Drumbeat: August 6, 2012

Mitt Romney in His Own Words: 5 Things the Media Will Not Tell You About Willard Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney Believes in Peak Oil, and Government Intervention in Energy Markets:

“Many analysts predict that the world’s production of oil will peak in the next ten to twenty years, but oil expert Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, presents a compelling case that Middle Eastern oil production may have already reached its peak. Simmons bases his contention on his investigation into the highly secretive matter of the level of reserves in the Saudi oil fields. But whether the peak is already past or will be reached within a few years, world oil supply will decline at some point, and no one predicts a corresponding decline in demand. If we want America to remain strong and wish to ensure that future generations have secure and prosperous lives, we must consider our current energy policies in the light of how these policies will affect our grandchildren.”

Oil Drops After Biggest Gain in 5 Weeks as Storm Slows

Oil slid from the highest close in two weeks in New York amid speculation that its biggest gain in more than a month was excessive. Tropical Storm Ernesto slowed as it headed westward in the Caribbean.

Futures slipped as much as 0.8 percent after closing 4.9 percent higher on Aug. 3, the most since June 29. Prices finished last week with a gain of 1.4 percent after U.S. payrolls rose more than estimated and service industries expanded at a faster pace. Ernesto, located about 180 miles east of the Nicaragua and Honduras border, had winds of about 50 miles per hour, down from 60 mph on Aug. 4, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Saudi Aramco Cuts September Light Crude Oil Premium to Asia

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, cut the premium used in determining official selling prices for its Light, Medium and Heavy grades to customers in Asia for September shipments while raising the premium for Light crude to customers in the U.S.

Asia Fuel Oil-Aug/Sept narrows as Japan, China demand hopes fade

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asia's fuel oil prompt inter-month spread narrowed on Monday as more Western supply was expected to arrive in the second half of August and as hopes faded for a rebound in Japanese and Chinese demand.

No end in sight for Bakken oil boom

BISMARCK, N.D. (UPI) -- The oil boom in North Dakota shows no signs of letting up though there's not much pipeline infrastructure to handle the production, an official said.

Oil production in North Dakota has increased every year for the past four years. Much of the production is from the lucrative Bakken formation.

Chesapeake Cash Crunch to Widen Without Oilfield Sales

Slumping oil and natural-gas prices threaten to exacerbate a cash crunch at Chesapeake Energy Corp., adding to pressure on Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon to sell oilfields from Texas to Ohio.

Shell pulls cash out of 'high-risk' Europe

Oil giant, Shell, is attempting to reduce its exposure to the eurozone crisis by moving funds out of Europe and stashing it in safe havens like the US.

Plains All American Announces New Crude Oil Rail Facilities in Colorado and Virginia

The Tampa facility is located approximately 50 miles northeast of Denver and is designed to receive crude oil via truck and pipeline and to load unit and manifest trains at a rate of up to 68,000 barrels per day. The facility is being built to service increasing DJ Basin crude oil production and is underpinned by firm contracts with large independent producers. The Tampa facility is expected to be in service in the third quarter of 2013. BNSF Railway Company will provide the rail transportation for the facility.

The Yorktown crude oil rail facility is being constructed at PAA’s multi-product terminal and is designed to receive unit and manifest trains with the capability to unload at a rate of up to 130,000 barrels per day. The project includes making modifications to the existing dock and related infrastructure to facilitate loading barges and ocean-going vessels at higher rates and handling multiple products. The rail facility and other modifications are expected to begin service in the first half of 2013. CSX will provide the rail transportation for the facility.

Brazil's Incredibly Shrinking Petrobras

In 2008, a few months before the end of the world, Goldman Sachs gave Petrobras a price target of around $60. Today, it is trading at $20 a share, will undoubtedly fall below that before the day is done, and it is arguably the black sheep of big oil plays in the hemisphere.

Repsol to Meet With Venezuela on YPF Seizure, Pagina 12 Reports

Repsol SA will meet with Venezuelan officials Aug. 9 to discuss the Spanish oil company’s dispute over Argentina’s seizure of its majority stake in YPF SA, newspaper Pagina 12 said today, citing Venezuela’s Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.

Blast shuts down pipeline in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An explosion in Turkey has forced authorities to shut down a pipeline carrying oil from Iraq to world markets, an official said Monday, in the second such incident in two weeks. Local media reports said Kurdish rebels had caused the blast.

Liberia: Labor Min. - Oil Could Cause Conflict in Liberia If...

Labor Minister Varbah Gayflor has warned that depending on how Liberia's recently discovered oil is managed, it could be a source of conflict in the country. She sounded the warning Saturday, August 4, 2012, when she spoke at program organized by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), marking the launch of the Nationwide Consultation on the country's Draft Petroleum Policy, at the Monrovia City Hall.

Labor Minister Gayflor, who indicated that the people of Liberia do not want oil to be a curse to the nation, rather a blessing, further stated: "We are not saying that oil is going to be the source of conflict, but depending on how we manage the process, it could be."

China welcomes oil deal between Sudan, South Sudan

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China on Monday welcomed an oil agreement between Sudan and South Sudan and urged South Sudan to protect the interests of its cooperation partners.

According to the agreement, the two sides will share their oil resources, which will allow South Sudan's oil to resume being exported via Sudan's territories.

Nigeria's oil law is test for Jonathan presidency

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's landmark energy bill could revive Africa's biggest oil industry and improve President Goodluck Jonathan's reputation, but rebellious lawmakers will seriously test his resolve to push it through in its present form.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would bring root and branch reform to an industry that produces 80 percent of government revenues but has been plagued by corruption and mismanagement for decades.

Iran considers new oil developments

TEHRAN (UPI) -- An Iranian defense official said talks were under way with the oil ministry to develop four oil fields in southern and western Iran.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said the government was developing oil contracts with domestic companies.

Washington gets tough on Iran (sometimes)

Harsh sanctions don't mean much to Iran if we keep letting other countries do business with them.

Fire at Iran Petrochemical Plant Contained, One Dead, Shana Says

A fire at a petrochemical complex in Iran’s southern port of Bandar Imam has been “fully contained” after killing one person and injuring 15 others, the Oil Ministry said.

CNOOC signs $1.56b coalbed deal

CNOOC Ltd, China's largest offshore oil producer, has signed five-year, 9.93 billion yuan ($1.56 billion) joint exploration deal with China United Coalbed Methane Corporation to search for coalbed methane.

The move aims at boosting the CNOOC's clean energy expansion and developing the unconventional energy as another important fuel source, officials said.

The hidden sponsors of fracking studies

Pennsylvania remains the largest state without a tax on natural gas production, thanks in part to a study released under the banner of Penn State University.

The 2009 report predicted drillers would shun Pennsylvania if new taxes were imposed, and lawmakers cited that report the following year when they rejected a 5 percent tax proposed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell.

Total to abandon Elgin by September

LONDON (UPI) -- French energy company Total is expected to have a faulty well in the North Sea plugged by the middle of September, the British government said.

Total announced natural gas was leaking from its Elgin complex off the coast of Aberdeen in late March. A dynamic kill operation stopped the leak by May.

Kirk Sorensen: A Detailed Exploration of Thorium's Potential as an Energy Source

Most of the know-how and technology to build and maintain LFTR reactors exists today. If made a priority, the US could have its first fully-operational LFTR plant running at commercial scale in under a decade.

But no such LFTR plants are in development. In fact, the US shut down its work on thorium-based energy production decades ago. And has not invested materially in related research since.

Staring at the looming energy cliff ahead created by Peak Oil, it begs the question - why not?

As best Kirk can tell, we are not pursuing thorium's potential today because we are choosing not to - we are too wedded to the U-238 path we've been investing in for decades. Indeed, the grants that funded the government's thorium research in the 50s and 60s were primarily focused on weapons development; not new energy sources. Once our attention turned to nuclear energy, we simply applied the uranium-based know-how we developed from our atomic bomb program rather than asking: is there a better way?

Candu expands deal with Chinese for development of alternative reactor fuels

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Candu Energy Inc. said Thursday it has signed an expanded agreement with China National Nuclear Corp.'s subsidiary companies to continue work on using recycled uranium and thorium as alternative fuels for new reactors.

The company said the 24-month agreement is expected to result in a detailed conceptual design of an advanced fuel Candu reactor.

‘Thorium essential for nuke programme’

INDORE: Thorium is the future of the ongoing nuclear energy programme in the country. The only problem with this radio active chemical element is that it can't be used directly as a fuel and it has got its own limitations too. This is the reason why the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) is working hard to develop the next generation reactors that can use thorium as a fuel, said its chairman R K Sinha, who is also the union secretary at department of atomic energy.

Wind power hits 57% mark in Colorado

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- During the early morning hours of April 15, with a steady breeze blowing down Colorado's Front Range, the state's biggest utility set a U.S. record -- nearly 57% of the electricity being generated was coming from wind power.

Why you should care about peak oil

(NaturalNews) You don't have to be a scientist, electro physicist, bio-engineer, eco-geologist , doomsday conspiracy theorist, or have a PHD in anything 'institutional' to understand one of the most absolute futures for humanity. In fact, any person who cares deeply for themselves and their children should care about peak oil and it's consequences.

Why India's blackout illuminates the path to energy security

Imagine if saboteurs from Pakistan interrupted India's electricity grid and cut supplies to 600 million people.

Or, if the Chinese army prevented key Indian coal mines from operating.

These would be matters not just of national security but of survival. Yet when the country inflicts such disasters on itself, it cannot find the political will to tackle the problem.

Replacing Water Meters to Cut Costs Across Texas

ROUND ROCK, Tex. — Early one recent morning, Buddy Franklin and a team of utility workers descended on the Rock Hollow neighborhood in this Austin suburb. They went from house to house with one mission: to install new electronic water meters that change how the city records, and bills for, water use.

Colleges see higher demand for degrees in agriculture

Enrollment is booming at many colleges of agriculture, as students flock to study subjects they feel offer a clear path to a job on graduation.

Fairs, Like Crops, Are Drooping With the Heat

Across the nation’s middle, it is fair season — the time of year when rural life is on proud display, generations of farm families gather and deep-fried foods are guiltless.

But at county and state fairs across corn country this year, the most widespread drought since the 1950s is also evident. While the fairs are soldiering on, dousing themselves in Lemon Shake-Ups and Midwestern resolve, the hot, dry, endless summer has seeped into even the cheeriest, oldest tradition.

Southern states fight estimates of sea level rise

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Most scientists agree the hills where the Wright brothers first took flight along the Outer Banks of North Carolina will someday be under water. The debate over exactly when that will happen is taking shape in state and local governments and has been fueled by both scientific speculations and late-night witticisms.

In North Carolina, a state-sponsored science panel warned sea levels could rise by more than 3 feet by 2100. So lawmakers supported by development interests responded with a bill to ban those figures. During their summer session, legislators moved to mandate that future trends be based solely upon historical data, which doesn't account for the accelerated sea-level rise expected by many scientists. They said the move prevented the economic burdens of building farther from the coast or higher off the ground.

Even sceptics are now climate converts, but there is no need to panic

Behind all the alarmist propaganda, the facts are that most days of the year, the oil industry does not cause such headline-grabbing, ecosystem-killing, local industry-destroying disasters. It merely works slowly and patiently, without fuss, at threatening all life on Earth through runaway climate change.

This reality is now so blatant, recognition is coming even from those that spent years trying to undermine the scientific consensus around it.

Greenland Melt Spawns Iceberg Threat in Search for Offshore Oil

Oil companies off Greenland’s shores may be basing risk assessments on outdated information as icebergs splinter the island’s coastline at an ever faster pace, scientists and environmentalists said.

Mitt Romney and Peak Oil

Well, of course he knows. So does Obama. His own energy secretary knows.
In fact, one of Mr Chu's former co-workers who knew him well said as much back in '09 that 'Steven Chu knows all about Peak Oil, he's very well aware'.

Chu has even testified to Congress by saying that he wants to see higher gas prices going up to 'European levels over the long term' in order to maximize energy efficiency.

It's just like Robert L. Hirsch said; a major leader cannot speak openly about Peak Oil because all the panic would hit at once.
It can only be hinted at through policy, if it's mentioned at all.

Now those words of Mr. Romney isn't just hinting. It's a direct statement of careful consideration. He even calls it "a compelling case".

But then again, Romney said he was a progressive in 2002 and would be as 'strong on gay rights as anyone'. He even embraced climate change once.
Then he ran as a slash-and-burn reactionary in the primaries in 2008 to pander to the base but even that wasn't enough. He has made his complete turn this year, however.

Deep down, the base is right to be suspicious of Romney.
He's just not that very ideological.
He is a closet Keynesian too. He rejects the Tea Party caucus by saying that slashing the deficits outright would 'cause the economy to freefall'(in an interview with TIME a few months ago).

Still, whatever Romney actually believes or not is irrelevant. He has shown time and again that he has no real core and will pander to whoever has the most say at the moment, and the Koch brothers completely own the Republican party on all matters resource scarcity, climate change etc.

It is rather ironic. I think Romney is actually pretty close to the guy they painted Kerry as in 2004. From blue state Massachusetts, rich and out of touch, tacking to the prevailing winds, shirking his military obligation, etc.

But then, you probably have to be kind of like that to get that close to the presidency. And that might be a good thing. I'm not sure I'd want an ideologue of any persuasion in the Oval Office.

shirking his military obligation, etc.

Kerry shirked his military obligation? Are you a "swift boater"?

From FactCheck.org

Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record

Ad features vets who claim Kerry "lied" to get Vietnam medals. But other witnesses disagree -- and so do Navy records.

Ron P.

Ron -

Read Leanan's comment again. She's saying ROMNEY is the guy they were making KERRY out to be in 2004. She isn't saying Kerry shirked military duty.

Sorry, my apologies. I have a bad habit of reading post too fast and sometimes misreading the very important stuff.


Ron... that's the way I read it too at first. But, I agree that misportrayal of Kerry was sadly effective.

I remember the "Purple Heart" Band-Aids.

Image: http://www.cynical-c.com/archives2/bloggraphics/r3829590006.jpg

Instead of an ideologue, we may get an Etch-a-Sketch who cowtows to the ideologues. I think the end result is the same.

Leanan, As a long time reader of the Oil Drum, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that a little article I had published on Policymic was being featured on this excellent site. Mitt Romney surprised me almost as much when he quoted from Matt Simmons and Amory Lovins in his "No Apology" book. If I actually figure out what Mitt Romney stands for and plans to do about our impending energy crisis, I'll be sure to let you know!

The answer is quite simple, he will do whatever is needed to line his pockets to the maximum.


Yea, if you add the dollar he made for running the Olympics to the dollar a year he made as Governor of Massachusetts he was able to line his pockets with a whole five bucks.

That of course is part of the Campaign machine, and in all fairness applies across the board.

Today's Romney is a stark reminder of McCain, who simply became a different person while running, and in a thunderclap, I saw the familiar McCain reappear in his concession speech.

These guys are just 'in the system', and are reading the scripts that either are written for them, or the ones they know they have to write and recite in order to run the gauntlet of their party, their base and the media machine.

jokuhl, you are the first person I've heard/read who noticed that about McCain. My son thought that McCain actually seemed relieved to be making a concession speech. I have NEVER believed that McCain "chose" Sarah Palin. I think maybe "they" chose to lose that election, and that McCain was extremely relieved that the plan succeeded. Can you imagine the risks of being an old man president with a religio-crazy VP? That she would "help the ticket" just never did make sense to me.

I noticed changes in Obama started occurring a few weeks into the White House, as well. Perhaps we have not a clue who is really running this "ship of state." Then again, maybe we do.

A man who possesses any integrity at all could not possibly carry around the title of Peace Laureate while proudly confessing to being the "decider" for who is or not assassinated, and ordering drone attacks on villages and homes.

I am fortunate, in a way, to live where my vote makes no difference at all in the electoral votes of my state. I do not have such an ethical struggle as do some voters in "swing states." I always vote. This time around, at age 70, I will vote for a good person. Maybe I will write in you or Ghung. :) (yer not a ferriner, are ya?)


Thanks, but I'm afraid I'm as Ferrin as they get. I live in Maine but was born in Boston.. it's a miracle they even let me live!

I think we never really have the discussion in frank terms of 'What the President's job really is..' The way they parade the personalities, it really is like we're 'Voting for a King', and we don't weigh this out thinking as members of a Republic. There shouldn't be so much intense priority given to the Pres.. and the illusion of that person and their personality really running the show, OR creating the triumphs and disasters that ensue is such a diversional game.

I do believe in general terms of leadership creating an atmosphere, attitude and direction from the top that shows its effects down through the ranks.. but since our government is so manipulated and self-edited towards the interests of the Mammoth Industrial Players.. the tone that comes down to the rest of us is not being set in the Oval Office to start with.. and that Office really must be unable to do all that much to change it.

McCain seemed to be a really compelling voice through the 90's. One that I as a Progressive felt was someone like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins that could work across the aisle.. but the pressures at the extremes have made most or all of the middle-roaders take alternate routes, and I'm sorry to hear most of McCain's statements nowadays.. he hitched his wagon back up to the Party, where they can circle the great Handbasket with Confidence.

Nobody gets to the US presidency without being owned. It's irrelevant what you believe, only that you can be counted on to represent those who pay for your election. The test is simple - will you dance with the one who b(r)ought you?

Grover Norquist – Romney Will Do As He’s Told

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.


Rush Limbaugh: “ Mitt Romney is not a Conservative….Romney is a flip-flopper like John Kerry was; he’s gonna be saying one thing here when he gets to the White House is gonna turn into a moderate. I can think of things, like 2006 or 2007, Romney in Massachusetts says, “I’m not a conservative Republican, I’m a moderate.”

Well, he's right. Do you care what the actor in the movie you're watching really thinks? Reagan was the first president in the modern era to have direct experience in the actual job.

Saying that these are actors is also saying that someone is writing the script. That's childish. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think you're childish. I just think it's like a child to think that someone's in charge, that Santa Claus will give me that bike/iphone at Christmas time, etc..

Well, nobody's in charge.

And THAT's what the Powers That Be like at the moment. And if we voters are entertained in the process, the better. The PTB don't like Romney because of his opinions but because he'll help them divy up the spoils better.

In that respect, you are right to mention Ronald Reagan. He was the first to give the US up as a free for all - to the best money grabbers around. This was, btw, dubbed as supply side economics or..


Cheers, Dom

There is no star chamber. There are just many factions vying for power - I tend to agree with Greer's analysis that all this is a sign of weakness of the center rather than strength. Plenty of vested interests have enough power to stop things and protect their turf, but no one has enough power to accomplish anything. But the president is not one of the more powerful positions - by the time he gets to office he's beholden to so many.

Who's writing his script probably changes on a weekly basis, but it's never him.

His script is not written now for the interests - it's written for the audience. Meaning, we're back to the entertainment part of politics..

Cheers, Dom

p.s. Yes, you're right. I borrowed plenty from Greer. He just has a good historical understanding of the processes behind power and sees "patterns" that most don't. But his best lesson is simply that NOBODY is really in charge right now and that the US "nobility", the robber-barons, has gained a lot of power over the past decades.

Wikipedia: Liberium Veto

"The liberum veto (Latin for "the free veto") was a parliamentary device in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It allowed any member of the Sejm (legislature) to force an immediate end to the current session and nullify any legislation that had already been passed at the session by shouting Nie pozwalam! (Polish: "I do not allow!").

From the mid-16th to the late 18th century, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had the liberum veto, a form of unanimity voting rule, in its parliamentary deliberations. The principle of liberum veto formed a key role on the political system of the Commonwealth, strengthening democratic elements and checking the royal power, going against the European-wide trend of strong executive (absolute monarchy).

Many historians hold that the principle of liberum veto was a major cause of the deterioration of the Commonwealth political system—particularly in the 18th century, when foreign powers bribed Sejm members to paralyze its proceedings—and the Commonwealth's eventual downfall. Piotr Stefan Wandycz wrote that the "liberum veto had become the sinister symbol of old Polish anarchy."

In the period of 1573-1763, about 150 sejms where held, out of which about a third failed to pass any legislation, mostly due to liberum veto."

Sound familiar?

So far this year, 11 Republican House members and 3 GOP Senators are not running for re-election. Frustration with the gridlock in Congress is the primary reason most of these lawmakers are hanging it up. Gridlock has also caused 15 Democrats in the House and 6 in the Senate to retire.-examiner.com

It didn't end well for Poland; in 1797 the commonwealth officially disappeared from the map for more than a century. It was not reestablished until after WWI by the Treaty of Versailles.

The latter Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is possibly the purest example of right-wing libertarianism in practice - a paltry fate for an entity that had once been one of the most progressive in Europe.

Wow. Grover Norquist said that!?

Turns out he did; these excerpts are from a speech he gave at the 39th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference back in February. Here's the link to an earlier story on The Daily Beast:


C-Span has a video of Norquist's speech:


The good stuff starts at about the 19:00 mark.

Apparently, the context was that Romney wasn't quite the balls-on-fire leader that conservative operators like Norquist had hoped for. Still, astounding remarks from someone who has uttered more than his share of them...

Sadly, not enough evidence of this in the current administration.

I'm confused as to your comment - I see Obama as a very good and willing dancer, quite attached to those who brought him to the dance. There's just some confusion as to who that really was. His attachments were confirmed from the very first days and very first staff and cabinet appointments.

Did it ever make sense that he would be more devoted to Ma and Pa Kettle who gave him $20 than to the usual suspects who gave the real money?

When we look beyond the charade and consider who really brought him on board... well, you are right about that.

Both Denmark and France are taking about every reasonable step to prepare for a post-Peak Oil world (one could argue right direction - but not quite fast enough. Would that could be said about the USA).

Yet EVERY step is justified publicly as a reduction in carbon emissions (quite true as well).

The national gov't of France spends twice as much on rail as roads - and future plans shift that ratio to 10 to 1.

But the Minister of Environment is leading this policy - not the Minister of Transportation.

Do the right thing - just don't say it ?


Climate Neutral Copenhagen by 2025


Pretty good for reduced oil use too.

Best Hopes for Those that try,


Do the right thing - just don't say it?

Like: Changing behavior, regardless of motivation needed.

Works for the short-term (transitions).

And when oil hit 250 euros/barrel, the Danes and French can look around and at the bike paths, trams, Metros, renewable energy, efficient buildings that they have built and use them - while saying "Why don't we build more ?".



People who do not understand behavior change assume you have to first have a change in attitude, and the right motive, and the correct plan and only then can you get a change in behavior. Empirically not true. Attitudes don't matter much (they are labile). There is no "right" motive.

Danes are a great example of folks making behavior change for a great variety of reasons. The result may soon look like they were universally and singularly motivated to respond rapidly to energy descent. But that will be post hoc reasoning.

ENERGY ISLANDS (with emphasis added)

In just one decade, Samsø—a small Danish island community of 43,000—transformed the base of its energy consumption from oil and coal to renewable sources. Located in the North Sea, Samsø once imported all of its energy from the mainland via tankers and electric cables. Now, enough renewable energy is generated on the island itself not only to power the entire island, but also to export 10 percent to the mainland. The island’s location does produce an offshore wind advantage, but other renewable options such as straw burning, solar energy, and biofuels are also utilized. Wind turbines, some purchased individually, others collectively, generate yearly dividends from the energy produced. Citizens have also built small-scale wind turbines in their backyards, adopted strawburning furnaces, and begun heating domestic water with solar collectors.

What makes this story surprising is how ordinary the citizens are. There were no early adopters of renewable energy on the island. Rather, the transformation started only after an engineer who did not live on the island entered a contest held by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Energy aimed at generating plans for reducing Denmark’s fossil fuel dependence. Based on his winning plan, the resulting project supported just one staff person. Despite this, the project cultivated widespread support by stressing the role of the whole community. When the renewable energy implementation project finally became a reality, it had wide participation. Now, support for renewable energy is the norm and Samsø is of great interest to those who study durable living.

Source: The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift. (2012) p. 272.

Good old Danes.
They fund their bike paths by exporting oil. The pollution created in the world will not leave them an island of plenty in a sea of want.
They are as clueless as the people that laud their "building" and pursuance of BAU as being "ideal".
Australia introduces carbon tax, ramps up internal carbon reductions measures while also ramping up exports of coal and gas. Lets laud the ideals of Australia as well.

We're all trading in oil products.. but only some are looking at investing to have a chance to function apart from that system.

What's in your tank?

And I suppose that you have everything you need for living delivered to you by donkey cart. But what about all those involved in producing your goods or building your donkey cart?

Germany and the UK are also taking enormous steps to prepare for post-peak oil (again justified as CO2 reduction).

In fact it seems to me that the London Olympics are just a dry run for post-peak transport in London...

20% of usual commuters working from home, yet public transport use up 4% - road traffic well down with 50% of lanes on some main routes 'reserved' for Olympic traffic only.

I would like to think you are right!

The Mayor-on-a-bike had a very good olympics - golds all the way.
No one else in sight.
Dry run for Prime Minister?

LOL. What Romney believed a few years back is completely irrelevant to whatever he believes today.
Romney has flip-flopped on:
-Gay rights
-Climate change
-cap & trade
-Healthcare reform

This list could go on and on and on.

Romney believes what his base believes and what ever his big donors believe.

Romney's Energy Plan To Heat The Planet

Mitt Romney unveiled a one-page economic plan - Mitt Romney’s Plan For A Stronger Middle Class - includes an energy component that is strongly attached to the fading, dinosaur oil and coal industries. It should be called "Mitt Romney's Plan To Heat The Planet."

The energy part of Romney's plan appears to have been written by oil and coal industry lobbyists. Romney offers no details, specifics, anything. Here is Romney's Energy Independence component, in its entirety:

•Increase access to domestic energy resources
•Streamline permitting for exploration and development
•Eliminate regulations destroying the coal industry
•Approve the Keystone XL pipeline

Romney’s chief energy adviser is oil-shale billionaire Harold Hamm, who heads Continental Resources, the corporation with the most drilling acreage in North Dakota. Hamm secured his $8 billion fortune and place as 78th richest person in the world through the oil and gas industry, hence he’s emerged as an unsurprisingly strong advocate for more tax loopholes for the oil industry. Hamm stands to personally benefit from Romney’s Day One priorities: the Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry Continental’s oil to Gulf Coast refineries, and hurting consumers by potentially raising the price of gas by as much as 20 cents a gallon in the Midwest. In testimonies to Congress and the North Dakota legislature, Hamm has argued for preserving $4 billion worth of oil subsidies, called a windfalls profits tax a “dumb idea,” and advocated against drilling oversight.

Coal lobbyist Jim Talent contributed a chapter on energy to Romney’s economic plan that called for amending the Clean Air Act to exclude carbon emissions, increased coal and oil production, and loose safety regulation. Nowhere on Mitt Romney’s campaign website does it disclose Talent’s extensive ties to the coal and oil, and that the person behind Romney’s economic policies is a lobbyist for a firm representing one of the largest coal companies in the world, Peabody Energy.

Jack Gerard is a "longtime supporter" and family friend to Mitt Romney who also happens to be the top oil lobbyist in the country, as president of the oil lobby American Petroleum Institute. API has waged a multi-million-dollar campaign this election cycle to defeat Obama, in order to enact the oil industry’s wish list, and Gerard is even rumored to be on the list for chief-of-staff in a Romney administration.

Dripping with Sarcasm:

But, Seraph!, we've been told so many times here that the API's function is to set standards!

Image: http://www.aa1car.com/library/API_donut.gif

Done Dripping with Sarcasm.

The hidden sponsors of fracking studies

As the United States enjoys a natural-gas boom thanks to a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics.

A professor at the University of Texas at Austin led a February study that found no evidence of groundwater contamination from fracking. He did not reveal that he is a member of the board of a gas producer. Company filings examined by Bloomberg indicate that in 2011, he received more than $400,000 in compensation from the company.

A May report on shale gas from the University at Buffalo contained errors and did not acknowledge "extensive ties" by its authors to the gas industry, according to a watchdog group. One of the authors was Considine, the same economist who wrote the Penn State study.

The hallmark of the corporate messenger: The lie.


Nice old octopus from 1904:
From 1882:

Color me confused. I thought we wanted our candidates to be peak-oil aware. I don't see how any political figure could introduce peak oil in a stump speech. At least Romney discussed it in his campaign book. Look, both major candidates have flip-flopped and changed positions on a lot of things. They also are the last two standing.

We are not going to get perfect candidates in the political process we have, especially in an environment with 24-hour coverage, microphones and cameras everywhere. I am encouraged that Romney is aware of Matt Simmons' book, that he has given some thought to energy depletion, and that he was willing to put it in writing. The next president may very well have to tell the American people the dilemma we face. At least Romney will be able to hold up his book and say "look, I warned about this in 2010; this has been known." I'm just hoping his Amtrak comments do not reflect a change in his policies while governor.

Abe Lincoln was all over the map on the issue of slavery during the 1860 election. Even when the decision came, he hesitated. We elect flawed humans; hopefully, some of them lead, and do so in the right direction.

It's never going to be a question of whether either one is perfect or even 'my kind of guy,' 'a guy you could have a beer with' or 'really smart'.. the issue ALWAYS comes down to the fact that no matter what they know or believe, they are not Kings. (And even if they were...) There are more things that they can NOT do or speak up on than the things they CAN. More Bottle than Genie.

The only way a president can make an appreciably sharp turn for our overall direction is when an emergency comes in from the outside and puts us in crisis mode, and even then, the actual direction we go in is not going to be an exact science. ala Disaster Capitalism.

It's up to us, I believe. We're freer than they are.

From Neven's Arctic Sea Ice Blog

Arctic storm part 1: in progress

Now it's there on the Uni Bremen sea ice concentration map, the next day, poof, it's gone. Mind you, not all of it is gone, the sensor is thrown off a bit due to that crazy cyclone downstairs, but it ain't exactly good for the ice if you catch my drift.

Here's the culprit:

Looks like arctic sea ice coverage is about to drop suddenly.

And Shell's Arctic adventure will be facing a challenging few days.


As the average sea ice thickness has declined as well as the ice extent, it becomes easier for storms like this to break up the ice pack and push the ice into warmer waters where it melts more quickly, and churn up warmer water from the water column, and the extra energy trapped in the atmosphere from the global warming makes powerful storms like this more frequent.

Rinse and repeat. (summer) Ice free arctic within 5 years.

On Neven's post warning about the arctic cyclone commenters R.Gates and Paul Klemencic pointed readers to an American Meteorological Society presentation on the impact an ice free Arctic has on Fall and Winter weather.

Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes? (Youtube, 16:04 minutes)

Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University, 25 January 2012.

The "Arctic Paradox" was coined during recent winters when speculations arose that the dramatic changes in the Arctic may be linked to severe snowstorms and cold temperatures in mid-latitudes, particularly along the U.S. east coast and in Europe. Recent studies have illuminated these linkages. Evidence is presented for a physical mechanism connecting Arctic Amplification -- the enhanced warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern hemisphere -- with the frequency and intensity of several types of extreme weather events in mid-latitudes, such as droughts, floods, heat waves, and cold spells.

By weeks end we should have a new Arctic Sea Ice minimum record. And here's the result of storms like this ...

Alaskan Arctic villages hit hard by climate change

Mars, et al...

"The successful landing of Curiosity -- the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet -- marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future," President Barack Obama said in a statement...”

The irony of this feat is as stunning as it is lost on us all. We spend 2.6 billion dollars and unimaginable time and effort investigating a dead, inhabitable planet 250 million miles away, while our own planet and people are in the throes of a self-inflicted demise.

Would it be worth a couple of billion if it sent back this photo?


Snark Meter Off: No

Snark Meter On: Yes. I smell a business opportunity importing Martian sea shells.

I think the discovery on Mars of something similar to 500 million year old terrestrial gastropods would be priceless, and would likely cement the idea of parallel evolution and/or that terrestrial life was seeded from Mars. It would be so profound that many 'believers' would reject it as a hoax. Just the debate woulds be worth billions, and it would likely lead to an effort to retrieve Martian fossils, either manned or robotic. That Mars once nurtured, but is no longer capable of supporting, such life would also be a real eye-opener for many; in-your-face evidence that extinction can be complete, and final.

The stuff that dreams are made of...

... would also be a real eye-opener for many; in-your-face evidence that extinction can be complete, and final.


If $2.6 billion causes such awareness, and that then causes enough people's behavior to change permanently, then it will be a cheap behavioral intervention.

Life here isn't even 'sacred', so why would Mars' be any different? I suspect that humans would get used to the idea that there is or was life on Mars and get on with their BAU.

Seems that significant loss is what gets many to realize what they had, but of course by then, it's often too late to get it back.

Maybe some life from Mars could be imported, jumpstarted and replace what was/is being lost here.

If we did find some and in my book the max possible is a few bacteria like things barely eking out an existence deep underground, it would be big news for a week or two. Then it would be ho-hum.

We spend 2.6 billion dollars and unimaginable time and effort investigating a dead, inhabitable planet 250 million miles away, while our own planet and people are in the throes of a self-inflicted demise.

damfino, I agree it is ironic.

Best hopes for more concentration on our planet...

Yeah, I see the irony, but then $2.6B is pocket change. We've spent so much more on things of much less value - or worse. This is about the peak of human achievement in this area, we'll never get much more advanced. Something like this is about as close to a pure scientific endeavor as it gets in spite of the fact that it's partially a tool for transferring public money to particular groups, something done to satisfy our curiosity. Enjoy it without guilt; the news will be getting a lot more depressing soon enough, and if it were not spent here it would probably go to bankers or be spent in other ways that are directly harmful.

2.6 billion is noise compared to the covering of private debt transferred into public debt (in the Trillions).
One could probably find that in the boardroom couch of the blood sucking squid.

Just a month ago, President Obama signed MAP-21, the new highway bill, with bi-partisan support. In order to continue to subsidize oil burning (no new gas taxes)

"$11.2 billion in increased premiums from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (!?!), a $18.8 billion transfer from the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund and the transfer of $2.4 billion from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Fund to the Highway Trust Fund"

I am sure another $2+ billion transferred from NASA could have been added.


I spent last month in Maine, drove from central Texas. First hand experience - all roads need repair, and many are being worked on plus bridges. There was quite a lot of rough road - in every state... Texas, Arkansas, Tennesee, Virginia, Pennslyvania, New York, Massachuets, New Hampshire, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Maine. The US highways system is so extensive and the maintenance will kill us. From the huge trucks to the weather to the age of the system - it's just unbelievable what we've built and what it takes to maintain it. Massive amounts of asphalt, concrete, diesel, rebar, paint and huge equipment. And signs. Thought I'd go crazy if I had to read 'Bridge may freezed before road' one more time! Does that really need to be posted at all, much less before every bridge?

I love to drive but would much rather see the countryside from a train... make that see MORE countryside and less of roads and signs and 18 wheelers. And don't get me started about the drivers I passed (or who passed me) while talking on the phone or texting. One elderly fellow, traveling alone, was reading the newspaper - on the interstate! I saw it all, from truckers swerving off the edge while using the phone to drivers falling asleep to a woman throwing a lit cigarette right as I passed her.

I just don't see how it can go on like this - across the globe. I completely understand the "it's pointless" point of view. The human population is too big and the way we live cannot continue on the same path. It won't. I'm 56 and it HAS gone on the same path for all my years. Will it for the rest of my life? Caught between 'hope so' and 'hope not.'

Postcards from the edge.

I loved the lone "High Winds May Exist" sign I saw recently in New Mexico. Can we extend that to "Rough Road Conditions May Exist"? :/

"LUST Fund"

Whoever came up with that acronym in this industry deserves a gong.


It's not the amount of money, it's the misguided assignment of resources.

And a distracting Rah-Rah moment for the masses as well:

NBC News - "The successful landing sparked a swell of American pride for the mission team as well as for NASA and the White House. The biggest heart-swelling moment came during a post-landing news conference, when the blue-shirted team behind Curiosity's entry, descent and landing marched through the packed auditorium and high-fived their leaders. "EDL! EDL!" the flag-waving troop chanted, but it might as well have been "USA! USA!"

Shock and Awe circa 2003, the day I completely woke up from my mindless adoration of this country (USA).

It is moments like these where we can take pride in being "number 1" for a change. We need these moments of hope.

Hope for what? Nothing is this gives us any hope to make the changes that need to be made.

"Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there." - JFK

I see where you're going with this, and you're probably correct.

But, assume for a second they find easy-to-understand evidence of life on Mars. Long shot. Yes. However, should that happen, we could be gifted a new age of reason.

One can dream anyway.

"it's the misguided assignment of resources.

And a distracting Rah-Rah moment for the masses as well"

I consider pure science to be one of the truly noble allocations of resources, and we certainly need this sort of distraction, useful, if only for a moment, for pulling at least a few away from the totally destructive forms of distraction to which we devote so many of our resources. Mis-allocation of resources is what we do when we turn in upon ourselves. I think humankind needs a break from itself, a chance to look outward. This sort of rah-rah moment can also be a humbling form of reality, one true story interjected into our collective fairytale psyche; amazement without magic.

I'm certainly grateful for the chance to dwell upon something beyond our hopeless path to ecocide. It provides context and orientation. Too bad so many folks miss that part.


It's almost as if you took the words right out of my brain.

No, no, fishoil. He took those words out of MY brain.


Yeah, what he said.

This gets my vote too. Thanks, Ghung.

Yes, context... If it's noble, perhaps one could say that it's a noble effort of an abuser at home. Like those who are fabulous in the public eye and then go home and abuse their partners and kids.

I think if we could get Earth in a living and stable state, not a constantly degrading and dying state, caused by our actions, then we have won some right to go to the stars. But, at present, I don't think we'd be welcomed anywhere else in the universe. You wouldn't welcome anybody who laid waste to their house and wanted to live in yours, I'm sure.
~ Bill Mollison

But of course we're talking about 'we' as opposed to an individual or particular small group.

The 'Rah, Rah and the American Exceptionalism' are tiring, I agree, but overall, I think you are batting at the wrong target, when there are other areas that must be questioned where we are so clearly misdirected and working towards our clear downfall.

I'm with the others who say this is a perfectly appropriate expression of our need for Scientific Research and Exploration, and the developments in this sort of work that push the boundaries of what is possible with our current tools frequently brings us unexpected areas of new knowledge and perspective.

I'm not going to begrudge that team for being a bit geekishly wild in their celebration of this.. I'm sure they have been truly working their butts off to see this thing succeed.

As for NBC's 'rah rah?' Like with almost everything major media says, it's best to ignore it altogether.

I agree with you, and I salute you for stepping into the cauldron.

Americans love technology, and we believe technology will save us, and this is just one more example. So kudos for pointing it out.

Twi – Pocket change? I suppose so if you compare it to the fed budget this year. But how about another perspective: according to the IRS that $2.6 billion represents the avg. fed income tax paid this year by 250,000 tax payers. IOW how would you feel if that $10,400 came out of your pocket? But if it makes you feel better we can just assume the entire mission was paid for with those bonds we sell. Bonds we’ll pay interest on indefinitely as they are constantly being refinanced when they come due.

Yep…lots of other good examples. Collectively they do add up. Caught the tail end of a discussion about earmarks on NPR today. The speaker felt earmarks were essentially internal bribes in the Congress. IOW that many so called bipartisan votes were really just the result of side deals greased by earmarks. BTW lots of NASA geologists got really excited about moon rocks. The rest of us…not so much. The same stuff that made moon rocks (just like all the Martian rocks) made our rocks on earth. The laws of geochemistry don’t change from planet to planet. They might tell us something about the geologic history of Mars. But I’ve been studying such histories for over 40 years. Except to geeky geologist it’s a somewhat boring novel IMHO.

Maybe we’ll find evidence of previous life on Mars. That might be exciting for many. OTOH I’ve seen signs of previous life in rock from Texas. And from Spain. And from China. So such evidence in Mars rocks? Same deal just further away.

College students and graduates (some of who are having trouble finding jobs) owe over $1 trillion in loans. That $2.6 billion represents less than 1/3 of a percent of that debt. So what the heck…the mission cost isn’t really important compared to some other big ticket items. Maybe some of those NASA scientists used some of their salaries to pay down their college loans. LOL.

Well you know that was sarcastic. Of course it all depends on the frame of reference. Compared to bank bail outs and wars for oil, yeah it's pocket change. Compared to things you could do with $2.6B to help real people in need - well you could do a lot. Maybe it's just a great illustration of the level of financial insanity we're living with.

So such evidence in Mars rocks? Same deal just further away.

Actually if we find separate life on mars, it means we are not alone in the universe and aliens exist. It would also shake more than a few religions to their core.

So yes, i'd pay a mere $10,400 to find aliens AND make all the creationists cry into their little booties. (Just not right now as solar panels come first :)

The irony of this feat is as stunning as it is lost on us all.

It's not lost on me or I am sure many others here on TOD. The cost of this mission pales in comparison to the costs of many other endeavors like defense, yet it represents the leading edge of scientific exploration. It's an unmanned mission remotely controlled to seek out the building blocks of life, not life itself. The idea of microbrial life on Mars was discounted in recent years due to a lack of underground aquifers which was originally thought to be there.

Peak oil and climate change are very real as are many other manmade problems, however in my opinion it would be a mistake to pass up the opportunity for greater 'curiosity' (the name of the rover).

DMF - ... 2.6 billion dollars and unimaginable time and effort investigating a dead, inhabitable planet 250 million miles away

Result = increase in cumulative human knowledge ...

JPMorgan Trading Loss May Reach $9 Billion

Losses on JPMorgan Chase’s bungled trade could total as much as $9 billion, far exceeding earlier public estimates, according to people who have been briefed on the situation.

Result = Nothing Learned!

Mars is a conspiracy cooked up by those who want funding to study a non existent planet. Typical NASA operation, just like global warming.

And all of the photos from 'Mars' were actually shot on sound studios on the moon.


Think of it this way: we spent 2.5 miles of new freeway to send a probe to Mars.

Damfino: What about the one trillon Dollars spent on recent wars? Is that more worthwhile?

The mission cost 2.6 billion dollars. Now how much did Hank Paulson FORCE the banks to take in 2008? And how about the trillion bucks of debt the Fed took on? Or how about the trillion we spent "democratizing" Iraq? Or the half trillion we have spent on Afghanistan before leaving with our tails between our legs like Russia before us.

I'm very proud of what NASA engineers accomplished. And I think you are being a bit naive in your implicit assumption that the money they spent would otherwise have been spent alleviating human suffering or attacking the "meaningful" problems of the day - of course by your definition only.

Realistically a few billion dollars isn't that much money nowadays.

I'd love to see NASA take a couple hundred million and build a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. They're a good fit for the job. NASA is one of the few organizations we have left who are devoted to exploration of the universe we live in. I support them and they are one of the very few whom I admire in this country.

Therefore I find your comment pretty offensive.

Therefore I find your comment pretty offensive.

Whoa ... climb down from your high horse comrade - just because someone has a different view does not make their comment offensive - even to the original author. You're almost implying that criticism of NASA is illegitimate (possibly even un-American).

And for the record, I think spending $2.60 on a Mars Probe is ridiculous, let alone $2.6b. And when it landed, the head of NASA came out with his chest puffing: "America is the greatest, NASA is worth every cent, blah blah blah ..." - it was puerile and a bit nauseating.

Space gigs are just smoke and mirrors - or bread and circus for the masses. And when you look at it calmly, it's not even very good at that - with modest progress in 50 years.

Greetings, TODers,

Let me see if I can sum up this discussion:

1. The amount of money for the Mars project isn't much, relative to other large expenditures.

2. The amount of money for the Mars project isn't much, if one has the money to spend.

3. The amount of money isn't much and scientific exploration is to be supported. And brings people together.

3. The amount of money is too much, since "our own planet and people are in the throes of a self-inflicted demise."

Reply: (with a particular note to Jokuhl Bob and Ghung):

It would cost even less (almost a trivial amount) to fund the National Academy of Sciences to do an immediate investigation into global oil supply, its decline, impacts (of decline) and policy options. (www.oildepletion.wordpress.com).

This would be bringing our scientific legacy to bear on the situation, including scientific work into sustainability, ecology, human behavior, etc.

Via science, humans have learned a lot about the facts of the situation and how to help - really help - promote a better path as we face the "remorseless decline" (Campbell) of the world supply of oil.

(I address this to Bob because I was hoping you'd answer previously, when I tried to address the concern you stated that this study might do more harm than good. I see a logical contradiction WRT your views - ?)

When we lose our ability to rise above our immediate problems, predicaments even, our need to seek answers beyond our own timeline, we've lost something essential to our survival. We'll be wallowing in our own selfishness, or addressing it. We'll lose the one thing that sets us apart, and never discover who we are, or can be. There are many paths respecting this process, and I consider this one worthy of pursuit.

A vision... of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves...
[Carl Sagan - Contact]

Exploration of Mars isn't something we have to imagine or invent. It's reality; something I prefer.

When we lose our ability to rise above our immediate problems, predicaments even, our need to seek answers beyond our own timeline, we've lost something essential to our survival. We'll be wallowing in our own selfishness, or addressing it. We'll lose the one thing that sets us apart, and never discover who we are, or can be. There are many paths respecting this process, and I consider this one worthy of pursuit.

I'm with you on this one Ghung. I think it is very worth doing.

Regarding Rockman's comments: Sorry Rock, I disagree. I've been looking at rocks about as long as you have. Maybe even longer (I started with ARCO in January, 1978). And I've looked in some very off the wall places. I still find Moon rocks and Mars rocks very exciting. And finding signs of life on Mars would be way cool. I feel very sad for you if you've lost that sense of excitement.

Image Gallery

These are the latest images from mars. There are also geologic images later in the set. The set is 80 images.

There is a bug at or near image 40: hitting the NEXT, left arrow steps off into oblivion. The show can resume by moving the library position... or is that just how these things work?

There are images of the landing debris field showing the jettisoned pieces surrounding the lander.

Lincoln on Mars

Image: http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/621286main_pia15284-full_full.jpg

The coin is from 1909. That was the first year Lincoln pennies were minted and the centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

"The penny, a 1909 "VDB" penny, is used as a calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument, which is to be used to take extreme close-ups of rocks and soil. The penny, provided by MAHLI's principal investigator Ken Edgettt, is a nod to geologists' tradition to place a coin as a size reference in close-up photos of rocks."

Contact Instrument Calibration Targets on Mars Rover Curiosity

geo - Very good. They excite you. Nothing personal...I know you're a good guy from your screen name. But I really couldn't give a rat's ass about spending hundreds of $billions just to excite you. LOL. I bet I could get you even more excited with a gift of an elk hunt guided by a Playboy Bunny. A lot cheaper to treat every geologist than getting some moon rocks. But now tell me how the study of moon rocks has improved your life or that of anyone else. I find it more than a little disappointing to see a constant attitude on TOD that $X is just a little bit of money compared to the $Y we've spent on this or that. Have you folks forgotten that the US doesn't have sufficient income to run its basic services so it has to borrow? Borrow from future generations. I get the sense that many look at the recent Mars mission as though it were some video game. It's not. It's real life and a choice was made to spend those $billions on it vs. other priorities. Reminds me of the old joke about the woman who can't understand how her checking account can be overdrawn...she still has checks left. LOL. So the US must not be in too bad a financial shape...we still have many $billions of NASA projects on the books.

Let me put it this way geo: what info have you seen about any moon rock that differs from any rock you could have analyzed on earth? Other than it came from the moon. IOW if I gave you a chunk of basalt from India and told you it was from the moon you would be equally excited, right? If I set you up in a $10 million rock lab do you think you could tell if it were from the moon or India? Or to put it in an even meaner context: what would make you more excited: using those $billions to get moon rocks to earth or curing breast cancer? Like a side...a mean question but valid IMHO. I think some folks forget the primary purpose NASA was invented and funded. It wasn't for the sake of science but the military. Not sure how the current Mars mission fits into that plan but I suspect there are still some crossovers. Otherwise the govt wouldn't be "investing" money it didn't have IMHO.

we still have many $billions of NASA projects on the books.

Actually not. NASA pulled out of a joint project with ESA (the Europeans) for two Mars missions later this decade (2016 & 2018 from memory).

I think the ISS (space station) is a boondoogle and should be phased out. Also GWB's goal of a man on Mars - funds are being wasted on that "dream" today. Just shut down manned space flight - been there, done that.

The US has enough money to fund basic infrastructure, etc. We just chose not to.

Funding or shutting down the best parts of NASA will make zero difference in that.


PS: I would test for He3 to confirm that it came from the surface of the moon.

My guess is that any freed resources, funds and expertise would be absorbed by the military, not be used for basic infrastructure or energy research. Maybe that would split the difference, and give back half the funds as tax breaks for the .1%?

Here ya go, Rock. Fresh from Mars: $2.6 billion pictures, though that number should drop over time ;-/

Ghung, agree with your eloquent post above about Mars Science Lab, AKA Curiosity.

When we give up on learning more about the Universe, let me off the train.

Seriously...turn me into a dolphin...I will then not worry about mankind's stupidity and I can frolic in the ocean. Maybe I should have been a dolphin...nah, I would probably end up in some trawler net, terrified before I die!

So....for all you cry crocodile tears about $2.5B for Curiosity:

The F-35 fighter under development as we speak:

Unit cost:

F-35A: US$197 million (flyaway cost, 2012)

F-35B: US$237.7M (weap. sys. cost, 2012)

F-35C: US$236.8M (weap. sys. cost, 2012)

The U.S. plans to buy 2443 of these.

These costs DO NOT include the manpower costs for the air crew, maintainers, System Project Office life cycle engineering support, fuel, intelligence gathering and analysis support, spare parts, upgrades, and much much more.

I don't have a total Fleet Life Cycle Cost at hand, but Defense Acquisition University puts RDT&E (Research, Development, Test and Evaluation) and initial production costs as ~ 20-40% of total lifecycle costs for major weapons systems in general...I tend to assess 'after-buy' O&M (operations and Maintenance) costs to be towards the 80% level of total life cycle costs.

So...my point is: Curiosity's cost is equal to about 12.5 F-35 fighters, out of a planned buy of 2443...

Then do the math: 2443 x $200M +((2443*$200M)*4) =~ $1.4T over say 50 years. ~$286B to field (produce) the 2443 aircraft...the rest to operate and sustain.

Let's step on the ant in our room while the elephant herd runs wild!

...and don't get me started about my personal assessment on how good of a a military capability the F-35 will be...(holding my nose)

And the F-35 is but one of a huge phalanx of defense (corporate welfare) toys we will buy.

We need a military...but not the bloated behemoth we taxpayers have written a blank check for.

Oh, but think of the entertainment value of those F-35's. Ten years from now we will get our ouuws and ahhs watching them due their thing on the military channel. Watching high tech stuff blow up stuff Priceless!

Thanks Ghung. Interesting but I'm sure Industrial Light and Magic could have come up with more realistic shots for a lot less money. LOL. I know some folks got excited about the Mars mission and that's OK. But I'm not one of them. If I were the type to hang such stuff on my wall I would rather have a sharp computer generated picture of Mars than the fuzzy real thing. That may not make sense to anyone who doesn't share my warped sense of reality. Maybe that's one reason I'm not a collectable guy. To me having a copy of the Constitution on the wall is just about as good as having the real thing.

Maybe it helps to remember what I do for a living: I study rocks. But I haven't studied a real physical rock in hand in many decades. What I study are pieces of paper (on images on my monitor) depicting rocks. Really not much different than my relationships with all my former "girl friends" from the pages of Playboy.

You're surprising me a little Rock.

They are there to study rocks. I thought that would have had you bought in from the get go. I know, they're all trumpeting the fancy toys, and their CG videos sure try to look like they were made in the Hollywood styles.. but ultimately, the ones who are waiting for dust and rock samples are what it's really about.

The Brass band aspect this week is pretty silly, and I hope most science types see through it. It has been a production of the "No Bucks, No Buck Rogers" Department of NASA, I have to imagine. Scientists trying to think like marketers.

"I study rocks. But I haven't studied a real physical rock in hand in many decades."

That explains everything. I dub thee 'VROCKMAN' (virtualrockman ;-)

"I study rocks. But I haven't studied a real physical rock in hand in many decades."

That explains everything. I dub thee 'VROCKMAN' (virtualrockman ;-)

That is one of the sad fates of geos working in the oil industry. People get into the geologic sciences because they like being outside, wandering around, picking up rocks and pondering their history. In the end, most of us end up spending our working days staring at a computer monitor.

I try to get out whenever I can to see real rocks in the real world. I find it clears my mind and keeps it grounded in reality. Unfortunately, that is getting harder to do. Some companies are so hung up on "safety" that trying to get permission to go into the field is a real ordeal (you might sprain your ankle). As a result I have spent a great deal of my own vacation time, and not a little money, going to see cool geology. Awhile back I told my wife "honey, why don't we go to Death Valley this year? They say there is some really cool faulting exposed there." She just rolled her eyes! We also stop at a lot of dusty road cuts while I jump out and pound on rocks. I'm lucky that mostly she puts up with it. Sometimes being married to a geologist is not very romantic.


Actually, getting into the geologic sciences is great: being outside, wandering around, pickup up rocks and pondering their history. Making a personal connection to deep time, the history of life, to continuity and hiatus, to the integration of the living world with the nonliving. The relevance of paleontology...

Which is to say, it's great prep for being a "radical environmentalist" (which is to say, a conservative by any reasonable definition).

Many go over to the "dark side" of CO2-pumping industry, but it isn't inevitable or irrevocable.

Yoda: If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.
Luke: ... Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know... when you are calm, at peace, passive.

One fine day, I just meditated on the delightful living world around me, and that evening just walked away from the high oil-industry salary. I recommend it.

A love of exploring space and the solar system is, I think, a very good thing. Like saving the earth, it can't be judged on short-term utilitarian standards. Those who do it tend to have a strong sense of the sacred, even if they don't always speak of it that way.

geo - Exactly. Before I decided to major in Earth Science after my freshman year I couldn't tell you where oil was found. I just liked rocks and the natural processes. I wasn't even planning to go to college...was raised to be a military lifer but an injury end that potential career path. USGS looked good but family obligations required that I go where the $'s were. I was the first one in the family to graduate high school let alone college. I was essentially designated the family cash cow when I got out of grad school. Best laid plans, eh? LOL.

I had even a better treat on my visit to Death Valley: saw it snowing. Even more surreal: took a photo of a bright green golf course in the middle of the desert with snow collecting on the palm trees. I'm sorry but I found that more exciting than pictures of Mars rocks. LOL.

Alaska to Death Valley, talk about thermal shock ;)


Some nice vGeology here
Nice strata and some interesting shock cones.


geo - Very good. They excite you. Nothing personal...

Yes, science does excite me. I plead guilty, your honor. I guess I'm one of those guys who would be a geo even if I had to do it for free. (It has come to that a few times after being laid off.)

Or to put it in an even meaner context: what would make you more excited: using those $billions to get moon rocks to earth or curing breast cancer? Like a side...a mean question but valid IMHO.

Yes, curing breast cancer would be a good way to spend the money. Except it wouldn't have been spent that way. Instead we would have spent it on figuring out better ways to kill people, I've seen that government program close up too. Or maybe we could have used some of that money to rip up existing rail lines so we could add more freeway lanes from Katy to Houston?

It's about what the movie 'Avatar' grossed. Even the biggest fans of that movie are likely to figure that a groundbreaking mission to Mars is a higher human social priority.

Hi Aniya;

"that this study might do more harm than good.."

Yeesh! I'm not sure what I said that came out sounding like that.. but that's not really how my thoughts have been working on this question of a NAS study. ..And I AM sorry not to have followed up on your request that I clarify my points. It was certainly not intentional.

I think my reason not to have continued lobbying for this to be put in motion is that I don't really see the NAS being able to remain independent enough from the power players and the monied interests so that they could study this in a useful and undistorted way. Look at the discussions we've had about Cholesterol in the last few days. The big, well funded institutes have been holding onto what I feel will soon be proven to be the WRONG message for decades. The body count is terrible. OK, so maybe there it is, that this is how I would see a great deal of harm coming from it, if it got spun under by either governments or industries that have decided that they must arrive at answers that aren't 'too expensive' .. or would put a chilling effect on the economy or something.

In any case, I am just so skeptical of 'Official, Validated, Authoritative Conclusions'.. they all seem to be defending Banks and Nuclear Power and Mountaintop removal and Unrestrained Money in politics. I'm just too PO'd at the big guys to crawl back asking them for their blessings on the PO theory.

Studying Mars is great, but it's ALSO fairly uncontroversial to the standing of GDP and Trading Volume, etc.. I'm afraid my trust in the power system is pretty shot. I have a lot of faith in people.. but people with too much power don't always remember what they and we want, and are instead overwhelmed with what the power wants, so that they can stay in its good graces. Kind of reminds me of the way in the clannish times they'd sacrifice their Daughters and their Lambs to appease the mighty Gods. The more things change.. yada yada.

Best, in all sincerity ..

Hi Bob,

Thanks! I appreciate your taking the time now.

So, since you've laid your points out, let me address them, one by one, OK?

re:"I think my reason not to have continued lobbying for this to be put in motion is that I don't really see the NAS being able to remain independent enough from the power players and the monied interests so that they could study this in a useful and undistorted way."

Have you looked at the NAS website? Have you looked at the previous studies? Are you familiar with how members work for free, etc.? Founded in 1863, with the express purpose of giving objective, scientific advice to the nation.

They are capable of remaining independent. I urge you to check out their studies on climate change, water, sustainability, etc.

re: Now, you do have a point that so-called "power players" exist. Yes, indeed. You know them; I know them - or, at least, we know of them.

What are we going to do about it? Let them make sure the NAS is NEVER ALLOWED to address this one critical question - peak oil? Why?

Why roll over and play dead?

re: "Look at the discussions we've had about Cholesterol in the last few days."

Bob, could you possibly supply references and links? I don't see anything from the NAS on cholesterol. But I'll check to make sure.

re: "I'm just too PO'd at the big guys to crawl back asking them for their blessings on the PO theory."

Bob, what makes you think the National Academy of Sciences is "big guys"? They are scientists. Yes, big in their chosen fields, perhaps. But big money players on the world stage? I don't see evidence of that.

Who are "the big guys"? Why frame this in terms of "crawling back"?

If you look at the actual NAS studies, I think you'd be pleasantly surprised. My point is: have you looked? Not to sound adversarial. Just to ask you - have you browsed the site and clicked on any of the studies?

They require the right question.

*Only* we, the citizens, can give them the question.

Nobody else is going to. Certainly "the big guys" are not going to get this study going.

re: "Studying Mars is great"

Aren't we here on this site to study peak oil and energy-related issues?

To help people, help ourselves - ease the suffering that it appears peak oil will bring - isn't this what we're about, as well? Besides being enthused about scientific discovery for it's own sake?

Not lost on me. I did a search for 'curiosity' here and touched down upon your Martian post to make my point about mass extinction here while there's a search for life elsewhere.
So so sad, bizarre and beautifully tragic. We are, already, a tragic species.

The irony of this feat is as stunning as it is lost on us all. We spend 2.6 billion dollars and unimaginable time and effort investigating a dead, inhabitable planet 250 million miles away, while our own planet and people are in the throes of a self-inflicted demise.

Was inhabitable a typo on your part?

Just curious damfino, do you have any concept as to how much 'WE' have spent fighting wars over the last couple of decades just to maintain our non negotiable lifestyles?! That aside however I wonder if you might have been the author of this letter:


How comforting to know that $2.5 billion of our tax dollars are being wasted (sorry, “invested”) to find evidence of life of Mars. The critical clues will be traces of water. And we all know what that means. Just get yourself some carbon (and a few other things) and JUST ADD WATER, and voila, LIFE!
Silicon is the seventh most abundant element in the universe. The planet Mars apparently has a heavy dose of it. Should NASA then say that Mars has the ingredients for computer chips and laptops, with the intended implication that computer chips and laptops may have self-assembled on Mars in the past, or might in the future?
“There's almost unanimous agreement that Mars once had conditions suitable for life as we understand it, he said. If life never arose, he said, scientists will want to know why not.”
NASA wants to know why life did NOT arise on Mars? As if to say NASA knows why life DID arise on earth? Incredible!
Then, the finale. This unintentional but damning indictment of the evolutionists and origin-of-lifers and all of junk science: “Anderson said he won't be disappointed if Curiosity fails to bring us any evidence of past life. "You have to be careful that you don't confuse what you want to see with what you are seeing."

There are days when I really don't feel like playing nice in the sandbox and if it weren't for the moderators, I would express my opinion about this kind of attitude rather strongly!

"Was inhabitable a typo on your part?

Yes...should have been uninhabitable.

Just curious damfino, do you have any concept as to how much 'WE' have spent fighting wars over the last couple of decades...

But of course. Comparing my comment to war expenditure is ridiculous. Again, the irony of the venture was my primary message, not the amount of $.

There are days when I really don't feel like playing nice in the sandbox and if it weren't for the moderators, I would express my opinion about this kind of attitude rather strongly!

I have to say, my post appears to have violated the scientific sensitivities of several readers, some actually taking "offense". As constraint aware as most or all of you are, apparently the anesthesia of this particular cultural meme has yet to wear off completely. The time will come when it will become apparent that some of our scientific endeavors, resources, and budgets could have been more effectively implemented and spent.

I am not against inquisitive science which affords a direct benefit. I also accept that seemingly useless scientific endeavors can afford usable results. I am, however, stunned by the mindless waste of our limited resources in any form.

Did you see the photo of the exhausted Colorado (wild) fire fighter quenching his thirst with a bottle of Fiji water? Yes, water bottled 4 thousand miles away on a South Sea island...with another couple thousand miles for the bottles made in California to be shipped to Fiji. This is as much blind madness as is probing a dead planet.

All I am suggesting is that we be honest and effective stewards of your own planet before we venture to another, for whatever the reason.

There are days when I really don't feel like playing nice in the sandbox and if it weren't for the moderators, I would express my opinion about this kind of attitude rather strongly!

I have to say, if my innocuous opinion so violates your sensitivities that only Leanan's power of retraction is restraining you from offering me an inappropriate retort, you may have a problem. I am going to hope it was only a bad day for you, and offer my wish for a better one today.

I have to say, if my innocuous opinion so violates your sensitivities that only Leanan's power of retraction is restraining you from offering me an inappropriate retort, you may have a problem. I am going to hope it was only a bad day for you, and offer my wish for a better one today.

To be honest I initially interpreted your post as being anti science and I was taking umbrage to that. I still disagree with 2.6 billion being a waste of resources in this case but otherwise as long as you are not against science in general we'll just agree to disagree about the rest.

Carry on!

People said similar things about the Apollo Program, and how useless it was for humanity.

How about the Apollo Program being responsible for saving thousands of lives?

Medical imaging scanners use the same sort of image enhancement technology that was originally developed for the Space Program. Since the Space Program is a government sponsored endeavor, the technology was open sourced and anyone could use it. Thus a whole new industry of medical scanners etc. for breast cancer and other cancer detection evolved, potentially saving thousands of lives.

Similarly, there could be all sorts of technologies might spin off of the Mars Science Laboratory!

Aside from that, I am happy to see $2.6 billion spent on this, rather than on endless wars in the Mideast. Also, building this and operating this doesn't happen in a vacuum. This employs hundreds if not thousands of people. And it may inspire others to follow similar endeavors, inspire math and science education.

Not only that, there is the science to be discovered. Imagine if we find evidence of life on another planet. The Fundamentalists may have a hard time with that concept! But it means that life can exist outside the solar system, and that perhaps we are not alone. Also, Earth and the Mars have all sorts of similarities. Perhaps by studying one world we can get a greater understanding of the other.

Its also not an either/or situation. We should be studying both worlds even more - and doing something about our own world and what we are doing to it. But then you run into an impenetrable phalanx of corporations, politicians, lobbyists, superPacs, tea parties, etc. who are fine with spending trillions on destroying the planet while they pocket those trillions, preferably offshore. Its not the Scientists' and Engineers' who have worked on the Mars Science Laboratory and who have fought tooth and nail for any funding who are to blame for the world going to crap. Its as if Columbus should have been blamed for the Black Plague or something while he was off "discovering" America.

What we are doing to our planet is being studied in great detail. For instance, Ocean Acidification is the topic du jour at marine conferences currently. Other aspects are being studied as well. What gets done about it though requires a willingness from our political leaders to lead the way into the future. Instead, everyone who would lead is bending over backwards to do the bidding of the Corporate Fascists. In this environment, its amazing that NASA and JPL even got this rover off the ground. They should be applauded!

Greenland Melt Spawns Iceberg Threat in Search for Offshore Oil

Oil companies off Greenland’s shores may be basing risk assessments on outdated information as icebergs splinter the island’s coastline at an ever faster pace, scientists and environmentalists said.

I very much doubt if changes in iceberg calving makes much difference for exploration. The small icebergs can still be towed, and a rig will have to move off site very quickly if a large one threatens. But even with increasing numbers of icebergs the big ones will still be relatively rare.

The real problem is how to produce oil in such an environment if a discovery is made. I first looked at this problem forty years ago and concluded that the technical challenges were so large that they were unlikely ever to be solved. The problem is not so much technical as financial: every possible solution is very expensive, and most of those expenses involve burning a lot of oil (for example, using tugs to drag icebergs out of the way) so it's really an EROEI problem.

I don't know how Cairn plans to produce anything they find. Cairn appears to have quite a bit of hydrocarbon reserves, but practically no production or income, and seems to be burning through about $1 billion per year. I imagine they don't have any detailed plans for developing any Greenland discovery, but rather envision selling it off to someone with deep pockets (CNPC?).

No problem. Just nuke the big ones. /sarc

Sorry if this has been posted before. Clearly - in countries where fuel is used to do work it is still considered cheap, or cheap enough, which it is compared to their other options.


Question re flammability of crude oil

I've always assumed that a product pipeline would be more dangerous than a crude oil pipeline since gasoline is more flammable/volatile/explosive (I thought).
However, I was recently corrected on this. The flash point of a particular type of crude would be determined by the flash point (and volume/percentage, I presume) of its most flammable/volatile component, which could be (always would be?) lower than that of gasoline.

That said, I've seen several references to the flash point of gasoline as being around minus 44 degrees (same Celsius or Fahrenheit). I have not seen a flash point for any type of crude which is anywhere close to minus 44.

Can someone clarify this for me, please?
- rick

Supplementary question:

If the crude was dilbit, would the presence of diluents make this blend more or less flammable than your average type of crude?

Flash Point 20 to 90 degrees F, scroll down to section 5.

MSDS info:


Thanks, Tom

So on pg 5 it says:
Boiling Point: AP -54°F to 1100°F

that would indicate that some (most? all?) types of crude have a lower flash point and are more likely to ignite than gasoline?

Or is that extending things too far/misunderstanding something?

This EPA paper discusses flash point from the perspective of fire danger from spills. They give values in the -10 to zero °C range for several light crudes when the oil is "fresh". The flash point increases rapidly after the crude is exposed to open air (as in an above-ground pipeline leak) due to the evaporation and dispersion of the lightest components.

Thanks, MCain

That is a detailed doc (286 pgs) but I will go through it carefully.
I'm glad to see that it links to the Canadian gov't research center.

Flammability of dilbit

Is anyone able to help with my 'supplementary question' above re. flammability of dilbit vs regular crude oil?

It varies. Some diluent is local NGLs, while others use chemicals from various sources. Some is recycled, with diluent recovered at the refinery and piped back for re-use.

You mix a blend to meet your piping needs. The mix will lighten the result, as the whole goal is to make something with a decent density and viscosity; therefore, lights are what gets mixed in. The result is likely to be at least as flammable as crude, but heavily dependent on the blends.

Of course it's all academic if the mix stays pressurized as intended. And even heavies can vaporize if the temp is elevated and pressure drops.

Cases in point - you can have a bottle of propane or of butane, both of which will can be easily kept liquid or gassified for everyday use. You can also have a paraffin candle which melts and gassifies nicely in a candle.

Heavies make a mess when they leak, but you can clean them up. Lights evaporate and make little mess, but they'll be greenhouse gases. Probably lots of other pros and cons from other perspectives.

Thanks for that, Paleo

The NTSB report says that local authorities in Marshall considered the likelihood of explosion/ignition of Enbridge's dilbit spill to be very very low, but that was many hours after the flow from the pipeline had stopped, and by then many of the lighter components would have been dispersed downwind.

Perhaps one can conclude that the greatest risk of fire/explosion with dilbit (or any crude, for that matter) would be in the early stages of the release, while the volatile components are still hovering.

Infrastructure venerability:

The Achilles Heal of Industrial Capitalism.

Reading the discussion from the July 30th DB about BC shipping of crude oil, the legal framework for tankers was brought up. I'm not sure about the situation in Canada but Washington state has laws restricting tanker size, according to a 2007-2008 Gas Price Study:

Several regulations increase the cost of shipping crude oil to Washington refineries. The Magnuson
Amendment (33 U.S.C. § 476) and cases interpreting the amendment state that a permit cannot
be issued that allows the construction, renovation or modification of a dock, terminal or other
facility on or adjacent to Puget Sound if construction will allow that facility to handle a higher
volume of crude oil than it was capable of handling in October 1977. A state statute (RCW
88.16.190) limits the capacity of tankers headed for Puget Sound refineries to 125,000 dead weight
tons. Specifically, the statute prohibits tankers larger than 125,000 deadweight tons from passing
east of a line between the Discovery Island lighthouse south to the New Dungeness lighthouse.
The Jones Act (47 U.S.C. § 55102) states that cargo may not be transported between two U.S.
ports unless it is transported by vessels built in the U.S. and owned by U.S. citizens. The Jones Act
has been waived occasionally in times of supply emergencies.

There are no laws remotely similar in Canada, and provincial governments cannot make laws regulating federal port facilities. Tankers going into Vancouver are restricted to Panamax-size (900 feet long, 65 kt) by channel depth and bridge heights, but the channels are being dredged to accommodate Suezmax tankers (115 kt).

The deepwater Northern BC ports of Prince Rupert and Kitimat could handle Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (550 kt) with the right port facilities.

Many Canadians assume there are some kind of restrictions on what tankers are allowed to do in Canadian waters, but ULCC's are now delivering oil into East Coast ports and there are no laws to stop them going into West Coast ports as well. It's not the provincial governments but the federal government that makes all the rules in Canada.

See: BC Government Technical Analysis - Heavy Oil (PDF) Let me know if I've missed anything.

Re: Wind power hits 57% mark in Colorado

That's a pretty impressive achievement and one largely unimaginable not that long ago.

Last Thursday, Nova Scotia's Renewable Energy Administrator awarded contracts for 116 MW of wind capacity in its latest tender. When the three selected projects come on-line in the next couple of years, the province will have over 530 MW of wind generation in place, which is the theoretical maximum given our limited interties and generation mix, and the fact that overnight demand can dip to as little as 700 MW. [That situation will improve once power begins to flow from the 824 MW Muskrat Falls hydro-electric development in 2017.]

A couple things I found especially interesting. One, is that the cost of this power comes in at between $70 and $75 per MWh (7.0 to 7.5-cents per kWh); that's competitive with new coal. Secondly, that there were nineteen submissions in all and that the amount of energy under consideration was eight times more than what had been requested in this current go-round, i.e., 2.4 TWh versus 0.3.


Seems (to me, at least) to be three things worth noting about how Xcel was able to accomplish this, in addition to the obvious "lots of wind turbines have been installed".

  • Improved weather forecasting. Xcel had foreknowledge that it would very likely be a good night for wind. Getting forecasts right along the Front Range can be challenging, to say the least. Predicting how fast and in exactly what direction air masses will move over/around the mountains is difficult. And in some cases, a 60-mile miss in the forecast path makes a very large difference in the local weather. Much of improved forecasting in this day and age can be attributed to better satellite data and bigger faster computers. One regularly sees comments here at TOD suggesting that we won't be able to maintain that tech base post Peak Oil.
  • IIRC, this is a situation where Xcel is both the utility and by far the largest power generator. This gives Xcel added flexibility in terms of dispatch. That is, they can switch between wind, NG, and coal as they see fit. If, instead, Xcel the utility were buying under contracts from three different providers -- one wind, one coal, one NG -- they wouldn't necessarily be able to take advantage of as much wind power. Spain has also achieved some very high levels of wind power in their grid, and I believe the central dispatching authority there has the same ability to require thermal plants to throttle down so that as much wind as possible gets used.
  • Over the last 20 years, Xcel has added a lot of NG-fired generation in Colorado (in 1990, 3.9% of total generation in the state was from NG; in 2010, the figure was 21.8%). My understanding is that much of that has been in the form of turbines suitable for base-load as well as peaking use, that can be easily throttled up or down. That would certainly be an advantage if there is more wind power available than predicted.

Yes, Colorado has had to add a lot of NG generation capacity to accommodate the wind generation. Cycling of coal plants has actually led to dramatic increases in overall SOx, NOx and even CO2 emissions. In one sense, Colorado has done the country (and the world) a great service in pioneering the expansion of wind into the overall electricity economy; on the other hand, the lessons learned, in terms of reserve capacity, have been costly. But a figure like 57%, with rising NG generation capacity, signals a trend in the right direction.


Your explanation is unlikely IMHO.

More likely, more NG generation was built because:

1) NG fueled power plants are the cheapest form of new generation per installed MW.
2) Cheap to maintain on standby and to operate.
3) NG is cheap everywhere in the USA, but especially cheap in Colorado (limited pipeline export capacity) Cheaper than coal recently
4) NG does not have the pollution issues of coal, nor the ash disposal problems.
5) NG has lower cooling water requirements than coal - an issue in Colorado.
6) Quick ramping (not just useful for wind)


Further, Xcel has been mandated by the State of Colorado to phase out coal plants in favor of Natural Gas. Fortunately, this makes economic sense as well.

While this is a positive result, the news article pointed out that this happened early in the morning, at a load minimum and a wind maximum. How, exactly, do we plan to extrapolate from this single data point?

+1, the vertically integrated utility IS a natural monopoly, non-power engineer economists aside.

Another important factor is that the citizens of Colorado established firm goals for renewable energy that Xcel has to meet. This would not have been done without this mandate.

Some of you may recall mention of Nova Scotia Power testing an experimental in-stream tidal generator developed by OpenHydro (http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/environment/renewableenergy/tidal/projecto...). Unfortunately, things did not well, to say the least -- shortly after it was installed, we were informed that all of the massive blades had snapped off due to higher than anticipated forces, but that was it. Now, we know a more complete picture:

Nova Scotia Power’s test turbine generated power for 10 days from its slot on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy off of Parrsboro. On the 11th day, the force of the tides did it in.

“You can’t test tidal turbines on the Bay of Fundy,” Huskilson said. “We completely underestimated how much power was in the tides.”

“On the day that it failed the turbine produced two-and-a-half times its rated capacity (2.4 megawatts) and it physically melted the copper in the machine,” he said. “The reason that the blades blew out of the machine is because when the copper melted it locked the rotor and the blades couldn’t stand the forces.

See: http://www.kingscountynews.ca/Business/2012-08-07/article-3046648/Emera-...

One hundred billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy with each tidal cycle; to put this into perspective, that's more water than all the world’s freshwater rivers combined and enough force to generate 60,000 MW of power (provincial demand as I type this, including exports to neighbouring New Brunswick, totals 1,137 MW).

The article also touches on the need to balance wind and tidal energy with other generating resources, in particular hydro. As noted above, Newfoundland and Labrador's Muskrat Falls hydro-electric development and the undersea HVDC cable that will connect our two provinces will allow us to expand our renewable energy portfolio far beyond what would be possible otherwise. Finally, we'll be able to kick coal to the curb !

“This will make tidal, and large scale tidal, much, much more possible than any other connection we could make to any other part of the world,” he said.

“(Tidal energy) is predictable which is lovely, wind is not, but it comes when you don’t need it. The Annapolis tidal plant comes on in the middle of the night and produces electricity. We don’t need it then.”

Adding a transmission line to Newfoundland would allow the excess capacity to be “dumped back into their system,” which Huskilson said is only possible with hydro power.

“We have 400 megawatts of hydro in this province and that’s how we’re coping with wind. Having this connection allows us to store that energy in the hydro systems in Newfoundland.”


Shouldn't they have put some current measuring equipment down before putting in the tidal turbine? You can't get a bank loan for a wind turbine without something like a years data from a testmast. Why should tidal be any different? A similar thing happened to the attempt a few years back on the Hudson in NYC. Characterizing the site should be engineering job number one.

“On the day that it failed the turbine produced two-and-a-half times its rated capacity (2.4 megawatts) and it physically melted the copper in the machine,” he said.

“(Tidal energy) is predictable which is lovely, wind is not, but it comes when you don’t need it."

Sounds like it wasn't that predictable, at least in extent. Someone didn't do their numbers.

I've long thought that someone should be putting serious money into tidal turbines. The same fluid dynamics governs the physics as governs the wind turbines, but the energy density is many times that of air - and the predictability (with proper modelling) is better. They are also invisible to the nimbys.

As a bonus, the locations where the tidal power is greatest also tend to be the spots where the coasts are closest, making a combined bridge/generating station complex a viable plan.

Tidal power is tiddly, except where it isn't. It's a terrfic idea few places in the world but it's never going to amount to beans globally.

If I'm doing my sums right they only had to underestimate max tidal current speed by ~25% to cause the 2.4X output. The design needs a way to spill power (like hydro or wind always have).

The Looting and 'Cooking' of Nigeria's Crude (w/Video)

To many people in oil-producing regions the crude that is siphoned from fuel company pipelines is the one thing they depend on.

A recent Al Jazeera report has found that fishing and farming, the two main economic activities in the oil-rich Niger Delta, are now all but abandoned. Frequent oil spills have depleted fish species in rivers and streams while millions of hectares of farmland lie wasted by oil pollution and contamination. In some parts of the Delta, stealing oil from the pipelines has become a free-for-all. Sometimes entire villages are involved.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance minister, has said the trade in stolen oil has led to a fall in official sales of about 400,000 barrels a day - a 17 per cent drop - in April alone. With average April prices of $121 per barrel, this results in a loss of $1.4bn.

It is the environmental damage the stealing and "cooking" of oil in Nigeria that is most profound. Flying low over the oil-producing Niger Delta, Al Jazeera witnessed what is effectively a crime scene: rivers and streams covered by thick filmy layers of oil. Vegetation in this once heavily forested region has also been devastated by frequent oil spills and explosions.

There is so much damage, Shell now says its "priorities have changed".

"Cleaning up what has already occurred would be futile unless you stop more from happening and I think that is where the challenge is," said Dr Philip Mshelbila of Shell Nigeria.

Recent Al Jazeera report


"On Friday, Amnesty International said investigations into Shell Oil spills were a "fiasco", alleging the company repeatedly blamed sabotage in an effort to avoid responsibility.

"No matter what evidence is presented to Shell about oil spills, they constantly hide behind the 'sabotage' excuse and dodge their responsibility for massive pollution that is due to their failure to properly maintain their infrastructure," Audrey Gaughran, director of global issues at Amnesty, said in a statement."

Theft and Corruption
Corporate greed and public poverty
Nigeria has a government you could drown in a bathtub.
"Regulation and taxes would just destroy jobs."
TPP is coming. We are all Nigeria.

On May 23, 2012, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden introduced S. 3225, proposed legislation that would require the USTR to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress. Wyden said the bill clarifies the intent of the 2002 legislation which was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity, but which, according to Wyden, is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as justification to excessively limit such access. Wyden asserted:
“The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. [...] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.”

Politics is also involved. From the Al-Jezeera article:

The contraption they loosely call a refinery looks like a grade-school science project. The aim is to boil two barrels of oil to evaporate the fuel, which then passes down a rusted pipe, cooled by water, and drips slowly out into a container at the other end.

The petrol comes out first, then kerosene, and finally diesel. Whatever remains of the crude is then poured into the river. It is a very dangerous business. With naked flames just metres away from the fuel, there are frequent explosions and many deaths. The surrounding trees and earth are blackened from the flames and explosions.

Their haughty leader, Ibegi Alakoroa, is unrepentant.

"It's mainly because of anger we are doing this job, because the government and oil companies don't recognise us," he told Al Jazeera. "We want to tell the politicians that Nigeria's oil is for all of us. They eat the oil revenue in Abuja and we take the crude down here. That’s how it's going to be."

From the BBC: Nigeria's booming illegal oil refineries

God knows what the quality is like.

Researchers map methane hydrate sites

Investigation sparked by concerns over consequences of warming.

Pockmark features on the seafloor in southern Harrison Bay and seaward of the Colville River Delta suggest gas venting.

USGS Article: Real-Time Mapping of Seawater and Atmospheric Methane Concentrations Offshore of Alaska's North Slope

... The map shows relative seawater methane concentrations measured in the Beaufort Shelf study area. At most sites, the seawater is supersaturated in methane, meaning that methane is expected to flux from the ocean to the atmosphere. This observation is consistent with the results reported by chemical oceanographer Natalia Shakhova (International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks) and coworkers for methane measured in discrete water samples on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

Update on methane-leaking sinkhole in South Louisiana

Bayou Corne disaster: Extra security called, ‘Methane-bubble tsunami’ revisited

The bent pipeline was reportedly not leaking Saturday evening. It does, however, present an explosion risk if it ruptures, according to John Boudreaux, director of Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Sheriff Waguespack noted that two 20-inch natural gas pipelines, owned by Acadian Gas, run parallel to the Crosstex line and also are at risk from Crosstex’s already bent line.

“If one of them goes, probably all three of them go,” Waguespack said.

Crosstex pipeline has an operating pressure of 800 pounds per square inch, according to Waguespack.

Bayou officials fear giant sinkhole pipeline explosion, stop providing data

Officials say that the massive methane-leaking sinkhole in South Louisiana bayou country near the Gulf of Mexico causing mandatory evacuation of 150 families, has also caused a 36-inch natural gas pipeline under Highway 70 to bend, so they are closing the highway due to the explosion risk but they have stopped providing monitoring data to the public on the event website.

Although a spokesperson said on Friday that there were no closures of Highway 70 expected, on Saturday, John Boudreaux, director of Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said Highway 70 is closing due to the "sink-hole" causing a gas pipeline to bend. The pipeline crosses under the highway and would cause an explosion risk if it ruptured, Boudreaux explained.

The pipleine has bent 16 feet downward and 15 feet to the east after the sinkhole in the Louisiana swampland developed Thursday, according to Boudreaux.

“Continuous monitoring continues to show NO threat to residents in the area of the bubbling waterways,” the Assumption Parish Louisiana Emergency Self Registration Portal stated. "Due to the fact that the monitors haven’t showed any changes, data will no longer be posted on this site."

... If they're bubbling that means SOMETHING is being vented. Maybe, if they turned the monitors ON, then they would get some results.

Yesterday, one of the related articles included this quote:

The “potential failiure” of an inactive and plugged Texas Brine Co. LLC salt mining cavern, used to store oil and gas, is likely the cause of the "slurry area."

The possibility of catastrophic failure in a Louisiana salt mine is explained in this amazing History Channel(?) video of the Lake Peigneur disaster.

Watch it in awe!


One can get a sense of what rising sea levels could do to underground infrastructure by watching the video!

"I thought it was the end of the world."

When water moves!

Wow! That's incredible! I remember hearing about a lake draining into a hole but I didn't realize that they had a video of it.

What is strange about the current sinkhole is it's absence from MSM. Almost like that don't want anyone to know. People might get the idea that it's not safe. Kinda like Fukushima. Amazing what money can buy.

Even Gov. Jindal's web site has no mention of his emergency declaration. Also, the link to Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness [http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/] on his web site gives a HTTP Error 403.1 - Forbidden: Execute access is denied.

Way to go guv!

Sounds more like someone just fouled up their directory or file permissions.


Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou Bubbling 2012 Press Release #12, Sunday, August 5, 2012, 4:00 p.m.

... clever PR press release without using the words 'methane', 'gas', 'oil', 'diesel', or 'leak'. That's why they make the 'big bucks'.

Will the banks succeed in their attempt to goose housing prices?

... Ask yourself this: Why are foreclosure sales down nearly 50% year-over-year in California, 42% in Arizona, and 72% in Nevada? Have buyers stopped looking for good deals or have the banks stopped processing foreclosures in order to artificially prop up prices and avoid greater losses for themselves?

Now check this out from credit writedowns:

"On July 13, 2012, reporting for AOL Real Estate, Teke Wiggin wrote about the REO market. That is, "Real Estate Owned" by the lender. Wiggin discovered, "as many as 90 percent of REOs are withheld from sale, according to estimates recently provided to AOL Real Estate by two analytics firms. It’s a testament to lenders’ fears that flooding the market with foreclosed homes could wreak havoc on their balance sheets and present a danger to the housing market as a whole." ....

More state courts are taking a hard line -- last month, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court judgement that a bank couldn't foreclose until (a) it had established a complete paper trail showing that they properly held the mortgage and (b) that complete trail was properly recorded in county offices. In some jurisdictions, title insurance companies are requiring the banks to indemnify the title companies from losses if it turns out later that the bank didn't actually have clear title.

The ongoing financial debacle involving MERS and the trusts created to hold the mortgages and issue the mortgage-backed bonds is not done playing out, and there is at least some evidence that once that's all unwound, it will turn out that in many cases the banks didn't have clear title when they foreclosed. In most states that doesn't affect the title of the person who buys the house from the bank -- but the mess leaves the banks open to potentially enormous damage claims.

It's clearly a mess. A friend of mine had a bit of a windfall and decided to pay off his mortgage last Fall. Even though the bank acknowledged payment-in-full, it hadn't provided clear title/deed to the property after several months, during which time he received two computer-generated notices of intent to foreclose. My friend took the bank to court and the judge granted him quiet title and a settlement for his costs and trouble.

Shortly after that he received a notice that his mortgage had been resold and he would be getting a new "payment coupon book". In the meantime, the bank told him to keep making his payments as usual :-/

He used to claim I was being an alarmist about the dismal, overly complex condition of our financial systems. No more.

Does anybody know if there are private forms of Mortgage agreement out there that have chosen to put away this abusive precedence of a full foreclosure? I think it's unsurprising, but ultimately at our overall peril that we continue to support this system which can wipe out decades of payments entirely with a total loss to the property owner.

Are there loan types which leave the borrower credit towards the amount already paid? Is there a good reason not to form such a loaning scheme?

Technically, banks aren't supposed to profit from a foreclosure and any excess funds remaining after a foreclosure sale are supposed to be returned to the original borrower (foreclosed party). Of course, this almost never happens. Banks will sell the property for whatever they have in it plus any costs/fees incurred. Their only motivation is to recover any losses incurred and get the property off of their books. Some discussion here.

In some cases where there is a lot of equity in the property, banks will work with owners facing foreclosure to find a buyer. This happened to a neighbor of mine, an elderly widow who lost her horse farm to zoning changes. The bank had already been approached by a developer, and to keep things on the up-and-up, the bank acted as an intermediary to the sale, for a commission. My neighbor ended up with a nice check, enough money to get a place in a retirement community. Poor old girl couldn't bring herself to sell her husband's dream.

In her case, it may have helped that some of her neighbors were paying close attention, and that the bank knew it. Another neighbor was the editor of a neighborhood newspaper and would have been quick to give the bank and developer some bad press.

Not sure how many banks (or neighbors) would work with folks to that extent these days.

People with equity aren't being foreclosed on much. The problem is that most people who bought or re-financed in the past decade or so are underwater, not just delinquent. The banks are actually doing more short sales than foreclosures in a lot of places.

We paid off ours a couple of years ago, and ours went a lot more smoothly. But the bank never did send us any kind of paperwork to acknowledge that we paid it off (other than refunding the balance of the escrow account), so I called the county land records office to find out what if anything they had filed.

It turns out that the bank had filed something electronically - I believe it was called a "Notice of Satisfaction" or something along those lines.

I suspect that the actual error rate here can't be all *that* high. Whenever someone refinances, the old loan is paid off and a new one is created, and that implies that the old lien needs to be released and a new one is created. If errors like this were common the result would be absolute chaos.

It's, unfortunately, quite high. You don't believe it until it happens to you.

Remember... if our debts are ever repaid, the financial system goes bust.

Financialism demands debts to infinity.

100 facts about mortgage-securitization:
new book:'clouded titles' who really owns your home:
60 million mortgages may have fatal flaws:
6(?) million overdue mortgages, foreclosure rates down
inventory numbers down. are the banks reflating the bubble ?


When capitalism, when companies, realized they didn't have to make anything... they could just play games with the money itself. The ultimate form of capitalism is mail fraud: where there isn't any product delivered at all. Without regulation, there is only theft.

"When you deregulate the financial sector, the thieves take over. Thievery is what unregulated capitalism is all about."
...At about 1/6th of the way into the audio file.


Obamacare didn't deliver healthcare, it delivered further financialization in the form of insurance. A few bones were thrown to the public. The doctors and nurses who appeared before the legislature to support national healthcare were thrown out and threatened with arrest.

Doctors, Nurses and Activists Arrested Again for Protesting Exclusion of Single-Payer Advocates at Senate Hearing on Healthcare

Syria's Pipelineistan war

This is a war of deals, not bullets.

Deep beneath "Damascus volcano" and "the battle of Aleppo", the tectonic plates of the global energy chessboard keep on rumbling. Beyond the tragedy and grief of civil war, Syria is also a Pipelineistan power play.

More than a year ago, a $10 billion Pipelineistan deal was clinched between Iran, Iraq and Syria for a natural gas pipeline to be built by 2016 from Iran's giant South Pars field, traversing Iraq and Syria, with a possible extension to Lebanon. Key export target market: Europe.

It gets more complicated. Turkey happens to be Gazprom's second-largest customer. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia - and Iran. Turkey dreams of becoming the new China, configuring Anatolia as the ultimate Pipelineistan strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and gas to Europe.

Try to bypass Ankara in this game, and you're in trouble. Until virtually yesterday, Ankara was advising Damascus to reform - and fast. Turkey did not want chaos in Syria. Now Turkey is feeding chaos in Syria. Let's examine one of the key possible reasons.

Assad Strikes Oil Deal to Keep War Machine Moving

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is falling apart. Its prime minister has fled the country, and its military equipment is reportedly breaking down. Its tanks, helicopters and aircraft are thirsty for fuel, and Syria’s diplomats have scrambled to find countries willing to sell Assad enough gasoline to keep his reign going.

Now the regime might survive, at least for a little while. On Friday, Syria secured a crucial oil deal with Russia. Under the deal, Russia will ship refined gasoline to fuel-starved Syria. In exchange, the Syrian regime will ship unrefined crude oil to Russia. According to the Associated Press, the gasoline is “sorely needed” in order for the regime “to keep its economy and military running.”

Yes, the word "ship" was used:

Easy targets invite acts of war.

This whole drawn-out thing with the Russian ships continues to sound bogus.

Sink a Russian ship to give Putin an excuse to invade Syria.

Maybe Russia will get Syria, and U.S., Europe and Israel will get Iran.

Iran's 2nd and last oil peak

“Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in Tehran that Iran has become addicted to selling crude oil and the time has come that the country voluntarily shut down some of its oil wells”..."

Didn't we hear something similar from KSA in 2010?

Power struggle: How to keep India's lights on

To stay online, any large-scale grid must be able to react quickly to power fluctuations – on the order of a few tens of milliseconds. This was likely a key failure in India as well. The sentinels of most modern grids are devices called phasor measurement units (PMUs). Situated mainly at power plants and high-voltage substations, they match the frequency of the alternating electric current to other locations across the grid, ensuring that the network is in sync using GPS timing. Drops or outages in power across any part of the grid cause the frequency to dip locally, and PMUs also make it possible to isolate the problem.

The Indian Central Electricity Authority (CEA) only produced its draft plan to install PMUs across the grid in April this year and, as of 31 May, there were just 14 operating in the country. By contrast, the US, which has a similar patchwork infrastructure to India's, has thousands, many of which were installed following a 2003 blackout that affected millions in the country's north-east. China has built thousands of PMUs to ensure its grid is similarly protected.

PMUs are measurement devices that measure the phase of the voltage relative to a common reference (IRIG-B 1PPS time signal usually). This allows the ISO to see what is happening to various regions of the grid. A useful way to look at the system but they don't control anything and are only partially implemented in the US. The problem in India is likely to be a lack of generation sources and insufficient VAR support leading to lack of grid stability, not some fancy new way to look at things.

In other words, a lack of power sources not a lack of technology. Those who think the smart grid (tm) will save us from similar problems should take note.

As a systems analyst, the post-mortem analyses on the 2003 Northeast blackout and the 2011 Southwest blackout show depressing similarities. Adjacent control areas don't share information about their current failure modes. Adjacent control areas don't have similar practices on how close to failure mode they will operate their equipment. Systems are not designed to block, or even slow down, gross human error (I have been an advocate of physical interlocks for decades, so that techs suddenly realize, "I'm lifting the big red lever in order to release the switch/board/whatever -- wait, isn't lifting the big red lever one of the forbidden things?").

We know an enormous amount about designing high-reliability systems that avoid cascading failures. The blackout post-mortems all seem, at some level, to describe a system where the basic principles were ignored.

Well yeah, but there does come a point where the system is unstable because of the lack of sources (and sources of the appropriate characteristics) and all the communications systems and PMUs and synchrophasors and pretty displays of regional phase relationships and what-have-you will only let you watch it crash. A good control system will help you get me most out of what you have, but it isn't a cure-all.

Also there are some serious misconceptions about the level of technology in the US electrical grid, and a lot of pie-in-the-sky predictions about what is going to be implemented that just don't jibe with what is actually happening. I had an interesting discussion with some folks from a relatively advanced local utility recently. They were required to put in a few PMUs, so they ended up being incorporated into the transient recorders in some transmission subs - they were the only things that they had any external access to with enough bandwidth. They do state analysis maybe every 15min (IIRC) with lots of historical data from spreadsheets, and a few bits of SCADA data they read on 5min scans. They're not spending anything they're not required to.

BTW - the senior guy I spoke to has since retired. Probably replaced him with an IT guy that wouldn't know a Watt from a VAR or a delta from a wye.

Both U.S. blackouts were examples of gross negligence on the part of numerous parties (in my personal opinion, not representing anyone or anything else). Part of the problem is that a lot of the people who know what they are doing with respect to the grid are retired and others are spending a lot of their time playing stupid games either proposing new merchant generation or reviewing those proposals or coming up with rules on how to play those games.

From my reading of the San Diego blackout report, each major corporate actor could have prevented the blackout either before or during the contingency (some in several ways) but failed to do so due to obvious errors, some of which had to be well known at the respective utilities and agencies.

In a grid which runs at the ragged edge constantly (rolling blackouts), PMU's are not the answer. Enough generation and wires are needed first.


Now, separate grid for essential services

Essential services will have a separate power grid to make sure that no life is put in danger like on Tuesday when around 300 miners were caught inside a coal mine due to electricity failure, Veerappa Moily said after taking charge as Union power minister on Wednesday.

He said his ministry would work to make sure that incidents like that of Monday and Tuesday’s do not occur in the country again. “We are thinking of insulating the essential services from the normal grid failure. We will have to work on a separate grid for such services in the country,” he said.

“We are thinking of insulating the essential services from the normal grid failure. We will have to work on a separate grid for such services in the country,” he said.

Triage, on a massive scale. Expect to see more of this.

NPR did a story on the subject this morning:

Growing Pains: Nations Balance Growth, Power Needs

Some 1.4 billion people have no electricity at all, and even more can't count on their lights to go on when they flip the switch. Purvis says this isn't a technical problem; it's a failure of policy and financing.

It wouldn't have anything to do with overpopulation, overshoot, and limit's to growth, would it? Nah,, that couldn't be it.

Meanwhile, in Jamaica- Usain Bolt: Jamaican school's 100m power cut panic

A power cut struck at Usain Bolt's former school just minutes before the start of the 100m final.

Students who gathered round a television set to watch the race started to panic as the pictures were cut.

AH... the horror!

It wouldn't have anything to do with overpopulation, overshoot, and limit's to growth, would it? Nah,, that couldn't be it.

Hell no, everything is a result of mismanagement and politics, if only we had better politicians and bureaucrats. /sarc

I know that when they start up a generator in a power station, they have to be very careful matching the rotation speed and the point on the cycle to the existing grid before letting the current flow.

This obviously is not possible with wind and PV power. There has to be some intermediate facility to match the power characteristics.

Anyone know how it's done? Power thyristors or something?

This obviously is not possible with wind and PV power.

Sure it's possible, you just have to turn off the anti-islanding feature of the inverters.

US Utilities require Grid Tie Inverters certified to UL1741/IEEE 1541.1 They monitor the grid for 5 minutes and if all is healthy, RIDE the wave within tolerances. They cease exporting within 1/60 of a second if the grid is not spec and monitor for another 5 minutes before exporting again. North American Standards are in development to allow the RE Inverters to ride thru disturbances. This used to be an issue in Europe on Sunny days, but as I understand it, has been addressed with updated ride-true algorithms. As part of the Standard, ALL RE Inverters constantly try to muscle the Grid off freq, so they are NEVER exporting without a stable grid pulse. So a stable grid is needed for simple Grid tie RE systems.


Or (much more rarely) uncertified inverters with external protection which complies with jurisdiction specific
interconnection standards.

The settings onboard the certified inverters (which are usually adjustable for larger inverters), trip more slowly than you suggest for many types of grid disturbance. It may take seconds to trip for a slight over/under voltage condition, for instance.

When you have small amounts of DG, the preferred protection scheme is to get it off the grid ASAP so that normal protection systems work correctly. When you have large quantities of a certain type of generation, it is grid destabilizing if it shuts off whenever the grid hiccups. This led (within the last decade) to transmission interconnection standards (and commercially available packages) being developed for wind turbines which required certain features like VAR control and low-voltage-ride-thru (LVRT) where studies deemed necessary. A few years ago, VAR control was not being offered on large U.S. inverters, but it is now standard due to utility requirements. Now LVRT is in the works. This also leads to increased studies and protection upgrade requirements now that you don't kick all of the DG off the grid for a disturbance and must deal with its behavior during the disturbance.

Interestingly, I've seen hypothetical papers claiming that the inverter anti-islanding scheme (freq nudging) you mention could actively destabilize the grid by counter-acting PSS (power system stabilizers) during grid excursions.

I also suspect short-term inverter enabled/exacerbated islanding may be possible (though very unlikely) under uncontrolled conditions in the 'wild' if certain necessary preconditions (including large sample size) are met.

We are getting a ways away from the original question.

Can moderate size PV and wind farms create a separate grid for essential services?

Basic question, is it absolutely necessary to be grid connected for these to start up?

You'd need a 'control channel' to smart switching so you could remotely shed load as needed.

The other alternative is the essential services on separate wires.

Basic question, is it absolutely necessary to be grid connected for these to start up?

Someone has to be the sync signal. Unless the grid is a DC grid.

I would feel pretty confident that a PV or wind farm would have a "Test Mode" whereby it provides it's own 60hz timing source. Thereby allowing it to be fully tested into load banks prior to putting online.

Since PV has no storage as in rotating mass it would be almost impossible to bring up even a small grid on PV alone. Wind turbine not much better. Like you say lots of switching so it could be brought up in many small pieces.

A diesel genset would be essential to the mix.

While everyone else in the group went to look at the typical tourist sights, I sought out the local hydro plant.

Batopilas, Chihuahua 1992

Why aren't all grids sync'd via a universal time, aligned via GPS or other mechanisms? Telecom networks manage this, with provision for islanding and hold-over.

Seems like a power-transported protocol would be reasonable for "smart" networks?

In North America, you have several 60 Hz signals - all out of sync.

Western Interconnect (Grand Coulee Dam does the sync)
Eastern Interconnect
ERCOT part of Texas
Alaska (several)
Mexico (several I think)

This goes back to the 1950s/1960s.

Personally, I would like to see more, and smaller "synced islands" connected by HV DC (converting some HV AC lines).

Some examples:

Florida (except panhandle)

Southern + Entergy + TVA (AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, TN, small parts of TX, FL & KY)

Bonneville + BC Hydro + ID & MT

California + AZ


"Smaller" more manageable pieces, with some plants near the borders capable of switching grids. HV DC Lite for black start help.


UTC over GPS is nice but what happens when it goes down? (let us not speculate why that should occur) You really need at least 3 different sources for your UTC. The main one, the standby and the Oh Sh@@! You may want to consider one of those to be an 'island' maybe an atomic clock as they have become cheap and easily available. (Cheap being relative but soon to become absolute).


UTC over GPS is nice but what happens when it goes down?


Grid-tie PV inverters have sensors and microprocessing to match phase and voltages to the grid they are connected to, before they start outputting power.

From the 'Wayback Machine' ...

Aug. 6, 1945: ‘I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds’

...How heavily populated cities came to be chosen as the targets remains a matter of controversy. The scientists involved in developing the bomb favored demonstrating their weapon to the Japanese in an isolated area, but military and political planners rejected the idea, arguing that the shock of total destruction would have a more profound impact.

and FBI Memo on Radiological Warfare in Korea 1951

THAT's what to do with the radioactive waste!

It is proposed to lay down a swath of radioactive material across Korea to "dehumanize" the area.

These are the uses the future will find for the "waste" they discover.

I believe they also didn't have very many bombs at the time so they didn't want to waste them on a such an idea.

Russia to build new naval bases in the Arctic

Russia to Set Up Naval Infrastructure in Arctic – Patrushev

... By 2020, Russia will deploy a combined-arms force – including military, border and coastal guard units – to protect its economic and political interests in the Arctic

Kirk Sorensen: A Detailed Exploration of Thorium's Potential as an Energy Source

I've admired Chris Martenson's Peak Prosperity site and the Crash Course (which everyone should see IMO). I think it's great that he's done an interview with Kirk Sorensen, who has become the leading proponent of molten salt reactors and thorium as a nuclear fuel. IMO a good interview and worth your time.

I think it's extremely interesting that this appeared just after the nuclear portion of the discussion on the August 4 Drumbeat Re: "Who are your Sources ?" - thanks everybody! I had intending to post some material in reply there, but here seems more important.

Moviemaker Gordon McDowell has been remixing and documenting thorium for three years or so. I think this video, which begins with Canada's Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, listing "the usual suspects" objections to nuclear power; introduces Kirk; describes the molten salt reactor concepts; and then returns to the objections list, will introduce you to the man and the ideas. Here's the 36 minute video:

Global Warming vs LFTR - Thorium Energy to fight Climate Change

ghung - your concern for nuclear safety is important, and Kirk addresses the question starting at about 6 minutes in - this link will take you right to that point.

Global Warming vs LFTR - Thorium Energy to fight Climate Change - Which reactor?

The video I wanted to post earlier about rare earth elements and thorium is this one (15 minutes):

Obama, China, Rare Earths - Can the World Trade Organization save USA manufacturing jobs? Why no USA Rare Earth Elements? THORIUM.

The 4th Thorium Energy Alliance conference happened at the end of May; Gordon has posted many of the presentation videos already. I posted part of Dr. David LeBlanc's presentation as a 5 minute video:

Dr. David LeBlanc - Molten Salt Reactors, Canada, and the Athabasca Oil Sands @ TEAC4

The notion here is that using nuclear energy for oil recovery wouldn't raise the EROEI but would certainly improve the "net hydrocarbon" out of the process. It amounts to storing nuclear energy in liquid fuels that fit with the existing infrastructure.

There's obviously more where that came from, but it's a lot like jumping into the middle of a story. For a longer version of the story, there's the misnamed 2 hour long LFTR in 5 Minutes - THORIUM REMIX 2011. (Gordon McDowell is currently shooting and editing the Thorium Remix 2012.)

The Nuclear Energy Option by Bernard Cohen is a "just the facts" online text about nuclear energy, for those who'd like to further their education. And since today we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and celebrate Curiosity's landing, I'll end with a 15 minute inspirational video (well, it inspires me, anyway! And both events have nuclear connections.):

Kirk Sorensen tours Lady Bryony Worthington through U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville

Thanks for the links, Andrew. While I agree that functional LFTRs would be a welcome improvement over our current reactor fleet, and would help soften our adjustment to our extreme overshoot condition, it's likely a case of too little, too late. The Chinese and Indians seem to be the most motivated, and their plans for commercial deployment are at least 20 years out, AFAIK. I doubt we have that much time.

Thorium or fusion or workable solar etc. will only enable a steady state economy. Its not a ticket to business as usual, which is a 3%+ perpetual growth economy. This type of economy was enabled only by cheap fossil fuels on the upslope of the depletion curve. That's the message that needs to be drummed into politicians and the general public's heads. The days of growth are coming to an end, the best we can aim for is to hold onto what has been achieved.

Knock the population back to a few hundred million and the game is reset, ready to go again.

I think it's extremely interesting that this appeared just after the nuclear portion of the discussion on the August 4 Drumbeat

Just a coincidence. The article was written and posted before the discussion. Peak Prosperity had already e-mailed me the link with a request to include it. It was a little late for the Aug. 4 Drumbeat, so I held it back until the next one, without knowing someone would raise the topic in the comments.

Jevons Paradox rediscovered ...

Increased productivity, not less energy use, results from more efficient lighting

Two researchers have reprised in the journal Energy Policy their groundbreaking finding that improvements in lighting — from candles to gas lamps to electric bulbs — historically have led to increased light consumption rather than lower overall energy use by society.

Misinterpretations of the original paper by two widely read international media outlets led to the confusion that Tsao and his co-authors had shown that lighting efficiency improvements were no improvements at all. This is because reductions in neither overall energy usage nor overall lighting costs would occur.

"Might apply to LEDs"? Seems pretty darn unlikely if the baseline is incandescent. I'd need to double the brightness and triple the on-time for that to happen. LEDs are too darn efficient. Now, if it's fluorescent lights being replaced, maybe, but mostly because if you work someplace that's played the cost-reduced fluorescent tube game, the light is crap -- I often turn mine off. But fluorescent, over incandescent is far more efficient.

And for comparison, we have 11W (measured) of LED under the cabinets, and one "legacy" fluorescent at 20W, and the LEDs beat the 20W light handily. If we need a night light, we leave the 11W light on now, not the 20W.

Jevens paradox is similarly boneheaded when applied to transit; the most efficient way to get around is a bicycle, but that does not mean that I will do a gallon-of-oil's worth of bicycle travel each day (which is about what I consume if I drive) -- on a bicycle, that would be 600 miles. Or, if I'd rather not get sweaty, does that mean that I'd ride the subway 200 or 300 miles, in order to consume my daily gallon of gasoline? And that the more filled the bus, the further I would travel in it?

There are other constraints, not just energy.

With regards to commercial lighting, power densities have been falling steadily over time, and daylight harvesting and occupancy/vacancy controls are being more widely deployed (or are mandated by local codes). Back in the '70s, general office lighting loads could run as high as 50 and 60-watts per square metre; today, the numbers typically fall between 10 and 12-watts/m2 and ASHRAE 90.1-2013 is going to tighten things up even further.


Good to see you again, so to speak. I always appreciate your comments.

Thanks, Ben; I always enjoy reading your contributions and gain much in the process; your technical expertise and understanding of the utility business is first-rate.

I'm still hanging about, but limiting my contributions out of respect for our hosts and other forum members.


Shame, i always love to read about your quest for efficient lighting in Halifax.

limiting my contributions out of respect for our hosts and other forum members

Huh? [stare of non-understanding]

Thanks, bv. I should have worded that more carefully. It's that my posts tend to be repetitive and somewhat tangential to the business at hand, and I don't want to annoy by covering the same ground over and over again (and, admittedly, it's a pretty small pied-à-terre).


Very thoughtful.. and your posts are about as unwelcome and redundant as a string of boring old sloshy water bottles showing up here in the desert!

Keep em coming! Good news, appropriate efforts and hopeful signs are really, really needed. They are as REAL and as REALISTIC as the bad news, but our old anguish and our more morose fellows keep trying to convince us that ONLY the bad news is the realistic news.

(And they kiss their Mommas with that mouth?!) Let's keep feeding the better Wolf!

I second (or third) your contribution Paul ...

HereinHalifax is the 'yang' to my 'yin'

"yin and yang", literally meaning "shadow and light", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn in relation to each other.


Thanks, Bob, Don and Seraph, for your kind words; much appreciated.

Well, some encouraging news perhaps and applicable to this thread....

The Rebound Effect: Real, but Not Very Large

As the energy efficiency of products, homes, and businesses improves, it becomes less expensive to operate them. The rebound effect postulates that people increase their use of products and facilities as a result of this reduction in operating costs, thereby reducing the energy savings achieved. Periodically, some analysts raise questions about the rebound effect, arguing that it is a major factor that needs to be accounted for when analyzing energy efficiency programs.


There have been more than 100 studies published that attempt to estimate rebound effects, many of which we examined for our paper. We found that while there is some uncertainty, available evidence indicates that direct rebound effects will generally be 10% or less.


We found that there are larger uncertainties about the size of indirect rebound effects and more careful studies are needed. From the evidence that is available, the most likely estimate is that indirect rebound effects are on the order of 11%, increasing both energy use and the level of economic activity.

See: http://aceee.org/blog/2012/08/rebound-effect-real-not-very-large



I agree with the other comments. Your posts are informative, interesting and are not repetitive.

The website is about energy, that is your business, all information from knowledgable sources (i.e. you) are welcome.

Thank you for all past and "hopefully" future contributions.


I learn from your posts - and that has value.

Best Hopes for More,


I value your posts...educational and inspiring.

Keep up the great work, please write us as your time allows.



Sometimes the only way to get a nail into something hard is to keep hammering. The only way to get negawatts instead of MORE into some peoples way of thinking is with that hammer. Paul, keep hammering.


Your contributions are among the most practical and interesting ones on the TOD. Keep them coming.


Study Finds Correlation between Injection Wells, Small Earthquakes

Most earthquakes in the Barnett Shale region of north Texas occur within a few miles of one or more injection wells used to dispose of wastes associated with petroleum production such as hydraulic fracturing fluids, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin. None of the quakes identified in the two-year study were strong enough to pose a danger to the public.

"You can't prove that any one earthquake was caused by an injection well," says Frohlich. "But it's obvious that wells are enhancing the probability that earthquakes will occur."

As a geophysicist, I find it surprising that no one seems to point out the obvious: the earthquakes being triggered by injection wells are not powered by the energy used for the injection process, but powered by the relief of existing shear stress within the earth. This stress, in the absence of the injection wells, would eventually build up to the point where it is released by sudden slippage of the fault.

Would you rather have a few hundred 2.0 to 3.0 earthquakes (barely perceptible) or one 4.0 earthquake? The wells are indeed enhancing the probability that earthquakes will occur, but none of these earthquakes are strong enough to pose a danger to the public. And by releasing naturally occurring stress, the injection wells are reducing the probability of an earthquake that will pose a danger to the public.

And there is the equally obvious.. why don't we place injection wells along the San Andreas/sarc

Equally obviously because along the San Andreas Fault the stress has already built up to huge levels. When it goes, it will probably go big. /sarc

One other point that no one has raised is that for the most part, damaging earthquakes occur at much much deeper levels in the crust than injection wells ever reach. IMHO articles about injection causing micro earthquakes are red herrings. If you want to worry about fracking, then worry about good casing design or proper disposal of frac fluids. Don't worry about earthquakes.

fish - Actually I have a very vague of 30+ years ago of discussions to do just that. I don't think it was taken too serious at the time. I also suspect there was concern over the liability should there be any deaths or significant damage in the process. There was also talk of seeding hurricanes to make them weaker. I think they also ran from that idea for the same reason. And today we have a lot more lawyers so it could be even worse. LOL.

There is currently an active program to drill into the San Andreas Fault for research purposes.
San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth
Earthscope SAFOD

SAFOD will provide direct information on the composition and mechanical properties of rocks in the fault zone, the nature of stresses responsible for earthquakes, the role of fluids in controlling faulting and earthquake recurrence, and the physics of earthquake initiation and rupture. By observing quakes "up close," SAFOD will mark a major advance in the pursuit of a rigorous scientific basis for assessing earthquake hazards and predicting earthquakes.

Just some more of that basic science stuff.

Interesting thread. Thanks!

Fishoil, you might like this report: Isotropic Events Observed with a Borehole Array in the Chelungpu Fault Zone, Taiwan


Shear failure is the dominant mode of earthquake-causing rock failure along faults. High fluid pressure can also potentially induce rock failure by opening cavities and cracks, but an active example of this process has not been directly observed in a fault zone. Using borehole array data collected along the low-stress Chelungpu fault zone, Taiwan, we observed several small seismic events (I-type events) in a fluid-rich permeable zone directly below the impermeable slip zone of the 1999 moment magnitude 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake. Modeling of the events suggests an isotropic, nonshear source mechanism likely associated with natural hydraulic fractures. These seismic events may be associated with the formation of veins and other fluid features often observed in rocks surrounding fault zones and may be similar to artificially induced hydraulic fracturing.

There was a recent 4.5 quake on the San Andreas near Parkfield. This area is of great interest because there hasn't been a big quake in many years and if it ruptures from north to south or from the Salton Sea area to the north, there is the fear that it will be "The Big One".
Yellow box is the recent quake.

Animation, click start.

There was also talk of seeding hurricanes to make them weaker. I think they also ran from that idea for the same reason. And today we have a lot more lawyers so it could be even worse. LOL.

Seeding hurricanes with lots of lawyers would make things worse? How so? >;-)

I know more than a few lawyers I can recommend for a hurricane seeding experiment! Most of them are windbags anyway.

Obviously when those lawyers let out a lot of hot air, the hurricane will strengthen by two or three categories. The only worse thing you could do would be to dump politicians into the mix.

Yikes....you're right! What was I thinking?

But how to dispose of lawyers and politicians along with the associated hot air? Send them to Yucca Mountain? Inject them into salt domes?

That should do it - I think politicians are fairly inert.

Chart of the day, HFT edition
Felix Salmon, Aug 6, 2012 11:37 EDT

This astonishing GIF comes from Nanex, and shows the amount of high-frequency trading in the stock market from January 2007 to January 2012. (Which means that the Knightmare craziness of last week is not included.)

The various colors, as identified in the legend on the right, are all the different US stock exchanges. You might think there are only two stock exchanges in the US, but you’d be wrong: there are only two exchanges where stocks are listed. There are many, many more exchanges where stocks are traded.

What we see here is relatively low levels of high-frequency trading through all of 2007. Then, in 2008, a pattern starts to emerge: a big spike right at the close, at 4pm, which is soon mirrored by another spike at the open. This is the era of traders going off to play golf in the middle of the day, because nothing interesting happens except at the beginning and the end of the trading day. But it doesn’t last long.

Very cool GIF, AWS.
Even if noone has responded to it, I know a lot of people besides myself must have spent some time gazing at it.

I want a fake fireplace that can play animated GIFs!

Apart from that, 'High Speed Trading' is pretty much meaningless to me.. but sounds and looks ominous! (I usu. steer clear of most money threads.. my wife could tell you why.)


There are a lot of posts that are VERY powerful, enlightening, informative, overwhelming... VERY much appreciated... but, what to say?... or just speechless... not like a good post mentioning split bicycle seats.

All I came up with was "It's all a game."... and I didn't bother.

Thanks for the illumination!

I found it a wonder illustration that confirmed exactly what I think of the stock market, and why I have nothing invested in it. It reminds me of those demonstrations where they let two computers set up to do artificial conversations talk to each other. We have this system that was originally designed to allow humans to trade stocks, only now all parts of it are automated except we've preserved some part of the old human interface in the middle - which has become totally irrelevant.

Bringing Power to the People -- And Heat As Well (w/Video)

... The patented technology they developed uses a mirrored parabolic trough to capture sunlight, heating fluid in a pipe along the mirror’s centerline. This fluid then powers a sort of air conditioner in reverse: Instead of using electricity to pump out cold air on one side and hot air on the other, it uses the hot fluid and cold air to generate electricity. At the same time, the hot fluid can be used to provide heat and hot water — or, by adding a separate chiller stage, to produce cooling as well.

While they were able to demonstrate the successful operation of their heat-powered generator — a system called an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) engine — the system required a skilled operator to adjust the temperatures, pressures and voltages as conditions changed.

Since then, the STG team has developed a sophisticated computerized control system, allowing the system to run virtually hands-free. Once that system is installed, the only routine maintenance required is washing the huge mirrors every six months or so.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0NFkhYccyU&feature=player_embedded

Rankine cycle power systems have been around for many decades and are called "steam engines". I fail to see why this system would be called "a sort of air conditioner in reverse", except by someone who knows nothing about thermodynamics. There have been such devices built using one of the FREONs as a working fluid, marketed as a "bottoming cycle" to capture thermal energy which would otherwise be wasted. Running one of those systems on propane, i.e., an organic fluid, is not new either. There is a company which is selling purified propane for use as a replacement for R-22 in air conditioners. I wonder what the patent examiners allowed as new technology to qualify for their patent...

E. Swanson

I hope people don't get too caught up on whether this qualifies as new or not.. and instead we try to find out whether this system can be a useful contributor, and maybe incorporates some new proportions or combinations that allow it to have its 'moment in the sun'..

Probably way too complicated to repair locally in Outer Mongolia, and way too heavy to ship in/out. I'm guessing separate PV plus solar thermal would be cheaper and simpler.

I have followed these guys for some time. If they are going to use any concentrator, I think of a solar stirling as a better buy- about 15kg/kW for the engine-alternator, and maybe the same or less for the concentrator and mount. And it does about 25% overall energy conversion photons to electrons, and can run continuously by using a fuel boost to the solar.

A big engine manufacturer estimated the stirling engine/alternator cost to manufacture is less than $100 a kW in large numbers, and then, ha ha, turned it down as "not what we do." Right, not.


Meanwhile, back on poverty ridge, my PV boost stirling is doing ok, but I have been unable to resist temptation, and just now decided to delve into its guts to make it better, always a serious threat to progress and prosperity.

Here's a motivational poster for your workshop!


cost to manufacture is less than $100 a kW in large numbers

Don't worry - Magic is supposed to happen with shipping generators next month....

And the stirlings have no chance VS this gem:

With the kind of pricing here:

We are still aiming to get the price down to $300 for a 2-cylinder engine [within three years (initial price will be higher)].

(Mental note - send that link to the drinking buddies who actually work for Harley so we have something to laugh about next go at the pub)

And the below specs - all our problems are solved eh?

Engine Specs
Speaking of refills, John said that a manufacturer is working on creating a canister the size of a paint gun: 4 inches long, and about 1.25 inches in diameter; to sell in a supermarket for $7 each. It will hook up to a refill valve on the engine, and could last as long as seven years under continuous running. He said: "The actuator controllers watch cylinder electronics for degradation in 'event' signature; and when it drops, the actuator controller tells the master controller to give a 'squirt'; to bring the gas levels back up to normal."
At the beginning, Inteligentry is focusing on two engine sizes: a 2-cylinder and a 6-cylinder, the latter essentially being three of the 2-cylinder versions combined on 120 degree offsets. The 2-cylinder allegedly has a limit of 275 horsepower .... However, the company goal is to get the 2-cylinder engine price down to $275 within three years.

(are you laughing yet? Catch the 'cold fusion via noble gasses' parts - how does that work eh? And exactly how do the metal links betwix thine piston and shaft withstand that force?)

Readers might infer from this remark that stirlings are in the same crock as the other stuff mentioned above. If that is so, then we oughta buzz up NASA right away and tell them to quit throwing so much brainpower at this sorta nonsense.

They seem to think that stirlings are good for 17 years in space at 35% heat to electricity conversion efficiency.


The one I am playing with is a very poor cousin of those space engines, but with a lot of the same design features and 10 times as powerful. Fits the pockets of us hillbillies.

Stirlings seem like good puzzles to work on, while like you said, EB is putting them hand in hand with a bunch of pretty silly puzzles that should probably be shelved.

Stirlings are one means used to cool the sensors in heat seeking missiles, imagers, and other systems. They are beautifully made.

Image: http://optlab.ijs.si/jdemsar/applications/cooler2.jpg

Product: http://www.ricor-usa.com/k543.html

Background: http://www.soue.org.uk/souenews/issue6/cryocooler.html


Stirlings are also a way to get air to liquify. Alas, at over $100,000 they are not an economically useful dump load for excess electrical production.


Another cryocooler. They sell for $5-10 K one-off. I am sure that if you bought tens of thousands of them for tracking hot heads in political conventions, you could get a much lower price.

They'd overheat with the load.


stirlings are in the same crock as the other stuff mentioned above

They are only a crock in that the mass market "promise" of them. SEMs, Energy innovations, Kamen, Wayne Conrad
http://www.artoftransition.ca/tag/wayne-conrad/ and his $89 1hp engine.

Available Now: The First Low-Cost, Mass-Production Stirling-Based Engine Omachron Technologies, Inc. is pleased to announce that it is now offering demonstration models of pre-production Conrad Heat Engines, derived from the Stirling engine, for powering consumer appliances such as vacuum cleaners, as well as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, portable electrical generators, battery chargers, bicycles, motor scooters, and small boats. During the fourth quarter of 2001, commercial sample engines will be offered for sale to companies interested in licensing this technology.

Even the once shipping ST-5 no longer ships - was bought out and production stopped. Where are the mass produced CHiP (combined heat and power) stirlings?

And regular readers of TOD will note I've linked to a design group who's planning on building 'em then telling you how to build 'em yourself.


At the completion of the project we'll provide open source plans for construction of the engine along with kits that allow purchase of the components or completed engine


We have a cost target of less then $100, in cost, for this engine, with the majority of parts made from commonly found commodity components


And you have admitted in the past Wimbi that Stirlings just don't ship.

Look up MEC engine company.


They sell- right now- 1kW stirlings in Europe for CHP. I hear it's $10K for one and maybe $3K each for hundreds.

As I remember, they are not actually selling it. The main page is showing CAD drawings.

2009: First PM Engines to Partners DSC00646
Solar Demo Unit Built
0,5 Million Run Hours on Engines and Controls
All Chinese parts introduced into PM Engines
PM Engine 1000 built
2010: Engine only Control Demo
1 Million Run Hours on Engine and Controls
Last Updated on Friday, 01 October 2010 15:06

Doesn't look like a "today" solution.

If I want to buy a stirling today - Whispergen is the route I'd take.

the system required a skilled operator to adjust the temperatures, pressures and voltages as conditions changed.

...Sounds like a future Raspberry Pi/Linux automation upgrade ; )

Continuous hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to pure formic acid in supercritical CO2

To reduce fossil fuel consumption while simultaneously improving the carbon footprint of fuels and chemical products, the use of carbon dioxide as a carbon source could be an attractive option. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, German researchers have now introduced a method by which carbon dioxide can be catalytically hydrogenated to make formic acid. In this process, carbon dioxide is not only a starting material; it also acts—in a supercritical state—as the solvent for separation of the product. This integrated approach makes it possible to directly obtain free formic acid as the product in a single step for the first time.

2nd Cuban offshore oil well also a bust

HAVANA (AP) — A second deep-water exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico has proved a bust, Cuba's state oil company announced Monday, dealing another blow to the island's dreams of petroleum riches.

The drilling operation carried out by PC Gulf, a subsidiary of Malaysia's Petronas, and Gazpromneft of Russia, concluded July 31 off the western province of Pinar del Rio, Cuban state oil company Cubapetroleo said in a statement.

Analysis: As U.S. gets tough on oil pipelines, outages get longer

... The U.S. Transportation Department, which oversees the PHMSA, began a new pipeline safety effort in 2011, urging operators to replace aging infrastructure and winning Congressional support for more resources and enforcement powers.

Based on interviews with industry experts and a Reuters review of the agency's recent enforcement record, the change has been noticeable, and the message is clear: If pipelines are found wanting, do not count on a quick resumption in oil flows. That message may be doubly true for Enbridge, which has suffered a string of incidents -- one on the same pipeline years earlier.

The disruption helped trigger a record surge in Chicago wholesale gasoline premiums as local refineries operated by BP and Exxon Mobil Corp face tighter supplies. It also threatens to depress crude prices in Canada as a lack of alternative pipelines leaves producers few avenues for export.

"I am expecting an extended standoff - weeks not days," said one crude trader.

National Electrical Code PV Stakeholder Meeting
August 27, 2012, 8:30am - 4:30pm CDT
Underwriters Laboratories, Northbrook, IL

Some of the PV related changes for NEC 2014 include:

1. 690.12 for module-level shutdown for systems on buildings
2. Arc fault detection for all systems (parallel and series)
3. Low voltage redefined as 1000V
4. PV arrays ungrounded above 300V
5. 705.12(D) expanded to include several new options

My partial Summary of Trends:
* PV Modules on Buildings will have to be smart
* AC panels and AC coupling will be the norm. 1st step in micro-grids anyway,
* 1kV rooftop systems may help bring US out of the backwater, Improve cost per kWh by halving copper costs.

Note: PV Balance of Systems hardware is evolving at a dizzying rate & is cost effective for NEW kWh Generation in many markets. As sub-net mapping isolated LAN's and WAN's to tame the Internet, Microgrids should address some shortcomings of a fossilized GRID. Much future action will be behind meter(s).

Right now only 1 Vendor has out of the box solutions for small scale RE Micro-grids, but many vendors are waking up to the potential: More here : https://solarprofessional.com/article/?file=SP5_5_pg6_TOC May require credentials.

So . . . if I want to install a small residential system (Something like 3KW to 6KW) on my house, do I want to go with these new microinverters (such as Enphase) or stick with a traditional string system (and use a Sunny Boy)?

1. Do you have shade?

2. For a small system (< 8 or 10 panels) Enphase will cost less and save install time. Labor savings push break-even to around 10 or 12 panel system size.

3. Will you benefit from/appreciate panel by panel online monitoring?

4. The ultimate size and composition of your system may fit just right with an SMA. Or it may not ---> Enphase.

5. Might you wish to add a few panels in the future? Enphase.

1) Yeah, I do have some shade depending on tree growth/trimming, the time of year, the time of day, etc.

2) The system will be bigger than 8 or 10 panels . . . 3K to 6KW or so.

3) I don't thing panel by panel monitoring matters much but I think the shade issue may be important.

4) Well the SMA Sunny Boys come in lots of sizes so I can always pick one that is the right size. And I'm more familiar with that since that is what I used last time. But I guess learning the new system wouldn't be so hard.

5) I was going to get an inverter that is a bit larger than I need so I could maybe add some panels later by inserting them in a string or adding a parallel string. But I guess the Enphase system makes it easier.

Is the wiring more difficult with Enphase? Wiring up the strings is pretty simple.

honeywell wind turbine option :

AC Panels are now more cost effective than Micros for lotsOreasons. 3 parts instead of many. Exempt from DC code requirements. Search for AUO Unison / MAGE AC panel.

the enphase wiring is very simple... you can watch a short vid on their main website.

I put this one up a couple months ago, went live a month ago - https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/fTfF96479

A suggested add-on, varied time outs after grid returns.

A uniform 5 minutes for every PV array is a densely served (by PV) neighborhood substation could be adverse to grid stability. Random "return to grid" of, say 4 to 7 minutes in 1 second increments would be much better. Adding circuits to refrigerators and air conditioners that also require a few minutes delay before restarting once grid power returns would also be good.

Any thoughts Ben ?

And I wonder about reduced reliability and increased costs with these new provisions. Will they reduce the economics of home owner installed solar PV ?

And what about installed "used panels" & inverters made in say, 2006 ?

The NEC has gone overboard in recent years, IMHO.

Best Hopes for Good Judgment,


You make a very good point with respect to simultaneous restart. I have set that requirement on individual large installs which were non-inverter based but made up of large numbers of small loads/gens. I should know what the industry is doing about it, but I'm not on top of that presently. I am personally starting to get nervous about the penetration level of DG with identical 81O/U settings on certain grid areas. I'm sure folks are working on that too. I'm not representing my company at the industry level on these issues, although I am engaged on a day-to-day basis with other aspects of integration with the couple of folks who are doing so (in fact I sent a long note making a policy recommendation on Volt/Var control a few minutes ago). I should be so engaged, but I'm too busy dealing with review and implementation of applications, and other work non-generator related work.

Part of the reason I feel there is a sweet spot for 3-phase, large, roof-mount, urban PV integration over most current applications is that I worry about the tiny PV (most of which will not have the new features) reaching too great a penetration level. I don't think used PV will be a big problem, there just isn't that much out there. Yes, increasing penetration will increase integration costs, and absent subsidies or dramatically falling panel/install prices will reduce the competitiveness of homeowner solar. Right now, falling panel prices are making up for reduced subsidies, but balance of plant is going to get squeezed, and if integration costs are no longer as subsidized at the retail level, site specifics may matter even more as to whether PV is right for a given home.

Oil-Tanker Losses Persist as Owners Contend With Vessel Surplus

Daily losses for very large crude carriers on the benchmark Saudi Arabia-to-Japan voyage shrank to $5,780, figures from the Baltic Exchange in London showed today. VLCCs were losing $6,356 a day on Aug. 3, exchange data showed. The ships were earning $41,093 daily at this year’s high in April.

... “Still more than enough ships around,” Sy wrote. “With 77 ships available from now until the end of the month it’s unlikely rates will make a dramatic rally today or any day soon.”

Baltic Dirty Tanker Index

Baltic Dry Index

Nuclear power plants: A hidden world of untruths, unethical behavior

The long and the short of it is this: Nuclear power plants probably would not operate properly in Japan if workers were not willing to sacrifice their health, and possibly their lives.

It emerges that workers at nuclear plants routinely resorted to ingenious ways to conceal the true levels of radiation to which they were exposed–simply to go on earning a living.

That is the disturbing picture that emerges from accounts given by more than 10 people, either working at nuclear power plants or now retired.

... While it is troubling that workers hid their dosimeters while working at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where radiation levels soared after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami last year, it is now clear that such practices have been in place for years, if not decades.

RBS facing US money laundering investigation

The part-nationalised lender admitted the US Federal Reserve and state banking supervisors were reviewing its US operations and had demanded that “deficiencies” in its governance, risk management and compliance systems were addressed.

It comes just a few weeks after HSBC was forced to publicly apologise before the US Senate for facilitating a multi-billion-dollar money-laundering operation for drug gangs, terrorists and rogue nations worldwide.

and British bank allegedly helped Iran conceal $250 billion

British banking giant Standard Chartered allegedly helped Iran avoid sanctions by concealing $250 billion worth of transactions over nearly ten years, according to banking regulators in New York.

Standard Chartered allegedly falsified business and official records to mask transactions with Iranian customers that were subject to U.S. economic sanctions, the New York State Department of Financial Services said. In exchange, the global banking group reaped "hundreds of millions" of dollars in fees, according to an order issued by the New York authorities.

Standard Chartered could face fines and potentially have its U.S. banking license revoked.

... hang 'em

also Ex-Lehman Director Asks For Drug Program to Avoid Charges

Former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Co-Chief Operating Officer Bradley H. Jack, arrested in Connecticut twice in less than a year on charges of prescription forgery, said he is willing to undergo a diversionary program for drug and alcohol treatment to avoid prosecution.

The 'productive class' at work.

Deloitte and Standard Chartered Bank: In Service To Profit Above All

... According to the results of a New York DFS investigation published yesterday, before long Deloitte morphed from “independent” consultant, in service to the regulators, to “service provider”. As a “service provider” Deloitte apparently aided and abetted the bank’s continued illegal activities by sharing confidential information about other clients’ similar illegal activities and “watering down” reports to the regulators.

There’s big temptation for Deloitte or any of the Big Four audit firms who get the growing number of plum “governance, risk and compliance” roles as supposedly “independent” consultants to the banks. There are so many consent decrees and settlement subjects looking for help to reassure regulators they are on the straight and narrow now, it’s inevitable that the auditors would look at the banks and see dollar signs from future work rather than scofflaws who need to be scrutinized.

Being adversarial is not profitable.

“Reputation risk” doesn’t get in the way of audit firms helping criminal banks do illegal things. “Reputation risk” is now an oxymoron. Bankers and their enablers, the audit firms, have no risk to their reputation from anyone that matters. They are both repeatedly the subject of settlements, consent decrees, non-prosecution agreements, cease and desist orders and the rest of the regulator arsenal. They keep profiting and repeating their crimes with impunity.

The order mentions in a footnote, by the way, that the New York Superintendent of Financial Services has found evidence of similar schemes involving other sanctioned countries, including Libya, Myanmar and Sudan." So stay tuned.

Russian Mogul Soliciting Billionaires to Achieve Immortality

It’s no joke. Dimitri Itskov is head of the 2045 initiative, which he hopes can conquer death once and for all, in just 23 years, via the miracle of modern science. Itskov is going straight to the richest people in the world for help – those with so much money, that they can’t hope to spend it all without becoming immortal. He writes in an open letter to the Forbes Billionaire list: ...

Study: Arctic melting might affect storms, hurricanes

Rising flows from Arctic rivers, along with melting sea ice, could eventually shift global weather patterns — including those fueling hurricanes, emerging research shows.

The river flows themselves cannot shut down the Atlantic's hurricane conveyor belt.

But there is mounting evidence that fresh water coming out of the Arctic could eventually increase enough to weaken an important global ocean pattern called the thermohaline circulation.

Researchers Find Substantial Water Pollution Risks From "Fracking" To Recover Natural Gas

In a paper titled “Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale,” which appears in the August 2012 issue of the journal Risk Analysis, published by the Society for Risk Analysis, Stony Brook doctoral student Daniel Rozell, P.E., and Sheldon Reaven, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Technology and Society and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, found that “Even in a best case scenario, an individual well would potentially release at least 200 m3 of contaminated fluids.”

The researchers found that disposal of the large amounts of fracking well wastewater presents risks from salts and radioactive materials that are “several orders of magnitude larger” than for other potential water pollution pathways examined in the new study. Other water pollution pathways studied include a tanker truck spilling its contents while transporting fluids used in the drilling process going to or from a well site; a well casing failing and leaking fluids to groundwater; fracturing fluids traveling through underground fractures into drinking water; and drilling site spills at the surface caused by improper handling of fluids or leaks from storage tanks and retention ponds.

Paper online: Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale

No surprise here. After watching the documentary 'Gasland' when it first came out there was no doubt from the numerous examples shown, from taps lighting on fire, to dead creeks and the dead animals that once relied on that source of water, people getting sick from the water, there are many potential pitfalls to fracking, and once a water source is compromised there's no going back. And sorry Rockman, the problems are not just how the fracking fluid is handled, but other examples as described above such as well casing failing and leaking fluids to groundwater and fracturing fluids traveling through underground fractures into drinking water.

The question now is are people's water rights going to be protected from fracking taking place on adjacent properties? Will we in our desperation to extract every source of FF ignore these type of reports and continue to damage aquifers, ruin property values and lifestyles, while also putting people and animals at risk of disease and death?

Will we in our desperation to extract every source of FF ignore these type of reports and continue to damage aquifers, ruin property values and lifestyles, while also putting people and animals at risk of disease and death?

Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Yes, we've only just begun. You ain't seen nothin' yet!

I agree augj. Anything for BAU. Really fascinating how Empire keeps doubling down on FF, regardless of damage to environment and ourselves. We live in an economic world, not perceiving or reacting to it as an environmental one, with the mighty dollar so far always prevailing. Yet peak oil and climate change will inevitably force our attention to the environment whether or not we like it.

If the public cannot ascertain our dilemma from searches for oil in the Arctic where AGW is most evident, the low EROEI of processing tar sands and fracking that damages aquifers as last ditch desperation attempts to keep BAU at any cost, then they're not paying attention. Interesting how an obviously failing direction is ignored, instead content with whatever drastic measures are needed to keep the ball moving down field. Probably best summed up by a sports metaphor, in which the Redskins were losing badly to the Raiders in a superbowl, try a 4th and one yard to go running play with John Riggins (running back), in which the commentator says, "Might as well die with your boots on."


Dr. Ronald Richter, working on fusion in Juan Peron’s Argentina for Peron’s government, claimed to have obtained fusion reactions…at temperatures far under what the conventional thermonuclear physics models would theoretically allow.

Chevron Refinery Fire Prompts Shelter-in-Place for Richmond, San Pablo

The refinery has output of slightly more than 240,000 bpd of various oil products (gasoline, diesel, etc.), this coming at a time when the west coast US has only recently recovered from another major refinery fire in northwest (that occurred earlier this year).

See link for pictures.


This is giving "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" a new meaning. These refinery and pipeline failures should be telling us something... but we'll just let the markets handle it, until they can't. It's not like it's critical infrastructure....

Or as some of my buddies are fond of saying: "run it 'til it roaches"

If you exclude a few northeast refineries (mostly in PA) mostly shut down for a major renovations, the national refinery utilization rate is about 95%. Effectively at the 95% rate refineries are for all practical purposes running flat out.

This may be surprising to any casual observer when they see that US gasoline demand is down 3% this year.

So we presently have a situation where refiners can't slow production due to high demand or won't due to the high costs of major renovations.

In the race between falling demand and falling supply, at least as far as gasoline goes, falling supply is now winning. We are perhaps closer to a 'market' failure than ever before in regards to infrastructure.

Makes one begin to wonder about the possibility of systematic sabotage.

'Never ascribe to malice, etc.'

Also after the new main unit at the huge Motiva refinery was shut down for repairs after a relatively simple mistake, one wonders.

Investigation continues into Richmond refinery fire

By Sean Maher, Kristin J. Bender and Daniel M. Jimenez
Posted: 08/07/2012 07:07:41 AM PDT
Updated: 08/07/2012 07:07:42 AM PDT

RICHMOND -- A controlled burn at the Chevron refinery in Richmond continued Tuesday morning, while the cause of the fire Monday night before remains under investigation, a Chevron spokeswoman said.


Our SPR doesn't do us much good if we don't have the refining capacity to process the crude.

The local news (SF) was showing so plumes from a big East Bay fire, but didn't seem to know anything about it -like what city it was in!
I suppose we are gonna get a gas price spike if this baby has to go off line.

Fire at Calif. refinery is out; 200 go to hospital

... County health officials used automated calls to warn residents of Richmond, San Pablo and the unincorporated community of North Richmond to shelter in place, meaning they should not only stay inside, but should also turn off heaters, air conditioners and fans, and to cover cracks around doors with tape or damp towels.

meanwhile California Heat Excessive Advisory

... Hot weather expected this week across portions of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas...

A strong ridge of high pressure will move into California over the next several days. This will bring hot temperatures across portions of the region. Highs Wednesday through Friday will rise to 110 degrees across Interior Valley locations of Monterey and San Benito County. Highs between 100 and 105 degrees are forecast for the typical hot spots in the north and East Bay interior valleys. Overnight lows of 75 to 80 degrees are expected in the elevated terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the higher terrain of southern Monterey and San Benito counties.

Much-maligned warning system again attacked in wake of Chevron refinery fire in Richmond


Wow . . . west coast gas prices (especially the SF Bay area) are gonna spike.
1) We've already got a bit of a monopoly market
2) WTI has been moving up . . . $95.5 today.
3) This big refinery explosion/fire.

I'd fill up your car today if you live in the Bay area.

There is a pipeline map at: United States Pipelines map - Crude Oil (petroleum) pipelines - Natural Gas pipelines - Products pipelines

It shows that San Francisco connects to Bakersfield, California, and Reno, Nevada, with a refined products pipeline, C41 or the Sacramento Line. It flows from San Francisco to Bakersfield. The other portion appears to flow from Reno to Sacramento which might be able to send finished products to Bakersfield. If Reno can increase output of finished products sufficiently, then it can compensate for a reduction from San Francisco.

The Oil Drum stories collide . . . smoke from the Richmond oil refinery fire can be seen behind the now solar-powered island of Alcatraz.

Haven't had time to read any posts today. Just wanted to remember August 6 and the people of Hiroshima.

Where Are They?
Why I hope the search for extraterrestrial life finds nothing.

...But I hope that our Mars probes discover nothing. It would be good news if we find Mars to be sterile. Dead rocks and lifeless sands would lift my spirit.

Conversely, if we discovered traces of some simple, extinct life-form--some bacteria, some algae--it would be bad news. If we found fossils of something more advanced, perhaps something that looked like the remnants of a trilobite or even the skeleton of a small mammal, it would be very bad news. The more complex the life-form we found, the more depressing the news would be. I would find it interesting, certainly--but a bad omen for the future of the human race...
~ Nick Bostrom

Yeah, if traces of life were found it really would foul up there pretty Christian world.


Are you kidding? Historically, Christianity seems all over the map. Wallahi, if they don't glue, tie and duct-tape this discovery on and into their conceptions long before you can hail 1 Mary.

The article is about Fermi's paradox not orthodox Christianity and I agree with the author. I was reminded of Carl Sagan's Contact and Dr Arroway's conversations with Aliens when I read it.

Stop it. Years ago I read about an initiative in the pope-church to prepare for exo-evangelism. There are 2 000 000 000 of us out there. What we believe in this matter varies all over the place.

You're right to complain, Jedi.

It's very tough over here, though, since the Christians that most people hear about in the US as being Public and Loud, are the ones most of Christendom would hate to be associated with.

Everyone hopes that the moderates within a group will take on the task of defusing the extremists who use the same Stationary, so to speak.

What do we do about extremism? It's all over the place. Is there a way to weaken it? To make being moderate, modest, conciliatory and centered become a sought-after status and way to live?

'Your focus determines your reality, Obi-Wan.'


..Which isn't to say I ignore or even downplay the actions of the extremists.. but if you keep handing that end of the spectrum the mic, they will gladly accept it, and everyone will think they get to define the category.

As I said, how can we undermine their power, pour water on that fire, and not gasoline?

I would suggest one way to start would be to focus much more on those who are wise and constructive, and not spend so much time railing against the hideous untruths of the foolish. That's why I like this mag.. http://www.yesmagazine.org/ easy to call them all sorts of names we knew well in High School.. but they're doing the right thing, as far as I can tell.

Among other things, they profile activist religious voices regularly, as committed people working hard for human rights, dignity and hope. Let's not give the world the impression that the knuckleheads are the only ones out there.

I have been in email-exchanges with americans on this site discussing this topic, and it apears you"over there" happen to get the worst of all christian offspring. I have been aware of this for many years. I don't know if it is something in the american culture in general, or someting inherited by christians in the US, but you seemtohave a nack for producing the most crazy forms of christianity in all of christendom. A sad thing is that those who don't like us get a lot of examples toshow case; no one bother to look at the average or most common.

Regarding fighting the extremes... I would love to. But I don't see how it is possible. What on the other hand is possible is to build a strong core of sane christians. I know there is a protest movement - especially among young people - in US churches who is very tiered of "pop christianity" and want to do things different. These people are the ones I put my hope in.

From my european horizon I do what I can to spread some good ideas. It is easyer here though, we have less mess to clean out, for example very few climate change deniers, and slightly easier to get science accepted here.

Sorry guys, my remark was a bit too short and didn't get my point over. It was aimed at the current crop of politicians who are trying to force their private views on everyone. I do recognise that there are more wide thinking people out there.




That's very interesting. A Fresnel lens melts lithium nitrate by day which releases the heat at 450F when the cooker is opened.

This just up:

Extreme heat is covering more of Earth, study says


Via Ashvin at TAE:

Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse

Using scientific theories, toy ecosystem modeling and paleontological evidence as a crystal ball, 21 scientists, including one from Simon Fraser University, predict we’re on a much worse collision course with Mother Nature than currently thought.

In Approaching a state-shift in Earth’s biosphere, a paper just published in Nature, the authors, whose expertise spans a multitude of disciplines, suggest our planet’s ecosystems are careering towards an imminent, irreversible collapse.

Earth’s accelerating loss of biodiversity, its climate's increasingly extreme fluctuations, its ecosystems’ growing connectedness and its radically changing total energy budget are precursors to reaching a planetary state threshold or tipping point.

Once that happens, which the authors predict could be reached this century, the planet’s ecosystems, as we know them, could irreversibly collapse in the proverbial blink of an eye...

...“Once a threshold-induced planetary state shift occurs, there’s no going back. So, if a system switches to a new state because you’ve added lots of energy, even if you take out the new energy, it won’t revert back to the old system. The planet doesn’t have any memory of the old state.”

These projections contradict the popularly held belief that the extent to which human-induced pressures, such as climate change, are destroying our planet is still debatable, and any collapse would be both gradual and centuries away.

This study concludes we better not exceed the 50 per cent mark of wholesale transformation of Earth’s surface or we won’t be able to delay, never mind avert, a planetary collapse.

In conclusion:

“Society globally has to collectively decide that we need to drastically lower our population very quickly. More of us need to move to optimal areas at higher density and let parts of the planet recover. Folks like us have to be forced to be materially poorer, at least in the short term. We also need to invest a lot more in creating technologies to produce and distribute food without eating up more land and wild species. It’s a very tall order.”

All those who think we'll collectively, proactively heed this message, raise your hand......anyone?


Not only not collectively, proactively but almost all won't even do it individually, voluntarily ever.

... silence... not even crickets chirping....


The world has be severely ecologically and environmentally degraded before and it will be again. Just because some members of the supposedly sentient species Homo sapiens can see the calamity coming means nothing. We are the asteroid coming to change the Earth's conditions forever. We humans are an environmental force of nature, just as mindlessly powerful as an earthquake, volcano or hurricane. I can do something about these threats. I can see them. Homo sapiens as a whole, cannot and will not, because the cacophony of I's and me's don't permit for it.

So it goes...

That study was published in NATURE on 7 June. HERE's a link to a PDF of the report...

E. Swanson

I love the conclusion! Imagine any politician, heck even a dictator, making those kinds of promises:

"Once in office I promise that I will force all of you to be materially poorer.

I promise that you will all be forcibly denied the many material comforts that 200 years of fossil fueled progress have led you to believe you are entitled to.

You also have my promise that you will all be forced to stop having children. No more babies! Not now, not ever.

Furthermore, I promise that I will do everything in my power to drastically reduce the population.

Brothers, sisters; mothers, fathers; sons and daughters. Kiss 'em all goodbye, for if I am chosen to be your beloved leader then I promise you here and now that they will all soon be dead.

We can do all these things, and more, before the end of this decade. Thank you! And God Bless [insert favorite nation state here]!"

Let's see now: A Population explosion fueled by a massive accumulation of extremely high quality but irreplaceable resources. This inevitably followed by a die-off when those resources are quickly exhausted in an autocatalytic positive feedback that also fouls the environment beyond repair.

Hmm, not like that has ever happened before. Who could have seen it coming?!?


Now imagine an U.S. politician saying that he will force all those Iranian terrorists and Mexican drug gangs to be materially poorer while enriching his country. The violent strategy is palatable.

Oil rises on record low North Sea programme


"...Oil output from the North Sea is set to fall to a record low of 720,000 bpd in September due to oilfield maintenance and natural decline"

That's hilarious, an article titled "No end in sight for Bakken" ends with "it will take 2 decades for the play to be completely developed." And then what?

By the standards that businesses are run today, 2 decades is forever.

This story is behind a pay wall but I got a full copy via Google.

US SHALE OIL-GAS PRODUCTION POTENTIAL—1: Shale oil, gas output may reduce, not replace, US crude imports

Shale Decline Rate

Fig. 2 illustrates end-members of production profiles: one is much too short, the other much too long.
These production profiles are based on two rig fleets of different size but with the same resource base and the same per well EUR and decline curves. The high drilling rate is 1,000 rigs and the lower rate is 150 rigs. Both are drilling one well per month per rig.
Neither of these scenarios, however, is likely, and because there is no historical analog we are left with how one might estimate a plateau production rate and duration that is useful.

Ron P.

Oil lifted by prospects of U.S. quantitative easing

Oil futures rose towards $111 a barrel on Tuesday, after new calls were made for further U.S. monetary easing and on supply worries - with falling North Sea output expected in September, Middle East tensions and the Gulf of Mexico hurricane season.

The Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren's calls on Tuesday in support of expanding the U.S. central bank's monetary policy further buoyed prices.

The statements renewed expectations that a third round of quantitative easing is in the pipeline for the world's biggest oil buyer.

Arctic mega mining -- a better future for Baffin Island?

The project consists of a massive iron ore deposit at Mary River, which the Inuit of the region call Nuluuyaat, a landmark that has been used for generations to guide travel through North Baffin Island.

The deposit was discovered in the 1960s but left undeveloped until now because it was considered too remote and costly.

... the ore will be shipped by a 150 kilometre-long railway to a new port being constructed at Steensby Inlet. It is the first railway built in Canada in generations; and it's the first time such a project has been attempted on permafrost.

Drought reduces amount of water in Missouri River

... The corps now predicts 21 million acre-feet of runoff this year in the 2,341-mile-long river that flows from Montana through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.

That forecast is about 85 percent of normal, and well below last year's record amount of 61.2 million acre-feet of runoff.

Some of the extra water stored in reservoirs along the river has been used to provide enough water for navigation, power and other uses of the river.

The Economic Cost of Increased Temperatures

Looking at weather data over the last half-century, the study finds that every 1-degree-Celsius increase in a poor country, over the course of a given year, reduces its economic growth by about 1.3 percentage points. However, this only applies to the world’s developing nations; wealthier countries do not appear to be affected by the variations in temperature.

“Higher temperatures lead to substantially lower economic growth in poor countries,” says Ben Olken, a professor of economics at MIT, who helped conduct the research. And while it’s relatively straightforward to see how droughts and hot weather might hurt agriculture, the study indicates that hot spells have much wider economic effects.

“What we’re suggesting is that it’s much broader than [agriculture],” Olken adds. “It affects investment, political stability and industrial output.”

California's Hydroelectricity Production is Vulnerable to Climate Change

On average, 15 percent of California’s electricity comes from hydropower, a cheap and relatively clean energy source. About 75 percent of this hydropower comes from high-elevation units, located above 1,000 ft. The state has more than 150 high-elevation units, with most of them located in Northern California and the Sierra Mountains. The majority of the high-elevation reservoirs are small in terms of their storage capacity, being built only for hydroelectricity production and no other benefits, such as water supply and flood control.

“If California loses snowpack under climate warming, these high-elevation reservoirs might not be able to store enough water for hydropower generation in summer months when the demand is much higher and hydropower is priced higher,” said Madani, currently an assistant professor of civil, environmental, and construction engineering at the University of Central Florida. “California might, therefore, lose hydropower in warmer months and hydropower operators may lose considerable revenues.”

“The big problem is that hydropower will be less available when it is most needed and expensive: in the summer months,” he said. “A warmer California needs more electricity for cooling in summer months and less electricity for warming in winter months. This means that hydropower pricing patterns will be affected by climate change. It is important to analyze climate change effects on this renewable energy source early on to figure out what strategies are available to adapt to the new conditions and thereby minimize the potential negative impacts of climate change on hydropower.”

Report: Our Changing Climate 2012

"The big problem is that hydropower will be less available when it is most needed and expensive: in the summer months"

Can you say 'Solar Panels'?

And yes, peak demand goes into early evening when it's hot in the summer. The water not spilled all day while solar does its thing can be utilized after the sun gets too low. Problem averted.

Having said that, the next big drought will bring California to its knees. We're waaay overextended. But electricity will be a minor factor. There is huge room for decreased water usage. You'll be able to hear the wailing all the way to Texas when people have to stop watering their lawns and washing their cars. When farmers are cut off so that city folk can get by. What you won't hear is the death of ever more riparian habitat, the most degraded portion of the environment in the USA.

There are increasing pressures to build desal plants. Big expensive high energy use desal plants.

Also, groundwater pumping goes up when hydro runoff goes down.

Greed was Different in the Middle Ages, Researcher Says

Surveys of the carnage of the American financial crisis that began in 2008 have revealed the potent allure of personal gain above all else.

But greed hasn't always been popular in Western societies.

Stanford historian Laura Stokes is uncovering how attitudes toward "acceptable greed" have done a turnaround in the past 500 years. Self-serving behavior deemed necessary on Wall Street today might have been despised in medieval Europe. One might even have been murdered for using wealth as a justification for circumventing societal norms

... In describing the contradiction between present-day business attitudes and a medieval mindset, Stokes said, "A medieval businessman would surely be impressed by the successes of his modern descendants, but he would also despise them as men without honor or virtue."

Not to mention that most medieval business was done locally, face to face. What we have now is virtual greed, usury and exploitation. Today's greedy never have to face their marks, nor live in the same community; you can't dump your bedpan on some greedy bastard's carriage anymore. Gardyloo!

Ghung - And all this time I thought being a serf really sucked. Some light reading is interested: search for stories about English landowners of Irish farms during the Potato Famine. Not so much a time of the not-so-greedy. But "serf" does sound a tad nicer tha "sharecropper". LOL

Excellent point. Detachment serves them well... it is much easier on the conscience (should we have one) and more survivable to be greedy from a distance.

This sort of reminds me of the last time I tried to sell a car. Placed my daughters beater on craigslist knowing there were problems with exhaust, brakes, etc (I normally repair but won't bog you down with details). Promptly received a call from a mother wanting to buy it for her daughter. Buyer now has human "face".

End of story is that I donated it to a good cause.

It started, more or less, with agriculture, or maybe how human's brains work, and now "everything's" (by) "remote".

'If you want something done right, do it yourself.'

Here's an excerpt from Heilbroner's 'The Worldly Philosophers' talking about Boston in 1639.

The minister thundered "forth in his Sunday sermon on some false principles of trade. Among them are these:
I. That a man might sell as dear as he can, and buy as cheap as he can.
II. If a man lose by casualty of sea, etc., in some of his commodities, he may raise the price of the rest.
III. that he may sell as he bought, though he paid to dear...

All false, false, false, cries the minister; to seek riches for riches' sake is to fall into the sin of avarice."

When I first read this a few years ago it really struck me to see how much our society has changed, especially when one considers what most American Christians preach about these days regarding greed, selfishness, etc.

It's also easy to forget that in medieval Europe almost everything revolved around the church, even to the point that the popes bossed the kings around, nevermind the various priests, cardinals and bishops micro-managing the daily lives of the peasantry.

An arrangement that IIRC lasted for centuries.

Obviously this didn't prevent the usual litany of human perfidy and predation, but if ones fortunes generally lived or died by the blessing of the church than it's easy to see how morality (or some loose definition thereof) could be elevated above other concerns.

How ironic that all these many years later the "age of reason" and the "enlightenment" has only resulted in a complete reversal of that sentiment, at least in most of the wealthy industrialized world.

  • The free market is now god.
  • The corporate office towers are the new cathedrals.
  • The legion of "consumers" worship at the alter of wal-mart.
  • And greed reigns supreme above all other sentiments.


Could it be that the increasing acceptance of "greed is good" has correlated with the increasing wealth that has come about by the mining of fossil fuels?

I think it might be the opposite. We're hitting resource limits. It's harder to grow the pie, as we did during colonial expansion and the fossil fuel fiesta. So people are left to take from others in order to grow their own share, and create justifications for it, as people are wont to do.

Though I do think religion is traditionally the way humans have dealt with resource limits. All the major religions have restrictions on consumption. I don't think it's a coincidence.

Obama Administration Abandons Two-Degree Commitment Made In 2010

As climate change accelerates, it appears the Obama administration is in retreat. In an address on Thursday, the top climate negotiator for the United States rejected the administration’s formal commitment to keeping global warming less than two degrees Celsius (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels.

This about-face from agreements endorsed by President Barack Obama in 2009 and 2010 indicates a rejection of the United Nations climate negotiations process, as well as an implicit assertion that catastrophic global warming is now politically impossible to prevent.

Speaking before an audience at his alma mater Dartmouth College, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern argued that treaty negotiations based around “old orthodoxies” of a temperature threshold “will only lead to deadlock“: ...

also US criticised on 2C climate 'flexibility' call

and Disturbing Signal That Bad U.S. Climate Stance Is About to Get Worse

Not unexpected, but still terrifying. It's just not considered practical to save the world.

A lot of species have "old orthodoxies". What a great euphemism for "livable habitat".

Tepco releases recordings of Fukushima nuclear crisis

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), owner of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, has released footage of how it managed meltdowns in three reactors.

... while Tepco has released some of the audio and pictures of what happened, large portions of the video are without sound.

Tepco says some parts were edited to conceal the identity of some employees. Faces and names of employees are blurred in sections of the tapes.

The prime minister at the time, Naoto Kan, is also seen rushing into Tepco headquarters, but that part of the tape does not have audio.

... makes Nixon's Watergate tapes look like the model of transparency

Defense Dept., Interior seek to speed renewables on military lands

The Pentagon and Interior Department have inked an agreement aimed at developing green electricity projects to feed power-thirsty military bases, a plan that officials said would help ensure energy for bases if the commercial grid is disrupted.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s plan calls for several steps to steer industry investment in wind, solar and other projects towards 16 million acres of Interior lands that have previously been “withdrawn” for use by military installations.

“Developing renewable energy is the right thing to do for national security as well as for the environment and our economy,” Panetta said in a statement. “Renewable energy projects built on these lands will provide reliable, local sources of power for military installations; allow for a continued energy supply if the commercial power grid gets disrupted; and will help lower utility costs.”


... At their 0.8 hectare inner-city plot you will not only find vegetables and salad greens, but fish tanks holding 10,000 fish each. Waste from the fish is pumped into plant beds where bacteria turn it into fertiliser for vegetables, which in turn clean the water for the fish. This means these units do not pollute waterways or need chemical fertilisers, and they use up to 90 per cent less water than conventional farming.

Growing Power's headquarters is said to be the most productive farm of its size in the US mid-west, and it trains hundreds of volunteers from around the world each year.

Not a bad idea, as evidenced by the fact that some areas have practiced rice paddy fish culture for centuries, although much of it was more along the lines of capturing the fish that were already there rather than actively culturing them:


Attempting to replicate this in an urban environment fails to account for the many extremely high quality inputs from the ubiquitous fossil fueled industrial infrastructure. Not to mention what happens if the power goes out, or liquid fuels become unavailable.

Even if by some miracle you persuaded millions of hungry neighbors not to devour the fish it would be mere days, if not hours, before the fresh water in the tanks became more valuable than life itself.


It is nice to see that Will Allen is still doing well. He states in the AJ video (3:42) that he collects 40 tons of compost per week.

Ghung, how is your multi-ton compost requirement coming along?

Coming along well, Hugh. Thanks for asking. I actually uploaded some pictures today for an elderly Aunt who enjoys some of our produce.

We scored several trailer loads of wood chips from a neighbor who had some tree work done. We're gradually working some of them into the compost pile, and my gardening crew has been great about digging in their food scraps, etc.. Very rich stuff! Note the huge squash plant that volunteered behind the compost pile. We're growing some stuff (besides weeds) without even trying.

I'm quite satisfied with our progress this year. This summer we moved the chicken coop adjacent to the garden, complete with solar power to operate the automatic chicken door I built, a water warmer for freezing weather, and a light. I built the door opener because my sister complained that our fine rooster was an early riser (door now opens at 8:30am). He's quite content with his new hens. We'll give the chickens the run of the garden this fall and let them contribute to the cause.

We're still getting plenty of beans, tasty sweet peppers, and astoundingly sweet melons are peaking now. Our fall/winter squash are ahead of schedule and the asparagus we planted last year should produce beautifully next spring. Some of these plants are 40 years old, rescued from my mother's garden before my brother plowed them under :-0 Best hopes for another 40 years.

I'm staying busy canning/preserving stuff; just some of the stuff I've put in the root cellar so far, including pickles, tomatoes, sauerkraut, blackberry jam/jelly, beans, and some excellent hot salsa verde (first time I've grown tomatillos). Much more to go, lots of tomatoes/sauce, and we're planting more cabbage, brussle sprouts, beans, greens, etc for a fall crop. I've also cloned some tomato plants to take us into fall.

Our next project is ducks for meat, eggs, trade and barter. We plan to fence the area around the smaller pond to keep them safe (we hope). Looking at 'Kahki Campbells'; survivors, and they produce well.

Depressedalot asked how folks deal with peak oil, climate change, etc. This is it. Hard to stay depressed when one decides on a response, sets a course and puts everything into it. Our account was down to a few dollars this week, it's been cloudy, the batteries are low, and we can't afford to run the diesel 'til next week (when the sun may be shining :-) We don't do credit anymore. This too will pass. Power down and get busy doing the things that matter. The good thing about canning is that it's a hurry-up-and-wait process; still time to write and visit on TOD.

Sorry for the long update. I guess I needed to take stock of things; count my blessings.

Ghung, what a wonderful update! (I caught myself smiling about half-way through.)

The beans, peppers, hens and rooster all look great; the volunteer squash even has blossoms; the gardening crew is contributing to the compost pile... Congratulations on being rewarded for your hard work.

Your success will inspire others to "power down and get busy doing things that matter."


(Go ahead - ask how Growing Power can afford the taxes and pay staff and utilities from the products they sell.)


Ernesto becomes a hurricane before landfall in Mexico

Ernesto is forecast to arrive in the southern Gulf of Mexico, where state oil company Pemex has port facilities and offshore platforms, late on Wednesday. Pemex has said it was keeping an eye on the hurricane but there were no reports of evacuations or shipping restrictions.

Meh, going to get wet here :(


My, my now isn't this interesting...

OBAMA: Romney Wants VP Petraeus

Granted, it is just Drudge (so far)... but...

...from the Jan 23, 2012 Drumbeat, in response to a comment by adamx...

Romney's financial background is so bad that no amount of media massaging or corporate money is going to make it look good. If OWS did anything, it made Romney unelectable. I am constantly baffled that anyone thinks he could win. The only way to put him in office is a coup, perhaps through a stolen election, but short of that, there is no way.

I replied,

...hmmm, I can think of a way...
suppose he pulls a rabbit out of his hat and taps Gen Petraeus for veep. A stunning coup that completely cleanses the stain of the current intra-party bickering we are witnessing.
Republicans would close ranks and rally to the authoritarian figure. Could Mitt tolerate being upstaged by his #2? I bet he could.
Not only would it boost Mitt, heal fissures, rally the base, it would be seen as a defection and hurt Obama.
Don't know why this never gets considered, the R's were considering running him for prez back in 2010. He has never declared as anything but an 'independent' as far as I know...indeed it is speculated the main reason he was selected for CIA was prophylactic political calculations.

Oh, I assure you it quite a burden to be possessed of such acute precognition, but fortunately here at TOD I have found a community of fellow-sufferers...just file it under "No one could have EVER foreseen..."

The whitehouse has denied Obama made such a comment.

Yep. No one else is picking it up, and Petraeus is scotching it.
Darn. My one shot at glory, slipping away... oh well.
I do think it was Romney's best shot at winning on his own. Now he has to hope for the economy to continue to tank. He may get lucky.

NW Chinese glaciers

My apologies if this has already been posted:

The Philips A19 L-Prize lamps are reportedly holding up well in extended testing.

DOE updates lumen maintenance testing of the L Prize LED lamp
The DOE reports that the L Prize-winning Philips A-lamp is proving to be a reliable SSL performer with very little change in lumen output over 18,000 hours.

After 18,000 hours of testing 200 sample Philips LED lamps, the US Department of Energy (DOE) reports outstanding lumen and color maintenance for the solid-state lighting (SSL) retrofit lamps. The report "Lumen maintenance testing of the Philips 60-watt replacement lamp L Prize entry" states that the average lumen maintenance is still greater than 100% of the initial average lumen maintenance of the 200 samples.


The L Prize document also included color maintenance requirements. The lamp was to deliver a chromaticity change of less than 0.004 relative to the CIE 1976 color space. At the 7000-hour test point, the Philips lamps stood at a 0.0006 change...

See: http://ledsmagazine.com/news/9/8/5

This is a pricey lamp, but its performance can't be beat and utility rebates, where available, can help ease the pain. If you want to reduce your lighting costs, but won't compromise on light quality, it's a great choice.

BTW, the light output of a standard household incandescent can fall by 10 to 15 per cent at the 1,000-hour mark due to bulb wall blackening, i.e., tungsten deposits. And, here, at the 18,000 hour mark, this Philip lamp is producing more light than what it did fresh out of the box. Pretty amazing.


I waited till August 3rd and 4th (annual Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday) to order a couple from Home Depot (OK, I am cheap). If I like them, I will get a few more next year. Unfortunately, I do not want to throw away perfectly good CFLs. (10 watt L-Prize LEDs will replace high CRI 15 watt CFLs).

Given my age, I see them as Lifetime Bulbs.

They are the only LEDs that I can see being worth replacing CFLs with. The L-Prize bulb is a step up in efficiency from the other LEDs. I wish Phillips would apply the same technology to 500 lumen range and 1250 lumen range bulbs.

Best Hopes for More,


I checked LED prices here, still way too costly for developing countries, they fail miserably on cost benefit analysis. Maybe if it comes down by 50% middle class will start buying them for new homes, for replacing CFL's it might have to come down by 60-70%. Although I may get a few to run on solar.

At risk of redundancy again(@!) .. Here are the cost-effective LED's that I've used in many very practical applications.

Alas, it's not your daddy's 40watt Screw-in, but there you go!


..at US$11 for 100 segments that draw about 26w all together, I can make 8 undercounter striplights from this roll, or a wide array of other lighting solutions using more or less, and then giving them 12vdc. Easy and cheap for not-wealthy folks!

These are my under-cabinet lights (or the effect of them anyway)

. and this is the Kitchen's Ambient Light source, which I built to replace the two 60w Incandescents beneath them. 26w versus 120w! (Every now and then, I catch my wife turning them both on together.. but we're working on that! B*)>

(I use 2 segments in the dome of my Car as well!)

Your kitchen is lit by "Star Light". Cool.

Hi Alan,

In terms of light output, the 9.7-watt L-Prize falls roughly half-way between a 60 and 75-watt Philips DuraMax incandescent (940-lumens versus 830 and 1,060-lumens respectively). I wouldn't be surprised to see a 100-watt equivalent down the road; I imagine it's just a matter of time.

One option at the lower end is the 8-watt AmbientLED A19 that generates 470 lumens, but for an additional 1.7-watts the L-Prize provides twice as much light, longer lamp life and greatly enhanced colour rendering (92 CRI as opposed to 80); personally, I don't mind paying a premium for better performance, but if budgets are tight and "good" is "good enough", then the 8-watt AmbientLED may very well do the job. Where additional light is required, the 17-watt AmbientLED supplies 1,100-lumens, but here again the same trade-offs apply. To the naked eye, the 940 lumen L-Prize provides about the same amount of light as this 17-watter; most of us would be hard pressed to tell the difference and the L-Prize's superior colour rendering helps narrow the gap.


Applying the L-Prize technology - just less of it :-) - Phillips should be able to make a 470 lumen bulb use 4.9 watts or so. And maybe for less than $50.

And I am CRI (color rendering index) sensitive.

LEDs are heat sensitive when it comes to life expectancy. So scaling up can be an issue. But scaling down will just reduce the heat load and improve life expectancy.

Best Hopes for More,


The color makes all the difference for those who are evaluating efficient bulbs for the first time. The price is off-putting for the initial purchase, but the quality is critical for the life of the product (which is a very, very long time).

I have been fortunate in that the worst CFLs and LEDs have died prematurely, while my Cree can lamps and best LED bulbs soldier on efficiently providing high-quality light for years. I do still have some CFLs that have been relegated to closets that I can't quite bring myself to throw out, but it won't bother me when they die. I am 3 years in on the Crees with no issues or family complaints whatsover (16 can lights deployed in kitchen and halls).

I am still at a loss for the bathroom vanities, though. The spousal factor approves halogen and incandescent, but so far has nixed all others. I think my only option will be to completely revise the fixtures so that prominently visible bulbs are not part of the equation. Even if the light quality is adequate, the bulbs must also pass muster in the current fixture.

I agree; good colour rendering is critical and that's why I've always struggled with CFLs... even the very best of the crop seemed to fall short of the mark.

I've used Philips' 9-watt G25 LED globes in a couple of our retrofits (40-watt replacement) and found the light quality to be rather good. If you use soft-white GU25s now, you might give one a try, but if your current lamps are clear, then the lack of "sparkle" will likely be a problem. Good luck !


Is there a good on-line source for these that you would recommend? Are they the ones now available at Lowes or Home Depot? I think I had the earlier version, but not yet this one.

Hi Paleo,

The L-Prize lamp should be available at your local Home Depot (pricing will vary by location due to applicable point-of-sale rebates).

See: http://www.homedepot.com/buy/philips-philips-10-watt-60w-award-winning-l...

You can use Philip's utility rebate finder to confirm what rebates/incentives may be available in your area.

See: http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/lightcommunity/trends/utility_rebate...

BTW, the actual specifications are a little better than what had been initially stated, e.g., 940-lumens versus 900; 9.7-watts versus 10.0; 30,000 hours rated life versus 25,000. Expect rated life to be ratcheted-up over time as the lamp undergoes further testing.


Home Depot sells the L-Prize bulb only by mail order (free shipping) for $49.97. It is sometimes out of stock.

My store manager checked and he cannot even special order them (yet).

HD sells the look alike (but NOT perform alike) bulbs on the shelves.


Best Hopes for Better Distribution,


PS: I think we are embargoing Canada.

Paul, how did you get yours ? Smuggling eh ?

My Philips rep is a magician extraordinare when it comes to supplying product and navigating his way around back orders, but no luck so far. He ordered a case for me back in April and has been busy pulling favours at the highest levels, but it's not happening for us. I'm guessing that various utility sponsored initiatives are sucking the well dry (I could say more, but I'd be speaking out of turn). I'll let you know when they arrive.


I could order some and then ship them north, noted as "Gift".

Or is the volume deal better ?

Best Hopes,


Perhaps a trade for Cuban cigars ?

Thanks for your kind offer, Alan, but I'm told that due to the delay my lamps will be furnished at no charge (when he was informed of the delay, the product manager replied "Do whatever you need to do to make the client happy" and my rep interpreted those words rather liberally... needless to say, I'm happy !).


Let there be light in remote villages

G.K. Ratnakar of Jayapura in Chikmagalur district never attended college. However, today, many engineering students look up to him to gain knowledge on generating hydropower from mini turbines.

For 17 years, he has been lighting up the lives of people in remote villages where the Government could not provide electricity. Last month, five families of Malekudiya tribe at Pulittady, inside Kudremukh National Park, got electricity, thanks to Mr. Ratnakar’s 5-kilowatt (kW) turbine. The turbine set up in the Maoist-affected area in Belthangady taluk was his 311 mini hydel project.

He set up his first turbine at his home in 1995. He said that he spent the next two years in research and development and began taking up other projects from 1997.

Best hopes for mitigation, many college graduates just sit at home and complain, while this guy actually went ahead and made a difference. Kudos to him.

China hikes 2015 solar power target by 40 pct


I was once a fan of Romney's father and American Motors and actually drove Ramblers. But generally the Chevy was more popular than the Rambler during the late 50's..

From the Wiki entry for George Romney: "He joined Nash-Kelvinator in 1948, and became the chief executive of its successor, American Motors Corporation, in 1954. There he turned around the struggling firm by focusing all efforts on the compact Rambler car. Romney mocked the products of the "Big Three" automakers as "gas-guzzling dinosaurs" and became one of the first high-profile, media-savvy business executives."