Drumbeat: May 23, 2012

OPEC Has Lost the Power to Lower the Price of Oil

There’s been a lot of excitement in the past year over the rise of North American oil production and the promise of increased oil production across the whole of the Americas in the years to come. National security experts and other geo-political observers have waxed poetic at the thought of this emerging, hemispheric strength in energy supply.

What’s less discussed, however, is the negligible effect this supply swing is having on lowering the price of oil, due to the fact that, combined with OPEC production, aggregate global production remains mostly flat.

But there’s another component to this new belief in the changing global landscape for oil: the dawning awareness that OPEC’s power has finally gone into decline.

Oil Falls Below $90, Erases Gains Through 2011

Oil tumbled below $90 a barrel in New York, erasing gains through 2011, as U.S. supplies increased to a 22-year high and European leaders met to discuss the euro region’s debt crisis.

Futures fell 2.1 percent after the Energy Department said stockpiles rose 883,000 barrels to 382.5 million barrels last week. The European Union summit is the 18th since Greece was shaken by debt and the first since an anti-austerity campaign carried Francois Hollande to France’s presidency. The euro sank to the lowest level in almost two years.

Gasoline Prices Falling With Crude, But Price At The Pump Still Too High, Says Oil Trade Group

The American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday again called on Washington to increase domestic production of oil on both federal and other public lands, to help consumers by bringing gasoline prices down even further.

World's most expensive gas: top 10 countries

Gasoline is a very visible price, and closely watched by many drivers. Petroleum prices impact many products, from food to industrial production. While the cost of crude is the major factor in gasoline price volatility, some countries levy taxes on fossil fuels. Here are ten countries where high gas prices are the norm.

Its The Gas, Stupid !

For years, energy policy makers and pundits have debated pipeline routes and pipeline consortium proposals for bringing gas into Europe from the east. The latest Azeri gas venture, shipping gas to European markets through the Southern Corridor gasline, has already and predictably hit a tough patch. The basic problem is what Azerbaijan might want out of the deal, more than simply having its state oil company Socar bring the gas to the Turkish border, after which Ankara and Europe can sort out the rest of the route and divide up the costs and profits. This is already outdated thinking: like other pipeline gas suppliers, starting with the biggest of them all - Gazprom - the Azeris clearly want a lot more of the Southern Corridor value chain, all the way down to European final consumers.

Iran Navy Helps U.S. Ship Attacked by Pirates in Middle East

Iran’s navy helped a U.S.-flagged cargo ship that was attacked by pirates off the United Arab Emirates, according to the vessel’s owner, Maersk Line Ltd.

Iran Nuclear Talks to Resume Tomorrow, Official Says

Western powers and Iran will resume nuclear talks today in Baghdad after a first day of discussions, according to a Western official.

Chinese, French, German, Russian, British and U.S. negotiators -- the so-called P5+1 group -- and Iran’s representatives didn’t issue a public statement as daylong talks recessed yesterday at almost midnight. Talks will resume at 8 a.m. Baghdad time, according to the Western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deliberations are being conducted privately.

Lawsuit challenges Keystone pipeline review law

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by several Nebraska landowners along TransCanada's proposed pipeline route argues that the law outlining the review process is unconstitutional.

Kinder Morgan pares Trans Mountain expansion project

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners KMP-N has reduced the size of a planned expansion of its pipeline to the Pacific Coast after fewer shippers than expected signed 20-year contracts that would allow surging Canadian oil supplies to be shipped to Asia, the company said on Wednesday.

Australia Pacific LNG secures massive finance package

Australia Pacific LNG, the natural gas joint venture between Origin Energy Ltd, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, has secured a massive finance package to fund the downstream parts of the project.

Tepco reportedly to hike some power rates by 12%

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co., better known as Tepco, plans to hike power rates for some heavy users by 12% starting in July, the Nikkei business daily reported Thursday without citing sources.

Long commute time linked with poor health, new study shows

New evidence shows that a long commute by car not only takes hours out of your day, but could take years off your life.

A study published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the longer people drive to work, the more likely they are to have poor cardiovascular health.

Feds lay out plans for new blowout preventer mandates

Obama administration officials today outlined their plans for new regulations designed to boost the reliability and power of emergency equipment used as a last line of defense against surging oil and gas at offshore wells.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the rule, set to be proposed by September, aims to respond to vulnerabilities exposed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, when the five-story blowout preventer at BP’s doomed Macondo well failed to block a lethal surge of explosive oil and gas.

Oil Trades Near Two-Day Low on Iran Deal, Rising Supplies

Oil declined for a second day in New York after Iran agreed to grant access to United Nations nuclear inspectors and the euro slumped to a 21-month low against the dollar.

West Texas Intermediate slid as much as 1.2 percent. UN inspectors and Iran broke a five-year stalemate with a deal that gives the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the nation’s Parchin military complex, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said yesterday. Western governments are holding talks with Iran today in Baghdad. The euro fell on speculation European leaders won’t propose new measures today in Brussels to stem the region’s debt crisis.

Oil Shipments From The N Sea Going East Prop Up Prices

LONDON – More North Sea crude is set to head to Asia in June, shipbrokers told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday, continuing a trend that has helped prop up the price of oil in the North Sea region since it emerged at the end of last year.

Large volumes of oil have been seen flowing east in recent months, thanks in large part to a free trade agreement brokered last year between the European Union and South Korea.

High gas prices still curbing consumer spending

Americans are still keeping a tight grip on their wallets, bypassing vacations and dinners out, even though they feel better about their own financial security.

What’s still spooking U.S. consumers? Gas prices.

Gas price expected to peak at $3.90 this summer

Michigan's demand for energy will dip across the board this summer, a state report predicted Tuesday, while a gas analyst said Michigan's price for fuel might fall lower than Tuesday's average of $3.73 a gallon.

The state's gas prices will top out at $3.90 a gallon during the summer driving season that goes from April to September, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission's biannual appraisal.

Oil Supplies Grow as Seaway Relief Valve Looms

U.S. oil inventories climbed for a ninth week, reaching a 21-year high, as growing production bolstered a supply glut in the days before the Seaway pipeline began to move crude to refineries along the Gulf Coast, a Bloomberg survey showed.

India oil cos to raise gasoline prices from Thursday

(Reuters) - Indian Oil Corp. will raise gasoline prices by 6.28 rupees per litre from Thursday, a company statement said on Wednesday, an attempt to compensate losses incurred by the state-run company to sell the fuel at subsidised rates.

India's rupee sinks to new low despite 'intervention'

Overseas funds withdrew a net $292 million worth of Indian equities in the same period, pulling down local share prices nine percent.

There has also been pressure from oil importers, who exchange rupees for dollars when they buy crude for energy-scarce India, which imports four-fifths of its crude oil needs.

Shale Glut Means $1-a-Gallon Savings at the Pump

Chad Porter wants to run his 18- wheeler trucks on frozen natural gas along a highway that crosses Canada’s Rocky mountains even before the world’s longest chain of refueling stations gets built to keep them fueled.

The chief operating officer of oil services company Ferus Inc. bought two vehicles to test liquefied natural gas and reckons switching from diesel may cut 22 percent from his fuel bill, or about $1 a gallon. At the moment, Calgary-based Ferus uses mobile tankers to refuel his trucks, which cost about C$100,000 ($99,000) more than conventional vehicles, adding expense to a project that’s about saving money. A Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) project will make it easier to fill up

Electricity prices are going up – just ask Alice

Next month, the Public Utility Commission is set to vote on a plan to raise the ceiling on wholesale electricity prices by 50 percent as early as August.

Lower gas prices were finally supposed to justify the costly fiasco of deregulation. Now, that promise, like so many others related to deregulation, has evaporated.

Gas supplies via Nord Stream 1st line reach maximum capacity: Gazprom

Supplies of Russian gas via the first train of the Nord Stream gas pipeline built via the Baltic Sea to Germany, have reached the project's maximum capacity, Gazprom's deputy CEO Vitaly Markelov said Wednesday.

"Yesterday, we reached the maximum capacity of Nord Stream," he told reporters at a briefing, adding that currently the network, including pipelines and compressing stations, is working in a testing mode.

Iran, World Powers Meet Over Atomic Concerns in Baghdad

Iraq, invaded and occupied in 2003 over concern about weapons of mass destruction, today hosts international negotiations intended to avert a potential war over atomic work by its eastern neighbor Iran.

U.S. Torn Between Israel’s Nuclear Demands Versus Iran’s

U.S. negotiators going into Iranian nuclear talks today are under pressure to reconcile two fundamental and seemingly irreconcilable demands before the clock runs out on a diplomatic solution.

IEA says ready to take action on strategic stocks if needed

PARIS (Reuters) - The International Energy Agency is monitoring oil markets and is ready to take action to release strategic oil reserves if needed, IEA's Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said at an OECD event on Wednesday, reiterating the body's recent stance.

"We have to be on the alert, we have to monitor the situation as it is and if necessary ... are ready to take action if necessary," she said.

Syria's oil industry lost $4 billion due to sanctions - Syria's oil minister

(Reuters) - The Syrian oil industry has lost around $4 billon due to sanctions imposed in September which banned crude oil imports from the country, Syrian oil minister Sufian Alao said on Wednesday.

Gazprom hints at Shtokman line-up changes

(Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom said on Wednesday that it would review the composition of the consortium to develop the Shtokman offshore gas field next month, further heightening uncertainty over the project's future.

Putin Adviser Sechin Renews Dealmaker Role Beyond Kremlin

Vladimir Putin’s energy czar Igor Sechin, who laid the groundwork for $500 billion in potential investments with Western oil companies, is set to push ahead with the plans even after changing jobs under a new government.

U.S. Agency Approves New Gas Line to Run Under Hudson

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the construction of a much-debated natural gas pipeline that would run beneath the Hudson River from New Jersey into the West Village in Manhattan, connecting with Consolidated Edison’s distribution system.

2012 Atlantic hurricane season tropical storm names

Six lists are used in rotation, so the 2012 list will be used again in 2018.

Most radiation doses from Fukushima within norms - WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) - Radiation doses received after the Fukushima nuclear accident last year were below international reference levels in all but two locations in Japan and below the level seen as "very small" in neighbouring countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

Why Oil Will Soon Start To Rally

First and foremost, any discussion of oil prices should begin with the observation that oil production has peaked while demand is growing. Since 2005, global oil production has plateaued at 75 million barrels per day; even new discoveries, like the much heralded Bakken oil fields, are not enough to offset declines elsewhere in the world. That the price of oil has risen significantly since 2005, and that this price increase has not provided the ability to expand oil production beyond 75 million barrels per day, is particularly ominous. Presumably higher prices would attract more determined oil producers that invest more in production if oil were actually attainable.

An energy policy for dimwits

Yesterday, the UK government published a draft Energy Bill. The bill’s measures would mean rising energy costs and greater encouragement for new nuclear power and renewables, but underpinning it all is the aim of making us use less not do more.

Are We Sitting on the Mother Lode of Oil Riches?

It wasn't long ago that "peak oil" -- the notion that the world's supply of our primary fuel is declining toward insufficiency -- was a major worry for some. Now, we've recently had news that the General Accounting Office in Washington has pegged the potential oil reserves in a remote area where Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado converge at trillions of barrels.

America has plenty of oil, but Obama managed to turn an energy boom into an energy crisis

In the mountainous Green River Basin of the American West, running through Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, the American people own lands containing an estimated one trillion barrels of oil, more than triple the amount of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves and far exceeding anything we could have dreamed a few decades ago.

This incredible supply—made of up most of the world’s oil shale—should be a cause for national celebration, since it has the potential both to lower gasoline prices and to increase government revenues without raising taxes.

Will Algae Biofuels Hit the Highway?

An Arizona-based algae technology company says it’s on to something big: harnessing the growth of algae at a commercial scale so that it can ultimately be used as a transportation fuel. “Heliae” broke ground Friday on its new plant. Now, all it needs is an abundance of sunshine, water and carbon dioxide.

Pingelly farmer set for biodiesel comeback

BIODIESEL is again looming as an alternative fuel source.

With the prospect of peak oil, a carbon tax and the potential loss of the diesel fuel rebate, biodiesel producer and Pingelly farmer John Hassell said farmers were starting take more notice of how they should be consuming energy in order to be more sustainable and less reliant on oil.

Massachusetts Addresses "Biomass Loophole" and Limits Subsidies

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued regulations recently limiting ratepayer-funded subsidies known as renewable energy certificates (RECs) to only those biomass power plants which adhere to scientific standards for climate and forest impacts. The regulations followed a two-year review process involving scientists, industry, and citizen groups.

Solar Insurers Turn Kingmakers Over Panel Survival Doubts

When True Green Capital Management LLC chose a solar panel maker for a rooftop installation in New Jersey, the firm’s biggest concern was whether the manufacturer would survive long enough to guarantee the equipment.

The New York-based private equity fund made its Chinese manufacturer buy insurance to back the 25-year warranty on its panels to close the contract. If the supplier went bust, PowerGuard Specialty Insurance Services of California would ensure the panels installed performed as promised.

Navy Crowdsources Future Energy Strategy with Wargame

If Call of Duty has lost its sparkle, the U.S. Navy hopes you are ready to play a different kind of online wargame.

Today the Navy will open up a new version of its MMOWGLI gaming project to players around the world, to develop innovative new “outlier” strategies for Navy and Marine Corps energy supplies.

Why the best world-changing ideas begin in your neighbourhood

Certainly, when I first found out about 'peak oil', in 2005, I was desperately worried. I told my wife that the future as we had always imagined it was an illusion. (This didn't go down very well.) I wanted to act, but felt lost until I heard about the startlingly upbeat approach of Rob Hopkins and the other Transition Town pioneers, who seemed to have found ways to turn this catastrophic prospect into an opportunity.

'Realistically, only a very small percentage of people will think that life beyond abundant oil could be preferable to what we have now,' Hopkins told me. 'But I don't think it has to be a dark age. It could be a most extraordinary renaissance.'

Big Risks for Uninsured Farmers

Crop insurance policies, which are regulated and subsidized by the Department of Agriculture, provide coverage almost exclusively on a per-crop basis, which suits industrial farms growing single crops on vast acreage. But for farmers who grow a diverse array of crops, as many small and organic farms do, enrollment can be an onerous and complicated task requiring them to apply for a dozen or more separate policies.

Late for School After a Long Journey for a Drop to Drink

ZINDER, Niger — Wars keep children out of school. So does sickness. But in Niger, a sun-baked land where drought occurs with alarming frequency, a major impediment to education is thirst and the long trek required to quench it.

Free tool helps congregations save money, reduce emissions

Portfolio Manager is an online software operated by the Environmental Protection Agency that parishes can use to track their energy savings and their emission reductions over time. It is based on the data from the DOE [Department of Energy] national Commercial Energy Consumption Survey plus an independent data collection. Portfolio Manager has become the national standard tool by which energy use is tracked and is now used by over 340,000 buildings.

Heartland reflects on its beating

It was an odd choice of icon for the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute. But there he was in round glasses, beard, and halo of curls staring out from T-shirts and coffee mugs at their gathering of climate change contrarians this week, the scientist whose internet sting set Heartland on its current course of collapse.

Heartland's seventh climate conference, which runs until Wednesday, was a much diminished event, compared to earlier lavish gatherings which spilled out over several floors of a hotel in New York's Time Square, and attracted up to 800 followers.

More Than 150,000 Methane Seeps Appear as Arctic Ice Retreats

Scientists have found more than 150,000 sites in the Arctic where methane is seeping into the atmosphere, according to a report published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Aerial and ground surveys in Alaska and Greenland revealed that many of the methane seeps are located in areas where glaciers are receding or permafrost is thawing as the climate warms, removing ice that has trapped the potent greenhouse gas in the ground.

Feds lay out plans for new blowout preventer mandates

No one has explained how the previous laws and rules, if followed, would not have been good enough.

And, can anyone point me to the public perp walk and trial over the Fed regulators who accepted the forms filled out in light pencil by BP that Fed officials later filled out in pen?

Are new laws/rules needed or actual enforcement of what exist on the books already are what is needed?

U.S. Torn Between Israel’s Nuclear Demands Versus Iran’s

Or one could decide that, because none of the parties play nice with others and don't maintain their toys - no one should get to have 'Nuclear'.

RE: U.S. Torn Between Israel’s Nuclear Demands Versus Iran’s

The headline is very misleading. It implies that the challenge is reaching an agreement that deals with Iranian and Israeli nuclear programs. But, the article is actually about Israeli demands on Iran's nuclear program and makes no mention of Israel's nuclear assets.

When the blowout preventer failed they had to wait months for a device to be constructed and and attached to the failed blowout preventer to fix the problem.

The new regulations should require these devices be constructed and kept in storage to avoid this delay the next time this happens.

Actually the method that finally succeded to stop the flow was removing the drill string and attaching a more or less standard valve or similar. As I understand it I think this is a common method in cases like this.

The simplest way to minimize the risc is not to drill but if you want the oil you have to drill and accept the risc. The question is what risc could be accepted and how much effort is worth spending to to stop it from happening. A lot of oil wells have been drilled before, was it worth the risc? Or have to much oil been spilled to be worth it?

No one has explained how the previous laws and rules, if followed, would not have been good enough.

And, can anyone point me to the public perp walk and trial over the Fed regulators who accepted the forms filled out in light pencil by BP that Fed officials later filled out in pen?

Are new laws/rules needed or actual enforcement of what exist on the books already are what is needed?

If the problem was that existing laws and regulations weren't enforced, then that makes bureaucrats and, by extension, their bosses, look bad. They will never admit that. Making new laws makes them look like they're "doing something", without admitting that they failed in any way. That's why we have a billion laws that will never, or rarely, be enforced. It always makes politicians look good, to someone, to make new laws. Enforcing them effectively is just hard work that annoys campaign contributors.

Making new laws makes them look like they're "doing something", without admitting that they failed in any way. That's why we have a billion laws that will never, or rarely, be enforced. It always makes politicians look good, to someone, to make new laws.

It also give politicians job security when they retire (or, rarely, are defeated) and go back to practicing law. The more laws, the more work for lawyers (most members of Congress are lawyers). And who is better able to interpret for their clients the intricacies of laws written in level 16 gobbledygook than the people who wrote them?


Catastrophic radiation contamination of the soil means his family won’t be able to sow rice on their Iwaki rice paddies, about 60km from the crippled defunct power plant, for at least 300 years.

See? Only 300 years. Not "forever". Just looks like "not while you are alive and drawing breath" for any Human alive today.

If we assume that all Japanese people have children in their 20th year and drop dead in their 80th, we have (300-60)/20= 12 generations until these fields are useable.

Speaking of wich: What does the forum say about this article? I have no merits to speak for or against its truth-level here. But I bet someone here know enough to give it a good analysis.


Boy, it's too bad when supposedly credentialed people write with so much anger and exaggeration.. like we need that sort of discredit any more.

But she includes a link to Sen. Wyden's letter after visiting the site.. worth taking a look at..


Above: Most radiation doses from Fukushima within norms - WHO

I certainly feel better; I mean, who you gonna believe, some wacko blogger or the World Health Organization? [sorry Bob, I had to throw that in]

Curious that Ilargi and Stoneleigh took a trip down under and seem to have dropped out of site (PI) at TAE. Maybe they're just recovering from jet lag ;-/

These figures are only external radiation estimates for areas outside the 20km initial evacuation zone. They have not published doses for those closer and in the path of the main plume(s). Also these figures are only for the first year. They'll get nearly the same dose next year (this year) as well if they are still in the same place.

"Doses have not been estimated for the zone within 20 kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi site because most people in the area were evacuated rapidly and an accurate estimation of dose to these individuals would require more precise data than were available," the report said.

"Some exposure may have occurred prior to evacuation but the assessment of this requires more precise data than those available to the panel," it added.

I'm with you, G.

I did also put in that link yesterday about the restraints that the WHO has complied with, too, where the IAEA has essentially veto power over any research/reporting that WHO wants to publish related to radiation health issues, leaving us with '49 dead from Chernobyl' sorts of results..

But I really did feel that the ranting in Jedi's link was unfortunate.. even if she was getting her facts straight.. it does the argument no good to come off like angry adolescents, in addition to a couple of possible major exaggerations/misrepresentations ('2.5 Billion killed by one fuel rod').. it not only degrades her whole post, but also hits anyone putting forth even the correct points that this article has now further associated with all that hyperbole.

I'm angry and scared, too.. but that doesn't mean catharsis is a useful rhetorical tool.

Of course, once the Toxics argument has run its course for the day, one can usually fairly easily hop back over to the Economic Arrow that is sticking out of another spot in Nuclear's Back, and bounce on it a couple times..

"The news that EDF, the French-state-owned giant that runs many of the UK's nuclear plants, wants to extend the lifetimes of their ageing reactors confirms their attraction to the so-called carbon floor price. This leg of government energy policy puts a minimum price on carbon emissions, delivering large windfalls to existing nuclear plants. New nuclear plants will also have to be subsidised, more than onshore wind and possibly more than offshore wind, according to recent analyses, which is shameful for a 60 year-old technology.

"In general in industry," says Kraemer, "when the production of something doubles, the cost falls by about 15%. The only notable exception is the nuclear industry which gets more expensive the more you build." Recent reports, not denied by EDF, put the cost of their new plants in the UK at £7bn each, 40% higher than previously stated.

So while mass-produced renewable energy technologies are pushing the costs downwards, nuclear energy is completing the journey from "too cheap to meter" to "too expensive to count". "It surprises me that something that is completely obvious to people in Germany is suppressed in the UK," says Kraemer. "


Merkel vows to push post-nuclear energy strategy

"BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with Germany's state premiers on Wednesday to step up efforts to expand the power grid and resolve a dispute over solar incentives as she tries to rescue plans for a switch away from nuclear to renewable energy"


"The only notable exception is the nuclear industry which gets more expensive the more you build."

In most of the chemical industry, the bigger the scale, the cheaper per unit output. Nuclear plants do seem to work the other way, at least after some point. EBR-II worked very well; the big French breeder reactor, not so well.

Telescope mirrors also work that way. It took a major revolution is design (actuators to deflect thin multi-section mirrors instead of the one big piece of glass) to get larger than Palomar at a sane cost.

The lesson is: if scaling up size means scaling up complexity, it just gets more expensive. If complexity remains the same, more size means better cost efficiancy.

Most radiation doses from Fukushima within norms - WHO

I keep hearing about such & such radiation dose being not a big deal. And I accept that. But they never seem to talk about the inhalation and ingestion of radioactive particles. That seems like the greater danger. How much of that is OK? Can the amount of radioactive particles inside you be measured accurately?

Like background radiation, there is always a certain about of radioactive particles in you such as radioactive potassium from bananas. But what do Cesium, Strontium, radioactive Iodione, plutonium, and others do inside of you?

Yes, the WHO is subservient to the IAEA.
No, there is no mention of ingestion.
This is just like the denial after Chernobyl.

The Iodine collects in the thyroid and causes thyroid cancer. See "Belarus Necklace".
... well, THAT was scary... I tried to do an image search on "Belarus necklace" and all of the images are gone. They used to come right up. Gone in Russian. Gone from Google.ru, too. Had to settle for Wikipedia:
Image (disturbing):

The strontium collects in bone, shell, teeth, and milk. It radiates from within the bone causing bone cancers. It spreads through the food-chain. Foodstuffs that contain significantly high concentrations of strontium are grains, leafy vegetables and dairy products.

Cesium 137 is a troublesome isotope of cesium. It is made on earth only by humans. After the atomic bomb tests, the whole planet was contaminated: "By observing the characteristic gamma rays emitted by this isotope, it is possible to determine whether the contents of a given sealed container were made before or after the advent of atomic bomb explosions. This procedure has been used by researchers to check the authenticity of certain rare wines, most notably the purported "Jefferson bottles". It collects in the meat and travels through the food chain. It causes cancers. Radiation damage causes birth defects and mutations.


All metal melted since then is radioactive. That is why the first thing you might need in order to build a low-level radiation counting chamber for doing radiocarbon dating is a pre-nuclear-age WWI artillery gun barrel: "...experiment was performed in our “old” low-level counting shield, which consisted of a cylindrical WWI naval gun barrel with 20cm thick steel walls ..." - "A next-generation low-level counting (NG-LLC) system was developed using... A World War I era gun barrel of 25 cm thickness...".

Here is a PDF document:

An Introduction to Radioactivity (PDF):

Monkeys discovered radiation when some rocks and film were left in a drawer. Monkeys discovered nitrocellulose when a spill of nitric acid was wiped-up with a wife's cotton nightgown. One of them got lazy and walked away from a failed chemical experiment and left it unwashed-up after in the sink and discovered Bakelite. Another neglected an iron-bearing tank of fluorocarbon and it solidified into Teflon. During a big monkey war, rubber got scarce. One of them tried a desperate measure and got Silly Putty. Silly putty has been to the moon. Long ago, a Chinese monkey tried to get to the moon and was turned into an aerosol. They just aren't as smart as they would like you to believe.


Belarus Necklace is gone from internet WOW!!! I guess the ministry of truth is doing their job.

Gone Gone Gone
Google Image Search search term:
"belarus necklace" -zazzle -"new-christmas" -diamondjewelrysuppliers
...leaves 35 results
Only one is a relevant image: the same one linked to above from Wikipedia.
Half the rest seem to be from The Oil Drum April 4 2011: images sharing the page with my reference to the same image.

This different Chernobyl image is still around:

I got several results using Google Image Search for Chernobyl necklace.

My prepper cousin just sent me this.


It has a good picture of SFP#4.

Evacuate Japan? To where?

I wonder how credible this information is...after all, it is posted on Alex Jones' site.

I wonder how credible this information is...after all, it is posted on Alex Jones' site.

Alex does cherry pick his sources, but most of what he reports is what someone else has said. One can fault his 'person X said this and therefore' resulting logic but he's usually got a source to point at to be checked out.

Unless its the machine elves. I don't think he revisited that one.

Australia has plenty of space for 128 million Japanese ... just so long as they don't require any water, food, or jobs.

There is a Sci-Fi piece, in wich Japan sinks into the sea, and they have to evacuate everybody. That would be a messy project.

Images of building #4 over time:

The pool is a small part of that building. It is #5 in this drawing:
...from this article:

The structural support that was added consists of a steel-rod wall and concrete filling-in the oddly shaped space under the pool and extending from the third rod from the left in the drawing to the reactor shell: under part of the pool floor.


Coincidentally, just today the Queensland Department of Agriculture announced that the first harvest of traditional mochi rice had been successfully picked in the Burdekin River region (East-Central Queensland, and a major food-growing basin).

A group of traditional rice farmers from Fukushima Prefecture have moved Down Under, because their land has been rendered unusable for centuries. So now they might scale up the trial, and sell rice back to their neighbours, from Australia.

I guess Decongel cannot be used on the soil? Too bad!



European markets are back down today. There are increasing rumours that the Eurozone countries are actively preparing for a Greek departure from the Euro. Brent is back down to $107. Everything feels like a race between demand destruction and supply reduction.

The policies from the UK government seem like a cross between The Shock Doctrine, with systematic attack on employment rights, and privatisation of the state, and cuts to welfare - latest being to cut welfare payments to drug addicts. Watch the burglary stats after that one! - and Keynesian re-inflation of the economy by investing directly in infrastructure projects - which seem to mean which ever infrastructures sectors that the major corporations who fund the Tory party operate in. Large public subsidy for new Nuclear, for example.

I am watching my remaining assets in stocks evaporate, and expect inflation or bank collapses to take out my cash reserves. It's hard to focus on the day job at times like these.

"I am watching my remaining assets in stocks evaporate..."

Stocks,, I remember those :-/

You still have stock? Are you a day trader?

My UK employer's company pension is largely tied up in European stocks. I cannot change that. If it was 3 times larger, I would be allowed to manage the pension personally, but that option is only for the 1%. My wife has money in a trust fund which she can't extract without her brother's consent. He is not prepared to do so because stocks are investments for the long term... about 5% of my nominal asset value.

I gave up expecting a to collect on any pension years ago. I have inherited property assets.

I understand. I had a somewhat similar problem while still in a corporate job. Now that I am retired from corporate work I have complete control of my "nest egg". It is no longer in stocks.

I also have parts of my pension in stocks. Since I can't do anything about that, I have expected -since the system was launched- that part of my future "wealth" to be worth zero in 2042, when I can start cashing in on it. Realy, how much of my stocks will be worth anything in 30 years? I will be so poor.

I had a colleague (from Texas) who had his ENTIRE financial life tied up in WorldCom ... house, bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, retirement, virtually everything.

When they went bust he didn't have access to a dollar - literally. He moved to Santa Fe NM and painted houses, and because he was exceptionally good-looking, he provided additional services to ladies of a certain age who ran all the art galleries there. He's now doing okay.

This is one of the headlines in MSM

Euro collapse needn’t torpedo global economy

Commentary: U.K., U.S., China would survive a European depression

So they've gone from
Greece will be the Lehman moment -> Europe can survive a Greek exit -> The world can survive a Euro depression

So what's next ?? The world can survive a Chinese Depression ??
I guess at some point the world will only consist of a handful of tribal populations outside of the financial system and then it will be party on.

Edit : The mainstream chatter now looks like some religious incantation, Dmitry Orlov wrote about it in his recent post...In the Name of Austerity, Stimulus and Growth, Amen!

Martians can survive an Earth depression.

Yep...that's right. And it's coming to a Planet near you.

Anyone still in the Financial institutions with their assets.....we'll just say "A Fool and his money are soon parted"...

Soooo many Fools on this site that still have 401k's and such other nonsense....

Choose Wisely.

The Martian.

Well, there are more signs of problems, such as:

On Eve of Egyptian Vote, Crime Wave Is the Main Topic

If Europe slides further down into a depression, what would one expect from the young people in Greece or Spain, where the unemployment rate is already at 50%? If the young decide there's no hope for a better future, I think they may decide to take what they want/need for survival. Desperate people do desperate things...

E. Swanson

We Spaniards have many defects but violent crime is not one of them -in contrast with the situation in even the safest Latinoamerican countries like Uruguay where crime is about ten times worse.

Corruption is a different matter! In white collar corruption we are the champions of the world and if you can read Spanish you can amuse yourselves with the goings on in Cataluña, where the upper class is totally corrupt each and every one,

"In the hands of the enemy", by Félix de Azúa

Here he wonders how we got to this, the total corruption of a country

De Azúa is a philosopher and writer.

How can the UK survive a European depression? I am no PhD in geography, but last time I checked, the UK was in Europe. A little NW of the dutch.

I like the UK, but they've been lucky for a long time.

They survived the decline of their empire for three big reasons:
1) the big oil age was just beginning
2) a key ally, the United States, was starting its global rule which has lasted until the present day
3) under American protection Europe rebuilt, providing return for capital; crucially West Germany prospered

Now the oil age is ending, Europe is gray, and America's gone rogue. I can sense the desperation of the Brits, who as usual maintain a cool facade.

And they managed to sell the bulk of their oil *and* gold at the bottom of the market...

Maybe these practitioners of unfettered Capitalism were'nt so smart afterall...

Maybe they will plead "The Market made me do it!"

We are no more desperate than everyone else. In fact i'd rather be in England right now than Spain or Greece and we never took the Euro.

The only "advantage" they have is pound sterling, i.e. they can print freely (up to a point)...

The EU members have their hands tied since currency devaluation is not an option for them.

UK economy shrinks more than expected on fall in construction output

The Office for National Statistics said the economy shrank by 0.3pc in the first quarter and not 0.2pc as it reported in April. Economists had expected the ONS to maintain its first estimate.

The downward revision meant the British economy was 0.1pc smaller than it was a year earlier. The ONS previously estimated gross domestic product was flat on an annual basis.

Cameron seems pretty sensitive about the proposals for a tax on financial transactions, a "Tobin tax", which were raised again at this week's meeting of heads of state. Which is probably a good indication of how much the UK depends on paper pushing in the City.

It's my understanding that Britain was, and remains, wealthy (despite two world wars in which it did a lot of very heavy lifting) because it appropriated almost all the natural resources and wealth from its myriad subjugated colonies for about two centuries ... at little cost to itself. Maybe I'm old-fashioned.

Resources were not the only contribution to Britain's relative wealth. Centuries of investment in sciences, medicine, engineering, arts and of course that ever popular domain finance, meant that as access to resources (domestic and foreign) declined, the country continued to develop and sell into new global markets. By contrast, there are plenty of other countries which had or have access to natural resources and where parallel development of complementary industries is thin on the ground.

I cashed out my 401(a) last fall and paid a bunch of taxes, but I'm happily making low and secure interest on my savings. To bad it is not enough money to do anything good, like buy land, with it. Besides the stock market tumbling, I am almost daily reminded of why I no longer trust the "markets".


Everything feels like a race between demand destruction and supply reduction.

There's no supply reduction. Crude production is at the same levels it's been for years, and All Liquids is at a new peak. The problem is not less supply but less supply at the price Europeans had become accustomed to paying: they're being outbid by producer countries and China.

Gross supply and net usable energy are not the same thing. Just because gross supplies are maintaining it doesn't mean that the energy flows needed to run the global economy are maintaining. Net energy has probably been in decline for the last decade, possibly two. We don't actually account for net energy. We have to use a correction factor that is derived from EROI. And, unfortunately, those factors are only rough estimates, or limited to constrained boundary selection. So just looking at the gross supply numbers really doesn't say much about the causes of decline in the economy (the "real" economy that is). About all anyone can say about the relation between gross supply and the economy is that failure to grow the supply has a major impact on the growth of the economy.


Exactly the way I see it.

Gross supply and net usable energy are not the same thing.

True, and the cost of a unit of that net energy has risen greatly. The rising cost is tied closely to lowering EROEI.

I think that per-capita energy production peaked in the late 1980s.

No. China's massive expansion of coal in the last 15 years has taken global per-capita production to a new peak . Oil, of course, is different.

But the subject is not gross production but NET energy production. Gross production can go up considerably but if the net energy gain is small due to low EROIs then you are not really any better off.

Did you mean per-capita NET energy?

No one knows for sure but the rates at which key economic factors that derive directly from energy consumption appear to suggest the peak of per-capita net energy may have been in the 70s. Also the computer model I have been developing, so far, puts the peak in the mid 70s. This might be an explanation for why our economy shifted so much to cheap off-shore labor (those laborers had very much lower energy consumption lifestyles) and shifted from production to service and especially financialization. Real wealth depends on real work. The financial sector essentially creates paper assets without doing any real work! Looks good for GDP but adds nothing to the real wealth of the nation.

the energy flows needed to run the global economy are maintaining

A factor here is expanding money supplies/money lent at interest need every growing resources so that one doen't realize what money at interest means and foment change.

The concern is contagion. If Greece exits it lays the groundwork for the rest of the PII(G)S to exit the EU. Going to be very tempting for those other countries not to follow suit to get a fresh start (running their own printing press).

Certainly makes it a lot easier to fund deficit spending. I think that the Fed bought the equivalent of about 61% net US Treasury debt last year (according to WSJ).

For about two years I have been wondering when European countries are going to figure out that they each need their own Fed to fund their governments. I guess that would be the beginning of the end for capitalism.

Beginning of the end? Have you been paying attention? Capitalism is a smoking ruin.

Which is why kleptocracy is back.


Sounds like 'Greek' to me >;^)

With some luck, this can get my idea of a North European Union going. Scandinavia, Finland + Åland, Iceland, the Baltics, Faroe Islands, and none more. And exit the EU. We would be so great.

Greenland ?

Kaliningrad (Russian population is shrinking) ?


In my plan, Greenland is offered 3 levels of memership: Observers, Cooperation Partners and Full Members.

Kaliningrad will not be offered to join. We shall not pick a fight with Russia. Sweden was in semi-permanent war with Russia for 600 years, we still have very tense relations in a way that can be very hard to understand for someone from another place in the world.

RalphW per your comment:

Large public subsidy for new Nuclear, for example.

Germany does NOT appear to be suffering from their shutdown of nuclear power but actually benefiting from their Green Transition:

On security of supply, critics predicted that Germany would have to import energy to make up that lost by the closure of the nuclear plants. It's an important issue for a nation that imports 70% of its energy. But what actually happened is that Germany simply exported less in 2011: 7TWh instead of 70TWh. "We are still a net exporter," says Franzjosef Schafhausen, a senior civil servant.

This was helped by a large decrease in energy consumption of 5.3% in 2011, delivered by big increases in energy efficiency in buildings, homes and industry, as well as in part a milder winter. Aha, I hear you say, but Germany's economy must have shrunk as well: it grew by 3%, in rather stark contrast to double-dip Britain.

Cutting energy use naturally cuts the carbon dioxide emissions that drive climate change, as did the increased deployment of renewable energy. In 2011, Germany's emissions fell by 2%, confounding those who predicted a rise if nuclear was replaced by coal. Some was, but 60% of the lost nuclear capacity was replaced by renewable energy in a single year. And remember, even if carbon emissions had risen a little in Germany, the total emissions in Europe – capped by the emissions trading scheme – would remain the same. Germany also remains well on track for its 40% emissions cut by 2020.

We should also remember that there is Peak Uranium!
So current nuclear fission using uranium is really a short-term fix besides the huge costs, nuclear wastes, etc....

We need a Green Transition!
It would be interesting to know if German auto miles driven has declined...

I think I can answer that.

Yes, miles driven has declined while car sharing and use of public transportation has risen.
It seems that every year is a record year in terms of public transport.
In 2011, 10,9 Billon people were transported via Bus or Train, a rise of 0.5% to 2010, which has been a record year as well. That means every German used public transport roughly 134 times per year.

There is a huge increase in carsharing offers, especially in combination with Deutsche Bahn. Flinkster.de is a popular one. A lot of E-Bikes as well. I'm seeing them daily now. I remember when I was first overtaken by some 60+ year old guy while I was cycling up a hill. I only learned afterwards that guy cheated and was using an e-bike.

On the downside, the buildup for the new electric system is lagging behind, as are the off-shore windparks.
The idea is to produce most of the power in the north of Germany and transport it to the south. As of now, this is way behind schedule. There is also not enough energy storage (surprise, surprise) and there is talk about building gas and coal power plants to fill the gap. Still, a lot of investment is done in research of storage. Experimental power-to-gas stations, for producing methanol by wind power.

All in all, it seems to be going along better than I could have imagined. There is the risk of a total black out of the grid, which is a often occurring theme in the news.
Oh, yeah, one of the arguments you hear alot about is how much the state should support the upgrade of existing houses to passive house standards. Or how much support new buildings should get if they conform to a given energy rating. Not much happening there, altho it represents the biggest effect, that is pretty sad.

I guess I kinda went on a tangent there, sorry for that.
I was a pretty big critic of many of the decisions of the government but in recent years, I find myself agreeing with a lot of the decisions made. Imagine my surprise.

We shall see how it all turns out. But I'm rather pleased with Germany so far, we could have done worse.


Those 60+ year-old guys can be pretty clever ;-)

FIT's work, even with marginal sunshine. Especially now with distrust of Stocks/IOU's. In Germany 51% of PV is owned by people. Much of rest small business. 1000 volt PV no problem. No dead chickens, Heck, 200 kW on barn/pup shed? Updates from the front lines of the Energy Battle - www.wind-works.org

Hey, guys, what do you think of this unit?


With lithium batteries, the thing is pretty expensive at $900, but I love the power-to-weight ratio... it's only around 10 pounds.

I wonder what the shelf life of the batteries is. 500 cycles is not great, would only last a few years.

Front wheel, on a hill, going up! When I go up the hill, on the way back from shopping, with a load in the back, my front wheel wants to get off the ground. I can see this spinning the front wheel and burning rubber.


Just a moment ago at 13:30 local time Germany hit a new record for solar PV output - in excess of 20.9 GW.

New RRC Production Data Source

I found a new, and very, very useful RRC link, monthly oil & gas production data, without having to do a laborious data search (note that 2/12 is provisional):


Note that recent annual Texas gas well production actually peaked in 2008. Check out the year over year January comparisons for Texas natural gas well production:

1/09: 20.2 BCF/day
1/10: 18.0
1/11: 18.3
1/12: 15.6

Missing Play Alert!

This three year decline in monthly Texas natural gas production (4.6 BCF/day) means that Texas has lost, in three years, roughly the equivalent of the entire Barnett Shale Play (2011 annual production of 5.3 BCF/day).

Permeability relative to gas is of course higher than for oil, so the shale gas model is not exactly encouraging for the shale oil model. Incidentally regarding the Eagle Ford, check out the following comments by the "Rock."


In any case, let's look at 1/12 versus 1/11 crude oil data for the US and Texas.

EIA (total US crude + condensate):

1/11: 5.53 mbpd
1/12: 6.09

Year over year change: +560,000 bpd

EIA (Texas):

1/11: 1.31
1/12: 1.67

Year over year change: +360,000 bpd

RRC (Texas):

1/11: 1.08
1/12: 1.18

Year over year change: +100,000 bpd

EIA for US (substituting RRC data, instead of EIA for Texas):

1/11: 5.31
1/12: 5.60

Year over year change: +290,000 bpd

As previously noted, average annual US crude oil production (using RRC data for Texas) was flat from 2010 to 2011:


EIA data: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_crd_crpdn_adc_mbblpd_m.htm

And the Egyptians happily voted for the leader of their sinking ship. Do they even understand their dire situation?

According to what I read in the NYTimes about crime in Egypt influencing the elections, I suspect they are quite aware. When crime is so high and serious that people in neighborhoods or towns take to lynching people, I think everyone knows that it's bad.

Please elaborate. I agree, Egypt is long people and short water, food, cash, international cash flow, energy, capital, infrastructure. The Egyptian people in the bottom 80% are screwed.

It is standard practice for Egyptians in the top 20% to board a plane before the baby is due and fly to NYC and have the baby in the US pickup the social security card and passport and fly back to Egypt.

From More Than 150,000 Methane Seeps Appear as Arctic Ice Retreats above

They documented the seeps they found, using carbon-dating to determine the age of methane released at the sites.

Does anyone know what the answer is? Is it 5, 5,000 or 500,000 years?


HERE's a link to the article abstract in NATURE, which displays some of the graphs. The article is behind a pay wall, but there's more background material available in the supplementary information, which is available for free download. There is also a commentary, though that too is behind a pay wall...

E. Swanson

About time.

Indian state to let forest guards shoot poachers on sight
Maharashtra government says killing poachers will no longer be considered a crime after eight tiger deaths in the state this year


"America has plenty of oil, but Obama managed to turn an energy boom into an energy crisis"

"...the American people own lands containing an estimated one trillion barrels of oil..." By ownership I assume they mean by the govt as well as private land owners. About half of the alleged "one trillion barrels of oil" is under privately owned leases that can be acquired and developed by any company tomorrow by simply writing a check.

So a conservative oil patch hand is forced to defend a liberal president he didn't vote for. Truly the world has gone mad. LOL.

Is this from,

Newt Gingrich?

If so..., how could you not defend Obama....

Ol' Loony Newt's still at it, I see. He has a new book just published in which he promotes his claim that there's lots of energy and thus the US should enjoy a gasoline price rollback to only $2.50 a gallon. Here's a quote from the book's description:

Dealing not only with spiraling gas prices, but with all aspects of energy policy, Gingrich shows how we can safely reap the benefits of America's own natural resources and technology in gas, oil, coal, wind, solar, biofuels and nuclear energy.

I notice that his newest book is being published by a sister organization to the publisher of this piece of political propaganda. Remember that Ol' Newt didn't actually stop his Presidential campaign, only "suspend" it. I suppose he did that so he could continue to collect additional campaign contributions to help pay off his campaign's debts. Maybe he could talk the Heartland Institute into buying his books, 'cause I doubt he will sell very many these days...

E. Swanson


Have you considered entering a 12-Step Program for Recovering Republicans???

I've thought that ever since the Clinton years we have seen a pattern of cyclical insanity, with a sizable percentage of the party not in control of the White House going insane (Republicans in Clinton years, Democrats in Bush 43 years, Republicans in Obama years, etc.).

Of course this cyclical pattern is superimposed on the longer term trend of most people going crazy, just at different rates.

The key is to not fight it :-0

They may not suffer from insanity, but enjoying it.

Recovering Republicans???

Voting against Democrats does not automatically signify a Republican. :-)

And vice-versa ;-)

jarhead - I'm a conservative...not a R. I register as an R when I live in Texas and as D when living in La. for the same reason: they are the party that controls the primary. And elections are won/lost at that stage for the most part in both states.

I register as an R when I live in Texas and as D when living in La.

Vote early! Vote often!



Incremental voting! Does not have to be perfect from the start. Just improve a bit for every vote.

(Wonders how many know what the fluff I am talking about).

Thanks, ROCK. I quoted you in the comment section, but they've suddenly started moderating my inconvenient truths over there. Imagine that ;-/

Why is that article even here? I guess to show the brain dead view? It is nothing but a puff piece written to help sell Newt's nonsensical book.

I have sympathy for free-market economics. But the GOP makes it impossible for me to take them seriously with their denial of:
-Climate Science
-Basic Geology & Petroleum engineering.

You're preaching to the choir here, spec. Their comment section is open...

As you found out, you'll just get censored over there. Can't have reality get in the way of the castles in the sky that Newt wants to sell.

They only seem to moderate comments with links (to TOD?). Most of my comments are getting through.

The GOP don't take free markets seriously.

ROCK. Is any of that trillion actual oil, or is it those old shales that have not spent enough time in the owen they are talking about again?

JW - I didn't waste time reading the piece but since they reference the Green River Basin I assume they are referring to the non-oil hydrocarbons locked up in the Green River Shale. There is so much wrong with that statement on so many levels IMHO.

You mean Kerogen shales, which nobody knows how to economically extract oil from, and even if you could would require strip mining huge areas of wilderness?

But read some of the comments from that article "High gas prices still curbing consumer spending". The American public may just be foolish enough to fall for this. I like this one in particular -

"For this year, I have not bought new clothes for me and my hubby at all [etc.] My hubby is trying to sell his Hummer."

People write from ignorance; they do not know oil shale from shale oil. They fail to understand that when they read that there is enough oil in the ground to last for 49 years, it means if and only if all of it is extracted, which is virtually impossible, and that the farther into PO they get the more it will cost to extract that little bit that remains.

Coal is the same - maybe worse since coal is a broad concept that includes everything from anthracite, to bituminous to stuff so soft that it is just past being peat. The claim is 400+ years is available. Reality says that the more we use the faster what's left is burned b/c the energy return is so low.

I can't speak for the sixty some years they claim we could burn gas (at present rates)... I would expect extraction costs would inhibit production of that as well. Also, from sources I have read, none seem to take into account that when oil is used up, the coal and gas use would increase, and when gas is gone, coal use would have to make up all of the difference.

I am putting together a list of the claims to see if anyone has cited a valid independent information source for their numbers. A few sound like promotions from the Coal industry, and so forth, or IEA or some such industry tool.

But the oil claims are the most egregious. My feeling is that all of these claims are being put forth now for use later in inflaming public opinion against political candidates who support sustainable paradigm shift.

Our three converging crises are intertwined... and synergistic. The political crises feeds off of the financial crises, which in turn feeds from the ecological crises (by itself a multi-faceted, complex compendium of peak oil, gas, water, food, etc., and environmental destruction - itself very complex; together with pollution, and species extinction).

Having studied history as an undergrad, I am hesitant to say that this particular set of circumstances has never occurred. OTOH, I cannot find any record that it has in this manner.

We live, indeed, in interesting times.


"So a conservative oil patch hand is forced to defend a liberal president he didn't vote for."
I would choke laughing, but the situation is far more serious. -"forced to defend a liberal"- Ah... the beauty of the two-party system. You can vote R or D and get the same results. The "liberal" is just as much a wall-street lackey and international war criminal as the "conservative". The television and radio are controlled by the corporations. Not one move has been made to change this. No off-message views are presented. Dissent is denied. An onslaught of act after act attempting to cripple the freedom of the internet grows and continues. Very, very quietly, the Trans-Pacific Pact (TPP) forms in secret: It curtails the internet and reduces member nations to corporate sub-divisions. This silly Newt/gay/contraception distraction is just the magician's visible hand.


The TPP certainly looks scary, and may in fact cause us all a lot of problems for a time. But long term, considering all the problems facing the existing complex national/social structures, does it seem likely that even more highly controlled systems will survive in the face of chaos? There is no doubt that the existing power centers will do whatever they can to maintain control, but what reason is there to think this will be successful? Analogous things usually happen when a society faces collapse, but how often do they work?

K - Whoa there buddy...who stepped on your pickle? Such a rant. And up to now you seemed fairly normal. LOL. Actually I feel pretty much the same. There certainly are folks on both ends of the political spectrum that can debate the issues till the cows come home. But I do smile when they give the impression that those debates have a great to do with our future...at least the more significant aspects IMHO. TPTB on both sides of the fence have developed their devisive rhetoric to such a magnificant art that only a few, such as you, see the con game for what it is: a huge misdirection effort. As long as they can keep much of the country split into two seperate factions that are pushed to extremes where compromise has no chance then TPTB can keep control. If folks could clear their thoughts, put the verbage aside and just look at the true physical reality out there they might realize there isn't much difference depending on which party is in control.

I could write a book on the subject of sales; bottom line, though, is that people buy based on their feelings and emotions, and later use their brains to rationalize what the have done. It is the source of much cognitive dissonance.

This also explains why politicians work with 10 second spots and 30 second messages so much. Simple, direct appeal to emotion, black and white and no shades of gray. It is a polarizing reality obvious, yet hidden. We have become conditioned by advertising. It is Madison Avenue and K Street, Wal-Mart and McDonalds. It surrounds us and consumes us as it teaches us and our children to be consumers.

I have no answer to the problem, or predicament if you will. Obviously, government is enslaved by the same system and will not do anything about it. And, trying to educate folks seems impossible. There are just too danged many sheep, and not enough goats.


To me, a major part of that conundrum is to teach and train one another to develop real emotional maturity, so we are aware of where we are getting led around by the gut, without our minds noticing.

One of the places I see this happen is when smart people argue (angrily) against rampant 'emotionalism'.. it's a little funny from the outside, but the ramifications are also dark and sad. We are not made of logic.. all our concrete and discrete creations sit upon a great waterbed of flesh and blood, and we'd better learn to understand that those 'fluid dynamics' are the foundation.

I don't think it's inevitably a negative, either. When people have their hearts and their heads together and in sync, you can find in them a truly wonderful human being.. just the sort we need around us now.

The 'moral' at the end of METROPOLIS was an interesting way of putting this, after the Mechanization, the Wealth Imbalances and the Labor Riots.. and Maria says, "There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."

(Nauseatingly enough, the place I got the METROPOLIS quote set me up with a Navy Ad with the un-ironic pledge that they are 'A Global Force for Good'. Famous last words, na ja ?..) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017136/quotes

I see Heartland are still being utterly obnoxious, all the while whining about how reality and science is picking on them.

What is interesting is the amount of money they took over the years, yet now can't afford to feed their supporters at a small dinner. I wonder who got most of that pie.

Heartland Institute on life support, asks for donations from 'rich uncle'

After losing major sponsors for this year’s ICCC, HI turned to coal lobby groups and fringe bloggers for “sponsorship”. Their “Unabomber” billboard campaign was so offensive that speakers deserted the conference and staff from the Washington office resigned in protest.

Following some links, you end up here:


At the botom is a list of corporations that suported HI. One of them are Microsoft. What is the conection here?

Microsoft has said that the "support" consisted of software licenses that any non-profit organization is eligible to receive.

I figured their billboards would backfire, but not this quickly and severely. Delicious.

In 10 years, this story may very well re-surfce, when someone write a blog post "20 worst PR campaign failures in history".

I love watching historical events as they happen real time.

For those of you who have Comcast as your internet connection you should know that an officer of Comcast by the name of Mike Rose is on the Heartland board of directors and that Comcast is a major contributor. I've written to Comcast registering my dis-satisfaction and urge others to do the same.

I've already looked for another internet connection but not easy to do here.

rather than whine about Citizens United - people can do what you are doing. At the end of the day corporations are in it for the money. When the cost of political involvement gets higher than the benefit they will stop doing it. Given that the country is evenly divided I don't think that any corporation can afford to give up half the market.

I have stopped shopping at Lowes as a protest against their withdrawing advertising on "All American Muslim" after a bunch Christianists protested.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 18, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged just under 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending May 18, 57 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.6 million barrels per day last week, down by 298 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, 98 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 575 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 124 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 0.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 382.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 3.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.7 million barrels per day, up by 1.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 8.8 million barrels per day, down by 1.9 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged just under 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 3.3 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 4.1 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.


US Gasoline supplies: The calm before the summer storm

The financial markets, particularly the futures market for gasoline, are expecting a tranquil summer for gasoline supplies - as serene as a summer sail across a smooth lake. In fact, the futures market values gasoline to be delivered against the September at about 20 cents/gallon less than the current front-month futures price. But is this just the dead calm before a summer storm upends our expectations?

No doubt the financial crisis sweeping Europe will lower oil demand there, and has helped reduce the world's price of oil. But correspondingly, the drop in oil demand means Europe's refiners will produce less oil products - and the product they may produce less of is gasoline. Gasoline exports from Europe, mostly to the east coast cities of the US and some to South America, have been significant for a number of years. But in the last year those European exports have fallen steeply as Europe's refiners 'rationalize' whether they can continue operations - as profits are squeezed by the high price of Brent and other similar quality oil available to them.

But falling gasoline imports into the US is not the only problem that may affect gasoline supplies this summer, both the basic supply and demand situation remain uncertain.

First, demand. Gasoline demand has steadily moved back up to a new 2012 high, creeping up on us like a cat in the night. According to MasterCard’s Spending Plus weekly survey of US gasoline demand, gasoline demand continued its slow but steady march higher from the lows of mid-winter. Where will it go from here? Barring some new economic downturn, just the force of rising population and suburbanization (offset some by rising gasoline mileage efficiency) should prevent gasoline demand from falling much if at all - as long as the economy has some forward momentum.

Second, supply. Meanwhile, per the EIA weekly report released today, gasoline inventories continued their relentless fall. Most all of the fall in supplies has been concentrated along the West Coast area. Supplies in that region reached critically low, ‘bottom of the barrel’ levels, as a consequence of planned refinery maintenance and a damaging fire at a major Washington State refinery. Northeast gasoline inventories are still suffering from refinery shutdowns and slowdowns, and an extended maintenance season in preparation for producing summer blends of gasoline. The Pennsylvania refinery recently acquired by Delta Air lines and the nation's largest US refiner, the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, will both not be completely fully operational until fall. In sum, even without falling imports, they US refiners as a group will probably turn out less gasoline this summer than last.

Unfortunately when the price of gasoline spikes in local markets, like it did two weeks ago for Oregon/Washington state wholesale prices (rising 70 cent/gallon), it is usually written off as a freak event - if it is even mentioned at all in the national media. So any 'lesson' about the fragility of US gasoline supplies and its ability to bring about erratic prices go unlearned, and the usual suspects - big oil, speculators, OPEC, federal regulators - are instead blamed for every price rise.

It would be nice to US summer travelers to have a calm and uneventful summer, but those dark clouds are gathering, and maybe some of those mid-summer sunny days will turn stormy.

Interestingly one of my co-workers just mentioned that to me.

Does anyone know, offhand, the point where price is insufficient to support frac'd oil wells?



zap - Difficult to put a single number on it. Most those frac'd shale wells will make oil. Many will make enought to pay for the cost of the well in time as long as prices stay above...lets guess $70/bbl. But the object for many of us isn't to make a minimum ROR on our drilling investments. So it's not just the production from the well and the price of oil but also the ROR requirement. My owner could perhaps make a small/modest ROR drilling these wells. But he won't: small/modest ain't his goal. And he's proven very capable of reaching his goals over the years. A public company has more than just ROR as a goal. I've told you before about drilling wells for pubcos that had minimal ROR (and even lost money for the company sometimes) but it was done to boost the share value. Sometimes it worked...sometimes not. And then there are those folks who acquire leases at the begining of a hot play and never drill a well but make a huge profit selling those leases to the new arrivals. And typically the loudest supporters of such a play are the folks who have no intention of ever drilling a well. Petrohawk was very happy when they sold their shale lease rich compay for $12 billion. And when NG prices collapsed and with oil looking to weaken some I'm sure they are happier then ever not drilling Eagle Ford wells.

Thanks, Rockman, Figured you could come up with a ballpark figure, and will use $75-$80 as pretty much constricting new wells, and $70 or below about the cut off point.

btw. If you could email me I would be able to ask pointed questions w/o interrupting the flow at TOD. I was going to ask earlier, and have not had time. As I progress with research, will need help from your POV from time to time. Thanks again.


zap - Sure: try wjd2211 on tha aol thingy. But you do bring up good questions and POV that benefit TOD IMHO. Either way is fine with me. But be patient: that's a throw away account and I don't tend to check it regularly.

How much lower oil prices restrict drilling may have as much to do with an individual company's debt/capex position as the price of oil. Pubco X might crumble and fail at $85 oil and Pubco Y may do well enough to coast along at $70/bbl.

The Indian govt increased the price of petrol by Rs 7.50 about 0.12 cents per litre and there is panic and havoc.Watch as the allies of the current coalition start finger pointing to the Congress party.Let the party begin.By the way we are still waiting for diesel and LPG prices to rise.

I think your off a couple of decimals. The rupee is trading at around 56 per dollar today, so 7.5 rupees would be about $0.13. Still, that would appear to be a small amount, but we're talking litres here, not gallons. For the US mind, that works out to roughly $.50 a gallon...

E. Swanson

My error,it should be 12 cents .Thanks for correcting.$0.50 per gallon may not seem a lot for the US but it knocks the hell out of the Indian economy.

Am I totally nuts, or is it impossible to do gas at $0.50/gal when the main ingredient (oil) costs about $2.25/gal?

If India is subsidizing gas at that rate, what else are they subsidizing and where do the subsidies come from?

And, if gas at $0.50/gal "knocks the hell out of the Indian economy." what does that say about their economy?

This is seriously perplexing. I am considering the ramifications on international trade, etc.

If anyone knows the answers, or where this leads, let me know. I will probably be awake tonight trying to get a grip on it.



If anyone knows the answers, or where this leads, let me know.

Well, I certainly don't! However...

India's population: 1.2 billion.

India consumes a bit more than 3 million barrels of oil per day.

My guess is that not too many Indians are driving SUVs back and forth to the suburbs on a daily basis. My guess is also that the Indian government is still able to afford subsidizing gasoline at $0.50/gal and finds it both advantageous and prudent to do so...

I'll also bet that the Indian government probably has ways to get that subsidy back, out of the hides of the Indian people, through their corrupt bureaucratic system.

Maybe Wiseindian will chime in?

A few points

1. In India Gasoline is not subsidized, in fact it is heavily taxed. The taxes are used to partly cover the subsidies given on Diesel and LPG. Oil companies are not covered for losses suffered on sale of Petrol, so when Rupee depreciated they were forced to go for a hike. For example till a few days back when USD was trading at 50 I was paying equivalent of $6.15/US Gallon. Now it's $5.49/US Gallon (USD = 56)

Diesel on the other hand is priced at the equivalent of $2.91/US Gallon (where I live), you can see the difference right there...it's really absurd and is resulting in a lot of oddities, for example some industries are using diesel instead of furnace oil as it's more economical for them, private car owners are also switching to diesel which is being perceived as rich eating into the poor's share(partly a reason for the recent backlash) oh and the backup generators also run on Diesel.

2. Secondly Fiscal deficit has skyrocketed recently as a result of various popular (but unsustainable) social schemes which also triggered wage inflation. This wouldn't have been a problem if the global economy was in fine shape, but India's largest export area the Eurozone is suffering from cancer, so exports have been hit and dollar reserves are running low, this coupled with high oil prices mean that our current account deficit is also inflating...forcing the rupee down further.

So until growth in Eurozone and the world in general picks up or oil prices crash there is no hope for India since the Govt can't cut it's spending for well known reasons. In the end fiscal deficit keeps rising and the Rupee keeps falling. I expect to see oil companies going bankrupt in future. I keep telling this to everyone I know but as usual no one believes me, well..they are in for a nice little shock.

3. There is a third factor as well and it's Gold. Gold amounts to 10% of our imports and is putting a lot of strain on the dollar reserves. As inflation rises, people try to buy more gold to hedge their savings and this further depreciates the Rupee resulting in more Gold purchases. The Govt tried to impose an import duty recently to stop this trend only to later buckle under popular pressure.

It's a classic case of tragedy of commons, textbook case study for business schools.

Mucho thanks, wiseindian!

Just curious where did the figure of $0.50 come from?!

Sounds like India is a time bomb and the fuse is getting very short. I'm sure Pakistan is not much better, that's a lot of people in those two countries that are under an enormous amount of stress already.

Just watching the situation unfold there has made want to apply for an upgrade to my 'Global Doomer Card', from Gold to Platinum!

Not that there aren't plenty of other time bombs with lit fuses all over the world, I sure hope they all fizzle out and there won't be any fireworks. Mother Nature seems to be losing her patience as well... all in all, very interesting times we live in.



Two countries in population overshoot, economic tailspin, deepening energy shortages, forcibly and bloodily divided from a single nation on religious grounds within living memory, technically still at war, and each armed with large numbers of long range nuclear missiles.

Enough to to make Giaia nervous.

More Than 150,000 Methane Seeps Appear as Arctic Ice Retreats

This was from an older study (2008-2010). Recently two larger sources were discovered:

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide - have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region. The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who led the 8th joint US-Russia cruise of the East Siberian Arctic seas, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed ...[reported 12/13/11] ... The researchers found significant amounts of methane being released from the ocean into the atmosphere through cracks in the melting sea ice. They said the quantities could be large enough to affect the global climate. Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice ... Eric Kort of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that he and his colleagues were surprised to see methane levels rise so dramatically each time their research aircraft flew over cracks in the sea ice. "When we flew over completely solid sea ice, we didn't see anything in terms of methane. But when we flew over areas were the sea ice had melted, or where there were cracks in the ice, we saw the methane levels increase," Dr Kort said. "We were surprised to see these enhanced methane levels at these high latitudes. Our observations really point to the ocean surface as the source, which was not what we had expected," he said. "Other scientists had seen high concentrations of methane in the sea surface but nobody had expected to see it being released into the atmosphere in this way," he added. [reported 4/23/12]

(New Climate Change Policy: Triage, emphasis in original). This will be a "blowback" that raises Arctic temps even more, before the methane disperses to the south.

The AGW warning has always been, "what we are doing could cause tipping points that we do not know and perhaps cannot imagine in the future." Welcome to the future, part I. Lest a denier feels smug that, "now we know," realize that we have not as yet seen climatic dislocations as severe and sudden as some document in past epochs.

Some 'imagined' events: sudden release of Greenland and Western Antarctic ice; release of methane gas from permafrost in huge quantities; discharge of methyl hydrates in the world's oceans; conversion of Amazon rainforest from Carbon sink into carbon producing area; loss of world's oceans to neutralize much of the CO2 being released; loss of thermo-haline currents. Just imagine what we cannot even imagine!

Best hopes for low numbers.


My preferred term is Climate Chaos.

It captures the prolonged transition that we are facing.


Every now and then we read articles saying things like "that is not possible, or highly unlikely". But how often have we not also read articles saying that "we did not think this could happen".

Next time I read an article saying some bad climate stuff is unlikely, I will respond "you say".

They claim that so far the amount of methane being released is relatively small, but it's difficult without a graph to gauge its impact relative to CO2. Herein lies another bigger question too. The interpretation of how much methane is being released in the Arctic is based on worldwide methane levels, however how long does the methane released stay above the arctic and impact local temperatures causing more methane & CO2 releases?

The other question is how much have methane releases ramped up in recent years, and based on that how much is it projected to increase in the coming years, decades?

There needs to be graphs to visually illustrate the situation there, and future projections.

Northern Hemisphere Methane (CH4) Levels - April 2012


Dr. Leonid Yurganov from the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology has posted monthly methane maps for the northern hemisphere, dating back to late 2002.

It is obvious from these charts that the methane is not dispersed or oxidized as rapidly in the winter months. This is because sunlight is required to inter-act with water vapor to create the free radical Hydroxyl (OH), which then can mix with methane creating even more CO2. Upon initial release into the atmosphere, the radiative forcing properties of methane are said to be at least 70 times as powerful as CO2, however because it is absorbed into the atmosphere within 9-12 years it is considered only 20 times more powerful as a GHG.

Since the arctic ocean area is warming more rapidly than lower latitudes it is assumed that increased amounts of methane will be released each year. At this time CO2 is still the main contributor to AGW, however any significant increases of methane are only going to accelerate the warming.


Perk Earl,

You said:

They claim that so far the amount of methane being released is relatively small ...

I don't know which single source you are talking about, but there are three sources. The "150,000" seeps story concerns studies on land up to 2010, and have the lowest emission figures, however even they are not slight.

The Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (under water) sources are not at all trivial either:

This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said."I was most impressed by the sheer scale and the high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them," he said...."We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale - I think on a scale not seen before. Some of the plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere - the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal," he said.

(see my link above, bold added). A thousand meters is a cauldron of boiling methane plumes 3/5 of a mile wide. He says there are "thousands of them", which means thousands of miles of ocean water bubbling up methane 24/7.

The third source, deep into the Arctic Ocean where it is ice covered (under ice source), but cracked, is already significant. But is going to increase as the ice melts and cracks more.

Re: Why the best world-changing ideas begin in your neighbourhood

Given that we're living in an era which represents the the greatest misallocation of resources ever, and such an alienation of human beings that seems to make the height of the Stalin era seem human in comparison, it seems for quite some areas of life quality the only way is up. Yet anyone who enters transition with the mindset that it will be a dance on a field of dandelions will be quite disappointed. One should be lucky if it's simply a struggle for some of the comforts of the modern age, for others it's a struggle for survival.

Thought this link might be of interest to the EV fans (and maybe foes) here...


Thanks for posting that. Very interesting.

I like the Volt but boy is it complicated. Hopefully later versions can integrate those various electronics more completely to reduce the costs a bit. But I guess saving a few hundred in chip costs really won't make a difference in prices . . . it is the batteries that need to get cheaper with mass manufacturing.

It still isn't clear which is better design . . . PHEVs like the Volt or pure electrics like the Leaf. Well, as a I like to say, there is plenty of room on the market for both designs.

100 microcontrollers in one car? What would Tainter say about diminishing returns on complexity? How long will such a car last? Who will be able to fix it a decade later?

And, to quote one comment from that page, given that the Volt is never quite "off", and automatically starts up the engine to charge the battery if it gets low while parked long-term:

"... the vehicle shold not start the combustion engine unless it "knows" that it is not parked indoors. First time it fills an indoor space with CO marks the end of the Volt and maybe GM. ..."

It is complex but I think typical car ICE engines these days are just as complex, so it is no different than ICE cars on that weakness.

And you really think they would have overlooked such an obvious issue on the CO?

The alternative is to load all of those real-time software functions onto a single microcontroller, and run one big piece of interrelated code. Speaking from years of experience, it's a whole lot harder to enforce separation of functions when all the software is in one place than when it has to run on multiple processors. For example, if all the software is on one processor, and there are performance problems, it's always tempting to cheat on keeping things separate. Inter-processor communication is an issue when separate processors are involved, of course, but there are well-defined communications system to provide the physical interconnections, and cheating becomes much harder.

Few people realize the radical change that has occurred in industrial design over the last 20 years (started earlier than that, but has snowballed). One of Cain's Laws™ -- I really should have kept a numbered list starting decades ago so I could keep track of them, but one of them -- says that to the extent allowed by the budget, put the complicated control logic in software. Designers have adopted that with a vengeance. Mechanical and electro-mechanical control mechanisms are disappearing, replaced by a digital processor, some sensors, and some actuators.

If it's necessary to roll technology backwards, the digital revolution makes that a lot harder. Television, telephones and networks, cars, planes, piddly little consumer items like thermostats -- all of them have become dependent on very large scale integrated circuits. Going back to analog will be more difficult than it sounds.

Yes, all of the mechanism is replaced by sensors, actuators, and a microprocessor. All of the tuned electronic components are replaced by a Digital Signal Processor. The processors can be replaced/implemented with/on a Field Programmable Gate Array: OR and NOT make the engines that run MULTIPLY and ADD.

As a kid, I interfaced a Varian 520I to a Friden Flexowriter. What a beast. What fun! 40+ clutches and prawls, columns of lever mechanisms... the whole case is filled with moving metal. All gone... all gone now. I remember when oscilloscopes had knobs. You could see every part in a television. Entire other things could be made from the parts.


I suspect that much of that transition was the result of military/aerospace R&D work. It may be that such designs are more reliable than similar systems composed of discrete analog components. Also, if there is a problem and it turns out to be in software, it's vastly easier to fix, since the changes in software can be installed in the field by simply flashing the memory with the new code. Similarly, replacing a sub system on a card is a plug in operation, with no high temperature soldering involved. For expensive cards, the damaged cards may be repaired at a depot with a few skilled technicians, instead of training each tech in the field to do the work. That model also makes it more difficult for the consumer to repair his/her equipment, thus keeps the profits from repair and parts within the corporate world. The ultimate down side may be that some sort of EMP event would return human civilization to the stone age overnight...

E. Swanson

I think perhaps it makes sense to have a distributed control scheme for the Volt, and there are a lot of factors that go into the system architecture decisions like that. Bringing all the signals back to one central processor board is not necessarily less complex. But one of the other reasons for it is likely to be that various parts were subcontracted out to different groups.

Designers have adopted that with a vengeance. Mechanical and electro-mechanical control mechanisms are disappearing, replaced by a digital processor, some sensors, and some actuators.

Quite so, but it goes even further. To the extent possible all analog circuitry has been incorporated into the embedded firmware too.

As for the idea of rolling back technology if things get difficult, I think perhaps it is a fairly common misconception that this would be doable. The people with the knowledge and skills, the organizations and development environments and tools - it simply doesn't exist anymore after the technology moves on for a time. The assumption seems to be that engineers who are knowledgeable about the way things are done now must also be knowledgeable about past practices too, as if it were cumulative. This is simply not the case, and it may be the opposite in that we tend to become ever more specialized.

The assumption seems to be that engineers who are knowledgeable about the way things are done now must also be knowledgeable about past practices too, as if it were cumulative. This is simply not the case, and it may be the opposite in that we tend to become ever more specialized.

To some extent engineers do know how things were done in the past. An engineer who is just now retiring probably started college before 1970. While big changes towards automation were under way by 1970, many things were done in much the same way as they had been more than fifty years earlier. These old men (and they are nearly all men) carry in their heads a lot of basic engineering knowledge that today's young engineers never learned: simple things like how to use a slide rule or read a blueprint, for example, or more complex things such as how to design structures without using a computer.

But these old men will not be around for many more years, and it's only the old ones who learned the old ways. The rate of change of technology accelerated rapidly, starting in about 1970. Engineers born after about 1960 generally missed out on learning how to do things without computers, etc.

"simple things like how to use a slide rule or read a blueprint, for example, or more complex things such as how to design structures without using a computer."

Blueprints are no longer blue, but the drawings themselves are still very much in use. Although the piping design software talks directly to the pipe fabrication machines that cut everything to shape, the repair crews still have to read the isometric drawings to replace things when they fail.

Slide rules are dead, three places is no longer enough. Better precision cuts costs. And although you can design a structure without a computer, the computer's design is more cost effective, and you will lose the bid. And for anything large and commercial, you will need the models to show it meets seismic or wind loads as dictated by code.

We can go back to pre-1970, but things will cost more, and there will be more deaths from unanticipated failures. or even anticipated failures if you watched the video of a modern compact car colliding with a Pre-'70 land yacht. Compact car's passengers would have lived, land-yacht's would have died even with 2:1 weight advantage going in.

In the old pre computer analysis days, things were simply overbuilt. Use a largeish safety factor to handle anything you don't know for sure. So the machine ends up weighing twice as much as necessary.

Yes. This is one reason why Roman structures have lasted so long. They overbuilt them, because they didn't have the ability to calculate factors of safety all that well.

It's not a terrible solution, at least for civil engineering projects.

A more recent example is the Huey Long railroad (and highway) bridge near New Orleans. Double track, slide rule calculated to carry two trains full of tungsten on very short 4 axle flat cars (the heaviest load they could think of back then) with an excellent safety margin.

Built in 1932 with (from memory) 10% of the steel produced that year in the USA. Highway lobby is spending $1.2 billion to change narrow 4 lanes to wide 6 lanes on bridge (waste IMO) cantilevered off rail bridge. Plenty of strength to spare.

OTOH, post WW II Huey Long bridge built in Baton Rouge was built on the cheap. Problems already there.

Best Hopes for Long Lived, Durable, Energy Efficient Infrastructure,


We can go back to pre-1970, but things will cost more, and there will be more deaths from unanticipated failures. or even anticipated failures if you watched the video of a modern compact car colliding with a Pre-'70 land yacht. Compact car's passengers would have lived, land-yacht's would have died even with 2:1 weight advantage going in.

Not quite realistic. The 1969 Ford Galaxy (a land yacht if ever there was one) weighs about 100 pounds less than the 2013 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan. The new cars are largely more crashproof because they are heavier. New devices such as airbags also help, as do logical (and not new) ideas like collapsible steering columns.

But when the collapse comes and computers are no longer available designing new cars will be the least of our problems. I would imagine there will be much more demand for engineers who can design a barn to be built from recycled lumber, or a plow to be made with hand tools from recycled steel.

It seems like the older computers, where all these subsystems were individual and replacable, and they gradually standardized and got added onto the MoBo as stock.

I do also think they may well be overdesigning.. but it's a spectrum.. there are a bunch of simple EV's out there that people have converted and used just a handful of simple essentials..

I still want me a Ped-elec Velomobile. I've got enough PV to run that kind of rig for the rest of my life.. crossed fingers..

IF you really want/need a Ped-elec Velomobile, I think you could easily put one together from available parts. First, you buy a velomobile, then add an electric hub motor, electronics and battery. If you want more range, buy a larger battery. As is often the situation, all it takes is money and your dreams can come true...

EDIT: For example, HERE's a rear wheel hub motor setup from eBay.

E. Swanson

Yeah, that's probably what I'll do.. as the 'ToDo' pile brings it closer, then further from the At Bat position..

And then, I also just jump on the bike and marvel at how much of it I already have right there.

Much of my chewing has been over the Baidarka Book, since I have a notion to skin it with the ultralight wood and fabric approach used for Aleutian kayaks.. but again, we'll see.

I was impressed by a car that has to turn itself on at idle to recharge batteries periodically.

And the only computer in my 1982 M-B 240D is in the radio.

And I have hand winders for the windows in a luxury car.

I prefer less complexity myself.

Best Hopes for Durability,


Alan, have you, or have you considered a SVO conversion?

It as ideal car for that. The mechanical fuel pump uses engine oil for lubrication and is designed for temperatures *FAR* colder than New Orleans coldest night.

But I drive so few miles - and I have suspended the insurance (except comprehensive) for 6 weeks now as I try to go car free before hurricane season.

I put fuel stabilizer in each tank. That is how long they can last. Last fill-up was October.

Best Hopes for few miles driven :-)


Looking for some research help.

Wiki reports the following:

Years of production left in the ground with the most optimistic proved reserve estimates (Oil & Gas Journal, World Oil)[citation needed]

Coal: 417 years
Oil: 43 years
Natural gas: 167 years

So it seems that OGJ publishes something referenced as "World Oil." I think this is published in the OGJ every December. So a couple of questions ...

Does the "World Oil" report include Coal and Natural Gas reserves?
Does it include an "optimistic" estimate?
Are those numbers the "resource" estimate?
Are those numbers 'P3'?
Is there a way for a non-subscriber to access the "World Oil" report?

If "World Oil" is not the right resource, does anyone know where those wiki numbers originated?

Ron - World Oil is published monthly by the Gulf Publishing Co. It's a subscription service but much can be accessed without subscribing. There is also a free membership if you want to check it out. Not sure if this is the wiki source though. http://www.worldoil.com/

Population growth is briefly mentioned in that article on Niger about the main problem. But it isn't drought but overpopulation which is the main problem. Look at the demographics of the country:


Drought is a serious problem for sure, but it would be manageable if they weren't doubling their population every 25 years.

Yeah, the lack of education and birth control really doom societies to poverty. Throw in superstition and you've got the Trifecta.

I think you've identified the Republican party platform ;>)

If I'm reading those figures right it looks like their birth rate has barely decreased over the past 30 years, even in the face of this mounting misery. There's no possible good outcomes here. Their love of large families has consigned them to the abyss.

I've seen research that suggests that humans world-wide are "wired" to want two children to reach adulthood. And that once an area gets child mortality under control through sanitation, medical care, etc, it takes about two generations -- roughly 50 years -- for those changes to be reflected culturally. So there's a big population spike until the realization that you don't have to have six or eight kids in order for two to reach adulthood sinks in.

Your comment seems to be spot on with regards to my own family.

My mother and father were both illiterate, mother went to 4th grade, father not even that far, (the mil. taught him to read and write during the war). edit: (WWII)

There were 6 children born to my mother in her life time, of those 6 only 10 were born, Of those 10 only 12 have been born so far.

At the rate it's going my mother and fathers name will run out in a couple of more generations. Of the 12 Great Grand children, it is very likely that only 10 or less of them will ever have children. Due to their age already.

My grandparents were each one of seven. My parents each one of two. My generation are each also one of two (who survived) . Between of the four of us, we have one offspring. He is unlikely to have kids.

From 1997 to 2010 pop growth sunk from 3.51 to 3.10 %/year, after previously growing towards that level. What happened that year that turned the trend? They are now stuck at 3.10% for a decade.

From the wikipedia page on Niger

Niger's high infant mortality rate is comparable to levels recorded in neighboring countries. However, the child mortality rate (deaths among children between the ages of 1 and 4) is exceptionally high (248 per 1,000) due to generally poor health conditions and inadequate nutrition for most of the country's children. According to the organization Save the Children, Niger has the world's highest infant mortality rate. Nonetheless, Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world (7.2 births per woman); this means that nearly half (49%) of the Nigerien population is under age 15. There were 3 physicians and 22 nurses per 100,000 persons in 2006.

From the Population Trends databrowser which uses the US Census Bureau IDB dataset:

Population is the #1 problem in Niger.


Evolution in action. They are winning.

Yep. Evolution doesn't work the way most people think it does.

It depends on what happen here. They may have a massive die off and lose in the end. But also, they may cause massive refuge waves, spreading their genes all over the place. We just don't know that yet.

The Gem of Canadian Science that Harper Killed

Experimental Lakes Area was world famous; its findings might have saved Canada billions.

"My first reaction was, 'You have got to be kidding,' which fairly quickly moved to 'Why am I surprised?' This is just another attack on the war against the environment."

Jim Elser, a highly respected aquatic scientist at Arizona State University, described the destruction of the ELA both pennywise and pound foolish in an email. "It's not an example of good governance." The world offers very few places where scientists can study whole ecosystems in a remote location aided by an excellent research facility as well as decades of baseline data, adds Elser. "ELA is completely and totally unique and unmatched in offering all three."

"I was pretty shocked," added Harvard University aquatic sciences professor Elsie Sunderland in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press. "This is one of the foremost research projects and places to do research in the world. To have it shut down is just appalling. It's just embarrassing."

Yet more evidence of the Conservative government's continuing efforts to eliminate any evidence that could embarrass their agenda.

But the Harper government apparently doesn't want you to know that truth. Nor does it want Canadians to learn about what role oil sands pollutants such as PAHs might play in fish deformities in Lake Athabasca or cancers in Fort Chip. "Politicians have never understood what the ELA does or why it's important," says Schindler from his cottage near Brisco, British Columbia. "We are losing an opportunity to improve the public's scientific literacy on water." He adds that "democracy, to be effective, needs to have an informed electorate."

These researchers are behind the times. Using science to drive policy is so yesterday. Researchers at Environment Canada were told that the government now sets policy and then looks for science to backup the policy.

Death by a thousand cuts. Did someone suggest we have a chance to avert catastrophe?

and that chance is fat.


Strange that "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing, don't you think? You'd think they'd be opposites.

Still, any chance is better than none; and in this instance my take is "not bloody likely."



I hadn't ever really looked at those two phrases very closely.. but I'd guess that calling something a 'Fat Chance' might be sort of analagous to calling the Bald Guy 'Curly' ..

An interesting thought there. I have understood 'fat chance' to mean no chance or taking a pessimistic view whereas 'slim chance' being a small chance or an optimistic view. I guess it depends whether your glass is half full or half empty or just pass the bottle.


Yet another one bites the dust: http://www.skyways.se/

Skyways Express AB and City Airline AB file for bankruptcy

We regret to inform that Skyways Express AB and its subsidiary City Airline AB have filed for bankruptcy. Consequently, we have been forced to cancel all flights with immediate effect.

To our passengers with flights within the near future: Please contact your travel agency (where applicable) to investigate the possibilities of compensation or re-booking of flights. For passengers who have booked flights directly via our website we regret to inform that it is currently not possible to re-book or receive compensation via Skyways. Passengers who have booked via our website and paid using credit card are recommended to investigate compensation via the credit card company.

Due to today’s announcement, it is unfortunately not possible to receive assistance via Skyways at the airports. Passengers with flights in the near future are recommended to re-book via another airline or train, alternatively contact their travel agency for assistance.

We deeply regret that we have not been able to resolve the situation and that our passengers have been affected.

Expect to see a lot of this in the coming years.

FBI quietly forms secretive Net-surveillance unit

CNET has learned that the FBI has formed a Domestic Communications Assistance Center, which is tasked with developing new electronic surveillance technologies, including intercepting Internet, wireless, and VoIP communications.

... The center represents the technological component of the bureau's "Going Dark" Internet wiretapping push, which was allocated $54 million by a Senate committee last month. The legal component is no less important: as CNET reported on May 4, the FBI wants Internet companies not to oppose a proposed law that would require social-networks and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail to build in backdoors for government surveillance.

The Continually Expanding Definition of Terrorism

Though the United States has been engaged in a Global War on Terror for more than a decade, the U.S. Government surprisingly does not have a standardized definition of terrorism that is agreed upon by all agencies. The State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and a number of other government agencies all utilize differing definitions of what constitutes an act of terrorism. This lack of agreement has allowed individual agencies to present different and, in some cases, far more inclusive definitions of terrorist acts enabling the use of expanded investigative procedures that might not be applicable in other agencies.

The FBI utilizes a definition of terrorism based upon the agency’s general functions under 28 CFR § 0.85. Under this regulation an act of terrorism is defined by “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The USA PATRIOT Act expanded this definition to include domestic acts within the definition of terrorism.

... the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security, extended the definition of terrorism further by including any act that is “damaging to critical infrastructure or key resources"

Planting Evidence to Sow Fear: Chicago Cops are the Terrorists

It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence -- part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week.

The Chicago Police clearly realized that it would be hard to convince a jury that the homemade beer-making equipment in the house was some dreaded bio-terror weapon, so for good measure they apparently dropped off some glass jars with gas in them and tried to make out that the kids were preparing molotov cocktails.

Secret net surveillance? If New York State passes this bill, there won't be any secret-net, at least for those wishing to post anonymously in NY:

The legislation, officially known as the Internet Protection Act, requires “a web site administrator upon request [to] remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such protestor agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate,” with administrators also being required to “have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.”


“This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York,” says the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Kevin Bankston, who also points out that the Act essentially amounts to what he calls “a heckler’s veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn’t like what an anonymous poster said.” And, somewhat ironically, an anonymous heckler’s veto – nowhere in the legislation does it require that those complaining about anonymous comments have to provide their own legal name, IP address or home address.

I'm sure JHK just loves this, being in NY. Where's TOD based, BTW? :-0

You really have to stand back in awe at the audacity of America.

It creates the internet, then attempts to shut it down!

This type of frenzied activity smells like collapse to me.

New model of geological strata may aid oil extraction, water recovery and Earth history studies

A Sandia modeling study contradicts a long-held belief of geologists that pore sizes and chemical compositions are uniform throughout a given strata, which are horizontal slices of sedimentary rock.

... The work may help trounce geologists’ belief that each layer of sedimentary rock, deposited over eons, is more or less homogenous in porosity and composition. Thus a single core sample obtained from a given depth was thought to chemically represent the entire layer.

But Budd’s findings showed that horizontal variations within a layer of sedimentary rock could be quite significant — in some cases, as large as vertical variations. This would affect not only the amount of fluid stored or percolating through a rock but the amount of pressure needed to shoot liquids to Earth’s surface. No one knew why these variations occurred, nor had anyone measured their magnitude.


Ding1 Ding! Ding! I'm about to award a medal for the biggest pile of steaming geologic BS I've seen since I started my earth science studies 42 years ago.

"A Sandia modeling study contradicts a long-held belief of geologists that pore sizes and chemical compositions are uniform throughout a given strata, which are horizontal slices of sedimentary rock....The work may help trounce geologists’ belief that each layer of sedimentary rock, deposited over eons, is more or less homogenous in porosity and composition."

I'm trying to make myself believe this is some practical joke on the part of the writer. I'll spar TOD from the thousands of firsthand accounts I could offer to prove how insanely ridiculous this piece is. I'll just off one tiny little exception to their proposition. It's the East Texas Oil Field...the largest oil field ever discovered in the continental US which was first drilled over 70 years ago. It's a giant stratigraphic trap: to the west and deeper it is very nice porous sandstone. As you move eastward the sandstone thins until it completely disappears and transitions into a pure shale/mudstone. This is the type of non-uniformity we geologists haven't been aware of according to the author.

OK...one more example (just cuz I like to hear myself brag). Those 23 out of 25 wildcats I drilled successfully back in the mid 80's were all stratigraphic traps which developed as the result of lateral variations. IOW exactly because they weren't "more or less homogenous in porosity and composition".

"No one knew why these variations occurred, nor had anyone measured their magnitude." Probably a minimum of 80% of all the successful wells I've drilled during my career were a result of those variations. So since I was so butt stupid and didn't know this occurred that must make me one of the luckiest geologists on the planet. As a strange man once said:"I would rather be lucky then smart...takes a lot less work."

And for folks who don't know the Sandia Lab: The Sandia National Laboratories, managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation), are two major United States Department of Energy research and development national laboratories. Just perfect, eh? With these folks helping to guide the govt's energy policy we need not be concerned about PO anymore.

"A Sandia modeling study contradicts a long-held belief of geologists that pore sizes and chemical compositions are uniform throughout a given strata, which are horizontal slices of sedimentary rock....The work may help trounce geologists’ belief that each layer of sedimentary rock, deposited over eons, is more or less homogenous in porosity and composition."

Well ROCK, perhaps you might just need to re-examine your 'LONG-HELD BELIEFS', eh? /sarc

Ironically at Sandia's website one gets the impression that geoscience isn't all that high on their list of priorities anyway...


Sandia has a unique ability to mesh the geosciences with diverse disciplines and resources, resulting in collaborative proficiencies not available anywhere else.

... For example, Sandia geoscience professionals are using broad capabilities, such as advanced computing, threat and vulnerability assessments, techno-economic assessments, and sustainability, to investigate the relationships between natural systems, human systems, and built infrastructures.

No geoscience openings at this time.

Please check back for future job openings.

That just sounds so Orwellian...

"I never got into geology. Seemed too crowded as so many geologists are out standing in the field."

-sisyphusrocks, winner of the best geology pun at http://georneys.blogspot.com/2011/04/geology-pun-contest-winner.html

Though this one also works for ROCK et al...

"So I said to the geologist, 'Wow, taking core samples. That sounds pretty interesting,' and he says 'actually, it's really just boring.' "

Now, now, I think you are reading it wrongly. They said the properties within a given strata can change. They were talking about bulk properties of a chunk of rock, not changes in the thickness or dip of the strata. This applies more to the people who do reservoir modeling. Assume that each identifiable stratigraphic member is uniform in composition (and you have samples from where the wells went through them), then plug those properties plus the seismicly acquired geometry, and start simulating. the plan where to place the wells, and how you plan to pump um...
They are just saying, wait a minute, maybe one meter to the east of your hole the porosity and/or resitance to flow (permeability) differs by a factor of twoish, so your reservoir simulation could be pretty far off.

No, you are reading it wrongly. Rock is spot on. This article is BS.

"They were talking about bulk properties of a chunk of rock, not changes in the thickness or dip of the strata....." Rock is talking about bulk properties, and they do change laterally. Often dramatically. Modern reservoir modelling takes into account (or rather attempts to) lateral changes. We don't just "...Assume that each identifiable stratigraphic member is uniform in composition (and you have samples from where the wells went through them), then plug those properties plus the seismicly acquired geometry, and start simulating...."

In this case, "Sandia has a unique ability" to put their head where the sun don't shine.

eos - "They are just saying, wait a minute, maybe one meter to the east of your hole the porosity and/or resistance to flow (permeability) differs by a factor of twoish, so your reservoir simulation could be pretty far off." Exactly my point. A factor of twosh you say? I've documented a factor of a thousandish in less than foot. In fact, I've never been very big on reservoir modeling for that very reason. Such efforts make calculations a lot easier if you assume, let's say, porosity in a reservoir averages 25%. There may be little of that reservoir at the porosity. Half the rock may be 20% and the other half 30% and shazam! The avg is 25%.

Here's an example of how finely detailed we've studied such measures for the last 30 years or so. I'll run electronic equipment down a hole that measure all those parameters (and more than the article highlights). These can get resolution down to a foot or two. Not good enough for the type of details I've strived after for 37 years. So I shoot side wall cores that give me a 1/2" wide sample of the rock itself. IMHO pretty good detail for someone accused of not being focused on the details of stratigraphy. And guess what? Still not enough details...can't really shoot enough SWC's to get all the info you want. So about 20 years ago we invented a logging device (Formation Identification Log...FMI) that can ID stratigraphic variations down to 1/16" thick. So much data it can't be presented on by a standard paper print. I work it on 3d seismic work station that has 10 TB memory...that's how much stratigraphic detail is contained on an FMI. And with the 3o" monitor (actually have 3 of those on the work station) I can display it at 4X actual size.

I really don't know how to get the point across how truly insane this article is. What if I wrote an article highlighting a great new approach to healing broken bones and was critical of doctors for not taking advantage of it? There's this technique, x-rays, that allows doctors to see the actual break and set it properly. But they've ignored this approach all these years. And now that I've exposed the errors of their way I should certainly be given even more grant money to carry on my research. Like this great idea for great new drug the med community hasn't been making use of. Think I call it penicillin.

I'm not exaggerating. That's the magnitude of the stupidity of the article. Let's try putting it this way: by comparison this article makes Newt look reasonable. LOL. I'm tempted to spread my rebuke to the public/politicians but I'm afraid some wacko R politician will just use it in one more example of the govt getting in his making the US energy independent.

USDA links gene flow between weedy and domesticated rice to rising carbon dioxide levels

New research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide facilitate the flow of genes from wild or weedy rice plants to domesticated rice varieties. As a result, domesticated plants could take on undesirable weedy characteristics that may interfere with future rice production.

... going to be challenging feeding those billions.

Commonly used pesticide turns honey bees into 'picky eaters'

Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that a small dose of a commonly used crop pesticide turns honey bees into "picky eaters" and affects their ability to recruit their nestmates to otherwise good sources of food.

The two biologists found in their experiments that honey bees treated with a small, single dose of imidacloprid, comparable to what they would receive in nectar, became "picky eaters."

"In other words, the bees preferred to only feed on sweeter nectar and refused nectars of lower sweetness that they would normally feed on and that would have provided important sustenance for the colony," said Eiri. "In addition, bees typically recruit their nestmates to good food with waggle dances, and we discovered that the treated bees also danced less."

Warming could exceed 3.5 C, say climate scientists

Climate researchers said Thursday the planet could warm by more than 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit), boosting the risk of drought, flood and rising seas.

Marion Vieweg, a policy researcher with German firm Climate Analytics, told AFP the 3.5 C (6.3 F) estimate had been based on the assumption that all countries will meet their pledges, in themselves inadequate, to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Projections are for greenhouse-gas overshoot of between nine and 11 billion tonnes per year beyond the annual 44-billion-tonne ceiling needed by 2020 to achieve the 2 C (3.6 F) target.

Climate Change Could Kill 150,000 Americans This Century

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Killer heat fueled by climate change could cause an additional 150,000 deaths this century in the biggest U.S. cities if no steps are taken to curb carbon emissions and improve emergency services, according to a new report.

The three cities with the highest projected heat death tolls are Louisville, with an estimated 19,000 heat-related fatalities by 2099; Detroit, with 17,900, and Cleveland, with 16,600, the Natural Resources Defense Council found in its analysis of peer-reviewed data, released on Wednesday.

A couple of "interesting" things in Table 2 in the actual report (PDF).

  • Miami is reported as having zero deaths due to extreme heat events now, and is forecast to continue having zero such deaths in the future.
  • Atlanta's forecast death rate decreases to the mid-century, then decreases again in the second half of the century.
  • Denver's forecast death rate increases to mid-century, then declines in the second half of the century, although not getting back down to the current level.

There doesn't appear to be any discussion of these anomalous numbers. Guess I'll have to go dig through the original publication on which this is based, and hope that such details are not part of the data which they obtained from those authors that was not included in the published report.

Miami's temperature will have some regulation from the sea as we do here.


Living in the next world when climate change picks up pace will be... quite unpleasant.

Of course, judging by the comments to that article, not sure if this current world is that pleasant, either.

'Emergency plan' to eradicate polio launched

Polio has been declared a "global emergency" by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative after "explosive" outbreaks in countries previously free of the disease.

The World Health Organization says polio is "at a tipping point". There have been large outbreaks of the virus in Africa, Tajikistan and China has had its first cases for more than a decade.

Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO's polio eradication campaign, said: "Over the last 24 months on three continents - in Europe, in Africa and in Asia - we have seen horrific explosive outbreaks of the disease that affected adults, and in some cases 50% of them died.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

"Over the last 24 months on three continents - in Europe, in Africa and in Asia - we have seen horrific explosive outbreaks of the disease that affected adults, and in some cases 50% of them died.

Well, that's one way to control population growth. Stupid monkeys!


Basic Plan.............................................. 1
Annex A, Task Organization, Forces, and Reaction Times.. A-1
  Appendix 1, Civil Disturbance Condition............. A-1-1
    Tab A, Civil Disturbance Condition Action Lists. A-1-A-1
    Tab B, Sample Civil Disturbance Condition
      Message....................................... A-l-B-1
Annex B, Intelligence................................... B-1
Annex C, Concept of Operations.......................... C-1
  Appendix 1, Alert Order.............................
  Appendix 2, Reconnaissance by Joint Task Force
    Commander......................................... C-2-1
  Appendix 3, Notification of Reconnaissance by Joint
    Task Force Commander.............................. C-3-1
  Appendix 4, Presidential Proclamation............... C-4-1
  Appendix 5, Presidential Executive Order............ C-5-1
  Appendix 6, Execution Order......................... C-6-1

(a) During domestic civil disturbance operations,
federal military forces will confront members of the civil popu-
lace participating in group acts of violence antagonistic to
authority. These acts can fall anywhere along a broad spectrum of
violence that encompasses individual acts of terrorism, riots, and

(b) Civil disturbances may occur spontaneously, by
preplanning, or incidental to some other event. People parti-
cipating in a civil disturbance may be members of any class, age
group, or part of the political spectrum. Their participation may
be motivated by economic, criminal, racial, religious, political, or
psychological considerations, or any combination thereof.

(c) The capabilities of the participants will vary
widely. They may use planned or spontaneous tactics that are
nonviolent or violent. The technical sophistication of violent
participants can also vary widely, ranging from crude weapons to
sophisticated modern weapons. Participants’ actions may be
governed by the forces of crowd behavior or by leaders exercising
command and control through advanced communications. While most
participants will typically be on foot, vehicles may be used.

(d) Friendly.

I was just walking the cat....I swear!

Global food costs could climb this summer

Traders are watching soft commodities as the world enters into the growing season and what we are not finding is rain in the world's wheat fields.

Drought is crushing wheat farmers from Australia to United States and everywhere in between, including Russia and South Africa.

Australia, Russia and the United State. are likely to end up with the largest yield reduction to global supply since the 2003 supply shortage, which could in turn send prices soaring to the highest in a year.

Potatoes and field corn stretch the food budget remarkably. Both are easy to grow, and better yet, easy to process on a home scale. They need a large garden for a significant yield, but not that large. Last year, I got more food than we could eat off 1/8 acre of potatoes, field corn, dry beans, peas, squash and malting barley, and that was with room for my wheat, sunflower and corn variety trials.

I assume the malting barley is for beverages, not bread.

On a related note:

Google Trends Shows Why The Status Quo "Powers That Be" Should Be Scared. Very Scared

The volume of searches for the phrase 'Bank Run' has just hit an all-time high - higher now than even during the peak of the Lehman Brothers 'moment'

It's worth remembering that in the last great depression the bank runs didn't start until two years after the stock market crash:

Since Yesterday at Project Gutenberg

... All over the country there began a whispering, barely audible at first, then louder and louder: "Trouble's coming. They say there's a run on the trust company down the street. Better get your money out of the bank."

The murmur ran among the bankers: "Trouble's coming. Better sell some bonds and get cash before it's too late. Better withdraw your balances on deposit in New York."

It ran among the men of wealth: "Better put everything into cash. Get gold if you can."

It spread to Europe: "Better get gold out of the United States. Better sell the dollar."

The financial machinery of the country began to freeze into rigidity, the industrial and commercial machinery to slow down...


Cops as bank representatives now....interesting.

Police urge Greeks to keep money in bank
Scale of withdrawals from Greek banks has led to speculation that eurozone-wide guarantee is need to maintain confidence


Are they the same ones that voted overwelmingly for the Neo-Nazi party?

"Panic Alert"
" ... eurozone-wide guarantee is need(ed) to maintain confidence."

On an economics blog that I also follow, it is claimed that the economy of Greece is about 0.5% of the whole world economy. The poster of this claim thinks that there is no way that even a total collapse of Greece could produce anything more than a momentary blip on the world economy. Perhaps thousands of European bankers would jump from tall buildings because of their embarrassment at having lost money on a bad bet. But would that really matter? They are leeches, anyway. At least the ones that would jump from tall building are useless. It will be a kind of Darwinian winnowing of the ranks of bankers, I think.

And "maintain confidence"? Who can take the guarantees of these clowns as seriously?

Another possibility is an outbreak of kuru engendered by the ritual eating of the flesh of the fallen bankers.

On a slightly more serious note, The people of Greece will survive. The people of Europe will survive. Money will be slightly more worthless than it is now. Some other crisis will be invented in order to keep our minds off the important business of enjoying life, but it won't work. ... But some day, some day, maybe real soon now, the world end. Really end. For sure. ;-)

They are probably searching for information on bank runs in Greece.

Of course, it all could go smoothly "without a hitch"; no credit crunch, no bank runs, no flight to safety, no crashing stock markets, no decades of struggle and social unrest, no splitting up of the eurozone, no ethnic animosities, no uber-nationalism, no right wing fanaticism, no border skirmishes or armed hostilities, no revolutions, no depression, no rise of fascism...just a smooth transition to a new, slimmed-down version of the EZ. After all, that's what Germany is expecting. And they could be right.

Can't we all just get along? Haven't we always?

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, the Realism and the Outlook


The theory indicates several key issues/circumstances are required to enable-to-optimize LENR and explains the various experimental observations, including the often long initiation times required in some experiments. If the theory is experimentally validated in detail, it provides the understanding to shift LENR research from discovery into engineering development. The theory indicates energy densities, several some several million times chemical. The current experiments are in the 10's to hundreds range. However, several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted, indicating when the conditions are "right" prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released.

The "precautionary principle" demands that we core down and determine realism for this arena, given the truly massive-to-mind boggling benefits – solutions to climate, energy and the limitations that restrict the NASA Mission areas, all of them. The key to space exploration is energetics. The key to supersonic transports and neighbor-friendly personal fly/drive air vehicles is energetics, as simplex examples of the potential implications of this area of research.

There are estimates using just the performance of some of the devices under study that 1% of the nickel mined on the planet each year could produce the world's energy requirements at the order of 25% the cost of coal

Bushnell is a credit stealing coattailer. He has contributed nothing to the field of LENR. Yes, LENR is real. Credit goes to people like Mike McKubre, Frank Gordon, Miles, Godes, Piantelli, Takahashi, Kitamura, Swartz, Hagelstein, Miley, Storms, and others.

Until we see a practical proof that this is a viable energy source, I will continue to consider it much like alchemy. And, though good scientists may theorize and experiment, they will be, to my mind, similar to Isaac Newton. Good scientists engaged in folly.



Until we see a practical proof that this is a viable energy source

This "we" for whom you speak of - what would be "proof"?

I can state that Stirling Cycle engines are not a viable prime mover as "we" do not see them in stores for $100-$200 for a HP of output energy.

Doesn't mean that Stirling Cycle engines don't exist.

It's real Craig, that's what the guy from NASA is saying - and it has enough power to melt windows. I wonder if anyone can find a link to any reports of those melted labs...

MIT was the source of the biggest skepticism, but they now say it's real. See the second presentation from MIT, they have a 1gram reactor they call a Nanor, they can turn it on and off at will http://theatomunexplored.com/?page_id=133 The slides from the presentation are here: http://www.theatomunexplored.com/wp-content/docs/2hagelstein.pdf

Peter Haglestien says MIT made some mistakes and even hid some data from their earlier testing - likely just skeptics, but they may also have wanted to protect their high energy fusion programs. But, they now invite anyone to come see it.

Looks like practical proof to me, not sure how much more you need to see. It's all still at the wright brothers stage right now, but that will change.

I wonder if anyone can find a link to any reports of those melted labs...

Agreed. Hard to believe with all the people with cameras in their pockets no one has photos of such.

I don't think MIT has said anything about cold fusion. People who have some connection with them may have, but that's not the same thing. So far, it looks like just another black box. The University of Bologna had a connection with Rossi, and ended up embarrassed when it turned out to be a scam. I don't see anything in that video that's proof of anything.

Written by sfhaze:
... it has enough power to melt windows.

Windows can be melted with exothermic chemical reactions. Meaningless qualitative statements intended to shock and awe people into believing suggest that it just is not so.

Dennis M. Bushnell has an M.E. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and is the chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center. I think he wants to build something instead of understand it. I hope he does not lead NASA on another failed search for a Holy Grail of spaceflight. NASA is still trying to figure out how to make a scramjet engine practical.

Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return?

Splat! Four decades ago, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer model called World3 warned of such a possible course for human civilization in the 21st century.


Gasoline Price Superspike Underway in Northwest US states and adjacent British Columbia

So far a superspike in the wholesale price of gasoline in Oregon - 60 cents a gallon in one day - has not affected retail prices to any great degree, well at least so far.

Most likely the wholesale price will be temporary, and not spill over to retail prices for very long - but maybe not the next time.

In Western Washington, Drivers See Gasoline Prices Heading the Wrong Way

Published: May 24, 2012

One thin dime separates the current average price of a regular gallon of gas from Tacoma’s historic high of $4.37 that was set in late June 2008. And while most Americans have caught a break over the last year, with average prices falling more than 4 percent per gallon compared with this time last year, in Western Washington they were up almost 8 percent as of Wednesday, according to the Oil Price Information Service, a petroleum-pricing research group.

A bottleneck in the archipelago of oil refineries that supply the region is the short explanation; some are closed for maintenance, one here in Washington is temporarily disabled after a fire. The resulting pincer — a still-tough economy compounded by stinging transportation costs — has clipped wallets in places like Tacoma, a working town south of Seattle still tied to the world of timber and shipping.


US WCoast Products - Portland gasoline jumps

Wed May 23, 2012 7:49pm EDT

HOUSTON, May 23 (Reuters) - Unleaded gasoline climbed to
$1.10 a gallon over the price for NYMEX RBOB gasoline Wednesday
in the Portland, Oregon, spot market on rumors of a problem with
the restart of BP Plc's 225,000 barrel per day (bpd)
Cherry Point, Washington, refinery, traders said.

Also lifting prices in West Coast spot markets was a 1.186-
million barrel drop in West Coast gasoline inventory last week,
according to a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Energy
Information Administration.

On Tuesday, gasoline traded in Portland at 51 cents over


Gas prices near record highs at 149.5 cents at some pumps in Metro Vancouver

By Tiffany Crawford, Vancouver Sun May 24, 2012 11:58 AM

Gas prices at some pumps are nearing record highs and are expected to climb as demand increases in the spring and summer months.

According to gasbuddy.com the average price of a litre of gas at the pump today in Vancouver is 147.8 cents. That compares with the national average of 127.6 cents.


On March 19, I posted the following:

The superspike next time will not necessarily be caused by a rise in the price of oil, although the rising price of oil - especially of high oil grades - indicates falling supplies relative to demand.

The superspike will more likely be caused by a failure to deliver the right type of oil products to the right locations.


On March 19, I posted the following:

The superspike next time will not necessarily be caused by a rise in the price of oil, although the rising price of oil - especially of high oil grades - indicates falling supplies relative to demand.

The superspike will more likely be caused by a failure to deliver the right type of oil products to the right locations.

My question, and the question of all of us is, "Charles! How did you know??!"


To over-simplify, the quality and sources of oil are becoming less and less matched up with refinery capacity. Mostly this is because that even as the world stays on a 'peak oil plateau', the quality of oil is dropping, and refiners in general don't want to make expensive changes to adjust. These quality changes may occur slowly and marginally, and can not be clearly anticipated by the oil industry.

At some point in time, somewhere sooner or later, the type and quality of available oil will not longer match refiners capacity, and this may result in 'excess oil' or an 'oil glut' somewhere even while for example, a gasoline shortage develops. Witness oil tankers arriving on the West Coast returning to Alaska with oil two to three weeks ago.

Gas prices expected to spike in Portland
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 4:10 PM

PORTLAND - Portland area motorists could see a sharp rise in gasoline prices in the next few days and through the weekend, according to a senior analyst at a gas-tracking website.

"I expect stations to increase prices as much as 10-35 cents per gallon by the conclusion of the weekend, with some stations starting to raise prices immediately," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst.


Dowm here in the Bay area (far far east bay), we had dropped substantially from the spring high roughly $4.05 down to below $3.80, thern suddenly a few weeks back if jumped to above $4.10 in just two or three days. I suppose there is some connection (gas moving to/from nearby market areas)?

I posted a comment the other day regarding the Imperial [70% Exxon] Dartmouth refinery shutdown...

Imperial weighs sale, conversion of Dartmouth refinery

“The Dartmouth refinery operates in the highly competitive, oversupplied Atlantic basin, which is open to significant global competition,” Imperial vice-president Gilles Courtemanche told a news conference.

“Demand has declined in recent years, and despite tremendous effort by our employers, the refinery has not met financial expectations and returns,” he said, adding it has been losing money for years.

But the Imperial executive said the company is not motivated by that temporary phenomenon, but rather by the prospect of continued weak demand in northeastern North America and increasing competition from both domestic and foreign refiners.

"Lack of demand is a pretty strong financial case for shuting down a refinery. The received wisdom that the Brent-WTI spread is the reason for East Coast refinery closures may need examining."

I spotted something in a translated Kjell Aleklett article on the Energy Bulletin that points to one of the reasons that the Atlantic basin is oversupplied.

Energy policies will lead to diesel fuel rationing in Europe

These political decisions mean that the need for gasoline production is reduced while the demand for diesel is growing. But refineries are unable to change the mix of their production output rapidly enough to keep up with these political ambitions.

The reality is that the European storage capacity for gasoline is full while there is a shortage of diesel fuel. Continued political movement down this path will force closure of some refineries in Europe that cannot earn sufficient income from gasoline production since gasoline storages that are full cannot be filled further. It is, therefore, very probable that today’s political decisions will lead to rationing of diesel fuel.

In Europe the cars are more likely to be diesel and the proportion of diesel cars is increasing, unlike North America. But the European refineries unavoidably still produce gasoline.

Essentially their is a glut of gasoline in Europe that can easily be shipped across the Atlantic for a better price, a price that is less than the East Coast refineries can, probably, afford to match. And if European rules continue to favour diesel cars then their is no short to medium term reason for an East Coast refiner to expect the glut to go away.

The received wisdom that the Brent-WTI spread is shutting down East coast refineries is just too simple an explanation; and it's not necessarily valid either.