Drumbeat: April 2, 2012

A World without Oil

The world is addicted to a material that is being used up from day to day and from hour to hour, a material that is also much too valuable to be burned. The prosperity of the human race is based on limited resources. Most people know this, and yet they refuse to accept the necessary consequence: reducing their use of fossil fuels.

The record high prices for gasoline are probably the most effective incentive for us to finally kick the oil habit and search for alternatives. And they are fueling the modernization of the economy in the process.

The withdrawal will undoubtedly be tough. The economy will be affected when it is deprived of its lubricant. But consumers and business owners have no choice, and the longer they delay, the more painful the transition will be.

Oil Rises Most in Six Weeks on U.S. Manufacturing

Oil rose the most in almost six weeks after a report showed that manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace than forecast, signaling economic growth in the world’s biggest crude-consuming country.

Futures climbed 2.1 percent as the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index increased to 53.4 last month from 52.4 in February, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s data showed. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain to 53. Crude fell earlier after a report showed euro-region manufacturing contracted.

Warm Weather in U.S. Midwest May Curb Natural Gas Demand

Another week of warm weather across the central U.S. this week may mean less natural gas needed to warm Midwestern homes and businesses.

PetroChina’s Oil Output Trumps Exxon, Rosneft

PetroChina Co. surpassed global rivals Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and OAO Rosneft to become the biggest oil producer among publicly traded companies last year.

India seeks more oil, gas from Qatar

(Reuters) - India is looking at buying more oil and gas from Qatar, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said on Monday, after a meeting with his Qatari counterpart.

Indian refiners have been cutting oil imports from sanctions-hit Iran and are diversifying purchases away from the country's second-biggest supplier of crude after Saudi Arabia.

Enterprise Seeks Pricing Muscle for Seaway Oil Pipeline

Enterprise Products Partners LP is asking federal regulators for the freedom to set rates on its Seaway pipeline to take advantage of soaring demand to ship oil from new North American fields to Gulf Coast markets.

Enterprise has asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to grant a flexible rate known as a market-based tariff for the pipeline. It would be a first for a crude oil line and allow Enterprise to set and change rates without FERC’s approval.

Analysis: To Canada and back, a new U.S. oil pipeline race

(Reuters) - Even as big U.S. oil pipelines invest billions of dollars to ship booming oil production south from Canada and North Dakota, a new race is underway in the opposite direction.

Ohio releases first Utica oil and gas well results

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five wells began producing oil and gas last year in the newly developed Utica shale formation, tipped to be the next major energy-producing basin in the United States, according to Ohio state figures released Monday.

Routes, piracy, prices threat to shipping-UAE

(Reuters) - Gulf concerns including threats to shut shipping lanes, persistent piracy and volatile oil prices need a global response, the United Arab Emirates' economy minister said on Monday.

EDF Energy stops one UK nuclear unit, restarts three

(Reuters) - EDF Energy, the largest nuclear producer in the UK, stopped its 620-megawatt (MW) Hartlepool reactor 1 on Sunday, after restarting three other units on Saturday, the company said.

"R1 at Hartlepool Power Station came offline at 1539 BST on Sunday," a spokeswoman said.

A power plant, cancer and a small town's fears

Compared to other coal-fired power plants in the United States, Plant Scherer is Colossus. Two 1,000-foot chimneys can be seen towering over the pine forests from miles away. The plant, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is the largest producer of greenhouse gasses in the country.

The plant generates the fifth-most power in the nation, according to government statistics. Georgia Power owns a portion of Scherer, and manages the plant on behalf of five other utility stakeholders.

CNN has confirmed at least two houses across from the plant have been bought. Meanwhile, another 10 owners of nearby houses claim Georgia Power representatives have approached them with offers to purchase their property.

Sapphire Gets $144 Million for New Mexico Algae-Based Fuel Plant

Sapphire Energy Inc., which produces crude oil from algae, received $144 million from investors to build a demonstration plant in New Mexico.

The plant in Luna County has received a $50 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department and a $54.4 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Agriculture Department, closely held Sapphire said today in a statement.

Buffett Says Shortcuts on Environment Can Risk Profits

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said companies won’t last if they fail to consider the impact of their businesses on the environment.

“Taking shortcuts is not the pathway to achieving sustainable competitive advantage, nor is it an avenue toward satisfying customers,” Buffett, 81, said in a report published today on the website of Omaha,

Peak oil doomsayers ignore human ingenuity

Oil is running out and it won’t be affordable for much longer, advocates of “peak oil” theory argue. But with new technology revolutionising the way energy is generated, are fears of an unaffordable energy crunch now being overplayed?

Crude Declines in New York Amid European Growth, Price

Oil declined in New York as economic contraction in Europe countered signs of growth in the U.S. and China, the world’s largest consumers of crude.

West Texas Intermediate fell as much as 0.6 percent, erasing an earlier gain of 0.5 percent. Euro-region manufacturing contracted for an eighth month in March, London- based Markit Economics said today. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a one-year high of 53.1 in March, according to a government report yesterday.

Oil prices lift GCC but risks remain

The strain on exports has increased the focus on Saudi Arabia, Opec's biggest producer and the only country in the world with substantial spare capacity - the ability to increase production within a three-month period. But Saudi's spare capacity of 2.5 million bpd is disputed by many experts.

Indian Oil Refinery Runs Up 4.9% In FY12

NEW DELHI – Refinery runs at Indian Oil Corp. (530965.BY) rose 4.9% to 1.11 million barrels a day in the financial year ended March 31 from 1.06 million barrels a day in the previous year.

The capacity utilization at Indian Oil's refineries was 102.6%, the New Delhi-based refiner said in a statement Monday.

India Starts $15 Billion Program to Curb Fossil Fuel Use

India started a program that imposes energy-saving targets on companies including Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA) and Vedanta Resources Plc (VED), ordering them to reduce fossil-fuel consumption by 2015.

Starting yesterday, 563 facilities such as oil refineries, steel plants and paper mills must begin improving the efficiency with which they consume energy over the next three years, according to program rules and targets published on the website of the Ministry of Power.

UK gas prices fall, Yemen LNG explosion supports May

(Reuters) - British front-month gas prices found support on Monday from news Yemen's liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports would be cut by four cargoes following a pipeline explosion, while other contracts eased in line with weak equities markets, traders said.

British gas for delivery in May traded above historical closing levels on Monday at 60.30 pence per therm as British LNG imports could suffer from other buyers offering a premium over UK prices to attract lost exports from Yemen.

Peak Oil Evasion Tactics Scraping The Barrel

Probably well-intentioned but always ineffective oil saving plans, schemes and notions are reaching the limit of their low effectiveness, a rising number of indicators suggest. In a week where newswires tell the story of French election-oriented attempts by the outgoing Sarkozy government to persuade the IEA's main powerbrokers to release oil stocks, and shave a few cents off the price of car fuel in time for Sarkozy's re-election bid, this is schizophrenically opposed by the same French government. It is pressurizing other EU governments to further tighten their oil embargoes on Iran.

Cutting Iranian supplies to Europe, possibly by as much as 400 000 barrels a day from July 1st, the date at which "full embargo" may be applied, can only be offset by breaking out strategic stocks for so long. Hopes that Saudi Arabia will wade to the rescue with "all the oil you want - at $125 a barrel" may not translate to real world action. Oil is scarce.

Chrysler Poised to Lead U.S. Auto Sales Gains as Gas Rises

Heidi Vouri got a new job 35 miles from home and commuting in a 14-year-old gas guzzler doesn’t cut it with fuel prices rising. Her solution: Buy a new car.

IEA: Overseas aid to Africa outweighed by oil imports

The figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), published in the Guardian, show that sub-Saharan Africa received about $15.6 billion in overseas development aid last year, but spent $18 billion importing oil.

They found that while overseas aid has increased, poor countries are not feeling the benefit, as years of increasing oil prices have meant they are paying more and more for energy imports.

Petronas Plans Canadian Acquisition Topping $5 Billion

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (PET)., the Malaysian state-owned oil company, is studying a Canadian acquisition exceeding $5 billion as part of the company’s drive to supply natural gas to Asia.

“This is going to be big,” Chief Executive Officer Shamsul Azhar Abbas said in a March 30 interview on the 81st floor of the company’s twin towers headquarters that dominates the Kuala Lumpur skyline. “There are quite a few candidates out there, who are willing to talk,” he said, adding a deal may be announced within three months.

UK shale gas firm doubles estimates, seeks partner

LONDON (Reuters) - British shale gas company IGas has more than doubled its estimate of gas in place at its site in north-west England and started the search for an experienced partner after being approached by various companies, its chief executive said.

The company said on Monday it was likely to at least double previous shale gas estimates of up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet (130.26 million cubic metres), which would boost Britain's reserves to levels above Poland's, until now the focus of the shale gas industry in Europe.

Phenomenon of bigger and bigger supply ships continues with new Shell Oil vessel

As Shell Oil took delivery of a new 360-foot icebreaker at Port Fourchon late last month and prepared for it to head to the coast of Alaska, those who follow the offshore industry say the locally built vessel was another step in a trend of supply ships getting bigger, more powerful and increasingly complex as the search for oil and gas reaches farther into the depths of the ocean. Shell, which has received tentative approval to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer, commissioned Edison Chouest Offshore to build the $200 million project, an order that came in the midst of a slowdown in local shipbuilding. It's the fourth icebreaker Chouest has built in the past two decades, and the second major vessel it has constructed for Shell.

China, ASEAN to 'work hard' for 'maintaining peace, stability' in South China Sea

Beijing (ANI): China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should work hard to boost practical cooperation and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to a joint statement due to be issued by China and Cambodia.

The statement said both the nations agreed that 'China and ASEAN countries would give full play to all the existing mechanisms including the guidelines for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to make it a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation'.

Iraq slams Qatar, Saudi on arms for Syria rebels

BAGHDAD: Iraq's Shiite prime minister on Sunday slammed Sunni-ruled Qatar and Saudi Arabia's stance on arming Syrian rebels, as Doha hosted Baghdad's fugitive vice president who is accused of running a death squad.

Nuri al-Maliki's remarks were the latest in a dramatic cooling of ties between Qatar and Iraq, which have sharply disagreed on how to respond to President Bashar al-Assad's year-long deadly crackdown on dissent in Syria.

Iraqi Kurdistan halts oil exports over pay dispute

(Reuters) - Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region halted its oil exports on Sunday, accusing the central government in Baghdad of failing to make payments to companies working there in the latest clash in their long-running dispute over oil rights.

Iraq's Shahristani charges Kurdistan over oil halt

(Reuters) - Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani accused Iraqi Kurdistan of sabotaging the country's budget by halting its oil exports and said crude from the autonomous region was instead smuggled over the border, mainly to Iran.

The charges threatened to exacerbate a long-running dispute between Baghdad's central government and the Kurdistan regional government over oil rights, political autonomy and land that risks upsetting Iraq fragile sectarian and ethnic balance.

Some Japan firms to skip Iran crude buying in April

(Reuters) - At least three Japanese firms including two oil refiners will not lift any Iranian crude in April as the third-biggest buyer of Iranian oil comes under pressure from the United States to curtail such purchases, industry sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Iran Talks: Amid Ticking Clocks and Closing Windows, What Would Success Look Like?

One danger, of course, is that while the Administration wants to avoid the standoff devolving into a potentially catastrophic war, the tough talk and escalation of coercive measures and threats actually creates its own momentum towards confrontation. The Iranians also get a vote in how the standoff plays out, and nobody’s optimistic that Tehran’s negotiators will arrive in Istanbul ready to simply concede to Western demands. They may be ready to move towards some sort of deal involving confidence-building steps between the two sides that could lay the groundwork for further agreements, but that will likely be a protracted and complicated negotiation — and Iran will expect a quid pro quo for any steps to which it agrees.

Energy ‘independence,’ after all?

Call it Richard Nixon’s revenge.

Amid election-year furor over high gasoline prices, something significant has happened to America’s energy outlook. We are steadily reducing our dependence on imported oil — a long-ago Nixon goal. In 1973, he proposed being free of imports by 1980. It didn’t happen, and although politicians of both parties frequently echoed Nixon’s popular call for “energy independence,” most experts considered it a joke.

Fracking chemicals disclosures set off few alarms

CARRIZO SPRINGS — Energy companies have disclosed some of the chemicals pumped into the ground to extract oil and gas at more than 1,700 locations across Texas in the first two months since the state began requiring the site-specific information.

Yet the early returns have brought a collective shrug in the Eagle Ford play in South Texas, where almost every oil and gas well is hydraulically fractured – or fracked – with a brew of water, sand and chemicals.

The domestic energy use map of Britain

How much gas and electricity is consumed where you live? New data from the Department for Energy & Climate Change measures residential gas and electricity use for tiny areas: middle layer super output area in England & Wales and intermediate geography zone in Scotland. Each has a population of 5-6,000 people, meaning we can get a detailed picture of how we use energy.

Long term sustainability drives energy returns

The case for investing in sustainable technologies and renewable energy generation is becoming increasingly compelling and, with the assistance of skilled fund management, the returns available are highly attractive.

The fundamental drivers for sustainable energy and resource investments are strong as concerns grow about energy security and the long-term sustainability of oil supplies. Much of our energy comes from fossil fuels, which have an uncertain future. Nuclear power, for many years considered a viable alternative, is no longer a straightforward or politically palatable choice, particularly in the wake of last year’s sad events in Japan.

Abu Dhabi nuclear bid speeds up

SEOUL // The South Korean consortium building Abu Dhabi's nuclear plant has shortened its construction schedule by four months - to January 2017 - and expects to pour the first concrete in July.

Its progress in delivering the Arab world's first reactors is being closely watched as Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), the company leading the US$20.4 billion (Dh74.9bn) contract for the emirate's four reactors, pursues more work in countries including India and Finland.

What the Guys Who Want to be President Want to Do on the Environment

Environmental issues have been framed mostly as economic issues during this election campaign: How can we bring down gas prices? Can we create jobs with a new oil pipeline? Does the Environmental Protection Agency cost jobs? But these issues impact both our bank accounts and the environment. Here's some highlights of their records so far.

At the Factory, BMW Tries to Minimize Its Carbon Footprint

BMW is pursuing goals to reduce the environmental footprint of its plant in Spartanburg, S.C. Sean Noonan, chief financial officer at the BMW Manufacturing Company and head of sustainability program planning, said in an interview Thursday that much of the heavy lifting had already been done and that further progress at the plant would be measured in smaller steps.

Make the climate debate about bills – not bears

To build public support, we have to speak about climate change in a way that addresses concerns about prices, jobs and security.

Re: Peak oil doomsayers ignore human ingenuity

Yes, humans have been very ingenious at converting resources to useful products and thus creating "wealth". Actually, we have been very good at harnessing fossil energy to satisfy our demands, after our inventive minds created those demands with new products which make use of that energy. But, we don't "make" energy, we only convert it from one form to another and when the easy to get energy sources are used up, that game will get real interesting.

The author doesn't want to admit that Peak Resources, including oil, is near, suggesting that the US has gobs of natural gas, enough to make the US the world's leading producer by 2035. Even were it possible for this to occur, what happens after 2035? I think it's obvious that the author's faith in the creative mental powers of mankind isn't based on his having attained an engineering (or science) education...

E. Swanson

Top post: Peak oil doomsayers ignore human ingenuity...

I certainly don't. It is human ingenuity that got us into these predicaments; the saying that "these problems all began as solutions" applies nicely. What the article ignores is the highly complex, systemic connectedness of our societal inputs, and the scale of inputs required to maintain order in an ever-growing, ever more complex arrangement of subsystems. Human ingenuity has built a marvelous house of cards, each card relying on the others for support. This structure has become unreliable as our ingenuity drives us to extract finite resources at an ever-increasing rate. This article is a fine example of how our ignorance of complex systems and exponential growth allows us to 'progress' toward the inevitable...

[Sorry, Dog... us Carolina boys are on the same page it seems :-0]

Hiya Ghung~
In my view, humanity's self-destruction is baked in the cake. Original Sin, if you want to call it so. We are victims of our very nature, and thus are doomed to repeat our failures until we can see past that nature and "move to the next level."

I don't pretend to know what that "next level" looks like, but I am sure that we will have to go back to the drawing board to find out.

Because this isn't working.

It could be argued that the dominant culture is what is not working. It at least lead us to fail more efficiently and on a global scale.

During WWII German fighter plane production was ever increasing until the bitter end. Dang Germans are quite ingenious. As the above posters point out, knowing how is good. Knowing why is better.

From the article subtitle:

But with new technology revolutionising the way energy is generated . .

I was so looking forward to buying a home energy generator.

Yes, the way things are going it will probably be a donkey on a treadmill.

I was so looking forward to buying a home energy generator.

I was aware that one could extract energy (e.g., oil & gas production, AKA as Ancient Sunlight) or gather energy (e.g., PV, from current sunlight), but I wasn't aware that one could generate energy. It is of course possible to take an energy input and generate electricity.


First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another. The First Law of Thermodynamics (Conservation) states that energy is always conserved, it cannot be created or destroyed. In essence, energy can be converted from one form into another.

good one WT::: I caught the energy generator wording first thing. I too was looking forward to getting my own personal "HOME ENERGY GENERATOR"

IMO, the underlying premise of the sub-headline to the article was that a car is a computer is a BTU, i.e., we can manufacture or generate cars, computers and BTU's.

Sagan was my "idol"[*]. I did not care about actors or artists or athletes, but about an astronomer. Him and McGayver.

[*] I don't like the word in english, knowing what it actually means. But in swedish it only means "object of fandom".

Same here, I preferred my nature/science show folks. :)

Sagan was great, and I took a humanities course in college once that had Cosmos as part of the required reading. I liked Cosmos' soundtrack too.

I wonder what he would say these days...

Pale Blue Dot

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves... There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
~ Carl Sagan

Beautiful. Thanks for posting this.


Sagan know how to combine scienc-talk with poetry. His way to put words are seducing. Wich I had those skills.

I have Cosmos in my bookshelf though.

The series was quite seductive, too.
One set of 4 images from the book that haunted me, and does yet again in a new climate-change context, began with an image called, 'The Last Perfect Day' and included this second image, where, by then, most life is extinguished:

painting by A. Schaller

O.o I like Carl Sagan too, but what are you trying to say with this?
that a home energy generator would be something that pulls energy from the 4th dimension into the third?

We are all made of star-stuff.

I'm made of Oreo cookie centre stuff

I was so looking forward to buying a home energy generator.
~ westexas

Yes, complete with a kit for creating your own universe!

I am waiting for the tech from Sid Meyers Alpha Centauri where you can release vast amounts of energy by splitting light itself.

Once again we are told by a journalist that a power revolution has happened in the last decade.

So since he is discussing oil and the flow rate of oil into the economy is a measure of power it stands to reason that the flow rate of oil should have dramatically increased from this revolution.

But wait - in reality, after 150 years of power increase into the economy from oil it began to stall a decade ago and has now stopped.

Was gibt? Keine Umdrehung?

It's the standard decoy argument. It's probably even being lofted with sincerity, but it's as misguided as 'They hate us for our Freedoms!' -- since what will it require apart from the best of our ingenuity in order to handle this situation?

.. And of course, he paints the whole PO community as Doomers who say 'there's NO hope'.. which gives them an effective conversation killer, as long as noone inconveniently points out that there are MANY Peak Oil "Disciples" (Nice Quasi-religious Slur) who are advocating for all sorts of efforts and ingenious approaches that could give us a few desperate options, as the Fossil Options steadily wear dangerously thin beneath our feet.

The article is right in that human ingenuity will triumph in the end, but what it doesn't say is that human ingenuity may triumph by reducing oil consumption to the point where it matches production. Energy conservation is always an option. People can always buy smaller cars and/or ride bicycles or walk to work. Doomsters who think otherwise are underestimating people's adaptability when they have no other choice but to be flexible.

Its predication that the US will be the world's leading natural gas producer by 2035 is quite reasonable considering that the US is already the world's leading natural gas producer. The real question is whether Russia will ramp up its production to exceed that of the US, since Russia has more NG reserves than the US - it is not whether the US has vast reserves of NG or not, because it does.

Due to the current mass extinction event that is underway, that could take out the bottom of the food chain, with debt saturation, peak oil, overpopulation, peak fresh water, antibiotic resistant disease, decreasing male sperm count and severe climate change I think human ingenuity may be fatal. Ingenuity does not change the fact that we are destroying life on earth with industrialization. Any solution that does not end industrialization just brings humanity closer to the end of the line.

I share your perspective on the problem and you may be proven correct in the end. In the mean time, it might be possible to get by using much less energy and a much smaller industrial production. Of course, the public is still being fed the mantra that growth is good, which means we (meaning the US) still aren't beginning to think about powering down...

E. Swanson

Quite true, I guess I feel a need to counter the ingenuity argument when I see the stunning lack of sapience from Homo sapiens. I also feel that the economic situation is being dismissed when it is dire. Growth is fueled on debt now and the interest on the debt is nearing untenable levels.


I am sure that at the end of the Roman Empire folks were talking about the ingenuity of Romans. Arguments such as” You do you realize how much grain the average Roman wastes”? OR “We just need to re-localize the Empire and return to prosperity”, I bet that sort of thinking was going around. Adding layers of complexity works fine until it no longer does. The world is littered with the remains of broken empires and failed civilizations. The number of feedback loops makes it impossible to know where industrial civilization stands, but I feel we are nearing the breaking point. Like an airplane MODEREN industrial civilization was built to run on oil, and like an airplane it would be quite difficult to convert to a different fuel source mid flight. Those who say it is no problem have a different view of the reality of the economic situation than those who feel it is a major problem. The economic system provides the lift; loose the system and it may be catastrophic. Time will tell.

Well, a number of them were talking about building lifeboats that might be able to continue some of the best of classical culture across the dark abyss many clearly saw spreading before them and around them. Some of these efforts became the monasteries, libraries and scriptoria that did, in fact, preserve much learning that would otherwise have been lost. Of course, these were not immune to pillage and fire.

Good point and a lifeboat is my new project. I hope to be off grid in a year or two. I am not advocating giving up on our culture, but maybe we should take whats worth saving and blend it with a new lower impact sustainable culture. Tall order but why not try....

The problem with the "ingenuity" article is that apparently all future problems are instantly solved because once, a while back, under much better circumstances we managed to overcome a different problem...

...conveniently forgetting that the solution to said problem helped create a large part of the current problems we now face.

In the mean time, it might be possible to get by using much less energy and a much smaller industrial production. Of course, the public is still being fed the mantra that growth is good ...

Sadly, I don't think there is a meantime to be had ... all elected, and repressive, governments (both in the OECD world and probably much of the rest) sweat profusely over the quarterly growth numbers. If the growth isn't there, then recession is the only alternative.

It seems to me to be complete madness - am I alone in this?

Modern economies are seemingly either doing okay with growth (whether 1,2,3,or even higher percent), or they are plunging into recession, with long unemployment queues. Surely there must be a reasonable window in there somewhere, where the world isn't on an economic knife-edge, but rather in a more-or-less comfortable position - where runaway growth is absent, but descent into economic gloom is also not evident. But I suspect I am naive.

We can adapt yes, but that assumes that all the countries in the world will sign mutual agreements to distribute dwindling resources amongst themselves without any squabbling. An assumption that goes against 6000 years of human history.

If enough concerned citizens push for it, we could also use Green public transit to
supplement biking and walking. But that is NOT a private decision it requires collective political action. Just by running our existing Green public transit the US could easily cut its oil consumption 10-20% in a year and people would still be able to get where they need to go in a timely manner. A Brookings study in May, 2011 showed that 70% of working age Americans ALREADY live only 3/4ths mile from a Transit stop! That is without adding a single track of rail. However due to the infrequent service and lack of coordination of connections, local/express service or the last mile (dumped at some highway exit ramp!) only 30% could reach a job in less than 90 minutes even during Peak service hours. But this can be easily corrected and is actually dirt cheap - simply RUN THE TRAINS BUSES SHUTTLES we have!
Here is the link to the Brookings study:


How cheap is to just run the trains in cities like NYC metro area, Boston, Philadephia, DC, Baltimore, etc where they already exist? The total operating costs for 310 Million trips on New Jersey Transit only costs $300 Million most of it now provided by riders thanks to Teabag Gov Christie and his 60% hikes in some train fares. That is cheap when you look at all those highway construction signs for projects costing $2 Million, here and $10 Million there, for example just the GSP to I-78 overpass cost over $75 Million!

70% of working age Americans ALREADY live only 3/4ths mile from a Transit stop ...

I think in corpulent America (and I'm not just picking on the Yanks - it would be little different here in Australia), to say people might WALK 3/4 mile to a public transport hub ... well - you might as well suggest Outer Mongolia.

Even if you had vast Park'n'Ride car-parks right at the station, you might garner a few more, but I still wouldn't put my house on it. I suspect lot of Americans (and others) literally see public transport as either a socialist plot or an unacceptable smear on their way of life (you know - that one that is not negotiable).

If you catch a bus or a train - you're a loser or a hippie - simple as that.

By comparison, 68% of Canadians live withing 1/4 mile of a transit stop (a 5-minute walk), and of those 68%, 41% actually use public transit regularly.

Public transit use in Canadian cities is 2 to 3 times as great as in comparable-sized American cities, and the ready availability and convenience of public transit is one of the reasons.

Many Americans seem to find it difficult to believe that it is possible to have convenient and efficient public transit, but it is. The lack of it in US cities is just a result of the overwhelming concentration of American city governments on the automobile as the only means of transportation. That is going to be a serious problem when fuel costs become unaffordable for the average American.

The article is right in that human ingenuity will triumph in the end...
~ RockyMtnGuy

Human ingenuity-- whatever that means-- probably has not triumphed-- whatever that means-- in a very long time-- say, as a global average.

It is one thing to have the ability to create complex systems to survive and prosper as a young species on the plains of Africa, but yet another to continue to create complexity for essentially nothing or for the sake of complexity and/or worse-- worse when our own natures seem to be what is throwing our own question of survival in question.

Other animals don't seem to have our particular brand of ingenuity but somehow they seem far more capable when it comes to actually keeping their house in order.
There is little I see that is in-order about our approach, except where it is removed from reality.

I would rather have a clean lake than a %$@#! car.

I think they do have a point in that doomers do underestimate the ability of humans to solve problems. Many people prophesized doom about natural gas but the shale gas revolution changed that situation.

However, the optimists do not sufficiently take into consideration the laws of physics and thermodynamics. We can't innovate beyond these fundamental limits of nature. So I feel the truth lies somewhere between . . . there will be some innovations that mitigate matters but we are still faced with a very difficult situation. Innovation has not been able to stop the price of oil from hitting (inflation adjusted) record highs lately.

I think they do have a point in that doomers do underestimate the ability of humans to solve problems.

Eric Sevareid: "The chief cause of problems is solutions."

The solution to feeding the world's ever-growing population is destroying the planet. We lose one percent of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of it caused by agriculture. During the last 50 years, the global spread of commercial fishing, use of sonar and satellites combined with 30 km nets, and reckless fishing practices, have cut by 90% the oceans population of edible fish.

And of course I could go on for pages and pages. The expanding population in Africa is causing many species to go extinct because they are being killed for "bush meat", and their habitat is being destroyed for lumber and grazing land. Rivers are drying up because the water is being used for irrigation. The water tables in India and China are dropping by meters per year because it is being pumped for irrigation. In India many whole villages are having to have drinking water trucked in because their wells are now dry.

And all the above problems get worse every day because we are already deep, deep into overshoot.

And it is all due to our human ingenuity in solving the problems of our ever growing population. It doesn't matter if oil never runs out we are destroying the planet's ability to support even a much smaller population, long term.

And all these problems were caused by solutions.

Ron P.

Amen. Only thing I can can add is, most people (even those few who acknowledge that overpopulation is a problem) would argue that simply allowing nature to take its course and *not* doing anything about world hunger and poverty would be cruel and immoral. This is why Norman Borlaug is widely regarded among the public as as a "hero", while Paul Ehrlich tends to be cast as a villain.

It's almost impossible to get most policy makers, much less most people, to see the forest for the trees (even while they are cutting that forest down). Immediate, local, simple-to-understand short-term concerns will trump remote, global, complex, long-term problems every time.

Average person: I am hungry and I need to feed myself and my 6 chidren.
TODer: Perhaps if you (and all your neighbors) had fewer chidren, there would be enough food to go around for everyone.
Average person: My religion forbids me to use birth control, and the wise men who tell me what to think consider it a sin and a crime. Besides, more children mean more hands around the farm/homestead, and more people to take care of me when I'm old and frail.
TODer: If everyone agrees to have smaller families and take much better of the children that are already here, the overall standard of living will rise, and society will be able to afford social programs that can support you when you grow old.
Average person: Isn't that socialism?
TODer: Er... in a way, I suppose yes.
Average person: Count me out, you commie pinko!

Isn't that socialism?

I prefer to call it "social conscience."

Harm, why can't we just allow the average person to learn from the pain of thier mistakes and then change their priorities accordingly?

We keep using government to kick the can down the road when freedom can force us to do what socialism has never efficiently done before? Socialism has failed because it goes against nature on the other hand natural selection has always prevailed eventually.

Either we will figure this out with genius ingenuity or we should be forced to downsize because of nature not lawful coersion.

I agree, let the chips fall where they may.

I'm tired of big government and big corporations telling me what to do.

Yeah and when they work together it's even worse!

We keep using government to kick the can down the road when freedom can force us to do what socialism has never efficiently done before? Socialism has failed because it goes against nature on the other hand natural selection has always prevailed eventually.

What? The most socialist countries today are the most sound economically (although admittedly, that isn't saying much). If you want an example of "failed" socialism just look to Sweden... which is a hybrid socialism / mild capitalist state.

US government spending is amongst the lowest in the developed world. If anything, the demise of America is proof positive that free market, unregulated crony capitalism DOESN'T work.

Norway is living on an oil high. It is out of line with its sustainable income. But Sweden is probably OK. So:

Sweden 27,000
average 16,000 (5,000?)
US 11,000
China 1,000

That average is weighted by what? Surely not the population. If weighted by population it looks like the average would be about $5,000.

A couple things to note about Socialist/Capitalist comparisons as in the chart above.
1)The US wastes $1 Trillion per year on the combined costs of War and "Homeland Security"
As this is a huge government expense to monopolistic Corporate Defense suppliers it is a type of
"Socialism" but Socialism for Corporations and their rich benefactors. This is why the US
spending is so "off the chart"
2)Sweden has guaranteed health care, pensions, vacations, maternity/paternity leave, access to affordable college education. The US has none of those which is quite significant to ordinary people's well-being and security

None of these things we have in Sweden is actually socialism. Rather they are functional building blocks of a society, and they make sense. If only rich people could afford education,only rich peopls brains would be used etc. Sick people who can't get healthcare will become a drag on the economy, better to pay for their cure, and send them back to the factory etc. Any responsible capitalist would introduce those reforms. Because they are cheaper than nothaving them.

I agree. I think it's a sign of cognitive dissonance to claim that America is "Capitalist" rather than "Socialist", on the basis of having a smaller government intrusion on lives. That is the Republican and Tea Party Kool Aid.

Australia is not a perfect society, but it does have worker conditions, health, welfare, and much else, embedded in its foundations. But it is a sign of freedom - not an attack on it.

As a reasonably regular visitor to the US, the amount of government intrusion on you - the rules and regulations and the demand that one conform in so many ways - is far higher than at home. We're a bunch of anarchists and hippies, by comparison.

I think in times like these, charts such as this are rather meaningless. The periphery of Europe is broke and the economy is in shambles. That's not to say the US isn't a fiscal basket case, it's just not as bad as many other countries that were conveniently left out from the graph (Germany's debt to GDP is pretty bad however).

France = bad
Spain = disaster
Portugal = disaster
Greece = When does the coup start?
Ireland = disaster
Italy = bad

I see Sweden mentioned quite a bit, but the fact of the matter is that Sweden is only a tiny Scandinavian country. The rest of the Socialist countries have imploded economically. There simply isn't money for lots of these hand outs, austerity will be implemented as what has been occurring can not continue.

Greece has already had a coup, do did you miss it when Goldman Sachs got their man put in when the last one suggested a popular vote on austerity?

As for the "rest" of the socialist countries impolding, perhaps they just aren't socialist enough? The Scandinavian countries are universally held up as the most extreme examples of free-world socialism, yet ALL of them are doing fine. Maybe socialism isn't the problem, but rather other things. Also, you may note that one Scandinavian country DID have a major problem, Iceland, but chose to default and is now slowly recovering. Sweden also had a banking crisis years ago, but managed to recover from it.

Greece and Ireland are not larger than the Scandinavian countries. Their economies are very small as well. Something isn't working, but it's not because they are copying the Scandinavian model of socialism.

"Maybe socialism isn't the problem, but rather other things."

I agree Socialism should work except for one major problem, HUMANS. Man if you could get the whole human aspect figured out you may be able to make the numbers work. Good luck with that.

Canada among the happiest countries in the world

Canada is the fifth-happiest country in the world, according to a global study on the social and economic well-being of nations. It finds the world has, broadly speaking, become a “little happier” in the past three decades, as living standards have risen. (One exception is the United States, where life satisfaction has not improved).

The happiest countries are all in Northern Europe – Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands.

Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands?

My goodness, their residents must be delirious about freezing for half the year, and ecstatic having no decent beaches for the other half.

Same goes for every other political -ism.

Most people will work with any fair system to try to make it work, but it doesn't take many people getting greedy to break every pure -ism system that has ever been invented.

So you need regulation.

And then the greedy will go around shouting that because the regulation sullies the purity of the favored -ism it must be some alien -ism, and thus they co-opt the true believers, and the true believers rationalize it for the marginal believers, and the lot of them do their best to shout down anyone that points out that they are being fooled by the greedy faction.

It happens everywhere, but there are stages and education of the masses can make it more difficult for this pattern to take solid hold of a country.

We got lots of land, timber, steel and hydro-electricity. The weather is not nice, but benefitial (rains a lot). We also seems to be relatively safe fromthe worst consequnces of climate change. Population grows only through imigration and can be turned off if we actually needs to.

The bad side is politicians and population dont understand what the future holds for us and no one is preparing much, but we have a better start possition than most.

yes lets greatly downsize the u.s military....Norway welcome your new ruler...Russia...China you can take what you would like as well. And they will trust me. I don't want my military all over the place but picture the world without the U.S presence...you would have wars in every corner of the world. America isn't perfect and neither are these other countries you brag about.

This is the most hilarious statement I've seen on this whole Drumbeat. The US .... preventing wars....!!!!????? You MUST be American!

I'm sure the people of Grenada, Vietnam, Iraq, Laos, Afghanistan, Columbia, Korea, Nicaragua, Panama and a few others that slip my mind are highly grateful. Yes I know some of these were CIA operations not official wars, but it's a bit hard to pin that particular jello to the wall.

For the resolution of WWII the world will be forever thankful. SInce then, not so much.


I ampretty glad South Korea is notpart of North Korea. 1 million lives was a cheap price to pay to save them from the Kim dynasy.

Ahh, so easy to be cavalier with other people's lives, isn't it? Without the US getting involved Korea would not have been permanently divided by war and would have been a different place. No one can know what it would have become.

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

unregulated crony capitalism DOESN'T work.

It works just fine. For the people who benefit.

Socialism is integral to industrialization ... for the entrepreneurs and tycoons.

So called 'productive industry' is not. It is always and entirely subsidized by increasing amounts of debt. This is why the emphasis of the past several years has been to 'save' the banks.

No debt = no industry: a comfortable socialism for big business owners, a devil take the hindmost capitalism for the rest.

Industry cannot survive capitalism as no part of industry pays for itself.

Borlaug is widely credited with saving hundreds of millions from starving to death. Where do those figures come from? As far as I can tell they come from the predictions of Erlich. Erlich was probably wrong. Borlaug did save many people from hunger and starvation, but crediting him with preventing hundreds of millions of hunger deaths is probably an exaggeration.

Borlaug did save many people from hunger and starvation, but crediting him with preventing hundreds of millions of hunger deaths is probably an exaggeration.

No it's not. Ask any Indian who's lived through the sixties.

People like Borlaug, Fleming et al did more for peace than all the Nobel peace prize winners in the world put together (a list which includes many over rated politicians).
I bet many people don't even know who Stephanie Kwolek is. Yet she's saved hundreds of thousands of people from a certain death or disability through her work. A rational, objective society would put such people on the pedestal.

But just the same, we also have to keep our 'life at any cost' mentality balanced with keeping a sustainable population volume in mind as well..

Better handled at Family Planning and conception, of course, instead of disease, war and starvation.. but the balance will be enforced, one way or another..

Not entirely. Genetic research and Antibiotics are examples of development that do not require massive amounts of FF's. Though I agree with the gist of your post, we are better off reducing consumption than asking for technological solutions for everything. But the problem is that anyone advocating population control (in any form) is branded as a eugenicist, and after the horrors of WWII that term has been vilified.

I'm sure that term 'Eugenics' does well deserve the condemnation it gets, since it's goal was more about Racial, Genetic and Class 'Cleansing' than it was about creating a balanced and sustainable human population. Some of its proponents may have had noble intentions.. but also narrow ones.. not everyone is a 'Noble', after all.

I think that facing this fearful mentality becomes a worthwhile goal, to help create the conversation which puts a very conscious judgement on overopulating. To challenge the cultural legacy of simply making your family as large as possible, and shining the light on the resource costs, and hence the Instability and vulnerability created by those choices..

As with so many of the mismatches in our modern framework, I think this ties into our essential misunderstanding and deep mistrust or resentment of nature. 'Don't have more kids than you can feed.. or you and they will have to face the consequenses.'

I don't oppose a society creating welfare mechanisms, in fact it's what a society IS, IMO, in that we join forces for mutual support and advantage.. but I also think as policy matters, these have to be tied into a serious willingness to hold one another truly accountable for our actions. We're not willing to do this with the Rich or with the Poor, or anyone else it seems. We're just too uncomfortable saying 'No' in a caring but firm way, and we've hoped that we could create Appliances and Faceless Institutions that would do all the uncomfortable stuff for us. Too bad, no deal!

Genetic research and Antibiotics are examples of development that do not require massive amounts of FF's.

While somewhat off on a tangent from the population control subthread, this statement deserves some discussion on its own. Contemporary genetic research and development of antibiotics may not require massive amounts of fossil fuels, but they do require large and stable supplies of electricity for computing, industrial processes and control, etc. Such activities will have to be done in locations where we can "keep the lights on" in a big way. There are only a few places today where keeping the lights on isn't dependent on fossil fuels. Eg, in the US as a whole, on the near order of 67% of electricity is derived from coal and natural gas.

Applications like genetic research (think protein-folding computations) can't exist alone. The genetic research field isn't big enough to justify building the very expensive fab lines needed to build the processor cores those apps depend on. You need a bunch of different app areas in order to make the economics work out. And a lot of those areas are also heavily dependent on big, reliable electricity supplies, and not just for the computation aspects. As many have pointed out, it's a complex web of relationships, and it may well be necessary to preserve lots of other things in order to enable contemporary research in medical fields.

Peak oil generally implies that regional trade patterns replace global ones. OTOH, if you want a region to support contemporary tech in some form like genetic research, there's also a minimum size for those regions. An overly-simple description I sometimes use is to say that "a village can't make and operate a light bulb." Glass, copper, brass, insulators, generators, machinery to produce all of the above... villages won't have the specialized knowledge and the raw/refined materials to make and use light bulbs. More so when you replace "light bulb" with "100-million transistor microprocessor". My guess is that a region that is largely self-sufficient in a solid subset of modern tech requires a minimum of 30-50 million people.

There are a select number of regions that can support 30-50 million people and generate sufficient and reliable electricity from renewable sources (or nuclear if you think the risks can be managed). Not a lot of them, but they exist. They also tend to ignore existing borders in different ways, which will make for interesting politics over the next 25-50 years.

"People like Borlaug, Fleming et al did more for peace than all the Nobel peace prize winners in the world put together (a list which includes many over rated politicians)."

If he had done this in a sustainable way, I'd give him the credit he deserves. But he didn't, so he doesn't. All he did was find a way to raise the cliff we will soon fall off of to even greater heights. He also entrenched a dangerous meme amongst the LTG deniers that "technological advancements will always save us", providing justification for today's reckless squandering of non-renewable resources. He didn't increase peoples' understanding of their complete connection to the underlying ecological world and how they need to take care of it for their own sake. He reinforced a belief that we can somehow separate ourselves from ecology through new chemicals and mechanical gizmos. That is false.

If he had done this in a sustainable way, I'd give him the credit he deserves. But he didn't, so he doesn't. All he did was find a way to raise the cliff we will soon fall off of to even greater heights

What is the sustainable way of agriculture without engaging in population control? Is it the job of an agricultural scientist to do that? For that matter is it the job of a doctor to decide who gets the vaccine and who does not? Why overburden scientists and engineers with the moral choices that political leaders should be making. And when scientists do actually give opinion on these aspects they are branded as evil souls out to dictate who should live and who should die.

IMO natural selection is best left to nature.

"Is it the job of an agricultural scientist to do that?"

Ahh, then he was merely an agricultural scientist doing his job, no different than a garbage man flipping over garbage cans, or a repo man repatriating vehicles, or tax collectors collecting... people we give no thanks to, even vilify, who are just doing their jobs.

"Why overburden scientists and engineers with the moral choices that political leaders should be making."

Well firstly, political leaders do not have an understanding of the issues they make decisions about. They are educated in the Faculty of Arts. Secondly, even if they did understand them, they are generally morally corrupt and/or merely puppets for the real decision makers behind the scenes we rarely get to see.

Why overcongratulate scientists and engineers for the results of their discoveries? It's not like some other scientist wouldn't have made Borlaug's discoveries a year later if he hadn't.

Ahh, then he was merely an agricultural scientist doing his job, no different than a garbage man flipping over garbage cans, or a repo man repatriating vehicles, or tax collectors collecting... people we give no thanks to, even vilify, who are just doing their jobs.

You are going off tangent here. Scientists are very well educated in the paradigm that humanity faces, Borlaug was too, if you read his works you will get that idea. Many of them make great efforts to educate humanity about it. All I am saying is that it isn't the sole responsibility of scientists to make that decision, everyone needs to share it. You simply cannot blame people for being a humanitarian and trying to solve problems that face them right then.

I get the point you are trying to make that Borlaug perhaps delayed the inevitable by five or six decades but the thing is that anyone in his shoes facing the same predicament would have done the same thing. Population control or moderating resource consumption is simply not easy to implement, whether it's a developing country or developed (esp in democracies)

Why overcongratulate scientists and engineers for the results of their discoveries? It's not like some other scientist wouldn't have made Borlaug's discoveries a year later if he hadn't.

How else would you evaluate merit then? based on theoretical would be, could be scenarios. Going by your logic no one should ever be promoted for good work because someone else could have done it, it's a really absurd logic.

Edit : I found the link to Borlaug's nobel lecture here

Here's a small excerpt

And yet, I am optimistic for the future of mankind, for in all biological populations there are innate devices to adjust population growth to the carrying capacity of the environment. Undoubtedly, some such device exists in man, presumably Homo sapiens, but so far it has not asserted itself to bring into balance population growth and the carrying capacity of the environment on a worldwide scale. It would be disastrous for the species to continue to increase our human numbers madly until such innate devices take over. It is a test of the validity of sapiens as a species epithet.

Now you tell me whether he was really such a 'bad' guy.

OK wise one, good points

There is an absolutely devastating line from an animation. A bright little girl ("Happiness is inversely proportional to intelligence. See! I made a graph! I make lots of graphs...) works very hard to put together the school yearbook. She is surrounded by a crowd and trying to hand the books out, one by one, in an organized and fair manner. The local bully snatches them all away and starts to toss them randomly into the crowd:

"Quit milking it. If you didn't do it some other loser would have."
Nelson Muntz

I am afraid this is how a lot of people perceive the few. This would also apply to the artists themselves, the ones who made the animation.

I chuckle at the image of the conservatives talking on their cell-phones about how science is a fraud. Every tiny detail of that phone, such as the orange polyimide insulation on the little flat wire cables running within them, reeks of science.

Yet the population of India has increased massively since the 1960's, and is still increasing massively even though the rate of increase is slowing. Massive famines have merely been deferred. India took the opportunity given them by Borlaug and squandered it.

India took the opportunity given them by Borlaug and squandered it.

Completely agree. The day of reckoning is not far.

My way to put it is

Solutions are a renewable/infinite source of probelms.

I use renewable or infinite based on the situation.

But you need to be very careful about falling into their assumed designation of 'Doomer'.. it's a very broad and imprecise brush, and is used almost interchangably with "Peak Oil Believer" .. this is key to the faults in this article.

Beyond that, he seems to think that 'Ingenuity' is only held by those who will help protect BAU, and not those who will use intelligence and vision to respond to a looming crisis.. that being the Y2K problem. 'They solved it! See, we told you it wasn't a real problem!'

Indeed the term is imprecise. I use the term 'doomer' as those who predict near-term catastrophic collapse. Peak oil believer is a much larger set that includes those who think it will have no effect (due to innovation I guess?) to those that think it will bring on full societal collapse (the doomers).

I think those that just assume innovation will solve everything are very dangerous. We should plan on methods of addressing problems with known existing technology and then be pleasantly surprised when we get new innovations that help us.

We should plan on methods of addressing problems with known existing technology and then be pleasantly surprised when we get new innovations that help us.

Help us do what? Help us keep the world population expanding by about 70 million people per year? Help us finish off what fisheries there left in the sea? Help us destroy the world's rivers and lakes? Help us drive 200 species into extinction every day?

With all due respect Speculawyer, I don't think we need any help. We are doing a bang up job of destroying the earth already. But you are correct, without existing technology we would not be able to destroy the earth even half as fast as we are doing it with this technology.

Ron P.

Yes. Help us overpopulate. Help us destroy fisheries. Help us destroy rivers and lakes. Help us kill puppies. Help us drop-kick kittens. Help us take candy from babies.

Any other insanity you want to imply I endorse with no reason? *rollseyes*

All who advocate technological fixes to keep industrial civilization rolling should at least be able to admit that they are doing so at the expense of killing the majority of life on this planet. Just because it may be distasteful to say in polite society, does not change the fact that industrial civilization is destroying the world’s ecosystems. Repeat after me, I wish to preserve industrial society at all costs, even if it makes our planet uninhabitable in the future.

"Repeat after me, I wish to preserve industrial society at all costs, even if it makes our planet uninhabitable in the future."

Great, more extreme hyperbole!

That's a MUCH better solution than trying to learn how to live intelligently and within limits on the Earth. To come up with alternative ways of looking at an 'economy'.. maybe planting seeds in little, unnoticed corners that can keep growing (yes, Growing.) as the Military Industrial Complex self-immolates in a form of Inward and Outward rage that sounds like a close-cousin to your blanket condemnations above.

When Einstein talked about that 'level of thinking' that won't fix the problems that the same level of thinking had created.. it might have been a little more than just blaming 'the machines'.. it might be the blaming itself.

I think it's essential to recognize and share our awareness of the predicament. I also think that for most of us it's pointless to do it in a loud voice on the public square. As my understanding of the true magnitude of what's happening has coalesced, my voice has gradually gotten softer.

One reason is because I've given up trying to awaken those who wish to remain sleeping - there are too many of them, and their blankets are too thick. Worse, they are under the thrall of the cultural hypnotists who tell them there's nothing wrong with how they're living.

Another reason I've moderated my tone is that I'm no longer personally afraid of the outcome. I have grown inside through my efforts to cope with with the pain of this knowledge. As a result of that growth I have less need to get others to partake of my fear and thereby keep me company in it. I am a witness to the unfolding crisis, and I will share the story who those who ask, but beyond that I'm content to travel my own path.

The third reason I'm calmer now is that I have found something to do. I recently realized that every aspect of the developing crisis, whether in energy, ecology or the economy, whether considered individually or in concert, presents a threat to our food supply. Accordingly, I've decided to put all my energies into permaculture activism.

Permaculture, which I dismissed as ineffectual until very recently, turns out instead to have everything I'm looking for: an aware community that is concerned about the same things I am; a focus on reconnecting people to their food, their land and each other; an ecological consciousness; a grass-roots, human-scale, low-tech approach; a system-level understanding; and it will be of value no matter what happens, or where, or how fast or slow.

I'm through with alarums and excursions, with pissing and moaning. I'll always act as a witness to the crisis, but at the same time I'm going to do something within my grasp that's useful for others.

Well said!

Permaculture is pretty much the kind of 'Growth' I was talking about with my 'low-key seeds' analogy up above. My wife is starting an Intensive Permaculture Workshop soon, and I'll be tagging along as close as they let me.

I realized some years ago that when I was rooting for industrial civilization to continue, so that I could enjoy BAU, I was advocating the destruction of the earth’s ecosystems. I had to face it because it is true. I do not feel that is an exaggeration, I feel that our culture has rationalized destruction of ecosystems for human benefit to the point of delusion. Drastic changes appear to be closing in from all sides anyway so nature will handle things one way or another. Maybe at this point the truth is extreme. I am not angry at people just pointing out the truth as I see it.

I can understand what you mean, I am just not willing to point a finger at everyone who is trying to work out ways to continue Living, and pushing forward human culture as simply an apologist of some blanket image of Industrial Society and BAU, which is what I felt I was hearing in that comment.

I don't think every form of toolmaking and technology that we've got has got to be painted with that brush.. and so like the Doomer stereotype in that article, I am loathe to let similar generalizations fly by unchecked from the other end, either.

The industrial age has been ALL about extremes. I'd be very cautious about overcorrecting.

If I am pointing fingers, I am pointing squarely at myself as well. Cultural momentum carried us here; I do not want blame individuals, but we can accept the reality of the situation. The way I see it is confronting the ugly truths of our culture may be the only path to a truly sustainable future.

You roll your eyes because apparently you haven't a clue as to what my point was. My point was that you are not helping at all. Pumping water from rivers for irrigation allowed the Chinese and Indian people to grow more food and expand their population. Now that water is going fast and the irrigated crops will fail. More people will now starve, they have only succeeded in increasing their ultimate misery.

And even those eye rollers like yourself, people who see the world only in anthropocentric terms, apparently fail to understand that you are literally destroying even the anthropocentric niche.

Ron P.

Your point was a non sequitar. All I said is that people should rely upon existing technology to solve problems and not depend on innovation as Deus Ex Machina. But somehow that meant I wanted to overpopulate the Earth and kill fishies. What? What if the problems I meant to address with existing technology were overpopulation and overfishing?

I think I just set off a nerve by pointing out that people had not predicted shale gas or something. Please don't go off on random tirades against people for things they did not say nor even imply.

If you don't think we are destroying fisheries, rivers, lakes and the global ecosystems on which we ultimately all depend then I think you are either profoundly ignorant of reality or deeply delusional. Our so called modern industrial civilization is the number one culprit in all this destruction. It has been fueled by cheap oil and has led to massive population overshoot. Roll your eyes all you want! It won't change reality.

Edit: I hadn't read all the other comments responding to yours. They all said it better and more eloquently than I did.

Just for the record Darwinian, humans do not have the capacity to destroy the earth. Measured on a geological timescale, we can radically change the surface and perhaps the atmosphere of this planet. We cannot "destroy the planet." Death Stars only exist in the movies.

We can, and are, causing a mass extinction. However, lots of things can cause such events and many have occurred before and many will occur in the future. There is no great significance to this.

Just my 2 cents. The first 2 cents in a long while. I'm trying to enjoy the last days of fat, happy and rich. TOD is less than optimal for a mindset dedicated to such pursuits.

Cheers! And pass me a beer!


Wet One, we all know that we cannot physically destroy the world. And everyone on this list, apparently except you, knew very well that I was talking about the world as we know it, not the physical world. But if you did not understand this then that says something very profound about you Wet One. But if you did understand that and just wanted to make a smart alec remark then that says something else about you.

We can, and are, causing a mass extinction. However, lots of things can cause such events and many have occurred before and many will occur in the future. There is no great significance to this.

That has to be the most unbelievable statement that has been posted on TOD since its inception. We are causing the sixth great extinction. Species have not been killed off at this rate since the KT extinction 65 million years ago. And there is no significance in this?

I do not know how to respond to someone who sees no significance in the greatest extinction in 65 million years, words fail me.

Ron P.

Well, you could perhaps assist me. I have examined the significance of at least one of those mass extinction events, namely the most recent one. The most significant thing that came from that event was the creation of conditions suitable for the development for life as we know it today. Other than that, I can't much see the significance.

I see no reason to believe that the significance of the human caused mass extinction will be any different, except that we may cause our own extinction. Other than that, I suspect it will be much like the other 5 in the past. I don't even think that this would be a first, as the anaerobes that once ruled the earth changed the planet so much that they ended their dominance of the planet. If there is any meaningful difference that you can point to, I'd appreciate having it pointed out for me, as I have not seen such significance to date.

My answer was a touch smart alecky, but quite honestly, I find the level of alarmism and reaction to the Peak Oil Crisis a bit too much. We know what the response is to the end of the industrial world as we know it, namely nothing. We know with a resonable degree of likelihood that the human popultion will be pruned back fairly significantly. Other than that, well, humanity probably won't go extinct due to Peak Oil in my opinion. It is the most serious of economic problems. It is not, however, an existential one, though it may trigger such existential problems (i.e. nuclear wars over the mad scramble for whatever's left). We also know that life will bounce back no matter what happens. It always has, and there is no reason to think that it won't this time.

I've learned to accept that this is the future that I and my yet to born children are facing. I've learned not to cry about it. I've learned to accept that our species is probably too something (stupid? short sighted? uneducated? greedy? I don't know, but it's something) to do anything about it. I do know that nature will deal with this predicament and that life will go on. It may not be comfortable or pretty (and definitely not as comfortable as life is today for middle class 1st worlders like me), but our species will more likely than not survive and go on.

It probably sounds crazy. It probably is crazy. But shouting yourself hoarse and changing nothing and continuing to shout is also crazy.

The world as we know it was never going to last forever. If this is how it ends, so be it. What would you prefer? Another asteroid impact? Our sun blowing up? A rogue planet crossing our orbit and ejecting our planet out of the solar system? A full scale thermonuclear war? At least this event may unfold slowly and give us time to adapt unlike the asteroid that probably put an end to the dinosaurs. We will have generations in a variety of environments to power down and may preserve much of humanity's energy golden age. It may not end in a flash and there is definitely no certainty that it will end in a flash.

Perhaps Darwinian, you hold human life as more sacred than other lifeforms or more worthy of continuing over others. Surely by now, your studies must have taught you that human life is just as valuable or as worthless as that of any other lifeform. If you know this, your response to my post and to this predicament doesn't evidence it. But then, your children are proably already alive (mine are my girlfriend's idea at this point) and your grandchildren have sat on your knee. I may, or may not, be able to see the facts more clearly due to my lack of such connections to the future.

The most significant thing that came from that event was the creation of conditions suitable for the development for life as we know it today. Other than that, I can't much see the significance.

And creating condition suitable for life as we know it is not significant? Then what, prey tell, would be significant? Also look around you, see any dinosaurs?

see no reason to believe that the significance of the human caused mass extinction will be any different, except that we may cause our own extinction.

Scuse me but no, it will not likely be any greater in significance than the extinction that happened 65 million years ago. But good God man, once in 65 million years? Is that not significant enough? Do you realize just how long, even in geological time, 65 million years really is?

My answer was a touch smart alecky, but quite honestly, I find the level of alarmism and reaction to the Peak Oil Crisis a bit too much.

Yes, it was obvious you were just trying to be a smart butt however you obviously have not been following my posts on TOD for the last six years. If you had you would have known I was not even talking about peak oil. I was talking about the deep overshoot we find ourselves in. That has been my favorite topic during the six and one half years I have been a member of this list, peak oil only comes in second.

Perhaps Darwinian, you hold human life as more sacred than other lifeforms or more worthy of continuing over others.

That did it. Good God man, I have been screaming about anthropocentrism for years. To say that the current sixth great mass extinction has no significance, as you did, is the most anthropocentric thing any human being could possibly utter. Nothing could one could possibly say could put human life on a higher pedestal, high above all other animal life than such a statement. But now you have the unmitigated gall to accuse me of being anthropocentric.

Ron P.

The Wet One, I recently caught a video of a climate scientist-- Hanson or Wasdell-- that ostensibly infers that this time around, climate change may be catastrophic to life on earth forever. Venus was referred to.

I realize of course, that some people may have a kind of cavalier disconnection to stuff like this, which probably is in part why we are in these kinds of predicaments in the first place.

Hermitage Pt. 1

The above video actually makes me weep.

Darwinian; I added some embroidery to your nappy, just in case. ;)

Undoubtedly, time shall tell. The fact is, we don't know now, and we won't know for a very long time. Cavalier attitude you say? Well, I suppose it may seem so. However, if one recognizes that all that we know will die or disappear in due course (over millenia or eons or what have you), and that all that exists today shall eventually pass away, be it in a fly's lifetime or that of a species, and one can wrap one's mind around the fact that this is the fate of all things and quite possibly the baryonic matter of which all we know of is made, well, the death of all life on this planet it put into its place. It's perfectly natural and it is also inevitable. It was always going to happen, so why sweat it so much? I've grieved already and moved on. I'll just try to enjoy my fourscore and ten (should I be so lucky) and bollocks to the rest of it.

What more is there to it? All we do, all we care for is, in the great sweep of time and the universe, utterly and totally irrelevant. It seems to me that this is true whether we like it or not. There is no cosmic significance to anything that I can perceive. There is only existence and the absence thereof, to which all things appear to be destined.

I could well be wrong, but I've yet to hear the argument or the evidence that supports a proof of my error. Things matter because we humans feel that they matter or make them matter. Once we are gone (an inevitability), meaning, as it is commonly understood, is gone. This suggests to me that meaning is only a figment of human imagination or mind. Given the variety and breadth of what we give meaning, from the trivial to the majestic, and the fleeting nature meaning due to its ties to the lives and minds of humans, it appears that meaning is just as frivilous and effervescent as human thoughts and human existence. It too shall pass like all things.

This used to be depressing. It is troubling, but again, I can see no other alternative that properly describes what we experience. In the long run (multiple cosmological decades) it's all just a bunch of random events, without purpose or end except continuing until continuing ceases. If the gods exist, and if they had a purpose or meaning for the universe, they did a piss poor job of making clear what that purpose or meaning is. The purpose and meaning, so far as I can tell, is ascribed to the universe by humans. When we are gone, the purpose and meaning as ascribed is gone, and the universe will go on its meaningless, uncaring way, as it did for billions of years before we existed and as it shall for an almost unimaginable long time after we're gone. If Earth becomes life Venus in the short or long run (as it must anyways according to stellar science as understood at this time), it matters not.

So to bring this back to the topic at hand, Peak Oil or no Peak Oil, climate change or not, mass extinction or no mass extinction, it just doesn't matter in the long run. When no one is around to care, it won't matter. While there is someone around to care, it is far from clear that their caring makes on whit of difference given that they too shall pass and their caring about whatever shall pass with them. The universe sheds no tears for what passes within it.

And just to flag it for the mods, HOLY OFF TOPIC BATMAN!!!


The Wet One, out of interest, do you happen to live a fairly cushy western lifestyle? Have you experienced hardship? War?

It's easy to sit in front of a computer and write about how the imminent self destruction of humanity isn't too much to be concerned about because in the grand scheme of things, we're all gonna die anyways, but I have a feeling that your attitude might change if you were to actually be exposed to the real hardships that you write about with such cavalier indifference.

Or maybe you are a Buddhist monk who has achieved such a deep Zen detachment from our worldly drives that you have achieved inner happiness. I suspect not.

I daresay that my life is amongst the cushiest ever lived by humans. No, not as cushy as Paris Hilton say, but definitely cushier than 80 - 90% of my contemporaries during the time of my life (1975 to the present).

I know that hardships exist and will come and will be scourge upon humankind for years to come as a result of the changes foreseen here. Suffering has always been humankind's lot despite the efforts of Bacon to relieve man's estate and to make it less solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. While some fairly serious inroads in relieving man's estate have been achieved since Sir. Francis Bacon's time, the wolves are ever at the door. I, for my part, was never certain that they could be held at bay forever (either from entering my house or anyone else's).

Personal hardship and contesting with the wolves is probably in my future. I already expect it. After all, from the summit, there is only one place to go and that is down. I'll like it just as little as everyone else. All the same, my suffering and their suffering changes nothing in the long. A fact that I have come to accept.

I belong to the 1%. The 1% of the world. So do most of the occupyers.

I think wolves were extinct in England by Sir Francis Bacon's time, although they hung on a while longer in Scotland. The Scots are talking about bringing them back, although then there is the whole sheep-eating issue to deal with.

If I find a wolf at my door, I am not going to let it in unless it has been properly house-broken, no matter how much it whines. I am not going to house-break one myself, because it's just not easy to do, although if one of my friends shows up with a house-broken wolf, I might let him stay the night. I'm not going to wolf-sit his wolf for him while he's away, though.

You were probably speaking of wolves in a metaphorical sense, whereas I actually have wolves wandering around behind the house here, and some people I know have wolves as pets. However, wild wolves don't just walk up to your back door and demand entry like the bears do. They are afraid of humans, and with good reason.

I have trouble relating to the Buddhist monk achieving deep Zen detachment, too, because I was in a Bhuddhist monastery in the high Himalayas in Bhutan, and the younger monks in the back rows were texting on their iPhones while they were supposed to be chanting. That was a different but more modern perspective on a metaphor, too.

We used to have a wold hybrid. Amazing dog, a part of me forever died when she did.

Well, the universe may (or may not) be meaningless and absurd.
This is a tough philosophical question and it is where philosophy started to break down before Kierkegaard and later Existentialists learned to reframe some of the important questions.
Accepting the potential meaninglessness and absurdity of the universe, humans are still left with questions about how do we live this one precious human life that we know here, what basis can we use for our judgments and decisions?
The early Existentialists advanced strong arguments for freedom of the will (as opposed to a deterministic posture) and hence the necessity of taking responsibility for one's own choices and actions. No excuses!
It follows that if you do possess some measure of free will regarding your own life, then you have free will about your personal responsibility for, oh, let's just call it your 'carbon footprint'.
That is, would you accept the premise that, as a Westerner, you are having a disproportionate impact on the planet's basic life support systems and are therefore much more culpable regarding species extinction or global warming than people living a non-Western lifestyle?
You have in various ways leveraged your 'killing power', so to speak, which you are able to exercise thoughtlessly and effortlessly, by actions as simple as going shopping or filling up your gas tank.
Now you might recoil at the fact you are forced to be complicit in this destruction of the natural world.
You may attempt to rationalize it, or to simply shrug it off. We all agonize over it on some level. But that itself is a choice.
Now, you may be right that, to the universe, your personal decision to either become a martyr or an insatiable consumer is ultimately meaningless.
It may be completely absurd, for example, your choice of whether to buy 'organic' or 'shade-grown' or 'fair-trade' coffee.
But you can have no way of knowing that, of knowing whether that choice itself is absurd or not absurd. Here is where cheap cynicism fails you.
What you can know is that to you- the human subject, the "I"- your decisions, your personal choices are not meaningless at all.
For myself, when the time comes I would prefer to face death feeling I was not a stranger to myself, that my life was a coherent whole- so it makes sense to imbue my choices with what meaning I can give them. YMMV

I agree. I've gone down the mental dead end described by "The Wet One", and in the end decided that it is not wrong or incorrect, just a limited and meaningless viewpoint. It's the empty set, 0=0, correct as far as it goes but of no use.

It doesn't matter to me that we are not immortal, either collectively or individually. There is beauty and immeasurable value in life and sharing the experience of it with other people and creatures. I will continue trying to grow and learn and "improve" according to my own sense of what that means, regardless of the fact that I will end. Who knows what my understanding of it all will become?

And I agree with you Twilight and also with Sldulin except for the free will part. The beauty of life is in the living of it even if it has no other meaning. We must live our life as if it has meaning whether it does or not.

Ron P.

Yes, and the free will thing is a problematic concept. I certainly live in a world of limitations, and what I "will" is a result of old nature and nurture process, so how free is it? But that doesn't change anything to me.

From the Martian Chronicles - The Martian is speaking to an Earth man:

There is no secret.
Anyone with eyes can see the way.
By observing nature and co-operating with it.
By making common cause with the process of existence.
By living life for itself.
Deriving pleasure from the gift of pure being.
Life is its own answer.
Accept it day by day.
Live as well as possible.
Expect no more.
Destroy nothing.
Humble nothing.
Look for fault in nothing.
Leave unsullied and untouched all that is beautiful.
Hold that which lives in all reverence.
For life is given by the sovereign of the universe.
Given to be savored.
To be luxuriated in.
To be respected.


While I don't share the nihilistic point of view, there are many times when I wished I did not care about the state of the future planet and its inhabitants. A lack of concern is probably a comforting way to live. But I am what I am. That doesn't make me better.

If you did have a total lack of concern that would mean you have no conscience. There is a name for people without conscience, it is "psychopath", or "sociopath" if you believe it is caused by one's environment rather than being born that way. And if you do have a conscience then that does make you better for society. Because it would be a terrible world to live in if everyone were psychopaths. But I believe psychopaths were born without a conscience and that does not make them worse, but it does make them much worse for society. There is a difference.

But being concerned about the future of the planet, and especially the future of your children and grandchildren, does wear on one. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming, more than one can bear. Especially if, like me, you realize that it must happen. That is if you realize collapse is inevitable regardless of what happens with fossil fuels or the energy supply in general.

But I have learned to live with it just as I have learned to live with the knowledge of my own impending death. So life goes on... until it doesn't anymore.

Ron P.

I hope that you can experience a reprieve from your burdens from time to time Darwinian. I have no children and found the weight of knowing crushing. Some days I still do. To escape the weight, I must work at not caring. It is not easy.

Enjoy your blessings and be thankful for what you've had. While your children and grandchildren may have a rough go of it, they'll still appreciate their being and the moments of their existence.

We all get to laugh a bit, enjoy sunrises and sunsets, the love of our fellows and shared victories and losses (think of the SuperBowl or the Stanley Cup). Even Peak Oil can't take these things away from any one of us. Our mothers, our lovers, our friends and our families will always be with us no matter what. Heck, you may even be able to enjoy them more if you ignore or at least tone down some of the concern about things over which you have no power or control.

The serenity prayer very much applies, at least if you want to have a happy life. I'm too young yet to give into despair. That means that I choose to function as if Peak Oil, Climate Change and all their attendent pridicatments didn't exist. Judge me if you will, I do not care. I am the one who must live in my shoes and this is the road I have chosen.

"The serenity prayer very much applies..."

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Seems to me that God didn't grant you either courage or wisdom. Just sayin'... Enjoy the serenity part :-0

... on second thought, cheap shot, I know, but you can make changes locally. Therein lies hope for the few. I'm about as doomer as you'll find on some days, yet I haven't surrendered. Maybe I'm the fool.

I have the same feeling. I wish I could be as uncaring as I actually sound. Still though, there are nights I cry myself to sleep. I wonder and my girlfriend wonders, how I will be able to have children knowing the misery I will be bringing them into. But it will make her happy, so that's reason enough. Also, I am a lifeform, so it is in my nature to reproduce. Doing what comes naturally is a good thing isn't it? Even if there are 7 billion of us.

And that's the problem.

how I will be able to have children knowing the misery I will be bringing them into

By bringing them up to get through it and get to the other side.



You might enjoy this conversation:


Don't click on anything (or move the mouse) while the Oildrum page is loading, and it will land at the start of the text.

You can use the subthread link instead of the permalink. Then you don't have to worry about not moving your mouse. Try it!

Who is there to hold me to account? When I am gone, what will my being held to account matter? When everyone is gone what will the fact that I was held to account matter?

I have examined the facts, the supposed facts, my thoughts and feelings on the matter and I have decided. I am happier that way and, alive. It's definitely worth dying over, right now, today, if only to escape one's complicity and guilt.

But I don't want to die, I want to drive my car and enjoy what enjoyment there is to be derived. I've agonized over things I can't change long enough. Time for me to enjoy what cake I've been able to assemble.

I do not so ignorantly (after all, I've been here for over 2 years and I've been learning about these things for decades), but as MY CHOICE as to what to do with my life while it lasts.

I'd like to think that my life was a coherent meaningful whole when I die. However, after much consideration of the issue, I have my doubts that such a thing is even possible, or of any value to anyone but myself. Sinatra may have been right when he sang "I did it my way." Perhaps not.

But I don't want to die, I want to drive my car and enjoy what enjoyment there is to be derived. I've agonized over things I can't change long enough. Time for me to enjoy what cake I've been able to assemble.

Ah, what a noble human thou art! Too bad this is TOD, on some other site I would be free to express my thoughts with the appropriate string of expletives that your comment deserves! You really do need to grow up, son!

Well put.

"I'll just try to enjoy my fourscore and ten (should I be so lucky) and bollocks to the rest of it."

From the perspective of all the other life forms on the planet, the hardest to stomach is the "don't care" attitude.

H. sapiens has the "intelligence" to do something about it, and refuses to do so, shrugging its collective shoulders and going about its business as if it wasn't impacting any species other than itself.

It's hard to beat that for sheer cosmic arrogance. Anaerobes in a primeval ocean can't be said to have known what they were doing when they wiped themselves out by becoming aerobes, any more than yeast in a vat know it. We, however, know it.

EDIT : we might find it a cruel joke for the buck to have stopped with us, but I don't see how people can just walk away. It does get hard at times to deal with the responsibility, but we've pigged out at the table of civilization - it's only reasonable to pay the tab.

"it's only reasonable to pay the tab."

The only sure thing is that we'll pay the Boatman.

Luckily he only charges 2 coins. Unlike the taxman.

Collectively, we can't pay the tab. That's why we're gonna burn this sucker to the ground and beyond.

Actually, I am afraid this mass extinction is likely to be it for this tired old planet.
All that lovely carbon locked up in limestone and now plastic.
Long-term carbon shortage for re-speciation, we are talking geological time here.
The sun will be too dim after the necessary carbon gets eroded back to the oceans and the oceans recover from their hypoxic phase.
Nope, I'm afraid that a resilient Earth is a comforting myth.
This time its different.

Actually, the sun is getting hotter and hotter, that's how the planet has maintained a mostly stable temperature over its past. The sun used to be dimmer, but CO2 was way higher. This of course got deposited in coal and oil deposits as the CO2 concentration dropped, and overall, the thermal balance of the earth remained the same. Now we are bringing that carbon back out and that's why the planet is warming.

In about a billion years the sun will burn up the earth, but in the meantime we still have about a half billion years of good times ahead of us. It's only been about 300 million years since Pangaea split apart, so in that context I am sure the earth will get a whole new batch of evolutionary diversification, after the initial hiccup from our fossil fuel binge gets re-deposited in the ground as a result of increased algae growth in the ocean.

Actually the carbon gets mostly sequestered as carbonate, most of the time the unreduced carbon (coal/oil etc.) is a rounding error -unless of course you release a few hundred million tears worth in a millenia. More land erosion means more carbonate formation. The devasted planet we are creating will have plenty of erosion.

oops, should be anoxic or Canfield oceans, coming soon to a planet near you.
And yes, I got got the solar brightness inverted too, but the point remains, according to Peter Ward
"The Earth will become Venus! The inner edge of the Habitable Zone is only about 15 million kilometers away, and it will effectively reach the Earth in a half billion or a billion years from now or less. After this time, the Sun will be too bright for animals to survive on Earth."
"Model results indicate that that biomass on Earth peaked some 1 billion to 300 million years ago and and has been diminishing since...carbon values have plummeted as CO2 has been removed from the atmosphere by increased carbonate silicate weathering by plants, as well as the increased efficiency of carbonate skeleton production by animals and plants..."
a different sun and insufficient CO2 = no chance for present level of biodiversity to regenerate.

The wet one, as a reader, not a frequent contributor, TOD is not about PO only. As i keep reading and believing, we are peaking in almost everything, ocean depleting of fish, rivers are drying up, ice caps are disappearing, overpopulation, shortness of food etc.. Are crux of these discussion. These are not merely individual opinion but facts which humanity has to deal with regardless of whether or not we want to acknowledge them or simply shrug them off.

In a past Drumbeat someone posted advice about accepting with grace when they are wrong.

Ron, the least you could have said was something like "Yeah Ron, you got me there." That would have been the gentlemanly thing to do

I was talking about the world as we know it,

The world as we know it will ALWAYS be 'destroyed'. It is called change.

For the record, the phrase "destroy the Earth" is, outside of science fiction, spoken of in reference to the capacity of the Earth to support humanity. I think we all know this. I don't think quoting, however inaccurately, a George Carlin routine will help us. The Earth's capacity to support us will continue to be degraded.

Fortunately, the Theory of Relativity makes it extremely unlikely that we could travel to and infect planets in other solar systems.

Time dilation

At a continuous acceleration of one earth gravity, this universe can be explored within a human lifetime. One year to near light-speed, another year to decelerate to target: something over two years per hop. The sunlight crossing earth's orbit left the sun eight minutes ago... but if the photons look down at their little wristwatches, no time has passed for them at all.

Here is one only 22 light-years away:

Late 1950's technology:

Seacula per infinita saeculorum
In aeternum et ultra



Time dilation
Quote: "......this universe can be explored within a human lifetime. ". That is nonsense! You switch the time reference points. In my spaceship travelling with the speed of light I age quite normally and I am unaware of any slowdown in time. One hour on my watch is one hours and my body gets older by this time. It takes me 4.5 years on my calendar to reach Alpha Centauri, and 7 years to reach Sirius. After 100 years I die since my biological system is exhausted. In that hundred years I covered a distance of 100 light years. I don't care what time passed in the outside (stationary) world.

Actually the original poster was right. Read about space compression (complementary to time dilation).
In your frame of reference (the spaceship) the rest of the universe is moving very fast in the opposite direction. Because of that the distances are compressed. You can make the universe as small as you want by moving closer and closer to lightspeed (the energy required will also tend to infinity).

No, Ngass is correct and you and Kalimanku are dead wrong. Time dilation works for the individual on board and only if you are traveling at very near the speed of light.

So just how would you accelerate to that speed, and how would you decelerate?
In space there is only one way to accelerate and that is to throw something else in the opposite direction. Spaceships do this by throwing spent rocket fuel in the opposite direction.

But there is a catch. How fast you accelerate is totally dependent on the weight of what you throw and the speed you at which you throw it. If you could throw the equivalent of the entire weight of your space ship in the opposite direction at the speed of light then you would be moving away from your original spot in space at half the speed of light and what you threw in the opposite direction would be moving in the opposite direction from that spot at half the speed of light, though you would be moving away from whatever you threw at the speed of light.

Do you see the problem? There is no way you can throw anything at even a fraction of the speed of light. If you were able to thrust at one tenth the speed of light, you would need to thrust spent rocket fuel equal to ten times the weight of your ship just to travel at half the speed of light. And you would need to do the exact opposite to decelerate. And then if you wanted to go anywhere else, or to come back…???

Sorry to burst your bubble guys but there is just no way. Of course true science fiction buffs will insist that we will find a way to overcome these limitations. Right, when we overturn the basic laws of physics. And guys, that just anin't gonna happen.

We are stuck here on this planet, in this solar system. We will never colonize space regardless of the science fiction novels depicting exactly that. This is all we have got and this is all we will ever have.

Ron P.

I have to disagree with this part of your post, Ron:

"Time dilation works for the individual on board and only if you are traveling at very near the speed of light."

Time Warps an Everyday Occurrence:

In one particularly famous demonstration in 1971, scientists equipped commercial jets with atomic clocks and flew them around the world. When the aircraft landed, the clocks on the aircraft and the clocks on the ground did not match up. This demonstrated that the time dilation predicted by Einstein indeed happened.

"People have measured time dilation before," said Vladan Vuletic, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the research. "But it's impressive that it can be measured over such small distances."

While negligible, as do doppler effects and 'red shift' effects, time dialation occurs even when objects are moving at slow speeds relative to each other. Also see Gravitational time dilation.

All of this begs the question: Is the Sun growing older faster than the Earth? :-0

Ghung, please... Time dilation, at speeds we are familiar with here on earth, amounts only to fractions of a second in hundreds, no thousands, of hours. But we are talking about slowing the aging process down to one year elapsed in a trip twenty light years away. So let me repeat:

"Time dilation works for the individual on board and in significant amounts only if you are traveling at very near the speed of light."

Is that better?

Ron P.

Getting better. Now, significant to what? That much time dilation might be enough for you to miss the runway and land in a mountain face.


Yes IIRC a commercial jet pilot lives a second or so longer than ground based people.

Thanks for pointing out the space conservation of momentum thing, that's a point I always want to raise to the people who believe that we will be able to conquer space. The thing is, IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MUCH ENERGY YOU HAVE. It matters how much MASS you are able to lug along with you and throw in the opposite direction BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO PUSH OFF FROM IN SPACE.

Beaver pilots, presumably, gain less.

"At a continuous acceleration of one earth gravity, this universe can be explored within a human lifetime. One year to near light-speed, another year to decelerate to target: something over two years per hop. The sunlight crossing earth's orbit left the sun eight minutes ago... but if the photons look down at their little wristwatches, no time has passed for them at all."

Moving up to 1960, Bussard proposed gathering the tenuous atmosphere of space and using it as a propellant. His ramjet proposal had the gasses themselves fusing... but they could be, instead, accelerated by an on-board reactor.

Ideas Based On What We Know

Ideas Based On What We’d Like To Achieve

Remember, we don't even know what space is:

Dark Matter
Dark Energy
Grand Unified Theory, say string theory with its 11 dimensions as a minimum.

Astronomy now reads a lot differently than it did when we were in school:
Ancient sound waves sculpted galaxy formation

"Sound waves that rang out in the early universe sculpted its structure.

About 30,000 years after the big bang, matter collapsed around dense seeds of dark matter. Outward pressure from photons caused the collapsing matter to rebound, creating acoustic waves, like ripples in a pond. ... More matter existed at the centers and edges of these ripples, and therefore should have led to more galaxies there.

...they found an excess of galaxy pairs separated by 500 million light years. ... That is the expected radius of the sound waves – if the universe's expansion has been accelerated in line with the leading model of dark energy."

With the amount of energy you need to go that fast the mass-energy equivalence becomes a significant factor.

Assuming a Bussard ramjet, you will need to have a way to fuse a portion of the collected gasses to maintain the accelerations needed for a lengthy round-trip at speed.

Whatever Dark Matter is, there isn't much of it in any unit of volume worth thinking abut. But, as the hypothetical space vehicle speed approaches that of light, all that Dark Matter will act much like the ocean of air we now live within, thus there will be matter-matter collisions occurring on the forward side of said vehicle. The result would be expected to impede forward motion, just as air drag does here on Earth. We aren't talking about moving wave/particle photons thru space, but some collection of "solid" matter, including our own water filled bodies. Speeds approaching that of light might thus turn out to be impossible to achieve using conventional Newtonian physics...

E. Swanson

That would be the other energy consumer at high relativistic speeds.

If there's enough matter to collect it will be imposing some drag, as you point out.

What a world what a world what a world!

Actually, whatever dark matter is, it is blamed for 90% of the mass our species claims must be there from observations, and we make maps of it. Here is a collision that has ripped galaxies away from their associated dark matter:
"The blue-colored areas pinpoint the location of most of the mass in the cluster, which is dominated by dark matter."

Even more fundamentally, we don't even know what mass is... what causes mass. A theory proposes a mechanism that couples matter to an aether:

"In particle physics, the Higgs mechanism is the process that gives mass to elementary particles. The particles gain mass by interacting with the Higgs field that permeates all space."

"...it implies the existence of one or more new, massive scalar bosons... these are the Higgs bosons."

The search for the Higgs has been very exciting, so far.

We are children.

I have to disagree with this part of your post, Ron:
"Time dilation works for the individual on board and only if you are traveling at very near the speed of light."

You would be correct, and Darwinian would be wrong.

You might have missed this post by Darwinian: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9088/884404 where Darwinian discusses being wrong and what one should do.

At least the comments thread is pretty much rejecting the author's premise. Or are all the comments from TOD users?

More than 50 oil producing countries in decline, severe decline or even terminal decline and still for some, peak oil is a "theory". Nice denial approach.

To pick up a bit on the discussion from the last Drumbeat regarding gov't contingency plans, and to bring climate change into it... there's this article regarding the request for Brits to turn in their hosepipes to the police. Now who would have thought that in the rainy British Isles it would come to this? Then there's the Big Brother aspect:

People living in areas where the ban comes into force on Thursday are to be given the opportunity to surrender garden hoses at local police stations. Water providers have already set up phone lines so that people can report neighbours who flout the ban...

April fool....

Doubt that it is....

Plans for greater email and web monitoring powers spark privacy fears
Tory MP David Davis leads criticism of coalition's bid to extend police access to individuals' email and social media exchanges


Seems like every day is April Fool's Day of late....for the public-at-large anyhow.

I think this bit from the article explains it:

UPDATE: Check the date!

Mea Culpa...

Don't feel to bad on that;;; I got caught in one of them also today.

Don't apologize too soon, Clifman.

This is dated today, and I presume it is legit:

It's true . . . hosepipe ban starts on my property this week in the UK. We've had another drier than average Winter and an arrid Spring! This last month we've had just a couple of days of light rain.

I remember a few years ago they were using helicopter overflights to see who had green gardens and prosecuting them for using a hosepipe. Using grey water was not a defence.


"Veolia Water"? What the fluff? They are a traffic operator. Have they sold out their public water company to a buss company?

They have many fingers in many pies!


Hoses don't water gardens; people water gardens.

I'm applying to carry a concealed hose.

I think this is a April fools joke. But I really can't tell.


The part about handing in hosepipes to the police probably is, but the general aspect of banning the usage of hosepipes to water the garden or wash your car isn't.

The original announcement that there would be a hosepipe ban was I think on the 12th of March e.g. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17340844 ). It is also not a new phenomenon. There was a hose pipe ban back in 2006 as well. In 1976 the drought got to the level that running water was disconnected in parts of Britain and replace by communal standpipes in the roads were people could collect water with buckets.

In 2006 there were also thoughts about restricting water further. After the last drought, the UK started building a large scale desalination plant just east of London to support water supplies that became operational in 2010 ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/02/thames-water-desalinat... ) How severe this years drought will be, will have to be seen in the coming month and if further measures need to be taken.

As the UK isn't directly a dry place, the current problems are probably a good part due to mismanagement of water infrastructure. For one, many of the water pipes, partly still from the Victorian age are leaking. I have seen numbers that more than 25% of total water consumption in the UK is lost due to leaking pipes. Although there was a large pipe replacement program after the 2006 drought, I am not sure how much that in the end helped as the problem still seams to be acute. There has also been an increase in population in those areas driving up consumption, with claims that the per capita rain fall of the south east UK is surprisingly low.

Climate change is likely not helping this situation either.

Here in Canada the land of endless fresh water we have had hose watering bans on and off my whole life, nothing too oppressive about it, if you are having a drought, you shouldn't be allowed to waste water!

I'm not really sure it's that funny...at least, 10-20 years from now, it's probably going to be reality.

OK, This one, by Jeff Masters, on the link between rapidly declining Arctic sea ice and unusual jet stream patterns, is real...

New from IEA

What is the impact of high oil prices on the global economy?

If oil averages USD 120 per barrel in 2012, the global oil import burden – defined as total spending by net importing countries on net imports of oil – is set to reach a record high of over USD 2 trillion, or USD 5.5 billion per day, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol has said. "The current price levels are on average higher than the awful year of 2008, and as such have the capacity to tip the global economy back into recession," Dr. Birol said.

These slides assess how current crude prices are contributing to economic malaise. The next set of slides which focus on this issue will be released on Monday 9 April.

Slides: Impact of high oil prices on the economy

•The link between oil prices and the macro economy is complex
•Oil prices still matter to the global economy
•Oil prices are scaling new heights

also Global database of bus transport systems launched

Boulder Tiny House: Colo. Couple Build Simple, Sustainable 125 Square Foot Home (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller spent 10 months building all 125 square feet of their dream home and documented the entire experience on their blog, on Facebook and in a short documentary about tiny homes titled, "TINY: A Story About Living Small."

That's the second very small house built as a trailer in the news lately. Are they putting them on wheels to evade the building code? The other one actually had an RV license.

If they intend to take it on the road, I hope they glued the structural parts. Nails would work loose pretty fast.

If I recall correctly, that's correct. Putting the structure on wheels means you don't have to meet county/state building codes (which are certainly strict in Boulder county), but only HUD guidelines for manufactured housing.

I'd think they'd also avoid property taxes on it if its sitting on wheels.

Apparently these tiny houses have to be ridiculously small in order to get into the news. But what is realistic for other people who aren't so concerned with the publicity?

While taking a long walk in Portland, ME, yesterday, it occurred to me that most of the detached garages I walked by will not have a car living in them ten years from now. So I predict a growing trend to turn these detached garage spaces into small houses. A typical parking space is what, about 8 by 20 feet, giving a minimum of 160 square feet, which might be just enough for a good pied-a-terre. A typical single car garage might be 12 x 24 or nearly 300 square feet, which might be enough for a student apartment, if the furniture is well designed.

BTW, did anyone else notice the landscape in the photo at the top of that article? What's the point of building such a tiny house if you don't expect to live in a city?

The easiest way to build a small house is to buy a garage package and then turn it into a house. Just sell the garage doors and turn the space into a window wall. Add interior walls and plumbing for the kitchen and bathroom.

A friend of mine did this, but he added a second story to it in the process. If you take a 24x28 foot garage package and add a second floor, you end up with a 1344 square foot house. It's not hugely expensive to do - just another floor and four exterior walls, plus whatever you want to do with the interior.

His finishing skills were poor, so it did look like a garage package that had been turned into a house, but with more attention to detail, people would have trouble telling what it was.

I can relate to this because I grew up in a garage. My father bought a business which had a garage in the back, and since he didn't have enough money to buy a house too, he turned the garage into a "temporary" house. The theory was that when he got enough money he would buy us a real house. However the garage worked adequately well for 20 years, and after we were all gone off to university, he sold the business and bought a real house. Since the new owner of the business didn't want it, he and I cut our old house apart with power saws, trucked the sections to his new retirement home, and turned it back into a garage.

If anyone is interested, there is a whole bunch of these homes just off I 10 east of Tucson AZ. They are called "Park Models". they have been there more than 10yrs. So this isn't news anymore.

High Cost of Diesel Spurs Caribbean Island’s Renewable Energy-Climate Change Plan

... Reliant on imported diesel for its electricity generation, electricity prices for Anguillans have soared recently, to $0.63 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Growing numbers have found themselves unable to pay their monthly bills, which has prompted the Anguilla Electricity Company (ANGLEC), the island’s sole power provider to cut their power to the point where the 91-square mile island has frequently “been plunged into darkness,” according to an IPS news report.

Why these places don't rapidly build out PV in addition to wind is beyond me. If they really pay $0.63 per kWh they could likely get PV for less than half they currently paying.

Solar panels sell at about $1000 per kWp. Including installation and everything that goes up to about $2000 - $3000 / kWp. At $0.63 per kWh, one needs less than 5000 kWh to recoup the costs. 1 kWp solar panel can produce about 1000 - 2000 kWh per annum. So At those prices payback time is anywhere between 2 - 5 years. That is a very low pay-back time for most energy projects. After that one has virtually free electricity for the next 20 or so years.

And given current market conditions of oversupply, to the degree that many PV manufacturers are going bankrupt, I am sure they would be more than happy to sell them a couple of MW if not GW of PV panels.

Seeing as a I live in one of "these places", I will try and offer some insight. I intend to start a business offering energy audits, conservation advice and renewable energy systems, hopefully this year. Those of my friends who know this have referred people who want to know more to me and guess what the first question always is? "How much will it cost me to go solar(/wind)?". They do not want to hear about conservation, or energy efficiency or powering down. They just want to know how much it will cost to provide their current electricity needs with renewables instead of buying it from the local utility. Before I set up my business, I have to figure out how to segue into the conversation that needs to happen, about the low hanging fruits that need to be picked before one invests in a renewable energy harvesting system, without loosing the client's interest.

As of now, the best way I know is to say, it depends on what the current average electricity bill is. We can then apply factors and say it will be x number of months of current electricity bills. I then point out how that cost can be reduced by implementing energy conservation measures to lower that monthly bill. The last time I did the calculations for Jamaica, a grid tied system (which is still waiting for the Jamaican national electrical code to be updated before we can formally install them) will need the factor x to be anywhere from 72 to 84 (6 to seven years worth of electricity bills),

Herein lies the rub. How do people who are basically eking out an existence come up with a lump sum equivalent to six or seven years of their current average electricity bill? Bear in mind that these same folks/organizations/businesses are having to do a balancing act to pay their regular monthly electricity bills. Case in point, a guy who lives downstairs me who has bee running his fridge, fans, computer, tv and a couple of lights on an extension cord plugged into the service of the guys who live beside him. Well over a year,ago maybe two, his service was disconnected after the utility claimed his meter had been tampered with and has said he owes them an amount which he obviously has been unable to come up with. Unless he wins a lottery, he ain't never going to be able to afford to "go solar".

In the meantime, the banks in Jamaica are spending their marketing dollars in large part encouraging people to buy cars as was evidenced by one of the major banks being a major sponsor of last weekends "motor show" (captions for photos 4 and 5 of the gallery accompanying the article below refer to bank participation in the show).

Brand New Feeling - ADA happy with Motor Show 2012

Yup, despite the fact that people are struggling with their electricity bills we must "move along, nothing to see here". Denial at it's best or cognitive dissonance?.

Alan from the islands

edit: Sorry folks I posted in a hurry and didn't notice some typos etc.

Supreme Court: Strip searches, even for minor offenses

Siding with security needs over privacy rights, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches.

The court also noted that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was initially arrested for not having a license plate on his car and that one of the 9/11 terrorists was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93. "People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals," the court said.

What the...?

The court just keeps poking at that sleeping, and heavily medicated giant, the fragile and frightened American Public..

What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that?

(We might see a renewed definition of 'Citizens United'.. Think it's impossible?)

Many US police use cell phones to track: study

Many US police departments use cell phone tracking, often without court orders, to find suspects and investigate criminal cases, according to a study released Monday.

The survey released by the American Civil Liberties Union
found that "the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies that responded engage in at least some cell phone tracking," the organization said.

from real life ... To the NYPD Officers Reading My Emails

On Thursday I was on a train to New York and received an email announcing a protest at the offices of New York's two U.S. Senators over their cosponsorship of an AIPAC-driven bill that would move the United States closer to war on Iran. I wrote back, saying, hey, I happen to be on my way to New York and will try to get there.

When I got there, there was a small gathering of protesters, divided into two groups, those choosing to comply with police requests to stand inside a free-speech-cage that they had set up, and those refusing. I joined the latter. Two days later, one of the protesters who had been making his point from within the metal barricades told me that a police officer had approached him with this question:

"So, are you bringing people up here by train?"

Another case moving through the courts is the ability of police to request info from cell phone towers from a cell phone provider. Many phone contracts contain language allowing this data to be turned over to authorities even without a warrent. In fact, the phone companies often profit from this by selling the data to police. Cell phone tower data is not GPS but can be very accurate.

The precedent being cited are previous court cases allowing for non-GPS tracking devices to be placed on suspect's cars. The idea is that if an officer could have seen you walking or driving in public then the same data can be pulled from a cell phone tower. Many phone users are not aware that their phones are creating a list of geo points identifying their daily movements- cell phone towers can create points as often as every 7 seconds giving pretty detailed accounts. Given the track record of the courts, this case may not turn out so well- on the other hand, earlier this year they indictated police placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle did constitute a search and required a warrent.

Why might this interest Peak Oilers and others concerned about energy and the environment? The FBI is engaging in surveillance of anti-fracking demonstrators and labelling them "eco-terrorists". Cell phone data helps to find associated "eco-terrorist" and broaden charges. Everyone here might be someday be suspected of endangering our national energy security by criticizing big oil. Who knows, Leanan might be ordered to give up a list of names. See the recent following story below:


Americans have a distorted idea of "rights". Too many of us bought the propaganda that the system was really designed to protect our rights, but we're soon to get a lesson that rights are just rules that society has agreed upon. Society can change its mind. Rights are as good as your ability to enforce them, a power we will find is quite limited.

The kinds of things described here are pretty much what one would expect as things fall apart and the center tries to hold onto power. It will most likely get a lot worse.

I don't think the American notion of rights is a result of "propaganda". It is a concept that really was believed by the founding fathers. It is a core concept of the US declaration of Independence.

But in truth it is only as much a right as the society at large is willing to defend.

The declaration of independence was written by slave holders. Like citizens united, a matter of definition:

"When in the Course of human events..."

"When in the Course of human events..."

A way way too radical document for today's US. Why just advocating the overthrow of the US government is now considered to be sedition.

"slave holders"

While that is true it is quite irrelevant to the point. Thomas Jefferson, the primary author, was a philosophical giant and a giant hypocrit. It doesn't detract from the concept, only the execution.

After Car-Tracking Smackdown, Feds Turn to Warrantless Phone Tracking

Among other things, the government maintains Americans have no expectation of privacy of such cell-site records because they are “in the possession of a third party” (.pdf) — the mobile phone companies. What’s more, the authorities maintain that the cell site data is not as precise as GPS tracking and, “there is no trespass or physical intrusion on a customer’s cellphone when the government obtains historical cell-site records from a provider.”

Data Mining You: How the Intelligence Community Is Creating a New American World

... Basic information or misinformation, possibly about you, is to be stored away for five years -- or until some other attorney general and director of national intelligence think it’s even more practical and effective to keep you on file for 10 years, 20 years, or until death do us part -- and it hardly made a ripple.

If Americans were to hoist a flag designed for this moment, it might read “Tread on Me” and use that classic illustration of the boa constrictor swallowing an elephant from Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. That, at least, would catch something of the absurdity of what the National Security Complex has decided to swallow of our American world.

The court just keeps poking at that sleeping, and heavily medicated giant, the fragile and frightened American Public...

You forgot superstitious, willfully ignorant and obese.

No I didn't.. I don't think it's useful to simply trot out every negative trait I can think of for my fellow citizens. Doing that is playing right into their game.

There are a lot of excellent people in my country (I don't rememeber if it's yours as well.), even some who are overweight or not all that sophisticated ... and I don't find it useful to indulge in the Kunstler game of simply blasting the Masses, the way Pretty Girls keep getting blamed for being molested.

If we're talking about the abuse of Power by the Supreme Court, I think there are other significant faults from the perpetrators that need to be focused on.

If the powers that be had simply seized power by military coup, I might agree with you. However, multiple elections and countless conversations I've had with my fellow Americans have convinced me that our current leaders were voted in with the ENTHUSIASTIC AND FREELY GIVEN CONSENT of the mis-governed. Even the current SCOTUS itself is a direct consequence of the general rightward shift in American politics and increasing partisanship.

Yes, the big guys have tons of money and media power at their disposal with which to disseminate propaganda and perpetuate a clearly rigged game. They can shape the debate and make sure the legislative agenda reflects only their best interests. Nonetheless, the public still (for now) has the right to ignore right-wing propaganda, think for themselves and vote for candidates who represent their interests. And yet, despite the existence of alternative information sources such as TOD, they steadfastly refuse to exercise these rights. You will see many of my right wing, low income relatives attending a Tea Party rally, vehemently opposing gay marriage or single-payer universal healthcare, but not so many at an "Occupy" or pro-union rally.

We have met the enemy and he is us. Collectively, we get the "leaders" we elect and deserve.

our current leaders were voted in with the ENTHUSIASTIC AND FREELY GIVEN CONSENT of the mis-governed.

Less than 50% of the population votes - is withholding support "consent"?

What happens if you stand up and say no? How does one actively remove consent in this system and still remain within "the law"?

If election ballots had an option "No" and more than 50% voted for it then how would the country be governed?



Yeah, sorry HARM. I don't buy it. I think you're still all too willing to blame the Populace for being consciously lied to and manipulated.

If the electoral system has been progressively twisted and rigged, the information channels studiously bought and contrived, that is hardly what the people who are just trying to feed the kids and keep a job are asking for and voting for.

Yes, there is 'fallibility' and even cultural blindness to reckon with, but there is also a very clear degree of conscious fraud and a taking of the commons that is maybe the natural proclivity of the 'Haves'.. but is a violation of the society just the same, and deserves redress.

C'mon, Bob...Go easy on JHK; I look forward to his Monday rant. It's venting by proxy; helps me survive, especially days like today. One of the guys who joined our my community garden this year is a real bozo (I had previously only spoken to his wife who is very nice); a shi@t-grinnin', self-satisfied know-it-all who actually told me I was lying when I explained that North Dakota has a State Bank, by the people, for the people, and oil wasn't the only reason they have low unemployment, low student loan defaults, all the rest. He's the epitome of American hubris....What to do?

The rest of the crew reigned him in just as I was about to dis-invite his participation. Tomorrow he gets a big ol' release to sign, explaining that he has zero rights to anything on my property, and that my invitation may be rescinded at any time.

Sorry, Ghung.

It was a bit indelicate of me to rain on his raining on our parade. We've all got our pills and our spoonfuls of sugar, eh? (Still working on a coffee right now..)

I have been a bit crusty today.. but I did get to the community college thing on Alt Vehicles tonight, and they had a couple Vespa Trike-Pickups from back in the day.. and one of my friends from Church is bringing his and his wife's Tadpole Trikes to the next one.. so that has mellowed my angst a bit.

I do want to say that when we talk about the masses, I hope we're including ourselves, and all manner of other 'different and wierd' sorts that are in the mix. Normal isn't as normal as people think, and insisting on thinking that way narrows our own choices, I think.


I think that most of us fell into those "masses" stereotypes at some point in our pasts. You have to admit, understanding Peak Oil, the monetary system, and how the political / media system is rigged is a lot of hard work and not easy to wrap your head around, especially if you've been brainwashed from birth. It's not like anything in the media or educational system is teaching this stuff. I think most people, when presented with the facts, would begin to understand what's going on. But they aren't really being presented with the facts, and most shy away because they don't want to be forced to rewire their political prejudices. It's much easier to latch on to a political ideology of choice being trumpeted in the media and believe that aspect of the pablum being fed to us by TBTP.

I just need to reiterate the great observation of William Goldman,

"Nobody knows anything."

Maybe we're right, but don't forget to keep that pinch of salt handy, a shrug, and a bit of humility. The way that people here are willing to predict what's coming with that air of certainty.. well, 'Pride cometh before the fall', you know.

Yes, of course we need humility. However, I didn't used to understand how the world works, and it was frustrating and frightening. Then I managed to put the pieces together with the help of some great websites like this one, to understand how money works in relation to the natural world that supports us, and then everything seems to make sense now.... It isn't less scary now, but it makes more sense. In the end, we have the laws of thermodynamics to guide us and there is no arguing with those.

You may not be able to argue with them, but it's also very tough to accurately anticipate just how they'll have the pieces fall.

You and I might understand a little more today than yesterday about how the world works, but I take it as an article of faith that there is a Lot more to learn, and it's very possible to be wrong, and BADLY wrong in our predictions. Many of our predictions are built as much on our fears as our observations, it seems to me.

I don't quibble with this issue in order to suggest we're not in trouble, but just to say we don't know very accurately what kind of trouble we're in.

My doubts arise from my observation that we will never be other than what we, collectively, have always been; a highly extractive species, reducing our environment in ever more 'clever' ways until it can no longer support our need to increase our numbers. 'Reductionist' has more than one meaning. We pride ourselves on our adaptability, yet our only real, meaningful adaptation in the last million or so years has been to adapt our surroundings to our needs and wants. While I see pockets of awareness and 'hope', I see no collective adaptation to the reality that we need to become something very different from what we still are - Homo Depletionus.

Learning the errors of our ways, and incorporating this awareness into our gene pool are two very different things. We've been far too successful and our stories change much too quickly.

Be it sight, sound, the smell, the touch.
There's something,
Inside that we need so much,
The sight of a touch, or the scent of a sound,
Or the strength of an arquebus deep in the ground.
The wonder of flowers, to be covered, and then to burst up,
Thru tarmack, to the sun again,
Or to fly to the sun without burning a wing,
To lie in the meadow and hear the grass sing,
To have all these things in our memories hoard,
And to use them,
To help us,
To find...

[Moody Blues - In Search of the Lost Chord]

It ain't gonna happen...

We are that, but we rarely live alone. And the social structures in which we live can adapt much more quickly than we as biological creatures can evolve. I see some reason to believe that some human social structures can be developed to counter some of our individual destructive tendencies.

Yeah I mean I've been saying this for a long time now.

Again, answer me this...when they come for you with riot gear and batons and guns and tanks, what are you going to do? What did the Germans or Jews or Russians in the 1940's do? They fled, or they hid, or they killed each other.

Not pretty folks, any which way you want to look at it. All of these "real Americans" who man the police and prisons and guard and the military, they are going to have to volunteer to put their weapons down or we're all screwed.

Unbelievable. Anybody who expects a rational, fair decision to come out this "court" is seriously delusional. Unless you happen to have sacks of cash behind you that is.

The Extortion of Freedom’s Ideal

... President George W. Bush’s famous 2001 quote, “They Hate Us For Our Freedoms” reverberates a decade later as we are confronted with two simple questions, “What freedoms do ‘they’ hate us for? And what civil liberties have the American people lost to protect those self-same freedoms?

Why, they hate us for our freedom to grow fabulously, filthy rich, of course! I know that once (not "if") I become rich, I'll get all those freedoms back, so, hey no big deal. My religious sect preaches Prosperity Gospel, so I know my future riches are assured because I pray harder and vote Republican more than anybody. Anyway, all the people who are True Believers (belong to my political party and religious sect) will be raptured up any day now, so why worry about this hippie-dippie civil rights nonsense?

Harm, certainly you must be a libertarian, because both of the major parties have produced laws that take away liberty not just the religious right of the Republican party...


You are correct on both counts. However, I belong to the nearly extinct "liberal" wing.

Thanks to Bush, Obama and the failure of the Republican party the liberal wing isn't the wing that's seeing the most growth.

Well if we get rid of our freedoms then they won't attack us anymore. ;-)

NOW yer talkin!

Well, Obviously strip searches, torture, airport boob tubes, cellphone GPS tracking; email & SMS monitoring are all there to protect our freedom, 'cause nobody can take that away.

Interesting story - I was working on the ski hill, received a missing person report (school group, one student missing with rental gear). Within a few minutes the police call & say he's downtown (there is a ski access trail to town) - they have tracked his phone.

I was amused at the time but I doubt the RCMP got a court order for that!

The court is quite authoritarian these days. I'm not surprised in the least.

The logic there is pretty funny . . . do they think looking up the butt of Timothy McVeigh or a 9/11 terrorist would have stopped those plots? LOL.

I have proof that every documented violent criminal or terrorist started out breathing the oxygen in air. Therefore our new law makes the breathing of oxygenated air illegal for humans. Our war on crime and terror will be won rightaway!

When Government works for Business interests and Government is working across the entire World in a War the Government needs a functioning police state.

Good thing for Americans the US of A is not doing such things.

And yet:
Peak oil will cause a violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States, provoked by loss of functioning political and legal order and unforeseen economic collapse, for which the US must now prepare a domestic military capability. -- US Army Strategic Studies Institute, 2008

Scientists track radioactive iodine from Japan nuclear reactor meltdown

Using a new investigative methodology, Dartmouth researchers have found and tracked radioactive iodine in New Hampshire from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

"We live on a really small planet and this demonstrates that what happens in Japan has the potential to affect us."

Postpone the Nuclear Waste Decision

The nuclear waste debate is usually focused on technology. Yet in order to better understand and discuss the problem, the issue should be viewed from a humanistic perspective where societal aspects are considered. We need a better conceptual framework, says Andrén, who addresses the issue of legitimacy in his book.

The nuclear waste debate is usually focused on technology. Yet in order to better understand and discuss the problem, the issue should be viewed from a humanistic perspective where societal aspects are considered. We need a better conceptual framework, says Andrén, who addresses the issue of legitimacy in his book.

Sure, it's not about what radioactivity does to our bodies, it's how you feel about radioactivity. We need to deal with that humanistic side. What a load of BS.

I'm sorry, but we cannot afford to waste any more time. Moving the stuff to as safe a location as can be found will take a huge amount of money and time. And no, there isn't any place that is really safe enough, nor can it be done without impact to wherever it is put, and there probably will be accidents in doing it. But if we don't do it while we have the capability we'll lose our chance and it will stay right where it is - until it is dispersed by those old forces of corrosion, erosion, wind and rain. Which is exactly what I expect will happen. Maybe we can learn to make radioactivity more socially acceptable.

Add your corrosion, erosion, wind and rain; climate change. 2? 3 degrees? 4?

Then add peak oil; nation-state/centralized/large-scale political (the kind that nuclear seems to need to deal with) instability; and relocalization (How does a 'World Made By Hand' deal with nuclear?).

How does a 'World Made By Hand' deal with nuclear?

It doesn't. A radioactive environment is beyond human ability to adapt to. Look at the Mother Jones map of nuclear waste sites and draw an appropriate radius around each one - what is left? No doubt people will try to live there, just as they will/are in Japan, but those will be poor, miserable existences.

There is a NPP 12mi from my house - anything built here in regards to permaculture, good soil, healthy communities, etc., will ultimately be destroyed if that waste is left there. And if it is put somewhere else, that will be destroyed too - but there are safer, more stable and contained places less capable of sustaining populations that would be more suitable than the east coast of NA.

What's "government" doing? (rhetorical)

Marc Faber on CNBC this morning:


"I think that people should own some gold and I think that people should own some equities, because before the collapse will happen, with Mr. Bernanke at the Fed, they're going to print money and print and print and print," he said. "So what you can get is a bad economy with rising equity prices."

An OpEd piece in the WSJ a couple of days ago stated that 60% of the net increase in US Treasury debt last year was "funded" by the Federal Reserve.

Perhaps one day the US government will ask only the Fed to take a haircut on the debt. The Fed can make more money appear and keep money supply balanced. If true, at some point in the future, we all may be working for the government since they will continue to consume resources at the same rate, thereby, accelerating the decrease in resources available for everybody else.

A whole new view on ELM type thinking.

Available resources after government takes what it wants. Sounds like 14th century nobility to me. "Did you just shoot one of the king's deer?"

Inflation adjusted, per capita government spending has been going down for 25 years.

Good grief. That kind of assumption alarms me far more than any natural resource scarcity.

Per capita, constant dollars, total government spending (federal, state, local)


Divide green line by the growing population and you see real world per capita government spending.

you see real world per capita government spending.

How do we know the "green line" using some random website like "Shadow Stats" is "real", as opposed to the CPI? Keep in mind that 1-yr US T bills go for 0.2% on the market, and that if the "real" inflation rate was ~10% like your website says that all those bond traders would be willing taking a ~9% loss on their money.

Ahhhhh, very good question .... you are entering dangerous territory there ... Are you ready to take the red pill? If you learn the answer to your question you will understand how the entire world's financial system is a gigantic ponzi scheme house of cards hiding the ravaging overpopulation of our globe, and why all the environmental problems eco freaks have been screaming about for the last 40 years haven't yet manifested themselves to their true extent in the markets.... how the sense of normalcy bias that keeps everyone placated is a result of extreme market interventions on the part of the Fed ...... and ultimately how we are all being enslaved by our masters.

Short answer -- money printing by the Fed to squash the bond vigilantes. Continually dropping interest rates from 20% 30 years ago to 0% today, in the longest bond bull market run in history, now finished because they can't go lower than 0%. The Fed lends to the big commercial banks at 0% and they then lever this 10X over risk free to buy government debt at 3%, making for a 30% return from doing nothing except facilitating the monetization of US government debt.

Financial repression

Long answer -- see my blog.

Are you ready to take the red pill?....Long answer -- see my blog.

If you are that confident in your personal inflation conclusions, then I suggest when making comments like

"Inflation adjusted, per capita government spending has been going down for 25 years"

modify them to instead say

"Adjusted by my personal inflation calculation, per capita government spending ..."

Two 60% factors: (1) The federal government is dependent on the Federal Reserve to fund about 60% of new net federal debt (at least last year) and (2) The US is dependent on crude oil imports for about 60% of the crude oil inputs into US refineries.

(2) The US is dependent on crude oil imports for about 60% of the crude oil inputs into US refineries.

Yes, but what is the relevance of singling out crude? US net imports are 44% of all product supplied, and have been falling pretty much continuously since Fall 2006. The last time imports were this low was in 1996.

Yes, but what is the relevance of singling out crude?

Crude oil is what refineries process into gasoline and diesel fuel. It doesn't really help to add natural gas liquids into the mix, because they can't turn it into gasoline or diesel fuel. NGLs are generally used as natural gas replacements in areas which do not have access to natural gas.

US net imports are 44% of all product supplied, and have been falling pretty much continuously since Fall 2006.

It is true that US product consumption has been falling and that US refineries have surplus capacity and are now exporting a lot of fuel to countries like Mexico and Brazil, but that doesn't change the fact that the US is importing 60% of the crude oil its refineries are processing at this point in time. If they didn't import the crude oil to produce the fuel to export, they would lose those markets. The fact remains that the US economy is very heavily dependent on crude oil imports, even though it has moved from being a refined product net importer to a refined product net exporter.


Great comment. Also the net exports of products was only 0.47 million barrels per day(mb/d) in 2011 so out of about 14.5 mb/d of crude input to US refineries only a small portion of the products produced get exported (on a net basis).


Crude oil is what refineries process into gasoline and diesel fuel

Yes, *and* traditionally many other things including heating oil, aviation fuel, lubes, naphtha, propane, butane, etc, some of which can be derived from natural gas sources instead. To make ethylene for instance, US chemical manufacturers are now moving from crude derived naphtha to ethane from natural gas. Also, as you know the gasoline supply is cut with 1 mbpd of ethanol. All of this leaves more crude for gasoline and diesel.

The fact remains that the US economy is very heavily dependent on crude oil imports, even though it has moved from being a refined product net importer to a refined product net exporter.

Yes, the US economy at large is heavily dependent on petroleum products consumed here. It is the importers and the refiners that are dependent on the finished fuels export business, not the entire economy.

January '12:
Domestic crude production: 6.1 mbpd
Net crude imports: 8.1 mbpd
Total domestic crude used: 14.2 mbpd
Gasoline + diesel supplied to US: 12 mbpd
Total all liquid products supplied: 18.2 mbpd
Non-crude based balance: 4 mbpd

Clearly crude is important, but my question was why single it out, given the other *large* factors at play.

I singled out crude oil because crude oil was part of the original statement, The US is dependent on crude oil imports for about 60% of the crude oil inputs into US refineries.

And you jumped in with, "US net imports are 44% of all product supplied

I was questioning the relevance of that because you really can't make gasoline out of NGLs, and the ERoEI of ethanol is close to 1:1. Ethanol is just an expensive way of converting food into automobile fuel with no gain in energy. You can't make diesel fuel out of NGLs, ethanol, or even condensate, you have to use crude oil.

Crude oil is the constraining economic resource in gasoline and diesel fuel production, and gasoline and diesel fuel are the constraining economic factors in the transportation system. The fundamental issue is that the US has to import most of its crude oil because it can't produce enough itself. The numbers regarding other liquid products which are being bandied about are just avoiding the issue that the US is nearly out of crude oil and has to import most of what it needs.

The focus on other liquids is just an attempt to divert attention from the fundamental crude oil supply problem, which is getting critical. If you try to convince people that it is not a problem because the "all liquids" numbers are going up, then you are left with no other way to explain why gasoline and diesel fuel prices are rising so rapidly and so high. (Other than the "it must be speculators" theory.)

and the ERoEI of ethanol is close to 1:1. Ethanol is just an expensive way of converting food into automobile fuel with no gain in energy.

This misses the point. No ethanol does not help the *net energy* situation, but we are talking here about crude dependency and ethanol does *displace crude*. Ethanol input energy largely comes from natural gas for process and fertilizer derived from methane via Haber–Bosch. This can't be seen unless one looks at crude and other sources of energy.

Crude oil is the constraining economic resource in gasoline and diesel fuel production, and gasoline and diesel fuel are the constraining economic factors in the transportation system

Agreed, for now and at least the near future. (Further out that may change, as ethanol and other biofuels can theoretically replace both).

The focus on other liquids is just an attempt to divert attention from the fundamental crude oil supply problem, which is getting critical.

And I think nearly the reverse is true, where the ongoing displacement of traditionally crude based products by other sources is being ignored.

If you try to convince people that it is not a problem because the "all liquids" numbers are going up, then you are left with no other way to explain why gasoline and diesel fuel prices are rising so rapidly and so high. (Other than the "it must be speculators" theory.)

Most of the respected energy outlets (EIA, CERA, IEA) I see use none of the above. Instead they list i)Chindia demand growing faster than the increase in all-liquids supply, ii) fears of an Iranian closure of the Straits of H, iii) isolation of old refineries from new crude and NGL sources.

I think that you are actually double counting when you simply add in gallons of ethanol with oil derived gasoline and diesel. Making that ethanol requires some portion of the other fuels, as well as natural gas and propane on the farm. Thus, the result is less energy is available the economy remaining outside the energy supply industries. The farms which produce the corn for ethanol are now a part of that energy producing system. Not only that, but there is less energy available in a gallon of ethanol compared to a gallon of gasoline.

For that matter, the energy used by the companies which produce oil, natural gas and coal should similarly be counted as a negative to be subtracted from the net energy available for all the other consuming activities of the population. But, that's not the way the data is being presented to the American public, it is? One probable reason is that the decline in useful energy supplied to the public would become glaringly obvious, with serious political repercussions...

EDIT: The present accounting system is rather like summing up the weight of wheat used to make bread with the weight of the resulting bread, claiming that to be the total production. Or, another example, adding the weight of steel produced with the weight of the cars to compute total production...

E. Swanson

I was questioning the relevance of that because you really can't make gasoline out of NGLs...

You have cracking, which breaks up longchain hydrocarbons into shorterchain hydrocarbons. Do we have the inverse process avaialble, Take short chain hydrocarbons, and come up with longer chain HCs (and some hydrogen)? I guess GTL must do something like that.

There are numerous proposals to take H2O + CO2 +plus energy to create hydrocarbons, such as methanol. Maybe if the need becomes great enough, we can force NGLs to create gasoline and diesel?

Fischer Tropsch takes H2 + CO to make long chain hydrocarbons. H2 is easy to get from electrolysis, and electricity will fortunately be our most abundant energy form going forward. Haven't researched CO enough yet, it seems to mostly come from gasification of biomass. I don't know if there is any non-biological easy source of CO.

I don't know if there is any non-biological easy source of CO.

Easy is all in the eyes of the beholder.

There is a 1970's vintage process called (or by) sealand which used a stirling cycle engine, (for making the atmosphere a liquid) electricity, and water to make methanol

I was responding above about the near immediate (~5 years) impact of crude production, other liquids, and gas. I think so was RockyMG. While looking way out in the future about physically possible chemisty has its place, it also allows the conclusion that the world eventually will have no need for crude at all, which is not a useful argument in the present.

First Study to Show That Pesticides Can Induce Morphological Changes in Vertebrate Animals

The world’s most popular weed killer, Roundup, can cause amphibians to change shape, according to research published today in Ecological Applications.

... The similar shape changes when exposed to Roundup suggest that Roundup may interfere with the hormones of tadpoles and potentially many other animals [humans?].

... hasn't autism been on the rise lately. Just sayin.

Article published in Le Monde.fr by Soren Seelow, translated by Siv O'Neall Monsanto, a half-century of health scandals

... According to a report, declassified by the U.S. Agency of Environmental Protection (EPA), Monsanto for almost forty years dumped thousands of tons of contaminated waste in a stream and an open garbage dump in the heart of a black neighborhood in the city.

... "Monsanto documents -- many emblazoned with warnings such as "CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy" -- show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew. In 1966, Monsanto managers discovered that fish submerged in that creek turned belly-up within 10 seconds, spurting blood and shedding skin as if dunked into boiling water. They told no one."

... Several corroborating studies say that [Roundup] the herbicide which is Monsanto's flagship - and its active ingredient, glyphosate - is potentially teratogenic, that is to say responsible for fetal malformations. One of them, published late 2010 in Chemical Research in Toxicology, shows that direct exposure of amphibian embryos at very low doses of glyphosate herbicide results in malformations.

Monsanto refutes these conclusions: "Glyphosate has no harmful effects on reproduction in adult animals and does not cause malformations in the offspring of animals exposed to glyphosate, even at very high doses," the firm says on its website.

Seraph- Roundup can also induce changes in invertebrates! Insects are becomming resistent ansd now join a growing number of super weeds that can take large doses of the stuff. This is one of the most "under the radar" developments in the past decade but has a real potential to lower food yields as it spreads. The sismple fact may be that we do not have unlimited chemical options for killing pests and we may be coming to the day where they have adapted completely and taken our last bullets. See this MJ article below about the new superbugs:


I think the insects are becoming BT resistant, not Roundup resistant. I have some land I recently purchased around Loveland, Colorado where the farmer just loves Roundup. I am moving as quickly as I can to stop that. I can see why he likes it, but I certainly don't. Permaculture here we come.

"I think the insects are becoming BT resistant, not Roundup resistant."

That would make more sense.

If he's over applying Roundup, then that is one thing, but if you think stopping Roundup completely is all sweetness and light, then you might want to read up on no-till agriculture, and the soil damage that the Round-up free annual plowing causes.

One must choose;
1) Traditional agriculture with plowing and consequent erosion;
2) No-till agriculture with herbicides and possibly GM-crops;
3) Hydroponics, the ultimate in "anti-organic" agriculture.

Permaculture is a variation of #1. Not sure how it would play out on a section of wheat land, but it should work on broccoli if you can afford the labor. An organic orchard is basically there now, if you can command a high enough price premium to to make up for the 20% production loss.

I've leaving out option 4 entirely, the Cultural Revolution/Pol Pot/Heinberg method of sending millions of city people to the fields to labor by hand, then look surprised when the crops fail and they starve. (Or at least pretend to look surprised.)

What's to blame for high gas prices?

But some U.S. senators blame oil speculators for the high prices. We heard from U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat and Bernie Sanders who is an Independent. They've introduced legislation aimed at limiting energy speculation.

Whatever the bill's fate, our next guest says anything that limits oil speculation is good news. Dennis Kelleher is president and CEO of Better Markets, a non-profit organization dedicated to Wall Street reform. Just last month, he testified before Congress about this issue. Dennis Kelleher was in our Washington studio this morning. And David Hughes is a geologist, formerly with the Geological Survey of Canada and a Fellow with the Post Carbon Institute who runs his own company called Global Sustainability Research Inc. He was in Cortes Island, British Columbia.

Listen to the interview. See link above if this link didn't take you to the interview.

Basically David Hughes politely pointed out that yes speculation adds to the cost but removing speculation isn't going to remove the problem of declining supply that is driving the price rise.

Speaking of speculating I was wondering if some of the oil industry pros here might have an answer to this question. The bio-diesel start up I was working for, before ruling out soy oil as a feedstock, was going to speculate in soy oil as a hedge. If we made money long on soy oil, it only would offset the feed stock price increase. I guess oil refiners speculate for the same reason. I wonder what the damage to refiners would be, or if added cost to finished petroleum products would be passed on to consumers, if speculating in oil was made illegal?

US oil demand fell 4.5 pct in Jan yr/yr - EIA

U.S. oil demand fell by almost 4.5 percent in January compared with a year earlier, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday, as gasoline consumption fell to the lowest level for the month since 2001 as higher prices cut consumption.

Total oil demand was 169,000 barrels per day (bpd) more than previously estimated, but was still down by 853,000 bpd or 4.46 percent to 18.27 million bpd, the EIA said in its Petroleum Supply Monthly.

Gasoline demand fell 225,800 bpd to 8.19 million bpd, the lowest January demand level in over a decade. Gasoline demand also was down by 472,500 bpd from the previous month.

U.S. oil demand fell by almost 4.5 percent in January compared with a year earlier,

January 2011 to January 2012 Brent oil was up 14.68 percent and WTI was up 12.45 percent. That's just what happens, as the price goes up demand goes down and as supply goes down the price goes up. It is as simple as that and why is that so hard for some people to understand.

If, on the other hand, the price went up not because of supply problems but because of speculators, then the demand would still drop. But the price, in this case, is because of speculators, not because of a lack of supply. So with supply constant but demand driven down, a glut of oil comes about. But that did not happen.

It is amazing that so many free market advocates don't seem to have a clue as to what a free market is all about.

Ron P.

Good point. Blaming oil prices on speculation has to be orchestrated by oil industry stakeholders. It is such nonsense.

"If, on the other hand, the price went up not because of supply problems but because of speculators, then the demand would still drop."

Absolutely. People can simply telecommute to their Walmart jobs... or lose them.

Kalimanku, demand did drop. Demand is down 4.5 percent from where it was in January of 2011, and people are still working at WalMart. So where does that leave your argument?

A logical argument requires either logic or evidence. Yous had neither.

The fact is prices going up would work both ways for WalMart. It would hurt somewhat as people would have less money to spend there, but more people would shop there instead of higher priced stores.

Ron P.


I was alluding to the fact that the commodity is a necessity. That it can not be refused by the user, that the price cannot be rejected, without altering the user's life.

Company seeks permit to build natural gas export terminal in Louisiana

Energy Transfer Equity LP is seeking permission from federal regulators to build its proposed natural gas export terminal at Lake Charles, the Dallas-based company said today.

Construction will begin in 2014 with a target date of exporting natural gas by spring 2018 if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project, according to Energy Transfer Equity.
In August, the federal Energy Department gave the company permission to export up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day for 25 years.

Halt to Uzbek gas supply hits Tajikistan

The end of Uzbek natural gas supplies to neighbour Tajikistan threatens to further weaken the poorest former Soviet economy as key aluminium and cement firms grapple to adapt. Uzbekistan says needs gas to fill China-bound pipeline

Little fish are most valuable when left in the sea, researchers say

The smallest fish in the sea are more than twice as valuable when they’re eaten by bigger fish than when they’re caught by humans, according to a report released Sunday by a scientific task force.

The 120-page analysis by the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force — a group of 13 scientists specializing in everything from fish ecology to marine mammals and seabirds — underscores the growing concern researchers have about the fate of forage fish, including anchovies, mehaden, herring and sardines that serve as food for bigger fish, sea birds and marine mammals.

and Too Many Small Fish Are Caught, Report Says

Follow-up News flash: Most of world's 7 billion+ inhabitants want more fish to eat, don't care what scientists think.

The no page analysis by HARM --an American blogger with wide ranging interests but little formal expertise-- underscores what direct observation of human nature already tells us: the vast majority of people are incapable of comprehending finite resource limits or the macro dangers of exponential growth, and generally regard any efforts to curb growth as an intolerable infringement on their freedoms and a direct assault on Faith.

Better buckle up then. The resource descent will be quite a sight to behold once those perceived infringement of freedoms runs into an almost-certain cascade of shrinkage.

In a twisted sort of way I'm interested in seeing what a worldwide tragedy of the commons scenario looks like. It really will be one for the history books...if there are any left to be written in the aftermath.

U.S. Energy Poll Shows Domestic Oil Production Support Is Rising

You might think rising gasoline prices at a time of flat demand and surging domestic oil production would convince Americans that we need to find alternatives to oil. But no. A new survey shows the public increasingly tilting toward doubling down on oil, on the apparent assumption that if the United States just produces even more, all our $2.50-a-gallon dreams will come true.

All supply problems can be solved with more supply... in an infinite world.

Simple people believe in simple solutions. Unfortunately, reality is not so simple.

Michael T. Klare How the Big Energy Companies Plan to Turn the United States into a Third-World Petro-State

Once upon a time, the giant U.S. oil companies -- Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, and Texaco -- got their start in North America, launching an oil boom that lasted a century and made the U.S. the planet’s dominant energy producer. But most of those companies have long since turned elsewhere for new sources of oil.

Eager to escape ever-stronger environmental restrictions and dying oil fields at home, the energy giants were naturally drawn to the economically and environmentally wide-open producing areas of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America -- the Third World -- where oil deposits were plentiful, governments compliant, and environmental regulations few or nonexistent.

Here, then, is the energy surprise of the twenty-first century: with operating conditions growing increasingly difficult in the global South, the major firms are now flocking back to North America. To exploit previously neglected reserves on this continent, however, Big Oil will have to overcome a host of regulatory and environmental obstacles. It will, in other words, have to use its version of deep-pocket persuasion to convert the United States into the functional equivalent of a Third World petro-state.

S – I wonder what freaking planet this guy lives on.

“To exploit previously neglected reserves on this continent, however, Big Oil will have to overcome a host of regulatory and environmental obstacles.”

Consider that ExxonMobil plans to spend approximately $185 billion in capex over the next five years on the company's oil and gas properties across the globe. ExxonMobil could spend every penny of that capex drilling on the shales plays in Texas, La., OK and Miss. under the existing regs. They could lease every Deep Water GOM tract that’s currently open and drill a hundred $100 million exploratory wells out there under the existing regs. From my personal experience not once in 36 years have I been prevented from drilling any well I wanted by any regulation.

All they need are viable prospects to do any of this. The fact that they aren’t might be an indication of the future of oil/NG development in the US.

"The fact that they aren’t might be an indication of the future of oil/NG development in the US."

If it was only in the US, even financial times starts to notice :

"Saudi Arabia resorts to Jedi mindtricks" : http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/03/29/942361/saudi-arabia-resorts-t...

the meat : "It used to be that Saudi Arabia produced more oil when it wanted lower oil prices. Today, when Saudi Arabia wants lower prices it produces an op-ed in the Financial Times"

It's true, Rockman, he is living on a completely different planet than we are.

He is somewhat ignoring the fact that the big national oil companies such as Saudi Aramco, National Iranian Oil Company, and PDVSA (Venezuela) have long since taken control of most of the world's oil resources. Saudi Aramco has 10 times the oil reserves of ExxonMobile, for instance. Most of the world's remaining conventional oil reserves are in the Middle East and controlled by the NOCs. Most of the conventional oil reserves outside of the Middle East are also controlled by NOCs.

The fact is that America's formerly giant oil fields are almost completely exhausted. Drilling for oil in the US is mostly a matter of getting the last dribs and drabs out of the old oil fields at the lowest possible cost. The problem is not an excess of regulation, it is a scarcity of oil.

That article "Energy ‘independence,’ after all?" is in the same vein. The article carefully avoids saying anything definite, but strongly implies America is sitting on vast, vast reserves of oil and gas, except the Obama administration is holding back exploration and extraction. If there's one thing I've learned from this site, drilling is actually at record high levels and the federal government heavily encourages it.

There is fudging all around. Obama isn't really promoting drilling, as all the recent booms are on private land, but they aren't too heavily discouraging it either. Drilling at record levels is due to high oil prices.

The nice thing is that there appears to be a decent supply of hard-to-get oil, which will soften the peak decline. All it'll take is $150 or $200 per bbl and we'll have a little more to help with the transition to....what? Nothing?

C - "...drilling is actually at record high levels and the federal government heavily encourages it." Nitpick warning: we actually had twice as many rigs drilling in the late 70's. But your point is still valid. The govt more than encourages it but is an active partner in the process. The US govt has made more revenue from federal leases then the entire oil industry combined. They may only collect about 1/6 of the production in royalty payments but folks forget about the many $billions paid in lease bonuses. Years ago I saw the stat: revenue collected by the oil patch + royalty collected by the govt + lease bonuses collected by the govt = $X. The govt has received more than 50% of $X. The revenue from govt mineral leases is the largest source of non-tax income the govt receives. I always get a giggle when folks claim the oil industry coerces the govt into supporting their activities. The govt is the drug pusher…the oil companies are the addicts. LOL

Bahraini villagers fear effects of tear gas

Many towns are blanketed nightly with the gas, raising fears of cancer and other long-term health problems.

... Abdulnabi blames the almost nightly tear gas for blinding his daughter, now almost 18 months old, and for causing a range of other health problems, including asthma. "Two weeks after her discharge from the hospital, there was so much toxic gas in this area, so much of it that she suffocated," he said. "I thought my daughter would die. She wasn't able to breathe. She choked."

Warm weather, dearth of snow leave ski resorts scrambling to keep terrain, chairlifts open
Johnny Aspen: 'The warmest summer I ever spent was this winter in Aspen'

“Killington's base lodge was destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Irene,” Schendler said. “The roads in Vermont were flooded away. Wait a minute — nobody said climate change would physically destroy ski resorts! We were worried about snow going away! In fact, the concern for the industry is deeper than that. What if, as a result of fires and floods, storms and droughts, we become a kind of survival society — where we are always responding to disaster, fixing bridges and roads, sumping the basement — and as a result we don't have the time, or the money, to go ski. Well, you could say 'boo hoo, I'm so sorry for you!' but in fact leisure, fun and other ancillary aspects of society are what make societies vibrant and successful. They are the cutting edge of creativity and thought."

"Cutting edge of Creativity and Thought."

Exactly.. how does that old saying go..?

"4-wide chairlifts and Neon-nylon Parkas are really the Mother of Invention."

Wise perspectives from the Video-game Industry..

They could put in PV or wind turbines help power the (assumed electric motor) chairlifts.

They could also design mountain bike downhill trails for no-snow, Plan B, season(s).

They could also design mountain bike downhill trails for no-snow, Plan B, season(s).

Most ski hills have done lots to diversify, but if your ski season starts late and ends early year after volatile year it really bites into the sustainability of the business. Note that article was about Aspen, a big resort, there are a lot of small ski hills that don't have the capital that the big resorts have that are going to go under.

Climate change will be unforgiving.

I think most ski resorts have long since become real-estate businesses, selling ski-lodges is the real source of income. That requires enough suckers to be willing to pay a high price. Somehow I don't think summer mountain biking will do the trick.
Summer staffs are a fraction of the size of winter staffs, there just isn't much money to be made on the off season.

Somehow I don't think summer mountain biking will do the trick.

Oh, I don't know. It's a big off-season money-maker for some of the resorts I have been at. It's true that the summer business isn't generally as big as the winter business, but it does help to pay the bills until the snow falls again next fall.

I'm sure the incremental revenue increase is crucial. Most likely they still lose money during the 6-9month offseason (counting the cost of underutilized capital).

Yes, but their capital costs are sunk costs. They have to pay the banks regardless of whether they are making any money at all. If they are making a bit of money it does help to cover the interest payments and avoiding them getting too deep into their lines of credit before the winter snows blow again.

I thought the topic of conversation was, what happens to their financial position when winter gets shorter and summer longer. I recon it deteriorates.

Up here (northern BC the other issue is the season is shifting later. So the first few months ~December tend to be much thinner and the snow really starts to fall in the alpine as it melts in the valleys in April. I've had some great Canada Day Ski touring trips in the last decade.

In the Canadian Rockies (Both Alberta and BC sides, plus the Selkirks, Purcells, etc) we have an amazing snowpack at this point in time - there is 3-5 metres of snow at some of the higher Alpine lodges. Sunshine Ski Resort has its best snow in years - they'll probably be skiing until July. Here in the Front Ranges, there's a heavy snowfall warning for tomorrow. I'll get my snow shovel out.

UK explorers struggle to strike Falklands oil

Argentina's sabre-rattling – coinciding with 30th anniversary of invasion of islands – comes despite lack of success by UK oil exploration companies

Desire Petroleum and Borders & Southern Petroleum, two of five London-listed exploration businesses with interests in the archipelago, announced annual pre-tax losses of $42.5m (£26.5m) and $1.74m on Monday.

Those figures are typical of explorers struggling to strike oil and there are two others in a similar situation. Argos Resources and Falkland Oil and Gas are long on promise but short on producing barrels of the black stuff.

The Government's Emergency Petrol Plan is "Not Fit for Purpose", Retailers Warn

The National Emergency Plan - Fuels will be enacted by the Government if the UK is in danger of running out of petrol. Under the plan, around 700 of the UK's 8,500 forecourts will be designated as 'official' stations with instructions to prioritise sales to the emergency services.

However RMI Petrol, the trade body that represents independent petrol forecourts, has written to Energy Minister Ed Davey warning him that the Plan is inadequte and full of "flaws".

Petrol retailers argue that the Plan is so secretive that they will not know if they are a designated station until an emergency is actually called. They say that staff have not been trained, the plan has not been rehearsed, and they have not been told who to prioritise petrol to.

Petrol panic causing misery among motorists in Barnet

... “Everywhere seems to be the same – I have spoken to other garages and they’re in a similar situation. Some customers have told me they have been to five garages before finding one with fuel.”

Mr Raja added that the average spend of about £30 has rocketed to £70 as drivers stock up.

Emergency deliveries are due to arrive at the station this evening but the station manager believes that unless people stop hoarding fuel, the situation will remain the same.

Emergency deliveries are due to arrive at the station this evening but the station manager believes that unless people stop hoarding fuel, the situation will remain the same.

The point that he's missing is that if everyone hoards, then soon a new equiblium will be reached where sales will revert to "normal" levels, except that motorists will get fuel at the half way mark instead of near empty, effectivly shifting a percentage of the fuel storage facility from the distribution system to the end user.

Excellent info, Seraph.

I doubt that there is a person on the planet who has devoted more time & attention to the issue of how best to prepare for and administer a liquid fuel emergency (LFE) than Alan Smart, who did some very detailed work for the Government of Australia about 8 years ago.
One of Alan's key points was that gov't needs to keep the public informed, so that there are few surprises when the emergency actually hits.
I was well aware of the UK's system of Designated Filling Stations (DFSs) but it never occurred to me that the DFS operators would not have been told of their DFS status, nor were they trained.

To quote from Cool Hand Luke: "What we have here is failure to communicate..." an excellent concept (DFSs), poorly executed (don't tell the DSF operators).

I think the personnel at the stations have been kept in the dark because if the plan was enacted a bunch of police/army would turn up and say "right, these people with this badge can draw fuel, this much, and these are the hours". You would need a continuous peace-keeping presence at each station to prevent citizen-based redistribution.

They don't want to let that out to the forecourt people, because it would leak to the press.

So, I think it's probably well executed; when you consider the impact such a plan would have. Commuting would be hit hard, and so most companies would have a difficult time operating. You want to keep that quiet.

I don't follow your reasoning, Gary.

The DSF model has been in place for several years and info regarding the model has been posted publicly, so these aspects should not be a surprise:

I assumed that the DFSs would have been chosen for various strategic reasons, and that the owners & operators would be fully aware that they have been selected and what the implications for their operations would be.
Therefore it's a surprise is to learn that (apparently) the operators (and perhaps the parent company itself) are not aware of their own status and have had no training in how to implement the DSF protocol.

The gov't website states, "Police will be responsible for maintaining law and order" but I'm not clear about your reference to citizen-based redistribution (black market re-selling?).

As for wanting to keep things quiet, Alan Smart argues that citizens should know well in advance how the system is intended to operate, what the ground-rules are likely to be, etc. Resilience can be improved by proactive planning, but it's hard to plan if no-one knows what the ground-rules will be. Furthermore, some people assume that either gov't will cap/regulate prices, or that (if a Priority User allocation scheme is implemented) they will be on the list of priority users.

What has been kept quiet here in North America is that unlike UK and Australia, no detailed review has been conducted of our plans for a major oil shock/liquid fuel emergency. The primary response tool for both Canada and USA is now "full price pass-through" (as opposed to any attempt to allocate fuel) which has many advantages, but ensuring that oil is put to best use is not one of them: millionaires could fly their planes, while family farmers cannot afford diesel for their tractors.

The thing about these fuel allocation systems is that the bureaucrats can be counted on to misallocate a lot of the fuel. As a rule of thumb, they will turn a 10% shortfall into a 20% shortfall - absolutely guaranteed.

That was the main problem when the US had its gasoline allocation system a few decades ago. If you went driving in rural Montana, the stations had more gasoline than they knew what to do with (literally). The problem was that all the drivers stayed in the big coastal cities rather than hitting the rural highways on vacation like they usually did, and the big cities ran out of gas. Rural areas had lots of it. The allocation rules, however, were based on historic driving patterns where everyone hit the highways.

And as someone said to me here in, Canada, "If someone down there wants a million gallons of gasoline and can pay cash, I can get it for them tomorrow. If they want 10 gallons, sorry there's no way I can do that. The rules don't permit it."

Canada actually had an allocation system ready, but it never went into effect and wasn't widely publicized. Fortunately, nobody (but me) read the rules, because they absolutely guaranteed that in the event of allocation, the average commuter would be short of fuel. Police, fire, army, ambulances, urban transit, bus companies, airlines, railways, trucking companies, farmers, and taxis all had a higher priority on the allocation list. Urban commuters were dead last - they could always take the bus or stay home.

"nobody (but me) read the rules"

You certainly aren't the only person to examine 'the rules' of Canada's legislation and federal plan pertaining to energy supply emergencies. Why would you make such an unsupportable claim?

"they absolutely guaranteed that in the event of allocation, the average commuter would be short of fuel."
There would be no allocation regime unless there were physical shortages.
In such an eventuality, you would be correct: the average commuter/citizen would be short of fuel, but please keep in mind the intended effect of allocation regime (to ensure that essential services are maintained during a period of insufficient supply). The purpose of prioritizing is of course to prioritize, meaning that when there is insufficient supply, people near the bottom may have to do with less/little/none, depending on that day's supply.

Far better for the average commuter to be short of fuel than the sectors that you cited: "Police, fire, army, ambulances, urban transit, bus companies, airlines, railways, trucking companies, farmers, and taxis."

By far the biggest problem with allocation schemes are the overwhelming issues of administration: identification & verification, Implementation & enforcement, equitability, public authority over private companies, etc.
Also, some allocation regimes are/were aimed at uses, not users, which further complicates things.

When I said nobody but me read the Canadian oil allocation rules, I was speaking facetiously. I'm sure a number of other people read them as well. I was implying that they weren't generally known. Did you read them?

Certainly, there was a good intent involved in creating oil allocation rules, but in fact there was no reason to have them because Canada was never at risk of an oil shortage. Canada was always self-sufficient in oil.

The main problem was the distribution system, because the oil pipelines did not reach to the East Coast. Even that was a solvable problem, because they could and did ship oil from the West Coast to the East Coast via the Panama Canal.


I doubt that many people have examined the federal legislation (1985) or the plan, which is not a single integrated document, but rather a set of materials which appear to date from the late 1970s. Some of this info was obtained a few years ago under ATI, while other documents were mailed to me five years ago by NRCan. Yes, I read all of it carefully (about 400 pgs, as I recall).

If people had examined the plan, it would immediately be apparent that it is ill-defined, overly complex and rather impossible to implement during an actual crisis. It is an effective counterpoint to Alan's Smart's work in Australia: he argues that an effective plan needs to be simple (one category of "Essential Users" only), clear, consistent with existing legislation, and able to be implemented at the local/municipal level.

"Canada was never at risk of an oil shortage."??
RMG, a few years ago our Nanticoke refinery had a minor fire, external to the buildings, but Ontario had shortages for many weeks. You follow oil issues very closely and know full well that what is theoretically possible (sending tankers to St. John via Panama) and what is feasible at scale are two very different things.

You make it sound as Canadians don't need to worry about oil shortages because we are theoretically self-sufficient in oil. We are far from self-sufficient in oil, and even if we were, there would still be the risk of an oil shortage.

We should have an effective plan (esp. at the local/municipal level) and probably some emergency reserves as well, but we don't. There is not a city in North America (as far as I'm aware, and I've done a lot of asking) which has a plan for the administration of fuel to its citizens, authority to stop panic buying, etc. If anyone is aware of info to the contrary, please provide it (I'd be very interested in examining it).

Maybe it's a difference of mindset, but I'd suggest the idea that you promote and promulgate the bad news of what rationing would be, ahead of the fact, to be unlikely in the UK. For a start there wouldn't be the assumption of 'need to know' for the proletariat or forecourt workers; and for second, if it really leaked what the plan was it would end up on the front page of the Daily Mail and cause no end of political trouble.

That aspects of the plan are available, if you look hard, wouldn't negate that - there is a reason for Douglas Adams "on display at the bottom of locked filing cabinet..." quote - it's consider necessary that it's mentioned, but not that it's called attention to.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the civil contingencies act tends to flow down responsibility that every government group have plans for resilience in emergencies - and that tends to flow out at bit in to large companies, etc. to be compatible in their resilience planning. As such you could expect rationing to be accompanied by calls to "implement your reduced commuter manpower and working from home plans". So, they have planning that's defined in a generic sense, but there wouldn't be wide promulgation of the whole plan to prevent 'panic'.

Think of the famous poster "Keep Calm and Carry On".

It stems from their 'Gold, Silver, Bronze' model - Gold makes strategic decisions that are supposed to take into account cross-sector issues. Silver makes lower level decision involved in one area or service in a 'mission command' sense. And Bronze operates plans 'on the ground' making tactical decisions at most, but generally just carrying out the plan and reporting back. As you can tell, it's military in derivation and very hierarchical - there is no need for a grunt soldier to know the whole detail of the battleplan, just to be trained in basic actions and carry out their 'mission'.

In short there are plans, but the details would be kept as close as possible to those that 'need to know'; which given their plans for how to allocate fuel wouldn't involve the forecourt or the public.

BTW Citizen based redistribution = people getting angry and rushing the filling station in disgust at politicians cars being considered 'priority'. Even before a strike is called, there have been fisticuffs on the forecourts...

Seems to show that BAU has very little extra capacity to absorb moderate (usage spikes|supply shocks) like this one.

Might end up being a "positive" if it lets people learn from the experience. Maybe some will use alternative solutions to get around. Maybe some companies will allow telecommuting, or more telecommuting days as a result, too.

Egypt: Fuel Shortage Threatens Bread Supplies

Cairo — It has been three months since a fuel shortage hit Egypt, and people's patience is wearing thin amid fears the crisis could disrupt the production of subsidized bread.

Most of Egypt's subsidized bakeries need diesel to operate, and some have had to close, for example in the Nile Delta governorate of Monofiya (Arabic).

... Some economists believe the current crisis may force the government to rethink its fuel subsidies' policy. Egypt spent the equivalent of US$83.3 billion subsidizing fuel over the past five years, according to the Petroleum Ministry.

Things aren't great, to say the least, in Egypt right now.....

Egypt: foot and mouth disease spreading among cattle stocks


Fertilizer use responsible for increase in nitrous oxide in atmosphere

University of California, Berkeley, chemists have found a smoking gun proving that increased fertilizer use over the past 50 years is responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric nitrous oxide, which is a major greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change.

Since the year 1750, nitrous oxide levels have risen 20 percent – from below 270 parts per billion (ppb) to more than 320 ppb. After carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide (N2O) is the most potent greenhouse gas, trapping heat and contributing to global warming. It also destroys stratospheric ozone, which protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays.

We probably should have first and most vigorously gone after these types of sources of NOX and CH4. They are much smaller and more amenable to pressure, more like the CFCs that were fairly successfully brought under control.

Going directly after big oil, coal and gas looks in retrospect like the smallest, scrawniest bespectacled kid on the playground going up to a bunch of the most violent motorcycle gang members in the area and insisting they hand over the keys to their bikes and start riding tricycles.

OTOH, we'll get to "go out" giggling and enjoying one last bit of Whipped Cream...

increased fertilizer use over the past 50 years is responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric nitrous oxide

And a tip of the planetary hat to Norman Borlaug and the Law of Unintended Consequences.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

After carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide (N2O) is the most potent greenhouse gas...

From what is understood, in terms of absolute potency, the order of those is reversed, with N2O being the most potent.

Per mole, you are correct (and it's not even close). So I suspect they're talking about total radiative forcing--though N2O is 4th at most, as it's also behind R-12 aka Freon-12.

The bizarre calculus of emergency room charges

... the calculus for medical charges in general is beyond comprehension, with outrageously high fees used as a starting point in a bizarre game of bargaining. Glenn Melnick, who teaches hospital finance at USC, told me it's as crazy as if he asked to buy the TV in my living room, and I gave him a price of $1 million to start the conversation.

This is the kind of insanity that exists when medicine and medical insurance are about private profit rather than public health, when 50 million people are uninsured, when Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements don't always cover true costs and when polarized politics prevent the kind of reasonable discussions that could lead to solutions.

What was that line from Keynes, when currency is destroyed not "one man in a million" can diagnose what's wrong, something like that.

Healthcare is not paid for, people. Do you get it. It's not paid for. It's all debt, to be paid off in the future by somebody, somewhere.

The same could be true for many things these days, but it's especially true in healthcare.

This is why you can safely ignore any debates or analysis on what is driving costs, how we can reduce them, how we can make them sustainable, or other such nonsense.

Where is the payment? Where is the capital? Does it lie underground in more fossil fuels to be burned up? Does it lie with the Federal Reserve, who will just create digital currency ex nihilo? Does it lie with the youngsters who are buried in student debt?

as if he asked to buy the TV in my living room, and I gave him a price of $1 million to start the conversation.

Tha analogy needs to be changed, you already brought the TV home, and you can't return it (you try it you bought it). Then the bargaining begins......

Don't forget - if you ASK for a price beforehand you can't get a price.

Don't forget - if you ASK for a price beforehand you can't get a price.

I fully intend to ask next time I am taken to an emergency room and refuse any treatment if a real price is not given in writing.

Last year I was taken to the hospital emergency room after my wife found me unconscious on the bathroom floor. As I am covered by Medicare and private group insurance, I assumed I'd have a reasonable copay.

After examining me and running an MRI on my head to check for a stroke, the emergency room doctor told me, "If you were 25 I'd send you home. But you're not, so I'm going to have you admitted for observation and some more tests."

I spent the next day in the hospital, and was discharged the following day. The best diagnosis they could come up with was a reaction to Niaspan (which I was taking to lower cholesterol).

Several weeks later we got a bill for almost $5,000. Both Medicare and the insurance company had weaseled out of most of the charges, quoting fine print about not covering "observation". We're still paying that off, over a year later.

More reasonable, but just as illogical, I recently had a routine checkup, which included blood work. The actual checkup cost me $20. I don't know what it cost the insurance company because that isn't disclosed. A few days ago we got the bill from the lab which analyzed the blood samples: the initial charge was over $700. But an agreement between the lab and the insurance company secured a discount of around $500. Then the insurance company paid $200, leaving a final amount owing of $12.51.

As for health care not being paid for, my wife and I pay several hundred dollars per month for insurance, her employer pays more, we both have Medicare tax taken out of our paychecks, and our employers pay their share of Medicare also. Maybe some people aren't paying for for health care, but we certainly are.

I had an incident where someone needed urgent treatment. When the hospital realised that the insurance didn't cover that hospital the treatment got a lot simpler, though the effective parts were still there, and the bill dropped to much less than 1/10th. BTW although irrelevant to acute situations,we get lots of medical tourists here who are out to save money. The facilities are up to scratch and have many American doctors. We even have American doctors that bring patients down here to save on the charges for support services.


Well sure it seems like there is "payment" because fiat money flows through conduits throughout the economy. But there's actually never payment because debt is always expanded, to infinity. It can do this because the money itself is fiat.

You pay the insurance company, then the insurance company pays the hospital. But, if the insurance company can't pay, it doesn't go bankrupt. It just goes into more debt. Same for the hospital, same for the people. The insurance company then thinks it can pay the interest on this debt through getting new customers. Same for the hospital...so they add a wing or two. Same for the people...they just think they'll earn more money in the future.

There can only be payment if the debts themselves are paid off, which they never are. They can't be, otherwise we would suffer debt deflation.

Mass drivers

have been proposed for space disposal of nuclear waste, where a projectile launched at much above Earth's escape velocity would escape the Solar System, with atmospheric passage at such speed calculated as survivable through an elongated projectile and very substantial heatshield.

Funny, I thought it was going to be an article on Boston Road Manners..

Nevertheless, this concept was well employed in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in the early 60's ..

Here's a fun Heinlein quote that turned up while I was looking for something else..

"Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do."

Heard of the novel.

Unsure of both machine and theory, but how I'd love to get this stuff out of here and ASAP! :\

Nothing could possibly go wrong!

Ya... :) :\ ...ya I guess... ok ok, how about a... space elevator?

Gateway hearing cancelled after protesters greet panel
Bella Bella resident says protest was peaceful

The review panel was scheduled to hold four days of hearing in the remote community to gather local concerns about the controversial proposal to build a crude oil pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast.

A large crowd greeted the panel members when they arrived in Bella Bella, but later on Sunday afternoon, Monday's hearing was cancelled. Some high school students in the community reportedly began a 48-hour hunger strike after the panel arrived.

Heiltsuk First Nation Chief Marilynn Slett told a community meeting that the review panel had sent a notice that it would not be proceeding with the sessions because of security concerns.

"It was their perception that it wasn't a very secure or safe environment," Slett told CBC News on Monday morning.

But Slett says the protest and the community are peaceful.

"Heiltsuk is known up and down the coast as being a really friendly community, one of the friendliest communities you can come accross, so we were quite offended by that."

Judging by the video the protest looked quite peaceful.

I think the Canadian government has become thoroughly fed up with native protests, and in the near future it will make painfully clear to them just exactly what their rights are and are not. Basically, they will be told to shut up and get out of the way.

I could see this coming a long time ago. They have been claiming rights that exist nowhere in Canadian law. Talking and protesting won't change that.

All of what you say is true, RMG, however, you get a bunch of ski masked natives with guns stopping trains and blocking roads it gets messy and public. Remember the golf course in Oka? These guys have lots of time on their hands to get whipped up. They will protest, and do so with a vengeance. There will be burial grounds on the pipeline route. You might not know where they are, but they will be there.

Here in BC (VI), where there are few treaties, the Govt. sucks up big time by allocating elk permits when the herd pop skyrockets, citing traditional harvest rights, and yet it is an introduced species on Vancouver Island. If I shoot an elk ravaging my property and chasing me down the driveway I go to jail. Or, native logging permits done by contractors, when all others cannot get permits. Don't forget the 'traditional right to hunt with torches at night down in Saanich, of course modernized to use pitlamps and pickups all over the Island. Yup, traditional pitlamping is okay.

There is a double standard and the 'press' are all Toronto-Vancouver tsk tsk types, quick to believe the rhetoric.

All, mho. Excuse the angry redneck attitude. The rant. It's the radio station I am listening to right now. Blame it on radio. Maybe someone will offer me cheap gas and smokes with no collected taxes. Oh yeah, I don't smoke and don't wish to drive. Oh well. Missed out. Again.


Further to the above rant, I will thank the Natives for stopping the pipeline. The product will go south to the Gulf, anyway. What's wrong with slowing down development? There is already a labour shortage on site. We now need to bring in foreign workers to ramp up development to justify building a pipeline that isn't built yet? Let's leave some in the ground for slow rational development that our grandkids might enjoy and utilize.

What's the rush? We need more tax dollars to buy F-35s? I don't think so.


"Let's leave some in the ground for slow rational development that our grandkids might enjoy and utilize. "

When have we, collectively, ever done that? National Parks and forests come to mind, but, even now, there is pressure to open such areas to resource extraction. This 'wisdom' is a temporary thing, only made possible by an abundance of wealth elsewhwere. We humans have a very poor record of long-term consideration for future generations. After all, they exist only in our imaginations.

National Parks and forests come to mind, but, even now, there is pressure to open such areas to resource extraction.

And there is a fringe element who claims the parks are already signed over as part of the backing of the national debt.

Such people and their claims sound like they believe them - no idea how close to an actual truth they are however.

Yeah, de Rothschild's "World Conservation Bank" and all that:

How Edmund de Rothschild Managed to Let 179 Governments Pay Him for Grasping Up to 30% of the Earth

I was thinking more along the lines of: U.S. House Votes to Open ANWR!

... and State lawmakers push to take over millions of federal acres:

Another "sagebrush rebellion" is spreading through legislatures in some Western states with a series of formal demands that the federal government hand over title to tens of millions of acres of forests, ranges and other public lands...

...Supporters say federal agencies have mismanaged the land and blocked access to natural resources, depriving the states of jobs and revenue from businesses ready to develop those resources. With the state in control, the backers say, loggers could return to forests where endangered species halted work decades ago and miners could regain access to ore outside the Grand Canyon...

Land prices in the west tend to be higher than you would think. The population is growing, and the Feds will not sell, so the western states tear up good farmland ( the was what got settled when the Feds were giving away/selling land) to handle the population. Usually not far away is hopelessly rocky/sandy wretched piece of not-quite dirt that would actually be improved by a McMansion, or even better a PV installation. But no, we can't have that, as it's on Federal land, so off limits.

No I don't want the forests clear cut (unless they are lodgepole pine, which actually like being clearcut and burned) but you can go too far the other way too.


Your pessimism seems well shared. Yet Kenneth Boulding wrote, "If it exists, it must be possible."

National Parks and forests are good examples. The cataloging, by Elinore Ostrom and her colleagues, of numerous resilient common property resource regimes, some lasting centuries, further support Boulding's notion. And many of the instances cataloged were in austere situations.


Most of Ostrom's examples, as will future conservation successes, required some form of institutional continuity, generally authoritarian, an enforcement capacity, and penalties severe enough to overcome the rewards of exploitation, and/or austerity levels at a point where exploitation wasn't economically viable on any scale that mattered. Additionally, no civilization/society has faced our extreme level of overshoot.

Desperation, percieved or real, changes things. Even now we see tropical rainforests being destroyed on a vast scale, even where there is the political will to preserve them. Reality intervenes. Institutional and cultural biases against destroying the natural world fall away as 7 billion (and counting) humans need to be fed, clothed, housed, warmed, and transported. As I've said before, this time is different, if only due to scale and complexity. No previous society has been locked into our global level of inputs. It, of course, is a limits-to-growth thing, and our self-imposed limits have always been fungible, secondary to hard limits.

Don't disagree with your second paragraph at all.

Your first, however, might be somewhat misreading some of Ostrom's principles of what makes for a successful CPR (see a discussion of her principles here or on page 90 of her Governing the Commons).

Only her last two principles involve extra-group institutions and even there she sees the interactions as limited, primarily through a process of legitimization.

It's noteworthy that the monitors and officials mentioned are almost always from within the CPR. And the penalties involved are graduated, rarely needing to reach severe levels to be functional.

Humans do seem capable of such management. And nothing in the research of Ostrom and her colleagues suggests that such management is impossible under extreme resource constraints. Although you are correct; none of the cases she analyzed were as you describe (i.e., in extreme global overshoot).

The list of principles (below) is thought to range from more important (i.e., boundaries, rule congruence, collective-choice, monitoring) to the somewhat less important.

A key distinction, rarely appreciated, is the difference between what Hardin was talking about (i.e., open access situations) and what a commons actually is. Our form of democracy (and our worldview?) seems to treat resources in an open access way (or demands that others treat them that way, i.e., no exclusive membership, free access by markets). In contrast, resilient long-term management needs boundaries, well monitored.

Ostrom might be astounded to read your suggestion that these institutions need to be, in general, authoritarian. That was not her finding at all. It was, however, what Hardin posited (although without his having analyzed actual CPR cases). Ostrom's research on these issues, over many decades, is driven by a desire to understand how democratic governance emerges from resource-constrained circumstances (or so she said in a conversation when discussing her Nobel prize).


1. Clearly defined boundaries: Individuals or households who have rights to withdraw resource units from the CPR must be clearly defined, as must the boundaries of the CPR itself.

2. Congruence between rules and local condition: Rules restricting time, place, technology, and/or quantity of resource units are related to local conditions. There should be a small set of simple rules related to the access and resource use patterns agreed upon by the appropriators, rules easy to learn, remember, use and transmit.*

3. Collective-choice arrangements: Most individuals affected by the operational rules can participate in modifying these operational rules. There is a need to remain adaptable, to be able to modify the rules with regard to membership, access to and use of the CPR and to remain responsive to rapid exogenous changes. *

4. Monitoring: Monitors, who actively audit CPR conditions and appropriator behaviors, are accountable to the appropriators or are the appropriators. The enforcement of the rules is shared by all appropriators sometimes assisted by "official" observers and enforcers. *

5. Graduated sanctions: Appropriators who violate operational rules are likely to be assessed graduated sanctions (depending on the seriousness and context of the offense) by other appropriators, by officials accountable to these appropriators, or by both.

6. Conflict-resolution mechanisms: Appropriators and their officials have rapid access to low-cost local arenas to resolve conflicts among appropriators or between appropriators and officials. There is also the need to adapt the rules to changing conditions and apply different rules to different problems and scales of problems. *

7. Minimal recognition of rights to organize: The rights of appropriators to devise their own institutions are not challenged by external governmental authorities. Appropriators must be able to legally sustain their ownership of the CPR.* Furthermore, their organization must be perceived as legitimate by the larger set of organizations in which it is nested. *

8. Nested enterprises: For CPRs that are part of a larger system, the appropriation, provision, monitoring, enforcement, conflict resolution, and governance activities are organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises.

Source: After Ostrom, 1990; * See Ostrom, 1992

Thanks, Ray. Sorry, I should have clarified that some authority must be in place to provide an environment for the CPR to be maintained in. A near example I'm most familiar with is game lands management. While often maintained at a more local level, the authority of the State provides overall governance and enforcement statutes. I remember when Game Wardens didn't carry guns, even though the hunters did.

My original concern was on a more macro level, and especially regarding finite resource allocation, though, regarding renewable resources, I'm basically in agreement with this article:

Common property regimes typically function at a local level to prevent the overexploitation of a resource system from which fringe units can be extracted. There are no examples of common property regimes which solve problems of overuse on a larger scale, such as [[air pollution (ref?)]]. In some cases, government regulations combined with tradable environmental allowances (TEAs) are used successfully to prevent excessive pollution, whereas in other cases — especially in the absence of a unique government being able to set limits and monitor economic activities — excessive use or pollution continue.

Even international fishing quota agreements haven't been successful in preventing depletion of most fish stocks; poor oversight and enforcement. Locally administered schemes have their problems as well. I spent time in Northern Washington where the various tribes had gained rights to the salmon runs on their traditional rivers. It was a huge mess at the time, requiring strong oversight/enforcement, generally by the quite authoritarian State agencies, and it became a source of division, even prejudice, and those opposed to the new rules were basically just sport fishermen, not relying on their catch for sustainance. It was very much a case of overlapping commons, which is where we are today, IMO, and the source of my pessimism regarding all resource allocation.

So, while Ostram's ideas are elegant and likely sustainable at a local level (and local is my mantra), in an era when virtually all resources are increasing in scarcity and value, there will be little left which is considered local by the larger population, or even the international 'community'. Plenty of examples of that: The Chinese and Saudis buying up prime arable lands in Africa and elsewhere is just one example. Imperial 'arrangements' to exploit resources in peripheral nations, another. Monocrop palm oil plantations....I could go on.

"Anything worth having is worth taking" seems historically accurate. While it may not seem that I'm a generally positive person, I think, at some point this model may be one of the only viable solutions, but we have a lot to learn collectively.

Or, to paraphrase Lovelock, putting humans in charge of the global commons is like putting goats in charge of a garden. (Though I would say this is doubly true if you replace 'humans' with 'modern industrialist consumerist capitalist society.')

I heard Ostram talk recently, and I did find her work elegant, but I she didn't address how her ideas could be applied to truly global commons like the atmosphere. I assume that she addresses them somewhere in her written work, but I have not taken the time to dig through them.

Actually, the Alberta government did slow down the development of oil resources in the interest of conservation. The wells were on allocation long after the Texas Railroad Commission set all its allowables to 100%.

But mathematically speaking, it is provable that if you use it at any finite rate, you will eventually use it all up anyway. If you never use it at all, then it is just a conversation piece and of no economic value.

The thing is, if you use it, you need to have a strategy for what to do when it is all gone, and the Alberta and Canadian governments do have such a strategy - it is to develop the oil sands.

The oil sands will continue to supply oil for another century or more, and then they will have to think of something else - cold fusion, perhaps, or zero point energy generators, or something we haven't thought of. 100 years is a long time and nothing stays the same. And, if all else fails, there is still hydroelectric power.

Tom Murphy has analyzed those options. Hydro's potential on a global scale is miniscule. Cold fusion is a fantasy candy thrown to the masses to divert their attention away from the best "solutions". What is a "zero point energy generator", or were you being funny?

If they get this pipeline built to China then the oil sands sure won't last 100 years. And where will all the natural gas come from to process all the oil sand? Already they are running out and need a new pipeline from the Arctic. Without natural gas they'll have to burn the oil sand to provide the energy to process further oil sand, in the process significantly decreasing the size of the reserve.

As Tom points out there are basically only 2 realistic options going forward: solar and some kind of nuclear. I discount nuclear because of the social decay that will be accompanying energy decline -- both from a practical standpoint of being able to build an maintain such highly complex systems as centralized reactors in a society that's falling apart, and also the waste generation issue.

So that leaves solar, and it's generally poopoohed by the masses and the oil industry -- little surprise there.

Cold fusion is a fantasy candy thrown to the masses to divert their attention away from the best "solutions". What is a "zero point energy generator", or were you being funny?

I saw it as the laundry list of what's offered up by the technofixers.

You would have known of the tongue in cheek status had the idea of a multi-farad interocitor bead condenser was offered up to store the energy.

Well, I would have mentioned the multi-farad interocitor bead condenser had I thought of it, and dilithium crystals are another possible energy source. I was just tossing ideas out there because you never know what somebody might invent. The big breakthroughs are always black swans.

100 years is a long time. When my grandfather was born, the automobile had not been invented, the electric light bulb had not been invented, and the telephone had not been invented. The primary use of oil was for kerosene lamps. People had to travel by horse, except my grandfather couldn't afford a horse, so he walked 50 miles every weekend to visit my grandmother.

He couldn't take the train because he was working on the railroads, and until he finished laying the tracks the trains couldn't run. He couldn't send her a telegraph because they didn't put in the telegraph lines until after they finished the railroad tracks. It was, in fact, a real frontier, which is why he was laying railroad tracks to make enough money to buy the horses and plow to break the land on his own homestead. My grandmother lived in a tent for 4 years until my grandfather got around to building them a sod house.

By the time he died, at the age of 99, men had been to the moon and back. I often thought, "Wow! What a huge change in the world occurred during his lifetime!"

As far as I can tell cold fusion is real. The Japanese are leading the way. Takahashi and Kitamura are getting 1 to 2 watts from 2 grams of nickel powder and hydrogen. We are waiting to see what they will get from 20 grams.

DARPA and DOD's Threat Reduction Agency are investing in cold fusion research.

As far as I can tell, cold fusion is still a delusion. It's not theoretically impossible, but the odds of finding a way around the energy barriers are poor. So far all the promoters have been either been self-deluded or out and out fraudsters.

Lets say 'cold fusion' does exist.

How does one go from 'oh look at this' to a human-grade energy source?


And what if certain practical forms of what could be called "cold fusion" are perfected? What if one or more of these methods could be used to initiate classic thermo-nuclear fusion without the use of a fission bomb trigger?

Murphy has analyzed those options. Hydro's potential on a global scale is miniscule...

Total world technical feasibility from him and other sources is estimated at ~2 TW. Total world hydro *economic* feasibility estimates are ~1.2 TW. So far, 0.4 TW built.

By comparison, world *primary* energy consumption is ~16 TW. World electric consumption is ~2.5 TW.

World Hydro Potential
Murphy DTM

I wouldn't call the potential for 1/8th of current world energy consumption from a single renewable miniscle. Thats actually a pretty sizeable BB. And given the energy quality issues, much of that 16TW is low grade heat, which could be supplied by heat pumps....
This hydro is pretty decent for baseline -and possibly even somewhat good for load balancing, so it is a quite useful BB.

Agreed, that's why I posted a response, and listed electricity generation which is all non-primary energy. Hydro might eventually provide *at least* half of the world's electricity needs. That's not my preference - placing a heck of lot more dams on rivers - but I still recognize the size of the resource.

I mentioned hydro because 60% of Canada's electricity is generated by hydro, and there are still large undeveloped hydroelectric resources in Northern Canada. Kitimat, the termination point of the Gateway Pipeline, also has huge hydroelectric resources. If they build any LNG plants there, they might use the hydro resources to liquefy the gas rather than burning any gas to do it.

Natural gas is not going to be a constraining resource because there are huge shale gas fields in Northeast BC. Burning the heavy ends of the oil has always been a possibility in the oil sands plants, but to date natural gas has been cheaper.

The plan to bring down natural gas from the Canadian Arctic has been a pipe dream of the companies for 30 years, but at this point in time there is too much cheap shale gas on the North American market to make it economic. The gas is there, the markets for it are not.

Actually, that's why they want to develop Site C, to power the liquifaction of NG at Kitimat. So though Christy Harper likes to greenwash BC as developing renewable sources of energy by damming our remote wilderness salmon rivers in the name of "green energy", what she's really doing is nothing less than increasing our dependence on FF's.

Most people don't understand the nature of the land claims of the Native people in Canada. The case of BC is particularly bad because the BC government refused to sign any treaties with them for about 110 years, and that left all their land claims in limbo.

The basic thing, though, is that they have hunting rights because they used to hunt on the land, and they have fishing rights because they used to fish in the rivers and ocean. They also have some rights to cut down trees because they used to do that to build lodges.

So, that's why they can hunt out of season, fish out of season, cut down trees with special permits, and they can hunt by pitlamps if that is what they historically used to do.

However, they do not have the historical right to stop people crossing lands they do not have reservations on, because historically other Indian bands and the fur traders used to do that. Any attempt to stop them ended up in a bloody war. More particularly, they do not have the right to stop railways, and by extension pipelines from crossing the hunting grounds. The pipeline route does not cross any Indian reservations.

The land disputes the native people have are with the BC government, not the federal government. The BC government owns the land they are claiming rights over. The federal government can overrule the BC government when it is building pipelines across their land, and therefore it can overrule the natives as well. It doesn't really matter who owns it.

As for native burial grounds, when the oil company I was working for built pipelines and roads across areas the BC natives had land claims on, we would just hire the BC native construction companies to build them. Then we were absolutely guaranteed there were would be no native burial grounds dug up. And if there were they would just shut the heck up and rebury the bones without telling anyone. They actually did a pretty good job of construction so we had no qualms about hiring them - after all they were available when and where we needed them.

Harper budget has $8M to restrict 'political activities' of charities

Stephen Harper's conservative government intends to spend $8 million over the next two years to restrict the political activities of Canadian charities. The move is being perceived as an attack on Canada's environmental movement, which receives a portion of its funding from American charitable organizations.

"Recently, concerns have been raised that some charities may not be respecting the rules regarding political activities," reads the Economic Action Plan 2012. "There have also been calls for greater public transparency related to the political activities of charities, including the extent to which they may be funded by foreign sources."

Those concerns, in fact, were raised most loudly by federal natural resources minister Joe Oliver, who, in his infamous open letter from last January, lashed out at the "environmental and other radical groups" that use "funding from foreign special interest groups."

The $8 million in administrative changes will fund "education and compliance activities with respect to political activities by charities."

This was an austerity budget with large cuts, so finding $8 million dollars for "education and compliance activities" is pretty telling.

It will also "improve transparency by requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, including the extent to which these are funded by foreign sources."

A recent Maclean's analysis suggests the initiative is aimed directly at Tides Canada, a registered charity which spends some of its American funding "on political advocacy to oppose oil sands and pipeline projects. This budget announces measures to make those activities harder."

Reporter Paul Wells added: "This is not my theory. It was cheerfully explained to me by a government staffer in the budget lockup."

The Canadian government has become concerned about the fact that in recent years a lot of the funding for Canadian environmental activism has been coming from American political groups. The government views it as intervention in Canadian politics by foreign interest groups with dubious motives. The $8 million is to investigate who these groups are and what they are doing.

What they are doing is already in violation of Canadian tax law, because the Canadian government does not allow tax deductions for funds donated to lobby the Canadian government.

Yeah, and I wonder how much of BP's $40 billion profit trickles its way back to Harper's neck of the woods? Why would any US environmental group lobby the Canadian government? Obviously the Cons have no ears for them.

Where does "Ethical Oil"'s funding come from? Do you think maybe CAPP.ca has been doing just a teeny weeny bit of "lobbying" of the federal government itself?

"Dubious motives" indeed. They'll hear my motives at the hearings, being the "foreign radical environmentalist" I am -- actually, I am a mechanical engineer, forester and ecologist, born and raised in BC, working in coal mining...

I don't think much of BP's $40 billion in profits trickled down into Canada. BP sold its Canadian subsidiary some years ago. It has since reacquired some assets through takeovers, but it has been more interested in the natural gas liquids business than in oil sands.

The Canadian government's interest is that it is making billions of dollars in taxes from the oil sands, and it could be making billions more if the oil could move into the profitable Asian market. The government is not a disinterested party in the oil sands, and they don't like people reducing their intake of tax revenues on them.

After all, they have a very expensive universal medical care system to pay for, plus huge pension commitments that have to be funded somehow. The F-35 fighter program is optional, that might go down the drain the way things are going.

They voted in Mr.Sweatervest, now they have to deal with it. Just like Bush got two terms in the US.

PetroChina to build Northern Gateway pipeline?

China's largest state-controlled oil company, PetroChina, is reportedly interested in building Enbridge's $5.5 billion Northern Gateway project.

"They have made the point to us that they are very qualified in building pipelines, and we will take that into consideration when we are looking for contractors," outgoing Enbridge president and CEO Pat Daniel told the National Post. "It’s an open bid process. They are a very big organization, they build a lot of pipelines, and they would love to be involved from what they have told me."

The Chinese firm is considering purchasing an equity interest in Northern Gateway, Daniel said, making it a part-owner in the project.

It could be years before Enbridge actually selects a pipeline builder, but, as the National Post's Claudio Cattaneo notes, "with a workforce of almost two million and cheaper labour costs than its North American counterparts, the Chinese company stands a good chance of presenting a competitive bid."

It's amazing what you can outsource these days!

The Chinese are increasingly active in working to get Chinese-owned Canadian oil sands production to China. This is just an example, but indicates they are becoming increasingly bold about it.

The workers, however, will probably mostly be Canadian. They will only bring in Chinese workers if they can't find enough Canadians. A labor shortage on these projects, though, is a real possibility and the Canadian government would probably expedite the process.

As we are taken over by commies....

The Chinese are more capitalistic than we are.

So now you're suggesting that it's a GOOD thing for Canada to be bought by the Chinese government.....

China has no democracy. People do not have rights beyond what the government decides to grant them. They realize the world is out of resources, and they are waiting until they can secure as much of the world's remaining resources as they can, while they still can before the monetary system collapses, from stoohpid countries like us with corrupt bribed politicians more than willing to hand over our precious resources in return for worthless pieces of paper, from delusional people that think that what China has done over the last 15 years is admirable and that we should jump on board too for the party of prosperity!

As Harpo says on every government propaganda website: "Jobs! Growth! Prosperity!" We should all believe him, because he has the best interests of Canadians at heart!

Jobs, growth, prosperity. Of course that's what the Canadian government wants. Everything the US and Europe don't have these days.

I know China is not a democracy, but it's not exactly a communist dictatorship, either. It's more of a capitalist technocracy, if you want to be accurate about it.

China has no democracy.

Neither does most of the rest of the world. Example - the US of A is a republic.

People do not have rights beyond what the government decides to grant them

Don't have a bell on your bike? Get naked for the cops.

How many/much rites does one have if you can be stopped and stripped for lacking a bell.

The Northeast US Gasoline Supply Situation Tightens

The metaphorical transmission gears of NE refiners are not shifting easily from winter gas blends to those that meet environmental standards for summer. Logistical problems, refinery operational problems, closing Caribbean refineries and high gasoline prices worldwide have diminished NE gasoline supplies enough so that NYC area prices rose roughly about 12 cents/gallon just today (7cents on the futures plus 5cents in the NYC area).

In the downhill race between falling supplies and falling demand, it is not yet clear if the significant year over year 5.5% to 7.0% national fall in gasoline demand is yet enough to allow the US to smoothly sail through another 'summer driving season' without any supply interruptions. With Summer just around the corner, many Northeast states must soon sell a blend of gasoline with a lower vapor pressure (RVP) for which supplies may be limited. [Summer-blend gasoline has a lower Reid vapor pressure, meaning it creates less vapor than winter-blend gasoline and is less likely to contribute to smog formation in higher temperatures.] It is a more complicated refining process to produce gasoline with lower RVP. If faced with a shortage of low vapor pressure gasoline, individual States can and likely will request exemptions from the Environmental Protection Agency to use what gasoline is available - which could likely be a leftover 'winter blend'. Already discussions are underway to have the EPA issue at least a temporary waiver for a special type of gasoline normally needed in Southwest Pennsylvania during the summer.

Usually the Northeast prepares to build up supplies for the summer ‘driving season’ (unofficially starting on the Memorial Day holiday weekend at end of May) during March and April, but perhaps it won't be able to this time.

US Cash Products-Harbor gasoline rallies on supply issues
Mon Apr 2, 2012 7:58pm GMT

* Harbor CBOB gasoline up 5.00 cents a gallon

On the Gulf Coast, 9.0-Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) M2 gasoline differentials slipped by a half cent per gallon early on Monday, but later rebounded as its latest five-day lifting cycle scheduled to move on the Colonial Pipeline, ending the day up 0.50 cent per gallon at 10.50 cents under May RBOB futures on the NYMEX, traders said.


The Superspike Next Time - January 2, 2012

Essentially present oil production trends will lead to the closing of refiners faster than new refineries or improvements can be made, because in general refiners will not adjust fast enough to the lower quality of oil available (which require more upgrades and refinements than higher quality oil).

With the recent shutdowns in Northeast US refineries, and shutdowns in Caribbean refineries, and shutdowns in European refineries, there is a real chance of a gasoline supply shortfall on the Atlantic coast this summer.

As it implies, the Northeast refineries can't handle the increasingly heavy and sour feedstock that is becoming all that is available at reasonable cost on the world market these days. It bodes ill for consumers in the Northeast US. It's time for them to sell the SUV and get a Prius, or maybe a bicycle.

Due to the problems associated with refining it, is it uneconomical, or does it require a higher fuel pump price, and if so does anyone on here have a handle on what that price would need to be to get more refineries to process this gunk?

The essential problem is that demand is declining in the US and Europe as the result of high prices. If refineries increase prices, that will just reduce demand and make more refineries redundant. They are on what we who were in the economic forecasting business used to call a "death spiral", of an industry which is going out of business. This is the ultimate consequence of Peak Oil.

The stuff that you call "gunk", but which is better described as "heavy oil" is already much cheaper than conventional oil, and the refineries which can process it are already operating at a profit. Other refineries can't justify spending the money because the existing heavy oil refineries have enough capacity to supply the remaining market, and those refineries don't have to pay the capital costs of upgrades - they can undercut the prices of any new refinery that comes into the market.

The difference between "gunk" and "heavy oil" is... Well, there isn't any difference, actually. Gunk is the stuff you find clumped at the bottom of a gasoline tank if you drain it. Any good heavy oil refinery could re-refine it and turn it into high-octane gasoline for you.

Well put. Probably a lesser, secondary problem is just arranging for the oil to show up at Northeast refineries on a regular schedule. Northeast refiners don't have the fallback position of having oil from Canada or Bakken being shipped directly by pipeline, which is generally a cheaper and more reliable method of transporting oil [although there are some plans to change that].

Today a company with rail connections proposed buying a Northeast refiner up for sale. Supposedly they may be able to arrange for rail shipments from the Bakken, whose oil may be usable at this refinery. Even if this bid fails, other plans by other companies are already underway to step up rail shipments of oil to the Northeast - especially from the Bakken area of North Dakota.

Exclusive: Pennsylvania fracking firm in lead for Philly refinery: sources
NEW YORK | Mon Apr 2, 2012 7:41pm EDT

Preferred Sands, based in nearby Radnor, is a supplier of sand and proppant to the hydraulic fracturing industry, and also operates a fleet of more than 1,500 rail cars with connections to major railroads.


O'Neill said the rail connection would be able to help the refinery run a lot more of the cheaper domestic North American crude including Bakken from North Dakota, which would improve profit margins. The refinery would also continue to run more traditional imported, higher-cost crudes priced off the international benchmark Brent oil futures.


Platt's Oilgram News: Regulation & The Environment: just how much oil is coming out of federal waters?

How much oil and gas is produced each year from federal lands and waters?

What appears to be a simple question has proven to be anything but, especially in an election year when statistics get pulled and twisted like saltwater taffy to suit specific needs ...

... The Energy Information Administration regularly publishes reports of "production." But what they actually track are sales volumes reported by the Interior Department. Those sales represent the oil, gas, and natural gas liquids that producers sell into the marketplace and record each month on the "Report of Sales and Royalty Remittance," otherwise known as Form 2014. ...

The energy news becomes steadily more grim. There are more shortages around the world and the high prices speak for themselves.

Meanwhile, the establishment attempts to restart the waste-based economy to produce more 'wealth' for the handful of tycoons who own it. Attempts to increase waste pushes prices higher which adversely effects the ability to waste further. This is a closing cycle: the waste trend like short skirts and all the other fads is running out of steam.

Waste-for-profit has allowed great numbers to behave in an unserious manner. It will be hard to return to seriousness, but the circumstances of overshoot will not leave alternatives. The world's humans will have to make choices about human population, farming techniques and machinery use that they have been putting off since the industrial revolution began.

Resource stripping and many related dynamics are at the point where their inherent unprofitability cannot be overcome with borrowed funds. Wasting billions in resources is the waste of billions in capital. The capital is gone, industrialization is unproductive. It always has been, the cost to subsidize waste has become unbearable.

The formula is simple: cheap fuel + cheap credit = positive system returns.

This is the waste gap. A return on waste of zero with $20 fuel leaves $20 that must be borrowed. This was not a difficult task in the 'good old days' of rapidly expanding finance.

Expensive fuel + expensive credit = negative real returns. The waste gap widens. Returns are still zero but the fuel costs is now $100+ per barrel. The waste gap is unaffordably wide! The amount of funds borrowed to meet the fuel price are greater: funds must be borrowed to service/retire previous borrowings. Adding more credit pushes up the bid for fuel which adds to pressure on credit. Supply and demand emerge and the entire enterprise falls bankrupt because credit cannot be afforded.

Last month an OECD country defaulted on some of its debts for the first time world war two. Greece is a broken nation reduced to stealing funds from hospitals so that bankers can be paid ... so that other bankers will lend to Greece.

That country gone, Ireland on the skids, Spain and Italy ... none of these countries will be able to 'consume'. What is underway is conservation by other means. As the peripherals fall, the core states will also unravel or collapse. What cannot be ignored is the speed with which peak oil swept the Greek economy into the trash bin of history. Look for the next victims to fall with astounding speed, like Greece.

The default of the periphery is the default of German industry's customers. Countries cannot borrow easily, they have borrowed much already ... to subsidize more and more waste.

"The world's humans will have to make choices about human population, farming techniques and machinery use that they have been putting off since the industrial revolution began. "

The choices have been made for them by their ancestors. Going forward will be populations reacting to those choices, consigned to increasingly fewer options; hunter-gatherers in a vastly depleted, overpopulated environment. Evolution's experiment comes full circle as declining numbers of humans readapt to their original strategy. Competition for remaining viable, arable lands will deplete even those zones of hope until the few will be supremely situated at the top of a short food chain; wandering the planet, searching and scrounging...

I wonder what stories they'll tell, huddled in their shelters trying to keep cool, drawing pictures of giant cabbages on the cave walls.

War and resource depletion are two sides of the same coin. In both cases, people's entitlement mentality leads them to acquire wealth at another people's expense. In the case of war, it is another country or society. In the case of resource depletion, it is future generations. Nuclear weapons have raised the stakes sufficiently so that waging war for the acquisition of wealth involves rapidly diminishing returns. Consequently, the emphasis today is on resource depletion.

Enterprise Seeks Pricing Muscle for Seaway Oil Pipeline

Well the fact that the Seaway pipeline is being reversed to move oil sands production to the Gulf Coast is a useful news item, but the picture captioned Mining operations at Syncrude Canada's oil sands in Canada. is a bit of a miss, location-wise.

It's actually an open-pit coal mine somewhere in the arid American West. The reddish and beige soil formations in the background give it away as Western desert, and the presence of big lumps of coal in the foreground give it away as a coal mine. An oil sands mine would be uniformly black or dark grey because the oil is black, and there would be no lumps of coal to be seen. There would also be a lot more water around.

Meanwhile, back to the "real" world of political economics:

Greek Refiner Stops Iran Oil Buys, Banking a Problem

E. Swanson

A Summary of my Recent Thoughts Regarding Consumption to Production Ratios in Oil Exporting Countries

Saudi Arabia, and the (2005) top 33 net oil exporters overall, are showing the same type of increase in their ratios of domestic consumption to domestic production of total petroleum liquids (C/P) that led to a number of net oil exporting countries becoming net oil importing countries, e.g., Indonesia, UK and Egypt. While there are some examples of increasing C/P ratios, followed by declines, they tend to correlate to falling oil prices, e.g., Saudi Arabia in the early Eighties, or they tend to correlate to political problems causing a temporary production decline, e.g., Colombia in recent years.

The initial increases in the C/P ratios for many oil exporting countries, e.g., Indonesia, when extrapolated provided reasonably accurate estimates for when the exporting country: (1) Approached zero net oil exports and (2) For the approximate volume of post-peak Cumulative Net Exports (CNE).

Given an ongoing production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut their consumption at the same rate as, or at a rate faster than the rate of decline in production, the C/P ratio will increase with time, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time. Case histories of countries that have "successfully" cut their consumption, e.g., Denmark, are not encouraging, since the small decline in consumption has not come close to offsetting the decline in production. Furthermore, Indonesia's current attempt to reduce petroleum subsidies illustrates how difficult it is for countries to cut back on subsides, even, in Indonesia's case, after they have become a net importer of petroleum liquids.

An extrapolation of the 2005 to 2011 Saudi C/P data, using the most optimistic estimate for 2011 data, suggests that Saudi Arabia would approach zero net oil exports around 2030 and that remaining Saudi post-2005 CNE are on the order of about 23 Gb, which is about one-tenth of the most commonly used number for proven Saudi reserves. As noted above, a projection of the initial three year increase in the Indonesia C/P ratio, from 1991 to 1994, accurately predicted when Indonesia would approach zero net oil exports and it accurately predicted post-1991 CNE.

Furthermore, an extrapolation of the 2005 to 2008 Saudi C/P data, an increase from 18% in 2005 to 22% in 2008, if extrapolated to 2011, would indicate a 2011 C/P value of about 27%, which is my most optimistic estimate for the 2011 Saudi C/P ratio (BP data).

An extrapolation of the Global Net Export* (GNE) 2005 to 2010 data suggests that remaining (after 2010) post-2005 global CNE are on the order of about 300 Gb.

An extrapolation of the Available Net Export** (ANE) 2005 to 2010 data suggests that remaining post-2005 CANE (Cumulative Available Net Exports) are on the order of about 106 Gb. This would be the estimated remaining (after 2010) total volume of post-2005 Cumulative Net Exports available to importers other than China & India.

Therefore, an extrapolation of the 2005 to 2010 data suggests that China & India alone would consume about two-thirds of remaining global Cumulative Net Exports of oil, leaving one-third for about 155 net oil importing countries.

*Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data

**GNE less China & India's net imports

Jeffrey J. Brown


Since we are only now at or approaching peak ok (IMHO), all of the historical cases of countries going from net exporting to net importing status occurred during a period of growing or stable world supply. In other words, we have no experience of how the ELM will play out in a world of diminishing world supply. Do you have any thoughts about how that might change the curves, if at all?

Global crude oil production has been flat since 2005, and production among the top 33 net oil exporting countries has also been flat (with increasing consumption). One of the problems that these oil exporting countries face is that in what I call a Phase One decline the cash flow from export sales will probably be increasing, even as export volumes fall, which makes it very tough to cut back on domestic consumption.

But here is the key problem. Let's assume that production by the (2005) Top 33 net oil exporters declines at 2%/year. If they don't cut their aggregate consumption by at least 2%/year, the resulting net export decline rate will exceed the 2%/year production decline rate, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

Note that the 2005 to 2010 Top 33 rate of increase in combined consumption was 2.7%/year.

Indonesia once was as many members of OPEC are now. Will many members of OPEC, before too long, be as Indonesia is now? An example of how tough it is to cut fuel subsidies, even after a former net oil exporter slips into net importer status:

Indonesia Delays Fuel Price Increase:

Denmark is a case history of a net oil exporter, showing a production decline, that taxes fuel consumption and that has "successfully" cut their consumption. Their 2004 to 2010 rate of change numbers (BP, Total Petroleum Liquids):

(P = Production, C = Consumption, NE = Net Exports.)

P: -7.5%/year
C: -0.5%/year
NE: -18.0%/year
C/P: +6.8%/year*

*C/P ratio increased from 48% in 2004 to 72% in 2010, which implies that Denmark will approach zero net oil exports in 2015, versus net exports of about 0.2 mbpd in 2004. Denmark is one of 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters in 2005 that showed declining net oil exports from 2005 to 2010.

As we enter the era of overall declining world production and corresponding world price increases, it will be easier to maintain internal consumption with a decreasing level of exports since the value of the exports is growing. But there will be a tipping point at which, even with rising prices, the diminishing production brings in less foreign exchange. This might happen after CNE reaches 75%, just as an example. At that point, the exporting country will have to start making some difficult choices between internal consumption and foreign exchange. Of course, there would be huge internal pressure to favor domestic consumption, but lack of foreign exchange would lead to inability to access world markets and economic stagnation. We are seeing this dynamic play out in Egypt today. Indonesia went through the transition some time ago. I'm wondering how they handled this period and how their economy has changed as a result of the transition to net export status.

Note that net export declines are "front-end loaded," i.e., the fastest depletion tends to occur early in the decline period. In the case of the nine year ELM net export decline period, 23% of post-peak CNE were shipped in the first year of the decline, while 3% of the post-peak CNE were shipped in year eight of the decline. In year nine, production = consumption.

What this means globally is that we are only maintaining some semblance of BAU because of a sky high post-2005 CNE depletion rate. Extrapolating the 2005 to 2010 data suggests that the total post-2005 supply of Global CNE available to importers other than China & India will be about 50% depleted by the end of next year, 2013.

>What this means globally is that we are only maintaining some semblance of BAU because of a sky high post-2005 CNE depletion rate.

Globally I think BAU semblance is maintained by rocketing coal consumption post 2005.

Let me state first off that I am a believer in the concept of Peak Oil. I've been on this list for more than 6 years. In that time, I have seen predictions of 2005 to 2008 to 2015 as the time for the Great Rollover. Here we are in 2012 and production keeps on rising where crude forms the base but the additional increases are from Tar Sands, Shale Oil, etc. Fairly recently, I saw where there are plans to use coal in a Fisher Troupe process. There are also the Kerogen deposits in Western Colorado that they have been trying to make work for 30 + years. Venezuela has all that Bitumen that needs NG and water to convert it to something resembling crude.

Westexas, have you accounted for substitutions?

Also as crude gets more expensive, we will tend to use less and switch to alternative means such as EVs, maybe Natural Gas Vehicles, bicycles, telecommuting, walking, etc.

The ideal would be for us to switch in an orderly fashion where the price of crude stays even as supply and demand eventually drop to zero. I look at the gasoline marquee and picture it as Rockman filling it up to suppress the price and we buy more cars to raise the price. Eventually, neither one of us visits the marquee.

It depends on which rollover is being referred to. The next export rollover seems to clearly have happened in ~2005. The C+C rollover is in progress with production flat. Total liquids are a different story. But one thing is clear, the oil that everyone wants and that we've built a modern industrial society on is not growing, and what's left is being bid away from us (Us being the developed world).

Will the alternatives you mentioned scale up quickly enough to make a difference? If you've been on the list for six years you should know that seems extremely unlikely to impossible. And even if it could be, the shock to our current mode of living would be painful, requiring major changes to how we live and probably shortages and unemployment to boot. And how could you even mention the kerogen? Are you MAD? :)

Anyway, here's hoping for the best. Maybe the slide will be more gentle than some have predicted. Hoping for anything more than that is irrational, I believe.

I do a reality check every once in a while and ask the same questions. (and I **do** get different answers.) What was once a curve with a plateau, is still a rising curve due to the addition of Shale Oil, Tar Sands, possibly other sources. As crude becomes more expensive, the alternatives become economically more viable. Also, we will not be shifting away from anything that uses gasoline or diesel unless we have to. We have electric vehicle starting to come off the assembly line and Bush I just bought Neil Bush a Chevy Volt. It looks like we have to.

Bill Moore of EV World talked with the Director of the Toyota Museum. The fellow had talked with the CEO of Toyota about Peak Oil. He said they talk with Exxon, Total, Eni, etc. to gauge the supply of gasoline many years out. Then they look ahead to figure out what the market will need. (There is no conspiracy, we don't get cc'ed on the internal memos!!!) He also said that "If we don't get it right, we go bankrupt..."

If you go hunting, you look for sign. The sign is that the car manufacturers are turning to hybrids and electric vehicles. Anyone who scratched the surface of hydrogen fuel cells knew they would not be viable. The same thing with the biofuels. There is not enough food stuffs to be able to convert enough drive **and** eat. For electric vehicles, the batteries are enough for now to get us around town. They are likely to get cheaper and work longer before they have to be replaced. If that does not happen, I'd look to see if the MSM starts to mention horse and buggy businesses or ramping up bicycle factories, then you will know that electric vehicles have some real problems.

This all leads back to the fuel we need for the current fleet and future projections. Westexas has one projection with his ELM. The CEO of Toyota may be viewing something else that we will not likely see in our lifetime. So the question stands: "What other sources out there might these CEOs be eyeing for BAU if EVs or horse and buggies won't do?"

I see a world fast approaching where we will need to live within our solar and resource means. Is that a limiting factor or a challenge to develop and expand?

Well, if EVs or horse and buggies won't do, there is always wind-powered electric trains. I rode them to work for years, and they were fast, efficient, and cheap.

Of course, they are not generally available everywhere, which is something of a defect in the planning process. People seem to resist the concept, apparently because there is some sort of mental barrier preventing them from accepting them. There are no technical barriers to actually making them work.

Other than that, I walked and rode a bicycle, and that worked well too, except they were much slower and kind of unpleasant under adverse weather conditions. They did give me more exercise, though.

As Kingfish noted, crude oil and total petroleum liquids have been virtually flat since 2005. Only total liquids, inclusive of low net energy biofuels, have shown a material but slight (0.5%/year) increase since 2005. But biofuels aren't a material factor in oil exporting countries, and we have seen measurable declines in GNE & ANE. Some numbers and graphs follow.

We have so far seen a very slow rate of increase in total liquids production (up 0.5%/year from 2005 to 2010), virtually flat total petroleum liquids and virtually flat C+C production (through 2010), and a 1.3%/year and 2.8%/year respective decline rate in GNE & ANE (through 2010). 

GNE fell from 46 mbpd (million barrels per day) in 2005 to 43 mbpd in 2010, while ANE fell from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2010. (Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data, Total Petroleum Liquids.)

Five annual "Gap" charts follow, showing the gaps between where we would have been at the 2002 to 2005 rates of increase, versus the actual data in 2010 (common vertical scale):

EIA Total Liquids (including biofuels):

BP Total Petroleum Liquids:

EIA Crude + Condensate:

Global Net Oil Exports (GNE, BP & Minor EIA data, Total Petroleum Liquids):

Available Net Exports (GNE less Chindia’s net imports):

I would particularly note the divergence between the first chart, Total Liquids, and the last chart, Available Net Exports (ANE). 

Seventh person dies after flu outbreak at Dundee nursing home

A SEVENTH person has died in an outbreak of flu at the Orchar Nursing home in Dundee.

NHS Tayside reported that a total of 28 residents are known to have been infected with the influenza A virus, including the seven who have died.

None of the infected residents are in hospital and all are being cared for at the home, with "intensive support" from GPs and primary care, the health board added.

NHS Tayside's health protection team are investigating the outbreak.

A health board spokeswoman said: "All appropriate infection control measures have been put in place in the care home and there is no increased risk to the wider public.

That seems a very high infection and death rate for a care home where most of the residents will have been vaccinated. Funeral arrangements have been halted for the moment. Flu activity in the UK is currently at a low level.

Unlikely this is swine flu because of the age range hit so probably H3N2 but which variant?

HPA Weekly National Influenza Report - week 13 (2012)

Virus characterisation

The majority of A(H3N2) viruses are antigenically similar to the A/Perth/16/2009 2011/2012 vaccine component with some A(H3N2) showing reduced reactivity with anti-serum raised against A/Perth/16/2009 in antigenic characterisation assays and a small proportion (1%) showing significant antigenic drift from the A(H3N2) vaccine strain.

Latest US CDC report says


Influenza A (H3N2) [561]

Four hundred thirty-one (76.8%) of the 561 viruses were characterized as A/Perth/16/2009-like, the influenza A (H3N2) component of the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.
One hundred thirty viruses (23.2%) tested showed reduced titers with antiserum produced against A/Perth/16/2009.

And in Ireland

Four influenza victims had been vaccinated against bug

Influenza claimed the lives of six elderly people who died in a private nursing home in Co Donegal, tests have revealed.

Eleven other residents at Nazareth House at Fahan, near Buncrana are also suffering with respiratory symptoms similar to the residents who died, health chiefs said.

The Health Service Executive said samples taken from residents tested positive for everyday influenza A (H3).

It also confirmed tonight that four of the six residents who died had been vaccinated for flu.

Experts, however, cautioned that vaccinations may not always match the winter virus as it returns each year in slightly altered strains.

Fuel Crisis: You Might Think Britain Has a Problem - And You'd Be Right

... You might think Britain has a problem. And you'd be right. But it goes a long way beyond Francis Maude's potentially deadly gaffe, and the Unite tanker drivers' concern over their pay and conditions.

There's a threat that global supplies could be threatened by political instability or war; the threat of disruption caused by natural disaster and industrial catastrophe; and most of all there's the fact that oil is a finite resource and we've already passed its peak supply.

And our national life is built, to a totally unnecessary and harmful degree, around this commodity. The words of one driver in Plymouth pretty well sum it up: "Most of us are crippled without our cars."

And tragically although Britain was always behind Continental Europe in supporting Green Transit Maggie Thatcher made it far worse and almost destroyed the British Rail System with her
privatization schemes which wound up in disaster. Those schemes had to eventually be rolled back but the British Rail system and its potential to offer an option to Auto Addiction is
still suffering from it.

Didn't just begin with Thatcher though.

Beeching Axe

Scientific American: U.S. Military Forges Ahead with Plans to Combat Climate Change

Climate policy may be a minefield for politicians but the Pentagon sees liabilities from global warming and is both reducing the armed forces greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate impacts

... Connecting the military's fossil-fuel and overall energy use with risks to our national security hasn't been easy in this political environment, especially with the presidential election looming. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly questioned and criticized the Armed Forces' new-energy strategies, portraying initiatives as political favors to clean-energy businesses.

... A 2010 Defense Department review identified climate change and energy security as "prominent military vulnerabilities," noting that climate change in particular is an "accelerant of instability and conflict." It was the first time the Pentagon addressed climate in a comprehensive planning document.

A subsequent assessment by the National Research Council found that even moderate climate shifts will impact Navy operations.

It never ceases to amaze me that Republican congressmen can continue to claim that AGW is nothing more than a socialist hoax. In early 2007, while still in the defense industry I attended an unclassified briefing on Global Security Threats presented by a US Army Brigadier General. In addition to the known terrorist threats at that time the General did address the potential of water wars and social unrest due to shrinking glaciers in many populous countries.

I've also read unclassified abstracts written by naval officers who were working on their Masters Degrees at the Naval Post Graduate School. These officers were assigned to submarines, under the arctic ice cap to measure the thickness of the ice cap. The Navy would not be wasting money having future senior officers studying the shrinking arctic ice cap if Global Warming were not occurring!!

The Naval Center for Analysis and Policy (CNAP) has recently published a lengthy article on the security threats of Climate Change. This document was signed by over 50 retired Admirals and Generals.

But then why should Senator Inhofe and the current crop of GOP candidates listen to Admirals, Generals and students at notorious left wing schools like the Naval Post Graduate School?? Apparently, they would rather get their scientific information from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck who collectively have less formal education than I did at the age of 20.

I call it the "This is my lie, and I'm sticking to it" syndrome. They use it for other stuff, too. They are certifiable.

Israeli politicians are playing number games with a war against Iran

There are a number of ways one could understand the leaked security cabinet briefing that Channel 10 reported Monday night, which detailed expectations of a worst-case scenario of an all-out war with Iran on all fronts, resulting in a three-week bombardment and up to 300 civilian casualties.

Israel's Secret Staging Ground

In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled "Azerbaijan's discreet symbiosis with Israel." The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country's relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: "nine-tenths of it is below the surface."

Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran's northern border and, according to several high-level sources I've spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the "submerged" aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance -- the security cooperation between the two countries -- is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.

The Answer Man got it wrong: Answer Man: Airport traffic down, oil production up

Dear Answer Man, I've heard Democrats say that the U.S. is producing more oil now than it has in many years. Is this correct?

Yes. According to the CIA World Factbook, U.S. domestic oil production was 8,054,000 barrels per day in 2001, dropped to 7,800,000 barrels in 2004 and has been climbing since then. In 2009, the gusher grew to 9,056,000 barrels, and I believe estimates for this year are close to 9.6 million barrels, which would surpass the 1971 record of 9.5 million barrels per day.

Of course his mistake here is mixing apples and oranges. US C+C production 1971 was 9,463,000 bp/d and in 2009 it was 5,361,000 bp/d and 5,673,000 bp/d in 2011.

The Answer man is comparing C+C in 1971 with all liquids in 2009 and 2011. In 1971 US all liquids were 11,554 bp/d and in 2009 they were 9,141,000 bp/d and in 2011 they were 10,085,400 bp/d.

And we did not peak in 1971 but in 1970 at 9,637,000 bp/d of C+C and 11,673,000 bp/d of all liquids.

Ron P.

Note that US C+C as a percentage of total liquids was 82% in 1970 and 56% in 2011.

Liquids account for 44% of total production? Wow, and how are those liquids being used?

Refinery gains, NGL's and biofuels.

Wow, and how are those liquids being used?

People using them to wash their cars, water the plants ... good in the laundry with non-colorfast clothes.

Not many btus.


Answer Man is obviously confused about the difference between "crude oil" and "all liquids", so he uses an apples versus "all fruits including tomatoes" comparison.

Since it mentions airports, I'd like to mention that condensate is pretty useless for producing jet fuel. Jet fuel comes from the middle fractions of the crude oil barrel, while condensate is all lighter fractions. For making jet fuel, diesel fuel, or heating oil - NGLs don't work, ethanol doesn't work, and condensate doesn't work - straight "crude oil" is what you need.

This is particularly a problem for Europeans because they burn more diesel than gasoline, and even the range of crude oils they can use to produce it is rather limited. "All liquids" doesn't work for them at all.

So, please, what the heck are they using those liquids for? I don't think we've expanded the number of propane grills or butane lighters that much.

Kingfish – From: http://www.investopedia.com/stock-analysis/2010/The-Story-On-Natural-Gas...

Who Uses Natural Gas Liquids?
The chemical industry is the largest consumer of natural gas liquids, mostly ethane that is used as a feedstock in the production of plastics and other products. Propane is used primarily for heating or fuel purposes. Refiners have a need for butane and isobutane.

One major player on the infrastructure and processing side of the natural gas liquids market is Oneok Partners (NYSE:OKS) Oneok Partners operates 549,000 barrels per day of fractionation capacity in the United States. The company has seen its volumes increase sharply over the last five years, from 313,000 barrels per day in 2006 to an estimated 529,000 barrels per day in 2010.

Exactly right,Rock. But when I look at the EIA numbers for propane production over the past ten years, it's a flat line. And propane prices have gone up (ask my brother-in-law who heats his green houses), not indicating increasing supply. I'm having a disconnect somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Not that it matters -- I'm sure it's all being put to good use by someone! But 44% of total liquids sure is a lot of NGL -- I wonder if that number is accurate.

Kingfish - I suspect part of the confusion is that we often don't know/understand what those words mean. I think one of the biggest problems is what "condensate" really is. It's oil, simply put. I drill mostly NG reservoirs with high condensate yields. Condensate in that context is the oil dissolved in the NG. When the NG is produced and the pressure/temp are reduce this oil falls out of suspension...it condenses. Many such condensed oils sell for a higher price than low gravity oil. I cuurently bargge the condensate from the Texas NG wells to Lake Charles where I get a price benchmarked to Light La. Sweet. For one thing they often yield a higher percentage of gasoline. It looks, smells and feels like "oil". I get paid for it like "oil" and it's refined into products like "oil" is refined in to. So C+C is all oil.

And when the say “all liquids” exactly what liquids are they counting. I assume they are only including hydrocarbon liquids and not such liquids as orange juice. LOL. But does it include all such liquids regardless of their source? Is ethanol made from corn included? Ethanol certain adds to our fuel supplies but that volume has no bearing on oil production or the implications of PO. And that’s where much of the confusion stems from: combining various commodities from various sources and the trying to make sense of the resultant trend line. Crude oil, condensate, NGL, biofuel, etc have their own history and unique set of factors controlling their individual trend lines and projections. For instance there was a time when little condensate and NGL were produced. And for good reason: the amount of these liquids produced was a function of how much NG produced. And there were period when NG exploration wasn’t very economic. BTW on my new NG well in La. I have a "JT plant" that condenses the NGL out of the NG stream. I also have a "gas/oil seperator" on that well that seperates the condensate out of the NG stream.

Sasol, a S. African company acknowledged as one of the leaders in converting NG to liquid hydrocarbon is planning to build huge GTL plant in S. La. That should be a great gain in the amount of motor fuel available to us. But if you add those gains to all the other “liquids” it would have an important implication for the future of motor fuels but implies nothing about future crude oil production. When that plant goess online there will be a big increase in "liquids" produced in La. But none of those liquids came from oil and none of them came from drilling oil wells.

Peak motor fuel is a subject that deserves attention. And so does peak ethanol, peak NG, peak coal, etc. But PO is about peak oil. Each commodity has to be looked at separately if we hope to make reliable projections about their future. IMHO combining everything into “all liquids” only makes the effort more confusing/misleading.

One more little confusion: I can have two wells producing exactly the same composition and volumes of NG and oil. But one well in Texas is classified as a "gas well" and thus that oil is reported as "condensate". In La. the other well is classified as an "oil well" and that liquid produced is reported as "crude oil".

Also: I'll do some research later but I doubt the 44% is just NGL.

I've been waiting to hear of plans to build a GTL plant. I doubt it will be the last. Here's an interesting scenario.

1. Gas overproduction leads to slowdown in drilling, but supply continues at a high level until depletion kicks in -- about 2 years.

2. GTL plant and export facilities start ramping up in 2 years.

Does that spell price spike to you?

Kingfish – LNG exports have already started to ramp up. Chenier in Sabine Pass has just signed a 20 year contract with a British company to export NG from Texas to England. Chenier is beginning the $8 billion expansion of their export capabilities. The value of their first year’s delivery is $400 million. The LNG is benchmarked to the Henry Hub spot market. Chenier has a guaranteed margin of $2.50 per mcf. Henry Hub NG is running below $3/mcf today. As you imply NG won’t stay this low indefinitely. The Brits will pick up any of the additional costs.

I’m not sure this deal doesn’t say more about England’s energy future than it does about the US NG market.

Not to mention new NG electric power stations and some commercial fleets converting to NG. And I expect to see a push to extend NG pipelines to areas where oil heat is currently the only option.

Low prices encourage consumption. As Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

So much for our 100 year supply of NG!

This deal seems a little bit strange to me. According to Cheniere,

BG Group first to seal U.S. LNG export deal

Cheniere will sell the LNG to BG for 115 percent of U.S. benchmark Henry Hub prices, plus a $2.25 premium.

"The 15 percent will be used for fuel and sourcing the gas, so we will make $2.25 (per million British thermal units)," Souki said.

Where's the cost of liquifying the gas? That's paid for with much of the $2.25 so they are certainly not "making $2.25 per MMBTU". With Henry Hub now heading towards $2 MMBTU that's only and additional 30c per MMBTU with the 15% increment.

Final financing on the deal to construct the first two trains was supposed to have been announced by end of Q1 but as yet no announcement has been made.

All other LNG export plans remain on hold pending US regulatory review.

Of course, Henry hub prices are highly unlikely to be around $2 in 2016.

tow - Profit margin wasn't clear to me either. I'm told it can cost about $1-$1.5 per mcf to liquify the NG. I'm also assuming the buyer is paying the shipping cost. If I recall the numbers the bank would supply $1-2 billion of the capex with Chenier providing the balance of the $6-8 billion. The numbers don't seem to make sense so I must not have all the details.

One more little confusion: I can have two wells producing exactly the same composition and volumes of NG and oil. But one well in Texas is classified as a "gas well" and thus that oil is reported as "condensate". In La. the other well is classified as an "oil well" and that liquid produced is reported as "crude oil".

Sorry to hear of your confusion. Condensate is produced from a gas reservoir. Temperature matters. I have my doubts about two wells producing exactly the same composition and volume.

This might help :Physics 101

bud - Sorry but you're confused. The state regulators in Texas and La. decide to classify any particular reservoir as oil or NG. You don't. Your doubts not withstanding, I wasn't postulating a hypothetical: the situation I described actually exists for two of my wells. My La. "oil well" has a higher gas/oil ratio than my Texas "gas well". You're welcome to go argue with the La. state regulators all you like but I'm sure they'll care even less about your physics lesson then me. LOL.

Reservoir fluids of the same composition could exist in the liquid phase at one temperature and pressure or in the gaseous phase at a different temperature and pressure.

Gas oil ratio does not determine whether a reservoir is in the gaseous or liquid phase. Temperature, pressure and composition will determine whether a fluid is a gas or a liquid at reservoir conditions. A PVT study can make that determination - sampling the fluids is where it gets tricky.

The science, the reality, the rational argument... has no meaning in this context.

Tomatoes are a vegetable?

"This argument has had legal implications in the United States. In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruits, caused the tomato's status to become a matter of legal importance."


The science, the reality, the rational argument... has no meaning in this context.

Not sure what you point is. 1) A gas reservoir will be managed differently than an oil reservoir, for maximum recovery. 2) State conservation rules are applied differently to an oil reservoir and a gas reservoir. 3) In some cases royalty is different on condensate(recovered from a gas reservoir) -vs- oil(recovered from an oil reservoir). 4) OPEC quotas differentiate between condensate(recovered from a gas reservoir) and oil(recovered from an oil reservoir).

I think what they're trying to tell you is that there are different definitions of "oil well" and "gas well" (you've given one yourself) and that these definitions overlap, and that in fact, the exact same well can be classified as an "oil well" in one state (using that state's definition) and a "gas well" in another state.

(you've given one yourself)

No, I've given the definintion of condensate(period)

States may apply whatever classifications they want to wells -that doesn't change the fact that condensate is produced from a gas reservoir. A reservoir can have an oil column and a gas cap.

...a rose
By any other name...


Yes, natural gas condensate is condensate and is called condensate...

Unless people with lots of guns
and large, vicious dogs that won't listen to reason
decide that, within their jurisdiction, their state,
condensate shall be known to all by the words "crude oil".

Since it mentions airports, I'd like to mention that condensate is pretty useless for producing jet fuel. Jet fuel comes from the middle fractions of the crude oil barrel, while condensate is all lighter fractions. For making jet fuel, diesel fuel, or heating oil - NGLs don't work, ethanol doesn't work, and condensate doesn't work - straight "crude oil" is what you need.

Thanks for the info. So Gasoline can be produced from NGL's and condensate?

From a chemistry standpoint, condensate is basically unrefined gasoline, so, yes it can be used to produce gasoline. NGLs are too light to put into gasoline except in small quantities, so they are mostly used for heating, cooking, and barbecues. They are also highly useful in the petrochemical industry.

I can't help thinking that more and more different forms of oil and gas are being added to the measure of oil being produced to help boost production numbers and hide the true state of availability of the resource.


Why Europe's Climate Faces a Stormy Future

... A weakening of the warm North Atlantic ocean current, the Meridional Overturning Circulation, during the next century has already been predicted by climate scientists, with suggestions it could lead to colder sea temperatures and reduced warming in Britain.

But new research by scientists at the University of Reading's Walker Institute and the University of Cologne suggests that the weakening of the warm current could also partially shut down Europe's protection against violent storms blowing in from the ocean.

Full Article Response of the North Atlantic storm track to climate change shaped by ocean–atmosphere coupling

also Mother Nature’s Latest Attack on Japan: Strong Winds

After a winter of record snow and avalanches — not to mention last year’s record strong quake, mega-tsunami, and series of powerful typhoons — Japan is once again being battered by the elements. This time, it’s wind.

... While this storm is described as packing a “typhoon-like” punch, it’s not a typhoon. Typhoons are fueled by warm water from the tropics, known as “tropical cyclones.” The high wind hitting Japan this week is caused by differences in air temperatures, not water.

Wow! Just wow. Anywhere else these people would be locked up.


And what's really wrong in Texas.....

Rick Perry criticises UK initiative to influence US climate sceptics
The governor says the UK government was 'misdirected' to try to 'educate' policymakers and 'move them from a state of denial'


And then.....

Dallas, Texas Tornado: Warnings Issued As Twisters Hit State

Maybe "god's" giving Rick & Co. the middle digit?


That is a 'certifiable crazy person'

Saudi to maintain oil supply if U.S. draws stocks

Saudi Arabia is likely to maintain high oil production in the event consumer countries release emergency stocks, but it will not seek to lure buyers for more oil by discounting its crude, industry sources said.

... "Saudi production will unlikely change from the levels we see now, even if the stocks are released because the stocks will not have an impact," another source familiar with the talks said.

"Everyone knows that Aramco is a commercial operation and it will not discount oil," he added, in reference to oil sales by the Saudi state oil company.

Everyone knows that Aramco is a commercial operation and it will not discount oil

That makes it official "King Abdullah ain't yo' momma !"

So, if the U.S. is obliged to release SPR at market prices, and Saudi Arabia will not sell below market prices, what will happen to market prices? They will be unchanged. At any given price level, there is a certain amount of oil that will be demanded. If nobody is willing to sell below that price level, it won't matter how much oil is offered -- the quantity demanded will not change. Unless, of course, someone attempts to undercut. Will Saudi undercut? They say no.

Kingfish - It's not an obligation as far as pricing goes. If you ever have trouble sleeping search for the SPR release LAWS. They are very detailed with heavy legalize and accountantnize. The simple answer is that the SPR release is required by congressional law to be sold at the average price of Light La. Sweet. In fact, the law states it is specifically designed so it would not impact the market price of oil. Which is exactly how it worked back in the 2011 SPR release. The average price of LLS was about $107/bbl which is exactly what the SPR oil was sold.

Some folks offer that this SPR release caused oil price to fall in the months following. What they neglect to point out is that oil prices had already begun to fall months prior to the release. The KSA chose to lose that bit of market share (about 1.5%) for 30 days. Not likely that "huge" drop in cash flow hurt them much. And they get to sell that 30 million bbls later when it will be much more valuable. They also know there are restrictions to how much SPR oil can be released over a period of time.

All the talk about an SPR release causing gasoline prices to drop is pure political BS regardless of their political strips. And thanks to the sloppy job of the MSM I doubt the public will ever understand he simple facts of the situation.

And I expect that the law was written that way precisely to prevent the SPR from being used politically to manipulate prices downward. As we are seeing, it is a tempting political move. In any case, I doubt it will have any effect.

Architects float answers to rising seas around the world

... "Climate change will require a radical shift within design practice from the solid-state view of landscape urbanism to the more dynamic, liquid-state view of waterscape urbanism," says Danai, who is involved in several projects based on this principle. "Instead of embodying permanence, solidity and longevity, liquid perception will emphasize change, adaptation."

How did Japan come to prefer wheat over rice?

The US government changed the traditional Japanese diet by flooding them with free and cheap wheat. But now, concerned with the reliance on foreign food imports, they are trying to nudge people back to rice.

I suppose the good news is that it is possible to change the way people eat. Japan went from a country where the army went on strike when forced to eat wheat instead of rice, to one where rice must be disguised as wheat to get people to eat it.

Sounds like school lunch programs can be very influential, since through them you can shape people's taste buds while they are young.

A similar thing happened during WWII in the U.S.

How World War II Changed The Way Americans Ate

The new-found prosperity of American workers allowed them to buy goods which had previously been out of their reach. ...

But the desires generated by wealth were thwarted by shortages of every imaginable consumable as industry focused its energies on armaments. Instead, consumers were urged to save and, to encourage them, a vision of a post-war world of plenty was disseminated through advertising campaigns which spread the government’s propaganda messages while maintaining a brand presence in the eyes of potential consumers. The relentless advertising created an absurd sense that the only thing Americans were fighting for was for the right to consume. A Royal typewriter advertisement captured the tone of the great majority of wartime American advertisements: ‘WHAT THIS WAR IS ALL ABOUT . . . [is the right to] once more walk into any store in the land and buy anything you want.’

... A public service advertisement for Macy’s in the New York Daily News in September 1943 listed ‘defending Democracy’ and ‘a better world’ as things Americans were fighting for, but it also included ‘a steak for every frying pan’. [during the war most red meat, and especially steak, disappeared into the army bases]

... pg 2 of this article is especially informative

also In my day, all we got for Easter was a carrot on a stick: Newsreel reveals what children got instead of chocolate eggs in WW2

S - And let’s not forget the impact of WWII on Hawaiian culinary culture. Search “Hawaii SPAM”. An amazing story. To this day the locals are still obsessed with SPAM.

It's a reflection of how difficult it was to get fresh food to such remote areas. Even then, the population was too high to be supported by local farms. The plantations imported food to feed their workers, and it had to be stuff that could come over via slow boat.

lookup John Frum and Cargo cults.

John Frum (or Jon Frum, or John From) is a figure associated with cargo cults on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. He is often depicted as an American World War II serviceman who will bring wealth and prosperity to the people if they follow him. He is sometimes portrayed as black, sometimes as white; from David Attenborough's report of an encounter: "'E look like you. 'E got white face. 'E tall man. 'E live 'long South America."[1]



Excuse me, but this is a pet peeve of mine. Hawai'i had a population in the hundreds of thousands, possibly half a million, maybe even more, at the time of European contact. They had an extremely well developed agricultural system growing taro (kalo) in wet areas using surface water irrigation and sweet potatos ('uala) in drier ones, supplemented by bananas, breadfruit, coconut, and fish - which they grew in fishponds that once were very common on the south shores of O'ahu and Moloka'i. Hawai'i can support quite a large size population, tropical agriculture is an impressive thing.

After contact, the native population suffered badly from disease and shrank tremendously. The culture changed rapidly, and of course plantations were started. But if the plantations were importing food, it's because it was more cost effective to grow things like sugar and pineapples and sell them for big bucks elsewhere and import food than it was to leave the islands self-sufficient. Considering that the population after contact was probably substantially BELOW the population before contact, Hawai'i could have easily been self sufficient. Instead, many of the native agricultural systems where abandoned or converted to lower use (such as grazing animals - even now the Big Island is known for cattle ranching).

Even more change cam to Hawai'i during and after the war. I have heard poi could be bought in large bags at the supermarket in the 1950s. Now it comes in very small bags and is pretty expensive. A lot changed very quickly.

Basically, before you make claims of the sustainability or unsustainability of Hawai'i, I suggest you look at the history. The islands historically have supported a very large population, and probably still could. Maybe not the current population, and especially not with the current agricultural priorities, but a very large population nonetheless.

I know this is a trendy idea, just as it is on the mainland, but I think the evidence is pretty compelling that Hawaii was near its Malthusian limit when Cook arrived. For example, that study on the Big Island of land that was under ancient stone walls vs. land that wasn't. Sweet potatoes only grew on a relatively small amount of land - narrow strips where conditions were right. And those were exhausted. Farming had been extremely intensive - they were at the limit. That's why Kamehameha invaded the other islands. Malthusian pressure. The elaborate food kapus are also a sign of resource stress. And the stories about ancient wars, where few died in the actual fighting, but many starved to death afterwards, because the land could not support both the residents and invading warriors.

I am not necessarily doubting that they were "full", but I AM very much doubting they were "lightly populated" or that the land could not have supported the population it had during the plantation era (if they weren't putting it all into sugarcane and pineapples). It's not merely a "popular idea" but well supported by observations that the population of Hawai'i was quite substantial at the time of contact. The food kapus were a sign of stress but also a way of regulating the exploitation of resources, for example kapu on fish and such almost certainly helped maintain a higher catch than if they had exploted the resources recklessly. It could probably be said that much of the system was devoted to dividing resources that were scarce by virtue of the relatively large population - the ahupua'a system is transparently a careful division of resources.

There is as great a risk in counting too low as there is in counting too high. It's very easy to claim low populations for the Americas or Pacific islands based on what their population was AFTER great masses of people had died of plauges. Of course there are real limits, but all of these places were very far from empty, and farming was very sophisticated. I'm not saying they were at modern levels of population, but 200,000 is not unreasonable or unlikely for the Hawaiian islands as a whole, and a population over 100,000 is very, very likely. Many areas that are now forest were fields back then. The population in 1900 was 151,000 - I think the islands could certainly support that even today with intensive agriculture.

I think there might be something to the idea that populations were higher than we think. But I'd guess it's nowhere near as much higher as Mann, etc., suggest. For example, various studies have shown that the Iroquois in upstate NY were not impacted by European diseases until the 1700's. If they weren't, it's doubtful that tribes further west were.

Cook and crew estimated the Hawaiian population at 400,000. Many thought that was way too high. Now, it's looking like it might be accurate, or at least not completely crazy.

Sugar plantations imported an estimated 337,000 workers. Many married and had kids...lots of kids. By 1950, the age of Spam, there were half a million people in Hawaii. Could they have supported all those people? Possibly, if they used some crops unavailable to ancient Hawaiians. But it would have been very dicey, and if anything went wrong, they'd have been screwed. Tropical agriculture can be very productive, but it can also be very fragile and unforgiving. Easter Island isn't the only island that suffered a collapse. The Pacific is littered with them. Islands that once supported fairly advanced societies, where now only ruins remain.

Plantation workers did provide a lot of their own food. I'm sure there was a lot of variation, but the plantation homes I've seen were arranged back to back (much like today's suburban homes). The backyards were mostly lawn - a place for kids to play, laundry to hang, dogs to be tied out. The front yards were completely devoted to food production. Wall to wall gardens, with chicken coops.

I talked to a woman who was a child on a plantation in the '40s. She remembers the plantation providing lunch to the workers' families. She would go down to the distribution point, carrying two clean jars. She would return home with one jar filled with poi, and the other filled with thick vegetable soup. They were eaten mixed together.

Spam and scrambled eggs with a side of cheese grits; YUM! One of my hunt camp specialties. Spam has gotten expensive these days, but it still beats that "potted meat food product" stuff or canned pork brains.

Canned meat products have a certain appeal. First is the morbid fascination of examining the ingredients, which might include items such as partially defatted cooked beef fatty tissue, beef tripe, or pork brains. Then there's the pity on the photographer who had to take pictures for the label in an attempt to make the product look edible. Finally, there's the speculation of what the product really looks like if you dare open the can. Unlike products such as Pork Tidbits, where you can see the "tidbits" floating in yellow water, the can conceals the contents.

At one time Hormel claimed that Spam has an indefinite shelf life, "though the flavor my suffer some" :-0

Well now I'm REALLY appreciating the Hand-separated Chicken Breast that went into the all-natural soup and stock my daughter and I just finished.

Meh, my son and I love scrapple on a Sunday morning. The ingredient list doesn't scare me near as much as what's in the stuff most consider normal.

I'm not worried about Gristle or Organ meats, but I would hope you keep an eye on those Nitrites.. and personally, I'm glad to have put most of the Antibiotics and Hormones in my past as well.

And keep an eye on the MSG (which I cannot tolerate), in all the various names by which it is permitted to be called. It's in everything now. Locally made scrapple is best, as it is with most food.

Well, I can't say as I have ever had canned pork brains, and the advertising, "Pork Brains in Milk Gravy is irresistible just for its cholesterol content (1200% of your daily requirement)" suggests it is just about exactly what my doctor has told me NOT to eat.

For someone who has seriously low cholesterol levels, it could be the perfect food product, but I don't know of anybody like that.

Transneft warns rail rule to hit oil exports-paper

Tougher rules for tanker railcars threaten Russia's exports of crude via the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) route according to pipeline monopoly Transneft, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Up to 5,000 of the 8,000 tanker cars used to carry oil from Skovorodino to the Pacific port of Kozmino could be removed from service, Vedomosti said

Russian oil output stable at 10.36 mln bpd in March

Russian oil output stood at 10.36 million barrels per day in March, unchanged from a post-Soviet monthly high in February, Energy Ministry data showed on Monday. [43.8 million tonnes]

... Russia is broadly expected to increase output by 1 percent this year from last year's average of 10.27 million barrels per day if it can control declines at old West Siberian fields and sustain output growth from new fields in more remote provinces.

Tornado risk is growing and spreading, study shows

It's not just the "Tornado Alley" any more. Tornadoes are striking in more parts of the U.S., more often, a new study shows.

Experts are enlarging the area of the U.S. they believe is regularly in the path of severe storms, tornadoes, and hail damage, according to a report from CoreLogic.


also Two tornadoes reported in Dallas area

Live video showed a huge funnel cloud moving through a populated area as flashes of exploding power lines lit the sky.

Other video showed large trucks being flung through the air. "There's lots of 18-wheelers," said an NBCDFW correspondent near Arlington. "I've never seen this before."

2:08 Possible tornado is approaching the south side of the D/FW Airport near the REMOTE SOUTH PARKING area moving NE at 25 mph.

It's not just the "Tornado Alley" any more. Tornadoes are striking in more parts of the U.S., more often, a new study shows.

Just ignore that man (scientist) behind the curtain providing information about how AGW is cranking up to clean our clocks on a broader and more frequent scale.

Also please ignore any talk (by geologists) of refineries closing because they cannot (efficiently enough at today's pump prices) refine the steadily increasing input of heavy sour crude.

If we are all going to row hard enough to keep BAU going, we must ignore scientists in numerous fields in order to stay the course. Dip your head forward, walk strong and hold steady in firm denial. Call anyone providing compelling data that threatens BAU 'Doomers', and to please keep all that unproductive negativity to themselves.

Re: Chrysler Poised to Lead U.S. Auto Sales Gains as Gas Rises

Chrysler is surely firing on all four, six, eight or ten cylinders as the case may be. For three months running, Chrysler is the number one selling brand in Canada (source: http://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCABRE8320NR20120403). Chrysler's US March sales are up 34 per cent over last year and US first quarter sales are up 39 per cent (for a breakout by model, see: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2012/04/03/031157-chrysler-group-llc-...)

Once the new Dart, née Alfa Romeo Giulietta, hits showroom floors later this month we should see a sizeable up-tick in sales, and although my tastes lean more towards the 300*, the new Dart promises to be one wickedly hot [and surprisingly fuel efficient] performer (http://www.dodge.com/en/2013/dart/).


* This from a man who still considers *this* to be the high water mark in automotive styling.

* This from a man who still considers *this* to be the high water mark in automotive styling.

We agree to disagree :)


The new Dodge Fiart Viper may well be the new "high watermark" for styling.

When I was working for two of Canada's largest banks I had my pick of pretty much any vehicle my heart desired, including the Viper. I opted for an LHS (how boring is that?). My partner, being a Jeep guy, liked the big woodies, our 1991 being the last in a long series. For whatever reason, and I kid you not, the Ambassador wagon and Grand Wagoneer will always be at the top of my list.


Former Prime Minister Kan reveals nuclear coverup — After Fukushima he’s “devoting himself to nuclear activism, he now wants to abolish nuclear power in Japan”

PRIME MINISTER KAN: For a long time in Japan, especially the last 10-20 years, there has been a suppression of statements in relation to the dangers of nuclear power.

When specialists from Universities state that certain risks could exist then they risk their future career.

Politicians often receive financial support from the energy companies.

However when one speaks out about the risks of nuclear energy then one loses this support.

On the other side of the coin, when you agree with nuclear energy, you receive generous donations.

This also applies for culture, sport and it includes the media.

Due to these ties an environment has been created in which criticisms can hardly be spoken.

This is why the Nuclear Village is not a problem limited to a small area, but encompasses the whole country. [...]

The Japanese have a long standing love-hate relationship with fission technology.

They are, after all, the only country in the world where nuclear weapons were actually used.

But a "cover up of the risks"?

I smell political maneuvering, because the risks are well known and published on a regular basis from all over the world.

That is, of course, unless one is to somehow believe that the embattled nuclear power industry is somehow more powerful that the teflon-coated fossil fuels industry.

There was a very dramatic refinery explosion and fire last March in Japan. I don't think I would be stretching if I supposed there might have been casualties from that, and they were never covered in the world media.

Where's the coverup again?

Another slam on Peak Oil by the major media, this time by the Wall Street Journal with an article linked from its front page.

For those who can't access the article, the difference in price between current and future prices on the futures market is indicated to the be the 'evidence' disproving the peak oil theory.

Frankly, it is puzzling why diminishing supplies of Brent would be valued less in the future - even if for example output increases in Iraq, Brazil, etc. - not to mention the fact that sophisticated energy traders may be able to reduce their storage costs by making complicated hedge trades based upon the futures discount.

April 3, 2012, 4:20 p.m. ET

Gulf in Oil Prices May Set Up Market for a Fall

Concerns about disruptions to supplies from the Middle East have helped drive up prices this year. But the gap, or spread, with the December 2018 contract, one of the most distant futures contracts available, is widening because of the prospect of improved production.

The theory of "peak oil"—that world oil production has topped and supply is steadily depleting— helped push the price of Brent crude to a record $147.50 a barrel in 2008.

But many have abandoned the theory, as new technology, such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, opens the prospect of significant production from large shale oil basins, while more sophisticated drilling techniques allow companies to look for oil further and further offshore. Overall, output is expected rise in a number of countries over the next few years, including in Iraq, Brazil, the U.S. and Canada.


This article is the height of idiocy. How far the WSJ has fallen since the Murdoch takeover.

First is the premise that we can prove or disprove peak oil by a long term futures contract price. Not even worth dissing that one.

But again we see a supposedly competent oil and gas analyst presenting future rosy future scenarios without presenting any data to back it up. The WSJ has become afraid of data.

Speaking of peak oil she says:

But many have abandoned the theory, as new technology, such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, opens the prospect of significant production from large shale oil basins, while more sophisticated drilling techniques allow companies to look for oil further and further offshore. Overall, output is expected rise in a number of countries over the next few years, including in Iraq, Brazil, the U.S. and Canada.

Never says what "rise" is expected - and more importantly never says what new production increases are needed for the future to overcome the ongoing depletion of the large conventional fields that have fed the world economy for the last 50 years.

But credible analysts (on the peak oil side) have presented the figures on new production needed and shown that the potential rises from all of the sources she mentioned will be dwarfed by those requirements.

Oh well. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Or something like that. We seem to be moving into the fight stage.

The article does, in fact, raise an interesting point. Why would far futures prices be so low? Do the traders actually expect oil to be that much cheaper in 2018? It' hard to believe that any savvy trader believes that, yet why else would the futures price be so low? Are there other explanations? Here are some possibilities.

1. Uncertainty about the future world demand. Given the shakiness of the economy today, who know what it will be like eight years from now. Maybe the world won't be able to afford oil at today's prices if a worldwide depression happens. Not saying it will, but the risk is certainly there. I think part of the discount reflects this uncertainty.

2. Uncertainty about the the future of markets. What if I buy a 2018 futures contract today but the government imposes rationing in 2016, or price controls, or eliminates the futures market entirely. Unlikely? Maybe. Impossible? No.

3. Deflationary expectations. Do these traders expect the value of money to increase as some predict?

I'm sure there are other possible reasons. I sure would like to know who is buying these contracts and what their reasons are. But one thing is certain -- it doesn't disprove peak oil. In fact, just a few years ago a price of $94 bbl would have been considered high enough to indicate peak oil is real. It's only because oil spiked to $147 in 2008 that $94 seems moderate by comparison.

Consider this. I write a long-term futures contract obligating me to deliver in 2018. I sell the contract and pocket the money today. What happens in the future is anyone's guess. Maybe I'm not around any more. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm just saying. I'd like to know who is writing these contracts.

To your line of inquiry I would like to add the possibility of the market interpreting the following as being temporary

backwardation and Iran

1.2 mbpd 'missing' barrels from Syria, South Sudan and Yemen

I'm sure there are other possible reasons. I sure would like to know who is buying these contracts and what their reasons are.

Well I can tell you that if I were a trader I would be buying those contracts because I expect oil to be a lot higher then. The real question is "Who are selling those contracts and what are their reasons for doing so.

Ron P.

Well the other side of speculation, of course never mentioned by all those who claim the main driver of increasing oil prices is speculators, is that at some point you dump out to take
your short term gain. Those who game the market like short-term speculators make money off
huge oscillations both on the way up and down so long as they are in control or have the proper timing. Of course this wreaks havoc on real producers and consumers like farmers who count on a stable price when they plant their crops, airlines who want stable fuel costs,etc.
To curb the cobweb effect in food production, FDR and the New Deal instituted price controls which unfortunately now should really be reduced although the principle is sound.

If politicians and pundits seriously want to curb short term speculation then they should
support and make sure to pass a Tobin transactions tax of 0.1% or maybe even more on all
stock, bond and futures transactions. If you are a serious investor a tax of 0.1% is not a
deterrent. But if you are a short-term speculator working on margins of perhaps even as low as 1% on billions of dollars these would help curb excesses. It would also give the people
back some of the money continuing to be skimmed out of the system into the banksters pockets.