs that the situation in the Arctic was so serious that ships might take too long.

... Meteorologist Lord (Julian) Hunt, who chaired the meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, clarified that an abrupt methane release from the current warming was not inevitable, describing that as "an issue for scientific debate".

... my concerns fall somewhere between Salter and Lord Hunt

Seems like a plan to "amp-up" Global Dimming in a localised manner. Sobering to imagine where we would be w/o GD.

I think up to 0.6-1.0C is due to GD. we're 'locked in' to 2.0C 'Right Now' and we still have 1.0C in the pipeline from current CO2 conc.

BBC: Global Dimming

This is my view as well. Add in the CO2 emission we are guaranteed to do even under the most dramatic Peak Oil scenarios, and we have at minimum 2 more degrees temp increases to expect, and this does not include any feedback effects, such as methane leaks or reduced ice/snow cover.

... my concerns fall somewhere between Salter and Lord Hunt

Thanks for the link. I think it would be helpful to put Lord Hunt's quote in context:

But he also said that some in the scientific community had been reluctant to discuss the possibility.

"There is quite a lot of suppression and non-discussion of issues that are difficult, and one of those is in fact methane," he said, recalling a reluctance on the part of at least one senior scientists involved in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment to discuss the impact that a methane release might have.

What impact might a methane release have?

Abrupt methane releases from frozen regions may have played a major role in two events, 55 and 251 million years ago, that extinguished much of the life then on Earth.

Pointless debates about the "likelihood" of such a high impact event are like homeowners who put off buying insurance while they argue about the "likelihood" of a fire breaking out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for geo-engineering "quick fixes". Setting aside the obvious problem of unintended consequences the simple fact is, as others have pointed out, the amount of carbon already pumped into the atmosphere has sealed our fate.


Oceanic anoxic events or anoxic events occur when the Earth's oceans become completely depleted of oxygen (O2) below the surface levels...

Although anoxic events have not happened for millions of years, the geological record shows that they happened many times in the past. Anoxic events may have caused mass extinctions. These mass extinctions were so characteristic, they include some that geobiologists use as time markers in biostratigraphic dating. It is believed oceanic anoxic events are strongly linked to lapses in key oceanic current circulations, to climate warming and greenhouse gases.

Permian–Triassic extinction event:

Researchers have variously suggested that there were from one to three distinct pulses, or phases, of extinction. There are several proposed mechanisms for the extinctions; the earlier phase was likely due to gradual environmental change, while the latter phase has been argued to be due to a catastrophic event. Suggested mechanisms for the latter include large or multiple bolide impact events, increased volcanism, coal/gas fires and explosions from the Siberian Traps, and sudden release of methane clathrate from the sea floor; gradual changes include sea-level change, anoxia, increasing aridity, and a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change.

From a geological-time standpoint, how fast is roughly 200 years in the burning of all fossil fuels up until this stage? Like an explosion perhaps? How big?

Yes, I, too, am dubious about the efficacy of geo-engineering schemes.

The recent bizarre weather has, though, caused me to wonder--

the reticence of some scientists to discuss the possibility of sudden massive methane leaks occurring

that there was anecdotal evidence of 'seas bubbling as if they were boiling' with methane last fall

the emergency group that went up to study said 'dramatic' increase in methane emissions from the Arctic...

given all that, I have to wonder what would we be expecting now to happen if there were such a massive release?:

Perhaps one of the warmest winters on record?

Perhaps the earliest strong spate of tornadoes on record?

Perhaps August temperatures in March?

Perhaps temperature records not just being broken by a degree or two, but by double-digit margins?

Perhaps not just a day or two of bizarrely extremely high temps, but weeks on end of them?...

In other words, everything that we have been seeing?

At what point should we conclude that, in spite of various experts denials of it, the methane bomb did in fact go off last fall and we are now seeing the consequences of it?

Just askin' :-/

I don't think the methane gun has gone off [yet]. Though the cartridge is in the chamber.

Current arctic methane release has been estimated at 0.5 Mt per year. Shakhova et al. (2008) estimate that "release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage is highly possible for abrupt release at any time".

0.5 Mt/yr = 0.0005 Gt/yr

50 Gt/yr would require a 100,000 fold increase in emission. (or 10,000 fold increase over 10 years)

The difference between what they are seeing and 50 Gt/yr, I imagine would look something like this

multiplied several 100 times over a 1000 miles of siberian arctic shelf.

I hope you are right.

Keep in mind, though, that:

It needn't be the full 50 Gtn's to have dramatic effects

It would not necessarily be directly visible in the way you indicate

Any really major release would likely be covered up by all authorities involved

What level of strange weather would you accept as indicating that some major new corner has been turned?

dohboi -

Don't get me wrong - I agree that we have turned [never to retrace] a major new corner weather-wise - just that the current level of methane is not the primary driver, as of right now.

The venting is obviously increasing and 5,10 or 20 years from now the cummulative effect may start to approach the multiple Gt range.

Chaotic weather due to CO2 levels alone is already 'Locked In'. Increasing methane levels will simply add another layer of Hell to the situation.

The problem is agriculture cannot withstand chaotic weather without global trade - and with global trade hamstrung by lack of transportation fuel [Peak Oil] - the population demand will have to adjust to the food supply. No way to sugar coat it.

Good, succinct summing up of our situation in your last paragraph. And I see you used the very gentle word "adjust" when discussing what populations will have to do wrt food supply.

Much of the world spends half of their income on food. When food prices double or more you have revolutions, starvation, disease...

On the methane thing, I should make clear that I am considering a possibility that is somewhat off the reservation--that is that the meager monitoring system for methane in the Arctic region may have missed a major methane release, which was noted by various eye-witness accounts. I hope the eye witnesses were wrong. But this very extreme and persistent weather pattern gives me pause, at the least.

Summer and fall inversions in the Arctic tend to keep gas concentrations near the surface wherever they are produced. When the inversion collapses in the winter, the gasses, especially light ones like methane, can then rapidly travel up through the air column to the stratosphere. In the stratosphere, the methane would be converted to H20 and CO2, both powerful greenhouse gasses at that elevation (since there is so little of them up there now). I think this is part of what was behind the anomalously large ozone hole in the NH last year. I expect the same again this year, probably more so.

(Here's a recent study on the NH ozone hole:

Theoretical Studies Of XOClO3 (X-ClO2, ClO3, Cl, F And H) And N2O5: Implications For Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
S Parthiban - 2012 - etd.ncsi.iisc.ernet.in

"While the ozone hole has become an annual feature in the Southern Hemisphere, increased losses have been noted in the Northern Hemisphere in recent years. This depletion of ozone in the stratosphere has evoked several theoretical studies that suggest chemical reactions are the cause... researchers believe that additional ozone-depleting mechanisms may be needed to account quantitatively for the observed rate of ozone decline over Antarctica. The need for such new mechanisms becomes all the more apparent considering the fact that the ozone layer is thining somewhat more than that predicted by models, and is vulnerable to further damage over the next decade."

(My emphases))

Such a mechanism could explain why, so far, most atmospheric measurements are not showing big increases in methane concentrations yet. Of course, there is always the possibility that instruments are recording high concentrations and, to avoid widespread panic, they are being altered...but that would put me even further off the reservation '-)

Let me just ask people to do the math--temperatures are now 40-50 degrees F above normal for this time of year in parts of North America. What would a similar disjoint from norms mean in July or August?


I share some of your concerns regarding the possibility that there may have been some, albeit limited, measurements of large methane releases. If that were the case, these measurements are being validated and revalidated before any thought of public release. No responsible government would dare release any data that alarming, in order to avoid undue panic. On the other hand can you imagine the fun that the denialists, and their GOP stooges, would have if President Obama addressed the nation with a public announcement that runaway global warming has begun and mitigation, by any means, is impossible. That announcement would ensure a GOP victory in 2012. Personally, I'm hoping and praying for BAU to continue for at least the next 8 months. While I don't have a great deal of confidence that the Democrats can resolve many of these problems, I'm certain that the Republicans will drive us over the cliff much sooner.

"No responsible government would dare release any data that alarming, in order to avoid undue panic."

This is my thought, too.

And I also shudder at the thought of a Repub in the White House, but really, who ever the POTUS is in the next decade or two will be overseeing a rapid dissolution of everything from the economic system, to the climate system.

What we really need, or needed before we totally sealed our doom, was not a shift from one party to another but a shift to a whole different mode of existence and set of assumptions--away from the industrial model of eternal growth at the expense of everything else, to a model of quality over quantity--and that goes for food, products, kids...

All I can say is, what a waste of a precious blue planet, all for the dubious prize of creating tons of junk, much of which is floating in a giant plastic island in the middle of the Pacific.

What you are implying is that humanity (all governments, religions etc.) has little more than one generation, if that, to decide what it wants to be when it grows up!!

As an aside, I have to share the most ludicrously ignorant comment I've heard from a denialist that I happened upon in another website today. Roughly paraphrased it goes like this; "Just read that there is a valve in the upper atmosphere to release excess heat, which proves the existence of intelligent design".

"No responsible government would dare release any data that alarming, in order to avoid undue panic."

Some parties may know something:


On the other hand can you imagine the fun that the denialists, and their GOP stooges, would have if President Obama addressed the nation with a public announcement that runaway global warming has begun and mitigation, by any means, is impossible. That announcement would ensure a GOP victory in 2012.

Well ... if runaway global warming had begun, surely it wouldn't matter a toss whether a Republican, Democrat, or Dallas Cowboys cheerleader were in the White House. But if I had a vote, the cheerleader would get mine ... and frankly, I think you're just being a bit silly.

And besides, where would you import the sugar from?

Whereas there is much concern about the release of methane from hydrates and it's effect on GW, what about the methane leaks from natural gas production from shale plays such as the Bakken? Can anybody put that in perspective? For example, is there a significant leakage associated with "fracking?" or any of the new production techniques?

Hank - I won't try to put any numbers on it but just give my impressions. NG leaks to a relatively small degree through out the entire distribution system...from the well head to the stove in you kitchen. Again, can't quantify it but a significant amount of methane is leaked from natural sources such as reservoirs through faulting that reaches the surface. I've mapped one such natural methane leaking fault that cuts the surface in S Texas. Methane bubbling up naturally from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico was documented decades ago. And then there's the rotting biomatter and livestock sources.

But I gather from the folks that are studying the potential volume of the hydrate release could be much greater than all other sources combined. I'm not sure how provable that assertion is until it happens but the numbers do seem alarming large.

The quantity that one of the scientists, Shakhova, has described as likely to be released suddenly at any time is 50 Gts (billion tons). This is many degrees of magnitude larger than anything leaking out of all extractive operations combined, not to mention individual ones. Not to say that these are not also contributing factors. And yes, it is hard to know what level of certainty she can have with that figure.

I would just again point out that our eerily extremely warm early spring (more like late summer around here, actually) is consistent with earlier claims that very large methane eruptions were already going on in the Arctic last fall.

O-zone depletion would be seen. People in the northern hemisphere would be sunburned easily.

Yes, it will be...interesting to see whether there is another extreme increase in the Northern ozone hole this year as there was last year. That also would be consistent with a huge methane release, some of which would reach to that level and react with the O3.

Keep in mind that ground stations are not detecting any such mega methane release. This has lead many to doubt that it could have occurred. On the other hand you have eye-witness accounts by ship captains and scientists of seas boiling with methane and dramatic increases in methane release.

I'm just saying that our very weird weather is not inconsistent with the claims that such a release has occurred.

If we haven't already hit the tipping point, we are on the cusp of runaway global warming.

IMHO it may have already started, albeit slow at first, but the point is it cannot be stopped. I say this because of the 'decline in (Arctic) Summer ice' graph. On the link below scroll down to that graphic, and you'll see it is sharply declining, particularly the multi-year ice.


Based on that obvious sharp decline, it would seem also obvious that a reduction in arctic ice is accelerating methane releases in the arctic circle. If we are to take the position that the decline in arctic ice cannot be stopped, then we admit we are already in runaway GW. Now runaway GW doesn't mean it happens overnight, rather it means it started like a slow moving train but has in recent decades built up a whole lot of momentum that is unstoppable. Even if we stopped CO2 emissions tomorrow, (which is obviously out of the question) there is already a lot of thermal inertia by way of the 30-40 year slingshot effect of added atmospheric warming transferring to water. The oceans hold a thousand times as much thermal energy as the atmosphere, so there is a delay between burning FF and the result, i.e. cause and effect.

Here's a good article on the topic: http://www.stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net/Thermal-Inertia-of-the-Oc...

Just like the graph that shows increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere starts off slow and streaks upward, so is runaway GW. In recent years we've started to see the upward arc in the form of more cataclysmic weather events and increasing methane releases. Once it is 'FINALLY' understood by the whole world, we will be in the throws of an exponentially increasing phenomenon we cannot stop. Maybe dropping a thermo nuclear bomb inside an active volcano to release billions of tons of aerosols, but short of something really dramatic, we will pay a very high price and who knows how far that warming will need to go to shift into an ice age or some other weather pattern we can potentially eek out an existence in.

And we would have to keep dropping those bombs every year, since the aerosols fall out of the atmosphere fairly rapidly.

This puts be in mind of the figure Hansen used in his recent TED talk--every year the amount of additional warming we've already added in to the system from AGW is the equivalent of nearly a half million nuclear warheads exploding.

Once it is 'FINALLY' understood by the whole world, we will be in the throws of an exponentially increasing phenomenon we cannot stop.

I understand the long time-lags involved, but I do not understand why it would be an exponentially increasing phenomenon. Why not just an arithmetic or geometric increase over time?

Because the process is a time lag feedback loop of second or higher degree. Like the shrieking sound you get from a speaker microphone combo if there is an echo. Mic catches the audio from speaker, amplifies it and sends it to speaker, rinse and repeat. Replace mic with methane and speaker with heat

Hmmm ... not totally convinced by your mic feedback analogy, or by the argument that it must be exponentially compounding, rather than just cumulative. But a small point really ... we're all gonna cook anyway if and when it happens!

Sadly, the people that should be listening (Inhofe,etc) have their eyes and ears closed.

But he seems to have have his hands wide open!


BTW, Funniest statement I've heard in a long time: 'Nature' is a liberal magazine!

Meanwhile, freakish weather continues :-

Tornado plows through Michigan village, but storm warnings give everyone time to take shelter

"Perry Samson, an atmospheric science professor at the University of Michigan, said it’s “relatively rare” to have such a powerful tornado in the state at this time of year. In January 2008, with temperatures in the 60s, tornadoes developed in southeastern Wisconsin. Temperatures topped 70 on Thursday in Michigan."

I was watching footage from St Paddy's Day last year, and everyone was in winter coats - this could be the 4th day in a row of 80-degree weather in Chicago.

With regard to elevated night-time temperatures, I was listening to a local radio show where they were attributing early flowering of spring bulbs to warmer-than-average soil temperatures.

EDIT : with regard to climate change denial, I think the R's have walked so far to the end of the plank, they are unable to walk it back without getting eaten alive politically. They likely have no choice but to double-down. Unfortunately, denial or no, they still leave behind the "hoax" meme in the general ranks.

Re: night time temps... many crops require night time temps in the 55-65 degree (F) range to flower well, especially cucurbits and tomatoes. Without the cool nights, the blossoms won't develop into fruit. I'm starting some of my vine plants early, hoping to get ahead of higher night temps later this spring.

Another concern is water temps in streams, rivers, etc.. Some of the bream in our pond are already building beds, about 6-8 weeks earlier than normal which may indicate higher than normal water temps for mid March. Ambient soil and water temps are clearly at late April or early May levels. I'm also seeing frog eggs and certain insects early, and our Yellow-Breasted Chats have arrived quite early this year.

Higher water temps also can cause power plant discharge water temps to exceed allowable levels in case of drought or higher than normal inlet temps (ala Brown's Ferry 2007).

Two concerns: A late frost will kill off all of the buds which have emerged very early, and/or an early heat wave will prevent crops from maturing properly. Food prices are already likely to rise due to fuel costs.

I'm certain much of the east will see alot of problems this summer with insects and pathogens normally winter killed.

Well, we're looking at close to 80* by the middle of this week. Somewhat unusual for mid-March in the Boston area, especially after the extraordinarily mild Winter we're just coming out of.
The weather bobble heads on the local stations just give a sheepish grin and remark how great it is for sports events et al.....

Weird weather: heat, twisters, 250K tons of snow

America's weather is stuck on extreme.

... "When you start to see the extreme events become more common, that's when you can say that it is a consequence of global warming."

Thanks for all your work, Dawg

In Face Of Blow-Out March Heat Wave, Meteorologist Masters Says ‘This Is Not The Atmosphere I Grew Up With’
By Joe Romm on Mar 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

2012 Heat Records Demolish Cold Records 14-to-1 It has been a summer to remember. In winter.

Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace.

2012 Heat Records Demolish Cold Records 14-to-1 It has been a summer to remember. In winter.

Wow, 14 to 1. AsI said elswhere; individual records say nothing. But with a heat/cold record relation of 14 to 1, there is not much more to say. I'd expect it to be somewhere around 4 to 1.

I know weather ≠ climate, but still... here's Environment Canada's local seven day forecast:

Our "normal" high and low for this time of year is +4°C and -5°C, which puts our daytime temperatures three to thirteen degrees above the seasonal norm and our night-time temperatures five to fourteen degrees ahead of where we would normally expect them to be.

According to my own records, the average temperature for our first winter back east (the period spanning October 1st, 2002 and April 30th, 2003) was -0.8°C. With two more weeks of March remaining and the entire month of April to come, we're already standing at +1.5°C.

This is worrisome beyond imagination.


Seriously. Winnipeg is going to hit 28C this weekend. In March. In the warmest spring I remember as a kid it might have gotten almost that warm ... at the end of April. March is blizzard season, not beach season.

Holy crapola ! If anyone tried to tell you as a kid that it would hit 28°C in March, in Winnipeg!!, I'm sure you'd think they were nuts.

My childhood recollections are probably along the lines of your own. Heck, looking back to this day in 1979, my freshman year at university, I see that the high was -9°C, the low -14°C and the wind chill a bone chill'n -22°C. Now that's Canadian weather as God had intended it !


La, la, la! Not listening!

Wait until it's gyrating wildly within one season: Hotter than ever, cold beyond memory, unbelievable storms, back and forth, one after another, with every unusual aspect in complete inconsistency all around the world.

Got it covered, My IPOD goes up to 111, and I'm adapting it to be powerable from hurricane-force winds.

Still not listening, tricksy Hobbitses!


Canadian weather as God had intended it !

If she had really intended it that way then she wouldn't have created man in her own image, eh?... >;^)

If God really cared, It would take some action.


"God" is a name for existence, what happens. Meaning, love, relationships -- those are human stuff, tribal lore.

Recent devastating earthquakes and tsunamis have reduced churchfolk to talking about a god who shares human suffering. Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, not so much.

Just FYI; this has been foretold. And what we've seen so forth is just the drink you get at the entry when you come for the party, and they are planning a 3 meal dinner. IT's gonna get way way worse.

Well, Fred, if She cast me in Her likeness, then I trust She has one wicked sense of humour, as any unfortunate soul who has seen me naked can only hope.


I was going to tear a strip out of you for BSing us. But then I look on the weather network (forecasting 28) and environment canada (forecasting 26) and I fell out of my chair. The average daily high this time of year is supposed to be 1! That's celsius folks, so in fahrenheit, that's about a 50 degree difference. We used to see this type of crazy stuff only up in the arctic; now it's down here. This is getting scary.

Maine is supposed to hit 70 today. (I had actually read my house thermo hit 68-69 last week as well) .. what can I say? Saves me the trip to Santa Monica I'd been hoping for.

Otherwise, yes, keep looking for ways to prepare to handle future weather extremes that aren't quite as 'lulling' as this one.

2 PM, Portland Maine- 72 degrees f.

North America seems to be showing some kind of negative oscillation with the rest of the hemisphere. In 2010 which was the warmest year on record and had the worst kind of weather related disasters in rest of the world, US had snowmageddon and severe winter blizzards while in 2011 which was fairly benign for the rest of the world, US had the most weird kind of weather compared to other places.

Even this year when it's hot in US, Asia and Europe seem to be cooler than usual.

Holey moley, it was 26C today down here in Mexico!!!


Meanwhile ... Winter storm closes 180 miles of I-40 in Arizona

A winter storm packing heavy snow and gusty winds forced authorities to close 180 miles of Interstate 40 in northern Arizona on Sunday until further notice.

As of Sunday morning, Flagstaff -- with an elevation of about 6,900 feet -- had received between 8 and 10 inches of snow, with up to 36 inches forecast for some areas, Beck said.

This is unusual, even for that altitude. Last time they got walloped with 36 in. was back in '97. I had just moved up there.

Kinda interesting watching people who've never driven in snow re-learn the basic rules of physics.

This ought to make a nice short term impact on the moderate drought in the area.

When I was at uni I spotted a friend wandering around in the falling snow and staring off into space. "What's up?" I asked. "I've never seen snow before." he replied, he was from Gibraltar.

First snow each year, I used to go to a deserted part of a large supermarket car park and get used to the cornering, stopping and sliding. Brought me back into the habits I needed.


They had snowfall in Gibraltar a couple of winters ago. My wife's sister lives there and sent us some photos. Strange!

A portion of australia will experience a mean max of ~12 deg cel today... average mean max for that area at this time of year is ~36...

But "Alaska had its coldest January on record"



See my comment on this above--GLOBAL warming does not always equate with LOCAL warming.

The loss of sea ice across the Arctic means that there was a lot more water vapor around for mega snow fall somewhere. That just happened to hit in parts of Alaska. Once you get a good snow pack, the reflectivity of the snow keeps things pretty cold for pretty long.

Obviously, not the Republicans!!!

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice."

-Albert Einstein

There is only one party in the US - the Capitalist Party.


The owning class believes in the "American Beauty Rose" model, that is, monopoly, not capitalism.

See Rockefeller's "America Beauty Rose" address to Brown University students, 1904

I'm australian. our weather service, www.bom.gov.au, indicates that min and max temperature anomolies for the past year have been down continent wide, especially over this past summer where anomolies in mean-max temps have been -4deg cel over a large portion of the eastern states.

The two previous summers i had been in europe where hear-say suggested they were experiencing extreme cold, roughly matching in time and severity to unseasonal heat waves that were being expeeiwnxed in australia.

Hearsay only, yet it's been my observation that extended unseasonal weather in one hemisphere is roughly reciprocated in the other.

Re: Holy Land Leaders: Muslims, Jews, Christians Link to Save the Planet above;

Do you think there are many americans in the christian delegation?

Antartica belongs to all of us, that's why we must preserve it

This article of Fox news ilk woefully underestimates the import of that subject matter. Recent studies show the new understanding of Antarctica and its ice flows. It was never known before, that, those flows are like rivers slowing flowing to the sea. Before that study scientists thought it would take centuries for the icecap to melt. That is no longer their understanding.

You mean the Alabama Republic of Canada? We Creole Rednecks are wayyy ahead of you.

Lately I've been wondering about the meaning of rig counts. I remember seeing charts such as this one http://theamericanwestatrisk.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/oil-prod-drilli... , which show how massive drilling didn't help the US overcome its peak in the 70s. Now I see charts, for example in the EIA's monthly energy reports, which show a massive increase in the number of rigs drilling for oil in the US. It's something like an increase from between 200 and 300 to between 1000 and 1100. Meanwhile, oil production increased by around 15% (5 mbpd to 5.8 mbpd). Naturally, I started wondering how much drilling can be done. I found this page http://www.wtrg.com/rotaryrigs.html , which has lots of charts. It seems to show that more than half of the active drigs are operating in the US (which, as Obama likes to remind us, produces only 5% of the world's oil). Meanwhile, the middle east has about 300, and looking again at stories from last year about Saudi Arabia's increasing its rig count, I see it was small numbers, around 100. My guess is you need to drill more when your wells are starting to run dry and when you're going for smaller wells. But I was wondering if someone with knowledge of the industry could elaborate on this. What I found particularly impressive was the huge imbalance of rig count between the US and other oil producers. I was also wondering if there's any risk of being short on rigs. The page linked to above suggests that shouldn't be a problem, since there were 6000 rigs operating at one point in the 80s, so I'm guessing the real issue isn't so much the number of rigs available but rather the cost of operating them.

Anyway, any kind of elaboration on the state of affairs of drilling and rig count around the world would be very appreciated, and I apologize for not having good specific questions to pose. Thanks!

Yes – Good observations and good questions. First, that imbalance. A number of factors but the primary cause is the abundance of small independent oil companies in the US…thousands of them. And in the KSA, for example: one. Most of the development projects outside the US are done by a few international companies and the national oil companies. Then add the fact that the vast majority of mineral leases in the US belong to private citizens and companies. In most of the world the oil/NG belongs to the governments. The US is very unique in these regards. The major benefit of these factors is that wells/fields that would be ignored in other areas of the globe are the backbone of US production. Folks may be impressed when they see a press release about a 300,000 bopd Deep Water US field comes on line. But the average US oil well produces less than 10 bopd…and last time I saw the stat we’re the third largest oil producing country on the planet.

The reasons we have such a disproportionate number of rigs is simply a result of demand due to the fact that the US is a major oil producing province and our small independents can make a profit with wells that bigger companies/NOC’s can’t. But, as you note, the results of all this activity doesn’t seem proportional to the effort. Just because oil prices are way up and a lot of rigs are running doesn’t mean we’ll produce a lot more oil/NG. I can bear witness to the results of the late 70’s drilling boom. I started my career in 1975 and had a front row seat. We had more than twice as many rigs running as we do today and I can swear to you that a great many of them were drilling very poor prospects with little chance of success. I cannot over emphasize the how wasteful the combination of greed, stupidity and dishonesty was during that period. I managed a joint venture for one such inept company. The company and its partners paid 100% of the cost to drill 18 exploratory generated by a small independent company. They drilled 18 drill holes…yes…never made one penny back of their investment. And the independent company that generated and drilled the prospects for us? Its senior management retired millionaires. Even worse were foolish non-industry investors who sent $millions to post offices boxes of companies they found in the ads in the Wall Street Journal and were mad when the never saw a revenue check.

I see some similarities between then and now. The public companies were heavily into the shale gas plays…at least while NG prices were higher. Now they’re switching to more oil prone shale plays. Folks can debate how much new production may or may not be developed by those companies. What can’t be debated is the low profit margin the companies are accepting. But there is a great deal of potential profit. One of the early big shale gas players in Texas, Petrohawk, made a huge profit. But not by drilling and producing their shale acreage…they sold their company for $12 billion. Sold it to another public company desperate for projects that would help them add reserves to their books. And thus be able to satisfy Wall Street demand for an increasing asset base without a great concern for the profitability of those assets IMHO.

I enjoy what I do for a living and take pride in how my company conducts business. But sometimes I think about the old joke about the guy that died a while back but doesn't have enough sense to stop moving. LOL.

Thanks, I didn't know about the difference in the number and size of companies. Where do you see the matter going in the future (there is a hint in your last sentence)? I mean, do you expect that as time passes other producing countries will also start jacking their rig counts sky-high (though one would hope not to levels that can only be justified by "greed, stupidity, and dishonesty")? And do you think the current drilling boom in the US will keep going (for, say, a decade) or are the current levels akin to what happened in the 70s? I know the shale gas story with the wall street ponzi aspects Berman has talked about, so I'm thinking more of oil (though maybe shale oil is largely a new version of the same?). Finally, is there any reason to think that the worldwide availability of rigs could become a bottleneck if other countries also start upping their rig counts, or would it be a non-factor?

Yes – I don’t really expect many countries will change with respect to expanded entrepreneurial efforts. The ownership of the mineral rights will almost certainly remain in the hands of the govts. Those govt could start leasing to small private companies but there’s the big problem: they don’t exist in those countries today. A few could start up but it would mean putting capital at risk in what will likely be very volatile times. Consider the extreme case of Mexico. They won’t allow foreign companies from making a profit producing their oil. Thus only domestic companies could expand. But consider the plight of Mexico’s NOC…PEMEX. PEMEX has been required to give the bulk of their revenue to the govt. In fact last time I saw the stat PEMEX provided 40% of the govt budget. PEMEX hasn’t been able to exploit their resources as aggressively as they would have liked for lack of capex. For the govt to allow PEMEX or any private companies to keep revenue the govt would receive less at a time when they need even more.

I’ve felt the US oil prone shale gas plays will continue as long as oil prices stay high even though many of the plays appear to have marginal value. But I’m starting to have some doubts. One of the biggest players, Chesapeake, may be having trouble coming up with sufficient capex to keep expanding their drilling efforts. Their own press release states that the banks will only loan them less than 10% of their capex needs. And they’ve been selling of big chunks of what they define as their most promising shale plays. Chicken/egg problem: sell supposedly “valuable” assets (but not valuable enough to borrow against) so they have the capital to develop those assets that they no longer own a significant portion of because they had to sell so they could have the monies to drill. It may not be the case but the economics of the play may be even worse than I suspect…maybe even worse than Berman offers.

Equipment bottle neck: most certainly. Just a guess but it probably cost 30-50% more the drill and frac a horizontal well today than it did 5 years ago. The service companies are making $billions every month. The demand is extreme and while there has been some build up of infrastructure not as significant as many would suspect. The services companies have gotten burned in the past by expanding too fast. And they remember. And as I said in another post, all the new equipment in the world won’t get more wells drilled here (and especially overseas) if you don’t have enough competent experienced hands to do the work.

Predictions are difficult…especially about the future. Oil and NG rise and fall. Activities, with some time lag, follow the prices. Always more wells to drill but the more wells we drill the fewer we have left to drill. And most future drilling will typically require higher oil/NG prices otherwise many would have been drilled already. Above all else I suspect the above ground/political factors will dominate the future more than geology and infrastructure.

I see, that makes sense. Thanks again for the info!

Chesapeak and others that were heavily into gas-only plays with heavy leverage are going to struggle mightily. I've heard some say Chpk won't make it through the year without collapsing or being acquired. The mid-size independents are likely to be bought by majors if their oil plays are strong and gas lease value is low -- it'll be a nice time for the big boys to prep for the next gas up cycle, and pocket some reserves too.

I still don't see well starts dropping a lot, as of Mar 1 anyway, but a LOT of drilling is moving to the oil-rich shales. We're going to see oil drilling in places that people don't even this of as oil country.

The mineral rights issue is a major issue, as Rockman says. Without individual ownership there is no incentive for landowners to engage in this kind of exploration. In places like the UK it is usually a clear disincentive, as most owners will actively campaign against invasive drilling activity anywhere near their land/property. Combine that with the relative density of population and other built-up/commercial/agricultural activity on most land and any company attempting to start a drilling operation will face a major public backlash. We like our land green and pleasant and our oil & gas to come from somewhere we cannot see.

Without individual ownership there is no incentive for landowners to engage in this kind of exploration.

Possibly, but Australia has some of the largest and most productive mining provinces on the planet, and it has all been developed by mining leases, without (a) the landowners owning the rights beneath the surface, or (b) the mining companies owning any freehold rights either.

The ownership of minerals and resources by the state can be a very good way to organise things over the long term, and the pipeline of investment dollars going into Australia over the coming decade is staggering ... let's not get hung up on the Far Right ideology that individual ownership is all good (or in fact, the only good)!

See: David Archibald presented four great global challenges March 12, 2012.:Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Part 1 Conquest and war
Part 2 – Famine and Death
In Part 1 Archibald gives numerous slides on peak oil and economic issues.

...and said there is no evidence of climate change and that the world is actually cooling. He also struggles with geography- not very clear on what countries make up the Middle East.

... and said and charted that the world (or CONUS) be well into a multi-decade cooling period by now.

When I tried to reconstruct this chart, I was unable to reproduce it and while Archibald quickly replied to my request for more information, he was unable to offer any insight the underlying method.

Your link shows that he was a presenter at Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change so I wouldn't waste much time trying to reconstruct his information.

David Archibald is a well known denialist. His presentation is clearly biased toward his belief that recent climate change is entirely due to variations in solar activity. Careful inspection of his presentation shows little interest in volcanic activity until the very end, in which he points out the potential impact of a repeat of the Tambora eruption in 1815. However, he misses the fact that there were more than one large volcanic event in that time period and the sum of these produced what was called "The Year Without A Summer" in 1816. In his entire discussion of the preceding 1000 years of climate data, he fails to mention the large eruptions in 1259, 1452, 1600, etc. He also claims that the Little Ice Age lasted until 1900, even though others have claimed that it ended much earlier. Of course, he also points to work by other denialist, such as the satellite record from Spencer and Christy, whose data over the Antarctic is clearly flawed. And, the graph of satellite data is a year out of date.

I tend to side with him on the other parts of his presentation, such as his discussion of Peak Oil and his Malthusian idea that world food grain production is going to run smack into real limits as population increases. However, his climate presentation with it's projection of another Maunder Minimum would seem to be off base, especially as solar activity has increased at the start of another cycle in solar activity. Direct measurements of solar insolation gathered outside the atmosphere suggest that there is little variation in the "solar constant" over the past 2 sunspot cycles. It's too bad that more data isn't available, but that's what we have to work with...

E. Swanson

"I tend to side with him on the other parts of his presentation."

The "broken clock" argument is fine as far as it goes, but given the amount of information out there to sift through, I have come to the decision that anyone who either denies climate change or says we have enough oil to last generations at current consumption is simply not worth the time.

Exclusive: Iran sanctions seen spurring more Saudi oil sales to U.S.

Saudi Arabia is preparing to extend this year's unexpected jump in oil sales to the United States, adding to speculation about the response of the world's top oil exporter to sanctions against Iran and a rally in prices.

The kingdom's shipments to the United States have quietly risen 25 percent to the highest level since mid-2008, according to preliminary U.S. government data, a sizeable leap that appears at least partly related to the imminent completion of a major expansion at its joint-venture Motiva refinery in Texas


Port Arthur Refiner

The expanded Port Arthur refinery will be capable of handling most grades of crudes, even the lowest quality.


The refinery is 50% owned by Saudi Aramco, and Saudi Aramco has large reserves of very poor quality oil that it probably wants to have refined. Historically SA just ignored these heavy, sour, heavy metal-contaminated oil fields and produced only its higher-quality oil, but I'm afraid that low-quality oil might be all that it has left to develop.

In fact, heavy, sour oil is becoming the only oil that is readily available to refiners at reasonable prices these days.

The other 50% of the refinery is owned by Shell, and Shell happens to own an oil sands mine in Canada that produces 155,000 bpd with a 100,000 bpd expansion underway. It also owns a crude oil pipeline that runs north from the Gulf of Mexico to Illinois, but which could be reversed to take Canadian and North Dakota oil south. There are rumors that a reversal of the pipeline is under discussion.

I submit to you the following (2005 data):

A bit sour? Yes. Heavy? Less so than Mexico, certainly. And Saudi output has actually improved over the last few years. Most of the Saudi Heavy (on sale since the '50s) goes to Asia, and the US has been importing less Saudi oil overall.


Yes, but refiners have to pay a premium for Saudi light oil versus heavy oil, and the premium is increasing.

Saudi Arabia May Widen Gap Between Light, Heavy Oil, Survey Says

If the light oil is going to the US, and the heavy oil is going to Asia, then Asian refineries are paying significantly less for their oil than American refineries.

Recent prices:
North Sea Brent Blend: $123/bbl
OPEC Basket Price: $123/bbl
Western Canadian Select: $74/bbl

The latter is much heavier and more sour than the other oils, but the price difference between it and OPEC or North Sea oil is $49/bbl.

For American refineries which have access to Canadian heavy oils and are capable of refining them, the difference in price is enormous, and most of the difference flows straight to the refinery's bottom line. Those refineries are making enormous profits, while the Eastern US refineries are going out of business.

Do we have Sulphur mountains from this heavy refining? Is there much use for the waste sulphur? I could see them stockpiling vanadium for future batteries.


Sulphur has been used since antiquity; today it is employed in the production of almost everything we eat, wear or use.

Canadian Production

Canada is the world's second-largest producer of elemental sulphur after the US. Sulphur production in Canada is mostly dictated by gas production and related market factors; as such, sulphur recovery in Canada is deemed involuntary or nondiscretionary. Most of Canada's sulphur activity occurs in the oil sands. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, gas production in Canada was buoyant due to strong demand in the domestic and export markets, generating important exploration, processing and pipeline investments in the gas sector in western Canada. During the same period, Canadian-recovered sulphur production rose by 40%.

Canada is the world's largest exporter of elemental sulphur, accounting for 40% of the world's sulphur trade. Canada sells sulphur to about 20 countries, including China, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Cuba, the US, Australia, Morocco, New Zealand and Israel.

Thanks Rocky, interesting info as always.

I have an old National Geographic from the 60's that has an article on Calgary. There is a picture of this huge lake of sulphur and blocks being cut from the cooled stuff. Maybe it could be used in industrial sized sodium-sulphur batteries?


What you saw was a sulphur stack at one of the gas plants near Calgary, most likely the Crossfield Gas Plant where I spent a lot of time in the 70's, but there are several other big sulphur plants in the area.

The sulphur stack at Crossfield was once about half the size of the plant and had several million tonnes of sulphur in it as I recall. The size of the stack varied depending on how good the market for sulphur was. When the stack shrank, you knew the market for sulphur was good and the prices were high. When prices were poor the stack got bigger.

Most of the production went to China and India where they used it to make fertilizer, but there were other markets such as companies producing sulphuric acid and chemicals. They even tried paving roads with it, but that was a concept that went nowhere.

The sulphur stack is gone now because the Crossfield gas field is empty and the Crossfield Plant is now a natural gas storage facility rather than a gas plant. They have a couple of depleted gas pools (Elkton A and B) that they inject gas into in the summer when gas demand is low, and then they produce it again in the winter when demand is high. The gas in the main Crossfield gas field was about 30% hydrogen sulphide so they don't use it for storage.

See CrossAlta Gas Storage and Services Ltd. for their Web site.

Thanks for that background, gives more dimension to the story. I dug it out, Vol 118 No 1 July 1960. Pincher Creek operated by the British American Oil Company, extracted from the gas before going into the Trans-Canada pipeline. BTW, what do they do with all that H2S?


Pincher Creek is not very close to Calgary - roughly 220 km (130 miles) south by road.

British American Oil was taken over by Gulf Oil in 1969 and renamed Gulf Canada. Gulf Canada was taken over by ConocoPhillips in 2001 and renamed ConocoPhillips Canada. The Pincher Creek Gas Plant was demolished in 2006 and replaced by a compressor station. The field still produces small amounts of gas, but it goes to the Shell Waterton Gas Plant.

They take the H2S in the gas, turn it into large yellow stacks of solid sulphur, and sell it to Asia. That's the easiest way to dispose of it. The process they use is called the Claus process. 2 H2S + O2 → S2 + 2 H2O.

Thanks again, yeh, the article was about Alberta as a whole but it seemed focused around Calgary and so I remembered it as Calgary. Shame they can't split off the hydrogen to use as fuel or reacting with the bitumen to lighten it.


Calgary is the main head office center of the Canadian oil industry, and has the best airport connections, which is probably why National Geographic focused on it. It saved a lot of travelling.

The actual oil and gas operations are scattered all over the province, and in fact the biggest oil fields are around Edmonton. Calgary is the head office center where almost all the financial companies are located, and Edmonton is the industrial center where almost all the refineries are located. The big gas plants with their huge sulphur piles were easier to see in the shortgrass prairie of the south than in the heavily forested north which is probably why they got photographed.

Actually, they can and do split off the hydrogen and use it for fuel, or react it with bitumen to produce light oil. What they do depends on how close the gas plant is to an oil refinery or oil sands plant.

Here is a great piece with Anderson Cooper interviewing Fareed Zakaria and Stephen Moore. It is a short video but has the entire transcript in print for those who have slow internet. Zakaria takes one side of the argument and Moore the other.

Zakaria: Republicans are pandering on gas prices

I agree with everything Zakaria says except when he makes this very stupid statement:

The United States for the first time is actually exporting oil rather than importing oil, and it has made no difference to our prices. In fact, as we can see, oil prices have gone up. Why?

Dear God, I do wish someone would educate these television folks about how much oil we import and export. This silly rumor got out there that we are a net oil exporter for the first time in decades. We all know now how it got started, that is by people mistaken the announcement that we are now exporting more refined petroleum products than we import. But it got all twisted and has led to this disaster that so many people now believe we are a net crude exporter.

Anyway, except for that one very terrible goof, it was a great if very short debate. Another excerpt:

Anderson Cooper: Stephen, do you believe that Newt Gingrich can bring it to $2.50 a gallon?

Stephen Moore: Yes, I do. I have seen presidents do this when one of the reason this is such a hot button issue, Anderson, is because of the fact that one of the reasons that Jimmy Carter lost the election 1980 was because of very high gasoline prices a result of very high inflation.

Ron P.

Dear God, I do wish someone would educate these television folks about how much oil we import and export.

Ron, why don't you copy and paste your comment into their comments section?

Or perhaps send a letter directly to Anderson Cooper? Maybe some of the staff and regulars at TOD would be willing to co-sign it.

Thanks for the suggestion Fred. I did exactly that.

Ron P.

"Jimmy Carter lost the election 1980 was because of very high gasoline prices a result of very high inflation."

A bit revisionist.

Maybe people should consider changing their behavior,living patterns,consumption patterns, auto choices,and transportation choices. But noooooooo! Let's lower gas prices.

Bought a hybrid in 2002 and all I feel at this point is schadenfreude.

Oh I know. Let's implement price controls ala Nixon.

I think maybe Iran was a bigger factor than gas prices. And America wanted someone with a sunny disposition.

And as we know Reagan outlawed peak oil in America. Same with Bush.

My wife and I bought a Prius v at the end of last year. Schadenfreude indeed! Especially when I run into the SUVs and even an occasional hummer about town. We are averaging 50-55 miles per gallon when we run into town and back. That purchase was a good decision.

Interested in some feedback here. I bought a VW Passat diesel this year. I get about 45mpg to and from work, 50+ open highway. How does the use of diesel vs gasoline affect the environmental issues? (I know that diesel has higher energy content than gasoline...how about carbon impact?)

A litre of gasoline = approx 2.3 kg carbon dioxide when burnt. A litre of diesel = something over 2.6 kg. (plus emissions from production/distribution which adds perhaps a third to each)

Hey - I bought a Prius v as well. I have been delighted with this car. I think of car ownership as an unavoidable evil. The Volkswagen Jetta diesel wagon was the alternative but it did not work for me since I mostly drive in an urban area. Hybrids are generally the best choice for urban driving while diesels are the best choice for those who mainly drive on the highway.

You yourself admit that both Zakaria and Moore are saying lies and nonsensical statements.

I'll say it again: there's hardly anything worth watching on cable or tv news anymore. Maybe a few specials here or there, perhaps 60 min. or the occasional Charlie Rose interview. That's about it. Some people here have a hard time admitting this.

I've got better things to do than listen to a couple of clowns.

You yourself admit that both Zakaria and Moore are saying lies and nonsensical statements.

No! I admitted no such thing. Please don't put words in my mouth that I never spoke or wrote. A lie is saying or writing something you know to be untrue. A mistake is not a lie regardless of how far one's mistake is off.

Zakaria was simply mistaken when he said we export more oil than we import. He told what he thought was the truth. Also I think Moore really believes Gingrich can bring oil prices down to $2.50 a gallon. A horrible and silly mistake, but not a lie.

There is enough ignorance concerning oil production and oil price to fill an encyclopedia but there are a lot more ignorant people talking about these thing than liars.

Why are so many people so quick to accuse people of lying when they are simply ignorant of the subject of which they speak.

And you may have better things to do than listen to weekend talk shows about politics, the economy, oil prices and production, but I don't. I find them very entertaining if not all that informative.

Edit: Well actually they are also very informative, they inform me of how much ignorance there is out there concerning oil production, imports and exports. And believe me that is information worth having.

Ron P.

Stephen Moore is merely an ideologue. He did an essay in 2005 called "The War on the Car." If you want to see stupidity and cupidity in action, take a look. But that's the kind of stuff that gets you to the top of the WSJ editorial staff.

Zakaria, meanwhile, is simply repeating the Democratic Party's official line, which is every bit as denialist of Peak Oil as conventional, direct denials. It's an open question as to how many of the people peddling the DP line ("Speculators and tax breaks for oil companies did it!") understand the actual facts. Certainly, some do -- and all ought to. But, again, it pays to be dumb on this vital topic. All mainstream politicians are busy stalling for time, even though there's no hope of anything new to be stalling for. Foot dragging is the only strategy tolerable to those who fund the Super Pacs.

Power concedes nothing without a demand.

I'm pretty sure most Americans are now convinced America is now producing more oil than any time before in its history. Media propaganda on this is relentless.

This is the fault of the "media", not the government leadership?

The U.S. has become a net exporter of fuels for the first time since 1949.


BTW, I note that the all time high of US all-liquids production seems to be ~11 mbbl/day back in '72, and that US all-liquids production now is 8.2 mbb/day. Ethanol is another 0.8 mbbl/day equivalent. So the US is about 2 mbbl/day short of the all time high and rising. Any guesses as to if and how soon the all time high will be reached again? At the current annual rate of increase (.7mbbl/day/year) it appears 2015 will show a new US all time high.

Don't hold your breath waiting for a new oil production peak in the US. Like rust, depletion never sleeps.

Everyone is focused on North Dakota and not paying any attention to what is happening in Alaska and California, which were once major oil-producing states. Their production is still in steady decline.

The fuel ethanol boom is coming to an end, too. They are already turning 40% of the US corn crop into ethanol, and there are limits to how far they can go with that before people can't afford Corn Flakes for breakfast any more, and McDonald's has to switch to serving only veggie burgers.

Agreed, depletion happens. However,

Everyone is focused on North Dakota ...

Don't forget Texas, up 0.6 mbbl/day, more than North Dakota in two years, and there are lot more shale fields out there.

The fuel ethanol boom is coming to an end, too. They are already turning 40% of the US corn crop into ethanol,...

Right, 40%, and I agree that we won't see much more acreage dedicated, but neither is the existing acreage going away, i.e. ethanol doesn't deplete, like rust ;-). I also expect efficiency of the ethanol process will continue to improve, both in bushels per acre and at the ethanol plant.

Tullow Oil confirms major find off coast of Ghana

The Africa-focused company, which has been built from scratch by Irishman Aidan Heavey, has been ramping up a new field in Ghana, where a well has discovered oil in "very good quality sandstone reservoirs". The latest discovery "confirms the significant extent of the Enyenra light oil field".

Further work will now be undertaken to refine estimates of oil in place.

Anyone who worries about climate change should read this:


Over the past 400 million years, the earth's temperature has fluctuated between an average temperature from 12 degrees to 22 degrees celsius, and we are at 12 degrees right now. The earth is going to warm up regardless of human activity.

If you want to worry about something which is much worse, and we can do something about then worry about this:


because it means gasoline is going to get extremely expensive

It is not the temperture variation over 400 million years that is of interest, but rather the temperature over the period of agriculture and recorded history - say the last 12 to 15,000 years.

we are coming out of an ice age, which ended 10,000 years ago, it is going to warm up regardless


Dr. Laherre charts the CO2 in the atmosphere vs. temperature over 400 million years and there is no correlation. If no correlation shows up over that time frame, then one does not exist. If I have to lower my sample size to show a statistically significant relationship between two variables, then one must seriously question the validity of the study.

Ummm, that should mean that we should be going back INTO another ice age by now, or fairly soon. The CO2/temp graphs do match up very well over the last few hundreds of thousands of years. It is just that during these times CO2 was a feedback rather than a forcing.

Do you really not understand these very basic fact about climate science, or are you intentionally and knowingly spreading dangerous dis-information about this very serious subject. If the latter, please cease and desist at once. If the former, please educate yourself at SkepticalScience or any number of legit science sites before posting further on a subject you have no clue about.

I am stating that we are currently around 12 degrees celsius, average global temperatue, and based on cycles going back 400 million years we are headed for 22 celsius regardless of anything we may or may not do. I am not saying that the earth is not headed for significant climate change, what I am saying, is that there is probably nothing we can do about it.

Every denier that I've talked to that actually ends up admitting that the climate is changing ends up saying what you are. Yes, it's changing, but there's nothing we can do. That way they still can justify doing nothing. Rock on BAU! From totally denying anything is changing to "there's nothing we can do". Net result, no change in what they'll do.

Thomas Homer Dixon, in The Upside of Down, described the stages of denial.

Avoidance - I just won't think about it.
Existential denial - Its not happening
Consequential Denial - OK -Its happening but its not serious
Fatalistic Denial - OK its happening, its serious, but there's nothing we can do about it.

What is interesting about both PO and Climate change denial is that the progress is not linear. People who will admit that it is happening often cycle back to outright denial as soon as they have some minutiae of data to embrace.

in the 400s, the Huns were forced to move due to a drought caused by climate change, they moved into another area driving out the local inhabitants the Visigoths, who then were pushed into the Roman Empire. The Roman empire then fell. So did climate change cause the downfall of the Roman Empire?

It really does not matter, the Roman empire fell. Maybe, they should have spotted the danger coming and prepared for it, made changes in there society to deal with fewer resouces, from fewer wars of conquest and more mouths to feed, but they didn't.

I'm just saying that there is a potentially huge natural disaster heading this way, that needs to be prepared for. If there is a possibility that CO2 is not the cause, it will happen, and we need to be making significant changes. The Visigoths and Huns had the flexibility to adapt to climate change, the Romans did not. Are we more like the Visigoths or the Romans?

I think that our hydrocarbon fueled lifestyle, will take away the flexibility we need to survive this event. Instead we pretend like we might have an influence on whether it happens or not.

You don't notice the sudden, drastic increase in the rate of change of temperature? How does that fit with the your other claims? Guess what, it doesn't.

I'm not sure what your saying, but the first derivative (rate of change) is always lowest at the top or bottom of a curve, which is where we currently are in a cycle.

That old cycle argument again? I quit. You win, Seraph has it right!

Instead we pretend like we might have an influence on whether it happens or not.

The Air Force wants to have influence of the weather by 2025 as a way to better wage war. Should tax dollars go to such things?

Humans *COULD* choose to make the spending on Carbon more than 30% effective, yet the financial leaches still need to be fed. Why should the masses support the financial leaches?

And what you are stating is plainly wrong. If we let the ice age cycles play along without interference, we would be heading into the next ice age right now. ((Which would be a good thing. Want to feed billions of people? Gets a lot easier if you can turn NOrth Africa into farmland.))

Lower your "sample size"? The recent round of glaciation, including interglacials like the present, began some 3.3 million years ago. It was likely that it started as the result of the closure of the Isthmus of Panama, which thus separated the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. After that time, it was no longer possible for the waters to mix thru the passage at Equatorial latitudes, pushed by the Easterly wind flows at those latitudes. As a result, the sub tropical North Atlantic has the saltiest water of the oceans and this salt imbalance is the cause of the Thermohiline Circulation which provides the sinking waters that make up most of the very cold layers below the thermocline. A similar process occurs around the Antarctic ice shelves. There is no THC process in the North Pacific at present.

My point is that any data from periods before 3.3 million years BP is not representative of the processes which have dominated climate during the time since, which includes the most recent warm interglacial, the Holocene. The evidence I've seen shows that the last Ice Age hit maximum at about 20,000 years BP and most of the ice had melted by 8,000 years BP, so it's not reasonable to claim that the Earth is still coming out of an ice age. After many years of drilling, the data from the Antarctic ice cores extend back some 800,000 years, which should be more than enough to establish what's "normal"...

E. Swanson

Call me crazy, but yes, I think that 400 million is more indicative of normal than 800,000.

Why not 4 billion years then?

That would be better if you have it.

Since Earth's first billion or so years were anoxic that data period is obviously of more use than the industrial societal anomaly of the past ~200 years.

It is the oxygen in the atmosphere that is causing these problems.

Normal for whom? The human split from chimps is only a couple of million years old. The various 'homo' species are younger than that.

The human split from chimps is only a couple of million years old. The various 'homo' species are younger than that.

The chimpanzee-human last common ancestor lived approximately 5 to 8 million years ago based on mutation rates.

The genus Homo is estimated to have evolved about 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago with the appearance of Homo habilis.

Other than that, I'm ignoring this discussion.

Both genetic and fossil evidences seems to agree on 6 million years as to the time we had a common ancestor.

I appreciate the corrections.

While considering "human" normal and *nebraska*'s suggestion that temps might climb 10-12C higher, consider also this:
Global Warming: Future Temperatures Could Exceed Livable Limits, Researchers Find.

Personally, I don't think that current modeling supports that kind of increase, but if you don't have models to consider, then I guess nebraska's reference to paleoclimate proxy reconstruction is as good an upper limit as any ...

Normal for whom? Dinosaurs?

Poor old dinosaurs; they'd probable still be in charge if not for that pesky comet. Wonder if they would have invented the iphone by now?

"Call me crazy" OK, you're crazy.

nebraska: Dr. Laherre charts the CO2 in the atmosphere vs. temperature over 400 million years and there is no correlation.

It doesn't matter if you are worried are not, nebraska. You are not entitled to your own "facts" and you are simply wrong about the correlation between CO2 and temperature over the last 400 million years. The correlation is very strong.

The Antarctic temperature was warmer, and atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations were higher, during interglacials 5.5 and 9.3 than during the Holocene and interglacial 7.5. The temporal evolution and duration of stages 5.5 and 9.3 are indeed remarkably similar for all properties recorded in Vostok ice and entrapped gases. As judged from the Vostok record, the long, stable Holocene is a unique feature of climate during the past 420 kyr, with possibly profound implications for evolution and the development of civilizations. Finally, CO2 and CH4 concentrations are strongly correlated with Antarctic temperatures; this is because, overall, our results support the idea that greenhouse gases have contributed significantly to the glacial–interglacial change. This correlation, together with the uniquely elevated concentrations of these gases today, is of relevance with respect to the continuing debate on the future of Earth’s climate.

Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica
Petit, et al, 1999

Maybe you would like to verify the high correlation for yourself?
Here is a little R program you can use to calculate it.


# get Vostok data
co2ftp = read.table("ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/co2nat.txt", skip=1)
dtftp = read.table("ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/deutnat.txt", skip=111)

# strip the time and variable of interest columns
zdt <- zoo(dtftp[,4],dtftp[,2],frequency=1)
zco2 <- zoo(co2ftp[,2],co2ftp[,1],frequency=1)

# create zoo regular time series
ZDT.index <- zoo(, seq(1, end(zdt), by = 1))
ZCO2.index <- zoo(, seq(1,end(zco2), by = 1))
ZDT <- merge(zdt, ZDT.index)
ZCO2 <- merge(zco2, ZCO2.index)

# spline approximation for missing values
ZDT = na.spline(ZDT)
ZCO2 = na.spline(ZCO2)
# pull out overlap
Z1 = ZDT[1:min(end(ZDT),end(ZCO2))]
Z2 = ZCO2[1:min(end(ZDT),end(ZCO2))]
cor(Z1,Z2) # 0.83

Again, this only looking at the last 420,000 years. I am talking 400 million years. For short periods of time there may be a correlation simply by chance. Correlation does not prove causality

Doh! 400 million years invokes a totally different problem space.
CO2 logarithmic diminishing returns, differing TSI, differing geography, differing ocean currents.

You need to identify those issues and their differences to current earth systems before comparing.

The last 400 thousand years, on the other hand, involve a variable space where the geography, TSI, and currents are much more similar and the order of magnitude differences in CO2 are not a factor.

400,000 years of correlation is not chance; neither is it causation. Causation is demonstrated from molecular physics and the absorption bands of the CO2 molecule. These have been broadly known for over a century and with increasing precision over time.

Yes, and clearly over 400 million years, there has been a consistent decline in CO2 in the atmosphere, yet temperature has fluctuated in a narrow band between 12 and 22 degrees.

More like 10-25C. There are a couple of relatively minor problems with your chart:

1. Error bands for CO2 have been removed
2. The temperature scale is incorrect
3. The Tertiary temperature is smoothed.

You can find an updated source for the temperature here:

You can find the source for the CO2 in the GEOCARB III model:

I've corrected your chart here:

Per the proxy data and models, the temperature apparently has fluctuated between two modes over deep geologic time. The flucation reminds me of Budyko's 1969 ice-albedo feedback model, Seller's "no ice" mode with temps 15C higher than today, and the two mode concept more clearly expressed in North's 1975 Theory of EBMs.

But if you are trying to convince us that because temperatures are not linearly dependent on CO2 over 400 million years that, therefore, increasing CO2 will not lead to increasing temps, you will have to first convince us that either 1) 100 yr old radiative physics regarding CO2 molecules is wrong and/or 2) negative feedbacks will overwhelm positive feedbacks.

Your posts here seem to suggest that you believe that temps are rising due to some statistical "return to average" and that the current, geo-historically low temps are a statistical aberration. But we know many of the factors that have led to a million year ice age (with brief respites). Falling CO2 (absorption into rock), changing ocean currents (as mentioned above, the closing of the Panama isthmus a few m.y. back is notable), and the establishment of ice caps (which provide a strong negative ice albedo feedback).

If you want to understand this long relation between climate and paleo-history your chart points towards, I suggest Royer 2006.

Atmospheric CO2 is positively correlated with globally averaged surface temperatures for most of the Phanerozoic. This pattern has been previously shown at coarse 10-million-year timescales and is demonstrated here at finer resolutions (one million to five million-year timescales). The two longest-lived Phanerozoic glaciations during the Permo-Carboniferous and late Cenozoic are the only Phanerozoic intervals associated with consistently low levels of CO2 (<500 ppm). This pattern supports predictions from global climate models for a CO2-ice threshold of 560–1120 ppm

A growing number of cool, putatively non-glacial periods have been identified in the Phanerozoic. A pervasive pattern with these events is their brevity, typically <3 my and often <1 my. These cool periods are marked by either low-to-moderate levels of CO2 (<1000 ppm) or no CO2 coverage. Crucially, none of the cool periods are associated with CO2 levels exceeding 1000 ppm.

Many factors are important in controlling the average surface temperature of the Earth, including solar luminosity, albedo, distribution of continents and vegetation, orbital parameters, and other greenhouse gases. The message of this study is not that atmospheric CO2 is always the dominant forcing (see Section 3.7 for an early Paleogene example). Instead, given the variety of factors that can influence global temperatures, it is striking that such a consistent pattern between CO2 and temperature emerges for many intervals of the Phanerozoic. This correspondence suggests that CO2 can explain in part the patterns of globally averaged temperatures during the Phanerozoic.

nebraska, if you are an honest skeptic, you will take time to review and attempt to understand the material I linked above. After all, I took the time to read track down and understand the original sources for the chart you referenced and to take the time to correct it.

Also, although we did not discuss it here, please understand the difference between CO2 as a feedback (geologic/oceanic/biotic response to temps) and a forcing (consumption of fossil fuels, volcanic outgassing).

Doh! 400 million years invokes a totally different problem space.
CO2 logarithmic diminishing returns, differing TSI, differing geography, differing ocean currents.

Not to mention the sun being cooler in the past than now.

Causation is demonstrated from molecular physics and the absorption bands of the CO2 molecule.

Yes, and the decreased solubility of CO2 in the oceans with rising temperature is also demonstrated, i.e. causality can be argued both ways.

A problem with going further back in time, is the quality of the data deteriorates. Only very indirect means are available to estimate either temperature and CO2. Ice cores are a fairly direct measurement, rather than using proxies, and the limited number of well dated sites with decent data.

An ice sheet began forming on Antarctica 34million years ago, and that started changing things, athough things didn't take off until roughly 3 million years ago. Most likely it was the slow decline of CO2, caused by increased silicate weathering from the combination of the American Plataeu (Colorado Plateau), and the much larger Himalyas, and Tibetan plataeu. Over time periods of a million years or longer, the planet has a silicate-carbonate thermostat, higher temps increase the rate of weathering, which removes CO2. But, the balance point also depends upon changes in the rate of volcanism, and weathering (which depends upon topography).

So what does it matter, whether it is direct or indirect, it is still data that needs to explained. Just because it is indirect does not mean it is incorrect or less accurate.

If this data is correct, it predicts that a huge natural disaster is approaching that modern society should start getting ready for.

I think this is a fact worth investigating.

Kinda like there is no correlation between drunk driving and traffic accidents if you take the last million years as a sample group, right?

If I have to lower my sample size to show a statistically significant relationship between two variables, then one must seriously question the validity of the study.

There you have the key word. You are looking at a period of 400 million years. In those large time frames, you will have to take two other factors into account: continental drifting, and solar variations. These occour over very large time spans, and together have the power to change the climate just as much as GHG concentraations.

But the last 200 years we have seen 1400 cm continental drift and 0 solar variability. In the same time span CO2 conc have increased from 280 PPM to 390. Right now, the GHG concentrarion is the one factor that changes, and thus the ONLY driver of the climate change.

And yes, you have to lower your sample size to spans that only contian 2 variables, if you want to see the relation between those 2 variables. If your span is large enough to contain 3 variables (for example including continental drift) then you will get the relation between those 3 variables.

High gas prices is something I welcome and one of the last things I worry about. Love to see people wince when they fill up their SUV.

2007 Chevy Suburban combined city and highway mpg 16.

Fuel tank holds 31 gallons, good for about 496 miles.

At an average of $4.00 gal.

You are looking at about $120.00 per tankful!

Coming soon, at $5.00 gal it will be over $150.00 per tankful...

It is a whole lot easier to produce food without fossil fuels than it is without water. Ask the folks in Texas.

But without water and fossil fuels it becomes a magnitude worse. Due to irrigation by fossil fuel, fertilization by fossil fuel, and harvesting/transportation (so your crop does not rot in the field) by fossil fuel. So even if the rains come, without the rest of the picture your crop yield is minimized.

Hey guys, both are important. It is Libig's Law of the Minimum. If you are out of either one the crops will fail. That is if you are out of water, fossil fuel, fertilizer, or anything else that is an absolute requirement for food production, then you will starve.

Ron P.

You are right but; without water I can't produce ANY amount food, without oil I can't produce a LARGE amount of food. PO will starve a lot of us, but remove water and all of us will starve.

CC is still the worse problem of CC and PO.

The graph that is shown is overly simplistic - there are many other variables, some of which include:

- the long term trend of increasing Solar output
- continental drift (the current situation where the poles are either over a large land mass (Antarctica) or largely surrounded by land is a relatively recent geological development
- a probable decrease in atmospheric density since the Cretaceous
- levels of volcanic activity

One of the big concerns is that the feedback mechanisms that affect the climate are not so well understood that we can reliably place bounds on the impact of future human activity (i.e., in engineering terms, we don't know what the impulse response is).

And I can guarantee that every variable that you just mentioned has changed multiple times in the last 400 million years, but the fact remains, CO2 is the same today chemically, as it was 400 million years ago. Temperature has continued to cycle in an identifiable pattern over that time, within a measurable range, completely independent of atmospheric CO2 levels which have steadily decreased. What evidence do you have that this relationship has changed?

The reason for using a study of large size is to control for confounding variables like you just mentioned. When you start looking at smaller sized studies, these problems may take on the appearance of statiscial signficance which may be there by pure chance

OK, now you have proven yourself to be totally and absolutely ignorant on this subject, so I suggest that you desist and educate yourself before further embarrassing yourself here.

Just to take the first example, solar brightness has not "changed multiple times over the last 400 million years" but has steadily increased over that time.

A moments research would have informed you of this, but instead you chose to post your own WAG as if it were fact. As I have learned, this is not a wise strategy on this forum. People are a bit too well informed (and sharp tongued) to put up with such noise here.

Again, please inform yourself of the actual science before cluttering up the precious space here with misinformation and noise.

(By the way, what are temps like down in Nebraska this month--I assume that is where you are posting from, given your handle.)

I'm not at all sure what your point is, Nebraska. Help me out here.

Is it that I can feel better about global warming because it may not be human caused, and that I can worry less about our children's future if it's a natural process?

I'm just saying that perhaps we should start preparing for the eventuality. If CO2 is not the cause, then perhaps, we should start a building program, away from the coasts, moving people away from problem area, developing a plan to adapt. Figuring out how to genetically engineer plants to grow in the new systems. etc.

If it looks like wicked weather is a permanent part of our future, maybe we should start building underground.

There are lots of things that we could do to get ready, rather than pretending that all we need to do is burn fewer hydrocarbons.

If you want to use lower hydrocarbons, then fine, but what if the theory is wrong, and problems are coming any way, perhaps we can prepare for it.

There are very few, if any, here that say all we have to do is burn fewer hydrocarbons. We need to stop and also prepare for what is already baked in. Stop making up that false argument.

You might as well be saying "God's mad at us for doing X", at least it might be true if you were saying "God's mad at us for making a mess out of the environment".

If CO2 is not the cause,

I'll just have to go with the 98% of Climate Scientists who's data says it is.
Of course, a few physicists from the Star Wars Era, and some aging TV meteorologists and left over Margaret Thatcher Regime strategists believe otherwise.

You win nebraska ...

In the Venn diagram of veracity, your universe of disingenuous cherry-picked beliefs can be inflated infinitely larger than the universe of truth. It would be pointless to continue. End of debate.

A few miles to the north of my location is a part of OSU called the Byrd Polar Research Center. A fairly quick perusal of the best available data (ice core samples dated to approx. 700,00 years...) would show that the Climate been undergoing anything but smoothly predictable cycles. The last 10-12 thousand years have been unusually stable, which has enabled Homo Sapiens to "go viral"...

Before the current period of relative stability, climate swings were highly variable with some COMPLETE REVERSALS occurring in as little as a dozen years. As I recall, it takes only a 2-3% change in system input within complex systems (yes, just like Climate) to destabilize it and produce a reversal to another "stable state" whether warm or cold.

I have to agree with a statement with the well known Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle (and many of her colleagues) who said last year that "we" (meaning the entire species), has about ten years left to change the path we're on. Species Extinction will be the result if we don't. IMHO we've already crossed that point of no return.

If you are referring to homo sapiens,I don't think that's all bad.

If you want to worry about something which is much worse, and we can do something about then worry about this:
because it means gasoline is going to get extremely expensive

What? No. Just because we import less refined product that does not mean it will get expensive. Our domestic oil production has increase such that we produce more gasoline locally. And even if it didn't, we could import more crude oil and refine it.

We are importing less refined product because our demand has gone down (due to recession & high price) and because we refine more of our own domestic oil. In fact we are now a net exporter of refined product.

So the amount of refined product we import does not drive prices. The reverse is more true . . . we import less because prices have gone up.

Didn't my economics class teach that the price will automatically adjust to make supply and demand meet?

If the price goes up, demand will go down.
If the price goes down, demand will go up.?

But you are massively over simplifying by only looking at imports of refined oil. For example, if we significantly increase domestic crude production and refine all that oil such that we become a net exporter of refined oil, that means our supply has gone up. With a simple view, then price should go down. But the that hasn't happened because the underlying cost of crude oil has gone up.

That paper is dated 2007. Please don't post climate links that old. This isn't the place to re-hash old arguments.

Thanks, L.

Plant growth depends on many things, such as water and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Lets say we pot a plant in very poor soil containing a dearth of all such nutrients. Over the next 20 years we vary the watering of the plant from so dry it almost dies, to so wet it almost dies over say 3 to 8 month periods, and we slowly but steadily increase the amount of fertilizer we add over the 20 year period. By Nebraska’s logic, clearly the plant’s growth could not display any dependence at all on amount of fertilizer added. Oh sure, you can pick smaller periods of time, “smaller samples” when the watering was optimum and plant growth correlated well with the increase in fertilizer, but that doesn’t prove anything, it is just due to the well-know larger variability of smaller samples. Therefore, plant growth does not depend on nutrient availability. But of course it does, it is just that another strong effect on plant growth, water, was varied over a wider range so its effect swamped the effect of available nutrients, except during times when the water supply was in a more optimum range.

Over the last 400 million years enormous changes have taken place, such as continental drift, and ocean currents, as some previously mentioned. These swamped the effect of CO2 on climate when considered over such a long period of time. But that doesn’t show that CO2 doesn’t have a strong effect on climate. Some other parameters that effect climate just varied more widely.

Larger samples are more representative of a static, unchanging population than smaller samples. When applied to time series sampling this becomes confusing. This is the classic problem confronting control charting of a production process. How do you define the population? If you define it as all results over a very long period of time, say years, then none of the usual regressors show much effect on the response, if “glitches” in the production line, such as one of the required reactant supplies is depleted due to negligence, or a part on a processing machine breaks, are included in this population of results. Everyone working on the line knows you need to ignore such effects to construct control limits which will ensure high product yield, in other words be meaningful for their intended purpose. Likewise, we know that large effects have had big changes on climate in the distant past, but that is not germane to what has occurred during human existence. We care about what effects can drive climate beyond the range we have evolved to live in, beyond the useful control limits of the chart if you will, and the data shows CO2 is one of these.

If I understand your and Jean Laherrere's argument correctly, you are stating:

1. The geologic record over the last 600 million years shows no correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and average global temperature as measured by geologic proxies.

2. Therefore, carbon dioxide does not affect global average temperature.

3. Therefore, the fossil carbon that man has emitted and continues to emit into the atmosphere is not affecting global average temperature.

4. Therefore, man is not at fault.

5. Therefore, man can not affect the global climate.

6. Therefore, man can do nothing to stop global warming.

7. Therefore, man can only adapt to natural changes in the Earth's climate.

There are multiple flaws in this argument.

Your climate model based only on global average temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is far too simple. You have not identified the causes of the variations in historical temperature and concentration and therefore assume that those causes are still operating today and will operate in the future. They may or may not. Your analysis needs to be more comprehensive.

Laherrere's figure 1 averages the data over very large time intervals, perhaps over intervals of 10 million years or more. It is so large that both the effects of recent ice ages and of anthropic fossil carbon emissions are averaged away. This time scale is much longer than one to which humans need to adapt. Conclusions based on this time scale could easily be faulty and inapplicable to current climate conditions. Humans do not need to adapt to the average temperature over a 10 million year period. We need to adapt to seasonal, annual, decennial and centennial variations. The ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide over an interval of thousands of years, and biologic and geologic processes (like making crude oil and rocks) slowly sequester it from the atmosphere. The effects of impulses of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere (like volcanic eruptions) would be averaged out over a 10 million year interval.

Laherrere's figure 1 does not refute the physical property of carbon dioxide to act as a greenhouse gas. You have acknowledged this, but persist in your belief that atmospheric carbon dioxide can not affect global climate. Perhaps you need to consider whether the amount of solar forcing caused by the fossil carbon that humans have emitted into the atmosphere is sufficient to change near term global climate.

Now be honest with yourself. Have you made a logical or ideological argument?

Gunboats, Super-Torpedoes, Sea-Bots: U.S. Navy Launches Huge Iran Surge

Sending more aircraft carriers to the waters near Iran, it turns out, was just the start. Yes, the U.S. currently has more seapower aimed at Iran in the Persian Gulf than in the fleets of most countries on Earth, Iran included. But that was just the Navy cracking its knuckles.

In the next few months, the Navy will double its minesweeper craft stationed in Bahrain, near Iran, from four to eight. Those ships will be crucial if Iran takes the drastic step of mining the Strait of Hormuz, one of the global energy supply’s most crucial waterways.

... And if all that wasn’t enough, Greenert disclosed that he and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will soon ask themselves if the Navy needs to rotate more aircraft carriers to the Gulf. That decision, so important that it’s Panetta’s to make, will come “in the next few months.”

That's just the Navy

Spec Ops ... Floating Spec Ops Base

... the Navy sought a vessel to serve as the floating base listed a requirement for the ship to be able to host 12 small boats and four choppers of the type that are frequently used by Navy SEAL commandos, mine hunters as well as coastal and river patrol teams.

The ship is being rushed into service as a floating base due to increased concerns that Iran may try to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Situation normal.

Military types really don't like being caught with their pants down and like to predeploy to close at hand if possible. Assets have to be somewhere, best to have them where you think you might need them.

Locations of air assets would be more key, particular stealthed aircraft suitable for taking out air defence.

New York beekeepers quadruple

The number of beekeepers in New York city has quadrupled since the ban on keeping bees was lifted two years ago, figures show.

NYCBeekeeping, the city's largest beekeeping group, reports that membership has grown from around 325 to more than 1,300 people and there are now hives on skyscraper rooftops, in community gardens, and school backyards across the five boroughs.

This comment at the end made me smile :-

"The rise in popularity of urban beekeeping is not confined to New York, with city beekeeping associations worldwide reporting unprecedented growth. Fischer thinks the trend will last. "I wouldn't go as far as to say beekeeping is a path to spiritual enlightenment, but for urban dwellers the hive is a small box of calm in the midst of a world gone mad." "

It's certainly true.

Where do all these bees get their food?


Lots of people are growing gardens in the city--even 'urban agriculture'

IIRC, there is now more diversity of species in metro areas than in the country. Fence-to-fence agriculture has now become road-to-road, clearing out much of what was left of field-margin wild flowers and other diverse life.

It obvious is a very, very local issue but from what I can see not too many people are planting their rooftops.


Dohboi is right. Urban bees do better than their country counterparts. There's more diversity of plant life in cities, and fewer pesticides. Bees live longer and produce more honey in the city.

Thanks for the confirmation and links, Leanan. I think these facts are just too stunning for people to take in. Many still think that the countryside is still basically peppered with small farms and wildflowers. It has now become even more industrialized, in a certain sense, than urban areas, the original locus of industrialism.

It all reminds me of The Meatrix:


[India] Govt will address oil price rise issue: Pranab Mukherjee

Worried over the rising price of crude oil, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said the government can address the issue even outside the Budgetary route if the upward trend continues.

"If the crude price increases beyond certain level we have to address this issue. ... The government, he further said, has to make an assessment whether "the country has the capacity to import (crude oil) at the same level of import that we are currently doing."

The government has refrained from increasing prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas despite pressures from the oil marketing companies.

Things getting out of hand here, govt is going bankrupt providing subsidies to the people and any attempt to remove the subsidies will lead to a defeat in elections. Democracy is a hard mistress.
My guess is that if oil prices don't come under control within the next six months you will see all kinds of springs. Arab, Indian, Chinese, you name it.

The Art of Producing Sustainable Consumer Goods: Basketry

We tend to think of technology as rock and metal – from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, from pyramids and statues to Viking swords and pirate cannons. We think of the things that survive to be placed in museums, in other words, and tend to neglect the early and important inventions that ordinary people used every day but whose materials did not survive centuries of exposure

The craft of basketry, however, might be one of our species’ most important and diverse technologies, creating homes, boats, animal traps, armour, tools, cages, hats, chariots, weirs, beehives, shelters and furniture, as well as all manner of containers.

The craft of basketry, however, might be one of our species’ most important and diverse technologies, creating homes, boats, animal traps, armour, tools, cages, hats, chariots, weirs, beehives, shelters and furniture, as well as all manner of containers.

Sure, including architecture. Think of the fast growing grass also known as bamboo.

With a tensile strength superior to mild steel (withstands up to 52,000 Pounds of pressure psi) and a weight-to-strength ratio surpassing that of graphite, bamboo is the strongest growing woody plant on earth with one of the widest ranging habitats of more than 1500 species thriving in diverse terrain from sea level to 12,000 feet on every continent but the poles. It also grows the fastest: clocked shooting skyward at 2 inches an hour. Some species grow one and a half meters a day.



I knit with bamboo knitting needles and there're also bamboo yarn blends. :)

I wonder if it can grow in Nova Scotia south.

I realize your climate is much more extreme than mine (PacNW, US) but even with our perpetual spring weather, bamboo has been one of the most successful plants that I have grown on my little 1/2 acre at 900 ft.

Very little care is required, and it is probably the one "crop" that has actually paid for itself. Just think, a continuous supply of tomato stakes :-)

PS: yellow bamboo

Will it grow in Saskatchewan? Ultimate test.....

Ours have made it through some decent snows with just a few broken canes -- they are fairly flexible. However, we don't go sub-zero Fahrenheit, and when the wind picks up around here it is usually mild.

It might be worth a try with a good southern exposure, if not some serious wind protection in the winter.

And, don't forget about the edible shoots :-)

Hey guys, thanks. =)
Lived in Vancouver for many years and seem to recall bamboo growing here and there.
If or when I do, I'll try to let you know the results.

Be careful putting it too near water, it's attracted to it.


Bamboo is an awful material for bicycles. Young's modulus too low (It is too flexible - you waste energy bending the bike) and when it reaches its elastic limit it does not deform plastically, it shatters into into needle sharp shards.

Good to know The Drumbeat has a remote-site backup ...

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

... The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”

It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

and Former NSA Mathematician Says He Believes the Agency Stores Copies of All Emails Transmitted in America

... Binney expressed terrible remorse over the way some of his algorithms were used after 9/11. ThinThread, the “little program” that he invented to track enemies outside the U.S., “got twisted,” and was used for both foreign and domestic spying: “I should apologize to the American people. It’s violated everyone’s rights. It can be used to eavesdrop on the whole world.”

also Using Virtual Worlds to ‘Soft Control’ People’s Movements in the Real One

“We can rely on good luck to get the data that we need," Bustamante said, "or we can ‘soft control’ users with gaming or social network incentives to drive them where we want them."

... If this technology were implemented on a larger scale, users would need to be notified that their data was being collected for research purposes, Bustamante said.

... In cattle country it's called 'herding'

Not just the nefarious secret agencies, but also the even more nefarious corporations are collecting vast amounts of information on everyone. Seems even supermarkets and stores can now identify customers via their smartphones (for not so smart people) and track their purchasing habits via video surveillance, presumably to tailor personal marketing plans to relieve them of their money.

Anyway, more about personal data:

Facebook: The Value of Information in the Information Age

So what happened to the data, photos, innermost feelings, and nasty secrets that American users had posted on it? What happened to those compromising morsels they’d tried to delete? The data of their friends? Information in accounts they’d closed? Well, nothing happened to them. They’re on hard drives in data centers. Users can still access their information and export photos to Flickr and Multiply, but they can’t remove any of it from those hard drives. It’s become immortal. And it has value.

This is the information age. Users jump through hoops to hand over their information for free. Storage is so cheap it's a negligible factor in the decision making process. Selling information—or selling access to it for advertising purposes—is still easy enough. The same information can be sold from the same inventory millions of times. It never runs out. There are no cost of goods, no handling and shipping expenses. It doesn’t rot or mildew or rust, though it can get stale and does need to be updated, but users are more than happy to do that for free. User information is simply the best product ever invented

I guess the really scary thing is that bots will be making decisions about our personal future based on data-mining of stored information, and probably already are. As we leave the System to do our thinking for us, make decisions on our behalf and remove the impediment of morals and doubt from the efficiency of purpose. God help those that end up by accident on the robo-signed target list whose details are relayed by bots to autonomous drones that criss cross the skies of the future maintaining law & order for the 1%.

It's almost impossible to remain a "Blank" these days. My pet peeve is the little cards the stores want you to have; a requirement if you don't want to pay full retail price for everything. I got one from a grocery chain in a town I worked in and the "agreement" was explicit that they didn't share your info. Being skeptical, I misspelled my first and last names by one letter (they didn't notice) and within weeks I was receiving various real estate fliers in the mail with the same misspellings. When I confronted the store manager about this, she told me that misspelling my name on their "contract" constituted fraud; told me to get out of the dark ages. I emailed the chain's customer service dept. explaining how they had lost our business. Soon, I received a new corrected card along with a bunch of store coupons....Jeez! Their computer had apparently cross referenced the info from a check I had previously used there.

Another store apparently did the same after I gave them some anonymous info when getting their 'advantage' card. When the old card wouldn't scan anymore, they gave me a new one with all info corrected on the agreement printout. I now shop at an older independent market that doesn't play these games; try to use cash, but I suppose it's too late.

Blank Reg is still my hero...

I got one from a grocery chain in a town I worked in and the "agreement" was explicit that they didn't share your info. Being skeptical, I misspelled my first and last names by one letter (they didn't notice) and within weeks I was receiving various real estate fliers in the mail with the same misspellings. When I confronted the store manager about this, she told me that misspelling my name on their "contract" constituted fraud;

Um, doesn't the fact that they shared your info despite explicitly stating that they wouldn't do so, also constitute fraud?!

Hey Ghung, when I was down in Brazil I visited a little fishing village where almost the entire population consisted of 'Blanks'! And that, despite the cellphone in this guy's hand, he doesn't have a contract and it can quickly turn into a fishing weight when needed... who knows, it might even belong to an unsuspecting tourist >;^)


which is why I never give out my real name for discount cards etc in grocery stores.


Ghung, amazingly we seem to have actually surpassed Orwell's nightmarish vision of the future. Although the dystopia we're actually living in is more complex, a hybrid created by merging 1984, The Matrix, Brave New World and Disneyland together. Prols popping soma, living digital lives in the magic kingdom and governed by the muppets. What could possibly go wrong :)

Ghung, amazingly we seem to have actually surpassed Orwell's nightmarish vision of the future.

NO, there is a long way to go.

What could possibly go wrong :)

$300,000 drones crashing into an expensive SWAT truck?

I also go out of my way to shop at a grocery store that does not use loyalty cards.

Studies show that this actually saves you money, unless you are among the most desirable customers. Grocery stores have found the most profitable customers are young families, especially those with babies. They are the ones who benefit most from loyalty cards. But of course, that means other customers end up paying more, since they aren't losing money on their loyalty programs. If you aren't a family with young children, you're better off avoiding stores that use loyalty cards, if you can.

I went way beyond this - I submitted an application with a fictitious name, address and phone number, and I even left a number of those fields blank if I recall correctly. At the time, they gave you the card right away, so there was no way they could verify the info. The guy behind the counter didn't seem to care, and all I care is that I get the discount. I can't even remember the name I used.

But truth be told, I would rather they didn't do this at all..

Time was... you could say you didn't have your card and give them your phone number: 867-5309, which was generally in the database... But, many stores are on to that one now.


We routinely give only phone numbers rather than carry the dumb cards here in S. Cali - you enter them into the ATM at checkout. Of course, they're still compiling data on you. I don't see any reason why giving false info would matter a bit with this endeavor, if it makes people feel more comfortable.

Ah, yes... but the number is from an old popular song and there need be no card ever a'tall in any store... time was.

Moron mathematician.

"Obama to Congress: Kill oil industry's tax breaks"

This is Obama acting as Panderer in Chief. From a CNN story last week:

Energy subsidies total $24 billion, most to renewables

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The federal government spent $24 billion on energy subsidies in 2011, with the vast majority going to renewable energy sources, according to a government report. Renewable energy and energy efficiency accounted for $16 billion of the federal support, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while the fossil-fuel industry received $2.5 billion in tax breaks.

All the money should go into conservation instead -- a much better use for the $24 billion would be to build high-speed rail lines. The one-time capital costs would pay for themselves in a decade or two. Subsidizing either renewable or even non-renewable energy is an ineffective way to spend the money in my opinion.

I don't think proposing Monolithic solutions is helpful, either. It's a complex situation, and we need to build up energy sources that are not dependent on fluxuating fuel prices and availability.

Building out rail is ONE piece of this puzzle.

"Obama to Congress: Kill oil industry's tax breaks"
This is Obama acting as Panderer in Chief. From a CNN story last week:

When Obama is proposing ending subsidies to fossil fuels, an eminently sensible proposal given all we know about climate change and peak oil, and Gingrich and Bachmann are proposing bat-**** crazy proposals to lower gas prices to $2, there is no way that Obama qualifies as "Panderer In Chief".

Sure explicit fossil fuel tax breaks as scored by the CBO are lower than renewable tax breaks, but at this point in history, eliminating any fossil fuel tax breaks is the obviously correct policy, which should be followed immediately by a carbon tax. Why does an obviously sensible policy proposal like ending subsidies to fossil fuels, which are creating economically and environmentally catastrophic climate change, qualify as "pandering" at all?

Rather than pandering I think it shows political courage to take on the political power of the fossil fuel industry and the rhetoric of the "Drill,Baby,Drill" wingnuts.

"...there is no way that Obama qualifies as "Panderer In Chief"."

It is pandering for several reasons. One, these subsidies are always misrepresented as if they are cash payments going to the oil companies instead of tax deductions against a much larger tax bill. Second, the amount of these subsidies is something like a penny per gallon of oil. So they are irrelevant as far as energy policy goes. They certainly aren't going to lower anyone's gasoline prices. Thus, Obama is simply playing to people's anger over high gas prices. What he is doing is the very definition of pandering.

Why Hugo Chavez (alive) is good for Canada’s oil sands

It’s been almost a decade since scores of highly skilled Venezuelan oil workers like Petro Pereira, fired and blackballed by dictator Hugo Chavez for protesting his tightening grip on the national oil company, made their way north to Alberta.

An estimated 3,000 Venezuelans migrated to oil jobs in Calgary, Fort McMurray and Edmonton after the dictator purged 18,000 from the national oil company — nearly half its workforce — for going on strike in the fall of 2002.

First discovered last June, the cancer was believed to be in remission after chemotherapy in Cuba, but Mr. Chavez, 57, recently returned to the country for radiation treatment. Some give him as little as six months to live.

If a change at the top means a strengthening of Venezuela’s once-powerful oil industry, Canada’s oil sands could be deeply affected. A Venezuelan revival would mean renewed competition with Canada’s oil sands for investment, U.S. market share and expertise. Indeed, all this is playing out as oil sands producers aim to capture heavy-oil refining capacity in the U.S. Gulf Coast that was specifically designed to handle Venezuela’s heavy oil.

The article below could be a bit disturbing to some Americans. It's about China buying up Canadian oil sands resources, and also buying up American natural gas for shipment to China. It's a conversation with a Royal Dutch Shell exec.

Why Canada needs Asian markets

Q Do you see Canada emerging as an energy superpower over the next few years or will it remain a bit player?

A It is almost a superpower because of the resources. The question is where does it go. To be a genuine superpower with a place at the table between the major demand centres and other major resources holders, it will be necessary to take Canadian energy to Asian markets.

When I was in Asia last week, the subject of Canadian resources and also the U.S. ability to export [liquified natural gas] was very much on the agenda of policymakers and executives in Asia.

But, that aside, I found some interesting information in the middle about an LNG truck fuel project that Shell is doing in Western Canada.

Q What is the scope of the green corridor project?

A We are constructing a modular small-scale LNG production that will be installed in Western Calgary and supply LNG to various distribution points from the corridor from Vancouver to Calgary and up to Alberta in the [oil sands] mine site. We are also looking at putting LNG into the trucks that operate in the mine. It’s relatively small-scale, 20,000 bpoe, but with the U.S. President talking about the attractiveness of this possible source of liquid fuel, we see opportunities not just in road transport but rail, marine and shipping as well.

The question arises, "Why isn't this being done on the US Interstate system rather than the TransCanada Highway system?" Canada has lots of oil, it is the US that is short of it.

It makes economic sense from Royal Dutch Shell's perspective, because diesel is expensive and getting more expensive, while using LNG in its trucks is cheap and getting cheaper, but I really think Obama should be paying more attention. The default solution for the US will be that the Chinese will get the cheap NG, and Americans will continue to burn expensive diesel fuel and gasoline - if they can afford to outbid the Chinese for Canadian feedstocks.

"The article below could be a bit disturbing to some Americans."

Still not a bit disturbed about a country I don't live in selling it's finite resources to another country I don't live in, as I'm no longer being held hostage at the point of a fuel nozzle. It's all beginning to seem a bit childish, really. We'll adapt (or not) sooner or later. Sooner sounds better to me ;-/

Better brush up on your Chinese, Rocky, either way...

A number of people I know are sending their children to Mandarin immersion schools. However, it's probably pointless for me to study Chinese - there are more people who speak English in China than there are people who speak English in the United States.

A lot of affluent Chinese are sending their children to Canada to learn English these days. Vancouver is popular because the climate is mild, it's easy to get a visa, and the accent they learn is nearly indistinguishable from the Western US.

I think that that is another resource that has peaked, but perhaps a better analogy is a tide that has turned.

A Sea Change would be a more appropriate nautical term (speaking as someone who has done a lot of sailing).

"Clean Energy" IS doing this in the U.S.

They anticipate having 70 LNG stations along major interstate trucking routes this year, and 150 next year.

That's interesting. Boone Pickens seems to be having some success promoting natural gas as a fuel in the US.

However, the "modular small-scale LNG" facility that Shell is building near Calgary will have twice the LNG capacity of both of Clean Energy's LNG plants (Texas and California) combined.

Shell considers it "small scale", but that's only relative to its big LNG export plants. What they seem to have in mind is flooding one specific high-traffic truck fuel market with LNG, rather than Clean Energy's scattergun approach.

Shell's pilot plant near Calgary will produce 0.3 megatonnes of LNG per year, Shell's Kitimat plant - if and when it actually builds it - will produce 12 megatonnes per year, or 40 times as much. It occurs to me that if the concept takes off, Shell could easily supply all of Western Canada from the Kitimat plant - and some of the Western US as well. Go big or go home, as they say.

I tire of seeing commentary like that from the "Outside the Beltway" blog linked up top that attempts to claim the high ground in the discussion over energy prices by essentially saying, to put it simply, I know what's going on, both parties haven't got a clue, and in the end there's nothing we can do anyway. It's high-minded baloney and avoids taking a position on an important issue. Meanwhile the author lumps all "green energy" initiatives in the category of "Solyndra-like boondoggles." Well, surely if that is your attitude, then it is correct to say there's nothing that can be done by political leaders (and by extension, anyone). Never mind that the countries like China and Germany that have provided financial backing to renewable energy industries have become the industry leaders and grown their exports of products in these areas to become major sources of revenue. If you pay attention, you might notice here in the States there is actually one party that wants to expand initiatives for transit, livable communities and alternative energy that would hedge against rising oil prices and one party that wants eliminate funding for all these things. Oh, but there's no difference between them...what a load of...

By the way, I've actually delved deep into the "substance" of the congressional hearings that supposedly unearthed all the wrongdoings involved in Solyndra. I recommend others do the same before making these sorts of comments and seeing just how vacuous and empty are the claims of the Republican Party, a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry. Disgusting that supposed "independents" have fallen for this line. If their brains were on, maybe they'd see they are not so independent after all but actually the willing sock puppets of the snickering Koch brothers and their ilk on the right.

Unfortunately it's more complicated than that.

The Democratic Party has proven, beyond any doubt, that it is completely servile to the military industrial complex and the big banks. That makes them just as if not more dangerous than the Republicans.

I have completely, totally given up on the two party system. I know longer believe in it, at all. Try to understand this. It's like losing your religion, or being diagnosed with an illness that will get you in six months. It's life changing.

So, please don't underestimate my conviction here. I expect political collapse/devolution in the United States and all of the associated turmoil. One or both of these parties may not even survive.

So, you aren't going to convince me, not know, not ever, to start believing in the Democratic Party. I've made up my mind. I'm done, finished.

Politics is about choosing the lesser of two evils. Until you understand this, you are essentially working for inertia. It is possible to simultaneously recognize and vote for the lesser evil while also reducing the magnitude of its evil. Simply giving up and praying for the best in light of inevitable doom is an abdication of responsibility and civic duty. The overly simplistic view is in fact the view that simply blames the politicians. Ultimately they answer to the people who vote for them.

And if you really think the Republican party is no worse, you are blind, end of story.


as I mentioned upthread, there is only one party, the Capitalist Party


Yeah, I saw your comment.

I don't deny that big money has the whole system by the sack, but I'm also not particularly impressed by the 'outjaded contest' that we run here on a steadily increasing basis.

I agree with Wasted Energy that there is still enough of a difference between the parties to make it worth mentioning, and that as herculean as the tasks will be of changing either our Political Situation, our Climate Situation or our Energy Situation, that this is really the work that is cut out for us if we see the problems with it. Do you really have something more important to do?

Listen to Elizabeth Warren or Al Franken or Russ Feingold (now looking in at it from the outside.. really good talk by him at the Commonwealth Club of Callie last week.. http://audio.commonwealthclub.org/audio/podcast/cc_20120301_feingold.mp3 ) .. These people are NOT denying the science, they're not advocating the perpetual dismantling of our Social Compacts or the Middle-classes or the industrial base. They are clearly NOT the same as the Right Wing, which has apparently entered clinical dementia at this point. You want to sneer at the whole picture? I feel your pain, but get back into the fight at some point if you dare, ok? It might be the one upside of being part of this overpopulation thing.. we have a lot of cannon-fodder to throw at them.

Money taints the whole place, but this kind of nihilistic oversimplification you are throwing out there is also throwing the last of the babies out with the bathwater. Give up if you must.. I'm not.

I think the importance of democrat / republican depends on your scope of analysis. On a micro, day to day level there are undoubtedly significant differences. When you zoom out a bit though (Think Chris Martenson's crash program or any other anaylsis with a longer horizon you can't tell which party was in charge during any given timeperiod. Their goal is growth because a) that hopefulle gets them elected b) keeps the system growing, which means that the same person (in charge) will have more power / resources at his/her disposal than currently. What's not to like?
The problem with capitalism is that it optimizes the sum of individual interests rather than the common interest, and that does not change with a democratic or republican administration.



Ultimately they answer to the people who vote for them finance their campaigns, which ain't you and me... It's a corporatocracy, bought and paid for, pure and simple.

Politics is about choosing the lesser of two evils. Until you understand this, you are essentially working for inertia. It is possible to simultaneously recognize and vote for the lesser evil while also reducing the magnitude of its evil.

Unfortunately, under your grossly unfair (and dare I say it, simplistically childish) FPP voting system, you cannot vote for the lesser evil.

You need a PV (Preferential Voting) system so that you can vote for genuine change (Ralph Nader, Greens, Pixies, or whatever) and then give your second preference to your least disliked major candidate.

As it is - no-one can vote outside the square (ie Democrat) if they wish to try and defeat the Republican, because a vote for a third party is immediately lost. It is a clumsy and counter-intuitive system, but the two major parties cling to it (obviously). What a pity.

I need some science help again. I was blogging on NOLA.COM and this story appeared.

Supersonic skydiver makes 13-mile test jump
Skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner is more than halfway toward his goal of setting a world record for the highest jump. Baumgartner lifted off Thursday for a test jump from Roswell, N.M., aboard a 100-foot helium balloon. He rode inside a pressurized capsule to 71,581 feet — 13.6 miles — and then jumped. He parachuted to a safe landing, according to project spokeswoman Trish Medalen.

So someone asks, how will they know his velocity? Well of course I explained we had math, radar, laser and such, but as I recall we had the same problem back when Chuck Yeager flew the X-1 supersonic. The boom removed all doubt. This brought up another question. If Baumgartner goes supersonic, will he produce a sonic boom. Will this make him the first human to create a sonic boom without the benefit of propulsion. That is Fonzie level of cool.

Edit: Name misspelled

Edit2: Got laid off from my oil spill cleanup job. We left much buried. It will never be collected. Ask me, I can divulge all now.

Clearly there will be a shockwave generated. I think he will be at high enough altitude where the air pressure and density is pretty low, so the shock shouldn't be very strong. There was some dude, who has the current record set around 1960, I think he went supersonic. The dude is still alive and kicking. His test took some real Cahones, no one knew if it was survivable.

I am familiar with the story. It took King Leonidas level of Cahones. He reached Mach .8 or so

On August 16, 1960 Joe Kittinger made the final jump from the Excelsior III at 102,800 feet (31,330 m). Towing a small drogue chute for stabilization, he fell for 4 minutes and 36 seconds reaching a maximum speed of 614 mph (988 km/h) [1] before opening his parachute at 14,000 feet (4,270 m). Pressurization for his right glove malfunctioned during the ascent, and his right hand swelled to twice its normal size.[3] He set records for highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, longest drogue-fall (4 min), and fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere.

Quite the guy, Joseph Kittinger. After these crazy freefalls from the edge of space, his F-4 got shot down over Nam and he did a gig in the Hanoi Hilton. He stayed in the Air Force for years after he was released.

Kittinger still lives in the Orlando area, and he was the Vice President of Flight Operations for Rosie O'Grady's Flying Circus, part of the Rosie O'Grady's/Church Street Station entertainment complex in Orlando, prior to the parent company's dissolution. Kittinger is still active in the aviation community as a consultant and touring barnstormer....

...Kittinger is currently advising Felix Baumgartner on a planned free-fall from 120,000 feet (about 36,000m).[6] The project is called the Red Bull Stratos project and has collected leading experts in the fields of aeronautics, medicine and engineering to ensure its success. Felix Baumgartner will also become the first person ever to break the sound barrier while in free fall, if his jump is successful.

While I was looking for the article on sulphur, I found the story in National Geographic Vol 118 No 6 Dec 1960. I don't know if that's on line or in anyone's library.


His test took some real Cahones, no one knew if it was survivable.

Is this the same guy who surfed ashore upon landing in the ocean?


Cahones indeed.

Sorry about your job. Hope you aren't in a tough spot, and can find something new.

(And it would be very interesting to hear what you have witnessed doing that cleanup..)


yes, very much interested in anything you can share.
Thanks in advance.


If Baumgartner goes supersonic, will he produce a sonic boom.

Baumgartner will never go supersonic, at least not with just a spacesuit on. Terminal velocity for experienced skydivers is around 200-250 mph. To go supersonic he will have to jump from the edge of outer space, and then he would need a very advanced braking system and heat shield to resist the deceleration from supersonic to terminal velocity. Chutes can only be deployed at below 15,000 feet or so, so it's free fall the rest of the way and that's a lot of speed buildup.

Anyways to answer your original question, it's unlikely that he will be in thick atmosphere when going supersonic so it's unlikely that he will produce a shock wave.

To go supersonic he will have to jump from the edge of outer space, and then he would need a very advanced braking system and heat shield to resist the deceleration from supersonic to terminal velocity.

I am thinking there are some considerations there. He will not be on a glide path like the space shuttle, therefore he would not need to hit that 5.75% angle of descent. His ground speed would be minimal. In addition, I understand air to be a continuously viscous medium. No clear lines where this layer begins and another ends. Just fewer and fewer molecules until you have none at all. The shuttle does not depict it well, but the skydive will take a little time. I really don't think anything but a special parachute setup with guide chute and a full astronaut type pressure suit for the skydiver. It is all Captain Joseph Kittinger used when he hit 614 mph and 102 Kft in 1960.

Probably you are right. There have been incredible advances in materials technology since Kittinger jumped. But the speed record would still be in very thin atmosphere.

In addition, I understand air to be a continuously viscous medium. No clear lines where this layer begins and another ends. Just fewer and fewer molecules until you have none at all.

What I meant is that there would be intense friction from the atmosphere without any braking mechanism, not that he would hit any sudden barrier.

My WAG is that the lower density of the air at the altitude of departure from the balloon would result in his rapid acceleration to high speed. However, the force on his body would eventually equal his weight and his acceleration would stop, just as happens at lower altitude jumps. He might not feel any difference between the forces, except that the air is much colder and he would be dropping at a much faster speed. His maximum speed would depend on his choice of "attitude", as he could choose to fall head directly down and thus considerably reduce his drag. As he descends, the air would become increasingly dense and his speed would slow accordingly. The potential for equipment failure would be his biggest problem...

E. Swanson

As I was studying free fall for ths story, I came across this.

JAT stewardess Vesna Vulović survived a fall of 33,000 feet (10,000 m)[7] on January 26, 1972 when she was aboard JAT Flight 367. The plane was brought down by explosives over Srbská Kamenice in the former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). The Serbian stewardess suffered a broken skull, three broken vertebrae (one crushed completely), and was in a coma for 27 days.

I would have called the Archbishop and reported possible divine intervention. I generally discount such things.

The speed of sound is the distance travelled during a unit of time by a sound wave propagating through an elastic medium. In dry air at 20 °C (68 °F), the speed of sound is 340.00 metres per second (1,115 ft/s). This is 1,236 kilometres per hour (768 mph), or about one kilometer in three seconds or approximately one mile in five seconds.

In fluid dynamics, the speed of sound in a fluid medium (gas or liquid) is used as a relative measure of speed itself. The speed of an object (in distance per time) divided by the speed of sound in the fluid is called the Mach number. Objects moving at speeds greater than Mach1 are traveling at supersonic speeds.

The speed of sound in an ideal gas is independent of frequency, but it weakly depends on frequency for all real physical situations. It is a function of the square root of the absolute temperature, but is nearly independent of pressure or density for a given gas.

Slideshow of jump here.

More on Baumgartner's suit here.

[apologies for linking to Fox :-0]

Note in the linked photos, above, that Baumgartner is 'flying' prone whereas Kittinger made his freefall in a less aerodynamic seated position (per the wiki article); his suit was made that way.

More: http://www.redbullstratos.com/

Check my terminal velocity derivation with air resistance. Did I go wrong? I had to use calculus.

Uniform gravitational field with air resistance
The formula is mdv/dt= -g+ Kv^2 where I incorporated all the constants, air density, frontal area, and drag coefficient in to "K". That is, a non-linear differential equation but a relatively easy separable first order equation. It can be "separated" as
m\frac{dv}{Kv^2- g}= dt
The denominator factors as \left(\sqrt{K}v- \sqrt{g}\right)\left(\sqrt{K}v+ \sqrt{g}\right) so that can be integrated using "partial fractions".

You can check your solution for the speed of sound with the Atmospheric Properties Calculator within Aerospaceweb.org.

You can check your terminal velocity estimation here. BTW the sum of forces equation is missing an "m" for the force due to gravity (-mg). Also, dv/dt is equal to zero when the skydiver is at terminal velocity; as a result, solving a differential equation is not required.

a less aerodynamic seated position

Honey, does this heat shield make my ass look big?

Here is an interview with ASPO member Michael T Klare, author of "The Race for Whats Left: The Global Scramble for the Worlds Last Resources":
It starts a bit past the middle of the program, at about 3/5ths of the way through.

He talks about:
The media fantasy of plentiful oil in America.
The water needed to process tar-sands oil
The difficulty of extracting the molecules of oil trapped in shale rock.
The cost of oil VS world demand.
Attempting to get off oil.

Another very brief interview:
The first words are echo-y and fading, but a better connection is established. Features footage of NG going on about $2.50 gasoline.

Another, 12 minutes:
"Michael T. Klare, one of the great resource writers, outlines the “death wish” we are involved in, as we mine and drill the planet in a desperate attempt to maintain our unsustainable lifestyles."
Talks about the framing of the Keystone pipeline discussion as being free-market VS environmental extremist.
The video's graphics are horrid. Just scroll them off the screen.

The book online with many preview pages:

Here are some reviews of the book;

I am thinking about selling my car. Bike it and rent to move big things. In fact, I am reducing my big things too. I have a new theory. It is called the Reverse Goldfish Theory. It is commonly known a goldfish will grow larger if he is placed in a larger bowl but will remain small if he stays in a small bowl. That is why old people shrink. They get smaller cars and places to live, causing loss of mass. I saw it happen to my Korean mother. She never grayed, her body and living arrangements just kept getting smaller. Lots of love, but it was reduced to a bed at some point. Maybe the heartless Aleuts had it right. Just push the elderly off a small ice floe and goodbye. Can't work, so what good are they. Maybe what we are doing is really the heartless move. I don't think so either but the question should be asked.

When you grow older,you understand better that you don't need stuff to be happy. So you get less of that. Some people go that road.

Indeed you are right ... as I rapidly reach my 60th birthday, I realise how little I need materially to have a good life. With a senior's transport ticket, and a modest house near the city (plus Internet and cable TV), I can have a rich and interesting life. I can jump on a tram and travel to see a world-famous performer or find a great restaurant in Chinatown in about 30 minutes, or I can catch a train to a beautiful beach in an hour, or take a three-hour bus ride to a wonderful ski-field.

But I only need a couple of shirts, a couple of pairs of shoes, etc, one set of good crockery and some limited but lovely cooking implements. And a very old car that we use sparingly. Life is good as you get older - no doubt about it - especially for us boomers who have worked things out (at least I hope we have).

Locating Gasoline Supplies for New York Harbor

The first three rules of real estate investing are location, location, location. The rise of gasoline futures prices is an example of having adequate supplies of gasoline domestically, but in the wrong location. The key fact to understand is that futures contracts are written with a clearing mechanism based on a standard amount of a standard product delivered at a specific location on a specific day. So while speculators can trade contracts like Monopoly money, on contract expiration day whatever open contracts exist must be settled by physical delivery of the commodity. In the case of NYMEX gasoline futures contracts the basic contract calls for the delivery of 42,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline to New York Harbor.

One factor driving up the price is the impending closure of large Northeast refineries due to oppressive EPA regulations unilaterally imposed by Lisa Jackson of Obama’s EPA. Want to drive gasoline prices down? Fire Lisa Jackson and impose a six month moratorium on the imposition of new EPA regulations. A six month moratorium was supposed to improve the safety of offshore drilling. Why wouldn’t a six month moratorium improve the quality of government regulation? What would we have to lose by merely delaying the new regulations by a mere six months, other than an Obama excuse for ripping off the taxpayers?

Another way to ease the supply situation in New York would be to declare a national emergency and allow exemptions to the Jones Act. This act limits shipments between United States ports to U. S. flagged and crewed ships. You may remember when it was very much in the news regarding using Dutch oil skimmers to contain the oil being spilled from BP’s Macondo 252 well. Temporarily waiving the Act would allow foreign flagged tankers that now carry American refined gasoline from Gulf Coast ports to Europe to deliver it to New York instead. The sudden increase in the supply of gasoline for delivery in New York and not Rotterdam would cause futures prices to drop precipitously. The shipping companies would make out like bandits due to both lower fuel costs due to shorter voyages and more voyages per month, a twofer!!

So the plan is simple, John Boehner and the House Republicans ought to pass a bill imposing the six month moratorium on EPA regulations and an associated six month waiver of the Jones Act and see what happens to gasoline futures prices. The results might delight undecided voters at the gas pump!


hmmmmm... Let's see.

Hate to break it to you but the EPA rules that are affecting refinery profits were enacted under W in 2008. Regs

Even so, isn't this likely to be the bigger factor driving the decision?

Refineries in the Northeast US specifically don’t have the facilities needed to handle lower quality, cheaper crude while a lack of oil pipelines to the region makes access to cheaper oil expensive to procure.

I do agree with the need to alter the Jones act, but that's not an Obama issue since it was enacted in 1920.

But I must admit to a huge WTF? to that last sentence. Even if the Jones act were repealed today, there are serious issues about how NY Harbor and it's docks could accommodate the increased traffic -- there needs to be big infrastructure put in place to handle the increased fuel shipping. And do you really think a 6 month moratorium on EPA regs (and you seem to indicate ALL EPA regs) would have any impact?

But it's nice tribal belief system you are expressing.

If you like the "tribal belief system" then you need to suggest modifications to the plan to MAKE IT SO!

Don't like 2008 EPA regs, waive them too! Have you seen the "greenhouse gas" nonsense Lisa Jackson wants? (I know that is HERESY on TOD!) But so was



Are you worried about depth of water to handle VLCC's in New York Harbor? Just fill them half way. Or set up an alternative barge lightering system where a VLCC anchors in Long Island Sound and gasoline is offloaded to barges and transferred ashore. There are a lot of drivers within easy reach of the shores of LIS. Or you can barge the gasoline to New York Harbor via the East River.

Waiving the Jones Act would be an emergency measure, not a permanent fix. The oil tankers that were used to transport Alaskan oil from Valdes to the West Coast are being put out to pasture. Save them from the breakers' yard and you'll got a fleet of tankers that were good enough once. It is a matter of how desperate are you to contain gasoline prices? Are you willing to not make the perfect the enemy of good enough?

Lisa Jackson is one of James Inhofe's three favorite liberals (all women), according to James Inhofe:


With friends like him...

Break break:

I must ask, what is the meaning of your 'chant' you express in all caps?

...I remember you placing posts with these word in the past...

..the 'chanting' technique, repeating the same short phrases in all caps, seems inappropriate to this forum.

Lubricate and bleed was the technique by which the Macondo 252 was killed (AKA the "static kill"). If you remember early August 2010, Obama et al wanted to set up an elaborate collection system to drag out the BP oil spill mess when the option of ending it permanently by the static kill was readily available.

Which was more in the interest of John Q Public, ending the terror or dragging it out more and more and more as a way to destroy the oil industry?

As to why the speculators would be scared, they can buy a contract for delivery on margin for about $8,000 thereby increasing paper demand. But whoever is left holding the contract on delivery day must come up with the balance of the contract in cash. So a 42,000 gal contract at say $3.25 per gallon means he needs $136,500 and he's only put up $8,000 in earnest money. So he has to come up with $128,500 in cold cash or go to jail! That will get their attention really quick.

If you refine gasoline, then you sell forward contracts at market price and as the hysteria subsides and the price drops, you can buy the contract back at the lower price and make money doing the paper trading yourself, just on the sell high - buy low side. The worst thing that can happen to you is you have to deliver your product to a guaranteed customer at a guaranteed price. You are a hedger, not a speculator.

So the question to refiners is who do you want to keep happy more, the driving public or Obama? Presidents come and go, the driving public is forever.

Want another option, export your American gasoline to the Bahamas and then re-import it to New York and you don't even need to mess with the Jones Act. That's how the cruise ship industry avoids the Jones Act.

...the driving public is forever.

Methinks you and I have very different definitions for: 'Forever'.

Methinks you two have the wrong defntion of driving.

Driving is the controlled operation and movement of a land vehicle, such as a car, truck or bus.

What if driving meant unlocking the door, sittng down, choosing your destination, and then going to sleep until you arrive at your destinatiom. No where is INTERACTIVE control of a passenger or transport vehicle mentioned.

Hello. Long before autos, one drove his horse and cart/buggy/buckboard/carriage. Indeed, it was quite fashionable to go for a drive in your horse and four. One can also drive livestock, so driving isn't limited to just "the controlled operation and movement of a land vehicle."

Another option involving much less distance: Export it through a Canadian port and then re-import it into the US. The Jones Act doesn`t apply. The North American Free Trade Agreement and various other international trade agreements exempt shippers from the Jones Act.

Refineries on Canada`s Atlantic coast haven`t missed this particular issue - they import oil from various countries via ULCC`s, and then export most of their products to the US by whatever means they feel like, conveniently bypassing the Jones Act.

In fact, some of the Canadian East Coast diesel and gasoline production goes to California via the Panama Canal - the Canadian Atlantic refineries have been upgraded to process fuel to California`s boutique standards.

Another option would be to purchase Mexican crude and ship it to NYC. The Mexican crude which is now converted to gasoline in US refineries and shipped back could be replaced with other US crude. No need to worry about the Jones Act with that swap. Of course, this might result in an increase in the price of crude at NYC, as I pointed out below...

E. Swanson

Thank you explaining the 'chant' in plain, unemotional English.

Your effectiveness in communicating your ideas increases greatly by writing clearly.

As for the Jones Act, and for the related cabotage issues in domestic airline operations, I would recommend writing your Congresspeople and encouraging others to do the same to achieve your goal.



Lubricate and bleed was the technique by which the Macondo 252 was killed (AKA the "static kill"). If you remember early August 2010, Obama et al wanted to set up an elaborate collection system to drag out the BP oil spill mess when the option of ending it permanently by the static kill was readily available.

Which was more in the interest of John Q Public, ending the terror or dragging it out more and more and more as a way to destroy the oil industry?

Let me get this straight . . . you believe in a conspiracy theory where the Obama administration wanted to keep the oil flowing into the gulf despite the fact that it was killing his polling just because of some alleged hatred of oil?

I supposed he is a Kenyan Muslim sent here to set up communism too?

I hate to break it to you, but Northeast US refineries are being killed by the fact that they do not have access to increasing supplies of cheap North American oil (Texas, North Dakota, Canada) due to a lack of pipelines, and have to refine much more expensive OPEC and North Sea oil instead. They are competing against Midwest refineries which can buy much cheaper feedstocks and can undercut them on price any time they want.

Last closing prices:
North Sea Brent Blend: $123/bbl
OPEC Basket Price: $123/bbl
West Texas Intermediate: $105/bbl
Western Canadian Select: $74/bbl

Apparently I have to keep repeating this over and over again.

A simple solution would be completing the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring cheap Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast for transshipment to the Northeast. It's cheaper to ship from the Gulf Coast than from Europe. You can pay for a lot of transportation via pipeline and tankers at $123 - $74 = $49 per barrel!!!

More likely they would refine the oil into products on the Gulf Coast and ship them to the Northeast. Half the refining capacity in the US is on the Gulf Coast, and those refineries are better able to process heavy, sour Canadian oil than the Northeast refineries.

The main problem is that the product pipelines from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast are already running at capacity. They could, however, ship the products by sea.

Yes, you have to keep repeating your argument. It is not rational but the only way the message (like ELM, and the whole "speculators cause prices to increase" stuff) will stick. Tedious, it should not need to be done but it does.
Reality is that repetition may not strengthen the argument but it is needed to get it to stick to the synapses.
Keep on trucking - Thanks.


I'm afraid that some have a pathological aversion to facts. The latest price of Light Sweet Louisiana crude was $128.50 a barrel. Once that crude is loaded onto a tanker in the Gulf of Mexico, it will move to the highest bidder. If that is the refineries in the North Eastern US, that's where it will go. Looks like Brent is cheaper these days, so that oil on the tanker in the Gulf will go to Europe. Bruce Thompson won't see that crude in the NYC area unless Obama takes control of the oil in the US market and forces the transfer to NYC. Is Mr. Thompson in favor of a nationalized oil industry because he thinks Mr. Market isn't working on his behalf? I doubt it...

E. Swanson

Oh, that Gulf oil will go to NY harhour, at maybe ten cents per barrel discount to the cost of shipping Brent in from elsewhere! The Candians will be the winners, as they will be able to sell their tarsand oil at world prices (minus the shipping premium), instead of the steaply discounted price they are getting today.

What you are saying is they will sell the oil for what the market will bear delivered in NY. With an oversupply on the Gulf Coast, someone will break from the pack and sell at a discount. Start the sell off and it will mushroom into an avalanche, especially if the oil companies can curry favor with a new incoming administration! Oil company execs are cowards! Just ask Rex Tillerson why he told the Oil Spill Commission that "there was nothing that was done to shut in the Macondo well that could not have been done earlier", ex post facto rather than in real time!!!

What is in their LONG TERM best interest, more Cap & Trade etc or a free market?

Just read Lisa Jackson's CV at wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_P._Jackson

"On October 24, 2008, Corzine announced that Jackson would take over as his Chief of Staff, effective December 1, 2008, succeeding Bradley Abelow. As Chief of Staff Jackson would have served as Corzine's top advisor and chief political liaison to the State Legislature. However, Jackson was tapped by Obama to become Administrator of the EPA just days after she became Corzine's chief of staff and resigned on December 15, 2008."

How is Jon Corzine doing nowadays? Headed to jail maybe? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_S._Corzine

Corzine was appointed CEO and Chairman of MF Global, a multinational futures broker and bond dealer, in March 2010.

MF Global's stock price declined two-thirds in the final week of October 2011 and its credit rating was reduced making its debt high-yield debt following huge quarterly losses. On October 31, 2011, trading was halted on shares of MF Global prior to the market opening, and soon thereafter MF Global announced that it had declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Shortly afterwards, federal regulators began an investigation into hundreds of millions of dollars in missing customer funds. Corzine resigned as CEO on November 4, 2011, after having retained the services of defense attorney Andrew J. Levander. It was reported that Corzine declined a severance package worth $12.1 million. MF Global's collapse was one of the ten biggest bankruptcies in U.S. history.

Corzine was subpoenaed to appear before a House committee on December 8, 2011, to answer questions regarding missing money from MF Global client accounts. On January 30, 2012, it was reported that officials investigating the case believed most of the money is unrecoverable.

How about it Rex, are you ready to face an angry committee chaired by Darrell Issa that can trace the commodities trades of the speculators?

Well look at that! The battle is joined on Fox News! http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/18/romney-to-obama-fire-gas-hike...

So Lisa Jackson is evil because she once worked for Corzine who later went on to do bad things?

Conspiracy everywhere!

Corzine has done an amazing job staying out of the limelight...


Interesting to revisit MF Global's evaporation of 1.6 billion dollars of clients money.


Last time, I couldn't remember the term... the legal means within which they used client account monies to cover the brokerage's own failed bets: Rehypothecation


Re-hypothecation occurs when banks or broker-dealers re-use the collateral posted by clients such as hedge funds to back the broker's own trades and borrowings.

In the UK, there is no limit on the amount of a clients assets that can be rehypothecated, except if the client has negotiated an agreement with their broker that includes a limit or prohibition. In the US, re-hypothecation is capped at 140% of a client's debit balance.

In 2007, rehypothecation accounted for half the activity in the shadow banking system. Because the collateral is not cash it does not show up on conventional balance sheet accounting. Prior to the Lehman collapse, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculated that US banks were receiving over $4 trillion worth of funding by rehypothecation, much of it sourced from the UK where there are no statutory limits governing the reuse of a client's collateral. It is estimated that only $1 trillion of original collateral was being used, meaning that collateral was being rehypothecated several times over, with an estimated churn factor of 4."

My understanding is that Glass-Steagall remains overturned, the financial reforms remain ineffective relative to the size of the problem, the trade in risky derivatives is not only undiminished, but escalating, and the 26 billion dollar settlement, from the bank's point of view, is like being ravaged by a sock puppet. These and other conveniences like rehypothecation mean that the doors remain wide open to dangerous and immoral, but, you will notice, not currently criminally actionable acts of financial conduct.

These are aspects of the shadow banking system... which is now larger than it was before.


"The term "shadow banking system" is attributed to Paul McCulley of PIMCO, who coined it at Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole Wyoming in 2007 where he defined it as "the whole alphabet soup of levered up non-bank investment conduits, vehicles, and structures."

The shadow banking system makes up 25 to 30 percent of the total financial system, according to the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a regulatory task force for the world's group of top 20 economies (G20).

This largely unregulated sector was worth about $60 trillion in 2010, having grown from an estimated $27 trillion in 2002, according to the FSB. While the sector's assets declined during the global financial crisis, they have since returned to their pre-crisis peak.

There are concerns that more business may move into the shadow banking system as regulators seek to bolster the financial system by making bank rules stricter.

...The rapid increase of the dependency of bank and non-bank financial institutions on the use of these off-balance sheet entities to fund investment strategies had made them critical to the credit markets underpinning the financial system as a whole, despite their existence in the shadows, outside of the regulatory controls governing commercial banking activity.

Corzine was able to say "I did not order anyone to do anything illegal".

At the time of the crash of 2008, some spoke of the next crash as being already "in the works".



Of course they will sell the oil in the Gulf for the going rate. Because the cost of shipping is low, that price will be very close to the world market price. Otherwise I'd outbid you by $.01 per barrel, and then ship it to someone in Europe at a big profit.

All of your post says nothing about the main topic of discussion on this group, which is, Peak Oil. You assume that adding some oil to the world market by pumped it out of Canada and into tankers will lower the world price of oil. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen if the rest of the world's oil producing countries are in decline. As has often been pointed out around here, there is no shortage of $200 a barrel oil, but there is a shortage of $25 a barrel oil because oil is priced at the margin. Your suggesting ignores this reality. Then too, there's Global Warming, another topic about which you appear to be ignorant...

E. Swanson

I did note that this is HERESY on TOD, didn't I???

But then again at one time it was HERESY to say the Macondo well was flowing through the shoe track, not the annulus too!.

What do you think the Chairman of Chevron would have to say to Congress in light of his blown out wells off Brasil and Nigeria, "the long string' did it?

There you go again, offering no reply, instead throwing out another red herring. Global Warming is about science and the evidence is mounting higher every day. To use the word HERESY as you do implies the denialist chant that AGW is a "religion", which it most certainly is not. Sorry to say it this way, but it's THE DATA stupid, starting with the optical transmission characteristics of the atmosphere (which were determined more than 100 years ago) and measurements of the flow of thermal energy from the SUN thru the atmosphere and back out again. Until you can come up with a scientific argument against AGW, (and there are still much that is uncertain), you are just pi$$ing into the wind...

E. Swanson

Written by Bruce Thompson:
With an oversupply on the Gulf Coast....

There would not be an oversupply because the XL pipeline would deliver less oil than comes in by tanker ships. There would be fewer deliveries by oil tanker.

How can this be? Are there no tests that can be done? It cannot be natural, there are complaints of a gas smell. Butyl mercaptan is added during processing. The natural stuff from the ground is mostly odorless, no?

High levels of chemical used by Mobile Gas bubbling up in Eight Mile, utility says it's not their fault
Nobody in Eight Mile was surprised when state officials announced they’d found high levels of a chemical associated with natural gas bubbling up in a pond last week.

After all, the community has smelled like a giant gas leak for months, especially at night.

“It is so strong, it seems like if you strike a match it will blow the whole corner up,” said Jacob Anderson, an Eight Mile resident. “It will be so strong in the backyard, then it gets up in the house and you can’t get away from the smell.”

Is it just me or are the State of Alabama officials are not being very responsive on this issue. It took months. They even wrote Congress for relief. If this is how the industry and government is going to treat us, I say then no fracking in the continental USA. Either we figure out how to deal with these issues or to heck with it. And I am not saying fracking caused this though it could have. I am saying if this is the potential response to a fracking breach, forget it. The planet would probably have to burn before action was taken.

The Alabama State officials are probably unresponsive because they know the natural gas in the main pipelines is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Gas companies only put mercaptans into the gas at the consumer distribution stage to warn people the NG pipes in their house are leaking.

Most likely what folks are smelling is hydrogen sulfide from rotting vegetation in the swamps nearby. If you want to know what it smells like, take a whiff of rotten eggs sometime. H2S smells just like that except much, much worse.

TFHG - Long story short everything in the article points to a pipeline leak that's migrating via ground water flow to where it is escaping to the atmosphere. Folks there should find a lawyer with the right background and file a class action suit. I have no doubt they would have a pack of lawyers offering to work it for no upfront monies but nice cut of the pie at the end. OTOH how are you connecting the gas leak to frac'ng? I haven't kept on oil patch acivity in the Mobile area for a good while but as I recall little or no frac'ng is happening anywhere close to the reported problem. OTOH methane leaks from local utility system are bcoming more common as the infrastructure ages.

Thanks Rocky, after what I saw during the cleanup I am ready to go Captain Planet on some BTU pirates. I saw a tarball the size of a Greyhound bus. We did not get all of it. Too buried. Near structures.

They specifically refer to the SMELL. Now gas coming straight from the ground has all sorts of smells, and pure Natrual Gas is almost oderless. But when someone refers to the smell of gas, they are almost always referring to the smell of butyl mercaptan, which is added during processing to give an almost odorless and colorless gas a distinct odor so it's easy to detect. This rules out fracking and adds a lot of credibility to a pipeline leak.

Since you can't smell methane, they need to check for its presence with a natural gas detector. The authorities have probably done that, and that's why they're not concerned. There are probably no significant amounts of natural gas around.

If you want to put people into a state of panic, spill some butyl mercaptan on the ground. I recall a case where someone did that, and they had people for miles around calling 911 thinking they had a major gas leak.

We had a case of that near that site. I will find it. Could they be related?

Evonik inks deal with supplier, taking $65M expansion off table
But Bates said longtime methyl mercaptan suppliers Arkema Inc. and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP "made us an offer we couldn't refuse, an attractive offer which was really a win-win for everybody."

So nearby is much mercpatan storage. Final question. Is the mercaptan delivered pipeline rail car, or truck. Can you deliver marcaptan via pipeline as an ingredient for cattle feed. Is this common. How many differentrent types of hydrocarbons are being piped around these day. I just learned of DILBIT last week.

Well, they can deliver it any way they want, but I would expect that the most common way would be by truck.

You have to realize that mercaptans (a.k.a. thiols) are not oil and gas industry products, they are produced by the chemical industry. The natural gas companies just use them to add an odor to natural gas so that people can detect it by nose.

Many thiols have strong odors resembling that of garlic. Thiols are used as odorants to assist in the detection of natural gas (which in pure form is odorless), and the "smell of natural gas" is due to the smell of the thiol used as the odorant. Thiols are often referred to as mercaptans.

Methyl mercaptan (a.k.a. methanethiol) is used to make cattle feed because it is used to produce methionine, an essential amino acid. If animals don't get enough methionine in their diet, they will die.

Methanethiol (also known as methyl mercaptan) is a colorless gas with a smell like rotten cabbage. It is a natural substance found in the blood and brain of humans and other animals as well as plant tissues. It is disposed of through animal feces. It occurs naturally in certain foods, such as some nuts and cheese. It is also one of the main chemicals responsible for bad breath and the smell of flatus.

However, I think the fact that is most relevant to this discussion is the following:

Methanethiol is released from decaying organic matter in marshes

That's why the people in this case think they can smell natural gas. They are smelling the thiol which is added to natural gas to make it smell, but there is no actual natural gas involved - it is just the natural smell of the pond.

Google/YouTube declares war on Russia.

Backs down and says it was a terrible mistake.

RT’s main YouTube channel down for several hours

RT’s main YouTube channel was suspended for about eight hours, returning online about 2 p.m. Moscow time (10:00 GMT). YouTube ascribed the temporary blackout to a “technical mistake.”

During the temporary suspension, anyone who attempted to access RT’s main YouTube channel was greeted with a startling message: “This channel has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, scans, and commercially deceptive content.”

During the temporary blackout, all of the content on our main YouTube channel was inaccessible.

RT’s YouTube account manager has confirmed it was the YouTube team's mistake, and they have since apologized for the incident.

RT’s web promotion chief Mikhail Konrad particularly stressed RT has not violated YouTube’s terms of service in any way, shape or form.

“There have been no copyright or community guideline violations on our part which could result in this kind of measures,” he said.

RT is the most popular news broadcaster present on YouTube, having racked up about 700 million views and 275 thousand subscribers since the channel’s inception.

How you shutdown something as big as Russia Today by "mistake" remains unclear. I wonder who might have been woken in the middle of the night with angry phone calls from Moscow.

What? Russian Media worried about calls from Moscow? Actually I would be fine with a call. It is when they don't call first that you pucker.

It`s probably the topless female Ukrainian protester videos RT posted. YouTube probably thought the Russian security forces might object to the political agitation. More likely the Russian security forces were watching them on extra-wide-screen monitors so they could see the political agitation better.

No you completely misunderstand. RT Moscow is a Russian Government created and financed network. Putin is behind it.

It was people in the USA who were likely woken in the middle of the night with calls from Moscow. You might as well be punching Putin personally in the face by blocking RT Moscow for eight hours.


RT, previously known as Russia Today, is a government-funded[1] global multilingual television news network based in the Russian Federation. It was founded in 2005 as Russia Today by the government-owned[2] RIA Novosti.

...RT is the second most-watched foreign news channel in the United States, after BBC News.

That's the problem, they cut off Putin's video feed of topless Ukrainian protesters and that made him really mad. He was keeping a close eye on them to ensure they didn't do anything subversive.

I couldn't tell what they were protesting because it was all in Ukrainian or Russian or something, with translations into broken English, but I could tell they were passionate about whatever it was. It was written all over their bodies so it wouldn't get missed in the camera close-ups.

YouTube clearly missed the political and cultural significance of RT's videos. I know I didn't.

RT actually has some good news information on their channel. You can get a different perspective on things than you might get on US television, which is always good. It's got more balanced news coverage than Fox, but then almost everybody else does, too.

YouTube clearly missed the political and cultural significance of RT's videos. I know I didn't.

I'm having trouble buying that. RT is one of the biggest providers on YouTube. You don't block it by accident.

RT's Youtube channel has more views than Fox, CNN and Justin Bieber combined! Blocking it should have been enough to trigger server alarms as the number of "blocked" videos per second skyrocketed. Why it then took 8 hours to restore the channel is beyond me.

Additionally there are now multiple reports (on Facebook) that RT.COM itself was inaccessible for a time today from many parts of the world. It has been available any time I've tried from the UK though.

RT carried videos of occupy when such were banished from US television. How odd... to have to go to Russian Television to freely see what's happening in downtown Anywhere, USA.

The thing is that Russian commentators have no particular affiliation to any political interest in the US because Russian politics are completely different. Thus, they'll view American events dispassionately and analyze them closely without taking one side or the other. OTOH, most American networks (Fox being the primary culprit) will have a political agenda in covering things.

Actually, I would say all American networks have a political agenda, so if all you watch is American television, their agenda is all you will get. Some sensitive things never get covered at all. If you go onto RT or Al Jazeera you'll see stuff that you will never see on US television.

Oh in that case TV executives know who they work for. Yes, I would pucker if Putin or a real high up called. What is Putin's journalist and heads of atate body count since he took office? What did he use on the Ukranian? Polonium 210?

The RT staff did nothing wrong. Google just blocked the Russian State News Channel for reasons not yet clear. It wouldn't have been TV executives Putin or anyone else was phoning in the USA.

Likely related to RT's reporting that the Kandahar massacre was carried out by more than the lone nut--an outcome determined by an investigation by Afghan parliamentarians and also declared by the Afghan Army Chief of Staff. http://rt.com/news/kandahar-massacre-counterinsurgency-operation-805/ and http://rt.com/news/massacre-kandahar-soldier-american-705/

Note how no major western media has mentioned this, preferring to go with Obama's coevr-up.

Related to the war against Iran/Russia/China?

One implementation, in Japan, of the idea of buying your own locally-grown produce..in this case, fruit:


Should I assume that the taste is exquisite, to match the external appearance, and commensurate with the price? At least for the 'Fuji' standard? Also, is the nutrient quality/quantity superior to the 'garden variety' fruit?

Growing perfect melons to satisfy the Japanese market is a costly business. On Mr Suzuki's farm - just three medium sized greenhouses - he gets through 55 litres of heating oil a day to maintain the ideal growing temperature.

I just had a vision of wealthy folks dining on Bluefin Tuna and this fruit...


Last year Hideyuki Komatsu, a Japanese champion of sustainable fishing, suggested that if whale could be frozen better, it should replace tuna on the menu.

He believes that certain species of whale, notably the minke, are abundant enough to be killed sustainably. He said: "While the minke whale has a green light above it, the fin whale has a yellow light. But a red light is flashing over the bluefin tuna."

If we keep it up perhaps more fish species will go the way of the Atlantic Cod...I stumbled upon this page and thought it was interesting...why has the Atlantic Cod failed to rebound?


I wonder if the findings of this fictional report will in fact come true?

Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, 2015 to 2019

...the oceans are barren, no longer producing the plankton from which Soylent Green is said to be made.

In Japan, many consumers have yet to fully understand the consequences of overfishing.

"They go to the supermarket and see tuna lined up alongside lots of other varieties of seafood, all similarly priced, and are fooled into thinking everything is available in abundance," said Hanaoka.

"But it is not possible for the Japanese to continue to eat tuna at this rate."

The same can be said for people in the U.S. and most everywhere else...

Ever hear of the Menhaden?


'Omega Protein' corporation...how aptly named...

Omega Protein = Soylent Corporation?

Omega Protein = Soylent Corporation?

Just a reminder - the original company Zapata was started with the help of George HW Bush.

It would be funny if it wasn't so typically stupid....never did trust clowns.

Helium stocks run low – and party balloons are to blame
The world supply of helium, which is essential in research and medicine, is being squandered, say scientists


Just fill them with Hydrrogen, like we used to from the lab supply. Much more fun at parties!

Hindenburg Party!

Holy smokes . . . did you really fill party balloons with hydrogen? Hope there is no smoking at your house.

Here's what happens if you use another gas instead of helium. ...

Vehicle explosion rocks Union Springs

A Nissan Pathfinder filled with inflated balloons exploded about 12:30 Sunday afternoon, March 20, 2011, injuring two persons. Janice Broaden’s vehicle had been filled with inflated balloons that were to be used at a baby shower. She had driven to the parking lot of the Nutrition Site and was outside her vehicle when the explosion occurred.

Because of the different type of fitting used, I believe the gas was mis-identified and should be H2

It may have been oxygen as it explodes too. If it was, those people are really stupid . . . you'd think the fact that the balloons didn't float would be a tip-off.

The article indicates the balloons were filled with oxygen and the explosion occurred while the woman was opening the door. If some oxygen leaked out of the balloons into the vehicle and the lock was electronic with a relay that sparked, then a rapidly burning fire would explode in the confined space of the vehicle. Something like this happened to Apollo 1 killing three astronauts on January 27, 1967.

A spark won't ignite it, no fuel. I could go along with lube igniting but I would expect burning or a flare up.ISTR oxygen tanks have a very different valve coupling to prevent being connected to the wrong line, certainly the medical oxygen do as I had to learn how to connect them for my DM. My bet is Hydrogen and a lack of fact checking. Leaks, mixes with air in vehicle, spark on opening, rst is history.


I was thinking, "How could you have an explosion if you have only oxygen and no fuel?"

Then I realized that the plastic balloons themselves were the fuel. Something ignited the plastic skin of first balloon, and in a pure oxygen atmosphere the plastic skin burned up instantly. That ignited the plastic skins of all the balloons around it. Being full of oxygen, they went up like bombs and ignited all the plastic balloon skins around them, and so on and so forth. In a time period probably measured in milliseconds, all of the plastic balloon skins in the car ignited and burned up in one big boom!

Something similar happened at a rocket fuel plant where they were storing a solid fuel oxidizer in hundreds of plastic drums. Nobody stopped to think that they were storing the solid fuel oxidizer inside a pretty good solid fuel. They had a fire, and the rocket fuel plant was totally destroyed in an explosion not too dissimilar from a nuclear one. I don't think that anyone less than a mile from it survived.

Plastic/Mylar rubbing on the carpeted interior of an auto could conceivably create a static charge, I'd think. That sparking could be an igniter.

Used a mix of about 1/2 - 2/3 air and 1/2 - 1/3 Hydrogen, just enough to get them to float. Did it in a mostly steel and concrete shop (this was not a childrens party, more like drunk 20 somethings), and only one or two ballons at a time made for colorfull fireballs. Set them off with a lighter, not sure if it would have worked but nobody was willing to try and set them of with static electricity. All very small qunatities never tried to fill a trash bag or anything like that.

No. Fill the baloons with ordinary air, and fill the house with Argon. Then the air-baloons will float on top. And the risk of explosions are aboslutely zero.

I don't get it. It's scarce yet at the same time it's cheap enough for party balloons ?? Something more to the story ?

Does seem contradictory, doesn't it? Sounds like this is the reason:-

. "Now the stockpile is used up, prices are rising and we are realising how stupid we have been."

And this:-



Tragedy of the commons written all over it.

Very useful and interesting material though, never had much to do with it...except in party balloons! 8-o


The world supply of helium oil, which is essential in research and medicine for many materials, pharmaceuticals and other things, is being squandered, says scientists nobody, except us here on TOD...

Future Drummer: "Can you believe they burned the precious stuff?"

I grew up in Amarillo. Just east on Route 66 (part of which I helped build) was a helium plant. The helium was extracted from natural gas. Helium was stored under land owned by the infamous Stanley Marsh 3 and relatives. Helium remained relatively cheap as it was being sold off. Among other things it is used for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Helium - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVg8EPl9ZmQ

Stanley Marsh 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Marsh_3

SM3 Sports Illustrated 1977 http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1092308/index...

Helium Monument http://dhdc.org/index.php?page=helium-monument

My favorite Stanley Marsh 3 story: Someone was poaching catfish in one of his ponds, by putting a trotline in the pond. Until his wife intervened, Mr. Marsh was proceeding with a plan to hook dead monkeys, wearing miniature scuba gear, on the trotlines.

What did Randy Marsh have to say about it, he is a geologist. Yes I know, different guy.

Chevron Accused of Graft in Indonesian Green Project

Indonesia on Saturday accused five Chevron employees of being involved in a scam to set up a fictitious green project that lost the state some $270 million, a charge denied by the US oil giant.

The case centres on a project on Sumatra island, in which Chevron's Indonesian subsidiary was to clean up soil contaminated by its drilling activities.

Chevron is facing enormous fines for environmental destruction in Latin America, where it is challenging a landmark court order in Ecuador and could face fines from the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro for a November oil spill [plus the oil spill this week].

Mesquite trees displacing Southwestern grasslands

As the desert Southwest becomes hotter and drier, semi-arid grasslands are slowly being replaced by a landscape dominated by mesquite trees, such as Prosopis velutina, and other woody shrubs, a team of University of Arizona researchers has found. Their extremely deep-reaching roots give mesquite trees an edge over grasses.

Scientists have evidence to believe woody plants began displacing grasslands as a result of overgrazing, but has since been propelled by changing climate.

... He said that encroachment of woody plants onto former grasslands exposes the area's semi-arid landscape to a higher risk of irreversible desertification. "If a fire runs through and burns the thick grass cover that stabilizes the soil, you end up with areas consisting mostly of dirt with mesquite and creosote bushes. The big dust storms in certain parts of Arizona are visual proof how vulnerable that type of landscape is to erosion."

Eradication of the prairie dog population may have been another forcing factor.

Solar storms join floods, terrorism as risks to UK

Launched in 2008, the risk register assesses threats that are likely to endanger human welfare, the environment or security in Britain. It is the public version of the National Risk Assessment, which is classified.

Volcanic eruptions have been added to the list since the last edition in 2010. Ash from the April 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano grounded European air travel for days.

But the British government says a more serious risk is posed by an effusive, of gas-rich, eruption. The 1783-84 Laki eruption in Iceland sent out noxious gases that spread as smog across Europe, causing crop failures, famine and thousands of deaths. The government said such an eruption "is now one of the highest-priority risks" Britain faces.

National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies: 2012 edition

"In a stunning move, on March 16, 2012, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order
stating that the President and his specifically designated Secretaries now have
the authority to commandeer all domestic U.S. resources including food and
water. The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the
authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the
United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the
military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing
American citizens to fulfill "labor requirements" for the purposes of national


That's pretty incendiary, and your link doesn't point right to anything backing it up.

Saw this in the comments over on ZeroHedge which might throw some more light on it.

As dry and obfuscated as this is, you probably need to read it all the way through. Much of this is a rehash of claims to authorities made by previous Presidents under a series of Executive Orders collectively called the FEMO E.O.s.

So, has the President taken over the country? Technically, no. What this order states is that the President will be prepared to take over the nation in the event of a National Emergency, but again, this is not a new concept as it already occurs in prior E.O.s.

Part II assigns direct control over the nation's assets to various cabinet positions under that national emergency, but again this is merely a clarification of earlier power-grabs.

So, why now, and for what reason?

Although couched in terms of National Defense, I take special note of Part III, which sets forth several fiscal authorities not previously mentioned in the earlier Presidential E.O.s. The authorities set forth include direct purchase by the government of assets, loans and loan guarantees, subsidy payments, and so forth. These are normally authorities which would originate in legislation in the House, as they involve spending. The end result of this E.O. is that Obama is usurping the spending authority of the U.S. House of Representatives. So, while presented as a proactive plan to deal with the coming invasion of Iran, Part III suggests that the real purpose of this E.O. is to prepare for the coming collapse of Greece and the E.U. by exerting White House control over Federal Spending ahead of the collapse of the dollar.

In our global centralising system everything must be under direct control or else it will fall apart. Free radicals can rip through the system doing untold damage to the complex dynamics within it, which cannot be allowed. Every aspect of the system must be kept within acceptable boundaries, which means everything must eventually be controlled (including humans, stockmarkets, the climate, the internet, etc.) or safely neutered (eg. decentralised systems such as Islam).

Napoleonic France, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, North Korea, the EU, Japan, China, et al, are the systems attempts at perfecting a control technique over all variables. The US is simply following the systemic imperative to improve the technical perfection of these total control techniques.

I looked at a similar writeup after Ed's post. As much as a descent into pure totalitarianism is never really unimaginable, I think there are cultural forces, even in this admittedly flawed culture that actually stand in the way of it happening all that easily.

Considering that the government seems to have little compunction about baldly breaking international law when it chooses (ie, Rendition and Detainment without Charge, and various other War Crimes etc), they really are still constrained by those things that will simply be rejected by the nation, or world around them. They might try it, and even get in pretty deep, but that doesn't mean it would hold.

I just read the text of the EO on the whitehouse web site link. Pretty scary -- what kind of scenario do they see coming down the road that would require this kind of blanket control over pretty much every sector of the economy?

This is in form the same national preparedness/emergency EO that Ike, Reagan, and Clinton signed (at least). The prior orders are referenced in this one. If there is something more sinister in this order than the others I don't know what it is.

I read the entire EO on the White House web site and immediately compared it to the 'total war' effort in the U.S. in WWII.

Car factories converted to making military vehicles, rationing, propaganda, and all the like.

Accomplished by people whom Tom Brokaw called 'The Greatest Generation'.

A successful effort to mobilize the resources and passions of the country to defeat the Axis...unfortunately including the unnecessary and shameful internment of Japanese Americans (Why no German Americans?).

Times are different now...the sheeple aren't nearly as ra-ra-cis-boom-ba yay team and they are more heavily armed to boot, and the government has much more pervasive technologies to 'manage' its population....and our resources are much more depleted and our pollution sinks are fuller.

A recipe for nothing good....

A few German- and Italian-Americans were interned, but as you note, not anything like Japanese-Americans. The reason is easy to understand: The massive size of both minorities--tens of millions each--and their geographic dispertion, made any such undertaking impossible.

The vision of the future might be a prolonged closure of the Straight of Hormuz after the U.S. attacks Iran because Russia provides direct assistance to Iran. Think about what might happen if Russian and U.S. fighter jocks dogfight in Iranian airspace using stealth fighter jets. Because the missiles don't work anymore, they return to the days of machine guns and cannons used within visual range.

The owner of that website, professor Chossudovsky, is a near lunatic 911 truther conspiracy theorist.


No, I would not prefer other sites on the internet echo chamber saying things like "yet no major stories are going out"

'Major stories' meaning coverage from professional news organizations. That's what I would like to see.

Your link points to a blank page. Maybe it is referring to, Executive Order -- National Defense Resources Preparedness, The White House, March 16, 2012.

Doesn't matter if it goes to 10 cents, we won't use it faster than it is being supplied. NG producers have to make a real cut soon. It doesn't appear that the publicized cuts were actually made. These analysts may be relying on EIA numbers which are garbage, though.

Will Natural Gas Price Sink to $1?

we are modeling storage capacity to reach full capacity earlier than expected, bringing the chance of a $1 handle in the summer and even possibly in the next month or so.

Hmm, I suspect not so low.

Natural gas-directed rig count at lowest since May 2002
* Oil rigs up again, at 25-year high
* Horizontal rig count up 16 to 1,180.


Obama to Congress: Kill oil industry's tax breaks

That may be the least of big oil's problems if the Executive Order signed Friday is a take over of the oil industry, along with everything else.