DrumBeat: November 12, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 11/12/06 at 8:28 AM EDT]

Hybrid Hypocrisy

About a quarter of hybrid owners have an SUV in the garage, too. Why the conflicted carports?

As gas prices have plunged since topping $3 a gallon this summer, a startling shift is taking place in the car market. Hybrid sales are slowing and SUV sales are speeding up.

...That’s right: the megawatt popularity of hybrids is dimming and Americans are rediscovering their favorite automotive guilty pleasure, gas-guzzling SUVs. And here’s something even more shocking: a surprising number of Americans have it both ways. They own a hybrid and an SUV.

Bill Allowing More Drilling Along Coasts Appears Dead

Just a few months ago House Republicans and representatives of the energy industry were poised to rewrite a quarter-century of national energy policy and open the seas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to oil and gas drilling, which environmentalists had fervently resisted.

But Tuesday’s Democratic victory in midterm elections has changed the legislative landscape, obliterating the chances that anything close to the aggressive drilling bill passed by the House of Representatives will be enacted for years to come.

U.K.: Experts warn of energy shortfall

New nuclear reactors cannot be built in time to fill the huge shortfall in electricity generating capacity expected a decade from now, top energy company executives will warn the Government this week.

The Coal Forum, a group of leading industry figures set up over the summer as part of the Government's Energy Review, will instead argue for support for the construction of a new generation of clean coal plants.

Coal Can Offer Alternative for Oil

The days of coal may be thought to be long over, but a private research institute predicts its revival as an alternative energy source in the age of expensive oil and natural gas, especially for Korea and other countries that rely heavily on imported oil.

Climate change: the global test

The gap between what is needed to curb global warming and what seems feasible remains enormous. A timetable for action and a plan to implement it is essential.

Global growth in carbon emissions is 'out of control'

The growth in global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels over the past five years was four times greater than for the preceding 10 years, according to a study that exposes critical flaws in the attempts to avert damaging climate change.

'Environment be damned'

Economic progress at the cost of environmental hazards is absolutely okay, feel Indians who are ‘aware’ of the implications of climate change and global warming, says a Greenpeace study carried out by the Social and Environmental Research Centre division of Synovate.

U.K.: News analysis: Climate Change

In the future we may each have our own personal emissions allowance. When that happens, we will truly have entered the carbon age. Until then, this is how a world of national CO2 targets looks.

Kyoto countries seen agreeing steps to extend pact

NAIROBI - No breakthrough will happen next week in talks to extend the Kyoto pact on global warming, but a softening of stances will produce an agreement on next steps to take, senior negotiators have told Reuters.

Russia firm to increase oil supply to China

Russia's biggest oil exporter to China said on Friday it plans to boost supplies to the country by up to 65 per cent next year, aiming to eventually become the country's largest foreign partner in the energy field.

'Global oil prices may flare up again'

Economic think-tank NCAER has warned that global crude oil prices may again flare up in view of tight spare capacity in the international markets.

Gunmen invade oil station in Nigerian delta

ABUJA (Reuters) - Gunmen invaded an oil pumping station in Nigeria's southern Niger Delta on Saturday night, taking an unknown number of staff hostage and seizing a military houseboat, an oil industry source said on Sunday.

The attack on the facility operated by Italy's Agip in the creeks of Bayelsa state comes as another flow station run by the same firm elsewhere in the state is under occupation by protesters demanding compensation for oil spills.

Nigeria's oil workers threaten strike to protest insecurity

ABUJA - Oil workers in Nigeria threatened to resume a strike they called off after two days in September, accusing the government of reneging on the promises it made to them two months ago.

Trendy roof turbines are not as green as they look

Green campaigners warn that rooftop windmills do little to cut greenhouse gases, may annoy your neighbours, cause vibrations that could damage your home and produce only enough electricity to power a hairdryer.

Critics of biofuel have it all wrong

Ethanol's critics argue that America cannot produce enough biofuel from agricultural commodities to break our addiction to oil without impacting the availability of food. The facts suggest we can do it in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. With the help of biotechnology, producers can grow enough corn and other agricultural crops to both provide raw material for our biorefineries and feed our people.
Hello TODers & attn: AlanFromBigEasy,

I am not an Civil Engineer [but instead a fearful fast-crash doomer], so the following essay may have merit, or be totally assinine and unpractical.  Most experts discounted my earlier idea for using billions of steelies for Petawatt energy storage and generation.  Thus, I will leave it up to those with greater expertise to determine the validity and cost-effectiveness of my next set of wild ideas.  Perhaps it will stimulate in some clever inventor's mind an even better solution.

I don't think any TODers dispute the fact of future food relocalization as the primary source of our postPeak nutrition.  I also believe that potable water will be an extremely valuable resource, and waste from leaks will be totally unacceptable.  The first two articles in this EnergyBulletin link are excellent examples, and most experts think Global Warming will make H2O even more precious in the future.  Additionally, from the response generated from my prior postings: I detected a huge social reluctance to giving up flush toilets for humanure recycling.  Thus, I present for your Cornucopian Consideration:

Energetic Optimization by Combo Fast-tracking our postPeak Spiderwebs!

I am all in favor of TODer AlanfromBigEasy's proposals, but RRs and mass-transit will have limited reach into the permaculture countryside--the heavy steel wheel on a thick rail spiderweb with electrification just will not go everywhere desired.  The tonnage moved generates very high PSI load factors on the rails.

Yet many TODers have posted on how most roads will crumble to postPeak dust from lack of energy, heavy equipment, asphalt, and concrete to do meaningful repairs.  Recall my earlier posting where 4 Mexicans died in a shootout over filling a pothole.  So, using the precautionary principle: we should assume most roads will return to dirt, and mud when it rains.  This can be very abrasive and jarring to future PHEV's electro-mechanical innards, and bicycling in the mud is very inefficient.  

Additionally, it occurred to me that rubber tires will be extremely expensive postPeak, or even unobtainable.  Recall my much earlier posting on how bicycles were among the leading inflationary items in Zimbabwe.  I bet bicycle tires are very expensive there, too.  Most of us are familiar with flats from thorns, and the human energy input required to overcome the rolling resistance of rubber tires, too.  It won't be any easier if your bicycle is laden-down with 100lbs of permaculture produce that you are trying to get back to the urban market either.

Thus, we should expect our milgov, if they are on the ball, to require a small factory in every US town to relocalize bicycle tire manufacturing until even petrol for this is no longer possible.  Currently, I believe nearly all bicycle tires are made overseas, but postPeak China will probably reclassify this industry as a military-strategic asset, thus shutting us off from resupply.   Again, the precautionary principle should impell us to consider a better solution.  Keep reading TODers: I will shortly tie these thoughts all together!

Additionally, if we are smart: we must consider the mind-boggling amounts of the future energy and materials required when we start to replace the millions of miles of our underground utilities' infrastructure spiderweb.  For example, here in my neighborhood of the Asphalt Wonderland: water, sewage, electric, natgas, cable, and phone service is all located underground.

When energy, pipeline materials, and water was cheap, this was a logical decision.  Using heavy equipment fueled by cheap gas & diesel: it was EXTREMELY EASY for trenchers, backhoes, bulldozers, and dumptrucks to move billions of tons of dirt.  Big, long haul truckers and lifting cranes had no problem loading and delivering millions of tons of pipeline materials all across the country.  Energy-intensive concrete and asphalt, no problem when you have giant shovels, rock-crushing machines, vibratory-screen rock & sand sorters, and concrete mixers. But that was then [the front side of the Hubbert upslope].

What do we do now that energy, pipeline materials, and water will be very expensive?  Never forget that a barrel of crude = 25,000 hard physical man-hours of labor.  Can we find an easy way to quickly and easily maintain any pipeline and likewise detect a wasteful leak?

Can we economically afford to dedicate that many people to hand-digging up, replacing our aging infrastructure spiderwebs, then reshoveling the dirt back, when I think most of us will already be engaged in daily permaculture labor?  Can we even find enough people willing to do this back-breaking work, or will it take slaves @ gunpoint?  I think most of us would prefer weeding a tomato patch vs wielding a pick & shovel all day!  Can we find a partial solution to dirt roads as we remake our towns into walkable & mass-transit dense clusters?  Can we find a way to ride bicycles and drive PHEVs without postPeak rubber tires?

Perhaps we can, if my wild-ass ideas that tie these aforementioned problems all together has any engineering practicality! Keep reading please!

Just as a railroad has a standard gauge--I propose we move much of our replacement pipelines above ground as required, and establish special, reinforced gauges that are conducive to both the material transported within and the bikes or PHEVs on steel wheels that can ride atop them.

This eliminates the postPeak: hand-digging; allows easy leak-detection of water, gas, sewage, etc; simplifies maintainence & repairs & further extensions; and many or most crumbling roads can be converted to these combo pipeline-railbeds outside of the remade mass-transit towns and cities to provide the tracks for bicycles and PHEVs.

Please use your vivid imaginations for a few minutes and picture, in its spiderweb totality, what enormous networks lie underground in your location.  Most will 'mentally unearth' parallel tracks of freshwater and sewage lines that intersect at the paved intersections where the manhole covers hide their underground presence.  Move those pipes aboveground 'for real', make them extra thick & strong, then weld a thin rail on top of each as a track for bicycle or PHEVs.

Thus a postPeak town would be largely laid out in a linear, or maybe x-y axis fashion, with the high trackbed PSI gauge RRs & mass-trans on this critical 'spine'.  Then the next gauge of reduced PSI PHEV track-pipes branching out as the 'ribs' to the innermost permaculture boundaries.  The PHEVs could be very light because no suspension system is needed for handling potholes [trackbed is very smooth], and minimal rolling resistance means a smaller motor is needed.  Then, the field-workers make the next transition to the smaller, final parallel Bike track-pipes that continue outward into the permaculture and ranching hinterlands as far as economically feasible.

Depending upon the optimum town layout configuration, but still using a standardized gauge: the track-pipes could be all outgoing sewer pipes headed to the sewage treatment plant, leaching fields and/or composting areas, but the workers would be actually riding the spiderweb just as a real spider does in nature.  IMO, this is much more efficient than the workers commuting in a vehicle over the same route of the pipeline just underneath them-- you have tremendously reduced most of required dual infrastructure investment and maintenance!

Workers headed to a refinery, brewery, or biofuel plant might be riding atop track-pipes containing the raw inputs [water, or biomass-slurry, or outgoing track-pipes of ethanol, or biodiesel, even beer?.  )  But again, the workers would be actually riding the spiderweb just as a real spider does in nature.

If appropriate health and safety standards can be met: workers could even commute atop track-pipes carrying electricity from windmills, thermal & standard PV gen plants, nuke plants, and so on.  =The main point is if  standardized gauges can be set, it doesn't matter what is being transferred in the pipes.  Obviously, care must be taken so that water and sewage pipes are not joined together--paint the pipes different colors!

Even if economic conditions shift whereby eventually nothing is transported in a section of track-pipe, but the rider route is still deemed essential-- this is still cheaper, and more energy efficient than trying to build a postPeak road.

Okay TODers, I hope I tickled your synapses.  I welcome any critiques, but most of all: I hope someone has an even better multi-networked infrastructure with a lower cost-basis.  But remember: clever spiders use their single webs for food-gathering and storage, water-collection by dewdrops, and area transport.

Maybe we should become Spiderwomen & Spidermen too!

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

I think you should start your own blog.  Then you can post your articles there, and post links here.

Starting a blog at Blogger or a similar site is very easy.  If you can post here, you'll have no problem blogging.


Someone (in the thread about the future of TOD) made a suggestion about a diary system simliar to www.dailykos.com (or www.redstate.com).

If someone like totoneila wants to post a diary, he can. If its of enough quality it'll get promoted to a recomended list, If not it'll just filter off the recently posted list. You could comment on diaries individualy (keeping topics seperate).
Main articles would of course get the main page and the attention they deserve.

Seems inclusive. Why encourage posters to start a seperate blog when they can contribute to TOD?

Modderation would be a seperate issue though (I don't think dkos's moderation system would be a good fit here).

Just a thought about TOD 3.0

Why encourage posters to start a seperate blog when they can contribute to TOD?

That might be something to consider down the road, but we don't have the ability to do it now.  I'm not sure we'd want to, either.  Why reinvent the wheel?  There are many very good, and free, blogging sites out there.  Why do we have to do the hosting ourselves?  

We already have a blogroll.  Having a "recommended" list of on the side bar would be cool, but I don't see any reason we should do the hosting.

I wasn't thinking about "reinventing the wheel" so to speak.

I thought it was mostly an issue of which software package to migrate too.

There are several (I believe) such packages that support diary systems.

But maybe this is thinking about the issue backwards.
What systems are in consideration for TOD 3.0?
Perhaps it would be easier to comment on them?

dKos uses Scoop, which is the package TOD uses now.

But there's more to consider than just the software.  There's bandwidth, and hosting space.  Someone is going to have to buy the computers to store all the blogs (if we go that route), and pay for the bandwidth.

And to tell you the truth, I really don't like the way dKos works.  It's impossible these days.

Erm... why not?

Doesn't Scoop explicitly support diaries as one of its main features?

Sorry, didn't see post above on bandwidth/storage.

But I think you're overestimating things on how TOD w/ diaries would compare to TOD.  Dkos is the way it is because it's the center of the liberal blogosphere - diaries are its trademark, and everyone with a wellknown blog in that broad circle is obliged to have one.  It doesn't translate to our userbase.

I still don't see the point in reinventing the wheel.  Blogger has great tools for blogging, and is getting better all the time.  

dKos does not allow you to upload images, for example.  No doubt for bandwidth reasons.  Blogger does.  Heck, dKos now blocks even linking to images, except from a short list of image hosting services.  

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for responding.  I did start a blog back in March, but I think something is wrong with the setup, and I gave up trying to figure it out.  I think it is online, but I never got any visitors or comments.


I was up last night composing that Spider post brainstorm--so I gotta get some shuteye soon--back later.  If it is off-topic or too long, feel free to delete.  I apologize, but I am not a computer guru like many here.

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

LOL!  I was hoping you would call your blog "Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast?"  :-)

It looks really good to me.  I love that template.  

Don't expect to get visitors or comments right away.  It takes awhile to build an audience.  And you have to promote your blog.  Also known as "blogwhoring."  Put the URL in your message board and e-mail sigs.  Post links and excerpts here when you've posted something new.  Post comments to related blogs; people will click on your name and follow it back to your blog.

You also have to update regularly, or your audience will wander away.  One thing you might consider is posting selected articles from that Yahoogroup you're always quoting from.  (Get permission from the original author, if required.)  It's hard to find stuff on Yahoogroups.  If you post a few gems (properly credited, of course), you could bring attention to stuff most of won't ever see otherwise.  You'd also be able to post the URL of the blog entry later, if you wanted to refer someone to it.  You'd be creating your own archives, so to speak.  Even if no one comments, it will be useful.

Bob Shaw's beer pipelines work for me, even if I doubt such is practical. Glad I read it, glad I read it here.
I'm not saying I don't want Bob to post here.  It's a matter of length.  Especially for the first post in a thread.  

In the other thread (about the future of TOD), some were asking for a software-enforced length limit.  Rather than do that, I would just ask people to exercise some self-restraint.  It's just basic etiquette.  You don't hog the bandwidth at someone else's blog.

"In the other thread (about the future of TOD), some were asking for a software-enforced length limit."

The length issue is of some interest to me.  Does regular line text actually consume that much bandwidth?  This is one reason I will give links to photos for example, rather than trying to insert the photo into the post...because I know that graphics and photos do consume more bandwidth and memory.

On the other hand, I love TOD because it is not a "sound bite" site.  The comments boards after news stories on Yahoo and others seem to bring out the screamers who have one sentence of sarcasm, but no real discussion.  That is one reason I came to TOD, because the depth of commentary is deeper and more involved, which of course, takes a few more lines of writing (and a bit more effort of thought!)

I just posted a long post on the "Declaration of Independence" story for example.  There were only 12 posts when I got there, and the story had been up for 12 hours, so I didn't feel that I would "use up" the bandwidth by going a bit long.....and it is all line text, no photos or graphics.  The other issue is that if I post twelve different times at a paragraph each, I am using as much space as one 12 paragraph post, am I not?

This all brings back what is for me a growing sense of disappointment in the internet as a tool for exchange of information and discussion.  Only a few years ago, we were promised an age in which graphics, still and motion pictures, music, and voice discussion would soon be available to all.  Instead, we are finding that an old fashioned letter by mail is much more efficient for communication, and that "bandwidth" is becoming a jealously protected commodity.  The internet, like radio and television before it, is becoming nothing more than a giant bilboard for folks peddling junk (I can't help but notice that the sponsers and advertisers always seem to have bandwidth to put up flashing moving graphics on every site :-(
Television was once called "a vast wasteland".  The internet improves on that, by being a "vast interactive wasteland".

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Does regular line text actually consume that much bandwidth?

No.  I was using word in its figurative sense, not the literal technical term.  

People get upset when there's a huge long comment high up in a new thread.  It's sort of the blog equivalent of hogging the conversation at a party.  

dKos handled this for awhile by "windowing" long comments.  If your comment was too long, only the top few lines would show, in a little window.  People had to scroll to see the rest.  

The windowing  for long posts sounds OK to me.
Bob Shaw,

TOD would IMO, just not be the same without Totoneila's wild and crazy ideas expressed in Drum Beats.

I repeat what I said earlier in the Heretical Topic debate.
Those who don't wish to read the PO offbeat text can just decide to not click on Drum Beats. This is a choice.

Wild and crazy ideas. All this is needed for combating the effects of PO. Riding steel pipes? Who would have thought?

As to the roads self destructing? Without major traffic on them how will they deteriorate? Granted asphalt will crumble eventually with extreme weather but concrete should last a long time. Myself I can remember railroad maintenance vehicles that were propelled by pumping handlebars. Now I see this has changed to pickups with a set of rails. There are several here in town who use these and work for the railroads. They just pull a lever after straddling the rails and with the rear wheels lightly touching the rails go flying right down the tracks.

As a kid in the country we all played on the tracks and trestles. We sometimes hopped on the trains as they moved slowly by and hitched a ride. Rails used to be a familiar part of our country side. Without train traffic those rails should last for an enormous time and might become a viable means of travel to far off places, maybe with a sail or spinnaker set out or a mule pulling it along.


Where I live even (cement based) concrete roads, especially the smaller ones, are fairly fragile. Some of the smaller streets that were done in concrete 30 or 40 years ago are a mess needing constant repairs. They're not good for the bicycling advocated on this thread because they're best suited to wide, fat, low pressure tires that exert massive amounts of exhausting drag.

This probably owes much to winter, trees, and rain, three items scarce and not well-understood in some parts of the country, such as much of California and all of the desert Southwest.

Winter causes frost heaving, which in just a decade or two can cause misalignments sufficient to regularly pinch-flat low-drag bicycle tires, and eventually breaks up the slabs. Growing tree roots lift up the slabs, misaligning, tilting, and then breaking them. And rain in sloped areas eventually undermines the roadbed, again shifting, misaligning, and eventually breaking up the slabs. Streets paralleling contours eventually become quite tilted, and have to be dug out and redone. (IIRC some interpretations of the Disability Act require sidewalks to be dug out and redone if the sideways tilt is a barely detectable 2%, which can be attained in just a few years.)

Very true.  Concrete roads are viewed as a huge mistake here in the northeast.  They seemed like a good idea at the time.  Now, we are ripping them up whenever possible, and replacing them with flexible pavements (asphalt).  

But they are still being used in the south and west, where it's warmer and drier.

Hey...hey...don't forget about the Midwest...Missy!!!  We are all asphalt...all the time.
Are you?  I drove across Ohio on the Turnpike last spring.  It must have cost hundreds of millions of dollars, widening I-90 across the entire state, tearing down all those perfectly good bridges to make room for the extra lanes.  

And it looked like they were putting in PCC pavements.  I guess it could have been that new white asphalt, but I could swear I saw them putting rebar in.

Oh....you're talking about the expansive highways that go on and on for eternity between population centers...ya...those are probably concrete.  Get into the metro areas and we use asphalt.

BTW...quit being so smart and observant when catching my mistakes.  At other times...go ahead.

Paul, here in Minneapolis I ride year-round on Organicengines SUV's.  The 20" tires give about 2inches in diameter, and are inflated to between 85 and 110 pounds.

I can ride over turf, gravel, and through slush and snow on the city streets.

Changing our habitual thinking about how we move around every day is one of the biggest challenges we face.  Biking takes more time and energy, and we sweat more when we travel actively.

Workbikes, trikes, quads, electric assist, motorcycles and small vehicles can significantly expand our options, but right now we design our lives around the car and petroleum, upon which we depend for all that we recieve.

I was speaking primarily of the interstate highway system, state roads and perhaps some county roads. I was not advocating subdivision and city roads.

I can remember when the interstate hwy system started and was being built. Even with huge amounts of traffic I didn't see any replacement being done for many many years. I know for I drove I-70 and I-55 in St. Louis to downtown and back to the burbs for over 25 yrs. Each work day.

I didn't see the deterations spoken of above. Trees? Nope. Rain? Designed for. Winter frost heave? Nope.

As to asphalt? Here heat is the big problem and huge trucks. A person installs an asphalt driveway he can expect very good performance with minimal maintenance IF it is laid correctly.
If its a cheap shoddy job then its worthless. Same with concrete. Had to be on superior fill and not something just hauled in, thrown down and compacted a few times.

Besides how will it deteriotate if no vehicles are using it due to the absence of fuel to run them with?

The blacktop past my farm has been there for 5 yrs , when a new layer was last placed. Its in fine shape still. Its a state road as well.

The northeast with its problems? Yes I agee to that situation. Frankly though I intend to stay just where I am.

BTW as a youth we rode a team and wagon to town. The roads were gravel. When vehicles came along we just drove on the gravel roads. In my county the gravel roads were replaced only about 10 yrs ago(in total but yet a few gravel roads still exist). 25 yrs ago all the county back roads were still gravel and we ran a road grader down them ocassionally.  

Worked then just fine.

When driving just the other day to an auction I went thru some Amish country where they use a lot of horse and buggies. I came up behind one just walking his single mare along at a slow pace. He and his family were in no particuliar hurry. A few Amish boys were walking not far ahead. This reminded me of my childhood and how we walked behind the wagon to town for the once Saturday 'trade day'. Its was nice, pleasant and a good outing with exercise thrown in. Seeing friends and neighbors and passing the time to chat.

Those days disappeared in fumes of burnt oil, skid marks and mans great hurry to go somewhere in a big ass hurry.

I do miss it. I wonder if I will see it again?

I suggest that someone looking for an alternate skillset might consider harness making. Buggy building. Raising draft horses. Mules,etc.

The Amish have all these skills and more. Living around them shows one that selfsustained living is truly possible.

Many do not have telephone. Many do not have electricity. Many use a horse and buggy and put up corn and hay by hand and with a wagon and team , the old timey ways.


excellent point about the Amish.  I've often wondered why there's all this talk about how a sustainable community might work- as if there were no such community extant today.  The strictest Amish sects are still doin' it like the world was 300 years ago before fossil fuels.  Why re-invent the wheel?
Most Amish are not as independent of the modern world as commonly believed.  They usually don't own tractors, but they rent them.  They'll hire drivers and rent vans to take their families grocery shopping and such.  They use modern fertilizers and pesticides.  They often own kerosene refrigerators and generators to power agricultural equipment.  They don't own phones, but they borrow the use of them from neighbors.  Or they do own a phone, but it can't be kept in the house. They go to modern doctors and hospitals for health care.  They are connected to the larger economy, buying supplies and selling their products. Those plain black garments are often made of polyester.

Perhaps most unsustainable is their rapid population growth rate.  

leanan you seem to be trying ot reinvent the amish too.  think this way for a second.

They have lived for 300 years, on the edge of their world, bit by bit, tick by tock they seap into ours and we into theirs.  The idea is not that they are not, or we are not, but that we both together are.

Think about that first get back to me if I am wrong.
Charles E. Owens Jr.
Author at Large aka Dan Ur
A large bear of a man, flexible and fit, just like the bear he is.

True, most Amish have one foot in the old world and one in the new, but there are those who still do it the old way.  The strictest sects in NE Ohio still use horse driven plows, will not step foot in a car nor wear any synthetic clothes.  There's been a debate recently about whether to force them to accept reflective plastics on their buggies.  The strictest Amish will not permit them and are more prone to get struck by a speeding car or truck at night
Each 'community' or possibly can be called large group, is different. Some do use autos and such. Yet there are groups here in Ky who live very much like we did many years ago.

I think each assortment can make their own rules depending on the leadership of each.

I also believe Ky has had a large influx because they wearied of Pennsylvania and we leave them alone here. We mostly respect their culture and let them abide by their ways.

If you want so work done you will find that the Amish and Mennonites will do very high quality work and will never cheat you. They will not work tobacco though.

I have never seen them smoke or chew , though they may when not in public. I see them everyday and they always are plentiful at auctions. Most buy old unused horse drawn farm equipment and repair it to new condition.

They do not speak much with the rest of us. Seem rather shy but they do not foster an arrogant or egotistical attitude at all. They are fine folks IMO who wish to go their own way and be allowed to without a lot of interference. In Ky they seem to fine a good atmosphere. At least in the western and central parts that I know well and travel thru. Union county in Ky. has some of the ones who I observed putting up corn the old fashioned way and plowing with teams.

In my opinion they seem to have a patriarchial form of self rule.The women are extremely quiet and unobstrusive. Long skirts and bonnets just like my granny wore.  

Never see them driving at night. They try to get home before it gets dark. They never drive on major roads that I have seen if they can avoid them.

Yes, each community can set its own rules.  

They are not anti-technology per se.  Rather, they consider how technology will affect the community.

For example, they want to keep separate from the rest of the world, so most refuse to be connected to the grid.  But they can use diesel-powered generators.  They can't have phones in the house, but they can have them in sheds outside the house, where they are inconvenient to use, and where no one will hear incoming calls.

The reason some communities allow tractors as long as they are attached to a horse is to prevent greed. They don't want a farmer to be tempted to buy up all the land and outcompete his neighbors.  

In cases where technology is needed - someone is too disabled to plow the old-fashioned way, for instance - it is encouraged.

2% is standard for drainage of sidewalks  (1/4 inch per foot)

lmao at your choice of name for your blog!

I do not understand why the creators of TOD do not put a limit on the number of characters that can be printed in a single post. This way if someone has a lot to say, they have to create something with a link to it. This would eliminate a large staff trying to figure out what to do to a post. Go to any greeting card sight and you can see what I mean.
I have said this before;
One other thing that I find disturbing here is that you establish a forum heading but then list a lot of links to other topics under that listing. Instead of just calling it DrumBeat, add, (and related news stories,) then allow your members to post comments to a story that they feel  needs further discussion under a new forum listing. Only post news stories that you intend to be discussed here at the TOD.
The creators of TOD are encouraging 334 posts to a single DrumBeat by doing this.
The DrumBeats are meant to be open threads.
"Brevity is the soul of wit."


"Brevity is the soul of wit."

Well, at least I now know why bumper stickers are often so funny!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

It's MikeB's 2nd persona. Developed specifically for busting Hothgar's balls. That's OK. I've done it several times so that Courtney Love and Nicole Kidman would bear my children. I just wanna know what Bandzilla means.
Not really for that purpose. MikeB is just a boring user name. Bendzela is my last name. Lucky for Hothgar [sic] I choose to post very little.
Hit the deck! Spread out ! Booby trap. Secure the area. Al Queda. Totally embedded. Good Accent... Who gives a fuck. Slam!!. Ze Hoffmeister iz vun of our best....yeeeeaaaahhhh, Baby! Zat's vy ve zove's him zo. Winky wink. Working for us now, Mike? Much more interesting chickie-bunnies, no? Post as much as you like. We've gotta glitch, help us solve it...oh, C'mon now, Kylie!
Cool down, cool down with this stuff!
See what you have been doing : causing euro banknotes to disintegrate...

Thank God somebody doesn't have to worry about column-width. These stupid ads on the left and on the right. I ain't fallin' fer that. Give me my goddamn space. My Folks wear glasses. Mind if I post in 12 point Verdana? I didn't think so. Goose threw 'em of track, though. Hoi Polloi. Uggh.
Ha...Bob, you are awesome and just the kind of creativity we will need Post Peak.

Now, I can think of many shortcomings to the way you have designed your spider-network, but I think the whole idea of looking at dual purposes for our existing infrastructure will be a necessity.

I am not sure we will have the resources to put all underground pipeline above ground, but your idea transportation devices along predetermined routes is feasible and worth pursuing, especially if the entire network is electrified.

If I have time today, I will search for some links that I remember reading in the past that deal with "linked" transportation pods that could fit into your spider-network.

Above-ground water and sewage pipelines are problematic.

  • They are vulnerable to freezing.
  • They take accelerated aging from temperature cycling compared to lines buried in moderating soil.
  • Sewage lines which follow the land cannot be sloped for gravity drainage.

Cities put water, sewer and gas lines below ground before the age of oil.  The gaslights of London and New York were fuelled via pipes dug with hand labor; it made sense to do it then, and it still does.  But we wouldn't have to go back to shovels and picks.  Today, we could easily use electric machinery instead of diesel for most anything in urban areas.
Besides these issues, I have a hard time seeing how we could undertake a massive countrywide new construction project of anything, when we are very close to peak oil. By the time enough people would "be onboard", the new project would need to compete with resources for many other things - maintenance of existing roads and other infrastructure, finding new oil/natural gas supplies, dealing with water shortages, etc. I can't imagine how we would find the resources for such a project.
It is likely that if we start runnning short of energy, a whole lot of capital resources will be worth a whole lot less than they are now. Those big houses in the burbs might well go down in value a whole lot. Ditto with the ability to sell a lot of stuff that we consume. All the wasted capital and declining sales of stuff (like vehicles for which fuel is very expensive) would slow the economy down significantly.

As a result, there would be lots of people around with no jobs. It would probably make sense to put all those people to work doing something useful. You can build roads and dig ditches with hand labor.

Idle hands do the devil's work.

Hello Mjacobspag, and other TODer replies,

Thxs for all your inputs, both pro & con, but I cannot respond to everyone.

It is too bad I don't know how to do Cad/Cam as a few pictures would express my ideas much more clearly and vastly shorten my posts.  I think it would also create much more discussion by the experts.  Such is life, but I think I, and most others, will be unable to afford the WWW in a few more years--food and other essentials will take primacy.  I will miss it greatly, but hope the Milgov will archive the vital info in TOD.

The Hirsch update of fifteen favored detritovore states and SuperNafta seems to point towards efforts of building the initial primary postPeak 'spine'.  Perhaps Hirsch & Bedznek will include some of my spiderweb ideas into the buildout of the 'ribs'.  It seems obvious to me the advantage of progressively smaller, but standardized gauges of steel wheels on pipeline rails extending out to the permaculture boundaries.  Even two parallel 6-inch greywater irrigation pipes could easily support and provide a very smooth railbed for a 3-wheeled pedal bike.  Link to google images of various railbikes.  The basic wild-ass idea is to 'kill two birds or more with one stone' by combining all networks into a single steel web that would be very long-lasting and easy to maintain.

I think most Americans are horrified at the thought of pedaling everywhere through the mud and snow.  If my idea has merit, then people might be more willing to paradigm shift to build smooth & easy transportation.  Just Cornucopian dreaming to help suppress my doomer nightmares of the Global Hutu-Tutsi Machete' Dance that seems much more likely with each passing day.

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

Additionally, it occurred to me that rubber tires will be extremely expensive postPeak, or even unobtainable.

Minor tid-bit.

It seems one can make rubber from alcohol.   So not 'un-obtainable, per say.   Just not at the price we are used to.


with organic chem you can almost make anything form anything.  However here in brazil rubber grows on trees...er or in them anyway.  Synthetic rubber was created  in wartime because natural rubber was strategically cut off.  I think it was cheaper after that because of oil.  Plant rubber trees.


Rubber trees don't grow in iowa or Minneosta but sugar beets do.

if it comes down to having to distill ethanol from beets to make rubber, will you want to drink the ethanol or eat the beets? I don't believe it will ever get so bad that railroads and boats can't ship raw rubber much cheaper than it would be to start from scratch (ethanol) to make rubber.  The amount of biodiesel or ethanol used to transport (by rail or ship) large volumes of rubber would be a more economical use.  

besides if we burn all our coal then you will be able to plant rubber trees in iowa.


ship raw rubber much cheaper than it would be to start from scratch (ethanol) to make rubber.  

The histroy of rubber plantations is not one of shining moments for 'the west'.

The whole 'businessmen behaving badly' meme has been a contributing factor to world issues.   If we're gonna go changing things, requesting a model that doesn't cause issues is a good plan.

The assumption that trade in raw rubber must somehow involve western businessmen engaged in inhuman practices reveals a short-sighted bias in your thinking. Humans have engaged in trade even before agriculture began. Humans will continue to engage in trade so long as humans exist. To assume the form of that trade must take one and only one form is absurd, especially in a post-peak world.
The assumption that trade in raw rubber must somehow involve western businessmen engaged in inhuman practices reveals a short-sighted bias in your thinking.

Oh really?

Humans have engaged in trade even before agriculture began.

In rubber for transportation use?  In rubber for hose?  

Wow.   Amazing.

Humans will continue to engage in trade so long as humans exist.

So will models that envolve violence and expliotation.   Ignoring such is a blinding bias on people who would deny such.  You are not blind are you?

To assume the form of that trade must take one and only one form is absurd, especially in a post-peak world.

Trade also requires willing parties.   It is a short sighted bias to assume the model of the last 50 years of trade will continue, or of the last 100.  Who is to say there will be willing partners based on past actions of one of the trading partners?

One day, somehow, I got reading about rubber

It seems that we are still dependent on rubber trees for rubber - I'd read long ago that the Germans, in WWII, had made an artificial rubber called Buna and got along with that, and I kinda thought rubber from rubber trees had gone the way of the buggy whip. Well, so, I did all this reading on rubber not long ago, and turns out those crafty Germans were probably rounding up every possible rubber glove and set of galoshes etc., for their Buna, and in the US, as I write, car tires are still a large proportion natural rubber. Military tires and racecar tires are all natural rubber.

Now does it become more clear why we occupied Vietnam? It was for those rubber trees.

I could actually do without coffee from the tropics but without rubber from the tropics, we'll have to do without a lot of the things that characterize modern industrial civilization.

Now does it become more clear why we occupied Vietnam? It was for those rubber trees.

Channeling a song I used to sing:

The version I sang from had a line "I gotta water my rubber tree plant" - like it was tacked on.

Fleam: said this:

"Now does it become more clear why we occupied Vietnam? It was for those rubber trees."

Tell me that you don't really believe this.Please.

If you do then I suggest you start posting with your tinfoil and eggsalad hat firmly atop your cranium.


he never took the hat off.


OilRig is one of my favorites. This dude is unstoppable. OR always seems to get trapped in these situations that you can't escape from. But he always lives.

He's like a real-life Super Hero. OR and OC are gonna work on gettin' the American public footage of our feats later on, but you must trust for now- We're working for the CIA(Queda's our main objective - except for Maria, man, I can NEVER stop thinking about that, uggh, yeah, you know what I'm sayin')

Airdale was just some dude that was probably a commie...Yeah, she said she loved me. She said...

I seem to recall some efforts to cultivate latex-sap plants in North America during the war. One plant under consideration was the dandelion. So without cultivating rubber trees ( or tapping the decorative rubber trees in the lobbies of upscale banks & corporate hq's ;) you could have a local source of gum rubber here in the temperate zone.
Interesting.   Thanks for that little tit-bit of info.
DIYer is right, Edison's last project before he died was cultivating rubber from plants that would grow in N.America and surprisingly, his champion plant was goldenrod.
Hi Bob,

A couple of things.  First, I used to manage a synthetic rubber production plant.  These babies don't lend themselves to local production of the raw latex.  And, turning the latex into compounded rubber isn't a local process either.

Realistically I think people are going to have to make do.  It is possible that almost all tires would be recaps.  But even this involves a lot of shipping energy plus the energy for the recap.

Second, you assume people will be going to some kind of job.  I think this is unlikely in a collapse scenario.  Granted there will be some who work but I doubt that most will be actually traveling to a job...they'll either be home producing their own food or at some kind of work camp.

Boondocks areas like mine will depopulate so there will be little road wear from traffic but the roads will deteriorate probably going back in quality to the way they were in the 20s - unpaved mucky things - where people only went to "town" once a month at most.

Todd: a Realist

Hello Todd,

Thxs for responding.  You are probably correct in your assumptions as I too am of the 'realist' mindset when future projecting.

IMO, the standardization of much steel pipe can have many benefits.  For example, we build large vertical grain silos to store seeds until truck or rail transport is energetically used to move these goods to the urban areas.  Why not store it in these standardized horizontal pipelines, and use compressed air from windturbines to blow it to the markets?  As an added plus you might have ground and sifted flour coming out the receiving end. Your family could easily pedal or PHEV into town on top of this horizontal silo vs slogging through the mud, dirt, and snow.

I am not a farmer or pipeline engineer so there may be a good reason why this was never tried before.  Obviously, fresh strawberries would have to be pedaled in, unless the urbanites wanted huge quantities of strawberry jam.  =) LOL!

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

Horizontal silos? Might be some problems there.

On the bottom of each silo is a rotatable arm that is used to stir the grain. A blower is attached to each silo in order to blow air in from the bottom and remove moisture thereby. The bottom has an open type of mesh IIRC so this air can flow.

To remove grain you hook a pto from a tractor to a long auger and run an electrical motor at the bottom of the silo which also augers out the grain from the interior bottom of the silo.  

Not real complex entities as I usually spend some time repairing the motor circuits for them quite often. Simple ag engineering is what they are.

Its very important to store the grain at just the right moisture. Also to not let it stay stored for long periods such that insect damage can occur.

But without electricity then storing grain gets a bit dicey.

For corn its ok for you just store it on the ear after you remove the husk. We stored that in just corn cribs in the barn and kept lots of cats around to control the mice and rats. Snakes were very helpful as well. I still keep some snakes in my barn to this day or allow them to take up residence. I never never kill a snake, even if its a copperhead. Water mocassins I do not like but abide around water. Rattlers don't live around here.

Basically we wont' have to worry about soybeans. Just wheat and corn. Maybe barley and rye. If you have work animals then you must feed them corn with high protein. You can't feed them just hay since there is not enough energy in it to work them all day.

Nothing better to eat than a good steak from a corn fed home raised steer or homemade sausage. We have forgotten what real food tastes like due to the highly processed products we get from the WallyWorlds or whatever.

I could go on and on but well...its really off topic.

Thxs for the reply, Airdale!  
As I think back on it when I lived in this county back in the
30s,40s timeframe there were sufficient small towns and local stores(general stores) that one could walk to them if desired.

Walking was just as fast as riding there in a team and wagon. We never trotted the horses/mules. We just let them walk along. It might have taken 1 1/2 hours from my uncles to the county seat. We traded butter,eggs,and sometimes fryers for flour and salt and a few other items. This was always on a Saturday for Sunday was a day of rest. Monday - Friday was work days.

So as kids we would walk to the nearest store, get a sack of Bull Durham and a soft 'drank' and spend maybe 20 cents.

It was that simple.

Before that a man would sometimes drive to various farms trading chickens and eggs for staples. No money changed hands usually.

Sometimes a trader with a pack peddling Watkins products would walk up. We were 6 miles from the county seat. He would only take money for he didn't want to be packing chickens off. So Watkins stuff was what we had for medicine. That and that alone.

Many road were also dirt. Like private lanes. They became very rutted and worn down over time. You finally hitched a team of mules to a scraper of some sort and smoothed them out. Some were so rutted that only a team and wagon could drive on them. Later modelTs and As with lots of clearance could do the trick.

What was it like? Exactly like the 'Shire' as depicted in the Tolkien novels and movies.  

It won't be any easier if your bicycle is laden-down with 100lbs of permaculture produce that you are trying to get back to the urban market either.

You have to see this on "What can be hauled on a bike"

(have you ever seen a person on a bike carring a CAR Body?)


Truck? We don't need no stinking truck!


(I think you have some great pragmatic ideas Alan.)

There is a company in Nevada developing and selling into the car market a battery that can do a 100% discharge and take a quick charge in 6 minutes.  "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."
In a controlled static environment a home could save created sporatic renewable generation for use later with a battery bank that is good for multiple decades.
This could be the answer the we are looking for the PV/Wind field.
Geoff PHX
I would invest in the battery guy.

Whatever happens, DON'T invest in Altair (ALTI). This scam started back in 1996 on one of the Canadian exchanges. They claimed to have developed a revolutionary centrifugal jig for mining and billion dollars worth of unmined titanium gravels at the Camden property in Tennessee. DuPont had previously walked away from it.

The stock went from pennies to $16, as crooks like Mark Skousen shouted BUY at the top of his lungs. Skousen and the CEO sold shares as quickly as they could mint them at the very peak of around $16.50.

The stock dropped to less than a dollar, changed names and symbols, and went into the swimming pool algicide business. A name change later, they came out with Renasorb, a pharmaceutical "product" with $0 sales. Morphed two years ago into Altair Nanotech or something, and were busily developing fictitious nano products. Now setting their sights on the battery market.

Every boiler shop has received stock shares from them at some point...can't believe these scheisters aren't in jail. The original CEO, Willliam Long, retired years ago. Prior to Altair, he headed up a gold mining outfit that grossed $0 revenues in over 20 years of trying.


Wharf Rat thanks I have seen the product at both the SEPA show in San Jose and at SEMA in Vegas.  They are one of these companies that is pushing a number of quasi unrelated items from paints to drugs to batteries, the common thread being the Nano side.
There is a company that is going to be installing these new batteries in their vehicles.  I need to get over to CA and see how the testing bank is performing in real world conditions.
I appreciate the heads up on the shady life of this company in years gone by.  Time for more DD
Geoff PHX
If it were up to me, I'd use a battery farm of nickel - iron batteries for my house, and perhaps nickel-zinc batteries in my car. The reasoning goes something like this:
  • freedom from toxic heavy metals like cadmium, lead, etc;
  • no reliance on wiz-bang new nonexistium technology;
  • they do not require precious metals like platinum;
  • incredibly long service life;
  • nothing in 'em cept nickel, iron, and a little alkali.

If you throw them in the dump they don't leave a permanent splotch of toxic contamination. And I believe long life will be a -very- important attribute post-peak, outweighing the superhigh charge/discharge rates and power densities of more exotic brews.

Unfortunately this Edisonian invention is not made in the USA any more. They may still be made in China, however.


Just thoughts but there are places people need to go that water and sewage don't.  How often do you go to the resevoir or treatment plant? People like to go to parks and rivers and beaches.  

Also pipelines are engineered to transport fluid.  The welds and supports would need to be more extensive and more expensive. We would be much better off using the "web" of roads we have now with a set of tracks laid down in the left lane of the interstate.  Also you have hundreds of thousand of prisoners in the US get the guy with the sunglasses from cool hand luke to put them to work.


wha we 'ave hea is a failua ta communicate
Bob, Great Post!  Just a few thoughts to add.  Our current infrastructure, with minimal maintenance, can last 100 years or so.  Some underground pipes made of wood over 100 years ago are still in service.  So our current system should slowly shrink as the available maintenance diminishes and the maintenance concentrates on the more important lines, ie, the most populated lines.  In 100 years we will have figured out how to adjust to the situation (or not).  

Don't forget the contribution from recycling.  Today we mine our cities for copper.  Huge copper telephone lines, all underground, are replaced with fiber optic lines the size of a pencil.  The copper is then recycled into industry.  The same with steel, aluminum, etc.  So we shouldn't run out of any basic metals.  Space is another way to minimize material use.  A communications satellite in space replaces thousands of microwave relay towers on earth.  Plastic coke bottles are currently recycled very effectively.  They can probably be made into effective bicycle tires that can be recycled forever.  

Other ideas for roads that are currently being practiced:  Giant road machines chew up the asphalt, add some binders to it, and then relay new road out the back.  Concrete gets ground up, mixed with a slurry, and is relaid as new concrete.  Both methods use minimal energy compared to new roads.  When Henry Ford came out with the Model T there were only dirt roads.  It did very well.  We can build cars that will do just as well in the future.  

Yes, all these ideas require machines and oil, but compared to our current waste, are very thrifty.  We can easily maintain such a society for 1000 years.  But, of course, it requires vast social changes that we are probably not up to (but I continue to hope).

your assuming that we use 100% of any material we recycle and that material stays the same purity without adding any more raw ore.
re-cycling is neither 100% efficient nor produces the exact quality of material that you started with.
it would be far more efficient and more cost effective later to cannibalize infrastructure in poor areas to keep the rich areas going.
Very true.  Those pavement recycling machines don't work on any pavement.  It has to be in decent shape to begin with in order to recycle it.  

Those concrete "cracking and seating" operations don't really turn old concrete into new.  They crush the old concrete and turn into a base material.  A gravel substitute, not a concrete substitute.  New pavement materials are laid on top of it.

i was basically referring to just about anything we re-cycle from roads to plastic to metals, even paper.
also come to think of it wouldn't recycling a plastic bottle 3 or 4 times end up using more energy then making a new one?
Think a little more.

A better question is: Do one recycling everything included cost more or less then making a new bottle?

synapses went to sleep after about paragraph 23
The Dew is the best form of water gathering device ever invented.

The paradox of the device is this.

You have to have water to have water.

pour the nasty water in a pan.
blow cold air, or any air over it. sort of what is in the cold air vaporizers.

The windows are dripping in moisture and my cat is gathering it on her fur as she going up to the window.

Due to the fact that the dew can be collected in this matter we have never ever had a problem in certain regions in the past of drinking.  

Google the past and dew collection devices.

BOB if you want to join my recipes from the edge team you are welcome if you want to have your own blog, go ahead,a nd I will linkage you into mine, in fact i will either way.  

Great ideas, I have to bow my head tot he GOD of the Pipe dreams.

 The water along with from dew is from the rain from above, a few years ago I collect about 450 gallons of water from just 2 big rains, I literally had run out of starage space and was watering my plants for years after ward with that water, I had so much I even threw some out back into the system recently.

Got to think out of the box.


Charles E. Owens Jr.

I think you are on the right track :)

I was also actually think about "beyond rail"  one thing that really stood out is that canals have great efficiency and could replace a lot of rail potentially for heavy loads.

If you look out say 100 years or more even electric steel rail train systems are not the best answer. River travel of course basically lasts forever along with canals.

Its funny you mention utilities since on thing I though of was that a generally raised canal system also provides above ground routes for the utilities.

Whats important is that people start thinking like your thinking. What will we do when we need to replace utilities.

Your right above ground is the solution.

Finally another thing we need to consider and its important is when your building structures to endure for 100's of years  they need to look good. Aesthetics should not be discounted.

I'm wondering what we could do with stone today with our more advanced technologies. It can be used to create beautiful structures. It lasts a very long time etc.
With our current engineering knowledge we might even be able to create long lasting rail/canal lines out of stone.

This solves to some extent the loss of our unified roads of today.

Here is a link to a stone railway.


Never forget that a barrel of crude = 25,000 hard physical man-hours of labor.  

At 38.5MJ/litre a 158.9litre barrel of oil contains 1.7MWhr of  chemical energy but to compare like with like you need to compare either the mechanical work that can be extracted from that oil with the mechanical work that a man can do or the heat energy of the oil with the heat produced by the man while working hard.

Oil-fired power stations struggle to get 40% thermal efficiency, Internal combustion engines are less than half of that. Even neglecting all the other losses to get to useful mechanical work that is 680kWhr. Measurements made on professional cyclists show that in the centre of the pack (the 'peloton') they deliver 98W of mechanical work. To lead the pack, as they take turn to do, on on your own at the same speed requires 275W. In the Tour de France they keep this up for 6 or 7 hours a day for 20 days. At 100W that means that a barrel of oil is equivalent to 6,800 hours of hard cycling.

During such races they consume about 6500kCal of food per day, equivalent to 7.58kWhr of body heat and mechanical energy degrades to heat. If 80% of that is expended in the 6 hours of the race, The equivalent heat energy of the barrel of oil will be dissipated in 1682 hours of hard cycling.

Then from the stuff I know of the tour De france about one barrel of OIL per person to get the race done.  These guys especially Lance Armstrong are geared to the maximum use of the food they intake, getting about 80 to 95% of the value of the food energy out into the work energy.  Look at the videos of the Whole Last Tour de France.  A big bit of doc-u-drama going on.  One of my mentors in the real world, Is an advid Cyclist lover because her son did/does it.  She is 68 years old weighting at about 106 max, to 96 min,  Pounds. and I have seen her move Green Logs weighting 50 to 60 pounds by herself.  I know I have helped her load and unload over 3 of her van's load and 5 of my van loads of green wind-fall trees in just this last full season, My last logs gotten to her were in May of this year.  I can move about 150 pounds of dead weight now myself, from the ground to my shoulder.   My dad can move about 200 pounds of dead weight from the ground to his shoulder, and he weights in at 145 pounds.

So mass is not at all the massive problem people think it is at all.  I can get all of my energy from plants in a given week.  From my own yard.   Granted its not the diet you all would like, its the fastest fast food I have ever gotten and it is so low on the hanging fruit section of the world that most of you just walk over it and don't even notice it.

I have to remember, I laugh at moss and grass, other people Only see green.

Is the Quip I posted just a few days ago on my Blog,  At  http://www.dan-ur.blogspot.com  As this post here will get edited and posted there as soon as I hit post.

Charles E. Owens Jr.
Author at Large, aka Dan Ur
The bear, cat, eagle guy

I saw an interesting post by memmel yesterday.
He ranked the worst places to be in the next 20 years.

It got me to thinking (well, I'd been thinking about this for a long time).
Where would you choose to be in the event of peak?

Most of the analyzing has been US centric, but the world is a big place and not everyone faces the same things in peak.

Let me start this off. I live in Japan. We have a lot of things going for us. Most of our food is locally grown (thanks to protectionist tarifs). Almost all of our transportation (personal and frieght) is by electrified rail.  Our population is highly concentrated with extensive electrified mass transit. Homes here are small and very energy efficient (most americans would cry if they had a fridge my size, oh yeah and no central heating/ac).
But then again Japan does import almost all its energy (some nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar but not a lot).

I think about my life in the States when I drove everywhere (couldn't walk if I wanted to). And the recent posting from a contributer in India has got me thinking globaly.

I'd like to expand on Memmel's list (using your brainpower of course).

Where wold you like to be post peak? Is one region better off than another? where would a good place be to "hole up" so to speak?

My applogies if this has been addressed. Kindly show me to a spot in the archives and I'll stop bothering everyone with this :-)

It's a popular topic in peak oil circles.  I don't think anyone's come up with a definitive answer.  SustainLane published a couple of U.S.-oriented lists, but IMO, their criteria were very limited and suspect.

Some people think Africa will be the worst, because there's so much poverty there already.  Some think it will be the best, because they use so little fossil fuels, they won't miss them when they're gone.

In the U.S., I'd say climate change is the wild card.  That, and political considerations.  Maybe a small town in Missouri is ideal for a straight, white Christian.  It may not be ideal for a gay Chinese Buddhist.

While I don't personally subscribe to the post-holocaust style post peak scenarios, as a Sci-Fi fan, I've done some thinking on the subject (despite the horrible movie,Brin's "The Postman" is recommended. Of course "Mad Max could hardly be outdone as well.).  When one considers the question of where to be when resources dwindle, I think that he should make the decision-making of his fellows.  By this I mean that the optimal choices, all other factor being equal, should be discounted by virtue of the fact that you won't be the only one to think of it.  Cultures happily populate some of the most resource poor  areas of our planet, and one might  do do better living in a sparsely populated resource poor area than fighting for ample resources in another, more obvious choice.
The following link is US centric but it might give people an idea of what to consider.


You can only do that if you have repented of you sin and have begun a Christian walk.
Puh-leeeze. I think the surival issue will be entirely agnostic, perhaps darwinian. A strong religious affiliation may eventually become a liability. And I'm not gonna tell you where I'm looking to build -my- bunker, thank you.

But I'm gonna have to agree with AMPOD, Kunstler, and others on this issue: it's silly to think you can build a fallout shelter and hide out as an individual/family/cult to weather a crisis which may last a half century or more. Best survival bet is a small community, a sleepy out of the way town of which you are a part. Someplace that won't attract much attention. But an individual or family living in an isolated rural location will be vulnerable to the first "Mad Max" gang that happens by.


I have to disagree with your belief that small communities are, necessairly, the best places to survive versus going it alone or with a minimal number of people.  Much of it depends upon the speed and direction with which society devolves.  And, further, the resources (natural resources, skill sets and money), available to the community/individual.

I would much sooner gamble my survival on the 6-10 people on our private road in the boonodcks than to be in a picturesque town of 1,000.  I don't have time to discuss all the issues so I'll take two:  First, food.  Besides the food people have stored, we have the ability to forage over hundreds of acres.  We can get enough so we won't strave until the crops come in.  Foraging would be almost usless as a alternative for a small town.

Seond, we all know each other so there is no organization required.  A thousand people demand some kind of organization.  While decision making and work might be egalentarian (there's some fractured spelling), there will have to be leaders and followers.  Futher, 1,000 people is too many for every one to know everyone.  This is a bad situation.

Mad Max has been discussed on TOD before so there's no need to repeat what was said.  I and others don't see it as a problem in our area but you and others obviously do.  That's the way it goes.

Todd;  a Realist

Todd, 1,000 people would be way too many. The ideal size would probably be closer to 100 people, or no more than 200. But if you are on a private road in the boondocks with only 6 to 10 people, and even they are down the road a ways, you would be a sitting duck. I would say your chances would be slim to none.

You would need to be in a defensive community. And depending on the condition you would probably need two or three people standing watch at night.

Of course I am assuming the country would already be in deep collapse. The first stages of collapse would probably look far more like Argentina in 2001.

Ron Patterson


Don't say that I want 1,000 people, direct it to DIYer.  I chose that number since he/she thinks small commnities are the way to go.

I believe any true community is going to become a death trap if nothing then by way of group think and group pressure to "conform" and not make waves.  This is likely to lead to factionalism and power struggles.

No, I'll stick with the 6-10 people on our private road in the boondocks.  But, if necessary, I can go it pretty much alone - not that I want to.


My bet is on the local states abilities to handle the situation, I bet on being a tiny part of it. If I am a good part I will also get to know other people why are good parts of the local state and hopefully I will be an asset for getting things to work a little better then if we do nothing.
In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell cites several indicators that the limit is 150 people. Below that number, everybody knows everybody else AND understands everyone's role and responsibilities. Above that, some structure and processes are necessary to avoid chaos. I have observed this in a stable, almost familial, firm after many years at 150 suddenly had new owners and an infusion of capital. As they grew rapidly without replacing their highly informal systems and processes, many breakdowns occurred.
You need a -community- to be safe. You need some big strong dudes who are handy with firearms to police the joint. You need some farmers to grow food. You need a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, etc. etc.

A tiny group of like-minded individuals will not make it 50 years in the boonies.

Diyer: Not to be sarcastic but I don't think you have a background that allows you to judge what can and can't work in regards to what Todd is speaking of.

Your view is common to many who have no appreciation for life in the outback.

Some crazed military style gang is not going to be out roaming around killing off folks. They will have way too much easy pickins in the cities and burbs. Why face outbackers with firepower and know the lay of the land and who is to know what defenses they have in place?

The picture you paint is not realistic IMO.

I live in rural america. I am related to many. I know who to trust and who to not trust. We do have friends here who are into law enforcement. Most all of us have weapons and are very proficient in using them.

Right now the woods are full of deer hunters. They will leave after the season. Then those who want to harvest an ocassional deer will do as they always have.

Its not all like you read in hunting magazines. The ones who live here know different. Just driving around the outback and observing then saying 'its this and thus ' is not reality.

airdale--saying he could be wrong, having been wrong before but still betting on the rednecks I know and live with vs the wild MadMax Humungous types. They dont' exist IMO. Its all made-up movie shit.

I live in rural america. I am related to many. I know who to trust and who to not trust. We do have friends here who are into law enforcement. Most all of us have weapons and are very proficient in using them.
That's more or less the type of community I had in mind. But you are probably right about the MadMax stereotype -- not so much of a problem, a temporary phenomenon at most (what would their half-life be, a week or two?). Still, isolated locations are more vulnerable than clusters.

What *doesn't* work is a bunch of recently-transplanted city types attempting to form an intentional community of some sort. Organically grown communities are much more likely to persist.


I couldn't agree more.  Plus in my mountain area there are very few houses even on a county or state road.  Most are hidden off on private side roads and it's all in the middle of nowhere.  I know people who have to drive close to an hour to get to a paved road.  Finally, the 3,000+ people in the area are spread out over about 600 square miles.  Rotten pickings and even worse ERoEI even if they got this far - which is unlikely.


why cant the butcher also be the baker and candlestick maker ?
Uhh, and probably will be. And cobbler and fletcher and wheelwright and coppersmith and gardener and brewer ... and herbalist, perhaps. Specialization comes with cities and crowding. I'm actually a fan of Jeff Vail.
I am a Christian first and formost.  I have to ask you to Please consider that there will be other issues besides religion.   In my Faith I will feed you even if you would back stab me and my whole clan, ( my clan is all the people that wave to me on a daily basis as I do my morning 1 to 2 hour long work out on my front lawn, mostly with staves, but also with strength and flex training. ) and I will gladly die for you.

 That being said, I can if I so choose kill you just as dead and just as fast as I please.  That is my choice not yours. My faith asks me to be nice to you, but understands that I may act the part of my vengence and kick your butt into next week.   But If I have to kill you I can be justified and saved from my sin.  

 Now you know that I am a christian and you know that I can and do lift daily 150 to 250 pounds with my arms alone and twice my boby wieght with my legs. And I have 4 staves 4 foot to 7 feet long and I know how to use them and knives close in or thrown.  You can make your own discision.

But if you need food I know in my yard alone all most all the edible plants, this time of year, when the temps hit 32 the other night.

Your choice, for me or against me. I don't care.  Do YOU?

This is a little like discussing where the worlds best food can be found, optimists talk about their own region since they know all the goodies, pessimists talk about their own region since they know about all the awfullness.

I think the most important resource post peak will be the same as before the peak, people and how they cooperate. Regions with well educated people, with lots of social capital that is trust and cooperation on manny levels, and regions with well functioning democratic governments will be the best ones.

Regions with a vell developed energy efficient transportation infrastructure and housing stock, good cities, lots of biomass, farming and fresh water will be even better.

And then it is a plus to have neighbours that are as well off and preferably a good geopolitical position with a small risk for violent invasion.

I use to sweet talk about my home country Sweden and our scandinavian neighbours that often are more well run then my own home country. Part of it is simple nationalism, I am proud about my home, another part is that it might attract some investments and that is on average good for us but most I honestly believe that we have fairly good resources on most all of the points on the list above. And we have for a long time been investing in usefull post peak oil infrastructure althought probably not in anticipation of peak oil.

And we have among the stupid experiments with socialism and the way to late mobilization for world war two shown the political agility needed to pragmatically solve difficult problems. Thus I expect that it is possible to get our government to increase the post peak oil era investments and even have some kind of mobilization plan if any of the peak oil or global warming problems should become realy pressing.
We have official investigations into what about 0.6 m higher ocean level would mean and what roughly a doubling of the spring and autumn rainfalls would mean including scetches on what infrastructure such as tunnels complementing the natural rivers we would need to handle it.

I expect that the public and private level investments will be about 1-3% of our GNP. Not a mobilization level but that and our headstart might at least make us competitive.

From my point of view you are welcome to move over here, please bring a larg bag with capital. ;-)

This is a little like discussing where the worlds best food can be found

There is discussion on this vital question of human existance ?

The answer is EXTREMELY obvious, New Orleans :-D

Paris #2, Roma #3

Throw some French peasants in a swamp, expose them to Spanish,  Italian, Indian and African influences in a source RICH in food stuffs# and wait 200+ years.  Add a local clientile that is EXTREMELY spoiled and demanding.

Yes, to the disbelieving Euros, the US is a vast culinary wasteland of sprawl and McDonald's.  But there is this one island (NYC & SF have some decent food as well, with local specialities here & there).  Come visit, eat at Brigtsen's. Galatoire's, Arnaud's, GW Fins and get a fully dressed po-boy (fried trout is my favorite) at the back of the food store at Broad & Banks and a hamburger at Port of Call.  Excellence top to bottom !

Best Eating,


# Eating local food within 100 miles brings a smile to my face.  Just barge some wheat downriver, and import a few spices (most local but not cinammon, etc.)

There are two local cuisines in New Orleans.  Cajun was imported from the rural countryside/swamps and is based on what was within walking or paddling distance.

New Orleans Creole was the "city" food and is based on what was available in a 1800s port city.  Much local food was barged in a few miles plus what came downriver and what was shipped in (bananas, olives, spices, etc.) by sail and then steam.

We enjoy both :-)


Was hoping you'd mention Commander's Palace...have had many fine meals there.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, the finest restaurant in the US !

Downhill since then (although slowly sliding from the mountain top is still a fine restaurant !)  They recently reopened in October and not enough is known yet to rank them.  That is just how tough we are !  Michelin has nothing on the average New Orleanian.

Their list of alumni chefs is BEYOND impressive !  Paul Prudhomme, Emiril Lagasse, Frank Brigtsen and many more.  Susan Spicer is the best local chef without Commander's on her resume.

Good Eating :-D


(most local but not cinammon, etc.)

One of my organic lab projects was to make this molecule:

It was made from, uhm, off-the-shelf reagents (petrochemical), and smelled very "cinnamony". I never had the urge to taste my own cooking in the organic lab, however...

Yes I agree, the food in New Orleans is the best I have ever eaten. Now please do something about the crime, smell, garbage, corruption and broken levees.
The way I described New Orleans pre-Katrina was A City of Great Positives and Great Negatives

Post-Katrina we are working, living amidst the ruins of a city 80% destroyed, to remedy those "Great Negatives"  (all except the weather, that will require Global Cooling) whilst trying desperately to preserve our Great, and fragile, Positives

On your list, crime is a major priority by all, with an undermanned police force many (most ?) of whom are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and terrible living conditions for themselves and their families (FEMA rules prevent larger trailers, thousands of which are at an abandoned airbase in Hope, AR, from being set up in New Orleans).

The FEMA contractors have brought a massive market for drugs and working around that demand is an on-going struggle.  The joint efforts to "drain the swamp" prevent drug dealers from establishing territory with all that implies for "business disagreements".

OTOH, we finally have enough courts and jail space to finally try and limit prostitution (another drug market) and have made 600 prostitution arrests in the last 2 weeks.

Smell in the French Quarter was cleaned up with a cleanup there.  Brushing and water blasting the sidewalks several times a week.  On a larger scale, major efforts were underway with notable success on fixing problems with the sewer system around the city.

Quite frankly, the "Disney clean" French Qtr turned me off and I went there far less than before.  But that is what tourists seem to want.

Garbage pick-up was twice a day in the FQ, now back to 6/week last that I heard (I get 1/week most weeks, last Tuesday was "skip".  Lack of manpower.  We just accept that and appreciate the improvement from once every 2 or 3 weeks).  The tourists will throw trash everywhere and we are unwilling to fine them.

Corruption is largely solved.  Nagin is honest, everyone agrees and he has cut WAY back on City Hall corruption and  helped send the last Mayor's uncle to jail for 2 years.  He was informed that a nephew of his was in a "sting" and all he asked was that he not be pointed out in the "perp walk" and just treated like all the rest.  "tips" of City inspectors are a thing of the past.  The last mayor cleaned up the police force and 1/3rd left (about 20 to jail).

Broken Levees are, and have been, the responsibility of the US Army since 1928.  They failed due to criminally bad engineering that the US Army covered up (they knew that they would fail prematurely since 1985 and told no one and did nothing).  Local engineers came up with some good temporary solutions post-Katrina that were completely ignored by the US Army, "Not invented here".

I was going to paste a link here but it expired.

Best Hopes,


Nice to see you included NYC and SF - having never been to New Orleans, but certainly to the other two, it would be unfortunate to not note the two other places where good food, in stunning variety (if not generally inexpensive), can be found in the U.S.
Consider a city, almost a town now, with a population of less than a quarter million living in ruins, that is able to go culinary "toe to toe" with two of the Great Capitals of Europe; Paris and Rome !

One of our advantages is price and "top to bottom" quality.

Earlier today I went on a tour of the Fauberg Marigny on their 200th Anniversery.  Afterwards, four of us, all locals, spent 20 minutes discussing food quality and where it was "good" and "just Ok".  ("Just Ok" would be hit in Dallas).

My favorite story was at the First Louisiana Constitutional Convention (when the new state's constitution was drawn up).

Baron de Marigny was giving a long and emotional speech in French defending the Napoleanic Code and decrying English common law when an American delegate (spoke no French, trade was a blacksmith) fell asleep and started snoring loudly.  The Baron was rightly offended and challenged the blacksmith to a duel the next day (via a second).

The blacksmith knew nothing of duels (the Baron had been in several, largely as a result of his repuation as a lover of women & gambling) and, after consulting with friends, set the weapons as sledgehammers (close to his trade tools) and the location in 6 feet of water in Lake Pontchartrain (he was 6'6", the Baron 5'7").  The Baron laughed at this, promptly issued an apology and an invitation to dinner.  The two became lifelong friends.

Such a New Orleans story !



I think the most important resource post peak will be the same as before the peak, people and how they cooperate.

Thanks for pointing this out!

The main problem with Memmel's post and your question is that neither of you stated your criteria of a good place to live , or the circumstances that you expect post-peak.
  Frankly, if there is a total collapse I expect to be dead. I'm an insulin dependent diabetic, 55 and will die without modern medicine. If its a gradual decline, then I'm in a good spot here in Galveston. I'm in oil exploration and the center is Houston, 50 miles north. I live 4 blocks from a great fishing spot. The Gulf moderates the climate, and there are pretty women to watch on the beach, and the University of Texas Medical Branch provides excellent care.
  Expecting a foreign country to allow you to live there and work is bizarre. Most won't let a person do it now, what makes you think tomorrow will be different?
Galveston?  Er...hurricanes?  
I live behind the seawall with 15 ft of concrete reenforced with granite and behind a silt berm that reenforces the seawall. We've got about 15 linear miles of seawall.
  My home has survived since 1895 with 110 years of hurricanes. Its an old carriage house and is built out of virgin pine. My ground floor is 8' above sealevel, and my second floor about 18' (floorlevel). While no guarantee of hurricane safety, it seems likely to survive.
  The 1900 Storm killed a quarter of Galveston's population, about 5,000 people. Folks around here take hurricanes vey seriously, hence the seawall and the raising of the town with silt from dredging. I personally evacuated las year during Rita, but only to Houston in an area about 35 ft above sealevel that is not prone to flooding. I will surely do so again if a huge storm threatens Galveston. I may be a little crazy, but I'm not stupid.
But in the post-carbon age...will it be possible to evacuate?  Will you even get a warning? If infrastructure is destroyed by rising sea levels or increasing hurricanes, how quickly will it be rebuilt, if it's rebuilt at all?

This was the problem I had with SustainLane's lists of "best cities to live in."  They liked places like Boston and San Franscisco because they have lots of public transportation.  But they didn't really consider rising sea levels, or what would happen if oil wasn't just expensive, but scarce.  

  The Galveston-Houston area is the largest refing complex in the world, and in an old producing area. We'll have oil a lot longer than most areas. And it will be in the national interest to keep good weather reporting down here-unlike say, rural Missouri. Galveston already has good public transit-buses and street cars-and the geographical area is limited because it is an island. Bicycles are used by lots of the residents as their primary transportation, along with electric wheelchairs and scooters putting down the streets. There has been a lot of work done locally on wind turbines, we have a lot of seabreeze and a glaring hot tropical sun in the summer. It very seldom freezes-my next door neighbor has avacados, I am planting citrus. The area gets about 20% of our power from the nuclear plant 80 miles from here in Bay City.
  But as I noted, in a fast die-off I'm probably dead, as are five out of six of us. I'm just not willing to shoot my neighbors for a barbeque sandwich.

  The Chinese I Ching noted about 3,000 or 4,000 years ago that we are what we nourish ourselves with. Wouldn't it be better to imagine a world where we worked on cooperative solutions to our common problems than figuring out the best places to hole up and shoot our poor, starving neighbors? Thats why I object to Survivalist fantasies, we tend to draw to us the stuff we focus on the most and it changes us into the kind of person who built bomb shelters in th e 1950's and early 1960's-selfish, crazy paranoids. Its  bad karma!  

I don't see this as a "survivalist fantasy."  IMO, there's no way to plan for that kind of thing.  Even if you do everything right, the government could come along and confiscate your homestead, or the weather could change so much that your carefully saved heritage seeds no longer grow well.  

However, if I were dictator, I would call for a "managed retreat" from the coasts.  Even geologists who aren't worried about peak oil are worried about global warming and rising sea levels.  

I'm just not willing to shoot my neighbors for a barbecue sandwich.

IMO this is the bottom line.  The majority of Americans feel the same way, however if they see some one steal from their neighbor they will shoot.  Communities will hang together just like they did after the 1900 hurricane or the SF earthquake.  NO was an aberration, folks that live off of government checks will disappear in short order, they either join the community or they are gone.  The federal government will dissolve, NG soldiers will defend their community first.

we are what we nourish ourselves with.

Americans have been nourished with the rule of law for their entire life and it will not be suddenly removed. Check out the election results.

I seldom disagree with your comments but show me how I am wrong.

No where will this be more apparent than in the rural communities. They lived off of crops, gardens and livestock 100 years ago and they will do it again.  They still have a benevolent social attitude; it has not yet been destroyed.
You'll have to pry my surfboard from my cold dead hands before I'll evacuate...
Just don't go grabbin' stingrays by the tail.
You cannot cooperate your way out of overshoot, resource depletion, and global warming.
Ah, but one cannot fight one's way out of overshoot, resource depletion, and global warming.

Nor can one isolate oneself enough to be invulnerable.

Nor can one arm oneself as part of a secluded tribe of highly skilled survivalists.

We are all absolutely vulnerable.

The possible ways to die are many and varied.  We will be suprised by death in cities and countryside and wilderness.  We will be suprised by death in warzones and outside of warzones.

We will also be surprised by life in many ways, times, and places.

Working together for the best possible results is not a bad idea.  Various forms of survivalism are not at all bad either.  I think that the best include some form of cooperative life.

Beggar, you make a lot of sense until you got to that last paragraph. You can control your own behavior but you cannot control your neighbor's behavior. You may say "Let's cooperate" but your neighbor, or neighboring tribe, will likely say "Up yours" and proceed to take everything you have.

What I am saying is, you will have little say so over the way things play out. You cannot change human nature. Arming yourself to the teeth and aligning yourself with a group of survivors will not guarantee your survival, but that's your best option.

Ron Patterson

"Arming yourself to the teeth and aligning yourself with a group of survivors will not guarantee your survival, but that's your best option."

How do you know this?  How many people have gotten shot in their own homes with the very weapon they bought to protect themselves with?  I don't doubt that one will need some fighting skill and some weapons handy if the world gets wild, but what keeps you alive might as well be your ability to negotiate, to trade, to hide, or to play extremely meek when someone more powerful or just better armed is facing you down.

In the stages that lead up to this post-apocalypse,  we need to be considering a whole variety of tools and skills that will allow for both alliance-building and for fence-mending/hatchet-burying.  

I do agree with the description above that called a lot of this 'Survivalist Fantasy'..  It's not horrible to fantasize and try to play out these scenarios, but we would do well to look to a much broader set of scenarios to pull from..  

Bob Fiske

I wrote:
"Arming yourself to the teeth and aligning yourself with a group of survivors will not guarantee your survival, but that's your best option."

Bob Fiske replied:

How do you know this?  How many people have gotten shot in their own homes with the very weapon they bought to protect themselves with?

Gad! You compare times of collapse and chaos with current times of plenty. Yes, there have been lots of people accidentally killed with guns in their own home. But your comparison shows you are completely naive as to how things are likely to be when the collapse actually happens.

Okay, you guys just arm yourself with the Bible, good will and the willingness to negotiate and see what happens.

The problem Bob, is that many people assume people will behave, in times of severe crisis, pretty much the same way they behave in times of plenty. Nothing could be further from the truth. If people really get hungry, and their children get hungry, and there is no one with a gun in their face to make them behave, you would be shocked at the things they will do in order to keep themselves and their children alive. The below example happened when people were not even hungry, only law enforcement disappeared.

"When law enforcement vanishes, all manner of violence breaks out: looting, settling old scores, ethnic cleansing, and petty warfare among gangs, warlords, and mafias. This was obvious in the remnants of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and parts of Africa in the 1990s, but can also happen in countries with long tradition of civility. As young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin's anarchism. I laughed off my
parents' argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that had competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist)."
Steven Pinker, "The Blank Slate" page 331.

Now just imagine that those folks were really, really hungry. And imagine you live just down the street and have a garden and cupboard full of food.


Ron Patterson

"...you assume that people will behave in times of scarcity as they did in times of plenty"-a paraphrase, not a direct quote.
I made no prediction of other people's behavior, but rather stated what my intended actions are in the event of a total societal breakdown. As I noted, I'll quite possibly/probably be carrion or barbeque. But, I'm 55, have chronic health problems(although under control) and am a hippy pacifist masquerading as an oil and gas landman. I'm past our species breeding age and have a vasectomy to boot. Natural selection favors my 18 year old son, not me.
  As far as sea levels rising, it will probably happen, but the projections I've seen are for a meter by 2050.Galvesto can afford a bay-wall as well is a seawall. Its only about ten miles long by 2 miles maximum in the city. At 55 with diabetes I'll be pushing up coreopsis and Ox-eye daisy's by then, they are our graveyards most common wildflowers.
Well, I am in good health but 68. That means I will also be safely dead when TSHTF. So I can be bold with my advice because I will not have to take it. ;-) But then no one else will take my advice either, which means I can be even bolder. ;-0

Ron Patterspm

"Safely dead."

Tee hee!

Yeah.. well that's Canada.

Look, I'm not saying there won't be any ugliness and violence, but I hear too many predictions that it's going to be in the form of roving Brigands and Shootouts.  

The comparison to owning handguns is how people who are trying to defend themselves will often have their own weapon turned onto them.  That doesn't seem to be a product of fat times more than one of Living and dying by the same sword.  Things will certainly play out in a lot of different ways, and in some of them, people will be trying to trade for what they need, will be trying to grow food and make towns work in the model we've learned.  Sometimes things totally fall to hell, sometimes there are people around who will help make some critical turns to avoid a replay of the dark ages.  

Okay, you guys just arm yourself with the Bible, good will and the willingness to negotiate and see what happens.

You know, you seem more pessimistic all the time. I am a Christian and I know we will not get out of this life alive.  So where do we stand that is all that much different???

 AW you say that I can't be a christian and get out of this life like you a non-christian can.  See above.

 You think I won't try to stop the madman from harming the little children and you got another think coming.  but if the madman wants to take me out, his aim better kill me in the first shot.

 I have literally died twice in less than One year.  Death has no meaning for me at ALL.  I have been on the ground with literally a cop over me within the last week, I was without fear.  I only wanted to let them know how to treat the thing that was killing me.   I survived by keeping a cool head and letting the people with the EMS treat me and they had the odd habit of asking me If I wanted to be in treated at the hospital when I got there.  LIKE DUH dudes.

 Sure the life will be hard, duh like what part of Life is easy now.  My dad who is 70 works 40 to 50 hours a week.  Cause though he could retire the edge on bills are a bit high and he is easily bored.  I have damage to both my legs from the first bout of Blood clots, and I can still do the things I have said I can do.  The Pressure Hose allow me to be up the 20 hours a day I like and not worry about it too much.  If the hose goes, I just have be down for 8 to 10 hours straight, every 2 days.  Still giving me the 5 hours or less per day sleep timing.  I cat nap, I have always been a cat that way.  I have eagle sight and there are few places a sniper can have a clear view of this house.

 My dad was a sniper in the Army, and an explosives expert, and I am the pyro king of the family, I can make things with chemistry he can't.  Life is full of choices.  Do not limit me by your choices, only limit yourself.

 That last line goes for everyone on this forum.

 Stop limiting me or others when you think I or they can not do what you can not do.

 I can live in the wild with just a loin cloth, heck, I can live in the wild without the loin cloth.  You limit me by saying that I can not do something.   American Indians would laugh at most of you folks when you tell me that I can not last more than a few days without The internet. or TV or whatever you think I need.

HAhaHA I laugh along with them at you too.

Charles E. Owens Jr.
Author at Large aka Dan Ur
The Bear and the Cat and the Eagle guy.  

As in:

I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
yes I would
if I only could
I surely would....


Chance favors the prepared....
I'm with OilManBob on this one. If you are over 50 and society collapses your mortality is likely to be very high. Likewise if you are under 2. Check out what happened with the recent New Orleans floods. It is likely that in some of the scenarios that are being considered population in the US would drop to 1870 levele.  I suspect that would mean a drop of 200 million.

No one here has mentioned disease as a major problem. The answer as to where would be a good place to be if society breaks down to something that looks a lot like Darfur without the relief agencies providing a semblance of basic necessities, is nowhere.

I think this blog would be far more valuable if it considered how to get to a sustainable situation in which all hell hasn't broken loose. At a minimum any viable  solution requires provision for food, clothing, shelter, public order, and basic medical services.

I think we can provide better levels of service than that.

That makes good sense, but I am also aware that there are strange instances of poetic justice and even poetic injustice.

Often the strong are shown to be weak and the weak are shown to be strong.

"Preparation" can take many forms as well.

Much does depend on how things go, and how things go in particular bioregions, cities, towns, rural or wilderness areas. Weather, disease, war, earthquakes, and other disasters may show up in ways and places we would not have guessed that they would.  Other places that we might have guessed would be devastated may very well survive due to some twist of fate as complex sets of consequences play out.

I do not discourage people from preparing for the difficulties ahead in the best ways they see fit, however.

I think there is a better chance for species survival if many people are preparing for very tough times in varieties of ways and places.

Yes, I am familiar with guns and the like. Consider that aggression serves us well until we become so powerful that no one can win a war.  I suspect that our species has evolved to a point that we will either kill ourselves off or survive using a different repertiore of skills.

But maybe I am wrong about that.  It's just what I think right now.

Finding friends and building anything togeather is probably more important then getting any single tool including a gun.
I agree with that.

It's a difficult topic, and one that many people feel strongly about.

I understand guns, and understand that relied on too much they destroy those who wield them.  Violence perpetrated wrongly or with too much desperation is the seed of death for the culture perpetrating that violence.  On the other hand, marauding bands of desperados sound pretty scary as well.

Were cities once designed in part as strongholds or places of safety?  Now we design them as sprawling palaces of car culture consumption.  Even so, localities might find ways of reorganizing populations and establishing some mode of safety.  Surely not in every city or town, but in some.

The best way to survive is to make your self more valuable to your community alive than dead.
Don't worry about the members of your community, they will be your friends. Worry about those outside your community.

Ron Patterson

As a Christian I worry about nothing.

Gee why worry, you can't get it by doing so anyway.

As to the people in my house vs. the one's not in my house!  I treat them all the same way.  As to the killer that would kill me I help him,  as long as he just stays cool everything stays cool.

As to those outside my home and clan ( those folks whose houses I can see from my front yard) I will treat them the same way as my family.  

Be the pessimist that you are Darwinian, but please be one with a bit more sympathy for yourself.

Charles E. Owens Jr.
Author at Large aka Dan Ur
The Bear, the Cat and the Eagle guy.

I read an article a couple of months back which I cannot find that bascially said humans are currently have highly specialized skills when in the past we had a much broader range of skills to survive on. I think trying to learn and diversify your knowledge will obviously go a long way.
I've written about this before I think it is one of the larger problems.
The main problem with Memmel's post and your question is that neither of you stated your criteria of a good place to live , or the circumstances that you expect post-peak.

Fair enough criticism.

Lets say a soft crash. Only because in the event of a hard crash I believe there won't be any "good" region to be in. Nor would survivalism work.

So lets assume a soft crash. A situation similar to the great depression in the 1930's.
Lets also avoid survivalism and think in terms of cooperative society.

What would be the criteria for a "good region"?
a)Good climate (ie La and Vegas are out).
b)Centralized populations with electrified mass transit (no suburbs and especially no exurbs)
c)Lots of electrified rail for freight
d)energy efficient homes/lifestyles
e)robust economy (need to work)
f)politically stable (want to avoid civil wars)

What else?
What kind of place meets these criteria.

Also I'm not suggesting everybody up and move to a foreign country. I'm thinking along the lines of a thought experiment.

 I think I'd choose to live about halfway bewtween Todd and Jason Bradford, which is where I am at the moment. It was a pretty sunrise.
A marvellous place to be is the southeast of France. The micro-climate is exceptional with the Mediterrean cooling temperature is summer and warming things in winter. We don't use air-con and I have not switched the heating on yet. Food and wine are local. Electricity is 90% nuclear or hydro and the electricity and gas companies subsidise solar and heat pumps so that coversion is cost free. Trains are electric including high-speed commpunications with northern Europe. Disadvantage is that housing is very expensive but still the population is growing by 4% per year
But again, GHG induced climate changes could make it less clement. And you could have a massive influx from not-so-nice areas if -their- environment collapses.
Climate change is most definitely making SE France less clement.
Where wold you like to be post peak?

with my family preferably.
As I seem to be posting about a day behind, I will go ahead and post here.

I will be right here for the foreseeable future.  My parent's house is filled to the brim with things I can use to get anything done I want done.  The neighbors, we have a Mexican Concrete guy next door.  A Glass installer on the cross street, he also is like a bigger version of my dad, he is bigger than me at about 6-4 325 lbs and its all muscle, unlike myself at 300 about 25% fat and the rest muscle, he and his wife, have an out door fire box, they smoke outdoors to limit it inside.  Both have the medical background I would need to fix most anything that I or my parents can't fix.  The other folks are connected I am still making my own connections so can't give you a full run down.   I can make any food you want with the foods in my yard and Am trying new foods all the time.  Made a great soup this afternoon, with Diakon, bitter Melon, cabbage, locally made Summer Sausage, onion, carrots, celery, and potato, salt, garlic, pepper, and dry great northen beans and water.   YUMMMY!!  Made enough for 2 to 3 meals for the 3 of us.

I am staying here till the girl of my dreams walks in the door and asks me to marry her.   Okay that being a bit hard to swallow you can ask her to pass the bowls I think I am having second's before the soup gets put away for the night.

I am going to walk to the job fair in the morning, park at my aunt's house and walk over the Arkansas river over the main street bridge and see if I can make more connections.  Then I will walk back.

If I can hook up with a friend that has a pedi-cab, I will hopefully be able to use it when he gets back from his tour on the US-Mexican border or if not then His tour in Iraq. Which will be his 4th or 5th this time around, and he served in the First Gulf War on 2 tours.  He is Ops, for the black arm band gang,  covert.  He don't tell and I don't ask, I like my fingers and toes just where they are right now.

Other than that, and my blog and other writings I am set.

Charles E. Owens Jr.
Author at Large aka Dan Ur
The bear, cat, eagle guy.

Uuuuuuuuh. Wasn't that supposed to happen before the election?

Uuh. Huh-Huh. He said erection.

I thought it was interesting that in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. elections, an Israeli official would comment that Israel might find itself compelled to strike Iran.

If Israel does launch a, "preventive strike" at some point in the next few years, it will be traced back to the recent Democratic takeover of Congress, which convinced many that the U.S. will not handle the, "Iran threat" itself.

Having Israel strike first is also a great way to bypass Congress, since once Iran responds, the U.S. will have no other option than to get involved.


What's up man. You wanna talk serious, huh. You of all people.  I gave up with the Iran bullshit probably about 9 months ago. It used to flare up here about twice a month and Jack and I would always goof on it, but now it seems like it is nonstop. It always has been a non-issue and it will definitely be for the next two years. Not only is George Bush a lame-duck, he has been emasculated, or eviscerated, whatever the hell the word is. There is nothing doing with this Presidency.

For 6 years people have been telling us there was a conspiracy. "The Neocons." "The Cabal." Remember? First Iraq, Then Syria(remember). Then North Korea. Iraq is fucked. The US military(Army, Marines, and National Guard) is in shambles. It will probably need a decade to get recruiting back to where it was. Who would believe that their government wasn't going to throw them anywhere in the world and then extend their tours indefinitely?

Pearl is gone, Wolfowitz gone, Powell gone, Rice(what happened to her?), bet you can't even name our National Security Advisor or CIA Director. Rove? Toast. I bet Bolton runs the show. It is common knowledge that the old man has problems with son. They brought in Baker special. Brought in  Gates. And Rummy, that was the kicker. I never thought he'd go. But it's over.

Hopefully the Nixon/Reagan/Bush thing is finally over. But we won't know for sure until someone drives a silver-spike through the Chief-Vampire's heart. What will bring Cheney down? Was he a bad guy after all?

Either way, Nothing is going to happen with Iran. Not in the next two years. They are five years away from a bomb. Plenty of time to let it become Hillary and Osama's problem.

Unless I'm wrong, and those two planes that hit the towers were really holograms projected from the black helicopters.

Sorry, didn't really answer the question. There's no need for a preventative strike. There's an easier solution. You just need good intelligence. The second you know they have the bomb and where it is, one hydrogen doo-hickey dropped from a B-2 solves the problem. We don't know nuttin about it. Pretty obvious - the Iranians didn't know what they were doing and just had a little accident. Whoops.

The real problem is Pakistan. As long as Musharref is alive, we're cool. But after that...

Who cares anyway? You should know by now that the fast-crash started almost a year ago. For all I now, moving to Iran might be the best option at this point. Either way, the Global Warming's gonna getcha - or the Bird Flu. That's why you've got the tuna.

Oil CEO,

When one of TPTB like yourself tells me something, I listen.  Believe me.  I would be a fool not to.  We all would.  As far as Iran, I'm not saying that something will happen in the next two years.  I hope that it never does, but I think that it will at some point.  Israel and the U.S. have both made it clear that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable.  They have also made it clear that the term, "nuclear armed," extends to Iran's nuclear energy program as well.  I don't buy into VI's delusion that the Democrats are any different than the Republicans on this.  In fact, for some of the reasons you mentioned above, it is probably more likely that the Democrats eventually launch this war than the Republicans.  This could be five years from now as you mention.  But with an event of this magnitude, there is nothing wrong with talking about it five years ahead of time.  And we will all remember VI's warnings if this ever comes to pass.  As for Israel, I don't think they are feigning concern on this issue.  I think they genuinely view Iran as a threat.  And I believe them when they say that if the U.S. doesn't take care of the problem (real or imaginary), they will.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your views with us here on TOD.  [You're welcome.]


We throw prices and production numbers around here, but the funny shit is the political stuff. I like your new thing with the brackets. Nice touch. Mind if I adopt that? I'm in too good a mood to go down that path. I'll just get myself in trouble. Gettin' psyched-up for the next Halfin/Goose $10 Jamboree. Coming up on Wednesday or Thursday, this week, I think. But Goose cancelled the Drumbeat II's, so who knows. Now we're back to 440 post threads

Hey! Somebody tell me I'm not hallucinating again. Were there people discussing us paying to post comments here in the future? That sounds like fun. I can't wait. Tell me I just dreamed that last night. I'm just making that up, right?


Oil CEO,

I'm glad we've found something to disagree on.  So you think the Iran issue is a non-issue?  This post is for VI then.  VI, keep an eye on the timing of Iran's acquiition of the Tor-M1 missle system from Russia.  If Israel's recent talk on Iran is more than just bluster, any intervention would likely take place before Iran gets a hold of these babies.  It will also be interesting to see if there is any shift in Russia's stance  vis-a-vis Iran after the recent U.S.-Russia WTO deal.

By the way, OC, the ingenious [You're welcome.] idea came from TOD poster: skip.  That's kind of funny, isn't it?  You're Oil CEO.  I'm SelfAggrandizedTrader.  And he's skip.  He doesn't even bother to capitalize it.  And we're stealing his ideas!
No, No. We'll talk about this in the morning. I'm trying to watch 'Deadwood.' It's just not a crisis, that's all. And it's OK to disagree. At least we're not Westexas and Hothgar. Now that's a real match made in Heaven.
So you think the Iran issue is a non-issue?

There is a planet-sized gap between thinking Iran is a non-issue and thinking it is useful to obsessively post on this issue every day for two years on a peak oil website.

I think, and expect Oil CEO thinks, that what happens with Iran is pretty important. However, the commentary here is not exactly cutting edge and the most frequent commenters don't seem to have any comparative advantage in analysing the issue except obsession.

Jack says things better than I do. He has more patience. And a  better sense of humor. I almost always agree with him 100%. You can talk to him. Or you can talk to me....No, Mr. Bond, I want you to die...hahhahaha...join the team, SAT. But no jokes while we're working, ol' chap.
There are some economy nerds on the forum here and I wonder if this is good or bad from a peak oil point of view.

The central government debt in Sweden is about $ 172 billion(10^9). (About $ 20 k per capita) 103 billion internal nominal debt, 30 billion in internal inflation linked debt and 40 billion in foreign debt.

The repayment rate on the foreign debt has for the last years been approximately $ 3.5 billion per year and is now to be increased to approx $ 5.5 billion per year.

Now I wonder if such an increase in foreign debt repayment is good or bad.
What would it mean to have no central government foreign debt when entering the peak oil era?

I guess it makes it easier to lend for buying resources but on the other hand I would naively find it wiser to lend now and invest before it becommes expensive to invest.

Perhas it is a method for keeping our currence from becoming stronger and thus help our export industry?

It is highly unlikely that Sweden is paying down its foreign debt for some resource depletion reasons. Likely it has to do with foreign exchange and/or duration views. But it is impossible to say without knowing the exact breakdown of FX exposures, durations and which kinds of debt are being repaid.
That is true, its not likely that it is part of any peak oil strategy.

My question is if it is a good or bad policy from a resource depletion point of view.

Paying down debt is not a bad policy to have at any time, particularly if resource depletion is indeed coming up and growth slows down globally, making debt more onerous to service in general. Sweden has a low debt/GDP ratio, anyway, (abt. 50%) and is thus in a good position to implement alternative energy policies by borrowing capital in the future  - if and when it chooses to do so.

But, as you know, its economic model is almost unique in the world and cannot be judged in the same way as the US, or the rest of the EU.

BTW I believe the Swedish model is almost perfect for a post-oil world.

I live inside the Swedish model and have traveld too little to have a realy good perspective on it but I am anyway sure that we have gone too far in having high taxation and manny state benefits.

We got efficiency problems in the state run sectors and a problem with taxation and benefits getting in the way of job creation.

These problems have been adressed in some sectors even during our previous government but I expect lots more to happen now during our non socialist government.

My guess is that we need to remove or convert into market sectors about half our current government from municipialities to state. Such a chage is probably a 20 year project. We have to get successes in different sectors that inspires other sectors and changes our socialists into being less socialistic so that the good work continues regardless of wich party holds the parlament majority. Our socialists have alreday had such a chage forced on them due to globalization, they are no longer the Cuba huggers and central planning fans they were in the 70:s.

We need to have a lean and well run state that only do what it is best at doing otherwise it will go bankrupt and take a lot of our society with it in a post peak oil world or even in a never ending oil world with the present trends and demographics. It seems to take a state-goes-bankrupt in 10-20 years prognosis to realy get some change started. :(

While the Swedish model seems at present less competitive in the globalized economy (indeed, how can ANY system compete against the Chinese steamroller under such ridiculous winner take all rules?), it is precisely under resource depletion conditions that it will shine.

If only for the social peace and cohesion that the Swedish model fosters, it will be a winner. The free-market economy requires continuous growth to work. Take that away via terminal resource depletion and what are you left with?

Such a discussion would take too much space I am afraid...but I will say only this: the rugged individualism so dear and cherished by Americans (doomers included) is part of the problem and certainly not the solution.

PS I have been to Sweden twice and I have first hand  impressions of the system - limited, though.

I hope your are right, we have not been thru a time of light hardship since the second world war and that were 60 years ago.
Sweden is as dependent on continuous growth as any western industrialized country. And it seems to be fairly competitive in a globalized economy -- it's one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, mostly export-driven.
It is highly unlikely that Sweden is paying down its foreign debt for some resource depletion reasons

Maybe not directly. If you expect higher inflation and higher interest rates maybe you would consider paying off your debts in advance. Now you may expect those for many reasons, but resource scarcity could be a good part of them.

There is a recurring misconception popular with resource depletion adherents: they believe it will bring about massive inflation, chiefly because they believe oil prices will zoom. That is false and in very simple terms this is why:

More energy use=economic growth=more money = inflation() .

Less energy="negative" growth=less money = disinflation.

() Note that by "inflation" here I don't necessarily mean runaway inflation.

But even if you did get high inflation, debt is worth less as you will repay it with "dollars" that are worth less in real terms.

Hellasious, although we have no way of knowing exactly how the downslope will play out, nor how long it will take, I suspect that you are correct here. During the great depression we had deflation.

Another unusual aspect of the Great Depression was deflation. Prices fell 25%, 30%, 30%, and 40% in the UK, Germany, the US, and France respectively from 1929 to 1933. These were the four largest economies in the world at that time.

And in any period of serious deflation, loan defaults increase, sometimes dramatically. That is because the morgaged property is often worth less than the amount owed. In such cases many people simply default.

Ron Patterson

The last time oil prices went up we got inflation, in the form of stagflation.
Your weak point is:

"negative" growth=less money

First it is not very sure what is the causual direction for this. During the Great Depression we had it backwards, the disappearance of huge amounts of paper capital lead to negative growth.

OTOH we know the case of stagflation, when a decreased amount of goods and services is chasing the same money, which is creating inflation (by definition inflation is the amount of money relative to the amount of goods and services). To counter it the central banks usually raise interest rates, which punishes borrowing and reduces the money side of the equation.

In the end what would be your strategy if you are a debtor or creditor if you expect inflation pressures, depends largely on what do you think the central banks success would be in maintaining the real value of money. If you are a debtor and you bet on the FEDs then you better get rid of debt and vice versa. I am assuming that the Swedish authorities are trusting the ability of the central banks to handle it - therefore I think this could be part of their motivation to repay their debt.

If it was me making the decission I would have balanced my bets by paying off the euro denominated debt in favor of the dollar denominated debt :) After all so far there is no record indicating that the FEDs have ever been able to control inflation, at least not on a reasonable cost for the US economy.

The case of large scale terminal energy depletion - if it were to happen - is so unique as to necessitate a whole new approach to classical economics. Prior experience with inflation, stagflation, etc. is only instructive, but not really applicable. Allow me to explain, if I may.

In "regular" micro-economics the balance between supply and demand is regulated by price. If there is a shortage of, say, corn the price goes up and so farmers receive a signal to plant more thus restoring supply. But energy is not just another commodity - it is all commodities, indeed life itself. Try to live without energy and see how long you will last;  ultimately we all fall prey to the Second Law of thermodynamics (whose application to economics is rarely mentioned, by the way). For as long as we possess the means to forestall the local increase of entropy by the application of concentrated energy we are fine. Take that away and are be in the deepest trouble possible. That is the  theoretical underpinning of my "equation":

Less energy = negative growth = less money = deflation

In practical terms, we may get short-term bursts of localized inflation if one group tries to "overpay" for shrinking pools of available energy to maintain its economic status, but that will mean even more negative growth someplace else. Overall the balance will be negative. Keep in mind that under depletion conditions price signals are useless: no matter how much you pay you cannot get more, overall.

Indeed, what happens to our whole financial system under depletion? Stocks, bonds, loans, deposits, derivatives... indeed, the notion of "paper" money (nothing more than a promissory note) are all dependent on growth. How can you pay interest (i.e. a future payment of something more than what exists today) if less will exist in the future? Take this to the next logical step and you get negative interest rates. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the very epitome of deflation.

I apologize if I have taken too much space and thank you for your patience.

Negative real interest rates may exist both in inflation and deflation scenarious. But they are far more likely to exist in inflation scenario:

IRr = IR - I,

where IRr is the real interest rate, and I is the inflation rate.

I agree that energy goes into everything, but this just underlines the initial point: that everything will be less. Your idea that some commodities will drop in price to compensate for the increased energy prices is counterintuitive - if energy goes into everything, how will producers be able to lower prices when everything else gets more expensive?? Of course in theory they can, but in practice this would mean a severe ever-lasting depression maybe seconded only by the Great Depression. Won't happen.

Thks for responding.

I am afraid I am not successful in adequately explaining my point, though part of the blame must be placed in the deeply entrenched viewpoint of classical "growth" economics based on perpetual positive growth.

Let me start with this, then:

Imagine an economy where every year, year after year, LESS is being produced and GDP just keeps dropping and dropping and dropping, punctuated perhaps by brief spells of positive growth. In other words, the exact opposite of what has been happening since after the Industrial Revolution. How and why should this come to be?

Economic growth ultimately depends on population growth and that requires more energy, by definition. The Oil Era (and the Coal Era before it to a lesser degree) brought an almost "unlimited" supply of concentrated energy, available for human exploitation. Humanity literally exploded in numbers, going from 1.2 billion at the dawn of the Industrial Era (1850) to 7 billion today.

Now, what will happen if energy supply is reduced?

I also don't understand why you don't understand my view point.

I can easily imagine an economy that produces less and less. Actually I have lived myself through a prolonged period in my country (Bulgaria) in which basically the whole the economy collapsed - during the greater part of the 90-s. But we did not observe deflation. Exactly the opposite - shrinking production, shrinking population purchasing power lead to bigger costs for the producers (whatever is left from them). If they don't won't to go out of business they must raise prices. This is exactly what the economic theory predicts and exactly what happened in reality. Less "stuff" chasing more money = inflation.

The opposite is also true - years of growth have been marked with low or moderate inflation everywhere throughout the history. Look at China for example - the prices of their products have remained basically constant.

I don't really understand why you are so convinced that energy depletion should change the economic lows in some exceptional way. The two systems - production of energy and the market economy relations are fundamentally different and are correspond only in the moment energy is brought to the market as any other commodity. It is indeed a critical commodity, but many others are also critical - say steel, concrete, thimber etc.

Once the impacts of peak oil start being felt, countries will have less and less over time, instead of more and more. Instead of having a steadily expanding resource "pie", there will be a shrinking one, and there will be less available for paying back debt.

We can expect that if the countries (and individuals) do succeed in paying off their debt, it will be in currency that is worth much less than what it is today - either that or they will default on their debt. I expect that debtholders will not come out at all well, post-peak.

It would be interesting to get a Westtexas-style analysis of the countries of the world with credit for export and those who must import credit. I would not be surprised at all if we see a trend toward credit-exporting countries (China) consuming domestically more and more of their own credit capacity, leaving less to export. If all countries become debtors, who does that leave for the creditors?

However, any way you twist credit, it is a way of borrowing from the future.

Well said. Wow.
I see that among todays articles is:

 - One reporting that the Coal Forum in the UK has come to the conclusion that not enough nukes can be built in time to satisfy increase power demand and that the UK had better build more coal-fired power plants.

- One co-written by CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Association and the president of the National Corn Growers Association reassuring us all that ethanol is the way to go and that the US can grow enough corn to easily satisfy both the increased demand for food and the increased demand for ethanol.

I always love to see such objective, disinterested analysis and such unexpected conclusions.  Ranks right up there with ex-Exxon chairman Raymond assuring us there will be enough oil, so just let us oil men do our thing and don't rock the boat.  

Some circles have the power of producing self-fullfilling prophecies.

The reality is that if we don't start really soon, of course nuclear will not be able to fill the gap anywhere close. And with time going by, this likelyhood is definately growing. What is left undisclosed is that a great deal of the reasons why we are not starting, is that certain interests like from the coal lobby or from self-delusioned enviromentalists have prevented it from happening. Of course when the shortages kick in the energy sources that can be brought online most quickly will be the preferred ones. So, in a certain sense I think I have to agree with them - maybe we should start waiting for the coal-powered train, by everything else it looks like we are missing the nuclear-powered one.

LevinK -

I agree 100%. I am all for nukes. To use the Donald Rumsfeld style of question & answer format:

 Are nukes without risk? No.

 Is anything without risk? No.  

Do nukes offer more benefits than risks? By all means, yes.

Is the nuclear waste issue managable? Yes.

Should we be building more nukes? By all means, yes.

Will this actually happen? Probably not.

Are we going to be screwed because we haven't built any new nukes? You bet!

Are we going to be screwed because we haven't built any new nukes? You bet!

My only trouble is to figure out whether it will be us (PO & NG) or mostly our kids (GW) that will be screwed. At some point I was hoping it is going to be us, but certain technologies like CTL or the Shell in situ process for tar sands make me think it is going to be them.

" I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past  I think the past was not predictable when it started"

" reports that say that something hasnt happened are always interesting to me because as we know there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.  we also know there are known unknowns that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. but there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we dont know we dont know "

two of rummies' gems

It would from an environmental and fuel cost standpoint be dumb to commit UK to a new generation of large coal fired power plants.

I would find it wiser to start a buidling program for nuclear power plants and implement a mixed interrim solutions such as:

A lot of new small coal fired heat and power plants where district heating and cooling networks can be established thus also replacing natural gas heating and lowering the electricity demand for air conditioning. This is long term part of the solution.

Intensified maintainance and upgrades of excisting coal powerplants to minimise the capital cost for the interrim solution.

Fuel chage to cleaner coal or even sulphur free and clean burning heating oil for plants that only have to do a few years of extra service.

It could even make sense to build and run large gas turbines with fuel oil and Norwegian natural gas, especially if there is a need to renew the backup powerplants for the grid. This and a fuel chage from coal to oil is of course terrible as permanents solutions.

I´m wondering if an underwater DC cable from Norway would be a viable option as only 2/3 of the Norwegian hydropower has been harnessed so far.

Britain´s nuclear power closing schedule can be found in this pdf on page 2 which foresees that by 2022 only one nuclear plant, Sizewell, will still be operating. It´s doubtful if new nuclear reactors will be up and running by then. Due to long lead times (10a+), the depletion of conventional U-235 reserves and negative mainstream sentiment probably coal will be the most convenient way to go.

The natural gas treadmill faces another challenge

Canada decided recently to tax income trusts. These include Energy trusts which go after marginal wells. Since NG and oil assets last a few years, companies could cut back on spending even as the tax breaks continue till 2011. On a longer term basis it is likely that prices will rise enough to compensate for the increased taxes however shorter term any cutback in drilling may precipitate a crisis. Canadian demand supply has already changed. The last 20 weeks all saw lower injections compared to last year. US supplies may be full but canadian storage is 10% below last year. I dont think the full effect of the cutback in drilling ( in october ) is out yet. An extremely cold winter could cause canadian storage to drop below critical levels.  

Do you have a link for the Canadian natural gas storage?
Click on this link.
Then click on NG update. Diecrt link doesnt work for some reason.
Canadian storage is in the middle of the report. Note 20 continous weeks of lower injections versus last year.
There are two points to be added to the article's info.  
First, conventional oil and gas production as stated by this site is in near terminal decline, so the damage is going to be limited.  Second, the oil sands production should be curtailed as its uses a rapidly declining valuable resource, natgas, to produce a mediocre 'oil'; it also uses enormous amounts of water [I mean use as in use up] which is in short supply in northern Alberta.  So all the effects on the oil and gas production industry will be short term anyway, but the movement of other busiesses to this model was a real fiscal nightmare.
At the present time, Canada is the top (virtually only) import source for the US of natural gas, and near the top for oil. If Canadian production of natural gas and oil drops more rapidly than it otherwise would, the United States is going to feel the impact.

Natural gas will be the biggest problem. Theoretically the oil can replaced by imports from other sources - but it is hard to think of markets as stable or friendly as Canada.

let me do an uncharacteristic thing for me and defend the SUV owner!  That is, the SUV owner who also owns an efficient car like a hybrid.

I live in Colorado where there is a genuine use for an SUV.  Snow, mountain roads that a large fraction of us like to explore that are impassible for anything but.  I'm not necessarily talking about four-wheeling as a sport, just getting to trail heads.

Years ago, folks would have a jeep or a four wheel drive pick-up that they would use for recreation on the weekends or when a snowstorm hit.

What has bothered me about the current SUV craze is the idea that everyone has to drive one of these monsters ALL THE TIME!  That is just nuts.  These things are tools designed for a very specific purpose.

I, myself have a four wheel drive chevy pick-up in the garage.  It is a 1997 model with 37,000 miles on it.  But every day, I walk to work.

If all were like you, we would be OK! Keep up the good work and thanks for setting a great example.
I see your point.

Of course, one wonders how many folks will continue to find it attractive to live in that wonderful but rugged area and do much commuting.

Maybe my urban experience brings out another aspect of what you are talking about.  I ride cargo trikes and pedicabs to do my business.  I do lots of handyperson work within 4 miles or so of my home, and regularly haul 100-to-300 pounds of tools and supplies.  I specialize in small jobs, so I don't need a truck.

Other contractors and I talk as I work in various neighborhoods, and they understand and appreciate what I'm up to.  But often they are doing work where a couple of trucks and trailers are required to haul (at least)several hundred pounds each of tools and supplies.

If you need a truck for a specific task, use a truck!  If you don't need a truck, don't use one!  If you need to drive a car, fine.  But if you can possibly get away with walking or pedaling, by all means do so!

This won't solve all of our problems, but task-specific transportation decisions can help greatly.

Imagine if we were able to get the modeshare of "walking and biking" up to 30% from the current 1%-to-3% in most of our big towns and cities.  The positive impact of such a simple single change would be terrific. While it does not seem likely to happen by choice, it is quite possible to do and relatively inexpensive.

My parents are in a similar situation.  They live in area that is rural enough that you need a four-wheel drive vehicle, at least if you drive around a lot of farms, which my dad does.  When I was a kid, it was Scouts and Range Rovers.  Now it's Ford Explorers.

I can't help wondering if, as the roads deteriorate in the post-carbon age, there will, at first at least, be even more demand for big honking SUVs.

Arguing from particular cases it very misleading. The point is the use of SUV's in urban environments where more fuel efficient vehicles would work just as well is a problem. Unfortunately, it is also the most common use of these vehicles.

CAFE standards are a crude tool because they don't factor in what a vehicle is used for. At the moment CAFE standards are all there is and there is a huge loop hole in the standards that allow vehicles to be produced that are set up inappropriately. The auto manufacturers like these vehicles because they make more per vehicle they sell, but it isn't only the manufacturers who are at fault. Recent increases in sales suggest that US consumers are not getting the right signals.

I think there is an externality here. The folks buying these vehicles are not paying for the environmental and other damage caused by overuse of oil products.

I think there is an externality here. The folks buying these vehicles are not paying for the environmental and other damage caused by overuse of oil products.

I agree with that.  If I were dictator, that's how I'd handle it: make them pay the real cost when they buy and register such vehicles.  

And it's not just environmental.  SUVs have raised a lot of costs most people are unaware of.  For example, guard rail has had to be redesigned and replaced.  SUVs are so high they vault right over guard rail designed for cars.  We all paid for that, not just the SUV drivers.  

SUVs also slow traffic and clog intersections.  They are so big they block the view of drivers behind them.  So a driver trying to make a left turn behind an SUV has to wait for the SUV to clear the intersection, so they can see if there's any oncoming traffic.  With a car, they could see over it, and make their turn right away.  I forget what the exact number was, but the estimated cost - in fuel burned and time lost - was pretty high.  

I nominate you for dictator...as long as you promise to be benevolent.
Some externalities are hard to understand and harder to document.

The massive misuse of oil products to drive large heavy vehicles in heavy city traffic is using resources that will be needed later. This misuse is extremely common leads to real costs related to shortages. Check out rush hour traffic on your local friendly freeway.

If you drive an SUV and have a large income, you pay part of the cost in higher fuel prices. You get someone else to pay for the disruption that you have caused by wasting a scarce resource.

I think this is a significant exsternality.

Solar - Nov 12

The rise of solar: why the sun is shining on main street
Sharp expands solar cell output by factor of six

Sand Trap
Alan Joch, Plenty Magazine
High oil prices, growing interest in alternative energy, and decades of R&D all mean boom times for the solar industry, right? Not quite. Just when solar-panel sales should be skyrocketing, the industry finds itself grappling with a nagging shortage of polysilicon, the key ingredient in photovoltaic solar cells. Tight supplies are frustrating panel makers and causing investors to balk at backing public companies.

Energy Payback from Photovoltaics: Problems in Calculation

Investment in Photovoltaic Complexity

Sharp has some units they claim 17% on. 17 x 6 = 102%. Sign me up, I want one.
They're not expanding the efficiency of a solar panel by a factor of 6, they are expanding their production capacity of solar panels by a factor of 6.  They believe it will make them the worlds largest producer of solar panels.
Can someone confirm that the IHS gas production graph:
includes US cbm and other unconventional NG production?  Comparing the IHS to this from Nate's NG post:

it would seem that it does.  53 bcfd is approx. 19.3 tcfy comparing peak rates. Both show peaks in 2001 and similar declines afterwards.

If true, then despite a 7% yearly increase in unconventional (estimated from the second graph above) our base decline rate is 32% and increasing( from the IHS graph) including unconventional.

 This being the case, we'll have to replace 50% of our total NG production at least every three years to remain flat.  That would be approximately 9.5 tcfy every three years in new production capacity.  As of 2004 unconventional prod is at 7.5 tcfy (from above).

 We can really maintain a 1.5% decline rate for US 48? (from Hughes ASPO presentation):
Yes, David Hughes spent a lot of time talking about coal bed methane and the most productive area, which is the San Juan Basin. I also assume that all projections include the Barnett Shale gas as well.

You might look at my story Will Unconventional Natural Gas Save Us? for some background.

As you can see, without large volumes of LNG -- I'm about to post on this -- North America is in deep trouble going forward. I do not believe production rates for unconventional gas will ever be high enough to outpace "regular" gas declines. And, of course, CBM, shale, tight gas sources are quite expensive to produce.

Thanks for the link.

Two comments.
First, in the future of TOD post someone mentioned linking related TOD stories together.  I just want to second that thought.  Having Nate's NG post link to your unconventional NG post would have been useful.

Second, there is a disconnect for me between the relatively mild total US NG decline rate (US 48 production) of 1.5% and the seemingly immense base decline rate of 32%.  I know one does not necessarily contradict the other, depending on how quickly we can increase unconventional production (From your linked post, the EIA projects unconventional to increase to a bit less than 10 tcfy by 2030 from 7.5 in 2004.), but I have a hard time believing it.  The 1.5% rate is from Hughes and not the EIA correct?
Re: The 1.5% rate is from Hughes and not the EIA correct?

That is correct, to my knowledge. I suppose you've got to pick a decline rate -- 1.5% -- and then make the extrapolation. Whether such a rate is realistic is a different question. If it is conservative (ie. optimistic) and you've got large shortfalls anyway, then you can obviously see where that leads.

Goodshipkship, thanks for a great post. I have seen the top graph many times. I see no need to question it as IHS is a reputable energy firm. The bottom graph, from the EIA is a totally different matter however. The EIA future projections for oil and natural gas production have been wrong ever since they have been making them. They are always way, way over the top.

I think a 1.5 percent decline rate for the lower 48 is laughable. Just look at the IHS graph and then ask how can we maintain a 1.5 percent decline rate in natural gas for the next twenty years. Discoveries are getting smaller and smaller and these small reservoirs deplete at a much faster rate. And, if that chart is correct, then well over half our natural gas comes from fields discovered in the last three years.

However that last graph by the EIA is puzzling. They have a wedge labled "U.S. Shortfall." But it looks like they are showing this as a source of natural gas.

Perhaps not, perhaps they are saying; "This is how much we will be short." But if that is the case, why are they lumping that in with liquified natural gas? It just does not make any sense.

Ron Patterson

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the graph is from Hughes, using some EIA data.  The 1.5 % is his expectation, yes?
Yes, the supply push and techno-vert scenarios are from Canada's National Energy Board -- see here. The figure was put together by Hughes.

It's unclear but the caption says; "EIA Reverence Case Supply Scenario with 1.5% Yearly Decline in Lower 48 Production." Does that mean it is the EIAs decline estimate or that of Hughes?

Well hell, perhaps it is Hughes'. Either way it is way, way too conservative. I think expecting only a 1.5 percent decline over the next 20 years is absurd. Well, in my opinion anyway. Obviously others have a far different opinion.

Ron Patterson

And, if that chart is correct, then well over half our natural gas comes from fields discovered in the last three years.
That is my concern.  The required replacement rate  is eyepopping (to me).
goodshipkship, thanks for bringing up a serious subject, one which I might add is near to the front of my concerns.
I'm not endorsing this opinion, but shale and coalbed methane wells are supposed to last 30 years or so at level rates equal to about 1/4th of thier initial potential. They cost a lot to operate, conventional gas wells do not generally produce water, but coal bed gas does. Shale wells have immense frack jobs-10,000 barrels of fresh water-thats 420,000 gallons- that must be produced and seperated. I'm not sure, but fairly certain that all this water must be disposed of by injection in disposal wells because of the other contaminents. But most expensively, a pumper has to check the treater and tanks every day.The water will continue to come up as long as the well is produced. A lot more labor. Plus, the frack jobs must be repeated on the shale wells every five years or so-an additional expense of $2,000,000 or so per well at current prices.
  The good part is there is room for many, many wells at 80 acres a well, and lots of acreage in several basins is productive of gas, gas condensate and oil. And in the case of coal bed methane wells, the producing of the methane and the water should actually improve the mineability (is that a word?) of the coal while not diminishing the quantity available to mine for other uses.
  Is it economic to produce? Certainly if the price is high enough-and the current $7.50/mcf is causing a bunch of companies (Devon, Chesapeake,EnCana et al) to rethink the timing of their drilling programs for next year. So I expect gas prices to rise quickly in the second half of 2007 as the depletion rate sets in, and the step-up in bitumen from the tar sands gets ramped up. There's a whole lot of coal bed gas in the Powder River Basin to be developed and it will be cheaper to deliver than the Alaska gas.
  The major bottleneck is going to be drilling rigs and oilfield personel, but thats true of all our energy concerns. Twenty years and a 5/6ths contraction in the industry left the drilling companies short of guys without grey hair. The USA is in a world of hurt.
  I'm more optomistic than many of the guys posting on TOD. Read my first post on the Red Queen thread on Friday. But we need to stay really busy, cause how much more can we stand in foreign imports? We're going broke as it is and our security in world affairs has evaporated.
  And for all you yahoos who just want to make money, oil field service companies look like a sure thing. Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Corelabs, land drillers like UDI Patterson, offshore drillers like Rowan and Transocean look pretty good. Producers are a little more problematic.
$2 mm for a refrac job?  What's way more than I've seen in the  unconventional wells that I have invested in the past couple of years.  Do you have any links that talk about this?
I sure don't have any links, but try googling Woodford-Barnett Shale. I'll look and see if I acn find some. My understanding of the fracs is they use 10,000 barrels or more of fresh water with a sand propant, pump it at 10,000 pounds and since the horizontal wells are up to 1/2 of a mile frac it in segments. Its kind of weird-in the Barnet Shale field they use seismic to avoid faults, because faulting will connect them with the Ellenberger which has an Ocean of water. This info is from a Baker-Hughes field manager in a coffee shop.
Bob, appreciate the background info.  It certainly appears we have large resources of unconventional NG.  From dave's unconventional post he quotes recoverable shale at 31-76 tcf, recoverable cbm at 100 tcf, and tight gas at 800 tcf.  So we certainly have the resources.  But then again, we have the following I stole from dave's post:

We're at 7.5 tcfy in 2004 for unconventional.  At 2015, we're at about 8 tcfy and around 2030 just shy of 10 tcfy.  It doesn't look like we are increasing nonconventional production all that quickly.

If a larger decline rate sets in for US 48 NG, can we increase the rate at which we produce unconventional quickly?
Every time a read about that clean coal nonsense I feel like starting to whine. Are these guys just putting this word for beauty or what? Who is going to build and pay for the infrastructure to transport and sequester CO2 throughout the country? OK, since they started with the timeframe argument: How long will it take to build that infrastructure?
Many of you will have seen it already at the energybulletin.net, but I'd like to draw more attention to it.


"EuP will require manufacturers to calculate the energy used to produce, transport, sell, use, and dispose of almost every one of its products. It will require that the manufacturer go all the way back to the energy used when extracting the raw materials to make its product, including all subassemblies and components. And in time, it will set limits on a product-by-product basis of how much energy can be used in a product’s entire lifecycle."

Isn't this a very decisive turnaway from the free market-policies of yore?
Isn't this tracking the (ERO)EI of most of the industry?

It sounds like products that use a lot of energy will need to be imported. If trading remains stable, and there are ready suppliers of the energy-intensive produces, the product may remain available. If not, it may be necessary to do without.

If the excluded product is something like fertilizer (made from natural gas), this could be a problem for food supply.

According to this (pdf), any product brought on the EU market would need to comply. Means of transport are not included, however. Probably to avoid the lobby.
Hybrid hypocrisy? What about the statistical hypocrisy of a writer claiming that hybrid sales are "slowing" while, in the same article, he writes that hybrid sales are up 23 percent from a year ago?
Besides which, better a hybrid and an SUV than two SUVs. I don't understand why some people seem so outraged by hybrid owners. I suppose it comes from some feelings of guilt, but I'm no psychologist.
Seventy percent of world corn exports come from the USA.

Corn importers like Japan, Egypt, and Mexico are also worried that the likely reduction in U.S. corn exports, which are 70 percent of the world total, will disrupt their livestock and poultry industries.

I had no idea it was that great. However:

Now that the year's grain harvest is safely in the bin, it is time to take stock and look ahead. This year's harvest of 1,967 million tons is falling short of the estimated consumption of 2,040 million tons by some 73 million tons. This shortfall of nearly 4 percent is one of the largest on record.

And 80 million tons of that will be used to produce ethanol.

To calculate the amount of grain that will be going into ethanol, we start with the 41 million tons of the 2005 crop that were used to produce ethanol and add to that 39 million tons for the new construction starts for a total of 80 million tons of corn. This does not include the additional grain required by the expansion of several existing plants. Nor does it involve the numerous new grain-based ethanol distilleries in other countries, principally those in Europe and China.

The food for fuel debate is real no matter what the pundits are saying.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Thxs for this grain update.  Do you think this problem will shortly eclipse PO & GW?  I do.

Sometimes I get the sick feeling that Mother Nature is about to reveal her BIG DIEOFF GUNS of vastly insufficient food and water--We won't stand a chance.

All the grain exporters are having reduced cropping yields.  We might see food prices going through the roof soon, and the African, Bangladeshi, and others could be screwed.  With the US as the primary food export power: it might be how the topdogs will extend hegemony, but I am not expert enough to tell if they are capable of hoarding food while billions starve.  The continual newscasts of starvation on this scale would be hard for anyone to watch night after night on the TV.

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

Hi there TOD,
I have been recently Ill again. Same problem as last time, Just a day early and and minute or two late.

I had to call 911 and give myself up to some EMT's The took me to see the Angel's of Mercy at the Hospital you see.

While there, I me a Doc who is a great doc, just like my last doc.

We had a paradocs in a box in my head trying to get back together again, well together again I am, and you are too, just make sure the lords of earth wind and fire. keep you safe at night and not the old man coal that fire and brimstone guy,  you know there will be hell to pay.

That is the rythm for now.
it seems too two many days late.


Dan get better soon
Keep thinking of prose to share...we will wait.
I'm not so sure TOD needs a /. style moderation system. But that's just my selfish self speaking. The commons looks so ... inviting.
Glad you made it to doc. Work with him. You sound strong.

Hang in there old man.

Last fall my wife of 44 yrs had two coronaries back to back . I took her to a catholic hospital and she got two stents and a new lease on life but not before she coded "BLUE" in the ER. Each was a month apart.

I found some strange events transpiring on that 90 mph( I drove her for the EMT was way too slow) run, the subsquent events thereafter and had no reasonable explanations for any of them. I knew some of the material world had again fallen away.

Somehow a white possum in the road and a young woman who spoke strangely to me there conspired to make me continue to make further changes in my ongoing philosophy of life. Strange things can happen when your life suddenly becomes exceedingly bizarre and death knocks heavily on the door.

Perhaps you know of what I speak. Maybe not but best to you.
Stick with us awhile.

airdale--green tea,red wine, ginseng, fermented food, polyphenols, many things can help but a good grasp on life is best


Thank You all.

Am back, and though today is black day, the black day is not upon me yet.

I am going to be going soon to get a lease on a job of life, but my life job is to write so off I hit the keys, and though I have to drive a bit, I will walk as much as I can.

I will be trying to get in the pedi-cab business with a friend if he makes it back in one piece yet again from IraQ, if not, I'll go it alone, but he is a great money making SOB that I have know about as long as anyone I know, and he is young and strong and his wit is sharper than the knife he keeps in his pocket to dice and slice the enemy with.

Again thanks to you all, if you need me, My blog is  http://www.dan-ur.blogspot.com and my e.mail addy is ceojr1963@yahoo.com

So how about a discussion on what's happeneing with the US dollar?  Where are our economists tonight?

Is the greenback going to continue its slide or has the panic settled for now?

Just curious about all of the ramifications.  I know it helps our national debt, but what are we in for here in the short term with holidays upon us?

I think there are two forces to consider with regards to the value of the US dollar:

  1. The housing bust
  2. China

We had a blip last week when China announced it was going to diversify it's holdings away from the US dollar. They currently hold an insane reserve of 1 trillion USD. They are the 800 pound gorilla. The day they made the diversification announcement both SLV and GLD took off, of course.

Since then, China has made soothing sounds and calm motions, trying to reassure everyone that they won't do anything rash.

The housing bust is a cluster f*ck waiting to happen. Too many people with too many bad loans bought too many properties. See http://iamfacingforeclosure.com or http://thehousingbubble.blogspot.com for examples.

How are we going to get all these FBs (fucked borrowers) out of trouble? Well, the one thing the Fed could do is just pump out the paper currency, inflating the hell out of the USD. This has very bad consequences, however.

Also, I would argue that the US economy has been sustained by the housing market. Lots of construction and realtor jobs. Lots of money changing hands. Lots of home equity loans for having that new truck, SUV, hybrid, boat, or big screen TV. Any disruption in the housing market will cause problems economy-wide.(Keep in mind mortgage backed securities [MBS] too. Lots of risk floating around, who will be left holding the bag? Will anyone?)

I think, all in all, we just don't know what is going to happen. Will it be stagflation? Deflation? Inflation? That's the million dollar question. If you have a crystal ball, then you'll probably be set for life, financially. The rest of us will have to hedge our bets.

Keep your eye on the housing market and China.

P.S. As anyone visiting this board knows, energy is another huge wild card. Will KSA/OPEC make an emergency announcement about depletion? Will Israel/Iran/USA/Russia do something stupid to  start a conflagaration in the Middle East? Neither is very likely, but it is possible.

The USD is the petrodollar, so any upset in the energy market will ripple back to the USD, and vice versa.

Any comments/corrections appreciated.

I think the Chinese talk was a warning shot across the bow of Senator Chuck Schumer, who is a proponent of tariffs on Chinese imports, to be in effect until the yuan is revalued.  Before the election, the Chinese weren't concerned, but now that the Dems control Congress, they see a real possibility that Schumer will get such a bill passed, particularly since unions form such an important part of the Dem base.  
Correction, the second link should be:


One more time in slow motion please:


I thought this was a good overview of the situation.


Good essay.  I especially liked this analogy:

A decoupling of the dollar and yuan's marriage is not only likely at some point, but also essential. It's that period when the couple first decides that the marriage isn't working out, and one of them finally moves out of the house... you know, all those lonely nights of crying and eating Raman noodles and such, until you finally get yourself reestablished. I'm pretty sure that in this scenario, the "male" in the relationship is the United States. And typical, the man is going to have to move out, rent a new apartment, and still pay for the house that he purchased along with his new rental. And how annoying is this, the Chinese, wanting to "date other people" or in the exact quote "explore various options", are eventually going to have a "new man" move into the very house WE. ARE. STILL. PAYING. FOR.
About those bitty wind turbines only producing enough power to drive a hairdryer.... um.  I'm no expert, but doesn't a hairdryer use quite a bit of power, what with heating an element and driving a fan?

If that's an accurate figure, it sounds as if a small turbine might drive a few lightbulbs at the very least?  Not useless by any means.

I was thinking the same thing.  1000 to 1500 watts can get a bunch of work done for you.  Most of the rooftop compatible turbines I've heard about only really offer about 300-500 watts, and even then, you might want to keep the tower apart from the house, to keep the vibrations off.  But I can't understand why wind has been getting such a beating.  Monbiot was calling 'small solutions useless' a couple weeks ago, too.  

People want another 'Gas'.. so offering them a cup of apple juice isn't going to impress them much.

Green campaigners warn that rooftop windmills do little to cut greenhouse gases, may annoy your neighbours, cause vibrations that could damage your home and produce only enough electricity to power a hairdryer.

I don't use a hair dryer, I use nature.

Duh why do people do this to themselves, we use a hair dryer we don't need to feel that we have used it to bust the green machine of its horns.  dudes, air dry the hair I do, the results have never been the same and the cost is the best all anyways you cut it,  FREEEE!!!

 Dudes do check to see if they pass the smell test, no smell not a true taste test they have to smell like the nature they are using to pass the smell test.

Thanks this has been brought to you by the friends of the earth at the www.dan-ur.blogspot.com   we hope you continue to say what you mean and mean what you say and everything else put the small smell test on.


Hair dryers! Jesus, Charlie. They rake leaves with hand-held, mini-jet-engines where I'm from.
The past 2 days one of my rural neighbors spent three hours per day trying to rake wet leaves with a leaf blower.  I guess rakes are a forgotten technology along with push reel lawnmowers.
Morons grown on the OIL tree I know.  gee don't get me started.

I don't mow my lawn.  I don't rake leaves unless I am composting in the garden.  I air dry my hair. I train with staves, and have two heavy metal ones and two light ones, one wood and the other a recycled bit of display bamboo plastic that makes a nice whooop sound when I am spinning it.  I can reach about 10 feet out from my center point and whack you if I want to, or throw a spinning steel stave to dent just about anything.  I use plastic milk jugs as the FREE weights, them filled with water slip over the 3/4 inch OD iron Gas Pipe with end caps, that I call my heavy staff.   I can curl about 60 pounds on it, before I run out of hand room,  I have yet to fill the jugs with sand and go up from there.   I use my body wieght as the heavy lift for Climbing training, and hand hold and hand strenghtening.  

 I eat at least one to 5 meals a week out of the yard, and I have not even taken advantage of the 50 to 200 pounds of Acorns I have available and there is a Pecan just down the road that I gather from.

 Surviving is not going to be an issue for me or Any American Indian I know of,  just getting the system going and I have only been trying for about 7 months.  I have gardens in the grown, and am planning on more. I have networking going on at about the next to full tilt phase and I have a Pedi-cab job lined up for the future.

 LOL,  talk about getting with it,  right out of the starting gate.

Charles E. Owens Jr.
Author at Large aka Dan Ur,
The Bear, Cat and Eagle guy

Green campaigners warn that rooftop windmills do little ...

Sounds like some kind of astroturf campaign. Since there isn't any standards body to arbitrate what's really "green" anyone can say anything ... come to think of it TOD might be the nucleus of such a body.

Regarding the article on hybrid owners also owning SUVs I see this as a cheap shot. I don't own an SUV and don't particularly like them. However, I can see those people wanting both kinds of vehicles; one to commute with on a daily basis and one to use once in a while to tow a boat or some other purpose for which a hybrid is not suited. Thank God they have the hybrid or else they would probably drive the SUV everyday.
I would guess that driving an SUV every day, but not manufacturing a second hybrid, uses less energy than manufacturing two vehicles and using less average gas to run them.

I could be wrong, but I do think having a hybrid as a second or third car is hardly conservation.

Jack, IIRC, the embedded enrgy in a car is about 10% of the lifetime (15 years) energy consumption. So, if the hybrid is 3 times as efficient as the SUV (say 45mpg average to 15mpg) and the annual mileage is 12,000 miles and the SUV is used for 2,000 of those miles then:
  1. SUV embedded energy = 15 yrs * 12,000 miles/ 15 mpg * 10 % = 1,200 gall
  2. assume hybrid embedded energy is the same (2 motors but less metal)
  3. SUV only over 15 years = (15 yrs * 12k/15mpg) + embedded =   13,200 gall
  4. hybrid only = (15 yrs * 12k/45mpg) + embedded = 5,200 gall
  5. SUV + hybrid = (15 yrs * 2k/15mpg) + (15 yrs * 10k/45mpg) + 2 lots of embedded energy = 2,000 + 3,333 + (2 * 1,200) = 7,733 gall.

Therefore, in this scenario, SUV + hybrid is 42% better than SUV only. Your mileage may vary :)
Well done. Thank you.
I would suggest that a Prius or Honda Civic hybrid or Honda Insight being smaller cars would take less than the average amount of oil to build. Also, from what I know of life in Japan (lived there 9 years) I'll bet that Toyota and Honda have bent over backwards to use as little energy as possible in their production.

A little off topic but I have to say the Prius is a remarkable car. I just got mine this past June and I am very impressed with the engineering. It comfortably seats four people (five in a pinch) with useful storage space. It accelerates adequately and handles very nicely. There is no sacrifice or hardship in return for getting truly remarkable gas mileage unless you have special needs in a vehicle.

Made an account just for this (lurker for a while now).

I own a Prius and a Ford Windstar minivan.  We have two small kids, and sometimes we need more space to move things.  90% of the family miles are in the Prius, including essentially all longer trips (that don't involve several pieces of luggage).  I don't really see anything hypocritical about it.