DrumBeat: November 16, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 11/16/06 at 4:04 PM EDT]

Oil hits its low for the year

NEW YORK -- Oil prices sank over 4 percent Thursday, hitting a new low for 2006, as swelling inventories and the December contract's expiration on Friday forced traders out of the market.

..."The storage at Cushing is full, if you're long you would have to take delivery." said Nauman Barakat, an energy trader at Macquarie Futures, the trading arm of Macquarie investment bank. "Basically this is confirming that inventories are very high."

Barakat was referring to the storage tanks at Cushing, Okla. where oil is stored until it is shipped to an industrial user, like a refinery.

But with the February crude contract currently trading higher than the December contract, there is no incentive for traders to sell their product, said Sal Gilbertie, an energy trader at Fimat in New York. Instead, they are just keeping it in Cushing.

Besides, said Gilbertie,"If you take delivery and there's no place to put it, what are you going to do? You're dead. No one's buying."

Oil output fell in October, says Opec

Opec, which pumps 40% of the world’s oil, said production from its members fell last month and left its estimates for annual world oil demand this year and next little changed.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) began cutting production this month in an effort to stem price declines, following an emergency ministerial meeting on October 20. Many oil analysts, including those at the International Energy Agency, doubt Opec will achieve all the announced 1.2 million barrels a day cutback, which started officially on November 1.

Just a reminder...the Energy Institute presentations on oil depletion will only be available for two weeks.

Peddling PetroProzac: CERA ignores 10 warning signposts of peak oil

Peak oil: the last skeptics

Commodity Strategists: Oil May Fall Below $50 in 2009

Experts: Azerbaijan can ensure its full energy independence

Asia Coal-to-Liquids Faces More than Cost Constraint

SINGAPORE - Countries looking at developing coal-to-liquids projects should be net energy importers with state backing, ideally with deregulated fuel prices and no carbon constraints as well as large coal and water resources, an executive said on Wednesday.

CHINA ENERGY WATCH: Allure of Oil Sands Hard to Resist

Canada's vast reserves of oil sands make it the promised land for countries worrying about their energy security, but a slow start by Chinese companies in breaking into the market has left them struggling to catch up with foreign rivals.

China sets sights on Canadian uranium

G20 in bid to avert energy crisis

MELBOURNE: Preventing China and India's rapid growth from destabilising global energy markets will head the agenda when the world's most powerful economic officials meet in Melbourne this weekend.

...[Australian Treasurer Peter] Costello said November 18-19 meeting's most pressing issue was ensuring world energy and commodity supplies remained secure so demand from China and India could be met without producing price shocks.

Houston Meeting Mulls Post-Castro Boon for US Oil Giants

The end of Fidel Castro's long reign could open the door for U.S. energy companies to return to Cuba, but the potential campaign is fraught with uncertainty, a University of Miami expert said Tuesday.

Norwegian investment blacklist includes Boeing

OSLO, Norway - What do Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Boeing Co., Honeywell International Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp. share along with being U.S.-based?

They're all corporations that have been put on a blacklist by a Norwegian state investment fund that aims to make the nation's huge oil wealth grow for the benefit of its citizens while making the world a better place.

Energy crisis isn’t going to resolve itself

Imagine, just for a moment, a world with no petroleum. Imagine how different daily life would be.

Many of the acts we take for granted become problematic if not impossible without petroleum. There would be no hopping in the car for a five-mile drive to the grocery store or turning a thermostat dial to fend off the cold.

Senator to push for more geothermal power

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who will be the chamber's majority leader once Democrats take control of Congress in 2007, said U.S. energy companies need more incentives to produce geothermal power, which uses heat pockets beneath the earth's surface to turn water to steam, powering turbines and generating electricity.

Making Ethanol from Wood Chips: One startup is scaling up experimental techniques to demonstrate the commercial potential of cellulosic ethanol.

Government to review oil royalties: Interior Department plans to review how it collects the fees for drilling on federal lands in response to outcries.

Oil industry sees Africa as most promising

America faces a future of managing imperial decline

Bush's failure to grasp the limits of US global power has led to an adventurism for which his successors will pay a heavy price.

Saudi Arabia - Global Energy Security

There is little reason to believe Saudi Arabia will run out of oil, will not meet its production goals, or has serious investment and oilfield management problems.

Big Oil headed for tougher Congress

NEW YORK - So far this year, 40 bills have been introduced in Congress about alleged gasoline price gouging. Twenty-one bills have addressed windfall profits by oil companies. Few have gotten past the press-release stage.

But next year, Big Oil is likely to feel as if it's wearing one of those "kick me" signs.

In 2nd coal rush, new mind-set in the mines

A new generation of miners is living the good life not seen here since coal was king.

Will India Come Out of the Cold?

Last year President Bush agreed to end the moratorium on nuclear trade with India, but the deal is running into trouble with the nuclear powers and the U.S. Congress.

Nigeria: Irate youths besiege PHCN office in Abakaliki

More than 100 youths (Tuesday) besieged the Abakaliki District office of PHCN protesting a one-month-old power outage in the Ogoja road area of the city.

Armed men attack Nigerian oil facility

LAGOS, Nigeria - Eleven armed men attacked a southern Nigeria oil facility owned by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC Wednesday, leaving two attackers dead, police officials said.

Oil prices rise on OPEC leader's warning

VIENNA, Austria - Oil prices rose Thursday, after the U.S. government reported that gasoline inventories had fallen for the fifth straight week and OPEC's president warned that the group may decide to further reduce output.

Honda's vision of the future -- a car powered by hydrogen

Climate talks timetable implies US could be out of Kyoto fold for years

White House sued for not doing report on warming

Environmental advocates sued the Bush administration Tuesday for ignoring a 2004 congressional deadline to report to lawmakers and the public on the latest research on global warming.

San Francisco: Peak Oil Hearing Scheduled Friday

San Francisco, CA November 13, 2006 - The second in a series of city hearings on peak oil will take place this Friday, November 17, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. in room #263 of San Francisco City Hall at a hearing of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo).

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: The Studies

Across the world governments are scrambling faster and faster preparing for the coming energy crisis. Delegations from China are everywhere making deals for a share of the soon-to-dwindle oil flow. Almost weekly there is a new announcement from Beijing regarding plans for more wind, solar and biofuels. Japan and Korea are looking for alternative sources of energy supply. Sweden is saying, flat out, that peak oil is coming and is making plans for a fossil fuel-less future.
Sometimes I cannot but help think that PO is long overdue:

12,000-mile trip to have seafood shelled

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:28am GMT 16/11/2006

A seafood firm was accused of "environmental madness" yesterday for choosing to send langoustines on a 12,000-mile round trip to Thailand to have their shells removed.
After the shellfish is caught in Scottish waters, it will be frozen and shipped to the Far East in containers, where it will be peeled by hand and sent back to Britain to be sold as scampi in supermarkets and restaurants.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=CTRI0ATL5IPBFQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/200 6/11/16/nprawn16.xml

Not quite unusual. Shrimps from the german north sea region are being shipped to Morocco for peeling since decades.

Though, that's a way of "only" 5000 miles or so ..

But next year, Big Oil is likely to feel as if it's wearing one of those "kick me" signs.

Sometimes, it is tough for me to figure out which party is the more clueless about energy policy. The answer from the Republicans is to explore and drill more. The answer from many Democrats is that we just need to switch to any one of many readily available alternatives. It seems that neither side grasps that a HUGE conservation push will be required before any measure can work, and I have yet to see a high profile politician out there stumping for electrification.

A great observation RR. Telling people they need to change their lifestyles is a surefire way to lose an election.
Not necessarily.  

By 2008 the economic symptoms of the energy crisis may be severe enough to wake up the Herd and they may appreciate the honesty and "the plan" - IF a credible leader steps forward instead of a slew of useless career politicians.

Typically the first step in the "waking up" process is striking out at the presumed responsible people. It is rarely a significantly inward gaze, as is needed.
Welcome back. How did the wild ruminants of Montana fare? :)
In a low EROEI move, he got a 4x4 and 200 lbs (90 kg) of meat.

All true, but misleading.

He did not "hunt the hunters' and take from a SUV, but got an 8 point buck with an excellent shot.


Kunstler's Daily Grunt from yesterday seems relevant here:


     "Hillary Clinton had no credible opposition. She could have said anything in her commercials, and what did she do? She came out against child molestors.

If you're going to spend $29 million to get re-elected against nobody, why not raise an issue that needs to be raised? She could easily have talked about energy and global warming, and probably won by an even bigger margin."


Maybe Hillary aware of but is very ignorant of the Energy problem - so she decided it's better to keep her mouth shut rather than open it and remove all doubt?

I think Hillary is aware of energy issues and GW, but speaking out against child molesters is about as non-controversial as it gets. With energy and GW there are counter-arguments to be made. Not so with child molestation.

We can't be decieved into believing senators aren't aware of energy issues and GW. We really have to make our government leaders more accountable and not just assume that since they aren't talking about these issues they must not be aware of them.

Tom A-B

Also she can get less corporate cash from those companies that oppose those ideas. Its all about the money for her. As a Democrat I will really fight against her being the nomination, right now I'm leaning to Wesley Clark, but I haven't investigated him on energy related issues more deeply. That might be an interesting post at some point, to figure out where all the presidential candidates in both parties are on these issues.

I'm assuming that you have written or talked to your congressional representatives and others about this problem. I'd be interested in hearing  your views about Schweickert and Tester, for that matter.  My respresentatives still seem clueless about how just mouthing their support of alternative fuels is not going to get the job done.  

Schewickert of Montana seems more knowledgeable that most, but I fear he is a bit too glib about the promise of coal to diesel with respect to its co2 sequstrations potential and its impact on Montana water supply.

Boxer will be conducting hearings on global warming. I hope this will yield some light on the fact that we have to quit harping on so called alternative energy as a magic bullet.  

The basic problem, however, is that people perceive conservation and efficiency as sacrifice.  We still operate under the Bushian paradigm that the American way of life is non negotiable. This means that any move to conservation is considered unacceptable.

It would be great is you or someone like you could testify when these issues come up.  Or maybe your company wouldn't be particularly wild about that.  


We still operate under the Bushian paradigm that the American way of life is non negotiable.

Such a 'tude goes back to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Doctrine

which stated that the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf region

While there is plenty to blame on Bush, All ills don't lead to Him.

I'm assuming that you have written or talked to your congressional representatives and others about this problem. I'd be interested in hearing  your views about Schweickert and Tester, for that matter.  My respresentatives still seem clueless about how just mouthing their support of alternative fuels is not going to get the job done.

I have spoken/written to several of them. Most of them state their concern, but they don't show any passion for the issue.

I think Schweitzer really cares about energy issues, but I think he is really deluded about coal to liquids. That is a very capital intensive, environmentally unfriendly option (even if it would provide economic stimulus to Montana, which is a big reason he is behind it). Tester ticked me off during his campaign, because he jumped on the "Big Oil is behind all of your problems" bandwagon. One of his campaign workers came to my home, and I confronted him about it. He said "It isn't personal." I said "For me it is."  

I was told last night "The bugs are going to get you before your peak oil does" Maine had its first confirmed case of vancomycin resistant staph  yesterday. The CDC is all over it.
They aren't unrelated, IMO.  

I got a flu shot yesterday, for $20.  Disposable plastic syringe with steel needle, wrapped in crisp plastic packaging.  Used once, for me, and thrown away.

In some countries, people bring their own needles if they need medical care, because otherwise, you'll be stuck with needles that have been used on countless other patients, and not necessarily sterilized between uses.


Since I think hard about peak oil I try to understand the relationship between our health standards, medical practices, economic status and limitation of growth through the physico-economical restriction of the flow of oil.

In France for example, the effect is already visible in every sector of our health system. As poverty spreads fast among our people, our social security system is put at an extrem strain, pushing it close to collapse. The pharmacological firms invest less and less, innovations are close to zero. In hospitals less doctors and nurses are available. From October to December some medicines aren't available any more. In rural areas, doctors are fleeing the sector, soaring energy prices beeing among the motives for leaving the countryside. In France fees for doctors are fixed so they feel more and more the weight of the gasoline prices on their income, and more so since the number of doctors decrease. This is a real worrysome down spiral.

I fear that the medical sector will on of the first to suffer from peak-oil.

I think you hit one of the biggest issues with peak oil.

The overall effect is to first stop economic growth then cause a continuous recession unless the world economy moves away from oil. But I think you have just nailed the biggest social effect. Our welfare programs are very dependent on growth and the associated taxes. In a world were most people are poorer every year the social programs will unravel quickly leaving the poor in the same position they where in the 1920's.
Russia went through this with the collapse of the Soviet Union and they still have not recovered. Oil money is the only thing keeping Russia out of chaos.

Second and Third world countries are decreasing gasoline/NG gas subsidies.

Sad thing is, even with a shrinking pie, if we had a sensible progressive (not regressive) tax structure and sensible social security plans, there would still be enough to maintain a decent standard of living for everyone. Instead we have a situation analagous to the one of declining oil fields and increasing consumption. The rich are getting more disgustingly rich, taking ever larger proportions of the shrinking pie.
I work in the mental health field. The new regs are  that for  all medicare  recipients benefits wise you only get 'short term therapy'( this includes  most persons with severe mentally  illness) + meds so if you don't have caregivers that will get you in when in trouble you will probably end up in the hospital before I know it( doctor or ARNP might catch increasing symptoms). 15 years ago the standard was a goal of  decrease no. of hospital days from last year with no regs + casemanagers that could go into the home. And yes at times it could have been done more efficiently. But yes social services is coming apart at the seams NOW. We have had layoffs 2 of 4years & that is not quantifying the services we have cut- just our jobs.
The health system is extremely vulnerable to peak oil. ASPO Australia has looked at the issue from the perspectives of both hospital and community service delivery. Our submissions to the Australian Senate inquiry into oil supplies can be found here.
Recent discussion on the impact of peak oil on public health can be found here, on the blog of my colleague, Dr Paul Roth.

We are keen to develop contacts with any health professionals around the globe who share our concerns about PO and the future of healthcare.  Dr Roth can be contacted via his blog and I can be contacted either via the ASPO Australia website or my email which is on my TOD profile.

Dr Jim Barson
Convenor, Health Sector Working Group, ASPO Australia

The re-used needle issue is likely what is behind China's huge incidence of serum hepititis (and AIDS).

My wife has been an RN for 30 years and tells the story of a small rural hospital where she worked in the 70's. Disposable medical equipment was becoming the rule everywhere at that point. This hospital took dumptruck loads of re-usable stainless steel tools and equipment, that would be replaced with disposable stuff, and dumped it down an old mine hole. Difficult to counter this type of economic pressure.

From what I recall (saw some news stories a while back) there is a lot of blood "donation" going on in China.  Basically poor people selling their blood, and the places that take the blood have sanitary practices that aren't exactly to be admired (i.e. re-using needles).  There were reports of whole villages infected with HIV.
We had it at my hospital (Ukiah, CA) this past spring. We see a lot of MRSA, Methacillin resistant. This is one step beyond....evolution in action.
There are infectious disease specialists who say it is not a matter of if, but when these bugs have total resistance. We are then back to pre-penicillin days when an ordinary wound can kill.  
If the deep pessimists are right and air travel essentially will stop we will get a small positive effect out of that. The spread of the resistant bacteria from the mismanaged countries will slow down unless people get so poor that they start to flee.

It is possible to slow down the evolution of resistant bacteria by not using any antibiotics in cattle feed, avoid making antibiotics freely available to the public, not treating benign infections with antibiotics, strongly encourage to follow thru with all the pills in a cure and rotating the use of different antibiotics over time in sufficiently large regions. It wont solve the problem but it can or rather could have bought decades that could have been used for resarch into new kinds of antibiotics. Perhaps the development of resistant bacteria still can be slowed down.

Maximizing the use of antibiotics makes sense as a short term way of increasing manufacturing revenue but it kills the product and people in the long term.

I think you have highlighted exactly the problem we face, not just in regards to antibiotics but with the entire social structure of modernity. For example, you suggest that we "avoid making antibiotics freely available to the public." This is a common sense proposal but a real b*&#! to implement. We have come to think that a cold is an "illness" or "disease" and is thus to be "treated." This isn't just the result of pharmaceutical company marketing, it is the way we think about our health in the modern world. So, the patient goes to the doctor demanding something for their illness. Nevermind that what they probably have is a virus and won't be touched by the antibiotic. But the patient demands, the doctor is overworked and it's easier to write the prescription than to argue. The patient is happy because they've got their pill (and pills are what cures, right?).

Where do you break this cycle? Until we break every step of these associations (i.e., that a cold is an illness, that an illness is to be treated, that treatment is pharmacetical) we aren't going to reach the goal of keeping antibiotics from being freely available.

  This is something that a broad campaign through all healthcare providers as well as telivision and highschool needs to be communicated to the public.  A contract welder on my rig never wears his respirator and his sinuses get clogged up and inflamed.  He comes to me and says he wants antibiotics.  Very few pathogens have a pill that fixes them much better than supporting the patient and letting the illness run its course.  I spent twenty minutes explaining allergies versus viral colds and flu versus a bacterial infection.  He looked at me and asked "so can I have antibiotics?"  LOL

Most drug resistant antibiotics come from the meat industry and nursing homes where large numbers are pumped regulary into human or bovine petri dishes.

For a peak oil note if TSHTF most of these strains will die out.  The people will get them then get better or die.  Since nobody will be traveling great distances or very often the rate of transmission will drop.  Treated diseases like AIDS and TB will rapidly overcome a patient untreated (especially if they are undernourished or stressed.)

All in all the medical system is broken as are patients with a burger king have it your way attitude, if one doctor does not prescribe he loses a patient to the one that will (not just antibiotics, narcotics too)


I can't tell you how many times I've heard variations on your story. I'm skeptical that a "public awareness" campaign would have much impact, though. It's our model of health/illness  that is at the root of the problem, and the bulk of our medical professionals are believers in that model.
You just need a supply of sugar pills or aspirin tablets.
They'd be just as effective as the antibiotics. That is the patient would feel a lot better.
Placebos work well but if a patient thinks they are getting an antibiotic and are charged for sugar pills is that ethical?  A benefit of my job is I have lots of time with each patient.  So I work a lot on education.  I download stuff from webmd and explain their meds to them.  I think MD's should make house calls and now the names of their patients when they see their patients.  :(

Medicine sucks sometimes......it should not be about money but it is.

 He looked at me and asked "so can I have antibiotics?"

Did you end up giving him any?

Nope.  I always tell my patient what I think and if they don't like it I have a medical director who is a real doctor and he invariably backs our play.  If the patient wants candy they have the option of leaving the rig.  I am extremely aggressive in my patient care, if there is anything I think will help I do it or suggest it to my director.

Doing what is right for the patient is not always what they want.  

What would Hothgar do?
Dude, that was just wrong.  Please don't do it again.
Hothgar would realize quickly that he is expected to step in for Jesus here. He would reallize this is a goof, secure all marijuana in his vacinity, start smoking some of it, and then proceed to help his constituents secure their base. Then he would would step back and await further orders. That is what he would do.
Yes, this Pale Horse (one of the four horsies of the Apocalypse) has been working on probing our AntiMicrobial Defenses for a few decades now.

There are many companies working on vaccines and new antibiotics for antibiotic-resistant staph, as well as numerous other microbes.  In an energy-starving post-peak world I think resources for research (biomedical or otherwise) will dwindle and the Microbes will win.  

Culling Homo Sap by disease may be more "humane" and more democratic than war or starvation.

Another set of checkboxes for a seriously prepaired nation state.
Need quarantene camps with very good hygene for environmental refugees.
Need police force to get envronmental refugeees to the camps.
Need lab capacity to sort people into groups to minimize spread of disease in the camps.

The alternative with an unprepaired nation state could get very ugly fairly fast. :-(

I think we have been working (below the MSM's radar) on most of the above.

I don't think many "nation states" will survive this.  

Big Brother isn't even in control anymore

(psssst, someone tell DannyBoy Yerginz as well as the Nuclear Optimists Club - the world is not a test-tube where they control all of the variables.

No one has control either "Aboveground" or Belowground...

Wave Riders mistaking themselves for Wave Makers (apologies to David Hackett Fischer if I mangle his words)).

War has never been very successful at reducing population significantly. Even World War Two, while killing over 10% of the population of Germany, Russia and a handful of other nations, the overall impact was relatively small 62 million out of 2.3 billion (estimated 1940 world population)- or about 2.7% of the planet.
Conventional War has never been effective.  

God help us if we go the other way.

It's all about population!

Not always. The thirty year war (1618-1648) is said to have reduced Germany's population by a third.

Germany than resembled Iraq nowadays.  

Yes, but you are looking at only an isolated area. The thirty year war had little impact on global population.

Now the black death, that was a population reducer.

VRE and MRSA are really killing a lot of people out there and need more attention. So far Zyvox is the only thing that can really stop them. Bacteria are very, very fit and adaptable to pretty much any environment. Over a long enough timeline, we might start to see regular folks dying of infections that we once used to be able to treat. Peak antibiotics?

Of course the real cure is again not in the laboratory but in good infection control policies in hospitals, nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

Last night, just before dress rehearsal, I was idly chatting with another actor. I don't even remember what we were talking about, but I said something about "We're running out of energy," and he just stared at me and said, "How do you know about that?"

He came to Peak Oil through some link to LATOC, has read Heinberg and has heard of Simmons. I told him about Roscoe Bartlett's conference, TOD, Energy Bulletin, etc. I'm bringing him some links tonight. Maybe he'll show up here.

Oh, this is the show:

Before rehearsal, I had two interviews in a large city. One firm was in a brand new 17 story building in what must have been some sort of industrial yard. It was surrounded by temporary parking, and there was a low building with a health club, a restaurant/bar and some shops. After my interview, the architects gestured to where all the low rise buildings would surround the high-rise and fill out the "campus." I was intrigued because I know that chain of clubs tend to have active masters swim programs, but it seemed sort of isolated from the rest of the city. I read later that they call this development a city within the city.

My second interview was on an old street just outside the city center.  The streets were lined with mostly three story rowhouses. Across the street was a church, a small bookstore, a fortune teller and a bike shop :-). Down a few blocks were restaurants, a sub shop (I had a deliciously unhealthy gyro), a tailor(!) and lots of other shops.

Of course, what happens within the office is far more important to my decision where to work, but the in-city location was much more intriguing than the frankly suburban city-within-a-city.

From the Washington Post:

Analysts fear Iraq chaos will inflame entire Middle East

BAGHDAD, Iraq - While American commanders have suggested that civil war is possible in Iraq, many leaders, experts and ordinary people in Baghdad and around the Middle East say it is already underway, and that the real worry ahead is that the conflict will destroy the flimsy Iraqi state and draw in surrounding countries.
I wonder if this fits into CERA's geopolitical planz.  
Apparently, they don't deal with above the ground problems, too depressing!
When CERA says everything They Project depends on "geopolitics, technology, economics" it is their way of saying, "From now on All bets are off..."

It is that simple.

IIRC this is why Bush 41 declined to march on Baghdad 15 years ago.
Interesting how conventional knowledge recycles as news.
Daddy knows best:

Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under the circumstances, there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different -- and perhaps barren -- outcome.

- George H. W. Bush, 1998

Sounds eerily prescient, doesn't it?  

GHWB may also be another "English Patient" but who knew we'd miss his thoughtfulness.  

Not to worry, the well-known Middle East expert Ehud Olmert has just told Americans that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has had a positive impact on the stability and security of the whole area. If you cannot trust the Israeli prime minister, whom can you trust?
Message from another forum


1. Streetcar vs Bus Operating Cost Comparsion
    Posted by: "Bill Robb" bill937ca@yahoo.ca bill937ca

Light Rail Now has a comparsion of streetcar versus bus operating costs using comparative data provided by Portland Streetcar Inc. in Portland, Oregon.


Portland Streetcar Inc reports that  a streetcar attracts 30-50% more ridership than a bus.  Comparsions are give for a four milecirculator (like Portland Streetcar) and for an
eight mile line haul route.

In both cases the streetcar comes out ahead on a cost per passenger mile even though carrying 30% more passengers than the bus line.

Although capital costs are far higher for streetcar lines, buses have shorter economic lives (18 years in Ontario, but significantly less in the US) versus 30-40 for streetcars
with a mid-term rebuild.  Also buses generally receive hidden subsidies from public works budgets covering street paving.

All this seems to support the long time TTC [Toronto Transit] contention that buses are more suited to short feeders with moderate traffic levels and streetcars are appropriate for intense traffic on line haul routes.

Bill Robb

Today we celebrate the extension of the Denver light rail line way ahead of the original schedule. Free rides for everyone!!
Congratulations !! :-)

Well run agency with aggressive plans (117 or 119 miles total system from memory).

Denver ranks with Salt Lake City and just behind Miami is aggressive, funded plans that will transform the metro area in the coming decades.

I am puzzled by one element of the Denver plans.  They are Light Rail in a 180 degree arc centered on the south (basically from East to West) and are commuter rail (diesel except to airport) on the northern half circle.

Why the dichotomy ?

Thanks & Kudos !


Alan, you are a verifiable encyclopedia on rail transit happenings - thank you!

Regarding Miami's Metro-Rail - in a recent post you mentioned how underutilized tbe systen has historically been.  An explanation may be required for your readers.  In "Suburban Nation", New Urbanism founders Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk write this:

"In 1985, Miami built its elevated Metro-Rail transit system at a cost of $1.3 billion.  Visitors often ask why it serves neither Miami International Airport nor Miami Beach, two of the city's most common destinations.  It turns out that Metro-Rail's ultimate trajectory was strongly influenced by the city's taxi lobby, which had everything to gain from making the system as useless as possible....".  

There you go - the politicos caved to a special interest group, prventing the system from achieving its full potential.  Could you elaborate on its forthcoming expansion and whether the airport and Miami Beach will finally be connected?  Thanks again.

Dirt is flying or will soon fly on a 3 mile extension (no intermediate stops) of Miami Metrorail to the "Miami Intermodal Center".  Phase I of an East-West Metrorail Line (Phase II by 2016).

MIC is/will be connected to the airport by a "people mover".

MIC is also the Southern Terminus of Amtrak, Tri-Rail (commuter rail to Ft. Lauderdale & West Palm Beach), Greyhound, all the car rental agencies, and some city bus lines.  TriRail already has another xfer to Metrorail further north, so MIC will see few Tri-Rail to Metrorail xfers.

Miami Beach does not want MetroRail (ruins our character, i.e. wrong people).  Some talk & plans of a streetcar link to Metrorail & Miami CBD (likely IMHO, but after 2016).

Also in process is a Metrorail Line North to Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County border.

Best Hopes,


Andres Duany is the planner for the French Quarter and went against reducing Rampart from 4 traffic lanes to 2 traffic lanes, 2 bike lanes and 2 streetcar tracks (my plan that had everyone on board pre-Katrina).  He also wanted 5 story parking garages inside the French Quarter.

Best Hopes for Old Urbanism, not this "new" crap


There is still the problem of obstruction - one shuts down the system for as long as it lasts!
I am not as Science inclined as I believe I am so can someone read this article about wireless energy transfer and tell me if it's for real?


US researchers have outlined a relatively simple system that could deliver power to devices such as laptop computers or MP3 players without wires.

The concept exploits century-old physics and could work over distances of many metres, the researchers said.

Think microwave ovens. Then turn your house into one big one, charging your electric toothbrush, mobile phone, mouse, electric screwdriver.

Just don't try and sue someone 20 years later when all evidence of such power transmitting devices causes an upswing in cancer rates!


Point Noted.

Also, there's a TON of articles to skim through.  Great job Leanan!

Old news. Wireless electricity was invented by This Guy over a century ago.

But on the whole, it sounds like a stupid idea to me, too. Probably less than 10% of the radio frequency power gets to the targeted device, and the rest of it just further pollutes the environment. Kinda like living under a high voltage transmission line.

Making Ethanol from Wood Chips: One startup is scaling up experimental techniques to demonstrate the commercial potential of cellulosic ethanol.

I did an interview this week for a major publication, and I was quizzed about cellulosic ethanol. I won't reveal too many details, because I don't want to scoop the guy's story. But he asked about the amount of biomass that would be required to run a small 35 million gallon per year plant. I am detailing my calculations in an essay, but the bottom line was a requirement of the equivalent of 650,000 mature Douglas firs PER YEAR to run this small facility, which would displace about 0.016% of our annual gasoline consumption.

The conversions used were those reported by Iogen in their large-scale cellulosic ethanol trial. You could probably get by on half that much biomass with a gasification process, but it does put into perspective one of the major challenges of scaling up cellulosic ethanol. This is why I always tell people that cellulosic ethanol plants need to be located near a massive source of waste biomass - like an enormous landfill. It is not clear to me that you will be able to supply these plants by growing biomass each year.

Do you happen to know  the energy source used to process the ethanol..??



That's an important point, and one that I note in my essay. The displacement of 0.016% of our gasoline was not on a net basis. It does not include the fuel required to harvest the biomass, transport it to the facility, grind it up, or transport the uncoverted biomass to a disposal facility. Nor does it include the natural gas requirements for the distillation. Since the fermentation beer from cellulosic biomass is only about 4%, the energy requirements for the distillation will be large. It is possible that there is no net energy gain, but until some large scale trials are underway, we won't know for sure.
Robert, what about the bagasse from sugar cane as a cellulose source? Use the sugar cane juice for rum, I mean ethanol and the bagasse for cellulistic ethanol?
Sugarcane bagasse is used as a source of heat and electricity in Brazilian cogen EtOH plants.  Excess electricity is sold back into the grid.

Ultimately, it will be possible to convert said bagasse into EtOH proper via an enzymatic or thermo-chemical production path - I prefer the latter for many reasons.

Said scenario is a very good example of how 1st generation technology will eventually be complemented by 2nd and 3rd gen processes.

I have to agree with Syntec that you are far better off burning the bagasse. Combustion is efficient. Fermentation, especially of biomass, isn't.

Since the fermentation beer from cellulosic biomass is only about 4%, the energy requirements for the distillation will be large.


I'm having trouble parsing this sentence correctly.
Are you saying that you only get 4% ABV (alcohol by volume) from fermentation?

With traditional grain fermentation you can get up to the high teens (16-17%ABV) with the correct yeast.
Homebrewers get close to that all the time when making barely wines, or grape wines. I've got homemade beer sitting in my fridge at 8% and the yeast didn't even break a sweat.

But then again I though that cellulosic ethanol was completely different than grain ethanol and didn't rely of fermentation.

Are you saying that you only get 4% ABV (alcohol by volume) from fermentation?

From a cellulosic fermentation, yes. You get only about 1/4th of the alcohol content of a corn ethanol fermentation.

I didn't know it was so low.

What's the great advantage of cellulosic ethanol if the resulting abv is so low compared to grain fermentation?

Think large scales...

There are WAY more sources of biota for cellulistic ethanol when compared to corn or even sugar cane.  4% doesn't really matter when you have a few billion tons to work with.

Is there anything you're not an expert in?
I'm not pretending to be an expert.
Then why are you posting an uninformed comment on a topic you know nothing about?
I suppose you know everything about it?
Nope, very little.

Then again,
I asked a question about it.
You posted an gratuitous(and incorrect) comment about it.

You are wrong about that. The lower the concentration of alcohol, the more energy it takes to get it out. At some point, you are putting in as much energy as the energy content of the alcohol. I know from experience that 4% is not far above that point. If I recall correctly, 3% alcohol is the break even on energy for just the distillation portion. I know in the alcohol plant I previously worked in, a 3% solution was sent to wastewater treatment.
I suppose it depends on what % of ethanol is required for transportation.  There have been many attempts to design a fuel cell that works with ethanol.  Most of the distillation energy is spent trying to push ethanol from 95% pure to 99% pure 'ICE quality', or at least thats what I recall reading.

Take a look at this article.  Not only is platinum not used as a catalyst, but its roughly 3x as efficient at extracting energy out of Ethanol when compared to burning it.  Not only that, but the ethanol doesn't have to be pure: it can contain fairly large amounts of water!

Surely the EROEI matrix is vastly improved when taking this into account.

Regardless, I think Ethanol is a very bad alternative to turn too.


He said distillation not transportation

er crap.

Read that too fast. Misunderstood the post.

I retract the above comment.

Rethin, your reading skills are apparently exceeded by a vast quantity of 3rd graders.  He specifically says:

"the lower the concentration of alcohol, the more energy it takes to get it out."

Now please, pay attention for more then a few seconds.  It takes an enormous amount of energy to purify ethanol so that it is suitable for transportation use.  Ethanol is now being blended with gasoline to form Gasohol.  Gasoline will mix with ethanol if there is little to no water present.  In order for ethanol to be blended with gasoline 'E10 to E85' or be used purely 'E100' the total water content of ethanol must not exceed around 1% 'perhaps this is too optimistic.'  

When water is present in Gasohol 'E10 to E85' it causes the ethanol to separate from the gasoline, which then damages your engine.  Because of this, ethanol must arrive at a mixing plant virtually water free.  As such, ethanol can not be transported via pipelines because of the water issues.

So let me repeat what we just learned:

It takes an enormous amount of energy to remove enough water from ethanol so that it can be used in a car engine.

This kills the EROEI of ethanol from corn.  In fact, the lions share of energy depletion occurs at this stage of the process.  Using an ethanol fuel cell allows us to circumvent this energy sink, as ethanol purity as low as 60% can be used.  When you cut out a massive portion of the energy invested, the energy return is far greater.  This is why some people hope we can use cellulistic sources of ethanol in the future.

You don't have to have a PhD to figure this out: there is a wealth of information available on the internet that is at your disposal.  Please exercise your googleing abilities and take a look once in a while before shooting your mouth off.

Pleasant as always Hothgar.

I'll assume you missed my redaction above.

I misunderstood your post.
Therefore my reply makes no sense.
Please disregard it.

I noticed your retraction after I posted.  My apologies for being such an ass.
4% to 65% ethanol still takes a lot of energy to distill.

And now you "assume" an economic ethanol fuel cell as part of the solution.


Doesn't really matter.
The question was what was the advantages of cellulose vs grain ethanol.

The answer was none because you have to go from 4%abv to 16%abv and use 4x as much source material just to get even with grain ethanol.

Wether you have a magical ethanol fuel cell or not cellulose ethanol is a loser.

Hothgar's comment is a complete non-sequitor.

Rethin, were talking about using corn to make ethanol, and consequently not be able to feed a sizable portion of the world, as opposed to using any organic feedstock such as wood chips to make the same ethanol.

The ONLY way your claim has any merit would be for corn to make up 20% of the worlds total biota 'a 4 to 1 ratio'.  Fortunately, corn ethanol, specifically ethanol from corn kernels, is probably something like 0.000001% of the available biota resources in the USA alone.

With numbers like that, you can probably commercialize cellulistic ethanol 'even at only 4% conversion' and still produce a hell of a lot more ethanol from that process then you could from corn alone.  Not to mention it would cost a lot less.


You said ethanol was a bad idea.
Why are you arguing with everyone?

Nobody was talking about food supplies. We were talking about EROEI on ethanol sources.

And Yes your post about a magical ethanol fuel cell is still a complete non sequitor because it has nothing to do with the source of the ethanol (grain or cellulose). And that was the topic being discussed and the topic you disputed. It doesn't matter if you make ethanol from squeezing leprechauns. Your magical ethanol fuel cell would save exactly the same amount of energy.

I still contend you have no idea what you are talking about. You just like making noise.
You took a nice simple exchange between RR and me and turned it into a giant flamewar.
Congratulations. Mission accomplished.

It isn't a magic Ethanol Fuel Cell.  Do you even bother to read articles?  There have been working ethanol fuel cells for at least 2 years now.  That doesn't mean they are economical and can be used in cars, it simply means people are working on some innovated approaches to squeezing more energy out of ethanol then burning it allows us too.

Since you are incapable of connected the dots, I will go over this again as clearly as possible:  it takes an enormous amount of energy to distill ethanol.  Every BTU of energy used to remove water from ethanol lowers its EROEI.  When you are talking about purifying ethanol to 99%, you are using almost as much energy in the process as the ethanol contains.

The fuel cell allows you to use only 60% pure ethanol to create electricity.  Not only that, but it produces 3x as much energy that it would if simply burned in a car engine.  Because it takes vastly less energy to purify ethanol to 60% then it does to 99%, the EROEI skyrockets.

E85 @ 99% = 1.17 EROEI
Ethanol @ 60% = 5? EROEI

I suspect you would get about 5x as much EROEI if you only had to purify it to 60% for use in a fuel cell.  Perhaps RR could provide a more exact measurement for this comparison.

You are only saving energy going from 60->99% abv.
You still have to get to 60%abv. It doesn't matter if the source is corn, switch grass or lerchauns.

cellulose   4%abv
Grain       16%abv
Leprechauns 30%abv

4 -> 60 -> 99
  yBTU  xbtu
16 -> 60 -> 99
  zBTU   xbtu
30 ->60 -> 99
  mBTU  xbtu

Does that make sense? To go from 60 to 99%abv you need x number of BTU's. To go from 4 to 60 you need y number of BTUs. 16 to 60 z btu's and 30 to 60 m btus's.

A magical ethanol fuel cell only saves you energy on the 60 to 99 %abv distillation or x BTU's.

As you can see Leprechauns are by far the best source of ethanol only needing M BTU's before you can use the magical fuel cell. While Cellulose needs far more BTU's. Y > M. Grain is a nice compromise. Especially considering how hard Leprechauns are to catch.

You save X BTU's using a magical fuel cell reguardless of the source (grain, cellulose or leprechauns). Since the topic begin discussed was what was the best source of ethanol considering EROEI your post was and sill is a non-sequitor.

After wading through your dribbling rant, I feel compelled to actually bring to this argument numbers, not leprechauns.

From M. KING HUBBERT CENTER FOR PETROLEUM SUPPLY STUDIES, it takes 74,300 BTUs to ferment/distillate ethanol from corn.  The study didn't specifically break down how much is used in each process, but for the sake of fairness, lets assume it takes exactly half that value to distillate ethanol from the residual water content.

74,300 / 2 = 37150 BTUs

As already discussed here, it takes roughly as much energy to distillate ethanol from 16% to 95% as it does from 95% to 99%.

16% to 95% = 18575 BTUs

We will have to assume then that it takes roughly 55% of that BTU to go from 16% to 60%.  'It will probably take much less then 55%, but I'm just being ultra conservative.  55% might be close to the figure for 4% to 60% however'

95 - 16 = 79
79 - 35 = 44
44 / 79 = 55%

18575 * 0.55 = 10216 BTUs.

Since ethanol contains approximately 76,000 BTUs of stored energy:

10216 / 76000 = 13.44% '60% pure'
37150 / 76000 = 48.88% '99% pure'

37150 - 10216 = 26,934 BTUs saved over conventional distillation practices.

Only a Leprechaun could believe this value of energy savings isn't important.

NOTE:  I was using a linear relationship for my calculations.  In reality, it would work on an exponential curve.
I assume that you have taken Physical Chemistry I & II ?

I have, and I remember vaguely (long enough for the test) that there was a jump in energy required at 95% ethanol, 5% water.

But I do not remember the 4% to 95% being exponential.

I trust "facts" claimed by Hothgor less than any other poster.

Do you have some sort of link ?


Are you being purposely obtuse?!?

You would save that energy regardless of the source.

Source       Energy saved
corn             26,934 BTUs
cellulose        26,934 BTUs
leprechauns      26,934 BTUs

I didn't say a magical ethanol fuel cell wouldn't save an important amount of energy. I said it saves the same amount of energy regardless of the ethanol source. This is because it takes the same amount of energy to distilate ethanol from 60%abv to 99%abv if it is grain, cellulose or leprechaun ethanol.

You know nothing about ethanol, the process or the energy required. You are being intentionally obtuse just to start/continue an argument.

You are just trolling. I should have known better than to keep responding to you. I am ashamed.

TODers I apologize for this. I have helped Hothgar waste bandwidth and your time. I have helped Hothgar make TOD a less pleasant place to be. I am sorry.

I won't respond anymore.

Jesus tap dancing Christ, Rethin.

The entire point is that if you use a fuel cell, you don't need to waste the energy required to distillate ethanol from 60% to 99%, as the fuel cell can use 60% pure ethanol while gasohol requires 99% pure ethanol.  Please understand this fact is independent of the source of Ethanol.  It doesn't matter where it comes from.

PLEASE tell me you understand that.

I'm not assuming anything.  I said before I think ethanol is a nonstarter because we cant possibly feed the world and produce enough of it to power our vehicles.

BUT, it's actually very low energy intensive to purify ethanol to that %.  Now, I could be wrong, but I believe it takes as much energy to purify ethanol to 95% as it does to go from 95% to 99%+.  This is a huge net savings.

Again, it could work, but not when there are 6.5 billion mouths to feed at present.  

We would need some advances in cellulistic ethanol production and a few years for the economies of scale to come into effect.  Unfortunately, the catalyst used currently is Rhodium, which is one of the rarest platinum group metals on the planet.  Commercially, only 20 tons of it are produced each year, 80% of which comes from South Africa.  You can get Rhodium from nuclear waste, but it requires waiting 20 years before its safe to handle and you only get 400g per metric ton.

Ok so I'll jump in...

You've touched on a very cool subject that has yet to really be discussed here on TOD; the option of using ethanol and higher order alcohols as a source of energy for hydrogen fuel cells.  Heretofore, I have posted on the potential of bio-hybrids albeit with ethanol as a liquid fuel replacement for gasoline matched with a hybrid engine - I suspect that the former will likely come about as the evolution of the latter.

True, of all the energy sinks in corn ethanol production fermentation/distillation are large, however, roughly 50% of the energy utilized is attributable to the fertilizer applied to corn crops while fermentation/distillation can be easily mitigated with cogen production processes as practised by Panda, E3, Okanogan and others.

Rhodium catalysts work well but so do others and if you've read my preious posts here at TOD, you would note that the food vs. fuel concern as it relates to ethanol production, is very much a myth.

RR (or other informed: commenters),

Sorry this was threadjacked by Hothgar.

I'm still a little fuzzy about the touted benefits of cellulose ethanol. If the ABV yields are so low (close to break even) what it the advantage over grain ethanol?

A disconnect is that so many people don't understand the problems, and so they assume with just a few incremental improvements, vast amounts of biomass will be turned into ethanol. The perceived advantage is that biomass can be grown on many more acres than corn, and so the ultimate yields are perceived to be greater. But there are a great many challenges that are handwaved away.
The perceived advantage is ...

In other words there is no real advantages only perceived advantages.

Thanks RR for the always informative and informed posts.

The more I learn about PO and FF alternatives the more I just want to go home and drink that 8%ABV homebrew in my fridge <sigh>

In other words there is no real advantages only perceived advantages.

As of today, that is certainly correct. Otherwise, everyone would be scrambling to build cellulosic ethanol facilities. The great hope is that technical breakthroughs will eventually push it solidly to viability, but I am skeptical. At the moment, the gulf is vast.

In welcoming ethanol producers to the energy game you've often noted that said producers will be subject to the market fluctuations similar to those faced by oil companies and I agree.

And like oil companies, ethanol producers are also subject to the same market principles i.e. will the market price of the end product cover the costs of producing it profitably.

As such, subsidies are often requested of governing bodies to offset the 'known unknowns' of a particular project - say offshore deepwater drilling for example.

In your opinion then -and upon the level playing field which ethanol producers are welcomed to share with the oil companies- would you say that the subsidies alloted oil companies are equal to, less than or more than those alloted cellulosic ethanol producers?

In your opinion then -and upon the level playing field which ethanol producers are welcomed to share with the oil companies- would you say that the subsidies alloted oil companies are equal to, less than or more than those alloted cellulosic ethanol producers?

On a per gallon basis, ethanol subsidies are certainly much higher. We are talking about direct subsidies, not something like trying to figure out how much military expenditures to allocate as an oil subsidy. Furthermore,  such oil subsidies are also indirect ethanol subsidies as long as ethanol relies heavily on fossil fuels.

650,000! Yikes!
Doug Fir is one of the most versatile and useful conifers. It would be a travesty to turn that big a chunk of the (probably unsustainable) harvest into SUV juice.

Trivia fact: Doug fir, on a weight basis, has higher heat content than Hickory. Terrific firewood, burns very cleanly.

Iceland is in the process of breeding Douglas Fir for Icelandic conditions.

They found that DF from a certain area of northern British Columbia could struggle and survive in some areas of Iceland.  So they collected from 16 different sites in that area and planted 30 to 50 seedling from eash collection site at each of five climatic zone "breeding plots".  Each year or two, they go through and cull out the seedlings that are not doing so well (those that nature did not kill).

They plan to select a dozen or a half dozen survivors from each plot (about 600 seedlings in each), let them interbreed and then plant the offspring for another selective breeding program. (Some controlled breeding between the 5 plots as well)

They may have something useful by then, but they will repeat a third time even if seeds from the second generation are being widely planted.

All the while GW is changing the climate.

Best Hopes,


A couple of years back I did the calculation on the complete replacement of US gasoline using celluosic biomass as the source.  I'll have to dig out the data I used, but I recall my estimate of biomass replacement was something like 3 tons/ha/yr.

Even allowing for some very optimistic chemistry (and the fact that you are slogging through alot of water), eventually it took twice the land area of the US to grow enough to sustain the consumption from a couple of years ago.  Granted, you have a vast initial mass, but not every hectare is avaialble for "production."  

Maybe I ought to dust off those calcs.  

I would be interested in seeing your calculations. I have to admit I was shocked by the numbers I came up with.
Iogen cannot use softwood as a feedstock.
650,000 may sound like a lot but...

Canada alone has 401 million ha of forest of which some 294 million ha is commercially viable.

Douglas fir per hectare runs on average 500-1000 trees however Douglas fir doesn't grow everywhere so lets use BC as an example having roughly 60 million ha of forest.

Using Robert's calculations, a 35mmgy EtOH plant using enzymatic fermentation, would need to secure 1000 ha per year (650 trees per ha) from a resource base of 60 million ha or 30,000,000,000 - 60,000,000,000 trees.

Give or take.

Using Robert's calculations, a 35mmgy EtOH plant using enzymatic fermentation, would need to secure 1000 ha per year (650 trees per ha) from a resource base of 60 million ha or 30,000,000,000 - 60,000,000,000 trees.

It's not so much the resource base, it is how far the biomass must travel to reach the ethanol plant. The more biomass that is required, the worse the EROEI since it take more fuel to transport the far away biomass.

You could probably grow the Doug fir on a 50 year rotation, so you would need 50,000 hectares more or less, to sustain the plant (about 125,000 acres for those of us in the US).  You could get that into an 8 mile radius from the plant.  That assumes you could massively clearcut what you need--not likely anywhere in the US, but maybe in Canada.  
Yeah I know... I was just having some fun.
And if you're making deer jerky send some my way =]
China 'unblocks' Wikipedia site

The Chinese-language version of the website was reported to be fully accessible this week.

The press freedom group Reporters without Borders praised the bosses of Wikipedia, who they said had "always refused to go in for self-censorship".

Other internet giants have been criticised for censoring their services or complying with strict Chinese rules.

Wikipedia - which allows users to add to and edit the website's information - was becoming increasingly popular in China until it was blocked in late 2005.

China has strict laws on internet use and blocks content it deems a threat, including references to the Tiananmen Square massacre and notable dissidents.

It also blocks the BBC News website.

'Neutral view'

Critics say global internet firms such as Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have compromised their principles, justifying this by saying it was the only way to gain access to China's fast-growing market.

"The Wikipedia example proves the contrary," the Paris-based Reporters without Borders said.

"The Chinese government is pragmatic and does not want to do without foreign businesses in the internet sector. There is obviously room for negotiation for the US companies."

A Chinese-American former academic and Wikipedia specialist, Andrew Lih, reported the lifting of the block.

In his blog, he said he believed the Chinese authorities gave way because of Wikipedia's consistent argument that it "has a neutral point of view at its core, with no activist or subversive agenda to the site".

"In the end, I believe consensus among the authorities determined the benefits of Wikipedia far outweigh the risks."

There was no immediate official word from the Chinese authorities on the lifting of the block.

With regards to Wikipedia, since China's government can sponsor their own authors to submit and/or edit Wikipedia content, they are in a position to submit their own position on any event that a protester might raise. This even gives China the chance to say to the world that they respect opposing views as well as countering anything they see as "propaganda" at the source location. They cannot do this with a newsfeed which carries the inherent biases of the originating journalist and his editor behind it and to which they do not possess clear editing "rights". I am not at all certain that the end result of this approach will be what the bosses of Wikipedia expect.
The Whiskey and Gunpowder letter for today has a very interesting rebuttal to CERA's latest report. A quote:

...And at a very basic level, people are beginning to wonder exactly how our society is going to heat its houses and grow and transport its food in about 20 years or so.

Twenty years? Who cares, right? You scoff at such a time frame? For perspective, just understand that about 50% of all the petroleum ever consumed by mankind has been consumed since 1984. That is, people have been watching Tom Cruise movies and listening to Madonna sing for a longer time than it took to burn 500 billion barrels of petroleum. Talk about Nero fiddling? And about 90% of all the petroleum that has ever been consumed by mankind has been consumed since 1958. So 90% of the world's oil consumption has occurred in the time since the Beatles were a warm-up act in Liverpool. Does this not give you some sense of the rapidity of the developing energy storm?

Yes, it does.


I think there are two basic problems.  First, our species doesn't do good job at relating to the passage of time.  I'll be 68 in about a month yet I can look back to commenting about all those old farts at the post office twenty years ago and now I'm one of them.  I find it incredible that I'm on SS and Medicare.  Hell, I can't be THAT old, I'm still out felling trees and bucking them up for firewood.

Second, and more important, most of the people alive in the US don't have the historical perspective to know that one can live with a lot less energy and still have a satisfying life.  They don't recognize how much more energy they use compared to my lifetime.  We probably had 50amp electrical service which supported a range, a really small fridge by today's standards, a toaster, a waffle iron and a wringer washer in the basement.  Our home entertianment system consisted of a radio in the living room.  We heated with coal and hot water came from a coal-fired thermosiphon system.  In other words, if you wanted hot water you built a fire, otherwise no hot water.  Our cars were old and during WWII, my dad always coasted down the hills to save gas.  It was always a game to see how far we could coast.

My point is that even were people to accept that a lot of energy has been used, they have no basis for comparison. They "can't go home again."

I'll close with:  There was no rock and roll when I was a kid.


"Second, and more important, most of the people alive in the US don't have the historical perspective to know that one can live with a lot less energy and still have a satisfying life.  They don't recognize how much more energy they use compared to my lifetime."

As someone who's nearly 1/3 of your age I can attest to seeing my generation's flagrant use of energy.  The thing about it is not having the perspective at all.  Coming from a way below average energy-use family who values durable and rebuildable things, and lives pretty simply, it just stuns me to see people driving trucks and SUV's as single passenger commuter vehicles at 80mph down the highway, and keeping the AC at 65 degrees in the summer and the heat at 80 in the winter in poorly constructed homes, lights constantly on.  Dishwashers, dryers, huge TV's always on.  For most people...it's just always been there, and whenever you turn it on, it works and has always been cheap.  It's just accepted as a given and not questioned.  It seems a human trait that the way things are, are accepted as the way things will always be, if not better.  The idea of living any other way just comes across as unacceptable.

MSNBC is reporting that Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman is dead.
"Please allow me to introduce myself,
I'm a man of wealth and taste..."
Hello Leanan and fellow TODers,

Just wanted to briefly say that Leanan is amazingly on top of the PO + GW issues with all these great links to read--I give Big Kudos to her.

The problem for me is trying to keep pace with the rapid and crucial updates occurring on EnergyBulletin, LATOC, and TOD, and I am a very fast reader.  When it rains, it pours!

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

When it rains, it pours!

I've noticed that, too.  There's a ton of energy stories in the news these days, which is a bit odd, because prices aren't that high.  Usually when this happens, it's because oil prices are spiking.

Quite the contrary...crude price has dropped today...currently at 57.22.

Wow...explain that one.

Down to $56.60 now!

CERA must have really spooked the NYMEX?

Last Aug, SelfAggrandizedTrader forecast $57 oil for Nov, IIRC.

I didn't believe him.


I wonder if this price drop is related not to the current energy outlook, but to the U.S. economy as a whole.

Will stocks follow suit in the next couple of days? Will energy drop more?

I'm a believer now!!!! Just hit $56.15. Might break below $56 today.
The story is that there is ample NG and Crude Oil supply...so no worries.  We are apparently, crackpots.
SAT is definitely due an award.
Absolutely! Just broke the $56 barrier to $55.98.
Woops now $55.92!!!
Down almost $3 for the day.
I would like to hear his next market prediction.
SAT would like to hear his next prediction, too. Unfortunately, I've got him hanging upside-down in a very pleasant enviroment somewhere near Dubai, currently.

I keep threatening to cut off his balls if he doesn't tell me where the price of oil is going.

He keeps coughing and spitting.

I wonder if the girls I brought in are not up to the task. We can't get anything out of him.

He keeps saying something about "them not blowing hard enough."

I will break him, I swear.


Anyone watching the oil price? The 'shorts' seem to be forcing the price down to new recent lows, despite figures out on US Wednesday which should have been bullish for oil. This is despite the OPEC cuts and talk of more to come.

You would have thought the easy money had been made on the short side in the plung from $78 to $60, but no, it seems funds reckon they can push it lower.

Why? I maintain that they see falling demand off the back of a US major slow down/recession in Q4, and Q1 and Q2 of 2007 and so feel there is more room on the short side. You may well see sub $50 in the period between now and Easter. That yield  curve is getting more and more inverted - at the least I reckon you will get sub 1% GDP in 2 of the next 3 quarters. Problem is we have no model to predict what this does to demand.

We had better be up for the brickbats that will come our way if oil does go sub $50 - we really need to take a closer look at what demand is going to do.

What's interesting is that the Dec '06 contract is currently $56.40 and Aug '07 is $66.55.

Anyone prepared to lend me their swimming pool for 9 months? Might be a bit dirty when I've finished with it...

Contract expires tomorrow.  The front month is now clf07.  This close to expiry, funny things can happen--I wouldn't get too excited about it.
Yep...good reminder.  This happened last month too, I believe.




First one, guy thinks the market is wishy washy,  Second one space music to the nines.  The Last one, well are we them or are they those other guys?


Go away!
Anybody got any ideas about why the oil price just crashed about $3?

The guys at CERA selling short?

SAT - you were a day out! (still the best forecast I ever heard).  The way things look, a 3 day moving average could = $57.

The contributor formerly known as Wolfie.

My guess is the speculators are bailing out because the contract is expiring.  Those who don't really want to take delivery have to sell.
Then this isn't as bearish on energy as it looks. Speculators were waiting till the last possible moment to profit.

Perhaps they were hoping that the Middle East would boil over into a conflagaration, sending the prices up in these last few days.

This is all conjecture, I don't know what Standard Operating Procedure is on contracts expiration.

Here is another angle on the drop today:

Oil Falls Most Since August 2005 on Signs OPEC Won't Make Cuts


 Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil had the biggest one-day decline since August 2005 in New York as investors sold contracts on speculation that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won't cut output.

OPEC's shipments of crude oil will rise for the four weeks to Dec. 2, consulting company Oil Movements said. Geneva-based consultant PetroLogistics Ltd. said OPEC shipments would fall this month in a report released earlier today. OPEC agreed last month to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting Nov. 1.

``The Oil Movements report added uncertainty about OPEC's cuts back into the market,'' said John Kilduff, vice president of risk management at Fimat USA in New York. ``We saw a lot of fund liquidation after the report today. The surging stock market has attracted a lot of the dollars that would otherwise be moving into energy markets.'

So far, possible explanations for the drop:

  1. Economic indicators show lower prices (PPI/CPI)
  2. Hints of a looming recession will lead to demand destruction
  3. Speculators selling off contracts
  4. OPEC isn't cutting as much as they said they would
Oil Hits Low for the Year

The article explains pretty well the drop in the oil market today.  My guess is we will continue to see declining inventories of Distillates and Gasoline until it becomes profitable to process them ( think the crack spreads suck big time.)  This is what we have seen over the last couple weeks declining products and increasing oil. Something has to give...either by a significant increase in the price of Gas and Heating Oil so it becomes profitable to process or a bigger decrease in Oil prices so it becomes profitable to process.  I think the weather probably determines the winner.  

I wonder how many folks bought in on the paranoid expectation that prices would bounce up after the election because the Majors had depressed prices to elect the Bushites. I guess they can't do the math to realise that the Majors only control about 8% of our huge world market.
   I think the economy has already tanked, we just won't see the real figures for several months. "Woe unto the refinancers who capitalise their credit card debt into a 30 year mortgage, saith the Lord" - I think that Bible quote is somewhere in Leviticus
In my view it's not so much about the majors, It's probably good old Paulsen doing what he knows best. If you had a more decent press corp in the States some might write something like: The price of crude took a tumble today after stop sells were trigered all over the computer screens of the brain dead hedgefunds. The drop came after the PPT led by Herr Paulsen sent a signal to his cronies in the trading desk at Golman Sachs, Citibank, etc.. they then resorted to heavily short the market with a nice chunk of the huge repo pool coming straight from the FED latest printing orgy. The end results were astounding as usefu as you can see on a trading chart. See you for more of the same BS tomorrow. Wow there's nothing like our free markets. Cheers for our friends the Bankers
The API disagrees with you, stating today that gasoline consumption went up a rapid 6.5% in October.

All indications are that November will see strong growth in gasoline demand, hardly less than the summer 'driving season'.


I think we can safley say, "When SAT talks, people listen"
Regarding the G20 Bid to open up oil markets

This paper from the Lowy Institute (Think tank) came to light at the same time the Australian Treasurer began pushing this line


http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/international-effort-to-open-up-oil-trade/2006/11/12/11632664130 71.html

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/a-golden-opportunity-to-shine-on-the-international-stage/2006/11 /12/1163266413074.html

It I thought was quite a coincidence.

Hello TODers,

I believe food and water supplies are inextricably and  tightly linked to PO + GW.  Now Australia has to import grains to meet contracts:
Wheat imports loom as drought bites

AUSTRALIA will import grain to offset a national wheat shortage due to crop failure and for the first time in 10 years faces buying wheat on the international market to honour massive export contracts.

"The drought has had a very, very serious impact on our winter crop," the Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, said yesterday in Tokyo.

There will be no exportable surplus from grain growers in the eastern states and much of the West Australian wheat crop was earmarked for export, he said.

"It is actually cheaper to bring wheat or other grain, probably maize, from other parts of the world to the east coast than it is to shift grain from the west coast to the east," Mr Truss said.
Thus, the required embedded energy of feeding the world is getting progressively worse.

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

Bob, while I agree with your basic position, I'm not sure that your conclusion is supported by this evidence. The wheat crops got wiped by a 'one in a thousand year' drought, in my opinion brought on by global warming. But as for it being cheaper to get grain from elsewhere rather than the west coast of Oz... this is a simple fact of geography. Australia is sparsely populated, with an overwhelming proportion of people living in cities on the east coast... Western Australia's wheat is some three thousand kilometres away, basically on the other side of a massive desert. Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is closer to some of the major Asian cities than it is to Sydney or Melbourne. So while I agree with what you have to say overall, I'm not sure this particular instance actually supports it.
Ocean shipping Perth to Eastern ports is a "short hop" although through often rough seas.  Closer than any other except maybe New Zealand.

I think the cross-country railroad is set up for heavy loads due to mining supplies but I do not know.


But if that is so, why is it cheaper to get the grain elsewhere? Or is the claim that it is 'cheaper' just BS to start with, and some sort of cover for the apparent idiocy of now having to import (and then export) wheat to cover contracts?
I vote for BS.


Hello Franz,

Thxs for responding, same to Allen and Airdale, too.  I don't know anything about the contracts.

My point was that the drought prevented growing adequate local plus surplus supplies, then shipping the exports the shortest possible distance.  Thus to meet the contracts they had to make special arrangements for buying and shipping grains from distant ports.  This extra distance is what adds more embedded energy into the grains.

This is, of course, in direct opposition of relocalized permaculture which should have the least embedded energy.  But droughts causing crop failures will do this--Nature doesn't care!  Wasn't it the ancient Egyptians that tried to store seven years of food so as to hopefully ride out a drought along the Nile?

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

Bob, I see what you mean now.

It seems quite daft to me that they must purchase wheat on the world market and then pass it over to fulfil their contracts. I thought that in contract law there was a doctrine whereby the contract would not stand if this kind of thing went wrong (I forget the technical name of the doctrine). And who is going to pay for it anyway?

I would expect ordinary Australians to be quite angry about this. Consider that during the first war in Iraq (Bush I), there was a spike in oil prices that had Oz motorists riled up. At that time Oz was producing more oil than now, and people were saying, 'Hey, who gives a toss what happens in the Middle East? It's not like our oil is affected, so why should it go up in price?'

The simple answer - world market for oil - did not really satisfy ordinary people. Likewise, no taxpayer is going to be easily swayed by an appeal to the vagaries of contract law in this case.

Finally, who has the surplus wheat to sell these poor saps anyway? Is there actually enough spare wheat on the world market to make up for a 68% decline in the Australian crop?

If there is, it just goes to show that those petrochemicals sure do make the weeds grow...

"I thought that in contract law there was a doctrine whereby the contract would not stand if this kind of thing went wrong (I forget the technical name of the doctrine)."

Force majeure

Bob, if the price is right ..the farmers will plant more wheat.Here is is mid of November and they are still planting some wheat in my area. Usually they don't at this late date but with the prices they see they are still planting it. Some may even try to plant in Dec. Wheat is not a costly grain to plant. Just the equipment costs. If it makes a crop then all to the good. If not then they just plant something else on top of it. Burn it off or whatever.  

Question is what will GW effects be on the crop here during the growing season? Already we are having big problems trying to get grain out of the fields , once more we are soaked with many many rains and once more the water is rising and keeping the ground soaked such that machines still cannot get in the fields. Everyone is hoping for a weeks stretch of good drying weather.

I agree with you. We are looking at a bad moon on the rise as regards grains in the global picture for the future.

Hmmm. Canadian oil companies are trying to unload their oil sands assets.

Petro-Canada looking to sell interests in five oilsands properties

The proposed sale of the non-core Petro-Canada oilsands properties comes amid soaring costs to develop such mega-projects because of rising prices for steel, machinery and labour in a superheated Alberta energy economy.

Earlier this fall, Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM) put all its oilsands holdings up for sale in a move that could fetch more than $1 billion as the company moves to focus on core oil and gas operations and pare down unnecessary properties.

A good salesman could sell that sand to the Arabs!



yes, the bankers seem to be willing to take the money and run, and let the last fool theory go to work...the tar sand is now in a vice, trying to use expensive clean and desirable natural gas to make even more expensive, dirty and less desirable synthetic oil (???), the whole thing made NO SENSE from the first day.

If the world seems to be in surplus with conventional crude oil, at least for awhile, the investors will begin to worry about how long they are expected to wait for the profit to roll in...if ever.  This is the problem in trying to "time the peak".  I could set with my tar sand investment, just KNOWING that peak is just around the corner...and finally, 10 years from now, after wasting a decade waiting, sell off (or be forced to sell off) my interest, just in time for "peak" to magically appear!  As I will point out in a post at the tail of this string (as of 5 AM anyway), this is what seems to be overlooked:  The difference of 10 or 20 years in the date of peak means almost NOTHING in cultural, industrial or geological timescales, but it means EVERYTHING in the time scale of an individual investor....as the old sage said when told, "In the long run....", replied "In the long run, we're all dead."

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

the investors will begin to worry about how long they are expected to wait for the profit to roll in

Well said. Give me some time here. Today. I'll do it today. I fucked that up. But I had to do it. It's the only way I can work. I'm slow. I'm trying to get my sisters to help me out. Forgive me. Christ does. I think?


The noise in the system speaks again, do you hear the heartbeat of the gaia system group think, listen to the noise.


The Nuke winter is here in a few years the half life of UR is Iran's issue.   Can we wait to long to do the right thing?  Is the king here abouts to tell us, Khebab what do you think e.mail me, I need a graphical downloadable spreadsheet of Peak UR.

HG Author at Large.

Rumor that Cushing is full - how much capacity is there anyway?  In conjuction with expiry of Dec, the big decline makes sense.  I've got 4000 barrels (4 feb '07 contracts) and I'm not going to take delivery ... so perhaps the astute traders are taking advantage of the non-commercial speculators.  Maybe I'll get next month's 2-day short on contract expiry trade.
If KSA is producing 8.72 Mb/d, they have cut production. Ditto for Nigeria if 2.15 Mb/d is the number. Venezuela have said they have cut.As of August, Mexico has cut 250,000 b/d since January. We have seen a 35 million barrel draw in 35 days in EIA weekly reports. Yesterday, the draw was a staggering 8.9 Mb. The answer appears to be tomorrow's expiration plus storage facilities full due to future contract prices being significantly higher on a percentage basis, causing holders to hang on for a better price.
The cut is through December. I look for a $2 increase to match the new contract price late tomorrow. The evidence is that the traders are short and will say whatever they want,(some say,not me, that oil traders will sell their own mother to make a buck).
Hello TODers,

Zimbabwe's crisis is worse than the situation in Darfur.  Please read the entire link called Dead at 34!  North America in 2056?  I have no idea, but I sure hope it is not like this.

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

Hello TODers,

A truly vast array of criss-crossing continental powerlines is in the works and current regulatory rules will be mostly swept away as  we resist the march to Olduvai Gorge.  Here is the link but I posted and hi-lited the relevant info for the Asphalt Wonderland below, but I encourage all to read the whole article:
Electrical line maze on the way

Utilities planning vast array to trim power crunch

To meet the nation's fast-growing demand for electricity, utilities are planning to string thousands of miles of high-voltage power lines across the United States in a building frenzy that could mar some the country's most precious open spaces.

In a study released in August, the Energy Department identified "critical congestion areas" from New York to Northern Virginia, and in Southern California. "Congestion areas of concern" are New England, Phoenix, Seattle and San Francisco.

The pathways already have helped spur several power line plans in the West. Arizona Public Service is spearheading development of two, roughly 1,000-mile, 500,000-volt transmission lines from Wyoming coal and wind sources to Phoenix, where population growth is projected to boost power demand 60 percent by 2020. Eventually, the $2.5 billion project could link to Southern California.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Good news! They will be needed.
By Bill Gates
Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corp.

Less than a quarter of a century ago, the Internet was an obscure network of large computers used only by a small community of researchers. At the time, the majority of computers were found in corporate information technology (IT) departments or research laboratories, and hardly anyone imagined that the Internet would play such an important role in our lives as it does today. In fact, the very idea of a "personal computer," much less millions of them connected by a global network, seemed absurd to all but a handful of enthusiasts.

Today, the Internet is far from obscure--it's the center of attention for businesses, governments and individuals around the world. It has spawned entirely new industries, transformed existing ones, and become a global cultural phenomenon. But despite its impact, today's Internet is still roughly where the automobile was during the era of Henry Ford's Model T. We've seen a lot of amazing things so far, but there is much more to come. We are only at the dawn of the Internet Age.

In the years ahead, the Internet will have an even more profound effect on the way we work, live and learn. By enabling instantaneous and seamless communication and commerce around the globe, from almost any device imaginable, this technology will be one of the key cultural and economic forces of the early 21st century.

Why is the Internet such a powerful and compelling technology? First and foremost, from its conception in the academic community (largely as a result of government-sponsored research) to its subsequent development and commercialization by the private sector, the Internet has evolved into a uniquely independent information exchange--one that is able to grow organically, can operate reliably with little centralized management, and is built entirely on common standards.

It is those common standards that helped make the Internet so successful. From TCP/IP (the technological protocol that is the "traffic cop" for Internet data) to HTML and XML (the twin lingua francas of the World Wide Web), common standards have opened up the Internet to anyone who speaks its language. And since the language of the Internet is universal and easily grasped, any business can create products and services that make use of it. That openness has produced amazing technological competitiveness. To thrive on the Internet, every business has to make its products, services and interface more attractive than competitors that are only a few mouse-clicks away.

The "killer application" that transformed the Internet into a global phenomenon was the World Wide Web. Developed in the late 1980s at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) from research by Tim Berners-Lee, the Web was initially created to share data on nuclear physics. By using hyperlinks and graphical "browsing" technology, the Web greatly simplifies the process of searching for, accessing, and sharing information on the Internet, making it much more accessible to a non-technical audience.

As the Web's popularity surged among students, researchers and other Internet enthusiasts, an entirely new industry emerged to create software and content for the Web. This explosion of creativity made the Web more compelling for users, which encouraged more companies to provide Internet access, which encouraged still more individuals and businesses to get connected to the Internet. As recently as 1994, there were only 500 fairly modest Web sites worldwide; today the Web has close to 3 billion pages. We can expect this growth cycle to continue and even accelerate, thanks to more powerful and cheaper computers, higher-speed Internet access on a wider range of devices, and advanced software that makes it all work together.

Breaking Down Barriers

The main advantage of any new technology is that it amplifies human potential. In the 20th century, electricity, the telephone, the automobile and the airplane all made the world more accessible to more people, transforming our economy and society in the process. The Internet has the same revolutionary impact--individuals and businesses can overcome geographical, cultural and logistical barriers and improve the way they live and work. Because it amplifies our potential in so many ways, it's possible that the long-term impact of the Internet could equal that of electricity, the automobile and the telephone all rolled together. How?

The Internet makes the world smaller. The ability to communicate and exchange information instantaneously and across vast distances has enabled more individuals and businesses to participate in the economy, regardless of their location. Large companies can connect with employees, suppliers, and partners around the globe, and small businesses can find their customers anywhere in the world. Businesses can hire knowledge workers almost regardless of where they are, greatly expanding employment opportunities for people in the United States, and giving developing nations the ability to become economic powerhouses by providing information technology services to the rest of the world. The Internet, along with other computer technologies, is literally enabling some developing countries to "leapfrog" the industrial revolution and jump straight to the Internet Age.

The Internet brings people closer together. Before the Internet, it was possible to keep in touch with relatives and friends across the country or around the world--but it was also expensive. Today, communicating with a friend in Japan is as easy and cheap as communicating with a friend across town, and families regularly use the Internet to keep in touch with far-flung relatives. Millions of people with shared interests--no matter how obscure--exchange information and build communities through Web sites, email and instant-messaging software. Using innovative accessibility aids, people with disabilities can use the Internet to help overcome barriers that prevent them from leading more productive and fulfilling lives.

The Internet makes the world simpler. For businesses, the Internet breaks down logistical barriers, offering greater flexibility and power in the way they do business. It shrinks time and distance, simplifies complex business processes, and enables more effective communication and collaboration--a giant corporation can now be as nimble as a tiny startup, while a family firm located in a remote rural village now has the world as its marketplace. Combined with advanced productivity software, the Internet enables individual knowledge workers to use their time more efficiently, and to focus on more productive tasks. And it gives consumers the ability to shop smarter, to find the best products at the right prices. In fact, it empowers them in ways that once were available only to large companies, enabling them to join with others to buy products at lower prices, and bid competitively around the world.

What's Next?

The Internet has already revolutionized the way we live and work, but it is still in its infancy. In the coming years, a combination of cheap and powerful computing devices, fast and convenient Internet access, and software innovations could make the Internet as common and powerful a resource as electricity is today.

Today, most people access the Internet through their home or office PC, but as microprocessors become cheaper and more powerful, Internet access will also be available from a wider range of smart devices, from tablet-sized PCs to smart cellular phones--even familiar household appliances. People will be able to share information seamlessly across devices and interact with them in a more natural way, using speech, handwriting and gestures. Eventually, they will be able to interact with a computer almost as easily as they do with each other.

And all this computing power will be interconnected, as high-speed Internet access becomes available in more areas and in many different ways, both wired and wireless. Advances in communications technologies, along with increasing public demand for Internet access, will eventually ensure that Internet connectivity will be commonplace at home, at work or on the move.

Communication between devices on the Internet will be greatly enhanced by new Internet standards such as XML, which offers a way to separate a Web page's underlying data from the presentational view of that data. Whereas HTML uses "tags" to define how data is displayed on Web pages, XML uses tags to provide a common way of defining precisely what the underlying data actually is. XML "unlocks" data so that it can be organized, programmed and edited. This makes it easier for that data to be shared across a wider range of PCs, servers, handheld devices, and "smart" phones and appliances. While today's Internet consists of isolated "islands" of data that are difficult to edit, share and integrate, tomorrow's Internet will break down those barriers and enable people to access and share the information they need--regardless of whether they're accessing the Internet from their PC or any other device.

All these advances will soon create a ubiquitous Internet--personal and business information, email, and instant messaging, rich digital media and Web content will be available any time, any place and from any device.

Opportunities and Challenges

Whenever a new technology emerges with the potential to change the way people live and work, it sparks lively debate about its impact on our world and concern over how widely it should be adopted. Some people will view the technology with tremendous optimism, while others will view it as threatening and disruptive. When the telephone was first introduced, many critics thought it would disrupt society, dissolve communities, erode privacy, and encourage selfish, destructive behavior. Others thought the telephone was a liberating and democratizing force that would create new business opportunities and bring society closer together.

The Internet brings many of these arguments back to life. Some optimists view the Internet as humanity's greatest invention--an invention on the scale of the printing press. They believe the Internet will bring about unprecedented economic and political empowerment, richer communication between people, a cultural renaissance, and a new era of economic prosperity and world peace. At the other extreme, pessimists think the Internet will result in economic and cultural exploitation, the death of privacy, and a decline in values and social standards.

If history is any guide, neither side of these arguments will be proved right. Just as the telephone, electricity, the automobile, and the airplane shaped our world in the 20th century, the Internet will shape the early years of the 21st, and it will have a profound--and overwhelmingly positive--impact on the way we work and live. But it will not change the fundamental aspects of business and society--companies will still need to make a profit, people will still need their social framework, education will still require great teachers.

However, the current debate over how widely we should adopt this technology does raise some serious issues that must be addressed to make the most of the Internet's vast potential.

Protecting intellectual property. The Internet makes it possible to distribute any kind of digital information, from software to books, music, and video, instantly and at virtually no cost. The software industry has struggled with piracy since the advent of the personal computer, but as recent controversy over file-sharing systems such as Napster and Gnutella demonstrates, piracy is now a serious issue for any individual or business that wants to be compensated for the works they create. And since the Internet knows no borders, piracy is now a serious global problem. Strong legislation such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), cooperation between nations to ensure strong enforcement of international copyright laws, innovative collaboration between content producers and the technology industry, and standards developed by organizations like the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) that can prevent or deter piracy have already made an impact on addressing this problem. But as more and more digital media becomes easy to distribute over the Internet, the government and private sector must work together to find appropriate ways to protect the rights of information consumers and producers around the world.

Regulating global commerce. Hal Varian and Michael Armstrong's contributions to this project detail another major challenge the Internet poses to governments around the world: how can we regulate Internet commerce--or should we do it at all? Because the Internet offers people an easy way to purchase goods and services across state and national borders--generating tremendous economic growth in the process--it makes global commerce even more challenging to tax or regulate effectively. But since the Internet's economic effects result largely from the "friction-free" commerce it enables, any regulation that gets in the way comes at a price: lost economic growth. As more and more business transactions take place on the Internet, governments and businesses must cooperate to find innovative ways to regulate and derive tax revenue from Internet commerce without interfering with the economic benefits it can provide.

Protecting individual privacy. In the coming years, people will increasingly rely on the Internet to share sensitive information with trusted parties about their finances, medical history, personal habits, and buying preferences. At the same time, many will wish to safeguard this information, and use the Internet anonymously. Although technology has placed individual privacy at risk for decades--most consumers regularly use credit cards and exchange sensitive information with merchants over the telephone--privacy will become a far more pressing issue as the Internet becomes the primary way for people to manage their finances or keep in touch with their physician. The use of personal information by retailers wishing to provide personalized service and advertisers that want to target very specific audiences--some of whom have resorted to gathering information from consumers without notifying them--has greatly increased public concern over the safety of personal information. It has also left many people reluctant to trust the Internet with their data.

Private industry and many in government currently favor self-regulatory tools and privacy-enhancing technologies as the best way to protect privacy. Today, several independent organizations enforce commonly accepted "fair information practices" that ensure honesty and accountability among companies that gather and use personal information. But as Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy's contribution to this project explains, it is still unclear whether this approach is fully effective. Nonetheless, protecting individual privacy is a major barrier that must be overcome--as soon as possible--in order to keep the Internet moving forward.

Keeping the Internet secure. Security has always been a major issue for businesses and governments that rely on information technology, and it always will be. Much the same is true for individual security--long before the Internet, people were happily handing their credit cards to restaurant waiters they had never met before, and that too is unlikely to change. But as our economy increasingly depends on the Internet, security is of even greater concern. Widely publicized incidents of Web site hacking, credit card fraud and identity theft have given the Internet a largely unjustified "Wild West" reputation. In order to keep the Internet a safe place to do business, software companies have a responsibility to work together to ensure that their products always offer the highest levels of security. And the judicial system and the law enforcement community must keep pace with technological advancements and enforce criminal laws effectively and thoroughly.

Protecting our children. The Internet can revolutionize education, giving children the opportunity to indulge their intellectual curiosity and explore their world. But while it helps them to learn about dinosaurs or world history, it can also expose them to obscene, violent or inappropriate content. And since the Internet is an unregulated global medium, it is hard to "censor" in any traditional way. The private sector has already made great strides in giving parents and teachers more control over what children can see and do on the Internet, through filtering software that blocks access to objectionable Web sites; industry standards such as the still-evolving Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) that enable helpful rating systems; and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that voluntarily regulate the activities of their customers. Government has also played a part, encouraging the growth of the market for child-safety tools, and increasing law enforcement's role in policing and prosecuting online predators. So far, the issue of protecting children on the Internet has served as an excellent example of how governments and the private sector can work together to tackle problems on the Internet.

Bridging the "digital divide." The Internet can empower and enrich the lives of disadvantaged people around the world--but only if they have access to it. Robert Knowling and Ernest Wilson's contributions to this project clearly show that the digital divide is a global problem. In the United States, where a large percentage of the population has access to the Internet, it¹s easy to forget that most of the world has never made a phone call, much less browsed the Web.

In the 1930s, the United States government helped bridge the "electrical divide" by forming the Rural Electrification Administration, which brought power to rural areas that could benefit most from electrification. Similarly, "universal service" programs have helped some remote areas and disadvantaged communities have access to inexpensive telephone service. These efforts have been largely successful in the United States, but on a worldwide scale there's still plenty of work to be done before the Internet can make a real difference. It's important to remember that much of the world is still without adequate electrical power, telephone service, or even quality healthcare and education<bridging the digital divide is but one of the many ways we can improve the quality of life worldwide. However, the benefits of widespread access to the Internet and communications technology are clear enough that governments now need to decide whether a similar principle should be applied to ensure that nobody is left behind in the Internet Age.<p> What is government's role? The Internet is a constantly changing global network that knows no borders, presenting a unique problem for governments that need to address the many challenges it presents. In the coming years, governments will have the opportunity to develop thoughtful and innovative approaches to policies that protect their citizens while nurturing the openness, flexibility, and economic opportunities that make the Internet such a compelling technology.

The light hand of government regulation has created an environment that has encouraged the Internet to flourish, and enabled companies to bring their innovations to consumers at breathtaking speed. Over the next few years, governments worldwide will find it rewarding to pursue policies that speed the building of the infrastructure that will make it possible to bring the benefits of the Internet to more people. This includes finding ways to speed the implementation of broadband technologies, deregulate where necessary to stimulate competition, resist the temptation to enact new regulations, and redouble our efforts to protect content on the Internet by strengthening and enforcing intellectual-property rights.

The Internet gives people the opportunity to put their knowledge to work and take advantage of greater opportunities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. It is the gateway to vast amounts of knowledge, art and culture. It provides equal access to information and communications, allowing the formation of rich communities and forging real connections between people. It breaks down barriers between (and within) nations, opening up economies and democratizing societies. And as cheap computing power becomes more pervasive, the Internet can bring all these benefits to more and more people around the world.

Ensuring that the Internet can have the broadest and most positive impact on the greatest possible number of people will be a tremendous challenge for our political and business leaders. There are some key issues that need to be overcome to realize the Internet's full potential, but although they are challenging, they are not entirely new and definitely not insurmountable.

And it's clear that these are challenges worth facing--like the printing press, the telephone, electricity or the automobile, the Internet is a revolutionary technology that is transforming our world.

Dan Ur---Says
 Look for the fusion, tech saves us!  

Dan - you gotta do a little better job crediting that to Billy. Blockquote it next time. So you all better? What's the dillio? What did you learn from the pain? Pain always learns people. I hate pain. That's why I love it.

Well, the irony just continues to increase, doesn't it...let us have a quick peak, uh, opps, I mean peek...first from the energy bulletin:

"Peak oil: the last skeptics"   (???)  What?  The last of the skeptics?!!  Did he really say that?  Because right now, I can find NOTHING but skeptics, unless I come to TOD, energybulletin or the ASPO....folks, let's admit it, the "peak" aware need to get out more...because the average schmoe is gettin' ready for a hell of a rompin' summer, and already has the discounted SUV in the driveway ready for it...frankly, the idea of impending peak is in full retreat right now, with only the true believers still holding out any hope for the immediate collapse.  Now, that does NOT mean the immediate collapse can't or won't happen.  I have said it many times, there is simply NO WAY to know, and there will be NO WARNING.   Again, think back to the U.S. peak in 1970, when U.S. oil prices hit an inflation adjusted price lower than ever in history with the exception of the the great depression.  There WILL BE NO WARNING, not from CERA on the one hand and not from Kunstler or Simmons on the other....it is a completely blind crapshoot.
Now, back to that energy bulletin online article
by Jérôme Guillet

 "Do you seriously find that the above graph disproves the idea that oil production will peak and then decline? This is meant to be the optimistic version, and all it says is that (i) the peak will be in 2030, not 2010, and (ii) the decline after that will be slow, not fast."

" In 25 years, many of us will (hopefully) still be alive. In 25 years, we'll be living, for the most part, with infrastructure built or planned today or in the next few years"

That of course is all fascinating, but somewhat useless.  In the grand timescale of nations, it is true that a 25 year shift in peak means very little, and on the geological scale, it wouldn't be a pizz in the sea, but in the life of an individual and an investor, it is infinity.  I could go through two and a half SUV's and be in the old folks home dying with fond memories of me and babe on my twin engine speedboat before peak ever got here...saying it may happen now, or in 25 years, well, may be 30 or 35 longside, and with technology, maybe....(???), is not going to move anyone to make sacrifices and changes.

Peddling PetroProzac: CERA ignores 10 warning signposts of peak oil

by Randy Udall, Jeremy Gilbert & Steve Andrews

 "Peak oil is not the end, nor even the beginning of the end of the Oil Age. Indeed, at peak the world will have more oil available than it ever had before; to the casual observer all will appear well. No one can predict how rapidly oil production rates will fall once they have peaked, plateaued and begun to decline. Because heroic, expensive efforts will be made to reduce demand and expand supply, the plateau could last for some years, and the backside of the global production curve is likely to be less steep that the ascent. On this we agree with CERA."

The above from the ASPO-USA.  So, we are seeing a murky blending of ASPO-USA and CERA....that comes out somewhere in the middle of the road where all dead animals are found, that being "yep, peak or plateau, sometime between now and when your kid gets to middle age..., depending....."
This is not the type of iron jawed certainty that moves people to the "heroic, expensive efforts" called for, is it?

And still we have the facts on the ground:

To repeat, this tells us NOTHING.  The price signal has proven again and again as being completely useless in predicting real emergency or catastrophe.  All it is good for is leading people into the jaws of a trap.
There is only one thing good about running all sides running in such blind ignorance.  It does reduce the sting if the opposition accuses any party in the debate of stupidity.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Educating friends and familiy about peak oil or energy seems to be becoming more difficult. My father emailed me the Cera press release. My g/f keeps bugging me for an SUV, pointing to the 2 buck a gallon gas around here.

I am starting to viewed as some wacko.

Oddly enough, the falling price will encourage consumption, discourage additional exploration and exploitation, making the invetable all the more painful.

All I can do is to continue to prepare, and keep my mouth shut.

Don't be obnoxious about it or you'll just shut them off, but I believe that by continuing to subtly plant the seeds in their minds, when prices start heading back up again they'll be a lot more receptive to the idea of peak oil.  Should things really start to get bad, they'll be a lot faster to act than if they had just then been introduced to the notion.

I recommend sending this to your father...it's a pretty good rebuttal of the CERA thing, in a method I much approve of...by using their own information against them... http://www.energybulletin.net/22466.html