DrumBeat: October 28, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/28/06 at 11:14 AM EDT]

When an oil executive is worried: With crisis a constant worry, Shell's chief says, Americans can no longer feel entitled to use energy

It's finally come to this: Even oil executives are sounding alarms about U.S. oil consumption.

"The ease with which we all lived in the last 50 years, with cheap energy, is coming to a close," John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., told a City Club luncheon crowd Friday in Portland. "The next 50 years cannot be like the last 50 years."

Senators to Exxon: Stop the Denial: Democrats and Republicans Say Stop Funding Global Warming Doubters

Lithuania suspects Russian oil grab

MOSCOW The Russian government has never been straightforward about its plans to take control of the oil and natural gas business.

So Lithuanians were suspicious in late July when Moscow said it had shut down the only pipeline supplying them with Russian crude oil and blamed it on the environmental risks of a leak.

Europe nears single energy market

Europe on Friday took an important step towards establishing a fully functioning single energy market after three countries agreed to open the European Union’s first multinational electricity exchange.

WTO must set rules for future biofuel trade

Germany Considering Revival of Atomic Power

Germany will rethink its energy mix, including a possible revival of its nuclear programme which the previous government decided to phase out, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Navies brace for Qaeda oil attacks

RIYADH: Coalition naval forces are helping to guard vital oil installations in top exporter Saudi Arabia as part of heightened security following an Al-Qaeda threat last month, naval sources said yesterday. In their sights are the kingdom's Ras Tanura terminal, the world's biggest offshore oil export facility, and Bahrain's Bapco refinery.

Oil prices creep higher on terror fears

Oil prices rose Friday following reports of a terror alert in the petroleum-rich Persian Gulf region, though the incident didn't rattle the market like it might have a few months ago.

Why OPEC's decision has yet to make a difference

Shell insists Russia will make $80 billion from Sakhalin-2 project

Shell insisted yesterday that the Russian state should expect to heap revenues of up to $80bn (£44bn) from the giant Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project that the Kremlin has accused of breaching environmental rules.

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant said that it should recoup its costs by 2013, after which revenue payments to the Russian state would soar.

As wells dry up, Mexico could be forced to privatize oil

China: Oil at any cost: In Africa, Beijing seems insistent on repeating the tragic mistakes made by the West.

Putting China’s African oil hunt into perspective

Zhang says, “China’s economic boom and stagnated supply of domestic oil have produced the growing hunger for foreign oil.” At present, he says, “China imports over 40 percent of its oil consumption and that is expected to rise to 60 percent or more by 2020.” Beijing has also elevated energy security “to the height of importance in China’s foreign policy,” Zhang points out.

Fearful of disruptions along the long sea lines from the Middle East, and realizing it will take much longer than anticipated to see any return on investments in pipelines from Central Asian and Russian fields, China has turned to Africa in a big way. That, according to Zhang, despite “Western criticism of China fuelling conflicts and human-rights violations in Africa by selling arms to some repressive regimes in exchange for oil and minerals.”

Largest U.S. biodiesel plant to open in Washington

Unsold cars rile mega-dealer AutoNation: Glut worse than makers say, requires bigger cuts.

Groping in the dark

The civic government of Vancouver, in an extensive debate about whether to allow WalMart to build a store in the city, made much of the traffic a new store would bring, but only one councilor ever mentioned peak oil production as a factor to consider in thinking about the future retail environment of the city, and none mentioned greenhouse gas emissions, or any civic attempts we might make to reduce ours.

Dubai: Energy 2030 to get underway next Wednesday

The Program Topical Areas are as follows: Oil scenarios: from peak oil to plenty of oil, Future of natural gas as a bridge and beyond, Nuclear energy as an alternative, Solar energy now and in the future, Wind energy Hydrogen, methanol and ethanol as fuels for the future, Energy from biomass and wastes Carbon management Impact of energy consumption on the environment, Energy efficiency, Transport energy and Research and development needs in the oil and gas industries.

The myth of energy independence

Where Did Our Energy Crisis Go? A Look Back to What I Said Last Year

Wow! Peak Energy looks into their crystal ball, and sees the future. Amazing!

khaos3 posted a brief report on the ASPO conference in Boston at the bottom of yesterday's thread. Check it out if you missed it.

Another good reason to get the hell out of Dodge...er...Baghdad.

Iraq Taps Chinese Oil Companies to Double Production

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq will invite China National Petroleum Corp. and other overseas companies to invest in oil fields to double daily production to 6 million barrels by 2012, the country's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani said.

``We need foreign partners to help develop new fields,'' al- Shahristani said at a press conference today in Beijing. ``Iraq will significantly increase its oil production in the next few years and China will significantly raise its imports. That's why the two countries will need to work closely together.''

But in all fairness to the Chinese:

China was approached after U.S. companies refused to work in Iraq, Al Khashab was cited as saying. Chinese companies have dismissed security threats, he said, without giving details.

U.S. companies refuse to sacrifice their workers but the Chinese, having an excess of workers to sacrifice, are perfectly willing to do so. I suspect any worker who refused to go to Iraq would be sacrificed at home instead.

Hell, makes sense to me!

Sorry for the sarcasm but the word just came on CNN that the death toll had reached 98 so far this month, fourth highest month ever, and we still have three and one half days to go. I just feel like a little sarcasm this morning.

Ron Patterson


Little sarcasm for you.-

Death toll 98 so far this month.  You of course are talking about real people, not the approx 4,000 rag heads of assorted varieties who don't matter.

Haggisbasher, agreed. However the vast majority of the 4,000 were killed in the civil war, a civil war in which we have no damn business participating in.

If we left, they would go on killing each other, just as they have done for the last twelve hundred years, until one of them got the upper hand, became an absolute dictator, and the killing would then be stopped. Well, it would be stopped except for the occasional execution or village massacure of course.

In that world death is a way of life.

(Is that an oxymoron or what?)

Ron Patterson

Some cycnical people might be tempted to suggest that the civil war isn't something entirely outside US control of course.

But I'd agree you (and we) shouldn't be participating in it - its just a shame we started it in the first place.

I'd also note the criticism you make of "that world" apply equally to us in the west as well - in fact I think we've probably spent a lot more time killing each other over the last 1200 years than they have...

Ditto Big Gav's comments.

To be fair to the Iraqis it is worth pointing out that
some aspects of ethnic tension and the civil war are a direct result of Western policies that led to the formation of present day Iraq.

A brief reveiw from Wiki:

"Iraq was carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the French and British as agreed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. On 11 November 1920 it became a League of Nations mandate under British control with the name "State of Iraq".

The British government laid out the political and constitutional framework for Iraq's government. Britain imposed a Hâshimite monarchy on Iraq and defined the territorial limits of Iraq without taking into account the aspirations of the different ethnic and religious groups in the country, in particular those of the Kurds to the north. Britain had to put down a major revolt against its policies between 1920 and 1922. During the revolt, Britain used phosphorus bombs against Kurdish villagers. Legal experts consider phosphorus bombs chemical weapons."

So much for all the railing against Saddam gassing the Kurds to put them in their place.

Phosphorous is an incendiary weapon, used for marking targets and smokescreens.  You can use it against personnel and it is extremely terrifying.  Chemical weapons are ussually considered the nerve agents blister agents, choking gases and a few others.  The concept is they don't harm you through kinetic or thermal energy but through interruption of organ or cellular sytems at the chemical level.  Willy Pete is a nasty SOB though, and I am not advocating its use on civilians only arguing the difference.

Although did the British have bombers in 1920-22?

Wikipedia is written by anyone with an internet hookup.  Lots of great information marbled with disinformation and mistakes.


here is an article on WP use.

White phosphorous is often used as an incendiary weapon, but  it serves well enough as a lethal purely chemical burn agent by creating phosphoric acid in the skin, and the smoke is used as a primarily nonlethal chemical weapon at high concentrations - it's used in Iraq to flush out tunnels.

They had these aircraft before 1918.

If Phosphorous isn't bad enough, mustard gas was also used on the Kurds by the RAF during the 20's - 30's.
"Although did the British have bombers in 1920-22?"

I've read accounts of the Brits experimenting with bomb throwers in 1914 (and they were very pleased with the results).  I have no idea how the Brits delivered whatever chemical weapons they may have used, but it doesn't seem like planes were necessary to accomplish the task.    

Someone told me the British merely used teargas and he cited some declassified internal documents that certainly made it seem like this is all it was.  Am I being duped here?  What is the historical real deal?
My understanding is the British both had (primitive) bombers and used mustard gas (plenty of that left from World War 1).

Winston Churchill was actually behind the exercise, which has led plenty of people to compare Saddam to Churchill...

While you can doubt Wikipedia, it is no different to any other publication at the end of the day - history is rewritten again and again - and biased reporting and propaganda are just as likely to appear in the Washington Times or on Fox News (or Prensa Latina or the World Socialist website if you want to go the other way) as they are on Wikipedia (which at least tries to be objective and has accompanying debate and citations with each article).

Here's some history from a Kurdish web site, who presumably don't have any ideological axe to grind with the British nowadays.

The Kingdom of Kurdistan did not last long, thanks to the British Royal Air Force acting on behalf of a puppet government in Baghdad. The British were not much kinder to the Kurds. It is wrongly preserved that the first regime that used poison gases against Kurds was Saddam Hussein's government. This is wrong. British were the first regime to gas Kurds in South Kurdistan.

In this book, 'Deterring Democracy', Noam Chomsky describes British rule in South Kurdistan as follows: [1]

As Secretary of State at the War Office in 1919, Churchill was approached by the RAF Middle East Command for permission to use chemical weapons 'against recalcitrant Arabs as experiment.' Churchill authorized the experiment, dismissing objections:

I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gases; gases can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.

Churchill added: 'we cannot in any circumstances acquiesce in the non utilization of any weapons which are available to procure a speedy termination of the disorder which prevails on the frontier.' Chemical weapons were merely 'the application of Western science to modern warfare.'

Churchill was in favour of using air power and poison gas against 'uncivilized tribes' and 'recalcitrant Arabs' i.e. Kurds and Afghans [2]. Not surprisingly, in the 1990s, William Waldegrave, who was in charge of Prime Minister John Major's 'open government' initiative, ordered the removal from the Public Record Office of 'files detailing how British troops had used poison gas against Iraqi dissidents including Kurds in 1919 [2].

In this way, a people who wished to run their own affairs were oppressed to the limit of genocide. Their King was undermined by the mighty British forces and an 'imported' King from totally different culture was forced upon them.

The history has been written with the blood of the oppressed by the oppressing people. When the writings are still wet, the concept of `civilised and uncivilised' people emerges. The more oppressed people bleed, the larger the history books get. The history fails to report commensurately the suffering of the oppressed. In this way, we build, what we term, 'civilisation'.

Presumably the Chomsky book has a whole lot of citations if he follows his normal practice.

You can find plenty more on the topic at Google.

As John Fortune would say describing Churchill's enthusiasm for gassing Kurds, "Another first for British civilisation". The only reason we didn't gas the Kurds was because we couldn't get the gas bombs to fit to the bombers correctly. Nice to know that us Brits would do something that Hitler had second thoughts about (Hitler had nerve gas but didn't use it because he thought the Allies had nerve gas and would respond in kind).

There was a Bremner, Bird and Fortune program called "Between Iraq and a Hard Place" several years ago where it compared 1920's British policy to Iraq and the 2000's US policy to Iraq. Very funny and very sad at the same time. A very British perspective on Iraq.

D -

The reality is you don't know how 'those' people would act after the Roman Legions decide to high tail it back to the Circus Maximus. 'Those' people might just turn into Abu Dhabi, or Pre-Israel Lebanon, or Tunisia. Please, please reconsider before generalized smearing... or perhaps just stick to energy issues

Garytencents, your egalitarianism, is to be commended, if that is what it is. But if it is just political correctness, then you need to brush up on your Middle Eastern history.

No one, to my way of thinking, is smearing anyone. I lived with the Arabs for five years; I know how they think. I lived in an area where the Shiites were in the majority but where the Sunnis held all the power. Only the iron hand of the Monarchy kept them from going at each other's throats.

The Sunnis and the Shiites have been killing each other for twelve hundred years. If you don't know that much then you just don't know shit about the Islam do you? And pointing out that little fact is not smearing anyone. So if you cannot speak with knowledge as to what the hell you are talking about, then it would be best that you just kept silent.

And my original post had everything to do with energy. It was all about the Chinese taking over Iraqi oil fields.

Ron Patterson

The fighting between shi'ites and sunnis has been sporadic over the centuries, dampened down by (sunni) Ottoman occupation for half a millennium.

But we must remember that Iraq was consciously gerrymandered by Britain under Churchill to keep the oil provinces together, and placed under a Hashemite who had fought with TE Lawrence, and then lost his homeland (mecca and medina) to the Sau'dis.

The Hashemites were sunni, of course, and were foreigners to the Iraqis, but propping up the continution of minority Sunni rule served British purposes. And that rule had to be very harsh (a la Saddam) to keep it from fragmenting.

Still, the way Bush approached the situation was remarkable for its stupidity. Ignoring the advice of generals, state department, experts, and his own father, he not only knocked over Saddam, but he spent a leisurely first year destroying all elements of government institutions, including completely erasing the military and hunting down all government officials.

Complete chaos was the entirely predictable result.

It is possible that the present outcome would have happened anyway, but we will never know.

It is said that historians can make the outcome of any event seem preordained, but that doesn't make it so. If Iraq had been turned over the UN; if the US military had some training in peacekeeping (instead of shooting demonstrators); if neighboring countries had been drawn into discussions about how to proceed; if state department experts hadn't been systematically blackballed by the department of defense -- if Rumsfeld had followed the joint chiefs of staff recommendation to use 400,000 troops and quell looting --  it is possible that things might have gone differently, and it is possible that events might not be as horrid as they are now.  

Unfortunately, the situation has become intolerable. After the Republicans get their asses kicked on November 7th, there will be a huge effort to get US forces out of Iraq. And since American forces are all that is holding off all out civil war and ethnic cleansing, that bodes ill for Iraq and the Middle East.

                * * * * *

Here at TOD we like to look at graphs and charts, examining bottom up and top down approaches, to get a quantitative feel for how Peak Oil will play out. However, the fallout from Bush's disastrous war will likely blindside these endeavors.

It is like meticulously planning how much lumber can be harvested from a forest -- while hot summer winds are fanning a forest fire that threatens to destroy the entire forest.

Ever heard of Venezuela? Or Bolivia? The Chinese aren't "taking over" anything. Oilfields are inalienable national assets, simply because of the physical impossibility of relocating several hundred cubic kilometres of reservoir, fluids, aquifer and overburden outside whichever set of national boundaries happens to be drawn around them.

These deals require the foreign partner to make a sole risk investment in wells and facilities, in exchange for a priority share of incremental production until the capital investment is paid back, usually at LIBOR+1 or 2 or something equally derisory. After that it's strictly cost recovery plus whatever sliver of profit the lowest bidder is prepared to accept, based on their own oil price projections.

Rates of return are typically in single digits. It's OK business, but not spectacular. You can make more money drilling infills in the Supermajors' discard reservoirs in the NOrth Sea, and nobody is shooting at you there. >90% of the value, and none of the risk, goes to the host government. In exchange, CNOOC or Sinopec get to put their logo on the tank farm gate. Golly gee.

Ever heard of Venezuela? Or Bolivia? The Chinese aren't "taking over" anything.

And you think China, drilling and dodging bullets in Iraq will be doing the same thing as Shell is doing in Venezuela? Wow! By what logic did you come to that conclusion. Shell, and the other oil companies are in Bolivia, Venezuela, or wherever, because they are in the oil business and wish to make a profit for their shareholders. China, Mr. Underdog, does not have shareholders.

China will not be in Iraq, getting their ass shot off, in order to make sure the U.S. and the rest of the world has enough oil. And neither are they there in order to make a profit for China, or anyone in China. China is trying to make deals with Iraq, with Venezuela, and with anyone else they can deal with, for one reason and one reason only. They wish to insure that they will have oil when the things get tough.

Ron Patterson

The story you linked says the Chinese oil companies will be working in Iraq.  For the record, they do have shareholders, even American ones.  On the other hand, I agree that the reason they are going there is to improve their ability to obtain oil in the future, not that I see anything wrong with that.
About a hundred years ago, Britain went into Iran to secure its oil supply. HMG bought a controlling stake in Anglo-Persian - the corporate ancestor of BP - to secure fuel supplies for the Royal Navy. As I'm sure you know.

Would you care to remind me how that worked out again?

Hi Ron,

Maybe I should have been more explicit. The logic here was that Venezuela and Bolivia - specifically - are undertaking a creeping expropriation of the FOCs' fixed assets, claiming a share of the economic rent that brings the FOCs' rate of return down to corporate bond levels, and/or reasserting the right to market their own hydrocarbons. Not for the first time in their history, of course; these things tend to come in cycles.

Based on your first-hand knowledge of the Middle East, what aspect of Arab culture is going to protect the Chinese from a similar fate at some point in the future? Won't all their agreements with the present lot be just as useless as the ones that the British had back in the 1920s? OK, maybe it won't be the Americans next time, but the Indians are waiting in line...

Plucky Underdog, thanks for the explination, and I agree. Concerning your question below:

Based on your first-hand knowledge of the Middle East, what aspect of Arab culture is going to protect the Chinese from a similar fate at some point in the future? Won't all their agreements with the present lot be just as useless as the ones that the British had back in the 1920s? OK, maybe it won't be the Americans next time, but the Indians are waiting in line...

Absolutely nothing will make the Iraqis keep their word. Well, perhaps the threat of hoards of Chinese invading them, or the nuclear threat? But I don't think either of those options are all that likely. But there is always that possibility. And if resource wars are truly in our future, who knows?

Of course the Chinease can only gamble here, and hope that Iraq will honor any agreement. Not bloody likely, but what have they to lose?

Ron Patterson


I have lived with Christians for 63 years.  I know how they think; that is, in fact, my profession.  I find that The Iron Hand of the Monarchy has been perfectly suited to driving them to kill millions of each other.  In the absence of Monarchy, they seem to get along just fine.  Most of the time.  

Is there a racial difference?  Is it genetic, or epigenetic?

In fact, until the Western Monarchists arrived, the Arabs didn't have Monarchs.  And they weren't much interested in New York, or anywhere else, except to trade and get slaves.  Of course, that was before OIL.  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7374585792978336967

I have lived with Christians for 63 years.  I know how they think; that is, in fact, my profession.  I find that The Iron Hand of the Monarchy has been perfectly suited to driving them to kill millions of each other.  In the absence of Monarchy, they seem to get along just fine.  Most of the time.

NeverLNG, I haven't a clue as to what you are talking about. What Iron Hand drove whom? Of course Monarchs have driven people to kill. But if you are a student of history then you know Monarchs, historically, have always ruled with an iron hand. And that iron hand has kept dynasties in power for hundreds of years. Remember, Mr. NeverLNG, we were talking about the peace in Saudi Arabia. And there, they are not killing each other precisely because of the Monarchy.

Is there a racial difference? Is it genetic, or epigenetic?

Huh? What in the hell are you talking about? Do you mean between Christians and Arabs? Hell, I would guess that it is cultural.

In fact, until the Western Monarchists arrived, the Arabs didn't have Monarchs.

Surely you jest. Mesopotamia, as well as the rest of the Arab world has had Monarchs since at least a thousand years before Hammurabi.

Ron Patterson

ron patterson   mind reader
Darwinian, do you have any proof that the Iraqis are killing each other en masse?  From the fact that all the corpses are bound and have been tortured suggests that they were killed by Negoponte's death squads.
From the fact that all the corpses are bound and have been tortured suggests that they were killed by Negoponte's death squads.

That comment is not worthy of a reply. Just because they have been bound and tortured, you suggest that this, by definition, means that they were bound and tortured by order of, a US diplomat.

Let me remind you that both Shiites and Sunnis have been found to have been bound and tortured. Are you suggesting that Negroponte was responsible for both? And how about the suicide bombers were under the command of Negroponte as well? Or perhaps he was just responsible for the car bombs, set off remotely with no suicide involved?

Please explain to me, Mr. Sceptical, exactly why one of Mr. Bush's diplomats would wish to make his boss look so very stupid by making the war go so very bad. God knows Bush does not need any help in looking stupid. But some of his critics look far stupider in the suggestions they make.

Ron Patterson

why do you respond to comments not worthy of a reply ?
Why isn't it worthy of a reply ? Given the concept was documented pretty widely in the mainstream media a few years ago (and its copying previous counter-insurgency tactics used in central america) it doesn't seem all that controversial an assertion - probably the most likely explanation of where all the death squads appeared from in fact.

If you read between the lines of most reports of massacres and torture in Baghdad with that idea in mind, you might find it becomes pretty obvious...

Try Guatemala during the 80's when Negroponte was the ambassador, and death squads were running rampant.  Funny, how the same Americans keep cropping up in the same situations.  Or try the Phoenix prrogram in Vietnam, not run by Negroponte, but the same tatic - murder those who may be sympathetic to the resistance.
THere's a lot of dead men, women and children iraqis who would be alive today if we had not invaded. But, for most americans, including the media, this is not a significant concern... our own financial and human costs are all we are concerned with.
Dat ole Debbil Racism done found hisself a Home at TOD.
I really don't know many places in 2006 where the prejudice is so overt as passes muster here. Covert, sure, plenty of that.
For the record, 'killing' goes on in any and all human groups. Iraq has no history of civil war. None.
And even while diverted by the sectarian strife them mizzuble lil Ayrab savages be kickin our proud Caucasian butt right out  dere country.
Dat ole Debbil Racism done found hisself a Home at TOD.
I really don't know many places in 2006 where the prejudice is so overt as passes muster here. Covert, sure, plenty of that.

To play the race card when there is absolutely no racism present is the mark of a scoundrel. It is the mark of a person who has no argument, doesn't know how to make a logical argument, so he just sneers and cries "racism".

For the record, 'killing' goes on in any and all human groups. Iraq has no history of civil war. None.

That is about the most stupid remark I have read all year. As one blogger put it:

Anyone who has ever read a history book knows that Iraq (Mesopotamia) has been at civil war for centuries.

That's right, for centuries! That area of the Middle East is "historically" by far the bloodiest area of the world, with the possible exception of Jerusalem.

So obviously Oldhippie has never read a book, well not a history book on the Middle East anyway. And there is nothing racist about discussing the history of civil war in Iraq. To claim that it is racist is nothing but political correctness gone to seed. Either that or pure stupidity, I am not sure which.

And here is what we have just in the last half of the Twentieth Century:

Iraqi Army Revolt/Coup- (July 14, 1958)--Brigadier General Abdul Karim el Qassim overthrows the royal government of King Faisal II. Both the king and Prime Minister Nouri al Said are killed. Qassim soon withdrew Iraq from the pro-Western Baghdad Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet Union.

Mosul (Iraq) Revolt--(March, 1959)--Pro-Qassim communist militia , called the People's Resistance Force, violently suppressed an anti-Qassim Sunni Army faction made up mostly of junior officers.

Kirkuk (Iraq) Violence -(1959)--Pro-Qassim(pro-Communist) Kurds and People's Resistance Force killed ethnic Turkomen in Kirkuk .

Iraqi Kurdish Revolt--(1961-1970) -After a period of relative calm, Iraqi government promises of Kurdish autonomy, or self-rule, went unfulfilled, sparking discontent and eventual rebellion among the Kurds in 1961.

Iraqi Kurdish Revolt -(March, 1974) --In March, 1974, Kurdish rebels led by Mullah Mustafa Barzani (having survived an assassination attempt) rebelled against the government. The Kurds felt that the government was not living up to the agreement which ended the previous revolt.

Intra-Iraqi Kurdish warfare (1978-1979) --In 1975, Jalal Talabani formed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)-urban-based and leftist) in opposition the Barzani-led Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).

Iraqi Shia unrest in Karbala -(February, 1979)--Suppressed by the Saddam regime. Under Saddam Hussein, the Shiites (Shia) were a persecuted religious group, both despite the fact, and because of, their numerical majority in the country.

Iraqi Kurdish Revolt--(1991) -Encouraged by the sudden defeat of Saddam's forces in Kuwait and spurred by appeals by President George H. W. Bush of the U.S., Kurds rose up against the Iraqi government With the bulk of his elite forces having escaped from the fighting in Kuwait and southern Iraq, Saddam was able to smash the revolt, causing hundreds of thousands of Kurdish refugees to flee into neighboring Turkey and Iran to escape.

Intra-Iraqi Kurdish warfare --(1996) - Combat between various Kurdish militias.

And if I tried to list all the Civil Wars in that general area in the last four thousand years I would need a book.

Ron Patterson

Hi Ron,

Can we keep the discussion on a civilized level, please? If the race card is the mark of a scoundrel, ad hominem is the next step down. You shouldn't care about the opinion of folk who can't spot faulty logic, though it is polite (and far more devastating) to point out their mistakes. We would all be genuinely interested in specific examples from your personal experience in the Middle East, if they are relevant to the topic at hand.

> That area of the Middle East is "historically"
> by far the bloodiest area of the world

I think we all agree that Akkadians, Arabs, Armenians, Balochs, Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Macedonians, Mongols, Parthians, Pathans, Persians, Romans, Sogdians, Trojans and Turks have been bopping themselves and each other over the head about honour, territory and God, on and off, for as long as there has been anyone around to write it down. Whether that is "bloodier" than the concentrated industrial killings of the 20th Century (1.2E5 in one night at Tokyo, for example; or 5E3 Hungarian Jews per day at Auschwitz for several weeks) is another matter.


Plucky, nothing I said can even remotely be classified as racist. Therefore anyone who plays the race card is not being civil. He is resorting to emotional arguments when the argument should be based on logic and reason. Therefore I am being civil. The one who plays the race card is not being civil.

If you do not agree, please explain exactly why.

I am truly sorry sorry if I get overly pissed off over people who continually play the race card when no racism is involved. But living in the southern part of the USA as I do, I see such abhorrent behavior all too often.

And I will continue to call such people scoundrals, because that is exactly what they are.

Sorry if that pisses you off.

Ron Patterson

It's you who's playing the race card.

Anyone living in the US bold enough to not look at their own country, but instead pointing at other peoples and condemning their bloody pasts, indeed needs a history lesson.

It's you who's playing the race card.

Please back up that statement! What statement have I made that was racist.

Put up or shut up!

Anyone living in the US bold enough to not look at their own country, but instead pointing at other peoples and condemning their bloody pasts, indeed needs a history lesson.

I have continually condemned Bush and company for the very stupid mistakes they have made. But your mistake is thinking it is my country who is to blame for the debacle in Iraq. Hell no, it is G.W. Bush's and company's fault. It is he who is responsible for the 3,000 American soldiers who are dead in Iraq as well as the several hundred thousand Iraqi's who are just as dead.

I am pissed off at Bush and the Republicans. I am not pissed off at Americans. And if this pisses you off, then just be pissed off. Sure a lot of very stupid Americans voted for Bush. But more Americans voted against him than voted for him, even in the last election. Yes, I believe electronic voting machines in Ohio were hacked.

But I challenge you to point out my racist statement or apologize.

And anyone who thinks John Negroponte has death squads torturing both Sunnis and Shiites, and blowing up Iranians with car bombs, is not a racist, they are just ..... Well, you tell me Roel. Do you think Negroponte is responsible for causing the war to go so bad, causing his boss all that misery? Do you think that is a logical argument?

See what I am up against. I cannot point out the most stupid argument possible without being called a racist.

It was Samuel Johnson who said; "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." If he were alive today I truly believe he would say; "Playing the race card is the last refuge of the scoundrel." People who, because of a lack of intellectual capacity, are unable to make a logical argument, simply play the race card. If Johnson were alive today they would be the target of his wrath, not patriots. Of course a lot of patriots are a scoundrel also.

Ron Patterson

You are the one pointing to the people living in what is now Iraq, calling them prone to warfare. "That area of the Middle East is "historically" by far the bloodiest area of the world."

That is abjectnonsense, and because the people you involve are of another race, it is racist. Or try "Absolutely nothing will make the Iraqis keep their word." I find it hard to believe anyone utters this.

And also, all the examples you give of conflicts in the area postdate western interference and dividing up the region in arbitrary nation states that never existed prior. I'll bet you that half of these battles were instigated by western forces. Often through the puppet Saddam.

I don't care about Negroponte, but there is no doubt that divide and rule is played by the US these days in Iraq, as it has been through the past 100 years or more. From their point of view, it would be silly if it were not.

Wash your hands of US caused blood all you want. Good luck with that.

You are the one pointing to the people living in what is now Iraq, calling them prone to warfare. "That area of the Middle East is "historically" by far the bloodiest area of the world."

And I added; "With the possible exception of Jerusalem". Of course Jerusalem is historically the bloodiest place in the world. And if you study history, that area, Mesopotamia or the Babylonian Empire, has been in almost continuous warfare since biblical times. Is this not so? How is this racism? Do you Roel, have the faintest idea what the word means. I think not.

That is abjectnonsense, and because the people you involve are of another race, it is racist. Or try "Absolutely nothing will make the Iraqis keep their word." I find it hard to believe anyone utters this.

You are quoting me out of context. That is a cheap trick and you know it. Plucky Underdog pointed out that Venezuela and Bolivia had not kept their word on certain oil agreements. And I was asked: "what aspect of Arab culture is going to protect the Chinese from a similar fate at some point in the future?" And I replied: Nothing is going to make the Iraqis keep their word. In other words Roel, they could suffer the same fate as did the contractors in Bolivia and Venezuela. Pointing that out is not racist.

But you have the audacity to call that racist. And the hard part is Roel, I think you know it is not racist. You just wish to try to win an argument without making any logical argument. "If you cannot answer a man's argument all is not lost. You can still call him vile names."

And also, all the examples you give of conflicts in the area postdate western interference and dividing up the region in arbitrary nation states that never existed prior. I'll bet you that half of these battles were instigated by western forces. Often through the puppet Saddam.

The Western forces were the British. And they were partially responsible for putting all those fighting factions inside one border. But beyond that, they did nothing to cause the conflicts, the conflicts that had actually been raging for centuries.

I don't care about Negroponte, but there is no doubt that divide and rule is played by the US these days in Iraq, as it has been through the past 100 years or more. From their point of view, it would be silly if it were not.

And that is just damn wrong. In fact nothing could be more wrong than that statement. The Americans in Iraq are doing everything possible to unite the people in Iraq. Their failure at doing so is why the war is going so bad. The Sunnis hate the Shiites and they both hate the Kurds. Their continuing to kill each other is causing the war to escalate out of control. Bush, as well as all the military generals in Iraq would like nothing better than for the Sunnis, Shiites and the Kurds to all kiss and make up. If they did that he, and the Americans would be declared heroes for bringing peace to the area. That they are failing to do this is the main reason that the Republicans are facing such a challenge this election.

Do you actually believe Bush or the American military want all this Iraqis killing other Iraqis? Do you actually believe this works to their advantage? Good God man think! Ask yourself; "What would make Bush and the American military look bad, very bad?" Answer; "Exactly what is happening now!" What would make them look good, very good? Answer; "Peace! Everyone stops killing each other, everyone shakes hands and agrees to abide by the new constitution. A united, peaceful Iraq is exactly what everyone wants.

Ron Patterson

My view: peace in Iraq serves no underlying US interests at this point in time. It would mean troop withdrawal. How would you ever get them back there for the next phase, or for simple protection of oil wells? They'll stay there. Seeing the warship concentration in the Gulf makes that abundantly clear. Divide and rule, works miracles. Peace doesn't.

As for the race thing, you should be able to admit you're wrong. Makes you a better man. There is not one nation or large group of people that is more prone to bloodshed or lying than another, except temporarily. Thre'll always be a tribe or people that delves into cruelty for a shorter time, but not for 1000's of years.

If you make that kind of statement about people from your own race, that is bigotry. When it's a different race, it's racism and bigotry. It's ugly and empty and dumb, and I don't like seeing that on a forum for smart people. You are the one lacking the logical argument. The cheap shots are duly noted.

You make statemants about entire regions and peoples, but when it comes to Americans, you want to make clear they're not all "like that". Can you see your own hint?

And I don't want to go into the bloodshed in Europe over the past 1000, or in the Americas over the past 500 years, but the idea is clear.

roel you do have a point. use divide and conquer tactics to keep the populace busy fighting themselves while we stay there with permanent bases to both encircle china(in a misguided attempt to prevent them from becoming a world super-power), while also ensuring Rockefeller type control of the oil there.
I'm not sure what "they" want as per the next step (don't know who "they" are either), but having all those troops in the region is the basis for any potential next step (which would likely mean more troops, not less).

If there were peace, every mom and dad back home would be clamoring for their kids to be home by Christmas. Well, that doesn't work, does it?

To make sure that you can explain why they should stay, you need ongoing brouhaha. Which also helps to keep the population turn on each other, and not get together to throw you out. Blow up a mosque from time to time, sure thing.

But take it back a few steps: why did US and UK invade Iraq? To establish peace?

My view: peace in Iraq serves no underlying US interests at this point in time. It would mean troop withdrawal. How would you ever get them back there for the next phase, or for simple protection of oil wells? They'll stay there. Seeing the warship concentration in the Gulf makes that abundantly clear. Divide and rule, works miracles. Peace doesn't.

Apparently you know absolutely nothing about American politics. Politicians look out for their own ass first and the ass of the nation second. What is happening in Iraq right now is killing Bush and the Republicans. And if you are unable to realize that simple fact then any further discourse with you would be fruitless.

As for the race thing, you should be able to admit you're wrong. Makes you a better man. There is not one nation or large group of people that is more prone to bloodshed or lying than another, except temporarily. Thre'll always be a tribe or people that delves into cruelty for a shorter time, but not for 1000's of years.

Roel, I have explained it to the very best of my ability. My last post could have not been clearer. Yet you still insist that it was racist. You are simply unable to admit you are wrong, either on the race thing or on our interest in Iraq. And you are not a better man because of this failure.

If you make that kind of statement about people from your own race, that is bigotry. When it's a different race, it's racism and bigotry. It's ugly and empty and dumb, and I don't like seeing that on a forum for smart people. You are the one lacking the logical argument. The cheap shots are duly noted.

What kind of statement? I was asked what would keep the Chinese from suffering the same fate as the contractors in Bolivia and Venezuela. I replied nothing. And you say that is racist. Good God man, where do you get off?

You make statemants about entire regions and peoples, but when it comes to Americans, you want to make clear they're not all "like that". Can you see your own hint?

Every historian makes statements about entire regions of peoples. Good God man, do you think there are no difference in cultures? And what the hell do you mean by all Americans not being "like that"? All Americans are not like anything, we are all different in one aspect or another. But I can read the polls and apparently you cannot. They tell us that over 60% of Americans want us to get the hell out of Iraq.

But the fact that you think making statements about difference in cultures is racist means you know absolutely nothing about anthropology. All cultures are different. Hell, if they were not then there would be no such thing as different cultures, we would all be the same. And if you make a statement about one culture or another, then you are making statements about "entire regions of peoples" as you call it. And the fact that you think that is racist is nothing but political correctness gone to seed.

And I don't want to go into the bloodshed in Europe over the past 1000, or in the Americas over the past 500 years, but the idea is clear.

Well hell Roel, no one mentioned bloodshed in America or Europe until now. But I think that you are hinting that there was plenty of bloodshed here and in Europe as well. Damn right there was, I have been preaching that story for years. There have been constant battles all over the world for as long as Homo sapiens have been on the scene. But some cultures are more violent than others. The Confuciusians were not a violent people and neither were the Buddhist. (Though there were exceptions.)  It all depends on the culture, though you can find some violence in all cultures.

But if you think commenting on the differences in cultures is racism, then you are infected with that putrid disease called "political correctness". And the sad part of it is, people infected with this putrid disease have no idea they are sick.

Ron Patterson

Ron, your hole is getting so deep now I can't see your head anymore.

Tell me when you hit China.

The Americans in Iraq are doing everything possible to unite the people in Iraq.

Can you back this assertion?
I mean, not just by anecdotal evidence that some Americans do indeed act this way and believe this is "the goal".
What do YOU know about the real purposes of the Bush cabal you yourself despise?

Racist, n.:  Someone who's winning an argument with a leftist.
<pinching myself>

Nope, I don't seem to have strayed into peakoil.com ... but it sure feels like it sometimes.

Squabbles between squads of officers equals civil war? Come on now.
'Scuse me while I go de-evolve down to 4 foot tall.
Revolts against oppressive regimes don't count as civil war either.
And as I read thru all the bilge on the thread above I feel like I'm at a Klan meeting.
So far the evidence of civil war being a normal feature of life in Iraq amounts to a shopping list of conflicts ckearly not civil wars and the word of a blogger named Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger who identifies himself as a freelance writer.

Now what makes anyone say the Iraqis are always in a civil war?

Checking links. That shopping list of conflicts comes from "The History Guy". LOL

They only come up to your knees

The world today seems absolutely crackers,
With nuclear bombs to blow us all sky high.
There's fools and idiots sitting on the trigger.
It's depressing and it's senseless, and that's why...
I like Chinese.
I like Chinese.
They only come up to your knees,
Yet they're always friendly, and they're ready to please.

I like Chinese food.
The waiters never are rude.
Think of the many things they've done to impress.
There's Maoism, Taoism, I Ching, and Chess.

So I like Chinese.
I like Chinese.
I like their tiny little trees,
Their Zen, their ping-pong, their yin, and yang-ese.

I like Chinese thought,
The wisdom that Confucious taught.
If Darwin is anything to shout about,
The Chinese will survive us all without any doubt

I like Chinese.
I like Chinese.
Their food is guaranteed to please,
A fourteen, a seven, a nine, and lychees.


Nothing like a bit of Monty Python.

Though I must say anyone who thinks Chinese waiters aren't rude hasn't ever been to a normal Chinese restaurant...

Ron. the Iraqis undoubtedly won't hate the Chinese, at least for awhile.  They started hating Americans in the 90's.  So, the Chinese could be successful; the Americans only road is the present policy of a slow genocide!
ImSceptical wrote:

the Americans only road is the present policy of a slow genocide!

Utter rubbish, as you Brits would say. I assume you are British because of the way you spell "skeptical". Ninety nine percent of the killing in Iraq is being done by other Iraqis. Either that or other Arabs imported from neighboring states.

No one wants the killing to continue. That is not a road for anyone and it is just plain silly to imply that it is. Mr. Sceptical, we are having an election here in ten days. If the killing ended today, or had it ended a few months ago, the Republicans, (Bush's party) would be swept into office in a landslide. But because of the many deaths in Iraq, both American and Iraqi, the Democrats will win a majority in the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate. But the Senate will be close. And Bush's popularity is hitting rock bottom. If this "genocide" as you call it, continues until 2008, Bush's party will be kicked out of office on their asses.

Anyone who thinks things are going Bush's way, or the Republicans way, or the way most Americans would like it to go, is just so damn dumb it is pitiful.

Bush was absolutely stupid for going into Iraq in the first place. And he is trying to win, as two former presidents tried to win in Vietnam. But things are going terrible for Bush. And Bush's party will suffer greatly in this election because of it.

It is very easy to say things are going the way Bush wishes things to go. (Provided you don't think very clearly.) But that is just utterly dumb. This war is Bush's nightmare. He desperately wants to win and most Americans, myself included, wishes we would pull up stakes and get the hell out. Hell Sceptical, just read my first post, the one posted the very first today. As I said, we have another reason to get the hell out of Baghdad. And I am with most Americans in wishing we would.

Ron Patterson

this is not about elections. in-fact if you actually paid attention, they care little about their popularity as long as we 'stay the course' because if we do they would of had achieved their goal of Rockefeller type control of iraq's oil. second largest reserve next to s.a. if anything they probably think they will be heralded as hero's by their actions later by the history writers like they did with Lincoln.
I hate to harp on this (well, I don't really - but its polite to pretend to), but Iraq has the most oil (which explains permanent bases, death squads etc)...


Iraq has by and large been kept as a spare oil reserve for the last 50 years - and now its the biggest source of cheap oil left...

Bush's party will be kicked out of office on their asses.

What about rigged voting machines you mentionned above in this thread?

Bush was absolutely stupid for going into Iraq in the first place.

May be it is not really Bush's decision?
And was it truly stupid?
Depends on what the purposes are and WHOSE purposes it is.
You assume that the US government is acting on behalf of "the Americans", are you sure?

Darwin: For a guy that is supposedly so stupid, GWB has made (and continues to make) a hell of a lot of money for a relative handful of people through this Iraq adventure.
if only there were wmd's in mexico   the problem could be solved by our brilliant leaders
Oh, there are a lot of wmd's in Mexico, believe me!
"Indeed, the divided electorate means that Calderón is unlikely to find the political capital to challenge nationalization, even partially. "It is too much of a political danger for them under the conditions they won," says Miguel Tinker-Salas, an oil and politics expert at Pomona College in California.

Mr. Shields puts it more starkly, saying that allowing international companies back into Mexico is tantamount to letting "the invader back in," he says. "There will be a revolution before there is foreign direct investment."

I find it very hard to believe Mexico will even partially privatize oil production. The short term costs would be huge: the government would lose funds needed to pay salaries and subsidize foodstuffs; the price of gasoline would probably go up (it's not exactly cheap as it is; I live right on the border, and I see Mexican plates at our gas stations); and Mexico would be giving up on some of its sovereignty.

Furthermore, as oil prices go up, the declining amount of oil they produce will probably still earn them enough to make up the difference.

Americans might like for them to privatize; but that won't make it happen.

Hello Jim Burke,

Just found this on Yahoo:
OAXACA, Mexico - Shop owners shuttered their businesses and demonstrators built up street barricades Saturday after President Vicente Fox ordered federal police to intervene in this picturesque city torn by more than five months of protests and violence.

It was unclear how many officers of the Federal Preventative Police were converging on this long popular tourist destination, though police in gray uniforms and carrying riot shields poured off of transport planes at Oaxaca's airport, which was closed to commercial traffic.

Teacher's union leader Daniel Rosas said protesters believed 4,000 federal police had arrived.
 I hope this can be resolved with a minimum of violence, but I fear this might start a Mexican revolution and/or civil war.  Mexico may be headed to acting like Bangladesh.  Our world is drastically changing, but most Americans are unconcerned as they are shopping to their hearts content at the mall.

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

Hello TODers,

OH SHIT!  From CNN, the instigators of the violence yesterday, that resulted in the death of a US journalist and others were GOVT. OFFICIALS!!!!!!

But U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza said in a statement that the shooters may have been police, and Mexico City newspaper El Universal on Saturday published photos identifying some of the men firing at protesters as local officials.

Santa Lucia del Camino Mayor Manuel Martinez Feria said five men who appeared in the photos brandishing pistols had been turned over to state authorities for possible involvement in Will's killing.

He identified them as two members of the local city council, two municipal police officers and the former justice of the peace of a nearby town.

A photographer for Mexican daily newspaper Milenio was also slightly injured in the shootout.

U.S. consular agent in Oaxaca Mark Leyes said American officials were demanding that those responsible be punished.

If I was President Fox, my first priority would be to get these thugs from the corrupt Oaxacan State authorities [who have probably already helped these guys escape elsewhere inside Mexico].  This is best way to help diffuse the crisis-- Federales take over local powers vs attacking the helpless locals. Time will tell.  Yikes!!!

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

Bob, this just in from TIME. Don't be fooled by the term "federal police".

Mexico's Fox Gambles on a Crackdown

Analysis: The Federal government sends in troops to quell the turmoil in Oaxaca. But with tensions at an all-time high following summer's contested election, that's a risky move

Mexico's months-long political crisis took a precarious turn Saturday when President Vicente Fox sent special federal forces into the impoverished and violence-torn southern state of Oaxaca, after an American journalist and a local teacher were killed there on Friday.

As Federal paramilitary police were flown into Oaxaca City, the state's capital, Mexicans worried over whether Fox's action would restore calm or simply fuel the social polarization exacerbated by last summer's hotly contested presidential election. "We've been held hostage here by radical groups," Freddy Alcantar, a Oaxaca hotelier told TIME by phone Saturday morning.

"Finally the President is imposing the rule of law." But a protester who called himself only Florentino, representing the leftist Popular Assemby of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), told TIME that until Governor Ulises Ruiz resigns, he and other militants -- who are believed by many to have the backing of a small-scale Oaxaca guerrilla force from the 1990s that reappeared in the summer -- would "reinforce our barricades and call in help from the mountains, valleys and coasts."

More from the same TIME article, as American journalist dead in Oaxaca:

The American, Brad Will, 36, a journalist with the New York-based Indymedia, was shot in the abdomen in a rough neighborhood of Oaxaca City. Will had been filming an armed clash between protesters and pro-government men tearing down street barricades.

In a statement, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza said, "Mr. Will's senseless death, of course, underscores the critical need for a return to lawfulness and order in Oaxaca." But he also warned both sides in the Oaxaca violence that "an attack on one journalist is an attack on all who believe that freedom of the press lies at the heart of any civilized society."

But he also warned both sides in the Oaxaca violence that "an attack on one journalist is an attack on all who believe that freedom of the press lies at the heart of any civilized society."

Oh! Yeah...
Freedom of the press : US now ranks 53rd in World Press Freedom Index, well below Bolivia and Benin (!) and along Botswana, Croatia, Tonga...

Hello Roel,

Thxs for the link.  I am no Mexican expert, but my read of the situation is that this whole crisis was started months ago by Gov. Ruiz refusing to have a reasonable dialogue with teachers, and it has since been allowed to fester due to the local governmental corruption.  This is no different than the overall Mexican government denial and dishonesty in dealing fairly with the half of Mexico that lives in poverty.  The mexican elites refusal to tackle the internal issues tearing their country apart is why poor souls perish in our blazing deserts trying to get into America.  Cantarell crashing will only make this whole ordeal worse.  

How far are we into the initial throes of the Mexican Dieoff?  Entropy rules all, and precipitates the Thermo-Gene Collision.

If Mexicans will shoot each other over who will fill a pothole in the road, then local govt. officials shooting teachers is very polarizing.

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

Hello TODers,

Crisis is ramping up in Chiapas too:
Chiapas: campesinos pledge resistance if election overturned

The state leader of the Chiapas branch of the Independent Center of Campesinos and Rural Workers (CIOAC), Luis Hernandez Cruz, told a march of some 15,000 followers in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez, that if the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TRIFE) overturns the victory of leftist gubernatorial candidate Juan Sabines Guerrero, there will be a "social explosion" throughout Chiapas, similar to that in Oaxaca. (APRO, Oct. 18)

In Tabasco State, more violence:

The PRD charged that its members were repeatedly attacked by state police and hired thugs during the voting on Oct. 15. In Villahermosa, the state capital, a group of young men wearing green plastic arm bands surrounded a PRD senator, Rosalinda Lopez Hernandez, and other PRD members and yelled: "Out, Chilangos," a slang term for Mexico City residents. A bus with state riot police and two patrol cars appeared immediately; the agents left the young men alone but beat up Lopez Hernandez and arrested 12 PRD members, including a member of the Mexico City Legislative Assembly. In a separate incident, a man tried to hit Monica Fernandez Balboa, a PRD federal deputy, as she was observing the election in her district; reporters and photographers intervened to stop the attack. In Tacotalpan municipality, some 40 PRI members illegally detained state assembly members Eddy Ortiz and Avelino Morua. At least 29 PRD members were arrested during the day, and nine were held captive at various times by people in civilian clothes. (LJ, Oct. 16)

Consider that these states are among the prime geographies of the Mexican oilfields.  Detrito-terrorists could crash Mexico, and the 1.8 million barrels of US exports per day very quickly by attacking this infrastructure.

I bet Blackwater Security is already ramping up contingency plans to secure oil rigs and onshore oilports.

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

Hello TODers,

Here is a detailed, first person account of the shooting of the US journalist and other events in Oaxaca.

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

Hello TODers,

"3 Police Killed, 1 Decapitated in Mexico" from the Washington Post.

Also dengue fever has now broken out in Veracruz state:
High Incidence of Dengue in Veracruz

Mexico, Oct 25 (Prensa Latina) Health Secretary Jon Rementeria of Veracruz, Mexico, reported 4,500-plus cases of dengue this year, with 450 reported of the dangerous hemorrhagic strain.

Rementeria said 50 percent of the cases are located in seven villages of Boca del Rio, including the historic port center, identified as high-risk areas.

The health secretary said 267 people have hemorrhagic dengue and 350 with the classic strain in August and September.

He added that the epidemiological situation is under control although Veracruz reports the largest number of cases nationwide.

Sanitation Chief Gilberto Zamorano said the Army and Navy support massive fumigation and inspections to detect the larvae of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, transmitter of the illness.
The Mex-US border wall is no problem for mosquitos.  Are we not all thrilled that healthcare and sanitation is declining in North America?  Altamira, where the first LNG regasification plant just opened, is a short way up the coast from Veracruz-- should have these infected mosquitos in no time at all.

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

David Shields, an independent energy expert in Mexico City, says production declined by 10 percent in the first six months of 2006.
sounds like the new president is in the pay of the American oil companies.  They could use some of the money earned to hire wildcatters.  They don't need to privatize!
the befuddled one was here in the midwest of a  giving a campaign speech in favor of dave lamberti         the problem being that the republican candidate for congress is jeff lamberti         the president didnt say anything however about  how gynocologists are unable to practice their love with their patients
Hello Darwinian,

Since you worked in KSA, and I have never been there--Please read this posting of mine from last night.  What do you think is the chance of earthquakes or mismanagement really screwing up MidEast FFs' production?  Is the Islamic culture good at recognizing natural hazards and making sure their FF and potable water infrastructure is sufficiently robust? Or is Wassa [correct term?] leading them to a likely disaster?  I would hate to think that Iranian nuke employees are based on political connections versus knowledgeable nuclear competency. Yikes!

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

Bob, I think the chance of a local insurrection is far greater than an earthquake. During the five years I was there I never felt even a single tremor. But there is virtually no chance of a local insurrection in Saudi Arabia. Anyone who wishes to start one must do from the distance of a mountain hideout of some distant country.

Now there may be the occasional bombing. That has happened several times there already. But don't hold your breath waiting for the overthrow of the Monarchy. I believe there is virtually no chance of that happening.

The word is Wasta! And wasta is one of the things that helps maintain the status quo.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Thxs for responding.  Do you know if Wasta is commonplace in Iran too?  Once the Russian techs leave the nuke ops up to the Iranians, I sure hope the Iranians are properly trained and promoted by WHAT they know vs promoted by WHO they know.

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

Bob, to tell you the truth I don't know if wasta is commonplace in Iran or not. Wasta is an Arab word, and is common in all Arab nations. But the Iranians are not Arabs. I suppose they do have something similar in Iran but I doubt if it is as strong as it is in the Arab world.

Ron Patterson

In Farsi (Persian), the word is BAKSHEESH



Sorry... you don't have a clue what you're talking about...

Wasta is the Gulf Arab method of gaining "advantage through connection"... similar to our "it's who you know"....

Baksheesh is the giving of money as a charitable action...

The two are totally unrelated...

Did you bother to even read the link?  There are many shadings of meaning beyone the 3 in Wikipedia.  My Persian colleagues use the word in a similar context to "juice" or the Arabian wasta.
Now there may be the occasional bombing. That has happened several times there already. But don't hold your breath waiting for the overthrow of the Monarchy. I believe there is virtually no chance of that happening.

Hi Ron,

Have you considered that a withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraq could be the catalyst for full-blown civil war in that country, and that its consequences could spill over into the Shiite areas more or less adjacent in Saudi Arabia where, as we all know, the oilfields are?  Might not several years of persistent guerilla action cause enough damage to the infrastructure (water pumps?) of fields like Ghawar sufficient to severely curtail, or even destroy its production?  Surely organisations like Al Qaeda must understand the significance of a field like Ghawar not only to the stability of the Kingdom, but to the world in general.  Remember the avowed aim of Osama Bin Laden, whatever his present earthly status, is the removal of the royal family and its replacement with a Wahhabist religious government.  His other sworn aim is the destruction of the United States.  With tens of thousands of insurgents from all over the Moslem world now in Iraq, drawn there by Al Qaeda's inspiration, and now cutting their teeth in the proving ground of Iraq, might not this not be just the preamble to more ambitious action in the near future?  The culmination of more than two decades of fervent effort is just a few well laid-out attacks away, is it not?  Look forward to your reply.



Tony, thanks for the comments. Of course we do not know the consequences if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq. But the situation there is already escalating into a full-blown civil war. Our presence there is only exacerbating the situation. And it will only get continually worse as long as we remain there. Our presence in Iraq is a recruiting poster for terrorism around the world. Our presence there is not only making things worse in Iraq, it is making terrorism worse everywhere in the world.

And whatever happens in Saudi Arabia, our remaining in Iraq will not prevent it, but it might indeed cause it.

Ron Patterson

a trillion dollars would buy one h*** of a lot of solar panels

That's something I have said in another forum. As in, we're running up this 10^12 dollar deficit and the reason is energy. Since oil is the only form of 'energy' the current PTB understand, they're spending it on war.

So the question is, how much silicon could your really spread on rooftops for that? What would the equivalent be in barrels?

of course you need to start with some simplifying assumptions...

200 watt panel cost $1,000
6,000 watts, 24,000 watt hours/day

30 panels and cost for installation enough for very grand American home. 1 trillion buys 30 million $30,000 systems.

3 years of iraqi war

Thanks. I was in a hurry to get my post in, and too lazy to do any back-of-the-envelope calculations.

Of course, the 200 watt figure is what you get from a solar panel at noon on the summer solstice, so one could conservatively figure on 20%-30% of that averaged over a day. One system (30 panels) would then yield only about 5kWh / day.

Times 30 million would be, let's see... something like 150 million kWh / day, or ~6 GW. According to Wikipedia, Hydro-Quebec makes about 31 GW.

But still, while it doesn't trump every other form of energy, I'd say it would be a useful arrow in the energy-quivver. And a better bargain than to gamble everything on a move in a petrogeopolitical chess game against the rest of the planet.

Of course, the 200 watt figure is what you get from a solar panel at noon on the summer solstice, so one could conservatively figure on 20%-30% of that averaged over a day. One system (30 panels) would then yield only about 5kWh / day.

FYI, I just posted the solar insolation map for the U.S. in the solar thread at the top of the board. It shows the tremendous variation across the country.

We have two, 125 Watt panels, and two, L-16 deep cycle batteries, and it sees to all our needs, plus recharges our electric scooter and lies idle most of the day (our batteries are usually topped off by mid-morning). Granted, we live in southern Ariz., but I think most Americans could cut their electricity use by 90% without real hardship.

Hell, most people waste more electricity due to phantom loads than we use total!

Conservation is definitely the way to go, to anyone who values the future of our planet, and the people, plants and animals who inhabit it.

Furthermore, our well being went up once we got rid of the vast majority of crap in our lives.

"Be content with what you have
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking
the whole world belongs to you."

-- Tao te Ching, verse 44

The average person see the way you live as a drastic reduction in their standard of living. We need to have our 2500 sq ft houses 72 degrees in the summer and 76 degrees in the winter. We want to have 3 TV's, 2 computers, and 5 lights on continuously. We want to drive our SUV's 50 miles a days. Your lifestyle sucks.

I agree with you, but only the harsh reality of unaffordable energy is going to bring about the changes. Americans will waste energy to the max as long as they can afford it.

...and how some high, thin cloud can reduce output 80%.
 I've got seven  200 watt panels. I'm making just about 7 KW right now. Was making 8.8- 9.25 in July and Aug.

7 * 200 = 1400 watts

are you saying that you're making 7 kW-H per day?

 KW, not KW-H.

As of right now, 15:36 PST, I've made 6.66 KW today, still making 582 watts. I'll be close to 7KW, but I need to leave before I'm done producing for the day.

Ive just spent 3 days at the ASPO conference in Boston. There was a wide spectrum of insight and information and I learned a great deal. An important theme different from other conferences Ive been to was the stress on increasing potential for a north american natural gas crisis, because of how quickly the supply situation is deteriorating domestically. (David Hughes from NRCAN had some excellent but sobering presentations.)  The issue of climate change limitations of energy options was also stressed.

ASPO will have the powerpoints up on their site next week, and I expect some further analysis on TOD

Hello Nate,

Thxs for the update on ASPO-USA.  So once North American Natgas is kaput-- can Venezuela's Orimulsion blend of Orinco crude & water power our generating plants and replace fuel oil for home-heating?  Or should we all start mining the remaining coal?  Can the Athabascan oilsands just be burned somehow to create electricity instead of the huge, costly effort to make a liquid fuel suitable for vehicles?

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

Bob, I can't resist!  NO, in general humans are not smarter than yeast.  
Great idea, use the Alberta tar sands as a vast furnace to heat water [another problem area for northeaster Alberta] to power steam turbines.  You're right, it makes more sense than using the natural gas to clean out the gunk and then separate the liquids.  This process also requires and destroys scads of water [some of the downstream Native communities are now suing to prevent further removal of water from the rivers].  The water becomes polluted by the use, and must be sequestered as it is highly toxic.  Your idea would allow it to be returned to the rivers as soon as it cools sufficiently.  Of course, the global warming ramifications are probably horrendous, but the current scheme is bad too.
To add to your post per David Hughes. Decline rate per conventional natural gas well is 28% a year. "We are on a production treadmill"
I've spoken to Hughes, will be exchanging e-mails with him. There will be a post about natural gas in North America based on his work.

PS: It's worse than you thought.

So how long before North America experiences acute shortages of NG during winter heating season?

The slowdown of the North Atlantic Drift

Scientists have uncovered more evidence of a dramatic weakening in the vast ocean current that gives Western Europe its relatively balmy climate by dragging warm water northwards from the tropics.

The slowdown of the North Atlantic Drift, which climate modellers have predicted will follow global warming, has been confirmed by the most detailed study yet of ocean flow in the Atlantic.

Most alarmingly, the data reveals part of the current, usually 60 times more powerful than the Amazon River, came to a temporary halt during November 2004.

The Gulf Stream originates in the Gulf of Mexico, flows up the US east coast, then crosses the Atlantic, where it splits in two, with one branch crossing to West Africa. The other branch, the North Atlantic Drift, extends towards Europe. The warm water it brings to Western Europe's shores raises the temperature by as much as 10 degrees in some places and without it the continent would be much colder and drier.

Researchers are unsure what to make of the 10-day hiatus in the current in 2004.

"We'd never seen anything like that before and we don't understand it. We didn't know it could happen," said Harry Bryden, of Britain's National Oceanography Centre [...]

Lloyd Keigwin, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, said the 2004 shutdown was "the most abrupt change in the whole [climate] record". "Suppose it lasted 30 or 60 days, when do you ring up the prime minister and say let's start stockpiling fuel? ... How can we rule out a longer one next year?" he said.

Professor Bryden's group stunned climate researchers last year with data suggesting that the flow rate of the Atlantic circulation had dropped by about 6 million tonnes of water a second from 1957 to 1998.

If the current remained that weak, he predicted, it would lead to a one-degree drop in temperature in Britain in the next decade. A complete shutdown would lead to a four- to six-degree cooling over 20 years.

Well, that would nicely balance out the rise of temperature due to global warming around north europe. Because in The Netherlands we do not have any cooling, but a rise of temperatures in the last years.
A cessation of the thermohaline circulation process may seem to have positive short-term benefits for Europeans facing the effects of global warming, but the long-term ramifications may be very disruptive for humans and marine life.

The thermohaline cycle is essential for remixing and blending the earth's oceans.  From a January 06 Nature article, experts explained that a thermohaline circulation shutdown could have other major consequences apart from cooling of Europe, such as: increase in major floods and storms; collapse of plankton stocks; or warming or rainfall changes in the tropics or Alaska and Antarctica.

And since the thermohaline current goes around the world, bringing cool, wet water to our West Coast (and from there across the US), its shutdown could affect North America dramatically.
The upwelling is usually nutrient rich as well, and tends to produce the best areas for aquatic life to grow.
Obviously any significant weakening in the N. Atlantic circulation would spell disaster for the UK's already wobbly energy supply.  Last winter, the only cold - by UK standards - winter we have had in the last 10 years, we had a "gas balancing alert" which is one step short of the government telling industry to shutdown gas-burning processes.  Almost all new houses have gas heating and with indifferent insulation standards. Insulation in most older houses, many of which are converting to gas, usually varies from moderate to non-existent.  Consumption rates are rising as fast as new pipelines and gas terminals are being built and the future is one of net imports at ever increasing prices.  A 1C fall would be pretty disasterous, several degrees does not bear thinking about - N.W. Europe would be unable to feed its people or keep them warm.

To my knowledge, the research results so far are based on a few "snapshots" of flows and the amount of short term variation is unknown.  So a decline trend may or may not be real.  However, it is pretty worrying.

It's worth noting that the notion that Europe's climate (and especially that of the UK) is considerably warmer due to the effects of the Gulf Stream has been exposed as a myth by Richard Seager and David Battisti. See this article in American Scientist:

The Source of Europe's Mild Climate

This is not just an academic issue. The play that the doomsday scenario has gotten in the media--even from seemingly reputable outlets such as the British Broadcasting Corporation--could be dismissed as attention-
grabbing sensationalism. But at root, it is the ignorance of how regional climates are determined that allows this misinformation to gain such traction. Maury should not be faulted; he could hardly have known better. The blame lies with modern-day climate scientists who either continue to promulgate the Gulf Stream-climate myth or who decline to clarify the relative roles of atmosphere and ocean in determining European climate. This abdication of responsibility leaves decades of folk wisdom unchallenged, still dominating the front pages, airwaves and Internet, ensuring that a well-worn piece of climatological nonsense will be passed down to yet another generation.
That was incredibly informative. Thanks for the link!
Very interesting article, but I continue to wonder: if thermohaline shutdown didn't result in ice ages in the past, then what IS responsible?

Unfortunately, the authors choose not to speculate.

Here's a link to Wallace Broecker's take on the younger dryas, and to the issue of thermohaline shutdown.
it's whole basis is a computer model which he made..
Yeah, right.
Is anyone aware whether this has maybe been discussed on realclimate.com or the like?
Not directly, as far as I'm aware, but it was cited in the comments of a RealClimate article which discussed [MIT Professor of Physical Oceanography] Carl Wunsch's letter to the Economist magazine where he complained that a fundamental misunderstanding of Gulf Stream mechanics was leading to misleading reporting in some circles.

If you look at comment 22 you'll see that Gavin Schmidt doesn't think the article is particularly noteworthy because he assumes most climate scientists are already aware of the myth, and he believes all it does is sow more confusion because it may give the impression that ocean transport doesn't affect Europe's climate (something which Seager isn't claiming).

Scientists have uncovered more evidence of a dramatic weakening in the vast ocean current that gives Western Europe its relatively balmy climate by dragging warm water northwards from the tropics.

In addition, the cold countercurrent which runs along the bottom keeps the methane beds frozen and down there. If the thermohaline circulations shuts down long enough, geothermal heat will percolate up through the bottom layers. When some threshold is passed, an unknown amount of methane will suddenly become a greenhouse gas.
I have heard a theory that huge methane "belches" may have been the cause of the dinosaurs demise.  I will have to search for the source later.
don't you mean the Permian mass Extinction event?
I think what is being referred to is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) when there was a sudden temperature increase in an already warm world.  This was also the feature of a UK TV doc "The Day the Oceans Boiled" (I think).
Doctor Bob - I'm not home right now - and am working on a strange computer and can't work out how to copy links.  Try Googling Elderfield Paleocene (or Eocene) - and you'll be on your way to finding links to articles on this.
Found one source on it and yes, you are correct, it was during the Permian Era before dinosaurs..my bad on that one.

Methane Thought To Be Responsible For Mass Extinction


In an article published in the September issue of Geology, Gregory Ryskin, associate professor of chemical engineering, suggests that huge combustible clouds produced by methane gas trapped in stagnant bodies of water and suddenly released could have killed off the majority of marine life and land animals and plants at the end of the Permian era -- long before dinosaurs lived and died.

The mechanism also might explain other extinctions and climate perturbations (ice ages) and even the Biblical flood, as well as be the cause of future catastrophes.

Ryskin calculated that some 10,000 gigatons of dissolved methane could have accumulated in water near the ocean floor under high pressure. If released quickly, perhaps triggered by an earthquake, the resulting cloud of methane would have an explosive force about 10,000 times greater than the world's entire stockpile of nuclear weapons. The huge conflagrations plus flooding and overturned oceans would cause the extinctions. (Approximately 95 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land species were lost.)

"That amount of energy is absolutely staggering," said Ryskin. "As soon as one accepts this mechanism, it becomes clear that if it happened once it could happen again. I have little doubt there will be another methane-driven eruption -- though not on the same scale as 251 million years ago -- unless humans intervene."

A more complex interaction that results in "Black Sea" depths H2S conditions becoming prevalant close to the surface is suggested here:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000& pageNumber=5&catID=2

I cannot sign this post "Best Hopes".  It rattled me.


Yes...that's the one I was looking for...I forgot what magazine I'd seen it in recently.

What's disturbing to me is the recent increase in deep ocean earthquakes.  Even though most seem benign (except for the occasional tsunami), I could see one disturbing areas that release masses of gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide.

Now, let's add the information about the change in the thermohaline current (going around the world) with the increase in deep ocean earthquake magnitudes.  Could this change in the thermohaline current cause the later?

I am perhaps stretching here in the hypothetical, but I can see a mechanism for this scenario.  Deep sea tectonic plates build up pressure slowly over years and years.  Change the density of water directly over one plate or another and suddenly one plate raises, lowers or shifts faster than the other plate resulting in the catabolic snap required to release the pent up enegery that's been building for x number of years.

These deep sea earthquakes disturb anoxic beds of sediments left undisturbed and rotting for ages.  The bubble of anoxia rises to the surface and pops into the atmosphere...poof...instant increase in greenhouse gases.

insert "energy" above instead of "enegery"...had not had my morning coffee yet.
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it does it make any noise?

If a subsea eartquake occurs and there is no media coverage was it a seismic event?

Tectonic plates move ever so slowly and predictably.  After the Tsunamis there has been more media coverage not more quakes.

Don't let the Big Oil money confuse you on Prop. 87

I have been asked to write the rebuttal. Mr. Khosla is not going to like it. :-)

A preview for TOD readers:

Now I know that Mr. Khosla won't deny that the computer industry, where he made his fortune, or the ethanol industry, which he passionately supports, sees much higher average profit margins than does the oil industry. Are they ripping people off? (Of course the government also makes much more from oil and gas sales than do oil companies). Should Mr. Khosla be vilified because he became a billionaire in an industry with double the profit margins of the oil industry? Do you think Prop 87 mega-contributor Stephen Bing made his fortune on 5-10% profit margins?
Hello R-squared,

The sad thing to me about this whole Prop 87 affair is the millions of $$$ being wasted that could have been instead spent to inform the public on PO & GW, conservation, overpopulation, relocalization, and permaculture.  For example: giving every Californian a copy of that big Peakoil Poster would have been a better use of those funds.

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

The sad thing to me about this whole Prop 87 affair is the millions of $$$ being wasted that could have been instead spent to inform the public on PO & GW, conservation, overpopulation, relocalization, and permaculture.

I could not agree more. A lot of money could have gone to a much better cause.

In my rebuttal, I don't urge, or even argue for a no vote. But I do take Khosla to task for some of the hypocritical claims he makes.

A Cellulosic Ethanol plant may be coming to Idaho Falls

According the Ottawa Sun, Iogen, an Ottawa biotech firm which specializes in Cellulosic Ethanol, is hoping to build a $350-million factory in Canada or Idaho Falls, next year. The "Cellulosic Ethanol" idea mentioned by President Bush during this year's State of the Union speech makes fuel from wood chips and farm waste such as straw, corn stalks and other inedible agricultural byproducts. Cellulose is the woody stuff found in branches and stems that make plants hard.

This is not the stuff of science fiction, the biofuels industries innovative technologies are improving by leaps and bounds, biofuels may bring staggering economic and environmental benefits very soon.

Supporters of alternative energy sources say that thanks to biotech breakthroughs, we may soon be able to produce ethanol easily and inexpensively. Nathanael Greene, an analyst with the environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council said: "The process is like making grain alcohol, or brewing beer, but on a much bigger scale.[..[

Cellulosic biofuels could slash global warming pollution by 2050, this could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 billion tons per year equaling 80 percent of transportation-related emissions. By 2015, they state: We could produce biofuels at costs equal to between $0.59 and $0.91 per gallon, and $0.86 per gallon of diesel. This could be a boon for our farmers, at $40 per dry ton; farmers growing 200 million tons of biomass in 2025 could net $5.1 billion per year.

Experts believe farmers could produce six times that amount of biomass by 2050. Biofuels will also provide air quality benefits as they contain no sulfur and produce low carbon monoxide, particulate and toxic emissions, making it easier to achieve air pollution reduction targets. These fuels also offer land-use benefits as well, the switchgrass that Bush mentioned in the State of the Union address, the NRDC website states: Is a promising source of cellulosic biofuels, an endemic prairie grass, it has low nitrogen runoff, very low erosion, and increased soil carbon, and switchgrass also provides good wildlife habitat.

According the Ottawa Sun, Iogen, an Ottawa biotech firm which specializes in Cellulosic Ethanol, is hoping to build a $350-million factory in Canada or Idaho Falls, next year.

They have been saying this - that a plant was going to be built soon in Idaho - for 4 years. Makes a person think the technology is not where it needs to be.

Dear Sir or R-Squared
  Please continue your great work .....I read all your posts with great awe. For what it is worth you are needed by those of us uneducated but not unmotivated masses.  Please accept my thanks.
Regards TG80
I don't urge, or even argue for a no vote [on CA Prop. 87].

As a Californian, I'm really conflicted on this.
On the one hand ethanol is a sucker's deal.
On the other hand ....

  1. How else can we Californians send a "message" to the rest of USA that Global Warming and air pollution and Peak Oil are clear and present dangers and we're not going to simply sit back and take it any more?

  2. If 87 fails, what is the likelihood that moneyed interests will back another pro-environment proposition in the future?

  3. If 87 passes and even one small good thing comes of it, will it not have been worth it? I think of the fact that the first integrated circuits went into ICBM missiles during the Cold War, that "it" started here in Silicon Valley.
I don't know. I am skeptical about spending money on information. What are the chances the public would actually pay attention to this information or heed it if they were paying attention.

Also, how will this money be spent, specifically?  Isn't it true that we don't know until the money is actually allocated through the process set up by the amendment?  I agree that spending more money on subsidizing ethanol is a waste, especially considering the fact that it is already heavily subsidized.

However, if the bulk of this money was spent on conservation and efficiency, this would be a good investment. We need to capture the low hanging fruit first, as Amory Lovins would say and has said. We will have spend a helluva lot of money before a barrel saved costs more than a barreal bought and burned.

Just curious, but is the expenditure of millions of dollars on ethanol preordained.  Or will this shake out through a quasi political process.

Another thought would be, what is the difference between subsidizing,say, solar or wind, and subsiding ethanol?  My off the cuff shot at this would be that solar is the gift that keeps on giving. Manufacture and install and reap the benefits for decades.  The other possible difference is that there is a good chance that solar will become more efficient as we ramp up more and do more research.

However, it may very well make sense to continue to do R&D on cellulosic ethanol and other alternatives like methanol and butanol. I wouldn't close the book on those alternatives but wouldn't hold my breath, either.

In any event, however, this proposition will have one positive benefit; it will drive up oil prices.  Unfortunately, it will probably not drive them up enough to make much difference considering that we now have gas prices approaching $2.00.  

Hey, but we are, as usual, talking about a drop in the bucket here. Nothing can compare to our long term investment in disaster --- Iraq.  And even if we redeploy, we will continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense from here to eternity.  

From Hindu Business Online

Venture capitalists smell money in eco-friendly innovations, which are expected to power the future.

However, not all clean technology entrepreneurs lay claim to altruistic motives. In fact, they take pains to say they are not `tree huggers'. Silicon Valley's venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, for example, has been emphasising just that.

Researchers on his team are applying bioengineering to produce ethanol in an environment-friendly manner from agricultural waste. In the past, ethanol was made from corn through an energy-intensive process. According to Khosla, the agricultural waste-based ethanol will cost less than conventional ethanol and petrol.

Khosla predicts a readymade market for this clean technology and says automakers will soon be manufacturing cars that run on ethanol or a blend of ethanol and gas.

The hole in the ground is on public land. The public has a right to demand any royalty that they deem fair. In Prop 87 it is probably <1% of revenue and if a private party finds it unacceptable drill a hole somewhere else.

Why doesn;t Chevron tell KSA that it costs $5 to get the oil out of the hole and they cannot keep the remaining $55 - because it belongs to the shareholders of Chevron. But KSA keeps the $55 profit because the hole is on land that is KSA public land. In the Prop 87 case it is far less than $55, probably less than $1. Chevron still keeps to keep the remaining $59 and higher if prices go up further.



(got it from google - turns my stomach since I dislike slick willie)

That said in principle there is one good reason to vote against Prop 87 because it is still a tax. I would support it wholeheartedly if there was an offsetting tax reduction somehere else - across the board income or sales tax or something

My problem is not with an oil tax. I favor much higher oil and gasoline taxes. My problem is with the way this is being sold. The voters are being terribly misled. Gas prices guaranteed not to go up? Funny, but that's what the proponents are promising. Scores of economists beg to differ.

Oil producers in California already pay a mucher higher proportion of revenues than they do in Texas, for instance, yet the proponents are claiming producers in California aren't paying their fair share. The list goes on and on.

The most hypocritical piece, though, is for someone who made his billion in a high margin business to criticize a low-margin business like oil as "ripping people off." These guys are all a bunch of hypocrites. How many Oil CEOs are billionaires? How many in the computer industry are?

If people feel they are being ripped off, they can adjust their lifestyle accordingly and use less oil.  They can also lobby for increased taxes for millionaries and billionaires if they feel that income should be redistributed.

If one wants to make a general argument against capitalism, fine; one is free to argue that we should be living under socialism. Obviously, however, the Khoslas of the world and almost everyone in the U.S. has bought into capitalism. How do we differentiate between the oil companies ripping us off and Bill Gates ripping us off. That is tantamount to arguing that they should reduce their prices out of the kindness of their hearts. As long as we have capitalism, that is not the way it works.

For other reasons, I would argue we need a more progressive tax structure, with a heavy emphasis on very high taxes on energy. However, that has nothing to do with whether or not the oil companies are ripping us off or not. If they follow the rules and make a profit, that is their business. If they don't follow the rules, however, and collude for example, then that is a different story.

This is a long way of saying that Khosla is completely full of crap, is a hypocrite, and wants a double standard, one for his enterprises, and another for the oil companies.  

how many, then?
How many billionaires? In the computer industry, there are Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Michael Dell, Vinod Khosla, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steven Ballmer, and Lawrence Ellison. Those are the ones I can think of.

In the oil industry? The Koch brothers, who have had 2 generations in a privately held oil company to accumulate their fortune, are the only ones I can think of.

If you want to get rich, oil has historically been a poor option. That's why it cracks me up to hear Vinod Khosla talking about how oil companies are ripping people off.

If you want to get rich, oil has historically been a poor option.

A bit of nuance would seem called for. As long as you paint it as broad as "oil", there's a few princes and sultans that do quite well, thank you.

In the US, leaving out Rockefeller is a bit of a miss. And I have no doubt there are more behind-the-scenes large shareholders that are a few strokes above the poverty line.

Granted, margins may not be as good as they once were.

About your Venturebeat  post: it would be good and clarifying to see a complete overview spread of the different taxes, for instance TX vs CA. This may not be your forté, I realize.

In the US, leaving out Rockefeller is a bit of a miss.

When he writes "Big Oil is ripping you off", somehow I don't think he is talking about things that took place 100 years ago. He is talking about the profits of the oil majors the past few years.

About your Venturebeat  post: it would be good and clarifying to see a complete overview spread of the different taxes, for instance TX vs CA. This may not be your forté, I realize.

I analyzed this in a bit more detail on my blog. I have also seen analyses for all states, and California was already pretty high for overall oil taxation. If Prop 87 passes, it will jump into the #1 spot by a long shot. But I don't have a problem with this. I have a problem with the proponents accusing oil companies of not paying their fair share by focusing on a single tax.

Listening to you, one would think that you might be  bucking for a job as a lobbyist for the API in Washington.

Is it a coincidence that you work for Big Oil and that you frequently defend Big Oil on this website?

I'm not saying that your arguments are not valid; but what I am saying is that you have an inherent conflict of interest that perhaps you do not fully realize.

Big Oil is not our friend, but it obviously is yours.

Your potshots are really getting tiresome. If you want to debate a point, please do. I wrote an essay last week defending Brazilian ethanol. Maybe I am bucking for a job in São Paulo. You think? When I defended E3 Biofuels, do you think I was bucking for a job there? Apparently not, since I was asked by them if I had any interest in working there, and I told them "No." What you are doing is called "projection." Don't assume that I have the exact same flaws as you.

I work in an industry where there are a lot of good, hardworking people. You bet, I will defend the industry against unjustified charges. That doesn't mean that Big Oil does no wrong. XOM has certainly funded Global Warming deniers. But I shouldn't have to keep explaining this. You are either incredibly dense, or incredibly biased if you can't see that my defense of the industry is limited to certain issues. People like you love to complain and whine, but by God when they need to take a flight, Big Oil better have delivered the jet fuel. Big Oil better supply the diesel to move produce around the country; produce that was made utilizing tractors running on diesel made by Big Oil. Big Oil is not your friend? I wish Big Oil would just stop making products for a week. You would be ready to "make friends" pretty quickly.

If some hypocrite accuses Big Oil of price gouging, I will probably have something to say about it. If some other hypocrite has nothing but blanket criticisms to offer me about Big Oil, while at the same time enjoying many conveniences as a result of our products, then I will probably say something about that. I worked 19 hours yesterday so people like you can have gasoline when you want it. I got called in just as I was getting in bed last night. Why? Because there was a problem with the product pipeline, and if I didn't fix it whiners like you would find that one of their stations had run out of gas and the station across the street would be raising prices in response. So forgive me if I am not in the mood to listen to your crap.

If you want to discuss whether Big Oil has done bad things, there's no debate there. But you seem to have a problem with objectivity and getting your facts straight. Just the other day you accused me of "sucking up to the new boss", when the guy I was talking about wasn't even my boss. You just wanted to throw another insult in there, because apparently I have gotten under your skin, and this is how you scratch the itch. You have done this now on several occasions. Shall I assume you are bucking for a job as a lobbyist for the ethanol industry?

Now, that's the end of that rant. I have nothing further to say to you. If you want to act like a troll, don't expect me to answer. If you ever want to engage in substantive debate, I am always open to that.

Now, do you have anything substantive to offer? Or have the ad homs exhausted your intellectual arsenal?

Whatever anyone can say or think about Robert, not that he's not perfectly clear in where he stands. He's never hidden or distorted any aspect of what he does or what he thinks and believes in. Actually he does so ad nauseum, because he feels he has to. In that, his patience is admirable. But what is he supposed to do? Open every single post with his entire CV?

Robert is presently employed by an oil firm, while his heart is in "alternative" fuels. His level of knowledge and gift of putting that in words, incessantly, make him someone that is highly appreciated by 99% of the people here, because 99% of those 99% have a lot to learn from him, and will graciously admit to that.

It's fine to not agree with his points, or to have different priorities, and he always invites the debate, but personal attacks are completely unwarranted and (should) have no place here.

Joule from what I have seen of your comments I struggle to determine what it is that you bring to the deabate on the oildrum. In contrast RRs comment is inevitably stimulating, apparently well informed and a considerable boon to the site. I for one will miss his analysis if and when he finds other projects require more of his time than he presently gives to theoildrum. I would, in complete contrast,  have no such sense of loss should you find other interests take up more of your time from now on......
Don't take youself so seriously and don't be so literal.  I was jesting about your bucking for a lobbyist job.

Nor was what I said a personal attack.  There is a big difference between questioning a person's perspective and making personal insults.

 I was merely pointing out that an employee of Big Oil (or any other large corporation) has an inherent conflict of interest when making public comments on issues that affect his employer. I stand by that comment. That doesn't mean that a person is dishonest or underhanded, just that his opinions might be colored, to greater or lesser degrees, by his loyalties.

I know there are many fine people in the oil industry, and I have had personal contact with many of them. However, I have problems with Big Oil as a corporate entity, because it is so intertwined with Big Government (particularly the current regime) that it is sometimes hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. I am also beginning to wonder whether Big Oil will be part of the solution or part of the problem as the energy situation gets tighter and tighter. I'm sure you don't share that view, but that's OK by me.


Word on the street is Robert is actually a personal agent of Dick Cheney and he is blogging straight from Dick's halliburton-built underground bunker while loud ominous thumping music is playing in the background.

The Anschutz family. The Getty family. The Rockefeller family. Whoever inherited from Gulbenkian. The Nobels. The Mellon family. One branch of the Rothschilds. The Dutch royal family (yes! they're the biggest individual shareholders in Shell. Where do you think the name came from?). Pickens. Hammer. Abramovich. One or two guests of the Russian penal system.

Most of these are highly diversified second or third generation old money, of course. And a billion dollars isn't what it used to be.

Most of these are highly diversified second or third generation old money, of course.

See the response above. Khosla is not arguing "Big Oil ripped you off before most of us were born." He is arguing that Big Oil is ripping you off right now, at the pump. Yet their is no dispute that they are earning 10% on sales, and that historical averages are in the 5-7% range. Khosla certainly didn't make his fortune on those margins.

Of course neither did the families you mentioned, but to my knowledge they weren't complaining about some lower margin industry ripping people off as they made their fortune (as Khosla is doing).

I have trouble understanding why a billionaire would try to make more money. Are they so blinded by greed that they can't find anything else to do?
I believe J. Paul Getty was a billionaire long before his death, even in the dollars of his day. His worth, in today's dollars, would be many billions. I remember when I was a kid, I heard it said that J. Paul Getty was the richest man in the world. I don't know if it was true or not. Also H. L. Hunt had almost as much as Getty.

While Getty was an oilman pure and simple, H.L. Hunt made much of his loot in buying the mineral rights from poor farmers and then tapping the gas or oil under them for himself. He was a crook. I don't know that much about how Getty got started.

And of course Howard Hughes old man made his fortune in the oilfield service business. He actually invented the drill bit, a version of which they still use today. Greatly improved however I am sure. Don't know if he made a billion or not, but I would imagine, in today's dollars he had at least a billion.

Then there was Sam Shell, Joe Chevron and Bill Esso. And of course I just made that shit up. ;-) But I actually think there was a Mr. Sinclair who started his oil company. Does anyone other than me remember Sinclair Oil? My dad once ran a Sinclari service station. I doubt if Sinclair ever made anywhere close to a billion however.

Ron Patterson

I forgot to mention Hughes, but what about Erle P. Halliburton? And I doubt whether Conrad & Marcel Schlumberger ever got to a billion dollars Money Of The Day, but they started out in the oil patch early in their lives and surely were very wealthy by the time they died.
Like anything in the oilfield, the rotary bit has undergone a series of evolutionary improvements since Hughes invented the basic concept. His name lives on in the Baker Hughes company.

Erle P. Halliburton invented the technique of oilwell casing cementing. His company is Number 1 in construction and probably Number 2 in oilfield services worldwide. Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger invented electric logging.

All these names crop up anywhere that wells are drilled or hydrocarbons are produced. I don't know if any of them ever got to $1E9 money of the day, though.

That is a little deceptive since Oil is a very high volume business. However, it is also capital intensive and in your defense the ROIC (Return on Invested Capital) had been low for many many years. Mobil Oil I believe had trouble funding their dividend and were driven to merge with Exxon.

ROIC is of course up the past 3 years but is not excessive. Another mitigating factor is that Oil companies commit huge amounts of capital in politically risky areas where the risk of non-adherence to contract is quite high, e.g. recent actions by Chavez in Venezuela.

I believe that Big Oil must transform itself and move into renewables, e.g. Solar. They have the management expertise and now capital to make it happen. Unfortunately, instead of doing that they are spending money lobbying for drilling of the OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) and leaching out the remaining hydrocarbons from the soil, to leave nothing for the next 5000 generations.

Slightly off-topic, but if you listen to the interview where Lord Browne of BP supposedly made his anti-peak Oil comments - he is being mis-quoted. All he said was that he could not predict the future price of oil. Additionally, my reading of BP statements and actions says that if an Oil company goes in a big way into renewables - BP will be first &
Exxon Mobil will be last.

My response to Khosla is up:

Prop 87: Deceptively Marketed

Read it.
Well done.
It's definitely a damned if you do, damned if you don't (vote for 87) situation.

Higher gas prices ... In the long run, isn't that a "good" thing? Because it forces us Californians to start developing the alternate infrastructure sooner rather than too later?

Warming climate opens late-season Arctic routes

Arctic straits that are typically choked solid with ice this time of year remain completely open to shipping traffic late in October, raising profound issues for Canada as it struggles to maintain its grasp on the Arctic.

For the past week, the Canadian Coast Guard scientific icebreaker Amundsen has sailed east from the Nunavut hamlet of Kugluktuk, encountering virtually no resistance through straits that have for centuries been nearly impossible to traverse, even in summer.
"We actually went through Bellot Strait and Fury and Hecla Strait, which nobody has ever done this time of year," said Fisheries and Oceans researcher Gary Stern, who is serving as chief scientist aboard the Amundsen. "There was absolutely no ice."

In 1822, when Fury and Hecla Strait was discovered by explorer William Edward Parry, its ice remained so thick at the height of summer that he was forced to anchor his boats and cross by foot. As recently as 1999, Canada's most powerful icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, encountered so much ice during an August journey through the strait that she sustained damage to her propellers and could not move faster than 200 metres per hour.

But what is historic today could soon become routine as a warming climate melts the Northwest Passage.

Gee Roel, I see you've been spending your time digging up lots of good news stories.  A midsummers cruise to the N Pole is on my list of global warming landmarks - sounds like this might happen by 2010 - two years before peak oil!?

So how does no Arctic sea ice affect climate models? My guess it might have profound affect on melting permafrost and that a really shitty positive feed back catastrophe might just be getting under way. It's pissing with rain here in Boston (this was my sight seeing afternoon) and I gather it is pissing with rain in Scotland too.
On my flight out here there was virtually 100% cloud cover all the way - N Atlantic ocean water that is 3 to 4 degrees warmer than normal having a predictable effect on cloud formation?

Glad you appreciate it, mate.

What else is on your warming tourist list?

Skiing the Kilimanjaro?

I think the big issue in the Arctic is that the going going gone ice speeds up the process so much, no more reflecting. And of course there's lots of water entering the ocean.

The clouds and evaporation may be a temporary thing, holding back more warming for a while.

Where are you picking this stuff up? I sorta doubt the Times Colonist is part of your daily reading.
I hit Cryosphere Today and Climateark very regularly and this one was news to me.
Keep posting.
Now I should say secrets of the trade, right?

Seriously, I don't remember, I've read so much today, like on most days, and this was in the morning, but since it's Canadian, and I'm in Canada, there seems to be a connection.

Canada.com is a huge site, quite a bit paywall, but not all, on the first one or two days. The owner, CanWest, is right-leaning conglomerate, I never counted all the different papers on the site, but there's many. Becuase of the info overkill, much is hit and miss.

Also thanks for support upthread. I don't have the energy for those exchanges. I just make a note when it's particularly egregious and offensive. The Lamarckian One likes his blinders and whatcha gonna do?

Secret UK 'bio-weapon' tests revealed

Defence scientists secretly tested E.coli bacteria as a possible biological weapon in and around two British towns, documents revealed today.

Between winter 1965 and November 1967 a series of Government trials involving the release of "microthreads" covered in the bacteria were carried out near Swindon and Southampton.

The experiments are detailed in the 1966 Ministry of Defence report on the Microbiological Research Establishment at Porton Down, Wilts.

It is being released for public viewing for the first time today at the National Archives in Kew, south west London.

The paper discusses the "production of micro-organisms for weapons systems", suggesting that the "excellent quality and reproducibility" of E.coli indicated "highly satisfactory results" could be achieved.

Hello Roel,

From this link:
Two years after Congress banned the synthesis of the smallpox virus, a federally appointed panel has recommended that the law be dropped from the books.....

.....Relman's group also recommended that the government revamp its select agents list in light of advances in synthetic genomics. These advances make it possible to engineer biological agents that are functionally lethal but genomically different from pathogens on the list.

Gee, I wonder if these new bioagents could yield "highly satisfactory results"?  The ultimate false flag operation is microscopic and easily blamed on Mother Nature.

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


check also:

The Bioweaponeers

Good link. Anyone interested in the topic of smallpox as a bioweapon should also read this classic article:

The Demon in the Freezer

Warning: it will scare the hell out of you.

New England: Proposals for more than 35 new power plants

Offering some new numbers about New England's projected need for more electricity, the region's power-grid manager said yesterday roughly eight big power plants and over $3.5 billion in high-voltage transmission improvements need to be in place by 2015.

A new report by Independent System Operator New England , the Holyoke organization that manages the six-state power grid and wholesale electric markets, also warns that the region has become too dependent on natural gas for producing electricity.
Following the approval of a spate of new gas-fired power plants in the late 1990s, New England now gets about 40 percent of its electricity from gas.

That represents "a serious reliability risk to New England customers, especially during winter peak-demand periods" when the region may risk not having enough gas for both heating and electricity production, according to the report, an updated 10-year outlook.

Between now and 2015, average electric demand in the region is forecast to grow 1.9 percent every year, or a total of 5,000 megawatts, comparable to eight times the output of the Pilgrim nuclear generating station in Plymouth or three times the multi-unit Mystic generating complex in Everett .

ISO officials said one bright spot is that in the last 16 months, investors have submitted proposals for more than 35 new power plants around New England.

Also, five big high-voltage transmission upgrades costing over $2 billion are now underway, including a new $217 million Stoughton-to-South Boston supply line set to be activated by December, and power lines in Fairfield County, Conn.

Africa and Oil

Although gasoline prices have dropped recently in the United States, many Americans continue to worry about the toll of oil dependence at the gas pump and on the U.S. economy. As an African, I feel their pain -- and then some. While the price of a barrel of crude has recently dipped below $60, oil still costs twice as much as it did three years ago -- and experts fully expect the price to climb higher.

President Bush, a one-time oilman, has warned Americans about the danger of a country's being "addicted to oil." Yet the toll of oil dependence in the United States pales beside the pain that soaring oil prices cause in Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, the oil crisis is not a vexing "cost crunch"; it is an unfolding catastrophe that could set back efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic development for years.

In the United States, working men and women fretted when gas prices topped $3 a gallon this year. Here in the capital of Senegal, gasoline costs $5.62 a gallon. Unlike the United States, we are not a rich nation. Imagine having to pay such an exorbitant price to fill up your tank -- but in a country where per capita income is $849 a year. Senegal's electrical utility has been forced to turn off the lights throughout the nation for long periods every day, a crippling problem that could be eased if energy cost less.

Vermonter Hilton Dier, too, is blogging "live" from the ASPO Conference, currently
underway in Boston:


Prudhoe Bay transit line looks OK after testing

Initial test results on five miles of pipeline in the Prudhoe Bay oil field indicate that the 34-inch line is serviceable, Alaska BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said.

However, it will be another couple of weeks before all the data can be evaluated, he said.

Preliminary results of the smart pigging on the five miles of eastern side transit pipe indicate no areas where the wall thickness is reduced by more than 60 percent. BP considers a 70 percent or more loss a trigger point for intervention, ranging from getting a second evaluation of the pipe to replacing it.

The August leak was discovered after workers removed insulation to get a better look at a segment of pipe following a smart pigging in July. The test on a three-mile, 30-inch segment of pipe now shut down found 12 areas with losses in wall thickness of between 70 percent and 81 percent.

The other segment of pipe -- the one that leaked in early August, spilling about 200 gallons of oil and forcing a partial shutdown of the nation's largest oil field -- was shut down and a bypass put in service.
Production at Prudhoe Bay has since returned to normal levels, more than 400,000 barrels a day.

I can't believe I missed this one:

The Oil Debate, Round II: Khosla vs. Patzek

Opposing Patzek on the ethanol debate are 2 guys from the computer industry waving the magical wand of innovation: "It depends on innovation."

LOL! Of course it depends on innovation. What technology doesn't? But the belief seems to be that you can merely innovate yourself around chemistry and physics to your desired solution.

This was my favorite part though:

In round one of Oil Drum Debate, last month, we pitted Khosla against Robert Rapier, who was deft at criticizing Khosla's assumptions about ethanol's viability. We concluded that round saying Rapier came out the stronger -- at least, based on science that was argued (science being different from ethics). Khosla failed to appreciate how much energy it takes to produce ethanol, Rapier said, and quite convincingly.


"Khosla, however, argued that while Patzek's perspective is important, it's not about the status-quo -- it is about the trajectory, or direction that science is going in."

Not a new argument; we heard this in his debate with you. Too bad this debate was private; it would have been much more useful it it had been public.

So, according to the article, Khosla won this debate because we will innovate our way out of the problem. They also throw in Moore's law here, so we're supposed to assume on faith that Moore's law will somehow be operative with ethanol. Ok, fine, but did silicon valley get where it is today through government subsidies?  Did Intel get the size of chips down and the power up all these years through government subsidies?  

And yet I am conflicted. To a certain, extent, it is a matter of faith that we will sufficiently innovate when it comes to soloar panels.

And yet I am conflicted. To a certain, extent, it is a matter of faith that we will sufficiently innovate when it comes to soloar panels.

But solar is pretty much there now. It is costly, but it is proven technology that could mitigate Peak Oil. Grain ethanol suffers some fundamental flaws that you can't innovate around. You can make improvements, but if you are making grain ethanol you will always have a big energy sink in getting the water out. Solar doesn't suffer from such a fundamental problem.

That sounds about right to me. From the article,
... even Khosla doesn't believe that ethanol is the final answer. Ethanol will, though, help break the back of the traditional distribution model of petro-chemicals.
If anything, ethanol is attempting to fit into the traditional distribution model. Big plants and centralized production. If anything is to break out of that, it would be local microproduction from wind, solar, etc.

Mr. Khosla seems to be stuck inside the memetic box of big, centralized production.

Mr Khosla is stuck inside the box of public money, along with ADM and Cargill. It will get harder fast for the US to get rid of these subsidies, at least for the foreseeable future.

The report below states biofuel subsidies as high as $6.8 billion for 2006. How many gallons have been produced? Certainly not 6.8 billion. It gets worse by the minute.

Without taxpayers' money, Khosla would not invest in ethanol. he makes his money off your backs.

Biofuel subsidies cost U.S. billions

The Global Subsidies Initiative, based in Geneva, Switzerland, totaled up the cost of all the tax breaks, direct subsidies and other benefits for corn-derived ethanol, and it estimates that the assistance will cost U.S. taxpayers at least $5.1 billion this year.

The study said the actual cost of subsidizing ethanol could be as high as $6.8 billion this year, depending on an unanswered question of whether refiners have to pay taxes on the value of a tax credit they receive for using ethanol.

The subsidies make ethanol far more expensive than other sources of energy, according to the study. The cost of subsidizing ethanol this year is about $15.90 to $17 per million BTUs, a unit of measuring energy content.

moore's law is dead on computers too.
why do you think the emphasis now is on the # of cores now along with the performance per watt instead of pure speed?

you are also correct, saying solar panels will work or wind or nuclear etc is the exact same thin as saying we will innovate our way out of this problem with bio-fuels.

Interesting... I was debating precisely this point with our in-house High Performance Computing consultant only this week. Are you sure you're not him?

There might be another factor of two or so to go on gate size, hence a factor of 4 on area, but probably not a factor of 10. And I'm sure fab throughput is still many orders of magnitude away from any limit inherent in physical law. And oh also but our planet is composed mostly of silicon dioxide, so no shortages there any time soon.

no i am not that person.
but as to your last comment. being a natural resource, like oil, you should know there is a diffence in quality no matter how much there is.

as for cpu or any microprocessor, i do very much doubt that we will be seeing the 100ghz cpu's with multiple cores at all.


Ok, fine, but did silicon valley get where it is today through government subsidies?

In fact:


That is exactly how the embyonic industry started off in the days when a prototype IC chip cost 100's more than a comparable circuit made of discrete transistors.

How about this part:

Newton said the two left with Patzek agreeing to review Khosla's papers and give him specific feedback so that Khosla could develop more answers for Patzek.

You scientists need to stop doing his research and providing your educated conclusions to him for free.  

From the comments section to the article you linked to:

"Hi Matt - This is a very interesting discussion, however, just for the record: My
1-hour working meeting with Mr. Khoshla was not a debate. We both tried to establish points of mutual agreement and disagreement. While certainly there was agreement on several key issues, there was also significant, one might say fundamental, disagreement on biofuels. I find the biofuel focus of Proposition 87 to be inconsistent with the very survival of life diversity and key ecosystems on the Earth and, consequently, I do not favor Proposition 87.

Tad Patzek
U.C. Berkeley "

Sorry for so many "replies" but part of what Patzek is hanging his hat is the next step, stuff like butanol.  Ethanol is just used as a transitional way to get infrastructure for the next fuel like butanol which will solve our liquid fuel problem.

Ok. Even if something like butanol is an alternative to petroleum, is the indefinite perpetuation of liquid fuels for personal transportation, the most cost effective and climate sensitive way to go if we are projecting forward from, say, 20 to 40 years?  Hell  if I know, but to say that butanol will be better than ethanol doesn't mean that it or something else will be the best way to invest in a transportation system for the future.

Of course this isn't the way our society works. We have not and will never take a holistic systems approach to any of our problems, much less energy. It will just be a process of a messy give and take between all the players.  The actual course we take and what would be an optimal allocation of resources are extremely unlikely to end up with the same result.

Opposing Patzek on the ethanol debate are 2 guys from the computer industry waving the magical wand of innovation: "It depends on innovation."

I'll get to work on the php script umm, tomorrow. ;-)

Of course it depends on innovation. What technology doesn't?

Rail, including electrified rail.

New technology is useful.  CTC controls that allow bi-directional scheduling on one, two or three tracks; bar codes on freight cars, new alloys for overhead wire and rails, concrete ties and welded rail, low floor boarding, hybrid drives, etc.

But the success of the technology does not depend upon new innovations.  A very large number of unique challenges have been solved efficiently in the last 175 years.  Reading history is the first step in solving a difficult problem.

Best Hopes,

Alan Drake

Care to comment on this? (from O&G Journal)

SPE posts reserves definitions for comment

The Society of Petroleum Engineers has posted the proposed 2007 Petroleum Reserves and Resources Classification, Definitions, and Guidelines on its web site for comment from industry.

The draft involved 2 years of work and cooperation between SPE and other sponsoring organizations: the World Petroleum Council, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers.

The organizations seek comment from their international memberships by Feb. 1, 2007. Later boards of the various organizations will consider final approval of the definitions.

The proposed system would update and replace guidelines outlined in the 1997 SPE-WPC Petroleum Reserves Definitions and the 2000 SPE-WPC-AAPG Petroleum Resources Classification and Definitions.

In updating the definitions, SPE's oil and gas reserves committee compared definitions used worldwide. The primary updates include the following:

1.- The system is project-based.
2.- The class is based on the project chance of commerciality.
3.- Categorization is based on quantities recovered by applying a defined project to a reservoir base case that uses evaluator's forecast of future conditions (including prices and costs, technology available, environmental standards, fiscal terms, and regulatory constraints).
4.- Guidelines are applicable to unconventional resources (including bitumen, oil shale, coalbed methane, and gas hydrates).

The draft definitions are posted at www.spe.org/reserves.

Peak Influence

ASPO is over - a grinding 3 days of talks and drinking.

Randy Udall, as part of a passionate speach paid tribute to The Oil Drum (and other lesser BLOGS) and the great work they do.

The site was mentioned on several occasions by speakers and delegates.

Someone mentioned peak horses - but I forgot to note the details.

Expect many interesting posts in the comming weeks.


Water pollution becoming a threat to China hydropower

Water pollution is threatening China's oldest hydropower station -- built nearly a century ago -- and has forced it to halt operation several times.

The Shilongba Power Plant, located in the western suburbs of Kunming, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, was built in 1908 using German technology and equipment, said deputy director Tian Jinghua.

In November 2003, acidic water "attacked" the power plant, triggering direct economic losses of up to 19 million yuan (2.4 million U.S. dollars), he said. The latest incident occurred on Oct. 15 and 16 this year. Highly acidic water forced the plant to stop generating power for 15 hours, he said.

Water pollution is a very serious problem in China. Nearly 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted to various degrees, government statistics show.

China discharged 52.4 billion tons of waste water in 2005, up 26 percent on 2000. Only 52 percent of the waste water was treated before being discharged.

Only 52 percent of the waste water was treated before being discharged.

I am willing to bet that 90% of that 52% consists of running the water through a pond to settle out the crap before it is dumped in the river.

That does not qualify as treatment.

It's been a while, and I'd have to recheck, but I'm pretty sure that over 20% of Chinese rivers earlier this year were reported as being "too polluted to stand in". The insane North-South river diversion project won't exactly make it better.

It's hard to get a clear picture, what to believe from state media? Growth is all that counts, even if there are officials talking green. China is often the biggest producer and user of such environmentally beneficial industries as steel, aluminum and cement, and the largest importer of western tech dump. Out of hand is what it is. 20% of the world population in one small country.

I hope the best for the people there, but I see China violently imploding within 10 years due to civil unrest, leaving one big poisonous garbage belt.

Environmentally, China appears to be where the US was about 50 or so years ago - rapidly expanding industry coupled with rapidly worsening environmental problems. I suspect that just like in the US, the problems won't be seriously addressed until they become too serious to ignore.
Regarding China and Iraq, a new report says "China and Iraq are reviving a $1.2 billion deal signed by Beijing and Saddam Hussein's government in 1997".  Hmm - isn't this a new twist, un-doing the un-doing of contracts that the US invasion did, and perhaps was intended to do?
More on the incipient US recession:


Note the comment on cause and effect and the price of oil - it is his contention that the oil price falls that we have seen are markets factoring in a US slowdown and demand destruction - I reckon there is a lot to this. After all bond markets have been signalling recession for a while now and all oil traders needed to do was take a cue from that. Oil did for the US economy via interest rate rises, the housing bubble and the debt mountain in 2005/early 2006, and we are just starting to see the consequences.
But with demand destruction in a recession I maintain all best are off in trying to determine whether peak has occurred - the producers have room to cut production in the face of demand contraction so any conclusions as to what oil production figures mean (in relation to global peaking) for the period during which the contraction lasts are rendered pretty meaningless IMO.

I really can't see why TPTB would continue to finance the debt-ridden Americans as they squander the world's precious resources. They have the power to shut America down at any time.
They have the power to shut America down at any time.

That is what you see playing out right now, before your eyes, the shutdown of the US.

It was Greenspan's mandate over 20 years. Squeeze out the last bits, and throw them in the trash can. There is not much more to get out of the population, all they have left is debt. Take the bottom 100 million people and ask yourself what they can contribute in positive economic terms in the next 10-20 years. If a third or more of your population has become economically obsolete (and that's all that counts in the present system), it's time to start watching over your shoulder.

There is no way the US will ever be able to pay even the interest on its federal debts, let alone the personal ones. Not in the present economical and social situation. But in an bankruptcy/emergency concept, you can force people to work much harder for much less (if only to pay off those personal obligations). Call it serfdom, call it what you want.

Large scale warfare abroad would be ideal for that, but domestic unrest and subsequent crackdown, say Homeland Security, can go a long way too. Combine the two and you're sailing.


I remember Paul Krugman, the economics writer at the NYT, writing a couple of years ago that it appeared the U.S. government's policy was to turn America into a "Banana Republic."

Poverty-stricken citizens ruled by a corporate-military oligarchy.

It certainly looks like that's what's coming.

For late-Saturday-nighters (don't forget to save your daylight):

We just put up Khebab's latest post on TOD:Canada.

Canadian Oil Sand Production Update

Scary misinformation:

And videos at:

I don't know what to make of this, except perhaps the thought "The best lies are half-truths."

I can't tell what Edwin Black's motive is, but he's full of BS. He's talking about Honda coming out with Hydrogen cars, and home-hydrogen generation (of unknown source - presumed electricity, except he adds the source will generate electricity for the home!)

Maybe he's "selling" NG cars under some strange illusion that they're a stepping stone to hydrogen?

Well, forgive this post. I'm sure there ennumerable idiots/scamsters out there saying crazy things, but it just disturbs me!