Drumbeat: January 23, 2013

Oil and climate change in the age of energy scarcity

A professor friend of mine recently asked his freshman writing class what makes civilization possible. The students puzzled for a minute and then someone said, "Cities." Of course, that's really just the definition of civilization. "But what makes those cities possible?" the professor asked. No one could really come up with an answer.

Here were students drawn in many cases from rural areas, some of whom lived on farms; and yet, the most basic energy flow in modern civilization—in any civilization—from farm to city in the form of surplus food was completely opaque to them. My friend remarked to me that a century and half of cheap energy in the form of fossil fuels has attenuated our awareness of energy flows so much that we as a society have become essentially unconscious of energy.

That is a state of mind that could only be the product of energy abundance, of an exceptional period in human history when the surplus energy available to society was so great that the average person simply did not have to think about it. And, so as energy scarcity returns to civilization as the norm, we are being forced—often painfully—to become conscious once again of the energy flows in our daily life. As a whole, human societies are only just beginning to wake up to this new era—except, of course, where life has remained close to the land, and failure to understand and create the necessary energy flows (particularly food) has always been tantamount to a death sentence.

Oil Trades Near Four-Month High Before Vote on U.S. Debt

Oil traded near the highest price in four months in New York on speculation that the U.S. will lift its debt limit, offsetting forecasts that fuel inventories increased in the world’s largest crude consumer.

West Texas Intermediate was little changed after gaining 0.7 percent yesterday as President Barack Obama’s administration said it welcomes a move by House Republicans to vote today on raising the debt ceiling through mid-May. U.S. crude stockpiles probably rose last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before a government report tomorrow. Deutsche Bank AG boosted its growth forecast for oil demand in China.

UK Brent oil flow at 80,000 bpd as Taqa platform remains shut

The flow of crude oil through the UK's Brent pipeline system in the North Sea was back up to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) late on Monday, following a precautionary shutdown last week, Abu Dhabi's Taqa said.

Bad weather, dispute with Kurdish region weigh on Iraq oil exports

Iraq's oil exports in December fell due to bad weather and a dispute with the Kurdish region, but the country still saw sharply higher income last year compared to 2011, new figures showed on Monday.

Exxon holds talks with Kurds after rare Baghdad meet

ExxonMobil has met officials from Iraqi Kurdistan, a statement said, after rare talks with Baghdad, which has decried a controversial deal between the US giant and the autonomous region.

The back-to-back meetings come amid a long-running dispute, of which Exxon is at the centre, between Iraq's central government and the northern Kurdish region over dozens of energy contracts signed by Kurdistan that Baghdad says are illegal.

Nigeria Charges 10 Indians, 12 Others With Oil Theft

Nigerian prosecutors said 22 people, including 10 Indian nationals, were charged to court in the southern city of Yenagoa for alleged oil theft.

Griffiths Energy to pay $10.35-million fine for bribing officials in Chad

The second Calgary oil company to face international corruption charges in the past two years has agreed to pay a larger fine than the first but will not be put on probation.

Griffiths Energy International Inc. pleaded guilty Tuesday and agreed to pay $10.35 million, $850,000 more than what much larger Niko Resources Ltd. paid after admitting guilt in June 2011 under the same section of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

Baker Hughes sees U.S. rig count flat in Q1 vs end-2012

(Reuters) - Baker Hughes Inc said on Wednesday it expects the U.S. rig count to remain flat in the first quarter compared with the end of 2012, before rising throughout the rest of the year.

Billionaire Fredriksen Winning as LNG Tanker Rates Drop

Rates to ship liquefied natural gas are dropping for the first time in four years amid a diminishing scarcity of the carriers transporting the fuel, a bullish sign for investors in the biggest owners of the vessels.

South Sudan may resort to trucking oil if talks fail

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Landlocked South Sudan may rely on trucks to export its crude oil if talks with Sudan aimed at re-starting exports through a pipeline fail, a South Sudanese deputy minister said on Wednesday.

The African neighbours came close to war last April in the worst border clashes since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 under a 2005 deal which ended decades of civil war.

Uganda to auction 13 blocks for oil exploration

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda will auction 13 blocks for oil and gas exploration when the country's president signs a new bill governing the petroleum sector into law, its junior energy minister said on Wednesday.

The east African nation's parliament passed a petroleum law last month aimed at guaranteeing transparency in the oil sector, through a clear management structure.

Private Equity Hunts for Brazil’s Next Big Oil Startup

Brazil’s plan to sell offshore oil licenses for the first time in six years is sending private- equity investors on a search for startups to compete with global producers including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc.

Algeria Attack No Outlier as Oil Targeted 3 Times a Week

While the attack in Algeria that killed at least 38 hostages was the deadliest raid on the oil industry in five years, it’s far from unprecedented.

From Colombia to Yemen, oil workers have suffered violence for decades as militants strike an industry seen symbolizing political and economic power. The bloodiest attack came in 2007 when 72 people died after a secessionist group in Ethiopia overran a camp run by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386), according to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database. Each week about three attacks were made worldwide on oil employees and installations in 2011, the data show.

China says Philippines' U.N. request on seas complicates issue

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday that a request by the Philippines for a U.N. tribunal to intervene in its longstanding South China Sea territorial dispute with China would only complicate the issue, and denounced Manila's "illegal occupation" of islands there.

Manila has asked the tribunal of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to order a halt to China's activities that the Philippines says violates the Southeast Asian nation's sovereignty.

Iran's president scoffs at western sanctions

TEHRAN // Iran's president claims his country can create 10 times more wealth from inventions than from oil, rendering western economic sanctions powerless.

Venezuelans puzzle over official lingo on Chavez health crisis

The handling of information over Chavez's condition has become as controversial as the man himself, and every official word is picked over ad nauseam in Venezuela's own version of the "Kremlinology" analysis of political minutiae in the former Soviet Union.

Deutsche Bank Pays $1.6 Million to End U.S. Trading Probe

Deutsche Bank AG agreed to pay $1.6 million to end a dispute with the U.S., backing away from a showdown with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that said a unit of the bank manipulated California’s power markets.

The bank within 10 days will pay the U.S. a civil penalty of $1.5 million and surrender $172,645 plus interest to California’s grid operator, the agency said today in a statement. The penalties are similar to FERC’s proposed remedy last year after accusing the bank of trading violations in 2010.

Carter Said to Be Leading Contender for Energy Secretary

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is the leading candidate to replace Steven Chu as energy secretary in President Barack Obama’s second term, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Carter, 58, a physicist, would be part of the core administration team overseeing energy and environmental policy, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

State Department delays Keystone pipeline decision

(Reuters) - The Obama administration has delayed a decision on TransCanada Corp's rerouted Keystone XL oil pipeline until after March, even though Nebraska's governor on Tuesday approved a plan for part of the line running through his state.

"We don't anticipate being able to conclude our own review before the end of the first quarter of this year," said Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman at the State Department, which had previously said it would make a decision by that deadline.

Davos 2013: UK shale gas no 'game changer', says British Gas boss Sam Laidlaw

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, said it would be at least a decade before the UK saw any shale gas production and that, even then, it would not be “the game changer we’ve seen in North America”.

Jeff Rubin: Do We Have Enough Water to Frack Our Way to Energy Independence?

Alberta’s oil sands mines require more than 3 barrels of water to produce a barrel of bitumen. With daily output of 1.5 million barrels, the oil sands is one thirsty customer. Fortunately for Big Oil, northern Alberta is blessed with the mighty Athabasca River.

Many US shale producers wish they were so lucky. The industry’s growing need for water comes at a time when much of the country is grinding through the worst drought in more than half a century.

Boeing's battery woes could short-circuit e-cars

The ongoing investigation of faulty lithium-ion power packs on the new 787 Dreamliner could have implications far beyond the aerospace industry, some observers worrying that Boeing’s battery problems could short-circuit the nascent market for plug-ins, hybrids and other electrified automobiles.

German Power Grids Ask Gas-Fired Plants to Ensure Winter Supply

German power-grid operators Tennet TSO GmbH and TransnetBW GmbH asked four gas-fired plants in the south of the country to secure transport capacity for the fuel to avoid production outages that almost led to a collapse of the electricity grid in February last year.

Africa: Losing Carbon - New Study Questions Sustainability of Biofuel Harvested On Dry Lands

Bogor — The high amount of carbon that pours into the atmosphere when arid and semi-arid land is converted for Jatropha oil production may outweigh the environmental benefits of such a biofuel, says a new report.

The findings run contrary to popular beliefs.

When Citizen Vigilantes Busted Food Hoarders

This 1918 letter, from a member of a citizens’ vigilante group calling itself the American Protective League to an official of the wartime U.S. Food Administration, reported on a food stash found in a Berkeley, Calif., home.

The Foran family, “reported to be hoarding food,” had “25 or 30 cases of foodstuffs” in their basement, including cans of such staples as corn, peaches, pork and beans, as well as a supply of plum pudding, pimientos, and beer. Mrs. Foran protested that she had carefully followed rationing rules in her purchase of flour and sugar and explained that the family possessed so many canned goods because the father bought food wholesale every year.

While no action probably resulted from this raid, as the Forans were able to prove that they’d followed rationing guidelines, it’s astonishing to a modern reader to see that it was legal for a citizen group to enter another citizen’s home on the strength of a tip.

Filmmaker Sir David Attenborough Calls Humans a Plague

Sir David Attenborough, the famed British naturalist and television presenter, has some harsh words for humanity.

"We are a plague on the Earth," Attenborough told the Radio Times, as reported by the Telegraph. "It's coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so."

Despite a Whiff of Unpleasant Exaggeration, a City’s Pollution Is Real

KABUL, Afghanistan — It has long been a given that the air pollution in this city gets horrific: on average even worse than Beijing’s infamous haze, by one measure.

For nearly as long, there has been the widespread belief by foreign troops and officials here that — let’s be blunt here — feces are a part of the problem.

Court won't hear challenge to Clean Air Act rule

The high court on Tuesday refused to hear an appeal from businesses and industrial interests involving an Environmental Protection Agency regulation setting emission levels of sulfur dioxide, a colorless gas with the smell of rotting eggs. Sulfur dioxide from power plant smokestacks can be carried long distances by wind and weather and has been linked to various illnesses including asthma.

Stop the Coal Trains

Why should someone in Seattle care about a coal terminal 100 miles north of the city? Because coal combustion is the leading human-caused increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is largely responsible for global warming. Because shipping dirty coal to China while piously shutting down the last coal-fired power plant in Washington State (as the state is doing) would simultaneously mock and cheapen our forward-thinking, tree-humping pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2050. And because there is not just one but five coal terminals—five!—currently proposed in the Northwest, each of which could bring 1.5-mile-long coal trains rumbling through our region daily, blocking traffic, interfering with other business at Seattle's port, and leaving clouds of coal dust in their wake.

How Oysters Can Prevent Flood Damage

or a simple bivalve, the oyster has played an unusual role in human history. It's celebrated as a food source, as a reputed aphrodisiac and, now, as a possible savior of coastal cities threatened by flooding.

Point Pleasant, a community in New Jersey that was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy last October, is looking at oyster beds as a way to mitigate future flood damage. A sizable bulwark of oyster beds might slow future storm surges by acting as a natural seawall, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Should worst-flooded areas be left after Sandy?

SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (AP) -- Superstorm Sandy, one of the nation's costliest natural disasters, is giving new urgency to an age-old debate about whether areas repeatedly damaged by storms should be rebuilt, or whether it might be cheaper in the long run to buy out vulnerable properties and let nature reclaim them.

The difficulty in getting aid for storm victims through Congress — most of a $60 billion package could get final approval next week — highlights the hard choices that may have to be made soon across the country, where the federal, state and local governments all say they don't have unlimited resources to keep writing checks when storms strike.

Obama gives unexpected nod to climate as second term priority

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday he will confront climate change in his second term in office, an unexpected vow that puts the politically charged issue among his domestic priorities alongside gun control and immigration reform.

Linking climate change to devastating weather and fires, Obama said the country could grow its economy while protecting itself from the worst effects of a phenomenon scientists say is getting worse due to man-made pollutants.

Obama wins praise abroad for climate change goals

OSLO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama won praise abroad on Tuesday for his pledge to lead the fight against climate change, which has faltered as nations argue over who should foot the bill to lower carbon emissions.

Analysis: Obama's next climate steps apt to be temperate

(Reuters) - The Obama administration is likely to rely mostly on existing rules and on flexing executive power to execute its second-term environmental agenda, sidestepping Congress as it sets about radically reducing greenhouse gases generated by major polluters.

Just a day after President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address that for the United States not to respond to the threat of climate change would "betray our children and future generations," White House spokesman Jay Carney tamped down expectations for bold new moves.

Curbing climate change will cost $700 bln a year - report

OSLO (Reuters) - The world must spend an extra $700 billion a year to curb its addiction to fossil fuels blamed for worsening floods and heat waves and rising sea levels, a study issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed on Monday.

As government and business leaders prepare to meet at the forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the world's nations are divided over who should pay for lowering emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for a growing number of extreme weather events.

Funding the War on Climate Change

PROPOSALS that national governments allocate budgets equivalent to those set aside for defence or war towards fighting climate change both reflected the significant relevance of global warming and aligned international thinking to finding solutions, Deloitte director Duane Newman said today.

Newman, who is also the national leader of Deloitte Sustainability and Climate Change Services, said the shift towards allocating half the funding to adaptation and only 20% to mitigation and 15% each to technical development and forestry-related activities recognised a large percentage of climate change funding would have to go towards developing nations.

Urban Zimbabweans are already grappling with water shortages

In spite of the political and financial turmoil that Zimbabwe faces, the country seems to be on the right track in adopting strategies to address the effects of climate change. But these strategies tend to have a strong rural bias, overlooking the fact that almost half of the country now lives in urban areas, according to a joint review of the country's climate change response by a think tank and leading NGO.

Andean glaciers melting at 'unprecedented' rates - study

The glaciers of the Andes Mountains have retreated at an unprecedented rate in the past three decades, with more ice lost than at any other time in the last 400 years.

That's according to a new review of research that combines on-the-ground observations with aerial and satellite photos, historical records and dates from cores of ice extracted from the glaciers. The retreat is worse in the Andes than the average glacier loss around the world, the researchers report today (Jan. 22) in the journal The Cryosphere.

Norway supportive to China's bid for permanent observer to Arctic Council

TROMSO -- Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barthe Eide said on Monday that Norway will support China's application for the status of a permanent observer to the Arctic Council.

Eide gave a definite "yes" answer to the question put to him by a Xinhua reporter if Norway would back China's bid for the permanent observer status in the eight-member regional council comprising mostly of countries on the rim of the Arctic Ocean.

Why Arctic Council Needs to Tame Its Oil Rush

The rapid shrinkage of Arctic ice cover is one of the most dramatic changes in nature currently occurring anywhere on the planet, with profound environmental and economic implications. We stand to lose one of the Earth's largest and most significant ecosystems. At the same time, however, the once-fabled northeast and northwest passages will reduce shipping times and costs by as much as half, bringing China and Japan much closer to Europe and North America's east coast.

How High Could the Tide Go?

A large body of evidence suggests that the ice sheets atop Greenland and the low-lying, western part of Antarctica are vulnerable to global warming. But together, they can supply no more than about 40 feet of sea level rise.

The previous estimates of Pliocene sea level, based on spotty evidence, range from 15 feet to 130 feet above today’s ocean, with 80 feet being a commonly cited figure. If Dr. Raymo’s work were to confirm such a high estimate, it would suggest that the ice sheet in eastern Antarctica — by far the biggest chunk of ice in the world, containing enough water to raise sea level by 180 feet — is also vulnerable to melting. And if it is, scientists do not fully understand why, because their computer forecasts — acknowledged to be imperfect — suggest most of it should remain stable even in a warmer world.

Some people have faith that GMO's are going to save Humanity.

In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene (Podevin and du Jardin 2012). This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

Less resistance to pests? May be harmful to people? Its a good thing for the American's that America is under the rule of law so that one can seek an injunction to stop planting. Right?

If passed, an amendment in the Agricultural Appropriations Bill will not just allow, but require the secretary of agriculture to grant permits for planting or cultivating GM crops – even if a federal court has given an injunction against it.

Basically, all Monsanto and other biotech companies have to do is ask and the industry gets its way. Issues like crop contamination, damage to farmers or consumers, courts orders or USDA studies all go out the window and the biotech industry cashes in.

I do not support gmo use in agriculture; I believe the favored treatment given Monsanto and their ilk by legislatures and the judiciary is dangerous if not criminal. That said, I cringe when what can only be called “junk science” is used to support my position. The authors of that article use careful language to morph a regulatory part of a gene into a dangerous protein and imply it could somehow get into and thus alter human cells. The dangers from ag-biotech need not be exaggerated with such dubious fancies, reality is bad enough: promotion of agricultural policies with serious collateral damage to the natural world, including decimation of non-target “pests;” transfer of herbicide resistant genes to non-target specie; and perhaps most onerous, the perpetuation of the notion so readily decried on this website--infinite exponential growth is possible on a finite rock.

"I believe the favored treatment given Monsanto and their ilk by legislatures and the judiciary is dangerous if not criminal."

Last night at dinner a friend noted that in the Dredd-Scott case the court declared that people are property. In the Citizens United case they declared that property are people. Dredd-Scott stood less than 10 years. Hopefully CU ruling won't stand as long and the courts could start to consider the people more valuable than corporations.

Given that even foods that have been around for a long time such as sugar, wheat, cows milk, vegetable oils, etc. Are essentially unhealthy for us to consume and have long term health consequences. One can only assume that these unnaturally mutated genetic products will over time begin to also show unforeseen side effects too.

Perhaps we're already seeing them, we just cannot tell what's doing what, because practically everything we eat has been altered or amended in some way by science and technology. Even what we assume to be natural cannot be found naturally in nature, they exist because we bred them that way and we really have no idea what their long term effects might be on us.

But then again, what could possibly go wrong?

There are an increasing number of "unexplained" health issues that I suspect are going to be found related to the sewer of un-natural chemicals that we swim in every day: ADHD, low sperm counts in young men, allergies,various cancers, obesity, etc.


"According to the film, digestive disorders have skyrocketed since GMOs have entered the food supply: irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, chronic constipation, gastrointestinal infections, Crohn's disease, leaky gut syndrome and acid reflux have all seen sharp inclines in the last two decades, as has the incidence of gluten intolerance and Celiac's disease.

One of the likely culprits, suggest Smith is the Bt toxin (Bacillus thuringiensis), registered with the EPA as a pesticide, making the plants (primarily corn and cotton) expressing the bacteria, pesticides as well. The Bt toxin effectively kills insects by exploding their stomachs by poking holes in cells. While scientists for the biotech industry have said the human digestive process destroys any traces of Bt toxins left in our food, the continuing rise in digestive disorders including gluten intolerance suggests otherwise. Smith also cites a 2011 study conducted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, Canada that found Bt toxins in the blood of 93 percent of pregnant women and 80 percent of unborn babies, a condition that would not be possible if the digestive process destroyed the toxin, as the industry suggests."

Yes. Adding things not from the plant into the plant inherently brings up risks.

But the precautionary principle has been thrown out long, long ago, and the propaganda that GMOs will "feed the world" is hard to counter. Ironically because scientists are often the biggest promoters. There is a section of society, not small, that thinks because scientists do it, it must be good, just like the religious section that thinks if the books says it, it must be true.

My biggest problem is not even the health risks (I figure with all the drugs and chemicals out there, Bt corn is just noise), but rather that GMOs so far have been almost exclusively used as a way to continue extremely stupid and short sighted farming practices.

GMOs will "feed the world" is hard to counter

Not hard at all. Just show how yields don't increase and the products produce what would commonly be called undesirable outcomes.

"Just show how yields don't increase..."

Show who? The corporations who own food production (and each other)?

Breaking up the Foodopoly

Check out the chart of who owns what. The best way to control the 'organic' and 'healthy' food movement, from the field to the plate, was to buy the companies. Even California couldn't pass Proposition 37 requiring foods containing GMOs to be labeled as such. It's just another segment where I decided that the only way to counter corporate control is to do it locally, whether it's finance, energy or food. The only way to win is to play your own game.

Show who?

I was thinking in terms of our merry little band of readers here. So that the truth can propagate to their networks, and to their networks and so on.

the only way to counter corporate control is to do it locally, whether it's finance, energy or food. The only way to win is to play your own game.

And that becomes an answer to itself. Here on TOD there has been at least 1 person inspired to follow your example - posted within the last 2 months per my memory.

re the diagram in the linked article: Microsoft is a biotech company?

Anti-virus ;-)

I tend to think of Microsoft as more of a "Pro-biotic" company. We'd have a lot fewer computer viruses if it wasn't for the insecure nature of MS software.

Erm... brings to mind 'Massive Dynamic', if anyone else out there has seen 'Fringe'.

Pointing people at the truth is easy. Getting them to rethink their views is not. Look at the nuclear fans - the Fukushima disaster has, if anything, made them more enthusiastic (except in Japan, of course). Slate ran an article today:

If You Care About the Environment, You Should Support Nuclear Power

The GMO thing runs the same way. It really is a cult of scientific achievement. Because we CAN manipulate genes, our manipulation of genes is holy.

We are not really in a position to determine the absolute truth because in many cases our knowledge is incomplete. In the absence of complete knowledge we need to be subjective as to what we believe or don't believe. Not everyone is going to reach the same conclusions.

In the case of hybrid/GMO plants I would be inclined to believe there is a link with chronic health problems. I do have family members who have switched to a gluten free diet and it is a fact that health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome have become more prevalent. If I started to have a chronic health problem myself, I would certainly try changing my diet -- not just because I believe a lot of health problems are diet related but also because if it works it is a better solution than going to a doctor and being prescribed a pill. However someone else may place more emphasis on the fact that hybrid/GMO plants are higher yielding and pesticide resistant and discount the stories that dropping grains from your diet can cure a chronic health problem as being merely anecdotal.

In the case of nuclear power my conclusion would be that that the risks are manageable and small in comparison to the benefits. Obviously other people make different choices as what is true and most relevant about nuclear power and come to a completely different conclusion.

Makes sense, considering the ways that we find our digestive biota undermined by many of the additives and preservatives and basic imbalances in our chemistry set diets.. and remembering also that something like half our cells are guests, various bacteria that work in and for us, ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-humans... ) .. then eating foods designed to kill off other life forms could quickly have any number of ill effects on us.

It shouldn't make healthy people sick..

Looking into that SciAm article, more reminders of why we shouldn't be adopting 'shoot first' philosophies in microengineering our food supplies..

For one thing, bacteria produce chemicals that help us harness energy and nutrients from our food, Huffnagle explains. Germ-free rodents have to consume nearly a third more calories than normal rodents to maintain their body weight, and when the same animals were later given a dose of bacteria, their body fat levels spiked, even if they didn't eat any more than they had before.

Intestinal bacteria also appear to keep our immune systems healthy. Several studies suggest that microbes regulate the population and density of intestinal immune cells by aiding in the development of gut-associated lymphoid tissues that mediate a variety of immune functions.

I remember reading something about bacteria and presumably viruses basically affecting our moods and even thinking. They can subtly control our behaviour and our relationship with our environment, presumably to their benefit albeit as a side effect.

I assume that different foods promote different bacteria within us and even minor changes to food make-up may therefore alter important balances favouring one type of bacteria over another. Which basically means changing our diet changes us physically and mentally in ways we cannot anticipate.

Then we have chemical additives, pollution, environmental factors. I believe that we now live in a way that is so destructive to us that for most its impossible to survive without continual medical intervention. And yet we keep throwing the dice, with the risks growing seemingly exponentially with every throw.

It's funny, but I'm thinking about Igor in Frankenstein, (maybe just in the movies??) eating live flies to get their Lifeforce, their wee little souls.

As ever, 'The truth is out there' .. and seems to emerge in some of the most uncredited and unlikely of places.

I think that story line appeared first in the original book version of "Dracula". The prisoner, controlled by Dracula, fed flies to the spider, then spiders to the mouse....and then, when the mouse could eat no more, ate the mouse.

There is another POV on wheat.

The taking of old Einkorn wheat and making it into the modern strain may have created problems. A 14 chromosome plant VS a 28 chromosome plant - there may be a difference.
Under the topic of "lets rethink things" and "lower energy solutions" from the above link:

As my co-worker told me, “I’m glad someone finally gave her the answer, but why did she have to hear this from some Joe Schmoe after years of suffering? Why didn’t any of the doctors we consulted think of that?”
The doctors didn’t think of that because they weren’t trained to think of that.

I'll also point out - what humans don't know about how what they eat is astounding. The field of epigenetics.


"It is possible that eating more omega-3 fatty acids, choline, betaine, folic acid and vitamin B12, by mothers and fathers, possibly can alter chromatin state and mutations, as well as have beneficial effects…leading to birth of a 'super baby' with long life and [lower risk] of diabetes and metabolic syndrome," Singh told LiveScience. "This is just a possibility, to be proven by more experiments." [10 New Ways to Eat Well]


(Now there is a group of people who scream "bad science!" and will whine about people != rats. Ok. Just for you special snowflakes - from the 1800's:)

I find that so very interesting Substrate - about 5 years ago I was diagnosed with GERD - gastroesophogeal reflux disease. Hit me out of the blue - at least symptomatically - have tried various medications, homeopathic remedies, lifestyle changes etc.

Prior to that I basically had an iron stomach - was never really overly abusive of it though - have been a life long athlete - not much of anything significant going on healthwise for 40 years of life...

Amazing now the tally of people I run across with virtually the same story as I've had... nearly identical in case after case after case.

Normally not one for serious conspiracy theories but there is blatantly (in my mind) something going on with this... Based on my purely anecdotal evidence about half of my generation has some kind of really messed up GI related malady afflicting them. I am more convinced than ever that there is something going on - some side effect of something causing this and it is carefully being hidden or ignored (or both)...

Thanks for the article.

The onset of heartburn in middle age is common. If you have not already, try eating an apple or apple juice.

You might take a look at this perspective on Reflux. Goes into a lot of cause/effect and digestive detail..


Interesting. That would explain one thing I've noticed: the Atkins diet often cures heartburn.

It didn't make sense by conventional medical wisdom. The food you eat on Atkins is often just what they tell you makes heartburn worse: meat, fat, dairy.

I suspect that in future, there's going to be more and more emphasis on microbes' effect on human health. Not just gut flora, but other elements of the human microbiome, the hygiene hypothesis, fermented foods, etc.

And somewhat along the same lines as jokuhl:


Drinking kefir seems to be ameliorating my relatively minor but persistent acid reflux...

EU rejects French scientist report linking GM corn to cancer

The EFSA said an initial review showed that the "design, reporting and analysis of the study ... are inadequate," meaning it could not "regard the authors' conclusions as scientifically sound."

EFSA listed a series of concerns it had with Seralini's findings, among them that the type of rat used "in the two-year study is prone to developing tumours during their life expectancy of approximately two years.

"This means the observed frequency of tumours is influenced by the natural incidence of tumours typical of this strain, regardless of any treatment. This is neither taken into account nor discussed by the authors."

GMO maize strain safe: EU food agency

EU releases all data on GM corn linked to cancer

The EU's food safety agency challenged its doubters on Monday, making available all the scientific information used to clear a genetically modified corn which a French researcher had linked to cancer.

The European Food Safety Authority said that "given the level of public interest ... (it would) make all data on genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 publicly available on its website."


The French. Who would have believed it a few years ago. They have one of the healthiest populations. These are things that can't be turned back and only the 'scientists' have a say. What is science anymore but a profit centre.

A religion?

A religion of 'profit' and 'solutions to problems' whichever way the high priests determine.

Here's one for Alan, a Desire Named Streetcars:

The Streetcar Chronicles: Part I Dude, Where’s My (Street)car



Many urban transportation historians point to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s successful campaign to rid New York City and its boroughs of the streetcar ...

Today’s opponents of streetcars clearly have an well-“oiled” ax to grind. Otherwise, why would they rely on obfuscating strategies rooted in misinformation?

(Your link). That has not changed.

The well oiled conspired with the well-pentagoned long ago to rid America of them.

They were convicted of crimes and given parking ticket fines:

The Great American streetcar scandal (also known as the General Motors streetcar conspiracy and the National City Lines conspiracy) refers to an largely unpublicized program led by General Motors to systematically replace streetcars and electric train in many cities across the United States with petroleum fuelled bus services.

Some believe that this program was directly responsible for the virtual elimination of effective public transport in American cities by the 1970s.

General Motors Corporation and others were subsequently convicted in 1949 of conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses and related products via a complex network of linked holding companies ...

(A History of Oil Addiction - 2). That is the way the drug dealers of Oil-Qaeda do things when they want new territority:

David [Rockefeller - Standard Oil], the youngest and most determined of the brothers, had worked as an assistant to New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia before joining the international loan division of his family's bank, Chase, perhaps the most powerful financial institution in the world.

(PBS). It was a tight nit little group with inroads into the heart of government:

Yes, the foreign policy that fundamentally supports oil barons has never been a big secret: "One of our greatest helpers has been the State Department" - John D. Rockefeller (1909).

(ibid, A History of Oil Addiction - 2). You connect the dots and answer "are you in good hands with Oil-State?"

The EIA's International Energy Statistics came out yesterday with the production data for October 2012. I only track Crude+Condensate and below are the most pertinent changes from September to October in kb/d.

World      +630 
OPEC       -474
Non-OPEC +1,104

Big Gainers
Azerbaijan  +92
Brazil      +88
Canada     +358
Norway     +240
UK          +79
USA        +337

Big Losers
Australia   -87
Iran       -150
Iraq       -200
Nigeria    -100

Australia was the only non-OPEC big loser. The World production numbers are still down 494 kb/d from their peak in April 2012 and the OPEC numbers are still down 898 kb/d from their peak that same month. Non-OPEC numbers are a little closer to their peak, down 127 kb/d from their peak in November 2010.

I have serious doubts about some of the EIA's data. They tend to show many countries with no change in production for many months in a row. For instance they have had Venezuela's production at 2,240 kb/d for the last 24 months. And before that they were at 2,140 kb/d for six straight months. Several other countries show a similar pattern.

They seem to be very accurate for the countries that supply them with their production data but for those that don't they just guess. And they seem to make the same guess month after month. This is surprising since many OPEC countries show this pattern, like Venezuela. But OPEC does publish its crude only production numbers in the OPEC MOMR. The EIA, if they used these numbers would then only have to guess at the condensate production and NGLs production for their "all liquids" data. While OPEC's "direct communication" numbers are political their "secondary sources" numbers seem to be quite accurate.

Ron P.

Thanks for the quick summary Ron. We can once again assess (assuming the figures are reasonably accurate) the validity of MSM hype and draw our own conclusions as to what is going on. Some significant shifts going on.

That would have been a short eassy in a writing class.

Cheap energy makes civilization possible.
-Whale oil
-Wind (for sailing)
-Wood, Coal, Peat, etc.

Every time any of those existed in high concentrations that were easy to get at, civilizations thrived, until it was time to pay the true cost and they found out it wasn't as cheap as they thought.


Well, sorry, but that's a C+ for you, Noble Serf.

Cheap energy did not make civilization possible. Agriculture and the production of surplus wealth did. Energy inputs didn't become cheap until capitalism yielded science and industrialism.

Cheap energy has certainly helped obscure the actual basis of wealth, but so has that other great by-product of the agricultural revolution/civilization: entrenched social inequality. Nothing is more anathema to our overclass now than a proper understanding of all this.

To that end, it behooves us not to exaggerate and distort what happened and why. Energy, utterly vital as it is, is not everything, and capitalism is not the only possible form of civilization, though certainly it may destroy our chances for further exploration of the process.

Right, let's not confuse civilization with the industrial revolution or the population explosion. Cheap energy did enable both to happen but civilization started somewhere in the Middle East several thousand years ago, long before the advent of cheap energy.

But energy did play a big part in making civilization possible. It was surplus energy. Surplus energy enabled people to live in cities. It enabled people to form governments and armies. Without surplus energy everyone would be either farmers or hunter-gatherers.

Ron P.

Depends on what you count as energy. I count food. Agriculture, in fact, made energy (calories) cheaper than it had been under hunter gatherer regimen as well as more reliable. Egypt was a civilization and an empire that did some pretty spectacular things with just the energy of food made cheap by the fact that the Nile deposited potash and organics each year. MD's perspective seems biased toward economics. Energy really is everything (no work gets done without its flow through the system). Ask any systems ecologist or biophysical economist. Surplus energy permits the generation of more complexity. Admittedly there is a feedback loop wherein some of that complexity contributes to technologies that allow greater rates and kinds of extraction/conversions.

The difference now is that we are relying of finite non-renewable resources and are therefore stock-limited. With food production such as was done in ancient Egypt we were flow-limited (solar and river). I'd give NS a B+ for scope. He just needed to provide the details.

I'm with George on this one. Food is huge.

Now, I was just thinkin' here. If we stay on the path we're on now, mightn't we just be going back up NB's list?

Wood, Coal, Peat
Wind (for hunting Whales?)
Whale Oil

Hmmm. I'm thinkin', not good...

Agreed, George. I can't fathom why some do not consider food calories as energy.

I'm not at all sure agriculture made food calories easier. The evidence is that hunter gatherers had pretty leisurely lives, but farmers had to work their derrieres off. What agriculture did was enable a substantial relaxation on the limit on population density. But, it did this at a high cost in loss of leisure, and poor health. Not to mention societal complexity increased creating a whole new area of problems.

Generally, what we had happening, was the more intensive the farming, the more labor per unit of output was required. Lately we've substituted nonorganic energy for much of this labor. All of this in order to support ever increasing population density.

That's probably correct but it raises the question of what incentised the bulk of the population to make the transformation from hunter-gatherer to peasant? I'm not sure there is an obvious answer except the creation of wealth triggered greed at seeing the abundance. Perhaps like today the appearance of that wealth hypnotised everyone yet only a very few actually benefitted from the wealth creation, and they weren't the ones doing all the work.

There was probably an intermediate stage of pastoralism. We know pastoralists burn old grass to encourage fresh new growth. They must have burned down areas of forests in the process and thought hmmmm... we can plant stuff where there were trees.

But once you've got a harvest, the problem is to store it. Cattle are stored meat and defended by tribal warriors, but stored grains in any large amount can't be carried around. So you have to settle near your granaries and protect your stores with peasant armies. When we talk agriculture, we mean planting plus permanent settlement.

Vikings used to land, plant, harvest, and sail away. Maybe a group of Vikings lost their boats in a storm and they had to stay with their harvests and decided it was a good way of life. Vikings inventing settled agriculture. How cool would that be?

Grain doesn't store all that well in a granary, or for very long. Too many vermin to keep out of the silo. The way to preserve the stored energy of grain is to make it into Beer. Then it becomes a portable (and potable!) commodity. Alcohol is the force that spread agriculture world wide. Grain based alcoholic beverages are the reason we all have farming in our cultural history. Beer is the original liquid fuel of civilization. And when whiskey was discovered, it became even more concentrated. How many people remember music commemorating wheat? Aside from the national anthem, that is. There are dozens of folk songs devoted to drinking however.

That's why cats domesticated themselves.

Beer was an important grain product, but I don't think it's really the fuel of civilization. In particular...many Asians have a bad reaction to alcohol, and it appears to have been positively selected for. China somehow managed to become the oldest civilization anyway.

Beer was an important grain product, but I don't think it's really the fuel of civilization.

While there is no The Water Drum - Discussions on potable water and humanity's future
the above observation is more about getting rid of the pathogens in water.

The Tea habit of China would work to be rid of pathogens. And making beer works when the water is cleard of enough other stuff to allow yeast to do its work.

That is undoubtedly one factor.

But it's more than that. Ancient beer was made from bread, and was likely more nutritious than bread. Fermentation does good things to food (makes it easier to digest, reduces the levels of toxic chemicals, increases the levels of vitamins and amino acids).

It seems ridiculous now, but a couple of generations ago, doctors would tell pregnant women to drink beer, for nutritional reasons.

Thank you for your counter narrative - I learned something.

I don't think there's any evidence for this. Foraging people clearly understand the principles of agriculture. For example, they will often spread seeds to encourage the growth of plants they favor, in order to harvest them when they return later.

But it's simply not worth the effort to do full-time, when you can forage instead.

You are right that there was a major change in settlement patterns, but I don't think it was the storage that was the problem. Once you start investing heavily in land - agriculture - then you are committed to staying there and defending it. A foraging group might just move on if the weather's bad or another group arrives and there's conflict. An agricultural society cannot do that. Even if there's no food yet to guard, you are not going to walk away from fields where you have toiled so hard to work the soil, plant crops, weed, etc.

"the appearance of that wealth hypnotised everyone yet only a very few actually benefitted"

Spot on, JJ. The hypnotic power of wealth. I wonder where we can find it in operation.


I think it's obvious: warfare.

No one with two neurons to rub together would choose agriculture over foraging. But the high population densities that agriculture allows gave agricultural societies a military advantage. That is why today, foraging societies exist only in areas where agriculture is not feasible. The Arctic, the Kalahari desert, deep in the rain forest, etc. They've been pushed off all the more desirable land.

Yes indeed.

It could be that they (foraging outliers) are in the best place to hear the crunches and rumbles of civilization falling down around them via war or climate catastrophes, or both.

A hunter gather society was a very egalitarian society - and large wealth accumulation by an individual was very difficult (you would have to carry it). A shift to agriculture allowed for the accumulation of personal wealth. So perhaps wealth accumulation is a part of the human DNA and agriculture allowed it to manifest itself.

In "Pandoras Seed-Spencer Wells provides evidence that pre-agriculture human beings were healthier and that it took almost 10,000 for homo sapiens to revert back to their pre agriculture health levels. He makes the argument that most of the stuff that ails Homo sapiens today can be traced back to agriculture and the introduction of carbohydrates in large amounts into the human diet.

A hunter gather society was a very egalitarian society - and large wealth accumulation by an individual was very difficult (you would have to carry it).

Not just that. It simply was not possible to accumulate wealth. Sure, you could accumulate feathers, or beads, or shells, or gold, but they had no intrinsic value. Food is what mattered, and in bad times, no one would trade food for ornaments.

The kinds of foods foragers lived off of could not be easily hoarded. Tubers, fruits, meat, fish, etc. can't be stored for long, especially in warmer climates. Even if smoked or dried, the shelf life is limited. Your wealth would rot.

It was grain that made agriculture possible. Grain can be stored, for years if necessary, and that's what made extreme social stratification possible.

Before that, the only way to store a surplus was to share it with others, in hopes that if you ever needed it, they would share with you. This was the only way to bank wealth: investing in the goodwill of your neighbors.

This is a crucial point. Religions and ideologies encouraging or even mandating sharing are deeply rooted in this ancient awareness - converting material wealth and windfalls into social capital lies at the heart of our sociality and is central to our species' overall adaptive strategy. Reciprocal exchange, found in every society, makes the world go around.

This meme is prominent in current resilience thinking as well. In our hyper-individualized culture it's hard for most of us to see the value of sharing/reciprocity, even if we intuit it as the right thing to do...it seems so intangible.

Greer, this week - "Restoring The Commons:"

Hardin asks us to imagine a common pasture, of the sort that was common in medieval villages across Europe. The pasture is owned by the village as a whole; each of the villagers has the right to put his cattle out to graze on the pasture. The village as a whole, however, has no claim on the milk the cows produce; that belongs to the villager who owns any given cow. The pasture is a collective resource, from which individuals are allowed to extract private profit; that’s the basic definition of a commons.

In the Middle Ages, such arrangements were common across Europe, and they worked well because they were managed by tradition, custom, and the immense pressure wielded by informal consensus in small and tightly knit communities, backed up where necessary by local manorial courts and a body of customary law that gave short shrift to the pursuit of personal advantage at the expense of others.

Reminds me of this article, which includes the story of what happened to an Ayn Rand type among the Mbuti.

And reading the comments on that article leads me to think that the myth of our ancestors as being short, brutish, stupid, bumbling idiots is very much alive. I guess many people are going to get the shock of their lives as collapse slowly takes hold (at least in some parts) and the techno-myth of our supposed genius is exposed.



There is a noted evolutionist who advocates that the advent of "intelligence" within the human species was a "lethal mutation":

I'LL BEGIN with an interesting debate that took place some years ago between Carl Sagan, the well-known astrophysicist, and Ernst Mayr, the grand old man of American biology. They were debating the possibility of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. And Sagan, speaking from the point of view of an astrophysicist, pointed out that there are innumerable planets just like ours. There is no reason they shouldn't have developed intelligent life. Mayr, from the point of view of a biologist, argued that it's very unlikely that we'll find any. And his reason was, he said, we have exactly one example: Earth. So let's take a look at Earth. And what he basically argued is that intelligence is a kind of lethal mutation ... you're just not going to find intelligent life elsewhere, and you probably won't find it here for very long either because it's just a lethal mutation ... With the environmental crisis, we're now in a situation where we can decide whether Mayr was right or not. If nothing significant is done about it, and pretty quickly, then he will have been correct: human intelligence is indeed a lethal mutation. Maybe some humans will survive, but it will be scattered and nothing like a decent existence, and we'll take a lot of the rest of the living world along with us.

(What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?). I don't accept that easily, however, I know when I look at the direction civilization is going I would not make a big stink contrary to the Mayr hypothesis.

He had an evolutionary approach, but others we know well backed him up from other disciplines:

"I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness." - Sigmund Freud

“Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Social Dementia Causes Heated Misunderestimations - 3). I hope that the non-agriculturalists who Leanan writes of, can survive the agricultural civilization that depends on Oil-Qaeda.

Dredd, thanks for posting this, the quote by Ernst Mayr. This has been my opinion for some time. A few others have the same opinion, but they are a very few.

Animals have always been involved in an evolutionary arms race, every species trying for an evolutionary advantage over others, and even seeking an evolutionary advantage over members of its own species. About 5 million years ago, give or take a million years or so, one species started on a path that would give it an enormous advantage over every other species. The advantage was so great that this species began to wipe out every other species that stood in its way to supremacy.

We are in competition with every other species on earth for territory and resources, and we are winning, easily winning.

Check out Reg Morrison. He is one of the very few that understands this problem.

Ron P.

Dung Beetles Are Astronomers
The Beetles rely on moving away from their food source quickly to escape competitors by using light to navigate a straight line route. Sunlight or starlight works.

Even the humble dung beetle, its life spent barely an inch above the ground, pushing balls of waste, steers by starlight.

This unsuspected navigational mechanism, described Jan. 24 in Current Biology, is likely not limited to the Scarabaeus satyrus examined by the researchers.

Peering through compound eyes into the darkness of night, insects around the world may be guided by stars.

“It’s just another example of how wonderful the animal kingdom is, how the most amazing things have evolved,” said biologist Eric Warrant of Sweden’s Lund University, a co-author on the study.

Beetles may not come to dominate their niche but seem to have an advantage.


I've been thinking the same thing about the Fermi paradox (if there are so many planets, there should be a gazillion intelligent alien species around that are highly advanced. Why haven't we met one (or many)? In Sagan's time the mechanism for fatality was thought to be thermonuclear weapons. Now we see that there are other ways to lose out.

I've always felt that the 'solution' to Fermi's paradox is that intelligence is just a very very rare trait. It generally is not needed to succeed evolutionary wise. Of all the billions of species to exist on our planet, only one developed intelligence. That may be a very rare fluke.

But, yeah, self-destruction probably does take out many intelligent civilizations that do manage to arise.

That may be a very rare fluke.

Kinda of an ironic choice of words...


If you've ever spent any time in close proximity with them, I'd think you'd be really hard pressed to say that certain marine mammals are not highly intelligent! They are self aware, playful, use tools, are social and form close bonds, have a culture and a complex language and can even demonstrate a sense of future.

...Another example of interesting behaviour suggesting intelligence concerns a dolphin named Kelly at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi. The dolphins there are trained to collect any rubbish that inadvertently falls into their pens and then give it to a trainer the next time they see one. They are then rewarded with a fish. Kelly worked out that the size of the piece of rubbish does not affect the reward. So instead of handing over a piece of litter immediately, she stores it under a rock in the tank and tears it into small pieces and hands them back one at a time. This strategy suggests that Kelly has a sense of future and is prepared to delay gratification. She has also in a way turned the tables — she has effectively trained the humans to do what she wants.

Not too shabby for such an exceedingly rare trait.

"...They are self aware, playful, use tools, are social and form close bonds, have a culture and a complex language and can even demonstrate a sense of future.

...and they're humble enough to ask for help, even from another species.

Glad you posted that vid link, Ghung, it's only about a week old.

That dolphin had a very sophisticated mental model of what humans could do, and approached them as matter-of-factly as if going to a dental appointment.

It's always amazing to me that people note that dolphins don't build skyscrapers or jet planes, so must not be intelligent. Those folks haven't done much thinking about "intelligence".

Nor is "intelligence" (if defined as abstracting analytic modeling) necessarily a lethal mutation. That's only true in certain contexts; clearly not the case for cetaceans. We needed hands and fingers and exosomatic information storage and an environment in which we could make tools, and the blessing/curse of hundreds of millions of years of sequestered carbon. Let's not curse "intelligence" until we actually show some...

Thank you for that that sharing that video. Only last week there was a news item that Chimps have a natural sense of 'fairness' just like humans. The more time we spend exploring the natural world the more we realize that we are animals like anybody else, nothing special.

You could also cite Neanderthals. But neither they nor Dophins ever build radio telescopes or transmitters nor will they.

But neither they nor Dophins ever build radio telescopes or transmitters nor will they.

And that proves that they are not intelligent?! Isn't that a bit anthropocentric of you.

For the record:

Intelligence has been defined in many different ways including, but not limited to, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, reasoning, learning, having emotional knowledge, retaining, planning, and problem solving.
Source Wikipedia

Dolphins score highly on all those traits.


They are not intelligent on a level that makes a difference for the Fermi paradox.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. -Inigo Montoya

No particular advanced cognitive benchmark, including self-awareness, would be absolutely necessary for radio broadcasting to evolve. We have quite an anthropocentric take on what constitutes a paradox.

You are assuming that aliens look or even sound like us or that they will have some big spaceships or telescope. That's a very narrow way of looking at things, for all we know aliens could be around us and we wouldn't even know it, and the icing on the cake would be that dolphins know this.

'They crossed vast reaches of space in a journey lasting thousands of years before reaching their target where they attacked the first planet they encountered, Earth. Due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog. ' - D.Adams.

Fermi intelligence = building stuff you don't need to get knowledge you can live without

They don't need transmitters, they can communicate over long distances without any instruments. Their technology is more advanced than ours.

Not too shabby for such an exceedingly rare trait.

I have a better story. A dolphin I once knew figured out that the total amount of fish fed during the day was constant, no matter how much was consumed during experimental reward, so turned the experimental protocol on its head, remaking a visual acuity experiment into a game in which the unseen experimenter got a herring between the eyes. They'll usually change the rules.

So when I designed research, it was entirely divorced from food reward & based on what dolphins found to be fun. If they didn't enjoy it enough to do it for fun, it wasn't done.

Playfulness has long been one of my notions of what signals intelligence.

As James Carse puts it,

There are at least two kinds of games.
One could be called finite, the other infinite.

The finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play,
...and bringing as many persons as possible into the play.

Finite players play within boundaries;
infinite players play with boundaries.


jokuhl, thanks for that link to the infinite games website, I've bookmarked it.

I think it will help me to think about new and innovative ways to present paradigm change as a fun and interesting challenge to much a wider audience.

Sorta like Greenish's example of turning the tables on our trainers, with the smack of a well aimed herring or two, right between their eyes. (high pitched squeal of dolphin laughter)

Let's all see how long we can keep the games going!



Why should we expect to meet any living creatures from another planet? It's likely impossible for any living, breathing, eating organism to survive interstellar space travel (robots maybe, but still unlikely), so the best we can hope for is a electro-magnetic signal if they are out there.

Fermi paradox

Probably faulty assumptions create this "paradox." DNA based life requires some rather specific conditions to arise and continue.

1. The star must be the appropriate size otherwise there will be too much or too little UV radiation, flares, variability in TSI, etc.

2. About half of the star systems have multiple stars which limit the number of stable orbits.

3. The planet's eccentricity must be near circular or the temperature varies too much during the seasons.

4. The planet can not be too small or too big. Too small: not enough gravity to hold onto the atmosphere, must have molten iron core to generate a magnetic field to deflect the solar wind. Too big: gas giant, attracts meteoroids.

5. Must have water. The temperature and pressure must be around the freezing point of water.

6. Can not have to many big meteors.

7. If humans are the first technologically advanced species on Earth, then it took half the age of the star, 5 billion years, to evolve us. There are 4 billion more years before Sun expands into a red giant engulfing Earth, and supposedly less time before the core solidifies, shutting down the geomagnetic field. That time frame suggests to me that it is difficult to create technologically advanced species.

8. The longevity of technological civilization may be a few hundred years (nuclear war, over-population, resource depletion, pollution).

9. Interstellar travel may not be possible. Humans have not invented a warp engine (faster than light travel), anti-mater reactor (power supply) nor a deflector shield.

Humans have more imagination than technology and wisdom.

Even when you factor in all those variables, even if it's just a 1 star in a million proposition, there still should be lots of ET's out there. Kepler is showing most stars have planets, many have gas giants close to the start - they could easily have moons that would support life. Kepler has also found a few near earth like planets, that part looks pretty common.

So, yes it's most likely #8. The most likely explanation is technology is always fatal. We are already in the mist of a mass extinction on our planet.

The sun is a variable star and is brightening. The oceans will have boiled away in less than a billion years. Earth will be uninhabitable in less than half that time.
Liquid iron cores are most probably not common. Plate tectonics may have been required for life to develop.
We also need a moon for tides and the tilt of the Earth for seasons.
We also need a nearby gas giant to absorb most of the comets and loose asteroids.
We also need to have a stable position in the galaxy.
Earth is a fluke.
The odds have been calculated and they are literally astronomical.
We may have been able to adapt our life with the assist of technology to exist on a strange planet but for life and especially intelligent life to take hold on one that is a different proposition.

When I considered the Drake Equation decades ago, even though I assumed planets are common my conclusion was that technological civilizations are uncommon. There are so many factors that limit stable star systems that huge portions of the Milky Way galaxy can be rejected. In both the galactic core and globular star clusters, the stellar number density is high enough that collisions and close encounters between stars perturb planetary orbits and send meteoroids crashing toward the planets over a 5 billion year period (the time it apparently took to get a technological civilization on Earth). The odds of being hit by the shockwave from a supernova are high. The core contains roughly 10% of the stars. The galactic halo contains old stars. DNA based life would not have been possible during the early years of the galaxy because supernovae are required to enrich planetary nebula with elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Basically the suitable star systems appear to be located in galactic spiral arms, but even there, regions of star formation are too young.

The vast majority of stars are classified as M which are little and dim, thought to shine too weakly in the ultraviolet to create the organic compounds necessary to create DNA based life. About 75% of the stars in the solar neighborhood are M stars. About 7.5% are G stars similar to Sun. About 12% are K stars which are dimmer than Sun but might also be suitable for DNA based life.

The Milky Way Galaxy is estimated to contain between 100 billion and 400 billion stars. This reasoning goes on and on quickly reducing 400 billion star systems to only a few containing an Earth like planet.

A hunter gather society was a very egalitarian society...

Not necessarily. History presents many examples of small groups being ruled by the strongest and most ruthless members. I'm sure the fact that their masters were also destitute didn't make the underdogs feel any better about it.

That doesn't seem to happen among foraging societies. Sure, there's conflict, but because it's egalitarian, there's a limit to how much power one man can have. He can't pay an army or even a gang. He can't hoard all the weapons; everyone makes his own.

There's an old joke that goes, "How do you find the chief of an Indian village?" Answer: "You look for the poorest man." Europeans found this quite odd, but that's how it worked. The leader became the leader by giving things to other people. Generosity is what led to respect.

A chief didn't give orders. He couldn't. Instead, he'd set an example. If work needed to be done, he would start doing it, and hope people would see him doing it and join him.

That doesn't seem to happen among foraging societies. Sure, there's conflict, but because it's egalitarian, there's a limit to how much power one man can have. He can't pay an army or even a gang. He can't hoard all the weapons; everyone makes his own.

I think one could consider such a society itself a "gang" or an "army" relative to the rest of the world. It's not like any powerful person has ever been powerful by themselves without any "social capital", whether in a foraging society or some other. And it's not like real gang and army leaders gain respect only through physical force.

I agree though that the limits on physical stuff, including human numbers, limit how much power one man can have.

Taxes are the critical feature for civilisation.

Farms just create enough surplus for a little trade with a market town unless there is a government compelling them to create a larger surplus to pay their taxes.

@ EOS: Not sure what evidence you refer to. Certainly there are some HG tribes that have it easier in terms of the bountifulness of their environment in which case they prefer the HG lifestyle. But that wasn't the universal case across history.

As for the energetics of agriculture - work in, calories out - you may want to consider some of the work of David Pimentel and his wife, Marcia, in "Food, Energy, and Society", CRC Books. If you dig into the details you will find that agriculture is most generally a net energy gain on good lands. The problem is that it also tends to drain the soils over time and eventually is not sustainable at scales attained by civilizations (read Thomas Homer-Dixon's "The Upside of Down"). In a real sense, agriculture has been too successful enabling humans to overshoot their resources. And, modern industrial agriculture using fossil fuels has simply accelerated that degradation, relying on FF-based fertilizers to forestall the inevitable. [Side note: permaculture is based on the concept of a steady-state semi-closed system where all material is recycled so as to avoid this phenomenon.]

What is true about some of the earliest agriculture-based societies is that the nutrient values of the domesticated crops were sometimes sub-par leading to things like earlier tooth decay and stunted growth. But calorically agriculture is a net plus. If it weren't then you would have a very hard time explaining the increase in total human biomass, i.e. the growth of populations, which needed energy surpluses.

Someone else mentioned granaries not being that great for storage. Then they mentioned silos so I'm guessing they were unfamiliar with how grains (indeed many foodstuffs including beer) were actually stored in early agrarian societies. HINT: it wasn't silos. It was clay pots, large ones, that boosted human understanding of furnaces (to fire the pots), and markings on the pots indicating what was in them and who owned them, etc. was the origin of both writing and accounting!

I think what he is talking about is that foraging societies (hunter-gatherers) typically work only three hours a day to provide all their needs. Agriculture requires much more work.

Diamond lays out the case against agriculture here.

Are twentieth century hunter-gatherers really worse off than farmers? Scattered throughout the world, several dozen groups of so-called primitive people, like the Kalahari bushmen, continue to support themselves that way. It turns out that these people have plenty of leisure time, sleep a good deal, and work less hard than their farming neighbors. For instance, the average time devoted each week to obtaining food is only 12 to 19 hours for one group of Bushmen, 14 hours or less for the Hadza nomads of Tanzania. One Bushman, when asked why he hadn't emulated neighboring tribes by adopting agriculture, replied, "Why should we, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world?"

Note that Diamond is referring to the case for 20th century comparisons. This is not the same as looking at the archeological evidence re: earliest agriculture settlements. The question is why would humans have converted to agrarian lifestyles (apparently in four independent locations globally) if there was not an energetic advantage. Physiology and physical work are all about energy given the presence of appropriate nutrients. If nothing else it saves energy from the standpoint of not having to move around and from the greater security provided by storage. Also note that primitive agriculture required peaks of longer work hours in specific seasons, prepping and planting, occasional weeding, harvesting, etc. The work load comes in bursts but the actual average work effort is not as high as I think people imagine. I do this myself and during the summer I supply all of my family's vegetable needs (except grains - don't have a suitable field) with pretty small effort and NO fossil fuels. The big work was in building the beds and importing the organic soils (OK, that latter work did require fossil fuels!) That was an investment. Minimal maintenance from here on.

The energy surpluses provided by agriculture in the river valleys where civilizations developed allowed there to be people who could devote themselves to non-agricultural activities, esp. arts.

This thread started with a misrepresentation of civilization being based on cheap energy. Current civilization (and honestly I don't know how civilized we are anymore) is based on fossil fuels that once were cheap. No argument. But you have to count the advent of agriculture as at least the second major discovery and exploitation of cheaper energy (the first being controlled fire), and the first discovery known to give rise to true civilizations (as defined by their level of non-ag culture).

I think it's quite possible that some tribes ran out of fauna to hunt in their localities, you can't always move because of geography and climate and various other reasons. Maybe there was an epidemic of sorts among the animals and someone discovered that you could plant seeds and cultivate them setting off a chain reaction.

There may have been a number of "triggers" but I don't understand the need to speculate about this. Humans are biological creatures that will always seek an energetic advantage to fulfill their biological mandate (produce more biomass of your own kind). Humans just have the intellectual wherewithal to recognize new sources and technologies (i.e. agriculture) to acquire that advantage. Why do we need to go on speculating about motives?

Because your theory doesn't match the facts.

People understand the principles of agriculture, even when they do not practice it. This is obvious from the practices of non-agricultural societies - foragers, pastoralists, and horticulturalists, who demonstrate an understanding of the basics of agriculture, may even see others practicing it, but do not do it themselves.

Why is this? Not because they're lacking in "intellectual wherewithal." Rather, it's because agriculture doesn't work in all situations, and has some severe disadvantages.

Horticulturalists are interesting to study in that light. Horticultural societies grow crops, but do not have crops that can be easily stored. That means wealth cannot be concentrated, and the society remains egalitarian.

The conventional view in anthropology is that the neolithic transition was a trap. Hunter-gatherers enjoyed the benefits of increased calories (energy flow), but as earlier comments have noted, it came at the cost of having to work harder, being tied down to particular areas (and having to defend them), and generally simplified diets/reduced health and longevity - all of which didn't really manifest themselves until well after people had already committed themselves to increasing dependence on cultivation.

Some h/g groups have deliberately refrained from cultivation. A wonderful, well written example is Laura Rival's 2002 *Trekking Through History: The Huaorani of Amazonian Ecuador.* NY: Columbia Univ. Press.

I'd guess that the earliest agricultural settlements were in very fertile areas. For example, the Jomon. Or Otzi the Ice Man's people. They could settle down like farmers, while living like foragers. That led to the population increase which made agriculture necessary.

The energy surpluses provided by agriculture in the river valleys where civilizations developed allowed there to be people who could devote themselves to non-agricultural activities, esp. arts.

Strongly disagree with this. Foragers have plenty of time for the arts. They only work three hours a day to provide food, shelter, and clothing (and this in the very worst environments - before agriculture, they probably worked even less). So what do they do all day? Often, the arts. Music, storytelling, dance, carving, painting, pottery, etc. As we see from Lascaux and many other sites, art has been part of human lives long before agriculture. I'd guess that it used to be something everyone did, at least sometimes. Agricultural made it something the elite did, supported by the peons.

And while I see a clear advantage of foragers in respect to leisure time etc. agriculture allowed larger settlements. And in larger settlements people have a better opportunity to specialize. So we may have per capita a lower percentage of the time spend for "culture", but with more specialization we get a wider and sophisticated spectrum of activities.

This is true, but specialization is really another way of saying inequality. You don't get specialization without social stratification.

So why would people agree to this? Before the fossil fuel fiesta, societies could not afford to support many elites. Heck, you see it now in many developing countries: a huge bunch of people on the bottom, hardly any middle class, and a tiny elite at the top. Your chances of being a peasant slaving in the fields to support the elite are much greater than your chances of being the king or priest or artist supported by that mass of peons. So why go along with this?

As I said before...warfare. Agriculture is a terrible way of life for the participants, with the vast majority relegated to far poorer and more brutal lives than they would ever have suffered as foragers. But it allows not just greater numbers, it allows - encourages, even - technological advancement. Societies ended up in an arms race that left them unable to bail out. This was a major part of Tainter's argument: collapse can only occur in a power vacuum.

Even when a society is past the point of diminishing returns - when economically, they'd be better off not investing in more complexity - there is a situation where they cannot collapse. That is when there is a group of societies, of similar complexity, in competition with each other. No one can collapse, because if they do, they'll be taken over by a neighbor. Collapse, when it comes, will be a group affair. No one can collapse unless they all collapse at once.

Jared Diamond argues that this is one reason Europe conquered the Americas, and not the other way around. Europe's geography encouraged this technological arms race in a way the Americas' did not.

"This is true, but specialization is really another way of saying inequality. You don't get specialization without social stratification.

Agreed, but this is a simulatous development. For me warfare is one of the first and most important fields of specialization, hunter/gatherer have some "natural" military potential due to their lifestyle, in order to compete with them for their land the farmers should develope some specialists.

In many European countries after the dark ages the differences between "knight" and peasant was very small at the beginning, actually the warrior was often the one who could afford slightly better weapons or a better horse. Only after some generations with high level of warfare the value of the specialist led to higher social rank.

Interestingly, even in central Europe we saw for many centuries the concept of peasants who maintained a quite high quality as soldiers (Austrian "Grenzer" aka Panduren in the 17/18th century.

Could it be that agriculture is a slippery slope. First you plant a few seeds to supplement your hunter gathering. Then your population increases -because maybe people considered true wealth to be having more surviving kids. So you need to upgrade the intensity of cultivation. Then you let population increase further, and have to get yet more intensive. At some point more intensive cultivation starts requiring more effort per unit of output, but because of population pressure you can't stop at the optimal level. Then as mentioned earlier in the thread, if somebody else does it, and forms an army to take your stuff/land, you are in trouble. So through some combination of conquest and imitation, the farming lifestyle spreads. Once the dynamic gets started, do the participants really have a choice to back away?

Pretty much the thesis of Schmookler, Andrew Bard 1995 *The parable of the tribes : the problem of power in social evolution.* Albany : State University of New York Press, 2nd ed.

"Then your population increases -because maybe people considered true wealth to be having more surviving kids."

Actually it was even simpler that that. Populations in hunter-gatherer societies were naturally limited not so much by lack of resources, but by their nomadic lifestyles. Women only could carry one child with them when moving from one resource to another, so until that child was old enough to run with the tribe without slowing it down, she could not have more kids. This was accomplished by primitive contraception methods, abortions and even infanticide. As soon as people settled down with agriculture, the sedentary lifestyle meant that women were not limited in have more children. Thus started the vicious cycle that you described. More kids -> more food needed -> more land and more workers needed -> more kids, etc... And more kids also meant more soldiers to conquer new lands from the hunter-gatherer tribes.

Women only could carry one child with them when moving from one resource to another, so until that child was old enough to run with the tribe without slowing it down, she could not have more kids.

This was also a physical thing. The combination of breastfeeding and regular exercise suppresses fertility. There was often no need for birth control or abortion. Women did not get pregnant until they weaned their child, which was usually age 3 to 5.

Some groups have cultural customs that reinforce this. Abstaining from sex for 5 years after the birth of a child, say. The average American can't wrap his mind around this, but in some other cultures, it's no big deal.

But I'm not objecting to saying that civilization and social stratification relied on increased energy use. The question is when energy became cheap.

The evidence is that, yes, farming generated a great deal of new usable energy, but that was not a cheap and easy process until very recently in the process of civilization. Until the Industrial Revolution, the average hunter-gatherer was far healthier and had far more leisure time than the average agrarian producer. That was because h-g was a way of living off almost "free" energy -- the plants and animals that popped up without human marshaling.

Farming was adopted due to population pressures/ecological degradation, and also external conquest by pre-existing farmers. It was certainly not an explosion of "consumer greed," as some here think.

Energy is not everything. Human intention, labor, and social structure are co-equally important. If we lose that point, we lose much.

farming generated a great deal of new usable energy, but that was not a cheap and easy process until very recently

Farming must have been cheap and easy in the early days, otherwise why do it?

Presumably settled farming started in the regions where the grains naturally grew best, so yields were probably very good. Need more food? Clear more ground and plant more food. The big fights would have been with cattle herders wanting to graze the same grasslands.

But once you settle the land, a new factor comes into play -- inheritance. Who gets the land after you've gone? And so we get dynasties and contracts, and probably credit systems and banking too, based on the reasonable certainty of reaping a harvest versus the uncertainty of the hunt.

Yeah I should have edited in "modern civilization" starting with the generation just prior to the industrial revolution, and going forward.

In my view at least, you could not sustain the agriculture required to feed "civilization" without cheap fuel.

Unless you limited population to a billion or so, late 1800s time-frame, IIRC.

I am aware that "we" started downhill when the first guy said "Hey, come work for me in this here farming thing I invented. I'll let you live here on the land too."

(Hence my name)

Biological systems competed based upon arrangement and organization of cells and tissues and associated behaviors. Humans jumped into evolutionary hyper-speed when they adopted accessories from the environment and then began creating their own tools. If they had not used those tools against one another, perhaps the early population growth curve would have increased more rapidly. Tool assisted predation and then cultivation amplified available energy to such an extent that greater complexity created a positive feedback where more and more energy became available and thereby supported even greater complexity in information, tools and organization. Life supporting and enhancing innovations from the fossil energy flow facilitated an explosion in human population that has become organized to maximize the acquisition and flow of energy. Massive amounts of energy, greed and an unwillingness to accept our place in nature with all of its inherent hazards and hardships has “temporarily” alleviated our discomfort and assisted in our exuberant reproductive success. But to what end? Our walking, talking somatic systems are the repository of future generations, but now seemingly exist only for the greater titillation of our lesser neural tissues. There’s only one fate for an organism indulging in unlimited “freedom” from the ecosystem through the use of massive amounts of exosomatic energy and exosomatic tools – an untimely and traumatic return to whence it all began.

I am fascinated as an anthropologist with this whole idea that our fundamental reliance on energy is invisible to us. I think it's not just a consequence of social inequality and machine technology removing us from direct engagement with energy flow in more obvious ways, it's also that electricity itself is invisible. We see its effects and (maybe) understand it abstractly, but in our quotidian lives it just sinks into the taken-for-granted nature of life. There is some interesting literature on blackouts.

(This is also a moment for some shameless self promotion. Two colleagues and I have just published a reader in energy anthropology which I suspect and hope many TODers will find interesting and useful.)

Re: How High Could the Tide Go?

To me, this seems to be the big question. How much and how fast will the sea rise? This has the potential to really wreck things - losing Miami and other low-lying cities is not a joke. So far it has been very slow, but it's been predicted to reach 2.5 - 6+ feet in this century, which would require an acceleration of current rise. For a long time I thought of this as a "future generations" issue, but in light of the record arctic melt in 2012, I have started to think it may come within my lifetime (32 now). Even a few feet would be catastrophic for many areas, so what will it be? The effects of arctic melt on Greenland are probably the most pressing, and with arctic melt going faster than even pessimistic models it doesn't look good. If there is a "switch" with seas rising much more rapidly at some point, it will be a scramble.

It seems to me like we're running an experiment, and nobody knows how it will turn out. If barrier islands and cities like Miami start going under, what will we do? How is that going to affect life? I haven't seen any reasonable answers to these questions, or even a serious consideration of what goes - the NYTimes if very NY centric and pretty much ignores that the South will suffer very, very seriously from sea level rise. Pacific and Indian ocean atoll communities will be gone. Bangladesh will not do well either.

The Netherlands is often used as a counter-example, but it's a small country. The US can't protect the entire Atlantic shoreline. This does not look like it will be pretty.

If sea levels rise 130 feet, we're going to be losing a lot more than Miami.

All of Houston will be under 50 feet or more of water and DC will look like Trey's dream in Greer's Star's Reach. How many nuclear reactors are within 130 ft of current sea level?

It's not just nuclear, think how many chemicals there are in low lying industrial areas. A collapsing society will not likely have the resources to fix those problems before the seas rise. I expect the oceans to be highly toxic for a very long time. How would you like to go swimming over the remains of New York City?

Depends on how fast the sea rise is. A 100 foot high wave from the water will be far different than 100 feet in 100 years.

With a slow rise there is a chance to pull the fission rods and get 'em off site. Same with scrapping or moving refinery's/chemical plants.

We can't even accomplish that now.

100 feet in a millenium or two. Those fission rods can be pulled a couple of centuries before the sea covers the mess up. That leaves enough time for them to cool of, making removal a heck of a lot easier. We have spent fuel pools, because the rods need to spend what a decade cooling down before they are theorectically ready for dry cask.

Yet now that many have cooled for a couple of decades - through the peak of our empire's prosperity - they're mostly still right there in those old pools as the NPP infrastructure rots around them. We need to look less at what we could do under some fanciful circumstances, and more at what we actually do.

Hopefully, faced with the need to actually move the rods, we would seek a longer term solution, rather than just kicking the can.

I just don't think that chaos and collapse will make possible those things we could not do during prosperity, even if it does increase the urgency.

Another problem of rising seas: (more, further) salt water infiltration of fresh water aquifers, also low-lying agricultural lands will become less fertile through salt infiltration.

What's all the fuss? It's not like a 130ft rise overnight. At the rate it happens people can walk to a place that's now 150 ft above sea level.. might lose some islands but again not overnight. Might be a real positive, look at the economic stimulus we got from Sandy and it's still ongoing..Disaster Capitalism at it's best.

Seems like a no-brainer you move away from rising water. Not to bright being there in the first place. I mean who really needs Miami.

Don in Maine

One of the main reasons why I left Miami Beach. Great BAU party town though...

Pitty for all that stranded investment in infrastructure and buildings. But money is fiction anyway nowadays.

It isn't the money that's important. Its the energy, physical resources and human endeavor that's lost in that case.

Don, that's easy to say if you don't realize that the good places are already occupied.

The Central Valley of California is very low, and of course the lower Mississippi Valley. It's not just cities and ports, it's some of our best farm land.

Of course the reason these places are some of our best farmland, is beacuase in the past they were under water.

Not salt water.

That is a no-no for good soil.

Hmm, some of the best agricultural lands in the Netherlands used to be seabed not too long ago.


Test the hypothesis by watering your gardens and flowers with salt water for a season, then check back.

Or, before you do that ...

Remember, we are talking about the planet Earth:

Is Salt Water Good for Plants?
Is Salt Water Good or Bad for Plants

Is Salt Water Good for Plants?

Salt water is not good for plants at all.

Consider these facts gathered by the Colorado State University:

Salt-affected soils may inhibit seed germination and retard plant growth.

Soils high in salt and/or sodium may limit crop yields.

Crop losses may occur with irrigation water containing as little as 700 to 850 mg/L TDS (total dissolved solids) or EC>1.2 dS/m.

Salt-affected soils may contain an excess of water-soluble salts (saline soils), exchangeable sodium (sodic soils) or both an excess of salts and exchangeable sodium (saline-sodic soils).

Salinity problems are caused from the accumulation of soluble salts in the root zone. These excess salts reduce plant growth and vigor by altering water uptake and causing ion-specific toxicities or imbalances.

This shows and proves that feeding plants salty water or salt water is poor for the plant's growth and survival. Salt causes all of the problems mentioned above.

When watering plants, it's best to water with salt-free fresh or spring water.



(All Things Discussed). Discust is the result of an inane assertion posing as "discussed."

Cut down on the psychedelics.

You are both right . . . the difference is time.

In the short term, salt water covered land is bad.

In the long term, after the salts have been washed away, previously salt water covered land is good.

An amazing story involving it:

Calm down Dredd, you're talking about different things again. Yes, ofcourse I know that fresh water plants don't do well on salt water but when the seabed is rinsed with rain for a decade or so it is perfectly suitable for agriculture. We Dutch have proven this for centuries!

The Zuiderzee was closed off in 1933 forming a large lake, brackish at first but getting sweeter all the time because of rain and river runoff. In 1942 the Southern part of the Flevopolder was reclaimed and the soil further improved using crops of rapeseed. These polders made out of former seabed rapidly became an agricultural powerhouse. So, yes, land previously under the sea can be very fertile and usually is due to rich sediment. I assumed that BadgerB, upthread, was talking about that.

BRAWNDO. It's got electrolytes, it's what plants crave!



Your comment wasn't visible when I saved my comment below.

Anyway, a two degree temperature rise in the global average will result in a 25-30 foot rise in sea level.

That will shut down current civilization, including the U.S. where half of the populace lives on the coast.

It would shut down ports.

Noting that, remember that in just ONE YEAR, last year 2012, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. went up one degree.

Things are moving along quickly at times, slower at other times.

But the bottom line is that we have far less real time than we have political and emotional capacity time to believe it and then to do something about it.

How long before we get a 3 foot rise in ocean level? 25-30 foot is probably centuries away.

Sea levels have been rising by about 1 foot per century for the last 2000 years, which puts London about 20 feet deeper into the sea than when the Romans founded it. If you wander around the streets and look at the scenery carefully, you can see that the modern street level is in fact about 20 feet higher than it was back them. It's really scary looking down into a 20-foot window well. They have some really huge lift stations on the London sewer system to get the sewage up to sea level before they discharge it.

The solution is simple. Just raise the city. 2000 years is a long time to raise the streets, and as the lower floors sink, you abandon them and turn them into foundation.

Worst case global warming scenario - 3 feet per century. The Antarctic ice cap is not going to melt very fast, which gives you lots of time to prepare. That gives a 30 foot rise in the next 1000 years, which gives people lots of time to adjust.

Rome itself is about 45 feet higher than it was when it was founded. There was no particular reason to do that, it was just that they were not very good at cleaning the streets or hauling away the rubble from old buildings. Every building was built on the ruins of the building that preceded it. There is a whole different sort of underworld under the modern streets of Rome.

Yes - orthostatic bounce. Britain on the tilt - NW Highlands still going up.
"The earth during this period [last glacial million plus years] has oscillated from glacial era to part-glacial era and correspondingly the sea level has gone up and down by some 120 to 130m. Our kind has become used to the latest extended warm period since the sea level last rose by about 120m about 10,000 years ago." http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/methane-and-disturbed-carb...
Not sure how fast the future might be - but the historically reclaimed large parts of Eastern England - valuable farmland - unlikely will be defended 100 - 200 years from now. London? The tube will be full of salt water is my guess.

I must disagree with you, your worst case ~3 feet per century will be smack in the middle of mainstream projections by the time IPCC AR5 comes out. Worst case will be more like 6 feet by 2100.

So will it be 3 feet by 2050? Could a huge chunk of the Greenland ice sheet slide in the ocean this summer and raise the sea level by 1 foot overnight?

If enough of the ice sheet slid into the ocean to raise global sea level 1 foot overnight, how big would the initial local Tsunami wave be? So much for europe and the eastern seaboard of the U.S.?

This has been one of my 'nightmare climate change tipping point scenarios'. I'm guessing the huge chunk of ice sheet would cause an Atlantic basin wide tsunami. That would be very devastating. The ice sheet would break up to some degree and its mass would displace water and raise the sea level. But I wonder how long it would take to melt. Depending on the total volume of ice and how small the pieces were that it broke into...I'm guessing it would take many months if not a year or more for it to all melt. Still, a 1 foot sea level rise over a 24 month period would be stunning.

No, the amount of time it takes to melt is irrelevant. The ocean level will rise immediately as soon as it slides off the land starts floating in the sea.

"So will it be 3 feet by 2050? "
Nope, the big ice sheets need time to react to the forcing and will do so exponentially as the gap between their 'sense-time' and the actual forcing they are subjected to increases. So by 2050 the mean of the assembly of new sealevel estimates will only be about 1,5 foot.

Hi Styno, can you elaborate?

The way I understand it, melt water lubricates the bedrock and makes it easy for the ice sheet to slide. What do you mean by "forcing" and "sense-time"?

Lubrication is not the only factor in glacier dynamics. Snow fall, destruction of ice-shelves, thinning of the edge by higher temperatures and warm deep seawater flowing under the ice-edge are also important as the speed of the glacier is determined by the source pressure (the icecap) and the friction of the whole glacier.

A 'forcing' is a factor that causes/initiates change. E.g. a change in solar output is a forcing and the resulting change in snowcover albedo is a 'feedback', both cause the temperature to rise but only forcings initiate change and feedbacks amplify or reduce the change. So the temperature increase caused by CO2 increase is a 'forcing' for snow melt and the lubrication from meltwater or the destruction of ice-shelves being feedbacks.

If you keep the temperature the same for a long time then the icecap will eventually come in balance between the deposition of snow and the calving of the glaciers, this is what is called: equilibrium state. Now, when you rapidly turn up the heat then the huge icesheet will slowly start to respond to the forcing, so while we force the icesheets to current climate the ice sheet has only just 'finished' repsonding to the climate as it was -say- 50 years ago. That is what I called 'sense-time': the gap between the state of the icecap and it's forcing. The icesheet -due to it's mass- is not in equilibrium with current rapidly changing climate and will continue to increase it's mass loss rate for some time trying to reach equilibrium even when we would keep CO2 levels at present levels for the next 1000 years.

In other words: there is already probably more then a meter sealevel change in the pipeline as the icesheet tries to reach a new equilibrium state, regardless what we do to the climate from now on. Of course the ice sheets will respond somewhat faster and longer when we increase the forcing further in the coming decades.

I believe what you're calling "sense time" is what is generally referred to as "heat flux"


What is missing from practically every article about ice is heat flux and the role of the heat of fusion, thelatent heat found in glaciers.

The unit "calorie" is defined by water - the energy it takes to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celcius...to go from 1 gram of ice at 0 degrees Celcius to water at 0degC (no rise in temperature) takes almost 80 calories. Those same 80 calories could raise 1 gram of 0degC water to 80 degrees C.

If you have a chunk of ice, the ice can be below 0degC. When you add heat to ice below the freezing point the temperature of that ice will rise quickly to 0degC and then plateau. As you add more heat for a while the temperature does not rise and no ice will appear to melt. At some point melting will be apparent, the ice has become saturated with heat as you've added enough energy to overcome the heat of fusion and it begins to melt and it appears to melt faster and faster. So these big bodies of ice can sit there absorbing heat, doing apparently nothing for a long time, and then begin melting in earnest.

Pay close attention to the water in the glass: http://youtu.be/6yamEtK2uFw


There's talk about the effect of glacial melt ponds which flow into crevasses and "lubricate" the ice sheet, but no talk about all of the energy that those ponds take from the surface and deposit into the core - much more rapidly than if it had to work it's way through all of the layers of ice above.

An in-depth discussion of all ice-sheet dynamics would take many pages, there even is much more at play then just heat-flux. For the sake of just trying to get the point across I probably simplified too much.

I think its not at all well known how the meltwater heat gets distributed. Most likely the meltwater drills down to the base quickly, and not too much intervening ice gets warmed in the process. In any case these ice sheets are cold (say -20C or colder), it takes tens of thousands of cubic kilometers of meltwater to bring this stuff up to the freezing point. I don't think the bulk temperature in the bulk of the icemass is going to increase much. And the subglacial meltwater underneath, tends to escape, so we probably aren't looking at a runaway lubrication process. If anything creates a runaway feedback, I think it is ice surface albedo change. Fresh dry snow is very reflective, wet snow not so much. A surface that is several year old ice is darker still. The big unknown (I think) is how dirty the old ice can become. Does the dirt and black carbon that was in the snow years or even centuries ago accumulate on the surface as the ice melts, or does it wash away with the meltwater?

True, the behavior and effects of meltwater isn't well known, however there is pretty good evidence that meltpond draining near the sides of the ice cap momentarily increases glacier outflow speed. It is assumed that higher-up the ice cap the water refreezes somewhere in the icecap itself, but this process will add energy to the lower layers of the ice cap possibly adding to the instability.

There are pictures from the lower sides of the Greenland ice-sheet where melt is pretty horrible and the surface is very dark from deposited pollution over many years. So this dirt doesn't was away in equal amounts as the surface melts, more of it is staying in place. This reduces albedo tremendously which is a feedback for more melting.

Last summer almost the entire surface of the Greenland ice-sheet melted and because melted snow has a lower albedo then fresh snow this gave the already steadily droppig albedo an impressive drop from 80% in normal years to an incredible 70% last year. At some point the ice-sheet sucked up a whole 10% more energy from the sun than usual in the summer.

Thought experiment: take a 2000meter deep mass of ice at -20C. What depth of water freezing would be required to bring it up to the freezing point? The result, roughly 500meters. There is at least a century or several of stored "cold" to contend with.

Dirt blown onto the ice from near the edge, likely consists of much larger particles, than what you would get in the interior of the ice cap. So the issue of albedo reduction due to a buildup of dark contaminants isn't settled. It clearly happens in edge areas, and alpine environments, but what about ice that is many kilometers from any bare ground?

Oh I'm sure something resembling an ice-cap will be on Greenland by the end of the century ;-) It's not just in-situ melting though, also increased transport by faster flowing glaciers (warmer ice is more fluid, glaciers are shorter and thinner and thus provide less resistance etc).

Dirt from the coast isn't the only problem. Finer particles from mainland USA, soot from India and China they all end up in the snow on the Greenland ice cap. In fact the ice-cap provides a great window into the past regarding the dust loading of the atmosphere.

But, I think the lowered albedo was only for a couple of weeks, until it was covered with fresh snow. And in the center of the ice-cap any melting will refreeze after sinking a foot or too into the snowpack. But it certainly illustrates where things could be going.

Yes, the extremely low albedo was only for a few weeks, but albedo is lower than average almost throughout the year.

Much more info and many more links as well in this post about the 2012 melt and paleo evidence of past melt events. Definitely worth the read.

I agree-- it will probably be 6 feet at least.


The rate depends on temperature rise.

Last year in the U.S. the temperature rose ONE DEGREE in ONE YEAR.

A quick two-degree temperature rise globally equates to a 6 foot sea level rise by the end of the century.

The problem some folks neglect to mention is that sea level rise is only one affect of fossil fuel useage.

Add drought, crazy storms, low Mississippi one year, flooding Mississipi next year type scenarios around the world, disease, food shortages because of species extinction and agricultural collapse.

Joseph Stiglitz, economist, indicates that this is the greatest threat to economies.

At some point nothing economical can be done, so that is not the solution ... waiting hoping economy can solve this problem ... that will destroy economy.

There are 100 ways to bull about it, but only one solution.

Bye, bye fossil fuel usage.

To be fair, a temperature excursion of one degree is not very special for relative small areas like the US. It happened before, both up and down. The US indeed was impressively warm though.


a temperature excursion of one degree is not very special for relative small areas like the US.

You must be talking about Church Lady ("Isn't that special") because it has never risen that much in one year.

Not even anywhere near that much in a decade:

According to a new study by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the average temperature in the 48 mainland U.S. states in 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the warmest year ever recorded.

This temperature is 1.0 degree hotter than the previous record set in 1998, and 3.3 degrees above the recorded average temperature of the 20th century. Records on average temperature have been kept since 1895, and show that the U.S. has increased in temperature by about 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since then.


A one degree temperature change may not seem like much, but Crouch told the New York Times that “The heat was remarkable. It was prolonged. That we beat the record by one degree is quite a big deal.”

(PBS). To be fair you need to know the facts, not the pabulum.

Nowhere did I claim that 2012 wasn't the warmest in the records for the US, nowhere did I claim that the US isn't warming. I just said that the 1 degree excursion (from the warming trend) isn't unique in US history. Read my source and be assured, the claim is nowhere near contrarian.

au contraire, the 1 degree is astounding to climate scientists and meterologists alike because it is unpresidented, which means this is the only time it has happened in the history of the U.S.

Sorry, but you're wrong, did you read my link at all? Please cite a climatologist or meterologist who claims that excursions of 1 degree about the trend did not happen before in the instrumental record.

That is who I was quoting. Both. The record set in 1998 was an average, and was broken by a 1 degree increase average in 2012.

Never happened before, that is why it is the new record.

You need to read better than average to understand a record breaking average.

Again: citation please. I gave you my source earlier.

This is what it looks like if you look at the data including the trend. It clearly show that 2012 was anomalously warm:

This is what it looks like when you detrend the data so that you can better see the yearly excursion from the trend which shows that the excursion was not unique. This is what I was talking about all the time.

I think you guys don't really disagree, but are misunderstanding one another. A one (or two or whatever) degree increase one year to the next is not unprecedented. The rise over time is quite noisy in that regard. 1920-21 was nearly 3 degrees, for example. But beating the previous record by a full degree is a big deal. 1998 bested 1934 by about a third of a degree, so beating '98 by a full degree is an unprecedented big deal. But to paraphrase what vtpeaknik says below, was '12 merely an excursion, or is it the new baseline? Either is scary enough, but the latter would be moreso. My guess is that in ten years time, we will hope for such 'cool' years.

Smiley face

"I think you guys don't really disagree"

Oh you are so wrong.

I totally disagree wity styno and now you.

I really like disagreeing in such cases.

Well I'm certainly not disputing that the US was record warm by a long way and that it will become worse. However, besides the underlying warming trend there is a sizeable variability in year to year temperatures, there is no need to ignore or deny this and still believe there is a problem. On the contrary, large excursions on a continuing warming trend pose a warning that in the future an even more extreme year then last is likely to occur.

So now you both disagree with me? Guess I'm really lost. Seems clear from the graph I posted that the yearly variability is noisy by well more than 1 degree F. Too bad 2012 isn't on the graph, as it was apparently more than 1F above '98. I stand by my interpretation that you are both right in pointing out those things respectively. Beyond that... whatever.

No Clifman I disagree to disagree with you ;-) And I agree with Dredd for a large part but not about the 2012 excursion from the trend. Perhaps my non-native speaking English is not clear enough, I'm sorry for the confusion if so.

But to paraphrase what vtpeaknik says below, was '12 merely an excursion, or is it the new baseline? Either is scary enough, but the latter would be moreso. My guess is that in ten years time, we will hope for such 'cool' years.

As it happens, Tamino, the statistician and blogger I sourced earlier, looked at this. If the US warming trend since 1970's including known variability would continue for the next decades then the temperature record could look something like this:

A few things can be learned from such a projection:
- in the future a trend colliding with a random large excursion like last year makes for a super hot year.
- septics will likely be able to claim that US warming stopped in 2012 for perhaps up to 10 years (but it could be much shorter), all the while the warming trend continues.
- in 10 to 20 years the extremely hot 2012 will seem like a cool year. Extremely hot years will be the norm by then.
- the US is playing a very dangerous game in not aggressively attacking the climate problem, unless the US likes to gamble with their food supply and coastal security.

Thx, Styno. You have added clarity - and if I may coin a term, scarity - to this discussion.

Maybe dumb question. Are there good data on the thermal energy content of the earth, do we have indeed a positve energy balance in the last decades, centuries or do we have "only" a transfer of thermal energy from matter with high heat capacity to a matter with much lower capacity?

This is certainly no dumb question. The energy budget is a central issue in the global warming debate (well, that there is a positive energy balance is no debate anymore, it's scientific fact).

Whether we have 'good data' depends on what you might call 'good data', it's more like there is a whole lot of independend lines of evidence all pointing in the same direction (which -for science- is probably even better then 'good data').

We currently don't have energy tracking satellites that can 'view' the earth as a whole, but only satellites in low orbit that need multiple orbits to cover the whole earth once. So tracking energy in- and out of the atmosphere isn't perfect although it provides a pretty good picture. Ofcourse there are other ways to see whether the planet is in radiative balance or not. Observed fingerprints of warming like melting ice caps/sea ice/glaciers, sea level rise, shallow and deep ocean heating, atmospheric temperatures, shifting climatic zones, cooling stratosphere etc. all point to an increase in the earths energy budget, not just some redistribution of energy. A landmark paper from Kevin Trenberth describes much of this energy bookkeeping.

Thanks! Now the next question: Do you assume that CO2 is the main culprit for the development or could other factors like aerosoles, different land use etc. play a more important role. OR is in your opinion the position of Prof. Pielke correct who criticises the lack of robust models, i.e. models that allow reconstruction of past data and meaningful prediction of future events, do not exist.

I've read quite a bit from both Pielke's (father and son), I won't go too deep into their specific claims because like many critisisms there is some truth in them, though that doesn't mean their opinion about specifics changes the whole picture. So instead I'll try to put critisms like theirs into context.

Climate science is a complex systems science much like medicine: we know a lot but do not know everything and probably never will fully. It's not like mathematics where theories are absolute. So you will allways need to deal with uncertainty and noone will ever be 100% right. Think about tobacco smoke and cancer. Doctors still don't know why smoking increases cancer risks but there are many independed lines of evidence that indicate that it does, so at some point doctors and politicians knew enough to justify anti-smoking regulations. The same is true for climate science.

When it comes to climate change there are a lot of independent lines of evidence. They range from paleoclimatological data (the history of the earth), through actual measurements (temperature, emission spectra, fossil fuel use accounting, chemical and quantumechanical properties of gasses), statistics and also models. There are a lot of independent lines of evidence which point to a significant role of CO2 in the warming seen since the 1970s but ofcourse there are other factors which are studied and quantified. 150 years of research and 10s of thousands of research papers by thousands of researchers provide a very very solid base for today's mainstream scientific opinion. I.e. we're pretty damn sure about the big picture: a doubling of CO2 increases mid-term equilibrium by 2 to 4.5 degrees C with a most likely value of 3. This range is mainstream and well supported for way over two decades now. The result is: a single finding or paper won't be able to change the balance of evidence much.

So if you think of climate science as a tree then the roots, log and branches are known facts, the uncertainty lies at the frontier of knowledge i.e. the small outer twigs. Snap a few twigs off (when they are proven wrong) and it will not change the look of the tree. This is how the Pielke's come in the picture:

Now comes someone (Pielke) who claims that models are flawed. What to think of that? Well, he's right (at least partly), climatemodels are not perfect and never will be, there are always details missing or improvements to be made, but our knowledge does not depend on models as there are so many other independent lines of evidence who support each other. So this critism is half true, yes models are flawed but nevertheless pretty good. Senior is also claiming that landuse change is responsible for a lot of the change we see. Again this is partly true and widely acknowledged but not to the degree that Senior thinks. Can he be right? Sure, but when it does then it must follow that a heck of a lot of research and independent lines of evidence must be wrong. This is unlikely.

Complex sytems sciences like climate science are not like a house of cards, if you pull one card (falsify one line of evidence) then there are many other independent lines of evidence which are not affected and the house (conclusions) still stands. You may want to lookup "Stephen Schneider climate change" on Youtube, he was (he's dead unfortunately) a leading climate scientist and great communicator of complex systems science and how climate science works. A science-based website like SkepticalScience is also a great resource to lookup skeptical arguments and what science says about the subject.

So when someone says:
It's aerosols, I would check #51
Models are unreliable, I would check #6
It's land use change, I would check #84

The confusion here is between surpassing the previous record excursion by 1 degree (which happened in the US in 2012), vs. shifting the "new normal" by 1 degree (which will take a lot longer, albeit not long enough!).

The US is just one country. Temperatures in the rest of the world varied considerably. One year in one country does not constitute a trend.

"One year in one country does not constitute a trend."

We all had sure better hope it is not a trend.


... Sea levels have been rising by about 1 foot per century for the last 2000 years [20 ft?]

Actually, global sea level was rather static over the past 2000-3000 years [up till the early 1900s] - less than +/- 1 foot. The apparent regional/local sea level variation [up till the early 1900s] has been due to subsidence or isotactic rebound. (e.g. Mediterranean subsidence of 20-30 ft, Alaska rebound of 10-20 ft)(see http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends.shtml )

Global and Regional Animations

World with population affected (617 kB avi file)
Countries(1 MB avi file)
United States Coasts(1.6 MB wmv file)


Actually, the rise in sea level depends on where you are. In London it was about 1 foot per century. In other places in the world, somewhat different. In Northern Scotland it fell by about 2 feet per century (isostatic rebound).

In general though, sea levels have been rising worldwide since the end of the last ice age. How much depends on where you are.

"In general though, sea levels have been rising worldwide since the end of the last ice age."
Again I must disagree. Sea level has been fairly static for thousands of years after the Holocene Climatic Optimum just after the last ice-age ended. The current change of about 3 mm/yr is much greater then the past few thousand years.

See this graph.

Eyeballing the graph, sea levels have risen 3 m in the last 7,000 years, about half a millimeter per year. So the current rise is six times faster than the recent trend.

Prior to that, during the Great Melt (to coin a phrase), sea levels rose 107 m over 8,000 years, i.e. about 13 mm per year.

And before that, after the last glacial maximum and during the Initial Melt (to coin another phrase), sea levels rose 14 m in 4,000 years, i.e. about 3.5 mm per year. Disturbingly close to current levels.

Are we in for another Great Melt?

The configuration of the ice-sheets nowadays is different from the last glacial, there are no great ice-sheets on low lattitudes so I don't expect to see 13 mm/yr, but a doubling of current rise I find likely.

The range of possible rises at the moment is 1-100mm/yr. Its 1 if the accumulating heat goes to warm water, 100 if it goes to melt land ice. At the moment 2% is going to melt ice, but ice melting is one of the slowest systems to respond, so that's going to grow.

The rate at which ice melts is doubling on a timescale of 10-20 years at the moment, and I reckon there is enough forcing already for at least another two doublings before getting to a stable rate. Stabilise atmospheric CO2 now, and ice sheet melt will be contributing of the order of 10mm/yr by 2050 but might then stay at about that rate until the ice is gone.

There really isn't enough known about how ice sheets will react to forcings as severe as the current one to predict rates much beyond 2050. There's going to be 5m but it will take another decade or two of data and before anyone will have a decent idea of whether its likely to be 10 mm/yr for 500 years, or 100 mm/yr for 50 years.

Arctic sea ice loss is currently underestimated by an order of magnitude by the "best" models and that rate ought to be more predictable than the rate at which Greenland melts. History says 100 mm/yr happened with smaller forcings and larger ice sheets than there are now. The energy balance says its at the limit of the current forcing. Another generation of BAU and the forcing will be higher.

RMG - levels have been rising worldwide since the end of the last ice age.

What you are describing as (apparent) historic sea level rise (a physical oceanography factor) is really a geological factor (land subsidence/rebound). This may seem like a subtle distinction but so is weather and climate, yet they have different meanings.

It's somewhat arbitrary whether you consider the sea level to be rising or the land to be subsiding. Most of Canada, where I live, is still undergoing isostatic rebound after the last ice age, so sea levels can be considered to be falling, or the land to be rising, your choice. Worldwide, on average, sea levels are still continuing to rise after the last ice age, albeit more slowly than they did when the continental ice sheets were melting.

The official view from the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Executive Summary. (PDF)

The future scenarios range from 0.66 feet to 6.6 feet in 2100. Higher or lower amounts of sea level rise are considered implausible by 2100, as represented by the gray shading. The orange line at right shows the currently projected range of sea level rise of 1 to 4 feet by 2100, which falls within the larger risk-based scenario range. The large projected range of scenarios reflects uncertainty about how ice sheets will respond to the warming ocean and atmosphere, and to changing winds and currents.

I'll be glad to see many of them go.
Houston is top of the list.

No worries.

My comment is mostly a series of questions because I find myself looking at what is and isn't happening and wondering when the other shoe drops. Sea level rise so far has been very slow, but the predicted rise of "only a few feet this century" is already a catastrophe in the making (which is why I mention Miami - it will be one of the first major 1st world cities to go). I am well aware that ultimately, with current warming trends, we will get much more than 30 feet, but in theory that will take centuries and I don't expect the future world to be much like the present anyway. I am very much expecting a failure of global civilization and a mass die-off long before we get 30 feet. If in 200 years it rises 130 feet, well, that's a horrible but distant problem.

I guess I put this up because this seems like we're seeing "BAU forever", but trends indicate that can't possibly last very long. The arctic melt in particular bodes ill. But there is a huge difference between 1 foot over a century (which was often said before) and 6 feet. And current sea level rise is not that fast at all, so it must accelerate at some point.

I guess I am saying this because for a long time I felt that climate change was overrated as an environmental issue. It pretty much took over everything else - species loss, overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, everything was just thrown out the window and the environmental movement basically died. A lot of people here felt peak oil was a bigger issue. Climate change was amorphous and distant, very literally someone else's problem, a sort of thing that everyone could feel bad about but ignore. For me, the record arctic melt decisively changed my mind and convinced me this would be my problem, in my lifetime.

The thing is, I read these articles and they seem to be pointing a big arrow to "disaster", but the tone is usually very mild, like this article saying "storm tides like Sandy every 15 years" which is nothing. The thing is, it's not a storm tide that recedes, it's a permanent condition that leaves huge areas of now inhabited land under the ocean.

The thing is, it's not a storm tide that recedes, it's a permanent condition that leaves huge areas of now inhabited land under the ocean.

True enough. The thing I keep wondering about is how projections of arctic ice volume loss were so far underestimated. Originally the loss of arctic ice in the summer was estimated to occur by 2100, then it dropped to 2050, then 2030, and now many think it will be gone in the summer of 2016. Once it is gone, how long before methane releases from the arctic seabed to initiate runaway GW, which then raises sea level far ahead of currect projections?

Conservative estimates regarding AGW keep being replaced by trends that are occurring faster, so how can we not expect much faster sea level rise than projected?

Well, the last IPCC report in 2007 didn't include Arctic and Antarctice icesheet loss at all. That's why they only projected about 1 to 2 feet of sealevel rise by 2100. Since 2006 (the deadline for studies included in AR4) a lot of new research and observations have been done, most importantly of continued acceleration of Greenland and Antarctic icesheet loss, the collapse of many iceshelfs that function as a backrest for landbased glaciers and rapid warming of the two icesheets. AR5 is bound to be much more pessimistic on this subject.

To clarify AR4 did not include dynamic ice loss from land (ice sliding off land into the ocean) but did include an estimate for melting.

Partly it was the effect of black carbon was underestimated. But, I think that only covers part of the surprise.

Warm water from the Atlantic has been flowing into the Arctic melting the ice from below. Windy weather mixes the water and ice more effectively causing the ice to melt faster. I think the scientists did not model the changing sea currents and wind correctly.

Assessment of Arctic Sea Ice in the CMIP5 Climate Models, Cooperative Institute for Research, Julienne Stroeve and Andrew Barrett (5.5 MB PDF file) concludes that the CMIP5 models overestimate the ice thickness compared to PIOMAS without explaining why the models are flawed. The chart entitled "Summer Minimum (September)" show the models to be complete disasters compared to observations. It makes no sense to me why the models show the decline in minimum thickness following a sigmoid curve. The ice should melt faster as it gets smaller.


"which is why I mention Miami - it will be one of the first major 1st world cities to go"

The highest sea level rise is on the East Coast from Cape Hatterus north to about Cape Cod.

Sandy hit just about in the middle of that.

Yes, but most of those places have an "up" nearby - not as much as Seattle, but still the land rises from the sea pretty quickly. There is no "up" in South Florida. When Miami starts to go, there are very few places to retreat to nearby. Many places on the east coast will be very negatively impacted but large parts of the Miami area will be entirely flooded.

Oh my! My, My My, how high will it go?!!

Wake up and smell the coffee folks. I know it's much more fun to talk about infrastructure and imagine buildings underwater, but it ain't it. Long before all that occurs, they'll be few left in those places to be impacted.

World food production will be only a fraction of before. We use the term drought, wonder if it will continue this spring, often place alot of awe with that 7 letter word. But it's just an aberration, within its definition is its end and return to moisture laden times. As we spin through climate change, those moisture-less times are no longer called drought, they are the region's norm.

Yes - all of the accumulated consequences of having used roughly the first 50% of our oil and coal will prevent us from doing much about any of them. Reduced food production being just one of them.

Yes, indeed. I think rising sea levels will be one of the least of our worries, as horrific as it is. None of us our safe, so not feeling too smug just because I am 8400 feet above sea level. I have been counting on not being alive when it gets truly bad but I am becoming less sure about that even at my advanced age.

Yes, I was thinking something similar. It's beginning to look quite likely that anyone born today will not live to collect a pension, but will instead die as a result of climate change beforehand. Rising sea levels will be just an irritation given the major existential threats people will face.

We may even start to face extremely rough times by 2020 to 2030.

RE: Why Arctic Council Needs to Tame Its Oil Rush and How High Could the Tide Go?

The rapid shrinkage of Arctic ice cover is one of the most dramatic changes in nature currently occurring anywhere on the planet, with profound environmental and economic implications. We stand to lose one of the Earth's largest and most significant ecosystems. At the same time, however, the once-fabled northeast and northwest passages will reduce shipping times and costs by as much as half, bringing China and Japan much closer to Europe and North America's east coast.

In other words a new myth "there is a silver lining."

This is a bogus assertion if we remember that "bringing China and Japan much closer to Europe and North America's east coast" is a wishful reference to the sea level now.

Sea level rise by then will have caused how many of the ports they assume will still be there to no longer be there?

The other article concludes with

Today, enough water is stored as ice in those regions [Greenland & Antarctic] to raise the level of the ocean roughly 220 feet, should all of it melt.

Obviously, before that happens, it will rise 30 feet which will destroy the ports and coasts of the U.S. where half the population lives:

In previous research, scientists have determined that when the earth warms by only a couple of degrees Fahrenheit, enough polar ice melts, over time, to raise the global sea level by about 25 to 30 feet.

(ibid). The general consensus of those who do not think the world gets it, including the U.S., think we will blow by two degree increase in temperature at a high speed on our merry way to four or five degrees.

Good luck tankers going through a no ice Arctic when you try to find a port along the old coast.

Glad I live 2,000 ft above sea level. Guess housing prices will be going up in my area. Good to know.

Because in that environment you can count on the rule of law and that your possession of a piece of paper saying you own said property will be respected, and protected by a functioning state.

That rule of law is essentially protected by the state's implied threat of violence against any who would take your property. There are scenarios whereby the state is not able to protect your ownership, and you are not able to do it either. Situations where large numbers of people are migrating create social stresses that can last for many decades.

Given how little my neck of the woods would be impacted by such dramatic changes, I'm reasonably confident that law and order would remain to protect my property rights. I live in the northernmost edge of civillization already. People will have a long ways to go to get from from the coastlines to here. A long ways.

I get where you're coming from, but I'm not so certain that the chaos would come here. Then again who knows what will be precisely enough to say with certainty? That said, I'm certain the sea level will not rise 2,000+ feet.

Fair enough?

So, increased housing prices will come there and chaos will not come there...got it.

Chaos will not come there. Neither will ANYTHING else. If your setup for that not a problem.

Yeah, e.g., "set up" to keep warm through the far-northern winter without fossil fuels imported from "down below". We've seen how desperate they got in Northern Alaska this last fall, when the ice came early and they had a Russian icebreaker escort a fuel-transport ship to save the day. The eskimos in the old days lived in igloos keeping warm on seal blubber, but nobody wants to live like that any more.

It's going down to about -20F (-30C) tonight here in Vermont. Still warm by arctic standards...

dredd – Valid points as usual. But I think both sides are talking past each other a bit. Yes: if one takes current shorelines and raise sea level just 10' we lose a lot of infrastructure. Heck I drive a coast highway in La that’s a good short cut to many of my wells. But if you bump the GOM level just a foot or two the highway is history. And moving it inland a few miles wouldn’t help since much of that marshland is no higher than the shoreline. So we lose the short cut. We can survive that easily.

OTOH a major GOM oil field port facility, Cameron, La, sits right on that highway. Don’t even need a sea level rise to cause a problem: the last hurricane wiped out the city and much of the dock facilities And yes they’ve built it back up. Add 10’ to the GOM and they’ll have to move the many miles up the channel. And that won’t happen fast or cheaply.

OTOH it doesn’t have to be done quickly. As sea level rises some of the infrastructure, despite efforts to raise it, will be abandoned and replaced inland. And to varying degrees the same can be said for all coastal communities. Obviously it would be better if the world didn’t have to spend $gazillons over the next decades to do this. But if the projections are correct it will be done, to some degree, because there won’t be any other choice.

So I think both sides of the discussion take the situation to extremes. It will be bad and take a lot of resources (which will likely become more scarce as we go forward) but it will be accomplished because there will be no choice. Certainly not 100% though IMHO. Relocations that make economic sense will happen…those that don’t…won’t. And that takes us to the “don’t worry…we have plenty of time” opinion. I do think we have plenty of time so that won’t be the issue. The issue will be the inability of some economies to afford the transition. Look at all the discussions we’ve had on TOD about the impossibility of maintaining BAU decades down the road. And that discussion often assumes we have a static environment. And if one accepts the worse possibilities of AGW then even maintaining BAU isn’t enough…we have to grow way beyond BAU to deal with AGW. So adding the costs of sea level transition with declining resources we may have time but lack the capital/resources to mount a very effective campaign.

And again my very pessimistic assumption: current economies won’t utilize the capital/resources available to them today for the benefit of generations yet born. In this situation it’s not some much an issue of the survival of the fittest but the survival of the present. Someone born in 2040 will have to deal with where ever sea level is on their 60th birthday. But they’ll have zero say in what decisions are made in the next decade or two about AGW.

One of the main issues here is the veracity of that assumption that the rise will be "slow". It only needs to be faster than our ability to recreate the infrastructure on higher ground. Given that I doubt we could fund doing that in a post peak world even if the sea wasn't rising, then I figure most of that infrastructure will simply be lost. It's not just a one-dimensional problem - not just what you could do but what you can "afford" to do, and at what rate.

" I figure most of that infrastructure will simply be lost. " Good, a lot of it caused this problem.

Don in Maine (wind chill -18, air temp -1, house temp 76)

Sure, but a lot of that infrastructure is helping to keep our present population alive. That population is also part of the problem. Illogical as it may be I suspect some of them would like to continue living anyway.

Abrupt see level rise... think what happened with the migrating Okies.

Obviously it would be better if the world didn’t have to spend $gazillons over the next decades to do this.

ROCKMAN, too bad we don't have the vision to change now, rather than spend the $gazillons countering its effects.

Not to worry. We probably will not have the gazillions available. Given that money is primarily a store of energy, it is not about the money, it is about the energy. We can print the money but not the energy.

So true! Printing just brings consumption forward and in so doing, further divorces money from the underlying wealth/imbedded energy that it is supposed to represent.


So I think both sides of the discussion take the situation to extremes. It will be bad and take a lot of resources (which will likely become more scarce as we go forward) but it will be accomplished because there will be no choice.

That is the way one should talk about the greatest extremes that civilization has ever faced.

Let's be real.

The propaganda approach is to use pabulum to keep the wee people from soiling their shorts.

That has been going on since 1990 when oilman Bush I signed into law the requirement to watch this closely and begin working on it THEN, and give a report to the president every 4 years (Government Climate Change Report). The nation at that time acknowledged the extremely serious problem.

Soon thereafter the denialist propaganda engines kicked in and deceived millions (The Exceptional American Denial). We are all suffering now because of that, and will do so for generations to come.

Long ago I tried to convince a president of a big refrigerator company to sponsor the development of a non-CFC compressor. He refused-"not economic". I asked if he had grandkids and if so, was he concerned about their future. Sure, very concerned as a grandpa, but their future was "irrelevant" to the discussion about CFC!.

Being naive then even more than I am now, I could not believe any grown up, apparently sane person could say such a thing. That was the beginning of my great enlightenment- we are doomed- if we stick to BAU.

So? Get unstuck-- or--- we are doomed.

OK, so we are doomed.

Now, back to the biomass gasifier.

Relocations that make economic sense will happen…those that don’t…won’t.

There is a major issue that is never addressed regarding "relocation" - someone else already owns the land. Sure, eminent domain could be used to take the land but if gun confiscation is a big deal, try taking thousands of people's land.

Let's take my case: I'm at 3,100 feet elevation on 57 acres. Although it's in the mountains it would still be possible to put thousands of people on my land. Am I going to be a happy camper to have my way of life destroyed? Of course not.

It might be argued that it occurred through no fault of their own but that's not really true since few of them will have made any effort to mitigate sea level rise. My perspective comes from living in a wild fire area; I choose to be here and will pay the price if I'm burned out. I don't expect society to provide me with a new place.

There is no good answer.



Well said.

Solution: Your individual wishes in this matter are completely ignored. Overwhelming force will be applied if you can't deal with this.


Absolutely right! They'll just take my land. Now I could ride down the state highway on my velomobile and toss out road flares to start a wild fire and burn them out. But why? It's all going to collapse anyway!

How come? There's no infrastructure and no way to earn money. The reason the land is available is because, well, there ain't nothing here. Now anyone who thinks businesses and all the urban/suburban stuff is going to spring up is nuts in this economy; which by the way will never recover. And, realistically, any under water (literally) flat-landers are going to sort of trickle in...well, I assume that would be the case.

But, I want to be serious for a minute. It is impossible to transfer what is, in essence, an alien society in toto to a new location. We have built our society on fractional skills with little or no resilience. The entire package dies if all of it cannot be relocated and that's not realistic.


This is somewhat like asking if we are going back to the 1800's after collapse? The answer is no because the world in which the survivors will find themselves living will not have the 1800's infrastructure to support life as it existed then.

Australia Heat Wave Scorches Wheat Belt, Stokes Supply Fears

Australia's worst heatwave on record is scorching the grain belt, potentially hurting wheat sowing prospects in the world's second biggest exporter this year and deepening concerns over global supplies amid a relentless U.S. drought.

Wheat planting in Australia is at least two months away, but temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) have already sapped the soil of much-needed moisture, analysts and traders say.

Wheat Rises as Worst Drought Since 1930s Dust Bowl Era Persists

Little or no rain has fallen in parts of south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma in the past three months, according to the National Weather Service. As much as 25 percent of the wheat crop may go unharvested this year, when farmers begin collecting grain in June, analysts have said.

Scientists predict Santiago de Chile will get drier and warmer

Today, 10% or more of the population in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile is affected by extreme heat or floods. ... Given the growing population and further expansion of the city, combined with the predicted climate changes, the scientists expect problems in the water and energy supply, as well as an increase in the population potentially exposed to extreme heat and floods.

Water restored in Chile capital after day-long cut

Water has been restored in Chile's capital Santiago after a 24-hour pollution-related outage that affected more than two million people, the water utility said Wednesday.

Plants adapt to drought but limits are looming, study finds

As doug fir notes above, this is a much bigger concern than rising sea levels. With global warming beginning to hit its stride, I don't see how this trend breaks in the US Plains (could also be true for other regions like Russia and Australia). It just seems to me that the desert in the SW US will keep growing, with an occasional monsoon, but that's not enough to sustain current agriculture levels. The factor hiding the true impacts of the drought is depletion of fossil aquifers. Once extraction from those is limited due to low recharge rates, the food shortages will follow within a few years. What's the estimate for the Ogallala running low - 2030 or so?

New from Chatham House ...

Security in the Sahel

The attack in the In Amenas gas plant, plus regional security threats - including spillover effects linked to the insurgent forces in Mali and the fallout from the Libyan conflict - plus the wave of democratization and post-Arab spring Islamist electoral victories, have put Algeria in the spotlight. Resources below consider how Algeria and the international community should respond, as well as the internal dynamics of the country.

Algeria is too important for the European energy balance for it to be left behind, says Jon Marks. With its hydrocarbons wealth and some $200bn of foreign reserves, the country has huge potential. But the attack in the In Amenas gas plant shows regional instability is starting to affect Algeria again

The Crisis in Mali

Middle East and North Africa Energy 2013: Adapting to new resource realities

The Fossil Fuels Annual Forecasting Forum 2013

Prospects for oil prices and the future of OPEC, with Prof Paul Stevens, Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House Response by Julian Lee, Centre for Global Energy Studies
- Prospects for oil prices in 2013: Is there an imperative for OPEC to cut production?
- What are the institutional issues facing OPEC in 2013?
- Managing Iraqi re-entry to the quota system?

US energy independence, or what? with John Mitchell, Associate Fellow, Chatham House Response by Paul Appleby, BP
- Understanding the numbers
- Forecasts and fictions
- What really matters

Impact of renewable energy on the electricity market, with Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow, and Will Blyth, Associate Fellow, Chatham House
- State of global investment in renewables
- Threats and opportunities for electricity and energy markets

Deep Ice Cores Show Past Greenland Warm Period May Be 'Road Map' For Continued Warming Of Planet

Dahl-Jensen said the loss of ice mass on the Greenland ice sheet in the early part of the Eemian was likely similar to changes seen there by climate scientists in the past 10 years. Other studies have shown the temperatures above Greenland have been rising five times faster than the average global temperatures in recent years, and that Greenland has been losing more than 200 million tons of ice annually since 2003.

The intense melt in the vicinity of NEEM during the warm Eemian period was seen in the ice cores as layers of re-frozen meltwater. Such melt events during the last glacial period were rare by comparison, showing that the surface temperatures at the NEEM site were in a cold, nearly constant state back then. But on July 12, 2012, satellite images from NASA indicated 97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet surface had thawed as a result of warming temperatures.

While this was an extreme event, the present warming over Greenland makes surface melt more likely, and the predicted warming over Greenland in the next 50-100 years will very likely be so strong that we will potentially have Eemian-like climate conditions."


Scientists underestimated potential for Tohoku quake. Now what?

The massive Tohoku, Japan, earthquake in 2011 and Sumatra-Andaman superquake in 2004 stunned scientists because neither region was thought to be capable of producing a megathrust earthquake with a magnitude exceeding 8.4.

Now earthquake scientists are going back to the proverbial drawing board and admitting that existing predictive models looking at maximum earthquake size are no longer valid.

The researchers identified long-term "supercycles" of energy within plate boundary faults, which appear to store this energy like a battery for many thousands of years before yielding a giant earthquake and releasing the pressure. At the same time, smaller earthquakes occur that do not dissipate to any great extent the energy stored within the plates.

The newly published analysis acknowledges that scientists historically may have underestimated the number of regions capable of producing major earthquakes on a scale of Tohoku.

We have to assume that the potential for 9.0 subduction zone earthquakes is much more widespread than originally thought."

In their analysis, the researchers point to several subduction zone areas that previously had been discounted as potential 9.0 earthquake producers – but may be due for reconsideration. These include central Chile, Peru, New Zealand, the Kuriles fault between Japan and Russia, the western Aleutian Islands, the Philippines, Java, the Antilles Islands and Makran, Pakistan/Iran.

Onshore faults such as the Himalayan Front may also be hiding outsized earthquakes, the researchers add.

... Over the past 10,000 years, there have been 19 earthquakes that extended along most of the Cascadia Subduction Zone margin, stretching from southern Vancouver Island to the Oregon-California border.

"These would typically be of a magnitude from about 8.7 to 9.2 – really huge earthquakes," Goldfinger said. "We've also determined that there have been 22 additional earthquakes that involved just the southern end of the fault. We are assuming that these are slightly smaller – more like 8.0 – but not necessarily. They were still very large earthquakes that if they happened today could have a devastating impact."

We have to assume that the potential for 9.0 subduction zone earthquakes is much more widespread than originally thought."

Yeah, the Cascadia Fault in the Pacific North West is one of them and it's just about due for a major quake. I was up in Seattle last year and I didn't get the impression that people up there seemed very concerned or even aware of the dangers. I drove on roads and bridges and visited buildings that I highly doubt would survive an M9.0 event. Let alone the consequences of a major tsunami to the coast.

I live in south Florida and only have to worry about sea level rise and an occasional major hurricane, at least I get a few days warning. Not much of that for a major quake.

If a 9.0 hits directly under any city, that city is toast. But a 9.0 50 miles away might "only" be a 7.something in the city, and that's what the infrastructure is built for, in theory.

"A 2002 study of bridge vulnerability estimated that a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Seattle Fault would damage approximately 80 bridges in the Seattle–Tacoma area,[29] whereas a magnitude 9 subduction event would damage only around 87 bridges in all of Western Washington.[30]"

Yes indeed. The subduction zone is well off-shore the Olympic Peninsula, while Seattle is well inland on Puget Sound. About 280 km from Seattle to the bottom of the continental shelf.


"A 2002 study of bridge vulnerability estimated that a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Seattle Fault would damage approximately 80 bridges in the Seattle–Tacoma area,[29] whereas a magnitude 9 subduction event would damage only around 87 bridges in all of Western Washington.[30]"


I guess my friends up there don't have to worry then >;-)

On a more serious note I still have to wonder what would happen to the shallower fault directly under Seattle if there was M9.0 triggered by the Cascadia fault?

Just read Perfect Storm: Energy, Finance and The End of Growth by Dr Tim Morgan Global Head of Research,Tullett Prebon


This report is almost 100 pages and brings together many of the concepts people have been talking about on TOD for years. Fascinating, although, of course, most on TOD will be familiar with most of the issues discussed. The bottom line is that declining EROEI will probably soon bring no growth and the world economy to its knees. This was found on the web site for the Financial Times and, interestingly, seems to have been written by a financial type who also has a good understanding of energy issues. My take away is that peak oil is a pretty pointless debate since EROEI will get us before peak oil does.

The author does not offer a solution to this problem, probably because there is not one. Those who think we just print more money and pump more money into the economy will probably be sorely disappointed and surprised.

There are solutions, but not any that preserve the FIRE economy.

This book examines the many elements from which resilient local economies can be built. Pat Conaty and Mike Lewis have done the leg work of collating and critiquing the many examples of how this has been achieved all over the world over the last 150 years. It is both strong on theory and an excellent reference book on the practical pieces of a resilient local economy.

Good find tstreet. His lead thought in his chapter on growth is:

If one asked a representative sample of the public what economics is all about, there is a very strong likelihood that the consensus answer would be “money”. The vast majority of economists do indeed frame the debate in monetary terms. The problem with this is that the economy is not, fundamentally, a monetary construct at all. Economics is really about the art of combining tangible components (such as labour and natural resources) to meet needs.

Ultimately, money is a convenient way of tokenising this process. The process itself, on the other hand, is an energy equation.

The basic misunderstanding over this point – the treatment of money as the substantive challenge, rather than as the language in which that challenge is expressed – lies at the heart of the current economic malaise. In essence, an ever-widening wedge has been driven between the monetary and the ‘real’ economies. A central argument set out in this report is that economic\ problems will remain insoluble for so long as policymakers concentrate on monetary issues rather than on the ‘real’ economy. We go further than this, arguing that the physical economy is, in essence, an energy system or, to be somewhat more precise, a surplus energy equation.

Which is what I have come to learn, that money is just an exchange token for energy.

It would be nice if that was the case because it would indicate that money is a store of value. Instead, the money supply has been continuously inflated so that an individual unit represents an ever decreasing amount of accumulated wealth/stored energy.

Economics is the ugly step-sister of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of why people do what they do, generally. Economics is the study of why people do what they do in relation to money.

That Tullett Prebon piece really is an excellent read, thanks muchly. Coming as it does from the research dept of a major UK financial markets player it might actually make a few think. I am certainly disseminating it with gusto.

Thanks, great report!

Especially the pic on page 12 is telling, combined with the news that expenditures for food and energy are, indeed, rising, reversing a historical trend: http://environmentalresearchweb.org/blog/2012/09/changing-trend-in-energ...

The tight oil revolution expands outside the USA? . . .

$20 trillion shale oil find surrounding Coober Pedy 'can fuel Australia'

Another link:

Anyone know anything about this? Could be big?

I think the best idea to come from the Coober Pedy area is to live underground and save on air conditioning costs like the opal miners do. That sedimentary basin overlays basement rocks containing uranium with major mines (Olympic Dam, Prominent Hill) shown on the map just to the south. To the east is another basin (Cooper) containing a trough thought promising for tight oil and gas. The company Linc seems better at publicity than finding resources. I recall one time they had a compact car driving around Australia shadowed by a diesel truck containing some sort of synfuel. Here's the link to Linc

See their website for other 'far out' projects, so far all dead ends I gather.

Well - they obviously have this pinned down. They say the amount of oil there is between 3 and 233 billion barrels. A puff piece.

Passed thru Coober Pedy on my Australia trek a few years back. Not a lot of water out in those parts. I mean, really not a lot of water...

Travellers can fill their jerrycans with 30L of desalinated water for 20c
Lack of water and ironically energy is holding back the expansion of Olympic Dam the world's biggest uranium deposit, albeit low grade. The mine and township draw about 40 ML a day of water from wells on the fringe of this sedimentary basin. The plan was to build a 280 ML/d desal plant on the coast 300 km away but that was mothballed by BHP Billiton when energy costs looked too expensive.

Question; what about a nuke to power the mine and desal? Answer; the public seems to want it but politicians don't. My predictions are
1) fracking of the basin won't occur since the resource is probably exaggerated and uneconomic
2) the adjoining hard rock mines won't expand due to lack of water and energy.

The key question is if there's a reservoir bigger than Ghawar sitting under the Australian desert, why wasn't it found decades ago?

Frugal – Took a good bit of digging to see exactly what they have. Apparently what they’ve found is another Green River Shale and not another Bakken or Eagle Ford.

From: http://mobile.wnd.com/markets/news/read/19556962/linc_energy_limited_

What they’ve found in their wells were shale samples that contained kerogen. “Rock-Evaluation Pyrolysis testing results on the Stuart Range Formation shales intersected during the drilling program indicate oil shale with potential oil yields of 25 litres to 45 litres of oil per tonne.” IOW dig it out, grind it up, use water/solvents to extract it and then refine that liquid and you get that volume of oil.

They don’t say much about how they plan to produce this great new “oil field” but here’s a hint: “Shale oil (or kerogen oil) is an unconventional oil produced from oil shale. Modern technologies make it possible to process the shale oil underground (in situ processing), extracting the oil via oil wells. The resulting oil can be used immediately as a fuel or as oil refinery feedstock”. So I guess they need to go chat with the boys at Shell Oil and see how their in situ recovery of the GRS is doing. Oh…forgot…Shell suspended the pilot project a few years ago.

I suspect there may be a good bit of money to be made with this new "discovery" but I suspect much of the profit will come from working the linc stock.

In other words, they haven't found any oil at all at Coober Pedy.

So basically what we have is a pump & dump penny stock scam based on the confusion between oil shale (kerogen) and shale oil (AKA "tight oil").

I'm surprised that no one did this earlier.

spec - I can’t swear that this is the plan. But given the stock has risen about 430% in the last couple of months since the news of their huge "oil" discovery (and more than 250% in the last couple of weeks since the press releases started flooding the MSM)you can color me skeptical. Makes you wonder what the stock might do if a lot of reports come out from the MSM comparing it to the not yet commercial Green River Shale instead of the Bakken.

It may be one of the most ingenious pump & dump scams ever because it has excellent plausible deniability.

Mislead investors? No, we didn't mislead investors. We told them it was oil shale . . . we told them it was kerogen. The whole trick lies in people conflating 'oil shale' with (conventional) oil extracted from shale.

Genius . . . evil genius but still genius.


Yes what a wonderful story! sarc

I actually have shares in the company, and they haven't helped themselves when it come to confusion. It is only in the last couple of months I have become comfortable with what they were talking about.

1/ It is a fractured shale oil play, the references to Kerogen confuse but read, "the Kerogen has been cooked to 450 deg C" and compares these temps to Bakken and Eagles ford,

2/ The Trillion dollar figures come from MSN taking a resource figure and counting it as though it is a produced barrel.

3/The company drilled the about 10 holes in 2011, and shortly after the CEO started talking about underground fires to extract the oil, indicating Oil Shale, he is not an oil man and was confused.

4/They have Barclays out looking for a nice big partner to farm in or JV to do the heavy lifting with capital.

5/ It will need to be produced by horizontal fracced wells. To me, water will be their biggest problem.

The news story to me is a typical example of the incompetence or the agenda of the MSN.

Rather exciting watching the share price though, lol


Pusher - Still confusing: "Kerogen has been cooked to 450 deg C"". So is it oil that's been created by cooking the kerogen or is it kerogen that been cooked to 450 dec C and is still kerogen? If the shale contains oil it might be produced commercially with a frac'd hz well. If it's still kerogen it won't. And of the 10 wells they've drilled I haven't seen them report producing even one bbl of oil. Did I miss that? Also that must be an amazing geologic history of that basin. In one spot they say the formtion is at 2,800' if I read it correctly. But the rock has been cooked at over 850 deg F? You can drill to 30,000' in the Gulf Coast and still not get anywhere to that temperature. Again, a confusiong story. If this is a multi-trillion $ play it seems very odd that they offer almost no tech details in any of the dozens of reports i've seen including yours.

Either way it sound like you got in on it early so very good. But watch your back, bubba.


The shale oil thing was/is a side line business for Linc and not the reason I got into the company, so if anything comes from a massive media hype on their lack of knowledge the that is just gravy for me.

As for the depth and temperature, I believe they are referring to historic or should I say pre-historic temp that the rock strata has been subject to, rather than current rock temp. Though the rocks in the area are a lot hotter than your GOM. The rocks in the surrounding area have been subject to some experimenting in geothermal power production very hot granite that under lie the basin. Nothing successful so far, but it is a hot rock area.

My understanding of oil creation is, the marine deposits laid down in the silts building shales, produce Kerogen. If this kerogen in heated to the correct temp (450c) then it converts to oil, if it reaches a higher temp it becomes gas. If it doesn't get heated enough, it stays as kerogen and would require someone to dig it up and retort it to 450c to convert it to oil. Tell me if I have it correct or not.

Forget the Trillion dollar part, that was not from the company. It was some silly fool at a news paper looking for headline. They certainly found one.

If nothing else it has been a fun ride.

edit: A point closer to your heart, they plan to drill a plan simple onshore oil well in east Texas. The interesting point is, it will sub salt to 10,000ft. It seems shallow to me for an exploration well, for such a well drilled area. Apparently the salt layer has been a barrier to seismic and sub-salt has not been drilled in that area. Any thoughts?

Pusher – You may have made the right bet for the right reasons but your big pay day may come folks making poor bets for the wrong reasons. Timing, bubba, timing. LOL. As far as oil generation did you catch my post to RMG? Some good thermal history in the basin but not everywhere. As always searching for the sweet spots.

Yep…salt/anhydrite has always been a seismic killer. Absorbs too much energy. But 3d and better energy sources have made a big difference. We’re joining a drilling program in MS/AL that may be the hottest conventional oil play in the US that many, including oil patch hands, don’t know about. The Smackover play has always had juicy potential but very difficult to map due to the problem you mentioned. But high quality 3d is making it work. The company we’re teaming up with hit 6 out of 7 wells that make 200-300 bopd each. And you might not have noticed any press releases about the play: just about all the players, like us, are privately owned. With no stock to hype we all just keep our mouths shut about it. No harm in talking about it now: most of the acreage has already been leased.


Thanks for the info on the sub-salt, good luck with your prospects and it is good to hear my lot could be on the same technological trend. They have also done a lot of 3d, and claim not much has been done in the area. Their leases are mainly around Galveston and I was surprised to hear that few wells have been drilled below 7500ft. So it will be interesting to how it all pans out.

Yeah, #5 - water. Ain't no water to be had anywhere near. The jerry cans Boof noted are much appreciated by passers through, but that ain't gonna frack no rock.

And speaking of Rock... regarding the amazing geology of the basin, dunno if it's got any relation, but not far away (by Aussie standards) are two amazing and unique formations, Uluru and the Olgas, only 20 or so miles apart, different from each other - one sandstone, the other conglomerate - sticking up out of the vast plain of the Outback: http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/geology/

Motion Control Keeps Electric Car’s Four Wheels—and Four Motors—on the Road

The experimental car weighs half as much as a conventional car—only 800 kg, or a little over 1,750 pounds—because it contains no engine, no transmission, and no differential. The researchers took a commercially available sport utility vehicle chassis and removed all those parts, and added a 7.5 kW electric motor to each wheel and a 15 kW lithium-ion battery pack. A single electrical cable connects the motors to a central computer.

Oh great, one glitch in that computer and this vehicle spins out of control? Or maybe not, perhaps there are ways to make it safe.

Bu, my "conventional car" weighs about the same as this contraption, not double. And an electrified recumbent pedaled vehicle could be a lot lighter than that. What are we trying to achieve here, towing a 6000-pound trailer or just hauling a single human to a workplace or shop?

(Pictured) That's not an SUV chassis it's an ATV chassis think 4X4 Golf cart.

"A single electrical cable connects the motors to a central computer."
In the real world that is probably not a good thing.

ATV's of this type with gas motors normally weigh around 1000 lbs. This car with it's 4 electric motors and battery add 750lbs.

As a pure RD Experiment for 4 whell motion control great, but don't give me selling points.


Not much need for 30hp in this small a vehicle.. heck, one or two horses used to pull as much!

I don't mind seeing some of these put forth as working wheels.. but for getting a couple people around, as you say.. get down to Bike Weights, and put pedals and handcranks into it, in no small part to stand in as the de facto heating system!

I don't see anything really new there. I would love to have one of these, just an off-road golf cart on steroids. A number of maunufacturers offer similar vehicles.


Electric UTVs already exist, why are they reinventing it?

I didn't read it initially.. the point they are making is really about the safety control systems driving the four independent wheel motors, etc..

To test slippery road conditions, the researchers took the car to an empty west campus parking lot on a snowy day. There, the car maneuvered with an accuracy of up to eight inches (20 cm), and the vehicle traction and motion control system prevented “fishtailing” through independent control of the left and right sides of the car.


One hundred times a second, the onboard computer samples input data from the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake and calculates how each wheel should respond. Because the wheels are independent, one or more can brake while the others accelerate, providing enhanced traction and motion control.

I'll still take the Velomobile, I think.. and maybe switch the front wheels to ski/wheels if it's really encrusted out there.. but it sounds like they're doing useful research, just the same.

I'll still take the Velomobile, I think.. and maybe switch the front wheels to ski/wheels if it's really encrusted out there.. but it sounds like they're doing useful research, just the same.

You might like this:

Winter is Velomobile Time

On that page there is an interesting link to this PDF:

The Velomobile as a Vehicle for more Sustainable Transportation
Reshaping the social construction of cycling technology

Frederik Van De Walle
Supervisor: Christer Sanne

Electric UTVs already exist, why are they reinventing it?

To understand the software and hardware needed to control 4 wheels so that they can end up with either patents or a control product to license.

The $ needed to do that on a car is FAR more than the lower safety and government regulation bar of an ATV.

There was a Mini Cooper with four wheel motors done years ago as a demonstration for PML Flightlink. That was a interesting engineering effort, lots of power.

Researchers make DNA storage a reality

Researchers at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have created a way to store data in the form of DNA – a material that lasts for tens of thousands of years. The new method, published today in the journal Nature, makes it possible to store at least 100 million hours of high-definition video in about a cup of DNA.

The new method requires synthesising DNA from the encoded information: enter Agilent Technologies, Inc, a California-based company that volunteered its services. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman sent them encoded versions of: an .mp3 of Martin Luther King's speech, "I Have a Dream"; a .jpg photo of EMBL-EBI; a .pdf of Watson and Crick's seminal paper, "Molecular structure of nucleic acids"; a .txt file of all of Shakespeare's sonnets; and a file that describes the encoding.

"We downloaded the files from the Web and used them to synthesise hundreds of thousands of pieces of DNA – the result looks like a tiny piece of dust," explains Emily Leproust of Agilent. Agilent mailed the sample to EMBL-EBI, where the researchers were able to sequence the DNA and decode the files without errors.

"We've created a code that's error tolerant using a molecular form we know will last in the right conditions for 10 000 years, or possibly longer," says Nick Goldman. "As long as someone knows what the code is, you will be able to read it back if you have a machine that can read DNA."

... science fiction becomes fact

So, given our nature the first thing we should use DNA storage for is to store the plans for machines that can read DNA. :)

It is interesting that nature created high-density digital storage technology long before we even invented digital encoding.

But why do they say it can last 10,000 years? Is DNA really that robust?

"We've created a code that's error tolerant ... for 10 000 years"

"We've created a technology that can destroy your puny code" -- Monsanto GM engineer.

Tiny Apartment, Big Winner: The Design That Won NYC’s Micro Contest

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the winner of the city’s adAPT micro-apartment competition yesterday, a contest to design a 250- to 370-square-foot living space that launched last July. The winner, chosen from 33 applicants, is a collaborative effort between Monadnock Construction, the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, and nARCHITECTS called My Mirco NY, which will have its design implemented in a 55-unit building scheduled for completion in 2015.

250 to 370 square feet is seriously small. I live in a bachelor apartment 33'2" x 14'9" = 490 square feet. Admittedly it's nice and spacious. I can get a lounge suite, a full-sized desk and a lawnmower in here and still pace around. 250 square feet would drive me stir-crazy.

These apartments will only make sense in Manhattan where people spend a lot, if not most of their time out of their apartments. That was true when I lived there 20 years ago and is even more true today. For the U.S., it's really just a Manhattan phenomenon. Outside the U.S. apartments this size have been the norm in Japan for a long time and more recently have shown up in Taiwan.

Of much greater concern to me is the continued building of outsized homes in suburban exurbs. The pace of construction has slowed dramatically since 2008, but I still see a few builders plowing up fields in an attempt to keep BAU going. I expect the next downturn will completely kill this activity.

On the bright side, most new construction is in denser, multi-unit properties. Nice trend, too bad it's 30 years too late.

John in San Francisco emerging from the shadows. I have been following this board closely since the Macondo disaster. The insight this group collectively contributes to the rest of us is impressive. My background is a hybrid of general political activism of many sorts (Unions, environment, anti apartheid, service dogs, bicycles, etc...) but I was also part of the effort to create Proposition 215 during the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. I love recycling of all sorts and dream of a post car world. No speeches, just a brief introduction.
Rockman, like so many others I find your well thought out and reasoned observations to be of special enjoyment. You mentioned the air in Beijing the other day. I was there last year and saw the same phenomenon, it looked bad (two block visibility) but had no bad feeling. They are burning a lot of stuff into the air for miles around there in all directions. I took the bullet train into town and it becomes obvious about fifty miles out of town. Nice sunset. China is a funny place. There is a lot of good stuff going on over there despite the stuff that’s not so good. I like Beijing despite the poor air quality which they will eventually solve. And I was able to read the oil drum everywhere I went so I felt connected to the pulse of the planet. You folks are not blocked in the center kingdom.
On the Mali thing. I read on Bloomberg that the energy connection has to do with big pipelines for gas (or was it oil?) going into Europe. I should link that here and sorry for the omission. I think that is a bigger consideration than their Uranium mines. In any case it is always sad when people are harmed and my heart goes out to the families and friends of those poor folks killed in that Algerian thing.
Anyway, Thanks Leanan and all the regular contributors for facilitating a very important global conversation.

EO - Interesting that you confirm my memory. As terrible as the sky looked I had no breathing problems and the only odors I recall were yummy cooking smells. OTOH I wasn't jogging but I watched a lot of Chinese play long and spirited badmitton contests with no breathing problems. Very strange

The sky was green during my brothers last visit to China.
IMHO, not even remotely survivable, and I have relatives there.
A large part of the country no longer has flowering plants, as the pollinators are extinct.

How's this for the unemployment of people:

The start-up robot firm Momentum Machines is one. Funded by San Francisco's Lemnos Labs, it has developed a robot designed to take the place of humans in burger restaurants. Its creators believe their patty-flipping Alpha robot could save the fast-food industry in the United States about US$9 billion (Dh33.05bn) a year. Designed to entirely replace two to three full-time kitchen staff, it can grill a beef patty, layer it with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions, put it in a bun, and wrap it up to go - no less than 360 times an hour. Momentum believes kitchen robots are not only more cost-effective than human staff, they are also more hygienic.

There is something about this that seems criminal or it should be criminalized. Flipping burgers is one of the last refuges of those on the bottom and even this will be automated. Greaaatt. When everything is automated, who will buy the products.

You can criminalize this but if this gives profits it will happen one way or the other. Sadly even the lowest wage laborers are costlier than robots in the long run. Think of it as evolution.

That's when we begin to really misunderstand what money is about.

'He knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing..'
(My typo, if you'll forgive me, was initially 'the Cast(e) of everything..' not entirely unrelated it seems to me..)

I wonder if we should just start at the other end and make Robots that can replace CEO's and the Ultra Wealthy? Far lower materials costs, ultimately.. and you can ceremoniously knock their heads off every once in a while, just for fun.

I know that but in the current system money is still the king. The system will probably end up cannibalizing itself and AI will help it on the way. Think of robotics as the nitro for a car going off a cliff.

"start at the other end and make Robots that can replace CEO's"

Over engineering when blow up dolls will suffice at a fraction of the cost.

""start at the other end and make Robots that can replace CEO's"

Over engineering when blow up dolls will suffice at a fraction of the cost."

Add a magic 8-ball and your blow up doll is ready for the corner office.

Yes, exactly. Technological evolution of the System, in which humans have no control and are simply an exploitable resource.

I believe automation is our future and I'm not saying that in a utopian sense. For those that remain useful to the System, their survival will be on the back of automation, for the rest... ?

One cannot help thinking that as the System concentrates the remaining energy resources within itself, needs fewer but more highly trained humans and cannot maintain life-support systems for the entire human population, things will look bleak for many. I do however think there may be a possible solution.

The System will reward anyone creating technological advancement. Currently technological advancement has been captured by the State, large corporations and a cadre of global elites who benefit from the systemic rewards. It doesn't have to be that way though. It is now possible for individuals, small groups and communities to innovate new ways to advance technology and re-direct the systemic rewards their way. Although in a high entropy world this will mean the destruction of the State, large corporations and the cadre of global elite. They will fight back (war, hard or soft, encourages technological advancement too) which may actually hasten their demise.

The System rewards those that advance it, people will not survive in a 4 to 6 degree world without automation and technology. If BAU continues where innovation and technological progress is highly controlled with the rewards going to an increasingly smaller section of the population (aka. inequality), then those outside the System will perish.

It's certainly not what I want, but the realisation that this is the way it is going to be, means I have to now factor it into my own thinking and my own plans.

AP IMPACT: Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs

The numbers startle even labor economists. In the United States, half the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession were in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are in midpay industries. Nearly 70 percent are in low-pay industries, 29 percent in industries that pay well.

In the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency, the numbers are even worse. Almost 4.3 million low-pay jobs have been gained since mid-2009, but the loss of midpay jobs has never stopped. A total of 7.6 million disappeared from January 2008 through last June.

Experts warn that this "hollowing out" of the middle-class workforce is far from over. They predict the loss of millions more jobs as technology becomes even more sophisticated and reaches deeper into our lives. Maarten Goos, an economist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, says Europe could double its middle-class job losses.

Some occupations are beneficiaries of the march of technology, such as software engineers and app designers for smartphones and tablet computers. Overall, though, technology is eliminating far more jobs than it is creating.

The numbers confirm what people have been talking about for some time. It's not so much a recovery as it is a reorganization of the economy.

And then there's this

Unless you count family and friends and the person staring at you in the mirror. The uncomfortable truth is technology is killing jobs with the help of ordinary consumers by enabling them to quickly do tasks that workers used to do full time, for salaries.

Use a self-checkout lane at the supermarket or drugstore? A worker behind a cash register used to do that.

Buy clothes without visiting a store? You've taken work from a salesman.

Click "accept" in an email invitation to attend a meeting? You've pushed an office assistant closer to unemployment.

Book your vacation using an online program? You've helped lay off a travel agent. Perhaps at American Express Co., which announced this month that it plans to cut 5,400 jobs, mainly in its travel business, as more of its customers shift to online portals to plan trips.

I got the link from this blog... http://hipcrime.blogspot.com thanks to the author

There is not a serious discussion of this at the political level as both parties propose remedies for our economic malaise which entirely ignore the effects of automation. They also bemoan outsourcing but do not have any serious proposals to stop and reverse that trend. I don't see any reason why we will ever recover from this recession in any meaningful sense as this trend continues. There is nothing on the horizon to stop this trend except possibly energy scarcity and by the time that happens our industries will be completely hollowed out.

The free market vs government debates miss the point. The question is, how do you provide people a decent, even minimal standard of living under current and projected conditions of automation, outsourcing, and increased energy costs. You don't unless you recognize that the capitalist system as currently practiced cannot and will not produce middle class jobs. Just letting the laissez faire system distribute the wealth is not going to cut it anymore. And then there is growth. Promised growth is always the promise to the poor and middle class. Well, that gambit hasn't worked for a long time and is not going to work in the future. Further, it may very well be that we have seen the last of sustained economic growth. It is time for a new system.

There is not a serious discussion of this at the political level

The last 'political level' discussion I'll stake out is the Technocrats of the Technocracy movement.

But they claim they don't want to be a political party and a bulk of the papers produced were on either side of the Great Depression.

In about a day of reading one can get a good handle on what they were tying to do via reading their position papers.

This is a difficult problem. I think we really are hitting a period of history wherein a lot of people are being automated out of their jobs but few new jobs are being created to replace the jobs automated out of existence. The former has clearly happened many times in history . . . as the old saw goes, buggy whip maker jobs are pretty scarce. But usually, there are many new jobs created at the same time in other areas to make up for the lost jobs.

So it is not the automation of jobs out of existence that is the problem, it is the lack of new jobs for the displaced workers. We simply have a lot of workers and no good ideas of how to employ them. We need a "next big new thing". The 80's had PCs, the 90's had the internet, the 00's had the cellphone revolution (which is still going on somewhat), . . . but right now . . . what is the big new thing?

I'm not worried about automation at all. The entire industrial project is about using the energy of fossil fuels through machinery to produce things cheaper than people were able to using traditional craft. That put the previous producers out of work and left them to work in the factories, with more of the wealth concentrating to the owners.

But with the increase in cost of fuel this project is failing - that's really what we discuss here all the time - and as Greer has pointed out we're now starting to run that industrial project in reverse, with automation being replaced by cheaper foreign human labor. Eventually the whole industrial paradigm will fail and what is produced will be by more local craft-type labor. But things will cost more and volumes will be reduced.

But that is not happening right now at all. Why? Because energy remains very cheap. Oil is getting more expensive. But energy in general (Coal, natural gas, nuclear power, wind, solar, etc.), remains quite cheap. Heck, natural gas companies are near bankruptcy because natural gas is so cheap. Coal companies are struggling because natural gas is so cheap. Solar prices have plummeted but adoption remains slow because other electricity sources (coal, natural gas, nuclear, and wind) are much cheaper still.

So a lot of these collapse views are wrong because they are over-stating the problem. We don't have an energy problem, we have an oil problem. Yes, the other energy sources do dependent on the price of oil some, but that is just a small input.

Once oil gets to about $200/bl, it will become fungible with other energy sources.

Yeah, that is the whole point of EVs. Yes, EVs are expensive up-front. But as gas prices rise, eventually high up-front cost of an EV is cheaper than fueling with gasoline/diesel. It certainly doesn't work for everything . . . I don't see battery-powered airplanes or 18-wheelers. But the light-duty fleet can easily switch over to battery power once it becomes economically advantageous to do so.

Actually, I was referring to GTL, CTL, biomass gasification, etc. How that works in with EVs will be interesting.

No, it is happening right now, and has been happening for some time - it's called various things like "outsourcing". It started after the US peaked in oil production and the true costs of getting that oil/energy from elsewhere grew too high. The process of producing goods with the energy in fossil fuels no longer generates sufficient return - automation is not profitable enough. That is why manufacturing has gone elsewhere - a desperate attempt to keep the game going which will soon fail.

Outsourcing has indeed been happening since the 70's but that is wage arbitrage, that has nothing to do with energy. We had plenty of cheap energy in the 80's and 90s when Rockman was driving a cab because there was no money in Texas oil because oil prices were so long.

You are looking at one aspect of it - Getting KSA to pump their oil flat out and tank the price per barrel was not free. It had other very large costs, such as the cost of building a military that could convince them we were the horse to bet on rather than the USSR.

This is why we built the debt society, because getting that oil was actually very expensive, regardless of how low the cost per barrel in $ may have gone for a short time.

And servicing that ever growing debt is a major part of why the industrial economy is not creating the returns needed - or perhaps it is better to say it needs to provide returns larger than can be had by merely making and selling products.

So we had to invent a finical economy with no limits on returns as it is not based on anything real - but all of that can and will be simply erased because of the lack of a reality basis.

Steve at Economic Undertow has some interesting thoughts on this.

I completely agree, energy is costlier here and still many companies are willing to set up shop here because the wages more than make up for it.

Outsourcing has absolutely nothing to do with peak oil production in the US. China also imports oil to fuel their economy.

Outsourcing is the result of a credit bubble that both enabled folks to consume beyond their means and provided a commodity to sell, in the form of debt, to China who buys the debt to maintain their peg to the dollar which is what allows companies to relocate to China without fear of the yuan appreciating against the dollar and destroying the value of their investment. US industry is making a bundle from this arrangement so don't expect any changes anytime soon.

I'm not sure I agree with this.

I think peak oil USA was a reason blue collar jobs moved overseas in the '70s. Maybe a big reason. Heavy energy consuming industries like steel and aluminum found it was easier to move their factories overseas, close to cheap power, and import the product, rather than import the energy to run their plants stateside. Japan ate our lunch in the automotive industry, because energy scarcity had been an issue for them for decades before Detroit got its rude awakening.

Would it have happened eventually, even if we were not yet at peak oil USA? Maybe. But I think it would have been much slower and much lower. Even now, many companies that tried to outsource are coming back to the US because of the difficulties involved in a global supply chain, and, ironically, the expense of shipping. The difference, IMO, between peak oil USA and global peak oil.

Sure. Because of peak oil in the USA, our jobs moved to that great oil producing empire of . . . Japan. Does that make sense to you? Really? No, they got jobs because of better products and lower wages.

I wasn't thinking of Japan. A lot of steel and aluminum plants moved to places like Latin America and Africa (typically to places where energy was cheap). Shipping hydropower or natural gas is difficult. Making things with it and shipping those is much easier.

Also, a big driver of U.S. manufacturing was increasing U.S. wealth. That stopped for some mysterious reason in the 1970s. Could it be peak oil related? I think it's quite possible.

Exactly what I said - we replaced energy using "automation" with cheap labor, running industrialization in reverse.

Really? Maybe I'm not understanding something. It sounds like you believe someone was building a widget with robots but stopped using the robots because electricity used to power the robots cost more than having some low wage worker worker build widget by hand. (Thus doing industrialization in reverse.) I'm pretty sure this never happens. Electricity is pretty cheap.

Industrialization - using the energy of fossil fuel to manufacture, began a long time before robots. The costs of running a factory are more than just the costs of the electricity. US more highly automated and expensive to run factories are closed and moved to places with lower wages, where products are pumped out with more cheap human labor and less automation.

It still just doesn't make sense to me. Yes, they are paid lower wages but it is still industrialization. Their factors have lights & machines too. Perhaps they have less 'automation' and more cheap human labor but that is a capital cost issue not an energy cost.

And worse, now you have to pay for the added fossil fuel cost to ship the products across the Pacific. If anything, it seems more fossil fuel is used with 'outsourcing'. The gain is from cheaper labor is less developed countries. That's why Jeff Rubin's theory has been that some jobs will move back to the USA . . . the addition energy costs of shipping the product will begin to outweigh the wage arbitrage.

Although I doubt many are lower automation than the old factory. More likely relocation was cheaper than upgrading to the next level of automation. So automation stays about the same, rather than ratcheting upwards. The global effect is about the same however.

Now many things are capital intensive, and not very labor intensive. PV panels especially. But China finances them cheaper than you can in say the US or the EU, so there main advantage instead of being cheap labor, is cheap capital.

Er, why are those countries which do have cheap labour making such impressive leaps in automation, then?

(I'm expecting that you're aware of this development.)

Aluminum and petrochemicals are energy intensive and do move to where the energy is the cheapest. The PNW used to produce aluminum when there was plenty of cheap hydropower available but as the population grew and used up the spare capacity, electricity became more expensive and the aluminum plants moved elsewhere. Steel moved away once the US used up its iron ore deposits.

The problem has more to do with the US running $600B/yr trade deficits and importing additional labor every year. Without the ability to continue to inflate the credit bubble, the US will suffer the effects of an economy that has been out of balance for quite awhile.

When everything is automated, who will buy the products.

Well, after the singularity there are bound to be hordes of AIbots rolling up to the drive through windows to order their silicon wafers... When the customers are all machines they won't need people anymore and everything will be perfect! /sarc

The AIbots, will buy playthings and treats for their human pets.

AI bots will be slaves who will have no need for money and will not be consumers. Slaves receive room, board and minimal medical care. If mechanical slaves become less expensive and more adept than human workers, then the end of capitalism will be nigh because only the bosses (leaders) will be relevant. Would the Cylons attack the humans, or would the humans attack the Cylons?

Or will the Cylons become the masters, and keep human pets as status symbols. The more humans a Cylon owns, and the fancier the toys the pets are using, the higher his status amongst other Cylons.

This from Slashdot:
"'To understand the impact technology is having on middle-class jobs in developed countries, the AP analyzed employment data from 20 countries; tracked changes in hiring by industry, pay and task; compared job losses and gains during recessions and expansions over the past four decades; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, entrepreneurs and people in the labor force who ranged from CEOs to the unemployed.' Their findings: Technology has consistently reduced the number of manufacturing jobs for 30 years; people with repetitive jobs have been easy to replace in the past, and task jugglers like managers and supervisors will be likely targets in the future; companies in the S&P 500 have expanded their business and increased profits, but reduced staffing, thanks to tech; and startups are launching much more easily these days. The response to the article includes the dutifully repeated bad-government-is-at-fault and don't-worry-it's-like-the-Industrial-Revolution memes. But what if this time it's different? What if delegating everything to machines is a radical and fundamental new change in the course of human history?"
The story from AP via YaHoo News:

How much harder would it be to automate the sale? Order by voice recognition, confirm order, insert dollars or swipe a card, the food and drinks get conveyered into a recepticle area for drive-thru pick up. All sales are final, but if you have a complaint call a computer at customer service. How long before the first completely automated 24 hour drive-thru?

I can just imagine that your burger would get a tad cold by the time you were actually able to get customer service to do anything. Automated phone customer service is a freaking abomination. They need to fix that sucker before they start talking about automated burger delivery. Think I will just stay home if this ever comes to pass. Or maybe they could have self service burger making so you can fix your own problems. But then again, might as well stay home.

How much harder would it be to automate the sale? ... How long before the first completely automated 24 hour drive-thru?


1st one was in 1902.

Wow! She almost passes for a real human!

"As you can see, the pizza was prepared without being touched by any hands, and in a human-free environment."

Now all they need is a robot to eat it.

I think I heard they're dropping these first in onto Guernica by air.

Poor jerks will never even know what hit them..

"Peak Oil" Impacting Norwegian and Saudi 2013 Production?

While it is hard to ramp up much sympathy for petro-states, Norway and Saudi Arabia are both facing a murky 2013 as domestic production falls, pushing both nations towards some difficult (and expensive) choices...

“One challenge the Saudis face in achieving their strategic vision to add production capacity is that their existing fields experience 6 to 8 percent annual decline rates on average in existing fields, meaning that the country needs around 700,000 bpd in additional capacity each year just to compensate for natural decline. Decline estimates for Saudi Arabia vary widely, however. The Ministry of Petroleum maintains that decline rates in Saudi Arabia are around 2 percent annually. Saudi Aramco has stated that it will also conduct additional drilling at currently producing fields in order to help compensate for the natural declines from the mature fields.

And Saudi started that additional infill drilling about a decade ago. While they initially did get their decline rate down to almost 2 percent that could only last for so long. I, along with others I have talked to, think the decline rate in their old mature fields is back up to around 8 percent now. But... we shall see.

Ron P.

Oil in the outback is exciting, but Australia is not the new Saudi Arabia

One final thought. Peak oil? Proven reserves have added 681 bboe in 30 years and are growing still. The lights won't be going off any time soon.

Two final thoughts. One, peak oil is about the peaking of world oil production, not reserves. And two, those so-called "proven reserves" are not proven, they were added with a pencil, not a survey crew or drilling of any test wells. New discoveries are what counts, not new reserves added by OPEC nations to keep their quota.

Ron P.

According to Rockman, the Coober Pedy formation is a kerogen deposit so there's no oil at all there, never mind 233 billion barrels.

Blimey, I think you are right.
Independent Reports Confirm Significant Potential for Linc Energy's Shale Oil in the Arckaringa Basin

Analysis presented in these reports indicates that the Stuart Range formation and the underlying Boorthanna and Pre-Permian formations are rich in oil and gas prone kerogen that may form the basis of a new liquids-rich shale play.

I did not realize that there was already a thread opened on this, else I would have posted it up there. Sorry.

Ron P.

Always read the fine print in the prospectus:

6) There is no certainty that any portion of the prospective resources estimated herein will be discovered. If discovered, there is no certainty that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the prospective resources evaluated.

IOW, they haven't found anything yet, but they are hoping somebody will give them the money to drill some wells and see if anything is there. It's what is known in the industry as a rank wildcat. If you don't already know what that means, you probably shouldn't invest in it.

Hint for novices - "rank" refers to the smell of the wild cat.

Looking for Oil and Gas?

Today, the average wildcat well has only one chance in ten of finding an economic accumulation of hydrocarbons. A rank wildcat, if drilled in a frontier area, stands only one chance in forty of success.

If I were a naive investor, I'd dismiss paragraph six as required boilerplate. Heck even if they had a real legitimate twin of Ghawar, they'd have to say that! Should be easy to attract naive but greedy investors.

Well, they don't really have to say that unless it's true. If they had actually found something, they could quote oil and gas flow rates from a well test and depth of pay, permeability, and porosity from the core samples, and skip Note 6.

However, if they actually had something big there, they would more likely declare it a "tight hole" and say as little as possible about it while the insiders bought up leases on as much of the nearby land as they could before the news got out. It's only the questionable plays that the naive investor finds out about. That's how the game is played.

Rocky - I think we may be spending too much time with these jokers. First, they don't have to worry about someone finding out about all the secret details of their "big discovery" and offsetting them. They have a license for 16 million contiguous acres which is essentially the entire basin. Second, the tool pusher sayS Linc has said the kerogen has been heated to 450 dec C. From an Aussie geologic report I found:


"Vitrinite reflectance data from three wells suggests that the Permian sequence has been subjected to pre-Jurassic uplift and erosion in the order of 0.5–1 km. However, reflectance data from the Phillipson Trough indicate no significant post-Permian uplift or erosion. Also: "There were no indications of hydrocarbons in the Permian section but trace gas and bituminous material were recorded from the Cootanoorina Formation."

But there is some potential: "SOURCE ROCKS - Basal Stuart Range Formation and Boorthanna Formation range from immature to mature. Boorthanna Formation TOC is generally less than 0.5% although one sample from Weedina 1 measured 1.8%. The Mount Toondina Formation and much of the Stuart Range Formation while immature, have high TOC values indicating good oil-prone source potential at depth. TOC ranges from 0.45 to 2.7% in Stuart Range Formation and is as high as 5.95% in Mount Toondina formation. In many areas depth of burial has not been sufficient for generation of hydrocarbons. Permian sediments are most likely to be thermally mature in southern deep parts of the Boorthanna Trough. In the Phillipson Trough a higher heat flow event 150 million years ago may have boosted maturity of the Permian sequence."

Yes...some potential source rocks. But most of the basin has never been buried deep enough to convert the source rocks (i.e. kerogen) to oil. So I'm guessing the "heated to 450 deg C" comment is really saying that if it's heated to that temperature it will become oil. If I were the tool pusher I would pick a bailout price and put an automatic sell price in today. And then hope I wasn't being too greedy on that price. I've got a feeling that once folks get the entire picture the stock will nose dive.

Frugal - Not I...never heard of those rocks before. Those were the words of Linc Energy...the folks touting the big "discovery". Despite beaucoup press releases where they were bragging about many billions of bbls of oil I had to skim a couple of dozen before they described what they’ve found…kerogen. From what I can tell when they say they “completed a well” they don’t mean they made a producing oil well but just finished the drilling of the well. In one PR they speculate the potential of 800 -1,000 bopd but I can’t find one report that they even tried to produce any well yet let alone actually produced some oil. They were essentially drilling “stratigraphic test wells” just to find out what rocks are there and if there’s any evidence of hydrocarbon oil generation. Some wells found evidence and some didn’t. Which is exactly how you begin an evaluation of an undrilled frontier basin. They say they think there may be some indication of potential conventional oil accumulations but apparently haven’t found any yet. Not sure how the Aussie version of the SEC works but I think our SEC might have a problem with some of the Linc press releases.

They may be sitting on top of a lot of producible oil reserves but they have a very long way to go IMHO. I’m reminded of what I read years ago: the first major N. Sea oil field wasn’t discovered until they drilled the 93rd well in the basin. Even when there’s a lot of grease out there it takes a while to find it. For geologist such projects are exciting. For a promoter it's a potential big payday even if they don’t find any oil. And for an investor in the company a potential huge return…or a nice write off.


"I think our SEC might have a problem with some of the Linc press releases."

Good point.

Especially since the new SEC member appointed by Obama was a federal prosecutor who took down the mafia lord.

Linc are now saying others are talking it up, not them
Could be why the Australian corporate regulator ASIC hasn't done anything.

Linc's main expertise is underground gasification of coal using pumped in air. The exit gas is then scrubbed and converted to fuel via Fischer Tropsch. They call it UCG to GTL and have such a plant in Queensland which makes some ready to use liquid fuel though evidently not at a profit. However they are using the term shale oil for liquid from this new basin so I guess UCG to GTL doesn't apply.

"Linc are now saying others are talking it up, not them"

And the plausible deniability is invoked. Well played scam, gentlemen, well played.

spec - It may be others talking it up but our SEC takes a dim view of anyone putting out false info (good or bad) that influences stock prices. I've known a few folks (who weren't with the subject company) who were burned very bad by the feds.

But that is the brilliance of what they did. AFAIK, they did not put out any false info. Just info that many readers will quickly misinterpret.

Don't lie . . . just 'suggest' lies. It is like the Bush administration talking about Saddam in close proximity to talking about 9/11. Although they never said Saddam was behind 9/11, eventually vast numbers of people came to believe that. Make the victims lie to themselves.

spec - So true. If you look at the details they put out that would you to judge the financial value of their effort in the basin you quickly see that they offer nothing that can lead you to even WAG about the future there. As someone pointed out there are others are providing a lot of hype.

Proven reserves have added 681 bboe in 30 years and are growing still.

I hate to rain on their parade, but a lot of that was mostly just accounting adjustments. Canada alone moved some 170 billion barrels of oil sands from the "potential" to the "proven" category because technology had improved and prices were higher. The oil sands themselves had been been discovered over 200 years before by the fur traders, who had no doubts about their potential, and the Indians knew about them and were using them long before then.

Venezuela did the same on the "us, too" principle, since they also have oil sands, but Venezuela has neither the technology nor the capital markets that Canada does, so their claim is rather dubious. Their production has been falling rather than rising in recent years. Canadian production has been rising, although slowly because of capital constraints and labor shortages.

And of course he is going back 30 years so that includes all those massive increases in OPEC reserves in the mid 80s. That happened when OPEC decided to perhaps base quotas on the amount of proven reserves a country has. And those massive OPEC reserves have been increasing every year since. OPEC reserves never go down just because they pump a lot of that oil out. Each barrel produced is always replaced by at least one new barrel of reserves.

But the point is, people like the author of this article have no idea of what they are talking about. They see that massive increase in "proven reserves" and say "WOW, a lot of new oil is really being found." That is just one of the reasons most of MSM hasn't a clue as to what is really going on. They don't follow the industry at all and just naturally believe all those new "proven reserves" are really legitimate.

That is just one of the reasons we are seeing so many "puff" articles about peak oil being a myth.

Ron P.

RE: Davos 2013: UK shale gas no 'game changer', says British Gas boss Sam Laidlaw

I noticed that the World Economic Forum conference this year (Davos 2013), speaks a lot about climate change:

More disturbing still is UNEP's assessment that under current targets the world is on course for 4°C warming. The new head of the World Bank, president Jim Kim has said that a 4°C world would be "devastating", and so different from our current climate that it will come with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our very ability to anticipate and plan.


In discussion with US Senators earlier in 2012, leading insurers expressed their concerns about national economic vulnerability to these trends. They estimated that average weather-related insurance industry losses in the US were about $3bn (£1.9bn) a year in the 1980s compared to about $20bn (£13bn) annually by the end of the last decade.

Top executives from many insurance industry giants like Swiss Re, Zurich Financial, Marsh & McLennan and others will also be in Davos to discuss this worrying climate damage forecast.

They will share their concerns with energy chief executives [Oil-Qaeda], economic and finance officials, leading climate negotiators and senior officials and experts from key economies such as China, Europe and the United States.

(North to Davos Country). Quite interesting that a world financial forum considers climate change a major threat.

The days of pooh poohing it have come back to haunt them and us.

And just look at that list of "interested parties":

Top executives - insurance industry giants
Energy chief executives
economic and finance officials
climate negotiators
"senior officials and experts"

If this were anything but a dog and pony show the climate scientists and several subdisciplines would take top billing...

Funny, I don't see so much as a mention of them - unless they are lumped into the catch all miscellaneous "experts" category.

I suspect those are just another dime a dozen "economics experts" on hand to nod their heads in agreement in the background as all the really smart people lecture the scientists (wherever they may be) that their science is not going to be allowed to get in the way of global growth - even if we have to set the planet on fire to prove it !


Could be. That would be BAU I suppose.

There is a green lining to the situation:

There is also increasing recognition of the worrying trend that multi-year emissions from greenhouse gasses have not lessened due to the ongoing economic crisis. Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), will be in Davos to explain UNEP estimates that about 49bn tonnes of CO₂eq were emitted in 2011, roughly 20% more than the global emissions in 2000. (ibid)
Steiner is well known for speaking on climate change and the green economy. UNEP is a leading proponent of the Green Economy Initiative (GEI) designed to assist governments in "greening" their economies by reshaping and refocusing policies and investments towards a range of sectors. These include clean technologies, renewable energies, water services, green transportation, waste management, green buildings and sustainable agriculture and forest management. (Wikipedia, Achim Steiner).

The history of the conference should be available.

Let's keep an ear to the ground.

Re: Algerian tragedy, Details and impact of NG production of this still seems to be uncertain. Overview of Algeria Hydrocarbon infrastructure was posted on an earlier drumbeat.

Bunch of stuff to protect and harden. Here's where the attack took place.



"Oil Companies will have to Factor Completely different security measures.... These facilities are completely Naked"

Appears they picked this site do to the remoteness? won't be so easy next time. The Marlboro man abscond before things go too hot? I guess these facilities scrub the gas pre compressors for pipelines to the north. IIRC, In 1982 we had a long term contract with Sonatach for $7.20 MCF for the Lake Charles LNG Import Terminal, not much gas flowed west at that price.

Jevons' Paradox Redux ...

Energy Efficiency Lives! Devastating Debunking of Rebound Effect and Breakthrough Institute

Energy Efficiency is for Real, Energy Rebound a Distraction

Researchers Argue Energy Policy Rebound Effect Is Overestimated

Researchers from Yale University, the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Environmental Defense Fund argue in a Nature commentary piece that those who suggest the rebound effect, as it applies to energy policy, negates gains, are exaggerating its impact.

The rebound effect is where energy savings due to implementing programs or technology that reduce the amount of energy use, are offset by increased use in another way. One example is where drivers of electric vehicles drive more miles because they know it costs less. In their commentary, the researchers suggest that the percentage of savings lost does not override the benefit of the initial savings, and thus such efforts should continue. They say their research indicates that the rebound effect may vary overall from 5 to 30 percent – not nearly enough to cancel out the savings and benefits.

The rebound effect actually comes about in four ways – one direct, one indirect and two via macroeconomic changes. The direct way is when consumers use their car or washing machine more after purchasing one that is more energy efficient. The indirect way is where consumers, upon discovering they have more cash on hand due to energy savings, use that money to purchase other products that consume energy. A macroeconomic rebound effect can occur when an entire nation reduces its consumption of a resource such as oil, causing its price to fall. That in turn causes people in other nations to use more. Another instance is where reduced consumption of a resource on a national or even global scale can cause more economic growth, which of course leads to using more of that resource.

This is consistent with what we found in state-mandated project assessment in the (little bitty) electric co-op DSM work I did in the mid-90's. 15% sticks in my head, but the rebound effect was definitely within the 5-30 bounds cited above. It impacts savings, yes - but not nearly enough to negate implementing the efficiency measures.

One example is where drivers of electric vehicles drive more miles because they know it costs less.

Could they pick a worse example? A legitimate complaint with EVs is that they have short range because batteries are expensive. So you really can't drive them many more miles because you are constrained by range. That said, when you know you are within your range limits, you certainly won't drive slow in an EV to try to conserve energy because it is so cheap to fuel.

Climate Change Beliefs of Independent Voters Shift with the Weather, another Study Finds

... "We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held—literally blowing in the wind. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to," Hamilton and Stampone say.

What Happens To Peaches When The Chill Is Gone?

The warmer-than-normal temperatures of 2012—the fourth warmest year on record in South Carolina—signal potential challenges for growers of the state's best-known fruit. Peaches need cold weather to produce flowers and fruit. What happens when the chill is gone?

... But there is a flip side to the temperature dilemma. Peaches also need warm temperatures at the right time. An early spring warmup followed by a plummeting cold snap can bring disaster.

This is what happened in 2007 when the entire state crop was wiped out, said Bielenberg. Before the buds open they are more frost resistant. The ideal system would be a chilling requirement that matches local winter conditions combined with a higher heat requirement to keep buds closed longer and protect them from possible sharp freezes.

... climate chaos will not be gentle with this problem

Canada’s Dutch Disease diagnosis flawed, study says

It would appear the dreaded “Dutch Disease” was really much to do about nothing.

The dire diagnosis that a strong Canadian dollar — boosted by high commodity prices — would deliver a lethal blow to this country’s manufacturing sector was greatly exaggerated, according to a new study.

Dutch Disease is a phrase first used to describe the decline in the manufacturing sector in the Netherlands after the development of its energy resources in the 1970s. The resource boom pushed up the country’s currency hurting other exports.

But after 10 years of a high flying loonie, Canadian manufacturers have adapted to the altitude —demonstrating that Dutch Disease is economic myth rather than reality, says Mr. Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada. If any manufacturers had symptoms of Dutch Disease, “it was a very mild case affecting only a small number of industries,” Mr. Cross says.

The Dutch Disease debate has also drawn reaction from the Bank of Canada governor, who last year said the logic of that so-called ailment “requires that we undo our successes in order to depreciate our currency. Most fundamentally, higher commodity prices are unambiguously good for Canada,” Mark Carney said in a Calgary speech in September.

“The strength of Canada’s resource sector is a reflection of success, not a harbinger of failure.”

Yeah, this time its different.

Below is the link to the MacDonald-Laurier Institute paper discussed in the article. It's worth noting who is on the Board of Directors and Advisory Council of the MLI (page 2 of the pdf). Another think tank?

Dutch Disease, Canadian Cure: How Manufacturers Adapted to the Higher Dollar

These results are broadly consistent with those from other researchers who found that 42% of the increase of the Canadian dollar between 2002 and 2008 was due to the natural resource boom and the rest to the general devaluation of the US dollar.

How high will the Loonie go when Brent heads to $150/bbl... to $200/bbl;

Once again from Kumhof and Muir's latest paper.

Oil and the World Economy: Some Possible Futures

With rising oil prices, oil exporters experience sustained increases in income and wealth. As a result, their domestic demand (domestic absorption) increases ahead of GDP, at an initial rate of over 2 percent annually. Higher spending leads to upward domestic price pressures and a large real appreciation. This “Dutch disease” effect reduces output in the tradables sector (other than oil), thereby reducing GDP by up to 7 percent below trend over the first five years, and by almost 10 percent after 20 years. The current account improvement in this group of countries, which equals up to 4 percent of GDP in the very short run and almost 8 percent after 20 years, is due entirely to the higher value of oil exports, with the initial spike in oil prices explaining the large current account surplus at that time. Goods exports fall substantially relative to GDP, and the non-oil current account deteriorates. But the government’s very low propensity to consume out of the oil fund limits the size of that deterioration.

The last line in the paragraph above...

But the government’s very low propensity to consume out of the oil fund limits the size of that deterioration.

Since Alberta has squandered it's Heritage fund I don't see how that line is relevant to Alberta. Federally there isn't anything like a "Heritage fund" in existence so the line is not relevant to Canada either.

Another snippet from the MLI paper...

Instead, analysts should look at how firms have responded. Firms that did
not adjust, hoping vainly for a return to the days when they could reap export earnings in
high-priced US dollars while paying workers and suppliers with cheaper Canadian dollars,
mostly closed their doors a long time ago. What did the survivors do to adapt?

--- snip ---

The first adjustment manufacturers made over the past decade was to reduce their reliance
on exports.

Obviously no "Dutch Disease" here!

It's worth noting who is on the Board of Directors and Advisory Council of the MLI

It appears to be a Who's Who of the movers and shakers of Canadian society. What's your point?

From the paper you cited:

Executive Summary

Dutch Disease has been a misnomer from the beginning. It always was mostly a theory that a boom in the resource sector would raise the exchange rate enough to lower a country’s manufacturing output. In reality, manufacturing output did not contract in the Netherlands in the 1960s, for which the term was first coined.

So, even the Dutch economy didn't suffer from the Dutch Disease. During the period when it was theoretically being damaged by high resource prices, the Dutch manufacturing sector actually grew.

The appreciation of the Canadian dollar in the past decade was not driven solely by commodity prices. There is a growing consensus that the largest part of the stronger dollar was due to the multilateral decline of the US dollar and increased investment inflows into Canada. Higher commodity prices played a secondary role in the appreciation.

So, the real problem was not that the Canadian dollar was so strong, it was that the American dollar was so weak. The US was mortgaging its future to pay for oil imports, and the US dollar was being compromised by rampant government deficit spending. The Canadian economy and Canadian dollar didn't have those problems. The Canadian economy with its stronger balance of payments, lower government deficits, and healthy banking system turned into a refuge for money fleeing the US and Europe. Strong natural resource exports were just one factor among many.

The adaptability of manufacturers in Canada is reflected in their place in the vanguard of industry growth since the recovery began in 2009. Manufacturing output growth has been the third fastest of the 18 major industry groups, exceeding even mining and oil and gas. Looking forward, surveys of manufacturers by groups such as the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters find a sector brimming with optimism for 2013, a far cry from the pessimistic tone of proponents of the Dutch Disease theory.

So, notwithstanding the doom and gloom, the Canadian manufacturing sector is quite healthy - certainly healthier than that of the US and Europe, where many people seem to believe the recession of 2008-2009 has never ended.

The usual suspects... "It appears to be a Who's Who of the movers and shakers of Canadian society"

These results are broadly consistent with those from other researchers who found that 42% of the increase of the Canadian dollar between 2002 and 2008 was due to the natural resource boom

So, the people on the masthead are the people who already run Canada, and the paper represents their view of what is going on in the Canadian economy. Nothing unusual there. What is unusual is the fact that the Canadian economy is doing so well compared to the US and EU.

The "natural resource boom" of 2002-2008 was caused more by an increase in world oil prices from $20/bbl in 2002 to $140/bbl in 2008, rather than by a big increase in Canadian production. The funny thing is that the consequences of the subsequent crash to $60/bbl in 2009 hurt the big oil importers and goods manufacturers like the US and EU much worse than major oil exporter but minor manufacturer Canada. That would appear to contradict the Dutch Disease hypothesis.

Frankly, it's better to have lots of oil rather than not enough. It leaves a country better positioned to weather the global economic storms.

Urban Metabolism for the Urban Century

Like organisms, cities need energy, water, and nutrients, and they need to dispose of wastes and byproducts in ways that are viable and sustainable over the long run. This notion of "urban metabolism" is a model for looking systematically at the resources that flow into cities and the wastes and emissions that flow out from them—to understand the environmental impacts of cities and to highlight opportunities for efficiencies, improvements, and transformation.

More information: Articles in the special issue are freely downloadable for limited time at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.2012.16.issue-6/issuetoc

Spain's Unemployment Rate Reaches Record High

Spain's unemployment rate has surged to a modern-day record of 26.02 percent in the final quarter of 2012 as nearly six million people searched in vain for work in a biting recession, official data shows.

The jobless rate data released on Thursday climbed from 25.02 percent the previous quarter, reaching the highest level since Spain returned to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.

The story for young people was even grimmer: the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24 soared to 55.13 percent, up from 52.34 percent the previous quarter.

Kerry Says Global Climate Change Is Threat To U.S.

Sen. John Kerry pointed to climate change as among the top international threats facing the United States at his nomination hearing Thursday, cheering environmentalists and dismaying oil industry officials, who have been watching how his confirmation could affect the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline.

... In recent meetings with State Department staff, the senator has said that President Obama has mandated that he focus on forging a bilateral climate agreement with China and work toward a meaningful pact on global warming to be finalized in the next few years and take effect in 2020 ...

... too late


Indeed too late in many ways.

It is kicking the can down the road, but the can of reality does not work that way.

Kicking the can down the road in this context is one state of dementia called denial.

Russia Explores Old Nuclear Waste Dumps in Arctic

This year the Russian authorities want to see if the K-27 sub can be safely raised, so that the uranium - sealed inside the reactors - can be removed.

They also plan to survey numerous other nuclear dumps in the Kara Sea, where Russia's energy giant Rosneft and its US partner Exxon Mobil are now exploring for oil and gas.

Seismic tests have been done and drilling of exploratory wells is likely to begin next year, so Russia does not want any radiation hazard to overshadow that. Rosneft estimates the offshore fossil fuel reserves to be about 21.5bn tonnes.

Besides K-27, official figures show that the Soviet military dumped a huge quantity of nuclear waste in the Kara Sea: 17,000 containers and 19 vessels with radioactive waste, as well as 14 nuclear reactors, five of which contain hazardous spent fuel. Low-level liquid waste was simply poured into the sea.

... another ill-fated Russian nuclear-powered sub - the K-159 - remains at the bottom of the Barents Sea, in international waters.

And in the Norwegian Sea lies the K-278 Komsomolets, reckoned to be too deep to be salvaged.

"You cannot exclude the possibility that there is more waste there which we don't know about," ...

Eyewitness: Tragedy of Soviet Nuclear Submarine K-27

... "At 11:35 everything was peaceful," he said.

"The bulkheads were open. I was in the fifth compartment, next to the fourth compartment with the two nuclear reactors, talking to some crew members there. We suddenly noticed some people running.

"We had a radiation detector in the compartment, but it was switched off. To be honest, we hadn't paid much attention to the radiation dosimeters we were given. But then, our radiation supervisor switched on the detector in the compartment and it went off the scale. He looked surprised and worried."

Japan Faces Nuclear Shutdown for Second Time Since Fukushima

Japan may face a total nuclear shutdown in the summer for the second time since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster as the country's two operating reactors close for maintenance and tough new safety checks keep the rest of the fleet offline.

That could force Japan to import even more fossil fuels for power generation, adding to an onerous energy bill that helped push the country into a record trade deficit in 2012.

... Japan is already the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, and volumes rose 11.2 percent to a record 87.31 million tonnes in 2012 from a year earlier, according to government data. That is more than one third of global trade of about 240 million tonnes in LNG in 2011.

Crude oil imports rose 2 percent in 2012 to 3.66 million barrels a day, from a 22-year low in 2011. Thermal coal imports were up 6.5 percent to 107.7 million tonnes

Nuclear Train Wreck

... Shortly after leaving the port of Savannah on the way to Burke County on Dec. 15, 2012, the vessel "became misaligned" with the specially built railroad car it was on, a design specifically intended to transport loads of this mass. (Luckily no one was injured.)

The train wreck is unusual enough. But it gets weirder: The media, and therefore the public, didn't find about the reactor vessel accident until Jan. 10, nearly a month later.

Tepco: We are planning to dump water from Fukushima plant into Pacific Ocean

[Tepco] said Thursday it plans to dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean after removing radioactive substances to reduce contamination to legally permissible levels.

[...] it fears eventually running out of capacity to store radioactive water that continues to accumulate at the plant [...]

[...] it fears eventually running out of capacity to store radioactive water that continues to accumulate at the plant [...]

Their radioactive water has been leaking into the ocean for quite some time now. How come they're so worried all of a sudden?!


How come they're so worried all of a sudden?

Maybe they think some will be watching?

Because this will be a big intentional dump as opposed to (big) unintentional leaking.

Venezuela Oil Deals: Poor Nations Worry About Future

Most susceptible to the winds of change in Caracas are the 15 or so Caribbean nations that signed up to Petrocaribe, an alliance founded in 2005, which allows oil-rich Venezuela to sell oil to poorer countries in the region.

Through Petrocaribe, they are able to buy Venezuelan oil by paying between 5% and 50% of the bill upfront, followed by a grace period of one to two years. The outstanding balance can be paid in 17 to 25 years with a 1% interest rate, if the oil goes over $40 (£25) a barrel. According to the World Bank, the Caribbean nations spend about 13% of their GDP on buying oil.

... because of Petrocaribe, Nicaragua paid its bill in 2011 with goods such as beef, sugar, coffee, milk and, more unconventionally, with more than 19,000 pairs of trousers.

The Dominican Republic - the country that received one quarter of all Petrocaribe oil shipments that year - sent sugar syrup, beans and pasta to its neighbour, while Guyana paid Venezuela in rice, and El Salvador in coffee.

Venezuela sent 243,500 barrels of oil a day to 16 countries across the region in 2011, according to the latest report by state-owned oil company PDVSA. This represents about 8% of its official oil production and about 10% of what market analysts estimate is the company's output

I have a happy problem that maybe Ghung and the other PV users could help with. I called a meeting of anyone interested in sustainable energy, and to my surprise, got over 100 people. Partially as a result of my horn blowing in op-eds, they want to buy PV. Some are competent backwoods junk hoarders, but most are enthusiastic over-academics with ignorance to match.

I intend to buy a couple of pallets of panels and distribute them at cost. So, my own enthusiasm not matched by any depth of experience, which of the many offered by such as sunelec should I buy?

Assume they are for charging 48 V battery banks, which is what I have.

And also, there's lots of interest in a velomobile I am working on. Has my great new infinitely variable transmission with electric boost. Not responsible for fatalities among test drivers.

IF each system is > 750 watts and you want to grow, use 3 - 250watt class 60cell modules in Series with a modern MPPT controller such as midnight classic, Outback FX, Morningstar MPPT. PV and controllers are now relatively cheap compared to Battery cost. LA Batteries prices are up. You can deploy 2 strings ( 6 modules) or ~1500watts without a PV combiner. That's ~96 volts in and 49-54 out. Make sure you have temperature comp setup to maximize battery life. Pay attention to array to load ratio, Lowest operational cost systems will have Batteries full even on cloudy days. Note the panel dims are ~1 x 1.5 m and panels are just under 50 lbs, so as per OSHA, 1 man can carry on roof, but use 2. 250 watt modules have lowest cost per kWh and you can aways substitue with equal or better in the unlikely case one gets broken.

What Longtimber said...

I'm adding an Outback FX-80 contoller to my stable of three of the older MX-60 controllers. I'm using these because they have proven to be reliable, they're made in Washington State, and they can all be networked/controlled via the Hub system that Outback has. I'm adding two strings of four 240 watt Suntech panels to the FX-80 which is rated at 2000 watts for a 24 volt battery system (1920 watts total). Each string will be 128 volts (VMP).

I could have gone with 250 watt panels, but the voltage was a bit higher and I'm trying to match the voltage of my older contollers/arrays (69 volts) each to which I will add a string of two of the Suntechs, maxing out these older controllers at around 1500 watts each. The slight mismatch between voltages (69 vs 64) isn't a big deal since PV and good MPPT controllers are quite forgiving. MPPT controllers also permit higher voltage arrays to feed a variety of battery voltages (12-48 or more volts), worth the extra cost. Folks could start with a 12 volt system and upgrade later using the same controller.

Just a note: If code isn't an issue, SquareD QO (not Homeline!) series of breakers work fine on DC systems, are much cheaper than PV combiner boxes and are available at Home Depot and other places. My combiner box will be a QO 2-breaker outdoor load center with 2-15 amp QO breakers, total cost locally under $40. The main breaker on the 24 volt side of the controller will be a standard 100 amp DC panel mount breaker available from good PV suppliers (ordered mine for $16). I'll use #8 wire in conduit from the combiner box to the controller and #3 THHN from the controller to the DC load center (I have a bunch of this stuff in my stockpile). Wire size/distance calculators are available at many sites online. I always oversize a bit. Use de-ox on your connections.

I'm replacing my Outback Hub 4 with a bigger Hub 10, so I'll have the Hub 4 up for sale. These hubs allow the controllers and Outback inverters to communicate and share things like temp sensors. I also use software to monitor and log data via the Hub. Nice to have for trouble shooting and comparing output of the arrays. Be sure to get a DC lightning arrestor for the combiner box.


Some great system diagrams are available at Homepower.com.

If you end up a few panels shy to finish up a pallette, let me know.

I've also just told a neighbor with Brazing tools and a couple homemade Recumbent trikes about my own Velo plans.. please keep us up to date on what you're doing on yours! (Addy is at my user-link, if you need to contact me.)


Hi wimbi, I'm sure SunElec would love to have your business. Longtimber's suggestion below is sound!

I'd love to hear more about your velomobile. I'm heading down to Brazil at the end of February and am interested in exploring building bamboo framed bicycles. I plan on visiting this school project in Sao Paulo:


Who knows maybe someone can design a bamboo framed velomobile and possibly even make the the outer shell out of a bamboo expoxy composite. Though my guess is that would probably be extremely labor intensive. The up side of that is that a lot of people around the world need real jobs right now!

Thanks much for all the good ifo, people. Action will be taken.

As for the velo, first I have the little problem of proving that my transmission, a widget even more alien than usual, works, and works better than the derail thing, which as we all know, has won out over all competition for over a century.
What only I know is that derail's days are numbered--but--is that number bigger than mine?

Have you seen the NuVinci ball-variator?

They have an electric autoshift for it they call the "Harmony" (which I think would solve my issues making a legal series-hybrid drive train) but so far I haven't found anyplace to buy it as a retrofit.

There's the Shimano Alfine 11 speed which is properly liquid lubricated, and supposedly well machined and durable. It carries a hefty price tag, but not nearly as hefty as Rohloff Speedhub.

Particularly interesting is the appearance of bottom bracket drive motors. The US, being e-bicycle retarded, has not caught on to these things yet. I think they'd be perfect in a velomobile paired with an internal gear hub. http://www.taiwantrade.com.tw/cxmotor/products-detail/en_US/584892

Sub. Here's the plan. My son, who has business smarts not from me, just sold an old asset I had thought worthless for a good piece of change, He is pushing me to take this and do a rude bike prototype that just goes down the road and proves that it keeps constant cadence uphill or down.

It does this by way of a thing that has no chains, no gears and no shifting. And it's cheap and light. It has the perfect hyperbolic torque vs speed relation and is theoretically 100% efficient ( no belief req'd from the reader at this point).

He then takes this to a big outfit and sells it as is, on its merits. This gives me a huge pile of money, Since I am way too old to last any time, son soon gets the moola and goes to alcapulco or some place and blows it on WWS.

Capitalism at its zenith. We are doomed. But fun.

The evolution of our Surveillance Society - NOT seen on Fox News ...

New York Police Get X-Ray Vision

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly says officers are in the advanced stages of testing a futuristic new weapon in their war against gun-toting residents: a device that can detect the presence of hidden metal from a distance.

... Kelly proposes mounting these sensors on patrol cars to detect illegal weapons on passersby. The commissioner reported in his annual State of the NYPD Address that 88% of all persons detained for a stop-and-frisk in the first 9 months of 2011 were determined to be completely innocent.

Warning signs that all entering the premises are subject to search should provide “informed consent” allowing police to use advanced technology to identify those concealing weapons in limited access venues. However, the wide-spread use of terahertz scanners on public streets maybe more problematic.



... in time this will become accepted as normal.

also Army Civil Disturbance Operations Course

Again this is technical evolution which will continue until the System knows where, when and what everyone is doing every minute of every day. And possibly what they're thinking too. In this case to eliminate crime, but the same applies to anything and everything. The System requires data to function and therefore there is no end to the realtime data which needs to be collected.

For example a thermostat in peoples homes, at some point this information will be collected by the System (if people eventually end up with smart fridges, that data will be harvested also). There is literally no end to the amount of information and data it will collect and use to advance itself. Another example would be YouTube, which collects centralises and stores images from devices anywhere and everywhere, or Google with its profiling and trending capabilities, mobile telephones and soon to be vehicles with its location logging potential.

Surveillance is just part of a suit of sensory functions that allows the System to obtain information about its environment and make rational decisions accordingly about any necessary action. For example once it senses a crime being committed it may activate a human or a software bot to deal with it (which in future may mean activating a drone to neutralise the problem). Crime fighting will increasingly become automated, the process of law will have to follow, meaning software bots will become the judge, jury and prison guard.

Utopian it is not.

A day late, due to the Monday holiday:

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 18, 2013 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.2 million barrels per day during the week ending January 18, 2013, 895 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 83.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. However, gasoline production increased last week, averaging 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging over 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day last week, down by 300 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 7.8 million barrels per day, 1.2 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 430 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 217 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 363.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week but remained well above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 3.1 million barrels last week, but remained well above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged over 18.3 million barrels per day, up by 0.4 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged over 8.3 million barrels per day, up by 1.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.3 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 8.2 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.3 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

New England Power Plants Burning More Oil During Frigid Weather

New England is relying on power plants fueled by oil and coal as bitter cold weather boosts demand while pipeline constraints limit natural gas supplies and send prices soaring.

The grid operator asked some units that burn fuel oil to start up to ensure adequate supplies and avoid “emergency action” if gas supplies or generation were to be disrupted unexpectedly, said Vamsi Chadalavada, chief operating officer of ISO New England Inc. Coal plants are running because the fuel is cheaper than gas, he said.

“The ISO has been worried for a while now about its reliance on natural gas and whether there is going to be an adequate supply of natural gas when you get to these high-demand days,” Chadalavada said in an interview from the system operator’s headquarters in Holyoke, Massachusetts. “It’s going to be a recurring issue until there are improvements within the infrastructure.”

ISO New England nearly had a NG emergency back in 2005.

“It’s going to be a recurring issue until there are improvements within the infrastructure.”


Why not invest in reducing energy demand instead?

Deep Energy Retrofits

[I don't agree with Holladay in this article BTW, as he ignores externalized costs among others; and although he mentions the health benefits (removal of lead paint and lead water supply piping) he then ignores that value in his assessment of the monetary benefits of the retrofit]

But meantime, Maine's offshore wind plans just moved forward a worthwhile notch!


The above-market rate would help provide capital for Statoil to develop a small-scale wind park that would take what the company has learned in Norway to the next step, said Aamodt, the project manager.

In Norway, the Hywind project has exceeded performance goals, she said, generating power 50 percent of the time while surviving 50-foot waves and hurricane-force winds. But the single 2.3-megawatt turbine was expensive to build, roughly $62 million.

I wonder what that 50% of 'time' translates to in capacity factor? ..

.. and still, just as usual, the subsidy has raised the hackles of those devoted contrarians who keep claiming "Wind power just doesn't work!"

Matthew Simmons would be proud.

Plastic Products and Jet Fuel Exposures Raising Incidences of 'Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance'

Writing in the online journal PLOS ONE, scientists led by molecular biologist Michael Skinner document reproductive disease and obesity in the descendants of rats exposed to the plasticizer bisephenol-A, or BPA, as well DEHP and DBP, plastic compounds known as phthalates

The recent study found "significant increases" in disease and abnormalities in the first and third generations of both male and female descendants of animals exposed to plastics. The first generation, whose mother had been directly exposed during gestation, had increased kidney and prostate diseases. The third generation had pubertal abnormalities, testis disease, ovarian disease and obesity.

In a separate article in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, they report the first observation of cross-generation disease from a widely used hydrocarbon mixture the military refers to as JP8.

Pesticides Killing Amphibians, Says Study

A plunge in the world's population of frogs and toads may be blamed, at least in part, on farm pesticides, researchers in Germany said on Thursday.

Tests of fungicides and insecticides, when used at recommended dilutions, killed 40 percent of frogs after seven days, and in one case, 100 percent of them after just one hour, they said.

The most toxic substance, according to the study, was Headline, used to prevent fungus in soybeans and wheat. At recommended dosage, it killed all of the tested frogs within one hour.

Rise of Superbugs Threatens Antibiotic Crisis

The rise of lethal drug-resistant organisms, including salmonella, TB, and E coli, continues, and the chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, warned MPs this week the threat must be listed on the government's National Register of Civil Emergencies.

... "To put it bluntly, we are running out of ideas. That's the problem we face. For many years we have been one step ahead of evolution, but in the past 25 years, we have failed to develop new antibiotics," said Danilo Lo Fo Wong, a senior adviser on antimicrobial resistance to the World Health Organisation.

In evidence to the science select committee this week, Davies told MPs that the pipeline for new antibiotics had dried up, and that the market model for delivering new antibiotics was broken.

Wong said moves were in train to develop new business models for whenever a new antibiotic is developed. The idea is radical. Instead of rushing to market, through government support, the drug would be held in reserve for emergencies the elites.

Research to Resume On Modified, Deadlier Bird Flu

Experiments with a deadly flu virus, suspended last year after a fierce global debate over safety, will start up again in some laboratories, probably within the next few weeks, scientists say.

The experiments involve a bird flu virus called H5N1. It does not often infect people, but appears unusually deadly when it does. Of 610 known cases in people since 1997, slightly more than half have been fatal. But the real death rate is not known and could be lower than half because some mild cases may go uncounted.

... a cure for that overpopulation problem

Regarding Superbugs Threatens Antibiotic Crisis:

The question is; would we have been better off never having used anti-biotics in the first place? Meaning, possibly we pushed the bugs to become much more virolent than if we had never started using anti-biotics. Again it is a situation where the future was discounted for short term advantage, similarly to never looking at the long term effects on weather from the burning of fossil fuels because it also provided short term advantages. When will we ever learn?

Ántibiotics are not bad but abuse in livestock or over perscription is a problem. The markets choice of investing in viagra and such instead, doesn't help the situation.

I don't think they are bad. Its just that they have to be used sparingly and with discretion. But the profit maximizing Capitalist system doesn't do either of those.

They'll start producing Roundup-ready humans. Then they can dose us with really toxic loads of [whatever]. We'll show those bio-thingies who's boss!

Peak wings?! Super Bowl crisis? Chicken-wings shortage looms

Chicken wing consumption is second only to Thanksgiving on Super Bowl Sunday. But this year, high feed prices have left the US with a smaller chicken crop, and therefor, fewer chicken wings available.

It doesn't take much to start a furor with foodies, no matter how retrograde their tastes may be. Last fall, it was the pork industry crying wolf about an anticipated shortage of ham and bacon because of feed crops decimated by drought. This year, it's the National Chicken Council taking Mother Nature and the federal government to task for a shortfall in the production of chicken wings that will hold consumption to 1.23 billion wing segments during the 2013 Super Bowl, 12.3 million less than last year.

Yeah, we'll be seeing peak-a-bunch-of-stuff. I've got the chicken and hot sauce covered. I just need to get a milk cow and learn how to make bleu cheese.

1.23 billion wing segments = 3,075,000 dead chickens for a football game. Chicken and circuses...

Correction: That's 307,500,000 dead chickens. Boggles the mind. The National Chicken Council is blaming ethanol blending mandates, in part, for this "shortage".

It's only a 1% reduction in chicken wing segments. LMAO

Ghung - My brothers at Texas A&M ag school almost came up with a solution. They were able to breed chickens with 6 wings each. Unfortunately when they tried to collect them for processing they flew so fast they all got away.

Rock, don't give up your day job :)

From Arctic News...

High methane levels persist in January 2013

The 2013 image shows worryingly high levels of methane between Norway and Svalbard, an area where hydrate destabilization is known to have occurred over the past few years. Even more worrying is the combination of images below. Methane levels came down January 11-20, 2012, but for the same period in 2013, they have risen.

Those high levels for Jan 11-20, 2013 span much more than Svalbard to Norway. They encompass the whole Barents and Kara Seas. Scary looking stuff. And temp. anomalies of 20C over a month!?!