Drumbeat: September 1, 2012

Iraq oil exports highest in more than 30 years

Iraq's oil exports reached their highest level in more than three decades last month as the country's output has continued to increase, oil ministy officials said on Saturday.

Overall exports averaged 2.565 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing in $8.442 billion in revenues on the back of average oil prices of $106 per barrel, Falah al-Amiri, head of the State Oil Marketing Organisation, said.

Oil Caps Biggest Monthly Gain Since October on Stimulus

Oil capped the biggest monthly gain since October as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he wouldn’t rule out more stimulus to boost the economy.

Futures climbed 2 percent after Bernanke said the Fed will implement measures as needed to spur growth and the dollar fell to an eight-week low against the euro. Crude extended its rally after the government said 95 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil output was shut in for a third day because of Hurricane Isaac.

Isaac brings higher gas prices, south and north

NEW YORK (AP) — Drivers are being hit with the biggest one-day jump in gasoline prices in 18 months just as the last heavy driving weekend of the summer approaches.

As Hurricane Isaac swamps the nation's oil and gas hub along the Gulf Coast, it's delivering sharply higher pump prices to storm-battered residents of Louisiana and Mississippi — and also to unsuspecting drivers up north in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

As China goes, so goes oil; as oil goes, up goes the U.S. dollar!

I realize it’s never easy and rarely simple. But today I’m going to help you understand why global money-flow drives key markets and how that flow could be reversing. If I am right, it is good news for long-term dollar bulls like me, bad news for China bulls, and terrible news if you are still riding on the Peak Oil bandwagon expecting oil to hit $200 barrel soon.

China Manufacturing Unexpectedly Contracts as Orders Drop

China’s manufacturing unexpectedly shrank for the first time in nine months as new orders contracted and output rose at a slower pace, signaling the slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy is deepening.

Saudi oil income at all time high

Saudi Arabia is expected to net its highest ever oil export earnings of nearly $335 billion in 2012 because of high crude prices and a slight rise in its production, according to the Gulf Kingdom's largest bank.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and world's oil powerhouse, netted a record high income of $317 billion in 2011 after Saudi crude oil prices surged to their highest average of $108 a barrel and the country boosted its crude output by 1.1 million barrels per day to 9.3 million bpd.

Aramco emerges stronger from cyber attack

DAMMAM: New details have emerged of how Saudi Aramco, led by President and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih, addressed what independent analysts have described as the worst cyber attack in recent corporate history.

“If it were any other corporation, it would have been crippled,” sources told Arab News over the weekend. The sources referred to the malicious virus that affected 30,000 company computers.

Kuwait''s oil revenues in first five months to hit KD 11.3 billion - report

KUWAIT (KUNA) -- Kuwait is assumed to have achieved actual oil revenues during the first five months in the amount of about KD 11.3 billion, said a report by Al-Shall Economic Consultants Saturday.

The report said that by the end of August 2012, the fifth month of the current fiscal year 2012/2013 has passed and Kuwaiti oil prices are still consolidated and have revived their rise above the USD 100 per barrel level due to the political risks.

Kuwait denies signing $4bn oil deal in Canada

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said late on Friday it had not signed a deal in Canada after reports it had completed a preliminary agreement with Athabasca Oil Corp to develop the Alberta oil sands.

Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan fall 1st time in six months

TOKYO (KUNA): Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan fell 49.7 percent in July from a year earlier to 5.17 million barrels, or 168,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the first decline in six months, the government said Friday.

Iraqi Kurdistan to keep pumping oil exports to September 15: sources

(Reuters) - Iraq's Kurdistan will keep pumping its share of national oil exports until September 15, extending a deadline for the central government to make disputed payments to companies working in the autonomous region, Kurdish sources said on Saturday.

Statoil transports US crude by rail

At the beginning of September Norway's Statoil starts transporting Bakken crude from North Dakota in the US to market by rail - significantly increasing the oil’s value.

Venezuela restarts refinery after fatal blast

Workers have resumed operations at Venezuela's biggest refinery, a week after an explosion that killed 42 people, the state-owned oil company PDVSA said.

"Operational activities have resumed safely and gradually," said Jesus Luongo, a PDVSA director who heads the Paraguana refining complex, noting that the refinery was ramping up output, initially processing 160,000 barrels on Friday.

Studies reveal positive result of shale gas development

Muscat: Oman's early studies for developing shale gas fields have shown positive results and the majority state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) will continue its ongoing efforts to find out the viability of bringing the unconventional gas above the ground, said a senior official at the Ministry of Oil and Gas.

EPA OKs air pollution permits for Shell's Arctic Ocean drilling

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration on Friday said that it would grant Royal Dutch Shell a one-year air pollution permit for an Arctic drilling rig, further bolstering the possibility that over the next two months Shell will start its controversial project to drill for oil off the Alaska coast.

The Environmental Protection Agency granted the permit in response to a Shell request for a waiver from current air pollution regulations for the Noble Discoverer, an offshore drilling ship. In a statement, the EPA said the so-called compliance order issued to Shell “sets interim air pollution emissions limits for the company’s activities, and ensures that Shell’s operations will meet congressionally mandated air quality standards under the Clean Air Act.”

Tankers too risky for coast environment, independent engineering report says

The Enbridge Northern Gate-way proposal to ship oilsands bitumen from Kitimat along the B.C. coast carries an unacceptable risk of a significant spill, according to an independent analysis by three professional engineers.

The engineers, who include two emeritus professors from the University of B.C., find that the risks of an eventual spill are too high through the expected 50-year lifetime of the project, "and the unrefined bitumen too toxic and hard to clean up to be acceptable for a pristine coastline."

Oil spill stretches for miles by Exxon Nigeria field

IWUOKPOM, Nigeria (Reuters) - An oil spill near an ExxonMobil oilfield off the southeast coast of Nigeria has spread along the shore for about 15 miles, and locals said it was killing fish they depend on to live.

State Considering Studying Health Impacts of Fracking

Late in its review process, New York state regulators are now considering an examination of the potential public health effects of hydraulic fracturing as part of its review of the controversial natural gas drilling process.

What this means to the state’s timetable for deciding on whether and how to allow fracking is unclear.

Cleaner Cars, a Safer Planet

The federal automobile efficiency standards announced this week are an important step on America’s path to a lower-carbon and more-secure energy future. They are expected to yield multiple benefits: reduced dependence on foreign oil, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, consumer savings at the pump and a more competitive auto industry. They may also serve as proof that well-tailored government regulation can achieve positive results and that consensus among old enemies — in this case environmentalists and the car companies — is possible even at a time of partisan discord.

Unraveling the Nuclear Renaissance

Power plants are a bit like insect eggs. At the start, there are huge numbers, but few of them make it to adulthood.

The last few days may have seen the demise of two reactor projects that had looked promising a few years ago, when the economy was strong and people worried about the high price of natural gas and the possibility of a price on carbon emissions. But natural gas is at historic lows, carbon charges seem unlikely, and lately neither reactor project has looked likely.

Weapons Plant Security Issues Are Described in U.S. Audit

WASHINGTON — The contractors in charge of guarding the national stockpile of bomb-grade uranium in Tennessee knew well before an 82-year-old nun and two other pacifists broke through three barriers this summer that a lot of the security equipment was broken, and government managers knew it too, according to an internal audit of Energy Department operations at the weapons facility. The inspector general’s investigation found “troubling displays of ineptitude.”

World's biggest offshore wind farm planned

Plans for the world's largest offshore wind farm have been submitted to the Scottish Government. The £4.5bn scheme, which could be built by 2020, would see 339 turbines stationed in the Moray Firth, 13 miles off Caithness.

Ski Lifts Help Open $25 Billion Market for Storing Power

Technology developers are shuttling between caves and mountaintops to build a market for utilities set to attract $25 billion in annual investment within a decade.

World food prices jumped 10 percent in July-World Bank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - World food prices jumped 10 percent in July as drought parched crop lands in the United States and Eastern Europe, the World Bank said in a statement urging governments to shore up programs that protect their most vulnerable populations.

From June to July, corn and wheat prices rose by 25 percent each, soybean prices by 17 percent, and only rice prices went down, by 4 percent, the World Bank said on Thursday.

Catfish Farmers Fight Fish Glut and High Feed Prices

The Agriculture Department, in addition to its routine purchases for school lunches and food banks, would buy an extra $10 million of catfish, the administration announced.

That would be more catfish than the government bought all last year, and enough to put a significant dent in a glut of catfish that has left fish farmers squeezed this year between rising feed costs and falling prices for the fish.

Whether it is enough to head off the continuing collapse of the industry is another question, catfish specialists say.

Romney’s atrocious energy plan

Romney’s energy plan is a stunning repudiation of every branch of science, economic research, common sense and the aesthetic values shared by us all. Romney even opposes the new Obama auto fuel-efficiency standards set to double the mileage of domestic vehicles.

As strictly a jobs program this plan is a disaster, as if the only jobs that count are jobs in fossil fuels, never mind the economic and job losses from the collateral damage of drilling, spilling, pumping, leaking and burning all those fossil fuels. It’s repugnant, as if the doctors in 1881 acknowledged the germ theory but refused to wash their hands because of all the mortician jobs lost by cleaning up.

President Obama's Alleged "War On Coal" - Climate Change Edition

We have long suspected that the never-ending sturm und drang surrounding climate change would have little real impact on public policy or energy markets because no politician ever got elected by promising to impose – or defending the imposition of – significant, observable costs on the present for the well-being of the future … in any policy arena. Believe what you like about the science, but the inescapable political fact is that voters – and in particular, swing voters – have the time horizons of newborn babes. Any serious policy response to climate change would, by force, require a rather steep increase in fossil fuel prices and American voters have demonstrated time-and-time-again a deep aversion to exactly that. Good luck finding the pol-on-the-make willing to put his or her head into that political wood chipper.

How Sports Can Lead The Way In Combating Climate Change

Certain issues seem so overwhelming and insolvable that apathy and powerlessness is the natural reaction. But my father used to say “you cannot depend on THEY or THEM to tackle major issues or you may wait forever. The THEY is you son, and the THEY is me”. It’s time for sports to help lead the way.

American Meteorological Society Issues Updated Statement On Climate Change

The AMS has released it’s updated statement on climate change, and as expected, it is considerably more direct than the previous one issued in 2007. This is no surprise since the last 5 years have seen a remarkable increase in understanding, along with 5 more years of observations and measurements.

Ship's historic crossing signals extent of Arctic melt

With a 9.3-metre fibreglass sailboat, Nicolas Peissel and his crewmates were able to do what seasoned explorers on hulking Arctic ships attempted over centuries but never succeeded.

They crossed the northernmost route of the Northwestern Passages, which connects Baffin Bay to the Arctic Ocean in Canada's far North.

Spineless creatures under threat, from worms to bees: study

OSLO (Reuters) - The vital tasks carried out by tiny "engineers" like earthworms that recycle waste and bees that pollinate crops are under threat because one fifth of the world's spineless creatures may be at risk of extinction, a study showed on Friday.

Iraq oil exports highest in more than 30 years

How could that be? Perhaps:

Jack and Jill went up the hill

each had a dollar and a quarter

Jill came back with two and a half

do you think they went up for water?

(Iraq: World's Number One Oil Producer?). The little engine that could, or almost could.

Those who have discounted Iraq'a potential have been proven wrong again and again in the last two years. This nation was on its back for the last 20 years while huge amounts of oil were take out Saudi Arabia. Iraq will pass SA for that reason alone. (Dredd- this is not a response, and certainly not a disagreement, to your post since I am not sure of your position on the issue from reading the post)

Iraq's Recent Net Oil Exports
(Total Petroleum Liquids, mbpd, BP & EIA Data): 

2005:  1.29 

2006: 1.47 

2007: 1.57 

2008: 1.84

2009: 1.81

2010: 1.74 

2011:  1.98 

BP showed Iraq's production (total petroleum liquids) at 2.8 mbpd in 2011. The EIA is currently showing Iraq's total petroleum liquids production at 2.8 mbpd for 2012 (average rate for the first five months of 2012, although April and May were in the 2.9 to 3.0 mbpd range).

Iraq's liquids consumption increased at 7%/year from 2005 to 2011 (BP). So, at this rate of increase, they would need about 800,000 bpd of additional production in 2021, just to offset increased consumption, if they wanted to maintain 2011 net exports of about 2 mbpd.

In any case, you are asserting that Iraq's total petroleum liquids production will increase from about 3 mbpd to in excess of 11 mbpd, an increase of more than 8 mbpd? To put this in perspective, the combined total petroleum liquids production from Canada and Mexico in 2011 was 6.5 mbpd (BP).

Note that I counted 33 major net oil exporters in 2005, i.e., countries with net exports of 100,000 bpd or more. As of 2011, only 27 were left (three had became net importers and three were below 100,000 bpd). So, on average, from 2005 to 2011, we lost an average of one major net exporter per year, which contributed to a decline in (2005) Top 33 net exports, from 46 mbpd in 2005 to 44 mbpd in 2011, with China & India--so far at least--consuming an increasing share of a declining volume net exports, with the net result being that the volume of net exports available to importers other than China & India fell from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2011.

But I would certainly agree that if we ignore countries showing declining net oil exports, and only focus on the countries showing--for the time being--increasing net exports, then the outlook does look better.

No, we have not been proven wrong at all. In fact we have been proven right. Stuart Stanford said Iraq Could Delay Peak Oil a Decade Now to his credit he did not say Iraq would delay peak oil for a decade, only that the could. To which I say, no they cannot. I have stated on this list, and state again, that I don't think Iraq will ever produce even 5 million barrels per day, nowhere close to the 12 million barrels per day they predicted they would back in 2009.

Here is Stuart's chart of Iraq possible production. I call it Iraq's impossible pipe dreams.

Here is their actual production through July 2012 in kb/d.

Iraqu Oil Production

In the three years since they predicted they would increase production by 12 million barrels per day they have managed to increase production by 550 kb/d. Their production now stands at 3,079 kb/d. According to Stuart's chart they should be at 6.5 mb/d by now.

Again, yes Iraq can and has increased their oil production slightly, but their wild predictions are beyond all reason. My opinion is that they will never produce more than 5 mb/d.

Ron P.

Al-Shahristani's forecast is controversial to say the least. The recent uptick can be largely accredited to increased port export facilities coming online justifying higher production levels. An interesting fact about Iraqi consumption is that post Gulf War II attention was directed towards switching power generation over to the NG, but the plants subsequently constructed were ran on oil anyway.

A few years back I charted the secular trend in nations with contracting production:

World Oil Production Contract Increase Head Count 1965-2008

That ain't good. We look to have achieved parity right when the production plateau began in 2005, too, with losers now outnumbering gainers - is it really that simple to ID the year of peak? 1980/81 showed the same feature of course, no one increases production when demand plummets - but note the massive uptick in 1982. Don't think that's happened of late, I should update this graph, hmmm...



I think the old chart had some doublecounting, including regions as well as nations; this one is strictly producing countries listed by BP, and the shape has changed slightly, with 2007 showing gainers in the lead; but otherwise things still look to be in the red, with 2009 and 2010 canceling each other out, since production contracted sharply YOY in the former and rebounded in the latter. But on average the losers still outnumbered gainers, with gainers/losers at 17/36 in '09 and 30/23 in '10.

Here's the IEA data on Iraq, going back 4 years.
The data is from their latest report(released in August).


There's certainly an improvement this year, especially compared to last year when they were essentially flat.

And you can also see that growth tends to be non-linear and come in small spurts. There is a reason for this, of course.
It's called significant bottlenecks, not all of whom are physical in their nature(e.g. infrastructure).

The first is political. The Kurds have been very clever by using oil as a political leverage. They've been very generous to Western IOCs(International Oil Companies) by giving contracts out on relatively favourable terms, they've been flexible and very quick to award those who are interested with contracts.

All this have understandably made them very popular with the IOCs and their political backers(i.e. Western governments) and less so with the supposedly indepedent central regime in Baghdad which is on paper, at least, supposed to be in control of all the oil riches in Iraq.

All this means that as the oil revenue in the Kurdish north increases, Baghdad feels threatened in equal measure.
Economic power, after all, is a good indicator for political power.

From the IEA August report - my notes in [brackets]:

Strained relations between the KRG[The Kurds] and Baghdad have seen the former cut off 175 kb/d of export shipments via the Kirkuk‐Ceyhan pipeline since April, claiming that Baghdad has failed to make payment for the crude.

The KRG said it would resume exports via the pipeline in
August at levels of 100 kb/d, but that these could again cease by end‐month if Baghdad fails to recommence payments.

A ‘tug‐of‐war’ is also underway between Erbil[The Kurdish political capital] and Baghdad as regards foreign upstream participation.

July saw Total and Gazprom, following earlier forays by Exxon Mobil and Chevron, buying stakes in acreage in northern Iraq.

Production sharing contracts offered by the KRG are seen by foreign operators as more attractive than the limited, 20‐year service contracts offered by Baghdad.

Having prohibited Chevron and Exxon from bidding for any further work at southern fields as punishment for signing deals with the KRG, Baghdad now says it may also cancel Total’s share of the recently‐started Halfaya field.

There's a lot more to be said of course, but these snippets give a good insight into the increasing and escalating tensions. Baghdad is now openly trying to sabotage the oil revenues for the Kurds, they want all the oil riches for themselves.

They got blindsided years back as the central political players were backstabbing each other in power games back in Baghdad, the Kurds were instead quietly consolidating support for IOCs to come in and start developing the oil, ahead of any green light, thus creating new 'facts on the ground' which are far different than the Baghdad regime's political power brokers originally envisioned.

Nonetheless, how long can this continue? Frictions are already on the rise and at some point there has to be a convergence, pipelines have to be built, terminals placed (and more importantly, shared) and all of it has to be linked together, so financing have to be pooled and political arrangements be made(and implicitly in that, sacrifices by both sides).

The Iraqi regime will not accept a semi-autonomous Kurdistan in the North, but given all the oil already at stake, will they have a choice? This political drama could easily ignite even more sectarian tension.


Second, beyond the political.

There's a lot of stuff that needs to be built, especially refineries and the like. Sure, you can export the crude oil and refine it into petroleum products overseas, but we're talking about an overall production of at least 5 mb/d realistically and possibly 6.5 mb/d if all goes well(I think that's the outer realistic limit).

There isn't that much refining capacity just lying around. Saudi only has one major oil refinery to begin with, so it's already vulnerable(and overworked).

This is why Iraq is building all this infrastructure, as well as pipelines, terminals and so on.

But all this takes time.
If you look at the lead time for the most extensive (and helpful) infrastructure projects, we're talking about about 4-5 years, so we won't see significant Iraqi increases until 2016 at the earliest(since most of the building has started in earnest late last year) where it could really take off beyond 5.5 mb/d or more, but seeing it creep up to 4 mb/d is certainly doable until then.

Iraq is really the last place on Earth where you have relatively (geologically, not politically speaking) easy conditions to get up significantly higher production rates.

That's also why it was invaded. I too dismiss the '10 mb/d in 2020' as ludicrous fantasies. But it is definitely a factor - out of many factors, it needs to be stressed - which will influence the prolonging of the plateau.

It looks like they have added something like 1mpd extra production in 6 years. At that rate of increase they would be challenging SA's current production rate sometime around 2050........

I suppose I should point out that I did not state Iraq would put off peak oil or even make up for other nations declines.

Nor did I say it would keep growing at crazy rates

All I said was it is defying predictions and will pass SA

I think this is due to iraqi increases AND due to SA going into decline + export land

SA is throwing everything and the sink at its fields- it has used years of sophisticated extraction technology

ERGO- when it goes into decline the decline will be furious

Iraq is still significantly unexplored, has many fields that were poorly extracted due to Sadaam's ineficient team of cronies, has yet to apply the latest technology to many of its fields, has had these fields underutilized due to sanctions/war/civil insurrection

I think Bush/Chaney and company had an very well informed team of experts who also noticed this and knew where they wanted the largest and most militarized embassy in world to be- they saw the trends and where the future would lay.

We will all know in 15 years- that's when i think Iraq will go to #1.


Now there's a new well informed team who sees the trends...

The US embassy in Afghanistan is now slated to be the largest and most militarized embassy in the world - where the future lies?

Surrounding China

Iraq is still significantly unexplored,

Not so, every inch of Iraq has been explored. The western desert holds no fields but it has been explored. There is just no oil there. Simply because there are no wells there doesn't mean they haven't explored it.

We will all know in 15 years- that's when i think Iraq will go to #1.

Thanks for that. I needed a good laugh tonight.

Ron P.

I had always believed that the Iraq war was about oil- not in the traditional and juvenile sense of "the US wanting to grab the oil for itself and the oil companies" but rather on a much larger canvas i.e. the only remaining large and easily exploitable oil reserves in the world were in Iraq. The developed world therefore had two choices - remove the sanctions on Saddam Hussain and allow the oil to be produced or remove Saddam Hussain and allow the oil to be produced. Leaving Saddam under sanctions and the oil not exploit was simply not an option.
The former was not acceptable to the Bush family (although in hindsight would have proved the cheaper alternative).

If Iraqi oil production had seriously started picking up in 2004/5 rather than more recently (something that would have been possible by removing the sanctions or a better managed invasion)my guess is that we would probably not have seen the $147/barrel oil in 2008 and the severe economic effects we are currently going through. Alternatively if the sanctions and Saddam were still in place it is more than likely that oil would be considerably higher than it currently is.

SA is throwing everything and the sink at its fields- it has used years of sophisticated extraction technology

ERGO- when it goes into decline the decline will be furious

It seems more likely to me that there will be a drop when the older parts of Ghawar finally water out but that they will be able to sustain a lower rate--maybe on the order of 6 million/day or so-- from the many fields they still have that are more difficult to extract oil from. KSA, as I understand it, still has vast amounts of oil, but it isn't the easy to pump stuff. The real irony is that they have become addicted to 9 million/bbl/day in terms of their economy and growing population, so 6 m will be tough to take.

9 mln bbl/d? I think you mean 3-ish?


Didn't you claim at the time Stuart made this prediction that Iraq would never produce over 3mbd?

One other thing Stuart's chart did not represent what Iraq's oil minister claimed, so kindly do not mix the two up.

The North Sea URR 60/70 billion, if Iraq has 118 billion then 12mbd is perhaps attainable.


Give us your maps on Iraq oil exploration, we would be very interested to see how you know what and where has been drilled in that country.

Didn't you claim at the time Stuart made this prediction that Iraq would never produce over 3mbd?

No I did not. really TYS all you had to do was to to the link I posted and look at my first post that day and you would not have made such a silly mistake as that.

What I actually predicted

"Anyway, my prediction, and you can save this and throw it up to me later if I am wrong, is that Iraq will never produce more than 5 million barrels per day and even that will be a decade down the road if at all. (Just for the record the contracts give them two decades to accomplish the task.)"

One other thing Stuart's chart did not represent what Iraq's oil minister claimed, so kindly do not mix the two up.

TYS, I did not mention Iraq's oil minister in my in my post so please stop it. That's the second time in one post that you claimed I said something which I did not. But if you will go to the the link I posted you will find this:

Ministry of Oil called OPEC Organization to reconsider the share of its members according to the reserves of each of the same. Iraq Oil Ministry stressed that Iraq will bid in the upcoming years to export 12 million barrels of oil per day. Oil Ministry Spokesman Assem Jihad said in an interview with Alsumarianews website that trying to hoist Iraq oil output in the upcoming years is a natural right of Iraq as it owns huge oil reserves. Oil Ministry Spokesman called OPEC to grant Iraq its natural right in exporting crude oil so as its share becomes fair with regards to its oil reserves.

Stuart posts the link if you wish to look it up. Really TYS you should read the article before making such claims.

There have been posts on TOD in the almost seven years I have been on this list that state that about the only place on earth that has not been explored is the South China Sea and the Arctic. Many of them from people in the industry. Of course there are a few more, like the offshore coast of Greenland. However on land, just about every place that might produce oil has been explored or at least the geology has been examined to see if the area might hold promise.

Edit: TYS, you have been a member of this list for 1 week and 4 days. How come you seem to be so familiar with what I wrote in the past? You just guessed at what I wrote without reading my post because you got it wrong. The way you phrased it you seem to be familiar with my past posts. Didn't you post here under a different name before? Another poster used to constantly bring up posts of mine from the past. Could you be that same person?

Ron P.

You don't have to be a member to read articles, do you find people follow you around?

Anyway the point being Iraq made claims about production by 2017 but made no claims as to the rates of increase over that period of time.

I don't need to prove you wrong, time and facts do that very well.

Have you got the exploration maps? I do not see how you can claim what you do with out them?

Welcome back River.

There have been dozens of people on this site that think you make lots of statements which you are not able to back up with what most people would call proof.







I will just phone my friend and tell him the oil company he works for is wasting it's time because Ronald says

"Every inch of Iraq has been explored"

When will you learn?


I don't have a crystal ball position as to how much Iraq will produce, export, or import. My headlines were taken from a Lloyd's of London report some years back, which were designed to catch attention so as to focus on a related and even more important consideration.

The purpose was to highlight the obvious, that the Iraq war was for oil, in terms of foreign policy, even though propaganda world assert otherwise.

This is as it has been since before 1944:

"The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells."

(Myth Addiction ..., emphasis added, quoting a book written in 1944). I guess you could say I am not concerned with whether or not it will become true or not, rather I am concerned that mythology is the predominate essence of the public understanding about most every source of energy.

Dredd, an article in Forbes a few days ago sums it all up. Bold mine:

Iraq's Rise To No. 2 Oil Producer In OPEC Is Bad News For World

Put all that together, and Iraq will struggle to nudge output towards 4mb/d over the next few years, let alone hitting 5, 6, or 7mb/d over the next decade. As for 12mb/d production targets by 2017 as a the new ‘swing producer’, forget it. Iraq has squeezed out all it can from its older fields; any further gains will be attritional, at best. The upshot is that we’re left with the same oil market equation we’ve had for decades: Saudi Arabia and Russia are simply too big to fail. No one, least of all Iraq is going to change that anytime soon when it rejoins OPEC quotas in 2014. It’s therefore all the more disturbing that the IEA are pinning their main global supply growth hopes on Iraq over the next decade.

They will struggle to nudge output towards 4 mb/d. That says it all. The comments in this article are very interesting also. Leonardo Maugeri, the "expert" at Harvard, that everyone is quoting these days, predicts that Iraq will increase production by 5.1 mb/d, from 2011 to 7.6 mb/d by 2011.

The Iraqi Western Desert has been explored but is still perhaps under explored. From the Iraq Oil Forum: "Iraq’s exploration effort stopped three decades ago and the minor exploration activity that took place in the 1990’s resulted in the discovery of Akkas gas field in 1992 in the Western Desert close to the Iraqi-Syrian border.

They found some gas near the Syrian border but no oil. Most of that desert is on the Saudi side of the border. Saudi has had little success there also.

Ron P.

re: article tag..."As China goes, so goes oil; as oil goes, up goes the U.S. dollar!"

The analyst ends his pitch for the dollar by stating how terrible it would be to still be on the peak oil bandwagon expecting $200 oil.

As a long time acceptor (vrs believer) in resource limits and peak oil, I laugh at those "I told you so" articles that basically turn on the idea that if peak oil were true, then oil would be at $____.!! per barrel. (Fill in your own high number). The concept of resource limitations is not something one believes in like a religion, with opposing "see you are wrongs", and "see I am rights". It is a sad realization that we in western world wasted some very precious resources for trivial products and activities in many cases, and that when the limitations begin to bite down a whole lot on unprepared folks will be hurt very bad. Furthermore, our extravagent lifestyles and striving aspirations ring hollow when one discovers how we have impacted earth, fellow humans, and other species. It isn't about what we can 'short', or be right about. It isn't about timing. And it isn't about what we can make money on (without actually creating or producing anything of value or utility). That's what got us here.


Re: American Meteorological Society Issues Updated Statement On Climate Change

Looks like a strong statement from the AMS. I can only hope that our politicians will read it...

E. Swanson

Climate Change: An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society

Final remarks

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate. To inform decisions on adaptation and mitigation, it is critical that we improve our understanding of the global climate system and our ability to project future climate through continued and improved monitoring and research. This is especially true for smaller (seasonal and regional) scales and weather and climate extremes, and for important hydroclimatic variables such as precipitation and water availability...

...At the same time, some continued climate change is inevitable, and policy responses should include adaptation to climate change. Prudence dictates extreme care in accounting for our relationship with the only planet known to be capable of sustaining human life.

[This statement is considered in force until August 2017 unless superseded by a new statement issued by the AMS Council before this date.]

"The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future,...
...and policy responses should include adaptation to climate change..."

I can only hope that our politicians will read it...

Maybe they did! The R's are proposing to cut funding on better hurricane prediction. Got to punish/starve those awful scientists for being so brazenly against our program.

Of late, Reps seem to think that picking the opposite view to Dems is a sound tactic. Makes it awfully hard to even listen to a platform that doesn't seem to square with reality. Ignorance is bliss? What you don't know can't hurt you?

Link up top: Romney’s atrocious energy plan

Romney’s energy plan is a stunning repudiation of every branch of science, economic research, common sense and the aesthetic values shared by us all. Romney even opposes the new Obama auto fuel-efficiency standards set to double the mileage of domestic vehicles.

Hey, the man is a republican, what did anyone expect? Republicans always repudiate science and common sense. Their economic policy is always designed to help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

And the startling thing about this article is that it was published in the Salt Lake Tribune, the leading paper in the heart of Mormon America.

Ron P.

Ron - “Republicans always repudiate science and common sense.” Can’t argue against that. Well, at least a few R’s don’t fit that description. So what have the D’s, with their entire well balanced knowledge, accomplished? In about the last 20 years the D’s have controlled the White House 60% of the time including periods when the controlled the Congress. And this is where we are today. Sorry…I just don’t see an effective difference between the two parties.

"I just don’t see an effective difference between the two parties"

Sadly, I do. See the article...

"Spineless creatures under threat, from worms to bees to Democrats: study."

Courage is a talking point for Democrats, but it isn't an actual characteristic. This is less true for Progressives than for the centrist corporate sellouts, but they've all mastered the art of duck & cover.

I see GOP operatives heedlessly flinging money into things that really ought to earn them DoJ attention, happily sacrificing their grassroots as cannon fodder, so long as it gets them an inch closer to whatever poorly considered goal they have in mind.

Democrats, when handed a road map for a path that will rip big chunks out of right wing infrastructure on the path to winning an election, will visibly cringe, raise their hands palms out, and carefully back away. My theory to this curious lack of aggression is selective breeding; we got RICO to clean up organized crime, it's been over-applied to labor unions, and now anyone with a spark of leadership is rapidly eliminated in some partial posterior setup.

Do I want the cowardly corporate party, or the aggressive corporate party dominated by racism and religious fanaticism? Corporate is the keyword here; we're proto-fascist now and if we goof on this election in sixty days we may be able to shed the 'proto-' prefix.

How in the world did we get here?

Do I want the cowardly corporate party, or the aggressive corporate party dominated by racism and religious fanaticism? Corporate is the keyword here; we're proto-fascist now and if we goof on this election in sixty days we may be able to shed the 'proto-' prefix.

So if the choice is between the cowardly corporate party, or the aggressive corporate party how could we possibly goof?!

As for how we got here? Perhaps a clue from the past...

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

So Hail to our Fascist overlords!

How in the world did we get here?

We got here by being the species we are. Homo sapiens is not cognitively fit to succeed in the very environment it created with its unfettered cleverness. The species name should really be Homo pseudosapiens, or borrowing from your example, Homo protosapiens as we did evolve a modicum of sapience before we discovered agriculture.

Making good choices for how we use resources and regulate our numbers requires a kind of wisdom (from the biological basis in sapience) that we simply do not possess on average. Superior cleverness does not make one wise (OTOH: superior wisdom, a rare commodity, is correlated with superior intelligence; Sternberg, Robert J. (ed.) (1990). Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins, and Development, Cambridge University Press, New York; Sternberg, Robert J. (ed.) (2002). Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid, Yale University Press, New Haven, to name a few).

The evidence for failure (low fitness) is everywhere and in every choice we collectively make these days. We now know what happens to species that have low fitness relative to the actual environment they inhabit. Too bad.

Research working papers: Sapience

Question Everything

George, I love your blog. I have not yet read "Sapience" yet but I will, all five chapters. But I especially loved this article about David Korowiez's research paper: Watching the Global Economic System. I just wondered how you wound up in computer science rather than psychology or economics?

Also, "Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid" is it really that good? I am thinking about ordering it. But I already have so many books that I have not yet read. I usually wind up reading about half the books I order. Oh I start them all but often they don't hold my interest.

Thanks, Ron P.

Hi Ron.


Sternberg's work is really worth the time in general. You might be able to get the book from a library (esp. if you have access to a nearby university library). But, honestly, the title hints at the thesis quite well.

Computer science pays the bills! I started as a biologist, went from there to engineering and business (and computers) and ended up going for a PhD in CS where I could bring all my interests together by building computer models of neurons & primitive brains, economies, energy systems, etc. All under the rubric of systems science. I see systemness in everything!


I see systemness in everything!

As should we all!

Unfortunately, most folks tend to view their systems in a vacuum, ignoring interactions with other systems. In other words, they ignore the meta system.

I like homo psuedosapiens. Collectively we're not sapient, sentient, self-aware or even conscious. It just feels good to think we are.

How do you know that?


We got here by being the species we are.

This is a pretty basic (but also not that uncommon) confusion between human beings generally and Americans specifically. I think it's a bit rich trying to blame American decline and fall on "human nature" ... after all - we are not all quite that bad - thank goodness.

How in the world we got here. Also an interesting view of where we are.

The Century of the Self
(BBC Documentary)


Truly excellent, and well worth the time.

Being a Democrat (pretty much) I was gonna take issue with this, but, well, you know ... Dems talk a better game on science, but they don't accomplish much. And they don't know how to sell it. It's pretty depressing.

It's just like the Democrats and Wall St.

Ostensibly they're all against it, but in the end, the difference is neglible and both are bought all the same.

Still, the democrats at least try to talk a good game, so give them points for pretending.

While a lot of upper middle class democrats think that Democrats are inherently more pro-science, all I got to say is: that is true if you look at the upper classes where it's not uncommon to find tons of climate denialists among Republicans.

But the average Democrat today is most likely a poor minority just trying to get by. Thinking about climate thing is a big 'way out there' when you can't find a job, you could be deported and you probably know only halting English. And who can blame them?

The reason why there won't be a great climate awakening is because as people's incomes get squeezed they focus on what is most immediate: give their families roof to sleep under, give them food and have some sort of income to support all that, and preferably more than that(clothes, school materials etc).

And if you're poor, have no formal schooling and don't know the language that great, you're not going to absorb some abstract and theoretical scientific presentation about looming threats based on statistical models.

Just doesn't work that way. That's also, in of itself, a strong argument in favour of what Voltaire called an 'enlightened elite' and that elite tends to be Democratic today(although only on some issues, like science, economy etc. Culture is an entire thing alltogether, where neither party is sane, although for different reasons).

Svamp "But the average Democrat today is most likely a poor minority just trying to get by."
I just don't think that is true. I have been hearing that Rmony needs 60 or 61% of the white vote to win which implies that 35% or > of whites are Dems. And what is with the "halting English" and "deportation". Otherwise I get your general point.
As for Wall Street and Dems. Unfortunately they are captured and will be as long as the Dems hold the Senate seats from NY, Conn and NJ.

"But the average Democrat today is most likely a poor minority just trying to get by."

My God Svamp, what do you think the average Republican today is? Some poor out of work guy whipped up by the lies (yes, lies) of the Republicans to be so afraid of everything, and to blame scapegoats left and right, anything except come near the real reasons for the situation, and then vote against his/her interests for the Republicans.

You really don't know what you're talking about, or you're just just spinning a story.

Bubba will vote Republican because he thinks some of that magic wealth-dust will sprinkle down on him. And there's a black guy in the Whitehouse. And on, and on, and on.

...then vote against his/her interests for the Republicans.

That's so vexing! I cannot wrap my mind around how people can be so easily led to vote against their own best interests, but they do! Right now the R's are telling the middle class they may need to retire at 69 or 70, give up Medicare as we know it to get a voucher (coupon) that will only pay for part and the rest of their health ins. that will need to come from private insurance. How much of a health risk is anyone over 65? What would be their ins. cost?

"I'm 85, walk with a cane, need an operation on my hip and have this voucher that will not cover all my medical expenses. How much will my monthly be for health ins. to cover the difference.?"

Insurer: "Only 3500. a month! How about that?"

Right now millions of people between the ages of 55-65 are out of work and cannot find work because employers do not want them. So how can people belly up to vote R when they will now need to find a way to make money until they are 70!

In France the people revolted a couple years back when the retirement age was being reset at 62 from 61. But people here still plan to vote for the R's?!

The R's are skimming off people's entitlements to reduce taxes for the wealthiest, their campaign donaters. People have got to stop falling for this snake oil salesman junk that is against their best interests. Please have a brain!

What is the utility of an 85 year old in poor health that justify continued investment? Why would young people want to volunteer money from their kids mouths to repair a person with at best a few years of unproductive life left? How many 85 year olds would take money from their grand-kids to improve their existence?

Work as long as you can, then live as best you can, and then call it quits. Isn't that the historical norm if you have no wealth or family?

You say, "What is the utility of an 85 year old in poor health that justify continued investment?"

As an old fart I agree to a certain extent. However, I would also argue that the 85 year old paid for the infrastructure you depend on. They paid for the bonds for the school you attended. They paid for the utilities you depend on and so forth.

Given this reality, I would argue "you" have a duty to compensate them for the money they spent to support the many systems that make society functional because without the money they spent you would be living in a far different world.

Does that mean spending $100k to extend their life an additional 6 months? I don't think so. At the same time I look at my 98 year old mother-in-law who had a hip replacement in her 80's. With the new hip she is able to be independent. Would you rather spend $100k a year to keep her in a care home or pay for the hip? The problem is that in many cases it is impossible to know what the best course of action is...so you do it in all cases.


Hey, Todd

"Does that mean spending $100k to extend their life an additional 6 months?"

What do docs ( and RNs and RTs) do?

Why Doctors Die Differently

Careers in medicine have taught them the limits of treatment and the need to plan for the end

Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. It was diagnosed as pancreatic cancer by one of the best surgeons in the country, who had developed a procedure that could triple a patient's five-year-survival odds—from 5% to 15%—albeit with a poor quality of life.

Charlie, 68 years old, was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with his family. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation or surgical treatment. Medicare didn't spend much on him.


If you aren't pluhgged in to begin with, you don't need somebody like me to pull the plug.

Hi Mike,

It seems to me we are talking about different things/rationales for decisions. Ok, you worked as a RT but how did you approach someone who is "borderline"? If you did your job you think they might recover but you aren't sure. My guess is that you did what was medically prescribed. Don't docs have the same problem? They tell the patient that if they did thus and such they'll probably live for period X longer but they'll die soon if nothing is done. As a doc aren't you morally required, if not legally required, to offer the option?

It seems to me that in many cases it is our fear of death that leads people to choose the intervention. I know that I'd probably choose to not have an intervention if the result would only extend my life for a minimal period. I'd also not choose it were my quality of life would be crap as is so often the case.

As an old guy prostate cancer is always looming out there. Would I do anything about it? Naw, I'd keep working in the garden and cut firewood as long as I could.

Tough decisions.

BTW, I should loan you a DVD I have entitled Dead Doctors Don't Lie. It's a fun watch.


PS let me know whether we are having dinner at the Nook Wednesday

"how did you approach someone who is "borderline"?"

Followed doctor's orders. Families usually don't ask RTs for that kind of advice.

"Don't docs have the same problem?"
They have to follow the patient's requests, but they can shape the end-of-life discussion; the bully pulpit, so to speak.

"As a doc aren't you morally required, if not legally required, to offer the option?" Yes, but the traditional approach was not to mention "do nothing but keep the patient comfortable". That's changed over the last 15 years or so, as comfort care and hospice care have become options.


I think a lot of end-of-life care is requested by the family, rather than the patient. It's hard to let somebody go, but it's actually selfish to make them stick around for your own needs.

Nook sounds good. I'll e-mail you.

Yes. I think it's possible to cut back on healthcare spending while actually improving care. Here's a follow up to the link you posted, with some numbers:

Doctors Really Do Die Differently

Medical costs at the end of life are huge, and much of it is probably better spent elsewhere...even from the patient's point of view.

I was fortunate to have have worked in a pathology lab for a few years. I miss the conversations that I used to have with the pathology residents, and we had great, no-holds-barred talks about various medical procedures and such. There are several surgical procedures that, because of these talks, I would never consider ( operations such as an esophagectomy, the Whipple procedure, and a pelvic exenteration). There are others, too. So: A LOT of money, time, talent, and suffering is involved with procedures and operations that do not contribute to one's quality of life, nor is one's life extended to an appreciable degree. And, of course, it's not an easy call for many people. That essay, "Doctors Really Do Die Differently" is outstanding, and was a springboard to many wonderful talks. We're all going to die in the end. And it costs nothing to contemplate this. Glib? Yes. But true.

In decision theory the human desire to make future investment based on past spending is considered a logical fallacy. This isn't quite the same, but arguably this notion of duty has little to support it in economics, and eventual social policy will shift to match.

More importantly, though, if those paying the $100K are not the same as those who gained the prior value, the decision shifts. I've made decisions spend a lot of money to postpone the death of a couple of loved ones. In one case it was insurance who paid, and I felt a twinge knowing I was spending communal money for possible personal benefit. In reality, I didn't really even know what the care would cost, despite asking repeatedly -- the hospital simply had no process to estimate it reliable.

In the other, it was mostly personal money, with sacrifice by the whole family because of it. None of us begrudge the resulting decade it bought, but I could certainly see others who would choose differently.

In neither case was the choice based on gratitude for past debts. It was more on principle, but admittedly a principle allowed as a relative luxury.

Aside from the issue of inappropriate care (where the patients quality of life is so poor he/she would be better off without treatment), this is a case of societal values, on a scale that runs from efficiency to humanism. Disagreement of where to set this dial is entirely legitimate. German fascism set the dial hard to efficiency (kill mental patients etc.), we seem to set if pretty hard towards humanism. We also have significant numbers whose religious view is that giving up even on hopeless cases is murder. Since this is largely about values, I don't think our society will ever achieve consensus.

Of course we (society in general) can't even have a discussion about it, not when legitimate studies about the efficacy of different treatments get branded as "death panels".

We'll have to hurry to 'reform' the social contract before we run out of ice floes.

I think the choice for a lot of people is

a. Republican Party which RELIABLY shares the same view on social questions as do they but whose economic policies hurt them;

b. Democrats who don't share their view on social issues but UNRELIABLY shares their views on economics.

I think the assumption that people vote against their economic interests is based on the assumption that the Democratic party represents those views. I think the Democrats support the economic interests more in words than in deeds. I think on a probability adjusted basis voting for Republicans is in fact the right strategy for them.

If you look at the economic performance of the country on a GDP basis the Dems have outperformed the R's. Wages for the median are better under Dems. Just look at the statistics and you will see the results, ie the deeds.
Healthcare is a great example, almost everyone would be better off with a single provider universal health care system. Maybe ObamaCare is not deed enough but it took a hell of a fight just to get that. And who stands in the door way with the club to beat away all progress.

As a former democrat/liberal who has thought alot about many of these things, I would like to add my thoughts on why the conservative counterrevolution of the 80s and beyond was so successful and still isn't finished.

The reason is that in a world of hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of human beings, it's extremely difficult to share. It just is. If you try to share, it basically means poverty for all.

So the conservatives argued, and argue to this day, that it's better to let some do well than it is for everybody to be poor. And they won the argument which resulted in the complete capitulation of the left.

Nature is of course putting an end to the whole thing now, but it's not political anymore. I think that's the key point. The left has nothing to offer and is completely spent as a force in this world.

You are right that Ds have accomplished very little. One reason that they have shown little leadership is that Rs have been determined to block every effort on this issue for 20 or 30 years, and made sure that anybody who shows any leadership pays a political price. I remember a sign on a classroom wall — "lead, follow, or get out of the way." If enough people, say half, refuse to get out of the way, nothing can get done, and, after a while, nobody even tries. I believe that is where we are at now. But the Dems, with all of their flaws and blinders and lack of courage on many issues, occasionally show leadership in energy.

Thats about the way I see it. And remember there are enough Blue Dog D's, that a simple majority is not sufficient for them to get anything that is even slightly contested through. They would probably need a 70% majority before being able to push through their programs.

"They would probably need a 70% majority before being able to push through their programs."

That assumes the larger majority does not include more Blue Dogs as well.

Or it could be that they haven't sold a marginal idea to the masses?

Liberals have the most influence in movies, print, schools, colleges, and TV, and yet they still struggle to make headway. The vast majority of the audience were brought up through the same schools and colleges. Churches and families are weaker than ever, so counter messages are weaker too. If the liberal messages don't sell, it's not for lack of opportunity.

Not to say the Rep perspective doesn't have its faults. Where the parties differ, there is no way they can both be right, but every chance that both are wrong.

Idiocrats, all.

I'd have used a 'p' instead of a 't'.


In about the last 20 years the D’s have controlled the White House 60% of the time including periods when the controlled the Congress.

You are cherry picking your dates. In the last 32 years Republicans have controlled the White House 62.5 percent of the time.

I just don’t see an effective difference between the two parties.

Nonsense! The republicans have cut the tax rate on the rich while increasing it on the poor. Republicans have stopped stem cell research because they think a frozen embyro is a baby. They think global warming and climate change is nonsense. They oppose mileage requirements because they think crude oil and gasoline will be available forever. They want to get rid of Planned Parenthood. They even oppose contraceptives because they think it is God's will to populate the earth. They will appoint Supreme Court Justices that will overturn Roe v Wade.

I could go on for hours but if you really think there are no difference between the parties then you just haven't examined the issues.

Ron P..

On a micro level, there are great differences---
Women s rights, workplace issues, sexual preference, and some environmental issues (less as time goes by), etc..

On a Macro level, they both are embedded in a suicidal and delusional economic paradigm.

On a micro level, there are great differences---
Women s rights, workplace issues, sexual preference, and some environmental issues (less as time goes by), etc..

On a Macro level, they both are embedded in a suicidal and delusional economic paradigm.
~ hightrekker

In many ways and on many levels it's a delusional/suicidal/etc. system.
Women already have rights; people already have natural sexual preferences, etc.. It's like a dubious product turning around and white/green/-washing/painting itself (over/vis-a-vis the crud that's still there). "New-Improved! Less Crud!"

"Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others."
~ Edward Abbey

Many anarchists oppose voting for three reasons...

First, they believe it to be ineffective, at best resulting in minor reforms... Second, taking part in elections has historically resulted in radicals becoming part of the system they oppose rather than ending it. Third, because some claim voting amounts to an acknowledgment of the state's legitimacy. Most fundamental is the idea that representative democracy itself is fundamentally flawed. In essence, the state uses the theory that it is democratic to gain power over the populace, and then uses force to suppress any dissent. Nonetheless, the state in reality almost never serves the interests of the populace in general, but simply produces the illusion that it does this solely to gain power. Governments operate at the expense of the public good, and can serve no other purpose regardless of whatever form they take.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~ Benjamin Franklin

I'm totally with you.

Good to hear, it's encouraging.

There is always the conundrum with both Anarchism and Libertarianism of the apparent fact that some political entity will fill the vacuum of power if the people manage to "make the government small enough so that you can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

On our current course, it looks like corporations will rule, and corporations are certainly autocratic entities.

There doesn't seem to be a way to engineer a system in which we can have all the freedom and none of the responsibility for maintaining some sort of social contract.

Putting it simply, I'm not any more impressed with Anarchistic blather than I am with Libertarian blather.

We have a few examples of large, functioning societies living under anarchism, usually through a syndicalist model.

Spain during the Civil War, and the Ukraine during the Russian Revolution.

These lasted years, and were overthrown by larger outside armies (Franco in Spain, and the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine).

The Spanish anarchist's were thrown under the bus by the left in Europe, as they presented a threat to the BAU ideology.

I didn't mean to sound harsh there. It's just that these types of discussion seem to be in the nature of angels on the head of a pin.

Since Leanan seems to be letting the rabble get the political stuff off their chests on this weekend thread...

I'll look up the Spanish and Ukrainian models and what 'syndicalist' means.

The only historical model that I can think of that comes close to anarchy is the American plains Indian culture. It lasted about 300 years from the introduction of the horse by the Spaniards in the early 16th century until the late 19th century. The vital ingredients were a huge, relatively unpopulated geographical area fairly rich in resources (relative to the human population), the mobility provided by the horse, and a social culture that was loose enough that allowed people to pick up and leave a group if they didn't like the politics.

One anecdote that I read somewhere sort of sums up the social/political situation. A reporter doing a story for the American press asked an Indian war chief why he couldn't simply command his braves to do something. The chief answered, "If I told my braves to do something they didn't want to do, I wouldn't be chief anymore."

That kind of encapsulates my notion of a best-case system of anarchy.

This kind of political discussion is fine. It's civil, respectful, and I think people are learning things from it. There are no rants; it's an actual discussion. And it's not the same old liberal vs. conservative stuff we've all seen far too much of already.

This was what Orwell had to say with his experience in Spain during the Civil War:

George Orwell describes a scene in Aragon during this time period, in his book, Homage to Catalonia:

­"I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life—snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.--had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master."

ht, thanks for that. I've discussed this type of system or approach to social organization often with others. The pessimistic conclusion always seems to revolve around a kind of social Darwinism in which the greed-based capitalism ends up usurping any social order that is based more on sharing of natural and human resources. I'm not sure if this is true or inevitable, but it seems that this is the trend in a world that is "flat" ala Thomas Friedman and far too populated.

Ain't it a bitch though. Here we are wrestling with really basic issues of human society and looming darkly over the horizon are resource depletion and AGW both of which will trump any hard won social justice issues.

I tell my liberal friends who are into getting arrested for standing up against the pipeline and other hot button issues, that, even though I think environmental issues will render these issues totally moot, I still long for justice.

Dave Cohen

had a good commentary today about related issues. I'm really trying not to fall into what he describes as being a 'faith based' doomer.

I read that. I don't see anything wrong with ignoring politics if the predicament is the explosion of human population/consumption itself. That is beyond politics, I don't know how politics will solve this. If you are talking about voluntary simplification of life you can forget about it. Everyone has far too much invested in growth to get out of it. If humanity were to ever scale back voluntarily it would be the equivalent of time travel. Politics thrives on the money that results from growth, how on earth are politicians supposed to oppose the very thing that enables them to stand for office.

Then there were the hippie communes. Almost all collapsed within a few years. What happened was a few people had the energy and enterprise to keep things running, but they didn't get recognition from the many who sat around singing Kumbaya, so they left.

Without a driving and organising force, things fall apart.

Then there are the ecovillages, Transition Towns, intentional communities, and folks like myself, JH Kunstler, and possibly even JM Greer moving to, and with an interest in helping to revitalize/localize/permaculturize/etc., smaller towns-- many of which have had the life sucked out of them over time, presumably by corporatocratic forces that are hard to compete against when they operate on "paradigms of infinity beyond space and time"-- very much the opposite of how the former approaches approach it.
(So that might be in part why some of your old "hippie communes" failed.)

I understand that many from the outside very much desire to get into Christiania, for example, and that many people in places like Greece are giving things like that a go. Nothing like necessity and exorbitant bills from partying politicians piling up for motherly reinvention/revisits.

Why, here're even a couple of directories from a simple quick search: Intentional Communities Directory and Global Ecovillage Network Africa

Before having to move, with a few people, I wanted to 'occupy' a ghost town with valuable heritage buildings already onsite and turn it into an ecovillage. Balaclava! (I hear Nicole Foss' farm is closeby.)

Thanks for the links.

Forget those terms-- anarchism/libertarianism/etc.. They seem really just pigeonholes/lockstep concepts. (Perhaps forget about being impressed, too, and try the reverse.)

I thought about those and other issues, am aware of some disparate ideas/actions here and there, and here's what I think.

Of course for anything like this to work, we have to eventually get off our thumbs, computers, ostensibly ceaseless/tireless devil's advocation and "go-nowhere" criticism/critiques, stiffen-up, come up with somethings, and do somethings, etc.-- myself included.

We can only pontificate and trash, etc., the BAU/status-quo/etc. systems so much before we feel or look like we're stuck in neutral, spinning our wheels. What good is that? What's the next step?

I need help and am asking for it. Obviously it's for everyone-- absolutely everyone-- even those who some of us like to demonize.
Or maybe we do little except perhaps in our own little spheres and let it all collapse or worse in and of its own accord (and suggest that 'that's what will happen anyway' and help make it a self-fulfilling prophesy) and do what can be done, if anything, if we're still around, breathing, with the mess afterward?

It is not easy to form something like this, if you'll pardon the ridiculous understatement :D but maybe we "gather some plants" (people/ideas/goals/plans/etc..) "plant some seeds"-- quite a few-- and see what grows.

So you are going to contact me personally? You and everyone reading this? You have some ideas-- small or revolutionary-- that may help? No excuses or rationalizations? Or you will pledge at least to use your head and think about it?

~ Caelan MacIntyre

Those of us who belong to the permaculture family have cause to be proud, but not complacent. Work has scarely begun, but we have a great team of people which increases in numbers daily. To empower the powerless and create 'a million villages' to replace nation-states is the only safe future for the preservation of the biosphere. Let interdependence and personal responsibility be our aims.
~ Bill Mollison, from Permaculture: A Designer's Manual, second ed.

TOP, I commented at the PRI site you linked to and placed a link to http://www.n55.dk/. Check it out!

Working against BAU should by now be the number one priority for any decent rational thinking human being.

You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one!



Read your nice article comment and will go over your bookmarked links, thanks, Fred.
The article's a little buried at this point, but your comment should at least appear on the front page as a right-margin-quote in any case.

Also, as mentioned, my intention is still to pitch Permaea (or whatever people want to call it, such as for their own sense of ownership and belonging) to the PRI as an article. So if it's accepted, it should appear on the front page, and I'll let TOD know about it if/when.

As for Lennon's Imagine, well, it seems to indicate particular levels of consciousness, and conscience, ironically, while the "American Dream", exported around the world, appears as George Carlin suggests in one of his standups: "...Because the owners of this country know the truth: It's called The American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it.".

I strongly support the general sentiments that you've expressed here and earlier in this thread, Caelan. How can we contact you personally?

He's put his e-mail address in his profile. Click his name, and you'll see it.

Well, this is me smacking my forehead. Usernames weren't profile links when I was logged out, so I forgot to check them again after I logged in to respond. Thanks, Leanan.

But are they differences of substance? Once you have on oversized authoritarian gov't, does it matter greatly who is at the helm?

The platforms differ, and are polarized oppositely. But the core base doesn't support the whole platform for either, and in the end the most polar points rarely go anywhere. The points of agreement -- big gov't, infringing individual rights, lots of debt, pandering to lobbyists, deluding voters -- they make huge headway on over time.

I would say the differences are often distractions, and perhaps intentionally so.

They will appoint Supreme Court Justices that will overturn Roe v Wade.

That's actually the promise to religious voters that lets them appoint supremes who will favor big corporations and the rich. So now we have Citizens United, and a handful of multi-billionaires are going to saturate the airwaves this election cycle.

Ron – All true of course. But who has been in more control the last 50 years? The last 75 years? The last 100 years? Should we blame the R Lincoln for winning the Civil War, allowing the industrialized North to expand and increase our dependency of FF? I wonder…was C. Columbus an R or a D? You pick your cherries and I’ll pick mine. LOL.

“I could go on for hours but if you really think there are no difference between the parties then you just haven't examined the issues.” Just like you and most on TOD we all pretty much examine every issue. But some, like me, focus on the big picture and not get distracted by important but less impactful matters. For instance, I think it’s proper for a woman to able to choose to have an abortion. OTOH how does that compare to the thousands of our military and the many thousands of civilians as well as the $trillions in debt we’ve placed upon current and future citizens in our effort to “export democracy” to the ME? Tax the rich at a higher rate? Fine but how does that help the millions who can’t find a job today? There are what, 100 issues we can distinguish between the parties? And they all bear equally on the overall health of our economy and our children’s’ future? I doubt many here would agree.

But, IMHO, as long as both parties are successful at getting the electorate inflamed over the other important but less critical issues then the longer the citizens remain unaware of the dangerous path this country is heading down. But, of course, opinions vary.

But, of course, opinions vary.

Indeed they do. My opinion is much closer to Darwinian's on this. The Dems are far from perfect, but they are a helluva lot better than the Repubs. In my view the Dems are at least open to positive change, while in the Repubs the bad ideas just seem to become mainstream thinking.

Yes opinions vary. But, I suggest that the differences between the R's and the D's stated to expand after 1980. The R's still point to Jimmy Carter as a failed President, even though he came in after the Arab/OPEC Oil Embargo induced recession of 1975 and had to campaign after the Iranian Crisis oil problems of 1979. Carter could not have done well after the rapid increases in the global price of oil, yet, he is blamed for the results. Carter also had to deal with the impacts of Three Mile Island and Carter, with a background in nuclear engineering, probably expected that nuclear would be the best path forward up to that point in time.

To show the R's perception, consider this quote I read last night from the book, "Running on Empty", by Peter Peterson, formally Nixon's Commerce Secretary, later Chairman of the CFR, etc:

No one really knows why productivity growth slowed in the early 1970's. And no one really knows whether the recent improvement will be more than temporary. [2004]

I beg to disagree. The rapid increase in the cost of oil in the economy after 1974 surely acted as a drain on productive investments. The decline in the cost of oil in the middle 1990's likely produced the opposite result, a stimulus to the economy directly and also an increase in confidence as the price of oil at the pump dropped to around $1 a gallon US. Then too, the DOT com bubble looked boundless for a while. Happy days again until 9/11...

E. Swanson

We have unemployment and a minimum wage -- both high. Liberals say minimum wage must be a "living wage", yet only 5% of the country actually works for that wage. I would be happy to put my highschoolers to work for $5 per hour -- for tennis shoes and gas money -- as a benefit to them, me, and some shopkeeper. Nobody should expect to survive on some jobs...and they should not have kids if that's all they can manage to earn.

Liberals push for "living wage" social support too. Yet the mechanism we have for welfare traps people in it -- sell the car, have no savings, and you'll get a bigger house by having more kids.

I, and many other reasonable people, can come up with systems that better match human nature with reasonable incentives. What we have now "feels good", but lacks much sensible basis economically or sociologically, and as each part falters the reaction is simply to spend more and do more of the same.

Any way you slice it, the combination of military, retirement, welfare, unemployment, civil service, incarceration (either side of the bars), and graft are increasing the fraction of people who are supported by the gov't. How can this possibly end well, or be a great idea at all?

To me, the crying shame is that we have a system that creates a crime-ridden welfare class but few artists; indebted students but few scholar; paper-pushers but few writers; politicians but few statesmen; prisoners instead of farmers. Both sides need to give.

Nobody should expect to survive on some jobs...

A handy excuse for slavery.

In a reasonable world there would be no minimum wage, only an income level below which welfare would apply. That level is of course a function of what a society can pay. Any potential worker can decide whether it's worth his while to take a given job or not. In my view, having the choice of what to pay or what to choose to accept is more free than welfare or regulation.

When there is plenty of work to do, minimum wage is a joke. We've all seen boom times where "help wanted" signs hung at the corner stores for low-skill jobs (go to S. Tx and see $13 per hour stock-boy jobs go begging). When there are plenty of workers and not many jobs, minimum wage results in high unemployment among the unskilled.

In the end, I see few downsides to being good at what one does, and that in a valued field. I just hired a new-grad engineer for about $70K, and all her engineering peers had jobs at graduation. But many non-tech graduates moved home to their parents. One friend of hers took a low-paying receptionist job to get a foot in the door. Is the problem really one of having some jobs that don't pay a "living" wage, or that there are too many debt-burdened graduates with skills nobody wants, and mismatched expectations? Might take some work to pay off the student loans at $13 per hour, I imagine.

The Skills Gap: Still Trying to Separate Myth from Fact

... as our colleagues at the Chicago Fed conclude in their most recent Chicago Fed Letter—so far the facts just don't support skill gaps as the major source of our current labor market woes.

By whatever name, what we have is the result of the greatest mis-allocation of expertise and educational resources in history. It would be interesting to compile a list of jobs/careers that only apply to an expanding consumerist society. Hopefully we'll get to a point when a toilet cleaner is more important than a marketing analyst.

Hopefully we'll get to a point when a toilet cleaner is more important than a marketing analyst.

Oh we are there as of right now. As usual the market is behind the curve. Our company can function for more than a month without our analysts but won't go two days without the toilet cleaners. They do invaluable work.

Our company can function for more than a month without our analysts but won't go two days without the toilet cleaners. They do invaluable work.

Post of the day! +100

This system is specialized to the point of ridiculousness and then some.

In a reasonable world there would be no minimum wage, only an income level below which welfare would apply.

In a perfect world this is a perfectly reasonable position, and well grounded in economic theory. I apologize for my remark.

However if I were, say, a thrifty shopkeeper who employs a number of low paid workers, my response would be to cut my worker's pay in half. The workers wouldn't suffer because the state would step in to pick up the other half. And I would skate away with the profits.

It's not high school kids who take the majority of low wage jobs. According to a recent study from the National Employment Law Project, it's your neighbors. I am greatly concerned with keeping my neighbors employed at wages that will allow them to continue being good neighbors.

To me, the crying shame is that we have a system that creates a crime-ridden welfare class... ~ Paleocon

"The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual, crime."
~ Max Stirner

At the same time, it seems that the system, itself-- the corporate oligarchy if you will-- and in a staggering myriad of ways, creates the conditions for crime/imprisonment, welfare, poverty, war, etc., and "necessity" for "support". Like the white/green/-washing point I made earlier. Like a lousy/dangerous building with fresh coats of paint everywhere.

+10 TOP
And I sure do miss Ed Abbey, but happy he's not having to
endure how much further down the bowl we've swirled.

"Society is like a stew, unless stirred frequently, the scum rises to the top"

Eventually, anarchist though is going to taken seriously.

It already is. It's actually quite widespread and even appears to essentially describe how we began and lived as a species.

I had a Anarchist Thought class at UCSB in 1970 from Raghavan N. Iyer.
I have never been the same.

Yes, it's like having a pair of glasses or lenses swapped for another or a tele/micro/-scope. Which can lead to other discoveries not necessarily otherwise discoverable with the old lenses, within the old perceptual/conceptual frameworks. So it can feed on itself and snowball.

Thanks, Reed.
I sometimes wish it was '-10' and was duly informed that all this was just a bad dream.

Ok, what do you want Dems to give on? Welfare, I guess. Also IIRC the min wage is less than what it was in 1968. Incarceration equals the "War on Drugs". SS, eliminate the wage cap and tax those damn $1B capital gains carried interest crap that some hedgies make. The DoD, now who is crying about the sequester that would cut $50B a year from a budget of > $600B that can't even be audited. The US is not a poor country going broke, but we are a very unequal country (GINI index)that is jettisoning more and more of its citizens.

It's not "give" when both are wrong. The system is broken and misaligned from multiple perspectives. Replace it if you must (negative income tax, preferably at the state level, I'd say), but do away with what is there. Minimum wage is just silly when you already have laws to prevent child labor and such (and really, child labor is a symptom of too many kids, not too much work!). Cut DoD and demolish DHS. License and tax MJ like alcohol and make hard drugs carry heavy taxes and massive fines for bootlegging.

Let some states try it and see what works.

Although not ideal policy for a perfect world, as long as the minimum wage is set at or below the market wage for a minimally competent unskilled adult, it serves a regulatory, rather than economic purpose. That regulatory purpose is to reduce abuse of the naive market participant who unwittingly accepts less than his fellows. The minimum wage is not and never has been a significant factor in why we have idle labor being wasted in the U.S. -- that's currently due to reduced demand for goods and services, which is a direct result of self-interested Republican austerity propaganda and Democratic cravens driven by the crowd. There are many productive ways to employ that labor without displacing existing jobs...

I congratulate you on actually caring about policy rather than politics. Although in some ways we are obviously coming from different political corners, many of your policy ideas make sense to me, and should be part of the substantive policy conversation instead of the low-info shouting match that our national discourse consists of these days.

A negative income tax bracket is an excellent idea. We have something similar in the EITC. A country where Mr. Romney pays a lower tax rate than earned income does is grossly unfair. Dramatic reductions in internal state security and DOD would be welcome here. Liberalization of drug laws, to manage/reduce scheduled substance abuse, rather than creating a no-rules black market, is a mind-numbingly obvious solution to the many problems caused by the Drug War, rather than by drugs.

Ben is always such a calm rational voice.
The only thing I'd take issue with is his last sentence:

Liberalization of drug laws, to manage/reduce scheduled substance abuse, rather than creating a no-rules black market, is a mind-numbingly obvious solution to the many problems caused by the Drug War, rather than by drugs.

I don't think it is mind-numbingly obvious. The default human way of thinking about such issues is disgust and morality -gotta punish those druggies for their immoral behavior. That is in fact the attitude that any politician has to at least pretend to, if they want their career to last even five minutes. Talk of "legitimate rape", can be survived, but any hint of softness towards drugs/crime/terrorists is an instant career killer.

My 'calm' voice is an illusion, thankfully preserved by Leanan, who eliminates my 'less calm' comments, usually after the person(s) I'm responding to has had a chance to receive my fusillade.

You are correct that with a few exceptions, intimation that viewers/voters' gut reaction to an issue may be suboptimal policy, is tantamount to political suicide.

"Ok, what do you want Dems to give on?"

It might be nice to be able to buy a car with no ABS, no airbags, and no traction control. Yes I am fine with the risk, after all, I ride a motorcycle when the weather permits. If I did buy a car with airbags, then it might be nice to be able to disconnect them without fear of a heavy fine.

It would be nice if the various agencies would go back to the doctrine of multiple use of public lands, and not the current lock it up mentality. Some of us of a certain age are not up to hauling 35 lbs on our backs into the wilderness. Tearing out already existing roads and trails does not appear to benefit the public. Selling some of those public lands (they are not all Yellowstone grade you know) now that the West's population is increasing might also be a good idea.

The EPA and OSHA are both past the point of diminishing returns between cost of regulations and the benefits they deliver, and it might be nice if their backers (Dems) would realize that. If organized labor had a brain, they would be trying to abolish OSHA; then unions would have a reason to exist again.

It would be really nice if Eric PlaceHolder would toss John Corzine in jail. Since Corzine is a Dem, he should have had the decency to commit suicide to offset his disgrace. While PlaceHolder is at it, he should be populating jail with many other bankers for money-laundering (Wachovia), fraud (Countrywide), perjury (BOA), JP Morgan ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_County,_Alabama , scroll down to Sewer construction and bond swap controversy) and so on and so forth.

The Dems could come out against high-frequency trading, or high-frequency swindling as it more accurately be called.

The Dems are also very much behind the war on drugs, and that should stop, as you mentioned. It is a massive waste of resources.

I would pick on gun control too, but the Dems are not a unified block on that. And when the attorney general (Mr. PlaceHolder again) has a policy of running guns to Mexican drug gangs, there isn't much that I can add. If you want to argue that he didn't know, then you have to admit he is an incompetent administrator. I'm content either way.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

The EPA and OSHA are both past the point of diminishing returns between cost of regulations and the benefits they deliver, and it might be nice if their backers (Dems) would realize that.

This sounds a lot like repealing Glass Steagall, and we all know how well that worked out.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall may not have caused the crisis — but its repeal was a factor that made it much worse. And it was a continuum of the radical deregulation movement. This philosophy incorrectly held that banks could regulate themselves, that government had no place in overseeing finance and that the free market works best when left alone. This belief system manifested itself in damaging ways, including eliminating regulation and oversight on derivatives, allowing exemptions for excess leverage rules for a handful of players and creating dangerous legislation.


Industry has shown over and over again that they incapable of regulating themselves. When it comes to protecting workers and the environment I would rather err on the side of caution. If you disagree, maybe you would be happier living in China?

I'll agree with you on OSHA, but the only reason the EPA is at "diminishing returns" is because its mandate is not ambitious enough. There are still serious issues in the environment - from the Colorado river running being drained of water to Chesapeake bay still being an environmental disaster. Standards for rivers need to hold those upstream accountable. Runoff from urban areas is still a nastly issue. The West may have too much protected land, but many places still have too little, and wetlands in particular are underprotected in many farming states. Marine reserves, especially no-take reserves, still cover far to little of our oceans, and a few big companies still factory fish select species to death. Oh, and they should illegalize mountaintop removal mining while I'm having a fantasy of us actually caring enough to really go for the best and not just good enough.

Hey, but I'm a super-hippie environmentalist. I think the goal is "as good as we can get, as close to as if we weren't there". Human impact is inevitable, but if we could lighten the load we would reap huge benefits in fisheries, oysters, rivers, etc. I expect someone more focused on what's on land could tell you about songbird declines, forestry issues, etc.

While the efficacy of the EPA and OSHA could certainly be improved, the idea that there is nothing cost-effective left to do in those arenas is, sadly, mistaken.

USFS, NPS, BLM, etc tend to be a pain to deal with, but some of that is necessary, and some of it is created by starving them and threatening them. My (extended) family still runs cows on public (USFS) lands, my company is interconnecting many MW of renewables built on BLM public land, I've previously discussed here that the main transmitter site for the #2 DMA in the U.S. is on USFS land, and I'm currently engaged in rebuilding an overhead distribution line on USFS land which feeds part of Yosemite (NPS) via Tioga Pass. As population increases, it makes sense that the impacts from casual access will increase and things will need to tighten, though I find some of the restrictions nonsensical.

Labor unions would grow just fine if labor law were enforced as written. For about the last 30 years it's been open season on unions and organizers.

I agree with you about Tangelo and Corzine and about 5000 others...
I would put a transaction tax on financial trading to discourage HFT, and other gaming.

With respect to your children, you should be aware that there are exceptions to the federal minimum wage laws. Several of these exceptions relate to teenagers.

There are also exceptions to child labor laws in the U.S. and I learned a great deal as a minor due to my family's use of those exceptions.

Dog – “I suggest that the differences between the R's and the D's stated to expand after 1980.” I fully agree with you. But I see the differential expanding more on the rhetoric level and not the actually results. We can go on for hours about which screwed up policies were put in place by which party. But again, IMHO once again, it has been a joint effort. Folks are free to pick either party to blame for where we are today. I blame both parties equally. That’s why I’m not nor ever been an active supporter of either the R or D parties.

In my world there are no D’s or R’s: there are politicians who I either agree with or I don’t. There are many southern D's who would be considered very conservative in NY. And NY R's who couldn't win in Texas because they are too liberal. Unfortunately it seems these days the few that I find some compatibility with are rather ineffective. Ineffective because of the lack of compromise by both extremes. Which I feel is an intentional development by both parties: if Party X can vilify the other side to the point whether folks feel they have no choice then but support Party Y whether the agree with all their positions or not. I think the R’s have been extremely effective at this game utilizing the abortion issue. How could any devout Christian support any D, even if they might actually support many of the same issues as that D?

IOW winning a lot of battles but losing the war. And an even worse outcome: not losing the war but reaching a stalemate. Just as happened during WWI: millions died as the lines held static. Just as the political lines have become static today IMHO: no real progress on any of the fronts I consider critical.

I must side with Ron here. As a fellow evangelical, I say the Reps are horrible. Wouldn't vote for them ever if I had the missfortune to be alowed to vote in US election. I don't think I need to even explain why.

Same here in Sweden, with 8 partys in the parlament. There was a time when each party had a line and stuck to it. When you voted, you knew what you got. Now,they are all the same. For the first time I am planning on not voting in 2014. I only make choises when I have any.

Hey, the man is a republican, what did anyone expect? Republicans always repudiate science and common sense. Their economic policy is always designed to help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Yeah, but...


IMHO, both parties are dysfunctional because the vast majority of the population is still solidly in the denial phase. I think next comes anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I'm fairly skeeved out over the upcoming anger phase, to be honest. That's when the true political loonies will slither forth.

Can they get any sleazier than Tom Delay, Casino Jack and Ralph Reed and the Mariana's sweatshops? For political loonies to get any worse I guess you are talking Franco or Tito territory.

...startling thing about this article is that it was published in the Salt Lake Tribune...

Note that's not a news article but an opinion piece written not by a regular columnist but by Joe Random environmental activist. Moreover, Romney does not call for increased consumption of oil.

Of course it was not a news article it was an op-ed article. Opposing fuel-efficiency standards set to double the mileage of domestic vehicles quite obviously does not call for a decrease in consumption of oil. The author of the piece called that a stunning repudiation of every branch of science, economic research and common sense. I would go one step further and call it utterly stupid.

I just ordered a book recommended by George Mobus, Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid. Perhaps they will come out with a revised version that will have a chapter on Romney. ;-)

Ron P.

Not implementing the "Obama" CAFE requirements, is for greater consumption of oil. Going all out for alternatives, and for using less, is what is required.

Why are the Obama CAFE numbers The One True and correct figures? US oil consumption is slowly be steadily falling *now* under the existing CAFE standards. Romney has not said he plans to abolish CAFE. If he backs off a bit ...

In the last few months we have seen several articles attempting to debunk Peak Oil. Well there is a new one out today: Peak Oil Myth: Debunking The Peak Oil Theory

This (the peak oil theory) makes sense if one doesn't understand the nature of innovation, the basics of economics, or the business of oil production. But once we analyze those angles, the theory falls apart.

And of course, like all debunkers in the last two months he quotes the Leonardo Maugeri study from Harvard's Kennedy School.

Peak oil might make sense if we were stuck with a set amount of oil, people were not going to begin shifting away from oil consumption 'in time', if innovation didn't exist, and if economically unrecoverable oil couldn't become recoverable with higher prices.

Of course, all of the above aren't true. In fact, this is one reason researchers at Harvard are making the opposite predictions of the oil-peakers.

Ron P.

His theory makes sense if one doesn't understand the nature of geology, the basics of mathematics or the business of oil production.

Of course there will always be oil, but even these writers admit it will become increasingly expensive. That is the point of the peak oil debate. It won't be much consolation to everyday people if they can't afford to use oil will it. But according to these writers that won't matter because the very wealthy will still be able afford it - right? Its like that apocryphal story about Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake" on hearing the poor could not get bread.

Ron – “Of course, all of the above aren't true. In fact, this is one reason researchers at Harvard are making the opposite predictions of the oil-peakers.”

I’m going keep trying a new tack that I hit one of our dissenting TODsters with but who hasn’t had the nerve to counter my proposition: PO has been proven beyond any reasonable denial. And by PO I do not mean some mythical date like 2005, 2015, or even 2035. I speaking about the POD. Yes, another new dang alphabet soup: Peak Oil Dynamic. Consider the condition of the global economy today as a result of high oil prices. Would conditions be any different whether in 50 years from now historians can tag the actual date of PO as this year or that? The world’s population has grown. Oil resource may have increased by some degree. But unless one calls upon the equally mythical speculators it seems unavoidable for one to accept the concept of POD. There is a clear reason for today’s higher oil prices IMHO: the POD.

What are the indicators of POD? High oil prices would seem obvious. But what about the sudden high oil prices of the late 70’s? Surely that wasn’t a manifestation of the POD? Or was it? Those high prices drove the entire planet into a deep recession. A deep recession that greatly reduced demand and thus reduced oil prices. But that would also be a part of the POD. We’ve flirted with that idea for a while: the PO (or POD, if you allow) world swings between higher and lower prices as the higher prices impact the world’s economy driving down demand and thus prices…to some degree. The magnitudes of those swings might vary significantly but the relationship appears solid.

Other indicators? Perhaps not the sole cause but certainly contributing: weak economic recoveries; continued high unemployment; increasing national debt; increasing inability to continue financing growing national debt as we’re see in some EU countries; increased military involvement in the various oil exporting regions; increased FF development in areas with little previous activity such as the shale plays; despite recent catastrophic events increased acceptance of FF development in environmentally sensitive areas such as the offshore areas in the DW GOM, Brazil, W. Africa and Arctic; increased economic value of shipping formerly stranded NG reserves half way around the world via LNG; increased calls for development of alternative energy sources despite their high costs; mandated higher fuel requirements for ICE’s; expectations by many for the eventual expansion of the coal use; increased acquisition of proven foreign FF reserves as we’ve seen China doing for the last 10+ years; increased border disputes over FF rights; increased destruction of FF infrastructure as a tactical and potentially strategic weapon against developed economies; increased political division/animosity between the pros and cons of FF development (“Let them freeze in the dark” and “Tax the damn oil companies into extinction); huge increases in capex expendatures for FF development being pulled from other areas of the economy; etc, etc.

Longer list then I expected. I’m sure some TODsters will add on. The more I thunk on it the more I felt we hit PO (the POD) about 30+ years ago. Especially in the US after we hit our personal PO. Reflect for a moment how the relationship between the US and the rest of the world has changed in the last 30 years or so. We’ve certainly became the world’s “policeman”. But not for the entire world. We protected the good folks of Kuwait but didn’t lift a significant finger to help the hundreds of thousands of Africans being slaughtered. We and NATO came to the aid of our Libyan brothers and then just sat back and watched 20,000 Syrian civilians be killed by their own govt. And don’t get me started on the homicidal maniac controlling Equatorial Guinea as long at the US and EU get to split their oil exports. Maybe just have to write off the inconsistency as a “good cop –bad cop” thingy.

And how long will the POD last? I guess we need to distinguish which countries we would describe. In any case it should last for many decades for all countries…some perhaps forever. After all, there are small undeveloped economies, many in Africa, that have been stifled by the POD from the beginning and will never be able to escape it. And what of the more advanced economies in the EU and west? Some may be able to make the transition through the end of the POD with greater conservation efforts and increased utilization of alts. But I can only imagine that to be a very slow and painful process with no certainty of ultimate success.

Although I remain a member of the Holy Order of the Plateaued I’m not sure the concept of an extended plateau has any real significance. The POD is with us now IMHO. Resistance isn’t futile. But will be rather difficult (if not impossible) until there’s more of a universal acceptance of the POD and the further acceptance that BAU cannot be maintained.

Folks are free to argue about the exact date of PO, plateau slopes, future net increases/decreases in oil production and URR global oil increases all they want. But the POD and Mother Earth couldn’t care less. This war started many years ago IMHO. Many body bags have already been filled with many more standing at the ready. In an odd way I see similar attitude by many Americans towards the POD as there was in the 30’s regarding the events in Europe: “War? What war?”

Rockman, thanks for the post and the explanation of POD. However... The high oil prices of the late 70s was entirely political. The high oil prices that began about 2003 or so was entirely geological. I could buy into your theory except I would say it is only about a decade old, not three decades old.

And how long will the POD last? I guess we need to distinguish which countries we would describe. In any case it should last for many decades for all countries…some perhaps forever.

You lost me there Rockman. I am not sure what you are talking about. No, if what is happening right now is POD then it will definitely not last for many decades. It could last for one decade, perhaps one and a half but my guess would be about 5 to 10 years, no more. By the time 2020 rolls around we will be living in a totally different world. Well, those of us who are still living will be fighting to stay alive in a totally different world. And it will be all countries on earth, not just a few of them.

Ron P.

Ron - No problamo. I’m still trying to flesh out the POD skeleton. For instance: “The high oil prices of the late 70s was entirely political.” I wouldn’t disagree. But where did that political leverage come from? If the US were importing little or no oil would the price spike had happened? Iranian stirring the sh*t pot? No problem: send the 6th Fleet in and take out every well, pipeline, tank farm and loading facility. And POOF! There goes the political leverage up in smoke. The KSA complains? Have a flight of Hornets buzz the king’s palace. And once again: POOF! No more complaints.

See if the POD works better this way. You’re explaining that PO hit in 2005 to a J6P. He doesn’t understand: how could the world have reached max oil production at that time if, on December 23, 2008, WTI fell to $30.28/bbl? The lowest price in about the last 10 years. Obviously doesn’t make sense: if that’s the PO world you’re trying to warn him about he sees no reason for concern.

Of course, most here can understand why it happened. It didn’t happen in spite of PO, IMHO, but because of PO. Or, more properly, the POD. This is the heart of the dynamics at play as I see it. It’s the constant interaction of oil production capabilities, oil prices and oil consumption as influenced by demand which is regulated by economic activity. That’s the POD and thus PO, and whatever date it actually occurs, is just one parameter in this calculus.

Here’s a strange question regarding the POD. Theoretically, let’s assume PO happened sometime during 2005. But now let’s alter the model and assume it didn’t and won’t until 2025. How different would our world look today?

Hint: it’s a trick question. Our world would look exactly as it does because nothing would have changed. The oil that was produced still would have been produced. Prices would be the same as they have been. Who, on the entire planet, would have conducted their business any differently if they believed PO hit in 2005 or will hit in 2025? IMHO no one. I doubt a single person who invested a $1 in solar cares what date PO actually happens. They considered current circumstances and their expectations of the future. Any of you solar junkies correct me if I’m wrong: would you have not bought your panels (or EV vehicle or whatever) if someone had convinced you PO wouldn't hit until 2025? All the events transpired since 2005 would have happened just as they have IMHO. Did anyone increase or decrease their oil consumption because they accepted a 2005 PO? Or assumed a 2025 PO? Or maybe never even considered if PO ever did or ever will happen in any choices they’ve made? IOW are decisions being made today based upon the assumed date of PO or based upon all the circumstances we see surrounding us every day?

Remember the basic premise where this conversation started some time ago: does the accuracy, or inaccuracy, of any prediction of the date of PO have any bearing on how we deal with the current global energy situation? Or put another way: many TODters have offered their personal plans for dealing with PO as well as ideas how society might collectively deal with PO. Would any of those thoughts be altered if undeniable proof that PO won’t happen until 2025? Or is everyone looking at the current dynamics (my fledgling POD) and developing ideas accordingly?

Think about it: there have been a great many chats on TOD about the various aspects of the POD. We just never had a name for it. How many times have the feedback loop between oil prices and demand been discussed? IOW why would it matter if we hit PO if prices reach a level where there’s sufficient amount of oil on the market for those who can AFFORD THE PRICE? Or, more specifically, if oil reaches $150/bbl do you doubt there won’t be plenty of oil to purchase? There would be a glut of oil in the market place even if PO hit in 2005...don’ you think?

“No, if what is happening right now is POD then it will definitely not last for many decades.” If my POD concept isn’t just a pain induced rambling (bad MS day. LOL) then the POD has been working for about 4 decades so far and it’s easy for me to imagine continuing for some decades into the future. OK...time for another aspirin...or two.

So some of the factors to consider when predicting oil production and prices are:

- rate of decline of existing fields,
- technology for enhanced recovery of known reserves,
- discovery of new fields,
- new technology allowing exploitation of new reserves, known and unknown,
- substitution by close substitutes such as shale oil, tar sands,
- substitution by other energy sources, such as solar, wind,
- conservation,
- demand destruction caused by higher prices of oil,
- demand destruction caused by lower prices of other energy supplies,
- demand destruction caused by economic recession,
- diversion of supply to internal use in exporting countries,
- political action to embargo exports from exporting countries,
- political action to embargo imports to importing countries,
- political action to subvert local control of oil in exporting countries,
- political action to affect economic and/or financial activities in other countries,
- military actions against exporting countries.

This has all the makings of an excellent multiplayer, networked, electronic game.

Merrill - And wouldn't the use of "the POD" save a lot of typing as you just endured? An important factor for 2-finger typers like me. LOL.

The high oil prices of the 1970s were caused in part by geological factors. The United States reached its own peak around 1970 which left it vulnerable to OPEC oil embargoes. From what I've read OPEC tried constraining supply in the late 1960s in reaction to the 6 day war, but this achieved nothing as America still had some swing supply. After 1970 this was no longer the case.

And you would expect peak oil to produce to produce periods of low prices due to demand destruction. The overall trend though would be up, up, up.

Chris - And now that makes two in the new POD family. Maybe 2 ½ if we count Merrill. We’re on our way to developing a pod of PODsters. Yeah!!!

I'm trying to get up to speed. Make that 2.75.

ewak – Close enough…we have a quorum!!! LOL. It’s really not a big deal. Not a new concept as such. Just a short hand like ROR, PO or WTF. We are always talking about all the different components of the POD as Merrill just ran thru. I just thought it would save words but more importantly get us away from worrying so much about dates, URR estimates, future oil price guesses, etc. We’ve been facing the repercussions of diminishing energy resources for decades regardless of the exact nature of the components I just pointed out.

I figure if we don’t fully appreciate the complexity of the issue (it’s not just about production rates or even just prices) than how can we develop a viable response? It’s a complex differential calculus equation. Which I readily admit to having just squeaked by as an undergrad. LOL.

No mention of PO in this article or the comments.
Everybody always wants to blame 'sombody',when the POD is the root cause of the sagging economy and the 'woes' of the middle class.
People need to realize the days of cheap oil are gone,deal with it. Power down.

On a per capita basis we hit peak oil in the 1970s.

aardi - Thanks. Haven't seen that chart in a while. Some might take it as support for the POD being in progress for several decades already.

Note that the graph is based on numbers which include NGPLs. It would look worse if it was C&C only.

Rockman, I think this is very good. I have been a peak oiler for about forty years in the sense that I thought the plateau would be about now. I was writing about it in the 1970s. I think you have captured the complexity and at the same time to cut through to the essence. I am a fan of the POD.

Qatargas' Train 7 LNG plant shuts for new motor

DUBAI, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Qatargas' 7.8 million tonne per year liquefied natural gas production facility has been shut down because it needs a new motor, the world's largest LNG supplier said on Thursday. "Train 7 is currently shut down and will remain so while an electrical motor is being replaced," the company said in a statement. "The unit was automatically and safely shutdown and will be restarted as soon as the necessary equipment has been replaced. Qatargas is in close contact with its customers and mitigation actions are in place."

Virus Shuts RasGas Office Computers, LNG Output Unaffected

Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co., a Qatari LNG producer, said a virus has shut down part of its computer system since Aug. 27. Desktop computers in company offices were affected by the bug, while operational systems at onshore and offshore installations are secure, a company official said today by phone from Doha. The virus hasn’t affected production or cargoes, said the official, who declined to be named citing company policy.


OT _ From Public Libary - Minimal damage to grid but still no power & no trucks working on the six faults in my zip code. 3 trucks for half a day and 13,000 customers (x2 = people) with power.

Not happy with Entergy.


I suspect its more the difficulty of marshalling resources when there is so much water around. I expect that hoards of linemen (getting paid time and a half from the moment they receive the call) will be descending on the storm hit areas. These sorts of events are opportunities they wait for.
Climate Chaos equals tons of overtime for linemen.

Seems getting on towards a million people in Louisiana are still without power

South Louisiana power outages down to 400,000

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s Public Service Commission said more than 443,000 customers remained without electricity around Louisiana on Saturday morning, days after Hurricane Isaac crept across the state.

Outages had peaked at more than 900,000 at one point.

The outages come during sweltering Louisiana weather. There have been complaints from some that the restoration work is taking too long.

Hoping you don't have too long a wait.

Seems getting on towards a million people in Louisiana are still without power

Perhaps as climate change continues to wreak havoc on our electrical grids more people will become a tad less critical about the intermittentcy of solar and wind...

Best hopes!


A reasonable best guess is power back Monday or Tuseday.

Orleans Parish has 30% of the outages (early - higher % now) and has been assigend 9% of the trucks.

Allocation of resoruces will not be "fair" during power down.

time almost up


Alan - how has the FEMA response been?

Good luck, Alan; here's hoping that your service is restored sooner than expected, and that we can come up with less disruptive ways to power down.

I'm currently working on a lighting proposal for a community college that uses about as much electricity as a small town. The lighting is already T8 and thus reasonably energy efficient, but there's always room for improvement.

For example, some of the hallways are illuminated by direct/indirect fixtures (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1756.jpg). This type of hardware is becoming increasingly popular, but fixture efficacy is appallingly poor. I hope to replace these with volumetric parabolics that will supply slightly less light, but still more than adequate for the task at hand; that are equally pleasing to the eye, perhaps even more so; and that, most importantly, use two-thirds less energy.

The classrooms, labs, workshops, administrative areas and just about everything else utilize 3-lamp parabolics (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1765.jpg) or prismatics (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1766.jpg), all of which are dual switched, i.e., when you flick the first switch, the centre lamp comes on, and when you flick its companion, the two outer lamps illuminate. I hope to replace these with 2-lamp volumetric parabolics equipped with a step ballast; thus, when you flick the first switch, both lamps illuminate at half-power and the second switch kicks things to 100 per cent. Fixture load here will drop in half, with no discernible loss in light output. Moreover, we can standardize on a single fixture that will provide a visually pleasing and uniform look from one end of the campus to the other.

If all goes well, I hope to squeeze-out several hundred kW of load.



If you are really unlucky you might have Hurricane Leslie paying a close visit in about a week.

Tracking at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at201212_5day.html

I've got the remnants of Hurricane Kirk heading roughly in my direction.

Thanks for the heads-up, Undertow. It certainly looks like Leslie has us in her sights.

See: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/hurricane/track_e.html

Our propane bottle was swapped-out last week because its certification had expired and I noticed that the gauge on the replacement tank shows 0 litres. I'll have to give our supplier a call to get that sorted out.

Good luck with Kirk.


Yikes. Down here in Liverpool. If it's warm, I might go to the beach and check out the waves.

Paul, might you know of and like to recommend a local green architect, say, local to the province or at most a couple of them away?

Sorry, ToP, I don't, but you might contact these folks to see if they can help you out: http://nsaa.ns.ca/main.html


Ah yes, good, that's where I've already been and have a few bookmarked, so thanks. If all goes well, maybe I'll consult you for lighting.

Glad to hear you are OK.

When the power failed, did they just let parts fail due to weather interaction or was there a deliberate plan to shut down as conditions worsened?


Low hanging fruit:

In 1861, just two years after Drake's discovery in Pennsylvania, workmen cutting logs in Moody's Gulch near Lexington in Santa Clara County cut down a giant redwood that was so large that it gouged a deep hole when it struck the ground. When the tree was removed, the seeped full of a dark liquid. Suspecting that the liquid was crude, some of the lumbermen scooped out some and put in a lamp. When the lamp was lit, it burned brightly.

From the book "Early California Oil."

What ever happened to thrift as personal and societal asset?
My very conservative parents, who grew up in the Depression and were not far removed from America's agrarian past, constantly yelled at me to turn off the lights and not to waste food.
Today's conservatives claim the longer-lasting CFL lightbulb is a commie plot.
Wall Street in no longer a place for long-term modest growth -- it's a gambling casino.
Did we lose it after World War II, or in the Roaring Twenties?
In any event, consumerism is alien to most of American history.

That was a paradox for me when I first started paying a little attention to politics. I wondered why they were called "conservatives" if they didn't want to conserve anything.

Ehh... all we need is another war or terrorist attack so we can all go shopping again. That'll fix it.

Did we lose it after World War II, or in the Roaring Twenties?

Mostly after the Depression, I think. People who are thrifty don't buy much stuff. When people don't buy stuff, other people don't sell stuff. When people don't sell stuff, still other people don't make stuff to sell. One of the lessons of the Depression seemed to be that too much thrift was a bad thing, incompatible with full employment.

I'm currently re-reading Richard Heinberg's book, The End of Growth. By coincidence, I happen to be on the very page where he says, "The strategies that individuals should be pursuing to prepare for the end of growth (disengaging from consumerism, getting out of debt, becoming more self-sufficient) are things that -- if everyone did them -- would keep the economy from recovering and would push us further into recession."

"(disengaging from consumerism, getting out of debt, becoming more self-sufficient) are things that -- if everyone did them -- would keep the economy from recovering and would push us further into recession.""

Ha! I'm doing my best to do my part. Seems 'we' have a conundrum; running out of stuff to make stuff...

I wonder why Heinberg and his ilk don't harp on the obvious- that most of what we do is useless or worse, and shouldn't be done at all? Spinning our wheels ever more violently to destroy our planet and do nothing but put "money" in the hands of the money lenders

Keep economy from recovering? Recovering from what? THAT economy should never recover, and should never have even existed.

If we did what we should be doing, and not what we are doing, we would all be happier, and less busy. Call that a recession? I call it a recovery.

Well said.

The 'where did we go wrong' question is a good one.

Could it be that the dissemination of propaganda hit a tipping point of effectiveness commensurate with the growth of mass media?

Awareness of human nature and psychology, combined with radio and television and print and smoking-women-in parades promotions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_public_relations) allowed folks with something to sell to overcome our better natures?

In other words, ads on TV work, and they work better when you don't even pay attention to them. Base manipulation of our human natures works. We've figured that out.

Television huckster and also politician Reagan seems to me the culmination of style over substance. Look presidential, be white and tall and male, lie a lot, stick your lower jaw out,and get elected. Promise, just like Mitt, to raise defense spending, cut taxes, and shrink the deficit. Politicians learned from hucksters how to sell themselves.

We touch on this at TOD in other conversations - we're destined to keep breeding. We choose short term gain over having a long term environment that will keep us alive.

I suspect if people unplugged from our societal propaganda outlets, our society would shift quite radically. Outlooks would lengthen, values would shift.

It's really obvious how susceptible we are to the crap that is pitched. Some idiot on TV wears bright orange shoes and a week later thousands of individuals are making a statement by wearing orange shoes. Then NPR will story on how cute orange shoes are and how some starving family in Malaysia has reached upper lower class status thanks to all of our orange shoe purchases.

Some things are 'in our natures' as humans. Whether we choose to pursue them is a choice. As a society we have chosen. We can't have fairness and health and a functioning ecosystem, if we also choose to trade in lots of shiny trinkets for everybody. Our economy, this economy, relies on it. Please please please, bring on the mother of all recessions and let us try another way!

A very very good post. I would also add that the sophistication of propaganda techniques has greatly improved. I think this is the primary factor. It didn't happen so much when we first got mass media. Only more recently when well funded groups with their own agendas started using the best psychology to hone their methods. We could have combatted it, if we taught psychology and critical thinking to the masses. But, we never even tried that.

Pt. II I thought about what I said while doing the dishes:

So given human nature, what do we do now?

How does a minority reverse this situation?

Will slick propaganda continue to trump reasoned arguments? In the current environment - yes. So change the current environment, or disengage and go it alone.

How does one change a system that is aware to threats upon its own existence and has means to effectively rally majority opposition to reform (includes dissemination of lies all the way up to murder)?

PS George, above, eloquently and effectively states what I was attempting to convey - "What he said!"

So given human nature, what do we do now?

For one, I'd say lots of phone calls. ;)
(Read my previous comment.)

There's already a huge critical mass forming to tap as collapse/decline/unrest/disillusionment/etc. takes hold.

Corporate marketing was a trillion-dollar-a-year phenomenon in the USA by the early 1990s -- twice the size of all schooling put together.

Television is addictive, and attending to sponsored video screens and audio outlets is massively, increasingly dominant over the culture.

The competitive nature of capitalism makes its governing powers and privileges highly deniable.

Bottom line: Modern capitalists' control over human behavior would make Stalin and Hitler purple with envy.


"Texting while driving" is SICK on SO many levels!

At least where I live, it is also illegal, but that aside, please don't do it for your own sake and for the sake of whoever is sharing the road with you!



It's also illegal here in Portland, Oregon, but you'd never know it by watching!

Heinberg is great, I'm a fan. But yes, there's a line that's seldom crossed. It's in the interest of the earth and our species to have the economy collapse ASAP, and quite deeply, but actually calling for specific action to crash the economy would get your branded a terrorist in the popular media. (notwithstanding the fact that terror has nothing to do with it; it's a handy epithet, a handy criminalization). So spokespersons for sanity must tapdance inside the lines or face some level of personal risk. Any attempt to create a campaign to drastically slow down the economy would bring a lot of heat to bear on those trying it, from legal harassment to lynching.

Anything that doesn't seem at least a bit dangerously radical is probably too far into the comfort zone. There's a planet at stake and a mass extinction in progress, and an eery calmness prevails.

We're very, very comfortable.

One wonder if some sort of cyber-criminal could break into some critical systems and bring down - say - stop electricity and the banking system globally for a while. And then the whole system begins to unravel. Would be 100% violence free, also no property damage.
Then in the after effects, there would be a lot of violence and damage to property, but thats another issue.

Morris Berman argues that making as much fiat money as possible and wasting and consuming as much as possible is actually the perfect, ultimate expression of Americanism.

He's written books about it and actually got so fed up with America that he moved to Mexico. So I do take his opinion seriously, even though he is overly negative even by my standards.

Among my favorite Morris Berman quotes (I am not American) is:

Regardless of race, religion, historical background, or country of origin, everybody in the United States is effectively a protestant capitalist individualist whose life is grounded in the ideology of an expanding market economy. When it comes down to the basics, America is about as diverse as a one-string guitar.

I think this is the explanation.

In a 1927 interview with the magazine Nation’s Business, Secretary of Labor James J. Davis provided some numbers to illustrate a problem that the New York Times called “need saturation.” Davis noted that “the textile mills of this country can produce all the cloth needed in six months’ operation each year” and that 14 percent of the American shoe factories could produce a year’s supply of footwear. The magazine went on to suggest, “It may be that the world’s needs ultimately will be produced by three days’ work a week.”

This was seen as a problem - a threat to the power of big business, and there was also fear that people who had too much leisure time would cause trouble.

The answer?

By the late 1920s, America’s business and political elite had found a way to defuse the dual threat of stagnating economic growth and a radicalized working class in what one industrial consultant called “the gospel of consumption”—the notion that people could be convinced that however much they have, it isn’t enough. President Herbert Hoover’s 1929 Committee on Recent Economic Changes observed in glowing terms the results: “By advertising and other promotional devices . . . a measurable pull on production has been created which releases capital otherwise tied up.” They celebrated the conceptual breakthrough: “Economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied.”

Greed is an infinite resource. If we are ingenious enough to learn to extract it, we can go on forever.

I have watched a BBC program about Sigmund Freud's brother, his disciple and called ' the father of modern marketing '. He started off promoting Enrico Caruso's US tour and that success convince America tobacco companies to hire him because only men smoked at that time. He organized the nascent women's groups via a parade in NYC. At a given intersection, photographers were alerted to a special event. Debutantes stopped and lit up cigarettes, called 'freedom sticks, and cigarette sales doubled.

Continuing his success, he managed to make stiff necked Cal Coolidge into Cool Cal, promoted WW1 and was the only American invited to the rail car along with the President Wilson. He also helped the above textile mills by having actresses tell women, "Ladies, you need more than one dress".

He lived until recently and sneered at US consumers as utterly easy to manipulate en masse. He figured out subliminal advertising and propaganda and essentially changed the face of America. His daughter said he despised Americans.

His daughter said he despised Americans.

Well. Every master villian has to have one redeeming characteristic.

In addition to what Leanan says, the documentaries of Adam Curtis - such as The Century of the Self, which explores the work of propagandist the father of public relations, Edward Bernays, who used his uncle Sigmund Freud's techniques upon the masses - are fascinating.

The Republicans and Democrats have completely different economic programs:

- Republicans advocate reviving and accelerating unsustainable production.

- Democrats advocate reviving and accelerating unsustainable consumption.

Servers Too Hot? Intel Recommends a Luxurious Oil Bath

You want to know a fast way to cool down a computer? Dunk it in a big tank of mineral oil.

That’s a technique that Intel has been testing out over the past year, running servers in little oil-filled boxes built by an Austin, Texas, company called Green Revolution Cooling. As Gigaom reported on Friday, it turns out that once you take out the PC’s fans and seal up the hard drives, oil-cooling a server works out pretty well.

In its tests, Green Revolution’s CarnotJet cooling system used a lot less energy than their air-cooled counterparts, Dr. Mike Patterson, a power and thermal engineer with Intel, tells Wired. Intel found that oil-cooled systems only needed another 2 or 3 percent of their power for cooling. That’s far less than your typical server, which has a 50 or 60 percent overhead. The world’s most efficient data centers — those run by Google or Facebook, for example — can get that number down to 10 or 20 percent.

Large transformers are often oil cooled.

I'm surprised by the claimed overhead for cooling standard servers, though I know that server class computers often come with a battery of high reving cooling fans.

The server room/building A/C is the major load, the fans just get the heat out of the server, then you've got to do something with it. Server farms tend to be among my larger distribution customers.

Some of the "power gamers", i.e. guys who usually overclock their CPU and GPU resulting in a huge increase of heat production, used for years an aquarium filled with sun flower oil to run a cheap and silent "case free" computer.

My bet, these guys are now grown-ups and work in server farms :-)

Years ago I worked on lasers that had components that were immersed in something like mineral oil (in this case it was to prevent the high-voltage from arcing), and any sort of maintenance was quite a mess and nuisance. Then again, I have never really understood the gamer mentality.

On "client" systems, the trend has been to lower and lower power consumption (think of a smartphone as the latest in this trend).

A couple of months ago, I was swapping out the CPUs on a computer, and what really struck me were the size of the heat sinks attached to the CPUs. Each heat sink was roughly a cube 4 inches on a side, and there were two of them. Some sort of fluid based heat sink (not unlike a car radiator) would probably be more effective without the mess of dunking the whole thing in mineral oil.

I would note that a true "server" machine is likely to be headless - a minimal video card for maintenance that is unused most of the time. The CPU is likely to be the only major heat source in such a machine.

The ultimate case of this was more than twenty years ago. The CRAY-2 was designed to run immersed in synthetic blood (no kidding) as a heat transfer medium. This flowinert -I think it was called, could also carry oxygen, reportedly you could drown a person in it (I doubt it was ever done with a human), and he could keep breathing......

The just-announced IBM zEnterprise EC12 continues to use water to cool the processors. At minimum, the closed loop cooling water is sent to a radiator, and the heat is dumped into the data center air. Alternatively, water to water heat exchangers can be used to dump the heat into the data center's chilled water system. When using data center chilled water, an air to water heat exchanger can also be fitted to remove the heat generated by other system components.

This strategy is applicable to processors optimized for single thread performance. The IBM's clock is over 5 GHz. There is an opposing trend of maximizing overall productivity and system energy efficiency by using many low power cores.

Some of the z-series use a refrigerant, complete with a compressor. A scaled down heat pump.

Hardcore gamers have been doing things like this since about the time the Pentium II processor came available. Slashdot used to carry articles about people placing entire mainboards in various fluid baths and then picking through half a dozen different brands of RAM in order to find which one provided the absolute tip top performance.

This is interesting based on the macro trends in the field. People are moving services from machines they own to the various cloud computing services. I have three physical servers that have to be present in their current locations because they collect data from other systems where they are located. The other six machines I use are a mix, three are virtual private servers, so my stuff is a slice of a much larger machine. The last three are pure cloud based systems. The difference between VPS and cloud is that you can execute an administrative procedure and enlarge/shrink the disk, RAM, and processor count at will.

I expect what we are going to see will be datacenters with inert fluid distribution networks that provide a loop shaped drop in each rack, much the way -48v DC power is distributed. Blade style systems will converge on a standard quick disconnect system that limits leakage to a drop or two when they are uncoupled. A datacenter with half the energy cost of competitors is going to crush competitors who don't adopt these features.

Another trend we will see is datacenters in northern climates winning out over their southern peers. If I had to open a facility today I'd look at Buffalo, NY, Green Bay, WI, or Duluth, MN. They are big enough to have a technical population, without the competition for talent that Seattle offers. I'd look for lakefront property and permitting needed for a cooling loop into the lake. It should be possible to eliminate most of the cooling costs.

I was digging for stats on computer electrical use vs cooling as a percentage of total power and I found this gem. Apparently systems in the Netherlands can be cooled 354 days a year with this thing, cutting cooling costs by 70%


I expect what we are going to see... Another trend we will see is... based on the macro trends...
...moving services from machines... to the various cloud computing services... three physical servers... collect data from other systems... other six machines... three are virtual private servers... a slice of a much larger machine... pure cloud based systems... VPS and cloud... execute an administrative procedure and enlarge/shrink the disk, RAM, and processor count at will... datacenters with inert fluid distribution networks... loop shaped drop in each rack... -48v DC power... Blade style systems will converge on a standard quick disconnect system... A datacenter... a cooling loop... stats on computer electrical use vs cooling as a percentage of total power... cooled 354 days a year...
~ Hill Rat

How The Internet Will Die

Creeping normalcy is the key to understanding the likely trajectory of the Internet...

The Internet, just like the Easter Island societies, is a system that is vulnerable to collapse. Unlike the Easter Island societies, however, it is complex to the point of abstraction. I’m not sure how many people realise just how astonishingly complex the system is, relying on everything from advanced communication protocols and encryption programs to giant trans-nationally interconnected industries spawning increasingly hard to manufacture hardware and the armies of trained technicians... needed to keep the whole thing growing. And, of course, you can’t talk about the Internet without also mentioning the inconvenient fact that it consumes more electricity than many entire countries (in the US alone it uses more energy than the auto industry)...

Was years ago I first saw a picture on the web featuring a PC floating around in oilas a cooling system. No news, but nice if they finally scale it up to comercial aplications.

Yep, wouldn't want to be the one to swap out the RAM though ;)

Kay at BPA posted this "impressive" USDA drought disaster map (small PDF)!

Hawaii is in drought too!

The legend makes no sense at all.

Click the link to the Pdf file and zoom in!

It looks the same, just magnified. I see Texas has only two contiguous counties, they don't border each other so they are using an unfamiliar definition of contiguous. All the other counties in Texas are primary counties, whatever that means. I get that it all has something to do with drought disasters, but precisely what is unclear.

The primary counties (red) are in drought. The contiguous counties (orange) are adjacent to counties that are in drought(red). The white counties are counties that are neither in drought nor adjacent to counties that are in drought.

Edit: LOL! Well duh! Looks like lowtech architect has it nailed. TKS!

How can counties that are all desert have a drought disaster?

How can counties that are all desert have a drought disaster?

Easy! Deserts are not completely devoid of precipitation and do support varied ecosystems.

A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than 400 millimetres (16 in).[1] A common definition distinguishes between true deserts, which receive less than 250 millimetres (10 in) of average annual precipitation, and semideserts or steppes, which receive between 250 millimetres (10 in) and 400 to 500 millimetres (16 to 20 in).[1][2] Source Wikipedia

So just imagine a region that normally receives 12 in of precipitation annually receiving much less than that. You now have drought disaster conditions for that desert!

Having spent about half my sixty years in lands that would be described as step, I would turn the question around: How could a place that normally gets sixty inches a year be described as in drought when it only got 40?

In the same way that a growing economy can be in recession if it is growing slower than expected.

Also from Kay at BPA regarding the reality of substituting Distillers Grain (DDGS ) for corn...

The following paragraph is a rebuttal to Bob Dinneen, President of the Renewable Fuels Association, after Bob touted how wonderful DDGS product is (distillers grain product is what’s left-over from the ethanol process) in a Platts Energy video discussion. Michael Formica doesn’t share Dinneen’s enthusiasm for the product…

"Talk about misleading. So this is like going to the fair and ordering a hot dog and just getting the bun. Our producers want to get corn. They value the corn for the energy in the corn, for the starch in the corn. The ethanol industry takes 70 percent by volume of the corn and removes it and gives us basically the hulls of the corn. Now, true, it’s valuable as a protein. That doesn’t replace corn, that replaces the soybean. Also, while the cattle industry can use it, its really a substitute for fiber. There’s very limited use for hog farmers. They can use up to 20 percent for a small period of time. The poultry industry can’t use it at all."

—Michael Formica, Chief Environmental Council, National Pork Producers Council from a video discussion on Platts Energy titled “The Ethanol Debate” from August 19, 2012.

Norway's oil pay bonanza a ticking time bomb

"Paid more than the average American CEO, Norway's oil workers are demanding an even bigger bounty, threatening strikes and chewing away at the competitiveness of a vital European oil and gas supplier.

...The average (Norwegian) oil worker makes $180,300 a year, the highest anywhere in the world, recruiting firm Hays said in a report. That's $93,000 more than a similar UK worker makes and above the $177,000 pay for the average U.S. CEO."

Wow! I knew they had inflated prices over there, but I had no idea.

One possible advantage to declining EROEI is the legion of skilled workers needed to extract remaining reserves. If a large portion of the workforce is engaged in extracting fossil fuels, and they make and spend good wages, that actually could hang together for awhile.

Yupp. Many coworkers of mine have gone to Norway to make buckloads of money. The norwegians are good at paying for good stuff. All their equipment is top of the line. But they have little actuall craftmans experience, and work surpricingly ineffectivly. That is where us swedish workers come into the picture. I have considered going there many times but never got to it. Themoney you got forworking on an oilfield is ridicoulosly high. But then everything is expensive there to. The generalrule when makingmoney in Norway is to bring in food from Sweden, where prices are much lower. Or else you will eat up your salary.

The average (Norwegian) oil worker makes $180,300 a year, the highest anywhere in the world.

Wow! No wonder my (Canadian) relatives are so popular in the international oil industry. Not only are they willing to work for less money, but they're better educated, harder working, friendlier, and better looking too.

(I'm just kidding about that. My relatives come from Norwegian ancestry so they look just about the same.)

U.S. Companies Brace for an Exit From the Euro by Greece

Even as Greece desperately tries to avoid defaulting on its debt, American companies are preparing for what was once unthinkable: that Greece could soon be forced to leave the euro zone.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.

No one knows just how broad the shock waves from a Greek exit would be, but big American banks and consulting firms have also been doing a brisk business advising their corporate clients on how to prepare for a splintering of the euro zone. That is a striking contrast to the assurances from European politicians that the crisis is manageable and that the currency union can be held together. On Thursday, the European Central Bank will consider measures that would ease pressure on Europe’s cash-starved countries.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable.

Nothing to see here folks, everything is fine, move along now please, thank you.

On the other hand I think "The Grand Convoy Robbery" might be a great plot for an action thriller.

Funny, Fred.

My first thought upon reading that was that the "Grand Convoy" would probably BE a robbery. If BofA/Merrill can figure a way to rob somebody(ies) in the midst of confusion and panic, surely they will. It is, after all, what they do.


Greetings Leanan!

Long time no chat. You may remember me from the Peak Oil Forum. Other TOD members of the commentariat also may remember my Nom de Plume. :)

Just registered here on TOD, resultant from a recent discussion on the theory of Catabolic Collapse of John Michael Greer. Discussion in that topic is apparently closed now.

Anyhow, for all Old Friends from Peak Oil, I would like to invite you all to the Doomstead Diner, an Industrial Civilization Collapse Blog and Forum dedicated to principles of Free Speech on the Internet.

You can find the Diner at http://doomsteaddiner.org

The Diner features the ability of all Commenters to create their own threads, as well as place Multimedia like Graphics and YouTube Videos into all their posting. No commentary is ever Censored on the Diner (except for clear SPAM).

Come on over to the Diner and join the fray as we hash out the implications of Industrial Civilization Collapse at the End of the Age of Oil.


Threads automatically close for comments here after a week (I think). It's an anti-spam measure. Generally, a thread more than a few days old is no longer active. Spammers swoop in after people are no longer reading the thread and fill it up with spam.

If there's still an active discussion, I can open up the comments again, or you can bring the discussion forward. (Generally, I discourage bringing old discussions into new threads, but if the original thread is old enough that it's closed for comments, it's different.)

I never close threads on the Diner. When Spammers show up to clog up a thread with Pharmaceutical Ads, I just eliminate whatever they got up and then Ban the IP Addy. Long as you have a few people monitoring this it is not hard to sweep out the SPAM as it shows up. It is annoying, but overall a tractable problem.

Is it possible here for Members to Originate threads? I could not find how to do that if it is possible. Seems all you can do is Comment on a thread already originated by yourself or a few others.


Long as you have a few people monitoring this it is not hard to sweep out the SPAM as it shows up. It is annoying, but overall a tractable problem.

It's more difficult here. This is a blog, not a message board. We've got a huge database of articles now, and posts with new comments don't "pop to the top" as they do with the message board system. So spam would go unnoticed for years before we started "age-ing out" comments. Just because of the structure of this site, there's no point in leaving comments open forever.

Is it possible here for Members to Originate threads?

No. Call us elitist, but we've decided we want quality rather than quantity, and that means strict control over the articles that are posted here. Even those on staff cannot get their articles posted unless they get enough votes from the other editors. (Drumbeat excepted, of course.)

Very limited system, IMHO. You can have both Quality & Quantity by marrying Blogs and Message Boards. You can maintain editorial control over the Blog while allowing members to begin their own threads on the Forum. That is how I have the Diner set up.

Also, you never miss SPAM as it gets dropped on the Forum, since it queues to the top of the list of most recent posts.You knock it down as soon as it gets posted up.

Anyhow I notice you are cross posting some of Gail's articles, who should I submit mine to here?


Very limited system, IMHO.

We know that, and we're fine with it. Our intent is not be an "everything bagel" - all things to all people. We are what we are. People who come here are here because they like what we are. People who don't like it can go elsewhere, or set up their own sites.

Why should we try to do what you're doing, when you're already doing it?

Anyhow I notice you are cross posting some of Gail's articles, who should I submit mine to here?

Use the editors address (on the right sidebar).

However, the standards for accepting articles are fairly high, and the acceptable topics somewhat narrow. Don't be upset if you are turned down.

"Why should we try to do what you're doing, when you're already doing it?"-Leanan

Because it would improve the experience of the Commentariat and provide more information accessibility to your readership.

"However, the standards for accepting articles are fairly high, and the acceptable topics somewhat narrow."-Leanan

I have read through a number of articles here and I can't figure out exactly what the standards are or what fits the category of acceptable topics. The quality varies tremendously, and the range of topics isn't that narrow far as I can tell. Do you have a style sheet you can send me?


Because it would improve the experience of the Commentariat and provide more information accessibility to your readership.

I disagree. The internet provides plenty of information, and plenty of opportunity for free speech. Far more than any one person can make use of. What people are looking for is a gatekeeper. Some people want stricter gatekeepers than others, but that's what you're really selling when you put up a web site: a gatekeeper.

I have read through a number of articles here and I can't figure out exactly what the standards are or what fits the category of acceptable topics. The quality varies tremendously, and the range of topics isn't that narrow far as I can tell. Do you have a style sheet you can send me?

You'll have to ask the editors. I have nothing to do with the key posts. I only do the Drumbeat.

I will say our structure and focus changed recently - within the last year or two. So look at recent articles, not the older ones. I believe the idea is to focus more narrowly on oil and energy, and also to provide more solid data and analysis, rather than the more speculative stuff.

"I disagree. The internet provides plenty of information, and plenty of opportunity for free speech. Far more than any one person can make use of. What people are looking for is a gatekeeper. Some people want stricter gatekeepers than others, but that's what you're really selling when you put up a web site: a gatekeeper."-Leanan

I could not disagree with this more.

Free Speech exists almost nowhere on the Internet, certainly not in the Blogosphere Commentariats. I not only was regularly Censored on Peak Oil, I was Banned not once but TWICE from that Forum. Similarly Banned on Market Ticker and The Burning Platform as well. I gather from recent action here that some of the Commentariat have been either Censored or Banned as well. How is that Free Speech? I suspect I will be banned here as well, but until I am banned I will elucidate this for you.

MOST commenters have neither the time, energy or expertiese to run their own Blogs/Forums. So if/when they get BANNED, their Speech is SHUT UP. Each and every Blog has its own "Spin" and "Group Think" and if you deviate from it too far and persist in deviate thinking, you get accused of "Trolling".

You cannot get a full perspective on Peak Oil or the Economic spin down so long as you persist in this type of Censorship. I have been the victim of such censorship more times than I can count, but unlike most "Trolls" I do have expertiese enough and time and energy enough to create an alternative Forum for Free Expression and Discussion of the concepts underlying Peak Oil and the Economics of Industrialization.

You have a CHOICE as a Proprietor of a Newz Information Medium, either to provide Free Speech or to Limit Speech only to "approved thought". Long as you choose the latter alternative, you are simply doing Propaganda.

This is my last word on this subject here, I won't Troll you and make a nuisance of myself here. I will however post to Topic on the threads on this website as long as I am not CENSORED. When that occurs, you identify yourself as an Enemy of Fr4ee Speech on the Internet.


MOST commenters have neither the time, energy or expertiese to run their own Blogs/Forums.

This is simply not true. Anyone with Internet access can put up a blog for free, no expertise needed. Indeed, that is how this site started: as a free blog on Blogspot. If you have time to comment on another blog, you have time to post on your own. Heck, it's easier to post at Blogspot than it is to post here.

Each and every Blog has its own "Spin" and "Group Think" and if you deviate from it too far and persist in deviate thinking, you get accused of "Trolling".

I don't see anything wrong with that. Each site is different. You just have to find (or create) the one that suits you.

Be warned: this site is tightly moderated. Probably far more so than PeakOil.com. Our guidelines are here, but we also reserve the right to remove any comments for any reason. In particular, off-topic posts, political rants, and conspiracy stuff will probably be removed.

I am all for free speech on the Internet, but it doesn't all have to be here. As Nate put it, Gresham's Law applies: bad posters drive out the good ones. That's the reason we moderate this site.

I also think you're being somewhat naive. If you achieve any kind of success with your site, I suspect you'll find you have to censor some posts. Heck, even 4chan censors some things.

"I also think you're being somewhat naive. If you achieve any kind of success with your site, I suspect you'll find you have to censor some posts. Heck, even 4chan censors some things."-Leanan

Clearly you have not visited the Diner.

I have plenty of tools available to marginalize a persistent ******* without resorting to a Ban or Censoring a post. I've been at the game of board moderation since AOL days. Quite a bit before you ever got on the net moderating boards I am sure. Naive I am not.

ANYTHING that ANYONE has to say on the relevant topics can be posted on Doomstead Diner, and it does not stop good analysis from happening at the same time. All the tangents have some value, we have people analysing the perspectives from Fundamentalist Christian Perspective to New Age Philosophers and SERIOUS Conspiracy Theorists, you name it. There is MUCH more to consider in this dynamic than just EROEI or depletion rates.

I censor NOTHING besides clear Pharmaceutical SPAM really. You should try reading the Dirdy Birdy Chronicles to see that I not only will not Censor, I in fact will PROMOTE idiosyncratic arguments on the Diner.

Anyhow, as I said, I will not Troll you, I will just point out to you that the Banning and Censorship you are engaged in now is counterproductive. I am in the Bizness of trying to get the MESSAGE out of Industrial Civilization Collapse, so I do not want to get Banned here myself. You have to accept however that you ARE engaging in propaganda the way you run this website.


Sorry, had to censor your post. We don't allow profanity here.

RE - I can understand your frustration: "Free Speech exists almost nowhere on the Internet, certainly not in the Blogosphere Commentariats. I not only was regularly Censored on Peak Oil, I was Banned not once but TWICE from that Forum." But I think there's something very important that you and others who feel the same completely miss. Free speech also includes not being required to listen to someone else's speech. You have absolutely no right to express your opinions to me unless I choose to hear them. I'm free to have any conversation I want just as much as I'm free to not have that conversation. The Oil Drum, as well as nearly every other web site, is privately owned and was created for the benefit of a defined group. And each web site has the right to restrict membership as it wishes. If the Oil Drum only allowed folks over 6'4" with blue eyes to post on its site then that's as much about free speech as anything else IMHO. Those of us shorter types with brown eyes might not like those rules but that is the nature of freedom, isn't?

Someone doesn't have time or capability to build their own web site? So what? Where is it written that it must be so? If you owned a web site would you allow anyone to post if they didn't follow guidelines you set up? Or would you let the site go completely uncontrolled and allow anyone and everyone to post anything they wanted? I seriously doubt it. I, for one, hope you stay around. Conversations with opposing views are more interesting IMHO. I would hope you have the capability to structure your posts so they stay within the parameters that the OWNERS of TOD have established. If not I'm sure you can find other sites more accomidating.

"If you owned a web site would you allow anyone to post if they didn't follow guidelines you set up? Or would you let the site go completely uncontrolled and allow anyone and everyone to post anything they wanted? I seriously doubt it."-Rockman

I DO "own" a website Rockman, and I in fact DO allow "anyone and everyone" to post whatever they want! LOL. So your assumption and "serious doubt" is WRONG from the GET-GO. You just got no clue dude on how it can be done.

Come visit the Doomstead Diner and LEARN what Free Speech really means and how you can allow all perspectives to be heard, without BANNING and CENSORING the Commentariat.



I'd go so far as to say it's necessary to have some restrictions in order to create a space for reasonable discussion. As we see in the comments at MSM sites, the same old partisan liberal vs. conservative rants take over, driving out all other discussion, if you don't limit them.

We started out pretty much "everything goes" here, but as the site grew, it simply became untenable. In theory, the answer to bad speech is more speech; in practice, it doesn't work that way. At least, not on the Internet. On the net, the people who have the most time and inclination to post are often...um..."neurologically atypical"? I can't count the times I've sent someone a warning and got a reply along the lines of "Sorry, I'm on new meds and they're not working." They're on disability, and have nothing to do but post all day, and there's no way people who have jobs and families can keep up.

I'd go so far as to say you are WRONG, you just need to segregate discussions by type and by participants. You create separate categories for those who Napalm and those who write off toic and those who actually make intelligent and to topic commentary. You move the posting as necessary tot he approrpiate category. Readers can view what category pleases them to read. All the wirters can write what they want, all the readers can read what they want. Win-Win for all.


All the wirters can write what they want, all the readers can read what they want.

But that's kind of the point of having different sites on the net, isn't it?

We simply aren't interested in some topics and some posting styles. Why should we devote our time, energy, and money to supporting them? There's plenty of other places where people can post political rants, argue about whether AGW is real, debate 9/11 "truth," etc.

This site is designed to be easy for the staff to run. The theory being that whether peak oil looks like the Greater Depression or Mad Max, it's likely we are all going to have less time to babysit our blog.

It's a big Internet. There's room for your site as well as ours, and many others. Why not give people the choice? Why should we be like you? Vive la difference.

I am all for variety and "Vive la Differance", issue being that the Doomstead Diner is an Anomaly, it is not the NORM. Sites like TOD are the Norm, and these are the preponderance of sites that people seeking information arrive at as they awaken to the problems.

About ALL the most read sites engage in Censorship, I know Zero Hedge does I know y9ou do, I know The Automatic Earth does. It is exceedingly rare to find a site where Censorship is NOT engaged in reularly. Karl Denninger does it, and Peak Oil did it as well when you were Newz Editor there. So how can you make the case that there is "Free Speech" on the Internet when about every website BESIDES the Doomstead Diner engages in this sort of Propagandizing?

I am trying to motivate other Bloggers to be more FREE in speech, and I can show how to do it also without diminishing the Quality of your website. It truly angers me to se intelligent posters BANNED for "Trolling", mainly because they just do not buy the groupthink of the website. Its not abotu off color language, I got now problem with you putting a bunch of **** for a one of George Carlins Seven Dirty Words, it is about IDEAS beign censored. Valid Critiques of people liek John Michael Greer, who while he has a decent grasp of history also has his own spin he is promoting and his history is colored by that.

You told me in order to drop an article on TOD, I gotta meet some requirements which you do not really specify. You are publishing only what YOU think is valid. How can anyone get a complete perspective that way? Sure, you can bookmark 100 websites all with different spins, but again MOST people do not have time to surf through so many sites. If you just put up ONE spin, you are no better than the MSM and Rupert Murdoch.

Grow out of such a narrow perspective Leanan, it is not productive. It does not serve to rbing all thoughts TOGETHER, it it isolates rather than consolidates.

Anyhow, I am done tonight with making this case. Do as you will with TOD. I just see it as sad that on such a well read website you will pursue these policies when they are not necessary at all to pursue.


I am all for variety and "Vive la Differance", issue being that the Doomstead Diner is an Anomaly, it is not the NORM.

Perhaps this is because Doomstead Diner is not what most people want?

Valid Critiques of people liek John Michael Greer, who while he has a decent grasp of history also has his own spin he is promoting and his history is colored by that.

Valid critiques are fine. Just don't cross the line into personal attacks. And people who do stuff like create sockpuppets and post comments to support and attack themselves are likely to get the banhammer.

You told me in order to drop an article on TOD, I gotta meet some requirements which you do not really specify.

Sorry, but as I said, I really don't know what the requirements are. I am not on the board or the editorial staff (by my own choice), and I have never tried to submit an article myself. Asking me about it is like asking an Orthodox rabbi about the best way to cook bacon.

It does not serve to rbing all thoughts TOGETHER, it it isolates rather than consolidates.

I think it's the opposite. We've made a conscious decision to remain small. Everyone who posts here has to share the Drumbeat, and the result is an interesting synthesis that might not happen on a message board.

Perhaps this is because Doomstead Diner is not what most people want?-Leanan

On the contrary, just about everyone I have spoken with finds the type of censorship engaged in here to be damaging to its credibility, and are looking for alternatives. The Diner grows as a result of such censorship on sites like TOD, TAE and others.

I think it's the opposite. We've made a conscious decision to remain small. Everyone who posts here has to share the Drumbeat, and the result is an interesting synthesis that might not happen on a message board.-Leanan

You've made a CONSCIOUS choice to marginalize yourself and engage in Group Think? That is NUTS.


Think of it this way. We're a small specialty store. You want to know why we aren't trying to be Wal-Mart. Well, because we don't want to be Wal-Mart.

We're not for everyone. We've never been the biggest peak oil site on the net, nor the most accessible, and do not aspire to be. If that's what you want to be, go for it. I wish you all the success in the world, if only because maybe you'll draw off some of the spammers, trolls, scammers, nutburgers, industry shills, etc. that make moderation necessary.

Who's asking you to be Walmart? I'm asking you to stop CENSORING and BANNING commenters on your Blog who are doing nothing more than expressing a contrary opinion (albeit at some length, but then those articles you drop on are plenty long themselves).

Nor does the Diner aspire to be Walmart either, I like to think of it as a Smorgasbord where you can sample Caviar and Crepe Suzette, Potato Chips and Onion Dip, Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers, along with some dishes from Outer Space :) LOL. You pick what appeals to you.

Don't count on my saving you from "spammers, trolls, scammers, nutburgers, industry shills,etc". They don't last long on the Diner. I can out-Troll anybody. ;)


I'm asking you to stop CENSORING and BANNING commenters on your Blog who are doing nothing more than expressing a contrary opinion (albeit at some length, but then those articles you drop on are plenty long themselves).

I don't think I do that, but why do you care? You have your own site. Run it as you wish. I promise I will not show up there making demands that you change to accommodate my desires.

I CARE because a main focus of the Diner is to defend the principles of Free Speech on the Internet. I CARE because this sort of Capricious Banning is what I was subjected to on Peak Oil, where in fact you were Newz Editor at the time.

I suggest you read my article on the Guerilla Internet Free Speech Project to understand my POV on this better.



I tried reading your link, but it makes no sense to me since I am not involved in those sites and do not know who you are talking about, or what happened. However, I support TAE's right to moderate their own site as they see fit. I think small sites like TAE are best run with a policy like that at The Big Picture:

This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator/philospher king/utility infielder. Fear my wrath, mortals!

I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments -- usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it.

You don't know who Ilargi and Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth are? Good grief, Stoneleigh was editor of TOD Canada! Ashvin Pandurangi either? I find that hard to believe.

"I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments -- usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it."

In other words, you do not support Free Speech, you support Capricious Censorship by Newz Organizations for no better reason than you "feel like it". Because people accept this is why we have Newz Organizations like Fox and MSNBC. People don't grasp they are being fed only what the proprietors of those sites want them to read or hear. So it is here on TOD as well, just on a much smaller scale.

At least you admit to being a Propagandist and Censor though, that is some level of honesty.


I know who Stoneleigh and Ilargi are, but I don't regularly read their site. So I don't know what's going on there. No clue who Ashvin Pandurangi is.

I support free speech, but I believe the concept applies to the government, not individuals - or web sites. I feel very strongly that everyone has the right to run their sites as they see fit. It's like a private home. If you're going to visit, you have to obey the house rules, and if the owners decide they want to kick you out, you should go. It's the civilized thing to do.

Ashvin is the other Admin of TAE along with Stoneleigh and Ilargi. He ran the site while they were Globe Trotting in OZ.

Far as supporting Free Speech, you don't practice what you preach. That is not support. "Government" doesn't run Newzpapers, TV Stations or Websites, Private Enterprise does. If the individuals who run these organizations will not practice Free Speech, it does not exist. You are contributing to the totalitarian state by silencing those who do not agree with you. You are not a supporter of Free Speech if you will not practice it on your website. You are a Propagandist.


I didn't even know they were globetrotting in Oz.

Not a big fan of the MSM in the US, but I don't think having the government running newspapers and TV stations is the answer. I'd rather have private enterprise and individuals doing it than the government. As long as the government doesn't censor them, free speech is upheld.

"Not a big fan of the MSM in the US, but I don't think having the government running newspapers and TV stations is the answer. I'd rather have private enterprise and individuals doing it than the government. As long as the government doesn't censor them, free speech is upheld."-Leanan

Who would approve of Gooberming running TV and Newz Stations? This is another Strawman like your Walmart argument. The point here is if the 4th Estate does NOT practice Free Speech (and TOD is a member of the 4th Estate reporting on Energy issues), there is no Free Speech. You EXPLICITLY ADMIT you do not practice Free Speech, so it CLEARLY is not upheld by you. You are a Censor and a Propagandist, just cop to it. You don't Walk the Walk.


As I said, I think freedom of speech applies to the government, not to web sites or the MSM. And no, I don't think TOD is part of the 4th estate. We're just a little blog. Size matters.

The real problem with the MSM is that they are giving people what they want. And apparently, what people want is views that support their own.

There's other sources out there. Al-Jazeera, BBC, Press TV. During the Gulf War, I remember going to foreign news sites to find out what was really happening. I was not censored. Unlike in China, where CNN and other US news sources were blocked. The information is out there, if people want it. They don't want it.

"The information is out there, if people want it. They don't want it."- Leanan

Really? You believe that? You think people WANT to be fed lies? Pardon me for saying so, but you are outta your mind.

I now understand how you rationalize your behavior. Have a nice day.


The thing is...they don't believe it's lies. They believe everything else is lies, and they don't want to hear it.

I say this as someone whose parents have become complete Fox News groupies. It's on 24/7, and they gripe like crazy if they go someplace where CNN is on the TV. CNN is all lies, see. Fox News is the "no spin zone," where the truth and only the truth is heard. Seriously...it reminds me of the TV commercial with the girl who's convinced you can't put anything on the net if it's not true. My parents believe that if it's on Fox News, it must be true. They have graduate degrees and strictly limited my TV viewing when I was a kid. And now this.

You don't GET that you do precisely the same thing as Fox Newz does? You eliminate contrary opinion on your channel. You accept articles only from Editorial Board Approved Pundits. You just are not as big as Fox is, but the PRINCIPLE is the same, and it is the principle that counts, not the size. If the discussion is not proceeding as YOU would like it to, you'll hit the Ban button whenever it suits you to do so. You explicitly said so. Who but other people who March to the same Drumbeat you do will ever expect a level playing field for debate about some of the most important subject matter of our time on a website with such a policy?

"They have graduate degrees"-Leanan

Ph.Ds have no more CFS than anybody else. You find at least as many cockamamie ideas being spouted off by folks with Grad degrees as anybody else, in fact probably a good deal more of them. Case in point would be a few of the folks with Grad degrees you publish here on TOD on a regular basis. Every idea under the sun has somebody who wrote a doctoral dissertation defending the idea. The reason you need free and open discussion is so that these ideas can be refuted and repudiated as necessary. If you don't allow that, your website is just a Propaganda organ for a given subset of ideas that YOU think are true.

You can run your website however you please, but I will call you out for what you are. A Censor and Propagandist in the Fox Newz mold.


I said I support private enterprise in the MSM. Or at least, I don't see any better alternative. I don't care to watch Fox News myself, but I don't think it should be banned. Nor do I think the government, or you or I, should be telling them what they can or cannot say.

What is the alternative? Government rules determining what must be shown on TV or printed in newspapers?

"What is the alternative? Government rules determining what must be shown on TV or printed in newspapers?"-Leanan

The ALTERNATIVE is for Private Proprietors of Websites to VOLUNTARILY open their websites up to Free and Open discussion with a No Ban/No Censorship Policy.

Unlike Newzpapers, you have essentially Unlimited numbers of Pages and no real limit on Space. Particularly if you use linking and store high bandwidth material offsite, like Videos on YouTube. You can create hierarchies for viewing and publication, so you can "spin" your website as you please while still allowing the readers to have their say.

The real Revolution in communication that is the Internet is that it provides for 2-Way communication, not just Writer to Reader. Any Reader can become a writer, and vica-versa. Not if you pursue the policy of Banning and Censoring what "malcontents" and "trolls" will post though.

Look, if it wasn't possible to do this, I could see the rationale for some Banning and Censoring, but it IS possible to do it. I do it on the Diner. You just have to set your systems up correctly.

It all depends on the Individual and his/her beliefs and Commitment to the Principles of Free Speech. Those of us who are proprietors of Information Websites are at the leading edge of this, and if we do not provide the mechanism for the Average J6P to get his Voice Heard, NOBODY will do it. Da Goobermint certainly will not, and the MSM will not either. Who is LEFT Leanan? Just you and me. Join with me VOLUNTARILY in this adventure. You can reconfigure this website with better tools for management of trolls and industry shills. I will help, pro bono, no charge. I don't do this for money, I am on a Mission From God on the Issue of Free Speech.

It is UP TO US. WE HAVE TO PROVIDE THE MEDIUM. Most people cannot do this. We CAN.


I can't do it. I don't particularly want to, either. But I'm glad you are. Best of luck.

You can, you just don't WANT to. Just don't claim to be a supporter of Free Speech. You are not.


The real problem with the MSM is that they are giving people what they want. And apparently, what people want is views that support their own.

It is self evident that many people become Faux News zombies, as you describe. Yet to say that "the MSM is giving people what they want" is quite incorrect. You'll find more truth about the MSM on HBO's "The Newsroom" than you will on any cable TV destination. The cynical careerists who chase audiences on behalf of the MSM do so with a keen eye for what works. The "Newsroom" episode about the Casey Anthony trial is a case in point-- how producers design mdi a to manipulate audiences. Were you to ask people what they want, they would tell you they wish to be informed; Yet give them a choice between real content and lurid graphics, and they will chase the feeling every time.

This is NOT what people want; it is what they will RESPOND to. Big difference.

Faux works for the same reasons Springer does: it gives an audience of capons the ability to feel like roosters, at least for a while. Until the soma wears off.

"There's other sources out there. Al-Jazeera, BBC, Press TV. During the Gulf War, I remember going to foreign news sites to find out what was really happening. I was not censored. Unlike in China, where CNN and other US news sources were blocked. The information is out there, if people want it. They don't want it."

People on Doomstead Diner and other boards know where to look for information, and much of it is foreign press. The clear implication is that the MSM here is not to be trusted, as they are th4e propaganda wing of the state. No red-epauletted commissar needs to enforce this behavior; as someone with 35 years in the TV business, I can tell you, careerism is enough.

The information may be out there; the mass of people don't "want it" because, preoccupied with their own lives, they are not even aware how badly they are being lied to. And thus don't seek it out.


The information may be out there; the mass of people don't "want it" because, preoccupied with their own lives, they are not even aware how badly they are being lied to. And thus don't seek it out.

That is not my experience at all. People know it's there, but they prefer viewpoints that support their own, and actively avoid those that do not. The Jessica Lynch story is a case in point. That was one story where the US reporting was vastly different from the overseas press coverage.

But nobody wanted to hear what really happened. Not at that moment, anyway. They wanted the story about the heroic girl shooting her way out of captivity. And I can kind of understand it.

Your experience while I am sure it is VAST does not represent the totality of human experience by any stretch of the imagination. It is Hubris of the first order to make assumptions about what everybody else "wants" based on your own limited set of experiences. In any event, clearly Surly's 30 years of experience in the media industry does not precisely match your own view of the situation.

Anyhow, to update you on this I wrote an Article based on our debate up on the Diner Blog now.



In a sense, say, in the real world, I might be tempted to partially agree, although TOD would put itself in potential trouble-- whatever the trouble might be-- if and where it framed participation in the limited sense illustrated. ;)
Nevertheless, it seems like a touch of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't. The issue is gummy, and I'm less-than-envious about Leanan-and-company's situation...

The Oil Drum, as perhaps most fora, is a bit of an open-to-the-public door. It's an invitation to the public to go in, aside from door-policies. So it's less-than-private. It influences the public-- like people of the oil/mining industry and how they affect everyone's atmosphere/environment. In fact, Doomstead Diner, Reverse Engineer here and Loren Soman seem cases-in-point. There appear to be forum "political malcontents" floating all over online and of course in real life. (One could even imagine one of them pulling a "Yes Men" on TOD with regard to a forum-rip/stylistic mockup).

As for Gresham's Law, it seems to apply to money as opposed to people and the context in which it was used hereon.
In any event, I've been on forums with very open/lax policies for posting, yet with excellent participation. At the same time, it's nice if one wants to have a tinkle or whatever, that they at least hit the water in the bowl, maybe with some liquid-soap added to limit the surface-tension, rather than get it all over the place, etc.. At the same time again, it can be challenging for some to do this. We are all equipped with differing capacities, strengths and weaknesses. That's in part why there are architectural building codes, such as for wheelchair access. Flexibility, tolerance, insight, etc..

By the way, Doomstead Diner, while intriguing, feels messy, cluttered, hard to follow, unlike TOD, which feels cleaner, more crisp, easier to follow. Perhaps this reflects some things? ;)

Anyway, at the end of the day, online forums are small potatoes, and maybe we'd rather concern ourselves more with bigger/better pictures.

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
~ Noam Chomsky

"There appear to be forum "political malcontents" floating all over online and of course in real life"-ToP

The fact there are not MORE "political malcontents" like myself is the reason you will end up with either Obama-sama or Catcher's Mitt as your next POTUS. The country needs MORE Political Malcontents and LESS Group Think.

"By the way, Doomstead Diner, while intriguing, feels messy, cluttered, hard to follow, unlike TOD, which feels cleaner, more crisp, easier to follow."

I find TOD impossible to navigate and the commentary extremely linear. There is no way to view an index of topics, and beyond that the commentary here is limited to discussion of ONLY the articles written by Leanan and a few others. You get a very narrow perspective this way.

"Perhaps this reflects some things? ;)"

Indeed it does.


Do you read deadtree newspapers?


I read just about everything. The local Dead Tree Paper here is the Frontiersman. Local Interest articles mainly. Who the State Troopers recently shot in Suicide by Cop, do we mine the Copper River for Gold or Salmon? Dam up the Susitna River for Electric Power or let it run free? Build a Gas Pipeline down to Seward or go Trans-Canada with it? Can more teachers and see how many kids we can sardine pack into a classroom? How big were the Cabbages at the Alaska State Fair this year? That sort of thing.


S'funny, because deadtree newspapers are limited to the same things that you complain about here.


DTNs don't have the ability for 2 way communication. Old technology. I prefer the Internet, but I still read the one way stuff also.

If Leanan Closed Comments completely and just ran this as a One Way Street, different story. I read plenty of Blogs where comments are disabled. Fact is she does not run the Blog this way, comments are Enabled. Once you enable a 2 way discussion, Free Speech Principles come into Play. Newzpapers do not have this ability, so they don't fall under the same rubric.


Just for the record...I do not actually run this blog. It's not my call whether comments are enabled or not. (Though it was considered at one point, and one Drumbeat did actually did go up with comments disabled. Not my call, but it happened. Eventually, we decided to keep the comments but start banning some posters.)

Reverse Engineer - Your free speech rights are not affected by someone moderating your comments on a private blog. Free speech does not mean that everyone owes you a microphone. It also does not mean you can't tell people to shut up.

If Leanen was really against free speech, she would have stopped you advertising your blogsite here that challenges TOD policies. Instead she has allowed you to plug into the readership here.

Also Loren Soman who prompted your article and your blogpost on your own site did pretty much admit to spamming for controversey as part of some kind of bizarre experiment. I don't appreciate people trying to manipulate me. What's the word for that again...? Begins with a P.

Pissing into the wind?

I find TOD impossible to navigate and the commentary extremely linear. There is no way to view an index of topics, and beyond that the commentary here is limited to discussion of ONLY the articles written by Leanan and a few others. You get a very narrow perspective this way.
~ Reverse Engineer

Well, for one thing, it's The Oil Drum as opposed to The Ballet Theatre.
Then there're the Drumbeats with related clips from here and there. Maybe one day we'll see one about The Doomstead Diner.
If I have a preference for the style and layout of TOD and want you to change TDD to be a little more along the lines of TOD, what do you do? We know what you wrote, but what do you actually do? My point is that free speech only goes so far. There's also action, democracy.
The header of TOD fully flows nicely from left to right against the edges of my browser with a simple sunset gradient. Doomstead's header is slightly out of alignment with its right and left margins last I looked. (Where are its comments?) I'd appreciate it if you could clean that up, and while you're at it, how about reducing some of its clutter in the main area of the page and getting rid of the vomiting-guy gif?


I have previously mentioned hereon our culture's "modus operandi disconnect" with much of the world and the problem with scale and how we evolved as a species-- in small tribes/bands for the most part and without the internet, itself a bit of a disconnect. So this discussion would seem to do well to take these and other complex things into account, which is doubtful.

Virtual internet forums-- virtually a dime-a-dozen-- are of course very limited, artificial, even frustrating ways to communicate, and they seem to have, in some regards, no equivalent in real life-- whatever real life exactly is these days.

Also, I might argue that the corporate oligarchic state, or however you wish to call it, is also, in its own ways, limited, artificial and frustrating, and less bent on the proper needs, nature or realities of our species.

So the state of being perpetually politically/economically/etc. malcontented, if we agree we are, also appears to have a grounding in this relatively-unhealthy 'way things are' that, alas, changing politicians or parties, making TOD totally unmodded, etc., will likely do little for.

Frankly, sometimes I feel a little like both Agent Smith in the Matrix and Morpheus in that same scene.

We will likely have to think and move better and love more than the BAU/status-quo/cultural modus operandi to have any significant effects in our real best interests.

And on a lighter note (maybe about collapse/decline)... =)

Ran across this today. By coincidence, I happen to know their new CEO slightly.

Energy storage for electricity grid management and renewables integration using electric trainsets and tracks dedicated to energy storage.


Interesting idea. Could it also be implemented by raising weights out of a mine to store energy and lowering them into the mine to produce energy?

I read that just recently. Driving electric trains up/down a mountain would store/release energy, but it is hard to imagine its very capital intensive. Most likely they are just scheduling train car parking locations. Also there was a claim to doing energy storage by moving gravel up/down ski lifts. It is hard for me to imagine you could even store energy net that way (i.e. are the frictional loses small enough to get anything back)?
Good to here a few new storage ideas.

I take it you mean capital efficient, rather than intensive?
They are just getting a demonstration project in Nevada off the ground. They indicate that the facilities (track and trainsets) would be dedicated to energy storage, and that they would anticipate greater capital efficiency, energy efficiency, and quicker system response times than pumped storage. I have a hard time with the practicality of the idea, but I'm willing to be shown I'm wrong. I also have questions about the generation technology. As it seems to be inverter based, that raises issues with grid integration for me.

As long as the grade is within a fairly narrow range (not too steep or shallow), I don't see that it's critical. Aerodynamic drag might start to be a problem if too shallow. Traction on a low friction rail might be a problem if too steep.

I've seen working generators installed on gravel conveyor belts (1MW of small induction machines connected to one of my 12kV circuits), so I'd say the ski lift idea isn't ridiculous on its face, but pumped storage is pretty hard to beat. The main issue with pumped storage is licensing.

I'm interested to hear what AlanfromBigEasy and RockyMtnGuy have to say about this approach. It seems that a significant part of the efficiency of the project would be a function of the grade of the tracks (dz/dx).

It seems to be an unnecessarily complex and expensive way to store electricity, considering that storing energy by pumping water uphill into reservoirs when demand is low, and running it downhill through turbines during peak periods is highly efficient and widely done.

Storing natural gas in depleted gas fields and running it through natural gas turbines when demand is high is also an efficient way of storing energy.

Finished reading Jeremy Granthham's GMO July 2012 Quarterly Letter! Lots to mull over.

Welcome to Dystopia! (PDF)
Entering a long-term and politically dangerous food crisis

Updated Investment Implications of Resource Limitations

My personal, somewhat arbitrary breakdown of a targeted 30% is to have 15% in forestry and farms, 10% in “stuff in the ground,” and 5% in resource efficiency plays. I will change the mix as I become more comfortable with some of the subsets or as I see exceptional opportunities. I do, though, see farms and forestry as the senior or preferred component, if you will, for the longer term: mining and oil companies benefit a lot from rising prices, but they suffer from the need, as capitalist enterprises, to keep replacing their stock in trade every year and this slowly becomes impossible to do completely. Farms, however, also benefit from rising commodity prices but for them their “stuff in the ground” is soil, which, if well managed, has fully renewed growing capacity each year, usually even with a modestly rising trend. There is one component of the potential “stuff in the ground” sub portfolio, though, to which I would give a miss: coal and tar sands. This is not primarily because their incredible cost to the environment hurts my conscience; it is because, in my opinion, the odds will steadily grow as climate damage becomes increasingly apparent, that their use will be curtailed.