DrumBeat: October 15, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/15/06 at 9:19 AM EDT]

OPEC consensus to one million bpd cut

ALGIERS (AFP) - OPEC is set to announce a cut in its production of one million barrels of oil a day to check the slide in global prices, Algeria's Energy Minister Chakib Khelil has said.

He said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would make the announcement during a meeting in Doha from October 18 to 21.

Oil companies paying more to keep workers in Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA - Oil companies in Nigeria are being hit with rising costs because of kidnappings of their staff that have become so commonplace in the volatile Niger Delta one Nigerian company is selling T-shirts calling it the country's "fastest growing business!"

But in the face of growing insecurity, companies are paying more for insurance, salaries, perks and housing to try to keep fearful staff from fleeing.

Gabon oil production stops declining

Steadily dropping since its peak in 1997, Gabon's oil production is finally experiencing a slight growth, new statistics reveal. In the same period, Gabon has been reduced from the third to the sixth largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Russia's Sakhalin energy project safe for now

Russia is not considering freezing the giant Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, a key official said, easing fears that the world's largest privately funded energy project could be closed down for environmental violations.

Exxon, Chevron, BP Among Companies Seeking Libya Oil Permits

US reviews complaint about ethanol fuel

A US agency was reviewing a complaint on Friday by the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen claiming Ford Motor Co. made vehicles capable of using ethanol-blended fuel that did not run properly.

Chavez spreads wealth to aid U.N. cause

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - As Venezuela lobbies for a U.N. Security Council seat, President Hugo Chavez has bolstered its chances by spreading petrodollars across the Americas and beyond — extending an airstrip on a Caribbean island, sending emergency food aid to Africa, fixing a rundown hospital in Uruguay.

Clinton Touts Oil Tax Measure at UCLA Rally

The former president tells a crowd of 5,000 that Prop. 87 would allow the state to do something remarkable - save the planet.

Oil and gas rights: the weapons of a new Cold War

In recent weeks, hardliners in the Kremlin have cancelled or renegotiated deals with Western firms in order to pursue Russia's national interests - but their plans may backfire.

A Call to Action to Save the RAV4-EV

A New Energy Wave for Europe in Portugal

The Portuguese coast has become Europe's latest source of renewable energy. Experts say over 300 gigawatts of electricity could be tapped from European waters in the future.

U.S. West becoming warmer faster

DURANGO, Colo. - The American West is becoming warmer faster on average than the rest of the world, a climate researcher says.

"The West is warming dramatically," said Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. "Things are just going to get hotter. You can bet the farm on it."

Printed Media Coverage of Peak Oil: A Crude Statistical Review [PDF]

Has anyone noticed any Chinese people here?  If they're here they haven't been obvious.  I just got to wondering if this is a restricted site for them.  For that matter, Indians, Pakistani...?  Is there any way to set up a poll to figure out the country of origin of all the TOD members?
The Chinese people I've noticed have been spammers.

At least, I assume they are Chinese, from the character sets they post in.

The Chinese are very restrictive on Internet access.  Because of the free nature of the comments here, this site is probably on the censored list.
How about some Chinese outside of China just to get an insider's perspective on energy-related events in that country?
There was a guy like that who occasionally posted at PeakOil.com.  He chimed in during one "dieoff" conversation, and said China in the past had suffered repeated severe dieoffs in the days before fossil fuels.  I get the feeling that China in general is very aware of food and population issues.
I work in the biotech industry, which has really heavy Chinese representation, so I know quite a few people from China, most of whom are highly educated (Master's or PhDs), and my experience is that they are no more peak oil aware than Americans.  To be fair, my aquaintances might be a skewed group though.  In the biotech industry, it is almost heresy to think that biotechnology can't completely replace petroleum.  Also, being educated, many of these people have probably been a bit sheltered from some of the hardships common in China, and sheltering seems to numb vigilance.  But still, I have yet to meet a Chinese person who has any concern about energy depletion.
I do hope that biotech can help with the transition to other fuels.  I know there are some great minds at work in that industry.

I knew some Chinese students in graduate school and even though they were over here, they were very guarded in their conversations that could any way be misconstrued as critical of the Chinese governement.  I believe they felt like they were monitored over here and it was not safe to speak freely.

I've had similar experiences.  They are afraid of saying anything political.

I knew a guy in grad school who actually lived thought the cultural revolution.  I managed to get him talking about it one day.   Evidently it was a pretty horrible experience, he could look me in they eye and his voice kept trembling.

Perhaps you only think they were afraid of saying anything political. Maybe they just didn't give a stuff.

I recently spoke to a Chinese academic from Beijing while she was on a visit to Hong Kong. I kept away from politcal topics, thinking the way you do. But then she just brought up the Tiananmen Massacre herself, as she was within earshot of it at the time that it happened. She talked about it for a while and then she said that times had changed, and that the current generation of Chinese students had little political consciousness and were only interested in material advancement.

Maybe you are not seeing fear when you talk politics with your Chinese associates: you are seeing ignorance. The 'fear' shows up because they are scared of appearing dumb by having nothing of interest to use in their reply to what you say.

scary! was it not Pol Pot in Cambodia who wanted to keep the people ignorant?
Pol Pot distrusted anyone who was "learned" - he wanted to create a new society from the ground up, wanted some real clean slates to start with. That meant the young and the dumb. If you had the little marks on your nose from wearing glasses, look out! If you were studying to get a job with the Post Office, don't tell the authorities that, tell them you've always moved trash cans for a living. Co-workers who'd been in Pol Pot's camps told me these last things.
Okay, call me irony-challenged, but what I meant was that (even educated) people in so-called 'totalitarian' (worthless term) states can be genuinely ignorant of or uninterested in certain issues without that being directly the fault or even the intention of 'Big Brother' ... the same goes for people in the 'free world' (pffft) too, and to the same extent. Most people don't know or care about big issues because they have other things to attend to. Or as the great critic John Berger put it, 'Capitalism survives by compelling ordinary people, whom it exploits, to construe their own interests as narrowly as possible.'(And China is capitalist, all misconceptions to the contrary. They have Hooters in Shanghai, for heaven's sake). True, it is 'scary', but it's the market that's done it, not the CCP.

"The 'fear' shows up because they are scared of appearing dumb by having nothing of interest to use in their reply to what you say."

Someone please tell them that "appearing dumb" has never stopped any of us here!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Nope, it's actually fear.
I went treking thru china two years ago and had no trouble getting onto this site. in fact i noticed no censorship at all. I have however noticed censorship in south america.fwiw
I was in China a few years ago, and I did notice censorship.  However, it was only of large sites.  For example, CNN.com was blocked.  But many other smaller sites, with content that would likely be blocked in a U.S. library, were not blocked in China.  
I think a distinction needs to be made between blocking a site, and monitoring who uses unblocked sites, then paying them a visit.  Sometimes it is more useful to keep the population afraid of looking for knowledge than actually blocking the knowledge.

As a western visitors you can access anything you want, but the Chinese government probably was monitoring your activity.  If you were a Chinese citizen, your activity might win you a knock on the door.

we do live in interesting times
I suspect it's not as easy to monitor people as to block sites.  Many Chinese access the net through public computers (which is what I did).  You pay per hour.  Cash.  

Would it be possible to track down who was using which computer when?  Possibly, but it wouldn't be easy.  At least when I was there, they didn't really take note of which computer you used.  It would be like trying to keep track of which kid used which video game at an arcade here.

You've peaked my curiosity about the process you went through to get access to the machine.

Did you pay with cash or credit card?
Did they scan your card and assign you a machine or password?
Also was this an establishment that catered to tourists or locals?
What year were you there?

Evidently they did a crackdown in 2002.

Oops! You said cash already. My mistake.
I went treking thru china two years ago and had no trouble getting onto this site.

When do you think this site started? TOD began in March, 2005, right? And not many people were reading it for the first few months.

If you are interested in Peak Oil awareness amongst Chinese people, particularly those on the Mainland, then the thing to do is to search Web articles in Chinese. Does anyone here want to discuss an idea in what is often an arduous second language? No, and Chinese people don't want to either.

I have seen at least one article claiming to be on Peak Oil that was written in Simplified Chinese, although weirdly enough it seemed to orginate from New Zealand, not China.

As for the awareness of 'educated' people, it is important to remember that much of 'education' is simply advanced but narrow technical training coupled with indoctrination of various sorts. Any person who is successfully educated to high levels has already learnt very strong lessons in conformity. These tendencies are further reinforced by material or career success, and the cognitive dissonance then kicks in: 'Everything's great! What Peak Oil?'

I also think there is some level of paranoia shown here about the power and interests of the Chinese government. The PRC gov wants to thump workers, Tibet independence advocates, and Falun Gung members. They are not going to waste state security resources on people chatting in general terms about a geological fact of life.

I am writing this from Hong Kong. I've never met anyone Chinese in HK who has heard of PO. Though the politics and legal framwork differ, it is important to remember that HK and China are in many ways very similar: indeed, China is HK on speed. The indifference or ignorance re PO is due to mundane factors: the overwhelming energy devoted to career, to 'study', to shopping, and to one's personal and familial relationships (and in exactly that order). There is nothing left after that. Who cares? You're sitting in the restaurant mouthing off to your mates, you've scraped through on some exam or just scored a promotion, you've bought a new mobile phone or digital camera, you've come good on the ponies, your wife hasn't found out about your girlfriend yet. That's life. That takes your energy. Any thought you have left goes on the rubbish in the tabloids.

This is the simplest explanation for the lack of mention given to PO, at least where I live, a place culturally similar to China (except that China is actually more extreme). We don't need to worry about shadowy state bogeymen. They're not in the picture on this.

No sign of any slow down in Chinese growth (and oil demand) anytim soon:

http://www.advfn.com/news_China-GDP-seen-rising-by-10-5-pct-in-2006-9-5-pct-in-2007-govt-think-tank_ 17246844.html

However if the US economy does take the expected hit from the housing implosion this may of course change.......

"If you are interested in Peak Oil awareness amongst Chinese people, particularly those on the Mainland, then the thing to do is to search Web articles in Chinese. Does anyone here want to discuss an idea in what is often an arduous second language? No, and Chinese people don't want to either."

All of the (mainland) Chinese people I've met have been decent english writers, and could understand pretty much anything written (except for slang).  They're very awkward speaking it, however.  From what they've told me, reading and writing english is taught in school, but not how to speak it.

"As for the awareness of 'educated' people, it is important to remember that much of 'education' is simply advanced but narrow technical training coupled with indoctrination of various sorts. Any person who is successfully educated to high levels has already learnt very strong lessons in conformity. These tendencies are further reinforced by material or career success, and the cognitive dissonance then kicks in: 'Everything's great! What Peak Oil?'"

Definitely a problem with the education system in general.  Jump through the hoops and get your piece of paper.

"They are not going to waste state security resources on people chatting in general terms about a geological fact of life."

The Oil Drum: Discussions About Energy and Our Future.  We do a bit of philosophy around here too.

"I am writing this from Hong Kong. I've never met anyone Chinese in HK who has heard of PO."

Have you been asking around?  I know I don't openly go about blabbing to every person I meet that we're about to have our nuts in a vise.  They don't take kindly to it.

"...That's life. That takes your energy. Any thought you have left goes on the rubbish in the tabloids."

A lot of my PO aware friends say things like this.  By the end of the day after 8 hours of working their shitty jobs they just want to relax and don't want to think about PO.  Others I believe have "put up a shield" of conucopianism and believe technology will come along and whiz-bang everything.  It's kind of an escape.

Didn't post this one above, because it's subscription-only.  But if anyone has a subscription to Barron's, there's an article called Oil Prices: a Pause, Then Up.  It's a peak oil interview with Charles Maxwell.

Barron's: Did somebody say energy crisis?

Maxwell: We often say there are not a lot of advantages to getting old except that we have seen it all before. After a big move upward, there is always some counterreaction. We saw it during the 1973-74 crisis, in the '79 to '86 crisis and then in the two wars with Iraq. These crises were manipulations of the oil market by human beings. War, economic problems, but particularly military considerations, were creating, as they say, facts on the ground that worked into shortages that were real, but they were shortages created by the actions of man not nature. It is terribly important to differentiate between past periods and now.

How is that?

There are four huge impediments to expanding production in a world in which we need to do this. Hubbert's Peak, the theory that says oil production will peak on a global basis, is a natural impediment. It is not yet the predominant factor but as these crises continue it is the one growing exponentially and by, say, 2015 or 2020 I expect it will dominate the outlook.

What then is the biggest problem now?

About three-quarters of the world's production of oil today is lifted by national oil companies. Companies like Saudi Aramco, Petrobras, the Iran national oil company, the Iraq national oil company, the national companies that operate in Algeria and Libya, produce conservatively 75% of the world supply. Most of them were nationalized in the '70s and early '80s and they have real structural problems today. They bring in a lot of money but most of it goes to support the national Treasuries and the various political constituencies that are in favor in the various countries, whether it's the army or a host of other bureaucratic ministries. In the end, in the political battle for budgetary support the national oil companies tend to be a constituency with little or no political influence. All in all, the national oil companies have been shortchanged and held on a poverty diet for a long time.

My point is the people in the Middle East are sophisticated enough to understand this could be Bedouin-to-Bedouin in Saudi Arabia in five generations.

What do you mean by that?

Well two generations ago, many of these people were Bedouins. The majority of people working in the petroleum industry in Saudi Arabia today -- the supervisors and the drillers and so on -- had grandparents who were herding sheep or camels. They fear their great grandchildren could end up doing the same.


Because the oil will be all gone. The image we have in this country of tumbleweeds running down the streets of abandoned Western mining towns is now beginning to stalk the public consciousness in the Middle East. About three months ago, they realized the second largest oil field in the world, Burgan in Kuwait, had peaked. They didn't expect it and they couldn't believe it. The No. 1 field in the world, the Ghawar, is pretty close to peaking if it hasn't already. These are people who have long believed that Allah was bestowing these oil gifts on them in perpetuity and there would be infinite production. The concept of Hubbert's Peak has only penetrated the Middle East in the last five years in the same way that it has only penetrated Europe in the last five years.

Leanan...I had to look up who Charles Maxwell was.  In case others were wondering:

CHARLES T. MAXWELL is a senior energy analyst at Weeden & Co., in Greenwich, Conn. He has been working in the energy field for 36 years.


It's always fun to read these articles in hindsight (above one on 14-Nov-2004).

From Charles' article above:

Our country's leaders have three main choices: Taking over someone else's oil fields; carrying on until the lights go out and Americans are freezing in the dark; or changing our life style by deep conservation while heavily investing in alternative energy sources at higher costs.

Which are we doing now, two years later?

Charlie Maxwell is one of the smartest, most well-respected oil analysts on Wall St. and has been for all the 20+ years that I've been investing.   He is one of the guys for whom the phrase "street-cred" was invented.
That being said...I would then take his advice and observations somewhat seriously...unless he has an economic interest in providing this type of information.
FWIW, SAT had the pre-election slide in oil prices exactly on target.

Myself, I stayed long in crude, and bought more long crude contracts on Thursday 12 October.  If that wasn't the price bottom, it was close enough for me.

(On the other hand, I smelled the blood in the water and cashed out of natural gas at the onset of the September bloodletting by JPMorgan)


Thank you for not holding me to an exact November 15th target date like some people around here (CryWolf).  I swear, even if oil is at $57 on Nov. 14th, but then kicks up to $58 on Nov. 15th, that guy's never going to let me here the end of it.  Anyway, doesn't, "$57 by November 15th" mean, "on or before November 15th?"  I'll have to check my dictionary for the definition of the word, "by."  Maybe they use the word differently in England.

I just found this super-cool feature on the right-hand sidebar called, "Your Comments" that, as the name suggests, let's you read your previously posted comments.  Here's the exchange we had back on August 4th:

MicroHydro on Friday August 04, 2006 at 12:58 AM EST Comments top
Dear SelfAggrandizedTrader, I am holding oil contracts that I bought in the $40s back when Lynch, Yergin et.al. and many chartists were saying that oil would go back to the $30s.  You are short, I am still long, in the great zero sum game, only one of us is going to have a Happy New Year.  
[ Parent | Reply to This ]

SelfAggrandizedTrader on Friday August 04, 2006 at 1:00 AM EST Comments top
Or maybe we both will.  At $57, you'll still make a killing!
[ Parent | Reply to This ]

CryWolf will probably nitpick my response by saying that it took me two whole minutes to get back to you.


By the way, I admire your intestinal fortitude for sticking to your guns through this downturn.  If this turns out to be just a short-term downward correction within the context of a long-term bull market, as we both suspect, you'll have many Happy New Years to celebrate in the future.  Other people around here (CryWolf comes to mind) seem to be far more pessimistic about oil prices now that they are down 25%, even though they were extremely bullish two months ago.  Of course, there are still people like Stoneleigh (the anti-CryWolf in terms of consistancy of message) who might think you were crazy to be long oil in the face of the coming outbreak of deflation and recession.  I have to admit, i'm kind of a Stoneleigh groupie.  His message keeps me on my toes.  It scares me a little bit (and if it scares me, you can imagine what it does to CryWolf).


I bought 1/3rd of my expected oil & gas portfolio (generating funds by selling into thsi bull market) by buying Encana on a limit order at 43.02.  I want more Encana and it is not co-operating.

Also looking at Apache, they have a wide portfolio of exhausted oil fields, some of which should be suitable for enhanced recovery at elevated prices.

Perhaps diversification with Canadian Natural Resources.

Anyway, now is a good time to buy for medium/long term holders (5+ years).  A mild winter & recession will bring lower prices but that may not come to pass immediately.  So I am hedging my bets and buying some now, some later.

Best Hopes,


That is a very, very good article. Someone sent me the whole thing this morning. I want to highlight a couple of things that isn't in the excerpt Leanan posted:

Exxon has gone out of its way to take out advertising and make speeches saying there'll be plenty of future supplies. It verges on the irresponsible because it says to the government there is no problem. It says to the media there is no problem. It says to the public there is no problem. So we are now likely to march with fife and drum, banners flying, into the maw of destruction without so much as a sideways glance because Exxon tells us that the problem is resolved.

Then, a bit later on:

Some people think Exxon is cynical. I don't. I really think they believe what they say. It's a lack of vision.

This is something I have pointed out before. They may be misleading the country, but I think they really believe what they say. I made this exact point in the first story I ever wrote for TOD.

When asked which companies he would buy, he wrote:

You want to buy companies that have long-life reserves and are developing them, it's as simple as that. The average oil company, because they are all in the non-OPEC world, will by definition peak around 2010 or thereabouts. I estimate Exxon will peak in 2011. BP will
peak in 2012. Total (TOT) in 2012. ConocoPhillips (COP) in 2013. Marathon Oil (MRO) in 2009. Royal Dutch (RDS-B) in 2009 and Hess (HES)in 2010. But a company like Suncor Energy (SU), which operates in the Canadian tar sands, will peak around 2045. It is a completely different world. EnCana (ECA), the big Canadian gas and tar sands producer, will peak around 2020. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) is another. I also like Nexen (NXY), another Canadian tar sands producer, and Lukoil (LUKOY) of Russia. The only one I'm recommending at the moment is EnCana because it has a large component of natural gas. The gas market is at a bottom now, whereas I see the oil market bottoming in the spring or summer of 2007, or even early 2008 if we have a recession.
Speaking of Exxon, I found the remarks of Harry J. Longwell,
Senior Vice President of Exxon Mobil Corporation, to be very interesting.  Speaking at a CERA conference in 2001:

The challenge today is that while there is general agreement that petroleum is critically tied to our standard of living and to economic growth, supplying it in the amounts needed cannot be taken for granted.

...And if oil and gas demand is growing at 2 to 3 percent per year, then supplying these energy sources in ever-increasing amounts is clearly a formidable challenge.

But the challenge is even greater because the production from our existing resource base is subject to natural decline through depletion.

For the vast majority of resources in OPEC nations, the depletion rate for oil is thought to be about 2-3 percent per year. In some non-OPEC countries, it's about 7-8 percent annually. If you assume a worldwide average depletion rate of 4 to 5 percent per year, then the real required production growth rate needed to meet predicted demand approaches 7 percent. That means we will need to add some 80 million oil-equivalent barrels of new production by 2010. Another way to say this is that half the oil and gas supplies required 10 years from now is not yet on production.

I should add that the cost of adding those 80 million barrels could exceed 1 TRILLION dollars, about 100 billion dollars a year -- compared with the 60 billion dollars a year industry is now spending. This is doable, but only in a proper investment environment, which I'll address shortly.

This is an enormous challenge, and I would like to speak to that for the next few minutes. Part of that challenge is to find the resources in the first place. Fortunately, though, impressive additions to the resource base have been made in recent years, thanks to large discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa, the Caspian Region, and, of course, the Middle East. In fact, worldwide, the industry has discovered more than 700 billion oil-equivalent barrels that have not yet been developed.


On average, it has been taking seven to eight years to bring new resource adds onto production. If we are to meet the demand we expect in the future, we'll need to cut years off that time frame.

This goes directly to a concept Daniel Yergin and I have been discussing for some time -- what we call the "law of long lead times." Simply put, it means that if we don't shorten the time from "here to there," we could be asking for trouble if, for whatever reason, supplies become short.

...Thus, if we are to meet the supply challenge of the future, we will need a series of what are, in effect, bargains. Industry will commit to doing what it knows how to do in a timely fashion if governments can agree to establish the political and economic climate for projects to succeed and thus help supply the demand for energy...


Those who parrot the official line of their employer because they truly believe it will climb the ladder.
Those who are analytical and smart will need enormous political skills and enormous ability to keep quiet or their careers will suffer,
Easy to guess which type is more numerous at the top of Exxon.
The one million herding goats and camels, using a very wells and oasises, has become 20 million and rising.

The path back is blocked, or at least vastly over populated and teh water table is down a thousand feet.  

A snippet from Powerswitch's "Printed Media Coverage of Peak Oil: A Crude Statistical Review," linked above:

Indeed, looking at statistics of some of the larger Peak Oil websites from Alexa.com, the figures are not encouraging:

● PeakOil.com is ranked 68,937th

● Energybulletin.net is ranked 69,458th

● Lifeaftertheoilcrash.net is ranked 88,643th

● PowerSwitch.org.uk is ranked 430,375th

● PeakOil.net is ranked 598,530th

Furthermore, according to Alexa, there have not been significant increases to the daily page views for any of these sites in the last year.

Interesting.  LATOC is #1 in Google, but not #1 in traffic.  I'm surprised ASPO's site isn't ranked higher.  Though I guess they really don't update that often.

#1 through #55,000 are probably overwhelmingly porn sites. If these were filtered out, we might get a much different picture.

Then again, why bother filtering? Sex is #1, followed very closely to violence, then celebrity worship. Most other issues fall off the map. Perhaps that's why most people have no idea who their congressperson is, or what party they represent. They have no idea where the water from their tap comes from, or where it goes, or what it is that comes out of the pump at the gas station, or where it disappears to. If they had to pour ten gallons of unleaded from a jerry can into their tank, they would appreciate it a lot more.

"Then again, why bother filtering? Sex is #1, followed very closely to violence, then celebrity worship. Most other issues fall off the map."

Man, I like the way you think...we should definitely propagate TOD with buzzwords that'll get TOD accidental readership. You've already got sex and violence.  Now we need George Clooney, Brad Pitt, ummm...Paris Hilton video, Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I can just imagine all the people looking for their fix and coming across this by accident, it'd really deflate their mood in a hurry.  But really, sex and species propagation sells...all the companies have caught on, why not TOD?  Just need a couple babes on the front page and PO will catch on like wildfire.

/end sarcastic babbling

I do believe that is a serious problem though.

Megan Quinn :-)

Intellect, commitment & looks !

Spread the rumor that we all type nekkid!
Let's see...what else would get TOD more hits:

- Hummer, Detroit Tigers, nukes, gay congressman (Foley), North Korea, earthquake, and the coup de gras...spank me.

Wow...almost sounds like the nightly news...except for that last little bit.

You guys forgot sports...
Did you look at the Alexa info on TOD?  There's a weird bump in October that's now subsiding.

The Oil Drum

A community that discusses ideas related to peak oil, sustainable development and growth, and the implications of these ideas on politics, economics, and people's daily lives.

Traffic Rank for theoildrum.com:  53,526

Traffic Rank for theoildrum.com
Today         57,254
1 wk. Avg.    28,715
3 mos. Avg.   53,526
3 mos. Change up 2,587

A lot of people link to LATOC (which I think helps Google ranking), but it's not one of those happy-fun places that you like to go to often, and the content doesn't change excitingly often.

Did you look at the Alexa info on TOD?  There's a weird bump in October that's now subsiding.

Alexa is currently 404 for me.  (As they often are.  IMO, they are one of the least reliable sites on the Web.)

The "bump" is probably because we got slashdotted this month.

I don't obsess too much on the number of eyeballs looking at the site.

Using the Barrons story above as example.  What percentage of the U.S. reads Barrons regularly?  However, what percentage of influencial people read Barrons regularly.  I suspect that the people that can really influence my life are reading Barrons.  So a story there carries infinately more weight than the identical story in say, Good Housekeeping (which is an excellent publication in its own right).

Likewise just because TOD is not garnering the same traffic as some popular site doesn't mean the information presented here isn't influential.  If the message, and detailed information, presented here is accurate and important it will get picked up and distributed through popular outlets to the worlds eyeballs.  

The important thing now is to confince the decision makers that TOD posters know what they are talking about.  If we are successful in that arena the message will get out.  If we are not successful, than those same influencial people will actively work to undermine our message using all the mass media at their disposal, including the internet.

My personal opinion (based on where TOD gets cited)is that TOD has been very successful to date.  Much more influential than I would have predicted when first posting here.  It has become more than just a place for like minded people to discuss issues.  It is an active forum for debunking junk science and refining proposed solutions to the looming peak energy problem.  We are just too scientific and boringly detailed to consistently garner high numbers compared to entertainment sites!

....thing now is to confince the decision...  Should be convince

never post without Previewing!

Here is the irony of TOD, LATOC, etc:

We all get into this because we want to raise awareness or some other noble goal. But here is the reality and I know it sounds crazy but I will post links to back this up if you insist: the big time corporations, think tanks, propaganda units, etc. have computer systems that all this blogging and commentary goes into. The systems are quite sophisticated and are able to see which ideas, thought streams, etc. resonate with people. They then use this aggregated info to craft their message.

To put it in much simpler terms: let's say you are part of a corporate propagand  . . . I mean "public relations" or "advertisint" unit. you get one of these programs and your run all energy related discussions throught it. You see that in the aggregate, the idea of "running out of oil" pisses people off but "getting off foregin oil" gets people excited. You then know which of these memes to incorporate into your propag  . . . I mean "message."

In other words, despite our noble goals, we're really just helping "TPTB" disinform the peaseantry so they can cover their own asses!

And besides, expressing the desire to make decision makers Peak Oil aware is stunningly naive. Ask yourself real good what advantages "they" would have in spreading that kind of message to the people who vote for them or buy their products. If you can name one, please let us know.
(Hint: it means no more votes, and people not spending)

The ethanol hype in the US is the perfect example. While we babble on about EROEI, that is not "their imperative" at all. Ethanol is a means towards political power, votes and donations. And towards money, from subsidies and sales, for ADM, Shell, Khosla et al.

And who are those decision makers anyway? The frequent use of the acronym TPTB seems to serve one purpose only: not having to divulge that you have no idea who those powers are.

'Ask yourself real good what advantages "they" would have in spreading that kind of message to the people who vote for them or buy their products.'

So I guess the German Green party was just an illusion? Strange, nobody in German politics thinks that anymore - even though they tried their best to to ignore them for years.

It seems as if the way to change things is to change them -. not talk about how other people should change.

Wait, I don't get it, how did the German Green Party in this? Do they talk about Peak Oil? And who talks about how other people should change?
The German Greens are a party that believes in things like finite resources need to be conserved, local is best, that buying less is good, that the military is an institution which needs to be abolished as it leads to war and death - is this party (which gathers, very roughly, 10% of the German vote) so absolutely unknown? They have were successful, starting from nothing, so to speak, with exactly the message you said would never work. And at least in Germany, they have been fairly instrumental in pushing things like high efficiency autos, mass transit, organic/local agriculture, local biomass heating plants, recycling laws - and since they seemed to be a growing force through the 1980s and 1990s, the other parties had to adopt much of the Green agenda to just keep in place. For example, the recycling/returnable bottle laws came from the conservative CDU/CSU government, which could no longer afford to tell voters that more trash was a sign of economic progress.

The German Greens aren't peak oil aware in the sense of being part of the peak oil 'community' - they are much broader than what is, at least outside of the U.S., not considered to be such a critical concern. I may add, that a country like Australia, confronting a major shift in its agricultural resources, is also findng out that peak oil is not really the most important issue facing society.

As I have written here, peak oil is a hobby of mine - there are a lot of more major concerns facing people than the price of gasoline or whether production has peaked at 85 mpd or will peak at 91 mpd.

In this sense of dealing with the real world challenges societies face, the German Greens are much farther along in trying to implement many of the changes many people here seem to be just first grasping. One reason the Greens lost out in the later 1990s is because they advocated an additional 10 dollar a gallon tax on mineral oil - and though their normal voters thought that a good idea, a lot of other people were easily swayed into thinking that tax would be too high to live with - which was the point, of course.

The German Green anti-nuclear stance does come in for a fair bit of reasonable criticism here  - though most of the people doing that don't seem to understand the linkage between why most currently operating nuclear plants were designed the way they were and nuclear weapons. The Greens are anti-nuclear power and anti-nuclear weapons - they are quite consistent, actually.  

A Green Party politician called Jurgen somebodyorother visited Australia a couple of years back and gave us a lecture on the evils of nuclear. I would love it if Germany increased its use of nuclear on account of how all those windfarms don't do much.
His name is Jürgin Trittin, and he is one of the most consistently anti-nuclear Greens around.

I wonder about your windfarm comment, considering that the current PhD Kanzlerin of Germany, who most certainly is not a Green, and her government on planning on the export of wind turbines to be a major export market and the source of 300,000 new jobs. Must be because Germans are world famous for being incompetent engineers and hopelessly optimistic dreamers.

As for turning off the nuclear plants - it is estimated in Germany that the output of 2 nuclear plants is wasted in heating water and standby consumption of electricity by various equipment which isn't really 'off.' Instead of keeping the two plants on-line, the Germans are moving towards requiring more efficient standards for electrical equipment. Change requires changing, not doing things the same way and talking about change.

I may add, that the major opposition in Germany about nuclear power hinges on waste disposal - if that problem can be convincingly solved, it is likely that the current consensus in Germany against nuclear power would no longer be strong enough to actually force social/economic changes, like higher efficiency appliances (though again, German technology for things like high efficiency washing machines using less water and electricity do seem to do well in the world market). Unfortunately, 'convincingly solved' waste disposal doesn't quite mean dig deep enough, and trust us, you will never see it again. Especially since formerly convincing solutions like dumping nuclear waste in steel barrels off ships in the deep, deep ocean, while fulfilling the nuclear industry's the cheap out of sight, out of mind requirement of waste disposal, the trust us, you will never see it again didn't work out like planned.

Quite honestly, it seems like too many people in Germany live too close to nuclear power plants - like in the Ukraine - to actually feel comfortable about the after effects of what is called here a GAU - 'größter anzunehmender Unfall', which means literally 'largest assumable accident' or worst case scenario. Remember, Germany is full of people who actually think engineering is a rigorous profession with quantifiable parameters, and not a Hollywood script. And quite honestly, yes, they did build their nuclear containment vessels with the idea of a plane crashing into them - unfortunately, the design parameters were for a typical F4 or Starfighter crash (from Wikipedia - 'In German service alone, 292 of the 916 Starfighters crashed...'). After what happened on 9-11, looking at the problem in a new light, confidence in nuclear safety here has not been enhanced by the current plans to enshroud such facilities in smokescreens, to at least prevent a piloted precise hit against the core. But at least the nuclear industry here worries about such things - and this in a country which still plans to turn the nukes off. Either the Germans are just being insane in their precautions, or maybe, just maybe, nuclear power isn't really a technology which is just child's play without any problems which can't be solved by ignoring them until they just go away.

Us nuclear reactors were designed for the largest aircraft flying at the time of design (or in development).  I think that there are still a few nukes operating that were designed for a fully loaded & fueled 707, but most were designed for a fully loaded 747 hit.

Fortunately, it appears that there will be few A380s flying, and even fewer flying in US airspace.

Best Hopes,


I had never heard that. What worried the Germans was not the crashing of a jet liner per se, but a targeted crash by someone who was trying to get around what had been designed. I had also read somewhere (at least such is my memory), this scenario had actually tested by smashing either a real plane or a weight into a real dome, and from the results of this experience, there was just enough uncertainty about a jet liner being beyond the design tolerances.

In all fairness, the Germans tend to be a lot more worried about various chemical factories/storage areas in cities like Frankfurt since these facilities were never designed to such a high standard, but nuclear anxiety always grabs the headlines.

I heap plenty of scorn of current nuclear power practices, but actually, I have no problem supporting well designed (read fail safe - pebble bed as an example of what I mean by fail safe, not some impossible to achieve level of perfection) and well maintained nuclear power plants - it is just that essentially most, if not all nuclear power plants in operation today fail at least one of those criteria (and some of the East European/Russian reactors fail both). The waste disposal problem is not insurmountable, though it is not yet truly solved - and in this problem I include the large amount of weapon capable material which is still being created through daily reactor operation - weapons grade material poses an entirely different level of risk, as the safely bury and forget strategy will never work since this doesn't prevent a motivated organization creating bombs from material which is available - if not in this century, then maybe in the next one, or the one following, or ....

some impossible to achieve level of perfection)

Impossible ?  

I would point to the 737NG series aircraft.  One hull loss (midair collision).  ZERO design flaws that arfe likely to lead to fatalities.  Over 2,000 flying making an average 7 takeoff/landing cycles/day.

The US nuclear industry was modeled after the aircraft industry.  Unfortunately not perfectly modeled (culture issues IMHO).

But it is possible to design & build a perfectly safe aircraft, and a nuclear reactor.


Just a small story from my younger years. The Marines used to have a program where a Marine pilot could fly 'prospective' recruits (or just have fun using taxpayer money for the cynical) in something like a rented Cessna - sort of like how the Boy Scouts used to get surplus rounds for their camp shooting ranges.

A friend and I were invited to take a flight by another friend's father, a helicopter pilot who had also flown in Vietnam.

What impressed me beyond measure (and became part of my future motorcycle riding perspective) was how this pilot checked every single fuel tank with his own fuel gauge, to make certain that the right fuel was loaded, and that the amount was correct. He also checked a number of other things, maybe routine, but the idea that you never trust what you don't personally check was eye opening.

This pilot would have never, ever agreed with you that it is possible to design a perfectly safe aircraft, if by that you mean that human error can be designed out of the system.

This could be a matter of perspective, but it is one that I have noticed particularly among people who work with machinery on an intimate basis - after he retired, he opened a company which serviced helicopters, especially engines. I have never met someone who works with machinery who has earned my respect for their skills that has ever believed in mechanical perfection. (Could be a tautology, admittedly.)

But the lack of perfection did not stop him from flying - it just made him take the time to remove as many error chains as possible - and he certainly knew people who died while flying. As you can guess, this means he was less 'cost effective' than someone who trusted the idea that mistakes don't happen - and in these cost saving days (decades, really), who do you think would be favored?

One of the things which helped tip the nuclear debate in 2001 locally is described below - http://www.agroeco.nl/~wise/556/5325.html

'The incident concerned the containers designed to flood the reactor with boric acid if there is a loss of primary coolant. The boric acid contains boron, which absorbs neutrons and so slows down or stops the nuclear reaction. If its concentration is too low, there is a risk that the emergency shutdown system will not work properly. This system is crucial to the reactor's safety, and therefore includes four pairs of containers, of which two pairs are sufficient to flood the reactor with boric acid and stop the nuclear reaction.

On 12 August, the reactor was put online after annual maintenance. As part of the maintenance, the boric acid containers had been refilled. However, the concentration of boron was not measured at the time, and it was not until 25 August that the boron concentration was found to be too low in one of the four pairs of containers. Two days later they noticed the same problem in two more pairs of containers. On 28 August the operators took corrective action, adding boric acid to the tanks and stirring. It was not certain until 6 September that all four tanks were available for use and contained the correct concentration of boron.

The reactor's operator, Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW), assessed the problem incorrectly as one with no consequences for safety, and informed the regulator of this. As a result the reactor was kept running during the entire period of the incident. The regulatory authorities, however, made some calculations and found that the single pair of tanks with the proper boron concentration would not have been enough to stop the nuclear reaction if a loss of coolant accident had occurred. Therefore the plant should have been shut down immediately that the problem was noticed.'

Notice the pertinence of that Marine pilot checking? But it seems as if actually following procedures and ensuring that emergency systems are working is just too much to expect from a company which feels that profit is more important than theoretical safety concerns. This is what I mean by fail safe design - loss of coolant leading to disaster is moronic design, especially if no one running the plant or utility even bothers to care much about the safety systems in place to deal with loss of coolant problems.

I have no problems finding any number of real world examples to back my own perspective. Why such pragmatic criticism is so often stamped as Green idiocy escapes me - just trusting your friend the fissioning atom is not really a good long term engineering perspective.  

I agree to some extent to all the postings above with this caveat.

It is my impression that most people here are early adopters and data/information junkies.  This is not representative of the population as a whole.  Most people, including most senior level managers can't see these new opportunities until everyone else is using them.

It takes time, and endless repition, until any new idea can be understood by the vast majority of people.  I have seen this in business many times.  My current employer now is having trouble grasping the sea change coming to our business due to biodiesel, ethanol and higher energy prices.  This is despite numerous researchers, like myself, informing them via reports and direct verbal communication.  At present they see no opportunity to enter those markets so dismiss the impacts.    

The opportunities we show to them are someone elses business, not ours.  And they are correct, in that historically, anything energy related was not in our business scope.  But they aren't grasping the many co-product streams, support businesses, new processes, that will develop simulataneously with bio-fuels.  Many of these areas are in their infancy now, and if you do a Market survey then viola' you find no large market to support capital expenditures.

I used to get upset at others inability to see where the markets were going to grow ahead of time.  I now accept it.  Very few organazations have the leadership, or more importantly deep pockets, to be true innovators.  Too much risk.  Most business people want to pull the trigger on new business after it goes mainstream but before their competitors adopt!  This is a very, very, small window of time.  If you don't already have established research & development platforms underway you will be late to the party.  So you have to commit money before any data set supports investment.  That is belief, not conventional market assessment.

So in conclusion, IMHO, more and more businesses are understanding the problem.  But they are still waiting for someone else to make all the mistakes, before they spend money on the good stuff.

So, my whole point here is that the real movers and shakers in the economy are not dumb.  The are just conventional and very, very risk adverse.  When the risk of not doing nothing becomes greater than changing business practices, they will change very quickly.  But they want to be fully informed before they commit resources.
It's perhaps even more subtle than that.

You get to the top of one world, one way of doing things, by excelling in that mindset.  Which means in a changed environment or world, you may be no 'smarter' than anyone else, and your previous experience may be a distinct disadvantage.

Example.  The US has the best armour generals in the world.  No army can beat the US Army on the battlefield-- the combination of air power, mechanised force, helicopters, sophisticated technology is unbeatable.  So the insurgents in Iraq redefined the 'war', and many of the US general-level officers could not adjust their mindset, tactics and operational goals.

Another example.  DEC made the best minicomputers in the world.  Their customers loved them, it was a great company to work for.

Along came the idea of a microcomputer.  DEC couldn't see the point.  They never successfully produced a cost-effective microcomputer.  (IBM did, but by effectively throwing away the rest of the IBM organisation to do it, even the operating system was outsourced to a company called Microsoft).

DEC eventually declined to irrelevance and was bought for scrap by Compaq.

The people who ran DEC were Gods.  Ken Olsen and that were incredibly smart, capable people.  It's just they didn't understand their changed environment.

Here's another take.  They are most certainly not dumb.  They are not even risk averse, though it usually looks that way to all of us.  TPTB got to be TPTB through generations of very careful manipulation of the former power arrangements.  They have worked very hard to get to the top, and they have no desire to see anyone change that positioning.  

They are plenty willing to take risks, but the risks will be extremely calculated to try and ensure that they stay on top.  Since most risks are more likely to upset the careful balance they've created, they will avoid taking those risks.  If the situation requires taking a risk, they will analyze the pros and cons of the various risks available in order to find one that deals with the problem, while offering the best opportunity for them to stay on top.

None of this should be surprising, since all of us do some form of this all the time.  TPTB have just been more successful at it than the rest of us, or at least they had one or more ancestors that were successful.

I'd say the Forbes 400, the partners of Goldman Sachs, whoever the top 10 guys at Halliburton and Lockheed Martin would be good places to start looking for who TPTB are.
I really don't care who THEY are. I'm more interested in what THEY are doing and what their plans are. It isn't too hard to see what THEY are doing. It's harder to discern their plans and motivations. The more research I do the uglier the picture gets.
So TPTB have AI?

Explain to me how a computer can make sense of the ramblings and bad grammer on these blogs when computerised language translators can't correctly recognize an idiom?

"We all get into this because we want to raise awareness or some other noble goal."

haven't you repeatedly stated you are in it for the money?

There was a story ... oh, I blogged it:


A year ago these guys did not have the ability to search their own databases for more than one key at a time.  I really doubt they are now ahead of the public nerd-driven web watchers.

Too much institutional weight stuck in the old world.

Oilrig medic, you are correct. All this shit about TPTB monitoring our conversations and blogs is nothing more than visions of grandeur at best, and paranoia at worst. No one cares what we say.

And we all have different reasons for being here. Some are so foolish to believe that they can change the world, that they can make a difference in the grand scheme of things. A very few perhaps hope to better understand what is happening in order to make money. As for myself, I hope to gain from it, but not in the way you might think. I simply hope to better understand people and their motives. Plus I find a lot of it entertaining.

And this type of message is both entertaining, (it is a real hoot), and helps me understand people better:

the big time corporations, think tanks, propaganda units, etc. have computer systems that all this blogging and commentary goes into. The systems are quite sophisticated and are able to see which ideas, thought streams, etc. resonate with people. They then use this aggregated info to craft their message.

Understand what I mean?

Ron Patterson

You've never experienced how it goes when the government decides to take an interest.
Yes they're stupid clumsy inefficient have no ability to interpret data bureaucratically hidebound.
Persistent as hell. Well funded. And they never forget.
I can confirm that oldhippie. I was an SDS organizer way back. Got a large number of buses to Chicago in 68.

Jump ahead over 20 something years, and I have a nephew who has a world class brain. Designs nasty things for electric boat. Well he arrived at his office one day, only to find his boss waiting for him. It seems there were 2 gentlemen waiting to see him. The very first question was, how often do you speak with your uncle? His routine security screening had kicked out the fact that he was my nephew. That triggered dispatch of team.

Like I said, smart kid, so he waited until lunch and called me from a pay phone. I got a "way kewl uncle Don".

They never forget.

I joined SDS age 14, 1966. $3. My profile is amazingly low these days. Last time I knew an agent was working me was just 2 years back.
And Ron, the Echelon and PROMIS software works, even if there is not enough manpower to follow all leads.Much less anyone bright enough to understand a lead. I had a lover who was a software developer on Echelon until Echelon picked up her connection to me. Her career very odd since then.
Some other time I'll tell the story about the sequential (as in one immediately after the other) visits from KGB and CIA. I believe the Marx-Engels Institute in Praha is mildewed and gone, but it was a very bad mistake to discover Chicago documents from the 1880's (in Bohemian!) shelved there. They track anarchists who've been dead a hundred years.
Oh yeah, KGB asks much better questions.
Okie-dokie folks, here's the linky-poos. Keep in mind that if this is what they are willing to disclose PUBLICLY they're is likely much more sophisticated stuff being used that will not be publicly disclosed.

If the pentagon is willing to admit they are developing software to monitor overseas news coverage then you can bet your bottom dollar corporations are already using software to monitor blogs. If you were them, wouldn't you do the same?


"The New York Times reported Wednesday that over the next three years several major universities will develop software to help the U.S. government monitor negative coverage in newspapers and other publications overseas. The project will be funded by a $2.4 million grant from Department of Homeland Security."

This is an example of a corporate PR firm offering to monitor blogs for you.

[quote]The Defense Department is seeking to create a powerful and sophisticated new weapon to help win the Global War on Terror -- a blog search engine. "We're out to make a machine that will analyze blogs in real time," says Dr. Brian E. Ulicny, a senior scientist for the defense contractor charged with development of the new terror-fighting tool.[/quote]

This all took me 5 minutes to find on google. I'm sure 15 minutes of searching would come up with a whole lot more.


Who are "TPTB"? I believe it was the "Original Prophet of Doom", Jay Hanson himself, who said on his yahoo list the Forbes 400 would be a good place to go looking for who TPTB are.

Now we have confirmation that AT LEAST one of the Forbes 400 reads both LATOC and TOD: Richard Rainwater. We know another member reads TOD at the least: Vinond Khosla. I don't think it unreasonable to suspect some others read these sites do.

Twilight in the Desert was one of the top books read among executives last year. (don't have the link handy but it was discussed here on TOD)

Bill Clinton (not a member of TPTB, but definietly one of their servants) has read The Party's Over.

Now let's pretend your Archer Daniels Midland (or some other mega company). You want people to support ethanol and toss their money at it. In order to do so you need to know what buzzwords, thought streams etc. resonate with people. Why would you not, at the very least, have a few of your minions monitor the blogs that discuss these matters?

I'm not sure why thinking TPTB or their servants read these blogs is such a nutty proposition.

Yeah Matt, I stepped into this a while ago on clusterfuck. An adhoc think tank, co-opted by the people who really control the media. Shit we are doing all their work for them and they just have to add their own spin. As I recall it did not go over well on CFN.

The levels go deeper than most of us usally think. Re: my post to oldhippie. I got very disillusioned when I realized
I was getting very large checks, drawn on a Miami bank, to rent those buses. I never could track the source of the funding. It was my name on the rental receipt.


Yeah, I sort of remember that convo. No offense but you were a dumbass to accept that money.  (you were young but still) Heck even the Fortune article had me strappin on my tinfoil hat asking, "okay what's REALLY going on here?" Now if a big fat check came out of nowhwere I'd really  be suspicious.

Not saying I wouldn't spend it. F-k yeah I would. I'd just be suspicious thats all.

Nobody was suspicious. That was paranoia. Everybody was high, everybody was, or thought they were, privileged.
Don took some money for buses. BFD. I left 'The Revolution' when all my friends who couldn't scrape together 5 for a bag of weed suddenly had C4, Claymores, M-60s, BARs, RPG7s and training camps in the North Woods where they could play with these toys. And millions of rounds of ammo, And spooky Maximum Leaders without vitae but with great raps flew into town. Nobody was suspicious.
And the organizations started from the demise of SDS are still with us. Read Richard Cobb, Police and The People (about French Revolution) to learn standard police MO for running fronts, securing permanent funding, maintaining job security. For job security alone, the files the police keep grow endlessly.

Why should anyone take you seriously?  You have gone on and on about the connection between BTU's and $'s right?  Now you state you got into this to help the environment.  You follow that with you are trying to make money like everyone else.  Then you throw out what peakoil sites you own and how many hits they get.  You are a Profiteer of Doom at best.  LATOC is boring anyway why should anybody pay for free information?  

You are not a doomer you just pretend to be to sell stuff.



another thing I forgot to mention. Colin Campbell was paid a visit by U.S. Naval Intelligence. He talks about it in a PO documentary, forget which one.

I have stated that our base motivations are generally to make money or make friends - that is for EVERYTHING we do.

Pick your favorite PO author. Now ask yourself, do you really think this person would be talking, writing about PO as much as they are if they weren't earning money?

Do you think the posters at TOD (who do not get paid) would be posting so prolificlly if TOD got 50 visits a day instead of 10,000?

My guess, in both cases, the answer is no. If what you're doing is not earning you money or friends (financial or social capital) most people stop doing it.

there's nothing wrong with realizing this. it's just the way we're wired. some people like to convinice themselves they would do what they do even if they were getting no money and no recognition but that is simply not how the brain is wired to work.

This idea that we do what we do to make friends and make money is bit provincial.  You may do what you do to make friends and make money, but not everyone does.  I'm not disagreeing with you completely, just suggesting that our motivations, universally, run deeper.

Do you think a suicide bomber does what he does to make friends and make money?  I don't.  People do what they do to fulfill their self image.  For some, that may be to be popular and wealthy, but self images run a much wider gamut than that.  some of us want affection, some respect, some power, some peace.

"Do you think a suicide bomber does what he does to make friends and make money?"

If you understand the selfish gene theory you understand why suicide bombers do what they do. Humans are wired to promote their own genes AND the genes of the tribe. The subconscous of the suicde bomber percieves blowing himself up as conveying an advantage to the genes of his tribe visavi the OTHER tribal members.

Obviously, things have to be pretty desperate for the subconscious to make this calculation.

Ultimately money or social power are sought to promote the genes.

I think you ignore quality when saying 'TOD got 50 visits a day instead of 10,000' - the data here, and the perspectives on that data are what I find interesting - quite honestly, the number of visits is not worth my time.

The quality of the information is important (and I never even bother to surf with graphics on, unless the content is worth it, and I don't use Flash at all) - but then, this is one of my strange hobbies. groklaw.net being another, for example - you all use Linux and Mozilla/Firefox, right, with browser ID changed? I mean, the TPTB - hard to type that one the first time - are just thrilled when you don't. Referrer header setting for example - anyone interested in cutting down on the TPTB learning useful information needs to turn that off - forget cookies, which are easy to manipulate anyways. Referrer information is gold - where do you think sites know the search terms used to find them? Except people like me don't even bother to give you that information.

Info mining is only as good as the ore - and people are pretty low grade ore. On the other hand, I can believe that a lot of people do mine TOD - the ore here is not low grade in comparison. But it is of very limited value in the end - neither ExxonMobil nor any member of the Saudi royal family cares in the least what is written here - they deal with the reality of what comes out of the pipeline, after all, not words.

Hypothetically speaking, let's say the quality was just as good but the site only got 100 (or 50 or some small number) visits a day. Would people be as motivated to put so much work into their postings? Of course they wouldn't! That's just human nature. If you believe your posting is going to be read by 10,000 people (including some important ones) you sense an opportunity to acquire a good deal of social capital and thus are motivated to post.

On the other hand if only 25 people are going to see it are you likely to make the same investment in time, energy, etc? Of course you aren't. (999 out of 1,000 times)

Um, I generally write to the person - such as this.

In the past, I have worked in television - behind a camera or in master control, among various people with various skills.

One of the things I never understood was the need for the talent to have their name appear in the credits - it never interested me in the least. I have also written for money - and having my name on what I wrote was also meaningless, as long as the check cashed. (But having my name there under what someone else wrote enrages me - unknown is fine, but representing someone else's work as mine is something that really causes problems. This is not the same as editing - generally, editing doesn't bother me either.)

As noted, I have strange hobbies, and my broad assumption is that the people who write here are not motivated so much by recognition in terms of audience numbers, but recognition in terms of respect. Generally, respect is not measured by numbers. And sure, a number of people read, and some post, here hoping to make money - to not notice the undercurrent of investment interest would be ignorant.

This is an open discussion, of course, and the fact that I don't understand what motivates people and many people don't seem to understand what motivates me is just a simple fact.

 Put so much work into their postings? Of course they wouldn't! That's just human nature.

Sometimes an audience of ONE is enough.

 Yo Vinod, call me.

 That is if you have time after your Solar Keynote speech in San Jose tomorrow.

 I've got a low-cost solar-electric design (no silicon). Your opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

Humans still do the final analysis. Computers can look for certain combinations of words which may be of interest. MOst intelligence isn't very intelligent.
Sounds like you haven't been doing much reader on the advancements in this type of stuff.
Actually, I think you mean read the sales brochures of the companies that want to sell you their products.

Computers are still fantastic tools for collecting/collating huge masses of structured data - this is not the same as extracting useful information beyond what can be considered the statistical - term x appears y times on z sites. Consider breast - how does the software tell the difference between a chicken's and a man's and a woman's? Or cancer, swimming, or meat?

And if you answered 'context,' do remember that the context was provided by a person when the software was written, and is not developed dynamically by the software itself over time.

That mundane human trick of learning independently within changing circumstances is still beyond all known current technology - you may want to read the fascinating discussions stretching back to, oh, around WWII, to see whether it will always be beyond reach or not. Considering the amount of effort and investment till now, it doesn't look like a trivial challenge at all.

But hey, the brochures probably look very nice, and the promises well written to ensure that the company can't be sued for fraud after you buy their product. Software marketing is not for amateurs - the buyers are the amateurs, after all.

However, I am not disputing that by having their own sandbox, a company like Myspace (owned by Murdoch) can't deliver all sorts of useful information in a marketing/political level. It is just that marketing information isn't quite the same as geopolitical power in terms of Iran cutting the Straights of Hormuz because the Bush League decides that the polls will be favorable in domestic terms, so they lob a few bunker busters at Iran to show North Korea who the top dog really is.

To use a stupid but not irrelevant cliche - the map is not the terrain.

One persons opinion of boring reading is another persons adventure.
The news page is updated daily.

As far as Alexa, perhaps PG can chime in here as he/she (we don't know if PG is male, female, or some permutation so I use "he/she") can expalin better than I how alexa works. I've plugged in the various PO sites into systems that claim to rank traffic and get wildy different results.

I do know that Alexa's traffic rank is different then reach rank. Reach is an indicator of how many people are visiting the site, while traffic is a combination of how many people show up and how many pages they view.

For the year LATOC is averaging 5,900 visits a day and 10,000 page views.  The last month or two it's been 5,000 and 9,000 respectively.

One problem is what consitutes a "visit." If somebody logs onto LATOC at 9 am, logs off and comes back later I don't know if that is one visit or two. Each system seems to have a different way of classifying a visit.

In my own mind, there are different types of visits. If I get a link from "CornucopiansAreUS.com" I might get an influx of traffic but most will be there to mock me.  On the other hand a favorable link from a mainstream paper might send traffic that is there to see "what does this guy have to say?"

BTW, I own peakoil.org I have pointing to savinarsolar.com whihc is dormant at this point. It is #3 in google even though neither I or the previous owner have done much with it. (BTW, I plan on selling it as I haven't found a good use for it myself. It gets 150 visits a day for anybody interested.)


I visit your site on a daily basis, mostly at work. Everytime my superior gets near I close it and join later. I'm at least good for 8 visits a day. I also check your site from home, but it is still the same me.

My first PO book was downloading " the oil age is over"

How is your article on environmental polution coming tohether?

I don't know about you, but my former employer monitored all employees' web traffic.  However, he was mainly interested in monitoring whether or not people were abusing their time by vistiting porn sites.  Maybe you'll get lucky and your employer has concluded that TOD is a worthwhile and job related site.

I update it once a day. monday through friday. Once that update is done (usually by 1:00 pm pacific time), there is nothing till the next day. Just letting you know so you don't have to burn out your mouse once that day's update is published.

I think there's one missing.
Are these absolute numbers, as in all websites that exist on the planet?
From Alexa --

Traffic Rank for theoildrum.com: 53,526

1 Year Traffic

3 Month Traffic

Today: 57,254
1 Week Avg: 28,715
3 Month Avg: 53,526

I noticed that. Where did that come from? And (more importantly) how I do I get me some of it?
The increase in hits in oct must be from the one story that was posted on slashdot.
I tell you what, jim burke just made it totally obvious.  Sex.  That's how you get some of that.  The background of your site is dark, so use black text to add all sorts of pornographic buzz words at the bottom of your page.  Sit back and wait for the traffic to start pouring in.

Also, seriously...wherever you post, add your website URL to your signature and you should at least pick up a few curious clickers.

clicky click


The pics I have up of Ken Deffeyes will no doubt keep them coming back for more.


Hot Sex Here Now for Free

One site, with two addresses, you missed.


I understand that this site gets a lot of hits but I have no idea where it ranks.

Ron Patterson

I suspect, but cannot confirm, the number of people visiting my site has remained constant even though the number of visits and page views has gone up. Ie, its the same people, maybe a few extra, checking the site more often but not a large number of actual "new" people.

I think there is a certain percentage of the population who will potentially accept these ideas. Let's say, for the sake of discussion it is 5%. (probably much lower) Well I suspect 20-50% of that 5% was onboard since the 1970s. The other 50% or so  "come on board" between April 2003 when we invaded Iraq and September 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit. If those two events didn't get you on line looking for answers, nothing will.
In other words we've picked the low hanging fruit in regards to PO awareness. Even gas at $10 is just going to drive traffic to "LetsKillThemA-rabs.com". "ItsAllTheFaultOfBush.net", and "HereIsAnotherBoneheadedSchemeToBoycottGas.org

"We've got the cream, all that's left is the shaft" as the saying goes!

US reviews complaint about ethanol fuel

    A US agency was reviewing a complaint on Friday by the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen claiming Ford Motor Co. made vehicles capable of using ethanol-blended fuel that did not run properly.

Do any Fords actually run properly?

I drove my Taurus for 16 years.  I was pretty happy with it.  

There were a few recalls, but they were for minor stuff.  

But don't even get me started on Chrysler...

You must have gotten one of those magical Fords...they happen every now and then.  Generally the exception rather than the rule.  Far too many Honda's die a premature death due to user neglect and a snapped timing belt.  A friend's brother had a Civic that'd been handed down through the family, didn't change the timing belt(/water pump) and snapped the belt at 325,000 miles.  Mine's still going at 263,000 and the 1980 Accord I had before that I sold still running well (body rusted all to hell) at 215,000 miles.  You just don't hear that many stories of high mileage Fords surviving forever.  Honda is cursed by that interferece engine though.  Toyota has similar quality as Honda but a non-interference engine.  Except for the Insight, I like what Toyota is putting out more than Honda these days.
Where does Mazda fit into this?  (I drive a '96 626.)
Mazda generally fares a little better than Ford, but the two are in cahoots.  A good number of Ford cars have been designed and/or built by Mazda, and I wouldn't doubt some has gone the other way.  I know at least the Probe, Escort and Mercury Tracer were made by Mazda.  I believe the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute share some engineering, and I wouldn't be suprised if they had a hand in the Focus as well.
I now drive a 2000 Mazda 626 after owning Land Rovers for 11 years. Of course most days of the week I cycle or walk and have done for the past 7 years. Very reliable car, especially comparing it to a Land Rover Defender.
Toyota is on the mark right now putting out a variety of models that can make everyone happy.  With their offering of Scion models, they are also appealing to the young hipsters.  

I have no problem pushing their vehicles because their service is excellent and they are putting out products that meet my needs instead of other car manufacturers that put out cars they "think" I need and then trying to convince me I need them.

Currently, my wife drives a 2003 Prius.  It has 70,000 miles on it, no problems so far, and still getting close to 49 mpg.

I'm driving a 2006 RAV4 and even though I'm not proud to have an SUV, I feel better that it's the best mpg in its class.  When the RAV4-EV goes public, I'll switch.

With their offering of Scion models, they are also appealing to the young hipsters.  

They had hoped to appeal to young hipsters, anyway.   But as happened with the Honda Element (another car aimed at young hipsters), it's the 40-year-olds who are buying them.  Horrors!  Is there anything less cool than driving the same car your mom does?

The thing is, the cars aimed at young people tend to be very good values.  The car companies are willing to take a loss on a sale to a young person, with the idea that they may be getting a customer for life.  So of course older people jump on them.

It's pretty funny, how the car companies try to hide their "hip" models from the middle aged masses.  For example, they try things like not advertising on TV, where older people may see the ads.  Instead, they hire students to drive the cars around college campuses.  

Yep...quite true...the 40 yr. olds are trying to "act" younger by tooling around in a Scion with flames.

What's funny is I'm seeing more and more of the Scion vans running around being used by delivery people.

They are cheap and on the whole get very good mileage.

They use the same engine:


2004 Scion xA
Fuel Economy
MPG (city) 32
MPG (highway) 38
MPG (combined)34

2004 Scion xB
MPG (city) 30
MPG (highway) 34
MPG (combined) 32

2004 Toyota Echo
MPG (city) 35
MPG (highway) 43
MPG (combined) 38
xB's are definitely being used as delivery vans and roving sign boards.

i actually saw 2 Scion Vans racing down the freeway one afternoon, funniest thing i've seen in a long time. Maxxed out at about 60mph.
Yes, when it came time to replace my Ford, I bought a Toyota Corolla.  I thought about trying to go car-free, but it's just not safe around here.  

I figure one way or the other, the Corolla will be my last car.  I'll drive it until I retire, or until the gas stations go dry.  (And if the latter happens next year, at least I didn't spend too much.  ;-)  

Where is 'around here'?  If I might ask?

Safety might be taken two ways:

  • personal safety eg at night

  • safety in a British sense. It's not so much risk of crime (I live in a high crime area, having a car wouldn't help), but there are lots of places one might live in the UK where you just can't get around without a car.  Often in the countryside there is no safe place to walk alongside the road, certainly cycling is risky.  And the rural bus services are derisory.
I live in a small city in the northeastearn U.S.  The safety I am referring to is both the danger of being hit by a car and the danger of being mugged.  

Even big, strapping men have reported being mugged while biking. To avoid being mugged, they often recommend that you vary your routine, not traveling the same route at the same time of day every day.  But that's kind of hard to avoid when you're biking to work.

But I worry more about the traffic.  It's a city with extremely steep hills and extremely brutal winters.  There are days when I don't feel safe driving the car, the roads are so slick, snowy, or icy.  The sidewalks (which are the official bike lanes here) get covered by 5' plowdrifts, and may not be passable until spring.  Meanwhile, huge SUVs are skidding all over the road.  They think they're invulnerable, because hey, they have four-wheel drive.    

In the mid-1970's I lived next door to a wild red-headed strumpet who worked in the Medical Center in Houston and bicycled through Herman Park at night, not safe then or now. Her solution was to drape a pet boa constrictor around her neck so the homeless dope fiend muggers thought she was crazy. Since she did alcoholism experiments on rats the snake came home drunk and happy, and Pam escaped rape and murder.The gallons of Ethanol made her wildly popular at parties where we did our own alcoholism experiments, and the cycling was great for her figure.
  I hope that she is well and remember her fondly.She was smart, pretty and lots of fun !
"Since she did alcoholism experiments on rats the snake came home drunk and happy, and Pam escaped rape and murder."

  And that is how I became a wharf rat. Loved that Ripple she used to give me.


Yellow Cab in Houston gets 300 to 400 thousand miles regularly out of its Lincoln Towncars and Astro mini-vans. The secret is changing the oil every 3,000 miles like cultists. They do the same with all their other vehicles, mostly American mini-vans and full size sedans which they buy used from rental car companies.
Continuous duty cycle helps too.  Helps to keep the oil from building up junk from blow-by gasses.  Cold starts put serious strain on an engine because the oil has had a chance to drain off of the parts and the oil is not up to pressure for a few moments.  Cars should really be equipped with pre-pressurizers.  Plus the expansion and contraction from the hot/cool cycling messes with things and means the engine runs with poor tolerances when cold.

Have you checked your PCV lately?

Substrate: A fun fact for all.  I've been a recovering auto mechanic for several years now.  The highest mileage car I ever saw with my own eyes was an early 80's Civic with 920,000 miles on it.  That's not a typo and it says a lot for good maintenence.  The steering wheel on this car had been worn down to the metal inner core.  I replaced the car's radiator and sent it along it's way.

Leanan:  At the Chrysler dealership I saw a transmission fail at 190 miles and an engine fail at 9 miles.  I won't say anymore about them but I think I share your view.

"The highest mileage car I ever saw with my own eyes was an early 80's Civic with 920,000 miles on it.  That's not a typo and it says a lot for good maintenence.  The steering wheel on this car had been worn down to the metal inner core.  I replaced the car's radiator and sent it along it's way."

Yipes!  That's definitely a few miles.  It's really weird the things that wear out on a high mileage car.  You'd think that by the time any other part of the car got worn down like that the engine would be worn to the nub, but sitting there in its bath of lubrication it keeps going with hardly a sign of wear.

"My username has nothing to do with energy sources. I am well-versed in automotive wiring and spend some of my free time wiring street rods and lowriders for friends."

Would that "Rex" be CRX, then?

"You'd think that by the time any other part of the car got worn down like that the engine would be worn to the nub, but sitting there in its bath of lubrication it keeps going with hardly a sign of wear."

It's amazing how long an engine will last when someone takes good care of it from day one.  There's nothing better a person can do for their vehicle other than giving it fresh, clean oil.

"Would that "Rex" be CRX, then?"

Rex is actually my first name.  Most all of the rods and lowriders I've been involved with are domestics but years ranging from the 1920's to current.  I've only helped modify a few imports.

I guess since we're discussing ethanol, this is as good a place as any to address the FT article "Grain Stockpiles at Lowest for 25 years" which was posted a couple days ago, but not commented on.

First off, it confirms WesTexas' export model, in that Australia is suffering from a drought, so its wheat production is declining from 24 MT to 11, but its own use is static at 7 MT. Therefore, its exports should plummet from 17 MT to 4MT.

Ukraine grain exports are also being squeezed off.

US corn declined slightly, but the interesting thing is the skyrocketing percentage going to ethanol.

"We are looking at a structural change in the corn market, because demand is going to increase next year from the ethanol industry, and we might not be planting corn in enough acres to satisfy that demand," said Mr Barnett.

Corn futures on the CBOT rose 20 cents to $3.04 a bushel, its highest level since June 2004 and up more than 35 per cent in the past month.

Analysts estimate ethanol to consume between 20 and 25 per cent of the US corn crop next year, which is estimated at about 11.1bn bushels, and forecast to account for about 35 per cent of the following year's crop.

"Peak Food"

If 25% of US corn is going to ethanol now, and 35% next year (soon to be 50% plus), then it would appear that we are past "Peak Food," and into "Food Descent."

For some time now grain production has been at the "bumpy plateau," but because of FTF (Food to Fuel), it appears we are past the peak.

This makes sense in another way. Before the invention of the internal combusion engine, half of all cultivated lands went to support draft animals. With the power of ancient sunlight, we were able to use ALL cultivated lands -- turbocharged with fossil fuel based fertilizers, etc -- to feed a huge increase of human mouths.

Now, as oil peaks, we are reverting to using cultivated lands for transport, but instead of feeding draft animals, the bounty of the land is going to feed our engines.

P.S., if 25% of US corn is going to ethanol, and if the IEA is tracking it as liquid fuel production (but the EIA is not), that would explain why the two measurements are diverging.

The increase of the IEA is driven by ethanol and other biofuels, while the decline shown by the EIA is showing that Deffeyes was correct.

I've seen this comments about ethanol and the EIA several times here, but the EIA counts ethanol when it is blended into gasoline - which I assume is what it is usually used for.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_petroleum_status_report/curren t/pdf/glossary.pdf

Field Production. Represents crude oil production on leases, natural gas liquids production at natural gas processing plants, new supply of other hydrocarbons/ oxygenates and motor gasoline blending components, and fuel ethanol blended into finished motor gasoline.

Jim, the EIA does count ethanol as liquid fuel. They have two catagories, "All Liquids" where ethanol, biodiesel, bottled gas, and Orimulsion is counted. Then the second catagory is called "Crude + Condensate" where only crude and condensate is counted. Condensate is liquids that condensate out of natural gas wells. That is, it is liquid at room temperature and sea level pressure.

Ron Patterson

Is there a convenient security for betting on corn prices(like USO for crude)?
There are some diversified commodities funds (DBC, Jim Rogers fund, etc.) but I'm not aware of any ETF for just corn (or grains in general).
Algae in Arizona: less than 15 percent

"There is lots of sunshine, plenty of land, and since algae doesn't need potable water to proliferate, we were in business," Bullock said.

But there are also plenty of problems to resolve before it can be produced on a mass scale.

Like how to give it enough light to maximize its growth. Algae thrives on the surface of water and other moist surfaces, but the growth rate slows considerably at more than a centimeter beneath the surface.

Also, how to get the carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of electric generation, into the water rapidly enough to spur maximum growth. GreenFuel estimates that 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions can be absorbed by the algae during daytime hours at power plants.

Qiang Hu, an assistant professor of applied biological sciences at Arizona State University, has been down this road before. Qiang worked for two years on what Japanese scientists had hoped would be an algae-to-energy project in the late 1990s.

"I wish GreenFuel all the best," Qiang said. "But there were many technical problems in Japan, the most serious of which being that the algae would attach to the microfibers that were necessary to produce more light for growth inside the growth containers.

"Also, the microfibers were taking up too much space needed to grow the algae, and the energy conversion turned out to be less than 15 percent, which was far less than the expectation was. Much more energy was wasted and it turned out that the costs were just too great."

While I like the idea of biodiesel from algae in the abstract, when it comes to where the rubber meets the road, I have formed some serious doubts about its feasibility.

Here are some of my concerns vis-a-vis its viability regarding large-scale operation:

  1. Covered or uncovered? It is no trick to grow high-lipid algae in a sterile enclosed bioreactor, but what about its viability in open uncovered ponds, where all manner of competing microorganisms have a whack at those carefully-selected strains algae that you've planted?

  2. If one goes with a covered pond, then one automatically has to face the cold hard facts of capital costs. Covering the equivalent of even a single acre with a greenhouse type structure is hardly cheap. Hell, I'd bet that even $3 per sq ft is quite low for the installed cost. So, a single acre of covered algae pond is probably going to cost you a very minimum of about $150,000. As far as I can tell, the very best you are going to do in the real world is to produce a barrel of biodiesel per acre of algae pond. At an average price of say $60/bbl, you are only going to generate about $22,000 per year in revenues. So, even excluding the not-insignificant operating costs, it's a very dubious proposition from a purely economic standpoint.

  3. Harvesting the algae - I have yet to get a good feel for how this would be done on a large scale. Yes, there are various filtration techniques, but if one must move around several hundred thousand gallons per day of a algae-laden water, it can get expensive very fast. Furthermore, most algae is very gelatinous and sticky and not the easiest material to dewater on a large scale.This may look simple, but it is probably not.

  4. Extraction of the algae -  This is where things appear to get a little dicey. From the sketchy literature I've looked at, it appears that your options  include solvent extraction, enzymatic extraction, pressing of dried algae, osmotic shock to break down cell walls, supercritcal CO2 extraction (a variation of solvent extraction), and ultra-sonic assist followed by whatever. All incur substantial costs, and all entail many technical problems.

Not the least of which is energy consumption. Solvent extraction implies the recylcing of the solvent, and that implies distillation, which implies energy usage.

It's the old problem of trying to process a large volume of material that is mostly water. Not cheap.

  1. Nutrient supply - As a microorganism, algae has a certain nitrogen and phosphorus content (as well as certain micronutrients). How do you suppy sufficient N and P to the algae?  Linking an algae operation with a livestock feedlot seems to make sense from a purely conceptual point of view, but then there are the problems of 'load matching' , etc.

  2. Final disposition of the residue after oil extraction - After the lipids are extracted, one is left with a residue at least 4 time greater in volume than the oil extracted. What to do with this muck?  It is highly biodgradable, which is both good and bad. It is good in that one could perhaps use it as a soil amendment, but bad in the sense that it could easily become a stinking messy waste problem.

In conclusion, while biodiesel from algae might look promising from the standpoint of quantity of biomass produced per acre under 'cultivation', the downside is that one is inherently constrained by the amount of wet material that must be handled, plus the high capital costs of building covered ponds.  

I'm sorry, but from what I've read so far, biodiesel from algae does not look like a winner to me.

Having said that, I readily admit that I am not an expert on this subject. I also like to think that I have a somewhat  open mind. So, if any of you out therer think I am off base, please take a constructive whack at what I've just said. I really want this to work, but I just don't see much there to be all that enthused about.

The lab is one thing; the real world is something else again.


An excellent post!!!  I fully agree.  My guess is that bioalgae for diesel will come after CTL has deciminated the coal seams and there is no other choice to keep the military going.  

It is possible to envision 1 cm thick bioreactors with the interior coated with some nano material to keep the algae from adhering spread over hundreds of square miles of former desert.  The volume of water is nill and the extracted soilds can be composted to feed the new algae.

This assumes there is a functioning society - which I doubt.

In terms of "covered versus uncovered":

I think we need a closed system, but cheap.

How about something like giant plastic "waterbeds"?  With hoses and swimming-pool level technology?

Stuff that can be just plain laid out and piped together in the desert without big capital costs, and done incrementally?


Improving the way a vehicle moves through air is simultaneously the least expensive and most effective way for carmakers to increase fuel efficiency. More than half of the energy required to move a car traveling at highway speeds is spent on aerodynamic drag.


What A Drag
Based on their aerodynamic design, hybrids have a head start in the race for fuel economy. The typical modern automobile has a coefficient of drag (cd) of 0.30 to 0.35--and a light truck commonly has a cd of 0.40 to 0.45. (Lower numbers mean less resistance.) The Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, and Honda Civic Hybrid have cd's of 0.25, 0.26, and 0.28 respectively. These are the only three vehicles currently rated above 50 miles per gallon.

Conventional vehicles don't need hybrid technology to benefit from smart aerodynamics--just a commitment to good design from automakers.

The least aerodynamic vehicles on the road are SUVs and large pickups. For example, a Hummer H2 has a drag coefficient of 0.57. Given how much front area larger vehicles cover (which mean a lot of resistance to air), small changes in design could have a dramatic effect. In fact, many analysts say it's cheaper to decrease drag coefficient of these larger vehicles than for smaller cars. G.M. claims its 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe slips through the air eight percent more efficiently, with the result of a three percent fuel economy improvement. The new four-wheel-drive Tahoe will get 20.3 miles per gallon, compared with 18.2 miles for the 2004 model.


Many people think the Volkswagen Beetle's iconoclastic design looks cool, but the cd of 0.38 can't touch a Prius's 0.26. Ford engineers had to work like mad to improve the engine efficiency of the new F150 pickup truck, just to make up ground lost for F150's aggressive looks and poor aerodynamics. If Ford put a new F150 engine in an old F150 pickup body, they would get an immediate bump in fuel economy.

A little on the Insight


Tapered Tear-Drop Shape
Flat under-body Covers
Other Aerodynamic Features

Other aerodynamic features includes:

    * Optimally designed air intake shape, including shape of louvers
    * Aerodynamically shaped nose
    * Steeply raked windshield with edges that blend smoothly with the cabin roof, and with the aerodynamically shaped windshield posts
    * Low hood-line
    * Low height and small frontal area
    * Low-drag door mirrors
    * Rear wheel wells enclosed by fender skirts and disk-shaped wheels aluminum alloy wheels smooth airflow around the wheel openings
    * Front fenders extend down below centerline of wheel
    * To improve airflow over the exposed wheels, the aluminum wheels have a flat-faced design.
    * The air dams are used in front of both front and rear wheels to improve aerodynamic characteristics. Since these spoilers extend lower than the rest of the body, when parking in front of concrete curb stops, you should be careful not to drive forward too far.
    * The headlight assemblies blend smoothly into the contour of the fender, and the fenders have large-radius curves in order to minimally disturb the air flowing around them.

Lowering the coefficient of drag is the reason behind the teardrop shape of most solar cars.  Hybrids and EVs could take advantage of the same aerodynamics (and even lower drag) if they could figure out a way to successfully market the "radical" geometry.
I don't know why Ford is coming up so much today but:

1983 Probe IV concept car...Cd .152


http://www.performanceprobe.com/index2.php?redirect=http://www.performanceprobe.com/gallery/concept. php?do=probe4


1984 Chevrolet Citation IV...Cd .180


::Six Million Dollar Man intro voice:: We have the technology.

Now, take the body form shown in the post by Substrate, a very usable suburban sedan, and combine it with the wheel hub 4 wheel drive electric hybrid developed by PML Flightlink:


Your are now talking a sedan with more than acceptable interior room and performance, and an easy 100 plus miles per gallon, and if the batteries improve only slightly in the next 5 years the change downward in fuel consumption becomes stunning!  Want to make it even better?

Forget this alcohol idiocy, and convert the fossil fuel range extending engine to compressed natural gas.  It would be using so little as to be easily replaced by wind and the rapidly advancing thin film solar and a bit of conservation, and it would be North American produced fuel for the strategic advantage.

As you said, we have the technology.  The truth is, if we decide, we could break OPEC's back in less than a decade with just plain good engineering.

But, so sadly, even those who know the need we face, will continue to shoot down every single alternative, leaving the public to fall into complacency and feel that "nothing can be done", which is just as destructive as the CERA line that "nothing needs to be done".  Both lead to exactly the same place:

Nothing WILL be done.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

ha ha, I guess I should say we've had the technology...


1921 Rumpler 2.6-litre saloon. Deutsches Museum, Munich. The 1921 Rumpler Wagon had a drag coefficient of only 0.27, lower than the 0.40 average of 1984 cars.

Or take a look at velomobiles for some drag-reducing ideas.


They run on donuts or your favorite health food or drink.

Active transportation is healthy transportation.

One can design velos and trailers for load-hauling.

Add electric assist for hills or sometimes added speed, and you can get a pretty efficient vehicle.

I think the Honda Insight has had disappointing sales?  And is due to be discontinued.

Also it seems as if hybrid car sales have topped out?

Without some significant government action, its hard to see them taking a lot more market share.  Not that many people are going to buy a car just because it's 'green'.

they are also not the cheapest cars on the market.
since they have both a i.c.e. and a electric motor+battery system they are mechanically more complex then a straight i.c.e. car. for me at least this means i would not trust just about any mechanic to work on it. you don't want to take your hybrid into a garage to have brake work done only to find out they while replacing the brakes they did not know any better and broke the break regeneration system.
I didn't consider an insight because I need the option of more than 2 seats.
design the cars to look like a boxfish  like mercedes prototype which supposedly got 85 mpg (diesel)  i think the drag coefficient was under 0.20   but mercedes claimed that there would not be sufficient market for it     cant they just hire some hollywood   slut    er i mean starlet to tell the public they will get a lot of action in this car     buy this car  it is a chick  (or rooster) magnet
The energy crisis for most contries is actually rather simple - reduce the speed limit to say 30 mph on the interstate and less in town.  Obviously, the average car would have a much smaller engine capacity and therefore use much less fuel.  This was shown during the seventiees and eighties when reducing the speed limit to 55 mph reduced oil use in transportation by significant amounts.  Face it, the use of the automobile for personal/familial transportation doesn't require high speeds; the high speeds are due to two factors that I can see: 1) people live too far from work and shopping, and 2) everybodies in far too great a hurry.  I realize that Kunstler has addressed the first first question, but I believe he's far too negative.  The second requires a new social paradigm, away from pursuit of riches as happiness and towards pursuit of amore traditional view of happiness.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize the meaning of the "Coefficient of drag".   I, a physicist myself, didn't know for quite a while.

In brief:  the total drag is equal to the coefficient of drag multiplied by the two-dimensional cross-sectional area.

So that even though some larger luxury cars have a fairly good coefficient of drag, they can still have more drag than a smaller car with a worse Cd.

The real number is never reported, because it can't be easily used to sell big expensive cars.

Hence a Hummers 0.57 is multiplied by a huge additional number; it is really egregiously bad.

`Crude set to fall on doubts over Opec output cut'
NEW YORK: Oil may fall on speculation the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will fail to cut production enough to stem a 27% slide in prices.

Failing to cut production? Perhaps this is code for can't keep up with world demand

More likely the OPEC countries have become dependant on 60$ oil for their social programs and will go in the red majorly if its not that high..
I'm starting to wonder who is getting hit the hardest with a drop in price of crude?  Is it the state companies, private companies, or neither one more than the other?
Since national oil companies produce 75% of the world crude supply, they will obviously take 75% of the hit.
Warning Conspiracy Theory Ahead:

How could we (the US admininstration) hurt the "bad" OPEC members that keep threatening us (i.e., Iran, Venezuela)?  Cut their profits.  To some extent, dropping the price of crude acts a type of sanction to those exporters that need the dinero at this point in time.

Of course this would take vast amounts of money and inside manipulation, so highly unlikely.  

I was just ruminating on it this Sunday evening.

Quake hits Hawaii

Strong temblor causes landslides, power outages; Hawaii governor issues disaster declaration

A strong earthquake shook Hawaii early Sunday, jolting residents out of bed and causing a landslide that blocked a major highway. Ceilings crashed at a hospital, and aftershocks kept the state on edge.

The state Civil Defense had unconfirmed reports of injuries, but communication problems prevented more definite reports. Gov. Linda Lingle issued a disaster declaration for the entire state, saying there had been damage to buildings and roads. There were no reports of fatalities.

The epicenter was just off the Kona coast.  Jay Hanson's stomping grounds.

6 weeks ago, Statoil admitted it was sequestering CO2 in the North Sea only because it was making a lot of money doing so:
Statoil's engineers aren't doing it to save the environment, but to save money. The Sleipner injection facility, which cost about $80 million to build, saves Statoil $53 million every year in Norwegian taxes on carbon dioxide emissions.

Nothing has changed since. And this is a country that actually has a place to dump their carbon.

Norway prepares to sequester CO2 and tax dollars

Norway's centre-left government said on Thursday it would finance the bulk of a pioneering project, carried out with oil company Statoil, to build the world's biggest facility to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions.

The announcement comes amid pressure from energy industry officials for state help in cutting financial and legal barriers blocking CO2 storage - seen as the world's best shot at curbing emissions of gasses that cause global warming.

"We are developing ground-breaking technology," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference.

The plan calls for the creation of a technology company, in which the state would initially own an 80 percent stake, to develop CO2 capture and storage in Mongstad, where Statoil plans to build a gas-fired power plant to feed its nearby refinery.

The technology advances made by the company could pave way for even bigger CO2 capture projects, which have so far been held up by high costs and unclear or undeveloped regulation.

"We see this is primarily a technology development project, which could lead to cost cuts that allow companies to do similar projects without public support," Petroleum and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen told Reuters.
He said Norway may spend 4 billion crowns (US$594 million) to build the facility, which aims to capture 100,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2010 and meet final capacity of 1.3 million tonnes in 2014.

Earlier, Norway's environmental authority demanded the power plant to be equipped to capture CO2 emissions from the start, but Statoil said this requirement would derail the project.
In a statement, Statoil said the government "accepts the principal responsibility" for meeting the cost of capturing, transporting and storing carbon dioxide.

Storing heat-trapping gasses is not economically viable unless the prices of permits to emit more CO2 jump, making it more costly not to capture the emissions.

Energy-rich Norway, unlike many other states, can inject CO2 into subsea petroleum reservoirs to help push oil to the surface. But even with this benefit, CO2 projects are not economically viable without state aid, studies have shown.

Statoil and Anglo-Dutch major Shell seek state aid to build a planned US$1.5 billion power plant-CO2 capture facility at the Norwegian firm's Tjeldbergodden methanol complex.
The government also has to clear legal obstacles hampering such projects, such as amending international marine pollution agreements which may bar firms from "dumping" CO2 waste offshore. It is also not clear when countries should take over liability for maintaining the storage facility from companies.

For those of you wanting the site related to the thermal Images of the New York Hot Spots at the twin towers.  Check this site out.


By the way Thermite can be made at home.  Ask anyone that has ever read the Anarchists Handbook, Which is available in several book stores again.  

As my dad and I discussed, several chemicals used in Oil Tank clean up, are highly reactive and fun for Pyros.  

Just don't try any Pyro-technics at home.
No stop that, not even those cancer sticks!

At the expense of pulling THEOILDRUM off topic there was an amusing story here in the U.K. of a tradesman (a welder) getting caught speeding on camera.

When the paperwork arrived at his door, he went out and caused a thermite reaction on the camera supprt column and brought it down, thinking this would remove the evidence of him speeding.