DrumBeat: October 8, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/08/06 at 9:30 AM EDT]

The Weather Channel launches One Degree, dedicated to global warming

The Weather Channel Interactive (TWCI) today announced the launch its first broadband channel, One Degree, which focuses on creating a national dialogue around and humanizing the impact of global climate change, which is commonly referred to as global warming. The channel's name is a reference to the one degree of warming that has occurred in the last century and the fact that what seems small -- just one degree -- can make a big difference in the climate and in people's lives.
[Update by Leanan on 10/08/06 at 10:06 AM EDT]

Oil exec pushes greener energy

In the wake of last year’s hurricanes, the United States narrowly averted a major disruption to its fuel supply on a scale “inconceivable in recent memory,” says Shell Oil Co. president John Hofmeister.

A year later, Hofmeister says he is disappointed that there has been “not one single policy change” to address the country’s energy supply system.

George Bush Won't Be Able to Limit Oil Imports

U.S. President George W. Bush signed a law on energy, four years in the making, on Monday. The law's goal is to reduce oil imports. Western analysts think that American imports will increase in any case. But Russian still won't be able to take advantage of the situation.

Kurds show signs of seceding from Iraq

With violence bloodying Iraq, Kurds in the peaceful north have been showing signs of going their own way, raising their own flag and even hinting they could secede in a dispute over oil wealth - moves that have alarmed Shiites and Sunnis.

Iran Cuts Oil Rights to 10%

TEHRAN - The Japanese government acknowledged Friday that Inpex Corp. has agreed to reduce its interests in the development of Iran's Azadegan oil field to 10 percent from the current 75 percent after days of talks over the stalled $2 billion deal.

Inept govt compounds $29bn Kashagan oil project woes

KUWAIT: Italian energy company ENI and its partners in developing the Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan said the project will run over its original $29 billion budget and will be delayed by two to three years beyond its 2008 completion deadline. It was inevitable that the Kashagan project would run over budget and into delays, because it is one of the most technically difficult energy projects ever attempted. However, these difficulties are being worsened by a demanding Kazakh government and an inept state-run project partner.

Nigeria’s oil reserves will not deplete, unless...

Official: Ukraine won't buy Russian gas

Ukraine will stop purchasing Russian natural gas beginning next year, instead opting for cheaper gas from Central Asian states, an energy official said Saturday.

Argentina: Government denies energy-saving plan

De Vido claims energy companies behind campaign to increase electricity rates. Scheme would reportedly ban nighttime soccer games.

"I categorically deny there will be any reprogramming for public activities or restrictions in shopping malls or anything of the sort.

"This is a campaign to put pressure on the government to increase rates in households, something we are not going to do," he added.

Mass suicides by Indian farmers... shape of things to come

The truth is slowly emerging. A Home Ministry report, monitoring deaths by suicide, says that roughly 100,000 farmers committed suicide over six years to 2003 in India. On 18th May 2006, Sharad Pawar, the Minister of Agriculture [MoA], Government of India, presented the data to the Upper House [Rajya Sabha] adding that investigations by state governments on agrarian distress show that the main “cause of suicide is indebtedness.” In the dehumanized statistical gimmickry, the utter devastation of the 100,000 households of dead farmers comprising women, children and elders was quietly buried under the soft thick carpet of the Indian Parliament.

Venezuela ships Nicaragua diesel in show of support

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent Nicaragua a shipment of cut-price diesel fuel on Saturday in a demonstration of his support for Nicaragua's leftist opposition leader, Daniel Ortega, before a November 5 presidential election.

Brussels Sooths Energy Crisis Fears of Bulgaria

Taking stock

...the stock market is one of the better predictors of economic health. As recently as early this year, for instance, the market's robust optimism foreshadowed the later sharp decline in crude oil prices that began in the late summer, and did so at a time when full-throated "Peak Oil" Cassandras still held centre stage with predictions of imminent line-ups at the pumps as a fact of daily life.

More recently, it seems the week hasn't gone by without the announcement of a major oil find in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa and Central Asia, among other dauntingly remote locales. Last summer, the world was rapidly running out of oil. Today, the industry, OPEC and government analysts here and abroad are calculating the size and likely impact of a mounting global surplus of crude and of heating oil and other petroleum products.

Crude Impact is a new film about peak oil:

"For more than a year, we traveled all over the world, interviewing people we felt best understood the history of oil's impact on our world and the issue of 'peak oil,'" he said. "'Peak oil' is the point in time where the quantity of oil extracted from the earth begins to irreversibly decline, and the ramifications of 'peak oil' are terrifying."

Oil Giants Put Energy Into Other Resources

Firms are dabbling in a diverse range of projects, including one in which microbes eat grease to help produce electricity.

Can Opec stop the oil price dropping?

The producers’ cartel wants to cut output as the price falls by about $20 from its peak. But such attempts may be in vain.

Brazil Ethanol Sales May Drop As US Begins Exports

The black stuff is being brought to heel but China keeps the engine running

The price mechanism does work for the oil market after all - if in a lumpy, uncertain, disjointed way. The huge run-up in the cost of the black stuff has eased and the talk of "on to $100" has faded.

Bull Market in Crude Oil Could Resume After U.S. Elections

Peak oil: Is the oil running out?

“Dear reader, civilisation as we know it is coming to an end soon.” This is how the Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash website introduces itself. Peak oil is the theory that the world’s oil supplies will soon reach their highest output, their peak, after which there will be a rapid decline in output. The website argues that “the consequences (if true) would be unimaginable. Permanent fuel shortages would tip the world into a generations-long economic depression. Millions would lose their jobs as industry implodes. Farm tractors would be idled for lack of fuel, triggering massive famines. Energy wars would flare.”

Huntington Beach, California, City Councilmember Debbie Cook talks about energy policy and the ASPO-USA 2006 Boston World Oil Conference, "Time for Action: A Midnight Ride for Peak Oil," scheduled for October 26-27, 2006, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Oil fuels policy dilemmas

In addition to a constrained foreign policy, our reliance on imported oil creates hidden economic costs. Apollo Alliance's Holland suggested the price we pay at the pump represents a fraction of the true cost of energy. He cited a recent report by the National Defense Council Foundation, a conservative national security think tank, which estimated that defending oil supplies in the Persian Gulf oil added $132 billion to the basic cost of securing our non-oil-related strategic interests there. This figure does not include the costs, economic and otherwise, of our current involvement in Iraq.
I want to introduce a comment to the discussion at the end of the Robert Rapier/John Howe thread regarding: buy rural land, plant fruit trees and a vegetable garden, etc.  Very good advice, but a word of caution about expecting too much food from this endeavor.

We moved to the country 16 years ago, to a place with a wood stove, cistern for water, space for a garden.  We immediately planted fruit trees, an asparagus bed, and a vegetable garden protected by a rabbit fence.

The bugs killed the asparagus within a few years.  We have never gotten any apples or peaches because the raccoons steal the fruit before it is ripe enough to pick.  The chipmunks burrow under the garden fence and eat the potatoes and peas before we get any.

Plant your gardens, they are necessary, but don't expect that the fruits will provide a lot of food for your family. It will be shared with a multitude of others.

P.S.  Tomatoes and beans seem to do quite well except for minor insect damage.

Hummingbird, at least you didn't have any problems with hungry neighbors stealing your tomatoes and beans. Of course that will not likely be the case if the crunch really comes.

Got any plans on how to keep hungry neighbors out of your garden? A razor wire fense perhaps? Or other means?

Darwinian.  We are retired and have thought about this.  We have a few guns, but I don't plan on holding off hungry hordes.  Hope not to live that long.  In the meantime, the two ends of our road are occupied by largish clans with guns and we are thinking they will defend the street if it comes to that.
Hummingbird, I understand perfectly where you are coming from. I have no guns at all because I am 68 and hope to be safely dead when the crunch really comes.

But younger people who think they can just homestead a place in the boonies, grow their own veggies and perhaps a few cows or goats, are living in a dream world. Just read a few pages about what happened in Argentina in 2001 when an awful lot of people got really hungry. Thousands of cattle were slaughtered in the fields where they grazed. People bought food on the black market and were often attacked and robbed before they could get home with it. And that only lasted for a year or so. What will happen when people realize such a life will last forever?

I was going to reopen this topic since Charles Mackay posted this on the Howe thread:

However I am left with the unpleasant feeling that for every person like Todd that can adjust to self sufficiency in the post PO age, there will be a hundred that can't or won't.
I don't want to have to be self-suuficent.  I just happen to believe it is ultimately unavoidable.

However, working toward that goal makes one realize the absolute naivety of not only the general public but also the powerdown group.  The first group has never, and probably never will, consider the the symbiotic functioning of society both locally and globally.  The later believes that adjustment via alternative power sources, conservation and relocalization will allow the status quo, albeit at a sustainable level (whatever that means), to continue. But, they too fail to understand symbiosis.

There is a de minima of stuff that is needed to keep to keep any vistage of current society functioning.  However, the ability to produce this stuff is only possible because of a vast web where each stage depends upon another one.  Take a CFL;  to produce a bulb requires mining (iron, silicon, mercury, copper, zinc), these in turn require energy, there needs to be a transportation network from the mining companies to the smelters and then to the manufacturer, the bulb manufacturer requires equipment from other companies with similar demands and, finally, there needs to be a transportation netwrok to get the bulb to the ultimate users.

Failure of any portion of this web causes its collapse.  Further, there are economies of scale that must be met.  For example, IIRC, it takes a ton of copper ore to produce something like a half pound of copper.  In total, then, there isn't going to be any local or regional production of CFLs.

I raise the issue of symbiosis because I look at my life in the boondocks and know with a certainty the holes that are there where I am dependent upon a functioning web regardless of my efforts.  I am forced to consider them if I want to be honest with myself.  The only way to avoid this would be to be a hunter-gatherer or hope that Ican find what I need in vacant houses.

But, there are additional issues that rural living brings to the surface.  Someone who has not done it has no idea of how goddamn long it takes to even do what I have done and how physically hard it can be.  I have posted essays on this and similar topics on other forums over the past several years.

One final thing:  I have been forced to accept that society will collapse at some point.  Again, I don't want this to happen and I may be dead anyway - I'm old like Ron.  I simply cannot see the mass of humanity coming to grips with every issue that must be addressed.  At this point I'd like to repost the link that Bob put up the other day to an essay by Zachary Nowak which says it more elegantly than I could:


The advantage I have besides the physical stuff is that I am unlikely to be blindsided - surprised, probably - by the future.  My days are not filled with gloon and doom.  You get over it and enjoy life.  Of course, those who haven't dealt with the future and their coming grief will start with a serious survival disadvantage.  The best day to start considering the future and doing something about it is today.

Todd; a Realist

PS  Here's a link to one of my posts on homesteading.  Excuse the spelling mistakes here and there - I'm a lousy proof reader:


Because this is a forum, there are lots of additional, and good, posts.

Just getting back in here, good stuff on that link Todd, and yes it mirrors my experience. What I did, was work and pay off the land, and a foundation for the house. Put a cap on that sucker and moved in. Stories of rain and bottom plates, and inadvertently build ponds. Cutting door thresholds to let the water out. So we lived in a hole in the ground, and shit in one to.
I was just about to repost the link to the Zachary Nowak article myself.

Hello TODers,

I think this article by Zachary Nowak on EnergyBulletin should be required reading.  Speed, Severity, and Duration are vital concepts to be added to the Peakoil discussion IMO.

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

However, I'd like to link to the original article at Transition Culture, so that the comments can also be read:
Communities, Refuges, and Refuge-Communities - a Survivalist Response by Zachary Nowak.

A well thought out article, and Nowak has many good points to consider.  I like the balance he shows in his thinking, such as the following:

In reading Peak Oil essays, I've identified some of these ideas which I would call "dangerous axioms," dangerous in that we don't reflect on them before using them.

The first is "human nature," or the nature of human nature, or the nature of human nature in nature (sorry, I couldn't resist). Both explanations of human actions in past crises and guesses about responses to future crises are often based on what the author imagines human nature to be. Are we inherently evil and self-centered, willing to steal from our neighbors just to stay alive, or are we good, or at least smart enough to solve the Prisoner's Dilemma without many iterations, working together to our common benefit? I personally stand with Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael, on this question: we have a nature capable of both selfishness and altruism, and what we manifest is based on what the environmental context encourages. In any event, assuming human nature is one way or the other determines how we imagine the future.

Also, the adage

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
is always good advice.

I also resonate with the following comments:

Preparing for the coming changes is not an either/or situation. There are a lot of lifestyle eco-niches that different people will fit into. Starting now, doing more and more practical things to powerdown and doing them in different ways and in very different places- sharing and educating as we can, and knowing when to keep silent when we can't- these are common to us all.

Jason Bradford:
I try to find a balance between the personal and the communal-though I am often drawn more to the communal now by established obligations. Sometimes I try to interweave them.
BTW, the above article is really the third of a series. These first two articles are also worth reading. This is a good dialogue, with good points made on both sides.

Preparing For A  Crash: Nuts and Bolts, by Zachary Nowak

Why Survivalists Have Got It Wrong, by Rob Hopkins

DavidM  posted:

The first is "human nature," or the nature of human nature, or the nature of human nature in nature (sorry, I couldn't resist). Both explanations of human actions in past crises and guesses about responses to future crises are often based on what the author imagines human nature to be.

That is about the dumbest damn thing I have ever heard of. Yes, some people do imagine what they think human nature is. But no academic in his right mind would leave such an important concept purely to his imagination. Do you, or anyone else, think astronomers "imagine" what the heavens look like, or do they look through their telescope and study photographs of the stars and galaxies instead? Do geologists "imagine" what the earth's strata looks like or do dig and study instead. Likewise evolutionary psychologists do not leave the study of human nature up to their "imagination". Years of study by hundreds of psychologists give us an ever-widening window upon human nature. Yes, in the past, many anthropologists have stated that humans were a blank slate, that all violence, jealousy, aggressive behavior, and even infidelity was a learned behavior. But studies of present and ancient hunter-gather societies have proved otherwise. And studies of identical twins raised apart have shown that many aspects of personality are innate.

Are we inherently evil and self-centered, willing to steal from our neighbors just to stay alive, or are we good, or at least smart enough to solve the Prisoner's Dilemma without many iterations, working together to our common benefit?

As if it were either one way or the other? It is not! Most of us would be one way in certain circumstances and another way in another set of circumstances. But how you and I would behave is not the question. The question is how would the mass of humankind behave?

I personally stand with Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael, on this question: we have a nature capable of both selfishness and altruism, and what we manifest is based on what the environmental context encourages.

Of course we do. We see both selfishness and altruism in human society. Therefore it would be the height of stupidity to say that we were not capable of both. And Quinn is exactly correct when he says we are capable of both depending on what the environmental context encourages. That is the crux of the whole damn argument! That is innate characteristics are triggered by environmental circumstances and events. One of the very best books ever written on this subject makes this very point, "Nature via Nurture" by Matt Ridley.

In any event, assuming human nature is one way or the other determines how we imagine the future.

Damn! That entire statemt is a total contridiction of the previous statement by Quinn! Human nature is never one way or the other. It can be either way, depending upon environmental circumstances. Environmental circumstances trigger this or that type of behavior. You may not think you are capable of stealing. But if your child was starving, with tear filled pleading eyes he begs you for food. Would you steal a morsel of food to feed him? I would and I believe anyone who says he would not is either a liar or a psychopath.

That is an obvious example. Let me give you an example form the past. When the word swept across America that the Atomic Bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima and tens of thousands of men, women and children had their lives sniffed out in an instant, thousands of Americans jumped and cheered. Children in classrooms along with their teachers cheered. And I would lay odds if you had been a child or teacher in that day, you would have done the same. You see, the context was entirely different. We had been attacked by the hated Japs! The hated enemy was killing thousands of our young men daily. They were not thought of as fellow human beings and they did not think of us as fellow human beings. We were both the hated enemy to each other. Living under different circumstances for many years simply changed our way of thinking concerning the entire Japanese people.

We are all egalitarians today. The global community has led us to the insight that people everywhere are basically the same. But it is the height of naïveté to think that we would have behaved in the past any different than our ancestors did, or that we will behave any different in the future if we were faced with what we perceived to be a hated enemy. The behavior of Homo sapiens is determined by two things, our genetic makeup and the environmentsl circumstances we find ourselves living in.

Ron Patterson

For more than 50 years sane voices have called for an end to the debate. Nature versus nurture has been declared everything from dead and finished to futile and wrong--a false dichotomy,. Everybody with an ounce of common sense knows that human beings are a product of a transaction between the two.
Matt Ridley: Nature via Nurture

Very good, Ron. Thanks for your input.

In any event, assuming human nature is one way or the other determines how we imagine the future.

In the above quote, I don't think Nowak is saying human nature is one way or the other, he's saying that for people who assume it's one way or the other, it determines how they view future events playing out.

I keep assuming you are American, right? I mean, it took me years to learn how not to think that way. And even now, it seems so logical and alluring.

For example, look at all of the cars around you - no need to mine copper. Just the need to set different priorities. And CFLs are so 1995 or so - LEDs are much more promising, and at least in Germany, you can buy them in various lighting replacement configurations - from 12v to 220v, in different socket sizes. The LEDs seem benign both in manufacture and disposal (if only because they are physically smaller), unlike CFLs, which are considered toxic waste here due to the heavy metals. (Which is one of sveral reasons why CFL lighting in industrial settings uses replaceable tubes - the base lasts much longer than the tube normally, but it is the base which is costly to manufacture and dispose of - oh wait, did anyone mention that before selling you the expensive package to just toss in the trash?) The message - don't buy CFLs, buy LEDs - the new technology is radically more efficient and much less destructive. And did I mention they work just fine with a rooftop PV system? Though they do cost maybe as much as twice as much as a CFL, which here still cost 4 or 5 times a normal bulb.

Europe has 'collapsed' repeatedly, and yet somehow, it has never collapsed the way which people such as yourself seem to think our civilization will - that is, so utterly and completely that those left will be entering a pristine future, no longer members of a vanished culture. As for our civilization ending - well, sure it will - there are enough relics of other long gone civilizations in Europe that no one thinks that today and now equals forever.

I am a very pessimistic person, but even then, Europe during WWII did not collapse - that is, people kept farming (by hand and animal, without insecticides), burying the dead, and getting killed by war while sending their children to school. However, there weren't too many ravening hordes of survivors roaming the countryside. Though a good number of people did starve to death, and die from the cold, and die from a broken medical system and epidemics, and from contaminated water, or shot to maintain public order - need we go on?

Of course, the details of the future are open - but this vision of collapse seems to be very American, especially the emphasis on self-sufficiency.

I live in a town where the mayor and local council rode their bikes to see how the local forest was being managed, talking about how much lime will be needed to optimize future growth to enhance wood revenue, and saying that the local hunters are doing a good job keeping the newly planted trees from being ravaged by deer and boar (new trees due to massive replanting after a hurricane during Christmas, 1999). The town also pays attention to its fruit trees, along with a number of other basic issues, such as the demand for firewood. All reported in the local town circular.

And you know, they were having those same discussions 25 years ago, 50 years ago, and 75 years ago - under different forms of government, in different situations, and some of the participants having undoubtedly committed or planning to commit evil acts. And they will also very likely being having these same discussions into the foreseeable future - as this is how the future becomes foreseeable. Of course, the hurricane which wiped out a good 50% of the forest wasn't planned, but then, that's life, and why you plan and plant more trees.

Cultures that have survived over the long term do have other characteristics than much of what seems so typical and normal in the U.S.

This doesn't means that things can't get really bad - after all, just ask anyone over the age of 70 or so here, to know what it is like to live without electricity, running water, heat, or enough food - and to live like that for years. But then, you have to explain to them why your vision of hardship leading to total collapse contradicts their own personal experience of what they went through.

And I am not talking about economic miracles, by the way - East Germany, when finally re-integrated with West Germany, was found to be working with its 1930s era phone system pretty much unchanged, for example, along with autobahns which still had cobblestone exits (unbelievable to drive over in 1992 or so). People in East Germany learned to get along, even as the West Germans re-integrated into the industrial West. Uncle Joe wasn't like Uncle Sam, after all. By the 1980s, some East Germans even had color television, after all, and most people had a radio by that point.

And that just might be part of the difference - here, the state sees survival as its primary goal, regardless of what that means to the individual. But in America, survival is too often discussed in exclusively personal terms. 'What is in it for me?' is the American framework, to be cynical, not 'what are we in for, and how do we deal with it?'

The single most encouraging thing about New Orleans is the spirit and co-operation in rebuilding.  VERY tough in a variety of ways (medical care is my foremost worry, followed by fire protection).  "Go it alone" has not been the creed, because almost no one can do it alone.  And failing to help others is "just not done".  And, as always, we party together :-)

Of course, we were "America's Most Unique City" before Katrina.

Your results may vary, in Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc.

Best Hopes,


I am a very pessimistic person, but even then, Europe during WWII did not collapse - that is, people kept farming (by hand and animal, without insecticides), burying the dead, and getting killed by war while sending their children to school. However, there weren't too many ravening hordes of survivors roaming the countryside. Though a good number of people did starve to death, and die from the cold, and die from a broken medical system and epidemics, and from contaminated water, or shot to maintain public order - need we go on?

There is a couple of important diferences.

  1. The europeans mostly ate locally grown food.
  2. The europeans still had their horses. (they could farm without tractors if they had to)
  3. Their numbers did not radically outstrip the natural carrying capatity of the land.

Today in the US you have cities like Las Vegas where agriculture isn't even possible, or cities like Chicago where all existing farmland has been turned into suburbs.
That's why I'm far more optimistic for Europe than for the US in a crash scenario : Europe is temperate in climate, and its current population is probably a small multiple of its low-tech food production capacity.

Have to do a quickie...I could have gone back to grade school when we were still using ink wells and pens with nibs for an example - real 1900's stuff.  Fortunately, by my second year in college, technology had sped forward so that you could actually buy ink refills for the new fountain pens.  This was a real bonus for science majors since we had to use ink for our lab notebooks.  Real 1950's tech.  Until you were a senior at my college, you also had to use one of those movable carrige calculators with ranks of numbers on the keyboard and the crank on the side.  In most cases, slide rules were easier.


Also very quick - and the advantage of a throwaway ink cartridge is? To me, it seems a pretty stupid thing to have, since its production, use, and disposal are nothing but wasteful. As I said, it is the priorities which need to change - producing more trash is not a sign of progress in my eyes, and neither is 'convenience' - driving to a store to buy a package of ink refills is not progress either.
Yes! It's the difference between "We" and "I"; "We" has a very good chance at continuity, while "I" doesn't look promising. Example, Hopi are "We" and will continue to prosper; La Jolla are "I" and are unlikely to maintain, or be maintained by, their place.

The message at the end of "The Grapes of Wrath" is that we need to become "We."

"I am a very pessimistic person, but even then, Europe during WWII did not collapse - that is, people kept farming (by hand and animal, without insecticides), burying the dead, and getting killed by war while sending their children to school."

You really don't think like an American any more...if an american misses out on his/her morning coffee and gets cut off at the gas pumps, it's grounds to start shooting people.

If it gets bad, and being 42 I might or might be around to see it.  I won't be living with cows or goats, there are lots of scrub places that no one wants to live but are full of foods year around if you know what you are looking at.  The hordes are going to go for the easy pickings first and there are tones of places that people can hide in the backwoods if they live closer to the ground than the bad guys want to hunt.

 But Likely I will not run to the hills.

The main problem with fuel getting short is not running out of fuel, but running out of civil order. If everything falls apart due to oil running out, then the shortage that you are likely to feel the most is a shortage of ammunition to protect yourself and your property.
It is part of the learning process. Don't despair! If you had jumped off the Mayflower and faced starvation ... then maybe worry a bit. :-)

So ... read, ask, consult with neighbors with gardens and orchards. It has been several generations since we've connected with feeding ourselves - a grand disservice of the green revolution. It is Fall here is Northeast US and time to sheet copost, plant spinach, garlic, bring in the perenial herbs. All the power to you!

When they start stealing Zucchinis you know TSHTF
We have lived on 2.5 acres 5 miles outside a small town for 28 years.  My first gardens were sad affairs and even now I struggle with deer, gophers, slugs and bad weather.  However over the years I have learned and continue to learn- from books, from neigbors and friends and from experience.  Some years the same crop just doesn't do well, usually because of weather.  Last year I had multiple crates of Asian pears, this year ther were two pears.  My crops that needed hat weather didn't get it this year and I still have immature corn that will probably have to just be composted.  Last year gophers ate my potatoes when I was out of town but this year I got a bumper crop.   Ces't la ferme.

In days gone by this knowledge would be passed from generation to generation but now people are going to have to have a very steep learning curve.  But beginning to learn now is a worthwhile endeavor.

In some cases you can pickle your immature corn, don't let it go to waste, though the compost pile is not waste, its better in your tummy.   If the cob part is still supple and can be eaten then you have one method of pickling.  If the cob has toughened up you slice off the corn and grind it in a relish with other things like cucumbers and fall green tomatoes, those two asian pears or hundreds of other veggies or fruits.  As a chef you are trained never to take a flopped cake and toss it, you can always find something else you can make out of it.  That is also true with your garden, there is hardly ever the prefect year for everything.  I learned a lot about cooking and not wasting anything from depression era parents.
I think the key to having a source of food is to plant multiple crops and intersperse them.  My garden was attacked by squirels, but the neighbors dog kept the racooons and possums away.  Best to use wire screen around small plants and put barbed wire around the base of small trees to keep the other bigger pests out, unless you have a local wolf or coyote population that can keep them incheck.
Even with energy meltdown, farms and ranches will still supply most of the US with food.  My grandfather had a farm in Montana and he raised a lot of wheat using horses for power (along with some human help) and manure for nitrogen source.  He also grew a garden that he lived off of, although the neighbors would share excess crops.  Nearest town was 20 miles away or about a half day ride by horse.  No bicycles as no roads were not paved.  This was in early part of last century, pre WW I.
Down here is Florida I have a heck of a problem with my tomatoes. Some type of borers get 'em and if you don't protect the stalks sometimes slugs eat thru em. Must be the climate.
I have had no problem ever with oranges, limes or others seagrapes.
Seems like nothing eats peppers either, even mild (bell) ones.
Do you have a pond?  
Do you know what the forest around has to offer?  In the days my mom and dad grew up raccoons and rabbits were a nice addition to the table.  A bit gamy tasting unless you had a lot of herbs handy.  There are a lot of plants you can be fostering in the fields around your house, that can provide you with food when your gardens are under attack.  Most areas of the country have native foods you just have to know what they are, when to harvest them and how many animals you are going to have to share them with.  

Living off the land is never as easy as getting well stocked at the grocery store.  But just thinking that the seed packs you bought at the garden center are going to get you through the tough times is going to be rather dissappointing.  

 Anyone wanting to live away from it all, should study all the foods that the area they are moving to can provide from the wilds.  Find a good local group that knows the area and the foods out there, get your learning caps on and dig in the old books and tales of surviving the winter, and the doughts  and floods.  

 Most of all, don't think for a second it will be easy.  

If you are going to plany fruit trees,  plot out a hunk of land that you can plant trees every year for 10 years running and be able to replace any bad trees and cycle through them every 20 to 30 years.  You just have to figure in loss.  Grow Potatoes in concrete containers, with wire tops and bottoms, Old concrete culverts or chimney flues, or anything that is 3 to 5 feet deep and rodents can't chew through.  Plant enough for you and them.
Get used to a lot of greens for helping keep your systems clean, and in the high fiber diet.  

Remember that for all of the past but for about the past 300 years,  people survived off of the land.  So you can do it too, but you have to realize it is not going to be as easy as any book or post online is going to make it seem.

Have fun, and Enjoy the turnip greens, kale, acorns, and other late season crops.

You just have to figure in loss.  Grow Potatoes in concrete containers, with wire tops and bottoms, Old concrete culverts or chimney flues, or anything that is 3 to 5 feet deep and rodents can't chew through.  Plant enough for you and them.
Yes!  Those damn rodents.... they are nothing if not plentiful.
We have never gotten any apples or peaches because the raccoons steal the fruit before it is ripe enough to pick.

My advice? Eat the raccoons. :-) They are actually pretty tasty.

I love growing a garden, but I know find myself in a place with the worst topsoil I have ever been around, and with deer that are as thick as flies and willing to eat anything. Gardening around here isn't as easy as what I have been accustomed to in the past.

Well, when you have lemons, you make lemonade.
Sounds like you have a good protein source there
in the racoons and chipmunks!
I wanted to post a comment to you on your woes but thinking further I realized that your lifestyle attitudes and changes are so far removed from mine that any advice would be a small pebble in a huge pond.

For instance, if you haven't figured some of how to prevent what happened in 16 yrs then I suggest  you are either not serious or thinking clearly of solutions.

I further think you don't really live way out in the rural area but in a outlying area of a smaller city such that old homes of several acres exist and the wildlife have adapted to that environment and find it a wealth of goodies and consumables. Therefore your situation is that there is little control by nature over the varmints and so they prey openly on your efforts.

This is because bad use of land has forced them to.

BUT I could be wrong so here is a small bit of advice for the preying varmits. Get two Jack Russell terriers. They make it their business to dig up and eat chipmunks, moles and any other creatures invading their domain and their domain must be your garden and orchard.

These are true bred hunting dogs that still go into the ground but also are small and easy to feed yet vicious killers of your varmits. Get a male and female of a different litter and breed them to get more since ocassionally a coon will kill a Jack and you need to have replacements.

Put their dog house in the midst of the garden when needed or in the orchard as needed. Also keep your garden and orchard close enough to the residence so you can pick the critters off with your Ruger 10-22. Also close human activity will keep many away(at least out here in the REAL country).

Timing is of great importance. I picked my open pollen White Hickory corn and collected every ear. I waited too long on the yellow open pollen and a big storm and wind came thru..after that the deer ate all but 12 ears of the yellow.
I got 3 bushels of the white,,yellow was a loss except for seed use. So timing is all. Going to the mall when the garden needs care is NOT permitted.

Again I wish I could be of more help but you should have had all of this worked out long ago and therefore no amount of advice in this forum could help you.

Good luck anyway. BTW fences are of no value when it comes to deer. I know for I have tried them all. Only a shotgun and vigilant dogs can work. Hair,soap,urine and so on are worthless.

Also just kill the deer or coons and eat them..at least you get some protein payback. You have  to be ruthless at this and since you eschew firearms? I think you better get a clue real fast and start over from scratch. The countdown has started.

airdale--I could be wrong and sometimes usually am.
Again..good luck..give it another try, get angry,get even.

P.S. For those concerned  about calories and using fruit? Think about honey bees. I get local non-pasturized honey. Healthy and good supply of calories. Bees cost almost nothing to keep. Just some homemade hives, frames and a smoker. I never use a veil myself. Just the smoke will do and I helped a guy saw right thru a tree hive,,right thru the combs and we both only used smokers. Not a sting. Guy walked up in black clothes and the bees attacked him(like unto a bear=black).


I kept bees through middle and highschool.  Assuming you are handy with woodworking you can make hives but if you don't get the tolerances right the bees glue everything together.  They call this "bee space" any passage smaller than the bee is sealed up anything larger is too.  A comb honey setup is cheap 50-200 dollars for the smoker and head net, but you need the foundation and many other little things to do it right.  The main problem now are all the diseases carried by honey bees.  Commercial honey farmers drive around chasing blooming crops and spread mites and fungus.  

It is a relaxing beautiful art beekeeping but not for someone with young children and a job...not enough time.  for a teenager or a retiree definately.


Right on Oilrig medic,

But I was proposing this for a survialist sceanrio. Out on the farm. Lots of blossoms. Locust honey is real tasty but this year no blooms.

But I got two big 2liter bottles of home grown honey for not much cost because I gave the man some of my excess cantalopes.

The taste of real honey is not comparable to the store brought variety IMO. I use it copiously in my brewed hot tea. A little lemon juice as well. Doesn't get any better. Maybe a tad of moonshi.....I mean ethanol.

There is an interesting article at Econbrowser today, called Following the U.S. elections.  I guess it relates to TOD on two levels.  First a change in Congressional majority would probably have an impact on US energy policy, and second this is a chance to see how markets do a pricing uncertain future events ;-)

THE GREAT CONFLUENCE.  The Revolution The Public Does Not See Coming.

   How does it feel, down at street level, to be pushed aside by the onrush of changing events and technology?

At my place of employment, we have a call center.  It has a cross section of people employed, from high school and communtity college students, up to retired persons and homemakers returning to the workplace after their children have grown, often for the first time in 20 plus years.

The other day, our management announced that any applications for positions in the company from this point forward would be put in "online" at the company website.  No hard copies would be accepted, only online applications, filled out and sent on the computer.  Likewise, all information and inquiries concerning benefits would be handled online.  No longer would hard copy "information" packets be mailed.  I of course loved the idea, as did most of our workforce, especially those under 40.

But our older employees were hysterical.  To our surprise, many of them had no online access, and had never used the internet, and had no e-mail address, which was required to be able to get this information.  The older non-technically savvy workers would essentially be cut off from all information.  It is still to be resolved.

I thought of this, as I thought of the tidal wave of change that is soon coming.  

We are at the point of confluence.  Many make the case that the depletion of the major oil fields, combined with ascending demand for oil, and the coming supply vs. demand crisis for natural gas combined with the threat of global warming is a confluence.  It certainly is, and if it hits in just the right way, at just the right time, it could be catastrophically damaging to lifestyle and our whole modernized Western mode of existance.

But I want to talk of the "other" confluence, directly related to this, but greatly different.  It could be just as threatening to many.

Allow us to take a look:
This is the new world of Thin film solar.  Now if Nanosolar were the only player, they could be easily dismissed, however:
The amount of development on Thin Film solar is moving fast.  For a full bibliography of recent developments, go to
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Thin film partnership

And from Honda Motor Company:

This bodes the greatest interest.  What would a car company be doing in the Solar business?
Let's take a look:

There is a growing consensus that if we assume that time is short, and big steps must be taken soon to avert the combined problems of fossil fuel depletion and carbon release resulting in greenhouse gas emission/global warming issues, the number of alternatives is very small.  We must again use Occam's Razor as the guide:
"entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity."  When the problem is looked at this way, what seemed unlikely becomes likely.

We know that all hydrocarbon fuels operate the same way:  You burn the item, the hydrogen is realeased from the carbon, the hydrogen burns, and the carbon is a problem.  Thus, we want to move up the ladder, away from carbon and to high hydrogen rich fuels.  This explains the cleanliness of natural gas, propane and methane.  But these are all fossil fuels, and, sooner or later, be depleted.  But wait...they are almost completely hydrogen anyway.  Why not go that little extra step, and deal with the most plentiful fuel in the world and in the universe, and not deal with the non renewable fossil fuel at all?  
Look, if you dare at the molecular structure of:
Natural gas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas (CH4)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane  (CH4)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propane  (C3H8)

We know that Hydrogen is not viable as an alternative however, if it has to be extracted from a fossil fuel, since that does not end the problem of depletion, and the carbon still has to be put somewhere. (many assume fuel cell cars produce no carbon emission, which is true enough, but that does no good if the process of seperating it out of natural gas or coal (the main ways it has been done for years) leaves carbon to be disposed of).

The only possible choice is hydrogen from water by electrolysis of water.
This is surprisingly efficient, given as some 70% on Wekipedia, but there is a problem...where is the electricity to come from?

Thats where we are back to the thin film solar revolution.
Even using primitive cells, much has already been done:

More efficiency analysis:

Now we see tht hydrogen once produced can be handled just about like natural gas, or methane captured from a sewer or landfill...which shouldn't surprise us, given that natural gas and methane are chemically so close to straight hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be used three ways in transportation:  (a)burning it as you would a fossil fuel like compressed natural gas (b) converting by fuel cell or (c) converting in a powrer plant, to power electric cars.  If all three are used, the flexibility of the transportation system becomes great, cleanliness (no greenhouse gas) is fantastic, and sustainability is as long as the sun shines!

The third leg of this triad of confluence is nano technology in batteries.  Developments here are moving much, much faster than even the technicians can keep up with the literature, and it is obvious that the general public is totally unaware of the wave soon to hit.  Nano tubes are giving way to new advances such as nano scrolls

The promise here is so fantastic as to be hard to describe.  Some are discussing a 100X increase in battery storage capacity per pound and volume with almost unlimited recharge capability.  Let us assume, as is oftent the case, that wild exageration is occuring, and the increase will only be 10X or 20X.  This is still enough to create a revolution that is comparable to introducing a new Mercedes head to head against a horse and buggy.  

What we have here is the combination of renewable hydrogen, solar cells that are already getting within range of fossil fuel prices, even before the next wave of technology hits, and batteries that can make plug hybrids powered by these same solar cells so efficient as to rock the fossil fuel industry to it's core.  The public again has no idea what these three super fast moving technologies working in combination, dropping in cost and rising in effeciency could do to them or for them, depending on how they adapt to them.
The recent "toy" from our British friends give us a chance to visualize:

Think of this car with the batteries that will be available in less than a decade (10X current performance) and charged by solar cells that coming (reduced cost and possibly the same multiple of efficiency improvement) with a small compressed hydrogen tank for the recharging prime mover engine.  None of this is science fiction, it merely requires for the three industries above to continue the pace they have already established.  But the pace is already speeding up as money rushes in, and would be moving even faster if fossil fuel prices had kept moving higher.

Of course, there seems to be an ongoing effort to prove that (a)Hydrogen is a joke (even though it is the ONLY fuel we have burned when you really examine things), (b) hybrids are a joke (even though in less than half a decade they have proven to be the only viable alternative to conventional drivetrains and (c) solar won't scale up (even though Nanosolar and Honda are building plants to spool it off like newsprint or textiles, by the hundreds of thousands of yards, and the price is dropping the way computer chips did in the 1980's, while the amount/cost of raw materials needed to produce them continues to fall like a dropped stone.

What would explain the most ridicule being heaped on the fastest moving, most promising, most cost efficient and radical of the alternatives?  It almost seems as though many people are afraid, very afraid.

And well they should be.  Billions are invested in the fossil fuel area.  Without that money, the oil and gas companies are left starvng.  Do they really want to see people get it in their heads that the oil industry as the driving force of modernizing culture is near the end of it's road?  What about the auto industry, with it's billions of dollars tied up in the ancient retrograde technology that is the conventional combustion engine?

Likewise, the oil/gas producers, both corporate (BP, Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, Shell, ConocoPhillips, etc) and national (OPEC, PEMEX, Gasprom)
have been acting nothing short of schizophrenic.  We go from seeing the gas producers wanting higher prices (good for the shareholders, who have weathered a decade long drought), to lower prices (to salvage demand and kill interest in these wacky alternatives) to "no problem, no peak in sight" by ExxonMobil, to "willyoujoinus" by Chevron.  OPEC likewise seems to be running all directions at once, sometimes saying the U.S. is asking too much to think they can make up for all the worlds problems, to othertimes attacking the "green" energy movement, and claimning they have enough to last easily and keep up production until 2060.

And the alternative producers have to be running scared of the developments in solar/hydrogen/nanobattery development.  The Canadian Tar Sands cannot even compete while promising, in effect, billions of pounds of CO2 release.  Ethanol cannot do it without a subsidy, and still has promise soil and water depletion, plus massive consumption of natural gas.  Coal to Liquids and Gas to Liquids give most thinking people who have seen the numbers and the CO2 releases the shivers.  Bankers get chills thinking about pouring billions into nuclear plants, trying to find the fuel for them, keep the terrorists away, only to see solar hydrogen and advanced nano batteries turn the whole thing to a marketless pile of junk.

Occam's Razor:  Take out the wasted steps, end run the process, and cut to the chase.  Leave the carbon in the ground and the tar sand and coal.  Use the sun to cut loose the hydrogen, and create super efficient batteries to overcome the storage problem, and end run the whole depletion/CO2 process.

Hydrogen:  You laugh.  Solar:  You laugh.  Advanced batteries and hybrids:  You laugh.

While you laugh, they build.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Roger, I am not laughing at solar, I am not laughing at batteries or hybrids, though the energy returned on batteries puts them near very the laughable point, especially in the long term. But batteries are not nearly as laughable as Hydrogen.

I cannot imagine anyone advocating any carrier of energy that requires 10 units of energy input for every 3 you eventually get out. That is laughable, especially in an environment of very scarce energy.

Ron Patterson

Darwinian said,
"I cannot imagine anyone advocating any carrier of energy that requires 10 units of energy input for every 3 you eventually get out. That is laughable, especially in an environment of very scarce energy."

That's true assuming (a) old technology to make the conversion and (b) leaving out where the energy is coming from.  If the energy in question had to be found halfway around the world, protected by aircraft carrier, pushed out by millions of gallons of water in a DESERT environment, then have the water seperated from the oil by massive multi million dollar oil/gas separation machines, pipelined to the coast, pumped on a supertanker, hauled halfway around the world, offloaded to a refinery, refined, and then pumped back on a truck to be hauled to market....(????), and then belt out CO2 as blasts out the tailpipe....(????), and solar panals making hydrogen ONSITE with nothing but far less water than is required only in the water injection process for oil, and no filth or C02 left behind....and anyone would believe the crude oil is a better solution?

Well, it was, but that was before the water injection was needed, when the oil could be belted out by the billions of gallons for a buck and a half a barrel, maybe, and no one even knew what CO2 was....yeah, then it was a solution....those days are gone.....the love affair with fossil fuels is over.

On your ten units of power, I am sitting beside a window, watching those units fall on yard, every second right now while the sun shines, and I think about how much is falling on my roof, the rooves of the combined houses in my neighborhood, the spraling roof of the local elementary school a couple of blocks away, the supermarket a couple more blocks away, the Super Walmart not far up the road...those units of power not in Saudi Arabia, but in my hometown....how much good is sunshine doing falling on the roof of a giant SuperWalmart?   And we are afraid we will waste it by converting to the equal of sun made liquid portable fuel equal to natural gas, onsite, distributed power all over the country?  (!!!!!)

My little prediction:  There are going to be so many people and institutions caught off guard, and have their money tied up in these 29 steps to filthy oil programs called everything (tar, coal, gas, corn, sugar, beets, woodchips, etc) to liquids, that they would have been better off to deal with peak oil alright....but to deal with it right, and end run all this slop.  And gee, if they happen to let a few units of sunlight that would have fallen on a mall or a Walmart roof get away, we'll live with that.....:-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout


I do not know if you are being overly optimistic, but despite my natural proclivity to be skeptical, you make the day seem a bit brighter (even though it's raining).  Keep up the good work; we need optimists.

You almost make think I should be shorting the oil market. But that might just be a tad premature.

   As I have posted before, I am very optimistic about the future of electric cars. I have already bought some of A123's New nano tech lithium ion batteries in the Dewalt power tools. They are incredible. Like working with a corded tool. They take 1 hour to recharge but this is a function of the recharger not the battery. I am sceptical of the hydrogen push and don't believe it will be needed. If you have sufficient storage, ala new battery technologies or ultra capacitor, like eestor, converting to hydrogen , and then back to electricity, just wastes energy.
  Hydrogen has other problems, the most daunting of which is storage. A 1/2 inch steel tank will lose 2% of the stored hydrogen per day. Pesky little problem due to small molecule size. But I am with you ,big time, that the general public, and even many on this site cannot see the sea change coming from these technologies. And it will come faster and with more impact than I assumed even six months ago. Last time I counted there were 8 companies becoming commercial on the thin film solar ( CIGS) and at least 3 nano lithium ion battery. Tesla plans their next car to be a moderately affordable 4 door sedan. I look forward to the next years anouncements. Electric cars have too many advantages, inluding low cost of production for everything but the batteries. Mass production will solve the battery issue.
   As to the price of fuel, unless a recession pushes demand way down, the percentage of the market now supplied with high cost oil, like tar sands or heavy sour, will prevent the floor from dropping out, and it would have to drop considerably to squeeze out these technologies. Thin film solar will come regardless.
When I was a boy, I used to make hydrogen balloons. It's very easy. You take swimming pool acid (we had a pool so we had jugs of this around) and pour some in a coke bottle (in those days they were made of glass). Then you drop in a wad of aluminum foil and quickly stretch the mouth of a baloon over the top of the bottle. The balloon will inflate with hydrogen, and you can then tie it off and play with it like a helium balloon. But it's flammable, which is even more fun. We'd tie a strip of paper to the balloon, light the end on fire and let it go outside, so when the fire got to the balloon the whole thing would explode!

Anyway, the thing I noticed is that the balloons would not hold the hydrogen for long, in an hour they would be much smaller. Plus if you sniffed the air near the balloon you'd feel sick, I think the hydrogen gas was constantly leaking out. Pretty interesting how easy it was to make and play with the stuff.

Now I see they've got a hydrogen rocket kit for kids, it uses electrolysis to make the H2.

Could someone please post Table 2 from  
"Overshoot".Thanks in advance.


Pogo, I haven't figured out how to copy and past tables to this site yet, but you can find table 2 from "Overshoot" righe here. The table, along with the essay that follows it, are excerpts from the book "Overshoot" by William Catton.

And I understand what you are driving at, and I agree with you 100%.

Ron Patterson

Wow, I guess I'm a realist.

But to name one trap laid by this table, I think it's false to assume that family planning, recycling centers, and anti-pollution laws cannot flow into more major changes.

Indeed, it is often represented that we must make some impossible "leap" over intervening steps, and arrive anew at some new-new world.

I personally find it hard to believe that a journey of 1000 miles can made without those first steps.

Darn. While I don't share your implied optimism for once I think I think your logic is right on the mark. I hardly believe it but I agree with odo.
I want to change the circumstances, alter the consequences and modify everyones behaviour. Not on the list - Dictator - but I wouldn't screw up like all previous dictators - promise.
I own a hybrid, laugh at hydrogen, but have hope for improved solar and batteries.

(wind is missing from your list)

BTW, where I though you were heading at the beginning was the effect of the internet revolution on the necessity for physical transport and material exchange.

(I plan on working a little later today, by attaching to my workplace computer by cable modem and Remote Desktop.  That was a promise a long time in coming.  Even 10 years ago the standard thing was for a programmer to drive in if he was going to work a few hours on a Sunday.)


First, the only reason I didn't mention wind is because (a) I don't see quite the revolution coming as fast there as in the areas I mentioned, and (b) what revolution I do see coming I am personally involved with a group that is working on it, so what I know is somewhat confidential in nature  (if it works, we want to protect our idea of course...and if it doesn't, it's junk anyway!)
The battery developments could have huge impact on the wind industry though, as variable power has always been the great weakness of wind and solar power.  If that can be overcome, look out :-)

On "internet revolution on the necessity for physical transport and material exchange."

I could not agree more, I was a fan of Alvin Toffler's "telecommuting" idea right from the start and still am, but have been bitterly disappointed that it has not yet lived up to near it's potential.  Security issues, lack of the expected high speed internet in many parts of the country, and pure old fashioned thinking have been the holdups.

The other day, I saw a news story that showed a school that was only going to be open for 4 days a week, so as to save fuel and wear and tear on school buses, and have internet assignments for the kids on the fifth day of the week.  Great idea, a full 20% drop in fuel consumption and wear on buses, how can you lose?

Many parents came off the rails about it.  They had structured their workweek to match the kids school schedule, and now will have to find day care for the child, plus get him/her to and from the daycare, since the child cannot be left home alone all day!    With each parent carrying kids in an SUV to a daycare, often out of the way of their route to work, the fuel consumption is likely to go up overall!

Such is the law of unintended consequences (Recently a utility GAVE AWAY a new "EnergyStar" efficient refridgerator to anyone in their service area who would install one, to keep power consumption down and avoid having to add a unit to their powerplant (expensive, and they had regulatory issues)

After they gave away several thousand of these energy efficient refridgerators, they noticed power consumption had shot up!  Guess why?

In fact, I will leave it at that, and let folks guess, this will be fun!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

What a dumb utility.  Ours did a two part plan: a bounty on old refrigerators turned in, and a rebate on Energy Star refrigerators purchased.  It's a spreadsheet exercise to set the size of the bounty and the rebate for optimum return.

Good job!  Because if you don't get the old ones back, people will put them in the garage or the basement as backup/extra storage and have the new one running, and presto, up goes consumption!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Another Jevon's Paradox item:

More new homes built with concrete form insulation

"I live in a 3,500-square-foot house," he said. "I pay the same for electricity that I paid two years ago in a 1,400 square-foot house."
Don't be lazy, to show that Jevons' Paradox applies you have to show that these people (or others in their community) redoubled their other energy consumption, after saving on those home heating or cooling bills.

A savings in itself is not an example of the Paradox.

Tom Misfeldt and his wife were spending $500 to $700 per month on utilities to heat and cool their 4,000-square-foot house in Fort Worth's historic Ryan Place neighborhood south of downtown. Then they built a 2,900-square-foot, ICF structure south of Fort Worth.

The Misfeldts' most recent utility bill was a little more than $300, and that's counting the electricity they use to pump water out of their well, which provides for lawn watering and household use.

Woops!  A net savings.

You the new sheriff?

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,330 square feet in 2004, up from 1,400 square feet in 1970. Are they twice as efficient? Does it matter--especially since the number of total homes has skyrocted as well?

The graphic below is surprising. The most crowded region of the country is building the largest new houses:

Sorry, the Jevons' thing is just a hot button.

I understand the growth in homes and home sizes, but if I am going to be my pedantic self, I'd say it is not necessarily Jevons' Paradox in action.

Do you really think those homes got bigger because energy efficiency allowed them to?

Or was it a general socioeconomic trend, in which energy costs were actually one of the burdens, and not one of the benefits?

I would agree that it's probably the latter:

(from an NPR article)

For Trunzo, it's just a bit strange. But for John Stilgoe, a professor of landscape history at Harvard University, it's emblematic.

"The big house represents the atomizing of the American family," he says. "Each person not only has his or her own television -- each person has his or her own bathroom. Some of these houses are literally designed with three playrooms for two children. This way, the family members rarely have to interact. And the notion of compromise is simply out one of the very many windows these houses sport."

Another critic is John Halsey, president of the Peconic Land Trust, an organization that tries to protect open spaces and agricultural land. For Halsey, the "Big House" is all about the American lifestyle: how we live, what we drive, and how we fail to appreciate the finite nature of land and energy resources.

"Who needs 15,000-square-foot houses?" Halsey says. "I worry about the future of a culture and a society that has this extent of excess in it. I think there is a disconnect, and we are in a bubble. Somehow, we are just not experiencing the realities that the rest of the world is."

Michael Frisby says having lots of room is a good thing. Look, he says, his wife grew up in the projects of New Haven, and he grew up without much. He always shared a room with his brother.

"I always wanted a house big enough that my kids could be in their room screaming, and my wife could be in a room screaming, and I could be somewhere else and not hear any of them," he says. "And I think I have accomplished this with this house, because this house is so big that everyone has their own space."

He says he agrees with analysts who say your big house becomes your community. He says he was always the party guy, and now there's no reason to go out. And he agrees about the fortress mentality after Sept. 11.

So why do people want big houses?

"I think everybody has their individual wants," Frisby says. "This is my dream. And let's face it: In America, in this day and age, many of us have gotten to the point where we can do this."

However, it's also interesting that the midwest has smaller houses. Why?
"However, it's also interesting that the midwest has smaller houses. Why?"

Note that these are the sizes of average new houses, not the average size of houses overall.  The midwest hasn't had quite the housing boom that the coasts have experienced recently.  Also, economically, the midwest has lost ground for several decades now.  Michigan's median income just dropped below the national median, for the first time since records have been kept.  

When I think mcmansion I think the US South West.  But not according to this data.

I think demographics has something to do with it.  Houses are relatively cheap in places like Phoenix, AZ. Younger and newer and poorer families (still middle class) are moving there from places like Los Angeles.

They buy smaller homes.

Whereas the homes that are being built in a place like the NE, are probably 'trade ups' for people who have already made a killing in the real estate boom.  Also the NE is famous for tough zoning laws, and one of the typical ones is minimum lot size/ maximum density type laws, which make land much more expensive (and thus houses will be bigger, because for the buyer the big cost is the land).

My guess (only).

I think you've named the driving factor here in Orange County, California.  The big houses are for people who want to trade up (and stay in debt) rather than stay in a smaller house.
And OC is infamous for pricing new families out of the market.

From what I hear, $1m for a medium sized townhouse?

It's such a desirable place to live, no one can live there ;-).

I think a townhouse would have to be in a good location (within a mile of the ocean, or similar) to get that high.


It looks like the average condo sale hit $460,000 though, that is pretty mind-boggling.

Condos in my complex seem to be going for about the OC average.

OC has 3 things dear to my heart ;-):

  • the Philip K. Dick papers collection at the OC library

  • the OC library (aka Mission Control in 'Gattaca', one of the most visionary SF movies I have ever seen)

  • Kevin Drum of Calpundit blog fame aka

It almost convinces me there *is *civilisation in Southern California ;-).

Story ... I've got this buddy who tells impossible stories.  The most maddening thing about these stories is that they end up being confirmed.

One day, maybe around 1985, I was telling him about how I had been reading a bunch of PKD books.  My friend nods his head, and says, "yeah, I used to drink beer with him."  I'm like, "no, this is the guy how wrote the book that became the movie ..."

The next day my friend brings in this limited edition copy, inscribed on the front cover with something like "enjoyed those beers."

Anyway ... I missed out on that scene.

The larger average size of new homes in the North East may be because the region has a larger than average stock of small and medium size older homes.


Your right, that is surprising, and the emptiest place in the country (Midwest) has the smallest!

I wonder what the logic is on that and what would cause it actually, thanks for a bit of interesting trivia! :-)

Roger Conner known to you as ThatsItImout

"Jevon's Paradox" and "What is the EROEI?" have become cheap ways to shoot down any attempt at adjustment without having to make the effort to develop a counter argument.

The two solutions that mankind can take to adjust to a future with less energy are conservation and alternative energy sources.

But if you want to believe that nothing is possible and don't want to waste any time thinking for yourself, fall back on these two useful phrases.

well like it or not jevon's paradox is true.
the core of it is efficentcy is killed by growth.
take a modern crt tv and compare it to an older model. the older model will of course use more electricty then the newer one, but there is a catch here that i think you do not see.
that catch is while the newer one is better and more efficent then the older one, there were less tvs when the older one was the new and better model.

as for the alt energy sources.. point me to a peer reveiwed in depth study that proves they can me made and maintained only with the energy they provide themselfs while not having any direct or indirect ties to our current oil based infrastructure.
otherwise i think Occam's razor is in order for them.

Ok, but for that argument to work, you have to state that having two TV's is worse than having 1.

There are billions of people who don't have the funds to buy fuel for cooking and lighting. It seems like cutting our consumption in half so they can have something is wise and good. Yes, overall consumption will not go down, but that consumption can be redistributed.

I'm not disputing the basic accuracy of Jevon's Paradox. In fact in a world of infinite energy it does seem that efforts to offset use in one place would just lead to equal consumption elsewhere.

However, in a world of diminishing energy resources, finding ways to conserve and use energy more efficiently are going to be key to surviving.

By just throwing out Jevon's Paradox every time conservation is mentioned, ignores that fact that price increases may still occur despite reductions in demand and that supply may in the future drive demand, rather than the other way around.

EROEI is a counter argument. It might just be the BEST method of selecting from the alternatives.

100% - (1/EROEI) = percent of energy in a society that does not need to be involved in the creation of energy.

Even at an EROEI of 8 that means that 12% of societies energy must be devoted to creating energy.

As the EROEI gets lower, the industry must be much, much larger to power the same sized economy. For instance a EROEI of 10 power source will need twice the volume as an EROEI power source of 20. A cellulosic ethanol industry with an EROEI of 3 would need to be 7 times larger than the current oil industry to power the same economy. Most low EROEI sources cannot scale this large.

Instead we should be putting our subsidies into the high EROEI sources we do have - like wind (40) and hydro. And we should be putting our R&D in those technologies that can reach the 20 to 30 EROEI level.


I think your exactly right, and I often wish I could give the TOD crowd the credit they deserve for helping alert me to this factor.  

The poster you respond to is correct to point out that EROEI can be used as an excuse for inaction, but it certainly cannot be dismissed as a central factor in energy and alternative energy discussion.  

The fact is, that the argument for staying locked in on fossil fuels as our only or even major energy source is that the EROEI is dropping on them, while due to technology, the EROEI on the alternatives is rising.

This is comparable to the situation at the birth of avaition.  People dismissed the Wright Brothers idea because it relied on the internal combustion engine.  They argued, that's idiotic, the engine is not able to do the job on a horsepower per pound basis.  But the Wright Brothers knew the balance was coming to them, as the horsepower went up and the weight per horsepower declined.  This is what is happening in alternative energy  (kilowatt per foot of wind turbine has grown fantastically, and the new thin film solar panals deliver far more power per pound of material used to make them.

And you are right to point out the use of EROEI in choosing the alternatives.  Per my long post at the front of this string, this has caused me to "streamline" my choice of alternatives.

I am not narrow minded, but a person can only deal with so many alternatives at a time, and the ones that are obviously too complex, too wasteful of multiple resources, too intensive in relience on fossil fuels in their production "loop", I now dismiss out of hand.  Tar sand and ethanol I am not interested in.  They are not alternatives but instead, "fuel switching operations.  When natural gas prices go up, they are in trouble, so how is that an alternative?

What we are looking for is ways to break out of the "closed loop" of fossil fuels and earthbound resources, and introduce billions of new kilowatt hours of power with no digging.  Since it is impractical to go to space in such a big way right now, we have to let space send the power to us.

This is why many are beginning to see the light (pun intended) and turn directly to solar, and the ways in which it can be converted (wind) by nature for us.  The solar wind option using recycleble earthbound rescources is starting to look like the "the" hot ticket.

A few years ago I would have dismissed this as pie in the sky, as science fiction, but the technical advances have been fantastic, and again, the shortest distance between two points is the straight line.  We will have to go there someday anyway (all other earthbound options run into the wall of depletion), so why not take the shortest straight line.

It is the EROEI argument that helped me see this more clearly, and the TOD crew who would not turn that argument loose that helped me refocus my thinking!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I'm with you on wind.  It's here, it's now, it's cost competitive with the alternatives (assuming a reasonable carbon charge ie $100/tonne or if you stripped out all the subsidies the alternatives receive).

What we need now is a vision and a drive of the kind that drove the Race to the Moon, and the Manhattan Project.  There will be changes in the landscape and the way we do things that will be bitterly resisted.  But the Age of Wind is upon us.

Solar PV isn't there yet.  But it is coming-- whether fast enough I don't know.  The same principles that drove down cost in the semiconductor industry are at work.  The good news is a solar panel can last 25+ years-- it makes a solar civilisation conceivable.

The other good news is you can come at it from 2 angles:

  • greater conversion efficiency
  • lower cost of manufacture per KW

Since space to lay out PV cells is not at a premium for domestic applications, if you can win on the second of those axes, you can still win.

The third piece of the puzzle is storage technology wherew progress is needed.  I have hope for fixed station fuel cells.

We're in a race, with the viability of our civilisation and the potential habitability of our planet (at least for us) at stake.

Although the cement industry is, itself, 5-10% of world greenhouse gas emissions per annum.

They are trying to do something about that (new technologies eg expandable cement) but it is a sobering thought that our core building material is, in fact, making the problem worse.

I've seem models that indicate the fully 50% of the cost of producing cement is energy. And that doesn't get it out of the factory gate.

Technology is cool and my job is to actually produce
software for low energy devices.

But engineering suffers from a scaling problem that no amount
of technology can easily fix. We still cannot deploy new technology much faster then we could in the past.

The example I use is building a bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge took from 1870-1883 to build.

The Zakim Bridge in Boston


Took from 1997 to 2002 to build. 7 years.

So in basically 100 years we have managed to half the time it takes to build a bridge.

Technology has of course advanced a lot in one hundred years but project times have had the slowest advance.

I suspect the Romans where at worst twice as slow as the bridge builders in the 1800's ( if that)

The point is cool technology stumbles on the deployment side
since the barriers are intrinsic to the problem. The only thing new technology does is slow down deployment because of a increased incendence of technical problems. The rate it slows down deployment is open ended as any engineer knows.

Basically if you use unproven techology you may never complete a engineering task.

People that advocate technical solutions need to also recognize the need to find these solutions asap work out the bugs and start deployment because even if we do manage to find the perfect solution to our comming energy problems it takes a finite amount of time to deploy and this time is hard to change.

My attitude is that in general we are trying to find technical solutions that preserve our wastful way of life so they really aren't relevent. Take the eletric car for example it does not internalize the huge costs of long distance roads to support it so its stupid technology and not a solution. At some point we need to admit Hitler had a bad idea.

Now once you scrap that idea of private electric transport  for long distance transport and focus on local needs i.e inside the city or town or for farm transport you have a  quite different set of engineering needs vs trying to create something that can travel long distances without a charge.

And it points out that if you need and can afford to travel longer distances using private transport then the focus should be on reasonable air travel. Light planes today are barely more expensive the a luxury sedan. The overall cost to society of private air travel is much lower since practically all the costs are born by the traveller not subsidized. And the cost of short hop public travel is much cheaper then building roads. Why don't we have efficient short hop helicopters for example today ?

So if we really focus on what makes sense without oil in the future then we would not be chasing the electric car instead it would be rail for 90% of transport needs and air travel for the cases where rail does not meet the need.

In side the city it would be trolley subway's and local electric taxis and private equivalents but these need not move over say 60mph and probably need to do only 30mph.

Face it highways are a really bad idea maybe Hitler won the war afterall.

In terms of things we need to admit ... how high does "we will not get a gee-whiz plan, social or technological" rank?

I mean, it's fine to lambast the limits of technology, but is it rational to lunge thereafter to unattainable social goals?

We have a messy response, on both the technological and social fronts.  IMO, that's what we'll continue to have.  The only thing likely to change is the pace of those actions.  We will churn through plans like hydrogen cars, ethanol cars, electric cars, and end up who knows were.

It's undetermined how well these messy, and presumably accelerating, plans will work out.

(The fact that these plans exist is easy to prove, as is the fact that they accelerate in times of high energy costs or shortage.)

From 1897 to 1916, the US built streetcar systems in 500 cities & towns (plus subways in larger cities).  We had 91 million people in 1910, and 3% of today's GNP and quite primitive technology (big jump in streetcar technology in early 1920s, another jump in late 1930s with PCC cars).

A couple of days ago we discussed San Angelo (1910 census, 17,800) which built a 3 mile streetcar line in 1908.

1 mile per 6,000 people !

Best Hopes,


This street car example is a bit of a red herring.

How many of the lines where laid on existing roads and bridges ?
I suspect most if not all. In road construction its the bridges that are the killer basically you need to build a lot of bridges and the road is and after thought.

Now I say its a bit of a red herring because it leveraged existing infrastructer that was already built. I agree
we can do the same with our existing road beds today so yes we can have street cars back fairly quickly. We still need to build the cars though. Previous street cars leveraged the infrastructure in place for horse drawn railed carriages and rail that we don't have today. So they could build street cars much easier then than today. Rail at the time had been big business for almost 100 years by 1910 in a number of guages. Taking all this into account your the street care example is dubious at best. We have a LOT of technology and infrastrucre we would need to redevelop before we can deploy street cars at a reasonable rate agian.

Compare the industry in 1900 to support rail based travel vs today and you will see what I mean.

Here is and example of what we can do today compared to our ancestors


Not exactly a booming integrated industry.

I'm not saying to not do this we need to but I think people are making dangerous assumptions about the speed we can redevelop and redeploy technologies to transition from oil.
We are well on our way to facing a situation where we can't leverage our industrial base to transition to alternative technologies this is a real and significant danger even if we have thirty years to make the transition we should use this time wisely. If we wait till our oil based infrastructure starts failing then the transition will be painful, incomplete and leave a lot of people suffering.
Rising prices for oil are like taxes they take a bite out of almost every single transaction.

Don't forget once we make the transition we have 5 or more billion people in the third world that need our help.

Humanity is rapidly facing a time where we as a planet need to come to grips with the pernicious problems of population,
global warming, general resource depletion, and peak oil.

Its time to grow up and act responsibly as a group the party is over.

A minor hobby is to put scans of historic photos up on my site.  They always tell me something I didn't expect.  In this case, that Paris had so many bridges in aprox. 1890:


I would have thought, that without that easy oil economy, they'd make do with fewer.

Odo...I love these old photos, drawings, etc...were you the one that put up the streetcar photo/drawing of the little town in texas?

One of my hobbies is collecting old natural history drawings along the lines of Audabon.

I don't have Texas, but I have streetcars in Washington:


I swear, if you zoom in to look at the guys in the foreground, by the lamp post, two of them look like they are talking on cell phones.

Ah yes...Mr. H.G. Wells displaying his gadgets from a visit to the future.  Or perhaps, Nikola Tesla testing out a new invention.
Hmmm ... I suspect on aircraft the latest Boeing is the last word on per passenger fuel and CO2 efficiency.  And London to Sydney is still something like 10 tonnes of CO2 per passenger.

I doubt a light plane would be more efficient?  At least not for the distances we are talking about (more than 2000km flights).

The real problem is that we fly, at all, or view it as our given right so to do.  Our ancestors went by surface transport: you could reach San Francisco in 4 days from NYC by train (?), and you could sail from London to New York in 14 days (winds cooperating).  

Once again we could travel by sailing ship, and by train (perhaps powered by biomass?).

I don't disagree my point is people that want fast transport should bear the full costs not the public.  At best we pay for some of the cost of public airports and landing pads.
So basically you pay top dollar for fast/private transport.

And you forget about Airship travel we are probably capable of creating solar powered or at least solar assisted air ships.
And they could easily store hydrogen for fuel.

Ship construction has come a long way I'm sure we can do a better job at building faster wind/electric nuclear or renewable powered ships. A lot of people that use air now could opt for ship travel. The only real cost is extending most vacation time by 1-2 weeks to allow for travel time.
And many people could do some work remotely while in transit.

Their is no reason to give up on air travel but the public should use it wisely and the wealthy should pay full cost for their own travel.

Finally as far as air travel goes I don't think we have done a great job of building efficient air planes. I assume they would probably fly slower then today's jets but I suspect if you halved the speed and did other design changes you could greatly increase the efficiency of air travel.

for example


So I'm sure advanced could be made in this area if there is a need. I think we we worked at it we could create a decent solar/hydrogen powered plane that could efficiently and quickly move a number of people long distances.

Anyway I've never said we could not build solutions to move away from oil I'm just concerned that we might wait till its to late for many to create these solutions. I am saying attempts too keep the highways and personal long distance cars is misguided and a huge waste of time effort and energy regardless of how they are powered and more important basically useless for helping the third world deal with peak oil.

there is that term 'path dependence'

It's why this keyboard is laid out the way it is.  Because once QWERTY got half the market, it got all of the market, and it's too hard to change, now.

So what you are saying (correctly) is that we have locked ourselves into high energy paths and high energy solutions and it will be hard (or impossible) to shift those.

My own concern is that since CO2 sits around in the atmosphere for 100 years (in some cases) after we emit it, we will have closed out all future options, by the time we decide to do something.

Correct It just takes a few hundred more words to say it.
Its time to pick a new path and Mother Nature will ensure we do one way or another.
Nice one Roger.

CH4 + 2(O2) ----- CO2 + 2(H2O)

2(H2) +  O2 ------ 2(H2O)

When burning methane it is C-H bonds that are broken to release energy, whilst burning hydrogen it is H-H bond that are broken.  So not strictly true when you compare burning hydrogen and methane - but that is a relatively minor quibble.

Hydrogen (which is just 2 protons joined together - mass 2) is also tiny (in the atomic sense) compared to carbon (mass 12) and methane (mass 16).  And this small size makes it very difficult to store.  But generating hydrogen by hydrolysis of water makes a lot more sense than using methane - unless of course you are an oil company and want CO2 to flood a reservoir to get at more oil.

The points you make about big business (oil and automobiles) clinging on to power are well made - much more eloquent than Mr Gave.

So in terms of Occam's razor - why do you need hydrogen in the mix - ah I see the "nano batteries" are a potentail way of storing hydrogen.  It is what you say about batteries that is really important - if true.  If we had ways of storing and transporting strored electriity - problem solved.  No doubt we will work out many ways of making electricity from wind and solar etc.

So, do you have any charts, charting the progress in battery efficiency with time?


ps The Mini - that icon of British ingenuity is actually owned and manufactured by German BMW - you didn't think us Brits could still actually design and make something worth while?

Solar: You laugh. ...While you laugh, they build

Yesterday, there were solar home tours across the country, demonstrating to interested persons how others have "set up" their homes.  These same homes incorporated other technologies, as well, whatever was appropriate to the individual situation including factors of regional climate, budget, building site, new construction vs. retrofit, smart landscapes, water conservation, etc.  The below website allows you to click on your state to see what was happening in your area.  Some of the websites, such as Boulder, CO, include photos of the houses with a somewhat detailed description of each house, what the challenges were, and what they did.  For many it was an ongoing process of upgrading for energy efficiency over many years as money became available.  For all, it was prioritizing budgetary decisions into energy efficiency.

Solar home tours

One of my best friends is on that tour:

Pikes Peak Area Solar Tour

Tour Description: Start the tour at The Tutt Science Center at Colorado College, 1112 North Nevada where you will see Colorado College's Mobile Environmental Science Lab and displays on geothermal heating and cooling, energy efficient lighting, and others.  The tour features a number of net metered homes, a solar growing dome, an earthship with a photovoltaic system, a home with both active and passive solar features, a home with a photovoltaic system and sustainable landscaping, and a home that uses both solar panels and wind turbines to generate more energy than it uses.

The "earthship with a photovoltaic system" belongs to Jerry Unruh and his wife. Jerry is the father of Ana Unruh Cohen, author of the recent guest post Addressing Proposition 87 Criticisms. I spent several nights in his house, and it was pretty awesome.

You can see more details of his house, along with pictures here.

Thanks for sharing that RR.  My compliments to your friends for an inspiring job and a great design.
"Now we see tht hydrogen once produced can be handled just about like natural gas, or methane captured from a sewer or landfill...which shouldn't surprise us, given that natural gas and methane are chemically so close to straight hydrogen."

One big problem with hydrogen is that it can not be sent through any of the pipelines that handle natural gas. The problem is hydrogen embrittlement. It takes a very special (expensive) steel pipe to carry pure hydrogen.
Better to take CO2 out of the air and use some more solar/wind electricity to combine the H and the C of the CO2 to produce both synthetic methane and synthetic gasoline. Completely carbon neutral and it doesn't require the complete replacement of our existing infrastructure. This would cover the next 50-100 years and beyond that who the heck knows what will be available or needed?

I would love to see viable/affordable solar/wind combined with an affordable storage system that that would cover the gaps in solar/wind production on a homestead level. Ground source heat pump for heat and all electric house with no monthly electric bill - Ya I could go for that. The affordability factor is still a ways away from what I have seen in the market place, but I hope you are right about the progress being made.

Only problem with electric cars is making electric motors for each wheel that would output 100 125 HP. You don't really expect us to give up our 500 HP land yachts do you ? <BG>

Roger, thank's for the brilliant contribution fleshing out how the future will unfold.   I concluded some time ago that the solutions to peak oil would entail conversion to an electrical economy since solar and wind produce electricity and they are the only scalable renewable energy sources.   And I would agree with your later comment that wind seems less scalable than solar.

I have a few observations about the TIMING of the transition, assuming thin film solar with far great-than-presently-available conversion and cost efficiency becomes available as you describe.

  1.  The car market may be the hardest one to convert, taking the longest time, because it involves not only the convergence of PV and battery breakthrus but also the incorporation of them into car designs (which have a multi-year lead time) and, if they are to be combined with a hydrogen fuel supply, the roll-out of a national hydrogen strorage and distribution system, with all the difficult storage issues discussed by treeman.  Seems to me that whole program could take well over a decade AFTER the technology/production break-thrus before making a significant dent in the transport market.   Moreover, the battery technology improvements themselves can be used more easily in a plug-in hybrid system rather than going to hydrogen, as treeman also observes.   That might be an interim stage leading to hydrogen, but would have the tendency to reduce the argument for the need for hydrogen, with it's associated storage problems.   So color me a sceptic on the PV/hydrogen/transport scenario - at least during my likely lifetime (maybe another 25 years if I'm lucky).   But just the battery breakthru's alone could lead to mileage efficiencies relating to the fossil fuel component of the hybrid world of 3 - 6 times current mileage.   This will go a very long way toward reducing the economic impacts of peak oil.

  2. A more immediate use of thin-film PV would be for power-generating roofing materials that look like "ordinary" rooves.   If efficiency is high enough, and combined with new battery technology (or use of the grid as storage for times of excess power generated), all rooves in sunny climates would be candidates for retrofitting.  That could begin to happen as soon as the PV roofing material is available with little lead time.   It only requires positive economic payback arguements for new and retrofit housing.   Commercial installations might even be a faster market.   Such rapid deployment might greatly reduce electrical generating requirements and thereby have a huge impact on the timing of peak natural gas.  The impact on  oil would relate only (but significantly) to heating oil, but would also be measureable.

  3.  The electrical generating market itself could rapidly change with cost-effictive PV.   One can easily envision "farms" of huge mobile PV shields aimed optimally every minute of the day to maximize electrical production and all combined in a "plant" to be input into the grid. This would also have enormous impact on natural gas, not to mention the environment.   In fact, the gains would be magnified because every unit of gas or coal that would be freed up by substituting PV would then not need to be produced, transported and stored, all of which requires much energy. So there would be "multiplier effect" on fossil fuel and GHG's saved by substituting PV in the electrical generating system.

Finally, in terms of oil prices, I think you might see one unintended consequence from the use of high-efficiency PV in electrical generation and new battery technologies in transport.   That is, once this new trend becomes apparent to the oil E&P world, there will be a pull-back in their expenditures for exploration and new investments in production.  When they begin to forecast a slowdown in demand for oil, the very long payback period required for high cost exploration and new production facilities will be endangered.  Therefore, the industry is likely to adopt a "milking" strategy common to mature businesses where new investment is minimized and existing facilities are pushed to their limits.  This trend will also have a negative impact on the attractiveness of careers in oil and gas E&P, which will exacerbate the industry's reluctance to grow more supplies to offset declining fields.  Bottom line, we might very well experience a far more rapid decline in oil production than is now forecast and likely more rapid than the rate at which PV substitution can be scaled up, so the price of oil may actually reach new heights, just as analysts are forecasting lower prices.  And that process could last for quite a long time.  

So, ironically, I'm not sure it will spell the end for those oil sands operators who have their investments already in place.  In fact, they may be in fat city, particularly as they also utilize PV to substitute for natural gas in their energy-intensive production process.

i was recently at a Home Depot store, standing in line to purchase my goods, the power went out. emergency lights came on, i was paying cash. They would not let me pay by cash, because in this electronic age, the bar code flags the inventory to restock when it's purchased. All sales came to a screeching halt. I left the goods laying on the counter and left the building.

What a load of bull don't blame technology.

Can the store continue to sell during a power outage


Is it worth it to do whate ever the need to do to switch during a short outage?
Probably not.

Does Home Depot have contingency plans to continue operating during a long power outages. Of course. Was the cashier trained  probably not its not common or he/she was sleeping
in class.



Industry and Business
Auto manufacturers in the Detroit area (i.e., General Motors, Ford, Daimler Chrysler) cancelled shifts after assembly lines came to a halt;
Retail chains like May and Nordstrom closed most of the stores in the impacted areas; Home-Depot and Lowe's remained open, power by emergency generators providing much needed supplies such as flashlights, batteries, portable power generators, etc.

I didn't see any mention of gallium. Gallium is extracted as a trace element from rocks mined for other reasons (e.g., bauxite).  Gallium is the rarest component of the new CIGS photovoltaic cells (copper-indium-gallium-selenium). The total world gallium production is about 250 tons per year (compared to oil production of about 150 tons per second).  The cellphone and dotcom bubble craze drove the price of gallium to quintuple in 2001, leading to gallium recycling (from waste water, trimmings, cracked chips). But then the price dropped back to what it was before, causing huge layoffs in the gallium recycling business (AKA the genius of capitalism). The new-style photovoltaic plants currently currently under construction will likely use a substantial portion of the world's gallium supply. Is it practical to put gallium on everyone's roof (and then, of course, recycle)? Does anybody out there know the answer?
A "philosophical" view on the current US zeitgeist : The Mean Drum

An excerpt :

We saw this same movie towards the end of the Vietnam era as the political rhetoric ratcheted up the 'us OR them' thinking. Accepting it as a norm of modern politics as both Cheney and Clinton suggest we do in the Washington Post article is not only dumb, it is social suicide with the innocents sacrificed first on the altars of egomania and the lust for power.

This will most certainly facilitate the handling of Peak Oil for the US...

RE: Mass suicides by Indian farmers... shape of things to come

Thanks, Leanan, nice find
Very good article, albeit a bit strong on the accusatory front.

Most stories so far focus on suicides due to failing GMO (cotton) crops, this is much more comprehensive.

A poor farmer of India today earns US$ 144 from his back-breaking effort: exactly 12 dollars per month. If the entire household works an acre, including children as young as five, they just might earn US$ 464 from their meager holdings, provided all factors are favourable, which rarely happens. But the corporations, their distributors and retailers extract US$ 523.57 from each acre worked whether the farmer earns even a dollar or not. The Rockefeller-engineered destruction of the independent farmers in the US is being repeated here in India.

The suicides of Indian farmers serves two purposes: one, it is reducing the population of India and reducing the pressure on natural resources for reasons that have been engineered by neo-conservative thinkers controlling Washington's policy. World population must be reduced to 1750 level of 770 million if the planet is to survive in post oil era.

This was known to a small group in the US back in 1974 and the plan for culling world population was set in motion by Henry Kissinger, endorsed by Jimmy Carter, furthered by Reagan, George Bush senior, Clinton, and now being expedited by baby George.

World population must be reduced to 1750 level of 770 million if the planet is to survive in post oil era. This was known to a small group in the US back in 1974 and the plan for culling world population was set in motion by Henry Kissinger, endorsed by Jimmy Carter, furthered by Reagan, George Bush senior, Clinton, and now being expedited by baby George. And two, while the plutocrats implement their agenda through the co-opted Indian ruling elite, they'd extract as much profit as they can, while simultaneously killing as many on earth. Profit must be ensured, no matter how many die. And the Indian governments have been active co-conspirators in this agenda since 1947.

The mass suicides of Indian farmers are truly sad, and the plight this leaves their families in is even sadder. However to say this is all the doings of one master plan by Henry Kissinger, endorsed by every US president since, is just down in the dirt stupid. And to say that the Indian government has been co-conspirators since 1947 in a conspiracy to reduce the world's population to 770 million, set in place by Kissinger in 1974 is absurd to say the least.

The deeper point here is this author must blame someone. Blame the English, blame Colonialism, blame Kissinger, blame all US presidents, and even blame every Indian government since 1947. The blame, dear hearts, lies not in any of these people or organizations.  The blame lies in our very innate nature. Which is to say there is no one to blame for we cannot help being the way we are.

Ron Patterson

- The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization'or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
     John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

- As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
     Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

I find him heavy on the conspiratory side as well. But to say that he is down in the dirt stupid, is, well, I would almost say stupid. No need for that kind of language.

You can't prove that he's wrong, and you know it, so refrain from these statements. Not that he can prove his case, as far as I know, but that's not the point. He doesn't call you any names.

What can be proven in India is the predatory presence of Cargill/Monsanto (and their peers), the source of the debt-induced suicide waves as reported in the past few years.

"we cannot help being the way we are."

Since you do not specify, I'm going to guess you mean wre are suicidal.

And while Gray and Morrison are right in their general observations, these quotes have no bearing on the fact that poor farmers commit suicide.

Roel wrote:
I find him heavy on the conspiratory side as well. But to say that he is down in the dirt stupid, is, well, I would almost say stupid. No need for that kind of language.

Roel to say that someone has been "co-conspirators" since 1949 in a conspiracy that supposedly began in 1974, is just down in the dirt stupid. That should be self evident to anyone who realizes that one cannot be a co-conspirator 25 years before the conspiracy began.

You can't prove that he's wrong, and you know it, so refrain from these statements. Not that he can prove his case, as far as I know, but that's not the point. He doesn't call you any names.

But I did prove him wrong! And if you realize that 1949 came 25 years before 1974 then you must know also that he was wrong. But who knows, perhaps you are counting backwards. And I wasn't calling him names, I was just stating a self-evident fact.

Now I realize that the author probably did not realize he was stating an impossibility. But the entire concept of blaming Kissinger and all US presidents for the terrible overpopulation problems in India, and all the consequences that go with such drastic overpopulation is, in my opinion, just "down in the dirt stupid." But you say "you cannot prove him wrong." Perhaps you believe Kissinger and all previous US presidents are to blame for all the terrible problems in India that is causing such a mass number of suicides. Really Raul! Do you really think Kissinger et al is to blame for all those Indian farmers committing suicide? Do you really believe that Raul? I do not! In fact, I think such an opinion is just down in the dirt stupid.

No, let me soften that statement a bit. Let me paraphrase Matt Ridley. He did not use the term "down in the dirt stupid", he said instead "everyone with an ounce of common sense". So okay, I retract all my "down in the dirt stupids" and replace them with "everyone with an ounce of common sense". Yes, that is much nicer, don't you think?

What can be proven in India is the predatory presence of Cargill/Monsanto (and their peers), the source of the debt-induced suicide waves as reported in the past few years.

Oh hell, it's all Cargill/Monsanto's fault. And their peers are co-conspirators I suppose. Well, as long as we feel we must blame someone, I suppose Cargill/Monsanto's fault.

Roel quotes me: "we cannot help being the way we are."

Since you do not specify, I'm going to guess you mean wre are suicidal.

No, that is not all what I meant. We are not suicidal! We do everything in our power to survive. Sometimes the results may seem suicidal but that was never the original intent. What I meant was we cannot change our nature. We, as all other species do, breed to the very limit of our existence. If nothing checks our numbers we will multiply our numbers until something does. Environmental characteristics may cause us to behave differently, to sometimes breed less. But those characteristics are found in only a tiny proportion of human populations.

And while Gray and Morrison are right in their general observations, these quotes have no bearing on the fact that poor farmers commit suicide.

For goodness sake Raul, did you not realize what the subject of my entire post was? The entire subject of my post was the author's idea of who was to blame! Did I not make that point blatently clear with this statement: "The deeper point here is this author must blame someone." And both of my quotes had to do with blame. That is, no one is to blame. The destruction, the overcrowding and all the horrible consequences thereof, like suicide, is the result of our evolutionary success as a rapacious primate. The author blamed Kissinger, he blamed all US presidents since 1974, and he blamed the Indian government of being a co-conspirator in this grand conspiracy since 1949. Hell, everyone with an ounce of common sense.....

Ron Patterson

I know, the following quote has nothing to do with the above subject. Still, I thought I would post it.... Ain't this fun? ;-)

For more than 50 years sane voices have called for an end to the debate. Nature versus nurture has been declared everything from dead and finished to futile and wrong--a false dichotomy,. Everybody with an ounce of common sense knows that human beings are a product of a transaction between the two.
Matt Ridley: Nature via Nurture

Roel to say that someone has been "co-conspirators" since 1949 in a conspiracy that supposedly began in 1974,

Get real. Could have been a typo? You made one right there. You just changed 1947 into 1949 yourself. Getting into a rant that uses the word stupid for this reason is way out there.

Yes, his weakness, as I started pointing out, is that his claims lack substance. That does not make him stupid. Wrong, perhaps, not stupid.

And he never blames Kissinger for India's population numbers.

As I never said Cargill is to blame for "all" of anything. Get real. Learn how to read.

"No one is to blame?" For what exactly? If I shoot my neighbor, you will not blame me? Anybody to blame for anything? Osama? Just his nature? A slave master? The West, squeezing the poor for all they have? Human nature, no blame?

You just blame the author, and now me, for being stupid. But I guess we are not to blame for that, right? Or you for your over-the-top reactions?

And ask Ridley first if he's OK with his name being used in this kind of speak.

Roel wrote:

And ask Ridley first if he's OK with his name being used in this kind of speak.

Roel, I quoted Ridley using that kind of speak himself! But let me ask you a question? Who or what is to blame for India's problems? Would that be the same people, or institution that is to blame for Bangladesh's problems? How about Pakistan's problems?

Russia has a serious suicide problem, who is to blame for that? Who is to blame for the AIDS epidemic in Africa and other places around the world?

Who is to blame for peak oil? Who is to blame for the US using far more than its fair share of the world's endowment of fossil fuels?

If you are really interested in playing the blame game Roel, I would be very interested in taking you on. Blame is one of my favorite subjects. I just love to discuss blame because shooting blame game players down is like shooting ducks on a pond. They always get it wrong.

And you never answered my question. Do you think Kissinger and all US presidents from 1974 on are responsible for India's suicide rate? Are they to blame? Or, do you think that anyone with an ounce of commons sense would know better than that?

Ron Patterson

1/ The author does not blame the suicides on Kissinger. He blames him, and all the other actors, for creating a situation in which the Indian farmer is so debt-ridden and destitute that all he can think of doing is this, from the Russia article below:

2/"And the most extreme form of protest is just dying."

So what's your take on what the US HAS been doing in India, and Cargill? Conspiracy loony stuff?

And I mean Ridley quoted to support your rants. He does not say what you do. As I said, learn how to read.  

And yes, I do see how you conveniently bypass my points that you don't like reacting to.

You're good at "the blame game"? You can't even read! You are the only one laying direct blame so far.

1/ The author does not blame the suicides on Kissinger. He blames him, and all the other actors, for creating a situation in which the Indian farmer is so debt-ridden and destitute that all he can think of doing is this, from the Russia article below:

Don't be daft! That is exactly what I meant and I think you know it. He blames Kissinger for creating the entire mess India finds itself in. I made that point very clear when I asked about all the other countries.

2/"And the most extreme form of protest is just dying."

Good God! Do you actually believe they were making a statement of protest when they committed suicide? Do you think they were saying: Take this Kissinger, Take this US presidents, Take this Indian government? Is that what you think Roel?

So what's your take on what the US HAS been doing in India, and Cargill? Conspiracy loony stuff?

The US is not Cargill! The US is not Monsanto! Those are US companies operating in India. I do not defend or condemn these companies for anything. But they are not to blame for India's hunger problem, nor India's overpopulation problem nor India's suicide problem.

And I mean Ridley quoted to support your rants. He does not say what you do. As I said, learn how to read.

Pure baloney, you are the one who cannot read. I did not quote Ridley to support anything I said on this subject. I simply said I should used softer words like Ridley did when he said "everyone with an ounce of common sense" instead of "down in the dirt stupid". If you think that is using Ridley to support what I said concerning India then you obviously cannot read coherently.  

And yes, I do see how you conveniently bypass my points that you don't like reacting to.
You're good at "the blame game"? You can't even read! You are the only one laying direct blame so far.

And whom did I blame for what? Either put up or shut up. At whose foot am I laying the blame for all the problems in India, or Russia, or the US, or anywhere else. Who have I blamed for anything? Simply making statements of fact about a post or essay is definitely not blaming anyone for anything. It is not even your fault that you have trouble comprehending my posts. That is not your fault. You are not to blame Roel for the person you turned out to be, nor is anyone else. We are all the victims of circumstance.

If you knew anything about me Roel, then you would know that I do not blame!

Ron Patterson

- Of course, you can argue with the proposition that all we are is knobs and turnings, genes and environment. You can insist that there's something...something MORE. But if you try to visualize the form this something would take, or articulate it clearly, you'll find the task impossible, for any force that is not in the genes or the environment is outside of physical reality as we perceive it. It's beyond scientific discourse.
     Robert Wright, "The Moral Animal"

go sleep it off
I asked you to put up or shut up. I noticed you shut up. That was big of you.

Ron Patterson

Reading is much harder than most imagine.
Rigs and peaks

I don't make graphs, but I do appreciate them. This one I picked up somewhere, I think from Aaron Krowne, who posted Will the real inflation please stand up at iTulip, an article so full of info and terms I had to come up for air from time to time. I am a bear of little brain.

The graph is too good not to share, no comment needed. I'd like to credit the maker, but can't find him/her. Apologies. Looks a bit like Khebab, but he doesn't use the spiffy maps in the background?!

In any case, if someone's missing a rig, here's a place to go look.

This graph was made by Stuart in one of his post about OPEC.
I've been hearing a claim that if nothing is done too reduce greenhouse gas emissions that the earth will reach a tipping point in ten years (or is that 9 1/2 now since the claim was made this spring)
Assuming that is taken at face value what happens if emissions are reduced by 20 percent? Then the same amount will be emitted in twelve years instead. Why go to the trouble if it only buys a few years?

We have probably already past the tipping point now.
In fact we probably mucked the planet up as far back as the 70's in the sense that was probably the last point that we could have altered our C02 habits and not cause significant climate change.  The problem with tipping points is they are based on feed back loops and the environment has tons of positive and negative feedback loops.

For example tropical rain forests tend to cause the climate to change to promote rain forests  same for deserts. Between those two extremes local weather conditions are important in determining vegetation. And the vegetation has a big influence on the climate.

We have discovered a number of feedback loops lately that seem to have already caused regions of the earth to move to a new stable pattern. These are tipping points. The Arctic for example looks like it has already tipped and will become ice free soon.

Considering the intricate nature of various feedback loops have disturbed just this one I'm pretty sure a cascade of related feedback loops will begin to "tip" to a new equilibrium point.  Climate studies are notorious for underestimating the time it takes for these changes. We have a pretty good idea of where the climate is going but just about every climate report you read begins with the scientist stating something like.
Our models predicted this effect in 50 years and we have been surprised by how fast its increasing.

We are just now discovering these feed back loops and how they cause the climate to change to a  new equilibrium point. As far as how fast these changes will happen ?
Dunno but generally it seems we are repeatedly underestimating the speed of the changes as changes cause other feedback mechanisms to come into play that accelerate the rate of change.

Their are plenty of signs in the climate record that climate has changed rapidly and dramatically on the past on the scale of years we ignore it now mainly since we don't understand it.


As far as global warming goes I think we are now along for the ride. All we are doing from here on out is making a bad situation worse as we continue to pump CO2 in the atmosphere. We have started a lot of natural processes that will pump significant quantities of methane and CO2 in the atmosphere on top of our man made production so their is a very good chance were are already toast. Between forest fires and warming arctic soils, and warming methane hydrate deposits we are probably already to late to stop a natural spike in CO2/Methane levels. One of the biggest problems with global warming is it generally leads to more cases of extreme drought conditions which causes a significant increase in forest fires. Its the climate extremes esp drought that kills our ecosystems. The other big event heading our way is a huge increase in the use of wood for cooking worldwide as propane becomes to expensive to use in the third world. Our population is high enough now that cutting wood for cooking fuel will have a global climate impact.

I'm pretty certain we are basically going to burn this planet up regardless of how America decides to power its SUV's to drive too the McMansion.

One more, my fave quote of how wrong climate models are in general. Climate researchers keep on saying they are surprised by the speed of developments, try notice that when you read articles, it's so common it's funny.

It doesn't take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds

Richard Alley's eyes glint as we sit in his office in the University of Pennsylvania discussing how fast global warming could cause sea levels to rise. The scientist sums up the state of knowledge: "We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn't take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds."

And a key example of a positive feedback loop:

The Mackenzie delta in Canada is the site for an enormous proposed pipeline. For Arctic pipeline sites, existing and planned, one of the main worries is, or should be, if there'll be anything left to keep the pipes in place.  

The amount of methane and CO2 frozen in the world's permafrost is staggering.

Melting permafrost a 'sleeping giant'

It's the water melting out of the upper layer of permafrost that's of immediate concern to engineers and northern planners. The so-called "active" layer -- the top metres or two of permafrost that melts every summer and then refreezes -- is becoming more active, playing havoc with the region's infrastructure. And vulnerable permafrost cliffs and ridges are melting, sending enormous blocks of the frozen ground sliding and toppling into Arctic seas and rivers.

Permafrost covers close to 20 per cent of the planet and almost half of Canada -- down to a depth of 700 metres in parts of the Western Arctic. There is so much permafrost underground and beneath the Arctic seas that scientists say it's not going to disappear soon.

It is the change underground that makes the site so significant. Fifteen metres below ground, the temperature has risen 1.5 degrees to minus 6.5 C since 1970, says Burn, who has a growing collection of thermometers and gauges dangling down drill holes.
"When temperatures are rising 15 metres underground, it's not variation, it's a change," he says.

The amount of methane and CO2 frozen in the world's permafrost is staggering.

You got any numbers to put on this Roel?   One  thing I react to is the frozen down to 700 m bit. It really depends what you have down there.  If it is bed rock a few meters below the surface with frozen water and clathrate in fracture porosity - so what?  If its 50 meters of galcial till with 30% porosity - then thats a different matter.

Do numbers exist for melting say the top 20 meters? Tonnes of CO2 and TCf of CH4 released.  This is is one of the interesting / scary feed back loops - I know it matters but don't really have a feel for how much.

Also, any evidence that permafrost may have been melted since end of last ice age - or woudl this be something new for this interglacial?

No hurry for this - but its the sort of facts I'm interested in.  I bought Hougton's book on Global Warming but not had a chance to read it yet.

I've been keeping an eye on sea surface temps - and notice large anomalies around the N Atlantic and Arctic in recent years - I really begin to wonder how long the Sea Ice might last.

You maybe want to consider posting some details on your "Private user info" so folks can see your credentials. And then we can have another argument about Dutch Gas.

www.realclimate.org is worth a peruse
Read the references and text in my Burning Buried Sunshine paper if you want information on the carbon in the permafrost & peatlands of Siberia.


A quick scan in my archive gives me this Voice of America article.

As far as I can tell this not include methane, which the numbers in the 2nd article below would seem to confirm.

As for the 700m depth issue, good point, I have no answer to that right now. It might well differ from region to region?! It would require some real research, but I have a deadline tomorrow morning.

NB both articles describe Siberia only.

Scientists know how much carbon dioxide people put into the air each year, but until now it was not clear how much greenhouse gas the Earth could give off. Schurr found that the deposits deep in the Siberian permafrost were much greater than previously thought and could potentially double current carbon dioxide concentrations if released.

"We describe a really large pool of about 500 billion tons of carbon," said Schurr. "In comparison, the atmosphere right now has about 730 billion tons. So we are talking about almost as much carbon stored in permafrost in Siberia as there is in the atmosphere now. "

In another study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Margaret Torn at the University of California at Berkeley shows the climate impact of this additional greenhouse factor. "We found a significant amount of warming coming back from these feedbacks that we're not yet estimating," said Torn.

"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, currently estimates that we could have warming by as much as 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century. But if Earth responds as it has in the past, we would actually be committed to 7.7 degrees Celsius warming."

And this from the Guardian on methane:

Siberia's peat bogs have been producing methane since they formed at the end of the last ice age, but most of the gas had been trapped in the permafrost. According to Larry Smith, a hydrologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, the west Siberian peat bog could hold some 70 billion tonnes of methane, a quarter of all of the methane stored in the ground around the world.

The permafrost is likely to take many decades at least to thaw, so the methane locked within it will not be released into the atmosphere in one burst, said Stephen Sitch, a climate scientist at the Met Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter.

But calculations by Dr Sitch and his colleagues show that even if methane seeped from the permafrost over the next 100 years, it would add around 700m tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year, roughly the same amount that is released annually from the world's wetlands and agriculture.

It would effectively double atmospheric levels of the gas, leading to a 10% to 25% increase in global warming, he said.

Thanks Roel, at least the 70 billion umber tallies with that I fetched from Dave's reference - probably the same source.  The 500 billion number I think includes organic carbon - not yet broken down to CO2 or CH4 - but which would decay quite quickly after melting.

The numbers here are big and bad enough to make me want to switch off.  Either someone has done the math on global warming completely wrong - or were all screwed big time - doubling of atmospheroc CO2!

By way of further information, I think the methane in Siberia could have two sources - one surface related bacterial degradation of organic matter and the other deep theraml gas (from gas fileds) that is leaking out to surface continuously - but in Siberia gets frozen along with water to form clathrates.

This is something I grabbed from Nate a few weeks back - and the temperature anomalies in Siberia give some cause for concern.  Januray is one of the weirdest months, but just look at November in Siberia.

So some very ball park numbers:

One of Dave's references put a figure 70 billion tonnes of CH4 in Siberian frozen bogs

I got a number of 1 million tcf nat gas equivalent to 18.9 tons liquid

This I think gives a figure of 3703 tcf of methane.

Equivalent to 33 Shtockmans - and this seems a reasonable outcome.

I'm not sure that methane lasts in the atmosphere, will most probably get oxidised to CO2 and H2O - so the greater insulating effect may be overplayed.

Catastrophic? Certainly won't help much.

Methane does get oxidised but the real oxidation rate is a lot lower then under lab conditions.

Now I'll have to drag up the stupid link.

Ahh heck can't find it. But don't assume it oxidises fast.
I remember something like 20 years.

And also the warmer soils worldwide will produce more methane.
A lot of the methane gets oxidised by soil bacteria climate change may alter this ability and generally for the worse.

Methane releases on the scale we are talking about are not something we know enough about to dismiss and they are probably more dangerous in a sense then the CO2. Since they would spike the atmosphere and really get natural CO2 emissions up from the burst of heat. So on top of the underlying CO2 global warming you will get a nice very hot pulse to push the climate.

A lot of debate exists about this esp since the methane signature is over such a relatively short time span but its reasonable to basically fear a methane pulse. This of course goes all the way back to the rate of global warming.
The glob is going to warm its too later to stop that but if we can slow the rate down by quickly decarbonizing there is a good chance we can get away with a slow steady warming that does not result and any of these forcing events.

So even now when its too late to stop global warming we can
greatly decrease the worst effects if we act yesterday.

How long does methane last?

Killer in our midst

Carbon dioxide has a relatively long residence time; methane, by contrast, has a very short one. If the same quantities of carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere, therefore, in ten years most of the carbon dioxide will still be there, but most of the methane will be gone.

But while it remains in the atmosphere, methane can deliver quite a thermal punch. Compared to an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide over a twenty year period, methane packs a punch over sixty times greater. Over a hundred year period (the usual period for such comparisons), methane is more than twenty times more powerful.

Over five hundred years, methane's greenhouse effect drops to less than ten times that of an equivalent quantities of carbon dioxide. Thus, in examining the possible impact of methane on Earth's temperature, it is important to keep these differences (called time horizons) in mind. If released suddenly, in large quantities, methane can deliver a stunning jolt to the prevailing temperatures of our planet.

How long does methane last?

Around my house, it can lasts for 30 minutes. haha! but my daughter at Texas Tech just commented on Lubbock TX, saying it smells like cow manure 24/7. And thats on a good day!
Need to ban Taco Bells, Refried Beans, make that all beans! and cows.
Better add Mexican restaurants too.

There's more, CW, interesting site, tons of information.
I promise I'll go do some 'real' work now.

North polar region continental permafrost distribution. The darker blue indicates the area of continuous permafrost; the lighter blue the discontinuous permafrost, where occasional thawing has taken place.

It is also found in the continental margins that enclose the Arctic Ocean, which froze as deeply as the surrounding continents. Because permafrost usually extends to depths of about 600 meters and the hydrate stability zone extends deeper still, methane hydrate can be found both within the permafrost and below it. The stability zone for methane hydrate in permafrost therefore is usually between about 200 and 600 meters (yards), but it can be found at depths as shallow as about 130 meters, or as deep as 2000 (1.2 miles: Kvenvolden, 1988b).

There are considerable quantities of methane hydrate found in permafrost. One estimate puts the total at about 10 Gt of methane (Kvenvolden, 1993), although there is wild disagreement in such estimates (Kvenvolden, 1988b). This total represents only about 1% of the amount in the ocean's continental margins. Nonetheless, permafrost hydrate methane may have been important in warming the planet at the end of the most recent ice age.

Estimated size of hydrate-related methane reservoirs
Each methane molecule is three-quarters (3/4) carbon, by atomic weight.

Gt = 10^15 grams = one billion metric tons (each metric ton = 1.1 imperial tons)

In measuring the amount of methane in hydrates and in the free gas below them, its carbon content is often included as well. Employing an estimate of the amount of carbon, rather than an estimate of the methane itself, allows comparison with carbon elsewhere on the planet. Carbon is found in things living and dead, terrestrial and marine, in the air, water, and rocks. These stores of carbon are referred to as carbon reservoirs, which hold carbon just as a water reservoir holds water.

Roel, that was another good link.

So having slept soundly worying about melting permafrost it occuerd to me that if this is a major problem then the data should show up in "Keelings" Mauna Loa CO2 measurements.

The cyclicity here is believed to be due to northern hemisphere summers that reduce CO2 concentrations by photsynthesis and increase in biomass.

With melting permafrost, we should see CO2 being released in the Summer and this should presumably lower the amplitude of the CO2 oscilations.  Maybe their is evidence for that in the last 3 years of data where the rising bottoms seem to take a step upwards?

Anyone got CO2 data for the last 5 years?

One thing that worries me about this data set is how perfect it is.


Did a quick scan to find out how old this Siberian peat bog is it seems it is 9000 - 10000 years old - formed right at the end of the last ice age - so if all this carbon was removed then - why did it continue to get warmer?


One thing that worries me about this data set is how perfect it is.
You're not the first or last. Tim Flannery opens The Weather Makers with the Keeling graph. He calls it: "..one of the most wonderful things I've seen, for in it you can see our planet breathing".

The following article is an interesting twist. Peter Bergamashi is very active researching GHG levels. A search on him, and his European Commission Joint Research Centre might be worthwhile.
Euan Nesbit is another; GAW's site is here.

From New Scientist, Jun 22

Kyoto promises are nothing but hot air

[..] two teams that have monitored concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere say they have convincing evidence that the figures reported by many countries are wrong, especially for methane. Among the worst offenders are the UK, which may be emitting 92 per cent more methane than it declares under the Kyoto protocol, and France, which may be emitting 47 per cent more.

Peter Bergamaschi of the European Commission Joint Research Centre at Ispra, Italy, used an alternative "top-down" technique to study emissions across Europe. His technique is to measure in detail how concentrations of greenhouse gases vary across the globe. Levels are generally higher near major sources such as industrial centres, and when weather conditions trap the pollution. They are lower near natural "sinks" such as cold areas of ocean. Concentrations can also vary widely depending on factors such as the weather. Over London, for example, methane levels vary from 1800 parts per billion (ppb), the global background level, on windy days to upwards of 3000 ppb when local emissions from landfills and gas pipelines are trapped by cold night air.

By measuring these differences and tracking air movements, the scientists say they can calculate a country's emissions independently of government estimates. Bergamaschi's calculations suggest that the UK emitted 4.21 million tonnes of methane in 2004 compared to the 2.19 million tonnes it declared, while France emitted 4.43 million tonnes compared to the 3.01 million tonnes it declared.

Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. While it persists in the atmosphere for only one-tenth as long as CO2, its immediate warming effect, tonne for tonne, is around 100 times greater. According to some estimates, methane is responsible for a third of current global warming, and reductions in methane emissions may be the quickest and cheapest way of slowing climate change.

Bergamaschi's calculations are supported by a similar study led by Euan Nisbet of Royal Holloway University of London, who is a member of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), a network of atmospheric scientists organised by the UN's World Meteorological Organization. Nisbet estimates that methane emissions in the London area in the late 1990s were 40 to 80 per cent higher than declared by the government at the time.

But the US is 2/7th or c. 29% of estimated CO2 emissions.

So what the US does, and how it chooses to live, has a big effect.

Deforestation is bad news, but India with 1 billion people only produces 1/6th as much CO2 as the US. (I'd have to check the number)

A 15% drop in US CO2 emission is like crossing off an India.

You've not thought through the maths.

Our emissions are 7 GT of carbon (multiply by 3.667 times to get CO2) pa.

Natural uptake/ sequestration of CO2 is 4.5GT.  (about: I've heard ranges of 2.5-4.5GT).

So the gain to the atmosphere is 2.5GT pa.  The problem is the speed at which we are overloading the planet's ability to sequester our CO2 production.

Lower that by 20%, total emissions are then 5.6, so the gain is 1.1GT pa.  You've more than doubled the time you have left.

Note this all assumes linearity. In practice, there are almost certainly threshold effects.

Does anybody know how high or low the Amazon water level is this year? Last year was very low by September and this year seemed to be promising a similar scenario. I have half heartedly tried searching on the internet for the river level of the Amazon but without any success.
As a first time poster, let me thank (almost) everyone for providing information and entertainment.

I am reading Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity Is Near."  On page 102, he says "BP Amoco's cost for finding oil in 2000 was less than one dollar per barrel, down from nearly ten dollars in 1991."  Because there's no footnote, can anyone explain what he means?  Has BP improved their ERoEI by leaps and bounds?

First: EROEI applies not to dollars, but to energy costs. Not at all the same.
Second: The cost for finding oil goes up, not down. Ray has a big thumb.
Third: Kurzweil is not the most celebrated man around here (for good reasons). You are warned.
I read the book a few months ago. While I found the whole concept mind-blowing, he definitely did not address the issue of where the energy was going to come from to turn his dream into reality. He kept making arguments to the effect that energy for computing was going to go down and down and down, ignoring the fact that energy needs for society is going up and up and up.

I also just finished Nanofuture by J. Storrs Hall. If you like Singularity, you will like that one.

A concrete example of my Export Land Model

Oman is where the Yibal Field--same reservoir as Ghawar, also redeveloped with horizontal wells--is located.   Note that while Oman oil production is falling at 6% per year, net exports are falling at 10.6% per year, while oil prices are up significantly.  

Note that we are seeing the about the same percentage annual decline rate in production in Saudi Arabia.  

The Ghawar Field, as a percentage of OOIP, is about where Yibal started crashing.  Note that Shell was saying the same kind of positive things about Yibal that the Saudis have been saying about Ghawar.

Also, going into the fourth quarter, the demand for oil tankers is clearly down.


Oman's crude exports drop 6.2% this year

By Sunil Vaidya, Bureau Chief

The Sultanate's total exports of crude oil stood at 141.71 million barrels during the first seven months of 2006, compared to 151.31 million barrels during the corresponding period in 2005, a fall of 6.2 per cent.

 Data also showed that the Sultanate's total production of crude oil and condensates stood at 158.4 million barrels by the end of July 2006, against 164.2 million barrels during the corresponding period in 2005, constituting a fall of 3.5 per cent.

The bulletin said that the average price of Omani crude per barrel rose by 33.7 per cent during the first seven months this year to $62.90 per barrel compared to $47.04 per barrel during the corresponding period in 2005.

April 8, 2004
Oman's Oil Yield Long in Decline, Shell Data Show

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group's oil production in Oman has been declining for years, belying the company's optimistic reports and raising doubts about a vital question in the Middle East: whether new technology can extend the life of huge but mature oil fields.

Internal company documents and technical papers show that the Yibal field, Oman's largest, began to decline rapidly in 1997. Yet Sir Philip Watts, Shell's former chairman, said in an upbeat public report in 2000 that "major advances in drilling" were enabling the company "to extract more from such mature fields." The internal Shell documents suggest that the figure for proven oil reserves in Oman was mistakenly increased in 2000, resulting in a 40 percent overstatement.

Note that even with production falling, Oman's gross cash flow from crude oil sales went up from $7.1 billion last year to about $8.9 billion for the same time period this year.
"With Cheap Gas, Venezuelans Buy Big SUVs

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- The car show is filled with men who gravitate to the sport utility vehicles, peering through their windows and slipping into their leather seats.
Many say they're looking for a powerful engine, but no one asks about gas mileage. In oil-rich Venezuela, gasoline costs as little as 12 cents a gallon due to government subsidies -- and SUVs are selling briskly.
And as oil exports have boosted the economy, the country has experienced a boom in auto sales, including large four-wheel drives that have lost appeal elsewhere as fuel costs have soared."


And as oil exports have boosted the economy, the country has experienced a boom in auto sales, including large four-wheel drives that have lost appeal elsewhere as fuel costs have soared."

A GM Exec said the only thing limiting the sale of vehicles (generally large SUV's) in the Middle East was a shortage of ships in which to carry them over.

On the importing side, China's oil imports year to date are up over 15% year over year, and several regions, including China, are looking at building and/or filling SPR's of their own.

Absent a severe recession, I don't see any alternative to a renewed bidding war for declining oil exports in the fourth quarter.

Just got a 20 page "invest in our Chinese solar cell making plant" mailing.

Looks like some people have got the message and are trying to get others of us to 'share in thier vision'.


What is Richard Rainwater doing tonight?

Insofar as I know, Richard Rainwater has never been wrong regarding a major business investment.  

Following is a link to a "Golden Oldie."  IMO, this was Rainwater's one time attempt to warn those who will listen.  I wrote him a letter, after this article came out, asking him to support an energy tax, offset by cutting the Payroll Tax.  He wrote back, saying that while he appreciated the nice things I had said about him, he was seeking less publicity, not more, and he wished me luck with my efforts.

So, what is Richard Rainwater--with basically a perfect investment track record--doing?  He is integrating himself into small town life and expanding his ability to grow his own food.

I am increasing beginning to agree with Matt Savinar that perhaps the best thing that we can do is to make our own plans for LATOC.  Matt believes that the US debt load will prevent us from volunarily cutting back on energy consumption, which is another way of saying that the "Iron Triangle" will vigorously fight any attempt to curtail the "Buy the SUV on credit to drive to and from the large suburban mortgage" model.

In any case, I continue to be struck by the number of anecdotal stories of boom times in many smaller communities around the country.  

I wonder if we may be experiencing a "stealth" migration of many wealthier people out of major urban centers. . . .

Perhaps we should be following Richard Rainwater's lead.


Oliver Ryan, Fortune
* The Rainwater Prophecy*
Richard Rainwater made billions by knowing how to profit from a crisis. Now he foresees the biggest one yet.

Such insights have allowed Rainwater to turn moments of cataclysm into gigantic paydays before. In the mid-1990s he saw panic selling in Houston real estate and bought some 15 million square feet; now the properties are selling for three times his purchase price. In the late '90s, when oil seemed plentiful and its price had fallen to the low teens, he bet hundreds of millions--by investing in oil stocks and futures--that it would rise. A billion dollars later, that move is still paying off. "Most people invest and then sit around worrying what the next blowup will be," he says. "I do the opposite. I wait for the blowup, then invest."

The next blowup, however, looms so large that it scares and confuses him. For the past few months he's been holed up in hard-core research mode--reading books, academic studies, and, yes, blogs. Every morning he rises before dawn at one of his houses in Texas or South Carolina or California (he actually owns a piece of Pebble Beach Resorts) and spends four or five hours reading sites like LifeAftertheOilCrash.net or DieOff.org, obsessively following links and sifting through data. How worried is he? He has some $500 million of his $2.5 billion fortune in cash, more than ever before. "I'm long oil and I'm liquid," he says. "I've put myself in a position that if the end of the world came tomorrow I'd kind of be prepared." He's also ready to move fast if he spots an opening.

His instincts tell him that another enormous moneymaking opportunity is about to present itself, what he calls a "slow pitch down the middle." But, at 61, wealthier and happier than ever before, Rainwater finds himself reacting differently this time. He's focused more on staying rich than on getting richer. But there's something else too: a sort of billionaire-style civic duty he feels to get a conversation started. Why couldn't energy prices skyrocket, with grave repercussions, not just economic but political? As industry analysts debate whether the world's oil production is destined to decline, the prospect makes him itchy.

"This is a nonrecurring event," he says. "The 100-year flood in Houston real estate was one, the ability to buy oil and gas really cheap was another, and now there's the opportunity to do something based on a shortage of natural resources. Can you make money? Well, yeah. One way is to just stay long domestic oil. But there may be something more important than making money. This is the first scenario I've seen where I question the survivability of mankind. I don't want the world to wake up one day and say, 'How come some doofus billionaire in Texas made all this money by being aware of this, and why didn't someone tell us?'"

There was a debate the past few days whether the OPEC production target for the 2nd calendar quarter in 2007 did - or did not - include Iraq.

Today's story in the Financial Times seems to imply that it did not include Iraq.  But on the other hand they also seem to contradict themselves by stating production will be dropped to 27 mbpd, which is a 2 mbpd drop (not 1). Could the FT be wrong?  Otherwise OPEC is looking at a very large production drop.


Opec chief calls for immediate output cut
By Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent

Published: October 8 2006 19:09 | Last updated: October 8 2006 19:09

The president of Opec on Sunday called on members of the cartel to put into immediate effect an agreement to cut output by 1m barrels a day, underscoring the group's determination to curb falls in the oil price.

In a letter whose contents were revealed to the FT, Edmund Daukoru, Nigeria's oil minister, urged his fellow ministers to implement their country's share of the pro-rata quota reduction.

A communiqué announcing the measure, which reduces Opec's quota to 27m barrels a day, is expected on Monday, ending any doubts that the group is intent on stopping prices from falling much below $60 a barrel. The agreement could push up oil prices on Monday.

In addition, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran, key members, are pushing the cartel to meet in Vienna next week to ratify the deal in order to make a public show of unity.

Chakib Khelil, Algeria's oil minister, said on Sunday: "What is important is that the market finds the Opec position credible." He added: "That would send a clear signal that Opec means business."

Other members, including Nigeria, believe a communiqué would be sufficient. Nevertheless, an Opec official said the meeting was likely to be held and that the preferred date among ministers was October 18-19.

Mr Daukoru's letter confirms last week's report in the FT that the group had reached an informal agreement to cut output by 1m b/d - the first Opec quota reduction since April 2004. It also reveals that the cut will be from the group's official quota level, rather than from its production volumes.

The group has already trimmed some production in the last two months, so this cut could end up being more in the range of 500,000 b/d than the 1m b/d to be announced. Saudi Arabia will shoulder the bulk of the reduction.

The market remains sceptical about the exact size of the cut. In addition there are doubts about Nigeria's real production cuts as the country has only been able to pump 75 per cent of its capacity because of rebel attacks.

However, following the FT's initial story, a Deutsche Bank analyst wrote: "The announcement of a move towards a 1m b/d cut is early, and aggressive, and right in front of US elections, indicating a real concern on the part of the Saudis to control [protect] prices from more downside."

In fact, many Opec officials believe this will be the first in a series of adjustments. The group's economists estimate it will need to pump 26.97m b/d between April and June next year, far below current production levels of 29.5m b/d.

Thanks, Charles,

Yes, Fireangel's yesterday suggestion that Iraq may not be in all numbers makes a lot of sense. The cut to 27 mbd would be in reference to the quota, and not counting Iraq, but not necessarily the actual production. And then it kinda adds up. Still not clearly and completely, but maybe that's just me.

Bloomberg today:

Saudi Arabia and five other OPEC members cut oil output by a total of 1 million barrels a day in an effort to revive prices that lost a quarter of their value in recent months, a spokesman for the group said.

Implementation of the agreed cut, which represents a 3.4 percent reduction from OPEC's September total, has ``already happened,'' Levi Ajuonuma said in a phone interview in Nigeria today. The cutbacks, which include pledges made by Venezuela and Nigeria late last month to reduce output by a total of 170,000 barrels a day from Oct. 1, are ``voluntary,'' he said.

OPEC, which pumps 40 percent of the world's crude, agreed at a meeting on Sept. 11 to leave a production quota for 10 of its members unchanged at 28 million barrels a day. Since the meeting, the group's so-called basket oil price dropped 9.3 percent to $55.07 a barrel.

The oil exporters group regulates supply through a production quota system, which applies to all members except Iraq. The quota last changed in July 2005 when it was raised 500,000 barrels a day.

Is this post-peak?

Brilliant article from the Los Angeles Times. Wish I could post the whole thing, but it's too long. Highly recommended.

Russia's dying population: "Even the thieves have disappeared"

Russia is rapidly losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world's fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide and the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution.

In addition, abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000. An estimated 10 million Russians of reproductive age are sterile because of botched abortions or poor health. The public healthcare system is collapsing. And many parents in more prosperous urban areas say they can't afford homes large enough for the number of children they'd like to have.

The losses have been disproportionately male. At the height of its power, the Soviet Union's people lived almost as long as Americans. But now, the average Russian man can expect to live about 59 years, 16 years less than an American man and 14 less than a Russian woman.

[..] there are serious questions about whether Russia will be able to hold on to its lands along the border with China or field an army, let alone a workforce to support the ill and the elderly.
The government, flush with revenue from record prices for the country's oil exports, has started to respond. President Vladimir V. Putin this year pledged payments of $111 a month to mothers who elected to have a second child, plus a nest egg of $9,260 to be used for education, a mortgage or pensions. He also called for renewed efforts to attract ethnic Russians still living in the former Soviet republics.

"Russia has a huge territory, the largest territory in the world," Putin said. "If the situation remains unchanged, there will simply be no one to protect it."

The suicide rate jumped nearly 50% during the 1990s; half a million people killed themselves from 1995 through 2003. Russians fling themselves from balconies, slash their wrists or simply walk out in the snow on a bitter night.

"They do not protest openly. They protest inside," he said. "And the most extreme form of protest is just dying."

"There is such a thing as a will for life. And the whole trouble is that the Russian public in general, and especially the male population, has a big deficiency in this area."

Where does this leave Russia's Oil future?


Russia has plenty of people who could live there, they just happen to be islamic people from the former Soviet states.  Their relationship to Russia is very much like the Mexican relationship to the USA.

In the case of the oil industry, the Chinese at the very least will form the necessary workforce in Siberia, as part of joint venture deals.

For those who want to print John Howe's pdf booklet from yesterday's The End of Fossil Energy thread, here are some improved instructions:

After some trial and error...notes added by me are italicized and bolded. This is how it worked for ME. Your results may vary.

After printing and folding, this document will make a 20 page handout. Here's how to do it:

   1. Load 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper into your printer.
   2. Open the pdf file in Adobe Reader.
   3. Print pages 1 thru 5.
   4. Take the printed pages 1 thru 5 from the printer and make sure they are in the proper order. My printer prints copies face up, with pdf page 1 on the bottom (pg 9 and 10 in the booklet) and page 5 (pg 1 and 18 in the booklet) on top. If you've got the pages face up, you want to re-order these so that page 1 is on top, and page 5 is on the bottom
     4b. Now place them upside down into the paper tray.
   5. Print pages 6 thru 10 (page 6 should print on the back of page 5, etc.).
   6. Gather the pages and fold in half.

Note: This may take a few trys to make the pages come out in order. All printers are a little different in how the paper is fed.

You want to print the booklet so that...
pdf page 6 (cover) prints on the back of pdf page 5 (1 and 18)
pdf page 7 (17 and 2) prints on the back of pdf page 4 (3 and 16)
pdf page 8 (15 and 4) prints on the back of pdf page 3 (5 and 14)
pdf page 9 (13 and 6) prints on the back of pdf page 2 (7 and 12)
pdf page 10 (11 and 8) prints on the back of pdf page 1 (9 and 10)

Alberta oilsands industry faces trouble from unexpected angle

In Alberta's oil towers, the leadership race to replace outgoing Premier Ralph Klein was expected to be a lame affair producing another died-in-the wool Tory with similarly pro-business views.

Instead, the campaign has turned into an anti-oil rant that has the province's mainstay industry wringing its hands about whether the new Alberta will soon resemble Newfoundland, rather than a province whose mantra for the past 13 years has been to keep its hands out of business.[..]

One industry analyst suggested that the debate is shaking up multi-billion dollar strategies that are centred around moving Alberta bitumen south, including plans to build a web of pipelines straddling the continent. "There is a massive agenda from multiple players here that isn't necessarily the agenda of the people of Alberta," he said.

Check this out. Darwinian, the self-proclaimed "expert" on this site with full and complete backing from Leanan, the de facto editor (as long as Staurt remains dead) has said these things.

Might wanna re-evaluate where you are getting information.

I have no guns at all because I am 68 and hope to be safely dead when the crunch really comes.

Leanan has repeatedly backed Darwinian. I know why. It is obvious. Maybe you do too. Leanan also spoon-feeds you your news every day. Sheeple. I've gained new appreciation for the word.

Good Movie - "Thank You For Smoking." I've always loved Aaron Eckhart. We go way back. This guy is a star.

For Bob in Arizona. Thank You for Smoking is the next 3 Days of the Condor. Excellent Work.

Oh, but let's get back to Darwinian.

But if your child was starving, with tear filled pleading eyes he begs you for food. Would you steal a morsel of food to feed him? I would and I believe anyone who says he would not is either a liar or a psychopath.

I can't answer that question. For obvious reasons. This is called a "fake-ass battlefield triage question." Every lawyer understands this point. Bullshit artists like Darwinian don't care.

But if I were to try to answer it, I would probably pick the answer that would be most likely to stop this mental patient from deciding what oil production means.

Form and Function, Darwinian. Form and Function.

But keep eating TOD'ers. If What Leanan feeds you tastes good. Keep eating. It makes you fat.

I personally appreciate the news you kick out daily. please don't stop.

I've had a few myself ceo, hiccup, and can't get up to speed with this darwinian thing either. seems to be some sort of angry mutant thingy to me. some sort of shallow end of the gene pool joke in here somewhere?

i don't know what the policy is here but this kind of insulting normally gets people banned.
The "policy here" is fine for me as well as for Oil CEO, odograph, Jack and whoever else, including YOU.
Ever heard of free speech?

Question for Bob in Arizona.

What's with the NBC news story on Pollard today? Why released now? I'm stumped on this one. Video tape? Weird. Pollard's been in the can for twenty years. The tape is evidence apparently. Now we need it? Is this just another guy writing a book, needs publicity, has an "in" at NBC?

Robert Redford

In other words - And if you choose to believe a word Darwininian utters - this is the only logical conclusion you can come to based on his words.


*his son isn't starving. In fact he's an Oil CEO.

Oil CEO wrote:
Check this out. Darwinian, the self-proclaimed "expert" on this site with full and complete backing from Leanan, the de facto editor (as long as Staurt remains dead) has said these things.
Might wanna re-evaluate where you are getting information.

You, Oilman, might be wish to re-evaluate what you are saying. I have never proclaimed to be an expert on this site. I know far less about the oil industry than any of the people running this site and many others. What you post in this post is nothing but untruths and slander.

I wrote and Oil CEO quoted me: "I have no guns at all because I am 68 and hope to be safely dead when the crunch really comes."

What in God's name is wrong with that statement? Why do you think anyone should re-evaluate their opinion of me based on that statement. The statement is true and I stand by it.

Leanan has repeatedly backed Darwinian. I know why. It is obvious. Maybe you do too. Leanan also spoon-feeds you your news every day. Sheeple. I've gained new appreciation for the word.

Now what in the hell brought that on? How has Leanan backed me? I don't need any backing. What I write either stands or falls on its own merit.  

I wrote: "But if your child was starving, with tear filled pleading eyes he begs you for food. Would you steal a morsel of food to feed him? I would and I believe anyone who says he would not is either a liar or a psychopath."

And Oil CEO replied to that bit of verbiage:

I can't answer that question. For obvious reasons. This is called a "fake-ass battlefield triage question." Every lawyer understands this point. Bullshit artists like Darwinian don't care.

But if I were to try to answer it, I would probably pick the answer that would be most likely to stop this mental patient from deciding what oil production means.

You are a real dumb-ass Oil CEO. The question was not posed to try to trick anyone. It was done entirely to make a point! And that point was: In times of severe crisis people will behave entirely differently than they would under normal conditions. But obviously that went right over your head. Why am I not surprised.


In other words - And if you choose to believe a word Darwininian utters - this is the only logical conclusion you can come to based on his words.

And you are the worst kind of pathetic liar. I said steal a morsel of food! And you change that to WOULD MURDER YOU AND EVERYONE HE KNOWS TO FEED A FICTIONAL CHILD.

As I said, it was to make the point that humans will behave differently in times of severe hardship and hunger than they will during times of plenty. That should have been obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense.

*his son isn't starving. In fact he's an Oil CEO.

No, my oldest son works in Saudi Arabia tests and evaulates ARAMCO workers. He is just a flunky like everyone else.

Question: Were you drunk when you wrote the three above posts? Somehow they just seem like the ravings of a drunken man who has lost control of his better judgement.

Ron Patterson

The MSM missed a major Katrina story.  People stayed alive for 5 days w/o food & water in terrible heat & humidity (think of all the standing water) because of the generousity of looters.

They shared.

I talked with one woman who was on the Interstate where it crossed Carrollton.  She helped break glass windows & doors at Sav-a-Lot.  About 2.5 feet standing water.  First ones in passed shopping carts through broken window, then passed food, drink, diapers through.  Those outside piled canned goods below, diapers and any paper products above and pushed carts through water to on-ramp.  She gave away her first basket entirely and went back for second.  She was too fatigued to go back for a third so she kept about a third of her basket and gave away the rest.

When news media, military, etc. drove by, people would hold up small children, begging them to take them to safety.  Never happened.

One story of many !

My home was looted.  A gallon of distilled water that I keep for the car, all my wine & canned goods, some recently cooked meat in the frig, flashlight & umbrella taken.  Left digital camera, computer & pile of change in plain view alone.

Best Hopes,


Oh, this is great. Leanan and the other editors are completely asleep. We can post anything we want.

OK, let's let ethanol debate material, Angry Chimp movies, Beatie Boys lyrics, and maybe a photo of Paris Hilton run wild.

Would it be paranoid to copy and paste my posts so I know they existed? Write down their times and topics. So that Leanan and Super G can't delete them and erase all other evidence.

Yeah, that would be paranoid.

Oil CEO -

Most of the time I really have difficulty understanding what you are saying, or what your underlying message and motives are. You appear to be deliberately cryptic.  Maybe I am just dense, but I don't seem to have this same sort of problem with most of the other posters on TOD.

One thing I will say: you do seem to take offense very easily and appear to have a finely honed sense of personal bitchiness. You are obviously trying to get something across, but I sense a great deal of interference in the message transmission.

My hunch is that you have a strong need to project your own personality onto this website, rather than just using it as it is intended to be, i.e., to facilitate the exchange ideas regarding our energy problems.

Quite frankly, I find it just more than a bit wearisome, and I wish you would just relax and give your ego a rest.  Hey, we're all in this together. Dig?

You know when I first came to this site I saw this dude, Oil Ceo, lashing out at some folks and they seemed to tend to shut up properly  or then utter appropiate compliant Baaaaaaas and just twist in the wind awhile.

So can I now assume that he is NOT some Exxon Mobile ,let go , CEO named Raymond but just someone who delights in intelluctal oneupsmanship gaming by trying to sound obtuse in hopes it goes over as wisdom?

That perhaps he's not any smarter or richer than the average redneck trailertrash?

airdale- "Disgusted" in redneckspeak ..... means 'we talked about it rat smart ago' (Jeff Foxworthy..one smart redneck)

P.S. No typos exist above.

Ya...it's the highball and scotch shooters that send him over the edge at night.  I've found to just ignore him after 7pm CST.  From morning to dinner, he seems somewhat controlled and intelligent.
Hey, I've been guilty now and then of PWI (posting while under the influence), but I try not to be an asshole. (Not always successful, but I DO try.)

I don't care how outrageous or unreasonable an idea is, as long as the person putting forth such ideas is civil. But I start losing my patience when someone continuously makes personal digs and inuendos, etc.

Life's too short for this sort of crap!

OK...agreed...so what do we do about it?
Yep CEO give it a rest, its just white noise.

As a solution - some websites (such as www.advfn.co.uk) have a filter option which allows you to filter posters who's ramblings/nonsense you find intrusive/worthless). could it be incorporated on this site?

That way the folk that want to listen can, and those that dont can ignore....

Yeah sure I am sure there will be comments re;censorship, listening to all opinions etc, but some of these threads get very long, and I personally dont want to trawl drivel to get to the pearls.

Ahhhhh. The Sound of Silence.


You know, I kinda agree with you about Darwinian. As truly weird as you are at the moment you are still sharp as a tack.

Nevertheless, Seroquel

US housing slump hits truck sales; Canada to the rescue

The U.S. housing slump has contributed to dramatically slicing demand for full-size pickup trucks there, particularly for three-quarter and one-ton pickups such as Ford's F-250 and Dodge's B2500. Fewer houses being built means fewer trucks needed to haul materials to build them.

U.S. sales for full-sized pickups rocketed 46% in the decade from 1995 to 2005, becoming the biggest U.S. vehicle category in term of sales. So far this year, however, those big truck sales are down 13%, according to Scotiabank, and down 24% from June to August alone.

But industry players say there's still a healthy appetite for flat beds and hauling power in Canada. The sector here is on track to sell more than 200,000 full-sized pickups in 2006, at least as many as last year.

Late late news update:

Looks N. Korea may have gone ahead with their nuke test.  


...and oil has crept up to 60.46

Yep BBC is confirming it too
Buckle up...Monday (here in the States) could get bumpy.
Confirmed - seismic activity picked up, it was for real:
http://www.advfn.com/news_SKorea-detects-3-58-magnitude-tremor-from-NKorea-following-claimed-nuclear -test_17145866.html

Bugger thats all we need, those nutcases armed with a nuke.

"Those nutcases" would be Cheney, Blair, Olmert, Musharraf, Putin............
Yeah, that's all we need. Plus one more.
Yeah, that's all we need.
Don't worry they are working on it.  

The good news is North Korea, although a paranoid state, tends to be a cautious one.

I don't mean in some of their loopier secret service activities (spyships disguised as fishing boats, kidnapping Japanese citizens, commando attacks etc.)
but in their actual day-to-day actions they tend to be very defensive in orientation.

It's a flash point, to be sure, but scary though they are, there is a chance it can be contained. I wish the US had negotiated with them in 2001 when they wanted to.

The equally disturbing prospect is of a nuclear arms race in Asia-- the Japanese may well, finally, join the nuclear club.