DrumBeat: October 24, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/24/06 at 9:24 AM EDT]

Greed will trigger 'ecosystem collapse'

A large-scale ecosystem collapse within 50 years is likely if current global consumption levels are not cut by half, an environmental group has warned.

..."We are in serious ecological overshoot, consuming resources faster than the earth can replace them. The consequences of this are predictable and dire."

Thousands without gas after Pakistan pipeline blast

QUETTA, Pakistan (AFP) - Suspected tribal rebels blew up a key pipeline in southwestern Pakistan's volatile Baluchistan province, leaving tens of thousands of people without gas, officials said.

The pre-dawn blast suspended natural gas supplies to the provincial capital Quetta, as well as the Kalat, Mastung, Ziarat and Pishin districts, a gas company official said on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

Philippine workers evacuated after riot in Kazakhstan

Hundreds of Filipino workers have been evacuated from an oil-drilling site in Kazakhstan after a riot that left dozens dead and injured, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Nigeria: Enugu Residents Protest Power Outage

WILD protests, weekend greeted introduction of new pre-paid meter pilot project of the Enugu Distribution zone of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as residents accused officials of disrupting power supplier.

Uganda: Power Cuts Aggravate City Water Shortage

Russian energy roulette spooks Japanese

The imbroglio over the huge Sakhalin-2 oil-and-gas project in Russia's Far East involving two Japanese firms has cast a cloud over resource-poor Japan's new national energy strategy. It has also served as a fresh reminder that Japan's economic power seems to have lost much of its luster, at least in the eyes of the Russians.

Far away from Darfur's agony, Khartoum is booming

Small islands suffered the most from high oil prices

The rising oil prices have become an urgent issue for the South Pacific small islands and territories with relatively weak economy, said their leaders Monday in Nadi, Fiji.

BP says Q3 profits jump 58% on asset sales

Oil producer BP Plc's (BP.L) third-quarter replacement cost net profit rose 58 percent to $6.975 billion thanks to asset sales but still undershot analysts' forecasts as production and refining margins fell.

...The world's second-largest fully-quoted oil company by market capitalization also ditched its 2006 oil and gas production target, saying it would produce only 3.95 million barrels of oil equivalent (boepd) per day this year compared to an original target of 4.1-4.2 million boepd.

Italy's Eni makes new gas discovery in U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico

Oil Search warns on production

OIL output from Oil Search fell in the third quarter and the company has warned it will not meet its 2006 production forecasts.

OPEC's Cuts Signal Pricing Worries

Saudis: All Customers to See Less November Oil

Bush to OPEC: high oil prices may "wreck economies"

Russian Expert Addresses Europe's Security Concerns

Russia is playing an ever-larger role in global energy politics -- from Europe to Central Asia to Iran. Yelena Telegina, a member of the board of the Association of Russian Crude Oil Exporters and former board chairwoman of Rosneft, spoke with RFE/RL correspondents Claire Bigg and Breffni O'Rourke about these issues and more.

Oil patch's profit party is slowing down

Gas prices fall to lowest level in 2006

A Reason to Drill in the Gulf

It is time to make a serious effort to save the vanishing wetlands and barrier islands along the coast of Louisiana. The best chance is a bill passed by the Senate that would guarantee Louisiana and three other coastal states a share of oil and gas revenues from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The states would be expected to use the proceeds largely for coastal restoration and related projects.

In Deregulation, Power Plants Turn Into Blue Chips

U.S., EU hold climate talks despite Kyoto rift

HELSINKI - The United States and the European Union met on Tuesday in Helsinki to seek ways to curb greenhouse gases and promote clean energies, setting aside years of disputes over the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol which caps emissions.

Climate change could lead to more failed states

Global warming is exacerbating disputes over access to water and food resources, and could lead to more failed states, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett warned in an interview published in the Financial Times.

Global forests disappearing for a pittance

Global warming caused by rapid deforestation could be curbed if developing countries were paid the proper rewards for maintaining their woodland, a World Bank study said.

U.K.: Biggest wind power project is blown off course as residents fight back

"I just happen to think wind is a bit of a white elephant because it's so inefficient and I cannot understand why anyone would choose one of the best bird sanctuaries in Europe as a site."

Ethanol: Blessing or Bane? Plants offer promise of prosperity, but some fear bubble may burst.

Nippon Oil, Toyota to develop biofuel

George Monbiot: Small is Useless: Micro generation can’t solve climate change.

Oil importers meet in Beijing demanding bigger say in price of oil

Top energy officials from major oil importers the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India met in Beijing Monday with their Chinese counterparts to explore ideas about restraining and stabilizing crude oil prices.

"The five giant oil consumers are turning from competitors into cooperators," said Li Xiaogang with the Foreign Investment Research Institute of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"If they could team up to balance OPEC, the world's crude oil market would fluctuate less," Lin Boqiang, director of the China Energy Research Institute at Xiamen University, told China Business on Monday.

A new acceleration additive for making 'ice that burns'

Japanese scientists are reporting discovery of an additive that can speed up the formation of methane hydrates. Those strange substances have sparked excitement about their potential as a new energy resource and a deep freeze to store greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
A story we should be seeing in the US MSM right now, but are not:

US sends the wrong messages to Iran
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi


So who's going to the Boston ASPO conference?

I am not going to the conference, however if anyone would like to meet up for drinks/dinner one evening (Thursday or Friday night?) to talk shop (Peak Oil), I'd be interested.

I know a good Irish Pub close by with decent food.

My email is in my profile.


I'll be there. I'm flying in tomorrow morning. Will help with some of the set-up tomorrow afternoon.
   I was wondering if the people at OilDrum might want to start compiling a list of links to candidates in the upcoming elections who are peak oil "aware" or who appear to have sensible energy and/or environmental policies.  For example, I just became aware of a green party candidate for senate in Maryland (I'm from Maryland) who refers to peak oil in some statements on his website. Here is the site:


I've heard that there are environmental concernes with ramping up palm oil production that could be alieviated by using jatropha instead, which also produces more energy, or a higher quality fuel.
I'll be dammned, I've got a buddy who's got dozens of these growing in pots in his backyard (the Jatropha multifida, we usually call it Coral Plant) and I've got a big one that produces seeds all summer long (and in Florida, that's a long time) right next to me shower window. The butterflies love it.
My buddy got a visit from the Sheriff one time b/c of the similar leaves to marijuana to the uninformed.
Unbounded Optimism

As far as the oil supply is concerned, the world bubbles over with optimism.

During the day I usually keep the TV on CNBC. Listening, day after day, to the analysts and commentators, optimism absolutely abounds where the oil supply is concerned. No one believes the OPEC cuts will make one whit of difference. As the talking heads come and go, they all have the very same message: "There is plenty of supply out there." Don't worry, be happy, all is well in the oil patch.  

I have heard not a single comment about what effect high prices are having on world consumption. No one mentions the fact that average oil production in 2006 averages about 119 million barrels per day below 2005 production for both crude + condensate as well as all liquids.

All this wild optimism leaves me puzzled. It seems to be like a meme, a contagious idea that has infected the mind of almost everyone in the investment world. And I keep wondering; how long before this meme leads them to disaster.

Ron Patterson


It should have read 119 thousand barrels per day below 2005 production.

Sorry for the brain lapse.

Ron Patterson

I was about to say -dude, I rode to work on a horse this morning? No wonder I was so frickin' cold! ;-)

Seriously, I don't think this is so much of a meme as a good example of groupthink. But the infinite growth idea, now that is definitely a meme.

If I had made a mistake like that, I would have been crucified by Rethin 10x over!! :P
All this wild optimism leaves me puzzled. It seems to be like a meme, a contagious idea that has infected the mind of almost everyone in the investment world. And I keep wondering; how long before this meme leads them to disaster.

You really hit the nail on the head there Ron. This is irrational exuberance at its most extreme and it certainly is contagious. The level of complacency out there now is absolutely staggering, as that level of manic optimism makes people fearless - it makes them discount, or ignore entirely, the obvious risks they are facing. However, a consensus that extreme is ususally indicative of a trend reaching exhaustion. If everyone is bullish and has acted (ie placed their bets) accordingly, who is there left to buy into the upward trend in order to sustain it?

When the greatest speculative fool has already committed himself, then the trend will reverse, and will probably do so sharply. As the reversal picks up speed (as it will because fear is a much sharper emotion than hope or greed and therefore spreads much more quickly), the downturn will begin to feed on itself just as the upswing has done. IMO we are very close to the point of reversal, although the prevailing optimism makes such a forecast seem incredible at this point.

It is contagieous and it reminds me of the Internet bubble burst period: I was working for a company, marchFIRST,  ~10000 workers, very strong growth based on marketing and acquisitions.
Two months before result announcements the CFO left, everyone thought he was stupid. It looked like he was not because the global situation started to decline afterwards.
 Then two days before, an optimist CEO told us that everything was fine and he was still expecting a soon and substantial increase of share value.
The people at the office all believed him, even ten days later when the stock felt 50%, most of them were still believing, only when it felt to less than 1% after a very short period of time, people started to understand...

Hopefully I was working out of the office and somehow protected from the illness, so I sold my stock options before they valued nothing.

Eventhough, I was still a bit confused because I bought some share at 50 cents (from 80$ high) hoping to make a good deal! I lost everything of course.

This is a good sample of mental blindness caused by your environment. This time, everything from family, work, hobbies to MSM is causing this blindness, it will be very difficult to escape the crash.
Many thanks to TOD and others to help us.

Worst mistake possible in investing = 'This is as low/high as the price can possibly get!'
I dunno, maybe there's worse.....not by much.
The wealthy who own and report on the news are exhuberant because they are 'pre-peak' and so the curve continues to rise as it has their entire lives--making each day better than the last. They feel their party will go on forever and they see see their borders will seal them from the poors' fate.

This plateau continues to impact those at the very lowest economic levels in ways not apparent. Who can blame Darfur or Iraq on declining discoveries? Who can blame global warming on this same pre-peak irrational exhuberance?

"Don't worry, be happy, all is well in the oil patch."

As the old firesign Theater used to say,

Don't panic,  Don't take off your shoes !

This amazes me too.  I woke up this morning listening to the CBS news feed for my local radio station - the one or two minute blurb at the top of each hour.  I wasn't quite awake for the first part but I'm pretty sure they were talking about OPEC cuts and just how cheap gas is now - oh happy days...

At the end of each of these feeds they have a little "lighter side" type story that's supposed to get you all feelin' good before you encounter the rush hour hell...

Well today's funny story was about (paraphrasing) - Motor Trend's SUV of the year goes to Mercedes Benz GL450 - it may be a gas guzzler V-8 but it'll get you around in style blah blah blah with 335 horsies etc etc...

All that got out of me was nervous laughter - not quite the gee whiz chuckle and Neanderthal drooling of their target audience I suppose...

Oh by the way - if you're looking for one they're only about $55k

yeah...oil at $78/bbl. - we got a problem. oil at $58/bbl....hey,dude..problem solved. that's what wall street thinks..but tell that to the japanese..as leanan posted above, they might describe a different situation with their fossil fuel supply. first they run into a indonesian problem:
"Japan is the world's largest LNG importer, purchasing 58 million tons of LNG from abroad in 2005, of which 25% was from Indonesia...Indonesia is poised to cut in half its Japan-bound exports of gas when long-term contracts expire in 2010 to boost the availability of natural gas for domestic industries amid decreasing natural-gas production at home."
then there is that problem in iran:
"..After days of hectic haggling, Japan's Inpex Corp, a core firm of Inpex Holdings Inc, and National Iranian Oil Co reached a basic agreement early this month on a major cut in the largest Japanese oil and gas developer's stake in the oilfield, in southwestern Iran, to 10% from 75%."
even Exxon-Mobil is throwing sand into tokyo's face:
"..In yet another blow to Japan's energy security, exports of natural gas from Sakhalin-1 could all go to China. ExxonMobil, which holds the right to decide which parties receive natural-gas exports, reportedly concluded this month a provisional contract with China's state-run China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) on the import via a pipeline of about 6 million tons (in liquefied conversion) of natural gas to be produced at Sakhalin-1."
and finally, mr. putin may have something to say about who gets what:
"..Not so long ago, it was thought that Japan's trump card in the ongoing negotiations was its ability to develop the rich resources of the Russian Far East. However, what the Japanese government officials have long taken for granted as a negotiating chip - Japan's economic power - seems to have lost much of its luster, at least in the eyes of Russian leaders. For Russia, the strategic significance of Japan has declined. "
so what's a former asian tiger with no nukes to do?

Well...they do have one friendly country with nukes and battleships close by.
Which country has battleships?  North Korea doesn't and I doubt that China has any.  China probably has destroyers and frigates, but not battleships, nor cruisers.
That would be the good ole US of A...Japan's buddy.
You boys are really living in the past. No country has battleships! The USA's last battleship, the USS Missouri was decomissioned over a decade ago.

Ron Patterson

Whatever...the big boats with the guns and laser-guided do-hickies.  Quit being so literal.

My subtle reference was to the 3 Strike Groups currently cruising around (wasting our tax dollars) the Persian Gulf.

And on the topic of big boats in the Persian Gulf...

US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War?
by Michel Chossudovsky


There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Three US naval strike groups off the Iranian coastline are deployed: USS Enterprise, USS Eisenhower and USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group.

The naval strike groups have been assigned to fighting the "global war on terrorism."

Tehran considers the US war games to be conducted in the Persian Gulf, off the Iranian coastline as a provocation, which is intended to trigger a potential crisis and a situation of direct confrontation between US and Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf:

"Reports say the US-led naval exercises based near Bahrain will practise intercepting and searching ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

Iran's official news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as describing the military manoeuvres as dangerous and suspicious.
Reports say the US-led naval exercises based near Bahrain will practise intercepting and searching ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

The Iranian foreign ministry official said the US-led exercises were not in line with the security and stability of the region. Instead, they are aimed at fomenting crises, he said." (quoted in BBC, 23 October 2006)

Shhhh ... quiet. That's supposed to be the October Surprise!
Hope to God, Allah, and Buddha it's not, but it might very well be..

Also...this morning:

N. Korea threatens war if South joins sanctions
Pyongyang issued similar threat before this month's nuclear test


Make some nukes, I guess. With the Japanese, that would take about ten minutes (leaving their moral objections to nukes aside).
Update for those following our college education system.  I came in to my econ class last night early to work on some homework.  Scattered all over the desks were MULTIPLE copies of LaRouche Pac newletter handouts.  It was more like a small book since there were over 20 pages.  These copies were scattered all over the class. Probably at least 25-30 copies.  I dont know when they were dropped off, but it looked like they were picked through.  I just kinda laughed when I saw it.
Ah, LaRouche, the first presidential candidate I voted for.

And now, the rest of the story. In 1984, I was finally able to vote, and was quite determined to vote for the Libertarian candidate, until I was informed that the Libertarian candidate was not on the ballot. I am not a Libertarian, but in the choice between Mr. Reagan or Mr. Mondale, anyone (which I still think) would be an improvement.

Further, I was informed at the polling place in Fairfax County that they would not accept any write-in vote on my part - which I found out later was actually not legal, as they were supposed to at least accept a write-in candidate, who then could be legally ignored by all parties concerned, except for counting it before throwing into the trash.

So I step into the voting booth, and there was actually a third candidate - Lyndon LaRouche, a true whackjob who I had watched around midnight weeks before, going from economics to nuclear war in something like 60 seconds - with another 29 minutes to go. I have a pretty high tolerance for lunacy, but LaRouche got the better of me, and after five minutes, I just turned the TV off.

So there I was, proud to be exercising my right to participate in a duty which is considered so important to citizenship in democracy (it was considered to be real important in places like the Soviet Union or the DDR, too). I voted for LaRouche, knowing full well at that point what a farce the entire thing was.

But like convicted felon Moon and his Moonie Times, LaRouche was part of the background weirdness of 1980s politics (I actually ended up years later living fairly near the Loudoun 'compound' which according to him was not his, though the Feds up with it after a pretty serious fraud case involving credit cards and political contributions, for which LaRouche spent time behind bars). Of course, Moon just kept increasing his weirdness over the years (a crowning ceremony in the Capitol - I think that was the end of the Republic, right?). Nice to see LaRouche still has a hallowed place in economics - he was always very proud of his academic credentials, I guess because Moon already claimed to be the son of god.

Hey Ex,
  From your view over in the BundesRepublik, what do you think of the idea of 'Mandatory Voting' in the US?  Even writing the words out, I hear the little cries of 'Dictator!' 'Noo!' 'You can't make me!' .. but what would we be 'making ourselves' do, but to participate in our own government?

  Dunno, just thinking about the electoral system..  I like the intstant runoff idea.. makes a lot of sense, but doesn't probably match the 'WinnerTakeAll' King for 4yrs model that this horserace has been enthroned as in the US..


Well, no opinion on making people vote, but I do have one pet idea how to improve the system in general.

On every ballot, 'None of the above' is a valid choice, and if 'None of the above' wins the election, the office is left empty until the next election.

It has the charming virtue of forcing people to realize how much or how little elected officials matter, and it makes an end run around the whole third party issue, which is one thing both Democrats and Republicans feel they can trust each other to work together on to prevent.

And it adds real teeth to the idea of voting 'them' out of office.

In my fuzzy memory, 'None of the above' is a valid choice in Nevada.

And in mine, I seem to remember someone attempting to legally change their name to 'None of the Above' and run in a local election (in the States)...I think a judge denied it. I've also heard of people like Bozo the Clown (no joke) getting on a ballot or 2. Not like, THE bozo, but just 'another' Bozo.
Arizona Ballot Could Become Lottery Ticket

A proposal to award $1 million in every general election to one lucky resident, chosen by lottery, simply for voting -- no matter for whom -- has qualified for the November ballot.

Mark Osterloh, a political gadfly who is behind the initiative, the Arizona Voter Reward Act, is promoting it with the slogan, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Vote!" He collected 185,902 signatures of registered voters, far more than the 122,612 required, and last week the secretary of state certified the measure for the ballot this fall.

If the general election in 2004 is a guide, when more than 2 million people voted, the 1-in-2-million odds of winning the election lottery would be far better than the Powerball jackpot (currently about 1 in 146,107,962) but not nearly as great as dying from a lightning strike (1 in 55,928).

Stay tuned for how this turns out on Nov. 7th.

Interesting idea.  But will it only encourage people who are bad at math to vote?  ;-)

Seriously, I am not sure that pushing people to vote is a good idea.  If they don't care enough to get off their duffs and vote on their own, they probably don't care enough to learn about the candidates and the issues, either.  As it is, the first person on the ballot has a big advantage, because a lot of voters just vote for the first name they see.  Then there are the people who win because they have "famous" names, like John Adams.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should...

I'm assuming you're in Germany...based on past posts and such.
Is he popular over there or something? Someone outside the train station in Koln stopped me and got me to donate for some of his literature.
He seems to write well, and seems to have his facts behind him and has been writing about the decline of the American 'empire' for much longer than I've known about it... but he seems to just be too much of a kook for anyone else, and I guess for me also.
I also am not aware of any of his history, besides his running for president at one time (I'm 28)

Wikipeida link

more than you ever wanted to know about LaRouche.

Interesting that the news on that WWF report is found at Aljazeera.net.  Wonder if any MSM in the US will pick it up?  I wouldn't be too surprised if not; doesn't much fit the economic/demographic cheerleading that the "Iron Triangle" deems fit for the sheep to read.
Unfortunately, the only ecosystem that the average American knows is paved with ashphalt and littered with fast food franchises and shopping centers.  I know I'm being terribly cynical, but most will feel only fleeting pangs of regret upon hearing of disappearing alpine/artic habitats or dying rainforests.  Then, they'll go back to watching YouTube or downloading new cell phone ring-tones.
God, I love those cellphone ringtones.
I am probably the only person on the planet who would like to take a baseball bat to all the world's cell phones.
If they get any more annoying I might just do so.
You're definitely not the only one.  I hate them.  I refuse to have one.  The regular phone is bad enough.  The last thing I want is for people to be able to track me down everywhere I go.
I also refuse to own a cell phone.  Then again, all I really want to discuss is PO and GW, so nobody wants to talk to me anyway...  :-(
 I'm getting too much competition in the race to be the last one in the country with one.
I don't have one either!  And we are in the same county. Amazing. Two in one county without a cell phone!
Make me no. 3!
Surrounded by people with expensive tracking transmitters on their hips... I feel so... help me find the right word...
Add me.
here is another good reason not to have one.
"...no phones, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury..."  
Who knew Gilligan's Island would be a preview of times to come. I have no cell phone, no iPod, and for many years I got by with WebTV instead of a real computer.
No cell phones?  I'm starting to think you guys are communists...  ;->
Communalists would be closer, although Locavore is free of the "Com" prefix that's been made into something highly derogatory by our vaunted propaganda system.
Commies? What we are is what we aren't; dawgs on an electronic leash.
If only.
Gilligan's island, with six billion castaways. O:
Hey you guys are going to love this little piece of news :
Natural selection at work

Men who use mobile phones for long periods at a time may be at risk of damaging their sperm, according to research by American scientists.

Samples taken from men attending a fertility clinic revealed that their sperm declined steadily in number, quality and ability to swim as mobile phone usage increased. Where men used their mobiles for more than four hours a day, researchers found a 30% drop in sperm motility or movement and viability when compared with men who did not use a mobile phone.

I have a one hour a month contract, and rarely use it all.

Alistair: IMO, sperm quality won't be a concern if they give you the brain cancer diagnosis.
Samples taken from men attending a fertility clinic revealed that their sperm declined steadily in number, quality and ability to swim as mobile phone usage increased.

Oh, I can see where this is going.  A year from now, I'll be paging through the latest National Geo and I'll see an ad for Zygofil, accompanied by a picture of a handsome couple holding hands and walking along the beach: "Because he's a very important person, my stud-muffin is on his cell all day long.  Since taking Zygofil, his payload-quality has increased by 30%...blah, blah, blah."  

If you spend more than two hours a day on your cell-phone, see your doctor...

Optimist: It appears that one either loves cell phones or hates them. I'm with you, but to be fair to these cell phone junkies (that seem to be everywhere), a lot of persons don't understand this internet junkie trip.  
You are not alone.  I hate those things.
The WWF report is disheartening reading.

One little graph that grabbed me : in the lower left hand corner of page 6 of the PDF (Fig. 7: TEMPERATE AND TROPICAL TERRESTRIAL LIVING PLANET INDICES, 1970-2003)

The "living planet index" of temperate zones (i.e. the rich countries) has improved slightly since 1970 (now at about 1.05)
That of tropical zones has plunged disastrously, now at less than 0.5.

We have largely (in aggregate) stopped messing up our own back yard. Now we're mining the ecosystems of the third world to ensure our continued prosperity.

This is why it is best to ignor economists when they claim that economic growth is good for the environment.  It usually means externalities are outsourced to other countries, and the economists only measure quality of life/environmental cleanliness in each country.  

This is so simple of a concept I am having trouble believing ignorance of such scale issues is an simple oversight.

The U.K. is apparently completely dysfunctional from the article above on attempts to get wind power installed.  Everyone so concerned about the their damn view.  What is the view going to be like when much of the U.K. is under water from global warming. Well, at least they can say they maintained their goddamned view.

I have an absoutely beautiful and pristine view of the mountains from my house. No one has yet proposed putting wind towers on our ridges around here but if they did I could hardly oppose them when I consider the alternative of more coal fired plants.

And what's the view like of those destroyed mountains and valley and streams in West Virginia.

What is funny is that one of the biggest lobby groups against windfarms are the ornathologists who cite that 26 birds a year are killed by the turbines. (Alright I made that figure up). What they are so short sighted in seeing is the fact that global warming will displace/extinctifyationism far more of the bird population than that - ironic?


"26 birds a year are killed by the turbines. (Alright I made that figure up). "


Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.1

Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.3

While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.4  

Current mortality estimates due to telecommunication towers are 40 to 50 million birds per year.9

Agricultural pesticides are "conservatively estimated" to directly kill 67 million birds per year.10 These

rural free-ranging domestic cats in Wisconsin may be killing between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year."11

There are other studies on the impacts of jet engines, smoke stacks, bridges, and any number of other human structures and activities that threaten birds on a daily basis. Together, human infrastructure and industrial activities are responsible for one to four million bird deaths per day!

But what about wind turbines?
The NWCC reports that: "Based on current estimates, windplant related avian collision fatalities probably represent from 0.01% to 0.02% (i.e., 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000) of the annual avian collision fatalities in the United States."15  That is, commercial wind turbines cause the direct deaths of only 0.01% to 0.02% of all of the birds killed by collisions with man-made structures and activities in the U.S.


Sounds like the anti-Wind turbine camp doesn't have much ground to stand on.

Looking at the broader context, if we enter PO and Jet travel, and car travel are reduced significantly, the increase in bird deaths from Wind Turbines would still leave us with a net reduction in bird deaths per year.

As for birds hitting windows on buildings, I do have to say while sad, it is somewhat amusing from a morbid point of view to watch this occur.  One day at the office there was a hawk chasing a smaller bird of some type.  The smaller bird dived to avoid the hawk, and the hawk followed.  The small bird smacked right into the side of the window with a loud thud, and the hawk smacked right behind it.  It was probably the closest realistic representation of a looney toons style chase I've ever seen.

Neither bird survived however.  :-(

The Traffic Volume Trends for August 06 came out yesterday (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/06augtvt/page2.htm  Note the table is titled July when they really mean August.)

Again a year-to-year decrease for Vehicle Miles Travelled this month -- the fifth straight month there has been a decrease -- something that has not happened since 1979!  Only Jan and March have been increases over the corresponding months in 2005.

From Jan 1981 through Dec 2004 there have been only 14 months of decreases in Vehicle Miles Travelled (and none from March 1982 through Dec 1990 -- I guess the "easy motoring 80s").  Now for 2005 there have been 7 negative months and 2006 (through Aug) 6 negative months.

I realize these are small decreases so far and probably represent "discretionary" driving.  But I do want to look at these figures some more (as well as re-read the discussion here last fall on VMT) and try to see how much VMT is correlated to actual gas prices, GDP, etc.

RE: In Deregulation, Plants Turn Into Blue Chips

"A Utility Deal With a Few Big Winners. - Four big investment firms bought a group of Texas power plants in 2004 for $900 million and sold them the next year for $5.8 billion."

Lots of profit taking by allowing power plants to be sold at often greatly undervalued prices and moved into unregulated subsidiaries and then shuffled back into the regulated arena to regain profitability with consumers eating any losses.

If the analysis of Ruppert and FTW is correct on the consequences of deregulation and the repeal of the Depression-era Public Utility Holding Company Act last year, then we all better brace ourselves because the combination of greed, concentration of ownership, a decrepit grid system and increasing scarcity will leave many users out in the cold - literally.

Thanks to Leanan for the link to this important article that so clearly explains the power plant shell game being played on unsuspecting utility customers.  What a rip-off!  I felt like someone was rifling through my pockets as I was read the article.  As my father used to say, "they get you coming and going".

"The second is that seeking to generate all our electricity by this means would be staggeringly and pointlessly expensive - there are far better ways of spending the same money."

Hoowah!  Monbiot's got me steaming, slaughtering my sacred cow like that!  Actually the cow's fine, just a little bruised and embarrassed, and George will notice something smelly under his boot later on..

He rests on that common chestnut of "Wind can't possibly supply ALL our power.."  "SOLAR could never replace ALL our power" .. and then coming out with those erudite dismissals like 'Staggeringly expensive'..  the boob..

  1. Self-generation surely may not supply ALL the power we currently use, but that volume clearly has to and can be reduced, leastways in England and the US, in which case, the percentages provided by the alternatives would strengthen.  Reduce, Reuse, Bicycle!

  2. A combination of Wind and SolarElectric and a net-metered GridTie can cut well into your energybill, and increase your home's value, to boot.  Add Solar Heat, Solar Fridge, WinterFridge, Methane Digester, Greenhouse, etc  AND a potential workforce consisting of everyone who lives in a home and pays unsympathetic energy bills, and you have the motive and opportunity to cut down on all manner of centralized energy dependence.  The 'means' is where we need to help each other and get more of this moving.

  Certainly, wind is not appropriate for all or even most homes, and would rarely be attached to the building, since the vibrations could be both structurally dangerous as well as unbearable to live with.  That said, 'Windside' and others have turbines (see Vertical Axis, Savonius) which create less vibration and can be building mounted, plus, they accept wind from all sides and pull more useful power from low-level, turbulent sites.  (Tho' overall are less productive than Horiz Axis turbines... but also cheaper to build, install and maintain..)    The article seems to be hinging on a 'non-negotiable lifestyle' mentality of the societies who are the most protective of their long-hot showers.  It's hard for me not to wonder about the US and England and our sort-of 'Imperial Mentalities', whether that is some level of entitlement that we Princes and Princesses feel we deserve, having lived such fatty lives.

  Reading about the Pakistani Gas Line disruptions had me considering what a terrorist strike on the US Grid would do to us, how hard would it be to do it, how hard to recover from it?  This is one of the reasons I'm glad I own a few panels already, and am working towards having some access to heat and electric in case the supply lines were all of the sudden cut off.  (And hence, my disappointment at Monbiot's dismissal of self-generation.  During a blackout, even a few watts could be precious and even lifesaving.. keeping radios, phones, some lights charged..  but if it all comes from "Massive Offshore Installations".. not much to do but sit and wait for help.. pretty lame)

   I know I shouldn't be giving 'them' any ideas about how to hurt us..  I mean attacking the grid is almost as unthinkable as 9/11 was, (only it wasn't, eh?)  So I'm sure there's already a blueprint for that scenario on their laptop.. is there a reaction plan on any of ours?

Bob Fiske

Here's a litte 'Eyesore' for y'all, in case you didn't search out a link before..



I just can't quit..
In your face, Monbiot!

( so saith the Mfr, in any case..)

Why The Windside Wind Turbines are the best on the market?

Quite simply Windside Wind Turbines work when others don't ! In the gentlest of summer breezes and in violent winter storms. When others fail due to frost, ice, snow or high winds Windside Wind Turbines continue to produce. Windside Wind Turbines will produce at least 50 % more electricity in a year than traditional propeller models. Many things make the Windside Wind Turbines extraordinary and their total life cost make them the best value for money.

Windside Wind Turbines are constructed of high quality durable materials to ensure free production of electricity for many years even in the harshest of environments. Their design ensures a minimum requirement for maintenance. When other turbines have failed Windside Wind Turbines continue to produce. A Windside Wind Turbine will probably still be working long after the purchaser.
On Nature's Terms

Windside Wind Turbines are soundless. (0 db) They do not kill birds or people. For these reasons they are safe to use in population centres, public spaces, parks, wildlife parks and on buildigs. They are also beautiful and in many cases have been used to combine art and functionality.

Thanks for posting the link. I learned about these at the last SolFest, but had forgotten the company's name. I'm sold; it's the perfect complement for solar here on the Oregon coast.
I looked at their power graphs and I wasn't very impressed. They didn't seem to generate that much power. 24W - with some good wind - not very impressive.
Unless they are dirt cheap, I don't understand the point.
I did see a 5kW model but no details.
They do look really cool.
I can't vouch for their power claims, but from a 'Geometry and Theology' point of view,  (Not Biblethumping, see 'Ignatious P Riley')  they look like they might have some potential to them.  I'm encouraged by systems that work in a broader range of winds, particularly if the climate is going to go kablooey on us.  We should be able to make some pow'rful Lemonade with them lemons!  I also really like what seems to be a very 'homebrewable' idea, since I'm looking out for various technologies that working class folk can make, maintain and remake for themselves from stuff at the local Hardware Stores, the Sidewalk, the Basement or the Dump.  (These are a few of my favorite things..)

There are some articles in Motherearth News with 'Bifurcated Oil Drums' as vertical-axis mills.  If they can be cheaply built, and have a low-tension design, then  you can go parallel, and use a bunch of them..  More eggs in your basket.


Take a look at what the people at


are doing.  All DIY.  On the fieldlines forum, you can ask any question about DIY energy and get some very knowledgeable answers.

Explore their sites and try it.

as far as 'The Point'... I have to say

1- Low Wattage.  Slow and steady wins the race.. especially if they are durable/repairable..  long lifespan means real payback and energy security.  Be ready to get used to less.

2- 'Better be Dirt Cheap' -  The modern consumer's mantra.  Good luck with that.  I don't expect anything to be dirt cheap, especially in the times to come.  If you're looking to make a long-term quality investment.. why is that even a demand?

  -- That's all impingent on this product being as good as they say.  I don't know if this is the 'Turtle' in the race, just an unsung hero.. or a promise that can't deliver..

From their site:
m/s      WS-0,15  WS-0,30C WS-2     WS-4     WS-30    WS-75
3        1        2        10       20       150      375
4        2        4        20       40       300      750
5        3        7        35       70       527      1312
6        5        10       50       100      750      1875
7        7        15       75       150      1125     2812
8        10       21       105      210      1575     3937
9        15       30       150      300      2250     5625
10       20       40       200      400      3000     7500

Now that I am done fixing the spacing, I realize that using HTML tags would have been much easier. Oh well.

I'm not seeing this touted ability to work well with low wind speeds.  These numbers look very similar to the numbers for similar horizontal axis turbines.

If these are cheap, they would be completely awesome because they could be easily mounted as an array on a single tower; that would produce some respectable power.

Some basic laws of physics apply to both kinds of turbines: the power is proportional to the surface of the "swept area" (which is fairly small for the Windside models), and proportional to the wind speed cubed (and vertical axis models are generally sweeping their area at a lower altitude thus lower wind speed).  It does help if the design can work at low wind speeds, while other designs stay idle, but that may not add up to a lot of energy (relative to the high wind times) unless your area has low wind almost all the time, and only brief periods of either no wind at all or high wind.

If you want to run just a few (CFL) lights in the evenings and a (small) fridge you need an average power of about 100 watts, so the very small models would not be of much utility.

Those things are so pretty. Every new house that's built from here on ought to have one or two of those on its rooftop.
The video on the webpage reminds me of the towers torching excess gas at refineries.
I had a similar thought.  Honestly from a distance they wouldn't look any different than half the venting towers seen out here near Channelview/Pasadena and around other parts of Houston.
Concerning the thread above, I've shown up for meetings that were cancelled while I was in transit, only to be chided for not having a cell phone.

As currently referenced in Energy Bulletin, and noted here before, Jared Diamond seems to be taking it on the chin for his arguments that Easter Island suffered an ecological collapse. Even USA Today has mentioned the debate:


Barry Peise has links to several articles and a PDF of his own article:


There seem to be two main challenges, first that the island was settled much later than Diamond's source claimed, and second that the oral traditions of the Rapa Nui are unreliable if not outright invented by Europeans. Furthermore, Barry Peise claims that Diamond's work shows confirmation bias.

I wonder if Diamond is being attacked for being wrong, for being successful, or for being opinionated. In A Short History of Progress, although Ronald Wright spends more time on the damage caused by rats eating palm seeds and saplings, he otherwise tells almost the same story as Collapse. Diamond's much more popular books seem to have drawn all the attacks.

I haven't heard of any response from Diamond, or Wright, as yet.

I think Diamond replied that rats invaded many other Polynesian islands without leading to collapse.
I've read Diamond's work, and from everything I can tell his research is rock solid. I saw no evidence of confirmation bias in his or the research he quoted.

I think he is getting attacked because he is presenting people with yet another 'inconveinent' truth.

Even if Jared Diamond is not 100% correct with his theory about what happened on Easter Island, how does that take away from the bigger picture presented by his book (Collapse)? Is he also wrong about Greenland? Wrong about Montanna? Wrong about all the other island colonies? Wrong about the Mayan Empire?

How often do we see the veracity of a man's big-picture theory being attacked by someone finding a nit-pick flaw in it and then implying that the whole thing is wrong because one tiny part may have a defect?

Easter Island is the poster child of Collapse because it is easy to understand --because it has a pictorial icon associated with it, the statues.

Exaclty. Unfortunately for us however, those who want to do such things know that if they can discredit any part of the work, most of the public -even those who have read it -will assume the rest is flawed and ignore it. Which is what certain people want them to do.
Idle thoughts drive environmental idea

Lynn Romanek has launched a grass-roots environmental campaign she hopes will be a real turnoff: less idling in automobiles.

The longtime Glencoe resident has posted signs at schools, temples and businesses asking drivers to shut down their engines while waiting in an effort to curb emissions implicated in global warming.

Hello TODers,

A Nevada developer wants to take massive amounts of arid NW Arizona's groundwater, and to hopefully sweeten the deal, wants to pump some arsenic tainted water back into the Arizona acquifer.  From this AzCentral link.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

To get a solid glimpse of our postPeak global future: may I suggest Haiti?
With an area comparable to the state of Maryland and a population (at about 8.5 million) roughly the size of New York City's, Haiti is closer to Florida--just an hour and a half from Miami by jet--than is Washington, D.C. But in a very real sense, the distance between the United States and Haiti is almost unimaginable.

Clinging to Life

By the yardstick of income, Haiti is by far the poorest spot in the Western Hemisphere, and in fact one of the poorest places on the planet. State Department and CIA guesses put the country's per-capita income at about $550 a year, or about a dollar and a half per day--but these formal, exchange-rate based estimates are highly misleading, if not meaningless. (Could anyone in the United States today survive for a year consuming no more than $1.50 worth of goods and services a day?) A better sense of Haiti's plight comes from comparisons of purchasing power. Perhaps the most authoritative global estimates of this sort have been done by eminent economic historian Angus Maddison. At the start of this decade, according to Maddison, Haiti's per-capita output was thirty-five times lower than that of the United States. To get a sense of what this means, think how things would go for your family if you had to get by for the entire year on just ten days of your current earnings [bolding by Bob S. for emphasis --ELP anyone?]

Haiti looks impoverished even when compared to other impoverished countries. By Maddison's reckoning, per-capita purchasing power in Haiti is one-third that of Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. There is no country in the Middle East or Asia with an income level as low as Haiti's--not even Bangladesh. And although sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of desperate poverty in the modern world, a majority of sub-Saharan countries enjoy per-capita income levels that are higher than Haiti's.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

How about the Horn of Africa? I saw a documentary last night on UN troops in Congo. A scary look at the future indeed.

Drought, cows and suicide

By the time the October rains arrived last week, five of the 13 heads of families in the village of Magado had hanged themselves, tormented by the loss of their cattle and livelihoods.

The bare branches and parched earth are evidence of the six months of rainless heat that has wiped out up to 70 per cent of the livestock owned by the 11 million nomadic pastoralists spread across the Horn of Africa in the worst drought for a decade.

Humanitarian aid to Africa has grown almost six-fold in the past eight years from $946m (£556m) to $5.6bn (£3.3bn). Magado's share of this windfall came too late.

One day, three months ago, Worish Catalo, a 60-year-old herdsman from the village, walked out to one of the acacia trees under which he had regularly watched his herd of 80 cows from dawn to dusk. He slung a rope over the tree's thorny branches and hanged himself among what were by then the wasted corpses of his starved cattle.

By the time the October rains arrived last week, the inhabitants of Magado had cut down four more men who had walked to other acacia trees never to return. Five of the 13 heads of family have killed themselves because of the shame and despair of watching their cattle, raised from birth and cherished like offspring, dwindle and perish before their eyes. Of the 2,000 cattle owned by the families of Magado before the drought struck at the beginning of 2006, just two now remain, an attrition rate of 99 per cent.

The people of Magado belong to the Borena, a proud and once-feared tribe of nomadic herdsmen who, according to legend, hold their livestock in such high esteem that when two kinsmen meet they will enquire about the wellbeing of their herds long before that of wives or children. Nine million Borena live in an increasingly lawless region straddling the Ethiopian and Kenyan border. Across the Borena lands, it is estimated that 150,000 cows have died, at least two thirds of the entire stock.

"The aid came too late for us. We were provided with lifestock feed. But there were no animals to give it to. They were already dead. Yes, we have survived. But because we have lost our source of income, we can no longer send our children to school. It has been a terrible time. We must make a living from small things, firewood, wild crops. We have lost people and animals. We are proud; we have no wish to live off others. But now we are a marginalised people. Perhaps it is better for the men who have gone."

"These men had seen other droughts; our land is prone to such things. But never before has it been so severe or have we suffered such a tragedy. Our traditions say that a man without cattle is nothing. To be a man of that age and lose all your cows means you cannot recover. These men took their lives because the shame was too great."

For more than two millennia, the Borena have learnt to eke an existence from the bleak landscape, shifting to seasonal feeding grounds and using communal wells set out according to a traditional co-operative system called gada. That way of life is now under threat. The gada, which relies on well-off families donating cows to those who have lost animals in a drought, no longer has the resources to restore the fortunes of herdsmen such as the people of Magado.

The nomadic tribes of the region stretching from Eritrea to Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia have long been persecuted or ignored by national governments anxious to restrict access to water sources and traditional grazing lands. But with a bull valued at about £350 and a breeding cow at £150, they possess considerable wealth. One confidential assessment seen by The Independent put the value of the livestock in southern Ethiopia prior to the drought at between £3bn and £4.5bn.

Hello Roel,

Thxs for the link and info.  Yep, the race is on between  Entropy and Overshoot; the full panorama of Jay Hanson's Thermo-Gene Collision.  Will the millions in the American Southwest respond to global warming and drought by wise planning and pop. control, or will they prefer to migrate north causing rapid decimation of Cascadia?  If a nomadic african tribesman cannot make it, what chance does a SUV owner, with a big screen tv, and huge mortgage payments have at Powerdown and a biosolar lifestyle?

Most Americans would rather bury their heads in sports and other pointless entertainment than take a good look around.  When blackouts become the norm, and water and food is unaffordable to most--will we be happy campers, or warring tribes?   Will most of NYC migrate to the Niagra Falls area to use the reliable hydro-electricity, or will they be content to walk everywhere and climb stairs?  How many wealthy people, who refused to plan ahead like Richard Rainwater, will now be screaming, "My kingdom for a horse to pull a plow"?  Will the Bush family be relaxing on their ranch in Paraguay as North America implodes from energy shortages causing shortages of everything else?

The concrete mixers and asphalt trucks continue to celebrate the DOW reaching 12,000 by motoring in a never-ending parade to help further expand the Asphalt Wonderland.   The rush-hour blood-clots of humanity just stupidly sit waiting on the clogged arterials for the inevitable stroke of decline or the heart-attack of doom.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but I love your comments, especially your analogies!
Hey Bob,

Yes, spot on, all of that.

I also saw a short bit yesterday on something closer to home: the rapid desertification of the Canadian Prairies. Yes, that would be where all that food comes from.

Nice paradox: the lack of water forces the farmers to use more water to prevent their land from turning to desert. They'll try a few years, and then move out. There never was much water there originally, it's all delivered in canals and ditches, hundreds, thousands of miles of them.

And just now the TV news is blaring, first, about the wheat shortages, the main media have gotten wind, Australia harvest down 70%, and second, increased life expectation, people born today can expect to live to a much older age.

And they fail to make the connection between the two.......

Or, for that matter, between these two reports and the Prairies. Maybe it's connecting dots that's hardest. Maybe they really don't get it.

My feeling is that connecting the dots is anathema to them.  Random bits of unassociated "facts".  People who inhabit an essentially inexplicable world can not reach rational conclusions.
I have to admit that sometimes I feel like I inhabit an "inexplicable world."

I really shouldn't watch television ...

The Canadian Prairie, the one place that was supposed to benefit from global warming (longer growing season).
Bob, Here is some of my latest viewpoints(all my own...no sourcing....I am the source).

First a big dieoff. Maybe a lot of suicides like in the Horn of Africa. Lots of killoffs as well by thieves and ner do wells.

Then something suprising happens. Animal life and vegetation start to flourish greatly. Without the road kill and hunting by homosapiens many species will flourish and within one generation will create a far larger population.

First becuase they have plenty to feed on. Dead human bodies.
Pollution will take awhile to disspate but the discharge of automobiles and vehicles in general will allow vegetation to start to slowly thrive. Wild mushrooms and other flora will once more grow abundately. The falling rain will not be full of acid and particulate matter. You need to learn how to capture it and use it wisely.

Foraging and hunting will be easy due to the species proliferating.The humans that survive will learn to live with nature and not wantonly destroy it. They will have plenty of clothing , from the deads houses. If they are wise they will find all the canned goods they can and store them where they will not freeze during the winter. This alone will allow them to transistion back to a future of more of a sustainable lifestyle. They can raid the garden supply stories like WalMart and others for seed stock. Hand tools will likewise be readily available, once the thugs die off. You can just hike in and pick up what you need.

Land will be basically free. You will be able to pick whatever you want. Tearing down houses will yield kindling wood until you collect enough axes and saws to start your woodpile.

Looking at it this way  then those who survive the dieoff and killoff will not have it too difficult. Bikes all over the place to ride. All the clothing. Canned foods.

So the scenario should be.

  1. Survive the die/kill off.
  2. Learn to scavenage.
  3. Store what you find away especially food and canned goods.

  4. Promise to never use oil products again. Promise to practice sustainablility. Live well and wisely.

See I didn't even mention firearms to protect against human marauders. If you are real good at woodcraft and stealth then you might not have to even fire a weapon for selfprotection  to survive.

Its the Boy Scouts all over again. Just how many saved their old BSA handbooks? Not many I am sure. I have mine as well as the Explorer handbook and two genuine BSA compasses. All the rest of my gear is mostly US Army issue. My bdus,canteens , web gear ,bushmaster .223, etc.

You left out the part about the aliens coming to get some of us and take them back to their planet (just like earth but unpolluted) but with only 100 million people on it.
WOW!  Just WOW!!!
Just found this:  Feed the exhaust from a power plant to photosynthetic algae and they'll turn the waste CO2 into useful fuel in the latest New Scientist (#2572, pp. 28-29).  However it's behind a paywall and I'm at home, so haven't read it yet.  Anyone know about this promising process?
Haven't read the article, but the idea is nothing new.

Aquarists who keep planted tanks have long known that injecting CO2 is beneficial, even necessary.  Terrestrial plants can just grab CO2 from the air, but this is not possible for submersed plants.  They have to take carbon from the water.

I keep a planted tank myself, and I have a pressurized CO2 cylinder (the kind used by restaurants for carbonated beverages) hooked up to it, for the plants.

In any case the CO2 is (finally) released when the fuel made from the algae is burnt.  Thus this is not a carbon sequesteration mathod.  It may or may not be a good way to grow the algae quickly, which is a method of capturing solar energy.  If there isn't enough solar input there won't be much biofuel output.  (The CO2 is not an energy source, only a carbon source for the algae.)  To give the algae enough sunshine, not only do you need a very sunny climate (and they don't grow at night), you also need a large area of rather shallow ponds, which is expensive (in money and in energy) to build, and maintain (protect from competing algae and other creatures), and harvest and process.  Also, as has been explained on TOD in the past, bubbling the CO2 output from a large power plant into a large area of ponds requires a huge mess of pipes and a significant bit of energy.
vtpeaknik -

In principle and in theory, I like the idea of algae as a biomass-to-fuel scheme.

However, I think there are some very stubborn facts that keep intruding upon the optimistic projections such a possibility.

Algae is a generic term for a whole group of plant-like micro- and macro-organisms that are photosynthetic and grow in water. While on the basis of photosynthetic conversion per unit of surface area exposed to sunlight, algae appears to be very efficient, when you get right down to what you have to do to harvest and extract biomass fuel from algae, then it does not look so attractive.

First of all, an open pond of a given area costs a lot more than a piece of farmland of the same area. And then if the pond needs to be covered, the cost goes up several-fold. Area exposed to sunlight is not the proper basis of evaluation.

Algae is very wet,sticky, and buoyant, and also tends to entrain gas bubbles. As such, havesting the algae on a large scale poses some very serious material handling challenges.

Then we have the requirement of extracting the lipids from the cellular mass. This can be done in several different ways, none of which appear to be either easy or cheap.

So, when you get right down to it, fuel from algae may look good from the standpoint of photosynthetic conversion per unit area, but the effort (and money) needed to get usuable fuel from the final product is not insignificant and may very well be worse than that of 'dry' land crops.

This problem is inherent whenever you have to handle large quantities of very wet and slimey material.

As much as I like the idea in theory, I find it very hard to be bullish on fuel from algae.  I would love to see some hard data from full-scale demo projects that  prove me wrong.

Hello TODers,

Easter Island foreclosing on a viable future by building stone statues was bad enough.  Haiti as Easter Island so close to Florida will be a modern day example for us to study.  

Another island nation, Madagascar, is culturally focused on it's past, instead of wisely planning for its future.  This link states that due to global warming 99% of it's coral reefs are dying.  But digging up the dead for parades and parties seems to be widely practiced
instead of a thoughtful plan for the future:

Madagascar, an island nation half again the size of California, has long had an uneasy relationship with Christianity. During the 19th century, Queen Ranavalona I suspected that missionaries were colonial agents, so she ordered her soldiers to push Christian converts off a cliff, which they did.

Today, 52% of Malagasy practice indigenous religions, while 41% are Christians, according to the CIA World Factbook. The reality, however, is far more complicated. Many families include both Christians and animists. And many individuals blend Christianity with a belief that the ancestors can intercede with the Creator to bless the living with wealth, health and happiness or, if mistreated, curse them with unemployment, disease and misery.

The melting pot often comes to a boil over the turning of the dead, or famadihana, as the ceremony is called in Malagasy. Although the Malagasy are an ethnic blend of Malaysians, Indonesians, Africans and Arabs, the origin of the famadihana itself is a mystery. Elie Rajaonarison, an anthropologist at the University of Antananarivo, says that the ceremony survives in part because it reinforces social order. People lead good lives so that they, too, will be honored as ancestors some day.

Generally, the exhumations are held in the dry season every five or seven years, after a family member has a dream in which a dead relative complains that he is cold in the tomb.

Exhumation ceremonies can be very expensive in a country where the average person earns roughly $900 a year. The new shrouds range from about $3.50 for a synthetic fabric to $110 for a fine shroud of light-brown raw silk. Buying a cheap one raises the specter of offending the ancestors, and the living.

Unlike Mr. Rabeatoandro's divided family, Georges Rakotomalala and his siblings agreed on the need to rewrap the ancestors entombed in Sahomby, a village of perhaps 100 residents overlooking rice paddies and eucalyptus groves 40 miles from Antananarivo. The problem was money. It took Mr. Rakotomalala, a 52-year-old butcher, 18 years to raise enough money to be able to exhume his ancestors in style.
Just imagine if he had spent that money on solar panels, or a well.  As their ecosystem collapses and 'curses' them with unemployment, disease and misery--expect a deluded cultural frenzy of parading the dead until even the living won't have the strength to dig their own graves.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Whoa...who let the dogs out???  Oil finally broke over $59 today.  It's been awhile.

WTI CRUDE FUTURE ($/barrel) 59.440

Frozen in Memories, but Melting Before Their Eyes

An 1870 postcard view of the Rhone glacier in Gletsch, Switzerland, contrasted dramatically with the shrinking 21st-century version of it.

To hear the locals tell it, you would think they were referring to a loved family member declining in old age.

Experts say the Rhone glacier may melt completely in this century.
"It hurts, it hurts," Philipp Carlen said of his feeling toward the vast Rhone glacier, which once came to the edge of his hotel, but now has receded several hundred yards. The glacier, whose soft contours and dirty gray surface make it resemble some huge sea creature, a whale perhaps, is rapidly shrinking, in the mild autumn weather, by 12 to 15 feet a day.

Eight thousand years ago, Mr. Carlen said, the glacier was the largest in Europe, with arms that reached all the way to Lyon, in France. Indeed, it remains the source of the Rhone River, which flows westward into France and from there into the Mediterranean. Now, however, it is only the fifth largest glacier in Switzerland, and experts foresee the day, probably in this century, when the glacier, all six miles of it, will melt away to nothing.

That's planet earth at work.  Ever watch the computer-simulated time-lapse videos that show Pangaea and how it split up to form today's continents?  That's the same with this and other glaciers melting.  Things change, human adapt.
Humans try to adapt...depends how much the environment changes.
...and how fast it changes.
Just thought I'd thank you for continuing to post the environmental stories/links at the head of Drumbeat even tho they seldom get replies.
Today a little different. Theme picked up if not direct replies.
Peak oil is so linked to environment.
Thank you.