Drumbeat: November 2, 2012

What no candidate says about energy and the economy

This election is being framed as a choice between two different approaches to return to robust economic growth. But what if both sides are missing a critical underlying factor in our economic troubles? What if tools of the past no longer fit the economy of the future? Economic growth, as we have known it, is being constrained by an unprecedented slowing of growth in world oil supply. America’s path to future prosperity needs to recognize and confront this new energy reality, and adapt our economy to run on a lot less oil.

World crude oil production has been on a century-long rising trend—from less than one million barrels per day (mbd) in 1900 to nearly 75 mbd today. There have been aberrations along the way, such as a large fall in production during the Great Depression, but the upward trend has persisted—until recently. Since 2005, global oil production has been essentially flat. There have been plateaus before, but what is different this time is that real oil prices—i.e. adjusted for inflation—have roughly tripled within the span of a decade, yet relatively little additional production has been brought forth.

Oil Trims Weekly Advance as U.S. Refineries Remain Shut

Oil fell for the first time in four days in New York, paring a weekly gain, as two refineries remained shut on the U.S. East coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Brent crude slid a fifth day in London.

After Sandy, gas lines stretch for miles

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Motorists in New York and New Jersey are lining up for gas in queues that are miles long in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Gasoline supplies have been disrupted by everything from traffic jams to shuttered ports and power outages caused by the storm that carved a deadly swath through the region on Monday.

"Gas lines are stretching for a couple of miles," said Anthony Ammiano, mayor of Freehold, N.J., who recalled the oil crisis of the 1970s. "It's like the Jimmy Carter years. It's a flashback of bad memories."

Northeast may see long gas lines for a week

Power outages at hundreds of gas stations and a distribution bottleneck due to flooding damage and power loss has caused a gasoline shortage in the New York metropolitan area that may not be cleared up for at least a week, according to industry experts.

What was a problem for drivers when Superstorm Sandy ended two days ago has become a nightmare for frazzled motorists who find themselves in gas lines that can stretch on for hours. Some lines were hundreds of cars long in sections of New Jersey and New York on Thursday, and in a number of locations police monitored the lines which interfered with traffic flow in some areas.

NYC man accused of pulling gun in gas line

NEW YORK (AP) — The fight for fuel after Superstorm Sandy is starting to get nasty.

New York City authorities say a motorist was arrested after he tried to cut in line at a gas station in Queens early Thursday and pointed a pistol at another motorist who complained.

New Jersey Drivers Wait for Fuel as Sandy Curbs Gasoline

New Jersey drivers waited in two- mile-long lines to buy gasoline as Hurricane Sandy’s devastation of the New York metropolitan area flooded fuel terminals, curbed deliveries and left many filling stations in the dark and unable to run their pumps.

The queues for fuel only worsened hours-long traffic tie- ups on highways leading in to New York as Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned vehicles with fewer than three passengers from entering most of Manhattan. More than half of New Jersey filling stations likely are closed, Kashmir Gill, whose Creative Management Inc. owns 38 New Jersey outlets, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

North Jersey towns struggling with dwindling gas supplies

North Jersey towns and cities, just like thousands of motorists waiting on long lines for gasoline, are anxiously eyeing dwindling reserves in their own fuel depots as well as struggling to answer calls with fire and medical volunteers whose personal cars are running on fumes.

Perhaps the most dire situation is in Paterson, where routine police patrols have been suspended; gas-fueled police cruisers are sent out only to answer dispatch calls, said Glenn Brown, the city's public safety director.

Exasperation builds on Day 3 in storm-stricken NYC

In a Brooklyn neighborhood, a station had pumps wrapped in police tape and a "NO GAS" sign, but cars waited because of a rumor that gas was coming.

"I've been stranded here for five days," said Stuart Zager, who is from Brooklyn and was trying to get to his place in Delray Beach, Fla. "I'm afraid to get on the Jersey Turnpike. On half a tank, I'll never make it."

Prepped for big storm, NYC utility got more than it expected

NEW YORK - Blame a very high tide driven by a full moon, the worst storm surge in nearly 200 years, and the placement of underground electrical equipment in flood-prone areas for the most extensive storm-related power outage in New York City's history.

It's like what happened at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan last year — without the radiation. At a Consolidated Edison substation in Manhattan's East Village, a gigantic wall of water defied elaborate planning and expectations, swamped underground electrical equipment, and left about 250,000 lower Manhattan customers without power.

Crews Contain New Jersey Diesel Spill Caused by Sandy

Workers contained a spill of diesel fuel caused by superstorm Sandy, blocking it from flowing into a waterway that separates New Jersey and New York, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Erik Swanson, an agency spokesman based in New York, said four storage tanks at a facility operated by Motiva Enterprises LLC were damaged by the storm. Motiva is a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Saudi Refining Inc.

China's fuel oil imports for Oct may slip after surge in Sep: sources

Singapore (Platts) - China's fuel oil imports for October are likely to ease to lower levels after a spike seen in September, several trade sources including some of the regular Singapore-based suppliers of straight-run fuel oil into China have said.

Chevron declares force majeure at Angola's Kuito

(Reuters) - U.S. oil major Chevron said on Friday that its Angolan subsidiary Cabinda Gulf Oil Company had declared force majeure at the Kuito offshore oil terminal on October 29, without giving a reason.

Central Asia as Iran’s saviour

Tehran's high echelon is trying to find new opportunities to enter the Asian markets as U.S. and European economic sanctions strengthen against Iran. The bans on the import of Iranian oil to such countries as China and India is gradually having more influence on the economy as a result of the Western sanctions in connection with Iran's nuclear programme.

Despite the Iranian projects in Central Asia and with trade relations being very small compared to the profit obtained from oil exported to the world leading countries, this propaganda is Tehran's attempt to save its economy, comprising of oil by 76 per cent at the expense of the region, where Washington has limited influence.

Turkey signs $350 mln Iraq oil drilling deal

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has signed a $350 million deal on drilling 40 oil wells in the southern Iraqi Basra area and is in talks with Baghdad on drilling 7,000 wells across Iraq, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday.

Details of the timeframe or companies involved were not immediately available.

Turkey's growing energy involvement in Iraq comes despite tensions with Baghdad over Ankara giving refuge to Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court for a second time on Thursday.

BP replaces Azeri head following oil output spat

BAKU (Reuters) - British oil major BP replaced Rashid Javanshir as its regional head in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, the company said in a statement on Friday, following criticism from the country's leadership over declining oil output.

Ministry: Syria appeals to Turkey to resume electricity supplies

Syria has appealed to the private Turkish company Aksa to resume electricity supplies, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said today, TRT Haber TV channel reported.

"Damascus has officially appealed to the Turkish private company that previously exported electricity to Syria to resume the supplies," Yildiz said.

Norway Oil Fund Made $29 Billion Last Quarter as Stocks Rose

Norway’s $660 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, returned 4.7 percent last quarter as global stock markets recovered after central banks from the U.S. to Japan stepped up efforts to stimulate growth.

Saudi Arabia sets up committee to help victims in gas explosion

Saudi Arabia has called upon those affected of the gas tanker explosion that killed 23 and injured 135 on Thursday to approach newly formed committee from Friday, according to the Saudi News Agency.

Norway oil fund cuts France, Spain holdings further

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's $660 billion sovereign wealth fund cut its exposure to Europe's troubled economies further in the third quarter, buying into global shares instead as it rode a global stock market rally.

The oil fund, one of the world's biggest investors, said it had cut its exposure to government debt in France, Spain and Britain, and continued to keep minimal or no exposure to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, it said.

Shell Profit Rises on Liquefied Natural Gas Income, Shares Climb

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s third-quarter profit expanded 2.3 percent after Europe’s biggest oil company generated increased earnings from liquefied natural gas. Its shares rose the most since April in London trading.

Shale gas push in China may swap old problems for new ones

Chinese enterprises' growing enthusiasm for shale gas comes in large part from Beijing's efforts to develop clean energy industries aimed at curbing the country's emission of greenhouse gases.

But despite the government's support of the shale gas industry, domestic energy giants should not blindly rush into this sector until the technology is available to deal with the environmental impact of extracting shale gas, the newspaper said.

Shale gas boom hardly shaking up the world

It is not surprising that unconventional oil and gas has captured the imagination of government’s, media and business. If their perceived potential is realised they could provide an enormous quantity of energy and ward off production declines from conventional sources due to depletion. For example there could be 1.8 trillion barrels of potentially recoverable oil shale across the U.S. and 300 billion barrels of tight oil in the Bakken formation alone (compared with Saudi Arabian proved reserves of 265 billion barrels according to the 2012 BP Statistical Review of World Energy). Combined with the boom in tight oil and shale gas production this has led to a spate of claims from: the death of peak oil; the U.S as the new Saudi Arabia of oil; and energy independence for the U.S.

Given the importance of energy to the economy and the impact of shortfalls in the energy supply demand equation, a more detailed examination of unconventional energy potential is required before blindly accepting claims such as made in Ms Bishop’s article and elsewhere.

Nearly 80 Million Clean Diesel Vehicles Will be Sold Worldwide From 2012 to 2018, Forecasts Pike Research

BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Diesel cars have long been tremendously popular in Europe, where high fuel prices mean that the price premium of a diesel car can be paid off quickly. However, other regions that have not traditionally been strong diesel markets, such as North America, are now starting to open up—particularly as increasingly stringent emissions regulations in Europe, Japan, and North America accelerate the spread of so-called “clean diesel” vehicles.

Automobile Magazine names Tesla Model S 'Car of the Year'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Automobile Magazine has named the Tesla Model S its "Car of the Year," citing the car's design and impressive speed.

Can America Embrace Biking the Way Denmark Has?

Concerns about safety are a significant barrier to cycling in most places. Numerous surveys have found that one of the primary reasons people in North America avoid bike commuting is because they tend to see it as dangerous, largely because of car traffic. Bicycle fatality rates are nearly four times higher in the United States than in Denmark. One reason why cyclists in Denmark are safer than those in more car-dependent countries is that with bicycles, safety comes in numbers. According to studies conducted in America, Europe, and Australia, as the number of cyclists in a city goes up, the rate of injuries goes down. The explanation is that in cities where bicycle commuters are few, drivers do not expect them or adequately prepare for sharing the road.

No matter how safe, fast, convenient, and inexpensive bike commuting can be made, however, it won’t be adopted if it can’t at least partially out-compete cars. So, beyond the “carrot” of incentivizing bicycle commuting, Copenhagen (and many other European cycling cities) also employs the “stick” of policies designed to discourage car use. Some of these policies are actually national—for instance, Denmark imposes a tax of 180 percent on car sales (which is not as bad as it sounds, given the $20-per-hour minimum wage), and gas costs almost $10 per gallon. Every year 2 to 3 percent of parking spaces are removed to gradually wean residents from auto-dependency. In addition to being scarce, parking is expensive—about $5 an hour in the city center. And as the inconvenience and cost of parking increase, so, too, does the rate of bicycling.

Exam Said to Be Leaked to Guards at Nuclear Site

WASHINGTON — The security guards at a nuclear weapons plant who failed to stop an 82-year-old nun from reaching a bomb fuel storage building earlier this year were also cheating on a recertification exam, according to an internal investigation by the Department of Energy, which owns the weapons plant.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Superstorm

Somewhere in the midst of watching the Weather Channel's reporting on the approach of Superstorm Sandy, I was struck by the lack of meteorologists saying anything about what was behind the highly unusual phenomenon that was unfolding. Buried in a stream of "unprecedenteds" was the idea that a rather small late season hurricane that normally spun harmlessly off into the north Atlantic was about to be drawn into a winter low pressure system. The two would combine to create a superstorm, a thousand miles in diameter, that would cause $10s of billions in damage to the most populated area of the U.S.

The Artwork That Infuriated Big Coal

“Carbon Sink: What Goes Around Comes Around” was installed on the U.W. campus in late 2011. Funded by an anonymous donor and by the state Cultural Trust Fund, it consisted of a 36-foot-wide circle of logs from beetle-killed trees, arranged in a whirlpool pattern around a pile of coal. Drury hoped the sculpture would be left in place until it disintegrated, and the director of the campus art museum said there were “no plans to uninstall it.” It was, Drury said, intended to inspire a conversation.

In May 2012, however, just after most students left campus, Carbon Sink quietly disappeared.

When University of Wyoming graduate Joe Riis inquired about the fate of Carbon Sink, a university vice-president told him that it had been removed due to water damage. But emails recently obtained by Irina Zhorov, an enterprising reporter at Wyoming Public Media, tell a different story. After the university announced the installation of Carbon Sink, Marion Loomis, the president of the Wyoming Mining Association, wrote to a university official and asked: “What kind of crap is this?” Both industry representatives and state legislators weighed in on the sculpture, some threatening the university’s funding in no uncertain terms.

Romney Seen Scuttling EPA Proposals, Letting Rules Stand

On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to halt environmental regulations such as auto-mileage standards, mercury pollution limits for power plants and mandated cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.

But the reality is that repealing a rule already in place would require help from lawmakers or the courts, or years of bureaucratic effort, former officials and lawyers say.

Energy efficiency: stuck between neutral and reverse

Together with renewable generation, energy efficiency is the key plank of a holistic solution to fossil fuel problems and network regulation issues in Australia. Why are government-led attempts to promote energy efficiency stalling?

Saving energy has never made more sense. Oil prices remain historically high despite a weak global economy, in what is surely an early taste of ‘peak oil’. The end of cheap oil will hit much harder when world economic activity eventually recovers.

Hurricane Sandy keeps Oklahoma dry

Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said that while the hurricane has brought the East Coast lots of rain, it may be doing the exact opposite for Oklahoma.

"Until it moves through, we will be stuck in this weather pattern," McManus said. "It's coming at a very inopportune time.

"We won't get any benefit from what's happening out there."

Taking Home His Eighth-of-a-Cow

I have long believed that local food and grass-fed beef are better – for the world and for my family – than traditional feed-lot finished cattle and factory farmed produce. But until I relocated to Seattle on a new assignment for the Times earlier this year, going occasionally to the farmers market and eating less red meat in general had been the extent of my response.

On the Horizon, a Dreaded Wave of Locusts

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warns that large swarms of locusts are forming in Africa’s Sahel region and are likely to push northward to Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Mauritania once they take flight. The origins of the threat probably date back to a year ago, when rains drew in a wisp of desert locusts to Libya and Algeria, said Keith Cressman, the senior locust forecasting officer for the F.A.O.

The swarm is thought to have originated in the Libyan conflict zone, where obstacles to monitoring allowed a fast-breeding population to double up and form two generations, which then settled and laid eggs in countries to the south, he said in an interview.

Nations fail to agree plan to protect seas around Antarctica

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Major nations failed to reach agreement on Thursday to set up huge marine protected areas off Antarctica under a plan to step up conservation of creatures such as whales and penguins around the frozen continent.

Battered NJ agonizes over whether to rebuild shore

The devastation left the state a blank canvas to redevelop its prized vacation towns. But environmentalists and shoreline planners urged the state to think about how — and if — to redevelop the shoreline as it faces an even greater threat of extreme weather.

"The next 50 to 100 years are going to be very different than what we've seen in the past 50 years," said S. Jeffress Williams, a scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey's Woods Hole Science Center in Massachusetts.

The sea level is rising fast, and destructive storms are occurring more frequently, said Williams, who expects things to get even worse.

Extreme Global Weather: ‘the Unprecedented Is the New Normal’

Sandy is being called the "Storm of the Century" but floods, droughts, heat waves and storms are only expected to get worse — with every part of the world facing deadlier and costlier weather disasters.

Much of the world has experienced devastating weather conditions this year. Across eastern and western Africa, a one-two punch of severe drought followed by torrential rains resulted in flash flooding and the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands. Drought was also the worst it's been in a quarter century in the United States, shriveling corn crops and boosting prices worldwide. And over the last week, typhoon Son-Tinh has wreaked havoc on Southeast Asia, killing dozens and damaging homes and crops.

Rising sea forces Panamanian islanders to move to mainland

Once rare, flooding is now so menacing that the Guna have agreed to abandon ancestral lands for an area within their semi-autonomous territory on the east coast of the mainland.

"The people know this isn't normal," said Francisco Gonzalez, 38, the school principal on Carti Sugdub. "When the water comes in, they can't do anything but wait."

It is the largest of the Guna's 45 inhabited islands, and its planned evacuation is among the first blamed largely on climate change. Scientists say worldwide sea levels have risen about 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) a year since 1993. Recent research suggests they could rise as much as 2 meters (6.5 feet) by 2100.

Sea level rising faster than expected, warns expert

Washington (IANS) The sea level is rising faster than expected and may cross one metre mark by the end of this century -- double that of the estimates made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, says a study.

"What's missing from the models used to forecast sea-level rise are critical feedbacks that speed everything up," says Bill Hay, a geologist at the University of Colorado, US. The feedbacks include data on the Arctic Sea ice, the Greenland ice cap, soil moisture and groundwater mining.

(From above)
Exam Said to Be Leaked to Guards at Nuclear Site

This is why nuclear can not work. These shenanigans would be cute... except the materials are fearsome. There is a long list of shenanigans reaching into the past that have created an inventory of problems and only predict more shenanigans in the future.

I'm sorry, you lost me there. What does security at a nuclear weapons facility have to do with the viability of nuclear power? A significant number of countries that operate nuclear power plants have never had nuclear weapons and likely never will.

The connection is: human follies will always undermine technological fixes.

Ok let me make another random point as well...Air travel even though one of the most complex means of travel known to man is statistically the safest, what does that say about technological fixes.

Air travel even though one of the most complex means of travel known to man is statistically the safest, what does that say about technological fixes

That you can't nuke a city of 8 million people with a jet or piper cub by itself?

Listen, if we can develop a nuclear power source that can't be turned into something horrendously dangerous then I'm all for it- I'm not married to renewables and fossil fuels are an environmental disaster. As it stands you have to ask yourself a basic question:

In a world that is draining of resources and growing in population- a world that is becomming icreasingly desperate and filled with people who feel they have nothing to lose- do you want to make a big push for an energy source that makes creating weapons of mass destruction easier?

The complexity and risk of nuclear power could be reduced by building smaller sized reactors instead of the current designs which are typically over 1000MW in capacity.

It is possible to build reactors that operate with natural uranium thereby eliminating the need to produce enriched uranium. The Canadian designed CANDU reactors operate this way.

Reprocessing spent fuel from power reactors to extract enriched uranium and plutonium is not an easy thing to do. A number of countries have tried this only to find that it was too difficult and expensive to be worthwhile. Thus a power reactor in of itself is not terribly useful if your goal is to produce weapons grade material. Weapons grade plutonium is produced in reactors that are specially designed for that purpose. No reactor is needed to produce weapons grade uranium -- you just need a fuel enrichment facility that is capable of enriching uranium to the level required for it to become bomb material.

The process of building a nuclear bomb is much better understood than it was when the Manhattan project was started in WW II. Nevertheless, it still takes a lot of expertise and industrial facilities to get to the point of having a functional bomb. You hear a lot about Iran trying to build a bomb -- they've been working on that for quite a few years now and still have not succeeded.

I would worry more about existing supplies of weapons grade material getting into the hands of someone who wants to build a bomb and actually use it. This material would have to originate from a country that has actually built the facilities needed to manufacture weapons grade material. A country that is merely running power reactors is not going to have any weapons grade material that could be stolen or sold.

I would worry more about existing supplies of weapons grade material getting into the hands of someone who wants to build a bomb and actually use it. This material would have to originate from a country that has actually built the facilities needed to manufacture weapons grade material.

This may already have happened at a US facility in PA known as NUMEC decades ago. Between 200 and 600 pounds of weapons-grade uranium 235 was unaccounted for (enough to build at least 4 nuclear weapons), and investigated by numerous law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. Here are 11 declassified FBI documents, as well as other government documents, on NUMEC and the missing uranium:


A large loss of nuclear material, in the UK, set off alarm bells. It was eventually traced to deposition in the miles and miles of pipework.


I had to read this three times before I realised you hadn't written "paperwork".

I think some was accounted to that but the main problem was piping. You don't need much left behind in each meter of pipe when you have as much pIpework as they had in the UK plant to add up to quite a lot.


" Weapons grade plutonium is produced in reactors that are specially designed for that purpose."

Not necessarily. Plutonium is produced in any reactor that is fueled with U235. And Plutonium is easier to separate from spent fuel than U235 bcause it is chemically different, therefore you do not need an expensive enrichment facility, just a chemistry set.

The mix of Pu isotopes is better for making a bomb if the fuel is pulled out & processed every few months.

However, all isotopes of Pu can be made to go "bang" with proper bomb design.


Yes, but no also. Plutonium is bred from the U238 in the reactor not from U235. This does require a fissile isotope such as U235,U233, or Pu239 to produce the neutrons. The biggest problem with using a power reactor to produce weapons grade Plutonium is that to keep the Pu239 from adsorbing a second, or third neutron and becoming Pu240, or Pu241, both bad actors in bomb making, you must remove it from the core in a short time, about two weeks. Power reactors are just not set up to refuel after only two weeks. Normal refueling takes a month or two, and is done every 18 to 36 months. In that time the Pu239 is contaminated with maybe 25-30% Pu240 and Pu241. All work with this material would have to be done in a hot room, and all equipment would be heavily contaminated.

To make a bomb I would just build about a thousand centrifuges, designs available from Iran, Pakistan, or North Korea, and place them in 100 two car garages. In about a year you have enough U235 to make a gun type bomb with no testing needed.

My point was that aircrafts are supposed to fail all the time because they have something like a million moving parts in them and yet they don't, yes it requires costly maintenance but if complexity can be isolated it can be managed. I don't consider myself pro-nuke or anything but facts are facts, more people die from coal than from nukes. Nuclear has it's own risks as Fukushima showed but I evaluate things based on existing facts not on probable scenarios.

do you want to make a big push for an energy source that makes creating weapons of mass destruction easier?

Now that's a separate argument. I am not advocating a big rush into nuclear or anything (when number of reactors go up, risks go up) but using the guard cheating on his exam as a prop for one's story is not adding anything to the argument.

I would also like to state (so as to make my position clear) that I like to have all nukes shut down and use energy from renewables. But it's not viable right now.

"..but I evaluate things based on existing facts not on probable scenarios."

The problem with that is more than just the current likelihood of a failure, but also the extent of the downside risk.

Think about it like some kind of Lottery in reverse perhaps. In order to buy your groceries, you engage in a little betting exchange that pays for your food for half price (an arbitrary number to reflect the apparent advantages of Nuclear Power), but there is a one in a Million chance that the bad number will come up and at that point, the vendor gets all your possessions (the Pripyat/Fukushima Gambit) .. and then to top it all off, you have started paying for everything from all vendors this way. (IE, building more and more reactors, with growing mountains of spent fuel laying about.)

Aviation is not really an apt comparison, since the downside is managable. If some defect were going to make a thousand planes fail in flight even simultaneously, they generally EACH have enough independence and options to recover or manage their situations.. and even if those all did crash and kill everyone, they wouldn't be creating Multi-generation Evacuation Zones and requiring Billions in nearly Perpetual Cleanup, Security and Societal Attention.

Nuclear's long-term threat to the lands that it has already poisoned and depopulated is more than enough of a set of 'existing facts' and the concordant threat of similar future losses as many reactors age and weather economic and climate abuses, that you don't have to justify the prohibition with death tolls.

This analogy assumes that the alternatives are benign.

What if the other food vendor (coal) sells food grown in land contaminated with arsenic based insecticides ?

A little bit of As, more than your body can tolerate, with every bite ?

Best Hopes for Greater Efficiency and more Renewables,


The analogy was really just to visualize the dangers of that one particular option, and didn't presume to address the whole field. You can extend the analogy to consider coal somehow, but in either case, the rolling of the fusion dice is the analysis I was concerned with in this post.

We have seen many accusations where Nuclear gets to hide behind Coal's obvious faults, kind of like two kids who are both guilty, but one is just slicker and quicker than the other one, and doesn't mind throwing his sibling under the bus.

It says that you are changing the subject, and setting up a red herring.

You don't have to create the resources, e.g. plutonium, to make weapons to have a huge environmental problem with nuke power plant proliferation. If societies decomplexify, either through direct economic means (e.g., oil related) or indirect through war, those plants are both targets and will melt down and explode on their own if not carefully attended. The way they are scattered across the USA shows what appears to be a diabolical plan to contaminate all arable land east of and including the Mississippi Valley, and the best parts of the Pacific west coast. They aren't in central Nevada or Utah, but there's precious little water there, as well. Looks like a set up for massive die off.

"They aren't in central Nevada"

Central Nevada was nuked already as part of various weapons tests. Southern Nevada even more so.

Well put. The buildout of fission plants, combined with the almost universally-believed narrative that our society will hold together, creates a helluva monkey trap.

That was indeed my point, I chose a topic that was only remotely similar but fit the complexity argument, people cheat on their jobs all the time. Let's not draw conclusions about nuclear power from it.

Hard for me to imagine a guard knowing (or not) how a Nuke functions would have much impact on his job performance. He's not going to be called upon to stabilize the plants operation, just to keep suspicious characters out.

They can't even keep nuns out, let alone suspicious characters.


The US does not seem up to the task of securing weapons-grade Uranium or Plutonium.

And this was, indeed, my point.

The nuclear facility housed the most feared inorganic matter on earth. The nuclear facility housed a terrorist's treasure-trove. The American people have had their rights removed to aid the war on terrorism. The American people are having their children groped at the airports to aid the war on terrorism. The American people were impoverished fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, against this background of danger and sacrifice, the facility was left unguarded. Yet, against this background of danger and sacrifice, small profit took full precedence. I used the term "shenanigans" because treason is such a harsh word. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/treason ... Yet, only the senior citizens are jailed http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371301/Jail-elderly-priests-nun... ... oh, sorry, wrong nuclear nun ... try this one: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/science/behind-nuclear-breach-a-nuns-b... ... while the management and employees go free.

In other words, everything is compromised by human weaknesses that are entertained. This is fine as long as you are packaging injectables in a moldy room contiguous with a garbage dump that recycles stained mattresses, for example http://www.wsws.org/mobile/articles/2012/oct2012/meni-o29.shtml , Or learning about fertilizer http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/04/14/worst-ever-us-industrial-acci... ... but the radioactive accidents leave a much longer legacy.

Future technology is in the future. Fusion would be convenient right about now. I loved the homogeneous reactor, but I hear it doesn't scale well. All-carbon solar cells are demonstrated... made of soot http://phys.org/news/2012-10-all-carbon-solar-cell.html ... good to 1000 degrees, so they may work with concentrated sunlight... no indium...

Maybe, but then by the same token, let's not allow there to be some implicit assumption that the Nuclear industry is somehow able to function 'a notch above' other more normal and pedestrian businesses.

That is the whole point, it seems to me. There are a number of special risks attached to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and with the materials involved in Radioactive Weapons, and our society has been led along with the Nod and a Wink that says authoritatively that their security is especially tighter, their culture and their cleanup standards are especially higher in accordance with the materials that they handle.

It seems that a lot of that is the essential illusion that they have to create, and that it is in many ways just a mirage that we need to replace with a realistic assessment of what they are capable of.. and which normal human failings are not somehow supplanted with Special Humans who are doing more, bigger and better, because this is important!

I'm wondering if complexity can be relative to what something that is supposedly complex actually does for its complexity-- perhaps a little like using a chainsaw to cut butter as the expression goes for nuclear power?

Sure, humans are complex, but look at all that they can do! (LOL) <-- insane ironic laughter

And/Or maybe that some tech-fixes are human folly. By gosh by golly. Mistletoe and holly. Hey! The November 3 Drumbeat is out! See ya there! Bring the egg-nog!

The point is, 'If you can't even keep qualified security as a guarantee at the Highest-Priority Radioactive Materials facility, what are the odds that the culture OR the economics of the Power industry is going to be able to pull off even this tangential (??) aspect of the process at a bunch of cooling pools..

Sheesh, I hope they don't start profiling for 'great grannies', on top of everything else.. then maybe at least you'd recognize how unattainable a task we'd have set for ourselves..

Them wily ol' nuns is sneaky!

The one you're thinking of broke through the most stringent security in the world: http://www.y12.doe.gov/about/

...but there's more out there!

Two elderly priests and a nun jailed for up to 15 months for breaking into navy base in protest over nuclear weapons

They used bolt cutters to cut through a chain-link fence to enter an area where Trident submarine nuclear warheads were stored.

They then walked nearly four miles inside the base which houses eight submarines to a nuclear weapons storage area where they cut through two more fences and alarm wires.

Two months in jail and four months of home detention for Sister Anne Montgomery, 84, of Redwood City, California.

No navy security personnel were inconvenienced.

This isn't just materials, these are finished goods. AARP came -this- close to getting the bomb... profile 'em all!

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371301/Jail-elderly-priests-nun...

Security Fences Do Not Stop Old Nuns

Give those priests and nuns a diploma for helping the navy base bug test their security. They were doing EVERYONE a favor. Seriously.

The Hippies, again, were Right!

"Don't trust anyone over 70!"

Re: Energy efficiency: stuck between neutral and reverse


Efficiency programs gain in popularity, TVA says

The Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday announced that energy efficiency programs this year saved enough electricity to power 35,000 homes.

The efficiency programs reduced power usage by 560 gigawatt-hours for the second straight year, bringing the total saved since 2007 to 1,600 gigawatt-hours, said Bob Balzar, a TVA vice president.

“The popularity of our energy efficiency and demand response programs continue to grow as their value becomes more evident — lower power bills for homes and businesses; reduced costs for power companies; fewer environmental impacts, and more efficient TVA power delivery,” Balzar said.

See: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20121102/NEWS21/311020067/Efficiency-p...

And on a more personal note... we've just received word that our contract with Efficiency Nova Scotia has been renewed for another two years and we've been awarded a second territory to boot, so our small business related workload doubles come January 1st.



Are you able to expand your business to do that much work? Perhaps a few out of work TODer could be persuaded to come join you?

Either that or Paul might be willing to sell generic copies of his business plan for others to implement in other places around the country or the world for that matter. I strongly suspect that there is now and will probably continue to be, an ever increasing need for the kind of service he provides!

Thanks, guys. I have a pretty amazing team, some of whom you see here: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1981.jpg and I'm tremendously proud of the work that they do on our behalf.

We'll be hiring additional electricians in the coming weeks and maybe adding a few more of these to the stable as well: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/RAMs.jpg


You need to get them some 'Negawatters' fleeces. Seriously, good work to the team and yourself. I just wish that other places (USA, hint, hint) would understand watt a difference can be made. We do have some schemes down here but not nearly enough. I still see far too many 8', fat, instastart tubes installed in very bad ways, giving poor lighting (curses Paul, you have me looking at the lighting every time I go somewhere). OTOH, a local opposite is having some decent lights installed so maybe there is a little hope. Trouble is, with low electricity prices there is less incentive for change.


(trypo deliberate)

Paul, with ongoing encouragement from you and others here, I finally took the plunge and got my first LEDs for the house; the Phillips BR30 indoor floods, 13 watt, 730 lumens (65 watt eq), 2700K (M#92900022197). They are for the 6" cans in our living area which get used much more than any other lights in the home. Just under $30 at HD. They had quite a selection. These have the frosted diffuser and I'm very impressed; more of an appliance than a lightbulb - quite hefty. I also noticed that they had several of their Phillips LED lamps on the clearance rack, reduced from $54 to $30, but the specs (lumens/watt) weren't quite as good; likely the earlier generation. They also have a 'store brand' for about 20% cheaper, also with slightly lower specs but seemed to be decent quality upon inspection. They're replacing equivalent CFL floods that had much poorer quality light and took a while to brighten up.

We'll see how they look tonight after sunset. Thanks!

Hi Ghung,

Philips is currently refreshing their product lines and transitioning to what they call Airflux technology, which basically eliminates the bulky, heavy (and costly) heat sinks that had been required by the previous generation. We're also seeing a nice bump up in the number of lumens supplied per watt. For example, the previous generation 7-watt EnduraLED PAR20 produced 280 lumens, whereas its 8-watt replacement just now coming onto market produces 470 lumens, a near 1.5x improvement. Rated service life increases from 25,000 to 45,000 hours, so there's good progress on that front as well.

Best of luck with your new lamps; I hope they work out well for you.


I am a great fan of the Phillips L-Prize LED bulb - superb energy efficiency coupled with superb light quality.

9.7 watts, 940 lumens. Assembled in USA.

Available for $35 (free shipping) on eBay and $36.50 on Amazon.

Parts #423244 and #420244 (different packaging).

Best Hopes for Two Decade Bulbs (choose well),


My only complaint about the "L-Prize LED" is that it is not instant on. It's faster than a typical CFL, but slower than an incandescent.

My estimate is about 0.2 or 0.3 seconds. Just time enough to let my hand leave the switch by a millimeter.

I barely notice it.


Anyone know if it can work in one of those "tap" three-stage dimmer lamps?

The L-Prize bulb is dimmable - but the light quality (very good at 100%) declines on "Low" and - given the price - I would use a modern dimmer designed for LEDs & CFLs.

I have no feedback on light quality at "Medium". Anyone ?


My feeling about the 'instant on' is that a short build up that allows the eyes to adjust at a non-dazzling rate. I find a build up of light far more comfortable than a sudden rush of light. That said, I have one CFL light that insists in taking a few minutes to warm up. Defiantly a fault but it is one that does not get used often.


TVA is really good at writing press releases.

Not sure if this has been posted before:

Suncor joins spending retreat

It looks like the tar sand extractors are having second thoughts about future expansion projects. And the following quote explains why:

Fort Hills and Joslyn are also multibillion-dollar projects, ranking as the third- and sixth-most expensive projects in the oil sands, respectively, according to BMO Nesbitt Burns. Oil needs to trade around $90 (U.S.) a barrel to make Fort Hills economic, and around $80 for Joslyn to make a respectable profit, BMO said in an earlier analysis.

Interesting academic article relating EROI, prices, energy intensity of inputs, and monetary profit of an energy producing entity.
(free access to full-text PDF there)

In this paper we derive relations among the biophysical characteristic of an energy resource in relation to the businesses and technologies that exploit them. These relations include the energy return on energy investment (EROI), the price of energy, and the profit of an energy business. Our analyses show that EROI and the price of energy are inherently inversely related such that as EROI decreases for depleting fossil fuel production, the corresponding energy prices increase dramatically. Using energy and financial data for the oil and gas production sector, we demonstrate that the equations sufficiently describe the fundamental trends between profit, price, and EROI.

Frugal - Just my WAG but given the beating the Canadians have taken on pricing due to the bottleneck at Cushing I can see the delay being very logical. Between increased deliverability to Gulf Coast refineries in just a couple of years via the new pipelines and the potential to eventually export to China, they could boost their price platform in their economic model considerably. In the end it's all about ROR. They might see an acceptable ROR today but a much better one with the delay.

IMO the biggest problem is construction and labour costs. Right now construction speed is as fast as it can be while being economically sustainable. Until there's some wholesale infrastructure improvements (including pipelines) there's no reason to burn money to fast-track these project. They have all of the regulatory permissions, so they can just wait for things to cooldown a bit and for the pipelines to finish.

This in no way means the oilsands is in trouble or dead. The rates of construction is still crazy and Teck just finished regulatory approval for their mine to open in 2020.

Companies are delaying oil sands projects because there are too many projects under construction now. There are limits to the number of projects which can be constructed at any one time without creating a labor shortage which causes labor costs to skyrocket. We have been at this point before and we are there again.

The shortage of skilled labor is general in Alberta because the unemployment rate is only 4.5%. Most of the unemployed are those who have insufficient education or the wrong type of skills. The Canadian government is loosening the immigration regulations to allow the right type of skills in.

I am almost tempted to send in my CV.

a labor shortage

I read in 2008 that in the oilsector in general this is going to be a problem, because many are over 60 years of age. Anything changed since then ?

Re: The Responses to Sandy uptop


OK, so you were warned. You ignored the warning and stayed in a place where you could be stranded. That's a choice. But with that choice comes responsibility -- to have food, water, a means of communication that will work (e.g. battery-powered HAM radio and the knowledge to use it) and a willing acceptance of the risk that something awful could happen to you.

It drives me nuts when people put down those of us who prepare for uncertain times and then something like Sandy comes along and they grip about their sad state of affairs. And, further, expect that someone else has the responsibility to "save" them.

While people might not want to believe in a potential societal collapse, they should at least recognize that it doesn't take a collapse to end up in a world of hurt due to other circumstances for which they could have prepared..

I'm certainly sorry for all the pain people are going through but "stuff" happens. I live in the mountains of northern California where wildfires can and do happen. Therefore, we place a lot of emphasis on fire safety such as clearing a defensible zone around our house, having evacuation plans, etc. It's a natural part of life for us. We're also prepared for power outages that always happen in the winter and always have plenty of food and water to get by for long periods of time; like one year we got snowed in for three weeks and it would have been a month if we hadn't brought in a bulldozer to clear the road. That's life.


It is not surprising that hardly anyone was ready for this storm since our national conversation, or lack thereof, has been to ignore the potential changes in severity of storms due to global warming. A serious and honest discussion on this topic could result in a policy that encourages people to move well away from the ocean and prevent
any further development on the ocean. But then I recall this was being discussed decades ago with respect to hurricanes in general further down the coast, say in North Carolina.

This kind of reminds me of 9/11 when Condi said no one could have predicted this. Yeh. That worked out about as well as this "once in a century" storm. Some of the media is starting to get it but even a couple of days ago, some moron on MSNBC was implying that this is something we won't see again for a very long time. Until next year, maybe.

tstreet - "A serious and honest discussion on this topic could result in a policy that encourages people to move well away from the ocean and prevent any further development on the ocean. But then I recall this was being discussed decades ago with respect to hurricanes in general further down the coast, say in North Carolina." That's the problem, isn't it? Take the whole topic of global warming and increasing severity of the weather off the table. Thousands have died and many $billions lost long before AGW could have affected the weather. About 100 years ago Galveston Island was whipped out by a hurricane with almost everyone there killed. And since then Galveston has had many $billions of new construction and many times that original population. And, of course, after the last hurricane caused so much death and destruction just a few years ago they are again rebuilding it. Consider how many times FL has been devastated by storms long before AGW could be blamed. Did that change the pattern?

What policy changes would you expect now by labeling the destruction due to AGW when there were little if any policy changes when it was just Mother Earth causing the havoc? IMHO it's back to the same position we've always been in: BAU has precedence. Will the pattern change because now we can blame man for causing the problem when, in the past, we accepted the risks as just part of nature? I have little expectation of that happening. What I do expect is a lot of whining and demands that the govt provide financial support in order to maintain BAU along our coast lines.

There is some adaptation to risks. All of the houses on exposed parts of Dauphin Island Alabama are on 8+ ft pilings above the sand so that waves can pass harmlessly beneath them. My friend who owns a condo there says he pays $2000 per year for insurance.


Douglas - Best wishes for your friend. Having spent my entire life on the Gulf Coast I can't guess how many such pilings I've seen with nothing resting on top of them.

We had up to 14feet with Sandy. Gulf hurricanes are much more intense (if not 1000 miles wide), didn't we have 20foot plus surges with Katrina and Rita? Once it overtops your pilings, your house is toast.

Re: Dauphin Island Alabama

The only thing crazier than building an expensive permanent structure on a barrier island is providing insurance for said structure.

... is providing PUBLICALLY FUNDED insurance for said structure. If someone is crazy enough to build in stupid places, and if some private firm is crazy enough to insure it, fine. But keep my tax dollars out of it.

In many situations, rebuilding has been paid for thru Federal flood insurance. If that "subsidy" weren't available, I suspect that many fewer houses would be built back on those barrier islands, which are, after all, going to move around with each passing storm. Add in the tax deduction of interest on loans for second homes and the insurance subsidy practically guarantee those structures will be rebuilt...

E. Swanson

Will the pattern change because now we can blame man for causing the problem when, in the past, we accepted the risks as just part of nature? I have little expectation of that happening.

Agreed. Unless it's a totally artificial city like Brazilia or Abuja which were built by executive fiat, there is usually a good reason for a place to become inhabited in the first place, and if it's destroyed, there's a good reason for it to be re-inhabited.

For instance, the nine layers of Troy. No FEMA back then.

Simon Winchester thinks the US is more vulnerable to disaster than, say, Europe, because it's so young a country. It doesn't have enough ruins.

In mature countries in the old civilisations of Asia, Europe and Africa, the big cities are, by and large, where they ought to be.

So London, Paris, Cairo, Beijing, Moscow, all thousands of years old, all in seismically stable places untroubled by terrible weather.

But by the same token these ancient countries are littered with the ruins of cities built where they ought not to have been built - Pompeii, Petra, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Heliopolis.

As tourists we cluster around these ruins, in awe. Ruins are part of our cultural inheritance, important for the perspective that they bring, reminders of our impermanence.

But America is a country without any ruins.

Maybe the odd ghost-town in Utah and Nevada, but basically no ruined cities.

The country is young enough to have set down its cities wherever it pleases, without ever stopping to ask if the world agrees.

And the world does not always agree.

Which prompts me to wonder out loud whether - if one can imagine a map of America drawn up, say, two centuries from now - whether there may in fact be a litter of abandoned and ruined cities.

New Orleans, for example.

It is a little eccentric to create a city on a swamp, six metres below sea-level, between a river and a lake, in a part of the world afflicted by near-constant summer hurricanes. Might this not, one day, be abandoned to the elements?

And what of Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, even?

There is no water there. And there is no great world tradition of building cities to last in the middle of deserts. So Phoenix may go the way of Petra, though it is a little difficult to imagine its ruins attracting quite so many tourists.

He thinks one day people will come to see the ruins of San Francisco, and wonder why anyone chose to live there.

Ayutthaya in Thailand

We found out last year that Bangkok, where the Thai capital moved to after Ayutthaya, is uniquely vulnerable to danger. Not only is it smack in the middle of a giant flood plain, it effectively serves as a dam.

Just because a country is lettered with ruins, doesn't mean that lessons have been learned, or that they have prepared for new challenges.

His argument is that lessons are learned the hard way, and are still being learned.

And he doesn't seem to have considered climate change much. London may well be underwater if the worst case scenario comes to pass.

The author forgot to mention Venice.

Both Rotterdam and Amsterdam are much lower (but much better protected) than New Orleans.

Lisbon has had some extremely powerful earthquakes.

London has a barrage to prevent flooding.

I think that just by luck, Europe in toto has fewer natural disasters. But they more than made up for that with wars.


Life may have originated, at least here on planet Zaytox, way deep in hydrothermal vents. Ridiculous!

Point is that life goes everywhere it can go. If some of the everywhere says "Not anymore you can't", then life says, "Okay.". Maybe it creeps back over time in slo' mo' as if it's up to no good, maybe with a smug, evil grin and shifty eyes. Maybe it can't get off its planet permenently, as a Fermi effect, despite decades of taxation. That's okay too. (Notice our lovely Steve apparently hitting his appendage on the podium.)
But maybe an asteroid energetically hits the planet and loosens some of the micro' to live another day on another ball somewhere else in the future.

Well said. A long since departed contributor here used to say that humans are dumber than yeast. Nothing has changed and why should we expect any change in the future regardless of the cause. We are obviously a people who don't mind taking risks, especially when someone else has to pay for it.

My experience is that just such a return to-BAU response occurs. I went through the Fukushima thing, including the earthquake (I was inland, so I did not have to endure the tsunami's effects at least). Also, I grew up in metro-NY area, and it still feels like home a bit.

Now there is the overt public---especially government---- wish to rebuild and recover and return to BAU. Only that is what you will see.

But under the surface, the deep cracks in the system here mean that millions of people now don't want to have a child because of radiation fears, poverty, a new cynical attitude toward the whole enterprise, instability of their job, appropriate caution that any child they produce will face starvation one day,and so forth. So during the day, a truck driver might say, for a news article, "yes, I hope the situation improves and business will come back." But privately, at home, this guy is not getting married, or starting a family, or buying a house.

So the population declines....(is declining, at an ever-accelerating pace)....and during the day everyone is chirping about "optimism" and "hope" but during the night, privately, they are giving up on caring about it all. "We are fu&%ed" is everyone's private admission. MOst people instinctively know about climate change and PO and recognize it when they see it.

And so everything becomes sort of hollow, to the point where BAU is eroded beyond recognition.

Life seems like an absurd dream-sequence, or a strange opportunity for a collective split identity....everything changes even while publicly everyone vows to make everything the same again.

So the population declines....(is declining, at an ever-accelerating pace)....and during the day everyone is chirping about "optimism" and "hope" but during the night, privately, they are giving up on caring about it all. "We are fu&%ed" is everyone's private admission. MOst people instinctively know about climate change and PO and recognize it when they see it.

Wow, is there any chance of this sentiment catching on in the Middle East, Africa, India or Asia (barring China)? There doesn't seem to be any sign of this attitude there. Those regions are so overpopulated they've denuded the landscape, created new deserts (or vastly expanded old ones), driven most non-livestock animal species to extinction, and practically emptied the water tables. This only seems to be a problem with developed nations.

$50 billion on damage - YAY, let's rebuild and spend that $50B. $5 billion on prevention - no way, mucho tooo expensive!!!


Lets do a thought experiment. Suddenly at some time about to happen, everyone gets it. Now all that coastal realestate, which has a current market value of a gazillion dollars (mostly held by rich folks), is suddenly worh only a small fraction. Many rich folks get soaked (they are politically powerful). Banks that loaned them the money are in trouble and need a bailout. Instant financial crash 2.0. So everyone has an incentive to extend and pretend, cause the minute you admit you have a problem, your troubles begin.
Similarly with the gazillions "invested" in ownership of fossil fuels. Oh, we gotta stop burning the stuff, Exxon goes from $90 (or whatever it is today) to a dollar a share. Many pension funds are decimated, so they all get dumped on the government pension quaratee fund which is suddenly bankrupt etc. So as a capitalist nation, our only choice is extend and pretend. Cause once you grow up and quit pretending, the game is over.

Here's another good article of what's going on and why people should prepare:


I think that it should be pointed out that anarchy HAS NOT occurred. Stress, confusion, logistical difficulties, shortages etc. are all part of a catastrophic event such as Sandy. But despite its occurrence in one of the world's most densely populated urban areas, there has been few instances of disorder and an overwhelming amount of cooperation between neighbors to make the best of it. The Jersey Shore Anarchy site linked to Brietbart.com, a site that is trying desperately to turn this into Obama's Katrina. The situation may deteriorate, but effective leadership has also been on display and that has had a positive effect.

For example, Gov. Cuomo this morning on gas shortages.
“There is no reason to panic; there is no reason for anxiety,” Governor Cuomo said of the gasoline shortage. “We understand why there was a shortage, for very definable reasons. We also understand why it’s going to be better, and it’s going to be better in the near future......
“This was a major, major assault by mother nature that we went through, and it’s not going to be a one- or two- or three-day situation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “A little patience, a little compassion, a little understanding, should make it better for everyone.”

"there has been few instances of disorder and an overwhelming amount of cooperation between neighbors to make the best of it."

But that is anarchy, cutting the government out of the loop and getting on with it yourself is anarchy. The view that anarchy is violent disorder is the government's projected view of anarchy. They have a vested interest afterall, being the bringer of peace and order, maintainers of the status quo. It wouldn't do to have people sorting things out themselves, it undermines the Government's legitimacy. Such things must be demonised to deter people from behaving like free thinking individuals capable of looking after themselves and shunning dependency on the State.

Lets face it, people dependant upon a failing system are going to be let down badly by it at the very time they need it the most. That's the way it is going to be going forward. It's the new normal. If people believe that living on the beachfront is ok, because the status quo is going to be maintained for them, or they'll be bailed out if it isn't, are going to get their heads handed to them on a plate.

Dmitry Orlov has written an excellent three part essay on Anarchy at:

"...On the other hand, a major effort has been made by Western capitalist régimes to denigrate anarchism and equate it with terrorism."

"I would like to rehabilitate both Kropotkin and anarchy. People who bother to read Kropotkin's lucid and unpretentious writings quickly realize that he is first of all a natural scientist, who approached the study of both nature and human nature using the same scientific method. He was also a great humanist, and chose the path of anarchy because, as a scientist, he saw it as the best way to improve society based on successful patterns of cooperation he observed in nature."

Just because neighbors are working together and initiating some or even many solutions independently doesn't mean that there isn't also government making its effects, assistance and presence a key, but maybe not so visible part of the situation.. This is like kids on the internet in chatrooms and 'secret forums', thinking they are in some separate little world, finally freed of the 'Grupps' and their archaic systems. Did you see the police in NJ, helping to keep people acting civil as they filled their jerry-cans?

Good luck with the extremes (All Gov't, NO Gov't) .. I think part of the 'new normal' will entail a need to strike new balances between reforming authority structures and many unfamiliar levels of independence.. and a lot more interaction, since it was the Insulation and Isolation that was one of the 'perks' of our increasingly cloudy society.

We'll all be meeting up back down on the ground, where structures will naturally be setting themselves up, or in their absence, will be demanded by us.

You go too far towards anarchy, and soon young toughs start protection rackets, which evolves into rule by mobster. As Jokuhl said, beware the extremes.Of course right now in the USA, advocating even a little government, is treated as extreme commie/Stalinism.

The reality is that the System, which includes Government, is failing. It isn't a matter of choosing which flavour of system (centralising or decentralising) we're most comfortable with, but choosing a way forward which doesn't impinge upon our survival. It makes sense to untie ourselves from the sinking ship. That doesn't mean we shouldn't accept the benefits the existing system provides whilst insulating ourselves as much as possible from its failings.

One day the police in NJ will not be there to keep people civil as they wait with their jerry-cans. The result will not be anarchy, it will be chaos, if it were anarchy there would be no chaos, but order of a different kind. But as the system is failing and the void it leaves behind will be chaotic, so people really need to sort themselves out and fill the void with something that works for them and is resilient.

Climate change, economic collapse and energy depletion will steamroller anyone and anything that unwisely stays in its path (and that includes the Government). First step for individuals is to get the hell out of the way, its not a lifestyle choice but a necessity. The alternative is to depend upon the system to feed you, provide a home, sanitation, security, a means to support yourself and bail you out when you eventually get steamrollered. Well good luck with that for those that choose to go that route.

The problem I have with your terminology is that talking about 'The System' like this is like talking about 'The Grid' failing. It's nowhere near as Monolithic as you are painting it. It doesn't all rise together or fall together.

There are thousands of subsystems and variables. There are some core assumptions that are flawed.. some still function, others just add drag or set us up for a fall. Some parts are reusable.. some things need to just be reapplied. Some habits are destructive (rape? self-deception? Jazzercise?) .. but aren't going to be just surgically removed, and we might just have to work around them.

"The alternative is to depend upon the system to feed you, provide a home, sanitation, security, a means to support yourself and bail you out when you eventually get steamrollered. Well good luck with that for those that choose to go that route."

But see, you paint it as this All or Nothing choice. It's not Black and White. When the smoke clears, should we stop speaking English and come up with a pure language, since it carries big parts of our cultural 'system' inherent in it's very structure?

jokuhl, the System is failing, whether some parts are robust or not and gradually increasing numbers of people will be affected by it. So the decision to be wholly dependent upon it or not is black and white. Choosing not to be wholly dependant upon the System opens up new choices, the degree of independence being one.

My own view is that the System is a valuable resource albeit a dangerous and unstable one. The key being to utilise it as a resource without being crushed by it as it falls apart. This is very different from being wholly integrated into it and dependent upon its survival for your own.

Increasing numbers of people are going to have the choice made for them as externalities, such as climate change, decouple them forcefully from the System.

One more try.

There is no System. 'The System' is Multiple Systems with Multiple Layers, and when parts of it fail as they are doing regularly, people jump in and fix them, modify them, revisit SOME of the design assumptions behind them.

It is a compound problem which is coming and going constantly. You've seen my comments here for years and know that I'm hardly an apologist for the Economic Models, the Media Blinders and the Political Shenanigans that we are tied up with.. but just like the problem with calling our Electrical Network 'The Grid', if you are so insistent that all these pieces can really be contained and concieved as 'The System', then I think you are going to miss the babies in the bathwater that need to be saved and engaged with in order to turn Today's System into Tomorrow's System.

From some Gang Movie:
"Whoa. You're in 'Organized Crime'?"

"Yeah well, to tell you the truth, we ain't that organized."

Perhaps Burgundy is speaking of a school of fish/flock of birds and their emergent whole movements.
I just posted something kind of about this in the new Drumbeat.
While there is no system per se, there seems to be a kind of emergent whole from all the minutae, and I keep trying to convince myself that I don't see the whole crossing one or more thresholds on the way to the abyss. The deeper, the higher the pressure. And then there are the bends-- a metaphor which I think Korowizc would appreciate.

Humans appear seriously out of scale. Our system, systems pluralized, no-system systems, unsystems or whatever you want to call it/them seem the results of our, say, small-scale, band/tribal relatively democratic roots scaled way up, bung mode.

As a metaphor, maybe we have beached ourselves like whales.

My idea of relatively legitimate government or authority (and even then, if there is to be one) is maybe a group of accessible tribal elders I/we know and who know me/us, where we all live, etc., as opposed to some distant, unknown rep/agent/killer-drone of this Matrix, like a young man-- kid, some would say-- with still-raging hormones and easily-fired temperament, who understands much less about the world, and with a label-mindwash called 'police officer', a funky suit, jacked cruiser, and a warm-and-fuzzy gun helping some gas lineups.

I couldn't help but notice the ad for the Kindle Fire HD. Perhap "The Economic Collapse" still offers some business opportunities.

"they should at least recognize that it doesn't take a collapse to end up in a world of hurt due to other circumstances for which they could have prepared.."

Yes, yes, yes.

My takeaway from Sandy is that the three days of supplies FEMA goes on about is not enough. A week is the new three days.

NASA climatologist James Hansen, 2006

"The effects of a rising sea level would not occur gradually, but rather they would be felt mainly at the time of storms. Thus for practical purposes sea level rise being spread over one or two centuries would be difficult to deal with. It would imply the likelihood of a need to continually rebuild above a transient coastline."

While Casinos in Atlantic City are closed, in Sydney - on a different planet - they want to build a 2nd Casino right at sea level:


Of course this was ignored:

Sydney builds huge "sustainable" basement car park in Darling Harbour
prone to flooding by sea level rise

Needless to say, hydrodynamic modelling of a 3m storm surge entering Sydney Harbour was not yet done. They just started:

All the while construction is already underway

So the response to global warming is similar to peak oil: ignore it.

So the response to global warming is similar to peak oil: ignore it.

Broadly speaking (well maybe not so broad) and sadly that seems to the the human way.

Maybe evolution will help though I am unsure how 'cept maybe extinction.

How much stuff in a car park (assuming cars are driven out) is susceptible to flood damage? I have no problem with stuff being built in flood zones, provided provision has been made to handle the inevitable, i.e. everyone knows there will be flood events, and are emotionally and financially ready for them.

"Sydney builds huge "sustainable" basement car park in Darling Harbour "

a sustainable car park ? wot ? is there such a beast ??

gotta laff you know


a sustainable car park ? wot ? is there such a beast ???

Well, think of it this way, if it happens to be full of cars when it floods then you get to recycle all that metal and make bicycles from it /sarc

So the response to global warming is similar to peak oil: ignore it.

Yep. Like I wrote yesterday: human nature causes that we are overtaken by events.
In the case of Peak Oil there is the complicating factor that most people have no idea of what it means or not understand the wide variety of consequences after explaining the phenomenon. Sure, probable and possible consequences.

RE: The Peak Oil Crisis: The Superstorm

Interesting statement in the article:

For years climate scientists have warned us that seemingly minor changes in global temperatures would lead to unusual weather events having serious consequences. They clearly got it right, for in the past decade we have had several major hurricanes that tore up Gulf oil production and nearly did in New Orleans and several other Gulf towns; outbreaks of tornados that flattened towns in the mid-west; floods in the Mississippi valley; droughts in Texas and the corn belt; blizzards on the east coast; and two monster storms in a row slamming into the New York area.

When the phenomenon of global warming was figured out some 20 or 30 years ago, nearly everybody agreed that it sounded reasonable and that someday we would have to do something about it. The problem, of course, is that the "something" turned out to be major reductions in the use of fossil fuels.

The current meme infecting many deniers is that "one can't tell if an individual weather event is caused by global warming induced climate change" or not.

That is something even Fifth Graders are intellectually able to discuss competently.

There are now so many examples of events that fall under the category: "one can't tell if an individual weather event is caused by global warming induced climate change" that the argument is becoming as weak as some of the arctic sea ice.

I view this similarly to the way I came to view acid rain, which helped open my eyes to our ecological destruction and predicament over 30 years ago. It became clear that every rain (and snow, and fog...) event in my native northeast is contaminated to some degree by anthropogenic SO2 and NOx emissions. Thus it is with climate and weather now. The answer to 'is this event caused by climate change', is - yes, they all are. Every breath of wind on the planet is in some way affected by the fact that there is additional energy in the system, trapped here by our emissions of GHG.

EPA Finds Hyundai, Kia Overstated Gas Mileage

Here's an interesting story about the methods which the EPA uses to calculate MPG numbers. Following the link to the Hyundai web page about the situation, one finds a discussion about the standards for measuring the dynamic load on a vehicle by way of a "coast down" test. The data from the test is used to setup the dynometer for simulation of vehicle operation over the EPA's carefully scripted driving cycle. HERE is a link to the standard, as set down by the SAE...

E. Swanson

They better nail Hyundai to the wall. Lying about your MPG ratings actually has environmental, economic, and even national security impacts for the country.

It's not clear from the article that Hyundai lied about their cars MPG. The tests involved are used to determine the aerodynamic characteristics of each vehicle model and may not actually represent the real world aerodynamics. Also, the test procedure may have been interpreted differently by the manufacturer than what was intended by the EPA, which could be explained by language differences. Also, it's been claimed that the manufacturers have tweaked their cars to obtain the best results on the test and this situation may indeed be the result of a manufacturer going a bit too far.

Whatever the cause of the difference, the actual on the road mileage of a car can vary considerably from the test results because of the driving conditions. The MPG information posted on the new car's window sticker is only there as a reference, a standard test with nearly identical driving conditions. It's not a guarantee but a way for the consumer to compare different cars in the market. The tests don't attempt to measure aerodynamics when there is much wind and cross winds can change air drag because of the distinctive body treatments which stylist use to visually define a car for the market. Of course, the driving speed will impact the mileage and some people drive faster than others while some areas have higher speed limits than others. As the saying goes, "Your mileage may vary"...

E. Swanson

Right, and how many American based models get anywhere near their official MPG figures, either in the USA or Europe?


I'm shocked to see this article on Business Week of all places:

It's Global Warming, Stupid

It uses an analogy that may help J6P "get it":

“We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”

It even mentions the G word in a negative way:

Which raises the question of what alerts and measures to undertake. In his book The Conundrum, David Owen, a staff writer at the New Yorker, contends that as long as the West places high and unquestioning value on economic growth and consumer gratification—with China and the rest of the developing world right behind—we will continue to burn the fossil fuels whose emissions trap heat in the atmosphere. Fast trains, hybrid cars, compact fluorescent light bulbs, carbon offsets—they’re just not enough, Owen writes.

Shocked in a negative or positive way? Here are some photos in the wake of Sandy: http://www.weather.com/news/hurricane-sandy-pictures-photos-20121025

Shocked in the sense of several recent comments here, that the MSM never talks about climate change as a major economic threat. Perhaps the frankenstorm served as the "2x4 between the eyes" to shake people up to the reality? I like their baseball analogy, it may help some readers get it.

Thanks for clarifying. I agree. NY happens to be the center of MSM outlets for the US, and this may help push the deniers to finally accept climate chaos and onward we go to try and do something about it. I'm wondering if once Obama is re-elected (that Bloomberg's comments urging Obama to address GW) will take on this issue that has so far deeply divided the country. Fox news is going to need an awful lot of persuasion to change their tune, but I guess it may be possible. I'm hopeful this storm will have been the one that moved us forward.

Unfortunately Peak Oil and Limits to Growth are still denied and not even mentioned by many Progressive outlets still wedded to New Deal dreams of Keynesian material growth for all. And Auto Addicted suburban sprawl is a major problem with inadequate provisions to protect Rail or sufficient Bus options.
Hours long waits in the few gasoline stations, unfortunately Rail is still down which provides me mobility in the Jersey suburbs with my folding bike.

Luckily my community has a community center which provided power and heat, a local grocery store etc. The importance of local resources and Community support has never been clearer....

Nope. The new lines are:

1. There have always been hurricanes!
2. You can't prove it was global warming!
3. We'll adapt to flooding!

They value whatever comfort denialism provides over objective facts.

The corporatocracy threatening to revoke any advertising to any media outlet that doesn costow to the climate change denial line, will bring them into line. The corporatocracy knows that the value of all sorts of important financial assets related to the current BAU model will implode, if the public wakes up.

The corporatocracy threatening to revoke any advertising to any media outlet that doesn costow to the climate change denial line

Do you have any links or citations to back this up? Ot at least data on the percentage of advertising revenue that comes from companies threatened by climate reporting?

I am not necessarily disputing your claim, although I suspect it is overstated. In Thailand, I know that governments, for example, are able to control directly or indirectly enough advertising budget to in fact censor the media. Another link at the top of this Drumbeat does indicate that coal interests in Wyoming were able to get the university to remove anti-climate change art. It is also clear the corporation have a giant track record of trying to mislead the public on tobacco, food, and of course climate change itself.

However, I haven't heard much complaining from journalists and others that they are heavily edited on climate issues. It also seems that Bloomberg/Business Week would be the exact type of publication to be at greatest risk as their advertisers are more likely to be energy intensive companies. And, I think there is a lot more decent climate change reporting going on than acknowledged here. Finally, it seems that the lack of coverage could just be explained by the fact that climate change not an issue that the media thinks will sell papers

But it would be interesting to learn how much evidence there is behind your claim.

Journalists aren't going to complain much that they are edited (repressed, even) on any topic. The ones that do become known as 'disgruntled ex-journalists'. The system works subtly, but powerfully. Editors simply don't entertain certain stories, so journalists stop working on them. And some of the stories that the editors do allow to pass are rejected by the publishers. This establishes a very powerful - but largely unarticulated - barrier to certain types of coverage. But I am just an amateur. For real elucidation of how this works, read the likes of Robert McChesney. Here's a starting pt.

In the USA, even with cash in hand, you can not put an ad on TV that upsets other sponsors, or the ruling corporation, or certain other PTB.

I can remember many many examples, ads being denied.

NBC’s Chuck Todd: ‘Let’s Not Bury Our Heads In The Sand…. It’s Called Climate Change, Folks’

Perhaps Sandy will be a turning point for the media.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, NBC political director Chuck Todd said bluntly during MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown”:

Second year in a row the New York Metro area hit by this stuff. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand when it comes to — something has changed in the Atlantic. The climate has changed. It’s called climate change, folks.

Shine on, it wont even register as a feather between the eyes let alone a 2x4.



Let the idiots drown, burn, starve or whatever the case may be, due to their own stupidity. They made their bed, let them lie in it. I'm totally with Todd (upthread) on this one. You were told what was going to happen, you did nothing. Now you're gonna get hurt real bad.

Deal with it.

That said, I hope me and mine die before TSHTF really bad. May not make it though I'll admit that.

Ah well, c'est la vie. Hopefully I remember to duck and not get a mouthful when it really hits.

Then again, due to the dumb luck of birth (something not to be underestimated in my view), I'm likely to benefit in the long term from coming disasters prognosticated about on TOD.

Good to me! :) <--- and yes that is a self satisfied grin. It may be wiped off my ugly mug some day, but for now, I'm smiling! :)

For those whose entire lives have been spent in one, fairly reliable, environment - their psychology is unprepared for a new threat to disrupt that environment with just a few days to digest & internalize that change.

Denial and inaction are much easier decisions to make than to "do something" (just what they really do not know).

As a hypothetical, I wonder how New Orleanians would react to a warning that a storm might drop a foot or more of snow in 48 hours. And then we get 3' of snow. Some warnings about possible natural gas shortages.

For native New Orleanians, heavy snowfall is a simply incomprehensible concept. We have had an inch or two of snow three times in the last 40 years. The one I experienced lead to snowpeople with hibiscus flowers for eyes and little else that was memorable.


Bah! Let the idiots drown, burn, starve or whatever the case may be, due to their own stupidity.

Yes the stupid get what they deserve. After all it is their fault that they are stupid... I think. Shouldn't they have had the good sense to have inherited better genes? And shouldn't they have the good sense to have been raised in a better environment?

Aren't people responsible for their genes and environment? If they are then it is their own fault that they are stupid. But if not then do stupid people deserve what they get because of their stupidity?

I am sorry folks, but I am asking questions that make people think. And I know that people with set opinions don't want to think about them, they just want to hear folks tell them that they are correct. Thinking is hard work.

Ron P.

I don't think for the most part they are stupid. They just gambled that the storm wouldn't be that bad. They lost. What's stupid is expecting someone else to come save them once they screwed up, and having the gall to get angry when it doesn't happen "fast enough". It's just part of the general entitlement complex many people have these days, that they don't have to take responsibility for themselves or their decisions.

They're not IQ-stupid, they're life-stupid. And that is a choice that everyone gets to make.

I think you completely missed the point of my post. Oh well...

Ron P.

They're not IQ-stupid, they're life-stupid.

Something like: You are intelligent if you use a (quite)high IQ in an intelligent way ? Still not decent to think that the idiots get what they deserve.

What about those who are poor, or elderly, or disabled, or otherwise have low access to information, transportation, and resources? Are they among the unworthy to be consigned to their fate so that well-off libertarian types can feel smug and superior, and indulge their misanthropic tendencies?

Bah! Let the idiots drown, burn, starve or whatever the case may be, due to their own stupidity.

Quotes like that say a lot more about the poster than they do about the intended targets

Bah! Let the idiots drown, burn, starve or whatever the case may be, due to their own stupidity.

Quotes like that say a lot more about the poster than they do about the intended targets

Well said. While it is no doubt true there were some idiots, there were many people who had few if any options.

Listening to them, a lot of them were older and experienced and had seen many storms... they didn't understand that this wasn't just one more.


What gets me are the kids. You'd think a parent would at least send their children to safety. I just don't understand how someone with children could keep them in a mandatory evacuation area.

I'm confused by your attitude Ron. Are you truely a Darwinian?

How do you know 'They did nothing' ??

"Let the idiots drown.."

I'm sorry, but your position for a region that just got whacked is really tragic. Lucky for you, I'm sure you've got neighbors out there somewhere that have more compassion than you seem to.

Well, I do have relatives in the area. As I understand it, they came out unscathed. Of course, they don't live right on the coast, so that helped them from the get go.

Still though, stupid is as stupid does.

So it goes...

As someone who was carrying water up to elderly people stuck in high-rise buildings yesterday, I find your comment callous and ignorant.

I don't have time to make a real long response, but I am thinking similarly to Alan (comment above). Yes, people do make stupid and ill-informed decisions, but we also live in culture/society that has been telling people for decades that the economy and, more importantly, our individual lives have been successfully decoupled from disruptions of any kind thanks to that great panacea technology. I find that many people are ill-equipped to think about the possibility that BAU is not guaranteed. In my home country, "regular" life is frequently disrupted by violence, food staple supply disruptions, etc... It is hard to assess the gravity of a situation when everyone around you is giving you poor info, and when your entire life you have been trained to think that you won't be effected.

Have many people in this country made poor decisions? Yes. But if we can't feel empathy and be compassionate in the face of a horrible disaster... well maybe we are heading to some sort of dystopian, wild west future like some people on this board think we are. I still hold on to some hope that most people are more feeling than yourself.

Good on you for the water carrying. As for the kinder, gentler types, I'm sure they are a major force in the world. However, I also believe that life was and will be harder than it has been during my lifespan during the golden age of North Americans riding the oil wave. When that runs out, prepare for a less settled and more atavistic world. Heck, it's a pretty unsettled and atavistic world already, it's just that the Empire keeps the nastiness at a distant through the work of hard men who keep a broad watch on the borders. All well and good until the Empire falls and then we'll see the suppressed nature of humankind assert itself again.

So it goes...

Heck, it's a pretty unsettled and atavistic world already, it's just that the Empire keeps the nastiness at a distant through the work of hard men who keep a broad watch on the borders.

Thank God for our brave border troops, valiantly defending us from unsettled and atavistic Nova Scotia.

Yes, even the poorest of the poor in the U.S. have ridden the free energy oil Horse for far too long..not to mention the rich along the Shore.

The visit to NYC and the area by Sandy, just might be one of the best things that could happen to them....open their eyes to the reality that the Natural World they live in is much more important than the big screen TV in the Living Room...Yes, Her visit was a good thing.

Choose Wisely.
The Martian

Just for the record, I mentioned my water carrying just to show that I was personally invested in the situation. I actually haven't been able to volunteer as much as I would like because I have been turned away several times due to the overwhelming number of people trying to help. Score that one for humanity. Maybe our primitive natures aren't as dreary you think.

The photos and stories coming out of NYC and Jersey are truly stunning. I do hope these people can recover, whatever that may mean. And they will. But I suspect Hurricane Sandy will finally put an end to American innocence.

Remember that the Northeast, despite its extremes of weather, has historically been very stable and immune from natural disaster. This is now shattered.

Think about all of the events since the turn of the century, and none of them slowed America down, it just keeps going and going.

This feels different, though, coinciding as it does with a general mood of malaise and an upcoming sure to be bitter presidential election.

It's back to the 70s, people, and this time permanently.

Remember that the Northeast, despite its extremes of weather, has historically been very stable and immune from natural disaster.

I think this is completely wrong. The northeast has its share of disasters. As others have pointed out, there is a history of hurricanes and other storms. Catastrophic floods are not unusual. There are occasional tornados. Ice storms and blizzards can shut down the region. (The blizzard of 1977 still lives in the memory of many. So much snow fell people were trapped in their homes for weeks. Food was delivered via snowmobile. Though eventually, they banned snowmobiles because they were running into chimneys and power lines. Yes, the snow was that deep.)

Looking at the sea surface temperature history of Sandy's travel, the reason for Sandy's strength appears rather obvious. Look at these graphic presentations of the anomalies, that is, the temperature difference compared to the long term average:

BEFORE, ---> DURING, ---> and AFTER

Notice the large area of cooler water around eastern Cuba and the Bahamas after Sandy tracked over the area on it's way to the still warm waters of the Gulf Stream. All that warmer than usual water allowed Sandy to pick up steam as it powered ahead. Unfortunately, it's easy to say that this is the result of Global Warming, but providing conclusive scientific proof of causality will be difficult...

E. Swanson

Providing conclusive scientific proof of causality specifically for Sandy would quite frankly be an irrelevant and futile exercise.

IMHO, it might be more important to get the general public to grasp the fact that we already have more than sufficient scientific evidence that leads us to conclude that storms of this magnitude are much more likely to occur from here on out! Furthermore it is highly likely these storms will cause significant infrastructure damage and severe disruption in highly populated coastal areas.

You are free to do your own risk assessment analysis and make your plans accordingly!

Based on the currently available science it seems that there are certain areas in the tropics which may be less affected by these super storms, specifically with respect to storm surge. My personal plan is to move to such a region within a 5 year time frame... assuming my luck holds out even that long. I do live in South Florida after all.

P.S. For the record, I know what it takes to build a shelter that can easily withstand 150 mph winds... a 25 ft wall of water, not so much.

Want to build on my deep-soil lot at 1800' altitude on the big island? I'm not using it...

Thanks greenish, I appreciate the offer!

I sent you a link via private email to where I'm in the process of buying some land together with my siblings.
And I'll extend an invitation for you to come by and stay there any time for as long as you might like, bring whomever you want!

Either of you two are welcome here any time you're in Northern CA.


I used to be in Alabama, recently moved to far northern CA, just 25 miles from Oregon. 6 acres on the edge of a tiny town. Great place to be! Nice community and neighbors, cows across the road. Luckily I stocked up on PV panels from Sun Electronics before I moved, near Fred. Great company!

Thanks... I sent you an email; if you don't get it, drop me one at the address linked to my user name.

Great offer, Fred, who knows? Maybe I'll see you there someday.

Yep, I enjoy being near the sea but chose a location above and away so I don't get too much of it. A short bike ride, I'm at the beach but there is a bit more work getting home. Still I can sit upstairs and enjoy a sea-view without the work and with a beer or 2.


Mitt Romney and his friends may see Global Warming as a new business opportunity. Start companies to clean up the mess from hurricanes and tornadoes. There is a silver lining in every cloud according to those optimists.

From what I have read Mitt and friends know only how to eviscerate businesses.

Why does everyone pick on Barry Bonds? Not like anyone else did it? Lance Armstrong maybe?

He is high profile and proven guilty.

I have no problem using him as an example.


He is just a great example, with Lance, he was probably a bit faster than if he hadn't, with Barry bonds, you can argue about each homer, would it have been one. Its a more chaotic i.e. random outcome with each swing of the bat in baseball, which I think matches the vageries of weather better.

Now, I have nothing personal against Barry. I'm not at all interested in baseball, and the boundary lines between legal/illegal drugs/supplements/foods are pretty arbitrary as far as I'm concerned.

Automobile Magazine names Tesla Model S 'Car of the Year'

It is an amazing car. But such an expensive high-end niche car is not going to change the energy situation at all. At most, it will hopefully increase the manufacturing of EV components such as batteries, motors, and controllers such that prices of parts get pushed down a bit.

Yes, but each Model S will mean one less 560 horsepower BMW M5 sedan burning gasoline, and it’s built here in the U.S. not overseas. Not that I have anything against Germans its just I like seeing a well designed car done in the U.S.

Right now I am considering what fraction of battery power gets diverted from propulsion to heating the purely electric car in winter. One advantage of internal combustion vehicles is that waste heat from the engine is no longer waste but necessary for warming the passengers and keeping the windshield frost free.

Driving a vehicle with a bad heater in -20F weather means you leave windows open to remove humidity so it does obstruct the windshield. The driver tries not to exhale in the direction of the windshield. Helpful passengers scrape frost so the driver can see out.

So there is a trade off between keeping the fossil fuel free car warm and getting somewhere.
I can imagine cars with biomass stoves for heat. That is where the relentless logic of a fossil fuel free future is driving me.


Early VW buses had alcohol heaters.

Really not a big problem IMHO.


Why, if only there were some sort of blend between a regular ICE car and electric car which might still have some heat to bleed off for passenger comfort and safety. Some form of, say, "hybrid" of the two...


It would have to run the ICE engine, burning up irreplaceable FF, every time heat was called for. And it would take a few minutes to deliver that heat.


New Study Finds Poverty Leads People to Focus On Short Term Goals While Ignoring the Long View

A new study done by a team of researchers with business, psychology and economics backgrounds suggests that people who live in poverty tend to make poor long term financial decisions because their economic situation makes it difficult to focus on anything but the near term.

They have published a paper in the journal Science describing lab experiments they've conducted that they say show that when faced with limited resources, people tend to focus on the needs at hand, rather than the long term, which might explain seemingly contradictory behavior exhibited by poor people, such as taking out high interest loans.

More information: Some Consequences of Having Too Little, Science, 2 November 2012: Vol. 338 no. 6107 pp. 682-685. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6107/682

They have published a paper in the journal Science describing lab experiments they've conducted that they say show that when faced with limited resources, people tend to focus on the needs at hand, rather than the long term, which might explain seemingly contradictory behavior exhibited by poor people, such as taking out high interest loans.

I didn't read the paper but let me guess, it might also explain while people who are on verge of starvation might end up eating their seed corn instead of planting it and therefore end up starving anyway...

Does not bode well for the near future. :-(

Yeah, it does seem pretty obvious.

But it is useful to consider the relationship between people's sense of security and the decisions they make about investments (in the very broad sense)

A rerun of the famous marshmallow deferred gratification studies showed that even children react rationally to lack of certainly by adjusting their time preference.


I don't know anything about the weakonomics blog. I just googled it up.

I'm being flippant, but there seem to be a lot of excerpts from the Journal of the Utterly Obvious excerpted in today's DB.

Maybe economists are slow on the uptake?

Moderate-strength Nor'easter may hit Sandy-devastated areas Wednesday

Storm-weary U.S. residents pounded by Superstorm Sandy may have a new storm to contend with next Wednesday: an early-season Nor'easter is expected to impact the mid-Atlantic and New England with strong winds and heavy rain. Our two top models, the European (ECMWF) and GFS (run by the National Weather Service), both predict that an area of low pressure will move off the coast of South Carolina on Tuesday evening. Once over the warm waters off the coast, the low will intensify, spreading heavy rains over coastal North Carolina on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The storm will accelerate to the north-northeast on Wednesday and pull in cold air from Canada.

The storm is predicted to intensify into a medium-strength Nor'easter with a central pressure of 992 mb by Wednesday afternoon, when it will be centered a few hundred miles south of Long Island, NY. The European model, which did an exemplary job forecasting Hurricane Sandy, predicts a stronger storm that will stay just offshore and bring a 12-hour period of strong winds of 40 - 45 mph to the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York on Wednesday morning and afternoon.

Forecast Image: http://icons.wxug.com/hurricane/2012/nov2_ws_fct.png

My comment on Masters' statement:

The storm will accelerate to the north-northeast on Wednesday and pull in cold air from Canada.

Sad to say, physics tells us that it's impossible to "pull" with a fluid, especially air. What happens is that the pressure differences push the air from higher to lower areas of pressure. The pressure is the result of gravity, which does "pull" the air to the surface. The densest air, usually the coldest, is pulled to the bottom of the atmosphere and during winter, the cold air masses flow toward the tropics from the Arctic, completing the circulation loop of warm air flowing toward the pole(s).

Sure, it's easiest to say to the average science idiot that that cold air is being "pulled", but that isn't the proper cause-and-effect relationship. Lots of "meteorologist" of the TV sort say this crap all the time, but it isn't correct and some college level texts miss the distinction as well. I would think that Dr. Masters would do better, but I suppose not, especially as he now works for the Weather Channel. The distinction may be very important when discussing climate change, as one result of a warmer Earth may be an increase in the strength of the tropic to pole circulation in Winter, thus more cold air flow on the return side of the loop.

Looking at the radar this afternoon, it would appear that it's snowing over parts of New York and Pennsylvania this afternoon...
E. Swanson

I think you are being too nitpicky. Meterological phenomena only change the surface pressure by a few percent (say plus or minus 5%). It is quite valid to think of pressure as P0 +/- some changes, where P0 is the normal atmospheric pressure. Given that framework, then low pressure pulls, and high pressure pushes. Its a quite valid frameowrk from which to think about such problems. In physics, and engineering deciding what units of measure to use is half the battle.

While we're at it, the Jet Stream, which is often described as the causative agent steering storms and such, is actually an effect not a cause. The cause, as you said, is pressure differences, caused ultimately by uneven heating of the ground (or sea) by sunlight.

I really dislike that term. Its really just a line draw through the faster part of the winds at a given altitude. These "streams" can be hundreds of miles long.

The jet stream occurs on the boundary between the Arctic and temperate weather systems, which is actually what causes the high wind velocities. In winter, areas to the north of it will experience Arctic weather and areas to the south of it will experience temperate weather.

Where I live, at a latitude where the jet stream is usually found, I find it extremely useful to know whether the jet stream is north or south of us, since it is a useful indication of whether we will have either Arctic or temperate weather. The weather here is highly variable and temperatures can change drastically in short periods of time.

The jet stream changes all the time, along with the flows of air masses. For example, HERE's a map with a Canadian perspective. Did the jet stream shown have anything to do with the large storm brewing in the Gulf of Alaska yesterday, which is seen on this map? That storm will likely give you Canadians lots of fun weather as it moves to the east, as there's considerable zonal flow in the Pacific at present. The fact is that cold Arctic air eventually moves south because the warm air from tropical and temperate latitudes must move to the north to transfer thermal energy to the colder part of the Earth, especially so for air originating over the Pacific. To my mind, the jet stream isn't the cause of that, but is just another result of the circulation...

E. Swanson

The jet stream isn't a result, but it is a good indicator. At the moment the maps show the jet stream directly over my head, but predict it will move north, which means the weather here will get warmer. The snow on my lawn has already melted. However that big storm in the Gulf of Alaska will probably move in and we will get another round of heavy snow.

The ski resorts here in the Canadian Rockies have had the best early-season snow in decades and some are already open. The next storm should drop a ton of snow and the skiing should be great.

I won't make any comments about global warming, except for this one.

It's not just a phenomenon in the air, it's in the water too.
In the late 1980s New England fishermen started reporting their gear was being torn up by high-velocity warm core rings spun off from the Gulf Stream.

Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm's Wake

In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.

“Maybe this can be the window into the life of a cyclist,” mused Jake Fleischmann, a salesman at Ride Brooklyn. “Maybe all these people who had a bike for leisure will see that riding a bike can be your mode of transportation, especially a city like New York. We are pretty level ground, you can ride anywhere within a few minutes.”

Best hopes for happy bicycling...

It would be nice if employers provided locker rooms with showers or something so people could get cleaned up after the ride to work. Or maybe we can all learn to deal with each others stink? A little deodorant goes a long way!

I wish I could simultaneously mass post this to all those "profit off the peak" and other econo-blogs whose posts dismiss PO and climate change as simple bumps in the road of BAU infinite growth.

To all the economists and pundits in the blogosphere who try to excuse Peak Oil and climate change as non-events that will be easily handled by society thanks to technology and the free market...please review the following page:

A picture is worth a thousand words....there's 20k worth to demonstrate how dependent society is on liquid fuel.

I wish I could simultaneously mass post this to all those "profit off the peak" and other econo-blogs whose posts dismiss PO and climate change as simple bumps in the road of BAU infinite growth.

Perhaps you could also send a few links to all those people who insist that off grid solar with battery backup is uneconomic and a waste of resources.

BTW here's another reason...

Carbon Monoxide Deaths: Generators Cause At Least Nine Fatal Poisonings After Hurricane Sandy

I'm sure there will be more!

We had a party w neighbors Tuesday nite even w power out just using my little batteries! A lot of neighbors interested...

Cuba says 3rd deep-water oil well sunk this year not commercially viable

HAVANA — The third exploratory well drilled this year in deep waters off Cuba has come up a bust, authorities announced Friday, in yet another blow to the island’s hopes of a petroleum windfall that could boost its sagging economy.

Work on the well in the Gulf of Mexico off the western tip of Cuba, sunk by key ally Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, concluded Oct. 26, according to a notice published by Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Suspecting that Cuba can make this work at a lower costs level than, for example, the USA this sounds like the results were pretty bad.


Taxation More Effective than Emissions Trading In Reducing Pollution, Encouraging Cleaner Energy, Study Finds

The researchers' findings revealed that while both ETS and taxation can work well in reducing emissions, ETS can lead to volatile prices and speculative trading, which makes it hard for firms to evaluate the costs and benefits of adopting new and cleaner technologies.

"Taxes and permits can work equally well in many cases," Temzelides said. "However, if we take into consideration technological progress and creating incentives for adopting cleaner technologies, firms can plan better knowing what the tax is going to be instead of anticipating volatile prices."

Although Temzelides admitted "tax is not a likable word," he said that companies can't plan well when prices are volatile. "An emissions tax allows firms to plan better and can result in reduced emissions as a result of adopting newer technologies," he said.

What a discovery !! They could add that taxation is cheaper to operate as well.

Long-Term Sea Level Rise Could Threaten Government Agencies, Cost Washington, D.C. Billions

A University of Maryland study projects that Washington, D.C., city and federal property could suffer billions of dollars in damage if sea level rise from global warming increases over the next century. Potential for significant damage will be even greater in the event of extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy.

They conclude that over the next 100 years, continuing sea level rise could cause damages of more than $24.6 billion to Washington's commercial property, museums, and government agencies.

The study, "Prediction and Impact of Sea Level Rise on Properties and Infrastructure of Washington, D.C.," appears in the November 2012 issue of Risk Analysis, published by the Society for Risk Analysis.

The full study is available http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01710.x/full.

Benefits of wind energy confirmed: Half a million cars worth of pollution and a billion gallons of water saved each year

Wind energy in Colorado each year saves a billion gallons of water while avoiding emissions of air pollutants equivalent to that produced by half a million cars, according to a report released today by Environment Colorado. Between 2000 and 2011, production of electricity from wind energy in Colorado grew from zero to 4.7 million megawatt-hours (MWh), and is now producing nearly 10 percent of the state's electricity.

Many do not realize how much water is used to cool power plants. Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona uses 20 billion gallons per year for cooling.

When I trained for my SCUBA diver licence, we went once to the Oskarshamn nuclear plant and dived where they released the cooling water. It was great fun. First we went to a place and jumped in, stream diving. This was in a gulf in the Baltic Sea, but it was still streaming like a river. Realy fun to flow like a bird in the water. I saw one big rock heading towards me at high speed, but I had neutral floating power and and my path bended smoothly around the rock. Realy fun, try it.

Then we went right to the mouth of where the water was released. A big rectangular hole. You could easily park a car on the long side in the hole. There was lots of fish in the water too, so it was like diving in an aquarium. You never get that "reef" experience anywhere else in Scandinavia.
Trying the current right in the hole was fun to. One crazy diver was moving inside the hole. He used a boulder as an achor and slowly moved inwards. Very hard labour. Came about 2 meters and then was blown away. Beneath the hole there was little currents, but if one swimmed up in the stream, the diver was tossed like a glove in a hurricane and got a quick ride away from the place. Possibly the funnyest dive I ever did.

Divers in Sweden tend to be pro-nuke.

From memory, the three nuke reactors @ Palo Verde use treated sewage water for cooling.



Ya we could use that treated sewage for drinking water if we just got rid if those reactors. /sarc

Disaster Defense: Balancing Costs, Benefits

Do costly seawalls provide a false sense of security in efforts to control nature? Would it be better to focus on far less expensive warning systems and improved evacuation procedures that can save many lives?

“We’re playing a high-stakes game against nature and often losing,” said Seth Stein, the William Deering Professor of Geological Sciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.

“Just in the past few years, both the Japanese tsunami and Hurricane Katrina did more than $100 billion in damage, despite expensive protection measures that were in place. Hurricane Sandy is likely to cost at least $20 billion,” he said. “The question is how to do better. For example, should New York spend billions of dollars on a barrier to prevent flooding like the city saw this week?”

... The New York Times noted in discussing Japan’s decision to rebuild the tsunami defenses: “Some critics have long argued that the construction of seawalls was a mistaken, hubristic effort to control nature as well as the kind of wasteful public works project that successive Japanese governments used to reward politically connected companies in flush times and to try to kick-start a stagnant economy.”

There are cheaper (and more effective) ways of providing coastal defenses

1. Build concrete houses on raised platforms near the coast.

In my village, which floods almost every year, we have two tier houses, when the lower one floods, we shift to the top floor, a boat kept in dry dock floats up on it's own and people start eating fish, water plants and other kinds of aquatic animals including frogs and snails. There's even a market on boats. That however is a different kind of flood and is helped by the fact that people have lived in that kind of habitat for thousands of years. And I have seen first hand the power of mangroves in preventing destruction by Tsunami, large swathes of coast land were protected by mangroves which acted as storm breakers in 2004. Anyways the point is that the key to surviving a storm surge is not to go high tech but low tech.

2. Build a zone where construction is not allowed.
3. Plant mangroves or equivalent trees where climate permits.
4. Don't destroy the wetlands or equivalent natural coastal habitats.

You can't stop the water with barricades forever. Sometimes it's a better idea to prepare to live with it.

You're correct, but people don't want to give up their BAU. You can't park the car in the drive way of a flood ready house ;-)

Seriously though, there's a bunch of agencies working on restoring NY/NJ estuaries, and they're proposing to do much of it by bringing back natural barriers.


I do think they'll build some sort of NY harbor (Sand Island to Long Island) artificial system, similar to the one featured in the US History Channel's "Earth 2100" program. (Decent watch, BTW)

My Yupik (Eskimo) friend comes from a village on a river near the west coast of Alaska. There are floods when ice jams form down river. The way he talks it's no big deal. They move temporarily to higher ground. If you are a subsistence fisher or hunter you live near your food supply. There is no current or wave action so the houses survive. With water lines of past floods on the walls.


May I ask which part of India you are in to get a perspective on this?


Navy Researchers Look to Rotating Detonation Engines to Power the Future

With its strong dependence on gas-turbine engines for propulsion, the U.S. Navy is always looking for ways to improve the fuel consumption of these engines. At the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), scientists are studying the complex physics of Rotating Detonation Engines (RDEs) which offer the potential for high dollar savings by way of reduced fuel consumption in gas-turbine engines, explains Dr. Kazhikathra Kailasanath, who heads NRL's Laboratories for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics.

To significantly improve the performance of gas-turbine engines, researchers need to look beyond the Brayton cycle to explore alternative and possibly more innovative cycles. NRL researchers believe that one attractive possibility is to use the detonation cycle instead of the Brayton cycle for powering a gas-turbine.

NRL researchers believe that RDEs have the potential to meet 10% increased power requirements as well as 25% reduction in fuel use for future Navy applications. Currently there are about 430 gas turbine engines on 129 U.S. Navy ships. These engines burn approximately 2 billion dollars worth of fuel each year. By retrofitting these engines with the rotating detonation technology, researchers estimate that the Navy could save approximately 300 to 400 million dollars a year.

just what we need - more efficiently powered naval weapons of mass destruction!

Since US Wars consume about 5% of our oil it would seem better to cut this off at the root and stop the Wars for Empire.

The US has a long losing streak now from Vietnam to Afghanistan, joining the losing streak of the European colonial powers after WW II. The first place to redirect resources is AWAY from Wars towards Peaceful Green development...

The Rotating Detonation Engine has been around for a number of years, however it is just theoretical at this time. A bunch of computer models. I think Popular Mechanics has had at least one on its front cover, (a death knell for any engine):).

Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers

... Few emigrants from China cite politics, but it underlies many of their concerns. They talk about a development-at-all-costs strategy that has ruined the environment, as well as a deteriorating social and moral fabric that makes China feel like a chillier place than when they were growing up. Over all, there is a sense that despite all the gains in recent decades, China’s political and social trajectory is still highly uncertain.

“People who are middle class in China don’t feel secure for their future and especially for their children’s future,” said Cao Cong, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham who has studied Chinese migration. “They don’t think the political situation is stable.”

... on the plus side ...

China to Cut Jail Organ-Harvesting Programmes

Uganda's Fish Stocks Depleting

Fish stocks are in decline in Lake Victoria. It is the second largest lake in the world and more than two million people in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania depend on its fisheries.

But, with one of the highest population growth rates in the world, an increased dependency on Lake Victoria's fish is now causing a severe decrease in the number of fish.

Some days I just wish that mankind would hurry up and kill all the fish already!

Just because all life evolved in the sea is no reason whatsoever that it should be populated by higher order organisms. Let the jellyfish and slimes rule the seas.

As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.


You know, a little of your enthusiastic fatalism goes a long way. Please consider putting a cork in it.

Leanan, strike me dead if I'm wrong.

Well put, greenish.

a little of your enthusiastic fatalism goes a long way

Yep. That was about 20 years worth for me.

There is a small brigade which seems to believe that a pending apocalypse is a welcome penance for man's sins.

But no matter what you think about capitalism, greed, or credit default swaps, the world is still worth saving.

or in other words.. 'careful what you wish for' ..

Building Small: In Many Industries, Economies of Size Is Shifting To Economies of Numbers

For decades, "bigger is better" has been the conventional path to efficiency in industries ranging from transportation to power generation. Food once grown on small family plots now comes overwhelmingly from factory farms. Vessels that carried 2,000 tons of cargo have been replaced by modern container ships that routinely move 150,000 tons. But now, new research shows, we are on the cusp of a radical shift from building big to building small—a change that has profound implications for both established and emerging industries.

The authors identify three driving forces underlying this shift. First, new computing, sensor, and communication technologies make high degrees of automation possible at a very low cost, largely eliminating the labor savings from large units. Second, mass production of many small, standardized units can achieve capital cost savings comparable to or even greater than those achievable through large unit scale. And third, small-unit scale technology provides significant flexibility—a benefit that has been largely ignored in the race toward ever-increasing scale and one which can significantly reduce both investment and operating costs.

Oh great. Even more people losing their jobs.

Unclear on the concept ...

Carbon King David Koch Thinks Climate Action Will ‘Damage The Economy’, But Sandy Underscores Inaction Is Much Costlier

In 2010, Koch told New York Magazine that global warming should be welcomed, even as coastlines dwindle from the rising seas:

Koch says he’s not sure if global warming is caused by human activities, and at any rate, he sees the heating up of the planet as good news. Lengthened growing seasons in the northern hemisphere, he says, will make up for any trauma caused by the slow migration of people away from disappearing coastlines. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he says.

... run along little people

I'm hearing reports that gas shortages are spreading out from NYC. Or maybe it's just panic. Didn't Matt Simmons say the nation gas pumps would empty overnight, if everyone rushed to top off their tanks at once?

One friend of mine said she stopped in Newburgh, NY. She wasn't out of gas, but hearing of the shortages in NYC, she decided to top off her tank before going any further south. She waited in line 45 minutes...then the gas station ran out of gas. Another friend said many gas stations in Westchester county are closed because there's no power there. The few that are opened are being mobbed. Long lines at all pumps, even with the price jacked up 50 cents a gallon (from $3.99 to $4.50), with the cops keeping order.

The few that are opened are being mobbed. Long lines at all pumps, even with the price jacked up 50 cents a gallon (from $3.99 to $4.50), with the cops keeping order.

Huh? I thought demand was supposed to be down and gas would be around $3.50 a gal. Doesn't seem to be quite working out that way. Guess they didn't count on all those gasoline powered generators. Sure wish I had a container ship filled with ebikes I could take into New York just about now.

I suppose it's due to: About half the gas stations (plus distribution terminals) having no electricity + increased driving (due to mass transit being down) + generators + hoarding.

Going into this, I thought that there was a very good chance for food, water and fuel shortages, and in my opinion, the best place to ride out the storm--and the aftereffects of the storm--was on a Greyhound bus headed west.

That is apparently what a lot of people are doing. Because of the power outages more than anything.

A ped-elec Velomobile is looking pretty good right now!

How would they charge them?


True, but they would have to be shipped in too. Shipping in electric bikes when there is no power and no solar charging stations aint going to be much help. You would need to ship in the whole shebang.


Are regional refineries closed? How about delivery of fuel, which usually comes through ports? It wouldn't surprise me if a weeks worth of deliveries and local production is lost. If you get lots of people filling tanks, and in a place like New York, a lot of people don't own cars, but maybe they own generators?

Last I heard, about half the area refineries are running. The real problem is the terminals. They've been decimated. No power, storm surge damage, storage tanks unusable. The Colonial pipeline has been shut down, not because of damage, but because there's no place to put the product.

Seemingly sand has made the port terminals unusable too. Preventing tankers from delivering supplies by sea.

NYC seems to be the only center of sanity in our Auto Addicted Metropolis. After the disaster when only even a few cars replaced trains and buses they have run more buses and HOV rules for cars plus seen a major increase in bicycles.

Unfortunately out here in Jersey ruled by Chris Escalade Christie, there has been no recognition that just using buses could provide the mobility we need until the Rails are restored without gas station riots. Indeed there are fleets of public school buses sitting idle while schools have been closed all week which could have been recruited into service.

But unfortunately very few here can see past Auto Addiction. The classic case was the meeting of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Association just 20 minutes bicycle ride from the Morristown train station. Of course as the NJTPA rolled out their totally inane plan with chests bulging with pride to increase Green transit to 7% while auto addiction rose 10% I was the only one who actually took Green Transit Rail + Bike to the meeting.....

I am often the only one, or one of two, that takes the streetcar & bus to RTA (our transit agency) meetings it seems.


Chris Escalade Christie

Is there anything smaller he could fit into?

He's not all bad, New Jersey leads in solar!

Largest methane production plant in the world goes live in Germany

... Solar energy is used to produce methane gas at the facility. A solar array located outside of the facility produces electricity that is used to electrolyze water in a pressurized alkaline electrolyser. This process produces hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then converted into methane through a chemical process. The facility is able to generate more than 300 cubic meters of methane gas each day through this process, making it the largest facility of its kind in the world.

... a home faucet could produce this much in a day in Pennsylvania.

Wicked sense of humour, Seraph.

ROCKMAN - My wife Sylvia received a letter today from a Texas oil company wanting to buy her inherited mineral rights in Starr county near Rio Grand City. The land was a land grant from the King of Spain. The deed for the mineral rights shows the land in Starr County, Mexico and is recognised as legal by the State of Texas.

This 600 acres had been shot and and showed presence of hydrocarbons by EOG. EOG leased this tract for one year but didn't drill and let the lease expire. The Zamoras have another 86 acre tract where another company was going to drill after they drilled on an adjoining tract. The adjoining tract showed some hydrocarbons but not enough to be commerical. They discovered a fault between the tracts and abandoned any further drilling. Sylvia's interest is 1/56th.

There has been a lot of drilling from San Antonio toward Rio Grand City. The amount they offered to buy is about the same as EOG paid for a one year lease. Is this a manification of the Clinton Doctrine, "Whatever you can get away with"?

The google spell check is down but I should be close enough for government work. Roy

Roy – You said “buy” her mineral interest. Did you really mean buy or lease? Big difference in price…mineral rights sell for many times what a lease goes for.

So she own 1/56 of 600 acs? That would mean she owns 10.7 net acs. Keep that number in mind. When you hear someone getting paid $X per ac that for a 100% net ac. If the company wants to buy that 600 ac for $X/ac they would offer her $X times 0.107 times 600.

One hint about negotiating: putting someone “getting away with something” out of your mind. This is no different than buying a car: you decide what you want to pay and the dealer will sell it for. You either come to an agreement or not. The difficult question is at what price EOG will walk away and what price you accept. There is no right answer. Same thing with whether you fight for a higher price per ac or a higher royalty. Drill a dry hole and all you get is the lease bonus. Drill a very good well and the royalty could be worth 100X what you get for the lease bonus.

I’ve been asked this question many times and I don’t have an answer. The best thing you have going for you is that she owns such a small interest so they might pay her more per ac and a better royalty because it would be averaged in with the rest of the lease costs.

Yes I did say buy, buy at the same price EOG leased. The letter was not from EOG but Cobra Petroleum Co who is in 50/50 partenership with EOG buying up, not leasing, mineral rights in Texas. A cousin, who is a retired Petroleum Engineer, has been handeling all negoations. Sylvia's brother is contacting him and I haven't heard back from him. Her brother and I agree we will not sell our rights for $250. At 76 I am set up to live like the old order Mennonites in PA. Some what simaliar to Todd. Maybe my kids will benefit.

That's pretty weird. Oil companies usually lease rather than buy mineral rights, and usually the lease is rather short term - 2 to 5 years, typically. They lease a lot of land, drill a few test wells in the area, and if they are good, they drill the rest of the leases, otherwise they let the leases expire.

I once worked for a company that owned a lot of title land granted by the King of England to the Hudson's Bay fur trading company over 300 years ago, but they used to lease the land to themselves before drilling it for legal reasons I won't get into here. Basically, they always wanted to have a lease before they drilled even if they were the lessor as well as the lessee.

The government of the jurisdiction (Alberta) also wouldn't allow a land title to be split 56 ways. I think an 8 way split was the maximum allowed. I think they felt that beyond that point it was getting too expensive to maintain the records for.

Louisiana has a rule that if there is no production from the lease (mineral rights) for ten years, the mineral rights revert to the surface owner.

*Much* easier for landmen here.


Regarding headlines; On the Horizon, a Dreaded Wave of Locusts
and; Taking Home His Eighth-of-a-Cow...

We bring you Efficient Kosher Sky Prawns

Locusts are not only nutritious; they are also helpful in sustaining our environment. It is very efficient to grow locusts for food. These micro-livestock are cold-blooded animals, and do not need to consume food to keep themselves warm. They reproduce quickly in captivity, and take little time to grow into adults. Locusts produce twice as much protein as chickens, and six times as much protein as cows from the same amount of food consumed...

One intrepid traveler to Thailand reports that dry, seasoned locust tastes a bit like toasted sunflower seeds. Others report a meaty/nutty taste... [while others elsewhere online claim they taste like shrimp or crab.]

There is a laboratory in Israel in which certified Kosher, organic, pesticide-free, restricted range locusts are grown... In order to taste them, you have to go to the Mesorah dinner... These dinners have been held in New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem...

The locusts I found are Thai grasshoppers; cooked in lemon grass, lime leaf, galingale (from the ginger family), garlic, salt, and soy sauce. They arrive dehydrated and vacuum packed. You may order them online. Because they are considered a destructive pest for crops, live grasshoppers are not sold to retail customers in the United States. Those of you adventurous enough to cook live locusts will need to catch your own grasshoppers. Desert locusts are nicknamed "the sky prawn".

I understand that Chapulines are imported into the USA and to be found at Mexican style markets specially in California. Mexicans are probably the most entomophagous society in the world.

Technically they are not exactly grasshopers but near enough.

They are not without risks
"Chapulines must be very well cooked prior to consumption, because, as with other grasshoppers, they may carry nematodes that can infest human hosts".

I rather prefer beefsteak and pork chops and prawns too, I leave insects to the Israelis and the Mexicans and anybody else, they can have their fill of them.

The fur heads seem to find them tasty, you know what a cat is chasing when it crosses the floor in spurts.


Possible nematodes?! Ah, bummer! Looks like I'll have to stick to my impossible pesticide/drugged/inefficient/tortured-factory-animal/e-coli/mad-cow/methane fare!

Which of the other plagues will also be edible?

Frogs, Rivers of Blood, Raining Cats and Dogs .. sounds like a party!

Some of them are definately edible. Some not.

1: River of blood
We do not know if it was actuallblood, or just the river turning red. In the latter case it was probably very toxic.
But blood is considered food in a lot of cultures. Reminds me I havent had a good blood susage in years. Gotta do something about that. Mmmm...

2: Frog invation.
Frogs are edible so yes...

3: Mosquitos
Mosquito cace is a delicatess among some people at the shore of Lake Victoria.

4: Flies
I'll pass that one.

5: Cattle dies in some disease
We can eat the cattle.

6: The egyptians had abscess
Not edible.

7: Hail storm
Could be used in a drink "on the rocks".

8: Locusts
Obviously edible

9: 3 days of darkness
The story is timing with the great vulcano eruptions ofCretewith did in the etruskian civilisation (if I remember right). Powerfull pyroclastic flows all over. So it is likely that the root of this story is the ash cloud drifting in from Crete over Egypt. Ash clouds - notedible.

10: Angel of death killing all first born.
If you are into canibalism...

So I say 5 edibles, 1 posible, and the rest not on my table.

Don't forget our upcoming three-for-two leg/eyeball/head/etc./mystery specials, spiced with a unique blend of radioactive fallout particles, as well as our own government-inspected & approved Monsanto-Surprise dishes! Bring the whole family! Foodstamps welcomed!

Sometimes the big hammer is the best solution. In this case the big hammer is pyrolysis followed by fischer-tropsch. The elegant bugs are just too delicate. Or too slow.

This does not mean the big hammer is economically justified, just that it technically works.

Novice Cyclists Dust Off Their Bikes After the Storm

By Christopher Rhoads and Carrie Melago

Drivers who called the Shell station on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood looking for gas Thursday got a piece of unsolicited advice from the owner.

“Bicycles!” the owner, Tony, shouted at callers before hanging up.

Many New Yorkers don’t need to be told twice. Biking has become an integral part of the post-Sandy commute, but not all of the two-wheeled commuters are avid cyclists. Some people are rediscovering an old pastime.

That's right folks, start pedaling.