Drumbeat: August 22, 2012

The Demise of the Car: Doomed by escalating oil and infrastructure costs

In the same way that Western economies have shed enormous tranches of oil demand so that emerging markets could increase their oil consumption, automobile transport is now either stagnating or in outright decline outside of China. You cannot have a growing automobile industry in the United States when American oil demand is down over 12% since 2005. And you cannot have a growing auto industry in Europe when EU oil demand has shed over a million and half barrels a day – another 10% decline.

Europe’s declining oil demand is particularly significant, given that coming into the last decade, the EU was already a highly efficient user of oil. To have taken off even more demand in the past 5 years shows just how tough high oil prices have become in Europe. The result is nothing less than a devastation of Europe’s auto industry, which has already lost 800,000 jobs and looks ready to lose another 500,000 more according to recent forecasts, as reported by Bloomberg.

Oil Near Three-Month High in New York Amid Supply Risks

Oil dropped from its highest close in three days in London as concern that demand will weaken countered signs of shrinking supply in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Brent dropped as much as 1 percent after Japan’s trade deficit widened more than expected as Europe’s debt crisis and a slowdown in China dragged down exports. An Energy Department report today may show U.S. crude supplies slid by 250,000 barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. United Nations nuclear inspectors and Iran agreed to meet again over access to disputed documents, people and sites allegedly linked to the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program.

Gas prices rise for seventh-consecutive week

Gasoline prices rose for the seventh week straight, hitting an average $3.744 a gallon for self-serve regular in the government's weekly survey just released. That's up 2.3 cents since last Monday.

In the daily survey by AAA and Opis, the national average price slipped Monday from $3.70 to 3.717 a gallon.

Thirty-three million people will travel 50 miles or more, a 2.9 percent increase from last year, according to AAA. That's the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007.

33 million Americans hitting the road this Labor Day

NEW YORK — Americans plan to hit the road this Labor Day weekend despite rising gas prices.

Strategic Oil Reserve Likely to Be Tapped as Gas Prices Rise: Stephen Schork

"It's very abnormal for Americans to be paying more for their gasoline in September than they were in July," says Schork. And that price increase, he says, is putting pressure on the White House to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to stunt the rise in oil prices. He gives 60% odds that the Administration will do just that.

Russia Invests in Diesel as Putin’s Oil Boom Peaks

Russia is cementing its status as Europe’s foremost diesel supplier as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up economic growth with record investment in the refining industry.

The nation will boost exports of premium, low-sulfur diesel by more than 50 percent next year, according to Facts Global Energy Inc., a Singapore-based researcher. Profits for European refiners may drop because of the increase in Russian shipments, JBC Energy GmbH said.

Russia is improving fuels quality to safeguard its Western export market and take advantage of crude output that’s risen to a post-Soviet record. As the government tries to allay a slowing pace of economic expansion, investment in refining will rise to 340 billion rubles ($11 billion) next year, up 93 percent on 2012, according to the nation’s energy ministry.

India Considers $35 Billion Debt Revamp After Blackout

India plans to restructure about $35 billion of loans held by its utilities to boost their ability to supply electricity and avert outages like the one that cut off power to half the nation’s 1.2 billion people.

Half of the short-term borrowings of the state-owned utilities, which generate or buy and distribute electricity, will be transferred to the books of the regional governments, according to a power ministry draft proposal obtained by Bloomberg News. The rest will be rescheduled by the banks and allowed a three-year moratorium on principal repayments.

BHP Delays $68 Billion of Project Approvals as Net Plunges

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, put approvals for about $68 billion of projects on hold after second-half profit plunged 58 percent as metal prices declined and costs rose.

Commodities Enter Bull Market After Drought Damages Crops

Commodities entered a bull market, gaining 21 percent from a June low, as grain prices surged after the most severe U.S. drought in half a century and as crude oil rallied amid increased tension in the Middle East.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose 0.9 percent to end at 675.55 yesterday in New York. The gauge has jumped from this year’s lowest close of 559 on June 21. A gain of more than 20 percent is the common definition of a bull market. Crude accounts for more than 50 percent of index.

Gazprom Neft says part of Moscow refinery to shut for two months

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two large export refineries in the former Soviet Union, the 220,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Moscow Refinery and the 240,000 bpd Mozyr refinery in Belarus, announced outages in September for partial maintenance.

Both refineries export diesel and fuel oil to European markets, while Mozyr also exports some gasoline.

China Shipping delays ship deliveries to cut costs

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Shipping Development Co Ltd , an oil and dry bulk shipping firm, said on Wednesday that it has delayed delivery of 10 ships and is in talks to postpone another 10 to cut interest costs after reporting its first net loss in 14 years.

"The ten ships that have been delayed between six and 18 months include oil tankers and bulk vessels," said chief financial officer Wang Kangtian.

ConocoPhillips Sells Interest to Lukoil

ConocoPhillips (COP) sold its indirect 30% interest in joint venture NaryanMarNefteGaz to co-owner Lukoil Holdings (LUKOY, LKOH.RS), part of the exploration and production company's efforts to divest itself of billions of dollars in assets this year.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but ConocoPhillips anticipates an after-tax gain of roughly $400 million.

Asia’s Iran Crude Oil Imports to Regain Levels Prior to EU Insurance Ban

Asia’s crude imports from Iran are set to recover in September to levels reached before a July 1 insurance ban by the European Union plunged trade with the Islamic Republic into uncertainty not seen in decades.

Top Asian buyers — China, India, Japan and South Korea together take more than half of Iran’s crude oil exports — have worked around the European Union’s embargo, suggesting imports will stay at least around these levels for the rest of the year.

UN Inspectors to Meet Iran Over Access to Dispute Sites

United Nations atomic inspectors and Iran agreed to meet again over access to disputed documents, people and sites allegedly linked to the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program.

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and Iranian officials will meet on Aug. 24 at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, the IAEA said late yesterday in a statement. It is the first face- to-face discussion since talks over a so-called structured approach to the atomic investigation broke down two months ago.

As Decision Nears on Gas Drilling, Ad War Heats Up in New York State

ALBANY — As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration finishes up new regulations on where and how to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York State, groups on both sides of the issue are turning to the airwaves in a late-inning effort to press their cases.

The advertisements are appearing in the Southern Tier region, just north of the Pennsylvania border, where the Marcellus Shale rock formation is rich in natural gas, and where communities may have to give local approval for drilling to be allowed in their area under a plan being pursued by the administration.

Taylor Asset Management CEO Busts The Peak Oil Myth

Frankly I think peak oil is baloney, and you can quote me on that. The potential reserves, especially on the natural gas side, are just tremendous. I was just reading a report that even in a place like Argentina, shale gas reserves could be north of 700 trillion cubic feet. That could be another huge gas-producing region. There's plenty out there. I don't buy peak oil or gas.

Crashing off the Olduvai Cliff

READERS of my correspondence to The Gisborne Herald should now be familiar with terms like Peak Oil, Energy Descent, Fantasy Finance and the current clash of wills between those who seek to control the resources of the world by endless money creation, and the laws of nature that demand a sustainable approach.

All of these concepts are best expressed in a paper by Richard C. Duncan PHD called “The peak of world oil production and the road to the Olduvai Gorge” that states modern civilisation has a life span of around 100 years, measured from 1930 to 2030.

Turkey is in talks to build second nuclear power plant

Turkey is negotiating with Japan, Canada, China and South Korea to build a second nuclear power plant, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said, the newspaper Sabah reported.

"The construction of NPP Akkuyu is already being carried out. And negotiations on the construction of NPP Sinop is being carried out with four countries," Yildiz said.

Obama Curbs on Coal Pollution Rejected by U.S. Court

A federal court threw out a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule aimed at cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to curb harmful emissions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington in a 2-1 ruling today struck down the EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, saying the agency overstepped its legal authority and issued standards that were too strict. The court sided with power companies and mining groups challenging to the measure, which caps emissions in more than two dozen states. The rule had been put on hold by the court in December while it considered the regulation’s legality.

Coal Plants’ Victory Over EPA Is Muted by Low Gas Prices

Southern Co. (SO), Edison International (EIX) and rival power companies won a legal fight with the Environmental Protection Agency, gaining more time and leeway to cut pollution from burning coal. The bigger challenges from cheap natural gas may make it a muted victory.

“This really is a black eye for the EPA,” James Lucier, managing director at Capital Alpha Partners LLC in Washington, said in an interview. “But for the industry, the critical factor overall has been the low price of natural gas,” which is “the great destroyer.”

The evolution of the U.S. power sector, in one chart

Since the early 1990s, utilities have mostly stopped building coal and nuclear plants, thanks to a combination of costs, regulation and pressure from outside groups. The Sierra Club, in particular, has done a lot of work to prevent utilities from building new coal-fired plants, and only one was built this yearan 800-megawatt unitat thePrairie State Energy Campusin Illinois.

Instead, power companies switched their focus to natural gas plants, which are often smaller, less polluting and easier to build. (By the way, that dip in new natural gas generation in the 1980s came after Congress made natural gas plants illegal for a few years. True story.) Moreover, since the mid-2000s, after a series of tax incentives from Congress, solar and especially wind power have made up a bigger and bigger chunk of new capacity. These days, the plants being built are pretty much natural gas, wind and a bit of solar.

What Can Cyclists Do About Our "Rogue" Element?

Despite the efforts of Transportation Secretary Gabe Klein, the Active Transportation Alliance, the chainlink, Grid Chicago, and other pro-cycling advocates, certain careless “cyclists” among us threaten the goodwill everyone else has fought so hard to garner. While being lumped together and stereotyped is not fair for reasons too numerous to list, it is a perception problem that we will need to address sooner rather than later.

Vestas Cuts 1,400 More Jobs on Forecast for Shipments Drop

Vestas Wind Systems A/S is cutting an additional 1,400 jobs to lower costs by more than 250 million euros ($311 million) in preparation for a decline in wind turbines installations it expects next year.

The world’s biggest maker of the machines said it expects to have 19,000 employees at the end of the year, down 16 percent from the end of last year. It’s still considering whether to eliminate 1,600 jobs in the U.S., which depend on a tax credit that expires this year.

Why green energy startups are now 'toxic'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Green energy startups are feeling the sting of rejection by investors concerned about falling energy prices and the future of government support.

The boom in natural gas has hurt the competitiveness of alternative energy. And proposed budget cuts would force the government to dial back support of wind farms, solar panel manufacturers, ethanol producers and makers of alternative fuel cars.

The battle of power lines and the urban forest

Many of the city’s oldest neighborhoods received basic electricity supply in the first decades of the last century at a time when trees that grew from the mid-19th century were already of great height and girth. A single, innocuous power line brought power well below where these lofty giants began to branch. But during the course of the 20th century, homes became loaded with air conditioners, refrigerators, washer-dryers and other appliances, requiring an increasingly powerful network of electricity transmission and distribution. At the same time, new development led to wholesale removal of old trees and the planting of new ones that were destined to grow amid the utility wires.

Eyes in the sky aim to cut down illegal logging

SINGAPORE -- In the two minutes it takes to read this story, an area the size of 60 football fields will have been clear-cut by illegal loggers globally, according to Chatham House, an independent policy institute in London.

Catching the loggers and their bosses has long been a problem because of corruption, lax law enforcement and limited ability to detect the crime quickly.

Satellite monitoring is changing that. Powerful eyes in the sky and cheaper and more powerful data-crunching computers mean there will be no place to hide for palm oil, logging or mining firms that clear without permits or outside their concessions.

So You’re Going to Mine Asteroids? Oh, Really.

PM: How can you tell if an asteroid might have platinum, gold, or water deposits?

CL: We'll characterize them by studying their albedo—the amount of light that comes from them—and then with the appropriate instruments we can start to classify them, as to what type of asteroid they are, whether they are stony, metallic, or carbonaceous. We're starting with optical analyses, though we could use swarms of Arkyd 100s with spectroscopic, infrared, or ultraviolet sensors, too, if needed.

Climate Science as Culture War

In May 2009, a development officer at the University of Michigan asked me to meet with a potential donor—a former football player and now successful businessman who had an interest in environmental issues and business, my interdisciplinary area of expertise. The meeting began at 7 a.m., and while I was still nursing my first cup of coffee, the potential donor began the conversation with “I think the scientific review process is corrupt.” I asked what he thought of a university based on that system, and he said that he thought that the university was then corrupt, too. He went on to describe the science of climate change as a hoax, using all the familiar lines of attack—sunspots and solar flares, the unscientific and politically flawed consensus model, and the environmental benefits of carbon dioxide.

As we debated each point, he turned his attack on me, asking why I hated capitalism and why I wanted to destroy the economy by teaching environmental issues in a business school. Eventually, he asked if I knew why Earth Day was on April 22. I sighed as he explained, “Because it is Karl Marx’s birthday.” (I suspect he meant to say Vladimir Lenin, whose birthday is April 22, also Earth Day. This linkage has been made by some on the far right who believe that Earth Day is a communist plot, even though Lenin never promoted environmentalism and communism does not have a strong environmental legacy.)

U.Va. institute assists Virginians with sea-level rise

Virginia's largest city may get up to 45,000 acres smaller over the next century, due to an anticipated 2.3 to 5.2 feet of relative sea-level rise expected in Virginia Beach – a rise that would also impact the entire Hampton Roads region and the Eastern Shore.

Recognizing the challenges this will pose, the University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation is assisting citizens and decision-makers in long-range planning.

UN agency calls for global action plan on drought

The worst effects of drought could be avoided if countries had a disaster management plan to confront the problem, the UN World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday.

With world food prices 6 percent higher now than at the start of the year and approaching the 2010 record, "it's time for countries affected by drought to move towards developing a policy", said Mannava Sivakumar, director of the WMO's Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 17, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending August 17, 273 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 91.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.2 million barrels per day last week, down by 510 thousand per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 8.5 million barrels per day, 593 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 777 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 82 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 5.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 360.7 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 1.0 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 1.0 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 3.0 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.2 million barrels per day, down by 2.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 1.7 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged about 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 4.4 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.7 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Through the Looking-Glass: US consumers increase gasoline purchases even as gas prices rise smartly

“I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir,' said Alice, 'Because I'm not myself you see.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

US gasoline sales, in a mirror image of what might be expected in normal times, were reported to have increased both by the EIA and in MasterCard's Spending Plus report - even while gasoline prices continued their steady rise. The EIA report indicates that US gasoline wholesale 'product supplied' last week exceeded the amount refiners and distributors sent to the US gasoline wholesalers in the comparable year ago week. The MasterCard's report on last week's retail gasoline sales, while not showing a year over year increase, indicated only a small year over year decline in sales. These reports compare to a fairly consistent sales decline of about 3 to 4% usually seen in the last six months, comparing weekly gasoline sales in 2012 to 2011 amounts.

Perhaps then you won't need to take the blue or red pill to understand why gasoline inventories have dropped about 7.5 million barrels over the last month, and oil by an even larger amount of about 19.5 million barrels. Granted those inventories typically experience a seasonal decline through the summer, and gasoline supplies generally hit a yearly low around the Labor Day holiday in early September - also called the end of the 'summer driving season'. However the swift loss of oil inventories is perhaps more surprising than the disappearance of the Cheshire Cat. Energy industry commentators have, and still do, state that there is an 'oil glut' in the US. But that may be significantly explained by the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve about one year ago. Now the US refining industry operating at near four year highs in capacity utilization. The high utilization rate could have been even be higher if two large US refiners (Richmond and Motiva) were not undergoing major repairs.

Fortunately for the US (barring a major US hurricane in the next month), gasoline supplies in general will be sufficient in most all parts of the country - although the possibility of localized shortages still exists in the next few weeks. Areas most at risk are those subject to unexpected barge transportation problems in the greater Mississippi River basin (due to low water), and also, in parts of California near the damaged Richmond refinery - which still may possibly be totally closed at some point for repairs. One more bit of good news, Saudi Arabia is increasing oil shipments to the US from currently reduced levels in the expectation that the huge Motiva refinery will complete repairs about early October. Recently Saudi oil imports have slipped to about 1.0 million bpd from about 1.5 million bpd in late Spring.

US Gasoline Use Up 1.9% vs Week Ago - SpendingPulse

California gasoline prices climb, but at reduced pace

Mississippi River closed again as barge grounds in low water


It seems there are a couple of Articles posted on the TOD homepage above today's Drumbeat, but with earlier date/times on them. I think folks might be checking in on not realize the Drumbeat has been posted.

A similar thing happened on Monday.

Yeah, I noticed that. I assume SuperG changed something. It didn't used to be possible to move articles around without changing the dates.

I'd guess he's set it so the Drumbeat does not appear at the top of the page, no matter the date. I think some people find the kind of discussion that goes on in these threads kind of embarrassing and/or undesirable as a first introduction to the site.

Makes sense. I'm not so sure about the "embarrassing" part, but we may seem a little 'off' to the uninitiated.

"I think some people find the kind of discussion that goes on in these threads kind of embarrassing and/or undesirable as a first introduction to the site."

I'm shocked...shocked I say!

One man's signal is another man's noise, I suppose.

I was told a few months ago that the editors prefer to have the articles above Drumbeat whenever possible . . .



Sounds like Drumbeat's days may be limited. The wild and imaginative articles of the old drumbeat are long gone, Gail's financial articles are verbotten- there is a trend.

Just curious- where does the Oil Drum's money come from? I know there is an organization that funds it but it I don't know where or who they get their money from. Energy traders? Oil extraction industry? Philanthropists? Grant money? I never see any ads on this site- someone has deep enough pockets for this site and a team to run it.

I too miss the "wild & imaginative" articles; there was a wonderful mix in the "good old days" which is hard to recapture now, despite the fact that a lot of good posters have hung around, and some CRUCIAL core staff (Leanan!) are hanging in. As much as I enjoyed it, I understand how difficult it can be working in a volunteer organization with a number of personalities pulling in different directions, all equally sincere. It's an energy drain to not only try to do your best work but to also have to champion that work's legitimacy. (and I say that as a Greenpeace founder, among other odd former incarnations).

We may as well appreciate the great aspects the site still has. I for one find few things as boring as data on fossil fuel production, whether "peak" is in 2005 or 2015, etc. I'd even go so far as to say it's inherently boring, but that may just be since I quit the industry. (The "human element" reported on by Rockman & others is good storytelling of course).

I tend to comment whenever a subject starts looking at multiple disciplines simultaneously, particularly where the idiosyncracies of the human mind are shown to affect the survivability of the living world. That's the interesting and important part of the "energy and our future" story, I think. However, that's not so much what the site seems to do now, except in the DB comments (largely due to the good mix of stories posted by Leanan). Not a criticism, just a comment.

Don't let it be forgot.. That once there was a spot.. For one brief, shining moment That was known as Camelot.

As much as I enjoyed it, I understand how difficult it can be working in a volunteer organization with a number of personalities pulling in different directions, all equally sincere. It's an energy drain to not only try to do your best work but to also have to champion that work's legitimacy.

There's some of that, I'm sure, but from my view, the changes have been mostly external.

Peak oil just isn't what it used to be. Yes, I know some people still expect TEOTWAWKI soon. But for many people, events over the past 3-4 years have led them to realize that there isn't going to be a fast collapse, and/or that other issues are more urgent (climate change, financial collapse, getting a job).

It's not just The Oil Drum. Searches on peak oil have fallen steadily since 2008. LATOC has closed shop, EB has merged with the Post Carbon Institute, PeakOil.com's message board now gets no messages for days in what used to be the most active forums.

There simply isn't the interest in peak oil that there used to be. It's become a lot harder to keep people on topic. There's nothing going on peak oil-wise - no ever-higher oil prices, no riots at gas stations, no hurricanes damaging oil platforms - so the discussion becomes silly and trivial.

Some might say let people post whatever they want, since there's nothing else to talk about. But I think that makes the problem worse. Letting the threads fill up with one-liners and links to funny cat videos on YouTube is going to drive out people who actually are interested in peak oil. The Internet version of Gresham's Law, as Nate put it.

In addition to TOD, I read Our Finite World.

Given limited time, those two make the cut.

Well said, Leanan. I have also noticed the decline in PO online activity, and there may be even more people who lose interest in daily activity as the model changes more from collapse towards decline (i.e. from the J H Kunstler to the J M Greer scenario).

One issue I would like to see researched and/or discussed more might be the developments in the area of global food production.

(Huh? This is The OIL Drum, not The Wheat Bushel.com, buddy.)

Yes, perhaps that is so, but one can also see the direct/indirect correlation between problems within the oil production numbers and food production numbers (along with the relationship in climate), correct?

Anyway, it's just a suggestion to stimulate discussions and interest with something more relevant to the current situation, while maintaining the ties to the original intent of TOD.

Very respectfully,

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I find that Our Finite World articles are picked up by more and more mainstream (or financial) sites. The latest one to ask permission is EconomyWatch.com, but there is a whole string of others, including Business Insider and Forexpros.com. Earlier this week, the Financial Times Alphaville Blog linked to one of my posts.

I find Drumbeat helpful, and would miss it. There are usually articles of interest linked, and commenters often have useful observations or good links. I will have to admit that I skip over long comment strings that don't interest me, and don't always have a chance to check Drumbeat until a day or two later.

Our Finite World also often has good comments, too, by the way.

High priced oil is currently destroying the global economy. Debt/credit creation coupled with huge amounts of inertia are all that is keeping the global economy functioning. A Lehman Brothers moment could happen at anytime in Europe with contagion ripping across the global banking system possibly disrupting the just in time delivery system and breaking down international trade.

Peak Oil does not matter it is just for people hung up on statistics; what matters is the supply of oil is not growing fast enough for a growth based economy. When a growth based economy (it is not an economy that has growth as a feature it must grow or die) does not grow at rates sufficient to service/retire debt the game is over. Industrial economies are ponzi schemes and they are completely unsustainable. Just because martial law did not break out on the plateau of global oil production does not mean the economic/financial systems are not being stressed to a breaking point. Central banks are running out of ammo to stoke the fires of growth which don't seem to burn like they used to.

So yes it becomes irrelevant to talk about arcane statistics while the end of oil growth eats away at the economy. When Nate Hagens quit posting here I knew it was a very bad sign. The consequences of the end of oil growth are to severe for any mainstream web site to talk about. Normalcy bias and the strong narrative of our industrial culture will relegate any conclusions that are outside of an acceptable range off limits or taboo. Who wants to take responsibility for how certain people may react to such news; especially when predictions about how exactly the end of oil growth will affect industrial civilization are very hard to make.

TOD redirecting the narrative back to straight energy talk was bound to calm the waters of the site. Meanwhile the worlds central bankers struggle to save industrial civilization from the impending debt overhang, with more debt, and most people say everything is fixed. The governments of the industrial world are preparing for martial law anyone who pays attention to recent legislation passed in the U.S. and Europe will know that is true. Governments realize what a war in the middle east involving Iran could do to oil markets and the global economy and they are preparing. I would suggest everyone do the same.

That being said I still read this site everyday; it has many insightful posters and fantastic technical articles that I really value. I find drumbeats much more fun and informative than simply reading the news and I would be sad to know if I had read my last drumbeat.


Peak Oil does not matter it is just for people hung up on statistics; what matters is the supply of oil is not growing fast enough for a growth based economy.

I believe it was Mr. Rapier (ultra cool name) who coined the term "Peak Oil Lite," meaning just what you say -- the oil supply may grow, but just not fast enough for economic growth. I think we've reached Peak Oil Lite (great taste, less filling).

But for many people, events over the past 3-4 years have led them to realize that there isn't going to be a fast collapse, and/or that other issues are more urgent (climate change, financial collapse, getting a job).

Leanan, it must be said that Gail and some others explained many times why the financial collapse and getting a (no) job has at least some connection with Peak oil.

There's nothing going on peak oil-wise - no ever-higher oil prices, .....

Except for a brief collapse in the second half of 2008, price of oil has been rising steadily for several years. In Euro terms the highest price of oil was in March this year. After a 30% drop between March and June, it is rising again and closing in on the high in March.

Sure, but it's a far cry from the days when new record highs were being set weekly, if not daily. I remember when we were all breathlessly waiting for oil to break $50/barrel. Then $60, then $70...

I don't think there will be that kind of interest again until/unless oil goes over $150.

I don't think there will be that kind of interest again until/unless oil goes over $150.

Maybe, it is the 'getting used to' high prices. When oil went through the 100 USD barrier it was a milestone though. It won't easily go over 150 because the economy is suffering already from high oilprices. Because the interest is largely gone one could say that Peak oil is a silent killer. I read TOD a lot in 2008-2009. After that every now and then. Now that I am noticing that the warnings of the sad consequences of Peak oil indeed were no false alarm, I start to read TOD more often again. And that Savinar went to astrology is no reason to treat him with disregard regarding his Peak oil site, because astrologists do connect the dots.

... because astrologists do connect the dots.

Hahaha! Nice!

You're correct, the water is getting hotter, and the frog does nothing. This is the insidious nature of Peak Oil, much like Global Warming. Alas.

It's not just The Oil Drum. Searches on peak oil have fallen steadily since 2008. LATOC has closed shop, EB has merged with the Post Carbon Institute, PeakOil.com's message board now gets no messages for days in what used to be the most active forums.

There simply isn't the interest in peak oil that there used to be. It's become a lot harder to keep people on topic. There's nothing going on peak oil-wise - no ever-higher oil prices, no riots at gas stations, no hurricanes damaging oil platforms - so the discussion becomes silly and trivial.

Thanks for the reply Leanan. I nearly didn't post at all on this because I don't wish to seem disrespectful of you - I'm a big fan of the way your mind works, and appreciative of the amount of energy you've put into creating this special spot.

Everyone will have their own take, and most may not be as bored as I about the details of extracting fossil carbon to burn.

I agree that "peak oil" doesn't have the breathless immediacy it seemed to have back then, when many were discovering it for the first time, and some bright people were calling for a collapse of things in the short term. Actually, I don't think they were wrong in principle, they were just over-weighting the probability of that sort of outcome. (personally I hoped for a rapid economic contraction to slow the damage to the planet, but didn't bet on it). It was fun to hear the hyperbolic stuff... back before Matt Savinar became an astrologer and Matt Simmons sank into his hot tub.

The posts that drew me in to being a frequent commenter for the first time anywhere (and except for a handful of comments at Energy Bulletin, this is still the only place), were when Nate walked on the wild side, talking about brains, elephants, and the sorts of things he was specializing in; which led to the Campfires, etc. From my point of view it's hard not to see that period as a high-water mark for a certain kind of magic. But that's not a criticism of the current site.

I guess I wonder whether a continued focus on "peak oil" is central to the charter of TOD; must be. It's one core aspect of things, certainly, and still widely misunderstood.

I don't even USE the term "peak oil" anymore. Because anyone who didn't immediately "get it" has by now read enough straw-man puff-pieces that they think it has been discredited. Once a concept's detractors have successfully marginalized a term with falsiness, an advocate/educator needs to turn loose of it.

Of course the very rationale for educating about "peak oil" is interestingly convoluted. I've talked to people who think that the concept should be spread in order to mitigate the speed and severity of collapse. I tend to think it should be spread for exactly the opposite reason - to facilitate collapse before more damage is done. Though it's a flip of a coin (at best) whether either of those is valid. Early on, I asked a TOD staffmember about that rationale, and sent a pic of a button which, if pressed, would magically convey a perfect understanding of the concept of peak oil to everyone in the world. And I asked if he would press it. How many here would?

It seems like the story now is "the ecstasy and consequences of human fossil-fueled overshoot", or as I put it in the past "Discussions of Energy and/or Future".

I appreciate your including climate stuff here, and enjoy the links that posters like Seraph add to the mix.

Just my 2 cents' worth. Thanks.

Once gasoline prices go above their July 2008 peak, I think interest will pick up greatly in "Peak Oil".

I particularly like TOD's articles and comments pointing out the flaws in MSM pieces(like Maugeri's).

I would like to see an analysis of Romeny's just announced "plan" for energy independence. This is about as far from peak oil as one can get. If only we could attain peak carbon.

I've always approached peak oil as a correlative to a broader range of issues; an analogue to the much larger question of overshoot and it's effects. For me, discussing peak oil without all of it's ramifications and implications, is semi-pointless; and the primary reason the mainstream downplays it. Most folks prefer only superficial examinations of these things then move on to other distractions. If it don't bleed, alot, it don't lead. ALL of the ramifications of peak oil, and its partners in decline, that have been discussed here over the years still apply, at least to some degree. Some folks get burned out from the discussion, especially those who have avoided responding to the facts and possibilities presented here.

While these realities may take a while to play out, though some may not, they certainly don't care about humanity's short attention span. It's been a long time since I've seen the term Black Swan being discussed much; though, all-the-while, our collective vulnerabilities to such an event or group of events are increasing, as our abilities to respond are diminishing.

At least TOD and Drumbeat continue to provide a forum where these things can be reasonably discussed. Should it end, I'll consider it one more sign of surrender to the inevitable, if only a tiny step in the ongoing collapse. It'll all be Hum Drum beyond that, like when the last good newspaper in a town is lost, leaving only tabloids.

The longer we keep the decline of civilisation from starting, the faster it will go once it sets in.

Jedi Welder,

I believe that is correct.

It's almost certainly correct, yet it's dangerous to discuss. Any course of action to reign in a hyperbolically-discounted BAU to try saving a livable planet will be considered "terrorism" at the point it has any effect whatsoever. And such designation will probably be retroactively applied to suggestions in public forums.


Yes, and I am trying to hit that nerve here. Serious discussion of impending societal collapse is the greatest social taboo one can commit. We pat ourselves a lot on the back here at TOD for being more open minded than most. Yet whenever this comes up here, it is dismissed as something already covered or something we must agree to disagree on. The comments ritualistically fly past each other, each side making it's points and ignoring the other until the uncomfortable subject goes away. It is as much an elephant in the TOD room as anywhere else. From your prior comments, you seem to have a good grasp of social theory. Do you think that it applies here?

I agree it's an elephant in the room, but I don't necessarily agree that blog discussions constitute a mechanism for dealing with such elephants. Give it your best shot, though.

Personally, I see blog comments as an avenue for tribal socialization, not a way of coming up with a plan. If you DO come up with a workable plan to ameliorate the threats to our species and others in the future, I hope you'll put it into effect.


I guess it depends on the definition of "dealing" when it comes to elephants in rooms. In this case, dealing means observing without prejudice. Of course I am not working on any plan to save humanity or the rest of the Earth's species since I don't believe such a plan could ever be viable. Mostly I just want to understand my world while there is still some time left. I'm just very curious.

Seeing blog comments as an avenue for tribal socialization is exactly what I've been trying to get at. Tribal socialization and truth seeking simply don't mix well. I believe that to have some kind of shot at approaching truth, one must be ever vigilant to the perverse effects of socialization on the process. The scientific method is based on this principle.

Of course I am not working on any plan to save humanity or the rest of the Earth's species since I don't believe such a plan could ever be viable.

Well there's a problem right there. Don't believe in your own failure. it's probable but not assured.... unless you believe it. Just one of many ways humans shoot themselves in the foot... and hit the planet as well.

What right do we have to assume we will fail, and thus not try? It's just another category of self-indulgence, an easy out. Try mightily and fail miserably for a decade, get dirty and bloody your nose, experience betrayal and angst.... and then on the eleventh year you may succeed rather well.

Seeing blog comments as an avenue for tribal socialization is exactly what I've been trying to get at. Tribal socialization and truth seeking simply don't mix well. I believe that to have some kind of shot at approaching truth, one must be ever vigilant to the perverse effects of socialization on the process.

Absolutely. And this is a social venue, don't doubt it.

I appreciate where you're coming from. Don't sell yourself short.

I see the odds of my efforts making a significant impact as being 2% or 3%.

Good enough to be worth dedicating decades of effort !

Best Hopes,


And I think you're probably right.

One of the big problems with standard-issue human brains is the unwillingness to give 100% effort over an extended time period for something which has a relatively small chance at success.... even if that "small" chance is actually quite significant indeed.

I've repeatedly managed to do stuff conventional wisdom considered impossible. But it was a grind, and it involved many failures along the way, many hard lessons learned, a lot of wasted time. The first decade, the victory-to-loss ratio was dispiriting. By the second, I had honed my methods enough to win more often than I lost. By the third, I was succeeding most of the time. By the fourth, my body was broken enough that I first posted on a blog, and here I am.

If one starts out - as some seem to - by seeking personal truth in social networking while dismissing any odds that they could affect larger systems, they've punted on any positive effect they might have had.

Alan, 2-3% is a HUGE slice of possible futures for one man to likely affect, and I think your assessment of those odds is pretty good. Best hopes indeed.

On an issue like climate change which affects all future life on the planet, any ethical human should be willing to give up his or her life if they can figure a way to alter or ameliorate things even a tiny tiny fraction of one percent. It won't be easy. Some of the first advice I give is to go out, try their best, and fail miserably for at least a decade while analyzing what went wrong. Until someone has engaged the real world for awhile, they aren't really qualified to give up.

Anyone who won't contribute a decade of effort to see if they have what it takes to make a difference really isn't interested in affecting things, they're interested in talking.

Yeah. I gave up on all that trial and effort stuff.

I spent my entire life (essentially) to get to a certain socio economic position. I was fed a line of BS about how great it would be to be a lawyer. Then I became a lawyer and found out what it really was. It sucked.

And that was before I discovered Peak Oil found it what a downer that was for the future.

Greenish, now you suggest I struggle and use my remaining energies and life to make some difference to a planet and species that will not and cannot care or even appreciate my efforts? Nah. No can do my friend.

It's time for me to enjoy all the things I put off in pursuit of my socio economic dream. Time to enjoy relaxing, the love of a good woman, have a child or two (notwithstanding their horrid fate in come collapse). Time to not be wracked with anxiety at every turn. Time to smell the flowers (while they last) and watch the sun track through the sky (like I did as a child).

I have learned by examining the geological history of this planet that the world changes. Change is inevitable. It is neither good, nor bad. It just is. Species come and go, as do human societies. Accept that ours will end from peak oil or another cause. Accept that all species will go extinct (almost all species that have ever existed are extinct). That is the way of things.

Get over your anthropocentric belief that "Certain things must not happen!!!" They will, and it won't matter much in the long run.

Enjoy each day you have as much as you can and be happy.

It sounds kinda depressing and slack, but I gotta tell ya, as someone who has some inkling of what is going on and how things unfold through time and the apparent meaninglessness of it all, it's a much less taxing position to take.

Alternatively, you can work on your Ozymandian project and time will reduce that project too to dust just like all the others.

But I would suggest that you enjoy watching it all. The world, humanity and it's journey through time is quite simply the best story going. Endless detail, intrigue, cleverness, drama and so on. It's simply too engrossing to pass up. I pity those ignorant of what's going on around them. They miss so much of the richness of life and the tale of life.

But I've blathered enough on this thread.

Actually Wet, I don't suggest you do anything. The recommendation was for those who care to try. You addressed me, not vice-versa.

You're free to be who you are and enjoy the texture and feel of the mass extinction, the rapture of seeing the world destroyed as you savor the delicious drama and to scorn those who don't get off on it.

I'm mainly replying to lock your comment into the permanent record so people can refer to it. You can take it as an homage to what your comments represent.

best hopes for self-indulgent nihilist voyeurs enjoying the destruction, it would be a shame to waste it.

That it would Greenish. That it would.

The Wet One,

Amen to all that.

"School's out forever!"
-----Alice Cooper



You said: "But for many people, events over the past 3-4 years have led them to realize that there isn't going to be a fast collapse, and/or that other issues are more urgent (climate change, financial collapse, getting a job)."

That statement describes a rationalization that some people seem to have adopted lately. The original doomer perspective that peak oil would lead to the total collapse of industrial civilization and a rapid and severe human die-off, was, and still is, correct. It just hasn't happened yet. The logic behind the idea of an eventual fast collapse has never been successfully rebutted on this site or anywhere else. The arguments against a fast collapse are illogical are circular.

John Michael Greer is the poster boy for the slow collapse idea. Whenever anyone argues against a fast collapse, they generally reference Greer and his "catabolic collapse" theory. I recently read the latest Feasta paper by David Korowcz which lays out in excruciating detail the many ways in which a fast collapse will likely begin and then must accelerate because of the positive feed backs that would be activated. I would invite anyone who shares your view to read that paper and then explain how it's projected outcomes can possibly be avoided.

Here is how Greer carefully words his attempt to refute Korowicz's paper in his Archdruid blog from July 18:

"...Faced with the imminent reality of national collapse, the US government did not sit on its hands, which is what those with the capacity to do something are always required to do in fast collapse theories. Instead, it temporarily nationalized the entire American banking system, declared that all assets held by the banks were owned by the government until further notice, made private ownership of gold by US citizens illegal, and ordered every scrap of gold in the country much bigger than a wedding ring sold to the government at a fixed, below-market price, with stiff legal penalties for anybody who tried to hang onto their gold stash. (I’m not making up any of this, either. Look it up.) Flush with seized bank assets and confiscated gold, the government poured money into the nationalized banks, which could then meet every demand for funds, stopping the panic in its tracks. Once stability returned, the banks returned to private ownership and got their assets back, though gold remained a government monopoly for decades longer.

This sort of drastic measure is far from rare in economic history. Germany in the 1920s put paid to its era of hyperinflation by issuing a new currency, the rentenmark, which was backed by taking out one big mortgage on every single piece of real property in the country. Other countries have done things even more extreme. A nation facing collapse, it bears remembering, has plenty of options, and it also has the means, motive, and opportunity to use them. It’s only fair to point out that this sort of drastic response is something that the Feasta study specifically excludes. One of Korowicz’ basic assumptions, stated as such in his study, is that governments will respond to the crisis by choosing the minimal option they think will solve the immediate problem. It’s a reasonable assumption, right up to the point that national survival is at stake, but at that point history shows in no uncertain terms that the assumption goes right out the window. Nation-states are good at surviving—that’s why they’ve become the standard form of human political organization in the viciously Darwinian environment of modern history—and it’s hard to think of anything a nation-state won’t do if it thinks its survival is threatened.

That said, Korowicz’ study points to one very plausible way that the next major round of crisis could slam into the industrial world. The fact that the nations affected by it could kluge together responses to it, slap the equivalent of defibrillator paddles onto their prostrate economies, and get a heartbeat again for the time being doesn’t change the fact that a financial collapse followed by even a partial supply chain breakdown would be a massive crisis, the sort of thing that could well plunge hundreds of millions of people into permanent poverty and push the global economy further down a long ragged decline that will be much less amenable to drastic responses. We’re in agreement, in effect, that the patient is terminally ill; the question is simply whether first aid measures available to the paramedics on site can get his heart beating again, so he can drag out the dying process for a while longer."

Greer begins here with the straw man that fast collapse would require that governments 'sit on their hands' and not react. But Korowicz never suggests anything like that in his paper. Quite the opposite actually. Korowicz details how any possible government responses will be ineffective and likely even make the situation worse.

In effect, Greer (a historian?, not a scientist) is saying that nation states are inherently powerful and literally too big to fail. When the nation's existence is threatened, it would be able to control the situation favorably, and when faced with imminent collapse it would do just that. That argument is obviously completely circular.

Greer's analogy of the terminally ill patient is not very well thought out either. It is better used to prove the opposite point. If the patient is resuscitated at great expense "so he can drag out the dying process for a while longer", what happens next? We would have to assume that all the problems couldn't be permanently fixed and the patient would be left to face the next crisis in a much weakened state. Presumably in this scenario, the government would step in again and save the day. Over and over again to infinity! Obviously that couldn't work. Just like in a real human patient, life can be prolonged by extraordinary measures, but death will still be the ultimate outcome. And the transition from life to death is always sudden (a fast collapse).

Greer's rebuttal of Korowicz's paper is intentionally dishonest, misleading, insulting, and completely inadequate (i.e silly). If anyone on this site wants to take up and champion Greer's cause, or if Greer himself were to debate this on this site, I think it would be the best discussion The Oil Drum has ever had. Greer's position is so obviously the losing one. I guess it is always socially easier to agree to disagree than to have one side actually lose the argument.

I don't see how either side can win or lose the argument until after the collapse. Which may not happen in our lifetimes, or may be so gradual it will not be recognized by those now alive.

The arguments on both sides are, IMO, equally "illogical and circular." Interesting and worth expressing, maybe, but this is isn't classical physics. No one really knows what will happen, because we have never been in this situation before. (And even if we had, it's possible it would not play out the same way twice.)

And I think you are being very unfair to Greer. He may turn out to be wrong, but there's no evidence that he's being intentionally dishonest.


You say: "I don't see how either side can win or lose the argument until after the collapse. Which may not happen in our lifetimes, or may be so gradual it will not be recognized by those now alive."

I do believe that a fast collapse is imminent, but that is not the point I was trying to make. My main point is that a collapse cannot be gradual. You might be right (though I doubt it) that it won't happen in our lifetimes, but I believe it is incorrect to assume that a collapse could be so gradual as to go mostly unnoticed. That is Greer's biggest error. The prelude may stretch out a bit longer, but the show must eventually get started.

And I am hardly being unfair to Greer. He seems like a nice guy, this not personal. And he is a very good and clever writer, but, yes I do think he is intellectually dishonest. In the blog I referred to, Greer begins with a discussion of the Kubler-Ross concept of stages of grief in order to paint anyone with a different view than his as sadly delusional due to being stuck in one of the early, immature grief stages.

Greer says: "The fascination with sudden collapse—call it the Seneca cliff if you must, though it’s only fair to note that Seneca was talking about morality rather than the survival of civilization, and the civilization to which he himself belonged took centuries to decline and fall—is to the peak oil scene exactly what the fixation on Bakken shale oil and "effectively infinite" natural gas is to the collective imagination of industrial society as a whole: a means of denial."

Like I said, clever writer. He somehow manages to paint cornucopians and doomers with the same denial brush in order to dismiss them both. That is one hell of a stretch that would be hard to do by accident. Thus, I credit Greer with being intentional.

I am not trying to be mean, but when you read David Korowicz's 75 page detailed risk analysis and compare it to John Michael Greer's casual, wave of the hand blog response, do you seriously place them at the same intellectual level of discourse? Do you really think that Greer's arguments hold any weight by comparison?

Instead of sniping at JMG here on TOD, why don't you engage him on his blog?

"Instead of sniping at JMG here on TOD, why don't you engage him on his blog?"

Tried that. See below. But it's his blog, and he controls the discussion, and is generally dismissive of those who may disagree with the story he's telling. I respect his perogative to do so, if not always his conclusions.

You disagree with him. That's all. It's one thing to disagree with somoone, it's another thing to call them "intentionally dishonest". That's really my point.

And yes, I've seen your posts on the ARD. You disagree. So what? I disagree about a lot of thngs with a lot of people. You are dismissive of people who disagree with you. So what?

"intentionally dishonest" is *WAY* out of bounds and into troll territory when discussing JMG.

It devalues your analysis when making such attacks.



Why is it *WAY* out of bounds? Is JMG above all criticism? He writes a column and makes at least some part of his living trying to refute ideas that I happen to think are true. His reputation in the world depends on him being right. He uses many common literary and debate tricks to slide around the ideas that don't fit his model. I gave a couple examples in my post. He is under ever increasing pressure if ideas like Korowicz's come to be widely accepted.

I don't believe it devalues my analysis one bit.

Any time I bring up the idea here that Greer might be wrong about something, I find myself getting dragged into a critique of my bad manners.

Best hopes for not getting bogged down in useless distractions when trying to discuss important IDEAS,


I disagree with the above post on just about every point. Let's just leave it at that.

I gave my own take of the likelihood of national vs. global fast collapse in another post.


No. You're calling him a liar. That's not about being 'above all criticism' , that's libel, and ascribing that kind of motive to him here, where there are others who know him, but not addressing it to his face, that brings it to where people are calling you on using particularly unproductive (ie, Antisocial) discussion tactics.


No, I did not call him a liar. That is way hyperbolic. I said basically that he is a professional commentator who has hitched his wagon to a bad idea (slow catabolic collapse). I said he uses the tools of his trade to support his theories. I gave examples from his own blog. I ascribed no motive to him other than that he wants to be right and needs to be for social reasons. These motives are very common and apply to most humans. Please feel free to review my original post on this topic and point out the libelous sections for me. I don't believe that what I said rises anywhere near the level that would constitute libel in any legal sense or any sense for that matter. Maybe I should get a lawyer!

If it hasn't been edited out, please check out my friendly post directly to John Michael Greer inviting him to have a friendly debate on the subject and let me know what I did wrong there too.

P.S.-- I can't help but notice that we are not discussing Greer's ideas.

"Greer's rebuttal of Korowicz's paper is intentionally dishonest.."

You trying to say this is not a clear accusation of lying? I don't doubt you meant your later offer sincerely, having now found that comment.. but sheesh, you peppered your post with some serious catcalls up there. I think there are some things that are really hard to erase once they're out there..

There have been been some comments in here that have gotten back to the Collapse topic, but as we have been talking foremost about the valuable discussions we have on the drumbeat, 'discussions about energy and our future', I think it's been very valuable that this Website has also kept a high standard of conduct, and when it is broken, the rest of the discussion soon falls with it..

There IS a generous range of tolerance here, and with that comes no small amount of bitter retorts and puerile insinuations.. but when comments really do start becoming unfairly derisive, and I think some of yours today have been that, then this sort of 'Housekeeping' conversation shows up, where posters will say that they feel the line has been crossed too much.

(PS, I think History is clearly a Science, and if one chooses to call it 'Social' and therefore 'soft', still that makes it a much harder and subtler discipline, not the opposite. You lost a bunch of altitude with "Greer (a historian?, not a scientist)". )

I thought Greer went with the stair step idea, not just a slow collapse. Of course it also depends on what you call fast, and what you call total collapse.

Greer has two main things on his side. One is ancient history and the pattern of other civilisations that have collapsed, the other is recent history as we have already seen several steps down in different countries and these coutnries keep going. As such his ideas are the ones I choose to follow... in general.

When the alternatives it seems are either BAU, or OMG World Destruction, i'll choose Greer and his middle path.

Richard, thank you for the vote of confidence, and also for actually paying attention to what I've been saying! It's seemingly a rare habit. Yes, I'm arguing for a stairstep or, as I'm thinking of it these days, a fractal collapse -- a long ragged process packed with crises on various scales and of varying severity, taking one to three centuries to complete the descent into the deindustrial dark ages.

In "fractal collapse", I think you have a winner.

I imagine that the fact the complete system is composed of so many different fractal patterns, power-law distributions, chaotic systems, uncharacterized initial conditions and noise means it may be a fractal pattern that's hard to characterize usefully beforehand. But then again, simplicity sometimes emerges from absolute cluster**ks.

We really don't have a well-developed taxonomy of dooms, do we?

Of course, this time it actually IS different.

This time, like every time, is different. As one of the maxims of law says: "A thing similar is not exactly the same."

This time there are far more people with far wider and faster communication between the people. This time there is a far wider base of knowledge to draw upon and the storage and searchabiliy of that knowledge is far better than the past.

"Fractal collapse" through media with a wide variety of properties is my take. Some stiff & strong, others supple, flexible & adaptable, many weak that, once cracked, collapse quickly. Others that can continue to function even though highly stressed.

Different crisis will have different impacts on different parts of societies - and different societies. Peak Oil won't be so bad for oil exporting nations - till they stop exporting for example.


I picked the Stair Step Descent Model out of the group of ideas because it seems the most reasonable.

LOREN_SOMAN, a system is most likely to collapse when it is subject to the maximum stress. The maximum stress from the decline of crude oil production occurs at the inflection point on the falling edge of the curve. If that occurs in the 2040's and the world reaches peak natural gas production in the same decade, that seems like a very stressful time for the world economy. Export Land Model projects that net crude oil exports will be zero by then. The world will probably be subject to many oil price shocks before then that will beat the economy down in spurts reducing demand for crude oil. A lot can be done to inexpensively reduce crude oil consumption and switch to other fuels. The wasteful, unimportant uses will be eliminated before we reach the minimum operating level. One can certainly have collapse in one country, as in Greece, while others plod along. Libya's production went offline due to civil war and then came back online. I do not think the world economy is as bad as during the Great Depression, yet. We have a ways to go before it gets that bad. The peak on the oil production curve is not the most stressful point because the production is roughly constant and there is a lot of wasted consumption that can be eliminated at that time. Recession and depression before collapse, if collapse will happen.

However, in one of the BAU scenarios Limits to Growth Model predicts population collapse 1 or 2 decades after peak natural gas. The behavior of a complex system under stress is probably not intuitive.

Give it a rest, already.
What difference does it make what Greer thinks, what I think and what you think? Why do you want Greer to change his mind and agree with you? Perhaps Greer has invested a lot in his current viewpoint and therefore doesn't want to change his mind. So what? It is not like Greer is going to run for office, get elected and make policy that affects our life.

Nothing in this universe cares for anybody's opinion. What is going to happen is going to happen regardless of what anybody thinks. Agree to disagree and move on.

Bah humbug to you all! Honestly, you haven't the ammunition to be sniping!

While I lean toward a fast collapse, Mr. Greer has a well thought-out approach to the subject. Time will tell.

"You are dismissive of people who disagree with you. So what?"

I make an effort to not be dismissive or invalidate others who honestly argue the issues (and I didn't start this thread). As I said, If Greer is dismissive of those who refuse to stay on his point, it's his site.

You disagree.

His site is tightly moderated, and I suspect that's what many like about it. It's an attempt to move beyond the same old arguments, and create a space for the kind of discussion he is interested in.

It's like when PeakOil.com created the "Doomers only," "Moderates Only," and "Cornucopians Only" forums. It was so people could discuss their expected future without having those who expected something else jump all over every thread and derail it into the same old arguments.

We kind of do the same thing here. Some topics are not welcome, not because they are unspeakable, but because they've been beaten to death already, and they tend to suck so much oxygen out of the room there's nothing left for anything else.


You are the very voice of reason.

Were you born this way, or did you have to work at it? :-)

Seriously, you do a very good job here - we owe you a great deal. I've said it before, but I'll say it again- Many thanks...

In full agreement with you,sgage.TOD and drumbeat are my part of essential daily reading.The diversity of subjects and explanations for events and different viewpoints in the comments are most informative.
Technical details on the oil industry,data etc are very up to date and assist in better understanding the oil problem .Leanan & her colleagues are doing excellent work in separating the music from the noise .Many thanks and greatly appreciated.


Whenever I sit down to play a drum solo, I have to remind myself that my audience is hearing me for the first time. The musical ideas I play are (hopefully) not as stale to them as they are to me, having practiced them extensively.

I think of this site as presenting open debates on important topics for people outside the TOD community to read and help make up their minds. I was one of those people for a few years before I ever left a comment here. I see TOD as being for the public record and public good. As such, we as commentors have a kind of duty to discuss unpleasant topics even when we get bored with them.

I still believe that some topics are as unspeakable on TOD as they are every place else in the world, for the same reasons. I think saying that the ideas are beaten to death can be a convient way to rationalize avoiding their discussion.

Fast crash vs. catabolic collapse is not off-topic here. Feel free to discuss it if you wish, without personally attacking those who disagree with you.

I think saying that the ideas are beaten to death can be a convient way to rationalize avoiding their discussion.

There's no need to rationalize it. We freely admit it: we don't allow some topics here. Not because they are unpleasant, but because they're boring and pointless, and in some cases, makes us look like lunatics to those "people outside the TOD community."

Of course, everyone has a different idea of what's reasonable discussion and what's tedious or crazy. But there are many different sites on the internet, and if none of them suits you, you can make your own. JMG has a right to set the guidelines at his site; we have the right to set them here. You can set them at your own blog. I see this as desirable, not a problem.

We cannot be an "everything bagel" and are not trying to be. We are not offering a platform for free speech for everyone who comes along.

It's one thing to disagree with somoone, it's another thing to call them "intentionally dishonest".

I agree. Just parking this here because it's convenient....

Remember, folks - attack ideas all you want, but not the people who hold them.


Can I at least call the "catabolic collapse theory" a dumb idea?

As long you support your view without going ad hominem.


That's fair. I'll certainly be more sensitive from here on.

I have to say, though, that I don't think my original comment was ad hominem in any way, although it is now being treated as such. I think that showing examples of how a professional commentator plays with the facts a bit to suit his purposes, and then ascribing some reasonable intent to such actions is a fairly benign act. Methinks everyone protests a bit too much.

Yeah, Loren, I was basically put on notice a couple of weeks ago for my persistent insistence that a fast collapse, though not assured, is certainly possible. It seems that anyone who continues to discuss this possibility will be encouraged to leave the Archdruid's Court:

JMG: Ghung, I disagree with you; you disagree with me. I'm familiar with your arguments, and I'm sure you're familiar with mine; they clearly aren't going to change anybody's mind. That being the case, if you still find this blog useful, good; if not, there are plenty of others. 'Nuf said.

I still enjoy Greer's blog, but he keeps tight control over ideas that don't fall into his prophecy meme. He seems to allow little room for the input of those who may have dramatically more real-world experience in situations where societies implode; assumes those of us who've been there, done that, learned little. It's telling, and has diminished my respect for his views somewhat.

That said, I do believe his "voluntary poverty" suggestions have merit, though he'll likely still be insisting that catabolic collapse is ongoing when TSHTF for a lot of us. Relatively sudden collapse is here, and ongoing for many; hard to ignore. Many other societal bombs are armed and ready, and it's apparent, at least to me, that TPTB are in denial and grossly ill-equipped to intervene in the process once things go critical, and likely have little motivation to do so. They have better options.

Methinks Greer, obviously motivated towards a sense of gentile kindness, overestimates the goodness and altruism of his fellow humans, especially those in power. That's what happens when one is totally immersed in the musings of a largely insulated academic elite.

I'm in the 50/50 club, and keeping my resilience local.

Ghung, oh for heaven's sake. My blog's comment section is not, and has never pretended to be, a general forum for debating issues around peak oil. It's a place where people can discuss each week's Archdruid Report post with other readers and with me, and that's all it is; among other things, it's not a pulpit for other people's ideas or a theater for the endless circular disputes so common on the internet.

Thus my comment to you. If you want a place to talk about your opinions about the imminence of fast collapse, or whatever, there are plenty of places on the internet that encourage that sort of thing, or you could launch your own blog, the way I did, and attract an audience for your ideas. There are plenty of options. The comments page on my blog isn't one of them, and if that offends you, well, then it offends you.

Jeez, JMG, at what point have I ever said I was offended? Just askin', because, if you'll read my comments in this thread, hopefully you'll notice that I defend your right to control the content of your own blog, whether or not I agree with that content. However, I do find your suggestion that I imply otherwise a bit offensive. It's a line of respect that, I for one, take pains to not cross. Further, it distresses me that you clearly discourage challenges to your conclusions. IMO, this limits the value of what I consider to be one of the premier discussions on the web. But, again, it's your perogative.

My Father was a great teacher, a dean of academics, educational law and education at a major university, though his best quality was his humility and his willingness to consider other's ideas, no matter how lowly the source, and no matter how much he disagreed with the premise. I witnessed that he expended much of his energy considering the things he disagreed with the most. His greatest quality was that he never rejected or dismissed ideas that potentially held merit, or those who forwarded them, even into his 80s. It took courage, especially during tumultuous times in the South. I admit that I suffer due to this standard that he set. Forgive me that I see that potential in you.

Ghung, I don't discourage challenges to my conclusions; you're free to challenge my conclusions anywhere else on the web you want.

"As a director of the U.S. government's ministry of propaganda during World War II, Archibald MacLeish knew that dissent seldom walks onstage to the sound of warm and welcoming applause. As a poet and later the librarian of Congress, he also knew that liberty has ambitious enemies, and that the survival of the American democracy depends less on the size of its armies than on the capacity of its individual citizens to rely, if only momentarily, on the strength of their own thought. We can't know what we're about, or whether we're telling ourselves too many lies, unless we can see or hear one another think out loud. Tyranny never has much trouble drumming up the smiles of prompt agreement, but a democracy stands in need of as many questions as its citizens can ask of their own stupidity and fear. Unpopular during even the happiest of stock market booms, in time of war dissent attracts the attention of the police. The parade marshals regard any wandering away from the line of march as unpatriotic and disloyal; unlicensed forms of speech come to be confused with treason and registered as crimes."
~ Lewis Lapham

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
~ Abraham Lincoln

Online forums seem like virtual kingdoms, small as they are.

'anywhere else on the web' but where?


Anywhere else but on the comments page of my blog, where he's already repeatedly stated his opinion on the subject.

Hahaha! Nicely said, Mr. Greer!

No offense, Ghung, at all. I think John simply wants to explore his ideas with like-minded folk. Not unlike us on TOD, eh?

Not like TOD at all in my opinion. A diversity of opinion is what makes this website interesting.


Yeah, sure, but a peak oil denier just won't last long here, no?


Am I misunderstanding you? You don't allow people to disagree with your ideas on your blog?


Unsure as it is unfrequented by myself.
In any case, if I had a blog/forum and went to the unlikely extent of stifling dissent (rhymes), I might at least refrain from "chasing" my dissenters elsewhere or at least bite my tongue where I was concerned if I happened upon the same forum/thread as they, lest I be seen as wishing to eat my cake and have it too.

I can imagine how a certain form of control of a blog's comment section might function similarly to the glowing endorsements one often can find on the back of a book cover.

JMG has been a member of TOD for years. He has as much right to comment here as anyone.

I am speaking about myself in relation, and I'm all for rights. John popped in and we exercised them.

Of course with rights and power come responsibilities. Small potatoes in this context, but big as an example of the bigger picture, which we all contribute to its creation, such as via John's books, Green Wizards (which I have bookmarked) and blog:

I admit that the tone

...of his [Rob Hopkins] response took me aback, and so did the number of misrepresentations that found their way into it; I have no objection to criticism – quite the contrary, an idea that can’t stand up to honest criticism isn’t worth having in the first place – but it might have been helpful if Hopkins had taken the time to be sure the ideas he was criticizing were ones I’ve actually proposed...
~ John Michael Greer

John's relatively-short 2 years and 39 weeks surprised me by the way. I might have thought it would have been longer.


"In any case, if I had a blog/forum and went to the unlikely extent of stifling dissent (rhymes), I might at least refrain from "chasing" my dissenters elsewhere or at least bite my tongue where I was concerned if I happened upon the same forum/thread as they, lest I be seen as wishing to eat my cake and have it too."

Beautiful, insightful, and...poetic! WOW


John Michael Greer,

I'm very glad you decided to comment today. It seems I'm the one whose comment started all this excitment today. Let me introduce myself. My name is Loren Soman and I would like to engage in a friendly open debate with you on the subject of fast vs. slow collapse. I am not a scientist. I am an artist and a musician. This is simply a topic of great interest to me. As you say, your blog is not the place for such a discussion. Unfortunately I do not have my own blog. In any case I am not interested in attracting an audience for my ideas. I just want to dig deeply into these ideas as a way of dicovering the truth. Perhaps the editors of The Oil Drum might consider hosting such a thing? There are lots of people here on TOD who would love to see and join such a discussion. I would probably need a lot help anyway, mostly due to my extremely slow typing speed. Hopefully something could be worked out. Thanks.

Best Regards,

Oh, man. This is too funny. Loren, you've accused me of deliberate dishonesty, labeled my ideas "dumb" and "silly," made sweeping and wildly inaccurate claims about my motives, mischaracterized my ideas to an extent that makes me wonder if you've ever actually read anything I've written, flung around insults with a fine disregard for even the most basic notions of civility...but when I show up to comment, all of a sudden you're all formal politeness and why don't we have a nice friendly debate? I'm reminded forcibly of the time I watched a cat who'd had a bowel movement on the kitchen floor and was frantically trying to scratch nonexistent sand out of the linoleum to cover it up.

I have an alternative suggestion: please go look up the meaning of the phrase "ad hominem argument" and study it until you understand why everybody here but you recognizes that that's what you've engaged in.

That said, you mentioned that you disagree with my theory of catabolic collapse. I would be most interested in hearing your reasons for that disagreement; I've been waiting since the original paper was first published for somebody to present a meaningful critique of the theory -- that is, a critique that showed that the critic had taken the time to understand the theory I propose, and was prepared to present reasoning or evidence to challenge it. If you've got such a critique, perhaps you could post it here, or place it with Energy Bulletin.

Edit: corrected link


I am all about politeness now because if I am not I will continue to be picked on here and not taken seriously (not feeling sorry for myself, just describing the general situation). I am a serious person and I have serious points to make. Having now adopted the proper attitude as instructed by everyone here, your next move is to not forgive and instead persist in belittling me. Cool. I guess I should have expected this, but I am still surprised.

It is so hard to try not to react and to keep from getting drawn into trading insults with you now. If I do, I will be seen as discrediting myself, since at this point many people here seem to think it serves me right. I wonder how long that will last. Comparing me to a cat taking a bowel movement on the kitchen floor...Wow, that's amazing. You are a very good writer and you are totally rude. Did I really say anything to warrant that? Please quote from my post and find me the exact comment that I made about you that rises to that level. I think this seems like a very desperate way to defend your theory. Just like with Korowicz, I am dismissed with a wave of the hand. But you stopped in to TOD today because you felt you had to. That is progress. Your ideas are under pressure. Maybe you think you had a good day today with some but you may have damaged your reputation with important others, such as Darwinian and Ghung. Risky business.

And I did read your paper when it was first published. I even passed it around for other's to read. I thought it was pretty interesting and there wasn't much else out there with that much detail at that time. Over the years I've become more and more convinced that you are wrong (nothing personal). If you are serious about wanting a meaningful critique of your catabolic collapse theory, I'll sure take a shot at it. Since I've been told by Leanan that slow vs. fast collapse is a valid topic for this forum, I think I will post my short critiques here. I would welcome you to join in if you feel like it.

Respectfully walking on egg shells,

Loren, I'll look forward to your critique.

I think you got a "poetic backhanded indirect ad-hominem" with the linoleum bowel-movement cat analogy from someone who would seem to know better-- long beard, white robe and all-- so I think you're even. Personally, I'm unsure I would like to be associatively-analogized with it and might find it offensive. Or funny. Or both. ;D



I agree, were even.

Ghung, oh for heaven's sake...


Too funny/cute! =)

But first, John, maybe Ghung has to write a book (or more) and that gets published. Maybe Ghung has. Ghung? ;) If not, I would respectfully suggest you cull all your comments at TOD and compile them into a nice book.
(As an aside, publishers seem their own gatekeepers, where their personalities/biases/styles echo the books that get through.)

But in any case, one concern with that is that many people don't necessarily have it in them to write at particular lengths-- even to the point of needless verbosity-- for a book or even a daily blog. Not that I am necessarily suggesting that, the needless verbosity, of you.
So, what seems to end up happening is that certain opinions/ideas get (arguably too much) exposure/salience/distribution/lectures/platforms/etc..

Maybe something near an "idea monoculture"... Like those same "talking heads" I used to endure on tv (long ago when I had a tv)-- and often, if not usually, talking about things outside of their area of, say, relative knowledge. I used to wonder why they didn't bring those more knowledgeable in.

Kunstler this, Greer that... as much as I appreciate you both.
But I also appreciate a diversity of communication and that which is more along the lines of maybe what could be called short-and-sweet/subtle/obscure/direct/efficient/brief/to-the-point/etc..
Like simple comments in comment sections.

And in a sense, that's what you guys seem in part all about; localisation, "neo-tribalism" and stuff like that.

Idea/Opinion democracy.

...Now that I think about it, I actually read far more Ghung than Greer... but perhaps there are some Greer ideas/opinions behind Ghung's.

BTW; with regard to collapse, what is 'fast' and what is 'slow'? I ask because, some time ago, I mentioned hereon my sense of the global oil production curve as maybe having a different resolution-- like those pixel graphics-- than a national oil production curve. (So a global peak may feel more like a plateau, rather like where we don't notice the curvature of the earth) I mention this because I wonder if a global collapse might have a different "resolution" and therefore relative speed, than a classic/historical and more local collapse that is often referenced (Roman, Mayan, etc.).

Tribe, that's nearly as funny as Loren's sudden about-face. An idea monoculture? In what possible sense? There are plenty of people in the peak oil blogosphere arguing for a fast collapse, plenty more arguing for a gradual decline, and a very large number insisting that we can have a relatively smooth transition to some kind of green utopia. My viewpoint -- which is different from all three of these -- is still very much a minority view, denounced in heated if not always accurate terms by all sides. It's a source of wry amusement to me when people insist that I'm somehow hogging the limelight when all I do is post one essay a week on a blog that nobody, anywhere, is required to read.

As for definitions of fast vs. slow, all I can do is reiterate the model that I've been proposing all along: "a ragged process of breakdown and decline, consisting of repeated crises on various geographical scales and of varying severity, unfolding over the course of one to three centuries."

Actually, it's possible that Loren just read some comments from various readers about etiquette right before responding to your post.
At the same time, our corporate oligarchy culture is rife, and saturates us with, ad hominems, snarl words and so forth (A culture based on violence some say.) so I try to see past them/suck them up sometimes. Still, the cat-linoleum analogy was funny and reminds me of a toilet-trained cat You Tube video where the cat could be seen, afterward, scraping/rubbing the toilet seat.

As for, as you say, 'hogging the limelight', well just looking at your recent article's comments (assuming it's The Archdruid Report), you already have 54, and most other, say, "Ghung-level", blogs seem to struggle to get maybe one every few articles? Over time this-- your voice-- magnifies. So maybe what I'm suggesting is to consider 'sharing the limelight' or more of it, and/or reasonably "flexing" with the comments, such as vis-a-vis this limelight, if you don't already.

I'm inclined to agree with your collapse thing, but in a sense it seems to stand to reason: By your description of it-- ragged, etc.-- it somehow feels "fractally", and what with self-similarity/chaos/complexity and all that, again, it seems to stand to reason. I would consider one to three centuries relative to one's lifespan to be a relatively slow "collapse". At the same time, 'collapse' would seem a curious term to describe something like this, such as where things reconfigure at the same time, but what the hell.

Tribe, the reason I get that many comments -- or so I've been told by a number of those who make them -- is precisely because so many people are tired of the rehashing of conventional wisdom, the endless and pointless arguments, and the other less than amiable features of so many internet forums. If more people read and comment on my blog than the other blogs you have in mind, that's hardly an argument for scrapping the features that make my blog a little different, and embracing the habits of the blogs these same readers are choosing to avoid -- quite the opposite, don't you think?

John, the Wikipedia entry suggests you are half a century this year. Well I have a better idea than this tack we are on. What do you say?

I might have a 50th. birthday present for you if you are interested. In fact it is something I feel is very important that I'd like to discuss with you. That said, how may I reach you?

The question I think most folks skip is; why didn't Rome, or most previous empires collapse swiftly? Perhaps because they couldn't; everything was too distributed, too local. Next question: What does our current civilization lack compared to most previous civilizations. What are its unique vulnerabilities?

What lengths-of-time are we talking about with regard to a slow or swift collapse?

What does our current civilization lack compared to most previous civilizations. What are its unique vulnerabilities?
~ Ghung

Maybe this isn't a global civilization so much as a connected global patchwork of a few civilizations with some commonalities due to their connections. A 100+ Romes each with subtle differences. So if global civilization "collapses", maybe it's "just" a case of the clipping and/or atrophying of the various connections and a shrinking of each cell or node. Makes me think of a brain as the globe with each neuron being a city or nation-state and the connections being the synapses.

I suppose this kind of thing in a real human being might have them lose motor control, have emotional swings, bouts of paranoia, losses of memory, etc..


slow collapse means 200-300 years.
fast collapse generally means less than 20 years. 90% or so human die-off.

I would argue that it will be much faster, possibly mere weeks or months.
Sounds totally wild, huh? I admit, at first it is a little hard to get your head around.

You said: "Maybe this isn't a global civilization so much as a connected global patchwork of a few civilizations with some commonalities due to their connections."

One of the key things here is the commonality of lifestyles all relying on the same highly intereconnected and fragile delivery systems. We have become a world-wide human mono-culture. Think Irish Potato Famine here. The whole system is vulnerable to the slightest disturbance in BAU. We are essentially one sovereign debt default, or hurricane, or terrorist attack, or you name it, from total collapse.

In terms of Greer's terminal patient metaphor or analogy, no matter how long the patient's life is preserved it still ends the same way. With death. And death is really a rapid phase change from living to non-living. i.e. a fast collapse.

I have been invited to do a formal critique of his (slow) catabolic collapse theory by JMG, and time is short, (oh, the pressure) so I'll have leave it at that for now.


I presume you are going to post your response within a drumbeat comment section? I look forward to it wherever it goes.
Don't forget the ostensible redundancies: Apparently, locally-caught fish, for example, at least where I live, get shipped to Asia and then back again to our grocery stores.
If this is the case worldwide and with other products, then removing this simple effect of globalization might go some way toward reducing the down slope. Likewise with apples grown here that compete side-by-side with apples grown elsewhere, like Chile.

It seems there is an element of proselytizing that commenters on Internet blogs feel they must engage in - that an argument must be won. I've been guilty. But it is awfully hard to think with all that going on, and that is really the point; to stimulate thought. Perhaps I'm not real quick, but I need to digest these ideas, and sometimes quite a long time. With your blog I find that after mulling it over, whether my initial reaction is one of agreement or disagreement, it may change quite considerably, but the process of having considered it is what is of value to me. I sense that you are trying to present ideas in a framework you have mapped out, with a few diversions for real-time events, and the comments are intended to be focused on refining those concepts. Having a conceptual dispute about those ideas - and we can't know which is really "right" anyway, is disruptive. I can decide what I think about that for myself as time goes on.

The DrumBeat section here is different. More wide ranging comments about the news articles reflected, as well as stuff introduced by commenters. It's just a different forum.

Tribe Of Pangaea- First Member,

You said: "Actually, it's possible that Loren just read some comments from various readers about etiquette right before responding to your post."

That is precisely what occured. I wonder if I can ever be forgiven.

Let's all forgive each other, how's that? And keep doing so. The angels that we are.

Thanks Tribe.

I'd say the arguments about abrupt-collapse (at any given time) versus slow-grind are neither right nor wrong, because they depend on a system state of unknowably dense complexity, as well as an unspecified size and type of perturbation to set it off.

I guess for those arguing "for" abrupt collapse, they are assuming that the system is self-organizing toward being triggered to cascade by an arbitrarily small perturbation.

It's similar in principle to the rice-pile experiments, except enormously more complex. So after a heavy snow in the mountains, will a given slope avalanche or melt slowly in place? Since the answer to this may hinge on microscopic differences in the system, there is no right or wrong answer until afterwards. However, that's not to say that you can't make some pretty good guesses IF you understand the system. Snow avalanches are a lot simpler than human civilization & its environment, though... what isn't?

Of course, it can be stated accurately that the water molecules will wind up down the mountain one way or another; and that's analogous to human overshoot and dieback.

Personally I think that social organization (leadership + self organizing) are the key determinants. The issue is not that there are no solutions/effective mitigations available, it is that they are ignored.

If the USA has a severe crisis (say, dollar loses reserve currency status - *ALL* imports must be paid for with exports or gold, the trigger was an Arab Spring revolt in Saudi Arabia). There are mitigations to this that cohesive leadership could use and "get through" without collapse (or even close).

But if 1) we have a bitterly divided leadership - and sabotage of the other sides efforts is acceptable, I can national collapse coming. I remember stories of the two bitterly divided Roman consuls splitting command by day. One day the Roman Army marched East, the next day West and the day after East.

2) I am alarmed by the divorce from rationality that the Radical Right has taken, and their control of the Republican Party. "Pray for Rain" is not the most effective response to drought, and I find virtually none of their positions to be effective solutions or mitigations to our problems. If there are "no adults in the room" when critical decisions are made in a crisis, I can see national collapse.

But national collapse is not global collapse. Certainly there would be a scramble if the US fell out of the global economy - but the rest of the world could share the resources the US no longer used (food would be in shorter supply). Nations with rational governments could find and implement solutions/mitigations, especially if they had prepared beforehand. Some nations would collapse regardless of leadership in periods of crisis (say India if the crisis included bad harvests), but quite a few not.

Bottom line, I can see national collapses in quick order, but not a global collapse. In the worst case, some nations would continue to function for an indefinite time. Leadership and the social values of their citizens could see then through some extremely tough times.

Best Hopes for Some,


But national collapse is not global collapse.

But national collapse leading to a rogue superpower trying to take what it wants by force, would clearly introduce some seriously disfunctional forces upon the rest of the world. So yes, you and I both see the greatest source of danger coming from the same forces.

As Imperial Germany and Russia found out in WW I, a military needs a cohesive society on the Home Front.

Nuclear blackmail only works for a short time. The "tail heavy" US military cannot project force without massive logistics support. They are just not built & trained that way.


A too large army has caused the downfall of many a country. A too small army, the rest.

As usual AlanfromBigEasy I find your remarks cogent and on the mark.
Lester Brown, formerly of the Worldwatch Institute and now Earth Policy Institute has been studying, researching and analyzing these issues since 1974. I.e. almost as long as
since the first "Limits to Growth" study was published. The "State of the World" reports were some of the first factual reports on Environmental factors often ignored like fisheries, soil, and yes resources like oil, copper, phosphorus etc.
Towards the end of Lester Brown's "Plan B" for how to transition to a sustainable world by doing the obvious like reducing Wars and Military spending, Cities for People not Cars, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, energy conservation he says that it is primarily a question of Will and political mobilization. The basic outlines of what has to be done have been obvious for years.
Now we need to publicize these and go out and put forth new leaders that will do it.
It is obvious that both Corporate Parties, increasingly delusional Republicans, and neoliberal Corporate Democrats, are unwilling to lead to make the changes we need to make to avoid increasing collapse and suffering.
Both parties are acquiescing in endless Wars wasting $1 Trillion in resources we need for the Green Transition. Both parties are unwilling to challenge Auto Addiction with neoliberal Gov Cuomo insisting on wasting $6 Billion for a brand new cars only Tappan Zee bridge.
Meanwhile people are quite literally starving and homeless, unable to get jobs or afford to drive to get to them.
The collapse has indeed already begun - just look at the shuttered stores in your local Strip Mall.
But the other side is - IF we mobilize as the US did in WW II and lead the world in these efforts, we can build a sustainable future as Germany is doing now. Just as there are negative feedback loops there are also positive ones - if we invest in the Green Transition and Green Transit and cut our oil consumption by 20% in a year, we will then have more leeway to invest also in other options while providing energy and resource savings which will last forever.

I do like the way Greenish's mind works. I'd like to add, that unlike his avalanche analog -for which we could in principle know enough about that it would be down to the luck of small variations, in the same way that the number a roulette ball will end up in depends sensitively on its initial trajectory,in the civilizational case we really don't have any good theories that describe how the dynamics work, let alone highly detailed data on the initial state, so the uncertainties are far far greater.

I'm more in the slow camp myself. I think civilization is more robust then most here give it credit for. We've seen countries in wartime take far greater hits than PO will deal, and still come through with recognizable civilization and culture. And in any realistic assessment, the reduction is oil supply will be gradual -if not steady.

Gee, thanks, likewise.

And I agree that the "avalanche" comparison is a hugely simplified model compared with our civilization and world, though I think it has some deep validity as a metaphor.

Alan mentions WWI in a prior comment. A good example of a complex cascade, maybe, is the shooting of archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This is usually considered to be the event that cascaded into WWI. Historians will be able to argue forever whether that cascade was inevitable or wasn't. All we can know for sure is that it played out the way it did. Indeed, to the extent that human history makes simple statements about the causes of such cascades, it is always wrong because it can't describe the actual status of the system. It's a particular weakness of human narrative.

Such critical states are all though the natural world and human world, usually unperceived, and nearly always overlapping one another. They make things seem quite unpredictable and (if you learn to pay attention) provide a mechanism to steer large events with small inputs. You really can't tell a complex critical state just by looking at it; the difference between a temblor becoming a magnitude 4 earthquake versus a magnitude 8 earthquake might be the placement of a single atom.

An asteroid may hit and wipe out a large part of life on earth. At a different time one the same size may hit and cause no real increase in extinctions at all. Anthropogenic global warming may wind up being more about the amount of unstable frozen methane that just-so-happens to be currently triggerable by a rapid CO2 rise than the amount of carbon burned. $147 oil is NOT the magic threshold which will cause a recession, it's the price which combined with the context du jour in 2008 to add to a recession at the time.

So I'm in the fast camp and the slow camp. I paid good cash money to have a copy of Greer's "Long Descent" around to lend to people, and I also won't be surprised if events cascade quicker than he thinks they will. The way I'm odd is that my concern is what gets past the bottleneck, and the state of the world and its ecosystem in the period 1000 years to 500 million years hence. That being the case, I have a "sooner the better" attitude toward human civilization de-complexifying.

Agreed - I'm old enough to see the limits of my own mortality, and that it's not really about us. This is in fact one of the things I appreciate about Greer's writings - he's also focused transmitting knowledge and skills that may be useful forward to people we'll never know.

Yes. In fact, we had this argument here, years ago. Someone used the example of grains of sand rather than rice, but the argument was the same.

The catabolic collapsers pointed out that collapse has always taken decades, if not centuries. And the larger and more complex the society, the longer it takes to collapse.

The fast crashers said that this time it's different. That our society is more brittle - less resilient - than any in the past, and therefore would collapse much faster than Rome or Easter Island.

It ended with contrasting predictions for Jan. 2010. One prediction was that we would collapse by then. The other was that BAU would continue, defined as the Super Bowl being of more interest than peak oil.

The latter was what happened. Does it mean a fast crash is impossible? No, but I think it strongly suggests that this time, it's not really different. We are not as brittle as many feared, or we would have collapsed after the 2008 crisis.

Be that as it may, no one, and I do mean absolutely no one, has even attempted to refute the points made by David Korowicz in his paper Trade-Off-Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse.. Hell I think I and perhaps one or two more are the only ones posting on TOD who has read it.

Greer did not even attempt to refute the paper. As Loren said, he gave it a hand wave dismissal and nothing more. If someone, anyone, is going to insist on a long drawn out collapse they must refute the very strongest argument against it. They must refute the very strong case for a fast collapse made by this very intensive study. No one has done that. No one has even attempted to do that. Not Greer, and not any of his disciples.

Ron P.

Darwinian - I have begun reading David Korowicz' paper and it is very thought-provoking with some excellent points. Personally I think it is extremely likely that in the next year there will be another financial crisis on the scale of and possibly worse than 2008. However there is one key point which I have challenged many times here as regards the dependency of 90% of transportation on oil:

In addition, if we cannot ramp up production of alternative electric cars (and lithium for batteries for example) on time and at scale then we cannot substitute. (other forms of energy for transportation he means)

This is why Green Transit is so crucial to deal with both Peak Oil and Climate Change. Yes we CAN substitute for oil-fueled transport and conserve major percentages of oil by moving towards Green transit. Already this is happening for freight, as I have mentioned before Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor Project which IS being built will take 1 million long-haul trucks per year off the US Interstate Highways. We SHOULD not depend on electric cars but instead we need to do precisely what was done between 1942-1945 and mobilize to reduce Auto Addicted transit and promote our already built Green Transit quadrupling ridership as was done then. Furthermore without electric cars we could almost double oil efficiency by simply car-sharing instead of the 90% of commuters riding their cars alone to work. Hitchhiking which was once a widely used mode of sharing transportation can and probably will be revived. Personally in the ancient days of the 1970's I found hitch-hiking an enlightening adventure.
Again, some of this is already happening.
Challenging precedents NYC's MTA has just announced a major EXPANSION of service!
NYC's bike-sharing program is delayed until March, 2013 but it will be the largest in the US to go along with NYC's major expansion of bicycle lanes.
To consider how much this can save - my daughter just moved to Manhattan and bought her first monthly Metro Pass for only $104 per month! I.e. $1248 per year for transportation costs versus the average car owners cost of $9300 (BEFORE coming gasoline price rises)
Part of the problem with many Americans is they are bred to wear Auto Addiction blinders and cannot see the Rails within a mile or so of their houses.
Why does David Korowicz assume electric cars are the answer?
They are not although electric vehicles will be more and more important, especially electric Rail, Lightrail and trolleys.

"The catabolic collapsers pointed out that collapse has always taken decades, if not centuries."

I submit that this collapse has been underway for some time, and Greer has also stated that we "peaked" in the early 70's, that the decline has been underway for @40 years. 2008 was just a bigger step than others, and it's evident that each additional step will likely be more severe as resilience is eroded and the cans we've kicked start kicking back. It may be that my experience with neglected complex systems failing catastrophically has clouded my judgment, though I have a personal record of being fairly solid in a crisis. I'm not prone to overreacting. Not tooting my own horn here, but most folks who disagree with me have led fairly 'contained' lives.

Most people surround themselves with comfortable others, insulate themselves from uncomfortable situations, indulge themselves with comfortable distractions, and nurture themselves with comfortable stories. I understand, though I don't think I was born with the 'comfort' gene.

The collapses I witnessed in Somalia, FSU (especially the Balkans), other places, weren't 'catabolic' in any sense, and I believe are scalable. I've seen nothing to convince me that our current path to essential resource depletion, climate change, and global financial meltdown can't (and isn't likely to) result in a similar result, on a scale that none of us are equipped to fathom. Some say "we're slowing down..." Please...

Will it be universal? Hopefully not. But in a country that is fairly well locked into using multiples of their share of the planet's resources and which is in deep denial of what their futures hold, even if they do dramatically change their behavior and consumption, I remain decidedly uncomfortable with the list of possible outcomes. I don't think the clueless majority is going to react well at all; they're too divided, lost in a desert of superficiality. I agree with Kunstler; reality will deal our society some cards that it is totally unprepared to play. Planting some seeds of urgency in others seems appropriate at this point, even if it's getting to be "the same old story". This ain't no party, and it's not some website's virtual reality that can be switched off.

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down...

...So when the music's over
When the music's over, yeah
When the music's over
Turn out the lights...

If ice loss in the Arctic creates wacky weather in the northern hemisphere that causes massive crop failures for the next decade, then fast collapse will probably happen.

Which one will get us first: resource depletion or pollution?

I've heard people say that it's okay, we'll just adapt. Tell that to farmers who are paying loans on the latest equipment for a specific crop they can no longer grow. These loans run into six figures, and more...

Does it mean a fast crash is impossible? No, but I think it strongly suggests that this time, it's not really different. We are not as brittle as many feared, or we would have collapsed after the 2008 crisis.

Well, since I seem to be posting I guess I'll keep at it today, though I really shouldn't on such a sleep deficit.

I don't think we can necessarily derive much about how good the arguments were by how it played out. I realize that sounds nuts by standard human reasoning.

For instance, what were the probabilities of nuke war during the "cuban missile crisis"? ICBM's were certainly a plausible mechanism for fast collapse, and for that matter still are. (My house is currently still targeted by at least 20 major fusion bombs by Russia alone). Just because it's "obvious in retrospect" that the people digging bomb shelters in the '50's were misguided doesn't make it so. Cascading events with roots in deep connectivity are like that. There is no "right answer" of what the odds were, it just played out the way it played out, a path-dependent drunkard's walk in a minefield.

(And it's still to early to tell whether the way it played out was for the best. Who knows, that might have been the last good chance to slow our species' metabolism and de-leverage a bit. It seemed like the end of the world was near at the time - and perhaps was for a lot of us - but compared with the credible loss of our planet to heating, it was pretty tame doom. But I digress....)

I guess today's postings by me are to point out that individual cascades from complex nested criticalities are not something we can easily predict except as wild probabilistic guesses, and the way it plays out in a single instance doesn't count for much.

Loren, thanks for a fantastic post. I read the very long David Korowicz Trade-Off-Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse twice. Now a paper has to be very good to get me to read it twice, especially one that is 75 pages long. But it outlined the best case for a fast collapse I have read... ever. And I was really disappointed with Greer's response which you outlined above. I would just like to add this to your excellent review. From Greer: A Crisis of Legitimacy.

Money, let us please remember, is not wealth; it’s a set of arbitrary tokens people in complex human societies use to manage the distribution of real wealth; if a monetary system breaks down, other ways can readily be jerry-rigged to keep real wealth moving.

No, that is simply wrong. Though money may not really be considered wealth it will do until wealth comes along. Money, or capital, is what our economy is built around. Money is what you buy groceries with. And without money you cannot do anything, you cannot even keep the electricity flowing in your house.

Without money we would have a barter system. What would you trade for a beef roast or 10 pounds of potatoes? But more importantly if had a business with what would you pay your employees? Does Greer think they would work for nothing? Without a liquid currency that everyone trusts the economy comes crashing down, and fast.

We live in a totally different world today than did the ancient Romans or the Mayas. We even live in a different world than we did in 1929 when the economy (almost) collapsed in just three years. Back then people went back to the farm. Today the world has almost three and one half times the population we had then. Today there are no farms to go back to. Not one person in 100 knows anything about farming.

The collapse will surely come and the crash will be so fast it will shock everyone. It will likely happen in a matter of months.

Ron P.

The collapse will surely come and the crash will be so fast it will shock everyone. It will likely happen in a matter of months.

I would bet the mortgage that it doesn't.

Eh, I'm not the gambling type, but I will predict that a few months from now...say, February 2013...people will be still more concerned about the Super Bowl than about energy or finance.

NO, no, no. I did not mean that the collapse will happen in the next few months, I meant that it will only take a few months from start to finish. A fast collapse rather than a slow collapse, that was the point I was trying to make. If it starts in January 2025 then we will have total collapse before 2026 rolls around.

Sorry if I was not clear, I should have caught that before I posted. But then I really expect it to happen before 2025, possibly as soon as 2017 but who knows. I have told all my kids and grandkids that I hope to be safely dead before the collapse happens but now I am having my doubts. But I can still hope. :-)

Ron P.

It took the Roman empire about 1200 years to collapse according to Gibbon. Over time the changes were profound; breakup of institutions, changes in wealth distribution, decay of security and more. Yet the sense of continuity of the empire not only lasted through the collapse, I would bet that most of the affected people thought of the decay as temporary and the systemic changes as normal.

edit: clarification

It took the Roman empire about 1200 years to collapse according to Gibbon.

Better go back and read Gibbon again Jjhman. The Roman Empire lasted, from start to finish, about 1100 years. It reached its Zenith in 161 AD and by 476 AD was only a "humble collection of house holds on the hills of Rome". So the collapse took about 315 years.

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Ron P.

So the collapse took about 315 years.

Which may not have been all that fast in the context of the span of the Roman Empire.

My gut feeling is that our civilization may completely collapse in a much shorter time frame than that, say maybe on the order of somewhat less than a full century. I think that 2008 was a seminal moment for our global civilization. That's only 4 years behind us when looking in the rear view mirror. I also believe that a mere quarter of a century from now collapse will be much more evident and that it is already possible to clearly see signs that it is underway!

To me a full collapse that happens in less than a century qualifies as fast collapse, that's not to say that we couldn't encounter a combination of tipping points that might speed things up quite a bit more than that!

FMagyar, how do you define "full collapse"? One of the challenges here is defining our terms -- and I expect a great deal of collapse to happen in the next 99 years!

FMagyar, how do you define "full collapse"?

Since I'm struggling with numerous deadlines at the moment I've only been reading and posting quite sporadically so I apologize for not spending a whole lot of time explaining my definition of "full collapse".

Instead I'll give an example using the Euro, let's say four or five countries in Europe are forced to exit the current European financial system over the next 10 years. That would change the current economic paradigm in Europe to the point that it would be rendered inviable. Europe would still be there and people in all the European countries would still find ways to live, there would even continue to be exchange of goods, etc. However the old system would have ceased to function in any meaningful way and something completely different would have to emerge, in other words at that point the Euro would have suffered a full collapse.

When we start having to change or abandon most of our current systems and structures that form the underlying support to our global civilization then it will have ceased to function and in my mind will have suffered a complete collapse.

I believe we are already seeing the beginnings of these shifts even though as I head to work this morning I will be still be sitting in bumper to bumper traffic as I drive through miles and miles past strip malls with ever more empty stores...



Is it not possible for European countries to abandon the Euro and go back to their own currencies so that they can control their monetary policy? It would not be easy to do, there would clearly be a great deal of disruption, but it could be done.


Is it not possible for European countries to abandon the Euro and go back to their own currencies so that they can control their monetary policy?

Of course it would but that misses the point I am trying to make! I'm only using the Euro as an example.
What I'm trying to say is that if four or five European countries exit the Euro for whatever reason then the Euro will have collapsed. At that point the European countries might indeed revert to their original currencies.

In a similar manner if for whatever reason our myriad complex interconnected systems and much of the physical infrastructure on which our global civilization relies starts to degrade and we can no longer muster the resources to adequately maintain them then the underlying paradigms no longer hold.

While this by no means signifies the end of the world, to me it signals the end of what we call BAU. If it all comes to pass in the time frame of a few decades, I call that a fast collapse.

The Roman Empire is dated from 31BC when Octavian effectively became sole dictator/leader ("emperor"). Before that it was officially a Republic, from the time the Romans ditched their last king in 509 BC, until 31 BC. The Western Roman Empire therefore lasted about 500 years.
We should aslo remember that the Eastern Roman Empire (in the West we call it the Byzantine Empire, but Italians call it the ERE) outlasted Rome by almost 1000 years (!), finally succumbing to the Turks in 1453 (but only after having been dismembered by the Crusades).

If you count the full time span, from the first roman expansion on the Italic peninsula, to the fall of Bysans in 1453, we are looking at 2000+ years. But yes, the Roman EMPIRE didn't last that long.

I would bet the mortgage that it doesn't.

I would too, it's simple human psychology, we deal well with fast collapses. Martial law, rationing and things like that. A slow collapse is another matter, we have no idea how to deal with it.


Your rational puzzles me a bit (a lot actually). And I've seen this idea expressed before (I think it qualifies as a genuine meme), so I'd like to take a close look at some of the logical contradictions inherent in what you are saying.

You are implying that we get to choose which outcome will happen based on a personal preference for one or the other. You are also saying that we should logically be more afraid of the consequences of a slow, gradual, hardly noticable collapse as opposed to, say, IMMEDIATE STAVATION! Really? Because we don't know how to 'deal' with a slow collapse? Do you have an idea how to 'deal' with immediate starvation? You seem to be confusing how we deal with the IDEA of collapse---with how we deal with the REALITY of an actual collapse, fast or slow. And what if I prefer a fast one and you prefer a slow one? Do we have to choose the same one or do we get to experience alternate realities? Majority rule?


Thank you so much for helping me to point out just how silly Greer's position really is. When I first pondered the idea of a fast collapse, it seemed so obvious logical. No subsequent evidence has emerged to change my mind on that. True, if you had told me in 2008 that we would still be here debating this on the Oil Drum by 2012, I would not have taken you seriously. It did not seem possible then that we could have avoided complete collapse by now. For wishful thinkers, I guess this is evidence that the original idea must have been wrong. For people like me, it is very frustrating, but until I see some real evidence to the contrary, it is still hard for me to change my mind.

Your post concludes with: "The collapse will surely come and the crash will be so fast it will shock everyone. It will likely happen in a matter of months." I completely agree. I think things are beginning to slip as we speak.

One thing that makes predicting this sort of thing so thorny (and contentious), is that we now have the technology to look at the entire globe and the peoples across it.. we have a number of connections, economic, trade, cultural, contractual that provide bonds and make the world look in some ways more homogenous and unified.. which makes some think that any fall will surely entangle and drag down all these connected nations and peoples..

and yet, there are cultural, environmental, resource and pure distance and geographical distinctions to every inhabited region, and after a certain degree of energy decline and maybe cultural or economic chaos, it seems quite likely that there will be a greater gulf between regions on widely varying scales.. some isolated places will lose their imports, but will find the local riches to be able to continue on quite well.. and may be enough out of the way that invasion or colonization would be unlikely.

Point is, these sorts of variations will be reengaged in peoples all over the world, and some will find they are in places that cannot survive without the umbilical of cheap energy and goods, some will have wars, either ruinous or ultimately redrawing borders.. while other places will be able to regrow.

Painting 'The Collapse' in any sort of monolithic framing seems too simplistic, while the potential for varied responses also, in my mind, would make the 'average decline' much milder than the one that the fast crashers often paint as if it were going to be that way everywhere..

The collapse will surely come and the crash will be so fast it will shock everyone. It will likely happen in a matter of months.

Wow, you realy are a doomer. I will refrain from jokes about december 21. Although I plan to throw a party that day.

I don't think there is more than a narrow chance of a fast collapse any time soon. But I also find it equally impossible to avoid it long term. Imagine two islands moving apart from each other through super fast tectonic movements (say Cm/day). There is a bridge between them, but no more building material. Engineers are working every day to canibalize the bridge for material and stretch the bridge further and further, thus making it more and more fragile.

That is what we are doing with the world economy (from eco systems and natural resourses, to jobs and financial instruemts). There are still room to stretch resources over even bigger gaps, but when it comes down, it will. More and more people are adding weight to a resource base that don't grow and partly is even shrinking.

The reason I don't see the fast collapse on the emediate horizon is that I expect noise and rumblings before it happen. Call it pre-quakes if you want to. While things are happening right now and the situation is much worse than just 5 years ago, and that indicate we are moving closer towards the inevitable, we still have some more distance to cover. The world ain't shaking enough.

I may re-evaluate this analysis at any point in the future.

EDIT: I now read Leanans comment,and your comment to hers. This was fun!

Darwinian writes:

Back then people went back to the farm. Today the world has almost three and one half times the population we had then. Today there are no farms to go back to.

Looking out the windows of my concrete and steel suburban Corporate office building I see trees, acres of grass and at night herds of deer. In the USA at least all those old farms plowed under for surburban sprawl have just been converted to energy wasting lawns of grass and asphalt parking lots. The deer can be hunted. Lawns can grow vegetables again. Acres of asphalt parking lots can be torn up and food planted in them again. Even in Manhattan public schools are growing their own vegetables!
Lets not overlook the resources right in front of our own eyes out here in the suburban wasteland...

Yes, when the economy collapses you can just start growing food on your lawn. After cultivating them for a year, and keeping starving people out by keeping watch all night, you might get enough food to keep you alive for a month or so, or until the food rotted.

The deer can be hunted.

Yes they can. By the end of the first year we will have eaten the songbirds out of the trees.

Ron P.

The Swedish army calculates the swedish forests can sustain a population of 50 000 (hunting/gathering). This is the pop we had before agriculture. We are now 9 million.

Just like in a real human patient, life can be prolonged by extraordinary measures, but death will still be the ultimate outcome. And the transition from life to death is always sudden (a fast collapse).

Loren, that happens also with terminally ill patients

Loren, the fact that you disagree with my viewpoint -- or, more precisely, your rather remarkable distortion of my viewpoint, speaking of straw men -- is hardly grounds for claiming that I'm being deliberately dishonest. I disagree with your viewpoint -- does that make you a liar? Of course not.

Neither you nor I nor anyone knows in advance how this is going to play out. I hold, for reasons I've discussed at great length in four books and six years of blog posts, that the end of the industrial age is most likely to involve a long ragged sequence of messy crises followed by periods of relative stabilization and partial recovery. To use the metaphor of the terminally ill patient, which you somehow managed to misunderstand -- please look up the meaning of the phrase "terminally ill" sometime -- the doctors get his heart started again, but the underlying disease remains and worsens; there will be more heart failures, more crises, a steady decrease in vital signs and quality-of-life issues, and sooner or later the doctors aren't going to manage to revive him.

Is that what's going to happen? Good question. Again, neither you nor I nor anyone knows. What I'm saying is that, in my view, this is the most likely scenario, and that most fast-collapse arguments share a set of flaws that, in my view, make them very implausible. You don't have to agree with that view, but that's the way I see things, and this notion of yours that I must be deliberately lying because I couldn't possibly disagree with you for honest reasons is really a bit much.

John, in times past I have been one of your greatest supporters on TOD. When others have criticized you I have come to your defense. But here I must side with avid Korowicz. I read his paper... twice... and found it absolutely compelling. I did not find your refutation, such as it was, very compelling. Your dismissal of the role of money I found especially weak. If money collapses, people cannot live, they cannot buy the necessities of life. People are civilization, not wealth. People must eat, people must have shelter, people must have a means of support. Without money they have nothing regardless of what they possess in the form of tangible wealth other than currency.

People on this list talk of what we waste and how if we only stopped wasting so much then we could get by with a lot less. Perhaps but all that waste is produced by someone else's gainful employment. When the majority of people in a society are unemployed the system collapses. End of story. During the great depression we had only 25 percent unemployed. If we get to 50 percent unemployed we will, I believe, have total collapse. That can happen fast, very fast.

And that is the difference in times today and times past. Back then people were closer to the land. Even if they lived in the city they purchased food from peddlers on the street and small shops who got the produce directly from those who grew it. Not so today. Food comes mostly from a can or from a factory farm. Things are totally different today.

Ron P.

In occupied Germany, money was cigarettes.

Switching from a failed currency to a new one has been done *SO* many times in history, and never caused a complete and utter collapse of society that I can think of.

I was tempted to read his analysis, but if that is all it is about, I won't bother.

Currency & Financial Collapse /= Social Collapse.

Hundreds (thousands ?) of examples and not one contra example I can think of.

Good to own gold & silver then, of course.


Alan, thank you. You beat me to it!

That's it? That's your answer? Cigarettes or gold trinkets? You are going to run a society on that? Or liquor? Now I know no slow crash advocate has ever given this problem much thought. If you had you would not post such a silly answer as that.

In a partial collapse, one that affected only a few and a few countries one could get by by trading what few items they have. But a total collapse these kind of items would be of use only to a very few and then only for a few days. The cigarettes would be smoked and the liquor would be drank and there would be no more coming down the pike... ever. And people would soon find that their gold trinkets would be of little value. They could not eat any of them.

I do not consider your or Alan's reply a reply at all. You are going to run the world by trading trinkets, cigarettes and liquor. Even manufacturers and service employers will pay their employees with them.

As Charlie Brown often says. Good Grief!

Ron P.

Edit: But Alan and John, I do thank you for your answer. I am going to save it and use it every time someone talks argues for a slow crash. It will always settle the debate.

I agree with them. Financial collapse is not the same as societal collapse. Many countries have suffered financial collapse without suffering societal collapse.

Korowicz's arguments remind of the ones Stoneleigh made before and during the 2008 crisis. I think she was definitely onto something. There were rumors of goods piled up on docks, because the credit lines had dried up. And remember how we were all watching the Baltic Dry Index? But it didn't translate into empty store shelves.

And while I generally find "this time it's different" arguments suspect...in this case, I wonder if it might really be different.

In particular, we are so close to a cashless economy. We use credit cards, debit cards, and cell phones to pay for everything. Even food stamps are debit cards now. There was an unexpected delay when I closed my HSBC account and opened an account at my local credit union, and I had to go a couple of months without cash. It was no hardship at all. Even the farmer's market takes plastic these days.

In Argentina, a lot of the hardship was caused by the government's attempt to keep people from moving cash outside the country. They limited withdrawals, and it wasn't enough to live on. But if money is electrons instead of paper, they could keep it in the country without limiting how people spent it domestically.

I dunno, maybe it would somehow make things worse instead of better. But given the wide range of scenarios we've seen from past financial crises...I don't think anyone can say for certain that financial collapse would lead to societal collapse, never mind predict the speed at which it would happen.

Okay, now I understand. No one in this debate arguing for slow collapse has even bothered to read the David Korowicz paper. Too long and too much trouble I suppose. And besides, you already have you mind made up and that's it.

In terms of impact, a large-scale financial collapse would far surpass the fuel blockades in impact and speed of onset. The movement of goods, people, and critical functions would be rapidly affected. The catastrophic impact arising from McKinnon's study would be merely a sub-set of the potential impact.

He is talking about the real life fuel blockades in the United Kingdom in 2000. Grocery store shelves had began to empty and people were starting to panic. A full scale financial meltdown would far surpass anything that has ever happened... anywhere.

I understand now Leanan. Thanks for your reply.

Ron P.

I'm arguing that we really don't know, more than for slow collapse.

I don't think anyone can be sure, one way or other, about this topic. It's possible for intelligent, well-informed people to disagree about this.

I'm also reminded of those studies that found the most accurate predictions about the future are made by those who are least sure they are right.

Yes we do know. We do know what would have happened in the UK if the trucks had not started rolling again. We know what happened in 1932 when 25 percent of the workforce was out of work. We know what would happen if there were no currency to pay anyone with. We know what would happen if world commerce came to a halt.

And I do not believe for one minute that David Korowicz has any serious doubts as to what would happen in the event of a worldwide financial meltdown. Saying that he is amount the least sure of the results of his study is just not accurate, not by a long shot.

And I also understand that if a strong argument needs to be made it will take many pages to cover all bases, all counter arguments. But if one were to do that then the study would be too long for anyone to read it, especially those who are already sure of their current beliefs.

I repeat my earlier argument. No one on this list, or on any other blog has refuted the points made in the David Korowicz study. That's because they have not read it so how could they possibly refute it.

Ron P.

We do know what would have happened in the UK if the trucks had not started rolling again.

Actually...I don't think we do.

Moreover, we don't know that the trucks will stop rolling. And if they do, it might not be permanent.

One thing that's become clear to me over the past few years is that collapse is not a one-way street. There are stair steps up as well as down. New Orleans was a Mad Max nightmare come true. But they recovered. Not fully, but they're hosting the next Super Bowl.

Similarly, the chaos after the hurricanes, with fistfights at gas stations, people sleeping at work because they couldn't get gas, the National Guard protecting fuel tankers, and drivers filling up even their coffee cups with gas when it was available - didn't last.

And I do not believe for one minute that David Korowicz has any serious doubts as to what would happen in the event of a worldwide financial meltdown.

And that increases the chances of his being wrong.


"Not fully, but they're hosting the next Super Bowl." Maybe, maybe not. Philosophically speaking, your idea of what is certain in the future is really not any more certain than an immediate, total, rapid collapse. The future is inherently unknowable, right?

I think Darwinian is right. People who want to argue against a fast collapse really ought to read the Korowicz paper.


Ron - "A full scale financial meltdown..." I've been following the tread but haven't had anything to contribute so kept quiet. But one thing that I noticed is that whether fast or slow most of the discussion focused on the entire "system" breaking down. But I'm not sure what a system breakdown would look like.

Best I can explain my thoughts is by example. In the early 80's there was a huge and very rapid crash of the global FF industry. In the US alone hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, hundreds of companies went out of business, $trillions in market cap lost by public companies, $billions lost by creditors. Rather devastating but the oil patch didn't disappear. Took a decade to come back. And now it's booming.

OTOH the low prices that wacked the oil patch helped the world climb out of recession after so many others sectors took a serious hit. So depending on which group you focus on the 80's was a fast crash or steady or slow but steady build to some level of prosperity.

More recent history: the home building bust just several years ago. Same sad stats in the loss column. Not a lot of positives out of it but some gains for folks in the home repro biz and investors picking up cheap retail properties. And didn't seem to have a lasting impact on the oil patch looking at the rise in our business in the last couple of years. The banks, which took a good bit of the hit, seem to be making nice profits today.

And same thought about societal breakdown. Which part of society? Compare Houston to Detroit since 2000. I don't know if one can directly relate the financial hit Detroit has taken to societal breakdown. I'm not even sure what that really means. Lots of upset folks across the country but with a few relatively minor flashpoints. Have whole cities or even neighborhoods burnt down? Hundreds killed during food riots? Violent political coups at local or nation levels? Or maybe the breakdown is more subtle: folks losing hope that their lives, and that of their children, have little chance of improving. Or folks accepting that our two party system has become totally ineffective in addressing the most serious problems facing the country and have thus dropped out of the game? Or more simply is it a Mad Max world or X% of folks just having their hopes crushed? One makes for more exciting headlines but is it that much worse than the hopeless desperation?

Maybe the perceptions of the different TODster plays a role. These I routinely float between worlds of very comfortable affluence and soul crushing despair. One day I may be looking at pictures of a guy's $70 million sailboat and the next helping a guy who can't literally read the paper work apply for unemployment benefits. I regularly see two worlds: one filled with satisfaction and one with little enthusiasm for life. So how do we measure the "collapse" of society? A weighted average? Ignore the highest and lowest and define it by what's in the middle. On a weekly basis I see growth and collapse. I see strong societal relationships and very horrible realities for others.

In summary it seems a distinction needs to be made of the scale anticipated. And if not the scale then which specific aspects of our world will be impacted either positively or negatively. I suspect that is a more rhetorical question than not.

Rockman, thanks for the reply.

In summary it seems a distinction needs to be made of the scale anticipated. And if not the scale then which specific aspects of our world will be impacted either positively or negatively. I suspect that is a more rhetorical question than not.

The distinction was made very, very clear in this paper Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in GLOBAL SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE

Everything is clearly laid out in this paper. But no one has read the damn thing. And no one seem to have even the slightest interest in reading it. That makes my task impossible. That is I am trying to argue points that no one knows anything about. But most everyone is sure of one thing, that he is wrong. Their task is so easy, just declare that the man don't know what he is talking about without even taking a glimpse at what he wrote.

Ron P.

Ron, I find that those who belittle the idea of a fast crash do not understand fully the economic/financial systems that are essential to run a industrial civilization. That does not stop them from belittling other people who have spent years researching economics and central banking. They are not well enough informed to make a logical counter argument; just rehash their normalcy bias.

I also have been reading the Korowicz paper and I have been trying to get serious thinkers I know to do the same.

Thanks Mark, I actually printed the paper out and studied it for days. I have a laser printer and can print a lot cheaper than an ink jet. Anyway I was stunned by some of the things in the paper that I had not earlier considered. I found Figure 9 on page 50 a real eye opener. The correlation between the Food price index and social unrest is astounding. That gives us some idea of what is in store as food prices continue to rise, as they surely will.

Anyway thanks for the post.

Ron P.


I was also blown away by that chart. Forget about Arab Spring. I think we can expect Global Spring real soon.


Hi mark,

"...just rehash their normalcy bias."

TOD is like a giant brain. It has just begun to suffer the most extreme case of cognitive disonance, ever. Change is very painful thing. And this is just getting started.

By the way, you play some mean blues guitar. Band sounds real solid. Having your brother in the band helps a lot I'll bet. My step-brother is also a musician and we used to play together in the way old days (nowadays he plays lead guitar for John Mellencamp). I was in a blues band for a couple of years and loved every minute of it. I still like to get out to a blues jam every once in a while. It is pretty much the indiginous music of this region.


Ron - "Supply chain" break down. That's an aspect I think some have trouble appreciating. A year ago I had to suspend a $30k/day operation in S. La. for over 24 hours while waiting on a $45 metal O-ring. Last year had to have truck make a 400 mile r/t from La. to bring a load of cement to my well in Texas because it was the closest at the time. The truck charge was twice the price of the cement. Several years ago while working offshore I saw an operator burn through $300k/day for a week waiting for a part. The part was only 24 hours away but the seas were too rough to offload.

I could offer a hundred examples like this but in the grand scheme no significant negative effect on society...just cost these companies a pretty penny. But now multiply those events by hundreds of thousands of similar events, small and large, but hitting across the entire US economy. I'm not predicting it would happen. BUT if it did I know how it would play out from my past experiences: lots of frustration, anger, diminished safety standards, lost wages and/or capex, etc. And then comes the instinct to hoard which only makes the situation worse. I myself have done this with certain casing sizes when they were in short supply. I know of large companies (ExxonMobil and Shell) that had to suspend temporarily entire offshore drilling programs because a certain drilling mud had been monopolized by another company.

And it's not the case of trickle down effects: it hits right at the heart of productivity. We've already seen bits of such results due to disruptions with Japan's supply chain to the US.

Just-in-time delivery reduces supply chain resiliency and externalizes inventory costs by wholesalers into losses by customers due to lack of part availability. It's much more efficient for inventory to be shared (on the shelf at wholesalers) than for individual customers to stockpile (hoard) spares/supplies, but if an individual wholesaler carries more inventory, it raises his overhead, which raises his prices, which means that (except when he is the only one who has a part AND there is a time crunch) he doesn't get the sale.

Darwinian, I read Korowicz's paper a while ago. He makes a lot of claims that economic things would happen a certain way without explaining why they must occur that way and no other way. I do not see his Eurozone Fast Crash Scenario as plausible because the world is not that interdependent. Just be prepared for disruptions in the financial and just-in-time delivery system to allow enough time for the system to restart. If it does not restart, then there will be hungry people and corpses everywhere.

From the David Korowicz paper

In a more complex society with more complex production, there are many more critical links for something to be produced and delivered. Some of these are in the company’s direct supply-chain, many more are part of the society's operational fabric which is normally taken for granted. Because of Liebig's law of the minimum it only takes one critical failure to stop production and delivery.

Thus, for a trade collapse or a wider system collapse, one does not need everything to fail, only certain things. The impact can then cascade across businesses, economies and society.

Well gosh ... where is the new insight here? I think the paper is quite overblown, for academic vanity or other reasons (was he paid by the word?). I think ten pages would have covered it nicely - and I struggled to find much in it that was non-obvious.

If electricity failed, or banks failed, or credit dried, or the trucks stopped running, then things get pretty uncomfortable pretty quickly. Who would have thought?

That was my thought upon reading it too. Maybe the supply chain vulnerability was a revelation to some, but I've been thinking about it for years. I also found it to be long on words and short on specifics.

I observed how the former Soviet Union kept going - and reported it.

It worked there to prevent complete social collapse.

Historically, gold & silver have been used for international trade.

Even today, pull up to Kharg Island with a pallet of gold bars and Iran will fill your oil tanker.

It will work well enough to prevent social collapse.

You and others may not believe it, but I can point to real world examples. Can you ?


For starters the former Soviet Union did not suffer a complete financial collapse. The Ruble was still accepted as currency and grocery stores still had food though they were sparse and long lines when food did arrive. Vodka was still manufactured along with basic staples. People kept their jobs.

Yes I can produce examples. From the David Korowicz

The most resonant example of supply-chain destabilisation arose in the UK in 2000 from a 15 blockade of fuel depots by truckers angry at rising diesel prices 11. The protests ramped up, stabilised, and finished in a period of about ten days. Fuel deliveries were dependent upon JIT re-supply, with some petrol stations taking up to three deliveries a day. Towards the end of the blockade, half of the UK's petrol stations ran out of fuel and transport fleets were severely disrupted...

The fuel blockades were a wake-up call to the British government, and to a society who had
never realised how quickly and thoroughly society could be destabilised from something
that seems at first glance, of relatively minor significance. It showed how habituated
society had become to very complex and time sensitive inter-dependencies. Alarmingly,
people realised how little food actually existed in the system between production,
distribution, retail and home. The sight of emptying shelves exacerbated the re-supply
problems prompting panic buying: the grocery chain SPAR saw a 300% increase in sales,
for example. Whatever about the seriousness of production stoppages for auto or
electronics manufacturers, a general supply-chain failure that hits food supply goes to the
heart of national welfare and is at the bedrock of our expectations of the state, even if those
expectations have been obscured by years of abundance. No society wants to test the
veracity of the old adage that we are only nine meals from anarchy.

And it only lasted 10 days. What would have happened if the trucks stopped for good.

Alan, the David Korowicz paper explains it all. Quite obviously you have not read that paper because you have not mentioned one point made in it. And I doubt seriously that you will read it. So thanks for the exchange but I would like for someone, anyone, who has read the paper to refute the points he made. But I am not holding my breath.

Ron P.


There was no social collapse in the United Kingdom. They just hosted the Olympics.

In another day or two, the trucks would have rolled regardless. Perhaps driven by British Army soldiers or draftees or volunteers. But they would have rolled. The trucks would not have stopped for good.

You utterly fail to recognize the "Plan B" and "Plan C" etc. that people will resort to - and avoid complete and utter social collapse.

If that is the best real world example you can give - it is easy to dismiss the "Quick Collapse" theory.


Due to a private eMail from another TOD member, I will read the paper, but I will read Greer's paper first. Based on the comments here, I would not have invested my time.

It's Darwinian, not Darwin.

There was no social collapse in the United Kingdom. They just hosted the Olympics.

Geeze, don't you think I know that. It was in the year 2000 and it only lasted 10 days! And the trucks would have stopped for good if there was no diesel fuel being delivered to the pumps.

I will read the paper, but I will read Greer's paper first. Based on the comments here, I would not have invested my time.

Would you have taken seriously the comments of George Mobus: Question Everything

As I was writing this piece a very important report came out of the FEASTA (Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) group by David Korowicz titled: Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion - a study in global systemic collapse. QE commentator Mark N. had posted another link to this work in a comment to the previous blog. If you have a limited amount of time and have to choose between reading my thoughts below versus reading this report, choose the latter! It sums up a lot of what I was planning to say about the economic system (focusing somewhat on the supply chain criticality) and the role of the financial subsystem in keeping this system afloat. He tackles the problems using the systems approach so actually captures everything I might have to say about the situation. Even if you decide to read my ramblings below, take time to read David's very important work.

Or perhaps DMITRY ORLOV: ClubOrlov

David Korowicz is not quick reading, nor is it light reading, but it is important reading. It puts a lot of definition to the concept of cascaded failure, in which financial collapse inexorably leads to political and economic collapse with no possibilities for arresting this process or even altering its course. This may seem like a terribly pessimistic message, and, indeed, it is hard to imagine that it would provoke a cheerful reaction in any sane person. But for those who feel that it is important to understand what is unfolding, Korowicz offers a large dose of realism. Still, a fair warning is called for: “Abandon all optimism all ye who enter here!”

Ron P.

What would have happened if the trucks stopped for good.

Yes, but you don't explain why the trucks would stop rolling for good, at least in the US. The US has plenty of oil to keep the trucks and essential services rolling. When it comes to a crunch, the US government will take over distribution of fuel and prioritize essential services. Fuel will be rationed to ordinary people like us. I am not saying this will not cause a lot of hardship, but it is not the same thing as a complete collapse of society.

I personally witnessed a robust underground economy, gray and black markets, when I studied in the USSR in 1974, and also on a visit several years later. A nephew who went in '87 witnessed the same thing, perhaps even on a larger scale. He reported that the secondary/informal economy was likely more important at that point than their formal economy, for many folks. Slow collapse had been underway for some time prior to the breakup of the USSR, and most folks were prepared to some degree. Other arrangements had already been made.

I don't see that comparison working in western industrialized nations. People and supply chains are totally reliant on a functioning trustworthy currency, electronic or otherwise. It's the trust that matters, and current OECD economies have no alternatives, unlike the FSU. These alternatives take time to develop, and once established, can be quite chaotic and lawless. IMO, any suggestions that mainstream Americans are in any way prepared for this sort of paradigm shift are naive. Of course, it'll all come out in the wash, though many will be lost in the spin cycle.

Again, few alternatives currently exist for how essential goods and services are obtained and provided. It's going to be a helluva step down before these alternatives can be developed on any affective scale. Too many of our essentials rely on complex systems that can't be simplified. Substitution takes time.

How many population groups currently rely on food imports, which, in turn are dependent upon a complex set of circumstances/arrangements, for a significant part/most/all of their 'daily bread'? How easily could this process be disrupted? What are the viable alternatives? Nine meals away from chaos sounds about right.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, unemployment/"street employment" and unpaid employment (years without) was well over 50%. The preferred currency was a liter of vodka.

But not a complete social collapse.

So I reject one of your fundamental premises.


PS: I think I just figured out what currency a very stressed American economy would value most - pain pills & xanax. Germany - cigarettes, Russia - vodka, USA - pain pills & xanax

Neither collapse of civilisation was due to resource constraints like the current collapse problems we face. Both systems had other fully functioning systems to fall back on, and the resources need to grow again. a collapse from lack of resources is a new meme of collapse in the modern day.

Food will be the main currency for most people when the modern day system fails to supply what it does today, people seeking pain pills or xanax won't last more then a few weeks. Food will be the most important item in most people's everyday lives, with no foreign fully functioning system to fall back on, and resources constrained to both grow and transport food where it is needed.

Defeat & Occupation result in "resource constriants". Quite severe ones.

The entire system of governance was replaced by people that hate you.


Germany - cigarettes

Sorry, Germany would be beer ;-)

The steel workers here used to get part of their pay in beer not to long ago.

Ron, every six months or so somebody comes out with a detailed study explaining why industrial civilization will collapse in a few months -- and, at roughly the same frequency, somebody else comes out with an equally detailed study explaining why we can replace fossil fuels with (insert new energy source here) and just keep on chugging away forever. Nearly every time one or the other of those comes out, somebody pops up on my blog or elsewhere demanding that I refute it, and no doubt I could spend all my writing time satisfying those demands.

I've explained at length in my first two books, though, why I find the fast-collapse scenario implausible, and at even more length in my third book why money is not wealth and the collapse of a money system, which happens quite often in history, involves only temporary disruptions in the flow of actual goods and services. The arguments I offered haven't been refuted, or even addressed, by Korowicz -- or, indeed, any of the studies just mentioned. Thus I see no point in rehashing these same issues over and over again, when there are many other topics that deserve inquiry and exploration.

I'd also point out that it's ironic, to use no stronger word, that this tempest in an oil drum should have blown up shortly after a lengthy discussion, on this same forum, of the fact that online attention to peak oil sites such as this one has been dropping since 2008. I haven't had that experience on The Archdruid Report, oddly enough; my page views per month have been climbing steadily during that same period. Could it be that this is because most online peak oil forums keep on rehashing the same tired debates in the same stereotyped terms, and my blog doesn't? It's an interesting question to which I don't have a firm answer -- but I do have my suspicions.

This discussion is getting a bit surreal, in that I'm attending a funeral in the morning for my mother-in-law who fits your description of the terminally ill patient. Fact is, what killed her wasn't her 'terminal illness', which was being handled, as you describe. While the cause may (is likely to) have been affected by her known condition, she was expected to be fine for a while. Seems a physiological black swan did her in, despite the significant efforts of our best medical practitioners; they think a circulatory malfunction (blood clot?) came out of left field. Until that point, her cardiovascular condition was considered quite good.

I attended a funeral a few weeks ago of a friend who had multiple systemic problems, largely due to (systemic) neglect and his refusal to slow down, even after being warned. The combination of several conditions dragged him down in short order. He seemed relatively fine when I saw him just days before he died.

Both of these analogies could apply equally well to our societal condition. Just sayin'. The 'doctors' have been warning us, and treating the symptoms for decades, to little effect.

I've got to get an early start. Enjoyed the discussion!

John Michael Greer,

Thank you so much for responding directly. I just spent about an hour writing you back, and one wrong button push and it just disappeared. And now I must get to bed, so no time to write it all over again now. We will have to take this up at another time soon. In the meantime, please don't think that I called you a liar. I did not. I believe that you are sincere in your beliefs, therefor not a liar. If I keep getting accused of calling you a liar (by you and others on this site) I will be forced to respond by accusing you of feigning offense as a way of deflecting any serious discussion. All of that would be the wrong way to proceed. Let's not get off on the wrong foot. I'd like to stick to the subject (fast collapse vs. slow collapse) if we could. Thanks.


Loren, having your text disappear may have been a feature, not a bug.

JMG's rep is based on a substantial body of consistently good work. I don't know that others have seen enough substance to take you seriously. This post of yours, for instance, recalls the image of the cat and the linoleum. The man has a gift for memorable analogy, give him that.

Indeed, Greer is such a good writer, with such a deft mind, that he'd be formidable to debate even if he was dead wrong about something. But productive people need to manage their time, and he's a quite productive person.

Perhaps if you hone your ideas a bit, third parties will call for a debate between you and JMG. In the meantime, best of luck in your search for Truth online.


"I don't know that others have seen enough substance to take you seriously."

The agument from authority rears it's ugly head. Would you like to see my resume?

"This post of yours, for instance, recalls the image of the cat and the linoleum."

I guess I am the cat in John Michael Greer's Kitchen. If it comes out the way I think it will perhaps that phrase could come to have a widespread popular meaning beyond this silly discussion. Think 'Six Degrees of Separation' or (Kevin Bacon, if you prefer), or 'jump the shark' here. It could mean "the first sign of trouble" or something like that.

I am responding kind of quickly here, so I don't have time to go back and look at what I said in the post you are refering to. And here you are not specific enough. What did I say that reminded you of that wonderful poetic image? And why do we need to be reminded of it again here? (These questions are rhetorical, please do not answer them)

"Indeed, Greer is such a good writer, with such a deft mind, that he'd be formidable to debate even if he was dead wrong about something."

I would certainly not question his writing skills. I never claimed to be a better writter, only a clearer thinker. And he IS dead wrong about something.

I invited JMG to an open debate. He declined. Instead, JMG invited me to formally critique his theory. Greer's Theory of Catabolic Collapse is only 12 pages long. I'm not so sure the task in front of me is so monumental.

Google Trends: Peak Oil

That is a sad looking curve for something so important. The demographic information is rather interesting - New Zealand and Australia being at the top of the list, and the top two languages searched English and Swedish. I would have to imagine that the Swedes are on top of this thing because there can't be that many people that speak Swedish as to match the English speaking numbers.

The "News Reference Volume" shows that there is at least a steady trickle of articles.

I'd guess the Swedish interest is due to Kjell Akelett, of Uppsala University.

Yes. He is a feature on TV every now and then. Does a lot to educate the general public here.

This is what you see when you click on the 'Donate' button;

Support The Oil Drum

The Oil Drum is published by the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future (ISEOF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Contributions to ISEOF help cover The Oil Drum's operating costs. Contributions to ISEOF are tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by law.

You can donate to ISEOF by clicking the "Donate" button below. You will be taken the PayPal website where you can make a secure donation.

If you prefer a non-electronic option, you can send a check or money order made out to "Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future" to
Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future
P.O. Box 270762
Fort Collins, CO 80527-0762

SuperG posted this back in April 22, 2009 explaining TOD's transition to a 501(c)(3) corporation:


The same text was posted by someone (unattributed) on the web site commoditiesbrokeronline.com under the 'oil' section, also on April 22, 2009:


personal observation: commoditiesbrokeronline.com doesn't exactly look like a big deal, front-line site...it looks like a backwater...but I am not from that world.

This PDF is the 2009-2010 Annual Report from the Colorado State University Clean Energy Supercluster:


This CSU entity/function apparently helps sponsor ISEOF (the Oil Drum is ISEOF's main interface with the World on the Web):

From Page 18:

Round I Economic and Policy Analysis Grants

Capacity Building Proposal for the Institute for the Study of Energy and our Future
Kyle Saunders, Michele Betsill, Dept. of Political Sciences, Michael Carolan, Dept. of Sociology, and Robert Kling, Dept. of Economics (Capacity Building/$15,000.)

Research on the impacts of alternative energy and energy policy on economics, the environment, public policy and the policy itself has been present in a few academic departments at CSU. However, there is a need for more coordinated scholarly research in these energy-­‐related topics.

This project will establish a new entity, The Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future (ISEOF).

ISEOF will facilitate research on, and coordinate public education efforts about, energy issues and their impacts on society and policy, both internally and externally.

This person affiliated with CSU lists his CV on the web and cites association with ISEOF from 2008-2010:


This fellow, Brian Maschhoff, claims on his Linkedin page to be the Managing Editor at The Oil Drum and to be on the board of ISEOF:


His current and past employment/company affiliations are/were with companies which specialize on providing on-line training solutions. He lists Ft Collins, CO as his home, which is the city listed for ISEOF.

IRS requirements for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization:

Exemption Requirements - Section 501(c)(3) Organizations

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.

The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction.

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. For a detailed discussion, see Political and Lobbying Activities. For more information about lobbying activities by charities, see the article Lobbying Issues; for more information about political activities of charities, see the FY-2002 CPE topic Election Year Issues.

Additional Information

Application Process Step by Step: Questions and answers that will help an organization determine if it is eligible to apply for recognition of exemption from federal income taxation under IRC section 501(a) and, if so, how to proceed.

About 10 minutes on the Google for this...nothing nefarious found...


I am not on the board and I don't know where the money comes from, but as I understand it, it's all individual donations.

We don't have a lot of expenses compared to similar sites, because we do not pay for contributions. (I think we now have a couple of people to help with editing stories, and Kate to help moderate, on the paid staff, but everyone else works for free.) The sites that shut down for financial reasons generally do so because they can't afford to pay staff salaries.

We used to have ads. That was how we paid our server costs in the old days. The ads were phased out when we became a nonprofit organization.

Perhaps it's time for all of you infrequent commenters and lurkers to weigh in; raise your little electronic hands. Is TOD/Drumbeat a valuable resource compared to other ongoing web social media? [BTW: the donate button is at top-left]

The peak oil/peak everything debate continues. If not us, then who?

Funny you should ask that at this time...

The feeling I have been getting is that The Drumbeat is being curtailed, de-emphasized, and winnowed down. I suspect it's being done to 'maintain the image and credibility' of TOD. Unfortunately I also suspect it's what draws most people, is the most entertaining and by virtue of being the most broadly interactive aspect of TOD, is the reason most of us are here - no?

The Drumbeat is my favorite aspect of TOD. I think the effort to reign in the posting has gone a little too far. Going too far the other way would also not be good. See the rest of the internet to see what that looks like.

"The Drumbeat is my favorite aspect of TOD."

Ditto. I don't have time to sort through 50 different blogs. Everything interesting ends up here, and there is enough disparity of opinion to get all points aired. Even if I don't agree with the proposed solutions or even the perception of a problem, I like knowing what the other opinions are.

Hmmm, having articles at the top with the news round up below does make sense. I suspect those who benefit from Drumbeat know how to get here.


The feeling I have been getting is that The Drumbeat is being curtailed, de-emphasized, and winnowed down.

Perhaps, but it's because the entire site is.

We used to have at least one new key post a day, sometimes several. Now there are only a few a week. If we'd kept with the daily Drumbeat (which at one point was twice a day), the balance would be off. TOD would be all Drumbeat.

TOD was scaled back, with the idea of providing quality, not quantity, and the Drumbeat was scaled back to keep it in proportion.

Unfortunately I also suspect it's what draws most people, is the most entertaining and by virtue of being the most broadly interactive aspect of TOD, is the reason most of us are here - no?

Likely true of people reading this particular thread. ;-)

The Drumbeat does draw a lot of eyeballs, but we decided long ago that drawing eyeballs was not our prime directive. If all we wanted was eyeballs, we could post photos of Kate Upton's boobs and get a lot more hits than any news story I could scrounge up.

Who's Kate Upton? TOD - Drumbeat in particular - is where I primarily get my news. As PVguy said, everything important winds up here. So, no, I have no idea who she is... and I prefer it that way. Here's hoping TOD and Drumbeat contract no further.

I suppose this is as good a spot as any to join the chorus...
Drumbeat is my first stop every morning for a good roundup of non-local news, analysis and commentary from the perspective that I find most important.

The community here has changed over the years, but I think the current crop of regular commenters stands up very well in relation to those of, say, 5 years ago.

The dynamism of 5 years ago was predicated on the fact that we were (and are) fundamentally right about the central importance of PO. Since then most of the surprises have been to the upside, but they could as easily have been to the downside.

If the quality of the discourse here is unusually high, I think that is largely a product of having the preeminent moderator on the Web.

If the Drumbeat were to ever fold up shop, Leanan, I am sure that most of us would first look to wherever it was you relocated to.
Leanan's collation of the news vs Kate Upton's boobs?-
That's a no-brainer!

Still..... I would like to meet this Kate Upton

OK, in all seriousness Drumbeat is the best for intelligent discussion about depletion issues on the web. No other site has a comments section that is as easy to glide through and find great points. I like Peak Oil.com but it never seems to load quickly and I don't like the way comments are segregated into walled off areas that you have to click on to read (this slows things down). EB is great but doesn't have many comments. Our Finite World is coming up but has a narrower scope than what I'm used to reading sbout (although Gail got more experimental with that humans needing outside energy piece). Kunstler is fun to read but man that's an old school alley fight with noooo moderation. Hard to see the hare apparent to DB (inside bunny joke).

You guys have to be careful about not being concerned about attracting eyeballs and taking the high road though- once readership falls off enough, the people involved in maintaining TOD will find that their motivation to keep the site going will also fall off- I've seen this happen. If the goal is to increase TOD "respectability" so that it can influence leaders and opinion shapers then I think this goal may be misguided- I am not sure that TBTB will ever take advice that is not already in their own private interests. I certainly have seen no effect of TOD on public policy so far (though I wish this weren't true)

I also heavily concur with the idea set forth that Peak Oil is currently kicking our economic butts. Gas prices will set a year long average price record this year at this pace (Along with a new arctic record- a twofer- has anyone noticed?). Maybe Peak Oil was portrayed as a mass murder years ago, and because it didn't live up to this hype we are ignoring many of the serial killings it is creating right now. Past posters cried wolf too often and now people are ignoring the damage that is currently accumulating.

I would also like to add that even though some of us have been following TOD for years and have had most of our questions answered that there are new people discovering PO daily. Reading TOD hasn't just informed me, it has changed my constant awareness about my world. Every day I drive to work I think of the energy I am using and how it is getting more expensive. Every day i put my kids food in baggies I ask how long they will stay this cheap. I hope others will discover this site and gain this insight too- hey someone will read TOD for the first time this week in all likelihood.

Is short- I guess I am saying that it would be very unwise for TOD to drop Drumbeat.

The Drumbeat is not being dropped. Except further down on the front page.

Bookmark this link:


And you'll be able to find it even if it's not the top story on the front page.

Just curious Leanan- if one were interested in creating a website like TOD- how much would this cost per year in terms of just the costs for the internet hosting, etc. (assume that the human work is volunteer) I'm guessing that it cost more to be able to handle a higher level of traffic, postings, etc. at a quality server. I've often thought about creating such a site out of pocket but have no idea what this really costs. Thanks.

I honestly have no clue. I would recommend that you do what we did. We started with a free blog on Blogger. No costs, and with a lot of tools that make it easy to post content. Since it's part of Google, you know your stuff will be found by search engines. And bandwidth isn't a problem. Google's servers can handle just about any traffic.

You can have ads and earn income from your free blog. Or not. It's up to you.

TOD was scaled back, with the idea of providing quality, not quantity

Interestingly enough, that is also the plan for the 2012 ASPO-USA conference in Austin, Texas on November 30th and December 1st.

I vote with my small donations. I quit donatng when they changed the format.


I love some of the in-depth stories, but Drumbeats are what keeps me coming back, every few days. They're the best distillation around of the diverse stories that might have bearing on peak everything.

My focus is mostly environmental collapse, but peak oil/peak everything is still a major theme I want to know all about. Drumbeat pounds out that rhythm for me.

I've especially enjoyed the comments and additional Drumbeat-like stories posted by users, of late. I see surprisingly few idiots, and in general see *nothing* to be embarrassed about, even to show a brand-new user.

This thread about downgrading Drumbeat was enough for me to try to resurrect my account (via some long-lost email account), and then re-register, so I could make this comment.

I'll try to be less a lurker now, but my sincere compliments to TOD, and to Leanan and Drumbeat. I've been reading the site for years, but Drumbeat keeps me returning, week after week.

'Doc Michael

"I see surprisingly few idiots, and in general see *nothing* to be embarrassed about, even to show a brand-new user."

I would agree that there are very few "idiots" commenting here. You have to go to a climate blog like Climate Etc, or worse, Watt's Up With That, to get inundated by clueless commenters. A recently retired professor from Stanford, Vaughan Pratt, recently quipped:

“I love Monty Python skits because I’m a logician who gets his kicks from their abuse of logic. With their departure I’m reduced to blogs like Climate Etc. where I can find bizarre arguments galore. Your contribution is gratefully acknowledged.”

I rarely comment, but, I also love the Drumbeat and read it first. I do read some of the other stuff sometimes but not always. Some of it is too hyper-technical or too detailed for me. I like to focus on the big picture.

I really find the news stories posted by Leanan and also by other TODers very informative.
I never was a "doomer" believing that all of Western Civilization would just come crashing down like the Twin Towers in 1 day. Things usually do not go like that. Even WW II actually was years in the making. When Tim Berners-Lee first released the World Wide Web and we found out about it at Bell Labs we predicted a lot of what has happened - the movement of TV aka video to the Web,
its use as the major application engine in essence. But this has taken 20 years....
Likewise with Peak Oil and Climate Change - we already had the 2008 financial collapse but the elite pumped things up to get past it learning something from the Crash of 1929. Airlines are going bankrupt but reorganizing, upping fares, fees and cutting medium sized airports but still flying. The US Auto industry almost totally collapsed but was saved by the Feds.
yet inexorably the Great Contraction moves relentlessly on - freezing the economy, gas prices steadily rising, auto mileage declining, McMansions rotting in exurbia...
The OilDrum and particularly Drumbeat helps keep abreast of these developments and offer some
options to cope with the Great Contraction...

It is an invaluable resource for me..

I comment occasionally, but only occasionally. But I have been an avid reader of TOD for years.

I look first for Drumbeat and only when I have time do I read the other articles. But I run a full time small business and seldom have time to read the other articles.

Drumbeat is my source for listening to thoughtful people on the web. Yes - there are other things to think about than oil - but energy is so fundamental to existence it remains by primary interest.

I too don't comment often but was amazed that I've been a "member" for almost 4 years now. Guess 2008 got me worked up enough to comment. Was a lurker for years before that though.

Drumbeat is my favorite part of TOD. The articles are like a DrudgeReport on energy that you just can't find anywhere else. Commentary is also good but time doesn't always permit.

While I have zero professional knowledge of the energy industry as I work in an unrelated field, my father did work in oil field services. Growing up in Houston and having family in Alberta I've spent a lot of my life on the front lines. The knowledge I've gleened through TOD has been very appreciated as my father and I have had long conversations about everything oil & gas. I know he appreciates I've taken an interest in his professional interest, even if I never went to engineering college.

I don't post often; however, I am a regular lurker. TOD/Drumbeat is my primary source for web social media.

I like the job Leanan is doing.

Robert Rapier had a few posts recently looking retrospectively at The Oil Drum: He wasn't nostalgic. IIRC, Robert thinks the discourse is mellower here now. I hope contributors continue in this vein.

Keep up the good work, Leanan.

(I donated a small sum via personal check last year.)

Yeah, I understand the nostalgia...but I think many here have their rose-colored glasses on.

At one point, it was so bad we turned off comments on the Drumbeat.

Hothgar? Hrothgar? Was that the source of the shutdown?

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of oilmanbob in December of 2007, since we're waxing nostalgic about the good ol' days.


Yes, truly.

He picked me up for the ASPO-Houston conference at the Amtrak station (Houston built a highway access lane that blocked easy access), and I stayed at his house in Galveston for a couple of days prior to the conference. A good time :-)

Due to an auto accident he missed the conference. I talked to him just before he was to go into surgery to remove his big toe - complications of diabetes. He did not come back.

Good Memories of a Lost Friend,


There were basically three people who were dominating the site. As I recall, it was one doomer, one moderate, and one cornucopian. Each on their own was bad enough, but one day they got into a fight with each other. The result was a 300-comment thread, of which 150 comments were from those three people.

The Good Old Days :-P

Which lead to the discovery of sarconol.


Yes, I too value The Drumbeat! I have been lurking here since the Deepwater Horizon event and find The Drumbeat to be the finest collection of both topical information and more importantly thoughtful, insightful, commentary. It has been invaluable for me to witness articles with face-value legitimacy (yet often relying on overly-simplified, exaggerated or nuanced information) rationally dissected and the inconsistencies explained in detail by the community at large. Of course the main articles are great too but it's through The Drumbeat's dynamic discussions that I’ve learned so much about the details of the oil industry and (not only the degree of complexity of the infrastructure and systems that we rely on for energy) the real failings of the MSM. So, many thanks all-round!

I too have been lurking since the Macondo well incident - it's when I became a "born again" PO realist. It was 2 years 3 weeks ago I became a member of this forum according to my account page - during the spill.

I don't read TOD every day, but do keep up with the main articles and enjoy a lot of drumbeats. Sometimes, like this August 22 one, the drumbeat gets interesting, but the JMG stuff got boring fast. The main articles, however, are often extremely informative. The posting concerning the defensive capabilities of Iran a few months ago was particularly interesting, the comments following were excellent. It's here on TOD I learn the facts I want to know - though I sometimes have to winnow them from the leftist bias that pervades this site.

For entertainment, I can always visit Kunstler's commenters many of whom are way "out there."

That said:

I believe that a fast collapse awaits us - it'll be when at last the computer algorithms are no longer able to juggle the trillions of dollars successfully that the system breaks down and it'll be at the speed of light.

Kunstler's own 'blowing-green-smoke-up-their-azzes', etc., commentary-style likely creates/nurtures its own comment-response dynamic. I recently read some of his posted hate mail (along with their return email addresses!) and found my eyes rolling so much in their sockets that I had to go back to The Oil Drum for some more lube.

TOD is my go-to site for climate and energy related items. Anything of interest elsewhere will get a mention on Drumbeat, which is why it's my favourite part of TOD. I skip the hardcore oil-related articles, but read most of the others. One thing I miss is the Campfire posts.

I prefer to lurk, but occasionally like to cross swords with the (very few) misguided commenters.

It's so hard to find a forum like this. I have not seen a collection of so many rational and sensitive people in my life. I hope TOD and Drumbeat stay alive for a long time.

The debates in my social circles are so banal and stupid that I would find myself suffocated if I didn't get to read Drumbeat and a few other blogs like Archdruid, ClubOrlov etc

This is so true. I love TOD for the mental stimulation it provides. It is the finest example of discourse that I have ever encountered. For the purpose of obtaining knowledge and wisdom, I have found no rivals in the English language.

I thank all contributors and the site operators (Leanan is the only one I really know, but I know there are many others past and present) for their insight, generosity and hard work. You are the best interlocutors and debaters one could as for.

In fact, it's almost like being present the night Polemarcus, Socrates, Plato and the rest of them sat around and discussed The Republic (you might be familiar with that work). Truly, some of these discussions should be preserved and put in print to enlighten future thinkers and philosophers. There's a whole lot more than energy that is discussed here. Humanity itself is more deeply examined and discussed here (as well as further leads to learn about humanity) than anywhere else I've ever found in the modern world.

Before TOD, the world was a dark and shadowy place. Since finding TOD, I have come to know that light can be found in the world.

Another YES vote for drumbeat. I'm not aware of anywhere else that could match the standard of discussion here and the article selection is excellent - well focused and impartial.

I enjoy the Drumbeat a lot. I read daily starting with DB comments as a winnowing process, then the stories an links to same in that order. I enjoy the mindset of the intelligences that gather to comment in the DB.
Time spent two finger typing is less time reading.

Thank YOU all involved

I loved the old TOD and read it everyday, incl. half or more of the articles, and commented quite a bit.

I learnt a tremendous amount, thanks everyone.

At New TOD, I read the drumbeats first, and a few of the articles, about one every 10 days.

The narrower focus on oil, oil, oil, doesn’t suit me as well. (Ok many other topics are treated as well.)

I find the quality of the discussion to be less interesting.

Discussion is more constrained, less varied, not innovative, and overall sometimes repetitive.

There are some great posters, but quality of discussion depends not only on the IQ/knowledge/expertise of posters. All kinds of conditions play a role. Many have had the experience of being say at a conference with very savvy types and it was boring - another venue, and something seemed to be achieved, in any case ppl were fired up with new ideas and enthusiasm. Or, it was just magical!

Note, I am not someone who is is irritated by 30 posts on light bulbs (e.g. Grrr! avoiding the big issues!) - lightbulbs are very important, plus, one is free to skip.

One poster mentioned ‘superiority’ - that is what you get when a smallish in-group concentrates on a topic and at the same time feels in some measure misunderstood or marginal, while they themselves are ignorant of other fields are are just as ‘dumb’ and ‘stereotypical’ or 'ignorant' when venturing into them. (Classic story needs no elaboration.)

It is also an outcome of setting boundaries, excluding other disciplines, or pov’s that can be judged to be ‘fringe’, ‘irrelevant’, ‘undocumented’, or topics that are just ‘not germane,’ or ‘too dumb’, etc. Fencing in the debate to fit the expertise of the participants...

The red line between politically correct, mainstream accepted socio-politics + science (the two are tightly tied together) and other areas of scholarship or intuition or povs has to be put rather high, and/or be somewhat lax. Well, depending on the owners of the site and what they want to achieve.

I was Noirette before Noizette and have been here for 6 years or more.

I will try to post more, and flesh out my pov.

I think my comment rate has gon down lately (and, the signal to noise ratio too, I am afraid). This is the result of that I now have gotten the answears I was looking for. So now, I hang out here to get the latest development. This site is GREAT. You get news here you would have to wade through long lists of sites to compile your self. The DBs are very wellcome for my part. Also the crowd who comment here give insights and POVs you'd find on very few other sites.

I'll stay here. But I am afraid my contributions on the comments will be less and less valuable over time. Also, I was very depressed for personal life reasons just a few years ago, but now am happy happy so I guess I ambound to become more silly over time...

Drum Beat is invaluable - a regular report on what's happening. The TOD:Canada financial stuff was gold, and The Automatic Earth continued that for a while after they split off, but the regular daily news gathering wore people down. They changed format about a year ago, now it's more futures and special reports.

I get a portion of the stuff from Progressive Congress News, another project that was inspired in part by Drum Beat.

Twitter is consuming a lot of the clip service/summary web sites. I use the Sonar feature in Bottlenose and I have a shifting set of lists of low volume/high signal accounts that I check for specific issues.

Yes. TOD and The Oil Drum are my primary and most reliable source of news. It also has informed my research both at work and in my spare time. The posts here are the most intelligent, thoughtful, and considerate on the web.

This site makes Physics Forum look like a car club forum. Those guys are bright, but they often can't see beyond their field of expertise.

I've been looking for a site like this for at least a decade.

Do not go away.

TOD is one of my favorite blogs along with TAE and I read it everyday. The Drumbeat is the best part of this site and I would hate to see it disappear. Most of the time though I go directly to the comments section and don't read the articles! So I guess you could say I value the posters' discussion of the articles more highly than the articles themselves as over the years I have learned to trust their judgment. I discovered PO way back in the seventies so it was a joy and a relief to discover other like minded souls. Thank you Leanan for your work here!

What's interesting about the comments, is that as you get to 'know' the views and tendencies of various voices here, it gives all sorts of takes on a story, revealing hidden connections or motives or flaws that a straight reading might not have revealed.

It also lets you build a better understanding OF these individuals, so you can tell what kinds of filters get applied to various topics. (Filters that can reveal more or be blind to things, of course)

Sometimes a bunch of blind guys feeling up an Elephant can illuminte a lot more than a crisp Nat'l Geo photo ever could!


I know exactly what you mean. For a long time now (and I'm a 6-year member of TOD), in my mind, I think of the Drumbeat as the "Rorschach Test", for all the different interpretations we bring to the same data. Hey, at least we mostly recognize the same data - that's special right there :-)

yes what she said

Much of the 'decline' in TOD is i think due to so much being relatively settled, at least pending new data. Back in the good old days there was still some chance that we were wrong/over-estimating the problem, but those days are gone, and the problem is unfolding around us. Several celebrity predictions on oil prices or fast collapse may not have panned out, but the general decline trajectory is indisputable.

Also, as someone who put aside symbolic skills/employment to learn material ones, there has been a matching decline in my need for virtual engagement. IOW, the subtexts of the site (eg. 'get thee to nondiscretionary side..') tend to discourage online time! But I'm v.glad TOD still rolls, read it when possible, and think it should stay up even if there were 0 new posts.

Drumbeat's invaluable -- that and Energy Bulletin are the two peak oil aggregators I check regularly. As for TOD otherwise, it's of less interest now that more of my work focuses on issues other than oil, but it's still a valuable resource.

Might make sense to determine what the readers prefer. One vote for Drumbeat up top.

Drumbeat is my first TOD destination as well. I would say its my main news source, I don't pay attention to MSM on TV, radio or newspapers. Throughout the day I often hear mention of news items from people I talk to, and if its something truly interesting, I already read about it on Drumbeat.

FWIW, Drumbeat is why I come back here so often. I would be very disappointed if it faded away. The news items are an excellent source, and the links in the comments are equally interesting. The interaction and discussions here have been key to my understanding of what peak oil really means.

Drumbeat has discussions rather than arguments, posturing or self-promotion. Compare with Kunstler's commenters. First!

JHK has some of the most disgusting commenters imaginable. And a LOT of them, too. I read his essay on Monday morning, then read comments until one of the regular sociopaths starts piling on, and just quit.


That is it, plain and simple.

Even the comments at the Christian Science Monitor, which I'd expect to be more collegey and hifalutin' than here or presumably NPR.. and no, it's the same stuff. Mud Wrestling for Twinkies!

I think Leanan's points aren't wrong, that PO is out of the public eye.. but that is just the fickleness of the public as the brushfires aren't in people's faces.. but I think they're still gaining steady ground.. maybe more like root-fires, that pop up here and there, but aren't easy to connect with their real source.

VERY longtime reader/lurker here. As a rule, I read the drumbeats before I go into other articles. Great digest and a wonderful resource. I was sad when it went from being daily to less frequent. Hope it sticks around, and nothing to be ashamed of if you ask me.

Thanks much for Drumbeat. It's the main draw to the site for me - though I do like the other articles as well.

Drumbeat is also my favorite part of the TheOilDrum. Even though I spend most of the time lurking, I love reading peoples comments. Helps to know there are still rational people out there!

I seem to find that the ones who are more easily embarrassed are those who are younger-- you know, embarrassed, say, about their peers who somehow transcend peer-pressure; or their parents-- their mannerisms, appearance, or maybe the fact that they are in the oil, (thus, maybe pollution/climate-change) business, etc..

Hopefully, TOD is not thinking of targeting a different age-bracket. That might be embarrassing.

By the way, can we change our nicknames here, or am I stuck with this embarrassing, 'Tribe Of Pangaea- First Member' moniker?

(...'SuperG'? ...OMG LOL...)

A squirrel came up to me last week and asked if we humans really need such things as oil, industrial agriculture/farms, or centralized state governments, and stuff like that. I replied, "I doubt it.", to which it replied, "You must be embarrassed to be human.".

Squirrels say the oddest things! .. But they, like the Drumbeat, can be very helpful at both putting things in perspective, as well as offering a bit of well needed friendly chatter... or as Goethe put it, 'To speak a few reasonable words..'

(My Favorite..)

THE MOUNTAIN and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter "Little Prig."
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not as large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."

Lovely poem, thanks for sharing.

I don't know if you can change your screen name. You could try asking SuperG, but be patient. He may take awhile to respond, since changing a screen name is not an emergency.

You could always just create a new account with a new name.

As for age...I don't think that's it at all. The Drumbeat is just not the foot we want to put forward for any demographic. A lot of the stuff that goes on in the Drumbeats - climate change discussion, political rants, survivalism - is not welcome in the rest of the site, and thus probably a misleading introduction.

Hi Leanan,

The Drumbeat is just not the foot we want to put forward for any demographic. A lot of the stuff that goes on in the Drumbeats - climate change discussion, political rants, survivalism - is not welcome in the rest of the site...

Fair enough. I can see not putting the drumbeat as the top article, but it used to be the second item on the list now it has been bumped to third, this may have thrown people off bcause it was a recent change.

Also along with the occasional bad stuff, most of the discussion here is quite good, it wanders at times, but that is a big part of what makes it interesting along with the diverse points of view.

I agree with others that you do a fantastic job. Thanks Leanan.


Might as well check in. I found TOD looking for info on the Deepwater Horizon. I have been here ever since. The Drumbeat is what keeps me coming back. I went "back to the land" in the early 70's. Most of the people in my neck of the woods would be called deniers. Drumbeat keeps me connected to an impressive assortment of very intelligent people. I haven't had that experience since I was in college. I read as much of TOD as I can as often as as can. This site helps keep me sane. Good job all.

Of course I was being half-serious here and there while having some fun with your 'embarrass' comment.

I'm fairly sure TOD gets a bit of a demographic already in the reads, lurks and posts. In the course of my online researches, I'd occasionally run into TOD, and have been aware of it roughly since its inception.
I suspect that it has as much, if not more, relevance now than ever. Hopefully it is kept that way and sticks around.

While my moniker is a little long and so a very tiny bother to input, I'm ok with it, especially if it might be a bother for staff to change it, despite implied super powers. I'll just compensate by reducing my password to one character.


Please don't change your name.


Climate change not welcome? Gee, if Hansen et al are as right as I think they are, then the mere demise of capitalism, consumerism and major fractions of humanity are nothing in comparison to the demise of the biosphere appertaining to the greed culture presently fueled by ever harder to dig up and ever more dug up ff.

To friends I reference TOD as "a bunch of people who think as I do". Maybe not so much as I had thought.

But good! And thanks, Leanan, ever so much. And now I have gotta go press that donate button. Against my religion to get without giving.

I don't think it's a secret that some of the editors here do not accept AGW.

Yep, you did tell us that, but I didn't want to believe it so I quit believing it and immediately felt better.

TOD should distinguish between AGW and CAGW.

Human actions -> more CO2 -> planetary warming can be argued persuasively.

Planetary warming -> catastrophe for humanity is much more contentious.

Good point. As for me, I think human catastrophe is way too wide a phrase to fit the future. Lots of people do right now and will later, live and die in misery, and lots will survive almost anything and even thrive, as history amply demonstrates. What bothers me is that the planet they inherit will be greatly diminished in comparison to the planet our generation could pass on if we did what we full well know how to do.

But don't do it. There's the sin.

I don't think that one is subject to much contention?

Pangaea - As I said when I first noticed your comments here, they are much appreciated, showing a depth, breadth and perspective that is needed here and everywhere, IMO. So no need to be embarrassed by your informative moniker, again, IMHO.

Thank you clifman, that's kind of you. I'm actually ok with my moniker, except maybe a touch for its length.

Re: Climate Science as Culture War up top

The author of this article provides a perspective on our recent political history for those who haven't been in the thick of the climate "debate". This commentary is timely, given the extreme polarization we are seeing in the electoral campaigns of the two main political parties. HERE's another commentary about the similar distortion of economic theories of the Republican side, particularly that of claimed by Paul Ryan and the Tea Party...

E. Swanson


"As we debated each point, he turned his attack on me, asking why I hated capitalism and why I wanted to destroy the economy by teaching environmental issues in a business school."

Mythology is the predominant ideology fostered by the dirty oil industry, but to infuse zealots into the debate, like pumping fracking fluid down a hole, they really like to use Magic Teflon Vagina Juice.

In that case when the Earth is "legitimately raped" all the pollution is neutralized by "the God particle", a cousin of the past participle.

They say that new paradigms become conventional wisdom when the adherents of the old ideas die off.

So I was wondering if the younger generation are more accepting of AGW than oldsters. It would appear not.

Generation X lukewarm on global warming, survey finds

"We found a small but statistically significant decline between 2009 and 2011 in the level of attention and concern Generation X adults expressed about climate change," said researcher Jon Miller of the University of Michigan in a statement. "In 2009, about 22 percent said they followed the issue of climate change very or moderately closely. In 2011, only 16 percent said they did so."

IMO, no one under about 35ish has conscious memory of what the climate was like prior to 1980 or so, since which time is when noticeable change has occurred, at least as I've experienced it in the NE US. Seems to me personal experience plays at least some role in receptiveness to the idea of climate change. As an Adirondack native, I've seen winters go from Siberia-like to barely there (as in barely any snow on the ground and temps barely below freezing). And summers have gone from pleasantly cool, where temps over 85 were an oddity, to oppressively hot, where temps below 85 are a welcome relief. Hard not to grok CC having seen such a progression. If all you've known all your life is something similar to what we have now, then it's going to take even greater change to provide that personal experience. Of course, greater change is coming. Just watch Arctic sea ice for a harbinger...

Here in Scandinavia, it is part of our cultural inheritance to know that the winters of the 1800eds were cold. Even mention the period and people begin to freeze. We all have grandmothers who told us stories about lots and lots of snow. Like this one; great grand mother grew up in a house dug into a hillside (common among poor people at the time). One winter, a man unexpectedly came tumbling down the chimney. He was out walking in the snow, never saw the chimney and everyone was surpriced when he suddenly was in their kitchen. Like Santa, but with no christmas gifts.

The winters we have now fetures a few weeks with snow up to the knee caps at max. But yes, the 2009/10 winter hd decent snow, but that is unusual.

Soliving memory fades, but the collective memory can live on for a long while.

Well that brings up another issue - stories. Even just a generation ago - to say nothing of several generations ago - stories told by elders around the fire/woodstove/dinner table were a significant source of the next generation's entertainment and collective cultural memory. These days those stories have been largely replaced by infotainment delivered by electronic devices. The collective memory is disappearing and being replaced by a collective trance.

Very true, and the disappearance of some once ubiquitous tales enables contemporary delusions. Would Cornucopianism be endemic if The Milkmaids Pail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_milkmaid_and_her_pail was learnt in childhood?

Reviving or recasting the useful proverbs and stories of past generations might provide a much needed leg-up for the cultural adaptation we desperately need. E.g. 'Rot never sleeps' is downright educational for many people, and obeying 'Two is one, one is none' has me sleeping better at night. Know any others, stories, cliches, proverbs?

Good point. Jared Diamond asked, "What did the Easter Islander think as he cut down the last palm tree?"

Answer: He hardly noticed it was the last palm tree.

The changes in forest cover from year to year would have been hard to detect: yes, this year we cleared those woods over there, but trees are starting to grow back again on this abandoned garden site here. Only older people, recollecting their childhoods decades earlier, could have recognized a difference. Their children could no more have comprehended their parents' tales than my eight-year-old sons today can comprehend my wife's and my tales of what Los Angeles was like 30 years ago.

Gradually trees became fewer, smaller, and less important. By the time the last fruit-bearing adult palm tree was cut, palms had long since ceased to be of economic significance. That left only smaller and smaller palm saplings to clear each year, along with other bushes and treelets. No one would have noticed the felling of the last small palm.


I'm 34 and have lived my entire life in the Mid-Atlantic US. The climate is definitely not what it was when I was a boy.

I have a good science grounding, and I began to suspect that I was wrong about AGW as the weather got weirder and weirder during the 00s. I started reading TOD during the Macondo spill, and I learned enough about the science to conclude that AGW was real. (Difference between skeptic and denier...)

So no, I don't remember the climate of the 60s, but I remember the 80s, and that climate is gone.

Glad to hear it. What differences do you note between '80's and now?

One difference is more heavy rain and snow. Here's a link to an interesting study of trends in extreme precipitation in the US.

Coolest figure was this map, showing increased probability of extreme events from 1950 to now, broken out by region. An increase of 50% means that an event that was annual around 1950 happens every 8 months now.

We have definitely noticed this in NY state N of NY city.

We are the same age then. I can also note climate differences from child hood to now. Winters are warmer, the fall is longer, and the summers are... just different.

There is an alternate possibility. My children are 28 and 31. They are fully aware of AGW and are also convinced that we are going to do nothing to fix the problem in any timeframe to make a meaningful difference. They both prefer not to discuss it much (and the older one worked for Greenpeace for almost 10 years) as they feel it tends to make one depressed for little purpose. They both have decided not to have children and intend to live happy lives as best they can.

For the last 5 years I ran an organic farm and sold at farmers markets in the city. I had large numbers of customers in your demographic. Almost all of them are witting of AGW and most of them are dealing with it in a fashion similar to my children.

I guess I am more combative and will not willingly cede the field to the suicidally ignorant, but I also recognize that I am probably wasting my time.


I'm on the older end of Gen X. Thanks for the article/link.

We moved rapidly to "acceptance" because we've made a life out of being lied to screwed over by the PTB.


Among other things helium is used - is critical - for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and fMRI



From the Amarillo Wiki entry. Most of the helium was sold, arguably too cheaply.

The United States government bought the Cliffside Gas Field with high helium content in 1927 and the Federal Bureau of Mines began operating the Amarillo Helium plant two years later.[13] The plant would be the sole producer of commercial helium in the world for a number of years.[14] The U.S. National Helium Reserve is stored in the Bush Dome Reservoir at the Cliffside facility.[15]

You should look up Helium-3, there's an massive shortage of that isotope which is unfortunately a necessity in many low temperature applications and fusion research. However, unlike standard helium it's main source used to be a byproduct of nuclear weapons production, so now they're having to find other methods to make it. It's actually kind of amusing all of the nuclear weapon byproduct isotopes that are now in short supply since we've slowed nuke production.

Luckily there's an obvious solution: ramp up nuclear warhead production! Maybe we can even get an economic boost out of it due to restarting the Cold War. If a few get loose, then we might even have a solution for that whole overpopulation thingy --win-win-win!

Better solution is for NASA's Curiosity rover to "discover" hostile life on Mars that is dead-set on destroying earth, then we have to produce lots of nukes to bomb the hell out of Mars. Maybe set some "martian" bombs off on earth to make everything seem more real, and you know to thin out the Earth's population a bit.

"Luckily there's an obvious solution: ramp up nuclear warhead production! "

You don't have to do that. You would probably need to restart a fast reactor though. Put the plutonium in space probes if you want, and toss it out of earth orbit.

In my best Charlie Brown (TM) voice:

"Good Grief!"

Please note: All of the following is from official, open-source U.S. government web sites and on-line document postings...they put it there for their taxpayers to see it!

All this from 5.5 minutes on the Google, and I am just a joe six-pack nobody who is a hunt-n-peck keyboardist!


- Access Google
- Type 'tritium' in the search window
- click open some official government sites which look promising
- Read and find what you are looking for!

...Mr. Google search machine......Go!


Savannah River Site

Site Office: Located south of Aiken, South Carolina, the Savannah River Site Office (SRSO) is responsible for the NNSA Defense Program missions at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS). The primary missions are...extraction, and enrichment of tritium gas in support of the maintenance of the...U.S. stockpile of tritium;


SRS Upgrades Helium Recovery System (from link below the blockquote) (please note the date of this article for all those worried about running out of this or that):

AIKEN, S.C. (July 24, 2012) – Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC (SRNS) Tritium Programs recently completed a project to design, build and relocate a new system for separating and capturing helium-3. An important byproduct of the tritium manufacturing process, this form of helium gas is primarily used in radiation detectors employed by the United States Department of Homeland Security to detect neutron activity from nuclear material.

Undoubtedly there is more free (no, not free, your tax dollars pay for everything, including the public relations info available on the web) related official USG info on the Web, but you get the idea now that the Google is your friend and let your fingers do the walking...


While it's true that there are projects to generate He-3, from my understanding they will not be comparable to the He-3 that was available during the nuclear weapons race (source http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41419.pdf). The US domestic stockpiles are dwindling and while the current initiatives will help, it is unlikely they will be able to provide enough for the increasing demand required by fusion and particle research. The other issue is that during the nuclear weapons race He-3 was stockpiled and not used extensively; however, since 2001 its demand has risen to an unsustainable level.

Unlike the US that regulates He-3 sales and prices, international research institutes can't get enough (http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2012/January/helium-3-isotopes-sh...) and god knows what price they've had to pay for it or where they'll get more.

Kind of an interesting thing to ponder on: collapse stairstep candidates.

To me, meaning: What things that our civilization is no longer be able to do, due to using up all of a resource (like helium).

I know in TOD Drumbeats many 'coming soon' stairstep candidates get discussed, but never thought about Helium as being one of them. It makes sense to consider, as many cooling (cryo) systems rely on Helium, too.

Not saving helium is a good litmus test for not giving a damn if humans keep technology. Watching multicolored balloons sail away is like watching little bits of a sustainable tech future go away.

And then they pop and sea turtles die from eating them. Gee.

The humble clear plastic sandwich bag is a worse issue for turtles. About the right size and look for a jellyfish. We tell divers "If you throw rubbish overboard, we throw you overboard to get it back.". We do not joke.


Has anybody seen this stuff on "dry fracking"? Does it look legit? Does it look scalable?


"...ultra-expansive evaporants" ?

Hydraulic fracturing works by pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water down shafts to deep-lying shale beds. The water is pumped at pressures of up to 15,000 psi (1,000 ATM), which cracks the shale, forming fissures that allow any gas or oil trapped in it to flow freely. It’s opened up fields previously thought worthless that now promise to yield trillions of barrels of oil and far more natural gas. However, it has raised concerns about how environmentally safe it is.

[emphasis mine]

Trillions, with a T.... 'environmentally safe' ?

q - Operators are studying the early results closely. In theory it looks viable. The two big questions are costs and how the wells hold up over time. Otherwise not injecting water into any reservoir for any reason is always preferred. I suspect the commercial viability will be determined but the increased cost of this new tech vs. the cost to safely dispose of those nasty frac fluids.

Sorry to bug you on what is probably an easy bit of research, but ...

Why aren't frac fluids recyclable? Why aren't they being reinjected?

Ron - Bug away buddy...it's what I live for. LOL. Despite the use of the simple term "frac fluid" these are rather complex multi-component formulations that would costs far more to reconstitute then make new. One promising area is a complex filtering system to salvage most of the water. A company in Texas has been marketing this for a while. I understand it's expensive but so is properly disposing of frac fluids and buying the next load of frac water.

They also like to use a certain variety of silica sand found in SE Minesota:

When that is gone they will try to find something else I imagine.

The best sand source for fracking is reportedly Nebraska. The winds blowing from the west during the last glaciation left drifts of topsoil up to 300' deep in western Iowa. The heavier sand fell out sooner, creating the dunes that cover a quarter of the state.


The pumice reportedly used in the process should be quite benign, but what are the "ultra-expansive evaporants" composed of (apparently proprietary), what is the result of the reaction with 'metal oxides', and what are the environmental costs/liabilities? Of course, the discussion is already getting ugly:

Here's one in the eye for the anti-frackers!

Now what will the anti-frackers say? If there's no fluid being injected deep underground, there won't be anything to seep up through layers of rock (sometimes many miles deep) to contaminate natural water supplies. If they honestly concede this, my respect for them will increase. If they try desperately to find something - anything! - else to use as an argument against dry fracking too, then they'll reveal themselves as nothing more than enviro-weenies in another guise . . . and then we'll know how to respond to them.

Seems to me that the gases will be more likely to seep through layers of rock than fluids, if one accepts that as an issue. I'm sure we'll be hearing about "ultra-expansive fluids" containing oxidized metals allegedly in folks' drinking water, if this method is adopted.

Ghung - "Seems to me that the gases will be more likely to seep through layers of rock than fluids". Not really. As discussed before it's physically impossible for whatever is injected to make it was back to the surface via moving upwards thru the rock. But there will always be the potential to actually inject nasties into the aquifers via casing failures and bad cement jobs.

If the enviros think about it they might question what is coming back up the well bore that's invisible and being vented/flared to the atmosphere. Remember a gelled fluid is pumped down but a volatile gas flows back out of the well. And I bet every cubic ft of that gas contains NATURALLY OCCURING RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! LOL.

And there will always be the possibility of contaminating aquifers during the drilling phase. But, like casing splits and bad cement jobs, this happens rather rarely. But let's not forget drill rigs produce noise, pollution and birds can be killed by flying into the derrick.

My point is that it's harder to contain/control a gas than it is a liquid. Are they planning to just vent this stuff? Incorporate it into the produced product? Just expecting it to just "go away" somewhere (like co2)? Recover/inject it into a salt dome in Assumption Parish? Just askin'...

Ghung - that's the detail I haven't seen yet: everything that goes down will come back up...except for the majority of the proppant. As you imply catching produced liquids is easy but what about a gas. All I can imagine is that it has to be flared: most regulators and safety conscious operators don't care for the venting of explosive hydrocarbon fumes.

BTW speaking of salt domes and sink holes I got a phone call for the office on the Commissioner of the La. Dept. of Nat. Resources yesterday. Wanted to know if I had concerns with drilling 5 miles from the sink hole. I told him none at all and explained. Seemed satisfied. I did get an update on the well they are drilling. Supposedly the plan is to drill into the brine filled cavern and "monitor" the situation. I'm not exactly sure what that means. They may be able to measure the depth for the top of the brine which could tell them how much the cavern has leaked if any. Beyond that and a few other metrics I'm not sure what else they can do. It's probably good to remind folks that whatever might be done will have to happen in a hole less that 12" in diameter somewhere between a 1/2 to 1 mile below the surface. Options are limited, to say the least.

Rock, I'm trying to visualise what's going on in the bayou. Does it look something like this?

Salt cavern

aardi - Not bad. Here are some modifications. First the salt dome does not extend very far laterally at the depth of the cavern...probably less than a mile or so. So moving from left to right on you diagram you would have the layered rocks, then the salt dome and then the cavern inside the dome. And then at the right side of the salt dome you go back into the layered rock. I would move the sink hole to the left and not have it over the cavern but above the layered rock. Some early reports indicated the brine filled cavern had only 30' of salt laterally between it and the layered rocks. State regs require a 300' separation. This may be the root of their problem.

Just my WAG but I suspect the side of the cavern breached into the layered rocks and from there the fluids have migrated upwards causing the hole. There was a report that the Geologic Survey, using geophysical equipment, detected vibrations coming from that interface between the salt and layered rock. That would be consistent with fluid flowing out of the cavern and into the rock. Just another WAG but I can't think of any practical way to fix the situation other than to drain as much 20 million bbls of salt water out of the sink hole as possible. And drain all the remaining brine in the cavern. There may be no homes eaten by the sink hole and no big butane explosions but the situation could take many months if not years to fully mitigate. And if they do relocate that 20 million bbls of brine to another disposal site that bill could easily run $40 million and perhaps a lot more. And that wouldn't include the costs to remediate whatever damage that may have been done to the fresh water aquifers.

Aardvark - Re: Sinkhole ...

This site (Louisiana: Assumption Parish Bayou Corne Sinkhole 2012 scroll halfway down) has a number of illustrations and diagrams regarding the sinkhole and current drilling.

also Sinkhole drillers halt to insert pipe casing

... Halted about two-thirds of the way into the solid, 325-foot-thick caprock overlying the salt dome deposit that contains the cavern, workers with Riceland Drilling Co., of Lafayette, prepared the bore Wednesday to receive metal casing to support the well, the officials said.

Cranch said that once the hollow, 16-inch-diameter casing pipe is set into the hole, it will be cemented in place, then workers will wait on the cement to cure before they push farther underground.

The drillers plan to drill to a point 400 feet above the cavern roof, which is 3,400 feet below the surface of the Earth, stop, then drive into the cavern.

aardi - This link that S provided give a very good grahic of my explanation.

Thanks, guys.

Whodathunk a site called FluTrackers would have the best explanation?

S/aardi - BTW I got the word this afternoon the commisioner of the state's DNR doesn't have a problem withh my well. Now I need to make the parish satisfied.

The blogger in the link should probably look up diffusion in an intro chem textbook and maybe look up the definition of a fluid too cause I was kinda taught that gas was a fluid ...

Thanks, Dad, I made the same mistake. [hangs head] Fracking 'fluid' is liquid, liquid... a non-compressible liquid.

The flow of oil out of a hydraulically fractured well appears to be controlled by diffusional dynamics.

This is what an average Bakken well decline looks like if one uses Mason's charts.

The cumulative is the important part of the curve I believe because he plotted the instantaneous production incorrectly (which I tried to correct with the black dots).

But then if we look at Brackett's analysis of Bakken, I can better fit the average well to a hyperbolic decline model. A hyperbolic decline is an ensemble average of exponential declines of different rates.

It is possible that Brackett simply took the 1/e decline point on each well and then tried to extrapolate that to an average production. That's the easy way out and is definitely wrong as this will always approximate a hyerbolic decline -- but I can check this if I can get access to the 3,694 samples that Brackett says goes into his analysis.

Mason and Brackett can't both be right, as there are sufficient differences between diffusional flow decline and hyperbolic decline to impact projections. The former is steeper at first but has a fatter tail, whereas the latter will definitely decline more in the long term. Brackett says the average well will generate 250,000 barrels of oil while Mason shows twice that and still increasing.

The analysis is endlessly fascinating, and it is disturbing because the actual data is so hard to get a hold of. The oil insiders that do the analysis don't look like they are the most competent at math and statistics.

Is pumice strong enough to hold cracks open or will it get crushed, anyone? Oxidised metals ?= alumina etc, not so much of a hazard?


NAOM - I had the same thought. One of the big concerns with a frac job is the potential crushing of the proppant. You can force a fracture open and even induce a new one. But Mother Earth will just push the two pieces back together and ...Poof...no flow. In high bottom hole pressure situations even pure quartz grains can be crushed so they'll use extra strong ceramic beads.

I can understand the advantage of pumic grains being much easier to keep in suspension as the frac fluid is pumped: if the proppant falls out of suspention too fast ("screens out") the frac job can fall to deliver the desired results. I'll check with a frac guy next time I see one.

The Debate over the State of U.S. Manufacturing: How the Computer Industry Affects the Numbers and Perceptions
Susan N. Houseman
W.E. Upjohn Institute

Manufacturing’s strong growth in real value added seems at odds with the weak employment numbers and trade performance. These apparently contradictory trends can be reconciled to a large degree by the fact that the manufacturing output statistics mask divergent trends within the manufacturing sector.

Figure 3 shows average annual growth in real value added for the computers and electronic products industry and for manufacturing excluding the computer industry from 1997 to 2007 (the decade leading up to the Great Recession) and from 2000 to 2010 (a period that incorporates the recession). Real value added in the computer industry grew at a staggering rate of 22 percent per year from 1997 to 2007 and 16 percent per year from 2000 to 2010. In contrast, average annual growth of real value added in the rest of manufacturing was just 1.2 percent per year from 1997 to 2007; real value added in the rest of manufacturing was actually about 6 percent lower in 2010 than at the start of
the decade.

Although the computer and electronics products industry only accounted for 10–12 percent of value added in the manufacturing sector throughout the period, it has an outsized effect on aggregate manufacturing statistics. Without the computer industry, manufacturing real value-added growth has been much weaker than overall growth in the economy (Figure 4).3 The computer industry has a similarly large impact on the aggregate manufacturing productivity statistics. For example, manufacturing multifactor productivity growth rates between 1997 and 2007 fall by almost half when the computer industry is excluded (Houseman et al. 2011).
What accounts then for the rapid growth in real value added in this industry? At least part of the explanation concerns the adjustment of price indexes used to deflate computers and semiconductors for improvements in quality. Computers and semiconductors are much more powerful today than they were a decade or even a year or two ago. Although product price indexes typically increase over time, for computers and semiconductors they have fallen rapidly. Largely reflecting adjustments by statistical agencies to account for the increased power of computers and semiconductors, the price indexes used to adjust shipments of computers and semiconductors have fallen at a rate of 21 percent and 13 percent per year, respectively, from 1998 to 2010. Such rapid price drops imply, for example, that for the same dollar value of computer shipments, the quality-adjusted quantity (real value) is 13 times higher in 2010 than in 1998.4
Today’s computer may be in some statistical sense the equivalent of, say, 13 computers in 1998, but that does not, in and of itself, mean that fewer workers are needed to manufacture a computer today than in the past. In fact, job losses in the computer industry are attributable to the shift of electronics product manufacturing to Asia (see, for example, Roxburgh et al. 2012).

So if it weren't for the computer & electronic sector the manufacturing would look really depressing. And yet - most of your compactor hardware is designed and manufactured in Asia. Sure Intel designs and makes the processors - though I don't really know where the fab and the packaging are done. But take apart a laptop and everything else is designed and manufactured in Asia. So how can this be the major contributor to US manufacturing? I can only assume it's due to taking major creative license with the term "manufacturing".

Even worse, that Asian-sourced disk drive was $100 for 100 Mbytes at one time and is now valued at $1000 for 1 Gbyte due to the quality-based price adjustment, although the computer industry is still making one disk drive and selling it for $100 today.

Equating quality and performance is also a fallacy, on several fronts. I've done electronics design and manufacturing for 25 years now, at one firm. Several of my colleagues have been here a long time too, and through the whole introduction and progression of computer design and office tools as well as the Internet. The quality of electronics, especially computer hardware, is abysmal now. Part of that is due to the contracting out of design and and manufacturing, and the lack of continuity and progressive design improvement. Essentially a marketing group has a product idea, and it gets farmed out to some design house. Then they contract with a manufacturing house to make a few container loads - and the next time it goes to some other outfit.

The other problem is lead free solder, especially in combination with ultra low cost manufacturing. It doesn't really work. It's gotten to the point where we all carefully preserve old equipment, because it works, and anything new I buy I expect to fail in short order - it usually does.

The last point on the quality/performance issues is that much of the new performance is simply wasted on bloated software that provides little real benefit, or that performance is used for entertainment purposes only. If you fire up, say a 233MHz P1 machine running Win95, it boots fast. You can run many perfectly good applications from that era and they're just as fast as new stuff, but just not as fancy. It could never run the new schematic and PCB design software I run now, but then I designed a lot of neat stuff with the tools that did run on it. So how much of that performance gain should really be credited?

Most of my stuff fails due to cheap capacitors, especially in power supplies. Faster, more complex systems are still vulnerable to a single component failing, but that isn't limited to electronics.

I noted that the teardown for the $49.97 L-Prize LED bulb mentioned "Japanese rubycon" capacitors. They were very impressed overall.


Quality ain't cheap - and the market wants cheap.

Best Hopes for a tie on my lifespan and the L-Prize bulbs I bought,


Even the highest quality electrolytic caps, which I use in our designs, are relatively short lifespan parts. You can use all the tricks - 105C rated parts, run them at a fraction of their rated voltage and ripple current, try to keep the temperature down, etc., but they'll still be the shortest lifetime parts in there. In reality you still need to deal with cost and size constraints.

I could not see real well from those pictures, but the solder quality did not impress me, and it's probably lead free.

I'd put my bets on you, especially with a glass of red now and then.

Is it low frequency 50 or 60 Hz? For high frequency switch mode power supplies I would prefer small value plastic film or ceramic capacitors. Some extra filtering is good for power to the parts handling analog signals but quite often they use little current and an extra resistor could be added in series to form a low pass filter.

I have read many times Tantalum electrolytic are good and reliable if handled correctly. I avoid them since I also read they could be sensitive and easily break if not handled correctly.

I usually prefer ceramic or plastic film even if ripple is higher but my experience is a little bit limited.

I have eliminated all tantalum caps from my PWM power supply designs because they are fragile and the supply comes from places that are not stable politically - and I believe the manufacture is environmentally problematic. I have looked at eliminating electrolytics, but to get rid of all larger value capacitors means moving way up in frequency, as well as some other compromises that have not been practical for our products (and at higher power outputs). I prefer ceramics and sometimes film caps - there are some really nice stacked multilayer ceramics from TDK now.

Hi Twilight;
This issue of Caps as a consistent weak link has often had me wonder about the possibility of designing an electronic product (by one who wants a truly durable product.. fickle market realities aside) in which the known 'weak links' are designed for periodic replacement, like fuses or lamps?

If you were approaching such a problem, would it be electronically acceptable to mount Caps in sockets, or are the vagaries of those impermanent contacts too likely to throw unpredictable variations into the circuitry? I know this will depend on widely varying uses of Caps.. just peeking at it as a point in design philosophy towards building for real long-term survivability. Would gold-plated leads be a work-around for contact issues, etc..? (and this would presume an industrial market for rescuing and recycling used and decayed Caps)

Beyond that, can you or others point to other components that either fade predictably, and those which seem generally 'Immortal', at least in the time frames of current electronic manufacture? It would be sensible to understand which parts might be looked at as expendable, and which are more or less permanent.


Like the way vacuum tubes are socketed?

I think it would be hard to do on the very small scale of many devices today, not to mention the dis-incentive of device makers who want to build in planned obsolescence and sell us the next new thing every 18 months.

I am aware of the business disincentives for this, as I meant to point at with 'market realities'.. but this is not too dissimilar to the (unpopular) economic views that favor renewables and other high-threshhold investments that return their value only when looked at from a long-term and wide-boundary perspective.. Like buying really good shoes that are repairable. You paid WHAT for those?!!

As for Tiny caps and multitudes of them, I would think some of this would be a matter of restructuring a schematic and allowing caps to be packaged in groups as they do with Resistors (and probably caps as well already..), so they can be swapped out en-masse.

Of course other modalities would include entire boards or components that contain these 'refreshable components' .. while I know that many applications of caps are very distance-dependant.

One problem is that usually once the capacitor fails it triggers damage to other components. Swapping out the capacitor would have to be done as preventative maintenance, unless that problem is also fixed.

You will get a whole truck load of extra issues with sockets. Gold plate doesn't keep issues away for ever, we used to take gold plated connectors out and push them back in to clear faults caused by muck. With heat cycling parts can 'walk' out of sockets too. Generally, the refurbing of a board entails replacing the electrolytics, they dry out with time. sfhaze has a very valid point with cascade failures. Incidentally I recently did a post mortem on a CFL and found that one of the polyesters had passed on causing a no-start fail, surprisingly with no cascade though I suspect there would have been if I had left it to cook for a while. I didnt bother with a repair as I wanted the parts for other tests.


Bob, sorry for the delay - I spent yesterday moving my baby into a dorm room! Anyway, capacitors get used for a very wide array of functions, and the viability of socketing them is mostly dependent on the operating frequency of the circuit they're part of. For some of the stuff I work on a few 10'ths of an inch of trace length is a major increase in inductance that makes the cap ineffective - or even practically nonexistent. For a low frequency circuit it doesn't matter at all. So you could socket simple low frequency rectifier caps. OTOH if you have a good soldering iron and a desoldering tool, maybe just replace them - assuming the product is designed to be disassembled.

From a big picture, this idea that electronics can be "immortal" is part of the problem. This is a fallacy, and one of the sources of my lack of support for some of the tech stuff we discuss. Electronics can last a long time, but all of it is expendable and it is all the product of a very complex global manufacturing system. Stuff that is the most durable is the stuff that is otherwise less optimized and complex - physically larger geometries, made of durable materials, etc. Large value capacitors are never one of these, because lacking special electrolytes and such they would be physically huge. Also, some of the failure mechanisms do not require the part to be used, merely just time.

This is one of the reasons I'm far more excited by learning to make my own axe handles with hand tools from wood I cut on my own property than I am about any electronic device or system. I just repaired a very nice 7500 generator I got for free - they used a cheap 85C electrolytic cap as part of the electronic voltage regulator, and put it in the end bell where it had exploded. So I cobbled together something from better parts, but it's still a temporary thing - it will serve my family for a time, but that is all.

If you want to see what electricity and electronic devices can be used for in a much lower complexity environment, well you need to look back to the early 20th century. They did not have the catalogs of devices I can browse, and the stuff they had in their catalogs was manufactured with simpler processes (but still a serious investment). They guys that made stuff then were incredibly good, and the kind of stuff they could make is the kind of stuff we'll be able to make - if we're able to re-create an industry that no longer exists. If you can't make it with circa 1930's technology, plus maybe simple diodes or transistors, then it's not a viable solution for the future.

Thanks for the thoughts, Tw.
Congrats on the new Launch! We're only up to grade 4 so far, but time hasn't obliged to stand still for us, so it's coming!


LOL - when I started reading TOD around the time of the Katrina hurricane, it was almost exactly 7 years ago. My girl was just starting 6th grade. One of the oldest and truest cliches, it really does fly!

I have found sensitivity to "Equivalent Series Resistance" (ESR) to be a big factor in the robustness of power supply design. It gets worse in high frequency power converters with high pulse currents. Most of my designs have gone to resonant topologies as I try to design my stuff to have a minimal pulse current, as well as minimal Electromagnetic interference (EMI) generation. I am a big fan of zero-voltage zero-current switching topologies. My favorite designs center around resonant royer converters. I am particularly fond of small three-phase high frequency designs as distributing the load among three small converter transformers, each taking turns powering the load same as low frequency three-phase rectifiers do, I can minimize the need to store energy in capacitors. I rarely have inductors fail - and in the 100KHz range, the size is more manageable. My upper frequencies for now are limited by reverse-recovery times of diodes. I can use synchronous rectification, but the drive circuitry rapidly becomes quite complex - especially when considering the six-phase output of the three-phase transformers ( full-wave each phase ).

I also like CUKs when a polarity inversion is in order.

When the ESR increases, pulse currents get transformed to pulse voltages. When you consider the sharp edges required to insure the switches spend a minimal amount of time being neither fully ON or OFF, you can see a big problem in EMI arising. Despite your best precautions in circuit layout to get minimize current loops, a failing capacitor spells bad news. Things get finicky fast. The field truck is no place for finicky circuits!

Capacitors have been the number one achilles heel of my design. Only one job function has given me more grief - and that is explaining to management why I need to be so picky over my designs. I like to make sure things do not go wrong, as there is nothing I hate worse than be called back - at the job site - because my thing broke. I'd rather fight with a manager - even take job loss ( and I have, I did not survive aerospace employment ) - before turning out embarrassing failures.

My power supply designs are all simple flyback topologies because that is really all that is viable in our products from a cost/complexity/PCB area point of view. I try to keep the switching frequency down because that improves the efficiency/reduces switching losses. But I actually don't use super fast switching because it makes so much noise, and of course slower transitions mean more losses in each switch. It's a big fat basket of compromises, like all design work is, and we have other specific requirements on our products that make that even more fun.

Each thingie has its own requirements. My thingie had a need of quite a bit of power at high voltage, a packaging problem, and EMI. Using three-phase let me use three bits of smaller magnetics I could place where they would fit, and the gradual changeover from phase-to-phase eased the diode recovery time losses as well as the EMI caused by "stack slap". The magnetics were by far the most voluminous part of the design.

Flybacks are quite nice for most stuff, but their pulsed nature sometimes causes me grief. Multiphase stuff makes for complex, expensive design, but minimizes ( if not eliminates ) variances in current source and draw. Modulation of the power rail with the switching frequency was driving me nuts. Sufficient filtering was either lossy ( requiring yet bigger batteries ) or voluminous.

Yeh, the switching frequencies are a big tradeoff. The faster you go - the smaller the magnetics and capacitors, but more loss and EMI because I can't get an ideal diode. I generally end up around 20-50 KHz for flybacks.

Like you say, that's what makes design fun - all the tradeoffs, and seeing just how good of thingie you can make. I guess its our version of going to the horse race - as we made our horse and are anxious to run him.

CUKs are hard on caps.

Piezo actuators (adaptive optics) draw power. They store energy, too. A four-quadrant amplifier feeding and returning this to the supply may amuse your interests.

Yup, on a CUK, ALL of the transferred energy has to go through the cap. Usually have to use ceramics or tantalum, and big ones at that. The redeeming thing for the CUK for me is the minimal ripple on both the input and output supply line, and inherent polarity inversion. ( you can actually get close to zero on one or the other, but not both simultaneously ). I liked them for getting a negative rail for op-amps. The other topology I like is two charge pumps run 180 deg apart.

Piezos are interesting! They are much like capacitors. You can get piezo transformers. They can be interesting in high-voltage applications, or places where mechanical power takeoff is needed. It is always interesting to try to recover as much power as I can - minimizing battery and heat dissipation has been a prime driver for my stuff.

( Guess what's in a ceramic capacitor... barium titanate ... same stuff thats in piezoelectric transducers. A piezoelectric transducer seems to act like a capacitor with a mechanical energy takeoff - as in piezoelectric transducers used in ultrasonic cleaning, welding, or micropositioning - which you covered ).

Interesting stuff with lots of design fun.

"ceramic capacitor... barium titanate"
! It's true... It's true!... Until you get into C0G/NP0... barium gone.
1/10th the energy lost to heat: 0.25% instead of 2%-3% for X7R or Z5U dielectrics.
No 60% loss of capacity as you approach 50 volts like in Z5U. (Z5U VCO?)
Ten times the useful frequency.
No aging. No temperature dependence. No squeal.
Just big.... No free lunch!


Ceramics rattle apart, too. They age at a rate that is the eighth power of temperature. High ripple current causes heating. Spread the requirement/heat out over a multiplicity of individual components.


Stacked-Ceramic Caps Brave High Temperatures
(PDF) http://www.avx.com/docs/techinfo/Stackedcapshightemps.pdf

A growing number of applications require electronics that can survive and operate in extreme environmental conditions. Oil drilling, hybrid vehicles and aerospace provide application examples where electronic components must perform at very high temperatures. For example, electronic equipment used in the search for petroleum reserves may be exposed to temperatures in excess of 200°C, while also subjected to extreme shock and vibration.

A growing number of applications require electronics that can survive and operate in extreme environmental conditions.

The little main board I'm using now (Gigabyte E350N, mITX format, AMD's 'Brazos' processor) is marketed as "Ultra Durable", touting high quality capacitors and "2x copper" in the board for heat dissipation. They market these boards for less-than-ideal environments, industrial and mobile applications. They are preferred by "carputer" builders for installation in tiny, fanless cases and double din in-dash systems.

I bought it for it's low energy use and quite amazing embedded graphics and am pleased with it's performance, especially running linux. Installed in a small Shuttle case with a 9-34 volt DC power supply (running solar/battery direct, no AC).

Best hopes it is, indeed, ultra-durable.

Yep, some of the old stuff lasts well.

I still use an AMD Athlon Thunderbird 700MHz, ASUS mobo box I hand-built back in 2000. It runs Debian Stable quite well, and is, gee, 12yrs old now.

Sure, have gone through a pwr supply or two, and hard drives a few times, but the core guts of it have been reliable and long lasting.

Sure that's a pretty good record compared to the absolute (*&(^ being made now, but look back a bit and its not too spectacular either...

Ive got lots of 60's vintage audio gear that still runs perfect with only some component changes (replacing dried out electrolytic caps after 20-30 years and bad rectifiers) Sure this stuff is an energy hog but with maintenance and an occasional part swap most of this stuff can probably run a century or more.

Or how about the electronics on Voyager I & II that are still sending us back data 35 years and 11 billion miles later?

Good point.

...and some of the vintage stuff used the original 'good' conductor for wires: silver.

So if it weren't for the computer & electronic sector the manufacturing would look really depressing. And yet - most of your compactor hardware is designed and manufactured in Asia. Sure Intel designs and makes the processors - though I don't really know where the fab and the packaging are done

It's spread out, there are specialized regions. Many fabs are located in Taiwan and Japan, a few in SE Asia. US also has plenty of fabs like TI's Dallas fab, Intel's Hillsboro Oregon fab, Chandler Arizona fab. Then there are assembling plants in SE Asia and Costa Rica. Most Assembling is done in SE Asia though, see the prints on your boxes for Printers, Scanners, laptops etc. It's either from Taiwan or Thailand or Malaysia.

For Fabs cheap labor is not a concern since they are highly specialized production facilities, things like weather, trained personnel, availability of water, and power matter more than anything else. Assembly shops are usually located in cheap labor locations.

Yup, I understand that, as well has how complex - and vulnerable - the supply chain is just for a single IC.

But "multifactor productivity" adds things like "purchased business services" back into the supposed measure of productivity. On that front, here's the BLS:

Real growth in purchased-services inputs demonstrated
the highest average annual growth among
inputs for 1997–2003. Demand for purchased services
by the finance, insurance, real estate, rental,
and leasing industry group and the professional and
business services industry group contributed 2.25
percentage points, or almost half, of the 4.9-percent
average annual growth for real purchased-services

In other words, this measure of productivity is dragged way down by the inclusion of things like marketing, management services, and lawyers in the denominator. Not exactly a fair measure of how much stuff the average worker produces per unit of time.

And BTW, barring strong unions, rapidly rising productivity is bad news for most people. It means fewer jobs and lower wages.

How the U.S. East Coast Just Dodged an Oil Supply Shut-Down

Last September, Sunoco and ConocoPhillips announced they would both close their Pennsylvania oil refineries.

Roughly 330,000 barrels of oil are supplied through the Sunoco refinery in Philadelphia... every day.

Closing of the refineries would have not just resulted in hundreds of lost jobs, but an east coast supply crunch could potentially have occurred.

Fortunately, a solution came to happen – in fact it's a great example of a public/private/labor partnership actually working.

Apologies if this was posted previously ...

Ron - I don't think it has...thanks. Not that this doesn't sound like a good deal but it didn't happen because all the players gathered around and sang kumbaya. First the union gave up benefits for its members. Obviously a better deal than great benefits for a job you don't have. But that's the battle many have been fighting over, especially with some state govts.

The refineries former owners made out great IMHO. Owning/selling/buying carries a rather significant potential environmental liability. They dodged a bullet perhaps: had they not found a buyer they would have had to decommision the plants. And no refinery operator ever wants to get stuck with that job. But they also own some sort of a 1/3 net of the new plant. And by new plant the Carlyle group will pump $200 million into upgrades with the tax payers kicking in another $35 million.

It will be interesting to see if the upgrades make the plants more economical. It will also be interesting to see how well a non-oil patch owner runs a plant where the experienced folks had trouble making a profit.

It is perhaps a good thing to preserve these oil refineries to ease the Green Transition although a big rampup in gasoline prices would not be bad to get people to realize we have to move to Green Transit away from Auto Addiction.
But as usual with these crony Capitalist deals we have to ask "at what price?"
Anytime I see one of these fantastic "public/private" partnership deals with taxpayers footing the bill I start to wonder...
Here is an excerpt from the article:

Carlyle will receive $25 million in state funds to match its $200 million investment in upgrades to the plant.

Which always leads me to ask - hmmm just how much taxes are the Carlyle Group paying while they receive $25 Million from taxpayers? As usual it turns out almost nothing:


Carlyle Group’s tax bill is next to zero
January 11, 2012 | 12:19 pm by Aaron Elstein
Deep in the footnotes of a prospectus that ran about 500 pages long, Carlyle, which manages about $150 billion in assets, disclosed that its effective tax rate for 2010 was 1.4%. In 2009, it was 2.2% and it was negative 2.5% in 2008, when the firm was unprofitable. Carlyle’s total provision for taxes in 2010 was $20 million, of which $6 million was paid to state or local authorities and $15 million was described as foreign income tax.

For the record, Carlyle generated more than $900 million in earnings through last Sept. 30 on revenues of $2 billion.

Moreover as usual in 21st Century corrupt crony Capitalism for the plutocrats we have this about the taxes paid by the Billionaires who manage the Carlyle Group:


By financing the dividends with debt, Carlyle’s founders can receive the full amount without facing an immediate tax bill, and without having to sell shares in the IPO. Under Internal Revenue Code regulations for partnerships, the owners can defer paying taxes on the distribution until the debt is retired, said Allan Weiner, a partner in the Washington office of the law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
Dividend Recaps

“They are essentially creating a distribution without paying taxes,” Weiner said. “Presumably, because it is debt, they are burdening the existing entity.”

So when we dig into this deal we discover that the State of Pennsylvania is actually PAYING the Carlyle group!

If anything this deal illustrates precisely what is wrong with our current Auto Addicted Corporate controlled system for the 1% and their Corporate billionaire owners. It is actually NOT an unaligned benefit to increase the gasoline supply for either reducing oil consumption or greenhouse emissions and Climate Change. That $25 Million from the State of Pennsylvania could have gone to the Green Transition. But instead it will benefit, as usual, the plutocrats running the Carlyle Group...

orbit - Outstanding details...mucho thanks. I didn't want to be too critical since I wasn't very familiar with the Carlyle but my first thought was WTF! The refinery biz is not a game for amateurs. Some of the pros who have been doing it for 40+ years are getting their butts kicked right now. It's going to interesting to see where the Carlyle interest eventually ends up. I suspect once they gotten all the financial benefit from their leverage they bail out.

BTW along those same lines I just found out about a proposed CO2 pipeline that will run from Houston toward south Texas. Going for EOR in one of the fields in the trend I'm currently working. Price tag: $160 million. I'm told the owner of the field will pay $40 million and the generous US tax payers the other$120 million. Nice to have friends in high places, eh?

I know these reservoirs quit well an am a little skeptical as to how well CO2 injection will work. OTOH since the operator is only paying for 25% of the p/l he may think it will pay off...at least to him. I could easily be wrong but this could turn into another Solyndra for the govt.

As this is the same business model Bain/Romney was/is in, it is not surprising that the "carry forward" interest loophole that created billionaires for Carlyle also created most of Romney's $250 million. both are examples of corporate welfare that the Republicans want continued at the expense of Medicare, SS, and programs for the poor.We do have an election coming up. Do you want the loopholes and debt to the sky for the benefit to the rich or not? What is an "entitlement"? I think all these loopholes are "entitlements" that businesses have lobbied Congress for and got. Whatever good it did, it has to be ended if this Debt is going to dealt with fairly.

Apparantly, it is not peak oil & increasing energy costs that are going to hurt suburbia -

Instead, the suburbs are really the target of a "secret Obama scheme"!

Doomsday for Suburbia

Wow! Either it's a satire or he should be introduced to James Howard Knustler

Texas Judge Preparing For ‘Civil War’ If Obama Re-Elected

A Texas leader is warning of what he calls a ‘civil war’ and possible invasion of United Nations troops if President Barack Obama is re-elected. “He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the U.S. to the United Nations, what’s going to happen when that happens?” The republican judge said that he himself will meet the enemy, “in front of their armored personnel carriers” to tell them they are not welcome, and has the county sheriff to back him up. “I don’t want U.N. troops in Lubbock County,” he said.

This was broadcast today on the CBS "news"... just dropped in between two other stories without comment... another bit of the daily truth.

There is no hope of finding a good path by following these leaders. They are running us to the cliffs.

...the daily truth

Thanks for sharing, K.D. I missed that.

I am laughing OUT LOUD -- Who in the world gave that report without totally folding over in hysterical laughter on camera? The mental image of the judge OUT IN FRONT of the armored personnel carriers and The Sherf is...well...priceless. Hope Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert get a hold of that snippet of "news."

The real difference between the US and the rest of the world is that when this happens the story doesn't end with "... and he was led away by the guys in the white coats".

I don’t want U.N. troops in Lubbock County

It's ok, the U.S. will just draw some of it's armies from the 100+ united nations where they have troops deployed in order to combat this terrifying menace.

Years ago I saw a documentary from the US. In an area, the locals had formed a group that was monitoring the area for a UN invasion. Every night, they took shifts to drive around on the roads looking for UN invation vehichels. Totally wasting their time.

Of all the really stupid conspiracy theories I have read that were concocted by the far right, this one tops them all. Most all of the schemes he ascribes to Obama, like zoning, local taxes and local regulations are controlled by the counties, cities and states. The Federal Government has no control over any of it. So how is Obama going to pull that one off?

Ron P.

The problem is that these thing work very effectively on people who are not, shall we say, critical-thinking-enabled. I know a lot of such people, and they cite things like this as gospel truth. That's why the right-wing simply lies - it works, and even if they get called on it (not nearly enough, IMO), the damage is done.

Let's see:

The government gives The Carlyle Group millions of dollars. The members pay little, no, or negative income taxes on their millions, giving a fraction of their millions to right wing think tanks.

The right wing think tanks employ people like Stanley Kurtz to think up outlandish anti-Obama anti-government conspiracy theories and publishes his book.

Jane and Joe Six-pack read the book, and decide to vote for anti-government republican politicians.

Repeat step one.

I have been messing around with the latest EIA C+C data which came out last week. There have been several revisions lately, small but make a difference nevertheless.

For non-OPEC production the peak year was, so far 2010 with a 12 month average of 42,561 kb/d. For 2011 the average was 42,418 kb/d. For the first five months of 2012 the average has been 42,710 kb/d so if that holds then 2012 will be a new high for non-OPEC. However you can see from the chart that non-OPEC production is headed down and I expect that trend to continue just as it did in 2011. The high month so far was November 2010 with 43,113 kb/d. The current 12 month average, June 2011 thru May 2012, stands at 42,496 kb/d.

Non-OPEC Crude + Condensate production in kb/d. The last data point is May 2012.


A side note: Only one country made a new 12 year high in May, (since January 2001) and that was Kuwait. The EIA had them at 2,650 kb/d, the same they have for them every month this year. No non-OPEC country made a new high in May.

Ron P.

Ron - Your post made me curious and found the long story (http://www.eia.gov/ftproot/presentations/ieo99_3im/sld010.htm)

Interesting that from around 1979 OPEC dropped from about 30 mmpd to 18 mmpd by 1985. But non-OPEC increased from 36 mmpd to 42 mmbopd during the same period. And since then both have been increasing but OPEC at a higher rate. The EIA projects the production will be equally split between the TWO in the early 2020's.

Your thoughts, sir.

This is their IEO 1999 and is a bit out of date.

•World oil production reaches 110 million barrels per day in 2020, about 6 million barrels per day less than projected in last year’s outlook.

And their outlook is even lower now, a lot lower for 2020. They are not even projecting that for 2035 now. No, I do not believe OPEC production will ever overtake non-OPEC production. Well, not if the same countries remain and they do not add any new countries, like Russia. I don't think that will happen either but some folks always come up with "what if" scenarios so I want to cover that base before they do.

Here is current and past OPEC percent of world C+C production, from 2001 to May 2012.

Percent OPEC

Ron P.

Thank you, Ron, for your work. Question: how does this look if we look at non-Opec-non-Russia? Does the 2005 "peak" hold or has it been broken?

Non-OPEC minus Russia, 12 month trailing average, peaked in July of 2004 at 33,542 kb/d and in May of 2012 the 12 month trailing average stood at 32,681 kb/d, down 861 kb/d from the peak.

Non-OPEC less Russia

Ron P.

Thank you, Ron. That's a very telling graph. (btw, EIA data show a calendar-year high of 33,418 in 2002.) So...in spite of the tripling in the oil price since 2004 (or quadrupling since 2002), non-Opec-non-Russia is actually producing less oil.

Commercial Natural Gas was Likely Major Factor in Late-20th Century Stabilization

Increased capture of natural gas from oil fields probably accounts for up to 70 percent of the dramatic leveling off seen in atmospheric methane at the end of the 20th century, according to new UC Irvine research being published Thursday, Aug. 23, in the journal Nature.

Blake and his team, who have conducted the world's longest continuous methane and ethane sampling, said close scrutiny of their data shows that the major factor was most likely the trapping and sale of natural gas for use as a fuel source, which sharply reduced the skyward venting and flaring of methane from oil fields.

Journal Article: Long-term decline of global atmospheric ethane concentrations and implications for methane

Gene breakthrough could boost rice yields by 20 percent

Scientists on Wednesday said they had developed a strain of rice that grows well in soils lacking the nutrient phosphorus, a feat that could boost crop yields for some farmers by as much as 20%.

... Arguably the most important crop in the world, rice is under pressure from rising demographic growth and the impacts of climate change.

Last October, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said the global population of seven billion could rise to at least 10 billion by 2100, but could top 15 billion if birth rates are just slightly higher than expected.

The protein kinase Pstol1 from traditional rice confers tolerance of phosphorus deficiency

Gosh, maybe we can engineer humans that don't need phosphorus :-0

Might mess up that whole calcium - phosphorus homeostasis thingy ...

The Middle Class Falls Further Behind

The middle class is struggling to survive and shrinking before our eyes, the Pew Research Center reported on Wednesday.

"America's middle class has endured its worst decade in modern history," the Pew Research Center said in its report: The Lost Decade of the Middle Class - Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier. "It has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some -- but by no means all -- of its characteristic faith in the future."

Yes, and about half the country will attribute this trend to "creeping Socialism" and the evils of not letting poor people die in the streets. Another 40-45% don't know, can't think, and don't care. The tiny remainder with a functioning cerebral cortex will recognize this as Class Warfare successfully perpetrated against the rest of us by the 1%, but no one --especially the bought and paid for corporate media-- will listen, because we're just "Leftists" and "extremists". Meanwhile bankers continue to enrich themselves at our expense because, well, they're God's Chosen People, and their good fortune is Prima Facie evidence that they deserve it.

Welcome to the modern cult of Ayn Rand meets Prosperity Gospel, where Conservative Jesus wears a Brooks Brothers suit, drives a Ferrari, sells junk bonds, and beats up OWS protestors .

Vote, Vote and Vote again.

Vote for what or whom? I have two choices and neither are going to deal with what I see as the major issues confronting our future. I am going to go to the polls in November and write on my ballot "Give me more choices and I will vote for one." I have seen a Democrat keep the same financial leaders at the helm and do very little of anything substantial to improve our society. I occassionally like what he says, but very seldom do I see actions behind those words. Both parties have estranged anyone with half a wit.

I heard that millions will not vote because they like neither choice. I wonder what would happen if a movement formed to smash the voting machines on voting day and demand real candidates? Where would real candidates come from? How many would there be? Winner-take-all?

I see Obama as a Raygun Republican. I'll either write in Bernie Sanders, or vote for the Greens.

Voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still voting for evil.
Jerry Garcia

That is unfortunate. Is there a candidate that is not evil? Many would claim any vote is a waste of time, in a US Presidential election (or in this particular election) a vote for a third party is a no vote.


I live in California. Obama won by over 3 million votes last time. I'm free to vote my conscience.

Wharf Rat,

Obama is up by 17 points in California, so I see your point. If you and 3 million other liberals (or people who are left of center politically if you don't like to be called liberal) all decide to vote your conscience (or do not bother to vote, as it would be equivalent in this case), then Obama loses California. Not likely to happen though, 3 million won't all have the same idea that Obama has such a big lead that there is no need to vote for him, surely other people will feel obliged to vote for one of the two people who stand a chance of winning (otherwise, why would they waste their time).

I just hope people in battleground states realize what is at stake and remember that a few hundred votes determined the outcome in 2000.


Don't forget the importance of the house and senate battlegrounds. get a tea party majority, and we can kiss CAFE standards goodbye -as well as environmental regs, and expect maximum government obstructionism of anything alt energy. The D's are still seriously flawed, but the other guys will be a complete disaster.

Pepsi and Pepsi Lite.

Not saying there are not differences on the micro differences--

Dems better on women, workplace, sexual preference, and environmental (often minor).
However, the Macro view is the same, with brutal economic policies that are leading to destruction of the planet.
200 species went extinct yesterday, there is blood in the streets.


I agree. I guess my view is, would you prefer to move in the wrong direction or move slowly in the right direction(or just maintain any progress that has been made). I am afraid for my daughter that her rights will be taken away if any more Supreme Court Justices are appointed by a Republican president. If I was a Republican, I would definitely encourage liberals to vote for the Green Party or Bernie Sanders because Obama is not liberal enough.


The Tea Party spews vile, contemptible nonsense, for example Ted Cruz promotes this conspiracy theory about Obama and golf courses, and the Texas voters are going to inflict this buffoon on our nation. Maybe we'll finally get Senate rules reform next January?

The corporate Republicans are fearful and exasperated by the Tea Party, but they are the last ditch defense against "demographic winter". Part of the anti-abortion hysteria is due to the deficit of white babies. It apparently never occurred to them that people with birth control have children only when they can afford to do so.

The Corporate Democrats, both the Republican-lite blue dogs and the DLC types seem happy to benefit from being less evil than the GOP, but they are just the kinder, gentler side of the same neo-fascist corporatism. Just Google "Democrat self-funder" for a peek at how it really works.

The Progressives give one a little hope, until you realize just what a cowardly lot they all are. Two generations of RICO and a 4:1 Dem/GOP prosecution rate from the DoJ have weeded out anything that smacks of leadership.

The far left side of things - Occupiers, anarchists, environmentalists, appear to be quiet, but that's more to do with corporate media agenda than activity level. Unlike the Tea Party, these in general don't care for the choice of complicit corporate Dems/cowardly Progressives, but they've not yet formed their own splinter spoiler party.

I rather expect the rabid right will come unzipped from the corporate core this cycle, while on the left the grassroots are just a bit more pragmatic, and they'll hold their noses and try to work within the existing system, but privately they'll admit they're jockeying for position with an eye on some sort of discontinuity in the future.

It's a mad, mad, mad world. We're politically incapable of planning ahead because we can't talk about reality. If we could, the stark nature of the choices would lead to ... trouble. So we continue to sleepwalk ...

Thanks Hillrat that was a great summary of the current political situation in the U.S. I have been thinking for sometime that a split is coming in the Republican party; in conjunction with the demographic problem they are in trouble long term.

If its just demographics, they are doomed. But, a militant minority -especially one with access to police powers can often entrench itself despite being widely unpopular.

Vote Libertarian!

They get angry if you vote for the same candidate more than once.

Early and often, early and often ...

also Foreclosures impact California voter turnout

California neighborhoods reeling from record foreclosures also experienced lower levels of voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Voters who lost their homes were not the only ones who appear to have been affected, sociologist Vanesa Estrada-Correa and political scientist Martin Johnson determined in a study believed to be the first to assess the effect of foreclosure on political participation. Voters who remained in neighborhoods impacted by foreclosure were less likely to vote than individuals in more stable communities, the researchers discovered.

The U.S. Middle East Policy is ...:

"It's all about oil," Thomas Friedman told me, summing up the main motivation behind U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world in just five words.

(Thomas Friedman: U.S. Middle East Policy 'All About Oil,' Not Human Rights). Gosh, who knew?

Does Israel have any oil to sell us? If not, why should it be the center of our foreign policy?

It is the perfect cover ain't it?

1) Cultural/political swizzle stick, used to keep the fight away from the core issue, which was once upon a time raised by Mossadeghs and Nassers.

2) Aircraft carrier/cat's paw.

Not very hard to figure out...



From Chatham House: Shale Gas to the Rescue?

There is growing realization in Europe that there are serious obstacles to replicating the 'shale gas revolution' experience of the United States, says this paper

•The 'shale gas revolution' in the United States created an oversupply of liquefied natural gas and downward pressure on gas prices across the globe.

•Disappointing outcomes have reduced the hype about the prospects for shale gas in Europe, and led to the realization that, at least in western Europe, there are serious obstacles to its development.

•There has been considerable debate over the level of technically recoverable shale gas resources together with significant revisions to some estimates of those resources.

•Growing opposition to shale gas is driven by concerns over the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
•In the United States, energy self-sufficiency has increased in importance, making the continuation of the 'shale gas revolution' there more likely.
•There is a growing fear that shale gas may substitute not for coal as many originally hoped, but for renewables.

•Overall, levels of investor uncertainty remain as high as ever, particularly with regard to developments outside the United States.

Paper: The ‘Shale Gas Revolution’: Developments and Changes

... Conditions in Europe which could inhibit replication - pg 9

•Shale plays are smaller, deeper, less material and with a high clay content, making fracking more difficult.

•Very strict regulations regarding environmental issues and water. For example, both Poland and the UK Environment Agency require full disclosure of fracking fluids. Also ‘Groundwater protection and waste treatment are stronger [than the US] in the UK’

•Only Hungary has some small tax credits for unconventional operations. Otherwise there are no financial dispensations for unconventional gas.

•Property rights reside with the state and landowners receive no compensation or reward. This is in a context where shale gas operations are extremely disruptive. It has been likened to ‘the circus coming to town’. Onshore oil and gas operations are not common in Europe.

•Pipeline access is based upon ‘third part access’ which means if the pipeline is full any gas suppliers must build their own pipeline to access markets.

•The service industry is an American-dominated oligopoly. In July 2010 there were only 34 lands rigs in all of western Europe. It has been suggested that drilling a shale gas well in Poland costs three times as much as in the United States, reflecting the lack of service industry competition (Pfeifer, 2012). Another estimate suggests drilling a shale well in Europe costs $6.5–14 million compared to $4 million on the Marcellus (Deutsche Bank, 2011).

•According to the CEO of ExxonMobil, the technology does not translate well into European geology (Carroll, 2012). The EU Commission shows no willingness to invest in basic R&D for shale gas, arguing that it should be left to the market.

A. Berman cited

... also heard that Polish shale has a very high CO2, N2 content that would complicate processing.

S - Great perspective. I suspect there is one more significant factor in the non-development of EU shale trends. Consider who is leading the charge in the US: US public oil companies. As I've so often expressed my opinion these companies are more focused on satisfying Wall Street's demand for y-o-y reserve increase than profits. What companies would be the EU equivalent that would start throwing $billions at those unproven shale plays to satisfy their stock market? And if one of those EU companies had a taste for the play why aren't they partnered up with a US company in our plays. I know the Norwigians were messing around with Chesapeake up in the Marcellus. And the Chinese: they gotten a good foothold in the Eagle Ford but that's more about oil than NG at the moment.

As I was taught as a young geologist: it doesn't matter how good my prospect might be it ain't worth crap unless I can talk someone into drilling it. So who in the EU is trying to talk who into spending the $billions to test EU shale? And if such serious conversations aren't going on what does that say about future development?

That is similar to one of their conclusions. Some of the other factors ...

... Europe is a ‘project supply market’ with few buyers and sellers and poor price transparency. Transaction costs to buy and sell gas are high.

[In Europe] While there are some small operators, the industry traditionally is dominated by large players. This could have interesting consequences.

For example, in Poland, where shale gas is seen as the key to ‘liberation’ from dependence on Russian gas imports (65%), the IOCs dominate and it is possible that much of the shale gas produced could be exported via the Russian-controlled pipeline network (Overbeek, 2011).

I suspect shale gas plays in Russia and China will also have their own unique 'issues'.

Everything will change if (when?) there is a cold winter and not enough heat. There is no reason large 50-well pad-sites with long laterals couldn't drain areas several miles in diameter. I hear pads are draining over 20sq miles here already...could probably make that 75sq miles without too much added cost.

An outfit called Cuadrilla, part owned by Riverstone are doing test drilling in NW UK.


The UK does have very strict (and enforced) environmental law, which I think would effectively prevent ground water contamination by carelessness or corruption - but I wonder how we would dispose of all the fracking fluid safely?

As I understand it, you need to drill every 4 or 5 miles across the extraction area - so we could be looking at several hundred wells: how much fluid and where could it go?

Also, how do you get the gas shipped out from all those wells? Tankers? A pipeline doesn't seem possible...

If shale gas means a few hundred drill sites which are a bit like large car parks with a stream of tankers coming and going, I don't think the UK rural population is up for it (except I guess the ones who get paid to have drill sites on their land - and that is often the aristocracy, even in this day and age!)

Leak brings safety of Hanford nuclear site into question

As part of the biggest, costliest environmental cleanup in the nation's history-disposing of 53 million gallons of radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state-one thing was supposed to be sure: Toxic waste stored in sturdy, double-wall steel tanks wasn't going anywhere.

That reassurance has been thrown into question with the discovery of a three-foot-long mound of radioactive material between the inner and outer steel walls of one of the supposedly safe tanks. The double-wall tanks were expected to last another 40 years.

More than 1 million gallons of waste have leaked from 67 single-wall tanks into the surrounding soil over the years.

... The 42-year-old tank, known as AY-102, holds about 857,000 gallons of radioactive and other toxic chemical waste, much of it removed several years ago from a single-shell storage tank. Workers who relocated the material fell ill simply from inhaling the fumes ...

also Hanford Double-Shell Tank Leaks Nuclear Waste

S - Not that I know anything about storing radioactive water but in the oil patch we don't store water in steel takes even short term...we use polytanks. As you know rust/corrosion are like depletion: they never sleep. Except with respect to polytanks. In 37 years I've never seen a polytank leak except for when an idiot backed into one with his truck.

Again not my area but wouldn't you expect some metal fatigue due to the radiation over long term even at relatively low doses?

"Again not my area but wouldn't you expect some metal fatigue due to the radiation over long term even at relatively low doses"

Not from alpha, beat, or gamma radiation. Neutrons will do it, and since it's cumulative, a long exposure at low rates is the same as a short exposure at high rates. However, all those radiations will make a polytank brittle. There is also the issue of cold, since this is not Texas. And they probably wanted one big tank instead of many small ones, and there is a size limit on plastic tanks, especially back when those were installed. Accountants are famous for wanting the one supersized solution. (I can have twice the capacity for only 1.6 times the cost, whoo hoo!)

Now if the tanks are full of something that makes people instantly sick just from a few breaths, then it's probably something not radioactive. Radioactivity has no smell, which is rather unfortunate really. But what else is in those tanks?

Caustic can make steel crack. So can nitrates. Chlorides cause pitting and crevice corrosion. Fluorides are not kind. And sulfur has multiple ways to mangle metal. (polythionic corrosion and hydrogen sulfide cracking to name two.) Since the put it in carbons steel, I assume it was not overly acidic.

The contents of those tanks are a witch's brew. They will probably discover a whole new system of corrosion.

Would radiation make them brittle or cross link the plastic making it stronger?


"Would radiation make them brittle or cross link the plastic making it stronger?"

I have heard of plastics intentionally exposed to radiation to drive a cross-linking reaction. But brittle and stronger do go together, as in stronger materials are less ductile, and therefore more brittle. So the answer to your question is yes, both.

I used a lot of radiation cross linked plastics on one job, it was used for insulation and protection of wiring. It was pretty strong and resistant. I suspect that different plastics react differently so some may get stronger while others get brittle yet others do it different. I just wonder which these tanks might come under.


PV - All good points...thanks. I was concetrating on salt water corrosion...one of our biggest enemies in the oil patch.

Sometimes the level of implied superiority here turns me off. I always search out your comments because it seems to me you are very knowledgeable. I just don't understand why making a mistake has to make someone an idiot. Just seems kinda harsh.

I don't know with all the mistakes I've made in my life I guess I'm just an idiot. I think many people forget we don't get to choose our level of intelligence. ROCKMAN your a smart guy most would say. You won the gene lottery for brains is all.

I don't know why your comment triggered me to comment just did.

I don't know why your comment triggered me to comment just did.

Triggering Mechanism in a Nematocyst


The diagram above shows the anatomy of a nematocyst cell and its “firing” sequence, from left to right. On the far left is a nematocyst inside its cellular capsule. The cell’s thread is coiled under pressure and wrapped around a stinging barb. When potential prey makes contact with the tentacles of a polyp, the nematocyst cell is stimulated. This causes a flap of tissue covering the nematocyst—the operculum—to fly open. The middle image shows the open operculum, the rapidly uncoiling thread and the emerging barb. On the far right is the fully extended cell. The barbs at the end of the nematocyst are designed to stick into the polyp’s victim and inject a poisonous liquid. When subdued, the polyp’s tentacles move the prey toward its mouth and the nematocysts recoil back into their capsules.


dave - "You won the gene lottery for brains is all." Yep that's me...why I was a straight D student in high school and had a reading speed closer to that of a 3rd grader when I started college. I try to not show it but I tend to very unsympathetic to folks who say something is too difficult for them to understand. It may take a long time to get a handle on it (I rarely but still have nightmares about calculus) but it can be done if you work at it.

You are an idiot (I actually prefer ignorant). I also suspect you're a smart chap. I think me and most here on TOD fall into this category. There are some aspects of the oil patch that I understand better than 99% of my peers. OTOH there are aspects that I'm not very familiar with and really don't care to dig into much deeper. Thus I am an idiot (ignorant) when it comes to pipeline engineering. I once had a production engineer who could do long division or calulate percentages. But he knew how to line out production equipment than anyone I worked with before or since. I would just sit in the truck and stay out of his way.

The source of your comment? I suspect you just have final come under full control of my Machiavellian efforts to convince the TODsters that I'm really a nice guy despite being one of those lying oil patch bastards. Don't feel bad though. I've achieved the same results with folks far smarter than you or me. LOL.

BTW your probably wondering how I went from a loser high school punk to a MS in geology. That's a long story that gets into alien abduction. I'll cover that at a later date.

While I've never seen the man, I get this sense that ROCK has pretty much always got a twinkle in his eye when he adds in his thoughts here..

Sorry that one set you off.. I didn't have that reaction, but I thought of the Philosopher/Knucklehead G Carlin after your comment.. pardon if it seems glib. I kid cause I love..

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

IMVHO, intelligence is a tool. Some have sharper and stronger tools that others - but this gift from nature should not be a source of great personal pride. Most all have a tool that can do the job - it just takes more effort from some.

Of greater importance that the tool is the workman or workwoman using the tool. The effort and diligence he or she applies is of greater importance than the quality of the tool.

Wisdom is to be cherished and developed, intelligence is merely to be used.

Best Hopes for those that search for Greater Wisdom,


Well, at least the article says the double-wall steel tanks are encased in a concrete sleeve..and at least there is an inspection regime which caught the leak/situation.

All that being aid...it is very bad that ~ 1 million gallons of radioactive waste leaked from the single-wall tanks, and bad news that the double-walled tanks may be starting to fail.

that vitrification plant can't come on line soon enough.

The $12.2-billion cleanup eventually aims to turn most of the Hanford waste into glass rods at a high-tech vitrification plant scheduled to be operational in 2019, assuming the formidable design and engineering hurdles can be overcome.

This will help:

That is the 12z (2 runs per day) day 7 Euro (weather model)... Sure there will be deviations, but never good to see a cane heading right into the oil patch.

This is like Déjà vu All Over Again ...

Looks like first stop is the RNC/GOP convention in Tampa, Fl - Mon 2 pm


I was kind of hoping for a hit on Tampa Bay during the Republican Convention.

No doubt it would be taken as a sign of Divine Approval by many of the delegates.

Best Hopes for enough Sarconol for the Hurricane Party !


I was kind of hoping for a hit on Tampa Bay during the Republican Convention.

Don't give up hope yet!


Overnight the newest run of the Euro brings a STRONG hurricane into Mississippi/Alabama... Oil should skyrocket if this track continues.

tow - Thanks...makes my morning complete. LOL. All I can hope is that the track will be as inaccurate as most have been. I'm building a drill site just south of Baton Rouge. Even more interesting is that the projection has it heading in the direction of the mysterious sink hole on that salt dome in Assumpton Parish.

ROCKMAN - the model runs are all over. I'm sure the bond stooges are checking the models and will make some calls Saturday morning.

This one could go in at Pensacola, Mobile, or even further west. Not good.

Good commentary on the storm from Jeff Masters at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2199

Looks like conditions are expected to be good for strengthening once in the GoM. Still plenty of time for the forecast to change though.

If you (or any other TODers) do have a hurricane on top of you next week Rock - stay safe!

Brand new Euro runs takes the beast into Texas...

Be interesting if Thunderhorse is ready for another pounding...

Fish demand 'exceeds UK sea supply'

UK fish consumption in 2012 has already matched what our seas can supply for the year, leaving the country reliant on imported cod and haddock for fish and chips, campaigners have warned.

Annual fish supplies from UK seas can only satisfy demand for 233 days, so if the UK were to rely on its own fisheries for the year we would run out of stocks by today, a report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) calculated.

China's mega coal power bases exacerbate water crisis – in pictures

A new Greenpeace report warns China's plan to rapidly expand large coal mines and power plants in its arid northern and western provinces threatens to drain precious water supply and could trigger a severe water crisis. The photographer Lu Guang has documented the water-intensive coal extraction, forcing deterioration of arid grassland and forcing herders to seek alternative livelihoods

In 2011, protests erupted after a Mongolian herder was run over by coal truck as he tried to stop mining convoy driving across prairie land

SEC forces disclosure of oil, mining payments abroad

U.S.-listed oil, gas and mining companies will be required to publicly reveal payments they make to foreign governments, including those for drilling or exploration licenses, under rules adopted by U.S. regulators that aim to reduce bribery and corruption risks.

"Unfortunately, disclosure would not be a two-way street," said John Felmy, chief economist at oil lobbying group the American Petroleum Institute. "State-owned foreign companies would have to reveal nothing and might even be favored for projects in host countries reluctant to have financial information disclosed."

Pemex declares critical natural gas shortage

MEXICO CITY--Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Wednesday that equipment failure caused a critical shortage of natural gas in its pipeline system and declared a 24-hour alert beginning at noon that will restrict industry's access to the fuel.

Pemex said in a statement that an electrical discharge during heavy rains in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz forced the shutdown of a natural gas supply station, which reduced pipeline pressure in the oil company's central and eastern regions.

Earlier this month, the industrial association Concamin said the natural gas alerts are not only causing losses in the millions of dollars, but that the rationing of the fuel is preventing industry from planning future growth, and from building their own power plants to reduce costs and become more competitive

The 'other' cost of expensive fuel ...

Pilots forced to make emergency landings because of fuel shortages

Pilots have had to make 28 emergency landings because they were running low on fuel according to figures compiled by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Once they have less than 30 minutes flying time left, pilots have to seek an emergency landing.

... some pilots have warned the airlines are operating on very narrow margins as they seek to cut operating costs.

Australia's Qantas dives into red, scraps jet orders

SYDNEY — Australian carrier Qantas on Thursday posted its first annual loss since privatisation in 1995 and cancelled orders for 35 Boeing jets as high fuel costs and industrial action hammered its bottom line

'Google on steroids': Scientists create chemical brain

Northwestern University scientists have connected 250 years of organic chemical knowledge into one giant computer network -- a chemical Google on steroids. This "immortal chemist" will never retire and take away its knowledge but instead will continue to learn, grow and share.

Called Chematica, the network comprises some seven million chemicals connected by a similar number of reactions. A family of algorithms that searches and analyzes the network allows the chemist at his or her computer to easily tap into this vast compendium of chemical knowledge. And the system learns from experience, as more data and algorithms are added to its knowledge base.

Chematica can test and evaluate every possible synthesis that exists, not only the few a particular chemist might have an interest in. In this way, the algorithms find truly optimal ways of making desired chemicals.

also The Automatic Chemist

... Chematica seems to imply that chemistry is indeed ‘just cookery’, as the old jibe puts it, and is now better orchestrated by computers than by chemists.

... coming to a profession near you.

As a chemist this does not surprise me in the least. I mean I've known some old organic synthetic chemists who remember every reaction ever reported in the literature, but there's no reason that their abilities can't be programmed since it's nothing but memorization anyways. All I really have to say is it's about bloody time.

Now we just need to get micro-fluidic cells to replace flasks and beakers and then organic chemistry will finally have moved into the 21st century.

S - Yep. They've tried for decades to get computers to duplicate the interpretations of geologists. But no matter how hard they tried they could never make the computers develop that depth of illogical thinking. Thank goodness.

Goodness has nothing to do with it. Still need someone to blame. LOL

Although I can see the utility of this program in an extremely complex field, it troubles me that we are heading down a slippery slope. The very quality that has allowed us to excel in our fields is becoming a commodity.

It seems that more and more 'professional' fields can be handled 'better' by computers, for example...

Medicine & Medical Insurance: Watson turns medic: Supercomputer to diagnose disease

... The IBM system could also approve [or deny] treatment requests more quickly. At WellPoint, one of the largest insurers in the US, nurses use guidelines and patient history to determine if a request is in line with company policy. Nurses are now training Watson by feeding it test requests and observing the answers. Progress is good and the system could be deployed next year, says WellPoint's Cindy Wakefield. "Now it can take up to a couple of days," she says. "We hope Watson can return the accurate recommendation in a matter of minutes."

... soon your request can be denied in minutes...

or Wall Street Flash Trading

or Amazon choosing your consumer preferences

I have to disagree with you, these are nothing but tools that can be utilized by professionals to enhance their professions. I can speak as a chemist that I was taught to do chemical retrosynthetic schemes in a algorithmic manner so it only seems natural that it could be computerized; however, deciding what type of molecule to synthesis (i.e. drug design) and the skills to perform the synthesis and purification required my professional skills. Medicine seems pretty similar, in that diagnoses are preformed in a similar algorithmic manner, but identifying symptoms and performing operations require medical skills. In summary, the discussed examples are simply tools - input, analysis of results, and implementation of the results from the program requires the technical expertise of a professional. To some extent these inventions are the same as the calculator and computers are to the mathematics world, so I am glad that they exist.

Now deciding what a healthcare's company policy is for treatment options has nothing to do with diagnosis abilities of this tool; in the end whether it exists or not the same treatment would be administered. I also don't understand how Wall Street Flash trading or Amazon's consumer preferences has to do with tools for enhancing [scientific] professional fields.

Time for my standard Heinlein nugget..

“Nor would anybody suspect. If was one thing all people took for granted, was conviction that if you feed honest figures into a computer, honest figures come out. Never doubted it myself till I met a computer with a sense of humor.”

― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

I'm just thinking about any number of crossed signals that have led to misprescribed drugs, for example. Not that I'm blaming computers for trying to be funny.. but you probably know where I'm going with it.. Comedians aren't funny. LIFE is funny, and comedians are the ones who can point it out.

If the pharmaceutical industry sponsored the programming, the approved policy will involve administering lots of drugs.

Illegal scrap yards in California a burgeoning problem

The state is in the throes of a metal theft epidemic, fueled by scrap yards' willingness to pay high prices for copper and steel that can be resold to hungry factories in Asia.

In Southern California, a proliferation of unpermitted scrap yards — which have set up shop here to take advantage of access to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — has exacerbated the problem.

... According to Romine, at least half the metal, excluding iron, in city scrap yards is probably stolen. In the year he has been on the job, he has shut down a dozen unpermitted yards in the city of Los Angeles alone.

Modesto's airport lost its runway lights not once but twice in the last few years, most recently in January, according to airport manager Jerome Thiele.

Wow. Those planes making emergency landings at Modesto are it trouble. Was placement of these posts intentional irony, or accidental?


Paddock methane fire fuels CSG safety fears

A methane gas fire burning in a grazing paddock in Southern Queensland has added further fuel to rural concerns about the safety of the rapidly expanding Coal Seam Gas industry.

... “Someone had heard a hissing noise, seen the ground bubbling and emitting a blue light, by the time I got there, it was alight and the grass had caught on fire,” ...

“The coal seam gas industry can always come up with reasons why they are not to blame for these incidents but none of this was happening before the companies began de-watering and de-pressurising the coal seams on the Weastern Darling Downs," Mr Hutton said.

“In the last few weeks we have seen the Condamine River bubbling like a spa bath along a 15 kilometre stretch of the river with a coal seam gas field nearby.

"Then, we have people on the Tara residential estate, in the middle of a gas field, complaining of chronic headaches, nose bleeds, ear bleeds and skin rashes while, at the same time, smelling 'rotten egg gas'.

It seems the only people who can debunk peak oil, have absolutly no idea what peak oil actually is. I often read the articles hoping they bring something new to table, but all they do is display their ignorance for all to see. Why people believe you can extract infinite resources at an exponential rate from a finite planet is beyond my understanding.

It is much easier to debunk a strawman.

Drought in the USA, but if you go further north...
"Bumper crop for Canada forecast"


As an aside...

Nitrate risk from drought-stressed corn
U.S. producers warned to test before feeding

As if U.S. livestock producers don't already have enough problems, they are being warned that what's left of drought-diminished feed supplies may be toxic to cattle.

News releases from both Purdue University and the University of Missouri say that drought-stressed corn fodder may have elevated levels of nitrate, because the plant has not been able to survive long enough to convert it to protein.

Still good for ethanol!

Ontario’s corn crop did not fare as well as the prairie grain crop.

Corn shortage forces trade-off between food and ethanol

Blame it on corn, the ingredient of choice for making ethanol in North America. Towering corn stalks typically dominate the midsummer landscape across the farm belt, but not this year, as a devastating drought threatens to wipe out as much as a quarter of the U.S. corn crop. Ontario officials say 10 to 20 per cent of the province’s crop may be ruined.

It is the silage - the leaves and the stalks (especially the bottom third of the stalks) that may have toxic levels of nitrogen. The corn itself has the lowest nitrogen levels of any part of the plant.


Good wheat crop in Washington State too.

Washington state agriculture is going to have a boom year.. They also have a huge apple crop, while the midwest has almost nothing outside of a few areas.

WA apples are up about 5%, while nationally the crop is projected down about 15%. East and Midwest declined sharply. Whereas the WA cherry crop was up marginally, nationally this was also sharply curtailed. MI, the largest sour cherry producer, lost most of their crop. With both fruits, it's letting farmers sell into a high demand market, along with wheat and the scattering of corn production. Best of both worlds.

It's not all roses, the same funny weather patterns that produced excellent yields almost backfired for fruit growers. Hail damge was extensive, and the fireblight situation was touch and go all season. Normally, the deadly fireblight bacterium is not a concern in the arid west. In the past several years, it has become well established. Treatment of infected trees requires radical surgery, or lose the tree. Only effective control for many commercial varieties, other than cutting infected limbs, is spraying with a bactericide prior to infection.

One of the other problems that occured this season is concurrent harvests. Normally, the sweet cherry market in Washington follows the Utah market, and Utah follows the California market.

Everything seems to be ripening early and at the same time. This has an effect on the availability of seasonal help and wholesale price

Drought not the only thing killing crops in Utah

A normal apple crop in Michigan is 23 million bushels, this year it will be around 3 million... Its just nasty. The worst part is a lot of these folks have smaller operations...no or very little safety net.

Whoever has a crop this year should get a very good price.

What sucks for me is my apples are already done and gone. The pests took most, the squirrels took some and the weather did some more in...they ripened very quickly (some were mushy). Doubt there are going to be many delicious Honeycrisp this year.

Quite true. The big thing with new cherry plantings is the trellis system, so that the orchard can be machine harvested. The major push for this is not cost, but fear of unavailable future labor at the correct harvest time.

I spent a few weeks in the Balkans in April. It rained almost everyday, including a torrential downpour on my way from Sarajevo to Mostar, and again from Montenegro into Albania. The usually very dry Dalmatian coast was also experiencing some unusually wet weather. Everyone was commenting about how strange the wet weather was for April, which is usually relatively dry and very pleasant. I must have experienced the last of the moisture in the region.

Some observations from the Great Anthropocene Extinction Event...

Decline in bumble bee populations baffles scientists

Scientists say the loss of the bee may be impacting food chains and ecosystems. Bom-bus affinis was known to visit everything from raspberries and lilacs in the spring to goldenrod and asters in the fall. But they say it is difficult to pin down effects.

"I worry about the spring ephemeral flowers," says Colla, noting the rusty-patched bumble bee was one of the few insects around to pollinate trilliums, trout lilies and spring lilies.

Biologist says NL seabirds abandon chicks for cooler waters

A well-known biologist in Newfoundland and Labrador says he hasn't seen anything like it in his 30-years as a scientist.

Bill Montevecchi says gannets who should be nesting at Cape St. Mary's have abandoned their chicks for cooler waters.

Guides at the popular bird sanctuary noticed the phenomenon earlier this month when the seabirds suddenly disappeared.

Montevecchi says since then, there have been plenty of gannet sightings off the coast of Labrador and it now appears as though the birds are travelling further north to find food.

He says that's because local water temperatures are three to four degrees higher than normal.

Was camping last week in Algonquin Park. There was enough rain the week before our family camping trip that the park was reopened after earlier forest fires nearby and the camp fire ban was lifted. After a hot and dry summer, water levels in the park were low and the lakes and rivers were warm as bath water. They are, or used to be, good habitat for brook trout.

Habitats and range

The brook trout is native to small streams, creeks, lakes, and spring ponds. Some brook trout, referred to as sea-run brook trout, are anadromous. It is native to a wide area of eastern North America, but increasingly confined to higher elevations southward in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia, Canada from the Hudson Bay basin east, the Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence system, and the upper Mississippi River drainage as far west as eastern Iowa.[2]

The typical pH range of brook trout waters is 5.0 to 7.5, with pH extremes of 3.5 to 9.8 possible. Water temperatures typically range from 34 to 72°F (1 to 22°C).

From Paul Krugman's blog...

Is Someone Trying To Tell Us Something?

Tropical Storm Isaac is a concern as GOP convention nears

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Isaac continued its westward path Wednesday, placing officials on alert from Puerto Rico to Guantanamo Bay to Florida, where it could pose a threat to the GOP convention next week...

...With roughly 50,000 people headed to Tampa for the Republican National Convention starting Monday, there is heightened interest in the path of the storm...

...At the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, officials canceled the pretrial arguments scheduled to get under way in the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others.

Mohammed -- who has been held since 2006 -- is facing charges related to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks...

...On the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, 8 to 12 inches of rain, with maximum amounts of 20 inches, are possible, the center said...

...Aid organizations were keeping an eye on Haiti, where hundreds of thousands still live in camps after the deadly 2010 earthquake.

According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, 421,000 people are in camps in and around Port-au-Prince.

Tampa works for me ;-)

Tampa works for me ;-)


While the projected hurricane path has shifted a bit westward it's still a bit too close for comfort as far as I'm concerned. I'm guessing we are going to at least get tropical storm conditions even where I live... Not a Monday morning that I'm looking forward to and this weekend will be one of battening down the hatches just in case.

Not to mention it could still strengthen as it wanders further out west into the warm waters of the Gulf!

No smilie from me on this one!

aws - "Is Someone Trying To Tell Us Something?" Yes: it's better to not plan major functions alone the southern shoreline during the height of hurricane season. LOL. Not that needed it but Issac gets the R's a bit more press coverage. One possible bonus for the R's: as soon as Isaak hits the GOM offsore production will begin to shut down and they could use that in their talking points about the Keystone p/l, etc. And if FEMA falls on their face again you can be sure the R's will be pointing a big finger at the president. I don't see much practical downside for the R's but some possible pluses.

Probably be harder on the protesters than the R's.

Interesting name for the storm:

A review of "Isaac's Storm"


On September 8, 1900, a massive hurricane slammed into Galveston, Texas. A tidal surge of some four feet in as many seconds inundated the city, while the wind destroyed thousands of buildings. By the time the water and winds subsided, entire streets had disappeared and as many as 10,000 were dead--making this the worst natural disaster in America's history.

In Isaac's Storm, Erik Larson blends science and history to tell the story of Galveston, its people, and the hurricane that devastated them. Drawing on hundreds of personal reminiscences of the storm, Larson follows individuals through the fateful day and the storm's aftermath. There's Louisa Rollfing, who begged her husband, August, not to go into town the morning of the storm; the Ursuline Sisters at St. Mary's orphanage who tied their charges to lengths of clothesline to keep them together; Judson Palmer, who huddled in his bathroom with his family and neighbors, hoping to ride out the storm. At the center of it all is Isaac Cline, employee of the nascent Weather Bureau, and his younger brother--and rival weatherman--Joseph. Larson does an excellent job of piecing together Isaac's life and reveals that Isaac was not the quick-thinking hero he claimed to be after the storm ended. The storm itself, however, is the book's true protagonist--and Larson describes its nuances in horrific detail.

At times the prose is a bit too purple, but Larson is engaging and keeps the book's tempo rising in pace with the wind and waves. Overall, Isaac's Storm recaptures at a time when, standing in the first year of the century, Americans felt like they ruled the world--and that even the weather was no real threat to their supremacy. Nature proved them wrong. --Sunny Delaney

U.S. Retirees 'Flock' to Nicaragua:


I wonder how many people over what period of time constitute a 'flock'?

In years past I have read articles about Americans moving to Mexico...I think I saw an article or two about moving to Costa Rica, and I used to work with a guy who vacationed every year in Belize and talked that place up.

The article says 'moderately wealthy Americans'...sounds like folks tuning out and escaping the rat race.

Judging from the ages of the people in the article, they are retirees trying to make fixed incomes stretch.

That is often the case with Costa Rica, too. Everything from housing to medical care and drugs is so much cheaper that it's very attractive to retirees.

Often, they get move back to the States (and their families) when they get too old and sick to take care of themselves.


I sent an eMail to the address that I had on file for you and it bounced. I am working on a comprehensive Urban Rail plan for the DC area and a part of that is serving Ft. Meade (68,000 jobs in 2015). Ed Tennyson and I decided that EMU service from College Park to Odenton through Ft. Meade was best.

I wanted your input on the right words to attract the military & NSA.

Please send me an eMail (click my name).

Best Hopes,


link is

I left a treasure in your inbox - maps of the D.C. Metro, Maryland MARC, suitable for use in Google Earth.

My account information says that I've now been a member here for seven years. That would seem to be an occasion worth offering some remarks. I note that some of these topics have already been discussed at some length above.

  • The people who were saying then that the whole system would collapse in seven years or less are demonstrably wrong. That's not a criticism; as someone who has had to do middle-range predictions professionally, let me say that getting the outcome right is the easier part; it's the timing that's hard.
  • The Drumbeat has become much more concerned with climate change than would be my preference. That's also not a criticism, just an observation and a personal opinion. The site and its commenters are what they are, and the overall signal-to-noise ratio is still remarkably high.
  • I'm pleased that electricity gets a reasonable amount of attention. I remain convinced that over the next 20-25 years, the world will adapt more readily to declining liquid fuels than it will to problems with the electricity supply. I still think that the eastern third of the US will be having problems "keeping the lights on" reliably at that point.
  • A mea culpa related to that. I have raised questions about the relative differences in the US's Eastern, Western, and Texas interconnects from time to time. This past week I found a (distressingly gross) error in the software I use to take apart the EIA generation spreadsheets. I have overstated the relative inefficiency of the Eastern and Texas interconnect areas. The Western uses substantially less electricity per-capita than the others, but not to the degree I have said. If we designate the level of per-capita generation/use in the Western as 1.0, then the Eastern comes in at 1.35 and Texas at 1.50. And at a high level, if nuclear and coal are problems, then they are overwhelmingly Eastern problems.
  • I won't be commenting much in the future, possibly not at all. There are some other things that need to get written and I'll be spending a lot more time on those.

mc - "The Drumbeat has become much more concerned with climate change than would be my preference." I can understand that but OTOH the global response to PO, expecially with the greater dependence on coal that I expect, tends to pemanently link the two together IMHO. Especially with regards to the politics that come into play. For obvious reasons the geotechnical side of the discussions bore the snot out of me. LOL. I get a lot more from the geopolitical/macroeconomic discussions. May not seem that way from appears to be not much input from me on those matters but I seldom have much to contribute so I just tend to listen.

Don't be complete stranger...some of us always read your posts.

...some of us always read your posts.

Can't ask for higher praise than that :^)

Hmm, it says I've been here six years now, so here's my remarks:

  • I said 2011 for the peak, six years ago. I basically hold to that at the moment, although the GFC may push the date slightly later and will delay the feeling of the impact. I don't see oil fracking making much difference because the impact of high oil prices tends to reduce demand before anyone would go hammer and tongs into the expansion of drilling rigs that would be needed to make a difference.
  • Drumbeat has ended up with many less big picture scientists and engineers - I think because most now accept that the path is set so what's the point discussing. Too many junk science advocates.
  • I DO think there is a point, but it revolves around the circumstances of the peak and the shape of the changed game on the downslope. These factors tend to not get a fraction of the attention they warrant (I've tended to stop bothering putting them forward).
  • Limit to oil discussions was a bad move; the game is bigger and more interconnected than that. It should be reversed - indeed the concentration should be on the big picture, not the nitty gritty.
  • I'd suggest the future is twice as set and comprehensible as it was. We know that there will never be concerted action to avert oil decline ahead of the problem; we know how different groups will react; we can even sketch out the political games. At the same time, there is less acceptance of the reality as people close down in response to troubles assailing them. We'll wake up, post the forthcoming GFC II with peak having happened. As systems reorientate people will get angry at the realisation that BAU has gone and they have nothing now to look forward to. I'd expect at least one major westernised nation to have a revolution by 2020.
  • Maybe one day I'll write it all down, if I ever find the time amongst the other activities. Otherwise keeping a watching brief on the site is the plan.

Re: Taylor Asset Management CEO Busts The Peak Oil Myth

Frankly I think peak oil is baloney, and you can quote me on that. The potential reserves, especially on the natural gas side, are just tremendous. I was just reading a report that even in a place like Argentina, shale gas reserves could be north of 700 trillion cubic feet. That could be another huge gas-producing region. There's plenty out there. I don't buy peak oil or gas.

Frankly I think Mr. Taylor doesn't have a clue what peak oil IS.

My goodness - and the Blank Knight always triumphs!

It was Black Knight but I like the typo better

Arctic sea ice extent is now at record low, with weeks left of melting. Also, if you study the graph, it is also melting faster now than at the same date 2007, previous record holder. Expect an official recognision of this record within days. There are as pointed out in a previous post, 3 indicators of ice; area, extent, and volume. Now 2 of those are at or below the 2007 record.



Hussey is one of what could be more than 100,000 motorists to get a batch of bad gasoline blended at the BP Whiting refinery and shipped to gas stations throughout northwest Indiana between Aug. 13-17.

Good article on Kite-Gen:


Flying kites in the Italian hills to generate electricity.

Here we go again...

Romney: Energy independence by 2020

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The campaign for presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney released a plan Thursday for North America to be energy independent by 2020.

Touting the country's newly accessible oil and gas reserves, Romney touched on familiar themes he said would wean the country off imported oil and spark an economic boom at home. Namely, fewer federal regulations, less support for renewable energy, and more oil drilling....

... Specifically, he called for:

-- States to have control over drilling on federal land within their borders.

-- Placing oversight of all onshore energy developments withing the hands of the states.

-- Opening of new offshore areas, starting with blocks off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas.

-- Approval of the Keystone pipeline.

-- Set minimum oil production targets in the government's leasing plans.

-- Start a fast track approval process for various energy projects, including nuclear.


"-- Approval of the Keystone pipeline."

How does this provide energy independence since it is pump diblbit from Canada ... unless, oh god Romney's going to invade Canada

It's America's oil and gas, but their BFF Canada is just looking after it.

Set minimum oil production targets in the government's leasing plans.

Magical thinking !

If the oil is there, and economically viable at current oil prices, the lease holders will produce it.

If the oil is not there, or uneconomic, they will not.

This reminds me of Stalin's 5 Year Plans - You *WILL* produce oil !

Best Hopes ????


IMO due to the fact that political parties have become so dogmatic and ideological electoral terms are starting to resemble stalinist 5 year plans.

"This reminds me of Stalin's 5 Year Plans - You *WILL* produce oil !"

So that's what the 450 million rounds of ammunition are for. :-^) [tongue in cheek]


Romney touched on familiar themes he said would wean the country off imported oil.

To wean the country off imported oil, just ban oil imports.

There, problem solved....

As a political conservative I'm really disappointed in the Romney energy plan, especially in light of the resource depletion understanding he expressed in his book a couple of years ago. The idea of energy independence is fantasy enough, but tying a specific number of new jobs to the plan is extremely risky politically. Remember all the bloggers who took the Obama administration's job projections with and without the stimulus and then superimposed the reality of the unemployment over the original chart? The Democrats can do the same thing with the Romney plan.

I found no discussion of nuclear energy and hardly anything about alternative energy. Even the Constitution Party managed to discuss alternative energy in it's one-paragraph policy statement on energy. (Their candidate, Virgil Goode, actually supports Amtrak; go figure.)

Obviously, neither major party is going to tell Americans the truth, certainly not before this election. When I try to describe to friends what is coming down the pike, I get really blank stares and quick subject changes. It makes no difference whether the friend is a rock-hard conservative or an ardent liberal.

One would think that the idea of preserving oil reserves on federal land for future generations would spark some reflective comments. Maybe invoking the image of Teddy Roosevelt and the national park system would give people pause. Nope. On one forum I found people actually calling for all federal land, national parks included, to be sold off to the private sector. Some very selfish people have hijacked the "conserve" in "conservatism," and I want it back.

" When I try to describe to friends what is coming down the pike, I get really blank stares and quick subject changes. It makes no difference whether the friend is a rock-hard conservative or an ardent liberal. "

..and so we have the Drumbeat! Grab a beer or a coffee and find a good seat!

Signed Affably,
Ardent Liberal

This is just too good!

Mission Accomplished for Big Oil?

Here, as a start, is a little scorecard of what’s gone on in Iraq since Big Oil arrived two and a half years ago: corruption’s skyrocketed; two Western oil companies are being investigated for either giving or receiving bribes; the Iraqi government is paying oil companies a per-barrel fee according to wildly unrealistic production targets they’ve set, whether or not they deliver that number of barrels; contractors are heavily over-charging for drilling wells, which the companies don’t mind since the Iraqi government picks up the tab.

And to think, almost every peak oil denier and even some peak oil believers actually bought into those wildly unrealistic production targets. One Leonardo Maugeri has Iraq increasing production by 5.1 million barrels per day to 7.6 mb/d per day by 2020. That's a joke.

Ron P.

What motivates rejection of (climate) science?

The study Motivated Rejection of Science, to be published in Psychological Science, was designed to investigate what motivates the rejection of science in visitors to climate blogs who choose to participate in the ongoing public debate about climate change.

More than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated to discussions of climate science completed a questionnaire that queried people's belief in a number of scientific questions and conspiracy theories, including: Princess Diana's death was not an accident; the Apollo moon landings never happened; HIV causes AIDS; and smoking causes lung cancer. The study also considered the interplay of these responses with the acceptance of climate science, free market ideology and the belief that previous environmental problems have been resolved.

The results showed that those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from climate science as well as other sciences.

From BBC: Science advisor warns climate target 'out the window'

One of the Government's most senior scientific advisors has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now unrealistic.

Professor Sir Robert Watson said that the hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was "out the window".

He said that the rise could be as high as 5C - with dire conseqences.

... He is currently Chief Scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs and a former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Mining projects may not be viable

According to research from Murdoch University's Asia Research Centre, iron ore prices could drop dramatically by 2015, making planned projects in Australia potentially unviable.

Dr Jeffrey Wilson said this drop was a result of Chinese resource security strategies aimed at ending a pattern of soaring iron ore price which began in 2005.

"From 2001 to 2011, iron ore prices increased nine-fold. After a 71 per cent spike in price in 2005, the Chinese government undertook two strategies: aggressive investment in new entrants to the Asian iron ore market, and the creation of a Chinese importers' cartel to improve their bargaining power with the Big-3 miners—BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale," Dr Wilson said.

Guest Post: Venezuela Ramps up China Oil Exports Unsettling Washington


So before Chavez took over the US were getting 1.5 mbpd of Venezuelan exports, down to 0.93 mbpd today and presumably going down, unless the US can start outbidding the Chinese which seems unlikely. Will the US be so kind as to continue to be outbid without a fuss when it spreads to other major exporters?

Here we go again! Another opinion by the Peak Oil clueless as oil prices head back to $100 blaming it all on the Fed!

The price of crude oil is getting dangerously close to $100 a barrel again. It hasn't been above that level since May. The euro has strengthened against the dollar as of late, partly due to hopes that the European Central Bank will step in and buy more Spanish bonds and also because of rising expectations for QE3. If the Fed turns on the printing presses so that Bernanke can take yet another helicopter ride, that could further weaken the dollar and push the prices of oil and other commodities higher.

Welcome to the Real World where financial legerdemain has no impact on physical reality!

Here is my comment:

Oil prices are rising because we are at global Peak Oil, the point at which oil production cannot be increased and will soon be declining as we have used up half of the world's oil. Global Peak Oil is similar to US Peak Oil which occurred as predicted 60 years ago by American petroleum geologist, M King Hubbert in 1970. Despite all the Corporate Media hoopla about "endless supplies of US fracked oil" in fact US oil production today is still way under half of what it was at US peak production in 1970.
Chris Martenson has a succinct fact based explanation of this at:
or check out http://theoildrum.com
This is not the Fed's fault, this is because the US has basically done nothing substantial to reverse its gluttonous consumption of 25% of the world's oil for Wars (for Oil!) and Auto Addiction. Instead of investing in the needed Green Transition towards Green transit and energy conservation, Bush wasted trillions of dollars on disastrous Wars for Oil which have not even gotten the oil promised. Meanwhile Obama and the Weimar Republic Democrats have stood by while 150 cities since 2008 have foolishly cut their Green public transit which could cut US oil consumption by 20% in a year if it was actually promoted as it was during WW II. During WW II to save oil and materials for the War effort, Auto Addiction growth was brought to a halt, and intercity trains buses and local transit ridership quadrupled in just 3 years!
Since Auto Addiction accounts for 70% of US oil consumption and 38% of greenhouse emissions
(War accounts for about 5%) it is the first place we need to change course.
Despite the lies told for years by the US Auto Addiction /Sprawl complex that the US is
"too spread out" for Green Transit trains, buses, bicycling and walking, in fact Brookings completed a 2 year study in May, 2011 which discovered that a whopping 70% of working age Americans in 100 US Metro areas ALREADY live only 3/4ths mile from a Green Transit stop! See
No amount of financial legerdemain by the Fed, Wall Street, or anyone will change the physical facts that the world has reached Peak Oil and US Auto Addiction is unsustainable at its current level.
Until we wake up to that reality this will keep happening over and over like the movie "Groundhog Day"...

The real risk is another financial crash worse than 2008 until Americans deal with reality...

...rising expectations for QE3. If the Fed turns on the printing presses so that Bernanke can take yet another helicopter ride, that could further weaken the dollar and push the prices of oil and other commodities higher.

You're right, it is inaccurate to blame the fed for 100 plus oil, however we can see a dynamic at play here. Oil rises in price - economic growth weakens - (with no where else to turn) the Fed opts for adding more money to the system to spur more investment (in hopes of growth) - but QE's weaken the dollar, offsetting at least in part the advantage of adding money to the system by causing increases in commodity prices, like oil, which raises the cost of transportation, which lowers growth - raising the question: Time for another QE? It's desperation time when things reach the point we have to put at risk the one thing that has taken several generations to build up; a faith based currency.

I'm really curious to know how much this QE3 will be, because if it is much higher than the previous I & II, the desperation will palpable.

How to spur growth without cheap oil? That's the biggest question on the planet right now.

The 'blame high oil prices on the Fed' meme is quite popular. I just keep wondering that if inflation is to blame for oil prices then why won't my wages or the value of my home go up?

Their usual way to "prove" it is inflation is to show that oil has gone up along with gold. That's silly. Those are just commodities that have been bid up in recent years . . . I'm sure there are others that correlate as well . . . that doesn't prove anything.

And here is another harbinger of Reality pushing back, in this case China's insane pursuit of Auto Addiction which is luckily grinding to a halt but provides another threat to our current economic system's need for endless impossible to sustain, material growth:


Inventories of unsold cars are soaring at dealerships across the nation. Quality problems are emerging. And buyers are becoming disenchanted as car salesmen increasingly resort to hard-sell tactics to clear clogged dealership lots.

I would say the OilDrum and Drumbeat are more relevant than ever!
Just wait until Obama squeaks by the election after a Strategic Petroleum Reserve release to hobble past the current economic shoals and the whole thing hits the rocks!

You would have thought that a nation that could put in place a fairly stringent population control policy would be capable of coherent long term thinking and would not embrace auto dependency. I guess not. Why China seems so keen on pushing its population towards a car culture should be studied properly because it is insanity. Like that article above http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/79493/demise-car mentions the price of oil was very cheap in the 1990s when the decision was probably made. It must have just spiralled out of control from there. And of course a huge factor is that everyday people in developing countries seem to love the idea of cars.

Past tropical climate change linked to ocean circulation

... The researchers used geochemical clues in fossils called foraminifera, tiny sea creatures with a hard shell, collected from a sediment core located off the northern coast of Venezuela, to generate a 22,000-year record of past ocean temperature and salinity changes in the upper 1,500 feet of water in the western tropical Atlantic.

"What we found was that subsurface temperatures in the western tropical Atlantic rapidly warmed during cold periods in Earth's past," Schmidt explains.

"Together with our new modeling experiments, we think this is evidence that when the global conveyor slowed down during cold periods in the past, warm subsurface waters that are normally trapped in the subtropical North Atlantic flowed southward and rapidly warmed the deep tropics. When the tropics warmed, it altered climate patterns around the globe."

"Evidence is mounting that the Earth's climate system has sensitive triggers that can cause abrupt and dramatic shifts in global climate," Schmidt said.

Why wood pulp is world's new wonder material

THE hottest new material in town is light, strong and conducts electricity. What's more, it's been around a long, long time.

Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC), which is produced by processing wood pulp, is being hailed as the latest wonder material. Japan-based Pioneer Electronics is applying it to the next generation of flexible electronic displays. IBM is using it to create components for computers. Even the US army is getting in on the act, using it to make lightweight body armour and ballistic glass.

So why all the fuss? Well, not only is NCC transparent but it also has eight times the tensile strength of stainless steel due to its tightly packed array of microscopic needle-like crystals. Even better, it's incredibly cheap.

NCC will replace metal and plastic car parts and could make nonorganic plastics obsolete in the not-too-distant future, says Phil Jones, director of new ventures and disruptive technologies at the French mineral processing company IMERYS. "Anyone who makes a car or a plastic bag will want to get in on this," he says.

That sounds great. I am a big fan of carbon fiber and use it on utilitarian things like bikes, boots, and skis. Yet I wonder what the big diff is between nanocrystalline cellulose and carbon fiber. A significant fraction of both is carbon.

You can have a transparent bicycle instead of black ;)


The structure of wood

Cellulose is a polymer of 8,000 to 10,000 monomers of anhydroglucose in the form of a flat 6‑membered ring. The individual polymers are aligned in parallel and cellulose is up to 90% crystalline.


Sugar... sugar panes

Handbook of Fiber Chemistry, Third Edition

Highly crystalline



Maybe this:

"Even better, it's incredibly cheap."

New from Congressional Research Services ...

Why Some Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Not Sold Domestically

In 2011, more than 78 million light motor vehicles1 were produced around the world. The top five vehicle manufacturing countries (in order of production) were China, the United States, Japan, Germany, and South Korea, which together accounted for about 60% of global light vehicle production.

The U.S. and European vehicle markets differ primarily in the use of diesel engines.2 Nearly half the European car fleet is powered by diesel, whereas diesel vehicles account for less than 1% of sales in the United States. In addition, about 80% of European vehicles have a manual transmission, while only about 7% of U.S. vehicles do. European consumers have a preference for smaller engines as well and, in Europe, policies favor diesel over gasoline, resulting in lower diesel prices at the pump.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, …

While the diesel engine may be more expensive to produce, the lower fuel consumption has been recognized for decades in commercial operations when one looks at purchasing and lifetime operating costs.

There is nothing in U.S. emissions or fuel economy regulations that prevents automakers from marketing high-efficiency diesel cars in the United States. Volkswagen and others already offer a few models domestically. To meet U.S. emissions standards, however, automakers have to modify their EU-certified diesel engines. Where a manufacturer sees large demand for diesel vehicles in the United States, it is free to do so. However, the U.S. market for diesels is very small. Most Americans have shunned this technology because of some adverse experiences with diesel engines more than 30 years ago, as the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association noted.

Current diesel engine technology has changed markedly since then, but there appears to be a lingering bias against such vehicles by U.S. consumers, reinforced by the fact that, unlike in Europe, in the United States, diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline. As a result, automakers have determined that it would be uneconomical for them to invest in technology to bring their high-efficiency diesel vehicles into compliance with U.S. emissions standards, as they believe the market for those vehicles would be small

and Pipeline Cybersecurity: Federal Policy

The vast U.S. network of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines is integral to U.S. energy supply and has vital links to other critical infrastructure. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, this network is vulnerable to cyber attacks. In particular, cyber infiltration of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems could allow successful “hackers” to disrupt pipeline service and cause spills, explosions, or fires—all from remote locations. In March 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported ongoing cyber intrusions among U.S. natural gas pipeline operators. These intrusions have heightened congressional concern about cybersecurity in the U.S. pipelines sector.

While the pipelines sector has many cybersecurity issues in common with other critical infrastructure sectors, it is somewhat distinct in several ways:

- Pipelines in the United States have been the target of several confirmed terrorist plots and attempted physical attacks since September 11, 2001.

- Changes to pipeline computer networks over the past 20 years, more sophisticated hackers, and the emergence of specialized malicious software have made pipeline SCADA operations increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks.

- There recently has been a coordinated series of cyber intrusions specifically targeting U.S. pipeline computer systems.

and The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to ExecuteCivilian Law

This report provides an historical analysis of the use of the Armed Forces to execute domestic law and of the Posse Comitatus Act, including their apparent theoretical and constitutional underpinnings. The report then outlines the current application of the act as well as its statutory exceptions, and reviews the consequences of its violation.

what if they looked at gallons per POUND of fuel rather than a volumetric unit like gallons?

Diesel has more carbon atoms per gallon than gasoline does and weighs about 7% more per volumetric unit.

A significant part of the supposed increased efficiency of diesel over gasoline is due to the choice of metric (volume vs mass).


Seems DHS needs an excuse to use all they're brand new toys ...

Tampa police try out new gear, confront mock protesters

Here's a sampling of what the police department showed off:

Bicycles: 200 Kona bicycles - The bikes cost almost $1,600 each — for a total of $319,400.

Uniforms: Law enforcement will wear lightweight, khaki-colored cotton uniforms.The uniforms, which cost about $500,000, will give a friendlier, more unified look to the mix of officers coming to town, police said. Officers can transition into "hard gear," reinforcing their uniforms with everything from chest and back protectors to arm and leg shields.

Utility vehicles: The city bought 13 Bobcat four-wheel-drive utility vehicles, which cost a total of $150,730, will be used for "crowd management, safety and security duties" during the convention.

SWAT truck: Parked outside the event was the city's new $273,000 armored SWAT truck. Police already had two SWAT vehicles, but Castor said they were old and expensive to maintain.

and Potential for Violence or Criminal Activity by Anarchist Extremists During the 2012 National Political Conventions

The FBI and DHS assess with high confidence, based on analysis of past similar, high-profile events, anarchist extremists are preparing to use violence and criminal tactics in an attempt to disrupt the Republican National Convention (RNC) planned for 26-30 August in Tampa, Florida and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) planned for 3-6 September in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Anarchist extremists and other domestic extremist groups probably lack the capability to overcome the heightened security measures at the RNC and DNC venues, but could target nearby infrastructure, including local businesses or transportation systems and law enforcement personnel.

... expect 'Free Speech' to take a back seat ... also expect 'False Flag' operations ... they've done it before

... though they WILL be creating jobs ...

Strippers look to GOP to 'make it rain' from CNN

or Tampa Bay Gay Prostitutes Gearing Up For Flood Of Closeted Republicans from The Onion

"anarchist extremists" or just tired, hungry, angry, out-of-work people. I guess they are about the same.

Bain Documents: Romney Offshore Investments Used 'Blockers' To Avoid Taxes

The private equity firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made use of arcane techniques in several of its Cayman Islands-based funds to avoid U.S. taxes, according to a trove of Bain Capital's private audit and finance records made public on the website Gawker today.

The audited financial statements of one of the Cayman Islands funds make note of the use of "blocker" entities, which are used to help retirement accounts and nonprofit entities avoid some taxes. Financial statements for another fund note that it "intends to conduct its operations so it will … not be subject to United States federal income or withholding tax ..."

The full set of files can be read here.

How is this news? Do people not know WHY multinational companies incorporate in multiple countries? Legions of accountants and lawyers work to create webbed marvels of money and property transfers according to the favorable laws of many companies to avoid taxes EVERYWHERE they can.

Why would they not? How many individuals do not take every tax break available?

The real issue is lack of accountability of gov't, resulting in largely unmanaged corporations.

Large corps are nation-states in their own right, doing economic battle on similar footing -- witness hedge-fund runs against currencies.

Yet another spot on post by Steve from Virginia on 'Affordability'

Good value is our Steve. Over the years he woke me up to more than a few realities.