Drumbeat: May 22, 2013

Oil-Fixing Probe Accelerates as EU Asks Traders for Help

The investigation into possible oil-price fixing gathered pace as trading houses from Glencore Xstrata Plc, the $70 billion mining firm, to Gunvor Group Ltd. were asked to provide information to European regulators.

Glencore Xstrata, Gunvor and Vitol Group, which aren’t under investigation, along with other firms with offices in Switzerland, are assisting the European Commission with the inquiry, said three people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The commission announced last week that it’s probing whether oil companies colluded to distort prices.

Indonesia re-arrests Chevron exec amid tension with Big Oil

(Reuters) - Authorities have bypassed a court order and re-arrested an executive at Chevron Corp's Indonesian unit in a graft case that highlights growing tension with big oil companies in a country struggling to reverse a decline in oil production.

The attorney general's office said on Wednesday it had re-arrested Bachtiar Abdul, an executive at PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia, despite a Nov. 27 court order that cleared him of any wrongdoing and released him from detention.

China’s SUV Fleet to Drive Oil Demand Growth, Bernstein Says

China’s growing fleet of sport utility vehicles will offset gains in fuel efficiency and continue to drive oil-demand growth, according to Sanford C. Bernstein Research.

Chinese oil consumption will increase at an average annual pace of 5 percent to reach 12.9 million barrels a day in 2018, from 9.6 million barrels a day in 2012, the investment research company said in a report e-mailed today. Its forecast is higher than the International Energy Agency’s outlook for a 4 percent average annual increase for the same period.

China Net Gasoline Exports Stay Remain Year High as Demand Slows

China’s net exports of gasoline remained near the highest level in a year amid the nation’s weakest domestic oil demand in eight months.

Overseas sales of gasoline exceeded imports by 468,553 metric tons in April, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s equivalent to 132,360 barrels a day. In March, net gasoline exports were 506,110 tons, the most in a year.

WTI Crude Drops a Second Day as U.S. Supplies Gain a Fourth Week

West Texas Intermediate fell for a second day after industry data showed U.S. inventories rose for a fourth week, the longest run of gains since February. China’s oil stockpiles climbed for a second month.

Futures slid as much as 0.9 percent in New York after a report from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stockpiles increased 532,000 barrels last week. Government figures today are projected to show a 1 million-barrel decline, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. The API also indicated gains in gasoline and distillate-fuel supplies, including heating oil and diesel.

Crude and Product Stockpiles Gained Last Week, API Says

Oil supplies advanced 532,000 barrels to 390.7 million, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Distillate fuel inventories rose 459,000 barrels to 118.4 million, the API’s weekly report showed. Gasoline stockpiles also increased, gaining 3.03 million to 219.5 million.

Gasoline Falls on Speculation Tornado Didn’t Affect Inventories

Gasoline fell on speculation that the deadly tornado near Oklahoma City may not have affected refinery operations in the area.

Northwest Gasoline Tumbles on Tankers, as Shell Restores Output

Spot gasoline in the U.S. Pacific Northwest dropped by the most against futures since February as tankers carried oil products to the region and a Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) refinery recovered from a power failure.

Coal’s Record Slump Poised to End on Output Cuts

European coal’s longest slump in at least eight years is poised to end as imports from the U.S. fall and further declines trigger production cuts at mines in Russia and Poland.

When oil forecasts get it wrong

The famous Danish physicist Niels Bohr once humorously observed, "Predictions are very difficult, especially about the future." And so, as the world considers yet another rosy oil supply forecast, this time from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), it is worth reviewing the agency's record.

The Coming Deluge of Oil

It came without warning: A flood of oil. Just a few years ago we were talking about peak oil, the slow, painful demise of crude. Now there's talk about a shock wave of new oil supply from North America that's about to slam into global markets.

We're in the early stages of a new oil boom here in North America. The tar sands of Canada started the rumble. Now it's set to be the shale oil from North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana that will make the U.S., in five years or less, the largest oil producer in world, even greater than Saudi Arabia. By 2018, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there'll be more oil produced than cars can burn.

Is peak oil never going to happen?

You can make a coherent, logical argument for cars that don't burn gasoline without once mentioning global petroleum supply. You can talk about international relations and the power of gasoline exporters (just read the first three paragraphs of this for a bit of history). You can talk about climate change. You can talk about the health effects of CO2 in the air. But the fact remains that gasoline (or diesel) remains the go-to fuel for almost every passenger vehicle on the planet, so the question of how much black gold is out there is an important one. The answer, though is not so clear.

Has the EIA Killed Peak Oil?

A number of factors have changed the face of peak oil. Low U.S. growth, increased oil production and more fuel efficient modes of transportation have dampened the effects of rising energy costs. Peak oil is still a real phenomenon, but in the medium term it looks like it will affect the economy through subtle means.

Peak oil conjures up images of mile-long lines at gas stations and whole nations experiencing Cuban-like economic collapse. Recent data suggests that in America, peak oil may be mainly manifest through strong inflation that decreases the average worker's real income.

Ben Bernanke sees the great slowdown in technological progress

The great slowdown is a historical fact, an important event still occurring. We can see a few of its effects, such as how it contributes to the multi-decade stagnation of real wages for most American households.

How long will it last? Almost everybody sees this as the slowdown as a pause, not an end to progress. The subtitle to Tyler Cowen’s The Great Stagnation is “How America (Eventually) Will Feel Better Again.”

Soaring energy costs make Europeans poor

Over the past few years Europeans have seen their energy costs locked into an upward spiral, deteriorating the competitiveness of European businesses and putting more households at risk of energy poverty.

Across Europe, average electricity prices for households and industries have increased by 29% between 2005 and 2011. Over the same period of time electricity prices in the USA increased by only 5% and in Japan by 1%.

Ipic seeks $4bn return for building key oil pipeline

The International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) is in talks with the Government to receive US$4 billion in cash for building a strategic oil pipeline bypassing the Strait of Hormuz.

Ipic executives said in an investor call this week that the investment company expected to be reimbursed for the cost of building the pipeline in several payments over the coming year, Reuters reported.

Turkey eyes oil, gas deals with Iraqi Kurdistan

(Reuters) - Turkey is looking to sign commercial contracts this year with Russian and U.S. companies operating in northern Iraq for joint oil and gas exploration, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan last week discussed U.S. concerns about Turkey's deepening energy ties with Iraqi Kurdistan during meetings in Washington with President Barack Obama.

Myanmar to pump oil and gas to energy-hungry China

An hour's drive outside the Yunnan provincial capital Kunming, at a vast construction site, building work is nearing completion on a Dh7.35 billion pipeline that will ship oil and gas from Myanmar to energy-hungry China.

With a capacity of 440,000 barrels of crude a day and 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas, the pipelines, which will run from this construction site in south-western China all the way to the Indian Ocean at the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar, are central to Chinese efforts to improve energy security as its economy continues to expand.

Russia's Yamal LNG to fully market LNG from project, take FID regardless of export rights

Paris (Platts) - The Novatek-led Yamal LNG consortium's marketing of LNG from the project and final investment decision are not dependent on whether the Russian government would allow companies other than Gazprom to export gas from the country, representatives from Yamal LNG and Total said Tuesday.

French-Asian firms reveal LNG contract in Canada

A consortium comprising French, South Korean and Chinese companies has won a contract for a liquefied natural gas project in Canada, the French partner Technip said on Wednesday.

The other partners are Samsung of South Korea and Huanqiu of China.

Poland Shale Boom Falters as State Targets Higher Taxes

Poland’s shale gas boom is threatened even before it gets started after some wells failed and the government sought to increase taxes on profits.

Of 39 wells planned for 2013, just two were drilled by May, Environment Ministry data show. The government plans to require that explorers take a state-run company as a production partner. It has also proposed raising taxes to almost 80 percent of profit, according to Ernst & Young estimates. The measures, announced in October, haven’t become law.

Arctic Refuge Oil Targeted by Alaska Amid U.S. Reluctance

Alaska’s government proposed investing its own cash in an assessment of oil reserves in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, seeking to prod the federal government to consider drilling in the protected area.

Canadian Pacific Spills Most Oil in Three Months in Saskatchewan

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. rail cars spilled 545 barrels of crude oil near Jansen, Saskatchewan, in the company’s third and largest oil spill in as many months.

Japan Atomic Blasts Regulator on Ruling That Keeps Reactor Shut

Japan Atomic Power Co., which has Tokyo Electric Power Co. as its largest shareholder, said a decision by the regulator that will keep one of its nuclear reactors off line is “unacceptable.”

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, set up after the Fukushima disaster, today approved a report by its advisory board that said the No. 2 reactor at Japan Atomic’s Tsuruga plant has been built on an active earthquake fault.

Tesla's Glory Days Will Be Few As Bigger Competitors Are Already Catching Up

Despite this big drawback though, Elon Musk's plan for the company seems to be going exceptionally well. It started from expensive cars for affluent early adopters and car enthusiasts and is working its way down to the masses with more affordable models. And currently Tesla is two or three models before the "available to the masses" stage, Model X included.

However, investors in Tesla should be extremely cautious. Although the company is way ahead of its competitors in the electric car market, this may prove to be an advantage with an extremely tight expiring date.

To harness the sun, first break it into little pieces

In a region that derives its electricity from sprawling power plants that generate millions of kilowatts every day, it is little surprise that the advance of solar power is measured in utility-scale arrays.

Abu Dhabi kicked off a trend that will involve huge swaths of desert being covered with solar equipment over the coming decades when it inaugurated the Shams-1 plant in March.

Ban Ki-moon: World on course to run out of water

Ban Ki-moon has warned the world is on course to run out of freshwater unless greater efforts are made to improve water security.

Speaking on the UN’s International Day of Biological Diversity, Ban said there was a “mutually reinforcing” relationship between biodiversity and water that should be harnessed.

Forget peak oil—start worrying about peak water

A report released today by the US Geological Survey (USGS) today shows that Americans are sucking dry the aquifers that irrigate their crops and supply their drinking water. Between 1900 and 2008, the US lost 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles) of groundwater. That’s twice the volume of the water in Lake Erie.

It gets worse. The rate of groundwater depletion is accelerating, according to the study of 40 major US aquifers. Between 1900 and 2008, the US lost an average of 9.2 cubic kilometers of groundwater annually as the growth of cities and industrial agriculture tapped underground reserves. But between 2000 and 2008, groundwater depletion jumped 171% to an average of 25 cubic kilometers a year. In just those nine years, the amount of water pumped from the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies a large swath of the US, was equivalent to 32% of the water that was depleted from the Ogallala during the entire 20th century.

Subsidies urged to help power stations move away from coal

HUGE coal-fired power stations such as Drax and Eggborough could “switch off” if the Government does not provide the necessary subsidies to support their conversion to burning wood, an MP has warned.

Dan Byles, the Tory chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the environment, and a member of the Commons energy and climate change committee, said the UK “cannot afford” not to use biomass as a key source of energy over the coming years.

Deadly Moore Tornado Tops the Scale at EF-5

Complete and utter destruction in some parts of Moore, Okla., in the wake of yesterday's deadly tornado confirms the twister was a rare EF-5 — the top of the tornado rating scale, the National Weather Service announced today (May 21).

Deadly Tornadoes Drive Up Storm-Shelter Demand

In Bill Stegman's office on the eastern side of Dallas, the phone is ringing and ringing and ringing again, with only short breaks between callers. It goes on for some 30 minutes, virtually uninterrupted. He says it's been like this for hours.

The powerful and deadly tornadoes that have torn through Granbury, Texas, and Moore, Okla., in the last week are fueling this activity. What these dialers have in common is the hope that Stegman, the owner of storm-shelter installation company American Tornado Master, can keep them from being the next victim. He's been in this business 36 years, and he says he's never seen interest this high.

Does Climate Change Impact Tornadoes? The Scientific Jury Is Still Out

There's no debating the devastation of the two-mile-wide tornado that leveled much of Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday, May 20. The Oklahoma City suburb, situated right in the heart of Tornado Alley, suffered unimaginable loss of life and destruction: 24 deaths, including nine children, and an untold number of pulverized buildings, including schools and hospitals.

But, is this particular type of extreme weather caused by climate change?

Short answer: Depends on whom you ask and how you ask it.

Fossil fuel divestment campaign's victory in Australia will be a moral one

Divestment campaigns historically have never been about economic pressure. The effectiveness of the South African apartheid divestment campaigns were due to the moral pressure they placed on governments and businesses. They made toleration of apartheid in the USA, Britain and other countries (including Australia) impossible. University campuses were the hubs of much of the campaign activities, engaging not just students but academics and the trustees of university administered funds.

The divestment by the University of California Berkeley's divestment of $3 billion in 1986 was later credited by Nelson Mandela as a catalyst for the collapse of the apartheid government.

Unfortunately, there's every indication that the big fossil fuel companies targeted by McKibben — like Exxon, BP, Chevron and BHP Billiton — are less concerned than Apartheid South Africa was in global public opinion. For example, BP has managed to bounce back from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Plan to protect community from sea level rise

Lake Macquarie Council has started work on a plan to protect Marks Point and other lakeside suburbs from flooding as a result of rising sea levels.

Council says it has begun the community consultation process on the adaptation plan which will take 18 months to complete.

Climate Policies Must Break Free From Big Oil

The big “green” story here in Brussels lately hasn’t been the perilous state of the planet but the problems befalling the EU’s emissions trading scheme. Although the scheme has proven to be disastrous in terms of mitigating climate change, it has helped entrench the idea that heat-trapping gases should be considered as a tradable commodity. Because there are people out there who stand to make millions from carbon transactions, it’s not surprising that they want to salvage the Union’s scheme.

Climate-change disasters worry UN

New York: The world needs to wake up to the risk of a spike in natural disasters linked to climate change and strive to find ways to cut the human and economic cost, the United Nations warned yesterday. "We live in a time of huge natural disasters which are made worse by climate change," the UN's deputy secretary-general, Jan Eliasson, told reporters at the start of a three-day conference on risk reduction in Geneva.

"Natural disasters are not only becoming more frequent but are becoming more vehement," he warned.

Re: Forget peak oil—start worrying about peak water (Uptop)

In just those nine years, the amount of water pumped from the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies a large swath of the US, was equivalent to 32% of the water that was depleted from the Ogallala during the entire 20th century.

I see an interesting parallel to the volumes of recent crude oil consumption.

Payden & Rygel has been running an advertisement on CNBC for some time, noting that nearly a quarter of all goods & service produced in all of human history have been produced in just the past 10 years:

"Seen in that light, global trade, investment and economic activity are still in their infancy."

Of course, roughly a quarter (about 23%) of all crude oil ever consumed globally was consumed in just the past 10 years.

In any case, I was wondering what the outlook would be for food production, given a decline in groundwater extraction rates. Here is an item from 2010 that I found on the National Geographic website:

Groundwater Depletion Raises Likelihood of Global Food Crises

Out of sight, out of mind means deep trouble when it comes to the reserves of freshwater stored underground. New numbers are out on the rate of groundwater depletion around the globe, and if they hold up to further scrutiny, the world is almost certainly facing a future of food shortages. . . .

Although the research team doesn’t delve into the implications of their findings, a lot is at stake–especially for the world’s food supply. Irrigation, which accounts for 70 percent of world water use, is the principal cause of the groundwater depletion. About 40 percent of the world’s food supply comes from the 18 percent of farmland that’s irrigated, making irrigated farming a cornerstone of global food security. But in recent decades as more farmers have turned from rivers to groundwater for their water supply, groundwater pumping in many areas has become unsustainable.

Just as a bank account shrinks when withdrawals exceed deposits, so does a groundwater account. Water budgets are badly out of balance, throwing many regions into water debt. In effect, farmers are using some of tomorrow’s water to meet today’s food demands.

Something to keep in mind is that "Net Export Math" applies to both food and energy production, to-wit, domestic demand tends to be satisfied before food & and energy are exported, e.g., Russia's decision a couple of years ago to temporarily ban grain exports.

Ground water depletion should be especially worrisome for the Saudis. I wonder if they're actually worried?

Only the few who know, and don't have private jets.

As reported elsewhere - the Saudis have greenhouses in other parts of Africa and are having food shipped in.

Then you have robots for food - http://www.harvestai.com/ And just imagine all of the new Saudi fission reactors being used to power them thar food-bots.

Or how about just going right for printed food? http://qz.com/86685/the-audacious-plan-to-end-hunger-with-3-d-printed-food/

So no worries - technofixes are all about!

I am sure the market will find a substitute for fresh water. Human ingenuity certainly will save us from peak fresh water if the market does not save us first.

And here it is - the device to convert our deluge of oil into precious fresh water...


I like the models that run off solar power - plenty of demand for those in numerous water-challenged areas with ample sunshine and the right levels of humidity. Obviously, though, many of those areas do not have the sort of wealth to buy the unit and the PV to run it....

It's called a "stillsuit", made in Arrakis. Look for the "Fremen" label in the back to ensure quality construction:)

Indeed, do not be caught out in the desert with an imitation Stillsuit! :)

There is a problem here. According to the Dune timeline, we won't settle Arrakis for many thousands of years. So no Fremen to make um.

A minor temporal detail, surely. ;P

Oh, that's right - I remembered Arrakis and the stillsuits from my "prescient" memory...guess I better back off some on the spice.

Just like oil, I think we are on the down slope just past peak water demand, in which demand for water is dropping. sarc.

Indeed. There are vast amounts of water from substitute sources available to the farmer, although the individual Poland Springs containers deplete rapidly. The market will save us as capital is diverted to bottling plants.
Sarc off.

Water, we actually have large amounts. Most is salty, or frozen and far from the places that need it.

So we simply need to design better humans that can drink salt water. :)

Recently gave an invited talk at a local Sierra Club (SC) gathering on energy descent, EROEI, ELM, etc. They were more savvy about these issues than I expected; the conversation eventually turned to water.

Here in the Great Lakes, we have (currently) solid policy against water exported from the watershed. Folks played with the idea of whether we'd ever export, even to drought-devastated areas. While the hard core SC folks said never, I mentioned that the alternative was to then handle well the "water refugees" we'd get, who'd end up consuming the water, etc.

I brought up Wendell Berry's "isolationism versus protectionism" idea (I mentioned this in a past DB). That is, we need to secure the integrity of the Great Lakes watershed. Some call this protectionism. Berry's reply (to a similar issue about food) is, “... that is exactly what it is. It is a protectionism that is just and sound, because it protects local producers and is the best assurance of adequate supplies to local consumers.”

Berry then makes what I think is an important distinction. A thoughtful protectionism is “... the best guarantee of giveable or marketable surpluses. This kind of protection is not ‘isolationism’.”

Not sure Sierra Club policy will change, but their comments revealed they had a pro-social (not just a pro-nature) inclination. Most seemed conflicted about water exports.

Indeed, there is no water shortage in North America, but much of it is in areas well away from large population centers and agricultural regions. If a shortage of water starts to impact our ability to provide water to population centers and to grow enough food for everyone, I don't really see how we could avoid large scale water diversions. The idea is hugely unpopular, especially in Canada, but it is hard to say no to large numbers of people who need water.

I remember reading once that the Saudis wanted to fill oil tankers with fresh water from the Great Lakes, and were willing to pay for it. They were refused. I can't imagine that such sales are even capable of changing the flow rate of the St Lawrence in a measurable way. That flow changes in response to changes in yearly average precipitation that are much, much larger than any withdrawal the Saudis would consider (if I am wrong it will be easy for someone to change my mind, for the truth of the matter is quite amenable to measurement and mathematical analysis, and the facts and figures would, if indeed I am wrong, be easily available). It is a shame the export of water did not happen - sometimes everyone comes out ahead in a trade deal, and no one suffers. Oil tankers are very efficient transporting goods - I'm sure far more oil is burned desalinating seawater than would ever have been burned transporting an equivalent quantity of water from the Great Lakes. I imagine they would have used tankers that came to deliver oil in the first place, to boot.
They will have the opportunity to refuse to export a resource to us at some point. If they really could use something they cannot feasibly deplete with respect to either our needs or that of nature's, and we have no use for what they would take at the moment, doesn't it make sense to be let them have what they want, for a fair payment? One would think that it is the duty in such circumstances for the political class to educate their constituents re the potential risk free gain rather than to go along with a misapprehension of the facts of the case in order to most easily maintain the support of the voters, which is what seems to have happened.
I wonder if there is much more to this story than has been told to the public.

They could sail to the mouth of the Amazon and get fresh water for free.

For centuries ships have reported fresh water near the Amazon's mouth yet well out of sight of land in what otherwise seemed to be the open ocean. -- Wikipedia, "Amazon River"

The locals might not allow it. The water is the property of the Brazilian gov, I would assume they have say within their exclusive economic zone. Outside of that it would be salty. A good idea though - I wonder if the economics could be made to work.
Maine used to have an ice industry - it was cut in large blocks in the winter and stored in large ice houses, the individual blocks were insulated by layers of sawdust. The ice was shipped long distances for refrigeration (not for the ships - for the communities the ships sold to). South America was one of the markets for Maine ice, so that was economic, back in the days of sail. Perhaps in this day, with ships so much larger than in the past, it will be economic to ship Amazon water for irrigation, when we are further down the groundwater depletion curve. I would be interested in reading a paper on how it could work out.

The locals might not allow it. The water is the property of the Brazilian gov, I would assume they have say within their exclusive economic zone. Outside of that it would be salty.

It's true that the Brazilians have a rather extended economic zone but I recall back in the day when I was diving on oil rigs up in Amapa that there was a layer of fresh water that extended quite far out into the ocean. Upon occasion we would see mats of vegetation floating far out at sea. The Amazon has a huge volume of water and since it is fresh and less dense than the ocean it stays separate and mostly on top.

The quantity of water released by the Amazon to the Atlantic Ocean is enormous: up to 300,000 cubic metres per second (11,000,000 cu ft/s) in the rainy season, with an average of 209,000 cubic metres per second (7,400,000 cu ft/s) from 1973 to 1990.[8] The Amazon is responsible for about 20% of the Earth's fresh water entering the ocean.[6] The river pushes a vast plume of fresh water into the ocean. The plume is about 400 kilometres (250 mi) long and between 100 and 200 kilometres (62 and 120 mi) wide. The fresh water, being lighter, flows on top of the seawater, diluting the salinity and altering the color of the ocean surface over an area up to 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2) in extent. For centuries ships have reported fresh water near the Amazon's mouth yet well out of sight of land in what otherwise seemed to be the open ocean.
Source Wikipedia

Though I confess to not having a clue about the viability of such a scheme.

This story doesn't pass the smell test. The size of ships that can get into the Great Lakes is extremely limited and modern oil tankers certainly would not fit. It also doesn't make any sense to go all the way into the Great Lakes to get water when there are plenty of pristine rivers in Labrador or the North Shore of Quebec to draw water from, with the added bonus of being able to accomodate large tanker vessels.

The issue started in 1998 when a "Canadian company" received approval from Ontario to ship out "50 tankers a year" of Lake Superior water to Asia. The permit triggered lots of protest by various groups and lots of media stories, lots of hyperbole, and lots of legislation. Water withdrawal from the Great Lakes touches a nerve of some sort in the region. A quick google search showed that the media stories still were showing up in 2012 - when I got closer to the original source, it was obvious that the truth is a long ways from what has been reported. I spent a some time looking for original info, as I was recalling a story I had read long ago, before Google, when we were more likely to take a news story at face value. The "50 tankers a year" sort of statement is reported as fact and shows up in a number of articles - the truth is the permit was for 158 million gallons a year, the plan was to pump water into an empty bulk freighter near Sault Ste. Marie, the company in reality was a small consulting firm called the Nova Group. The version I remembered mentioned this story in the context of the Saudi need for fresh water (the iceberg towing story was mentioned also - I have no idea what the truth is behind this oft repeated story).
One should not to fully trust a media source without considering the primary source of info.
The basic elements of the news articles in this case are for the most part factual. The choice of words in the reporting affects the reader's interpretation of the underlying reality. The missing element, the absence of which triggered your smell test, was that the permit process was initiated by local entrepreneurs who sought to sell water to any region that needed it.

there are plenty of pristine rivers in Labrador or the North Shore of Quebec to draw water from, with the added bonus of being able to accomodate large tanker vessels.

The trouble is, there are no ports able to accomodate such large ships over there. Plus according to the captain of one the few oil tankers who navigate in the Arctic ocean in northern Quebec, nagigation is really tricky up there: strong currents, huge tides, shifting packs of ice, shifting sand banks in the shallow water...

The Northwest passage is a dangerous place to navigate. Ultimately, if it opens to more commercial shipping, they will have to do as they do in the St. Lawrence river: assign a specially trained navigator to every ship which enters the zone.

North Shore refers to the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. Guess I should have been more explicit.

Yes, it makes more sense. There are some large rivers over there, plus some good deepwater ports.

Yes - the Saguenay river has the depth - hundreds of feet deep for many miles, the top 30 feet or so is fresh for much of the lower part of the river. Yes, I've sounded it and dove it myself - lived and worked there for awhile. It is the largest and deepest St. Lawrence tributary. I do not think any other rivers would be safe for tankers - usually in that area there are shallow bars at the river mouths, heavy currents, and in that part of the world, 4 tides a day due to a pronounced solar tide - as the locals may say, there is the high, the low high, etc.
But in the Saguenay, the environmental groups would have a canary - the location is a national park and a whale sanctuary. It is likely the various native groups would also involve themselves - Montaignais, further up North Shore the Innu, etc.
The thing about the Great Lakes is that the fresh water and ship access is sufficient, there were locals who wanted it to happen, and a permit was issued. Then the politics went awry. That is more than has happened elsewhere, as near as I can tell. Local consent can move a location to the top of the list, even if the location may not be ideal in every way. It is easy to say there are better locations for a water harvest further up the coast- in practice, I don't think so.
Ice is an issue up there too - usually the sea ice stops all shipping about late Dec, the breakup with the help of ice breakers is mid March.
I worked hard up there on the ocean for 7 years - the ice is enough to give you PTSD if you have to deal with it - I've seen large flows come in at 6 knots, pushing a bow wave and moving against the current (because the other side of the flow, a couple of miles away, is experiencing different current/wind conditions). I really respect the Magdalene islanders who go out on the ice to hunt the ringed seals - it is so dangerous, you really have to know what you're doing. One of my crew was a Magdaline Islander who lost many of his relatives in one hunt when the ice broke up under their camp. He was a good guy, his cool head helped keep me alive one day.

Don't forget the plan to snag an Arctic iceberg and tow it to the Emirates, one of the few Gulf states left where you can put the remains in a glass of booze.

It's pretty much true that politics doesn't concern itself with actual numerical comparisons -not when an issue has emotional appeal. An great lakes water seems to be an emotional area.

"Net Export math" applies to any non-renewable resource.
The/A common denominator between the fossil water and fossil fuel situation is that both largely are used for purposes which seem to benefit humans in the short run but likely not in the long run.
(It's fun to go for a drive to see the leaves in the fall but it doesn't propel humanity to the next level. Same with fossil water - it's nice to eat dead animals (sarcasm intentional) but not healthy in all but small quantities).
Kahneman's (sp?) book Thinking Fast Thinking slow goes a good way towards explaining why we are so short-term focused.

A few years back there was a special on Discovery channel about the possibility of future collapse, with Michael Rupert & JH Kunstler talking mostly about peak oil, Nate Hagens talking about financial collapse, someone talked about climate change, another on robots taking over and one person talking about the coming collapse of freshwater aquifers as the water table in many parts of the world drops (due to over-exploitation for farming). At the time it seemed more distant than climate change or peak oil, but since then it has definitely moved up the list.

What happened with Mickael Ruppert, anyone know?

Mike is living in Sonoma County, CA. I saw him at a small gathering a year or so ago and he's still full of pi$$ and vinegar - build your life boat and then build your ark. He's truly walking his talk.

There are a number of You Tubes with him.


Michael C Ruppert is on Facebook . It might be difficult to become his friend as he is at the Facebook 5000 friend limit.

I think solar powered pumps may ironically speed this process up considerably. Essentially it means the act of pumping the water becomes 'free' so you're only limited by the rate of extraction vs the cost of the equipment as there is no fuel cost involved.

From Re: Forget peak oil—start worrying about peak water (Uptop):
... between 2000 and 2008, groundwater depletion jumped 171% to an average of 25 cubic kilometers a year.

Was that mostly caused by corn ethanol production which surged circa 2005?

We've gotten 30.98 inches of rain since January 1 this year. We have ~45 acres and one inch of rain = about 27,154 gallons/acre,, so 30.98 x 45 x 27,154 = .... 37,855,391 (almost 38 million) US gallons which have fallen on our property since the first of the year, or 901,319 barrels.

The scale of what we're talking about, especially when there's a shortage of rain and over-exploitation of reserves draws a pretty good parallel with oil. Many of these aquifers will take centuries or longer to be replenished; may as well be oil. The scale of finding "substitutes"; desalinization; recycling; machines that 'make' water from air; whatever,, dwarfs finding substitutes for oil.

Calling Dr. Bartlett! Could you explain that exponential function to us again?

I wondered if there would be any discussion of Ilargi's latest post on the reality of our nuclear waste problem: Widely Visible Symbols Of Human Folly

This is, in my opinion, at least as big an issue as PO, climate change, the collapse of empire, etc. I believe it will be possible for a much reduced populations of humans to learn to survive in concert with nature, even in a very different climate. But perhaps not if the land is poisoned by the massive amounts of radioactive waste we have created.

As to pictures of wild creatures in the Chernobyl region - it is not possible to tell if those animals are healthy and thriving just from the pictures. It may well be that they are doing better in the radiation than they would be in conflict with humans for their habitats, but there are studies showing that there are problems. And we cannot tell what the impacts are long term yet.

Now the Nuclear Cornucopians will explain how _______________ technology is already in place to solve these problems. Here we go:

Perfectly reasonable questions to ask, and ones I've been trying to find answers to myself (as I've posted on before here on TOD).

In my reading of the material out there, both peer-reviewed and more anecdotal or even MSM, I'm not sure there's really enough solid scientific data available. I mean, who wants to hang out in an irradiated zone, given our current perceptions, let alone hang out there for an extended period of time?

My base assessment at this point is there is some threshold to the level of radioactivity which living systems can not only tolerate but under which they are largely unaffected. Above a certain threshold the energies within the isotopes begin to cause problems. This is in contradiction to the National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report, but one can also read credible counters to the Linear No Threshold (LNT) model in credible, peer-reviewed journals like Radiology.

We do have two large areas affected by low level radiation, at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Unfortunately the science behind the Chernobyl studies are less than optimal, in no small part due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. And Fukushima is too recent to have long term data on, though I think the Japanese will do a good job in this area. What we really need is for some reasonably large cohort to voluntarily move back into the Fukushima area and live there for a while. Again, given the perceptions, who would want to do this? But how do we change, or confirm, the perception, if no one does?

So far as pictures of the animals in Chernobyl, I recommend Radioactive Wolves, a documentary available on the PBS web site (pbs.org). It takes a reasonably balanced view, and lets you see directly how the animals are behaving and functioning in the exclusion zone.

We do have two large areas affected by low level radiation, at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

One also has the open air fission bomb tests that were stopped after the tooth collection study. A study that is still under wraps. There are the upticks in various maladies surrounding fission-related operations.

One could consider these people and the effects on them from exposure of a different sort. http://www.nuclearsavage.com/


People died---and are still dying---at Three Mile Island.

Will take a look at them both.

Okay, started with the FreePress article sited.

I'd essentially read the details of this article from other sources, most notably the Wikipedia article Three Mile Island Accident Health Effects. Again, one has to draw ones own conclusions, because there is some evidence in either direction - minimal effects, or near catastrophic outcomes.

From the FreePress article:

In fact, the most reliable studies were conducted by local residents like Jane Lee and Mary Osborne, who went door-to-door in neighborhoods where the fallout was thought to be worst. Their surveys showed very substantial plagues of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, respiratory problems, hair loss, rashes, lesions and much more.

And from the Wikipedia article:

In contrast to the Columbia study, which estimated exposure in 69 areas, the Pittsburgh study drew on the TMI Population Registry, compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This was based on radiation exposure information on 93% of the population living within five miles of the nuclear plant - nearly 36,000 people, gathered in door-to-door surveys shortly after the accident. The study found slight increases in cancer and mortality rates but "no consistent evidence" of causation by TMI.

Harvey Wasserman, the author of the FreePress article, makes assertions of data and evidence suppression on the part of various authorities (State of Pennsylvania and Columbia University), and also asserts there is widespread, albeit anecdotal, evidence of extreme health impacts amongst the citizens, animals, and plant life of Pennsylvania. He has written a book, Killing Our Own, which is in PDF format and available for download. I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

The FreePress article follows the general tenet of other articles I have read, asserting widespread destruction caused not only by Three Mile Island but also by a host of other accidents, and a consistent and apparently successful attempt by various groups to suppress evidence of this. As I continue to work my way through these sources I continue to hope some of the assertions can be formalized and submitted for peer-review to various academic bodies around the world, so that this evidence and data can be analyzed and verified within that process. Columbia University and the State of Pennsylvania conducted studies within this framework, and criticisms of both are noted in the Wikipedia article. If there is additional information which the process can illuminate, hopefully Mr. Wasserman can correlate and submit it in the near future.

As I said, one has to reach one's own conclusions. I'll take a look at the information on the islanders a bit later, and comment on it as well.

The study found slight increases in cancer and mortality rates

I have looked at maps of both cancer and mortality rates broken down by county - the counties are either slightly above or slightly below the average rates - that is the nature of averages. On a given year there will be a cluster of counties that are above, a cluster below. Some areas will consistantly be a bit above or below. In every state - with or without nuclear power

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has extremely extensive info available on the web - maps, graphs, varied analysis, going back many years. Interestingly, Dauphin County, where Three Mile Island is located, looks to be a good place to live if you are male and want to lower your cancer risk.
There really is a lot of good, freely available information that shows that the containment systems at Three Mile Island did their job, and one need not worry if one lives there.

Seagatherer, as you can probably tell from my past posts, I incline towards your assessment here. I'm trying to be as even-handed as I can be, in order to facilitate the discussion (see Mikel, below, and Eric, above).

The vitriolic nature of past DBs on nuclear, I think you would agree, are not conducive to rational discussion. We can't talk if we're screaming. I've been particularly sensitive to the opposite view as a result. I'd like to think my posts reflect my own personal faith in the scientific method and it's ability to assess nature and our response to the problems we face.

So far as TMI goes, I've been able to find no data I find credible to support the assertions in the FreePress article, but I leave open the possibility there may be data forthcoming to support those positions.

Keep in mind the relative magnitude of the different things being discussed here. We don't know the quantity or makeup of what was released at TMI, but it was very small compared to the amount of waste stored all around the country (and world) at NPPs. The latter is the issue in the article I linked to - the staggeringly large amounts of this stuff we have created, with not much other than a few plans to store some of it for time periods that may or may not be adequate.

The way things stand now, it will all be released into the local environment.

My bad for not focusing a bit more on the waste/storage issue in this DB Twilight. Especially since the DB is fading on. Nature of the beast - sometimes I can post, and sometimes I have to work (or I wouldn't be able to post ;)

Very quickly, you are absolutely right, the chances are the current waste stream will wind up in the local environment, absent any remedial action taken in the near term. On the plus side, nuclear waste is, by and large, incredibly dense, making the sheer volume relatively small, and it is radioactive, meaning a fair amount of it will decay within a human lifespan (Iodine, Cesium, and several other actinides).

That which remains, the much longer-lived isotopes, will be around for a very long time. They will be small in volume, but potent in energy. Without having done a lot more work on the topic, my inclination would be to bury the stuff very deeply in very geologically stable formations. There are several such locations identified, which show potential for being stable for millions of years. However, since absolutely no action has been taken on this, in the U.S., it leaves one a bit uneasy, to say the least.

There are a number of reasons why I've delved into nuclear power, as should be clear by now. One of them is to get a better bead on the threat and toxicity of radiation, at least partly detailed in this DB. There is a tremendous amount of fear related to radiation. If at least some of that fear is misplaced perhaps a more rational approach to waste disposal becomes an option again. Or that is my hope, anyway.

As I recall.. the infant mortality rate tippled after TMI-II melted down..


Tim, see my replies to Eric and Seagatherer above. I glanced at your linked article. One of the issues which jumped out at me in it was the discussion of Iodine131, and the need for potassium iodide tablets be distributed to the local population in the wake of TMI.

While potassium iodide is a useful antidote to radioactive iodine, the Iodine131 isotope has a half life of about 8 days, and is entirely decayed in 16. Rapid distribution of tablets is not a bad idea (mebbe even have some on hand if you live near a reactor?), but avoidance of certain produce and milk products suspected of harboring the isotope for the same period will also provide a certain level of protection in the absence of the tablets.

So far as the assertions of infant mortality, I tend to follow the data and conclusions of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, as noted in my notation above. They assessed data on over 36,000 individuals, and didn't find any meaningful increase in infant mortality. You, of course, must reach your own conclusions, based on the sources you find credible.

There may well be levels below which people can generally tolerate. The tricky bit is that there are several isotopes that bio-accumulate - Cs137, Sr90, and I131 all come to mind. The I131 has a relatively short half-life, so it is only the first few months after an incident that people worry about it (and with Iodine tablets, one can at least partially prevent the body from taking it in). The Cs and Sr both have roughly 30-year half-lives, and those are the ones that I would be most worried about were I near Fukushima or Chernobyl for an extended period.

From the standpoint of wildlife in these areas, it is going to depend upon how high up in the food chain the animal is eating. An animal that eats foods that are more contaminated will have higher levels than an animal that eats things that have lower levels. My recollection is that the general rule of thumb is that the higher up the food chain an animal is eating, the higher levels of contaminants one would expect to find.

Again, perfectly understandable and valid concerns. In my search for info on Cs137 I wound up at the CDC (Center for Disease Control for the non-USA folks), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry sub-site.

The Cesium page is a bit of a hassle, in that is broken apart into multiple PDF files, one for each report section. Section 3 covers Health Effects.

From Section Cancer:

No data were located in which cancer in humans or animals could be associated with acute-, intermediate-, or chronic-duration inhalation exposure to radioactive cesium. However, benign and malignant neoplasms were found in a variety of tissues and organs of dogs administered single intravenous doses of 137CsCl, which resulted in average initial body burdens ranging from 37 to 147 MBq/kg (1.0 to 4.0 mCi/kg) (Nikula et al. 1995, 1996). Similar effects would be expected in dogs exposed to air concentrations of 137CsCl that would result in body burdens similar to those attained via intravenous injection (see Section 3.3.4 for more detailed information regarding health effects in animals exposed to radioactive cesium via routes other than inhalation, oral, dermal, or external exposure).

A MBq/kg seems, to me, to qualify as decidedly high-level, so the dosage applied to the dogs seems to me to be well outside the range of what the animals and plants at either Chernobyl or Fukushima might be experiencing, except in certain select areas perhaps (e.g. the Red Forest near Chernobyl). Section covers deaths to the dogs due to intravenous administration of even higher doses of the isotope.

I couldn't find anything on the effects of bio-accumulation of these isotopes over time, but if you have please share. The Chernobyl accident was over thirty years ago at this point, so naturally about half of the Cs137 has stabilized by this point, give or take.

If you get a chance to look at Radioactive Wolves there's a very interesting scene where the film crew and investigators with them place a Geiger counter on a fish which an animal, probably an eagle, has just eaten. The Geiger counter fires away. Yet the eagle, (or wolf, or badger, or whatever it was that ate the fish) doesn't appear to have been phased much.

Just some food for thought on the question of these various isotopes and their potential toxicity. One has to draw one's own conclusions, of course.

Templar, your considered comment has tempted me to respond. Normally, I'd avoid this topic on radioactivity as it quickly tends to degenerate into emotional responses based on entrenched positions.

I live in an area where there are elevated levels of radon and these elevated levels accumulate in houses. In a previous house we lived in, the becquerel level in the lounge was eight times the action level and eleven times the action level in one of the bedrooms. The house was my mother's and she lived to the age of 96.

Whilst the area has these elevated levels, there does not appear to be raised lung cancer rates. See, for example, http://www.envplan.com/abstract.cgi?id=a251361
The highest levels of radon, globally, are found in a part of Iran. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsar,_Mazandaran

On the other hand, it can be demonstrated that even very low levels of radiation can damage DNA. Hence, the Linear No Threshold model.

So the question for me is why do we not see demonstrable evidence for low level radiation damage in the population.

I have got, I think, part way to the answer from the book, Oxygen, by Nick Lane.

Metabolism of oxygen can produce a number of reactive intermediates (free radicals) that can cause damage and ultimately end up killing each and every one of us in the end (the maximum human life span).

Nick Lane's book also introduced me to LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). We appear to have inherited defence mechanisms from LUCA for moderating the damage caused by oxidative stress but these defence mechanisms are far from perfect.

So it seems that we require oxygen as part of the process to give energy for complex life and yet it will kill us in the end, and maybe not just oxygen, or settle for extinction.

Mikel, just a quick note to thank you for your input, insofar as you appreciated my measured tone :)

Your thoughts on oxygen and the destructive potential of free radicals was interesting. Guess I hadn't really thought of it that way before. So far as LNT, you can see my impression of it in the posts in this, and past, DBs.

78,000 people have applied for a one-way trip to Mars.

So I don't think there will be a lack of volunteers to live in radiation-contaminated areas in the interests of science.

Limit it to over-50s who agree to stop having children, and offer free medical and a decent state pension.

Match each person with a control living in a "normal" area, and track them over time.

That's really the only way you will get excellent data.

78,000 people have volunteered to be the first person to go to Mars.

and not return, so pension payout will be brief.

Well, Mars tickets aside (though that must surely say something about life here on Earth, eh? ;), a well designed, controlled, double-blind study would require something like what you're suggesting. Starting with a 50-plus, childless cohort would be a beginning. Dunno if the Japanese government has considered asking for anything like this, but I kind of doubt it.

But you're right - that's the way you would get excellent data.

I didn't mean childless, I meant they've already had their children and not planning to have any more.

In memory of a Japanese woman I saw on TV years ago. She had always wanted to get married and start a family. But she was a schoolgirl in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. And men didn't want to marry women from Hiroshima because they were afraid they'd give birth to deformed children. So she remained single.

Apologies, aardvark. Imprecise language on my part. Your suggested cohort makes perfect sense.

And here is to her memory, too. My understanding is the current residents of Fukushima may suffer a similar discrimination. The study you and I would like seen done could lift that cloud.

Personally, I think it would. Personally, I think that cloud is badly, and unjustly, placed today.

Re: Soaring energy costs make Europeans poor

It says electricity costs in Japan only increased by 1% from 2005 to 2011. Funny, I don't think Europeans would switch power grids with the Japanese, if given the chance.

That article is a stupid piece of propaganda, the author should do his homework first, i.e. read some stuff by NG proponents, they write much better and more clever pieces.

1) The energy poverty is usually caused by price of home heating with NG, coal and oil. Electricity bill is usually much smaller than heating costs. The problem in Europe is the high price of NG, not of electricity.

2) He compares offshore wind (at the moment very expensive) with the costs of coal power, great. Offshore wind has a market share of 1 % compared to onshore wind, why does he not use onshore wind as bar. Could it be because new coal power plants are producing with higher costs than onshore wind? :-)

3) As long as electricity delivered by utilities is at 15-30 cent/kWh, PV is competitive for the user with high own consumption. Production price (what the utilities pay) is irrelevant for the consumer/owner of PV and a strawman.

PV is only competitive if the area in question has some actual sunshine. PV is already at grid parity in Arizona and Southern California. Everywhere in the lower 49 has at least half the sunshine of Arizona. So if PV is competitive here at 15 cents, it is competitive where you live at 30 cents. Germany, I can't speak to.

Robert a Tucson.

I get 4.5 hrs/day av insolation. $0.15 Kwh works out fine, but you need to find bargains and do what you can yourself.

In Germany and Austria you as consumer are able to produce electricity for 13-18 cents/kWh with commercially available PV systems (DIY is chaeper), but you pay in the 20-30 cent/kWh range for electricity delivered by your utility, therefore, the "only" tricky part on your side is to make a good estimate for the amount of PV electricity you can directly consume, this determines the minimum size of your PV installation. If you assume further price increases of the utility product, you may even choose a (much) larger installation and still be able to make profit.

As the life of a PV system is expected to exceed 20 years, you get after this time electricity for 2-3 cents/kWh for additional 10-20 years. PV will be for me a kind of retirement bonus.

My power company charges $0.16Kwh - I determined that PV was cost competitive for me a couple years ago. - so I know you are right on the money with #3 - so long as you look for deals. You are correct re production price - I made that same point some time ago, yet people still talk about production price - which only matters if you're investing in a large PV power plant, IMHO a poor application of PV, which shines as a source of distributed power.


Fed Stimulus Still Needed to Help Recovery, Bernanke Says

While acknowledging the risks of historically low interest rates and the Fed’s aggressive policy of buying government bonds to help stimulate the economy, Mr. Bernanke said in testimony that “a premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily but also would carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending the economic recovery.”

“In considering whether a recalibration of the pace of its purchases is warranted,” Mr. Bernanke told the Joint Economic Committee, the Fed “will continue to assess the degree of progress made toward its objectives in light of incoming information.”

In considering whether or not this crutch will still be needed to walk, determinations will be made as information comes in to add or not add structural to the crutch so that we do not fall down. Every qtr. we will hobble over to the edge of an economic abyss and look in. If we don’t see anything staring back at us, we’ll know we still haven’t found our character to change from the paradigm of requiring growth.

It's really something amazing that the media can talk so blithely about economic recovery even as the Federal Reserve continues to print money at the rate of 7% of US GDP, or 1.4% of nominal World GDP. An extra trillion dollars every year is getting pumped into mortgages and bonds to help depress interest rates and maintain the housing market, and people act like this is a genuine recovery.

Of course, it's also amazing how well the Fed's actions have worked to at least create the appearance of recovery, and perhaps to stave off some Great Depression style deflationary spiral. Thanks both to inflationary monetary policy and a more thorough social safety net, the second great depression (not yet capitalized, but perhaps soon enough) hasn't had quite the same impact as the first one. Who needs bread lines when you can get a food stamp credit card that acts like cash at the local grocery store? It really minimizes the visibility of economic hardship.

yes but it looks like the FED can do this for sometime to come as the U.S dollar is becoming the reserve currency for the world....Unfortunately when they run out of room to do this is probably about the same time the Baaken and Eagle Ford will be in rapid decline....rising oil prices and massive inflation and massive debt. He may look like a genius now but will be remembered as someone who destroyed the country in a short time. Bad timing and bad planning.

The U.S economy is still noticeably struggling.

I looked up some stats from the United States Department of Labour

2007 - 5% average
2013 - currently at 7.5% and 7.6% yearly average

Under employment
October - November 2007 - 4.2 million
2013 - Bernanke stated 8 million today

Labour force participation
2007 - 66%
2013 - currently at 63.3% and has been hovering around that level all year

Considering how much stimulus is going to driving the economy the recovery is just not happening with as much lustre as it should be. The economic recovery is happening on paper but not filtering down to anywhere near the degree that could be hoped.

I think in the long run the state of affairs will pull down the rest of the world as both consumer power houses (the U.S and E.U) are just not seeing the real growth required to maintain current growth in the rest of the world.

The economic recovery is happening on paper but not filtering down to anywhere near the degree that could be hoped.

You mean trickle down doesn't work?

Geez... do ya think? Who woulda guessed?


As George Bush senior wants said "Trickle down economics is Voodoo economics, it just doesn't work"...much smarter than his son....

much smarter than his son...., who famously said, "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

He must have been thinking (trying to think?) about voodoo economics?


"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

Bush the Lesser probably just had that old "Who" song stuck in his head.

Sorry to state the obvious.

I saw a cartoon a while back. It showed a stack of champagne glasses that had a bottle of champagne poured into the top. It only trickled down the first few layers.


On CNN today they were reporting about stock markets falling in Japan and Europe with U.S markets falling at the start of trade. Their reasoning was that analysts had gone over the minutes from the Fed and it appears that a pull back of QE in the U.S may be on the cards as early as June. Another factor was Chinese manufacturing data showed a decline.

Analysts were arguing that the market reaction to even the suggestion of pulling back on QE could delay the pull back. It will be interesting to see what the Fed does as they have got themselves in to the cycle - although I don't think their mandate dictates they prop up the market, the sheer fact that a fall on the market will impact the economy means they are in a situation where they find themselves doing just that.

Evidence for deposition of 10 million tonnes of impact spherules across four continents 12,800 y ago


Airbursts/impacts by a fragmented comet or asteroid have been proposed at the Younger Dryas onset (12.80 ± 0.15 ka) based on identification of an assemblage of impact-related proxies, including microspherules, nanodiamonds, and iridium. Distributed across four continents at the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB), spherule peaks have been independently confirmed in eight studies, but unconfirmed in two others, resulting in continued dispute about their occurrence, distribution, and origin. To further address this dispute and better identify YDB spherules, we present results from one of the largest spherule investigations ever undertaken regarding spherule geochemistry, morphologies, origins, and processes of formation. We investigated 18 sites across North America, Europe, and the Middle East, performing nearly 700 analyses on spherules using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy for geochemical analyses and scanning electron microscopy for surface microstructural characterization. Twelve locations rank among the world’s premier end-Pleistocene archaeological sites, where the YDB marks a hiatus in human occupation or major changes in site use. Our results are consistent with melting of sediments to temperatures >2,200 °C by the thermal radiation and air shocks produced by passage of an extraterrestrial object through the atmosphere; they are inconsistent with volcanic, cosmic, anthropogenic, lightning, or authigenic sources. We also produced spherules from wood in the laboratory at >1,730 °C, indicating that impact-related incineration of biomass may have contributed to spherule production. At 12.8 ka, an estimated 10 million tonnes of spherules were distributed across ∼50 million square kilometers, similar to well-known impact strewnfields and consistent with a major cosmic impact event.

Interesting. Paleoclimate temperature reconstructions show a cooling event around this time of ~1000 years. Do they think an impact event could be the trigger?

If they think it's an impact, would they have some idea where it originated based on the distribution of these spherules?

The onset of the Younger Dryas has been ascribed to a shutdown of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation due to an onrush of fresh water with the emptying of Lake Agassiz.

The impact event hypothesis competes with this by attributing the cooling (and a variety of other effects) to a cosmic impactor.

It appears to be a hot topic of controversy. The talk page of the Wiki article should give some flavor for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Younger_Dryas_impact_hypothesis#.23

One form has the impact (or atmospheric blast, like over Russia) as initiated the collapse of the ice. I have the impression, its just a few researchers pushing fairly scant evidence, and most of the scientific community not buying into it. TV science shows present it as a slam dunk, though.

I think that the mass of spherules makes the atmospheric blast less likely than an actual impact on North America. However, it could have impacted in a glacier, or near the edge of the receeding glaciers, and the subsequent growth and movement of the glaciers during the Younger Dryas would have obscured the impact crater.

Unfortunately the paper is behind a paywall. However, the supplementary information is available, and it catalogs a fairly extensive set of data. I don't think that this study will be easy to dismiss.

On the other hand, science has a high degree of hysteresis. Once everyone is comfortable with geocentric epicycles, it is hard to convince them of heliocentric elipses. Science advances one funeral at a time.

I don't see why an impact needs to be an alternative to emptying of Lake Agassiz - it isn't too hard to imagine how an impact could be related (sudden extra melt water, etc.).

An impact wouldn't melt much water. It would have to hit very specific places to reroute drainage.

The catastrophic emptyings of Lake Agassiz envision a sudden collapse of ice dams rerouting the drainage from the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers to Lake Superior and the Saint Lawrence River or to the Makenzie River and the Arctic Ocean. See for example "Identification of Younger Dryas outburst flood path from Lake Agassiz to the Arctic Ocean" in the April 2010 issue of Nature.

Google looking at airborne power generation.


These Google [x] Guys are seriously out there:

Some of the real projects in Google X sound almost as outlandish. Makani Power’s newest airborne turbine prototype, called Wing 7, is a 26-foot-long carbon-fiber contraption with four electricity-generating propellers that flies in circles at altitudes of 800 to 2,000 feet, sending power down a lightweight tether to a base station. “If we’re successful, we can get rid of a huge part of the fossil fuels we use,” says Damon Vander Lind, the startup’s chief engineer. Vander Lind acknowledges it might not work, but: “If you don’t take that chance, and put a decade of your life trying to do it, no progress will get made.”

They should really try to understand aerodynamics before saying something like that. Aren't these the same guys who mounted PV panels horizontally on the roof of the Google HQ? Really guys, please do try to understand physics...

E. Swanson

Makani Power - How does it work?

The videos are mesmerizing.

I don't doubt that the basic concept works, given the videos as proof. My objection is that I think this scheme won't scale to larger sizes and thus the claim that these can supply vast amounts of energy to replace that from fossil fuels is suspect. Their web site describes a couple of test flights, but they present no data on performance, as in, power out vs wind speed.

Looking at the test flight, it appears obvious that the device operates with considerable variation in air speed, as it follows the circular path. From the highest point, it drops downward, accelerating to higher speed, while from the bottom, it climbs upward and slows as a result. Thus one would expect that the power output would also vary accordingly, since the power is proportional to the third power of the apparent wind speed. This variation in output would show up as a large cyclic variation in electric power for any one device. Several devices operating at once might be "flown" in a synchronized fashion to smooth these power pulses, but this would require some additional control effort.

Whether they can actually deliver on their hopes (and hype) remains to be seen...

E. Swanson

I think of it as an intriguing longshot.

It's neat but seems improbable. The failure mode is too catastrophic and the likelihood of failure seems probable given the many ways in which it could happen.

I think the dynamism of this sort of design goes both ways. There are risks, but also new aids, too.

It's not like they are just stuck up there, so a maintenance regime becomes far more manageable than that for the towers that require a dual-skilled crew to access the equipment, and then a prohibitive equation regarding the cost of lowering and raising/installing key replacement parts, like main bearings, blades and the generator itself. A fleet of tethered craft are all available to be landed as needed, and the duration of the repair doesn't hinge on a high-work crew or cranes.. while in failure aloft, there are a number of advantages too. It's an unmanned craft, so if you can use either the flight controls or the tether to help bring it down onto uninhabited ground, then your human risk can be minimised, plus, your flight systems might help minimise the damage done in a controlled crash.. Sensing and signalling can also very likely go far in signalling a failing Airframe or other trouble ahead of time. In bad weather, you can just land the lot of them, if necessary, or keep a couple up as 'Canaries' and for supplemental emergency power. In any case, you have some radically broader options than you do with Rigid Towers.

One thing about failure modes.. 'It's not whether you'll fall down, it's whether you can get back up.'

Somewhat related to the Tesla article above

Audi says 'not so fast,' Tesla lovers, attacks Model S success story *UPDATE

Audi's press release is titled, "Not so fast to put Tesla on that particular pedestal" and it's full of Audi making sure we all know that "some reports are giving Tesla too much credit." What's extra funny is that Audi compares its April US sales (13,157 units) to Tesla's 4,750 Model S sales, mistakenly claiming they, too, were from April. But Tesla doesn't report monthly sales, and the 4,750 number is for the total deliveries for the first quarter of 2013. That fact makes Audi look even better by comparison but even worse for making a stink about the whole thing. You can read the whole thing below.

The comments section was interesting with one commenter posting a link to the following

Tesla Model S - Conclusion (I)
This car is too good for Germany

It is also a slap in the face for local carmakers. They see EVs for the innercity commute. Only 150kms (90 miles) are achievable with an EV, explained Martin Winterkorn last Fall. It is limitied by battery chemistry, he knows that as material specialist.
Either he is duping the public on purpose, or he does not know what he is talking about, the Model S proved the contrary at that moment in the USA.

The quote is a translation provided by the autobloggreen poster while the link is to the Google translation of the web page. The original article in German is at


Another German Article

Live Test Drive with Model S: Tesla's Miracle Keeps electric car, what it promises?

U.S. carmaker Tesla's Model S will trigger an electric revolution. Now the strong sprint car wonder comes with supposedly 480 kilometers to reach Germany. In an exclusive live test between Flensburg and Garmisch he faces the highway.

Once again, translation courtesy of Google, original in German at:


Alan from the islands

Maybe for the rich .. or unless battery costs come down significantly

Regular folks can afford electric cars as well. They just need to realize that they don't need the 200 mile range of a Tesla Model S.

The current crop of EVs with a range of around 70 to 80 miles is a bit too limiting. Once it gets up above 100 miles, that should be enough for most daily driving. Just use a carshare/rent/borrow a hybrid/ICE for longer trips.

the problem is also with diversity...I need something like a small toyota pickup with front wheel drive for work...also I don't need all the bells and whistles just something simple for work...

"I need something like a small toyota pickup"


Depending on the load and driving conditions the range can vary greatly: For the 1997 model with lead-acid battery pack, city range was 45.5 miles (73.2 km); the mixed city/highway range was 47 miles (76 km); the highway range was 60 miles (97 km) if operating constantly at 45 mph (72 km/h) or less. The acceleration time (0 to 50 mph) was listed as 13.5 seconds (at 50 percent battery charge - the published literature stated that acceleration time was "even less" when the truck had a full charge).

Like the EV1, the top speed of the S-10 EV was governed, albeit to 70 mph (113 km/h), 10 mph (16 km/h) less than its coupe sibling.

The performance is much better for the 1998 with the nickel–metal hydride battery, at ~90 miles range and an acceleration time of 10.9 seconds at 50% charge.

If only we could build something as good as, y'know, a 15 year old S-10 EV.

Trucks would likely be better served as PHEVs for now (like VIA Motors) because of the gargantuan battery requirements due to aerodynamics, payload, and duty cycle.

There is a fundamental fallacy perpetuated here - that because an expensive EV built with expensive light weight components can be made, then by extension low priced EVs for the masses will also work, or at least someday soon. In fact those high priced light weight parts are baked into the cake - they are what is required to make it work, to solve the issue of the low energy density (and often high weight) of the on-board energy storage media.

So yeah, a company like Audi that sells grossly overpriced baubles should be a little worried about Tesla - but probably not much because for Audi that high price is mostly profit (they are dressed up VW's, which are also overpriced), whereas a lower volume luxury EV maker will have to spend much more on components (= less profit).

As for that GM EV pickup - nowhere in that article does it mention how much weight it hauls, nor how much weight was on it when the range and performance numbers were generated. If I put 1000lbs of mortar mix on it like I used to routinely do to my 1991 Ranger, how did it work then? That truck had a 4cyl, 5spd and routinely got 26mpg - I did 29 with more highway driving mixed in. It would easily do over 400mi on a tank on the highway.

Depending on the load and driving conditions the range can vary greatly: For the 1997 model with lead-acid battery pack, city range was 45.5 miles (73.2 km); the mixed city/highway range was 47 miles (76 km); the highway range was 60 miles (97 km) if operating constantly at 45 mph (72 km/h) or less. The acceleration time (0 to 50 mph) was listed as 13.5 seconds (at 50 percent battery charge - the published literature stated that acceleration time was "even less" when the truck had a full charge).

I had the chance to test drive one of those some 14-15 years ago as a science journalist, and I can confirm that accelerations were pretty impressive for such a big vehicule. Handling was very smooth and the thing was totally noiseless. High speed driving would rapidly drain the battery though, and my undestanding is that carrying heavy stuff(tools, materials, etc) would too, limiting its usefulness in real life situations.

Did you drive the Lead-acid version of the S10-EV? The Peukert effect is a harsh mistress. There are lots of people who transition to Li-ion from Pb-A packs in their e-bikes and report double the range from the same Watt-hour sized pack.

Yeah . . . lead-acid is cheap but it is a terrible vehicle battery because of the Peukert effect, the very low energy density, and the short lifespan. The original EV-1 was a nice effort but it really had no chance because gas prices were at a nadir and battery technology was not yet ready. Not even the NiMH batteries that were available at the time are really good enough for highway-speed EV because of the energy density, high-cost, and toxicity. Li-Ions are a game-changer.

The auto companies have been stupid in their electric car marketing. They assume that absolutely no one wants EVs except greenies. Hence Nissan with their stupid Polar Bear commercial, the recycled material interior, and the name "Leaf". That was a stupid thing to do and they've pigeon-holed themselves.

Tesla realized the market was more than that. That some people wanted EVs just because it was cool technology. Some people wanted EVs because you could get amazing acceleration from them. Some people wanted them because they are elegant . . . no oil drips, no smell gas fuel-ups, no engine noise, no vibration, no stinky emissions, etc. And they build an EV with that market in mind and have done very well.

The majors assume anyone who buys a truck is a redneck that wants big, loud, and powerful. But I think they are being stupid. A PHEV would make a great pick-up and work vehicle for builders. You'd save a lot of money on gasoline/diesel. You'd have a built-in alternator that could provide job-site power (first off they battery and then off the gas engine). And I'm sure there are a lot of trucks that are used for heavy-duty but don't travel very far. EVs are perfect for that . . . electric motors have a lot more torque than gas/diesel motors. The big problem for EVs is range & refuel time.

Thanks Speculawyer that is eactly what I was trying to say is that the way they have marketed these cars is very limited....as an electrician I have to drive short trips and then the car is parked for a while...it could be charging then...just a little planning has to go in...and it is my understanding that charging under a 3 phase system will charge most batteries in about a half an hour...So we might just have to sloooow down our lifestyles a little and is that not such a bad thing....I think the fast lifestyle and cheap energy and cheap money have killed culture in this country...no more dance halls sittin on porches ..talkin to neighbors.. Maybe I am a cornucopian but I am hoping for an ease into this new system of peak oil

Yeah, a PHEV work-truck makes so much sense. If there is power at the job site then you can charge up on the job and ride home on cheap electricity. If there is no power at the job site then you can use the PHEV to generate power needed for power tools, lighting, etc. Win-win. GM should build a panel van and light pick-up with the Voltec platform. Add in a little dedicated inverter for outputting 120V from the battery. And have a special idle mode where the car is off as long as there is good battery power but will fire up the engine to recharge the battery as needed. I think there would be a market for it.

Via Motors is developing exactly that - full size GM vans and pickups using Voltec technology for the construction market, with 3 phase generator capacity. I think PG&E is running a pilot fleet of them.

Yeah, but GM needs to do it. These small time conversion shops are never going to be able to push down the costs.

And I would propose that's exactly how it works.. that the little companies get as big as they can until the GM or whoever notices a viable Niche' to either buy up or outcompete the little guys..

what is Via Motors?

oh just looked them up $79,000 for a van? is that right?

Yeah, the Via trucks are wildly expensive. I have a feeling that they're being used as a GM experiment - Bob Lutz (the drive behind the GM Volt and former chairman) is spearheading the development there. I suspect if they're successful that GM will scoop them up. The Voltec platform would be excellent in a small truck and would allow it to meet any CAFE requirements necessary.

Watching the video Car and Driver: Tested : 2013 Tesla Model S, I have to say the Tesla Model S is a seriously desirable vehicle. If I had the money I'd buy one myself, just because it's a marvelous car, not because it's electric. (I'd have an ICE car also, just in case.)

I wonder if Mercedes, Audi, and BMW will come out with a competitor. If they can't get the $14,000 per car green credit from California, it would be a serious handicap.

It looks like Tesla have found their high-priced niche. They set the benchmark both in price and in quality. I can't see anyone else matching them in the near term.

But if they move out of their niche, or another company mounts a serious challenge, I don't know. I think they'll struggle.

I do not think Mercedes, Audi and BMW will provide a competitive high end product within the next two years.

For me the most funny aspect is that Tesla used a business model I would have expected to come from one of the three: You build a very expensive but sexy car and let the rich pay the R&D for a more mainstream product that would have been launched five or seven years later.

That this would have worked in Germany becomes clear when you see the success of the EV version of the smart, people pay a high price >20.000 EUR for a product that feels much better than the ICE version.

I really hope that Tesla survives and can translate the Model S success into an own mainstream EV or at least nice license fees. :-))

The business model for Mercedes, Audi and BMW is to sell high priced autos to the affluent. They are entirely conventional platforms loaded with luxury items - they have more content and cost more to make, but not proportionately to their increased price. This is where the profit is and why no one wants to sell low priced cars. Selling on brand or name is great, because the name on the side costs little to make.

The business model for Tesla is to make a high priced car because the thing really costs a lot to make, hope that they can build up hype and attract investors, and hope that they can develop some way to keep it going - either by some invention that will allow them to overcome the design limitations that prevent making a low priced EV that meets range/performance requirements, or by figuring out how to make money on the high priced stuff like Mercedes, Audi and BMW do.

Who buys the Prius now?

Who owns a Personal Computer now, or an I-phone, I-pad, etc?

Are these things limited to the 'Gated Community' set? Why not?

It always starts out selling the sparkliest toys to the early-adopters, at the highest price.

They may not ever be 'cheap, cheap'.. but that's really not the requirement. Having access to this sort of transportation is valuable to many people, and they will invest in it, if they can. There is really NOTHING requiring EV's to be sparkly and fancy, or made of extra-special materials (apart from the battery, and even there, it's negotiable. Pete Seeger has a PickupTruck Conversion that runs with Lead Acid.. carries his firewood and runs his chainsaw, charged with PV, and can get him to town, and it's NO Maserati)

Is a Prius profitable for Toyota? How does it compare to a Camry for them?

There is really NOTHING requiring EV's to be sparkly and fancy, or made of extra-special materials

Yes, there is. Try to take a typical inexpensive stamped steel chassis and make a mass produced EV with range/ performance that will attract buyers and be profitable to the manufacturer.

If you wish to discuss what some guy somewhere can cobble together, find useful and live with, or what Pete Seeger drives, that is a different conversation to the one going on here and not of great interest to me.

And you know full well what, and only what will make it appealing to the market, and that is the price and availability of gasoline. And sure, that condition doesn't exist today, and we have the marketing balance we see... but to hear you protest as if that sea-change couldn't be around the corner is a bit astonishing. It's all that most of us are here for.

It's possible enough that if a gas shock hits hard and fast enough, that there won't really be a chance to get a more spare and essential EV option to market, but even now there are a few variants out there that will 'have to be good enough' for folks desperate to find a solution when the Pumps are all Stagnant or charging $15/gal whatever. And also, the kits that can be 'cobbled together' are also easily found with a quick Google search.. so people who suddenly find they have a car they can't afford to refill, but also can't seem to sell will start looking at the other avenue that might be available to them.

It's unthinkable, I know, so to you it's uninteresting.. I just have to wonder how many aspects of YOUR daily life would be immediately affected if we were to see 'something unthinkable' happen to the daily Road Systems that bring our people and our stuff here and there. The way you might need to hitch that ride from Today over to the world of No Cars Anymore, might just be in somebody's.. , umm, Electric car.

I don't view continuing the automotive transportation system with electric energy storage as much of a sea change, rather a desperate attempt to prolong a failed system.

You are once again trying to change the subject, which was about the Tesla and their viability and what kind of threat they really are to the existing manufacturers. Relevant to that topic, I brought up real design problems that influence the direction of Tesla and their products, and why one cannot just assume that the Tesla S implies much about the manufacture of cost effective EVs. You would rather discuss Pete Seeger's pickup, as that avoids dealing with the sticky problems of creating an electric automobile transportation system.

GM just released the MSRP for their new Spark EV - $27,495 before tax credits/rebates. Supposed to hit the dealer show rooms in mid-June. In California, with $7500 fed credit and $2500 state rebate, that's $17,500 for a good basic EV with a 135 HP motor, 20 kWh thermally-managed LI battery, 83 miles of range, and 0-60 in under 8 seconds. They will be including fast DC quick charging capacity to take advantage of the growing QC level 3 charging network. 80% re-charge in 20 minutes for those times you can't re-charge at home. Add a 2 KW PV system to your house for an additional $6K and you have purchased a lifetime supply of transportation "fuel".

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

GM says the Spark EV will cost less than $25,000 after “tax incentives,” which includes federal and occasionally state credits for purchasing an electric vehicle. The federal tax credit is good for $7500, while a state like California may give as much as $2500 for the purchase of a Spark EV.

Is it before or after?

Also, how much money do they make on it?

It is $27,495 cash with no subsidies. It is $19,995 after the $7500 Federal Tax credit. It is mere $17,495 after Federal tax credit and California incentive check. If you can afford a new car, you can afford this car. There are cheaper ICE gas cars but those ICE gas cars will ultimately cost you MORE money due to the gasoline, oil changes, smog checks, and other costs associated with ICE cars.

They are certainly losing money on it. But probably not very much with the $27,495 price. And this is probably cheaper than buying ZEV credits from Tesla or Nissan.

Automakers will often choose to sell low volume specialty vehicles at a loss, for a variety of reasons. This just illustrates what I have been saying - what can be made as an EV is very different from what people are presently using automobiles for. Even with heavy subsidies you pay a hefty amount for a tiny car with limited range, and the automaker is still losing money on it. Will many people find that to be an investment they can afford and are willing to make?

Yes, your hatred of all cars has been made quite abundantly clear over and over.

But most people like them and will continue to buy them. So I guess you are very disappointed to learn that as gas prices grow ever higher due to oil depletion, people will have a viable option for personal transportation. Yes, people are going to have to adapt to smaller cars . . . but small cars work just fine as Japan and Europe have shown us. But, yes, people can afford and will invest in an EV when it becomes a clearly more economical choice than a gasoline vehicle.

Because the peak in the production rate of our primary energy source will cause only minor inconvenience, causing us to make minor changes to the products we buy?

So what do you think people should do? And why should they listen to you and not someone else? They make EVs because people buy them. The market for EVs is small, but growing. Nissan has already announced that the 2015 Leaf will have twice the range for the same price. A $25,000 Leaf with a 150 mile range should be good enough for 95% of the people. Perhaps the EVs and solar panels won't "save" us. But it is still OK to buy them if it makes sense today.

Where did you get the idea that I can or should tell people what to do, or that anyone would listen to me? If people want to buy them then they should go ahead and do that - masses of people are doing things I think are foolish all the time. I would much rather see our society invest in something achievable and viable such as electric rail, but I don't get to decide such things and don't have any expectations that it will happen.

What I have been saying is that (IMO) trying to create an electric automobile transportation system will fail, contrary to the assumptions of nearly everyone, and trying to present real technical challenges that must be overcome. In this particular case, that Tesla and the cars they sell mean little about the viability of producing a common man's EV for transportation use - that means manufacturers making and selling EVs in volume at a profit to customers who can afford them and find them to be worth spending a lot of money on. This while the economy is tanking and jobs are scarce.

I seriously wonder how people can look at the situation and think that with a nip here and a tuck there that the happy motoring will continue right along. If I thought all Peak Oil, Climate Chaos and economic collapse meant was changing from ICEs to EVs, I would never bother reading TOD - why would anyone care about so minor a thing?

But most of us need a car to live today. The total cost of ownership of Nissan Leaf is already lower than a gasoline car. So I am not sure why you keep insisting that they are not affordable or practical. The only issue is limited range which will hopefully be addressed in a few years. I don't care about Tesla; it is a rich man's toy. If a Leaf with a range of 150 miles was available and cost $25,000 most people could afford it.

It's not available. How much money does Nissan make on each Leaf?

The Spark EV above is a good example - the basic bodyshell, suspension, brakes and interior componentry is off the shelf cheap Korean small car (Daewoo I assume), shared with the ICE version and made and sold in large volumes. Yet they still cannot sell the EV version at a profit for $27k.

As to whether people will be able to afford new $25k cars - certainly some will be able to, for a while, but we are apparently expecting different things for the future.

They might be breaking even at $27,495. We don't know. I suspect they lose a little bit though.

The average car sells for $30K, so people can afford them according to the statistics. But that doesn't even include the massive savings that people get from fueling by electricity instead of fueling by electricity. If someone is driving an old clunker with 23mpg for 12,000 miles a year with $5/gallon gasoline (a guesstimate average for the next 7 years or so), that is $2608 per year on gas. That is $217/month in gasoline alone. That person could park their clunker and lease this Spark EV for $199/month. Thus it is practically a free car for such a person.

And here is a nice thing about this highly-efficient microcar EVs like the Spark EV . . . you don't even need to get a charger installed. It has a 21KWH battery and if you plug-in when you get home, you'll have a pretty much full charge for the next day's commute. 12 hours of 120V charging is enough to handle a 60 mile round trip commute. A 240V home charger would be desirable but not necessary.

I don't know how much Nissan makes or loses on Leaf. Even if they are losing money today, so what? As the cost of battery drops it will swing to profit. Mass production will make batteries cheaper.

There will be major and minor changes due to peak oil. The thing is, people will do what they feel they must, even when they cannot do what you want, or even what they want. And, unless and until mass public transit becomes a reality, they must have transportation to and from work, doctors office, food store, etc. That means they will buy what is the least of all evils they see placed before them as the only choices on the table.

We can hope that this will cause some public outcry for MT. I am not holding my breath on that, though, and in the mean while I expect EVs to do pretty well. The good news is that they are less harmful to the climate, net net.


Yes. This is BIG NEWS for EVs . . . an EV PRICE WAR! $17,495 for an 82 mile EV after the Fed & state incentives is amazing. That is barely above the price of a gas car for a car that costs less than $500/year to fuel.

It is not a sexy car. But if you want a cheap & reliable commuter, the Spark EV is great.

The sad part is that this is not sustainable unless they get battery prices down. The only reason it is this cheap is because GM needs to get some ZEV credits. So instead of paying Tesla for ZEV credits, they'll manufacture their own by selling this Spark EV at a loss.

However, the increased market size with all these EVs should work to push down the price of EV components such as chargers, batteries, controllers, electric motors, etc. And thus reduce the price of EVs in the longer term.

There is really NOTHING requiring EV's to be sparkly and fancy, or made of extra-special materials (apart from the battery, and even there, it's negotiable

In the form of a bike, yes.

In the form of a car, one report claimed 800 lbs of a car is 'due to safety'. Cited things like air bags.

Yes, Eric. But that applies to ALL cars, doesn't it? ..Plus, this is part of the set of assumptions that guide the American Car building standards, which we might find are not set in stone when other conditions force us to revise some of our overprotective standards.

In any case, all of those 800 pounds are not some kind of ooh-ahh precious material that is the only thing that will make an EV work, as Twilight has suggested. As we have seen with the overall satisfaction and desire around the EV-1 and the Rav4EV, these vehicles can really be built with all the standard processes of any other car, and what it takes to downsize and lighten them is a matter of design and intention far more than any material limitation.

Sorry, I think you are wrong. If carmaker assume that the increasing price of crude may severely affect the number of people who can afford a car, then they have to chose between two evils, either they have dramatically reduced numbers of sold cars or they provide an alternative, that may give thenm not the large gains at the beginning but may secure the survival of the carmaker.
With this background R&D in the field of EVs is essential and a Tesla by Daimler; Audi or BMW may have been a very good idea.

BTW Audi makes so much money because they can sell their R&D within the VW group, with each Golf that is sold Audi makes 300 EUR. The same would be true with EV, if they were tech leader.

Every auto manufacturer has a development group, and how they allocate those costs & incomes internally is pretty irrelevant externally. Audi is VW.

Low end cars don't cost much less to make than high end cars, which is why profits on high option luxury cars are so much more attractive - you are getting someone to pay much more for what is basically the same thing.

Tesla's strategy may be a good one for them. Perhaps when only wealthy people drive cars they will be viable in that market. My point was that just because you can make a high end expensive EV does not assure that the development work done there will be applicable to a common man's EV at much lower prices.

Sorry, wrong. In a large group you have less R&D costs per car. The advantage Audi has is that some of their developements are in five yeras in Golfs or Skodas and Audi gets money for them, this gives them a huge advantage compared to Daimler or BMW, we are talking about hundreds of million EUR per year.

Your assumption that the high end cars are only fancy stuff and have no real added value compared to low end cars is debatable, most new engine concepts and now mainstream components (AC, navigation systgems...) come from the upper end. And each ingineer who works for suppliers will tell you that the quality of products that go to Daimler is higher than the ones that go to Fiat, no dispute there.

Ulenspiegel, I was hoping you would respond to my comment below on the DBM Energy/Kolibri Power Systems AG saga.

I suspect you might have missed it as it contained links and the moderation system being used here means that, if a comment is passed by the moderators after your last visit to the page, it doesn't show up as "new" on subsequent visits because, it was actually created and posted before your last visit to the page. Anybody else noticing that moderated comments are not showing up as new, even though they were not visible the last time you visited the page?

Alan from the islands

Anybody else noticing that moderated comments are not showing up as new, even though they were not visible the last time you visited the page?

Yes. Just spotted two of mine.

A post which was in moderation will not get the "new" tag if it was written before you last accessed the page.

The timestamp is the time of posting, not the time it leaves moderation. Obviously the software compares the time of posting and time of access and assumes you've seen it even though it was in the moderation queue and not displayed on the web page.

I sent an email to this effect to TOD Tech Support, but got no reaction from them.

"I sent an email to this effect to TOD Tech Support, but got no reaction from them."

It's a known issue with no current "solution." I've mentioned it before and Leanan confirmed that the comments actually exist but are hidden from view - so when you go to the page the new tags go away as if you've seen them.

I have not heard anything about Kolibri Power Systems in respect to own EVs, they are more in the field of industrial scale storage and IIRC see a large market in consumer solutions for reneables.

Frankly, I do not really understand the strategy of German carmakers in the last 10 years. Even if pure EVs are risky, why not hybrids, the Prius is very successful in Germany. On the other hand, the most interesting market is China, so waiting until Beijing makes crucial decisions may be a good decision.

My hope was that huge car suplliers like Bosch would start an own PV line and at the same time would produce storage technology for houses, which is a huge market. Then extend this to high tech solutions (better energy density) for apllications in cars. This hope died a few months ago with Bosch shutting down its PV production.

From wikipedia:

Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen marques; motorcycles under the Ducati brand; and commercial vehicles under the MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles marques.

Audi is just a brand in the VW Auto group, it is not a separate company. How they apportion their internal development costs does not matter at all, it is just accounting tricks. All automotive development groups are working on designs for years in the future, as that is how long it takes.

I never disputed that in a large group you have less R&D costs per car - and VW being much larger than Daimler or BMW may give them an advantage in that respect. Still, all them sell entirely conventional machines loaded with accessories and options, and trading on "brand" and emotional reaction.

I was contrasting the business model for all of these relatively larger companies to that of Tesla, which must incur the costs for developing more unique and unconventional systems.

Your assumption that the high end cars are only fancy stuff and have no real added value compared to low end cars is debatable, most new engine concepts and now mainstream components (AC, navigation systgems...) come from the upper end. And each ingineer who works for suppliers will tell you that the quality of products that go to Daimler is higher than the ones that go to Fiat, no dispute there.

There is more content in the higher end cars, but not in proportion to the increased price - that is why they are more profitable and why they always want to sell the option packages. There simply is no dispute that the profits are higher on these vehicles.

Also, much more of the options and accessories are designed by suppliers.

"There is more content in the higher end cars, but not in proportion to the increased price - that is why they are more profitable and why they always want to sell the option packages."

This also applies to trucks and SUVs. They're only moderately more expensive to produce, yet can be sold for twice as much as a typical car.

I still disagree with your position, as incressing fule prices may reduce demand for cars with ICE, so there are only choices between lesser evils if the producers want a mass merket. You understimate the learning curve when it comes to battery technology and alternatives to stell or aluminium, better a few years small yiel for the introduction of a future-proof product.

Hoewever, with your last sentence you may have (unintentionally?) pointed to an very intereing aspect: What makes a car?

If car companies build ICE cars they usually have invested into the engine design and therefore often define "their" car via the engine and some design stuff.

If the engine becomes a minor point like in EV and the interesting stuff like battery technology (R&D and production) comes from a supplier, could there be the danger, that suddenly the EV is from Bosch and Daimler only delivers the auto body. :-)

I do not think Mercedes, Audi and BMW will provide a competitive high end product within the next two years.

For me the most funny aspect is that Tesla used a business model I would have expected to come from one of the three: You build a very expensive but sexy car and let the rich pay the R&D for a more mainstream product that would have been launched five or seven years later.

What I find ironic is that over two and a half years ago a German group converted an Audi A2 to battery EV and on October 26 2010 were claiming a world record for the longest road trip by a battery EV.

Converted Audi A2 claims new electric vehicle distance record: 372 miles

While the length and speed of the trip are all very nice, the real story here seems to be the batteries that made it possible. Developed sans government investment, the lithium metal polymer (LMP) cells, which Lekker and DBM refer to as Kolibri AlphaPolymer Technology, are said to be lighter and more powerful than traditional cells and operate with an efficiency of 97 percent. They were also compact enough to be integrated into the car without giving up passenger seating or trunk space

Six months later:

DBM Energy's record-breaking KOLIBRI battery passes government tests [w/VIDEO]

When DBM Energy made its record-breaking drive from Munich to Berlin, Germany on a single charge of the KOLIBRI Alpha Polymer battery, there was a lot of skepticism expressed. Even more so when the technology platform, an Audi A2 conversion, was lost to a mysterious fire. Undaunted, the company has moved forward and submitted cells for testing by the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). It has also had the German certification organization DEKRA conduct a range test on the latest converted Audi A2.

The results? The cells stood up to BAM's physical tests – which included burning, high altitude simulation, short circuits and other distresses – quite well. We're talking gold star, A+, definite pass. The range tests results however were not quite as revealing. The pack size in this vehicle was 62.928 kWh (as opposed to the 98 kWhs of the original) and following the ECE-R 101 guidelines was found to be capable of running the A2 on the rollers for 454.83 km (282.62 miles). Extrapolating, they found that if the battery was the original was installed, they would have achieved 714 km (443.7 miles) Not bad, right?

Having read that back then, I was expecting that by now we would be seeing exiting concept and pre-production cars with impressive ranges coming out of Germany. Instead what we are seeing is less than impressive and certainly not ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination. What of DBM Energy? They have changed their name to Kolibri Power Systems AG and are offering a range of batteries for stationary applications on their web site. It would appear that the automotive companies were not interested so, hopefully with the recently introduced incentives for renewable energy storage in Germany, this interesting technology will survive.

The Manager Magazine Article linked to in my original post stated that the Model S "is also a slap in the face for AutoNation Germany." IMO a well deserved one, since the top management of the German auto companies seemed to have spent all their time and effort trying to convince the public that EVs were not ready for prime time. Audi themselves don't seem to be able to make up their mind whether to do a battery EV or not so, now they can try to see if they can make anything as good as the Tesla. The Germans have/had the technology to do this all along, they just surrendered to the Luddites (the people who said, "it can't be done").

Alan from the islands

When oil forecasts get it wrong

This Kurt Cobb piece is excellent. It points out how wrong the IEA forecasted things in 2000. And it points out how the current cornucopian forecast is again failing to fully understand the current situation and probably misleading people again.

Difficult Truths about 'Difficult Oil'

As we work down the hydrocarbon pyramid, energy gets messier and much more costly. Latest in a series.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, Today, TheTyee.ca

Skinner first saw the oil sands in 1966 as a student geologist. At the time it consisted of just one construction project for the first Suncor mine.

He has returned every decade since, first as a federal energy official, and then as an employee for the French oil giant, Total. In his last stint he served as senior vice president for Statoil Canada.

"I first saw the oil sands as a sideline, out-of-sight activity that governments were reluctant to approve -- because it would compete with output from the string of discoveries after Leduc that governments were lobbying the U.S. to import. Today it is a burgeoning boomtown, world-scale industry that governments are again lobbying the U.S. to import."

But his experiences working with bitumen over the last 45 years confirmed Skinner's deepest suspicions: difficult oil is, well, difficult and really is a shift from business as usual. It is all about burning money to reverse or speed up geology. Moreover, technological breakthroughs to speed up or slow down geological forces are slow if not ponderous.

-- snip --

Reversing geology, adds Skinner, "requires huge amounts of energy, labour, water, steel and capital. It's all about the Second Law of Thermodynamics."

Shale gas and tight oil, also belong to the difficult camp.

They exist in source rocks where hydrocarbons may have been overcooked or not yet migrated up into porous reservoirs. As a consequence it requires some fiddling to wrestle them out of the shale. "To be graphic, it amounts to giving the rocks an enema," says Skinner.

This post is part of the series by The Tyee's Andrew Nikiforuk called The Big Shift

Many drumbeats have discussed the problem of feeding 10 billion people.

Type the audacious plan to end hunger with 3D printed food

into google and get a new slant on how this might be accomplished.

But its where Mr Contractor sees the raw ingredients for his food printers "ink" coming from that just might change your first impression of this idea

Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer might evoke visions of the “replicator” popularized in Star Trek, from which Captain Picard was constantly interrupting himself to order tea. And indeed Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of his universal food synthesizer.

But Contractor, a mechanical engineer with a background in 3D printing, envisions a much more mundane—and ultimately more important—use for the technology. He sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store.

Yeah I commented on this the other day.

Another ignorant engineer who doesn't have a clue! 12 billion people with 3D printers in their kitchens. Oh yeah that'll happen. BTW don't engineers take basic physics and learn the laws of thermodynamics?

Assuming 12 billion people somehow find themselves alive on this planet at the same time, where does he suppose the energy to create the ingredients that will be used as the raw materiasl for his miracle device will come from? Has he never heard the expression, 'THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH'?!

We don't even have Clue One as to what the ingredients are, never mind where they will come from.

Nutrition "science" is in its infancy...

Some of the "we" do - mealworms.

Neal Stephenson's 'The Diamond Age' has a world in which nano-technology has enabled feeds of basic elements to every household, where a machine the size of a refridgerator assembles the goods - including a basic rice ration.

Far fetched, but amusing... incidentally in a world of cheap 'printed' goods, hand made items have a great value.

incidentally in a world of cheap 'printed' goods, hand made items have a great value.

Then imagine the value of a grilled free range chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and salad and some real homemade apple pie followed by some fresh brewed coffee....

After reading this I am trying to prevent myself from making Soylent Green references, but I just find it impossible.

Just wait until you find that your Soylent Green is not, in fact, made of Tasty People...but bugs! Eeewww! :)

You mean like "The Fly"? Soylent Green is Insect People...

I am not a particularly religious person, but I may have to convert to some religion or another so that I can pray that a) I will be dead before there are 10 or 12 billion people on this planet and b) I will be dead before this insane food printing scheme sees the light of day.

The active ingredient in, e.g., broccoli is broccoli. This concept is insanity, rank, florid insanity. I am depressed that anyone even thought about it, much less thought it acceptable to publicly state it.

Cartridges of powder and oils? Gah! What utter arrant nonsense! How do people work themselves up to the point to where they think this is even remotely a good idea? I look for an Onion reference but I don't see one.

It's worse out there than I thought...

Yes, soon all homes will be like the Captain's suite on the Enterprise. While we're using fantasy TV shows and movies as a basis for our vision of the future, let me offer an alternative to this one (which is apparently direct from the scriptures of the religion of technological progress) - how about say, Soylent Green?

Maybe we can combine them - your corpse will be processed and turned into powder for use in the food replicator used by the world's 12billion inhabitants living in their sterile technocopian fantasy world. With a pinch of MSG of course, as you doomers are probably not very savory.

“The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.”


Sorry, my first impressions are still holding on pretty well. I don't personally believe we can do quite as much 'from a mix' and a really good play-do press as we used to think. It's embarrassing to admit, but I think Igor had it closer, eating live flies to get their 'lifeforce'.. what we should be eating is the recently murdered bodies of living things (not to mean just animals there..), with all the complexity and intricate balances that they offer. Taking some powders and adding oils and water is very much an extension of the most unhealthy part of our food system.

We can't even make a proper substitute for mother's milk to feed our babies, but then, maybe that shouldn't be such a surprise, when we see how glorious and inimitable the mothers and fathers are in the first place.

“Don't eat anything incapable of rotting.”

“Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest.”

“The sheer novelty and glamor of the Western diet, with its seventeen thousand new food products every year and the marketing power - thirty-two billion dollars a year - used to sell us those products, has overwhelmed the force of tradition and left us where we now find ourselves: relying on science and journalism and government and marketing to help us decide what to eat.”

― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

It's embarrassing to admit, but I think Igor had it closer, eating live flies to get their 'lifeforce'..

That might actually not be far off the mark, one picture I saw had a plate of meal worms next to the printer...
Perhaps the powders could be processed grasshoppers. The UN has started promoting eating insects recently. But 12 billion humans, not a chance!

I still recoil at 'eating bugs', but will happily tear a Lobster limb from limb, or lovingly drop the little bottom-feeder live into boiling water.

On a different scale, I'm regularly consuming fermented foods, soaked grains and nuts/seeds, sourkrauts and cheeses and yoghurts.. which is basically taking a nutrient source and inviting a huge colony of bacteria to take up lively and productive residence there, until I am ready to profit from their bounty.

I don't mind forming the food into fun shapes either. I still manage to make a few piles of Mashed Potatoes into Alien Landing Mountains when I'm in a good and nostalgic mood!

Google Fly burgers in Africa

In Africa the rain season triggers the biggest swarms of midges on Earth to rise from Lake Victoria. The locals make best use of this blight, however, by catching them and turning them into nutritious fly-burgers – each one contains half a million flies and is packed with seven times more protein than a beef burger.

I saw a documentary on a nature channel about it - they suggested that the swarms were a recent phenenomen caused by changes in the lake. Maybe global warming will provide unexpected food supplies if we can stomach eating them. At least if civilisation collapses we'll have a ready supply of rat burgers on hand.

I wonder how long it will be before there is a 3D fast food chain drive through that is all automated? You order and pay for it via a cell phone app, get assigned a code, the printer makes the food and stores it at the appropriate temperature, you're notified via cell when it is ready, drive to the pick up location in an EV, then key in the code to receive.

How long before an entire generation refuses to eat anything not from a 3D printer? "Yech, an actual apple?!"

Please let me be dead before it comes to that.

"Yech, an actual apple?!"

I recall having a friend of my son's over for dinner once (probably when they were about ten.) He had never had chicken cooked on the bone, and didn't quite know what to do with it. They had managed to get all their chicken in patty and "finger" form.


KFC is switching to boneless chicken for this reason. People just don't want to deal with the bones. Too messy. They are still offering their regular chicken, but they expect to phase it out eventually in favor of all boneless.

Well.. then there is the study that has detected Arsenic in 100% of Fast Food Chicken that it looked at.

Not only is the arsenic used in the feed for preservative uses, or antimicrobial/molds, perhaps.. but it is also employed to give the chicken meat a 'healthier' color to the consumer. http://www.loe.org/content/2013-05-17/when-you-eat-chicken-you-may-be-ea...

Not unlike all that 'Green' printing that you once reminded us is made from some of the most toxic compounds in the printing/painting industry.. it takes a deal with the devil to make natural looking things such that they stay that way forever. I'm sure Poe wouldn't have been surprised at any of this. ('The Birthmark'.. for example..)

How long before an entire generation refuses to eat anything not from a 3D printer? "Yech, an actual apple?!"

You could say that it's already true for a lot of people who rarely eat anything that has not come from an industrial food processing plant(some version of a 3d printer). Living on a diet of soda, apple juice, burgers and french fries.

If the powder and oils has a long shelf life, it might be a means to cut food waste. Just in time creation of just the amount you want to eat. No leftovers left rotting in the fridge.

The rotting isn't a problem, but it needs to be rotting in the compost, in order to feed the next harvest.

The shelf-life of oils is a particular problem, as I understand we are in the habit of eating a lot of long-term stored foods and oils which have sometimes a low, but persistent level of rancidity that we're bathing our cells in. This leaves people in a state of continual, systemic inflammation, tapping our healing resources with this ongoing strain.

"Rancid oils are a major source of destructive free radicals in the human diet. Oils oxidize through exposure to air, heat and light and become unstable and highly toxic to your body. Polyunsaturated fats such as sunflower, soy and sesame oil are the most unstable and prone to oil rancidity, because their chemical structures are missing several pairs of hydrogen atoms.

"Manufacturers extract most cooking oils using heat, which makes the oils rancid and toxic even before they reach the store shelves. Manufacturers then refine and deodorize the oils through various chemicals to remove the bad smell and give the oils a nice color. This process makes it virtually impossible to tell if an oil is rancid or not.

Read more: What Are the Dangers of Rancid Oil? | eHow http://www.ehow.com/info_8409462_dangers-rancid-oil.html#ixzz2U7f4L5rY

Vegetable oils should only be purchased in small quantities, in containers that shield the contents from light, they should be stored in the refrigerator after opening and used up within a few weeks.

Rancid oils.
Guess I'm lucky to get fresh cold pressed olive oil at my local store. There is even a 'best used by" date on the dark green bottle.
California Olive Ranch.
Olive oil has a high "smoke" temp but if you really want to sear or cook at high temps, use rapeseed oil.


EVOO has a lower smoke temp than regular cold pressed does. Costco sells a "Mediterranean Blend" of OO, with a blend of EVOO, Grapeseed and Canola. Seems to have a higher smoke level, and holds up well, though I don't use it on salads (or with spices as a bread enhancer like I do with EVOO).

Peanut oil is pretty good for high temp cooking as well.


Oil? Jeeze get with the 20th century. All frying needs to be done with bacon fat! It has a high smoke point and adds flavor. As for pastries, it's either butter or lard!

Now get out of my kitchen.


Hey! This is the OIL Drum!!! Whaddya expect other than oil???


Butter, Bacon Fat and Olive Oil are basically the only ones I use.. it's also been nice not to be just throwing out all those Drenched Paper Towels that the rest of my country equates with the proper method of cooking bacon. All the drippings go into the jar by the stove, and go back into the pan when needed. Very nice for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, too.

(Lard and chicken fat I guess I get those 'on the bone'..)

You say butter. My people call it an emulsion.
The secret to cookies from the NYTimes. You must whip it. Whip it good.
"Butter Holds the Secret..." from The NYTimes.

Bake On!


Nutritious powders are very attractive to rats and mice. Rodent control could be a problem in storage areas.

Nah, we'll eat them too. Once we connect the universal rendering device to the 3D food printer, you'll be able to throw anything carbon-based into one end and get champagne and caviar out the other. It'll be paradise. Really.

you'll be able to throw anything carbon-based rats and mice into one end and get champagne and caviar out the other.


Probably throw Grandpa in there too - DIY Soylent Green.

you'll be able to throw anything carbon-based rats and mice rats, mice and grandpa into one end and get champagne and caviar out the other.



You know, this might actually work out differently - maybe with Google Glasses there wouldn't be any need to actually make a specific meal. You could just render down the inputs to a gelatinous consistency, and then have the software project the proper images while you were eating it. Load it up with enough MSG and people would love it! Maybe if you could sense chewing then you could have the earphones do an clicking/crunching sound when appropriate.

If he can synthesize a plate of filet mignon, mashed potatoes, gravy and peas at 1/10 the price of and indistinguishable from the originals, then he will have a winner. Just think of it: no more slaughterhouses and vegans can enjoy meat without feeling guilty they killed an animal. Think of all the water that will be saved in that wasteful, primitive practice of agriculture. All the farmland can be restored to its natural state. If you want a banana, there will be no need to ship it from the tropics. The powder can be manufactured from any plant or animal material. No more wasting of leaves stems and roots. Even better, it can be manufactured from electricity, water and carbon dioxide.

Yeast rule!

People who believe we'll never feed 10bn people on the planet need to really pay attention to stories like this. Artificially synthesized food has the possibility of revolutionizing society. Just imagine the amount of ranching land that would be available for other uses if meat consumption dropped substantially. McDonalds has already proven that people don't care what they're eating as long as it tastes good. Personally I think artificial food will be the next big breakthrough in human history. I don't know whether it's good or bad for the planet - many countries are proving that just because you have access to more resources doesn't mean population needs to increase, and in fact is decreasing in many locations.

Artificial food could drastically cut the amount of forests cut down for livestock every year, and would also end a lot of large-scale farming for monocrops. It could also allow human population to balloon upward, but I think we're in the process of proving that this isn't necessarily a given.

In my bodybuilding days I dreamed of just being able to eat a pill for each meal so that I didn't have to consume so much food. Being able to print out your own meal is about the next best thing. A printer combined with a small garden in the backyard would be ideal for me. You could still get home-grown food, but the bulk of your nutrition would come from the printer.

I wouldn't be so quick to crucify the idea, it could be very beneficial in the longer term.

Artificially synthesized food has the possibility of revolutionizing society.

Just curious, what EXACTLY do you mean by artificially synthesized food?!

A printer combined with a small garden in the backyard would be ideal for me. You could still get home-grown food, but the bulk of your nutrition would come from the printer.

So the bulk of your nutrition would come from the printer and NOT your garden?!


I dreamed of just being able to eat a pill for each meal so that I didn't have to consume so much food.

Go back to sleep and keep dreaming!

I think I'm in dire need of taking a long vacation from humanity...

It's quite obvious what I mean - read the article. There have also been stories in the past year about lab-grown meat, which I think could be another milestone.

You need to separate yourself from your emotions and look at it logically. Most people live in cities, don't have gardens, and are completely isolated from the food system. Most people don't care where their food comes from, just that it tastes good and is healthy (and even that's up for argument). These people have busy lives and don't have time to prepare their own food, which is why they go out and eat fast food that is pre-prepared. If they were able to hit a button on a screen, do something else at home for 30 minutes, and out popped a meal that tasted good and was healthy...sorry but that's a game changer.

I have a garden, but face it, there's no chance I'll ever be able to get the bulk of my nutrition from it while holding down a full time job. Most people don't own as much land as I do, which at 2.5ac isn't even all that much, so people are forced to buy food from a store regardless of what your personal wishes might be.

Bodybuilders get a large amount of their nutrition from meal replacement shakes and it seems to work very well. I'm basically a vegetarian and eat primarily soy foods and that seems to work well too. Taking it another step further isn't out of the realm of possibilities. If the technical details can be overcome I think there would be a revolution and it would be adopted in the US very quickly, especially by the young.

The "inventor" doesn't claim to be SYNTHESIZING food at all, from my careful reading of the article. He uses that word, but he doesn't mean creating food from elements or simple molecules. Rather, he's talking about separating and processing food components (proteins, sugars, oils, etc.) from plant or animal sources, so they can be reassembled into something edible.

Food "produced" this way is guaranteed to be much more expensive than "natural" foods, and to use much more energy. I could only imagine it being useful on space missions, where long-term storage is the main requirement and the budget is, well, astronomical.

IMHO, this article is another example of clueless journalism. I can't foretell the future, but I can predict with certainty that 3-D printers are NOT going to end world hunger.

Written by southwestPA:
Food "produced" this way is guaranteed to be much more expensive than "natural" foods, and to use much more energy.

But would it be more expensive and use more energy than canned food? It is a method of food preservation.

If the organic ingredients of the powder are things that humans currently do not eat (insects, leaves, stems, banana peels...), then it would have the ability to expand food production to consume all species globally, just in time to take over as fish production collapses from over fishing and commercial crop production declines from depleting fossil aquifers and climate change. It would not be a way to feed 12 billion people, but rather a way for 9 billion people to rape Earth of every bit of edible life. The instinct of yeast....

It is not quite a Star Trek matter replicator which is basically:

trash + sewage + energy --> consumer goods + food + heat

This is one of those issues that plays so well into the
"In theory, theory should be just like real life, but in real life, it just doesn't seem to pull it off. Why is that?"

Take a bite out of life!

or to pull another one from the Pollanator..

“What an extraordinary achievement for a civilization: to have developed the one diet that reliably makes its people sick!”

“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.”
― Michael Pollan, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

FMagyar (or anyone else trying to be self sufficient),

Do you get most of your nutrition from your garden? What are you main calorie staples that you are growing...beans and potatoes? I have been planting a lot of permanent things (fruit trees, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) plus a big vegetable garden but it doesn't really do a dent in our overall calorie consumption. We have beans (dry and green) and potatoes too but just don't use them as staples enough to help out that much.

At last we can get a square meal that is actually square.

Well just google 'One Square Meal'. It's square and it represents around 1/3rd your daily requirements.

We are having a bit of an emergency here in Oklahoma. Many families and animals are out of a home and/or injured. Seems like underground was the only safe option. I would hope that communities vote the bonds necessary to build shelters/basements for all schools. Relief supplies going in from all areas of the state; typically from unorganized citizens, but also red cross and salvation army.

I read that some of the children killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, drowned in a basement from a broken water pipe. The basement was not safe.

There seems to have been some confusion about the Plaza Towers school.

Tulsa World: Moore death toll stands at 24; nine of the dead were children

Officer Jeremy Lewis, a spokesman for the Moore Police Department, said the death toll, which had stood at 51 earlier, was revised to 24 . . .

Lewis said the entire damage area has been searched at least once and that heavy equipment was brought in to move debris.

He cast doubt on reports that children drowned in the basement of Plaza Towers school.

The school did not have a basement, he said.

“We are still searching the school just in case, but all children are accounted for.”

The WSJ reports that about 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, with total damages of about $2 billion. If you do a Google Search for: Deja Vu as City Digs Out, the WSJ has an interesting chart showing the tracks for most tornadoes in the US from 1950 to 2012.


The Oklahoma tornado is horrendous, my heart goes out to those affected. But I am surprised at the apparent lack of shelters.

While in Switzerland I noted that most (all?) private residences and public spaces eg schools have elaborate bomb shelters, I believe these are required by legislation. I slept in one, very quiet! The bomb shelters are designed for days or weeks of habitation, tornado shelters are probably used for periods of about an hour so they would not have to be too comfortable.

Given the US aversion to planning and building codes (explosive fertilizer plants in town come to mind) I can't imagine it happening. As a Canadian I think its a good idea, but it sounds like the thin edge of the socialist wedge, the agenda 12 plot to Europeanize freedom loving Americans.


The Swiss do in fact spend more than almost any other nation (more than 20 per cent of their budget) to insure themselves against everything and everyone. But there is a more simple reason: it is a legal requirement.

Room for the whole nation

"Every inhabitant must have a protected place that can be reached quickly from his place of residence" and "apartment block owners are required to construct and fit out shelters in all new dwellings", according to articles 45 and 46 of the Swiss Federal Law on Civil Protection.

This is why most buildings constructed since the 1960s (the first regulations on the subject were passed on 4 October 1963) incorporate a fallout shelter.

In 2006, there were 300,000 shelters in Swiss dwellings, institutions and hospitals, as well as 5,100 public shelters, providing protection for a total of 8.6 million individuals – a coverage of 114 per cent.

Apparently that is the case. A lot of people confuse the Swiss as being pacifists when they're absolutely not. They're armed to the teeth, nukes and all, but non-interventionist.

A tornado shelter might add hundreds of dollars to your $350,000 McMansion...perish the thought!

Actually, all things considered, the number of fatalities was relatively low, considering that news reports indicate about 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, not counting damage to schools, churches and commercial building.

Time Magazine has a great cover story on the tornado, "16 Minutes." Following is an excerpt:

What can you do with 16 minutes?

Kelly Byrne is the mother of two little girls and owner of a small business called Scribbles and Dribbles, makers of cute stuff for babies. When the warning was issued, she was at home in Moore, a fast-growing suburb of some 56,000 residents. Her girls are 4 and 1, and she tries "really hard not to scare them." But as a lifelong resident of Tornado Alley, she knows the value of vigilance. "Anytime there's really severe weather, we start preparing, just in case." To keep the girls calm, she made a game of getting ready. As the weather soured, she suggested that they collect pillows to build a fort in an interior closet. When they finished, the girls nestled in with a tablet computer, unaware of the danger, as Byrne gathered extra clothing and diapers nearby.

All the while, she kept one eye on the TV. When Smith's warning reached the news stations, the voice from the box grew more urgent. "They said an inside room wasn't sufficient for this tornado," Byrne tells TIME. What to do? Her home, like many on the hard clay plains of Oklahoma, had no basement. "So I grabbed my girls and my phone, and we went across to the street to a neighbor who had a shelter." By now it was after 2:50 p.m. Welcomed inside the below-ground shelter with scant time to spare, the little family listened as a deafening roar passed over them, headed northeast. Afterward, Byrne emerged to find a ruined world, scented with fumes of leaking gas. "A car that had been sitting in the driveway is now in front of the house turned sideways," she says. "All the brick is pulled off from one wall. Attic has fallen in on the garage. We have a recliner in our hot tub."

For Byrne, 16 minutes meant that her girls were not cowering as their home splintered around them.

Story behind a paywall:

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2144102,00.html#ixzz2U7...

Key point:

Two years ago, near suppertime on may 22, 2011, a force-5 tornado dropped suddenly on Joplin, Mo., and left at least 158 people dead--more than six times the number of fatalities in Moore. The most important difference between that disaster and this one was the effectiveness of the advance warning.

It's a mix of geology and politics.

Much of the soil in Oklahoma, including Moore, is red clay -- a porous substance that makes foundations settle and basements and underground tornado shelters leak. “That’s the reason we don’t have basements,” said Tom Bennett of Tulsa, past president of the National Storm Shelter Association. In greater Oklahoma City, which includes Moore, only 3.5 percent of homes have basements, according to Reuters.

But it wasn’t just the ground under residents’ feet that was to blame. The region’s politics and economy also were factors.

“This is a red state,” said state Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, who has introduced several unsuccessful bills in the state Legislature to require so-called “safe rooms,” shelters or anti-tornado construction in homes and trailer parks. “People don’t like anything that is mandated. They don’t like it when the government says they have to do something.”

It may be a red state but some of the up-post comments seem to imply that Govt rules and regulations are the salvation path to ultimate safety. What about personal responsibility? Is it too much of a stretch to assume people might think..."well, we live where there are tornados, we can't build a basement because of the soil, but we could purchase a steel culvert and anchor it in concrete, or we could construct a safe room in our house".

I understand that Govt could/should play a very big role in this, but too often Govt. mandates are unrealistic or wrong. For example, it seems to be the norm these days to impose mound septic conversions costing in excess of $20,000 per on folks whose existing systems work fine. Having said this public schools should have a safe zone to hide in and this could be designed in the existing structure.

Where I live Govt has been retrofitting all schools to be 'earthquake proof'. New schools incorporate this in their designs and financing as well as all other public buildings. It does not extend to private residences, though. If we have the big one and we don't have supplies or a safety plan ready to use at home our family will pay the ultimate price.

Perhaps the Govt could provide guidelines and education for personal solutions. There are electrical mandates due to obvious and numerous fire tragedies, but everyone has electricity. Not everyone experiences tornados or hurricanes and earthquakes. As for fetiliser plants I would hazard a guess (excuse the pun) that most of the houses were built around the plant after it was built.


Is it too much of a stretch to assume people might think..."well, we live where there are tornados, we can't build a basement because of the soil, but we could purchase a steel culvert and anchor it in concrete, or we could construct a safe room in our house".

Obviously, yes.

Keep in mind that the peak of US per capita income was in the early 1970's, and that since then we've been keeping all of this sham propped up by borrowing from the future. When looking at why people do not appear to behave rationally, a good part of that is because we live in an illusion where nothing is as it seems and none of this really works. None of that apparent prosperity of the place where these people live is sustainable, and like any cheap parlor trick if you disturb it even slightly (like by raising the costs of building the houses, etc.) then the whole thing falls apart.

Some perspective is in order. There have been some spikes over 500 deaths per year due to tornadoes, but it looks like the average number of fatalities per year is about 200 or less per year in the US (based on first link below), and annual tornado deaths per million people has been trending down for some time:

Good article on Tornado stats:


In contrast, more than 30,000 people per year die in motor vehicle accidents in the US.

Annual Motor Vehicle Deaths in the US (also trending down):


It's a little bit analogous to school shootings. Parents freak out when they hear about horrible school shooting tragedies, but the fact remains that family members and trips in automobiles are far bigger mortality threats to school age children.

most of the houses were built around the plant after it was built.

Isn't this the same problem?

The start of the "Big One"?

European stock markets slide after Nikkei plunges 7% - live


Not yet. For the "big one" to happen, economic growth in China needs to stop, or at least slow down noticeably. When that happens, all hell will break loose, but we are not there yet. Today is just a small tremor.

What I don't understand is how a stock exchange can OPEN lower or higher than the day before. How does this extra value magic itself into the stock price? I can understand it gaining or losing value thoughout the day as the trades happen but how can it happen when it's closed with no trading happening? Surely this is manipulation on a daily basis? Please point me to the obvious flaw in my puzzlement!!


It is sometimes called the 'after market'. Trading in futures on foreign exchanges predict and predate opening price.

Remember, it may be 10:15 on the East Coast, but in California they are just getting up. Stock markets are open somewhere 24 hrs/day, and some sort of trading goes on over weekends as well.


I don't understand is how a stock exchange can OPEN lower or higher than the day before.... I can understand it gaining or losing value thoughout the day as the trades happen but how can it happen when it's closed with no trading happening? Surely this is manipulation on a daily basis?

No implication of manipulation at all. For simplicity can even ignore the complications of overnight or after-market trading.

Just looking at the primary market hours for any single stock exchange, while the market is closed, brokerages still gather in buy/sell orders to execute at open, and at the open a price for each stock is established to best clear all of these overnight trade orders, which can be substantially different than the closing price, commonly referred to as a "gap" either up or down.

This doesn't just have to happen at open/close, can happen instantly any time during day as well if have buy or sell order come in that overwhelms all offsetting available trades.

Common mistake by many "bright" traders and fund managers is to assume the stock market prices will be continuous when in fact it can and quite often does make disconnected jumps. (Most common example of this flawed logic shows up in vastly underestimating the downside risk in stop-loss and options strategies gambling bets).

To simplify things, assume the market is set by "market makers" (lets say a generic term for wholesale buyers and sellers). When things look good they push prices higher to sell their stock (they're selling high and people want to buy) when things aren't so good they reduce their prices (they're buying low because people want to sell). They do the opposite to what everyone else is doing.

When the market is going to be negative they reduce the price they'll accept (remember they're buying and they're not stupid enough to buy at yesterdays prices when everyone wants to sell) so the market opens lower. When the market is going to be positive they increase their prices (remember they're selling the shares they bought previously and not going to sell them at cost) and the market opens higher.

Basically this gives an orderly market and healthy profits to the "market makers" for taking on the risk. In today's markets the mechanisms are more complex, but he philosophy is still the same, front running the crowd whether it be day traders or the Fed. Value plays no part in it.

Naw... not unless you are heavily into the Nikkei. As of now (10:15am, edt), DJ is down a few points.

Just another day in fantasyland. Nothing to see here. Move along.


Japan was effected because of poor manufacturing data from China which is Japan's biggest market and worries about the fundamentals of the Japanese economy. Although their monetary policies have boosted the stock exchange and even changed the spending habits of your average Japanese consumer, their economy is basically the same one they had before Shinzo Abe took over. Worries about U.S QE I think come in third.

BTW a 7% drop apparently only returned the Nikkei to levels it had seen 10 days ago - quite a volatile market at the moment.

European stock markets were spooked by the Nikkei but I think a major driver there were worries about U.S QE.

U.S markets haven't been seriously effected due to some good news there on new homes sales.

Interesting reactions to new home sales data. That data happens to include apartments, which is a large portion today of total sales.

Of course sales of older homes has picked up with the new bubble... conversion of distressed (foreclosed) property into rentals. More than just a few smaller investors are now picking up on what the hedge funds had begun to do, though the hedgies are better able to manage them. For a small investor that is a poor investment for a number of reasons: you are on the hook for major repairs; you are paying RE taxes and insurance; if you have three units (a sizable investment for small cap outfits)one empty home is 33% loss of income. One bad renter, and suddenly the copper pipes are gone, the electrical wires are gone and you are dealing with losses instead of income during your retirement.

Plus, your time spent showing, managing, cleaning, painting, repairing, etc., and suddenly you are no longer retired.

My prediction is that bubble pops fast!


Doubt it very much, every time the media gets worked up it always turns out to be a storm in a teacup.

African tribes losing ground to conservation


The thing which springs straight to my mind is have these tribes increased significantly in number in the last few generations? I'm not condoning their expulsion from their lands but possibly their lifestyle is now having a greater impact on the land than it previously had.

Inglorious, you are right. I've been there and seen this right in front of my eyes. One one side of a line where Masai grazing was prohibited there was tall lush grass, herds of wildebeest and zebra,lions, etc. On the other side where the Masai were allowed to graze their herds the grass was eaten down to stubble, lots of bare ground, and thorny scrub - extremely degraded. There are no good answers here. The Masai population growth is huge - hordes of children everywhere, and everyone tries to have the most cattle they can - their wealth. If not for the reserves most African wildlife would, I think, be extinct or nearly extinct right now. It is the whole sad dilemma of human overpopulation displayed in vivid clarity. Allowing the Masai to graze in the reserves would destroy the ecosystem and all its wildlife, the people would have more food and therefore more babies for a few years, then what next? We know the inevitable answer.


NOTE: The news items below report that in May, the Chinese government destroyed three shipments of GM corn from the US. The shipments were illegal under China’s GMO biosafety law.

And for those of you with long memories - think back to a famine in Africa. The US sent whole corn and the nation with the hungry people stated they would take that same corn cracked or milled, just not whole.

So non-starving Chinese should consume GMO corn against their biosafety laws because some African bureaucracy made a stupid decision?

some African bureaucracy made a stupid decision

Importing viable seeds that could be used to grow a crop is "stupid"?

Your sentence says the famine ravaged African country wouldn't accept whole corn (aka. viable seeds) but would accept them milled to some degree which you seem to infer is stupid. And your original post seems to imply that the Chinese, in not accepting GMO corn, were some how exercising the same level of bureaucratic stupidity. Am I misunderstanding what you were saying?

Seems to me that in both cases the countries were defending themselves against the predatory ingress of Western state sponsored monopolies. Which in the long run would make them dependant and eventually much worse off. Was that the point you were making?

It is certainly to be hoped that the United States is not using the current famine threat to get its GM crops into Africa through the back door to expand the restricted export market for them. -- Nature, Aug 8, 2002

Mattie Sharpless, Acting Administrator, Foreign Agriculture Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently (2002) told the Senate Agriculture Committee--

“Dollar for dollar, America exports more meat than steel, more corn than cosmetics, more wheat than coal, more bakery products than motorboats, and more fruits and vegetables than household appliances,”

She also added that agriculture is one of the few sectors of the U.S. economy that consistently contributes a surplus to its trade balance.

These quotes are from an old article, but are still relevant today. Food is an instrument of policy just as much as an army is, and the US deploys it in the same way.


I think the point is that local preferences and/or rules can come into play in ways that, from the outside, seem strange or perverse.

As an aside, I think I would prefer to take my chances with GM corn over cadmium tainted rice (e.g., http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732478700457849458396241347... )

I think using industrial agriculture we have managed to increase the quantity of food produced, but, at the same time been unable to maintain the quality. Essentially, what we're producing is increasingly moving towards the synthetic and nutritionally inadequate, not to mention contaminated by pollution. Sadly it seems to be that humans are becoming even more obese, increasingly unhealthy and less intelligent as a result.

Google this, from May 3, 2012: Study: U.S. Exporting Obesity to Mexico

According to "Exporting Obesity," a recent paper from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a Minneapolis-based think tank, U.S. agricultural products and policies are feeding growth in Mexico's obesity rate. The paper asserts that opening up trade avenues with the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, allowed the U.S. to send even more of its massive quantities of corn, soybeans, sugar, meat, and other foods to Mexico. An influx of cheap calories helped to push Mexico's obesity rate upward.

As expected from U.S. ng rig counts, coal has started to pick up use. Should continue to increase and maybe moderate ng prices over the summer.

Coal gains on natural gas in power generation

Natural-gas prices have gained nearly 30% in the past three months, and 49% in the past 12 months. Prices hit a string of 10-year lows in March of last year, on a supply glut and mild weather, but started to pick up steam later in the year. As prices rose, power plants started to switch to cheaper coal.

Despite the recent uptick, coal’s share of total electricity generation remains “well below” a typical range before 2009, the EIA said. In the seven years to 2008, coal’s share of total generation ranged from 48% to 51%; the fuel last got to a 50% share in 2005. It is expected to end this year with a 40% share, the EIA said.

The Railroad Commission of Texas just released preliminary oil and gas production numbers for Eagle Ford shale. Oil production in January-March
was 512,455 b/d. Production of condensate was 96,952 barrels a day. The implied crude+condensate production in March was 709 kb/d, very close to Bakken's March production of 719 kb/d.

Hi Alex,

I believe those numbers add to about 609 kb/d.

If you mean by implied, the scaled up future number when all the data is in, the last time I did this exercise the RRC numbers were between 76 % and 80 % of the EIA numbers (which over time correlate well with RRC data 18 months ago or longer). So if we assume this is still the case and divide 609 by 0.81(81%) we get 750 kb/d for the Jan-March period, so a greater output than the Bakken/Three Forks, if this estimate is accurate.

Another way to look at it is to take the Dec 2012 ratio of eagle ford C+C to all Texas C+C from the RRC (this was 28 % in Dec 2012 and had been about this level from July to Dec 2012) and then multiply the EIA data by 28 %. Using that approach we get 646 kb/d for Feb 2013. For the 750 kb/d number to be correct Eagle Ford output would need to be 33 % of total Texas output, which I think is unlikely. If we assume 30 %, which is more realistic, we get 688 kb/d for Eagle Ford Output in Feb 2013, my guess would be 650 to 750 kb/d.

Not sure of your 709 was a mistake, but it turns out to be quite a good guess IMO.


Hi DC,

it's not a guess, it's a calculation.
The January-March preliminary C+C total is 609 kb/d, or 54,847 barrels (x90 days)
The January-February preliminary C+C total was 559 kb/d, or 32,969 barrels (x59 days)

(54,847 - 32,969)/31 days = 706 kb/d implied C+C production in March

The January-February number include revised data for January + preliminary data for February
The January-March number include revised data for January and February + preliminary data for March
Depending on how big was the revision for February (which I don't know) and how big will be the future revision for March, the final data for March can be higher or lower than 706 kb/d.
In any case, if we compare the year-on-year growth rates for the two shale formations, it is clear that Eagle Ford is poised to outpace Bakken this year.

Hi AlexS,

I agree if things continue as thay have in the past, EF may outpace Bakken soon, looking at the map, it looks like about 60 % of the EF play is liquids rich, the rest of the wells are mostly gas. So the sweet spots may run out quickly, time will tell.

I double checked your original comment at the RRC of TX. They were correct.

The Railroad Commission of Texas just released preliminary oil and gas production numbers for Eagle Ford shale. Oil production in January-March
was 512,455 b/d. Production of condensate was 96,952 barrels a day. The implied crude+condensate production in March was 709 kb/d, very close to Bakken's March production of 719 kb/d.

In that comment Crude was 512.5 kb/d, condensate 97 kb/d so c+c= 609.5 kb/d.
Now I follow your implied March production which makes sense. Note that the RRC numbers tend to be on the low side, recent (Jan and Feb) numbers statewide were about 81 % of EIA estimates. It is harder to pull up the Eagle ford numbers because there are 21 separate fields in the play so it is time consuming.

March 2013 statewide C+C is 1800 kb/d, so 706 kb/d implies 39 % of Texas C+C comes from the Eagle Ford Play in March. As you mention we don't know how the breakout is from Jan-March so all we can really say is 609.5 kb/d for Jan- March which will likely be revised upward to as much as 752 kb/d for Jan-March.

It is possible that the Eagle Ford has already surpassed the Bakken, again your call that they are about the same for March may be proven corrct when we look back at better data in June or Sept of 2013.


Question for any chemists/chemical engineers out there. How energy intensive is the industrial scale conversion of glucose to vitamin C (ascorbic acid)?

My sister who lives in the UK was on the telephone with me yesterday and asked me if I'd heard the big news about vitamin C and TB. I asked her if it was good or bad and knowing that I am a huge advocate of the use of high dosage vitamin C for treating everything from the common cold to deterioration of the condition of arteries in the elderly, she told me it was good. Here's the scoop:

Vitamin C Can Kill Drug-Resistant TB, Researchers Find

To justify testing vitamin C in a clinical trial, Dr. Jacobs needed to find the molecular mechanism by which vitamin C exerted its lethal effect. More research produced the answer: Vitamin C induced what is known as a Fenton reaction, causing iron to react with other molecules to create reactive oxygen species that kill the TB bacteria.

I have long adopted the stance that high dose vitamin C can be used to replace a whole raft of drugs being used to treat a wide variety of communicable diseases as well as some chronic, degenerative, non communicable (lifestyle related) conditions and this only serves to reinforce that view.

One publication that I have read excerpts from, is a book by Irwin Stone (1907–1984), an American biochemist, chemical engineer, and author. The book is available free online (with the permission of his family) at The Vitamin C Foundation.(Warning: I had to turn automatic loading of images in Firefox off to prevent excessive memory use under Ubuntu on my netbook equipped with 1GB RAM, otherwise the lead web page for the book, literally killed my netbook!)

In nearly all the mammals, ascorbic acid is manufactured in the liver from the blood sugar, glucose. The conversion proceeds stepwise, each step being controlled by a different enzyme. The mutation that occurred in our ancestral monkey destroyed his ability to manufacture the last enzyme in this series -- L-gulonolactone oxidase. This prevented his liver from converting L-gulonolactone into ascorbic acid, which was needed to carry out the various biochemical processes of life. The lack of this enzyme made this animal susceptible to the deadly disease, scurvy. To this day, millions of years later, all the descendants of this mutated animal, including man, have the intermediate enzymes but lack the last one. And that is why man cannot make ascorbic acid in his liver.

This was a serious mutation because organisms without ascorbic acid do not last very long. However, by a fortuitous combination of circumstances, the animal survived. First of all, the mutated animal was living in a tropical or semitropical environment where fresh vegetation, insects, and small animals were available the year round as a food supply. All these are good dietary sources of ascorbic acid. Secondly, the amount of ascorbic acid needed for mere survival is low and could be met from these available sources of food. This is not to say that this animal was getting as much ascorbic acid from its food as it would have produced in its own body if it had not mutated. While the amount may not have been optimal, it was sufficient to ward off death from scurvy. Under these ideal conditions the mutation was not serious enough to have too adverse an effect on survival. It was only later when this animal's descendants moved from these ideal surroundings, this Garden of Eden, and became "civilized" that they -- we -- ran into trouble.

This book is possibly the single most important influence on my belief in the healing power of vitamin C and it is sometimes painful to think that, recommendations from chapter 27 of this book might have prevented the death of my mother, who died over ten years ago from organ failure, days after a hysterectomy had been performed. From a page on Stone at the web site doctoryourself.com:

Stone's very hard won knowledge was confirmed, yet again, in 2002, when an Annals of Surgery study of over 500 victims of trauma showed that "early administration of antioxidant supplementation using alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid reduces the incidence of organ failure and shortens ICU length of stay." (11)

I have personally seen the value of ascorbate in surgical cases. One was my father's first hip replacement operation which, without vitamin supplementation, kept him in the hospital for nearly three weeks. A few years later, before and immediately after the same surgery on the other hip, he took massive doses of ascorbic acid. The second hospital stay was 4 days.

So, how likely is it that it will be easy to produce glucose and then vitamin C on a large scale, in an energy constrained environment? Would it be better to try and grow fruits that can be preserved that have high levels of vitamin C? My understanding is freshly picked fruit and vegetables are the best source of vitamin C and that vitamin C breaks down very easily in the presence of light and/or heat so, what would be a good way of guaranteeing a good supply of supplemental vitamin C?

Alan from the islands

I have long adopted the stance that high dose vitamin C can be used to replace a whole raft of drugs

How many people want to take that as an IV and how many even know what raw material to buy and then the process to mix it to make an IV? Such would seem to be the limiting factor.

Vitamin C is water soluble and can be taken orally. Bodily needs are easily titrated based on the consistency of feces. Don't dismiss it without reading Linus Pauling on the subject.

I'm assuming that it'll take another nine years or so for Stone's work to become accepted. I think it was right here on TOD that I learned of a general rule of thumb that, it takes about 50 years for "controversial" theories like his to become mainstream.

Just a casual observation, maybe the general public is slowly learning about the healing power of vitamin C. On a visit to Miami last week, I couldn't find any of the higher dose formulations that I usually see at the normal sources (Walgreens, CVS, Walmart). I usually pick up a few bottles of 1000mg or 1500mg caplets but, didn't see any this time. Sold out maybe?

Alan from the islands

Stock Tang orange drink mix.

I have been taking 2g of vitamin C with practically every meal since 2005 or so. Since that time I have not been sick with flu even once. Sometimes I catch a cold; but it is very mild and lasts for no more than 2 days. Vitamin C has numerous benefits and no known toxicity levels. I also try to spend time in the sun and take 5000 IU of vitamin D every day during winter.

For people with cancer, mega doses of vitamin C taken intravenously appear to do the trick: http://www.naturalnews.com/034663_IV_vitamin_c_cancer_treatment.html

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the above opinion should not be treated as medical advice.

For me, winter starts when the seasonal oranges become available. I bought my first pocket yesterday. (Southern hemisphere -- winter is starting.)

I'll eat one or two each morning until the supply dries up at the end of winter. I almost never get colds or flu. If I do get, they are very mild doses. I also try to get sun, and eat plenty of butter (good source of vitamin D.)

Incidentally, I'm astonished how cheap oranges get. A pocket of 24 will drop to R12.00 (about $1.50) in mid-season. It has to be picked, washed, sorted, bagged, transported, and displayed. I don't know how they can make a profit. It's the price of a loaf of bread, and far more nutritious.

I don't medicate with vitamin C and I hardly ever get colds and haven't had flu for god knows how long.

My understanding is freshly picked fruit and vegetables are the best source of vitamin C and that vitamin C breaks down very easily in the presence of light and/or heat so, what would be a good way of guaranteeing a good supply of supplemental vitamin C?

This guy did fine on a diet of all meat and fat.

LETTER OF THE DAY - Cheapest energy the ultimate goal

Mr Mair's stated concern that to entertain another unsolicited proposal is 'unfair' to the other proposers gives the impression that he is more concerned about the rights and benefits that will accrue to those proposers than he is about the rights and benefits to accrue to the Jamaican people if this company out of Hong Kong can provide a far cheaper solution to our energy problem.....[snip]

Mair's and Pengelley's position is in stark contrast to that of JPS CEO Kelly Tomblin in The Sunday Gleaner. She stated clearly that even though JPS has a proposal on the table, it was in the country's best interest to find the best and cheapest solution and get on with it.

In the comments section the campaign to "shout loud and shout often" continues.

Alan from the islands

Nuclear technology the way to boost energy security - Henry


VETERAN PARLIAMENTARIAN Mike Henry has lent his support to the call for Jamaica to embrace nuclear technology to help boost energy security.
He suggested that the country consider relying on nuclear power, provided by at least two pocket reactors, established in separate locations, which are constructed to sustain all foreseeable catastrophes.

Funny thing about those "foreseeable" catastrophes are the ones that one does not foresee.

One possible definition of 'To sustain' is To experience or suffer...

So I guess one could interpret that phrase to mean that the reactors are constructed in such a way as to experience or suffer all possible catastrophes. In any case the idea of building nuclear reactors on a hurricane prone island is, IMHO, already a pretty bad idea in and of itself, what go possibly go wrong?

Then if for some reason that weren't bad enough, guess what?!

Experts urge Jamaica to prepare for big quake
Mar 28, 2013 by David Mcfadden

A U.S. seismic expert on Wednesday urged authorities in Jamaica to start long-term efforts to prepare for another major earthquake on the island, where the seaside capital was mostly destroyed by a big temblor just over a century ago.

Mike Henry must be a blooming idiot!

Mike Henry must be a blooming idiot!

No comment >;-)

Guess who was Minister of Transport (Transportation Secretary for US-ians) in the previous administration that, was voted out of office in December 2011?

At any rate here's my comment, currently at the top of the comments section:

Where does Mr. Henry propose that we get these two pocket reactors from? Which company manufactures them and in which country are they manufactured? What are the specifications of these pocket reactors, how much power do they generate and how much do they cost?

AFAIK, such creatures do not exist, bearing in mind that to stay within the maximum recommended size for any single generator on an electricity grid the size of the one in Jamaica, such a plant would have to be less than 100MW in size. Anybody know where we can get commercial "pocket reactors"?

Alan from the islands

Look up Small modular reactor in Wikipedia to see what's on offer. One model (the TWR if I recall) is supported by Bill Gates. What the hell would he know about successful product development?

In the period 2020-2030 SMRs could be a lucrative export opportunity for the US, around about the same time it is realised LNG export may not be such a good idea. The fact that mini nukes are certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission gives the US a head start over France, Russia, India and others. An example of US soft power like Hollywood movies. To keep costs down one model will be a joint venture between the US and China.

One reason I think SMRs could go prime time is because politicians don't read TOD. I think things will go bad pretty quickly after 2020 ... undeniable peak oil, undeniable climate change, failure of carbon taxes, high priced NG and so on. Germany won't shut down its nuclear sector. Mini nukes will fill the void.

One model (the TWR if I recall) is supported by Bill Gates. What the hell would he know about successful product development?

Is he the guy whose product displays "The Blue Screen of Death"? I think I'll pass on any nuclear reactor that has his stamp of approval on it...

.. and perhaps a little more to his business model, he is known as being fairly ruthless and unapologetic about how he deals with a competitive field, even when wielding a cumbersome and error-prone product. Maybe that's just the 'ingredients of success' in modern capitalism.. but is no doubt also key to what has barrelled us into many of the corners we find ourselves in now..

Just cause it makes loads of money, doesn't mean it's smart or right.

Indeed. And like so many other things that seem dominant and unassailable, I strongly suspect the MS empire is beginning to crumble. They've been desperate to get out of the business of selling software and into the regular monthly billing model.

Makes me want to look at an overlay of Jamaica onto the Exclusion Zones in Japan and Ukraine..

Apart from that, I wonder what the economic burden would become with such a small economy tied to the financial bear of a Nuclear Power Plant. You need to have a lot of heavy-hitting customers paying for that electricity for decades to service that loan.. unless you are just ready to let the burden rest on the public coffers. They'd get first place in line at the Food Stamps window, I'd bet.

If you accumulate nuclear waste on an island you are making a bet on the future habitability of the island. If that waste does not get removed, or if there is a major failure, then no one will be able to inhabit that island in the future.

What kind of stewardship is that?

I got this from Ran's site

Pear Energy

The idea is that these guys tie up with your utility and charge you extra amount on your electricity bill (based on your consumption), money which goes on to fund renewables. It's like a self imposed carbon tax.

If you join Pear Energy, and your utility company burns oil, then when you use your toaster, your utility company burns a little more oil to power it, and a polar bear dies. Then at the end of the month your utility company sends the bill to Pear, and however much energy you used, they dump that much into the grid from wind and solar, and maybe someone else using a toaster will use some of that energy instead of cranking up the oil plant. Then they send you a bill that's a little higher, and the extra money is used to subsidize more wind and solar, which will help moderate the economic collapse from the transition out of fossil fuels.