Drumbeat: April 22, 2013

Is Saudi Arabia Losing Its Importance in the Oil Market?

For three decades or so, Saudi Arabia has wielded considerable influence on the global oil market. The kingdom's status as the world's only "swing producer" has given it the unparalleled ability to influence oil prices by boosting or reducing its production and exports, which it has done at various times over the past few decades.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia may be the only major oil-producing nation in the world with the ability to influence the global price of oil to a noticeable degree. But now, it appears that the Saudis are gradually losing their powerful grip on the world oil market.

There are at least two major reasons why we could see Saudi Arabia's influence on oil prices wane over coming years. The first is expected growth in non-OPEC oil supplies, mainly from North American shale and oil sands production, while the second is changing oil consumption patterns among the Saudis themselves.

Brent Above $100 to 5-Day High as European Stocks Rise

Brent crude futures rose to a one- week high above $100 a barrel on speculation last week’s drop was excessive.

Brent advanced as much as 1.2 percent after the contract’s 14-day relative strength index slipped to 31 on April 19 signaling prices had declined too rapidly. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased as much as 0.9 percent. Money managers reduced net-long positions, or wagers that West Texas Intermediate will rise, by 6.8 percent in the week ended April 16, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. They trimmed holdings on Brent for the second week to the lowest since Dec. 18, data from ICE Futures Europe exchange show.

UAE seeks to boost oil production to 3.5m bpd - min

The UAE is seeking to increase its production capacity of crude oil to 3.5m barrels per day, according to the Gulf state’s Minister of Energy.

Speaking at the Annual Middle East Petroleum and Gas in Abu Dhabi, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei said that the rise would contribute to maintaining stability of global oil markets. He did not give a timetable for the increased production.

U.A.E. Energy Minister Sees Global Oil Market as Balanced

The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said he considers global oil markets to be “well- balanced,” with adequate supplies of crude, a month before OPEC meets to review its production target.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, due to convene on May 31, is ensuring that supplies are sufficient, Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei told reporters today in Abu Dhabi. Global oil demand may increase by 1 million barrels a day until it reaches 105 million a day in 2030, amid economic expansion in Asia and South America, he said.

Libya Calls for Higher Oil Quota in OPEC

Libya will seek to increase its oil output quota in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi said on Monday.

OPEC dropped individual allocations in 2011 when it adopted a 30-million-bpd output target. But with production rising in Libya and Iraq the issue of quotas may need to be addressed at some stage.

U.S. Gasoline Prices Fall to $3.536 a Gallon in Lundberg Survey

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 11.04 cents a gallon in the past two weeks to $3.5363 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

China’s Diesel Exports Rise to Three-Year High as Demand Weakens

China’s diesel exports rose to the highest level in almost three years in March and gasoline shipments climbed to a one-year high amid the nation’s weakest domestic oil demand in five months.

Rupee falls on heavy dollar demand from gold importers

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The rupee fell on Monday as gold and crude oil importers bought dollars to meet payment obligations, with dealers also citing outflows related to a gas utility.

Some dealers pegged the dollar outflows related to the gas utility at $150-$200 million.

BP US Mad Dog plan pause may be due to redesign, not oil price: Citi

London (Platts) - BP's decision to rethink its big US Gulf Mad Dog Field development may have more to do with a needed redesign rather than the current falling oil price environment, Citi analysts said Monday.

BP, in a statement, said "market conditions and industry inflation" are why the second phase of the Mad Dog Field plan is not as "attractive as previously modeled."

'Pakistan State Oil near bankruptcy due to energy debt crisis'

Karachi: Continuous cash flow problems due to a debt crisis in the energy sector has brought Pakistan's only public sector oil marketing company Pakistan State Oil (PSO) close to bankruptcy, a report has said.

Pakistan State Oil Managing Director and Chief Executive Naeem Yahya Mir has warned that if the public oil company fails, its bankruptcy will not only shake the entire economy but also take down many banks.

Circular debt woes: Alarm bells ring in PSO as international bank questions creditworthiness

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has been informed that Pakistan State Oil (PSO)’s creditworthiness has been questioned in the global financial market, and that at least one leading international bank has expressed serious concern over a default on Letters of Credit (L/Cs) issued by the oil marketing giant. It is feared that PSO’s inability to pay its dues may have serious implications on the creditworthiness of the country.

According to sources, Deutsche Bank has written a letter to PSO over a default on a L/C, implying that the latter is losing its credibility in the financial market. “PSO may face problems in dealing with oil businesses in the Middle East if it continues defaulting on L/Cs issued for oil imports,” sources said while quoting the letter. They added that this was an alarming development for the state-run giant, which is on the brink of defaulting on other international payments due to the burgeoning circular debt in the nation’s power sector.

UK blocks Shell paying Iran oil debt in food, medicine

(Reuters) - Britain has blocked efforts by oil major Royal Dutch Shell to settle a $2.3 billion debt it owes Iran by paying in kind with grains or pharmaceuticals, industry sources said.

Nevermind Peak Oil – What About the Price?

There have been many calls on peak oil – the tipping point at which global production reaches a peak – and, due to dwindling reserves, production declines, even if demand continues to rise.

In reality, the industry and the technology have proved more resourceful than predictions have allowed and production has continued to rise. Indeed, the recent opening up of tight oil reserves in the US heralds the possibility that the US may become self-sufficient in a number of years if rates of production growth continue.

ANA, JAL Said Set to Start Battery Fixes of Grounded 787

ANA Holdings Inc., the biggest operator of Boeing Co.’s grounded 787 Dreamliners, expects to complete repairs next month to get the jet airborne for the first time since battery flaws halted flights in January.

Halliburton Reports Loss on Gulf Oil Spill Legal Costs

Halliburton Co., the world’s largest provider of hydraulic-fracturing services, reported a first-quarter loss on $637 million in costs for the 2010 U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Net loss was $18 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with net income of $627 million, or 68 cents, a year earlier, Houston-based Halliburton said in a statement today on Business Wire. Excluding one-time items, profit was 67 cents a share, exceeding the average of 34 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

France's GDF Suez denies it is planning job cuts

PARIS (Reuters) - French gas and power utility group GDF Suez denied a union's claim that it is planning to cut more than 4,000 jobs over the next three years.

"There are absolutely no plans to reduce the group's workforce," a GDF Suez spokesman said in an emailed statement on Monday, adding that it planned to hire 18,000 people over the next three years.

Algeria Oasis Towns Clamor for Jobs in Shadow of Al-Qaeda

Rising unemployment is sparking unprecedented unrest in the southern oasis towns in Algeria, the third-largest gas supplier to the European Union. It comes when the authorities are already tightening security after a January attack by militants linked to al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, at the An Amenas gas plant that killed 38 foreign workers and amid preparations for elections next year.

Florida Sues BP Over Gulf Oil Spill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The state of Florida filed a lawsuit Saturday against the oil company BP and the cement contractor Halliburton over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, becoming the fourth state to seek damages for the 2010 disaster.

Cooling suspended at Fukushima reactor

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday it had suspended cooling operations at a pool for spent fuel rods at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after dead rats were found on an electricity transformer.

The utility planned to halt cooling operations at the No. 2 reactor pool for three to four hours in order to check the transformer. The nuclear plant was badly damaged in the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

IAEA tells Tepco to improve critical systems at Fukushima No. 1

The International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday called on Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, to improve “essential systems” as it struggles to deal with leaks and power cuts.

Turning Toward the Sun

We decided to build on our expertise in providing remote services and to focus on distributing solar energy. We install solar panels free, then sell the energy they generate to customers, often at a lower rate than they pay their utility providers. We have more than $1.7 billion in backing from investors including banks and companies like Honda North America and Google. We have grown to more than 2,800 employees in 14 states. Last December, SolarCity began trading publicly.

Global finance officials endorse World Bank target to end poverty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global finance officials endorsed a new World Bank goal to end extreme global poverty by 2030 and emphasized that its focus should be on ensuring that the poorest benefit from strong growth and rising prosperity in developing nations.

"For the first time in history we have committed to setting a target to end poverty," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on Saturday following a meeting of the World Bank's Development Committee. "We are no longer dreaming of a world free of poverty; we have set an expiration date for extreme poverty," he added.

Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline fuels climate of suspicion in Quebec

In many ways, Sainte-Justine-de-Newton is a typical Quebec village. A stone Catholic church anchors the main street, small businesses are scattered about and behind them, towards the nearby Ontario border, dairy farms speckle the landscape.

But in this town, population 973, its mayor, Patricia Domingos, is taking a stand against one of Canada’s biggest energy companies: Enbridge Inc.

Hedge-Fund Billionaire Leads Donors in Pushing Obama on Keystone

President Barack Obama faces growing pressure from Democratic donors to reject the Keystone XL pipeline amid signs that the project is headed for approval.

Americans more supportive of Keystone than Canadians, poll finds

Americans are more supportive of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline than Canadians are, according to a poll by Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Seventy-four percent of Americans surveyed said they support U.S. government approval of the TransCanada Corp. project that would carry oil from Canada through the U.S., compared with 68 % of Canadians, according to polling by Nik Nanos, a scholar at the Washington-based institute. Americans also are more likely to say achieving North American energy independence is more important than reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the poll.

50 000 Citizens Walk For A World Free of Fossil Fuels

MONTREAL /CNW Telbec/ - More than 50 000 citizens gathered today in Downtown Montreal to signify their opposition to the pipeline projects that would bring, for the first time, tars sands oil to Quebec. The Walk for Earth focused on these themes: fossil fuels, the fight against climate change and the rights of future generations. It was part of a larger North American movement against the tar sands expansion.

Texas can protect, save its water

To some, this might seem like a typical story of the collision between human needs and preservation of the environment. But it's not. Much of the water withdrawn from those rivers, and from rivers, reservoirs and aquifers across Texas each year is simply wasted - evaporating from farm fields, sent up the cooling towers of power plants, leaking from cracked water pipes or injected deep underground after being contaminated during the process of fracking for fossil fuels.

Before we subject Texas rivers to more water withdrawals that threaten wildlife and our ability to enjoy those waterways, shouldn't we first take every reasonable opportunity available to save water?

Water Rights Tear at an Indian Reservation

A water war is roiling the Flathead Indian Reservation here in western Montana, and it stretches from farms, ranches and mountains to the highest levels of state government, cracking open old divisions between the tribes and descendants of homesteaders who were part of a government-led land rush into Indian country a century ago.

“Generations of misunderstanding have come to a head,” said Robert McDonald, the communications director for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. “It’s starting to tear the fabric of our community apart.”

All Sizzle and No Steak

Why Allan Savory’s TED talk about how cattle can reverse global warming is dead wrong.

A wealth of planets: Avoiding bankruptcy and foreclosure

Now Rockstrom has co-authored a solution-oriented book based on that earlier analytical framework - Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries. It's written for a wider, non-scientific audience, though not so much the broad general public as those already keyed in to public policy debates. "An abundance of scientific reports clearly point out that we are very close to a saturation point, where the biosphere cannot handle additional stress," the book says, and it proceeds to draw on such reports, along with significant studies of how we might avoid catastrophe. The book makes a compelling case that technological solutions - such renewable energy to replace fossil fuels - are well within our capabilities. But whether economic, political and cultural obstacles can be overcome is another matter.

The 21st Century Economy Will Be Urban, High Tech, and Green

But there's a third fact many business leaders don't always see: how much money there is to be made in this transition to zero. Climate action is the next great boom opportunity.

Quickly getting to carbon neutral societies cannot be achieved by tinkering at the margins. Up until recently, there's been a kind of consensus image of what action on climate might look like: a pastiche of wind turbines, electric cars, green shopping and LEED buildings.

Such steps are insufficient: indeed, the climate action we need involves innovating at a systems level, not just improving the performance of the components of that system.

In Europe, Paid Permits for Pollution Are Fizzling

LONDON — On a showery afternoon last week in West London, a ripple of enthusiasm went through the trading floor of CF Partners, a privately owned financial company. The price of carbon allowances, shown in green lights on a board hanging from the ceiling, was creeping up toward three euros.

That is pretty small change — $3.90, or only about 10 percent of what the price was in 2008. But to the traders it came as a relief after the market had gone into free fall to record lows two days earlier, after the European Parliament spurned an effort to shore up prices by shrinking the number of allowances.

Group kicks off planting of ancient tree clones

COPEMISH, Mich. — A team led by a nurseryman from northern Michigan and his sons has raced against time for two decades, snipping branches from some of the world's biggest and most durable trees with plans to produce clones that could restore ancient forests and help fight climate change.

How can we save our planet for future generations?

Activists and scientists have long warned that our overstretched planet is reaching an environmental tipping point after which humanity will face cataclysmic consequences. Natural resources are stretched, climate change is altering the planet’s weather patterns and the rising human population will eventually become unsustainable. The time to act is now. Thankfully international governments are taking notice, but these issues are already having a profound impact on the world. Here, Friday takes a look at the problems facing the world and asks what can be done to solve them.

Michael Klare: The Coming Global Explosion

Brace yourself. You may not be able to tell yet, but according to global experts and the U.S. intelligence community, the earth is already shifting under you. Whether you know it or not, you’re on a new planet, a resource-shock world of a sort humanity has never before experienced.

Two nightmare scenarios -- a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change -- are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition, and conflict. Just what this tsunami of disaster will look like may, as yet, be hard to discern, but experts warn of “water wars” over contested river systems, global food riots sparked by soaring prices for life’s basics, mass migrations of climate refugees (with resulting anti-migrant violence), and the breakdown of social order or the collapse of states. At first, such mayhem is likely to arise largely in Africa, Central Asia, and other areas of the underdeveloped South, but in time all regions of the planet will be affected.

France has found a better way to reduce carbon emissions by -25% in a dozen years. Second only to Denmark in recent carbon reductions.

France could not reduce much carbon in their electrical generation sector (~75% nuclear, 10% hydro) so they reduced some there (7,000 MW wind, 3,000 MW more planned since wind winter peaks and they burn most of their coal and natural gas for electrical generation in the winter) and much more elsewhere.

They concentrated on the other carbon reductions. Shortly after being elected, Pres. Sarkozy held a series of meetings leading to the Grenelle Environmental Agreement and then laws. 15 different sectors (agriculture, aviation and on down the list). Some of the remarkable steps that France is taking will significantly reduce oil imports - which can only help the French economy.

Gasoline & diesel use in France in 2013 is down -3.3% over the first 3 months of 2012. Unemployment is up +0.8%, so that is part, but only part, of the drop.

Grenelle called for
- 1,500 km of new tram (Light Rail) lines in almost every town of 100,000 & larger by 2020. They are just slightly behind schedule on that.
- 2,000 km of new high speed rail lines by 2020, double what was operating in 2007.
- Urban growth boundaries to stop unnecessary sprawl

And much much more.

The new President will have a "Grenelle 2" in June 2013 for plans past 2020. Already Paris has announced its plans.

In 2011, the Conservatives announced a plan to double the Paris Metro (+200 km, 125 miles = all of DC Metro this year) in 12 years for €21 billion and 2 million new Metro riders (1.5 million former bus riders).

Last month the Socialists revised these plans. They increased annual spending by 50% and added 5 years. By 2030, 90% of the 8.2 million people in the Paris Metropole will be within 2 km (1.2 miles) of an urban rail station - Metro, tram or commuter train.

Much of Paris will become oil optional.

Reducing oil imports can only help the French economy - and reduce carbon emissions !!

Best Hopes for Those that Plan Ahead,


PS: I am writing an essay "Revolution in Paris" and I may write another @ Grenelle.and the new plan this June.

Alan, although your enthusiasm regarding France is pleasing to read, reality isn't quite that rosy.
Basically the Grenelle from Sarkozy almost didn't lead to anything, and things like the carbon tax got dropped.
Yes there are new public transports projects around Paris, but quite far from a "revolution".
As to a Grenelle #2 under Hollande, there is an on going debate around the "climate energy question", but from what I know it remains rather "melow" for the time being (but that could maybe change), and as quite often in France, it easily gets focused on "nuclear vs renewables" (one of Hollande promise was also to bring nuclear down to 50% electricity in 20 years or something), the main subject (current oil shock) remaining barely touched, things being presented mostly under the CO2/climate angle.
And in fact one of Hollande election promise was to decrease gas(for cars) taxes for a little while, which he did, already over, but for sure not the kind of signal you would have expected from someone aware of the issue.
Overall although I think quite a lot of people are more or less aware of the PO issue, and also maybe less "climate skeptics" than in some other countries, the speed of the currently happening PO crisis is taking the lead ...


Even the attaches at the French Embassy in DC were not quite aware of how many trams have been built in France (if it is not in Paris, it apparently does not count).

Look at my blog and then tell me that there is not a change in smaller French towns & cities.

France is building LGV at a very good rate. Perhaps 2,000 km from 2007 to 2020, perhaps a bit less. (2,048 km open in 2011, so this is a doubling of high speed rail in France).

As you know, the Conservatives announced Le Grand Express in 2011 & 2012,. Double the Paris Metro by 2025 with 200 km more Metro. 2 million more riders, €21 billion.

Last month, Nouveau Grand Paris was announced. I am still trying to sort out the details. RER Line E will be extended (8 km in tunnel, more on ground) and ridership will increase from 190,000/day to 650,000/day (up to 100,000/day stolen from overcrowded RER Line A.).

Metro Line 1 and all RER lines will be speeded up. And many more details (still 100 km more tram, no increase there I can find).

The diesel/gasoline mix in France is 82/18%. Many cars are diesel because of lower taxes. Hollande is going to bring diesel taxes up to gas tax levels.

The Virginia Tea Party Republicans have gone Socialist. They raise sales & hotel taxes so they can lower gas taxes.

Meanwhile, French Socialists are going conservative - making the diesel users pay their full costs.

Best Hopes for France,


PS; It is better to be halfway through plans to become, in part, "oil optional" when a crisis (or crunch) hits than to have no plans at all. The first "half" is already complete & operating or nearly so - and the second half can be speeded up (work in August perhaps :-)

Just to precise, about gas tax I meant cars fuels tax in general, yes I know about the diesel/gasoline story, but I'm not sure Hollande will manage to level them off at all (there are quite a few auto industry interests also bound to this situation), and Hollande is very low in "statisfaction or endorsement polls".
And anyway how it evolves is very much about the global situation.
But yes some good things being done.

Also it should be mentioned that French erduced their spending in 2012 and are expecting to have reduce further this year
(French news)The fear of loosing their job and runing out of money makes French spending less...which of course amplify the ongoing downturn.... a good thing or a bad one depending on your point of view.
Other French news for Adam: there are new proposals for the French railroad system to mostly bring back together the RFF (owner of the railtrack) and SNCF (that run the trains). Both got split in 1997 due to EU pressure such as to establish competition. However, this has resulted in economic looses due to poor coordination and duplication of work in between both business. The new plan also call for less focus on high speed train and building of new tracks but would favor improvement of existing tracks like the one for commuter trains. The improvement will allow to to have normal train going at a cruise speed of 200 km/h instead of 160 right now (and 320 for high speed train).
see http://fr.scribd.com/doc/137309882/Recommandations-JLBianco

In most of the EU, if one fears losing their job and wishes to save money, they can take transit to work instead of driving. An option available to far fewer Americans.

And thank you for the news. Could you email me at my link ?

I would like better information from a Frenchman or woman living in France. Yves as well.

Best Hopes,


As a Frenchman living in Grenoble I can give you an inside point of view.

There is a very good tramway offer here in Grenoble, 4 lines up to now, and soon a fifth one which will be one of the longest if not the longest. Many buses too.
The situation here is a city circled by three mountains. Consequently there is three valleys in a "Y" form and Grenoble in the center.

Grenoble's density is not so high, and Grenoble's residents mainly do not want a higher density.
So many live in the valleys and in Grenoble's surroundings and need to go to work either inside Grenoble or in one of the industrial zones situated in the valleys.
Despite tramway and bike roads, there are a lot of traffic jams...because still a lot of workers take their car, alone, when they could already take public transport.
But mentalities won't change in a day, and possessing it's own car is still a strong will.
I'm 26 and I'm one of the rare in my entourage not having one even though on an everyday basis they don't use it...
(If you are interested there is a car sharing offer in Grenoble: http://citelib.com/en/, working very well and growing every year).

And even if local policies here tend to favor tramway, buses, train and bike roads, it's mainly because by doing so they are reelected on the next election (Grenoble is a particular context in France: global education higher than the average, nature very close so high awareness to environment problems, young population).

However, it's still an everyday fight to counter road development...

I personally think that the main problem is that people live too far away from their work. We have separated working zones and living zones. And now we either have to develop transit or increase the city's density (which is proved to lead to social problems most of the time).
But we could focus on reorganizing the territory first and that'll answer to some problems already.

I would like your review of my essay on Grenoble


Your post suggests several improvements to the essay.

And I would like to have those that I can ask questions of in France, Internet access is not the same as living there and reading the local news.

So please send me an eMail (click on my name for my eMail).

Best Hopes,


Recently, Obama announced ...... That he was very concerned. Concern is not a plan.

Gasoline & diesel use in France in 2013 is down -3.3% over the first 3 months of 2012. Unemployment is up +0.8%, so that is part, but only part, of the drop.

It's most of the drop. Announcing plans is not the same thing as reducing usage.

Much is on the ground and operating.

In my blog, I total tram ridership in towns without Metros - 2.2 million. Look for the colorful people running towards a tram.

I do not have new tram vs. old Metro ridership #s in the six French cities with Metros. They combine the ridership #s. but a guess is 1 million more tram riders there.

In the 1980s, France was down to a couple of historic tram lines a la New Orleans & San Francisco in the US. Now 3+ million daily riders. I x4.75 to adjust French population to the USA. So the US equivalent of 15+million new urban rail riders.

And that is just trams. Add an end to urban sprawl with urban growth boundaries, more TGV, more bicycling (1% of urban trips to 6%), etc. etc.

It is more than just unemployment.

Best Hopes,


Meanwhile our government in New Zealand is making a huge investment into "Roads of National Significance". I guess our government believes that doing the opposite of the French is the smart thing to do.


The whole plan is stupid beyond belief! They won't fund a $2.1 Billion dollar rail loop to trebble rail ridership in Auckland our biggest city and they've been getting into conflict with the Mayor/Council of Auckland our biggest city because they want to over-ride local direction for the city and implement their own plan to 'solve' the problems of the city whilst essentially throwing out the plans that the locals want to implement.

The crazy thing is that this stupid guy John Key is the most popular Prime Minister we've had in a very long time. I guess telling people what they want to hear makes you popular more so than making them see the truth. John Key is a multi-millionaire who made his money off financial and currency speculation and has been caught lying so many times that the media is probably getting tired of reporting it. It goes to show if you talk like a duck and walk like a duck the ducks will vote you in.

When these guys finally get voted out and new people come in it will automatically be their fault when they have to make corrective actions like raising taxes and ending investment in partially completed roading projects to fund a rapid rail expansion. The intellectual left in my country is practically ripping its hair out over how stupid the collective masses of people have been in buying what the National government is doing.

I would say people don't like intellectuals who tell people hard truths. The indignation of people saying 'how dare you tell me to do something in my own best interests' is palpable already. I guess you could define the left as 'greater good' and the right as 'I'll do what I want'. The level of respect between these two sides are at a historic low in my experience. They aren't even bothered anymore to argue that something is wrong, they just say 'delusional' or 'stupid' depending on which side is doing the talking.

Hi Squilliam great to find another Kiwi on TOD.

Agree with your analysis except it is important to add that the opposition Labour + Green Parties not only have much better and contrasting policies but also have a very good chance of being in power in 18 months. And this would be a real change; there is a real contest of ideas going on here now, and a huge amount depends on this next election.

And the fact remains that NZ is really fixable compared to much of the rest of the OECD, with a low population, high level of renewable electricity generation already [80%], temperate climate, food surplus, educated population.... just that tricky liquid fuels dependancy!

But of course we also have our fair share of greedy selfish bullies, and a bunch of them do currently run the government.... so it goes....

Grenelle called for
- Urban growth boundaries to stop unnecessary sprawl

Color me skeptical about strictly supply-side "solutions" to supposedly "unnecessary" urban sprawl. Where I live (Contra Costa County, NCAL) we have a very distinct urban boundary limit that was voted in over a decade ago, and among the most restrictive anti-development regulations in the U.S., if not the world. End result? We now have some of the most expensive real estate in the U.S., and good luck finding a free standing house for less than half a million dollars --unless the house is next to a refinery or in a high crime neighborhood. What limited development being allowed tends to be million-dollar "luxury" condos in the heart of Walnut Creek or Concord, hardly affordable on a working man's salary. Of course, existing owners and local kids set to inherit property from landed gentry parents are quite pleased with this situation. Non-landed gentry, working poor and recent transplants seeking affordable housing? Not so much.

Another unintended consequence: working class folks who staff local businesses and provide services to Contra Costa residents are gradually being pushed outside CCC to communities where there is either no urban boundary limit or there is still raw land left to develop (and home prices are much more affordable), leading to more bifurcated communities (very rich or very poor). Third consequence: aforementioned non-landed gentry are forced into longer commutes from such affordable exurbs (Brentwood, Oakley, Tracy, Livermore, etc.). These outlying exurbs/suburbs rarely have regular access to reliable public transit because --unsurprisingly-- the lower population density makes it cost prohibitive to build any. Which means yet more profligate use of... fossil fuels.

My take? Any "solution" that completely ignores housing *demand* by everyone other than the very rich is doomed to fail, unless you consider externalizing the resulting demand and associated commuter issues a "success".

As I understand the French laws, in-field development is allowed (within the urban boundary).

And once the urban area reaches a certain density, expansion is allowed outside the urban boundary - but only contiguous development. Build right next to the boundary, and to a certain minimum density.

Any French citizens that want to improve on that ?

Best Hopes for reasonable regulations.


I understand the *theories* behind urban boundary limits, but I have never seen them actually pan out in practise. In theory, if you artificially restrict the available supply of buildable land, the market will respond by building more small/dense housing units in the available land left and converting SFR "infill" lots to multi-unit housing (condos, townhouses, apartments). In theory, these units will range in price from affordable to low and middle income families to high-end "penthouse" style condos. In reality, I do see a fair number of small/dense condos being built, though not nearly enough considering local housing demand. However, they are all very expensive and $600k for a 1100sft condo near BART is hardly my idea of "affordable", and I make a pretty decent IT salary. Basically, all that's been built in the past 20+ years is high-end or very high-end luxury new-urbanist condos. Oh, and good luck if you wish to grow your own vegetables or have a view of anything other than your neighbor's bedroom window --no yard for you, Mr. Transit guy!

I like greenbelts as much as the next guy, but... I find this kind of mandated transit-oriented development (the "other TOD") via artificial supply constraints and regulations to be heavy-handed and not generally producing the kind of results that TODers *think* it will (thriving mixed income TOD colonies). A lot more gated hipster new-urbanist enclaves for spoiled rich trustafarians and a lot less "mixing".

When 40% of the population (and 2/3rds of Gen Y) want something, and there is only enough for <2%, there is a substantial price premium.

True for beachfront property, true for TOD.

But unlike beachfront property, TOD can be expanded by building more "T:.

Increase supply and reduce the shortage premium. In the Paris Metropole, by 2030, 90% of the 8.2 million people will be within 2 km of an urban rail station. 1.2 miles is quite a hike, and even a decent bike, but the # of people that will be, or will move within, say, a half mile is substantial.

Of course living one or two blocks from a station will still cost more than five or six blocks.

And New Orleans urban design shows how to have decent density with greenery on a human scale :-)

Best Hopes for MUCH more TOD,


I'm in far eastern CCC, I wish (someday) my house will recover to a half million. And it is a low crime area as well. But, almost all the decent jobs are 20plus miles away.

True those boundaries become pretty arbitrary. In fact I'm in CCC because my job is in Alameda county, but they were so restrictive I couldn't afford to live there. I just don't think not restricting growth is an option, otherwise you end up with large scale sprawl (the rest of the bay area).

One policy instrument that neatly addresses demand and inequality, without requiring strict zoning or strictly defined boundaries, is land value taxation. Of course to be effective it must be a significant source of revenue, ideally even displacing consumption and income taxes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism

I agree, but unfortunately raising property taxes in California would require repealing or significantly amending Prop. 13, which is the Thrid Rail of CA politics. Any pol who has been brave enough to even broach the topic in the 35 years since it passed has been basically tarred and feathered. So for now into the foreseeable future, I expect more bifurcation of the housing market (and broader economy), and a further widening gulf between housing "haves" and "have-nots".

Re: Is Saudi Arabia Losing Its Importance in the Oil Market? (Uptop)

There are at least two major reasons why we could see Saudi Arabia's influence on oil prices wane over coming years. The first is expected growth in non-OPEC oil supplies, mainly from North American shale and oil sands production, while the second is changing oil consumption patterns among the Saudis themselves.

(1) Re: North American Shale. For what it's worth, the EIA is predicting that the US will continue to show an "Undulating Decline" in C+C production, with the current increase in production resulting in a tertiary peak, below the 1985 secondary peak and below the (so far) absolute peak of 9.6 mbpd that we saw in 1970.

(2) Re: Oil Sands. Rising Canadian net exports have helped slow the 2004 to 2011 decline in net oil exports from the major net exporters in the Americas.

(3) Re: changing oil consumption patterns among the Saudis themselves. No argument here, although it's more of a continuation in a rapid rate of increase in consumption rather than a change in consumption patterns, but of course there was a material change in Saudi production, starting in 2006. Although they finally exceeded, in 2012, their 2005 annual crude oil production rate, their net exports have remained below their 2005 rate for seven straight years.

So, the US is a net oil importer, and if the EIA is correct, the primary way we will approach zero net oil imports is through being forced to continue to reduce our consumption.

And combined net exports from the (2004) seven major net oil exporters in the Americas have declined from 6.1 mbpd (total petroleum liquids) in 2004 to 5.1 mbpd in 2011.

And Saudi net oil exports have been below their 2005 rate of 9.1 mbpd for seven straight years.

Bottom line: I think that the following trends continued in 2012:

GNE ECI Ratio:


GNE/CNI Ratio:


GNE = (2005) Top 33 net exports, BP + EIA data
CNI = China + India's Net Imports
ECI = Ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption

Article in the latest economist.com , The future of the car - Clean, safe and it drives itself

Clean, safe and it drives itself

There is an 8 minute embedded video at this site that is very interesting.

Driverless cars should also ease congestion and save fuel. Computers brake faster than humans. And they can sense when cars ahead of them are braking. So driverless cars will be able to drive much closer to each other than humans safely can. On motorways they could form fuel-efficient “road trains”, gliding along in the slipstream of the vehicle in front. People who commute by car will gain hours each day to work, rest or read a newspaper.

Some carmakers think this vision of the future is (as Henry Ford once said of history) bunk.

Anyway, technology leads us on to bigger and better things. It will never end. Or will it.

Ron P.

The future of the automobile is as rusting hulks abandoned in-place, eventually to be stripped of any materials of value in a world of limited energy available (and skills) to re-work them into things that might be useful. Each one will probably contribute a fair amount of toxins to its immediate environment.

One can only IMAGINE the possibilities...

People who commute by car will gain hours each day to work, rest or read a newspaper.

Wow - kind of like taking a train or bus or light rail.

Oh, nevermind...

It is amusing that making a car better means making it closer to either a bike or a bus/train. Definitely the sign of an evolutionary dead end.

"It is amusing that making a car better means making it closer to either a bike or a bus/train."

Except that personal transport (aka cars) can take you the last mile, easily handle complex multi-stop trips and last minute detours, can travel to low population density locations, and run 24/7, unlike mass transit. Aside from that, sure, self-driving cars are just like trains and buses.

Note: I don't hate mass transit. In fact I use BART and streetcars as often as I can, but transit options are not always available or practical for the very reasons I just mentioned.

It is not credible that new cars can be the answer to the problems caused by too many cars, no mater how many gadgets are on board. From the Harvard Business Review piece above:

"Take cars. Auto emissions — their manufacture and tailpipe emissions, together with the emissions created by the infrastructure, land use and businesses designed to support their use — make up the largest single source of greenhouse gasses in the U.S.

But the solution to the problem of car emissions will not be found under the hood: even the best cars we can imagine would be unsustainable in an unchanged context of auto-dependent sprawl.That context, though, can change. Indeed, it already is changing, and rapidly.

Compact, walkable neighborhoods are in high demand now, and it's probably the best-proven finding in urban planning that dense communities use less energy on transportation and require fewer cars and less infrastructure to meet the needs of their residents. New housing growth that fills out existing communities, instead of creating more exurban sprawl; investments in walkability; improvements to mass transit; all of these not only dramatically shift driving needs, they improve quality of life. Rebuilding cities will cut auto emissions much faster than technological innovation in the auto industry. And we're entering a city-building boom, both in the U.S. and internationally. Climate, energy and resource issues guarantee that those cities will not work as they do today."

I don't believe that more even hitech cars is the answer to the problems caused by too many cars, here:


Well, I jump into this argument frequently, as I object to absolutes.

It's not a matter of 'whether cars or no'. Cars, in some form will be with us for a good while yet, as will roads.. the issue is balance. Mainly, the balance of transportation tools, in this case. The (much smaller) portion of that balance that will entail cars should be better cars.

I think these driverless cars are part of the Pop Sci 'Flying car Fantasy' that we feed ourselves a small but unending stream of.. but not so for EVs, which make sense already in a number of applications. Our expectations of 'acceptable range' are wildly out of whack, as is our understanding of real need.. but those things will change as they must, as will job availability, and the kind of distances people will be able to live apart from their jobs and their extended families, community, etc..


I wonder if it will lead to the end of DUIs.
"It's hokay ossifer, my car knowsh the way home."

Then there is the high school rite of parking and smooching. Won't have to park now, can smooch (etc.) on the way to the next destination. The possibilities are mind boggling.

BAU, and its crowd, seem like tough nuts to crack. What with the motley crowds out there, with differing viewpoints and all, vying for pieces of the action, it should be very interesting to see what shakes out.

'Cars that drive themselves...' LOL ...What about wingsuits? (Level flight.).
I wonder what the fuel-cost would be (without the plane or heli'). Perhaps wings on the helmet and maybe more material in between the legs and arms might clinch it for independent takeoff. They look like gliding squirrels. Squirrels like nuts. ;)

"Some people have said that I am a little bit crazy... I think I am."
~ Visa Parviainen

Oh, now you have me thinking of a new transport craze. Vertical cannons at each street corner to shoot wing-suited commuters hundreds of feet into the air so they can glide to their destination.


Kunstler has suggested both; that highrises beyond a certain height might become obsolete-- apparently due to increasingly inordinate maintenance costs or something like that; and that electrified rail may become far more important for transportation, so perhaps, failing rapid implementation of the latter, and in the interest of adaptive reuse, elevators could take the partial place of rail, and some of those highrises in commuting-corridors across the landscape could be retrofitted as WingsuitesTM for a kind of "saw-wave" travel scheme, with your cannons filling in the gaps. I hear that the (unpowered) wingsuits' ratio of fall-versus-forward glide movements are getting better-- maybe 1-to-6? Less highrises and cannons and quicker commute times! Cafe kiosks in the elevators!

Nothing could possibly go wrong. Technology is perfect and computers never crash or otherwise have problems.

Yeah.. you wonder if these cars would get 'Windows', or they'll just cover them all over with Blue Screens of Death.. ?

When Airbus transitioned to a fully glass cockpit there were Photoshopped images of the cockpit with banks of monitors displaying the BSOD. "Brings new meaning to the blue screen of death."

Airlines maintenance schedules are under strict regulation...car owners - not so much.

and no human being ever made a mistake- right?

The issue is not whether computers are fool proof but whether they are better than human beings. There will never be computer driven car that will be DUI nor will it be distracted by texting, cellphones or fiddling with the music system.

Thanks for the reality check. It's tad ironic there are so many reflexively anti-technology posts on an internet blog with a global audience. I'm not totally convinced that self-driving cars will become the norm anytime soon (the added cost of sensors, radar & optic equipment alone), but... good grief, it's still prototype. Why all the hateoraide?

Why is the expression of some 'precautionary principle' with regard to self-driving cars classed as "reflexively anti-technology", and "hateoraide"?

Instantly associating prototype Google cars with wingsuits, human cannons, jetpacks and other absurdities seems a tad "reflexively anti-technology" to me, and I'm no cornucopian. Given the driving habits I've observed recently, I welcome self-driving cars, assuming the technology ever becomes practical.

Wing suits are cool! ToP was making a funny.

People like making "Windows Blue Screen of Death" jokes - might as well learn to live with it.

I just didn't see "so many" comments. The question beyond the jokes has to do with liability in accidents...

If I was anti-anything, it might be more (the absurdities of) BAU than technology per se.
Still, though, technology is all fine and nice until, say, we start depending more and more on it and then it starts not working, and maybe we're locked in, and/or creates some kinds of dangerous unintended consequences.

When really thinking about BAU and corporate oligarchies, people jumping in wingsuits from specially-equipped highrise condos (WingsuitesTM) doesn't seem so absurd. Think of the elevator as an "electrified railway". ;)

Most airliners are flown "automatically" for most of the flight....

That's nice, but not particularly analogous to 'self-driving cars'.

My point is/was that we're comfortable with technology being in the drivers seat (so to say) in certain instances but not in others. It's a matter of time. There are a number of cars which have collision avoidance, parking assist etc, in other words, cars which take inputs from their environment and take action, either in terms of velocity or direction, based on those inputs.

"My point is/was that we're comfortable with technology being in the drivers seat (so to say) in certain instances but not in others."

And my point is that it's appropriate in some instances, and perhaps not appropriate in others.

I still think that the liablility issue is going to be a very tough nut to crack. It's not a question of technology in the end - if self-driving cars have 120 or 80 or 70 or 50% or less an accident rate than human driven cars. In our society, it's about liability...

Yes, liability is going to be a huge issue, especially in the US and especially when you have a mix of "manual" cars and automatic cars.
Still, technological advancements generally are accepted after a while but there is a good chance that the US won't be leading the way.

"especially when you have a mix of "manual" cars and automatic cars."

Yes, good point.

"Most airliners are flown "automatically" for most of the flight...."

Believe it or not they're really capable of doing the whole flight from takeoff to landing. If there's ever a "pasenger needs to fly the plane" situation all they have to do is talk them through programming the Autoland.

True, although the airport has to be properly (CAT 3) equipped? and how about those flaps& landing gear? Still, really cool stuff.

to the people behind the screen: I really like the auto-correct function. Makes life easier. Thanks!

to the people behind the screen: I really like the auto-correct function. Makes life easier. Thanks!

And here is an example of shouting into a void - that auto correct is on your end with your browser. Not anything TOD has done, as far as I can tell.

interesting. You think so? up until a couple of days ago my browser did not autocorrect and as of yesterday (when posting on TOD) it does.......

Do you use Chrome? Google just recently added autocorrect to Chrome.

I just dread to think what a computer virus could do to those cars that "drive themselves." I'd be really worried if they run on Windows.

But I suspect that these clean, green cars that drive themselves are just another example of the fantasy world that writers for The Economist live in. I remember once reading an old Economist article about how we were going to terraform Mars by crashing asteroids into it (thus increasing the planet's gravity and create a breathable atmosphere), and realized that many of their writers don't have a clue about technology.


Basically, you only wish they'd run Windows. At least Microsoft knows (now) that security is a problem. Embedded systems guys ... not so much

I remember once reading an old Economist article about how we were going to terraform Mars by crashing asteroids into it (thus increasing the planet's gravity and create a breathable atmosphere), and realized that many of their writers don't have a clue about technology.

You happen to recall the title/date? It's completely absurd given our current level of technology and the timeframes involved, but not impossible if you can harness enough energy and have a *very* long timeline. *If* you could somehow crash enough large comets/asteroids into Mars (or a few Pluto-sized planetoids), it could possibly work. Unfortunately, the surface would turn to molten rock thanks to all the impact energy and remain that way for tens of millions of years, as did the proto-Earth following its hypothesized collision with a Mars-sized planet "Theia" about 4.5 billion years ago.

"Article in the latest economist.com , The future of the car - Clean, safe and it drives itself"

yes its called a horse


Whenever I think of this, I recall in my youth that milk (and ice) was delivered in horse-powered wagons. The milk wagon would carry its supply, and the driver/delivery person would leave the wagon with a variety of dairy products. At the rear, or on a side porch, there was a list left by the customer listing what they wanted. This was left in place (our home had a pass-through like a doggie door into the back porch), and the delivery person walked along until he ran out of supplies. The wagon would be waiting for him when he returned to the curb, as the horse was trained to follow along. Safe, and drove itself for certain.

OTOH, I cannot agree about clean. I seem to remember certain droppings in the street (although there was a bag on the rear of the engine to catch such) that needed to be cleaned.

The ice man went to the homes that had ice boxes, and each would have a sign designating the size of ice block to be delivered. During hot summer days, following the iceman was fun, as he chipped the ice into appropriate blocks! Pieces flew everywhere, including into our hands.

Thanks for reminding me.


Just how old are you? I feel like I just read a Bradbury story. Great stuff.

But it does kinda prove a point - society and civilization existed without using internal combustion engines everywhere. And without electric refridgeration everywhere either.

I do wonder what the end result is for the car industry. I see that the really small cars are starting to come to the US again, so I expect that in the US there is going to be a gradual stepping down as people buy cheaper cars and those at the bottom or in cities go without.

Strange you should say that... Ray Bradbury was one of my favorite authors. And, of course, he was raised not far from my roots in the Chicago area.

I agree there is going to be a gradual stepping down. How fast that goes is up in the air. We can hope for a few good years along the way, and I am sure those who survive will adapt and learn to enjoy themselves in their age, as have we in ours.


Do you like Cyril Kornbluth ?

He wrote so little, probably b/c he died young. "Marching Idiots" was quite good; we can identify with it today (?).

He was friends with a number of the "Futurists," including Isaac Asimov, who is my favorite of many authors whom I enjoy reading. Of course, Isaac wrote so much!



Strangely, my post was edited. For the TOD staffer who was so kind, the quotes indicated a title... the word, "Morons," was not my choice, but rather a part of the title of something written in the 1940 early 50's (published in Galaxy in 1951).

For future reference, there are standards for the words idiot, imbecile and moron. Though no longer in use, the standard was in place when the story was written, and if anyone wanted to look up the material it would not be found where you placed it, as Kornblum did not write a story called, "Marching Idiots."

And, you actually substituted a term that is far more perjorative than 'moron' was at the time, or is today.

For those interested, Bugs Bunny mispronounced the word, and called it "maroon."


Maybe it is acts like this that led ROCKMAN to look for other places to contribute.


Highly likely that 'overzealous censorship' may have been a proximate cause of that move. Personally I am not in favor of application of 'politically incorrect' guidelines.

I have had a few words with my own daughter, otherwise a wonderful and intelligent woman, for having strangely Orwellian tendencies.


What happened to Rockman? I miss his posts. I was out of the loop for several weeks.

Hey ROCKMAN, Please Please come back! You are sorely missed. Hope you see this.

Rockman's departure was around the time when the new 'if you post a link your post is moderated' system was deployed as an anti-spam measure.

(and really Posters of TOD - this is the ownerships playground and we are but guests. While we posters (and readers) give of our time, so do the mods and the programmer(s)/system admins. )

So far as I know, your post was not edited by anyone on staff. I assumed you'd just misremembered the title.

Nope. I doubt I would forget that since the alliterative nature of the title was part of what helped me to remember it. Also, I was even then aware of the distinction between moron, imbecile and idiot (mental ability of 8-12 years, mental ability of 3-7 years and mental ability < 3 years respectively).

It is a story about a future where the masses ('morons') were guided by a few geniuses who labored for the good of the whole. It sounds hokey today, but when I read it I was not yet a teen, and I thought Kornblum was great. Also had the same opinion about Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke!

Later I met Asimov, who was a really enjoyable person. He loved limericks, and had what might be called a 'naughty wit.' I only spent maybe 5 minutes or so with him, and was genuinely captivated.


I know the story, and have frequently referenced it myself here.

All I can say is, I saw your comment shortly after it was posted, and noted the error. It said "idiots," not "morons." I did not edit your comment. I don't think Kate did, either, because she's a west coaster and usually not around that early. I can't think of anyone else who would do it.

Hey! No problem. I suppose it is not impossible that I could have substituted. Like I said, my memory meme for that story is M, but still not impossible. I have done strange things in the past, and substituted words out of context without realizing it.

I'm not planning on bolting over it, and I am posting on the fly so who knows. Also, I do consider myself an adult - in some ways at least (we are all kids at heart).

Enjoy the day!


Well, I noticed the change, so it wasn't you Zaphod. And I'm a west-coaster, and it wasn't that early when it changed.

Curiouser and curiouser ...

You saw it change?

Man, that's weird. I saw the comment before 10am ET. No more than a few minutes after it was posted, and it was already in its current form.

Even if someone on staff did change it...our policy is to asterisk words, or remove comments entirely, not make word substitutions.

I was wondering if it was a new feature of our spam filter, but if it was, I'd expect it to apply when the comment was posted, not change anything after it was posted.

My bet is the Spam Filter... It has that smell to it.


Yup. Pretty positive it said Marching M***** when I first checked in around 0900 PDT. When Zaphod mentioned the difference I knew right away what he was talking about.

If censorship/editing of posts is going on, so be it. But I think it's important to clearly communicate to the poster that a) their post has been deleted/edited, and b) why it was. A forum such as TOD can have whatever policies they want, it's their baby. I would hope, however, that we could avoid this confusion and attendant conspiratorial muttering. Transparency is the only solution...

Well, having words that you did not actually write attributed to you doesn't seem right. Asterisks or full deletion is one thing, but changing what you said is creepy.

If it was edited, it was not done by a human being.

But I really don't think it's possible for the spam module to change a comment that is already visible. I don't know what happened there, but it wasn't anything we did.

I don't think so either. The whole thing seems a bit bizarre.

Just for the record, though... if you do delete or modify someone's post, do you tell them why? That would seem to be a way to put an end to this sort of mystery...

We try. The problem is, a lot of people cannot be contacted. If you don't put an e-mail address in your profile (and most people don't), we're left with the address you registered an account with. Often, this is an account that is no longer used, no longer exists, a disposable address, or one that's rarely checked. And unless I get an actual bounce message, I have no way of knowing whether it got through.

So take note, folks...before you post an angry rant in the Drumbeat about why your comment was removed without explanation...ask yourself if I actually have any way to contact you. If you registered using an address you no longer use, and didn't put a current e-mail address in your profile...I can't contact you. I'm not a telepath.

"I can't contact you. I'm not a telepath."

And why should you. Your email address is easy to find, and you've always responded to my queries in due time, even when I've been naughty ;-)

Not sure what happened with Zap's post, but as we say around here, it ain't worth gettin' in a tizzy over. This is the most democratically patroled site I know of.

The moderators ain't yo momma...

if you do delete or modify someone's post, do you tell them why?
We try.

I've posted a lot here.

A lot.

And I've had a few posted deleted.

And my memory says I've not seen one email admonishing why a post of mine has been deleted. I can search 19 gig of email from 2006, but I'm rather sure that I've not seen an email over the (50+???) deleted posts.

(and I'm rather sure this is the 1st post where I've ever mention/asked about my deleted postings.)

If you're a long-time poster who I figure understands why a comment was removed, I might not bother.

Also, sometimes entire subthreads are removed, consisting of dozens or even hundreds of comments. (This is more common in the key posts than in the Drumbeat.) These are usually political or personal flamewars, or arguments over conspiracy theories or religion. In that case, there's just too many participants to notify everyone. So do keep in mind that it may not be your post that was the problem. When a comment is removed, all its replies are removed as well, and it may just be that the comment you replied to was deemed flamebait.

Zaphod's already admitted maybe he had a memory lapse. Now I'm starting to question my own memory... But I could have sworn...

I distinctly remember it. Marching Morons. I,m sure b. I have that book on my Kindle and his comment made me smile.

OK, so three of us are having mental lapses, or something really strange happened?

Perhaps the singularity has happened and the net has become sentient and it's just messing with us... >;-)


I would seriously start to wonder if you are being cracked. First the spam barrage and now doubts over posts. It would be a good idea to change all administrative passwords as a precaution. Another, would be to check that no-one has administrative privileges that should not. SOP in computer security.


As I've watched this conversation unfold it strikes me as some sort of breach as well.

Someone could be testing to see just what they can do without getting noticed, but it's still exceedingly strange.

Nope, not me. I came in extra late today after working into the wee hours.


I don't remember anything about imbeciles in the story - just born suckers (the morons, possibly a pun on something else), con artists, psychopaths, greedy people, prostitutes, mass murderers, and power hungry dictators, double-crossers, and planet Venus - riding in poorly made rocket cars and ships.

.. and also something about lemmings.


The story is actually about Rockefeller and his oil empire, Standard Oil. It's questionable *now* if his empire was really of benefit, but it's has been a ride alright. Rockefeller was one of the founders of the University of Chicago, mentioned briefly in the story. The Cleveland massacre (Cleveland refinery monopoly) is indirectly referenced. The link between I.G Farben and Standard Oil isn't directly mentioned. At the end of the story, the oil empire disintegrates (21st century engineering).

Now that the reach of oil extends to all corners of the earth, with enormous market share, mind-share, and monetary wealth cornered by the oil companies, can wind and solar, and EV's (which are competitors to oil) ever really gain more than a foothold, or will western civilization completely collapse (disintegrate) ?

Whole slew of his output in process at Distributed Proofreaders Canada (join in the fun of proofing and foofing if you desire) and about 15 items are posted for perusal or downloading at FadedPage(dot)com Moi, I take the .html zips and use sigil to make epubs.

It seems like half a sci-fi convention here now... somehow fitting when discussing self-driving cars! Which probably WILL come, just in time for the car to go out.

Bradbury was the first sci-fi author I really read. I still remember picking the books off the shelf in middle school - "R is for Rocket" and "S is for Space". He really stands out, partly because half his stuff is more nostalgia than futurism. But he caught a lot of things about human nature, I think.

Younger people like me have grown up never seeing a non-electric world. My parents even mostly lived in an electric world. People younger than me grew up with the internet since they were little. The tech goes very fast now. It's easy to forget that it wasn't always like this.

Hi Craig

I cant remember where I heard it , but it was about a drunk being kicked out of a bar , the other clients put him on his horse and let him go

one client said " how does he get home , he's too drunk to see"

other client said " the horse knows the way home!! "

funny eh ? who needs technology ......

as for pollution - big issue in London but it created employment for boys - always there to shovel it up !

good for the roses , my dad said ;-)


Hi Forbin

You know, of course, that just as the motorcar was coming of age, predictions were being made that Manhattan would be buried in the stuff.


One of our local charros was spotted one evening, after a day of celebrations, on his horse in the middle of the road. The horse seemed to know, quite well, which way to go. The problem was that every time he tried to go that way the charro would pull the reins the other way. The following morning they were seen again, in the same place. The horse grazing on the grass in between the carriageways and the charro fast asleep in the saddle.


Same for me, early 1940's in Long Island, NY area. Also visiting farming relatives in the early 50's in upstate NY, evening kerosene lamps, kitchen hand water pump and outhouse. My wife, in an Iowa farming community well into the 1960's without utility derived conveniences. For most though the post ww2 economic boom brought the indoor plumbing and refrigeration.

Progress has been like a compound interest table. I hope we can look to the future and build on what was good in those earlier days.

"yes its called a horse"

I have driven many of these "horses" of which you speak and have found their circuitry to be faulty. There was one particular model I rode drove for a number of years which, at random, would lose it navigation and throttle control and proceed to try to murder cleanse its back of you.

Dogs, cars, creeks, sticks snapping/loud noises...all of these things cause problems with the control circuitry of "horse" and can lead to "unintended acceleration" and loss of directional control.

When parked these "horses" continue to consume fuel and emit solid waste (which must be removed from the "garage") and they tend to have a nasty habit of attempting to eat your "garage" as well. "Horse" is also dangerous when parked, more so than when being driven.

You can treat what comes out of a horse as the valuable asset that it is. You don't have that option with what comes out of a car or fossil fuel powered system or most industrial processes.

Horses were NOT safe.

"In New York in 1900, 200 persons were killed by horses and horse-drawn vehicles. This contrasts with 344 auto-related fatalities in New York in 2003; given the modern city’s greater population, this means the fatality rate per capita in the horse era was roughly 75 percent higher than today"


Super-mega LULZ from this "special report": "[T]he car is still a long way from being a mature technology." That might be the funniest tech claim in recent memory. Not surprising from Thatcher Weekly The Economist, though.

As for the driverless fantasy, that would bring the car-makers into every car-crash lawsuit. Hence, not gonna happen, except in very specialized operations.

Reading Leanan's link Tomgram: Michael Klare, The Coming Global Explosion, above, I find yet another reality-based description of the double whammy facing our planet's occupants in the coming decades and centuries; something I've been intuitively aware of for a while: The ongoing nexus (really a tripple whammy) of human over-population, resource depletion, and climate change. Really, no way to sugar coat it.

Michael Klare: "Wherever you look, the picture is roughly the same: supplies of critical resources may be rising or falling, but rarely do they appear to be outpacing demand, producing a sense of widespread and systemic scarcity. However generated, a perception of scarcity -- or imminent scarcity -- regularly leads to anxiety, resentment, hostility, and contentiousness. This pattern is very well understood, and has been evident throughout human history."

While I applaud those who look for and foster an environment of cooperation in times of stress, I've also witnessed how quickly this can break down when a population's sense of entitlement is challenged; when their ways of life are questioned; their survival threatened. Just the perception of coming scarcity brings out the 'Mr. Hyde' in a society used to relative abundance: Business as usual for humanity for thousands of years. Not sure how one prepares for that, even if one has been busy preparing for scarcity, and fostering cooperation, at least at the local level. Is it even useful to point this out, be the town cryer so to speak. I'm no longer sure. Is a society better off not being blind-sided by events, or does the messenger usually get shot? Does collective denial act as a buffer as reality sets in, or make things worse as things really begin to fall apart? Too many questions for a Monday morning, perhaps...

Looking forward to reading Klare's "The Race For What's Left".

I think people under stress when there is not enough to go around will revert quickly into a tribal mindset, which is by definition inclusionary and exclusionary. So you get at once cooperation and resentment and hostility. Where you stand depends on if you considered to be part of a group or outside. People are capable of great caring and compassion to those within their group, as well as acts of incredible cruelty to those without - and at the same time.

It's the process of nation states becoming fractured into 'tribal mindsets' that seems unfathomable to most folks; usually involving racial and religious divides, within regional claims. How that will play out in countries like the US which is a hodge-podge of race, ethnicity, and religion, each with varying definitions of "patriotism", could be interesting ;-/

Yeah, it is not at all clear to me what characteristics will define the various groups. How does it work if different in groups use totally different kinds of things as qualifiers, and people could be part on one and part of another - what happens if those two conflict for resources?

Many other regions have longstanding tribal identities in addition to political/religious affiliation. In the US these will have to be invented.

I look at a number of alternative sites on a regular basis. There is a recurring theme of concern with martial law, quasi-dictatorship and TPTB, including the financial sector, doing anything to continue to hold their existing power.

My reading of the tea leaves is that there will be some sort of government clamp down over who knows what. This will eventually lead to Civil War II which in turn will lead to a break-up of the US as it is known today.

As an old guy, what I find interesting is I have never seen these sorts of concerns on a sustained basis as one finds now. There is a change in paradigm coming or already underway.


No doubt there will be that attempt, but it will compete with mass economic unrest and climate change disruptions, which will eventually put huge portions of the population on the move. I like entropy's odds, so I'll put my bets on chaos for the win.

I really don't think a new paradigm is happening. These kind of folks have always been out there, it's that now they have new sites popping up every day on the net and it gives them a place to vent their paranoia.

That, plus the fact that we now have a black president and that has scared the hell out of them. They are sure he, the president, is up to no good. Surely they think, he wants a dictatorship so he can take away their guns and bibles.

Ron P.


I hate to tell you but you are wrong

These kind of folks have always been out there, it's that now they have new sites popping up every day on the net and it gives them a place to vent their paranoia.

. Yes, there have always been a few people out there who were concerned about the government, etc. But, it is nothing like now and race has nothing to do with for the vast majority. Your lack of understanding is clear when you bring up bibles and bullets.

I wish I had time to do a full response but I've got too much to do right now. Spring is here and everything needs to be done right now :-).


Todd, I hate to tell you but you are wrong.

Your lack of understanding is clear when you bring up bibles and bullets.

Really now? I have lived in the Bible Belt for about 65 of my 74 years, 75 in June :-( I think I have about as good an understanding as anyone on this list concerning that subject, including you. For about half that time, here in the Bible Belt, it was God and segregation. But for the last 30+ years that paradigm has changed. Now it is Guns, God and gays. Well, that is the case among the "good old boys" down here in the Bible Belt anyway. And the more beer they get under their belt the worse it gets.

And I really don't see the unrest with the any recurring theme of concern with martial law, quasi-dictatorship and TPTB that you speak of. Sure it is there if you look for it... and keep looking for it. There are literally millions of web sites out there. And you can likely find thousands of them on any subject you care to keep searching for. So I have no doubt that you are finding them. But look for permaculture sites, peak oil sites, gun sites, God sites, conspiracy sites or any site you care to dream up. You will find thousands of them also.

Todd, you are not getting paranoid on us are you? Lighten up guy, and stop searching all those "good old boy' web sites. ;-)

Ron P.

Seems to me Todd is refering to the "occupy wall street" kind of crowd, prison planet, infowars, these type of things. Which indeed seems to me rather growing and a really different bunch, more in the "leftists" tradition.

I wouldn't lump prisonplanet/infowars in with Occupy. They are totally different. Prisonplanet/infowars are Alex Jones crackpot right wing nut job sites. They bring nothing to the table that is real or fact based, just crazy conspiracy theories such as the NWO reptile alien elite that is monolithic and is in total control of the system and all this chaos is perfectly orchestrated by them.

Occupy on the other hand is a set of diverse leftist and anarchic groups that deal in fact. Do they get the whole picture or what's going? That's debatable but they do present a coherent, fact based argument against globalisim, debt, finance, economics, etc.

The way that TPTB (govt, corps, wealthy individuals) react to both groups, Occupy vs Alex Jones / Glenn Beck types, very clearly demonstrates which group is actually hitting on the truth and which is totally crazy and is nothing more than controlled dissent. Simply ask yourself, when is the last time you heard on the news of some Occupy party congress person saying something (compared to Tea Party congress members). Or when is the last time you saw an Occupy demonstration allowed to happen?

I think the rise of the more radical and vocal left is the new thing that has occurred since the GFC in 08. The right wing conspiracy theorists have been around for quite a while now. I remember the amped up new world order BS back during the Clinton admin. All the talk of big government etc. Then during the Bush admin when we did see the massive expansion of the police state these same conspiracy theoriest (while vocal) were sidelined by the larger right wing media groups. These silly puppets like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck are given megaphones when there's a democrat in the WH but the News Corps of the world confiscate the megaphone as soon as the GOP returns to the WH.

Yes I guess you are right (don't know these sites very well) but Alex Jones and Glenn Beck are quite different, no ? Alex Jones invites somebody like Orlov for instance.
And I also think the "wings" frontiers are quite porous somehow.
What would be the flagship websites or media of the occupy movement ?

I do seem to remember Orlov being interviewed by Alex Jones. I remember John Michael Greer mentioning a few months back that Glenn Beck cited some of his blog posts. The good conspiracy theorists like Jones and Beck are a lot like SciFi writers IMO. To have a great sci fi story you have to start off with some grain of science fact or theory. From there you expand into the realm of fantasy. I think that's what makes the story believable.

For instance in the case of Jones and Orlov. Dimtry could point out plain facts related to peak oil. Jones could then run with those facts and expand it to point out that the NWO elite are purposefully reducing oil production to start a panic to then carry out their plans...etc etc.

I agree that the "wings" frontiers are porous. I think the tired left/right binary is really overly simple when trying to apply it to millions of people in a hype complex civilization. But its really the only political framework your average American seems to understand. The whole mash up of political thought and philosophy really creates a sort of multidimensional nexus. So you have left/right, up/down, forward/backwards etc.

As for the occupy movement websites see (text only so they don't get caught in the spam filter):

occupywallst org

NYC general assembly - www nycga net

Occupy Miami - occupymia org
They have some representation on local radio and really seem to be turning into more of a typical/traditional community organizing and activist group.

Occupy Monsanto - occupy-monsanto com

Strike Debt - strikedebt org

These are the ones I am aware of and can think of off the top of my head. Don't know how interconnected they are to one another.

Thanks for the links, will have a look.
Again I don't know much Jones and Beck, but they appear quite different to me and the little I heard Jones I didn't get him so much as a conspiracy theorist.
About the wings being porous, in France for instance it's quite clear that quite a bit of the communist electorate moved to the national front.
And true that these days also with the kind of "apocalyptic mindset" floating around it gets even more complicated.

It seems to me that, until recently, the overall community was stronger than the break-away elements -- John Birch Society, Dominionists, etc. But the right-wing has succeeded in shrinking the commonwealth by cutting its funding. Schools, law enforcement, public works, are all starved for funds and are being sold off for private profit.

If we had full employment and functioning public services, the crazies would be marginalized. With the breakdown in the commons, the crazies are bidding to take over. The militarized police can probably cope with them, but are no substitute for a functioning society.

As one right-wing politician famously put it, "There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families." She then she spent the next 11 years gutting social programs, privatizing everything, and eviscerating unions to prove it.

Hmm.. I just realised myself that there are many ways to say something.

I've watched some of AJ's videos and I've also completed some automation engineering courses - I can tell you that Google, Adobe, Youtube (part of Google now), but mainly the big software companies with a lot of resources are collecting (lots) of information on everybody... including via financial and website tracking during use of electronic payment.

e.g, total information awareness

Jones could then run with those facts and expand it to point out that the NWO elite are purposefully reducing oil production to start a panic to then carry out their plans...etc etc.

What he HAS claimed:


Jones: They want a political diversion from the Congressional Committee that ruled the day before that George W. Bush and Barak Obama are guilty of war crimes and treason for ordering ongoing torture at torture camps all over the world – that was even in the New York Times.

A Congressional Committee that ruled the day before that George W. Bush and Barak Obama are guilty of war crimes? Well, all depends on what one calls a "Congressional Committee".

Condemn him with his ACTUAL words VS made up handwaving.

(feel free to cite that he thinks the President is worried about what Ex-Congressmen think)

Alex Jones crackpot right wing nut job sites. They bring nothing to the table that is real or fact based,

Alex has harped on Prince Harry and 'nazi'ism. The Alex crew has posted links to the prince in Nazi regalia. My memory is the Alex 'crew' has mentioned Operation Northwoods - for your position to be correct, Operation Northwoods would have to be Not Real.

So go ahead - show how Operation Northwoods as mentioned by the 'bring nothing to the table that is real' is "not real".

Well that was a bit of an overly absolute statement on my part. My other statement still holds:

The good conspiracy theorists like Jones and Beck are a lot like SciFi writers IMO. To have a great sci fi story you have to start off with some grain of science fact or theory. From there you expand into the realm of fantasy. I think that's what makes the story believable.

I don't know what his crew mentioned about Operation Northwoods. Maybe you can jog your memory a bit and get back to us. But if it is anything like the typical Alex Jones hogwash, he probably mentioned Operation Northwoods and then tied it to how Kennedy was part of the NWO. And instead of using the operation as pretext to go to war against communist Cuba was actually going to be used to bring Soviet communism to the US. Or some other zany and wacky conspiracy.

Just like with his recent nonsense about the Boston bombing being and inside job done by the FBI. To "prove" his point, he cited some reporting by the NYT about how the FBI's undercover agents find possible terrorists in the US and train them and give them inert bombs to carry out these fake operations. The FBI then arrests the would be terrorists before they can carry out their "mission." Of course, the FBI also never gives these people real explosives.

Of course, what neither Jones nor the mainstream media report about the FBI agents provocateur in the US is that not only do they provide these would be terrorists with the means (training, inert explosives, a mission etc) but they also provide them with the motive. They are the ones who actually radicalize these otherwise down on their luck young men. Project Censored 2013 (available in paperback and on Kindle) has excellent sourcing from fact based independent journalists and court records showing how many of these cases are thrown out as entrapment. Basically just the FBI scaring Americans to keep them in line and to demonstrate that they need their outsized budget to "protect us."

Get back to us on Alex Jones' brilliant insights on the truth behind Operation Northwoods.

But if it is anything like the typical Alex Jones hogwash, he probably mentioned Operation Northwoods and then tied it to how Kennedy was part of the NWO. And instead of using the operation as pretext to go to war against communist Cuba was actually going to be used to bring Soviet communism to the US. Or some other zany and wacky conspiracy.

What you are saying here is you actually do not know what Mr. Jones and the Jones website actually has said? This link has jones actually talking - what he says: http://www.infowars.com/operation-northwoods-exposed/

Then why should anyone believe (or care as I'm hard pressed to noodle out what the 1960's use of a pressure cooker as a bomb has squat to do with Oil and energy) what you have to say if you are not willing to link to Mr. Jones making statements 'beyond the pale'?

Want to see Jones make claims that should be backed up with proof?
(now who here wouldn't like to see proof of extraterrestrials/additional dimensions?)
(oh and if one wants to attack Jones I'll suggest what is used elsewhere - the cocaine use)

Get back to us on Alex Jones' brilliant insights on the truth behind Operation Northwoods.

So glad to know that you can speak to the US of TOD.

As taken from http://www.infowars.com/flashback-operation-northwoods/

We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). . . . We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized."

Bombings were proposed, false arrests, hijackings:

One idea seriously considered involved the launch of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. On February 20,1962, Glenn was to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on his historic journey. The flight was to carry the banner of America’s virtues of truth, freedom, and democracy into orbit high over the planet. But Lemnitzer and his Chiefs had a different idea. They proposed to Lansdale that, should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof that . . . the fault lies with the Communists et al Cuba [sic.]"

Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs worked out a complex deception:

If you've never heard of Operation Northwoods or Operation Mongoose - click the above link. The complex deception part is 'plant explosives in cats' worthy.

If you, PeakBeach305, have information about what is FACTUALLY WRONG in the above link, do feel free to post about that and provide links.

To "prove" his point, he cited some reporting by the NYT about how the FBI's undercover agents find possible terrorists in the US and train them and give them inert bombs to carry out these fake operations.

If there was not things in the past like Operation Northwoods or Ted Gunderson (Ted's an Ex FBIer who makes claims about corruption in the FBI and CIA) then Alex and his ilk could not use them as data points to show Mankinds inhumanity to Man as done by Government.

If one wants to marginalize the Jones of the world, why not work for a world where crap like what is outlined in Operation Northwoods is punished. If there is no BS of the type noted in Operation Northwoods or as noted by TODer Todd in http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9961#comment-958582 - on what could Jones hang his hat upon?

Hi Ron,

You go back far enough to remember I used to tag, "Todd - A Realist". Same thing today.

I've been out spraying grass for fire protection all afternoon and I'm beat so I'll keep it simple:

We differ in how we see reality and I want to stay away from smarta$$ stuff.

I assume you believe NDAA, TPP, CISPA, Gitmo, etc. are fine.

I assume you think it is Ok that none of the financial wrong doings warrant criminal prosecution.

I assume you think that no one was prosecuted for Fast and Furious is Ok.

I assume you believe the government doesn't lie (BLS, etc.).

I assume you think FEMA did a great job during Katrina.

I assume you think the Boston cops did a great job even though they violated the Constitution re. warrants to support their actions.

I could go on but I'm willing to bet that most of my assumptions do not reflect what you believe. So, here we are at an impasse. I look at these things and say, "I have no reason to trust MSM, TPTB, the Feds, etc. Therefore, I need to look out for my family and myself." This is how the vast, vast majority of preppers see reality. They aren't out there in Camo and packing a side arm. They are actually laying back waiting to see what is coming down and trying to establish a self-reliant lifestyle.


I think if you are completely for or completely against all those things then you are out in the extremist fringe. Government is neither all good nor all bad. Like most things, it is a complex mix of good, bad, brilliant, incompetent, etc.

One can have nuance on these things. For example, I'm guess the Boston cops asked people if they could search homes and most of the time got permission. Howerver, I wouldn't be surprised if people sometimes said "No". But under the circumstances with a bomb-throwing cop-killing maniac loose in the area . . . I don't feel so bad if they did some illegal searches. If someone complains then cut them a check to pay for a carpet cleaner or whatever. If the cops busted in on someone's meth lab or pot plantation then such an operation can't be prosecuted because it was an illegal search. I'd rather have such searches be illegal than to have some court make-up a new exception to legalize such searches.

Todd, you are scaring me. You posted earlier:

My reading of the tea leaves is that there will be some sort of government clamp down over who knows what. This will eventually lead to Civil War II which in turn will lead to a break-up of the US as it is known today.

And the "assumptions" you post above are the reasons you have for believing this? Good God man, get a grip on yourself.

No, no, the preppers are not preparing for a government clamp down or for Civil War II, they are preparing for the collapse of the world as we know it. That is they are preparing for the collapse of the government, not for some kind of dictatorial government take over that will lead to a citizens rebellion against the government.

Todd, the government is not the enemy. Of course they are making bumbling attempts to keep the economy afloat, which may or may not be making things worse. But there is no evil attempt there. God man, stop seeing evil in everything the government does. I don't think too highly of the government myself but I do not see them as the evil enemy that is deliberately trying to destroy our way of life.

Todd, what is happening to us is also happening to the entire world, only worse in a lot of countries. The government in Washington is not to blame for this damn mess. No, no, that has another cause. But I don't have time to go over that.... again... tonight.

Goodnight, Ron P.

"That is they are preparing for the collapse of the government,"

But they don't expect the government to go quietly. It's not the nature of the organism to say; "We're sorry, but we've over-reached. We can't possibly keep all the commitments we made, so here is the list of what we can keep, and for the rest you are on your own, or you will have to rely on the States to fill in the gap. Feel free to move to the State that best meets your expectations."

The fear is that the government will try to maintain power to the bitter end by whatever means are necessary, and in so doing destroy a great deal of infrastructure and resources that could have been successfully repurposed by a society in a lower order of complexity.

Government does not have to be evil. Nor does a horse. They are big heavy and awkward beasts, and they can hurt you just because you were between them and a hard object. Or because they got spoked, bolted, and ran you over in their efforts to avoid the perceived danger.

I fear the people more than the government. The government is quite imperfect but so are most of our other institutions. Tried to call the phone company lately? One example is the unbelievable proliferation of surveillance cameras in places like New York City. One might consider that somewhat of a threat to civil liberties but rest assured that our fear driven society is quite happy to trade their liberty for 24/5 surveillance.

Maybe because I have been in the belly of the so called beast, I do not fear it. The people I worked with with were just trying to do their job despite serious constraints. But these constraints were imposed over a long period of time by well meaning or not so well meaning congress people presumably serving their constituents.

I think we have more to fear from people simply withdrawing from the process and refusing to engage their government at whatever level.

I have been a reader of TOD for some time and respect your observations/predictions. I also live in the Bible Belt (40+yrs.) I can tell you from my observations that the police state has mushroomed here. I would be so glad to have your faith towards current events, but it don't add up.
HLS, TSA FEMA, and even NOAA for the love of whatever buying BILLIONS of rounds of hollow point ammunition (for target practice-rite) APc's feds militarizing police in every city nationwide.
Now to add to the process drones. where have you been? Did you not see the marshal law police state in action just last week in Boston? I only wish I was as optimistic yourself.
Personally, I fear the cops more than the bad guys. Just sayin.

HLS, TSA FEMA, and even NOAA for the love of whatever buying BILLIONS of rounds of hollow point ammunition (for target practice-rite) APc's feds militarizing police in every city nationwide.

Good grief, the paranoia is spreading. Apparently you have been reading the same web sites as Todd. No, I do not fear a police state. The people of Boston cheered the police for a job well done after they captured the one surviving terrorist. Those guys, the terrorists killed, with their bombs, three people and maimed close to a hundred others. Then they shot, in cold blood, another police officer. No, no, I do not fear the police more than I fear crazed nuts like these guys.

Ron P.

you have to be kidding me, rite//l/

Oh please regale us with your conspiracy theories. Is it the NWO? The Illuminati?

BTW, here is a nice recount of the shoot-out by some guy that lived on that block. But I'm sure it is a government plant right?

I think you are just assuming that he/she is talking about Illuminati or NWO. Blindly trusting the government doesn't earn one a lot of brownie points either. Governments and their associates all over the world have a history of planting stuff (usually whenever it suits them). Is it that hard to believe ? It doesn't even have to be the Illuminati. We are supposed to cross check every news report but when it comes to the government we are supposed to believe blindly. I think there is a logical problem with that argument.

1954 Guatemalan coup d'état

The 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état (18–27 June 1954) was the CIA covert operation that deposed President Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán (1950–54), with Operation PBSUCCESS — paramilitary invasion by an anti-Communist “army of liberation”. In the early 1950s, the politically liberal, elected Árbenz Government had affected the socio-economics of Decree 900 (27 June 1952), the national agrarian-reform expropriation, for peasant use and ownership, of unused prime-farmlands that Guatemalan and multinational corporations had set aside as reserved business assets. The Decree 900 land reform especially threatened the agricultural monopoly of the United Fruit Company (UFC), the American multinational corporation that owned 42 per cent of the arable land of Guatemala; which landholdings either had been bought by, or been ceded to, the UFC by the military dictatorships who preceded the Árbenz Government of Guatemala. In response to the expropriation of prime-farmland assets, the United Fruit Company asked the US Governments of presidents Harry Truman (1945–53) and Dwight Eisenhower (1953–61) to confront the Guatemalan President Árbenz Guzmán

Anyways if we also take this NWO, Illuminati, acerbic comments against each other route to argument there will be no illuminating points coming out of this debate. IMO the "conspiracy nutters" also do make some valid arguments. Dismissing them off hand would mean playing into the game of discrediting "theories" based on whether they sound extreme or fashionable.

Good one on the illumination thing :)

If you look at my post above, you'll see that I say that the government is not all good nor all bad.

But he brought up a specific example of the Boston Marathon bombing situation. What's the grand conspiracy there? There is none that I am aware of. The government seems to have done a great job . . . they may have gone a bit over the line with the door-to-door searches but under the circumstances, it is understandable and not a regular occurrence. Yet, we are already seeing a zillion crazy conspiracy theories . . . everything from them 'setting these two guys up', to 'using this attack as a reason to take ma gunz!', to 'covering up the real Saudi-originated attack, etc.

Our government has pulled plenty of terrible things. Fortunately for us they are generally against other countries (helped in the 1953 Coup in Iran, coup in Chile, illegal war in Nicuragua, etc.). I have no blind trust in the government . . . but I have no blind distrust either. I analyze the facts and let them lead me to truth.

The government seems to have done a great job . . . they may have gone a bit over the line with the door-to-door searches

But that 'over the line' part has a history of expansion.

What happened to the 'over the line' officials during Katrina who discharged weapons to stop people from crossing a bridge?

How about the NYPD police who were pepper spraying Occupy protesters?

Our government has pulled plenty of terrible things. Fortunately for us they are generally against other countries

All depends on what 'group' you are a part of.

Americans of Japanese dissent in WWII, or the 'Nation within a Nation' and the Trail of Tears would have a different position.

As a speculative lawyer - when does line-crossing become a threat to the "rule of law" "we" are all 'spoded to be under?

It's great when they get to be the heroes, Ron, but the gray areas are getting grayer. The well-regretted errors of the Japanese Internment Camps have not become lessons learned, and we get Heightened Surveillance over political and environmental activists, we get "Free Speech Cages" at safe distances from Political Rallies (2004 Dem Conv, in BOSTON) and WTO meetings, we get Occupy Protesters who are hustled and barricaded back INTO bank branches prior to arrest, where they had been protesting by simply closing their bank accounts, NYPD sending undercover agents into Mosques..

Just because the bad guys are scary doesn't mean the good guys aren't making some frightening strides also, inserting opposite and equally unnerving reactions into and due to the very same terse environment.

Meanwhile, the growth in the 'Privatized Security Industry' has blossomed, creating a class of Private Cop and Private MP that end up being answerable to their boss and customer, with increasingly hazy relationships to civic authority.

No, there are preppers prepping for both contingencies, and a whole range of options besides. Paranoid? Sometimes not enough. It depends on how far outside the mainstream you have chosen to plant your sign. First they came for the Jews.. and I did nothing.

I believe they started with the criminals and those with disabilities/mental illness. It is far easier to start with a maligned group of people and then move from there. People notice big changes but with little changes we are like the lobsters in the pot: most don't notice. So who to start with? Child molesters are probably the most maligned group in society today and from there I guess other criminals, muslims, homeless, mentally ill and the sick with neglect. The problem is that the machinery of hate doesn't stop when it runs out of people it simply finds new people to hate so that's where you get the widening definitions of enemy of the state.

I would say the standardization of a term like 'ECO-Terrorist' is a good indicator of one of the easy targets. When certain ECO- groups take more direct action and destroy property in the name of their protest, it is now acceptable to lump them in rhetorically (and dangerously) with those who willingly commit mass-murder to make a political point.

Of course, our devotion to property is so intense that such examples of vandalism (which is really the right word for it..) are apparently considered about as offensive as if they were murder.. and of course, the rest of the environmental movement gets to be associated with the far more incendiary tag of Terrorism.

Well, "eco-terrorism" tends to be against corporations - the owners of the United States - and it threatens their profits. Threatening the profits of corporations is the most heinous crime you could ever commit in the US.

This "government stockpiling ammo" meme is a classic example of what Darwinian is talking about. It's standard operating procedure, and has been for a long time. The only thing that's different is the attention being paid to it, and the spin being put on it, a lot of it thanks to the Internet.

The government agencies in question have law enforcement duties, even though people often don't realize it. For example, the Social Security Administration investigates fraud and abuse, often working with local law enforcement, and those who do this are just like police officers. They can make arrests, and carry loaded weapons while on duty. Similarly, the NOAA has enforcement duties against poachers and the like, and like some park rangers, carry loaded weapons on duty.

The type of ammo ordered is commonly used by law enforcement. The amount may seem excessive, but the numbers quoted are not the actual amount ordered. It's a government contract, that's an option to buy over many years, rather than a one-time order. The numbers are meant to be more than they'll ever need to buy, not the amount actually bought. Government contracts are often structured this way, and the reason is to save money - nothing more nefarious than that.

To be honest, this whole conversation is very silly. OF COURSE the elites conspire to further their interests. Every single business meeting, every time the president appoints another banker, all those people who went to Harvard together... Some of this is simple, "well, I know a guy" favoritism/contacts, some of this is Kock brothers putting tons of money into think tanks that propogate ideas that are advantageous to them. Hey, the poor conspire when they can as well, just the unions are weak and it's a lot harder to change things from the bottom. Everyone looks out for their own interest, but the powerful will always gain more power over time unless checked.

And OF COURSE the government is a big part of this. Power draws those that like the weild power, and also by nature there are social and economic barriers so the "wrong people" don't get in power. Look, if you're a nice person who wants to save the world, you probably aren't agressive enough or have the right leadership qualities (read: lust for power) to get into power. And you probably don't really want to, either!

On the other hand, it is a very fine line between reasonable government action and police state. In the US, if you don't have anything to hide, as it were, in most cases you aren't going to go to jail. Even most of the occupy protesters who were briefly arrested were let off with no charges. So we're still not there yet, at least in one sense. If the US has political prisoners (and it surely does), it has very few. You won't face trial for insulting the king (like in Thailand), or have your websites shut down. That IS a meaningful freedom.

There is real "creep". Blacks and hispanics are still targeted by law enforcement, in some ways that weren't acceptable for a few decades but came back, like "stop and frisk". Certain types of laws, such as "civil forfeiture" laws, are on their face unconstitutional. The US has more people in prison than any other nation - surely that's a "police state" in some sense. And the truly powerful, the bankers, DO get away with crimes, over and over again. Calling that "saving the financial system" is slight of hand, it's a lie and obfuscates the extent to which rule of law has been ignored - there were other ways to save the financial system, such as the one proposed by Salman Khan, or through nationalization or by breaking the banks up. The FIRE sector has more political power than it has had since at least the 1930s. Things HAVE changed, in some ways for the better but in some ways for the worse. Pretending this isn't a meaningful change is silly too.

There is always tension, though it is very high now. This leads to government being more oppressive. But people are waking up to their own power. I have said this before, without Occupy, Romney would be president. The end result is not determined. Perhaps it will fall apart, perhaps it will hold together.

It's foolish to pretend everything is all right, but excessive to claim we're already East Germany.

Well said - why must we always think in terms of polar opposites? The government is not monolithic. It is both beneficent and evil, competent and bumbling, necessary and in the way. Certain types of people will try to turn any institution into a tool for their own benefit, it has always been so and always will be. Others try to do their job and care about the work they do.

It is clear to me that the present system evolved in a world with different circumstances and will be unable to adapt to a new reality of limited resources - it will become increasingly irrelevant and unable to function, leading eventually to collapse. It's not clear how long it will take. Some elements will certainly try to maintain control, probably by building a police state (underway), but I expect this will be short lived if it even gets established, and be overwhelmed by chaos.

I expect that right up until the time it collapses, parts of it (and people who run it) will be truly evil and conspire for their own benefit, at the same time other parts try to properly perform their responsibilities to the population as best they can.

The world is not such a simple place.

"I expect that right up until the time it collapses, parts of it (and people who run it) will be truly evil and conspire for their own benefit..."

Orlov is certainly on that channel lately. CubOrlov.com, today:

Under the thinnest of pretenses, Boston was placed under martial law, with heavily armed troops patrolling the streets, pointing machine guns at civilians who dared so much as to look out their windows.
A large part of the city was placed under lockdown, supposedly because a single 19-year-old, on foot, was on the loose. (There may be dozens of armed teenagers on the loose in Boston on any given Friday.) The official story makes little sense. Do you think the Tsarnaev brothers did it? I doubt it. They seem like patsies at most. They seem to have been picked because they are Chechen, and tying in Chechnya, and Russia, and radical Islam, makes it a better story. As with 9/11, the official version has many holes in it, there is contradictory evidence, but the officials and the official media steadfastly ignore it, ready to label anyone who calls the official story into question a “conspiracy theorist.”


I second your "Jeez".

Do you think the Tsarnaev brothers did it? I doubt it. They seem like patsies at most.

I find that outrageous. They have video pictures of them placing the bombs. And when they saw their own pictures on TV they knew the jig was up so they then took other bombs, robbed a 7-11, killed a policeman, took another man hostage and used his ATM card to withdraw $800 from his account.

The point is, the police did not find them, when they saw themselves on TV they started their escape. And that, their escape attempt, was what got them caught. And Orlov has the gonads to say he doubts they did it! Unbelievable. And then he on the truther wagon and then says:

I am not an investigator or an intelligence analyst; I am merely expressing an opinion based on my intuition.

Jeeze. No, double jeeze.

Ron P.

Well, there is a new Alex Jones fan and 9/11 truther . . . Boston Marathon bomber

Tamerlan took an interest in Infowars, a conspiracy theory website.


Thanks, Alex Jones, for helping a crazy nut along with his crazy thinking.
I'm sure they are cooking up a new conspiracy theory about how the government is just planting that story so you stop listening to Alex Jones!

They have video pictures of them placing the bombs.

Do you have a link to that you are willing to share?

Because it is my understanding that visual 'evidence' shows a white backpack while other visual data shows only black backpacks were used.

when they saw themselves on TV they started their escape.

Ok. Interesting claim. Now lets see your response to to your next claim:

And that, their escape attempt, was what got them caught.

Do detail this. Detail what, exactly, was the escape attempt.

Dude. There are now hundreds of stories all over the internet from multiple different media outlets, with multiple different witnesses, the Joker confessing, multiple different photographs . . . are you gonna stick to some crazy conspiracy theory with no evidence and would require all these different media outlets to be 'in' on this grand conspiracy? C'mon.

Again I ask the straight up question to your below statement:

when they saw themselves on TV they started their escape.

What was that 1st "started their escape" thing? Are you speaking about the robbing of the 7/11? Or was there some other starting point?

Your response is vague and without sources. Even with the new link-hating post filter thing, Dude, as there are 100's of stories all over the net why not post a link to your sources? You have an idea in mind as to 'how they started their escape', so why be vague?

would require all these different media outlets to be 'in' on this grand conspiracy?

1) WHICH grand conspiracy?
2) Media outlets get their information that is considered authoritative typically from a spokesperson. If only 1 person is the official chokepoint, then your basic premise of "many media outlets" is faulty if only 1 place is considered the official source.

And to keep this more about TOD and oil:
#2 gets thrashed about on TOD with regularity. An example is the official statements of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and then the comments and links to other data sources to show how the official statement should not be considered as a reflection of the actual reality.

I have to object to your selective partial quote of what I said - if someone reads only your quote it will completely alter the point of what I said.

Objection noted. For balance, the rest of the quote:

...at the same time other parts try to properly perform their responsibilities to the population as best they can."

A steer tries... I'm sure he means well. And actually, I think most folks do their best to promote a functional society, though there is often a point when their efforts become impotent (like the steer), usually when the leaders and the complex, centralized systems they are charged with administering impartially become corrupted and coopted for the benefit of the few. Seems to be a recurring theme.

"...But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."

Oh, they will be thrown off eventually, if there is anything left to throw off. But I wonder if it will be anything like as noble as he might have envisioned when that was said, what with an entirely lightly populated continent rich with resources waiting to be exploited. I suspect the new guards for our future security may not all be all that savory. They may, however, have a lot of guns and the willingness to use them.

Wow. Orlov really made a fool out of himself with that one. And he even went into 9/11 truther territory.

See . . . this is what I mean by the peak oil 'side' of the debate being now lead by a bunch of people that come off as loons.

"Now"? It's always been thus. At least in the post-Carter years.

No, initially the peak oil debate was led by people like geologists like Ken Deffeyes, Colin Cambell, and Jean Laherrère . . . and physicists like Kjell Aleklett and David Goodstein.

Now so many of the peak voices are things like former-reporters, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, organic farmers, doomsday preppers, druids, people selling books, people selling subscriptions to their web sites, etc. Some of them can write well and have interesting thoughts . . . but the data is the most important thing. And some people stray away from the data and instead follow pre-defined narrative such a lot of bad predictions and outright laughable assertions are made. Don't make outrageous predictions and adjust your views as the data changes.

If the peak oil spokesperson is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist then the "Peak Oil is dead" people frankly come off as the much more credible people.

But along with Ken Deffeyes and David Goodstein (pre-dating them, even) were Richard Heinberg, Mike Ruppert, and others who bought into the truther stuff. Heck, even Matt Simmons said some pretty crazy things.

Honestly Speculawyer,

There is no 'Peak Oil Movement' with 'spokespeople'. And since when is 'organic farmer' a label of approbation? And so on and so forth.

But who cares? We will see how Peak Oil unfolds, or (not likely), not unfold. It doesn't really matter what anyone say. The BAU crowd has tripled-down on the cornucopian scenario, and if Albert Einstein himself returned from the dead as a PO Prophet, he'd be just another Cassandra.

I get the reason behind 9/11 truthers and such, but there already WAS a conspiracy, carried out by the Al Qaeda group that hijacked the planes. Mostly Saudis, at that. It's not really hard to believe they hated the US, especially given the things in Saudi textbooks that were exposed after 9/11.

The stuff that happens that appears in the news is already disturbing enough without adding more on. Not that it hasn't every happened before - the Gulf of Tonkin incidents come to mind - but generally TPTB do their stuff right in front of everyone's face. Like the HSBC "settlement".

I can see both sides of the Boston lockdown argument - on the one hand, there are murders in many if not most major cities in the US every night. On the other hand, these guys had bombs, some sort of guns, it wasn't clear how dangerous they were, and they had killed several people the day before.

I was more disturbed by the actions police took against occupy protestors.

My opinion of Dmitri Orlov just plummeted. What an illogical bunch of non-sequiturs.

So there are a bunch of armed 19-year-olds on the streets on any given Friday. Not doubt, but not having just bombed the Boston Marathon, murdered a couple of cops, engaged in a major shootout, including the throwing of explosive devices, and clearly capable of major mayhem upon anyone who crossed their path.

What of the photos of the brothers with backpacks. What of the photos of D. dropping his to the ground, fiddling with his phone, finally strolling off without his backpack and 10 seconds later, kaboom. What are the holes in the official version? I haven't heard of any. Dzhokhar has essentially already confessed from his hospital bed.

What does Dmitri think happened? I don't get it - I haven't actually read much of his stuff, but I had the general impression that he was an insightful guy. This makes me really question that.

Maybe Dmitri's just grumpy because the new boat he bought didn't turn out to be such a great buy, or he's been sniffing too many paint fumes. Then again,, what if he's right? ;-/

Well, what if I'm right about the Pink Unicorn Fleet from Zeta Reticuli landing on the White House lawn tomorrow morning and revealing the secret of cheap, safe, unlimited fusion power, with the cure for cancer thrown in as a bonus? ;-)

Then again,, what if he's right? ;-/

From Wiki: >:\ >:/ :-/ :-. :/ :\ =/ =\ :L =L :S >.< Skeptical, annoyed, undecided, uneasy, hesitant[1]

And I am still not sure what you meant by posting that emoticon. I really have no idea what emotion you were trying to express because I have never seen that one before.

But I will be charitable and assume it meant you were joking. You had to be joking, you just hat to be.

Ron P.

What if you just pour yourself some scotch instead of poking around the web for explanations of emoticons?
Emoticons will become very meaningful (or not)...

You are not very helpful WP. I don't twitter, I don't tweet, I don't text and the only list I post on is TOD so I am not familiar with all that jargon that you guys seem to be so familiar with. So I want to know. What does ;-/ mean? It is not a smiley face... or is it? Hey, as the bum told Dirty Harry, "Hey, I gots to know."

And I don't drink scotch. I like bourbon or sour mash but what I really like is blended Canadian whiskey. I drink James Foxe. It is the smoothest whiskey I have found yet. And is merely a confidence that it is the cheapest stuff in the story. ;-)

Now I know what that emoticon means.

Ron P.

Think concept, not specifics....

'Tis a wry smile, Ron, with a wink, intended to invoke that oft encountered zone that is neither humorous, sarcastic, satirical, nor ironic; a fusion of all perhaps. I enter that zone frequently these days. If I were British, it might be described as a 'stiff upper lip' ;-/

Whew... what a relief. For a second there I thought you might have been serious.

Ron P.

Not serious, but not taking anything off the table either. Wouldn't be prudent these days, considering some of the whoppers the financial/political/informational powers are pulling off lately. Someone hacks the AP Twitter account, posts a tweet that there was an attack on the Whitehouse and President Obama was injured; the Dow Jones trading computers read the tweet and sell like crazy. Dow drops over 100 points in less than a minute. That's what happened today, and it doesn't get any weirder than that, at least not yet.

"...our systems aren't patroled...", not really.

Not serious, but not taking anything off the table either.

You are saying that Orlov may be right? You think...

Do you think the Tsarnaev brothers did it? I doubt it. They seem like patsies at most. They seem to have been picked because they are Chechen, and tying in Chechnya, and Russia, and radical Islam, makes it a better story.

You think that Orlov just might be right here?

Good God... Has it come to this? Is there a zombie disease going around, where the usually rational suddenly become one with the crazies?

Ron P.

You are saying that Orlov may be right? You think...

Lets say that the Jehovah witnesses people are correct - there is a big book of truth one can read when they die. How will you let us know what you've learned?

And, do state now - for the record - what would be considered truth you would accept that Orlov's was correct.

"You think that Orlov just might be right here?"

While the simplest, obvious explanation tends to be the right one, it isn't always. And there are examples where blind trust in government has been violated. As the Mobjectivist is wont to say, "Question Everything", or the old gunsmith (Levon Helm) in "Shooter"; "The minute you think you've got it figured out...YOU"RE WRONG"... This applies to Orlov as well.

Some say I have a bad case of being non-committal. I just call it keeping an open mind. Seems I was born that way; one of my first memories is of sitting in Sunday School classes thinking ..you want me to believe WHAT?

What percentage of the things you've been told in your life turned out to not be true, at least on some level? Just askin'. What is clear is that governments, corporations and the financial sector have some serious trust deficits growing; Stoneleigh mentions this as one of the most pressing issues of our time. My advice to Orlov is that there's no point in making things worse. Best to fly (or float in his case) under the radar. What many see as conspiracies is really just a culture of deception, IMO, and my responses to either will be the same. It comes down to making one's self as bullsh*t-proof as possible.

Some say I have a bad case of being non-committal. I just call it keeping an open mind.

I was once told that migration to other planets around other stars would be the answer to our population problem. When I laughed out loud at the suggestion, I was told I had a closed mind. I replied that I did have an open mind, but not so open that my brains would fall out.

Ron P.

Then again,, what if he's right? ;-/

1) What level of "proof" would be needed to demonstrate "rightness"?
2) Who here would post "hey, it turns out I was wrong, mea culpa"?

If there was not a history of 'government officialdom' doing @sshole things, why would Mr. O make the claim he's making?


Do you really think that the Tsarnaev brothers did not do this? Did you know that D clearly slipped his pack to the ground, fiddled around for a few minutes with his cell phone, walked off without his pack, and the explosion happened 10 seconds later - centered on where he dropped his pack.

Why did they kill that cop, rob that store, carjack that SUV, engage the police in a merry chase, including tossing explosives, a running gun battle, etc. etc.

You are good at asking questions, how about answering this one: What is it about the known facts of the case lends any support whatsoever that the T brothers did not do this? The case only gets stronger as the investigation goes on. And D has essentially confessed.

You seem to have a real burr under your saddle on this one...

I've noticed several media stories calling them the "Brothers Tsarnaev", like some Dostoyevsky novel:

"The Brothers Karamazov Tsarnaev is a passionate philosophical novel that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia declining America."

I've noticed that you did not address, at all, the points made by Sgage.

Ron P.

Errr Sgage was addressing me not ghung.

And under this concern about others addressing points I've asked for specific items to be addressed. Will you be expressing the same concern over what I've asked the claimant to address with more specificity?

Do you really think that the Tsarnaev brothers did not do this?

I don't know. In a society under the "Rule of Law" this is why a Court trial would happen and in that process one is supposed to get to the truth.

Did you know that D clearly slipped his pack to the ground, fiddled around for a few minutes with his cell phone, walked off without his pack, and the explosion happened 10 seconds later - centered on where he dropped his pack.

1) D? What the hell is D?
2) Know? I have no 1st hand personal knowledge, nor am I aware of the source of the above claim. Is it a video? Eye witnesses?
3) Really? 10 seconds? That is not alot of time to 'get away' from your bomb, either as a 'leave the crime scene' or whatever physical effects it would have.

rob that store

Now which store was that? Because the widely reported 7/11 robbery by the 2 brothers was also reported as having not happened. Its why I asked the pointed question - to see what was exactly meant by 'rob that store'.

What is it about the known facts of the case lends any support whatsoever that the T brothers did not do this?

1st off one has to determine what is considered a known fact in the matter. Is it what has been reported on what would be called mainstream TV/Media?

Governments and agents of Governments of the world over history have concocted deceptive narratives to move forward an agenda which the population would not seem to support without the false narrative. Given a past of unpunished false narratives and bad actors why shouldn't the narratives be treated to the same level of care that is supposed to be given to the truth in a trial?

Otherwise with a snap to judgment and knee jerking you have Senators who filibuster one month over using drones as a way to deliver lethal force VS American Citizens one month and the next month claim using a drone to do the same is ok if someone is leaving a liquor store with $50 in one hand and a gun in another.

You seem to have a real burr under your saddle on this one

No, I'm seeing a game of telephone. The Alex Jones probably said comment VS using what Alex has actually said. And in the response back and forth "the Joker confessed" VS "And D has essentially confessed." They are not the same thing.

TOD is supposed to be better about citing sources and not making shit up. (or talking about theories about conspiracies, be it a conspiracy of 2 or 100's. Hopefully the mods will allow the topic to burn brightly in drumbeat #9961 so it has no fuel to smolder over future months)

I never realized NOAA was involved in anti-poaching activities. Interesting.

Why don't they help Greenpeace? Of if they do, why do I not know about it?

Best hopes that a few edible species survive.


The NOAA is responsible for protecting our fisheries and marine animals like dolphins, turtles, seals, etc.


Protect them from what/whom?


"Protect them from what/whom?


I need a drink. Thanks sgage.....


I hope I didn't drive you to drinkin'. But sometimes the best thing to do is just turn off the infernal computer and have a beverage of your choice.

You don't and/but even alcohol doesn't truly turn off my brain. If anything, a little of it helps me to be a bit more lucid and connects dots.
p.s. Quarter cask rules!

I've heard a story about someone here in Hawaii illegally using a huge driftnet that got wrapped around the makai pier near Makapu'u. Apparently had the biggest attitude of "I have a right" as he was arrested. Not to mention the monk seal that was shot on Kauai - that story was in the news.

So yeah, NOAA packing heat is A-OK with me.

"The type of ammo ordered is commonly used by law enforcement. The amount may seem excessive, but the numbers quoted are not the actual amount ordered. It's a government contract, that's an option to buy over many years, rather than a one-time order."

Oh yes, you are entirely correct. But it's still a good example of a tin ear. Did no one think of the appearance of a police force ordering enough ammunition to shoot every man, woman and child in the country 5 times?

Probably need twice as much to score a hit though.


This "government stockpiling ammo" meme is a classic example of what Darwinian is talking about. It's standard operating procedure, and has been for a long time. The type of ammo ordered is commonly used by law enforcement. The amount may seem excessive, but the numbers quoted are not the actual amount ordered.

This information comes from someplace - can you provide a link backing up your claim?

The Boston terrorists killed as many people in their week long rampage as legal US gun owners kill in what? 2 hours ? maybe 4 hours.

The two biggest threats to my life today are

1. sugar
2. road traffic.

and 1 is a much the bigger.

The two biggest threats to my life today are

1. sugar
2. road traffic.

RalphW, you've got that right.

Best hopes for us to keep risks in proper perspective.

Legal US gun owners rarely kill anyone except themselves. You seem to be confused; gun homicides in the US are mostly committed by young black men killing other young black men in cities where those guns (the vast majority of which are handguns) are already illegal to possess. I guess President Obama and Ms. Pelosi failed to emphasize that.

And yes, sugar is definitely the worst thing out there today.

"...gun homicides in the US are mostly committed by young black men killing other young black men in cities where those guns (the vast majority of which are handguns)"

Which is why it's pretty much tolerated until someone goes and kills a bunch of white children.

Much of it is driven by the "War on Drugs." Either through people who have been barred from employment due to having a criminal record (creating areas of high unemployment full of desperate people), or through rival sellers competing for territory. Add on top of that a long history of sub-standard schools (caused by a reinforcing loop of living in high unemployment areas and "bad neighborhoods" which drive out funding).

So War on Drugs > Unemployable parents with criminal history > Schools start to lose funding > Unemployable children > Less funding, worse schools > culture of violence, creation of alternate drug economy > bad neighborhood stigma > factories/employment leaves area > more unemployed

Once the cycle starts it just keeps reinforcing itself unless outside action is taken - which it never is because...well, racism. The system is working as designed. The criminalization of drugs, like that of Prohibition Alcohol, is funding a whole criminal network from Cartels in Latin America to the local "drug lords" and gangs in cities. But if you go and do the sane thing - legalize all drugs and license/regulate growers and manufacturers - then you threaten the profits of for-profit prisons, prison labor enterprises, weapons manufacturers, the timber industry, and government contractors who support law enforcement and border patrol.

If a Nation is under "rule of law"* how exactly are people involved with illegal activities to settle their disputes?

*Really- rule of law? I've got a small claims case where the 1st actions of the Court was to have the Clerk of the Courts send back the Lawyer his paperwork, the Judge to have an ex-parte hearing, and then have the Judge claim a class H felony of false swearing on an affidavit was "the truth" - and then have the Judge admonish me that I needed to 'better prove the truth'. What 'rules of law' have Presidents violated in their time of office?

Such has always existed. All the Internet allows them to do is be visible to outsiders of their groups and be better able to make their case to people who are not part of their group.

(and to be fair - as time moves forward more laws exist and that will tilt the scales towards oppression.)

There is a recent documentary called "The House I Live In" on the topic of the War on Drugs and the US prison system. There are a few interesting commentaries in it comparing the current expansion of the prison system to segregation programs of the past (racial segregation in the US, the Holocaust, etc...). So the fracturing could happen this way: capitalism and resource scarcity makes more and more people "useless" and "not needed anymore" throwing them into poverty, social breakdown and despair. But before they can revolt and kill the upper class, the upper class puts them into prison camps on some ever-expanding definition of crime. By slowly expanding the definition of the "useless" class by expanding the crimes and upping the prison charges (first it was the blacks smoking crack cocaine, then the trailer-park whites using crystal meth) the elite could keep control over society for quite some time.

"some ever-expanding definition of crime" might include 'vagrancy,' 'suspicious persons laws,' 'criminal trespass,' and the like. Of course, panhandling will be a crime (already is, for instance, in Dallas). And, onerous identification requirements would lead to undocumented persons laws.

Expect that as this happens, debtors prisons will also be established (a thinly veiled version of slavery).

Yessir, Strummer, we have much to look forward to.


Question to the USA-members of this forum: How is your "Sequester" playing out? Is there any impact on energy demand?

"Is there any impact on energy demand?"

It's a complex question, but with the IRS (tax service) announcing @100,000 furloughs, and other ongoing Govt. cuts, there's sure to be. Consumption has been in slow decline for several years, much of it involuntary, and I expect that to continue (indefinitely).... decline of empire and all that.

I don't have anything that I can absolutely pin on the "sequester". Though even before the sequester happened I had noticed a general slow down and softening of demand for my firm's services (online marketing & web development for SMBs). Speaking with other developers and online marketers; they are experiencing the same sort of slow downs. Leads and new projects have slowed considerably so my cash flow has shrunk as well. That said, it has freed up more of my time to work in the garden and on the farm. And of course, more time to read TOD! ;-)

Well I'm from the UK and I can see first hand evidence of the sequestration process. There's a US air base not far from me and the number of flights by F-15's has been cut drastically, apparently as a direct result of the sequestration process. Google "Budget cuts force Air Force, Navy to ground aircraft" for more info. (I understand posting links gets your post held up by anti spam)

I imagine less noise pollution is always welcomed.

It's just starting, VW. Stay tuned. It will start to bite more and more.

One impact already: Flight delays via furloughed air traffic controllers.

Alas, more serious problems will surely plague the poor half of the USA.

Well I just read the Washington is going to redefine how they report GDP and soon they will change how they report unemployment so no worries----"Experts agree everything is fine"...On the other hand I live in the North part of the US and I used to notice that you get almost any vegetable year round now there is not much of selection in grocery stores...

No Blue Angels shows for the rest of 2013, nofun.

Insight: Energy Prices Will Drive Global Land Use in the 21st Century

Energy prices are expected to have a profound effect on how land around the world is used over the coming century, according to analysis in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) by a team of researchers at Purdue University in the US. The effect may be larger than that of other well-known drivers, such as climate policies concerning food and biofuels.

Despite its limitations, our model suggested that long-term uncertainty in energy price forecasts means that as much as 400 MHa of land will be used differently in the future. This is four times higher than how land use will change as a result of uncertainty in climate affecting agricultural yields, and two times higher than the maximum variation in land-use change from uncertainty in future greenhouse-gas emissions targets.

Full article: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014014/article

If there's been discussion on Drumbeat of the Waco explosion, I missed it. It seems like an textbook example of the kind of energy descent we talk about here. Lax government regulations/inspections, probably deferred maintenance, likely reductions in training for staff, and another piece of infrastructure goes boom.

TJ, I think you're reaching on this one, though you are probably right about the future. Lax regulation and criminal management practices are very, very old things.

You could be right. Either way, I personally want to know much more about the sequence of events that led up to the explosion, including why the fert plant and the residential area were so close together. It seems like the Boston bombing pushed Waco out of the news in a hurry, which is kind of strange given that many more people died in Waco and that tragic accidents like it should be more amenable to corrective measures (increased inspection, better zoning, etc.) than are small scale terror attacks.

Full Article: Can Switching Fuels Save Water? A Life Cycle Quantification of Freshwater Consumption for Texas Coal- And Natural Gas-Fired Electricity

Thermal electricity generation is a major consumer of freshwater for cooling, fuel extraction and air emissions controls, but the life cycle water impacts of different fossil fuel cycles are not well understood.

Much of the existing literature relies on decades-old estimates for water intensity, particularly regarding water consumed for fuel extraction. This work uses contemporary data from specific resource basins and power plants in Texas to evaluate water intensity at three major stages of coal and natural gas fuel cycles: fuel extraction, power plant cooling and power plant emissions controls. In particular, the water intensity of fuel extraction is quantified for Texas lignite, conventional natural gas and 11 unconventional natural gas basins in Texas, including major second-order impacts associated with multi-stage hydraulic fracturing.

Despite the rise of this water-intensive natural gas extraction method, natural gas extraction appears to consume less freshwater than coal per unit of energy extracted in Texas because of the high water intensity of Texas lignite extraction. This work uses new resource basin and power plant level water intensity data to estimate the potential effects of coal to natural gas fuel switching in Texas' power sector, a shift under consideration due to potential environmental benefits and very low natural gas prices.

Replacing Texas' coal-fired power plants with natural gas combined cycle plants (NGCCs) would reduce annual freshwater consumption in the state by an estimated 53 billion gallons per year, or 60% of Texas coal power's water footprint, largely due to the higher efficiency of NGCCs.

Food Market Volatility Has Yet To Be Understood: No Definite Proof That It Is Due To Speculators

Were speculators just an available scapegoat for policy makers? What were the true causes of the dramatic price rises in staple foods? "We still don't know yet what caused the sudden rises [in 2007-2008]. There has been conflicting assessments," says Alberto Garrido, professor of agricultural economics at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain.

ULYSSES - Understanding and coping with food markets voLatilitY towards more Stable World and EU food SystEmS

Attack at U.S. nuclear plant? Multiple shots fired at security officer — May have fled in boat — FBI sending team to site — “Many of the details I won’t be able to share”

An unidentified suspect fired multiple rounds at a security officer on patrol at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant early Sunday morning, and at least one round hit the security officer’s vehicle, an official said. The Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear security officer fired back, also shooting multiple rounds. The suspect appeared to have initially been on the ground but may have fled in a boat, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said. [...] Hopson said some information can’t be released yet, such as the identity of the security officer, or it is not available, such as the total number of rounds fired. Hopson didn’t have a description of the suspect. “Many of the details I won’t be able to share,” he said.

Guardian: Fire at nuclear power plant triggers major emergency response — ‘Noise’ and smoke still coming from site (PHOTO)

The UK nuclear plant incident was a problem in the turbine hall, with an unbalanced turbine. The smoke was probably steam being vented, a routine shutdown procedure. Expected repair time one week.

TVA Police along with other authorities are investigating after a shooting involving a TVA nuclear security officer at their Watts Bar plant.

Officials at the plant say the shooting happened early Sunday morning just after 2 a.m. on the Tennessee River side of the plant property.

The incident is being labeled as an “unusual event,” the lowest of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s four emergency classifications.

The FBI has joined the TVA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigating a trespasser who exchanged gunfire with a security officer on the property of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant early Sunday morning.

My first reaction: did the FBI assist some deranged mental case in the hills of Tennessee?

Seriously, though,

TVA officials said there was no threat to public safety or the security of the plant as the shots were fired well away from the plant's "protected area."

So we know that shootings are not usual events near nuclear reactors in the TVA and that some adults at least (TVA police) are looking into the situation.


If you really want to be concerned about TVA nukes, google:
Tritium detected in groundwater at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant


Link up top: BP US Mad Dog plan pause may be due to redesign, not oil price: Citi

BP, in a statement, said "market conditions and industry inflation" are why the second phase of the Mad Dog Field plan is not as "attractive as previously modeled."

Citi says "Naw, that can't be the reason." They said: Instead, we think that scope-change plays a more significant role.

Could the reason be that BP is deeply disappointed that their other investments in the GOM have not panned out as expected? Not just the Deepwater Horizon disaster but the fact that Thunder Horse and Mad Dog phase 1 are not proving nearly as profitable as expected. The decline rate is disastrous and now they are planning a very expensive water injection project to try to improve production.

The phase 2 economics have been eroded by the need for an additional $2 billion-2.5 billion in water injection/pumping systems.

Clearly the reason is economics, that is the profit prospects have changed considerably. Why does Citi think it is a "scope-change" whatever that is?

Ron P.


A new case in China adds unknowns to bird flu

A new case of bird flu in China's capital, a 4-year-old boy who displayed no symptoms, is adding to the unknowns about the latest outbreak that has caused 63 confirmed cases and 14 deaths, health officials said Monday. The boy, who tested positive for the H7N9 virus, is considered a carrier of the strain and has been placed under observation to see if he develops symptoms, health authorities said. Medical teams found the boy in a check of people who had contact with a 7-year-old girl, who was confirmed as Beijing's first case of H7N9 over the weekend: a neighbor of the boy bought chicken from the girl's family.
Beijing Health Bureau deputy director Zhong Dongpo said that, as puzzling as the case is, the boy adds another data point to medical experts limited understanding of H7N9. "This is very meaningful because it shows that the disease caused by this virus has a wide scope. It's not only limited to critical symptoms. There can also be slight cases, and even those who don't feel any abnormality at all. So we need to understand this disease in a rational and scientific way," Zhong said at a news briefing.

This is one to watch, because the mysteries about H7N9 just keeps deepening.

From elsewhere on the net:

Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment.

Dr Graham said that young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts, when the devices were taken away.

He warned that the condition prevented young people from forming normal social relationships, leaving them drained by the constant interaction.

Parents who have found themselves unable to wean their children off computer games and mobile phones are paying up to £16,000 for a 28-day “digital detox” programme designed by Dr Graham at the Capio Nightingale clinic in London.


I've seen this for myself, and it would be nice to know the scale of the issue. My hunch is that having your eyeballs glued to a screen from birth to death will become the new normal, unless some flavor of collapse puts the kibosh on technological "progress".

I call it digital zombification.



Go hunt up the exact quotes. Linking to sources are delayed by the new system, so what is the incentive to post links?

A few months ago a 15 year old boy assulted his parents so badly, both police and ambulance had to be called in. They tried to take his IPad away from him. Was in the news here in Sweden.

When I got my first digital watch (4 digit red LED, showed the time by pressing a button) in 1976 I was so fascinated (aged 14) I flattened the battery in one day (might have been 1 hour, I forget...)

I have always self-limited my access to digital toys because I know how addictive I find them. My wife recently bought me an Android tablet because she thought it help me get into social media and rebuild my social life. Big mistake...

And me an IT guy since 1984.

My daughter and son-in-law restricted their four year old's IPad use to weekends only because of the addictive behavior he was showing.

Wow, I must really be out of touch... I can't even fathom why anyone would given an IPad to a four year old to begin with. When my kid was four I would take him out in the garden and have him turn over rocks and count the the bugs underneath. On weekends I'd take him out on my kayak to the reefs put a mask on him and toss him in with the fish! Heck, at least give the kid something useful like a Rubik's cube...

He was watching videos, primarily dinosaur related stuff, like "Dinosaur Train," but as I said that's now restricted to weekends. In any case, he gets out a lot. Yesterday, we took him to the ballpark, and he saw a grand slam, got his picture taken with the Rangers mascot and ran the bases after the game.

However, in regard to the "Digital Generation" coming out of high school, it's not a pretty picture, and I know there has been some research on how constant exposure to devices and social media are rewiring kids' brains, and not in a good way. I know some college teachers who are stunned at how poorly prepared the students are. One teacher told me that he had a student who did not know what a zip code is.

Indeed... Yesterday I discovered that my 14 year old could no longer do division or multiplication without a calculator (they don't have to do their own calculation in school anymore.) I spent half an hour explaining to him that being able to do the types of things that average numeracy (average for a 55 year old, anyway) allows me to do, like comparing prices for items of different sizes, navigation, or doing an estimate to double-check a calculation when measuring for woodworking, were important and useful skills, and that the time may come when you don't have a calculator available.

And this is despite the fact that I am on the same page with Fred regarding electronic devices. My son has always had limited computer time (half an hour a day, just raised to 45 minute recently) and we have no video game system in the house.

I just hadn't considered a calculator as that kind of electronic device.


Yeah, Canuckistani,

My own son is quite the math and computer wiz but he learned to do calculations on paper. When he was about six he would calculate the diagonals of our kitchen tiles using his toy frogs as a unit of measure and applying the Pythagorean theorem. For his birthday last year I gave him a slide rule.

A while back he and I were sitting on the beach watching pelicans dive bombing a school of small fish just offshore. Then along comes this kid so totally engrossed in his handheld that he didn't notice a piece of half buried driftwood in the sand and he tripped on it, his handheld went flying and it landed in the surf...

My son and I couldn't stop laughing for a long time.

As a mental health professional, what's so frustrating is that there's not really any research yet on how to treat this kind of addiction.

Have I treated it? Sure, but really, I'm just adapting interventions from other behavioral compulsions, cobbling treatment plans together from the little peer-reviewed stuff that's out there, and sometimes just making sh*t up. So far, I've had pretty good luck, but it's not like there's a guy down the hall who specializes in technology addiction.

Eating Disorders, Crystal Meth, Steroids, hell, almost anything else, I have a better idea where to start. Can't stop pulling your hair out, getting messages from the aliens via your dental work, uncontrollable urges to scream profanity in public places... hey, I know a guy, we'll get you hooked up.

Can't get offline long enough to leave your house, pay your bills, talk to your friends? Uh, hang on a minute... maybe I can find something about that... on the Internet...

And then there are the combo addictions-- strange hybrids of sex addiction, substance addiction, and technology addiction. People using smartphone apps to find sex partners while they're high on drugs. Conventional wisdom is you treat the drugs first, usually that works but... sometimes I'm not so sure...

I have my own my technology issues, and I'm on kind of a harm reduction plan even with this website. I like to think that that the main reasons I come here are adaptive-- that I'm hunting for the fulcrum, the catalyst for the change in thinking which could get our species through the bottleneck. I still think it's possible, and I think Community Mental Health Clinics have a very important role to play, if we can figure out what it is. I very much disagree with Ron's take on human nature, though I am deeply grateful for his insight. I'm with Arthur C. Clarke on this one: "Fifty years is ample time to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition."

But obviously, part of the reason I come to TOD (though I rarely post) is kind of twisted: I get some kind of strange enjoyment out of contemplating the extinction of mankind. I don't think I'm an addict... yet... ("but then again, who does?" -- [Gaff, Blade Runner]).

'They're my friends, I made them.' JF Sebastian

So far, We've been able to keep our daughter (9) off of most of the screen-time that her friends are immersed in.. but she's getting more and more as she reaches out into their worlds. Meantime, without any TV or Cable at home, either, computer time is often just to use Paint programs, and otherwise she is still immersed in her own fantasy creations and countless crafts.

The video games and the worlds they present are so cloying and narrow, I'm grateful she has a good grounding in a more intuitive universe.

I just wonder how these realms differ from the ones our generations got sucked into.. whether it was Gilligan's Island, etc, Archie Comix & Superman et al, General Hospital... whether in extent or quality.

"Show Business kids making movies of themselves you know they don't give a f### about anybody else.." Steely Dan - Show Biz Kids

Jok, fair point about Superman and General Hospital!

What the neurobio folks say is screen-based technology tends to overstimulate the fight-or-flight system because it's bright, shiny stuff that gets primates all worked up.

The creepier research had more to do with socialization... we didn't actually talk to your friends through the Superman comic. If we did, our ability to read social cues might have been more compromised... I'm sure it took a hit from junk TV, though, for sure.

It is great that you can set those limits with your daughter! My parents only let me watch a couple of hours of TV a week. I'm still a basket case, but I'm sure it would have been worse otherwise...

I saw my first TV when I was 25 years old. I can remember the moment clearly, 40 years later.

I'd arrived from South Africa, which had no TV then, to Britain, and walked into someone's lounge. They had a big colour TV showing a movie that featured a brightly-painted traction engine.

It was the colour that stunned me. I had never seen anything as beautiful as those jewel-like colours in the drab living room. I was hooked, and became a TV addict from that first instant.

When I returned to South Africa, which had got TV in the meantime, I refused to buy a TV knowing my addiction. Apart from a couple of years when I bought a TV to watch Formula One at unsociable hours, I've never owned one.

Of course, then the internet came in, and I found a new addiction.

The main reason why I retired at 57 (very early) from teaching (high school) and returned to construction/contracting was due to 'smartphones' and the stupid addictions of an increasingly dumbed down student body. I literally couldn't take it anymore and grew tired of having to confiscate phones during class. I had one student in a math class hold out her phone to me and said "my dad wants to talk to you". (Honest to God....mid lesson). I said "it doesn't work like that", and phoned the dad back the next day when I cooled down. When I quit just 2 months ago I told my Principal the main reason for leaving was due to the phones and the effect it was having on my students. (He agreed with me).

I was a good teacher.

And in the true prep peak oil way....because I had no debt and our family lives simple...I could walk away without one glance back at what could have been. I see my work friends now in a different venue.

By the way...dumb/smart phones don't work in our remote valley. Here, kids shoot bb guns and build forts, smoke early, and think about...(you guessed it).


I taught engineering drawing for a while. The students at the back would play games on their laptops. I used to look at the bright animated 3-D colourful imaginative images and sigh -- how could my dull static 2-D black-and-white drawings of boringly simple objects compete?

We are breeding children like Monsanto is breeding crops -- very productive provided they are placed in an environment that is tailored to their requirements. It is the job of the farmer to provide that environment.

Problem is, in the world of work there are only so many jobs for drone pilots and the like. And if a crash comes, no jobs. People will have to scratch around and do the best they can with very limited skills. I don't think out hothouse plant children will fare so well. (Not mine. I don't have any.)

The Amish shall inherit the Earth.

The Amish ants shall inherit the Earth.


I know of a 2-year old that is given access to an iPad. He basically spends the time playing stupid games - nothing that I have seen so far is the least bit educational. He reportedly gets better scores on these games than some of the adults he is around, which suggests that he gets to spend a considerable amount of time honing these "skills".

We offered to get some other sort of educational kids thing for him for Christmas, and we were told that he wouldn't use it since he "uses" the iPad.

To be fair however, I recall reading articles about how the "Sesame Street" generation was learning differently than older kids, and that they came to require the all of the songs and the flashing bright stuff on the screen, and it made it harder for the kids to learn when they got to school. Or more precisely, the teachers in the schools had to adopt new methods of teaching to hold the attention of the children.

On the positive side, these kids usually know how to set up all our electronics while we pore over the manuals.

My five-year-old autistic grandson has made great strides in behavior and comprehension by playing games and watching little ed movies on his refurbished iPhone - the phone part isn't hooked up, but he has games and can get online. The iPhone can be a great distractor when he goes into meltdown mode as well - and to keep him calm in overstimulating situations, like riding in the car and being in public places. He has home sessions daily with therapists and they use it as a reward for various tasks they work on with him.

I think you have to be careful to not allow kids to be on devices so long that their attention span shortens from too much quick jumping from task to task. But some games actually improve concentration. There are therapeutic aspects for kids with dyslexia too.http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/video-games-may-aid-children-with-dyslexia/

I can't even fathom why anyone would given an IPad to a four year old to begin with

Partly because parents are too stressed out nowadays and don't want to take them to play and all that sort of thing, kids are alone too, fewer of them have siblings to play with and they can't run amok in the streets with their play gang. So it's easier to show them youtube videos, cartoon shows and video games and keep them sedated.

Remember those VHS tapes? When my younger couswins grew up, movies on VHS was used as a stand in baby-sitter. We had a discussion back then if this realy was good. I and my same aged cousins grew up a few years before everybody got a VHS device and played outdoors. PArents had no time to baby-sit their kids. Things get more stressed up every year that passes.

No idea, VHS wasn't a big deal here. Anyways I could never stand more than 1 hour of TV, but the 1 hour we had was quality programming, probably because there were so few channels back then. We lived in a big city for some time and baby sitting was a big problem there, but after that we moved to a small town and it wasn't a problem anymore. There was a big playground in front of our house, a small garden in the backyard, we also had a dog, four cats, a rooster, four hens and two ducks, I even had a pet squirrel, we used to roam the streets as kids in our free time, our parents would just tell us to get back before sunset.

MY kids (9 and 10 ) are adopted. They have mental issues due to the violence and severe neglect in their first year of life. Like all modern kids they would spend every waking second in frotn of a screen if we let them. Like most parents we give give in more than we should. They stare at the screen as if drugged. When you call time all the built up stresses in them explode, which can turn very ugly if you are not prepared.

The human brain has not evolved to cope with the moving image.

They stare at the screen as if drugged.

Its not just kids - the isolated Russian I posted about did the same.

There are plenty of rabbit holes to go down WRT the 240 frames per second refresh rate for HD TV where one will have to decide if those claiming an effect are right and are worthy of being listened to.

And if there is an effect - who's going to pay for examining that effect?

If TV/moving picture media can put one in a 'suggestive state' - what advertiser would want that state to come to an end?

(then there are rabbit holes that try to tie Finnigans's wake to radio, Marshal Mccullen to TV and the huckster making the pitch about the previous 2 claiming that he exposed the 'android meme' and IDed the faster and more interpersonal Internet as the next generation. *smile* You are soaking in that.)

Funny. When we adopted our last child, he was three years old and living with a foster mother in a NYC high-rise. The TV in the living room was on all the time. The result, however, wasn't that he watched TV. Rather he considered it background noise to be ignored. It took a while back home in Indiana before he'd sit and watch Sesame Street with the others.


and Pelicans have a tendency to lawn dart.


Toyota Prius May Miss 2013 Sales Targets on Low Gas Prices

Gasoline prices that are almost 10 percent lower than a year ago are slowing demand for the three-vehicle hybrid line, Bloomberg reports.
First quarter sales of Prius-branded vehicles were down 8.4 percent for the first quarter of 2013.

Best hopes for Prius sales during this period of cheap gasoline.

If sales are down, maybe prices will follow. This may be an opportunity!


Jeremy Grantham Believes In High Oil Prices: Thinks Oil Sands Producers Are Bad Investments

In my efforts to revisit my thesis one of the first items I found was what some of the people (service company Core Laboratories) involved in drilling unconventional tight oil wells are saying. Core Labs confirmed what I have been hearing consistently from the industry for the past couple of years, which is that the North American oil boom is going to require $90 plus oil prices to continue.

Very interesting. WTI is just above $88 a barrel right now.

Ron P.

You know, Ron, that at least one - maybe both - candidate for POTUS in 2016 will be campaigning on the issue of, "Why are gas prices so high? We are swimming in oil... it must be [pick one: Those Damned Democrats/Those Damned Republicans]."

Obviously there is no shortage of oil. It must be speculators!

And all of them insisting that GDP is fine (they have just added 'intangibles' to boost it), the economy is great, unemployment is dropping (as more and more quit looking for work and leave the labor force), and of course, my dear Pangloss, everything is fine in this, the best of all possible worlds.


You know, Ron, that at least one - maybe both - candidate for POTUS in 2016 will be campaigning on the issue of, "Why are gas prices so high?

Craig, and they will also be promising to lower the gasoline price to $2.50 per gallon if they are elected. It sounds like a repeat...

A person looking at the data can look at the facts and see that high oil prices are the result of high demand from China, slowing oil production growth, and the high cost of the new oil coming to market (ultra deepwater oil, hydrofracted shale oil, tar sands, etc.)

But sadly, most people don't have the time or skill to analyze the data and instead will pick one of the many bogus narratives thrown at them (evil OPEC, speculators, evil oil companies, tree-huggers preventing drilling, the EPA, evil oil biz supporting GOPers, evil "no drilling" Obama, etc.)

I think he may be engaged in a little wishful thinking. Yes, oil will require higher prices. But I think the market will pay those higher prices. Addicts will pay what they need to pay. Granted, oil usage in the OECD may continue to drop a little bit but I think there will be plenty of profit in it.

Politicians afraid to tell poor not to have kids - Reid

Principal of Jamaica College (JC), Ruel Reid, is charging politicians to be more decisive in ensuring that proper family planning is enforced in the country....[snip]

The JC principal said socio-economic factors continue to be a hindrance in students' performances, especially at the secondary level.

"We have been talking about basic values and attitudes for such a long time and we have not been doing anything. Our politicians are afraid to stand up and say you can't have children if you can't afford it," Reid declared.

"We can't continue the cycle where people feel it's the norm to have children in any kind of environment and that is a huge factor of what has been stifling educational output in Jamaica," he continued.

Jamaica College is actually a high school that has the distinction of being the school that was attended by a national hero and founder of one of the two major political parties. Since the state took over the running of just about all secondary education in the 70s a lot of formerly "elite" schools now have a mixture of wealthy, middle class and poor children and this school is no exception. As a result this principal is probably quite aware of the challenges faced by his poorer students. It certainly sounds like it!

The reason why I've posted this here is that, we often discuss population and it's relation to energy use. What I find interesting about this story is the comments. People obviously feel very strongly about the issue and the "likes" or "up arrows" seem overwhelmingly in favour of population control or people who can't bear the cost of raising children not having so many. On the other hand, those that think that nobody has the right to advise anybody else on whether or not they should have any given number of children, are certainly expressing their opinions despite being outnumbered.

I must admit that this is certainly not a representative sample of the local population, since the poorer you are, the less likely it is that you would be reading this particular newspaper, much less on-line, much less commenting. It would be interesting to get a feel for the opinions held by the wider population. My comment is so easy to spot, any body who doesn't should just go and stand in the corner!

Edit: My, my! This newspaper has certainly picked up on the topic of population control today. The story at the top of this post got 109 comments at the time of this edit and today there are three stories in the "Lead Stories" section of the front page of the web site! See:


Alan from the islands

Alan, good for Jamaica for having a discussion of the population issue. I think we will see the issue raised in more and more countries.

It would be nice to see countries in Africa address the issue too. Maybe some day even the new Pope could share his thoughts about population growth.

Best hopes for reduced poulation growth throughout the world.

Population control is still seen overwhelmingly as a problem for 'those people' over there. Not my tribe, not my clan, not my intellectual or racial tranche.
I expect that to change in another decade or so, when mankind gets a chance to stare into the abyss.

The abyss could well be some mid-September day some years hence when we have our first ice-free Arctic day.
Then the following year, it is two days, then three... when sober men in positions of power face the implications of an ice-free Arctic in July or June the gravity of the situation will sink in. 'Insolation' and 'albedo' will become common jargon, much as 'greenhouse effect' and 'positive feedback' are now.

Voluntary population control will rapidly become a universal human value, much as anti-racism has become in the post-colonial era. It will start with the wealthy and influential, the tastemakers, and spread out. People with large families will feel increasingly ostracized and shamed...having more children will be seen not just as an economic burden but a moral liability.

Obviously in Jamaica at present there is still substantial pushback by defenders of large families. And why not? It's apparent that having only a limited number of children is not a universally held value yet.
But that can change. And it will.

Obviously in Jamaica at present there is still substantial pushback by defenders of large families.

If you read the comments to all the articles you should detect that, those who object to the notions of population control, family planning and plain good old parental responsibility are very emotional and not shy of expressing their views. However judging by the numbers of "likes" and "dislikes" (up and down arrows) their numbers are small and this I see as a good sign.

The only problem is that, as I said in my post, this being an on-line forum is not a representative sample of the entire population. Of those who read and participate in this newspapers on-line discussions their seems to be a strong leaning towards a need to restrict population growth or at least foster far more parental responsibility.

Alan from the islands

"Voluntary population control will rapidly become a universal human value, much as anti-racism has become in the post-colonial era."

IMHO, this is our only chance-- but it has to happen with blinding speed, across multiple cultures, and it's not going to be easy.

This is what interests me most... how do we speed this along without violating human rights, without propaganda, without totalitarianism?

There's no good road map for this, no model that really works because procreation plays a unique role in human culture (Duh!). For lack of anything better, consider tobacco consumption. Per wiki, via the CDC, smoking rates dropped 50% in roughly 40 years:



Look, it's a crappy analogy, I don't have the time or patience to figure out how fast the population would drop if we could decrease the number of people procreating by 50%, and I know that's a lousy excuse that's not going to fly well here. (I did at least glance at the CDC data, and this is the number of people who smoke, it's not the amount they smoke, which would be a totally meaningless comparison.) The conventional wisdom is that tobacco is more addictive than heroin...


...though the criteria they're using are kind of weird, and I have no idea if it's more addictive than having children, and of course it's far more complicated, because only one sex act, and one birth control failure, could result in additional children, and someone is probably not considered a smoker if they just smoke one cigarette.

But I think evidence suggests that this kind of social and cultural change is possible. The obstacles are formidable-- smoking rates are pretty stable as of 2006 worldwide, and we may not have even half a century to reduce the birth rate dramatically.

Accomplishing this could be the most challenging undertaking our species has ever faced.

I don't think it's hopeless. I'm just not sure what it's going to take.

A little advertising dressed up as news:

Samsung unveils digital inverter

With the high costs now associated with the use of electricity, consumers will now be happy to know that Samsung Electronics has unveiled in Jamaica a new refrigerator with a digital inverter that is guaranteed to save energy, automatically levels the power fluctuation, has more durability and a higher cooling performance to keep food in top condition.

This is interesting from the point of view that another brand was in the news last week promoting their "inverter" fridge. Could we end up with a battle to see whose fridge consumes the least energy? That would be a shift in the right direction in terms of marketing, ie. pushing conservation instead of mindless consumption.

I hate the use of the term "inverter" to describe refrigeration appliances that use variable speed motor drives, VSD or VFD (variable frequency drives) as they are known in industrial applications, since I think variable speed or adaptable cooling is a much more accurate description but alas, it seems "inverter" has become the marketing buzz word of choice.

Alan from the islands

It was only a matter of time ...

'Backyard Oil' a real-life 'Beverly Hillbillies' as DIY drillers turn into millionaires overnight


That's how much a guy named 'Coomer' makes each month from an oil well he drilled.

In his own back yard.

Forget about digging for gold or trawling for Alaksan King Crabs, Discovery's newest show chronicles the “high stakes, comical roller coaster ride through the world of wildcat oil drilling.”

Backyard Oil” follows the fortunes of several oil-seeking gentlemen in rural Kentucky: the aforementioned Coomer, a bearded hillbilly name Rascal, a bickering father-son team known as the Page Boys, and Jimmy Reliford and his sidekick Mad Dog.

That's right, we're talking the real-life 'Beverly Hillbillies.'

... “It really is that in some parts of the country, you can poke holes in your front and backyards and get oil and become a millionaire. It’s a bit of trial and error, and a little bit of an investment, but you can hit and make some big money.”

... panem et circenses for the proles.

Rockman wept.

Prepare for a “big surge” in Bakken

As the weather warms, the rig count in western North Dakota will begin to climb again. Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says he has signed 530 orders for multi-well drilling pads, and another 334 are close to being approved. That translates to nearly 6,000 additional wells in the next three years — more than are currently producing in the state — and a huge bump up in production.

Definitely lots a new wells coming. But will there be a real big surge in production? Well that also depends on the declines from the previously drilled wells. It would sure be nice for the economy though if there is a real surge in production.

The key thing to watch is if a doubling of the number of currently producing wells is going to double the current production. If this drilling frenzy actually comes to pass, we will find out empirically if the next batch of sweet spots is as good as the current batch.

There have been about 200 rigs (give or take) operating in the Bakken for over a year. 2000 wells a year with 200 rigs sounds about right. But, you need more wells each year to avoid plateauing.

So where are they going to do all this drilling -- new areas or infill drilling in already-drilled areas?

Three years is all it takes for the currently producing wells to decline substantially. The Red Queen says that this new batch is needed to maintain production levels.

From the opposite side of the world...

Special report: Australia’s electricity demand collapse

Electricity demand has been sinking for the better part of four years. Bitter cold or relentless heat, weather extremes appear unable to spur demand – peak or overall – back to where it was pre-GFC, or perhaps more aptly, pre-solar boom.

Yet we plough on accepting throwaway lines from executives and journalists that peak demand is a costly problem. It was.

And from forecasters we hear that all of a sudden overall demand is going to burst back to life. It won’t.

See: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/4/23/climate/special-re...

To our own....

Nova Scotia Power reported its 2012 electricity sales earlier today and they're down twelve per cent year-over-year and eighteen per cent from five years ago.

Here's hoping that we break below the ten TWh mark in 2013.


From the opposite side of the world...

Special report: Australia’s electricity demand collapse

It's due to stupidly high electricity prices and the lack of efficient regulation thereof. That's coupled with crassly bad customer focus - the price goes up so the usage goes down, so they push the prices even higher to 'maintain profits'.

They doubled over the last 5 years, and they are talking about a further doubling in price inside the next 6 years.

It can only be a matter of time before an Enron style case emerges.

the price goes up so the usage goes down, so they push the prices even higher to 'maintain profits'

That's a nice death spiral you describe. It is also an example of how a price that reflects the real cost of energy would get people to use less; people are sensitive to rising prices, and it is getting easier to reduce energy demand at home, so they reduce demand by improving efficiency where they can and doing without where they can`t.

The large utilities are going to get squeezed.

Chris Nelder had a recent piece that discussed this. Don't recall it being posted.

Adapt or Die? Private Utilities and the Distributed Energy Juggernaut

Will disruptive change kill or strengthen private utilities?

Does Australia have any shoot-itself-in-the-foot laws concerning PV installations? Pricing schemes, no net-metering, hard to get permitted, etc?

Opinion polls suggest in September a political party will sweep to power in Australia on a promise to repeal the carbon tax. However the power price rises are more to do with increased network charges (poles&wires) and the renewable energy target than the carbon tax. Electricity consumers are spooked not necessarily in a good way. For example an aluminium smelter in NSW has closed down and manufacturing generally is subdued. At the residential level an elderly relative refuses to use air conditioning in 44C heat for fear of bill shock. That is evidently of more concern than heat stroke.

Some are saying this is all due to PV and 'efficiency'. I think not. PV is minor (under 2% I believe) and various forms of help are being phased out - purchase rebates, feed-in tariffs (eg from 44c per kwh to 8c) and green certificates. That's stationary energy we still have planes trains and automobiles with no easy alternatives ready for prime time. Australia's emissions are about the same as they have been for 30 years and now we want to export more coal and LNG for others to burn. Time for something different. Case in point Australia has huge uranium reserves but nukes are illegal.

While being a couch potato at the weekend (hard week!) I caught a bunch of curiously fascinating episodes of 'Outback Trucker' - huge Australian 'road trains' driving 2 or 3 thousand kilometers through horrible road conditions...

Anyway, my junk TV addiction aside, I wondered mightily at whether the trucking infrastructure of Australia is at all sustainable... at some point it is surely going to get too costly to drive (in a truck!) cows 2,000 km?

Yair . . . I mentioned on here a few days back that the cattle industry in remote areas will survive because we can walk them to market.


Wouldn't that mean carrying nearly the same weight in water? I'm told cows drink around 40 gallons each day.

I was raised on a farm. We always had two or three milk cows and I used to have to draw water with a windlass, no pump, and water the cows. 40 gallons seems like way too much. I don't remember ever having to draw that much water.. Perhaps a hugh Holstein dairy cow might drink that much but...

Search: Q. How much water do cows drink per day?

Daily water intake may vary from 3 to 30 gallons per day depending on age, body size (weight), stage of production and the environment (mainly air temperature).

As a rule of thumb, consumption will range from 1 gallon per 100 pounds of body weight during cold weather to nearly 2 gallons per 100 pounds of body during the hottest weather.

Lactating cows require nearly twice as much water compared to dry cows.

A Holstein dairy cow will weigh about 1280 pounds and a Jersey, typically, slightly less than a 1,000 pounds. So do the math.

Ron P.

Thanks. I was just gong by what our range specialist told me to allocate for our water rights. Maybe the extra is to accomodate additional use by wildlife or loss to evaporation. He's convieniently out in the field today (Lucky dog, it's beautiful) so I can't ask him.

But OK, I'll do the math: If they're going to market, then they're full grown, let's say 1000 pounds. I hear the Australian outback is hot, so let's say 2 gallons per 100 pounds. So, 20 gallons per day * 8.3 pounds per gallon = 166 pounds per day. That means six days of water will equal the weight of the animal.

I don't know how far cattle can walk in six days, but walking in to market from "remote areas" seems like you would need more water than the weight of the cattle themselves. Unless you're following a river or something, obviously, but I'm told the Australian outback is pretty dry too.

Yair . . . It's all been done. Google "Canning stock route" Wiki is probably the best page.

This is one of many . . . the whole of outback Australia was criss-crossed by such facilities with water established at intervals for daily travel.

I think one of the bores on the Canning has what was once touted as being the "longest cattle trough in the world". Sheesh


Thanks, Scrub. Makes more sense now.

(BTW, you've totally infected my brain with your "Yair" business. I catch myself thinking it all the time, but have yet to use it out loud. Maybe someday I'll get down under so I can try it out for real!)

You should check out the Welsh drovers too. Though that was sheep and there were more resources available en-route.


Yair . . . come on down.


Be careful what you ask for. One of my best friends married an Aussie and is thinking of moving to Adelaide.


I believe we now pay the highest electricity rates in Canada, and as a (nearly) all-electric homeowner I don't like rate hikes any more than the next guy. That said, in the absence of these higher rates, there would be little incentive to use electricity more efficiently and we would undoubtedly burn a lot more coal. The waste and inefficiency that I see all around me boggles my mind, and what saddens me more is that many of the folks responsible for this wastage simply don't care. This suggests to me that electricity rates in this part of the world are still too low.

To put this into a historical context, this is a copy of my grandparent's electric bill from September, 1948:

 photo NSP1948Statement.jpg

The first five kWh were charged at 5-cents and the remaining kWh at 3-cents; in today's dollars, that's 54 and 32-cents per kWh respectively. With various surcharges, I pay just under 14.4-cents.

BTW, note that they consumed just twenty-one kWh over the course of that two month period, keeping in mind this is 1948 and not 1908. Their wireless set would have likely consumed 80 watts whereas my portable radio runs about 1-watt. I'm guessing that their incandescent lamps were, for the most part, 60-watts whereas the L-Prizes I use draw 9.7-watts. Now imagine how little electricity they would have required had they had access to today's technology.


I'm in the US and what I notice is that the delivery charge per kwh for power is actually a little more than the cost per kwh of the actual power used (production). And then of course there are all kinds of other fixed charges. My guess is that what is happening is similar to what is happening with road taxes - as there are more hybrids/efficient cars which pay less in taxes (because they use less gas) revenue for road maintenance goes down which, c.p. is bad. Similarly with power use - the infrastructure requires a certain amount of maintenance regardless of quantity of power sold - so likely the fixed/variable cost ratio is going to change. Chances are that even if you have solar panels on your roof and have net metering that eventually there are going to be more and more charges related to infrastructure rather than consumption which will keep your bill relatively unchanged.


My two cents, if you are able to do it:

Go PV with a system able to go 'off-grid', then just watch from the sidelines.

I'm good with the electric supply solution there .. the bigger tricks are how to get your food and income 'off grid' to a useful degree. Every bit helps.. but some bits are 'more equal' than others..

Redevising the basic mortgage has been one of my back-burner quests lately.. seems to be the classic raw deal in my view.

Redevising the basic mortgage has been one of my back-burner quests lately

You may wish to spend some time determining if your mortgage is legal and if you are willing to assert that "rights belong to the belligerent litigant"

I'd post a link to WTPRN archives but they no longer exist. Steve Skidmore and Endless Fraud Detection are the search engine "phrase that pays".

Thanks, EB

Currently we have a government in New Zealand looking to sell 49% of all of our state owned generators. I can't help but feel that they know the way the wind is blowing and are attempting to divest themselves of them before a major decline in power consumption destroys their long term value.

The interesting response by the opposition here has been to jointly propose a policy of establishing the government as a monopsony (single buyer) of electricity and thereby driving down power cost (profits for power cos) as well as establishing a similar 'tier' system to California whereby the lower your consumption the better the savings. The government is spitting tacks at this because it could derail their sales plans.

"Currently we have a government in New Zealand looking to sell 49% of all of our state owned generators."

That would be such a boneheaded thing to do. If they sell them the next thing that will happen is the company/ies that bought them will pay off the politicians, jack the rates, stop competition (from renewable sources), and if anyone complains threaten them with the "being left in the cold and dark" if they don't get their way. It's likely that whoever is proposing this is already getting paid off somehow. As always, follow the money.

Under government ownership they jacked the rates because of the dividend paid to the government. What the potential investors don't seem to get is that once the government loses the dividend their incentive to tolerate higher prices vanishes along with it. Following the money here I would say that the government's 'friends' have a large part to play in the sale. We don't have corruption in New Zealand because we don't look for it and when we can't help but see it we call it something else.

TPTB in government are pissed because the opposition unveiled their plan two weeks before the sale of the first power station was going to happen. They called it 'economic sabotage' which has quite a funny ring to it given the fact that the opposition called the sale the exact same thing.

The reduction in energy sales at Nova Scotia Power must be due to all the energy efficient lighting improvements that Paul in Halifax has made. :)

For all,

I'm hoping that someone can help me find a book I once read. It was a long time ago, but I think the book was called 'Energy Crisis' and I think that it was by the Harvard Business Review circi 1980. But the internet isn't finding it for me so I must have something wrong. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

I want the specific book to cite for where I first heard the term 'peak oil' for Aniya's petition to get the National Academy of Sciences to study peak oil. Link: http://oildepletion.wordpress.com/


Report of the energy project at the harvard business school

Edited by Robert Stobaugh & Daniel Yergin 1979

ISBN 0-345-29249-5 (1980 Ballantine edition)

This is the most amazing reference you can get. The book contains every article that ever has been or will be published on The Oil Drum, all written in 1978. Seriously, it is completely comprehensive, even to the point of predicting LNG ships just around now.


Does anyone know if this Pakistan State Oil (PSO) debacle has any bearing on the rest of Pakistan's finances? It would seem that a country with nukes, constantly overflown by US drones, and full of religious fundamentalists...it might be a smidgen bad (especially for India) if their economy failed.

Collaboration aims to harness the energy of 2,000 suns

Today on Earth Day, scientists have announced a collaboration to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating, on average, the power of 2,000 suns, with an efficiency that can collect 80 percent of the incoming radiation and convert it to useful energy. The proposed system can be built anywhere sustainable energy, drinkable water and cool air are in short supply at a cost of three times lower than comparable systems.

... "We plan to use triple-junction photovoltaic cells on a microchannel cooled module which can directly convert more than 30 percent of collected solar radiation into electrical energy and allow for the efficient recovery of waste heat above 50 percent," said Bruno Michel, manager, advanced thermal packaging at IBM Research. "We believe that we can achieve this with a very practical design that is made of innovative concrete trackers, primary optics composed of inexpensive pneumatic mirrors and structures made of concrete—it's frugal innovation, but builds on decades of experience in lightweight and high strength concrete elements used for building bridges."

Looks cool. But CPV has been struggling against cheap panels. many of the companies (Amonix anyone) are going belly up. Maybe that means the field is wide open.
Most CPV goes for much smaller concentrators -its easier to deal with the heat.

Lots of things that can go wrong. If cooling fails your expensive multijunction cells are instant toast. If your optics warps for a moment and you get a hotspot...likewise. So I wish them lots of luck.
BTW, the best concentrated multijunction is now near 44%!

Lots of things that can go wrong. If cooling fails your expensive multijunction cells are instant toast.

Yeah, I think that making these things complex does not work well. To really get a pay back with renewable systems, they need to be robust and last a long time. If you buy a fancy energy-saving $30 light bulb and then drop while installing it, it is going to take a long time of energy savings to recoup the $60 total you spent when you buy another $30/replacement. (This is one of the reasons LEDs are a nice step above the CFLS . . . they are more robust.)

With conventional PVs, you already have problems with them losing generation capacity as they warm up. With concentrated PV, that has got to be a huge issue to deal with. And as you point out, a short problem with cooling and PV will be fried.

KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

If the CPV unit can use the waste heat to run a distillation unit, it could be very useful. If they can get to 15 psi steam (250 F) they can run a multi-effect flash unit very well.

15 psi steam will also run a lithium bromide air conditioning unit.

I can see the potential here.

There was a movie "Let it Ride" in which the main character would choose a winning race horse, and win, by listening to everyone else, then picking the remainder.

Applied to this, I say: invest in standard glass encased silicon PV, fixed mount, and have a system with 20+yr reliability and no moving parts to fail.

Earth feels impact of middle class: Expert says problem isn't just population, it's lifestyle

... "Improving Human Well-Being on a Resource-Limited Planet: Can We Do It?" was sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and was part of its "Future of Energy" lecture series. King was introduced by the center's director, Daniel Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and a professor of environmental science and engineering.

There are already signs the growing middle class is prompting increased competition for resources in global markets for oil, food, and minerals, King said. Fresh water sources are strained, including both surface water and aquifers. Some water-poor nations have turned to desalinating seawater, an energy-intensive process, with the energy often provided by coal.

Wondering if anyone has the guts to admit we got it wrong on peak oil. I imagine many years after the world was proven to be a globe many people still thought it was flat - I guess they just fade into history, much like the peak oil movement is doing.. http://www.google.com/trends/explore?hl=en-US#q=%22peak%20oil%22,+fracki...

That is what I suggested a couple of weeks ago and the consensus was that it is a slow collapse. We will wait for another 10 years and see. If by 2023 the net oil exports are a lot smaller than today and there is no collapse then we can conclude that peak oil will not lead to collapse.

I would like to know what "collapse" looks like. 30% unemployment? Greece and Spain are there, other places are worse like Iraq. Poverty? Nearly 47 million Americans are on food stamps. The fall of governments? The Arab Spring sure did a number on quite a few and Syria is still in the middle of a civil war.

On the other hand, there are always countries at war, there are always places with high poverty or unemployment. Poverty is falling in much of the world, China, India, and Brazil are seeing great jumps in standard of living.

So, taken together, what would count as collapse? A drop in living standards worldwide? A financial collapse ala 2008? Substantial reductions in world trade? Or is collapse like obscenity, something that "you know it when you see it"?

Somebody please give me a meaningful idea of what "collapse" is!

According to wikipedia, destratification, despecialization, decentralization, destructuralization, and depopulation.

Though not mentioned in the article, uncontrolled rioting and looting would possibly be a good indicator that a collapse is underway.

The flat earth/spherical earth theory analogy is an interesting one to use, since the refutation of a physical impossibility, a flat earth, is used as justification, by Cornucopian Cultists, for a different physical impossibility, an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

In reality, the more appropriate analogy is just as a flat earth is a physical impossibility, an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base is a physical impossibility, but maybe the third time's the charm.

The increase in US C+C production, leading up to the 1970 peak, did not continue forever.

The subsequent rebound in US C+C production (as a result of North Slope production coming on line), leading up to the 1985 secondary peak, did not continue forever. North Slope production, actual and projected:

So, the argument is that the current rebound in US C+C production (as a result of tight/shale plays), will continue forever.

This time, the Cornucopians Cultists insist they are right, and this time we will see an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

Incidentally, from 2006 to 2012 inclusive, globally we consumed about 190 Gb of crude + condensate, the equivalent of about 9 North Slopes.

The existence of Peak Oil is indisputable. It is a corollary of the fact that the absolute supply of crude oil is finite, therefore its extraction rate cannot increase forever. "We" did not get it wrong.

Sure, there have been date predictions and price predictions which have proven inaccurate, but the underlying facts have not changed, and Peak Oil will still happen.

If it no longer scores high on Google searches, that just means that most people have been lulled back into complacency by the industry and the media. Or it could mean that enough people are convinced about it that it's no longer controversial... try running Google trends on "round earth" and "flat earth" and you'll find that "flat earth" wins by a large margin!

"Wondering if anyone has the guts to admit we got it wrong on peak oil."

What's this "we" stuff? I've seen many opinions of how peak oil will play out, most in disagreement about what the implications are.

"I guess they just fade into history, much like the peak oil movement is doing."

"Movement"? .... Jeez.

I wonder if anyone, (especially those denying that, collectively, peak resources is an unavoidable fact) has the guts to admit that people have short attention spans, and invariably over-simplify complex issues, then reject these things when they don't conform to their simplistic, ignorance-infused views.

Peak resources, including oil, is occurring now, and will have major effects on our industrial systems. How it will progress, and how societies will respond, is certainly debatable. That's my story, and I have the guts to stick to it.

Frogs,, in pots.

The Cornucopian Cultists do have a bit of a problem with metaphors/analogies. As noted above, the flat earth analogy has some problems.

There is the "Boy who cried wolf," but the problem is that the wolf did show up.

Or, they could use Cassandra, but the problem there of course is that she was always right, but no one believed her. However, "Peak Oil Cassandras" may be my favorite term that I have heard some Cornucopians use.

I suppose they could use "Chicken Little," but then they are stuck with using a physical impossibility to support another physical impossibility, i.e., the sky can't fall, so our oil consumption will increase forever. But given the alternatives, perhaps Chicken Little may be the best choice they have.

I think right or wrong on PO is largely a matter of timeframe and cause.
If one's assumption is/was that PO would occur in the relatively near future, and was caused by an inability to increase the rate of extraction, perhaps yes, that view in a way could be considered to be wrong.
Expand the horizon, add in the element of price, the nature and the match between resources extracted and the infrastructure to process and use them and the question whether PO was "right" or "wrong" becomes less clear.
One things is clear though and that is that you can't have infinite resources on a finite planet.


When did the Earth stop being a finite object at the bottom of a gravity well and therefore the amount of oil is finite?

There has already been a peak of $5 and $10 barrels of oil. Sure looks like a peak of $100 a barrel.

So I'm not sure what was wrong about the idea that oil production will peak and decline.

So I'm not sure what was wrong about the idea that oil production will peak and decline.

It's really simple! If peak oil is true than quite a few people will have to change the way they live.
That is what people are in denial of. CHANGE is something that most humans hate!

Well that, and the fact that we have a society composed of adults that behave like immature spoiled brats.

MOMMY! I want my my SUV!!!! I'm sorry honey your SUV is broken... WHAAAAAAAA! I want it!,I want it!,I want it!

Wondering if anyone has the guts to admit we got it wrong on peak oil.

I think that's a case of determinining an outcome due to a failure to be patient. This time period runs at a faster pace than any previous period in human history, so it's understandable people expect immediate results to something like peak oil. The Oil Age is about 150 years in the making, so pinpointing exactly when the peak will occur is very difficult. Economics has played a role in extending the peak, due to higher prices providing incentive for non-conventional sources, but those sources are more expensive and at some point the FLOW rate will not be able to increase no matter what. Why, because the economy can only handle a certain price threshold before it causes demand destruction and the economy slows, which will reduce the viability of non-conventional sources and supply will descend.

It's a matter of time before oil hits a peak, never to go that high again, but if people are too impatient to wait until that happens then find topics with quick results like maybe the NBA playoffs, in which you can point to a date on a calender and know it will be decided by a certain date. Then you can say "Ah, yes there is some finality in the world after all!"

When I first became aware of the inevitability of Peak Oil, in late 2007, I had been watching documentaries and getting my time scales mixed up. In a video presentation everything happens in such a compressed time frame, it's easy to be fooled into thinking that the events presented will play out over a short time.

I have now, five and a half years later, come to the conclusion that things are playing out pretty much exactly as predicted but, at a much, much slower pace than I first thought they would. It's sort of like watching a tree grow. If you get a chair and sit with your eyes glued to it, you won't see a thing but, if you ignore it for a few years and then take a look, woah!

I think I get what the guys in the documentaries were saying about, not being able to recognize it till it's in the rear view mirror, until it is past. We are so caught up in this fast paced Internet life that, like watching the tree grow, we cannot detect the slow collapse creeping around us. After a few years have passed and we realize that air travel has once again become the province of the wealthy and other things we took for granted are no longer, only then will we realise that we lived through the Peak and it is now behind us.

I am glad it's happening so slowly since I get more time to prepare but, a stair step down could possibly happen any time. Ghawar could suddenly water out or it could just slowly peter out over decades. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

Alan from the islands

Well said. When I read stuff about how it's time to admit we were all wrong, I have to laugh - it's not that PO didn't happen, it's all around us and still people cannot see it. I guess that answers that question!

"it's not that PO didn't happen, it's all around us and still people cannot see it."

Yup. Though I think, particularly for the US, the wounds from which we suffer at this moment are upwards of 80% our own. A healthcare system that's an expensive joke, laws which promote outsourcing of primary industry to foreign nations, a military-industrial complex that sucks tax dollars and funnels it to wealthy contractors, and a tax code which funnels wealth to a select few.

All you have to do is look at the massive accomplishments of China and India and realize that it was the US's mistake in giving up that advantage - allowing our industries to flee to nations with substandard labor laws, substandard pollution laws, etc.

If the oil had continued to flow freely it might have "papered over" the problems for a little longer, but those chickens were always coming home to roost. Peak oil just made it happen faster.

It looks like Peak Credit will trump Peak Oil.

As long as you can borrow money to pay for expensive oil, it will be produced somehow.

An Irish writer looks wistfully at Iceland:

Dan White: The economic return of Iceland has proved that the joke was on us (Ireland)

Dan White – 16 December 2012

WAY back in the autumn of 2008, the joke in financial circles was that the only difference between Ireland and Iceland was a letter and six months. Now, with the Icelandic banks preparing to issue foreign currency bonds once again, it turns out that the joke was on us.

Remember when the Icelandics did the unthinkable and, unlike Ireland, told bank creditors to take a hike? They also imposed capital controls and allowed the value of their currency to fall – the Icelandic krona has lost almost half of its value against the euro over the past five years. The "experts" queued up to assure us that these latter-day Vikings would be severely punished for their impertinence. While no one forecast that a hole would open up in the North Atlantic and swallow Iceland whole, some of the predictions came pretty darned close.

Meanwhile, we in Ireland did what we were told and repaid over €70bn of bank bonds at par. By doing so, even at the cost of bankrupting the State, the "experts" assured us that we would retain the confidence of the markets. Now, four years later, it is clear that, not for the first time, the "experts" have got it wrong. Catastrophically and utterly wrong.

Well the Irish should not beat themselves up too much. I think Iceland is not a fair comparison. Iceland is blessed with massive amounts of easily accessible free geothermal energy. And Iceland has access to fisheries that no one else has access to. So Iceland just had much better resources that they could exploit for their recovery.

Perhaps Ireland would have fare better if they followed Iceland's example but I doubt they would have fared as well as Iceland did.

Also, hindsight is 20/20. What if Iceland were completely financially cut off from the world and people were starving in the streets whereas Ireland were doing well? What would be the verdict have been then? "Well, obviously it is one's duty as an participant in the global economy to honor one's obligations. Clearly that path will be respected by all and that is eventually beneficial to the country" (?!).

Using a single variable to (with the benefit of hindsight) something as complex as a country's economy is likely not very productive, certainly in terms of forecasting what another country's best course of action is: Should Argentina not pay on their bonds or should they, and what are the effects over specific timeframes??


This journalist may well be writing with the benefit of hindsight, but no hindsight was required to understand that a country is not looking after its people's interests when it chooses to hand over utterly monumental amounts of money to exceedingly rich, primarily foreign, speculators who lost some of their money on ill-advised gambling in Ireland. Their loses were theirs, private loses made by incompetent capitalists who continue to operate in much the same way as before. They 'invested' their money in private institutions. They lost. Tough. That's the game, or at least we're usually told that that's the game that these 'risk takers' and 'wealth creators' are playing.

But the treacherous Irish political class decided that the poor old foreign speculators should get all their money back. Ireland had no legal or moral duty to pay debts which weren't Ireland's to pay. Ireland was well able to pay its own debts, as it had one of the lowest national debts in the world. Bank debts were not Ireland's debts. Ireland simply chose to give the money away. And the media are still selling the lie that Germany and Britain bailed out Ireland, when it would be closer to the truth to say that Ireland is attempting to bail out Germany and Britain, even though they don't even need a bailout, they just want the money and since Ireland is willing to indulge them...

I am not up to speed on the political situation in Ireland, past or present. What happened to the politicians, or the people who actually make/made those decisions?

They suffered a heavy defeat at the following elections, and were replaced by other politicians who effectively believed in the same kind of approach. Which is why I referred to the political class in my post, rather than political parties, since nearly all politicians were in agreement that the Irish people should hand over impossibly large amounts of money to rich foreigners.

Ireland is an in interesting casestudy from the point of view of many contributors to the oildrum. One of the probable reasons for what Coilin describes as the attitude of the political class in Ireland on this issue, is that as a country Ireland has been in a state of energy poverty for hundreds of years. Ireland had no fossil fuel resources to speak of until very recently and it is only above $100 a barrel oil prices which make Irelands offshore reserves financially viable.

This energy poverty prevented Ireland taking an active part in the Industrial revolution and to a great extent prevented an industrial economy to be formed, instead Ireland developed its agriculture economy and in recent years an internationally traded services economy was built. It was the imminent risk of losing this services aspect of Irelands economy which greatly influenced the political class in how to deal with the fallout of 2008.

Ironically, Ireland now finds itself with truly enormous renewable energy resources, much more than domestic demand will ever need, to the extent that we are now going to export wind energy to Britain.

Ireland also has a small population with a large capacity to be self sufficient in food production.

I wonder how long it will take Irelands politicians to realise the competitive advantage that Ireland now enjoys as we move into a world of higher energy prices and a diminishing supply of fossil fuels ?

My response would then be - the international financiers much like loan sharks have the ability to punish you and cause you extreme pain. Pay heed the next time you borrow money from them.

Iceland has access to fisheries that no one else has access to.

Iceland had to stand off the British Navy to get control of their fisheries. There was an international confrontation between the Icelandic government and the British government. The British sent fishermen to fish in Icelandic waters, the Icelanders sent out small, fast boats to cut the British fishermen's nets. The British sent in their Navy, the Icelandic patrol boats brought out bibles and hurled biblical quotations at the British warships.

Eventually the Icelanders won. It was just a matter of never giving up. They are the descendants of Vikings, after all.

Same thing with the banking industry. There is a lot to be said for never giving up when your well-being is threatened.

the Icelandic krona has lost almost half of its value against the euro over the past five years.

That's the key to Iceland's recovery (other than stiffing the foreign investors for umpteen billion euros). It amounts to a de-facto cut in Icelandic prices to half their original value, which makes Icelandic products much more competitive on the global market. It doesn't mean much to the Icelandic people since both their wages and their expenses have dropped the same amount - although they can't afford to buy foreign goods any more and have to fall back on local providers. No doubt their bankers are getting sick of eating codfish instead of caviar every day.

Ireland could have achieved the same thing by (in addition to telling the foreign bankers to take a hike) dropping the euro and reissuing Irish pounds at, say, a 1:1 ratio. The IR£ would probably drop to half the value of the Euro, but that would just make Irish industries much more competitive than, for instance, German industries.

The euro really acts as a subsidy to German industry. If they were still using the German mark, the value would rise enough that they would become uncompetitive with, for instance, Irish industry. As it is, they can continue to keep their prices low and complain about having to bail out weaker countries. Without the euro, the weaker countries would be undercutting them on price.

The original Irish pound was pegged to the British pound, and that amounted to a de-facto subsidy to British industry.

Cause of LED Efficiency Droop Finally Revealed

In 2011, UCSB professor Chris van de Walle and colleagues theorized that a complex non-radiative process known as Auger recombination was behind nitride semiconductor LED droop, whereby injected electrons lose energy to heat by collisions with other electrons rather than emitting light.

A definitive measurement of Auger recombination in LEDs has now been accomplished by Speck, Weisbuch, and their research team.

Someone posted an article a while back referring to problems with internal reflection in LEDs reducing efficiency. If they find some way of reducing this effect and the other effect...that could be interesting.


Rich get richer in recovery, but net worth of lower 93% declines

WASHINGTON -- The richest 7% of American families saw their average wealth soar 28% from 2009 to 2011, while the remaining 93% of households lost 4% of their net worth over that same period, according to a new report.

Notice the time period 2009-2011 does not include 2008 when there were huge stock losses. What was the wealth gained or lost by the top 7% for the time period 2008-2011?


Looks like the consequences of CC are finally starting to get some serious political attention in coastal regions of my home state.

Having gotten only so far with "friendly persuasion," the Jersey shore community that was hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy is ready to take out the stick.

Mantoloking is preparing to use eminent domain to take control of small strips of land from oceanfront homeowners who are holding up a critically needed beach replenishment project.

The storm-decimated borough hired an attorney today to start condemnation proceedings against a handful of holdouts who won't sign easements that would allow federal officials to carry out the work. And it plans to publicly release the names of the holdouts within the next week if they don't change their minds and sign....

Mayor George Nebel predicts only four or five residents will ultimately refuse to sign. He says the town has no choice if it wants to survive.

Bird flu has jumped the border. First case reported in Taiwan.