Drumbeat: April 9, 2012

Technology transforms energy outlook

The U.S. energy picture has changed significantly in recent years, with vast, new natural gas supplies coming to market, revived solar and wind power industries, and new extraction techniques opening supplies of Canadian oil sands, an energy expert said Wednesday.

Daniel Yergin, a former professor at Harvard Business School and Harvard Business School and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the oil industry, credited technology for changing the domestic energy landscape. Recent innovations have made the United States less dependent on Middle Eastern oil, shifted the flow of energy to this country from one that was predominantly east and west to one that is increasingly north and south, and given the nation a bit more latitude on how it approaches international energy matters.

Though the world faces enormous energy hurdles in the coming decades as developing countries modernize, Yergin’s view is one of “reasoned optimism” because of an increased pace of energy innovation.

“Innovation is not an American or European enterprise. Innovation is really a global phenomenon,” Yergin said. “This great revolution in terms of innovation will continue.”

Crude Oil Declines on Economic Outlook; Brent Slides

Oil fell for the third time in four days after Iran agreed to resume talks on its nuclear program and economic reports in the U.S. and China raised concern about fuel demand.

Futures slid as much as 1.4 percent as trading resumed after the Easter holiday weekend. International negotiations with Iran’s government are scheduled to start this week over its nuclear program. China said inflation in March accelerated more than forecast, reducing the Chinese government’s leeway to boost the economy. The U.S. created 120,000 jobs in March, fewer than forecast and the smallest increase in five months, an April 6 report showed.

Iraq says OPEC seeking world oil price balance

(Reuters) - OPEC is seeking a balance in world oil prices, but political instability rather than production issues are affecting the market price, Iraq's oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Monday.

"OPEC is still doing its best to produce enough crude to meet demand but political issues are affecting prices. World prices are affected more by political instability than by production issues," he told reporters.

Researcher says cost of gasoline may hit plateau

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 3.74 cents over the past two weeks, the smallest increase since January, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey.

..."If crude oil will stay where it is then gasoline prices will peak very, very quickly, if they have not done so already," survey editor Trilby Lundberg told Reuters on Sunday.

Natural gas industry victim of weather, own success

NEW YORK — The U.S. natural gas market is bursting at the seams.

So much natural gas is being produced that soon there may be nowhere left to put the country's swelling surplus. After years of explosive growth, natural gas producers are retrenching.

The underground salt caverns, depleted oil fields and aquifers that store natural gas are rapidly filling up after a balmy winter depressed demand for home heating.

How Exporting LNG Could Bring Serious Wealth to the US

Where will the wealth created by the fast growing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) market be concentrated in the coming years?

In a word – Australia. It’s the #4 exporter of LNG in the world already, and seven new plants are in various stages of planning and development, which would require $200 billion in capital investment – and lots of jobs.

By comparison, America, which produces massive amounts of natural gas, sends a shockingly small amount of the resource abroad.

India, Qatar sign oil and gas pact

India and Qatar on Monday signed six agreements in diverse areas, including a pact on cooperation in oil and gas exploration.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on a range of issues, including boosting trade and investment as well as energy ties between the two countries.

Hong Kong ship insurers unable to fill void in Iran oil cover

(Reuters) - Hong Kong maritime insurers will not provide full cover to tankers carrying Iranian oil after EU sanctions take effect from July, a senior industry official told Reuters, another blow to Chinese importers struggling to find ways around the measures. As more insurers confirm they will soon halt or sharply reduce coverage to tankers operating in Iran, China's government may need to step in and take the risk to get contracted crude supplies from Tehran, said Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association. China is the top buyer of Iranian crude.

Iran Agrees to Restart Nuclear Talks With U.S., Allies

The U.S. and its European allies will press Iran for tangible action to curb its nuclear program when talks restart later this week after a 15-month hiatus.

Iran oil development fund could reach $55 billion: Ahmedinejad

(Reuters) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday the country's sovereign wealth fund could reach $55 billion by March next year if oil prices kept high, in an apparent bid to defend his economic record in the face of increasing isolation.

Syrian Cease-Fire Unravels Amid Alleged Regime Violations

The United Nations effort to end the violence in Syria unraveled as the regime differed with envoy Kofi Annan over terms of a cease-fire and opposition groups reported 59 more people killed.

U.S. Calls for Support of Yemeni President’s Military Changes

The U.S. called for support of new Yemeni President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi after forces loyal to ousted leader Ali Abdullah Saleh shelled an opposition general’s house in response to Hadi removing some military commanders.

25 killed in southern Yemen army-Islamist clash

(Reuters) - At least 25 people were killed on Monday when fighters from an al Qaeda-linked group attacked a military camp near the southern Yemen city of Lawdar, residents and local officials said.

The fighting erupted when fighters from Ansar al-Sharia launched a dawn attack on the camp, which is in Abyan province, about 120 km (75 miles) from the southern port city of Aden.

Hedge Funds Cut Wagers as Fed Signals Less Stimulus: Commodities

Hedge funds reduced bullish bets on commodities for a second consecutive week as the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus, increasing concern that growth will slow and curb demand for raw materials.

ANALYSIS-Enbridge's Gateway pipeline still in legal swamp

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A Canadian government attempt to speed up construction of Enbridge Inc's Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the West Coast is unlikely to prevent a flood of court challenges that could still delay the multibillion-dollar project.

Phillips 66 Looks to Pipes to Blunt Refining Volatility

Phillips 66 will debut next month as the world’s largest independent refiner by market value. In the future, it may look more like a pipeline and chemical business.

The new Houston-based company, set to begin trading May 1 after its spinoff from ConocoPhillips, plans to boost profit by emphasizing growth in its higher-return businesses and shrink its more volatile fuel processing. Greg Garland, slated to become chief executive officer, will update investors in a webcast today on its outlook as a standalone company.

Libya ‘probes oil deals’

The Libyan general prosecutor’s office is probing a number of oil giants and oil trading stalwarts as it investigates possible financial irregularities, according to a report.

Italy’s Eni and Total of France are among a host of companies to be sent letters by the prosecutor’s office, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Kurdistan backs away from scandal

The northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan has distanced itself from an insider trading scandal involving the improper disclosure of privileged information by JPMorgan about one of its clients.

Esso petrol station operators face supply shortage

KUALA LUMPUR: Esso station operators in the Klang Valley claim that their businesses have been affected when they did not receive petrol and diesel supplies from the oil company lately.

The disruption in the supply of the commodity raised questions among operators of the petrol stations whether the problem was linked to the change in management following the take-over of Esso Malaysia Bhd by Petron Oil and Gas International Sdn Bhd.

The reason it's called Texas Tea: Most oil-rich states

To identify the states with the most oil reserves, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. We also examined data from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Petroleum Institute.

These are the 10 states swimming in oil.

Shale gas exploration raises hope, fear in Poland

Inspired by the huge success of shale gas in the United States, Poland is a pioneer in Europe, pressing ahead as other EU countries — like France, Germany and Bulgaria — impose moratoriums over worries that the drilling technique will poison water and pollute the air.

Poland has high hopes of breaking its 70-percent dependence on unreliable imports from Russian supplier Gazprom, create new jobs and cut rising energy prices.

In sparsely populated Szymkowo, Justyna Kulakowska is notably less enthusiastic.

NB Power asked to remove anti-fracking signs from poles

Energy Minister Craig Leonard’s political assistant asked NB Power to remove all anti-shale gas signs from its utility poles as anger was building across the province last summer.

CBC News has obtained emails through the Right to Information Act from NB Power and the Department of Energy outlining a request from Jacob Baisley, the executive assistant to the energy minister, requesting the anti-shale gas signs come down.

Sri Lanka concerned over N-power plants in India

Sri Lanka has raised concerns over nuclear power plants located in southern India, the country's power and energy minister Champika Ranawaka has said. Ranawaka said the issue will be raised at the next International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in September. He said Colombo is concerned over the impact of a nuclear disaster in one of the plants in India could have on Sri Lanka. The two nations are divided by a narrow strip of sea.

Kansai Electric to Spend $2.5 Billion to Improve Reactor Safety

Kansai Electric Power Co. will spend more than 200 billion yen ($2.5 billion) to bolster defenses at its 11 nuclear reactors against earthquakes, tsunami and other accidents, president Makoto Yagi said in Tokyo today.

We're Not Going to Run Out of Oil Based Fertilizer

I had thought that worries over the supplies of oil based fertilizers (or fertilisers) were confined to the kookier ends of the Peak Oil conspirators along with the weirder part of the environmental movement. Sadly, I find that it has invaded the editorials of seemingly respectable newspapers like London’s The Guardian. The point being of course that as we don’t use oil based fertilisers, have never used oil based fertilisers, we’re most unlikely to ever run out of oil based fertilisers.

Rollo: Peak oil already wreaking economic disaster

Peak oil production is at a crisis point but also is an opportunity to better the planet, Bloomington City Councilman David Rollo said in a talk, "Evidence and Consequences of Peak Oil," sponsored by Green Drinks at the Upland Brewery banquet hall on March 28.

Movement hopes to prepare Prince Rupert for a world without oil

Just as many Ruptertites feeling a sharp pain in their wallets caused by vicissitudes of the Oil and Gas Industry, a home-grown movement is emerging with plans to spend the next decade preparing Prince Rupert so that it can continue to exist in a post-oil world: Transition Prince Rupert.

The expressly non-political movement has been in the planning stages for over a year-and-a-half and is a local off-shoot of the Transition Towns movement which was originally started in the UK by a professor named Rob Hopkins. Since then the movement has spread across the globe and groups exist in cities as close as Vancouver and Smithers.

Abu Dhabi's Taqa sells Tesla stake and buys into Iraq

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company has sold a stake in Tesla, a US electric car maker, and bought into a power plant in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

Car of the future has wings - and $279,000 price tag

The Terrafugia Transition isn’t your typical automotive entry, something immediately obvious even with its wings neatly folded up. With the completion of its maiden flight last month, and a sign-off by both federal air and automotive regulators, the Transition is set to deliver on a dream that has haunted dreamers since the days of Henry Ford.

With as little as 20 hours of flight instruction – and a check for $279,000 – the Transition will let a motorist leapfrog traffic – and potentially cut hours from longer trips – by taking to the air.

South Korea's answer to Masdar

South Korea has transformed itself from an impoverished, postwar nation under military rule to a democracy in half a century. That has been possible in part thanks to an aggressive energy policy of securing fossil-fuel resources abroad and developing a domestic nuclear industry - necessary survival techniques for a nation that must import 97 per cent of its energy.

"Korea is like an island, energy-wise," says Jooho Whang, the president of the Korea Institute of Energy Research, a national renewables centre in Daejeon. "Electricity does not come from over the border. We have to supply ourselves."

Biofuel firms face uncertainty over future government help

As one of the Bay Area's hottest biofuel businesses, Solazyme exemplifies to many everything that is right -- or wrong -- with the federal government's efforts to wean the nation off foreign oil.

The South San Francisco firm has deals with the likes of Chevron and Honeywell. Its algae-based fuel was used in October for an unprecedented commercial airline flight. And in December it won a piece of a $12 million contract to supply biofuel for the Navy.

But critics contend the fuel costs the Navy too much, arguing that the contract amounts to at least three times what the military typically pays. And despite the subsidies Solazyme and other biofuel companies have received from the federal government, they argue, the nation appears nowhere close to meeting a congressional mandate to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.

New Rules Seek to Prevent Invasive Stowaways

A federal rule will require oceangoing freighters entering American waters to install onboard treatment systems to filter and disinfect their ballast water.

Despite Deadly Fungus, Frog Imports Continue

American bullfrogs are native to eastern North America but are reared in factory farms around the world. Two million bullfrogs are imported into the Bay Area every year, according to federal import records, and millions more are shipped to other major cities.

The Bluefin Tuna: What’s to Be Done?

The only problem with that is that Iccat governments almost always set fishing quotas far above the recommendations of the scientists who are supposed to be guiding them.

So a first step might be to address those practices and to actually listen to the scientists.

Others, including many scientists with whom I have spoken, simply don’t believe that there can be such a thing as sustainable fishing for any wild fish. They say the only way to save fish is to quit eating them altogether.

Greening The Desert

Like it or not ‘modern’ fossil energy, pesticide and fertilizer dependent agriculture is on the way out. Diminishing returns extend from pesticide and fertiliser use, through irrigation, to the diseconomies and damage caused by the use of GM or ‘transgenic’ plants and animals. Rarely understood by observers taking the apparent total oil demand of world agriculture as "only a few percent" of total oil demand, the long and complex food production, processing and supply chain is intensely dependent on oil. This especially includes the worldwide transport of essential food imports for the growing number of food import dependent nations, as well as operating tractors and farm machinery, farm buildings, producing fertilisers and pesticides, and processing and packaging food products transported to supermarkets. One example is the food transport need of the overpopulated and over-urbanized UK: this requires about 85 billion ton kilometres of food product and animal feeds transport, brought into the UK by sea, air and road, needing the consumption of about 1.6 billion litres of fuel, each year.

Call to develop green economy

Doha Bank Group CEO R. Seetharaman was a speaker at an international conference on renewable energy and climate change held in the south Indian city of Madurai recently.

Windfall of cash could hit state treasury from global warming program

For the past 10 years, California has struggled with huge budget deficits and wrenching cuts. Suddenly, however, the state is poised to raise billions from an unusual new source: the proceeds from its landmark global warming law.

The windfall could come as soon as this fall, when state officials are set to begin auctioning off pollution credits to oil refineries, power plants and other major polluters as part of a new "cap-and-trade" system.

Pressing questions for coastal communities

More important in the short run (the next three or four decades) is the impact of storm surges, which will be higher, will penetrate inland ever further and will be generated by more powerful storms. The flooding from Hurricane Irene was a wake-up call.

Estimates of sea level rise by more than a dozen science panels from all coastal states including that of North Carolina agree that the most likely scenario is a rise of at least 29 inches by the year 2100.

Will Climate Refugees Get Promised Aid?

BANGKOK - With extreme weather pounding countries across a wide arc in the Asia-Pacific region, questions hover over entitlements for millions of people displaced by climate change, pledged under the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other sources.

Thomas L. Friedman: The Other Arab Spring

ISN’T it interesting that the Arab awakening began in Tunisia with a fruit vendor who was harassed by police for not having a permit to sell food — just at the moment when world food prices hit record highs? And that it began in Syria with farmers in the southern village of Dara’a, who were demanding the right to buy and sell land near the border, without having to get permission from corrupt security officials? And that it was spurred on in Yemen — the first country in the world expected to run out of water — by a list of grievances against an incompetent government, among the biggest of which was that top officials were digging water wells in their own backyards at a time when the government was supposed to be preventing such water wildcatting? As Abdelsalam Razzaz, the minister of water in Yemen’s new government, told Reuters last week: “The officials themselves have traditionally been the most aggressive well diggers. Nearly every minister had a well dug in his house.”

All these tensions over land, water and food are telling us something: The Arab awakening was driven not only by political and economic stresses, but, less visibly, by environmental, population and climate stresses as well. If we focus only on the former and not the latter, we will never be able to help stabilize these societies.

More data (and neat maps) on the March heatwave:


Warmest Ever? You Betcha. March Temps Fry All Record

(I added the Midwestern "betcha.")

Due to the extraordinary heat wave that sent temperatures soaring to summer-like levels across the eastern two-thirds of the country, March was officially the warmest such month in history for the Lower 48 states, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) announced Monday.

The heat wave was unprecedented in its scope and magnitude for so early in the year, with many locations breaking longstanding records by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. surface temperature record dates back to 1895.

Language fails to capture the extremity of this mega-heatwave. "Record breaking" hardly does it justice. Even "record smashing" barely does it. Something like "record obliterating" perhaps?

Near me, the average temperature through the month was 20 degrees above the long-term average for the month.

It was interesting to watch the Masters and nothing was in bloom. None of the usual azaleas or dogwoods, etc.. They all finshed blooming a couple of weeks ago. No dogwoods blooming at the various Dogwood Festivals, no cherries blooming at the Cherry Blossom Festivals....

We'll likely cut hay a month early, and may get three cuttings this year if we don't get too much heat/drought again.

On the west side of that jet stream loop, we've had one of the colder, and wettest springs, with ppt still snow above 3000 ft. Finally reached 60 this weekend, the fields just now have more green than brown color. Buds just starting to swell.

We are just a small corner of the country, the amazing thing to me about the March heatwave was its extent, clear into maritime Canada.

Yeah. All that heat must come from somewhere. For example Scandinavia. This spring is cold and rainy (for the last 2 weeks). I want my warmth back.

No, we have it all now! My precioussss warmth!

But seriously, this is the oddest spring I can remember. We should be cold with an unpredictable mix of rain and snow instead of this unrelenting pleasant weather.

It has indeed been beautiful here in eastern PA, but it has been dry and generally very windy. Ground water levels are OK, but the surface is really quite dry. Not all that much rain in the long term forcast, and what has been predicted recently hasn't happened. I'm trying not to worry, but I don't think we have any better idea what the summer weather may bring than we did for this winter.

Same here in Sourthern Maryland. The temps have been great, but it's like the actual weather has skipped straight to August. It's dry, dusty, warm and windy. My grass is already dying like it normally would in late July. I was looking through the stats, and it looks like we've only had about 4" of rain for the entire year so far! None predicted in the next 10 days either. If something doesn't change, this could ge really ugly, especially after the stress of last summer's record heat and drought, preceeded by summer 2010's record heat and drought. We'll get some weird coastal storm that will dump 8" of rain in 24 hours and it'll all even out by the numbers, but the last couple years have been really hot and dry. It currently feels like the Santa Ana winds have been in full effect for the past 4 days.

Eastern Washington (Spokane, Pullman) has been pretty much a bastion of normalcy, almost. The temperatures have been bouncing all around the average temp - a few above a few days, a few below a few days. Some cold stuff passing through, some warm stuff passing through. It couldn't be more normal, temperature-wise than it has been. However, it's been rainy - March was the wettest on record - but not that it rained more days than not, but that when it did rain the clouds were surly and black and dumped lots of rain in a short while. Flooding is occurring, the rivers are very high and there's all that snowpack to melt yet, which, by the way, is a bit above normal.

I think the Palouse will do well this year.

(link to larger picture)

More pictures;


One of my favorite parts of the country. Used to be dust dunes (loess) on the southern margins of the ice sheet. Then climate change occurred.

Warning; don't watch the scenery while driving, the roads are not straight.

Warning; don't watch the scenery while driving, the roads are not straight.

Indeed that's our cycling playground too!

It indeed is a sand duneish landscape. And very absurd. But I like it.

Very dry here in Connecticut. We've already had our first brush fire - unheard of in April.

Record highs beat record lows 35 to 1. 35:1. And a Fox News camera team at every one of the record lows just to show how global warming 'isn't happening.'

Good point. And keep in mind that the 32 : 1 ratio is part of a long-term trend which has recently been accelerating mightily. 1 to 1 through most of history, ~1.2 to 1 in the '80s, ~ 1.4 to 1 in the '90s, 2 to 1 in the aughts, then about 3 to 1 for 2010 and 2011. So far this year the average is 22 to 1.


More on the heatwave:


Video: Over 15,000 U.S. records broken as March 2012 becomes warmest on record

warmest March on record for the contiguous United States, a record that dates back to 1895. More than 15,000 warm temperature records were broken during the month.

The average temperature of 51.1°F was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average for March and 0.5°F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months (117+ years) that have passed since the U.S. climate record began, only one month, January 2006, has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.

Note: The March 2012 Monthly Climate Report for the United States has several pages of supplemental information and data regarding the unprecedented early 2012 temperatures.

* Every state in the nation experienced at least one record warm daily temperature during March. According to preliminary data, there were 15,272 warm temperature records broken (7,755 daytime records, 7,517 nighttime records). Hundreds of locations across the country broke their all-time March records. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date. [/quote]

And here is the reason I'm not at all excited about the prospect of new US oil supplies.

Nice mention about the accelerating record highs. Been keeping an eye on Arctic methane too?

Conservatives who are tired of the liberal bias of Wikipedia now have a new source of information, Coservapedia The Trustworthy Enchlopedia.

From Wiki: Conservapedia is an English-language wiki encyclopedia project written from a self-described American conservative, Christian, and creationist point of view. According to the site's operators, the site "strives to keep its articles concise, informative, family-friendly, and true to the facts, which often back up conservative ideas more than liberal ones."It was started in 2006 by homeschool teacher and attorney Andrew Schlafly, son of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, to counter what he called the liberal bias of Wikipediaia

I first heard of Concervapedia while watching a TV interview of Chris Mooney who was talking about his book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality He said Schlafly became upset because Wikipedia used the letters BCE (before common era) instead of BC (before Christ) and decided to do his own on line encyclopedia.

Concervapedia Peak oil

Peak Oil is a hypothetical event that asserts that there is a point at which global oil production will reach a peak or maximum, from which it then begins an irreversible decline. The theory has been floated by some geologists and promoted by fossil fuels opponents, but suffers from a lack of supporting evidence.

Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, an energy consultancy firm that works for oil companies, says "Not much can be said about additional oil resources because we haven't really started looking for them yet." There is likely to be a lot of oil in as-yet undiscovered smaller fields.

Concervapedia Global Warming

Global warming is the liberal hoax that the world is becoming dangerously warmer due to the human pollution of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Liberals have used this theory of man-made global warming to justify demands for a more powerful government and that the government needs to assert more controls over energy production and consumption in order to stop the Earth from warming.

Concervapedia Inteligent Design

Intelligent design (ID) is the empirically testable theory that the natural world shows signs of having been designed by a purposeful, intelligent cause. As Jonathan Wells wrote, "ID ... asserts only that some features of living things are better explained by an intelligent cause than by unguided processes." Wells, among others, uses ID to rebut the Darwinian assertion that the features of living things are "inexplicable on the theory of creation" but fully explicable as products of unguided natural forces.

Ron P.

Wow. Just wow.

Kind of a bizarro world of information.

How long will it be till someone links information from this site here?

Who is it who said that 'reality has a liberal bias'?

The GW and ID stuff is pretty standard fare. I hadn't heard that Lynch quote:

"...additional oil resources because we haven't really started looking for them yet."

Where does one start?

If you think your head won't explode, try reading this:

Conservapedia links to these 15 questions which they say Evolutionists (whatever the hell that means) can't answer.

These people aren't even wrong! Sure they have an agenda but that doesn't mean they aren't completely batshlt insane as well.

From the batsh*t crazy crowd ...

Tennessee seeking to question evolution in bill

... Lawmakers from the southeastern US state home to a strong base of ultraconservative "Tea Party" activists have approved the bill, which now awaits the signature of Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican.

The measure, which could pass by a Tuesday deadline, would allow public schoolteachers to challenge accepted science on topics such as climate change and evolution in their classrooms without facing sanctions.

If it passes, Tennessee would join nine other states with similar laws promoting creationism, more or less explicitly. ... The creationist offensive is part of a long-running battle, in a country where only a quarter of the population believes whole-heartedly in evolution ...

Why don't they just come out and say it......

"While resting on the 7th day, GOD drafted the U.S Constituion and began outlining the principles of free market capitalism"

God is a Darwinian. Who knew?


But how does HE weigh in the Bill of Rights, slavery, universal suffrage or other things only liberals care about? Wait... I think I just answered my own question.

Just a historical reminder.

The republicans wanted to remove slavery, the democrats wanted to keep it. Luckily, the republicans won.

Just another historical reminder, today's party politics are reversed, and while there's barely a difference between the two on issues of substance, Lincoln and the abolitionists would not be characterized as "Republicans" today. Hell man, even Ike wouldn't make it past the S.C. GOP primary these days.

When Lyndon Johnson decided to back Civil Rights in the south in the 60's, he figured (correctly) that the D party would lose the south for a generation. Then Nixon invented the Southern strategy, which was that the R's would align with the segregationists. Since then the parties roles racewsie have been reversed.

Can anybody do edits on Coservapedia like you can on Wikipedia? If so, I would like to do some.

I would think that they can. It appears to have the same format and use the same software as Wikipedia. Try it.

15 Questions for Evolutionists may be as good a place to start as any, though I wouldn't waste my time :-/

...or their section on Nuclear Energy, almost a whole page!

An environmentalist's ideal energy is one that emits no greenhouse gasses and is efficient. Nuclear energy is not only competitive with coal energy, but by an environmentalist standards, "cleaner." Environmentalists claim that they want the cleanest, most efficient energy source, but despise domestic nuclear energy use while at the same time ardently support Iran obtaining nuclear energy. This negates any validity they had towards nuclear energy being unsafe. H.R. 391 [2] would amend the Clean Air Act of 1963 [3] to not allow congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This would make the energy industry more competitive. As all free market economists know, the product of competition is lower prices at better quality, ultimately benefiting the American people the most.

Recently, many liberal American politicians have renewed their efforts to scale back nuclear power in the US; liberal pundits have similarly pushed for the elimination of nuclear power in the US despite the lack of greenhouse gas output from this power source.

Damned environmentalists; just can't make up their minds....

There's no page yet for "Limits To Growth" Perhaps we should contribute ;-)

Was this written by children?

Some people never grow up. They believed in Santa Clause and then believed the story, told by the same people, about religion. They figured out the first was a lie, but couldn't grasp that the second was also.

BTW, what's in a name? HeyZeus...

E. Swanson

Joke all you want, but look in the mirror, try to put the pieces together.

Modern liberals in America don't believe in education any more than conservatives do. Not in any meaningful way. Liberals believe in transferring money away from public schools that work and into corrupt public schools that don't work. And they believe this will help everyone, when it all it does it bring everyone down to lowest common denominator. The result? Massive movements away from public schools, into the welcoming arms of private religious schools, who, whatever they may teach about creationism, do at least try to maintain standards of conduct and discipline. That, or homeschooling.

Liberals are also hypocrites. Not all, but most. And people may be uninformed, but hypocrisy is easy to detect. When Al Gore flies around the world burning fuel, it doesn't take a genius to recognize it. And so, people just tune it out, or go even further and stop believing in global warming altogether.

Also, if liberals do subscribe to the science of evolution, why are they so loathe to apply it to human affairs? Why can't they admit that humans are tribal and prefer to be amongst people like themselves? Why can't they admit that the strong and the smart succeed?

The modern American liberal mindset is: "evolution happened, but then stopped with human beings." So, they believe that every single human being is equal, a blank state, and all we need is more money thrown around to make all outcomes equal. They have abandoned human genetics, and, again, people can sort of see through that.

More broadly speaking, though, it's possible that the end of global industrial civilization might herald the beginning of a new dark age, and we are seeing the first signs of that. But that's perhaps a discussion for another time.

Where do you get this dreck? Project much? You're just ranting and raving, and not making a heck of a lot of sense.

Liberals believe in transferring money away from public schools that work and into corrupt public schools that don't work.

Where on earth did you come up with that line of BS? What program are you talking about? That is a claim that cannot be supported by any data. I think you just made that up.

Also, if liberals do subscribe to the science of evolution, why are they so loathe to apply it to human affairs?

Biological evolution and cultural evolution are two entirely different things. Yet all liberals, that I know of anyway, are aware that both are happening and none are loathe to admit it. We in fact love to discuss cultural evolution. How on earth did you come to the silly conclusion that we are loathe to apply evolution to human affairs. That is about the dumbest thing I have heart any conservative try to say about liberals in years.

The modern American liberal mindset is: "evolution happened, but then stopped with human beings."

No liberal in their right mind would maintain such a stupid position. Evolution, or natural selection, is something that happens to all species. Evolution relaxes its grip in times of plenty and increases its influence in times of scarcity and stress. But that has nothing to do with politics, it is pure science.

So, they believe that every single human being is equal, a blank state, and all we need is more money thrown around to make all outcomes equal. They have abandoned human genetics, and, again, people can sort of see through that.

What in God's name are you talking about? Believing in humans as a "Blank Slate" is not a liberal or conservative issue. There are both liberals and conservatives on both side of that issue. You are trying to mix science and politics and that is dangerous. While liberals are, in general, pro science and conservatives are, in general, anti science, there are liberals and conservatives on both sides. There is no set of beliefs one must subscribe to in order to qualify as a liberal. Except of course to be a liberal you must possess a thing called "empathy". If you do not have empathy for your fellow man and woman, then you are definitely not a liberal. And our empathy applies to the animal kingdom as well. We love all creatures great and small.

I am a card carrying Bleeding Heart Liberal. Its a library card. ;-) And I have ranted against the belief that humans are born a blank slate for forty years, long before the inception of The Oil Drum. To ascribe the blank slate concept to liberals is absurd. For instance most conservatives believe that homosexuality is a "learned behavior" meaning the child is a blank slate and homosexuality must be learned. On the other hand liberals, like myself, believe that homosexuals are born that way, not born a blank slate. So you are really confused in that respect Oilman.

And conservatives, in general, hate any attempt to conserve the environment. That is the epitome of irony.

Ron P.

"Biological evolution and cultural evolution are two entirely different things. Yet all liberals, that I know of anyway, are aware that both are happening and none are loathe to admit it."

Ron, at what point do you think cultural evolution and biological evolution start becoming one in the same? Let's say that the culture changes to the point where females stop looking for the best possble mate and provider to father her children. What if this culture change is due to government taking the parental roll of the father and mother? At what point does nature that caused the social norm of females looking to pick the best possible mate create genetic traits that nature wouldn't otherwise allow when she doesn't have to pick the best mate? Government in my view is taking consequences of these parental decisons out of the picure for a short period of time.

I know I'm going to take heat for this but in animal husbandry "cattle ranching" we don't keep a bull that produces huge calves do to calving problems. We don't keep breeding a cow that doesn't show good motherly traits. We genetically adjust our herd by design to fit our needs as ranchers. Now if I can do that to a cattle herd in a few generations, why can't the entitlement society create genetic traits in people that we otherwise would deem to be bad?

A candidate for the worst post ever on Drumbeat. COMPLETELY out of touch with reality.

You are projecting your own hatred and ...

After reading this, I agree - Reality has a Liberal (or at least anti-Radical Right) bias.


Paragraph 2: "No Child Left Behind" was a Republican, conservative, creation.

Paragraph 3: fallacious deductive reasoning.

Paragraph 4: Misapplication of the theory. Evolution is a theory describing generational changes in species, not human sociology and economics.

Paragraph 5: See the response to paragraph 4. Strawman: evolution is ongoing with the tick of the evolutionary clock being the duration of a generation.

Paragraph 6: This propaganda campaign is an American phenomenon that seems directed toward returning the country to the era of unregulated capitalism similar to the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Paragraph 6: This propaganda campaign is an American phenomenon that seems directed toward returning the country to the era of unregulated capitalism similar to the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Back in the 1800's when there were unlimited natural resources to power modern growing economies, which are designed to function only when growing, then the only limitation to your potential wealth was how quickly you could take it from the natural world and convert it into something of economic value.

Now, we have run out of natural resources and that laissez-faire free market "survival of the fittest benefits everyone in the end" cowboy economics theology doesn't work anymore. But the "conservatives", for lack of a better term since I dislike stereotyping, don't understand why. Rather than admit that we are running out of resources as the reason for the end of the American way of life, they'd rather blame the people who are pointing out that we are running out of resources...

No child left behind was just as much Ted Kennedy as it was Bush. Bush was a moderate anyway!

W. Bush was not a moderate. He just looks like one now with the GOP going anti-birth control, requiring trans-vaginal probes before abortions, wanting to cut taxes more for someone that makes $20 Million and only pays 13.9%, etc.

I totally agree Oilman, I shouldn't say much because I had a few post of mine deleted because we supposedly don't talk politics on TOD. Well from looking at this drumbeat they put up with one side of the spectrum.

However you hit a point that's dead on. Liberals pretend to believe in nature and evolution, then they stand behind the welfare state that causes the human to devolve, because liberals forget we too are animals. Evolution goes both ways if you can turn a wolf into a poodle you can turn productive humanity into a parasite. We're doing that.

What we are doing with the welfare state in the west is not sustainable living, Greece is a prime example. What we're doing to the human animal is the real crime against humanity.

Any fans of sustainability want to refute that you better hurry before my post gets deleted.

There is plenty of rather conservative comment on the Drumbeat, so kindly knock it off with the martyr complex.

And your cartoon caricature of what "the Liberals" believe is absurd. (As if there is such a thing as "the Liberals")

I could do a hatchet job on "the Conservatives" if you like.

The funny thing about cartoon caricatures is that they have to have a good bit of truth behind them to make them funny in the first place. Hatchet away at conservatives all you want I have little use for them.

There are very few people who I would associate as either US Liberal or US Conservative posting here. Though a few of us would match up nicely with some previous versions of those labels (like 30 or 40 years previous...)

I'm sick of cliches like "cartoons/caricatures/stereotypes need to have a lot of truth in them to be funny."

What's the deep truth expressed by Bugs Bunny?

Sometimes caricatures etc. have truth in them, sometimes they don't. Learn how not to think in cliches.

Liberals pretend to believe in nature and evolution,...

We pretend to believe in nature and evolution? Nature is a simple fact, it is not something you can possibly disbelieve in. It would be the height of stupidity to say "I disbelieve in nature." Do you disbelieve in nature?

And what on earth do you mean when you say "Liberals pretend to believe in evolution?" Do you think that we secretively believe in creationism?

Wildman, the gist of your post is that those less fortunate deserve to be eliminated by natural selection and that the rich, even those whose wealth was totally inherited, should survive because they are the "fittest". That is sheer nonsense. The one percent, Romney for instance, would likely be one of the least likely to survive if we were all to return to the wild.

For the last one hundred years or so, we have lived in an age of plenty. We have lived in an age where both the fit and the unfit had an equal chance of survival. In an age of plenty natural selection loses it grip, almost everyone survives.

In the next half century or so, we will likely return to "Nature red in tooth and claw." It is highly unlikely that those who today refer to themselves as conservatives will be in any better position to be among the survivors than us liberals. Their wealth is just a bunch of magnetic digits on some computer disk somewhere in cyberspace. When crunch comes to crunch it will not buy a turnip.

Ron P.

And Jesus said to the disciples: "Do not despair, for the Lord will provide for all his children! The Lord has wished the Pharisees and tax collectors and money changers to grow rich. The poor and hungry will never want for food as it trickles down to them."

We do talk politics here. What is discouraged is the same old talking points. No point in discussing things that have been beaten to death already.

I agree with R4ndom. There are actually pretty few stereotypical liberals or conservatives here. However, I do think that conservatives are more likely to have a "with us or against us," black and white view. So they see anyone who doesn't agree with them as liberal. When actually, most people here don't really qualify as liberal or conservative as conventionally defined.

I wasn't thrilled about the Conservopedia post. It's not news, and it was likely to generate more heat than light. But I left it, because it's a slow holiday week. In future, I'm going to ask that comments like that be posted later in the day, perhaps on the second day of a Drumbeat, rather than right on top of a new thread.

As for your comments on the welfare state...there's no such thing as "devolve" in a biological sense. The idea of "devolution" implies that evolution has a direction or goal. That is simply wrong.

If you want to argue that the "welfare state" is not sustainable financially, well, most here would probably agree with you. But a crime against humanity? I think an argument could be made that it's the opposite. There's plenty of scientific evidence that supports the idea that genetic diversity is important for species survival. The traits that seem maladaptive in some situations might be highly adaptive in others.

And it's definitely not anti-nature. Animals in general and our species in particular have a long history of supporting those who need help. It's as much a part of our DNA as the red in tooth and claw stuff.

"The idea of "devolution" implies that evolution has a direction or goal. That is simply wrong."

"If you want to argue that the "welfare state" is not sustainable financially, well, most here would probably agree with you. But a crime against humanity? I think an argument could be made that it's the opposite."

"And it's definitely not anti-nature. Animals in general and our species in particular have a long history of supporting those who need help."

When I say "devolution" I'm saying the goal of natural selection is that nature doesn't promote traits that doesn't sustain the particular species in question. It's not natural for our welfare state to have created generational dead end for some humans. That is a crime against humanity when you take the worlds most creative creature and you turn them into parasites with very little way out. The problem is what happens to these people if we have a disaster such as a currency collapse. What if the currency that backs welfare, food stamps social securrity, medicade, medicare, educational grants, ETC goes away?

See I'm not against helping people, I'm against locking people generationally into a revolving door. I'm looking at some worst case scenarios and asking what happens to these people that are in this situation. Why are the left so dogmatically positioned against solutions to these problems? People think that libertarians and right wingers have no compassion we do. I'm also saying that liberal leaning people shy away from talk about changing the welfare state and that they want to throw more money at the problem, that's short sighted.

Are there other animal species in nature that promote able bodied adults of that same species to have a parasitical relationship with other adults of that species?

And I am saying natural selection does not have a goal. Not even to "sustain the species."

Natural selection cannot know the future, and neither can you or I. Many traits have short term benefits but long term liabilities. For example, embryos carrying genes for diabetes are less likely to be spontaneously miscarried. Or they are beneficial in some situations, and not in others. (The sickle cell trait being the most famous example.)

It's not natural for our welfare state to have created generational dead end for some humans.

It's not natural to create a system that rewards people for sitting in front of computers moving around imaginary electronic wealth, either, but you're not complaining that that's a crime against humanity.

The problem is what happens to these people if we have a disaster such as a currency collapse. What if the currency that backs welfare, food stamps social securrity, medicade, medicare, educational grants, ETC goes away?

Probably the same thing that happens to you and me. Heck, the poor might actually be better off. They're used to making do, and they often rely on social connections to do the things the middle and upper classes pay others to do.

By your reasoning, it's a terrible thing to let people accumulate so much wealth that they don't have to do physical work. What are they going to do if the currency collapses and they can no longer pay someone to grow and cook their food for them, build their homes, sew their clothes, etc.?

Are there other animal species in nature that promote able bodied adults of that same species to have a parasitical relationship with other adults of that species?

Sure. Dolphins will support an injured dolphin by holding it up in the water so it can breath. They have done this with drowning humans as well. Mongooses, wolves, even vampire bats bring back food to elderly, injured, or handicapped animals.

"Heck, the poor might actually be better off. They're used to making do, and they often rely on social connections to do the things the middle and upper classes pay others to do."

I would agree with this except were not talking about the poor. Poor meaning people that subsist off of much less than others do, I'm talking about people that aren't "making do". I'm not talking about some hillbilly subsistance farmers living at Walden pond I'm talking about people that would die if the government didn't cut them a check. There's a big difference!

As far as people that are so rich that they don't do physical work I'm thinking they would make it in almost any environment, because they'll use the same skills that got them rich in the first place. Now if your talking about children and grand children of the ultra rich or "trust fund babies" that are often more liberal than they're parents, sure my reasoning would hold true for them as well. I see very little difference between those two groups.

I don't think there are many people who would die if the government didn't cut them a check. There are some people who disabled and can't work. I don't think killing them now just in case there's a currency collapse is worth the disruption it would cause.

As far as people that are so rich that they don't do physical work I'm thinking they would make it in almost any environment, because they'll use the same skills that got them rich in the first place.

I disagree. As I said, the traits that are beneficial in some situations are not in others. I think it's quite possible that traits that make for success currently might be big liabilities in the future. There's also research that shows success is largely chance. And the traits that big business looks for are not particularly desirable in general.


"Sure. Dolphins will support an injured dolphin by holding it up in the water so it can breath. They have done this with drowning humans as well. Mongooses, wolves, even vampire bats bring back food to elderly, injured, or handicapped animals."

Leanan, my question was about "able bodied adults" not "elderly, injured, or handicapped animals". I would add that the "elderly, injured, or handicapped animals" don't procreate or thrive to the point of creating a unsustainable system as in our welfare system.

Okay, wolves, etc., will bring back food to animals that didn't hunt, even if they are perfectly healthy.

The problem is what happens to these people if we have a disaster such as a currency collapse.

Well, if the welfare hadn't existed, the people on it will suffer now rather than later. The problem is not welfare, the problem is welfare implementation and it's relationship to society and skills over time.

Notably if there is a disaster then the varied gene pool that you built up with the welfare glut is hit by selection pressure. It will do wonders for humanity from the genetic viewpoint. Probably better than if you hadn't had welfare.

Richard, I don't think we have to change much in our system to avoid such a catastrophe, if we have time that is. We can still be compassionate, people would still eat and live, but we can tweak the entire welfare system in ways to make it less of a trap.

How is welfare a trap? It's a temporary assistance program. There's a five-year limit.

By adults whose minds never developed beyond the capability of a 2 year old. Magical thinking, narcissism, and the creation of clumsy straw-men. Yep. That's about right.

You'll be shut down if you try to bring reason to any of these topics. For example, Conservapedia is rarely funnier than when they go after relativistic physics:

Why the antiscience bias? Science and the doubting conservatives.

Yes - there is an entire internet subculture dedicated to trolling Conservpida.

I believe you can find such on 4chan or something awful

Too bad the lunatic fringe isn't so fringe.

RE: Peak oil

Highest Gas Price Recorded in March

RE: Global warming

Oldest Arctic Sea Ice is Disappearing


Double Trouble From Mountain Pine Beetles?

have a new source of information, Coservapedia


Conservapedia, launched on November 21, 2006,

At least now one knows what 'new' is.

Anything to start a fight, eh, Eric?

You have many valuable insights to offer. Why do you insist on doing this?

I suppose this comment will be snipped, but I hope not. This kind of sniping you've devoted yourself to as above does nothing to support the presence of an adult conversation at this site.

Regardless of how New this LaLaLapedia is or isn't, it's very relevant to this discussion. It's news to me, and I'm just hoping that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can tap into it for it's obvious comedic potentials.. pray for the healing power of laughter and ridicule to disinfect these bloated blinded pustules we've been living amongst!

(If they really want to redefine reality, maybe they could also create a Lexicon Website and call it 'The Reactionary')

I'm just hoping that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can tap into it for it's obvious comedic potentials..

I believe Colbert has already had. Oct 7, 2009 - 6 min
Stephen wants to be a biblical figure on Conservapedia,

My memory is there was some outrage connected to 'The Colbert Nation' resulting in locking down the entire site for some time due to the "liberal edits".

(oh and there is no fight - just a fact. The site is not "new" - no matter what one person says.)

As a liberal, I'm a ardent supporter of free speech. However, there are times when I'm beginning to think that these insane (expletives omitted) Extreme Right Wingers are bordering upon Crimes Against Humanity. They have prevented and continue to prevent any mitigation of Climate Change and any acceptance of the rapid exhaustion of natural resources. They are condemning their own children and grandchildren to lives fraught with misery and untimely deaths. Unfortunately, they have also condemned millions, if not billions of other peoples children and grandchildren to the same fate.

It has long been held that yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater is not protected free speech. Why should we protect the free speech of people who tell the fire department that the theater is NOT on fire, when in fact it is burning out of control??

Then again, it is YOU who are condemning yourself and your get to an eternity of unimaginable suffering by not ensuring an acceptance of Jesus Christ as THE Lord and Savior; truely a crime against God Himself. Funny how that free speech thing works.

"eternity of unimaginable suffering"

All from a guy who claims to be your savior. "Funny how that free speech thing works."

Yes, to a True Believer "free speech" does NOT mean what your average liberal or nonreligious person thinks it means. It means "freedom" to worship and believe as they do. While this is hardly revelatory, I was somewhat surprised to see this viewpoint essentially codified and endorsed among even "scholarly" theologians when I took an intro to 20th century theology class years ago (HR Niebuhr, Otto, Tillich, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Bultmann, etc.).

Thus, you are "free" to accept Christ as your personal savior, Protestant Christianity (of the correct denomination/sect of course) as your religion, free market fundamentalism as your economic model, and Creationism as science.

Kind of creates a problem for those who prefer empirical evidence and testing hypotheses through experimentation.

True Believer

I've often wondered what the heck that means. My take on it is:

A following of people all willing to fall in line to a contrived belief via 'group-think' mentality, in which one does not question or use critical thinking to determine what parts of that belief makes sense and which ones do not, out of an over-arching need to belong to that following.

In other words it represents a person that can best be described as a 'true follower' acting out of an overwhelming sense of insecurity. Someone that needs to be spoon fed what they should believe, to blindly follow. Probably the closest thing a human can get to a farm animal. Here, let me put this harness on you and you just pull without questioning what I am doing, because you are a true believer, and while you're at it, 15%!

The True Believer. Wasn't that the name of a book by Eric Hoffer, written way back in the 1950s as I recall.

That was one of my all time favorites: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without belief in a devil.

They want freedom from "the fearful burden of free choice," freedom from the arduous responsibility of realizing their ineffectual selves and shouldering the blame for the blemished product. They do not want freedom of conscience, but faith--blind, authoritarian faith.

The inability or unwillingness to see things as they are promote both gullibility and charlatanism.

A sublime religion inevitably generates a strong feeling of guilt. There is an unavoidable contrast between loftiness of profession and imperfection of practice. And, as one would expect, the feeling of guilt promotes hate and brazenness. Thus it seems that the more sublime the faith the more virulent the hatred it breeds.

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.

When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom-freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement.

The devout are always urged to seek the absolute truth with their hearts and not their minds.

The truth is that the surrendering and humbling of the self breed pride and arrogance. The true believer is apt to see himself as one of the chosen, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a prince disguised in meekness, who is destined to inherit this earth and the kingdom of heaven, too. He who is not of his faith is evil; he who will not listen shall perish.

The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgiving, some pressing feeling of insufficiency at the center. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others.

The burning conviction that we have a holy duty toward others is often a way of attaching our drowning selves to a passing raft. What looks like giving a hand is often a holding on for dear life. Take away our holy duties and you leave our lives puny and meaningless. There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.

Eric Hoffer: The True Believer

These are a few of the Hoffer quotes I saved in my personal collection of quotations. Something I did years ago but I no longer add to my collection. I have about 70 pages of quotes from perhaps 100 to 200 authors.

Ron P.

you have just committed the 'no true Scotsman fallacy'


Well, at least he didn't call anyone a Scraeling ;)

Hey jarhead...I'm back from the boonies. It boils down to that dang constitution thing again, I'm afraid: one has the right to be as stupid as one wishes and to try convince others that they the ones with all the 'right' answers.

My little trip to west Africa put the idea of sustainability in perspective. A poor group of folks by any US standard. And not that higher energy costs won't have some negative impact. But a far less impact on their society than ours. Everyone will still walk to where ever they're going as they do know. They still enjoy fresh seafood and native crops as they do now. They'll still live in large extended family situations as they do now.

IOW talks about PO are not part of their lives now nor will likely be in their future either IMHO.


Welcome back! Hope you had a fruitful trip.

I have to agree with you that certain peoples may cope with lack of fossil fuels better than others. In the mid 80s I spent a month living with the Igorots in the Benguet mountains of the Philippines. These folks made their living growing rice and green beans. They had no electricity or indoor plumbing. It was also a two hour trek, through the mountains, to the nearest paved road. Mangoes, papayas, coconuts and native root vegetables were plentiful, growing in the wild. The only modern convenience I saw was that they used long 2" PVC hoses to bring spring water to their houses. They're not going to feel the loss of fossil fuels and have been living with the threats of monsoons and earthquakes for millenia. Came real close to dropping out of the Western world and taking up permanent residence there. One nevers knows about the decisions we might have made if we only knew then what we know now.

Great post.

I would have to think that converting from PVC pipe back to bamboo will be a whole heck of a lot easier than the many challenges that we face.

Lets just hope climate change don't kick the crap out of these people. Wich off course I assume it will.

The Igorot tribes are probably the true idigenous people of the Northern Philippines (Luzon), being ethnically distinct from the predominate mix of Malaysian or Polynesian people. The Igorots settled in the Benguet Mountains, which has peaks above 9,000 ft., with tall pine trees and an Alpine Climate. Unfortunately, many of the mountainsides have been deforested, not for lumber but to allow sunlight for vegetable gardening. Consequently, the monsoon rains cause heavy flooding with subsequent devastating landslides. At the time I was there, over 25 years ago the Provincial Governor, was a champion of conservation and was obsessed with efforts to reforest the mountainsides. Although as a youngster, he was educated by Methodist Missionaries in the 1930s, he proudly introduced himself as a Pagan. He truly worshipped natured and worked hard to educate the tribes about caring for the environment.

I'm married to an Igorota.

Since 25 years ago, way up in the hills the various subsets (dialect mostly, some tribal differences or what side of what mountian you hail from) stopped a massive dam building project in the design phase and insisted on mini-hydro instead. They also insisted on the company training the local men how to manage and repair the mini-hydro sites. I'm not saying it's utopia, but they've got electricity now. They can't fish (trap) in some of the streams, but it's better than a massive lake would have been.

Sadly their sustainability is fading in the once-proposed C.A.R. area, but they do better than most.

I swear the RP is about 15 different countries. The N.Luzon central mountain region is the best in my book (but I'm obviously biased toward the highlander people).

And you may be glad to know that even though most of them go to Catholic mass, they hold their pre-colonization, earth-centered beliefs highly. You won't find many dominionists in the mountains. They know better :-)

"most of them go to Catholic mass, they hold their pre-colonization, earth-centered beliefs highly"

I was in a Fijian village, small native village islands removed from the main island of Viti Levu. A mix of Christian religions in their mandatory Sunday service, the altar was covered with the crops that they would eat that week, so that the food would receive the blessings of the service.

The problem that those people in West Africa have is not Peak Oil, it is that their birth rate is too high.

It is not going to be very many years before their population exceeds their available food and firewood resources, and they are going to be starving and freezing. The trouble with renewable resources is that they have a limited population carrying capacity. Once you exceed that capacity, the surplus population has to move away or die off.

The nice thing about the tropics is that freezing isn't likely to be a problem.

It is not going to be very many years before their population exceeds their available food...

Almost every country in Africa has already reached the point where they are dependent on imported calories to feed their population. Much of those calories are in the form of bulk grain imported from a handful of temperate grain-producing countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, the US. If the combination of global warming and peak oil reduces grain production in those locations, or the ability to ship grain in bulk, Africa starves. Their big imports are wheat and corn, which in their modern forms don't grow well in the tropics.

Several political analysts have pointed out that last year's Arab Spring uprisings coincided with a spike in the price of imported wheat across North Africa and the Middle East.

Yair . . . It's good to have you back ROCKMAN although I did catch a couple of your posts from Africa.

I would be interested in an explanation of what we are actualy looking at in that picture of the Elgin gas leak.

We can see gas exiting from two holes in tubing . . . presumably there are two other venting holes we cannot see.

The surrounding structure is covered in a yellow deposit . . . possibly sulphur?

Any explanation and a "talk through" of how the well could have ended up in this condition would be interesting to me.


In Schneck v. United States, Justice Holmes wrote that no one was allowed to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater and claim free speech. He used this reasoning to hold that the First Amendment did not protect the right to distribute fliers opposing the draft for World War I.

Nothing like a little liberal totalitarianism to start the week off right.

Yay!!!! Finally conservatives don't have to be exposed to science ever.

Years back, a friend and I were discussing the rise of evangelical centers for post secondary education, titled universities by their founders. The point being that these couldn't last, as who would hire such deficient graduates. I think we were wrong.

Now at the state universitiy, I've met students studying for post grad degrees in geology and earth science, who believe it was all created in 6000 yrs. And met physicians dramatically searching for a new antibiotic that works, yet don't believe in evolution.

In terms of molecular biology, there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding how evolution can actually occur on a genetic level that require a great leap of faith on the part of secularists to complete the meme that it all comes about as a result of natural selection acting on random mutations. Dawkins never shows us the math of how random mutations can statistically create new functional genes, because the math doesn't add up. When you do even a rudimentary analysis, you find that, given the types of genetic mutations we see, their frequencies and effects, we'd maybe see one beneficial mutation happening in the entire universe in the last 14 billion years. It's not out by a factor of 10 or 100. It's out by a factor of more like 10^20. Yet they happen all around us every day. There's something else going on, or more to the point, there's something MORE going on, because it's not that the evolutionists are wrong, it's that they are only seeing a part of the picture. Kind of like Newtonian physicists only seeing a small window into what's out there. They weren't wrong, but they had no idea that their theories were merely a subset of a much wider realm encompassing relativity on one end and quantum mechanics on the other.

That's how you can have creationist molecular biologists -- ID'ers. I don't subscribe to their particular philosophy, but they are filling in the gaps in scientific understanding with their own cultural history that allows them to maintain the inherent human quality of spirituality. No amount of ridicule by evolutionists is going to persuade them otherwise; in fact it will tend to have the opposite effect.

The constant stomping of anything spiritual by the secularists is like someone said in a different post yesterday -- if you squeeze the jam into a doughnut, it will squirt out the other side. That's what this absurd radical fundamentalism is we are seeing which just defies all common sense. They see the spiritually-challenged secularists, are repulsed by it, and then they go the extreme opposite direction and pursue their own scientifically-challenged adventures into right wing fanatical whacko land. And to the backdrop of all this add in a collapsing economy as we enter the final Malthusian Collapse, and you can see the potential for extremism there as everyone blames each other.

There is room for both science and spirituality, in fact the two are the same thing. Both sides need to take a breather and regain some perspective.

Some very good points, Null.

I would very much agree that people have been joining camps out at the extremes.. but as far as Sci and Spirituality being the same thing.. I think they are important complements to each other, where the job of Science is to zero in on the literal and to expand the known, and spirituality is what we use to work within the human psyche and to have an approach for dealing with all that is unknown.

We've gotten into trouble as those invested in some of the spiritual practises have tried to take what are essentially bits of story and knowledge aimed at understanding our hearts and the paths of human lives, and making that wisdom somehow cover the concrete definitions of the Universe, while Literalists and Rationalists have gotten furious at all this emotionalism that has muddied their pristine, euclidean labs.. and the scientific tools we use for dealing with emotional catastrophes can often fall disastrously short as we try to heal each other. Relying on Pills and Therapy sometimes is like trying to do an Oil Painting with a Roller-brush out the side window of a moving car. With apologies to the psychologists in our midst, whose work is valuable and crucial.. there are clearly aspects of human life that need to be dealt with using more elemental tools from our social toolkit, and not be obstructed by the need for insurance dollars and a clinical relationship.

As Karen Armstrong puts it, they are based in two different types of thought and two different languages, Mythos and Logos, and neither is able to stand in for the other.

While it must also be considered that..
'Those who insist on the factual truth of the miracles is, in fact being more a materialist than a spiritualist..' (From an introduction to a transl. of the Upanishads I had years ago.)

.. and yet we aren't seeing the great music and poetry coming out of the newest computers with the best formulas.. we constantly need to translate the Human Heart, and so far, the scalpel hasn't emerged that's sharp enough to discover those truths on the Operating Room table. "Art is the lie that enables us to see the truth.." Picasso

As I think about it.. I would risk saying that Religion is simply one of the highest and most serious forms of Art, incorporating Painting, Poetry, Music, Architecture, Theater, Fiction, Love Songs, Philosophy and History.

Just that the Artists are all human, and in confusion are very capable of making some very bad, loud, offensive and tasteless art. And yet we are told it's not good to criticise someone's art.. they're just trying their best, and yet again, we DO criticize art, and we're not obliged to like art that we don't like, or that offends us.

..and ANYONE who says they know the ultimate truths, whoever they are.. is quite possibly full of it. And possibly some of them are not.

Bob, there are two kinds of truth. There are the truths about what is and then there the truths about what ain't.

Knowing what is is infinitely difficult and, as you say, anyone who says they know the ultimate truth about what is, is full of it.

Knowing what ain't is an entirely different story. Sometimes it is quite difficult to know what ain't but much of the time it is very easy. And most of the world believes they know for sure the ultimate truth about is when it really just ain't so.

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” - Mark Twaub

Ron P.

..and ANYONE who says they know the ultimate truths, whoever they are.. is quite possibly full of it. And possibly some of them are not.

"A poet once said 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imaginations adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secret of the universe's age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are there in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalizations: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts—physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on—remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it...
Richard P. Feynman

"I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything, and in many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here, and what the question might mean. I might think about a little, but if I can't figure it out, then I go to something else. But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me."

—The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

- William Blake

“Bring me the sunset in a cup.”

-Emily Dickinson

Ah... a giant numbers argument. There are lots of these.

The genes are modular.

The epi-genetic systems allow modification of gene expression... driven by the experiences of a single generation.

Science and spirituality are not the same thing. Science illuminates the internet upon which the believers giggle with each-other over the foolishness of science. The spiritualists brought us the spirit trumpet.


It's all very cute and charming until they decide to go on little sprees... like crusades, inquisitions, book-burnings, purges, and witch-hunts. Ultimately, when organized as institutions, these are elite enterprises: political systems. As such, they are totally steeped in hypocrisy.

The Devastation of the Indies

As viewed from the perspective of the other system:

In public elementary school in Dallas Texas, I found a book showing the missionaries cutting off and making piles of ears, noses, and hands. It didn't make the lasting impression that I'm sure the adult leaders of the lunch-time prayers had hoped for.

These systems don't salve misery, they feed on it.

When you do even a rudimentary analysis, you find that, given the types of genetic mutations we see, their frequencies and effects, we'd maybe see one beneficial mutation happening in the entire universe in the last 14 billion years.



Dawkins never shows us the math of how random mutations can statistically create new functional genes, because the math doesn't add up. When you do even a rudimentary analysis, you find that, given the types of genetic mutations we see, their frequencies and effects, we'd maybe see one beneficial mutation happening in the entire universe in the last 14 billion years.

That is truly an absurd statement. It sounds like it came directly from some creationist handbook.

Every variation we find in humans or animals is due to genetic mutations. There are literally thousands of mutations in every new birth. Most of them are purely benign but many are not. Every puppy in a litter differs from each of its parents and from each litter mate. And the difference is all because of genetic mutations. Dog breeders choose which characteristic he likes and which he don't. He breeds the traits he/she thinks beneficial and doesn't breed the rest. Every domestic dog evolved from the wolf by this process.

That is evolution by artificial domestic selection. It is much faster than evolution by natural selection but it is really the same thing. Man selects in domestic selection and nature selects in natural selection.

Ron P.

And this is why ID can never be "disproved".

You can't argue with believers because they are immune to evidence contrary to their beliefs.

Every variation we find in humans or animals is due to genetic mutations. There are literally thousands of mutations in every new birth. Most of them are purely benign but many are not. Every puppy in a litter differs from each of its parents and from each litter mate. And the difference is all because of genetic mutations.

This is not correct. I am quite similar to, but distinctly different from, my brother - but it has nothing to do with genetic mutation.

The genetic make-up of any individual is the result of the pairing of half the chromosomes from each parent into a particular allele structure for each of their offspring. Variations in all animals are caused this way. And animal breeders (sheep, pigeons, dogs, etc) select those with the characteristics they want (size, apparent temperament, etc) to reproduce.

Genetic mutation on the other hand, is something quite different altogether, and works over the very long term, resulting from slight variations (that can be good, bad, or ineffectual, depending on environmental pressure) operating in the entire gene pool for the species. That is the basis of natural selection.

That's a rather sophisticated argument from what I hear. Usually it's that all life was created, but never tabulated. So now that family Y has been killed off, their cousins dominate. Another circular argument, as the fallback is it was always there, but never seen. Poor old Linnaeus, it was a herculean task he attempted in his quest to describe creation's glory.

The iconic image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/58362611@N00/431306643/ Giddyup!

What i wonder is when will the west catch on to the solution that the ussr had for antibiotic resistant bacteria.
they found out that every known strain of bacteria has a Bacteriophage that preys on it, if you give the infected a dose of it even the most antibiotic resistant bacteria dies. also since they evolve just as fast as bacteria resistance is only a minor problem.

and the full horizon(got to love the bbc) documentary on it is here from 1997

then again this country and the rest of the west seems to have a phobia of anything that happened during these times. some great and interesting work has come from the former ussr, not all the science it crack-pot like the abiotic oil theory.

The Conservapedia is truly an amazing thing to behold. It is a gigantic exercise of "knowing" the truth before you start investigating and finding the facts to support the truth that you already know.

I hope it becomes more popular so the definition of 'conservative' becomes equated with gay-bashing, science-denying, and other nonsense. And that way both labels 'liberal' and 'conservative' become tarred such that people have to think for themselves instead of just signing up with a 'team'.

I sypathize, but people don't want to think - that's what signinig up for a team is all about.

That's certainly E. O. Wilson's belief. He goes on to state that preserving one's group is a stronger drive than preserving your family.

Well, ID actually CAN be emperically tested. Unlike Young Earth Creationism, wich have a lot of "and here God makes a miracle" in it. So in my book, ID fits my definition of a scientifical theory, in that it can be evaluated. But I don't think the theory has much floating power left these days...

Well, ID actually CAN be emperically tested.

No it cannot be tested. There is no test for the existence of God, or an intelligent designer. Historically people have always attributed that which they did not understand or could not explain to be the work of God. That is all intelligent design really is. That is they cannot explain it therefore it is the work of God.

It is known as God of the Gaps. That is the gaps in our knowledge that cannot be explained by science must therefore be explained as the work of God. That is not a theory that can be empirically tested.

God was once the only explanation for thunder, lightening, diseases and disasters. But as our knowledge advances the God of the gaps if forever in retreat.

Ron P.

I've been slowly reading "War of the Worldviews [Science vs. Spirituality]" by Deepak Chopra amd Leonard Mlodow. While it is not light reading, it is very insightful. By no means does Deepak Chopra defend the Creationists or the Climate Change Denialists, he merely espouses that we, and all living creatures are more than just a random collection of atomic particles. Each of the authors writes an essay, on a given topic, and the other author writes a rebuttal essay. It is recommended reading, no matter which side of the argument you currently espouse.

I've recently been reading De rerum natura, Lucretius' first century BC explanation of Epicurean philosophy. While Lucretius did not have the advantage of modern scientific knowledge, his devotion to rational thought and empiricism and his arguments against the existence of divine beings result in some passages that would make excellent commentary in this thread. He also subscribed to the "random collection of particles" theory.

It's always a joy to discover like minds from so long ago. Thomas Jefferson supposedly owned five Latin editions and English, Italian and French translations -- Communist! ;^)



It appears you have read "The God Delusion" which includes an excellent critique of ID..

Nope, I have not read that one but I have read a lot of Dawkins' books, seven or eight I would guess. But "The God of the Gaps" has been discussed by other authors in books I have read. I suppose Dawkins talks about that in "The God Delusion" when he takes apart ID.

Ron P.

The "god of the gaps" expression goes way, way back to the 19th Century, as science marched on. Darwin took it up to a new level. Basically, anything that science can't explain becomes "that's where god is".

Off course it can be tested. What ID say is "and this we can not explain". That forms a gap of knowledge, wich is the root of the term "god of the gaps". As we learn how to explain this or that gap, the gaps closes in. When the gap has been totally filled up with knowledge, that ID claim has been debunked.

If you say that ID can not be tested, you say that the gaps can not be filled. Wich we both agree they very well can. ID relies on us not knowing. When we get informed, ID lose its fundamental base.

Of course it can NOT be tested, and that's the absurdity of it as a scientific position. What you are saying is that ID potentially explains anything we don't know. We will and can never know everything, so ID lives forever. What complete and utter crap. It is nothing more than god-of-the-gaps recast for the 21st century.

Just to clarify: I am not a defender of ID. On the contrary I am a 100% evolutionist. The only thing I say is that the claims of the ID theory can be, one after another, disproved, given enough time and research.

You can get them on a few points and whittle them down if they make a factual claim. Unfortunately you will never disprove their claim that "god made it that way because he wanted to". Which is the heart of ID. Fortuantely it is so vacuous, you don't need to.

If you say that ID can not be tested, you say that the gaps can not be filled.

It appears that you are quite confused Jedi. Are you familiar with the term: "You cannot disprove a negative." I cannot prove that God does not exist. Or, if you say that a teapot is in orbit around Pluto then I cannot prove that a teapot is not in orbit around Pluto.

If you claim that this or that human or animal characteristic was designed by God, then the fact that I cannot prove that it was not designed by God in no way proves that it was designed by God.

Filling any gap in our knowledge does not in any way prove or disprove the ID theory. This is true because there are and always will be gaps in our knowledge. You can always claim that these gaps in our knowledge are proof of intelligent design. This is, of course, nonsense. But there is no way I can prove it.

Filling gaps only proves that the God of the Gaps is forever in retreat. But other than that it proves nothing about the netherworld of religious belief.

God is not a scientifically provable hypothesis. On the other hand, God is not a scientifically unprovable hypothesis. God cannot be tested. It really pisses him off when you try it. ;-)

Ron P.

“Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.”
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
- Voltaire

I do believe we will always have gaps. Fossil records can only fill in gaps at a discrete time and place, they have measure zero. There will always be gaps between the data points. Then we add uncertainty meauring time... So we will always end up with a lot of things we only schetchily know.

Probably the most important evolution was the three (or so) billion years before the Canbrian explosion, when multicellular organisims came about. Most of the things that came before were soft single cells entities that rarely leaves offil evidence. And biological beings are collections of complicated chemistry harveste to reproduce the genetic material. The evolution of that chemistry was a very big deal. And we will never have anything more than very sketchy data about it.

I'll need to catch a train so I'll do this quickly.

Filling gaps only proves that the God of the Gaps is forever in retreat. But other than that it proves nothing about the netherworld of religious belief.

Off course we can never know everything. There will always be gaps.

But a theory must be able to make predictions, that are then fullfilled, to hold out scientificly.

I now make the prediction that the gaps will NOT be filled, beacuse ID is true.

Come back 5 years later, and a long list of gaps were indeed closed, in part of fully. Prediction did not hold.

I can still not prove there are not something somewhere that cant ever be explaned. But if you subscribe to a theory that are on the defeat time after time after time again, when will you give up? If the theory were holding out, somewhere the losing streak would end.

There will never be a clinical prove of the failure of the concept. But the trend is as clear as a day. And is that not evidence (if not provement) enough? Is to me.

Off course it can be tested.

The usual standard is that a scientific theory must be able to make predictions. For example, relativity predicts that a sufficiently large mass will cause light to travel along a curved path. Careful measurements as the sun occludes stars demonstrates that light does indeed follow a curved path, and the observed degree of curvature is within experimental error of what relativity predicts. String hypotheses in physics haven't reached that stage -- no one has come up with a prediction different from those of the standard model that can be experimentally tested.

TTBOMK no one arguing for ID has put forward a prediction that can be realistically tested at our current state of knowledge. A statement like "no one has found an evolutionary mechanism that will produce a cell membrane" is true, but does not imply that no such evolutionary mechanism exists. Researchers have now found that under reasonable circumstances, simple metallic ions catalyze a reaction of simple molecules that self-organize into a closed membrane. Conditions and molecules that could easily have occurred over a billion years in a planet-sized soup of chemicals. Not the cell membrane that life as we know it uses, but similar in basic structure.

Personally, I have no problem teaching ID in a biology class that has reached evolution. But it's got to be an honest treatment -- one that includes the philosophical origins (from religious creationism), the history of retreat of creationism as science has learned more about biochemistry, the difference in a claim that no mechanism is known versus no mechanism exists, etc. Just as I have no problem with teaching that evolutionary theory has gaps and internal controversy.

Ah, but the propensity of humans to want to believe in things has changed little. If you banish God, He will likely be replaced by something more nefarious, as the unquestioning certainty of the devout is by no means limited to religious topics.

Me, I say live and let live. Even most self-acclaimed Christians have a considerably more nuanced world-view than the views espoused here would indicate. I find it more alarming that the police can no-knock my door in the dead of night based on wrongful info from a druggie informant, authorities can monitor my phone location and computer traffic without warrants, and my gov't can hold people indefinitely without trial, than whether my next-door neighbor thinks God made the world 6000 years ago.

A guy at work believes the Internet when he reads that dragon skeletons have been found, and he believes that magic is real only collapsed in shrinking dimensions of String Theory. Doesn't keep him from contributing positively to society overall, and interestingly so. I'm not sure the world would be as much fun without some fringe-thinkers mixed in.

No one proposes banishing God. That would be a TERRIBLE thing to do. It is unconstitutional and counter-productive. So please don't create strawmen.

Any attempt to put God in a decreasing box, as a God of the Gaps, has a logical end of evaporating God entirely. A clockwork god who sets the universe in motion and then sits back resides within an unprovable zone and is a safe-zone of non-confrontation between those on either side of the argument who neither much care.

But my point was really that people like to believe, and will, regardless of reasonableness. Unconstitutional is a pretty minor and short-lived point against human nature overall, IMHO. There is nothing new here, compared to conflicts between religions and gov'ts over the eons. Counter-productive? Certainly. And probably inevitable.

I'm in a minority I'm sure, maintaining that "belief" in some areas doesn't much impact "rationality" in others. Mutually exclusive positions are pretty easy for most people to maintain.

In the good old days, when political forces weren't adept at harnessing the various myths that people hold, such beliefs merely made society inoptimal. Now we have forces manipulating the masses towards their own ends -even manufacturing new beliefs. So things have become scary indeed.

Explain to us how ID can be tested.

"I don't know how this came about so some 'intelligent designer' did it." is not a testable hypothesis as far as I can tell.

"I think, therefore I was designed.."

I don't have to worry about it; my momma told me I was "an accident of nature".

An accident? Perhaps a nuclear accident(s) in the germ cells that gave us the combination of attributes necessary to access exergy and mobilize tools of our own creation.

Intelligent Design? Where is the intelligence in the design? Humans are the only species that create things ( at least they think so) and that gives them a special relationship with a God creator. We're like him, her, whatever, right? Our abilities are God-like. No other beast has this ability, it must be the creative power of God coming through the human lineage. Because humans create, we can turn around and impute a creator of humans, it's just common sense.........or is it common ignorance. If God believers could move down scale into the molecular realm, and it's possible in indirect ways, they would see our creator, a mindless operator, without mind or preconceptions, fulfilling trillions of iterations of molecular work without purpose or divine direction.

How many Disney Worlds and churches exist in the molecular realm, for molecular entertainment and salvation? None, and that is one difference between evolution occurring at a molecular scale and evolution occurring at the hands of human systems. Human greed from our emotional brains pull resources from the ground at an accelerating pace and instead of wisely creating long-lasting technological improvements, we blow it on fantasy land of “feel good” creations based upon the whims of an emotional brain(Ipad?). How to evolve beyond this sudden pulse of fossil fuel energy should have been our first priority, but we will continue to play tribal war games, worship at the alters of non-existent beings, and bury ourselves in technobolic waste.

Technological evolution, like organic evolution, occurs at the margin. As with a computer, created by marginal changes over time, not by one creator, but by thousands, if not tens of thousands of creators, the human body and mind have likewise been created on the margin by hundreds of thousands of creators, creating marginal improvement in function and form that have supported survival, until now.

"How to evolve beyond this sudden pulse of fossil fuel energy should have been our first priority, but we will continue to play tribal war games, worship at the alters of non-existent beings, and bury ourselves in technobolic waste. "

How to evolve? Stop being afraid. In spite all of our 'advances', we're just smart, scared apes freightened of being eaten, especially so since we have the capacity to contemplate our own deaths. I had a conversation with a friend a while back who had criticized me for not being more ambitious. He's a type-A 'go-getter', constantly working his butt off looking for his next big deal. I had countered his poke at me by saying that his tack, accumulating 'wealth' and things while consuming energy and resources with little thought, was silly, as he and I would both end up the same. At least I've allowed myself the time to consider what I do. I'm content and secure enough to not spend all of my time feathering my nest. He's just a chickensh!t. Then, just lately, I came across this at cluborlov:

You see, the man who lives and dies by the quarterly earnings report is already living right at the brink of extinction, eating through nonrenewable resources faster and faster, riding the exponential curve on the way up. As soon as that ride stops, he might as well promptly drop dead, but he will usually want to give cannibalism a try first. Thinking about the remote future is just not an effective short-term survival strategy for him. Asking him to invest in a sustainable development strategy based on some medium to long-term projections is like asking a man who is being chased by other men armed with knives and forks—and feels that he is in immediate danger of being eaten—to stop and help you with a crossword puzzle.

And herein lies the conundrum: to preserve all that's worth preserving—which, to me, is all the culture that is actually worth the name—art, literature, music, science, philosophy and fine craftsmanship—and to carry it over into a sustainable, low-energy, low-impact way of life, requires access to resources, and that, in turn, takes substantial quantities of money. But money is controlled by people who are always busy running away from their competitors lest they be eaten, and who cannot see how investing in a scheme which will never “pay off” could possibly be to their personal advantage or benefit (which is all the poor fools seem able to think about). How can we make it so that “the fool and his money are soon parted”?

...funny, that.

Written by Dopamine:
Humans are the only species that create things ( at least they think so)....

They are arrogant and incorrect to think so. There are animals that make nests, a Woodpecker Finch that selects, crafts and uses sticks to extract edible insects and chimpanzees that make weapons.

Tool use by animals

"Explain to us how ID can be tested."

I have always said that any test that is used to indicate "design" is also going to indicate that the designer was designed. At that point you get special pleading from ID proponents that their designer is not testable, etc., etc.

"Explain to us how ID can be tested. "

See my reply to Darwinian above.

Penn & Teller did a pretty good job of explaining how ID can be tested in under a minute ... It's Just Not Science

Do they have cartoons to go along with their fantasy stories? How about painted pictures of human beings hunting dinosaurs with stone-age spears?

They have that creation museum in the bible belt. I believe they have plastic dinosaurs with cavemen riding on. I bet the kids love it.

It looks like they've worked really hard on their museum. You can even join their dinosaur dig this summer in Montana. They seem to have job openings as well; open to all races, genders, ages, sexual and religious orientatio... well, perhaps not:

All job applicants for the non-profit ministry of AiG/Creation Museum need to supply a written statement of their testimony, a statement of what they believe regarding creation and a statement that they have read and can support the AiG statement of faith.

...dang it.

Wow. That's real science that there. Sign a statement of faith before you look at the facts. Amazing.

Hmm. I think I need to alter my sense of humor a bit.

Technology transforms energy outlook

He's suffering from delusions of national grandeur, I'm afraid. There has been a modest increase in US production, driven by a big jump in production from the formerly minor producing state of North Dakota and an uptick in production in Texas. However, production from the formerly big producing states of Alaska and California continues to fall, and ND is passing them going the other direction.

Canadian production is undergoing a slow but relentless rise driven by oil sands technology, but this is Canadian technology that American oil companies don't really have, and doesn't really work in the US oil sands. Oil sands production is now about 1.8 million bpd, which is more than Texas produces, but there's no guarantee that all the oil will continue to go to the US because Chinese companies own a lot of it now.

Here is one of the more exaggerated statements:

The million barrels a day generated by North Dakota’s fields could as much as triple by the end of the decade, Yergin said.

According to the latest EIA data, as of January North Dakota was producing 546,000 bpd of crude oil, not 1 million. Whether that will triple to 1.5 mbpd is questionable, but 3 million bpd is out of the question.

I couldn't help but notice that the link is to the Harvard Gazette, presumably an official publication of Harvard University. What, if anything, does this tell us about the value of a Harvard education?

I don't think Harvard University would be your best choice if you wanted to learn about the oil and gas industry. There is not much oil production expertise in the NE US. The University of Texas might be a much better choice.

I wasn't thinking about special qualifications for the oil and gas industry so much as the more general liberal arts education, which supposedly enables the typical college graduate to better "separate the wheat from the chaff" in the news media and other debates in the public realm.

Or maybe Harvard doesn't even pretend to work on that aspect of education anymore. Maybe they think that just the opportunity to rub elbows with others from the Silver Spoon crowd is all that most people from the 1% expect from a Harvard education in the 21st Century.

the value of a Harvard education?

The 'value' is the interpersonal relationships built there.

Yeah, but look at the people you have to associate with.

Watch Oliver Stone's "W" - and you'll see the relationships ... I guarantee you it's a hoot.

I don't think you should try to make any broad conclusions about something as unspecific as 'A Harvard Education'.. They do maintain many excellent programs, and have extremely high standards.. BUT they are also mired in the culture of the American Upper-middle and Owning Classes.

There will clearly also be deep blindspots that many in that environment won't be able to see into at all. Like the NY Times, there will be some distinct cultural liabilities.. but that doesn't make them chopped liver, either.

"Delusions of national grandeur" are what we Americans call "national pride"! It's part of the national character, you can't take that away from us!

On a more serious note, the article headline is unintentionally correct in the way that so many are - the energy outlook IS changing, in that different resources are becoming more important. From what you've said, GTL seems to be getting bigger, oil sands go without saying, and deepwater is practically yesterday's news. So... Technology is transforming the energy outlook. It's going to cost more to produce. It will be from lower energy sources. New pipelines will have to be put in to transport oil from new production areas. And we'll be transforming a lot of things that are not oil into liquid fuels.

RMG, you are one of the most knowledgeable about these things - what's the deal with GTL? In the other thread you mention that there are a couple plants being planned in Louisiana? I understand that there are commercial GTL operations in various places right now, while the only CTL I've heard about is a plant in South Africa.

And I'll just echo everyone else in this thread about Harvard - seat of the status quo. Academia as a whole is extremely conservative, despite it's bizarre reputation as a hotbed of radical liberal thought. Just the WAY it is conservative is in a sort of mildly liberal way. It's as conservative in it's leftism as everything else - you'll find more old school Marxists in the social sciences, but even the commies are profoundly conservative commies, and probably most vote for mainstream democrats.

The worldview of the elites, left and right, is fundamentally closer together than our view is to theirs when it comes to energy.

Delusions of national grandeur are what get you into pointless foreign wars that are unwinnable. You should avoid that kind of thing.

Certainly, there are two major GTL plants planned for Louisiana, but that is just a way of converting American surplus gas production into a more salable form. It doesn't change the fact that the US has to import most of its crude oil.

As for Harvard, I've heard it's a pretty good university. Never been there, or ever really wanted to go there though. Don't really care about the whole Marxist thing, or liberal vs. conservative debate, either.

If only I could avoid the delusions of national grandeur. But the US is only unique in that it's actual position supports so many of it's delusions, so people start believing other things too...

Yes, not only does it not materially change the import/export imbalance problem with oil, but if it works out well, it will create a different problem - natural gas will become more scarce. As I'm sure you're aware, the US is a net importer despite being world no.1 producer... Still, I ask about GTL because if it's the most feasible X-to-liquids process, and oil becomes scarce, it could be that this could lead to a sort of fossil fuel cycle of doom, if GTL means gas consumption increases significantly. Which would pretty much blow up that whole basis for the idea of natural gas being so plentiful.

I can imagine this cycle starting with GTL, then CTL, leading to increased depletion of those resources as oil declines, and pulling their peak date in. A series of peaks in relatively quick succession. A vicious cycle.

Didn't mean to pull you into the Harvard and political thing. It's pretty irrelevant overall.

I thought the same - huh? - a million bpd now???

At the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Division,
one can get the hard numbers:

The latest "director's cut" gives recent production numbers:

Jan Oil 16,927,453 barrels = 546,047 barrels/day (preliminary) (NEW all time high)

Most technical types I know would apply the rounding rules to make 546,047 to be
500,000 ("half a million"), not round up to "a million".

The forecasts were a bit conservative.
From August 2010:
slide 16 has P50 topping out at 350,000 bpd, and P10 at 450 kbpd.

Page 26 of the latest presentation, from March 2012:
has proven at 650 kbpd, probable at 800 kbpd, and possible at 1100 kbpd.

n.b. "proven" is usually taken as "1P" (proven) or "P90" - 90% chance of being produced,
"probably" a "2P" (proved + pbrobable) or "P50" - 50% chance of being produced,
"possible" as "3P" or "P10" - 10% chance.

A large improvement, but not 3 million bpd.
I tend to agree that North Dakota will never see 3 million bpd,
or if it does, it will only be for a few years.
Check out the decline rate on page 17 of the 2010 presentation.

A well written article that appears in the Washington Post basically rebuts the claims made in the article linked up top - Researcher says cost of gasoline may hit plateau.

In addition, both articles miss the fact that the worldwide price of gasoline is rising. Therefore as long as the US oil product remains open to most all countries, generally the amount of US gasoline exports will increase and US gasoline imports will decrease when the price of gasoline in the rest of the world is higher than in the US.

Meanwhile, moves to have the EPA waive or change gasoline standards to make it easier for refiners to produce gasoline are still under consideration.

Gasoline prices rise every spring as refiners switch blends and perform maintenance

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, April 9, 9:44 AM

This year’s spring surge is more extreme than usual because three refineries that serve the East Coast were shut down last fall and another one may be closed in July. That’s threatening supplies in one of the country’s most densely populated regions, and pushing prices higher everywhere.

Demand for gasoline tends to drop off in winter. That makes it the perfect time for refineries to get ready for summer, when the objective is to produce as much fuel as possible.


Republicans Seek to Delay EPA Rules Due to High Gasoline Prices
By Mark Drajem - Mar 26, 2012 12:53 PM ET

A U.S. House subcommittee will consider legislation this week that would force the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new regulations because of high gasoline prices.


Well . . . gasoline prices may both hit a plateau and then continue rising later. The price of oil seems to have stopped rising and may even drop a little if the Iran situation calms down. But relentless increase in demand from China may soon cause prices to continue their upward march.

The Energy Information Agency has a pretty good discussion of factors affecting oil prices on its Web site:

Regional differences for cost of crude oil to refiners widened in 2011

Historically, there has been little variation across regions. From 2004 through 2009, the average of the annual spread between the most expensive and least expensive regional refiner acquisition cost was $5.52 per barrel. In 2010, the spread was $7.46 per barrel, and in 2011, it widened dramatically to $23.78 per barrel.

Compared to other crude oil prices, the lower relative price of Bakken crude oil resulted in lower retail prices for gasoline and other petroleum products in the Rockies. In the Midwest, lower regional crude prices have not affected retail petroleum prices because the Midwest relies mainly on gasoline from the Gulf Coast as its marginal source of supply.

In the latter paragraph, they carefully avoid mentioning that the main source of cheap oil to the Midwest and Rocky Mountain refineries is imports from Canada (2 million bpd versus 500,000 bpd from North Dakota), and that neither Canadian nor ND oil is capable of reaching the Gulf Coast refineries by pipeline because of President Obama's stalling on the Keystone XL pipeline. That would be politically dangerous to say in an election year when gas prices are rising rapidly.

The myth of imminent American oil independence continues to propagate.

But the Mid-continent refiners are happy campers. WTI crack spread is currently $34, versus $14 for Brent:


With some US refiners producing gasoline at a lower cost than the rest of the world, it should be no surprise then that US gasoline exports have increased, and gasoline imports decreased. The EIA also recently issued a special report - revising upwards its prior estimates of gasoline exports.

March 21, 2012

Updated weekly gasoline export estimates affect year-over-year gasoline demand comparisons


No kidding that Mid-continent refiners are happy campers. They have a virtual license to print money. OTOH, East Coast refiners are shutting down and going out of business.

From a Canadian point of view, with "friends" like the US, who needs enemies?

Well, Canada is probably the only major country on Earth that has never started a war.

Mind you, it has been involved in a lot of wars, but never through any intention of its own. Somebody else has always started the wars it was involved in. However, it has finished a lot of wars, although it has always been very nice to the losing side. There are a lot of German immigrants living in Canada who are very appreciative of Canadian hospitality after WWII. It was just a war, they started it and we had to kill a lot of people on their side, although we're not going to apologize for that. Some of my relatives were heavily involved in killing Germans, but it was nothing personal. They actually liked the Germans, but it was a war and they had to shoot them. Bygones are bygones and it's all done now.

Canada doesn't like aggressive countries and has always tried discourage them. A case in point is the War of 1812 between Canada and the US. Canada severely discouraged the US in this war and capturing Detroit and burning Buffalo, NY was just an illustration. Burning Washington and chasing the US President around in the woods was a bad idea and we would like to disclaim any responsibility for that. It was the Brits who decided to do that.

"Canada doesn't like aggressive countries and has always tried discourage them."

Reassess after Harper's finished his majority term.

"Well, Canada is probably the only major country on Earth...."


Oooh, Snap!

"Well, Canada is probably the only major country on Earth...." Huh?

You didn't know that Canada is a G-8 country? One of the 8 biggest developed economies on Earth? Its GDP is about the same size as Russia's. (Note that is excluding China and other developing economies.)

Its land area is second only to Russia in the world, too, and it has natural resources in proportion to its land area, not its population. It just doesn't have many people to use all those resources.

Yeah, but that's on Earth. How does it compare to countries on thoer planets?

"One of the 8 biggest developed economies on Earth?"

Not according to three different sources it isn't -- International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and CIA World Fact Book


I used the word "developed" advisedly.

If you sort the list by GDP, you find that Canada is the 10th biggest economy by GDP, but if you look more closely, China, Brazil, and India are on the list at 2nd, 6th, and 9th place and they are developing economies.

Canada is the 7th biggest developed economy on the list, which is why it is considered a member of the G-7, which is the rich country club. Russia is the next smallest economy after Canada on the GDP list. Whether you consider it developed or developing is a debatable point, but it is a member of the G-8.

The biggest developing economies form the BRIC group - Brazil, Russia, India and China. They differ from the G-7 in not having high standards of living, but they have large populations and therefore very large economies.

Incidentally, on CNBC this morning, Jim Cramer informed viewers that, according to his sources, the US may be flaring more gas than we are consuming.

My continuing prediction is that most people are going crazy, just at different rates. One does not have to look hard for evidence of the trend.

Jim Cramer has been bonkers for many moons. Just look at that guy.

One can't help but wonder if his "Sources" consist of voices inside his head.

haha +1

Making the stock market the bedrock of one's worldview and the barometer of all judgments. That's Cramer's mistake/illness.

The guy is mentally ill....He really shouldn't be out amongst the public in MHO....


A new pipeline from the Bakken to Cushing was proposed today, this is in addition to other pipeline and rail proposals to speed up delivery of oil from the Bakken - while the Keystone pipeline development is being bogged down except for the portion that may be fast tracked from Cushing to the Texas coast.

April 9, 2012, 11:20 a.m. EDT
Oneok to spend up to $1.8 bln on pipeline

By Nathalie Tadena

Oneok Partners LP OKS -1.67% said it will spend between $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion to build a 1,300-mile crude-oil pipeline between the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Cushing, Okla. crude-oil market hub, marking the company's entry into the crude-oil transportation business.

The Bakken Crude Express Pipeline will have the capacity to transport 200,000 barrels per day. The move comes as Oneok Partners--the gas-gathering and transportation unit of Oneok Inc. has been increasing its spending plans for the Bakken Shale region.


Like I said six months ago, get a name-brand US player with local political connections, and pipelines will sail right through. Won't see OK landowners arguing eminent domain technicalities on this one. As for the environmental anti-pipeliners....well, we'll see how strong their clout really is. My bet, in the face of $4.00 gas, not very, even if the Bakken oil won't even affect the prices paid by 75% of US drivers.

First-quarter earnings: They won't be pretty:

High energy costs are the biggest factor to blame for the earnings growth slowdown, according to analysts. Oil priced rose more than 4% during the quarter, sparking a 20% spike in gas prices.

While all 10 sectors of the S&P 500 are expected to post sales growth for the first quarter, there are at least seven that may have had trouble converting that to earnings growth, analysts said, reflecting the strain of higher input costs...

...Second-quarter earnings are expected to rise by 7%, according to FactSet, while third-quarter profits are expected to grow 4.7%. Double-digit growth is expected to return in the fourth quarter.

Ya think? Input costs going down are they? Or perhaps they expect to pass those increased costs on to consumers....


Of course that graph really under-represents the cost of energy for those companies. Those are just their direct energy costs. For example, building construction doesn't use much energy directly . . . just enough to power the bull-dozers, trench diggers, etc. However, all of their building supplies are delivered to the site with energy and thus the cost of all those building materials will go up reflecting indirect energy costs. The raw source materials (such as logs) of those building materials (such as wood) are cut down with gas-powered chain saws and delivered to the mill by diesel trucks.

Energy costs effect everything.

And though the costs of liquid fuels may be an even smaller percentage of the total, what happens when supplies become constrained or unavailable? Further, total energy costs are higher (and growing) as a percentage of consumers' incomes. Reduced discretionary incomes = reduced sales. 2008 was just a dress rehearsal.

Interesting. If those numbers for direct energy costs are reasonably accurate, it should be possible to estimate pass-through cost increases from suppliers to get a bottom line impact of fuel cost increases. At some point it degenerates into numerical entertainment, but I think it might be fair to go that far.

This is not anything like the whole story, of course. As the report notes, the tiny decline called "not pretty" is merely a plateau in a record tidal wave of cash flowing into elite hands. That's been happening despite high energy costs and despite the great recesssion. What the story is saying here, in its typical more-is-never-enough capitalist way, is merely that 2012 Q1 will yield the same profits as 2011 Q1. Hardly a supply-side crisis! On the contrary, the capitalists among us have no idea what to do with all the cash they're raking in.

If you look at the other major "input" cost in the economy -- labor -- you'll find that its cheapness/productivity has been more than making up for rising energy bills. Energy would have to get another level more expensive before it overwhelms the basic corporate drive to cheapen labor costs. That drive has been in top gear for years, if not decades.

Of course, once that next rise happens, it will indeed bring big trouble, as all the labor cost saving is rapidly impoverishing the population, so there will be little basis left for economic revival at the next major downturn.


The power plant has been shut down since this winter, when a small amount of radioactive gas escaped from a steam generator during a water leak. At the time, federal regulators said there was no threat to public health, though they could not identify how much gas leaked or exactly why it had happened.

The machines of man, so well understood by man.

United States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium

The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports.

[...] The Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations permitted sensitive technology and nuclear materials to be transferred to Japan despite laws and treaties preventing such transfers. [...]

While Japan has refrained from deploying nuclear weapons and remains under an umbrella of U.S. nuclear protection, NSNS has learned that the country has used its electrical utility companies as a cover to allow the country to amass enough nuclear weapons materials to build a nuclear arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined. [...]

That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.

Secret? Everyone who bothered to look has known that Japan has had tons of the stuff for decades. From time to time, Japanese politicians have pointed out (article from 2002) that building nuclear bombs to protect themselves from China would be straightforward.

Yes, I know that and I've posted links before - even the Japan Times ran an editorial recently suggesting coming clean about the secret bomb programme. The IAEA somehow misses all this though.

I'm wondering why Japan had started using MOX fuel in some of their commercial power reactors. Is it because they were trying to reduce their stockpile of plutonium? Or was it part of a plan to extend the use of spent fuel by reprocessing it?

I recently read something that seems relevant to your question. It's from an article called Nuclear Power in Japan.

Mixed-oxide fuel (MOX)

The Federation of Electric Power Companies has said that nine member companies will use plutonium as mixed oxide (MOX) fuel in 16-18 reactors from 2015 under the "pluthermal" program. About 6 tonnes of fissile plutonium per year (in about 9 tonnes of reactor-grade Pu) is expected to be loaded into power reactors. Meanwhile MOX fuel fabricated in Europe from some 40 tonnes of separated reactor-grade plutonium (25.6t Puf) from Japanese used fuel can be used. However, local concerns about MOX fuel use has slowed implementation of the 1994 "pluthermal" program, and not until late 2009 was there a commercial Japanese reactor running with MOX.

By end of January 2010 the Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) on behalf of the Ministry (METI) had approved the use of MOX fuel in ten reactors, including: Takahama 3 & 4, Fukishima I-3, Kashiwazaki Kariwa 3, Genkai 3, Hamaoka 4, Onagawa 3 and Shimane-2. This is expected to occur progressively to 2012, after modifications to the reactors to take a one quarter or one third core of MOX. NISA permission for MOX use in Tomari 3 is pending.

Two prefectural governments - Fukushima and Niigata - moved to defer the use of MOX fuel at reactors within those prefectures, forcing TEPCO and Kansai to suspend or reschedule their planned use there. In 2008 the Shizuoka prefecture accepted Chubu's plans to use MOX in its Hamaoka-4 plant. Fukui prefecture accepted Kansai's planned use of MOX at Takahama-3 and 4 from 2010, and Hokkaido accepted Hokkaido Electric Power’s use of MOX at Tomari-3, making a total of 11 reactors allowed to use it. Early in 2010 Fukushima prefecture agreed to MOX use in TEPCO's Fukushima I-3 reactor, and in July NISA confirmed this approval.

Edit: On second thought this article doesn't really have much relevance to your question at all. I deleted most of the wall of text.

Here's an obvious question: Was the "Fukushima I-3" reactor actually loaded with MOX? Wasn't that one of those which popped it's cork after the tsunami?

EDIT: From KalimankuDenku's post regarding the Japanese inventory of plutonium, as of 2010, the Fukushima I, Unit 3 reactor was loaded with 210 kg of plutonium and "plutonium fissile" was at 143 kg. One wonders where all that Pu went...

E. Swanson

Exactly. And #3 was the one with the BIG explosion... Unit #1 went "poof" and blew off its upper walls, but #3 went up in a huge black cloud, with much more structural damage. Unit #2 shows essentially no structural damage, though it also suffered at least partial meltdown. And THAT (#2)is the unit where they have released video of the insides of the reactor, with unexpectedly low water levels and missing core materials. It is probably much worse inside reactor #3, not to mention the spent fuel pool, of which there is little visual evidence... it will be years before the full extent of the disaster is known.

PT in PA

#2 had no big explosion that took down the box structure but may have had a small explosion that damaged some things inside the containment (which no longer contains). Definitely a melt-through (fuel got outside of the reactor vessel) in #2 as shown by the radioactivity levels getting higher as they go lower & lower inside the containment with the endoscope.

Regarding Plutonium, yeah, one reactor had MOX fuel loaded into it but all reactors that have operated contain plutonium since plutonium is a by-product created by the reactions. So one having MOX doesn't make it all that different than the spent fuel.

Perhaps qualitativly the same but quantitatively quite different.

TEPCO cut a hole in the side of reactor building 2 to vent hydrogen which prevented an explosion. Debris from the explosion of reactor 3 punctured the roof of reactor building 2 which should have further vented hydrogen.

Here is quite the collection of images relating to Fukushima:


The search term is: -http://www.houseoffoust.com- but this base page address goes nowhere.

These images are just from houseoffoust:


The search term is: -site:http://www.houseoffoust.com-

They key into documents like:

According to this site it was.

Fukushima 1-3 Begins Operating with MOX Fuel
On September 18, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) started up its Fukushima I-3 Nuclear Power Plant (BWR, 784MW) using MOX fuel. It loaded MOX fuel into the reactor on August 21 and plans to begin generating electricity on the 23rd.
Over 10 years had passed since this fuel was fabricated. It was fabricated between 1997 and 1998 and arrived at the nuclear power station in 1999, but it was never loaded. Falsification of fuel quality control data for MOX fuel for Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama-3&4 nuclear power plants was discovered and troubles and cover-ups were discovered at TEPCO nuclear power plants. In response, the prefectural government revoked its agreement with TEPCO. On January 20 2010, TEPCO applied again for permission to use MOX fuel and on August 6 the governor gave his consent.


This is from....

Citizens' Nuclear Information Center is an anti-nuclear public interest organization dedicated to securing a safe, nuclear-free world. The Center was formed to provide reliable information and public education on all aspects of nuclear power to ultimately realize this goal.


So if someone doesn't trust anti-nuclear organizations they might not trust it. Although I don't see why someone would lie about something which can probably be easy verified.

What is a lot more frustrating is when the two groups talk about the number of deaths from radiation. The whole correlation doesn't equal causation thing makes that a much more tricky issue.

The idea was to achieve energy independence through reprocessing.

Nuclear Reprocessing in Japan
"With the unreliability of a fast breeder reactor, MOX fuel is the only option for Japan to use its plutonium from reprocessing."

The Current Situation of Plutonium Management in Japan

Azerbaijan output down last year and again in first quarter

Azeri crude exports through the BP Plc-operated Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline fell 7.8 percent to 7.93 million metric tons in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier...

In 2011, Azerbaijan’s oil output declined to 45.4 million metric tons, or about 911,000 barrels a day, from 50.8 million tons a year earlier. Gas production fell 2.4 percent to 25.7 billion cubic meters.

That works out to be a 10.6 percent drop last year. BP’s BTC Oil Pipeline carries about two thirds of Azerbaijan's exports so this does not give us an exact figure of their production in the first quarter, but it is likely that total production was down between 7 and 8 percent also.

Ron P.

Does anyone know why Azerbaijan’s oil production is declining. Old legacy fields watering out, lack of new finds, lack of investment,...? It certainly isn't lack of price.

Hey Ron. Do we have a good update on world crude + condensate production? Based on the screaming in the media, you'd believe that peak oil was over. I find this funny, considering oil prices are so high. It's almost as if the evidence of Peak Oil needs to be painted over with the most irrational optimism possible. What was it Roberts said?

“As we approach the peak in production, soaring prices — seventy, eighty, even a hundred dollars a barrel — will encourage companies and oil states to scour the planet for oil. For a time, they will succeed, finding enough to keep production flat, stretching out the peak into a kind of plateau and perhaps temporarily easing fears. But, in truth, this manic post-peak production will simply deplete remaining reserves all the more quickly, thereby ensuring that the eventual decline is far steeper and far more sudden. As one U. S. geologist put it ‘the edge of a plateau looks like a cliff.’”

Nothing new to report. It appears that non-OPEC C+C production will be down about 1 mb/d in the first quarter but we have only the JODI reports for January and they are incomplete. The JODI February data is due out in about a week and the EIA January data is due a couple of days after that.

The OPEC April data is due out Thursday. I think they will be a bit higher than February because Libya is fast approaching their pre revolution level but Iran will be down quite a bit. The EIA Short Term Energy Outlook will be out tomorrow. They have downgraded their non-OPEC predictions for the last two months and I expect a further downgrade tomorrow.

Anyway the world production plateau is now in its eighth year but net exports have been declining for six years now and that is why prices are so high. There has been less oil for importing nations, especially OECD nations. I find it strange that people think that world oil production is booming when consumption in all OECD nations has been falling like a rock because we simply have less oil to consume.

Ron P.

Thanks for the assessment. I suppose this is the reason domestic producers here are so desperate. The export numbers look bad for any importing nation. Looking at the EIA numbers now.

Azerbaijan was one of only 12 of the top 33 net oil exporters that showed increasing net oil exports from 2005 to 2010, and they showed the most rapid rate of increase of the 12:

Things that make you go hmmm... If you sum up CHK's net income from 2006-2011, they drew in $1.9 billion. So if you subtract the money they made from hedging, they had a negative income of $6.5 billion. As every gambler knows ... the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

Chesapeake Energy Goes Naked as Gas Hits a Decade Low

Since 2006, Chesapeake has made an estimated $8.4 billion through derivatives trading, according to company literature. In this case, the company lifted off a batch of swap positions it had, pocketing the difference between the gas levels the swap had been pegged to and the price they were trading at last fall.

Exiting the trades was profitable, says someone familiar with the matter, even though doing so left Chesapeake without any downside protection against prices this winter.

CHK talking head: "Over the next few years, however, he believes prices will recover as coal-fired plants and transportation fleets are replaced with natural gas and the country moves towards the production of more liquefied natural gas." I'm sure he's correct and we'll have tens of millions of CNG vehicles rolling down the road and tens of thousands of CNG station built around the country "over the next few years." Well, maybe over the next few DECADES.

Chesapeake’s head of investor relations: “The market should rebalance this summer as low-cost gas gains utility market share and is put to work in more applications across our economy.” I suppose he's expecting a much colder summer weather than we had for winter.

For 36 years I've repeated heard folks brag about how Company X was so smart doing this hedge or that NG trade. Folks seem to forget for every winner in such a deal there's the other party that lost as much as the winner made. And a little more when you factor in the brokerage fees.

There is just the one CNG car (Honda Civic GX) available to consumers. There are some fleet vehicles (taxis, trucks, etc.) that run on CNG. But it is a pretty small market. Fleets will probably grow but the consumer market doesn't seem to be growing. Far more electric vehicles are now available.

CNG for vehicles in that you can fill up pretty quickly and the range is decent (200+ miles). But the vehicles do cost more than gas cars up front and there is very little as far as filling infrastructure. I have no idea if CNG will catch on in consumer vehicles but right now I'd doubt it considering that no one seems to pushing it.

Electricity generation is their big hope I guess. NG is the #1 generation system being installed these days since NG is cheap and the plants are not that hard to build. It will be interesting to see if NG starts attacking coal to make sure no new coal plants are built and old ones are allowed to die. They can join with the Nuke industry on that attack plan.

I've been doing some doodling about a DIY CNG vehicle. At work we have a nice little Kohler generator powered by a natural gas burning Ford 460. I could buy a complete replacement NG carburetor assembly and retrofit my old pickup without too much fuss.

On the supply side, a small single stage oil free piston compressor can reasonably go to 120 PSIG or about 8 atmospheres. Following standard explosive atmosphere safety guidelines, an enterprising young individual could drive the compressor in a vented enclosure, via jackshaft from a TEFC motor in a separately vented enclosure. Locate the whole works in a well vented shed away from combustible materials.

A standard fullsize pickup will take a low pressure tank about 8 ft long by 5 ft diameter by about half a ton, or 160 ft3. At 8 atmospheres cooled to ambient, that's about 53 lbm of NG, which translates to 10 gallons of gasoline. Not the greatest range, but an enterprising individual could easily tow a smallish tank trailer.

You would have to be obsessive about fire safety as always. But an old pickup could be converted for a couple thousand dollars, and you wouldn't have to drive too far to break even on that. You could even leave the entire fuel injection system on there and just swap throttle bodies.

OK gang, pile on and tell me how dumb that is. But I bet it would work, and you have to admit it would at least be fun.

I did some googling on "convert to natural gas car kit" and seems there is quite a good selection of resources to start your project.

Let us know how it works out.

The tank is one item I wouldn't skimp on. Figure $6K for a new ASME rated tank, $1K for installation, and $2K for a pair of pilot operated pressure regulator valves in a 1/3+2/3 configuration. About $500 for the carburetor kit.

For the compressor I'd start with a little homeowner model like this. Separate the compressor from the motor with a 24" jackshaft and some sheaves and ventilate both enclosures to a stack with a small blower. That should take about 4 or 5 hours to fill the tank and might run you another $1K before you're done, plus $1K for a decent shed located well away from any dwelling.

Figure around $12K if you do most of the work yourself. Right now that could save me at least 25 cents per mile in the pickup. So yeah it would take 50K miles to break even, but I'll run it that long. Plus the flexibility of dual fuel (semi-triple fuel if you count the E85 rating). It's not cheap, but it's a heck of a lot less than a new CNG truck and it gives me relative immunity to supply disruptions.

No chance I'm letting the county hear a whisper about any of that, of course. It's just a garden shed.

120 PSI:

"Most compressors designed for air are not suitable or safe for compressing hydrocarbons without extensive modification."


Adsorbed CNG storage:

There have been remarkable advances in adsorbents.

Even at 120 PSI, a multiplicity of smaller tanks might serve you well.


14.5 PSI:

1988 China:
"There is an abundance of natural gas in this part of Sichuan. All of the local buses in Zigong use natural gas to fuel. The bags of rubber on the top of the bus contain the gas."

The gas bag!
No compressor
No shrapnel
Low cost
You still have your truck bed
(Call it a Land-Blimp and sell advertising on the side?)

Trying to do better: "...the use of gas cylinders in France during World War Two, allowing for a smaller fuel tank (than a gas bag) or a better range. Natural gas was used in this case, which could be compressed without the drawbacks of compressing town gas. However, this configuration turned out to be more expensive and more dangerous."



3600 PSI:

CNG Cylinder Design and Safety

CNG Vehicle Tank Burst During Filling

Hmmm, your link says using an air compressor for methane is not safe but the arrangement I'm talking about would fall under "extensive modifications".

I already discussed fire safety due to flammable vapor. One other possible hazard I looked at was the potential for piston blow-by to auto-ignite on contact with air. However I calculate the adiabatic outlet temperature to be about 400 F, and in a real compressor estimate about 500 F. That's pretty hot, but I find the auto-ignition temperature for methane listed at 1076 F. I would find the hottest part of the running compressor using a non contact thermometer, and install a high temperature shutdown switch at that location.

You would also want to run the compressed gas through a coalescing filter, a fan cooled aftercooler, and have a zero loss condensate drain on the tank.

Wait to see if Shell builds their proposed $10 billion Gas To Liquids plant in Louisiana.



You'd get nice clean diesel fuel from the diesel pump at your local Shell retailer and not have to do anything to your truck. With an energy equivalent price of $10 per barrel of oil, they ought to be able to sell it at an attractive price.

"...the ‘Pearl’ plant that makes 140,000 barrels a day. While it cost the oil giant roughly $18 billion, the venture is expected to earn about $6 billion yearly with oil pegged at $70 per barrel. It is also eyeing the U.S. Gulf Coast to construct a GTL plant."

Not sure how valid the numbers are. especially as to whether that $6 billion per year is a net or gross number. but for grins: 140,000 bbls/year = 2.15 billion gallons/year. Revenue of $6 billion/year means the project generated that money at a whole sale price of $2.80/gallon of diesel. Again, assuming the $6 billion is profit net to operating costs that would equate to a 3 year payout. If that's anywhere close to reality it's an excellent p/o period for this type of project. Especially important from the stand point of how long you have to project NG prices. A shorter p/o reduces the pricing risk significantly.

I suspect the economics aren't a good as these numbers indicate. But in general it does sound like the GTL process could be commercial as long as oil is high and Ng is low.

Other CNG models are CNG/petrol bifuel like this
If they can run on petrol alone it means you can get home on the spare tank. Bifuel gives service stations a decade or so to install CNG pumps. True the well-to-wheels efficiency is greater for gas-electricity-BEV than gas-ICE but no affordable BEV goes 300km+ on a 'fill up'.

Re LNG exports I think Australia is making a mistake. The Japanese are paying $15 a gigajoule for LNG some 4X the price of domestic piped gas. Eventually Australia's industrial gas users will have to match that price. If CNG trucks and cars become popular in the US that will soon turn any gas glut into a shortage.

Exactly, futures are a zero - sum game. Whatever profit one side has that other side has an equal loss. For producers like CHK it may make sense to hedge by selling in advance at a fixed price via the futures market. This can lock in a certain rate of return. Likewise, big buyers can lock in a future price by buying futures.

Today ng futures indicate an expectation that ng prices several years from now will be much higher. By 2015 the price of ng may be more than double, if the ng futures chain is correct in its forecast.

Before everyone goes hog wild converting vehicles to run on ng or building GTL plants they should consider that the ng futures chain may be the best forecaster of where ng prices will be years from now. The futures chain is here: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/fc?s=NGK12.NYM

One thing I learned while trading futures in the 1970's was often today's genius is tomorrow's idiot. No one has a crystal ball - at least one that works. Re: CHK - I'd be worried if they are not hedging some of their future production. That might indicate they are gambling that prices will be higher than the future's market is saying.

the ng futures chain may be the best forecaster of where ng prices will be years from now.


I would disagree on this one unless "best" can still mean "abysmal". While I think the futures chain provides an excellent snapshot of market sentiment, I think it is a terrible predictor of actual prices in the future. I expect a simple auto-correlation analysis would demonstrate that futures prices are much more highly correlated with prices in the recent past than they are with actual prices in the future.

Check out Figures 7 and 8 in my Gas Boom Goes Bust article.

The futures chain tells you a lot about where the market has been but it has little measurable skill at predicting the future price of natural gas. Have a look at some historical futures chains at the Market Futures databrowser. Just select "natural gas (NYM)" and go back in time a few months. The futures chain bounces around based on current events and market sentiment and has very little correlation with the actual prices people hope it will forecast.

today's genius is tomorrow's idiot. No one has a crystal ball - at least one that works. Re: CHK - I'd be worried if they are not hedging some of their future production. That might indicate they are gambling that prices will be higher than the future's market is saying.

Now that I agree with.



Seems like they are backed into a corner now. If they hedge, the price would be below break even for them.


yes, "best" can sometimes be abysmal. With 20/20 hindsight it is easy to see where markets were wrong. However, the long history of "experts" failing to beat the market tells us that markets generally are efficient and offer the best forecast of future events.

In my opinion the prudent ng producer and large consumer should rely on the futures chain to give them the best idea of future prices. Don't drill if you can't sell your future product today at a price that gives you a profit. Don't build a GTL plant if the future ng prices don't support it. Don't gamble on a ng converted vehicle if ng prices are likely to go up to where you don't recover your conversion costs.


If I were a CHK investor my worry would be that they appear to be selling properties in E. Tx and OK where wet plays exist. This would imply they are selling properties that have immediate value while also selling relatively cheap rights to gas in the future, as acts of desparation. Many assume that CHK will go under or sell-out in some form this year.

From what I hear, the heavy shift (now more than two years in the making, but with a draw-down currently more like a full-retreat now from dry plays) to oil coupled with a cold winter and the other factors noted in the posts up-thread could readily drive a super-spike in gas. But that will be followed by a shift to more shale gas drilling, and that will drive prices down.

So, down now, up in '14/'15 to at least $12, back down again about '17/'18 to somewhere in between. Timing won't be perfect, but we are likely to see heavy cycles. Such as it ever was, only maybe more-so.

Me, I'd happily drive a CNG vehicle for next few years, as even a super-spike in gas is unlikely to exceed where gasoline is by then. Gas at $2.00 is oil at maybe $12.00, so $15 gas would still be $90 oil. Today CNG carries a delivery premium despite few taxes, so changes to both will likely offset at volumes increase. Five years is good enough for any car investment I'd make, and a dual-fuel would hedge bets further.

We shall see. I view this as an opportunity to qualify the predictions of my industry insider contacts.

From the initial post...
Chesapeake Energy Goes Naked as Gas Hits a Decade Low

For Chesapeake, removing the 2012 hedges was risky because the price of gas futures is now very likely below what it costs the company to drill for physical gas – meaning the company has no speculative hedges that will pay out as it takes what is probably a loss on its physical production.

The price of gas has been below the cost of drilling for quite some time now. The reporter doesn't need to speculate.

We know this. Really a little homework and the reporter could have put a lot more meat in her story.

Just a reminder...
Wood Mackenzie: Playing a smart shale gas hand

And everything Art Berman has written.

Thomas L. Friedman: The Other Arab Spring

Good to see that there's some recognition that peak-related constraints were at work in last year's social unrest and this years' continued unrest in even nations that had toppled their leaders.

I think citizens in those countries may be starting to realize that the leaders weren't the issue. It was the perennial riot-starters: food and fuel prices. Indeed, without addressing these fundamental constraints the riots, unrest, and re-revolutions will probably be very near around the corner.

Egypt Round 2 anyone? It's coming...

"Civilization is only seven meals from anarchy."....Eric Severeid

This often quoted statement is attributed to the noted commentator Eric Severeid sometime in the 50s/60s, however, may also have some origins in an old Spanish Proverb.

Poor people may be docile. Starving people.....it's different story. Starvation on a large scale will lead to a complete societal breakdown!!

I have learnt that people who have no hope will not care about the consequences of their opinions. When you remve peoples hope, revolution will be near.

Starving people.....it's different story. Starvation on a large scale will lead to a complete societal breakdown!!

I wonder how many starving people loitering outside a 7-11 it takes for them to coalesce into a group with a leader? And then how long does it take for them to decide to bull rush the store to grab as much stuff as they can? It's an interesting question - 10, 25, 50 people? How long? 10, 25, 50 minutes? I'll guess 25/25.

Then the question moves to how many bull rushes does it take to permanently close a 7-11? 3, 5, 7, 9? I'll guess 7.

Then the question is how many closed stores in a county does it take for that county to become uninhabitable? 5, 7, 9, 11? I'll guess 11.

So it's 25/25, 7/11 for local societal collapse.

At some point wouldn't starving people lack the physical energy to do anything but lie on the ground and gasp?

I suppose it is the ultimate nightmare for a species......
the ultimate sign of "unfitness"

expiring despite such good intentions and great hopes and expectations, some among us geniuses, great leaders and all.

That's if they go quietly. I don't think they will go quietly. At that point you'll have soon-to-be starving people arm themselves and try to take matters into their own hands.

Posterity does not look upon rapidly expanding inequality kindly. Regime change is going to be quite a common occurrence going forward, methinks.

At some point wouldn't starving people lack the physical energy to do anything but lie on the ground and gasp?

I guess by starving what I meant was no food in gut - adrenaline pumping fight or flight state easily achieved via hunger pangs - survival instinct at full tilt - in this case outside a store with a bunch of other people in the same physical state.

I don't think they will just lie down knowing food is so close. Even if they get arrested at least they get fed, so there's not much to lose at that point. Might as well strike out and try to get some nachos!

And yet in areas where most people starve, they do so quietly. Emaciated people have neither energy nor purposeful anger, it seems.

Revolution happens at the boundaries, and where there is an imposing authority to rebel against.

Once there is no clear authority for the people to direct their anger against, things just disintegrate. Not quietly, but not so the rest of the world would take notice.

Hmm, well it's four meals and gets attributed to UK Home Office / MoD from the 40/50s - when they had to really worry about society breaking down in the face of rationing.

Prius and Volt Set New Sales Records Thanks to High Gas Prices

...and thanks to relatively high gas prices in the U.S. lately, they've both set new sales records in March 2012.

The Volt sales were boosted by a new version that qualified for the California carpool lane sticker and a generous "quad-zero" lease offer for older versions. So it might have had a temporary bump up in sales. But I hope they can keep the sales rolling, it is a great car.

The Leaf sales are pretty tepid actually. But it is hampered by a $35.2K price tag (before tax-credit) that is partially made expensive due to the high value of the yen. But Nissan plans to start rolling USA-built Leafs off the assembly line in Smyrna, TN in 2012 and the hope is that they will drop the price of the Leaf back down to something more palatable.

What I've dubbed, "the people's EV" (since it is relatively inexpensive . . $29.1K before tax-credit, $21.6K after tax-credit), has started out with lousy sales but hardly anyone knows it exists. But it will still probably have very small sales since the range is very limited at a 62 mile EPA-rated range.

The Tesla Model S is supposed to start shipping in the next few months followed by the (over-priced) Ford Focus Electric. It will be interesting to see how these models do. Sales will probably remain relatively weak unless gas prices go up or battery prices come down. I just hope they can hang on until the market conditions change in their favor.

I just hope they can hang on until the market conditions change in their favor.

Yeah, it's only been a hundred years, the EV's gonna catch on any day now. They're all automobiles, a concept that no longer can pretend to be viable. It's time to move on.

Have you driven one?

How would that be relevant? I drive old used cars becasue I still must drive to function in this society buuilt around the car, but I would never make the kind of investment required to buy a new EV. EVs may be useful for some kinds of driving, as they were in the early days of the automobile, but the system doesn't work the way we use cars and is not going to be extendable to serve as an effective replacement for the ICE automobile. Wether I've driven one changes nothing - there are many cars I've never driven.

'Time to move on..'

That's a little funny, Twilight. Sounds like a term built out of Road Culture.

You might have to settle for 'It's time to stay put.'

I don't think wheels, roads or even motors are done for.. they just have to be brought back into proportion with everything else.. and not blown up to the cartoon proportions of their onetime fuel source.

As I've said before, a small 35mph utility truck with a solar charging station would be useful for getting produce to the local market a couple of times a week. But that's nothing like the car culture that presently exists. Further, I seriously doubt the industrial/manufacturing complexity and sophistication needed to produce such a thing would be viable at such reduced production volumes. So I suspect a mule and a cart would eventually win out as the more practical solution.

Wheels, roads and motors won't go away intantly, they will still have their uses for some time. But in the end the utiliy sans fossil fuels will likely not be there, so I would look to the past to see what bringing them "back into proportion with everything else" will look like.

I suspect that population per se is not the biggest issue in sustaining tech. 1900 was substantially industrial, yet the population was much lower. I am more worried about the bumpy road down destroying everything.

Delivery truck no longer diesel powered:

Following is part of the text from my e-mail newsletter from West Wind Farms, near Deer Lodge, TN, dated yesterday. The owners/operators of this farm are formerly environmental scientists in Oak Ridge -- one a regulatory specialist and the other a geo-tech. They bought the property and an old house around 14 years ago and kept those day jobs in O.R. for a good long time. Only recently has Ralph left the day job and the commute to O.R. The video tells the story of why/how they decided, and what happened next:


www.grassorganics.com to explore how Kimberly and Ralph do business; how they deliver a wide array of organic and locally grown and produced foods to an area that includes most of Tennessee and even down into GA as far as Atlanta. It's pretty amazing. I think that financial stability (such as being able to borrow to "grow" the business aspects) improved considerably when they began the CSA programs. Just a guess.

I don't know how they will fare as their "upscale" customers find themselves losing "scale." I would buy most of my food from them if I could afford it.

Newsletter: WWF goes solar

"Environmental stewardship, social responsibility, self-sufficiency - these have always been primary goals of West Wind Farms. We compost our farm wastes, harvest our water directly from the sky through a rainwater collection system, and run our delivery vehicle on clean burning natural gas.

"This week, we achieved our next environmental milestone, solar power! We began the process of acquiring rural development grants and small business energy loans nearly one year ago. There are so many incentives to go solar, we just couldn't pass it up! Now, just one week after the meter began to spin, we have generated 1253 kWh of clean electricity to send to the grid, and offset 1632 lbs of carbon dioxide!

"By investing now, we can turn the savings back to our customers later. When energy costs increase, we can keep our product prices lower, all the while producing more energy than we use. West Wind Farms invests what it earns in ways that help the environment, improve sustainability, and look towards the future. Just one more reason to support West Wind Farms with your food dollars."

erain... correction to your link to West Wind Farms above: www.grassorganic.com

Thanks, fishoil. I should have known better than to type it. Cut & Paste is more accurate than my brain. :)


I have no problem looking to the past, but I do have a problem with the thinking that says we're relegated to tools ONLY from the past.

With an inevitably declining population, we've got a fairly humongous pile of scrap material from which to build things, and just like the legacy of Greek Democracies, Baghdadi Mathematics or Dutch Traders, we have copied and taught our contemporary mechanical tools techniques far and wide, with copies of chemistry textbooks and mechanical blueprints stored in shelves and closets across the globe. They don't all require Oil Energy to be possible, just energy. Economies will crash, but they will also be resurrected and remodeled to what is possible next.

The odds that these combined will now be more vulnerable than the manuscripts that survived from Herculaneum or the Dead Sea Scrolls seems quite small. A dark age, if one comes, will take different forms in different places, as we become fragmented by a collapse.. some places will very likely find solid ground to land on and be on their feet far sooner than others. While some will just cease to exist.

I'm sure there will BE mule carts, and they will surely deserve respect and right-of-way from the Electrics and Pedal powered vehicles with whom they share the roadways.

The knowledge of how to do it is great, and it is very unlikely the future will be a copy of the past. I think you underestimate the general industrial complexity needed to support some of these things that seem otherwise fairly simple - but obviously how far down that complexity curve we slide is one of the big questions. Trying to preserve some o that knowledge and ability will be one of the great challenges. Having a large supply of salvageable materials produced while concentrated fossil fuel energy was still available will also help. Still, I think it is foolish to assume some of these things were not done previously solely because of ignorance - without fossil fuel energy, both directly and indirectly, often they were simply not of any net benefit.

I will say I don't think you're really appreciating the immense benefits we glean from the basic forms of just electric motors.. and they were not done befofe 200 years ago because the industrial manufacturing knowledge and electronics, metallurgy and chemistry simply had not yet been brought to the levels that would have permitted it.

Now that we know what kind of power can be transmitted over copper wires and into armatures, and copies of that knowledge exist in simply Millions of Places.. there are just very, very tiny odds that we will let that ability go because we don't think it's advantageous enough for us.

I do not think people realize that to have ANY industrial technology, an industrial economy that functions must exist. It has nothing to do with what value we place on anything, it comes down to the ability of the current built for growth economy to transition to some theoretical economy that needs no growth. This transition must be made under severe duress as the current system melts down due to resource limits. Industrial society is so complex that once parts begin to fail the whole thing will shut down. Like a combustion engine it works with many parts functioning in unison. Yet many people feel that just because a part or two breaks down the engine will still run. Smell that burning smell? I think this engine is just about to throw a rod. When it does I don't think you will ever get it running again.

This is nonsense. There are others who post here about their tools and abilities, and they seem quite capable of building basic engines and motors, converting wood to gas, etc. You may be incapable of building a basic engine and generating fuel to run it from scratch, but there are most certainly groups of individuals that will be able to do so, even after a catastrophic collapse. These engines will always be useful to improve agricultural output, and thus can feed an army. Hydroelectric power will still be available, and electric motors will maintain their usefulness near these sources of electricity.

Even if we assume a total loss of all digital records, and we are left only with paper textbooks, it is still very reasonable to assume that the ashes of our industrial civilization will spawn a new one in short order. However, most collapse scenarios do not progress to the level of the complete destruction of our electronics manufacturing capabilities.

I'm building some fun, educational gadgets for our Local Children's museum, and I showed a very elemental 'Servo Driver' prototype to my clients, with just a DC motor wired in series to another one.. you spin one, the other spins.. Variable Speed and Reversible!

They were very taken by the implications of such basic combinations, and now want to use this in all sorts of demo projects.. little HandCranked Submersible Toys, etc.. Even I'm pretty jazzed at how elegant and basic and fun it is. I have to catch myself, as I start to just spin the control motor and gaze at the drive motor. It's easy to get drawn into more sophisticated control systems.. but this has some major advantages to it.

And for the EV motors, they're looking at these things with lifetime ratings starting at like a Million Miles.. there's just SO little to go wrong with them, and so few stress points on them.

I've got a neat little pile of my old Makita Drills, GREAT hefty little DC motors in there, and planetary gearsets.. shame about the obsolete batteries, but you really have to work to kill those motors! They'll probably become geardrives to open and close insulated shutters on my windows one of these days..


A very useful tool: A cordless drill (9V 12V 18V -without the battery-) with a cord and clips added so it can run off of a car battery. Heavy speaker zip-cord (#14 or bigger) with an in-line fuse and a big anti-oops diode in the positive battery clamp are niceties.

A really cool thing about what you've got is that you can transfer motion from here to there but you can also feel what you're doing there from here. Directly connected Selsyn or Synchro pairs do this, as well. Gearing up/down might help. "force reflection" - "reversible follow-up systems"
http://ia700503.us.archive.org/2/items/nasa_techdoc_19730017353/19730017... (PDF version)

Submarine Electrical Systems - Chapter 10
- There was even the amplidyne.

Selsyn Powered Intercom spells out messages (The selsyns transmitted angle)

"synchro transformer" "synchro transmitter" $35 example - 10 available
60 cycle, Navy, Sperry. (Beware - many are 400 cycle (aerospace): you would need a 400Hz supply.)

A large stepper motor can drive a small one directly. A stepper motor can drive amplifiers that drive other stepper motors. This could be 4-wire motors and a stereo amplifier. It could be 6-wire motors, a power supply, and four transistors. Another amusement might be had by taking a DC brushless muffin fan, for example, and connecting the circuit board's outputs not to its own motor coils, but to just the coils of another fan. Now, when you power and turn the first fan, the hall-effect sensor circuits command the nudging of the other.

Museums are severe-use environments. I had a control with plastic buttons and an aluminum joy-stick come back after a couple of years with all their surfaces sculpted and smoothed by use.

Asinine, you think that after the salvage period is over people will be manufacturing plastics, getting the rare earth metals, copper and other metals necessary for industrial products? Without a functioning industrial economy the power grid as it is now will not exist. For the local craftsman to manufacture an electric car from scratch would be an amazing feet; with no industrial supply chain bringing raw materials it would most likely not get off the drawing board. The cost if completed would relegate the car to being a circus attraction, not a meaningful economic tool. Industrial products are dependent on the current economic system, with lots of subsidies to get new innovation to the market. I do not think you appreciate the true scale and complexity of the industrial economy, or what would happen should it collapse.

It is just that your car engine analogy is so bad. Yeah, a part in a car engine can break an the whole thing falls apart. But the economy & society are not a car engine. They are made up billions of intelligent humans. When something breaks, we adapt and find a different way of doing things. And we've deal with the Black plague, WW1, WW2, droughts, etc. Yes, people suffer but we eventually figure a way to do things differently. I'm not a techno-utopian . . . I think there will be difficulties and we will have to move our standard of living down a bit. I think we are ALREADY doing that. But I don't see any drastic collapse coming that pushes us into some Mad-Max post-apocalyptic world. I see a world where most people don't fly on jets for vacations like they do now. Cars get much smaller & efficient. Homes get smaller. The USA becomes more like Europe energy-wise.

Everything we have dealt with such as world wars, we have had a functioning industrial economy. You might not be a techno-utopian but I think you will be surprised at what happens if a COMPLEX system like the global economy breaks down. From the Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, Future Analysis Branch some possible outcomes of economic breakdown,

"Banks left with no commercial basis. Banks would not be able to pay
Interest on deposits as they would not be able to find creditworthy companies,
institutions or individuals. As a result, they would lose the basis for their
• Loss of confidence in currencies. Belief in the value-preserving function
of money would dwindle. This would initially result in hyperinflation and
black markets, followed by a barter economy at the local level.
• Collapse of value chains. The division of labour and its processes are based
on the possibility of trade in intermediate products. It would be extremely
difficult to conclude the necessary transactions lacking a monetary system.
• Collapse of unpegged currency systems. If currencies lose their value in
their country of origin, they can no longer be exchanged for foreign currencies.
International value-added chains would collapse as well.
• Mass unemployment. Modern societies are organised on a division-oflabour
basis and have become increasingly differentiated in the course of their
histories. Many professions are solely concerned with managing this high level
of complexity and no longer have anything to do with the immediate
production of consumer goods. The reduction in the complexity of economies
that is implied here would result in a dramatic increase in unemployment in
all modern societies.
• National bankruptcies. In the situation described, state revenues would
evaporate. (New) debt options would be very limited, and the next step would
be national bankruptcies.
• Collapse of critical infrastructures. Neither material nor financial
resources would suffice to maintain existing infrastructures. Infrastructure
interdependences, both internal and external with regard to other subsystems,
would worsen the situation.
• Famines. Ultimately, production and distribution of food in sufficient
quantities would become challenging".

But I am sure in your neck of the woods they will be mining copper and rare earth metals. Probably with homemade electric trucks and cars, powered by home built nuclear reactors.

Spec generally covered my attitude about this.. I would just point out one term you used, and the assumptions I hear within it.. 'when the salvage period is over..' This makes it sound so discrete, and I'm sure it's oversimplified for brevity's sake.. but it is still essentially black and white. As we have ongoing salvage of the past into the present already, and consider what has gotten reworked into something new will then become part of the new 'Built Environment'.. The iron atoms that comprise that rusting bridge are not 200 years old, they are millions, and CAN be recast into new, durable products.. not just rustier and rustier bridges.

The word 'Salvage' can be a little deceptive, as it conjures images of trying to make the last tattered shards of tin-foil keep holding our birchbark sandwiches years down the road.. just as terms like 'Industrial Economy' and 'The Electric Grid' are played as these Monoliths that either exist or they don't. They will have different faces and will be forming adaptations to fit new ideas and new customers.. parts of the industrial world will decay or burn up, or be abandoned, or blow up; and people will be forming other (probably much smaller) ways to make machined things and sell them.

That's my take.

I do appreciate the complexity and the interrelationships that are hanging together by countless JIT Trucking Threads and Economic and Political Balances these days.. and I do accept that this apple cart may well topple badly.. but I also know what it takes to wind an armature, to cast parts, to create reasonably accurate machining .. which can then be used to create far MORE accurate machining.. (and of course, existing machining tools all run on electricity.. there are a LOT of these out there, from big factories to little mom/pop CNC Shops and such across numerous industrial trades..

..the Global Systems you're talking about I believe ARE required at current scales to create an IPhone or a Fission Plant, but not an EV line or even electric Locomotives..

They might not be necessarily be equipped with GPS and their own WIFI nodes.. but they'll be able to roll beautifully.

But accurate, interchangable parts and assembly lines (not necess. big ones) don't need a global oil economy to run.. the ability to trade goods and create the contracts required for electronics manufacture of a good range of semiconductors might shrink drastically, and the ability to create some of the more intensive processors may be lost for a long time.. but I have not been convinced by anything I've seen over the last 5 years here, that we are likely to be leaving our electronics days behind. Video on the web, very possibly.. but Packet Email and Long-Distance Radio? No. They're too easy to recreate with some very elemental, 19th century materials and 20th cent. codes&schematics, and WITH those, the rest of this very appetizing information will have some fast vectors by which to spread again.. (to anyplace that still supports human life anyway.) -- Not to insist that it WILL spread.. some areas may be blocked for countless other reasons.. just to say that I don't expect these things to die out or become unviable in various pockets around the world. Hope I'm in or near one of them.

Jokuhl, you would be a great person to have around should the apple cart upset I am sure. I certainly have no reason to feel certain that my view of an economic collapse is how things will go. If the current economic system fails, I feel it will be hard to replace on the fly. Supposing that the modern economy is collapsed, I can see no way that modern infrastructure could be maintained. The cost to maintain industrial civilization is already MORE than we can afford, hence the massive deficits of industrialized countries and faltering economies. Without the global ponzi schemes ability to discount the future and borrow preposterous amounts of money, the bridges, power grid, water systems, agriculture systems, and mining operations will quickly head south. When you can no longer pay the police and soldiers, they tend to fend for themselves, such as in the collapses of Argentina and Brazil.

I realize folks are smart, and will be running around with all the knowledge to build all kinds of things in their heads, but conditions will not be conducive. That being said I think on the homestead type level I am glad I am a country boy with friends who can rebuild a motor in a barn. I think as far as SALVAGING parts, creating home machines to generate power like wood burning steam engines will be something I may try. But I am planning to live without counting on technology if things collapse.

Any knock back to a previous technological era will simply have us recreating our lost era again but under new constraints.

I say it is time for a new paradigm, you are right. How to get there from here is tricky though.

Hi Mark;

"When you can no longer pay the police and soldiers, they tend to fend for themselves, such as in the collapses of Argentina and Brazil."

The thing is, sure, when it falls apart, people will take care of Number 1 for a while, but quickly remember what humans do best, which is to team up and re-form our social structures. Western culture has a particularly strong bent for the Stoic Individual and the 'Homestead Family'.. but I think this is an abberation, and even most of the Joe Solos have to find a friendly watering hole where they can brag about their independence to 'the Guys'

Some smart people will be building tools and homes.. others will be connecting with people and reinforcing social structures and the deals required to keep the Bagels Baking and the Kids in School. Collapse is a stage, a device a period. But that's not to confuse it with a full-stop, as far as I can see.

There are many inefficiencies and just pure waste in American society. Take healthcare, for example. The US spends over 17% of GDP on healthcare when the average for the developed world is 10% -- and get this: the developed world's average life expectancy is higher than America's. Part of the reason for the developed world's (excluding the US) greater efficiency is due to lower and more efficient energy consumption.

So there is much the US can do to mitigate declining energy sources. But of course, that requires people accept the end of economic growth, which they clearly are not prepared to do, at least not now.

I don't know at what level it stabilizes. The effects of FF inputs are so pervasive it's difficult to determine where we end up without them. For example, while one may have the knowledge, ability and experience to make a radio transmitter, one also has to have the time to do it. How much time is available to do such projects once one has dealt with the basics of food, heat and shelter without FF inputs? How does one obtain (pay for?) the materials? And while one may be able to see how an individual could accomplish this, what percentage of the population can be spared for such pursuits without FF inputs? And even if the knowledge exists, for how many generations does it last if too few can be spared to practice it?

I am not expecting a total discontinuity, so there will be technology in use for a long time. I expect the coming transitional phases to last generations, so something like low speed solar charged EV utility vehicles could be viable for a long time even if not indefinitely. But that is not a certainty, and local disruptions may be more than enough to prevent it. In the end, the manufacture of EVs must compete with letting two horses together for a few minutes so they can do what they want to do, ultimately producing an incredibly robust, intelligently designed (just kidding folks!) draft machine. That could be tough to beat.

As an aside, I've worked designing digital instrumentation for some 25 years, and the company I work for goes back to the early 1900's. Once they made wonderful electro-magnetic instruments, and those were still in production when I started. I got to see how they were made, and I've preserved many linen drawings, assembly fixtures, and even have books on theory. These were made by an old-style, vertically integrated manufacturer, and it almost seemed like they made every part, from screws to tooling. I've toyed with the idea of preserving the knowledge and maybe setting up to make them, basement workshop style. But I'm well aware of how much general industrial support would be needed, even for the smallish percentage of parts they didn't make from scratch. In short, I see that this ancient, rude technology is far more sophisticated than it might appear, and beyond re-creating without a very large investment.

But in the end the utiliy sans fossil fuels will likely not be there, so I would look to the past to see what bringing them "back into proportion with everything else" will look like.


Though I'd really hate to be one of the slaves who has to clean the roads after the evening rush hour...

If you could set up to sell the compost, street technician might be quite the lucrative career as i'm also sure the government will happily subsidize you for keeping the roads clear.

Matt Taibbi with a great takedown of the phony jobs bill from the phony savior:


Five years of free, unfettered fraud per shell-corporation name.
...running interleaved over time.

Rolling back Wall Street regulation even further.

A new feeding frenzy on Grandma Millie, pension plans, 401Ks... and, perhaps by then, privatized social security and medicare safety-net accounts.

Obviously, no effort will be made to fix any broken system... It's all broken just the way they like it. The only real improvement would be to break it even better: "Waste and poison the water while getting at the gas and oil... WE can sell those for a lot more Right Now! ...all while driving up the price of water later! Have Rush tell the people that each and every alternative is a hopeless vile socialist fraud!...better throw in some lines about how market manipulation has no effect on price..."

This very much announces that morality is for idiots and that greed is good...

If you look at the comments under JOBS act articles, a new game has sprung up in naming absurd investment seeking websites.

I can see it now:

Denkou's Drive-Thru Tree Service
---Specializing in mature oaks---

NZers embrace LED lighting

Kiwis have embraced light emitting diode (LED) lighting with Philips Lighting reporting a 120% increase in sales of LED products in 2011 over 2010. Strong growth is expected to continue this year as more people make the switch to LED from compact fluorescent (CFL) or traditional incandescent lighting.

"The positive response to LED lighting in New Zealand is consistent with international trends. Philips Lighting expects at least 50% of global lighting to be LEDs by as early as 2015, and 75% by the end of this decade," says Dave Procter, Marketing Manager Philips Lighting.

See: http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/nzers-embrace-led-lighting/5/120180

Ever have one of those days when you can't decide what it is you want to do? I have a slew of petrol forecourts that I have to upgrade and I'd dearly love to go LED, but the damn canopy lights are round and there are no conversion kits specifically designed to accommodate round fixtures. We've converted other stations that utilize square housings and couldn't be more pleased with the results, e.g., at this station, we replaced 400-watt metal halides with 105-watt Rudd BetaLED units on a one for one basis: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0542.jpg

I'm told that the corporate recommendation is to remove the existing fixture, install a cover plate and surface mount the replacement as shown here: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Recommended3to1.jpg Note that they're also eliminating two-thirds of the fixtures. Aesthetically speaking, it seems a bit crude and I have to wonder how much light is being sacrificed along the way.

These stations all operate 24-hours a day and in the process consume an inordinate amount of energy; this one, for example, uses over a thousand kWh a day: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1206.jpg If I were to follow the recommendations as set forth I'd save a boat load of kWh and normally that makes me a pretty happy guy. But I keep thinking there has to be a better solution, and so I sit at my desk tapping my pencil, staring at the ceiling.


Get hold of the LED light manufacturer and point out the niche they are missing while offering to do the trial?


I was discussing this with Rudd/Cree earlier today, but I get the impression that it's not high on their to do list. They sell square "beauty plates" or what you and I would call trims, so you'd think they could offer a round trim as well.


Hmm, maybe another tack might be a fibre glass or metal basher who can make a pretty adaptor or trim. From the photo it looks like these could be more or less recessed with the right, specialised plate.


They sell square "beauty plates" or what you and I would call trims, so you'd think they could offer a round trim as well.

Have you tried sending them the pictures you just posted with a specific request for round trim? Who knows they might see the light... perhaps mention that you know a company in China is about to beat them to the punch and corner the round market, if they don't do it, eh?

You're both pretty close to the mark. Rudd asked that I get in touch with their local distributor, a firm that builds most of the station canopies in Atlantic Canada. I spoke with the owner and he tells me that they cobbled something together for a station in Prince Edward Island and he'll try to find a picture that he can pass on to me. We both agree that the recommended approach leaves something to be desired.

The fixtures at these stations are 250-watt metal halide (290-watts with ballast) and we could theoretically replace them, one-for-one, with a 52-watt recessed BetaLED. This would provide us with 50 per cent more light and ensure that there are no dark areas or harsh shadows, plus we can avoid the ugly plugs. There are twenty-eight canopy lights at this one station, so we could conceivably trim some 30,000 kWh/year from their utility bill -- actually, quite a bit more given that they also run the lights on overcast days. Factor in the fourteen 250-watt pole lights, six 175-watt wall packs and all of the interior lighting and we can likely bump the total savings to over 100,000 kWh per annum.


Heh, I don't know of any metal shops around here that have a fly punch but I can always ask around ;) Mind you, laser cut stainless steel is available, I can always find out.


Thanks. I'm hoping that what they've done at this other station in Prince Edward Island will do the trick, but I should know more once I receive the pictures. Stay tuned.


What about photocell operated dimming for overcast days ?

Just a thought.

Best Hopes for Efficiency,


The BetaLEDs should eliminate this practice once and for all. Currently, with the drop lenses, you can see that the lights are on because there's a ring or halo of light around each fixture, visible from any direction and at any angle. However, with these LED fixtures all of the light is directed downward so unless you're looking straight up at one you won't be able to tell if they're on or off during daylight hours. Thus, no more hand waving to drivers "hey, come on it, we're open for business" prior to sunset.

As with past retrofits, we'll be upgrading the refrigeration case lighting to Philips Affinium LED (http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/pwc_li/us_en/connect/assets/LED_modu...); at this particular location, there are nine F72T12HO lamps for a total connected load of just over 900-watts (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1202.jpg). Two 19-watt end strips and seven 29-watt centres will drop us to 241-watts, for a net savings of some 8,000 kWh/year when you take into consideration the corresponding reduction in cooling loads.

In addition to the door strips there are four F34T12 vapour proofs that operate 24/7 (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1197.jpg). Normally, we would re-lamp/re-ballast with 28-watt high performance T8s and low-output NEMA Premium ballasts which would net us about 1,800 kWh a year in savings. We've done this at countless locations, but it's always bothered me that these overhead lights are never turned off; but being fluorescent and working at these colder temperatures I didn't see any other option. Then it dawned on me, why not replace them with LEDs as well? Unlike fluorescent lamps, LEDs reach full brightness instantly regardless of temperature so, with that, we can add an occupancy sensor that will cut their runtime by 95 per cent or more. [Head slap.]


Well.. if it's for lighting gas stations, maybe the problem will solve itself!

Bob, '.. a well-rounded square; which must be why I like Pi!' Waka Waka..

Driverless cars ready to hit our roads

Sceptical about autonomous cars? Too late. They're already here – and they're smarter than ever

You'll need a critical mass for these things to succeed but they will probably be ubiquitous in developed nations within the next 8-10 years. Cab drivers should look for jobs somewhere else. On the positive side, vehicle efficiency will rise significantly and fatalities will come down drastically.

In developing countries though that day is far away as they will need a Mr Smith to drive the car.

I can see it now, Empty Silver Cities, with the obligatory Traffic jams every morning and evening, Cars on the Ground and in the Air, and not a driver to be seen!

The Dream is Complete.. (and a copy of Pop-Sci on every Passenger-seat!)

The question is, once in the hands of the typical driver, they will hit the road at what speed from what altitude?


Another former Japanese PM comes out against nuclear power and apologises for having supported it in the past.

Ex-prime minister Murayama expresses regret over supporting nuclear power

OITA — Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Sunday it is regrettable that he changed the then Japan Socialist Party's policy to an acceptance of nuclear power stations while he was in office.

"It was imprudent and it was a failure. I want to apologize," Murayama told an antinuclear meeting in the city of Oita. "I'm filled with a strong feeling that I should not accept nuclear power stations so I can make up for my mistake."

...Murayama of the JSP, now the Social Democratic Party, served as prime minister from June 1994 to January 1996.

Best hopes for reducing oil consumption in Japan

And best hopes for India never deploying a U-233 bomb.

And again it's a political statement not a scientific one.

Politicians are only a reliable indicator of sentiment, not hard-nosed risk evaluation.

Some more political statements:


Report: 400+ pages of leaked faxes show Fukushima boss Yoshida aware plants were damaged by quakes, not tsunami

Lets see - lies by Government to benefit Corporation. Yup. Political.


steam explosion at Reactor No. 3 — NRC discussed steam explosion ejecting entire core

The political statement here is the core isn't in the core anymore?


Japan Magazine: Gov’t planning to build 88km wall around Fukushima evacuation zone

The political statement - Government will bail out the failure of Corporations. Note how the economics of Nuclear power can't afford to build a wall, it takes the confiscation power of Government.

Yup - all political to cover the demonstrated failure of the science of nuclear power.

And now for some perspective:

The nuclear problems are expensive to deal with, but you'd think by the number of posts about it that it was the worst thing that happened in Japan on 11/03/11, and it's not even close.

The nuclear problems are expensive to deal with

Sure looks like it exceeds the 'value' the power originally provided.

Of course there are attempts to dodge responsibility.

In response, Tepco said that: ”The radioactive substances (including cesium) which spread and fell from the Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant belong to the landowners and not Tepco,” according to an article in the weekly magazine AERA.

but you'd think by the number of posts about it that it was the worst thing that happened in Japan on 11/03/11

Right. Its all about Japan. Not at all about the effect of the Biosphere. Nice attempt to redirect.

At one time someone was claiming zero deaths tied to the radiation.

As others have pointed out - 14,000 deaths on the west coast from Fukushima.

They reference Yablokov as reference 4 (I got this while reading it and noticing they refer to his million deaths from Chernobyl).

Why do you waste my time with this junk?

Why do you waste my time with this junk?

And weren't you the guy making the big deal about citations of authoritative sources?

So now http://www.baywood.com/journals/previewjournals.asp?id=0020-7314 is Junk?

Did you even check the references in the paper?

Did you even read it past "they reached the conclusion I wanted, so it's good"?

They reference Yablokov's Chernobyl book, which is junk, in an authoritative manner.

This discredits the whole paper, and by extension the journal that had the bad taste to publish it.

At best this paper shows a correlation between number of deaths and the arrival of radiation from Fukushima. As anyone familiar with statistics can tell you, correlation is the weakest form of functional association, not the strongest. It would take a lot more research to establish a causal link between the death rate and higher radiation levels due to Fukushima. Establishing such a causal link is clearly not an easy thing to do given the widely varying claims for deaths due to the Chernobyl disaster for example.

Sadly, the assumption that peer reviewed research can be trusted is also less and less true these days. There are so many academics desperate to publish to further their careers that less scrupulous journals have sprung into existence to satisfy this demand. Indeed, if you visit Baywood.com you'll see a link that they are interested in proposals for new or existing journals in the humanities or social scientists. So the message is clear -- if you can't get your work published in an established journal you can always get a group of academics who are in the same boat together and launch your own journal.

It would take a lot more research to establish a causal link between the death rate and higher radiation levels due to Fukushima.

With material like the TMI report Rickover expressed concern over and the pro-nuke crowd in better control of the release data - how exactly would the 'more research' be done and paid for?

The studies being done - http://www.radiation.org/ are donation based.

We found that average Sr-90 levels rose 50% in the 1990s, are highest near nuclear plants, and appear linked to childhood cancer trends. The Child Cancer Tooth Study - As an outgrowth of the Tooth Fairy Project, we conducted a study of Sr-90 in teeth of children with cancer (124 teeth were tested). Preliminary findings show average Sr-90 levels are considerably higher than those of healthy children.
The Long-Term Health Effects (Baby Boomers) Study (St. Louis Study) - Our third major focus is the result of an unexpected gift of 85,000 individually-identified baby teeth from Washington University in St. Louis. These teeth, not used in a landmark 1958-1970 study, give us the unprecedented opportunity to examine health effects of bomb test fallout on Baby Boomers. Identifying and testing teeth of 200 Boomers who have died and/or developed cancer by age 45, and comparing results to 200 healthy Boomers will provide a meaningful test on whether Sr-90 raises risk of death and cancer.

"As anyone familiar with statistics can tell you, correlation is the weakest form of functional association, not the strongest. It would take a lot more research to establish a causal link between the death rate and higher radiation levels due to Fukushima."

Yeah, statisticians will also tell you that they generally don't believe in coincidences, and that the simplist answer tends to be correct, but what do they know?

That said, this whole series of threads has gotten rather tedious and repetitive. One party who clearly has a pro-nuclear bias accusing another party of having an anti-nuclear bias (a bit like "my daddy can whoop your daddy"). Jeez... Or positing a false choice between fission or coal, both which HAVE BEEN PROVEN to be highly detrimental to human health, long term ("my power source can whoop your power source"). It's beginning to disgust some of us who have rejected your modern day Faustian bargains and made reasonable choices that don't involve fouling YOUR air or poisoning YOUR childrens' futures.

Good points Chung. Especially the tedious and repetitive part.

Is it just me or has the TOD comments section become tedious and repetitive about disparate subjects over the last few months.

Disparate Subjects:

    The dangers of nuclear power.
    Atheism vs. Christianity.
    Democrats vs. Repubs.
    Global warming.

Discussions about good oil petroleum and responses to peak oil are being crowded out. I could go to many other web sites to cover those other subjects (and sometimes do).

The TOD major posts are still great as are the articles that Leanan supplies.
Maybe TOD should change the name to DCSD (Debating Controversial Subjects Drum).

It's probably just me.

Discussions about oil petroleum and responses to peak oil

How about how Government protects Corporations?

The Exchange has proceeded with summary disciplinary proceedings against Goldman Sachs International (“GSF”) in relation to a breach of the Exchange Regulations concerning disorderly trading.
The Committee concluded that a financial penalty of £25,000 be imposed on GSF, and emphasized that all Members have a responsibility to trade in an orderly fashion at all times, whether on their own behalf or on behalf of a client. GSF has provided the Exchange with full cooperation throughout its inquiries.

Is that more what you had in mind?

The dangers of nuclear power.
Atheism vs. Christianity.
Democrats vs. Repubs.
Global warming.
Discussions about good oil petroleum and responses to peak oil are being crowded out. I could go to many other web sites to cover those other subjects (and sometimes do).

Yeah, sometimes the discussion veer off into pointlessness but I think they often start related to oil

TOD seems to be about energy instead of just oil so nuclear power seems within the bounds.
Global warming and regulation on it are definitely related to oil consumption patterns.

The atheism/Christianity & Dem v. Repubs often tends to spawn from public policy debates and the importance of basing public policy on science. Newt Gingrich has been running his campaign on a crazy promise of bringing back $2.50/gallon gasoline due to some policy magic. The global warming debate is tinted by people like Inhofe who says global warming is clearly bogus because "God is still up there" watching out for us so clearly he wouldn't let it happen. And how are you going to rationally discuss oil geology with people that think the world is 6000 years old?

So I think the debates on this issues are relevant but I guess we should try to keep the discussion of them related to the topics at hand.

I would agree.

After I found this site a while back, I knew it had value. Where else is there such candor related to our energy future?

But, the site also reaffirmed my thoughts that everything, nearly every important modern issue, from food to climate to politics to war, is bound up tight with oil and other non-renewable resources.

n_s - I agree also. It's all part of the "system". And yes: parts of they system can be inefficient to down right ignorant/dishonest. But those segments can effect the system as much and, unfortunately, more than the science/technology. Nuclear/fundamentalist beliefs/etc usually hold no interest for me so I simply skip them. But not because they can't have a significant impsct. I just find those discussion somewhat tedious at best.

It's true... It's true.

"Peak oil" leads to "The End of the World as We Know It" then "Can't this be stopped?" and "What to do?".

Global warming offers a knockout-punch after resource depletion.
No ideology is offering to stop the rush to the brink.
Going nuclear is a perfect solution for perfect beings.

The peak oil conversation itself is over pretty quickly. It is inevitable. It becomes a matter of debating "When do things change?". This degenerates into "Whose numbers do you believe", "War for Oil", and "Financial collapse"... which takes us back to politics, can't this be stopped, and what to do.

People here with practical knowledge of the industry illuminate for all the means and grit of producing oil. These are engineering conversations, reminiscences, interpretations, and enlightenment at their best with comforting foundations of actual reality. Because of this, they stand out against the multi-threaded rages debating the human condition. But some of them have invested in the future with children... which takes us back to can't this be stopped and what to do.

The mechanics of rational responses are fairly obvious. They probably don't involve continuous exponential growth and over twenty billion people powered by carbon. The real problem is what humans are.

Well, I'm just trying to get the anti-nuclear folks to come up with something substantial enough to convince me that nuclear is even close to as dangerous as natural gas, the cleanest and safest of the fossil fuels.

So far lets just say I am less than impressed with their results.

If that makes me pro-nuclear, so be it, but from my perspective it looks like a rational position.

Perhaps because it's obvious just how pointless trying to convince you would be? It would appear that is a hopeless task not worth pursuing.

Yet at least a couple of times a week someone has to post some anti-nuclear scare piece.
Such and such a politician has foresworn nuclear power, see how bad nuclear power is?!
Radiation can injure people! It's so incredibly dangerous!
We can detect radiation from Fukushima in California! OMG, it's going to kill THOUSANDS!

But when it comes time to show the *actual harm*, crickets (or sensationalist newspaper articles).

I think it's a hopeless task because while it is abundantly clear that nuclear power has risks, showing that those risks outweigh the alternatives requires evidence that just doesn't exist.

No, I think it is simply because it's obvious your mind is made up.

Just as it is obvious that the anti-nuclear advocate's minds are made up.

I think that if evidence of *actual harm* were out there I wouldn't need to ask for it.

It would be too powerful for their advocacy to let it lie undisplayed.

So, why would I get the idea that it doesn't exist?

When your definition of harm is corrupt government acknowledging corpses, who died from radiation sickness, scattered over the countryside, you truly miss the scale of the catastrophe in Fukushima.

So, why would I get the idea that it doesn't exist?

Willful ignorance about the biological hazards of radionuclides?

When your definition of harm is corrupt government acknowledging corpses, who died from radiation sickness, scattered over the countryside, you truly miss the scale of the catastrophe in Fukushima.

I need proof of that sort of assertion.

Real proof, not the ramblings of people who disclaim the scientific method in what they assert to be a scientific paper before making claims that simple math prove to be impossible (or the misbegotten ramblings of people who then take such nonsense seriously).

The truth is out there.


Scrolling through the online solicitation, you'll see the U.S. Army Medical Material Agency wants to ensure "critical operational forces are protected in the event of nuclear fallout."

Meanwhile - It seems Japan is gonna just burn the radioactive debris.

Burning radioactive debris does not destroy the radioactivity. It merely spreads it. Gundersen says that radioactivity from the burnt debris will end up not only in neighboring prefectures, but in Hawaii, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California. Gundersen said that burning radioactive debris is basically re-creating the Fukushima disaster all over again, as it is releasing a huge amount of radioactivity which had settled on the ground back into the air.

What utter nonsense. By the time he came to power in 1994 most of the existing nuclear reactors in Japan were already in operation or under construction so he is hardly to blame for the decision to go nuclear. Could Japan have done anything other than nuclear when the energy crisis in the 70's hit? We're talking about a country with next to no fossil fuels and little hydroelectric potential. Wind and solar may be a viable alternative today but they certainly were not mature enough back in the 70's to power a country like Japan.

What he should be apologizing for is the inept job the government did in regulating the nuclear industry.

There is no way to make nuclear safe enough in that country. It is too seismically active. It's worse than California, from what I've heard.

Not saying that they had a good choice. Just saying that they had a bunch of bad choices, and nuclear turned out to be just about as bad as could be. Kan has come out publically and said that he was told in a worse case that Tokyo would have to be evacuated - that would have been the end of Japan as we know it. As it was, the winds during the crisis blew away from Tokyo. As it is, Japan, a small island chain relative to it's population, now has that much less farmland and dairy land, because a big chunk of Fukushima, one of the mostly rural prefectures, is now poisoned, and will be for the forseeable future. They're still a bit in denial but the denial is gradually wearing off.

What should they have done? The damned thing HAD a massive seawall, they just got a tsunami of the type that only shows up every 500 years or so, and things went worse than expected. Typical hubris, that all humankind is prone to. They just lost their saving throw this time. Before, it was the Soviets, and eventually it will be someone else.

Those things will never be safe. Especially in Japan, and the whole country knows that now. Suddenly the electric towns don't look like a risk worth taking. People are making do, and consumption is way down. Maybe they never needed that much in the first place? Maybe none of us do? We didn't 100 years ago. We don't need that much to have a decent life. Maybe we'll sweat a bit more in the summer. Big deal.

Over the years, there have been a number of Drumbeat links to Guy McPherson's web site, Nature Bats Last. For any TODers living in Central NY near Cortland, Dr. McPherson is speaking tomorrow night (Wednesday, 4/11 at 6:30 PM) at the NYS Grange HQ just off Interstate 81 at Exit 11.

Here is a link to the Facebook Event:


Dr. McPherson's web site is; http://guymcpherson.com

Any questions may be directed to me at kleink@sunyocc.edu

- Rev. Karl

Best Buy’s Dunn Resigns as CEO; Mikan to Serve in Interim


Best Buy, the world’s largest electronics retailer, has been cutting jobs and shifting to smaller store formats amid competition from Internet retailers...

Expect the same from many more "big box" retailers in the very near future. Internet is cheaper retail to run and brick and mortar stores can't compete. Borders went out b/c of it and Barnes and Noble will follow suit. I prefer shopping at ACE Hardware than Lowes or Home Depot. Perhaps Mom and Pops will make a come back with this trend...that would be ironic.

Point to remember...this is just my opinion based on retail trends.

If gas prices continue to go up, the big box retailers could be in serious trouble.

Also in trouble, the "exurbs" - people won't be able to drive to work at a reasonable price - long commutes will be too expensive.

The book "$20/gallon" by Christopher Steiner details what the author believes will fail at each price point of gasoline. For example, at $8/gallon "the skys will empty" (airlines go bankrupt).


There's more pressure on the "consumer" now than just the price of gas. It is the uncertainty of the future...such as

- Will I have my job tomorrow?
- Will my kids move back in with me and will I have to support them?
- If my company cuts jobs, will have more work to and will I have to stay later? What will I do with my kids?

Refinery closures risk Northeast gas price spike

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- While gas prices soar to record levels, many U.S. refineries that make and sell gasoline are going broke.

Nearly 50% of the refining capacity on the East Coast has either shut down or may shut down within the next few months.

If gas shortages develop due to the closed refineries, East Coast drivers could face higher prices than they otherwise would later this year.

Ya think?

Experts suggest grazing cows, sheep, ducks in forests

Putting cows, sheep and other livestock into forests to graze could prove to be a valuable tool for New York woodland management, say Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) agriculture educators and colleagues in the Cornell Forestry Program.

"We're being forced into a situation where we have to look at how we utilize our limited agricultural land area," he said. "Silvopasturing fits our landscape in the Northeast, where most pastureland is juxtaposed with forest. In the past we did a good job of telling people to keep animals out of the woods, but rules change."

Ithaca area farmer Steve Gabriel of Work With Nature Design, who is an extension aide in Cornell's Department of Horticulture, is experimenting with the practice in a novel way. With a grant from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, he is pasturing ducks in a mature sugar maple woodlot, which has the added benefit of providing pest control for another of his agroforestry projects, a shiitake mushroom farm.

From the link:

Silvopasturing also benefits woodland managers -- livestock can help clear the underbrush and create a more productive stand of timber, said Brett Chedzoy, a CCE agriculture educator.

Interesting perspective. About 20 years ago we fenced the cattle out of most of our forest areas that they had previous access to. The transformation has been remarkable. The understory gradually returned; a cornucopia of native plants, and wildlife that we hadn't seen in years repopulated these areas. Many native medicinals including gensing, goldenseal and bloodroot are now prolific, and the mosses and fungi are free to do their thing. We didn't realise the extent of the damage that the cattle were doing. My sections of forest look very different from nearby farms were the cows have access to the woodlands. Maybe that's why those folks keep asking if they can hunt here. They joke that I've 'tamed' my wildlife and ask what I've been feeding the deer and turkeys. Duh...

Sometimes it takes a long time to realize that the new ecosystem you are creating is not so hot after all. In the southwest, the original forest ecosystem had grass understory, which would burn every few years. They thought, we can kill two birds with one stone, lets graze the forests, then free forage... and no more wildfires.
Now, the tree density has become so high that catastrophic wildfires threaten.....

My, my. the more things change, the more they remain the same.

I've heard professional foresters go back and forth on this issue over the years, first grazing, then no grazing in the forest. The recommendations seem to change each generation. Benefits of livestock fertilization vs compaction. Elimination of competition, vs multi-income stream.

One thing's for sure from my perspective, the ducks are breakfast if there's coyotes around. I was watching a group this morning, mousing as they circled a pasture low spot turned lake in the runoff. Tell tale feather clumps spell yesterday's story. They are pretty good at nabbing lambs, sheep too. And as the larger predators become re-introduced, it'll be hard to "silvopasture" cattle. Wolf predation on cattle is the hottest topic in this county, and quite a few western states now. I don't want to go there, the arguments are too old, too emotional.

I'm a forester.

Grazing cattle in the forest is a very bad idea. In fact, it's absurd if you care about having a forest. Might as well cut it all down and get it over with.

So you're not keen to the "silvopasture" idea above. I'm not going either way, but I do think there's such a thing as stocking density. And though not traditionally a forest animal, the elk have become same in the west. In fact, I was just photographing a group of 27 down for the evening.

From IEA: What is the impact of high oil prices on the global economy? (Part 2 of 3)

China’s spending on oil and gas imports more than doubled between 2009 and 2011 as a result of higher energy prices and increased import volumes – IEA Chief Economist Last week, the IEA released some slides which assess how current crude prices are contributing to economic malaise.

The second set of slides continues to focus on the global impact of the current oil price.

Slides (part 2): Impact of high oil prices on the economy

•Annual expenditure on net imports of oil
•Europe: Rising energy prices compound the pain of austerity
•Fukushima adds to the economic impact of higher oil prices in Japan
•As China continues to grow, the impact of high energy prices is keenly felt

Consumerism and Its Antisocial Effects Can Be Turned On—or Off

Research shows that people who place a high value on wealth, status, and stuff are more depressed and anxious and less sociable than those who do not. Now new research shows that materialism is not just a personal problem. It’s also environmental. “We found that irrespective of personality, in situations that activate a 'Consumer' mindset, people show the same sorts of problematic patterns in wellbeing, including negative affect and social disengagement,” ...

In two experiments, participants completed tasks that were framed as surveys — one of consumer responses, another of citizens.’ ... The last experiment presented participants with a hypothetical water shortage in a well shared by four people, including themselves. The water users were identified either as consumers or individuals. Might the collective identity as consumers—as opposed to the individual role—supersede the selfishness ordinarily stimulated by the consumer identity? No: The “consumers” rated themselves as less trusting of others to conserve water, less personally responsible and less in partnership with the others in dealing with the crisis. The consumer status, the authors concluded “did not unite; it divided.”

The findings have both social and personal implications, says Bodenhausen. “It’s become commonplace to use consumer as a generic term for people,” in the news or discussions of taxes, politics, or health care. If we use term such as Americans or citizens instead, he says, “that subtle difference activates different psychological concerns.”

Why do you think they call people that now instead of citizens? it helps create the perception of artificial scarcity of products. look at apple for one example, every major trend in clothing..

Solar thermal process produces cement with no carbon dioxide emissions

... As the scientists explain, 60-70% of CO2 emissions during cement production occurs during the conversion of limestone into lime. This conversion involves decarbonation, or removing the carbon atom and two oxygen atoms in limestone (CaCO3) to obtain lime (CaO) with CO2 as the byproduct. The remainder of the emissions comes from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, to heat the kiln reactors that produce the heat required for this decarbonation process.

The STEP process addresses both issues, starting by replacing the fossil fuel heat source with solar thermal energy. The solar heat is not only applied directly to melt the limestone, it also provides heat to assist in the electrolysis of the limestone. In electrolysis, a current applied to the limestone changes the chemical reaction so that instead of separating into lime and CO2, the limestone separates into lime and some other combination of carbon and oxygen atoms, depending on the temperature of the reaction. When electrolyzed below 800°C, the molten limestone forms lime, C, and O2. When electrolyzed above 800°C, the product is lime, CO, and ½O2

... when accounting for the value of the carbon monoxide byproduct, the cost of the lime production is actually negative. The researchers' rough analysis shows that the total cost of the limestone material, solar heat, and electricity is $173 per ton of lime and 0.786 tons of carbon monoxide (0.786 tons of carbon monoxide are produced for every ton of lime). The market value of carbon monoxide is $600 per ton, or $471 per 0.786 tons. So after selling the carbon monoxide, the cost of the lime production is $173 - $471 = -$298 per ton. For comparison, the cost to produce lime in the conventional way is about $70 per ton.

Just waitin' for the 'can't use solar as it is intermittent' backlash.


800-year-old farmers could teach us how to protect the Amazon

In the face of mass deforestation of the Amazon, we could learn from its earliest inhabitants who managed their farmland sustainably.

Research from an international team of archaeologists and paleoecologists, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows for the first time that indigenous people, living in the savannas around the Amazonian forest, farmed without using fire.

Global oil demand in 2013 revised down 220,000 b/d, to 90.11 mil b/d: EIA

The US Energy Information Administration Tuesday lowered its forecast for global oil demand in 2012 to 88.81 million b/d, down 150,000 b/d from a month earlier, according to its April Short-Term Energy Outlook. The revision by EIA puts year-on-year oil demand growth in 2012 at 890,000 million b/d.

... Total liquids supply is expected to increase by 1.81 million b/d, 850,000 b/d from countries outside of OPEC and 970,000 b/d of crude oil and non-crude liquids from OPEC-member countries.

The larger increase in total supply compared with consumption growth is misleading, however, EIA noted, as the 2011 balance between supply and consumption resulted in a supply shortfall of 770,000 b/d that contributed to a decline in world inventories, including the coordinated drawdown in government-held stocks in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last summer.

Fitch: Rising credit risk for EU offshore oil & gas production

The Elgin gas field accident in the UK North Sea makes it more likely that the European Commission will implement stricter licensing and safety requirements on oil and gas companies, Fitch Ratings says. Some of the proposals could dramatically increase the size, scope and timeliness of companies' environmental liabilities, potentially resulting in companies segregating up to EUR10bn to obtain operating licenses. That in turn would seriously affect the credit ratings of companies operating in the North Sea and other EU territorial waters.

IMF Sees Oil Prices 'Somewhat Declining' Through 2013

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that it expects prices of oil and other commodities to decline this year and next on the back of a weak global economic outlook, but warned that "sizable" threats to world growth could force a further fall.

The IMF also said a sudden shortage of crude-oil supplies would send prices upward, "but the ensuing slowdown in global growth could lead to a decline in the prices of other commodities."

"The global outlook...is pretty grim still," said senior IMF economist Rupa Duttagupta. "Sizable downside risks to global growth also pose risks of further downward adjustment in commodity prices," the fund said.

Although a sudden price rise could ultimately lower commodity prices as global growth wilted, it could devastate poor countries. If oil prices rose by nearly 50%, one IMF scenario suggested that 31 million people could be pushed into poverty.

"31 million people pushed into poverty" sounds way too low. 31 million people starve to death is probably more like it.

1.4 billion people live on less than US$1.25/day - increase their food price a little, they may starve.
Well, if oil production starts to decline, billions more may find themselves in deep trouble.


China Seen Bolstering Oil Reserves

China's crude-oil imports jumped to near-record levels in March, bolstering the belief among some energy analysts that the country is again hoarding oil for its strategic reserves, a situation that could buttress already-high oil prices.

On Tuesday, China said its oil imports reached 5.55 million barrels a day in March, the third-highest month on record and a rise of 8.7% from the year ago month.

The added demand could amount to 50 million barrels this year, said Kang Wu, a senior fellow who follows China's energy policies at East-West Center, a Honolulu think tank. ... More storage facilities are likely to become operational later this year and early next year, indicating the recent demand "is probably just the tip of the iceberg,"

Spain Is on the Bleeding Edge of a New European Crisis

Things are unraveling in Europe at a startling pace. The country in the greatest danger is Spain, which could become the fourth member of the euro zone to require a bailout, following Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. Spain’s 709 billion euros of sovereign debt is roughly twice the debt of those three nations combined, ...

Iran cuts oil to Spain ahead of nuclear talks

Iran has cut oil exports to Spain and may halt sales to Germany and Italy, Iran's English-language state television reported on Tuesday, in an apparent move to strengthen its position ahead of crucial talks with world powers later this week.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS]

U.S. Oil Imports and Exports (pdf)

... A consensus is emerging among energy analysts that U.S. oil imports may be past their peak, reached in 2005. Further, some expect that imports may fall both in terms of absolute volumes and as a share of U.S. consumption. The EIA projects that net oil imports, already down by 4.1 Mb/d since 2005, will fall by an additional 1 Mb/d by 2020, leveling out at near 7.5 Mb/d through 2035 in its long-term forecast reference case. (See Figure 4.) This forecast would correspond to net oil imports declining from 60% of domestic consumption in 2005 to 45% in 2011 and to less than 40% after 2020.

... Economic analysts estimate that the impact of a sustained $10 per barrel increase in the price of oil could result in about 0.2% lower economic growth and 120,000 fewer jobs in the first year after the increase. Rapidly rising oil prices likely contributed to the U.S. economic recession in 2007-2008.

If the United States were not a net importer of oil — if it produced as much oil as it consumed — rising oil prices would not increase the import bill, but would still negatively impact the budgets of many U.S. households and businesses. Wealth would be redistributed from oil consumers to oil producers within the economy. Oil prices paid by U.S. consumers for petroleum products would still be affected by international events as long as oil trade was permitted. Other impacts of higher oil prices, like inflation and unemployment, may continue to be economic concerns.

Why Are Oil Prices Rising? ... Rising oil prices have increased oil import costs despite falling oil import volumes. The increase in oil prices can be difficult to understand if looking only at the United States. Despite developments in the United States, global oil consumption is at an all time high. It is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future, led by demand from emerging market countries. In light of this demand growth, there are concerns about the adequacy of global supply.

5 years ago, I spent quite a bit of time googling the effects of oil prices on the economy. I didn't turn up much. Today, it is everywhere.

It's increasingly difficult for the Media, governments and the Financial Industry (which serves as the go-to person for cash) to ignore the signs of Peak Oil and the more general issue of a world economy built on fossil fuels.

Kind of amusing to see their bewilderment as to why there are so many deep problems globally.

The EIA projects that net oil imports, already down by 4.1 Mb/d since 2005, will fall by an additional 1 Mb/d by 2020, leveling out at near 7.5 Mb/d through 2035....

The EIA should consider Export Land Model in their projections. I suspect the U.S. will reduce imports a bit more than 1 Mb/d over the next 8 years and will be at or close to zero imports by 2035.

For Feds, 'Lying' Is a Handy Charge

When federal prosecutors can't muster enough evidence to bring charges against a person suspected of a crime, they can still use a controversial law to get a conviction anyway: They charge the person with lying.

The law against lying—known in legal circles simply as "1001"—makes it a crime to knowingly make a material false statement in matters of federal jurisdiction. Critics across the political spectrum argue that 1001, a widely used statute in the federal criminal code, is open to abuse.

As the U.S. federal criminal code has grown increasingly large and complicated, critics from the left and right alike argue it is becoming too easy for Americans to unwittingly commit crimes.

Bering Strait may be global temperature stabilizer

A diverse group of climate researchers has found after running computer simulations that the strait that separates North America and Russia might be serving as a global temperature stabilizer. This, they write in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is because when the strait is blocked, melting glacial freshwater in the Arctic Ocean can’t make its way to the Pacific, causing it to back up and eventually flow into the Atlantic, disturbing the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and eventually air temperatures.

Must be an interesting study, but it's behind a pay wall. The supplementary information provides some insight as to the difficulty of modeling such a situation. The experiment in the study ran two simulations, one with the Bering Strait as today and another with it closed. This quote gives one an idea of the difficulty of the modeling problem:

The simulations discussed here were carried out at National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The model simulations run about 15 model years in one calendar day, and one whole simulation took about a year and half to finish.

And, while the model used had finer resolution than that of a previous study, the model could not resolve the details of the THC as has been observed in the Greenland Sea, AIUI. There's also no mention of the THC around the Antarctic, which is a feature of the present circulation. Perhaps there is discussion about this in the full paper...

E. Swanson

Income Inequality and Distrust Foster Academic Dishonesty

... To look at the connection between trust, income inequality, and academic dishonesty, Neville took advantage of data from Google that breaks down search terms by state. ... the data showed that people who live in states with more income inequality were less trusting in general, and those states had more evidence of academic dishonesty.

Disequilibrium is not Your Friend

It’s a general principle of complex equilibria that the more they are disturbed, the more complex the processes involved in restoring their equilibrium.

... While this in no way constitutes a mathematical proof for any given system, the underlying behavior is common and intuitively understandable. If a complex system acts otherwise, it would be something extraordinary that deserves explanation. As applied to the climate system, consider it a plausibility argument: the more rapidly and extensively the system is disturbed, the more we would expect that unexpected behaviors will emerge, and the further from expectations they will be.

... And this is why “global warming” is an inadequate name for what is happening. Climate is changing very quickly. Some of the slower parts of the system are just starting to wake up. We are entering a period of increasing disequilibrium, and what we are seeing is unequivocally worse than we expected.

The Anthropocene: Life in the balance. Or not.


Which is why I prefer the term Climate Chaos.

Others may have coined the term independently. I like it because it better describes our near and medium (like half century ++_ future.


The US Army Is Stocking Up On A Ton Of Anti-Radiation Pills To Protect Troops

While checking out the Federal Business Opportunities network, we came across a listing by the Defense Logistics Agency — the Troop Support branch — seeking a supply of potassium iodide tablets.

Scrolling through the online solicitation, you'll see the U.S. Army Medical Material Agency wants to ensure "critical operational forces are protected in the event of nuclear fallout."

As the federal solicitation is quick to point out, "The recent earthquake in Japan in March of 2011 and the resultant nuclear crisis has renewed interest in this item."

Of course, potassium iodide would also come in handy if there were to be an airstrike against a target laden will nuclear material, say, like the sites in Iran. One of the big concerns surrounding the practical devastation of those nuclear facilities is the radiation it will unleash into the surroundings.

Anbex Inc. is the only FDA-approved manufacturer of the subject item. Order size 75,000 pkgs. [1 pkg = 14 tabl. = 2 wk supply]

Move along ... nothing to see here.

The army has been keeping a fresh stock of potassium iodide pills in the supply chain for the troops since the 1940's. They have done this continually, rotating older stocks out regardless of the current strategic situation.

I'm glad you know about it, but it is not news.

'60 Minutes on CNBC' is running a segment on oil tonight. I'll watch it even though it appears to be a 'Don't worry, everything is just fine' piece. They discover that speculators are to blame for the swings in oil price over the last year. They also discover that Saudi Arabia is about to open the oil floodgates thanks to the development of horizontal drilling. It's on at 9:00 EST.


I know Simmons made the call on Saudi Arabia quite some time ago. But I've been growing more concerned of late. They did put some extra oil on the market, but they seem to rapidly move to rest their fields at any opportunity. Also, Russia isn't looking too hot for further increases. We'll see. But 13.5 mbpd is an awful lot to maintain. That's nearly 5 billion barrels per year.

The people they interviewed with put the blame on high oil prices in 08 squarely on speculators. However, that 60 minutes segment was aired in 08, so at the end Morley Safer explains that and says since then restrictions have been put on speculative investment in oil and oil prices have gone up but not as high as 150 a barrel. Well, Morley why didn't you explain why its gone up so high if speculators are being regulated?!

Did anyone else see that control room of Saudi Aramco? 220 feet of digital oil readouts on where the stuff is and where its going - wow!!! That was one massive, extremely impressive and expensive room.

Monsanto and Big Tobacco Blamed for Birth Defects

WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) - Monsanto, Philip Morris and other U.S. tobacco giants knowingly poisoned Argentinean tobacco farmers with pesticides, causing "devastating birth defects" in their children, dozens of workers claim in court.

Birth defects cited in the 55-page complaint include cerebral palsy, psychomotor retardation, epilepsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, metabolic disorders, congenital heart defects, Down syndrome, missing fingers and blindness.

The farmers say the tobacco companies that bought their crops asked them to replace the native tobacco with a new type, used in Philip Morris cigarettes, which required more pesticides.

Monsanto's pesticides contaminated the farmers' non-tobacco crops, water wells and streams meant for family use, exposing their families to the toxic substances, the farmer say.

also Cheerleading for Monsanto? The Shocking Lack of Difference Between Oxford University Press and Fox News

Asian emissions can increase ground-level ozone pollution in U.S. West

Springtime air pollution from Asia, swept across the Pacific Ocean on winds, can contribute to episodes of high surface ozone pollution in the western United States, according to a new study by NOAA scientists and academic colleagues.

“We showed that Asian pollution directly contributes to surface ozone pollution episodes in parts of the western United States,” said Meiyun Lin, Ph.D., lead author of the new study. In several areas, about half of the springtime pollution episodes that exceeded federal limits would probably not have occurred without the contribution of Asian pollution, Lin said.

h/t: Do Asian Coal Plants Pollute North America?
As BC ships more coal across Pacific, US researchers find transcontinental air pollution.

Time to start assigning tariffs to imported goods with a large coal-fired energy content embedded in them.

Take that. Tit for Tat. You cause GW, we send you pollutants. :)


Where's Dohboi?

'US sees record for warmest March -- and first three months of a year'

See the video narrated by Brian Williams, which shows a map of the US with dots indicating in a time lapse video the locations where warm weather records were broken. Looks like something out of a B sci-fi movie.

Get this: March in the US was 8.6F above average! 8.6?!

Jan-Mar was 6F above average!

•In March, 15,292 records were broken for warmth; 7,775 were new daytime highs in cities across the country and 7,517 were new nighttime highs.

In a seperate report there were 3 times as many twisters in March than average, they say caused by warmer temps.

We better hope this doesn't continue through Summer and destroy a good part of this years crops.

No need to worry about crops dying because of hot weather. The late freeze(s) will get them first (maybe?)...:<(

E. Swanson

Large Aceh quake triggers Indian Ocean tsunami warning

An earthquake with an initial magnitude of 8.9 has struck under the sea off Indonesia's northern Aceh province.
The quake triggered a tsunami warning across the Indian Ocean region. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it was not yet known whether a tsunami had been generated, but advised authorities to "take appropriate action".

This one is big.

Most recent report I heard had the main quake as mainly lateral movement, so no big tsunami from it, but there has already been at least one big aftershock and will likely be more.

It's going to be a long night for everyone out that way, best hopes for everyone's safety.

My first inkling was a news story titled Indian Ocean Tsunami warning cancelled. I saw 8.5 which is still pretty darned big -like roughly a five to ten year quake as far as the world is concerned. I'm guessing it was far enough offshore not to cause too much damage on land.

Resource wars !!

Sudan vows to retake Heglig oil fields from South Sudan

Sudan has vowed to use "all legitimate means" to repulse South Sudan from its largest oil field, a statement on the official Suna news agency says.
South Sudanese troops seized control of Heglig on Tuesday, as heavy fighting raged for a second day.

WI - An interesting situation. S. Sudan can't produce the field since they would have to pipeline the oil through Sudan. Sudan cannot now produce their largest field. If I were S. Sudan I would be prepared to drop small explosive charges down the well bores and make sure Sudan knew they could destroy the field in less than an hour if they were attacked. Sudan could eventually redrill the field (as long as no one was shooting at them) but that would take time/money.

Sounds like more a negotiating ploy than a take over IMHO. I can't find details but I wonder if there's any foreign ownership of the field...like China. Would make the political chess game all the more interesting. The situation brings to mind an old joke: an Aggie (graduate of Texas A&M) terrorrist is holding a gun to his head yelling: "Don't move or I'll shoot!".

Potentially this could develop into one more brick in the MADOR (Mutually Assured Distribution Of Resources) wall. Sounds like S. Sudan needs a foreign govt investor to "help" them produce their fields and get the oil to market without interference of Sudan. I'm sure China has a few divisions of "pipeline engineers" they can contribute to the effort.