Drumbeat: January 18, 2013

Desert Massacre Threatens Africa’s Largest Gas Industry

The killing of foreign workers in the Algerian desert threatens production from North Africa’s largest oil and gas industry, the main source of revenue for a country that avoided unrest when the Arab spring swept away regimes across the region.

Yesterday’s bloody action to end a hostage-taking by Islamist rebels at a BP Plc-operated natural gas field supplying 12 percent of Algeria’s output will make foreign explorers wary about working in the country, said Ahmed Amdimi, a professor of political science at the University of Algiers. Spain’s Cia. Espanola de Petroleos SA, Statoil ASA (STL) and BP yesterday became the first oil companies to evacuate workers.

“The oil and gas installations were even more secure than the army barracks, they were oases in an unsafe country,” said James Le Sueur, a history professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and author of “Algeria Since 1989: Between Terrorism and Democracy.” “That they finally got to them indicates a very substantial threat.”

Fear and confusion as Algerian hostage crisis enters third day

(CNN) -- Confusion surrounds the fate of potentially dozens of hostages held at a gas plant deep in the desert as Algerian forces continue activities against their Islamist militant abductors.

A reportedly bloody raid by Algerian forces launched Thursday is over, state-run radio cited an official source as saying, but there is "ongoing activity at various locations" near the plant, which "some of the hostage-takers are still using as a hideout."

The site is large and complex, and the Algerians are still pursuing terrorists and possibly hostages, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday.

Algerian Forces Surround Gas Plant as Hostages Still Being Held

Algerian security forces surrounded al-Qaeda-linked militants holding hostages at a gas plant in the southeastern desert a day after some of the captives and their kidnappers died in a rescue attempt, the state news agency said.

There were conflicting reports about the fate of as many as 41 foreign workers held since Jan. 16 at the complex operated by London-based BP Plc (BP/), Statoil ASA (STL) of Norway and Algeria’s Sonatrach. A U.S. plane landed near the site today to evacuate American nationals, private Algerian broadcaster Nahar said.

IEA Sees Tighter Oil Market, Boosts Global Demand F’cast

The International Energy Agency raised forecasts for global oil demand this year because of stronger growth expectations for China and said the world oil market is “tighter” than previously estimated.

“All of a sudden, the market looks tighter than we thought,” the Paris-based agency said, boosting its 2013 global demand forecast by 240,000 barrels a day. World consumption will increase by 900,000 barrels a day, or 1 percent, this year to average a record 90.8 million. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter, reduced production from its highest in 30 years, and inventories in developed economies are contracting after accumulating in much of 2012, according to the IEA.

High oil prices nothing to do with supply and demand, IEA head says

Record high oil prices cannot be explained by today's supply and demand levels, says the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

"The strange thing is that though demand is sufficiently supplied, the price is high, and well, this might have to do with expectations," said Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA.

Oil Heads for Longest Run of Weekly Gains in 14 Months

Oil headed for the longest weekly rising streak in 14 months in New York after economic growth accelerated in China, the world’s second-biggest crude consumer.

West Texas Intermediate traded close to a four-month high after gaining the most in two weeks yesterday. The International Energy Agency raised forecasts for global oil demand this year as demand rises in China and said the world oil market is “tighter” than previously estimated. China’s gross domestic product rose 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with 7.4 percent in the previous period, the National Bureau of Statistics said today in Beijing.

Goldman Sachs Strategist: Oil Price Could Reach $150/Bbl in Summer

The price of oil could reach as much as $150 per barrel this summer, Goldman Sachs chief commodities strategist Jeff Currie said Thursday.

At this year's global strategy conference in Frankfurt, Mr. Currie that he thinks it possible the price may reach $150 a barrel for Brent oil.

LNG Use Rises at Japan Utilities in 2012 on Idle Reactors

Liquefied natural gas consumption by Japan’s 10 regional power utilities increased by 15 percent last year as almost all the country’s atomic plants stayed shut.

Power companies used 56.6 million metric tons of LNG in 2012, up from 49.1 million tons a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data updated today by the Federation of Electric Power Cos. LNG consumption increased by 20 percent in 2011.

China Crude-Processing Rises to Record High as Economy Recovers

China’s crude processing rose to a record in December as the country added refining capacity and industrial production increased amid the first acceleration in the economy in two years.

China processed 43.12 million metric tons of crude last month, up 8.4 percent from a year ago, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics today. That’s equivalent to 10.2 million barrels a day, beating the previous record of 10.17 million in November.

China Power Output Rises to Four-Month High as Industry Expands

China’s power output rose to the highest in four months in December as industrial production in the world’s largest energy user grew more than forecast.

Electricity production increased to 432.7 billion kilowatt- hours, the most since August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed today. That’s up 7.6 percent from the same period last year. Power generation climbed 4.7 percent over the year to 4.82 trillion kilowatt-hours, down from 12 percent growth in 2011 as the nation’s economy slowed.

Government prods diesel prices up to tackle fiscal deficit

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The government told fuel retailers to raise the price of subsidised diesel in small amounts every month starting Friday in an attempt to prop up public finances without causing a popular backlash before elections.

Fuel subsidies are a drain on India's finances and the government is struggling to bring the deficit within a target of 5.3 percent of gross domestic product for the financial year ending March. India is the world's fourth biggest oil importer.

Rethink diesel prices decision, Karunanidhi tells government

Chennai (IANS) DMK president M. Karunanidhi Friday condemned the central government decision to allow oil marketing companies to hike fuel prices by 50 paise per month and said it would hit the poor and middle classes.

"Even allowing the oil companies to hike the diesel prices to a small extent is a wrong decision," Karunanidhi whose party is a major constituent of the central government, said in a statement issued here.

Diesel demand in India seen immune to stepped price hikes

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's demand for diesel will stay buoyant despite its plan to hike the price of the fuel in small monthly steps, analysts and company officials said on Friday, and the country will keep up the pace of its exports of diesel.

From Thursday, government allowed state fuel retailers to raise prices by up to 0.50 rupees, or one U.S. cent, a litre each month to gradually align them with market rates, and has also freed up the price of gasoil sold to bulk consumers.

Indian Refiners Surge After Diesel Price Increase

Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest refiner, surged the most in three and a half years in Mumbai trading and led an advance in refinery stocks after diesel prices were raised for the first time in four months.

Meralco to Return to Generation With 3,000-Megawatt Power Plans

Manila Electric Co., the Philippines largest power retailer, will return to generation after a four- decade hiatus with plans to build plants to supply as much as 30 percent of the main island of Luzon’s demand.

The company, known as Meralco, will build 2,700 megawatts of coal- and gas-fired plants in Luzon in seven years, President Oscar Reyes said in an interview in Makati City yesterday. A government law prohibits a single company from supplying more than 30 percent of installed generating capacity in each of the country’s three grids. Meralco is also planning a 300-megawatt coal-fired plant in Mindanao, the nation’s second-biggest island that suffers from daily outages, he said.

BP heralds a shale shift – but not in UK because of 'restricting investment regimes'

BP’s Energy Outlook offered little succour for a similar shale gas revolution in the UK.

‘Restricting investment regimes’ in Europe meant shale could not replace conventional gas sources, said Ruehl.

The Really, Really Big Picture

There isn't going to be enough net energy for the economic growth we want.

Schlumberger Profit Declines as Onshore Drilling Slows

Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services provider, said fourth-quarter profit declined 3.5 percent on contract delays and less onshore drilling in the U.S.

Net income dropped to $1.36 billion, or $1.02 a share, from $1.41 billion, or $1.05, a year earlier, Houston- and Paris- based Schlumberger said in a statement today. Excluding merger and job cut costs, per-share profit was $1.08, a penny more than the average of 32 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales climbed 8.5 percent to $11.2 billion.

Brazil oil regulator asks Petrobras to ramp up output - Sao Paulo paper

(Reuters) - Brazil's oil regulator has asked state-led Petrobras to increase output at its giant Roncador field, a local newspaper said on Friday, potentially raising costs for the firm that already has the world's largest corporate spending program.

Azerbaijan says crude output fell 5.3 pct in 2012

BAKU (Reuters) - Higher safety standards at BP after the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico were a factor behind declines in Azeri oil output last year, the head of the state statistics committee said on Friday.

Extending a drop that began in 2011, the Caspian Sea oil producer's oil and condensate production fell 5.3 percent to 42.98 million tonnes in 2012 from 45.40 million in 2011.

Ukraine, Shell expected to sign $10 bln shale deal Jan 24-PM

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine is expected to sign a landmark shale gas deal with energy major Royal Dutch Shell next week while a second deal in the west of the country faces local opposition, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Friday.

The former Soviet republic, which hopes its big shale gas reserves will help end reliance on costly imports of Russian natural gas, chose Shell last May as a partner to develop the Yuzivska field in the east of Ukraine.

Oil firm to boost exports from Iraqi Kurdish area

BAGHDAD -- Genel Energy PLC, a company led by the former BP chief executive that recently started shipping oil from Iraq's self-rule Kurdish region, said Friday it plans to increase the amount it exports from the enclave despite Baghdad's opposition.

The exports risk provoking lawsuits from the central government and are likely to exacerbate tensions between Baghdad and Iraq's Kurdish minority, who have been at loggerheads for years over how to manage the country's oil wealth.

Libya's east heightens calls for control of oil

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Eastern Libya is rejecting a compromise proposal by the government to split the OPEC member's main oil body as popular pressure for more authority in the energy-rich region gathers pace, potentially threatening output through protests.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is headquartered in Tripoli and since the end of the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, workers in the east have called for more powers in a region accounting for around 80 percent of Libya's oil wealth.

Car bombs explode across Iraq

Baghdad (CNN) -- A series of car and roadside bombs targeting buses and bus stations rocked predominately Shiite areas of Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 100, police said.

Saudi activists say kingdom trying to silence them

In Saudi Arabia, a deeply conservative kingdom and an absolute monarchy, protests are prohibited. Still, activists say, small gatherings are becoming more frequent -- demonstrations by both men and women demanding the release of jailed relatives.

The latest high-profile incident happened early this month. According to rights groups, Saudi security forces arrested a group of women in the town of Buraida who were protesting over family members allegedly held for years as political prisoners. The women said the relatives had been detained without charges on suspicion of terrorism.

The scene of Saudi police circling the women was caught on video, sparking anger and more protests.

Interior Secretary to Step Down in March

WASHINGTON — Ken Salazar, the blunt-spoken lawyer and rancher who took over the scandal-ridden Interior Department at the outset of the Obama administration, said Wednesday that he would step down in March to return to his home in Colorado.

He did not say what he intended to do after leaving Washington, and the White House gave no hint of who might succeed him.

"Good enough" global governance, Pirates 0

To follow up with another data point suggesting that we're living in a world of "good enough" global governance, let's take a look at piracy on the high seas , shall we?

You might recall that in 2009 piracy off the Horn of Africa and elsewhere was skyrocketing. This triggered multiple policy responses by shipping companies as well as governments. Ships started carrying armed guards on tankers as a form of deterrene. An ad hoc and diverse group of countries formed Combined Task Force 151 to help patrol the Horn of Africa to prevent pirate attacks. Hell, even Iran sent ships to participate in anti-piracy operations.

So it turns out that all of these measures seem to be working. By 2012, both press reports and official statistics suggested that the tide had turned.

Exxon's big plans for offshore drilling

Two hundred miles southeast of Newfoundland, not far from where the Titanic sank, ExxonMobil is spending $14 billion to drill one of the biggest oil fields in the North Atlantic.

Seeing Exxon develop oil fields for Canada is reviving calls for the United States to do the same off its Atlantic Coast -- which has been closed for oil and gas exploration for decades.

But as Shell's drill ships continue to run aground in the Arctic, critics say letting Exxon drill off the coast of Newfoundland or the heavily populated U.S. Eastern Seaboard is a mistake.

As Shell’s Arctic Drilling Hopes Hit Snags, Its Rivals Watch

HOUSTON — Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling program is now officially in jeopardy and its prospects will depend on the findings of two continuing federal inquiries. One review is on the grounding of the Kulluk drill ship on New Year’s Eve after it was set adrift for five days in stormy weather, and the other is on the safety management of the entire Shell program.

Rival oil companies, as they form their strategic choices, are keenly watching to see how Shell’s $4.5 billion exploratory operation off the North Slope of Alaska is faring and how the effort is working with wary United States regulators.

The answer, so far at least, is not well.

Why We Now Oppose Drilling in the Arctic

We were open to offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic provided oil companies and the government could impose adequate safeguards, ensure sufficient response capacity and develop a deeper understanding of how oil behaves in ice and freezing water. Now, following a series of mishaps and errors, as well as overwhelming weather conditions, it has become clear that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean.

Taming the Arctic Oil Rush

The new US rules for offshore oil operations in the Arctic – which forced Shell to postpone drilling until next year – are certainly stricter than the old rules, and will reduce the risk of a blowout. But, if one occurs, the only reliable way to stop it and cap the well is to drill a relief well. That takes months in the best of circumstances; it could take a year or more in the Arctic.

There is, however, one way to shorten the time required to cap a well to a matter of days: drill two holes in parallel from the start. In case of a blowout in one hole, the other could quickly become the relief well.

Taqa restoring oil flow after North Sea leak

LONDON // Taqa Bratani is in the process of restoring throughput operations at a North Sea oil platform where a leak earlier in the week led to the shutdown of 10 per cent of Britain's daily oil production.

An Oil Town Where Men Are Many, and Women Are Hounded

At the urging of her family, Barbara Coughlin, 31, who recently moved to Williston after her 11-year marriage ended, is now getting her concealed weapons permit so she can carry a Taser. Ms. Coughlin, who wore silver glitter around her eyes at work as a waitress on a recent day, said her mother and stepfather, who live here, advised her to stop wearing the skirts and heels she cherishes, so she does not stand out like “a flower in the desert,” as her stepfather put it. Her family hardly ever lets her go out on her own — not even for walks down the gravel road at the housing camp where they live.

“Will I stay for very long? Probably not,” she said. “To me, there’s no money in the world worth not even being able to take a walk.”

Liberal tax leaves bitter taste in some smoothie drinkers' mouths

Burnett, the diehard supporter of domestic energy and longtime health food fan, charges those who identify themselves as liberals one dollar more for their drinks. The money, along with any tips received, is donated to conservative causes like The Heritage Foundation.

...Burnett said his goal isn't to offend. First, it's to provide people with a healthy product. Second, it's to start a conversation about what he sees as the over-regulation of the energy industry and the continued financial problems facing the United States.

Lithium Batteries Central to Boeing’s 787 Woes

WASHINGTON — Lithium batteries that can leak corrosive fluid and start fires have emerged as the chief safety concern involving Boeing‘s 787 Dreamliner, a problem that apparently is far more serious than government or company officials acknowledged less than a week ago.

Prius named 'greenest' car, Ford F-350 'meanest'

The Toyota Prius C, the newest member of Toyota Prius “family,” has been named the nation’s “greenest” vehicle by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. At the other end of the spectrum, the ACEEE tarred the Ford F-350 as the “meanest,” or dirtiest vehicle on the road.

The organization, which describes itself as a “catalyst to advance energy efficiency,” hailed the growing number of hybrids, plug-ins, pure battery-electric vehicles and other environmental friendly vehicles now coming to market and noted that new products dominated the dozen models on its “Greenest” vehicle list.

At Under $19K for a Nissan Leaf, Does the Math on Electric Cars Finally Add Up?

For drivers in search of a vehicle strictly for mid-size commuting purposes, the Leaf makes more sense than ever. Yet for drivers who demand more in a car, the Leaf probably isn’t the solution — at any price.

Arab and South American nations unite on energy vision

Ministers and energy executives from Arab and South American countries vowed to invest more in each others' energy sectors and share technology at a summit in the capital yesterday.

A joint declaration from the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (Aspa) included sharing data on the cost of renewables and promoting investments in fossil fuels, "noting the essential value of robust exploration, production and distribution to all Aspa economies".

Town Chosen to Host Wave Energy Test Site

Rolling ocean waves could soon provide electricity for the local grid in one coastal Oregon town.

Newport, Ore., was chosen to be the host community for the future Pacific Marine Energy Center, officials announced this week. About five miles (8 kilometers) off shore, the center will test out an array of wave energy devices for their generation potential and their environmental impacts, according to a statement from Oregon State University.

Total seeks more solar energy deals with Masdar

As the region's largest solar plant nears completion in Abu Dhabi, the French oil major Total wants to extend its partnership with Masdar to other solar projects in the region.

Tenders signal Morocco's initiative on renewable energy

Morocco is cementing its regional leadership position in renewable energy with a series of new tenders.

The country is preparing a tender for the second phase of the Quarzazate solar plant after awarding the contract for the 160 megawatt first phase late last year.

China: One-child policy is here to stay

BEIJING — China has quelled speculation its controversial "one-child" policy is to be scrapped, instead announcing Wednesday that family planning laws to curb the birth rate will remain.

"The policy should be a long-term one and its primary goal is to keep a low birthrate," Wang Xia, minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said.

The pronouncement comes after months of speculation that the decades-old restriction would be abandoned.

A Rumble in the Jungle

Mercury naturally concentrates in fish, a main staple in the diet of many indigenous people. Throughout South America, hundreds of remote and previously pristine rivers have been contaminated, and researchers are finding increasing levels of mercury in many indigenous people, which over time could cause cancer and severe birth defects.

And the situation is getting worse. Historically low-tech and dependent on manual labor, artisanal mining is rapidly shifting to heavy machinery and is increasingly plugged into the global economy. Satellite images taken over the last decade show that mining’s environmental impacts have surged in direct proportion to international gold prices.

It is particularly unfortunate that these shows run on channels like History and Discovery — outlets that once capitalized on the images and stories of nature’s bounty. Tropical rivers and forests are marvelously diverse and intricate ecosystems, but the default tendency of these channels is to eschew nuanced portrayals in favor of sensationalist accounts of man-eating fish and reptiles. In this respect, it is perhaps consistent that they now exploit these habitats as a backdrop for glorified plunder.

An Inquiry Into Discolored Snow

As I wrote last Friday, after a decade of legal battles, Arizona Snowbowl recently became the world’s first ski area \to make snow totally out of wastewater, piped directly from the sewage treatment plant in neighboring Flagstaff. That the snow emerging from the snow guns was streaked with a yellow hue raised eyebrows and stirred environmental and health concerns.

Now, in response to a petition, Flagstaff’s city council voted unanimously this week to open an investigation, according to Kimberly Ott, a city spokeswoman.

Keeping the Boats Moving Along a Mississippi Dwindled by Drought

ST. LOUIS — For months along the Mississippi River here, the withering drought has caused record-breaking low water levels that have threatened to shut down traffic on the world’s largest navigable inland waterway.

That closing has not happened, however — and now officials are predicting it will not. “It looks to me like we’re about to get out of the woods here,” said Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division of the Army Corps of Engineers. “I am very confident that we will be able to sustain navigation for the rest of the season,” until the river comes up naturally with the spring rains and snow melt.

Bat Fungus Spreads in Kentucky

Officials have confirmed the presence of a deadly bat fungus in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. The fungus has already killed millions of bats across the Northeast and in the Midwest.

Why transformation of the U.S. electricity system is critical

A critical lever for addressing the United States’ contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is transformation of the electricity sector. The U.S. electricity system is responsible for about 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. And while climate is a major driver of change facing the electricity system, it is by no means the only one. Grid security, grid resilience (especially in the wake of multiple natural disasters that have left millions without power for extended periods), economic development and the increasing empowerment of customers enabled by rapidly developing technology are all equally relevant drivers of change.

Keystone XL pipeline, global warming on Obama's energy agenda

President Barack Obama's second-term energy agenda is taking shape and, despite the departure of key Cabinet officials, it looks a lot like the first: more reliance on renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and expanded production of oil and natural gas. Obama also is promising to address climate change, an issue he has acknowledged was sometimes overlooked during his first term.

Keystone’s Tar Sands Waste Said to Warm Climate More Than Coal

Refining Canada’s oil sands into gasoline may speed global warming more than previously estimated after accounting for use of a waste product, which can be burned like coal.

Opening a new front in a fight to persuade President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, environmental groups yesterday released a study that found refining the heavy material will create 5 billion tons of petroleum coke, or petcoke, that’s used by power plants, aluminum factories and steel mills.

2 Reports on Oil Sands Paint a Dire Picture

The second study, from the Canadian environmental research group Pembina, says that construction of the pipeline would bring rapid expansion of tar sands mining and greatly increase overall greenhouse gas emissions.

“Filling the Keystone XL pipeline with oils and crude will create significant greenhouse gases regardless of whether other transport options move forward,” said Nathan Lemphers, a researcher at Pembina. “Because Canada does not have a credible plan for responsibly developing the oil sands, including reducing emissions so Canada can meet its climate commitments, the pipeline should not go ahead.”

Global Warming: The Greatest Threat To Arab Economies?

The World Bank has produced a massive 450 page report on the potentially devastating impact climate change is likely to have on Arab countries. This matters to everyone and not just from the standpoint that we should all empathize with and seek to relief suffering.

From link up top High oil prices nothing to do with supply and demand, IEA head says

Record high oil prices cannot be explained by today's supply and demand levels, says the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
"The strange thing is that though demand is sufficiently supplied, the price is high, and well, this might have to do with expectations," said Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA

Hard to believe that the IEA hired a head gal who failed ECON 101.

This from her bio on Wikopedia:

After completing her secondary education she trained as a primary-school teacher in Maastricht. She went on to gain a secondary teaching certificate in English, after which she attended courses in higher management for non-profit organisations at the Institute of Social Sciences and business management at the Open University in Heerlen. From 1969 she taught at home economics schools and from 1971 at a junior secondary commercial school, where she latee became a school counsellor. Until 1987 she was head of the Adult Commercial Vocational Training Centre in Maastricht, after which she served as the head of the Limburg Technology Centre until 1991.

From 1985 to 1991 Van der Hoeven was a member of the municipal council of Maastricht. From 1991 to 2002, Member of the House of Representatives. Minister of Education, Culture and Science from 2002 to 2007 and Minister of Economic Affairs from 2007 to 2010. She has held a variety of social and cultural posts, including membership of the governing board of the Domstad Primary Teacher Training College in Utrecht and the Southern Dutch Opera Association, and membership of the ‘’t Vervolg’ theatre group.

On 11 March 2011, Van der Hoeven was appointed Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.[5][6] Her opponents have voiced concerns that he lacks expertise on energy matters, while her supporters point out that her work as Minister of Economic Affairs included many energy issues, and that she has extensive contacts with major OPEC members.[7] She took over from Nobuo Tanaka on 1 September 2011.[8]

And I guess her wage packet depends on her being a "good little girl" who knows whats best ....

Primary English school teacher who knows how to write reports for her target audience I guess....


OMG. This makes the appointment of horse-show "Heckuva Job" Brownie as FEMA director look wise in comparison. Proving once again, it's not what you know, it's who you know.

...after which she served as the head of the Limburg Technology Centre until 1991.

Most intriguing!

A quick Google search for Limburg Technology Centre turns up this link


Which then refers to this link for more information: http://www.pitt-nl.org

Firefox can't find the server at www.pitt-nl.org.

Anyone out there know exactly what The Limburg Technology Centre is or was?

The Limburg Technology Centre was established at the end of 1997 in response to the need for an educational facility. The Centre was to address the new technological developments in the industry. The new training infrastructure was to ensure that training in existing and new technologies would take place in an optimum educational context.

LIMTEC follows the technological evolutions in the industry in conjunction with suppliers of automation products.
A training centre with high didactical material assures practical experience with new techniques of high automation.

These activities are to improve the competences of the employees. Such a training centre is therefore “a must” for further development, not only for the whole sector, but also for the whole province Limburg.

to organize workshops and trainings of actual and new techniques to bring the knowledge of the employees to a higher level. The automation in the industry needs constantly training of employees.

Seems to be related to industrial automation : Hogeschool Limburg.

Tks Ghung,

Though this might be more relevant

World Energy Outlook 2012 with Maria van der Hoeven

I don't believe that's the place as it was established in 1997. The Wikipedia article says she left the Limburg Technology Centre in 1991.

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When Van der Hoeven was minister of Economic Affairs it was well known that she was very pro-industry and stalled any development towards a more level energy playing field. E.g. transforming the small PV-subsidy into a bureaucratic monster that seemed to be designed to deter anyone who wanted to install PV. I used to think that she as minister was actively solliciting for a job in the energy industry, you know, board member or whatnot. But I guess director of IEA also has a nice prestige level.

WHAT! The head of the International Energy Agency is a former teacher whose highest academic achievement is a teaching certificate, and who used to specialize in teaching home economics, not macroeconomics?

For a high profile position like this, one would think they would look for someone with an engineering or science degree, topped up with an MBA and maybe even a PhD in economics.

I think she she's monumentally unqualified for the position. In addition, note the following:

Creation commotion in Dutch parliament

In March (in her personal weblog), she remarked that she was personally attracted to the concept of Intelligent Design (ID) in relation to science education. Van der Hoeven, an active Roman Catholic who is well known for her practical approach to the problems confronting education in the Netherlands, said that she didn’t believe in ‘coincidence’1—she clearly rejects atheistic naturalism.

So now we have a former secondary school teacher and career politician who believes in Intelligent Design running the International Energy Agency. I can see where this is going in terms of scientific rigour and forecasting accuracy at the Agency.

God wouldn't let us run out of oil. Or let the earth get too warm either. Man cannot possible be a product of intelligent design because, frankly, the design sucks much of the time. I thought we just had these wackos in the U.S.A.

They have them in Europe too . . . but they tend to be wise enough to not elect them or throw them out if they manage to get in office.

No, I believe the scourge of politicised religion (ie. used to control the beliefs, opinions and actions of populations) is highly prized goal of a cadre of globalized elites. If you scratch the surface you'll probably find neocons and other such undesirables feverishly working away at their particular agendas. The Roman Catholic Church for example having sway and dominance over millions of people across national boundaries is an obvious target. Think of obnoxious individuals like the "made man" Tony Blair burrowing into the corps of Catholicism forming new networks of influence and power like a parasite within it.

When the nation states are too weak to control their populations, finance too absorbed in its own survival to maintain dominance over its victims and a World in upheaval due to collapse. There will still be systems of control and those systems are being put in place now by people who see the opportunity to hold the reins of power in the future.

As they say, the Devil never sleeps and he will probably control the Worlds hierarchical religions. Hence why I believe Islam, as a decentralised non-hierachical religion, is under systemic attack. If you cannot control it, then better destroy it.

I don't know Van der Hoeven personally but I know some people who have met her (her now deceased husband (19 years her senior) at one point was the prince of his town during carneval, something which from a social standing POV is big deal)). I'll ask my contacts tomorrow.
One bio http://www.parlement.com/id/vg09llpdhhzz/m_j_a_maria_van_der_hoeven), states that her initial education was at MULO, which back then was the lower of 2 levels of secondary education - which is skipped from most bios out there - they all start with her teachers certificate) and the link specifically mentions that she grew up in "traditional church going blue collar family".
The RC church (attendants) in the netherlands is/are not quite like the those in other parts of the world. They tend a be a whole, whole lot more liberal. Something which I do find interesting is that she grew up, went to school and had most of her career in a 25km radius of where she was born. Generally that is not conducive to a well developed world view.

Lastly, judging by the legal initiatives she initiated and supported she, even in the US, would be considered to be on the pretty far right side of the political spectrum, yet she is member of the CDA, which is a centrist party.
And yes, in 2009 she assisted in defending a decision to allow CO2 sequestration (partially under a town).
If I find out anything of interest (not just gossip) I'll relay.

Couple of datapoints:
As it turns out she got her teachers certificate by going to nightschool. not sure what she did during the day.
She had a significant say in a decision which reduced taxation on renewables installations.
Here is a quote for you:
"Math is a rational subject. And that has no place in times where everybody has a right to everything. Maria understands this and has managed to arrange that at the PABO (the school where teachers to to learn)no longer teaches this."

I think you hit the nail on the head. Just look at the last forecast.


Oh please. Where have you been. Don't you know yet that political correctness and connections are what matter to these people, qualifications be damned?

But you see, you can never admit that, can you. Because to admit that, you would have to abandon some of your core modern liberal beliefs, and I don't think you are ready to do that.

energyblues: RMG is a liberal??? Either you haven't been here long or you're just teasing. If serious I think you just PO'd a bunch of TODsters who consider themselves liberal.

Maybe s/he's using it in the global/European sense. We've run into this problem before. In most of the world, "liberal" means "libertarian."

During the presidential election, I had several Europeans/South Americans ask me why both candidates were conservative. They were not implying the Democratic party wasn't leftwing enough. Rather, in their countries, conservative and liberal mean pretty much the same thing, so listening to the American media, it sounded like both candidates were rightwingers.

That's the US sense. Core modern liberal beliefs in the rest of the world are the things you find in the US Constitution. Free speech, universal suffrage, that sort of thing.

"Liberal" also means unregulated markets, limited government, rule of law, etc. in the rest of the world- a lot of elements we in the US think of as rightwing stuff.

What is often meant by "liberal" here in the U.S. would be called "socialist" elsewhere. But that's such a loaded term in the U.S., there's no way we could use it that way.

Thanks Leanan. That makes sense since it seemed like an honest opinion. But it won't stop me from calling RMG a left wing pinko liberal net time we chat. Of course, being Canadian he'll take it politely.

Well, by Texas standards I probably am a left wing pinko liberal, but you have to consider the political spectrum there (right to extreme right).

My redneck creds are good. I did learn to shoot a gun at 6 and bought my own semiautomatic rifle at 10. I grew up in a garage because we couldn't afford a house and when the teacher in Health class asked how often I took a bath, I said, "About once every two weeks." Not having a bathtub or running water was a bit of an impediment. Living "off the grid" is not as much fun as people think it is..

But I never quite fit in. In Bible Belt country it went over particularly badly when I took a dinosaur bone I had found in the Badlands to Sunday School and asked them how it got there. Their answer, "DON'T ask questions like that!" Convinced me that I needed to look elsewhere for answers.

University seemed the right place to get answers, although many of the ones I found seem to be at variance with "modern liberal beliefs". I did sell the automatic rifle, though, so all the liberals around here are safe. All three of them. It's not really redneck country, but you don't have to get far into the hills to find them.

i think in europe the word libertarian is rather unknown to the general public. and i guess liberal means simply right wing. i wonder what would be the official translation of the word liberal from american english to british english and vice versa.

on the other hand the word libertarian has (at least) two widely different meanings. you know the american way. but originally the word was associated with anarchists (again the word anarchist in the original sense, not the way it's used now). perhaps the first use of the word libertarian was this ( written in new orleans in 1857)


Anarchiste juste-milieu, libéral et non LIBERTAIRE, vous voulez le libre échange pour le coton et la chandelle, et vous préconisez des systèmes protecteurs de l'homme contre la femme

free translation: so called anarchist, liberal and not libertarian, you want free trade for cotton, but you are against equality of man and woman.

you would have to abandon some of your core modern liberal beliefs

My what? I think you're confusing me with someone completely different.

Sad times indeed ...

The recent "questioning initiative" from ASPO USA towards the EIA is a great move.

Would be good is some form of equivalent could be done towards the IEA.

Their track records in terms of forecast is rather clear.

Plus for me one can safely say these days that the numbers put in the reports are lies, in the sense that they do not represent what the analysts of these agencies would bet their own money on (they are not the best output of their data and knowledge).

What is really strange these days is the interaction between climate and ressource aspects and the associated organisations :
- Strong scientific integrity is expected from the IPCC, and it seems to me overall it is there (and the IPCC is based on the scientific community)
- The IEA has never been really a scientific community organisation, more in between information and policy agency or something (but also the domain is inherently "data based" in the end, with said data that cannot be gathered independently)
- The resource constraints message although much simpler to understand that the climate one is much tougher to give, so that both agency rely on the climate message, and the "factual reporting" on the ressource constraints aspects is turning more and more towards propaganda...

- Strong scientific integrity is expected from the IPCC, and it seems to me overall it is there (and the IPCC is based on the scientific community)
- The IEA has never been really a scientific community organisation, more in between information and policy agency or something (but also the domain is inherently "data based" in the end, with said data that cannot be gathered independently)

That has bothered me as well. I've been wanting to do a comparison between the methodologies of the IPCC and the IEA, but whereas the IPCC report and most of their sources are open access, the IEA wants you to pay handsomely for their report. Only the executive summary is free, but I doubt there's much on methodology in there. I still have to read it though.

Does anyone know if there's a way to get the full 2012 WEO for free?

Does anyone know if there's a way to get the full 2012 WEO for free?

Try this link:


I have to admit this document is also called WEO 2012, but I was actually interested in the World Energy Outlook, not the World Economic Outlook. But thanks for the effort.

Been looking around a bit, couldn't find it, but clearly for me the info provided doesn't represent the best of their knowledge.

Somebody like Olivier Rech, who worked for the IEA from 2007 2009, and now consulting and member of ASPO France, could probably tell more.

But it has been the case for a long time, in fact in 1998 they tried making an honest report, resulting in most of the team being fired :

And so late now ...

Not directly related to of the articles but I hope it's fine to ask anyways: I have seen a lot of discussion on the Oil Drum about Bakken oil production, the Red Queen and son on, but actually the biggest increase in the US has come from Texas, supposedly the most explored and drilled place on earth. And yet monthly production is back to a level last seen in 1987 – so what gives?

what gives?

Shale rock, under the pressure of hydraulic fracturing. (literally)

What gives? All these prospects with companies knew about for years -decades probably, now look attractive because oil prices are several times higher than they used to be. So what we've seen is I think a response to the runup in oil prices of a few years ago. If we want production to keep increasing, once the current batch of now worth doing prospects are done and gone, is an even higher price, to free up a bunch of even more expensive to produce oil. As long as the rate of recent price increases is high enough, we will have oil. [The downside is that constantly increasing price is hell for consumers]

eos - Exactly. That's what so irritating to see the MSM and some of Big Oil offering that some new trend or tech as been discovered. IOW satisfying cornucopian dreams of a magic bullet showing up just in the nick of time to deliver us cheap energy again. Just like the dry gas shale boom brought so much NG to the market and knocked the price down. But that caused the dry gas shales to drop activity significantly. Many folks just can't get their heads around the time lags in the oil patch.

Consider the EOR project I pursueing right now. I developed this idea in the late 90's and wasn't able to sell it until oil prices came up along with the drop in NG helping some. This is one of the reasons west Texas has boomed so hard. I just posted a note about the Sprayberry trend out there. At one time it was considered the largest deposit of "unrecoverable oil" on the planet. Unrecoverable because the previous low prices didn't make it economic to develop. If the MSM wasn't so fixated on the Eagle Ford, Marcellus and Bakken they would be hyping the discover of the "new" Spraberry Field.

Hypnos - Details:


“The exponential increases in Texas crude oil over the last two years have been largely the result of the dramatic increases in oil being produced in the state’s 400-mile long Eagle Ford shale formation in south central Texas, which was only recently discovered in 2008. Eagle Ford crude production has more than doubled over the last year, from 120,532 barrels per day in July 2011 to more than 310,000 barrels per day in July of this year, according to a recent Reuters report, and now accounts for about 16% of the state’s monthly oil output.”

Some clarifications. The EFS was not “discovered in 2008” It was discovered many decades ago. I drilled and frac’d my first and only EFS over 25 years ago. What happened in 2008 was a huge increase in drilling as a result of higher oil prices and, IMHO, a lack of conventional oil prospects in the US for the pubcos.

The increase in Texas production wasn’t due just to the EFS but also to the Permian Basin. The surge in Texas oil production began during 2009. As seen below a significant portion of the increase came from west Texas. With all the MSM hype about the EFS folks weren’t paying attention to the tremendous increase in activity in the PB. The EIA forecasts the PB to continue to dominate not just the EFS but all the plays in the Gulf Coast Basin portion of Texas:


“Texas oil production has increased about 770,000 bbl/d since January 2009, and in June 2012 averaged 1.9 million bbl/d. Texas has seen the largest volumetric increase of any state. The Permian Basin, which was already producing significant quantities of conventional oil, has experienced increases in oil production from both conventional and shale plays. EIA forecasts Western Gulf Basin production to rise to almost 930,000 bbl/d and Permian Basin production to reach 1.55 million bbl/d by January 2014.”

So some of it is more shale/tight oil, but I also saw some articles pointing out that some of the Permian Basin is conventional. Has there also been an increase in production from conventional plays, or is it also mostly shale? If so, is Texas operating under the same "Red Queen" environment that should affect the Bakken?

Thanks for your quick replies!

Hypnos - As far as Texas shale production goes it's probably more Red Queenish than the Bakken. Both have those high decline rates associated with fracture production but the Bakken appears to have a better long term tail than the Eagle Ford.

Hi Rockman,

As always, thanks for filling us in.

For the Permian Basin, the page at the RRC seems to indicate that the top 10 fields are mostly in decline since about 2005, the exception is the Spraberry trend area where output has been increasing since 2006. Also note that from 2007 to 2011, the increased output from the Permian basin in Texas was only about 80 kb/day, while the Spraberry increased by about 100 kb/day, the other fields declined in total by about 20 kb/d from 2007 to 2011.


The following links are graphs from RRC:

Is the output from the Spraberry mostly tight oil? Thanks.



DC – Thanks for the numbers…didn’t have time to dig for details. Here’s your Sprayberry story. Just like the Eagle Ford and many of the other “new discoveries” the play has been known for about a half century. Same old story: get oil prices high enough and what’s old (or “unknown”) suddenly becomes a great new discovery the oil patch has missed for decades.

The Spraberry Trend is itself part of a larger oil-producing region known as the Spraberry-Dean Play, within the Midland Basin. Discovery and development of the field began in the early 1950s. The oil in the Spraberry proved difficult to recover. After about three years of enthusiastic drilling, during which most of the initially promising wells showed precipitous and mysterious production declines, the area was dubbed the world's largest unrecoverable oil reserve.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy ranked The Spraberry Trend third in the United States by total proved reserves, and seventh in total production. Estimated reserves for the entire Spraberry-Dean unit exceed 10 billion barrels and by the end of 1994 the field had reported a total production of 924 million barrels. All of the Spraberry Trend oil fields produce from a single enormous sedimentary unit known as the Spraberry Sand, which consists of complexly mixed fine sandstone and calcareous or silicate mudstone and siltstone of Permian age. The sands are interbedded with shales. Unlike many of the oil-bearing rocks of West Texas the Spraberry Sands have very low porosity and permeability which hamper oil recovery. The rocks are naturally fractured, further complicating hydrocarbon flow.

Shaley rocks make up about 90% of the Spraberry, with the oil-bearing sands and siltstones present sometimes in thin layers between them. The best producing zone is at an average depth of 6,800 feet across the entire region, which is about 150 miles long by 70 wide.

You may recall that I tried to do an analysis on recent Texas trends like I did for Bakken, but the mix of conventional and fracture production wells in the data makes it impossible to make any sense out of the analysis. i.e. Long tails from conventional sites mixed with returns from the tight oil locations.

In other words, nothing in the Texas data is labelled as conventional versus unconventional.

Is that why you are looking at individual areas such as Spraberry?

I have a feeling that is the only way to approach it -- single out the known tight oil regions and not mix those with other areas.

I am maintaining a list of global temperature anomaly. It is the GISS data supplied by NASA at the link below, with my own notes added to it.

Data here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.txt

Last years data came 2 days ago, and I just got the URL to work properly.

Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index (C) (Anomaly with Base: 1951-1980)
 Year  Annual_Mean 5-year_Mean  Last Year          First Year      
------------------------------- This Cold          This Warm
 1880     -0.27         *                          1890 -0.27 
 1881     -0.19         *                          1881 -0.19 
 1882     -0.25     -0.26
 1883     -0.26     -0.26
 1884     -0.31     -0.28
 1885     -0.30     -0.30
 1886     -0.27     -0.30

snip to shorten list

 1996      0.29      0.38     1996  0.29
 1997      0.41      0.40                          1997  0.41      TOP Ten Warmest
 1998      0.58      0.39                          1998  0.58      1998 3  0.58
 1999      0.33      0.43     1999  0.33
 2000      0.35      0.46     2000  0.35
 2001      0.48      0.46
 2002      0.56      0.49                                          2002 6  0.56
 2003      0.56      0.54                                          2003 6  0.56
 2004      0.49      0.56                                          
 2005      0.62      0.56                          2005  0.62      2005 2  0.62
 2006      0.55      0.54                                          2006 9  0.55
 2007      0.58      0.55                                          2007 3  0.58
 2008      0.44      0.56     2008  0.44
 2009      0.57      0.55                                          2009 5  0.57
 2010      0.63      0.57                          2010  0.63      2010 1  0.63
 2011      0.51         *     2011  0.51                           2011 10 0.51
 2012      0.56         *     2012  0.56                           2012 6  0.56

2012 makes it position 6 on the top ten warmest list, sharing it with 2002 and 2003. 2004 is popped out of the top ten with its puny 0.49. Note that since 1997, all years has been on the list at at least one time. Old timer 1998 share its 3:rd position with 2007.

In a closer analysis, 0.56 used to be a cold year, compared to years in the period, now it is filling the gap between cold and warm. Does this mean that the unusually cold years (relatively speaking) has become warmer? I think so.

Let us have a look at the top ten coldest years also.

Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index (C) (Anomaly with Base: 1951-1980)
 Year  Annual_Mean 5-year_Mean  Last Year       First Year      Top Ten Coldest
------------------------------- This Cold       This Warm
 1887     -0.34     -0.27                                       1887 -0.34  4
 1888     -0.27     -0.29
 1889     -0.16     -0.29                       1889 -0.15
 1890     -0.39     -0.28                                       1890 -0.39  1
 1891     -0.27     -0.29
 1892     -0.32     -0.33                                       1892 -0.32  10
 1893     -0.33     -0.30                                       1893 -0.33  8
 1894     -0.34     -0.28                                       1894 -0.34  4       
 1895     -0.26     -0.24
 1896     -0.17     -0.23                       
 1897     -0.13     -0.19                       1896 -0.13
 1898     -0.25     -0.15
 1899     -0.14     -0.15
 1900     -0.08     -0.17                       1900 -0.08
 1901     -0.14     -0.18
 1902     -0.24     -0.22
 1903     -0.30     -0.25
 1904     -0.34     -0.26                                       1904 -0.34  4
 1905     -0.24     -0.29
 1906     -0.18     -0.29
 1907     -0.39     -0.29     1907 -0.39                        1907 -0.39  1
 1908     -0.32     -0.31                                        
 1909     -0.34     -0.34                                       1909 -0.34  4
 1910     -0.32     -0.32                                         
 1911     -0.33     -0.32                                       1911 -0.33  8
 1912     -0.30     -0.27
 1913     -0.29     -0.23
 1914     -0.13     -0.22
 1915     -0.08     -0.23
 1916     -0.28     -0.24
 1917     -0.37     -0.25     1917 -0.37                        1917 -0.37  3

All neatly packed in at the period 1887-1917. But they are spread out over a longer period. The difference between the top ten warmest and coldest demonstrates very well that tempertures are changing right now in a way they did not do when the top ten cold list was settled.

For reference, my guess for 2012 was 0.59. It was off by 0.03.

Great data. The trend in the five year mean from '96 onwards is very strong. What do you mean that .56 used to be a cold year?

I think he means 2012 is a La Nina year, which we expect to be cold, but it's still 0.56*C above the 1951-1980 mean.

That makes sense. 2012 was very warm (in fact a record) for a La Nina year.

ISTR it was an El Nino year but, after a slow start, the trend petered out to a neutral year. I may be remembering wrong.


It was neither...it was a La Nada year.

ENSO = El Nino Southern Oscillation (the scientific term)
Red means El Nino conditions (oceans transfer heat to atmosphere), blue means la nina conditions (atmosphere transfers heat to ocean).

Looks like it was indeed a La Nada year...

This graph also explains the 1998 outlier.

That graph also scares the bejesus out of me considering the implications of what would happen if another 1998 like El-Nino event were to occur now.

Well, I can't explain the diff btwn your graph and take with his, but Jeff Masters clearly calls 2012 a La Nina year: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2328

The year 2012 was the warmest year on record when a La Niña event was present, surpassing the previous record set just the year before, in 2011. Global temperatures were 0.09°C (0.16°F) cooler than the record warmest year for the planet (2010), and 2012 would very likely have been the warmest on record had an El Niño event been present instead of a La Niña, as seen by looking at the year-to-date global temperature plot for 2012.

Smiley face

And having had my climatological thermostat set in the 60's & 70's in a place (northern NY's Adirondacks) that then had reliably hard winters, and has warmed more than the global avg, I can tell you that the impact is stark and unmistakable. Winter (defined as a foot+ of snow on the ground and daily high temps staying below freezing) used to set in during the first week of Dec without fail. Many winter nights of -20F or colder would occur every year, and seasonal snow pack of 3-4 ft. was common. Anything less than 30" of snow during Jan/Feb/early Mar was a dearth. Now, nights that cold or that much snow is a 'big deal'. Conversely, back then a day above freezing was a big deal, whereas now it is de rigueur. My theory is that if you grew up where winter temps oscillated above/below freezing, and therefore snowcover waxed and waned, it's much harder to notice the difference than in a place that has gone from true hard winters to the waxing and waning type. But of course my 25-35 yr old nephews who still live there year round don't know what it used to be like, so can't see the change.

Going through the NOAA archives, 2012 started with a La Nina which petered out in April. Neutral conditions existed for a while until a borderline El Nino was reached but that petered out. I guess it was the second part that I recalled.


Yes if you take a 5-10 year running average all that nonsense about temperatures staying still for the last 15 years goes out of the window. That makes sense too since weather and climate is an inherently noisy system. Here's the complete data set http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

A five year running graph looks like a hockey stick. A far cry from the temperatures have not changed in the last 15 years dubious argument.

And on that note

Looks like Sydney had it's hottest day 'ever' (in recorded history). Temperature records seem to be falling like dominoes everywhere.

A better way is to remove other known influences on temperature. Here's an excellent video showing the process: youtube

*clap clap*

Is there a way to add more data to track?

Yes, just add more data from more sources. What I do is I just copy the data from the link above and add some notes about the top ten coldest and warmest (the coldest top 10 hasn't changed since 1917) and when record heat are set, plus "anti-records", last year it was so cold ever.

(IEA:) “All of a sudden, the market looks tighter than we thought,” the Paris-based agency said, boosting its 2013 global demand forecast by 240,000 barrels a day.

"All of a sudden" indeed. Haven't the IEA's forecasts been proving too optimistic on a regular basis for years now? If the IEA is saying the market looks tight, what are we in for?

The Guardian has an article today:

Climate change and resource scarcity may wipe out pensions industry

New report from Anglia Ruskin University shows that actuaries, charged with risk management in the financial sector, have ignored the greatest risk of all time

The Resource Constraints research report, published by the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, is blunt and worth quoting: "The more extreme scenarios modelled represent financial disaster; the assets of pension schemes will effectively be wiped out and pensions will be reduced to negligible levels."

. . .

The report goes on to say: "Were the global economy to go into long-term decline, the legal basis on which financial products sit could conceivably be undermined, and the sponsor employer may no longer exist to pay contributions. The financial markets may also cease to exist, at least in their current form, and hence the projection would become meaningless."

As Michael Lewis noted in his recent book, "Boomerang," a lot of local governments, especially in California, are on track to consist of little more than a small staff that collects taxes and forwards virtually all tax revenue to retirees. And of course, most public pension systems are assuming a (highly unrealistic) estimate of 7% to 8% on future annual returns. Of course, the lower the actual investment return, the larger the unfunded pension obligation.

In any case, if we assume flat to declining tax revenue, combined with rising retirement obligations (especially as investment returns continue to disappoint), it seems to me that the net result would be an accelerating rate of decline in services provided to the taxpayers, perhaps even as governments try (probably) unsuccessfully to raise tax revenue, by raising tax rates.

From an Amazon review of "Boomerang"

Quoting Lewis quote UCLA neuroscientist Peter Whybrow in the book's last chapter (on California's financial problems, not European countries), Lewis writes, "'Human beings are wandering around with brains that are fabulously limited. We've got the core of the average lizard.' Wrapped around this reptilian core is a mammalian layer (associated with maternal concern and social interaction), and around that is wrapped a third layer, which enables feats of memory and the capacity for abstract thought. 'The only problem is our passions are still driven by the lizard core.' Even a person on a diet who sensibly avoids coming face-to-face with a piece of chocolate cake will find it hard to control himself if the chocolate cake somehow finds him. Every pastry chef in America understands this, and now nueroscience does, too. 'In that moment the value of eating the chocolate cake exceeds the value of the diet. We cannot think down the road when we are faced with the chocolate cake.' ... Everywhere you turn you see Americans sacrifice their long-term interests for a short-term reward."

"'Human beings are wandering around with brains that are fabulously limited. We've got the core of the average lizard.' Wrapped around this reptilian core is a mammalian layer (associated with maternal concern and social interaction), and around that is wrapped a third layer, which enables feats of memory and the capacity for abstract thought.

If that isn't bad enough we also have a technological system that uses the fact to essentially control us. Hence why the constant technological progress and advancement cannot be stopped, even if it kills us all. The System needs energy, every bit it can effectively use, so all the oil, gas, coal, etc. will be burned and a 6 degree world will arrive in less than a human lifetime.

But, hey! There will still be chocolate cake, so it can't be that bad. Right?

To put it in a less forensic perspective, I turn to Einstein for a minute..

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Dopamine, where are you?

Thanks Gail for the link. I gather that if any group 'gets it', it is actuaries.
There is a 'perspective' review in Science this week on climate science modeling, which suggests that the maximum warming relative to pre-industrial times is nearly proportional (linearly) with the total of emitted anthropogenic carbon. (This was a surprise to me, because heat trapping by CO2 by itself in the atmosphere is not linearly proportional to its trace gas concentration.) The conclusion drawn as to what is 'already baked in the cake' and the very rapid loss of options for gaining some 'control' is summed up in the title 'The Closing Door of Climate Targets'. As the poet said, the aspiration to 'hang your hat on a pension' is not realistic.

Kickstarter Project Team Claims Its LED Bulb World's Most Efficient (w/Video)

... The trio at NanoLight have come up with a unique way to deal with the heat that is produced when using strong LED's, they've physically connected them to small circuit boards which dissipate the heat. The circuit boards are then cut to fit together, like a 3D jigsaw puzzle, to form a rough facsimile of an incandescent light bulb. Using this design, the team is offering three different types of bulbs.

The first is listed as using 10 watts of power to produce what they say is the equivalent light output of a 75 watt incandescent bulb. The second consumes 12 watts and is claimed to produce the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. The third option is apparently the same as the second except it produces more light. Because of heat sink issues, most large makers of LED bulbs aren't offering bulbs that are supposed to be comparable to a 100 watt incandescent bulb, which might be a good selling point for the bulbs from NanoLight.

New Material for Warm-White LEDs Invented

... The material that Pan and his colleagues fabricated meets both thresholds, with a correlated color temperature of less than 4,000 kelvins and a color rendering index of 85.

Ugh. I still think we need to ditch the form factor of the light bulb. A point source of light is terrible since it creates shadows and concentrates the heat. It is just an artifact of the incandescent bulb.

I guess we are basically doing what happened with keyboards. The QWERTY keyboard was actually designed to slow typists down because the fast typists were jamming up the keyboard. And now we are stuck with it.

Ok - so the lightbulb design blows LEDs.

What is the "proper" design? And how can us DIYers go and buy/build such a design?

I don't know. Maybe there should not be one since LEDs last so long that you might as well just throw out the fixture. Actually, that is probably what you will end up doing because it will probably be some driver chip, solder joint, mechanical aspect that burns out before he LED.

But it could be bars, panels, strips, etc. I think strips is going to be a big one.

The bulb is never going away but some alternative would be very welcome because the bulb shape is hostile toward LEDs and does a poor job of distributing light more evenly.

No Ugh here. I like it.

Yes, it carries a legacy of form, but I don't agree with your objections. I feel that shadows are very useful to design INTO a lighting plan, since they provide your optical center with very useful imformation to clarify what you're seeing.

The point often missed is the old room plan, with a source hanging in the center of the ceiling, often casting shadows of YOU right onto anything you're working on at the edges of the room, where tables and countertops will often be positioned.

As with the QWERTY standard (and I laughed because I looked down to find "QWERTY"!!) I acknowledge that we are all too familiar with the habit of such setups, but with all the new development out there in touchscreens and FabLabs reimagining the user interface ..(and others doing this with lighting design.. learning from the classic painters who would frequently incorporate a strong Key light, but also know how to use soft fills and edge lighting as well to find a balance that left the eye and mind well pleased!!) I have to suggest that we are really Not stuck at all.. but as with the steampunkers, we've got chances to look at the opportunitites in the OLD as well as the NEW, and will find new combinations that might feel much like old standards, but we'll see when the best from both worlds has been successfully married.

Personally, I am frequently annoyed by the camping lanterns that come out, looking just like old flame lanterns, and which still put that lamp glare right in your eyes, and simultaneously do NOT effectively light what you'll need to see! .. and they STILL don't usually have very useful mounting and aiming options. Amateurs!

.. While this LED would be perfect in my favorite WorkLight Mods of today, which is to Salvage a classic Articulated Desk Lamp (ala PIXAR, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdtHSyfcSDs ), and line the reflector hood with Aluminum Heater Tape as a better reflecting surface, and rework the rigging to have the lamp not on those articulated springs, but to give it a simple 3/8" post which gets held by a basic wooden swivelling connector and wing nuts, off to another 3/8" Bolt and Spring Clamp or such.. Finally, extending the Hood with a hoop of black Gaffer's tape, to shield you from that glare, which otherwise quickly undermines the effectiveness of most task lights.. This has been very effective with CFLs, and I expect will be even more wonderful with these LED bulbs. (ps, the BEST of these Lamps have a removable hood that twist-locks.. though I'm not sure if I need this feature.. I just like having options at the ready!

Don't worry, bulbs are never going to go away. But they are just not a very efficient system and they are hostile toward LEDs. Although we clearly can make LED bulbs (and are doing so), the LEDs in the bulbs could have been laid out in a different manner that would output the light in a more efficient manner and be cheaper to build (since there would be less heat issues).

Bulbs are so lame that we have had to invent all sorts of things to change them. We have reflectors around them when we want to direct light. We put lamp shades on them because the light is too bright directly (thus literally wasting much of the light energy with absorption).

Sorry, Spec, but this sounds like a bit of a rant worthy of those Anti-car discussions.

Having a light source in an Omnidirectional configuration is good for a good number of applications.. and of course is inappropriate for many others. Dark Lampshades and Deep Ceiling Cans are poor and wasteful spots to put any omnidir. bulbs into, I agree.. but putting a broad source into a good diffuser, like a paper lantern is a very productive and attractive light source. Likewise, using a bulb as a defacto point source at the focus of a reflector is also completely appropriate.

All of these little directional LED's coming out have simply put the reflectors and optics that are redirecting a point source onto a different (but not always better) scale.

One of my first Phillips L-prize LEDs is going into a vintage Medical Reflector Housing, where the directional beam is both well-focused, but also coming from a broad enough diameter that it makes a simply excellent work-light, as the hand-shadows over my work are very soft edged.

'Bulbs are so lame..' Oh, all right! I think maybe you just needed some eye-rolling practise. Good Work!

Hey Bob,

I have about thirty lighting projects on the go, but one in particular stands out from the rest. I won't bother to go into the details now, but here's an example of savings potential: the front airlock is illuminated by six 175-watt metal halide fixtures; with ballast, we're looking at 1,230-watts to illuminate a space (24x7 as it turns out) that I'm guessing is no larger than 10 m2 and that has ample daylight (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/NovaScotiaArchives...). The fixtures are 347-volts, but we can switch the feed to a 120-volt panel, by-pass the ballast and retrofit with 18-watt EnduraLED PAR38s -- 1,100-watts in savings even before stepping through the front doors.


Cough, splutter, 1k2W to light up an entrance!!! What do they think they are, a Hollywood premier showing?


('bought 17m^2)

The conference room where we had our introductory meeting is illuminated by eight 200-watt A21 incandescents housed inside tall, slender recessed pots, and the larger meeting space next to it has sixteen 200-watt A21 incandescents. There are, if my counts are correct, seventy-seven 90-watt PAR38 halogens in the front lobby and adjoining gallery space, and one hundred and fifty-four F34T12s suspended above a wooden bulkhead with cross members spaced 10 to 12 cm apart. As you would expect, most of this light is lost inside the plenum. My intention is to replace the strips with a limited number of LED heads tucked discretely within the crib work, shooting light down through the openings wherever it is needed. By adopting a more theatrical/minimalist approach (as opposed to carpet bombing the space as it is now) we can cut this portion of their lighting load by 90 per cent and hopefully add to the visual interest of the space.


Who designs lighting systems in new buildings? Is it the architects, or do they farm the detail design out to consultants?

The building in question was designed back in the mid to late 1970's and opened its doors in 1980. Presumably, the lighting was handled by a lighting designer/engineer in consultation with the chief architect. The problem seems to be that these folks don't generally place a high priority on energy efficiency, and we tend to see many of the same "mistakes" being repeated even to this today. Grated, things are getting better, but we're not there yet.


Yeh, it is a little frightening that architects and builders are still designing the old ways. Here they use 8' T12 instant start tubes as standard, even in new builds, and the fittings they use - shudder! They are mostly installed in ways that minimise the effectiveness of the lighting too.


It does blow the mind to think of how much energy is being blindly (ahem!) wasted in ridiculous light fixtures.

I wonder how hot it gets in the ceiling above all those 200s, or did they install an AC to keep that one kosher?

I was given a tour of the mechanical penthouse and saw their air handling system. You don't want to know !

I'm really excited about this project and, at the same time, scared out of my mind. Lighting art galleries is taking me way out of my comfort zone and the client has very specific requirements/expectations, so I anticipate that there will be plenty of mock-ups/proof-of-concepts/hand holding along the way. One key advantage going into this is that these LED lamps don't generate UV. Did I mention that every fluorescent lamp in this building is enclosed within special plastic sleeves to reduce the risk of UV damage?

I'll be channelling you throughout this project, Bob.


I am frequently annoyed by the camping lanterns

I used to pick up these old Burgess Safari Lights at garage sales for a couple bucks. I would then gut the insides and install a 12V driver for the flourescent light.

I have rebuilt this one for the third time now with 5050 strips, a 3W MR-11, and an inverter which will drive an L-Prize light. All powered by a 5AH AGM battery.


If you want to fit into existing fixtures, you can't depart too much from the traditional shape/size. Since retrofits will dominate the market, the screw in Edison replacements will have the most volume. This should function like electronics, whatever technology captures the most marketshare improves the fastest, and ends up the run away winner.

USB 3 is supposed to be designed to be useful for domestic DC wiring.

At which point the Edison socket can be retired forever.

Imagine 2 or 3 AC to DC converters in your home, supplying USB power to every device that can use it instead of 120VAC. That's enough for all your entertainment and lighting needs, leaving only washers/dryers/refrigeration to run on mainline AC.

USB-3 would not be a usable candidate for home lighting as it is limited to 4.5 watts of transmitted power.

In California our electrical code allows low power circuits with no more than 1 amp, and 50 volts to be installed unprotected by conduit, or in walls. This opens up a huge area for innovative design, because LED fixtures do not have to have facilities to replace LEDs. Except for infant mortality solid state lighting systems would be obsolete before they wear out.

Stick down hidden light strips to illuminate ceiling coves. PAR lamps in one to five watt fixtures without the need to install boxes. CAT 5 cable with punch-down connections. Many item that would never be thought of if you had to wire everything at 120 volts.

The second consumes 12 watts and is claimed to produce the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent light bulb.

Seraph, interesting to see the progress.

Best hopes for more efficient lighting.

'Judas' Fish Could Help Wipe Out Asian Carp

Sorensen said the lessons learned elsewhere using "Judas" animals to locate and kill unwanted species could be used here to fight Asian carp. They are called "Judas" animals because, as the biblical reference implies, they betray.

Radio-collared Judas pigs, sheep and goats have been released into the wild, then tracked until they lead officials to difficult-to-find herds of the same unwanted species.

"Basically most animals are really social, so they are very good at finding each other," Sorensen said. "Then they send in the helicopters and blast them."

This week, he will use Judas fish implanted with tracking devices to locate the common carp in Staring Lake in Eden Prairie. Though carp are dispersed in lakes during the summer, they congregate in the winter, and the Judas fish reveal to researchers exactly where they are.

... works with humans too.

whoa - has the US military thought of that........

"Basically most humans are really social, so they are very good at finding each other," ...... "Then they send in the helicopters and blast them."

be aware all !!!


Or they send in the drones at weddings

...and funerals.

Saves a step.


"Double Tap"
This is one of the strategies the US has been using, basically adopted from terrorists, where they do an initial strike...then they wait until other people show up to help (often "first responders" such as firefighters, police, and helpful neighbors) - and bomb them again.

Drone Fleet To Expand- Civilian Death Statistics
Drone Strikes: Where Are Obama's Tears For Those Child Victims?
Drone Strikes Kill Numerous Civilians - Report

s/helicopters/drones or UAVs/g

Melt Ponds Cause the Arctic Sea Ice to Melt More Rapidly

... Sea ice physicists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have now measured the light transmission through the Arctic sea ice for the first time on a large scale, enabling them to quantify consequences of this change. They come to the conclusion that in places where melt water collects on the ice, far more sunlight and therefore energy is able to penetrate the ice than is the case for white ice without ponds. The consequence is that the ice is absorbing more solar heat, is melting faster, and more light is available for the ecosystems in and below the ice.

... "The young thin ice with the many melt ponds does not just permit three times as much light to pass through than older ice. It also absorbs 50 per cent more solar radiation. This conversely means that this thin ice covered by melt ponds reflects considerably fewer sun rays than the thick ice. Its reflection rate is just 37 per cent. The young ice also absorbs more solar energy, which causes more melt. The ice melts from inside out to a certain extent,"

Positive feedback loop. Supports PIOMAS ice-free arctic estimate

Its good to see the numbers. Before all I read just said -more is transmitted. But "more " is pretty meaningless without numbers. Now this picture says, 7% more of the solar input is heating the water, and 18% more of the solar input is melting the ice. Throw in the power of sunlight, and those really are big numbers!

During summer solstice, that solar input is 500W/m2 at the North pole. Somewhat counterintuitively, the North pole receives more solar energy at the summer solstice than the equator. See this site for the interesting graph at the bottom.

18% of 500W is 90W, which is enough heat to melt an extra mm of ice per hour. If there's no clouds, anyway.

Study Finds Severe Climate Jeopardizing Amazon Forest

An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

... This megadrought caused widespread changes to the forest canopy that were detectable by satellite. The changes suggest dieback of branches and tree falls, especially among the older, larger, more vulnerable canopy trees that blanket the forest.

"Our results suggest that if droughts continue at five- to 10-year intervals or increase in frequency due to climate change, large areas of the Amazon forest are likely to be exposed to persistent effects of droughts and corresponding slow forest recovery," he said. "This may alter the structure and function of Amazonian rainforest ecosystems."

also http://www.pnas.org/content/110/2/565

Looking at the maps that come with those links just makes me depressed.

Cusco isn't exactly far from all the areas marked in red - not that it will really matter where you live if the Amazon forest ecosystem starts to collapse.

The region is suffering crazy weather right now, 2009 saw the highest river level ever recorder on the Amazon at 29.77m, 2010 saw the lowest level ever recorded. But also in 2009 Lake Titicaca was at it's lowest level in 60 years and in 2010 the Cusco region suffered major flooding.





I know that linking areas such as Cusco and Lake Titicaca to weather patterns in the Amazon basin are spurious, however I'm just trying to demonstrate that the weather patterns have gone a little of kilter recently.

Here in Cusco the seasons (all 2 of them) have been completely off the past year. The dry season is supposed to start by April and be in full force by mid July yet we were having heavy rains in mid July. Equally the rain which is supposed to start in October didn't arrive until December and whereas we're supposed to have heavy rain every day for the next 6 weeks to 2 months I'm looking out the window to sunny skies.

Cusco is on the west side of the Andes divide, the Amazon is on the east. Isn't the weather almost totally different on either side. Not sure is an Amazon drought would affect you? Or does it effect the snow/runoff from the high peaks that drain to either side?

Never been there. In my youth I knew an prof who spent every summer there climbing mountains. This mild manned white haired old man supposedly had more first assents of twenty thousand foot peaks than anyone else. It may be poor, but its an awesome place.

Cuzco is east of the continental divide, which lies surprisingly close to the Pacific Ocean. The official source of the Amazon/Apurimac in Arequipa Dept. lies only 160 km/100 miles from the Pacific. Cuzco is very much subject to Amazon basin weather patterns and climate trends.

Japan to Replace Nuclear Plant with World's Largest Wind Farm

Officials in Japan have announced plans for building the largest wind farm in the world, ten miles off the coast of Fukushima – site of the nuclear disaster that followed the earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation in 2011. Projections call for developing a wind farm capable of producing 1 gigawatt of power.

... Instead of anchoring each turbine directly to the ocean floor [earthquakes would snap them like matchsticks], the plan is to mount them on floating steel frames that will be anchored to the continental shelf below. To keep them upright, ballast will be used underneath. The plans also call for using 2 megawatt turbines, each standing 200 meters high. The site was chosen due to the existing infrastructure that had been used to transport power from the Daiichi plant before its destruction.

Fukushima prefecture has stated its goal of becoming 100 percent energy self-sufficient by the year 2040. In addition to the wind farm, plans are also being drawn up for the biggest solar farm in the country.

... and if they had done this before building the NPP they would still be able to live and grow food in that perfecture.

TEPCO: Record High Radiation Level Found In Fish

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said caesium equivalent to 254,000 becquerels per kilogramme—or 2,540 times more than the government seafood limit—was detected in a "murasoi" fish.

... and this is measuring only one isotope source.

We were just discussing the idea of using land contaminated with nuclear accident radioactive waste for energy production in yesterday's drumbeat. It works so well . . . there is no one around to complain about the windmills/solar panels and the transmission infrastructure is already in place.

I'm just going to take a long hot soak in that first article, and say little more.. coming down from the previous Drumbeat! Mostly I watched but it made me really tired!

Meanwhile, sharply colder in Maine, but bright and sunny. Time to put up another batch of Solar Heating Panels on my roofie! (I think one might just have a hammock inside, so I can climb up there with a book.. or The Oil Drum?!, and soak it up on days like this! Work on my Vit D and Vit. Peace of Mind quotas a bit..)


...Vit. Peace of Mind ...

Sometimes called Vit. N (replenished by access to nature). IIRC (but can't find now) we had mention of work that time spent in nature helped maintain clearheadedness. Will be much needed as things start to unravel; and likely in as short supply as oil.


A jog through a forest can cut the risk of suffering from mental health problems and is twice as good for you as working out in the gym, according to a survey.

I can't find the article now, but New Scientist published a study that said trees emit chemicals that have a calming effect on humans. They surmised that because of our arboreal past we instinctively feel at home in forests.

I believe it. After reading that I started eating my lunch under a clump of trees near my workplace. Being there definitely had stress-lowering properties.

I believe it, too. What E.O. Wilson calls "biophilia."

Water seems to be especially attractive to humans. Streams, lakes, rivers, oceans. You can see how this would have served us well in the past. But now it's leading us to settle in harm's way as sea levels rise.

Found this blog recently: http://www.tosimplify.net/2010/03/kernville.html

In this entry, he concurs: I have a developing theory that one's proximity to a body of water when sleeping is directly proportional to the quality of this sleep.

Bob - If you need some Vit. N, this might do the trick ...

World's Largest Natural Sound Archive Now Online

... "This is one of the greatest research and conservation resources at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology," said Budney. The collection http://macaulaylibrary.org/ contains nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings equaling more than 10 terabytes of data with a total run time of 7,513 hours. About 9,000 species are represented. There's an emphasis on birds, but the collection also includes sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates and more.

also, you can visualize sounds (for free!) with Raven Lite

enjoy ... peace :-)

It would be fun to find some of these to sample into EV sound effects..

I always wanted to paint a car with the patterning of a rainbow trout or a mackerel, maybe. That vehicle would probably really require having some Porpoise or Whale sounds to Announce its arrival!


"...coming down from the previous Drumbeat!"

Yeah, Bob, Wednesday's second thread was a little trying so I just collapsed it. Part of a stressful week. Spent most of the day Wednesday in Atlanta, fighting traffic and sitting in a hospital waiting room (standing by a step kid), and the rest of the day in a stock brokerage waiting room. The look on the suits' faces was priceless when I walked in wearing overalls, muck boots and a ball cap, especially when the lead broker (the one the suits want but can't get) came out, treating me with kid gloves. They didn't know we're kind of related and old friends. She owes me, and knows it, since I'm the one who told her to get the hell out of mortgage backed securities, @2007. Anyway, it looks like the home place is finally paid off; BIG stress reliever. The whole episode reminded me of the dream-state these folks live in, staring anxiously at trading screens and poking away furiously at their smart phones. Quite surreal from my POV.

Today brought another delay in the shipment of our new PV panels. At least I didn't have to change my order again this time. Looks like I'm going to have extras; hoping to resell them ($.70/watt plus shipping!), or I may store them for spares or for trade when the big reset comes ;-/

Think I'll go for some Vit CH (spend time with my chickens; quite calming) now that the sun is shinning after 8 days of rain. Not sure what it is about chicken therapy...

spend time with my chickens; quite calming

I recently did some cow-cudling (don't laugh!) as part of the yearly trip with the folks at work. It started a bit awkward, if I was a girl I would have giggled, but as time passed while I leaned against my cow it's warmth and slow movement of intenstines started to doze me and after half an hour or so my mind really relaxed. Quite a pleasant experience actually. I understand that cow-cudling is sometimes used as therapy to re-integrate people into a working life after burn-out and such.

A big old draft horse works quite well, too :-)

What I like about chickens (and I have a bunch of them running around the place) is that they're always muttering to themselves. Something timeless and calming to it...

Too bad I'm so many states away.. but if you do end up with spare panels and no takers, drop me an email.

I know what you mean about chickens.. the eyes are a bit cold, but the singing and dancing is a pure lullaby!

Will do, Bob.

Ghung, hope you continue to find the chickens consoling. I and the wife find the koi in our pond to be just as soothing. It's winter tho. Looking at their calm and serene forms through an air hole is not quite the same, but it's still nice :)

Now wait a minute............. If you have any extra panals I think you should let us bid on them as I would like to have some more also. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

see jokuhls response

We could form a buyers' club. There are some great prices on full pallets, and they'll work even more with folks who buy more than one pallet. The problem (as Bob pointed out) is logistics/shipping costs.

Hey Ghung, I know you have purchased panels from Sun Electronics in the past they are just down the road from me.
They currently are offering a Full Pallet (22) of their SUN T280 280-Watt Solar Panel 36.6 Vmp for $5,482.40.

What I imagine is that you might be able to contact a freight forwarder in the Miami area have SunElec ship the pallet or pallets to their address and have them break the pallet down and have them ship panels out to a few different addresses of the buyers group. Shouldn't be all that hard to do.

I'd offer to co-ordinate something like that, however I'm in the midst of preparing to go down to Brazil for a few months, I'll be leaving at the end of February.

Now, if I could just trigger a bidding war over those who should be hiring MY services, maybe I could afford to join a bidding war over Ghung's panels.. meantime, this might be as good a time and place for a cooperative buying effort instead, like Gh pointed out!

Meantime, those $5/watt panels that I bought 6 years ago are going to be treated like the precious family gems that they now are!

Being 100% self sufficient in a nearly unoccupied province may not be a very tough goal. Might as well turn it into an energy farm for the rest of the country.

Anyone know how well the isotopes from the NPP disbursed in the ocean? Ten miles doesn't seem all that far, and I believe the bulk of the release was out to sea. Doesn't that make this wind farm and folks working on it, er, somewhat vulnerable? At least by current standards?

The rad count in the fish just, well, sorta seems to reinforce that idea. No? I guess it's at least possible the heavier ions are going to sink. Mebbe that'll help?

Edit: Just found this. Doesn't seem terribly encouraging, tho.

Thanks Seraph. I had edited my initial post, as you may have seen. Based on current assessments of the dangers of Cesium-137 we (and the folks building and maintaining the wind farm) are in for a world of hurt. If the model you referenced is even vaguely close to correct, every fish in the North Pacific is toxic by 2021.

I wouldn't think the stuff that fell on the ocean would be a worry -unless you plan to eat the fish. The main worry would be a new release -say if a spentfuel pond collapsed and burnt. I'd think otherwise you would be pretty safe at sea (again not drinking the water or eating the fish). On land I imagine dust might contain the nasties, so you might want to wear a dust mask.

Hallo enemy - just a clarification - you indicated the stuff that fell on the ocean. My understanding is a massive amount of material was released into the sea in liquid form. Just an initial guess that stuff has accumulated in the area. The two models noted seem to suggest that. No?

Either way I find it hard to imagine Cesium and Strontium in the ocean getting up onto boats/barges. That and the ocean is an open system, so currents will disperse the stuff far and wide. I just can't see it creating an exposure problem for people servicing WTs. Now farming, that would be a different matter altogether, as you are stirring up contaminated soil.

Seems reasonable enough. I really hadn't thought of the water dispersal issue until this post on the WTs. I'll dig around and see what I can find. Ougon-murasoi (Sebastes pachycephalus nudus) seems to be a shallow reef dweller, and following some of the news links this guy might even have been in the harbor. Kinda looks like this was a single specimen too, mebbe.

One thing to bear in mind is that the clean up work in the exclusion zone is just dumping the contaminants where no one is looking, like somewhere a bit deeper in the woods, or into a river. There's a whole lot of unconventional pathways for radiation to get places due to that.


and more links there to the japanese press coverage.

Aren't they dumping in into a place which should have low leakage, such as a plastic liner below and above the contaminated soil. I imagine there might be some form of chemical treatments which bind Cesium and Strontium that would help immobilize the stuff. But so much of the stuff surrounding this accident seems to be pretty shabbily done.

Come on people....... Lets let the Nuke noise die down over the weekend. PLEASE......

Savanna Study Highlights African Fuelwood Crisis

The dwindling reserves of fuelwood in Africa have been illuminated in a new study published today, which shows a bleak outlook for supplies across savannas in South Africa.

Presenting their findings in Environmental Research Letters, researchers have found that at current consumption levels in the communal areas of Lowveld, South Africa, reserves of fuelwood could be totally exhausted within 13 years. Locals could stop collecting at least two to three years in advance of this if the quality and density of fuelwood becomes too low.

The consequences are significant, with around half of the 2.4 million rural households in the country using wood as their primary fuel source, burning between four and seven million tonnes per year.

They also showed that households using fuelwood would need to be reduced by 15 per cent a year for eight years, until only 20 per cent of total households are using it, before biomass stabilises to a sustainable level.

More information: 'Unsustainable fuelwood extraction from South African savannas' K J Wessels et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 014007. http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014007/article

Not so sure Africa (or even Greece) is alone in experiencing arboreal difficulties:

Woodland Heists: Rising Energy Costs Drive Up Forest Thievery

With snow blanketing the ground, it's the perfect time of year to snuggle up in front of a fireplace. That, though, makes German foresters nervous. When the mercury falls, the theft of wood in the country's woodlands goes up as people turn to cheaper ways to heat their homes.

Factory Smoke Clouds China Pollution Pledges

The factory in Dalian was ordered to halt work and relocate 17 months ago after local residents took to the streets, fearing a toxic chemical spill that might poison them and their children.

But now it appears to be functioning, although at what capacity is unclear. ... "They have never even stopped operating," Zhao said, expressing a distrust in the local government echoed by other residents.

The apparent U-turn raises questions about how China's communist rulers, ever fearful of social unrest, can deal with its pollution problem while also retaining the manufacturing operations that have powered economic growth.

... Since July mass protests in at least three cities—some with violent incidents—have forced industrial projects to be cancelled. In the eastern city of Ningbo, residents said they doubted authorities would keep their word.

Stuart S continues to look at the Bakken drilling situation:

Sure enough, he takes a "look" at the Bakken data, and does not see a Red Queen.

The rest of us statistically analyze the data and the Red Queen behavior becomes pretty obvious.

WHT -- I wanted to mention to you that I heard an interview with Richard Heinberg in which he said that he and Post Carbon Institute have aquiered a large collection of datasets on Bakken, which they are analyzing. You might contact them to help do analysis, as I think you've demonstrated an ability to do such analysis that exceeds most others in the community.

Thanks but I will pass on offering help.

The automatic response to obtaining data should be to share it to the rest of the world through a repository. Allowing millions of potential eyeballs to view the data is always the best path forward.

BTW, The Post Carbon Institute runs the http://energybulletin.net which is now http://resilience.org after the first of the year.

Analysis: Facing Drought, U.S. Farmers Return to Crop Rotation

Farmers in Iowa and Illinois, which accounted for almost 30 percent of U.S. corn production in 2012, are expected to shift some acreage that was seeded exclusively with corn over the past several years to soybeans this spring. They want to avoid another year of potentially significant losses as dry conditions persist, said agricultural market analysts and economists.

A move away from corn in those states may further drive up world food prices, which are already historically high, because corn stockpiles in the United States, the world's top exporter, are forecast to hit a 17-year low by the end of the summer.

The Agricultural Fulcrum: Better Food, Better Climate

... Since becoming an agrarian society, we've known that growing food successfully depends on climate stability. Not enough water, crops wither and die. Too much, they rot. Beyond this, we know that crops have specific climatic requirements. Wheat, for instance, grows best in a dry, mild climate. Stone fruits like cherries need a minimum number of "chill hours" in order to blossom and later fruit. Intense heat disrupts pollination and can even shut down photosynthesis. These are basic parameters. If we continue to disregard them, food will become more scarce over time and we will go hungry.

Agriculture, positioned as it is at the intersection of food and climate, presents a unique fulcrum. Pushed in the direction of industrial agriculture, it contributes egregiously to our climate problem: As activist Bill McKibben has noted, industrial agriculture -- predominant in the U.S. -- "essentially insures that your food is marinated in crude oil before you eat it." This is because at every step, from the production of fertilizers and pesticides to the harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting of materials, the industrial food system depends on climate-changing fossil fuels. Indeed, in a new report on climate change and food systems, the agriculture research organization CGIAR concluded that our global food system is responsible for nearly a third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

But we can tip the scale in the other direction toward sustainable agriculture, working in concert with natural systems instead of depleting them.

If we stopped feeding 40% of that corn to our cars instead of livestock or people it will help the shortage a lot!

Green Transit!

We can make the 10% ethanol in gasoline from corn stalks and cobs, save the corn grain for feed and food. We can do that with cellulose fermentation and/or gasification and synthesis. If you are using synthesis, you might as well just create synthetic gasoline while you are at it.

At what price? At what EROEI?

Over in the Malthus topic the claim was the Carbon from growing plants could be combined with energy + H2 from nuclear power will be able to be converted into whatever chemical product is needed.

So from the 'nuclear power so cheap it won't be metered' crowd - the EROEI doesn't matter.

So you have solved the problem of cellulose to ethanol on a scale that works in the market place?
Can you name the operation?

What about the function those corn stalks and cobs presently perform?

If you want long term sustainability you need to recycle the nutrients. They are probably filtered out a the stalk to ethanol plant. But getting them back to the fields? If not, it might be a decade or two before the effects build up.

Broin/POET is using cobs to make ethanol. The cobs just rot in the field, so there is no downside. If you gasify you can return the carbon to the land to hold more moisture and nutrients.

In the 1990s, Eastman in Tennessee produced methanol from biomass, in the 1980s Mobil produced synthetic gasoline from natural gas to methanol to DME. This is all proven technology, there is no risk other than the price of natural gas doubling in an unregulated market.

Don't see any production on their web site..

The Wall Street Journal has a different take:


The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle
Congress mandated purchase of 250 million gallons in 2011. Actual production: 6.6 million.

Few are making cellulose ethanol because it is not hugely profitable, not because it is technically impossible. It shows that the private sector invests in what is best for them, not best for the country. We keep trying to get what is best for the country through corporate self interest.

Written by orbit7er:
If we stopped feeding 40% of that corn to our cars....

Some problems with an elimination of corn ethanol production that would be fast enough to compensate for reduced U.S. corn yield due to drought:

1. Something other than ethanol or MTBE would need to be used to set the octane of the gasoline.

2. Workers from the ethanol industry would be unemployed increasing U.S. unemployment.

3. Farmers who have already had a bad harvest would be smacked again by a low price for what remains of their crop.

4. Suddenly reducing corn production by 40% would put some farmers out of business.

5. U.S. demand for crude oil would suddenly increase by about 2 Mb/d to replace ~900 kb/d of ethanol. If world crude oil production can not rise to the challenge, then an oil price shock would ensue crashing economies around the world. Strategic petroleum reserves in OECD countries could cushion that shock for more than a year, but I do not think it wise to squander the reserves that way.

6. More money would be sent out of the U.S. by purchasing more imported crude oil.

7. Cheap corn would flood the world market encouraging overpopulated countries to continue increasing their populations and driving some of their domestic farmers out of business making them more dependent on imported food.

Algeria Army-Backed Oil Security Suffers Biggest Blow

... Events this week may change perceptions of an oil industry that has attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment since Algeria's government crushed an Islamist revolt during the 1990s. That in turn could store up trouble for a government reliant on oil and gas revenues to finance domestic spending.

"Over the last decade security had become less and less of a concern. For the first time in a decade the security situation has plummeted, causing consternation amongst international oil firms," said Geoff Porter, director of North Africa Risk Consulting.

In Amenas became the first major attack on Algerian energy assets, prompting BP, Statoil and Spain's Cepsa to start evacuating staff even though some of their projects are located hundreds of kilometers away from the site.

Map of Oil Assets and Infrastructure in the Area

... Several oil experts said the biggest risks were for the fields near In Amenas in the southern Illizi province where Eni, BP and Statoil operate. They include deposits such as Eni's Zarzaitine or Total's Tin Fouye further West.

Repsol lists Illiza province as one of its most important areas of exploration globally.

Sam Ciszuk from KBC consultancy said he believed a number of fields near In Amenas would be evacuated.

"The more worrying scenario is that the Islamists next pour over the border into Libya. The Libyan government is fractured and the military too weak to be efficient," he said.

Libya steps up security at oil fields after Algeria attack

... "Due to the events in the region, the Petroleum Faculty Guard has taken a series of actions to enhance and reinforce the protection of oilfields, faculties and employees in the west and south region of Libya," the statement said.

Measures included "the formation of a special operations room ... increasing guards, military personal and intensifying security patrols inside and around the sites around the clock."

I'm not so sure its Qaeda. I read that the guy who they think ran the hostage taking group was kicked out, because they decided he was a bandit, not a Jihadist. So we may be dealing with exJihadist, turned bandit kingpin.

Al Qaeda has always been a quite fuzzy thing anyway, with plenty of different groups/brigade.

There is another key aspect in the region and current conflicts however : the Tuaregs, who are not islamists(for the most part, one group, "Ansar dine" is), and who are also "fighting for independence" in Mali (MNLA, Azawad liberation movment)but their region is much bigger, and a lot of them also fighted on Khadaffi side in Lybia.

One phenomena that seems to recur wherever there is longlasting guerilla or terrorist type conflict, is that many of the belligerents morph into violent criminal thugs. Seems they learning kidknapping and robbing as a means to fund the insurgency, and decide they like it as a way of life. I think the only thing required for this transformation is time.

The Tuaregs do have some legitimate grievances, the initial takeover in north Mali was they, but soon the hard core Islamists took advantage of the situation. I doubt they are happen with that outcome, but they can't compete with the organization and weaponry of the Islamists. Perhaps they will switch sides when the international troops arrive in force?

One phenomena that seems to recur wherever there is longlasting guerilla or terrorist type conflict, is that many of the belligerents morph into violent criminal thugs. Seems they learning kidknapping and robbing as a means to fund the insurgency, and decide they like it as a way of life. I think the only thing required for this transformation is time.

I saw the same thing happening here with the Communist guerrillas in central India and the Rebel guerrillas in North-East India, it's morphed into a small scale industry by now, all vehicles passing through the area must pay a tax or risk trouble. It's highly organized (like a toll collection system). In North-East at some places (where there is ceasefire) the police and guerrilla check posts exist side by side and you have to pay 'safety money' to both the parties. Police is a 'pay as you go' service for most purposes here.

I've been looking at the famous Growing Gap image and wondering how recent "large finds" would affect it's appearance. The most recent data point for actual discoveries appears to be around 2004.

This web page
has this graphic that claims to include discovery data up to 2008. Is anybody aware of any work being done to produce a more up to date graphic? One with data up to at least 2010 would do, although one with data up to 2012 would be nice. I'm looking forward to a graphic that proves all you doomers wrong about Peak Oil. >;-)

Alan from the islands

That graph has always been a favorite of mine too.

I have this one that has data through 2011 that someone here posted a while back.

Keep in mind that Bakken, Canadian tar sands, Eagle Ford shale are all not new discoveries. They will show up in the bars way to the left.

That graph has always been a favorite of mine too.

Yeah, me three and I like this one as well!


Forecasters Look Higher To Make Better Cold Weather Predictions

Weather forecasts mainly focus on the troposphere - the lower layers of the atmosphere from the earth's surface up to around 10km - as that is where most of our weather comes from.

However, scientists are increasingly learning that changes to the upper layers of the atmosphere, such as the stratosphere, can have a significant effect on our weather. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, Professor Shepherd, working with colleagues in Toronto, Canada, where he worked prior to coming to Reading, found evidence that detecting sudden increases in temperatures, high up over the Arctic, was a good indicator that people in Britain and northern Europe could paradoxically expect a big freeze.

Sudden Stratospheric Warmings (SSW's)

... there's a incredible SSW ongoing over Asia...see loop of 10-mb temperature anomalies below

Hi Seraph, The link for 'Sudden Stratospheric Warmings' is not working - can you paste another link - looks interesting - thanks.

Use dougfir's. Its the same site

Wow. I kept wondering what happened with all the stolen crude. I figure that someone would ship it to big refineries where some corrupt person would pay them a below market rate for it. The concept of illegal pirate oil "refineries" even occurred to me. Is that where the stolen crude goes?

Amateur Prospector Finds $300,000 Gold Nugget With A Handheld Metal Detector


Global Warming Debate is No Debate At All

Funny thing happens sometimes when you look at who the witnesses are in a public policy debate . . .

These Groups Say The Danger Of Manmade Global Warming Is A . . .
U.S. Agency for International Development American Petroleum Institute

(Big table of entities follows)

Top economies face fuel price spike as LNG supply drops

Spot prices of liquefied natural gas are currently about $18 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up about $2 from the same time last year, but still lower than record deals above $20 in 2008.
"The supply situation is worse than we thought it would be," said independent LNG analyst Andy Flower, who tracks global export and import volumes. "LNG production declined last year and it doesn't look as though it will increase by much this year."

Platts LNG JKM at new high of $18.575/MMBtu on S America demand

Platts LNG Japan Korea Marker Friday edged past the previous record high, settling at $18.575/MMBtu for March deliveries, up 20 cents on day, led by strong demand from South America amid steady North Asian demand triggered by the cold spell.

The previous record high was May 23, 2012's $18.55/MMBtu.

Not sure whether Algerian LNG exports will be affected by the ongoing hostage situation. If exports are cut then prices will likely rise even higher.

When a gas producing region starts to export LNG it exposes itself to the 'world price'. Suppose it costs $2 to liquefy a gigajoule of gas. If the piped gas going into the plant costs $4 then that is a very healthy margin if the liquid gas can be sold for $18.

In Australia LNG currently originates in offshore Western Australia. However several LNG plants ('trains') are under construction in Queensland on the east coast. The gas input will include onshore natgas, coal seam gas and any shale gas that is discovered. Obviously gas producers will prefer the lucrative LNG export market to selling to local customers such as power stations or factories. That's unless they can match the price or there is legislation to reserve a percentage of gas production for domestic use.

I think the LNG price will hold up. I think it was yesterday's Drumbeat that said Brazil is now importing LNG due to poor hydro output during drought. If the Japanese build all this wind and solar capacity it will need backup. When these LNG terminals suck up a lot of domestic gas production in the US, Australia and elsewhere there will have to be a rethink.

In Iqaluit the current temperature is -24 celcius. It was -30 C yesterday.


It's Iqaluit! Temps seem right in line with normal highs and lows?

My latest post on the Australian situation contains a graph which compares the Federal government's 2007 projection of peak oil (2015-2017) with actual EIA data. Cumulative production was slightly less than predicted because of the negative feed back loop of the financial crisis following the skyhigh oil prices in mid 2008 which in turn were a result of Saudi Arabia not being able at the time to produce sufficient oil in 2007 and then also for the extra Chinese demand for the Olympic Games.

Report Card 2012: it was a very good year - for peak oil denial

My analysis also shows that the annual decline rate will be 600 kb/d once all other hitherto growing countries stop growing.

On balance, 75 % of global crude production in 2012 was not higher than 2005

December 2012 posts

Last X'mas train from Sydney to Newcastle CBD

Wanton destruction of bus ramp in Sydney continues

City looks to drop mandatory green standard on new buildings

Canada's certifier of green construction says Ottawa is heading in the wrong direction after councillors on the environment committee agreed the city would no longer automatically apply for a LEED certification for new building stock.

LEED stands for leadership in environment and design, and is an industry-accepted certification.

The decision not to pursue LEED certification for every new city building was made after staff reported that 14 LEED applications, including the Shenkman Arts Centre, which opened in 2009, are stuck in a backlog.

Councillor David Chernushenko, himself a green building specialist, says he hoped Ottawa's decision will send a message to the agency handling the certifications.

"They need to come up with a faster, more streamlined process that costs less to the applicant," Chernushenko said, adding the environment committee's decision would not mean the city is going to stop striving for green standards.

"Build tight, ventilate right, and don't eat your sweater."
Joe Lstiburek


"LEED is a cruel, pathetic joke"

I think someone here posted the link to this lecture before, but it's quite revealing on the effectiveness of LEED and very much worth watching if you haven't seen it. "It costs more and doesn't save energy."



Real World Test Drive 2012 Nissan Leaf

As someone who'd like to see BEVs succeed eventually the Nissan Leaf is a disaster for that cause. 75 mile or less real world range? Yikes. The GM EV1 with NiMH was said to go 125 miles per charge, and even the Toyota Rav4 EV did around 100 miles per charge - an SUV! One of the bigger problems with a pure electric car in the US was baked in long ago - 120 volt standard usually with 15 amp wiring meaning that you'll probably only be able to find 1,800 Watts of charging power in a standard outlet, unless you install a special charger at home or find a special charger on the road. Since it takes 20 hours for the 75 mile range one can calculate that it recharges at 3.75 miles per hour on a standard outlet. If one were to assume you can only charge at home on a standard outlet a standard working day of 8 hours plus two hours for commuting/fiddling that gives you a maximum of 52.5 miles per day (14 hour spare) of range. That's likely enough for most people's commutes and it can probably still satisfy the majority of people's needs. But that range...mmm. That's a toughie.

Does anyone know what that big box on the power cord is? It looks like a large active PFC power supply, but primarily to me it looks like a "Steal me! I'm super expensive and difficult to replace!" box/cord.

" FU OPEC 1 month ago
The LEAF is very inefficient in the winter. because the battery pack isn't heated. Cold batteries are far less efficient. Also the use of climate control and defrosters will quickly drain your battery. You will find yourself having to recharge constantly. I own a LEAF but I wouldn't buy another until they heat the battery pack and find an a way of heating the cabin without it effecting my range. The LEAF is a good car in the warm months but frustrating in the winter."

" ALTN8NRG 1 month ago
Determine your commute before you buy the car. Don't listen to the "how many miles you get on a charge" statements used to sell the car. I drive 33.8 miles one way and only have 9 miles to spare on the return trip.  You'll certainly find yourself in the slow lane 40-55 mph is the best highway speed for range. You'll get angry looks, and flashing headlights and that's in the slow lane. It's fast, but the battery range needs improvement."

That big box on the power cord is basically a glorified GFCI and some other protection functions. It doesn't put power to the connector until after it is plugged in.

See "SAE J1772"

"until they heat the battery pack and find an a way of heating the cabin without it effecting my range."

I'm not too moved by testimonials from folks who have NO understanding of the cheap energy that we've been so spoiled by.

Techsan made his point on the prev. DB, and a few times before that. Worth hearing.

"We have both a Leaf and a Volt. We've had the Leaf for 1.5 years and the Volt for .7 years. We still like them. Zero maintenance problems.

We never find the electric ranges too short. Never have run out.

It takes 10 seconds to plug in the charger after you park. This is annoying? Not as annoying as filling up with gas and checking the oil." http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9781#comment-940700

"...120 volt standard usually with 15 amp wiring meaning that you'll probably only be able to find 1,800 Watts of charging power in a standard outlet,.."

Not such a big deal. Folks have no problem installing 240V (120+120) for electric dryers, water heaters or ranges. Code required me to do this even though I'll never use any of these things. How many folks found the funds when they bought that new hot tub?

The point is, in the US, that to find 240V is special. If you, for whatever reason, find yourself not in your own garage and you need a charge...the options for 120V (3.7mph) are going to be plentiful but 240V (20mph)...you'll probably have to ask around quite a bit before you find someone that will let you plug into their dryer outlet...

Think about this for a minute, though.

Any home or business supplied with as much as a single phase Utility Box has access to 240 volts, and there is a growing demand for charge-points. It stands completely to reason that people are going to realise a very simple business opportunity, possibly an extension (so to speak) of the installation of such equipment for their own vehicle's needs, by which to offer and sell a bit of current to the weary E-traveller.

EVEN IF this is still limited to only such establishments, employers, homeowners etc.. as happen to have enough parking and road frontage convenient to their powered property, you can easily imagine that a site such as this,


..will see the submissions of viable 'cottage suppliers' and their google-map particulars with increasing regularity. No?

In fact, now that I think of it.. Ghung, really DO tell me if you have a pile of extra PV laying about.. between my heatpumps and my upcoming streetside charging port, I should be able to generate an effective payback much faster than I'd originally calculated!


...between my heatpumps...

Heat pumps, as in plural? Are you upping the ante on me again, Bob?

We dipped down to -18°C overnight and I confess I ran our boiler for an hour or so before heading off to bed -- to help out a bit, but mostly to reduce the risk of the radiator pipes from freezing where they're routed inside exterior walls and along the sill plate. Over the past twenty-four hours, with a mean temperature of -14.6°C, we burned through 49.0 kWh of electricity for space heating and I'm guessing about two litres of fuel oil. In terms of cost: 49 kWh @ $0.1392/kWh + 2L @ $1.082/litre = $8.98. Had we used oil exclusively, our cost would have been in the range of $14.00 or $15.00.


I did see the words "longer range" with the latest announcement.
My Prius plugin draws 1.3KW, the cord "box" is some sort of ground fault detector safety device. I consider its charge rate to be about 5mph. I imagine most Leaf owners use 240volt charging, which should be about twice as fast.
The displayed electric range in the Prius seems to depend upon its estimation of how much range you got in EV mode recently. For instance yesterday at full charge it estimated 20mile. The reason it is so generous, is I am selective and use EV mode during those portions where demand for horsepower is lowest -like slow speeds, and downgrades -so maybe I'm getting 20miles out of a charge -but its the twenty miles that would have only had the ICE working lightly.

The range limits for the current EVs certainly make them cars for the enthusiasts right now. A real world 100 mile range is needed for more broad adoption. But those 100 mile range for the RAV4 and 125 miles for the EV-1 are simply exaggerations from hardcore true-believers. In reality, the RAV4 and EV-1 were both not as good as the Leaf. You'll find people that will tell you that they can get 100 miles on the Leaf too (and you can get 100 by being in a temperate climate and hyper-miling the car).

And yes, you do really need a 240V EVSE if you are going to use a pure EV for every day commuting. They need to become cheaper since they are really simple little things as another post shows . . . a glorified GFCI with a little bit of an EV handshake.

And this is why the Plug-In hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)has probably been more successful. The Chevy Volt has out-sold the Leaf by a good margin. And there are new ones on the market . . . Ford C-Max Energi and Plug-In Prius. And more on the way Accord PHEV, Ford Fusion Energi, a Mitsubishi SUV, etc.

But the pure electrics work just fine for commuter vehicles. They are good as part of a 2-car family since they you have another car for long trips.

Many believe that reckless borrowing causes poverty. But there's evidence it's the opposite: scarcity causes reckless borrowing.

Life in the Red

“When we put people in situations of scarcity in experiments, they get into poverty traps,” said Eldar Shafir, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton. “They borrow at high interest rates that hurt them, in ways they knew to avoid when there was less scarcity.”

The psychological burden of debt not only saps intellectual resources, it also reinforces the reckless behavior, and quickly, Dr. Shafir and other experts said. Millions of Americans have been keeping the lights on through hard times with borrowed money, running a kind of shell game to keep bill collectors away. The average debt for households earning $20,000 a year or less more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010, according to the Urban Institute. The averages for households in slightly higher brackets grew by 50 to 90 percent in the same period.

People dig deeper precisely because they long to escape.

An interesting concept so I read the article. But I’m left with the question: scarcity of what? Every anecdotal case seems to focus on folks taking on debt (mortgage/credit card) that they could never maintain if there was any loss in income even if that were short term. Epitomized by the lady who had only a couple of $thousands in savings when she lost her job. And she got the mortgage she couldn’t repay because she was in an assistance program for folks that normally couldn’t qualify. And then apparently ran up credit card debt so she could pay her mortgage.

It seems like the scarcity they are really referring to is a scarcity of money/income. Which is another definition of poverty. Maybe they meant scarcity of jobs.

It's not really the anecdotal cases I found interesting. Anecdotes mean squat. It was the experiments, where people who knew better when they had adequate resources fell into the trap when they did not.

But I’m left with the question: scarcity of what?

If you read the article, it's not just scarcity of money. One experiment they ran involved scarcity of time, and the same thing happened.

Which leads me to wonder whether this might apply to scarcity in general. As resources get scarcer, will we expend our efforts on projects with EROIs that make no sense?

"...will we expend our efforts on projects with EROIs that make no sense?"

...like ethanol?

Yep...saw the scarcity of time experiment. But it didn't appear the contestants were afraid at all about the time but where just interested in winning. If money/winning weren't on the line would they even consider themselves "time poor"? Perhaps a better example is the incorrectly assumed loss of crude imports back in the Arab "embargo" days that led folks to percieve a gasoline shortgage. A shortage that didn't really exist but appeared so as a result of folks carrying more fuel in their tanks than normal. That caused them to transfer tens' of $millions from their checking accounts to the oil companies. Also caused lost time/productivity as they stood in lines for hours.

And that seems to confirm your concerns about resource scarcity and how the public responds in the future.

Aside from just doing what they can to survive because all options are lost, deadly optimism and lack of mathematical ability seems to get a lot of people into trouble. Those "Western Sky" loans that were being advertised - they gave the rate, monthly payments and number of months in the fine print. $5,000 in your bank account by the next day! Well, taking a few seconds to punch in the numbers will find that $5,000 costing $40,000 by the end of the loan. Deadly optimism strikes when they believe that things will get better and that the trouble is "only temporary" so it's ok if they take on debt (or that they're talented enough to "hit it big as a singer").

"That combination — self-confidence, with a history of paying bills on time — sets many people up for a steep fall, experts say. They are comfortable borrowing, they make most payments on time, and their debt goes up only incrementally at first."

Oh ferrchristsake...

"In addition to payday loans, she enrolled at Full Sail University in 2009, in the entertainment business department, and got a loan and $3,500 in education grants.

“That worked for a little bit,” she said — until she got pregnant and had to take a leave from school."

A for-profit school, and got knocked-up.

"Until I hit it big as a singer"

Pipe-dream. Very low probability outcome and I know one band that got "signed"...all of them were making more money in their "day job" and the band broke up after their first album. With the contract that they had, supposedly standard, they wouldn't be making what most people would consider "good money" until they put out their 8th album.

If you look at the fine print on the 'Western Sky' commercials, it says that it is a Native American owned business, located on a Native American reservation. Just wondering if a different set of rules apply, especially since the feds and states are clamping down on the payday loan sharks and 'title loans'. I'm sure there are loopholes involved that aren't beneficial to those in default. Instead of Guido coming to break your arm, you'll have the Tribe bury you up to your neck next to an ant hill ;-/ Perhaps these loans aren't time-limited on collection the way debts are in most states (3 years in North Carolina).

Edit: Per their website, WS is operated by an individual tribal member; not the tribe. The APR on a $5000 loan is 116.73%, a $500 loan gets you an astounding APR of 342.86%. I'll stick with Guido ;-)

The scoop:

Elena Peralta, 20, took out $150 to pay her car insurance – but in a matter of weeks, she was on the hook for $4,500 and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The business she got the loan from is called US Fast Cash, which operates on the Ottawa tribe's reservation in Oklahoma.

The loan company, Peralta found out, had the right to raid her bank account at will. And when that money ran out, she started getting phone calls from ‘collection agents’ every day and night, and even at work, threatening her with legal action and harassing her.

And the payments Peralta did manage to make never touched the principal – just the outrageous triple-digit interest rates the loan company was charging her.

"It affected my family," she said. "Not just myself, my whole family."

Everything about this loan sounds illegal under Oregon law. Regulators agree - so much so that the state has already red-flagged these online lenders in this consumer alert.

But here's what we found out when we started looking into this - nothing can be done to stop them, or bring the worst of these cyber loan sharks to justice. Not yet at least.

This woman’s case – and thousands like it – is now at the center of a legal battle at the highest levels of the U.S. Government –a story that’s taken us from Portland, to the halls of Congress, to a dusty town in Oklahoma - and deep into the pages of one of the murkiest chapters in America’s history. Millions of dollars hangs in the balance as the rights of you, the consumer, are pitted against the rights of all Native Americans.

Their treaties with the United States are century-old binding contracts upheld by numerous court decisions. But the issue of tribal sovereignty is taking center stage in the fight to stop online loan sharks.

"...it says that it is a Native American owned business"

That's actually what initially drew my curiosity. I knew something had to be screwy if they were operating from a Native American reservation. What's really mind blowing is that all of the information is displayed in the fine print on the TV ad, even where it operates from, but they get this rather attractive woman to pitch it...she even says "Yes, it's expensive" - but people go for it any way!

"Problem solved!"... Reminds me that most of our problems began as solutions.

Indeed. Until we can figure out how to live sustainably, all sorts of 'solutions' such as better medical care, better food production, etc. ultimately just create bigger problems.