DrumBeat: October 3, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/03/06 at 8:45 AM EDT]

U.S. to delay buying emergency oil through winter

The Energy Department said Monday it will hold off buying replacement oil for the nation's emergency petroleum stockpile through the winter heating season in order to keep more supplies on the market.

To help make more oil available for producing gasoline over the summer and help lower then-soaring pump prices, President Bush in April ordered the Energy Department to delay deliveries and purchases of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until this autumn, which began Sept. 22.

...However, the department expects to delay buying that replacement oil during the winter, when demand for heating oil is strong, according to department spokesman Craig Stevens.

Price of gas is cheapest since February

WASHINGTON - Drivers continued to find more savings at the pump, as the price for gasoline fell for the eighth week in a row to the lowest level since February, the government said on Monday.

Oil Analysts Raise 2007 Forecasts as Demand May Outpace Supply

U.K.: Gas traders start giving it away

A glut of natural gas supplies in Britain has seen prices collapse and left traders having to pay for it to be taken off their hands.

UK To Be Permanent Net Oil Importer In 2007

The U.K. is set to become a permanent net importer of crude oil and refined products in 2007 - three years earlier than the U.K.'s Department of Trade and Industry expects, according to the U.K.-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre Monday.

Depletion rates of the U.K.'s oil and gas reserves in the North Sea are occurring faster than expected and production coming onstream in the next few years from new fields won't be enough to compensate, said ODAC director Douglas Low.

5 killed, 9 missing in Nigeria attack

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - Dozens of militants sank two military patrol boats in Nigeria's oil-rich, southern delta Monday in an attack that killed five soldiers and left nine others missing, an army spokesman said.

Cameroon: Gov't Wants Order in Energy Consumption

Ecuador oil policy upsets private firms

As campaigning for general elections in Ecuador gathers momentum, issues relating to the oil sector, which has for long had a dominant role in the country's politics and economy, are more to the fore than ever before.

Malaysia: Shell positions itself for future demand

New Zealand: Feedback wanted on oil emergency response strategy

The government is seeking feedback on what it proposes to do in the event of an emergency disruption to oil supplies.

China Jockeys For South American Oil

China, Hungry for Fuel, Keeps Daqing's Old Oil Pumps Kowtowing

If and when Bush 'Iraqs' Iran

A strategic thinker who called all the correct diplomatic and military plays preceding Operation Iraqi Freedom now sees diplomatic failure and air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Political Tectonic Shift: Energy Policy under the North American Union

Montana to Build Coal-To-Liquid Fuel Plant

Texas in $10 billion partnership for more wind power

Silicon vs. CIGS: With solar energy, the issue is material

The population bomb is ticking again: Scenarios are dire, but solutions may be surprisingly easy.

A data point to make HG Wells weep.

Sometime on Sun/Monday there was a break in and a bike of mine got swiped.   After doing the police report, I thought "I'll get over to the local schools and see if my bike is in the rack."

At the high school - 3 bikes, one with disk brakes (better than mine)   At the grade schools - not a single bike rack, let alone bikes.

Remind me how this transportation/energy thing will all work out fine?

Checking a bike rack?  No, no.  What you do these days is check eBay.  See if someone's selling your stolen property online.
Not a good time to be cruising around schools.
Not a good time to be cruising around schools.

I'm not registered as a Republican, so I'm safe.

Thnking about getting the dog to put in papers to run for office as a Republican however.  She likes pork and has been known to lick boys.

Perhaps I'm misreading his reference, but I don't think it was about Foley.

Rather in the last week or two, there have been 3 seperate gunman attacks on schools through out the US, and security has been stepped up in a number districts to be watchful of strange people hanging around schools.

I heard about the Amish attack.    The more paranoid people claim that attecks happen all the time, and are just never reported.

At one time I saw a bloody body in a fed building, men in body armor and guns standing all about, film crews for the local TV channels were there, yet not a peep from the media.   So I'm a little more willing to believe the position of attackes not reported, based on my own lying eyes.

Pheeeer of the Eeeeevil gunman and me being a threat implys the use of obeservation of the outside of the school AND people who cared enough to to be doing a job to call in my walking about on land my tax dollars pay for.    Rather over the top if one feels one has to call in someone walking around the back of a school or driving about a school.

I just would have wipped out the incident report number, explained why I was there, then bitched aobut the lack of bicycle racks.

Well now it turns out that even children violence - a result of decades of loss of social cohesion, proper education, individualism, egocentrism etc. will also be put in this ridiculous R-D frame. Of course if democrats win they will fix it overnight, right? Good luck then.
will also be put in this ridiculous R-D frame.

Has the hyprocracy of Mr. Foley hit a nerve with you?  Did you believe he cared?   Did you believe that he had the interest of childern at heart when he was drafting laws to 'protect the childern'?  

Pehaps you thought when Mr. Foley said "it's vile" you felt the older man in power - younger woman dynamic was vile, not the male-female dynamic.

"It's vile," said Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach. "It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."


For you to even CLAIM "ridiculous R-D frame." shows your filter on the world needs adjusting.   If I thought spending any more time on you would adjust your filter, I would bother.

In case it is not clear - you are the one that put a certain filter on the interpretation of the problem we are facing. If you don't find anything wrong with it, then so be it - it comes to a matter of taste in the end.

BTW and for the record I have always supported the Democrats and I don't see that changing.

If it gets "put in this ridiculous R-D frame" it is only following a well-established tradition.

When Susan Smith confessed to drowning her two children in a South Carolina lake, Congressman Newt Gingrich was quick to blame the Democrats. Campaigning Saturday, November 5, 1994 in his home state of Georgia he said:

"I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we have to have change. I think people want to change and the only way you get change is to vote Republican. That's the message for the last three days."

His statement was quickly picked up and repeatedly replayed by the national media. See here and here.

In May, 1955 on Meet the Press host Tim Russert asked Gingrich to defend his statements linking Susan Smiths's actions to the Democrats. Gingrich refused to back down. "Why do we have all these problems we didn't have in 1955?" he asked Russert. Gingrich then went on to blame America's post-1955 social decay on "a long pattern of counterculture belief . . . deep in the Democratic Party" that had "undervalued the family" and "consistently favored alternative life styles."

Full text link is here.

Somehow, the old adage about reaping what you sow keeps coming to mind.  

The date for the Meet The Press interview should have been "May, 1995". Old eyes don't preview as well as they should.
One type of stupidity does not justify another
The R-D frame:

Fox labeling Foley a Democrat
It appears briefly at the start of this YouTube video.

When was the last time you tried to ride a bike in modern traffic? It ain't fun. I wouldn't let my kids do it if I had any. (Not just for traffic -you know how nuts people are these days.)

Plus, most school zones extend far beyond the range at which even high schoolers can ride to and from the school. Do you want to ride 10 miles or more one way?

Last night.

I have 2 elem. schools, and a middle and high school within about a mile of my house. Actually the elem. and high school is within a half mile.

"When was the last time you tried to ride a bike in modern traffic?"

About 4 hours ago.

"I wouldn't let my kids do it if I had any. (Not just for traffic -you know how nuts people are these days.)"

They walk to the elementary school.  I plan to bike with them to middle school, since the school's on one of my two routes to work.  They'll probably bus to high school, though, unless TSHTF.  In that case, the city will put in the planned bike path after all, and they can bike to school on that (4 miles each way).

Traffic where you are must be better than here. I almost get run over in my neighborhood. There aren't any bike lanes anywhere, the nearest school is 10 miles one way, and you have to cross three major roads -including an interstate -to get there. And no, there aren't any provisions for bikes or pedestrians.
Why would anybody want to live in such a place?
If it's ten miles to the nearest school aren't you deep in a rural area where there is little or no traffic? How is it a "neighborhood" if the school is 10 miles off?
Well I don't know where Optimist lives. But I live in Raleigh NC & I feel his pain. No bike lanes, incomplete sidewalks, drivers like mad bulls, and kids assigned & re-assigned nearly continuously to schools far outside their own neighborhoods to alleviate crowding and promote ethnic balance.
My 12 year old daughter rides 2.5 km to School 3 days out of 5. There are many bike lanes in Melbourne and more being added all the time but I'm not couragous enough to ride 20 km to work.
Check Ebay, check Craigslist, and check at the local bike stores. If the bike winds up with a kid, most likely it's an inadvertent purchase from the fencer.

Kids these days.. so tame. Not like in my day./

New Haven Register  Sept.30,2006

   NAACP members are livid over a Yale Police
e-mail they claim unfairly pegs all black
youths on bicycles in the city as criminals.
  The e-mail was sent to the Yale community
by university Police Chief James A.Perrotti
last week after an alleged incident involving
youths on bicycles.....


Eugene OR is one of the bike friendliest cities in the US. It is also one of the bike stealingest cities in the US. One bike shop owner told me that one time an entire bike rack, bikes and all, was stolen. Apparently the thieves backed up a truck, cut the bolts, loaded up and hauled away.

I'm sure thievery will proliferate if economic times get extremely rough.

Well, the really interesting thing all of us humans have to examine is where we are in social movements.  This is especially important when we accuse others of not getting it, deceiving themselves, as they follow their social movements.

So I wouldn't want to say that I weight the following too strongly.  It ain't my social movement, but the fact that it exists with its own self-binding gravity, is not really enough to disprove it either:

What do Christian millenarians, jihadists, Ivy League professors, and baby-boomers have in common? They're all hot for the apocalypse.

The End of the World As They Know It

(I think that's similar to past article, but this one seems to be dated September 2nd)

ooooh.  thanks for that odo.  good piece.  Pinchbeck is an interesting dude--he's been on more trips than Kissinger.
Can we do a trip-chart with Jerry Garcia? I'm just talking about airplane flights and world tours. I think Jerry and Leary have got Kissinger out-classed. But that may have something to do with their frequent-flyer miles. We'll have to dig in. C'mon, Wharf Rat. I need back-up.
Shouldn't give me an opening like that.

I may be going to hell in a bucket, babe,
But at least I'm enjoying the ride. ..

Ship of fools
on a cruel sea
Ship of fools
sail away from me...

It's three AM in the combat zone.
Gentlemen start your engines!..

Help on the way
I know only this
I've got you today
Don't fly away
'cause I love what I love
and I want it that way...

Sugar magnolia
Ringin' that blue bell
Caught up in sunlight
Come on out singing
I'll walk you in the sunshine
Come on honey, come along with me
...Sunshine daydream
Walk you the tall trees
Going where the wind goes
Blooming like a red rose
Breathing more freely
Light out singing
I'll walk you in the morning sunshine
Sunshine daydream
Walk you in the sunshine

What a long strange trip it's been.

Or else

Yeah, thanks Odo. I'm reading Pinchbeck's "Breaking Open the Head" now. Will have to check out his latest.

I wonder about the fashionableness aspect that this Anderson fella is trying to push though. Wasn't there a similar undercurrent in the 50's (from Toynbee's History and nuclear obsessions)? And Oswald Spengler was pushing the Rome similarities back in the 20s with his "Decline of the West."

It comes to mind that possibly, just possibly, the widespread willingness to entertain such notions might be suggesting an underlying discontent with the direction we're headed in?

It's hard to say what's behind it, and what combination of fact and crowd psychology.  FWIW, I think more of it is millennial than the players want to admit.  This is most obvious in the Christian versions of course.  Y2K (or there abouts) just happens to coincide with "the end times."

The idea that these various (unfriendly) groups could share a lot of unconscious social messaging is interesting, and IMO not out of the question.

This is most obvious in the Christian versions of course.  Y2K (or there abouts) just happens to coincide with "the end times."

While I know its considered fashionable to bash the Christians on these forums, could we at least try to play fair.  People at the ToD don't like to be compared to Greenpeace, or militant eco movements, so don't try to broadbrush all Christians with the same stroke.

Firstly, nowhere in the bible does it specify a time when the return of Christ (and thus "end of times") will occur.  

Secondly not all Christians are waiting with baited breath for the end to come so He can return.  While in one sense we look forward toward that moment because of what it will mean for us and God's kingdom, there are quite a few of us who also know what it means for everyone else, and despite your depictions, quite a few of us are not in a hurry to see that fate come to pass for Earth.  I have a lot of non-Christian friends and family which I have no desire to see them in suffering.

And lastly, who is to say that humanity is going to end in one apocalypse?  I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Earth fries itself up crispy via nuclear war and we go on for another couple of thousand years before the "end of times".

I agree the 2K mark has a lot of people in a tizzy, add to that the dating surrounding this death cult Ahmadinejad belongs to and the 2012 mark from some Indian cultures, and we've got quite the ruckus.  But end of the world thinking nothing new, nor even specific to a given culture, nor specific to post Christ times.

The only difference with this time, and the other current 20th century episodes of "fashionable" doomsdayness is that perhaps for the first time in mankind's history we truly do have the ability to self-fulfill the prophecies that are running around rampant.

But if you think, that somehow Christians in general are pushing for this because they think it means Christ is returning, I'd strongly recommend you get that stereotype out of your head.  For one it does a disservice to those Christians like myself who are in no rush for a return, and secondly does a disservice to you for thinking that the politicos are driven by this, when they are probably driven by a much more fundamental stimuli known as greed.

And if you do find a Christian who is salivating at the coming of the end times, send him to me.  I'll remind him that if he is that anxious for the end, what that will mean in regards to his friends, family, and himself, as the Bible doesn't have kind words for the church during the end of times.

Telumehtar - a good reminder that non all christians are the nut cases that seem to get all the media play. Still, I heard of a recent poll that indicated that 30% of Americans now identify themselves with one of the various "evangelical" churches. Have that many of my neighbors really gone whacko?
Evangelical doesn't automatically equal impatient for Armegeddon.  Evangelical is more about a philosophy for being more active in promoting Christ and Christianity.

Agreed, there are some evangelical movements that put an emphasis on "end of times" messages, but as someone who has been studying the rising numbers of "seeker" churches and strongly dislikes the way they try to reach people for Christ, I can assure you this end of times message is more of a side note to their "feel good" message.  (that's not to say Evangelical churches are seeker churches, but certainly a side effect of the Evangelical movement have been seeker churches).

The church (and I mean this amongst all denominations) is at a bit of a crossroads right now.  Gaining in popularity are a number of seeker churches, some of which have grown extremely large and extremely decadent, by using a message that is only a half truth of what the Bible teaches.  (Primarily the half that says you are forgiven, and that your consequences will be washed away).

A lot of Christians including myself from more traditional beliefs, believe this is a dangerous and really an untruthful way to present the word of God.  Yes we believe Christ died for our sins, and that before the judgement of God, the consequences of those sins will be wiped away(namely eternal death/damnation).  But the Bible doesn't say the consequences of our actons on Earth will be wiped away, nor does it say that we should continue in our old ways of sin after being saved.  Yet the "seeker" churches are conveniently ignoring these more Earthly lessons, and in my opinion setting their followers up for a great fall.

One Christian theologian I heard summed it up by pointing out that in the early church there was a debate about whether we should continue to sin in order to increase the greatness of Christ's deed, or that we should instead live more holy lives as a tribute to the sacrifice Christ made.  The debate ended with the latter side winning, but lately a resurgence of the former seems to have crept back up from the dredges of past theologian debate.

When you throw a feel good message into the path of the down trodden(the poor have made up a large number of "new" church goers), you will find listeners.  (If anything the lack of political will to address PO re-enforces this notion)

In some cases add to that a message of hellfire on the "world" that ran them over then yes there is some merit to certain factions trumping up an end of times message.  

But most moderate and traditional Christians stick the belief that the end times will happen on God's time and that man will not know the hour, and that we need to live our lives on Earth, and not abandon our Earthly duties for a thought of his emminent return.  In fact one of the early churches was rebuked for not tending to their duties because thought Christ would return any day.

But then "traditional" moderate Christians don't make good/interesting news pieces, so its unlikely you will hear about their views of the end times, and instead hear about the guy yelling "the end is nigh, the end if nigh" because of the sheer spectacle of it all.

Still, I heard of a recent poll that indicated that 30% of Americans now identify themselves with one of the various "evangelical" churches. Have that many of my neighbors really gone whacko?

Just as it is true that not all Christians identify themselves as evangelical, it is also true that not all evangelicals are premillenialists. According to Timothy Weber, "They make up about one-third of America's 40 or 50 million evangelical Christians." It should also be added that not all of the premillenialists are whacko, but that's a subjective judgement.

For anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the Dispensational Premillenialists, I highly recommend Weber's "Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillenialism 1875-1982" (unfortunately out of print). More recently, he's written "On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend," excerpted here.

I tried to phrase it so that it was specifically Christian flavors of the near-term apocalypse, or "end times."

I think Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy did a good job of showing where "end times" plays in the various current branches of American Christianity.

FWIW, it wasn't much of a topic in the Lutheran Church of my youth.

It comes to mind that possibly, just possibly, the widespread willingness to entertain such notions might be suggesting an underlying discontent with the direction we're headed in?

What Tainter referred to as "scanning behavior."  A sign of a society facing diminishing returns.  People become increasingly disatisfied with the way things are, and start casting about for alternatives.  Wacky religions or foreign ideologies may become trendy.  Partisan strife increases.

Interesting. Toynbee talks about the idolization of an ephemeral self - in essence, an inability to imagine and undergo the changes necessary for a civilization to continue to prosper. This causes increasing stress (individually and socially) as the our expectations don't synch up with our experience. And if I recall he also talks abouut attempts to apply non-culturallly germaine responses (foreign ideologies) and the increase in fringe groups. (Been awhile since I've been in those books).
I heard someone describe this "idolization" a while back - in the context of self importance and this emphasis on this self perceived "superhero" attitude.  He said it was a curious phenomenon at the end of the 90's and into the turn of the century.  So many people live as if everything is a video game or some alternate reality - as the author described it (paraphrasing):  "everybody thinking they are the superhero star in their own movie"

This IMHO is a serious obstacle to any meaningful change as Toynbee describes.  Why would anyone with this attitude be inclined to deal with the difficult choices rooted in harsh reality (i.e. peak oil) when they have the outlook that they are the $10 million dollar leading role and all the rest of us are just extras.  Now consider the fact that the TeeVee has sold a large percentage of the population on this way of looking at life - starting at a younger and younger age - and you see big problems coming as the credits roll at the end...

Hmm, it could also be a manifestation of the collective unconscious. The fact that there are so many right now -a statistically very significant number -does indicate something of the sort is going on.
A sign of a society facing diminishing returns.  People become increasingly disatisfied with the way things are, and start casting about for alternatives.  Wacky religions or foreign ideologies may become trendy.  Partisan strife increases.

Becoming dissatisfied with business as usual and casting about for alternatives is not a bad thing if we can steer people away from wacky religions and toward a spirituality that values diversity and sustainability.

As David Korten writes:

The Great Turning begins with a cultural and spiritual awakening--a turning in cultural values from money and material excess to life and spiritual fulfillment, from a belief in our limitations to a belief in our possibilities, and from fearing our differences to rejoicing in our diversity. It requires reframing the cultural stories by which we define our human nature, purpose, and possibilities.

We humans live by stories. The key to making a choice for Earth Community is recognizing that the foundation of Empire's power does not lie in its instruments of physical violence. It lies in Empire's ability to control the stories by which we define ourselves and our possibilities in order to perpetuate the myths on which the legitimacy of the dominator relations of Empire depend. To change the human future, we must change our defining stories.

Our nation is on the wrong course not because Americans have the wrong values. It is on the wrong course because of remnant imperial institutions that give unaccountable power to a small alliance of right-wing extremists who call themselves conservative and claim to support family and community values, but whose preferred economic and social policies constitute a ruthless war against children, families, communities, and the environment.
Leanan you took the words right out of my mouth, but you know, better expressed and better spelling and all that.

Dimishing returns, it's all about the diminishing returns....

On Sunday I headed out way too early in the morning for a swap meet in Livermore, and my drive was accompanied by an evilicious "what if", What If, there was a huge-ass earthquake while I was out in Livermore, stuff all knocked down in the bay area, water, nat. gas lines, roads, bridges, etc all screwed up, like as not fires, so I'd be perfectly justified in getting into my car and driving not home but East. No more 14-hour days, no more crushing debt, Hey, I was cleaned out by the great quake of '06! Declare bankruptcy and get a nice normal job washing dishes or something, going back to a 40-hour week would be like a vacation.

Lots of people are in similar situations, too much house, too much student loan debt or debt of any  kind, working their asses off to pay for all this STUFF that doesn't even make 'em very happy.

"scanning behavior"

That's certainly a convenient answer.  But speaking of things we should ask ourselves ... do we start with good evidence that people like the "end times" folks are starting from the same data?

Or might they, from their presumably majority behavior, think that Tainter is doing some "scanning behavior" (looking for God's message) and not quite getting it?

It might me interesting to note that the numbers of believers in all other forms of end times, are totally swamped by the number of evanglical end times believers.

"36% of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God and is to be taken literally"

"A TIME/CNN poll finds that more than one-third of Americans say they are paying more attention now to how the news might relate to the end of the world, and have talked about what the Bible has to say on the subject. Fully 59% say they believe the events in Revelation are going to come true, and nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the Sept. 11 attack."

That seems to me more rooted in a Biblical than in the sort of things Tainter scans for.


I fumbled my text above.  When I used the word "majority" I was trying to say that I think they form a solid majority of "end times" believers of all varieties.
But speaking of things we should ask ourselves ... do we start with good evidence that people like the "end times" folks are starting from the same data?

Or might they, from their presumably majority behavior, think that Tainter is doing some "scanning behavior" (looking for God's message) and not quite getting it?

Doesn't matter.  Tainter does not argue that scanning behavior is based on logic, or on any particular data.  It's more a general reaction to societal stress.  It may be expressed in positive or negative ways, as religious or political movements, etc.  The scientist trying to develop a new solar cell, the Dittohead doting on Rush Limbaugh, the people converting to LDS, etc.  

FWIW, I think all of us here are engaging in classic scanning behavior.  


In those two previous (and poorly worded) posts, I tried to suggest that Tainter, and an End Times preacher, might have very convenient answers for why everyone is out there "seeking  something."

If we don't base our view "on logic, or on any particular data" what actually stops us from stopping at either convenient explanation?

Does it simply come down to one's path?  If you come to The End by way of fundimentalist interpretations of the Bible, then Tainter is lost, and seeking.  If you come to The End by way of Tainter, then the fundimentalists are lost, and seeking.

I don't find that very satisfying.

Does it simply come down to one's path?  If you come to The End by way of fundimentalist interpretations of the Bible, then Tainter is lost, and seeking.  If you come to The End by way of Tainter, then the fundimentalists are lost, and seeking.

Just for the record...Tainter does not judge scanning behavior that way.  He would not say fundementalists are "lost."  Scanning behavior is not a bad thing.  

As for the rest...Tainter's work is based on what happened in other societies as they faced diminishing returns and collapse.  Obviously, the End Times preacher's is not, since if if the world had actually ended before like he's predicting, we wouldn't be here to argue about it.

You are, as always, quite astute in your observations.
There seems to be some confusion over what Scanning behavior is.

Scanning behavior is, as Leanan has observed, what we're doing here - the corporate treadmill isn't working, the American Way Of Life isn't working, our Dads were able to support a family on one paycheck at the widget factory, and buy a house, and now it's all we can do working 2 jobs to pay the rent on a little shitbox studio. Dating isn't working. Child-raising isn't working. Finding friends isn't working - no more dropping by a friend's house to hang out, or going fishing together, now friends are anyone who doesn't actually give you the Stare Of Death in the halls at work and you actually eat lunch with, sometimes.

We're working harder and harder for less and less. In this situation, people start looking around...... "Hmm, I feel like I'm ramming my head into a wall here, maybe I should drop everything and join the Navy" Or join the Moonies. Or move back in with Mom. Scanning behavior - scanning through what other channels may offer, this channel appears to be the one where I'm a 2-dimensional cardboard cutout of a person, running harder and harder to stay in place, so let's start looking around, because almost anything is looking better. Control theorists call it "hunting", when a system is no longer at a state of equilibrium and starts oscillating, wavering around, in effect trying to hunt for, and find, a new state of equilibrium.

This is why damned few 1950s suburbanites dropped out of life and went off to live in the woods in a yurt. Things were good for them, their income allowed buying a house, supporting a wife and kids, and even a pension and savings. Yes, things were really like that then. These days, I think most of us are ready to go live in the woods in a yurt - there is nothing stable about modern downsized, H1B'd, outsourced, Patriot Acted, surveilled, American life.

Scanning behavior does not mean changing what one does toward another set goal, it means scanning, hunting, searching. It means a much larger range of what we see possible for ourselves, since what we're doing now isn't working. The Germans were heavy into scanning mode when their economy crashed in the 1930s, Hitler looked pretty damned good to starving and insecure people who'd normally never have done anything but laugh at a humorless little corporal from Austria.

We need to understand scanning behavior, because TPTB sure do. If the US economy does a real crash, some of us will indeed become Storm Troopers for the Empire, because it beats starving. Others of us will be yurts in the woods, or any number of other ways to get by. We will indeed see TheOilDrummers helping round up, or running from, other TheOilDrummers.

amen, I've never heard a better description of where [at least] 50% of the UK population are at.

Mucho grassy arse

davidsmi, I read BotH a year or so ago.  It's quite eye-opening.  I haven't read the new one yet though...
I'm not sure I buy it, but in the article the author (Kurt Anderson) eventually attributes the current rise in millenialism to the aging of the baby boomers.

While I certainly don't think of peak oil as a movement, I sometimes step back and wonder why I find it so interesting.  Guilty is probably too strong of a word but one should admit that it's a rather morbid fascination.

No wait ... geology, engineering, economics, politics, the future.

I'm ok.

I've always found plenty to laugh at in the differing versions of the apocalypse scenarios running around. Some people think of the Apocalypse as the old book of revelations come true. And some see it as not being able to fill up their Hummer and get their $3 latte on the way to work in the morning. And everything in between.
If a few people push a few buttons the world will be destroyed.  At least as far as the humans are concerned.  And if the people that can do it believe that Jesus is bringing the faithful a "new earth", then what's to lose?  Gotta fulfill those prophecies, right??
I won't say it's necessarily healthy, but it's actually extemely logical in the sense we are a civilization that many of our most important myths and "understandings" are failing. So, this creates a pressure that things are ending -- how many understand things, they are. The question is whether we'll be able to transcend the current inertia.
Good story, and coincidentally, I had the same thought as the author's conclusion just two days ago: Many of us boomers are expecting some sort of apocalypse because, well, we simply can't accept the possibility that we might be living in just another moment in history, one of countless moments. Anything that has to do with us has to be unique and climactic. Since it obviously isn't going to be utopia, it must be Armageddon.

Of course, there are plenty of other plausible reasons to be pessimistic. But the urge to self-dramatization is real enough. We must always resist it.

In the early 70's my new wife and I moved out to the sticks in Southern Appalachia, in part because of a certain expectation of a nuclear armageddon or some other apocalyptic, man-made event. One of the first groups of people we ran into were 'Jesus Freaks' (our term) also waiting for their version of the end of the world.

After a few years, we all had to go get jobs because the end of the world hadn't come yet. Now, being vastly older and wiser (-: .... I'm not nearly as eager to climb on to any TEOTWAWKI wagon. I'm growing a garden 'cause I like to do it, foraging for mushrooms, raising chickens, avoiding crowded cities and enjoying life. Hope the apocalypse never comes.

Would you prefer to be hyphenated as  an Appalachian American?

The govt needs to know your classification in order to provide you with special benefits!

Re: Mel Gibson's December movie, Apocalypto, set in the fifteenth-century twilight of, yes, the Mayan civilization

Do you mean to tell that they let him out the house?

Professor of Catholic & Jewish Studies

Now, he's moved on to civilizations of The New World. Does this man ever sleep (it off)?

The real Mel Gibson, suave, sophisticated, persuasive

This, of course, would be a good time to replenish the SPR, other than the fact that there is an election in November.  We need fuel in winter and gas in summer.  But then in spring we need to stock up for the summer and in the fall we need to stock up for the winter. I guess all this precludes ever filling it up again.  
Yeah, "after winter" seems like another way to say "after November" doesn't it?
odograph -

It certainly does! One has to be quite naive to think that the Bush regime and their chums in the oil industry aren't doing everything in their power to keep gasoline prices from rising until after the November elections. Not filling the SPR is clearly one thing that helps keep gasoline prices down.

Some of the other things that might be going on are far more murky, such as this Goldman Sachs business regarding certain requirements of those who trade oil futures, an action which I don't fully understand. While no single entity can have total control over gasoline prices, several entities acting in concert (according to mutual interests rather than actively conspiring) could arguable exert some temporary and limited downward pressure.  

That is not to say that the laws of supply and demand have beenrevoked. Rather, it may be more the case that there is a thumb gentle resting on the scale, to sort of help the currently softening demand for gasoline. While this may only translate into a less than 10% price drop at the pump, every bit helps if the intention is to deny the Democrats a campaign issue. It's the old motive, means, and opportunity thing.

Oh, no. Not at all. These are most honorable people. They would never think of something sinister like that. Honorable people don't do that sort of stuff.

Marcus Antonio Ratticus

I wonder if its because of the elections or because they cant' get enough to refill it?
Peak Oil story out of India, sorry if it's a double:

Is the world about to run out of oil?

(amusing x-box advert plays on the same page)

The Daqing article has some production info.  Dunno how reliable it is.

By 2010, Daqing's annual output will shrink to 40 million metric tons of oil from a 1997 total of 56 million metric tons, the equivalent of 1.1 million barrels a day. China still depends on Daqing for one-quarter of its oil production, and it honors the city of 2.46 million accordingly.

...Production from Daqing will be maintained at 2005's level of 45 million metric tons for the next five years, said Han. Meantime, the mayor is looking to build other sources of revenue for the town.

...PetroChina, for its part, is still trying to find more oil in the area and estimates Daqing's production will stabilize at 40 million tons annually for a decade following 2010.

Last month, China's biggest oil company said it found new reserves equivalent to 390 million metric tons of oil (2.9 billion barrels) on the edges of the city. The additional oil would be enough to supply the country for 403 days, based on estimates of 2006 consumption.

The historical data are correct. Daqing peaked in 1997, and was first brought down at a rate of 1.5% a year, and that's recently gone up to 3.5% a year. The water cut is already over 90% (as noted in the last line of the article).

All the eastern fields are in decline. The rise in Chinese production in the last few years has been from the increase in the far west (Xinjiang) and offshore production. Based on an URR of 70 GB (Laherrere's high estimate), China in 2006 is right at 49.7% extraction with this year's expected output of 185 million tonnes.

Thanks for your comments While I picked up on the mostly water comment I certainly didn't imagine a water cut of +90% thats getting down to the bottom of the barrel....  Speaking of barrels what is the conversion of metric tons to barrels of oil? I need that to understand the implication of the cut in production from 57 Million Metric tons to 40 million metric tons they forecast for 2010 and the decade beyond.  What is the chance they can maintain that rate for the following decade?
Yes, Daqing is really aging. It was discovered in 1959 and been in production since then. Unfortunately, they adopted old Soviet techniques of water flooding early on and probably damaged the integrity of the fields, but since the mid 1980s, they have adapted and used international practices for secondary and teriary recovery.

For Daqing, the specific gravity of the crude (which is almost a twin to Minas) gives you 7.3 bbl per metric ton. That makes for easy conversion by dividing by 50 (365/7.3): 57 million tonnes is 1.14 mmb/d and 40 million tonnes is 800,000 b/d. Lighter or heavier crudes are a different conversion.

There is little chance they can maintain this beyond 2010, even with the new discoveries they announced. My forecast for 2020 production in China is 2.4 mmb/d, down from the current 3.7 mmb/d.

Thanks for the enlightenment  I haven't seen a lot of specific data on China so your analysis is truly appreciated.
Oil below $60 now.  Traders don't believe OPEC's threats to cut production, and they think tomorrow's inventory report will show builds.
And diesel down to 99 centimes!
Life is good. I'm gonna vote Chirac again.
Is that what they call the Euro cent?
Never heard that before...
No, it is called Euro Cent or just cent. But oviously people in France use as well the old expression, which was in use, when the Franc was still currency. Sounds better than cent...
Re: "U.S. to delay buying emergency oil through winter"

If you wanted to take an action to help keep prices down through the November elections, then ordering a pause in emergency stockpiling would do the trick.

Hmmm... if there is an unusually bad winter and there are shortages in the Northern States, I wonder if Bush will accept the blame.

I can hear him already... "No one could have predicted this..." and "Well, at least it's become obvious that there is no such thing as global warming..." To think that man has so much influence on the world and only 3 % of global population gets to vote for or against him (and most of those don't even bother!)...
Milton Maciel in an item at the Energy Bulletin, October 2, claims an EROEI of 9.1 for sugar cane ethanol in Brazil. This seems very high. Any thoughts from Robert Rapier?
For those who don't know, Milton has been a regular poster at:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/energyresources

He has provide a lot of detail about sugar cane and ethanol/sugar production.

He will also be one of the speakers at the upcoming ASPO Boston confernence
I think it is possible, if they are burning bagasse (sugar cane leftovers) to fuel their boilers. However, I have never seen a thorough analysis of the energy inputs and outputs from a sugarcane ethanol operation. We are therefore left to take their word that the energy balance is that good, and I don't like to do that. I would prefer to see an energy balance around the plant.

The other thing I would point out is that if they are burning the bagasse, it seems to me that this would deplete and erode the topsoil over time. But that is admittedly speculation on my part.

If they are getting 9/1, and can mitigate the topsoil issues, then they have a real winner. That EROEI would be better than for gasoline, with fewer negative externalities.

   hey...my next door neighbor is a thermal plant engineer at an ethanol plant here (campinas, br) and he has claimed similar numbers to me.  I asked him about the topsoil depletion and he says they flood the fields with water/manure twice a year for fertilizer.  Really smart guy but I can never get a long conversation with him, if you want his email I'll give it to you.  He offered to take me to the plant but it is a two hour bus ride and I am not that interested in the subject.
hey...my next door neighbor is a thermal plant engineer at an ethanol plant here (campinas, br) and he has claimed similar numbers to me.


If he can share some actual energy balance numbers, I would like to hook up with him. I have wanted to take a close look at these high EROEI claims to see if they hold up.

Robert Rapier the way I've seen sugar cane grown, when it's harvest time, first they burn the field! They light the sucker off, no kidding! All those dried old leaves down around the bases of the stalks make great fuel, and this heats and dries the green blades, which then also burn. What's left is a charred mess of tons of ashes and bare stalks - kinda half cooked, lol, but that's OK, 'cos we're goin' to the sugar mill! The stalks are processed there and what's left is the bagasse, which is used to power the sugar mill. So, assuming the leaves are where the good minerals etc are, a lot of good stuff stays in the soil in the ash. Um, and there's a fair amount of animal life in a cane field, I don't think much escapes except around the edges - so you've got bugs and toads and rodents and things adding to the soil fertility.
I've read many sugarcane ethanol studies (and the most recent "Brazilian sugarcane ethanol: lessons learned" by Coelho, et al in Energy For Sustainable Development--which claims 8.3 for an ordinary plant and 10.2 for the best plants), and its apparent that the high EROIs are due to crediting the process with the energy in the sugarcane bagasse, which is burned to produce electricity and steam for the process, and in some mills, for external sales. I have a real problem with this approach, since it segregates biomass joules from fossil fuel joules, making it appear that the ethanol has a much more favorable energy balance. With the boundary set around the entire plant and considering only external energy inputs, this may be so, but if you are focusing just on the production of ethanol itself, you can't avoid basic physics: it takes at least 15,000 BTUs to distill a gallon of the ethanol beer into 95% purity. That alone sets an upper bound on ethanol EROI (of any source) at 5:1 (76kBTU/15kBTU). All other energy inputs serve to lower it further.

Proponents prefer the "system" approach, but I think we should start with the "product" approach. I belive it was Joule here who claimed that the "Liquids-Only" EROI on sugarcane ethanol was 2.7. That seems much more reasonable to me.

The methodology for such calculations is not standardized. One element that Patzek, Pimentel, et al argue is that biomass residues from crop harvests should be returned to the soil to maintain carbon, tilth, and nutrients, and not be credited to the process itself (CO2 people prefer to credit it since it is more carbon-friendly, but that's yet another methodology). I agree. And if it isn't returned, then your EROI calculation simply externalizes the further deterioration of soil and declining sustainability of any agricultural practice.


FWIW, Milton's expertise is in the area of organic sugar cane production. I don't have time to search all his posts but I really suggest that you review his postings on Energy Resources.  He presents a very sound case for sustainable, organic production.


Where is the material and energy input/output analysis to justify this fantastic energy return for cane sugar? I regularly read eroei of 8:1 promoted for sugar cane but have never seen a journal study reference for that suspect number. This futher eroei-inflation needs to be questioned. This issue is not settled

The EnergyBulletin article compares this fantastic energy return to commonly quoted (but also suspect)return for corn at  1.31:1 This is almost an order of magnitude improvement. That is suspect.

Look at Pimentel and Patzek chart 4 in their "Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood; Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower" The vast bulk of energy input into the alchohol production is in steam and electricity for fermentation/distillation Cane sugar alcohol production omits the energy cost of hydrolization but this is not going to debit the energy account much at all, certainly not by the amount suggested.

without stealing organic matter from the soil (to fire the boilers)there is not way the process would save any of this energy. The practice of stealing the bagasse from future crop is limited and not used in most plantations because it depletes the soil in less than 10 years.

While I am at it, sugar cane production remains very labor intensive (requires 8 sugar-cane workers/hectare on the ground cutting cane with machete) and the cost of their food, transportation, room and board is probably ignored. But then how would we know when there are no published reports showing inflated energy return of 9:1 or even 8:1.

the energybulletin article is a shameless promotion by a former Secretary of Ag. in Brazil. This stuff needs to be questioned at every opportunity.


Dave Blume, who can't get onto The Oil Drum for some reason,  replies:

"The system approach by Dr. Isais Macedo, the source of the 9:1 and the later 8.3:1 EROEI for Brazilian sugar cane alcohol is far more rigorous than Pimentel or Wang in accounting for all manfacturing energy for every component of the alcohol plant.  The same source also demonstrates that a starch source, cassava, is only a little less efficient than sugar cane.

No soil degradation is occuring in Brazilian sugar cane plantation.  I say that as an ecologist, personally visiting and seeing the countour plowed, swaled, permaculturally laid out, 10,000 hectare, sugar cane fields for myself and speaking personally with agronomists and plant managers in Brazil.  When the bagasse is burned only the solar based carbohydrate is consumed, turned into process energy and difficult to recover gas.  All the ash, which contains all the soil minerals in the bagasse, is collected in wet spray cyclones and returned to the soil as a fertilizer cake.  All the liquid spent mash is returned to the fields as liquid fertilizer.  Soil fertility in the perennial sugar cane fields is going up each year. Cane is now only replanted once every 10 years.  Brazil is now the largest producer of Organic sugar cane in the world and gets the highest yields using the least fertilizer precisely because alcohol production is part of the system. Their yields could be increased further by ducting fermentation (or even boiler flue) carbon dioxide back into the adjacent cane fields.

To the best of my recollection Macedo does NOT credit off sale electricity (77% of the total produced) in his EROEI for alcohol.  Of course 8.3:1 does not begin to tell the story since the whole purpose of EROEI is to examine how much petroleum, or in other instances, fossil fuel, is used to produce alternatives to non-renewable fossil fuels.  Those who to claim that the EROEI is a valid metric and not an academic exercise in the sterile case of how much energy, regardless of source, is used to convert one form of energy to another, should confine their opinions to the chemical engineer's Ivory Tower. That definition of energy efficiency don't matter a whit in the real world facing peak oil. If you can get people asking the wrong question, it doesn't matter what the answer is. The right question is how much climate destroying petroleum, tarsand, an perhaps future oil shale, DME, or methane clathrates, are we displacing with intelligent renewable ethanol production. 

    If, as in the cases of Brazil and India, the process energy input is non-fossil fuel, then the actual Energy Return On FOSSIL ENERGY INVESTED (EROFEI) is potentially hundreds to one. There is literally no reason why the very same system cannot be implemented in the US with some minor tweaks to make it even better than Brazil.  The only reason it is not done now is that  the PRICE of extremely subsidized coal and natural gas APPEARS lower so most alcohol plants get their process energy from these sources.  Within 10 years no US alcohol plant will be using fossil fuels since we are now at the tipping point where thin stillage carbohydrate produced methane, or even DDGS fed cattle manure methane,  is as cheap as purchased natural gas.  All it will take is for natural gas to go up less than 10% higher than it is now (about one more dollar per million BTU's) for plants to execute the classic make-or-buy analysis and conclude its time to switch to self produced methane.

    So let's stop wasting pointless bandwidth on  the irrelevant, academic, EROEI and keep focused on the practical EROFEI."

David Blume
Author-Alcohol Can Be A Gas

I am unable to find reference to primary reseach conducted by Isaias Macedo on sugar cane alcohol energy return. So it is difficult to compare his methods with Pimentel. Please reference.

I do know that Pimentel's methods are transparent and peer-reviewed and show that every study plant returned a negative EROEI. It is readily apparent from his work on corn, soy, and switchgrass that fermentation and distillation of any sugar takes up the bulk of the production energy. This fact alone sheds doubt on the claim sugar cane alcohol is more effective because it does not require hydrolysis.

Bagasse-process fuel does not contribute to a positive energy return because it removes vital soil nutrients that must be returned as fossil fuel fertilizer. Cellulose and nitrogen are lost when bagasse if removed (even if P and K are returned (at a cost) ). Thus tilth is destroyed and petroleum-based nitrogen (100 kg/hectare) must be added.

This from Scientia Agricola (http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif)
"Sampaio et al. (1995) evaluated the soil supply capacity and the fertilizer response of sugar cane, and concluded that the main N source for the crop is the native soil organic matter and the maintenance of crop residues on the field."

This from the FAO (http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5376e/y5376e02.htm)
"In general, the fertilizer nutrient balance in the Brazilian agriculture is unsatisfactory. The quantities of nutrients removed are higher than the quantities supplied. Thus soils are being progressively depleted of nutrients."

The next point made is ridiculous and does not demand response. "Those who to claim that the EROEI is a valid metric and not an academic exercise  . . . " This suggests the recurring confusion over energy return and process efficiency. I will not ever respond to that.

Appreciate the reminder that burning [soil] does a lot of harm. A quibble: If EROEI = energy out/energy in, the "break point" is when EROEI is less than 1.0; it can't be negative. This careless locution occurs occasionally, and it may be confusing to some.
Yes I believe sugar fields are burned to remove the dying  fronds and to gain access to the cane. This removes organic matter and destroys necessary soil orgasms

I disagree with your issue with "negative eroei." I believe it is a very useful term.

Eroei is a life-cycle analysis and not an energy efficiency calculation. This measure looks at inputs to a final energy product (in this case liquid fuel) that can reach back in time and out in width and depth.

For instance Pimentel measures the amortized energy inherent in the stainless steel fermenter. If we were to make only one gallon of alcohol with the fermenter then the eroei would certainly be negative. And we wouldn't expect to build any more fermenters with that one gallon.

That the energy came from abundant relatively inexpensive coal or petroleum, and will be used to make expensive alcohol in the future suggests the long-term impracticality of the process. To describe that limit as 'negative eroei' is useful, reasonable, and true in its context

For your edification here are two posts that Milton Maciel posted at Yahoo Groups - Energy Resources  The first part is from April 26, 2006.  I neglected to date the second part when I copied it to my files.  I made a few very minor edits (which for what, and for e).  Milton is not writing in his first language but nonetheless is clear and to the point.  [] indicate a phrase that I've added.

Start of copied post:

Jason,   I'll try to answer some of your questions and, at the same time, I'll make some comments on the subject of EROEI for ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil. It will be the last time I'll do that as I think it is useless to insist on this anymore. You ask:  

1) "So why is it the orthodox peakers insist on ignoring the amazing progress down there? Why do you think?"  

Well, I think it is based on the bad records for USA's ethanol from corn.Moved by sound arguments, they have developed a personal rejection to the idea of ethanol AS A WHOLE. Then they have extended this to ethanol from sugar cane. Perhaps someone has some seen bad records about ethanol from USA grown sugarcane, too.   However, when we consider sugar cane and ethanol production under Brazilian conditions - well, everything becomes VERY different. I have consumed a lot of space in this List writing about this subject last year and I don't need to repeat myself. Then the honorable Tad Patzek published, in 2005, an undervalued EROEI for Brazilian ethanol from sugar cane and his paper seems to have been converted into a kind of Bible for some people. That is not good, because we can't be in a position of `believing' or `not believing' in ethanol.   So, Tom Robertson is right when he claims for better and more uniform methodology to calculate EROEIs. I'm very sure about the method we use in Brazil but I wait with great hope that Nate Hagens can bring us some new lights.  

Now consider my position: I live in Brazil, I'm familiar with sugar cane and ethanol production since the very beginning of the pioneering effort in the seventies, I have accompanied all the evolution of this industry along 30 years.  I have being farming sugar cane myself for decades, evolving to organic cultivation in 1986 - twenty years from now. So I feel really very uncomfortable when I see any comparison that considers Brazilian ethanol in the same level of US corn ethanol.   Corn is an annual culture that demands a lot of oil for fertilizers andpesticides, a lot of oil for agricultural machines and, in USA, demands a high toll in subsidies to survive. Sugar cane is a semi-perennial culture, with MUCH less agrochemicals consumption than corn's, for conventional cane.

The process of getting sugar (saccharose) from cane stalks uses simply mechanical pressure and water, a cold process. There's no need to convert starch into simpler sugar by fermentation and high temperature, as for corn. All the mechanical, thermal and electrical energy needed to process sugar cane and convert it into alcohol and/or sugar comes entirely from bagasse combustion, in a process that produces surplus electrical energy sold to the grid and an excess of unused bagasse. It does not consume any fossil fuel for that.

Furthermore, no part of the whole agriculture and industrial processes receives ANY kind of subsidies. How can someone imagine that these so different conditions are alike? [comparing Brazilean sugar cane ethanol with U.S. corn ethanol]   You can find here a lot of mills/distilleries that are 50 or more years old,still farming their same plots of sugar cane with conventional technique and having not depleted their soils yet. The organic sugar cane industry is newer, about 20 years old, and it recycles its soils and builds up fertility every year.  

With no subsidies the industry thrives - 340 mills and distilleries, withadditional 60 under construction.  

2)"Do you know how many acres of sugar are now landed to handle Brazil's ethanol needs?"  

The total area dedicated to sugar cane in Brazil is now 6 million hectares(14.8 million acres). Of these, 5.4 million ha are devoted to sugar and ethanol.  The rest, to liquors and animal forage. Half of the 5.4 million hectares goes to ethanol, half to sugar. With 2.7 million hectares (0.85% of its agricultural land) Brazil covers its present ethanol needs and exports 2.5 billion liters.   14.5 billion liters are used to replace gasoline - 42% of all the neededgasoline has already been replaced by alcohol. Since its beginning, in the seventies, until 2005, this represented a saving of 105 billion dollars(corrected for 2005) in oil (gasoline equivalent) imports. In volume, it helped to keep 20% of the known Brazilian oil reserves untouched.   Brazil's self-sufficiency in oil, announced officially last Friday, has been made possible exactly because of the production and use of ethanol as gasoline replacement. 95% gasoline replacement is easy to achieve in 'four more years' (Oh, that phrase!), but it is planned to happen in accordance with Petrobras possibility of exporting the resulting large amounts of surplus gasoline. The idea is to mix ethanol and gasoline and to export E10 and E85 ready gasoline mixes, using a web of alcohol pipelines leading fuel from producing centers at Central and Southeast regions to specialized terminals in Atlantic harbors.  

3) "How many acres do they plan on planting in order to handle demand from a USA trying to wean itself from $12 gallon gasoline in 2010?"  

There's NO plan to handle ethanol demand from USA. At the present state of art, it would demand 15 % off all agricultural land of Brazil. Nonsense, too much monoculture. Plans under implementation now  include reaching only a 90% increase in cane production, with 80% land expansion by 2010. With the more productive (+ 30%) varieties that will be harvested after 2009 and the usual 3% a year improvement in industry yields, this expansion will be enough to cover all the internal needs and to have a 6 billion liters exporting capacity. Japan possibly will be the major client, seconded by USA.  

The American nation will have to solve its problem of oil and fuels dependence by itself and I do hope it can do that very soon, by reducing its consumption by at least 50% - or else the problem will be unmanageable. Other Central and South America countries could also contribute in part to help mitigate US fuels trouble. But, of course, it all depends of WHEN Peak Oil turns effective. Is there enough time left? Are there concrete initiatives contemplating mitigation and the all needed reduction of military expenses? Present scenarios are not encouraging.

Furthermore, population still increases and the globe heats up...  

4) "How long and expensive is it to build a sugar ethanol processing plant?"  

It depends on the scale. In general, a mill/distillery is built to both produce sugar and alcohol. A medium size mill/distillery, producing 80 million liters of ethanol from 1 million tons of sugar cane stalks (yearly) would cost 50 million dollars and would take 2 to 3 years to be built. And would demand 12 thousand hectares of medium technology conventional cane. The major part of the mills/distilleries that will start operation in 2006 and 2007 are larger, projected to process from 4 to 7 million tons of cane stalks yearly, an investment of 150 to 200 million dollars.  

I hope this could be of some help help.   Milton Maciel in Brazil

~~~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Comment ~~~~~~~~(...)"Take ethanol production in Brazil, for example. Sure they are getting a lot of energy from sugar cane--particularly as they learn to use every part of the plant.However, you hear little about how the nutrients that go into growing all that sugar cane will be replaced--particularly when they essentially "mine" their soils by using just about every part of the plant but its shadow.

[Milton responds to Tom Robertson re: 'mining the soil':

"My dear Tom,I have shown at least twice, here in our List, the issue of nutrients for sugar cane in Brazil. There is not such a thing as `mining our soils by using every part of the plant but its shadow' (clever phrase!)This is not happening for the moment: only stalks are taken from the culture field. All straw and tops stay there with the shadow.

There isn't still any ethanol distillery working in large scale with cellullosic ethanol. Their idea is, effectively, to bring straw from the field and burn it at the boilers, so they can produce more ethanol from the preserved bagasse. This could increase ethanol yield by 80%.

Here I agree with you: that would be stupid, depriving soil from consistent protection and nutrition that is now fed back to soil by the straw and tops(what they call `trash'). It would increase erosion rates and increase [demand for]mineral nutrient consumption for replenishment, while depriving soil from the all important organic matter that is now returned.

In the large and small areas where we farm sugar cane organically, we already have a much higher yield in stalks and saccharose contents (more than 60% as compared to conventional), exactly because we keep all possible `trash' and never burn the fields before harvesting. Furthermore, instead of having a semi-perennial culture with 6-7 years cycle, we are getting perennial areas, with more than 18 years without any plant renewing. This result is far better than that we could get if cellullosic ethanol could be already feasible - which it is not.

From one ton of stalks, we get at the field and at the mill:.150 ton of sugar;.140 ton of bagasse;.140 ton of `trash'.  All the rest is water.

The sugar in solution in cane juice is processed into crystal sugar and/or ethanol. The bagasse fraction is used as the sole energy source for the industrial process. And `trash' is kept in the field, sometimes burned, sometimes not.

Sugar (saccharose) and alcohol (ethanol) are only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, taken by the plant from water and air. Nutrients in solution of processed juice or molasses return to soil as vinasse.  So, Tom, there isn't that `mining' of soils here.

Even the bad guys (who are majority), that farm chemically, make the needed reposition of the main nutrients, using their chemical fertilizers and, when available, also vinasse and bagasse ashes. They also take good care of their soils relative to erosion, so they can farm sugar cane for decades and decades always in the same plots, with just a 15% yearly rotation with leguminous [plants] in the areas they are forced to renew.

The only mining that happens is the normal mining of nutrients that is always required for ANY agricultural activity - the mining of phosphate rock, lime and some other macro and micronutrients ores, taken elsewhere, transported, processed into fertilizer and transported once again to the farms. Never mind if you're cultivating corn, soybean, oranges, pasture or sugar cane. Sugar cane, indeed, is the least nutrient consuming of all large crops in Brazil.  But agriculture is this way: you mine from A and farm at B. The less we are dependent of this, the more we recycle nutrients, then the more we approach the Organic way of agriculture.

And this makes any biofuel viable, even poor corn ethanol could gain some momentum. Only SOME, as miracles are much more difficult to happen!

...Milton Maciel in Brazil

thank you but this does not support a sugar cane alcohol petroleum substitute.

The author does not understand the process when he says, "There's no need to convert starch into simpler sugar by fermentation and high temperature"

He is confusing hydrolosis with an energy-intensive fermentation and distillation process that is required regardless of the sugar type. The rest of the letter is agroeconomics and nothing to do with the thermodynanic idiocy of using precious energy to make less energy. It does not address life-cycle energy calculations among other things.

I actually think a lot of what he says sounds credible, but I would like to see a published, peer-reviewed paper. However, he is exaggerating when he wrote:

Brazil's self-sufficiency in oil, announced officially last Friday, has been made possible exactly because of the production and use of ethanol as gasoline replacement.

That is the kind of stuff Khosla tries to pull all the time. First, note the date of the post, April 26, 2006. Now, note the date of this story:

Brazil Nears Oil Independence

Morning Edition, April 24, 2006 · Brazilian oil company Petrobras officially opens its latest deep-water oil platform. The new rig is expected to end decades of Brazilian dependence on foreign oil, and protect the country's economy from oil-price shocks.

They announced energy independence after the new Petrobras platform opened. If you want to give credit where credit is due, 90% of their energy independence is due to petroleum.

Sorry to be so late in replying; I hope you notice this. I guess I misunderstood how "Energy Return over Energy Invested" is defined. Is it "[Energy out minus Energy In]/Energy In?" In that case, I understand your choice.

But that makes EROEI =1.3 (claimed for corn ethanol) much more attractive than I had understood it to be. It means that each 100,000 BTU invested produces 230,000 BTU. (That is, (230,000-100,000)/100,000 = 1.3)

Is the standard terminology to include "Energy invested" in both the numerator and the denominator?

It's still usually taken to be energy out/energy in. The energy out might be small, but it's not negative. Perhaps you are defining it to be NET energy out, which could of course be negative, but that's not what's meant when analysts claim EROEI for ethanol is 1.3 or 1.6; they do NOT mean that Energy out -Energy in = 1.3*Energy in, or Energy out = 2.3*Energy in.
Why I don't bother with fuelaholic, or claims from Blume:

Been There, yadda, yadda....

I really got sick of the ad homs after a while. He disappeared after that, until today.

Robert, have you actually seen any 8:1 analysis and if so, are there any refutations I could use? I get this sugarcane cornucopianism regulary over at peakoil.com and I'd love to have some brainamno. tnx in advance.
I have not seen any analyses. I have only seen the claims. I have a paper at work on Brazilian ethanol, but it doesn't do an energy balance of the process. It does, however, repeat the claim. Now, I don't necessarily doubt the claim. I would just like to see verification. I will also point out that we don't get nearly the solar insolation in the U.S., so even if we adopted their process here we won't do as well.
I think people who are interested in Milton should do a google.  He's been around:

Milton Maciel, an organic farmer, consultant and author of more than 10 books, is a former Secretary of Agriculture in AlagoasState, Northeast Brazil. He specializes in soil regeneration, organic sugar cane and alcohol production and is a designer for Brazilian Zero Oil Farms project.
Too bad you have your mind set on refutation, rather than finding out the truth.
Robert R (below) is right that a real energy balance study has not been done, so we don't know the real answer. However, as the linked studies below show, there are several estimates of EROEI in the range of 9.

Here are five studies that all cite figures of positive 8-10 EROEI for ethanol from sugar cane. I have given page references for three of them.

1) FO Licht presentation to METI,

EROEI Calcs: Page 20

2) IEA Automotive Fuels for the Future

3) IEA: Biofuels for Transport

EROEI calcs: page 60

4) Worldwatch Institute & Government of Germany: Biofuels for Transport  (Link to register - study is free)


EROEI Calcs (for 12 fuel types): Page 17

5) Potential for Biofuels for Transport in Developing Countries

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/IW3P/IB/2006/01/05/000090341_20060105 161036/Rendered/PDF/ESM3120PAPER0Biofuels.pdf

Re: Population Bomb

I love this quote:

America reaching 300 million is "indicative of a much bigger story in the developing world," Preston says. "Here we're talking about sustainable development, sprawl, habitat loss and other problems.

This is sustainable? You've got to be kidding me!

He didn't say we were doing it - just talking about it. ;-)
Reg:  Right! This calls for immediate discussion!

.. What have the [Americans] ever done for us?

                                     ~ Life of Brian

Someone yesterday posted the following quote. It was supposedly taken from Woodward's new book, and I saw no contradictory response from anyone..

"During a meeting in the Oval Office, according to Woodward, Bush personally thanked Bandar because the Saudis had flooded the world oil market and kept prices down in the run-up to the 2004 general election."

If this is actually in Woodward's new book, then the entire book has the credibility of a Leprechaun. Cushing spot slowly advanced through the year from the middle 30's to the middle 50's just before the election on Nov 2 2004 and then declined somewhat. Also OPEC spot advanced through the year from the upper 20's to 44.72 on the Friday before the election. Never allow facts to get in the way of your agenda.  
See the EIA xl data Here.

Remember that he's a fly on the wall .. in Washington.

It's quite reasonable to me that the Saudis made that promise to Bush.  And then who knows, did the elites in both countries then tell themsleves "mission accomplished?"

While we're going in that direction:


FWIW, my vague sense is that Woodward is a follower of power, and that his late break with the Bush administration is a demonstration that power has moved.  Lame ducks under attack.

(Lame is too mild a word, but I'm having trouble sorting out the best alternate.)

Daffy Ducks???
Dipchip, it is quite likely Bush had a very good reason for thanking Bandar. Saudi crude oil production, crude + condensate, averaged 750,000 barrels per day higher in the five months leading up to the election, April thru October, than it did in 2003. Now just suppose they hadn't increased production by three quarters a million barrels per day. What would the price of oil have been. We just might have a different president today.

Remember, Saudi only had control over their production, not the price of oil. And they damn well did their part in increasing production trying to keep prices from going even higher.

Bush should have kissed Bandar's ass for helping him so much.

Ron Patterson


Sorry that should have been the seven months leading up to the 2004 election, not five. And Bush had a lot to thank Bandar for.

Ron Patterson

"Bush should have kissed Bandar's ass for helping him so much."

How do you know he didn't? Didn't we see photos of ol' Jock-sniffer (as he was known at Yale) hisself, walking down the path holding hands with the guy?

Just so long as he didn't get a BJ from an intern, I suppose it's OK...

- sgage

IMO it is all nonsense, 2004 vs 2003:  
World up 3 MMBrl's/d,  OPEC up 2.2 MMBrl's/d,  Persion Gulf up1.5  MMBrl's/d,  KSA up .75 MMBrl's/d,  Price up $20.  
I suppose demand had nothing to do with price and production, everyone wanted Bush elected. It had nothing to do with greed. I think Odo's on to the reality of it.
Dipchip, you just don't get it do you? The point is Saudi Arabia did increase production by .75 mb/d for several months before the election. Yes, there were a lot of other things affecting price. But the point still remains, the Saudis did increase production by a huge amount. That much is an absolute fact. And that is what Bush thanked Bandar for, at least according to reports.

That adds to the credibility of the Woodward's book, it does not subtract from it.

Ron Patterson

I believe Woodward has a certain credibility, print what people want to believe and you can sell books. Many folks hate Bush to the point that anything derogatory will override credible thought. My idea of Bush is, he is way over his head and many of the PTB thought he could be easily led. I have been telling folks ever since he announced his candidacy that he would become this nations biggest liability in history. What reason would the KSA have to aid Bush in his re-election bid? If he were able to tame the insurgents, Iraq could then replace the KSA as the primary leading nation in the Middle East. It would seem to me that Kerry would have made a much better president in the eyes of the KSA. The KSA had and has an agenda and it doesn't include what Bush desired, it's strictly what KSA agenda requires, get the Americans the hell out.
Dipchip, you simply have everything wrong. Don't think "Saudi Arabia", or even "KSA", think "The Royal Family". The Royal Family has every reason to want Bush in power. They can count on him in case of revolution in Saudi Arabia. Of course Kerry would probably have kept that relationship going as well, but they felt a certain loyality to Bush I suppose.

Believe me, the very last thing the Royal Family wants is the USA out of the Middle East. Why the hell would they want their protector, their patron saint, to disappear? But if you are talking about the majority of Saudis, sure they want us along with the Royal Family to go far, far away. Of course if they got what they wanted, no doubt they would soon regret it. Saudi would likely then fall into near anarchy. The Shiites have a large majority in the Eastern Province where all the oil is but the Sunnis have a large majority in the rest of the country as well as a large majority of the total population.

The Royal Family is Sunni of course. But the Shiites are all pissed. They sit on the oil and they are getting the shaft. The country is ripe for rebellion. However everywhere you look there is US military hardware under the control of the Royal Family. Of course Saudis are driving the tanks and flying the planes, but it is all part of the protective cover for the princes, provided by the USA.

And the idea that Iraq could replace Saudi Arabia as the leading oil producer in the Middle East is just silly. That might happen in a couple of decades, but if it does it will be because of geology and not because of politics.

But if that is not what you mean as "leading nation" then I have no idea what you are talking about. I really don't think there is any other kind of "leading nation" in the Middle East unless you are talking power. In that case it would be Pakistan or India.

One more historical point. Bush had nothing to do with setting up this cozy relationship between the power in Saudi Arabia and the power in Washington, that relationship was set up by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Ron Patterson

Quote mentioned in Salon book review


"The DTI expects the U.K. to return to being a net exporter in 2007 before becoming a permanent net importer in 2010," DTI spokesman Nick Turton said.

He added the Buzzard oil field should offset any losses from declining North Sea oil output from older fields between 2007 and 2010.

According to DTI data, U.K. North Sea oil production declined 218,000 b/d in 2003. Since 2004, the depletion rate has remained mostly steady at 230,000 b/d."


So the UK North Sea is declining at >200,000 bpd and Buzzard will produce at around 200,000 bpd - enough to arrest declined for 1 year.  The UK DTI - obviously taking a leaf out of the DOE, USGS book of fairytales.

Read the truth here: Oil import - export model for the UK

The road to energy independence starts in a cornfield in Nebraska. Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla explains why he's betting on biofuels.

Found at http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.10/ethanol.html

Khosla is beginning to  elevate my cortisol level. Actually, the road to energy independence starts in a bicyle shop in China. The road to ruin and high food prices starts in a cornfield in Nebraska.
Yeah, someone e-mailed me the Wired article a few days ago. I wrote a bit about it:

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Khosla

What's funny is that he repeated the claim that it is more energy efficient to produce ethanol than gasoline, just days after he said it was a "silly question." Hence, "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Khosla" - two completely different personalities.

Robert, do you not have to take into account the energy used over a 200 million year time span to produce the kerogen, bury it about 10,000 ft and heat it to over  120C?  Lots of solar, tidal and natural radioactive heat energy in there just waiting to get burned.
That's exactly why ethanol can't compete with gasoline when comparing energy balances. Nature has already done the heavy lifting with crude oil. There is a lot of captured solar and heat energy that is waiting to be extracted. It is very energy dense, and not water-soluble. With ethanol, we are trying to replicate this process on an annual basis, with a fuel that loves to dissolve in water (and therefore, is very energy intensive to purify).
No doubt this has been done already on TOD - I don't read everything - but how much of the energy expenditure on ethanol goes on "distilllation" - and how do they do it on an industrial scale?

And has anyone ever worked out how much "geo energy" goes into making a gallon of gas?  Really really really low EROEI for gasoline - which it must have - may focus some minds? Cos you'd normally exploit your high EROEI resources first - right?

True, if you added up all of the contained solar, geothermal, etc. However, those are never added up in EROEI calculations for either ethanol or gasoline. What is considered is how many BTUs you had to consume to produce a BTU of finished product.

Regarding the distillation question, a fair chunk of the energy input is there. Most of it is in that step, drying the co-products, and in the natural gas for the fertilizer. The USDA reports list some actual numbers from plant surveys, and I also have some actual plant data from an ethanol plant in Illinois. The distillation is so energy intensive because the crude ethanol is > 80% water.

I'm baffled by the continued silence on butanol. Haven't really read anything since your excellent essay, plus the BP-DuPont joint venture announcement. Re-reading the latter I find it curious that butanol's much lower water solubility is mentioned as a transportation advantage but not in the context of saving energy during distillation. I wonder what I'm missing.
It is certainly an advantage in butanol's distillation. That was my primary area of responsibility for several years: Distillation of a butanol process. I know the process very well, and water is phased out at several stages of the process. I have done the comparisons to ethanol before, and if I recall correctly the butanol energy requirements were less than half of those for ethanol.
I don't see anything particular on the news sites - any one want to suggest what is going on? Not only is oil down near $58, the bottom seems to have dropped out of gold as well - down over $30 to about $572. Usually such large movements have some news component two them.
The saying goes, "buy the rumor, sell the news". Or in this case, since the news is expected to be bearish (higher inventories), you'd sell the rumor, buy the news. Inventory reports are tomorrow and speculators are betting they will be up, so they are selling today in advance. Tomorrow I would expect to see a bounce - even if inventories are up as expected, people who sold today will buy back on the news; and if inventories are down, that is bullish and we will see even more buying pressure. The only bearish possibility is if inventories are up much more than expected, in which case we might see even more of a collapse.

There, I've covered my bases so no matter what happens I can say I was right. Looks like I've got a promising career as a financial expert...

Definitely a promising career as a financial expert, Halfin. Go for it. I have a post going up tomorrow that mentions that $60 is still the floor. I have no such career option -- I refuse to cover my ass on this one.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  

Check out the comment up the thread about the 90% water cut at Daqing.  

The big four--Ghawar; Cantarell; Burgan and Daqing--are all headed toward where East Texas is now,  a 99% water cut.  

Morton suggests that Ghawar's water cut may be up to 55%, which would support Heinberg's report that oil production is down.

It would be very interesting to know exactly what the actual combined water cut for these four fields is.

Would higher water cuts be a "PHYSICAL" manifestion of HL? I'm trying to connect the real world to my econ graph mind.
Virtually all reservoirs are more permeable to water and to gas than to oil, especially heavier oils.  

Both Ghawar and Cantarell have gas caps and water legs.  The remaining oil is between a rising water leg and an expanding gas cap.  It is a simple physics problem.  The harder that they suck the oil out, the more likely it is that the water and gas will bypass the oil, leaving pockets of mostly stranded oil.

I thought that it was ironic that Pemex said that they only had two production problems:  wells with high water cuts and wells with high Gas/Oil Ratios (GOR's).

Oil Plunges to a Seven-Month Low on Ample U.S. Fuel Inventories

Crude oil fell to a seven-month low on speculation that a government report will show U.S. fuel inventories jumped.

Supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, rose 1.5 million barrels last week, according to the median of responses in a Bloomberg News survey before tomorrow's report. Gasoline stockpiles also increased 1.5 million barrels. Analysts discounted moves by OPEC members Venezuela and Nigeria to cut supply.

``We still have high inventory levels in the U.S., which is weighing on prices,'' said Tom Bentz, an oil broker with BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc. in New York. ``The market quickly discounted the token OPEC cuts. The moves by Venezuela and Nigeria are not enough to tighten supply.''

Crude oil for November delivery fell $1.80, or 3 percent, to $59.23 a barrel at 12:51 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil touched $58.84, the lowest since Feb. 17. Prices are down 9.5 percent from a year ago. Futures have declined 24 percent from a record $78.40 a barrel on July 14 as tensions in the Middle East eased and U.S. fuel stockpiles increased.

Crude oil, gasoline, heating oil, diesel and natural gas supplies in the week ended Sept. 22 were above the five-year average for the period, the Energy Department said.

Higher Prices Ahead

Oil analysts are raising their price estimates for next year in anticipation of increased demand that may outpace the development of new fields. Crude oil will average $64 a barrel in New York in 2007, according to the median forecast of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News last week. That's $2 higher than estimated at the end of the second quarter.

I have a friend whose family has been in the farm fuel distribution business for 80 years, and he has never seen so many farmers ordering next seasons diesel as in the past week.
Yeah, Roel.

We've got the habitability of the planet to save and a lot of lifestyles to change.

This is a Tree

This is a Forest

Like I give a shit about tomorrow's inventories.

Camry Hybrid: Save gas, get pat on back: By providing constant feedback on your driving, hybrid sedan maximizes fuel efficiency.

It would be interesting if all cars, when you arrived home and pulled out the key, told you exactly what they thought of your driving. ("Hey, were you trying to get me totaled back there?")

The Camry Hybrid won't insult you, no matter how badly you drive, but it will let you know if your driving was "Excellent!" in terms of maximizing your fuel efficiency.

If your average fuel economy, from the time you turned on car to the time you turned if off, was better than 35 miles per gallon, the word "Excellent" flashes on a screen inside the speedometer.

talking cars -greaaattt. that's not recipe for causing accidents, now is it?
In a world where video games have become the new 400 pound gorilla in the entertainment industry, I could so easily see this as being a viable marketing gimmick.

You could even upload your driving stats to a competitve driving site to see who can squeeze the most efficiency.

Neat car, but you can get that kind of mileage out of a lost of oldfangled cars. Just drive easy. And I'm not sure that car has more room in it than a Prius, which you can get much, much better mileage in.

When I first got my Prius I was used to riding a bicycle around town so I was really easygoing and was getting around 52MPG. Then I drifted into the habit of being aggro like the other drivers around here and my mileage dropped, into the mid 40s. I decided to see if it was the car or me, and started working on being a smooth, flow-oriented driver again and my mileage is back up around 50 MPG give or take 1 MPG.

They should have schools for this, with fleets of cars that are stick-shift with lousy brakes lol.

IMO, all new cars should have instantaneous and average fuel consumption displayed prominently on the dashboard.  Its made me much more aware of how to squeeze a few extra mpg out of my 2005 Golf TDI.  I've improved my highway mileage from ~47mpg to ~53mpg recently through better driving techniques and carefully watching the instantaneous fuel consumption readout.
Come on Leanan this is a joke right?

I have been getting instant feedback on milage and energy used for 3+ years with my Prius.

This is not new.  ALL the Toyota hybrids have had it for YEARS.

Here is the transcript of another Financial Sense interview of Matt Simmons on 9/30:


I found this of interest. A Fog Fence:


Micro-hydroelectric Power from Fog Fences
9.25.06         Harry Valentine, Commentator/Energy Researcher

Fog fences have been used for decades to collect the water droplets from dew and fog after which the moisture is sent to storage systems via piping systems. These fences are typically located at higher elevations near coastal regions where moisture is carried in by winds that blow over a cold ocean current during the early morning hours. The circulation of air from sea to land results from a landmass warming at a faster rate after sunrise than seawater in an adjacent ocean. The result is that moisture laden cool air will slowly blow across the cooler sea to the land after sunrise each day.

There are locations where high mountains are located right next to an ocean coast. Some of these locations include the West Coasts of Chile and Peru, the South Island of New Zealand and the southern tip of Africa. Dr Theodore Schumann who was South Africa's chief meteorologist after World War 2 proposed that an electrified fog fence built to a height of 150-feet be installed on top of Table Mountain that is located next to the City of Cape Town. He suggested that fence carry up to 50-KVA of power at low amperage. His research indicated that some 30,000,000-gallons of fresh water per day (2890-lb/sec) could have been obtained from moisture laden winds that blew over the cold South Atlantic Ocean and over Table Mountain (elev: 2500-ft to 3400-ft).

Isn't it wonderful that the DOW reaches a new record today, while the nation is effectively bankrupt and the majority of its citizens doomed to debt-ridden poverty? Has there ever been a bigger faster shift in wealth from one group of people to the other?

So what do we think, the DOW loses 30% in the next year, just like the housing market? While oil goes to $100 a barrel? Or can the balloon inflate itself for one more year? After all, it's only air. Then again, even air is under pressure.

Lots of fun to be had.

1998-2000 - Stock Market Bubble
2002-2005 - Housing Bubble
2006-? - Let's start a new bubble - Stock Market again anyone?

Fool me once shame on you .................

Yes, the fact is that the amount of money floating around the globe has never been higher, the fact that inflation isn't higher is interesting, especially based on much accepted monetary theory. Until there's a savage decrease in the money supply, say for example a deflationary spiral, the continued expansion of bubbles in various markets will continue.
I was just reading a Paul Craig Roberts article on Counterpunch, and wages for techies have been going way down. I think it's linked on Matt Savinar's page under a title involving class warfare. Electrical engineers down 10% in pay since 2001, other "respectable" professions down 9-12%, stuff like that.

The vast majority of Americans are under a big squeeze!

Over at urbansurvival, there's a bit about which fields of business are doing well, and which are not - stuff that's discretionary seems to be taking a hit. I don't know who's been convincing all these fucking idiots out there that they need a big-screen TV, but they've been doing a good job-  only problem being, the idiots simply can't buy the shiny baubles when they're not sure if they can put food on the table. Essential goods and services are going OK in the urbansurvival survey, shiney baubles doing less well. Remember the puzzling drop in auto sales in the late 1920s just before the Great Depression. New cars were probably the shiny baubles, the bigscreen TVs, of that time - there were plenty of used cars out there, and infrastructure that made driving more optional than now.

I would say the one thing that's increased my own doom and gloom is interest rates have been going way up. Much harder to dig yourself out when you're paying 20% or higher interest! This is not the early '00's with 6% and lower interest, some of those same cards are reaching for 26%.


In fact inflation is HIGHER!  MUCH HIGHER!  It's not reported.  Check www.shadowstats.com and this guy http://www.nowandfutures.com/key_stats.html has a reconstitued M3 money graph!

The fact is we're being lied to and people are noticing.

Hmm, interesting, I actually wonder if this isnt understating the money supply with all the new financial tools out there, the world is awash with liquidity. The one thing with China taking over so much of the industry and the ability to outsource everywhere, there is absolutely zero wage pressure, which can contribute heavily to inflation numbers.

There is defintely steady price inflation on certain things and strong commidity price rises in many areas, and certainly over the last few years the Fed hasn't raised interest rates  500% for no reason. I'm not sure you could really hide inflation. In the first part of the year with the rise in gold and bond rates, it seemed money was concerned about inflation too, but now? There's a lot of liquidity out there that's been swashing across the planet from market to market and until there's a plug pulled it will continue.

"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --President George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

New York Times reports:
The latest record came as oil prices fell about 3 percent and dropped below $60 a barrel for the first time since March. Energy prices have been falling in the last month because fears of hurricanes, troubles in the Middle East and tight supplies have eased markedly since the end of summer.

Earlier today, the Dow topped another record reached on Jan. 14, 2000, as it traded at an all-time intraday high of 11,758.87.

As a TOD reader I feel like a bewildered passenger on the Titanic. All around me the masses are celebrating with fireworks and "Happy Days are Here Again". (Or is it "Waltzing Matilda"?)

In the meantime I look over the rail, watching the PO berg approaching ever closer in the dark of the night.
The noise from the fireworks and from the celebration hides the eerie noise made by Mother Nature's powerful hand as she cuts through mankind's glibbly-floated fantasies and she starts our slide going down to Davie Jones graveyard. They don't see it. They won't hear of it. Happy Days Are Here Again.

Hello Step Back,

To help gain some understanding of why the masses continue to celebrate on the Titanic: may I suggest you find the time to watch the BBC video series posted by Angry Chimp.  I think it does an excellent job of explaining why self-actualized 'wants' is so much greater than just meeting our basic 'needs'.  IMO, "The Century of Self" basically presents the consumer freedom to seek the highest attainable 'individualized detritus MPP' as also the best way to generate profits and wealth consolidation.  Watch and weep.

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

Thanks for the link.
It seems I will have to reserve a couple of hours to watch the whole thing. In the mean time, let's just replay the Happy Days Are Here Again Song
I really believe the Fed doesnt care about the dollar and will lower rates early next year once the recessionary winds are blowing.  THEN it will get interesting quick.
Alberta political candidates fight over oilsands

The candidates, upset that too much of Alberta's value from its energy resources could leak outside its borders, and obviously unperturbed that the province's economy is already stretched from too much investment, want even more upgraders to be built here.

Some want to change the royalty deal affecting oilsands projects.

A sample of the hot air: "If you mine it here, you upgrade it here," is the rallying cry of Mr. Dinning.

"I will ensure that bitumen is upgraded in Alberta to the best ability of the industry," says Mr. Oberg, who wants the government to collect higher royalties on bitumen sent to the U.S. for processing. "If there are upgraders built, then they will be here."

Fortunately, the journalist, Claudia Cattaneo, knows (much) better:

What about the implications of changing Alberta's royalty regime after so many companies and their investors made decisions based on it? The predictable price: Alberta's international image as a secure place to invest would sink to the level of Newfoundland, Venezuela and Russia.

Alberta should be grateful --not concerned -- that others want to process its bitumen. Investments such as the US$3-billion being spent by BP PLC to reconfigure a refinery in Whiting, Ind., to process almost exclusively our oil, means they are becoming partners in Alberta's growth, making the province's prosperity more secure.

Alberta's politicians are understandably exasperated by the challenges of managing an economy that is, paradoxically, underperforming because it's growing too much.

But they can't afford to mess with the hand that feeds it.

No, they should be happy and grateful for every time 4 tons of land is dug up to generate 25 cents for the provincial coffers. Who could resist such a deal?

We all know boreal forests are worthless. Basic economics.

A few days ago I posted an article on a Native tribe in Alberta that couldn't make it to a public hearing on the Mackenzie valley pipeline, which is planned to run over their land, because they were all out across the land, moose-hunting.

Well, the boys are back.

These are tribes of a few thousand people, if that, who have no chance against the wheels of money and progress. Still, they have taken care of the land for thousands of years, and much better than we ever could. These are tales of pride and sadness.

It's no more a blockade than say you or I using our own yard

Members of the Dene Tha' First Nation have set up a permanent hunting camp beside the proposed right-of-way for the Mackenzie gas project.

They're hoping to draw attention to the community's legal fight to halt the pipeline project's regulatory hearings now taking place in the North.
About 50 members of the Aboriginal community, which consists of 2,500 people in a handful of small settlements scattered throughout the northwest corner of Alberta, helped set up the camp over weekend.

"It's no more a blockade than say you or I using our own yard. It's just that if someone tries to build a project in your yard, without talking to you first, you're not blockading your space by continuing to use it," said Robert Freedman, the Victoria-based lawyer who represents the Dene Tha'.
"We're all sort of sitting and waiting to see what the federal court judge does," he added.

I was really surprised this turned into an article about peak oil...


I liked this part about his battery-powered car's performance:

"Eventually, he wants to install a generator that creates electricity from the wheels when they turn, which should also increase the car's range"

I was really surprised at Raymond James "energy stat of the week". They point out that the crude supply is way tighter than last year although prices are lower. They also mentioned that SAUDI ARABIA MAY BE APPROACHING PEAK PRODUCTION!!!
The link is on the above page. Direct link doesnt work.
Cheaper oil and free gas - doomsday postponed again
It's getting harder for members of the peak oil doomsday cult to keep the faith - oil futures fell under US$59 a barrel overnight while natural gas prices in the UK turned negative, ie gas traders will pay you to take the stuff away.

Marketwatch.com summarises the oil price:

Crude-oil futures fell almost 4% (to close at $US58.68 a barrel), pulling the benchmark contract to its lowest level in more than a year, with pressure coming from swelling US inventories, a lack of risks to output and doubts that key oil producers will take formal action to reduce supplies and stem the drop in prices.

The market has "high inventories, high levels of exploration activity, no supply shortage, low consumption at this time of the year and no Gulf [of Mexico] hurricanes -- with lower chances of having one," said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics. "The combination of these factors is consistent with prices below $50 per barrel."

More shocking to the end-of-civilisation-as-we-know-it mob must be the glut of natural gas in the UK. A new pipeline from Norway is delivering into a market whose storage facilities are 96% full. Reports the BBC:

After trading at an average of 26p a therm through September, the spot price for gas delivered immediately fell to -5p during the course of the day, meaning traders are paying to get rid of it.

Major UK energy companies may be unable to take advantage of the free gas because of the lack of available storage and the fact that they have "hedged" supplies -- protecting themselves against the risk of high gas prices over the winter by buying it in advance at a lower price.

Prices will rise in the northern winter as the new pipeline won't always be running at capacity and demand increases as the temperature falls. It nonetheless remains a reality check after the many scary headlines the world has been subjected to during the oil bubble.

A broader cheap oil perspective is on offer in Newsweek with a claim that Chinese demand has been overstated, but the peak oil cult members won't be easily converted.

Oil prices will continue to bounce around with whatever supply shocks come along and petrol won't be as cheap as we were used to, but the doomsday scenario has never made sense - the market mechanism and our incredible adaptive abilities are forever underestimated. Just watch us.

Hello TODers,

CFR expert weighs in on possible North Korean nuclear test:  Levi: North Korea Nuclear Test Could Lead to Military Response from U.S.

Now, I am no foreign policy expert, but I think it would be wiser to destroy this bomb with bunker-busters BEFORE NK actually explodes it underground, thus denying them gathering valid test data.  If NK is actually nuts enough to try and have an above-ground explosion--we would be really stupid to not blow it up beforehand with conventional explosives.  China and SK should have the balls to simultaneously attack and overthrow Kim Jong II.  It would make no sense for them to wait until he can fire back with nuke ICBMs.

If we let NK successfully test it's weapon, then that will signal for any other country that they can build their own arsenals.   Japan will absolutely freak, then start screwing together a big arsenal, setting off an arms race.

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

Hello TODers,

TRUE SIGN OF THE DECLINE-- 4% of Hops inventory burns!!  Get your grog before prices spike.

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

   If, as in the cases of Brazil and India, the process energy input is non-fossil fuel, then the actual Energy Return On FOSSIL ENERGY INVESTED (EROFEI) is potentially hundreds to one. There is literally no reason why the very same system cannot be implemented in the US with some minor tweaks to make it even better than Brazil.

The wages in India and Brazil of workers in sugarcane farms or factories that make ethanol are about $2 a day. Can American labor work and live on that wage?