DrumBeat: November 1, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 11/01/06 at 2:54 PM EDT]

Study: Arctic reserves won't replace OPEC crude

HOUSTON (Reuters) - There isn't enough oil under the Arctic Circle to replace crude from OPEC, according to a study released on Wednesday by analyst group Wood MacKenzie and seismic research firm Fubro Robertson.

Under the circle, 233 billion barrels of oil equivalent in crude and natural gas have been discovered and 166 billion barrels of oil equivalent are thought to remain undiscovered, said the study's lead author, Andrew Latham, vice president of energy consulting at Wood McKenzie.

Eighty-five percent of discovered reserves and 74 percent of expected reserves is made up of natural gas, Latham said.

"The oil-gas mix is not ideal because remote gas is often harder to transport to markets," Latham told reporters in Houston.

"In addition, export and technology constraints are expected to delay production as a large portion of the communal gas until 2050," he said.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 27, 2006

Oil prices rise as U.S. crude supplies rose 2 million barrels, less than expected

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending October 27, up 406,000 barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 88.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week compared to the previous week, averaging nearly 8.8 million barrels per day, while distillate fuel production also rose, averaging nearly 4.2 million barrels per day.

If we build it, will they come?

The "we" refers to North America. The "it" refers to liquified natural gas (LNG) ports. And, the "they" refers to LNG tankers from exporting countries. Unfortunately, the answer to the question is "probably not," at least not in the numbers we would like them to come, according the energy investment banker Matt Simmons and resource economist Douglas Reynolds, both of whom attended the recent Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas - USA conference in Boston.

Whatever happened to Peak Oil?

Just one year ago, we were all beginning to think that the end of oil was fast approaching. According to a growing chorus of industry watchers, we either had or were about to reach something called ‘Peak Oil’, the point at which the amount of oil left in the ground is less than the amount that humankind has already extracted.

Saudi Aramco still targeting 12 mbpd

Saudi Aramco has restated its determination to increase oil output to twelve million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2009. Abdallah S. Al-Saif, senior VP of exploration and production, said last month that the Khursaniyah, Shaybah, Nuayyim, Khurais and Manifah fields would be the source of the additional output.

Safe nuclear power can avert the energy crisis

Thorium reactors could solve the current energy crisis and the world’s energy problems for the foreseeable future. This is the opinion of Physics Professor Egil Lillestøl, who travels around Norway with this message, meeting few counter-arguments. So why didn’t we built these reactors a long time ago?

South Korea signs oil storage deals with Kuwait and Total

SEOUL - South Korea signed an agreement yesterday with Kuwait for joint storage of 2 million barrels of crude oil, adding to the country's emergency stockpile.

The country's energy ministry also said state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) signed a joint crude stockpiling agreement in September allowing French oil major Total to store 2.2 million barrels of crude in KNOC's storage units.

The agreement with Kuwait gives South Korea first rights to purchase the crude from state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, which it could exercise in case of an oil shortage, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) said.

Brussels takes fresh aim at EU energy giants

EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes has vowed to break up Europe's major energy companies in a bid to stimulate cross-border competition in the bloc's energy markets.

Vietnam may have to import coal from 2015

Uganda: World Bank to assist with power crisis

Big oil slips up

The story begins in the 1980s. Large traditional companies like the oil majors came under pressure from the stockmarket to cut their costs. And cut they did by shedding many of their staff scientists and engineers.

Biofuels: A Disaster in the Making

Mitsubishi Heavy eyes tie-up with GE on nuclear plants

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and General Electric of the US have agreed to begin talks on forming a partnership in nuclear power plant operations.

Under the alliance, GE would likely provide support to Mitsubishi Heavy to sell in the United States a large pressurized-water reactor (PWR) system developed by the Japanese firm, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Tuesday.

Solar to become top alternative energy, author says

Solar power will become economically viable and available to almost anyone in the next 10 to 15 years, Travis Bradford, a former corporate buyout specialist, says in his book "Solar Revolution."

UAE cuts oil production by 100,000 barrels per day

Bolivia president says army was ready to take gas fields

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday he ordered troops to be ready to invade oil and gas fields in case foreign firms refused to sign new production contracts by an Oct. 28 deadline, the Brazilian Estado newswire said.

Petrobras Faces Down Bolivia, Averts Asset Seizure

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, faced down Bolivian President Evo Morales, averting the seizure of energy assets in the country and signing a 30-year contract to continue production.

Bolivia minister says oil firms can expect 15% profit

Gas prices fall in California, rise in nation

The U.S. average cost increases for the first time since early August, but experts don't see another big price surge.

Filmmaker a big donor behind the scenes: Stephen Bing spends $49.6 million backing oil tax proposition.

David Parker Speech: The end of cheap oil

Major energy science and technology plan needed, federal panel says

A federal advisory panel is calling for a "major, long-term" effort to develop sustainable energy science and technology, warning that failure to do so could have major economic repercussions for Canada.

Prudhoe Bay pipeline badly corroded

ANCHORAGE, AK, United States (UPI) -- BP PLC, which closed a leaky crude oil pipeline in Alaska, says a close survey of the line indicates vastly more serious problems than initially thought.

BP to Replace Leader of Alaska Unit After Pipe Leaks

BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company, will replace the head of its Alaskan unit after inadequate maintenance led to leaky pipelines, the shutdown of the largest U.S. oil field and an investor lawsuit.
Proposed European Offshore Supergrid. Seems like a great idea to improve the feasability of Wind Energy

Here (pdf)


IMO 20bn will turn out to be quite conservative figure.  Jérôme à Paris reports for 378mln.euro for a 165MW offshore wind farm (2.3 mln/MW), that does not have anything like hundreds of miles of interconnecting HVDC transmission lines.

Considering that all of this will be to produce the energy equivelent of a couple of the latest nuclear reactors... what should my comments be? Another episode from the european fiction of achieving energy independance with the wrong technologies.

Now having said all of this you will be surprised that I would still support the project. Wind can help the european energy balnce, but betting [almost] all chips on it is plainly stupid.

Well, those wind turbines in place today, producing electricity today, have one charming advantage - they actually exist. The same applies to PV systems.

Sometimes, I wonder how lead times work into this debate - what is the lead time for a nuclear reactor? How long before the unspecified wish today becomes electricity?

Wind and solar do not share one of the deepest flaws surrounding new nuclear plants - wind and solar can be installed now, in increments. Nuclear means waiting - and when the question is how do you provide power today, or next month, or next year, for all their clearly defined limitations, wind and solar at least are producing electricity. Nuclear fails that test utterly.

And let's not even get into the whole future aspect either - no one is seriously concerned about dealing with worn out turbines or dead PV panels either.

Lead time for a 3rd gen reactor is supposed to be 5 years.

But the Finns, who are building the first one, are as much as 18 months behind, AFAIK.

So say 5 years+ 6 months, plus site planning.  In the UK a public planning enquiry (to make a like for like comparison with wind) which can add up to 3 years (but say 18 months).

I would say, realistically, on a crash programme, 8 years.  The French (EDF) at Flamanville, an existing site, are talking 2014 for commercial power from their first 3rd Gen reactor.

There is as yet no solution to the UK waste problem. Private industry has said it will not build these things without:

  •  a guaranteed power price (this is why British Energy went broke, and nearly had to be renationalised)
  • a long term solution to the waste problem

The former is no different from wind power (except: if we impute a CO2 price of £85/ tonne, £311/ tonne of carbon, which is what the Stern Report suggests, then the economics of both look good against fossil fuel).

Nuclear waste repository is a show stopper.

If we ran a centralised electricity system where the financial risk is passed off to the consumer, and if the nuclear reactor industry, the utility, and the regulator work closely together, then we would be France.  And we might get a sizeable nuclear reactor programme at a reasonable price.

So far, none of the above exist in the UK.  Nor would it be possible to renationalise the electricity supply system-- the Torys very specifically made sure that would be practically impossible for a future Labour Government (because Labour threatened to do just that).

After Seabrook, I don't think too many entities, corporate or government, will want to dive into that battle anytime soon. And if they did, there would certainly be no guarantees of eventual victory, no matter what the time line or costs.
What the US utility execs have said is that they will go for nuclear, if they get a guaranteed subsidy for the power (which the Bush Energy Act gives them) and comfort on the waste disposal issue.

TXU has applied for nuclear.  Given that they have also applied to build 10 coal plants, I am cheering their nuclear efforts on.  Once those nuclear plants are switched on, they will be run, and will displace fossil fueled plant.

I think some US states (like Texas) will prove to be much more nuclear friendly than New England or New York.

How long does it take until the holding tanks of those reactors are full and what will they do if there is still no processing plant built anywhere?

We have heard the nuclear argument before. We know what is missing. Nothing has changed with regard to processing and disposal.

Dry cask storage could hold spent fuel for decades, and it's only a few centuries before it's less radioactive than uranium ore.

Storage would be considerably less complicated due to the properties of thorium.  Th-232 captures a neutron and (through two beta decays) becomes U-233.  It takes another FOUR neutron captures to turn U-233 into U-237, which can decay into neptunium; another neutron capture is required to create Np-238 which decays to plutonium.  To get there, all the intermediates have to avoid being fissioned by any of the neutrons.  The consequence is that the spent fuel of a thorium reactor would have only minuscule amounts of plutonium.

Thanks for the rundown.

Nuclear is an alternative - with extemely heavy political brakes on. Until people can agree on what to do with the waste and that Pu is not evil if managed properly and fuel recycling is established (which would be economically devastating for Uranium mining...) nuclear is not a viable option.

And now we factor in the growth and projected price slump of PV... by the time nuclear lifts a leg, PV and conservation have run circles around the block.

In a year or two PV will deliver the equivalent of one nuclear reactor a year. At a 30% growth rate that looks like follows:

  1. 1.0 reactor, cumulative 2.0 reactors
  2. 1.3 reactors, cumulative 3.3 reactors
  3. 1.7 reactors, cumulative 5.0 reactors
  4. 2.2 reactors, cumulative 7.2 reactors
  5. 2.9 reactors, cumulative 10.1 reactors
  6. 3.7 reactors, cumulative 13.8 reactors
  7. 4.8 reactors, cumulative 18.6 reactors
  8. 6.2 reactors, cumulative 24.8 reactors
  9. 3.3 reactors, cumulative 28.1 reactors
  10. 8.2 reactors, cumulative 36.3 reactors
  11. 10.6 reactors, cumulative 46.9 reactors
  12. 13.8 reactors, cumulative 60.7 reactors
  13. 17.9 reactors, cumulative 78.6 reactors

Now add another 50 reactors saved by conservation measures.
Is the world going to build 130 new reactors until 2020?
And replacing the old ones is not even factored in, yet.

Which politician wants to run on the nucleat ticket?

Two years back I was earning 10K/year, last year it was 20K and today I'm making 40. I find it self-evindent that in just 10 years I will be making $4.096 mln/year, which in 20 years will grow to well above 4 billion a year.
Can you give a source for those numbers? This table...


...shows what looks like about 1GWE (peak power) installed wordwide in 2005. That's about 1 reactor at peak, or maybe 30% of a reactor allowing for daily cycles and seasonality.

Are you numbers peak output or annual average?

Note that this source http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/electricity.html gives world electricity consumption of 14800E9 kWh in 2003. There are about 8000 hours in a year, so let's say a nice round CONSTANT 24/7/365 load of 2000 gigawatts. So by 2020, on your projections, solar PV could be producing 4% of the 2003 average demand (or 2% of 2020 demand on the EIA's estimate). Assuming the solar cells never age, of course. And assuming the supply chain doesn't get bottlenecked somewhere.

My rule of thumb for electricity prices (wholesale, distribution adds another 4 cents/kwhr) is (US dollars) for new capacity:

  • nuclear - 8 cents/ kwhr (case can be made long term why that might fall towards 7 cents)

  • onshore wind - 4-9 cents

  • offshore wind - 5-11 cents

  • CCGT - 4 cents (depends massively on gas price)

  • Coal - c. 5 cents (higher capital cost than CCGT, but much lower fuel cost)

  • IGCC Coal - c. 6 cents

  • solar - 15 cents (in some applications)

Carbon sequestration will add 1-5 cents/ kwhr to coal and CCGT.

You can see that no one would build anything other than coal and (a little) gas turbine power unless you have carbon pricing.

In practice no one source solves it.  You can see how the UK can get to 20% wind, but its hard to see, practically, without new power storage technologies, how we would get to more than that.

Thanks for numbers.  Very useful.

I assume this is total Capital construction and operating costs to provide electricity at rates you quote.  If your costs are only construction than the monthly consumable cost on coal and NG are variables that will increase in the future.

In any case what the costs don't include are the carbon implications (that you show need to be included for parity with wind) but also the unseen costs of obtaining the coal and NG supply.  IMHO one of the reasons coal is so cheap is that the environmental impacts of coal mining are delayed way into the future.  Before 1981 or '82 strip mining operations had 7 years to return the land to similar vegetation as before mining.  Under the Reagan administration that time frame was delayed to (I think) 20 years.  This means a lot of natural weathering can occur on the spoils piles before they need to be re-vegetated. I remember this because I interviewed at a company that had a huge business in using plants to reclaim disturbed land.  They went bankrupt 5 years or so later because their entire business model disappeared.

The reason the 7 years was tough on strip miners is that you need specialized plants to be the first communities to establish.  Lots of heavy metals and acids that require phytosequestration to clean up the soil allowing conventional plants to grow.  After twenty years the soils are leeched and lots of stuff will grow.  The problem is, where does the leech water go?  It may run off or it may be contained and go down.  In all cases it is going to impact aquafers negatively.  These costs are then picked up by entities other than the miners. This keeps the cost of coal cheap but adds to the other problems of burning coal

Don't get me wrong, I think coal mining is a valid way to provide energy.  I am just of the opinion that it can be done in a much less ecologically destructive way, albeit at a higher cost.  But the rules and framework have to apply (and apply to all) or there is no incentive for the operations that want to do things right.  They have a lot of added costs without being able to ask more for the coal.  More likely the price for coal will go down if we allow the "most efficient" ways of extraction to be used without regard to down stream consequences.

Those numbers are very 'rough and ready'!!!

(some of the people who post around here who are pro nuke use much lower numbers 4 cents even).

A massive factor is capital cost-- even in a gas fired CCGT, where fuel is half the lifecycle cost, capital costs matter.  Change the real interest rate (interest rate after inflation) and nuclear and wind look a lot worse, or a lot better.

This is why gas turbines took off in the 90s.  Gas was cheap, and capital costs were the most important costs.  There was also an important efficiency shift (the Combined Cycle bit) which raised efficiencies from c. low 40%s to nearly 60% now.  Gas is however no longer cheap.  

Conversely nuclear plants wound up being delayed by several years, and in the high inflation/ high real interest rate environment of the late 70s and 80s, that meant their total costs were several times initial estimates.

If we can assume a world where nuclear plants really do get built on budget, in 5 years, then nuclear will look a lot cheaper but you will still have the waste problem and cost.

Good point about the true cost of coal.  I think most US power coal now comes from the Powder River Basin Wyoming, which has low sulphur coal and high productivity open-pit mining.  One of the big costs is then rail transport, whereas ocean transport of Australian coal is relatively cheap.

I think Appalachian coal is a decreasing fraction of coal consumption except for coking coal and for power stations that are very close to source.

The reality is, ex environmental considerations, any US utility (virtually) would rather build a coal fired station.  The risk is low, the technology proven, and the economics straightforward.

I think Appalachian coal is a decreasing fraction of coal consumption except for coking coal and for power stations that are very close to source.

I live near the Ohio River at the WV/ Ohio border and I was confused when I first moved here by the fact that coal moves in both directions on the Ohio River.  There must be at least 5 to 10 coal barges with 12 full containers each going downriver from WV daily.  This really surprised me at first until it was explained to me that Iowa coal is brought upriver to WV to mix this expensive low sulfur coal with the inexpensive high sulfur WV coal so WV and Ohio coal burning plants can use their cheap coal and not have to use expensive scrubbers.  Also WV coal is shipped to Iowa and other places and mixed with their coal in plants there.  Cost/ benefit ratios force everyone to keep their sulfur emissions right at the legal limit even if it creates absurdities like shipping dirty WV coal west where coal is plentiful and cleaner.

Hey Phineas,
Whatever happened to Free-Wheelin Franklin & Fat Freddy?
Conversely nuclear plants wound up being delayed by several years, and in the high inflation/ high real interest rate environment of the late 70s and 80s, that meant their total costs were several times initial estimates.

In countries without such activist capital sabotage, you have very inexpensive nuclear power, and it is good to remember that nuclear plants have operational lifetimes of over 40 years, often 60.
If we can assume a world where nuclear plants really do get built on budget, in 5 years, then nuclear will look a lot cheaper but you will still have the waste problem and cost.

But nuclear waste costs almost nothing to manage. You stick it in a pool for a couple of years then stick it in concrete in a parking lot. The largest cost that US nuclear plants have to pay in regards to waste is the tax for the geologic repository that is still not built.

PS yes this is total cost, so the discount factor you use (to compare the high capital costs of a wind station with the future fuel costs of a gas fired station) is massively important.

Once the thing is built, and once the debt raised to finance it is paid off or discharged, then the operating costs are massively cheap.

This is especially true for nuclear (pure maintenance and fuel costs probably 1-2 cents/kwhr) and wind (free fuel, minimal maintenance, complete replacement every 20 years).

But is also true of coal (probably the operating costs are c. 2.5-3 cents/ kwhr).

You say that there are a log of heavy metals in the remanders from coal mining.  Since to my knowledge coal is a result of vegetation decomposition (under pressure?), and heavy metals are generally toxic to most cells, whence the heavy metals?
CA is building 3GW solar, geothermal etc..

The economics argument is useless. We are talking about politics here. If the voter votes for it, clean energy is going to be built, even if it costs 10 cents more per kWh.

I certainly can afford to pay that much. So can many others.

"The economics argument is useless. We are talking about politics here. If the voter votes for it, clean energy is going to be built, even if it costs 10 cents more per kWh.

I certainly can afford to pay that much. So can many others."

Unless they ban coal fired generation or impose carbon taxes, the voter has nothing to do with it.  It boils down to a straight economic evaluation.  Utilities have to install the most cost effective option, which will usually be coal.

Also, overwhelmingly, people will not willingly pay a single penny more per kwh, if they have a cheaper (dirtier) option.  Did you notice how poorly the green energy companies did trying to sell their higher priced, cleaner electricity?

I am a big fan of a carbon tax, but I see no chance of it happening in the US.

The lead time for this project will also measure in quite a few years. There are no easy options for obtaining our energy.
So 20bn Euro is 10k GW of capacity.

Now at a load factor of 30% (conservative for offshore) that is:

26,280 Gwhrs or 26.2 TWhrs  (7.5% of annual UK consumption).

At a Load Factor of 80%, equivalent to 3.75GW of nuclear capacity.

At the same price as Sizewell B, that would cost (historic cost so ignoring inflation) about £16bn or 21bn euros.

I would be optimistic that we could build 1GW of nuclear capacity for, say, £2bn, so £8bn.  But that's a forecast, not a certainty (and the technology is much more complex than that required for offshore wind).

And we don't have a waste disposal solution.  So you have to price that into the above, on top of the above.  As well as a decontamination liability (not the same thing).

So I agree with you 20bn euros is light for a wind power solution, but it is not the case that nuclear provides a radically cheaper alternative.

At the same price as Sizewell B

I guess if these wind turbines are built by the same guys that built Sizewell B the price tag will be ~40bn. The Russians are builfing their nukes for $1.5-2 bln/a reactor, so I suggest invite them to build the wind turbines too.

And we don't have a waste disposal solution.

This is pretty ridiculous and politicized problem. Technically if left to the private sector, a long-term storage would be built for some couple of bn without all that fuss it is gathering around it. BUt since now it is in govenments hands it is used to earn cheap political dividents by playing on the "insolvable nuclear waste problem" tune all over again.

I have often said - once the shortages start the plants will be built anyway. I leave it up to you to decide whether the time wasted in meaningless debates now will help them to be built safely.

At the same price as Sizewell B
I guess if these wind turbines are built by the same guys that built Sizewell B the price tag will be ~40bn. The Russians are builfing their nukes for $1.5-2 bln/a reactor, so I suggest invite them to build the wind turbines too.

Your point about wind turbines is a straw man, and irrelevant as such.

The people who build wind turbines in the North Sea, will be the same people who built offshore oil structures in the North Sea.  The turbine part is a fast-developing, but proven technology.  The construction part has been proven, but in a different industry, with different applications.

It's worth noting: the private sector will finance offshore wind structures (with appropriate subsidies reflecting carbon costs), it will not finance nuclear power stations without effective guarantees from the central government.

On Sizewell B I was actually a little offended by that remark.  The nuclear builders I met were professional and careful engineers.  It was the first (and so far only) British pressurised water reactor, and so there was not the advantage of learning efficiencies.

Sizewell C, had it been built, might have cost half as much.  But that would have necessitated maintaining the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (the 'nuclear levy') and the pressure from consumers and industry was for lower electricity tariffs.

The technology is expensive on a life cycle cost basis.  You can't avoid that conclusion, however much you seek to blame it on individuals and organisations.

The Russians:

- given they orchestrated some of the worst environmental crimes of the 20th century, and the worst nuclear accident ever recorded, I don't trust them to build nuclear reactors.  Yes we are in a post-Soviet world, but this is still a society which is not open, obsessively secretive and centrally controlled, has no reference to minority stakeholder and shareholder rights.  Not the people with whom to entrust a sensitive and complex technology with longterm environmental consequences.

On $ v. £ costs, however you mark it, the tendency is for UK construction costs (in £s) to equal those (in $s) of other jurisdictions.  There are a host of reasons for this (it's true in housebuilding and commercial construction as well AFAIK) which seem to stem from: the UK's restrictive planning, UK labour practices, high cost of skilled construction labour in the UK v. other countries.

The point then becomes how much of the thing you are building can be manufactured rather than constructed ie fabricated off site.  Manufacturing costs are more or less common across the planet (give or take transport costs).

In the case of a wind turbine, and possibly an offshore structure, a lot.

Less in the case of a nuclear power plant, but hopefully more than was historically the case.

The problem then is if you build a generation of reactors on essentially the same design, manufactured rather than customised on site, then if it turns out that 5,10,25 years down the track there was a design fault you lose all your reactors at once.

So far this hasn't happened to the French.  It has to the Japanese.

(the same is true of a wind farm station, and indeed it has happened, but you can replace an individual unit much more easily)

On nuclear waste: no private sector company could 'solve' it, because no company can take on an unquantifiable liability, infinite in time.  Companies have gone broke because of just that problem (asbestos, toxic chemical dumps etc.).  In the end, this is a pure case of market failure, and you have to have government intervention.

(the same will be true of Carbon Capture and Storage-- the government will have to underwrite the risk of a leak from a long term geologic depository).

I have often said - once the shortages start the plants will be built anyway. I leave it up to you to decide whether the time wasted in meaningless debates now will help them to be built safely.

It is precisely the urge to rush, without adequate attention to building public consensus, which got the nuclear industry into this pickle in the first place, with enormous long tail liabilities.  It was an industry founded in the Cold War, on secretiveness, and on a blind faith in engineering technology.

There is a (good) case for more nuclear.  But if that case is not made, and made correctly (ie not because its cheap, but necessary in an age of Carbon Emission control), then when the first (or second, or third) bumps are hit further down the road, the public support will evaporate.

We could be left with another generation of half-finished nuclear power plants, dotting the landscape.

There needs to be at least a Parliamentary Inquiry, if not a Royal Commission, to build all-party support for the nuclear option.  The government is mistaken to try to do this by stealth, bypassing Parliament.

If we start that process now, then a new generation of plants could be operational by 2020.

So far this hasn't happened to the French.  It has to the Japanese.

I am trying hard to understand where your point lies. We have (actually more than one) proven and relatively low-cost reactor designs. If our goal is to fix the energy balance 10 or 15 years down the road all we need is take and mass-produce them. It is hardly a time for experiments right now. I understand UK's experience is not such, but this problem as far as I am concerned is up to UK to handle.

Of course the technology may evolve in the meantime (as with 3rd generation reactors) but this naturally will take much more time than those 10-15 years.

As for the Russian remark - this time I feel a little bit offended. I have had contacts with the russian engineering school and if you can accept a personal judjement it stands  quite above its western counterpart. It is largely the rotten economic and political system these people were put in after graduation that caused all the troubles we know of. For example the RBMK reactor (as the one in Chernobyl) was largely developed for military reasons, we all know of the deliberate radiation exposures of civilians during the Cold War, etc.

As for the alternatives - people are largely dismissing the fact that wind power has not yet grown to the point where the fundamental deficiencies of the technology will start kicking in a big time. Just like anything else it is also subject to deminishing returns. I think we should definately make use of the "low-hanging fruit", but not rely on it to get us any farther than that.

  Though I regularly come out firmly against Nuclear as it now stands, I do appreciate that there is a great potential in some version of the technology, if it gets through the safety hurdles that now surround it, and I'm still curious to know where the new research is going.  

  The Thorium Reactor article was appealing, tho' it didn't go into the chemistry/physics at all.  Do you have a sense of the arguments for/against Thorium, and the challenges the technology faces (beyond getting research funds, which of course might be the facet blocking the first question from even having an answer yet..

Bob Fiske

One thing to keep in mind is that with global warming, there is likely to be a rise in sea level. Wind direction may also change. While this may not be an issue in the near future, the builders of the wind turbines will want to take this into account in their design. It may also further argue against putting all of one's eggs in a single basket.
Khosla's Latest

The more I read his condescending drivel, the more I question the sanity of those who think he should have an undue influence on our energy policy.

Be sure to check out the comments after his essay. :-) Just in case some of you thought I might be going soft on the guy.

Relevant commentary by Tad Patzek following his essay at VentureBeat:

The politicians and functionaries of science cannot dangle biofuels in front of the scared and disoriented public that desperately wants a sense of normalcy and security. They are morally equivalent to con artists dangling a prospect a summer home or a one-million dollar award in front of a lonely retired person. It is not OK to lie about biofuels to achieve what one believes are progressive social goals.

Thomas Malthus died in 1834, in a world with 1 billion humans running on wood and some coal, and using horses for transportation. That world was already too energy-intensive to rely on biofuels alone and in another 25 years it started on the current crude oil drinking binge.

Somehow we have forgotten the practical utility of telling the truth to the public. Before we start developing the new miraculous energy technologies, we must remove the root causes for our insane energy use.

The quest for new energy resources cannot be posed in separation from the living earth systems that are becoming tired of protecting us. We spend the majority of fossil energy in our homes, on food, and while driving to work and shops. The development of energy-efficient, compact cities, intertwined with the local water, crop, animal and biofuel resources, and complete waste recycling, is the necessary condition to start shrinking our runaway energy consumption. Once we develop the thriving, local, low-energy community centers, time will come to reform medical care, and schooling, which will be tied to the communities they serve. Of all countries on the earth, the US is perhaps most removed from the walking-distance low-impact lifestyles, while consuming more energy than anyone else.

It is time to begin discussing the real causes of our excessive energy use, and not distract the public with the irrelevant expensive noise in the form of biofuels. This noise is heard in Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, etc., and the Earth is being exterminated in the name of our good intentions.

So, if Proposition 87 presented meaningful ways of saving substantial amounts of energy in California, instead of multiple new ways of driving the same old Chevy Tahoes on E85, I would vote for it with all my heart.

Tad Patzek

I understand that in the long run, Prop 87 is unsustainable.

But then again, so was "the shot heard round the world".

(It too was unsustainable.)
If California passes 87, that may be a new shot heard round the over-warming globe.

I like to share with you the Nine 'Laws' of Ecological Bloodymindedness form the work of A. Duncan Brown. In his book Feed or Feedback he shows our failure to understand those laws. He is especially concerned about phosphorus cycle with our current agricultural practices.

We, humans, have to find behaviour that comply with these ecological laws. A paradigma shift is needed. This will be the challenge for this century so we can deal with PO and GW.


The First Law
For every action on a complex, interactive, dynamic system, there are unintended and unexpected consequences. In general, the unintended consequences are recognised later than those that are intended.

The Second Law
Any system in a state of positive feedback will destroy itself unless a limit is placed on the flow of energy through that system.

The Third Law
Any sedentary community, by virtue of its sedentism, will encounter problems of sanitation. The manner in which sanitation is managed will affect the manner in which supporting agriculture is managed.

The Fourth Law
For every increment in the agricultural surplus there is a corresponding increment in the volume of urban sewage.

The Fifth Law
Stability or resilience in ecosystems requires that all essential reactions within the system function within ranges of rates that are mutually compatible

The Sixth Law
The long-term survival of any species of organism requires that all processes essential for the viability of that species function at rates that are compatible with the overall functioning of the ecosystem of which that species is a part.

The Seventh Law
If any species of animal should develop the mental and physical capacity consciously to manage the ecosystem of which it is a part, and proceeds to do so, then the long-term survival of that species will require, as a minimum, that it understands the rate limits of all processes essential to the functioning of that ecosystem and that it operates within those limit.

The Eighth Law
Long-term stability or 'sustainability' in ecosystems (including agricultural systems) is dependent in part upon the recycling of nutrient elements wholly within the system or upon their replenishment from a renewable source, provided such replenishment is not itself dependent upon a finite source of energy.

The Ninth Law
If a population continues to grow exponentially it will eventually consume essential resources faster than they can be replenished. The provision of or access to additional resources will extend the 'life' of such resources, and hence the duration of growth of the population, only to a very small extent.

We, humans, have to find behaviour that comply with these ecological laws. A paradigm shift is needed.

There is no such thing as a paradigm shift in human behavior. As far as arguments are concerned, people will believe the most comfortable one, the one that gives them the most security for themselves and their offspring. That is the way people have always behaved and that is the way they always will behave.

Only events can change human behavior. People will respond to global warming and peak oil when the actual effects of these two events become undeniable. That the consequences of these two events are so horrible is the very reason they will not be believed until the actual occurrence of such consequences.

Ron Patterson

Abolitionists certainly behaved in ways that were best for the lives and offspring of others and not themselves.
Not necessarily.  

The thing about slavery was that it benefitted a relatively small segment of society, while the entire society bore its costs.  I believe that is one reason why it was ultimately abolished throughout the hemisphere.  We fought a war over it.  In other countries, it ended with the passage of a law, or a series of laws.  Or was ended by violent uprising.

The latter especially aggravated the non-slave owning whites.  They didn't benefit from owning slaves, but when the slaves rebelled, they attacked everyone, slave owner or not.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe that people sometimes behave altruistically.  But I also think often what appears to be altruistic behavior is not.

The abolitionists were not arguing to end slavery for economic reasons, their arguments were always moral--even though they would make economic arguments to try to sway people as well.  In addition, I give money to protect endangered species, and it is not because I hope to make money off of them.  And I don't think pro-lifers, as much as I disagree with them, are hoping to profit from ending abortion either.
The abolitionists were not arguing to end slavery for economic reasons, their arguments were always moral

That doesn't matter. The reasons people give for their behavior isn't necessarily their actual motivation.  

We should remember that Britain stationed much of her navy off the West African coast through much of the 1850s, in an attempt to cut off the slave trade to the new world.

Since slaves in the American south produced cotton, which enabled the cotton mills in Manchester (which provided the sails for British ships), this was certainly not an economic policy; it was a moral one.

I thought that Britain switched its source of cotton from the US South to Egypt and India in the mid-1800's.

I also thought that the US Civil War was fought primarily because of the disruptions that slavery caused to the political system. Slave states got credit for 3/5's of a person for each slave. The slaves, of course, didn't get to vote. Slave states just got more representatives in Congress which they used to push for policies that benefitted their agricultural, plantation economy to the detriment of the rapidly industrializing Northern economy. Moral reasons were there, but were secondary.

That, too, is reminiscent of the current debate over immigration.  Immigrants, legal and otherwise, are counted in the census, even if they are not allowed to vote. Which inflates the power of the Democratic-leaning urban areas where immigrants tend to settle.  
During the Civil War, British clothing mills were idled, and that was one of the primary reasons Britain thought seriously of entering the war on the Southern side. That was why the federal victory of Antietam was so important -- it allowed Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which explicity told the Brits that if they entered the war, they woudl be doing so to defend slavery.

So both economic and moral fight it out.

Most historians think the civil war was primarily about preserving the union, secondarily about slavery. From the southern point of view, why put up with the north telling them what to do when they could be an independent country?

I think the primary reason was economic.  Look at the larger view.  Slavery was already dying when the Civil War started.  Roughly twenty years after the Civil War, slavery had been abolished throughout the Americas.  We're the only ones who fought a war about it.  
What I have always found interesting about the causes of the Civil War is that a number of the framers of the Constitution essentially expected such a result from their compromises.

In other words, a number of the people who created the system also foresaw catastrophe because there was no way to otherwise build the nation.

This makes the question of slavery much harder to handle than the merely religious/moral aspect, certainly a secondary factor in causes of the Civil War, or how industrialization led to economic/political stresses of a kind certainly not foreseen in 1798.

But a wrenching conflict was foreseen, as various Framers themselves knew of no way to prevent it, but they accepted that delaying it was the best alternative. This may also be an explanation why other societies were able to handle the end of slavery without massive social upheaval.

Slavery was already dying when the Civil War started.

For an interesting and controversial look at slavery, I recommend 'Time on the Cross' by Fogel and Engerman (ca early 70's) They make a compelling case that not only was slavery thriving at the beginning of the American Civil War but that it was profitable. They skewer lots of stereotypes about how slaves were treated (generally pretty well, often with better and more nutritious diets than their masters), and how efficiently they worked (also generall very well with many slaves actually running the plantations). But, like I said, controversial, making a big splash at the time and leading to other books both supportive and detractive.

Well, Sharpsburg (to use an alternate description - sort of a Bull Run / Manassas thing - both terms are the same for me, the same way I say 'route' - both 'root' and 'rout' sound normal to my ears, and I will say either form interchangeably) was equally important in allowing Lincoln to remain in the White House - otherwise, he would have likely become a  fleeing president, like Madison in the war of 1812. A lot people really miss just how much of the Civil War revolved around that spine of mountains - the region remained stalemated pretty much to the end, though obviously the North gained the upper hand.
The South didn't need to import new slaves from Africa, and hadn't done so for fifty years.
Altruistic behavior is a complicated subject. People will generally behave altruistically when they expect such behavior to be returned in kind. However altruistic behavior also blossoms in times of plenty. People can afford to be benevolent on a full stomach. In times of crisis, in times of dire scarcity, such behavior disappears.

As far as the abolitionists are concerned, damn few of them were slaveholders themselves. It is always easy to be benevolent when your benevolence costs you absolutely nothing.

But there was another factor affecting the abolitionists behavior; religion. People will often make great sacrifices when they expect an even greater (eventual) reward. Priests, nuns and monks do not live such a frugal life for nothing; they expect God to reward them by and by.

Ron Patterson

I see a lot of parallels between the abolition movement and today's anti-immigration movement.  Many simply saw slavery as unsustainable.  

Some abolitionists were motivated at least partly by a sort of xenophobia.  Like some of the anti-immigration types today, they feared being overrun and outnumbered.  They wanted the slaves freed...and "repatriated" to Africa.

This is all true. However I for got to add another reason for altruistic behavior. People are often benevolent simply because it makes them feel good. Just to be able to think of yourself as a very good and kind person has its own rewards. Obviously feeling very good about one's self is much better than feeling terrible about yourself.

For the robber barons of the past and the super rich of today, it serves another purposes. It makes them look very good in the eyes of the public and it often soothes a guilty conscience.  

Ultimately all altruistic behavior is motivated by selfishness.

Ron Patterson

"People are often benevolent simply because it makes them feel good."

This is one of my favorite putdowns.  We're so Calvinized to honor anguish and misery, that the possibility of finding some contentment, pride or satisfaction in your choices is often supremely suspected, berated, and then simply discounted as 'selfish'.

  You EAT BREAKFAST to feel good, and you feel good because you have done something your body needs you to do.  Sometimes, you choose a meal that is less 'yummy', but more sensible and nutritious,  and you don't feel as good from the averted sugar-rush, but you might then feel better knowing you've made a good choice and taken care of yourself, despite the 'sacrifice' of missing those fine donuts.

Could it be that going out on a limb for other people, whether you're Marching across the bridge at Selma even after a bunch of guys just got their heads caved in for their trouble, or you are hiding people who are trying to escape to Canada, even if you know you could be hated and shot for it.. that the fact that this still makes you feel good is a right and proper part of ourselves as a social animal, rewarded by a brain that has decided that it will require a challenging set of choices and actions to keep us together, to make us safe, to provide for the next generation, or just to know that we did what was necessary to make things right?

There is some kind of selfishness involved in working for the good of others, for building a strong, social network that you get the benefit of partaking in .. but to just say all Altruism is at its heart Selfishness is a sore insult to the people who, everyday are going over and taking care of aging parents, being patient with their kids, or in so many ways putting their lives or reputations on the line for their communities, for humanity.

Bob Fiske

Right! And the distinction between "selfish" behavior that sacrafices the needs of others to my own narrowly defined wants and "selfish" altruistic behavior that is willing to sacrafice some of my own comfort and physical well-being for the needs of others is an important one. It is highly misleading to dismiss the distinction by identifying the two behaviors.

No offense intended, but you're a strange fellow. In my experience, those who is particularly devoted to evolutionary schools of thought is also often inclined to believe technology will fix everything. (i think they call it exosomatic evolution :) I read in quite a difference between you and a "standard darwinian". Thats a compliment.

Ultimately all altruistic behavior is motivated by selfishness.

Give me a brake. This is below your standard. Is biology the only topic you read? Surprisely i get almost irritated by reading it. It's so hypocritical. If some of the postmodernists or christians on TOD would start to heavily embed their personal paradigm into a post, the atheists here would open all cannon hatches and let the balls fly. The main reason i bother writing this, is perhaps because it's a inhumane and disgraceful sentence, in addition to being plain wrong and contradictory.

al‧tru‧ist, n:
a person unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others (opposed to egoist).

And technically a word can't "ultimately" mean the same as the opposite. I guess you'll have to redefine altruism (and love). I never though i'd say this, but go home and read the bible. Lots of nice stories there about altruism and egoism. I'm quite convinced that Paul, a citizen of rome, wasn't guided by selfishness in his self-destructive efforts.

But please do save your religious views to a appropriate occasion.

His views have nothing to do with religion and altruism has undergone a bit of a functional redefinition in some scientific circles to include behavior "apparently" done to benefit others at some cost to the actor.  The emphasis on action makes it unnecessary to know the internal emntal state of the actor.

Yes, and when biologists start redefine and expanding words like "altruism" it repulses me. They should use another word, because altruism is in essence the opposite of what the bios believe powers evolution.

They don't seem to understand that use of language shapes contemporary thought. August Comte coined the term "altruism" in context of ethics. It's beyond me why the church of Darwin insist on using that word. New words is often invented within the scientific community when needed due to a phenomenon.

And please observe that the context above where i criticised Darwinian was humans and society.

And his views not being religious?.. If he's to define it himself, clearly not. But the opinion that parts of the scientific community may be viewed as a religious sect is well established. It depends on definitions, many practically define science as the opposite of religion. Perhaps those guys define all ontological stances other than materialism as superstition as well :) Philosopher Mary midgley have written a book on the subject, but it's mainly about evolution as a religion, which also is the title.

Sometimes it amuses me that the most fanatical religious people i know are secular, and without exceptions they are all devoted to either communism, libertarianism or biologism.

Looking forward to meeting a fanatic devoted to computer science, id est "all is computation" :)

Well, there was Pythagoras.
Stephen Wolfram or Rudy Rucker would fit nicely.  There are plenty who believe all is computation. I don't see any reason to use a new word. What evolutionary biologists have done is take an existing concept and show how it may not have the underpinnings we have generally (pre-scientifically) believed.
Maybe we should leave the Bible out of it. We'd never get past it, so see what sorts of posts are ten feet down the page.
Good suggestion Jim.

I mentioned the bible because i believed it would really trigger Darwinian. Somehow every reference to the most influential culture ever trigger anyone who got a crush on Charles Darwin. It was childish and i should not have written the b word.

How do you know Darwinian has a crush on Darwin?  He just seems half-baked to me.
All of the mainstream abolitionist groups were against repatriation right from the beginning and severely criticized the Colonization Society.
Ahh but the non slave owning whites fought harder than anyone, to preserve the South- the vast majority of the troops were not from the slave owning classes.  And for every slave trader officer (Nathan Bedford Forest) there were gentlemen who freed slaves as they were able (Robert E. Lee).

I don't think you can find the slavery question solved via economic analysis alone.  This is a Marxian tradition in American historical analysis, and it fits poorly.

the reality is that whilst it is true most of the capital of a certain fraction of Southern society was tied up in slaves, the real reasons for supporting slavery (and opposing it) were about moral issues.  

And about racial attitudes.  Although there is no evidence that in terms of day to day race relations, 90% of northerners were more enlightened than their southern brethren.

I was listening to the song John Brown's Body the other day (Battle Hymn of the Republic is the tune)-- I think you could fairly say that John Brown, a man we would today brand as a terrorist, understood the final moral cataclysm which had engulfed the young Republic, and what had to be done.  The South would never voluntarily relinquish slavery, nor cease to promulgate it into the Kansas Territory and beyond.

I'm a foreigner, so this wasn't a song I was familiar with.  But it has a rare and terrible beauty:

'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.'

Ok, but the war didnt start until the South voted as a bloc against Lincoln and he still won the Presidency.  At that moment the entire South realized they had no say in the country.  If I were born and raised in the South (did a stint in the early 90's) I can easily see why they immediatly armed themselves.  The last great war was merely a few generations prior, and that was to declare this so called "free nation."  
And that was why for such a long ,long time the south was solid Democratic. Not in principle mind you so much as against the Republican Party of Lincoln.

To this day in my county the primaries mostly determine who the winner of the election will be because many times there is NOT a Republican candidate.

Lincoln is supposed to have been born in Ky(and many maintain he was not born here) yet they still despise Lincoln. Far east Ky is different than west Ky or even central Ky. Ky had a star  in the CSA flag.

And now it's the blue states like California, NY, Massachusetts, and so on that have virtually no say in governing the country.
I'll preface it by saying that my main point holds: the Civil War was not so much an economic fight (although there were economic interests at stake) as a moral one (over the question of slavery) and a political one (over the nature of the Union and the freedom (or not) to secede).

There was this shift of language from

(pre 1865)

The United States are


The United States is

ie before 1865, the States saw themselves as sovereign and freely associated with the US of A.  So you have this drive for and assumption of autonomy.

The South drove constantly to expand the frontier of slavery into the new territories, and to allow the recapture of slaves even in Abolition States (Dredd Scott).

The South dominated the legislative agenda in the Antebellum Period, and used it to extend its power on the matter of slavery.

Eventually the North was sure to elect someone who would put a stop to that.  At which point, the South sought Succession, to preserve its way of life.

If someone had led the South who could have struck a Compromise at that point, which was that Slavery would pertain only to the original slave states and not to the Kansas Territory, then it is possible (likely?) that war could have been avoided.  But once the banner of Succession was raised, nothing could stop the wheels of history.

There have been other times in history when the South, electorally, has stood alone.  It hasn't led to Succession.  This was the unique case.

(I know the argument goes back and forth about who started the Civil War, whether it was Northern Agression or Southern irredentism.  My own take, coming from north of the border, is that the South would not agree to a compromise which would have made the continuation of slavery possible.  And in any case if it had, eventually the Abolitionist case would have been brought to the South.

Your Mileage May Vary, as they say ;-).

(over here, although we had ended slavery in the 1830s, by blatantly illegal means of using Royal Navy ships to stop the ships of other countries on the High Seas, the patrician class was largely sympathetic to the Southern cause, due to a distrust of Yankees.  But Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, a progressive German, made sure that we kept our hand out of it)

Ron, are you trained in pysychology or self-tutored?
People responded to ozone depletion before we had serious problems from it.  We appear to have roughly arrested the problem.

The mood about global warming is changing faster than I would have believed possible.  There may be hope for us yet.

I'd like to think so.  I just hope the automakers will wake up and decide to take a serious look at EVs, PEHVs and CATs.
What's a CAT? Casual American Teenager? (just one of the 164 possibilities on Acronym Finder)
Basically its stands for Compressed Air Transportation, or a car that runs on an engine powered by the outflow of compressed air.  I would never have thought it was viable until I did a bit of research and found that they can go about half the distance of the Tesla, and cost about $1.00 per fill up :P
The was essentially a completely invisible, low cost and equivalent quality replacement for CFCs.  Problems are easy to solve when all you have to do is start using brand b instead of brand a.

I don't think that the solution to global climate change will be quite as easy.

For reasons I cite in a post to Engineer Poet above (below) I tend to agree with you.

Changing our behaviour now, in a million ways, for future benefit 25, 50 years time and beyond, is absolutely contrary to human nature, and to libertarian political ideology.

Governments believe terrorism, economic growth, unemployment, the rise of China etc. are far more important issues.

People associate 'being warm' with comfort and good things.

We have had the warmest June-October since records were kept (roughly the 1790s).  And the warmest October and July on record.

We haven't yet reached autumn in London, yet it is early November.

My neighbour downstairs (Australian schoolteacher) 'wonderful weather, ain't it?'.

Ozone depletion was fiercely resisted (doing anything about) by the Reagan Administration and other corporate forces.  It was only when Dupont (the lead manufacturer of CFCs) invented new (more expensive) alternatives (which happen to be Greenhouse Gases) that Dupont switched sides on the matter and the Montreal Protocal was implemented.

CFCs then became the third largest illegal commodity import into the US (after cocaine and marijuana).

When I talk to my mother in law here, or a HVAC commercial repairman, I get 'global warming.  That's the ozone layer, ain't it?'

ie the confusion that we have done something about an atmospheric problem, means that people think we have done something about global warming.

There is this incredible disjuncture, reflected most noticeably in Americans and the American media that:

  • global warming is a long term problem for future generations

  • the consequences in our lifetime will be trivial and pleasant (a bit of warming, nicer summers)

  • it's not clear that human action is causing it

  • there's nothing we can do about it anyways

  • the people who want to do something about it are hypocrites who fly air miles and drive SUVs-- the chattering classes of Islington

Contrast that to the scientific consensus, which is as close to raw panic as scientists get (one geophysicist told me I shouldn't worry about it, as the damage was already done).
These beg a corollary set "Laws of Economic Bloodymindedness" that capture the essence of human decision making, whether individual, groups, corporate or government.

NPR has an interesting story "Power Plant Modernization Pays Quick Dividends" by Elizabeth Shogren

Morning Edition, November 1, 2006 · Some power companies, like Duke, went to court rather than comply with EPA demands that they cut emissions. But other utilities decided to go ahead and clean up their plant's emissions. One of them was Dominion Power in Virginia.

The interesting point - because of the escalating prices of construction input items such as steel and concrete, those power plants that delayed making the investment to cut their emissions will now incur markedly higher costs to do so.

Which organization made the "best" decision? If the best economic decision wasn't the best ecologic decision, then what needs changing, how does that change occur and who makes the changes so that economic tracks ecologic?

It seems that we have already witnessed some instances of paradigm shift when it comes to the Ninth Law.

The two examples that come to mind are (1) China's One-Child policy.  While this policy is being implemented with a heavy hand, I sense that the most of the people in China understand the rationale behind the policy and the danger of overpopulation.  I used to work with a physician from China who explained that he and his wife were expected to get a certificate of some type before attempting conception and that anyone in the hospital, including docs, who attempted to have a second child would immediately lose their job and be severely penalized.  From his descriptions, there seemed to be no resentment for the policy.  In the rural areas the culture seems to be resistant to the reforms, but even they are slowly reorganizing and adapting.  This may be an example of social engineering using behavior modification, but even coercion of this manner can cause a cultural paradigm shift - esp. when it is based on a fundamental truth.

(2.) Another cultural paradigm shift relating to the need to limit family size is the voluntary response by millions of Americans (and Western society in general) to intense coverage coming out of the 60s and 70s on the population explosion and the inherent dangers that presented for the environment.  I've known many people, esp. women, who said that population pressure was one of the important factors motivating them to limit the size of their family.

If human societies can incorporate the idea that limited reproduction leads to a higher quality of life and this idea is strenghtened using methods of positive and negative reinforcement, then population control has a chance to become the norm and not the exception.

Can you imagine what would happen if the gov't tried to mandate child birth rates?  Ya ya, there's THISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS many differences between the two countries, but if we assume all those away (got to love econ), let's laugh a bit.
Why mandate it?  Why not just reward limited child birthing to such an extreme that going beyond the limit desired would be unadvantagous.

For those that don't mind losing the advantage, they can instead prefer to have a larger family.  If you design incentives properly you can sway a large number of people without having to force a heavy handed law.

Hello Tate423,

Unless we want to go down at maximal levels of violence, I think eventually some kind of involuntary birth control will be imposed.  If values to family size social norms voluntarily changes, then the govt., of whatever postPeak form, does not have to get involved, which obviously would be the best solution.  I have no idea what is the best method or program, but here is some speculation.

First off: you can't have the sex mismatch like China's ill-conceived program.  The valuing of males much higher than females only leads to disaster-- would not be surprised if China eventually goes to raiding wars for brides and/or prostitutes.  Sonogram operators should not be allowed to reveal the fetus's sex to the parents.  The natural male/female sex ratio is the best evolutionary driver.

Remove the tax benefit of having children and impose a tax penalty.  This scale could vary depending on how fast population declines from the optimal desired.  Maybe one child/family is economically neutral, and the second child has a heavy penalty.

Next, I like the idea of creating economic 'godparents'.  If a couple prefers to be childless--more power to them.  But if they have parental instincts: they can donate money to a family for a limited tax benefit and also be entitled to a certain degree of involvement and visitation.  If, for example, five childless couples donate to another couple that really want a child or two: the funds will more than offset the tax penalty.

This is just an offshoot of the old phrase: 'that it takes a village to raise a child'. This plan should be preferred to the violent Dieoff alternative where killing children will be seen as the best way to make sure your children survive.

Obviously, this is just a brief overview; it would need a lot more discussion and enhancement to work out the details.  But any plan is better than no plan to avert violence as much as possible against postPeak children.

Full disclosure:  I am 51, and biologically childless, but have a 33 year old stepson.

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

Hi Bob,

I happened to be at the University of Colorado in 1978 and heard Professor Bartlett give his exponential-growth speech.

That day, I became determined I would never have offspring, because it became obvious that doing so would be completely unethical.

Today I volunteer in the Partners program instead. It's worked out great for me and several kids over the years.

If you look at the demographic trends, China's Total Fertility Rate was already pretty low and falling in 1979 when One Child was implemented. From memory I think the TFR was in the lower 2's (2.3 or so). I doubt if One Child would have worked at all if there hadn't already been both the tendency and the general trend in the direction of much smaller families. The current sex ratio imbalance is a tragedy caused by the cultural bias against women which is so prevalent worldwide. Honestly, when you take a look at cultures worldwide one wonders why the women don't rise up en-masse and claim their rights. They are so incredibly oppressed.
Think history.

The cases where the masses 'rose up and seized their rights' are far, far fewer than the cases where the masses were crushed.

A revolution overturned the Czar's government in Russia, after it had lost a major war in 1917.  After the previous loss of a war (1905-- Russo Japanese war) and uprising, the Czar had remained in power and Lenin had concluded 'we will not see a revolution in my lifetime'.

The Bolsheviks then, in November 1917 (the 'October Revolution') overthrew that revolutionary government, fought a bloody civil war, and imposed a terror that that lasted from the mid 1920s until the mid 1950s, killing 10s of millions.  It would be another 35 years before they would finally give up the ghost of power.

Whenever someone advertises that they can solve a complex problem with "n laws of - insert author's name here-", I know that another sucker has bought a book full of nonsense.
Well, if you measure peak oil by what comes out of the pipeline, things aren't looking that good for Alaskan feeder pipelines in terms of contributing to world production in the medium to longer term, as noted above.

And if a company motivated by profit in the free market does such a horrible job of maintenance, just imagine how bad those national oil company pipelines must look, right?

I mean, for those who insist that one thing holding production back is the prevalence of inefficient and ineffective national oil companies, you can't have it both ways - either other pipeline networks at best in the same dismal shape as the North Slope's, or the belief that a company like BP is more efficient and effective is just that, a belief, and not one supported by the facts. (Though for the sake of argument, maybe BP, exploding refineries and all, is just a truly rotten apple - though a merger with Shell would likely lead to more rot, not less, if you follow the apple theory.)

Peak oil is measured by what comes out of the pipeline - how much you can produce 'if only' isn't much beyond wishful thinking. If only there hadn't been a couple of hurricanes, the Gulf of Mexico would be producing much more today. If only the situation in Iraq or Nigeria would just stabilize, production would increase. If only depletion wasn't a proven fact - see, 'if only' is a great style of argument.

If only peak oil was that simple.

Agreed. Oil production has always been affected by "above the ground" factors. Bad weather, labor problems, political instability, etc. They are only going to get worse as oil gets scarcer, and are part of the peak oil problem. Saying "We're not at peak because if we hadn't invaded Iraq they'd be producing a zillion more barrels a day" makes no sense. If there were no political problems, we'd probably have reached peak long ago.
That there is why I agree with RR on being cautious at calling peak.  Peace might break out in those troubled places, or some long overdue project might come online and get a little blip that raises production and looks good for a while.  All credibility gets flushed down the tubes and you're worse off than square one because your credibility is not just not there, it's shot.  Peak Lite is still Peak Lite.  When even the potential has eroded, you can probably validly call peak.  Until then, it's just supply and demand issues exacerbated by resource depletion and the resulting production profiles.
I tend to lean the opposite way.  I think the "bottom-up" estimates are likely way too optimistic.  Those calling for peak in 2010 or 2015 or 2025 are assuming all the projected projects will come online as scheduled, and produce as much as anticipated.

That is simply not realistic.  Thunder Horse is likely to be the rule, not the exception, particularly since oil production is occurring in increasingly hostile areas (politically and geologically).  Bad weather and labor trouble unexpectedly delay production all the time.  They never unexpectedly speed it up.  

As far as credibility goes...missing high is just as bad as missing low.  (See CERA.)

CERA is rediculous, but people do like to hear positive stuff.

I suppose I'm saying that calling it at all is a setup for failure.  The only way to call it, really, is using a date range...say between 2008 and 2017.  That's still sufficiently soon to cause concern, but it's not a single date that can just be fluffed off when it comes and goes.  It's not a gaussian distribution, there's not really a date plus/minus some amount of time...the likelyhood increases the further out it goes.  So whereas 2008 may be at 50%, 2017 is at 98%.

I suppose I'm saying that calling it at all is a setup for failure.

That's very true, but this would be a pretty boring site if everyone avoiding making predictions for fear of being wrong.  Would anyone care about peak oil, if not for those who have had the 'nads to risk being wrong and name a date?  

I suppose I'm saying that calling it at all is a setup for failure.

M. King Hubbert didn't mind calling it, and neither did Ken Deffeyes. Likewise CERA is calling it, Michael Lynch is calling it. I hear people calling it every day on CNBC. They are calling Peak Oil a complete myth.

I agree with Matthew Simmons, "data trumps all theories". And I don't think anyone follows the actual data closer than I. And I am calling it! I am calling it for several reasons.

The actual production data says we have peaked.  For the first time in history we have reached a plateau, and even a slight decline, while everyone is producing flat out. Now I know some will point out we have had declines in the past. However Non-OPEC oil, every single year has shown an increase over the previous year, except for the years 1989 thru 1993. And that was caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union. At that time, the largest producer in the world plunged. All other year to year drops were caused by OPEC cutting back production, either deliberately to affect prices or because of war in the area.

When every nation is producing flat out, and you still get a decline in production, you should begin to get concerned.

Two other reasons I think oil has peaked. Many of those fields coming on line are way overestimated. Khurais is a perfect example. When ARAMCO first said they try to rejuvenate this tired old field, they said they hoped to extract 800,000 barrels per day from it. In the last year or so they have gotten more optimistic. They now say they expect to pump 1.2 million barrels per day from Khurais. Khurais reached its maximum production of 144,000 barrels per day in 1981 then began to decline alarmingly. In 1983 ARAMCO began a massive gas injection program on Khurais to try to improve production but the results were very disappointing.

But now ARAMCO has decided that massive water injection program will work miracles on this field. No doubt they may get production up to 100,000 barrels per day, and perhaps a little higher. But 1.2 million barrels per day is absolutely laughable. It is not going to happen.

Also Saudi Arabia has announced several other old fields. I heard a Saudi official Monday on C-Span talking about the miracle they expect from the rejuvenation of the Marjan field. Marjan reached just over 100,000 barrels per day in the late 1970s and has been slowly declining since. But now they expect magic from that old field. It just ain't gonna happen.

But the one shoe that hasn't dropped yet is the vast overestimation of Middle East reserves. Depending on whom you listen to, there is anywhere between 700 billion and 800 billion barrels of proven reserves in the Persian Gulf area. That is about 100 percent too high. 350 billion barrels would probably be too high. Saudi simply does no have the 260 billion barrels they claim to have, not to mention the 200 billion they expect to discover later. They probably have just over 100 billion barrels of reserves if that much. In fact I would bet their actual reserves are less than 100 billion barrels.

The vast overestimation of Middle East reserves will be the Achilles heel of oil patch cornucopians.

We have reached the peak.

Ron Patterson

Not that it matters, but for the record I'm firmly in this camp as well.
Nice summary, thanks.  I agree.

US oil production in 2006, even with virtually no hurricane damage this year(actually there was a very small amount of damage/shut-ins in the southern GOM), will at best get close to 2005 production.  This is with restored hurricane production and new wells.  

The implication here is that depletion will re-assert itself in production figures in 2007.

Freddy will quickly crow the eia aug production, the second month in a row at 85mmb/d.  Perhaps these numbers will stand, perhaps preduction did rise late summer, explaining part of the price drop. Still, so far 06 is running 130k/d behind 05.  To catch up, much less surpass it, production must avg 84.4mmb/d on the assumption that opec does not cut. OTOH, if opec does cut as announced, then production must avg 85mmb/d thru year end to simply equal 05.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Note, however, that all pundits save deffeyes and simmons predicted 06 would be around 1mmb/d higher than 05. There's not a chance of this happening.  If not peak, how about crest?

Also, US decline rate for first 6 months is 4.4%.  imo, many of the world's fields are now produced with horizontal wells, especially older ones with water rising close to the gas cap like ghawar/cantarell, plus most offshore.  Ex-US decline rate likely to be significantly higher, overall probably 5-6% now and higher every day.

SA is whistling past the graveyard.  They may be surprised, even shocked, to find that after opec once again ends quotas that they cannot get back to 9mmb/d. Russia is a bigger question... how long will they remain above 9?

Very Alarming (if your data is correct).
Amen to that.

There are a couple of points with the bottom-up estimates that I have real problems with.  First, the assumed decline, calculated for example by looking historical data of countries post peak over the past few years, includes projects that have gone online over that period.  So for example, if we take the assumed decline over the past 3 years for Norway as 7% or whatever, that figure includes the addition of the Grane field (+200 kbbl/d) plus a number of smaller projects. Same for the US, although the situation there is a bit more difficult due to Hurricanes, etc., but the US production has swallowed up the Holstein and Mad Dog projects with a projected production of 200 kbbl/d, plus others in the Gulf of Mexico, and still is showing a decline.  In my humble opinion, either (i) the assumed decline should be adjusted upward from the 4% typically assumed to net out these projects, or (ii) no projects in countries that are post peak should be added to the bottom up sum.

The bottom line is with these bottom-up approaches is that if a similar thing could be tried for the US in 1972, I'm sure that oil companies would list a whole bunch of projects that would come online between 1973-1980 that would raise production, even with an assumed 4% decline rate.  However, we all know the history with that...

I have the hunch that even in countries where things are supposed to be going great guns, this bottom up approach may be over-generous.  For example, an analysis using Koeppler's work suggests the following:
Angola 2005 average production:  1260 kbbl/d
Angola 2006 average production:  1520 kbbl/d (-50k depletion, +310k adds).

Brazil 2005 average production:  1630 kbbl/d
Brazil 2006 average production:  1870 kbbl/d (-65k depletion, +305 k adds)

Through August, Angola's average 2006 production is 1408 kbbl/d, with a monthly high of 1468 kbbl/d, while Brazil's average is 1703 kbbl/d. with a monthly high of 1748 kbbl/d.  Given Koeppler's stated peak flows for the projects coming on line in these two countries, there is no way that the projected average yearly flows will be met.

I don't want to discourage the bottom-up analysis - it is the best way to forecast given the lack of knowledge on reserves.  However, my impression is that something on the order of a 6% decline figure is the way to go for these calculations, along with something like 70-80% of the projected adds.  Put together, it is difficult to see how production will rise significantly...    

Interesting stuff.

And yes, I agree about the decline rates.  That's another problem.  

"Bad weather and labor trouble unexpectedly delay production all the time.  They never unexpectedly speed it up."

They obviously don't subscribe to the Mr. Scott (of Star Trek, the original) theory of estimates...that is, estimate way more time than it will actually take, then do it faster so you look like a miracle worker :)

LOL!  Exactly.  If they had huge margins of error built in to their estimates for political strife, hurricanes, infrastructure issues, labor unrest, etc., then you might figure it will all come out in the wash.  

But they don't, and I suspect stockholder pressure will keep them from adding them.  

I do this ALL the time with clients.  It's called under promise and over deliver.  I guess it's a biz school thing or something.  Marketing, oh yeah marketing taught me that!
But Scotty lived in a fantasy world with infinite energy, and he didn't have to worry about a budget either.  There is every incentive to underestimate the costs and time involved for these mega-projects in order to get them approved in the first place.  Then once they are underway and lots of money has already been spent the real projected figures start to trickle in.  Occasionally I hear of something being completed "in time and under budget", but I'd bet it's pretty rare.  Then again, I do live near Boston, home of the Big Dig...

Curious to know where I could find out some local opinions of that project.  Blogs maybe, but I don't want to spend time looking.  Since you seem plugged in, would you know where to get a sense of the people's reaction to it.

Oh, it's a local joke, sort of.  At least until that poor lady was killed by the falling ceiling tile.  Many people are afraid to use any of the tunnels around Boston anymore, although it's impossible to avoid them in many cases.  The project has spent almost $15 billion from an initial projected cost af around $2.5 billion.
Fortunately, I live in NH and work in N. Mass so I never have to go near the mess.  And it's all far from over, the problems have led to reexaminations of the older tunnels and major problems have been found with them, too.
There have been volumes written about all this, check any Boston source and you'll have an eye-rolling read for sure...

I live in Boston.  It's a joke.

Totally over budget.  No accountability.  One shameful death.
And years late.


It reclaimed a wonderful slice of real estate in the heart of the city.  I'm not sure how much parkland is going to go in there, but I walk around there all the time during lunch, and even though it's still a big mess, it's glorious.

Large public works programs like that are never cheap or easy, but I think it will be worth it in the long term.

The first problem I find with many of these mega projects is that they aren't realistic in their assumptions of how well something holds up.  When these underwater tunnels are 30 yrs old, are you going to drive in them?  Then again I've got a weird aversion to large bodies of water unless I'm on a large ship ala cruises. Yeh weird I know.
"There is every incentive to underestimate the costs and time involved for these mega-projects"

At least if you're working in an industry or econ./energy model that insists on 'happy news'..  the drawback is, this shortsightedness builds in a lot of bad news, when the real timetable/budget is revealed, as opposed to the Scotty model, where the bad news is the "Theory" side, and the good news is the "Actuals" afterwards.  But it takes the steel-nerves of one who is willing to chance starting out with some tougher predictions (as in "It will take hard work and a lot of investment to get Solar&Wind up to an appreciable level.."), before delivering the sunny upshot later on..  ("Hey, those at least we've got these wind farms to fall back on!")


I do this all the time with my job, converting databases.  I will usually tell the client that the task of mapping data from their system to ours can take up to 10 days, but might occur in less time.  Usually I've already seen the data and have estimated it will take between 2 and 4 days, and the customer is of course always happy when they see their conversion completed ahead of schedule.

But by doing this, it leaves room for emergency situations to be handled as I'm also the Database Administrator for several other internal company projects, and if something needs fixed NOW, I can delay the customer's conversion while I fix the other problem, and not lose face with anyone.

Also what I tell the customer versus what I tell my boss is usually two different things.  My boss knows I have up to 10 days contractually to get the customer data converted, but I always tell him barring interuption what the real completion time will be.  The customer is happy, the boss is happy because the customer is happy, and I'm happy(and way less stressed) because I've got enough slack to meet the deadline and stomp fires at the same time (which keeping the fires under wraps also makes my boss happy as he is the one whose neck gets breathed down).

Well, my perspective on 'calling peak' is who cares about what I think anyways? I am not a member of a peak oil community, nor does my credibility concern me in this sense at all.

Though this is not a game, since an awful lot concerning the lives of billions of humans actually depends on having a fairly clear view of what the future will bring, it has been true that since Reagan's election, nobody in power in America has seemed to care about anything which concerns me - such as long term planning for the future. Beyond smash and grab, of course - or is that shock and awe? (I don't keep current on the proper slogans, I'll admit.)

I agree. We'll only recognize peak oil when we see it in the rear view mirror. Which means when our credibility is proven, it will no longer matter.

It will be like any other conventional wisdom shift (like the wisdom of invading Iraq); the talking heads will either pretend they always knew it or that it would have been impossible to predict until after the fact, while ignoring that Simmons, TOD et al ever existed or ever said anything relevant.  

I'm reminded of right wing commentator Jonah Goldberg, who's LA Times column reads: "Iraq Was a Worthy Mistake: We know now that invading Iraq was the wrong decision, but that doesn't vindicate the antiwar crowd."

Change "war" to "peak oil", and I imagine we'll be reading similar articles in about 5 years.

And then Jim Burke, glancing briefly at your rearview mirron...at that time Jim...it will be way way way too late.

We will enter the Miss Amurkan Tasty Homemaker Oven and become highly burnt on each side.

Oh those lying rearview mirrors who mirror not whats ahead but what the past held and we refused to believe.

Yes...now it comes and those twenty years of 'get ready' are shot in the ass. We were too busy studying ourselves in that mirror and believing in the fantasy of cornucopia's horns of plenty. Yes ...it comes. What will thee say then to your children and grandchildren? Sorriee,we blew it or here's a pretty mirror for YOU to look in.  

Airdale -

Your comment about  "studying ourselves in the mirror" reminded me of one of my favorite quotes that I suppose can be applied equally to PO or GW when either of these T-Rexs becomes visible in the rear view mirror...

The quote is from Sara Parkin - who I admittedly know nothing about... but I've always loved this quote as a response to those who dismiss GW because the data is `inconclusive':

"Our numbness, our silence, our lack of outrage, could mean we end up the only species to have minutely monitored our own extinction. What a measly epitaph that would make: "they saw it coming but hadn't the wit to stop it happening."

And my friend will you note how little commentary this 'black view on doom' there is forthcoming?

They say...ah heck,,let us just keep talking and muttering about these absolutely horrid numbers and minutely examining them constantly.

Yet I tend to love this site for the forward facing rear view mirror shown here. All the while its saying...

pale rider coming, doom and gloom approach, train wreck ahead and so on...and so I make my plans and am amused how that with Y2K it was the 'shutin' crazies who kept yelling but now its the 'learned' class. The very high tech folks. The ones with the finger right on the cartoid and feeling for that weakening pulse as the oil arteries close down tighter and tighter and so I talk of plans of mice and men.

airdale--not ready yet but getting there. Zero in the rifles once more. Grab some more grain off the semi. Wait for next springs wheat , if its not already started by then, the shattering of that rear view mirror I mean.

"Hey this mirrors no good. It didn't warn us in time!!!"

Well I think most of the people here (at least myself) believe that there's no way to prepare for societal collapse.  There's just too many things to prepare for and too many things to go wrong.  Like the guy who wanted everyone to disappear and to just read books happily ever after and when he got that, he broke his glasses and was completely alone.  This land is getting smaller by the day and you can hardly find anyplace that isn't within a stones throw of someone else.  When people get desperate enough, they'll pretty much do anything.  You can't fend off constant attack.  Societal collapse just can't be prepared for...too many things to worry about, so survival hinges on preventing collapse.
My own take on RR's caution is that it seems obvious that the peak won't be acknowledged very widely until several years afterward so it isn't a prediction issue at all, it is an issue of convincing people that it has happened. And then, what's the point? If we are to do any mitigation ala Hirsch report, we need to try and be as on top of it as possible. I don't see any way in Hades that one can achieve the measure of certainty that RR seems to think necessary until the actual peak is several years history. Even then CERA, Lynch et. al. will continue their denials until their revenue streams dry up, because no one believes them any more, and shut them up.
Russia only likely to intensify oil production in 8-10 years - IEA

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) - Russia may significantly increase growth in oil production only in eight to 10 years, when new projects in Eastern Siberia are launched.

International Energy Agency Deputy Executive Director William Ramsey said at the third investment forum Moscow Business dialogue, organized by Interfax and Chatham House.

He said that at the moment Russian companies are not investing enough, especially in new projects.

He explained that from the start of development to the start of production usually takes from five to seven years, and in Eastern Siberia, where there is no infrastructure, eight to 10 years are needed. Ramsey said that companies are only starting to invest now.

He said that before current investments start to show results there would be a significant drop in production indictors in Russia.

It's nonsense, there is very little oil in eastern Siberia. But I don't think a decline in western siberia is imminent either.
Husbanding of resource begins dot dot dot question mark
The Oct. 31,2006 EIA monthly oil report is posted. As of the end of August, world crude production is down 133,000 barrels a day from 05.
If I didn't know better, I would say that coincides fairly well with the savings from the world's hybrid fleet.


My family staged an intervention, and took me to Italy for more than two weeks as a way to try to cure my TOD addiction.  I am now allowed limited postings, under court ordered supervision, as part of my recovery process.

One year ago today (11/1/05), Matt Simmons and Jim Kunstler gave a joint presentation on Peak Oil in Dallas.  I proposed the symposium, and my wife and I helped organize it.  At my request, Boone Pickens was one of the underwriters of the event.   Following is a link to the transcript of a radio interview that Matt and Jim did earlier in the day:  http://www.energybulletin.net/19686.html

It was a pretty interesting day for me.  In the space of 24 hours, I had the privilege of meeting and talking to Jim Kunstler, Matt Simmons and Boone Pickens.  For the HL skeptics out there, you might consider Boone Pickens' response to a HL essay that I gave him at the event.  His assistant was on the phone with me at 8:00 A.M. the next morning, asking me to come by and brief Mr. Pickens' staff on the technique.

In any event, let's look at the HL (Hubbert Linearization) method again.

Qt = Ultimate Recoverable Reserves (URR), based on HL method.  
C+C = Crude + Condensate

Two Points Define a Line, But Three Points Probably Confirm a Trend

When we integrate the area under a production rate versus time graph, we get the area under the curve, which is Qt, or URR.   IMO, the HL method is the best way we have of estimating Qt.    The premise is that a region peaks in close proximity to 50% of Qt.

Regardless of the region, the first half of the production appears to be a very good predictor of the last half.   For example, at my request, Khebab predicted post-1970 Lower 48 cumulative oil production using only the production data through 1970 to generate the predicted post-1970 cumulative Lower 48 production.  The actual cumulative production, through 2004, was 99% of what the HL method predicted that it would be.

The following all refer to C+C production.

The US Lower 48 crossed the 50% of Qt mark (Khebab's plot) in 1970.  Did the Lower 48 decline in 1971 and start a so far terminal decline in production?  Yes.

The North Sea crossed the 50% of Qt mark (my HL plot) in 1999.  Did the North Sea decline in 2000 and start a so far terminal decline in production?  Yes.

The world crossed the 50% of Qt mark in 2005 (Deffeyes' plot).  Did the world decline (so far) in 2006?  Yes.  Is this the start of a terminal decline in (conventional C+C) production?  IMO, yes.  

As I have repeatedly stated,  IMO the confirming evidence for the world peak is the fact that all four of the super giant oil fields currently producing one mbpd or more are almost certainly all declining or crashing.  I continue to be somewhat baffled by the number of experienced oil and gas industry people who are predicting rising production given the near certainty of the simultaneous decline of all four of these super giant fields--Ghawar; Cantarell; Burgan and Daqing.  (The question regarding Ghawar is whether each barrel of fluid produced is 35% water or 50% water).

In any case, one can connect any two points with a line, but that doesn't necessarily constitute a linear trend.  The proof is if an another point falls along the predicted linear trend.  In this case, the predicted "linear trend" is the tendency for producing regions to peak and decline at the 50% of Qt mark.  

Three key regions--the Lower 48; the North Sea; and the World--have (so far) shown the same production behavior in the vicinity of 50% of Qt.

Jeffrey J. Brown

I continue to be somewhat baffled by the number of experienced oil and gas industry people who are predicting rising production given the near certainty of the simultaneous decline of all four of these super giant fields--Ghawar; Cantarell; Burgan and Daqing.

A critic might point out that China's record oil production this year shows that it is able to continue increasing its production despite the decline of Daqing. Since Daqing (presumably) makes up a greater proportion of China's total production than the big four together make up of the world's oil production, then world oil production might be able to continue increasing. (I'm only playing devil's advocate).

Does anyone know when China's production is due to peak? What does the HL method predict?

Re:  Colin

We will have new fields coming on line for decades to come, just like Texas, the Lower 48, the North Sea, etc.  

The question is, can the new (generally smaller) fields replace the declines from the old, large fields?  Historically, the answer has been no, and so far this year--as predicted by the HL model--the new production coming online worldwide has not been able to replace the declining production from older fields.

BTW, reportedly Daqing has something like a 90% water cut.    All four of these super giant fields are on their way to where the East Texas Field is now--a 99% water cut.

Good to have you back Westexas!  I missed you.
Jeffrey, glad to see your back, hope you enjoyed your holiday.

The HL below shows that the UK oil production peaked at 67% of seconadry QT - OK so this includes three fields on the Atlantic margin - but KSA also has production from different basins.

Full story here:


At some point we need to look at just N Sea production - UK, Norway and Denmark - cos Norway also has production on the Atlantic margin off mid-Norway.


Enclosed is a link to my North Sea C+C HL plot (EIA data):  
Note that the 52% of Qt was at the end of 1999.  The North Sea crossed the 50% of Qt mark sometime in 1999.  

The peak 1999 production level was 5,948 mbpd.  The most recent EIA production number (for August) was 3,997 mbpd.

The HL plot suggests that the North Sea is probably now close to 70% depleted.  Or let me put it this way, about 5.4% of current world C+C production is experiencing a rapid terminal decline.  

Interestingly enough, during our PBS Peak Oil debate Michael Lynch cited the UK as an example of where the HL method doesn't work.  I think that someone pointed out that the Piper Alpha accident distorted the production numbers somewhat, but the total North Sea shows a beautiful HL pattern.  

I also found it somewhat odd that Lynch would use the example of a country (the UK) in terminal decline to refute the peak oil argument.

Jeffrey - do you know if your plot is exclsuively for North Sea Fields, UK+Norway+Denmark? - cos its often easier to agregate country-wide production.  UK (country) peaked in 1999, Norway (country) peaked in 2001 and Denmark (country) peaked in 2004.
You will have to ask the EIA.  I took the North Sea C+C data from their website.

I may work on an article comparing the Lower 48 and the North Sea.  Note that these are dramatically different producing regions, but the key point is that the first half of the production is a good predictor for the second half, regardless of whether the region is predominantly onshore (like the Lower 48) or exclusively offshore (like the North Sea).

China's average production is up, 2006 over 2005 by 2.2%. So China's growth is definitely slowing down. August crude oil production for China was down 46,000 barrels per day verses July.

Ron Patterson

Daqing is 25% of China's current production, down from 50% 20 years ago.

HL indicates a URR of about 70 GB, or the upper end of Laherrere's estimates for China.

If so, then China will pass 50% of Qt sometime in 2007.

Thanks for this information.
Welcome back, Jeff.  Hope the recovery goes well.  TOD can be a blackhole for time and it is QUITE healthy to take a break now and then, especially if you value your family.

You're appearance is a breath of fresh air.

VI (once known as Dragonfly41)

Welcome back!, we missed your thoughtful analysis.
Outstanding work.

Please note that the Saudis claim their water cut in Ghawar is 37%:

MEED Middle East Economic Digest
September 8, 2006
Volume 50; Issue 36

Aramco on the record: in late August, in response to questions from MEED, the world's biggest oil company revealed its most detailed plans yet of a massive upstream investment programme (MEED 25:8:06, Cover Story). The transcript is reproduced here.(SAUDI ARAMCO)
Water and gas reinjection are a part and parcel of the oil industry. How acute are these in Saudi Arabia? How much water and gas is reinjected to sustain production?

The amount of injection water required depends on the oil withdrawal rate, reservoir maturity, the amount of water produced, the strength of the natural aquifer drive, reservoir quality and the water injection strategy, and other factors. Saudi Aramco carefully designs and operates its projects, utilising the best available tools and techniques and optimising water injection that leads to best overall field performance.

To give you some examples, as a result of our first rate reservoir management practices, one of our most mature areas, Ain Dar and Shedgum in the Ghawar field, has already produced more than 28 billion barrels of oil and is currently producing about 2 million b/d. Yet the water cut for these areas remains steady at around 37 per cent.

If we were to look at the overall Ghawar field, the aggregate water cuts showed a moderate increase until 1999, approaching 36.5 per cent. However, our three-pronged efforts have since lowered the water cuts to below 35 per cent, something that is not commonly seen.

The three-pronged effort comprised the field-wide production optimisation; the use of a host of advanced technologies such as horizontal drilling, multilateral wells and re-entries; and the application of advanced diagnostics and extensive field surveillance.

A lot has been said about the future of the Ghawar field and the problems it may face. What are your comments on the subject?

Regarding Ghawar, and our fields in general, Aramco has extensive observation and surveillance programmes in place. This programme continues to be further strengthened by the use of emerging technologies, such as permanent down-hole monitoring and intelligent well completions.

The Ghawar field in particular is doing exceptionally well, benefiting significantly from sophisticated reservoir characterisation and modelling studies, as well as advances in drilling and completion technologies. Ghawar is still in a development stage, with decades of steady production to come at current or higher levels.

During the last several years, the average water cuts have declined, while still maintaining an average field production rate of 5 million b/d; this is owing to highly effective reservoir management, including management of water production.

Even in North Uthmaniyah, the most mature area of Ghawar, the average well production rates have remained unchanged. These successful efforts highlight Aramco's top-notch capabilities and experience in managing world-class oil fields.

How can you reduce water cut after increasing it and still maintain the same production?  Anyone have an idea b/c the only one I come up with is to call it a lie.
The Saudi's have always tried to maximize long term production, and not pump all their fields at full tilt.  Pumping all out increases your production in the short term but reduces the total oil you can produce from a well in the long term.  I wonder how different our would would have been had we done the same on every oil field on the planet :/
Good to have you back WT.  I always enjoy your posts.
Of course, if we follow through with this perfect logic, you must also logically conclude that NG will then peak in approximately 30 years after the global peak of oil.  That puts it right around 2035.

Guess we better get started with the major LNG shipping depots :P

See my comments on this topic down the thread.
I'm a tad confused, Westexas.  Several sites state that the peak of NG production was around 2001.  Your suggesting this is because of 'shadow gas' that was 'phantomly moved' around the system.

Please explain to the layman how our gas consumption, and our reserves, could possibly have increased in such a situation.  Something doesn't seem right with your analysis :P

At risk of re-igniting the War Between the States...Kunstler on McMarching Through Georgia

Any southerners here care to comment?  Is he right?  Why the difference between Georgia and Vermont...if there is a difference?

I do love the illo:

I disagree with Kunstler on the article. He visited one town and his comments are on that one visit, apparently.

I have been to Georgia enough to know better.

A yankee goes to Georgia. He sees what he wants to see. He writes to other yankees about the po white trash southerner.
Its bullshit mostly with some grains of truth but few.

I can find the same type of restaurants and towns/cities in the north. Would I base my views of just some of them?

I get tired of this grits,cornmeal,hogfat bullshit from yankees.

Read some James Lee Burke novels. Read 'A Man in Full' by Tom Wolfe for a better perspective.

Seems to me Atlanta was spoiled by yankees that invaded it and made it another northern piece of McTrash with their love of the auto and junk food.

Way back before 'the north discovered the south' I went to a lengthy company school in Atlanta. Atlanta then was refined and laid back in the southern tradition. We had a class with one boy from Brooklyn and the rest of us were all southeners. The boy from Brooklyn never could get over trying to smear and insult us yet he lost every golf game, every poker hand, every bowling game and about everything he tried to show us he was above us rednecks. The rednecks never puked it up in his face that he was a worthless piece of trash. They just wiped his ass continually and as I remember he came close to flunking the class.

He lost it finally one dinner time at the Johnny Reb cafeteria when a black bus boy tried to take his tray to the table and he became enraged thinking the guy was stealing it. The bus boy later brought him a piece of pecan pie with a confederate flag stuck in the middle. He became redfaced and said some very unnice things. He got told to shut up and mine his manners.

I never go to Atlanta except to transfer planes there. The imported yankees ruined it.

Way down by the coast in Georgia there are still some outposts of southern charm and courtesy. They are disappearing and you have to search for them.

Myself I eat my best fried chicken and bbq in places with the trappings Kunstler so villified. Small general stories out in the hinterlands. They also sell gas. Their decorations would fail Kunstlers northen sensibilites I am sure. Who cares ,for the chicken and bbq is still first rate.

Pity that northerns can't do bbq so find it a worthy subject to bitch about(hogmeat).

BTW grits are a very healthy food.

airdale--piss off Sherman

I live in the only state the flip sides during that war and I must say we lucked on on TRUE BBBQ, not GRILLIN! - such a distinction, yet so few understand.
I live in the only state the flip sides during that war and I must say we lucked out on TRUE BBQ, not GRILLIN - such a distinction, yet so few understand.

Sorry for double post, but my fingers are frozen right now.

I live in the southwest, and I find it curious that Kunstler doesn't rag on the west that much.

I have little familiarity with the south, except that it has abundant rainfall and good soils (which are noticably lacking in the Sonoran desert, where I live). So on that score alone, the south would have to be better prepared for peak oil than us.

Notice that he compares a new southern development with an upscale new england town; rather than with some comparable area of New Haven or Boston.

My feeling has long been that he's a yankee snob, who loves to bait rebs.

Jim: I love Kunstler's style of writing but IMO he doesn't believe half of what he writes-I think he tries pretty hard to entertain or enrage the reader (which is an effective way to get noticed). I am sure he is aware of towns such as Savannah.  
I lived no more than an hours drive from there and I must say the movies do NOT do justice.  I could live there if it wasn't for the damn humidity.  Then again it's been 15 or so years, maybe GW altered the local climate a bit.
Sigh. Let's go over this again. Kunstler is a Jew. Everything he writes is filtered, very strongly, through the classic tribal filter. Kunstler never forgets this and neither should you.

This explains why Kunstler has it in for the South. This explains why Kunstler does not have it in for the Southwest - Hollywood is called Tel Aviv West by some, and Arizona is a popular place for the Chosen.

This explains why when the power went out in Kunstler's neighborhood, he was stick with a tin of smoked oysters and no knowledge of even the names of his neighbors. He drove until he reached a nice hotel with electricity and hot water and subservient Goyim.

This explains his constant harping on his war-hawk views.

This explains his adulation of Obama, look at Obama's funders.

If you include Southern California as part of the Southwest and I'm puzzled why no one does these days, I can speak as a child of the Southwest and say it's the most skanky, impoverished both ecologically and culturally, part of the US. The Southeast has it all over the Southwest, culturally, historically, sustainability-wise, really in every way. But you'll never hear Kunstler say this, not about the region that includes Tel Aviv West.

Your lips to God's ear.
Your lips to Hitler's.

(Here we go again.)
((Jew-baiting and the bite back.))
(((Go on now boys. Teach me some clean new vocabulary. You're "plenty smart", isn't you?)))
((((You're "special". Or at least superior to dem dang Northern Hebes. Ain't ya all now?))))

So your answer to Kunstler villifying Georgia is to turn around and villify Atlanta. GDOT road construction shows that the areas of Georgia outside of Atlanta are just as car crazy. Downtown Columbus is just as deserted as downtown Valdosta and both towns have miles and miles of automobile dependent suburban sprawl. The yankees didn't ruin the south with their car culture, southerners took to that on their own very well. Kunstler's article does paint an unfair picture of the south relative to other parts of the country and many of his conclusions make no sense considering the level of immigration into the sunbelt from the rustbelt. That immigration is hardly confined to large cities like Atlanta or Birmingham. I grew up in a small southern town and there were plenty of folks who had moved their from other parts of the country. Very few folks could honestly trace their family back to soliders who fought in the War of Northern Aggression.
'He lost it finally one dinner time at the Johnny Reb cafeteria when a black bus boy tried to take his tray to the table and he became enraged thinking the guy was stealing it. The bus boy later brought him a piece of pecan pie with a confederate flag stuck in the middle. He became redfaced and said some very unnice things. He got told to shut up and mine his manners.'

And I bet that bus boy really, really knew his manners, right?

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think that racist obliviousness can't reach new lows (like shutting down a county's entire public school in Virginia just to show that no one could force whites and blacks together), but then these delightful little anecdotes pop up.

I bet in the right setting, you could tell a number of other stories which just wouldn't be seen in the proper light by meddling northerners, who ruin such places as Atlanta, over and over again. I bet that bus boy really hates Gen. Sherman, too, what do you think? I mean, Sherman being one of those  northern meddlers who destroyed the south's natural order of well mannered slaves happy in the fields. I mean, some people are just born to be bus boys, right, and pleased as punch to place a plate in front of a rude notherner with the flag proudly flown by slave owners defending their liberty to keep other humans as property.

Do you think that bus boy was nostalgic for the good old days, before Atlanta was ruined?

You intentionally ignore Sherman's March To The Sea, I don't see how any decent human being could but hate General Sherman.
Sherman believed, from his experience, that the South would only be cowed by destruction and that its rural areas had to be denied as a source of supply and manpower for retreating southern forces.

This is what was done in the Shenandoah as well.  It had to be denied as a source of supply to the manoeuvring southern armies (that had tied the Union in knots for 4 years).  Phil Sheridan did the job there.

The March was destructive, but military discipline was observed.  There wasn't widespread looting AFAIK (the troops couldn't carry loot), nor mass rape or killing of white people.  People were allowed to leave their houses before they were burned.

I think Sherman acted within the laws of war of the time, and military necessity of the situation.

It isn't different from the British and Americans bombing Dresden (except by that time, we knew we had won) or the Americans bombing Hiroshima (ditto).  In fact it is certainly far less of a crime than those 2 events (my own view is the latter saved lives, by causing Japan to surrender early, and the former was a complete waste of human life without military value).

I haven't read Doctorow's 'The March' yet, but it is supposed to be very evocative.

Yes, though a lot of people thought what Sherman did was barbaric (welcome to war), it still pales in comparison to what happened over years in the Shenandoah.
Your looking desperately for something in my remarks that weren't there.

Do you not suppose that there are employed blacks in the south who might be happy with their lot? That they like the south? That they don't like the north? That they have no bone to pick with the rest of the southners?

I find black folks(ok..African Americans) who are satisfied and not bitching and carjacking their life away.

Methinks you are very biased yourself.

Meself? I been to our nations capital where my son works and was almost carjacked by happy laughing watermelon eating denizens of the DC area. They had guns ,,I had none. I was at a disadvantage...GO to DC. Walk the streets and night(if you live and then bitch to me about the south.

The Bus Boy wasn't bitching. It was the yank who was the problem. He didn't understand that they got tips for providing the service. They didn't have to carry your tray to the table. That was the way it was then. Not like that now I dare say. But there were no obvious legchains on the bus boy that I could discern. There was no carjacking going on then either nor gangbanging.

Well, I did just happen to be born and grow up in Northern Virginia, and you know, I did spend a good amount of time in DC, at night, in a number of different areas - helping someone move in at 3am in South Capitol in the late 1980s would probably fit your stereotype of dangerous especially well. And remarkably (well, not really - the South does love its guns), the people I knew with the most guns were in Northern Virginia, not in DC.

But I will grant you one thing - when it comes to America and racists, yes, I certainly have my problems. It comes from finding out that basic human decency is not actually all that  valued by a large number of my fellow citizens, who feel their rights to call a coon a coon (or is that a spade a spade?) are worth defending against the hurt feelings of the 'happy laughing watermelon eating denizens' of DC.

As for the bus boy not bitching - well, it seems I need to be a bit more blunt - do you think that 'boy' would have had time to chat to some pretty blonde girl on the job, or did he know his manners without anyone having to teach them to him? You know, that negroes/coloreds/blacks/Afro-Americans/African Americans (how about Americans?) have gotten real uppity since I was a child seems to be a constant theme among a much larger group of people than I could have ever imagined when I was 15.

But I still think there is a diner near Warrenton where you can feel comfortable eating with others of your kind when you are near DC - they don't serve 'them' at all. (Though that was 15 years ago, and the couple was pretty old.)

Obviously Kunstler has nothing but contempt for us Southerners.  I think this is common among his ethnic group, and is not surprising.  His kinsmen in Hollywood and TV land have been vilifying us for years.  They distrust any ethnically homogenous groups, such as white Southerners are.  Unlike the Northerners, with their Ellis Island, we Southerners still basically consist of the original founding stock of the nation.

He is correct in pointing to our willingness to "fight for freedom."   We are the ones support the Bush regime the most.  It is ironic that we Southerners provide the most support for the wars our conquerors wage overseas.  Like abused children, who often identify strongly with their parents, we fight and die for the same regime that conquered us after our attempt at self-determination.

I remember a scene at a Food Lion grocery store off old Wake Forest road in Raleigh, NC back somewhere around 1980 or so.

I was stopped during my lunch hour at the store and shopping for a few items. The lines at checkout also held mostly men doing the same.

A woman with a cart full tried to jump the line by yelling and making a big scene. You could tell she was direct from up north by her manners and accent.

There were about 8 men in the line she was busting into and they stopped still, looked back at her and simply rolled their carts out of the line so she could push up to the front.

She was astonished and suddenly seemed to have an epiphany of sorts and then became a bit embarassed at her own actions.

The men continued to wait patiently and didn't say a word. I watched it all. I had previously spent 8 months on temp assignment in upstate New York and knew the drill she was carrying out.

This to me more than anything pointed out the extreme difference between northeners and southerners. A matter of lifestyle and attitude. To this day people where I live will address older persons with the title of Mr/Mrs and their first name(ex: Mrs. Abbey,Mr. Robert), all as a matter of respect. In many cases we do not send our aged off to nursying homes but take them into our own homes til they pass on. The past dies slowly down here. The memories of the civil war linger on. Our confedrate soldier statues still are not torn down and the names not changed on the schools.

 Not far from where I live is the Jeff Davis Memorial. Granted many do not go there but its here(where he was born).

I love the south and its people and traditions. I will die in the south and be buried in its soil,at the foot of my great-great grandfather's grave. Nearby are some our CSA dead buried. I feel honored to be interred near brave soldiers who fought and died for their cause and for those today away in Iraq. I know one personally who just left for another 18 month deployment. Me and his father drank some fine white liquor to toast him and his future in going in harms way. The man is worried that this time his son might not return. He has deployed twice in the past with his Partriot Missle battery. He is a typical redneck boy , dipping  snuff and drinking a bit too much. A master sargeant in the National Guard.

Not far from where I live is the Jeff Davis Memorial. Granted many do not go there but its here(where he was born).

Conflicting emotions here.  Lived in Texas all my life, lots of family in the South.  My grandmother's grandmother, on my father's side, was a niece of Jefferson Davis.  But I like and respect Jim Kunstler.  I'll stay neutral on this one.

  Thanks for offering a more compassionate view of your part of the world.  It's one of the only ways I can read the interminable text online and get any sense of the people at the other end of the Keyboard Wire..

  As a Mainer, I have to say that I truly appreciate the amount of passion that folks in the south show for their land, home and culture.  It might be just too exothermic an activity, and people are more inclined to keep their heat inside.   I can also say that it does exist in Maine, too.. just less effusively shown.  It's clear to me that some of the attitudes that get tossed at the South are also part of a college class/working class -battle that we have not done enough to avoid.  It rages in Maine between the cities and the country, and keeps us from using that energy in better ways.

There's a great story about New England reticence..  Bob Hope is doing a comedy night at a theatre in New Hampshire, and he's had a terrible show.  The audience is completely unresponsive, and he leaves the stage very dejected.  At the Backstage door, an elderly couple waits for him to come out and sign an autograph.  "Oh, Mister Hope, thank you so much for such a fine show.  Funniest thing I ever saw!  It was all I could do to keep from laughing right out loud!"

Bob Fiske

"Not far from where I live is the Jeff Davis Memorial. Granted many do not go there but its here"

Tell me about it.  I grew up 10 miles from the memorial and I think I went there 1 time.

Kunstler's 'ethnic group?' Wow, soon I guess you will start providing us with all sorts of scientific proof about those ethnic groups, with their nefarious plans for world domination based on muddying our purity of essence.

Or maybe, just maybe, Kunstler has a firm opinion of what he likes and dislikes - and he really, really dislikes how people typically live in his view of the south.

Personally, I don't see that much difference between north and south in terms of how Americans seem utterly incapable of changing how they live.

Though I especially love how you note '...we Southerners still basically consist of the original founding stock of the nation.' Normally, Southerners tend to get a bit uptight about how much original founding slave blood is flowing through their veins - obviously, you are one of those enlightened types who just aren't bothered by that at all. Who says that the south is mired in its old myths?

"Southerners still basically consist of the original founding stock of the nation."
I thought he meant native Americans, and I'm glad to hear the First Nations people are doing well somewhere; generally it is pretty tough all over for them...
It is unfortunate that James Kunstler has such a high profile within the Peak Oil Movement.  Such regional prejudices discredits whatever views on any subject that he may have.   The crux of his position on the South ,from what I have read, is that the superior moral fiber of the Yankee will outlast the barbarian culture of the Southerner as oil production declines.

I could list off the reasons why his viewpoint is invalid but it would be a waste of energy.  Instead I can point to the origin of the word "South" which relates to "Sol".  If you believe that our ultimate viable future is a solar one- the South is positioned correctly with both water and sunshine.  The heating degree days of Vermont will be a real disadvantage.  I would hope that those of us in the USA would see that we one country and it will take us all working together to prepare and find solutions to the problem of Peak Oil.

If it breaks down to "We can survive Peak Oil because we are better than them!",  it only  means that the likelihood of anyone surviving is reduced.  

One thing I think you can count on. After TSHTF, matters cultural will be determined by hillbilly culture. Whether that hillbilly is from the mountains of Vermont, Georgia, Texas, the high Sierras in Mexico, or in Croatia.

These cultural areas will differ in language, ethnicity, and so forth, but each one will be the 'best' surviving instance of human culture according to their own mythology.

I've been digging my way through Putnam's "Bowling Alone" lately. The quantitative data of social indices shows a world of difference between places like VT and GA. They might as well be at opposite ends of the American experience.

Here in Maine, where we are being destroyed by growth and sprawl, it's easy to find eateries along the lines of the first - only newer - and it is getting difficult to find those like the latter, esp along those 4 lane mini-highways. One can see our communities being destroyed, it's happening so rapidly.

Kunstler comments as colorfully on symptoms as he does on root causes. The roads, bad food and "bad taste" are symptoms of destruction wreaked by growth and sprawl. He's a storyteller; it's much more fun to read and write stories like that than sober reports about growth.

cfm in Gray, ME

The quantitative data of social indices shows a world of difference between places like VT and GA. They might as well be at opposite ends of the American experience.

Interesting.  Why is that?  You'd think, at first blush, they had more common than not.

I cannot comment on the social indicies but to again point to the differences that Vermont and Georgia would have in a reduced production environment.  With a population of 608,827 ,Vermont used 21.3 trillion btu of residential petroleum.   Georgia with a population of 8,186,453 used 13.3 trillion btu.  I don't see how Vermont could maintain this rate of consumption.  Apparently they do have significant nuclear power sources.

Here is the link for the data:  


20% of the residents of Vermont work for some "Charity" (a.k.a charitable foundation). Tax Free, Foundation Paid, Charitable work in those nice Cadillac Escalades is very energy intensive - hence the high BTU usage of Vermontonians.

Read the society pages of the New York Times - a majority of the Wedding and Engagement announcements mention grooms and brides who are working for some "Charity".

I don't have anything against Vermont.  Never been there, but have met some nice people from Vermont in the energy conservation business before.  I dont know about Vermont society.  My comparison is purely from an energy standpoint as maybe Kunstler should look at it.

I believe those consumption rates are for residential use only, not for transportation.  I see those numbers and I see a vulnerability comparable to the weak levees in New Orleans before Katrina.  For instance, say there is a shooting war near the straits of hormuz or a terrorist attack on refineries in SA or any number of other scenerios that have been discussed on this board, then a state such as Vermont could be in  catasrophic mode within days should weather conditions be inclemental.

Georgia would be hurt as well but the likelihood of freezing to death would be slight.    The rest of the northeast would be in a similar plight.   When I've read Kuntler's comments earlier about the South I didn't understand why he didn't acknowledge that he lived in the most vulnerable part of the U.S.  The northeast would be devastated by a shortfall of oil during a peak winter heating period.  

I guess after reading Kunstler running down the South because of the people who live there, without acknowledging the extraordinary vulnerability of where he lives- it was hard for me to take him seriously.

They probably have large houses and keep the thermostat high. 40 F could be maintained inside a house (or parts of it) at a substantially lower energy input than maintaining 72 F. Not many are going to freeze at 40 F, wear a sweater and jacket at home.

I lived at 8000 ft in the Himalayas for 10 years, never had heating, and we slept in quilts at night (even in June)and wore sweaters and jackets indoors. It was a cultural adjustment for me in the States to take my jacket off everytime I came indoors. So one can adapt both ways :-)

Plus Vermont's relative profligacy (as per your numbers) implies that they have more room to cut.

Thats right, you can easily survive at 40 degrees. That is how I grew up.  The only heat we had in my home was one fireplace and one small propane space heater.  And yes you wore your jacket in the house.  Pretty primitive growing up in the South.  However, now I live at 6000 ft in the Rockies and when the power goes out you better be prepared.  I guess that is the positive aspect of living in a cold climate- maybe the people in Vermont are adequately prepared.  Should you loose power or heating in a modern home eventually it will approach ambient temperature.  Some extremely efficient homes can operate with minimum heating and remain comfortable.  Hopefully there will be a return to Passive Solar design, with few moving parts and the homes are in effect solar collectors.  

My guess is the housing stock in Vermont is similar to most in the US and older people and young children would be at risk in an extended "long emergency".  

Yes, Americans can adapt-after hunkering down in sleeping bags for weeks at a time would make many consider moving to the South.  It  certainly would make me consider it.    

No doubt about it. Once one is used to a pleasant well heated indoors, an extended period of 40 F indoors would make the Sun belt appear very attractive.
Well you know I'm going to have to comment on this. "  When I've read Kuntler's comments earlier about the South I didn't understand why he didn't acknowledge that he lived in the most vulnerable part of the U.S."

We are a lot more north than Jim, and I see that as part of the plan. I expect to see a southern migration of people who can't cut it. Fine with me. We are so far out that I don't expect the government will have any resources to deal with us. They will be busy cordoning off cities and dealing with food and fuel rationing.

I've been living in a harsh climate for years, heat with wood from my own woodlot. Tight passive solar, salt box. 3 cords of wood max, and that's comfortable, no sweaters and hats to go to bed, that's a window open by the bed for fresh air every night. Heck if I feed the fire enough new young sexy wife starts shedding clothing.

While we are not the majority, there are a ton of us "up" here. A ton of working farms, and solar and wind are all around here. We are used to being at the ends of the earth, actually not quite but you can see it from here. We are at the end of the wire, there is no pizza delivery.

Big wind storm last week, we were on battery for close to 30 hours, life didn't change much at all.

Actually I think those of us set up like this would not mind if you just left us alone.

The data underlying "Bowling Alone" consists of different ways of measuring "social capital". When it gets plotted out, chart after chart puts VT, ND, MN out at one end and LA and GA at the other. No, chart after chart after chart after chart. Maybe 50 of them. Kunstler reduces that - brilliantly if not always perfectly - to two restaurant vignettes.

Different ends of the "American experience" indeed.

I'm looking at this in the context of relocalization. What does it take to rebuild community. What does that mean to a state budget? [Because a state budget is the implementation of social policy.] What are the likely long term effects of consensus trance planners (Brookings Institute) trying to move Maine "forward" by moving it to the middle of the pack, eg budget and policy influences social capital influences/destroys community. Trying to "streamline" and "consolidate", eg make it more like GA.

Sorry, that doesn't really answer "why". Only where my observation comes from: the study of "social capital" in "Bowling Alone" and the eyes I'm using to look at it.

If VT (or Maine where I live) builds a road infrastructure like GA, if VT builds industries and counties and schools like GA, if VT replicates the built community of GA, how long before their social structures look like those in GA - that would the Jane Jacobs (and Kunstler) argument. How long before the courthouses in VT get bulletproof glass pens for "defendants" like I've seen on TV from GA?

Budget and social policy. So. What does the gas tax look like? Does it look different in VT than it does in GA? I'd argue that it should. And that it would be prudent, technologically, to keep separate systems. I'd go beyond that, to argue that GA and VT will shortly not be in the same republic.

I digress.

cfm, in Gray, ME

Wow, Chris, dead on. " I'd go beyond that, to argue that GA and VT will shortly not be in the same republc"

The Maine economy is already driven by Canadian companies.
We actually have very little to do with USA groups.

Going to be very easy to become a part of another country.

We moved all of our servers, etc.. to a data center in Canada oh my we no longer have to deal with the patriot act.

Big time misnomer.

For those interested in the GM vs NONGM issue I offer this website.


Also the issue of seed companies using satellites to monitor crops is growing and apparently has now reached to Brasil.


as per this website(which I could not access due to bandwidth)


Also according to a popular farming discussion website I visit often some Amurkan farmers have faced fines and other penalties due to  satellites having proven their using seed from their on farm storage bins to plant in their own fields.

Naughty ,naughty you are supposed to not do that! You must repurchase new GM seed each year.

I believe in the future that the testing stations at grain elevators might be used to find if you are mixing the seed varities. But it seems that since GM seed pollen can move as it wishes that mixing is going to happen whether you want it to or not. And as harvesting equipment moves from field to field there will certainly be mixing of varieties. Fer sure no one is cleaning the combines as the harvest goes along.

The whole subject of GM seeds is a time bomb waiting to explode in our faces,IMO of course.

I'm not well versed on GM seeds, but I don't understand what the danger is from your post. I'm not being contradictory or saying you're wrong, I just don't understand the issue.

Why can't farmers just avoid using GM seeds? That way they wouldn't be subject to the policing of seed companies. They could save seeds each year to plant in the next.

I get the feeling I'm naive, but can someone elaborate on this topic?

Tom A-B

Ah..go to the website I mentioned.

As to seed. Many do replant last years "wheat" seed. Soybeans and corn have evolved though. The seed companies are very much like unto the pharma corps. They research and develop and then want the huge profits therein by forcing you to use their products. Take it or leave it they say BUT if you take it then you MUST abide by our rules. And those rules mean you can't save and replant the seed.

The dangers of GM is a possiblity of gentic alterations going rampant and destroying other species. Such as the BT modification and monarch butterflies. The monarchs and  feed (and breed?)on a variety of milkweed which apparently was very much affected by the BT modification. BT was IIRC implanted by using a virus and its attempt was to destroy the corn ear borer.

The borer in my garden seemed to only damage the very tips of the corn and they died without causing that much loss yet to the farmer it can be more damaging(my assumption).

RR (roundup ready) genetically modified corn means that you can spray Roundup(agent orange I belive) on corn which has Johnson Grass growing in it and the RR corn will not be affected. However there are many other weeds that can infect corn but Johnson Grass(thanks Texas) is extreme and will smother out almost anything. I know for I have fought it most of my life and still do.

The seed corps are then IMO trying to effect a total lockout on the farmers. The implications of a future where there are no seed companies , due to chaos, is profound. In other words NO SEED WHATSOEVER and that means WE ARE DEAD.

The terminator gene would ensure that. They wish then to create a seed that is GM(geneticaly modified) yet CANNOT reproduce hence forcing the farmers to NOT be able to replant.

What does the world then do? Nothing. We are dead. No grain stuffs. A massive dieoff contrived by the hand of man for the sake of greed.

YET...yet they do field very great genetics in the form of very higher than normal yields. I wonder though just what we are missing , in the realm of trace minerals and the makeup of the grain, when we plant and grow all these wunnerful new varieties that inside we don't know shit about.

Is the quality of the grain suffering? Does it still have the values it once had or is it just a shell and a husk made simply for the market. Witness much produce at the grocery stores which is created not for great taste or value but for shelf life or a pretty green color or whatever.

The difference between a home grown tomato (or potato or whatever) compared to what you bring home from the market is immense. Immense and growing. I can hardly stand to eat a storebrought tomato due to that difference.

I can buy Italian canned tomatoes that make the domestic variety incomparable. But in this case I have canned my own tomatoes and have enough for the winter.


Thanks for the info. Sorry I was lazy and didn't read the article first. I have now and you're right, this is scary.

It remains my strong opinion that we will do ourselves in one way or another, and pretty soon.

We (the human race) seem to be incapable of seeing or caring about the big picture. There are so many people trying to make a living filling a niche. I like to think that the GM crop evolution started out as an altruistic attempt at improving food supplies for billions of people. If it has now become a deliberate attempt to limit farmers from buying or using other sources of seed to maximize profit, that in itself is nefarious. What I wonder is, do the people running Monsanto know about the risks associated with GM seeds, or is it that they are blinded by greed and can't see the consequences that lie beyond the dollar signs?

As I said, we are incapable of seeing the big picture. We can't connect the dots. We never will connect the dots. I believe Darwinian is right. Only events change human behavior. I believe we are well beyond the timeframe of being able to adopt pro-active policies. We will begin to see the events soon, but we will not be able to effect change to reverse course. Likely, we will frantically react to these events by administering "fixes" willy-nilly. These fixes will exacerbate the problems, or create new problems.

Civilization can't stand.

And not to dull my point (that we're doomed to kill ourselves and everything else anyway), but what a large set of cojones humanity has, to think that we're more powerful than the earth and stars. Had we not altered the biosphere by burning all of those fossil fuels, we'd be overdue for an ice-age. And wouldn't that put an end to our wonderful civilization?

Tom A-B

The real problem is that we refuse to do anything except moan and groan.  We condemn those people fighting these evil plots by the only possible method -- violence,  so we believe the TPTB when they label them eco-terorists and help the Gestapo [sorry FBI] to hunt them down.  Then we wonder why things just get worse and worse.  
I guess Darwinian is right - we won't do anything useful until it's become obvious that something must be done, and by then it will be too late, as usual - think NO LA.  But hey, we can write to our congressman, senator, and the companies' complaints departments and feel better.  Do the people who live in the G7 countries really suck this much?
   There is a huge difference between  Agent orange and round-up. I am not terribly excited about using either but agent orange is, by far, more toxic to humans. It really wouldn't have taken much effort to determine this before dropping the insinuation. Those types of statements are a pet peeve of mine as our public education of scientific issues sucks so bad.
I could be wrong but I thought that organophosphates were common to both. I assume that far more is added to Agent Orange to make it more effective though(dioxin).

I use some roundup on my driveways at the farm. Funny thing about using it. You spray some normal grass that is growing where you don't want it to. Like bermuda or fescue. Well the roundup kills it but other species take its place and they are far more harder to control. Extreme crabgrass then sprouts up and you then face an esclating battle for now your enemy is not the easily controlled varieties but the more agressive types. Again calling for more copious use of more roundup and this is what happened to my farm when the 'operators' chose to keep the johnsongrass 'under control' with roundup. They killed the easy parts but the underground rhizomes were not kilked, just controlled.

When I told them to leave and quit rowcropping my land that next summer a huge crop of johnsongass erupted. So tall that standing on the hood of my tractor I only reached the tops of the plants. It was vicious and cost a lot of money to finally kill it and resow the ground. To this day its vestiges still remain and come back again to some degree.

IOWs Roundup perpetuates itself. Once you start using it you are sucked down the rabbit hole of continual usage. Its heinous. A technological marvel for the chemical companies.

Sorta like some new drugs. You start taking them and can't quit for strange things happen to your system. I know for my wife takes literally hand fulls of this type of medication.

I take nothing. I am 6 years older than her.

So my take on Roundup is based on usage. In its own way its as bad as agent orange for the landowner. Our way of farming has brought this on. The chemical companies have complied in the same.

I wish I had the time to research every statement I make. That too might lead to a different rabbit hole.

The EIA inventory data is just in for this week.

Crude a build of 2.0 million barrels.

Gasoline a draw of 2.8 million barrels.

Distillates a draw of 2.8 million barrels.

These are very bullish numbers. Oil jumped half a buck, from down $.45 to up .05 on the news. Unleaded Gasoline jumped as well. How they will close out the day however is anyone's guess.

Ron Patterson

Another interesting to watch today is the US$

Dollar slips after U.S. Oct ISM data

http://futures.fxstreet.com/Futures/news/afx/singleNew.asp?menu=economicnews&pv_noticia=MTFH5757 0_2006-11-01_15-46-11_N01314877

The dollar was lower on Wednesday after a U.S. manufacturing report for October indicated growth but at a slower pace than anticipated, strengthening the view the next move in U.S. interest rates could be a cut by the Federal Reserve.

...and further down....

In other U.S. economic news, construction spending for September fell 0.3 percent [ID:nN31315049], and pending sales of existing homes fell 1.1 percent in September. [ID:nN01367976].

"Weak construction spending and pending home sales complete the dollar-negative series of data," said Dolan.

I can't FIND the article, but it was just posted today and said that Berkshire Hathaway has lost $1B betting wrong onj the dollar.  Citibank's chief economist also bet some personal money on the decline and went bust for a mil.  It's harder being the bear in most cases, but I think most of it boils down to timing.  
>can't FIND the article, but it was just posted today and said that Berkshire Hathaway has lost $1B betting wrong onj the dollar.  Citibank's chief economist also bet some personal money on the decline and went bust for a mil.  It's harder being the bear in most cases, but I think most of it boils down to timing.  

Timing currency changes is very difficult. The US dollar because its the world's reserve currency is propped up by most central banks. Virtually every major exporter holds significant Dollar reserves or uses other measures to prevent their own currencies from rising. Asia and Europe both largely have lower interest rates and hold dollar reserves. The dollar will only really depriciate when the central banks decide to throw in the towel. Although I suspect it could quite a while since such a event would trigger a global depression as domestic currencies deflate while exports to the US drop off. Perhaps is China can build enough internal demand for goods and services the could avoid deflation but its iffy.

Eventually other factors will force global ecomomic declines, whether is PO, a financial crisis (from hedge funds, housing bubble) or a US gov't financing crisis caused by the pending boomer retirement. Its likely that any US financial crisis will begin at home because of the housing bubble or energy crisis (if production from SA, Mexico, Russia suddenly collapses).

In practical terms, diverifying capital into overseas markets may not be a prudent option. Any financial crisis in the US will likely spread globally. Foriegn nationals might empose restrictions that prevent outflows of capital to shield their economies. Your capital could be come trapped overseas preventing you to repatriating it.

Diverisify into precious metals may run into issues. Its likely that in a crisis, the US, Asia, or other nations holding gold reserves would dump gold on the market to decrease currency volitility and putting a cap on precious metals for an extended period. In a period of global deflation, thier would would be a significant number of people that would part with jewelry that would affect market prices.

Re:  LNG & Other Matters

The LNG article above is very good.   A few comments on some previous posts.

Hothgor posted a missive to the effect that since US natural gas production peaked (around 2001) so much later than oil (1970), we should expect a similar world response regarding natural gas, with LNG making up for any possible decline in oil production.  

First, the captioned article directly addresses that issue.  

Second, I think that Hothgor was looking at gross natural gas production, which counts a lot of "phantom" gas that is continually recycled through gas caps in gas cap expansion oil reservoirs.  Net delivered US natural gas production peaked in 1973, three years after US oil production peaked.

I am a little baffled by Oil CEO's attack on Matt Simmons yesterday.  Matt's book, warning of a possible decline in Saudi oil production, was published in May, 2005.  In May, 2005, according to the EIA, the Saudis produced 9.6 mbpd.   Again, according to the EIA, they have produced about 80 million barrels less oil (through August) than if they had just maintained their May, 2006 production level.  Simmons warned of a Saudi production decline.  We have evidence of a Saudi production decline.

Should be:

Again, according to the EIA, they have produced about 80 million barrels less oil (through August) than if they had just maintained their May, 2005 production level.

Nice to have you back (that other thread was kinda long), looking forward to your solid analysis...

And it's nice to see that the cure didn't work.

Ditto, I was about to drop TOD from my reading list, westexas came back just in time.

From my perspective, the threads about the US culture wars and US regional differences - which have nothing to due with PO - have begun to seriously dilute and devalue this site.  www.peakoil.com went into the pop culture crapper a year ago and never recovered.  It would be a shame if TOD became just another aol style forum.

Jeffrey, take care of the family, and visit when you can.  Your expert contributions are greatly appreciated.


Thanks for the kind words. I always look forward to reading your posts.

I may write something about our European trip.  We used Untours--one week in Rome; one week in Venice and three days in Florence. They give you airfare, an apartment and a rail/mass transit pass.  You basically live like a European for a couple of weeks.  Like our neighbors in Rome, we hung our laundry out to dry in our common courtyard.  I was surprised to read that dryers account for as much as 10% of total household electrical use.    

Cut your electric bill by 10%--get a clothes line!   Or, do what we did in Venice, we had a drying rack in the upstairs loft.

It was pretty cool being able to walk three to five minutes to a restaurant.    It turned out that our favorite restaurant in Venice, Al Covo, was run by a woman from Lubbock Texas and her Italian husband.  She gave me a big hug when I told her I was from West Texas.   I told a UK couple we were having dinner with that you can not imagine two more different places than Lubbock, Texas and Venice, Italy.


Don't read the DrumBeats.  That's where most of the chitchat and political stuff is.  If anything important comes up in a DrumBeat thread, someone will likely write an actual article about it.  
Don't read the DrumBeats.

This is terrible advice.

You get coal in your stocking this Christmas.

Oh, wait a minute, you probably want coal.

I don't know what to do with you people.


Santa Clause

Don't read the DrumBeats.

Without the village, there is no castle.

I agree.  That is why I am DrumBeat editor.  (And no, I don't get paid.)

Community is part of this site.  But it's not for everyone.  A lot of people just want to visit the castle, and avoid the village.  Which is fine.  That's why we separate them.

Hothgor posted a missive to the effect that since US natural gas production peaked (around 2001) so much later than oil (1970), we should expect a similar world response regarding natural gas, with LNG making up for any possible decline in oil production.  

First, the captioned article directly addresses that issue.  

if Hothgor read the article before posting it would be the first time I've ever seen him do that.

Heck, Hothgor just reading an article would be a first

Haha, so much for taking a 2 week hiatus from talking about me :P  BTW, I'm still waiting for you to weigh in on my EV fleet conversion power requirements thread!!
You moron, that was AlanfromBigEasy not me.
And considering we just had an exchange in this thread
yesterday, your comment is even more inexplicably stupid.

And why do you want me to "weigh in " on your EV thread. I already told you I know nothing about that. I'm a semiconductor engineer. I know nothing about Electric cars.

You are either of stunningly low intelligence or a masterful troll. I'm not sure which is worse.

Iran Seeks Western Volunteers for Human Shields

"The Islamic republic's political leadership has been trying to reach out to ordinary Americans to show that a standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions is with the Bush administration -- not U.S. citizens."


"Iran announces military maneuvers "

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran unexpectedly announced Wednesday that it would be holding military maneuvers in the Gulf this week, only days after U.S.-led navies held exercises in the same waterway.


Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age

But geopolitics is not the only reason Sunni Arab leaders are rattled by the prospect of a nuclear Iran. They also seem to be worried that the Iranians might actually use nuclear weapons if they get them. ((ahh, I think that still counts as "geopolitics"))

...Today the nuclear game in the region has changed. When the Arab League's secretary general, Amr Moussa, called for "a Middle East free of nuclear weapons" this past May, it wasn't Israel that prompted his remarks.

He was worried about Iran, whose self-declared ambition to become a nuclear power has been steadily approaching realization...

...It could potentially mean much more: a historic shift in the position of the long-subordinated Shiite minority relative to the power and prestige of the Sunni majority, which traditionally dominated the Muslim world. Many Arab Sunnis fear that the moment is ripe for a Shiite rise...


(Iran's marching orders = kill the 'great satan' first, then 'cleanse' islam itself... and they can only attempt it because they have Oil to sell to Desperate Housewives in the West... hmmmm ...)

Can the economy survive the housing bust?

Tucked away in the briefcase of Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., is a chart so scary she's hesitant to show it to investors. It plots the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market index - a monthly measure of builder confidence - against the Standard & Poor's 500 stock market index, with a one-year lag.

It turns out that the mood of builders is a terrific stock market bellwether: The correlation between current builder confidence and future stock market returns over the past ten years is downright unnerving.

...Why is Sonders worried now? Just look at the chart. Over the past year, the NAHB housing index plummeted 54 percent. Were stocks to follow suit, the S&P - 1400 in late October - would be trading below 700 this time next year.

That is one scary graph...

What's with the massive divergence pre-1994?  I'd like to see the graph stretch a little farther back, though since then they seem remarkably correlated.
Yeah, true, only thing I can think of is the huge debt that awaited Clinton when he was first elected. I'd like to see a stretch to the right, and the lower end, as well. There doesn't seem to be a bottom now. That's perhaps the scariest bit.
You don't want to know.  It's truly scary...

It shows that the two have no long term trend relation.

I'm shocked, simply SHOCKED I tell you.  Oh god, its all over!!


There's going to be a recession.  Please try to wrap your mind around this fact.  No, it's not going to be the end of the world.  Recessions tend to happen every 7 or 8 years of so.  The shocking thing at this point would be if there wasn't a recession.

The chart that Leannan linked to above should be terrifying to anyone with money invested in the stock market.  It doesn't mean that, "it's all over!!" or that this is, "the final collapse," but it does mean that there will likely be a significant correction ahead.

Your attitude about this reminds me of an exchange we had a few weeks ago:

    Hothgor on Wednesday October 04, 2006 at 9:35 PM EST Comments top

Right, but theyre trying to peg the current decline in the commodities market as a sign we are about to enter a recession.  And if I understand what you just typed, that probly isnt a case as this is a short term downward blip.  Just trying to point out the obvious :P

    [ Parent | Reply to This ]

        SelfAggrandizedTrader on Wednesday October 04, 2006 at 9:54 PM EST Comments top

I'm not sure I agree with you, Hothgor.  Bull markets tend to be quite lengthy, spanning several cycles of economic growth and recession.  For example, the equities bull market which lasted throughout the 80's and 90's spanned three such cycles.  Within the context of these bull markets, however, significant pull backs tend to occur in the run-up to recessions, even though the recessions don't necessarily mark the end of the bull market.  The current pull back in oil prices, which has been the most significant pull back in over fifteen years, could very well be signaling the onset of a recession, but at the same time only be a, "short term downward blip" within the context of the continuing upward trend.

        [ Parent | Reply to This ]

In that instance too, you seemed to react to people's comments about a commonplace event (a fall in commodities preceeding a recession) as if they were spouting off about some doomsday scenario.  Think of recessions as rainy days.  If you have an umbrella, they can still be enjoyable.  No one is calling for the great flood.  The chart linking homebuilder confidence to stock market performance a year later is merely another piece of the puzzle.

Please take a deep breath.

Please re-read what I typed.

Please use the common sense you obviously posses and grasp the simple fact that I was pointing out that prior to 1994, there was zero corroboration between the S&P and homes.

Please understand that this statement simply means that it wasn't the case in the past, and probably wont be the case in the future.

While some peak oilers think the next recession may be the "Grand Depression" - the peak oil-driven depression we will never get out of - I would say most see it more as factor that will lower oil consumption, and perhaps disguise the peak.  
Peak re-financing!

Cash-out refinancing hits peak: Homeowners are tapping their equity at highest rate in 16 years.

U.S. homeowners took cash out of their homes in the third quarter at the highest rate in 16 years, spurred by high costs on other types of loans, according to home finance company Freddie Mac.

In the quarter, 89 percent of Freddie Mac-owned loans that refinanced got mortgages that were at least 5 percent higher than the original balances.

(some jews seek appeasement, some jews 'hard' attacks... to the tune of "Some Girlz," rolling stoners, couple decades ago.)

Right On!: An appeal of faith to President George W. Bush

Dear Mr. President, I am writing to you because I am afraid. I have been closely following the rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the past few months, and I want you to know that I am gripped with a sense of fear.

I fear for the future of Israel and for that of the entire Jewish people, as the would-be Hitler of Persia readies to do battle against us with the most horrific of weapons.

I fear for the future of the West, because outside of Washington, few and far between are the leaders with the common sense and courage to stand up to the Tyrant of Teheran.

And I fear for the future of the world, because if Iran's fundamentalists get their hands on a nuclear weapon, it will only be a matter of time before their extremist allies abroad become similarly armed.

Hence, I am writing to you because I am convinced that you alone understand and appreciate the gravity of the current situation, and I pray in my heart that you will not let it stand...


Send: Sounds reasonable. Blame Iranians for the actions of Europeans six decades ago (they were also behind the JFK hit).
I like the parts about the godz the bestest.  

Crazy, crazy world; crazy, crazy timez.  I wonder which god will win?

What is this: Pro-Israel Propaganda Day?

You are evidently one of those pro-Israel people who want the US to do Israel's  dirty work for it and eliminate its enemies, even if it means the death and maiming of thousands of American young men and women.

The Bush regime tried to demonize Sadaam in the exact same way in order to convince the American people that Iraq was the biggest threat to Western civilization since Adolf Hitler. He fooled the American people with Iraq, but he might have a harder job pulling the same con job regarding Iran.

You conveniently forgot to mention the fact that Israel has several hundred nuclear weapons, one of the best air forces in the world,  and has again and again shown absolute ruthlessness in using overwhelming military power against civilians (ala Gaza and Lebanon).  So shouldn't Iran be more afraid of Israel than vice-versa?

If the Bush regime, egged on by wing-nut neocon fundamentalists and the pro-Israeli lobby, is stupid enough to attack Iran (or acquiesces to Israel doing so and then 'defend's Isael against the inevitable counter-attack), we will set the whole Middle East on fire. Which appears to be what some people actually want.

It seems that only the US and Israel are beating the war drums against Iran and that most of the other Western powers are not particularly panicked about Iran's alleged attempts at building a nuclear weapon. Why is that?

I think the real reason that both the US and Israel fear a nuclear-armed Iran is that by becoming a nuclear power, Iran will be largely innoculated against an attack or invasion aimed at regime change. And being that Iran has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the powers that be in the US cannot tolerate that prospect.

Quite frankly, I fear what the Bush regime is going to do next than the possibility of being nuked in my sleep by what's his name in Iran.

I wish everything I read was copied somewhere.  A couple days ago I read up on the bombing that Israel did in the final days with the cluster munitions that are still being found in Lebanon.  These were the so called 3m bombs that kill and mame anything within 3M or 9ft and outside of this zone, is somehow safe.  There are people walking around with arms CLEANLY sheared off and they were speculating that these new bombs were EXTREMELY effective.  Nasty $hit.
"...shown absolute ruthlessness in using overwhelming military power against civilians"

"...bombing that Israel did in the final days with the cluster munitions that are still being found in Lebanon"

The estimate is that they dropped 1,000,000 cluster bombs in the last 48 or so hours of the war.  

In farm fields, villiages, very very good guys.

1 million cluster bombs in the last 48 hours.  

And now I read....


they are openly killing.  So How is the war over?  

Which god do you think will win Joule?


The god of the wild dogs, the rats and the cockroaches.  Everybody else's god is toast.
sendoilplease -

You ask, "Which god do you think will win Joule?"

That's an easy one: Shiva, destroyer of worlds.

Ooh I dont know,

The 'People of the Book' seem to be doing quite nicely without any help from a Super-God like Shiva.

Minor deities like Jaweh and Allah are perfectly within functional pay grades for this planets' ''complete destuctional experience''*.

*As advertised in What God Weekly - All inclusive Weekends Away section. Ring Toll - Free Number. Ring now and win a free set of Commandment Tablets - yours to cherish.

Keep watching to see which God is voted out of the universe.
The whole history of the Jews is unfortunate (kicked out of Middle East, persecuted and murdered in Europe, shoe-horned back into the Middle East by Brits and Americans, loathed by Middle Easterners). It is truly tragic.

That said, isn't the priority of the Government of the United States to protect and work in the best interests of the citizens of the United States? The US has gotten it's hands dirty in too many escapades overseas. It's time for the US to focus on the US. We're buried deep enough in shit. We should spend some time digging ourselves out.

Tom A-B

But what about the advice to pResident Chimp Bush, "Don't let them drown out that still, small voice within, the one that reaches into each of our hearts and calls out every day: "I am the Lord, and there is none else" (Isaiah Chapter 45).

Does GW take this sorta stuff as seriously as the Iranian pResident Chimp I wonder ??? ...

Maybe ask DocBakhtiari?

And this time, it looks as if Uncle Sam is abandoning its own: US Military families in Food lines.


Worth a read. I had NO idea that the original GI Bill was so far reaching and visionary.

If true, then not very nice and definitely not fitting in with the spin.

Still you can always depend upon a truly patriotic president to look after his own. (oh sorry, his 'own' isnt the men and women in the trenches, his 'own' are his parasitic friends)

Carry on your good fight for GlobalCorp, Engulf n Devour Inc and Hire'm n Fire'm LLC.

Mind you, Blair and UKGov aint much better, and this STILL applies:


No inquiry into Iraq after last nights vote.

Rail shippers steamed at fuel surcharge

With oil prices well off their summer highs, consumers feel some relief, but U.S. rail customers remain angry over the fuel surcharges levied by railroads to move their goods.

"The railroads shouldn't be allowed to collect a nebulous, made-up charge," said Steve Sharp, head of fuel procurement at the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. "What we require is at least a mild degree of transparency from the railroads."

Everybody wants transparency - except the Wizards of Oz.

"This is in no sense a way to say we should continue with business as usual," he says. "But if there's nothing you can do except shade the planet, you may want to think about it."

A Sunshade for Planet Earth: 16 Trillion Flyers

One possible fix for global warming would be to create a vast cloud of 0.6-meter-diameter, ultra-thin discs above Earth, where they would blur light from stars (donut shapes) and more importantly the sun.

If the worst global warming scenarios come true, we may have to turn to engineering to save the planet. Along those lines, one astronomer has come up with a radical plan to cool Earth: launch trillions of feather-light discs into space, where they would form a vast cloud that would block the sun's rays.
This isn't the first time a "sunshade" has been proposed.

In 1989, James Early at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggested building a giant glass shield--2000 kilometers in diameter--that would be rocketed to the so-called inner Lagrange point, where objects stay fixed between the sun and Earth. The massive size of this object, however, would have entailed first colonizing the moon, then using materials found there to build the shield and then launch it.

Instead, University of Arizona Steward Observatory optics expert Roger Angel proposes using screens just 0.6 meters across, weighing about a gram each. These discs would be manufactured on Earth using very thin, transparent material that doesn't reflect the sun, but instead refracts it, so as to avoid having the sun's radiation push them out of orbit.

The discs would also have three 0.1-meter-long protruding electronic "ears" with a solar power source so they could adjust their position, making them essentially tiny spacecraft.
A stack of 800,000 of these "flyers" would be loaded into a vehicle, sent up to the Lagrange point, then fed into space by a robotic arm.

To cancel the warming from a doubling of CO2 levels, the shield would have to block 1.8% of the sun's heat input, which would require a cloud of flyers 100,000 kilometers long, Angel says. About 16 trillion flyers would have to be deployed, which could be done with 20 launchers that would each send up a stack every 5 minutes for 10 years.

I think for Homo Sapdom, this is analogous to a two-year-old playing with a loaded pistol.  

In the Godz of Technology and Science We Trust.

I think this god loses this timezUp too.


See my post further up.

As I said, we are incapable of seeing the big picture. We can't connect the dots. We never will connect the dots. I believe Darwinian is right. Only events change human behavior. I believe we are well beyond the timeframe of being able to adopt pro-active policies. We will begin to see the events soon, but we will not be able to effect change to reverse course. Likely, we will frantically react to these events by administering "fixes" willy-nilly. These fixes will exacerbate the problems, or create new problems.

What will be the effect of the exhaust of twenty launchers sending up a stack of these things every five minutes for ten years? Sounds a little willy-nilly to me.

Engineering got us into this mess. Nature will sort it out.

Tom A-B

The launchers wouldn't have exhaust.  They wouldn't have motors, or even guidance systems.  The launchers would just be conical plates of ice underneath the payloads, and the only "exhaust" would be water vapor and plasma.

All the works would be on the ground.  After being spun up and thrown up a few hundred feet by compressed air, the disc would be the target of precisely timed pulses of laser light.  Each pulse would vaporize a thin layer of ice, pushing the disc upward (slightly off-center pulses would cause the spinning disc to precess, changing its direction of aim and thus the direction of thrust).  In a few minutes, another few hundred or thousand grams of stuff would be in low-earth orbit or even a transfer orbit to take it elsewhere.

The system is named for what it takes up in the air:  Payload, Propellant and Photons, Period (PPPP).  Energy sources and smarts stay on the ground where they're cheap to build and easy to fix.  Besides, a system which can launch a 500-gram package is 1/1000 of the cost of one which can launch 500 kilograms, and it could loft 500 1-gram discs 288 times a day.  That's 144,000 discs a day, or 52.6 million discs a year.  Make a thousand launchers, and you can put up a trillion in less than 20 years.

Maybe they could make the ice discs with layers of hydrogen sulfide for the leg through the upper stratosphere... get a two-for-one heat reduction effect from the H2SO4 droplets.

Maybe they could make the ice discs with layers of hydrogen sulfide for the leg through the upper stratosphere... get a two-for-one heat reduction effect from the H2SO4 droplets.

Isn't H2SO4 Sulfuric Acid, not Hydrogen Sulfide?

That's what it oxidizes to.
A Sunshade for Planet Earth: 16 Trillion Flyers

Now we know what we can do with all those old AOL cds! :)
Every 5 minutes for ten years.

Ha Ha

Using what fuel exactly?

How about 1 rocket with a VVLU*

*Very,Very Large Umbrella.

They should try and get Mary Poppins as Technical Director.

She knows a thing or two about umbrellas.

radical plan to cool Earth: launch trillions of feather-light discs into space

AOL to the rescue!


Arthur C. Clarke's novel "Sunstorm" deals with a similar issue.

Two Quotes

Excerpt From 50 Battles That Changed the World, by William Weir
Page 89 (Regarding the Battle of Stalingrad)
(Note that Hitler volunteered for combat in World War I, and was wounded in battle and decorated with the Iron Cross.  2500 of the 3000 men in the Hitler's regiment were killed, wounded or missing.)


Today, Hitler is remembered as a power mad warlord, who single-handedly plunged the world into World War II.  Power-mad he was, and probably just plain mad as well.  But unlike some other Germans--General Erich Ludendorff, for example--Hitler did not think war was the highest form of human endeavor.

"How to achieve the moral breakdown of the enemy, before the was has started," Hitler once said, "That is what is interests me.   Whoever has experienced war at the front will want to refrain from all avoidable bloodshed."

Posted 7/2/03
Bush: 'Bring on' attackers of U.S. troops
(Note that Bush evaded combat in Vietnam by managing to get a highly desired National Guard slot.)


Bush pledged to find and punish "anybody who wants to harm American troops," and said the attacks would not weaken his resolve to restore peace and order in Iraq.

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Bush said. "We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush's combative tone was not meant to invite attacks on Americans. "I think what the president was expressing there is his confidence in the men and women of the military to handle the military mission they still remain in the middle of," Fleischer said.

But Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., called the president's language "irresponsible and inciteful." "I am shaking my head in disbelief," Lautenberg said. "When I served in the Army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander -- let alone the commander in chief -- invite enemies to attack U.S. troops."

Somewhere along the way I missed hearing about this...

From Altair's site


Altairnano battery cells complete 15,000 charge/recharge cycles with minimal loss of charge capacity

RENO, NV -- October 26, 2006 -- Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTI), a leading provider of advanced nanomaterials for use in energy, automotive, life sciences and industrial applications, announced today that, in ongoing testing, it has completed 15,000 deep charge/discharge cycles of its innovative NanoSafe battery cells. Even after 15,000 cycles the cells still retained over 85% of their original charge capacity. This represents a significant improvement over conventional, commercially available rechargeable battery technologies such as lithium ion, nickel metal hydride and nickel cadmium. These other commercially available rechargeable batteries typically retain that level of charge capacity only through approximately 1,000 deep charge/discharge cycles.

The battery cells were tested in Altairnano's labs at 10C (6 minute) charge and discharge rates. They were deep charged and discharged meaning they were taken to 100% charge and 0% charge respectively during the 6-minute cycles.  Although tests involved full charges and discharges, partial charging and discharging of the battery does not appear to impact the life or the holding charge capacity of the batteries i.e. they exhibit no memory loss.

In theory, a 15,000 charge cycle life would translate into a battery that would last greater than 40 years if it was charged daily, as would be the case in an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle environment. However, in practice, other wear and tear factors would realistically limit the actual life of the batteries to probably 20 years.

"These results represent a remarkable achievement by our battery development group. We believe that the commercial implications of such an extended life battery are significant and would seem to provide us with an as yet unmatched competitive advantage in the electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle markets, and potentially other markets," said Altairnano President and CEO Alan J. Gotcher Ph.D.

And hopefully, we will now combine these new batteries with mass produced EV's from Toyota or some other Asian car company.  Combine them with V2G packs, and a ramp up of solar/wind power, and you can hopefully begin to see a 'solution' to a dramatic reduction of our consumption of hydrocarbons.

A sea-change for wind power

The MS Beluga will be the first commercial ship fitted with a towing kite.

Whenever there is a hike in oil prices, the idea of a return to wind-powered shipping catches favor, but sail ship designs have often fallen short on a number of points, not least that they have to rely on unpredictable weather.

However, the future of shipping could feature wind power, but with kites, not sails.

Flying a kite to propel a ship might sound like something from Kevin Costner's cinematic damp swib, "Waterworld", but that is exactly what a number of nautical engineering firms propose.

Sails, no matter how sophisticated their design or use of lightweight modern materials have a fundamental flaw: they take up valuable deck space and storage room that is better used for cargo.

Kites have the advantage of not needing masts, do not need a large area to store them and can be retrofitted to existing ships.


As anyone who has flown a kite remembers, they aren't always the most predictable and easy things to navigate or keep in the air. If a 200-square-meter kite plummets into the North Atlantic in choppy conditions, there is going to be a problem.

Deployed from a retractable mast on the ship's deck, the kite is controlled by a central console that operates like a plane's autopilot system, monitoring and recording over 100 measurements in fractions of seconds to keep the kite in its optimum position.

Once up, the kite flies at between 100 and 500 meters above sea level where the winds are around 50 percent stronger. In these conditions it's designed to take on the optimum aerofoil shape that ensures that the kite can maximize thrust whatever the conditions.

As someone who has done a considerable amount of kitesurfing, I am very skeptical.

Big kites are inherently dangerous.  

What are they using for cable?

How do you launch and later retract the kite?

I'd love to see video of the buoy test they did.


I've just watched the kitesurfing take-off place at 3rd Avenue and wow. Takes a crew to get at least a beginner going - the more experienced seem to do OK with a buddy but they need that buddy. Often two. People are all suited up, they look like a cross between a parachutist and that chick in the movie Contact.

Kites are in a lot of way "better" than windsurfers - one rig will cover a much wider variety of conditions. The rig with board is much smaller than a windsurf board, masts, sails, etc yes to effectively windsurf you don't just take one rig to the water.

But the kites can kill people in ways windsurfers can only dream of. With a windsurfer, if it all goes to hell, just drop everything! Do that with a kite and you're screwed.

I'd love to see kite-ships work, think about it, losing a kite is nothing compared to losing masts and rigging - just get another one out of the storage locker when it calms down and off you go.

I wonder if anyone's tried kiting a Laser or say, a Sunfish? I wonder if any of the yachties are considering a kite as a sort of backup sail?

I've done a lot of windsurfing too.

You're right that Kitesurfing takes a lot less equipment.  You still need 3 different kites though for various wind conditions.  You can get by with one board though.

The big thing about kitesurfing is that you really need a steady wind.  The kites can stall very easily if you get a lull causing big slack in the lines, and then if the wind gusts you can have a very dangerous situation.  I'm not saying  it can't be done, just that it's not like flying a $2.99 Spiderman kite.


roel -

Evidently, this sea kite concept has at least gotten to the early developmental stage and shows some promise.  

I'm no naval architect or hydrodynamicist, but I have some real problems with the idea of retrofitting what is essentially a downwind sail (not unlike a spinaker on a racing yacht) to a ship that has a hull form designed for screw propulsion.

First of all, one of the reasons why a sailing ship can sail at a significant angle to the wind is because it has a deep hull form and a keel, which provide resistance against side-slipping and thus creates a wedge-like force vector.  Without a keel, ships under sail, when sailing at an angle to the wind, tend to move sideways, thus reducing the  effectiveness of the sail.

Efforts at combining sail and steam in the 19th century were not alway successful. Some of the embryonic British battleships of the 1870s had a fairly large array of sails, mainly to extend their range and to economize on coal, the steam engine of the day being very inefficient. It did not work out very well, and it was finally concluded that sails were more trouble than they were worth. The USS Maine, of Spanish American War fame, was originally designed to have auxilliary sails.

Also keep in mind that it is one thing to use sail to power a 3,000-ton ship (very large for a sailing ship), but something else again to use sail to power a 30,000-ton container ship (a small one at that).

Now, I could see a purpose-built large cargo ship designed to use sail power as its primary means of propulsion, but I think the results of retrofitting these kites to existing flat-bottomed ships is going to be disappointing.

But, I am always open to the possibility of being wrong.

I don't think there can be any doubt that sail ships need all the attention we can muster. They have the huge advantage of having centuries of knowledge and development behind them. A lot may have been lost in the past 100 years, but we better hope there's enough left. Learning to sail against the wind is one of the smartest (because so bloody useful) things man ever accomplished. How to sail, and build ships, and tie knots, it's all a wonderful, rich accumulation of generations of clever people.

Focusing only on western sailing would be stupid, people all over the world have developed truly smart systems throughout history. To this point, there are questions about how the Polynesians covered the distances they did. But they did.

If there is one truly clean and renewable transport 'fuel', this is where it is. Reading an article like this, there is the idea that wanting to be smarter than our forebears actually hinders deployment. We're not talking oil tankers here, there'll be no oil to tank. But transporting people and goods long distance will inevitably depend increasingly on sails and maybe kites.

A kite that stretches out to 500 meters above sea level is subject to quite a few forces. It sounds difficult, but then again, I never tried....

At the very least, this reminder will push me to finally finish reading Dmitri Orlov's The New Age of Sail.

Oh, I suppose I sounded very negative, but I really do hope there will be some rebirth of sail power.

I fully agree that there is much 'lost art' when it comes to sailing and navigation. From what I've read, many of these ancient seamen relied on sort of a 'sixth sense' when it can to determining where they were at sea. Supposedly, some of them could tell where they were by the difference in smell between various locations. Even the taste of the water would give them a clue. It sounds almost like an animal sort of sensing.

Of course, this is all made obsolete with the advent of GPS navigation. But I wonder ...  what would modern captians of supertankers do, if suddenly their GPS navigation systems were rendered useless.  I doubt if many of them even remember how to shoot the sun.

Apart from the kite, there are other schemes regarding high-tech modern sailing. I hope some progress will be made.


The blogspot


recently posted updated diagrams for the development in world oil supplies (believed to be all liquid energy) based upon data from EIA International Petroleum Monthly for November 2006 which includes data as of August 2006.

The data from EIA shows that the world supplies of oil were down with an average of 0,13 Mb/d for the 8 first months of 2006 relative to the same period of 2005, and that the supplies of regular oil and lease condensate, so far, still had a top back in December 2005.

For the last 23 months (September 2004 - August 2006) the arithmetic average for oil supplies was 84,31 Mb/d, and monthly supplies have been running within 1 % of this average for these months.

NGLs (scroll down for the second diagram) supplies have so far had a top back in February 2005, and NGL production in Russia and USA are now in steep decline.

The decline in NGL production in USA is interesting as processing margins presently are good.


Peak oil claims an American icon - the pink flamingo lawn ornament!

Factory that makes the kitsch lawn icon shutting down after 49 years

According to the article, it's a "victim of rising expenses for plastic resin and electricity."

Bye bye birdies? This may be the end for our faux-feathered friends.

When I see things like this aboput the worlds largest per person energy consumer (and having a strong belief that said government is going to need to lead to address peak oil) I weep.

The McDonogh library has no books. The stalls in a girls' restroom have no doors. Fights break out daily. About 50 students have been suspended; 20 have been recommended for expulsion. Several weeks ago, a teacher was "beaten unmercifully" by a ninth grader enraged at being barred from class because he was late.

The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from "peace," an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked "chaos."

Remind me how this is all going to work out well in the end?

True colors shining through?!

Branson tries to avoid carbon taxes

The green aviation body founded by Sir Richard Branson will elect a chairman from outside the industry as it prepares to battle the prospect of tough taxes on airlines.

The as yet unnamed organisation held its inaugural meeting in central London yesterday, with attendees including representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, Heathrow owner BAA and easyJet.

British Airways did not attend, having warned that setting up a new environmental lobby in place of the already established Sustainable Aviation group risked splitting the industry.

Sir Richard and British Airways, despite their differences, have both backed bringing European airlines into the EU carbon emissions trading scheme.
It is thought that such a move would be the bare minimum requirement for airlines to avoid hefty taxation to curb their carbon emissions.

Not an encouraging development on the Iranian side...

Iran's Revolutionary Guards begin 10-day war games today

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Gulf%2C+Middle+E ast+%26+Africa&month=November2006&file=World_News2006110225533.xml

Crossfire War - Tehran to Test Fire Ballistic Missiles - Wargames - Nov. 2-12


And if anyone doubts that Iran has a friend in Russia, read these...

Russia Defends Missile Deal With Iran


Draft UN Resolution on Iran Unacceptable, More Talks Needed -- Russian FM


What is 'not encouraging' about Iran's apparent willingness to defend itself from US aggression? These exercises are a response to US exercises in the region. If you hold wargames in somebody's back yard, it is entirely predictable that they will hold their own in response.

If you really want to be alarmed (or cheered, depending on your viewpoint), read William Lind on the possibility that the US army in Iraq will find itself encircled and mopped up in the event of a US attack on Iran. Personally though I doubt that the Iranians will do that, because of the sort of rabbit-in-the-headlights stupidity that afflicts many people when presented with stupendous and unbelievable opportunities, although Lind says it is eminently 'doable'.

Many military people already regard the attack on Iraq as the greatest strategic blunder ever by the US. An attack on Iran will prove to be even more disastrous. If you wish to preserve the increasingly shaky myth of US military dominance, you should refrain from an attack on Iran at all costs.

A doomsday scenario written by "Ruvy in Jerusalem"...full of speculation, but still...an interesting read:

News Analysis From Israel - The Evil Will Come From the North: Part 3: THE IMMINENCE OF WAR


Why war may well be imminent.

It's all a matter of what's on the calendar. The event that needs to take place to cause a declaration of martial law in the United States is an attack of some kind either in the United States or in the Persian Gulf. It needs to be significant - significant enough to cause a significant response, not to mention significant enough to give an unpopular president enough wiggle room to garner support for a declaration of martial law at home. The plans are already in the works for an attack on Iran. The ships are there, the warplanes are there. The gunpowder is already sitting around the explosives - all that is needed is the lit match.

So the scenario runs this way. An event does occur. It is enough of an event to "convince" the administration in the United States to declare martial law and put whatever plans it has drawn up for an attack on Iran into effect.

From the point of view of an American administration flunky, this can be anytime from now until the next congress takes office in January, 2007. One needs to be flexible in one's plans. It would be nice if the event took place before 7 November, so as to give the party of the president a boost in the polls, but if it takes place afterwards, then the Congress can be dissolved and martial law declared afterwards.


I appreciate your posts.  I look forward to reading them every evening.


I'm sure the castle will be in full spin mode on this one tomorrow morning.  "It was a botched joke," etc.  

The gunpowder is already sitting around the explosives - all that is needed is the lit match.

Do you think they realize that this is true of them as well?

Oh, by the way, since nothing you have written has ever become, "an article," according to Leanan, you have never written, "anything important."

In other words, if it's not written on castle stationary, wipe your ass with it.

Here's her complete post:

Don't read the DrumBeats.  That's where most of the chitchat and political stuff is.  If anything important comes up in a DrumBeat thread, someone will likely write an actual article about it.  

Between your, "political stuff," and Bob Shaw's, "chitchat," she doesn't know where to sink her teeth first.

I hear OilCEO has a good blog going.

Would you lighten up?  I did not tell everyone not to read the DrumBeats. I told MicroHydro that, because he thinks TOD is going into the crapper with all the political stuff.  

I am DrumBeat editor.   Would I waste a big chunk of my day with these threads if I thought they were worthless?

They aren't for everyone, that's all.  Heck, TOD isn't for everyone.  There are only so many hours in the day.  You can't expect everyone to read everything.  

No...that's not how I interpreted her words at all...there is a mish-mash of info in the Drumbeats...It's open mike here...all the amateurs can post here...I certainly am not "in the industry" but appreciate an outlet for what I feel is important to share with this community.

If anyone here at TOD would like me to stop with my recent obsession on the military buildup in the ME, just say so.  

Please stop with your obsession on the military build up in the ME.

There is nothing wrong with a few posts on this, but to my mind, if you want to promote an issue with that much vigor, start a blog.

I'd also like to know at what point you will admit you were wrong?  One week, a month? Elections with no war?

I am reporting about on military movements that are factual.  The US DOES have 4 Naval Strike Groups close to the Persian Gulf.  There IS an operation called "Leading Edge".  Iran is going to conduct its own operation called "Great Prophet 2".  

I think this activity has a direct bearing on the overall "Oil Game" and would think those watching events in the oil industry would be interested.

I've also included articles that are opinions of what this all might mean.  I think all this is important and under-reported in the MSM right now.

I just want people to know what might be occurring under the radar.

No, keep it up. I find it relevant to the price of oil.
OK...I have one vote for and one against...you guys cancel each other out...any more votes here...if that's it...I will continue on this story line until it peters out to nothing or turns into WWIII.
I will continue on this story line until it peters out to nothing or turns into WWIII.


The MSM (CNN) is finally picking up on some of this action...

Iran fires unarmed missiles


I don't know, that articles reads crazy. I mean, the author links the invasion/attack of Iran to a gay-pride parade!

I realize there are "interesting" circumstances in the middle east right now, but Ruvy just takes the whacko ball and runs with it.

Ya...that part was a bit odd...I agree...but there were some interesting insights to current events.
One more before saying good night, sweet dreams...

"Weapons of Mass Destruction": Building a Pretext for Waging War on Iran?

by Michel Chossudovsky

Pretext for Waging War on Iran

Naval deployment under the "global war on terrorism" is occurring on several fronts: in the Eastern Mediterranean (NATO and Israel) along the Syrian-Lebanese coast, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean (US and allies) and Red Sea (Saudi Arabia).

"These armadas are being built-up concurrently. The Eastern Mediterranean build-up is essentially characterized by Israeli and NATO naval and ground forces. In the Persian Gulf, the naval armada is largely American with the participation of the British, Australia, and Canada. In this extensive land mass between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, various military movements on the ground are occurring, including Northern Iraq and Georgia.

The broader war theater would extend far beyond, northwards to the Caspian Sea Basin and eastwards to Pakistan and China's Western frontier. What we are dealing with is a chessboard for another Middle Eastern war, which could potentially engulf a much broader region." (Nazemroaya, Oct 2006)

These ongoing naval deployments under the "global war on terrorism" seek to create a legitimacy for waging war on Iran and Syria, which are the alleged "state sponsors" of al Qaeda.  

According to Debka, the Israeli intelligence think tank, the objective of the deployment of  US warships is "to prepare for a US-led military strike against Iran .... [as well as implement] measures to fend off palpable al Qaeda threats to oil targets."

According to Debka, there have been warnings of "impending al Qaeda attacks on the oil fields, oil ports, oil tankers and oil fields of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian oil emirates."  These alleged Al Qaeda attacks on oil facilities in the Persian Gulf are part of the disinformation process. Known and documented, Al  Qaeda is a US intelligence asset. What the Debka report suggests is that if such a terrorist attack were to occur, this would provide a pretext to the US to wage war on Iran, on the grounds that the Tehran government is allegedly protecting the Al Qaeda network.

Cheney's Contigency Plan

The ongoing naval deployments under the "global war on terrorism" are part of a far-reaching military plan "to fight terrorism around the World".

In the month following last year's 7/7 London bombings, Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a contingency plan "to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States". Implied in the contingency plan is the certainty that Iran would be behind these terrorist attacks.

Leaked military documents to the Washington Post suggest that these Pentagon plans are predicated on the possibility of  "a  major terrorist attack" and the need to retaliate in self-defense if and when the US or its allies are attacked:

"A third plan sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States. It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups, individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind an attack. , WP 23 April 2006)

This "contingency plan" uses the pretext of a "another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States" to prepare for a major military operation against Iran, while pressure is also exerted on Tehran in relation to its (non-existent) nuclear weapons program.

What is diabolical in this decision of the US Vice President is that the justification presented by Cheney to wage war on Iran rests on Iran's presumed involvement in a hypothetical terrorist attack on America, which has not yet occurred:.

The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. ... Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections. (Philip Giraldi, Attack on Iran: Pre-emptive Nuclear War , The American Conservative, 2 August 2005)

Are we to understand that US, British and Israeli military planners are waiting in limbo for "the opportunity" of a terrorist attack, which would then provide  "the justification" for the launching of a military operation directed against Syria and Iran? In the words of the Pentagon, quoted verbatim in the Washington Post (23 April 2006):

"Another [terrorist] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan."  (quoted in the Washington Post, 23 April, 2006, emphasis added)

There are many different views of the fundamental nature of human social life in groups.  (this discussion was way upthread..heh, some more chit chat..)

Two different examples represent caricatural extremes. The first, based on one brand of pop American psychology, sees that life as struggle, with individual participants always calculating their advantage, presenting a good (if false) self-image, and trying to come out on top, e.g. being altruistic for personal advantage, be it psychological (feel good) or material; refraining from transgressions or violence only because of fear or consequences; lying routinely, etc.  Some sort of social darwinism.  Life as vicious social chess, with Joe Six Pack being a secretive psychopath (while he obviously is not.)

Another view sees human social life as a collaborative enterprise, where participants collude and even conspire to uphold a social order and functioning that is first of all, interesting and vital, that allows individuals to work, play, mate and generally rush about doing their thing, second, which permits the group to `survive' and `progress'.  Seen this way, altruism cannot be opposed or contrasted to selfishness - all actions rest on a collaborative base and take place in a complex symbolic milieu, and serve the group as a whole. It takes two to compete, and social norms are not immutable.  

Between the two, many alternatives exist.  

The relevance for PO, or other, global, or very general problems, is that different view-points lead to different types of `solutions.' Or maybe not.

Actually the whole 'debate' is really some kind of massive misunderstanding.

If you look at a text like Wilson's 'Sociobiology' you see that 1) most species on Earth don't exhibit much in the way of social behaviour at all, but 2) a small number do. The behaviour of asocial species is explained by the 'selfish gene' hypothesis; interestingly though, so is the behaviour of the social species. 'Altruism' turns out, in genetic terms, to be not so altruistic after all.

Nonetheless, it's the 'in genetic terms' that is important. That (apparently) can encompass throwing yourself on a grenade to save someone you may be only very distantly related to, if at all. But in normal parlance, you can't call throwing yourself on a grenade 'selfish'.

Let's say I deliberately take a fatal shot in the gut that was meant for my brother, and he has two kids and I have none. Emboldened by this opportunity, he takes out his attackers and goes on to live a prosperous life, sending his kids to an Ivy League school, after which they get great jobs and plenty of 'reproductive opportunities' (i.e. 'poontang') Whoah! It's selfish! I've just promoted my own inclusive fitness even though I'm now dead!

Nonetheless, on another level it makes sense to refer to sacrificing your own life as a selfless act.

It needs to be understood that sociobiology explains altruism: it doesn't abolish it. Properly understood, the notions of selfishness and altruism are complementary, and very flexible. Altruism has limits, but (at least in humans) those limits appear quite broad. Either that, or the theory is complete rubbish. Human beings do give up their lives for people they are not related to. Ask your troops in Iraq.

More generally, it is unwise to make generalizations about us all being doomed because it's 'human nature to be selfish'. Actually, we are all doomed because we live in a very complicated and rapacious economic system which we will have no chance to change until it collapses... by which time it will be far too late. Human beings are 'selfish' under one set of circumstances (e.g. late US capitalism), and not so much so under another (the Bushmen). There is little in terms of fundamental genetic differences between the two populations concerned (unless you are the sort of person that considers hair and eye colour important... watch it! We all know what happened to them last time...) But the circumstances in which the people as social actors must make their choices are very different.

In short, people like Darwinian and AMPOD are right to say we are 'selfish', but only in a limited and technical sense, and our present predicament is more the result of our social and economic circumstances rather than our genetic inheritance.

That doesn't make doom any easier to swallow ...

Franz wrote:  

Properly understood, the notions of selfishness and altruism are complementary, and very flexible. (..) .. we are all doomed because we live in a very complicated and rapacious economic system which we will have no chance to change until it collapses... by which time it will be far too late.

I agree.  But what has happened is that the economic system has shaped what one might call 'the image of man' and has shored it up pseudo-scientifically - with the selfish gene, with some aspects of SocioBiology (Wilson), with social life seen as endless competition, coupled with a creepy need to 'obey' and 'conform' to 'compete'... anyway the thread is dead...