Drumbeat: August 15, 2012

Water shortages hit US power supply

As the United States' extended heat wave and drought threaten to raise global food prices, energy production is also feeling the pressure. Across the nation, power plants are becoming overheated and shutting down or running at lower capacity; drilling operations struggle to get the water they need, and crops that would become biofuel are withering.

While analysts say the US should survive this year without major blackouts, more frequent droughts and increased population size will continue to strain power generation in the future.

Oil Declines in New York Amid Signs of Higher U.S. Supply

Crude oil in New York slipped from the highest close in a week amid signs that supplies are increasing in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer.

West Texas Intermediate futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent. Crude inventories rose 2.78 million barrels last week to 367.1 million, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. This contrasts with forecasts for Energy Department data due later today. The department may report that stockpiles fell by 1.5 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. North Sea Brent traded at a premium of more than $20 a barrel to WTI for a fourth day.

2012 gas prices head for record

Gasoline prices are up sharply in the past month on surging crude oil costs and refinery woes, and now are likely to make 2012 the costliest year ever at the pump.

Consumer prices remain unchanged in July

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July from June, as a small drop in energy costs offset slightly higher food prices, the government said Wednesday.

The consumer price index hasn't changed since March, evidence that the weak economy is keeping inflation in check.

OPEC Chief Says Members Should Rein In Oil Output

OPEC must rein in output in line with the agreed ceiling of 30 million barrels a day, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri was quoted as saying by the Gulf Oil Review.

Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?

Why are peak oil-ers like Jehovah’s Witnesses? Answer: When the definitive JW prediction of the ‘Day of Wrath’ failed in 1914, they did what false prophets have done in every generation: shifted the goalposts (to 1975 in the case of JW’s—and wrong again). It’s what false prophets do to save face, enabling them to keep fleecing the inherently gullible. Peak-oilers do likewise.

The End of Peak Oil?

Since the end of 2011, as more deep-sea Brazilian oil and oil recovered through hydraulic fracturing (fraking) comes online, I’m guessing that the rate of increase in proven reserves will only increase for the next few decades.

Furthermore, I predict that the once all-important distinction between "conventional" and "unconventional" oil will break down over time. As technologies improve for very deep drilling (measured in miles rather than feet), such wells will become more common. Fraking will become more common as a strategy for rejuvenating oil fields that had been considered depleted.

Taqa counts the cost of slide in gas prices

Falling natural gas prices in North America led to a big drop in profits and revenues in the second quarter of the year for the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa.

Dubai aims to spend to cut its gas bill

Dubai is hoping to buy overseas energy assets in an attempt to reduce its bill for importing gas.

The emirate relies heavily on imports to meet its energy needs and is paying a high price for liquefied natural gas (LNG) bought at fluctuating prices on the international markets.

China to protest after Japan arrests activists on disputed island

HONG KONG/TOKYO (Reuters) - China said it would lodge a complaint with Japan after it detained Chinese activists who landed on a disputed island and raised a flag on Wednesday, as tension between Japan and its neighbors escalated on the anniversary of the end of World War Two.

‘Window Is Still Open” to Avoid Iran Strike, Panetta Says

The “window is still open” for diplomacy to resolve the dispute with Iran over its nuclear program, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

Panetta’s remarks to reporters today at the Pentagon follows comments from Israeli officials that time has about run out to avert military strikes. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, wrote August 7 in the Wall Street Journal that the window of opportunity for negotiations “is now almost shut.”

Oil exporters to avoid dire straits

Iranian threats to block the waterway crossed by a third of global maritime crude exports have led Arabian Gulf producers to focus on ways to circumvent the bottleneck.

Strategic pipelines - old and new - have received much attention from governments in recent months, but years of neglect have left this mode of transport ill-equipped to cope with a serious disruption in tanker exports.

Insurance Deal Lets India Resume Shipping Iran Oil

India has joined Japan in offering government-backed insurance for ships carrying Iranian crude in order to bypass European sanctions that have nearly halved Iranian oil exports to key markets.

The first Indian ship to carry oil from Iran with Indian insurance is scheduled to load up in Iran on Wednesday, a shipping company executive said. This is a breakthrough for the Indian government, which has scrambled to maintain vital Iranian oil imports after European sanctions blocked third-party insurance in July.

BP Said to Seek $7.9 Billion Selling Gulf of Mexico Fields

BP Plc is seeking as much as $7.9 billion before tax payments for a group of Gulf of Mexico oilfields as it unloads assets following its 2010 spill in the region, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Exxon, Shell-led group win $10 billion Ukraine gas project

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine has selected a consortium led by ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell to develop its Skifska gas and oil field in the Black Sea, a government minister said on Wednesday.

Chevron fire ignited by idling rig?

The Richmond refinery fire that sent more than 9,000 people to emergency rooms could have been touched off when a cloud of flammable vapor reached an idling and abandoned Chevron fire truck, investigators said Tuesday.

For New Nuclear Chief, Concerns Over Plant Safety

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The new chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has good news and bad news for the nuclear power industry.

The good news is that although an impasse over the storage of nuclear waste now threatens some of the industry’s routine activities, the chairwoman says she believes that a permanent repository can be set up eventually.

The bad news is that she considers the industry’s evaluation of earthquake vulnerability — an issue that was once believed to be settled when a nuclear power plant was licensed — to be inadequate.

Cheapism: The best budget hybrid cars

When it comes to cars, “going green” demands a lot of green. Eco-friendly hybrids carry sticker prices thousands of dollars higher than their gasoline-only counterparts. Buyers also can no longer claim the federal tax credits offered in recent years to help bridge the gap. Of course, many hybrids boast outstanding fuel economy, which can combine with other factors, such as depreciation, to more than make up for the higher initial purchase price over the life of the car.

Frito-Lay expands all-electric delivery truck fleet

Frito-Lay’s California electric truck fleetis growing and once all of the new vehicles are deployed by the end of this year, California will be home to 105 all-electric delivery trucks, the largest deployment in any state.

Pertamina’s Geothermal Push Gets a Price Boost

Pertamina Geothermal Energy, a subsidiary of state energy firm Pertamina, plans to develop another eight geothermal projects after the government announced that the electricity price from geothermal power plants would be increased to make the sector more attractive.

In Fragmented Brazilian Forest, Few Species Survive

New survey methods indicate that computer projections of surviving species vastly overstated their presence. And five large mammal species had essentially been wiped out.

Belo Monte Dam Suspended by High Brazilian Court

Federal Judge Souza Prudente of the Federal Tribunal of Brazil's Amazon region suspended all work today on the Belo Monte Dam, invalidating the project's environmental and installation licenses.

Mine Plan Puts Two Kentucky Fixtures on Collision Course

Coal supplies 96 percent of Kentucky’s electricity, most prominently in the eastern part of the state, where big coal producers reign. Here, two hours west of Louisville, it is still vital, though firms like Western Kentucky Minerals are smaller, locally owned and entrenched — neighborly coal, in their view. Still, the fight against it has been fierce, as all sides struggle to preserve traditions that have been intertwined for decades.

The process has revealed the shifting alliances between environmentalism and community-building. It has also, unexpectedly, shined a light on the changing ways of the Girl Scouts, who have 2,500 members here, children and adults.

Romney, Obama in rare battle over energy policy

BEALLSVLLE, Ohio/OSKALOOSA, Iowa (Reuters) - Republican Mitt Romney vowed to step up coal production and President Barack Obama mocked him for opposing a windmill tax credit, in a rare debate over energy policy on the campaign trail.

Obama Administration Looking at Ethanol Rules

The Obama administration is reviewing the country’s ethanol policy amid calls from both political parties and the United Nations to suspend annual targets as the worst drought in 56 years spurs corn prices.

Food crisis strengthens EU biofuel critics, may hasten deal

BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Drought-stricken crops and record-high grain prices have strengthened critics of the European Union biofuel industry, adding fears of a food crisis to their claims that it does not ultimately reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The renewed anxiety adds to pressure on the EU's executive Commission to forge a deal this year to help ensure that EU biofuels do not clash with food production or the environment.

Superfund Cleanup Stirs Troubled Waters

More than three decades after the program was established by Congress to clean up the most heavily polluted sites in the country, either by forcing those responsible to pay or by covering the cost with money from a special fund, the agency is now taking on the most expensive and most technically complex cleanups ever attempted — large stretches of urban waterways where the pollution is out of sight.

But there are lingering doubts about the best ways to handle such immense cleanups. “The public wants this stuff picked up and hauled away,” said Michael A. Barbara, the technical consultant for the businesses that are being held responsible for cleaning up the Passaic. “But the reality is that sometimes the process of stirring up this stuff does more harm than leaving it in place.”

A Plea for Hunts Point: Invite Midsize Farmers

On Tuesday, a broad coalition of 45 farms, environmental groups and other advocates jointly sent a letter seeking to put pressure on New York State and city officials to accommodate the region’s midsize farms and add a new wholesale farmers’ market at Hunts Point in their renovation plans.

Desalination and the Israel-Palestine issue

Regional water politics has once again featured Israel, this time with South Sudan, where Israel Military Industries Ltd., on behalf of the Israeli government, signed an agreement with the South Sudanese government to provide the latter with water infrastructure and technology development. The two countries agreed to co-operate on areas of desalination, irrigation, water transport and purification.

It would appear that one of the strategic advantages for Israel in pursuing such a deal, aside from a potential oil deal, is to be able to play a part in the hydro-politics of the Nile, creating a potential point of leverage over Egypt. Israel clearly has much to offer within the water infrastructure and technology sectors. And it leads one to ask questions about how the strides Israel has taken domestically in areas such as desalination will impact the Israel-Palestine water issue.

New toilet technology after 150 years of waste

SEATTLE – These aren't your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal.

They are part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet for the 2.5 billion people around the world who don't have access to modern sanitation.

A Generational Stance on Behalf of the Arctic Ocean

In less than a week, the Obama administration may well approve Shell Oil's plans to do exploratory drilling in America's Arctic Ocean. It would be an unmitigated disaster because there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in the harshness of Arctic conditions. It should be stopped.

Let's move toward a carbon-free economy

A delightful poem by Goethe tells of a young apprentice who uses his master's magic to enchant a broom into fetching water for him. Soon the workroom is flooded as the uncontrollable broom works at lightning speed and can't be stopped. The lesson is that powerful spirits should only be called by the master himself. As the apprentice shrieked on his master's return, “Ah, here comes the Master! I have need of Thee! From the spirits that I called, Sir, deliver me!”

Modern technology has allowed us to unearth powerful fossil fuels — oil and coal — with energy densities exceeding any fuel that we can readily make on our own. These fuels are a gift of the earth, created over millions of years that we can't possibly reproduce or recreate. And yet the magic that they work, like the rebellious broom, has an uncontrollable side effect — the warming of the planet and the disruption of familiar weather patterns and trends.

Wrong time to push fracking

As this record-hot summer continues, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is purportedly nearing a decision about fracking. In support of his commitment to base his decision on the facts and science, I urge him to heed the warnings from two national stories this month. First, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated more than half of all U.S. counties disaster zones, due to excessive heat and devastating droughts. Second, a new study — from top NASA scientist James Hansen — concludes the extreme heat and drought in the U.S. and around the world is due to global warming.

That's right: more than half of all U.S. counties are disaster zones, and NASA's top climate scientist believes that man-made global warming is to blame.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Australia

On July 1, Australia imposed a price on carbon emissions across its $1.4 trillion economy, a bitterly contested law that may cost the prime minister her job.

Talk Climate Change Solutions, Win Votes: Yale Study

A new study from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication finds that there are indeed a group of climate issues voters who will be more likely to support a candidate who's pro-climate. The report finds that "at the national level and among ten key swing states – taking a proclimate stand appears to benefit candidates more than hurt them with registered voters."

Why we are poles apart on climate change

So, if the cost of having a view of climate change that does not conform with the scientific consensus is zero, and the cost of having a view that is at odds with members of one’s cultural community can be high, what is a rational person to do? In that situation, it is perfectly sensible for individuals to be guided by modes of reasoning that connect their beliefs to ones that predominate in their group. Even people of modest scientific literacy will pick up relevant cues. Those who know more and who can reason more analytically will do a still better job, even if their group is wrong on the science.

So whom should we ‘blame’ for the climate- change crisis? To borrow a phrase, it’s the ‘science-communication environment, stupid’ — not stupid people.

Survey finds 2 per cent of Canadians don't believe climate change is happening

According to the survey, Prairie respondents are least likely to believe that climate change is occurring due to human activity, while residents of Quebec, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia are most likely to hold this belief.

Climate 'Weirdness' Throws Ecosystems 'Out Of Kilter'

Lemonick is the co-author of a new book, Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future. The book, published by the nonprofit research organization Climate Central, details the effects of climate change and greenhouse gases in ocean acidity, existing ecosystems, disruptions to food supply and rising sea levels. Lemonick says sea level has risen by about eight inches overall worldwide since around 1900, and the waters are expected to rise an estimated three feet by 2100.

What Country Faces the Worst Climate Change?

The countries potentially facing the worst fates may not necessarily experience the greatest climate change, but instead lack the resources to cushion their people against climate-related disasters such as hurricanes, floods, heat waves and droughts. That has historically made a huge difference in rates of death or displacement from such events — Hurricane Jeanne killed just three people in the U.S. in 2004, but resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people in Haiti and displaced about 200,000 Haitians.

ADB Warns Asia Of Urban Flooding By 2025

BANGKOK (Bernama) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that urban areas in Asia are at risk of climate change-borne inundations within 2025, expected to affect up to 350 million people, reports Thai News Agency.

Speaking to journalists Wednesday on the 2012 ADB report on key economic indicators for Asia and the Pacific, Changyong Rhee, ADB chief economist, said that urban areas in Asia are growing unexpectedly fast, with Asian urban people now almost accounting for half of the global population.

Arctic sea ice heads for record low

Going, going… Next month could see Arctic sea ice shrink to its smallest extent yet, beating the previous record, set in 2007. Any such record will be driven by unusual weather, but is also a result of underlying warming.

Link up top: Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?

When John Fogerty sang about coming home to Green River, the incentive was hardly a 200 year supply of oil. But that’s the reality of the world’s largest shale oil—more properly, tight oil—deposit at the Green River Formation (GRF). The USGS estimates the GRF holds 3 trillion barrels of oil, around half of which is deemed recoverable. That’s equivalent to the total of the world’s proven oil reserves...

Of all the idiotic things people believe, the whole “peak oil” thing has to be right up there. It is literally impossible for us to run out of oil. We have never run out of anything. And we never will.

The ignorance of these peak oil deniers is almost unbelievable. And he post this picture of the Green River Shale:

I left a comment on the site explaining that the Green River Shale is not "tight oil" at all but is in fact kerogen, a solid. But it has to be approved before it is posted.

Ron P.

Another day, another Cornucopian du jour article. In any case, he trots out Huber & Mills (emphasis added):

. . . precisely the argument posited in Huber and Mill’s seminal book, The Bottomless Well, which states: “Energy supplies are—for all practical purposes—infinite”. So why don’t more allegedly informed pundits grasp the basic economics of energy? In a word: ideology. In this particular case, the ideology of the leftwing social engineer prepared to politicize any issue for their personal ‘higher’ purpose.

leftwing social engineer prepared to politicize any issue for their personal ‘higher’ purpose.

A what an old battle cry that likely is. My guess is that this basic theme goes back to the pagans vs the Christians/industrialist. When the industrial revolution first really got started the pagans fought against the environmental destruction/disrespect it was causing. The Christian Church took sides with the industrialist in order to weaken the pagan beliefs.

"How dare the leftwing social engineers propose alternative transportation infrastructure," wrote the man who was trying to eke more life out of the largest public works project in human history, the rightwing engineered automobile roads of the USA.

I love how vague the bolded part is. I mean energy supplies can be - for all practical purposes - infinite; however, those energy supplies are solar, wind, hydro, and biofuels ...

Infinite is a big number.

But so are the number of galaxies spotted by the Hubble Deep Field telescope.

Imagine the energy waiting to be released by taking all that Hydrogen and fusing it in them thar galaxies. Then for fun, disassemble what is now fused Hydrogen back to Hydrogen.

See? Infinite.

Ignorance is —for all practical purposes— infinite.
There, fixed it.


This is my favourite part:

peak-oilers like to maintain a ‘fluid’ approach to their predictions. In the case of oil, however, that’s becoming a tougher proposition, as their ignorance of energy, economics and the sheer ingenuity of man is increasingly revealed in the looming global oil boom.

That from a man who doesn't understand the difference betwix tight oil and kerogen.

(Ron, I thought you were very mild-mannered in your comment!)

I've described it as CPSR, Cornucopian Primal Scream Response. To maintain BAU,* or the perception of BAU, we need an expanding oil supply, or at least the perception of an expanding oil supply. A doubling in annual global crude oil prices from 2005 to 2011--as developing countries, led by China, consumed an increasing share of a declining volume of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE)--represents a direct threat to the BAU scenario, thus the daily examples of CPSR.

*Business As Usual

Payden & Rygel has been running the following ad on CNBC for some time, noting that nearly a quarter of all goods & service produced in all of human history have been produced in just the past 10 years:


"Seen in that light, global trade, investment and economic activity are still in their infancy."

Of course, nearly a quarter (about 23%) of all crude oil ever consumed was consumed in the just the past 10 years, and I estimate that as much as one-half of the total post-2005 Global CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) that will be available to importers other than China & India may have been consumed from 2006 to 2011 inclusive:


Dumbfounding that this investment firm uses one of the most telling indicators of unsustainable exponential growth to suggest that the party has only just begun!

BTW, 85-90% of everything man-made on earth was manufactured in just the last 60 years – bascially, the lifetimes of many of us. Wrap your head around that one.

And most of that manufacture will have decayed to useless in next 30 years?
Here's to our legacy folks! Cheers!

And most of that manufacture will have decayed to useless in next 30 years?

By which time we are supposed to have 9 billion people on the planet who will all wish to continue consuming but we won't have the resources to replace what has broken down and decayed, let alone produce enough new stuff.

Should be interesting... Cheers indeed!

Consider that about 6.5% of all the people who ever lived are alive today.


It seems like the number should be higher only because earlier generations had much short lives, so there were fewer living at any given time, most having died before reaching sexual maturity.

Even 100 years ago, families of 10-12 were fairly common and expected. The advent of antibiotics, the germ theory of disease, and other advancements in medicine have changed our views on age. The energy bonanza of first coal, and then oil and gas, had an even greater impact, if that 85-90% of everything man-made on earth being manufactured in the last 60 years is believable. Even if an exageration, we are consuming huge amounts of mostly hydrocarbon derived junk (earlier generations pre-1750 were limited to natural products - wood, metals and stone).

Anyone who believes we can continue unabated in the manner we proceed has a serious cognative dissonance problem.


About 7% of people who've ever lived are alive now.

But even more staggering, about 25% of all years of life (i.e. all person-years) have been within living memory. This is because human life expectancy now is a lot longer than it ever used to be. Indeed, according to Carl Haub's numbers at your link, life expectancy was barely more than 10 years for most of history. This is mainly due to high infant mortality as you discuss.

There are some strong connections here to "anthropic" reasoning. A very simple anthropic model implies that our observations should be expected to be "typical" with respect to the class of all observations. If human population is going to peak soon and then crash (while life expectancy also peaks and plummets), then a large proportion of all observations ever made would be made about now, so our observations are very typical.

By contrast, if the cornucopians are right, and human population manages to keep growing (eventually leading to colonisation of the solar system and then the galaxy) then our observations now would be very atypical. So even without looking at the detailed evidence, cornucopianism is implausible.

To add to that, it is not just infant mortality - I have been reading The Tale of Genji, and there are lots of deaths at various random points in life. People dying young was obviously not unusual. But there are still old people as well. In actual history, the same applies; some people in the court (who we have records of) lived very long lives, like Shunzei (who lived to 90), but many people died young or from disease, and of course women died in childbirth.

Lots of people died to make the Hoover Dam, but nowadays we wouldn't allow for that level of occupational death. All this stuff adds up. Even travel, despite car crashes and such, is much less hazardous.

I've thought for a long time that anyone who lived to be 10 years old two centuries ago was so tough that they practically had to be dismembered to be killed off. And that was without any medical intervention. Modern medicine is enabling a much weaker stock to reproduce today.

Somewhere in the bible it mentions the life of man at "three score and ten". That's 70 years.So if you lived to be an adult you could look forward to a long, healthy, life. Provided of course that you avoided war or a pestilence provided by some microbe brought by a traveler from afar.

Hi adamx,

re: "childbirth"


Q: Why do so many women still die in pregnancy or childbirth?

A: Every minute, at least one woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – that means 529 000 women a year. In addition, for every woman who dies in childbirth, around 20 more suffer injury, infection or disease – approximately 10 million women each year.

Five direct complications account for more than 70% of maternal deaths: haemorrhage (25%), infection (15%), unsafe abortion (13%), eclampsia (very high blood pressure leading to seizures – 12%), and obstructed labour (8%). While these are the main causes of maternal death, unavailable, inaccessible, unaffordable, or poor quality care is fundamentally responsible. They are detrimental to social development and wellbeing, as some one million children are left motherless each year. These children are 10 times more likely to die within two years of their mothers' death.

* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
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75% * * ???
************** *******************************************************************************************************

Anyone know the tag for a fixed width font? If not, feel free to read between the spaces...


Use <pre></pre>

Easier than tables for many people.

Maybe 70 years? World War 2?

WT, I have a question.. since I think it's reasonable to imagine that China, a heavily export-dependent country, won't be able to keep up oil demand at the same pace due to declining world GDP growth, their oil consumption & import growth should slow considerably as well, on top of their own housing bubble(which was greater than America's).

Do you have a projection for a slower-growth scenario, both for China & India(or 'Chindia' as you call them) as well as for the world?

I'm thinking an annual demand increase of around 0.6 % per year on average(including a recession or two) over the next 8 years to the end of this decade.

And if you do, what would it look like?


Courtesy of a helpful Oil Drummer, here is a computer generated version of the GNE/CNI Vs. Total Global Public Debt chart:

An observation:

At the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, in 18 years, around the year 2030, the Chindia region alone would theoretically consume 100% of GNE.

A prediction:

In 2030, China and India will not be consuming 100% of Global Net Exports of oil.

Regarding the specific how and why it won't happen:

I don't know.

But a very important final prediction:

IMO, as the GNE/CNI ratio approaches 1.0, the objective value of total global public debt* (in terms of constant currency values, say in constant 2011 dollars) approaches zero.

*Especially the debt issued by oil importing OECD countries

Re: "*Especially the debt issued by oil importing OECD countries"

All I've got to say is thank my lucky stars I'm Canadian AND Albertan (where the major oilsand deposits are). Barring the abandonment of the oilsands, I should be able to ride out the wave of trial and turmoil a whole lot easier than many many folks in North America.

Perhaps that's one reason I'm so much more sanguine about the coming storm than most on TOD. Declines in oil just mean more and more revenue flowing in my province's coffers.

I'm going to point out that oil prices are set by the global market, so just because you live next to oil deposits does not mean your oil will be cheap, the only money you're saving is transportation costs.

Also Alberta's poor royalty regime doesn't really mean we're going to be getting more and more revenue, we're going to be getting about the same, and given how our province tends to waste this revenue I'm not too hopeful either.

All true. However, you're forgetting that Alberta has and will have, jobs, jobs, jobs, driven by investment in the oilsands as one of the few places left where billions and billions of oil related investments will be made. So far as I see (and I don't see very well to be sure), it's better times here than elsewhere due to peak oil and its attendant effects. Undoubtedly I'm wrong to some extent, but on balance, I'd say it's good times Alberta.

No doubt, we'll still piss it away (as we did the last time ) but it'll be good time while it lasts (30-40 or more years). Should last until I'm about dead anyways. My non-existent kids on the other hand, well, they better figure out what the heck they're gonna do, because I sure as heck don't know. As best as I can tell with TOD as my guide, they're screwed.

I am a Canadian, and an Albertan as well, and I do NOT share your optimism (I sincerely wished I did). Getting oil out of the oil-sands assumes some semblance of business as usual -->adequate money + resources. We are already fluctuating around the maximal practical cost of oil and our resources to get the oil out of the bitumen are not infinite. As well, as climate change becomes even more glaringly obvious, there could well be a backlash against getting all that oil out of the sands. That maybe is not totally likely, but I would not discount it totally either. We may find oil being used only for those things that there are NO possible reasonable alternatives: such as fossil fuels for tractors so we can grow enough food to get around, but not so much fossil fuel as to be able to drive from Ft. McMurray to Edmonton, or Edmonton to Calgary just for the weekend.
And, as another commenter has already pointed out, just because we are sitting on the stuff doesn't mean that we will get it cheap. We are going to face the same problems as the rest of Canada.


Exactly. I'd also add to your list the cost of living in Alberta which is increasing every year. As an example: you make good money working in Fort Mac, but that's partially because there's almost runaway inflation up there. That's the irony of "jobs, jobs, jobs", if your economy is overheated (such is Alberta), you're going to have a bad time.

Also the massive building boom has made infrastructure costs ridiculous for the government ... so while they're collecting more revenue everything is costing more.

Like I said in my first post "barring the abandonment of the oilsands." This would be the end of my rosy view of the future. There's even a real risk of this happening as someone pointed out here on TOD some weeks ago. Basically, under certain conditions (perhaps even now), exploitation of the oilsands becomes uneconomical because the EROEI falls through the floor and becomes negative. If the financials go the same way (and how they can't I don't know), well, oilsand exploration will stop.

I'm just merrily assuming that analysis is wrong and will remain wrong for the rest of my life. It helps me sleep at night and keeps me from eating my neighbour's children in fear of the coming hunger that is posited here on TOD.

For some reason, folks seem excessively negative today. I'm sure I've read many times about how Canada is a good place to be in the coming storm. Few people, lots of fresh water and other resources (relative to population) and so on. No my fellow Canucks are telling me we're just as doomed as those Americans who live in car dependent cities with population densities far higher than anything like my neck of the woods. Who's right?

I'll grant you that environmentally we're just as screwed as everybody else, but I'm talking about the economy here (and Peak Oil is principally an economic predicament as I've understood it), not an environmental one. While I come here to catastrophize about the end of the climate (and everything else in nature) as we know it, I'm talking about the economy when I speak of jobs, jobs, jobs and how good it is in Alberta. Better here than anywhere else in my view. This is in spite of all the other messes that our hot economy produces. On balance, it still looks better here from this vantage point in time, than elsewhere over the long term.

To paraphrase Herman Daly: The economy is a totally owned subsidiary of the environment.
i.e. No healthy, effective environment, no effective economy.


Worth being wary of Dutch Disease, and the harsh realities of a 2-speed, 3-speed, or multi-speed economy. Th Long Boom in Australian mining (effectively since the 1850s Gold Rush, on and off) can be salutary in this respect.

Declines in oil just mean more and more revenue flowing in my province's coffers.

Guess Albertan's are also immune to things like ecosystems collapse, droughts, climate change, ELM, global economic contraction... etc, etc!

When you do decide to come back down to earth you may find it a slightly more hostile environment than when you last visited!

Now, now. I said absolutely nothing about climate change. Albertans are those people who are wedded to oil exploitation of all sorts because it's what feeds us. As such, any arguments against oil exploitation (i.e. climate change and so on) cannot be heard by us because it leads to our impoverishment. It's pretty simple really. I readily admit I'm not immune to that cognitive dissonance. When my non existent children are frying on the drought stricken prairies, cursing my name, I'll worry about it then, from the comfort of my gilded box six feet below the surface.

Pathetically human I know, but I gotta eat today and tomorrow ya know? Are you going to feed me?

Yes, and this is precisely why there will never be any kind of "collective" response (much less an intelligent or constructive one) to climate change and debating "solutions" apart from family or very local community self preservation is, for all practical purposes, a waste of time and energy. Maslow's hierarchy of needs + tribalism + powerful vested interests + general public's cornucopianism/information resistance + short-term mentality/heavily discounted value of future + capacity for self delusion = no effectivce large scale political response.

When looking at the GNE issue I think it is helpful to try and envision what the distribution of oil would look like if the US lost the ability to run huge trade deficits with the middle east countries and China, both of which peg their currencies to the dollar and recycle their dollars back into the US.

Chindia won't consume 100% of GNE because the MENA countries want to eat and Chindia is a food competitor. Eventually, all countries will have to live within their means and have reasonably balanced trade. Oil exporters only need so much stuff from Chindia.

One of the ramifications of the Arab Spring is that MENA countries that once ran large trade surpluses that could be invested in the US and EU are now burning through most of their oil income. At some point that should have an affect on their willingness to maintain their dollar pegs.

IMO, as the GNE/CNI ratio approaches 1.0, the objective value of total global public debt* (in terms of constant currency values, say in constant 2011 dollars) approaches zero.

wt, why would debt approach zero? Is it because the currency would be close to valueless due to hyper-inflation?

Given my outlook for Global Net Exports (GNE) and for Available Net Exports (ANE), I think that most debt instruments and most equities are mispriced, since I don't think that there will be nearly enough exportable oil available to generate the economic activity necessary to service the debt (at least not in terns of currencies of constant value) and to generate the corporate earnings that the stock markets are expecting.

Look at what has already happened to the value of existing debt for some countries, e.g., Greece, and (I assume) Spain and Italy.

Let's look at the ratio of debt to ANE, as ANE fell from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2011:

The total global public debt* (Economist Magazine) per bpd of ANE was $670,000 per bpd in 2005.

Total global public debt per bpd of ANE was $1.2 million in 2011.

This increase was due to a combination of increasing debt and declining ANE.

I estimate that ANE could easily be down to about 20 mbpd in 2021. At the 2005 to 2011 rate of increase in total debt, we would be up to about $93 trillion in 2021. This would imply a ratio of about $4.7 million in debt per bpd of ANE in 2021.

*Which I believe excludes unfunded transfer payment obligations.

Peter Glover has a history of publishing wild cornucopian fantasies... and he doesn't seem to read the comments to his articles. (See this Drumbeat, for example). That March article got plenty of factual comments about the nature of the Green River formation, but he's still saying the same thing.

Thanks for trying, Ron. Willful ignorance is hard to fight.

as an aside, why does the Canada Free Press care so much about Obama leaving office etc? And why is its strap-line unashamedly pro-US ("because without America there is no free world").

Never heard of this publication before, being on this side of the Pond.

I really don't know what's up with the press in Canada these days. I mean the CBC is full of articles describing how Paul Ryan is man of substance and economic vision ... hell even my mother (a diehard socialist) though Paul Ryan wasn't too bad, until I showed her his "budget". For some reason Canadians seem to think Ryan is a stand up guy compared to Obama "who hates Canadian oil" or something like that.

Canada Free Press founding editor and owner is Judi McLeod. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck and The Rant. Canada Free Press (CFP) is a right wing "news" and commentary site that appears to be a Canadian version of WorldNetDaily, which except for those inside the extreme far right wing bubble has little credibility.

The End of Peak Oil? above, is also taking comments. It touts the BP Statistical Review and Brazil's deep water reserves.

Looks like you got in, Ron.

I dropped in my two bits there as well.. since it doesn't seem like they're defending an echo chamber there today.

Peak Oil is here. You're soaking in it.

How would you explain why the economic fiasco growing through Europe and the dismal economy here can so magically support $94 WTI and $114 BRENT if there was such a robust centuries-long supply available for the taking?

Any time we see what looks like a little rebound, the prices pop up another $15 or $20, and suck the life out of these so-called recoveries that we have been praying for.

You're right that it's hard to get just what post Monbiot is going to hitch his horses to next, but he doesn't speak for what's in the ground or the kind of technology that is supposed to bring it up to us, and it seems a matter of very fickle convenience that you are willing to use his latest course change to build you 'told you so' on top of.. and hardly a solid one at that.

Look at those droughts, and tell us how we're going to spend our fresh water supplies in the next few years if they continue. Planting food, or Fracking and Mixing into Bitumen Slurry to offer to the commuters of the western world?

Whatever you’ve got in your tank, I hope you’re cherishing it..


I wonder when they'll figure out that TODers are piling on :-0 I made a small contribution as well.

Yes, piling on is fun- here's my take that just got put up at CFP on what Kerogen is actually good for:

I suspect that the Green River "oil shale" will forever recline in the beauty of its surroundings, used only occasionally for propaganda purposes as *evidence* that the increasing cost of energy is the fault of some unpatriotic candidate, environmental group, or other straw man who will not allow unfettered exploitation of resources.
For this, the kerogen (a wax-like rock)- as a pretend resource- will be mined at no actual cost whatsoever, and never have to provide proof that it is viable for anything other than fuel for wishful thinking.
Carry on!

Biker – As long as we’re piling on I always like to remind the GRS cornucopians that no one is preventing their development today. The feds may not be leasing their acreage but hundreds of thousands of acres of private mineral rights exist for the GRS. All a company need do is write a lease bonus check. Probably get it cheap. And they can start producing all that GRS “oil” as fast as they can plow their capex into it.

Given I know of no company doing it now (let alone when oil was bouncing over $140/bbl) they may have difficulty explaining why.

Yes Rock, and we know why no company is doing it.
Perhaps a gift lease to the next Cornucopian who uses their "oil shale" propaganda? %)

biker - I bet you could go out their and negotiate a free lease from a mineral owner. Even if he never got a $1 of royalty he could still benefit from new roads, water wells, etc, I would need to put in place. I've done so many times in the past. Given much of the land has very little value to begin with the land owner doesn't have much to lose by rolling the dice.

You guys inspired me to post my own comments on CFP from a transportation engineering perspective. I tried to explain that the run-up in crude oil costs has left transportation departments unable to meet basic road maintenance program costs, let alone build new roads, meaning we are accumulating the severe consequences of deferred maintenance (reconstruction being multiple times the costs of repair) and accepting de facto congestion costs by not increasing capacity. On the public transportation side, airlines are at the edge of a broken operating model, as they pare poor performing routes and go to fewer flights with more seat capacity per flight. Greyhound's national network is nothing like it once was, but both intercity bus and Amtrak have seen 50 percent growth over the last decade. Even urban transit is on the upswing in spite of municipal revenue issues.

Saying that "the market" will solve a resource program ignores the practical consequences of what that solution is. When people cannot afford to fly, or can't find a train or bus route that works, the result is more highway congestion with people driving older vehicles, deferring other purchases to pay for the vehicle and its operating costs. Either that, or they quit traveling at all.

On the freight side, FedEx just announced nationwide layoffs as a result of customers finding cheaper ways to ship, choosing cost over schedule.

Review of the impacts of Obama's policies:
By the End of an Obama Second Term, 40 Pct of Our Natural Resources Will Be Imported By Marita Noon, Aug. 14, 2012 ENergy Tribune

New oil and gas leases and permits on federal land are down 50% under the Obama administration compared to the Clinton administration. . . .
Earlier this year, the EPA’s decision to pull a legally issued coal-mining permit that had been through years of environmental impact studies and analysis was overturned by the US District Court. Last week, his EPA was shot down once again. On July 31, the DC district court sided with coal miners. The decision declared that the EPA’s insistence that water discharged from a coal mine be clearer than bottled water was an overreach and should not hold up new mining permits. . . .
the Chinese produce more than 95% of all rare earths used in the world by high-tech industry, while sitting on only 23% of the world’s resources. . . .
The Chinese had announced, in 2011, they could become net importers of some of the most critical rare earths by 2015. But in July, they said they would be importers a year sooner—in 2014. . . .
Obama . . .announced his intention to increase the quantity of national monuments and introduced a new “wild lands” designation—both of which serve to limit the extraction of natural resources.. . .
Obama’s EPA has, unsuccessfully, been trying to link [fracking] to the contamination of drinking water. . . .
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [announced it ] “would stop issuing licenses for nuclear plants until it addresses problems with its nuclear-waste policy.” . . .The Obama administration effectively shut down Yucca Mountain with a 2009 decision to reduce Yucca Mountain’s budget. . . .


Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages

Pollution is poisoning the farms and villages of the region that processes the precious minerals...

From the air it looks like a huge lake, fed by many tributaries, but on the ground it turns out to be a murky expanse of water, in which no fish or algae can survive. The shore is coated with a black crust, so thick you can walk on it. Into this huge, 10 sq km tailings pond nearby factories discharge water loaded with chemicals used to process the 17 most sought after minerals in the world, collectively known as rare earths.

I agree with the author. Why should we be supporting environmental destruction in China when we could be doing it here, in the US, while creating jobs and profits for corporations? Besides, it's a national security issue,,, and what good is a clean environment without all of our gadgets?

Best hopes for toxic independence :-0

Garbage stats. Again.

"down 50% under the Obama administration compared to the Clinton administration"

and compared to Bush II? Or considerations of remaining lease quality?

"water discharged from a coal mine be clearer than bottled water was an overreach and should not hold up"

water clarity only masks water quality.

"Chinese produce more than 95% of all rare earths"

It's the wages the Chinese pay, and their disregard for environmental protection. The closed molybdenum mine locally will still have its mineral when other sources are exhausted. We can export it at 3x the cost in 2014.

David, your source has the water standard change wrong: The change is to lower-salinity discharge. From one of the links:

On July 21, 2011, the “interim guidance” was replaced with a “final guidance” which suggested that conductivity levels be 300 or less instead of the previous 500—which was already unattainable. Even expensive bottled water doesn’t meet the standards the EPA has set for discharges from coal mining.

Apparently this error is being propogated by Tea Party folks in Kentucky.

The final change is a result of the following report: A Field-Based Aquatic Life Benchmark For Conductivity in Central Appalachian Streams.

Rather than use toxicity test results, the adaptation uses field data to determine the exposure level at which 5% of macroinvertebrate genera are extirpated from streams. The method is applied to derive a benchmark for dissolved salts (measured by conductivity) of 300 µS/cm. The benchmark was derived for Central Appalachian streams using data from West Virginia and was validated using data from Kentucky.

There is a certain genius to articles like this, and the graphic. While we cling to the enlightenment paradigm, our butts are being kicked by those who speak directly and seductively to the irrational subconscious. They don't even need a complex agenda to do so, other than personal social capital. The rationalizing neocortices of the world are all on their side. We're not even in the game.

"our buts are being kicked" by East Asian capitalists who effectively cornered the market by first driving out most competitors through underpricing. e.g. See the Rare Earth Price Index up 1100% from 100 to 1100.

Praseodymium-Neodymium a 500% increase.

LaOxide 3000% increase


so what I'm hearing is my collection of 2-6 gig HDs are not just a source of "fun magnets" but a resource waiting to be used?

seductively to the irrational subconscious

Hi greenish

Just some thoughts from a guy who thinks about this maybe way too much...

For their goals this approach works well, for ours I suspect it never will because our basic goals are so different. You can create bad with bad but how can you ever create good with bad.

Were not in the game, it sure looks that way, it's like we so much want to avoid being manipulative that we do noting at all. Maybe we could look at it that we are running interference. Above board, of the free will, conscious awaking approach but proactive.

At this point I just look at it as doing what damage control I can, it's good to know others are out there struggling with this same issue.


Thanks for the comment Rye. A few of my opinions follow...

For their goals this approach works well, for ours I suspect it never will because our basic goals are so different. You can create bad with bad but how can you ever create good with bad.

I "feel" the same way as you do, but "good" and "bad" are really not conceptually useful when trying to manage a crisis situation; they're a monkey heuristic. In normal situations such feelings serve an important social function, but in crises they cause paralysis, inaction.

Most of what passes for activism is so loaded with such monkey "value" imperatives that it seems all paths are hopeless. For instance, try to find anyone suggesting a "solution" which doesn't offer greater egalitarian fairness as part of the mix.

It's a shame, because it means idealists & the selfless generally opt out of any unpleasant gamesmanship out of a reluctance to taint their pure self-image. It's very tribal to wish for everyone's consent on a rational course of action. But masses of humans don't work that way. The situation is what it is.

Were not in the game, it sure looks that way, it's like we so much want to avoid being manipulative that we do noting at all. Maybe we could look at it that we are running interference. Above board, of the free will, conscious awaking approach but proactive.

I would encourage a selfless machiavellianism (for lack of a better term); studying the methods which work to steer the great nonsentient hives we are part of. And then applying those methods with discipline, a long view, and love of planet and humanity.

Using techniques which "feel good" but "don't work" is ultimately not that useful, particularly with a world and our species' future at stake. There's no inherent reason that those distasteful indirect techniques can only be used for selfish ends.

At this point I just look at it as doing what damage control I can, it's good to know others are out there struggling with this same issue.

Well, that's good too. But we aren't doing all we can, by a longshot.


Using words to communicate is such a challenge. My thinking is significantly non-verbal so picking/finding the correct words to convey deep thought can be frustrating...

no inherent reason that those distasteful indirect techniques can only be used for selfish ends.

I suspect there might be just be such a reason. If you can give me the honor of a second chance to explain.

In the case on my use of the words "good" and "bad" I did not mean to imply such a broad range of meaning. On second thought maybe it would have been clearer to say, "the building blocks to create the present dysfunctional state are unlikely to be the same building blocks needed to create a peaceful sustainable world".

By building blocks my thoughts are presently focusing on the split between getting our ego gratification from competition vs cooperation. I propose that our current mindset building blocks are being controlled disproportionally by a competitive modality. Using these building blocks to create a peaceful sustainable existence seem highly illogical. I feel that a move to a cooperative mindset is imperative.

As far as not doing all that can be done, true. But it is sobering to be dancing in this theater. I am proposing a solution to the biggest issue of our age. How dare I feel that little me could have any legitimate reason to do such...

Thanks, greenish. Let me expound a little:

"The [judge's] decision declared that the EPA’s insistence that water discharged from a coal mine be clearer than bottled water was an overreach and should not hold up new mining permits. . . ."

Notice the false premise in this sentence, "...EPA’s insistence that water discharged from a coal mine be clearer than bottled water."

First, EPA does not make judgements based only on the "clarity" of water. EPA did not insist on clearer-than-bottled water. Secondly, there is here an implied assumption that bottled water is somehow the water by which all other water is judged. It is not. There are very specific parameters designated for acceptably "clean" water, and although "turbidity" is sometimes one of them, none of them have anything at all to do with bottled water! And there is more, but why bother?

Genius, indeed. It is propaganda at its finest. False premises are the very most effective logical fallacies in today's not-so-learned society.


"EPA did not insist on clearer-than-bottled water. "

Actually, they may have. Real world example. The local water comes out of the ground at a pH of 8.7 to 8.8, and that is what the city sends to us after chlorination. Before we were allowed to discharge that water to a surface discharge point, we were required to lower the pH to the drinking water standard of less than 8.5. To do this, we added battery acid as needed to get to a pH of 8.3.

We also had to add sodium bisulfite to kill the chlorine the city put in. That at least made a certain amount of sense, chlorine being toxic and all.

So yes, the EPA does occasionally get a wild hare up its a**, mostly by completely failing to understand the local conditions.

Don't worry if they "win". It's become quite clear to me that what's good for us and what's good for those few humans and other species of the future that descend from the survivors of today are not necessarily the same thing. Probably the two are mostly opposed. Trying to carry as many of us and our comforts and our crap forward as long as possibly only causes our descendants grief.

We're not in control of this ride anyway. We are temporary, our world and its particular realities, even the landscape and species we share it with, all of it is transient. We should try to judge our actions based on what impact it might have on those nameless inhabitants of a future, unrecognizable world. In that light, is it better or worse to convince people of PO?

Green River Shale is not "tight oil"

And Fogerty's Green River was nowhere near the shale formation-Fogerty was California Dreaming.

The graphic is kinda nice...at best a drop.

And he post this picture of the Green River Shale:

LOL! 3 trillion barrels of oil in the Green River Shale and all he they can squeeze out of it is one measly drop at a time? Inadvertently it turns out to be quite an appropriate image.

"I left a comment on the site explaining that the Green River Shale is not "tight oil" at all but is in fact kerogen, a solid. But it has to be approved before it is posted."

I read the article and zoomed right in on that comment. I was going to set him straight, and then I looked at the comments and saw that you did. It always cracks me up when these pompous debunkers don't get the most basic of facts right.

This same article has been republished today with the "tight oil" comment removed. He now calls it "oil shale or kerogens."

Whatever Happened to Peak Oil Energy Tribune

But that’s the reality of the world’s largest oil shale deposit at the Green River Formation (GRF). The USGS estimates the GRF holds 3 trillion barrels of oil, around half of which is deemed recoverable. That’s equivalent to the total of the world’s proven oil reserves. While Green River contains oil shale or kerogens (as avers to shale oil) extraction of which still presents some problems, the resource still represents an outstanding future oil prospect.

As you can see the article has undergone some serious editing. Well, at least the guy seems to be reading the comments.

The original article published in the Canada Free Press has been edited also but not as much as the article published in the Energy Tribune. In the Canada Free Press article just two words have been removed, "tight oil". "But that’s the reality of the world’s largest shale oil—more properly, deposit at the Green River Formation (GRF)." Notice he even left the words "more properly" in, leaving the sentence making no sense. However the next paragraph still says it could supply the US with oil for the next 200 years at 19.5 million barrels per day. And Mr. Peter Glover himself left this in the comments section:

I had already noticed I had inadvertently inserted the 'tight oil' reference in the wrong place. It should have been attached to the term 'shale oil'. (Shale oil and oil shale/shale kerogen are two different things). I have already asked for the tight oil reference to be removed, but writing from England it may be a little before the CFP office are up to do it...

A second reference to the Green River oil shale (kerogen) being irrelevant carries no weight...certainly there are still problems in extracting it. But these, like all the other problems, will be ironed out through new technologies. The point is that it will be/is yet another massive future OIL prospect.
Posted by Peter Glover on 08/16 at 07:27 AM

Ron P.

"But these, like all the other problems, will be ironed out through new technologies. The point is that it will be/is yet another massive future OIL prospect."

Jeez... here we go again.

"certainly there are still problems in extracting it"

That's quite an understatement. The "problems" are that nobody has come close to demonstrating that it can be done economically despite trying for over 100 years. It's sort of like saying "certainly there are still problems with mining the oceans for gold and making everyone on the planet rich, but...."

Shell took a serious look at a process for extracting natural gas and liquids from kerogen shales around 10 years ago. If only, they lamented, we could get cheap natural gas to run the power plants that would be needed, and oil that was expensive enough, this project would be a no-brainer!

Cheap natural gas? Check. Oil over $100/bbl? Check. I wonder what they are waiting for now?


Hah! Maybe closer to the mark than you intended. They need Noah's own amount of water to get it done. Market access isn't that great either. It didn't take much Bakken + tar sands to create constraints in the Mid-continent.

Even if it could be produced, the rate of production would necessarily be slow, likely slower than tar sands for instance. I know I'm preaching to the choir on this board, but it is hard to fathom a scenario where kerogen from shale ever gets produced. If we were desperate enough to exploit it, we would also be too poor...

Shell's in-situ project would require massive amounts of electricity and lots of water. They would have to build many power plants in the desert and pipe natural gas in from somewhere. It would still require lots of water just for all those power plants.

Shell official confirms thirsty nature of oil shale, denies push to ‘corner water market’

“We’re still in the research stages, and there are some things we won’t have final answers on for some number of years, and it’s hard to know the size of what commercial operations are ultimately going to be because that’s many years down the road,” Thurman said.

The WRA report used Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates of peak production of 1.55 million barrels of shale oil a day, which would use about 378,000 acre-feet of water a year.

That's more water than the entire Denver metro area uses each year. Anyway here is a diagram of their underground heater system and the "freeze wall" they would have to build.

What Every Westerner Should Know About Oilshale

Shell In Situ

Although the details vary substantially between operators, the general in situ procedure is to artificially heat the rock within shale layers - the richest of which are called the "mahogany zone" because of the oily rocks' rich brown color - over a period as long as several years until liquefied oil is ready to be pumped to the surface through wells.

They must heat the underground rock and kerogen for several years before it becomes oil. I really don't see them ever producing very much oil with this scheme.

Ron P.

Maybe if we just inject a boatload of high level N waste just below the shale level, then wait a few decades.... Thats actually prety close to natures method for cooking Kerogen into oil.

Heck, Ron, sounds simple to me. Manufacture an oven out of ice, then heat the oven for a few years. Shucks, can't cost too much if NG is cheap, can it?

And, what could possibly go wrong?

What? You think maybe

“Large-scale commercial oil shale development would harm both West Slope and Front Range communities,” said WRA Executive Director Karin P. Sheldon. “A shift of water to oil shale will dramatically change the landscape in the areas developed. It could mean an end to agriculture and to the historic economic base of these rural communities.”

could be a hinderence? I don't know why anyone would be concerned. After all, Ken Salazar says we get 5% of the take, and there will be lots of jobs. BAU can continue for another 50 years.



Anyone notice that the articles on Shell's, XOM's, and at least one other major's efforts in kerogen extraction and refining are both on Wikipedia and written as present efforts?


I also left a comment regarding sensationalist headlines, and asked the author to please check his facts first, as world crude oil production has been 76 MMBOPD or so for seven years. I also pointed out this remarkable equation: crude oil production rate is not equal to recoverable resources. Plus a few other succinct things.

It will be interesting to see if we actually get posted.

Arctic Coastlines Hitting Ecological Tipping Point

Along rocky coastlines of the Arctic Ocean, a radical change is taking place, perhaps as profound as vanishing sea ice but less evident to the eye. Ecological foundations are shifting, with existing algae replaced by warmth- and light-loving species. It might not seem like much, but algae form the base of ocean food chains, and the change is happening fast.

“The abrupt character of these extensive changes, confirmed by our statistical analyses, provides a convincing case for tipping points being crossed,” wrote researchers led by marine biologist Susanne Kortsch of Norway’s University of Tromsø in an email to Wired.

Such changes aren’t simple, local tweaks, say Kortsch’s group. They’re what ecologists call “regime shifts,” in which one set of plants and animals is almost entirely replaced by another.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 10, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.7 million barrels per day during the week ending August 10, 104 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 92.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging just under 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging about 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.7 million barrels per day last week, up by 90 thousand per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, 494 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 788 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 110 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 366.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.4 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 4.6 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.3 million barrels per day, down by 0.7 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.9 million barrels per day, down by 2.8 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 3.9 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

The Richmond Legacy: California refinery fire may adversely impact US gasoline supplies for months

This week the EIA continued to report an ongoing decline in total US gasoline inventories. West Coast supplies were particularly hard hit in recent weeks due to the reduced output of the Richmond, CA refinery - after a major fire struck there on August 6. The refinery is thought to be, at best, producing for the time being about 60% of its maximum output of gasoline. Maximum gasoline capacity may usually be slightly above 150,000 bpd under normal conditions.

Although US gasoline inventories typically decline over the summer months and reach a low point generally about the time of the US Labor Day holiday, and although they are nationwide still slightly above the low points reached within the last five years, West Coast supplies are usually low and not far from developing into a near shortage situation.

Limited reporting on the repairs at the Richmond,CA refinery indicate that it may take four to six months to fully repair the heavy damage that mainly affected its oil processing unit. While it is not entirely clear just how much gasoline can currently be produced, and for how long, it would appear optimistic to assume that the refinery can continue to operate at even 60% of its gasoline output capacity. Some industry observers speculate that the gasoline unit may even be entirely shut at some point as repairs progress.

Meanwhile, faced with an impending shortage, West Coast gasoline suppliers have been aggressive about securing foreign supplies where available, and are quickly lining up imports of oil products that can be processed into gasoline. Typically, gasoline imports into the West Coast are relatively low as compared to the East Coast. It is believed imports are low in the West because of the fuel standards set by West Coast states which are somewhat different than in other states. However some foreign suppliers are thought to be making adjustments so that West Coast refiners can now use the foreign oil products imported - which may just need a small amount of additional refining and blending.

It is not entirely clear if planned West Coast gasoline product imports will be taking supplies away from other parts of the US, or if they represent additional imports. Probably to some extent, the West Coast imports will directly or indirectly take away imports usually destined for other US ports. Demand for oil products similar to gasoline has been particularly strong in Europe this week, possibly already an indirect effect of California refinery problems.

Elsewhere in the EIA report, retail gasoline demand appears to have improved – as seen by an uptick in gasoline products supplied to a decline rate of 2.8%, as compared to steeper rate of decline of about 3 to 4% over the last month. The national capacity utilization rate of 92.6%, while near the highs of the last four years, could even go higher this fall. Excluding unplanned refinery problems and maintenance, US refiners are essentially already operating at very close to maximum capacity. Also operating at or near maximum capacity, as it has been for weeks, it the largest US oil product pipeline system, the Colonial Pipeline.

San Francisco Gasoline Slides as More Tankers Head to Richmond

Update: Repairs Could Keep Fire-Damaged CDU Shut for 4–6 Months at Chevron’s
245,271 b/d Richmond, California Refinery – Industry Report

Chevron Fire Site Too Dangerous to Inspect

Commercial ebola vaccine 'unlikely' say researchers

Scientists researching the lethal ebola virus have told the BBC that a commercial vaccine to prevent the onset of infection may never be developed.

Two companies with leading vaccine candidates have had their funding from the Pentagon suspended in recent weeks.

An expert said it was now "unlikely" a prophylactic vaccine would ever be used to prevent outbreaks of the disease.

Seems a new snake virus is related to ebola and lhasa fever

Lethal snake viruses identified

Seems to make sense to me. Ebola is rare and outbreaks are usually contained because it kills so quickly.

IMO I'd rather they be making flu vaccines, since the flu is far more deadly in a pandemic sense.

Ebola also can only go a few steps from the first infected before it loses its ability to infect others. Much like copying computer games on magnetic tapes for your old C64; after a few copys of copys of copys, the quality is to low to be copyed once more.

Much like copying computer games on magnetic tapes for your old C64; after a few copys of copys of copys, the quality is to low to be copyed once more.

Analog to Analog yes.

But Analog to digital and then digital back out - only if a bit error is introduced would the original not be the same as the new original.

Yes. Ebola requires an amplifier to really spread. In the famous outbreak, it was a bunch of nuns playing hospital in the jungle with 5 needles.


"One day a school teacher went on a trip, when he returned, he wasn’t feeling so well and the Nuns gave him a shot, the nuns reused Needles without washing or sterilizing it, which caused the first cause of Ebola Zaire. The school teacher got Ebola and died, but the nuns reused the needles and passed around Ebola unknowingly.

Ebola Zaire hit 55 villages near the hospital."

Re; Arctic sea ice heads for record low

Not only is the arctic ice extent at a record low for the time of year.


Arctic sea ice extent on August 13 was 4.90 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles). This is 2.81 million square kilometers (1.08 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average extent for the date, and is 450,000 square kilometers (173,745 square miles) below the previous record low for the date, which occurred in 2007

Also volume is at a record low for the time of year.


Undertow, I found this great animation showing ice volume reduction over the last 3 decades.


Shows the arctic ice in a circle that shrinks dramatically in size as the years pass up to the present.

PE - as you linked to a couple of days ago ...

Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted

... "Preliminary analysis of our data indicates that the rate of loss of sea ice volume in summer in the Arctic may be far larger than we had previously suspected," said Dr Seymour Laxon, of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at University College London (UCL), where CryoSat-2 data is being analysed. "Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day in the summer, we look at satellite images and see no sea ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water."

The consequences of losing the Arctic's ice coverage, even for only part of the year, could be profound. Without the cap's white brilliance to reflect sunlight back into space, the region will heat up even more than at present. As a result, ocean temperatures will rise and methane deposits on the ocean floor could melt, evaporate and bubble into the atmosphere. Scientists have recently reported evidence that methane plumes are now appearing in many areas. Methane is a particularly powerful greenhouse gas and rising levels of it in the atmosphere are only likely to accelerate global warming. And with the disappearance of sea ice around the shores of Greenland, its glaciers could melt faster and raise sea levels even more rapidly than at present.

Professor Chris Rapley of UCL said: "With the temperature gradient between the Arctic and equator dropping, as is happening now, it is also possible that the jet stream in the upper atmosphere could become more unstable. That could mean increasing volatility in weather in lower latitudes, similar to that experienced this year."

These results confirm the PIOMAS model of an ice-free arctic in the next 3-7 years.

With the loss of albedo the heating will accelerate. I've heard reference that the loss of albedo is equivalent to 15-30% of current radiative forcing. That would mean an additional 30% CO2 reduction on top of annual emission reduction just to stay within 2C (50/50). (which is like playing russian roulette with 3 rounds in the cylinder). Add methane outgassing (already happening) and chaotic jet streams, [that pretty much guarentee the collapse of global agriculture], and things don't look so swell.

Greenland melting breaks record four weeks before season's end

Melting over the Greenland ice sheet shattered the seasonal record on August 8 – a full four weeks before the close of the melting season, reports Marco Tedesco, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at The City College of New York.


Interesting article on Greenland melt this season, Seraph. That graph indication of the record melt for 2012 may be yet another tipping point, where that level of melt will become the new norm, only later in a few years to be followed by another tipping point into greater melt seasons. Sure seems like the situation in the Arctic is accelerating so much faster than predicted you'd think it would cause a greater sensation media-wise than it does. Almost like these tipping points are only considered canary in the coal mine type warnings to a select group of people rather than society as a whole.

That would mean an additional 30% CO2 reduction on top of annual emission reduction just to stay within 2C (50/50).

No problem, just put it on our global experimental tab. Here's another article that is one of the most sobering read so far:


'Triggering permafrost meltdown is closer than we think'

The second overwhelming impact would be the large-scale release of permafrost carbon. It is estimated that the amount of carbon stored in the polar north as soil permafrost or on the ocean bed as methane clathrates is around 1,670 billion tonnes, three times greater than the current quantity of atmospheric carbon. Losing even a third of the Arctic carbon stores would double atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and usher in warming of 4 degrees Celsius or more.

For those interested in a message board on AGW, here's a link:


It's a message board that grows slowly - doesn't have the following of TOD's (peak oil) Drumbeat, but the people there are well versed on the topic and post some great links.

Oil Output From BP-Led Caspian Field Fell 12% In First Half

The field, also known as ACG, produced 16.8 million metric tons of oil in January through June, a decline of 11.58 percent from a year earlier, the BP office in the Azeri capital of Baku said, without giving a reason for the decline...

Azerbaijan, the third largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union, decreased oil production 7.1 percent to 22.2 million tons in the first half of the year, the State Statistics Committee said last month. Production of marketable gas expanded 8.6 percent to 8.8 billion cubic meters.

Azerbaijan has some new oil coming on line in the next few years but not nearly enough to keep up with the declines, especially if they continue at this rate.

Ron P.

Still need proof of excess heat production in LENR devices ?

The evidence that something real is happening is overwhelming. For those that still have doubts, it’s understandable, the field has been completely discredited, but the critics were wrong, the effect is real, and has been verified at many labs.

If you need to see real science, then for me, the most convincing evidence is this presentation by Peter Hagelstein from MIT: http://vimeo.com/41901028 , PDF of the slides are available here: http://www.theatomunexplored.com/wp-content/docs/2hagelstein.pdf Inside their test cell they have both an active device and a resistor. This allows them to show how accurate the heat measurements are. The data is VERY convincing and coming from real scientists.

If you need something to see to give you that gut feeling, this experiment by a high school class in Italy is pretty amazing. It shows a beaker of water with two electrodes. The reaction is very violent and sure doesn’t look like it could be just a chemical reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khnc-zTlsLo&feature=relmfu - you can get a violent reaction by dropping a chunk of sodium metal into water, but this just goes way beyond anything like that.

Still need more? There are lots of scientists onboard with the idea including people working at:
Nation Instruments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4HG9raN_2U
And NASA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtHR1NCzeKU&feature=relmfu

Converting the hydrogen in 1 cup of water to helium would produce 4GWHr of energy (if I did the math right). That would run the typical house for 500 years, so it’s pretty much an inexhaustible supply of energy. Groundbreaking technology like this is often ridiculed in the beginning, “if man were meant to fly, he would have wings”, but the science is convincing.

Rossi claims to be shipping the 1MW reactor http://ecat.com/ rumors are the US navy bought one. They claim to have some pretty sweet devices in the works. No, I can't vouch for them and Yes it’s just vaporware at this point, but the potential is definitely there.

old chap, convincing evidence is not you tube clips it is peer-reviewed recreation of the experiments in labs around the world. This has yet to happen.

I had never actually read Gary Taubes book, "Bad Science: The short life and weird times of cold fusion." So, I recently ordered a used copy, and especially in light of recent events, it's a fascinating, but somewhat dense (and massively researched) book.

In any case, given the problems in trying to replicate the initial experiments, the cold fusion debate quickly became more of a theological discussion, rather than a scientific discussion, basically a debate between the Believers and the Skeptics.

As Gary Taubes frequently points out, the best scientists are the ones who are most skeptical of their own work--or they are at least the ones most interested in seeing data that contradict their own work.

Not when the skeptics have other motivations. The scientists at MIT were protecting millions in hot fusion research, and they did have positive results early on. The critic at CAL Tech went on to be the chief scientist at BP.

Got it. There is a massive global conspiracy to hinder and delay cold fusion research.

Yes, well you have to admit there are lots of powerful interests this technology might conflict with. Why wouldn't they do as much as possible to discredit and slow down the research. This old 60 minutes story talks about it a bit.

Dude, nobody suppresses a 2 trillion dollar industry in favor of a 1 trillion dollar industry.

And the electric car, too.


...and before that the Fish carburator.

there is also the United States Patent office ruling that cold fusion patents won't be granted.

Peter Hagelstien and others have published peer-reviewed papers. See the references here: http://www.rle.mit.edu/rleonline/ProgressReports/3696_48_PR152.pdf
But, The presentation I posted is easier to follow old chap.

Be VERY skeptical of anyone unwilling to share 'the secret' for 'commercial reasons'. Unless it can be readily re-demonstrated over, and over, again by disinterested parties then it is not in anyway proof of anything.


Hopefully and even better: a team will be able to have Open designs for things such as a commercially viable Thorium reactor for making utility electricity (but I am not holding my breath).

I've yet to see a good explanation of how LENR solves our overshoot problem. Our disconnect from the biosphere isn't the result of a lack of abundant, cheap energy; quite the opposite. LENR is just another dream of playing with fire without the wisdom to consider the consequences.

Yes, this is a good discussion to have. Cheap energy is one thing we need to survive and it can solve some of our problems, but maybe not all of them.

I suppose factory fishing fleets powered by cheap, clean energy is an improvement on some level.

Off topic a bit, but in chatting with a cruise line executive about energy cost he mentioned that cruise ships - and presumably all large ocean going vessels - burn a near unrefined left over waste byproduct that has to be heated in order to be burned as fuel. It's (relatively) cheap, and very dirty. I suppose it could be used for tar-asphalt.

So, no doubt it is a nasty polluter.

I realize this is not new to most here, but I had either forgotten or simply never knew.

Yuck, /sarc on/ but gotta have those cheap vacation cruises /sarc off/


" It's (relatively) cheap, and very dirty."

I saw the analysis on one batch; it was 4.5% sulfur.

I suppose factory fishing fleets powered by cheap, clean energy is an improvement on some level.

are you kidding? One of the few chances pelagic fish even have is "economic extinction". Factory fleets running on free energy is a worst-case scenario.

I think Ghung was being sarcastic.

I'm sure he was!

Hopefully, at least the oceans stop turning to acid and there are still some fish left to catch. But even if we were able to quickly switch away from fossil fuels we will still need the asphalt and plastics. Doesn't all of that eventually still end up in the air?

If energy is low enough in cost then having an EROEI of less then 1 doesn't matter and we may end up using even more oil then we would have otherwise but maybe over a slightly longer period of time.

I also vote for sarcasm.

(goes back to post and places it in 50 ton press to extract the snarcinol)

Whups. That's what I get for avoiding caffeine.

Still it does highlight my worries/hopes about LENR, on the (small percent) chance it turns out real. Such a thing could make it POSSIBLE in principle to capture CO2 from the air in large volumes (not that we necessarily would) and stop burning more carbon (not that we would) but would make it even easier to destroy other aspects of the world.

Sorry 'nish, I was well into my second cup of Kona. Sooo good...

My SciFi fantasy is matter/antimatter anihilation reactors (MAMA). With that, unlimited cheap energy with no polution. But after running the smulation in my head over andover, I have concluded we would just use the energy to destroy the world even more. If your kid cant handle a handheld Beretta, you don't upgrade to an UZI.

There is no such thing as free energy. Say we moved the fishing fleet onto a combo of wind/solar (presumably with a bit of liquid fueled backup so emergency use). Now what is the capital cost of the new equipment? And I bet it is less productive (measured in term of fish per boat hour or manpower hour. So it isn't quite as bleak as you think. Perhaps the economics of fishing will change enough that we will actually leave some fish in the sea.

Perhaps the economics of fishing will change enough that we will actually leave some fish in the sea.

Assuming of course that they quickly adapt to a more acidic ocean environment...

If you need something to see to give you that gut feeling, this experiment by a high school class in Italy is pretty amazing. It shows a beaker of water with two electrodes. The reaction is very violent and sure doesn’t look like it could be just a chemical reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khnc-zTlsLo&feature=relmfu -

Sfhaze, the first time you posted this video, a few days ago, I had no idea what it was since I cannot read Italian. But you just gave it away: "It shows a beaker of water with two electrodes." This reaction has been known for many decades. Put two electrodes in water, pass DC current through them, through the water, and hydrogen will boil off one electrode and oxygen off the other and the water boils away. That was all you saw in your youtube video, nothing more. It has nothing to do with cold fusion.

Separate Hydrogen and Oxygen from Water Through Electrolysis

Ron P.

Correct, it clearly starts off doing just that, those early bubbles of gas. I've done that myself but it never goes on to such a violent extent as shown it the video.

So what are you saying, that this is cold fusion? Yes you can get the exact same thing you saw in the video by just putting a little salt in the water. It will make the reaction more violent, provided you have a very strong source of DC electricity. And as more water boils off the more violent it will get because you will have less water but the same amount of salt and the more current is passed causing the exact reaction you saw.

Ron P.

Yes, you need salt to get any reaction, no salt nothing will happen. With electrolysis all the energy comes from the electrical input - that goes into breaking the bonds, it would be very difficult to put that much energy in to cause that reaction solely through those electrodes. The question is always is more energy produced then is put in? And in that video it sure looks like it is. No, that's not proof, it just further evidence that people can see with their own eyes.

it would be very difficult to put that much energy in to cause that reaction solely through those electrodes.

No. I don't see any more energy than a welding rod carries, and those are smaller than the electrode used.

The question is always is more energy produced then is put in? And in that video it sure looks like it is.

How can you tell? How much energy does it 'look' like is going in versus out? It's a nice demonstration of electrolysis, it has absolutely nothing to do with LENR.

No, I can't vouch for them and Yes it’s just vaporware at this point, but the potential is definitely there.

Cornucopian primal scream response?

You would need very high voltages and current to boil water that fast. Assuming they don't dramatically increase the voltage during the test then you can tell how much current it is by how much gas is produced. With all that steam in the air, super high voltages would arc outside of the water. It just wouldn't look like that. That was their first one, they have published complete specs for building a second generation. There are other labs saying they have duplicated it.

If you want hard science look at Peter Hagelstien's presentation. In the Q&A he says anyone that wants to see it and try it for themselves is welcome to come to his lab. I'll vouch for the Italian high school students and Peter Hagelstein's work, but no not Rossi, at least not yet.

Isn't it possible that the water was being electrolyzed, creating H2 and O2 gas, then the exposed electrode serves as an ignition source and the the H2 combusts, creating steam? This is supported by the fact that there is a blue illumination emanating from the tip of the electrode as the bubbling gets stronger. And the vigorous bubbling could be some boiling (as a result of the heat of combustion from the H2), but is amplified as H2, O2, and H2O vapor lift entrained liquid out of the beaker.

A video like that does nothing to support LENR, regardless of the whether there are other more detailed reports and respectable scientists supporting it. I've watched some of the videos and read some of the reports, but I'm still skeptical until a device hits the market that makes heat too cheap to meter. All the results of lab work may be interesting, but unless a practical and modestly priced product can be created from whatever is causing the "anomalous heat effects", then it's just vaporware (as you note).

Then of course there's the issues that Ghung raises with respect to the certain detrimental ecological impact this would cause if humans are given a virtually free source of energy. In that regard, we have to hope that if the anomalous heat effects are really LENR (or something like it), we don't figure it out until centuries in the future when maybe society's collective ethos has changed and the earth has recovered somewhat from humanity's pillaging of its resources.

Obviously, you are a member of the massive global conspiracy to hinder and delay cold fusion research.

The hydrogen is attracted to one electrode, and the oxygen is repelled from that electrode and instead goes to the other one. So no, that doesn't look like the h2 is burning. Maybe the electrode is burning, but it looks to me to be to much to be just chemical energy.

Of course it's just some high school kids, its easy to beat up on them. My point is that dozens of real labs, just about everyone that has looked at it seriously, has gotten positive results. It's so easy even some high school kids can pull it off.

Yes, I'm sure many die hard skeptics aren't going to believe it until they can buy one, that's fine. It's the work at MIT that finally convinced me.

I like to think with unlimited energy we could bring our crops indoors and let a lot of land revert to it's natural state. In general, have the power needed to fix things. But, maybe not.

There are other physical phenomena at work like diffusion and turbulent mixing (induced by the bubbling), so I highly doubt all the H2 is at one electrode and all the O2 at the other. The driving forces may want all the O2 to go one way and all the H2 the other, but actually achieving that state is impossible.

And your statement of "but it looks to me to be to much to be just chemical energy" is irrelevant. I already proposed an alternative for why the bubbling appears so vigorous - some boiling, gas production and liquid entrainment. So I'd say you have to make better arguments based on the scientific literature rather than a Youtube video.

When hydrogen gas burns it just goes pop - it all goes at once in a flash, it just doesn't burn that way. You may remember seeing that nuke plant that blew up in Japan last year, that shows how hydrogen burns. I've seen what dropping a chunk of sodium or lithium into water looks like, and this goes beyond that, even if you assume the entire electrode was sodium.

The guy with the arc welder theory that they just put in 100A is the closest to an alternative explanation. The fact that the hydrogen doesn't pop actually proves there isn't any sparking or flame that I would expect you would get with massive electrical power.

When hydrogen gas burns it just goes pop

This generic statement is absolutely false. Butane can also just "pop" (I think you're referring to detonation), or it can create a steady diffusion flame as seen in a cigarette lighter. Same with methane on a stove top. This is true for all combustibles, i.e., no fuel always burns the same way in all conditions. The type of flame produced depends on the mixture properties, which include reactant concentrations in a given region and time-dependent factors that are functions of the Reynolds number and kinetics of the reaction. You need to know a lot more about the system than what you can observe in the video to be able to definitively say there's something else besides electrolysis, combustion, and liquid entrainment.

The Audible Difference between Deflagration and Detonation

Propane and air

Yep, lights up when the oxygen bubbles start mixing in. sfhaze, high voltage is not needed also hydrogen will burn without popping.


All I gotta say is if my kids' high school is attempting unstudied nuclear physics in the classroom, and they get any kind of blue glow whatsoever, I'd scrape up the remains of their DNA and go look for a new school...a lack of corpses is the best proof that there's nothing interesting going on here if you ask me.


Just for the sake of knowledge...

Kids are building Farnsworth electrostatic fusion neutron generators in their garages. You can buy one off-the-shelf for making neutrons. There is another reaction using boron proposed that produces alpha particles. You could sit on the thinly-housed device.

Posted without titles or review - "electrostatic fusion bussard "alpha particles":

It has severe scaling problems... hard to make a big one.

But, there can be fusion without neutrons.

But, the presentations without formal calorimetry are a scam.

A video like that does nothing to support LENR,

And who's to say the video is not nothing more than the collection of bytes in a computer - created from nothing more than the ether?

LENR will only live if one can take material from place X, or following these Y steps can be reproduced.

And the detractors have it right - thus far the 'do these steps' are not there. Does not mean the 'no cold fusion' position is correct however.

Then of course there's the issues that Ghung raises with respect to the certain detrimental ecological impact this would cause if humans are given a virtually free source of energy

The conversion of matter into energy means trapping more heat into the biosphere. So unless Mill's Hydronos conserve heat - how do you extract heat from the biosphere and vent to space? Banning jet airplanes seems out of the question as a sample way of venting.

This brings to mind a crude device I made in my very much younger days when I was under the influence of a book on science experiments. It was called a salt water rheostat - a glass or ceramic container filled with salt water and two electrodes connected to wires. You could vary the resistance by moving the electrodes closer to or farther from each other. I used it as a current limiting device for a crude arc furnace in which current flowed between two carbon rods (from flashlight batteries) that were momentarily touched together to initiate the arc. I recall that the salt water got hot and bubbled (probably one was getting a highly flammable mix of oxygen and hydrogen). Amazingly, I'm still alive.


I grew up doing similar stuff. I actually got a hold of some purpose made carbon arc rods. All you really need are two rods, 120volt AC and some sort of current limiter. The arc can get exceedingly hot, the energy required to vaporize C is several times the energy per atom that you get by burning it as a solid, so the temperature of the carbon-gas/air flame was several thousand degrees!
You and I both survived our crazy experimentation phase. I loved to play with high voltage (and high current) electric stuff. One mistake and I coulda been fried.

i moonlighted as a projectionist in my earlier days-- at an old movie theater in Brooklyn that still had carbon arc rod projectors.

so yeah, lots of light is possible too :-)

How can you tell? How much energy does it 'look' like is going in versus out?

I can give a guess on what it "look" like. Now I count energy in ampere, wich off course is not a measure of energy as such, but that is how we welders do.

I'd guess some 25 to 100 amps goes through that electrode. You can buy a welder for 100 Euros at the used equipment market wich you can plug into a 220 V socket and produce that energy with. If I am wrong, I was guessing to high.

And by the look of it, it looks like more energy is spent than released.

But what do I know? I only have several thousands of hours of looking at an electrical arch behind me.




This came up in August 11th's drumbeat as well: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9407#comment-910963

It's on the same level as Dr. Ghulam's water-fuelled car.

Cold fusion, perpetual motion, snake oil. They are all promoted by scammers who want to get rich quick, and figure anything the the masses really want will be believed.

We have had stories of water fueled automobiles, a simple device that you attach to your fuel line to get up to 120+ mpg, the above noted cold fusion stories, and many more, all tied to people who have something to sell.

Science is not about sales. It is about testing, and verifying or negating hypotheses, done in a reliably repeatable manner, often, over time. Any theory can be tested; any 'established' theory can be overthrown by negative inference from inability to repeat the test with the same results.

One of the reason I love "Mythbusters" is that they do science, and make it interesting to viewers. Maybe we should send some peak oil myths to them for verification?


Every lab that worked on the problem from more then 6 months eventually got positive results. You left out alchemy, which is what it actually is. So there is plenty of reason to be skeptical BUT it's also pretty hard to discredit the recent work at MIT and lots of other real labs.

Please list every lab, the names of the people who conducted the experiments and their source of funding.

Let us be precise, every lab that worked on this problem for more than six months. We do not need a cherry picked list.


Cold fusion. They are all promoted by scammers who want to get rich quick

Do tell the 'get rich' plan by http://lenr-canr.org/ .

One of reason I love "Mythbusters" is that they do science

No, 'they' don't "do science". They ape for the camera, like all actors.

and make it interesting to viewers.

And by being interesting that attracts viewers who in turn are 'interesting' to advertisers.

Maybe we should send some peak oil myths to them for verification

Ok - how do you plan on them "testing" them on camera?

And if the more 'conspiracy minded' posters on TOD are correct about, oh say Ferrous metal 3 sided objects ... http://www.metafilter.com/74523/Mythbusters-Gagged How does one get past that claim of past interference?

I think there's legitimate cold fusion research being done, but advocates would do well to distance themselves from Rossi, who is clearly a scammer.

I believe whoever posted that Italian video of a high school electrolysis experiment may also be scammers. The link to their web site is blocked by Google, Chrome, and Firefox as a badware site that attempts to load malware onto your computer if you visit it.

SFHaze - please don't post this link any more. Not useful, doesn't prove anything, and possibly dangerous.

Sure, lots of powerful interests wanting to spread doubt. Don't worry everyone, you can't get any malware from the ytube link.

There are a lot more greedy scamsters trying to make money than there are people trying to spread doubt.

The YouTube link may not spread malware, but it gives more prominence to their web site link, on the YouTube page, which apparently does. I don't want to support scamsters. Do not post this link again.

This entire thread is worthy of being deleted - it's a pointless distraction and waste of space, that's only saving grace is that at least it shows that the TOD crowd identifies BS pretty quickly.

The TOD banner says "Discussions about energy and our future". I think this qualifies as a legitimate thread under our charter.

Certainly, and when the experimenter in the link below talks about LENR, He's just funning with the gullible.

We may as well discuss a potato powered clock.

OK, aardvark.

Here's my legitimate-under-the-charter post:

The Pink Unicorn Fleet, now in Earth Orbit, is going to land on the White House lawn tomorrow and reveal the secret of Free Energy to humankind.

Youtube video at 11:00!

"He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers."
-- Jonathan Swift, Voyage to Laputa

By godz, it just might work!

Naw, peak cukes.

The Pink Unicorn Fleet, now in Earth Orbit, is going to land on the White House lawn tomorrow and reveal the secret of Free Energy to humankind.

Hey, how did you get your hands on my secret plans?!


I think it's been discussed enough. This is the second time in a week he's brought this up. I can see discussing it once in awhile, but not every week, let alone twice a week.

I'll leave this thread for now, but that's it. The topic is done for awhile, unless there's a major breakthrough. Like, if someone buys one at their local Wal-Mart and wants to review it, that would be fine.

Taking up the topic of "Italy" and "YouTube" did anyone read (in NYT) about how beach resorts in Italy are getting far fewer vistors because people in the cities don't have money to go there anymore?

So, as an antidote to Roman gloom, someone made a music video called "Resto a Roma" (Let's Stay in Rome).


Actually, it's pretty funny. Even for someone like me who knows only one word in Italian, "ciao".

But what isn't so funny is the implications for cities, and not just in Italy. Romans may not have money to go to the beach this year....but what about in the near future? No money for necessities?? The modern way of life is so fragile. The video shows a guy in his car. And another guy has something so symbolic!!! He's wearing a towel of the USA flag around his head!

While this is not my field of science, being a biologist, I would like to make it clear that the U-tube is not science, just a show: There is no data or real information (what there is in the water). You can easilly measure the power you put in (volt, amp) and use a calorimeter to measure the power generated. How can you evaluate the electrical power without seing the power supply reading or have an idea of the amount of energy coming out just by looking at the bubling? Again, no science, just a show!
By the way, it is fairly easy way to cheat such bubbling: dissolve some sodium bicarbonate (artificial yeast) in the water first in addition to some sea salt.


I don't know what your angle is, why you're hammering on this so hard. Whether you have a stake in this thing, or are simply massively deluded, it's hard to know. But this "lots of powerful interests wanting to spread doubt" gambit is the hallmark of delusional conspiracy thinking.

It works, or it doesn't. There has been no compelling proof, just hiding behind "can't reveal commercial secrets" nonsense.

I think there's legitimate cold fusion research being done

Have you actually ever said such before Leanan?

And, has your position changed personally on 'cold fusion' from the 1st day Rossi was in the press on the topic?

Yes, and no.

I think there are researchers who are sincere, and not scammers. They are the ones who admit that even with the best practices, the effect doesn't always show up. But does that mean there's nothing there? Not necessarily.

These researchers could be barking up the wrong tree. The "effect" could be a chemical reaction, or just a mistake. But I think they are sincere. When the DOE decided cold fusion was not real, they decided the evidence wasn't there, not that the researchers were all scammers.

My position on this has not changed. Not everyone is a scammer. I think that most likely, they are mistaken. Possibly, there's something there. If so, it's not necessarily fusion. And either way, it will be a long time, if ever, before there's any practical use. Just the fact that it's so difficult to repeat the experiments suggests that this energy, if it's real, will be very difficult to harness. Nobody wants to flip the light switch on and have a 1 in 1000 chance of the light turning on.

Here's a more detailed look at the same experiment the Italian kids did.

"Cold Fusion experiment"

The experimenter added potassium hydroxide crystals to distilled water to make the electrolyte. My guess is the current decomposes the hydroxide to pure potassium which then reacts violently with the water.

I see no reason to conclude that this video shows "cold fusion". The commentator claims this is the second experiment, so it would be of interest to see the first, as the electric circuit is not completely described. For example, he claims the two electrodes are an anode and a cathode, which would imply that the electric power going into the cell is DC. However, the entire discussion centers on the AC supply from the variac and transformer. Is there a rectifier in the supply to the cell? No mention of that here. The ammeter face says AC Amps. If the cell is fed AC, the gas at the electrodes would alternate between H2 and O2 from electrolysis. The two gasses would mix and be subject to pulses of ignition at the end of the insulated electrode in the middle, since the current would be greatest there. The other large area electrode would not provide conditions for ignition, since the area of the electrode is much larger.

I think what one sees is what's often called "Browns Gas" burning at the end of the middle electrode...

E. Swanson

I agree, nothing more here than burning brown gas. My gosh you are dumping 600 watts of electricity into a tiny area of electrolyte, sure something spectacular is going to happen.

In the Italian video beginning you can see the electrode is inside an insulator that moves in and out. Presumably to optimize the reaction.

I see no reason to conclude that this video shows "cold fusion".
I agree, nothing more here than burning brown gas

And "brown gas" can have "magic!" associated with it.

A you-tube video isn't "proof" - show some affidavits. Some actual 'do this' steps.

I don't think the guy in the video actually built that device, maybe he's an actor they got to just do the video. He comes across with 0 credibility, he just doesn't seem to understand what he is talking about.

It doesn't make a difference whether he's an actor or not. What we are seeing appears to be some sort of electro-chemical reaction, similar to the Italian children's. The perforated screen on the end of one electrode seems to be unnecessary, since the Italians didn't have one IIRC. Not sure if the electrode material and arrangement of insulators was of any significance either. In short, I don't believe any cold fusion has been demonstrated.

Incidentally, last drumbeat you posted an image of a glowing insulated hollow cylinder heated by electricity. It was totally different to the electrodes in water experiment. Yet it was also touted as an example of cold fusion.

How can they both be cold fusion? Could you identify the common factor?

re: 2012 gas prices head for record (up top)

So prices jumped 30 cents in one month alone.
Refineries seem to be the problem in the Midwest and to a lesser extent in the West, however, it's been quite clear that OPEC has turned down the tap on oil exports in the past few months(as always blaming the 'world economy' for the fact that the world economy is in the doldrums because they can't keep up).

There's even a story in today's Drumbeat at how OPEC wants to go below 30 mb/d.

According to that USA Today article, gas prices may even hit $3.90 in September and if they do, the average gasoline price would be pushed up to record highs on an annual basis.

Funny, just a few months ago we were all being told that 'supply is in excellent shape' blaming those omnipotent 'oil speculators'.

Still, I imagine that for each spike the public becomes less shocked and more disgruntled, slowly chaing their habits. If you see near-$4 dollar a gallon gasoline prices re-emerging every year, or several times a year, at some point you just accept the 'new normal'.

Nonetheless, amusing at how the MSM tries to spin this every time. Last time it was Iran & oil speculators. Now it's fires at a refinery or two (as well as those speculators, again).

Tomorrow it will be XYZ (and oil speculators).

89 octane unleaded was selling for about $4.50/gallon at a local gas station recently. My seven dollars cash only provided about 1.5 gallons. (Thankfully I only drive 1 day a week to work, and telecommute for the rest.)

The US led embargo on Iranian oil has reduced their eports significantly in the last few months. If you remove 1-2MBpd from the global supply for political reasons the price is going to go up. About 25% for Brent.

Here's a simple experiment to convince (maybe) climate change skeptics. Turn a pair of dice so that the one, snake eyes, pips are up. With a magic marker mark six additional pips on those faces. Now you have six faces with two through seven pips each. Next, roll the dice about 50 times. What do you notice? Well, for starters no more snake eyes or three's and the new combinations thirteen and fourteen appear. The important point here is that the outcomes are still random, but offset. By analogy the lesson is our climate has less cool and more heat, but it's still random.

I like it. But the problem with deniers is that they are so dogmatic in their anti-evidence, anti-science flat-earthism.

With folks like them, there is really no way of convincing them. They are not open to objective, scientific fact-based discussions.

Deniers just not 'reasonable' people. They can't - or more correctly won't - sit down with an open mind and go over the data. It is not even that they don't have the training or intelligence; many have advanced degrees which, even if not in the sciences, indicate intelligence.

My policy when confronted by deniers is just to walk on by. I don't care to try to change them. Our priorities should be with children. Kids are remarkably open minded.


"why we are poles apart on climate change" above post does a good job of explaining at least one aspect of why this is...

In 20 years, when there are cruise ships at the North Pole, the deniers will be on them talking about Global Cooling.

But that doesn't mean you can't convince them with a little basic statistics.

The northeast and northwest Arctic passages may be of limited value due to excessive methane emission and an ozone hole. For a limited time cruise ships could host Arctic weenie roasts with passengers bundled in winter coats, sunblock and UVA/UVB sunglasses.

Deniers just not 'reasonable' people. They can't - or more correctly won't - sit down with an open mind and go over the data. It is not even that they don't have the training or intelligence; many have advanced degrees which, even if not in the sciences, indicate intelligence.

HAC: Deniers are just people, nothing more and nothing less. Terry Goodkind, in his Sword of Truth series [began great, and IMO diminished as the series progressed], espoused the Wizard's rules. The first rule is the most germane to what we hear from deniers: "People are stupid, they will believe something because they want it to be true; or because they're afraid it might be true."

Read the rest if you want at: http://sot.wikia.com/wiki/Wizard%27s_Rules


H - I still contend that many, if not the majority, of the deniers are rejecting AGW because of economic reasoning and not the scientific case. They simply see the AGW push as a way to diminish their economic activity. Granted most wouldn’t admit it publicly. IMHO very little of their push back has anything to do with the science even though they may argue so. We’re asking them to either accept a lesser lifestyle or pay more to maintain what they have. And to do so for others who they aren’t really connected to or who haven’t been born yet. With the exception of WWII when have we seen that level of societal sacrifice?

As I‘ve said many times one shouldn’t try to teach pigs to roller-skate: it just frustrates you and pisses the pigs off. If folks think the deniers are steadfast now wait until when/if mitigation efforts starts hitting them in the checkbook. I can easily imagine another phase of McCarthyism kicking in. Better start getting those envirowackos links off your computer. LOL

I mostly agree but I question the reasoning aspect. That would imply a conscious awareness that I suspect the average J6P does not have. The, I cannot accept that this could be true therefore it is not, happens subconscious. Any potential understanding of scientific evidence is shut down before it is even looked at. The level of cognitive dissociation is too strong and shuts the mind down.

I suspect the better approach is to deal with the false belief that greater happiness and ego gratification primarily comes from maximizing the opulence of our materialistic possessions, and attempt to help them understand that it come from having healthy relationships with other people and maybe just maybe, even other intelligent life forms.

So it is not a lesser lifestyle but one that trades possession seeking for relationship seeking. It is not a sacrifice, but a move to a happier more contented lifestyle.

Thoroughly agree with you. The one part I have trouble seeing though is why they cannot see the huge profit that can be made through mitigation methods such as creating alternatives. Like Henry Ford trying to protect stables rather than building cars.


If folks think the deniers are steadfast now wait until when/if mitigation efforts starts hitting them...

... And just wait 'til migration hits. Remember The Grapes of Wrath...

That is going to be huge. I believe the costs and social stresses that will result as people begin to abandon the areas that are no longer habitable (due to changing climate and the increasing cost of the energy required for them to survive there) will be one of the major factors in the collapse of this society.

Phoenix and Las Vegas losing most of their population (see recent heat wave & dust storms in Phoenix) will stress society, but hardly make it collapse.

Just make the holes in the social safety net larger#.


# Life expectancy for the homeless is 5 years. Once dead, no longer a "problem". Just keep the rate of newly created homeless at a tolerable rate, so that the number alive at any one time does not overstress society.

# There was a dramatic increase in mortality in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Premature deaths by the poor was an accepted and everyday fact until perhaps 1940 in the USA (See one of FDR's 4 Freedoms - Freedom from Want). True elsewhere as well.

one of the major factors

I'm not trying to ascribe collapse to a single cause - there doesn't seem to be a lack of contenders at the moment. But I do think this will be a huge additional source of stress, and I doubt it will be limited to Phoenix and Las Vegas. I believe the zone that will be effected by drought will be bigger than that, and then there's those darn coast lines - wherever they end up.

My point is that, "properly managed" this can be (and may well be) done slowly enough that the climate etc. refugees will die off before their numbers become a real problem.

Given the short life spans of the homeless (and stressed migrants - see the Jobes in Grapes of Wrath, New Orleanians), the Phoenix & Las Vegas refugees will be largely gone by the time that the Texas and Oklahoma refugees show up in great numbers. And they will disappear in turn.

I have seen this up close and personal. "Society" is all too willing to let "some people" fall through the safety net - where they soon die. VERY easy to do if one can somehow blame the victim. And if not, just turn your head.


Sadly, I agree with that. I'm afraid management by neglect is what's required to achieve that end, and that's about the only type we appear to have.

let "some people" fall through the safety net - where they soon die. VERY easy to do if one can somehow blame the victim.

This seems to be what the meme's that are being endlessly drummed into our heads are preparing us for. Social Darwinism on a grand scale.

They will ratchet down the safety net slowly. Start with some Medicare recipients, vouchers will be a slow process as ever higher insurance premiums and unchecked medical costs (mostly equipment and drugs) gradually eliminate the poorer, then the not so poor, and finally the middle class. They will ease into it.

They are already posturing, equating running a government with running a corporation (after all, the corporations will be running everything soon anyway). They are wrong of course. A nation is more like a family, and the head of the family is not there to make a profit. She is there to help the family members survive.

but that's just one of several converging crises today, the sum of which could cause a delcine much faster than Greer believes will happen. And, is why the pols acted so fast in 2008. Once the dam is breached, it will only get worse!

Ah, well. I could rant and write a book about this... in fact maybe I will, and it will be part of one some day. Meanwhile, as the song says, "The beat goes on."


Yep, we Okies will be on the move again, if the current drought is any indication of things to come...

I can easily imagine another phase of McCarthyism kicking in.

I see more Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile, Peron's Argentina, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China...I don't think we've seen nuthin' yet. If there is a die-off of several billion people, all hell is going to break loose.

If climate change deniers were rational, there would be no climate change deniers.

It is impossible to reason a man out of a position that he was not reasoned into.

-- Jonathan Swift (?)

I and Ron P is in disagreement of the mechanics of denialism. He means it is the matter of indoctrination. I say it is a defence mechanism. If you belive in statment A, and that is in turn chalanged by statment B, you are inclined to not belive in B. But, if one can prove statement B is not chalanging statment A, the person no longer have a reason to deny B. That is what my experience have told me.

So you have to prove to them that accepting CC is not in conflict with whatever it is they want to preserve. However, what they want to preserve is most likely a carbon intense life style, so it is gonna be a tough sell...

If the overclass could make money from climate change, it would be all over the commercial media and everybody and their dog would be convinced of reality.

There is a politics (a power dynamic) and an infrastructure to what people know and don't know.

I remain deeply alarmed by TODers' quickness to patrician gloom/Malthusian nihilism about our fellow humans. If you think average people are really hopeless, then why bother with TOD and its topics at all? How do you blame people for being dumb when it requires very active reading and thinking to have a chance of getting smart?


I hang out here to get the news of the latest developments. This is a very interesting time (the chinese kind of way) we are living in, and I want to know what is going on. This web site is one of the very best out there.

And: you can only be educated in a matter if you realy care to know. For example everybody have opinions about religion history, but now when I am actually reading up on the subject, I recon 90% of those opinions are not correct. But we all chose what to be interested in from a list of potential interests that are nearly infinite. The majority who are not interested enough to get the facts on climate change them self will be prey for skillful information predators.

Jedi, I like you and your comments.

But you seem to miss my point here. Why are the masses "not interested enough"? It has to do with inequality in households (which shapes the way people acquire skills and approach information) and schools, and also with the sponsored blitzkrieg that is the commercial media.

To say "you ought to know better" is to deny the effects of the above forces, which are very, very powerful.

I suspect that given the average random subject (excluding sex and football), the average Joe is just "not interested enough" to put in the trouble to learn. Its almost certainly always been this way. This is no way is a denial of those very powerful forces of misinformation, but even without them, its a tough sell.

"It has to do with inequality in households (which shapes the way people acquire skills and approach information) and schools...

Since some of the brightest and, supposedly, best educated folks I know are pro-growth and vehement climate change deniers, I'm not sure this holds up too well. I also know folks (quite a few) who've had no higher education, some from quite backward, rural/evangelical beginnings who 'just get it'. There's a lot more at play here, including how invested one is in their mythology and their status quo.

I think, for the most part, 'the masses' are too busy just getting by, many with little wiggle room. They're far more concerned about keeping a roof over their head than 400 PPM CO2 or $700 trillion in global derivatives. Others are, indeed, drinking the koolaid being served up by the mega-gallon. That said, it's clearly a complex mess we're in, collectively (one of the few legitimate uses of "we", IMO).

Since some of the brightest and, supposedly, best educated folks I know are pro-growth and vehement climate change deniers

There is a quote on TOD over in the quote box about understanding and how not understanding is key if you get a paycheck.

I'll point to http://solari.com/blog/the-red-button-problem/ and let the TOD readership who doesnt' know about this observation become enlightened.

I doubt you can get 99 of 100 to agree on anything. I also doubt 99 of 100 know where the money come from in the example.

I don't know why they are not interested enough!

I will think about this issue for a while now. Lets see what I come up with.

However, what they want to preserve is most likely a carbon intense life style, so it is gonna be a tough sell...

JW, it may be a tough sell today, but over time as carbon intensity becomes more expensive and impractical, it will get easier. The unfortunate thing is that the damage being done may become overwhelming (arguably has already done so) before they decide it is no longer an option.


But the problem with deniers is that they are so dogmatic in their anti-evidence, anti-science flat-earthism.

And the pro side hasn't given a path to stop feeding the parasite class.


Go ahead supporters - show your plan that prevents the above 70% waste and production 'issue'.

This was in NY Times today

Hassles of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak

WASHINGTON — Long a punch line for harried Northeast travelers, Amtrak has come to dominate commercial travel in the corridor connecting Washington, New York and Boston, and this summer its trains are packed.

A decade ago, Delta and US Airways shuttles were the preferred mode of travel between the cities. But high fares, slow airport security and frequent flight delays — along with Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains, online ticketing and workstation amenities — have eaten away at the airlines’ share of passengers.

Amtrak Cascades has also seen steady growth from its start up in 1993 with 94 thousand annual passengers to 847 thousand in 2011. Also last year our governor was happy to take over some of the Federal money for high speed rail that was turned down by the anti-transit governors of Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. This will result in improved performance and -- just a guess -- improved ridership in the years ahead. Portland, Seattle and Vancourver, BC already have good transit infrastructure for those arriving by train.

Some regions of the country will undoubtedly do better than others in the decades ahead.

Eurostar (High Speed Rail) market share of the combined London-Paris & London-Brussels market has climbed to 80%.

Britain invested a couple of billion pounds upgrading their track after it leaves the Chunnel. This upped market share from low 50%.

Best Hopes for Long Lived, Energy efficient investments,


PS: Looking at Amtrak's plans, I think they need to go to 160 mph - but the extra billions required to go upgrade that to 220 mph do not appear justified.

Fuel cell trains and trams are now starting to make it into demo stage:

The big advantage here is that it costs a lot of money to electrify track.
Of course fuel cells are currently still expensive, but costs are coming down rapidly.
Deployment in trains is in many respects significantly easier than for cars, as weight is less important, the provision of hydrogen infrastructure comparatively simple along the rail lines, and tanks etc would not need to be carried in every carriage.

You are still talking about no pollution at point of use, and can use natural gas or any source of electricity to provide the hydrogen.

The DOE for car use puts the cost of the hydrogen as competitive for car use, ie no more than double or so the price of petrol/diesel with the better energy efficiency of the fuel cells making up the difference.

A bigger concern for train/tram use is probably the longevity of the fuel cells, but unlike cars due to the much easier weight limits you can use SOFC etc instead of being limited to PEM, and in any case big money is going into increasing durability for fuel cells by the likes of Toyota even if they stick to PEM.

A combination of fuel cells and batteries should allow much wider non-oil burning use of rail than rail electrification alone.

Perhaps one of the original of the species of the type of train you envisage was the Drumm battery train which ran in Ireland on Dublin routes from 1932 until 1950. A brief description of the battery, its inventor and the train is available here http://www.ucd.ie/merrionstreet/1930_drumm.html

If it could be achieved in 1930's Ireland it should be childs play for the 21st century US.


Drumm’s doctoral research, in which he developed a rechargeable alkaline battery capable of rapid and frequent charging and discharging, made him famous.

And how, exactly, is that different than the Nickel Iron batteries?

1 page for "famous batteries" is, as the youth today would say, "weaksauce".

Just going for 79 mph, end to end connections and reliable on time performance would be a huge step in the right direction. It's not cheap, as it requires double and triple tracking, working out schedules with freight carriers, in some places buying more rights of way through cities, in most cases fixing the track and upgrading the turns, and buying a lot of new train sets. But the technology is mature and it's all totally doable given political and popular support and a whole buncha bucks. Reliable intercity trains take cars off the road.

By the way, according to my road engineering text, one heavy truck trip is equivalent to 18,000 light passenger car trips in road wear. Getting more freight transferred to rail will take pressure off the roads. Our freight rail infrastructure also needs an upgrade.

Actually I have been using my Blackberry to get a gauge on train speeds.
The normal Amtrak train to DC NOT the Acela got up to speeds well over 100 MPH.
My commuter train was even reaching speeds of 77 MPH on a local run.
US Trains used to routinely get over 100 MPH. We should be able to reach that
with some track work, sidings, extra tracks very easily.

This summer I did a vacation in Europe. We flew to Frankfurt, then did almost our travel on rail, including high speed trains to and from Italy. Quite nice. I am now a believer in high speed rail.

Streetcar Plans Plow Ahead

Cities from Los Angeles to Atlanta are making big bets to revitalize their downtowns by bringing back a form of transportation many abandoned decades ago: the streetcar.

Late last month, about 500 residents in one part of Kansas City, Mo., voted to create a special taxing district to raise $75 million over about two decades for a streetcar. In the same week, Cincinnati officials passed a measure to allow about $15 million to be spent on a 3.6-mile loop. And in Los Angeles, the city council approved a plan to ask voters if they are willing to pay additional taxes for a four-mile downtown streetcar loop.

Proponents say the streetcars would boost economic growth and catch the fancy of younger generations.

A good look at what it would cost; does anyone have a guage on how many miles total would be needed? (Alan?) How about doing overhead electric street buses? I would intuit that the infrastructure costs would be much less, since they share already existing asphalt/concrete streets.

After comparing costs, miles needed, and tax base, the next question is: where does them money come from to build these goodies? Loans? "Print it"? Taxes? (On whom?)

Quick answers are easy; making them happen not so much. The devil is, as always, in the details.


Where does them money come from to build these goodies?

We vote on ballaot measures like Sound Transit 2 to tax ourselves:

The Sound Transit Board on July 24, 2008 voted to put a reduced Sound Transit 2 plan before voters. It passed by large margins on November 4, 2008.[12] The financial plan for the measure shows $17.8 billion expenditure over 15 years, funded with a 5/10% rise in the regional general sales tax, which essentially doubles Sound Transit's revenue.

Admittedly, this might be a much harder sell in today's economic climate. But Seattle voters and city planners have thoroughly embraced the idea of mass transit.

Luckily, businesses based in high density neighborhoods see the value of transit and are willing to contribute to expanded service:

Celebrating new, private funding for the Seattle Streetcar

It was a perfect day to join Mayor Mike McGinn and representatives of South Lake Union businesses to announce $65,000 in new funding the private sector is contributing to operate additional service on the Seattle Streetcar.

We’ve heard from businesses and commuters that the South Lake Union streetcar is running at capacity during the evening commute. Once the City Council approves it, the $65,000 in funds collected by SLU employers including Amazon, Group Health Cooperative, the University of Washington, and the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, will allow us to put an additional streetcar we already own into service. That means between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., a streetcar will come every 10 minutes (currently the headway is 15 minutes).

New Seattle Streetcar project links downtown train station with new Light Rail Station on Capital Hill :

Long answer later.

Short answer -

France - 1,500 km of new tram lines, at least two (each 12-18 km long) in almost every town of 100,000 and larger.
22 billion euros.

USA = France x4.77


Why is Kansas costing nearly twice as much as SLC and taking longer? Geography, social, streets?


I just took the Amtrak from New Jersey down to Washington, DC a month ago to visit my brother. It was so much more pleasant than driving! Only took 2 1/2 hours whereas driving can take anywhere from 4 1/2 to 6 or more hours. They have WiFi now to go with the plugs for any electronic gizmos you want to plug in, plenty of room to bring my guitar.
The train was totally full. In the past before they required reservations they sometimes got overbooked and there were not enough seats so people had to stand but that problem is solved now. You know you HAVE a seat somewhere finding an empty one may take a while.
If they increased the speed to Boston they could take over that destination just as they have from NY to DC.

Israel 'prepared for 30-day war with Iran'

Israel's outgoing home front defence minister says an attack on Iran would likely trigger a month-long conflict that would leave 500 Israelis dead.

Matan Vilnai told the Maariv newspaper that the fighting would be "on several fronts", with hundreds of missiles fired at Israeli towns and cities.

Israel was prepared, he said, though strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities had to be co-ordinated with the US.

Richard Silverstein told the BBC he had been given an internal briefing memo for Israel's eight-member security cabinet, which outlined what the Israeli military would do to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia orders its citizens to leave Lebanon

BEIRUT – Saudi Arabia has ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately, citing fear of kidnappings by Shiites angry over rebels in Syria taking prisoners from Lebanon and Iran.


This needs to be in the list next time a Drum Beat is posted. It's long but excellent - Syrian drought is one year, extraordinary drought is two years (once in last century) but after four years in a row, 2006 - 2010, the path is clear - reduce rural food security, throw two million Iraqi & Lebanese refugees into the mix, and watch the sparks fly.

Thanks Hill Rat, excellent article. Little bread and few circuses for the Syrians...

Lovely. A nuclear-armed NPT non-signatory violating the UN Charter's prohibition on using war threats as a diplomatic device, in order to attack the nuclear facilities of an NPT signatory, all on the exact same claims as Iraq Invasion II...

I, for one, will go into the streets if this war actually happens.

Its sickening. But, I think going onto the streets is counterproductive. So you are an implicit supporter of aggression if you do, and if you don't.

How is protesting an illegal war supporting aggression? Iran has attacked nobody. I'm not a fan, but the point is to oppose imperialism and lawlessness.

Its seems to create a dynamic whereby the opponents of aggression can be stereotyped as lawless rioters (even if no riots actually ocurred). Then the aggressors can win the political struggle. Like I said its damned if you do, damned if you don't. How to find an effective way to fight something that the public seems to accept?

How to find an effective way to fight something that the public seems to accept?

You don't need to have people USE the application - a smart phone app that allows one to tailor they buying based on a bar code scan to their political positions.

going onto the streets is counterproductive

Yes - you might get stuck between a bullet and a target.

The Blaze has a story today on the Social Security Administration (SSA) soliciting bids on 174,000 rounds of .357 125 grain bonded jacket hollow point (JHP) bullets.

Eric: Glenn Beck is not a very good source of info for what the SSA is doing. He repeats anything he hears. Do you have a real source for that? Something verifiable? I doubt that it is true, and have no basis for believing or not.

Oh, and you need to expand your reading. Obviously you have far too much time on your hands. I suggest "Science", "Scientific American," "BAS", "Astronomy", "Skeptic" and "Skeptical Inquirer", though SI gets boring from repetition (I don't think flying saucers and ghosts are a real problem for most people).

Warning: real science makes you think.

Don't just believe any assertion you hear from the far right.


I've done the streets to here and back. If they do it, well maybe it's off to the monastery this time.

That got shot to pieces in short order on Terralist yesterday morning. Not an actual briefing, for many reasons but most obviously because it makes no mention of an Iranian counter-strike. It was leaked for show, part of an ongoing attempt to gain approval from the United States for such a move.

Israel has their own version of the Tea Party, and they're just as irrational and combative as here.

The whole business makes me itch when I read about it. There are just too many moving parts, too many unknowns, and the United States has poured energy into the region just like the Balkans a century ago.

A couple of interviews on Background Briefing today:

A specialist on Israeli military and foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, Natan Sachs, joins us to assess the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran before the November elections.

Rasool Nafisi, an expert on the Pasdaran, the Guardians of the Revolution, who are the power behind the Supreme Leader, joins us to discuss whether targeting the leadership and the homes of senior figures in nuclear and missile development, scenarios that are contained in a purported leaked Israeli memo, would result in regime change.

Nine Straight Days of 110 or More: That’s Hot, Even for Phoenix

The temperature rises cruelly here as the day goes on — hot in the morning, very hot by midday and still hot late at night. While that is not uncommon for August, when the mercury breaches the triple digits practically every day, it has been particularly vicious of late as the same routine has played out day after day.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning on Aug. 6 and has extended it all the way through 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Ken Waters, the agency’s warning-coordination meteorologist in Phoenix, spoke cautiously, though, saying there is “a little bit of relief” in sight, but “not much, really,” just “a bit of a drop in temperatures.”

... As of Monday, the average August temperature was 100.2 degrees, or 6.2 degrees higher than normal ...

... The heat is so intense it feels as if it is searing the exposed skin. Cracking the front door feels like opening the oven to check the cookies. To enter a car that has been parked in the sun for some time is like stepping inside a wood-burning stove; steering wheels are so hot sometimes they might burn a driver’s fingers.

also City Temps May Soar From Urbanization, Global Warming

... For people who actually live in cities, the urban heat island effect is more than just a mathematical annoyance. If you’re sweltering on a hot summer day, your body doesn’t much care where the heat is coming from. And according to a paper just published in Nature Climate Change, urbanization alone could drive local temperatures up by a whopping 7°F by 2050 in some parts of the U.S. — some two or three times higher than the effects of global warming (which would also be going on at the same time).

Nutting like a hot shwoer


What disturbs me most is that this has broken such a recently set record.


Study proves that one extinction leads to another

When a carnivore becomes extinct, other predatory species could soon follow, according to new research. Scientists have previously put forward this theory, but a University of Exeter team has now carried out the first experiment to prove it.

Interesting. So when the predator dies out, its prey out-competes the rival predator's prey, and the rival predator dies out from lack of food.

Conclusion: Somewhere there is a species that, when we have made it extinct, will trigger our own extinction.

Karma's a bitch.

Aren't we doing that by using our prey species to force out other predators' prey?


True, but that's a different mechanism. We destroy the natural habitats containing the other predator's prey to create environments more suited to our prey -- corn, wheat, sugarcane, cattle, poultry etc.

But one day we might, for example, destroy the last Lesser-Spotted Kudzu Eater and find our farmlands taken over by kudzu and starve to death.

Kudzu's edible.

There's also the fact that we are generalists, rather than specialists like many predators (and non-predators). So if we kill off all our "prey", we move to something else. There is no Lotka-Volterra thing going on like where when the Lynx eats too many hares and reduces their populations, the Lynx population subsequently declines from lack of food, until the hare population recovers, and on and on. Dynamic equilibrium.

Generalists "cheat". They destroy one prey species (and therefore that species' other predator(s), then move on to another prey item, destroy that, etc., ad not-quite-infinitum, until the bitter end.

Here's my cheerful prediction: H. sap. is going to eat the Planet, unless some eco-catastrophe stops us first. I am very afraid that we are NOT smarter than yeast. Only time will tell.

We are yeasts, stuck together and coordinated in movement and function. We, the system, serve the needs of the constituent cells. If we are good and get resources for the body, we are rewarded with a shot of dopamine. If we are bad and fail to nourish the system, we are punished with pain. Who are we? A multi-dimensional hologram defined by all of the senses and their powers of association. Are we smarter than yeasts? No. We're just a big yeast system. Our motivations are as old as a single cell's while our methods are new, inspiring, beyond discipline, destructive and self-defeating.

An example of people administering a computer-simulated environment given in The Logic Of Failure:
Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations
. Most participants introduced policies that led to a population explosion followed by a population crash.

Whether we like it or not, whatever we do has multiple effects.

For example, one reason that Tanaland's fields and gardens are so unproductive is that mice, rats, and monkeys eat much of the crops. The obvious solution is to reduce the numbers of these pests drastically by hunting, trapping, and poisoning. Initially, extermination of the rodents and monkeys improves the yield from farms and orchards. But at the same time the decrease in small mammals brings about an increase in the insects the small mammals also feed on. And then there are the region's large predatory cats; deprived of the small mammals that are their prey, they take to feeding on cattle instead. Thus, it is possible that attempting to eliminate the rodents and monkeys will be not merely useless but actually harmful. Failure to anticipate side effects and long-term repercussions of this kind was one reason for the failures that most of our participants produced in Tanaland.

Then there was the Four Pests Campaign

The Great sparrow campaign, also known as the Kill a sparrow campaign, and officially, the Four Pests campaign was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. The extermination of the latter upset the ecological balance, and enabled crop-eating insects to proliferate.

I think we as humans are taking a more novel approach, beginning with the bottom of the food chain in the oceans...

We will start eating at the bottom of the food chain in the oceans when we've eaten everything else.

I think the acidification of the world's oceans qualifies as a "giant leap for Mankind" -- toward doom. But maybe I'm wrong :-|

"A giant Leak for Mankind" ?

Mmm, jellyfish!

Conclusion: Somewhere there is a species that, when we have made it extinct, will trigger our own extinction.

Apex predator fish - like Cod.

Or Salmon.

The local indians have been saying that since time immemmorial.

Gov. Jerry Brown Launches Climate Change Website Aimed At Skeptics

Tired of what he calls “climate change deniers” and their continued insistence on repeating arguments long since debunked by scientists, California Gov. Jerry Brown has launched a new site filled with rebuttals to this misinformation.

Much like Grist’s online reference “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic”, Brown’s Office of Planning and Research lists off 14 popular denier talking points and how to answer them.

Fracking in the Arctic?

Awhile back I posted a note that a company called Great Bear Petroleum had aquired N Slope leases, with plans to test fracking shale for oil on the N Slope of Alaska. Many of us with N Slope experience were skeptical (for both technical and economic reasons) that it would work up here. We may soon find out. Great Bear is now in the process of drilling their first wells. Some more information is available in a powerpoint presentation Great Bear recently made to the Alaska state government.

It seems a similar efforts may be underway by other companies in the Canol Shale in Canada's Northwest Territories.

"Strange things are done 'neath the Midnight Sun....."

Geo – I’m sure you know better than me but given the very high cost of operating up there and the transport cost they must be expecting the Mother of All Fractured Oil Shale plays. The cynic in me wonders if this isn’t just one more investor skinning project

Yes Rock, you will note that I said many of us are skeptical for economic reasons. And most of us assumed this was just another ploy to attract unwary investors.

The interesting thing is that Great Bear has said they are not looking for partners, and that may in fact be true. I've heard (through contacts) that at least one of the major N Slope producers approached them about joining, and Great Bear turned them down. They seem to have their money lined up already. They have leased 500,000 acres of state lands (the maximum allowed under state law), and are drilling wells. They may have completed their first well by now. Their plan this summer is to drill 3-4 wells in the fairway, cut core, and complete them. Then come back and frac and test.

Note that Ed Duncan, the head dude, is an old Sohio N Slope geologist. I don't think he is naive about what it costs to operate on the slope. They do seem to be going about it in an intelligent way. They are drilling their first wells along the Dalton Hwy (the TAPS "Haul Road"). That way they can drill from gravel, which means they can do it in the summer. Most exploration drilling is from ice pads in the winter, so they probably got a good rate on a rig. And having their first wells close to TAPS they can start producing quickly (at least by N Slope standards).

All in all it is quite intriguing. I'm still skeptical that the economics work, but it doesn't seem to be a scam. These guys are serious.

Geo – Ed and his cohorts may be as honest as the day is long during August on the N. Slope. But no oil patch con man is going to want a sophisticated group reviewing their scam. Many years ago I had one such con man show me his Austin Chalk scam in Texas he was pitching to innocents. He figured since I was oil patch I was a crook too. He was wrong. I called the state attorney general and found out they had already shut them down in Dallas. Gave him their new address. As I‘ve said before one of my great disappoints was not being in the building when a Texas Ranger hauled that ass away in cuffs.

I hear you. However, I have some good friends (experienced former oil co geos) in one of the state agencies. They've had a chance to look at Great Bear's operation, and seem convinced these guys are indeed serious. That's why I found the other link I posted, about shale oil leasing in the Canadian Northwest Territories intriguing. It said Shell is one of the players leasing there. I would consider Shell to be a "sophisticated group".

In any case, we will probably see soon enough about Great Bear. I will keep y'all posted.

The Canol Formation is believed to be the source rock for the old Norman Wells oil field in the Northwest Territories, which has produced 220 million barrels of oil since 1920. MGM's theory is that most of the oil was trapped in the source formation rather than escaping. It's rather Bakken-like.

Shell has taken a farmout from MGM Energy to fund a well to earn 37.5% of the play, with the option of drilling a second well to earn another 37.5%. If it drills both wells, Shell would become the operator of the field. Obviously Shell is interested.

It has the advantage that there is already an oil pipeline out from Norman Wells to southern markets. In addition, if they found a lot of oil, they could rebuild the old WWII Canol Pipeline from Norman Wells, NWT to Fairbanks, AK and put the oil into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. (The Canol Pipeline was built to supply the US Army in Alaska with fuel in case the Japanese Navy cut off oil tankers from the Lower 48).

We'll see how it plays out.

Yes, hard to say how either Great Bear in Alaska or MGM/Shell in NWT will play out. Great Bear is drilling (they may be on their second well by now) so we may know within a year or so how that play works out. I don't know when Shell will start a well in NWT? I'm still somewhat skeptical that either play will work, but I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

As a personal aside, my father helped build the Canol Road back during WW2. The US Army built the pioneer road for the Alcan (basically just a cat trail), then a bunch of big, strong, farm boys from Wisconsin, Minnesota and N Dakota were hired to complete the road. My Dad was one of them. He had some great stories, and I wish I had listened more closely.

Shell intends to drill this winter or next. Shell has the deep pockets to do it, and they're interested in the results.

MGM could not afford to drill it on their own, which is why they farmed it out. They have lots of gas resources in the NWT, but little production, and no pipeline to take the oil out to market - hence the shale oil play.

The Canol Pipeline story is an interesting one - it made for the most expensive oil in the world to that date, something like $100/bbl in 1940's dollars delivered to Alaska. If the Japanese hadn't sunk the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and been threatening to invade Alaska, the US wouldn't have built it - or the Alaska Highway, either. The Alaska Highway was a better investment.

The WWII Canol Road is no longer usable for vehicles on the NWT side. The bridges have collapsed and are not intended to be rebuilt. You can hike it or bike it, but it takes about four weeks and you have to swim the rivers. See Canol Heritage Trail.

Is fracking viable in the winter? I am thinking large quantities of frozen water. Might this be more of a summertime activity?


From above: "Their plan this summer is to drill 3-4 wells in the fairway, cut core, and complete them. Then come back and frac and test."


edit: They will have to drill the remotes in winter when the ground is frozen to support the rig, then come back in warm weather for fracking. The scenario above is for those drilled on gravel.


Yes, I think they can frac in winter. Most activities can be done year around, although some become more complicated (and slower and more expensive) in winter. Some activities are temporarilly delayed during really severe weather. In my experience, those delays are usually due to big storms when poor visibility and drifting snow make road travel difficult and dangerous. Some activities stop during extreme cold spells (below -50 F or so ambient). This is primarily because it is hard on the equipment. Hydraulic fluid gets thick, hoses get brittle, all sorts of things don't work so well in that kind of cold. That drives maintenance costs way up. However those extreme cold spells usually don't last too long on the slope. Typical winter temps on the slope are in the -20 F range, and that is no big deal for most acitivities. The coldest temperature I've ever been out in was around -60 F (ambient, not windchill). I think that is near the all time record low at Prudhoe.

Note that most remote exploration activity is done from ice pads, connected by ice roads. These pads and roads are built by trucking water from lakes, then spraying it on the tundra. For obvious reasons that only works in winter.

If I recall, Great Bear has previously said they hope to have a couple of test wells in production by September. I haven't heard if they still hope to keep that schedule.

From BBC: China's ghost towns and phantom mall

... Investment in infrastructure accounts for much of China's GDP - the country is said to have built the equivalent of Rome every two months in the past decade. And with such a large pool of labour, it is harder to put the brakes on when growth slows and supply outstrips demand.

"You have got seven to eight million people entering the workforce in China every single year, so you have to give them something to do in order to retain the legitimacy of the government," says Doran.

"Maybe 10 or 15 years ago they were doing things that made sense - roads, rail, power stations etc - but they have now got to the point where it's investment for investment's sake."

China's labor force should peak in 2015 - so the "expanding labor force" argument is simply not valid. Other social & economic inertia factors do explain what is happening.


Are there not still large numbers of rural Chinese ag laborers who 'enter the labor force' via displacement from agriculture, rather than via age?

According to the UN's 2011 Urbanisation estimates, China is at the inflection point in the rural-urban migration curve.

There will still be "urban drift", but slower than it has been for the last decade, and slowing down. Given that China's farmers are older than the urban population, there'll be a labour shortage in agriculture, which might further slow the drift.

Thanks, sorry for being lazy and not looking it up. My read on that data source is that while, as you describe, the rate at which the urban population is growing has begun to decline, the urban population will not peak for 20 years after the total population peaks due to significant continuing urbanization. The working age population will peak much sooner, but I think I am correct in presuming that the urban working age population will continue to grow (albeit more slowly) for a significant period of time after the total working age population peaks.

Sinopec's Clean Coal Plan Shows It's Set To Buy Chesapeake's Texas Oil Fields

... According to the Wall Street Journal, Sinopec aims to invest as much as $1 billion in a west Texas clean coal project. The idea is to capture the carbon dioxide emissions from burning the coal for power, then piping the CO2 around to be injected into old oil fields to coax out more stubborn crude.

In fact, it’s in the Permian Basin fields where more carbon dioxide is used for enhanced oil recovery than anywhere else in the world. A thought: wouldn’t it make just too much sense for Sinopec to be looking for ways to secure a long-term carbon dioxide supply before it announced a deal for Chesapeake’s Permian assets? Just speculation, but it fits.

Drought sends Mississippi into 'uncharted territory'

It’s getting near critical,” said Austin Golding, a third-generation co-owner of Vicksburg, Miss.-based Golding Barge Lines. “Without more rain, we’re heading into uncharted territory.”

About $180 billion worth of goods move up and down the river on barges, 500 million tons of the basic ingredients for much of the U.S. economy, according to the American Waterways Operators, a trade group. It carries 60 percent of the nation’s grain, 22 percent of the oil and gas and 20 percent of the coal, according to American Waterways Operators. It would take 60 trailer trucks to carry the cargo in just one barge, 144 18-wheeler tankers to carry the oil and gas in one petroleum barge.

The low water levels mean that barge companies have to lighten their load by about 25 percent so the barges ride higher in the water, reducing what’s known as the barges’ “draught.”

That means each tow boat is moving less cargo than usual even though “it takes up the same amount of fuel to burn and the same amount of manpower,” said Ed Henleben, senior operations manager for Ingram Barge Co. in St. Louis.

The low water levels in the Mississippi are also resulting in a wedge of salt water creeping upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the drinking water supply in New Orleans. The Army Corps of Engineers hopes to begin work this week on a $5.8 million underwater barrier to block the saltwater’s advance.

Here is how one crisis impacts another: Climate change > transportation cost > peak oil > economic decline!

How fun to live in these ("Chinese") interesting times.


Here's another ...

After drought blights crops, U.S. farmers face toxin threat

The worst U.S. drought in five decades has parched the land and decimated crops. It now threatens to deal a second blow to farmers, who may have to throw out metric tons of toxic feed.

Growers are rushing to check the nitrate levels of that silage, the stalks and leaves that corn farmers often harvest to feed to locally raised cattle or hogs.

Agriculture groups are warning farmers that drought-hit plants may have failed to process nitrogen fertilizer due to stunted growth, making them poisonous to livestock.

and Drought causing cracks in basement walls

... Oops!

Drought causing cracks in basement walls..

Question: What happens when all of that sub-soil re-hydrates?

Raise Tilapia in the basement? Be a Tilapia Tycoon! ;-)

Yeah, plumbing beneath basements also. Alluvial clay soils like those deposited via glacial Lake Agassiz shrink during droughts. Not cheap to fix.

This is correct: if the drought continues and more sand banks of the Misissippi is exposed, there will be more territory. Wich is previously uncharted, because it was under water before the drought.

If the drought doesn't get us the next big flood might. As I recall heroic effort was needed to keep the Mississippi on its current course in 2010 - the river *will* switch channels to the Atchafalaya if we turn our backs for an instant.

There is plenty of rail on both sides of the river, but if we lose New Orleans as a port what then?

We have a bushel basket of troubles, a peck sack of solutions, and not enough energy to deploy them even if we had the political will to do so.

Almost 80 years of diverting water (30% or so) from the Mississippi River down the Atchafalaya has left so much sediment that the Mississippi River no longer "wants" to go that way.


Is the corps fiddling with the percentage or volumes diverted or down the Atchafalaya River?

Re: Water shortages hit US power supply

While cooling water is certainly a legitimate concern, this particular piece is sloppily written. It points to a different piece, linked using the sentence "At least four nuclear plants had to shut down in July for these reasons," where "these reasons" are either low water flows or high water temperatures. When you follow the link to the next story, you do find four reactors with problems: one with unexplained high neutron flux, one shutdown that could not be confirmed with either the owner or the NRC, one with a leak in an instrument line (since repaired), and one with that was confirmed to be shut down but no details on the cause were available. Unmentioned in either story is the recent case of a reactor shutdown in Connecticut that actually was due to high water temperatures in Long Island Sound.

There are 12 down Today, Yesterday there were 9. 2 weeks ago there were only 5 down.


I'm sure somewhere on this site you can determine why each is down, but I sure can't find it.

I couldn't find it either, so spent some time with Google. Of the dozen reactors that were at zero power this morning:

Reactor Reason Down
Calvert Cliffs 1 Unexpected control rod drop into core
Millstone 2 Long Island Sound water temperature too high
Crystal River 3 Down since 2009 for repairs
Saint Lucie 2 Shut down for upgrade
Turkey Point 3 Shut down for upgrade
Monticello Idled for minor repairs
Palisades Shut down due to leak in control rod drive mechanism
Point Beach 1 Shut down due to steam turbine problems
Prairie Island 1 Idled for minor repairs
Fort Calhoun Shut down for inspection and repairs following 2011 floods
San Onofre 2 Premature wear boiler tubes
San Onofre 3 Premature wear boiler tubes

Just my opinion, but it generally looks like reactors showing their age more than anything.

"Just my opinion, but it generally looks like reactors showing their age more than anything."

Yeah, but with a bit of duct tape and some bailing wire, they'll be good for another 20 years. Renew that license!

Current event reports are here. Gives status, nature of event, etc.


- "Prairie Island Unit 1 is currently being shutdown per Tech Spec 3.8.1.F due to both Diesel Generators inoperable for Unit 1.

"On August 13th at 0939 CDT, a planned entry to Tech Spec 3.8.1.B was performed for one Diesel Generator inoperable, due to the scheduled monthly surveillance run of D1 Emergency Diesel Generator. At 1048 CDT, a small candle sized flame was identified at the exhaust manifold and D1 was subsequently shutdown. Subsequent investigation by maintenance determined that there appeared to be a gasket leak on the turbocharger. D1 was tagged out of service and repairs are currently in progress.

"Tech Spec 3.8.1 required action B.3.1 requires a determination be made to verify the operable Diesel Generator is not inoperable due to a common cause failure. On August 14th at 0230 CDT, Unit 1 entered the Limiting Condition for Operation to perform the monthly surveillance run to verify no common cause failure existed. At 0312 CDT, the Shift Manager reported a small candle sized fire on the exhaust manifold for D2. Unit 1 entered an event or condition that could have prevented fulfillment of a safety function, a 10 CFR 50.72 (b)(3)(v)(D) report is required due to a loss of both D1 and D2. D2 was subsequently shutdown and declared inoperable....

Previous event reports (2012) here.

Would be nice if there were a status page that was somewhere between the early morning power output level that Turnbull pointed to and the detailed event records that you did.

The San Onofre units may be dead. As I recall the boilers were run out of spec and the resulting damage could well make them uneconomical to repair.

Also from memory, this completely unexpected major generating loss puts California at risk. They can import at most 25% of their power based on grid capacity, which isn't as grim as Texas with their max of 5%, but it all adds up to a headache for the region on hot days.

I wish I could find a good link on this, just Googled a bit, there is a lot of hand wringing but I don't see a solid exposition on the matter.

Crystal River is probably down for the count too. Way too much $ spent trying to do a patch job on containment building rather than fix it right first time.

Future increases in US natural gas exports and domestic prices may not be as large as thought: study

"The lens that has been offered policymakers to address the question of U.S. LNG exports is inappropriate because it assumes a level of exports without accounting for the international market reaction," Medlock said. "The question before policymakers is one of licensing a capability, not licensing a fixed volume. Therefore, this issue must be viewed in the context of international trade if informed policy decisions are to be made."

Previous studies on the impact of U.S. LNG exports on domestic prices have assumed a particular volume of LNG exports from the U.S. when assessing the domestic price impact, but they did not allow for domestic and international market interactions. This is a serious flaw, said Medlock, because market interactions will influence price movements and trade volume.

... This paper argues that (a) the impact on US domestic prices will not be large if exports are allowed, and (b) the long term volume of exports from the US will not likely be very large given expected market developments abroad. The bottom line is that certification of LNG exports will not likely produce a large domestic price impact, although the entities involved may be exposed to significant commercial risk.

More information: the study, “U.S. LNG Exports: Truth and Consequence

I usually lurk here, but found this interesting story:

"Engineers at Oregon State University have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity."


Or they could stick to old-fashioned tried and true technology and generate electricity using methane from sludge digesters, like I saw at the sewage works in Windhoek, Namibia, back in 1980.

But I suppose that's not sexy enough.

The system also works better than an alternative approach to creating electricity from wastewater, based on anaerobic digestion that produces methane. It treats the wastewater more effectively, and doesn't have any of the environmental drawbacks of that technology, such as production of unwanted hydrogen sulfide or possible release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

And when the wastewater gets a salt spike? Or a spike of herbicides? What about the energy to pump the sewage uphill to the wastewater plant?

I thought this was nice - Electric rail transit and community farm.

SEPTA helps community farm grow

(SEPTA is Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, transit system in Philadelphia region)

The Walnut Hill Community Farm at 46th and Market Streets is marking its second season. Operated by The Enterprise Center Community Development Corp. (TEC-CDC), the farm is adjacent to the 46th Street MFL station, in a lot used by SEPTA during the extensive “El” reconstruction project in West Philadelphia. When the renovations were completed in 2009, SEPTA was left with a vacant plot of land and looking for a way to turn the location to a community asset.

SEPTA connected its 46th Street Station downspout to the Farm’s rainwater collection cisterns and installed shelving on the side of the station building to hold solar panels that will power the water pump that operates the Farm’s irrigation system (designed by Drexel University Engineering students).

Top Ten Stories of Landsat's 40 Years

Landsat has been capturing change, both worldwide and of the American landscape for 40 years. NASA and U.S. Geological Survey scientists chose the 10 most significant images from this four-decade Landsat data record to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program.

Just another day in the Anthropocene:

  • Overpopulation
  • Deforestation
  • Freshwater depletion
  • Gigantic oil spills
  • Catastrophic wild fires
  • Rapidly retreating glaciers

Quite the legacy we're leaving the lil' kiddies.


The movie "Surviving Progress" will be available in September.


If Surviving Progress sounds too depressing, keep in mind the film is very much about the survival of humanity, not necessarily its doom.

Not long into production, Wall Street crashed, eerily proving the filmmakers’ point before it was finished being made. And things have only gotten tenser since then.

“(None of us) could have anticipated that it was going to come out at a time when all the themes in the book were being demonstrated out there, in the real world; the spreading debt crisis, Ivy League students boycotting Wall Street ... it echoes the risks Wright has identified (in fallen societies),” says co-director Crook.


From 1982


"corrupted" or "chaotic"
"life" or "existence"

Very lost soul at 01:10:35

Koyaanisqatsi - one of the things that started my journey - thank you.

Er, I think you left out a couple -- Ocean Acidification and Mass Extinction Event.

Um, I think you missed the connection -- my list was taken from the top 10 in the article.

Striking, really, don't you think? Even from that modest list most of the recent dramatic changes on the Earth are directly caused by humans.


Right, I did miss it. Sorry 'bout that :)

And you're also right about it being impressive!

Ever wonder what happens to the hundreds of thousands of lamps we remove from service each year? Well, I'm happy to report that all of them get properly recycled, and that one hundred per cent of the mercury and phosphor is captured and reused, as well as the aluminium end caps and glass.

Our local recycling agent, Dan-X, is the only firm in Canada equipped to do this.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/126618-dartmouth-plant-recycling-l...

Some of these old T12 lamps contain upwards of 50 mg of Hg whereas the new Alto II T8s that replace them contain just 1.7 mg (in addition to their lower dose, the new T8s typically last twice as long and, where possible, we put only half as many back).

At last count, Dan-X had some 940,000 lamps on-site awaiting processing (they can handle about 10,000 lamps per day).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1589.jpg


Good to know. And congrats for the good work.

do you(HIH) have a link to a good page/info about refitting old lamps with new ballasts and connections?


It's easy enough to change out the old 4 foot 40 watters to T5's.

Just change the bulb and ballast. The tube sockets are the same and distance between the same also.

Just follow the wiring diagram on the new ballast, as thats a little different.

Hi Turnbull,

Actually, T12 and T8 lamps are the same length, but T5 lamps are metric and thus not directly interchangeable (unless, of course, they're metric T12s which were sold here in Canada back in the early '80s).

You have to pay special attention to how the tombstones are wired when switching from a rapid-start ballast (commonly used in older T12 installations) to new, instant-start T8 ballasts (used widely now due to the added energy savings). That's where most folks jump the rails.


Hi cowpoke,

I'm hoping this document may help: http://www.halcolighting.com/pdf/WP/T8-IS-Retrofit.pdf


Good news. Let me see T12->T8 1/117th the mercury, T5s?



It's fair to say that moving from a T12 lamp to T8 will cut the mercury content by at least 90 per cent. The Philips F32T8 lamps that we use in our retrofit work contain 1.7 mg of Hg, the lowest in the industry, and their Alto II T5 lamps contain just 1.4 mg.

I'm told that when Philips first introduced their Alto line of lamps they offered to share this technology with their competitors at no cost because they understood the environmental benefits to be enormous (hundreds of millions of fluorescent lamps are sold each year in the United States alone), but the other lamp manufacturers declined, presumably as a matter of corporate pride. One of the big three in the industry even went to major Philips accounts (e.g., Ford) claiming that these new lamps would perform poorly, that they would suffer from short life, and so on in an effort to thwart the move to lower mercury content. So here you have a company that puts the general good above their own self-interest, and another that does everything in its power to protect their own. That pretty much tells me everything I need to know.


RE: Bill Gates looks to new toilets to improve world sanitation

The project challenged inventors to come up with a toilet that operated without running water, electricity or a septic system. It needed to operate at a cost of no more than five cents (3p) a day and would ideally capture energy or other resources.

Umm..., dig a hole in the ground?!?

This is perfectly emblematic of criticisms that I've read from people who actually work in impoverished countries. Wealthy western techno-fantasist, or any similarly completely clueless "philanthropist" , swoops into village they know little or nothing about and plops down BIG HI-TECH GIZMO that lands like some robotic rover from Mars. Presto! Problem solved.

Months if not weeks later the wildly inappropriate gizmo sits broken down and un-used, the millionaires and their equally clueless lackeys are long gone, back in their mansions clinking wine glasses in smug satisfaction at their god-like wisdom, and the village? Stuck with a pile of expensive rusting junk.

A great example of when so-called "solutions" which are completely divorced from the larger context of the whole system will only inevitably create more problems.

I highly recommend this book:
The Logic Of Failure: Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations

There are wonderful anecdotes in the book where he sits would be do-gooders in front of a simulation of an impoverished village dependent on millet and cattle for their lives and livelihoods. Unable to think in terms of complex dynamic systems the players inevitably screw up, unintentionally triggering famine, pestilence, and death on an epic scale as their well intentioned but completely doomed "fixes" result in overpopulation, groundwater depletion, crop failure, overgrazing, and a lot of dead cattle.

Sound familiar? I would love to do something similar with a world model a la Limits to Growth.


Bill Gates looks to new toilets to improve world sanitation

Oh, sh@t! The Loo screen of death...
The toilet will now perform a "core dump"

'Reformatting' your 'hard' drive will have a completely new meaning.

Isn't this EXACTLY what we have done to our blue-green marble?

It appears that you have not taken the time to investigate either the solutions being proposed or the problem.
You can't just 'dig a hole in the ground' in the slums of Dacca and all the other urban areas where most people will live by 2050.

The solutions suggested range in sophistication and expense, with some as low-tech as this:

'Walter Gibson, from a team of scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, showed off a toilet that used black soldier fly larvae to process waste and create environmentally-friendly animal feed.

The toilet is already being field tested in South Africa.'


It seems a shame that efforts to improve health and save lives should be denigrated without even taking the trouble to find out what is proposed.

It seems a shame that you have not taken the time to read and understand my comment, or apparently made any effort to follow the link to the book The Logic Of Failure: Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations

If you had then you might have some small comprehension that efforts to "improve health and save lives" are not only NOT the solution, they are in fact the problem.


U.S. Swine Flu Outbreak Spikes

A total of 145 patients has been diagnosed in recent weeks with a strain of the H3N2 animal influenza virus, but it likely has not yet evolved the ability to transmit efficiently between humans

Today the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the number of reported cases in an ongoing outbreak of a strain of the H3N2 animal influenza virus (H3N2v) that transmits between pigs and humans has jumped to 145 in the past week.

Sustained Efficient Human Community Spread of H3N2v

Now, for a little context. CDC understands that people are concerned as to the rapid jump in the number of H3N2 cases compared with last week. At this point, there's no evidence of sustained efficient human-to-human spread in the community.

The above comments from the August 9, 2012 telebriefing on H3N2v have striking similarities to WHO comments on the 2009 H1N1pdm09 pandemic when it was spreading in Europe, Asia, and Australia. The first two cases had been identified in southern California in children who had no contact with swine or each other (samples collected in late March, 2009). Subsequent sequence data from Mexico and Canada confirmed that the same H1N1pdm09 had spread throughout North America, and the report of 150 symptomatic cases at a Queens high school confirmed that the H1N1pdm09 had spread efficiently in April.

The H3N2v detected in July is distinct from the initial H3N2v cases in 2011, and the novel sub-clade was not widely detected in swine prior to the July outbreaks. Moreover, like the high school in Queens in 2009, the clusters are large. 200 symptomatic cases linked to the Gallia Junior County Fair were tested using an influenza A rapid test, and 69 of the 200 cases were positive. A subset was sent to the Ohio Department of Health, and thus far H3N2v has been confirmed in 11, which is similar to the initial data on cases at the 2009 Queens high school.

These large clusters, in combination with confirmed cases in 11 counties in Ohio and 18 counties in Indiana, leaves little doubt that there is efficient human-to-human spread in the community. All sequences released to date match the novel sub-clade detected in the West Virginia day care where there was not direct or indirect swine exposure.

The absence of reported community transmission is linked to biased and limited testing.

A refocus on testing ILI cases with no swine contact is long overdue.

Agri-Cube grows mass quantities of vegetables in a one-car parking spot


hmmm, maybe the 70k can be slashed w/ mass production; i wonder how many watts?

Intriguing. I'm sure pot growers will agree. Looks energy intensive, and hydroponic solutions are quite expensive, especially the organics. "$4500 to grow 10,000 heads of lettuce... though high-end restaurants may be interested in it for growing herbs, etc. I wonder if replacing the lamps periodically is included in the stated costs. If they could perfect LED grow lights, it would make a huge difference. The lamps in the video look like T-8s (may be T-5s with sleeves); generates a lot of heat that needs to be removed.

I would add a second unit for growing tilapia; portable aquaponics.

hand this over to science fair project & be amazed at what even kids could come up with.

To me it's too mechanical/machinist. I would start w/ dome made from bamboo to capture sunlight. (and of course add in the tech)
In any case growing in urban environs / small towns could possibly save in energy/transport

Cape Wind poses no danger to planes, FAA rules

The FAA ruled today the controversial Cape Wind windmill farm does not pose a threat to airplane traffic, giving the 130-turbine project a key green light.

The decision comes as the Federal Aviation Administration is dragging its feet on a congressional probe into the agency’s approval of the wind farm, saying it needs more time to produce a trove of documents and other information requested by a pair of powerful GOP pols.

The aviation problem stems from the night lighting. It seems that you can see the light on the top of the tower, but the vanes rise a good ways above and are invisible to aircraft.

It would be neat, though, to have the lights on the ends of the vanes. Imagine!



I wonder if they've explored having a strobe at the blade-tips that triggers only at the peak of its sweep, to create the Top-range of a windfarm's reach, but not create a lightshow that would surely draw extra fire?



Meh - you aren't thinking correctly.

Put lights all along the blade and light 'em up as they go through the sweep.


Sell light up advertising.

Nice! Sort of like pinwheels in the dark. Target would pay a bundle!

I'm still waiting for someone to follow through with the idea postulated by Heinlein in "The man who sold the Moon."


You mean like this?


This brilliant wind turbine outside of Hanover, Germany powers up in style thanks to a colourful array of lights designed by French artist Patrick Raynaud. Drawing energy from the turbine, the vibrant orbs grow brighter as the wind picks up.

The installation commissioned by the Hanover Expo-Region Climate Protection Programme is designed to show that wind energy can be beautiful.

Petrobras hasn't hit bottom of giant offshore oil find

Petrobras has not yet found the bottom of a giant column of oil in its offshore Carcará subsalt prospect, Jose Formigli, head of exploration and production at the Brazilian state-led oil company, said on Wednesday.

Petrobras has already found a 400-meter (1,312-foot) column of oil in the prospect, which it operates on behalf of Portugal's Galp Energia SGPS and Brazil's Barra Energia and Queiroz Galvao Petroleo e Gas. {ID:nL2E8JE0C0]

The size of the column led Joao Carlos de Luca, chief executive of Barra, to call it "one of the most significant oil discoveries" in the country's history. Others say the column suggests the discovery could be on the order of the Lula-Cernambi complex, an 8.3 billion-barrel area found in 2007 that was the biggest discovery in the Americas in three decades.


The new Petrobras discovery may be huge. On perhaps not. But any geologist that drilled such an oil column would pee on himself. Seriously.

But let me go geek for a moment and explain what “oil column” means. A well drills an oil reservoir and finds the top at 9,000’below sea level. They drill a second well some distance away and discover the base of the same oil reservoir at 10,000’ below sea level. We call this the LKO: lowest known oil. That would be a 1,000’ oil column. But that doesn’t mean they found a 1,000’ thick oil reservoir. The reservoir may only have a vertical thickness of 50’. Or 500’ thick. The column height has no direct bearing on the amount of oil in the reservoir.

How do we make that calculation? Create a net oil pay isopach: a map with lines connecting points of equal pay thickness. Such a map may have a dozen such lines: 10’ of pay, 20’ of pay, etc until the last line denoting 100’ of pay. We then measure the areas between the lines, multiply each area by its average pay thickness. Add it all up and you end up with XXX acre-feet of pay. Two reservoir may each have a 1,000’ oil column. But ne may have 10Xas much o in it as the other.

Of course, that’s not all oil: most of it is the rock so you then reduce that volume by the porosity. A really good reservoir may have 30% porosity so the acre-feet are reduced by 70%. But the pores in the rock don’t typically contain only oil but some water too. A good oil saturation is 80% so the last number is reduced by 20%. So far these numbers are accurate to a fair degree depending on the data density. Now it gets very tricky: not every drop of oil in the reservoir is recoverable. A good recovery factor would be 70% of that last number. A poor RF: 10%. I suspect the Bz subsalt RF’s are more to the high side. And, of course, this calculation says nothing about the rate at which that recoverable oil will be produced.

I went through this Reservoir Engineering 101 not so much to teach the methodology but to point out how utterly meaningless the oil column is in estimating how much oil a field will ultimately produce. To be fair to my Brazilian cousins hey may done the detailed calculation. But if they have why not just give that number instead of touting an oil column height which can’t be used to even make a WAG.

But there was very interesting statement in the article: “Most of the company's expected production increases will begin in 2014, Formigli said. Oil and gas output is expected to grow at an average rate of 5 percent to 6 percent annually”. That’s the first time I’ve seen an official projection of how quickly their DW fields will come on line. It’s not bad but when balanced against the decline rates of existing major fields it doesn’t seem to offer a huge increase in net production gains in future years. Then add the typical short life of DW fields compared to major onshore fields one might not expect them to have the lifespan of a Ghawar Field. DW fields are typically engineered to max the production rate and not URR.

The Bz DW discoveries are no doubt a great addition to our reserve base. But IMHO I wouldn’t call them a game changer for the world. But for Bz: probably so. If they let the oil revenue fuel economic growth in their country ELM may have a significant effect on how much of their production, whatever it may prove to be in the future, is exported.

The Bz DW discoveries are no doubt a great addition to our reserve base. But IMHO I wouldn’t call them a game changer for the world.

I agree, ROCKMAN. For that the world needs quite a few countries that can substantially increase their net oil-exports. That means that the world has to get off the undulating oilproduction plateau, and in the direction the Cornucopians like to draw it.

But for Bz: probably so. If they let the oil revenue fuel economic growth in their country

For economic growth they depend also on the rest of the world.

The country has been expanding its presence in international financial and commodities markets, and is regarded as one of the group of four emerging economies called BRIC. Major export products include aircraft, coffee, automobiles, soybean, iron ore, orange juice, steel, ethanol, textiles, footwear, corned beef and electrical equipment.

BRIC = Brazil, Russia, India and China

Petrobras and the associated partners will certainly have substantial new developments coming on line. However, they will do well to bring them on stream in line with some of the current time frames being talked about. The combination of huge scale of infrastructure development - much of it allocated to new start-up national companies - and the introduction of a whole smorgasbord of new technology into the mix make few challenging times in the next 5-10 years for all involved.

Julian Assange: UK issues 'threat' to arrest Wikileaks founder

Ecuador has accused the UK of making a "threat" to enter its embassy in London to arrest Wikileaks' Julian Assange.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, also said a decision on the 41-year-old's asylum request had been made and would be revealed on Thursday.

...At a news conference in Quito on Wednesday, Mr Patino said a letter from the UK government was delivered through a British embassy official.

"Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our Embassy in London if we don't hand over Julian Assange," he said.

"Ecuador rejects in the most emphatic terms the explicit threat of the British official communication."

He said such a threat was "improper of a democratic, civilized and rule abiding country".

"If the measure announced in the British official communication is enacted, it will be interpreted by Ecuador as an unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and as an attempt against our sovereignty. It would force us to respond," he said.

"We are not a British colony".

Edit: Latest reports that police have entered the building containing the embassy.

Another statement from Ecuador

Ecuadorian spokesman: 'We are deeply shocked by the British government's threats'

Ecuadorian spokesman: 'We are deeply shocked by the British government's threats'

We are deeply shocked by the British government's threats against the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian Embassy and their suggestion that they may forcibly enter the embassy.

This a clear breach of international law and the protocols set out in the Vienna Convention.

Throughout out the last 56 days Mr Julian Assange has been in the Embassy, the Ecuadorian Government has acted honourably in all our attempts to seek a resolution to the situation.

This stands in stark contrast to the escalation of the British Government today with their threats to break down the door of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Instead of threatening violence against the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British Government should use its energy to find a peaceful resolution to this situation which we are aiming to achieve.

– Ecuadorian government spokesman

"We follow the rule of law." (Just give us a few moments here, we find our recent laws are inconvenient, and we need to change them now.)

The law which Britain is threatening to invoke in the Assange case is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.

It allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic immunity of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Mr Assange.

The BBC’s deputy political editor James Landale says the British government has been in long negotiations with Ecuador over the issue and has reminded it of the act.


Bambuser hosting the live stream went down. "Antileaks" claimed responsibility via twitter. Live streams now on ustream which should be harder to DDOS


UK risks setting a very, very bad precedent here.

I think they should try to smuggle him out to an airport and send him to Ecuador on a private jet to live out his life in luxury. The least that can be done for someone trying so hard to tell the truth about a world veiled in corrupt secrecy.

IOW. But too many government asses have been gored, got to have vengence!

Other Latin American countries all put pressure on the UK, as immunity is a huge issue among them.
Plus the taste of colonialism is still bitter.

Statement on UK threat to storm Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Julian Assange

Thursday 16th August, 3:00am UTC

In a communication this morning to the government of Ecuador, the UK threatened to forcefully enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest Julian Assange.

The UK claims the power to do so under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.

This claim is without basis.

By midnight, two hours prior to the time of this announcement, the embassy had been surrounded by police, in a menacing show of force.

Any transgression against the sanctity of the embassy is a unilateral and shameful act, and a violation of the Vienna Convention, which protects embassies worldwide.

This threat is designed to preempt Ecuador’s imminent decision on whether it will grant Julian Assange political asylum, and to bully Ecuador into a decision that is agreeable to the United Kingdom and its allies.

WikiLeaks condemns in the strongest possible terms the UK’s resort to intimidation.

A threat of this nature is a hostile and extreme act, which is not proportionate to the circumstances, and an unprecedented assault on the rights of asylum seekers worldwide.

We draw attention to the fact that the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously declared in Resolution 2312 (1967) that

"the grant of asylum. . . is a peaceful and humanitarian act and that, as such, it cannot be regarded as unfriendly by any other State."

Pursuant to this resolution, a decision to grant asylum cannot be construed by another State as an unfriendly act. Neither can there be diplomatic consequences for granting asylum.

Please, please, please, people! Let us remember what this is all about!

On 20 August 2010, two women came to Swedish police inquiring whether it was possible to require that Julian Assange be submitted to an HIV-test.


...that he "sexually molested" complainant 1 when he had condom-less sex with her after she insisted that he use one; that he had condom-less sex with complainant 2 on the morning of 17 August while she was asleep...

What level of response is appropriate to these charges?

As someone pointed out on one of the forums, even the most despotic regimes of this world don't/didn't raid foreign embassies. We have truly turned a corner, we all live in a police state now and the only freedom we now have is the freedom to buy stuff.



Agree. Came to my mind immediately after I posted the comment. Apologies for that. Although it's hard to find any other incident where the state was involved and this includes pre-war Russia and Germany.

Iran isn't a good case in point, IMO. The US embassy in Tehran was taken over by a mob of militants and students during a revolution; it fell to anarchy, and was held by a revolutionary 'government' which wasn't a signatory to any treaties. This case is decidedly different, and those who think this is about some guy that alledgedly had 'inappropriate sex' with two women need a naivety check.

Yes it was a mob not the cops but it was aided and abetted by Khomeini. When he found that he could no longer milk the issue he let the hostages go.

My admittedly fuzzy understanding, was the Khomeini was not in control, the "students" went against his wishes. But being delivered a fait-accompli, he didn't try to take the embassy back.
Here the compaint against the government, was it didn't effectively defend the embassy. I think the modern Iranian state, has also let mobs take over embassies from time to time.

It is really quite sad how Wikileaks is throwing away all their credibility to try to rescue their rapist messiah.

You do realise that he has not been charged with any offence - let alone found guilty.

Yet a threat has been made by the UK to violate international law in order to grab him.

In any case Ecuador has now granted Asylum. We shall see what happens next. If the UK does plan on acting on the threat (as UK Foreign Office sources apparently confirm - see below) then clearly his value seems far higher than any current accusations (even if true) would justify.

America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally

Craig Murray
Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist

I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.

This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.

The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty.

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Not even the Chinese government tried to enter the US Embassy to arrest the Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. Even during the decades of the Cold War, defectors or dissidents were never seized from each other’s embassies. Murder in Samarkand relates in detail my attempts in the British Embassy to help Uzbek dissidents. This terrible breach of international law will result in British Embassies being subject to raids and harassment worldwide.

The government’s calculation is that, unlike Ecuador, Britain is a strong enough power to deter such intrusions. This is yet another symptom of the “might is right” principle in international relations, in the era of the neo-conservative abandonment of the idea of the rule of international law.

You do realize even Assange's own lawyer says this about the man:

Even assuming that Emmerson is not vouching for the accuracy of these accounts but merely offering them as summaries of the charges against his client, his introductory statement, excerpted above, is striking in its tone and approach:

“Nothing I say should be taken as denigrating the complainants, the genuineness of their feelings of regret, to trivialise their experience or to challenge whether they felt Assange’s conduct was disrespectful, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with.”

At a minimum, such language would seem to preclude two of the defenses that have previously been offered by Assange defenders — that the complainants were merely spurned lovers or government plants concocting fantastical stories for their own purposes.

That sounds like a lawyer trying to be polite. The gloves would come off later.

I find it astonishing that one of the accusers then continued to party with Assange after the alleged incident and continued with posting updates on twitter about how much fun she was having in Assange's company. These tweets were subsequently deleted much later but not before others copied them.

There are many other strange things about the accusations as far as I can see. I think Ecuador summed it up correctly in granting asylum. They assess the risk of him being transferred to the USA from Sweden on Wikileaks related charges (or from the UK for that matter) to be very high. Being held for ever in solitary would then be a real risk.

Ecuador said it asked for guarantees from Sweden that he would not be extradited from there to the USA. Sweden gave them no such reassurances.

Do you really believe that violating the Vienna convention by storming an embassy to bring a currently legally innocent man (who also happens to be under diplomatic protection) in for mere "questioning" is the right thing to do?

No. All they need do is put a guard on each entrance. He can either stay there for the rest of his life or come out, up to him.

Yes. That's quite obvious to all parties although there would always be a chance for a breakout. Last night's mysterious "Pizza for Mark Anthony" incident had many wondering on twitter if he swapped places with the Pizza delivery guy who entered and exited the embassy wearing a helmet and carrying a pizza for "Mark Anthony".

The UK has gone much further than just guarding the exits though and is threatening to barge in and seize him by force (and they even put that in writing!) . I can just imagine the British government's reaction if it was a threat against a UK embassy.

If you're willing to believe that England and the US are really pushing to have him extradited due simply to these highly trumpeted sex charges, after the leaks that he embarrassed them all with.. I shake my head in wonder.

Maybe, maybe not. If I were him I'd be a lot more worried about anyone being killed because of what I leaked. For that he should get a murder charge.

And what of the hundreds of thousands that may not have died due to his leaks ?


He uncovers the Murders and War Crimes of the US and UK and others, and all good, blinkered flag-wavers want him to be hung for it. Classic.


An international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials have released a statement in support of Assange. We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. "If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me," Ellsberg says. "I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist... Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am."

Assange has been granted asyllum. The UK has since stated it will arrest him anyway, and that it will enter the embassy if necessary to do so.

Assange was questioned in Sweden about these alleged offences and released without charge. (To repeat he is not accused of rape as it is defined in UK or US It is not clear to me that what he is accused of is a crime at all in the UK). At a later date the Swedish prosecutors re-opened the case and requested his extradition for further questioning. The timing is clearly political.

Recall any recently in the US who wasn't brought down by sex? Maybe that Texas House Speaker, the gerry manderer, but few others. It's the charge that sticks.

Assault is a crime in the UK. Assaults that happen in private without leaving obvious physical injury are generally impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt, so whether he would be charged is dubious, and whether he would be convicted even more unlikely.

However he could quite easily be convicted of bail jumping should the British authorities lay their hands on him.

Ah, but to Henriksson, these are not just charges. He actually described Assange above as a "rapist" (not alleged). In Henriksson's head, Assange is already charged, tried and convicted.

Does TOD have a policy on posters referring to legally innocent individuals as "rapists" I wonder?

Just my take on what Ecuador should do.Surround the UK embassy in Quito under the pretext that they fear extremists are going to attack and it is for the fear of life for the UK Diplomats.Then send a high official preferably the Foreign Minister(I am sure he speaks English)to tell the Brits that the have a "quid pro quo" .To apply additional pressure ask the Argentinians,Bolivians, Venezuelans, Uruguayans to do the same (I am 100% sure they will comply).Then tell Hague to provide a police escort to the Foreign Minister and Assange to the private jet at the airport.To put further pressure tell that they are going to apply trade sanctions etc,etc in unison.To give the Brits a way out give them 24 hrs so that they can consult the Lord attorney general and he can come back with the decision that according to the Geneva Convention the Ecuadorians have all rights to take Assange to Ecuador.This would safe face for the Brits and get what the Ecuador govt wants.By the way hats off to Rafael for taking up the imperialists and most of all on a personal basis I like to expose William Hague(and the British Govt) as a "paper tiger" all air no punch.They have been punching above their capability and about time that they realised that they are an empire that declined after WW II.

I can just imagine US jet fighters "escorting" said private plane to an American controlled runway, then performing the extraordinary rendition thing.

Upthread, one of the mods called Andrea Rossi a "scammer", even though Rossi has actually not been convicted with such. (That Rossi is very likely a scammer appears to be neither here nor there.)

You might want to do some research about Rossi before you come to his defense so quickly.


Yup. Rossi was convicted and did jail time on a previous energy scam, called Petroldragon. Never mind the LTI stuff.

This is why I don't understand why people are not more suspicious of him now. He's got a track record, and it's not good.

My understanding is the conviction was overturned later.

Kind of like how Nixon was pardoned by Ford - all by the rule of law, no?

Don't try to be obtuse - what is clearly the issue here is how much supporters of Wikileaks are prepared to go to support their hero, even though he is quite clearly a highly disgusting man, who is not especially crucial for the wide range of activity we refer to us "information leaks". Oh yes, to say that Julian Assange all made those leaks by Himself is extremely naive, and I hope you're not actually claiming such.

Remember - one of the core principles of Wikileaks is to stop powerful people from getting away with bad things.

Since you hijacked a thread which was essentially about a UK threat to violate Ecuador's sovereign embassy and a long respected treaty, and turned it into an indictment and verdict of Assange, it seems a bit obtuse to be calling others obtuse. Just sayin', there are far more important principles at stake here than your opinion of Assange. Quite a good example of how things can break down these days.

Best hopes that commenters (especially relatively new ones) hold themselves to a higher standard than this.

+ 6.0221415e+23

Sometimes your comments make no sense. An unsolicited statement of the number of atoms in a mole is a bit of a nonsequitur here, don't you think?


I think he meant it the way people post +1, +1000, etc. to show agreement.

Frankly, I wish people wouldn't do that. Like comments that consist of just a smilie face or just "I agree!" they are comments without content. Take up bandwidth without adding much.

If consensual sex is disgusting then what can I say ? Yes, Assange has been a disappointment(I am still waiting for the secret Swiss bank accounts) but the way he has been treated by the Brits is atrocious .
Assange never has claimed he made those leaks by himself(can you tell me where he purported so),he is only the conduit for the exposes .Yes you are correct regarding the core principles and that is what has the TPTB in jitters that they are going all out to get him.

As with most vendettas the real motivation is the setting of an example. Mess with our secrets, and you will spend several decades in absolute misery! Its all about deterring the next Assange or Manning.

The MSM does not report on the fact that Sweden refuses to interview Assange in the Embassy, without giving any reason, whilst the UK is getting ready to break international law to get Assange to Sweden so that they can ask him some questions, which they could do antime they like in London.
Reading only the MSM must be like reading Pravda during the days of the Soviet Union.

At this moment, Brent is trading at $116.80 and WTI is sitting at $94.28. That means Brent is trading at a premium of $22.58 over WTI. That is the largest spread I have seen in a while.
Bloomberg Energy Prices

Ron P.

"Sunset Limited Route could rise again"
Mayors and other officials from Florida to Louisiana will be in Mobile today for a conference to discuss restoring passenger train service in the region. The service from Jacksonville to New Orleans was at one time part of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited line from Los Angeles to Jacksonville. Discontinued after Hurricane Katrina damaged miles and miles of tracks in 2005, the closure has affected some 13 communities where the train stopped and passengers could get on or off.


A Sour Season for Michigan's Cherry Farmers

2012 has been the worst year in recorded history for Michigan fruit. Statewide, more than 90 percent of the tart cherry crop was lost when freezing weather followed an unusually warm spring.

Temperatures in March shattered records across the country, reaching the mid-80’s in Michigan that month - that’s nearly 14 degrees Fahrenheit above the state average. That pushed the trees to a development stage about 5.5 weeks ahead of normal.

This isn't the first time Michigan experienced such a devastating season. A similar extremely early spring followed by frost events occurred in 2002.

“We thought that was really a statistical outlier, and 10 years later we have a very similar situation,” said Jim Nugent. “It’s really disconcerting when we have two once-in-a-lifetime events within an 11-year period.”

It’s really disconcerting when we have two once-in-a-lifetime events within an 11-year period.

Probably so. But do remember that in The Black Swan, Taleb was a bit hard on people who think they're safe to go in for X years, when the statistical risk of something very bad is significantly less than once in X years. It's not regular like Shinkansen train arrivals; but random and unpredictable, like US local bus arrivals only more so. IOW the risk of an occurrence is usually not affected (much if at all) by another occurrence in the recent past.

Indeed. Flooding is the same way. You have a 1 in 100 chance of getting the 100-year flood every year, regardless of what happened last year.

But, if you have a prediction that flooding will get worse for some reason, and you start getting 100-year floods every five or ten years, you have to wonder if what was once a once in a hundred year event is now more common.

...every five or ten years...

And indeed that's where it gets messy. One must choose a Clintonian definition of every, since the customary definition is useless because it's not clockwork. That is, just how many of what level of floods or droughts, over how many years, with what degree of similar location, will be deemed to set the threshold of panic? (And, by the way, do severe blizzards count towards or against the threshold?) Panicking over a single short interval between occurrences seems a bit over the top. But beyond that, there's a huge space for politics, since the choice of a hard threshold on a continuous variable must inevitably be quite arbitrary. It can only get even worse when there are calls to respond in a heavy-handed and inherently political manner when the arbitrary threshold is exceeded - such as by, say, forcing the public (more precisely, those members of the public who lack good political connections) to drive less, shiver indoors in winter, stew in summer, or accept fewer choices or less prosperity.

the choice of a hard threshold on a continuous variable must inevitably be quite arbitrary

Well sure. But if you have a theory that the climate is changing, changes in the frequency of events is data. In this case, data that seems to support the theory that things are warming up. Just like heat records being broken that were set recently as opposed to randomly.

If you think the dice are loaded, and you keep rolling double sixes, don't you change your wager?

Sinkhole Update ...

Louisiana sinkhole: Butane well company's worst-case scenario report required

'A lot of dynamic things' happening around the butane cavern, state officials say

The state of Louisiana gave the owner of butane well 1600 feet from the giant sinkhole, Crosstex, twenty-four hours to provide a worst-case scenario as seismic activity continues to be detected in the area now under preparations to be drilled. 

According to the latest report, 940,000 barrels of butane are in Crosstex’s storage cavern.

Crosstex has two underground storage caverns for butane and propane in the vicinity of the sinkhole with a combined capacity of more than 3.1 million barrels, according to financial filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Calculating based on the assumption that the 20-million-barrel Texas Brine cavern is the cause of the sinkhole, Kumar said in an interview after the meeting, the worst-case scenario would give the sinkhole a radius of 700 feet.

DEQ officials said Crosstex’s updated plan submitted in January considers risks for butane, natural gas and other gases and suggests a full release might lead to windows being broken at two-thirds of mile.

Sinkhole grows 50 feet, almost swallows 2 workers

... Assumption Parish Police Jury spokeswoman Kim Torres says the sinkhole near Bayou Corne grew by 50 feet Thursday morning as the surrounding environment sloughs into it. Two cleanup workers in a boat near the site almost fell in and had to be rescued by airboat.

Their boat, which was tied to a tree, was eventually swallowed by the muck.

Oversized loads of equipment delivered to Grand Bayou sinkhole (w/Video)

... Officials said a total of 25 loads of drill parts will be escorted by the Louisiana State Police from Bosco in Acadia Parish to Bayou Corne.

"Our main objective today is to make sure these trucks get from Lafayette here, efficiently and as quickly as possible," Trooper Russell Graham said.


The next news headline we might see on this situation is 'BURP! BOOM!'

Current size - The hole measures about 526 feet from northeast to southwest and 640 feet from northwest to southeast. It's getting close to that worst case scenario of a 700 ft hole.

Edit: Oops my bad, that worst case scenario was a hole with a radius of 700 ft - 1400 ft across - quarter mile.

that worst case scenario

My inability to flick a bic?

S – Something to remember - The sink hole is the most visible effect of what’s going under the surface. The extent of the sink hole might be X’ but that may not be the extent of the underground disturbance. There could be underground movement of the rocks/salt well beyond the sink hole limit. Equally dangerous would be changes in the subsurface stress field. One worse case: the stress field around one of the butane wells might shift and cause “point loading” which has been known to slice steel casing like a hot knife through butter.

I once saw subsurface fluid movement effect a well 2 miles away from where the incidence occured.

S. Africa Police Fire at Striking Mine Workers

JOHANNESBURG – South African police opened fire Thursday on a crowd of striking workers at a platinum mine, leaving an unknown number of people injured and possibly dead. Motionless bodies lay on the ground in pools of blood.

... a group of miners rushed through the scrub and underbrush at a line of police officers. Images broadcast by private television broadcaster e.tv showed officers immediately opening fire, with miners falling to the ground. Dozens of shots were fired by police armed with automatic rifles and pistols.

The gunfire from weapons apparently on full automatic ended with police officers shouting: "Cease fire!" By that time, bodies were lying in the dust, some pouring blood.

Officer Dominic: ... it makes you wish that no one would show up. But if they do, what do you think will happen?
Inspector Finch: What usually happens when people without guns stand up to people with guns. - V for Vendetta - 2006


CO2 Emissions in US Drop to 20-Year Low

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels.

Both government and industry experts said the biggest surprise is how quickly the electric industry turned away from coal. In 2005, coal was used to produce about half of all the electricity generated in the U.S. The Energy Information Agency said that fell to 34 percent in March, the lowest level since it began keeping records nearly 40 years ago.

So ironic. Coal companies opposed co2 limits, cap-and-trade, and what have you, out of concern that limits would reduce the use of their product ('kill coal'). Now, climate change is here and what do we see? Reduced use of their product!

And it has been quite the double whammy. Cheap shale gas, of course, but why is it so cheap this year? Because we had such a mild winter. Huge surpluses of natural gas tucked away for last winter have crushed spot prices throughout 2012. On top of that, reduced electrical demand for heating due to the mild winter reduced demand for coal, regardless of competition from gas-fired generation.

Grid Instability Has Industry Scrambling for Solutions

Sudden fluctuations in Germany's power grid are causing major damage to a number of industrial companies. While many of them have responded by getting their own power generators and regulators to help minimize the risks, they warn that companies might be forced to leave if the government doesn't deal with the issues fast.

"He who lives at the cutting edge of technology shall be sacrificed upon it." (or words to that effect)
--Adam Osborne

I knew Adam Osborne personally, back in the 80's. Very interesting character...

His most famous quote was:

"You can tell the pioneers - they're the ones with the arrows in their backs."

I met Adam Osborne in the mid 80s at a trade show In Amsterdam (I was with a firm showing networking for the Osborne 1)
Maybe he was having a bad day, but the introduction was best summed up as:

Hi, I'm Adam Osborne. You're very happy to meet me.

He and his assistant were in the seats behind me on the cattle-car flight from SFO to LA. They spent the entire flight arguing the merits of buying a learjet vs a converted 707.

Yes indeed, old AO could be pretty full of himself! Especially during those go-go years in the early 80's when the big $$$ were just pouring in. Right until the eponymous "Osborne Effect" kicked in. The Osborne Effect is when you announce your incredibly superior, totally awesome next product long before you are ready to sell it, and the sales of your existing product simply stop while people await the new one. Uh-oh, no cashflow! Oh well! That was the end of OCC.

AO is sort of the poster child for why a clever entrepeneur shouldn't necessarily be CEO of the company he founded, once it reaches a certain size...

Norway Oil Rig Operations Unnecessarily Expensive -Panel

OSLO--A panel of Norwegian oil and gas experts said Thursday that the costs of offshore drilling are too high and called for changes in safety rules and workers' conditions to save up to 1 trillion Norwegian kroner ($167.5 billion) and allow greater volumes of oil and gas to be produced.

The panel's recommendations come as Norway grapples with falling output of oil and gas, both of which are mainstays of its economy. Total petroleum production in Norway fell 4% in 2010 and 5% in 2011, so making new discoveries and increasing recovery from existing fields is vital.

Rig operations are 40% more expensive on the Norwegian Continental Shelf than on the neighboring U.K. shelf, the panel said in a report. This is mainly due to personnel costs that are $50,000 to $75,000 more per day on a Norwegian rig than in the U.K., it said.

The death risk is four times higher in the U.K. sector than on the Norwegian shelf," said second deputy leader at the Norwegian offshore union Safe, Roy Erling Furre . "A harmonization between Norway and the U.K. worries me, especially in the wake of Deepwater Horizon."

Cyber Attack Knocks Offline Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company and the largest oil company in the world, confirmed that is has been hit by a cyber attack that resulted in malware infecting user workstations and forcing IT to kill the company's connection to the outside world. '..An official at Saudi Aramco confirmed that the company has isolated all its electronic systems from outside access as an early precautionary measure that was taken following a sudden disruption that affected some of the sectors of its electronic network,' the company wrote in a statement. This incident follows an attack on systems at the National Iranian Oil Company back in April, when a virus was detected inside the control systems of Kharg Island oil terminal, which also resulted in the company taking its systems offline. In response to continued cyber attacks against its networks and facilities, Iran earlier this month said it plans to move key ministries and state bodies off the public Internet to protect them from such attacks.

For those who claim solar power is too costly...

Europe Power-Prompt rises ahead of French heat wave

* French forecaster sees heat up to 39 degrees
* Higher solar power output to help contain price rise

PARIS, Aug 16 (Reuters) - European electricity spot prices rose on Thursday as power traders braced for higher consumption in France prompted by a heat wave forecast over the weekend, while an expected rise in solar power output in Germany helped to contain the increase.

See: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/16/markets-europe-electricity-idU...


Ukraine Declares Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Safe

The 30-km exclusion zone around Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history, is now safe and suitable for human habitation and farming activities.

According to senior Ukrainian radiation safety official, Oleg Bondarenko, only food crops should continue to be barred.

I guess they can use it to farm lumber?

Imagine. Your home, made from Chernobyl Pine... a nice, warm, glow in the dark residence.


A greater hazard would be if people were to burn that wood in a fireplace. My understanding is that any radioactivity in the trees is concentrated in the ash.

Mold resistant wood! Our patented radio-nucleides kill mold dead!

You know, I hope Robert Rapier contacts the Ukrainian government and proposes to study cutting timber in the Exclusion Zone and using acetylation to stabilize it for burial. That might be economical and well worth doing.

So only a generation of humans banned? Or was that 2?

According to senior Ukrainian radiation safety official, Oleg Bondarenko, only food crops should continue to be barred.

Ahh ingesting material from the area is a bad plan. M'kay. Say - how do you, as human, stop ingesting the local dust and prevent it from being in the air that you breath?

Ukraine Declares Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Safe

This news item appears to be incorrect. Here's the story from a Ukrainian source.

In 20 years Chernobyl exclusion zone may be settled

The State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management allows for the settlement of the southern part of the Chernobyl zone in not less than 20 years, the acting chairman of the Agency Dmytro Bobro said.
"If the program on rehabilitation of the territory will be implemented, then the population may be returned to 200-300 square km in south of the Chernobyl zone," he said.

According to Bobro, this period is explained by the completion of the half-life of some radioactive substances.
At the same time, in his opinion, half of the total area will be never settled.

Acting head also noted that at present, 100-200 square meters are suitable for economic activity, but people cannot live there.
In addition, he stressed that, despite the change of radiation situation, today the return of people for permanent residence in the Chernobyl zone is not planned due to the existing standards of radiation.

White House dusting off plan for potential oil release

(Reuters) - The White House is "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of oil reserves to dampen rising gasoline prices and prevent high energy costs from undermining the success of Iran sanctions, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday.

U.S. officials will monitor market conditions over the coming weeks, watching whether gasoline prices fall after the September 3 Labor Day holiday, as they historically do, the source said.

Must be an election coming due. /sarc.

Seems like we can't get oil prices or the temperature to drop for very long before both are right back up there again. Meteoroligists have been claiming a break from our heatwave her in CA for two weeks running, but the triple digit days just keep piling on while the long term weather forecasts keeps claiming the coming days will be cooler. Hello!

Meanwhile I just filled up for 4.16 a gallon at the cheapo station. Right now the Iranian oil embargo sounds like a great (political) excuse to open the taps.


About the potential release of SPR oil. Which I’m sure has nothing to do with the upcoming election: “…a potential release of oil reserves to dampen rising gasoline prices and prevent high energy costs…”

For those who missed the explanation last time we had an SPR release: First, the govt isn’t allowed, by fed law, to sell SPR oil at a discount. There is a very detailed calculation that determines the sales price. The short answer is that the oil is sold (And in reality the oil isn’t really sold. It’s transferred to the refineries who replace it on a specific time schedule) for the previous month’s average price of Light La. Sweet which sells at a $10 to $20 premium over WTI. In fact the fed regs specifically require that any release has no effect on price. The SPR rules were specifically designed to alleviate a shortage…not a price increase.

So how much did the last release lower oil prices in the US? Not a penny. In fact one might argue it increased the price a very small amount. Why? Because by the time the first load of SPR oil was sold crude prices had already begun to decline. But the oil was priced at the previous month’s average which was greater than current prices to the time of the release. But the SPR volume was so small compared to global consumption that it wouldn’t have a significant impact either way.

One more point about any release and the effect global oil supplies: all the KSA has to do is reduce their production just a very small amount per day for a limited number of days to match the SPR volume. And IMHO that wouldn’t upset the KSA very much: they can keep prices where they are while preserving a small bit of their reserves they can later sell when prices are higher. Or just save it for their own citizens alla ELM.

From Romney, Obama in rare battle over energy policy (http://news.yahoo.com/romney-obama-rare-battle-over-energy-policy-201443...) above

"We have 250 years of coal. Why the heck wouldn't we use it?" Romney told coal miners wearing hard hats. "By the end of my second term, I make this commitment: We will have North American energy independence. We won't have to buy oil from Venezuela and the Middle East."

So, are we going to be running most of our cars and trucks off coal in 8 years?

"So, are we going to be running most of our cars and trucks off coal in 8 years?"

Building enough Coal to Liquids (or gas to liquids) plants to replace 40% of the US oil consumption would certainly create a heavy construction and equipment boom. It would probably cost less than 8 years of war with Iran, and would certainly have a lower death toll.

would certainly have a lower death toll.

I'm not sure about that. The death toll from emissions, and pollution during extraction and processing might be quite a bit higher. To say nothing of the environmental costs from mining. Oh, and there is the AGW component.

Is "none of the above" a valid choice here?


The CO2 component in the CTL process if fairly easily captured and can be used for EOR of depleted oil fields, which will also help to increase local crude production. Or if you prefer help avoid more imports from those "other" countries.

Why go to the trouble of building CTL just continue using coal to generate electricity and replace low efficiency ICE vehicles with EVs? This requires a lot less new infrastructure, ICE vehicles will have to be replaced anyway and the US has surplus off peak electricity generating and distributing capacity. It also provides a pathway to replacing FF with solar and wind energy.

I can't really discount the possibility of "North American energy independence" -- I understand the Export Land Model.

I just hope it won't force energy independence on us by 2020. We need more time.

Why would we buy CTL, if fuel refined from Brent is cheaper? Energy independence might be more expensive than Romneyhood realizes, or he could be trying to sell us snake oil. Politicians are pretty good at packaging ideas that never go further than the campaign. After all, how many previous president's promised energy independence, yet failed to deliver?

Politicians have always tried to fool the people about imported oil. We will Import oil to the end of imported oil. It is a fraudulent and misleading statement from Romney. What do you expect?

This article was linked to from Yahoo news this morning - "Why is Oil high when the economy is tanking?"


Mentions the fact that supply is struggling to keep up with demand - but, the dog that is not barking - "Peak Oil" not mentioned at all.

That was the question I threw at the Canada Free Press article.

I haven't really ever heard a reasonable answer except 'Speculators' and the comparative dollar exch. rate..

I think the pattern supports a basic supply/demand foundation pretty well, unless someone wants to show me why it doesn't.