Drumbeat: December 10, 2012

Proposed Rules on Fracking Gain Cautious Praise

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial process of shooting water, sand and chemicals underground to retrieve oil or natural gas trapped in shale rock, has made plenty of headlines in recent years. But the drilling process involves many other steps beyond breaking up rock — and several opportunities for things to go wrong.

Recognizing this, Texas’ oil and gas regulatory agency, known as the Railroad Commission, is updating its rules to address the broad process of drilling, from the drilling itself to cementing and completing an oil or gas well. The latest version of the proposed rule changes is expected this week.

So far, the commission’s work is winning qualified praise from environmentalists and some in the oil industry.

“This is the biggest overhaul of Texas well construction regulations since the 1970s,” said Scott Anderson, an Austin-based senior policy adviser for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Permian Gushers Squeeze Texas Profit as Pipes Lag Output

The glut of U.S. shale oil caused by too few pipelines has spread to West Texas, cutting prices and draining $1.2 billion in potential profit from producers including Concho Resources Inc. and Occidental Petroleum Corp.

Surging output in the Permian basin in West Texas and New Mexico -- the largest onshore oil producing region in the U.S. - - has exceeded pipeline and refining capacity, reducing crude prices by an average of $9.82 a barrel in the past month.

The market disparity echoes similar surpluses seen in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and Oklahoma’s Midwestern pipeline hub as growing supplies from shale rock and Canada’s oil sands created transportation bottlenecks. That’s forcing producers to lower prices, and it may restrain investment in wells.

Oil Advances as German Exports Increase; OPEC to Meet in Vienna

Oil advanced from the lowest close in three weeks in New York after German exports unexpectedly rose in October and China processed a record volume of crude last month. OPEC meets this week to discuss its output quota.

Futures climbed as much as 1 percent as exports gained 0.3 percent from September in Germany, the biggest oil consumer in the European Union. China’s net crude imports increased to the highest in six months in November as the volume processed at the nation’s refineries rose to a record, according to the General Administration of Customs. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will probably leave its production quota unchanged when it meets Dec. 12, a Bloomberg survey showed.

U.S. gas prices 'crash'

(CNN) -- Gas prices have plummeted 46 cents a gallon over the past two months, according to a survey released Sunday.

"This has been a true price crash," said Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey.

Qatar LNG Spot Sales to Fall 40% by 2014, QNB Says

Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, will reduce spot-market sales of the fuel by at least 40 percent by 2014, curbing supplies available for Europe, state-controlled Qatar National Bank (QNBK) said.

Spot volumes available for sale will drop to about 27 percent of total output this year from 28 percent, and to 16 percent by 2014 as long-term supply agreements go into effect and new ones are signed, the bank’s QNB Group said in a report.

“These new contracts are mainly to Asia Pacific and South America, meaning that Europe’s share of Qatar LNG exports is likely to fall,” according to today’s report.

OPEC looks set to roll over current output ceiling in Vienna

Vienna (Platts) - OPEC ministers gathering in Vienna have two tasks ahead of them on Wednesday: fix crude output policy for the year ahead and appoint a new secretary general to succeed the outgoing Abdalla el-Badri.

While the 12-member group appears headed for a fairly straightforward rollover of the current 30 million b/d production ceiling, an agreement on a new secretary general looks far less likely.

Iran says OPEC producing a million bpd too much

DUBAI: OPEC members collectively are producing about 1 million barrels a day of crude more than needed, swelling oil stocks at a time of weak demand, Iranian OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said on Monday.

The 12-member group is expected to stick with its target of 30 million bpd when it meets in Vienna on Wednesday, as Middle East instability keeps oil prices well above $100 despite weak demand forecasts and a build in inventories.

Iran oil minister to attend OPEC meeting

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi will leave Tehran for Vienna on Tuesday to attend the 162nd ordinary meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which will be held in Vienna on Wednesday.

US envoy concerned over gas link

Karachi: The American envoy to Islamabad Monday expressed his concerns over a proposed gas pipeline project between Iran and Pakistan that aimed at reaching the energy market in South Asia.

United States ambassador Richard Olson talking to the Pakistani media here said that the US had its concerns over the proposed pipeline, but his country was willing to offer its assistance to fulfil the Pakistani energy demands.

Hanoi pours oil on disputed waters

HANOI: Vietnamese police broke up anti-China protests in two cities on Sunday and detained 20 people in the first such demonstrations since tensions between the neighbours flared over rival claims to the oil and gas-rich South China Sea.

Any sign of popular anger in tightly controlled Vietnam causes unease among the leadership, but anti-Chinese sentiment is especially sensitive. The country has long-standing ideological and economic ties with its giant neighbour, but many of those criticising China are also the ones calling for political, religious and social freedoms at home.

Iraqi Kurdish leader visits disputed northern areas amid tension with Baghdad

BAGHDAD — A senior Kurdish military commander says the president of Iraq’s self-ruled Kurdish region has visited Kurdish troops in disputed areas near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Brig. Gen. Shirko Rauof says Massoud Barzani met soldiers in two areas near Kirkuk on Monday and urged them to be on high alert but avoid any escalation with nearby forces belonging to the central government. Control over the surrounding area is disputed by Iraqi Arabs, Turkomen and Kurds.

Syrian Rebel Fighting Closes Damascus-Jordan Highway

Syrian rebels seized a military base in the north of the country while heavy fighting with government forces closed a highway connecting Damascus with Jordan.

Rebels and Arab fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist group by the U.S., overcame three brigades and a command center of the 111th regiment west of Aleppo yesterday, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on its Facebook page.

Syrian Rebels Clash With Forces Near Assad’s Office

Syrian rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad clashed in Damascus, with some exchanges less than a mile from the presidential office amid an intensification of the 20-month civil conflict, an opposition group said.

Sporadic gunfire and explosions were heard in Salhiyeh, a neighborhood close to the president’s office, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mail today. Fighting was also reported throughout the city, the Observatory said.

Saudi Arabia Says Aramco Cyberattack Came From Foreign States

Saudi Arabia blamed unidentified people based outside the kingdom for a cyberattack against state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. that aimed at disrupting production from the world’s largest exporter of crude.

More than 30,000 computers were compromised or affected by a so-called “spear-phishing” attack from Aug. 15, raising concerns about the threat hackers may pose to output at the company known as Saudi Aramco, Abdullah al-Saadan, vice president for corporate planning, said today at a news conference in the eastern city of Dhahran.

Korea Considers Private Industry for Coal-Generated Power

South Korea is considering allowing non-state companies to generate coal-fired power for the first time in three decades, as it adds capacity to prevent blackouts that cost the economy $11 billion.

“It will be good to allow a certain number of private coal power generators,” Nam Ho Ki, the chairman of Korea Power Exchange, the government-run company that oversees the country’s power supply and is helping to decide on the new policy, said in an interview in Seoul last week. “We are positively considering that option.”

Could Alberta Supply American Energy Demand for 100 Years?

Does anyone remember peak oil? Back in 2007, several doomsday prophets said demand for oil would outpace production as reserves dried up. If they weren't feeling a bit sheepish about the news that America is becoming a net oil exporter again, they will now that Alberta could have enough oil and gas to last us a century.

Own Physical Gold Now - While You Still Can!

Over the last forty-two years gold has reacted sharply to every significant change in the oil market. The oil shocks of the 1970s both resulted in huge moves in the gold price that were not capped until significant new supply came on stream in the form of discoveries in Alaska, offshore Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.

Gold sank for some twenty years until production from those three provinces peaked. Gold bottomed in 2001 and then climbed by some 65% by 2005 when global conventional oil production peaked.

Thoughts For Engineering Majors And Graduates Inspired By Ambrose Evans Pritchard And The ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference

(a) Natural gas prices in the USA are unsustainably low and will rise, but even with the rise the US will have a major advantage in industries that depend heavily on natural gas for at least a decade. These industries are a good place to be if you care about serving your country and being able to raise a family. The USA's oil and gas production will have booms and busts but are also a good place to be if you are a young engineer.

(b) The world-wide oil industry (and the USA's shale-oil in particular) can produce marginally more oil provided their customers can pay more for it than they are currently paying. There's no collapse coming, but there is a slow-burn for at least a decade as oil prices continue to rise and choke off economic growth. I expect roughly flat oil production with virtually non-existent economic growth for the developed world for the forseeable future. Jeff Rubin is the first guy I've heard suggesting this (about 4 years ago) and he is being proved right.

Fairbanks borough urges residents to heat with oil, not wood

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks North Star Borough Air Quality Division is asking North Pole residents to switch away from wood and heat with oil, if possible, to combat the ongoing unhealthy air conditions that have been plaguing the area.

The request was detailed in a press release Friday afternoon, following up on a Thursday night community meeting in North Pole.

Air Quality Manager Jim Conner estimated a 2,000-square-foot home would use about 2.5 gallons of heating oil per day, costing about $10 per household daily.

MENA keeps up the pace with renewable energy

While the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are moving forward with at least ten solar power facilities worth $6.8 billion, more regional renewable energy projects will be announced in the next 12 months, said an expert.

“By 2030, almost 15.7 per cent of the world’s energy will be coming from renewable sources. With global hydrocarbon resources dwindling amid a concerted effort to build a green environment while reducing carbon emissions, countries across the world are now turning to green energy,” added Anita Mathews, exhibition director of Middle East Electricity, an upcoming energy trade show in Dubai. Middle East Electricity is taking place from February 17 to 19 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

China's Wanxiang wins auction for A123

Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group has prevailed in a court-sanctioned bidding war for the assets of lithium battery maker A123 Systems, a one-time darling of the U.S. electric car industry.

A123 said the closing price was $256.6 million, and includes the company's automotive, grid and commercial business assets, as well as a manufacturing facility in China.

Vietnam Begins Building $1.37 Billion Mekong Delta Power Plant

Vietnam Electricity began building a 28.5 trillion-dong ($1.37 billion) coal-fired electricity plant in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh as the country seeks to reduce its dependence on hydropower.

Grappling With Italian Steel Plant That Provides and Pollutes

Today, Ilva, which is among the largest plants in Europe and produces more than 30 percent of Italy’s raw steel, is at the heart of a clash over the future of Italian industry, one that pits economic concerns against environmental ones and the power of the government against the judiciary amid Italy’s struggle to compete in a global economy.

After a court ordered sections of the plant closed and steel from it impounded last month, arguing that it had violated environmental laws and was raising serious health concerns in the area, the government passed an emergency decree that would allow it to continue operating while cleaning up its act, saving 20,000 jobs nationwide. Magistrates said that the new law, which must be approved by Parliament, violated the Constitution by allowing the executive branch to circumvent the judiciary.

Housing Agency’s Flaws Revealed by Storm

Three weeks after Hurricane Sandy, fresh teams of federal disaster recovery workers rushed to Coney Island to solve a troubling mystery: few people were signing up for federal financial aid. The workers trooped into the city’s public housing towers, climbing up darkened stairwells, shouting “FEMA,” knocking on doors.

What they found surprised even these veteran crews.

Dozens of frail, elderly residents and others with special needs were still stranded in their high-rise apartments — even though life in much of New York City had returned to near normal. In apartment 8F of one tower, Daniel O’Neill, a 75-year-old retired teacher who uses a wheelchair and who still lacked reliable electricity, cut in half the dosage of his $132-a-month medicine, which he needed to stabilize his swollen limbs.

Water Piped to Denver Could Ease Stress on River

Among the proposals in a report by the Bureau of Reclamation, parts of which leaked out in advance of its expected release this week, are traditional solutions to water shortages, like decreasing demand through conservation and increasing supply through reuse or desalination projects.

But also in the mix, and expected to remain in the final draft of the report, is a more extreme and contentious approach. It calls for building a pipeline from the Missouri River to Denver, nearly 600 miles to the west. Water would be doled out as needed along the route in Kansas, with the rest ultimately stored in reservoirs in the Denver area.

Climate Talks Yield Commitment to Ambitious, but Unclear, Actions

Wealthy nations put off for a year resolution of the dispute over providing billions of dollars in aid to countries most heavily affected by climate change. Industrial nations have pledged to secure $100 billion a year by 2020 in public and private financing to help poor countries cope with climate change, but have been vague about what they plan to do before then.

Only a handful of countries, not including the United States, have made concrete financial pledges for adaptation aid over the next few years. Todd D. Stern, the senior American negotiator, said that the United States would continue to provide substantial climate-related aid to vulnerable countries. But he said he was not in a position, given the budget talks in Washington and the Congressional process, to promise new American financing.

FACTBOX-What do the Doha talks mean for the carbon market?

(Reuters) - U.N. climate talks in Doha, Qatar, were unlikely to have much impact on depressed carbon markets, analysts said.

Extended debate gave the Kyoto Protocol, the world's only global pact on curbing climate change, a fragile lifeline. But it did nothing to raise ambition on cutting emissions, which could have helped to reduce a surplus of offsets and emissions allowances that have crushed markets.

Climate Treaty Hinges on Obama Making Case, Ex-Aides Say

One of the biggest things President Barack Obama can do to fight global warming is to talk about it.

That’s the conclusion of at least seven former U.S. presidential aides and advisers serving in three administrations. Their comments came as envoys from more than 190 countries at a United Nations conference in Doha took steps toward completing a treaty by 2015 that would limit fossil fuel emissions starting in 2020.

Protecting New Jersey from future storms could cost billions

The price of protecting New Jersey from rising sea levels and the devastation of future storms is breathtaking, making it seem at times that the problem is insurmountable.

Some options that have been floated include $7.4 billion to buy all 13,300 structures in the Passaic River basin at risk of being flooded by a catastrophic storm, or $2.7 billion for a tunnel to protect Wayne and other towns by guiding storm runoff out to Newark Bay.

20-Year-Old Report Successfully Predicted Warming: Scientists

Time has proven that even 22 years ago climate scientists understood the dynamics behind global warming well enough to accurately predict warming, says an analysis that compares predictions in 1990 with 20 years of temperature records.

Have Humans Caused a New Geological Era?

SAN FRANCISCO — Humans drive trillions of miles in cars, clear-cut forests for agriculture and create vast landfills teeming with tin cans, soda bottles and other detritus of industrialization. There's no doubt that humans have radically reshaped the planet, and those changes leave traces in the Earth's geological record.

At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week, geologists are grappling with how to define the boundaries of that human-centered geologic era, referred to as the Anthropocene. Despite our dramatic impact on the planet, defining our era has proven a difficult task.

Its techno-fix time. A time ya'll love.

SCOUT will not be disposable, though. The unit is a tiny hardware device that reads your vital health information on contact. You simply place it on the left temple and, in less than ten seconds, it will read your pulse transit time, heart rate, electrical heart activity, temperature, heart rate variability and blood oxygenation. ..... According its creators, ScanaFlo tests for "pregnancy complications, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, kidney failure and urinary tract infections." .... Incredibly enough, this "disposable cartridge will provide early detection for Strep A, Influenza A, Influenza B, Adenovirus and RSV." Like ScanaFlo, you will use your phone's camera to have a result sent to your app.

And from elsewhere in the article this quote:

Consumers don't have the tools they need to monitor their health and make informed decisions about when they're actually sick and need to see a doctor. We want to empower consumers to take control of their health and give them direct access to their personal healthfeed.

Can lead you to brain monitoring http://openeeg.sourceforge.net/doc/ and far more interesting http://dangerousprototypes.com/2011/07/20/do-it-yourself-heart-monitor/ http://www.diyhappy.com/homemade-ekg heart monitoring. For a more 'plug stuff together' mode - http://www.watterott.com/en/SHIELD-EKG-EMG (or http://microcontrollershop.com/product_info.php?products_id=4648 for sample pricing in US Dollars)

And elsewhere in health:

Though Kaiser Permenente will not state an official policy on GMOs, the nutritionist-author of “What You Need To Know About GMOs” (who is not named,) described studies that showed significant physical damage caused by GMOs and listed ways its members could avoid them.

If I remember my "health history" correctly - Kaiser Permenente was the HMO that was part of the Nixon era shift in heath care.

personal healthfeed


1) Such is trying to create a branding. (and what would you call daily/hourly input from a bio-monitor you wear/carry?)

But far more important:

2) How can you know in a system what is baseline or needs attention if you are not monitoring the system?

Good operations means good monitoring. One of my complaints about heath care is a lack of inexpensive ways to monitor changes. Think being 20 something and entering "doctoring" is a good plan? Don't look now but automation is coming for that job too. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/i-b-m-s-watson-goes-to-medical-...

On one had I think it'd be cool to be able to monitor all my vitals while working out to watch for areas of improvement, but on the other hand I see things getting way out of hand and people overreacting to every little blip in a stat.

I can see the general populace running to the doctor at the slightest blip in blood pressure or sugar levels, generating ever more revenue for the healtcare system...which is, I'm sure, no accident.

We (I?) have a saying for our gas-turbines: sometimes too much telemetry data is a bad thing. I often note that I could easily keep a turbine running, just by removing half the instrumentation installed to monitor its health.

You mean Clinton era (HillaryCare)?

Kaiser sent my wife out of system (to UPMC in Pittsburgh) for small intestine transplant following a "stroke" (loss of blood supply to the organ). They handle all the travel and lodging expense when she needs to see her transplant doctors, and there is an out of pocket maximum per year which she hit this year in February. Between that and Social Security disability, we have been able to avoid bankruptcy.

You should be so lucky as to have Kaiser health insurance.

We have Kaiser. I would never move anywhere that it wasn't available. It can be pretty bad if you go there for a cold but if anything serious is wrong they can, and do, respond with incredible skill and determination. And, yes, if they don't think they have the expertise they will go outside their own system to find the best care available.

As far as their history is concerned I think the origin was in the construction of the Hoover dam where Kaiser was one of the primary contractors. Certainly they ramped up (or started) during the Kaiser ship building program during WW2. My wife's family has been with Kaiser since the early 1950s.

They may have created the original HMO environment where labs, pharmacy, doctors and hospital are not only the same organization but located together. After having other insurance where you chase all over town making appts and paying different organizations it really is a much better patient experience.

good for you!

I have the NHS - bloody good too - only costs me some taxes NI contributions are 11%

All number of 'orrible things that I could get are covered by that - including anything that happens to me whilst abroad in the EU - free , gratis , in in with the big bill in tax which is considerably lower than the private health care qoute I got....

exchange bad dentistry for life saving treatment and drugs ( for your natural life ) ?

I think the USA should look east to the UK.... ;-)


You mean Clinton era (HillaryCare)?

No I said Nixon. (Now ya had to have me go look it up and how Nixon approved)


Ehrlichman: —we have now narrowed down the vice president's problems on this thing to one issue and that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser's Permanente thing. The vice president just cannot see it. We tried 15 ways from Friday to explain it to him and then help him to understand it. He finally says, “Well, I don't think they'll work, but if the president thinks it's a good idea, I'll support him a hundred percent.”
Ehrlichman: Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can—the reason he can do it—I had Edgar Kaiser come in—talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because—
President Nixon: [Unclear.]
Ehrlichman: —the less care they give them, the more money they make.
President Nixon: Fine. [Unclear.]
Ehrlichman: [Unclear] and the incentives run the right way.
President Nixon: Not bad

(Every aspect of government should be recorded so that we the people can know more of what happened)

Just seeing those names (Nixon, Ehrlichman) prompts a gag reflex from me.

Another example of Nixon's stellar character ... or here for the sound bite.

Perhaps Keiser has changed. Perhaps Nixon was wrong about Keiser.

But publishing the 'avoid GMO' message - do 'they' have information 'we' do not?

Some of Monsanto's seeds get Virus dna, and other creatures that aren't plants, to switch things this way and that way, and the testing is only done for a few months or maybe a year or so, and only in controled conditions. The more they play with Dna the less they know what they are really doing. It was just in the last few years they figured out that all that so called Junk Dna, wasn't junk after all. And that opened up a whole new feild of understanding. This is after they have been making G M O a common occuring product in the world, that they can't control, as it is now out of the lab and into the environment. It'd be fine if they didn't seem to be playing God and Not care about the results of things, or say that the results can't change over time, when we already know that HIV changes each generation of it, and germs and plants and animals are always changing slowly. They act as if they know what is going to happen, when they don't really know for sure. That is the fear factor of G M O crops and animals.

That there have been warnings and as a health care provider and one that looks to make a profit of taking care of people, they see G M O products as risk factors that they can't control and to avoid risk will increase the chances of profits, And keep people healthy.

Research is such that they might know a lot more than they can say beyond, avoid them. It might not be enough, maybe if they do know more they should tell us, but they might be in legal hot water if they say more than avoid G M O products.

Likely we have already let the cat out of the bag, or the horse is already out of the barn, the things are not what they were once the organisms made it out of the lab and onto the tables of you and me. Even though we might not have bought them, they are now free to breed into the world. Just like climate changes we can't hold them back by wishing they hadn't been let loose, we have to learn how to deal with the cards other people dealt us.

off to bed to hide under the blankets now, the monsters are out.

Nicely put, Kay. The cow-monsters are outta the barn, indeed, and the chicken-monsters are coming to roost...

Those words of Erlichman are the money quote in Michael Moore's "Sicko".

This article from "Business Day" is a few days old but a search showed it had not been posted before. I found it so interesting that I thought I would share it. The point is that all this nonsense brought up by the Leonardo Maugeri Harvard study could have a chilling affect on such things as electric cars and hybrid cars.

Why ‘green’ cars may be out before they have arrived

Developments in the oil industry have "made a mockery" of peak oil theory, according to Professor Garel Rhys, president of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School. From 2015, an oil glut will be coming. Petrol is going to get cheaper — a lot cheaper. And that prompts the question: whither the electric vehicle? At R7 a litre for fuel, and given the cost, who needs one?

The Belfer Centre at Harvard University recently published a discussion paper by Leonardo Maugeri that detailed the rapidly changing energy environment. Called "Oil: The Next Revolution", it illustrates in detail what makes basic economic sense.

There is a consorted effort by both industry and governments to squash the fact that we are at, or very near, peak oil. The effort is to show that there is plenty of oil and we are on the cusp of an oil glut and that oil prices are about to plunge. There have, in the last few weeks, been many articles appearing on the web lately explaining why OPEC needs to make cuts in production in order to keep oil prices from falling through the floor.

These efforts and articles are, in my opinion, doing far more harm than good. All we need is the general public to get the impression that we have oil in abundance and that gasoline prices are about to fall sharply. Back to the huge gas guzzliers they will think, and that will make the coming decline much more painful.

Ron P.

Oil companies are trying to prove that they're still relevant and are primed for growth and investment. Did anyone think that they were just going to admint "Aw shucks, guess there's no more oil out there. In 10 years we're going to have to start shuttin' down...but please don't pull your money out of our company stocks before then!"?

These phases seem to come and go. About the time the news outlets are yelling about oil being cheap and gasoline prices "crashing", I look for the prices to start to rise. Then by summer there'll be hyperventiliating calls for gas to reach $5-6/gal. About that time I'll look for the prices to start falling again.

Ron - Your fear is already being realized. Gasoline has dropped to under $3/gal in Houston. And 2 nights ago a local news story about folks eyeing big SUV's and P/U's for Christmas prsents to themselves. Between the politicians and Big Oil's desire to keep their stock prices pumped up, J6P doesn't stand a chance, does he? I can hear the voices coming from One Shell Plaza now: "Bringing in the sheep, bringing in the sheep, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheep". BTW Shell has a local promotion: get their credit card and they'll knock off another $0.20/gal "for a limited time".

Merry Christmas, suckers!!!

Yeah it's $3.17/gal here as of this morning, been dropping like a stone recently.

Another anecdotal sign that the consumer has forgotten expensive gas already: I'm starting to change my mind on my next motorcycle purchase. Just this weekend I switched over from wanting a Honda NCX700 to a Ducati Hyperstrada. The Honda gets much better fuel mileage but the Ducati will be much more fun to ride. Frankly, gas is just too damn cheap for me to buy the homely Honda. I am waiting to see if I have a job next year though...FWIW.

gas is just too damn cheap for me to buy the homely Honda

And that, right there - form over function - a big part of the doom to come.

Methinks the difference between the two is more function than form. Both get great mileage compared to cars but a Ducati has function in spades in terms of performance.

I'm recently retired from performance vehicles.

I was in the Ducati Museum in Bologna a couple of months ago, and saw the original Ducati, produced shortly after WWII had ended. Ducati needed a new strategy since its war products factories had been bombed to rubble and its old product line didn't have a market anymore. It was a 50cc motorbike that got 95 miles per gallon.

It is quite different than the modern Ducati crotch rocket, but I kept thinking, "This may represent the wave of the future." Actually, the wave of the future in Bologna seemed to be the 10 speed cruiser bicycle with handlebar mounted basket. There were a lot more of them than Ducati motorcycles, and electric trolley buses seemed to be very popular, too.

I ride a Triumph Speed Triple ... VERY FUN

Burn more gas taking the long way everywhere. 2 mile trips become 18 miles of thrills!

Gary Fisher, 18 speed, no shocks.

Aluminium or Steel Frame ?

I'm gonna guess mid-late '70s vintage, conventional steel frame.

'Tange Prestige' Steel Tubing. Steel alloy.

I bought it used in 1994 (+/- a year or so). Love it still.

'04 Fuji w/ 600W WE DC hub motor & 36V/20AH LiFE battery
'90's (?) Nishiki
'90's (?) Specialized Hardrock w/ Xtracycle longtail & custom cargo/passenger racks

Both the '90's bikes have suntour components, which might make them even older, don't know. The nishiki was made for someone half my size. With a tall seatpost and aluminum frame, it's definitely the Ducati of the bunch, motor not withstanding.

So... How long before low prices start biting the fracking revolution in the butt?

Edit: BTW, gasoline is at $3.09 here for a week, now.

I'll jump in - paid $2.58 with my grocery store linked discount last week. Straight up price was $2.93. Shocking, really. Can't last - unless as others have said before, half the pop. is out of work, so they can't afford it at any price.

Gasoline in the U.S. usually decreases to its lowest annual price in December or January due to the cheaper winter blend and less driving. The journalists are surprised every time. I top off my gas tank.

US$3.99/gallon for 89octane unleaded yesterday in Pasadena, CA.

Call me a cynic, Ron, but lying, PR/spin, greed, etc. has been endemic in our society for decades - although it seems worse in the past few years. I trust no statement from any source unless I can verify its veracity. I realize my actions are atypical in today's world.

Personally, I think the Feds are worse than anyone and, in fact, are willful handmaidens supporting their own lies and anyone else when it suits them.


Darn - just when it looked like we were becoming enlightened, proactive and forward thinking!

From 2015, an oil glut will be coming. Petrol is going to get cheaper — a lot cheaper.

LOL, no. If oil got a lot cheaper then they would stop fracking because it would no longer profitable. How can they not understand that the only reason there has been a surge in oil production is BECAUSE of the higher prices? They've got it completely backwards if they think the surge in oil production will cause a oil to "get cheaper — a lot cheaper".

The peak-oilers do have to admit that the economists were right . . . higher prices will bring more oil to the market. But just because there is more oil on the market does not mean prices will drop.

How can they not understand that the only reason there has been a surge in oil production is BECAUSE of the higher prices?

Well that surge has not really been all that great. Average world C+C production, for the first 8 months of 2012, is up 600,000 barrels per day from the 12 month average last year. But world oil production will be a lot lower in the second half of the year than in the first half. The peak month was in April and we are down 644,000 bp/d by August, according to the EIA. And world production will be even lower the rest of the year. (JODI has data through September and the OPEC MOMR through October and they both show production falling in September and October.)

There has been a late surge but only in the USA. Too many people look at US production, see it rising, and think that means the world is flush with oil.

Ron P.

Thanks Ron.
A great world-production summary available just now from Euan and Rembrandt a click away on TOD

Phil H

I notice that a lot of the "Peak Oil is debunked" articles linked in the drumbeats are totally US-centric. "We got all the oil we need from Canada, no problem, see?" I wonder if the people who write those articles are either a) bulls***ing us, b) think US trends are world trends or c) only care about the US and assume the rest of the world, including PO folks, do the same.

"Could Alberta Supply American Energy Demand for 100 Years?"

I thought the title of that article was provocative. If it could would we want it to, considering what involved in tar sands?

Syncrude from Alberta, Canada, absolutely could not supply U.S. demand at 18 Mb/d for 100 years. That would be 657 billion barrels of syncrude which is several times higher than rational estimated ultimate recovery (EUR). Also Canadian production will not be able to rise to 18 Mb/d. It should peak between 5 Mb/d and 10 Mb/d. Canada will want to use some of it too.

It's another deliberately misleading headline - it should read, "Could Alberta supply North America at 5 to 10 Mb/d for 100 years?" the answer to that is probably, "Yes".

It leaves open a large number of other questions, like "Where will the US get the rest of its oil?" "What happens if Alberta decides to sell it to Asia instead?" "How much is it going to cost?" and "Will the US be able to pay for it if its economy falls apart?"

These are all questions that should be asked, but people who write headlines like that are unlikely to ask them.

Notice how the propaganda works.

1) lower oil prices always good, even if economics 101 tells you that lower prices might mean reduced supply

2) higher stock prices always good, even if economics 101 tells you that higher prices might mean reduced demand

Even if this is transmitted on a subconscious level, it still goes to show you how effective the marketing is.

In the end it boils down to this: the corporatocracy wants lower input costs, which means lower labor and energy costs, forever. The corporatocracy also wants higher stock prices, forever.

That input costs could rise and stock prices could fall is unthinkable to the corporatocracy, because that would mean that - gasp! - free market economic forces were working and some corporations would fail and some rich people would lose money.

that would mean that - gasp! - free market economic forces were working

Just a quibble. It wouldn't mean that free market forces were working (free markets don't work), but rather that some degree of price discovery was working its way through the manipulation.

What? All I see is huge gas guzzlers everywhere here in Colorado. Don't think we ever left the gas guzzlers so not concerned about going back. Again, we need a carbon tax or some sort of tax to keep gas prices high. That, of course, will never happen.

Are we sure that the so called general public is even following this issue? Nothing, of course, has done any such thing as make a mockery of peak oil theory, properly understood. At best, we just kick the can a few years down the road.

Anyway, maybe this EV can make a dent in oil usage but not much of a dent in energy usage or coal usage.

Ironically, Colorado is a place with a ridiculously generous EV incentive program. On top of the already existing $7500 tax-credit, Colorado offers $6000 more. People are crazy not to take advantage of that way-too-generous program since it reduces the price of the Volt down to less than a comparable gas car.

How does the Volt handle in the snow? That's probably a big consideration.

It should handle pretty well. It is front wheel drive and has those low mounted batteries to keep it on the road.

I suspect that very few people in Colorado actually know about the EV incentives.

"Anyway, maybe this EV can make a dent in oil usage but not much of a dent in energy usage or coal usage."

Wrong. My car I converted to an EV uses a bit less than 1/4 the energy per mile it did with it's original ice. Two reasons: efficiency of about 80% versus 20 - 25% for an ice, and the ice runs while stopped in traffic, the electric motor doesn't. The solar panels on the roof of our house produce more energy than the car and the house use.

I think you need to consider total embodied energy. Anyway, I am talking collectively. The fact that you, personally use your panels to power your vehicle does not imply that this is being done, in general. The amount of energy savings, if any, from all the EVs likely to hit the market in the near term is negligible and the fact is that carbon emissions are increasing, not decreasing, on a global level.

After 10 years, hybrids getting 30% better mileage are still less than 1% of the cars on the road in the U.S. Electric cars are less than .1% even though the EV1 was introduced 20 years ago.

If we want to reduce imported oil, synthetic fuels will do it faster at a lower cost than EVs or hybrids. We knew this in 1979, but oil was under $14 per barrel, now it is over $80 per barrel.

Deregulation creates volatility which creates uncertainty, then some politicians talk about uncertainty while they are the ones creating it.

The EV1 was a concept car 20 years ago. It began being leased to consumers in 1996 and was taken back and crushed by General Motors a few years later.

Ah, 1979 -- we still had water in the rivers and creeks...

I suspect that North America continues to drift away from Continental Europe in more than just tectonic terms. This side of the spreading margin you will see the twin effects of a)even more fuel efficient (and generally small) cars and b) financial constraints meaning less travel by car and probably more by mass transit. In addition the choice and range of EV vehicles coming to market will probably start to show in 2013.

Last week the national press and motoring organisations reported on a slight decline in overall UK mileage. Some of these stats stop at the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, so I suspect that anecdotal evidence of even larger declines in car usage more recently will eventually be proven by the official figures when they are released:

"Car ownership has increased, from 420 cars per 1,000 people in 1995/7 to 481 in 2005/7. Mileage per car has trended downwards, however, from 8,141 to 7,308 miles per year".

It also noted the rise in rail travel:

"The substantial, 60% growth in GB rail travel is the result of more people starting to travel by train, rather than existing rail users travelling more."

The full report can be found here:


UK car ownership update from 2011 census results published yesterday (England and Wales only):

"The number of cars and vans available for use by households in England and Wales increased from 23.9 million to 27.3 million between 2001 and 2011. In 2001 there were, on average, 11 cars per 10 households, while in 2011 there were 122.

"There have, in the last few weeks, been many articles appearing on the web lately explaining why OPEC needs to make cuts in production in order to keep oil prices from falling through the floor."

Uh, and why is it that OPEC should cut production and lower their income to keep prices up, and not the U.S. companies?

Uh, and why is it that OPEC should cut production and lower their income to keep prices up, and not the U.S. companies?

Because that is what OPEC does. They a cartel, they organized for the purpose of cutting production in order to keep prices high. Such practices are outlawed in the US and most Western Nations. If companies in the U.S. tried such tactics they would be thrown in jail.

Competition Law" (Antitrust Law)

Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, is law that promotes or maintains market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies...

Competition law, or antitrust law, has three main elements:
1. prohibiting agreements or practices that restrict free trading and competition between business. This includes in particular the repression of free trade caused by cartels.

Ron P.

If companies in the U.S. tried such tactics they would be thrown in jail.

of course, ... it's the evil OPEC companies ... American companies don't do those things, or do they?

They did do it in Guatemala (and other Banana republics) http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=12442&pageid=89&page...
and Dole, Chiquita, Del Monte got a slap in the hand and are doing just fine.

You are just trying to start something Massagran. I was just stating a simple fact that price fixing cartels are outlawed in most every developed nation in the world, not just in the USA. There is nothing evil about what OPEC is doing. They have a perfect right to control their oil output.

Ron P.

Sorry for the tone ... was having an angry day against the system :)

probably fueled by the ridiculous HSBC settlement yesterday (5 weeks of income and delayed bonuses for laundering billions of drug cartel money)
and this crazy infographic punytive-damages-biggest-corporate-fines mostly on corporate impunity. So my blood was boiling with people NOT being thrown in jail.

Agreed: Cartels are illegal in the standard capitalist rules of the game. And one can discuss the merits or not of it.

And somehow, as mad as you are, you managed to understate it.

HSBC laundered money for AL QAEDA.

Only some of their bonus was taken away for a short time


There is a very interesting word in recent use that you might explore: oligopoly.

No big businessmen go to jail for anything anymore. HSBC just got the whopping huge unprecedented fine of 1.9 billion dollars for dabbling in the street drug business. Custom cash boxes were made that fit through the cashier's windows in order to speed up the transactions. As of 31 March 2012 it had total assets of $2.637 trillion... forfeiting 2 billion is like being ravaged by a sock-puppet: a 0.1% bite of the holder's pie and no one on the inside is inconvenienced. They also facilitate Iran's circumvention of sanctions and so aid a declared terrorist state. If you live in a state with private prisons and their cozy-deal judges and your kid is found with a roach, it's off to jail... where they get in a fight and become a more permanent feature of the place and a lasting cash-cow.


Too Big to Indict

...discuss the double standard in American justice where ordinary citizens can go to jail for petty offenses but Wall Street criminals get off with fines because their banks are too big to indict.

But I thought corporations were people, too. *wink*

...discuss the double standard in American justice where ordinary citizens can go to jail for petty offenses but Wall Street criminals get off with fines because their banks are too big to indict.

That would make an interesting discussion but your reply had nothing to do with my post explaining why OPEC can cut production just to raise the price of oil and international oil companies like Exxon, Shell and BP cannot.

Ron P.

"If companies in the U.S. tried such tactics they would be thrown in jail."

RE: Climate Talks Yield Commitment to Ambitious, but Unclear, Actions
Protecting New Jersey from future storms could cost billions

The DOH! HA! climate talks got down to helping pay for burying the dead, but not much more as the real costs for even the small state of New Jersey shows.

Since the legal attempt by Comer v Murphy Oil went into a black hole, one has to wonder about the future of civility in terms of reactions that can be expected from over "100 million deaths" in the next 17 years.

Will governments begin to demand oil companies to pitch in to pay damages they agreed to at Doha?

US Intelligence Sees Fight Ahead Over Water, Food

The study, Global Trends 2030, released Monday by the U.S. government's National Intelligence Council, is the intelligence community's analysis of where current trends will take the world in the next 15 to 20 years, intended to help policymakers plan for the best and worst possible futures.

One bright spot for the U.S. is energy independence. "With shale gas, the U.S. will have sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs and generate potential global exports for decades to come," the report said.

In the worst-case scenario, the rising population leads to conflict over water and food, especially in the Mideast and Africa, and the instability contributes to global economic collapse.

The report warns of the mostly catastrophic effect of possible "Black Swans," extraordinary events that can change the course of history. These include a severe pandemic that could kill millions in a matter of months and more rapid climate change that could make it hard to feed the world's population.

... Any future wars in Asia and the Middle East probably could include a nuclear element. Many of these conflicts, once begun, would not be easily containable and would have global impacts. (pg 3, Summary)

... unfortunately, all their positive or neutral scenarios are based on fantasy technology, growing economies, unlimited energy, food & water, and peaceful co-existence ... Oh! ... and the climate needs to play nice, also.

The Director of National Intelligence/National Intelligence Council site is having [major f#$@*n] technical difficulties

The report can be accessed via the Atlantic Council at: National Intelligence Council: Global Trends 2030 directly

or from the Council on Foreign Relations NIC: Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds

or through http://acus.org/publication/global-trends-2030-alternative-worlds

and http://www.acus.org/tags/global-trends-2030

Related Report: Asian economies will surpass US, Europe

Study Predicts Future for U.S. as No. 2 Economy, but Energy Independent

The product of four years of intelligence-gathering and analysis, the study, by the National Intelligence Council, presents grounds for optimism and pessimism in nearly equal measure. The council reports to the director of national intelligence and has responsibilities for long-term strategic analysis.

Hi, Seraph

The NIC seems to be having more than just technical difficulties; they seem to have gone nuts in their forecasts for US light tight oil (LTO) production.
On pg. 36 (66 on the page counter), the 2030 report states:

"Shale oil production in the US is still in its early stages, and its full potential remains uncertain, but development is happening at a faster pace than shale gas. Preliminary estimates for 2020 range from 5-15 million barrels per day with a production breakeven price as low as $44-68 per barrel depending upon the fields. By the 2020, the US could emerge as a major energy exporter."

The accompanying graph is stunning and is sourced to HPDI and EIA. I'm a computer klutz, so if someone could please post this remarkable graph (p. 36, or tell me how to do it) I would appreciate it.
Since when has EIA predicted 15 mbpd of LTO?

From GLOBAL TRENDS 2030: ALTERNATIVE WORLDS, U.S. National Intelligence Council, December 2012, page 36 (warning, 23 MB PDF file):

Even the low scenario is absurdly optimistic. I think they electroplated the recent surge in U.S. production into the future without considering physical resources.

From pages 35 to 36:


Experts are virtually certain that demand for energy
will rise dramatically—about 50 percent—over
the next 15-20 years largely in response to rapid
economic growth in the developing world. The US
Energy Information Agency anticipates steadily rising
global production through 2035, driven primarily
by a combination of OPEC production increases and
larger unconventional sources. The main or reference
scenario of the International Energy Agency also posits
growing global production of key fossil fuels through
2030 (about 1 percent annually for oil).

Much of this increased production—and recent
optimism—derives from unconventional oil and gas
being developed in North America. The scale-up of
two technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic
fracturing, (see box on page 37) is driving this new
energy boom. Producers have long known shale
as “source rock”—rock from which oil and natural
gas slowly migrated into traditional reservoirs over
millions of years. Lacking the means economically to
unlock the massive amounts of hydrocarbon in the
source rock, producers devoted their attention to the
conventional reservoirs. Once the industry discovered
how to combine hydraulic fracturing and horizontal
drilling, the vast gas resources trapped in shale
deposits became accessible.

The economic and even political implications of this
technological revolution, which won’t be completely
understood for some time, are already significant. In a
tectonic shift, energy independence is not unrealistic
for the US in as short a period as 10-20 years. Increased
oil production and the shale gas revolution could yield
such independence. US production of shale gas has
exploded with a nearly 50 percent annual increase
between 2007 and 2011, and natural gas prices in the
US have collapsed. US has sufficient natural gas to meet
domestic needs for decades to come, and potentially
substantial global exports. Service companies are
developing new “super fracking” technologies that
could dramatically increase recovery rates still further

Global energy demand in all forms could increase during the next 15 to 20 years. I do no see how global crude oil production could rise by 50% during this period.

As ROCKMAN proclaims, horizontal drilling and fracking are not new technologies. The high price of crude oil has made tight oil profitable to extract.

Counselor Mathew Burrows is principal author within the NIC.

Critical inputs and reviews of the draft include:

Ms. Rosemarie Forsythe, Exxon Mobil Corporation;
Dr. Cho Khong, Shell Corporation;

The acknowledgements go on and on.

Holy smokes, that graph. It seems to show 2 million in shale oil production growth in the past 2 years. If they can't get the past correct, how am I supposed to believe their prediction of the future?

All Americans beware, Canadians are preparing to steal all your new oil. sarc/


Enbridge to invest $6.2B in pipeline expansions for light oil from North Dakota and Canada

North Dakota System Expansion and Extension. Construction of a 965-kilometer (600-mile) 24-inch diameter line (Sandpiper Project) from Beaver Lodge, North Dakota, to the Superior, Wisconsin, Terminal. Will increase Bakken takeaway capacity by 225,000 bpd. Estimated capital cost of this project is approximately $2.5 billion.

Eastern Access Capacity Expansion. Enbridge has secured sufficient commercial support to proceed with additional aspects of the previously announced $2.7 billion Eastern Access Program. This entails full reversal and capacity expansion of Line 9 to 300,000 bpd and US mainline system expansions—through the addition of pumping horsepower and increased terminal capability at existing sites—between Flanagan, Illinois, and the border near Sarnia, Ontario.

The upsized Line 9 reversal and supporting US mainline expansion capital brings the total Eastern Access Program estimated cost to $3.2 billion including the $0.2 billion Toledo Pipeline expansion.

Southern Access (Line 61) Extension Pipeline. Construction of a 165-mile, 24-inch diameter Southern Access Extension Pipeline from Flanagan to Patoka. Initial capacity of 300,000 bpd at an estimated cost of $0.8 billion.

US Mainline System. Based on increased availability of western light oil supplies, and attractive pricing relative to US Gulf Coast sourced supply, Chicago-area refineries are shifting to the west as their primary light oil

From previous discussions on exporting US oil, I believe there some sort of legal complication? I assume they have all that sorted, now the election is over!

The amount of work involved in building pipelines and drilling should be providing plenty of work for people willing to travel to a job or relocate, and of course get their hands dirty.

What North Dakota producers are doing is putting their oil into the Canadian export pipeline system, which runs through North Dakota. It returns to Canada at Sarnia, Ontario, but I doubt much of the oil will make it that far. A lot of it will make it as far east as Illinois, and then be diverted south to the trading hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, and much of that will contine on to the Gulf of Mexico.

US restrictions on oil exports are somewhat irrelevant since oil moves both ways across the border, but the vast majority of it heads to the US. Canada exports more oil to the US than it consumes itself, so for the US to restrict oil exports to Canada would be pointless and self defeating.

All Americans beware, Canadians are preparing to steal all your new oil.

Yeah, you just want our conventional oil so you can dilute your synthcrude sludge and then sell it back to us. ;-)

Experts are virtually certain that demand for energy
will rise dramatically—about 50 percent—over
the next 15-20 years largely in response to rapid
economic growth in the developing world.

That just has to be an incorrect assessment by the so called experts!
Either that or I've wasted 5 years on TOD and the data presented here on a day to day basis over that time has been pure bunk!

Even if we were to discount the implications of a recent comment posted by Ulan Baskaw, the gist of which is,
Most 'Experts' are useless:

I highly doubt that most of the experts here have been fudging the data or have been unable to correctly interpret it.

Therefore I'm willing to go out on a limb and state that unless some kind of miracle occurs 'Rapid Economic Growth' in the developing world can not continue to happen.

First, because the so called developing world does not exist in some kind of void separated from the realities of rest of the planet.

I state this based on both a physical limits interpretation and also and also from an economics interpretation for 'demand' which is different from needs or wants.
Economic demand only exists when those that have a need also have the means to outbid their competition for a particular resource.

A while back there was a discussion on one of the Drumbeats that underscores this. The example given was even if there are 100 starving people there is no 'Economic Demand' for available sandwiches at $10.00 if none of the 100 starving individuals can afford them. The people die, the sandwiches remain uneaten, and the economic system collapses.

Perhaps I'm the one that is delusional but as I look out at the world, everywhere I look, I see growth slowing down and coming to a halt in the next 15-20 years.
How can anyone continue to claim that China, India, the rest of Asia, the Middle East, all the European countries, African nations, South America, The US and North America, etc... will continue to grow?!

Demand for energy will rise dramatically—about 50 percent—over the next 15-20 years! How can that be possible? One explanation is that the 'Experts' are lying through their teeth...

Thanks for sharing that. I have always believed that experts become 'useless' when they fall in love with themselves, in other words when they start calling themselves experts, otherwise they have a lot to offer.

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
-- Niels Bohr

You will always make a mistake just when you don't want to.
-- Murphy

Experience is what you get right after you needed it.
-- anon

You will always take a mistake just when you don't want to.


Congrats for one of the best formulations of it seen so for.


"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."
-attributed to Will Rogers

"A wise man learns from experience; a wiser man learns from the experience of others."
Kahlil Gibran

'An expert is a one time drip under pressure.'


Or perhaps those hundred people come to the sandwich vendor with pitchforks, and demand "your sandwich or your life". Either way no money is collected.


Take a baseball and toss it underehanded towards the ceiling, or go outside and loft it as high as it goes. That is us, Earth, at the top of the arc. We are at that split sceond of peak trajectory, forecasts be damned.

I know I have used this analogy before on TOD, but it just doesn't go away for me.

Oh, maybe I am wrong and the techno-optimists will catch it and give it another toss. Pretty complicated feat with all our interdependencies and the decline of almost all commodities. Plus, that pesky warming thingy.

Personal plans and hope for the best cannot be delayed. Growth continuing is totally impossible. Let's toast the simpler life and hope the transition goes smoothly. Cheers.


Nice image, Paulo. Though in my 50's, I still like to partake of a favorite activity from my teens - using the rope swing at my favorite mountain stream swimming hole in the summer. While too many just let go once momentum has 'em going out over the water, by far the best ride is had by holding on all the way to the apex - where for the briefest moment one gets a feeling of weightlessness - then letting go. And when doing so, from there it is definitely all straight down.

In basic statistics, one learns to draw a trend line from historical data. One is free to ignore any physical limits or other reality markers in drawing that line. If we could simply draw trend lines based on our growth as youths, we would all be giants.

In any event, I think rapid economic growth will run up against the physical reality of climate change as drowths, heat , and excessive carbon dioxide continue to build up. That is not even considering oil and other energy constraints. Besides, it is imperative that we constrain fossil fuel energy usage regardless of what supplies might be available.

"In basic statistics, one learns to draw a trend line from historical data. One is free to ignore any physical limits or other reality markers in drawing that line."

And in chemistry class they taught us that the line was only valid between the first and last points. Off either end it may or may not describe reality, with the latter case being more likely.

My dissertation ended up proving the same point on a much more complex system. No matter how pretty the arithmetic, reality always wins.

Specialist Knowledge Is Useless and Unhelpful

That Slate headline is misleading. Kaggle take huge databases, for instance molecular properties, and try to extract useful insights, for instance cancer-fighting abilities.

What they have found is teams of data professionals e.g. programmers and statisticians can sometimes beat subject experts e.g. molecular biologists. Because they are not limited by convention, and explore avenues ignored by the experts. (Note that many teams enter. Most get nowhere.)

Every programmer knows that the moment you make a program fool-proof, they develop a better fool. Because people do things with software you wouldn't even think of trying. And sometimes their way is better.

It's not the case that a hundred street sweepers will always beat a hundred Nobel laureates. Maybe they will if it's something that depends on popular tastes like next year's fashion colours, but for technical subjects you need a certain minimum expertise to even understand the problem.

It's not the case that a hundred street sweepers will always beat a hundred Nobel laureates. Maybe they will if it's something that depends on popular tastes like next year's fashion colours, but for technical subjects you need a certain minimum expertise to even understand the problem.

Strawman argument aardvark, no one is claiming that street sweepers will beat Nobel laureates at this game! Far from it! And yes, a high level of expertise is necessary to be able to define and understand technical problems. The claim is that specialist knowledge interferes and hinders with the process of solving the problems as opposed to applying an unthinking algorithm in creative ways.

PA: What separates the winners from the also-rans?
JH: The difference between the good participants and the bad is the information they feed to the algorithms. You have to decide what to abstract from the data. Winners of Kaggle competitions tend to be curious and creative people. They come up with a dozen totally new ways to think about the problem. The nice thing about algorithms like the random forest is that you can chuck as many crazy ideas at them as you like, and the algorithms figure out which ones work.

PA: That sounds very different from the traditional approach to building predictive models. How have experts reacted?
JH: The messages are uncomfortable for a lot of people. It's controversial because we're telling them: "Your decades of specialist knowledge are not only useless, they're actually unhelpful; your sophisticated techniques are worse than generic methods." It's difficult for people who are used to that old type of science. They spend so much time discussing whether an idea makes sense. They check the visualizations and noodle over it. That is all actively unhelpful.

PA: Is there any role for expert knowledge?
JH: Some kinds of experts are required early on, for when you're trying to work out what problem you're trying to solve. The expertise you need is strategy expertise in answering these questions.

Thanks for posting this incredible graph, BT
- rick

BT - The chart is truly breathtaking. Rarely is the Rockman at a loss for words...this chart came close. Won't even reject it offhand...just take it as 'they" project it. First notice how they depict the results of the surge in Bakken, Eagle Ford et al drilling the last few years: on their scale the curve is virtually flat. But now, by their own projection, we're about to see a hug increase in shale oil production. Folks who make such production rarely show how many wells will be needed to reach their projections. Obviously if the thousands of shale oil wells drilled so far have barely nudged us up on their chart then they must be projecting drilling programs many times larger than the one we've seen so far. So the obvious question: if the high oil prices and the development of all these "new" silver bullet technologies hasn't produced the surge they are projecting then what will change in the near future? Perhaps much higher oil prices? And higher oil prices that don't cause demand destruction?

Now jump to 2020. Even the low case predicts a doubling in oil shale production rate. That alone requires drilling twice as many wells as we've just seen in recent years. And drilled in just the few years prior to 2020: remember the high decline rates of fracture production. The wells that caused an almost doubling of oil production by 2016 will be producing very little by 2020. So not only will twice as many wells be needed but they'll need to be constantly replaced to account for those high decline rates.

Another unspoken assumption: there are an endless number of shale oil locations to drill. And those future locations will be as productive as those currently being developed. So how many wells will it take: 300,000? 600,000? 1 million? Oil shale plays have geographic boundaries. And not all the plays are a productive as the ones being developed today. The Marine Tuscaloosa Shale was thought to be the next hot trend. That hasn't happened and the players in the trend are starting to pull back. But some fractured shales have been prolific. Consider the Austin Chalk (a carbonate fractured shale) in Texas. At one time it was the hottest oil play in the country...probably in the world. But you don't hear much about it now and for good reason: it has been drilled up for the most part. Many thousands of wells drilled across many counties in Texas. The map of activity was amazing: a horizontal well drilled on ever available lease for hundreds of miles. But no play extends endlessly. Not the Bakken, not the Eagle Ford. So do they name any of those undiscovered oil shale trends that will have 100's of thousands of new wells drilled? Didn't think so.

Not even Alaska is in decline in 2020. I am an amateur, and even I can spot this graph is in the flying pigs land.

From your "Global Trends" PDF link:

Shale oil production in the US is still in its early stages, and its full potential remains uncertain, but development is happening at a faster pace than shale gas. Preliminary estimates for 2020 range from 5-15 million barrels per day with a production breakeven price as low as $44-68 per barrel depending upon the fields. By the 2020, the US could emerge as a major energy exporter.

5-15 million barrels per day by 2020! What are these folks smoking? I searched the document but they made no mention of the decline rate of these fracked wells. I think there is something a lot of people don't understand about the story of oil production by fracking. Anyway...

Bakken revolution is only half complete

The breakeven price for an average new well is as high as 80-90 per barrel, he wrote. At current prices "the commercial profitability for new wells is barely positive."

Likvern's decline rates are confirmed by state officials. The typical Bakken well produces 904 barrels per day in the first year, falling to 427 barrels per day in the second, 149 in the third and just 82 by the fifth, according to Helms.

Obviously the "Global Trends" folks got the breakeven price way wrong. $80 to $90 a barrel is a far cry from their $44 to $68 estimate. And look at that decline rate. Obviously the "Global Trends" folks did not take that into consideration. That is why they have production climbing ever upward. From the same article:

"It is challenging to find support for the idea that total production of shale oil from the Bakken formation will move much above the present levels of 0.6-0.7 million barrels per day on an annual basis," Likvern wrote in a much-cited report posted on "The Oil Drum" and other websites.

But the state expects the industry to continue drilling 2,000 wells per year for the next 16 years to develop the play. Assuming each rig drills eight wells per year, it would need 225 rigs to meet the drilling target. There are currently 180 operating in the state, down from just over 200 earlier in the year, so the drilling target implies only a very modest increase over time.

Ron P.

Corrected version of a graph previously posted (apologies to S. Harris):


aardi - Folks wonder what the field life of a fractured shale play might look like. Wonder no more: here's an example just 15 years old. One more gross error in the chart. Notice when they start the "tight oil": around 1998. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't know if this is from ignorance or if they are just trying to hype the current activity. The Bakken has been producing (although not a lot) since the 1950's. Tight oil has been producing in Texas for more than 50 years especially in west Texas. But there have been more recent tight oil booms in Texas: the Austin Chalk. It's a fractured shale that's made of carbonate material unlike the siliceous minerals of the Eagle Ford, et al. But a fractured shale in every other aspect. And just as significant in its day as the EFS is today. Actually more so as you'll see below. From 2006:


"A decade ago, the Giddings Field in the Austin Chalk limestone formation was the Barnett Shale (and the Eagle Ford Shale) of its day: Texas’ leading energy producer... From 1993 to 1997, the field led Texas in production of natural gas and crude oil, an unprecedented double. Giddings’ biggest operator, Union Pacific Resources of Fort Worth, produced more natural gas in 1996 and 1997 than Exxon, Conoco, Shell or Enron.

But today, the Giddings Field serves as a cautionary tale for the boomtown euphoria that has settled over the Barnett Shale (and all other shale plays). Natural-gas production from Giddings has fallen from a state-leading-field with 294 billion cubic feet in 1996, to 60.6 billion cubic feet last year. Oil production from Giddings has also dropped, from a state-best-field peak of 32 million barrels in 1993, to 6.1 million barrels last year.

With total production of 450 million barrels since its discovery in 1960 — Texas’ last major oil-field find — Giddings ranks in the top 20 among Texas’ all-time oil fields. Giddings began producing natural gas in 1978 and stands as Texas’ fourth all-time best gas producer with 2 trillion cubic feet of total production...Giddings went through two drilling phases: an early vertical drilling period from the late 1960s through the ’70s and then a renewed push with horizontal drilling beginning in the 1980s...Horizontal drilling gave that field a big new life in the 1990s"

This isn't saying any of the current shale plays will exactly follow the same path as the Austin Chalk. Some maybe be better...some may not be as good. But all the dynamics are the same: price sensitivity, reservoir flow characteristics, infrastructure requirements, etc. And according to the state: the cumulative production from the EFS through 2011 has been 30.5 million bo. Not bad but still a ways to go to match the 450 million bo produced from the Austin Chalk...the tight oil play that doesn't exist on the chart.

And one more time: fractured shale (tight oil) production isn't new; horizontal drilling isn't new; frac'ng isn't new. What's new is high priced oil. What isn't new is that a field is discovered, it booms and then it dies as all its viable locations are drilled. Always been this way..always will be.

North Dakota: Bakken oil monthly production back to the 1950's

"It tells the real story of tight oil production beautifully. Each well produces a mere 150 barrels or so per day on average, and like shale gas wells, their output declines rapidly after initial production. As LeVine learned from a Bakken executive, the decline rate can be over 90 percent in the first year, then gradually tapers off. After seven or eight years, wells will have produced over 60 percent of their recoverable reserves. Therefore, you have to keep drilling like h#ll just to maintain production, and drill even more to increase it. Per LeVine’s source, “if the rate of drilling stays constant for a long time, the growth rate of field production will decrease, then plateau, then begin to drop.” But at around $7 million per well, these wells are not cheap.

As Laherrère’s chart shows, it takes about 1,200 wells to increase production by 150 thousand barrels a day on the Bakken tight oil treadmill. Compare that to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where a single gusher can produce 250 thousand barrels per day. By this metric it would take another 16,000 Bakken wells to achieve Citigroup’s projection of an additional 2 mbpd from shale oil, or five times the existing 3,200 Bakken wells."


Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Department of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities

… Some urban areas used their awards for local outreach, holding conferences, creating websites and posting videos on how citizens can spot signs of terror in their own neighborhoods. A video sponsored by the Jacksonville UASI alerted its residents to red flags such as people with “average or above average intelligence” … [cheese it we’re on their radar screen]

In 2009, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania purchased for $88,000 several “long-range acoustic device,” or LRAD, which is mounted on a truck and emits an ear-splitting sound. Local officials used it to disperse G-20 protestors, giving one bystander permanent hearing loss, but which they called “a kinder and gentler way to get people to leave.”

Keene, New Hampshire, with a population just over 23,000 and a police force of 40, set aside UASI funds to buy a BearCat armored vehicle. Despite reporting only a single homicide in the prior two years, the City of Keene told DHS the vehicle was needed to patrol events like its annual pumpkin festival.

When asked, FEMA could not explain precisely how the UASI program has closed security gaps or prepared the nation in the event of another attack. In part, FEMA has done very little oversight of the program, allowing cities to spend the money on almost anything they want, as long as it has broad ties to terror prevention.

Verizon Patent: DVR That Watches Users to Target Advertising

Black boxes in cars raise privacy concerns

And from CRS Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

… does this include ‘corporations’

Government investigating makers of cellphone apps

The Obama administration says it's investigating software companies that make cellphone apps to determine whether they are violating the privacy rights of children by quietly collecting personal information from their phones, then sharing it with advertisers and data brokers. Such spying apps downloaded to mobile devices can capture a child's physical location, phone numbers of their friends and more.

A red flag being “average or above average intelligence” .....because, obviously, the average law-abiding, flag waving, knuckle dragging, mouth breathing cosumerzen is way, way, way below that metric.

Probably good to keep any overt abstract thought on the down-low, tithe heavily to the dominant church in your area, and learn to speak nonsense as a second language.

Many intellectuals were sent to rural labour camps, and many of those who survived left China shortly after the revolution ended. Many survivors and observers suggest that almost anyone with skills over that of the average person was made the target of political “struggle” in some way.

And if THAT sounds extreme... http://www.torontosun.com/2011/12/09/horrifying-legacy-of-khmer-rouge
The Khmer Rouge asked anyone wearing glasses to step to one side. .... anyone with glasses was an intellectual, to be killed.

Couldn't happen here of course, but humans don't particularly like people smarter than they are. You can't trust the buggers. They have thoughts.

Couldn't happen here of course

Not so sure about that. The right pressures and circumstances, and I think it could. Not saying it will. But I hope nobody thinks that the US Constitution is going to protect them. It's been run through the shredder already, nothing but a bunch of confetti.

You can rest assured that Greenish said that with a wink..

g -

... Probably good to keep any overt abstract thought on the down-low, tithe heavily to the dominant church in your area, and learn to speak nonsense as a second language.

Too late ...

I'm part of the 'liberal' political apparatus; have been seen with congressmen, senators, and an ex-president. Plus ... I wear glasses.

I expect the Death Eaters will be knocking on my door at 3AM with burlap bag and plastic ties.

Hold on ... Did you hear that? Are you sure this line is clean? ;-0

Add Idi Amin to the list of those who don't like people smarter than themselves.

The victims soon came to include members of other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, students and intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals. In this atmosphere of violence, many other people were killed for criminal motives or simply at will.

Incidentally, in the post-Mao era, all those who rose by virtue of being workers, soldiers, or peasants, were rejected with contempt and replaced by well-educated professionals.

I have finished reading Peeking at Peak Oil by Kjell Aleklett. I might write a report and post it later but then again I might not. Anyway I wish to post the most startling thing I read in the book. From Chapter 18 "Why Military and Intelligence Agencies are "Peeking at Peak Oil" pages 268-269:

In February 2005 I received a telephone call from Paris. It was one of the directors at the IEA. He told me that the IEA planned to make a special analysis of the energy situation in Sweden. He wondered if whether I was interested in discussing the analysis with his personnel. Naturally, I was interested but then came the catch: "but they think that you should remove your analysis from the Web." I was stunned and I asked, "Who are 'they'?" There was a short silence and then he answered, "Personally, I do not have any problems with the analysis but they think you should remove it." I explained that I was a professor at Uppsala University, I would not allow myself to be pressured, and the analysis would remain on the Web. Unfortunately, I did not make a recording of the conversation but it is one I will never forget.

By relating this story in this particular chapter I do not need to explain whom I believe "they"are. Then again, I could be wrong.

Ron P.

Ron - One could only hope "they" were the military. Aren't "they" the ones who live by the saying: expect the best but plan for the worse?.

Speaking of anticipating the worst: Just saw the latest rehash of 11 Dec 1941. Two interesting points: most of the major damage was done in just the first 15 minutes. And we all have heard our embargo of oil to japan gave their military the fuel to push for war. But how much was Japan getting from the US? Answer in this documentary: 85%. If that's true I don't know how the US govt/military could not have expected a severe raction from Japan. If the US suddenly had "someone" cut our oil imports 85% what would "we" do?


I don't know, maybe put an invasion force off the coast of Syria?

Where Russian warships are moored in some Syrian ports.

Where China also has lotsa interests (they vetoed the U.S. thingy against Syria, their 7th veto since 1971).

Gives new meaning to Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize it would seem.

Could be a Dr. Strangelove moment if things ... well you know.

Dredd - In a world of pure wildass speculation I don't see us fighting the Russians or Chinese for resources. It's our "allies" that need to worry. IOW those countries without the military capability to protect the sources. Sources the US has been trying to protect for all these decades. My MADOR (Mutually Assured Distribution Of Resoucres) doesn't specify who belongs to the Mutual Club. Membership will require the capability to force your way thru the clubhouse door. Being a friend of the US may not be enough.

Looks pretty much like the nineteenth century canon boat polities to me.

There might just be too much potential international natural gas trade available to prevent the rise of such an environment at least for the hydrocarbon resource when the next oil crisis happens.

Deploying a CNG flotilla should get you the needed cool liquid at a much better price than trying to maintain an equivalent canon boat bully for scarce crude. I'm pretty sure the large cats will find that to be a nicer world for them too; and tell the majors to come along.

Not a short term fix though, overcoming the crisis this way would take several years due to the technical and financial challenges of establining CNG links. Year on year global CNG growth comes close to 10% nowadays, so some of the ramping up is already happening before the bang.

Also you wouldn't want to have anyone hanging around stirring in the financial mess in the meantime.

For the time being this club gets my empathy, short of wanting to proselytize the TX/OK panhandle folk into bicycles. And i'm learning how to pronounce Gurbunguly Muhmamedov. Off to the realclimate site when i need to worry.


PS. Made me remember The American Friend.


Perhaps so going forward, but not so much looking back in history. Consider this exerpt from a 1944 book:

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

(As We Go Marching, Flynn, 1944, page 222, emphasis added). That is how we got here to the place where we don't need to fight them to sustain our dirty habit.

But don't forget that wars are also fought because "they" need to fight for the drug of choice of current civilization. A case in point is Pearl Harbor when the Japanese were cut off from the drug.

Our local smugatroids acknowledge that Russia and China put people in space, that China is the first to shoot down a satellite in orbit, and that both have ICBM nuclear capacity big time.

Even as they now are sticking pins in them for giggles.

But those same smugatroids also say that some cavemen dudes from Afghanistan got through our illustrious impenetrable defenses to hijack four airliners, take out downtown usville's tallest buildings, and then pierce the pentagon shaped building symbolizing "don't even try it" technological defenses.

So, when the desperate get jiggy wid it they may just think they can do the same since it is so easy a caveman can do it.

Smugatroids are strange, even when you are not a stranger in "a world of pure wildass speculation."

In a war with China, which would you bomb first: the cities, or the coal-fired power stations? (After taking out their missiles, of course.)

Dams, bridges, power stations. Why bomb people if you can just arrange for them to starve?

I guess the worst calculation was merely taking the dutch indies...
most amazing is japan didn't destroy the Pearl oil storage that according to US.Adm. would have prolonged the pacific theater 2 yrs.
So both sides made massive miscalculations so who ever f'ups the least wins.

BTW, I'm also amazed at how BO supplied the axis & Getty's comment about my ol friend Hitler (tobe fair I think he wasn't so enamored after '39. )
In any case oil seems to be the most dangerous game.

...and just a few years later "they" alluded to PO in JOE2008, and 2 years later actually mentioned peak oil in JOE2010 [pdf]:

Peak Oil
As the figure at right shows, petroleum must continue to satisfy most of the demand for energy out to 2030. Assuming the most optimistic scenario for improved petroleum production through enhanced recovery means, the development of non-conventional oils (such as oil shales or tar sands) and new discoveries, petroleum production will be hard pressed to meet the expected future demand of 118 million barrels per day.

[page 24]

Maybe that's why "they" use retired guys to write this stuff :-/

Hedge Funds Manipulate Stock Prices, New Research Shows

In a study of 10 years of hedge fund data, researchers found evidence that some funds run up prices on specific stocks they hold on the last day of the month and quarter – especially the last 20 minutes of trading – before they report their returns for the period. But the prices usually fall back the next day, after the abnormally large returns have already been reported to investors.

This practice, called "portfolio pumping," is economically significant, Ben-David said. The study found that stocks that have the most hedge fund ownership (in the top 25 percent) see on average an abnormal return of 0.30 percent on the last day of the quarter, most of which reverts back the very next day of trading.

The orders came in not just on the last day, but in the last minutes of the day.

"About half of the average increase in the prices of stocks that are owned by hedge funds takes place in the last 20 minutes of trading," he said.

Study: Do Hedge Funds Manipulate Stock Prices?

Japan may scrap nuclear plant over seismic fault

Geologists said Monday a Japanese nuclear plant may be sited over an active seismic fault, indicating that it will probably be scrapped.

All five experts tasked by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) with investigating the tectonic situation underneath Tsuruga plant in Fukui prefecture said it showed signs of geologically recent movement.

No one can accuse the Japanese of being slow to catch on then?

AGU Scientist Asks, ‘Is Earth F**ked?’ Surprising Answer: Resistance is NOT Futile!

Yes, geophysicist Brad Werner actually titled his talk at the huge American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting last week, “Is Earth F**ked?” The talk’s abstract (searchable here) appeared to offer a pessimistic answer:

In sum, the dynamics of the global coupled human-environmental system within the dominant culture precludes management for stable, sustainable pathways and promotes instability.

... Echoing Anderson and Bows, he claimed it as a legitimate part of a physical scientist’s domain. “It’s really a geophysics problem,” he said. “It’s not something that we can just leave to the social scientists or the humanities.”

If you think that we should take a much longer view when making decisions about the health of the “coupled human-environmental system”—that is to say, if you’re interested in averting the scenario in which the Earth is f**ked—then, Werner’s model implied, resistance is the best and probably only hope. Every other element—environmental regulation, even science—is too embedded in the dominant economic system.

... I think it's time we had a revolution

Just back from the AGU. It was pretty grueling, worse than usual. I didn't make it to this talk, there were too many parallel sessions. But there were enough that I did make it to. The worst case highest emissions rcp8.5 is what everyone was openly talking about, i.e. we are definitely on that path. Pretty grim. The only ray of light is that to follow the strongest mitigation path, the developed world must reduce FF consumption by 30% by 2020. That's what the spouse and I are going for in our household. I think we can do it, even though we live pretty frugally as it is and have less fat to cut than most North Americans. I'm under no illusions whatsoever that enough developed worlders will do this to make enough of a difference...

I was reading an article about 4degree warming (rcp8.5) as per the World Bank report. This caught my attention

The new World Bank report concludes that a four degree world would be one of "unprecedented heatwaves, severe drought and major floods in many regions".

Seems we don't have to wait until 2100 to see these, just switch on the tv and their they are on the news already. I'm beginning to think the science is massively understating the true effects that we will be witnessing. And even a 2 degree warming, which is now merely a stepping stone to the eventual 4c-6c world, will not be survivable and arrive much sooner than expected.

Even attempts at mitigation might be swept aside by the rapid pace of unfolding events. In fact I believe that when push come to shove, energy usage will increase (which means increased use of coal) as we use ever more technology to create controlled environments for ourselves and food sources. A strategy of making things worse to increase the probability of surviving (for those that can actually afford it).

A fairly large pulse in temperature will occur when China stops emitting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere either by running out of coal or clearing up their pollution. Acid rain ought to be creating havoc in China by now.

Then again PMOD Total Solar Irradiance is showing the current solar cycle as weak. If TSI is weak for the rest of the century, then what?

If TSI is weak for the rest of the century, then what?

See Feulner et.al. 2010. A quiet sun ala Maunder Minimum would offset global warming by 0.1 degrees C, or about half a decade of warming.

I'm beginning to think the science is massively understating the true effects that we will be witnessing.

I've thought this for a long time. Since I heard in the nineties(?) that they had discovered evidence of some climate shifts which happened in decades, or even maybe years, rather than the centuries they had assumed were needed.

And then there's the fact that the climate reports coming out for years now have almost all said something to the effect of "This is happening much faster than we thought.". Feedbacks loops have been reached IMO, and will make the changes non-linear. The methane release from the tundra being one of the key factors. And of course, the fact that us fire-monkeys (ht G) will not, of our own accord, stop spewing carbon into the atmosphere.

I posted a couple of times years back, that I 'predicted' that even by 2016 the weather would be so bad as to be seriously messing with our crops / food supplies / water flow, and even our ability to survive by way of extreme weather events, whether hot, dry, cold, or wet. And now there's the jet stream slowing down, leaving some places with "stuck" local weather conditions for days on end.

I've tried to stay well ahead of that curve, maybe get there in half the time. Try to make progress every year. It should be getting herder low hanging fruit and all that, but I think its getting easier. There is a lot of really good efficiency boosting stuff becoming available, LEDs, hybrid or plugin cars, heat pumps, improved AC/refrigerators. LED TVs now being decently competitive to the energy-hod LCDs... I'm being a real bad boy running Christmass lights outside ATM -but these are LEDs that total a whopping 2watts! Just try to make substantial progress every year.

Hi EoS,

Speaking of such things, I received my thousand L-Prize lamps on Friday and thirty of them went here this morning: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_2023.jpg

Previously, 3,000-watts; now, 291. Projected savings based on the client's annual hours of operation: 18,313 kWh/year, or approximately 22,000 with corresponding a/c benefit. Cost of this "new" capacity, installed: $467.00 per kW. Time to bring into service: under 30 minutes.


How many dollars does that kWattage saved represent? Multi lamp fittings are a good target. Had 3 ceiling fans, in one place I rented, each with 5 40W lamps for a total of 600W and they were the only lighting in the room. Put in CFLs and dropped that by a half while improving the lighting (neat cos I could swap the back out when moving, still have a couple).



Our cost per kW, as noted above, is less than $470.00, installed, and the average cost per kWh saved based on the lamp's rated life is 1.5-cents. However, that's a conservative number and will surely rise as lab testing continues; based on the DOE's results to date, I expect the final cost per kWh saved to come in well at below 1-cent. In addition, this new capacity will be available during peak times; there will be no downtime due to forced outages or scheduled maintenance; and it will help lessen the burden put on NSP's transmission and distribution system.

Whilst this retrofit was under way, ninety-six more were being installed at an apartment complex where they were replacing an equal number of 60-watt incandescents that operate 24/7, and I have another four hundred to be installed at two seniors complexes early next week.

I happen to like this lamp a lot and we'll be using as many as we can possibly get (supply is exceedingly tight).


I was hoping to try these L-prize lamps out in the UK but I don't think they are being distributed here yet. Will have to wait for the 220-240 volt variety!

Just looked at Home Depot, looks like the price has gone back up to $50.

You got Me thinking about what the voltage range is on them.

I have in my hand a T8 ballast that will run on 120-277V, 50/60Hz.
Maybe a L-Prize will do the same, nowhere on the package do I see a volt or Hz requirement.

edit: found it on the bulb itself, 120V,60Hz.

Hi gents,

I'm told that these lamps are in critically short supply, but my Philips rep has pulled a few favours to help me out (they were never intended to be sold outside the USA). It would be inappropriate to discuss pricing, but I can tell you that the numbers are very good.


They give a beautiful light, based on your photo. Warm and welcoming.

Hey Paul and All,
Just to represent the nether end of the lamp-consuming spectrum, I hopped into a neighborhood goodwill yesterday and scanned the lighting shelf, finding yet another disposed of Halogen Desk Lamp, with the little 20 watt nugget burned out behind it's glass UV curtain, paid my $4.99 and popped in a $3 LED mr-16 replacement, giving me a very simple and durable Work/Desk/Nightstand light that brought the 20 watts down to about 2, and should last a long, long time!

Here are two of them that have already been in service for several months.

An extra boon is that I can install a little DC jack into these housings, wired to bypass the AC transformer and go straight to the light and switch, and let them be available as DC, Solar, Car, Emergency, Camping etc light sources. So far, I have converted about 6 or 8 of these, and keep checking the goodwill stores for such valuable cast-offs.

Well done, Bob !


Hey Bob,

I guess TODers think alike >;-)

Here's a halogen desklight I rewired well over a year ago and it has been in service ever since.
I happened to have that LED bulb just sitting around, I guess I could put in another one and make it look a little more aesthetically pleasing but it does the job for now...


SunElec is selling DC medium base LED bulbs (E26 base?) for $7.00. No specs except that they are bright white (4500K). I'm putting in an order for panels this week and will ask for more specs; order a few if they'll work @24 volts. Scroll to the bottom: http://www.sunelec.com/


Home Depot (Edmonton, Canada) 3W LED MR 16 $19.99
Your $3 is a steal. Are there equivalent lights that I am missing


This is an LED similar to ones I've gotten recently.


It's not a high CRI lamp.. it's an ok warm-white, though, feeling much like your cheap vanilla old screw in incandescent or flashlight or car interior bulb. I've found them to be very servicable for task lighting, and haven't seen any degrade or burn out in three years or so yet.

Didn't we (the US) just have one of those, as in, the Tea Party Revolt? Trouble is, revolutions have a way of turning out different than the folks who started it expected. Besides, what sort of "resistance" could the scientists provide that might actually have an effect on the rest of humanity? That Tea Party thing was probably inspired by "resistance" to the average man's activities by well meaning environmentalist, as in, the EPA. Wouldn't more such Nanny State activities simply inflame the knuckle draggers and Fundi's even madder and more determined to carry out their own version of a revolt and they tend to equate Freedom and Liberty with gun ownership. Heck, we can't even convince Rockman to quit drilling for oil, even though he claims to be painfully disabled...

E. Swanson

Wouldn't more such Nanny State activities simply inflame the knuckle draggers and Fundi's even madder

Doesn't "Nanny State" panopticon upset whatever the opposite of your 2 cited classes?

version of a revolt and they tend to equate Freedom and Liberty with gun ownership.

Anyone who thinks that they have any kind of chance at an 'armed revolt' VS APCs and .50 cal sniper rifles is not understanding the reality of the willingness of the State to use force nor does not understand how big a hole a .50 cal can put downrange.

Or just look at Syria or Libya when Qaddafi was trying to hold on. Tanks, artillery and jet bombers. These do much more damage than 70year old 50cals. Once they decide that everyone in a neighborhood that supports the rebels, is a rebel, then the rules of engagement are changed, and the big stuff becomes permissible.

"Or just look at Syria or Libya when Qaddafi was trying to hold on. Tanks, artillery and jet bombers. These do much more damage than 70year old 50cals. Once they decide that everyone in a neighborhood that supports the rebels, is a rebel, then the rules of engagement are changed, and the big stuff becomes permissible."

And yet in the end, Qaddafi was killed and his regime overturned. Assad is losing ground steadily. And the US and Soviet Union were defeated in all but name in Afghanistan. If the revolt is widespread enough an advantage in weapons is not enough.

Yeah but that would not have happened without Tomahawk cruise missles, HARMs, Mirage jet sorties, Harrier sorties,etc. NATO air-power trumps tanks & artillery.

"And the US and Soviet Union were defeated in all but name in Afghanistan."

Just keeping it real, but this is a result of playing by the rules of modern "nice" warfare, where you actually leave people alive. In olden times an army would just kill every living thing (that they didn't want as a war prize) and there would be no one left to cause trouble.

and there would be no one left to cause trouble.

And then salt the earth and poison the wells in case any they missed try to rebuild!

By the time the good guys win, the country is destroyed, and they are no longer good guys. In Libya they had help from the sky, so the destruction and slide down the slippery slope to bad-guy status didn't go too far. Don't think Syria will turn out so neatly.

You think Libya turned out neatly?

No he don't. And that is his very point. Syria will be worse.

Not neatly. But mostly for the better (for the citizens). They still have to fully reestablish order. Give them a few years, then we can evaluate how well they are doing. Any of these Arab spring changes are going to be messy. They all have a potent mix of religious fundamentalists versus modernizers. We have something similar in the US, but the fundies aren't quite as crazy or as popular.

From what I've read things are far from better for the citizens, most of whom were doing quite well relative to most of the region prior to the conflict. In what ways to you think their lives have been improved?

Less fear of government action.

And more fear of everything else.

BD -

... what sort of "resistance" could the scientists provide that might actually have an effect on the rest of humanity?

I was thinking something more like this. It all comes down to leverage.

Or maybe the tea party and fundis anger meters are already pegged to the max? In which case running up the score can't make it any worse. Conservative talk radio has been doing its best for decades to bring it to a boil. Maybe all the liquid has boiled off already?

The Earth is never F**cked. The Earth is just a big rock with a thin veneer of water, atmosphere, and life on it. We could set off every nuclear weapon we have, pour every toxic chemical into nature, and spew as much pollution as we want into the atmosphere and the Earth would do just fine. In a few ten thousand years, you'd never even know anyone did those things.

It is human race that is f**cked. That is what environmentalists should be pointing out. They are not going to get people to care about a rock. But with a lot of work and a little luck they just might be able to get people to care about their children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, and so on.

they just might be able to get people to care about their children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, and so on.

You'd think. But I'm skeptical. I'm childless, and have always lived pretty frugally. Always conscious of the impact my energy use is having both now (killing fish and birds, making babies sick) and in the future (killing more of everything). Have had discussions with others regarding why parents seem less concerned with same. Best I've gotten is that they're overwhelmed with the short-term need to do as much as they can to help their kids get the best education so they can go out into the world and be successful. But what if the world they're going out into is so poisoned, altered and degraded that starvation and resource wars are rampant?

(Actually, would love to hear Greenish's take on this...)

I cared so much about grandchildren that I encouraged my daughter not to have any. I think that was the most human act she could engage in. She, of course, ignored me.

At the family level, you still are maximizing your own kids chances by doing all that BAU stuff. With several billion people, only about one part in a billion of the harm you do will blow back onto your own kids -the rest goes to everyone else's kids. So in a selfish sort of way, they are being totally rational. Same thing at the individual country level wrt. to global agreements on climate change, "let the other suckers make the sacrifices", for us its full-speed ahead -because I'm just lookin out for ol number one!

Yeah, exactly. That's why it's clear to me that we're f&#(%d. Everyone's billionth of blowback is going to collectively blow us all away, 'cause next to none of us could resist the glittery package that holds naught but a lump of coal - the biggest ever, in fact.

Actually, would love to hear Greenish's take on this...)(Actually, would love to hear Greenish's take on this...)

careful what you wish for, I'm a bit off my feed this week.

It is human race that is f**cked. That is what environmentalists should be pointing out.

From the post above... I'll note that the f**d-ness of the human race is minimal compared to the other species which have been, and are being, pushed out of existence before us. Just to pick a random species, bowhead whales, which the USA supports the killing of despite their being endangered, and who will likely be wiped out by the loss of ice combined with oil spills and dissolution of food chains which involved calcareous-skeletoned organisms, with a little nudge from Japan's tight integration between the luxury market and Yakuza control of the waterfronts. They have brains larger than ours, have had them longer, visualize their weightless world acoustically, and can live 300 years or so. What sort of culture might die with them? What do they perceive that we might not? 99.9% of what we know about them is from chopping them up for dogfood. Those ancient minds can't actually be thinking, can they.... if they could, they'd be building skyscrapers and dominating us, so I've heard it argued.

Let us not consider the plague species to be the unlucky one. There are so many humans that likely some will survive if any large mammals do. Perhaps long enough to evolve back into small insectivores, should be a niche there by then.

But yes, in addition to giving a wedgie to anyone who calls them that much-lampooned e-word, environmentalists should indeed be pointing out that the human race faces existential risks... eventually, which are being set in cement...now. Because telling people things is what environmentalists do. Right?

Best I've gotten is that they're overwhelmed with the short-term need to do as much as they can to help their kids get the best education so they can go out into the world and be successful. But what if the world they're going out into is so poisoned, altered and degraded that starvation and resource wars are rampant?

It's simple dissonance, mostly. They want to have kids, so they have to hew to a narrative in which that's a good and noble endeavor. And once they DO have them, that locks it in. I had a very good former friend send letters to all her acquaintances to see which ones thought AGW might be true, once she had a child. She was upfront that anyone who did would no longer be her friend. I replied and have never heard from her, we had been quite close before. She is a scientist with IQ >140. I found it chilling.

That's one reason "peak oil" won't be widely believed, or the obvious fact that the green revolution has created a perfect storm of overshoot. It would mean that too many of us would have to become other than what we are. We'd have to acknowledge the "child abuse" aspects of bringing more contestants to the big game of musical chairs to be played out this century. Instant cognitive overload.

I do encourage younger folks not to have kids, and if they have them, to not have more. Another good way to lose friends.

and so it goes.

(Edit: deleted some dark paragraphs)

I agree with your analysis and I also have two kids from before I understood our present situation (or allowed myself to understand it anyway). It's quite the conflict, as I refuse to close my eyes. In addition, I have all the typical social ties to people who do not necessarily agree with my views so my ability to reduce impacts is limited. I try to teach them how things are, in a way that does not crush them completely, but I have to fulfill certain obligations to them and others. And thus understanding the situation is simply not enough - despite my present understanding and refusal to look away, I am part of the problem and part of the great social inertia that will keep us headed full speed over the cliff. Locked in, as you put it.

I had a very good former friend send letters to all her acquaintances to see which ones thought AGW might be true, once she had a child. She was upfront that anyone who did would no longer be her friend.....She is a scientist with IQ >140.

Sad to say, there are many intelligent people with advanced degrees who think that they can understand AGW just because they have that advanced degree. Perhaps they have forgotten how difficult it was to get that PhD. The effort required to truly master any field requires ignoring other fields of study to the point that the PhD holder has little more knowledge than the average TV addict on other subjects. And, the anti-AGW effort is directed squarely at the average person. But, your friend might have changed her mind recently, after the big drought this year and Sandy's dose of reality...

E. Swanson

As I read Greenish's comment, it's not that she felt she understood AGW, it's that she made the psychological choice to willfully ignore its existence - like a child putting fingers in ears and singing "la-la-la-la, I can't hear you!" That the human psyche can do that to itself, especially an intelligent one, is what makes it so chilling.

like a child putting fingers in ears and singing "la-la-la-la, I can't hear you!

Even worse, she also made a conscious decision to unfriend anyone who disagreed with her even if their disagreement was based on solid science. To me the chilling part is all of the things that others have pointed out but more so because if she is a scientist then she should understand how science, which is ultimately based on the scientific method, works.

Denial and cognitive dissonance at their worst!

I agree clifman and I'd connect the environment to national debt issues that we have today in many countries.

Ask yourself this, have people and business groups in western countries asked for more government funds even though everyone understands that we are broke, or do they say "well I better care about my children, grand-children, great-grandchildren more than I care about myself"? I think we know the answer to that.

Now if people that understand that you can't spend more than you take in, take a basic concept like balancing the countries checkbook and then find a way to overlook it because of todays needs, then how in the heck will they comprehend and care about the science behind saving the Earth for humans?

Well . . . there are people that just don't view the National debt as an issue at all. The Modern Monetary Theorists (MMT) people think there is just no issue with the government spending more than it taxes as long as it is done within reason. And many of them feel that we should be spending a lot more right now as stimulus to get the economy moving. Personally, I'm not a backer of the theory but there are many people that subscribe to it.

Well there's a bunch of folks that don't believe in climate change either.

I think the part of MMT and especially Keynesian theory that states that you should run deficits in order to create stimulus has been bastardized by politicians to cover up their lack of fiscal discipline. Our politicians today that demand stimulus during bad times were that same ones that run deficits during good times too. Kenyesian's call for the government to run a nice surplus during good economic times. You can't have cafateria style pick and choose to the theories of JM Keynes, it all goes together. I don't even agree with Keynes and I give him credit that his theories were hijacked. Did Keynes realize that we don't have the discipline to follow through?


Now that you put it that way, it somehow makes me feel better. The human race is either getting what it deserves or the human race has embarked on an inevitable evolutionary path that has lead to the phenomenon of f**king itself. I would weep for the next generation but the next generation in my family doesn't seem to give a rat's ass about its own future which it will experience or not experience if it experiences an early death.

No, I don't think people really care about their descendants. So far, there is very little evidence of such. Lots of lip service but no real caring.

Actually, the nuclear weapon thing might be the best approach at this time for saving a little scrap of humanity. Not that I am sure anymore that humanity is worth saving. Humanity was an experiment gone wrong.

Other species are dying every day. Humanity needs to get over itself.

"But with a lot of work and a little luck they just might be able to get people to care about their children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, and so on."

Nah, self-justification will take care of that. Not a moment's guilt.

Sorry mate, I've had too many parents tell me that they don't care and the children can look after themselves.


Thought to post this here concerning your link to the Chinese desertification link, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/12/2012126123056457256.html, several days ago that now seems stale.

The story itself is getting wider traction, an expanded story appearing last month in a nursery trade pub., http://www.lawyernursery.com/newspaper_articles_2012.asp, click Green Walls, pdf warning.

As noted on this site in many instances, much of impacts of the US 1930's drought was due to plowing the plains in the decades before. Part of our response was the development of conservation shelterbelts. They were very effective, unfortunately as the article notes, expanded farm size and incipient technology have cut many down.

Another point of note is that the Senegal program underway stresses windbreak species not only tolerant of the conditions, but that provide other products(fruit, gum) so people won't want to cut them down.

As noted on this site in many instances, much of impacts of the US 1930's drought was due to plowing the plains in the decades before.

And how much would be a desert now if not for the "ancient" underground water now being pumped aboveground?

How big a part of the post dustbowl soil stabilization was due to the groundwater use? Thats going o be dramatically curtailed before much longer. We foolishly think we are so much smarter than them.

I would say that comes in behind:
1. Better plowing practices.
2. Areas returned to natural grasses.
3. Planting of trees.

I see it as a doubled edged sword. Groundwater use today is the incipient tech I referred to. Which are large center pivot operations to achieve economy of scale and justify their purchase. But they and tractor/implement size require removing the old shelterbelts.

I'm a big fan of shelterbelts. Many were also torn down because they were "unsightly". In northern low ppt areas, Siberian pea shrub and Russian olive are good choices, the latter may become trashy to some. A little maintenance goes a long way. An unsung benefit is the snow drifts, moisture they catch. Which others argue bring the forbs which hold the mice which attract the rattlers. Yeah, but the rattlers do a number on the gophers.

Russian olive is considered an invasive and noxious species in the western US because it chokes out the native cottonwoods, willows, and other species. It provides very poor habitat to birds and other animals, the thorns are a big problem to people trying to walk through it, and is nearly impossible to eradicate once it gets established. I know because I have talked to people who were trying to eradicate it.

Siberian pea shrub a.k.a. Caragana is less invasive but it still can become a problem. Birds like it, and the peas are edible if you feel an urge to munch on them. It is okay as part of a multi-row shelter belt, but still there are better trees for shelter belts in many places.

I would recommend people be more selective about what they plant.

"Russian olive is considered an invasive and noxious species in the western US because it chokes out the native cottonwoods, willows, and other species. It provides very poor habitat to birds and other animals, the thorns are a big problem to people trying to walk through it, and is nearly impossible to eradicate once it gets established. I know because I have talked to people who were trying to eradicate it."

I live in the western US, have quite a few Russian Olives on my property. I've climbed up in them to trim branches and didn't notice any thorns. Birds flock to them by the dozens in the fall to eat the olives - Robbins, Flickers...They grow where cottonwoods and willows will not. Can thrive in quite dry soil, very well adapted to the arid conditions of the west. They may be a problem to some, but where I am they are one of the few trees that can survive.

My observations also, esp their relative vigor in arid or partly alkaline sites. The cover they give for large and small animals is often nonexistent otherwise. Cottonwood and willow are moisture loving, seeking subsurface water. The lone cottonwood on the plain is solitary for a reason, it's taken all the local moisture.

Russian Olive fact sheet

Issue: Because of the concern regarding the spread of Russian olive along Montana’s river systems, particularly in eastern Montana, as of September 10, 2010, Russian olive can no longer be sold in the state. This prohibition was adopted by the Montana Dept. of Agriculture, based on a petition by Montana Audubon and the Montana Native Plant Society. This ban was instituted because local Conservation Districts, federal agencies, and others are spending time and money to control this invasive species.

War with the Russian Olive

“Eradicating Russian Olive from the Escalante River canyons is going to be a huge job and is going to take several years. It will not be easy, and constant follow up will be required to maintain control of it. However, it can be done, and the consequence of not doing it is to allow the Escalante and its side canyons to become a nearly continuous monoculture of Russian Olive from one end to the other, with nearly all the native vegetation replaced by the invader.”

I was interested in the latter because I have hiked the Escalante Canyon of Utah, and yes, Russian Olive is choking out all the native species of this sensitive ecosystem. Russian Olive is not a problem everywhere, particularly not in the Eastern states, but where it is a problem it can be a big, big problem.

The War On Humans: Was a long war, and many viruses and other friendlies died in the fight. But finally one day they were all gone, and many of our brothers and sisters died along with them. But finaly the Universe was free of them.

One day Might that be a headline in some other language's Blog post on the Virus News Network?

Sorry, bad humor.

I wonder if Russian Olive is being confused and lumped in with Tamarisk. Maybe locals interchange the names?


In northern low ppt areas. Try establishing willow or cottonwood. I know because I've tried.


One of the children of the various forms of dualism.

Who are these people who think we can destroy ("F**k") the Earth and still keep watching The Simpsons on channel 5?

We are the Earth.

We are doing these things to ourselves.

D - We are the Earth?

I think that may be an example of hubris

No. I think we are a cancerous scab on the planet; or maybe, as Agent Smith pointed out ...

... I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

"I think we are a cancerous scab on the planet"

I think that may be an example of pointless Internet talk.

Why live then?
Why not take this to its only obvious logical consequence, suicide?
Why even bother talking about energy-related issues? Anyway, we are just piles of manure that deserve to be erased from the surface of the Earth.

Self-loathing is probably the most hideous an useless excrescence of modern environmentalism.

I don't think any rapidly reproducing cell is self-loathing. I should guess they are happy, excited, fully realized, utterly oblivious, and quite fulfilled. Enviable, really. That the party should end must come as a bewildering surprise to them and to every other cell type hosted.

A human is just an egg's way of making another egg. Eggs are single cells. Are human goals different?

The biggest single cell is the ostrich egg.

Your point being that Seraph is not human? (insert proper smiley here)

Your point being that Seraph is not human?

Human, yeast, virus, Trilobite, T Rex, Dodo bird, what's the difference when looking at the big picture?
Humans like all living organisms are simply a product of evolution, if our existence changes the environment in such a way as to make it impossible for our continued survival then we like so many other organisms before us will simply go extinct.

Humans are neither good nor bad for the planet, they just are. There are moments when I allow myself to think that we may be able to use our many formidable talents and survival skills to steer things toward an outcome that delays the inevitable for a long long time to come. While at the same time hopefully leaving some living space for the millions of species that are currently sharing our planet and this particular epoch with us.

Having said that, I'm a realist and the data that has been pouring in for the last couple of decades doesn't leave a lot of room for optimism.

Best hopes for not a lot of suffering in the coming years.

"Humans are neither good nor bad for the planet, they just are"


For once, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you.
There is no point in wailing about what we are and what we do. We are humans. We have to accept it and play the hand we've been dealt.

Humans like all living organisms are simply a product of evolution, if our existence changes the environment in such a way as to make it impossible for our continued survival then we like so many other organisms before us will simply go extinct.

No arguing with that.

We're certainly a result of hominid evolution. I idly wonder, though, whether "we" are those organisms or whether they're our substrate.

That is, to the extent the activity of mind can become self-analytical and hijack the organism, it may be a dysfunction which has emerged rather than evolved per se; like monkeys growing arms long enough to masturbate with. I'm not trying to go all teleological on you... of course evolution has no intended goal. However, I wonder if there's a useful distinction to be made between phenotypic changes which evolved due to direct evolutionary pressure, like a giraffe's neck getting longer, and monkey masturbation, which just happened when various evolutionary answers led to emergent results which are not adaptive.

So are "we" hominids, or are we a sort of recursive memetic parasite which can exist in a certain configuration of a hominid brain which came into that physical and electrochemical configuration for unrelated adaptive evolutionary reasons? The organism has certainly evolved many ways to subdue such an infection. Competing viral memetics like religion are the preferred innoculating symbiotes, passed on shortly after birth like colostrum, as the mind begins to form. The memetic apoptosis of ubiquitous fallacy and selective blindness. Self-medication and willing delusionality.

Just rambling, for one reason and another I only got about an hour's sleep & am dawdling over decaf this morning.

But maybe the occasional hijacking of the organism by a non-evolved self-organizing information pattern can create a virtual critter which is outside evolution in the same way monkey masturbation is. Once it exists, it becomes part of the reality that evolution deals with, but it may not be "evolved" per se.


So are "we" hominids, or are we a sort of recursive memetic parasite which can exist in a certain configuration of a hominid brain which came into that physical and electrochemical configuration for unrelated adaptive evolutionary reasons?

LOL! Good question! Gotta admit that you, at least gave the currently dominant parasitic meme complexes that had to co-evolve to be the 'I' presently commanding my particular hominid brain substrate, at least a moment's pause to consider that.

But even 'I' wasn't quite prepared to encounter this defense mechanism in the survival toolkit of some other quickly evolving meme complexes.

Check this out:

The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as being potentially offensive or inappropriate. Viewer discretion is advised.

The Evolution of Memes

Can someone out there tell me why this might be considered offensive and by whom?
Perhaps they own cats?

In case anyone is wondering how all this relates to energy and oil, humans infected with toxoplasmosis are known to become more aggressive drivers. My guess is they therefore waste more fuel >;-)

On my browser, your "evolution of memes" link gives me two choices: I can hit continue and nothing happens, or Cancel and it does. Is this a subtle form of performance art by someone, I wonder? Evolving the meme of youtube being opposed to meme evolution? Or maybe the YT user base just has a disproportionate number of knuckleheads voting. (or even scarier, proportionate).

I've always liked toxoplasmosis as a good mental-box-cutter, both as an organism and an example.

The genes are doing what genes do, but in the rat-cat-protozoan system the genes which control things don't necessarily reside inside the genome of the critter being controlled. This may say more about our preconceptions of mental volition and even central nervous systems than it says about genetics.

I seem to have caught the germ that makes me give a sh*t about the earth and the future of earthlife. Wish it was more contagious. Do I owe part of my audacity in campaigning to a protozoan? If so, a big round of applause to all, Ladies & Germs, and I hope you've enjoyed the show.

On my browser, your "evolution of memes" link gives me two choices: I can hit continue and nothing happens, or Cancel and it does. Is this a subtle form of performance art by someone, I wonder?

Interesting! I just followed the link and confirm your experience, whereas before, clicking 'continue' actually played the YouTube video. To be very clear there was nothing there that could possibly have been construed as even remotely offensive to anyone. maybe you are right and it is some kind of performance art... Go figure.

Edit: I just typed 'Evolution of Memes' into the YouTube search engine and was able to play it by clicking the 'continue' button. Still a little strange given the topic.

2nd Edit: I just watched it again and realized that there is a graphic containing the F word, a Swastika and the mention of the word penis... Ok, that explains the offensive warning.


According to one theory, certain memories are consolidated during REM sleep. Numerous studies have suggested that REM sleep is important for consolidation of procedural memory and spatial memory.

There's also a line on unlearning in it.

Mitchison and Crick have proposed that by virtue of its inherent spontaneous activity, the function of REM sleep "is to remove certain undesirable modes of interaction in networks of cells in the cerebral cortex", which process they characterize as "unlearning". As a result, those memories which are relevant (whose underlying neuronal substrate is strong enough to withstand such spontaneous, chaotic activation), are further strengthened, whilst weaker, transient, "noise" memory traces disintegrate.



I meant we are bound to the Earth. For sustenance, for our very breath, for our ability to live.

Thus, we are the Earth we are killing.

You should see yourself when you look into the mirror of the Earth, because as goes the Earth goes humanity.

We are the Earth.

No. We are couch potatoes cocooned in our living rooms. Occasionally we venture out cocooned in our vehicles and go to our office cocoon. We never interact with the actual planet.

enemy of state,

You "we" are quite strange.

When the other "we" breathe and exhale, drink water, eat food, we are interacting with the Earth. Same as when we destroy it.

My point is with our modern cocoons, we are living in a mental bubble. We don't see ourselves as part of the biosphere.

I like to put it thusly - We are a part of the Earth, rather than apart from it. The latter, of course, being how this culture views itself. ('This Culture' being global industrial civilization.)

Wind, Solar Power Paired With Storage Could be Cost-Effective Way to Power Grid

A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.

The authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands. The model incorporated data from within a large regional grid called PJM Interconnection, which includes 13 states from New Jersey to Illinois and represents one-fifth of the United States' total electric grid.

Unlike other studies, the model focused on minimizing costs instead of the traditional approach of matching generation to electricity use. The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours—in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours—would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.

One of several new findings is that a very large electric system can be run almost entirely on renewable energy.

"For example, using hydrogen for storage, we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW, 99.9 percent of the time, using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind," said co-author Cory Budischak, instructor in the Energy Management Department at Delaware Technical Community College and former UD student.

A GW ("gigawatt") is a measure of electricity generation capability. One GW is the capacity of 200 large [5 MW] wind turbines or of 250,000 rooftop [4KW] solar systems.

More info: Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time

... add geothermal, solar thermal, micro-hydro, and tidal and you could be sitting pretty.

28 billion combinations!? I should think that would cover it...

And this is very interesting:

a very large electric system can be run almost entirely on renewable energy.

as usually one hears how beyond 20% (or some figure thereabouts) penetration, renewables really become a challenge to balance.

researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours—in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours—would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.

Yep. Storage continues to be a weak link such that it is cheaper to over-build than to try to do huge storage systems. But some storage is probably necessary for the times with very bad production and for frequency regulation.

Hopefully there will be a storage break-through eventually . . . but that is no reason not to deploy lots of renewable generation systems now.

"researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours—in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours—would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand."

PV lends itself well to this arrangement at the household level, as a charge controller can just shut off the solar panels when storage is full. I guess wind can be managed that way as well. My off-grid homestead has been entirely powered by PV and wind, for almost 11 years with no gas generator or other backup. Today, one of the shortest days of the year but cold & mostly sunny but windless, the batteries filled before noon. If my demand had been greater, the PV array could have produced maybe 40-60% more power than it did. One of the keys is to be able to adjust demand to available supply and plan ahead. This runs opposite to the American paradigm of adjusting supply to meet demand. Example: do laundry in mid-day, not at night, etc. Fewer than 10 days out of 3-4,000 days here have I been unable to fully meet electrical essential needs, like lighting, water pumping, refrigeration. Nothing special about my situation, the power system cost around $10,000, hardly a dent in the construction of a new home (620 watts PV, 400 watts wind, 8 trojan L-16 lead-acid batteries + inverter, controller, etc). No reason why virtually all of the home-owning members on Oildrum can't do the same, adjusted to their own scale.

One word comes to mind. Much over-applied these days, so I avoid using it, but...


Every time I consider adding a small wind turbine to complement my PV system, it fails the cost-benefit analysis. Adding more PV panels is the best option.

Well, dune, you are way ahead of me, and I was patting myself on the back pretty awful recently - until my wife, who likes adding up long boring lists of numbers and is treasurer of 3 pretty good sized women's groups, had 3 pretty good sized meetings here during which all the lights, all the microwave, water pumps and all the rest were running all the time.

I stayed safely out of the way in the workshop trying to think noble thoughts while watching the wattmeter soar to olympian heights.

Worse, the stirling generator was in the ICU yet again recovering from parental negligence.

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, etc.- sometimes.

Very interesting write-up. You must use exceptionally little electricity, if 620 Wpv and 400Wwind can keep your household running. How do you generate how water?

We have solar hot water boiler which rarely gets over 45 degrees C these days and it has the handicap of being stored in the attic far away from the kitchen. It takes a long time for hot water from the attic to reach the kitchen, so to save water we have a 10L electric hot water boiler in the kitchen but it consumes about a quarter of our total electricity usage (5 kW/day on average). I would love to improve this, but don't know how. Any pointers would be welcome.

Styno: "How do you generate how water?"

I presume you meant HOT water from your text. I have a thermo-siphon, a copper coil inside the woodstove chimney, plumbed to an old galvanized, uninsulated water heater tank mounted next to the stove. It's plumbed into the house water system, so is pressurized. During winter, the heat put off from the hot water tank heats the house overnight, eliminating the need to bank the fire. In the morning of course I build another fire, so there's plenty of fresh hot water within an hour of getting up. In the summer I switch to a solar water heater on the roof, which is drained in the fall. Can't help you with the water waste, as I just let it run until it's warm at the nozzle, the "wasted" water goes out to the gray water system to feed the plants.

I do all the same, works fine. But my solar is just a rubber mat with tubes lying on the ground by the house. Bubble wrap all around gets walked on every now and then but little harm.

Thanks. I now have a better idea of how you keep your electricity usage so low. As it happens I'm already looking for an efficient wood stove, but are afraid that a large water tank in the living room won't suit the missis.

My HWC broke and I never fixed it. I supply all my hot water needs from a 1.7 L electric kettle. That's bathing, shaving, laundry, washing dishes, cooking, and endless cups of tea during the day.

It helps that I'm a bachelor. I can't imagine a woman pouring two kettles of hot water into a bucket and washing herself. Or one kettle of hot water and detergent into a bucket and hand washing the week's laundry. But I've been doing it for more than five years now and I'm clean and don't smell (most of the time).

My mom did, when we lived off the grid in the jungles of South America. With two small kids, no less.

She wasn't all that happy about it, but no divorce ensued.

Can you describe what you mean by 'solar hot water boiler'? Also some info on where you are, and how your house is heated, designed, etc may help us come up with ideas for you...

It's a combination of a large (2 m^2) insulated flat box with a glass pane on top that lies on our roof soaking up solar energy. The heat from the box is transferred with insulated copper tubing to an insulated 90L hot water tank. Water is pumped from the hot water tank through the box on the roof when the box is warmer then the tank.

When we need hot water (for showering, washing clothes, kitchen) the pre-heated water from the tank is fed through a central heating system that works on natgas to bring the temperature up to 60 degrees C (to kill any Legionella bacteria) and then to the end-user.

Pretty much like this.

The hot water tank is placed near the central heating system on the attic and from there it's about 14 meters to the kitchen (two stories plus some horizontal distance). Even using the smallest diameter tubes it requires several litres before the hot water arrives at the tap. Because of this wasteful use of very good drinking water (and for convenience) a close-in boiler is placed in the kitchen cupboard. It saves water but is wasting electricity, so this situation's a bit of a dilemma for me.

A standard solution to the long hot water pipe problem is a very small circulating pump that pushes hot water from the storage tank to the remote faucet and back so there is always hot water in the faucet. Mine takes 20 watts, and this is a lot more than actually needed. I leave it off most of the time.

Of course it needs another return pipe.

Use the cold water line for the return. Grundfos and others make a thermostaticly controlled pump that works this way; it goes between the hot and cold lines at the point of use. Use a timer or a switched outlet for TOU control.

Written by Styno:
We have solar hot water boiler which rarely gets over 45 degrees C these days

I have tried two ways to improve the performance of my solar hot water panel during Autumn and Winter. The first was to put it on a mount that I can tilt manually in altitude which did not work well. The second was to make a reflector by covering a 2 feet x 4 feet piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and aluminum tape. The reflector makes the solar hot water panel work just as well as in June.

Inventive solution, but I see four problems for my application:
- The boiler does not get warm because the skies are mostly heavily overcast. A reflector works only for direct sunlight.
- With out very wet climate (Netherlands) a reflector has to be weatherproof.
- It's often quite stormy here, everything on the roof needs to be very sturdy.
- I live in a village and the solar collector faces public space, I don't think my neighbors would like glittering reflecting surfaces much.

I think performance could be also improved by using a vacuum tube collector instead of the plate-collector. Blackbody radiation losses for vacuum tubes is much lower.

But my main problem is working around the need for a close-in boiler in the kitchen...

Dumb PV question. I'd like to set up an off-grid small PV system for emergency power in Saskatchewan, Canada. I've heard that the battery banks have to be in a well-ventilated area (ie a shed outside) because of vapors. So presumably I can't keep them in the basement where we live in winter. What do I do here where it's 30 below? Do I have to heat a battery shed? I'm not sure this is an energy winner in this case. Are there (more expensive) sealed batteries I can use in the basement? I figure I have several more years of insulating and replacing energy guzzling appliances before I get very serious so I'm just accumulating information about PV from those who live with it meanwhile.


If you use conventional flooded lead-acid batteries then yes, they have to be vented for mostly hydrogen gas. But batteries have much greater capacity if they're warmer, of course, so the cellar would be more practical than outside & needing to be heated. Solutions: either build a sealed battery box, vent it to the outside with a 2" conduit; or use sealed, gel-type batteries, needing no venting or maintenance (adding of distilled water), as do the lead-acids. Downside of the gels is that they cost more, don't last as long. If you're building a small system, the amount of off-gassing is small, but should be dealt with. My batteries are in the front room, the whole system is right there, makes a nice conversation piece: "what's THAT noise? ...

Dune, Please stop calling AGM batteries "Gel Batteries". Just a little pet peeve of mine.

Turnbull, I'm pretty ignorant on the topic of fancy batteries. Maybe you could help us out here with an explanation--thanks!

Lead acid batteries sure aren't the cutting edge of fancy batteries.

From Wikipedia:

A gel cell has the electrolyte mixed with silica dust to form an immobilized gel.

Gell Cells came out in the 70's and never really worked good because the electrolyte dried out quickly. I don't think any manufacturer is still making them. They dry out quickly because they cannot utilize recombinant technology. (Wikipedia is a little confusing on that matter.)


An absorbed glass mat battery has the electrolyte absorbed in a fiber-glass mat separator.

AGM and maintenance free batteries use calcium to recombine the oxygen and hydrogen to water, and return it to the cell. Adding a pressure relief valve (VRLA) to maintain 2PSI enhances the process.

Sealed AGM batteries like these will be fine in your basement. Cost more than regular lead acid but are used widely in RE applications and don't need watering.

AGM batteries are seeing more and more use in solar electric systems as their price comes down and as more systems are getting installed that need to be maintenance free. This makes them ideally suited for use in grid-tied solar systems with battery back-up. Because they are completely sealed they can't be spilled, do not need periodic watering, and emit no corrosive fumes, the electrolyte will not stratify and no equalization charging is required.

More Info on Batteries: Sealed Agm
AGM's are also well suited to systems that get infrequent use as they typically have less than a 2% self discharge rate during transport and storage. They can also be transported easily and safely by air. Last, but not least, they can be mounted on their side or end and are extremely vibration resistant. AGM's come in most popular battery sizes and are even available in large 2 volt cells for the ultimate in low maintenance large system storage.

When first introduced, because of their high cost, AGM's were mostly used in commercial installations where maintenance was impossible or more expensive than the price of the batteries. Now that the cost is coming down they are seeing use in all types of solar systems as some of today's owners think the advantages outweigh the price difference and maintenance requirements of flooded lead acid batteries.

Regular lead acid batteries can be put in a cabinet and vented :


Most good charge controllers have a fan control relay, controlled by a voltage setpoint.

Regular lead acid batteries can be put in a cabinet and vented :

This is probably a good rule of thumb if for some reason you must use regular lead acid batteries:

Adequate ventilation must be provided, so as to prevent hydrogen gas
from exceeding a 2% concentration as shown in IEEE 484-1987.
Hydrogen accumulation must be limited to less than 2% of the total
volume of the battery area.
Ventilation must be adequate to ensure that pockets of trapped
hydrogen gas do not develop, particularly at the ceiling.
See Appendix for additional information.

I've kept small battery banks of up to 4 12V batteries indoors in a screened off enclosure in the corner of a well ventilated room. The dimensions of the room in question was roughly 8.5' X 12' X 25'for a volume of about 2500 cu ft. Haven't gone boom yet >;-)

Thank you, that's what I need, the sealed gels. The cost is worth it for emergency power: medicine in fridge problem.
Also no maintainance good for very unhandy spousal unit.

I am not allowed by spousal unit to start tinkering with PV until I finish the basement floor and wood stove projects off. ;^)

As Turnbull mentioned, above, Gel cells and AGM are quite different. Gel cells are filled with a viscous gel, and AGM (absorbent glass matt) are filled with liquid electrolyte-infused glass fiber. I read somewhere that they were originally developed for aircraft so they won't spill when turned upside-down.

Gel cells are usually found in smaller, lower amperage uses such as UPSs, solar-electric fence chargers, telecom equipment, etc. They prefer a slower charge/discharge rate than AGMs, and generally cost a bit more. Good inverter/chargers have settings for various types of batteries.

I see Alt-e does sell Gel-Cells.

Gelled lead acid batteries actually predated the AGM type but are losing market share to the AGM's.
If charged at too high a rate, gas pockets form on the plates and force the gelled electrolyte away from the plates, decreasing the capacity until the gas finds its way to the top of the battery and is recombined with the electrolyte.

Thixotropic gel looks like the way they make recombining work.

You can't cover the longer periods of variation with storage. Sure day/night is kinds easy. But, winter/summer. Or wet year versus dry.

Yeah, it's difficult to get hot water storage to bridge a weeklong overcast sky, though I have fantasies about that.

My house has an empty space below ground floor (used for cabling, pipes etc.), about 1.5 meters high with a nice sandy bottom. I was thinking about making a large very insulated tank out of wood, pond-liner and XPS. Drop a few copper coils in there and soak up the sun as much as possible. Perhaps even using a phase change material to increase the energy capacity even more. But there's only so much energy that my 2 m^2 collector can soak up and the low max. temperature of the collector (because of the cold outside temperature and non-perfect insulation of the collector).

So in case the sun has no real power (winter) I was thinking about using the low temperature water from the collector to heat-up the concrete slab of the ground floor. For hot water I need 60 degrees C but under-floor heating works pretty well with ~30 degrees C.

But both projects require a lot of plumbing in an already small house and a small collector so the heat gain is probably marginal in winter anyway (why go through the trouble?).


Good info.

In the "they said it couldn't be done" department there is also a report about extreme improvement in efficiency of solar panels.

The breakthrough was done by a group at Princeton: Princeton’s nanomesh nearly triples solar cell efficiency ...

It is all about trying the "yes we can" technique it would seem.

I'm not impressed.. no real analysis.. no anticipation for future plans..

Currently my Florida utility is tearing down it's old Bunker Oil/NG fueled(steam only) power plants, and rebuilding on the same site.. A modern NG/Diesel fuel powered combined cycle plant.

At least 30 to 50% more output for same BTU input, higher efficiency, reduced waste heat, less pollution, reduced cooling water needs.. win.. win.. win..

Best part, these new high efficiency GE turbine/steam plants can ramp power up very quickly. (peakers). Ready for a long term future of solar/wind/renewables, etc.

The state of California is already pushing their utilities to move in a similar direction.
If a nudge doesn't do it, (forced closure of 19 very old seaside plants), then maybe a swiff kick in the pants might be needed.

In any case, don't let that author fool you.. His mindset is stuck in the old milk every dollar possible out of the old fossil age infrastructure.

B.T.W. Any power type of utility scale upgrade is going to cost some serious money. A billion dollars for a 1.25GW CCPP is cheap when compared to upfront cost for nuclear(7-10B$). Throw in added savings for more electrical output for same fuel inputs and you've got another long term win. (net savings)..

Lots of fun permutations here. That turbine-steam could also accept sun along with NG so the same hardware runs day and night accepting any ratio of heat sources.

And, you could locate it in town to allow heliostats all over the bldgs to focus on the acceptor, as well as use the thermal discharge for whatever.

I am thinking the fossil fuel era is over, but those zombies are still walking since they haven't been properly shot yet.

The CCPP is a mixed blessing. Sure its better than what it replaces, and its rampability plays well with the early/mid part of a renewables buildup. But in say fifty years we need to get at least 90% off fossil fuels, and having those expensive dinosaurs around is going to make it awfully tempting to wait until the plants dies of old age. We are building our energy future fifty years from now right now.

These new CCPP can efficiently burn any combination of CH4 and H2 Gases.

It's just a matter of time before H2 pipelines are deployed in the ROW of major NG pipelines..
Couple that with new discoveries of efficient H2 production from renewable's, insures those new CCPP investments will continue to contribute to our energy mix far into the future.

GE built 2 new Type H peakers each 1 GW Riverside County, Ca.

Last I heard still working to meet AirQualControl limits. Maybe have finally met them but precious little news seems available.

GE been quiet maybe coincident with their nuclear investments and liabilities. The Type H turbine cogen could be on-the-shelf just in time for denoument of their too-cheap-to-meter games.

Nuc: all that plant on Ca coast just to spin a 30-foot rotor to get 1.2 GW with associated, unlimited hazards [re Fuku I, et al].

Field tests seek new control methods for resistant ragweed in cotton crops

Giant ragweed lives up to its name, towering over crops and choking out surrounding plant species. Just one ragweed plant per square meter has been shown to reduce crop yields 45 to 77 percent. Now giant ragweed has evolved resistance to the herbicide glyphosate, which had been effective at controlling the weed.

The journal Weed Technology reports results of a field test with giant ragweed and WideStrike®, a cotton variety resistant to glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides. Planting this new variety of cotton will allow farmers to treat ragweed without negatively affecting their crop yield.

Of 12 treatments tested, glufosinate alone, glufosinate plus glyphosate, glyphosate plus pyrithiobac, and glufosinate plus fluometuron were the most effective. The only one combination that showed 90 percent control of giant ragweed without reducing crop yield was glufosinate followed by another treatment of glufosinate. However, growers will need to use multiple methods of weed control in the future to prevent weeds from developing resistance to glufosinate as they have with other herbicides.


As Amazon Urbanizes, Rural Fires Burn Unchecked

Many Amazonians are moving out of the countryside, in search of economic opportunities in newly booming Amazonian cities. The resulting depopulation of rural areas, along with spreading road networks and increased drought, are causing more and bigger fires to ravage vast stretches, say researchers in a new study.

... with fewer people around to control fires, and flammable small trees and grasses quickly taking over uncultivated plots, more blazes are spreading out of control and burning off bigger areas—not only forests but farms, fruit plantations, homes and villages.

"Projected declines in rural population across Amazon countries and expansion of road infrastructure combined with more frequent droughts predicted by some global climate models presage greater damage from fires in the future,"

also Farmers, Flames and Climate: Are We Entering an Age of ‘Mega-Fires’?

At +4C won't the Amazon just be a big giant desert. Too hot for anything to grow. They are just speeding up the timetable.

"At +4C won't the Amazon just be a big giant desert. Too hot for anything to grow. "

"Our model results suggest that, beside the shift of boreal forests, the simulated dieback of the Amazon rainforest is one of the biggest vegetation responses to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, the few palaeobotanical data available for South America indicate that, during the Middle Pliocene, the decrease of rainforest cover in the Amazon basin was probably less severe than simulated by BIOME4"


Rainforest to savannah is more likely. Major change, but far from lifeless.

The planet has been here before, it's only new for humans.

New from CRS ...

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress

The use or loss of control of chemical weapons stocks in Syria could have unpredictable consequences for the Syrian population and neighboring countries as well as U.S. allies and forces in the region. Congress may wish to assess the Administration’s plans to respond to possible scenarios involving the use, change of hands, or loss of control of Syrian chemical weapons.

Fresh from the R-Cubed (reduce,reuse,recycle) department, and in light of all of the Sandy victims that couldn't charge their cell phones and droids (still can't figure that one out), more energy junk that can be re-tasked:

My wife bought me a cheap 7" Android tablet for Hanukkah (really an excuse to buy herself one) and I've spent the last few days rooting it (gaining super user status on my own device) while figuring out how to charge it without plugging in another wall wart, etc..


[Poodle paw print below tablet for scale ;-]

The two PV panels were rescued from someone else's trash, part of solar powered flood light kits that stopped working. They are about 4 watts each, 6 volts. I found the old DVD case (shown closed at the right of the picture) in the dump as well. I added a diode, voltage regulator chip, 4 NiMH AA batteries, and the female end of a USB extension cable. Voila`! A portable USB solar charger that has 2300 mAh of storage, will charge solar-direct at about 1200mA, and cost well under $20. Assembly time about 1 hour. Now, if the sun would shine so I can properly test it doing a full charge...

Everything but the batteries, diode and voltage chip (excepting tablet of course) came out of the county dump.

Ahhh... The dump! back in the 70's I'd frequent the dump in Tucson and find lots of treasures. Since then, everywhere I've lived has the dump owned by Waste Management and they don't let anybody in to look.

When I lived in central AZ and used a city dump, they wouldn't let you in to look, but if you were there dumping stuff, it was possible to grab something good if it was in reach, because there was little supervision - most of the employees were in the vehicle weighing area and would come out to the dumping area sporadically.

In the UK they send police helicopters to track you to your home.


I don't want to give the impression that I'm climbing around, digging through mounds of stinking foulness. The 'transfer station' has a large concrete platform where most stuff is dumped so the employees can check for recyclables and unacceptable items/materials before pushing stuff into the containers below. Once stuff gets into the containers or to the recycling section, it can't be taken. Folks often put stuff on the walls bounding the platform in the case someone can use it. People pay by the pound to dump stuff, and it's amazing how much recyclable stuff makes it to the platform, considering that it's free to recycle. Where I lived in WA, people got fined for including recyclables in their regular trash.

There's a lot of useful stuff I want in the recycling section but am forbidden to take (if I get caught). Quite frustrating. They had a 120 gallon solar hot water tank (with internal heat exchanger) that looked like new. I tried to get it, but no joy; the super was watching. I'm sure it was crushed and sent to China...

I figure reusing and re-tasking stuff will be an even more valuable skill going forward. "I've been doing so much with so little for so long, I'm now qualified to do anything with nothing" ;-)

At the dump in Prince George, BC, they actually have a small building where you can leave usable items. If you have a usable item that isn't allowed to be left in the building there is a good chance there will be someone there who will take it. It was really handy last summer when we were trying to cleanup my mother-inlaw's house in preparation for moving.

small building where you can leave usable items)

Colloquially known as "The Free Shed". All transfer stations/dumps should have 'em. 'Though one day the Ruinmen (see Greer's 'Star's Reach') or worse (see Kunstler's 'World Made by Hand') will reclaim what's still useful.

I thought all transfer stations/dumps had 'em. Heck, we have one in our tiny town of 1000 souls. We call it the "Mini Mall" - someone even made a nice sign for it. I have gotten some useful stuff there, and dropped off a lot too.

The nicest (and biggest, most organized) one I ever saw was at the "dump" in Wellesley, MA. They called it the "Put and Take". Some pretty nice merchandise - I was doing some surveying work down there and picked up some fine wooden cross-country skis and a good record turntable. They also had big outdoor bookshelves with covers sort of like garage doors they could pull down after hours or in bad weather. LOTS of books, and someone kept them roughly organized by category. I found some beauties there...

120 gallon solar hot water tank (with internal heat exchanger) that looked like new - drool... crushed and sent to China - weep...

Rural residents near Fairbanks dump their garbage in dumpsters at transfer stations. This service is free. There is an area for larger items too heavy to toss into dumpsters. Recycling is tolerated and is a popular activity. There are reports of cabins constructed of salvaged lumber. We brag that we have some of the best dumpster diving in the nation.


The landfills that I frequent tolerate salvaging as long as the staff gets first dibs on the good stuff. You could furnish your house with what people throw away. In fact, I used to furnish my house that way, although in recent years I have astonished my relatives by buying new furniture.

When we were on vacation in the summer, our house sitters left behind an old couch on our back deck. We were thinking, darn, now we have to haul this thing to the dump. Then we realized it was a pretty comfortable old couch and left it on the deck. I napped on it every afternoon. We got ourselves an old dog no one wanted, my wife got a banjo, and every evening we would sit out on the couch with the dog lying on my feet and my wife playing the theme from "Deliverance" on the banjo.

The couch is covered with snow now, but we'll have to do it again next year even though the dog died and the neighbors are beginning to wonder about us. This is a pretty upscale neighborhood, but I snuck in before the rich people discovered it and I ain't leavin'. And we got us a new terrier that will make short work of any vermin that get into the couch.

Lots of components useful to DIY energy people can be found in old computer ATX power supplies including shottky diodes. A local PC repair shop may well let you rummage in their bin. Dead disk drives have good magnets.


it's time to go back to atomic energy. why?
"ATLANTA (AP) — If disaster strikes a nuclear power plant in the U.S., the utility industry wants the ability to fly in heavy-duty equipment that could avert a meltdown."

"Feb 22 (Reuters) - The staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed the first three rules to address safety issues raised by Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, changes the staff said could be implemented by the end of 2016."

what if we go over the fiscal cliff and we aint got no money. would this be the shared sacrifice that so many CEO's and billionaires are talking about? then no plan b for nooks?

i dont have a link but paulson ex treasury sec is supposed to own 66 tons of PHYSICAL gold. damm! gimme some of dat sacrifice!

That's $3.6 Billion, if my math's right.

66 tons of PHYSICAL gold. damm!

Somehow I doubt he'll be funding any of Greenish's projects...

That's John Paulson not Hank Paulson....

Solar Energy and Water: Solar Powering Desalination

The Al-Khafji solar desalination project, near the border with Kuwait, will become the first large-scale solar-powered seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant in the world, producing 30,000 m3 of water per day for the town's 100,000 inhabitants. Due for completion at the end of 2012


Demand for desalinated water is projected to grow by 9% per year until 2016 due to increased consumption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and in energy-importing countries such as the US, India and China.


US President John F Kennedy, speaking in 1962, said: 'If we could produce fresh water from salt water at a low cost, that would indeed be a great service to humanity, and would dwarf any other scientific accomplishment.'

Project presentation (pdf)

That works out to be 79 gallons per person per day. I converted it to units that I know. I use less than a gallon of water for personal hygene ( I have used a sponge bath for several years now, it saves time and energy and water (energy and water I have to pay for) ). Water for clothe washing per week, would not be more than several gallons ( I use a five gallon bucket and a broom handle on a Toilet plunger (only for clothes) ) and Line dry. I am extra careful while eating and cooking, and Don't use many harsh chemicals. I know that this makes me different than most people. But I can't see 79 gallons of water per person per day, it seems such a waste of energy and effort, for people that once knew how to get by without so much water needs.

But almost all the fresh water ends up in the Ocean anyway, So we might as well take it back out, But Golly that is such a waste of resources to be wasting it all over again.


That figure is about 2x what I use or about 1.5x if I am giving the garden a good watering.


people that once knew how to get by without so much water needs

That would be a good explanation for immaterial* considerations.


(*) To be read in French or German, intangible doesn't do.

U.S. Natural Gas Capacity Must Peak Soon To Achieve Sustainable Pathway

The bottom line is this: in order to meet climate targets, the United States needs to build only planned additions and, starting in 2023, retire all natural gas plants over 45 years old. This will allow the United States to develop renewable alternatives and not waste excess natural gas capacity through uneconomic retirements later in an effort to meet climate goals. Of course, there are little adjustments around the margins, but this approach represents the most likely solution given the data available.

•There is a gap between the business-as-usual (BAU) pathway for natural gas capacity and where we need to be to hit climate targets, and that gap widens significantly over time. In 2025, capacity of natural gas exceeds the recommended climate target by 13.9 GW. In 2030, natural gas capacity exceeds the climate target by 83.6 GW. In 2035, it exceeds the climate target by 143.8 GW. Assuming no further retirements, by 2050, natural gas capacity exceeds climate targets by 218.8 GW.

•Aggressive retirements of natural gas capacity later on to meet the climate target are pretty unlikely. Over half our current natural gas capacity is under 12 years old. 38 percent of our current natural gas capacity was built between 2000 and 2004. An additional 15 percent was built between 2005 and 2011. That means 53 percent of capacity is basically brand new. These plants aren’t going anywhere anytime soon — retirements would be incredibly uneconomical.

... how to square the circle?

Tax carbon.

Spend the proceeds on reducing other taxes or paying for things like Sandy.

There is a gap between the business-as-usual (BAU) pathway for natural gas capacity and where we need to be

I wouldn't worry about it too much: BAU is counting on natural gas that will not be available unless the real price goes up by several hundred percent (and even then I wouldn't bet on it -- there just aren't enough places to drill).

The real concern is coal. But again: getting coal from where it is -- generally some remote place like Wyoming -- to where the energy is needed takes a lot of energy, mainly oil.

Throw away those picks and shovels ...

Termites and ants stockpile gold in their mounds, researchers find

Insects can carry gold from underground up into their mounds. Dr Aaron Stewart and his CSIRO colleagues have shown that they also accumulate metals in their bodies. "Most of Australia is covered by a layer of earth that hides buried minerals. But signs of a resource are often close to the surface. In some places we have shown that termites and ants can bridge that gap by bringing up evidence from five metres down."

... At thousands of dollars a hole, the traditional exploration method of drilling grids of holes is very expensive. "Exploration companies are very keen to find ways of reducing costs," Aaron says.

"By helping to narrow down the area that needs to be drilled we can reduce the cost of finding new deposits."

... now if you can train the little buggers to sniff out light sweet crude. hmmm

Hey Rockman:

If I read you past posts correctly, the Napoleonville Dome in northern Assumption Parish, LA is in your backyard. I don't see any updated posts about associated problems there with the recent complication being H2S. Any further posts would be appreciated unless you find the situation static then a comment would suffice.

In the meantime, I leave readers with this link as Dr. Helen Caldicott covers quite a bit of ground in an hour (no transcript) concerning men and their nuke power along with 'normal' releases from nuke plants and nuke plants are really not green energy or cost effective. I'd say 80% facts and the rest opinion, wanders occasionally.

From around April 2012...


INH - Actually I'm scheduled to tie into a conference call this afternoon for the weekly parish meeting. Since my drilling has no effect on the sinkhole and vice versa I haven't been following develops to closely. If anything noteworthy pops up this afternoon I'll do a post. H2S isn't uncommon in these situation. Even the swap produces a tiny amount. I haven't heard of reports showing dangerous levels...yet.

I have heard they've drilled a number of shallow holes to produce and flare NG that has accumulated in the shallow section. Also putting methane detectors in that subdivision. The difficult problem will be mitigating any salt water that has made its way into the fresh water section. That can be very difficut/expensive and take a long time.

Thanks for that guys.

Looks like swamp gas to Me. Very natural for the area.

This is the best place to stay up to date.

Apple redraws maps after Australian drivers led astray in the bush

Apple has updated its new maps system after police in Mildura, Australia, said a number of people trying to find the town of 30,000 people became hopelessly lost in the bush in scorching temperatures.

One man was stranded for 24 hours last week in temperatures of up to 46C and at least three more have had to be rescued after following the directions given on Apple's new maps, which located Mildura among the dusty, sun-baked trails of Murray-Sunset National Park, the second-largest in Australia and far from the town's actual position.

I guess your phones can officially kill you now.

Getting lost near Mildura is dangerous. "There's no water, and you can get bogged down in the sand," explained Toby Prime, a reporter on the local Sunraysia Daily. "Temperatures go up to 46 degrees." People may also have to walk some distance in the heat to get phone reception. Summer is beginning in Australia, and temperatures are soaring.

One man following the map on his phone had driven into the park at 6pm, three hours before it got dark, then realised he was nowhere near Mildura, but that to continue driving could get him stuck because of the sand on and around the road.

I think one of the major issues with electronic maps is that you no longer have to look up and fetch a compass or look at the sun and stars or analyze your surroundings, you just turn where the computer voice tells you to. I use google maps a lot but can't help looking up and seeing around and preparing a mental map in my head with North-South and East-West axis and I never use navigation.

There are a lot of stories about people being led astray by their GPS.

In early 2011 a Canadian couple heading for Las Vegas took a shortcut through the mountains of Northern Nevada. Their GPS told them there was a road there, but it didn't tell them it was a logging road that wasn't plowed in winter, and there were hip-deep snowdrifts in the mountain passes. The wife was found by ATV riders 48 days later, still in the van and still alive, but the husband had gone for help and was missing.

Hunters found the husband's body about a year and a half later. He had tried to walk to the nearest town, but the batteries in his GPS had run out and he had gone off course. He was only about 10 km from the town, but his route would have led him straight over the top of the mountain, and he didn't have the ski mountaineering equipment to make it there that way.

See Body of missing man found in Nevada

Once he lost the ability to use that GPS, due to the snow drifts, he couldn't tell where the road was. He did a lot of unnecessary climbing. He was heading literally for the summit of the mountain … where he made it to was far beyond what he was equipped for.

A more common but less tragic problem is all truckers who are lead into to small roads for their 25.25 meter trucks to pass through, and need to call for assistance to get out of there. Especially if there is a road congestion and they need alternative routes, small rural roads get clogged with way to big trucks.

In Alaska last summer, a guy who was moving to Alaska drove his car off of the ferry in Whittier. He went a short distance and his GPS said turn, so he did, right down the boat launch ramp into the harbor. One wonders if he bothered to look out of the windshield?

Man guided by GPS drives off ferry into Whittier harbor

About 4 seconds after turning onto said logging road they probably could have figured out it was a bad idea, had they been thinking.

Yes. There is definitely an inverse relationship between the number of comforts/machines/gizmos one is immersed in, and the number of brain cells that are developed and engaged to their fullest.

"But this athority who know better than I do say this is what we should do?"


There are now over one billion automobiles on the road worldwide. An explosion in the auto markets in China and India ensures that number will increase, with China supplanting the United States as the world's largest car market. It's fair to say humanity has a love affair with the car, but it's a love-hate relationship. Cars are at once convenience, art, and menace. People write songs about their vehicles, put them in museums, race them, and wrap their identities up in them. About 15% of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comes from cars. Traffic fatality estimates vary from half a million per year to more than double that. Gathered here are images of the automobile in many forms, and our relationship to and dependence on our cars. This is the second in an occasional Big Picture series on transportation, following Pedal power earlier this year. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)

Here is a clip from our local NBC affiliate. This aired last night. I thought TOD would like to see what is out there in local news. http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/351605/3/How-long-could-lower-gas-price...

Modsgn - It's amazing how folks don't even hear their own words. In the same breath he attributes much of the drop in gasoline prices to increased US oil production as a result of the oil shales (he specifically mentions the Eagle Ford) which will drive oil prices down to $65/bbl in the near future. Needless to say he doesn't explicitly state that the drop in oil prices won't stop much or all of the oil shale drilling but the assumption is obvious. It's always interesting to see how such economic smarties fail to understand some basics. I'll say it again despite how many folks are tired of hearing it: the oil shales have been known (and drilled) for decades. Hz drilling and frac'ng have been known (and utilized) for decades. What drives the plays are the higher oil prices. So this wise man projects that oil/prices will drop significantly yet the oil shale will continue to be developed at the current rate and thus keep oil prices suppressed. . His words...not mine.

The oil shales have helped increase domestic production. And as long as oil prices stay high enough they'll continue to do so at least until the the best leases are drilled up. Projecting lower oil prices is not consistant with a projection of continued development of the oil shales. The future is either more shale oil or lower oil prices. But not both...pick one.

Rockman, what if a downturn in the energy market due to lower oil demand or macro economics also signifcantly lowered drilling and production cost, such as rig rates, service company pricing, wages, ETC? Wouldn't that make it possible to drill these plays even with lower oil/gas prices?

Historically, lower oil/gas prices result in less drilling.

wildman- That nasty circle again: lower prices = less drilling = lower drilling costs. But the problem is that even though driling costs go down fewer folks are willing to take advantage of it because of the low oil/NG prices. I can get better rates for drill rigs in S La now than I could 2 years ago. But my owner doesn't care: not going to drill deep NG wells due to low NG prices even if the drill cost is less. The economics just don't work.

Yeah, I remember a few E&P companies that wouldn't pick up a rig in the GOM, until the boneyard (where rigs stack offshore)off the coast of Cameron, La was full of jack-ups. The few companies that would do that were not publically traded companies. They would sit on funds until they could get more production for their buck and then they would have more wells to produce as soon as things turned around.

I think you've said before that companies trying to chase a boom cycle and not be left out of a frenzy normally get burned, but in my view if you have the patience and cash to wait for a downturn, you may get rewarded very well.

65 dollar oil next year? From a local surge of less than a few million barrels a day? When oil is traded globally? An economic crash can make 65 dollar oil happen, but that was not what he was speaking about.

Rockman - Yes, people don't realize the implications of what they are saying. They don't realize that the "shale oil boom" is completely driven by higher prices. If prices went down to what they were in 2000, the boom would come to a sudden stop and go into reverse.

Geologists have known about the Bakken Formation for over 50 years, and they have probably known about the Eagle Ford for twice as long. Hydraulic fracturing of rock formations to improve production rates has been in use for over 50 years. None of this is new. What is new is the high price of oil, which make it economically feasible for companies to use very expensive techniques to produce oil.

People also don't realize that this kind of development is largely limited to North America - Canada and the US - where there are large numbers of companies competing with each other. In areas where there isn't rampant capitalist competition among relatively small companies, companies are unlikely to spend the money to develop these costly and risky plays.

For instance, European Union production is in steep decline. The entire EU, which has more people than the US, now produces only about 3.2 million b/d - about half of what it did a decade ago. By contrast, my home province of Alberta now produces 3.5 million b/d - more than the entire EU - but all of the increase is high-cost production. All of the low-cost oil is gone. If the prices weren't as high, or there were lower cost opportunities, companies wouldn't be doing it.

I being a peak or plateau oil guy had always believed that high energy prices were due to supply and demand, but I'm starting to think inflation has alot to do with it. I heard someone say the other day that "I could have bought a gallon of gas with a quarter(USD) in the 1950's. Today I can take that same quarter, buy a gallon of gas and get then change back from the cashier"

You might ask how can that be, well "that same" 1950's quarter was made out of silver. So how does oil prices chart as compared to other commodities and the dollar? If oil was priced in silver then oil would be considered cheap today. It's obvious that many things effect commodity prices but currency is a very big player IMHO.

RE: Have Humans Caused a New Geological Era?

The article mentions ways of identifying the Anthropocene, but struggles somewhat when trying to determine exactly when it began. We are identified by garbage and pollution in their surmisings, however, since this is also the Sixth Mass Extinction, perhaps that too would be one of the characteristics of the Anthopocene. The foundation of and fundamental characteristic of The Anthropocene / Sixth Mass Extinction Epoch is the fossil fuel industry.

The foundation of and fundamental characteristic of The Anthropocene / Sixth Mass Extinction Epoch is the fossil fuel industry.

The mass extinction predated the fossil fuel industry by tens of thousands of years. Perhaps fossil fuels will cap the extinction, but it got going long before anyone struck oil.

Jersey Patriot,

That is not correct with respect to the Sixth Mass Extinction.

That extinction (the current one) is entirely human induced, and it could never have become extinction on steroids (mass extinction) without the steroids, the fossil fuels.

I'd say it started with agriculture. But even that's not true, we've been killing off other species at an accelerated rate for at least 50k years. Since the invention of language, perhaps. Whatever change it was that led to the Great Leap and improved tool usage, especially spear-chuckers and bows and arrows.

You are both right, really. The extinction of megafauna by hunter-gatherers, and the conversion of vast areas into monocultures by agriculture certainly had it well underway, well before FF. But then they came along and, well...

I don't know. Here in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the big extinction event occurred about 10,000 years ago, when human beings first appeared on the scene, and simultaneously, 80% of the large animals went extinct. People have argued that they couldn't have done it because the bow and arrow, nevermind the gun, hadn't been invented and all they had were spears, but maybe spears were enough.

In recent years, nothing has really gone extinct except a species of snail that only lived in the hot springs on one mountain, and a species of small fish that hybridized itself out of existence by breeding with a closely related species of fish. Other than that, they're all here.

People argue that some of the species are in danger of going extinct, but every so often one of them walks through my back yard, so I remain unconvinced. When it's a grizzly bear, I tend to believe I might be the species at risk.

I think there were multiple phases w.r.t extinction. The easy to get megafauna died when humans started migrating out of Africa, in the middle ages better weaponry probably led to more animals being hunted out of extinction and the FF revolution really revved up the game with habitat destruction esp in hard to get areas like Amazon etc. In India the tigers were plentiful even till the beginning of the century but access to guns and a soaring population which is primarily the result of FF use has brought them to the brink of extinction.

Then there's this case of a bird called the Great Indian Bustard which is a big flightless bird, runs very fast, almost impossible to catch on foot, it's numbers dwindled when people got access to 4x4's. So there's one direct instance of FF helping in extinction of a species.

Tribal Bhils are claimed to have used a technique for trapping females that involves setting twigs on fire around the nest containing an egg or chick. The female was then said to run to the nest and singe its wings upon which the tribals captured it.[38] Other trapping methods involving the use of nooses are described by Hume in his "Game Birds of India". The invention of the Jeep changed the method of hunting and it became extremely easy for hunters to chase bustards down in their open semi-desert habitats.

In South Africa they self-immolate.


The situation is quite dire for several species. Populations of Ludwig's Bustard and Denham's Bustard are probably in decline due to a single mortality factor, collisions with the cables of power-lines. These birds fly in groups during low light conditions and due to their limited manoeuvrability are not able to avoid electricity cables in their flight path. Recent studies have found that, on average, about one Ludwig's Bustard collides per kilometre of transmission power-line (>132 kV) per year. There are approximately 16,000 km of transmission power-lines criss-crossing the Karoo, so we could be losing more than 10,000 birds a year. It is unlikely that the Ludwig's Bustards can sustain these large numbers of annual mortalities, especially considering that its global population has been estimated to only number between 56,000 and 81,000 individuals.

The main cause of extinction is habitat destruction, which got started with the invention of agriculture.

Novel Inline Hydropower System for Power Generation from Water Pipelines

... Our water main pipes present a real challenge. They are just one metre across and hold far less water volume and potential energy compared to giant water dams, say for example. In pushing the boundaries, specialists in hydrodynamics, mechanical engineering and renewable energy have created a highly efficient device in harnessing the power of water. The resulting turbine is small enough to fit into a pipe, and uses just a fraction of hydro-energy to generate about 80 volts, enough to power four compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The novel device consists of an external hydroelectric generator and highly efficient spherical water turbine which dips into flowing water and reclaims residual pressure. When water passes through, the turbine drives a central rotating shaft and a micro generator to produce electricity.

The key lies in a number of intelligent designs to extract more energy from flowing water. The 8-blade turbine would only take away a fraction of kinetic energy because it strikes an accurate balance between water volume, water pressure and consumption of hydrokinetic energy, which boosts efficiency without reducing the momentum of running water to guarantee a reliable water supply. Turbine blades are carefully sized to intersect the largest possible area of water flow and minimise water bypassing.

Volts are not a measure of energy or power output. Gibberish.

If the water in those mains is pumped thru the pipe, that generator would increase back pressure, which would imply that more energy would be required to pump the water. If the flow is powered by gravity from a dam, this device might be a way to power a local electric device, but otherwise the energy would need to be added further upstream to offset the pressure drop. As mentioned, there might be some slight advantage in situations where there was no electric grid, though that would be unlikely in an urban environment...

E. Swanson

Or where the pressure drop (presumably from gravity) must be mitigated. Those situations must exist.

Mr. Bernoulli is not impressed.

... without reducing the momentum of running water....

Momentum is mass X velocity. I do not know how a turbine would extract energy from flowing water in a pipe with constant diameter without slowing the speed of the water.

The pressure changes. The speed can't change unless the diameter does.

Most flow control devices (taps, valves) don't recover any energy from the pressure drop across them but the only reason is equipment cost not being worth the energy recovered.

Easy! It uses just a fraction of hydro-energy to generate about 80 volts!


It does get worse: The gadget is for extracting power from water mains. The mains are constricted at the turbine to create a pressure drop. The secret to efficiency is that the axle, the central rotating shaft, is hollow... and yet, !, the turbine has no moving parts.

Soon, they will all be rich... rich ...except one wants it all for themselves: a story of savage intrigue, betrayal, litigation, and a dozen death-wishes all freshly brewing within the innocent halls of academia.

Researchers reveal scary news for corals from the Ice Age

Professor Pandolfi and his German colleagues found that, when sea surface temperatures warmed by about 0.7 of a degree Celsius during the interglacial warm period, it was enough to drive many species of coral out of equatorial waters up to 10 degrees of latitude on either side of the equator.

... What concerns the scientists is that the planet has already warmed by 0.7 of a degree since the start of the industrial age – a similar amount to the last interglacial – and while the corals have not yet abandoned equatorial waters, modern equatorial diversity is lower compared to adjacent latitudes north and south.

"If this is the case, it has serious implications for the nations of the Coral Triangle, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where tens of millions of people rely upon the oceans for their livelihoods and food.

New wave of Wind Energy

... Once in the Gulf of Maine, the turbine will be the first grid-connected offshore turbine in the United States, marking a critical milestone for the development of floating turbine technology.

The demo project is designed to de-risk the technology and pave the way for private investment in a commercial scale-park by 2018–20, according to Habib Dagher, director of UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

The technology was tested in a wave-wind basin at the 1:50 scale in 2011.

Following a successful offshore test next year, a small 12-megawatt demonstration project consisting of two, 6-megawatt turbines is proposed for construction in 2015–17. A commercial-scale park, expected to be in the 500-megawatt range, will have more than 80 turbines in a space of 4 miles by 8 miles, and will be positioned more than 20 miles off shore, beyond the horizon.

DeepCwind Consortium Project

Poorer Quality Wheat When Carbon Dioxide Levels In the Air Rise

Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have a negative impact on the protein content of wheat grain and thus its nutritional quality. This is the finding of researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in a recently published study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide stimulate the photosynthesis and growth of most plants. However, unless plants increase their uptake of nutrients to a corresponding degree, their yields will have a lower nutritional value. A lower level of the nutrient nitrogen results in a lower protein content, and thus poorer nutritional quality.

"Protein content is the most important quality aspect for crops, with implications for both nutritional value and the baking properties of the grain,"

Wheat – together with rice – is the world's most important crop in quantitative terms. Wheat grain is also unusually rich in protein, and wheat is the crop that provides the human race with the most protein. Reduced protein content as a result of elevated carbon dioxide levels is therefore a serious negative consequence of ongoing atmospheric change.

"Our results indicate that reduced nitrogen and protein content as a result of elevated carbon dioxide levels is a general response in crops, and cannot be countered simply through increased fertilisation," adds Uddling.

... which means that actual tonnage of grain from year to year may not reflect nutritional content. There has also been recent evidence of CO2-induced impairment of nitrate uptake/assimilation. Fertilizer is becoming less useful

More information: Yield vs. Quality trade-offs for wheat in response to carbon dioxide and ozone, Global Change Biology, Vol 18 issue 2.

There has also been recent evidence of CO2-induced impairment of nitrate uptake/assimilation.

Gas explosion causes massive fire in Sissonville

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. -- An explosion and massive gas line fire in Sissonville, WV has Interstate 77 northbound and southbound at the Tuppers Creek exit this afternoon.

Just before 1 p.m., the fire was said to have crossed the interstate itself. A photo taken by Kanawha County Emergency Services shows stories-tall flames covering both northbound and southbound lanes of the interstate. Metro 911 was reporting several buildings on fire and dispatchers were calling multiple emergency responders.

Carper said paramedics and emergency responders are going into homes and apartments now to assess injuries or fatalities. This explosion happened very close to Cedar Ridge Nursing Home, according to Carper.

... the line belongs to Columbia Gas

Shelter in Place Issued After Gas Line Explosion in Sissonville

As industrial civilization approaches insolvency collectively the infrastructure that allows industrial civilization to exist falls apart. Perhaps it is not the case here but this will become more common.

The interstate will be shut down for two days while engineers and inspectors repair the damage and assess whether a bridge was compromised, said State Police Sgt. Chris Zerkle. State Route 21 will also be closed until further notice, he said.

The explosion, triggered by the rupture of a 20-inch gas main, occurred near Sissonville just before 1 p.m., Kanawha County Fire Coordinator C.W. Sigman said.

Carper said the flames spanned about a quarter of a mile and ran through a culvert under the interstate.

"It actually cooked the interstate," he said. "It looks like a tar pit."


I still think you go way overboard when you attach phrases like "..that allow industrial civilization to exist"

The term itself is too broad, and beyond that, I'm sure the same sentiments were loudly heard after the Hindenberg burned, and after the Library at Alexandria went up in smoke for the second or third time.

I don't dispute that we're in a real mess.. but to me that's all the more reason to make our declarations and predictions pretty carefully.

People do rebuild and repair constantly. Duplicate records are all around, and languages and sciences have been translated and taught the world over. We'll take some terrible hits, but I think we'll also be a very tough bug to rout.

"The world will be your enemy, prince with a thousand enemies, and if they catch you, they will kill you, digger, runner, listener, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."
Watership Down - Richard Adams

And I wonder if you grasp the level of complexity and the amount of energy that industrial civilization needs to exist.

"People do rebuild and repair constantly. Duplicate records are all around, and languages and sciences have been translated and taught the world over. We'll take some terrible hits, but I think we'll also be a very tough bug to rout."

People rebuild and repair USING the still functioning industrial infrastructure that is beginning to fail. Industrial civilization is dependent on fossil fuel energy bringing many resources together to maintain a just in time delivery system as of right now. Water, sewers, electrical grids, roads, gas lines, levees, communications systems and bridges are all critical infrastructure. They are necessary for industrial civilization to exist and it is a highly complex system which makes it less resilient. There is no historical precedent for industrial civilization because we are the trial run. The infrastructure of the U.S. in particular is falling apart and graded poorly by engineers. We need to find more Texas and Saudi Arabian type super fields to keep a civilization built on cheap oil going. We will not be able to pay for the rebuild of infrastructure without a vast new source of CHEAP energy.

Your Richard Adams quote makes me think you are confusing humanity with industrial civilization. Industrial civilization is just a stupid way for humans to organize; it is not humanity. Industrial civilization will be destroyed because it is built on false premises and is naturally unstable. It can't be cunning because its leadership is guided only by profit making while consuming and the destroying the resource base it needs for survival like a virus or a cancer. If industrial civilization fails in time, leaving the planet inhabitable for humanity, then the Richard Adams quote will be quite appropriate.

Exxon: U.S. by 2025 Will Be Net Exporter of Oil and Gas

Exxon says the energy renaissance in the U.S. will continue and predicts that North America will become a net exporter of oil and natural gas by the middle of the next decade.

The company's annual long-term energy outlook, released Tuesday, says the rapid growth of production in the U.S. and Canada, along with improved energy efficiency, will lead to more oil and natural gas being sent overseas.

Among the main themes from Exxon's report:

- Demand for energy will grow worldwide, but slower than the overall economy because of efficiency gains.

- Energy demand will remain flat in the developed world; nearly all of the growth in demand will occur in developing countries.

- The biggest shift will be growth in the use of natural gas and a decline in the use of coal. By 2025, natural gas is expected to overtake coal as the second most used fuel, after oil.

- By 2025, the U.S. will likely be exporting natural gas in large volumes and producing more oil while consuming less. Canada will continue to be a major crude exporter.

- While Exxon does make assumptions about energy prices to make its predictions, it does not disclose what those price assumptions are.

Exxon says there will be plenty of oil left to power cars, trucks and planes. By 2040 less than half of the world's recoverable oil will have been produced, Exxon's report predicts.


Over the Outlook period, the growth in so-called “unconventional” supplies due to technology advancements is critical. ExxonMobil projects total liquids demand to rise to 113 million barrels per day of oil equivalent (MBDOE) in 2040, a 30 percent increase from 2010. About 70 percent of this increase is tied to the transportation sector.

Conventional crude production from both OPEC and Non OPEC sources will see a slight decline over time. However, this decline is more than offset by rising production of crude oil from deepwater, oil sands and tight oil resources.

While the composition of the world’s liquid fuels is changing, one fact does not: the world continues to hold significant oil resources. Even by 2040, ExxonMobil estimates that less than half of the world’s recoverable crude and condensate will have been produced. Even with production, the resource base continues to grow due to the ability of the industry to find and develop new types of resources through improved science and technical innovations. (Outlook pg 38)

By 2040, only about 55 percent of the world’s liquid supply will come from conventional crude oil production. The rest will be provided by deepwater, tight oil and NGLs, as well as oil sands and biofuels, as technology enables increased development of these resources (see page 43).

North America sees a dramatic rise, with production of technology-enabled supplies representing 75 percent of the region’s total by 2040. The majority of this growth comes from tight oil, like the Bakken formation in North Dakota, deepwater developments in the Gulf of Mexico and Canadian oil sands. These supplies enable North American total liquids production to grow about 40 percent.

Total Latin American liquids production almost doubles due to developments in Brazil deepwater and Venezuelan oil sands, while in the Middle East, continued growth in conventional liquids along with NGLs and tight oil developments coming later in the Outlook period lead to 45 percent supply growth. Large deepwater developments, primarily in Angola and Nigeria, drive growth in supplies in Africa.

Supply Outlook

Exxon: U.S. by 2025 will be net exporter of oil and gas

Once again, Canada finds itself being considered part of the United States when oil production is being discussed. Canada's proven oil reserves are an order of magnitude larger than those of the US, and its population is less than California's, so it does have the ability to ramp up its oil production and exports quite substantially.

However, we have to keep reminding Americans that Canada is a separate country and its interests don't completely align with the US. In addition, quite a bit of the oil is now owned by the Chinese, and they probably have other ideas about who should get to use it.

You best keep your interests aligned. You've seen what happens to oil exporting countries that don't keep themselves aligned with the US. ;-)

Canada is a client state to a failing empire, but one that is yet still quite powerful. In the long run they may be able to act with independence, but in the short term that is a fantasy. The real conflict is just as it is in the US, between those individuals wealthy enough to make huge amounts of money at the expense of the state (i.e. selling oil to China) and the interests of the empire itself (keeping that energy).

Actually, in Canada the state, or more accurately the province, owns the mineral rights and collects the oil royalties, so a lot of the money ends up in schools, roads, and hospitals. Alberta's and China's interests are aligned in that Alberta has oil and China wants to buy oil.

Alberta is not concerned about energy security because it has numerous energy resources other than oil, and there is more than enough oil to keep the local market supplied. The only real issue is price, and China has been willing to pay top dollar.

The only real issue is price, and China has been willing to pay top dollar.

Right, and selling to them for a higher price benefits those who control the local client state. But if their doing so is counter to the interests of the empire to their south then eventually they may be made to stop.

In actuality the conflict is between those with enough power to sell the region's resources to their own personal benefit but to the detriment of the survival of the empire itself that is helping to break it up. In other words an empire typically works by stripping resources and wealth from other regions to concentrate back home, but now as it fails things get all confused and its more powerful groups are busy stripping regional wealth and sending it abroad. But that may be made to stop at any time.

Exxon publicly forecasts world production of crude oil & natural gas condensate to rise to 85 Mb/d in 2040. It looks like they expect the contribution from NG condensate to double over the next 20 years as the production of natural gas increases. If my calculation is correct, Exxon expects the URR for global C+C to be more than 3.4 trillion barrels.

Breathers beware: Particulate fouls icy Fairbanks


What triggered the rising level of complaints about dirty air seems to be the migration to outdoor hydronic boilers. When the price of heating oil went up outdoor boilers became popular. The usual wood fuel is augmented with coal, old railroad ties, tires, plastic and just about anything that will burn. The solid plume of dirty smoke rises vertically until it hits the inversion layer, which may be as low as 200 ft up. There's no wind during the worst of the cold weather. So the smoke stays close to the ground.

When I constructed my winter cabin 36 years ago I installed a wood burning cookstove. I could see high fossil fuel costs in my future. To restore clean air to Fairbanks I expect outdoor boilers will be banned. Indoor solid fuel stoves may likewise be prohibited. I can live with this (no wood stove) because I have backup oil heat and can cook on a hot plate. Nevertheless
this is not how I prefer to live.


Smoke from boilers is generally caused by incomplete combustion, the cheap water-jacketed firebox being notorious for this. Secondary combustion eliminates smoke once started, e.g. downdraft into a ceramic block in a TARM boiler. All you get is heat ripples from the chimney and a vague smell of something hot.

Glutos products are advertized with dust particle emissions of 20.1 to 24.1 mg/Nm3 and with conversion efficiencies of 74 to 75.9%. They claim to fulfill the upcoming German emissions requirements for 2015 which are the most stringent ones i know of.

Here are the links to the technical datasheet and the price list.

And here is the press release of the German agency that supported their development. As it dates to 2005 there may be even better ones available by now.

As with westexas these pointers are worth what they have been paid for. I don't know for instance if the stoves fulfill US requirements. Also Google translate mileage may vary.


An awesome piece of video.
Really quite difficult to grasp the scale of what's happening. Would have been very useful to have James Inhofe standing on top for reference......


"We got it all set up, but nothing is happening. We got some time laps running. Wait, oh wait!"

Either that part was staged afterwards, or they had the best timing ever.