Drumbeat: July 30, 2012

David Strahan: Monbiot peak oil u-turn based on bad science, worse maths

Plenty of ink has already been spilled by oil depletion experts exposing some of the wildly optimistic assumptions contained in Maugeri’s report. More damning is that the work is shot through with crass mistakes that render its forecast worthless.

When I interviewed him, Mr Maugeri was forced to admit a mathematical howler that would disgrace the back of an envelope, and it also became clear he did not understand the work of the other forecasters he attacks. It also looks as if he has double or even triple counted a vital component of his predicted oil glut.

Oil Falls for First Day in Five as European Confidence Worsens

Oil declined in New York for the first time in five days as European economic confidence worsened, fanning concern that fuel consumption may slow.

West Texas Intermediate futures dropped as much as 0.8 percent, reversing an earlier gain of 0.9 percent. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in euro area dropped to 87.9 this month from 89.9 in June, the European Commission said in Brussels. That’s the lowest since September 2009. The euro dropped as much as 0.8 percent against the dollar. Crude had advanced on speculation that European policy makers will act to resolve the region’s debt crisis.

Gas prices turn upward after long skid

(CNN) -- U.S. gasoline prices have gone up by nearly a dime a gallon in the past two weeks, reversing a three-month slide amid an increase in crude oil costs, according to a new nationwide survey.

Will Natural Gas Continue To Trade Up?

During July (up to date) the price of Henry Hub (spot) rose by 12.77%; the future price for August also increased by 7.09%; United States Natural Gas (UNG) price increased by 7.5%. The upcoming expiry of short term futures might bring down natural gas prices in the last couple of days of the month.

Hedge Funds Add Wagers in Longest Streak Since 2009: Commodities

Hedge funds raised commodity bets in the longest bullish streak in three years as speculation that policy makers will increase economic stimulus drove prices toward the biggest monthly rally since October.

Edison confirms guidance on gas renegotiation

(Reuters) - Edison, Italy's No. 2 utility, said on Monday a renegotiation of long-term gas contracts will allow it to meet its full-year operating target after core earnings in the first half fell on ongoing weak demand.

Asian Refiners to Increase August Crude Imports From Angola

Asian refiners will boost imports of Angolan crude in August to the highest level in six months while purchases from Nigeria will drop to a new low, a survey of seven traders and an analysis of loading plans obtained by Bloomberg News showed.

Does oil giant Chevron want Chavez to win reelection in Venezuela?

Chevron has been in Venezuela since the 1920s when politicians were heavier handed than Chavez. Now, Chevron in Venezuela may be too big to nationalize.

Gazprom eyes shipping LNG to Vietnam-statement

(Reuters) - Russian state-run gas monopoly Gazprom said on Monday it agreed with the Vietnamese state oil group Petrovietnam on potential supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Vietnam.

Russia aims to up energy production

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said it aims to increase production at one of the largest natural gas fields in the country with the installation of new wells.

Gazprom announced it completed construction and installation of 42 additional wells at the Cenomanian deposit of the Zapolyarnoye field in the northern Yamal-Nenets autonomous area.

Tony Hayward Loads Trucks With Kurdish Oil Awaiting Pipe

Tony Hayward, the former chief executive officer at BP Plc (BP/), is now loading a fleet of as many as 500 trucks a day while he waits for a new pipeline to carry oil from his fields in northern Iraq.

Turkmenistan takes TAPI on the road

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (UPI) -- Turkmenistan will present the economic prospects of a planned natural gas pipeline to India in a road show through October, the government said.

Chevron invests $500 mln to lift Bangladesh gas output

(Reuters) - Chevron Corp will invest about $500 million to raise its natural gas production in Bangladesh by more than a quarter in 2014 to meet rising local demand, the company said on Monday.

With the investment, Chevron will remain the largest natural gas producer in Bangladesh, which currently faces up to 500 million cubic feet a day (mmcfd) of gas shortages.

The Guardian Seriously Overestimates Vladimir Putin's Weakness and Vulnerability

Meanwhile courtesy of the US Energy Information Administration here is what Brent crude has done from the beginning of 2011 through last week. Decide for yourself if this looks like a “collapse” in oil prices:

Syrian regime claims gains in Aleppo, rebels deny losses

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian government forces mounted new ground attacks against rebel-controlled neighborhoods in Syria's commercial hub of Aleppo, the state media said Monday, but failed to dislodge the opposition from their strongholds, according to activists.

Syria Faces Economic Endgame Amid Chaos as Sanctions Bite

The city pulsed to a beat it hadn’t felt for decades as it welcomed its new president. Intellectuals met at private political salons for open, lively discussions of topics they had only dared to mention in whispers before: demands for greater democracy, the suspension of emergency law, an end to the ruling party’s domination.

Iran's Khamenei: Reliance on Oil Sales a ‘Trap’

Iran should wean itself off sales of its vast oil resources to power its economy, the country's clerical supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, as its crude exports become increasingly hampered by Western sanctions.

Revenues from crude oil sales supply about half of Iran's national budget and make up about 80 percent of its foreign exports, but the Islamic Republic is struggling to find buyers for its crude, with top Asian consumers cutting purchases as Western sanctions choke off business.

Iran's oil minister to visit Turkey, meet officials

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran is expected to try to revive demand for its oil in Turkey, its biggest European customer, this week when, according to Turkish energy ministry officials, its oil minister is to meet with Turkish officials in Ankara.

Failed Wisconsin Oil Pipe Section Heads to Lab, U.S. Says

The section of an Enbridge Energy Partners LP (EEP) pipeline that leaked crude will be sent to a metallurgical laboratory to determine the cause of the release that shut part of the world’s longest oil pipeline, U.S. regulators said.

India blackout leaves 300 million without power

(Reuters) - Grid failure left more than 300 million people without power in New Delhi and much of northern India for hours on Monday in the worst blackout for more than a decade, highlighting chronic infrastructure woes holding back Asia's third-largest economy.

The lights in Delhi and seven states went out in the early hours, leaving the capital's workers sweltering overnight and then stranded at metro stations in the morning rush hour as trains were cancelled.

Japan's Future -- Fossil or Nuclear?

How will Japan meet its energy demands in the next two decades? There are two short-term choices: 1) decommission all nuclear plants and replace them with new fossil fuel plants, or 2) restart the nuclear fleet and upgrade their capacity to replace the lost capacity of the Fukushima plants. There are some variations on these two, e.g., shut down only the oldest plants (twelve pre-date 1980), build a few new gas plants, or adjust the particular mix of coal versus gas, but the economic and environmental costs of these two paths are vastly different.

Waste Project Is Abandoned Following Protests in China

BEIJING — Angry demonstrators entered a government office in the port city of Qidong, near Shanghai, on Saturday and smashed computers and destroyed furniture to protest a waste discharge plant that they said would pollute the water supply.

In reaction, the local government Web site said Saturday that plans for the discharge plant, which was to be part of a paper manufacturing plant, had been abandoned.

China's rapid industrialization fuels more public protests

Environmental experts cheer the growing rights awareness among China's citizens that forced the Qidong decision, but they caution that China will face many more such protests unless the government overhauls its opaque decision-making process and allows the public to participate.

As China keeps up its frenzied pace of industrialization and urbanization, more protests are inevitable as China continues to "deny the communities the right to be informed and participate," said Ma Jun of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs.

Changing Cities: New York Goes Green…Kind Of

In the heart of New York City, among the flash and dazzle of Times Square, there is one sign that is at once a boast and an unintentionally sad reminder of how far the city is from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ambitious plan for a greener city.

On the billboard, right underneath the bold words "imagination is what drives us to change," is the announcement: "Times Square's only solar powered billboard."

From the Ground Up: An Adventure Begins

A couple quits the city to volunteer for green construction work in Utah, with the ultimate goal of building their own home in rural New York State.

Get ready to pay more for your steak

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The drought that's spreading across the Midwest is already squeezing consumers, and it's only going to get worse, as the rising cost of soybeans and corn leads to higher prices for meat, peanut butter and other staples.

Farm bill standoff worries farmers

across 31 states including Ohio disaster areas because of the drought and farmers are in limbo waiting for Congress to pass a farm bill by the Sept. 30 deadline.

The holdup: a coalition including those on the left of the political spectrum is concerned that the bill being considered doesn’t do enough for providing food to the poor, while those on the right are concerned it spends too much.

How USA's drought is changing how business is done

Ken Hunt's A&K Construction company is building a high school and middle school in Paducah, Ky., and it's been so hot this summer that he's allowed his workers to start as early as 5:30 a.m. to escape the heat.

More damage expected after floods in North Korea kill dozens

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Heavy rain across large swathes of North Korea has caused widespread flooding and killed dozens of people, state media reported, with warnings of more damage still to come.

The downpours have been rolling over the impoverished country for more than a week, sweeping away crops and destroying buildings, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in reports over the weekend.

Blood feuds still boiling in Albania

Young women had always been exempt from the ancient code of retribution known as the Kanun, which is still enforced in the nearly impenetrable mountains of this small nation on the Adriatic Sea. That changed with the killing of Marie Qukaj, 17.

Assassins from a rival family shot Qukaj and her grandfather as they harvested corn on their farm in the Dukagjin region. The families had quarreled over irrigation rights, and though killing a boy would have been considered proper according to the code, murdering a girl in the family was a line that had never been crossed.

For Desolate, Shrinking Salton Sea, Another Dream

A vast accidental lake 40 miles from Palm Springs, Calif., could soon vanish, but there are plans to build a new town at its edge.

Trina Solar Cuts Shipments Forecast on China Delays, U.S. Tariff

Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) cut its forecasts for second-quarter shipments by about a fifth because of delays to solar power projects in China and the effect on U.S. demand of anti-dumping duties on imports from the Asian country.

Scotland opens first marine energy park

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker will today cut the ribbon on Scotland's first designated zone for the development of marine energy, delivering a major boost to the fledgling sector.

When the world burned less: Cool climate, not population loss, led to fewer fires

In the years after Columbus’ voyage, burning of New World forests and fields diminished significantly – a phenomenon some have attributed to decimation of native populations by European diseases. But a new University of Utah-led study suggests global cooling resulted in fewer fires because both preceded Columbus in many regions worldwide.

“The drop in fire [after about A.D. 1500] has been linked previously to the population collapse. We’re saying no, there is enough independent evidence that the drop in fire was caused by cooling climate,” says the study’s principal author, Mitchell Power, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Utah.

Carbon tax gets unusual support

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Calls for a carbon tax on fossil fuels like gasoline and coal are coming from a surprising quarter these days -- Republicans.

In recent weeks, several prominent Republican thinkers have floated the idea of imposing higher taxes on gasoline, coal and natural gas. The increases, they say, would be offset by tax cuts on paychecks, dividends or corporate taxes.

Sydney will be without a refinery by 2014. The following article shows a graph on Chevron's declining petroleum sales since 1999

After Sydney's refinery closure: Caltex to import fuel from Chevron's shrinking sales

From last year

Australia's fuel import vulnerability increases as Sydney's Clyde refinery is closing

If you think overstated reserves are limited to exotic countries, think again...

BP Statistical Review 2012: Australia's proved oil reserves overreported by a factor of 2

Sounds like another light sweet crude refinery to close and be replaced by fuel refined from heavy sour crude from the middle east and refined in Singapore.

Kurnell was set up for Bass Strait crude in the 1960's, which is no longer available in sufficient quantities. Its replacement has been Tapis crude, most likely the most expensive oil on the planet.

Reuters Africa: GRAINS-Soy jumps to 1-week top, new-crop corn hits contract high

SINGAPORE, July 30 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans jumped 2
percent on Monday to a one-week top, while new-crop corn rose to
a contract high as the worst drought in five decades continued
to threaten crop yields across the U.S. grain belt with little
relief expected this week.

Wheat was up 1.3 percent to its highest since Tuesday,
buoyed by the rally in corn and production concerns in South
America and the Black Sea region....

... "The market needs to ration demand."
Chicago Board of Trade new-crop December corn rose 2
percent to $8.10-1/4 a bushel by 0108 GMT, after touching a high
of $8.13-3/4 a bushel, a contract high. Actively traded November
soy also gained 2 percent to $16.33-1/4 a bushel, the
highest since July 23...

Corn currently at $8.12/ bushel. I think the cost of that steak is the least of our worries.

Is the 10% ethanol blend still mandatory ?

While many people mistakenly think that the 10% blend is a federal requirement, recently raised to 15%, it's an allowance. Some mandates exist on the State and local level in the US, and some areas have E85 pumps for vehicles approved for such ("Flexfuel"). I can still get ethanol-free 87 octane gasoline nearby, for a premium price. The move is to install blending pumps at fuel stations so that consumers can chose the appropriate blend for their vehicle.

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_the_United_States

Assuming you're talking about the US, the situation is much more complicated than that. Some states have legislation requiring a 10% ethanol blend; some cities/regions have laws requiring oxygenated fuels (typically 10% ethanol) in order to meet federal air quality standards; at the federal level, legislation mandates a minimum number of gallons of ethanol that must be used, rather than a blend percentage. Interesting side note to the federal law: it requires a certain amount of cellulosic ethanol to be used, even though none is being produced commercially. There have been a number of headlines of the general flavor "Oil companies fined for failure to use non-existent fuel".

No worries, the US can simply stop using corn ethanol in gasoline. Oh wait, that likely puts the ethanol producers out of business and increases oil imports, causing prices for oil to rise along with the increasing prices for food. Call the FED and the World Bank, increase interest rates to head off a massive spike in inflation. But that kills the economy, so people won't have jobs to pay for that high priced food...

E. Swanson

I would add that farmers' debt and crop insurance are now being structured around higher grain prices. Not funny, how hard these things are to back out of without a lot of pain.

Tuesday update. Last night, CBS ran a story about the high cost of corn and farmers who want the ethanol fuel mandate cut back:

Livestock farmers hurt by soaring grain prices

From this morning's NYT:

Corn for Food, Not Fuel

Better to make ethanol from sugar or sugar beets, which have higher EROEI than corn ethanol...

E. Swanson

On the other hand, Ghung I am sure you have read several articles showing that the farmer only gets a few cents out of every food dollar. This one says 11.6 cents:

The situation is much different in the third world, where people usually prepare meals from scratch--where $8 corn (and increased wheat, rice, etc) is going to be catastrophic to a lot of people.

"The situation is much different in the third world..."

...my main concern, and why the article was sourced via Reuters Africa. I expect the average African to be more affected than the average American, though many Americans aren't likely to see it that way. Most here are more worried about paying more for E10 and Big Macs than starving. Witness the headline of Leanan's link, above, Get ready to pay more for your steak, didn't say "Get ready to starve" :-0

Priorities may vary, depending on location...

As a reminder, because we tend to forget:

The priority of the Main Stream Media ('MSM') is to profit, make money, as much as possible. Informing people has nothing to do with what they do. They sell your attention to advertisers. The ads are the true content, the shows and stories are simply filler.

Starving people are not good profit opportunities. The MSM caters to consumers, those who buy stuff. If a sector of the population is starving, they can be ignored (unless a consumer might want to read about them, then that becomes an opportunity to sell that reader to advertisers). Truly poor people are not an intended audience. My main point being that as long as there is one potential Big Mac consumer out there, the MSM will cater to them and not an entire starving continent.

The MSM will rightly ignore the non-consumers among us, while pitching brands of gasoline along with Big Macs. Starvation in Africa? Who cares? Unless perhaps we can slip in an ad for a Prius to the well-intentioned leftie's watching the report.

Cynical? No, true.

Completely true.

Quote of the day

"Starving people are not good profit opportunities'


Back in the 1970's, it became obvious that a hand-held scanner could be made that would read text from books and speak them aloud for those who can not see. A friend presented the idea to a venture capitalist that he knew of... and was told words I have never forgotten: "Blind people don't have any money."

But insurance companies and government programs do. And Ray Kurzweil made lots of money off the idea.

Well said!

There are messages in the programs, too...


A retired general hosting such a show is another step in the normalization of permanent war.
One of NBC’s corporate parents, General Electric, is a weapons manufacturer.

The situation is much different in the third world, where people usually prepare meals from scratch--where $8 corn (and increased wheat, rice, etc) is going to be catastrophic to a lot of people.

Yep. I've been saying this for years. Higher grain prices as a result of decreased US production (or diversion into biofuels) doesn't mean that people in the US starve; it means that people in Africa starve.

Sadly, mass starvation is the *only* solution to third world overpopulation allowed because population control is (still) taboo in the eyes of the public and press. If you try to have an adult conversation just about anywhere else about implementing a 1-child per family policy in horribly overpopulated regions (India, Africa, ME Indonensia, etc.), or even just eliminating tax subsidies for having children, you immediately get shouted down by ideologues who compare you to Nazi eugenicists.

Mass starvation is Mother Nature's "default" solution to overpopulation. And unlike other far less painful solutions, it doesn't require (highly unlikely) mass consensus on unpopular economic and political policies, the ability of the public to think critically or independently source data, the need to renounce one's ancient cherished religious or cultural beliefs, requiring personal sacrifice from people who equate the "greater good" with Communism, or force-feeding a massive dose of reality to the willfully ignorant. That's why the "default" plan is winning.

Good comment, and quite true.

Reminds me of another TOD keypost I roughed out but never did... "The malthusian case for corn ethanol". It's not only creepy, but logically valid.

If you try to have an adult conversation just about anywhere else about implementing a 1-child per family policy in horribly overpopulated regions (India, Africa, ME Indonensia, etc.), or even just eliminating tax subsidies for having children, you immediately get shouted down by ideologues who compare you to Nazi eugenicists.

Why limit that 'adult' conversation to countries outside the US?! I'd like to see incentives for zero population and then negative population growth happen right here and now, actually make that yesterday!

Anyone who thinks we are going to have a happy well fed world population of 9 billion or so needs to urgently seek the help of a mental health professional!

The Romney family (some of them), so far:


The Obama family (all of them), so far:


I notice that it is not a sailboat.

And the two Presidents before Obama only had one pregnancy (by their wives). I consider twins on the first pregnancy a very valid exception to "one child per family".


Your wish has already come true.

"As the economy tanked, the average number of births per woman fell 12% from a peak of 2.12 in 2007. Demographic Intelligence projects the rate to hit 1.87 this year and 1.86 next year — the lowest since 1987."


We are less than replacement already without any incentives.

Oh we got incentives, allright. Some friends of mine just had a baby. Routine delivery with no complications, one night in hospital for mother and baby, and the tab was $50,000. Luckily their insurance picked up nearly all of it. Without that they couldn't have afforded to have a baby.

In fact they still can't afford it, they just don't know it yet.

That $50k bill isn't real. It's inflated, then discounted again in a ritual dance between the hospital/providers and the insurers/3rd party payors.

Possibly, but I'm certainly not seeing it.

It's actually very, very difficult to tell what's going on out there. I like to rely on both anectodal evidence, intuition, and the hard statistics.

Regardless, a declining birth rate is not good enough. The death rate must rise.

No need to insist on it. (death rate) It will certainly do so when it is good and ready.

What WE need to take on is births, and create a tradition of approaching and dealing with this issue. Bring that conversation into the culture, not being afraid OR insensitive to the resistance it meets.


As an economist I would say 9 billion people can easily be fed. Higher prices will lower overall demand, at the same time new supplies will brought online and with time, substitutes for food will be found and consumed. As time progresses the scarcity will drop and demand will eventually fall into equilibrium with supply. If you allow enough time to pass demand will fall into equilibrium with supply. So no worries and just let the market find a solution to this problem. There is no need for external intervention.

*tongue firmly in cheek*

Just another engineering problem, as I see it. :)

I really want to argue with this and say "No . . . we can do better." But then I realize that we have to argue like crazy with a large superstitious contingent in the First World to adopt rational policies on the subject. In the Third World such policies will be denounced as racist genocide being pushed by the colonial oppressors. So yeah . . . it seems starvation will continue to be system for limiting population growth. :-(

I'll do my part by not having children. Actually, I just read an article that championed for more European babies, as we're currently set on a path toward negative growth (if it weren't for massive immigration). This in a continent where 25 million are unemployed!

Who should be the posterchild of overpopulated countries? If we go by what was the norm before agriculture, the entire world's population would be the people in Norway right now. "We" add 16 times as many to the world every year, births over deaths (80 million). It's interesting to note that the demographics of the world were more discussed by the powers that be in the 60s and 70s than currently. Why's that? The fanta morgana that is the alleged human innovative spirit?

Perhaps the reason there's little discussion of population is that TPTB have decided that it's hopeless to convince the general public to reduce the rate of making babies. After all, there have been serious programs to limit population growth in countries such as China and India, with limited success. Then, there's the religious factions who insist that making babies is god's will and to heck with anyone who says otherwise. Maybe the rich folks have already picked places to go to wait out the population crash, so that they and their children might survive. Maybe that's what Mr. Romney is hiding in his tax returns, along with the foreign bank accounts, etc. Perhaps there's hidden truth in that old story about Bush 41 and Bush 43 buying lots of land in Paraguay...

E. Swanson

Religious factions seem to be unaware that what is written in the bible and other religious texts reflects the needs of society at the time they were written and were not just a bunch of arbitrary rules laid down by someone. Encouraging people to marry and have lots of children made eminent sense when the infant mortality rate was high, the average life span was much lower than it is now, and there could be hostile neighbours to defend against. Indeed, the survival of a society would have depended on a healthy birthrate. We live in a much different world now and a high birth rate is no longer needed or sustainable. What should be happening is for religious leaders to start writing amendments to the bible, etc. to reflect the world we now live in. Actually it has already happened, depending on which church you belong to. The response from my Presbyterian minister 40 years ago to a question I had about the bible was that the bible was not intended to be interpreted literally.

The problem as I see it is that the Fundamentalist (both Christian and Muslim) don't agree with your Presbyterian minister. And the Fundamentalist are still procreating rather rapidly...

E. Swanson

I'm thinking that the Mormons would do well in a post-decline America, with one exception - they'll have to give up their fondness for large families.

It doesn't look like there's much hope for most of Africa. The population rose so fast even a drastic decline in fertility might not be enough. And growth rates across most of the continent have barely slowed down. Food supply is just barely increasing fast enough to feed each new generation, with less and less room for error. The most likely possibility is a series of massive famines with the rest of the world being unable to help much.

It doesn't look like there's much hope for most of Africa.... Food supply is just barely increasing fast enough to feed each new generation, with less and less room for error.

Only the food supply is not increasing fast enough, unless you count imported food as part of that supply. The map below shows the importers and exporters measured against calories consumed, and if you care about Africa's future, the map is discouraging indeed. A very large part of Africa's imported calories are in the form of bulk grain, and there are only a handful of countries located at the latitudes where grain grows best that are in a position to export. If Peak Oil means that transoceanic bulk shipping becomes impractical; if it means that the small number of exporting countries decide to convert their grain crop to biofuel; if global climate change means future harvests will be much smaller and the equivalent of the Export Land Model reduces exports; in any of those events, it's not a pretty picture.

Just how much food does Greenland export? The map seems to show it as a high net exporter of food, even with its low population, it seems to me that it is a stretch that Greenland is a high net exporter.

Fish - often caught by others (usually under license).


Percentage. What pop does Greenland have (my guess 1000), it doesn't take many fish/seals to reach 50% of the consumption of a thousand people.

56, 744, scattered in settlements along the coast.



Greenland has a population of 57,637 (July 2010 estimate),[55] of whom 88% are Greenlandic Inuit. The remaining 12% are of European descent, mainly Danish. The majority of the population is Lutheran. Nearly all Greenlanders live along the fjords in the south-west of the main island, which has a relatively mild climate.[56] Approximately 15,000 Greenlanders reside in Nuuk, the capital city.


Greenland is often lumped in with Denmark on these types of surveys, Denmark is also green on the map.

Overpopulation is never the direct cause of famine, and its hard to ascribe what role it does play. There's convincing arguments that overpopulation has played only a small role in the famines of the past 200 years. But the recent population growth, particularly across part of Asia and Africa, has just been so extreme its frightening. Its unprecedented in human history.

From the report: USDA: Food Dollar Series

RE: David Strahan: Monbiot peak oil u-turn based on bad science, worse maths

Nice post by Strahan. It points out some loosy goosy ink spilling bordering on, or crossing over into, propaganda.

A lie goes around the world before a correction gets its shoes on. (or something like that).

People prefer the happy optimistic report so that is the one that people are going to remember. No one wants to hear about the corrections from the doom & gloom people.

The USA is a net exporter of petroleum products don't you know? . . . so all our oil problems are solved.

Exactly. And for the record, I've found your average "liberal" American voter to be nearly as oblivious to facts and data (when they cast a bad light on the viability of "our way of life") as your average "conservative".

The statistics of a Pew poll are not in agreement with what you have found:

Let me tell you how I stumbled upon this effect -- which is really what set the book in motion. I think the key moment came in the year 2008 when I came upon Pew data showing:

That if you're a Republican, then the higher your level of education, the less likely you are to accept scientific reality -- which is, that global warming is human caused.

If you're a Democrat or Independent, precisely the opposite is the case.

This is actually a consistent finding now across the social science literature on the resistance to climate change. So, for that matter, is the finding that the denial is the worst among conservative white males -- so it has a gender aspect to it -- and among the Tea Party.

(Chris Mooney, Author). That is not the end of the matter if we take into consideration Dr. Mueller's recent recanting of the conservative talking point about global warming being the greatest hoax ever fostered on the American public, and now he instead embraces anthropogenic global warming.

On the issue of "peak oil" it would surprise me if those ideological boundaries changed, because, for one thing the fossil fuel industry is linked to global warming induced climate change in the public's mind.

Climate change won't happen as advertised by mainstream for a simple reason: the scenario which is the baseline is the IEA year 2000 oil forecast for future oil production.

We both know that won't happen.

So while climate change isn't a 'scam' or a 'fraud', it's not going to happen because PO is going to hit much earlier, it's already hitting now.

As a sidenote: around 50 % of democratic voters believed when asked in polls that Bush was behind 9/11.

For some, liberalism has ceased being a political identity and is now instead primarily a way to look down on other people, like aristocrats of old.

But I guess I shouldn't be pointing out that such an attitude rests on quicksand, especially when half the base of your own party are 9/11 truthers.

But then again, the Republicans have the birthers.
The difference is that many liberals are in denial about this. You can occassionally squeeze some truthful words from an educated conservative about his/her crazy base once in a while. Liberals in the U.S. have not yet moved across their own mild self-delusion.

Then again, I'm one of those who believe in a meritocratic technocracy and view political parties in general as a plague.

Climate change won't happen as advertised by mainstream for a simple reason: the scenario which is the baseline is the IEA year 2000 oil forecast for future oil production.

Just to limit the rise to 2C and this may still be optimistic.


Climate scientists have determined that temperature increases should be limited to 2°C — to avoid causing irreversible damage to our planet. To achieve this, global emissions need to peak by 2015 and decline thereafter reaching a reduction of 50 per cent by 2050.


Implications of “peak oil” for atmospheric CO2 and climate

Pushker A. Kharecha

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, New York, New York, USA

James E. Hansen

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, New York, New York, USA

Unconstrained CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning has been the dominant cause of observed anthropogenic global warming. The amounts of “proven” and potential fossil fuel reserves are uncertain and debated. Regardless of the true values, society has flexibility in the degree to which it chooses to exploit these reserves, especially unconventional fossil fuels and those located in extreme or pristine environments. If conventional oil production peaks within the next few decades, it may have a large effect on future atmospheric CO2 and climate change, depending upon subsequent energy choices. Assuming that proven oil and gas reserves do not greatly exceed estimates of the Energy Information Administration, and recent trends are toward lower estimates, we show that it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding about 450 ppm by 2100, provided that emissions from coal, unconventional fossil fuels, and land use are constrained. Coal-fired power plants without sequestration must be phased out before midcentury to achieve this CO2 limit. It is also important to “stretch” conventional oil reserves via energy conservation and efficiency, thus averting strong pressures to extract liquid fuels from coal or unconventional fossil fuels while clean technologies are being developed for the era “beyond fossil fuels”. We argue that a rising price on carbon emissions is needed to discourage conversion of the vast fossil resources into usable reserves, and to keep CO2 beneath the 450 ppm ceiling.

As a sidenote: around 50 % of democratic voters believed when asked in polls that Bush was behind 9/11.

Source please.

From your link:

"How likely is it that people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?" the poll asked.

A full 22.6% of Democrats said it was "very likely." Another 28.2% called it "somewhat likely."

That is: More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Too bad some folks are either too deluded or stupid to see the pattern here.

From the actual poll:

Answers: ( respondents)
Very likely 16%
Somewhat likely 20%
Not likely 59%
Don't know 5%

I didn't see where respondents were asked their party affiliation (nor did the question even mention Bush), only a group of questions about various bogus, hypothetical election parings and Bush's job performance. Must have missed something...

Other questions on the survey:

In general do you approve or disapprove of the job George W, Bush is doing as president?

Have you ever driven a motorcycle?

Have you ever driven or ridden on a motorcyle without a helmet?

The federal government is withholding proof of the existence of intelligent life from others planets?

The Pentagon was not struck by an airliner captured by terrorists but, instead was hit by a cruise missle fired by the U.S. military.

The collapse if the twin towers in New York was aided by explosives secretly planted in the two buildings.

Have you ever eaten food that fell on the floor without washing it again?

"How likely is it that people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?" the poll asked.

A full 22.6% of Democrats said it was "very likely." Another 28.2% called it "somewhat likely."

That is: More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks.

There are SEVERAL basic interpretation problems here. I think it is 'somewhat likely' that the SF Giants win the world series. Do I believe they will win? No. "Somewhat likely" . . . that could mean a 5% chance.

Also, "took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East" is not a totally crazy answer considering they got the 'Bin Laden determined to strike America' memo and they did nothing. I think it is a bad/wrong/incorrect assumption, but it is not totally crazy. And when you convert that to "believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks" you make it sound as if they are saying Bush intentionally participated in committing the attacks.

But here is the big one . . . THE QUESTION DOES NOT SAY BUSH! The question says "people in the federal government". That could be a random nutcases working in the post office! Well Michelle Bachmann thinks that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our government . . . so does that means she believe Bush is complicit in the 9/11 attacks?

Took no action to stop it. Motive aside, that doesn't sound far from the truth. I suspect it was more a case of the intelligence not being specific enough to be actionable. But if Bush was thinking an attack would play to his favor, it would be easier to take no action -especially when the action needed wasn't clear. So where does that put me on the spectrum?

I was amazed to read recently (not in the ancient times of Bush-2.0) that 37% of the population things aliens (of the UFO variety) are among us. About twice as many believe in angels, which is far wackier.


"As a sidenote: around 50 % of democratic voters believed when asked in polls that Bush was behind 9/11 ... half the base of your own party are 9/11 truthers."

A tad ad hominem apparently.

Have you read the CoIntelPro manual? It has all the tricks of the trade:

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

If I wanted to reply in kind, I could point out to you that the premier 9/11 activist, Richard Gage, a professional architect, is a life long republican conservative. A decent man for sure.

But that really does not have anything to do with the Pew Research that you have not countered with a link to a valid rebuttal of that Pew Research.

Nor with the subject at hand: Strahan's showing that Monbiot was had by a hack.

Nor with the subject at hand: Strahan's showing that Monbiot was had by a hack.

Actually I think Monbiot is just looking for things to justify his strange recent position changes

Fukushima has convinced him to do a U-turn on nuclear power and he now believes Fukushima proves nuclear is safe. Then we pass Peak Conventional Oil and now Monbiot is somehow convinced Peak Oil is false even though he believed in it before.

Something has always seemed very wrong to me about Monbiot. If he is true to his nuclear u-turn he will soon start running attacks disguised as news items on his former fellow Peak Oilers.

Personally I'm expecting him to fully embrace fascism soon and denounce anyone he has ever known.

I recently compared Monbiot with Christopher Hitchens as Monbiot's aboutface seems very close to that of Hitchens's.

"As a sidenote: around 50 % of democratic voters believed when asked in polls that Bush was behind 9/11 ... half the base of your own party are 9/11 truthers."

This is totally bogus. The questions are generally phrased in an ambiguous manner such as "Is Bush responsible for 9/11." . . . and thus if a person thinks "Yeah, he got that memo stating 'Bin Laden determined to strike America' but didn't do anything about it. So yeah, he is responsible!" are they a 'truther'? Clearly not.

Fortunately, the number of truthers is pretty small. And Alex Jones . . . clearly not a Democrat is a king of them.

Do you often just make ridiculous stuff up and post it on forums? Your post is riddled with absurdities, and is nothing but a liberal-bashing screed.

BTW, Climate Change is happening already, and a lot more is baked in the cake if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow. And CO2 emissions continue to increase year after year...

Written by Svamp:
So while climate change isn't a 'scam' or a 'fraud', it's not going to happen because PO is going to hit much earlier....

Except as humans deplete the easy to get light sweet cruce oil, they are increasing the production of poorer quality resources, such as tar sands, that emit more fossil carbon.


Yes, and it goes around the U.S. far faster than that because of The War on Eggs. ;)

What did Dr. Bartlett say about the greatest failing of the human race?

However, Maugeri's mistakes are understandable, since he appears to be a resident of Fantasy Island, where oil fields don't decline. Unfortunately, the world seems to be increasingly embracing "Fantasy Island Economics" when it comes to global oil supplies.

This is not as sophisticated as Bartlett's expression, but I saw it yesterday and thought it might make a good, complementary Topquote..

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -Bertrand Russell

Thanks jokuhl, I love that quote.

A variation on the theme from Yeats' "Second Coming"

"The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. "

Known as the Dunning-Kruger effect

Strahan does excellent work.

I have over a dozen books on PO but if I had to choose/recommend only one, it would probably be Strahan's "The Last Oil Shock" (2007, 292 pgs). Somewhat dated now, but so are the other books.
His chapter on government reluctance to investigate PO ("Memo to Mr. Wicks) was superb.

Those arguments/concerns at least as valid today as they were in 2007 (probably more-so for the UK, given their rate of decline).

Weakness in Calif. Electricity Trading Exposed

California officials say a big electricity trader has apparently figured out a way to exploit vulnerabilities in the state's $8 billion-a-year electricity market, just as Enron Corp. did a decade ago.

The Sacramento Bee ( http://sacb.ee/QraIh4 ) reports authorities are investigating a subsidiary of the New York investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co., which may have grabbed an extra $73 million during 2010 and 2011.

From the second link:

What allegedly happened is complicated. McCullough, the consultant, said JPMorgan found a way to manipulate two wholesale markets run by the ISO – the "day-ahead" market, in which power is sold for future use, and the "real-time" market, reserved for last-minute deals.

In the day-ahead market, he said, JPMorgan priced its power cheaply – so cheaply that its bid was sure to be accepted. In the real-time market, he said, the company priced the power more expensively – so it was certain the market would buy little if any electricity.

Because its bids in the day-ahead market were accepted, McCullough said, the company ensured it would collect substantial payments – the "make-whole" fees – for running the plants at minimal output.

The fees are an incentive to generators to keep their power plants humming and ready to ramp up production at a moment's notice.

The ISO, in a filing this week with the federal agency, says JPMorgan's alleged scheme twisted that concept out of whack, creating an "inequitable windfall."

Through its bidding, the company collected fees "that were far more than was necessary in order to ensure adequate service," the ISO's lawyers wrote.

Just a pure manipulation of the system with no value produced for the public... who's bail-out money they also took.

Four face death in Iran over $2.6bn banking fraud

Four people face execution over a $2.6bn bank (£1.7bn) bank fraud described as the biggest financial scam in Iranian history. Two more of the 39 accused in the case were jailed for life, state media reported yesterday.

The trial, which began in February, involved some of the country's largest financial institutions and raised uncomfortable questions about top-level corruption in Iran's tightly-controlled economy.

2.6 billion: "the biggest financial scam in Iranian history"... these people are obviously nowhere as advanced and sophisticated as we are at this sort of thing... 2 billion is Jamie Dimon's "toss it out and giggle, tempest in a teapot" estimate of a trivial trespass*... and, can you imagine, are they actually savage and backwards enough to punish a financial officer? Or were the perpetrators so inept as to not capture the regulatory agencies, purchase the judiciary, and lobby to get the laws of the land changed first before consummating their schemes?


Jamie Dimon’s next apology?
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — California power grid officials have brought in the feds to recover $73 million they claim a J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. trading unit pocketed by gaming the state’s electricity market... To be fair, J.P. Morgan’s dispute with California is peanuts compared with its London Whale trading scandal, which shaved $5.8 billion from its bottom line... Dimon first dismissed the London Whale as a “tempest in a teapot.”

I just want to say thanks for all the work you all do here on the oildrum. I want to especially thank WESTEXAS, GAIL, HEADING OUT, and ART BERMAN.

I have included some of Gail's and Jeff Browns work in my article:

Why is the Future Supply of Silver More at Risk than Gold?


You are welcome! Thanks for an interesting article!

It is probably not a deliberate move, but the Chinese are buying up about 13% of British North Sea oil production. It is a side-effect of buying up the assets of a couple of big Canadian oil companies. China mainly has its eye on Canadian oil reserves, which are vastly bigger than British ones.

The Chinese Make An Offer For North Sea Oil That Britain Can't Refuse

History is being made in the North Sea, as China makes its first significant investment in its oilfields through two major deals.

State-controlled energy giant CNOOC last Monday unveiled a $15.1bn (£9.7bn) bid for Canada’s Nexen, the second biggest oil producer in the North Sea. If successful, the takeover will be China’s largest ever foreign investment.

That same day, Chinese refiner Sinopec said it would pay $1.5bn for a 49pc stake in the UK unit of Canada’s Talisman Energy, also a top 10 oil and gas producer in the North Sea.

I checked in to see what the comments were on the power outage in India. 300 million!



I was surprised there were none yet. Spare electrons anyone? Essentially the entire population equivalent of the continental United States lost power. Kind of makes our outages seem inconsequential. I wonder when our turn comes for the equivalent?


@wiseindian: Any comments on the massive blackouts in India?

India blackout leaves 300 million without power

You've mentioned that folks are used to this on a more contained scale, but the area affected is quite large:


One wonders how this event will affect diesel/fuel availability since so many are dependent on generators for backup. Do folks stockpile in anticipation of this sort of thing?

Yea people are used to local power cuts. Stocking up on Diesel, candles etc is common, we don't even call it stocking up, it's in the normal scheme of things. But this was a systemic collapse, nothing can prepare you for this.

Good thing was that this hit people at midnight, which spared people a lot of agony and lasted for around 8-10 hours, but still resulted in most trains getting canceled, water treatment plants halted. Traffic lights out etc etc, though by noon most of the power had been restored. Reasons for the blackout have not been disclosed yet, most likely it was triggered by the following chain

overloading of grid -> use of more diesel gensets to pump water for irrigation + hydel power shortage -> drought

The last such blackout was in 2001. And I didn't face this one, I live in the southern half of the country. This account is based on experiences of friends and family.

Overloading of grid results in drought? wow. You've got some wild imaginative powers there ;) Your chain of reasoning is Not Even Wrong I don't know what to say about it :)

That said, the drought definitely has been playing a role in the ongoing power shortage. The state where I now live (Tamil Nadu) is a surplus producer due to a pretty good wind capacity. In this windy season, we're experiencing absolutely no power cuts. But some say we may end up giving the surplus to the national grid and that we may also be forced to bear the brunt.

You've got some wild imaginative powers there

And you jump to conclusions too fast. It's a backward chain. I thought that much was quite obvious.

Correct,the area effected is very large but to make a few points.
1.300 million is an impressive figure but more than 50% do not have a power connection any way.
2.All cities in India except Delhi(politicians live here) and Bombay(nuclear and a separate grid so is isolated) suffer power blackouts through out the year,so this just another one, but a long one to say.
3.All industries small or big have an industrial diesel generator as standby.All houses and small shops have the small gensets of Honda,Suzuki,Kubota etc to run a few fans and lights.Though the pollution from them is terrific.
4.Water supply at the best of the times is sporadic so people have their own bore wells.
Yes,this is really a big one but the public will go thru.They have a lot of resilience. What will happen is ofcourse that with the monsoon shortfall the dams are becoming dry leading to less water issuance for irrigation and also hydel power.This means more crude or diesel will be imported leading to a worsening trade deficit which is already above safe levels.

One wonders how this event will affect diesel/fuel availability since so many are dependent on generators for backup.

You'd think that perhaps after a blackout like this they will finally start seeing the LIGHT and begin to invest a lot more in PV and battery generators instead of diesel powered ones... Yet something tells me that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.


Hey Fred; (and anyone, of course)

I just dropped my mother-in-law a note about having her help do some in-home testing of a little solar kit I'm going to pull together, if she can front the cash for the major pieces. She's in Silverspring MD, and just went through that blackout.. long walks through the heat to get a phone charged up at the library..etc.. She's interested, depending of course on the real costs.. but she's also well aware of the reality of these things, and knows we need to be better prepared than we are so far, and that even a little power can make a big difference. (She already put up some Hot Water collectors a couple years back, and has been boosting the insulation in her house..)

It'll probably be smaller than the kit you showed us a couple years back which was what, 150 watts of PV or so?

This will be prob. on the order of 50-80 watts, with enough storage (12-24 AH?) to help with really the 'emergency essentials', which in this case includes keeping a phone and maybe a netbook or laptop going a bit, run a few simple lights, a radio, clock, an 'AA-C-D' battery charger, etc..

Anyway, if you ran across any good sources for connective bits, low-priced fuse and especially switch and plug panels (usu Auto parts or RV stores have worked), housing ideas, LVD and charge controllers you've liked.. I would love to pick through them as I work up a plan for this. I've been using 5.5x2.1mm coax plugs as the standard 12vdc connector, and MCM has been selling extensions with these ends for great prices lately, tho' the cables are not meaty enough for bigger loads..

I'm still using my own prototype of this sort of system, running four or five of the most used LED sources in the Kitchen and Office on a very humble little 40watt Shell PV (my Nov 2005 Colin Campbell Commemorative Collector!), a tiny Morningstar 4.5 charge controller ( ~$30 ) and a surplus 12v 12ah Sealed Lead Acid cell. I don't even have Low-Volt Cutoff on this rig, and it just plugs along, only sagging a little after a pronounced gray stretch of a few days.

It's really great to keep an auto lighter plug built into these setups. (In case I want to start smoking, of course.) Since then you can operate any number of things set up for Automotive uses, which is a lot of stuff.

Pardon the ramble.. just happy to be able to talk about something practical and hopeful!


Hi Bob

Please post your results. I'd like to have such a backup too but I've been too busy to tinker.


Will do.


Hey Bob,

I'm always on the lookout for well priced components, I'll keep you in mind. The only issue is if I find stuff locally you have to add shipping to Maine. Maybe in the future we can barge stuff back and forth between Florida and Maine on the Intra Coastal Waterway >;-)




The best deal I've seen lately on 18v panels (good for a simple 12v system) - 82 cents/watt for polycrystalline, plus shipping in quantity 2. Sounds like a heckuva deal. This is the seller I recently got my grid-tie panels from (which are now on the roof working fine).


Also check your local Craigslist for Solar Panels - I've seen some great bargains go by in the last month.

I purchased a 60 watt panel a while back on eBay. It's small enough to fit in the trunk of my car. I decided to use industry standard DC connectors, which are also available on eBay. They are waterproof and appear to be able to handle a rather large current, compared to my needs. I also tried one of the cheap Chinese charge controllers, which worked as advertized until a break in my temporary connection to the old car battery I was using apparently caused it to self destruct. With those devices, the battery must be connected to the controller first, which determines the voltage (either 12 or 24 volts) at which it will operate. I think the controller would be OK for a small system, but I would not expect it to survive lightning or other abuse...

E. Swanson

Yo, Bob:


...and don't discount Walmart's auto electronics dept.:

These high-power amplifier install kits are handy and come with a maxi-fuse block that I use, and I like these four-fuse power distribution blocks ($$, but make for a great installation). They're water/corrosion resistant. Both the single and four-fuse blocks have screw lugs; helps alot.

They also have a fair price on this Trip Lite inverter, higher quality than most cheap inverters, though not pure sine. A cheapo like this may do fine, and has a USB charging outlet for a cell phone. At that price, you could install three and have redundancy.

Your Morningstar charge controllers here. These folks always work with me on price/shipping. They're just down the road from you in Hudson, MA.

I love these little guys. They are already derated, can be used in parallel, and seem to last forever, tough..

Note that lower wattage PV panels now sell at a premium. You often can get a more powerful panel at the same or lower price, though the cost of your controller will go up.


I've built and specified a number of these small solar units and would be happy to share my observations. I call it MicroSolar. MorningStar is a good choice for controller.

Best to call. See the contact page at oilcrisis.com.


Thanks, All.

I've got the SunGuard 4.5 on my own micro setup already, and it's been just great, tho' I'll probably uprate to the 10 or 12 amp Morningstar Sunsaver to get the LVD feature ( $57. ) for this package.. also, as you say, because I don't see any panels under 100 watts that sell as cheap as those starting in the 120's and up..

I suppose there might be some bulk sales that could cross that Rubicon, but I'm not in that league with this hobby project.

Enclosures and Connectors are still a constant puzzle to get to my satisfaction, but I did score a fun System Voltage readout from MCM Lately that is an easy and tiny add-on for system monitoring away from the base unit.

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/60-10555 (at $12 here, but I got it for $10)

Still, a good old analog meter has essentially no current draw.. but I'm a sucker for a pretty red LED!.. on a momentary switch.

Ron, I might be better with list and data info be email, but I would be grateful to hear what you've found. Looks like you've seen some sights! Bob

I have several of these voltmeters deployed.


Also available in RED LED but they draw a significant current for a small system.

In addition to the SB-50 amp Anderson connectors, I have been using Powerpole connectors for lights and lower amp applications.

Nice.. The meter you linked to would look good mounted in the front of the tool box I linked to, with a small momentary switch. We may have a future ;-) Add a couple of AC and DC outlets on one side, PV connection on the back,, car radio with weather band...

If you are going to switch it, you might as go with the LED.

It draws about 50MA. The LCD Blue backlit ones draw about 6MA.

Many of the suppliers of these meters won't ship to Mexico :( I ended up putting together a small circuit that gives me LEDs at 20% & 50% discharge then charged and equalising. Runs at about 2mA with an indicator LED (that is a parasite on the voltage reference so it does not take extra power) then adds 1mA when one LED comes on.


I use a number of those little blue ebay LCD displays in my offgrid system.... and as remote monitors. For instance, though the offgrid system that's powering my computer/monitor and much else is down in the garage, I have one of those little blue displays mounted right here showing me the current voltage, which actually tells me a lot about the charging and discharge status. Currently 13.81v. I rarely have to go open the garage to check on the system itself.

...I don't see any panels under 100 watts that sell as cheap as those starting in the 120's and up..

Sounds like a good plan. Greenish's link above has about the best deal I've seen; can't vouch for the quality, and you have to order a pair, but still...

As for enclosures, rolling tool boxes like this make great project boxes. Room for batteries in the bottom, easy to drill/cut/screw to mount stuff like electrical boxes (outlets), switches, connectors, meter, etc.

Hopefully some of these will be of help:


By the by, I mentioned 6-7 weeks ago that I was going to try self-contracting to see how cheap I could get grid-tied panels up to zero out the bill of our house and the one next door where we have renters.

It has been cloudy in the 2 weeks since it went live, but it looks like it may accomplish its goals. I went with microinverters at higher expense due to the odd pattern of seasonal shadows from trees and second story; would have been a couple thou cheaper with string inverters. But the microinverters throw in a web page to monitor them with. It has been rainy/cloudy this last week, but you're free to peek at it here: https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/fTfF96479. Bear in mind that as I post this it's only 8am hawaii time so the current generated is low.

Carbon offset to date: 606 pounds = seven trees. Nice! Someday I'll compile my data and convert to trees ;-)

The "trees saved" "feature" is pretty corny, but probably smart for the company seeking to help wealthy people brag to one another about their eco-karma. I'm sure that's mostly why they supply the monitoring site.

Still, I'm a dataholic, so I like seeing the numbers.

there it goes again:


apparently this one is even bigger.

Over half of India now without power, Three grids have apparently now failed - North, East and North-East grids all down. Much bigger failure than yesterday. Status of nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons facilities unclear but at least one shut down yesterday.

Live Indian News (English) at http://www.ndtv.com/video/live/channel/ndtv24x7

I found the advertising at that link disturbing on so many levels... especially given the backdrop of such a massive power outage effecting almost 50% of India's entire population.

I listened to the Indian Power Minister in a few interviews. Yesterday he came across as an incompetent, arrogant, idiot in a BBC World Service Interview. Probably ordered a crash restart of the grid leading to even worse problem. He refused to apologise for the outage.

Today he is setting deadlines for restoration that must be met. Someone should tell him that's not how you do these things. More than half the country now without power.

Wonder how this is affecting IT services out-sourced to India?

I listened to the Indian Power Minister in a few interviews. Yesterday he came across as an incompetent, arrogant, idiot in a BBC World Service Interview.

Apparently Power Minister Shinde is being promoted to Home Ministry in a reshuffle according to NDTV. You couldn't make it up.

2012 northern India power grid failure

The better, current thread is down below, with WiseIndian's input from southern India:

German National Academy of Sciences Issues a Critical Statement on the Use of Bio-Energy

Bioenergy is often considered to be renewable and CO2 neutral because the generation of biomass through photosynthesis absorbs the same amount of CO2 as is released when that biomass is burnt as an energy source; but this disregards the following three important facts:

- The carbon cycle is intimately linked with the nutrient cycles of nitrogen (N), phosphorus, sulfur, and metals, of which biomass is also composed, and with the water consumed to produce it.

- Intensive agriculture is almost always accompanied by emissions of the GHGs CO2 and methane (CH4) as a result of land management, of application of fertilizers and pesticides, and of livestock husbandry.

- If the area used for the growth of energy crops were not used for that purpose it would be grassland or forests. As forest it would remove carbon from the atmosphere and would increase the carbon stock in biota and soils for decades or centuries until a new equilibrium is reached. This lost carbon sequestration through land-use change can be quite significant.

All three cost factors and the environmental and ecological consequences and impacts on biodiversity of large scale biomass cultivation have to be considered in a full life-cycle assessment.

In some cases these costs can lessen or even neutralize the net greenhouse gas mitigation impacts of using biomass as energy source. In these cases bioenergy is neither renewable nor carbon neutral, instead it is energy- and CO2 negative.

… in the near future it is most likely that almost all the biomass that can be sustainably harvested on Earth will be required for human food (protein, starch, fats and oils), as animal feed (cellulose), as construction materials (wood) or as platform chemicals. These demands leave only very little room for the use of biomass, except for wastes, as an energy source

The EROI of bioenergy, especially first generation biofuels in Europe and the USA, is rather low when compared to other energy technologies.

Report: Bioenergy – Chances and Limits (8.2 MB pdf)

Hi Seraph, I would recommend to read the recent TOD article "Woody Biomass" describing a new paradigm for producing food (various types of nuts) and some wood for energy uses while drastically reducing the tillage tasks and building more sustainable soil ecosystems than possible with 1-year, plow-under cereal grasses.

Yes, a new paradigm, same as the old paradigm.:-)

Thanks DC, I'm a big fan of permaculture and if you could see my yard you would understand what I mean.

Now if only I could get my neighbors to follow suit.

""We are having trouble buying corn... it's really putting a burden on our operations and many others across the nation," says J.D. Alexander, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, whose Nebraska feedlot is about half full of cattle. "It's time to wean the ethanol industry and let it stand on its own.""


No, I think it's time to wean the feedlots and let the cattle eat grass.

It's time for both.

No, it's time to stop eating cows.

Empty the feedlots, no more abbatoirs.
No more steak or hamburger in the supermarkets.

If someone wants a steak, let them get a ranch and a cow and take the long way around.

Good-bye, meat-based diet!!


With all due respect, and I do mean that sincerely..

..But raising grazing herbivores is a great way to store and convert robust pastureland into hearty and fresh food in the off-seasons. I know, it's not for everybody, just like pure vegetarianism and veganism isn't either.

Just the same, I had a funny visit to the Grocery store tonight, asking two different families who I overheard speaking Arabic if they could help me find the Falafel, which is my most revered Vegetarian Cheeseburger of Choice, and I'm really eager to make some. We were in the freezer aisle, and very box they started towards for Falafel ended up being Chicken Nuggets. (I was also there to buy some ketsup for my real hamburger, which is from a local and grass-fed cow.. I won't touch the stuff in the store if I can help it.. and even Ketsup is no easy condiment to attain if you are a label-reader. Dear old Ron Reagan must be turning in his gravy!)

Alas, the only falafel I found was a Manishevitz brand dry mix at about $9.00/lb, and I just couldn't do it. Hopefully I'll make it to the Halal market tomorrow.. and I've also got to soak some flour tonight if I want to try to make the pita, since none of the overabundance of bread and flatbread-like product-substances there seemed fit for purchase or consumption.

Completely agree, pasture land can be used for this purpose. The problem starts when people think about getting 'a few more' cows to start a business.

Drain a 15 oz can of yellow garbanzo beans or fava beans. Finely chop half a medium sized onion and a bounty of garlic, 2-3 big cloves. Crush a generous pinch of cumin in a mortar with some whole coriander. Chop up something green: fresh parsley, green onions or coriander. Smash the beans up in a bowl until they are still a bit chunky. Add the spices, onion, 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder, pinch ground black pepper and salt, generous sprinkling of paprika or some red pepper flakes, one egg, a little bean liquid and smash all together and stir in the green stuff. Add bread crumbs or matza meal until it sticks together. Drop fat spoonfuls into a frying pan with a quarter inch of hot oil, press to flatten and cook gently. They stick together better if the batter has a chance to sit and absorb the liquid a bit.

Soaked and cooked garbanzos are excellent if you can organize the time. Manishevitz is barely edible if freshly packaged. Sometimes the boxes sit around for a long time and it's just rancid.

Here's a similar recipe with black beans: Celt's Garden - Beanburger in Paradise. http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/celts-garden-beanburger-in

The flatbread sounds wonderful. Actual pita is made by the sourdough method, forming the dough into frizbees and baking without a final rising. I usually soak the flour overnight in water, and in the morning add more flour, a little oil and salt and some baking power, and then rolling them out into flatbreads and cooking on my comal (cast iron tortilla pan used without oil on the stove top.)

Personally I don't like the taste of canned garbanzo beans as much as freshly cooked. I just have a bag of dried beans around - you just put some in a bowl and soak them overnight - then cook them on the stove with a little salt and you are done.

Frying a falafel is too much of a mess in the kitchen for my liking. Hummus is easier, but I guess I am lazy.

Where I used to live, there was a Mediterranean bakery nearby that had freshly baked pita bread (it was still warm from the oven). The stuff from the regular grocery tastes like cardboard in comparison, but unfortunately where I live now I haven't found anything nearly as nice.

Many, many thanks for that, Hamster!

I did look up a couple versions online last night, but didn't dive into the process of it yet.

We're going to take on Sourdough soon.. I really want to try those Pitas out! We do soaked flour for most things now, usually with some yoghurt or whey as a lacto-fermenter.. glad to hear the pita will work with (some version anyway) of that approach.


Almost my sentiments exactly. If you want to eat, grow it yourself. Get out of your cubicle. The thought that farmers must feed you and the world according to your specs is ludicrous.

It's the push for urbanization that is fueling starvation. With each wave of people from the country to the city, looking for that cubicle job of yours, or smearing fragrance at the cosmetic counter, it's the loss of not only them feeding themselves, but the ones that relied on their surplus. And their land being used to grow fresh gourmet green beans airlifted to Europe's boutiques, in African cases.

But the real absurdity lies in grain, the currency of currencies. All that effort, technology, to harvest a grass seed. Such a minuscule portion of the plant. Because it stores, ships with minimal loss of quality. Plant the corn if you must, but have cattle slowly strip graze the stalk and seed, row by row, this winter.

Having seen cattle in a corn crop (with full ears), I can promise you that they do *NOT* "slowly graze".



That's why you strip graze, a day at a time. Otherwise, as you note, they'll trample the majority of the feed and not eat it. Winter pasture or crops are saved, and the livestock are allowed access via electric fencing to only the amount needed for a day. The electric fence-usually solar-is moved each evening. It's a proven method throughout the US midwest, and esp the south, clear into Alberta where wind allows sufficient snow clearing for grazing. Unfortunately, it won't work in areas with deep, permanent snow pack.

Feed efficiency and utilization really climbs. Strip grazing spring and summer pasture results in much more efficient use of pasture also. The animals will eat their needs, not spend their time looking for "ice cream" and trampling over the entire pasture. Cattle will feed most intensively in the morning, this is the time to let them into the strip, hold off on any supplement required by poor pasture/soils til evening. Cuts down on some noxious weeds also.

Chronic 2000-04 Drought, Worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal'

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century.

... in the West, this multi-year drought was unlike anything seen in many centuries, based on tree ring data. The last two periods with drought events of similar severity were in the Middle Ages, from 977-981 and 1146-1151. The 2000-04 drought affected precipitation, soil moisture, river levels, crops, forests and grasslands.

Although regional precipitations patterns are difficult to forecast, researchers in this report said that climate models are underestimating the extent and severity of drought, compared to actual observations. They say the situation will continue to worsen, and that 80 of the 95 years from 2006 to 2100 will have precipitation levels as low as, or lower than, this "turn of the century" drought from 2000-04.

"Towards the latter half of the 21st century the precipitation regime associated with the turn of the century drought will represent an outlier of extreme wetness," the scientists wrote in this study.

These long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century "megadrought," they said.

Wind turbine with record-breaking rotors

Siemens has produced the world's longest rotor blades for wind turbines. Measuring 75 meters in length, the blades are almost as big as the wingspan of an Airbus A380. Beginning this fall, the B75 rotor blades will be installed into a prototype six-megawatt offshore wind power system in Denmark's Østerild test station. As it moves, each rotor covers 18,600 square meters, which is the size of two and a half soccer fields. The tips of the blades move at up to 80 meters per second, or 290 kilometers per hour.

... the entire blade is poured as a single piece made of glass fiber-reinforced epoxy resin and balsa wood. The gigantic rotor, which measures 154 meters, has to withstand huge air masses, as it is hit by the energy of 200 tons of air per second when the wind blows at a speed of 10 meters per second.

That's what this is! I came across this unexplained image in another search and had no idea what I was looking at.

Image: http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2012/07/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef0167...

Nice picture of it going down the highway:

Impressive Beast! World's Longest Wind Turbine Rotor Blade Measures 246 Feet!

Plenty of promise from EVs, but they haven't delivered -- yet

Californians buy them: 4,645 electric car purchases in 2011, representing nearly 57 percent of the national total, according to Edmunds.com.

Despite that, electric vehicles -- EVs for short -- have not yet created a multibillion-dollar, job-filling juggernaut.

By most estimates, the industry has created a few thousand jobs statewide over the past decade, a drop in the bucket in a state that employs millions. And 4,645 EV sales in California last year represent a tiny percentage of nearly 1.3 million new vehicle sales in California in 2011.

Consumers are far more familiar with traditional gas-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius, where an electric motor assists a gas-fueled engine. Californians bought 56,310 hybrids last year, nearly a quarter of all those sold in the United States, according to Edmunds.com.

EVs = 0.36% (4645/1,300,000)
Hybrids = 4.33% (56310/1,300,000)

Yeah, it is still a hard slog. Battery prices have come down but they seem to have plateaued. Perhaps the market can't seem to get the scale needed to get the mass manufacturing cost reductions.

With the current pull-back in oil prices, the industry will continue to plod along slowly. It is hard to rationalize an expensive EV or PHEV when gas prices are in the $3/gallon range. For now, they'll have to learn to live on the purchases of early adopters.

I think the big growth area will be PHEVs. The Volt has been the most successful of the PHEVs & BEVs. But even the Volt is a bit expensive. The Toyota Plug-In Prius is too expensive for the meager ~12 miles of EV range at limited speed. But Ford may emerge as a star in the sector. Their Ford Focus Electric is an over-priced out-sourced dud. However, the new Ford C-Max Energi looks very interesting. It is a PHEV provides 20 miles of EV range at high speeds and costs less than $30K after the tax-credit.

Anybody think EEStore will ever go into production ?

EEstor is a joke and always has been. One has to be very skeptical in the EV biz . . . there are a lot of dreamers and hucksters out there. I'll believe EEstor when they deliver something useful to a neutral third party. Until then, they are as useful as cold fusion.

From the link:

But EEStor says it hasn’t yet reached a “level of permittivity necessary for commercial production,” of those layers. EEStor says if it improves the permittivity layer then it will look to get the performance of its device independently tested.

Maybe they never will reach that level. Normally one raises the permittivity of a capacitor dielectric in order to store as much charge as possible since that in effect lowers the impedance, and low-impedance bypassing is a common use. However, that's not necessarily the same as storing as much energy as possible. Instead, in one sense it's actually analogous to weakening a spring in order to make it easier to wind up. That is, high-K capacitors accept charge rapidly as a function of voltage, but saturate (almost stop accepting charge) at a comparatively low voltage. So EEStor may have deluded themselves about the physics (it certainly wouldn't be the first time that happened.) It remains to be seen whether there can ever be any workaround, and I wouldn't hold my breath.

I think you mean relative permittivity.

Plastics store 3 times the charge that air or vacuum will, ceramic 10 times, and, amusingly, water has 70 times the storage capacity. Pure water is an insulator. Some ultra high power/ultra high voltage gadgets run in pools of water that is used for insulation and for energy storage.

Image: http://www.designemergente.org/wp-content/uploads/2-z-machine.jpg
Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0gdnD2EXNtY/T2kEv7i_3QI/AAAAAAAASDI/p2y9q7gWf8...

As can be seen, the voltage is not intrinsically limited.


Yes - for the pedantic, relative permittivity.

For the really high-K materials, especially the ferroelectrics, yes, the voltage is in effect intrinsically limited. The material saturates long before the applied voltage necessarily breaks it down. Almost any large-value ceramic capacitor that goes into, say, a cell phone, will exhibit somewhere between 20% (typical Y5V) and 80% (X5R) of its zero-voltage capacitance at rated voltage. Since the rated voltage is worst-case over minor production defects, some samples may go well over rated voltage, and the capacitance will go down more. Treat the ceramic to increase the breakdown voltage still more, per one of the EEStor patents, and you can store more energy (if the treatment actually works, which is a question), but it drops off rapidly from proportionality to the square of the voltage as the voltage increases further.

To get anything remotely like the kind of energy density EEStor was suggesting, you'd have to stop that saturation effect. I'm still not holding my breath, especially given the failure to get a product out the door after all this time. After all, batteries are such a nuisance in so many ways that there would be a huge market for their capacitors, in a wide variety of sizes and form factors, if only they were real.

Actually, I was thinking of the readership who would like to follow the argument. For those without their own Ivory Tower, Y5V and X7R are types of ceramic, as is barium titanate. Barium titanate has an even higher energy storage potential, but, like the others, physically deforms as it is charged.


The early adopters did their adopting before WW1 and died a long time ago.

Edit: The reason this is relevant is because pretending this is new technology is part of the distraction that lets people pretend this transportation system will remain viable. The EV failed previously because it could not compete with the energy density, portability, and the amount and low cost of the fuel. The automatic (and erroneous) assumption is that the automobile centered transportation system will remain viable without these characteristics, but the reason we see the lack of success for EVs yet again is a manifestation of the fact that the automobile is not viable without cheap and plentiful oil.

With the EV you are asking people to embark on routine journeys without the assurance that they'll be able to get back, or at least without the safety margin they're comfortable with. A train, if people trust the schedule, does not have that problem. You can combine most of two complete drivetrains, both electric and gasoline, to make a hybrid, but clearly the cost and complexity goes up drastically. And while it gets better mileage, the cost of fuel is increasing more and the economy is tanking - so fewer can afford to buy them.

EVs weren't competitive then, but they are now - we've discovered that fossil fuels are much more expensive than we thought.

Yes, pure EVs have a range problem. The obvious solution is a PHEV or EREV.

Consider the Prius C: it costs 2/3 as much as the average US new light vehicle($20k vs 30k), and uses 40% as much fuel. If oil prices tripled the cost of fuel per mile in a Prius C would still be no higher than the average US light vehicle. As best I can tell (based on Edmunds data), the C has the lowest total cost of ownership for any light vehicle.

Then, if we add $10k in batteries to the Prius C (20kWh, assuming a conservatively high cost per kWh for cells of $500), bringing the cost only up to that of the average US new light vehicle, we'd have a plug-in with an electric range of 60 miles (3 miles/kWh x 20kWh), reducing fuel consumption to less than 10% of the average US light vehicle. That's a scale small enough to be covered by solely by ethanol.

Electric vehicles of various sorts will work very well. The only thing stopping them now is artificially low fuel prices.

The only thing stopping them now is artificially low fuel prices.

Nick, and the US federal gasoline tax has not been raised since 1993 -- partially because people think gas prices are too high.

Yes, this course of action (raising fuel prices through increasing taxes) is blindingly obvious.

Yes, people would take a hit at first, but then they woudl adapt...and vehicles such as the Prius C would be prevalent.

I do not buy, for one minute, the false assertion that people can not afford a Prius C (or other vehicles with ~ the same capabilities and ~ the same price points)...since it is a fact that $20K is two0-thirds of $30K, which is the median 'fully paid price' for all light vehicles in the U.S. as of 2012.

No warp drive or Unobtainium required...just critical thinking and political will for short-term sacrifice to achieve longer-term benefits.

But we can't let the gubnent take our Freedom (Ford F-150s and up crew cabs heated/cooled seats and never seen a dirt road and rarely seen cargo in the bed)!

1)I strongly agree with the need for increased fuel taxes, and removal of sales tax exemptions for motor fuel, and imposition of or increases in severance taxes depending on jurisdiction, in the U.S.

2)I disagree that the majority of people can afford a new hybrid which meets their daily needs. The majority of people in the U.S do not buy new cars and are not included in the median new vehicle sales price statistics. The median American resident drives a 3rd owner car. The median American makes less in a year, before taxes, than the median new vehicle costs. The new car fleet is purchased primarily by the relatively price-insensitive, which is a big part of why economy is such a small factor in fleet composition.

3)If the increased fuel tax is at least partially refundable on a per capita basis (not a per usage basis) at lower incomes, then we can cushion the pain of imposing the necessary Pigouvian tax, while maintaining the positive incentive to reduce consumption at all income levels.

You make some good points.

Interestingly, I personally have known many people with rather modest incomes who still managed to buy new vehicles, including the nice F-150s with the heated and cooled seats.

Just looking at Air Force bases, there are always late-model vehicles for sale at the 'Lemon Lot', many from young low-income enlisted members who get in over their head.

I wonder how much of this goes on in the non-DoD member community at large?

There are more than a few small cars which have considerably better-than-average city/highway MPG which costs a slow as ~$16K.

The more price-insensitive (and over-extended) new car buyer which buy high MPG cars, the more high-MPG used cars which will become available on the secondary market. I would support another 'cash-for-clunkers', this time structured to do a better job at increasing fleet MPG.

Yes, lots of Americans attempt to live beyond their means and the system certainly encourages that. I've known a lot of young waitresses (I'm a regular in restaurants in a lot of disparate locales within SoCal, since I'm on the road so much) living with their parents and struggling to make new car payments which were completely disproportionate to their income. There's lots of variation, but I'm confident that there is a strong correlation between income and the capital cost of your vehicle. Full disclosure: I make six figures and have never purchased a new car (there are lots of outliers). I've also hired a lot of entry-level engineers, a solid majority of whom bought a new (much nicer) car within a year of getting the job.

One additional policy I'd like to see implemented is substantial feebate (which would broaden who higher mileage vehicles appeal to, and shrink who low-mileage vehicles appeal to)

"It is hard to rationalize an expensive EV or PHEV when gas prices are in the $3/gallon range." Really? How much is it worth to reduce the impact climate change will have on future generations? No one I know asks themselves this question seriously. Starvation and displacement of millions pales in comparison to being inconvenienced by driving less or paying several thousand more for an all electric vehicle. Self-justification/self-delusion salves the mind, and convinces us we are good people while we knowingly condemn future generations in order to save a few bucks now. Just not worth it - to any rational person.

"........paying several thousand more for an all electric vehicle. Self-justification/self-delusion......."

Are you saying that if we drive less and/or buy an expensive EV, millions will be saved from starvation and the severity of climate change will be reduced? Notice we have a "buy" in there. The delusional think that continuing BAU by any means is a solution. To think that buying an expensive EV and driving less is a sacrifice...oh woe is us.

Anyway apart from that, there is far, far more at stake than the lives of humans. The planet as a whole needs to be considered. No amount of EV's will contribute to an iota of salvation.

All EVs are not created equal. If your rant is against a Tesla EV or similar (at least the models they produce now), i agree wholeheartedly. But I would also point out that there are EVs that are simply glorified golf carts, and these can be manufactured by the millions with very, very positive impact if they displace gas-guzzlers. And if they are re-charged using distributed PV, then we are talking major, significant environmental improvements. This is NOT BAU. This is transport being transformed from personal battle tanks to personal golf carts. The challenge is to convince those of us who can still afford the personal battle tank to stop buying and using them, and instead go for the golf cart, and the car industry will follow. It is a very important first step away from BAU, which granted, is not "salvation", but then again, what the h_ll is? The medieval Europe societal model?

So your contention is that the existing primary transportation system consisting of personal automobiles can be continued by replacing the ICE powered automobiles with electric golf cart type vehicles?

Electric golf carts have limited range compared to ICE battle tanks, so no, the current system cannot be continued by 1-1 replacement of ICEs with EVs. For longer-range transport we will need a sh_tload more electrified rail, especially when commercial airlines start to croak en masse.

1902,electric horseless carriages were all the rage
zero emissions no noise

OK, I agree with that. If we could just build out the rail system, people will figure out "last mile" solutions, and such golf cart type utility vehicles would make sense there.

Meh. I'm about to pick up an EV. But so what . . . I'm a drop in the bucket. And I work from home most days. I'm getting the main panel upgraded so I can finally do the PV project later. But it all seems kinda like a pointless gesture.

Deadly Ebola Outbreak in Ugandan Capital

The fatal case in Kampala, a city of some 1.5 million people, was a health worker who "had attended to the dead at Kagadi hospital" in Kibale, Health Minister Christine Ondoa told reporters.

She is believed to have travelled independently to Kampala -- possibly on public transport -- after her three-month old baby died, Ondoa added.

According to experts, despite being extremely virulent the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones.

6 more Ugandans admitted with possible Ebola

Six more patients suspected to have Ebola have been admitted to the hospital days after investigators confirmed an outbreak of the highly infectious disease in a remote corner of western Uganda, a health official said on Monday.

Stephen Byaruhanga, health secretary of the affected Kibaale district, said possible cases of Ebola, at first concentrated in a single village, are now being reported in more villages.

New flu virus found in seals concerns scientists

Scientists in the United States have identified a new strain of influenza in harbour seals that could potentially impact human and animal health.

The H3N8 flu has been associated with the deaths of harbour seals in New England last year. Researchers say the virus may have evolved from a type that had been circulating in birds.

They say the discovery highlights the potential for pandemic flu to emerge from unexpected sources.

and New avian flu virus jumps from birds to mammals, kills New England's baby seals

Emergence of Fatal Avian Influenza in New England Harbor Seals

From September to December 2011, 162 New England harbor seals died in an outbreak of pneumonia. Sequence analysis of postmortem samples revealed the presence of an avian H3N8 influenza A virus, similar to a virus circulating in North American waterfowl since at least 2002 but with mutations that indicate recent adaption to mammalian hosts. These include a D701N mutation in the viral PB2 protein, previously reported in highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses infecting people.

..IMPORTANCE The emergence of new strains of influenza virus is always of great public concern, especially when the infection of a new mammalian host has the potential to result in a widespread outbreak of disease. Here we report the emergence of an avian influenza virus (H3N8) in New England harbor seals which caused an outbreak of pneumonia and contributed to a U.S. federally recognized unusual mortality event (UME). This outbreak is particularly significant, not only because of the disease it caused in seals but also because the virus has naturally acquired mutations that are known to increase transmissibility and virulence in mammals.

Closest match in H3 is from 2002 ("A/green-winged teal/Ohio/960/2002") then 2000 before that. This H3 line has been completely off the radar for a decade it seems.

Public can explore time-lapse videos of Earth with new tool from Carnegie Mellon and Google

This new capability within Google Earth Engine enhances the public's ability to view the massive amount of imagery collected by the Landsat program between 1999 and 2011. Users can zoom in or out on any spot on the globe and move back and forth in time. This enables anyone to see deforestation unfold in the Amazon, see water levels rise and fall in the Aral Sea and watch the urbanization of desert as Las Vegas expands.


Check out the Timelapse of Las Vegas growth vs the shrinking of Lake Mead.

The Google Earth Plugin is currently only available on Windows and Mac OS X 10.4+

...leaves me out. Thanks, all the same.

WINE or a VM?

The U.S. could learn a thing or 2 from the Persians ...

Death Terms in Iran Bank Scandal

An Iranian court has sentenced four people to death for a billion-dollar bank fraud that tainted the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state media has reported.

Iranians, hit by sanctions and soaring inflation, were shocked by the scale of the $2.6bn bank loan embezzlement that was exposed last year and by allegations it was carried out by people close to the political elite or with their assent.

Of the thirty-nine people tried for the fraud, the biggest in the country's history, four were sentenced to hang, the IRNA state news agency reported on Monday. Two people were sentenced to life and others received jail sentences of up to 25 years ...

They're hanging bankers? Now we will have attack them for sure.

They're hanging bankers?

Pretty crazy stuff! The best we can do here in the US is pay off their bad loans and give them enough extra to give each other bonuses and throw extravagant party's.


'AIG Draws Fire for Executives' $440,000 Post-Bailout Retreat at Posh California Resort'

The tab included $23,380 worth of spa treatments for AIG employees at the coastal St. Regis resort south of Los Angeles even as the company tapped into an $85 billion loan from the government it needed to stave off bankruptcy.


Anti-nuclear rally surrounds Japan parliament

Thousands of people formed "a human chain" around Japan's parliament complex to demand the government abandon nuclear power after last year's Fukushima crisis.

Sunday's protest in Tokyo was the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations, including weekly Friday evening protests outside the residence of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Unlike many conventional protests in Japan organised by labour unions and political groups, a large number of independent citizens, including children, have joined the demonstration, with many never having taken to the streets before.

also Japan overloaded with anti-nuclear opinion

Position Statement: What Is Currently Happening to Fukushima Children?

Michiyuki Matsuzaki, M.D.
Internal Medicine Department
Fukagawa Municipal Hospital, Hokkaido, Japan

(1) Thyroid cysts found in 35% of Fukushima children examined with an average age of 10.

When the above four studies are tallied in one table, it becomes obvious that the result of the thyroid examinations of children in the “Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey” is astonishing. This is because one-third of the children had developed “ cysts.” A “cyst” is a fluid-filled sac. Cysts don’t mean there is an immediate chance of developing thyroid cancer. However, it is apparent that something extraordinary is happening inside the thyroid gland, such as inflammation or changes in cellular properties.

Summarizing the thyroid ultrasound examination results from Japan and overseas, prevalence of “cysts” detected in children around the age of 10 is approximately 0.5-1.0%.

The fact that 35% of Fukushima children (average age around 10) have thyroid cysts strongly suggests that these children’s thyroid glands are negatively affected by undesirable environmental factors.

There is a strong concern that waiting for further analysis of above data and the completion of follow-up examinations will lead to irreversible health damages in these children.

Consequently, it is strongly desired that small children living in Nakadori (adjacent to the coastal region) and Hamadori (the coastal region) in Fukushima receive immediate implementation of preventive measures such as evacuation and more frequent screening examinations.

Based on above findings, a letter from Shunichi Yamashita to thyroid specialists all over Japan, instructing them not to offer second opinions to concerned families, can only be considered a repressive conduct: a violation of human rights for those exposed to radiation and current patients.

...It is clear that an immediate evacuation from highly contaminated areas is imperative in order to prevent a possibility of irreversible health damages in children with future potential for life and improved health. This is the lesson we must all learn from the tragedy of Chernobyl.

My Bolding. That's a 35-70 times increase over the baseline now confirmed in multiple surveys.

Der Spiegel gave a very respectful but direct interview with Yamashita, helping to put his comment about 'Happy People don't get radiation sickness' in a fairer context.

Aug 19, 2011

SPIEGEL: Do you think adopting a more understanding tone than you have up until now would help you to gain acceptance?

Yamashita: Because of the accident, Tepco and the Japanese government have lost the trust of the people in Fukushima completely. The people are suffering, not only because of the earthquake and the tsunami, but also from severe radiation anxiety, real radiophobia. Therefore we have to lower the anxiety (and) give them some emotional support. And, later, we can open the discussion about epidemiological studies. Without the support of the local people, we cannot do anything. In this situation it doesn't even help that I am the expert from Nagasaki and Chernobyl. This is why I moved to Fukushima.


That said, I think Yamashita's and the cultures of TEPCO and the Japanese government were woefully unprepared for building a real and constructive relationship with their people after this disaster. They were soaking in their own bureaucracies and definitions, and didn't seem to be checking them with the outside world much. It seems the people today are making steps to correct this lapse..

Oh, pish-posh! Look at the pictures! There's what, 50 people there? And they were throwing spears, rocks and bottles at the police who were injured and had to respond by firing gas canisters into the veterans hooligan's skulls. They should all go back to their perfectly safe homes and get a job! Buncha hippie freaks... Look at 'em! Just watch your ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or FoxNews: -Fair and Balanced-


More freaks: http://www.mysanantonio.com/slideshows/news/slideshow/Nuclear-meltdown-i...

What are talking about KD? Are you trying to be funny or something? Did you look at all the photos - surely there are many 10's of thousands of protesters, and all the power to them for having the guts to speak out about something they feel very strongly about. No one wants to spend endless hours wondering how radiation exposure will affect their health or the integrity of their offspring's DNA.

Another bunny zinged by KD's brand of dry humor. ;-)

Nobody's dry humor works on a widely read forum in print.

Much of the sarcasm on this site consists of ill considered attempts to create a simplified and stylized characterization of what the commenter thinks his opponents think of his view.

Fake stupid and real stupid are indistinguishable in the context of 200 comments, many of which appear stupid to various people, in which people know nothing about the commenter.

And writing up fake soundbites from imagined opponents is just a slightly sophisticated version of the ad homonym.

Writing up fake soundbites as KD did above simply shows that he is painfully aware of the way these issues get spun by a very familiar cast of regular suspects.

It's not imaginary at all. We see it in half the articles that get commented on here. Just referencing it with a little shorthand is hardly a personal violation, and there was noone specifically targeted with it anyhow.. except the clear and appropriate (I thought) reference to our American countryman, Scott Olsen, who got a fractured skull from a Bean Bag or Teargas Canister for being part of an Occupy protest in Oakland.

Patterns, it's all about patterns.. patterns and control. Patterns, Control and a nearly Fanatical devotion to Property!

(Nobody expected the Spanish Decapitalization!)

except the clear and appropriate (I thought) reference to our American countryman, Scott Olsen, who got a fractured skull from a Bean Bag or Teargas Canister...

Maybe clear to some, but I sure didn't link it to protests in Japan. I suppose sarcasm has it's place, but what was written bounced off so many topics, which angry people often do, I couldn't tell if it was serious or not. Guess I'm more familiar with KD now - no offense if you're out there fellow peak oiler.

In any case, for those that are familiar with Japanese culture, it is remarkable anytime they protest in such numbers. Usually they try to be on the same page, but this Fukushima nuclear bit has worn their nerves and spirit down to a point of utter frustration. My hats off to them for having the guts to mount a huge protest.

No, no... it was ill-advised, especially on an international forum. First rule of humor: "Know your audience"... which kind of reflects back as "The audience must be able to reference your position" -or-, in American idiom form: "They gotta know where you're coming from". Over here, every-day people, like those seen in Japan, were/are getting shot, gassed, sprayed at close-range with chemical warfare agents while sitting peaceably, and burdened with capricious criminal charges while the press denies their numbers and smears their characters... if the press acknowledges them at all. A war veteran got shot in the face at close range, easy-aiming range, with a gas canister which destroyed part of his brain. Another officer threw a grenade that landed within a gathering group of the most ordinary-looking people trying to aid the fallen war hero. The press characterized/characterizes the crowd as scruffy hooligans throwing rocks and bottles. The video from Russia Today showed no such thing. The "News-Talk" radio commentators stir their audiences up to assault the protestors in various ways including yelling "Get a job!" at people protesting the lack of jobs. I portrayed the Japanese protests as they would be presented to the media consumers as current events here within the borders of the United States of America, the Homeland. If you are not living this reality, it made little sense.

The number of protesters at the anti-nuclear event in Japan was estimated at two hundred thousand, 200,000.

Good point.

I suppose my own references have gotten so obscure lately that yours seemed completely clear by comparison.

Wondering if I've picked up some late-onset ADHD.. I blame society!

Japan pro-bomb voices grow louder amid nuke debate

TOKYO (AP) — A contentious debate over nuclear power in Japan is also bringing another question out of the shadows: Should Japan keep open the possibility of making nuclear weapons — even if only as an option?

...The two issues are intertwined because nuclear plants can develop the technology and produce the fuel needed for weaponry, as highlighted by concerns that nuclear power programs in Iran and North Korea are masking bomb development.

"Having nuclear plants shows to other nations that Japan can make nuclear weapons," former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, now an opposition lawmaker, told The Associated Press.

..."A group is starting to take a stand to assert the significance of nuclear plants as military technology, a view that had been submerged below the surface until now," says "Fukushima Project," a book by several experts with anti-nuclear leanings.

...That kind of talk worries Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman at the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, a government panel that shapes nuclear policy. Himself an opponent of proliferation, he said that having the bomb is a decades-old ambition for some politicians and bureaucrats.

"If people keep saying (nuclear energy) is for having nuclear weapons capability, that is not good," Suzuki said. "It's not wise. Technically it may be true, but it sends a very bad message to the international community."

some overhead shots of the human chain of protesters

NYPD To Launch 'Domain Awareness System' To Track Criminals, Potential Terrorists

The New York Police Department will soon launch an all-seeing "Domain Awareness System" that combines several streams of information to track both criminals and potential terrorists.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the city developed the software with Microsoft.

Kelly says the program combines city-wide video surveillance with law enforcement databases.

- Movie Brazil - 1985

Guard: Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating.

Bangladesh oil spill spreads ecology concerns

Experts warn sunken tanker on Meghna river could lead to country's worst-ever environmental crisis

also Sunken oil tanker an eco hazard: experts

The Jamuna Oil Company (JOCL) tanker, MT Meherjan, carrying 700,000 litres of petrol and diesel sank in mid-river after a collision with a cargo vessel, Fazlul Haq-3, on Wednesday night at Mehendiganj upazila in Barisal.

And the good news is it wasn't crude.

Many Happy Returns for Big Oil: Romney’s Policies Could Hand Oil Companies Another $4 Billion A Year

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s economic plan slashes corporate tax rates while failing to identify a single corporate tax loophole to eliminate. Highly profitable large oil companies that already enjoy lucrative tax breaks stand to receive some of the biggest benefits from Gov. Romney’s plan.

The world’s five biggest public oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell—would keep special tax breaks worth $2.4 billion each year. And by cutting corporate tax rates, the Romney plan could lower the companies’ annual tax bill by another $2.3 billion, based on an analysis of the companies’ tax expense for 2011. The special tax breaks, supplemented by Gov. Romney’s lower corporate rates, could benefit the oil companies by more than $4 billion annually.

Phoenix covered in blanket of dust for second time in a week as massive cloud rolls in from desert

A second cloud of yellow in less than a week overwhelmed suburban Phoenix on Sunday, mixing with torrential rains and gusty winds that wreaked havoc on midday traffic in the area.

Image: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/07/26/article-2179556-143C01FC000005...

".. The city of Tanis was consumed by the desert in a sandstorm that lasted a whole year. Wiped clean, by the Wrath of God!"

- Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

I used to live in Phoenix back in the 80-90s and I can remember 3 maybe 4 dust storms in 8 years. At last count, they've had 5 in the last 2 months.

Hope they leave a map to the 'Map Room'

Real Emission Cuts Tough Until Technology Catches Up, says Report

Climate change and economics have been intersecting long before a drought descended upon the Midwest this year. Over the past 20 years, policies that impose a “cap and trade” system or emission reduction targets have been called economically irresponsible and haven’t put a dent in the climate change problem. Carbon emission levels in Canada were actually 25 per cent higher in 2007 than in 1990.

These policies, and reduction targets in general, failed because they put the chicken before the egg, say a group of economists writing for the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP).

That is, emissions-reduction targets came before the technological developments that would have made reaching those targets a reasonable possibility.

Report: A Technology-Led Climate Change Policy for Canada (0.3MB pdf)

emissions-reduction targets came before the technological developments that would have made reaching those targets a reasonable possibility.

Yeah, sure, we need more emissions reduction technology.

The energy of ancient sunlight was stored in bonds with carbon atoms, and when we release it to burn in our Hemi pickups then the carbon is released too. If you want to bind that carbon atom back up again, you'll have to put some energy back into the process - probably a similar amount if you want it to stay bound up as securely.

We don't need to develop new technology, we need to develop new laws of physics and a universe that follows them.

We have the technology now - it's called 'Turning the key counter-clockwise, and removing it from the ignition'

Asking people to walk away from economic activity (and their jobs and trifles such as paying the bills, buying food, clothing, shelter, etc.) is not likely to be well received by the public or by our corporate overlords. What did Dick Cheney say about "Our Way if Life? Wasn't it "non-negotiable", and changing it tantamount to "letting the terrorists win"?

Since we're fantasizing about solutions that will never be culturally or politically possible, let me add one more: "Putting the Condom on" every time.

I want to know how these economists know that such technological developments are even possible. They don't! They don't have a clue as to what they are talking about. They just think that if there is a need then the free market will magically fill that need. But the laws of physics don't work that way.

We have the technology today. We just don't use it because it costs more. And it will probably always cost more. That's the problem. We just don't have the discipline to pay more for something when a cheaper (but polluting) way is staring us in the face.

Scientists Defending Against The Methane Bomb

... global warming could release vast natural deposits of methane trapped in the Arctic, making the temperature increase we’re already seeing go into overdrive.

No one knows if and when that might happen, but even the mere possibility has galvanized scientists into pondering what they could possibly do about it should the worst come to pass — and a paper in Environmental Science & Technology is the latest and most comprehensive assault on the problem yet.

In a worst-case scenario, suggest Joshuah Stolaroff, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and his co-authors, with huge plumes of methane erupting into the atmosphere from underground, scientists might have to battle the gas with bombs, and more. “If the concentration of methane is high enough . . . ” they write, “. . . then a laser can be used as a remote ignition source.”

... if the release were sudden and widespread — the worst of the worst case? “I don't know what the response might look like, but it would be massive,” he said. Laser ignition is one possibility, and, write the authors, “incendiary ballistics” — that is, explosive-laden missiles — “may be another route.” Any possibility mentioned in the paper, said, Stolaroff, “is a possibility. Just on a much larger scale, and more rapid.”

Um... excuse me for wondering about that "worst of the worst case" thingie.

The atmosphere is where the methane is going to be... right?

And we are in the atmosphere?

And that methane is - worst case - widespread. Like, everywhere? Here? There? Everywhere?

It seems to me ignition just might not be such a good idea?

Just wondering.


Nuke it!

from orbit . . . it is the only way to be sure.

We're all in strung out shape, but stay frosty, and alert. We can't afford to let one of those bastards in here.

Now we know why the empire really developed the Death Star!

The lower explosive limit for methane is 5.1% at 20 °C. Until the concentration reaches that level in the atmosphere, you can't ignite it and get a fire. The upper explosive limit is about 15%; at concentrations higher than that, you can't get a fire either. Given an underground source of methane that suddenly vents to the surface, there's going to be a fairly narrow region around the vent where you can ignite things; too far from the source and the concentration is too low, too close to the source and the concentration is too high. If so much methane is released that the concentration planet-wide were to reach 0.93% (the concentration of argon, the third most common gas in the atmosphere; CO2 is a distant fourth at 0.04%), we've probably got other problems.

Now, if a huge plume of methane erupted under central London, where the edges with the proper concentrations are almost sure to encounter an ignition source, that might be... interesting.

I wonder what 'laser ignition' methane fueled planetary thrusters would do to Earth's orbit?

Might burn some whiskers around the edges, but probably wouldn't torch the whole ball of wax.

The atmosphere has a mass of about 5×10^18 kg or 5×10^15 tons (i.e. 5,000,000,000,000,000 tons, 5,000,000 gigatons tons). Even if 1,000 gigatons of Methane vented that would only give a methane/air ratio 0.02%.

I haven't figured out how many BTUs a gigaton of methane would release. Also, each ton of methane would consume 2 tons of oxygen during ignition. .... Air might get a little thin (and warm) up there.

Yeah, I wonder if anyone has calculated the final oxygen concentration, in the air, if all the fossil fuel they plan to burn is burnt?


We would fry long before that is an issue. One percent of O2 turned into CO2 is 10,000 parts per million (we are currently @395). That is 5.15 doublings from preindustrial, which if you asume 3C per doubling is almost 16C of warming. And changing the O2 concentration from 20% to 19% wouldn't have much effect on us. Not to mention ocean PH!

Ah, thanks for that. We would really be upset by that, especially here where we are finishing off a really hot, record popping, July and, by the sound of it, with a display of sky fireworks.


If you had a concentrated plume, you could burn it. Then it is only CO2, which given our present atmosphere has a lot lower warming potential. Its not we could ignite the general atmosphere. If that were possible, it would have already found a source of ignition.
Most likely we won't have ingitable plumes, so burning it off may be unlikely.

Concentration of the methane is the critical factor. The concentration might be highest near the release point over the ocean and sufficient for ignition but would be too low in the rest of the atmosphere. Igniting it over land with flammable material around would get ugly. If the concentration gets high enough, then lightening would ignite it.

I've pushed for an expedition to light and document ocean methane releases in the arctic; IMAX footage of burning northern oceans would be a helluva meme to inject into our collective complacency.

Anyone here who would like to invest circa 1.5 million bucks, and probably get a lot of it back, drop me an email. It's not that far off my established skillsets. The actual expedition(s) would cost an order of magnitude more, but leverage is available.

No Al-Sabah deadbeats need apply. Fool me once...

I sort of knew what the responses to my earlier question would be.

A more serious question though is: when burned, methane creates CO2 as one of its byproducts. How much more by volume would the CO2 be than the Methane was?

Also, Methane breaks down over a relatively (relative to CO2 that is) short time. Is there any difference in the resultant CO2 if burned or allowed to break down?

Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas that CO2. How much more powerful? In breaking down, is the resulting CO2 the same equivalent in greenhouse gas, or less?

As I see it, methane is dangerous b/c there is so much of it and it vaporizes with increased heat. The tipping point where added heat increase greenhouse warming, releasing more methane, and so forth, is what could wreak havoc on the planet. Is there any credible information as to the warming possible from releasing most of stored methane (including undersea and permafrost, and excluding methane in oil, gas and coal formations)?

I suppose I could add to my earlier ask whether the heat from burning as much as possible wouldn't add as much global warming as it reduced methane involvement.


"methane creates CO2 as one of its byproducts. How much more by volume would the CO2 be than the Methane was?"

One mole of methane produces one more of CO2 when it burns. One mole of CO2 has the same volume as one mole of methane (22.4 liters at STP). But one mole of C02 weighs 44 grams, and one mole of methane weighs 16 grams.

There are also two moles of water given off when you burn the methane. The above assumes you let the water condense out. If it's counted as vapor, then there is three moles of total products, but you also have to count the oxygen you used, which is 2 moles; you put three moles of gas in and got three moles out. No change of volume, except that the water will condense

Weight-wise you put in 16 grams of methane and 64 grams of oxygen, and got out 44 grams of CO2, and 36 grams of water. 80 grams in, 80 out, and the universe is happy.

However, if you did this suddenly in an enclosed space that also contains you, you will not be happy. :-)

Nicely done. Even a right-brained person like me can understand now. Thanks!

The Arctic: Simmering Tensions Between Canada And US – Analysis

“Both countries need to pay attention to the challenges in the Arctic but should also be wary of how their domestic posturing in the region is affecting their international relations, including with each other,” says the study by the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The study, titled ‘The Arctic Policies of Canada and the United States: Domestic Motives and International Context’ cautions that “the lingering disagreements” between Canada and the USA would undermine their ability to pursue their interests in the Arctic region.

Danish Arctic Claim Clashes With Russian Bid

COPENHAGEN — Denmark will dispatch a scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean at the end of the month as the struggle for its resources with Russia and Canada accelerates.

The expedition is expected to gather data before it submits a formal claim to a vast tract north of Greenland that includes the North Pole. Russia and Canada are also making their claims for the territory.

DHS Gears Up for Civil Unrest Prior to Presidential Elections

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered masses of riot gear equipment to prepare for potential significant domestic riots at the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention and next year’s presidential inauguration.

The DHS submitted a rushed solicitation to the Federal Business Opportunities site on Wednesday, which is a portal for Federal government procurement requisitions over $25,000. The request gave the potential suppliers only one day to submit their proposals and a 15-day delivery requirement to Alexandria, Virginia.

As the brief explains, “the objective of this effort is to procure riot gear to prepare for the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and other future similar activities.”

The RNC itself, for example, will have free speech zones, which will serve as containment quarters for the protesters by not allowing them to leave the designated areas and cause trouble.

Another recent DHS move to gear up was back in March of this year, when it gave the defense contractor ATK a deal to provide the DHS with 450 million .40 caliber hollow-point ammunition over a five year period.

"Free speech zones" is such an oxymoron. Orwell would be proud.

One wonders if JHK's pitchfork concession will be considered a free speech zone or a legitimate business...

Both parties need to be rebuked, humiliated, and probably dismantled so that this country can get on with the business of trying to become civilized. Charlotte, NC, (the Democrats) and Tampa, FLA, (Republicans) are the venues for these dumbshows. I hope to be there running a pitchfork concession.

I hope to be there running a pitchfork concession.

Perhaps I'll join you and run the tar and feathers concession next to yours...

Methinks business will be brisk!


Tumbrel Rental


An on-site amusement would be a virtual video guillotine. Five screens could be stacked 'portrait' within uprights to make the traveling mouton and blade. Add some obviously non-mainstream freaks and the MSM might run with it.

Yes, here in the "Land of the Free", we are required to pre-register with our banking and corporate overlords before making a public nuisance of ourselves, y'know, complaining about their brilliant handling of the world economy, wars over resources, dwindling civil liberties, and other such trifles. For a while, a few dirty hippies even despoiled the view around Zucotti Park and had the nerve to disturb the "job creators" on their way to creating more FREEDOM and PROSPERITY(tm)! But lucklily the Cossacks (police) work for the Czar, so they were rousted and eveything soon went back to "normal".

Perhaps someone should hook up electrodes and a generator to the Founding Father's corpses. We could probably generate a few megawatts with all the spinning.

Haven't you got an 'r' too many in that first quote?


Little OLD White People Create Their Own Free Speech Zone


According to The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/T1UfNV ), guards found an 82-year-old Roman Catholic nun, a gardener and a housepainter splashing blood and painting messages on the $549 million storage bunker that holds the nation's primary supply of bomb-grade uranium.

Apparently this happened a few days ago, but I can find NO local coverage on it. Both the Knoxville paper and the O.R. daily paper have published this AP story. This is a MAJOR breach of the VERY SECURE Y-12 National Security Complex, the only O.R. facility that is currently "working on" nuclear weapons in some manner or another -- which no one really knows because it is SO SECURE!

MOST "secrets" are not really "secret" at all. "Secrecy" itself is a tool of social manipulation. A H.S. classmate and friend of mine proved this (related to "the H bomb") some years ago with an article written for The Progressive that he then expanded into a book chronicling his experiences on the "wrong side" of the enforcers for the PTB. I'd not looked at this for a very long time -- find it particularly interesting in light of today's "national security state."


The 1979 issue of The Progressive as posted in the archives of their web site:


Telling the Tale of the Wealth Tail

A mathematical physicist and her colleague, both from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, are about to publish a study in European Physical Journal B on a family of taxation and wealth redistribution models. The findings could lead to numerical simulations of potential wealth distribution scenarios playing out over the long term and could be used for policy decision making.

The findings of this study could ultimately help examine how the spread of individuals varies among classes when the taxation rates relative to different income classes are varied. Or the results could help devise the most desirable taxation rate to achieve a given distribution of wealth.

One in five streams damaged by mine pollution in southern West Virginia: study

Water pollution from surface coal mining has degraded more than 22 percent of streams and rivers in southern West Virginia to the point they may now qualify as impaired under state criteria, according to a new study by scientists at Duke and Baylor.

They found that companies had converted more than five percent of the land into mine sites and buried 480 miles of streams beneath adjacent valley fills during this period.

"Our analysis suggests that mining only five percent of the land surface is degrading between 22 percent and 32 percent of the region's rivers," he said.

EU wheat crops need sun after wet summer start

Wheat crops in west Europe urgently need sunshine to push them towards ripeness and high quality after a very wet and cloudy start to the summer, analysts and traders said on Tuesday.

"If the wet weather continues there will be fears of quality losses in several countries," one European trader said. "There is still time for a recovery if we get a good burst of sunshine so it is too early to add Europe to the problems seen in the U.S. and Russia."


Keystone Pipeline Update – Actually an update on the Cushing/Gulf Coast leg. This 500 mile pipeline just received final federal govt (Corps of Engineers) permit approval. Construction will start almost immediately.

The Keystone Pipeline already exists. What doesn’t is its proposed expansion, the Keystone XL Pipeline. The existing one runs from oil sand fields in Alberta, Canada into the U.S., ending in Cushing, Oklahoma. Ever bbl of tar sand oil that would be transported by the new p/l is already being shipped across the border and has been since 1999 (I think). So what the debate has really been about is whether the existing older p/l, built according to standards at the time, should be replaced by a new p/l built to the current stricter standards.

The approved section will allow more oil transported to Gulf Coast refiners. In theory this should raise fuel prices in the midcontinent and lower them for the GC markets. An existing p/l is being reversed and will deliver 150,000 (?) bopd. The new segment will add incremental rates of 450,000 and 600,000 bopd over the next few years. This should allow the Canadians to increase the value of their production. Only time will tell if they decided to increase competition for their reserves by building export p/l to their west and/or east coasts.

Hi Rock,

Was just about to add this to the TOD firmament. Your thread seems as good a spot as any.


Christy Clark's Wrong Way Walkout

Stepping out of energy talks looks bold, but she's chosen a bad path for BC and Canada.

By Robyn Allan, TheTyee.ca

There is a false narrative being advanced. Demands to share government revenues which include income, sales, property, corporate and other taxes -- from crude oil pipelines in order to compensate for their inevitable environmental cost means the best we can hope for is a zero sum game. That doesn't make any sense -- it's like saying you can punch me in the face as long as you pay for the dental work.

Clark's setting herself up as the hard negotiator when there's nothing to negotiate. British Columbians don't want heavy crude oil piped through the province or shipped in oil tankers. It's not a question of whether the economic benefit outweighs the environmental cost -- that's a false dichotomy. There is no economic benefit for B.C., and the study Clark points to, under scrutiny, comes out looking like nothing more than false promises.


The analysis also relies on the empirically false assumption that the Canadian dollar will fall to 85 cents U.S. (presently at par)by 2016 and remain fixed at that level for 30 years while forecasting oil prices will rise to $150 U.S. per barrel. This completely contradicts the factual correlation between oil prices and the value of our dollar during the past decade -- ours has become a petro-dollar. This erroneous exchange rate falsely inflates the benefits and exaggerates the capability of the oil industry to make good on the "best case" growth forecast used to predict supply.

aws - As time passes it will be interesting to see how this poker game progresses. The other day I gave credit (with tongue in cheek) to politicians on both sides for being honest that it’s all about the money. The BC politicos will gladly accept what environmental risk the pipeline may pose if they get their cut. And since those administrators get elected by the majority those folks must feel the same. Likewise I have no doubt the Native People will also vote in favor if the money is right.

It constantly amazes me that so many folks expect the environment to be given absolute priority over commerce. It will always be easy to get a majority of folks in favor of taking the safest env. approach as long as it encumbers someone else’s economy. When was the last time any society on the planet agreed to take a significant financial hit to safe guard anyone’s environment? I brag about how superior the oil patch regs are in Texas and La. compared to other states but we still drill a lot of wells down here for the same reason…money. The current resident in the White House is always ready to tout his environmental credentials. The same president who last year issued a Clean Air permit to a new coal-fired power plant in Texas…a power plant that will burn millions of tons of coal hauled half way across the country from Illinois. The same administration that has, after the brief moratorium due to the BP nightmare, approved every offshore drilling permit that the oil patch has applied for.

Across the board the motivation is the same: it’s all about the money…and always has been. And as energy becomes more expensive and more difficult to access are folks going to become more protective of the environment than they are now? I think the answer is obvious. And it will have nothing to do with right or wrong IMHO. I see no reason to expect to see the human nature I’ve witnessed in my lifetime to change…at least not in a positive direction.

When was the last time any society on the planet agreed to take a significant financial hit to safe guard anyone’s environment ?

I could argue for Denmark. They have made a long series of decisions that would have the Tea Baggers dying of apoplexy and storming the gates because they might raise electric of other energy bills - or *NOT* give cars priority !

The Danes did it anyway - and on the other side it really saved money !

Denmark subsidized wind in it's infancy - and they still build a good % of the WTs in the world.

Combined Heat & Power, giving bicycling priority over cars, building a Metro in a city too small for one, phasing out coal for bio-mass, strong conservation and more.

Going in, most would say Danish policies were going to create a significant financial hit.

The "After Action Report" is nope - maybe a net financial positive (FAR fewer imports to support bicycles than cars - who would have thought of that ! And healthier people too - less medical expense for National Health Care).

Best Hopes for Doing the Right Thing !


Danish oil consumption dropped -21.2% from 2001 to 2011 - and Denmark is an oil exporter !

See "National Policies & Oil Consumption" on my blog.


Alan – The Danes should be applauded. But their efforts prove my point. I should have been clearer. The societies that could make a difference aren’t making a significant effort. The Danes have greatly benefited their society. But will their efforts stop the burning of millions of tons of Illinois coal in Texas? Will Danish wind power lower the birthrate in the KSA and lessen the effect of ELM?

Like the old joke: my peeing in the ocean won’t make it any saltier. Yes…very little bit helps…but only a little bit. A very small percentage of the global population is burning up a very large percentage of the world’s energy and there’s been virtually no significant VOLUNTARY changes in that dynamic. If dozens of the smaller oil consuming countries were to cut imports 100% tomorrow what do you think would happen? Multiple choice to make it easier. LOL. A) The major oil consumers, especially the US, would see the error of their ways and follow the example and reduce their oil consumption. Or B) the major oil consumers would take advantage of lower oil prices (thanks to the sacrifices of the smaller consumers), ignore serious conservation efforts and increase oil imports in order to expand BAU.

I’m sure you know my pick. BTW: the oil the Danes are now exporting instead of burning...who is burning it now? Maybe if the Danes stopped exporting oil they may have an even bigger positive impact. But that would be a tad bigger sacrifice than lowering their own energy bill, wouldn't it?

But will their efforts stop the burning of millions of tons of Illinois coal in Texas?


See the Danish design (plus those that copied it) around Amarillo, south of Corpus Christi on the coast, east of El Paso, etc.

Three blades, up wind is known as the "Danish design" for a reason. Out of a wide variety of possibilities (2 blade down wind, etc.) it is the one they developed from 60 kW wind turbines. The Danes have evolved that design - step by step - into the 5 and 6 MW giants.

At one time, EVERY wind turbine manufacturer, all five of them, were Danish (one was half German).

Best Hopes for those that chose to do right - despite the apparent difficulties,


Interestingly Livermore labs (just two miles from where I write this), has won some money to restudy VAWTs (Vertical Axis Wind Turbines). These were tried early on, and rejected because the scaling to the 1-2MW range wasn't favorable. They have some good arguments why scaling to the 5-20MW range for offshore might make sense. I wish them well.

It's one of the really annoying things about this whole argument, the poorly thought out, political, way the supposed reduction activities have been selected.

For example, despite only having 0.3% of the global population, Australia is looking at producing 9% of the world's CO2 production by 2020. Why? Well they export brown coal to China, India, etc.

At the same time, they have just bought in a carbon tax that has raised domestic energy prices 15-30%.

It would have been easier, quicker, and less hassle, to have simple ramped down the coal exports to zero - both preserving domestic energy security and cutting others CO2 production in one easily manageable step.

Instead, we get http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/baillieu-set-to-boost-brown-coal-20120...

Sorry, but whilst we have thinking of this greatness we are going to get climate change, and we are going to hit peak oil at full speed - it's best to accept it and plan accordingly.

".........and Denmark is an oil exporter !"
Don't you get it yet.

There are true environmentalists in BC. Case-in-point our only federal green member of parliament is from Vancouver Island.

There is a portion of the BC electorate that will oppose the pipeline regardless of how much money is offered. There are also some native bands that also can't be "bought" either. This does greatly change the fundamentals, since there is probably a 10% share of the vote in the greens and somewhere between another about 20% of the vote in the NDP that would likely share similar beliefs and would stop the pipeline on principle. Now the amount of money needed to convince the next 20% (who are either NDP or left liberals) is likely not going to be agreeable to Alberta ... and now we're at 50% of the total electorate. I'd also point out that Christy Clark (the current premier of BC) is nothing more than a lame duck, so take anything she says with a grain of salt, next year there's going to be a NDP majority government and that's when things are going to get interesting.

(for the polling data see http://www.threehundredeight.com/2012/07/bc-ndp-maintains-lead.html)

OSC – You should know your local politics far better than me. But I assume your system runs like ours: majority rule. Just my WAG but I think plans will go forward because the majority will rule. Not my playing field but I would focus on forcing compromise positions instead of going for a kill shot that will very likely fail IMHO.

That's true, it is majority rule. The people in BC are somewhat detached from national politics, probably due to the mountain ranges cutting them off from the rest of Canada, but this pipeline is under 100% Federal jurisdiction.

The Federal Prime Minister appears to be willing to stand back and let the BC and Alberta Premiers argue about who should get all the money. The other Western Premiers support the pipeline (because they have oil they want to put in it, too). At the end of the day the National Energy Board will make a decision pro or con and the pipeline will proceed or not.

The pipeline company is already hiring construction managers and buying pipe, so it is making assumptions about how the process will go.

Also I'd like to point out that "Majority rule" doesn't necessary follow in Canada's first past the post electoral system. The majority of people oppose Stephen Harper according to polls, but since the opposition is fragmented between 4 parties (liberals, NDP, bloc, and greens) Harper enjoys a Majority government. In BC it could work the other way with the left having the governing majority without a majority of support since the right in BC (some liberals, conservatives, whatever is left of the So Creds) is fragmented.

And while I agree at the end of the day the NEB has been granted the de jure power to approve the pipeline, the de facto power of it actually being constructed will be up to the BC since it is going through BC. Either way if the pipeline is held up until there's government change in BC I see constitutional litigation finding its way into the supreme court before the pipeline could be built.

Under the "first-past-the-post" system, the party with the most votes in most districts wins. If there are 4 opposition parties, they also ran but did not win.

This at least results in definitive winners, unlike the proportional representation system, which can result in an unstable government with dozens of parties. It can give too much power to fringe parties if they hold the balance of power. In PR systems, districts often find themselves represented by candidates who were not the first choice of the majority of voters.

On the constitutional front, the issues regarding interprovincial and international pipelines were arbitrated by the courts decades ago, when the first transnational pipelines were built. BC has no control over an interprovincial pipeline, despite what it may think. Federal laws override provincial laws in this context. It's both de jure and de facto power.

Sorry, I have to call bull!@#$ on you. Proportional representation is no more unstable than first-past-the-post, some of the most stable democracies in Europe (Sweden, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, etc.) use some form of proportional representation. The only place where proportional representation could be considered to be harmful is Israel since it empowers the orthodox right fringe, but your concern that it gives power to "fringe candidates" is unfair and seems to be determined by your personal view of what a "fringe candidate is" which unfortunately isn't how democracy works. And while it's true that drafting of legislation can take longer in PR, the legislation will represent the majority, unlike FPTP where it usually represents the "majority minority". FPTP is a relic of the British empire and should be treated as such.

Second your comment that "In PR systems, districts often find themselves represented by candidates who were not the first choice of the majority of voters." is just utterly wrong. This is the greatest problem with FPTP not PR, with PR the representatives match what the proportion of votes are, whereas in a FPTP a person with 33% of the can win a seat given a fragmented opposition, so 67% of the people are not "represented".

And by de facto power, BC government could use civil disobedience to make the pipeline untenable, and sure Enbridge might win a legal battle, but it would take years. Also, while the NEB will is within their mandate to approve the pipeline this action will be tied to Harper and his presumed interference in a provincial dispute will undoubtedly hurt him in the polls (well except in Alberta ... but its not like he needs more of the vote in Alberta).

I didn't even bother. Thanks for the excellent call. Mopping-up the spew of misrepresentations offers a career for somebody... but not me.

Winner-Take-All degenerates to a two-party system.
Duverger's law:

The two-party system behaves as a single party.

The Story of Mouseland was a story told first by Clarence Gillis, and later and most famously by Tommy Douglas, leader of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and, later, the New Democratic Party of Canada, both social democratic parties. It was a political fable expressing the CCF's view that the Canadian political system was flawed in offering voters a false dilemma: the choice of two parties, neither of which represented their interests.

The mice voted in black cats, which represented the Progressive Conservative Party, and then they found out how hard life was. Then they voted in the white cats, which symbolized the Liberal Party. The story goes on, and a mouse gets an idea that mice should run their government, not the cats. This mouse was accused of being a Bolshevik, and imprisoned. However, the speech concludes by saying you can lock up a mouse or a person, but you cannot lock up an idea.

A variation of this story is told in Douglas Adams' novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, involving a democracy where people vote for lizards as their leaders. No one is happy with this situation, except for the lizards, but the people continue voting for the lizards "because if they didn't vote for a lizard... the wrong lizard might get in."

...the wrong lizard might get in

The New Democratic Party was upset by the two-party system because they were always coming in third. They're neither "Government" nor "Official Opposition" which in the Parliamentary system means "also ran". It did have the advantage that they had some leverage if it was a minority government because they could determine the winners and losers in parliamentary votes, but when there was a majority government they were largely ignored.

Minority governments are unstable and seldom last more than a year or so before a non-confidence vote triggers an election, so the NDP spent more time as "also rans" than as "power brokers".

Now that they are in second place and are "Official Opposition", maybe they should change their stance since they now have some leverage. It could go the way of the British Parliament, in which the Liberals got squeezed out of the middle, and now the "first-past-the-post" system results in alternating Labour and Conservative governments.

The worst case is a PR system like Israel or Italy where there are 18 parties competing for public attention and no hope of anybody controlling the agenda. This results in no decisions or highly compromised decisions being made.

I find voting systems to be something of an academic interest rather than fundamentally important to democracy. The basis of democracy is, "Majority Rules". I think the key thing is to ensure that most of the voters have their interests represented most of the time, and that voters always have a choice. If the current government screws up, they can vote them out of office and try a different option.

I'm not sure that ensuring fringe parties have some representation is really worthwhile. I mean, if they're a fringe group, they're a fringe group. In a democracy, the majority rules, after all, and there should always be a second choice. Third choices are optional.

There is an alternative that I have some involvement in. Rail the tar north to Alaska - and ship it out Valdez.


One minor glitch in that scenario.....there is no rail link from the lower 48 to Alaska.

It can be built. The economics work.


It can be built. The economics work.

I'm more than a bit skeptical about that, especially the bit about the economics working. Could you elaborate a bit on your proposal? Your route?

There are limits on what I can disclose. The ruling grade (the steepest grade on the proposed route) is quite acceptable.

It would have a variety of other benefits - including direct rail shipments to Alaska & Yukon, mineral deposits, etc. But moving tar alone justifies it.

It should be noted that China imported 1+ million b/day by rail from Russia for over a decade - despite the change in gauge.


There is a fundamental difficulty in the economics of shipping oil sands out through Valdez, AK, and that is that CN Rail already has first-class rail lines leading from the oil sands to the Northern BC port of Prince Rupert, and bitumen from the oil sands is already being shipped out through that route.

U.S. federal agency accuses Canada of luring cargo away from U.S. ports

WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal agency is chastising Canada in a report to Congress, alleging that Canadian ports on the West Coast are deliberately luring lucrative cargo business away from their American counterparts.

The growing popularity of Prince Rupert is at the heart of the debate. The $170-million port opened five years ago with $60 million in subsidies from both the B.C. and federal governments.

Both Prince Rupert and Vancouver have several advantages over American West Coast ports — in particular, cargo ships travelling from China arrive several days earlier at the Canadian ports because of what's known as the Great Circle Route across the Pacific Ocean.

Prince Rupert also has the lowest rail grade to U.S. centres such as Chicago and Memphis, and its terminals are not burdened by urban congestion.

Some in BC do not like oil tankers in their coastal waters. In Valdez, it is accepted.

Not all decisions are made purely on technical merit.


Alan - Based upon Rocky's post shipping tar sand oil out of BC is currently accepted. Seems the debate is whether to continue delivering the crude via rail cars or a pipeline. It would seem to be to BC's financial advantage to pipeline (assuming they get a cut) then via rail which I gather they collect nothing now. It seems in either case oil tankers have been and will continue to be loaded out of BC ports. That seems to imply the BC govt has no control over what's shipped from their ports or they've already accepted the process for whatever reason they might have.

The volumes of tar being shipped are small. And I have heard that smaller tankers are being loaded.

Perhaps wisely, get a nose into the tent first !

As for BC politics - I really cannot say. The other option exists. Many more billions than double tracking CN.


Last year there were about 4 million tonnes of Alberta oil exported out of the Port of Vancouver on 65 Aframax tankers. All of this came down the TransMountain pipeline, which has a 300,000 bpd capacity (to be expanded to 700,000 bpd).

Aframax tankers are 120,000 tonnes or less, which is the largest Vancouver can handle, but plans are underway to dredge it to handle larger tankers.

The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline would be 500,000 bpd, or less than the expanded TransMountain would be. Kitimat could handle Ultra Large Crude Carriers, which can carry 500,000 tonnes.

CN claims it could deliver 2.4 million bpd to Prince Rupert by rail if the demand was there. I don't think any crude oil is being exported from there, but companies are shipping a million tonnes a year of petroleum coke from the oil sands mines out of the port.

There are numerous ways to get the oil sands production to market, and if market differentials stay high, companies will find ways to move it.

Well, Valdez has already had its tanker-on-the-rocks incident. I don't know how well the people in Alaska would react, though, to Canadian oil being shipped though an Alaska port in competition with Alaska oil.

There is something of a myth in BC that big tankers are not allowed to go through their waters. It's true that the tankers coming down from Alaska voluntarily stay out of BC coastal waters, but that's because they have no reason to go there. Other tankers move in and out of BC coastal waters quite regularly, unbeknownst to most of the people in BC. They fall under Federal jurisdiction and BC has nothing to say about it.

Given the advantages to Alaska that a direct rail link to down south would provide (as Alan has point out), we might be able to work something out.

Also, despite of my tongue in cheek comment below about building a rail line clear to Valdez, I suspect Alan would take his railroad to somewhere up near Fairbanks, and then put the oil into TAPS for the final leg to Valdez. Additional oil through the south half of TAPS might not be a bad thing for Alaska.

Of course We might demand a cut of the action, just like BC ($$$).


Physical facts drive design - adjusted for politics.


There are obvious advantages for Alaska to connecting the Alaska Railroad to CN Rail's lines in Canada - which reach from the Pacific to the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, but the advantages to Canada are less clear, and I don't think it would be a profit making venture. I think the US and/or Alaska government would have to subsidize the construction, and I don't think they are mentally prepared to do that.

There are significant benefits in providing economic transportation into Yukon - but moving tar to the Pacific Ocean is the determining factor.



A bit off topic, but what the hey. As a railroad enthusiast you might enjoy seeing the remains of the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. (Assuming you haven't already.) It was built 1907-1911 from Kennecott to Cordova, Alaska, to carry copper ore from the mines at Kennecott. You can drive part of the route on the McCarthy road, which actually uses the old railroad grade. Note that old railroad spikes still sometimes surface on the gravel road, so a good spare tire is a must!

The portion of the railroad from Chitna to the "Million Dollar Bridge" near Cordova is only accessable from the river. I did a long raft trip a few years ago along that stretch. Some amazing things can be seen. At one point we saw what appeared at a distance to be a rope stretched accross a stream leading into the main river. As we drifted by closer, we could see that it was two rails, spanning probably a hundred feet or so. The old trestle had long since been washed away, but the rails were still hanging there.

I can't seem to find the book at the moment, but one reference I have said they actually built a short stretch of track across a glacier. The maintenence crew had to walk that stretch of track every day, to make repairs as the glacier moved! The head construction guy is alleged to have said "give me enough snoose and dynamite and I'll build a railroad to hell!" The mine and railroad remained in operation until 1938.

Give me a shout if you ever head up this way and I can give you more info on driving to McCarthy or floating the river.

To the extent that one can using internet resources, I have studied the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. Looking for "lessons learned".

And I strongly suspect that the tailings there - like the tailings in Arizona, etc. - could produce quite a bit more copper, if transport was affordable.

And I hope to one day take you up on that kind offer :-))


Perhaps the oil exporting infrastructure that is already in Valdez can be modified. I still am more than a little skeptical, thats a great deal of cost to avoid a politically unpopular pipeline. And I remember the whole Alaska NG pipeline thing, which never made it off the ground.

I'm guessing that there's some hedging going on with regards to the Valdez port.

Given that BC politics are more volatile than Alaskan politics I'm presuming someone has the idea to ensure there's a non-BC port that can export bitumen if lets say somehow the Green party gets elected in BC (which is unlikely, but better to hedge your bets than be screwed when the "impossible" happens).

Edit: Looks like Alan beat me to the response and essentially confirms my suspicions

"There are limits on what I can disclose. The ruling grade (the steepest grade on the proposed route) is quite acceptable."

Alan, just remember that the last guy who tried to build a railroad through Keystone Canyon got into a shootout, then went insane!

From Valdez Museum & Historical Archive:

There was much talk and speculation about construction of a railway line from Valdez into the interior and even some preliminary track laid; however no line ever reached any further than the Keystone Canyon. Two rival companies, in particular, were the cause for considerable upheaval in Valdez. The Alaska Syndicate was initially interested in using Valdez as the terminus for its line from the Kennicott Mine. The Alaska Syndicate was choosing among Valdez, Cordova and Katalla for a terminus for their railway from the Kennicott Mine. When it appeared that Valdez would not be selected, H.D. Reynolds appeared on the scene touting his plan for the Alaska Home Railroad. He convinced the people of Valdez that "his railroad was their railroad." Many Valdezans invested their entire savings or businesses into supporting his project. Reynolds bought up much of the town; he soon owned a newspaper, hotel, bank and even some of the streets. In 1907, a shoot-out erupted over the right-of-way through Keystone Canyon between the two rival railroad companies. The Alaska Home Railroad project fell apart and the Alaska Syndicate chose Cordova as the terminus for its Copper River and Northwestern Railway. Reynolds left town in a hurry, owing a great deal of money, and was last seen in an insane asylum.

Good luck. I wouldn't want to see a nice guy like you get shot or go crazy!


So do Gulf of Mexico oilfield workers, Companies with oil interest only in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana and landowners that have leases and royalties need to hire a lobbiest so we can shut down the Canadian leg of the Pipeline?

We don't need foriegn oil that comes from some pit mining operation, there's not even a rig involved! Rogue nations like Canada will be holding an oil gun to our head due to energy dependence. Stop the Keystone NOW!

From your lips to God's ear wildman. So says every Gulf Coast operator. LOL. Death to all Canadians! And Texas gets first dibs on Banff Park.

I know I'm really off and I say these things in humor, but it really affected my sensibilities when I first saw what kind of operation the canadian tar sands was. I kept looking for portion of the footage where they showed the drilling rig and it never came.

Here, now do you feel better?

Drilling SAGD well pairs at Firebag

About 80% of the oil sands are too deep to surface mine, so they have to use steam injection and producing wells to extract the bitumen. In the SAGD process they drill pairs of steam injection and bitumen production wells in parallel.

Note that this rig is batch-drilling wells off a pad. The wellheads are about 30 feet apart, and they could put up to 100 wells on a pad. The wells themselves are horizontal wells going off in all directions about 300 feet apart.

The only reason that bitumen is extracted by SAGD is it's too deep to be economically extracted via one big open pit mine. The low hanging fruit was the 'Big Open Pit Mine', SAGD is for the difficult to reach stuff at the top of the tree.

Damn that 'overburden'! (Also known as Boreal forest to the caribou, fish, grizzlies. etc.)

SAGD is economic at current prices, and is the most effective way to extract bitumen which is too deep to mine.

It also doesn't disturb the boreal forest as much. Note that they are drilling multiple wells off a gravel pad so as to minimize impact on the landscape.

The caribou, fish and grizzlies are doing quite well up there. Much better than down here in the tourist infested Rocky Mountains. The Banff caribou herd was wiped out by an avalanche a couple of winters ago, the indigenous trout are being out-competed by the introduced rainbow trout, and the tourists keep hitting the grizzly bears with their RV's.

Caribou in Alberta

Woodland Caribou in Alberta are on the verge of extinction. Due to industrial use, very little habitat in Alberta can sustain Woodland caribou populations. Destruction of their range has made the caribou more vulnerable to wolves.

The fragmentation in the Lower Athabasaca region caused by roads and tar sands development including SAGD is pretty hard on the caribou.

The false promise of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan
Woodland caribou remain unprotected despite at risk designation

Woodland caribou have been identified as at-risk for many years. These caribou number so few now in the Lower Athabasca that their persistence in the region is at best uncertain. Woodland caribou populations are also declining elsewhere in Canada’s boreal forest. Of the six herds in the Lower Athabasca, five are believed to have fewer than 200 animals and none are expected to persist in the long term.

The science suggests that the caribou are doing quite poorly. But science is easily ignored these days.

As for the fish...

Unhealthy Fish from the Athabasca watershed

Destruction of their range has made the caribou more vulnerable to wolves.

Realistically, they can't declare half of Alberta (the Boreal Forest half) a wilderness area, because it is a huge area with vast resources, and people are already living there and exploiting those resources.

The real problem with human activities is not industrialization but that they create roads and trails that let the wolves get at the caribou. Typically wolves eat 50-75% of the caribou in Alberta. They do this even in national parks, which is why the parks are not good caribou habitat.

There are already some of the world's largest national parks in Alberta - Wood Buffalo National Park is the size of Switzerland but has few woodland caribou because it has too many wolves. Similarly, newly reintroduced wolves reduced the Banff herd to 5 animals, and an avalanche wiped out the rest.

The only real solution (short of depopulating the province) is to shoot the wolves (not all of them, just the ones in the caribou habitat). If you want to increase the caribou population, you have to reduce the wolf population. The environmentalists don't like it, but it's one of those hard decisions you have to make in wildlife management.

If you want a 105 page status report on the Alberta caribou situation, here is Status of the Woodland Caribou in Alberta

Rocky - Very cool...thanks. Is the geosteering very difficult? Probably not. Too bad, NG prices stay low enough long enough I may need to find another gig...and I'm a good geosteerer.

I don't think the geosteering or the drilling in general is very difficult. You just have to keep two well bores parallel about 10 feet apart for a mile or so.

That's what I thought. Anyone with a bit of experience should be able to stay in a 2' window for that distance. I really enjoy geosteerig: one of those few instances when everyone on the rig has to pay attention to the geologist. Big fun...as long as you don't screw up. LOL

Bid for naval dominance: Russia significantly boosts nuclear fleet

Russia’s navy will be reinforced with 51 modern warships and 24 submarines, including eight fitted to carry nuclear missiles, by 2020. Over $140 billion will be spent on realizing the “potential of the sea-based nuclear force,” Vladimir Putin said.

­To maintain Russia’s place as a leading sea power Russia will allocate over 4.5 trillion rubles to build the vessels over the next eight years. Putin has emphasized that almost all orders will go to Russian industry, with all 24 submarines and 49 of the ships being built at domestic shipyards.

"We have a sufficient potential of a sea-based nuclear force,” Putin said. “And by 2020, it will be considerably improved by eight Borei-class new-generation missile-carrying submarines."

Russia’s navy has always been and remains one of the main tools of “protecting national economic interests,” Putin said, adding that it has a particular importance in such resource-rich regions as the Arctic. He expressed the hope that missile-equipped nuclear submarines will become the heart and cornerstone of the Russian Navy.

Sounds like Putin needed some MIC-based Keynesian stimulus to keep the citizens busy.

Sounds like Putin is going MAD again :-/

Perhaps he should be reminded why the Kursk was lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Kursk was part of Russia's Northern Fleet, which had suffered funding cutbacks throughout the 1990s. Many of its submarines were anchored and rusting in Andreyeva Bay, 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Murmansk.[2] Little work to maintain all but the most essential front-line equipment, including search and rescue equipment, had occurred. Northern Fleet sailors had gone unpaid in the mid-1990s
Source Wikipedia

Maintenance cost money too and rust never sleeps!

"Maintenance costs money too "

Especially nuclear maintenance.

Yet all their recent engagements have been on land and involved their army.


Research funded by Koch brothers says CO2 linked warming is real (see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-ch... and here http://berkeleyearth.org/ )

Proof that it was funded by Koch brothers is in the interview of the lead researcher on As It Happens on July 30, 2012 (see here for podcast: http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/episode/2012/07/30/the-monday-edition-37/ ) Here's the lead in:

KOCH CLIMATE CHANGE Duration: 00:07:40

Today, Richard Muller is calling himself a convert.

Professor Muller is a prominent American physicist who, over the last few years, has been outspoken in his views of climate change. Most controversial of all was his view that climate change -- if it exists -- has nothing to do with human activity. It's a stance that was welcomed by people with a vested interest in denying climate change. The American industrialist billionaires David and Charles Koch, for instance, have funded some of Professor Muller's research.

But, according to an opinion piece Professor Muller wrote for today's New York Times, that research led him to a scientific about-face.

We reached Richard Muller in Berkeley, California.

Koch brothers funded research finds CO2 linked warming.

Is it a cold day in Hell? Someone let me know.

The Wet One

Koch brothers funded research finds CO2 linked warming.

A little schadenfreude anyone?

Has he received a dime from them since?

LOL - yeah, maybe he's a virgin again. Then again, I guess you get different results depending on who's paying for the research.

Muller is still a denier, in a way. His Op-ed Sunday was, after this initial report of findings, laced with denier talking points and strawmen, some long-discredited.

Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035. And it’s possible that we are currently no warmer than we were a thousand years ago, during the “Medieval Warm Period” or “Medieval Optimum,” an interval of warm conditions known from historical records and indirect evidence like tree rings.

It is fairly well established that temperatures today are higher than during the medieval warm period, e.g. Perhaps in 10 years Muller can re-do this analysis as well, and re-conclude what current researchers already know.

Muller's game seems to be, "yes, global warming is real, but no, no need to get alarmed."

This link is not behind a pay wall:
Muller's Title: The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic

"Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt"

I've heard talk like this on TOD recently. It did sound like standard ditto-head fare. It is hard for the parrots to supply references when all they can do is point to some clown.

I'm sure it won't be long before Mr. Muller is a the subject of a multi-pronged character assasination on Fox. Don't like the message - destroy the perception of the messenger's character.

Association with drug dealers; illegal donations; public nuisance; faking illness; truancy. Oh, wait! that was Bueller :)

Maybe not. I have a "feeling" that the AWG "total denial" meme is migrating into Tillerson's "its just an engineering problem" meme. After all, a lot of money can be made from re-engineering Nature.

The family may, or may not, need to find another place to camp for this year's summer holiday...

Algonquin Park Evacuation/Closure Area Re-opens

From last night's update: Update Sunday July 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm Important

Due to the extremely dry conditions, fire crews are facing some unusual challenges in fighting these fires. Wetlands, ponds and small lakes are drying up in the park and crews are having to run fire hose further than they normally would, sometimes more than a kilometre to get to water. In addition, of the more than ten fires that have occurred in the closed section of Algonquin Park, crews are finding that the depth of burn (D.O.B.) is ranging from 25 to 40 cm into the soil. This means that fires are burning not only into the roots of trees but under them as well. These areas must be dug down to the 40 cm depth and soaked with water to ensure that the fire does not smoulder underground and re-ignite after the initial attack crews have left the area.

For this reason, a large section of eastern Algonquin Park remains closed

They did reopen access today but the weather is to remain hot with a chance of a thunderstorm!

Wonder what camping will be like in twenty years? With lakes drying up the portages could get really long.

Unusual Number of Grizzly and Hybrid Bears Spotted in High Arctic

Two Canadian biologists have reported sighting a handful of grizzly bears and hybrid grizzly/polar bears at unusually high latitudes in the Arctic, indicating that the interbreeding of the two bear species is becoming more common as the climate warms and grizzlies venture farther north. The sightings of three grizzly bears and two hybrid bears, made in late April and May, represent an unprecedented cluster of these animals at such high latitudes. The biologists even took DNA samples from a grizzly bear at 74 degrees North latitude.

Derocher noted that there are currently no regulations in place restricting the hunting of a hybrid polar/grizzly bear, which most bear hunters would pay dearly for the chance to shoot. That could mean that hybrids — not subject to the strict hunting quotas governing the threatened polar bear — could face heavy hunting pressure.

Climate change doesn't leave open much of a window for fauna to adapt, particularly "charismatic mega fauna". Shooting them won't make it any easier!

Not that hybridization offers much of an avenue for evolution as the article points out, but still.

Is the hybrid fertile?

Yes, the hybrids are fertile. Grizzly bears and polar bears are actually quite closely related. Polar bears seem to have descended from grizzly bears that got trapped on the Arctic ice during the Ice Age with nothing to eat but seals.

Tomorrow morning, Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial crown corporation, Nalcor, and Nova Scotia Power's parent, Emera, will officially announce their plans to jointly develop the 824 MW Muskrat Falls hydro-electric site. Under the terms of their agreement, 40 per cent of the power generated is reserved for Newfoundland and Labrador's in-province needs, 20 per cent will be allocated to Nova Scotia Power, and the remainder will be sold within Atlantic Canada and New England on the spot market. In the case of Newfoundland and Labrador, it will displace oil-fired generation (Holyrood), making this province's electricity supply 98 per cent fossil-free, and in Nova Scotia it will displace coal. The remaining 330 MW can be used to backstop wind, thus allowing wind to expand its regional contribution well beyond what would be achievable otherwise.

If all goes to plan, Muskrat Falls will come on-line in 2017 and Phase Two, Gull Island, will add an additional 2,264 MW sometime thereafter. Ultimately, the Upper and Lower Churchill Falls will supply more than 8,500 MW of renewable energy.



Power grid fails again

The northern and eastern grids tripped on Tuesday, leading to power failure in several States of the country affecting hundreds of millions of people.

The northern grid collapsed for a second day on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the power supply was restored in the entire northern region following a disruption on Monday. The eastern transmission lines too failed on Tuesday afternoon, said officials at the Power Ministry and electricity companies.

This time it has hit the neighbouring eastern grid as well. Regular disruption or tipping point ?

I don't know if Southern one will collapse as well. So I might just go off TOD for a while ;)

If I understand correctly, most of high tech India is in the south? So maybe no effect on outsourcing.

How are your nuclear power and weapons facilities? At least some are in the areas of grid failure and at least one station was reported to have gone into emergency shutdown yesterday.

And without a trace of irony apparently this was said yesterday.

Nuclear weaponisation vital for country’s security: Narayanan

India needs to strengthen its nuclear weaponisation programme as a strategic nuclear capability is extremely vital to the country’s security, said former National Security Advisor to the PM M K Narayanan. He was speaking on the role of nuclear science in India’s future during the annual graduation ceremony of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Training School at BARC on Monday.

“At the centre of our strategic nuclear programme stands the nuclear establishment. You must, hence, understand its significance and recognise your key role in this. A strategic nuclear capability is most vital for our nation’s security — it has to be suitably calibrated so that it approximates to a credible minimum deterrent. Consequently, it may not be enough to maintain the present speed and scale of production of our nuclear assemblies. We will be required to accelerate the pace, as also devise new methodologies,” the West Bengal Governor said

India quietly gate crashes into submarine-launched ballistic missiles club?

NEW DELHI: India in April yanked open the door of the exclusive ICBM ( intercontinental ballistic missile) club with the first test of Agni-V. Now, if DRDO is to be believed, India has quietly gate-crashed into an even more exclusive club of nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The annual awards function of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on Tuesday will see PM Manmohan Singh hand over the ``technology leadership award'' to a scientist, A K Chakrabarti of the Hyderabad-based DRDL lab, for the ``successful development'' of the country's first SLBM.

Oh and if the grid frequencies I heard mentioned yesterday were correct than I wouldn't put your grid management people in charge of changing a lightbulb - never mind cooling nuclear power stations. Sounds like they may have gambled big style and lost twice. Have to wait and see what transpires. Probably gambling again bringing the grids back up in an unsafe manner. EDIT: That's exactly it. Just heard NDTV report that they are taking risks to get the power back up. This isn't a game idiots.

No idea. Haven't heard anything yet. AFAIK all nuke stations are on independent lines directly from dedicated sources and they also store massive amounts of diesel, enough for weeks of operation. Power is not very reliable in India so that much is factored in.

I wouldn't worry too much about the nukes. I am worried about the people in hospitals. If this lasts for more than one day I expect riots on the streets.

Yes but these dedicated lines will be the grid by definition. Hopefully the oil price hasn't reduced the diesel stock-piles for economic reasons and that "station blackout" procedures all work as planned.

As you say though, lets hope the mukes are protected which is more than can be said for the hospital residents.

No. Critical infra has it's own grid, independent of the main grid. Yesterday when the Northern Grid failed, Delhi's main hospital and the Airport worked without any problems. They are on an independent line straight from a combined power station (hydel + coal).

That's not the way it works. Delhi airport is currently running on 60MW local emergency generators. The power distribution requirements for nuclear power station normal operations and even emergency cooling are enormous. No country builds independent grids in parallel to the normal grid just for nuclear power stations. There should be alternative grid interconnects though.

Yes small power stations can supply isolated power islands but doing so can cause even more catastrophic failure down the line if things aren't done exactly right. Clearly things haven't been done right and the incompetents in charge have made the situation far worse by their actions to this point. Maybe they are going for a triple and intend to blackout the whole of India by tomorrow.

Alternative grid exists, I know this. There is a dedicated line to some of the installations, I have talked to some folks in the power dept. It doesn't exist for all critical infra though and you are right it's not completely independent. It's quite likely that they are going in for a triple and won't rest until India is invisible at night time from space.

I didn't know about the local generators in Delhi airport. Thanks for the info. Y'day there was an 8 hour power cut and today there is another one. I don't know how long they can keep the generators running.

You'd really have to build a complete HVDC backup grid with electronic frequency conversion to/from AC and synching and the ability to instantaneously follow or shed demand to really have a reliable backup to the HVAC grid.

India does have some HVDC distribution though and I imagine that's currently playing a major part in distributing power where it can.

NDTV reporting that power has now failed in parts of Calcutta previously unaffected including their own tv studios.

I am getting sick of hearing NDTV reporting that risks are being taken to get the grid back as soon as possible. Do it by the book. That's what the book is there for. Yesterday the power minister was boasting how quickly they restored power compared to the last major blackout in the USA. Bet he's regretting saying that now - or perhaps not as he's just been promoted.

Wonder how this facility is doing?

More than 40 India nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation

Date: Tue 31 July 2012

More than 40 workers at a nuclear power station in northern India have been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks in the past five weeks, company managers said last week.

According to a report in The New Age, the first accident occurred on 23 June when 38 people were exposed during maintenance work on a coolant channel at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station in Rawatbhata, senior plant manager Vinod Kumar said. Two of them received radiation doses equivalent to the annual permissible limit, he said, but all those involved have returned to work. In a second incident last Thursday, another four maintenance workers at the plant were exposed to tritium radiation while they were repairing a faulty seal on a pipe. India is on a nuclear power drive, with a host of plants based on Russian, Japanese, American and French technology under consideration or construction.

2012 northern India power grid failure

"Something went terribly wrong which caused the backup safety systems to fail."

How safe is India’s nuclear energy programme?
“adequate provisions exist at Indian nuclear power plants to handle station blackout situations and maintain continuous cooling of reactor cores for decay heat removal”. Further, the reports recalls, “the incidents at Indian nuclear power plants, like prolonged loss of power supplies at Narora plant in 1993, flood incident at Kakrapar plant in 1994 and tsunami at Madras (Chennai) plant in 2004 were managed successfully with existing provisions.”

"Consequently, the DAE and its primary research establishment Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have grown layers upon layers of complacency and intellectual dishonesty took roots. Politics and science became indistinguishable. It is difficult to know whether the Prime Minister is a pawn or a King in the decision making in nuclear matters."
The usual deal.
This article talks about two BWRs.

Indian nuclear review selects improvements
"India’s 18 pressurized heavy water reactors have inherent strengths that would help them to cope with the consequences of unexpected natural events, but its two boiling water reactors will need further safety enhancements... In the event of a station blackout, the BWRs would be able to maintain core cooling for up to eight hours before make-up water would need to be supplied to the emergency condenser, the report found... The design provisions of the PHWRs to provide reactor core cooling in station blackout conditions had already been demonstrated during a 17-hour blackout caused by a turbine hall fire at Narora 1 in 1993... "

Can India's Nuclear Plants Survive Natural Disasters?
"Another aspect that scientists pointed out is that Indian reactors are inherently safer as they use natural uranium as fuel as against enriched uranium that the Japanese reactors use. Apart from this, the Indian reactor design allows for cooling using convection currents even in a state of station blackout - when all power and backups fail."

Seems a review was ordered after Fukushima. Here's a report on some of the Rajasthan reactors currently blacked-out.


Based on the assumptions & review, weaknesses were identified & recommendations
are proposed for improvements for sustained core cooling under postulated event & listed

After detailed review of systems and existing EOP of SBO (Station Black Out), task force
noted that systems and procedures are available at site to assure core cooling with respect to
postulated scenario. Provision of flood DG and portable diesel operated pumps exist with
connection point for make up of water to boilers, PHT system and dousing tank, however
following areas need further improvements:


With the postulated scenario of loss of class II power after 20 minutes, need for cooling of
PHT, moderator, end shield etc is to be further addressed for enhancement
Though portable diesel operated pumps are available however their adequacy and
reliability to pump water to SG and PHT system needs to be assessed, demonstrated and to
be improved upon


The existing system is adequate to mitigate DBA (Design Basis Accident) events, SBO
(Station Black Out) for limited period and simultaneous occurrence of external events like earth
quake up to SSE (Safe Shutdown earth Quake), Gandhi Sagar Dam Break, RPS Dam Break.
However, with the implementation of measures recommended above, RAPS-2 core cooling can
be sustained for long period in the event of non-availability of motive power
and the designed
water supply routes are in-capacitated.

But yes in the fantasy world of certain web sites everything is always just fine even "when all power and backups fail" - who needs power anyway? Facts just don't bother them. No information on whether the recommendations have been implemented yet.

The report is undated:
Ah... it is from July 2011 according to


Beware of asiannuclearenergy: it is a malware attack site.


Design details with drawings:


Not quickly finding anything about 1 and 2 being updated.

NDTV just reported that a nuclear power station in the north is being ramped up to full output right now to bootstrap part of the grid. That's definitely back to front if the report is correct but perhaps there's an element of desperation there we are not being told about. Didn't catch the name of the plant unfortunately.

Wonder how many safety systems are currently over-ridden in order to have all these multiple islands of out of synch AC power - how much aged infrastructure is running overly hot right now? Hope their luck holds this time in re-integrating the system.

Wonder how many safety systems are currently over-ridden in order to have all these multiple islands of out of synch AC power - how much aged infrastructure is running overly hot right now? Hope their luck holds this time in re-integrating the system.

The terse answer is...a lot. There is a lot of political pressure and a lack of common sense on display here right now. People think ah they are ramping up a nuke. Only people on TOD understand how desperate the situation is.

I can imagine my supervisor shouting to the engineering team, damn it..I don't care what you do, I want that system up and running by tomorrow morning.

A "Black Start" from a complete blackout is a nightmare operationally in the best of times.

One, because it is almost never done, anywhere larger than an island.

Decades ago, I listened to discussions about how half of ERCOT (electrical island of Texas) could restart the blacked out half#. Speculation by those most in the know was 50+ hours to 100% if things went moderately well. Too many dead people if in a severe heat wave or cold spell.

All of ERCOT black ? That shook them.

If LCRA lakes had water in them, their limited hydropower could restart LCRA and Austin plants. Then San Antonio and from there towards Houston and South Texas. Then North Texas. Hydro is best for several reasons - including rotational inertia (including water column) coupled with the grid and high VAR support. They can absorb start-up problems better.

And if the lakes were dry, some FF plants are equipped for black start. Still, they would want hydro turbines spinning in air ASAP.

Note that the priority is to get plants up at partial load (NOT full load) and synced. Load would be ignored as much as possible till plants were up and generating in sync. Turn on a substation to provide load to stabilize plants and the grid, but leave most off. Stair step the plants up to maybe 80%, 85% of capacity by turning on substations but leave slack.

Rotating blackouts are a bad idea in this case. "When you throw the switch, there is a spike in demand. The same when you turn it off". These guys would turn on a substation and leave it on as a more or less stable load. Energizing all the HV AC lines (in sync) would be the priority, then the power plants, then the load. But one cannot push energizing the HV AC lines too far without generation or load.

The nukes would have to stay off till the end - but energizing their transmission lines would be a key step in allowing many more plants to restart. "South Texas (Nuclear Plant) has big lines going in every direction".

# Although there are good interconnections between North & South ERCOT, there is a natural divide.

Black start Texas ? Maybe 4 days, a week, ten days. Quote "I truly NEVER want to find out !".

Best Hopes for India,


A "Black Start" from a complete blackout is a nightmare operationally in the best of times

What does a high penetration of renewables do to the black start capabilities of a grid?

One the one hand, at least theoretically, I could imagine that PV has some advantages for black start. On the other hand its distributed and decentralised nature probably makes coordination even more of a nightmare.

At least the smaller scale PV inverters are still all programmed to cut out as soon as there are troubles with grid stability and don't reconnect until it is stable again. With increasing penetration, it seems like grid codes even for small PV are getting toughened up by adding some requirements to support grid stability, like providing reactive power, modulating power according to frequency to stabalize it or some capability of LVRT, but by far still not the full range required. I presume the small scale residential <10kw systems will never be included in the black start capabilities, but can the larger utility scale PV parks (10 - 100MW) be enabled? How do they behave when sub parts of the grid come online but not yet fully syncronized but the PV inverters start cutting in again? E.g. Germany now on very sunny days gets over 20GW from PV which corresponds to nearly a 1/3 of total load. Locally that fraction can be way higher, in some regions even above 100%.

What is the situation with respect to wind turbines? Can any of the bigger wind parks be used to help restart a grid? Some of the planned off-shore wind parks in the EU are up to 1GW in size and are connected via HVDC stations to the grid.

Distributed solar PV (roof-top) is connected through the substations with their neighborhood load. Drop a 12 MW load to, say 11 MW during the day. "Interesting" if a substation is energized 12 MW out at first and then 6 MW flow into the grid after a second or two (how long for inverters to sense "OK" ?) Islanding is a real issue then.

Utility scale solar farms are interesting. For black start, gas turbines are preferred because of their high ramp up (and down) rates. Solar farms have zero ramp rates, unless one can remotely turn specific panels off & on. If you can do that automatically in, say, 1/3oth of a second - GREAT. Solar farms have reactive power built in as I understand it. A great asset to black start I would assume (during the day)

Low ramp rates are also a problem with nukes.

Wind turbines via classic HV DC are a no go. No reactive power. HV DC Lite would be OK.

Wind turbines connected by HV AC and fixed speed (not Enercon type variable speed wind turbines with power electronics) could possibly be good (my guess) due to rotational inertia of their blades. Hz control is critical (again from conversation), a drop in Hz on one side of the state, VARs get wiped out and the grid could crash again. The wind turbine blades store a LOT of inertia (like hydro turbines) - they would feed energy into the grid as Hz dropped from 60 to say 59.6.

But only in small doses, preferably close to the load centers (aka "cities"). You would not want Amarillo WT blades supporting a Hz drop in Houston due to a sudden increase in load (substation switched on). The local plants should do that.

BTW, ERCOT is designed to vary Hz first and then voltage. Rest of US & Canada (unsure @ Quebec & Newfoundland), varies voltage first. The ERCOT grid is more tightly coupled.

I would like to see the rest of US grid broken into smaller areas connected by HV DC.

My SWAG (not really an expert, I just listen well),


Utility scale solar farms are interesting. For black start, gas turbines are preferred because of their high ramp up (and down) rates. Solar farms have zero ramp rates, unless one can remotely turn specific panels off & on.

I am no expert in this, but as PV doesn't have any heating up or down (thermal inertia) nor any rotating mass, can't it ramp up and down to any arbitrary value between 0 and 100% nearly instantly? So it should be great for stabilizing things if the inverters are programmed accordingly. And yes they can be turned on and off remotely. If I am not mistaken in Germany now all PV installations larger than 30kW (so pretty much anything above residential roof top) have to have a device with which the utility companies / grid providers can remotely regulate power output. I think the way the devices work, one can only set them remotely in 4 descrete steps. I.e something like 0% 30% 60% or 100% max. But those limitations come from the way the signal is distributed rather than the inherent technology. PV inverters are also now required to smoothly (linearly) ramp down with high frequency I.e once the grid frequency goes above 50.2Hz the newer inverters start ramping down (and up again if the frequency drops), which should help stabilizing the grid significantly.

Solar farms have reactive power built in as I understand it. A great asset to black start I would assume (during the day)

They are starting to experiment with PV inverters that can provide reactive power even during the night. So that those currently installed 30 GW of connected inverters could (if all were upgraded to support this) provide significant reactive power for grid stabalisation day round.

Wind turbines via classic HV DC are a no go. No reactive power. HV DC Lite would be OK.

HV DC converter stations also apparantly require quite a bit of power to operate, which in the case of a black start isn't available. I have read, that is actually to some degree an issue for the off shore converter station, as each time after a lull in wind, it has to "black start" even though the other side is still connected to the main grid.

Wind turbines connected by HV AC and fixed speed (not Enercon type variable speed wind turbines with power electronics) could possibly be good (my guess) due to rotational inertia of their blades.

The Enercon variable speed wind turbines provide simulated inertia. The power electronics can supposedly vary power output at a rate of up to 20% per second based on frequency to simulate rotational inertia.

I have no idea though how well that all works in practice and if it truly can replace nuclear or gas turbines, but a lot appears to have been done and is being done to make renewables help stabalize the grid. But black start capability is yet another beast.

I can see that significant progress has been made since I last had an in-depth look years ago (and then only US / 60 Hz world).

Best Hopes for more !


PS: Enercon "simulated inertia" - I am really puzzled how that is done.

I understand well how a hydro turbine, with a multi-pole generator coupled with the water column and how that feeds into the grid when Hz slows - but ...

Not what I do every day, but I have some idea:
Type III and Type IV wind turbine generators have power electronics (AC-DC-AC) in their interface with the grid. Type III (market-dominant these days) use the (1/3rd size) inverter only for the rotor of a doubly-fed-induction machine, while Type IV runs 100% of power thru the inverter. This allows machine frequency to be different than grid frequency. These are poor machines from a grid standpoint, just much better than the old (Type I) simple induction with switched capacitor jobs were. The big advantage is the ability to provide VAR's to and ride thru fault conditions. The 'simulated inertia' is real energy, the difference in these types of units is how widely their rotor speed can vary. A big synchronous machine provides inertia as the whole grid slows down, by slowing down roughly the same amount (less than 1% for most events). The much lighter wind rotor, can slow by 20% or more while remaining connected at grid frequency, depending on initial speed. Even so wind is not a big contributor to grid inertia.

For true grid strength, nothing beats a simple-cycle steam plant with a big boiler (if the steam leaving the boiler is reduced thru lower speed, the pressure rises in the short-term) and lots of rotating mass behind a synchronous generator. Combined-cycle and gas turbines have their own problems (reduced frequency reduces power output of gas turbines instead of increasing it), which is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen as the grid slows down.


Almost everybody's black-start plan starts with hydro. Texas is SOL because they have so little hydro. Most non-hydro black-start capability consists of gas turbines with compressed air starting. If you don't have hydro you have to start enough turbines and connect them together (transmission backbone without load, except a little bit for damping) to start a larger steam plant. The more generation in excess of load you have, the more plants you'll be able to be starting from the grid. Thus load restoration is an active hinderance to the speed of restoration. Small IC-engine plants will, of course, have black start capability, but except in isolated areas will not usually be useful as a means of starting the rest of the grid. Most large fossil plants are started from the grid, as are all nukes. Multiple small islands makes this harder than building it sequentially. The only real reason I can think of to do that is where you have what are essentially large islands with weak connections under synchronized conditions, and have black start plans for each island..

The impression I got was that they wanted some load to help stabilize frequency. They did not want most of the South Texas grid synced and generating at 0.5%.

These were LCRA engineers, the only utility with any hydro to speak of in Texas (and not that much - 292 MW). And given that plus their central location and good grid connections (and owned by the State of Texas - Texas contributed $100 to start them up), they have the lead in black starting ERCOT.

I think a 10 to 24 pole generator driven by a hydro-turbine with a good column of moving water behind it (say a km or two) beats your 2 pole generator driven by a steam generator :-)

I have been at load rejection tests of a new dam (small - 90 MW) - the energy shakes a mountain !

Best Hopes for Zero Black Starts !


Yes, you want a little bit of load for damping, I guess the question is how much (which depends on the generators and the lines). It's a minor fraction (say 20-40%) of the generation brought online--minus 1 unit. It's a tiny bit of load in relation to all the load that is OFF, so you have to disconnect most of the load from the transmission. No question hydro has good inertia (which is important on the cycles and seconds scale), but hydro's off a lot or turning in air unless you have a hydro dominated grid, its usual stability role (besides working as a synchronous condenser) is to respond quickly to bring more power on. Steam has natural mechanical feedback to keep you alive for a few minutes under low-freq until hydro or peakers can ramp. Gas turbines actively work against you if they were running all out at first.

Texas is very much the opposite of a hydro-dominated grid. I'd like to have about 5 times that much hydro capacity to restart ERCOT.

This incident (along with several others in the news lately) keeps me thinking about the hidden costs of excessive amounts of complexity. With increased complexity, there is greater need for highly competent people to keep it all running smoothly.

When things go wrong is when the weaknesses in the system become more apparent. Whether it is government ministers sticking their fingers into something they don't understand (as is the case here), a corporate bureaucracy that is incapable of acting in an emergency (TEPCO), or a bankster class that doesn't believe that infrastructure investments should be made unless they can monetize it.

People here in the U.S. think nothing of electing a dolt to higher office, and these people have very simplistic and naive views of how the world works. Yet they are cocksure that they are 100% correct, so they charge ahead with their slogans and sound bites, and much like a termite infestation, they gradually gnaw away at the complex systems until they can no longer stand.

The thing that got me started going down this line of thought was something I heard about the other day. It seems that tractors can now be equip with GPS receivers so that operators are no longer required. Apparently each tractor then has a TCP/IP address which apparently allows an operator to work the field without ever setting foot outdoors. I just roll my eyes - I guess they think of this as progress (the manufacturers undoubtedly like it as there is an upcharge for all of this stuff).

This thought comes to mind:

Utilities that have deferred needed maintenance on basic infrastructure, added "smart grid", outsourced skilled labor to run the "smart grid", outsourced many of the skilled people that understand and maintain the infrastructure.

This means a greatly reduced pool of skilled people who actually understand how to bring a system back up. The utilities are now staffed mainly by people to take calls and then call the outsourced (and now overburdened) labor suppliers.

Massively increased complexity and reduced resiliency. Sound like where we're heading?

Massively increased complexity and reduced resiliency. Sound like where we're heading?

Yeah, afraid so.

One of the things they learned in some of the massive outages we had some decades ago was that if part of the grid goes down, the other parts need to immediately sever themselves from the rest of the grid to avoid further damage to equipment.

The usual outages we have are due to storm damage, where it is usually the feeder lines to individual houses that get knocked out. That sort of thing they can still easily deal with.

I was just thinking that smart meters would in *theory* make it easier to bring up a grid from black in that they might be able to bring things online a more gradual fashion. The cost of course is more complexity, and this could introduce new failure modes that have not even been thought of yet.

Like with so many things, 'Complexity' may be too simple a word to cover the problem. Hmm, even the answer seems to be more complex!, but that doesn't, IMO, make it worse. Deep understandings usually reveal a great range of complexity and subtle conditions that a system relies upon.. that intricacy is not necessarily the downfall, however.

With grid power's tendency to trip in a cascade of connected regions, it seems that 'inflexibility' or 'convolution' would be the adjectives that I look towards. I'm not 'Anti-grid' or anti connection, but as with those very complex human relationships, which may be either Flexible and Subtle/Supple, or they Might be rigid and brittle, the question becomes one of being able to lithely change modes between Independence and Interdependence, without getting stuck in Co-dependence. You have to be able to hold on, and you have to be able to let go, and be ready to nimbly take hold again, ready to let go again if something is amiss. It's basically dancing, isn't it?

damn it..I don't care what you do, I want that system up and running

They see the captain of the Enterprise say that every week on StarTrek. It always comes out OK. What could go wrong?

I got an update from my parents (they live in the East) that power is coming back online but large parts are still out. No idea what the officials are up to. I told them to get ready for another possible blackout within this week. They have a 1kW submersible motor which pumps water from the ground reservoir to overhead tanks. I am going to connect it to a PV array + Inverter system asap.

I am going to connect it to a PV array + Inverter system asap.

Not only are you a 'Wise' Indian but you're smart too! >;-)

Best hopes for a lot more small scale off grid PV systems throughout India and the rest of the world!

IMHO decentralization is key.

1KW 3 phase pump? Good luck connecting that up to PV + Inverter. Better to go for Grundfos (or similar) DC pumps that are designed to be powered by multiple sources (genset, PV, grid).


Costs (way) more... but what else are we TODsters going to do with our paper money anyway?

I'm dreaming up of putting this all mechanical beauty at our farm, but right now its grid connected: http://aureka.com/windpumps/index.php?categ=windp

1KW 3 phase pump? Good luck connecting that up to PV + Inverter. Better to go for Grundfos (or similar) DC pumps that are designed to be powered by multiple sources (genset, PV, grid).

I assumed he would change out the pump as well... a no brainer for a 'Smart' Indian or anyone else as well >;-)

Yes DC pumps are certainly better for a PV, that goes without saying.

Now that DC motor would be hooked up to a positive displacement pump, I hope, so the efficiency doesn't drop as the motor speed drops due to lower power output from the solar panel in lower light conditions.

I am planning to have both of them, use the AC pump when there is no sunlight, maybe with a manual switch.

We've been running this pump PV direct (no controller, 150 watts/24 VDC) for years. Great performance, can be repaired on site. We keep spare parts but haven't needed them yet. We turn on the AC pump occasionally to exercise it, but haven't needed it with our gravity storage system + PV pump.

Ghung, No controller at all? or their "PV Direct controller"?.

No controller voids the warranty.

During low light conditions the panel could feed enough juice to overheat the motor, but not enough to make it run and flow cooling water through it.

I wouldn't want to risk a $500 pump.


AC/DC refers to motor,
Positive displacement and centripetal, refers to the pump that the motor is hook up to.

A positive displacement pump can vary it's speed and thereby directly vary its volume. A centripetal pump will need a constant speed and its volume can be varied by valve control, and is better hooked up to a squirrel cage constant speed AC motor. A DC motor will change speed depending on the power input, which relates to the sun intensity, and therefore suited to positive displacement pump.

SunPumps SDS-T series pumps are low cost, high efficiency, positive displacement submersibles designed to be an economical solution for the “solar water pumping” industry.

edit: from Ghung's link, I note they are positive displacement pumps

India Nuclear Power Plants:

India Fuel Import Dependency Projections 2001-2030:


Transmission & Distribution:

… due to lack of adequate investment on T&D works, the T&D losses have been consistently on higher side, and reached to the level of 32.86% in the year 2000-01. The reduction of these losses was essential to bring economic viability to the State Utilities. As the T&D loss was not able to capture all the losses in the net work, concept of Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) loss was introduced. AT&C loss captures technical as well as commercial losses in the network and is a true indicator of total losses in the system.

High technical losses in the system are primarily due to inadequate investments over the years for system improvement works, which has resulted in unplanned extensions of the distribution lines, overloading of the system elements like transformers and conductors, and lack of adequate reactive power support.

The commercial losses are mainly due to low metering efficiency, theft & pilferages. This may be eliminated by improving metering efficiency, proper energy accounting & auditing and improved billing& collection efficiency. Fixing of accountability of the personnel / feeder managers may help considerably in reduction of AT&C loss.

With the initiative of the Government of India and of the States, the Accelerated Power Development & Reform Program (APDRP) was launched in 2001, for the strengthening of Sub-Transmission and Distribution network and reduction in AT&C losses.

The main objective of the program was to bring Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses below 15% in five years in urban and in high-density areas. The program, along with other initiatives of the Government of India and of the States, has led to reduction in the overall AT&C loss from 38.86% in 2001-02 to 34.54% in 2005-06.

It's quite likely that they are going in for a triple and won't rest until India is invisible at night time from space.

At least you'll be able to see the stars.

India Power Grid;

PDF Map; http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/national_energy_grid/india/grap...

Power Failures Hit Half of India

... It may take a long time to restore power to north India, because the eastern grid has also failed, and alternate power sources in Bhutan and the Indian state of Sikkim flow into the east first.

About two hours after the grid failure, power ministry authorities said some alternate arrangements had been made. “We are taking hydro power from Bhakhra Nangal Dam,” in northern India, said Sushil Kumar Shinde, the power minister, in a televised interview.

... A trade body, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, or Assocham, said that Monday’s power problem “totally disturbed the normal life and has severely impacted the economic activities."

While on the one hand it is a pity that over 26,000 megawatts of power stations are idle due to the nonavailability of coal, on the other one grid failure has brought the system collapsed,” said the group’s secretary general D.S. Rawat, noting that “the entire power situation at present is headed for disaster.”

... a week ago

India: Government Takes Measures to Prepare for Drought

India set aside 900 megawatts of power and ensured a stockpile of diesel fuel will be available for farmers in its breadbasket states to pump up groundwater for irrigation, as the country's metereological department downgraded its outlook for the summer monsoon.

Will diesel stockpiles need to be requisitioned to cover fuel use in the north and east? If that occurs, how will this impact grain harvest?

and in Pakistan ...

Pakistan Blackout Protests Turn Violent

... Coupled with hot and humid summer weather, the prolonged blackout has forced outraged citizens to take to the streets to protest the tough living conditions.

The protests turned violent as some of the angry protesters reportedly attacked offices of the power supply department in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, damaging official and private properties.

Offices of Pepco, the Pakistan Electric Power Company, were also attacked in Islamabad, Abbottabad, Charsadda, Okara, Multan, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot, and Sheikhupura and many of them were reportedly set ablaze.

and Electricity shortage reaches 6,000 megawatts mark

and Petroleum Ministry admits: gas exploration has come to standstill after 18th Amendment

Textile sector representatives informed the committee that they were unable to take orders from the international buyers as there was no power and gas for the textile units to produce the desired amount of cloth. Shortages of gas and power have badly impacted the working of garments and processing industries and the committee demanded that textile sector should be provided gas and power seven days a week.

Trains delayed by diesel shortage

So is this looking like a systemic collapse driven by climate change caused reduced energy input? How long can it last before it induces social unrest that prevents further recovery?

Just heard in a discussion on NDTV that over 6 GW of Indian fossil generating capacity is also currently unavailable due to cost cutting causing them to have run out of fuel at these stations. The guest who said this said it was easier to just blame the states when the real problem is the state of the grid as well as the terrible drought in agricultural areas pushing the system over the edge.

Some government spokesman said it was fine to promote the power minister today because there was no catastrophe when the decision was made this morning as yesterday's problem had apparently been solved. Is this a comedy show?

Kick him upstairs where hopefully he can't do any more harm? That frequently is a way of dealin with failure. Fails upwards, so to speak. And considering that a person can be very competenat at X and totally inept at Y, maybe moving him is best for all involved?

AFAIK all nuke stations are on independent lines directly from dedicated sources and they also store massive amounts of diesel, enough for weeks of operation.

Are "weeks" long enough? Are diesels 100% reliable? Is resupply a given?

Can we be sure there will always have enough water at hand? (Apparently the temperatures got too high for France's nukes this summer. Could that happen in India?)

I read here that India is looking at several technologies for their next build. I sure hope they keep all the instruction manuals handy at headquarters, written so that politicians can understand them.

A balanced discussion of Richard Duncan's Olduvai Theory:


The Olduvai cliff (2012–2030) - 'begins ... in 2012 when an epidemic of permanent blackouts spreads worldwide, i.e. first there are waves of brownouts and temporary blackouts, then finally the electric power networks themselves expire'. This is partly connected to fossil fuel production, as coal and natural gas are significant fuel sources in electricity generation, but it is unclear how nuclear power generation fails, if at all.

I wonder if Duncan, regarding 2012, may (like Deffeyes regarding global oil production in 2005) have at least accurately predicted an inflection point.

Wiley's Olduvai

Power supply partially restored; Modi attacks PM

8.00 pm: Northern and Eastern grids have been partially restored. Latest reports say 75 percent of power has been restored in North. 60 percent of train services have also been restored.

Outgoing Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that power supply has been restored fully in the North-East and it will take a few more hours to resume supplies in other parts of country hit by the outages.

All well and good. What is their plan for making sure that this doesn't happen again tomorrow?

Duct tape and chewing gum?

No plan. There is a reason we have a million gods and goddesses in India :)

Clever - when you've only got one and he's obviously not getting the job done, you're out of luck.

Reminds me of the old joke/saying: "The nice thing about standards are that there are so many to choose from".

The people who tell the local "news at eleven" are so entirely smitten (and smote) by ignorance that I decided to check back with Drumbeat instead.

Thank you, wiseindian, for a good chuckle. I shall go to sleep with a smile on my face this night.


People on TOD, the Post-Carbon Institute and other aligned websites were predicting problems of looming water shortages vs oil production that would be far worse than Peak Oil. Now we see that the drought from Climate Change is impacting water resources which are required for hydrofracking!

Drought strains US oil production

I guess Limits to Growth had it right all along..

It is all connected with intricate interdependencies ...

So much for the "oil and gas glut"! lol

Yeah, to even keep up their pretense of that "oil and gas glut" they're going to need an even bigger real "water glut"! Welcome to the real world, you fantasylanders!

Ahmadinejad:exports of Iranian crude oil must be stopped
"use it for domestic refineries"

Although that report strangely omits the part where Ahmadinejad said:


Oil is being used as a “political tool” against oil producers, he said, adding that Iran should stop exporting crude oil and try to sell refined oil products instead.

Iran Oil Minister announces Iran to become one of the largest exporters of oil products by 2015
as US imposes new sanctions on Iranian oil industry

National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Solar Has The Most Potential Of Any Renewable Energy Source

A recently released study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, estimates that the technical potential of photovoltaic cells and concentrated solar power (CSP) in the United States is as much as 200,000 Gigawatts, enough to generate about 400,000 TWh of energy annually.

The report dismisses economic and political impacts on the solar industry and focuses solely on the scientific and engineering limitations. The types of solar power studied in the report were Urban Utility-Scale Photovoltaics, Rural Utility-Scale Photovoltaics, Rooftop Photovoltaics, and Concentrated Solar Power, which is a utility-scale project “in which the solar heat energy is collected in a central location.”

Seraph, no way Jose! Repeat after me SOLAR IS TOO EXPENSIVE! Got that?! /sarc

TEPCO only has one camera apparently.

Change of Fukuichi Live Camera Location at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Source: Tokyo Electric Power Company
Date: July 31, 2012

Fukuichi Live Camera currently installed near the Administration Office Building at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station has been offering real-time images of mainly Unit 1 and 2 since May 31, 2011. In response to the request from viewers and considering the progress of the cover installation for fuel removal at Unit 4, the camera location will be moved to near the Waste Sludge Temporary Storage Facility (on Unit 4 side). Starting from 11:00 AM on August 1 (planned)*, real-time images of Unit 4 side of the station will be provided.

* Images will be unavailable for about an hour from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM on August 1 due to the switching.

Of course they have multiple high resolution cameras offering far better views than that provided by the current webcam - we can see them in photos taken in the control centre. Must think we are incredibly stupid. BP at least had the excuse of being at the bottom of the sea but still managed to provide numerous live streams (after being ordered to do so of course). Nobody seems keen on ordering TEPCO to add a few more streams.

Report: Global warming to blame for bigger, more frequent rainstorms

The size of rainstorms hitting Los Angeles has been getting bigger over the past 60 years, according to a new report released today by the Environment California Research and Policy Center.

The environmental advocacy group measured rainfall in the Los Angeles metro area since 1948 and found that a storm large enough to occur only once a year decades ago is now happening every 8.8 months.

Last I heard, the "super rain" that was responsible for the flooding of the Cumberland River and its tributaries, small and large, in Middle Tennessee (spring 2010) has been designated a 1000-year event.

Glyphosate-resistant tumbleweed found in Montana

A researcher for the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station's Southern Agricultural Research Center in Huntley has identified glyphosate-resistant kochia [tumbleweed] populations in fields north of Gildford and Hingham in Montana.

"Kochia is the most troublesome weed in wheat-fallow cropping systems because it spreads so quickly and has developed a resistance to glyphosate - commonly known as Roundup," Jha said.

Growers in Montana have expressed concern about controlling kochia in the past, but this year has been devastating with crop infestation rates as high as 70 percent in some fields north of Gilford and Hingham, Jha said.

Previous research confirmed wild oats, Persian darnel, and Russian thistle are herbicide resistant.

Actually, they can't breed in the wild. Population
control is one of our security precautions here. There
is no unauthorized breeding in Jurassic Park.

Grant and Ellie exchange a look. She manages not to smile.

How do you know they can't breed?

Because all the animals in Jurassic Park are females.
(I've) We engineered them that way.

Small wind turbines 'halve' bat numbers

A boom in the use of small wind turbines could be halving bat numbers in areas where they are put up, new research has suggested.

Research at 20 such sites across the UK recorded a fall in bat activity of up to 54%.

From IEA: Global warming may lead to ‘Miami Beach in Boston’ situation unless urgent action is taken

The way energy is produced and consumed must change if the world is to respond to wide-ranging energy security, economic and environmental challenges, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Deputy Executive Director emphasised in an interview for Switch, a documentary which explores what role energy will play in the future.

Ambassador Richard H. Jones warned that if energy policies do not adapt, enough carbon dioxide will be being emitted to reach 1,000 parts per million in the atmosphere. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that equates to 6º Celsius increase in temperature by the end of this century. “That’s basically Miami Beach in Boston,” he said.

Click here to watch the interview with Ambassador Jones for the Switch documentary.

The Coming Unholy Alliance In Natural Gas


"...At the TGP Zone 4 Marcellus, starting in May, prices fluctuated widely and dipped below $1/MMBtu"

The New McDonalds ...

Former McDonald’s Honchos Take On Sustainable Cuisine

I had come to the artisanally fed vale of Facebook and Tesla to sample the first fruits of Lyfe Kitchen, a soon-to-be-chain of restaurants that might just shift the calculus of American cuisine.

At Lyfe Kitchen (the name is an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday), all the cookies shall be dairy-free, all the beef from grass-fed, humanely raised cows. At Lyfe Kitchen there shall be no butter, no cream, no white sugar, no white flour, no high-fructose corn syrup, no GMOs, no trans fats, no additives, and no need for alarm: There will still be plenty of burgers, not to mention manifold kegs of organic beer and carafes of biodynamic wine.

None of this would seem surprising if we were talking about one or 10 or even 20 outposts nationwide. But Lyfe’s ambition is to open hundreds of restaurants around the country, in the span of just five years.

... corporate co-opting?

No butter?

Heaven help them if they're planning to do it with Margarine or seed oils...

"...Lyfe’s ambition is to open hundreds of restaurants around the country, in the span of just five years."

So, it' still going to be about "Billions Sold"...isn't that the problem?

Unintended consequences ...

Iran embargo frays Bangladesh fibre trade

Bangladesh's billion-dollar jute trade, which about 40 million people in the country rely on to make a living, has suffered major losses due to Western sanctions on Iran, the industry's biggest customer.

Bangladesh, one of the world's largest producers of the vegetable fibre, which is used to create a wide range of products including carpets and car interiors, is also losing business with Egypt, Syria and Libya.

Introduction of Asian ladybirds into Europe serious mistake

In retrospect, introducing the Asian ladybird into Europe was a serious mistake. The insect was introduced some twenty years ago in a conscious attempt to combat aphids. But research carried out at Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) into the invasion of this foreign insect has shown that the disadvantages far outweigh this single advantage. The Asian species is displacing the native European ladybird and has become a pest that can contaminate homes and spoil the taste of wine. The researchers concerned have reported their findings in the latest edition of the scientific journal Plos One.

In retrospect, introducing the Asian ladybird into Europe was a serious mistake.

Ah, the law of unintended consequences... can't wait till we start geoengineering in earnest... what could possibly go wrong?!

We had an invasion of Asian ladybugs (ladybirds?) in the early 2000s. They would invade our house in autumn, and the first warm days of each spring saw massive hatches, literally millions of the bugs crawling out of every nook and cranny. It lasted for about 4 years and suddenly subsided; don't know what the mechanism was. They now seem to be a balanced part of our insect population. I expect some biological adaptations occurred and one or more other creatures are keeping them in check.


Our latest pest problem from abroad is the Chinese stink bug... eating the crops rather than the aphids.

US 'wasted' $200m on training Iraqi police

Report from auditors finds that massive US programme to train Iraqi police was unwanted and led to 'de-facto waste'.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, to be released on Monday, found that the US embassy in Baghdad never received a written commitment from Iraq to participate in the programme.

US building projects in Afghanistan 'a waste'

Costly US efforts to build major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan are running far behind schedule, and may fall short of counter-insurgency goals central to the US military campaign there, a government watchdog has warned.

Almost $400m in power grid, roads and other construction projects from fiscal 2011 "may not achieve the desired COIN effects," the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said.

US soldier to serve no time for Iraq killings

A US marine accused over the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha was demoted to the rank of private but will serve no time behind bars, a military spokesman has said.

The victims included 10 women and children killed at point-blank range. Six people were killed in one house, most shot in the head, including women and children huddled in a bedroom

... puts the $525m Solyndra issue into perspective

The entire Iraq war was one gigantic mistake that will cost us trillions. The GOP has lost all moral authority of ever claiming 'fiscal responsibility', IMHO.

From USA Today ...

Army to expand citizen soldiers' training periods

The end of fighting in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan will not mean a return to a peacetime schedule of drilling one weekend a month and two weeks a year for the 550,000 citizen soldiers of the Army's National Guard and Reserve, according to the Army's top general.

Instead, they will keep preparing for war ...

... Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, said the wars went on for so long, that fewer people remember the peacetime schedule.

.. and I was going to go and watch Batman tonight. I think that plan's off.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Climate Change Is Real, Senator Inhofe Is 'Dead Wrong' (VIDEO)

... Sanders also expressed his concern that Inhofe's outsider view on climate change also influences his Republican colleagues. “For better or worse, when Sen. Inhofe speaks, the Republican Party follows," Sanders claimed. "And when the Republican Party follows, it is impossible to get real work done in the Congress."

Booz Allen Hamilton Announces Results of First-Ever “Wargame” Examining Future of US Infrastructure In 2040

On July 24, Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) concluded the first-ever “wargame” simulation examining creative infrastructure initiatives and solutions that factor in US transportation needs by the year 2040. Simulation participants generated and explored the impact of fresh ideas such as automated offshore ports and freight-only regional transportation corridors.

Proposed regional infrastructure solutions included a range of creative ideas to spark conversation, including:

•Creating dedicated freight-only airports, highways and shipping corridors
•Regional high-speed rail networks
•Off-shore, automated super-ports
•Elevated systems to rapidly move freight containers around regions
•“Smart” tunnel enhancements

Multimedia Assets and Additional Information

Reimagining Infrastructure
Infrastructure in the Year 2040 Infographic

{sigh} Gadgetbahn is the term usually used for such.


I wonder what they plan to fill the airships with. Hydrogen?

California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate

Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak, according to new state-sponsored studies.

Released Tuesday, the studies warn that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe wildfires and strain on the electric grid as the Earth warms and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast.

The California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission jointly released the series of peer-reviewed scientific studies, titled "Our Changing Climate 2012," to help the state prepare for and adapt to the changes, many of which are already underway

Europe looks to open up Greenland for natural resources extraction
Melting of icy surface opens up possibility of extracting rare earth metals and gemstones, but many fear it could destroy the Arctic

Look at these grinning idiots.
No problem here...go back to sleep sheeple...climate change? Don't worry look...shiny things to keep your small minds occupied!
Damn, I hate my species!


The answer to the question is: No

We are not smarter than yeast!

Hey, at least what the yeast excrete is good for something!


How long, do you suppose, can the extractive industries (esp. oil/gas) deny the effects of climate change and simultaneously grovel over all the polar exploration and production that's opening up?

They can probably stay irrational longer than the rest of us can keep alive. Sigh.

Steve – “How long…can the extractive industries (esp. oil/gas) deny the effects of climate change?” Easy answer: as long as they want to. But does it really matter? If ExxonMobil et al started running TV spots warning folks about AGW what would change? We’ll still drill for oil/NG because that’s our profession. IMHO many folks who deny AGW do so as a defense to maintain BAU. Also IMHO the majority public will always deny/ignore AGW. The public and the politicians they elect set the policies on the environment. It’s a harsh reality many folks have difficulty accepting but society isn’t going to sacrifice their lifestyles for the sake of current inhabitants of this planet let alone future generations. I know that’s a dark view but that’s what I truly believe. And despite all the clear warning signs I’ve seen no significant change in society’s actions. Lots of lip service but no meaningful results. And to be blunt I think we’ll look back on these as the good ole days. As oil/NG becomes more expensive/scarce the economies will move more heavily to coal.


Make your plan... keep it simple; local... Speak out, if only for your sanity.

Then again, simple local plans aren't the only way to go.

There's something to be said for complex machiavellian international plans; why let the sociopaths have all the fun?

MinMass, that was a great rant! Still laughing because its so true and funny. Human consciousness at this point in time is apparently unable to follow cause and effect as it projects into the future or even near future, instead opting to live in the moment like a child. Thus the allure of gemstones is all it takes to put a glint in their eye and the scent of greenbacks on their mind. Rmember the hoards charging up the Klondike in search of gold with most going flat broke - nothing has changed.

I wonder if consciousness could evolve for those that make it through the coming bottleneck. Or, is this the full thought level our species can achieve? Maybe once a blueprint for a brain has been laid out for a species it is unalterable in some respects, such as lust, greed and violence. It's probably a circuit board that will always respond to stimuli in much the same way. Only a few non-groupthink types whose genes have somehow forced their way into a new way of independent thinking can peer into the pond of idiocy.

Interesting book. The author was on The Daily Show tonight.

Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World
By Dambisa Moyo

Jim Rogers, author of Hot Commodities and A Gift to My Children
“Dambisa Moyo offers a smart primer for investors looking to make sense of the opportunities and risks in the commodity space today. You must read this book if you want to understand the reality of what's happening in the world today. I am afraid the West is going to wake up too late to prepare for the future.”

It is interesting. It has been obvious to me for some time that China has been trying to buy up as much of the world's oil resources as possible, and they have had quite a bit of success here in Canada. CNOOC's recent $15 billion bid for Nexen is the latest example.

American politicians have been saying they want to block the sale of Nexen because of its big US Gulf of Mexico holdings. They can't because Nexen is a Canadian company and approval is up to the government of Canada. The US could force CNOOC to divest its GOM holdings, but then who is going to develop them? CNOOC has the money to do it, Nexen didn't.

I think the US government and people have been asleep while China has been doing this, and when they finally wake up, it will be too late. China will own it all.

Rocky – “American politicians have been saying they want to block the sale of Nexen because of its big US Gulf of Mexico holdings.” I’m not sure which is more cynical: to assume these politicians are just ignorant or if they know the truth and are just pandering to the public. You probably know but for those that don’t: a number of companies either owned or controlled by other counties drill and produce on the federal leases in the GOM. And how is that a bad thing: they spend their money to increase US production as well as add jobs and royalty payments to our tax payers. And all the oil/NG stays in the US: it is not legal to export production from federal leases. The politicians should be doing everything they can in encourage any country to invest in any venture in this country. Especially in the case of China so we can repatriate a bit of the many $billions of interest payments we’ve made to them.

Those politicians: ignorant or liars?

I'm pretty sure the politicians know the facts and are just posturing for the voters - talking tough with China despite the fact they have no control over the takeover and it doesn't make any difference to US production anyway. They obviously have to know that BP is really British Petroleum, and Shell is Royal Dutch Shell. Initially, they may have missed the fact that Nexen is a Canadian company, but someone must have brought it to their attention by now.

The Chinese are really finessing their takeovers nowadays. They were burned by the US government's rejection of CNOOC's bid for Unocal back in 2005 and are being a lot more cautious these days.

Nexen is a company on the scale of Unocal, but it is Canadian owned, and Canada is a lot less distrustful of China than the US is. The main difference is that Canada has few if any global power aspirations of its own - it doesn't have a dog in any of China's fights.

In addition, only 28% of Nexen's production is in Canada, and most of that is exported to the US anyway, so the Canadian government would have trouble deeming it to be "strategic". The Canadian government is trying to send an "open for business" signal to the international financial markets to attract investment, and blocking a foreign takeover would be counterproductive in that regard. And last but not least, CNOOC has said that Nexen's Calgary office would become CNOOC's North and Central American head office, having no doubt noticed that the Prime Minister is from Calgary.

The Chinese have learned a lot of finesse in recent years, unlike most American politicians - for instance Romney, who only seemed to open his mouth to change feet on his recent international tour de farce.


The Rolling Stone article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” by Bill McKibben appears on the Google News science page.


"The new issue of Rolling Stone has a major essay by Bill McKibben, called Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. It’s a must read, for a number of reasons. The big one is that McKibben’s call for a “carbon disinvestment” movement – aimed at breaking the hammerlock that the fossil cartel has on our civilization – is a big step forward."

Hopefully McKibben's excellent piece won't let individuals think that they can go on thoughtlessly consuming while someone else takes the carbon out...

Bill McKibben is wrong, we must not forget that "We have met the enemy and he is us"

"So Mr. McKibben is telling us that he won't ask us to change our lifestyles for the sake of global warming."

People will be consuming less, ready or not. Only the timing is debatable. Might help if they did a little pre-familiarization.

"Might help if they did a little pre-familiarization."

The Archdruid Report- June 6, 2012
Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush