DrumBeat: December 7, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/07/06 at 9:42 AM EDT]

Michael T Klare: The post-abundance era

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, foreign-policy analysts have struggled to find a term to characterize the epoch we now inhabit. Although "the post-Cold War era" has been the reigning expression, this label now sounds dated and no longer does justice to the particular characteristics of the current period. Others have spoken of the post-September 11, 2001, era as if the attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon were defining moments for the entire world. But this image no longer possesses the power it once wielded - even in the United States.

I propose instead another term that better captures the defining characteristics of the current period: the post-abundance era.

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: The Saudi Op-Ed

The Saudis could, however, bring pressure without doing anything so provocative as a major production cut. Simply ratcheting down production in an unobtrusive manner should be enough to scare Washington into reconsidering leaving Riyadh, as the leader of the world's Sunnis to deal with the mess on its own.

Peak Oil Theory Analyzed by CERA - A CERA press release "debunking" peak oil. Or, why a plateau is not a peak.

EIA: Oil cost won't rise to $70/bbl anytime soon

A prolonged period of colder-than-normal winter temperatures may put a dent in heating oil supplies and drive up U.S. oil prices, but crude costs won't hit $70 a barrel in the near future, the federal Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

OPEC should wait to decide new cuts - IEA's Mandil

- OPEC should not cut oil production further when the group meets on Dec. 14 but should wait until winter demand data becomes available at the end of January, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Iraq's Draft Hydrocarbon Law Recommends PSAs

Iraq's first postwar draft hydrocarbon law recommends the government sign production sharing agreements and other service and buyback contracts to upgrade the country's war-ravaged oil industry.

Mighty Servant 3 Sinks Offshore Angola

On the morning of December 6, 2006, the semisubmersible vessel Mighty Servant 3 developed a list and sank after the offloading of the drilling rig, GSF Aleutian Key. The vessel is resting at the sea bottom in approximately 62 meters of water.

Gunmen kidnap 3 at Nigerian oil plant

LAGOS, Nigeria - Gunmen attacked a southern Nigerian oil installation belonging to a subsidiary of Italy's Eni SpA early Thursday, taking three Italians hostage and killing another person, Italian and Nigerian officials said.

Venezuela Taxes Total, Statoil

Venezuela's tax agency said Tuesday it has billed an oil operation partially controlled by France's Total and Norway's Statoil for roughly $880,000 in back taxes.

To Sow the Oil, or Give it Away?

Canada and Venezuela are pursuing very different oil policies. In the war of the wells, whose investment will bring the biggest return?

Saudi Aramco's gas exploration activities moving aggressively

India 'disappointed' by foreign help with climate change

Rich countries have not transferred technology to combat global warming to India as promised under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, a top environment official has said.

Global warming to have major impact on ocean food web

A new study of the oceans suggests that phytoplankton -- the vital first link in the food chain of the seas -- will be hugely affected by global warming.

Fisheries in the tropics and mid-latitudes could be badly hit by the loss of these micro-organisms as a result of warmer waters, the paper implies.

Search for crops that can survive global warming

An unprecedented effort to protect the world's food supplies from the ravages of climate change will be launched today by an international consortium of scientists. The move marks a growing recognition that serious changes in weather patterns are inevitable over the coming decades, and that society must begin to adapt.

The origins of peak oil doomerism

My earliest hypothesis was that a person’s chosen energy future was based more on personality than on data: Given the same information, people I knew to be optimists generally envisioned a positive future, while pessimists descended into doomerism. But in this simplistic reasoning, I was leaving out a growing mass of critiques of civilization itself by authors such as Joseph Tainter, Derrick Jensen, and Daniel Quinn, and others esteemed by many Peak Oil adherents. While these writers argue that civilization is evil, unsustainable, and must collapse, they also posit that human beings deserve something better that can only arise after this culture dies. This death-and-rebirth thinking didn’t fit my “optimist versus pessimist” hypothesis. And seeing how vehemently and urgently people argue for doom-and-gloom — I’ve literally had my lapels grabbed — made me suspect that neither individual psyche nor the cold logic of pure reason was at work here.

Ahead of the Wind

And, for sustainable, it is a euphemism that has encapsulated everything from gas-charged windows (windows being, whatever the ridiculous cost, the greatest compromise in energy-efficiency in any building) to car-sharing programs, which might well print giant magnets for the sides of the vehicles that read, "Hey, We're Trying."

Energy crisis seen for tech

The nation's biggest technology companies sat down with federal regulators Wednesday to assess the industry's thirst for power amid fears that volatile and expensive energy could hinder the growing sector.

..."I think we may be at the beginning of a potential energy crisis for the IT sector," Victor Varney, a vice president for Silicon Graphics, told the regulators. "It's clearly coming."

My Back to the Land Fantasy

A big lie maintains we can continue to have our consumptive lifestyle, and stave off environmental chaos, if we use only one coffee cup at Starbucks, turn off the lights, walk to work and recycle plastic bags. We can have our cake, and everyone else's cake too.

Oil Industry Poll Sees Little Help - No Faith in Washington

The survey, by consulting firm Deloitte & Touche, showed that almost 80 percent of the respondents believe U.S. energy policy is not heading in the right direction,

In addition, 70 percent cited government policy concerns, particularly those that restrict drilling on resource-rich federal lands, as "the biggest obstacle that is blocking energy progress in America."

New oil production technology is tested

A technology developed with U.S. Department of Energy funding has revived oil production in two abandoned oilfields on Osage Indian tribal land in Oklahoma.

Officials say the technology can potentially add billions of barrels of additional domestic oil production in declining fields.

The Department of Energy said production has jumped from zero to more than 100 barrels of oil daily in the two Osage County, Okla., fields, one of which is more than 100 years old.

That success suggests the method might be able to revitalize thousands of other seemingly depleted U.S. oilfields.

ExxonMobil Exec: US Gas Demand Will Be 90 Bcf/d by 2030

Daily demand for natural gas in the U.S. will jump almost 40% by the year 2030, and half of that demand is expected to be met by imports of liquefied natural gas from abroad, an ExxonMobil Corp executive said Tuesday.

Lawmaker pushes alternative ethanol program

The government should pay farmers to grow 5 million acres of switchgrass, a possible new feedstock for the booming ethanol industry, the incoming chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said Wednesday.
In addition, 70 percent cited government policy concerns, particularly those that restrict drilling on resource-rich federal lands, as "the biggest obstacle that is blocking energy progress in America."

Wow, I completely misread that. I thought the poll was conducted by the oil industry, and that 70 percent of Americans polled were suggesting this. No, the ones polled were "140 executives and managers in the U.S. oil and gas industry." That makes a bit more sense, as I didn't think 70% of the public would support new drilling on federal lands.

I am going to be moving to BC canada by the fall of next year.  i'd prefer not to tell you where or why.  The climate is to my liking though and any canadians that have suggestions on energy related or other issue please feel free to contact me.

My thoughts are that there is a lot of Hydro and solar and wind power that Canada can still harness, are they as Peak Oil aware as TOD is, or are they somewhere higher or lower than the General USA-Joe six pack.

Iceland was my first choice, but Things have changed since then.

Tidal energy is another place Canada could really work on getting themselves less dependant on FF.  But then again almost anyone with a hunk of coastline could do that.

Welcome to Canada in advance - I agree with you that it's a great place to live. Perhaps we'll see you over at TOD:Canada in the future.

As a general reminder to TOD readers, TOD:Canada runs its own version of the Drumbeat - The Round-Up - several times per week. See here for the latest version.

Dan, at least you won't have to pay for much airconditioning.
Your ancestors were all emmigrants-have fun!


Lithium Technology Corp. Powers Smart Diesel Plug-in Hybrid

Source: Lithium Technology Corp.
[Dec 07, 2006]

SYNOPSIS: The vehicle utilizes a hybrid power train based on a 1500cc, 3-cylinder turbo charged diesel engine coupled with two high-efficiency permanent-magnet electric motors.
LTC subsidiary GAIA Akkumulatorenwerke (GAIA) developed the battery for the vehicle based on the smart forfour (manufactured by DaimlerChrysler), which has an output of 288 V, a capacity of 7.5 Ah (or about 2.2 kWh of energy) and a capability to deliver 25 kW of power. The battery can be charged by either the internal combustion engine (ICE) and by regenerative braking or by household mains (plug-in hybrid). The vehicle has a fuel economy of over 84 mpg and an all-electric range of 20 miles which compares very favorably to the range of HEVs currently on the market.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


Three things set Mr Ovshinsky apart from the hydrogen hypesters. First of all, he is no newcomer. He first outlined his vision for what he calls a "hydrogen loop" some five decades ago as an alternative to fossil fuels. (The loop goes from water to stored hydrogen via solar-powered electrolysis, and from hydrogen back to water, generating electricity in the process, via a fuel cell.) Unlike others, he can hardly be accused of opportunistically seizing upon this obscure techno-fix for political reasons.

The second difference is that Mr Ovshinsky's green credentials are impeccable. He and his wife Iris, who died recently, founded ECD in 1960 with the explicitly stated goal of "using creative science to solve societal problems". Astonishingly, they had the foresight to predict--long before the oil shocks of the 1970s--that the world's addiction to oil would have unacceptable side effects, from resource wars to climate change. Spend time with Mr Ovshinsky and his employees, and it becomes plain that his social values permeate his organisation.

But what lifts Mr Ovshinsky into the league of genius inventors is something rather less common: success. He is the inventor of the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, which is used to power everything from portable electronics to hybrid cars; around 1 billion such batteries are sold every year. He has also made advances in information technology (he calls information "encoded energy") and holds critical patents relating to thin-film solar cells, rewriteable optical discs, a new form of non-volatile memory and flat-panel displays. These technologies are being commercialised through deals with Intel, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, General Electric, Chevron, United Solar Ovonic, and others.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


Electric car rechargers go live

What are thought to be the first street recharging points for electric cars in the UK have been unveiled in London.

The two points, supplied by Westminster City Council, are in Wellington Street and Southampton Street near Covent Garden in the West End.

They will join 48 free charging stations to be found in 13 of the council's car parks.

Mr. Ovshinsky and his wife are also interviewed for the movie "Who killed the electric car" -- their company provided the batteries for the EV1, and was later bought out by oil companies. I'm sorry to hear of her death. If you watch the DVD, there is a feature segment showing them and their solar cell production.
Or as Catton puts it: The Age of post Exuberance
Tom Whipple makes interesting political remarks about the Middle East.

Put in simple words he states that KSA (who 2003 warned the USA not to expel Saddam Hussein from Iraq) now does not want the US troops to withdraw since that would open hells gates towards civil war, provoking Saudi measures in favour of the iraqi sunnites. Among three possible options for KSA he sees one called "oil".

Whipple asks why KSA hasn't yet cut half of its production, sending up oil prices to "over $100", thus still earning enough money and leaving more oil left for their grand children.

To me Whipple seems to overestimate these 4 or 5 million barrels. Sounds much, but still is just roughly five per cent of daily world production. Currently this would not bring crude prices over $100.

To me Whipple seems to overestimate these 4 or 5 million barrels. Sounds much, but still is just roughly five per cent of daily world production. Currently this would not bring crude prices over $100.

There aren't 4 or 5 million barrels of excess capacity in the world. If that was taken off the market, I think we would be lucky if oil only went to $100/bbl. There really is no telling how high it would go.

Robert...I know daily crude price fluctuations are not always logical, but what the heck is going on with prices yesterday and today?

I would think it would be edging higher, but low and behold, it's the opposite.

Any thoughts?

Too often the markets don't make sense to me. But the trend of gasoline inventories over the past month can't continue. I wrote a short piece on this last night.

Inventories are crashing, and demand is up. So, what are the options? Do you 1). Raise prices and have people cry conspiracy; 2). Keep prices steady and start rationing gasoline; or 3). Just risk having lower inventories?

In my opinion, higher prices are inevitable (and they have been trending higher). But I would have thought after yesterday's surprising inventory draw, gasoline futures would have spiked.

The last page of the perpetual inventories thread at PO.com has some interesting discussion.

That last poster had it right. This has been turnaround season, which is usually a period of light demand. However, we had record demand this turnaround season, which drew inventories down. The surprising part to me is that refinery utilization was back up over 90% this week, and inventories were still down.

However, gasoline doesn't get into the system as soon as refineries come up. So, next week may be a better indicator. If refining capacity stays above 90% and gasoline inventories are still falling, buy gasoline futures.

coefficient of correlation between API and finished gasoline stock on the monthly data from EIA=0.81. This doesn't mean that decreasing API is the cause of the decrease in finished gasoline stock but it could contribute to the problem. The current upgrading of the refinery units should fix the problem but I hope total capacity is sufficient for an ever increasing consumption.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but if the oil companies allowed spot shortages to develop, that might help them prove their point that the price mechanism must be allowed to work to properly allocate gasoline and prevent such shortages in the future. That could spark a public debate about which is more (or less) palatable: high prices or spot shortages.

One thing they could do would be to run an advertising campaign calling for increased conservation. (Chevron is already doing this to some extent via http://www.willyoujoin.com). Think they'd every do that on a large scale?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but if the oil companies allowed spot shortages to develop, that might help them prove their point that the price mechanism must be allowed to work to properly allocate gasoline and prevent such shortages in the future.

But how could they "allow" these spot shortages, given the transparency of the refinery utilization number? That has been one of my main points in this argument. Refinery utilization, and the demand numbers are publicly available. They show that demand for this time of year is at record levels. Refinery capacity is pretty much maxed out as it is, and then you have huge demand in turnaround season. I certainly don't need to appeal to any shady business to explain what's going on.

I think that you also have to consider the expectation in the gasoline markets that for hurricane damage to refineries, which did not come to pass, and which probably accelerated the downward trend in gasoline prices.

Having said that, as Robert knows (and has acknowledged), I have been predicting for some time a renewed bidding war for declining exports in the fourth quarter.  

I think that we are in the very early stages of an epic collision between expectations of exponentially declining imports into the US with the hard cold reality of exponentially declining world exports.  

US total petroleum imports have been increasing faster than consumption because of the combined effects of declining domestic production and increasing domestic consumption.  

At this precise point in time, 12/06, I estimate that Saudi oil exports are declining at about twice the rate that their oil production is declining--13% versus about 7%.  

So, the world's largest importer is expecting an exponential increase in imports, while the world's largest exporter is showing an exponential decline--as the HL model predicted--in exports.

"I think that we are in the very early stages of an epic collision between expectations of exponentially declining imports into the US with the hard cold reality of exponentially declining world exports."

Did you mean rising imports?

Yes--my mistake

Should be:

"I think that we are in the very early stages of an epic collision between expectations of exponentially increasing imports into the US with the hard cold reality of exponentially declining world exports."

Having said that, as Robert knows (and has acknowledged), I have been predicting for some time a renewed bidding war for declining exports in the fourth quarter.  

Weren't you speaking about oil imports? (and not gasoline ones)

For the US, I've been focusing on total petroleum (crude + product) imports.
yeah, but these were up until last week..
sry, my bad, hadn't not understood TOTAL oil + product
But how could they "allow" these spot shortages, given the transparency of the refinery utilization number?

I wasn't suggesting they restrain production. I was suggesting that they simply refrain from raising the retail price of gasoline. This would stoke demand, put downward pressure on gasoline inventories, and in the extreme, could result in spot shortages. Then they could say, "look, we are running maxed out and we still can't adequately supply the market, therefore we must be allowed to raise prices to restrain demand and prevent shortages." I'm assuming here that oil companies have a fair amount of control over the price that their gas stations charge their customers.

A few spot shortages here and there would probably go a long way into softening up the public into accepting higher prices.

Another way to look at this is that the oil companies view raising prices (to restrain demand) as a last resort because of public outrage, political scrutiny, charges of gouging, etc. Under that scenario, they're still holding out hope of the supply-demand imbalance correcting itself without the need for higher prices, and they are willing to take the risk that comes with running the gasoline system at lower inventory levels.

Calorie, its an interesting suggestion, but extremely  unlikely to be tried. The oil marketers have a duty to their stockholders to maximise profits. The CEO's stock options depend on a rising stock price. How well would that go over with the board of directors? Would Wall Street consider that crazy behaviour and depress the price of the stock?
  The sales of gasoline are divided between too many companies-about 60% is at convenience stores, 40% at the integrated oil gas stations. If they all "conspired" causing shortages it would be illegal as well as illadvised..It would be a violation of the antitrust laws.
  So please, lets keep this conspiracy theory quiet. Karl Rove might get a job in the oil patch!
Note that refinery utilization is back over 90%, so cranking up the refineries is out.

Do you mean that 10% of our 9.x mbd capacity could not cover the draws or that for some reason that 10% is inaccessible presently?
You can't get much better than 90% because something is always undergoing maintenance or having maintenance problems. In the winter it's worse. I would imagine an annual average uptime is no better than 90%. I have seen some weekly levels higher, but that's not usually sustainable for long.
So in reality we have an effective utilization of roughly 100%.  
At the present time, yes. But lots of refineries are undergoing expansions. Capacity will creep up over time. The question is will it increase fast enough to meet growing demand? That is the immediate problem I see. Peak Lite.
Sorry to question an oil refinery worker, but looking at the EIA percentages ( Refinery utilization ) but between May 26th and September 22nd 2006 refinery utilization (RU) didn't drop below 90% and if you look at 2004 winter figures (2005 hit by hurricanes) then between 5th November 2004 and February 18th 2005 RU didn't drop below 90% either.

It just seems odd to me that RU is not climbing back to its usual 9x% rate. If refineries are back normal as much as possible as you are suggesting, then there is about a (93 - 90=) 3% reduction (in very simple terms) in what the EIA figures should imply in the next couple of months. From being just able to cover gasoline and distillate supply in the US with ordinary import levels, it looks like the US will have to import more than average or suffer small but persistant stock withdrawals.

Hello R-squared,

Yes, I encourage everyone to read Whipple's article.  Unless the US starts massive conservation, the Saudis might further leverage the force to make us enlarge the 'Economic Draft' whereby we continue to send our soldiers into harm's way for the sake of FF, or else, a full-on Draft for the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario.  Americans fighting and dying to help preserve the flow of fuel from, and the flow of funds to a monarchy-- imagine George Washington and the Founding Fathers switching sides to support Britain's King George.

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

There aren't 4 or 5 million barrels of excess capacity in the world.

The Saudis couldn't cut production within a few days; so maybe other producers partially would fill the gap, and consuming nations would have some time to adapt.

If that was taken off the market, I think we would be lucky if oil only went to $100/bbl. There really is no telling how high it would go.

If so, wouldn't that mainly be due to psychological reasons?

Given there were such an announcement from officials in KSA, they will cut production of 4 mbl within, say, a year. That would cause a sharp rise of oil prices, sure.

But what if they just did it in a discreet way? I'm not so sure about the ramifications then.

If so, wouldn't that mainly be due to psychological reasons?

Partially, but not all. It depends on how badly people really need oil. If the Saudis took 4 million bpd off the market, other suppliers might make up half of that at best. Then, you have to have demand destruction of the other 2 million barrels. How high do prices have to go in order to destroy 2 million bpd of demand? That depends on where you are trying to destroy the demand. If the incremental demand ever comes down to the U.S., Europe, and Japan bidding on that last million bpd, you are going to see prices go very high.

There is less than 1 mbpd spare capacity world wide. If 4 mbpd went off the market, then some tens to hundreds of millions of people are going to have to do without oil somewhere. The way this is determined is by who can pay the most for the remaining oil.

Now given those basic facts, how can you say that oil would not reach $100 per barrel. As Robert states, we just don't know how high it would go because we would have to outbid at least enough other global consumers to ensure access to 3-4 mbpd OR we do without (shut down 15-20% of total US energy use daily) which cannot happen suddenly overnight without a disastrous total collapse of the US economy. We could migrate lower over time via conservation but that requires investment, by both individuals and institutions (corporations and government), in more energy efficient tools, appliances, vehicles, etc. Such investment cannot be switched on overnight but the oil production can nearly be shut off overnight.

And as a historical point of note, Saudi Arabia removed less than 5% of global production from the market in 1973. Oil went up about 1000% total in the following years before it finally stabilized, rising from $3 per barrel to $30 per barrel before then settling back down around $20 per barrel. That entire process took over a decade to run through and the US economy went through its greatest recession since the Great Depression during the late 1970s and early 1980s. This is what history tells us happens when just 5% of global production goes offline when supplies are tight.

Given the above facts and history, it boggles the imagination how you could come to the conclusion that oil could not reach $100 per barrel.

And as a historical point of note, Saudi Arabia removed less than 5% of global production from the market in 1973.

I've been wondering what that percentage was for quite some time now, but I always remember it when I don't have the information around to figure it out.  That really tells you just how fragile the system is.

Saudi Arabia removed less than 5% of global production from the market in 1973

If that is so you and Robert must be right. I didn't know that.

However, in 1973 oil export cuts were performed as a kind of declaration of war, connected with quite a hostile attitude towards the west, especially the USA who supported Israel.

So there was also a threat of more possible cuts - how much could hardly be foreseen. People say that economy is 50 per cent psychology.

So I still wonder about the effects of 'silent' export reductions, without admitting "we don't have more" (peak oil), without hostility.

" the US economy went through its greatest recession since the Great Depression during the late 1970s and early 1980s. "

A lot of that had to do with the decision by the Federal Reserve to make inflation-fighting a much higher priority than in the past.  There was already some inflation built into the economy (what the Fed calls "inflation expectations"), so the Fed raised the Prime rate rate to around 18%.

Oil was part of it, but this process of "squeezing" inflation expectations out of the economy was also a big part of it.

I was a younger man at that time and the Fed had no choice. Interest rates generally had already hit over 20% on credit cards. Housing loans were 12%, 14%, 16% and higher. The CPI was approaching 20%. Inflation didn't hit 20% because the Fed raised rates, which is what your comment appears to imply. No, the Fed raised rates because inflation had hit 20%. Inflation was the cause of the rate hike, not the other way around. (And if I have misunderstood your comment, my apologies in advance.)
"Inflation was the cause of the rate hike"

Yes, that's what I meant.  The difference was that previous Fed boards hadn't raised their rates in reaction to inflation - they made interest rate stability their goal, instead of inflation fighting.

More importantly, Volcker didn't care what happened to the economy growthwise, at least in the short-term.  He made choking inflation the first goal, choked the economy doing it, and assumed that in the longterm it would be good for the economy.  Unfortunately, presidential elections don't happen in the long-term, and so Carter got killed in the elections.

For some reason most people don't remember this history, and blame Carter's loss on his energy policies, or bad foreign policy, or somesuch.

Actually, Volcker topped the prime at 21.5% at the the end of 1980, nice appointment by Jimmy Carter, try getting reelected with that!

Money and those who have it don't like inflation, which is why the Fed considers inflation enemy #1. The combination of oil spike and a war fought on credit got inflation roaring. Actually from '73 to 80, the Fed only tripled prime, while since 2001 to 2006, the Fed has now quadrupled the prime -- we'll see what happens.

There aren't 4 or 5 million barrels of excess capacity in the world. If that was taken off the market, I think we would be lucky if oil only went to $100/bbl. There really is no telling how high it would go.

ExxonMobil estimates that production from existing wellbores worldwide is dropping at a rate of between 4% and 6%, or at about 3 mbpd to 4.4 mbpd per year (crude + condensate).    So we need to add production from new wellbores, workovers, secondary/tertiary recovery, etc. of 3 to 4.4 mbpd just to keep production flat.

Historically, regions that have crossed the 50% of Qt mark have not been able to to show continued exponential increases in production for this very reason--increasing production from new smaller fields could not match the declines from the older, larger fields.

As I have said about 10 zillion times, we have had several critical "coincidences" as the world crossed the 50% of Qt (C+C) mark:  (1)  World C+C production started falling; (2)  Oil prices traded in the highest nominal range in history; (3)  It's a near certainty that all four of the current super giant fields are in decline or crashing.  

I know you've said it a quadrillion times, but the fact of the matter is if we (the world) are tettering on the peak of a nasty downward slope, how on God's green earth is anyone able to maintain the ship upright at this time?

How can this fact be hidden so well from most people?  

There are either great magicians at work here or we are not quite there yet.  Perhaps stored crude is being depleted to hide the fact, but it is coming from somewhere off the books if this is the case.



These are links to production records for Texas and the Lower 48 (both crude + condensate).  Note that the initial declines were quite subtle, but since Texas peaked later (relative to Qt), Texas (now down 73% from the 1972 peak)  has fallen faster than the Lower 48 (now down 55% from the 1970 peak).

As I have now said ten zillion time plus one, KSA and the world are now at the same stage of depletion that Texas and the Lower 48 started declining.  

Guess what?  KSA and the world are both showing lower crude + condensate production.

The HL models predicted that the most likely declines for KSA and the world were both in 2006 (crude + condensate).   There were four possibilities:

(1)  KSA could be up and the world up.

(2)  KSA could be up and the world down.

(3)  KSA could be down the world up.

(4)  KSA could be down and the world down.

Anyone else find it compelling that both KSA and the world are performing as predicted by the HL models?

The people do a great job of hiding it from themselves.

If I had a dollar form every one who has said to me - yes Peak Oil is probably perfectly true, but I don't have time / won't / can't / not interested in thinking about it now, I would be able to buy a [small] oil well.

I know nobody who denies it and almost nobody who takes it on board intellectually. Like Mr Micawber, they expect that something will turn up and that PO will go away - or will only happen in the distant future.  

The people do a great job of hiding it from themselves.

You won't find anyone more receptive to PO than the people at TOD, myself included.

Yet I gotta admit, I can't process this. Cognitive dissonance at work.
I understand academically what WT is saying. I understand academically what the numbers mean, but I just can't process that into reality.

What am I supposed to do? I have to get up and go to work anyway. I have to interact with people completely oblivious to the problem everyday. PO is just getting drowned out in the noise of life and honestly I don't try too hard to stop it.

Sure I have made plans for PO. I've followed ELP as far as my income will allow. I've educated my immediate family (at least my father and wife (somewhat) believe me).
When the SHTF I'm emigrating back to the US and moving onto my father's farm which we hope to make somewhat self sufficient.

But that's all academic. I don't want to live on a friggin farm while the world falls apart around me! I love living in Tokyo! I love modern life! Screw you PO!

sorry for the rant.

But that's all academic. I don't want to live on a friggin farm while the world falls apart around me!

I love living in Tokyo!
I love modern life!
Screw you PO!

Rage, rage against the dying of the Electric light
Do not go gentle into that good Peak night

Welcome to the Dim Ages.

For your solace,  
I offer the Talking Heads's song lyrics for;

Nothing But Flowers

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it's nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
you've got it, you've got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you've got it, you've got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I'd pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it's only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it's nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we'd start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle

Somes up the feeling you may have after you....

When the SHTF I'm emigrating back to the US and moving onto my father's farm which we hope to make somewhat self sufficient.

Fare Thee Well


You know I've heard that song before, but never read the lyrics...wow...and that came out over 10 years ago...I wonder how they were so ahead of their time.
No need for great magicians. People see what they expect (want) to see, hear what they expect (want) to hear. It is in fact quite difficult to get anyone to perceive something new. Most will see nothing at all rather than perceive the new.

Just for an example: When the subject of home heating comes up on this page I reply with notes on work I did a quarter century ago. I insulated a number of strucures which have had no need whatsoever for heating through the coldest of Chicago winters. It's much easier to apply the product these days and you can even get it with good fire ratings, which was not the case in the old days. Need for air conditioning nearly disappears too. I don't get replies to those posts. I assume readers here just don't believe me.
The owners of those buildings of course told their friends. Who don't believe them. When giving tours and saying "This is where the boiler used to be. The building isn't being heated anymore" visitors either don't hear or respond by shivering and pulling up their collars.
Hard core skeptics will not believe in peak oil until production is down to 20mbpd. Or ten or five mbpd. There will always be an alternative explanation which many will find more palatable. Please look at the populations that still believe in George W Bush. Look at those who still listen to and believe Rush Limbaugh.

Please look at the populations that still believe in George W Bush. Look at those who still listen to and believe Rush Limbaugh.

Back in '03 it was the 50th anniversary of Josef Stalin's death. Polls taken in Russia at the time had over 50% of people saying that Stalin had been a 'great' man.

Yup. Habits die hard
Let me say I am not a Stalinist, but you might at least consider the possibility that the Russians know more about it than you do, and may be quite right in their assessment; or, more broadly, everything you think you know about Russia is wrong. Ironically, your post supports the contention that people see only what they want to, but with you as the example. You take prima facie evidence of Stalin's greatness as evidence that Russians are of course too stupid to recognize evil when they see it - because Stalin couldn't have been great, right? We all know that already. Those Russians. Prime evidence people only believe what they want to, right?

Put it this way: Stalin oversaw the industrialization of Russia and the defeat of Nazi Germany. That's pretty impressive. Great, even - either one, on its own.

(Before we get any comments about how many people he killed, 'great' does not actually mean the same as 'nice'. My old left-wing history teacher once asked us if we thought Hitler was a great man. Of course everyone said no. 'I didn't say "good",' he said, 'I said "great."' He left it at that, point made.)

There are "great" historic figures who caused the death of innumerous people, like Napoleon Bonaparte.

But Bonaparte created the Code Napoleon, a jurisdictional framework that is valid and broadly respected until today.

This is not the case as of Hitler (who only destroyed and never created anything, as Sebastian Haffner has remarked) or Stalin who obviously suffered from a persecution mania (and didn't create anything of value either).

By your definition, Alexander the Great isn't 'great' either, being nothing other than a vandal of less sophistication than rulers of the Persian Empire which he destroyed (Hellenization of the East being largely an accident).

What if the powers that had defeated Napoleon had then proceeded to get rid of the Code Napoleon? In this alternate universe, could Napoleon be considered great? Quite definitely, although not by your measure.

Like I made clear in the first post, being great and actually achieving anything remotely positive are not connected. Great people manage to do extraordinarily difficult things - positive or negative. Industrializing Russia. Defeating Hitler. Becoming dictator of Germany when you started off as some sort of laughable foreign outcast. Conquering the known world when you're still an adolscent. Being the greatest general known. And so on.

And Stalin did do something positive, that is, he oversaw the extremely rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union. Why is something like that of less worth than the Code Napoleon? (And please, no non sequiturs about all the people that got killed, because exactly the same argument applies about the Code Napoleon).

Again, we might just have to consider that the current popularity of Stalin in Russia might have something to do with the man's achievements. But we won't, because of exactly the habits of mind that were commented on in the start of this thread. But the joke is that we are the ones who are demonstrating the point - not the Russians.

Franz: IMHO, it might be a translation issue for the respondents, or semantics. It seems like you are using the meaning of "great" which equals "powerful". Obviously Stalin, Hitler, GWB were (are) all powerful men at one time. The other meaning of "great" relates to being a person of exceptional value (e.g. some might feel that Mother Theresa was "great" while realizing that her effective power never was comparable to that of Stalin or Hitler).    
Brian, you are right about it being semantics to an extent. But I have learnt something from paying attention to the writings of (largely US) expats in Russia whose writings I trust: most of the conventional wisdom we get about Russia is wrong, and a large segment of the Russian population really does idolize Stalin. So we have to ask ourselves: why? Is it because (a) they're all dumb (the conventional answer given near the top of this thread) or (b) maybe things are not quite as we think they are. Is it possible to have high regard for someone who supposedly offed 20M of your countrymen, but did other extraordinary things besides? It appears so. And why not? The world is not a simple place. To many intelligent Americans (e.g. Gore Vidal), Lincoln was some species of tyrant. Was he a great man? I think so, and I say it grudgingly, because it goes against my emotional biases to regard any American as great. But I think Lincoln was.

You mention Mother Theresa. She was great. As was Martin Luther King. As was Ghandi. As were Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Empress Wu, Augustus ... you get the idea. Great relates to your personal potential for action at a particular historical juncture. Whether it goes for good or ill is nothing to do with it. And let's face it, it will often go for ill.

Who are we to judge the Russians for thinking Stalin was great? We have had a half-century of Stalin as official Goldstein, second only to Hitler in our pantheon of official demons. (When he was actually fighting Hitler, he was a great guy, of course). Russians might be less susceptible to propaganda than we are (this is the conclusion of some Western observers). So I am not at all comfortable with the idea that we can use the opinions of a large segment of the Russian population about Stalin as evidence of them all simply believing what they want to believe. He saved their asses from the Nazis and made them a nuclear power and the first nation in space. This from being an agrarian nation considered the most backward in Europe - indeed, not even part of Europe. He outflanked both Lenin and Trotsky - no slouches either. Great? If Stalin isn't, no one is, and the term means nothing.

And Stalin did do something positive, that is, he oversaw the extremely rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union

"Stalin's government financed industrialization by both restraining consumption on the part of ordinary Soviet citizens, to ensure that capital went for re-investment into industry, and by ruthless extraction of wealth from the kulaks". (From the paragraph Industrialization in Wikipedia.)

We needn't argue about Stalin being a "great" historical figure or not. Winston Churchill regarded him as an "outstanding personality", so you may be with Churchill.
I tend to put it the way Josip B. Tito did:

"No crime was unthinkable with Stalin since there was no crime he hadn't committed. No matter how we want to judge about him, the fame having been the worst criminal in entire history will be his."

Actually, you are being extremely presumptuous. I made no value judgements associated with the poll numbers. Sure Stalin and Hitler did 'great' things for their countries. Ghengis Khan did 'great' things, etc.

Yes, good vs bad is obviously a different, but not unrelated continuum than great vs non-great(?). In historical hindsight, most people who give it more than cursory thought would try to roughly balance the bad a person has done with the good and make a rough judgement as to whether 'we' would have been better off had this person never existed. Obviously an academic excercise, but we do it nevertheless.

Small example: I would put FDR in the 'great' category and, although you can dredge up plenty of 'bad' things he did, my opinion is that the good he did far outweighed the bad. I'm sure creating such an index would give a fairly accurate picture of someone's politics.

I apologize if you find what I said presumptuous, but to be honest I don't see why you regard it so. After all, most everyone here regards George W and Rush Limbaugh as entirely laughable - and rightly so, in my opinion. So to mention a poll on Stalin in the same breath does have an implicit value judgement, as far as I can tell. But if you maintain there was a different intention, I accept that.
No offense taken. I can definitely see your point in that Stalin is often held up as an icon of evil (as is Hitler). In terms of body counts that they were responsible for, this is understandable, but it does obscure the more complex history of 'great' people to cast them into simplistic stereotypes.
What do you mean, you don't get replies to those posts?  I asked you where you could get that product for less than the cost of rigid board insulation.  You never responded.
Please accept my apologies
Perhaps I went to bed. I would not have stiffed you knowingly.
Try www.biobased.net.
Oh. Performance is way beyond preformed rigid board. No way could boards be fitted tightly enough to even be similar.
Don't be so sure about rigid board; if you skin it with cement and make the foam slightly oversize, compression can seal it just fine.
By the time you've done that much work why not just do it with  a single spray-on expand-in-place product? And the sealant is an insulator? And it sprays and expands into inaccessible places with an expansion factor of 100 to 1.
The original point of all this was that people will stick with what is familiar and not even see the new. Doing backflips to try to cover up the shortcomings of the familiar is pretty normal.
With spray foam you transport 2 55-gallon drums, resin and catalyst, and the spray unit fits any small van. With rigid board there's truckloads of material to do a house. The foil paper serves no purpose except to ease handling, pure waste. The trims from fitting the rigid board can eat a good size dumpster, a half-good foam crew wil waste much under 1%. Cutting the boards takes time, then you tape seams or if you wish, cement them. And when it's over you still have an inferior job. And it's still done the familiar way because it's so easy to understand the process of cutting board with a knife and driving screws.
Way up there Dragonfly thought it would need a magician politician to make anyone not see peak oil. I'm surprised when anyone ever gets out of their own way.
On the first pass your link wouldn't come up. Now I look at it and it's for SIPS. Sure, SIPS work. If you design from square one for SIPS. That solution has been more popular than spray foam again because it feels familiar.
That particular SIP could probably be integrated with conventional construction, but it has some
very large advantages when used throughout:

  • It needs no wood in the construction (good, because forests may be in trouble).
  • It is fireproof, waterproof, rotproof, insect-proof and impenetrable to mold.
  • Because the design allows entire walls and floors to be continuous shear webs and reinforce each other, it attains far greater total strength than a conventional structure.

The one thing it needs is a system to produce panels at a local factory from primed skins and foam beads.  That would eliminate most of the shipping issues.
Fork you.

I don't get replies to those posts. I assume readers here just don't believe me.

You get responses from people who will listen to you and respond after you gave them a certain amount of courtesy. For fucks's sake. I just gave you that. Why? Because you did previously for me. Duh.

Here's my list of cool people on TOD. If you are not on this list - YOU SUCK. You can petition me for forgiveness.

(There is a chance you should be on this, but I missed you)

Let's Go.
Let's see how good I do. I'm taking misses in my mailbox now. I need a little help from my friends to make this work.

Lou Grinzo

(the first four)

I believe you, the same principles work over here in Sweden.

I have no good idea on how to sell insulation + heat recovery ventilation + using waste heat if visiting a such a house isent good enough.

if you lived close to a dam would almost every other concious thought be 'what if the dam fails?'
no it would not.
the vast majority of people figure they would be dead or will die if anything like this happens so they put it out of their minds.

Well, if they took 4mbd off the market, that would create quite a political hornets nest.  You would probably see massive support for alternative energies from US Politicians.  Subsidies, Tariffs, etc...  

It would also most likely cause a recession, which would decrease demand for oil.


Such cutting production in half would be the equivelent of declaring war to the USA. Now that the US military is the only guarantee for the security of the Saudi royal family I would guess that decalring war to your bodyguards is a very stupid idea.

The Saudi princes are not interested in "looking forward for the next generations". They are interested in staying in power and enriching themseves. After oil output starts to run out they will most likely collectively resign and leave to some Carrebean islands.

Whipple is talking of what KSA might do to avert regional war and how unpleasant it might be. So long as The Decider is left in charge we simply move closer and closer to the worst case scenario - well beyond what Whippple wants to contemplate.
But clearly Nawaf Obaid has looked at that scenario and his superiors must find a real chance of the worst coming to pass.
IMO...Toby Hemenway still doesn't get it.  The "origins of doomerism" are complex, and he keeps trying to force his simple worldviews onto it.  

I particularly object to this bit:

While these writers argue that civilization is evil, unsustainable, and must collapse, they also posit that human beings deserve something better that can only arise after this culture dies.

Did he even read Tainter?  Tainter says no such thing.  He takes a scientific view, and is careful to avoid language that might be emotionally loaded.  (He uses the word "society" instead of "civilization," for example.)  He doesn't believe "civilization" is evil, unsustainable, and must collapse.  His book is about why complex societies collapse, but he doesn't say they must collapse, or that it's a good thing when they do.  

It's an old tactic: rather than address the issue raised, attack or dismiss the one raising it. Even with Chicken Little, one is obliged to at least take a brief look up and make sure the sky isn't really falling before one calls Chicken Little, well, Chicken Little.
My thoughts exactly. The guy built a clumsy and simplistic "doomer" strawman that only the most ignorant and gullible of the public would believe.  
This isn't the first time Hemenway has done this same thing.  His "Apocalypse, Not" article starts by making five "doomer" statements that no one would agree with and knocking them down.  

There certainly is a fringe of society that serially thinks we're all going to die.  However, most of the doomers whose articles and posts I've read have a reasonable basis for their concerns, whether or not things will play out that way.  At the same time, in the past three days there have been three articles that seem to be another sort of psychological fringe, that would rather discuss people's reactions instead of their reasoning.  It's like a general ad hominem attack, "Kook groups like this spring up from time to time, so we can safely ignore their conclusions no matter how much analysis of historical precedent they've done."

Rob Hopkins' "Is Peak Oil Pessimism a Generation of Men Coming to Realise How Useless They Are?" is only slightly different.  I'm somewhat peak oil pessimistic, but not because I don't have the skills I need to do well.  I'm pessimistic because of all the people around me who don't have those skills, who have no idea they might need them, and who are still building their lives around not needing them.  I biked to work this morning in a sub-zero wind chill and could do it all day if I needed.  It gets this cold around here every winter, but there aren't many people here who would survive a day outside in this weather.  What happens if their energy costs add up to more than they budgeted?  I hope they come beating on Hemenway and Hopkin's doors instead of mine.

Your reference to the Hopkin's piece brough to mind the tragic and recent story of James Kim, the San Francisco area entreupreneur who drove his family into the Oregon outbacks and died trying to save them after they turned onto the wrong road.

Mr. Kim was an IT guru (apparently worked for CNET).

How did his IT skills help him? Sadly, not at all.

What would you have done differently?
And please don't give me the hindsight smarty answer of staying with the car because you know the helicopter finally came for his wife and 2 daughters. (One story says the helicopter found his family because they spotted his footprints ... and also that he was running from bears.)

Staying with the car is not the "hindsight smarty" answer.  It's the right answer.  It's almost always a mistake to leave your vehicle in that situation.
but why oh why didnt he just stay on the road ?  walking i mean
I'm curious about that, too.  Maybe the rumored bears chased him off?  

Or maybe he decided to try and follow a stream out?

Hypothermia and desperation make people act stupid.

either way I'm sure NBC will make a movie out of this.

You nailed it Medic.

He spent 5 days without any real food. His wife and kids were starving. He and his family were near hypothermia.
Desperate is a mild word for what he was feeling.

Yeah from my cozy cubicle it seems a stupid thing to do. But if I was in his shoes you might have had to chain me to that car. I couldn't sit around inactive and watch my family die no matter how stupid walking off was.

I'd like to think I'd have stuck to the road though.

Or being an IT guru, you might have rigged together a cheap broadband transmitter hooked to your car battery and ignition coil to tap out an SOS signal in hopes the FCC will triangulate on you for having violated spectrum rules.

Of course, Monday quarterbacking in a warm cozy office is way too easy.

--Or easier yet, pull out one of your ignition wires from its spark plug and tap out an SOS on the chasis ground while your car still has gas and gurggles along with one missed piston.

Maybe this idea will save someone in the future.

This guy reviewed camcorders for a living. You expect him to make a radio out of his ignition system?
That's like the MacGyver method ... we'll just wrap 2 turns of lamp cord around this old horseshoe, power it with a penlight cell, and use it to pull the nails out of that old barn from across the road ... etc.

He obviously thought his best chances were to go for help; as is frequently the case, this was the incorrect choice. Staying with the car and setting fire to the tires was clearly a better idea.

As everyone's been saying in this thread, it's usually best to stay put if there's any chance that someone will come looking for you. They can spot a car, but it you are slumped under a snowbank you won't be visible to a search party.

Don't know enough about the details of this case, but from what I've read and seen about cold weather survival, there could be a number of reasons.

One, was the road clearly visible?  Did snow cover it, or cause an area that wasn't a road to appear as such?

Hypothermia can cause a person to become delusional, and disoriented.  This actually happened to a jogger in my neighborhood when I was a kid up in Maryland.  We had emergency services in front of our house when my dad went out to ask what was going on.  The jogger had become so cold and disoriented that she had wandered into a drainage ditch not but a few feet deep, and couldn't get out(my friends and I would hide in those ditches all the time when playing army so they were not that hard to get out of).  There wasn't even snow that night... just a wicked cold front.  However when my dad explained to me what Hypothermia can do, I put that example firmly in my mind and it has never left me since.

Its anyone's guess what state of mind Mr Kim was in being out in that weather.  The smart thing to do, is like Leanan said, stay with your shelter, try to build a fire(both for warmth, and for rescue signal purposes) but don't put so much effort in at once that you would cause yourself to sweat(more likely to become hypothermic once you stop activity), or push yourself to exhaustion.

A local talk show discussed the case so I actually had some more info. It's called "Gold Beach"

Here is an exerpt from the local paper there:

James Kim was a senior editor for CNET, an internet-based news site. He and his wife also own two businesses in the San Francisco area.

With James Kim being a tech-savvy person, Lt. Dinsmore felt that the Kim family may have relied on internet-based maps in their attempt to traverse the Bear Camp Road as a route to Gold Beach. He urges the public to use caution when using those services.

"There's a danger when people want to rely on technology," Dinsmore stated. "It's not telling you the road surfaces. Those searches -- when people are going into areas you don't know -- boy, you need to be careful. It's not just in this area -- It's all over."

It was later reported that the Kims actually used a state map, not the internet to travel the road.

One additional bit of advice buried in a Gold Beach site:

Regarding Bear Camp Road (also known as Merlin-Galice Road, Forest Service Road 33); This is NOT a highway and is not a maintained thoroughfare! Although on some maps it may appear to be a more direct route to Gold Beach, it's not a highway in any sense. It's a forest service road, closed in winter, and is mostly one-lane with no fog lines, no guard rails, no shoulder, and plenty of wash-outs, mudslides and potholes. Cell phones don't work in much of that area and after you pass the Agness turnoff, there is nothing but wilderness until you get to the other side of the mountain range at I-5.
Kati Kim told rescuers that at one point, they had to get out of the car to remove boulders from the road.

Man, at that point, I would have turned back.  

Somebody upstairs was sending them clues.

And yet they refused to listen.

Someone from upstairs has been sending us clues too.

The clues are named M. King Hubbert, Deffeys, Simmons, ... all the good folk at TOD ...

And yet they refuse to listen.

I disagree with you.

The decision to leave or stay as many decisions in emergencies are not black and white.  If you have reason to believe someone is looking for you and in the right area stay put.  If you know nobody is looking for you and the traffic is low maybe you need to get help.  There is no "always" or "never" in these situations.  This guy kim was a bad ass for lasting as long as he did, if he had a little luck he might have walked out.  Remember that homeschooled special ed kid last year that was hiding from the rescuers calling his name because he was not allowed to talk to strangers?

If you are worried this could happen to you take a NOLS or Outward bound course and pack smart in the winter.  I recomend outward bound.


When stuck:

Take out the spare tyre.

Syphon Petrol.

If you cannot syphon

Puncture the tank

Store the petrol, - in a flask, cup or similar

When you hear a plane or helicopter, pour the petrol over the spare tyre, set it alight, stand back

And wait for rescue.

Desert Driving 101.

Actually, my comment is not fair.

Who knows his personal motivation or reasons?

Who knows his rationale at the time?

Who knows his fears, his panic, his anxieties?

Assuming he was green, he probably thought (all the way up to it goiing horribly wrong) that he was pretty much on a picknick with the wife and kids. And always in charge.

Trouble is, SUV sales reps sell a dream. The dream is masterful, hunky , chunky males in command of nature and machines.

First time I got in a SUV (Whoopie) in Australia, I wrecked it within 12 hours with a double role over. Brand new as well, 12 k on the clock, almost cost me my job... Easily done If you are 24, arrogant (young, dumb and full of come - as they say in Texas)

Then I got some training from a salty dawg. He had the patience. He had seen too many like me not to. It cost me a night of beers. Cheap.

Problem is the sales reps sell the dream. The inexperienced people climb into the seat. SUV's should only be sold to people with an off-road cert.

Nothing new here. A family on holiday in North Africa died in similar , tragic circumstances. Blown tyres in a driekanter field, not enough water, Air rescue out looking.
Waving and shouting instead of setting fire to the vehicle (probably thought the insurance would not cover it)
Should have listened to his wife. Should have stayed by the pool.

Idiocy: When desert driving in Western Egypt: take six tyres and 100 Litres of drinking water and a professional driver with an ancient, illegal, British Army Webley Revolver. Just in case. Oh, and do as he says: he knows what he is doing. However many degrees you have, you dont know what you are doing. Watch, listen, learn.

We all do this 'SUV-man-and-machine-in-harmony' crap. It is a man-thing. Impress number one son. Show him you still have what it takes.

Good God, I have picked up the stacatto style of OIL CEO.

Time for bed.

I thought they were in a Saab station wagon, not an SUV.
His IT skills may have led him into the predicament in the first place.  Some reports say he was using a GPS navigation system that directed him onto that road as the preferred route.  Computers don't always know the truth on the ground as locals could probably have told him.  Too bad, he sounds like a nice man.
Well, you asked.

  1. Never leave the area.  This is the basic backcountry survival rule.  You only leave if you're in imminent danger where you are.  I've done several hundred miles of backcountry backpacking.  It's a great cheap vacation.
  2. Make sure when traveling that someone knows you are traveling, your approximate route, when you should arrive, and make arrangements to let them know when you get there.  My mother in law is great for this!  (Sorry, she's mine, you can't have her!)
  3. We keep some basic supplies in our car in the winter, including extra food, extra water, first aid kit, extra blankets, coats for everyone, boots for me at least.  We always have a military folding shovel and multi-tool in the car as well as some firestarters.  This is in our small station wagon.
  4. If necessary, build a shelter using branches from trees in the area, use that to keep warm.
  5. Use the materials around you to build something visible from the air.  If nothing else, an obvious large man-made triangle in an unusual place is a decent attention-getter.
  6. Avoid being in dangerous situations like that.    Better to be late getting home than drive through the "Oregon outbacks" with a storm coming.

However, my point was about our living arrangements, not the car.  We rarely use the car.  If things fall apart because of high energy prices, I don't think car trip survival will be a big problem.  Bus, train, and plane travel isn't usually a problem in those situations.  If it's dangerous, they sensibly cancel the trip and you just wait for the next trip.

Better to be late getting home than drive through the "Oregon outbacks" with a storm coming.

I lived for 41 years east of the Mississippi & then moved to Oregon. My first spring here I almost killed myself on Mt. Hood. I definitely was no smarter than Mr. Kim, just luckier. If that snow bank had decided to crumble at the wrong time, it would have taken weeks before anybody found the body. Thank you, mountain, for giving me another chance.

Here is one big difference between Oregon and say Pennsylvania. Sure, if you take a little road off I-80, you can get into some deep woods in Pennsylvania. But off I-5 in Oregon, the wilderness can be a lot more serious, more remote. We all rely on the world following some patterns so we can tune our behavior & steer the situation. The interstate highway system is really deceptive. The appearance of the roadway is so uniform across the country - that uniformity erases clues about the character of the country you're travelling through.

Good point.  The Kims were from San Francisco.  Both the weather and the wilderness was not what they were used to.  

I found the interstates themselves hard to deal with when I first moved to the northeast.  Small town girl that I was, I wasn't used to multiple lanes, restricted access, on-ramps, etc.  Heck, there was only one traffic light in town when I learned to drive.

The car was shelter. In bad weather, you want to stay sheltered. To wander around in that crap, regardless of gear, is highly dangerous. The only reason to start moving out of the shelter is because you believe help is not coming. Otherwise you stay put. Rescuers have a higher probability of finding you in a shelter (like your vehicle) than wandering the back hills of nowhere pretending to be a mountain man.
I think that what we are not accounting for here in this thread is the infant.  Sure the adults could have survived for many weeks, if not months without food.  They had the shelter of the vehicle and the snow for water.  They were running out of food, however, and after a few days without food, the mother metabolism would have entered starvation mode, and her milk would not have sustained the 7 month old infant for long.  

As a father, I would rather have gone out and faced probable death in an attempt to at least try to do something.  Imagine sitting there watching your children slowly die and then you, the adult, being found alive by rescuers a week later with your dead children.

I have all the SAS books: desert, mountain, and arctic in my bag. So I don't know what I would have done other than consult my trusty books.

If I may make an observation that borders on asshole-edness: a "man has got to know his limitations." My understanding is he was an IT geek with no survival training. What in sweet jesus' name are you doing out in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE with YOU'RE FREAKING WIFE AND KID!!! with no preparations or back up like that.

My guess is this guy thought he was hot stuff but he was a big shot back in the IT, online-publishing world and figured "hey I'm a take charge guy back at CNET, I'm gonna take charge and swing my dick around out here in the freezing cold just like I do back in the office in Silicon valley. After all I brokered that million dollar deal last month I'm sure I can figure this out."

Even if he didn't CONSCIOUSLY think that, his subconscious probably greatly overestimated his abilities and thus saw the situation in a very distorted light.

Was it a top of the line SUV?

That does wonders for Machismo.

Especially when trying to impress number one son


I always bet on a gamekeeper in his 40 year old £300 Series II shed to a top executive in his £65,000 spec brand new Range Rover who off roads in Sainbury's car parks.
" I'm pessimistic because of all the people around me who don't have those skills "

I wonder if the Amish communities may not be a godsend to their locals if/when the crises begins in earnest.

" and who are still building their lives around not needing them."

Unfortunatly, the Mass Delusion will probably continue until it cannot - and even then any periods of relative calm and growth will probably reignite the false-hopes of a return to this period of prosperity.

I wonder if the Amish communities may not be a godsend to their locals if/when the crises begins in earnest.

I think a lot of that will depend on how desperate their "neighbors" get.  If we have a slow "crash" that would provide time for people to re-specialize(or is it re-generalize) and learn new ways of living, then the Amish might be a huge boon not only for just their locale, but to their neighbors as well.

If there is a fast crash and desperation seeps in, the Amish are probably going to be an easy target for thugs who will be looking for a means to find easy access food, and other essentials.  Given the Amish propensity for pacifism, it is likely they will not resist, which will invite the thugs all the more.

A significant number of Amish families have moved to southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri in the past several years.  They are not seperate from the rest of the people. I often see their buggies in downtown Lamoni and at the area's only supermarket. They use the same doctors as everyone else and most likely the same medicines.  They have the same range of personalities as any other group.  For the most they stick with early 19th century technology but one Amish women has been seen using a lawn tractor.  Perhaps it was borrowed and perhaps she owned it.  If things get as bad as some doomers say then the Amish could teach the skills many have lost or they would sell their skilled services to the highest bidder.  I'd bet on them selling.  
"Amish are probably going to be an easy target for thugs "

I was thinking the same thing.  We have Amish in the area and I see them as a huge asset already.  We "doomers" who are mentally already preparing for the crisis will have to keep a close eye on our pacifist friends and might have to protect them if necessary - and if possible.

Toby Hemenway is an optimist - you pretty much have to be to be a professional permaculturist.  (His permaculture books are very good, by the way.  It's definitely on my 'books to save if everything goes to hell' list.)  He can envision a world in which his preferred methodology is ascendant, and so has a vested interest in dismissing views that it will all come to nought.

The Hopkin's article annoyed me somewhat.  I am pretty much exactly what he described - a 32-year old male IT pro who has an interest in Peak Oil.  But I'm far from useless.  I work in IT because I have a lifelong ease with computers and I like solving complex problems, and it pays very well.  But I can (and do) garden, cook, repair pretty much anything electrical or mechanical, design and build a large range of things, including housing.  I'd be much more useful and valuable in a post-Peak world than I am now.  I also think we can probably engineer a energy-rich, sustainable society after the chaos following the demise of the current socioeconomic paradigm (assuming the chaos doesn't kill us all.)

the piece is so full of misplaced generalisms that Hemenway only embarrasses himself
'...but he doesn't say they must collapse....'

Well, it is certainly a logical conclusion to the fact that  entropy is a constant.

Nothing lasts forever, which is why the country with probably the world's shortest planning horizon seems so obsessed with the end times.

But speaking broadly, there is a very recognizable thread of 'rebirth' in many, many of the scenarios - and generally, for only the lucky/fit/select few.

It is not easy to write a true dystopia without at least following the normal conventions of storytelling. '1984' may be a perfect example, and it truly influences us as much as any religious writings in these discussions - I won't argue about Toby Hemenway's simplicity though.


"But speaking broadly, there is a very recognizable thread of 'rebirth' in many, many of the scenarios - and generally, for only the lucky/fit/select few."

And this is because there is historic knowledge passed through generations that this is exactly what tends to occur - growth, overshoot, dieoff, then rinse and repeat. It is passed as history, legend, myth, religion, but it is passed on nonetheless, so it inhabits our minds, lurking at the edges. We know what the consequences of stepping off a cliff are, and we know what the consequences over overshoot are, even as we deny those consequences and try to pretend that we are somehow more special than any of our ancestors and thus exempt.

He's a more intellectural albeit much less funny version of J.D.

Rob's "doomer-slayer" tactic was to imply some type of psychological problem on the part of males who believe our society is doomed. In this piece Toby's tactic is to imply some type of psychological problem on the part of peiople who believe our society is doomed. Is there a trend here?

All part of the attack plan on Peakists?

Remember when Global Warming was regarded by MSM and the corpocracy as the province of 'bearded, sandal wearing hippies'?

They must be getting sensitive about PO...

Somebody must have touched a nerve.

They must be getting sensitive about PO...

Yesterday evening a Google search for "peak oil" yielded a sponsored link to CERA  "Peak Oil Theory Flawed".

This morning it was followed by sponsored link to TheOilDrum.

Now the Oil Drum link is gone and replaced by Post-Oil Future (www.askquestions.org).

Just an observation...



The TOD overlords may be able to chime in on this one but it is my understanding, having briefly experimented with adwords back in 2004, that the position of the sponsored links is connected to how much you are willing to pay.  Obviously CERA has a bit more funding then TOD although I heard there was some type of "Petroleum Geologists Gone Wild" video filmed at the ASPO conference in the works that could bring in some major cash.

BTW, do you know who owns http://www.ceradebunked.com? muhahahahahha!!!

err, ahh just ignore that there empty post. Mouse got away from there for a sec. :-)
Hemenway and that Rob what's his name have no argument. It's just ad hominem speculation.

See what happens when you give a gardener an internet connection?

Instant psychoanalyst!

BTW, I'm a "sustainable" farmer, as well, part of the Hemenway, Rob what's his name crowd, so you'd think I'd be on their side.  NOT.

I refuse the cornball "permacultist" or "organic" labels (apart from saying, "yes, my produce is carbon-based.")

I've given up trying to warn people and trying to completely prepare for what's down the pike, because we don't know what's down the pike and that's the problem and why it will probably lead to crash. And if my neighbor aren't prepared, what good does it do me to prepare?

Hello Leanan et al,

I think you're missing the point of what Toby is saying. He documents the many previous instances of apocalyptic thinking, and suggests that in times of stress we tend to revert to it.

Historically, there is no doubt that this is true.

Apocalyptic thinking is not just having a grim view of future prospects (as with Tainter) -- it's a kind of hysteria. Thinking stops. Fear reigns.

Any evidence is twisted to conform with the vision of apocalypse.  

The big problem with apocalyptic thinking is that it prevents people from seeing the problem clearly and taking appropriate steps.

If one is concerned about peak oil, one of the most important things to do is recognize the danger of apocalyptic thinking and guard against it.  Just as in an outdoor survival situation, the key is to keep cool and avoid hysteria.

There's a quote that keeps going around peak oil sites:

"If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst."

Dissing it as "apocalyptic thinking," as if "pessimism" were proven to be such a "phenomenon," only worsens matters.

If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst.

That's the whole problem. Some people are not looking at the worst. They are confident it will happen. And even go further to suggest policies from the point of view that the world will descend into chaos (like dismantaling nuclear power stations, nice try, Dmitry!).

For me the definition of "doomers" goes to people that are predetermining the disastrous outcome and then are suggesting what to do, based on what they have already decided it will look like. Similar inverse logic I find in curnopians ("everything will be fine" consequently we don't need to do anything).

I was confident in March 2003 that Iraq would turn into a worse case scenario. It has. In fact, many reasonable people who have access to the front lines are saying it is worse than worse case.

Now, lots of other people were confident about this back in March 2003. But Toby would tell them they were apocalyptic doomers who don't understand that situations are fluid, societies change, etc. After all, the Sunnis and the Shias might just decide to lay down their arms and grow permaculture gardens.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Sure none of us can predict the future with absolute certainty. But when there are trillions yes TRILLIONS being spent on making these catastrophes (energy, ecnomic, environmenta) as catastrophic as possible while there are only billions being spent on everything combined that can liberally be called a solution or mitigation strategy you can bet with a 99.9% chance or better where things are heading: total catastrophe.

If I spend $500 a month on fast food, liquor, and cigarettes but only $50 on a gym membership and organic produce you can probably predict where my health is going to go with an extraordinary high degree of accuracy particular when I show no inclination whatsoever of wanting to fundamentally change my habits.

As of 12/06, probably 99% of Americans are making plans based on expectations of continued exponential increases in petroleum imports into the world's largest importer, the US, while the current data show that exports from the world's largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, are probably down by about 13% (from 12/05 to 12/06).
Well after you get a dozen of interlinked and severe health problems and your doctor tells you that if you don't quit smoking etc. in 5 years you will be dead, there is some chance that you will do something about it. Or you may not. That's the whole point - it is in our hands to save our asses.

So, please don't write this civilisation off so fast, there is still quite a bit of rationality up there. And there are quite a few things worth saving from it.

On a related note: you think that Iraq is the worse of the worst? Me wonders what a German soldier, once miraculously surviving Stalingrad would have to say about this. After he stops laughing of course. No, my friend, Iraq to what can possibly happen is what pimples are to terminal cancer. I am a cautios optimist that US will grow up through its pimples period and learn what other nations and empires learned the harder way without doing any more damage to iself and the world.

Obviously you don't agree with the 2nd Lancet study of excess mortality in Iraq.  I've actually read the 1st study, and what's striking from the summaries I've heard about the 2nd study is the vast increase in the amount of death caused by violence.  The 1st study really emphasized deaths from the health effects of our complete ruination of Iraqi institutions.  But the trend line from the 1st study (up to early 2004) and the 2nd study suggests that by the time we really get out of Iraq the excess mortality will be well over 1 million, or 5% of the Arab population of Iraq.  Then there will be a further war as Iran and Saudi Arabia try to intervene to fill the vacuum and grab the oil fields.

On top of that we must recall that the Lancet study is based on excess mortality over the death rate which prevailed before the invasion, but that rate included the effects of the sanctions, which were also responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.  I think that when it's all over we will be responsible for about as much death in Iraq in God's eyes as we were in Vietnam - 1 to 2 million people who probably wouldn't have died if we weren't aggressive morons, yet again.

So the numbers could approach 10% of total population, which is not far off of Germany's losses in WW2.  While the German soldier of your example was probably economically better off in 1952 than he had been before the War, the people of Iraq will probably not recover their 1990-era standard of living for decades because we'll sanction them again for having yet another government we won't like.  And if we didn't learn from Vietnam, and many powerful Americans want to do worse to Iran, or even China and Russia (we wanted to HELP Iraq), imagine what the world will look like after we've fiinally ruined ourselves.  

This is quite messy and heavy subject to contemplate. Who is responsible for all those desths? US invasion or/and the ethnical tensions suppresed but predicated by the Saddam regime? And then that regime was brought to power and supported again by US. So who's responsibility it is? The reasons and causes date many decades back.

The comparision with WWII is unadequate. Hopefully total wars of states like are history (though noone can tell) because of the enormous cost they bear, and of course because there are nukes now. Certainly our policy has been disastrous for Iraq, but the last 10 years are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Stalingrad soldier comparison had another meaning. In the Iraqi case we are the invaders - the imperial force reaching for a resource grab. We are in the role of the Germans, though thanks God we have not gone as far as Nazi Germany (yet?!). Now compare our current position to Germany's circa '44 - we have not lost 15% of our population in the war and our country is not in ruins. We are damn healthy and quite unharmed. How cynical it may be the US leadership does not give a s@%t about the Iraqi casualties. There are some costs related to covering them up from the public opinion etc., but these are peanuts. The task is made simpler by that we don't have to assume direct responsibility for all that death and destruction, because technically we're not the ones pulling the trigger.

So again - with Iraq we have not seen nothing yet. And the Pentagon's reaction to the even remote idea of a nuclear strike against Iran is giving me some certainty that someone is learning and we are not run by total idiots.

"there is some chance that you will do something about it. Or you may not."

If my reaction is that the doctor is a doomsayer and my way of life is non-negotiable and I proclaim this, in 999/1000 cases, I'm NOT going to change.

700,000 dead Iraqis. Depleted Uranium all over the place. A war that will not end in our lifetimes. No more fish within 50 years. I could go on but wouldn't you say that the apocalypse might be characerized by things like lots of dead people, huge oil wars, and dying oceans?
You are mental, Leanan. Look at what you are doing. It's pretty obvious you have a problem. You fall into this honey-trap every time. We don't even set it. We have no idea who is. We're pretty sure there isn't one party that does. But we watch, Leanan.

We watch. We understand everything that happens. This one cracks us up, though. We're trying to recruit you, dumbass.

His book sucked. Just like Deffeyes.

The UK produced, in 1999, 2,684,000 barrels per day, crude + condensate. Then in 2000 production dropped to 2,275,000 barrels per day. That was a drop of 15.24%. But then their production increased slightly for the next two years,  producing, in 2002, 2,292,000 barrels per day. So the drop-off of 15% was actually spread over three years.

Roger Conner expressed yesterday, the opinion that this is how the world will behave when it hits the peak. And because this is how the world should behave, when it peaks, we can doubt that the peak is behind us because we have not yet seen this precipitous drop-off.

This is the slope that is proving catastrophic to the British. There is no reason to believe that any field developed with the most modern methods will decline in any other way. Thus, world peak, when it comes, will be severe, and aging fields will have no "second life" or tertiary recovery in the old sense of that word. We will need the new fields, wherever they may be, and we just have to pray to God they are there, until we get the alternatives scaled up, and consumption and waste leveled off. That is why, frankly, it is hard to believe that peak is already behind us as some say (Deffeyes Dec 05), because if it were, we should be in absolute hysterical pandemonium by now.

Well, no! There is absolutely no reason to believe that this is how the whole world will behave when we hit the peak. The world is not one nation. The EIA lists 31 major oil producing nations, lumping all the very small producing nations into one category called "Other". If indeed all these nations should peak at the same time, then we might see a production drop off of 15% drop-off in three years as we saw in the UK.

A case in point, Norway, which should have a production profile very similar to that of the UK, peaked in 2000. In 2001 they had declined by 3.39% and in three years they showed a decline of 6.68%. So obviously all nations will not, and should not, show the sudden drop-off that the UK showed. But the primary reason that the world will not show the same pattern that the UK showed is that all nations will not peak at the same time. A drop-off of one or two nations will not cause the whole world to have a similar profile.

In fact, Saudi Arabia, from September 2005 to September 2006 has shown a drop-off of 6.25%, almost twice that which Norway showed in a single year, and no one is starting to panic.

I have examined the production profile of every one of the EIA's 31 major producing nations. Most have already peaked and are in decline. A few are on a flat production plateau. And some are yet to peak. The peak, which is right now, (with the peak month probably December of 05), is showing a long plateau, exactly as would be expected!

Ron Patterson

This is the argument Stuart made in his post

Hubbert Theory says Peak is Slow Squeeze

It's worth a quick review for readers who've already read it. For newer readers who may not have seen it, it is one of the essential Stuart Staniford posts (Stuart's Plateau Background post has a great index of his many posts).

Stuart's arguments and graphs are in support of Ron's point that the world will not decline nearly as rapidly as the UK.

I know this doesn't change your argument, but it is worth pointing out that the EIA's UK production statistics are not completely consistent with those published by the UK.

According to the UK's Department of Trade and Industry (see here (Excel spreadsheet)), the UK's production declined by 8% in 2000, 7% in 2001, 0.5% in 2002, 9% in 2003, 10% in 2004, 11% in 2005 and 10.5% so far in 2006.

Also, when the EIA originally published the UK's statistics for 2000, they showed an 8% decline, like the one the DTI reports. But then, in early 2002, they revised the 2000 figure down, which resulted in an apparent increase in production in 2001, which UK statistics have never shown.


Note that Roger was comparing one sub-basin of an offshore province to the world, which is predominantly onshore.  

As you know, a much better analogue for the world is the Lower 48.

...because if it were, we should be in absolute hysterical pandemonium by now.

Your statements Ron, like WT reminding us that the 3rd world(like Africa) are already priced out, and in "Pandemonium" right now...

Makes me remember a line from George Carlin

I don't worry if All Hell breaks Lose, I am more worried about only Part of it breaking lose, and nobody noticing


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/industries/energy/stories/DN-energy_06bus.ART.State. Edition1.316bcf4.html

One exception is crude oil production. The EIA last year predicted U.S. oil production would drop by 2030; now the group says domestic production will rise a bit.

Hey, I want one of those!
A glimpse of our future.
I know from experience that one can produce about 100 watts an hour on an elliptical trainer, for example. I know that's a lot of work for little impact, but still, seems like it would make sense to hook up all those machines at health clubs to generators.
I once saw a little story on tv about an engineer who was worried about his children sitting around watcthing tv and not exercising.  He hooked up a generator to a stationary bike and the tv.  the children were permitted to watch as much tv as they wanted but it now ran only off the generator.  They did not protest one bit and they willingly worked out a system taking turns riding the bike so they could watch tv.  
If you sustained 100 watts, and could sell the power to your electric company at the retail rate of 10 cents per kwh, you could earn one cent per hour. The bottom line is that exercise does not generate enough energy to provide the hot shower you need afterwards.
Well for starters, you keep the power for yourself, until a KWH sells for a respectable dollar or two.. (.20 an hour!!) plus, you've been able to quit your gym membership, which wasn't cheap, and you now realise well enough the value of precious electricity that you would never bother heating water with resistive loading again (save for when your windmill has surplus to spill), while there is a sun up in the sky for free.  Communications and Lighting are essential uses of electricity.  Much other work can be tasked out to less expensive energy sources.
From The origins of peak oil doomerism:

After I published an article suggesting that Peak Oil may lead "merely" to widespread unemployment and hardship rather than collapse [Apocalypse, not, April 2006], hundreds wrote to tell me I was a naïve optimist and a cornucopian

Been there buddy.  In fact, someone has gone so far as to call me a "collapse denier"!!!

Think about that.  "Deniers" are evil folks who refuse to accept historic events.  We've got at least one person out there who is so certain of a collapse in our future, that questioning it is like questioning the Holocaust.

Just because we start using different energy sources doesn't mean were going to collapse into a post apocalyptic agrarian society.  People who believe that always seem kind of crazy to me.

But, I have been wondering just what WTs ELP plan is :P

Yes, we can turn corn into ethanol. We can cut the trees and make charcoal or just burn the wood for fuel. We can even turn turkey guts into diesel fuel. Yes we will definitely find a way to keep the population growing until every tree has been felled and every other wild species on earth has gone extinct. And when the population is 9 billion, then we will go from 9 billion back to 3 billion or less. The human misery will be doubled and the survivors will inherit a barren earth.

God I hope not! Strange that I am rooting for the world of David Price and not the "technology will fix everything" folks.

Ron Patterson

Today's second-most-important source of energy, after fossil fuels, is biomass conversion. But all the world's wood fires, all the grain alcohol added to gasoline, and all the agricultural wastes burned as fuel only provide 15% of the world's energy. And biomass conversion has little growth potential, since it competes for fertile land with food crops and timber.
David Price, Energy and Human Evolution
Do a Google search for Universal Geothermal, then come back and cry doom and gloom.
do a google search for "the war that will not end in our lifetimes"
Screw that.  I'm holding out for dilithium crystals.  And  technology too.
You guys are all wrong.
Screw dilithium crystals, I'm betting on aquygen
I'd love to show that article to my old chemistry teacher, but I think I would be covered in tea if I were standing in front of his desk.

They do make a good gullibility detector though.

Been there buddy. In fact, someone has gone so far as to call me a "collapse denier"!!!

Yes you are, more precisely you are an "economic collapse denier", that is denying that the "economy" will collapse even if ressources of all kinds gets depleted.

We've got at least one person out there who is so certain of a collapse in our future,

You are deliberately lumping together many meanings of "collapse", so let me precisely tell what "one person out there" is certain about :
  • The current level of population is UNSUSTAINABLE no matter what, and there WILL BE some collapse in that billions will die.

  • Denying that there will be some collapse just make things worse, MUCH MORE people will die if nothing REALISTIC is done, even possibly up to an extinction or near extinction of the human specie.

  • So called "moderates", "optimists", "cornucopians" and PORNUCOPIANS are a BIG part of the problem because their words and actions lead to delusional pseudo-solutions.
that questioning it is like questioning the Holocaust.

Sure moron, you are getting dangerously close to Godwin's Law...

Waste of time. Nobody reads your shit. I keep telling you that. Not even Westexas. He don't care. nobody cares. Some people like dumbasses. And some people like assholes.

But nobody likes a dumb asshole - and you is about the stupidist asshole ever showed his face around here.

The confederation of dunces at work!
But don't you find a bit unfair that if you are defending the bastard he doesn't seem to do much for you?
And, BTW, as I already asked, how are you doing with Paris?  

Hello TODders,

my name is Alexander Jurjens, 20 years old and I'm a Dutch Computer Science student.
I just wanted to say that I'm going to develop an open source computerprogram, that can generate curves, very soon. I've already written a buggy concept program in Java (prototype) that could do HL, but I am not happy with it. I'm going to rewrite it (in C++) and use it as a base for the new program. I've already registered myself at sourceforge and the status of my project is at the moment "pending review". I've also written a document containing my vision. I will let you guys know when my project will be accepted. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to:

ajurjens [at] gmail [dot] com

Way to go. Keep us updated.
Post graphs. Dont grow up to become a doomer - keep the hope alive. Cheers

Japan: New gas-transportation method eyed

With the aim of lowering the cost of transporting natural gas from small and midsize gas fields in Southeast Asia, the government has set a policy to start commercially transporting natural gas in solid form by 2008, government sources said Wednesday.

As transporting natural gas in solid form is much cheaper than moving liquefied natural gas, the government expects to employ the method at numerous small gas fields located in Southeast Asia, many of which are currently unexploited.

The plan will significantly help Japan compete for energy resources with China, India and other emerging economies, which are desperately seeking to secure natural gas supplies.

Hello Leanan,

This is an interesting concept, hopefully the TOD experts can discuss the overall ERoEI of making and delivering 'fire ice'.  As the ice melts from combustion: is the water drinkable?  I am picturing the old photos of sturdy young men delivering blocks of ice over their backs.  Is the future: a combo refrigerator/stove powered by man-made natgas solids?

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

One more comment:  What I found intriguing is that Natural Gas Hydrates form at only -20C.  Is this true for methane clathrates too?

If sufficient methane-generating bacteria is present along the bottom levels of the Antarctic Ice mass--how many potential gigatons of methane clathrates exist down there?--I sure would hate to see the Antarctic icesheet IGNITE!

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

"Natural gas hydrates" and "methane clathrates" are, IIUC, the same thing.

And if the water was drinkable before you started, it should be just fine afterward; methane isn't good to breathe, but it doesn't leave any contamination after it's liberated from water.

Hello Engineer Poet,

Thxs for responding.  I have done a little googling and some scientists think the basal layers in some parts of Antarctica may be hundreds of meters thick with methane clathrates, specifically in subglacial lakes like Lake Vostok:
In the lowest part of the hole, the scientists found a 200-m-thick layer of ice containing giant crystals. This and other properties indicate that the ice formed as the lake water froze to the bottom of the glacier. Researchers suspect that the bottommost ice melts as it passes over the western edge of the lake and then water freezes onto the ice sheet as it moves over the eastern portion of the lake underlying Vostok Station.

What comes out of the melting ice is guesswork at the moment because geologists know so little about East Antarctica. If the glacier recently passed over sedimentary rock before reaching the lake, it could be supplying organic compounds useful to microorganisms.

It also could be seeding the lake with a continuous source of new residents. S.S. Abyzov of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow has found bacteria, yeasts, fungi, algae, and even pollen grains in the Vostok ice core down to depths of 2,750 m--three-quarters of the way to the bottom. At least some of these organisms are alive and capable of growing, he reported last year.

Karl is currently examining ice from the 3,600-meter depth for signs of viable microbes. Because ice from that depth formed from frozen lake water, it contains a sample of whatever was floating at the surface of the lake. The results from this analysis may indirectly indicate whether anything survives in the lightless body of water.

If denizens of Lake Vostok don't succumb for lack of food, they could easily suffocate. Because of the intense weight bearing down from the ice sheet above--340 times atmospheric pressure--the water contains almost no dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, or other gases.

According to calculations, gas molecules should reside in crystal cages of ice, forming a structure called a clathrate. Some of these may create a slushy zone floating at the top of the lake, while others could sink to the floor.

Despite the apparent odds against life, biologists place their bets on the bacteria. "I would be surprised if there were no microbes in Vostok rather than the other way around," says Karl.

What excites researchers is the idea that resources in the lake are not evenly distributed. Microorganisms, just like any business, tend to exploit inequalities in supply and demand. By living on the border between two environments, cells can extract energy as materials move from regions of plenty to paucity. For instance, bacteria may well thrive on the surface of the clathrates, taking advantage of a gradient in methane concentrations.

Clathrates have also captured the attention of climate scientists because they may contain ancient samples of oxygen and other gases, says glaciologist Todd A. Sowers of Pennsylvania State University in State College. The frozen cages of gas could have built up on the lake bottom, layer by layer, over a million years or more. By looking at the ratio of different oxygen isotopes in these clathrates, scientists should be able to trace how Earth's temperature has changed since the time that some of the earliest humans were spreading across the world.

Below the clathrate layers, Lake Vostok apparently holds vast sedimentary deposits chronicling tens of millions of years of Antarctic geology. The Russian seismic experiments indicate that sedimentary layers extend hundreds of meters below the lake floor.

I would not be surprised if clathrates were found throughout the sedimentary layers.  Here is another link PDF warning that compares Lake Vostok clathrates to what might exist on Mars or Europa.  This abstractspeculates on clathrate accumulations during icesheet formation and potential methane releases during melting.  THis other link http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFMPP62B..09W] gives some hints:
We examine the possiblity that clathrates accumulate below continential ice sheets during periods of glaciation, permitting substantial release of methane during deglaciation. The source of the methane is due to microbial decomposition of organic material below the ice sheet. We assume that organic material in soils ahead of the ice sheet is frozen in place due to low atmospheric temperatures. Once the ice sheet is present and sufficiently thick, the geothermal gradient adjusts to bring the sediments to the melting point of water. Assuming aneorobic conditions underneath the ice sheet, the presence of methanogens at the basal surface of the ice sheet allow for the conversion of organic carbon to methane. This methane is stored as clathrate when the temperature and pressure conditions at the basal surface permit thermodynamic stability (ice thickness in excess of 250m at 0oC). Subsequent deglaciation destabalizes clathrate causing the release of methane into the atmosphere.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Going back to my favourite transportation method, the airship; wouldn't they be quite suitable for transporting natural gas? (no need for liquid/solid forms etc.)
Methane doesn't have enough lift. Ever noticed how a fart lingers? If it had much lift it would be bothering the upstair's neighbors.
farts are held lower by aromatic solids- small particles (<20 microns) of partially composted Doritoes, beer, cabbage, Chicken McNuggets, etc.
A great way to gross people out is to tell them they are inhaling small pieces of "stuff" and this is where the "smell" comes from.  LOL - it really gets them once they think about it.
Methane has about one half the lifting power of helium. Filling a thin plastic trash bag or dry cleaning bag with NG makes quite a nice and inexpensive floater.

I think the airship idea has merit for making currently stranded gas somewhat accessible.  It might be sufficient to only have altitude control, mostly using winds at different levels to move the unmanned blimps.  On board computers would interpret received weather data to plot a probably circuitous route from some place like Qatar to someplace like Cleveland.  We would need alot of airships, with backhaul in otherwise empty oil and LNG tankers.

I wonder how this compares to compressed NG?  There's a company that's planning to use it to import short distances, from South America to North America.
The article states that Methane hydrate can be economically transported at distances under 6,000 km. The Atlantic is nowhere nearly that wide.  Japan to Alaska's North Slope may be in range And Indonesia certainly is.  Those contrary Orientals first it's hybrids and now its hydrates.  You'd think all of America's industry is run by Homer Simpson.
I noticed that Oil Prices were once again dropping fast.  Some articles are explicitly stating that this is because refinery capacity is jumped by over 3% this week vs its average for the last month.  Very interesting in light of my questions last week on this subject :P

And for your daily dose of good news: Phoenix Motorcars is apparently building and testing a SUT powered by your arch nemesis company, Altair Nanotech.  Apparently, they have developed a working 35 kWh battery pack, allowing these SUTs to have a range of 130 miles, and a 70 kWh pack will be available next year, for a range boost to 250 miles.

I wonder what the range would be if these battery packs were used on a regular commuter car...

You can find the pertinent information here.

The fact that they are trying to power 3 ton vehicles with battery packs shows that they don't have a clue as to what our current energy situation is.
have you checked the price of oil 'anytime lately' ?
Do you just post anything that comes into your pointy little head?  Oil prices have been bouncing around within 5% of $62 since the second half of September.  In the last week the trend has been up.
You do realize I was just commenting on what the article said, right?


Didn't think so ~_~

You need to research a little further.  Try:
for Forbes take on nano-pretender companies, one of them being  Altair Nanotechnologies (nasdaq: ALTI)!  No one has seen this SUT of theirs actually moving yet.  Maybe someday...
Because linking an article written in 2002 while ignoring the actual reputable achievements of the past 4 years is SO IN at TOD.  With this kind of outstanding quality control, you'll be going far, solar1!  You are to be commended!
Yes, you still believe the "pump & dump" specialists at Altair International Gold (since renamed Altair Nanotechnologies).

yes, those "reputable achievements".

Can't wait for Altair Renewable Perpetual Motion and the writeups by journalism majors.

Best Hopes for Common Sense,


Conoco planning for tar sands oil

Step in the northern Alberta tar sands during the summertime and you may need a friend to pull you out.

Yet during the province's 40-below winters, you'll need a jackhammer to break up the oily, sandy and clay turf.

Although at least two tons of this black tar sand is needed to give up a single barrel of crude, the petroleum-rich tundra crisscrossing hundreds of miles of northern Alberta contains enough oil to eventually replace the Middle East in supplying U.S. imports.

...The easier-to-refine and cheaper light crude is becoming scarcer. That's one reason ConocoPhillips is moving toward the other half of the world's supply - heavy oil.

"We're having to go deeper, use more technology. It's more expensive, but we're finding lower-quality oil," Mulva said. "It's going to be the product of the future."

And check out the comments posted at the bottom, by readers.  Here's the first two:

I think this is great the more these great oil companines can do to help us out as a consumer the better. I am truly proud to work for them. I WILL BE A REPUBICAN FOREVER.


Well I talked with old Mulva yesterday, and if my figures are correct we will be able to clone crude oil by 2012 and not have to rely on foreign oil from countries like canada or the middle east.

" I love conoco they do so much for me as a consumer. They really go the extra mile for us. "

But there's also some thoughtful comments.

Is that a new party..  the REPUBICANS ?
Or is this another tricky 'Marketing move'..the classic bait and switch?  What did those ballots actually say, now?
Is that a new party..  the REPUBICANS ?

Yes, it's composed of graduates of our Pubic School System.

Careful, this is a family oriented forum :p
Interesting article from The Register:

Building El Niño cancels Hurricane havoc

Not a single Atlantic hurricane made landfall in the US this season, marking something of a contrast with last year's rather busier and windier experience.

That is not to say the storms did not form: the final tally was nine storms, with five making the hurricane category. Of these, just two managed to win promotion to the heady realms of "major hurricane", with windspeed topping 130mph.

Although the season officially finishes November 30, the final storm of 2005 was still raging as the year flipped into 2006. The last hurricane of the season was Issac, which blew itself out by the beginning of October.

Compared with the 2005 season, it was quiet indeed. Last year there were 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, and four made landfall, including Katrina and Rita.

After such an active season, experts had predicted a quieter year in 2006, but not this quiet. Between 13 and 16 storms were expected to be named, rather than the nine that made the grade.

So what is behind the drop off in activity? Is this the end of global warming? The BBC reports that the dearth of stormy weather is behind attributed to a building, but weak, El Niño event.

This influx of warm water in the Pacific is triggered by slower-than-average trade winds. Researchers think it disrupts hurricane formation because it creates strong upper wind shear. The shear shreds the top of the thunderstorm at the centre of a hurricane, causing it to lose intensity and wind strength, and to dissipate much faster.

The El Nino event is expected to last until well into 2007.

Six hurt as tornado hits London

Six people were injured and up to 150 houses were damaged when a tornado swept through several London streets leaving a trail of destruction.

Rooftops were ripped off and cars were badly damaged as the twister hit the Kensal Rise area of north-west London.

Unusually warm fall weather was blamed.  

       The above article is incorrect. It would not be a tornado, not at the Latitude of London. What would have caused the damage is the cell of an active thunderstorm passing over the area.
       Likewise the article immediately above is wrong. You do not get thunderstorms in the centre of hurricans. The centre of hurricans and cyclones is clear, often with the eye being 20/30 miles wide or even more.
       The coriolis effect caused by the earth's rotation helps them form at around 10 degrees from the equator and the presence of warm moist air and low wind shear at height is necessary in the formation.
England does get tornadoes. In fact we get more tornadoes than Amercia does (if averaged out per sq km of land area) and quite a few video'd tornadoes over water. It wasn't a hurricane (not a cat 1 one anyway), but it was a very heavy thunderstorm (I live about 10 miles away from that street).

Anyway, it took the Ashes off of the front page of the newspapers.

Thank you for your reply,

      I doubt very much that Britain or most countries get tornados. The very large majority occur in the US  and predominantly in the mid west. The weather patterns and the Rocky Mountains would be some reasons why this occurs. If you look under the description of tornados you see that Australia is supposed to have many too. This is rubbish - I have never seen one in Australia in my life.
      Having lived in Australia for over 60 years and having flown for over 40 years, a large part on jets I have never seen a tornado in Australia and I doubt anyone has seen one in the UK. You would not have the heat and high mountains to cause their formation.
      Having said that, what would most likely be seen is the destruction caused under the cell of a thunderstorm as it passes through, and they can be violent anywhere, but more active in the tropics. The down draughts under a particularly active cell could give the impression of wind, rain and hail going everywhere but that is normal, as a thunderstorm passes, the wind changes direction through 180
      Over a long period of airline flying and some bad experiences with storms, believe me I know what I am talking about. What was probably seen was a particularly active thunderstorm cell not a tornado as depicted with those large funnels below as seen in the US mid west.

Thank you for responding. My reply is supposed to be courteous in response, but my linguistic skills are not very smooth.

The Met office says Britain does get tornadoes. I take these experts know what they are talking about. Britain has the best weather modellers in the world.

I will agree with you about the scale. Ours are nowhere near the scale of the American ones, but if our weather professionals say we get tornadoes, then I am not going to argue with them. They may not meet your definition of a tornado, but they do meet the meteorological established description of one.

     I have done some more research on this topic of tornados and I think that in the majority of cases both in the UK and Australia what is called a tornado is probably not so, not like the big twisters you see go through the US mid west which are formed by the warm moist air of the Gulf Stream meeting the cold air masses from Canada.
     Having said that I did find a photo of a genuine tornado which hit around London in May 1950. Whilst I have seen plenty of water spouts under thunderstorms you would not call them tornadoes. I asked another friend of mine who has been in aviation and was also a meteorologist and said Australia does get them but he had only ever seen one. In sixty years in Australia I haven't
     When the cell of a strong storm passes over an area you can get very high winds with rain hail and lightening and the wind going everywhere. Unless there were actual photos of a large vortex from the cloud base to the ground it is more likely to be the former.
     As far as meteorologists are concerned a lot of them don't even look outside that's why I don't put much store in their reports and that comes from many years in aviation with poor forecasts. Last week in Brisbane the met forecast at 4.30 in the afternoon was for an occasional shower and isolated thunderstorm. At that moment on the weather radar there was a line storms 150 miles long only thirty miles from Brisbane. Just pathetic.
     So if there was definite footage of a big vortex you are right and I am wrong but in the abscence of such evidence I'd go for a strong storm cell.

Allstate to stop insuring new N.J. homeowners

Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, said Thursday it will stop writing new homeowner policies in New Jersey on Feb. 5, citing concern a hurricane might strike the state.
Allstate seeks to limit exposure in suburban tract homes miles from the coast, yet the government continues it's policy of subsidizing flood insurance  for those in living in the otherwise  uninsurable floodplain. Another innane federal policy.  The rivers and storms are going to continue to roll.

The writer for the hurricane article appears a little slow in geography.  Someone should point out the location of the Phillipines and SE Asia.

hey how 'bout that eia "oil wont reach $ 70 'anytime soon'   what the hell does 'anytime soon' mean    if you have ever worked for a company that has told you "we wont be laying off people 'anytime soon'  "  you know that is a good time to update your resume
Poverty shifts to the suburbs: Suburban poor outnumber their inner-city counterparts for the first time

"Traditionally, cities have been viewed as home to poor populations, surrounded by middle- and upper-income suburbs," the report said. "This 'tipping' of poor populations to the suburbs represents a signal development that upends historical notions about who lives in cities and suburbs."

Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said many of the same social and economic problems that have plagued cities for years are now affecting suburbs: struggling schools, rising crime and low-paying jobs.

"I call it the urbanization of the suburbs," Morial said.

Leannan, the suburbs are also home to more divorced women, stuck in their unsalable McMansions trying to keep the children in a free school. Equal Housing lending practices made it possible for more young families to buy homes when they belonged to a class vulnerable to lay-offs. Its very sad.
  I'm familiar with McAllen, Texas. It is surrounded by Colonias-suburbs of lots with no water, sewage or streets sold on contract-for-deed deals to new immigrants from Mexico with farm jobs. They are an example of raspicious real estate promoters preying on people who think owning a lot with a travel trailer will keep them from being deported. They are not a new phenomena, they've been there for 20 or 30 years.. They are more akin to county roads lined with sharecropper shacks that have shrunk in size in the old south as black people have struggled to get a job and move to exurbs with McMansions as mentioned above.
  All of this adds up to a hell of a mess, and its only going to get worse as the recession we see looming from energy shortages gets worse and the US dollar continues to collapse. And just think, I'm an optimist!  
Iraqi Geopolitics

"Iraqi Ambassador Siamand Banaa then rose to contradict him, saying that Iran had benefited from the war in Iraq.

It would strengthen your case and give it much more depth if you tried to avoid cynicism and hypocrisy," Banaa said. "The removal of the worst enemy of the Iraqi people and the Iranian people,        Saddam Hussein, who caused the death and destruction of hundreds of thousands and almost the bankruptcy of your country, has been, I think, a great advance for you."

Banaa said Mottaki's analysis was wrong, and that without American troops in his country, "it would be a free-for-all, and in fact real civil war."

He urged Mottaki to get off "the 'America always wrong' brigade."

At least Mottaki doesn't seem to believe the simplistic "Evil American Empire" thesis mentioned briefly in Dmitry Orlov's "Closing the Collapse Gap".

And just what would you expect a quisling to say?

I hope you stay well away from people who claim to have bridges for sale...

Patience growing thin in Midwest power outage

More than 52,000 in Missouri, Illinois still in the dark after last week's snow.

BELLEVILLE, Ill. - Ann Hill had already burned through $300 on hotels and restaurants since her house was plunged into darkness by a snowstorm, and she was on the verge of blowing her own fuse.

"I'm broke and fed up," Hill said Wednesday at a church shelter in the central Illinois city of Decatur, among the communities that suffered most from last week's storm. "I've had it. Enough is enough."

Wal-Mart Braces for a Blue Christmas

And energy prices are part of the reason:

Currently, Wal-Mart's average shopper has a household income of $50,000 a year, while those who don't shop there have annual earnings averaging $64,000, according to WSL Strategic Retail. Those lower-income shoppers have been hurt most by volatile gas prices, and they're cutting back this holiday season. "Wal-Mart is relying on a shopper whose purse has to be pried open," says WSL retail analyst Candace Corlett. "We call her Prudence."
Generating capacity nationwide is set to hit 600 gigawatts by the end of this year from 390 GW in 2003, an average growth rate of about 18 percent, the China Electricity Council said.

210 GW in three years. Just like that.
To put that in context, in 2003, the US generated an average (NOT peak) 444 GW.  I suspect that our generating capacity is more than 800 GW but I do not #s at my fingertips.



Genetically modified yeast could boost biofuels
The modified yeast cells were found to have a significantly higher alcohol tolerance than normal yeast. The researchers do not yet know why this is, but they also found that it also produced 50% more ethanol during a 21-hour period.

A question for RR or others out there: In fermentation of corn for ethanol, I would assume that all of the sugar content of the corn is eventually utilized, which would require some process for removing alcohol and continuing the fermentation when the EtOH concentration became lethal to the yeast. Is this correct? And how much would bumping up the tolerance of the yeast affect the economics?
I'll take a quick crack at it.

First off, the article contains lots of 'IFs', but for the sake of discussion, let's assume the claims are valid.

When yeast is fermenting an aqueous solution of sugars/starches, the fermentation can come to a stop due to either of two reasons: i) the yeast completely converts all the available sugars and runs out of food, or ii) the concentration of alcohol in the solution rises to the point at which it becomes toxic or inhibiting.

In the fermentation of grapes to make wine it is almost always the latter. That is why most wines contain unfermented sugars in addition to alcohol.

A corn mash probably has a much lower sugar content to begin with than grape squeezings, so I'm not sure how much, if any, sugar is left over when the fermentation stops.

I think the article might have been a bit misleading in suggesting that the fermentation of corn stops when the acohol reaches 12 to 15%. That may be true for wines but appears quite a bit too high for corn. I recall alcholol concentrations of corn 'beer' of something more like 5 or 7% (not sure, though).

But to get back to the point, if indeed this special yeast is capable of tolerating twice the alcohol concentration of conventional yeast, then you only need to distill away about half the water, PROVIDED that you are capable of starting off with a higher concentration of corn sugars/starches..  If not, then there is little advantage to the super yeast. And because the distillation step is the single largest energy consumer in the whole corn-to-ethanol process, if you can operate with a higher sugar/starch content and have the fermentation stop at a higher alcohol content, the energy savings could be significant. Again, it's a big IF.

It is important to realize that the fermentation of corn is a batch process. Basically, you let the yeast do its thing and then distill the resulting decanted liquid or 'beer'.  If there are any residual sugars or starches in the wet solid distillation slops, these are generally not economical to try to ferment again. They are sold a  byproduct, 'dry distillers grain with solubles or DDGS', used as animal feed.

Faster fermentaion time is also a plus, but that is more an an economic factor rather than an energy saver.

For a batch process, couldn't one just adjust the water quantity in the corn mash to maximize the sugar usage? Of course, with everything diluted, fermentation time might go up.

There are alternatives to a batch process, although I don't know what is being used commercially.

Biochemical engineers at the University of Illinois (UI) have developed a high-performance fermentation process that overcomes many of these problems. As shown in the diagram, the new Continuous Membrane Bioreactor (CMB) uses synthetic semi-permeable membranes to separate and recycle the yeast, while simultaneously removing the ethanol as it is formed.
"My Back to the Land Fantasy" By Dorothy Woodend
"To me, what is ironic and even bizarre is that the ideas that were generated by that back to the land movement 30 years ago are steadily being rediscovered and reiterated by the new apocalypse movement: organic farming, locally grown food, alternative energy, conserving energy, getting off the grid, simple living. Only somehow none of these ideas seem to involve actually living on the land where they can actually be implemented and thus they tend to remain just that, ideas.

"Do I think that there will be a new wave of back to the landers? No, and I certainly hope not. I think if something does go wrong, most people will huddle in the suburbs and wait to be rescued by the government."

This writer, from an above clip/link by Leanan/threadbot/whoever, mirrors my observations very closely. I could have written it myself.

This then is why I think that there will be a mass dieoff. The suburbanites are just not going to think that the gov will not come to their rescue. So like it says , they will sit and wait for rescue. Its their culture, someone was always there to clean up their messes and be an enabler for them, so they will watch and wait ,with perhaps thumb firmly in mouth.

Therefore my conclusion is that those who had the most fault for creating this mess will be the ones to pay the dearest price for it. Is this not justice then? The 'Merican' way?
The true redblooded , up by the bootstraps 'Merican' is just a phan'tasy (fantasy) these days(too much Stephenson of late). They used to exist, long hunters,frontiersmen, and the like but they are long long gone and now the stuff of bad movies. Remember? Daviiieeee Daviieee Crockett!

And here is the proof. If the readers of this website were to take heed of what is being so vividly portrayed here they would for the most part already have brought their 40 acres and a mule,have been chatting it up  and making more plans, caching seedstock, buying old horsedrawn implements and learning how to become a blacksmith. Instead what I see is ...."now lets study this a bit more --just when might this peak occur?"

Its going to occur. There will be NO rescue. You are on your own. Mother Nature welcomes you into a polluted, raped , pillaged , dry and dusty landscape. Your job , if you wish to take it, is survive, dress the garden, and multiply. It says so in Genesis of Yese Oldense Testament(Covenant).

This website can take you only so far, the rest of the journey is yours and you must go alone and take no baggage, figuratively speaking of course. But I doubt that many modern day women folk will be willing to join you on that path and perhaps the 'clearing at the end of it'(Roland the gunslinger).

Note that the above words quoted were by the mother of the writer. The one who actually lived on the farm. The writer was the phantisizer.

airdale--just my reflections, smoky mirror and so forth...
but I do live on a farm , have for many years and have a 55 gal drum filled with oopen pollen ear corn..plus gallons soft red winter wheat seed. Biscuits and cornbread! Grits and crepes. Doesn't get much better.Squirrel gravy as well.

ELP for Billionaires:  Peak Oil Aware Billionaire Integrates Himself Into Small Town Life and Expands His Ability to Grow His Own Food


Published on 12 Dec 2005 by Fortune. Archived on 13 Dec 2005.
The Rainwater Prophecy

Richard Rainwater made billions by knowing how to profit from a crisis. Now he foresees the biggest one yet.

by Oliver Ryan

Rainwater is no crackpot. But you don't get to be a multibillionaire investor--one who's more than doubled his net worth in a decade--through incremental gains on little stock trades. You have to push way past conventional thinking, test the boundaries of chaos, see events in a bigger context. You have to look at all the scenarios, from "A to friggin' Z," as he says, and not be afraid to focus on Z. Only when you've vacuumed up as much information as possible and you know the world is at a major inflection point do you put a hell of a lot of money behind your conviction.

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

Part of Rainwater's routine when he's down on the farm is to go for gizzards at Allison's, a no-frills truck stop up the road. Driving in a red BMW SUV on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, he points out who lives where: the local doctor, the Taiwanese Nan Ya workers. He chokes up momentarily passing the home of a woman who worked at the farm, whose son has just returned from serving in Iraq. The sheer incongruity of his wealth in Lake City is not lost on him. But at Allison's he seems right at home, lathering the deep-fried gizzards with hot sauce and self-serving a large coffee which he spices at the hot chocolate machine.

 Back on the farm that night, he and Moore discuss future projects with their landscaper, Jenks Farmer, over a glass of wine. Farmer, who has a master's in horticulture and lives on the property, maintains Moore's extensive gardens, including vegetable beds that produce all year round. That morning Rainwater had been surfing the web, researching greenhouses in his quest to further ensure a steady flow of food through the winter. At his prodding, Moore has installed an emergency generator and 500-gallon storage tanks for diesel fuel and water. When Rainwater says that he's thinking about opening a for-profit survivability center, it's not entirely clear that he's joking.

 Later in the night Rainwater returns to musing on how different his lot is from the residents of Lake City. And then, returning to the debate in his head, he gets a serious look on his face and says: "This is going to get a little religious. I ask why I was blessed with this insightfulness. Everyone who has achieved something, scientists, ballplayers, thinks they were given their talent for a reason. Why me? Was I given this insightfulness at this particular time? Or was I just given this insightfulness?" He pauses. "I just want people to look out. 'Cause it could be bad."

The author's mother hits the nail on the head in:

"I'm a poor farmer, the kind who began young and got hooked on the life and can't or won't quit because, for me, it is the only life that makes sense, or has ever made sense to me."

It's probably the biggest reason all the current talk of back to the land will remain talk.  If it is the only life that ever made sense, you'd be there now, peak oil or not.  Otherwise, you probably won't hack it.

I think there is also a critical difference between those of us now on the land and those who might come in the near future - we wanted to be here in the first place.  I live in the boondocks because I like the boondocks.  I didn't choose it because I had to in the hope of surviving.

The peak energy back-to-the-landers will, first of all, feel that they "gave something up" whether it is status, stuff or the arts.  Second, they will be unprepared for the realities of rural living which, among other things, is that work never ends. And, if they move to a place like mine in the mountains, they will be totally unprepared to be snowed in.  I'm at a lower elevation so we seldom get snowed in for more than a week.  But I know people who were snowed in 4-6 weeks last year.  Will they be able to cope with that?

Will they have any useful skills?  Probably not.  Will they have stocked up on stuff for crital needs?  No.  And, here's one example - canning jars and lids.  A good rule of thumb is to allow about 360 quarts of canned fruit and vegetables per person per year.  Are city people going to spend that kind of money for something they don't even know how to do?  Haw!

My guess is that they will also hold out hope that they can return to their previous life some day "once things settle down."  They won't make the psychological committment to rural living that is truly necessary.

Lastly, rural personal relationships are always sort of srtained because there is no place to escape what bugs you in the other person (and we all have our "failings" and idosyncracies).  My observation where I live is that most relationships fail in about 5-7 years.  But, in a survival situation both parties are, in essence, trapped.

There's a lot more but I really doubt that anyone will listen or care.

>There's a lot more but I really doubt that anyone will listen or care.

I'm Listening!

>A good rule of thumb is to allow about 360 quarts of canned fruit and vegetables per person per year.  Are city people going to spend that kind of money for something they don't even know how to do?

I am on my way. I bought a few books on canning with recipes a few months ago which I been reading, and I've been bookmarking a much of canning tools and supplies. I would like to try canning fruits and vegitables from my garden, but I'll have to wait until I have something to harvest next year. I got my garden planted way too late this year.  I know that you can using supermarket food, but I don't think will be the same as canning from a garden.

>My guess is that they will also hold out hope that they can return to their previous life some day "once things settle down."  They won't make the psychological committment to rural living that is truly necessary.

I rather live rural than remain were I currently am. Right now I spend most of my waking hours either at work or trying to learn something new so I'm not completely lost when I jump ship. My biggest concern is how to address everyday stuff that will probably become hard to impossible to replace in the future.

Please post any insights or advice that you think might be useful.

Todd's da Man. I posted links to a bunch of papers he gave me.


Rat old buddy,

You make me sound like I really know this stuff :-)

As an aside, I may do a presentation at the next 90 mile dinner about Terra Preta and high carbon soils...why?  I'm a sucker for trying to pass on inforamtion.  Anyway, it's in January and I'll be there if they ask me.  If not I'll do an afternoon weekend "seminar" at my place some time in January.  I have been really hot on Terra Preta soils for a few years!


I just found out about Terra Preta recently, and it prompted me to ask the same question as when I found out about Peak Oil, "How come nobody knows about this?"  Only this time it was with a hopeful feeling, rather than with bile rising in the back of my throat.

Terra Preta has to be the coolest, most exciting, hopeful idea I've come across in the last couple of years.  Beats electric cars all to hell.

Hi Todd,

 Thanks. I'm listening.  It's sounds like you have many thoughts on your experience and I (for one) would like to hear them. Perhaps you could write more as an article or somewhere we could see it?


Thanks for your interest but I don't think most of my stuff is really appropriate for TOD since it deals with things other than energy per se.  I've posted a lot of stuff on another forum as well as circulating essays via email.  I'll tell you what, email me at detzel (at) mcn.org and I'll send you the essays.  They may or may not be of interest and I'll try to go through my posts on the other forum.  I have something over 2,500 posts there but I might be able to direct you to some I think might be of interest to you.  You can let me know if I'm going in the right direction for your interests once you check the links.

Here's one I linked on TOD before that will give you an idea of where I'm coming from:



Of course there are a lot of unprepared people in our pampered and fat system, but a lot of what you guys are saying about city/suburb-folk are just ANCIENT stereotypes.

Will 'They' this?  Will 'They' that?
  Who is they?  You've got this picture of the nonrural masses, and it sounds like you're giving them one face.  I know people in dense cities and far in the woods who are going to be able to figure things out, and others in both extents who are going to be stuck or will have a wicked steep learning curve.. 'when it hits'..  Lot of tough guys with big trucks still don't know how to do their own laundry or cooking..


Man, you are reading stuff into what I wrote that wasn't there.  But, let's talk about all this bad stuff.  We've done it before on TOD so why not one more time.

The bad guys with trucks aren't going to come to the boondocks because it requires a lot of effort for little reward.  Plus, they would be dead meat after one hit once the community heard about it.

But, I'll tell you my moral concern:  Let's assume something between the Greater Depression and Mad Max where people are leaving the city/suburbs in order to survive.  I have a good idea of my property's physical limitations and it cannot support more people then are here.  I can neither provide for anyone who shows up nor can I allow them to see what is here because I cannot trust them not to come back and try to take it.  Therefore, I have to kill them.  I find it repugnant that I have to face this moral pit because people were stupid idiots and believed..what, MSM, the spin, who knows.  They had alternatives. In my heart of hearts, I honestly hope this never occurs. I really don't believe it will occur. Unfortunately, if it does, I will.


'Therefore I have to kill them'

.. Kill who?  Which is to say who really is this faceless menace you have prepainted?  That is too much of a Mad Max scenario.  I think our 'divide and conquor' legacy has made our RedState BlueState, or CityMouse CountryMouse hackles go up reflexively, and this kind of survivalist visioning is playing into a set of fear fantasies that are as much a buy-in to the MSM Bleeds/Leads playbook as the blind illusions of cozy suburbanites who think we'll be Barbequeing on forever.

  The problem with that 'Gotta Kill them' solution is how many ways it can backfire, either with killing off someone you could/should have been forging alliances with, of course getting outgunned, or finding that, as with the regularity of fratricide, that the ones turning on each other will be from the same communities, and tear up and weaken what strength in unity they may have had.

  I don't know if it's particularly American or not, but we do have a lot of examples of attitudes that want to believe that shooting someone down 'puts the problem away', and that 'isolation makes you safer' ..  

  I have to believe that the real solutions are diplomatic, and require people to find their way back to the table, once they see again that the shooting got us nowhere.  It's the dream of 'making a tough choice', where the really tough choice is finding a way to put the guns down and talk.

My father emmigrated from Hungary in 1956, after the Russians invaded.

He said "you would be surprised at what you or others will do when you have not had any food for weeks".

He has been there, and I repect that. He told me the stories, and "talking" about does not work. Its shear force.

"The cat who steps on a hot stove will never step on a hot stove again.  But Neither will she step onto a cold one."

Yes, there are times of sheer force, have been and will be.

There are, similarly times when 'Talking just does not work', but the lesson to learn is not that it cannot work, but to pick the time (usually beforehand) when non-violent routes can be created, tested and fortified.  That time would be now (if not yesterday).   We see Russia starting to tremble its way into another period of Bullish and Brutish Protectionism, and shouldn't be surprised that they were such a fine foil for our own version of the same game over the recent decades.

The State Dept's opportunity to talk with Iraq was insultingly overflown, and our chance to communicate with Iran is now overripe, and probably rotting on the vine.  We get regular opportunities to intercede on the behalf of Israel, for her own good and her neighbors, but it seems we find it prudent instead to just let her have lots of armaments with which to 'accuse' the Palestinians of being powerless to improve the situation for themselves and everyone.

Talk is cheap, but that can be a good thing..

"My optimism rests on my belief in the infinite possibilities of the individual to develop non-violence.  In a gentle way, you can shake the world."  M Gandhi


Great points.

Here is a problem for mainstream city folk like me who have become PO aware in the last 2-4 years as it seems most have. We are totally and I mean TOTALLY unprepared for the life you lead. Asking a person like me to move out to the country and make a go of it the way you do is about as realistic as me asking somebody who has worked on a farm in the mountains their whole life to get through 3 years at a top law school. It just ain't realistic in 9/10 cases. If that's what needs to happen for the person to survive, it means they're ain't going to survive.

Like I said in a previous post, most of us are just going to have to make do where we are with whateve we got presently or in the near future. For many of us, that means our lives are likely to be much shorter than we had anticipated. So other than be thankful for what you do have and what options, as limited as they might be, you do have there aint' too much most (but not all) folks are going to be able to do.


All excellent points.  There are many of us, however, who do not have the means to buy the 40 acres, at least not in an area near people we trust. (I, for instance, live in Norther Ca.) I could get a loan but then there is that vision of the economy collapsing and Bank of American hiring some Blackwater contractors to go out to the farm and "take what's theirs" if you get my drift. (It sounds like I"m exagerrating and I am, but only a little bit.)

There are other problems too. Let's say I buy the 40 acres. Then I move out there. Well I've got nobody I trust (and no wimmin folk) to accompany me out there. So it's a city boy out on 40 acres by himself trying to be self sufficient?  That story does not have a happy ending. I could do the ecovillage option at Earthaven but that has a whole nother set of problems and I don't know if I'd necessarily be better off.

So I'm staying put until I actually figure out something that seems reasonable to do. Something that actually improve my chances of survival rather than just feeds my desiere "to do something!" I realize I may be signing my own death certificate by statying here but what can you (realistically) do? In most cases, for most people, you're just going to have to roll with the punches where you are with what you currently have. In a year and a half I'll be 30. So having lived the good life for at least 30 years I will have no right to complain if I die some horrible death here in Santa Rosa as the services go out given what the typical human life is like. (nasty, brutish, short)

I thought you were from Kentucky?

If so you can surely go to quite a few places in Ky and being a Kentuckian you and be at least halfway accepted.

Back in the hills of eastern Kentucky there are a few righteous folks left I would bet. Later on though when the migrations starts and they see the cityfolk influx they might not THEN be so obliging. In fact they might get downright onery.

So I would start checking around some. Might find so good creekbottom ground with a spring feeding it nearby. Some woods for firewood. Surely the McMansion folks have not invaded the hills of the Blue Ridge or Smokies as yet!!

Lots of folks in the hills could remember the old ways. Find someone who has a bit of good land. You might have to go it alone. At least then you have a place to run to when it starts getting bad.

Most rural folks have a good sense of who owns what and what is happening locally. If you already have footprints on the land then you might not be too bad off that way.

I would build me a Thoreau cabin out of planks. Hire someone to work me up a garden. Plant some berry bushes. Get a stand of rhubard and asparagus. Go to local auctions and buy up the old timey utensils, canning stuff and maybe some hand tools. This is a good time to get to know folks and pick up some real valuable bargains. I like cast iron myself and cook with it quite a bit. I would look for a good used wood stove as well. Maybe a wood cooking range. I let 3 of those get away from me this year dirt cheap at an auction.

I also bid on many quilts. In fact I have a lot of good furniture I picked up this way. Corn shellers, anvils, forges etc.

airdale--'you never know the load til you take a strain'(John Prine)

also 'old trees just keep on getting stronger and free running rivers just get wilder' don'tcha know?

dude I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. I live in Santa Rosa, CA an hour north of San Francisco now.
Ahh got you confused with Alan (FromBbigEasy) then perhaps.

Yet however let me lay out another scenario for you  regarding survival.

Get a Bushmaster .223 in AR-15 style. There are a lot of 'knockoffs' on .223 AR-15s and most I read are worthless but the Bushmaster tends to be  above average and won't jam or flake out on you when needed.

Let how to shoot it. Become a marksman. Learn how to take it down , clean it and reassemble. Then learn how to reload ammo. Buy a huge amount of 1-time fired brass ,Rem .223(not Nato 5.56..), a hundred or so lbs of a good rifle powder(win 231 sticks in my mine and thats what I last purchased). Get a bunch of primers and a reloading rig. I use Hornady Progressive. Not a sigle stage type. Learn how to clean brass, reprime and reload. Get several of the most popular dies and plates.

Now when bad times come you will have a very valuable skill and trade. Reloading ammo. If things play out badly there will be a dearth of factory ammo. Those who can scavenge brass and reload will be , should be, welcome anywhere where ever defense is practiced or required.
This requires lots of supplies but the cost is not actually that high , except for the reloading press.

You can do the same for shotguns. This is more simple reloading gear and far easier to do.

You then have learned the skills necessary to defend yourself and moved up into the maybe-survivable category. At least if your good and sharp no one should be able to take you out easily. The skills, supplies and equipment you now have will be worth their weight in gold(which might be useless by then) but firepower is going to be primo, uno.

Long ago I started reloading. My .45, .243 and 7.62. For 22's I just buy a bunch of cases of them(Ruger 10-22) since you can't reload .22s.

For the .223 you need to ascertain what type. Long range, tactical or somewhere inbetween. You can make do with interchangable barrels to some degree and have it several ways. I prefer long range myself.

The above should be a good recipe for survival. Worrying about those you leave behind and can't take? Your toast or else start a crash course with them in woodcraft and all the rest. They can help reload for you.

Think ...the outback of Kentucky, marauding indians, bears and other varmints. Eighteen hundreds time frame. This is how Ky was settled. They did it then and you can do it now.

Well...California?...I dunno but perhaps up in the northern part? I would then get a good 4wd jeep and start looking. Take some gear, camp out, check the landscape....yada yada..
A good GPS, maps etc. You might find something.

I drive a Jeep wrangler 4.7 Sport. Put a good winch on it.
Get out and survive.

Your 30something? I am 60something.


P.S. Get a bunch of army bdu's. These are good for camouflage, lots of cargo pockets plus durable and cheap.
Start looking and dressing like a hunter/killer type. Get the mindset necessary to defend yourself or take out someone when the time comes...like Todd said. Get some good webgear and a good army canteen. The list goes on and on but you get the idea. Learn how to stalk and walk quietly in the outback and woods. Spend your vacation time there. A very good set of binoculars is nice. Night vision equipment would be very nice. Its all a matter of the right mindset and motivation.

Dude if it/when it gets to that point my plan is to just overdose on valium.
and I'm 28.
Dude,,,,Its the mindset then?

Perhaps thats what NRA folks mean when they say "from my cold dead hands". A mindset.

Then my conclusion, and it is not new, is that many will feel just as you and take the route you take and therefore.........
....A DIEOFF will occur when TSHTF.

My parents inherited half interest in 800 acres (4 seperate properties) in the Bluegrass area (superb farmland except too rolling for every year row crops).  About 300 acres sold off (over half to school board in 4 seperate sales, if one sells for development, schools are best).  Excellent WTSHTF homestead EXCEPT Georgetown has grown up around it.  Bypass bisects property. 1.2 miles to courthouse.

Homestead is two story 1788/90 built with squared 18" white ash logs (taper to 14" on top) and black walnut paneling.

My parents spend 4 months/year in Phoenix during the winter next to another brother, rest in Georgetown, KY.

Most remote farm of 4 is best "hide-out" but one border is built-out with "5 acre farms".  6 miles to courthouse.

Just FYI,


High prices lead to conservation:

U.S. airlines adjust to high fuel costs

Discount carrier Southwest Airlines has put life vests under seats so that it can fly over water and make routes such as Houston to cities in Florida shorter, burning less fuel.

AMR Corp's American Airlines, the world's largest carrier, and low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corp. are making their aircraft lighter.

U.S. airlines are getting more innovative as they sweat over ways to reduce costs amid high oil prices. Many see jet fuel conservation as a necessity, while price hedging has become part of the standard operations manual, top airline executives said at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington, D.C. this week.

However, as one executive points out, forward hedging is becoming increasingly difficult due to the current steep contango in the futures market. A possible solution:

JetBlue is even toying with the idea of getting its own oil storage facility so that it can buy fuel and store it when the price is right.

"We are actually looking at ways of maybe even getting some decommissioned or older tankers," Chief Executive David Neeleman said. "We can just fill that thing up and drain it out."

Expectations of higher prices can lead to hoarding. How long before we all have our own personal SPR?

Actually, a lot of country people like me store fuel; and have always stored fuel.  I store it for two reasons.  First, to run the generator if the grid goes down and there is no sun to run the PV system.  When I have to run the generator I pump water to our storage tanks, charge the batteries on the PV system and run the hot water heater.  This sucks about 1 1/2 gallons of gas per hour for an 8kW gas generator.  I also have a 23kW diesel that I never run because it's so big.

The other reason is to have gas to run the 4x4 up and down our private, mile-long road to keep it open if it's snowing.  We try to avoid plowing since we end up losing around $1k worth of gravel.

Now, compared to SUV people, I'm a piker and only store about 70 gallons of gas but it's a lot compared to our usual fuel usage.  I also store 5-5 gallon bottles of propane.  Again, I'm a piker but this represnts almost a year's supply for the dryer.

How long can you store gas for?
Doesn't it start to degrade after a while?

First of all most of us use a stabilizer such as Stabil to keep it from "aging."  I have no idea how gas containing EtOH will store.  I'm assuming it's no worse then the old MTBE gas although ethanol poses a potential problem.  Second, with the exception of those with bulk tanks (between 500-1,000 gallons), we rotate the gas.  I use gas here on a regular basis for things like log splitters, chain saws, garden tractors, etc., so it doesn't just sit there "waiting."  I also have vehicles that I mostly use here like my 4x4 truck rather than on the road that I fill-up from storage.

I suppose I might as well adress safety.  Yes, storing gasoline is potentially hazardous, so do it right.

Diesel also has additives available to prevent microbial fouling...I only store 5-10 gallons to start/burn brush piles.  I suppose I should explain that.  I always have lots of stuff to burn from slash from felling trees for firewood to limbing trees along our private road.  As I noted above in this thread, I live in the boondocks.  Brush piles range from little guys that are 4x4x4 to a more usual size of 10' wide, 6' high by 50' long.  FWIW, I'm building a charcoal maker because I'm hot on Terra Preta soils so it won't all be wasted in the future.


That semisubmerible that sank off Angola bring up the question of how many ships like it are in the world?  How much will this slow the development of offshore fields?
Re GW resistant crops

I think a trend is emerging that plump, juicy, rich foods are grown under energy intensive controlled conditions eg pond salmon and hothouse tomatoes. The uncontrolled environment has more extremes with desperate bugs and critters trying to get to the crop first. This takes a big effort in tillage, irrigation, pest control and fertilising. Perhaps we should change our diet to small amounts of premium food with more 'gut fillers'. The latter could be based on woody or stunted crops like some strains of barley or cabbage. Same goes for fuels; if corn becomes too difficult to grow then ethanol could be made from mesquite or pine chips.  

Does anyone know what happened with Natural Gas levels this week?

Just curious.

Ah...never mind...found it:

Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report


Storage Highlights:
Working gas in storage was 3,406 Bcf as of Friday, December 1, 2006, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 11 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 232 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 282 Bcf above the 5-year average of 3,124 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 109 Bcf above the 5-year average following net injections of 10 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 129 Bcf above the 5-year average of 881 Bcf after no net change in stock levels. Stocks in the West Region were 45 Bcf above the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 21 Bcf. At 3,406 Bcf, total working gas is above the 5-year historical range.

The Origins of Peak Doomerism article is not something to be laughed off.  If you see yourself in the article than have a look in the mirror, rather than pretend it is everyone else   who is wearing blinders because they have yet to adopt your new religion.

  An economics lesson would help the peak oil crowd greatly. Start here:


 Doom and gloomers have been wrong time and time again.
  Unlike animals, people adapt to changing conditions.

 The recent higher oil prices will help ensure that we will have adequate oil supplies at reasonable prices for years to come. The low oil prices pre 2003 were counterproductive to our future energy needs.

   What is a reasonable price?  I think if an old 2-3 bedroom rambler is selling for $300,000, than $60 oil is reasonable!

 The market works. But in the energy industry, it works slowly.  We are still suffering from a lack of investment in the energy sector in the 90's, as there appeared to be little upside potential, at the time.    


The recent higher oil prices will help ensure that we will have adequate oil supplies at reasonable prices for years to come

For example, the Texas oil industry put every available rig in the field in the Seventies, in response to then record high oil prices (after a long period of low prices in the Sixties), and from 1972 to 1982 the industry succeeded in increasing the number of producing wells by 14%.

Doom and gloomers have been wrong time and time again.

You mean wrong like the Easter Islanders, or like the Mayans, or perhaps the Chacoans. Or perhaps the Romans were wrong when they thought their empire was collapsing. Then there was the Olmec and I could name a few more.

Unlike animals, people adapt to changing conditions.

But of course! Dumb animals can do nothing but sit back and die when we take over their habitat. The human population expands more per day, about 200,000, than the total population of all other great apes combined! And soon we will be the only great ape standing on the face of the earth. We will have killed them all. Dumb other apes could just not adapt.

And soon we will have killed the last wild animal, felled the last tree standing and we will be looking at Easter Island Earth. We will have adapted at the expense of every other living thing on earth. Save rats, mice and other such animals that adapts to co-exist with humans. Yes, some dumb animals can adapt.


>You mean wrong like the Easter Islanders, or like the Mayans, or perhaps the Chacoans. Or perhaps the Romans were wrong when they thought their empire was collapsing. Then there was the Olmec and I could name a few more.

And much more recently the Soviet Empire. What would have happened to Russia if they couldn't export gas and oil today? The Ruble stablized because they were able to export lots and lots of oil and gas. Eventually the tide will go out agai, but the next time, it will never return.

Not every societal collapse is the same, you know. Everyone Ron mentioned (except for the Romans) had a resource collapse. The Romans (and the Soviets) mostly got a political / economic collapse. Much of the Soviet collapse was entirely political, with the state being enthusiastically dismantled by upper class apparatchiks and then screwed over by Western 'advisors'. Think of the 'collapse' represented by the West's own Great Depression. Yes, there was a 'Soviet peak oil' element in the Soviet downfall, but that wasn't entirely or even mainly the reason. It was political: 'Revolution from Above', as it has been called.

Not every collapse is a Peak Oil analogue - not even when oil is actually involved, as it was in the USSR.

>Much of the Soviet collapse was entirely political, with the state being enthusiastically dismantled by upper class apparatchiks and then screwed over by Western 'advisors'.

back in 1985 a CIA paper (now publically available through the FIA) predicted the fall of the Soviet empire because Oil production was peaking. In 1987 Soviet Oil production Peaked at 15.4 mb/d. A few years after that production collapsed which later resulted in there collapse. PO had a significant role in the Soviet Empires collapse. If Oil prices were high and production remained high, it probably would have been a lot longer before the collapse came.

What allowed Russian economy to return was reinvestment in its Oil production and increased price of Oil. Eventually Russia is headed for second collapse when production falls again. This is why Russia is nationalizing all of its oil and gas assets and the Kremelin maintains strict control over it.

I hope Russia follow thru with the idea of building two 1000 MW nuclear powerplants per year to save natural gas.

I rather have an un-collapsed neighbour.

Well, I would call the Great Depression pretty apocalyptic.  It led to Iowa farmers forming armed gangs to scare off foreclosure men, to a Chavez-like strongman in Louisiana, coup plotting by the nastiest of the fatcats, and Douglas MacArthur running down veterans in tanks in Washington D.C.  And it became World War II via Hitler.

If it were 1932 right now, you would be telling the public that the market is perfect and nothing should be changed (No Adaptation) - but you would be telling your friends over martinis that the Depression is good because it starves the inferiors out of the gene pool.  That's exactly the attitude many of our masters had then, and I suspect many today.  You would be denouncing those who talked about the need for reform as Doom & Gloomers.  Instead the troublemakers got into power and led America to becoming not just the most successful nation, but a fairly just society for a few decades.

The Oil Drum is where we are trying to define a New Deal for a tougher problem - no more cheap oil, ever again.  How much of what we think is our birthright under capitalism really depended on cheap oil?


Would you care to expand on some of what you write here about the Depression? I know about the coup, about the tanks against the WWI vets, but I did not know about the Chavez-like strongman in Louisiana? Any links or stories?

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (also 1940s movie)


An economics lesson would help the peak oil crowd greatly. Start here:


While there are some valid reasons to question whether "ultimate doom" will occur, the article you cite is not one of them. The theory outlined there is complete and utter nonsense. It only works inside of a theoretical model that is nothing like the way the real world works.

It's not worth going through it point by point, it would be like debating why Creationism is wrong, but let's look at the initial assumption:

Suppose you told me that, as a result of a careful examination of oil reservoirs, you were certain that annual oil production was just about to plummet, and would be 30% below its current level in two years.

He has gone wrong already. No one can be certain about the state of reserves, or the future. You could be 90% or 95% certain, never 100%. This makes a crucial difference. It is now about risk management. Do I take a sure profit now, or take a gamble and hold out for the chance of a bigger profit later? In the real world, no company can sit on billions of dollars of assets without generating cash flow. Nor do you want competitors to undercut you and take market share. Therefore in the real world, companies follow the low risk option, and take profits now.

Futures contracts can signal future shortage in a very limited way, but due to real world commercial incentives outlined above, companies tend to turn assets into cash rather than hold them. There is little incentive for companies to husband resources. The only way it can be done commercially is to have cartel or monopoly powers, e.g. OPEC, de Beers, but this goes against free market principles assumed by economists.

It is possible that increasing prices due to the laws of supply and demand will lead to investments in new sources. However, something economists fail to understand, is that a valid solution to their own supply/demand equation is where the supply is 0, and price->infinity. The equation does not automatically guarantee supply!

I don't know how economists can come up with such half-baked  theories that bear no relation to reality, and claim "trust us, this is how things work". It beggars belief.

Unlike animals, people adapt to changing conditions.

Sorry. We are "animals".
Believe it or not, the other animals have brains.
The other animals adapt.
The other animals die.

  Anybody know any details on the waterflooding with horizontal wells project in Oklahoma mentioned in the articles Leannan linked for us this morning? It sounds interesting, but pretty expensive. The article lacked small details like how many wells to produce the 100 bbls/day, water cut, how long the horizontal legs are, whether the injection wells were horizontal ect. I'd appreciate a link to the original article.
This link has more details, and a phone number you can call.

And here is a paper about it (PDF).

Michael T Klare and Tom Whipple write with such clarity and simplicity.  These guys know how to convey the "big picture" ideas to the public.  Perhaps we can get them to be TOD's PR guys?
The responses to my post were just classic!  Is that all ya got?!

Can I give you the number for my sister's shrink? The sky has been falling in her world for about 30 years.  lol

  It is the end of cheap oil?  We are one recession away from $25 dollar oil.

  But in the next recession, the good new is...those $300,000 crummy old ramblers will still be selling for about......$300,000!  lol

Can I give you the number for my sister's shrink?

Is that all YOU'VE got? Typical ad hominem crapola. Like that article.

Oh good, you're sober. Check out Bendzela everybody - It walks. Fucker ain't so stupid after all.

He like Borat. But from America. Hehehe. Awww. Fuck. You bustin' my balls. Shit that's funny. My chest hurts I'm laughing' so hard...

Rolling waters

I have set the thermostat at 63 is my house. I can tolerate it, but it is harder to get out of bed and sit on the tiolet seat.