Saturday open thread

All the threads you need and then some.
Hi all

Here's a stupid question from a newbie. One of the boxes on the right ("Peak Oil Primers") contains a list of related sites. But what's the significance of the "Defcon x" next to each of them?

I've been lurking for a while, trying to learn things. A very informative site. I'll be back.

Defcon 1 means the world is about to end type language. Defcon 5 is more basic material that is more scientific and explanatory without the rhetoric.
Actually defcon five is more like the economist driven belief that there is unlimited oil. I would put reasonable scientific discussion at defcon four or three.
In this case Wikipedia should be 4 not 5. I'd describe the article there as "as neutral as possible".
From Wikipedia:

Defense Condition is a measure of the activation and readiness level of the United States armed forces. DEF CON is the portmanteau of "DEFense [Readiness] CONdition". These defense conditions describe progressive postures for use between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders of unified commands. DEFCONs are matched to the situations of military severity. It is a common misconception that the system starts at DEFCON 1 and ascends with severity, when actually, standard peacetime protocol is DEFCON 5, which descends when plunged into increasingly severe situations.

Note that the with the current Iraq war considered by the military to be well in hand, and with the successful suppression of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil post-9/11, the current DEFCON status is probably only DEFCON four.  

I applaud TOD for using the DEFCON analogy, as the military uses it to prepare for surprise attacks.  Peak Oil will be or presently is, a surprise attack on the world econcomic order.

Wow, that was fast. Thanks.

Savinar's site is where I was introduced to this subject, and where I heard of TOD. Defcon 1, eh? And what Defcon level does TOD assign to itself?

Arrrghhh Captain,
Sailorman reports folks on board the good ship TOD is a mixed bag of bright people, many of whom have done their homework. Engineers, you can always tell an engineer, but you can't tell them much . . . unless you can do math.
Scientists, aye me hearty, there are a few here who realized their Ph.D.s are in the tradition of B.S., M.S. (More of the Same), and of course the Piled Higher and Deeper. In other words, you are judged by your words and calculations on TOD and by nothing else.

The orrificers are a good lot. The passengers are a bunch of oil traders who think they can use TOD to make money, because they do not understand the nature of speculation. Occasionally we get some who cannot manually detect their anuses, but they are pushed overboard or disappear in the night--not to worry about them; they go away.

After a few hours of reading, you will discover who posts the best items. Just following up citations to journals and others sources is one of the best ways to educate yourself. Focus on the best posters and ignore the others.

Now, behave yourself, or we'll put you in an open boat severely overloaded with 4,000 miles to go to find Timor.


Yes. There are the graph and pie chart posters who overwhelm each other with carefully parsed analyses of how many pump jacks can fit on the head of a pin. While I'm sure they feel they are the only ones who can be called serious posters, they are mainly useful to each other and the few traders who are constantly scrounging for graphs to justify their bets at the Faro table we call the market. For the average person, they are useless. Maybe worse than useless. While counting the rivets on the prow of the Titanic may have seemed like the best, most necessary activity to the mathemeticians aboard the doomed ship, I'm sure some of the less anally driven passengers with family had real concerns. The main issue is really not the when. We know that. In the near future. Given that we know that there is only so much energy dense fossil fuel left, perhaps we should be concentrating on using that to transition now while it is cheap.

The serious posters will defend their actions to the death, and, as a person who works at a university teaching English, I know the culture of publish or perish. Because so much has been talked about regarding general topics, scientists, and academics in general, need to focus in tighter and tighter purviews in order to not seem redundant, hence, the microscopic scrutiny of ever smaller mathematical concerns regarding how we measure this and that regarding peak oil. If you examine the subtext of TOD, you will see that they all pretty much agree that peak oil will happen, but their disagreement almost always revolves around the techniques they use to attempt to measure what is happening now or has just happened. While this may seem useful, you must remember as a non-academic, if you are a non-academic, that this activity has all the relevance of the study of Soviet History. While it is nice to know what happened in the past, what should be the major concern is what we are to do now, tomorrow, and next week. We need to be discussing the "what next", the social issues, the political issues, and economic issues of peak oil. We need to talk about how we should change, who should be in charge of change -- whether it should be the politically insane current administration, whether a central government will even be able to perform these tasks, whether we should take matters into our own hands and develop lifeboats as some are doing.

Some of the serious posters will note that they are trying to mathematically nail down a close approximation of when the peak will happen and that that knowledge will help us plan the future. Of course, that is silly. As the Hirsch report says so succintly, we need to start NOW. It would be nice to believe that we have twenty years, but that does not change the starting time. It remains NOW.

I feel it is important to inject a few strident and provocative posts now and then when the discussion seems to descend to the level of scientists sitting on a stack of food rations in a field of starving people discussing the merits of cardboard versus plastic wrapping of nutrient broth. At some point, when the post peak period gets into full swing, there will be a sudden and precipitous drop in jobs for mathemeticians, academics, and, yes, English teachers. When we are standing in line behind the relief truck waiting for a box of moldy cheese and a bag of noodles, very few people are going to be interested in seeing a graph illustrating crowd behavior. They will more likely wonder why you brilliant people did not use that intelligence to work on the real world planning so desperately needed right now.

P.S. Kunstler, you are fabulous. I am thrilled that you emailed to comment on the semtex comment. Keep up the good work!

To validate the credibility and depth of my postings, I wanted to post this link to the latest news from northern Africa.
Tsk.  This is how civilized people handle that sort of situation:

We prove the offense with a DNA test, then make the pepetrator register as a sex offender...  

Thanks, Sailor. I promise to behave myself. I'm a poor swimmer, so I'd hate to have to walk the plank. Mostly I'll continue to lurk and enjoy the view. Occasionally I'll ask questions.

One of the first things I noticed was that the quality of discourse here is pretty high; it impresses me as much as the subject matter itself. But that's enough flattery. Back to the regularly scheduled programming.


Just got back from the Pensacola Mardi Gras parade.  There were many a pirate there matey.  Much like yourself.  Arrrrggggh me matey.  I can see you as one of the swarmy pirates.   aurrgggghhhhh matey.


Arrrghhh, aye, and its the truth that the sun is over the yardarm . . . somewhere . . . time to splice the mainbrace and sing Our Song:

Fifteen men on Dead Man's Chest,
Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum,
Drink and the devil had done for the rest,
Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum.

Now, for the geography wedge in Trivial Pursuit, who knows where Robert Louis Stevenson was when he was inspired to write that wonderful song (to be found in Holy Writ, i.e. "Treasure Island")?

Hint: What real world island was the basis for RLS's Treasure Island?

Don, I have just the link for you on this serious topic
la isla de juventud??
they have agricultural colleges with students from "developing" countries, most civilized place I have ever been too, they certainly wont be having much of a peak problem they went through it ages ago.

 to anyone worrying about peak oil
 have a holiday in Cuba.

Good guess, but no, not Cuba. BTW herewith is a fantasy of something that did NOT happen. Suppose a guy liked Cuban cigars, bigtime, and was visiting Jamaica. From Jamaica an American can get to Havana with no stamp in his passport . . . not that I would ever THINK of doing anything illegal! (Not with 1,100 pages in my F.B.I. dossier so far. No way.) But suppose a guy were to get some dozens of boxes of Cuba's finest and then take them back to Jamaica, where for a moderate fee they can be reboxed and sealed with genuine Jamiaican tax stamps. (Jamaicans have great senses of humor, and they know how to do business.) Then suppose a guy were to have some gross of these wonderful evil wicked totally illegal . . . . whoops! Forgot, this is just a fantasy.

A woman is just a woman, but a cigar is a smoke.

I was on a flight from Bogotá to Houston that stopped in Panama City.  Had an hour to kill, so I bought 10 Cuban cigars.  $25.00 each and enclosed in hermetically sealed aluminum tubes.  I put them in a heavy paper-fiber reinforced white envelop and placed it in the last folder of my briefcase, then got on the plane to Houston.  Going through Customs, the inspector passed my 2 suitcases without opening them and said, let me have the briefcase.  I pushed it his way while I had visions of $250.00 going NOT going up in smoke and maybe a 1000.00 fine on top of it.  He opened the briefcase, immediately went for the last folder, lifted the white envelop by the corners not even 1 inch, immediately replaced it, closed the briefcase and said, "You can go, but don't ever, ever bring back Cuban cigars or anything else from Cuba into the USA."  My question is, how did he know they were not from Jamaica?  
Customs guys (and women) know the ropes. Why would you be bringing in non-Cuban cigars in the manner you did?

Sailboat people, however, constitute a quasi-society with a subculture that tends to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

I would never ever try to sneak anything past customs, and I never have. You know the penalties . . . .

FYI - Green Blogathon entering hour 12!  Come on by for a look.  Here is the squidoo lens, with RSS feeds and links to all the participants.

Ooh - thanks for the link!  I'm going back later, but on a quick visit I found a cool, so to speak, Kandle Heeter Candle Holder, which concentrates the heat from a candle and radiates it into the room rather than dissipating to the ceiling.  Also the following item from one of the bloggers:

Scientists are concerned that we could be on the down slope of Peak Blogathon, that is- when there are less posts left in the Blogathon than have already been made. They say it could have disastrous results if technology isn't able to pick up the slack, some fear it is already too late to do anything about it.

Run, run for the hills!

(My apologies, I'm searching for a second wind, I think I had to get this one out of the way).

This Peak Blogathon Theory is so true-- People will gladly abandon the Internet when it comes time to choosing food and heat over warning others about Peak Everything and Dieoff.  Time is running short for my desired Peaceful Powerdown because civilization refuses to set aside our desires for a fossil-fueled GMC Yukon Denali [anagram for DENIAL!]; we continue to be HUMMERS enjoying the last musical CD/DVD as we joyride blissfully off the Hubbert Cliff into the precipitous Olduvai Gorge.

Riders on the Storm, Riders on the Storm....

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

Since peak oil is primarily a liquid fuels problem and so much discussion focuses on our driving habits, I'm wondering how quickly we might be able to reduce our fuel use only by replacing our cars with more efficient ones and not changing the number of miles we drive.

So I took the average passenger car mileage for 2004 (22.4 MPG), the average mileage for the top five most efficient passenger cars currently on the market (47.8 MPG), and assumed that the existing fleet can be replaced with fuel efficient models over 10 to 20 years.  Assuming no change in the number of miles we drive:

Fleet replacement over 10 years:  annual reduction in fuel use = 7.3%

Fleet replacement over 15 years:  annual reduction in fuel use = 4.9%

Fleet replacement over 20 years:  annual reduction in fuel use = 3.7%

Each of these numbers roughly equals or exceeds the forecasts for post-peak production decline rates.  Also, they do not even consider that people may choose to drive less, or that the fuel efficiency of the most efficient cars will improve in the future.

Admittedly it's a very rough estimate, but it makes me think that maybe the first couple of decades after the peak (at least as far a driving goes) will be pretty similar to today, except that we will be driving smaller cars.

That's pretty interesting, thanks.  You may or may not have seen that Green Car Congress had a report on the current fleet life and scrappage rate.  At a little over 4% it is naturally running toward a 20 changeover.  Certainly other economic factors could quicken (or slow) that rate.
Cars may be scrapped (and hopefully recycled into useful steel) at a faster rate than they are replaced pretty soon. It has come to my attention that a personal commuting method is possible that could compete with the car. Besides the bicycle, there is the fact that Norwegians do as a sport hitch themselves to Siberian Huskies and skis to have the dogs serve as a propulsion system. It's called ski-driving.

Obviously, if one can ski-drive, one could harness a dog team as draft animals to propel themselves on Rollerblades, a skateboard, or street luge. A few Greyhound dogs could attain 40mph if the operator doesn't impose TOO much friction load. It turns out that yuppies have both ingredients at hand. They always have a dog and often Rollerblades. All that's needed is the ability to train the dog and devise a suitable harness. A street luge would work best for reducing aerodynamic friction of course, due to the small frontal surface. (you lay on your back as you operate it) Of course, feeding the dogs (like any draft animal) becomes the issue, but draft dogs could be useful in a push-come-to-shove case!

I have heard that exploration for new reserves has turned up fewer dogs than we consume for a number of years now. Can't find the link right now. Plus what is the EROEI on dogs, anyway?
Are you talking Light Sweet dogs, or Heavy Sour dogs?
I heard something about Dog-to-Liquid conversion [DTL].
Yeah, but the efficency bites.
Not sure what the EROI on dogs is but I know the HROI (happiness received in investment) is VERY high for dogs. Having pets naturally boosts serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Dogs are natural anti-depressants, except when they chew on a homemade ash longbow that takes 6 months to carve...

Thought to ponder - dogs have been selectively bred for human companionship for 7000+ years. Post peak, there are SO many breeds in existence but transportation of gene pool (easy now) will be limiting factor in reproduction, so might neutering surgery -so a great dog homogenization may occur. Mutts and mongrels by 2050. Peak oil = Peak dog breeds.

Many Native American cultures used dogs as livestock. Some whites prefer dog meat to beef, and if memory serves, Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame sang the praises of dog meat.

A dog is a good meat animal because you can feed it scraps when food is abundant (summer), then you slaughter the dogs as needed during fall and winter (when the meet keeps fairly well even without salting or smoking). About the time you run out of most of your male dogs, you can start fishing through the ice or hunting deer, even though when on winter brouse venison does not taste very good. Of course you keep the bitches for breeding stock, unless you are starving.

In the Hmong neighborhood of St. Paul there are no stray dogs.

Mammals are very inefficient at converting biomass into work. Also the range of biomass sources is limited to those rich in starch and sugars. Heat engines such as the steam engines of 200 years ago can produce 10 times as much work per pound of biomass over feeding it to mammals, birds, or even insects. Steamers are also tolerant of a broad range of biomass as long as it is dry enough to burn.
Going back to animal power is just a fast ride into utter destitution.
This goes against my intuition, because of course if one mammal was "very ineffiecient at converting biomass into work," another would chase it down and eat it.  Or put another way, I see "selective pressure" put on both animals and machines.

FWIW, some fuzzy math here:

You feed an animal 24/365, whether they are working or not. You feed a tractor 12/21 and 12/21, when you sow and when you reap, assuming a three week planting and harvesting season for your farm.
At least, that's what gramps said about why he sold the mules back in 1936.
That's a different question than "animal efficiency."

That's scheduling efficiency ;-)

There are several problems with the "efficiency will save us" concept.  First, cars take a lot of oil to manufacture.  Second, the ugly reality of Jevons Paradox rears its head, i.e., as energy efficiency increases (especially in the absence of price increases), aggregate fuel use tends to increase, not decrease.  

I agree with Jim Kunstler in regard to the efficiency debate.  The best idea is to arrange your life so that you don't need a car.  You will save vast amounts of money, and your overall health will be better as you spend more time walking, biking and/or taking mass transit.

Consumers do almost always respond to higher prices, thus my recommendation that we replace the Payroll (Social Security + Medicare) Tax with a vastly higher petroleum tax.

There is a bit of territory between "will save us" and "might."  FWIW, I think it is good news that a rough pass like this doesn't show a "no way" answer.

The human tendancy is to go beyond the data and say what "will" happen.  We might go on from here and talk about how fast consumers will choose efficient models, or whether some crisis will force a mandate ... but we're off in dream land at that point.  You might as well write it up as a movie script (or a Peak Oil book).

BTW, I think Jevons Paradox is often mis-applied.  For the feedback loop to occur, increases in effiency have to lower prices, and then in turn spur greater consumption.

If peak oil is real in any sense, increases in efficiency will not be enough to lower prices.  It will be instead a race to efficiency as business and consumers try to avoid rising costs.

Arranging your life so you don't need a car, or only need to "get the car out" once a week, is a great way to do that.

Yes, finally someone to note this.

What is left hidden though is that Jevons Paradox efect alaways causes us to use a given resource as much as we can. You invest in efficiency -> lower prices -> higher consumption -> hit resource limits and start over.

The only way to avoid it is that we artificially introduce higher prices that keep equilibrium below resource limits. This will give us the time needed for transition/alternatives, because on the backslope it will be much more difficult.

Therefore I think a significant gas tax is the only most efficient tool we could have used to fight PO. Probably a hopeless cause to defend but still worth trying...

Cars take a lot of oil to manufacture.

Let's check that instead of let it slide by.

I did a quick web search and came up with this seemingly authoritative answer.


... it takes about 73 Giga-Joules of energy to manufacture a vehicle. This is less than 10 percent of the total lifecycle energy consumption of a vehicle.

There's a lot more at the link above, with references.

odograph is correct in stating that Jevon's paradox applies when the increase in efficiency results in an effectively lower price. Obviously, that would not be the case if oil supplies shrink significantly.

About the mom with four kids, my reaction is: "Boo hoo hoo!" I mean, really, so what? People will waste huge amounts of gas while it's convenient, and stop when it's not. Play in the back yard, skip the 12 different after-school activities you have to drive to, team up with your neighbors to watch the kids while you do a food run in the geo metro. Or whatever. Just quit complaining!!!!

There's a big difference between the end of the world as we know it, and the end of the world. Our lifestyle sucks, and I'm looking forward to a future with fewer cars.

Some of you might be interested in reading about car free cities. It's both a book and a website. (I got the book, and recommend it.)

"Some of you might be interested in reading about car free cities. It's both a book and a website. (I got the book, and recommend it.)"

I would also recommend Divorce Your Car by Katie Alvord

I was just off reading that "car free" site.  I think it's worth noting that we don't really have to leap to "no car."  We can just do "less car."

As I look around me now (north Orange County, California) I see lots of places in the sprawl where, even if you still drive to work, you can position yourself to walk for most everything else.  Just live a mile or so (far enough away to be out of traffic) from a shopping street, center, or mall.

There are lots of places where you can find stores, restaurants, and movie theaters within a mile.

I think that the urban planners think of it as "percent of trips" and count how many "trips" are walking (or biking) or by car.  There are lots of ways to bump your non-car "trips" from zero .. without jumping all the way to one hundred percent.

FWIW I didn't move ... I just noticed the video rental store, and Japanese restaurant, a couple blocks away, etc.

Right now the "American thing" is to drive a couple blocks to the gym ... ah well ... it probably will just be peak oil nuts and environmentalists walking for errands.  Everyone else will drive, and then drive to the gym for some excercise, or drive to where they "walk" (as a task).


Actually, the title is a bit misleading. The book is a great resource for every stage of less car dependency.

Your correct that "less Car" is key, but will Americans choose the correct alternative?  Consider that a bicycle powered by a small motor, such as illustrated in this link:

is vastly more time and energy efficient than any mass-transit.  Approx. 60lbs of bike and motor to move an adult WHerever and WHenever he wants to go , as opposed to  approx. 1,000 lbs/passenger of extremely time and geography limited mass-transit.  This should be the only acceptable transportation solution until we can build walkable or human-powered scale bicycling cities.

If sufficient political 'critical mass' can be achieved: every city and suburb should be ripping up, with cheap energy powering heavy equipment, all the asphalt and reinforced concrete we can, only leaving a single lane of asphalt for the occasional emergency vehicle or delivery truck.  All this uncovered urban land can then be used to create urban community gardens to facilitate a humanure program.  But I doubt this will be done until it is too late.

Therefore, when the postPeak crisis hits, our only choices will be to laboriously bust and remove this incredibly hard and heavy debris by hand with sledgehammers and shovels, or people will chose the easier path of violence as ERoVI > ERoEI.

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

Those of us who are not engineers and/or don't have a bike already might be interested in the readymade ones.  Some other links:  

Or maybe we'll all be riding Twikes.

A Swiss designed cross between a pedal and electric vehicle; a two seater that is mostly pedal-powered, but is assisted by an electric motor. Pedaling also partially charges the battery

Actually, the Twike Easy doesn't even have pedals. Pedaling doesn't directly drive the Twike Active either, but will recharge the batteries and extend the range.  

Sadly, here in the US, the Active will be limited to 25 mph, to qualify as a bike/moped.  The pedal-less Easy will be classified as a motorcycle, and can reach 45 mph.

They are "supposed" to be available here this spring.

True, pedaling isn't actually turning the wheels; it's charging the batteries.

This is one Twike that's been on the road in America since 1998:

More on the Twike.  Also, a Vermont Twike owner's story.
Somewhere I read about a couple that bought a Twike only to have the import held up indefinitely by the NHTSA.  They couldn't return it or collect it.  It was full-speed with pedals, and didn't have NHTSA approved brakes or lights.

Somehow the Vermont couple got around that.

I've emailed Mike Patterson, but he seems to think people should order a $15,000 vehicle sight unseen, based on the very sketchy info on their site.  I think I will like the Twike, but I want to see one and kick the tires, etc.

I gave serious consideration to replacing my car with an electric bike.  But I came to the conclusion that it's just not safe.  Especially at night, or in winter when there's snow and ice on the roads and the sidewalks are covered with snow drifts.  You don't want to be on a bike when two-ton SUVs are skidding past you.  Nevermind there are some neighborhoods where you'd be mugged just for your bike, sometimes in broad daylight.  
I have ridden bicycles since about age six and motorcycles since age seventeen. If you are sufficiently paranoid, hour for hour, you are almost as safe on two wheels as on four. The trick is to realize the DUET (Deep Universal Eternal Truth): They really are out to get you. One time I'm biking home from work--on the sidewalk, which is where I bike wherever I can--and this crazy woman on drugs/cellphone/booze? comes roaring down the wrong side of the street in a Mustang going about 50 or 60 m.p.h. in a thirty mile per hour speed zone,then she proceeds to climb the curb and head right for me. Well, I dumped the bike into the ditch as I swerved to avoid death--and had I been driving a car I'd probably have been hit head on because of being less alert than I am on a bike.

BTW I know a number of people who have ridden two wheels for more than 300,000 miles without an accident. It is mostly expertise and attitude, though luck helps. If you worry about falling, shucks just get some motorcycling body armor.

One of my sidelines is teaching young women to ride motorcycles. First I teach them how to ride a pedal bike proficiently, which relatively few among us can do. When riding on roads is dangerous, I ride off road or walk long distances.

Don, what don't you do with young women? ;-)
I don't marry them. Usually;-)
LOL ... falling over... dying!  I coulda learned something from ya there Don.
Excellent points, Sailorman!  I have had 13 total motorcycles over the years-- luckily, I have never been hurt -- only the Paranoid survive!  But the close calls are max adrenaline experiences.

Decreasing net energy means that all of us are going to have to accept much greater potential injury/death risks.  Adjusting the thermostat and the stove-burner control to our present Energy Fiesta is much less risky than the required future hours of postPeak axe-swinging for firewood to accomplish the same degree of heating and cooking.

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

If everyone's on bicycles, there's a lot less chance of injury.  I use hardly any gas, so I figure I can hold out until the SUV drivers are forced to park their behemoths.  :)
I suspect that there will be enough SUV drivers talking on cell phones to be threat to those of us on bicycles for quite a while.
If that's the case, I figure I'll have no trouble driving my Corolla the small amounts I do.  

The worst-case scenario, as far as transportation goes, is the gas stations suddenly go dry overnight.  I think it's a distinct possibility, simply because of the way people behave when confronted with shortages.  They start hoarding.  In the case of oil, governments and large corporations could trump inviduals.  Governments especially will be filling up their SPRs, to make sure they have enough for their militaries and for agriculture.  And for the police.  

I grew up around fast cars and my Dad ,a welder, put rollbars in them, so respect for those forces. For peak pbs. I bought us older VW's a gas & diesel, but my wife can't stand her commute in either having been cut out of a Jeep, after being broadsided by a work van 2 yrs. ago. I don't want her to either until the traffic dies down.   Re paranoia yes it works, with some limits. I put a rollbar in the VW truck and will hit the ditch, as I am not in much heavy traffic. Looking forward to 5$ gas; but not all the consequences.
That's the problem. Getting rid of the car or any of the other life-style changes aren't things most can do individually. Our society is structured in such a way as to make it impossible. I live in Jersey City. I have a car -- every week or so I walk 4 blocks to where it's parked to turn it over so the battery doesn't die. I walk everywhere -- I used to bike, but it wasn't enough exercise.

So you can see, I'm quite "virtuous". But it's meaningless. I can do this because I'm retired, live in a city, and have all kinds of public transportation. I go out to visit friends in the suburbs every once in while -- the newer ones don't even have sidewalks! There is no provision for walking! Un-f_king-believable. I went west on rte 80 to meet a friend to hike at the Delaware Water Gap. The traffic was stalled going east (the other way) half the way out to PA! Saw the same in Boston, except I was stuck in it. Millions of people are spending 2 hours or more a day sitting in traffic around every major city! I don't want to even get into the insanity of suburban living. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs long, long ago. The train stopped running and I was trapped -- no car. It was crazy then -- I have no words for it now.

The whole country is built around the car. The vast majority can't opt out. That's the great tragedy. There is this truly enormous investment that's been made in our way of life -- an insane way of life -- and it's going to turn completely sour. But because the investment is SO huge, it can't be given up. So we are going to ride the bomb down -- literally.

And China? They are tearing up bikeways to make way for roads. It's like an epidemic of competitive suicide - who can do it first?

I'm frothing, aren't I? I have to go take my medicine - chocolate.

Yes re making change individually ,it is too late. Since learning in may we are planning to try to survive for disorder( we have a million people near here & considered moving closer re transp.) , not how we'd like /think we should live in a poweredown way of life.  Our local peak oil group has gotten no where with our local officials- one did come to a meeting.We do have Matt Simmons on a local board and he has agreed to give a talk to select local business & political figures.   The momenteum is still accelerating, as you say, maybe not quite as fast here due to energy costs and our contrived, but cracking economy. I agree that sitting in traffic these days multiplies the irony.
It's really nice to hear people who can remember a better time froth over this.  I've had to grow up with it and live with it my whole life -- I'm 23, but moved out on my own at 17.  Unlike you, I'm working more jobs than I can count right now.  I never drive a car, live in downtown Denver, and go on a depressing number of business trips(currently battling some Greek cold from Crete).  Destinations like Albuquerque are just miserable, but rather than feeling limited, I feel a lot of pathos.  You get an incredible sense of presence after walking any city in any country for 8 hours, but our suburbs are dead.

It hasn't been hard since my lifestyle matches my transit, and I've met some incredible folks in the most pedestrian settings.  The worst part, by far, is finding people who can sacrifice as well as admire so I don't feel like such a pariah for trying to leave a better world for everyone.  I've had incredible experiences and travels, but finding anyone to travel with me is just impossible.

Your frothing really helped.  Enjoy the chocolate.

I have had exactly the same problem--nobody wants to travel with me when I rough it. Typically I go out with highly educated women of about my own age who earn $100,000+ per year in their professions or businesses. They demand the five-star hotels, and when I suggest the stone barns of England, or going up to Fort McMurray in Alberta to look at the Aurora Borealis and check out the tar sands--and tent camping in winter--all I get is looks of horror and queries about whether I'm taking my meds. However there are a couple of exceptions:
  1. crazy bicyclists similar to me
  2. crazy motorcyclists similar to me

BTW I love to walk and bike on sidewalks. I've even biked (cautiously) on crowded London sidewalks, and one of my future projects is to walk or bike every single block of the sidewalks of the city of St. Paul, Minnesota--one of my favorite cities. So far I am about forty percent there and have hundreds of interesting photos and some rough notes. There is nothing like a brisk six mile walk to clarify the mind. And although biking on sidewalks in cities is generally illegal, so long as one shows common sense almost nobody minds.

The emptiness and general lack of use of our urban sidewalks is a blatant symptom of a sick society.

> The emptiness and general lack of use of our urban sidewalks is a blatant symptom of a sick society.

The sidewalks on New Orleans are generally crumbling (I like the old, now "wavy" brick sidewalks and I have slate (with granite curbs_ in front of my place BUT they are busy at all hours (3 AM or 3 PM).

Phoenix, OTOH, has superb, wide sidewalks completely devoid of life.

Are busy sidewalks (steeping around piles of debris, although the stinky frigs are FINALLY gone !) enough reason to save our city ?

After you talk to your Army Corps of Engineers guy, why don't you try to get in touch with some Dutch engineers who work on holding back the North Sea. The storms of the North Sea are some of the most frequent and nasty in the world, but even with technology of a hundred years ago and more the clever and conservative Dutch found ways to hold it back.

Yes, I do like the idea of restoring wetlands. Yes, I will come to your city to eat, imbibe, talk, and admire your beautiful women (surely the equal of Icelanders and NZ women), and listen to your incomparable music and walk your crubling sidewalks.

But not during hurricane season. (The main reason I do not visit NO at this time is that I'm twenty-five pounds overweight, and in your city I gain at the rate of more than two pounds per day. Your city is all about food, and even walking a dozen miles a day, it is just too dangerous for me until I can shed a few gallons of blubber. I believe that we should all succumb to irresistible temptation and have always followed this dictum. Nowhere in the world is temptation more powerful than in your city.)

Agreed.  The only life in Phx can be found inside a SUV Denial with fancy aftermarket wheel-bling, usually yapping on a cellphone in A/C comfort while watching a DVD movie as they carelessly motor to the next drive-thru.  Then people wonder why auto-insurance is so expensive here.

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

That with "less car" does make plenty of sense. All shopping I do is during my mission home, so the result is minimal extra fuel use. I do not stop home then drive elsewhere only to return home again on the same day. I combine missions. Doing so only makes sense as it requires less fuel use. Happily, I don't have kids, so I don't have to drive them everywhere. As fuel prices climb (as they will) that suburbanish behaviour must at some point stop.

"Sorry, Nigel, but we can't afford the trips to the soccer club every week". Replace "Nigel" with [your kid's name] and you get the idea quick as gasoline prices climb. A major problem with suburbs in general is that everything is so far apart. That'll make my M.O. almost mandatory. As it stands, in America, you can choose between either "uninhabitably expensive" or "uninhabitably dangerous" areas to live. Anyone who moves should move to a spot that'll take less fuel, not more fuel, to perform a commuting mission. That is obvious to us on TOD, but not to our coworkers.

A lot of smaller towns (inside the old walls) in Spain are either vehicle free or effectively so, due to the narrow streets.  Many will just barely allow a car to pass if any pedestrians are backed up against the walls on tip toes.

In the older section of Granada, I encountered what I thought was a one-way street, until I came facing a red traffic signal with nothing to do except stop, as the only other left turn option was prohibited.  After about 5 minutes of sitting there, oncoming cars began to appear and turn right (to my left.)  Finally they stopped coming and my light turned green.  I went about 3 miles and found a similar arrangement at the other end, except I was facing oncoming stopped cars ahead  with a traffic signal indicating I should turn right.  Turns out that this stretch of road was operated like an old single track railroad that had to accomodate traffic in both directions.  These kind of things, along with a definite lack of parking spaces in those areas, make it much more convenient to take a bike or just walk.  After you get used to it, you don't want to use the car anymore.  These obstacles are also a great deturrent to SUVs as well.    

Hello all. I am new on the blog.
If you want numbers on energy use, emissions etc on anything then Life cycle assessments can usually give reasonable estimates cradle to grave.  
Cars have been studied extensively. For example different VW models.

As a rule of thumb a 1200 kilo car cost 4.500 -  5000 kilo oil eqvivalent primary energy to produce and will in 10 years use approx 20.000 kilo oil eqvivalent fuel- diesel or Gasoline.
(10 km /litre) mileage- and 20.000 km/year)
Altogether approx. 25 tons of oil for 10 years driving
A little has to be added for maintenance.

The From The Wilderness Website had an article that criticized a "happy face" article in USA Today regarding a total conversion to a hybrid fleet.  The introduction to the article follows:

"This is a tidy little piece on the way EROI - Energy Return On Energy Invested - gets ignored in the mainstream media. That's partly because too much bad news is bad for the DOW, but it's mainly because we all want the good news first. So: the good news is that replacing the world's car fleet with hybrids would make for a much more efficient fleet. The bad news is that the replacement process would consume one hell of a lot of the fuel we'd be saving.

"There is not a 1:1 conversion rate between oil (42 gallons per barrel) and gasoline. But in terms of energy equivalents we're talking about 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent to make 230 million new vehicles which are all still fossil fuel dependent anyway. 5.5 billion barrels is roughly what the entire planet consumes every 60 days. For the last three years, not a single new field of 500 million barrels (9% of the required energy input) has been discovered anywhere."

I've seen people say "we need to replace all our cars" or "we should all be driving X-type cars".

Obviously some kind of mass conversion would have those kind of energy impacts ... but it is less certain what a somewhat accelerated scrap/replacement policiy would "cost" in terms of energy.  I mean, what's the energy-of-manufacture difference between a 5000 lb SUV and a 3000 lb hybrid?

We are making a lot of (literally) big iron right now).

We can make cars out of carbon composite, or magnesium, or aluminum, or high strength alloy, instead of iron. All have increased cost and other problems.
Maybe I didn't say this very well.  My point was that in the short term hybrids (and other small cars) will probably cost less energy to produce that the current average car (weighted as that is with SUVs).

On what happens after that ... sure, if at some point energy costs become a greater cost than some component costs, the energy and component mix will shift.

I believe Morgan sports cars are still made with a wooden (ash) frame ;-).  I wouldn't expect everyone to go there but ... funny image.

Wood works fine for cars. One of the best cars my family ever owned was a 1949 Oldsmobile 88 Hydra-Matic classic wooden station wagon that would do an honest 80 miles an hour all day long with no strain. (Like me, my Dad liked to drive fast.) It was one of the last of the woodies and stayed in my family for about a dozen years, and I seem to recall we got over 200,000 miles on it with one valve grind, and the next owners got at least another 100,000 miles on it. Great car--ten-tube radio, no air conditioning, but for the desert crossings we'd drive at night or use those old evaporative coolers that hung from the window.

BTW, wood does not rust.

Let's bring back the woodies!!!

Wood makes lousy frames, engine blocks, axles, springs, etc.!  There are little stresses on bodies in a body-on-frame construction, but any reasonable modern car has a unibody construction for lighter weight and higher strength.  Not going to do that with wood.  Morgan onlt uses wood for the supports behind body panels.  

I seriously doubt that many materials are cheaper or better suited than steel.

I'm only treating it as an amusement ... but this does look like a lot of wood to me:

Yes, I figured!  Those assembiles bolt onto the steel frame.
Spitfire pilots didn't mind the wood.
The Mosquito crews were the REAL wood lovers.
Did I get it wrong again?  I thought that the Spitfires, the  Hurricane and Mosquitos all had significant quantities of wood.  Actually wood is not a bad material in itself.  The average properties of wood are not great when compared to other materials, but when specially selected, as it is for use in aircraft parts, or bonded and laminated with modern glues, it is quite good.  It has fatigue resistance and a certain amount of resilience and its use was common in a few civilian aircraft favoured by pilots up to the 70's.  
All aircraft used during World War II evolved rapidly during the war, typically using more powerful engines and other improvements in later versions. Early versions of the Hurricane, for example (The most effective fighter of the Battle of Britain--great gun platform) were built essentially with World War I technology--wood and canvas, inefficient wooden two-bladed fixed prop, etc. The latest versions in 1944-1945 could and did dive on and take out V-1 ramjet-powered missiles, and the latest versions of the Spit did well in diving on and taking out the German Me-262 jets.

A little known secret of the Battle of Britain is that the Hurricanes (which shot down more German planes than all other sources put together, including Spits and AA fire) were fueled with leaded high-octane gasoline (as were some Spits), to wit, Dupont's tetraethyl-lead-added gasoline from the U.S. This higher octane gave the decisive advantage when the pilot pushes the throttle to the firewall and goes for the kill. The Germans knew about the British radar, but they never twigged to the fact that the Brits had higher octane fuel.

"Better things for better living, through chemistry."

If you want to talk to some of the rapidly diminishing ranks of RAF pilots who survived WWII, I recommend the air show at Duxford--and also the nearby aircraft museum.

My (previous) next door neighbour was a WWII glider pilot, but he moved back to England last year, so I couldn't check with him first.  He actually flew in on the Longest Day, landing somewhere (he never did figure out exactly where) near St Mere.  Actually he said they cut the rope and the glider fell like a stone until he managed to brush some trees and mush in on a muddy field with 4 guys and a jeep in the back.  He's 89 and ticking better than his new Swiss watch.
Too right!

Plywood is a marvelously good material for airplanes.

Yes! Let's fund Social Security with a disappearing tax base.
Some comments regarding your calcs (not that I disagree with the replacement)

Half the vehicles in the US are classified as trucks and don't get near the milage you noted for cars.

Small, fuel efficient cars simply aren't usable for many applications and cannot replace existing large trucks.  I can't see the construction worker or mom with four kids tooling around in a geo metro.

You aren't accounting for the large amount of fuel used in buses, cargo trucks, etc.  Personal auto replacement isn't going to help that usage.

While I strongly support gas taxes, CAFE increases and incentives to purchase fuel efficient vehicles, fleet replacement will not come close to mitigating peak oil impacts and allow us to continue our current lifestyle.

I suspect that the last use of oil in transport will be for heavy trucks.  We need to get food to the store, even if we walk there.

The rest though is really a guess, with feedback loops between consumer behavior and costs.  Will the mom with 2 kids tool around in a Prius or a Tahoe?  It depends ... on a lot of things.  Will the mini-truck return as a plumber's vehicle?  It depnds ...

Good Point about trucks and busses.  However, it brings up another relevant policy question, that of enforcing Emissions and Maintenance standards for commercial vehicles, which ties into the efficiency of the Commercial Fleet. (+Hummers and other 'Vanity Trucks')  The recurring failures of these policies to advance often get chalked up to 'Unavailable Political Will', which will likely become a moving mark as energy demands add onto the pollution issues that have so far been unsuccessful in raising the bar (much.  My exposure to this is NYC. Don't know if other parts are doing any better)

As far as 'Efficiency Raising Demand',  I have to wonder if that rule will apply in an environment of quickly growing scarcity, or if it was a conclusion arrived at in a time of plenty, when even if one supply was diminished, many others remained to supplant it, and most systems within the economy weren't being undercut by the loss of this resource.  I realise the author was still advocating for reducing overall demand by driving less-to-none, and I concur wholeheartedly, but like the "Windmills are Eyesores" arguments, I am regularly dismayed by the abundance of 'advice' that we can  use to dissuade ourselves from making clearly helpful choices.    

Another angle on the inefficiency of Buses..  I'm in a small city, now, where our bus fleet is still using full-sized vehicles, many of them often almost empty.  I'm sure the Public Transit Sector could benefit by using (and devising) a few types of smaller buses that would be far better utilized, and allow for less road wear, and a more dynamic routing structure.  Means paying more drivers, but that can be seen as a direct investment in the local economy.  Subsidies?  Well, should be no less than Airports and Ballparks get, I would argue.

How will we change the way we do construction, repair, and other work?

Will we use the same materials we always have?

Will be get things from the same sources?

Will we rely more on local materials and so do away with trucking some stuff around?

Will we change our attitudes about the need for big trucks for all service work?

I ride a cargo trike every day, and can haul 6 or 7 hundred pounds if needed.  With a trailer I can haul more.  I've hauled lumber and cement and plenty of tools and hardware.  I talk with contractors driving big pickups, SUVs, and vans for every single job and every single errand.  We always laugh about how much I save in fuel and insurance and maintenance costs.

I've tried to set up my handyperson business to be "peak-oil-ready" to some degree.  The time will come when we'll be much more careful about using fuel. I am slower and more limited in range and carrying capacity than I would be with a truck, but in my city I have plenty of work.

I specialise in small jobs but if need be I can always borrow a vehicle or pay for delivery of large quantities of materials if that makes more sense than trying to get them by cargo trike.

We will see a great variety of creative vehicles and businesses springing up to serve neighborhoods and local areas while using less fossil fuel.

Possibilities abound.

I have decades of experience in public transit and the only response to higher fuel costs was to raise fares. Higher fares cut ridership and therefore increased the amount of fuel per passenger-mile. The boss toyed with the idea of following the hybrid example of Seattle back in the 90s and ten years later I'm still waiting for the first hybrid bus in Grand Rapids.  In the 90s the feds were calling for more fuel efficient buses but that stopped when Dubya showed up.
The improvements would probably be somewhat greater, because newer vehicles tend to be used more than older vehicles so their fuel consumption (and savings) are front-loaded.

This is no reason for complacency, of course.

You need to factor in the way each new car embodies over four gigajoules of energy in its manufacture. The figures of 120,000L or 34,000 gal of virtual fuel are sometimes quoted. This can be expressed as energy depreciation so the car 'uses' energy just sitting in the garage.  Thus an older vehicle that is sparingly driven over a decade can easily use less energy than say two replacement higher mileage cars.

The other problem with continuous fleet replacement is that one day there won't be enough fossil energy to cheaply make metals, glass and plastics that go into cars.

The figures of 120,000L or 34,000 gal of virtual fuel are sometimes quoted.
ILEA says ~120 GJ, or about 900 gallons equivalent.

When your source is off by 1.5 orders of magnitude, it's time to discredit everything they've said.

The other problem with continuous fleet replacement is that one day there won't be enough fossil energy to cheaply make metals, glass and plastics that go into cars.
We're already running steel mills on electric furnaces.  Many metals are smelted by hydrogen reduction.  Plastics can be made from biomass.

We'll change the way we build and run them, but the automobile isn't going to go away.

Your source quotes ~120 MJ, not GJ. I think that's what you meant (the 900 gallons part is still correct).
It says 119,755 MJ, which is 120 GJ to three significant figures.  The other interpretation is not consistent with even the most cursory cross-checking.
"Admittedly it's a very rough estimate, but it makes me think that maybe the first couple of decades after the peak (at least as far a driving goes) will be pretty similar to today, except that we will be driving smaller cars."

The entire thought process of this post and most of what follows belies the basic U.S.-centric flaw in most people's view of PO.  The most important impacts of PO will come from the developing world, particularly those countries that now export oil.  Here's what you are missing:

  1. China and other developing countries cannot afford to use less oil.  Unlike the U.S., which can reduce oil consumption because we waste so much, those countries depend on oil for growth of their economies and the social pressures they face require growth - otherwise they will get a political revolution.   Therefore, oil consumption will need to continue to grow post-peak in developing countries, putting continued price pressure on world oil no matter what virtuous consumption reductions are achieved in western economies.

  2. Once PO is recognized globally, the mindsets in the exporting countries may well change from "how do we sell more?" to "how can we get away with selling as little as possible?"   Why?  Well, first, they won't need the money because the price of oil will be so high that they can sell a small fraction of their current sales and achieve the same revenues.   Second, they will quickly see that it may be more in their interest to have their oil in the ground than to have more money in their bank accounts.  The result:  even more pressure on oil prices.

  3. Two implications are inflation and limited or no growth for western economies.   The implications for both of these will be severe financial dislocations.  That is to say, violently falling stock prices for all companies except oil producers and maybe gold.   Thus, western economies will go into a tailspin.   This will obviously also impact the manufacturing countries (otherwise known as China, etc.)   So we'll see a global destruction of wealth, especially in real estate.  

This might end up actually reducing the price of oil by a small amount for some time.   However, as that happens, the controlled economies, particularly China, will use any opportunity to increase their oil imports to do so in order to spur a government financed and planned economic expansion.   Thus, it is doubtful the price of oil would fall very far.

Bottom line: no amount of US substitution of high-milage cars for current models is going to make a whit of difference in the basic catastrophe that awaits us post PO.  Or even earlier, as the reality of PO becomes understood.   Sorry.

Thanks for this.

All your posts seem to come from a very informed and unique angle.

While fundamentally unsound systems seem to "keep on keeping on" much longer than any rational person could believe possible, I have to go with your assessments wholeheartedly.  The reports coming out of increased control of the remaining reserves of oil and gas by NOCs vs. the big IOCs are a pretty good indication that these resources are becoming less and less fungible all the time.
China is on a massive subway building binge (10 in Shanghai by  2010, 17 eventually) that will transform Shanghai and the movement of people there.  Similar in Beijing, Canton and other major cities.

They are also significantly upgrading their rail lines.

China has a high energy content/GNP and a stated aim is to reduce this #.  2005 oil imports were roughly equal to 2004 oil imports with 9% GNP growth.

Almost 50% of their GNP goes to capital investment AFAIK, which gives them great latitude in HOW they grow and adapt to a post Peak Oil world.

So I disagree that "China cannot afford to use less oil".

"China is on a massive subway building binge (10 in Shanghai by  2010, 17 eventually) that will transform Shanghai and the movement of people there.  Similar in Beijing, Canton and other major cities."

Unfortunately, the issue with China is not urban mass transit.  Most of China's population is still rural and very definitely not benefiting from the astonishing boom in the cities.  China's increased use of  oil and gas in the main arises from the requirement to keep their over-capacity manufacturing sector going to act as a safety valve for the percentage of displaced rural population hungry for a piece of the pie employed and happy.
The amount of internal unrest in the PRC is one of the driving forces in a regime that prizes stability above most everything else.  

China's published economic statistics are famously unreliable.   I doubt they actually used less oil last year.  Their interest is in keeping the price of oil as low as possible, so there is little doubt that they would under-report their oil imports.

Also note that after a winter that has been 27% warmer than normal in the U.S., and heroic efforts by Saudi Arabia to produce to the max, the price of oil is nearly as high as after the Katrina catastrophe.  Says a lot about global demand.   I believe China is doing it's share.

Historic cold in much of Europe, which offsets North America.

Still, there is pressure on prices, and it is not all Iran/Iraq/Nigeria.

China had a spike in demand in 2004 to run diesel geberators to make up for lack of electricity.  More power from 3 Gorges + new plants meant much less "private diesel generation" in 2005 and likely even less in 2006.  They also claim small domestic production increases. so I find Chinese claims quite credible.

In addition, China has made efficiency increases and oil substitution an offical goal.  They have the capital investments (almost half of GNP) to make this happen.  Per yuan of GNP, China is an oil guzzler so there is room for improvement.

IMO, China CAN grow with stable oil consumption.  The question is if they will.

There are three basic ways to conserve oil for transportation.

  1. Higher mileage vehicles.

  2. Non-oil substitution for oil based fuel

  3. Reduced demand for transportation.

My previously referenced paper on "Electrification of Transportation as a Response to Peak Oil" had two major points that looked at #2 & #3.

  1. Elelctrify US freight railroads and encourage capital spending & operations that take modal share from 18 wheel trucks (and a possible semi-HSR pax & freight system in select markets).

  2. Much more Urban Rail for mass transit, with proven changes in development patterns > reduced demand fro transportation

2b) Elelctric trolley buses

All VERY well proven technology that uses far less energy to "do the job".  And the only oil required is a bit for lubrication.

As far as your point 2:
Once PO is recognized globally, the mindsets in the exporting countries may well change from "how do we sell more?" to "how can we get away with selling as little as possible?"   Why?  Well, first, they won't need the money because the price of oil will be so high that they can sell a small fraction of their current sales and achieve the same revenues.   Second, they will quickly see that it may be more in their interest to have their oil in the ground than to have more money in their bank accounts.  The result:  even more pressure on oil prices.
There is a considerable body of economic theory that prescribes how exhaustible resource owners should behave if they want to maximize the net value of their resources. It's a little bit paradoxical because actually, this should have been going on for the past 100 years. It's been obvious that the oil supply is finite, hence it will run out eventually, so it makes sense that suppliers would prefer to sell more at the end, when it is more valuable, then at the beginning. The real question is why the industry has gone on for generations acting as though there was an unlimited supply.

Anyway, as you say, once the end is recognized, producers should recognize that the price will rise and have an incentive to hold back at least some production. The profit-maximizing production profile was discovered by Hotelling back in 1931. It involves controlling production level so that the price rises at a smooth curve which increases at the same rate as prevailing interest rates, say about 5-6% per year.

So this is actually good news, in that it predicts that producers would prefer to see relatively modest increases in price, and will adjust their production if possible to match that profile. This means that your point 2 is not as serious as it sounds.

"The real question is why the industry has gone on for generations acting as though there was an unlimited supply."

--The answer is that no one producer or coordinated group of producers, not even OPEC, controls a majority of the resource; therefore, the rational strategies get tilted towards more production.

Bottom line: no amount of US substitution of high-milage cars for current models is going to make a whit of difference in the basic catastrophe that awaits us post PO.  Or even earlier, as the reality of PO becomes understood.   Sorry.

But this is not what the average person believes. They truely believe that if they substitute a high mileage car for the one they are driving now, they are CONSERVING oil.. They don't take into consideration the fuel needed to make the car of the fuel that millions of like vehicles will use over its lifetime.

I wonder where they get their concept of conservation from??

as the reality of PO becomes understood.

Slowly, I'm starting to realize this will never happen. The average citizen of our sinking Empire is never going to come to understand anything of this magnitude.

First picture this: Two plebes of ancient Rome meet on the street.

"Quo vadiz up, dude?"
"For sooth. I hear annual wood shipments are down yet another 5% from our outer fringe, "Go-Far" production sites."
"Damn, that means we're in decline my philosophizing Roman friend. But how about those Gladiators? Did you catch last night's Roman Idol show?"

Right click & View Image for larger

This did not happen. They were "plebes", not the educated elite.

The plebes had their heads into sports and the HolyLand-Wood rag sheets following the lives of the Rich, Religious and Famous celebrities.

They were not educated in science. They were not educated in economics. Stuff just happened. Ever so slowly, more and more bad stuff "unexpectedly" started to happened. You know. Sh*t "just" happens. Slowly they sunk into deeper poverty and never understood why.

What's different today?
Almost nothing.
Do you think the average plebe "reads", let alone reads TOD?
Why read when you can watch American Idol and other TV and just "vege" out after a hard day at the auto factory?

Why think if you were a "C" or lower grade student in school and the profs told you the smarter A+ nerd heads were going to take care of things. Don't forget, "C" is the bell curve "average" in most colleges. Most of your friends got a "C" in first quarter physics and then they dropped out of that not-for-me engineering or science program. Only 2% of our population works in science and engineering. If you are a scientist, economist, doctor, etc., you are one of the few, the proud, the UnPlebes.

If you read TOD, you are truly part of a rare population.

Yesterday was 6.5 Billion marker day for our human population. What part of that population, do you guess, reads TOD?

They knew the reason that shit happened was because one of the gods was "PO"ed.
Good one.
Do you think the average but religious sheeple among us believe their God (be he Allah, Holy Spirit or whatever she/it is --I like the two meat balls & spahgetti one myself) is MAD and this whole PO'd thing is just a test or a punishment for our Sodom & Gamorah lifestyles?
I hadn't considered that possibility myself, but I do know that what goes around, comes around, and that Mother Nature is not all that forgiving.
A funny thing happen on the way to the forum..

Although not many people are aware that PO is a problem or perhaps just want it to go away, I sense a few more than yesterday are realizing something up(but not quite sure what's up).  By this I mean, haven't we seen a flurry of articles in the MSM about alternative energy source or "renewable's over the past couple of weeks. Everybody seems to be junping on the bandwagon at the state and local level. Propaganda is filling the airwaves disguised as commercials for bio-fuels and ethonal. A GREENER tomorrow waits for those who believe..

Remember, they will provide and that's exactly what the people like to hear..

Remain calm, everything is under control - nothing to see here, move along and continue shopping.
You're right.  I can remember having this "cows in the pasture chewing their cud" conversation many years ago with one of my co-workers-- wasn't about Peak Oil then, just life in general.  You have no idea how much I envied the majority then and still do.  Living in and making a living off of the "real" world while having even a rudimentary premonition of what may be coming is not the most comfortable situation.  
Yes, some days I think it be nice to go back to sleep.  But then, if our fears are correct, then it won't be very nice to be one of the sheep soon.  Heck, it may not be very nice even if one is aware, but I gotta believe (hope?) that every little bit helps.  
I'm a believer in quantum realities.
It's sort of like quantum physics.
Both answers are true, Schrodinger's cat is dead and it's alive in parallel and equally valid worlds.

So I keep making quantum jumps back and forth
from the world of the Peak Oil Aware
to the world of the Shleeping Sheeple.
Both worlds are valid.

It's sort of like that book, Slaughter House Five

Life in the Reality-TV Bubble is so Bubblicious:

>I'm wondering how quickly we might be able to reduce our fuel use only by replacing our cars with more efficient ones and not changing the number of miles we drive.

Unfortunately this would not help very much. Our reduced consumption will only result is someone else consuming more. For instance, if we reduce our consumption by driving less and with more efficient cars, the price of oil will fall. This will likely result in other nations consuming or stock piling oil as they can afford to purchase more.

While the consumption of oil for transportion is important for our economy, oil and gas are used for lots of other processes. For instance Oil and Natural gas are used to heat homes and offices, power gas & oil fired power plants, and used by petrol chemical plants.  How do we convert 87 million homes from natural gas and another 10 million home from oil to another fuel source (coal/wood)and make all thos buildings all more efficient. Now include an addition million office and industrial building too. Now do so it has less or about the same environmental impact has Oil and Natural gas does.

>Admittedly it's a very rough estimate, but it makes me think that maybe the first couple of decades after the peak (at least as far a driving goes) will be pretty similar to today, except that we will be driving smaller cars.

After a couple of decades past peak oil its highly improbable that anyone will be driving cars. Consider this: Back in 1973 the US was just a year or two past US peak production, the US had already faced severe shortages with the oil embargo. Imagine if the oil embargo didn't end and the only source of oil was from domestic production. How many people would still be driving in 1993 (assuming oil the OPEC oil embargo was never lifted and domestic product continued to fall)?

Global peak production will be far worse than the 1970's because its highly probable that nations that can export oil will cut or stop exporting to keep oil in reserve for their own domestic needs. For instance Russia already has plans to stop exporting oil by 2010-2009 as it expects its domestic demand to outstrip production. We will also have increased global demand for oil imports as more and more nations domestic consumption out paces thier domestic production and they stop exporting oil. Currently the US imports about 68% of its oil (probably higher because of the production losses in the Gulf of mexico because of the hurricanes).

The bottom line is that the US (nor Europe) isn't going conserve its way out of this problem. Don't expect Coal, tar sands, Methane Hydrates, Wind, Solar, Nuclear, or Biomass to save the day either. These alternative sources combined can not match the volume or the EROIE of oil and natural gas.

Well I disagree, but only on the definition of conserve.

Using only personal conservation, higher milage cars for example, isn't going to work.  But true conservation where we rethink how to do some of the same tasks with less energy has merit IMHO.

I see a need for societal change in how we use (and often waste) energy.  The personal transportation vehicle and over the road truck is what is consuming a lot of our transportation fuels.  I now live in that great area "between the mountains" of the U.S.  I see this from the perspective of someone who grew up between the mountains and the ocean.

There is much talk of public transportation, and living near work, etc, etc, from people living on the coasts in big cities or megalopolises.  I live where the population is low overall. People drive cars here because there is no choice.  Tractor trailers roll down interstates because there is no choice.  The infrastructure linking people defines how we must travel and how our food moves around.  And it is just about the most inefficient system (from an energy standpoint) as you could imagine

It did't used to be this way.  The great American interior was pretty self sufficient except for certain durable goods shipped in.  Much was grown and made and locally traded because the distance over land prevented much else.  It was much more efficient to make things locally than have them shipped in.  Ditto for food proction and preserving food for winter.  Do it yourself was cheaper and better.

We need to change and get back to the concept that doing things for ourselves is the better alternative.  This means a change in our infrastructure away from just in time deliveries.  We need more storage and planning for tough times.  People don't think this way currently.  It is too expensive to store.  To expensive to work hard in times of plenty to avoid not having in lean times.  Most have been convinced, including T. Friedman in his book The Earth is Flat, that just in time everything is the only business practice that will succeed.

When energy is very scare you want to use it very carefully.  We can't do that now because of our infrastructure.  Business can't imagine how to compete unless they are moving things to the cheapest labor source, always.  This only works because energy is cheaper than labor.  When this reverses than driving and shipping all over the place will have to slow way down.  This will foster local production and consumption.  In aggregate this will drive conservation of energy much more than the milage of the fleet.  We just won't ship things as much or need to drive as much.  Many of the things that others do for us now, we will have to do for ourselves in the future.

Changing that infrastructure of shipping and travel on a daily basis is where we will gain energy efficiency.  There will be enormous winners and losers in that change.  Think of who would lose.  Fedex, UPS, trucking companies, importers, offshoring companies, companies that act as middlemen, etc.  

Who would be winners.  Local manufacturing shops, farmers, tradesmen of all kinds, railroads, electrical producers, warehousers of all kinds.  On site doers would be more valuable than arrangers of complex transactions.

Who controls much of our economy today?  Who has the greatest too lose in these changes?  Why is change taking so long in the face of high energy prices?  What will have to happen before there are serious changes to the infrastructure that will be detrimental to the current stakeholders?  

Look out the window, we live in interesting times.

NC, I agree with what you've said here.  I'm in a rural area on the east coast, but driving is still a requirement here too.  

My concerns are that the solutions that worked years ago may not work with the higher populations of today.  Also, we'll have to get used to a lifestyle without so much stuff, and the trappings of affluence we've all gotten used to.  I don't mind this, and I don't mind working hard, but still I mostly continue doing the same-old same-old.  Driving 25mi each way to a useless job with no future, where I have no sense of accomplishing anything worthwhile.  Why?  Because I can't get off the ride.  I need the money to pay for the property we have (even though we've kept our equity high), and I don't want to disadvantage my kids by making rash decisions or overreacting.  I'm convinced we face an "imminent" crisis, probably an economic one.  But I don't know when.  I'm trying to make plans to transition to a simpler, more local lifestyle, but it's tough to do while I'm still working where I am.  And there's no way I'll make anywhere near the money I do now, even though that's not anything extravagant (nor what it used to be).  

With the seniority I have, I'd get almost a year's pay if they laid me off - I keep praying!

Unfortunately, I don't have the details to hand at the moment but I did some calculations of this because I wanted to figure out if the savings would be better if new cars weren't manufactured and people just serviced and drove their cars better. I don't have verifiable figures on the oil equivalent cost of manufacturing a car but have seen figures that vary from about 12 barrels up to 90 barrels. So I made various calculations using a range of manufacturing costs and a range of percentage improvements in fuel use. It was only at low manufacturing costs (near the 12 barrels per car) and large efficiency improvements (near 50%) that it is worth switching everyone to a more efficient car.

So I'd tend to favour making car companies illegal, though I doubt TPTB would even consider that.


It would be great to have better data on this, if anyone has it, to apply to individual purchasing decisions.  Clearly, it's more important to replace the gas guzzlers than more fuel efficient cars, but it would be nice to be able to tell someone (including myself) that x percent mileage improvement is needed before replacing a given type of car makes energy sense.  
Electric cars are a little outside of my expertise, but others may be interested in the details of a Japanese model making more use of capacitors:

Tokyo University professor Yoichi Hori drives the world's first ultra-capacitor powered electric vehicle called "COMS CV", with a fast rechargable electric double-layer capacitor unit on its battery unit, at the universary campus in Tokyo... The prototype one man vehicle can run 20 minutes from a one-minute electrical charge, running at a maximum speed of 50 kph.

Picture and more info

As  my wife and I struggle with how to position ourselves financially, especially with 3 grown, launched children getting going; how much should be readily available in cash/checking. I worry about a fast finanicial crash so I think fairly small , several 1000. My wife wants more available to help kids due to increasing costs. We have no debt, have a couple acres,good transp.,etc. and are making final preps; manual water pump,screen house in shade,etc. I'd appreciate recommendations/thoughts/ideas re various decline/crash scenarios.  
There don't seem to be any peak oil financial planners, unfortunately.  I suspect that all you can do is diversify.  Don't put all your eggs in one basket.  Cash may not be worth all that much if the dollar crashes.  That's why people are investing in gold, euros, real estate, tools, solar panels, etc.  

Keeping some actual cash on hand is probably a good idea, though.  There are rumors going around that Homeland Security has given instructions to banks on what to do if there's a run on banks.  I.e., how to tell people that they're not allowed to withdraw their money.  

So far as I know, it's just a rumor, but I could see it unfolding like that if there's a financial crisis.  Moreover, our own government is recommending that we keep some cash case of bird flu.  If there's an epidemic, people may be confined to their houses, or just too sick to go to work.  The power grid may go down.  They are recommending that you stock enough food, water, medicine, cash, etc., for two weeks.  

I used to do financial consulting combined with "survivalist" consulting but reluctantly came to the conclusion that the rich people from whom I was taking obscenely huge sums of money were mostly too dumb to benefit from good advice, and the ones who benefited the most from my consultations really did not need my research and reoports because they could do their own research and come to good conclusions.

Briefly, nobody knows whether we face

  1. deflation
  2. future pretty much like past fifty years
  3. accelerating inflation leading to hyperinflation as part of The Collapse.

My personal approach is to focus on moral and social capital investment--and spend less money, because the best things cannot be purchased for money. Most people, I think, ask the wrong questions. Here are a some that I think are extremely important:
  1. How can we stay close to our children, our parents (if living) and other relatives?
  2. How can we create community among our neighbors?
  3. Besides learning to fix bicycles, what other skills should I focus on learning?
  4. What charities should we contribute to? (Herewith my favorite: The Nature Conservancy)
  5. How can we minimize the amount of emotion and worry and time we put into handling our finances?
  6. Which classes should I be registering for?
  7. How can I arrange my life so that real-estate or stock-market crashes are irrelevant to my well-being?
  8. Does any investment except that in a mutual fund that invests in Treasury Inflation-Protected securities make sense at this time?
  9. How can I stay mentally, emotionally and physically healthy in the midst of an unhealthy society and culture?
  10. What fun activities have no negative impact on the environment?

Enough for now.
P.S. Do not waste effort on trying to predict the future. Rather, aim for resilience.
11. What value is a college degree (or for that matter, Phd) post peak?
Diplomas can be used for wallpaper (to seal cracks). Also, the back of a diploma can be used for drawing in ink (one of my hobbies) or doing calculations.

One thing I tell people to put in their survival kits are paper products, especially note pads and lots of pencils for doing computations and sending messages. What is now very cheap and very available may be expensive and hard to obtain after TEOTWAWKI.

Will things get that bad? How the heck do I know. But I do know how Jamiacans have survived hurricanes for as long as we have history, i.e. about 400 years.

For ideas I strongly believe we need to look to other cultures, other times.

They haven't had a category six hurricaine in Jamaica yet.
And your evidence to support this statement is . . . .

We know hardly anything about hurricanes because it has only been in recent decades that we've had anything like decent data.

For example, we know that California used to be a hurricane coast, but that it is not now. The reasons for this shift in hurricane patterns is not known.

Even anecdotal evidence is sketchy, extremely sketchy, because those who were hit hardest did not survive in many cases. The survivors were generally occupied with other things besides taking notes in the rain--and most of them (up until very recently) were nonliterate.

Thus, of the things we really do not know much about, hurricanes are high on the list.

shush.  (the maximum classification is cat 5)
An your knowledge to prove that wind velocities in hurricanes cannot exceed, say 300 knots is based on . . . .?

The facts of the matter are that we just do not know much about hurricanes, and when one reflects that tornadoes often spin off from hurricanes, I have to question the whole system of classification.

The Richter scale for earthquakes, if memory serves, had to be modified as more data came in. We know far more about earthquakes than we know about hurricanes. (Yes, I know that we know relatively little about earthquakes.)

My big point is that our ignorance is vast and hurricanes are unknowably scary.

Don, no argument.  Its just the classification system makes what he said totally correct.  Drop it please. Please?
We have logbooks kept by British navy captains going back several hundred years. The verbal descriptions of sea state are stable over that time for Beafort scale. For five hundred years we would have to use Spanish logbooks.
Think about it. Somebody spent several years in the Admiralty archives going through quite literally thousands of logbooks looking for and entering weather data going back hundreds of years, just to find out what the weather was like to get a long term database for climate change.
We could maybe have had category six hurricaines before around three hundred years ago. Not after that. And if somebody does for the Spanish what that guy did for the English, we'll know about for another hundred years back.
How do you estimate the difference between 125 knots and 150 knots of wind? After 100 knots there is no visibility and no noticeable distinction between sea/spray/rain.

Based on records of wrecks, one can make a strong case that hurricane winds hit Britain and nearby waters in November, 1703, but based on our current understanding of hurricanes, this phenomenon cannot be explained as a tropical hurricane.

The most interesting data would be from ships that sank, but my ouijia (sp?) board has crashed.

Look, the maximum absolute velocity is the speed of sound in air.  740 mph for std air at sea level.  Can we leave it.  The way to design buildings, dams, flood control systems, all structures is by using past records and projecting the maximum forces from each type of event, which increase to a limit by some square or power or logrithmic function, depending on the mechanism.  The records are then evaluated to predict a probability function for attaining some portion of that maximum and a corresponding level of confidence is determined to be a "safe" maximum load within all reasonable expectation for any given area of interest.  After that, material allowable stresses are determined and reduced by a safety factor = 1/3 for well known static loads and/or reduced to 1/2 for dynamic loads, and if the engineer wants to reduce it more because there is some question of how accurately the mechanism is understood, he reduces it more.  If the environment is changing and we need to design for higher waves, flood levels, storm tides, nobody's going to do it while they don't have a reason to do it, so we'll have to wait until the organizations who write the design codes change.  Before then, usually its only a matter of what the insurance companies charge for the policy covering the proposed structure versus what the owners decide they can afford to build, that sets what level of design is required.  We can always build bigger, better, or stronger than the codes require, if the owner wants to pay for it.  Let's face it, just about every breathing moment is a bit of a gamble and this is no different.  We minimize probabilities of danger.  We don't build perfect ships, airplanes, computers, trains, cars or skyscrapers, but we do it within reason.  Life ain't no guarantee.  Stay at home or try to enjoy it.
Seeing the number of college graduates working as sales clerks and waiters, one might ask: what good is a college degree NOW?
barely worth more then the paper it is printed on?
That depends.  Which do you want more: the knowledge you'd get from the experience, or the piece of paper.

I have friends with no degrees and advanced degrees alike.  The range up and down the income scale.  On average, the people with degrees make more than the people without, and there are exceptions on both sides.

I think it all comes down to decline rate.  If it's the long, slow squeeze (which I think it will be) then we've got 20-30 years of relative normalcy.  That's most of a working lifetime.  If I'm wrong and it's 10% a year, then a degree in horticulture is likely to have the best ROI.  But again, if you're doing it for education, to amass a representative sample of the accumulated knowledge of mankind in your head and on your bookshelf, that will be valuable for the rest of your life, regardless of the energy density of our society 50 years from now.

>Seeing the number of college graduates working as sales clerks and waiters, one might ask: what good is a college degree NOW?

Not all college degrees are equal. A degree in History or liberal arts is pretty much useless (pre or post PO) Perhaps if they choose more wisely they would been able to put all those college dollars to work for them.

Perhaps if they choose more wisely they would been able to put all those college dollars to work for them.

Heard a radio talk show on this topic recently.
I think they are victims --undeserving of "blame".
Somebody told them --usually their parents-- Go to college and success will be yours.
They did their part.
Now society is not fulfilling its end of the bargain.

In Silicon Valley we got lots of engineers working as security guards. College graduates of all kinds, technicians, construction workers, maintenance people, etc. It's not just college students and retired people.
I don't think the jobs are ever coming back. They (whatever is left of these jobs) have been out-sourced to offshore teams.

This is what I mean about that slow slide down into poverty. Each person blames himself individually. I did something wrong on the job. I didn't hustle enough. I didn't lick the boss's hiny enough. I didn't expand my skill set to meet the evolving market. etc. etc. I'll try harder now.

But all of it is bullshit. It's not you. It's "the economy stupid".


Nah, the dollar will renormalize and the jobs will come back, with interest. I mean, the dollar may have to drop eighty percent, or ninety percent, but someday they'll stop taking the little green pieces of paper and then we'll have to make things for ourselves again.
It would be so easy to achieve the required political 'critical mass' for a Peaceful Powerdown if we can somehow get the elites to lead the way.  Your discussion of how worthless most future degrees will be is what prompted me to share with fellow TODers what I have tried to do.

When I first discovered approx. three years ago, I immediately emailed milgov officials, including the CIA, requesting them to please study and promote this website.  I asked for the President to have a nationally televised address where he would just walk out and tell us to study and other websites, and read books by Heinberg, Simmons, Savinar, etc.  Then he would just walk off-camera.

I emailed the National Parent-Teacher Association [PTA] asking them to teach to our kids.  The future always belongs to the young: rip out the football and baseball fields, and let the kids have gardens and chicken coops.  Teach horticulture, animal husbandry, bike repair, etc.

I emailed Oprah and other talk show hosts asking them to feature interviews and books by Peakoil authors and global warming scientists to awaken the masses.

I emailed GOOGLE and other search engine outfits asking them to put a "I feel unlucky button" on their search homepage that would always take the user to

I emailed local Phx officials asking them to study, and please start a moratorium on growth.  Our current drought is now 129 days without any rain.

Sadly, I have received no email replies from any of them.

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

God, there are so many Causes around, with so many lone proponents emailing and writing the PTB, it's no wonder legitimate concerns get "lost in the mail".
But, sometimes things do happen that equate with avalanches starting from a very small disturbance in the seemingly calcified equilibrium.  Didn't the entire (nationally acclaimed, in some circles) Willits relocalization movement start with one person viewing "The End of Suburbia"?
On a more personal note, I dragged my mother to the Boulder Valley relocalization conference in January.  Albert Bartlett gave his classic (my younger sister saw it in her high school chemistry class in the late seventies) talk on the ramifications of exponential math as applied to the real world.  She is now a convert to the whole issue of Peak Energy.  No, she is not a politician or educator, but she IS the family matriarch and has a wide circle of friends who respect her very much.  I don't know where this ripple in the pond will end up, but who can tell?
On a technical note, I would personally be very hesitant to tout a website with the title "" to the uninitiated.  I would go with the lower Defcon rated sites and let them migrate from there if they were so inclined.
Hello Karen nmnloyd,

Thanks for responding.  Recall the very first line of

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

This sentiment is what the whole world needs to adopt if we hope to make any progress on Powerdown.  Denial, believing in Energy Fairies, or even half measures to conserve will be woefully inadequate for preventing violent Dieoff.

Recall Duncan's Olduvai Theory [] where e= energy/pop peaked back in '79.  If we hope to have adequate energy for the required paradigm shift, then we need gobs of energy diverted immediately to tear down what Kunstler calls the greatest misallocation of resources in planetary history. Then we require gobs of more energy to build the postPeak housing, transport, and permiculture.  In short, we need to cut out all the unnecessary crap NOW to get e higher than what it was in '79 for a chance at Powerdown.

If we desire walkable cities AND food AND peace AND clean water AND plentiful biodiversity ALL AT THE SAME TIME-- we need much more energy than the forcing of normal supply/demand pricing will allow.  Everyday, heavy equipment powered by fossil fuels put down square miles of unnatural asphalt and concrete that we will later have to remove by hand to get at the topsoil underneath.  Everyday the world burns a cubic mile of oil to thrust us exactly in the wrong direction, and worst of all: 200,000 more innocent babies are joining us on this Rocketride to Hell.

Consider the energy required for the 50 to 100 tons of ore processed to yield just one ounce of gold.  We should be using that energy to move 50 to 100 tons of biodegradeable materials to enrich our depleting topsoil. We eat food, not gold. The $200 bucks of embedded energy in an IPOD NANO is much better spent on heirloom seeds, shovels and hoes, bicycle tires, etc.  I am sure you can think of countless more examples of continuing energy misallocation.

That is why Jay Hanson says Dieoff is inevitable and the best we can hope for is a quick and painless death.  Effective mitigation of the Thermo-Gene Collision requires the political 'critical mass' to willingly organize for both the Thermo-half AND the Gene-half.

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

Remember that definition of Insanity..
'Repeatedly doing the same action that got you in trouble, but expecting different results'
(I think this is a gross distortion of an Einstein quote)

Not trying to call you names, or anything. But you were saying we need just massive amounts of power to correct what we foolishly set up (with massive amounts of power)..  Isn't it possible that we need to look at solutions that reverse that mental obsession with having access to vast quantities of power, which leave us with a ring in the nose?  Just taking the Devil's advocate position, because I'm always saying we have to use what oil we can to get the next energy systems up and running.. at least a bit better than they are, now.  I'm kinda hoping that we'll see Blimps and Zeppelins in the airways again!

I was impressed by the work that they're trying to do up North of you, at Arcosanti, creating a way of building fairly densely inhabited 'cities' that can function in once- barely-habitable scrub lands.  I have to wonder if much progress has been made with those designs that can help places like Phoenix (where my Pop-in-law lives, too), when the A/C's get to be too pricey to run.  I keep telling him to get enough Solar Panels to shade his whole trailer with.. two birds with one (silicon) stone!

Bob in Portland Maine

It might be easier to use parabolic trough collectors to drive thermal power systems and/or an absorption chiller for A/C.  You certainly have an easier time making mirrors yourself than PV.
"If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst." -- Thomas Hardy

This sentiment is what the whole world needs to adopt if we hope to make any progress on Powerdown.  Denial, believing in Energy Fairies, or even half measures to conserve will be woefully inadequate for preventing violent Dieoff.

Even assuming you are correct on all these points, the first step with each person is breaking through their denial.  With many if not most people, hitting them with dieoff upfront is likely to raise their deflector shields.  I think the approach needs to be designed to get the person's attention on the issue and either they will take it from there, as Karen suggests, or we can work on educating them further on how serious and urgent it is.

Recently I talked to my 20yo son about peak oil and its potential consequences, after having paved the way with some emailed articles.  (I didn't want to discuss it till I saw him rather than over the phone.)  I wanted him to be aware of what was likely coming so he could take measures to protect himself.  Even without my explicitly introducing dieoff but rather talking about the potential crash of industrial civilization, his reaction was that he didn't want to hear it because he didn't want to face his life being over before it started.  This from an intelligent, critically-thinking young man who shares my political, environmental and community-based values (he lived here in a cohousing community with me before he left for college).  So I had to totally back off.  After a decent interval I started talking in terms of the upcoming energy crisis and how the needed adaptations could bring us to a more positive way of living.  This he was more willing to hear.      

Similiar with our young adult children; talk , back off,later followup: different issues, parts have touched/ connected in their individual lives and this is where continue to communicate.One is now ready to go to a peak oil meeting.
Hello Jokuhl and Liz,

Thxs for responding, but I believe the whole World needs to rapidly go to a Defcon 1 Powerdown awareness level if we want to avert disaster versus the present course of Defcon 1 Powerup addiction.  Consider this recent article by David Orr:

key point:
In other words, we have better ideas than we're implementing," Orr said. "One of the problems we have is we hear this stuff, and it doesn't really affect us on a bottom level."

He elaborated, saying that if he was to pull out a gun or perform some other physically violent action, it would ignite a proactive response in the crowd. "Something would kick in with you," Orr said. "It doesn't really kick in with verbal things."
He is basically saying our brains are not wired to react until a crisis erupts, but this is a sub-optimal strategy for Peak Everything.

By definition, detritovores will not give up their addiction to detritus easily-- and Matt Savinar's book & LATOC website are the best 'verbal cattle prods' I have found to shock us addicts into action. Everyone must realize the only way out is to go 'cold turkey', anything less will be woefully insufficient.

One of my ideas to shock people into energy sensibility is deliberate temporary city-wide blackouts combined with vehicle use moratoriums.  The President, Governors, and Mayors could preannounce the time and plans. Let's take Phx for example.

The target time would be when the weather would not impose a health hazard by being too hot or too cold.  Everyone would get copies of books like Matt's "The Oil Age is Over" or Heinberg's "Powerdown" to read during the daylight hours.  The "Humanure Handbook" and other positive ecological paradigm shift reading would be given to everyone too.  Basic goal is for everyone to relax, read, and discuss the books.

Emergency services would still continue to protect health and home, and anybody hungry would get MREs.  The cops and National Guard would be stationed everywhere to help people, give out ice bags and drinking water, and prevent violence by thugs.  Driving a motor vehicle would be forbidden unless it was an emergency, but bicycling, walking, and visiting with friends and neighbors would be lavishly encouraged.

No energy at home for five days would give everyone a good idea how delightful a Powerdown could be: BBQs galore, lots of parties, millions of people pedaling delightedly to and fro, no stress, and no shopping!  Our tax dollars during this trial blackout period would refund any loss of normal income from employment paychecks so nobody would be financially deprived.  Plastic solar-heated water bags, just like what campers now buy and use, would be given to everyone for showers or PTAs.

Turn everything back on, then move the Guard to the next city and repeat.  In a very short time, with adequate Media coverage: the entire country would be fully aware of what Peakoil means and what we must proactively do to change.

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


Tell him that if he doesn't figure this stuff out, he's going to end up broke and destitute.

He might end up that way anyways, but sticking his head in the sand is guaranting he'll end up that way.

Guys who are broke and destitute tend not to get laid. As he is 20 years old, that should get his attention.



Good points!
>When I first discovered approx. three years ago, I immediately emailed milgov officials, including the CIA, requesting them to please study and promote this website.  I asked for the President to have a nationally televised address where he would just walk out and tell us to study and other websites, and read books by Heinberg, Simmons, Savinar, etc.  Then he would just walk off-camera.

That would only serve to induce panic. Widespread public understanding of Peak Oil and die off can only bring disaster sooner. Oil Exporters would almost certainly cut or stop exporting oil if a US president public discuss Peak Oil is coming soon.

I disagree.  It is far better to have an orderly evacuation to the lifeboats than to wait for the desperate scramble when we are all treading water and no lifeboats can be found.

Worldwide awareness of Peakoil and Dieoff can only help the Powerdown Process.  Even some Iranians are widely aware of this [good for them!]:

excerpt from #6375 Dieoff_Q&A forum:
Dear Mr. Shaw, thank you all The-Die-Offers for taking time and thinking about this very sensitive issue in todays world. I have been a part of this group maybe since it began, and have very much respect for all of you who are also participate and specially for 'J' . I don't know how to start since there are alot I would like to share with you all but for now there is only one thing I must say and that is please do not under estimate Iranians since many Iranians know the English language!....

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

Nice Points.  Keeping Priorities together.

 My Favorite..
2. How can we create community among our neighbors?

I've been gathering ideas about how to initiate some Neighborhood and City institutions that will give our often Fractured way of living in our Locales a few ways of connecting at some (any!) level with the people only a few doors away, but whom we never see/talk to/ or get to know well.  I want to know that we will be able to pool our skills and intelligence when the chips are down, instead of either floundering alone, or falling prey to very old patterns of classism and racism.  I was in NY during 9/11, and generally feel that we do remember to work collectively in an emergent crisis, but I want to have some more of the basic tools in place when we can think clearly and less fearfully than in the midst of it.

  We have a 'TimeDollar' program in Portland, which is bartering help, hour by hour, and that gets us to call on each other and know more of our neighbors on a really familiar basis.  I'm also interested in Tutoring Kids and Adults, as we have a growing immigrant population that needs help with English, Work-related training, and of course, good Local Social Connections, so that they will have a successful "Home" here.  I'm also a big proponent of anything we can do to have meals together.  I think that you can have enough time to start some real conversations together, if you're sitting down at a table to eat.  Some other neighborhood events don't leave a lot of 'chew time' for people to get up the gumption to get past the initial pleasantries..


I like the "eco-hood" idea:

Then there's the Los Angeles Ecovillage.  I saw a wonderful video about this somewhere (maybe it was the Bioneers conference last fall).  Here's another article.
Oops, first link must have been too long.  See if this works.

A few anecdotes relating to transport and community, both subjects of great interest to me.

My mother (born 106 years ago) never owned or wanted a car.  When she wanted groceries, she called the local delivery man and got what she wanted quickly, as did all her friends. One small truck did all the driving for many women.

When these women did their canning or other such work, they did it as a group, helping each other and socializing, singing and playing word games the while.  And minding each other's kids.

When I wanted to get somewhere out of  bicycle range, I hitchhiked, Always got a ride, and never got robbed or murdered.  Then it was just the custom to pick up people needing a ride. I and all my friends did this all thru college.  None of us had cars.

When I visited Asia, I was surprised to see what I thought of as farm tractors being used to haul trains of carts full of people along roads.  One tractor, many people and goods.  I rented a car there and found it too was instantly full of people, all very helpful in many languages and skills.

Much later, when I made a business trip to LA, I took the bus daily between downtown and Pasadena where I was staying, and found myself always the only Anglo on the bus.  The poor Latinos treated me as a guest, offered reefers and tales of hard lives, and brought back to my mind a lot of long-forgotten high school Spanish.  Lots of fun which would not have happened if I had rented a car like all red blooded american business people do.

Car-induced isolation is a serious social disease in this time and place (USA).

Very good points. When somebody else is paying, I always stay at five-star hotels and eat at five-star restaurants, but for my own travels I take a folding bicycle and stay at youth hostels, because I meet much more interesting people and learn much more that way.

Rich old people want to talk about their portfolios and their health problems; rich young people about which places are "hot" and where to score the best cocaine. Soooo boring.

Buses are good, and so are jitneys.

I used to pick up hitchhickers but quit after one of my closest friends was murdered as a result of doing that.

I would summarize it:

How would you like to live after a major disaster?
How would you like to live right now?
Why is there a difference?

What stuff or changes of habit are needed for a closer match between a nice life right now and a nice life after a major disaster?

Go get a nice life right now, preferably one that works out ok after a major disaster. (I should implement more of that. :-) )

Most days and years are disaster free so having a nice life right now is a good idea.

Well stated, as you always do, Magnus.
Now, because you are an engineer, I know what you lack to improve your life to the maximum--namely and to wit, several hours each day of great aerobic sex with a beautiful young woman. Being a very logical person, I solved this problem decades ago. Sailorman's First Theorem:

Axiom: Women are human beings.

Axiom: Human beings have huge sex drives because of evolution.

Axiom: Women are just as easy to understand as men, because they want exactly the same things--self-respect, identity, freedom from boredom (i.e. stimulation), physical security, sufficient food, health, friends, meaningful activity, and hours of great sex every day 365 days per year.

Postulate: For reasons well understood within the discipline of evolutionary psychology, woman benefit from being coy.
Corollary to above: The Great Problem (single) men face is to persuade women to do what they really want to do--and without delay, fuss, or drama.
Second corollary: Women find engineers uninteresting because they stereotype them as boring, unable or unwilling to dance, poor conversationalists with no sense of humor, nerdy looking, cold, excessively rational, lacking in confidence and social skills, and possibly Swedish;-)

Hypothesis: Humans have three fundamental urges--to achieve high status, to have great sex, and to sail small boats in strong winds.

Conclusions: Sailing is a wet sport. People with wet clothes want to get out of them and get warm. The most beautiful women are attracted to the best sailing instructors.

Note that we must find something better than materialism to replace it.

This was pretty good until you got to the Hypothesis - in which the selection of fundamental urges is, I imagine,  projected from your main data point, i.e. yourself (I find high status uninteresting and sailing in strong winds discomforting).  Of course if the Hypothesis lacks universality the Conclusions will also.  Evidently the Hypothesis generalizes to enough folks to make it work for you.

There is some truth to the stereotype of engineers, but at the Oil Drum I have learned that a good number (of this group, anyway) are far from boring or humorless.  Some do seem excessively rational/fixated on the material plane, from my point of view.  I can't tell about the dancing, coldness or social skills, though.  (Not too concerned about the nerdy looks.)  :)

Modified hypothesis:
People like to have fun.
Tennis is fun.
Biking is fun.
Singing is fun.
I assert that we should all dance more. When Socrates was reproached (at about age sixty) for having a paunch, did he reply that he'd cut down on olives and banquets? Heck no, his reply: "I'll dance more." Plato, at age 80 was invited to party for wedding of one of his students. He danced all night long, then lay down and peacefully died. Way to go.

Work to live; not the reverse.

You maybe should meet an Argentine engineer.

Nice analysis and a correct one a few years ago although I am more of a cuddle type. Now I only need to marry wich would be a little easier if either of us had better economy.

My main problem is boredom. I do too little and when I get some thing to happen with my efforts to get into the energy business or my politics hobby I get overly ethusiastic and tend to scare people. I think in about the same way as I write but translating to english slows me down. I need to slow down and be more tactical, most people do not want a partly cross referenced and logical response on everything they say that border to something I know about.

My tip athough I have not tried it myself is that playing hockey is nice if you like to meet other sweaty boys but the ice dancers and figure skaters realy long for partners to skate with and so on. Why do young people prioritze the things a close number of peers do instead of what would give them their hearts desire?

To get it back to energy some people over here use ice rinks as a nice byproduct of heat pumps for heating hot water and houses. One proposal to increase the electricity production from the garbage and biomass burning combined heat and power plants in my town is to heat a very large outdoor pool / small artifical lake to get a longer season. Power byproducts that are more useful in a social way then a cooling tower.

With your horrendous tax rates, what you need is a little sideline cash business that government does not care about. How about getting an adult tricycle and a foot-powered grindstone and go around as "Grinderman" to put a good edge on peoples' knives, axes, saws, garden tools and swords? Most people in U.S. are too ignorant or too lazy to sharpen blades properly. Also you can be "fixit man" for people who do not realize that their lamp does not work because a screw has come loose from the switch, or that washers can be replaced on leaky faucets. In the U.S. I think about one half of all bicycles are unusable because of flat tires, broken chains, broken shift cables, etc., all very easy to fix. Often people give me expensive broken things. Just for fun I fix them and give them away, but it would be easy to sell them.
Personally, I have always thought sex and violence ran the world, plus the desire of human beings to be in altered states of consciousness.
Magnus, to amswer your question,

I am living in the midst of a tremendous disaster of epic proportions (and still cold water showers, a leaking roof and I am one of the lucky ones) and just returned from a Mardi Gras parades.  Talked with people that were living in a tnt inside their gutted home with water but no electricity, others living on air mattresses or futons in friends/relatives homes, returnees sleeping in their cars and we all had a good time, laughed, drank (free bourbon & beers from strangers) and enjoyed the parades !  :-)

Best Hopes,


When you decide to launch your After Peak planned community, let me know.  I can't sail, ride a motorcycle, whistle or bowl, but I can shoot, milk a goat, break a horse and, occasionally, write a cogent paragraph...
Seriously, I appreciate the humor, intelligence and lack of fanaticism your comments bring to this site.
You are invited.
What is your question again? You want TOD readers to tell you how much money you should have in your checking account?
Thanks Leanan,Don,Magnus and Jack. Good practical advice Leanan,never thought of the martial law bird flu connection.
 I have never focused on $ much;( Don your 5.# How can we minimize the amount of emotion and worry and time we put into handling our finances?)  and this principle has worked well but , getting some inheritance, learning of peak, getting the kids launched, and hoping for retirement has seemed to impose otherwise. So get back to 5. ASAP. And Don , Thanks especially for the family, friend, neighbors emphasis; losing perspective at times.
And Magnus,"  for a closer match between a nice life right now and a nice life after a major disaster?

Go get a nice life right now, preferably one that works out ok after a major disaster." Thankfully I was planning to hobby garden as I retire; I will speed up the learning curve and scale.
 Thanks again.

I have an MBA in finance but am bored by money, and so for a couple hundred dollars a month I hire somebody else to do all my finances, pay bills, taxes, everything. I have no clear idea what my income is (more than enough; I spend little) and only faint clues as to my financial assets. What do they matter?

Important assets are family, friends, skills, health, productive land, house, food, tools, bikes, books, small sailboats and rowboats. I have all those. Why should I waste time worrying about getting richer or poorer? Rather I am concerned as to which dance class to take and have tentatively settled on Tango and Cha-Cha (combined in one class).



You can't be this perfectly happy. Please tell me it is not so! Even my dog has a down day sometimes.....

I'm bipolar. Normally I am very happy and have many enjoyable activities. When I think deeply of what is likely to happen in the near future I sometimes sink into a deep immobilized depression--which is not only unhealthy but IMO also immoral. Medications do not help.

So long as I sail, write, bike, dance, watch great movies with good friends, cook, garden, fix things, etc. I do fine. But like a shark, if I stop swimming I sink.

"This looks like a job for Bi-Polar Bear!....

But I just can't seem to get out of bed this month."

Instead of fixing gadgets, I try to think of ways to fix our broken energy systems and then blog 'em.  It lets me feel good and gets me some fan mail.

The third issue of my newsletter will go live (for $8.00) on Monday. It's entitled "Investing in Peak Oil: Strategic Consiederations." Also two other articles. 103 pages total.

A shameless plug? Yes, but I think the central article (not authored by me, as I'm not an investor type) is really, really good. TOD staff will have free copies soon so they can review it as they see fit.



Matt Savinar I presume?
Any more Orlov?
Not in this issue but we have future stuff in the works.



What will be more important in the future, food or money??

I know I cannot eat food and if hyperinflation hits this country and stock market tanks, fiat money will be worthless..

My food supplies though won't..  

OTOH, money is nicely portable if you find you have move.  Or flee.
I recommend canned tobacoo (some can be used for home-rolled cigarettes) and high-proof potable ethanol in small bottles. Everclear (lab alcohol on which taxes have been paid to be legal to sell for drinking) is the cheapest where I live. And 95% ethanol is really handy for lots and lots of things . . . .

After I take over as emperor, we are going to go to the Everclear standard: One warehouse receipt for one liter of Everclear will work as paper money, so long as we keep ourselves honest.

Money used to be warehouse receipts for gold or silver. No reason we cannot or should not go back to that.

For food, beef jerky is good, and shredded wheat lasts indefinitely if kept dry and reasonably cool.

What about dried burley tobacco leaf ?

I can get some easily (up to a hundred lbs or so) quite easily.

Since quptas were abolished, no limits on raising any.

Oh yes! In tightly sealed jars, if properly dried, this tobacco will keep for at least ten years, perhaps much longer.

Tobacco has served as money when TSHTF many, many times.

If people with weapons suspect that you have hidden gold, some of them will torture to death your family members to get you to reveal its source. With tobacco, they are likely to light up with you and do some trading.

Always try to understand the point of view of the guys with guns.

Farmers' profits dwindle as energy costs rise

Corn, cotton and rice growers and hog, dairy and poultry farmers suffer most.

WASHINGTON -- Greene County dairyman Charles Buckner is energy-challenged.

Last year, the energy bills for his 800-acre farm doubled to $24,000, from $12,000 in 2004. His fertilizer bills jumped 58 percent to $38,000, from $24,000.

Buckner, like thousands of farmers across the country, is trying to cope with a dwindling income as higher energy prices bite deep into his profits.

"It's ruining me," said Buckner, 63, who grows hay, raises beef cattle and has milked cows for 53 years. "I can't continue doing this. There's a limit."

The only profitable aspect of his farming operation this year, Buckner said, is his 300 head of cattle. Beef prices are up, and cattle are not as energy intensive as dairy or hay.

Couple of diaries posted at DailyKos last week worth checking out.  

The Science of Deception was frontpaged.  It's about the politics of global warming.

DR Michael Mann: Director, Earth System Science Center (ESSC); Penn State Department of Meteorology, blogs at Realclimate: "We were hearing operatives from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) repeating, as if on cue, the mantra that this was all just part of a "natural cycle" in the climate. Mind you, the peer-reviewed scientific literature was indicating just the opposite. But not a hint of that from the NHC folks. Nothing but certainty in their pronouncement that this was all part of a "natural cycle" (and thus, nothing to worry about). Surreal is the only way I can describe it."

And Devilstower, probably my favorite writer at dKos, wrote about Darwin's Nightmare.

How twisted is this tale?  It so astonished filmmaker Hubert Sauper that he tromped around Africa in disguise for three years to document the story of Darwin's Nightmare.  What event sent Sauper on this journey?

    I witnessed... the bizarre juxtaposition of two gigantic airplanes, both bursting with food. The first cargo jet brought 45 tons of yellow peas from America to feed the refugees in the nearby UN camps. The second plane took off for the European Union, weighted with 50 tons of fresh fish.

And that's only the beginning.

Mind-boggling, that Africa is exporting food when its own people are starving.  Makes me wonder if perhaps it is possible to continue our current way of life in the face of peak oil...albeit at a terrible price.  

That example of the incoming plane carrying relief food passing the outgoing plane carry food exports is a perfect example of the discontinuities and dislocations inherent in modern agribusiness. I'm sure there are many other examples of such absurdities.

However, it is not strictly a modern thing. I should point out the example of the Irish potato famine of the mid 1800s. Irish peasants were quite literally starving to death, while the wealthy landowners (many of whom were British) were still making money exporting beef back to England. Needless to say, this did not do much to improve relations between the Irish and the British. There are many other examples throughout history of merchants selling foodstuffs to the highest bidder from out of town while the local people, some of whom actaully grew the food, went hungry.

On a lighter note, a long time ago I worked for a company that actually exported sand to Saudi Arabia. I'm not joking!  The company was in the water treatment equipment business, and one of their products was a sand filter used for the removal of suspended solids as part of the industrial and potable water treatment process. Well, for a number of reasons this sand had to conform to a fairly tight size specification, but the Saudis at the time had not capability (or desire) to ger involved in grading sand according to size. So, our company actually shipped about 20 tons of sand over to Saudi Arabia. Makes for a nice little trivia story, I think.

Stalin systematically and with malice aforethought starved to death some millions of Ukranians in the 1930s at the time when the Soviet Union exported major amounts of grain.

The more things change . . .

The last British caused famine was the one Sen talked about, the one in India. This was about ten years after the Stalin famine. The Chinese famine was in the early sixties.
Please check your sources. The 1943 Honan (Hunan?) famine is estimated to have killed at least 25,000,000,000 people. At the time, many did not count Chinese as people, because they were distracted by other events.

BTW, America does not even make the top five for most hated nations/peoples. By far, Japan is #1 (Recall there are many Chinese, many old people with long memories), Russia is maybe #2, and for the bronze medal, maybe Germany, but the Turks are right up there, and if you go to Algeria or some other places in Africa you will find virulant hatred of France far stronger than anything I've seen against U.S.

For some reasons I do not fully understand, few people hate the British, especially in their former colonies.

Whoops, meant to say 25 times ten to the sixth for numbers of Honan famaine of 1942-43.

Also, I forgot to put Chinese on list of most hated peoples: Look at Indonesia, where about a million of them were slaughtered forty-some years ago--and why? Because they were successful merchants. Same, exactly the same hatred that was prevalent against Jews now prevails against the Chinese diaspora in much of the world.

A big issue at the University of California, Berkeley campus is how to allocate admissions to the EE department. If by merit, Chinese get maybe 80% or 90% of openings. No Blacks whatsoever. Quotas for white people? It is a hot potato that nobody wants to touch.

The story about Ireland is indeed a classic case. Amartya Sen made the basic point quite a long time ago now: famine is not about a lack of food; it's about a lack of money.
My recollection of Sen's main point was that democracy was prerequisite to ending famines: In other words, bad governments created or permitted famines, better governments (even poor ones such as present-day India or Cuba) made huge efforts to successfully relieve famine.

I think famine is much more often a failure of government (Sudan, Zimbabwe, horrendous Honan famine of 1943 related to Japanese occupation of China) than of the market.

In some poor countries, such as Egypt or Jamaica there is very little hunger, malnutrition or undernutrition. In some substantially less poor countries--such as Nigeria--you do not want to think about how bad it is or how fast it is getting much much worse. There is plenty of money in Nigeria, but it is taken by the kleptocrats, and for the ordinary person there is nothing but disease, fear of violence, vile pollution, hunger and death. No horror movie ever made can capture (except by metaphor) what is going on in many African countries, or in Haiti.

I think Malthus would have a different explanation as to why there is famine:

In An Essay on the Principle of Population, first published in 1798, Malthus made the famous prediction that population would outrun food supply, leading to a decrease in food per person.

We are reaching that point where it is the survival of the richest.  I just heard that today is the day when world population is expected to reach 6.5 billion.

There were famines 3,000 years ago, when the population of the earth was a small fraction of what it is now.

The fundamental Malthusian problem, as I see it, is destruction of the environment through overpopulation.

Even if the dieoff gets world Pop. down to something reasonable, say 200,000 to 200,000,000, there will still be massive and severe faminies in bad societies.

On the other hand, look at India--a horribly overpopulated country in which poverty is endemic, hunger common, undernutrition and malnutrition all too frequent--but no famines for decades. The Green Revolution? Partly, but mostly it is the fact of decent democracy as a form of government. For contrast, take a look at North Korea.

Don't forget railroads (and other transport); the best governance in the known universe can't help you if you don't have the means to move food where it's needed.

That was the underlying problem at the Superdome:  no transport to get people out.  Incompetent government had the transport but didn't use it.  No transport, same result no matter how good the government was.

Good points.  I agree with your analysis about the environment and the effect of government.  India is still growing in population with over 1 Billion and over 30% under the age of 14, according to
So it remains to be seen what will eventually limit their population.
There are many other examples throughout history of merchants selling foodstuffs to the highest bidder from out of town while the local people, some of whom actaully grew the food, went hungry.

Yup.  And now we have the potential of not only bidding for the high-quality food, but for low-quality food, and even biomass that can't be eaten by humans at all - to make ethanol.  We could end up, as Lester Brown warns, taking food from the mouths of the poor to put in the fuel tanks of the rich.

One of the consequences of high oil prices is that it sets up direct competition between supermarkets and service stations for the same commodities. The difference is that, in agricultural terms, the appetite of service stations is basically insatiable.

One of the reasons I strongly advocate making RME, ethanol and methane out of biomass is that we locally have a fair ammount of idle farmland and farmers partly living on EU subsidies. (And to make other fuels from wood biomass. ) If they make feedstock for fuel instead and the oil price go up we will have happy farmers and lots of new jobs, more land in use, no further need for the subsidies and we will help both the peak oil and the CO2 problems with a tiny fraction of a percent.

Manny good things but the world market price will also go up if this is a common idea. Our part of the solution might become someone elses problem. But I put the moral responsibility on the areas who export what they need to use locally. Otherwise we can not bring our part of the solution to the market. And implementing tariffs can hurt people in other ways. How do we know if the imported biomass pays for tractor spare parts or opression? :-(

Do you have the recipe for Russian WWII diesel?  I think its made from pine trees, isn't it?
Most of the sand in Saudi Arabia, being baked, air blown and sand blasted for centuries, is too round, smooth and uniform for making good concrete.  Millions of times more than 20 tons has been imported just to make concrete.  Very hard making concrete with no water ... and no sand!

Sand storms are so common and strong, wooden and metal poles supporting electric lines and highway signposts are often cut at their bases from being constantly sandblasted.  One 350 km drive from Riyadh to Dhahran in a sand storm will pretty much take all the paint off any parts in the airstream.

Sometimes you also have to worry about the shape of the sand.
As far as the quote from Mann: "We were hearing operatives from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) repeating, as if on cue, the mantra that this was all just part of a "natural cycle" in the climate. Mind you, the peer-reviewed scientific literature was indicating just the opposite. But not a hint of that from the NHC folks. Nothing but certainty in their pronouncement that this was all part of a "natural cycle" (and thus, nothing to worry about). Surreal is the only way I can describe it."

(BTW contrary to how it sounds, this is not blogged on RealClimate, rather Mann is an occasional contributor there. The quoted words are from some statement he gave to DailyKos.)

We had an extensive discussion about the global warming and hurricane connection a couple of weeks ago. There have been a number of articles in the press on the controversy recently, as it flared up at some recent academic conferences. In fact one researcher refused to attend when he found out that the other team had been invited to appear on his panel. There has been name calling and heated controversy.

The truth is that the situation is unclear. Traditional meteorologists continue to hold to the view that the hurricane situation is explained by the cycles which have been going on through most of the 20th century. There is some new evidence pointing to an influence due to global warming; but even the researchers pushing this view will not go so far as to claim that specific hurricanes such as Katrina were caused by global warming.

Now, Mann is on the team that favors a global warming explanation. But I think he overstates the case when he implies that his team has won the game and the other team is a bunch of sore losers. The game is still in play and at this point both sides are scoring points. It is far from clear to what extent global warming is causing increased hurricane intensity.

The fresh fish had a much higher value than the dried peas. Probably ten to one hundred times the value on a per pound basis.
I didn't notice TOD discussions about this AP news story I heard about at Calculated Risk (blog). Here are the highlights in graph form:

Notice that U.S. crude oil have been above the normal range for nearly a year, despite hurricanes etc., and gasoline stocks were certainly impacted by hurricanes, though now are above the normal range and rising fast. I suppose part of that is reduced use of gas due to higher prices, and part is due to continuing imports that are running above the norm.

I'd be curious to know if gas consumption has in fact declined much.

My rough guessestimate (with sounds of the first Mardi Gras parade today in the distance. so a quick post :-) is that short term US gasoline consumption has a price elasticity of demand of about 2% over "what would have been" with constant pricing.  Since demand would have increased a bit over 1% at constant oil prices, y-o-y demand is down less than 1% in the US.  All rough #s.

Price elasticity of demand also has a time axis, so structural changes (moving closer to work, buying a more fuel efficient car, building a light rail system, etc.) will increase the price elasticity of demand above the dismal (and discouraging) ~2% that I am seeing.

I was expecting more than 2%, at least 4% and hoping for 5% to 6% for short term drop in demand due to price increases.  WRONG :-((

The 60 million barrel drawdown from IEA stocks explains the high inventories, although by reading the main stream media, you would otherwise think those inventories magically appeared when needed - and everything is just fine.


Another key point regarding crude oil stocks:  no one (as best that I can tell) tracks crude oil inventories on the basis of quality (heavy, sour versus light, sweet).  

When I asked Matt Simmons about this, he put it this way, "It's as if when you asked a car dealer what a car costs, he quoted you the price of a new Roll Royce.  When you asked him how many cars he had in inventory, he counted a rusted out 1960 Plymouth the same as a new Rolls Royce."

I have suspected for some time that growing inventories of heavy, sour crude are obscuring falling inventories of light, sweet crude.

gas consumption is up 2.3% during the past year.  the reason we have had such high gas inventories is because the end of MBTE in april has caused enormous importation of MBTE gasoline from england - they're trying to sell it before the ban goes into effect.   now that imports on the MBTE gas is stopping - and refineries are shutting down for maintenance before the summer gas season starts - our gas inventories will probably fall, as will crude inventories.
Why import it to the states to sell it?  Couldn't they just sell it in England and most of the EU countries?
not sure - good question.  maybe they were refining it in england with MBTE for our market, had some inventory, and had to get rid of it.  I know it doesn't make total sense, but that's the story I've heard.  The one part that does make sense is the fact of the large inventory build in both gas and crude, which was not explained any other way, since demand for gas has continued to grow.
I think the key might be "refineries are shutting down for maintenance".  If they were prudent, they would be building inventories beforehand.  With the rates they were running, they may be needing a longer shutdown than in previous years.  Would that make sense?  I would think an average shutdown period would be 20 days, with 15 min to 30 days max.  Are the overstock volumes consistant with any of those time frames?
I read somewhere (sorry, can't remember where, don't have link) that a significant number of US refineries postponed maintenance shutdowns last fall due to anticipated effects of hurricane disruption. If so we can probably expect a higher than normal reduction in overall US refining capacity due to maintenance and switch over to summer refining patterns happening about now. A logical effect would be continued high US oil stocks and reduced crude imports, perhaps continued high import levels of refined products and reductions in refined product stocks.
I heard the same thing, which if true will be a problem.  You can delay maintenance until you get to MTBF, but you can't ever reduce it.  Delaying only makes maintenance time disproportionally higher and the repairs disproportionally more costly, so they must have seen a positive tradeoff to decide to delay, or ...they were just bein´ the good guys they are and were doin´ us all a public service.
And would it not be more effective to ship the MTBE separately and blend it with gasoline produced in the States?  

If you are thinking along your line, another factor just might (??) have something to do with Saudi Arabia making large quantities of MTBE (w/o gasoline) for export markets.  They were not very happy when they heard about the upcoming ban in the US as it probably is going to cause them to shut down (67% of) those MTBE units.  But I don't know exactly how that would fit into your scenario.

What I've heard is: European drivers made a change to diesel cars faster than petrolium companies expected.  The plants being set up for some ratio of gasoline to diesel, ended up with surplus gasoline (and perhaps a diesel shortage). Until the refiners in Europe rebalance their production, they will have gasoline for export markets.

(I don't know the above, just summarizing bits I've heard.)

You just might be correct.  That would certainly make sense.  There are a lot of diesels running around here.  Fact is that I don't know either.
No, I keep data for all US production plus all imports. In the ten week average ending December 31, 2004, total imports of crude plus gasoline plus distillates was 11,419,000 barrels per day. For the ten weeks ending August 26, 2005 it was 11,812,000 barrels per day. For the ten weeks ending December 30, 2005 it was 11,563,000 barrels per day. And the latest data, the ten weeks ending February 16, 2006 total imports of crude, gasoline and distillates averaged 11,379,000 barrels per day.

So you see total imports have been falling since August. What has changed is consumption. Total US production of crude plus the combined imports of crude, gasoline and distillates are down about 800,000 barrels per day since reaching a high in late August. (Latest 10 week average.) All this while inventories have been rising. What IS happening is these high prices are finally having an effect on consumption.

"these high prices are finally having an effect on consumption"

No they are not.  The drop since August is just the normal season reduction in demand.  Look at this year vs same time period last year.

Week ending February 17, 2006

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, or 2.3 percent above the same period last year.  Distillate fuel demand has averaged over 4.2 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, or 0.7 percent above the same period last year.  Jet fuel demand is down 1.1 percent over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Week ending January 20

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, or 0.9 percent above the same period last year.  Distillate fuel demand has averaged 4.1 million barrels per day over the last
four weeks, or 2.4 percent below the same period last year.  Jet fuel demand is up 3.9 percent over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period
last year.

Week ending December 16

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged nearly 9.3 million barrels per day, or 1.3 percent above the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand has averaged nearly 4.3 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, or 3.2 percent above the same period last year.  Jet fuel demand is down 1.6 percent over the last four weeks compared to the same
four-week period last year

Week ending November 18

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged over 9.1 million barrels per day, or 0.8 percent above the same period last year.  Distillate fuel demand has averaged nearly 4.1 million barrels per day over the
last four weeks, or 0.2 percent above the same period last year.  Jet fuel demand is down 5.5 percent over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

I would keep going, but you get the idea.  Distillates and jet fuel do have some variability up and down, but gasoline consumption is always up.  Prices being higher do not change that fact.  That fact will not change until prices get so high that the economy is destroyed, people are not working, and they lose their homes and houses.

Good work.
It seems we're moving closer to "gallows humour" on TOD. It's almost like we feel the "darkness" closing in and we've decided we'd rather laugh than cry. This is the normal reation of the highly intelligent and educated to the onset of "social madness". I share most people's frustration at the inability of our institutions to plan for PO. A military "solution" doesn't seem all that smart. Just look at Iraq! We needed at a minimum 500,000 soldiers to keep a lid on it. We sent 165,000. Probably, we'd need 1,500,000 to impose our will on Iraq today. The war is Lost. Personally, I think Iraq could prove a worse defeat for the Americans than Vietnam, closer to the Russian defeat in Afghanistan. How the hell did we ever get here it the first place?

Finally, I really think we need to stop thinking in the old "democratic" paradigme, and realize that "democracy" as we knew it has already disappeared. One more large scale attack on U.S. soil and we'll all understand. Unfortunately it might be too late by then. Sorry for the gloom.

Cheer up. Write a poem, or at least read one aloud. To get some historical perspective, here is one from one of my favorite writers, Edward Abbey. It was written in Nov. 1951 from Edinburgh, Scotland. At the time, conventional wisdom saw the Korean War expanding into World War III which would be and all-out Thermonuclear Slugfest between U.S. and U.S.S.R. The poem needs to be understood in that context.

The Whole Fucking Crew

The Gods who once were pleased to stay
Somewhere in outer space
Have now, alas, come down to Earth
And run the God-damned place.
Just look around, they're everywhere,
They mean to freeze or fry us--
They're getting bigger all the time,
No more a harmless myth--
All their spies are hard at work
From Moscow to Vancouver--
In such a mess as this, what are
Honest men to do?--
Load up our guns, I say, and shoot

Hello Sailorman,

Shooting the alpha elites will be extremely difficult when they will be safely hunkered down on yachts and inside uber-bunkers like the taxpayer-funded Yucca Mountain, Nev.  I long ago predicted that the topdogs never intended to store nuclear waste here, and having the defensive perimeter of the desolate desert climate and the weapons magic stored in the nearby Area 51 will make prole attack a impossibility.  Time will tell if my speculation has merit.

Peak Irony will follow Peakoil!

Google ORACLE's CEO Ellison's 453 ft 'survival lifeboat'  christened the "RISING SUN" for some HUGE IRONy.

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

When TSHTF their bodyguards and Praetorian Guards will turn on the Fat Cats, and it won't be pretty.

Deep Universal Eternal Truth: People with weapons will take food from people who are unarmed and who do not know how to fight.

I challenge you to find a single historical counterexample to the DUET above.  

I don't know about that. Did the SS turn on Hilter when the going got rough? No. the only attempt on his life was by an aristocratic officer who did not have the guts or the committment of an Islamic suicide bomber to blow himself up with Hilter.

The elite guards are not much more than trained dogs and are just as Pavolian and obedient. Don't look for them to bring the 'Fat Cats' down.

You right about everything else. Call me paranoid, but I am leaning more and more toward the notion that the real purpose of the Department of Homeland Security is not to protect the people from the terrorists, but rather to protect the government from the people when TSHTF. I think the behavior of FEMA (once they were at long last able to find New Orleans on a map) during Katrina gives us a glimpse of what their real purpose is.

My impression from over here in Sweden were that the help to New Orleans seemed to fuction fairly ok when it got going.
But it should have been better. I have allways though of USA as the masters of massive logistics.

The same level of disaster in Sweden would lead to chaos since we have disbanded the organisations that could handle such disasters. (And how stupid is that?)

I did notice that you had large problems with incompetence, lack of practice and lack of leadership leaving resources and competent people unused for days. We had eerily the same kind of problems with the Thailand area tsunami killing a fairly large number of Swedes withouth our government authorities improvising properly. Large parts of the staffs were instructed to wait for orders from politicians who were on vacation. A failure of leadership and managemnet culture where the failure probably were to collect more power into a few peoples hands then they realy can handle in a proper way.

Proof only shows up as masters of "massive (wartime) logistics" except when moving dirt during the construction of the Panama Canal.
Agree that there's no reason to assume the guards will turn on their masters.  Look at how it unfolded in North Korea.  They fed the military and let everyone else starve, which ensured the military's loyalty to those in power.
Your examples are of bloody-handed gangsters who knew that when Hitler or whoever goes down, they go down with them. For historical contrast, look at histories of Praetorian Guards during Roman Empire and also what bodyguards of the last Czar, Mussolini, etc. did.

To the best of my knowledge, Hitler's bodyguards, pilot, chaueffeur, secretary--and Martin Bormann--all got away. Many flourished in later years, perhaps most outstandingly Hitler's very favorite hero, pilot Hans Ulrich Rudel who went to Brazil, did very well (along with many thousands of other Hitler buddies)--and to top all went on to help design the plane that is still the best U.S. ground-attack aircraft, the A-10 Thunderbolt (a.k.a. Warthog, a.k.a. Whispering Death).

Don't you think that the fact that you have to use the Roman Empire as an example is a perfect argument in and of itself that the notion is out of date and probably dead wrong? If you are hoping for an enlightened inner circle to pull things out, don't hold your breath.

As far as 'law enforcement' goes, take a good look at most of the young cops today in almost any city above the size of Mayberry. Nay, include Mayberry in that ... they no doubt already have a SWAT team.

The model for law enforcement today is that God-awful TV program, 'Cops'. For that's what all these crew-cut, beefed-up, macho assholes aspire to be. They would just as soon 'Gitmotize' you as look at you. There is little humanity in these people. And why should there be ... given the environment they've grown up in. Most of these people are but one step above trained dogs. They are not your friend. When TSHTF, treat them accordingly.

TSHTF in New Orleans during Katrina, and 10% of the NOPD either ran away (ex post facto leaving to get your family out was "OK" IF you came back in ASAP) or went wild.  The other 90% behaved heroically under incrediably stressful conditions

I QUITE disagree with your ignorant prejudice !

How many cops do you know personally ?

You are extremely intelligent. I worry about you staying in New Orleans. Go North, young man.
Why ?

Why leave "America's Most Unique City? ?

Why leave the city most worth perserving for it's cultural value ?

(NYC & our great rival San Francisco are also worth saving for their cultural value, the rest are "disposable" cities).

Why leave my friends and neighbors as they cope and struggle with a bloody marathon to rebuild and recreate ?

Why leave the best food in the world (Paris #2) ?

Why leave the city that made "party" a verb ?

Why leave the beauty and architecture of New Orleans ?

Why leave the best urban plan in the nation, and one of the best in the world ?  (New Orleans has the "best bones" of any city.  "New Urbanism" borrowed much from New Orleans per out-of-town urban planner).  Ideal city plan for post Peak Oil, walk or take streetcar.

Why leave the comity and community and bitter pride here ?

(Yesterday a black woman living in her car, waiting for the proverbial FEMA trailer "one day" shared her bourbon with me yesterday at the parades.  She let me pour my own drink, taking as much as I wanted).

Why ?

"I went to the levee, and the levee was dry,
Hi, hi, Miss American Pie."

Have you talked to the Army Corps of Engineers about the problems of protecting NO from a Cat-5?

At least keep a raft handy.

Good luck, and I admire your courage.

I am having dinner with a Corps engineer this week (Reserve officer, he works for Washington DC DOT and I have done them favors re: Anacostia streetcar line.

I have followed plans, developments, etc.

Step 1 is getting US to commit to what they promised (but did not deliver), in the 1970s; a good, well engineered, well built Cat 3 levee.

Best guess, $12 to $15 billion (2004 Fed oil royalities from offshore LA $5 billion) for Cat 5 protection* and a decade plus.  Most locals support using Mississippi River diversions to rebuild the wetlands rather than higher dykes alone, even if it takes longer.

* The wetlands approach leaves a couple of paths still vulnerable.

I have always kept my tank at least half full and at least $100 cash at home during hurricane season.  I took out 3 people w/o cars with me (wish I had taken a 4th) and got 30 mpg with 8 hours of stop & go driving (a diesel advantage).  Refueled in Birmingham AL.  I had about 80% full tank when warning went up and did not bother to "top off".

don't listen!  Laissez les bons temps rouler, while you can. Back to work on Wednesday.  I'd kill for a plate of boudin dirty rice and a oyster poor boy.  Paris is not #2. No way!  Brennan's Restrauant, Houston is #2,  give Rome 2.1
I thought it was one third of the New Orleans cops who weren't allowed back on the force for not showing up for work?
You live in New Orleans, so is this something you heard from some caller on talk radio, or something you read about in an article in a newspaper or magazine, quoting the chief of police?
The delta between 1/3 and 10% (round #s) were the cops who got their families out and then came back in.  A policy decision was made not to punish them.  Also, some police ended up under the wrong command (happens in battle too, men seperated from their units).

My sources are local media and largely mid-level commanders (I sold the head of the motorcycle cops enough of my T-shirts* for every motorcycle cop for $1 each), the 5th District Commander, the guy writing the emergency plan for 2006 (special evac for family of police, fire, EMS, and other critical workers) and a coupel of detectives.  For whatever reason, I get along, and know better, the older guys at my age.

Back, a nice, slightly suggestive graphic of "Katrian Blows" around the toe of Louisiana

On the front, *FEMA SUCKS and then seven quotes.

You are doing a heck of a job - Brownie
My biggest mistake was not holding enough press conferences - Brownie
Give me another fool, a caring fool, a compassionate fool, but not the same damn fool - Aaron Broussard
Relief will be in New Orleans tommorrow - Brownie on Monday
Relief will be in New Orleans tomorrow morning - Brownie on Tuesday
Relief will be in New Orleans tomorrow morning - Brownie on Wednesday
Relief will be in New Orleans two hours before the Presidents photo-op - Brownie on Monday

First quote - You are doing a heck of a job Brownie - President Bush
IMO both should go watch PO unfold in a nice jailhouse in N.O.
Good enough for me.
Am sorry to inform you, but reality is quite different from your fantasies. Some of my best students were law-enforcement officers. With pride, I say that many law men and women are my friends.

Please stand in line to collect your Darwin award.

I agree with this. It's completely wrong to paint all cops with one brush. What is true is that the fish rots from the head. If a police dept has corrupt leadership, then the worst elements come to the fore. Do I worry about what will happen going forward, like the hand of Washington reaching down? Yes.

But for now, where I live, there are still lots of good cops.

What makes you think it was my 'fatasy'?

And I guess your criterion for getting the 'Darwin Award' is having an opinion that differs from yours?

To me the important question is not how the inner circle reacts but the top levels of the military, who are not happy campers these days.
You mean like "7 Days in May"?
Hello Sailorman,

Thxs for responding.  I think it is safe to assume that his yacht has sufficient speed and range to stay within the protective umbrella of a naval battle fleet.  If he fills his yacht with liquor and young women and allow sailors to visit-- they will go to great lengths to protect this ship.  I have posted many speculative articles on AB where our battle fleets will soon be converted into the most awesome pirate ships to ever sail the seas as they will guarantee safe passage for shipping at a cost or else.  It will be the Godfather strategy of simply making them an offer they cannot refuse.  Google John Perkins's book: "Confession of an Economic Hitman" for a less blatant application of this negotiation technique.

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

The sailing life is the best life; sail away and leave the landlubbers to stew in their juices. N.B., when TSHTF, sailors will mutiny, as happened famously in Russia.

In all seriousness, if you are thinking in terms of a retreat, there is much to be said for a cruising sailboat.

Piracy has been on the rise for some decades now, and it will probably continue to get worse. There are some places so bad now that your sailboat insurance will be cancelled (or not apply) if you go there. American skippers usually go armed and may have weapons for crew members; Brits do not like to carry guns (except for ex-SAS types).

Piracy is a profession with a future--high risk, high reward, much as drug smuggling is now. Ideal pirate ship looks innocent but can go much faster than appears possible, e.g. an old PT boat disguised as a fishing boat. And we all know that all sailing yachts are innocent vessals. Right?

If a battle fleet is going to escort merchant ships, they're going to have to find enough fuel to operate.  Unless they can burn raw crude lightered from VLCC's, this may be a losing strategy.
I'm sure they'll happily escort the VLCCs to the nearest friendly refinery.
Hello Gets it, EngPoet, and Sailorman,

Don't need to escort anything if you have absolute full spectrum dominance over the Seven Seas.  Milgov global satellite surveilance, nuclear-powered battle fleets with practically unlimited range, any ship is helpless against a stealthy attack submarine or jet-fired anti-ship missile, space-based hypersonic Rods of God, etc, etc, etc.

World trade goes on as normal as possible in the postPeak world, but the pirates provide Godfather Insurance against sinking versus the way LLoyd's of London does it now.  Say, a 30% skim off the top of every ship's profits or cargo.  If the US Naval Pirates sink about six super large tankers in one day---the rest of the world will gladly ante up to keep us from sinking any more ships.  Like I said, modern day hi-tech pirates will just make an offer they cannot refuse.

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

The best antiship weapon in the world is a nuke on the wafer fab. No replacement chips, and an aircraft carrier becomes a very expensive way to haul seagulls around. When you consider that paying off the Triads to deindustrialize America is much cheaper than losing even a single supertanker, it's obvious why I don't consider piracy an option.
When my ancestors invaded what became Hungary, we wondered what those strange stone buildings were. The locals called them castles and seemed to think that they had some military purpose. But what a castle could do to stop some band of horse barbarians (with compound recurve bows that could punch through armor at a hundred yards) from collecting taxes was not very clear to us. We levied a ten percent tax on cattle, crops, and cute young girls, and the guys in the castle couldn't do anything about it. They kept expecting us to besiege the place or something.
Which is why my eyes are blue. I'm really only five percent Asian, the rest of me is a what happens to horse barbarians when they settle down where disease can get a hold of them. Genetically us Hungarians collected so many young girls in tribute (and lost so many young purebloods to disease) over so many generations that we are now almost German and Polish in blood.
Aircraft carriers are castles. They have no military function.
Hello wkwillis,

You may be entirely correct, as I am not a professional militarist at all, just my speculation.  That posting was on what the humanimal wolfpack might do to continue wealth and power consolidation, not what I advocate at all--I prefer a Peaceful Powerdown.  Now if we could just get a retired professional soldier to weigh in with his opinion-- anybody know how to get Colin Powell or Schwartzkoff onto TOD?

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

No military function for carriers?
  1. Ask the Japanese whose cities were burned by American bombers after we took out their carrier defense forces.
  2. Ask the tens of thousands of German U-boat sailors drowned as a result of superior air power in the Atlantic (Granted, it was mostly land-based air, but those baby flat-tops as ecorts launched some very useful aicraft.)
  3. Ask the deceased Iraqi general in charge of air defense (killed by Saddam, of course) about the effectiveness of carrier-based power in taking out his air defenses.
  4. Ask the dead captain of the Bismark about those torpedo bombers the Brits launched from the Ark Royal.

Piracy persists because of political problems (especially juridictional hassles in Strait of Malacca), but between them the U.S. and British navies still have the power to rule the waves.

As I recall, even the Danes have a few mine sweepers.

So long as most of the world's surface is water, navies matter a helluva lot.

Of course I am biased. (Also right;-)

The blimps were much more effective subkillers than the escort carriers. Far more effective in terms of kills per man, gallon, and dollar.
And that was back when the Japs didn't have the bomb. You think the Japanese are worried about our carriers now? Not bloody likely. They have more important things to worry about.
Oh yeah, carriers didn't burn down the Japanese cities. That was the Marines taking the islands we built our airfields on, followed up by the Army Air Corps.
The first firebomb raid on Tokoyo was conducted by Dolittle's bombers taking off from carriers, passing over Tokoyo and landing (or ditching from lack of fuel) in/near China.   Although largely symbolic, it did show the Japanese that their home territory was indeed vulnurable to American attack.  Much later, after nearer islands were taken by the Marines, regular round-trip bombing runs were initiated from those closer islands.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Doolittle's bombers dropped HE bombs on industrial targets, or at least tried to. A handful of B-25s could not carry enough incendiaries to start any kind of firestorm.

The reason they ran out of fuel in China was that they had to launch before reaching their intended launch point because a Japanese fishing boat happened to be in their path and might have radioed a warning. The Navy insisted on turning back and Doolittle insisted on launching anyway.

Carriers do have their uses, but they are sinkable.

  1. When was the last time any aircraft carrier was sunk by enemy action?
  2. How could U.S. B-29s have done what they did if Japanese carriers could have launched turbo-charged Zeroes against them? The Superfortresses were sitting ducks until P-51s or Corsairs could escort them.
  3. Why does China not even contemplate a military invasion of Taiwan--never has and for at least the next thirty years never will?
  4. Why did Hitler's Sea Lion plan to invade Britain never get off the ground? (Hint: Think Battle of Britain. Also, think what would have happened had the Bismark and the Tirpitz and other German capital ships been able to function in the Battle of the Atlantic.)
  5. Why did U.S. Marines occupy Iceland on July 8, 1941?
#5) To relieve British troops so that they could defend their homeland.  The US was then neutral and promised to defend the "neutral" Iceland (still nominally under Danish control).
#1 - It looks like the last carrier sunk was Independence CV-22 in January 1951, but it was an undefended radioactive hulk. The Japanese carrier AMAGI was sunk in July 1945. The CVE OMMANEY BAY was sunk in January 1945. The Princeton CV-23 was sunk in October 1944 as were the CVEs GAMBIER BAY and ST LO. The Japanese lost CHITOSE, CHIYODA, ZUIHO and ZUIKAKU. On 19 March 1945 the Franklin CV-13, while steaming 50 miles from Japan, was so badly damaged by one bomb that although she did not sink she was considered too badly damaged to rebuild and was turned into a museum.

#2 - The major cause of B-29 losses was engine failures, which they mostly overcame by reducing the combat load. Most of the fire bombing raids were flown before escorts were available. These were low-level night raids and shootdowns were probably due to flak. Zeroes weren't that much of a threat to B-29s because they had trouble catching them. If they could have built a sizable number of the fighters we code named George the 29s would have been in some trouble. The jet they test flew on the last day of the war would have been real trouble. On the first escorted mission, by P-51s, 29 May 1945 26 Japanese fighters were shot down. Thereafter, bombers met little fighter resistance as the Japanese were saving them for the invasion.

#3 - I think that has something to do with us having an ungodly number of nuclear weapons and lots of money invested in Taiwan.

#4 - Sea Lion didn't go off because it was just one of Adolf's half-baked last-minute brilliant decisions. German military doctrine contained essentially no provision whatsoever for amphibious landing on well defended territory. Their weapons and tactics were honed for rapid advance over land. The Kreigsmarine was intended to keep the Royal Navy close to home, while the U-boats and commerce raiders tried to rip up the sealanes. The carrier-based string bags jammed Bismark's rudder. Battleships took her guns out of action and destoyers sank her with torpedoes. Tirpitz was sunk, at anchor, by RAF Lancasters.

Only the Titanic was unsinkable.
I simply was envisioning a significant portion of the naval and merchant marine fleets continuing to run on the diesel fueled IC engines or turbines & electrical generators they use now.  If VLCCs are running around, there's still oil and a use for it somewhere, so no need to delay the piracy fleet as you  build 100% nuke powered vessles for attacking VLCCs, as long as you still have access to refineries to process the oil somewhere.  Don't you agree?
During the 1998 ice storm, more than a million people in the Canadian province of Québec went without electricity - many did so for weeks, not days. Roads were closed, the heat was off, but there were no armed uprisings or food riots. There was no New Orleans style messiness of any kind.

I'd say that, more often than not, the power failure brought out the best - not the worst - in people here. If there's a Deep Universal Eternal Truth (DUET) to be extracted from the event, it's that one shouldn't automatically assume one's neighbours will turn into vicious criminals or wild animals when things become difficult.

By all means, keep stockpiling ammunition if that's what helps you sleep at night. But I still have faith in my fellow men and women.

In the situation you cite, people were not flooded out of their houses, nor did what perishable food they had spoil from lack of refrigeration.
I like Yeats:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Almost seems like it could have been written today...
I think the Iraqi War is going swimingly according to the elites carefully designed plans.  My long ago posting  called "The Porridge Principle of Metered Decline" in Yahoo:AlasBabylon predicted this.  Rumsfeld's goal of concentrating the benefits, and diffusing the costs has been wildly profitable for fellow 'humanimal wolfpack' members, and the ever-increasing 'humanimal reindeer' violence worldwide proves the forces of Dieoff.

Here is a link to a yahoo news article:

Deer Die After Antlers Lock During Combat Fri Feb 24, 7:44 PM ET

A pair of deer died in a northern Indiana pond after their antlers were locked during combat. Later this year, if all goes well, their intertwined antlers will be on display at Potawatomi Wildlife Park in southern Marshall County.

This is an excellent real wildlife example of what the humanimal wolfpack seeks to accomplish with the humanimal reindeer! The Sunnis and Shias are locking horns as they descend into uncivil war.

Consider that VP Cheney, who can't shoot straight, couldn't hunt and harvest these animals individualy on his own, but he would be easily capable of buying these soon to be mounted unfortunate animals.  What jack-booted elite would not want a wildlife diorama of the ultimate elite wolfpack goal?

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

Potawatomi Wildlife Park, where these animals are to be displayed-- Potawatomi [acronym]-->PeakOil, Then All Ways Annihilation To Meter Interventionism.   Unless someone can come up with a better example.

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

Hmm.  The U.S. military has already reduced forces in Iraq and some other coalition forces have pulled out completely.

My take on the Iraq war was that the air campaign "Shock and Awe" was excessive and that subsequently a lot of military effort was spent rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure.

Also in the news is that Russian negotiators are optimistic that they can persuade Iran to conduct its uranium enrichment in Russia.  If successful, this could obviate the need for the U.S. military to attack Iran (because Israel would not be under threat of nuclear attack by Iran).

On the other hand if the Iranian leadership wants war (for some mystical reasons) then the Russian talks will fail.  Here is the latest Iranian threat to Israel (in response to a hypothetical US attack):

Here is some more evidence of the Iranian leadership's mystical disregard for (military) reality:

The enemies do not have the capacity to launch a military strike against Iran

Furthermore, this same Iranian military leader now blames the US for the recent Shite shrine bombing (that Al-Queda has claimed credit for) and threatens the U.S.:

"We condemn the insolence of the mercenaries of Zionism, the British and the Americans in their outrage against the sacred shrine of Imam Hadi and Imam Hassan al-Askari", Safavi said. "Those who masterminded this catastrophe should know that they will soon receive a heavy slap on the face from God and the believers in the Imams", the Revolutionary Guards commander added.

I can't imagine what I am implying. [cough. white nationlist ecofascism. cough.]

>From Che to Chavez: Latin America revolts against the empire

Hello IndyDoug, sr, and Slipperyslope,

Thxs for responding.  Examine all the general trends in these posts.  This is all just a detritovore sorting process for dominance using exosomatic Darwinism; my spectrum of competition within a 'humanimal ecosystem'.

In the somatic animal ecosystem, when overcrowding arises: the lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and other keystone predators really decimate each other as they battle for their respective territorial control.

The human battle will continue right down to the minimal exosomatic level of using 'sticks and stones'.  If some bizarre comet dust or disease suddenly deprived humanity of all ten fingers overnight, then we would still battle, but we would be finally using our fangs in a somatic fashion like the natural animals.  Genetics rules all lifeforms.

One of my ideas to reconnect humanimals back into the natural ecosystem was as a certain percentage of wildlife went extinct, we would amputate a finger.  Then we would continue this process as more extinctions continued.  If this continual finger loss didn't result in Powerdown voluntarily-- eventually the loss of our hands brings Powerdown on its own.

Maybe this would be the best way to get voluntary population control too.

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

First hand effects of reduced resources. I was at the local mega market (Lotus superstore) here in northern Thailand yesterday. There was NO sugar to be purchased. If I understood correctly, the price outside the country is higher, thus the local producers are exporting the sugarcane production. My thoughts are that the higher pricing is due to sugar being used as a feedstock for ethanol. Seems we are trading food for fuel already.
Khun HTevC,

I haven't noticed the same problem in Bangkok, but I don't really use sugar. However, I think this is less a case of reduced resources than price caps and how Lotus is reacting. The government limits the price producers can charge in the country, so they export.

Yes, it does seem that demand for sugar for ethanol has raised prices in country and globally, however I still see plenty of people quaffing Coke at 13 teaspoons per can. Restaurants and coffee shops are still giving the stuff out for free. I don't believe Lotus can not procure sugar.

But if you start a Thailand Peak Oil group, let me know.



Just wondering... how viable is it for natural gas-rich countries to make ethanol out of natural gas, for export. I know that there is a catalytic process for it (the Russians use it to make vodka) but I don't know how lossy it is in terms of energy, or how expensive the catalyst is. Anyone?

A natural gas rich country wouldn't want to make ethanol from natural gas. It doesn't make sense. The ones such as Qatar and Malaysia that already have Gas-To-Liquids (GTLs) are producing primarily diesel (and some world-class kick-ass lubricants). Since the process is basically a molecular rearrangement, the process could be set designed for gasoline as well.

The Shell plant at Qatar has a thermodynamic conversion efficiency of about 68%.

Do you have a link for that GTL efficiency figure?  I'd like to add some GTL stuff to my reference library page.
Vehicle mileage, age, and scrappage disconnects

More on Ridge's vehicle fleet replacement discussion.

There should little question that fleet replacement could occur much faster if the technology jumps in fuel efficiency were greater.  Similarly, vehicle replacement is heavily influenced by gasoline and diesel costs. But when you're making such a personal or corporate fleet decision (at least one that makes financial sense), you have to roll up all costs associated with making the jump to a new vehicle or new fleet.  If the fuel efficiency gains are low in terms of percentage improvement and the existing vehicle(s) maintenance costs are reasonable, there is no point in rolling over to a new vehicle unless the tax incentive seals the deal for you.  While gasoline prices are certainly up, they're not high enough to cause a mass exodus from all of the older vehicles.  Besides, you can burn a lot of gas before buying a replacement vehicle is justified solely by gasoline price increases.  So, in general, the incentives aren't there yet to jump wholesale into new vehicles if your existing platform is in pretty good shape.  Besides, the new offerings aren't overly impressive.  Not when considers bang for the buck.    

In general, corporate fleet replacements are mileage and age driven. And they do roll their fleets over with regularity.  Besides the tax incentives heavily promote this practice.  There are a few exceptions, but those are rare in my judgment.    

On the point raised by Odograph - Green Car Congress' reference to the R.L. Polk newswire release regarding vehicle scrappage.  Green Car Congress really wasted their time and effort on that GCC post because of what they didn't address.  First, the Polk information isn't surprising. Not when you consider the bigger picture.  Second, referring to Polk's info is misleading in terms of analyzing fuel efficiency losses that could result from older vehicles.  Why?  Well, the majority of older consumer vehicles presently in operation are running OBD I or OBD II (onboard diagnostics) computers, along with various forms of fuel injection, whether in the carbs or in the feed rail.  This presents one helluva difference over basic carburetor model engines.  Less maintenance, better fuel management efficiencies.  Almost all models jumped to OBD II in 1992 (one except being the 1992 and 1993 GMC Typhoon).  

If you're trying to analyze the issue raised by Ridge, then a better reference might be the page of information that Odograph posted at his blog last month.  Here:   That's probably a better selling point for moving to more fuel efficient vehicles, and its one that more tax incentives should  be applied to if the goal is to reduce overall gasoline consumption.  If I had a automobile dealership, I would crank out something similar to Odograph's explanation and place in all of my more fuel efficient vehicles.  

Fuel efficiency will continue to be the renewed sales driver of vehicle turnover, but the improvements have to continue if one is to justify the cost of buying a new vehicle.  And don't try to fool us on anticipated vehicle mileage by glossing over normal habits like using the air conditioner or telling us to coast down hills and use the brakes lightly (actual written recommendations by a manufacturer of a current hybrid vehicle).  


Back to Green Car Congress for a minute.  

Vehicle scrappage data doesn't answer the question about vehicle mileage usage. And that's where GCC misses the boat.  The newer vehicles are driven more miles. And, yes, there is growth in the number of vehicles per household.  You can't explain much about vehicle mileage usage by relying on the scrappage data.  Clearly, as the prices of vehicles rise and overall drivetrain/body integrity quality improves, the time of vehicle ownership will likely be extended.  Unless there is a major incentive to dump the vehicle.  But the scrappage info is further misleading in that it doesn't discuss or consider vehicle maintenance costs.  Or vehicle mileage for that matter.  Here's what I am driving at - vehicle maintenance costs aren't inexpensive.  If your vehicle needs a new engine (long block crate motor), the costs to rebuild it yourself can often exceed the cost of a long block crate motor (and it's packing a guarantee if you bought it from the right source).  And a growing number of engines, particularly smaller displacement engines are throwaways. Same for Ford's 4.6 liter V8.  It's a similar story for rebuilding your own automatic transmission in terms of cost.  But Green Car Congress doesn't mention these cost considerations.  It's not likely that they have ever rebuilt a long block or automatic transmission. When you add up all the costs, including special tools, you are probably a real mechanic if undertaking your own project from end-to-end.  And there aren't many of those in the average neighborhood anymore.  

Does the average household replace long block engines?  No. Transmissions?  Yes, they will go that far.  I know plenty of people who get very concerned when they have to replace a front wheel drive propshaft (drive axle).  Some have been willing to do a replacement one or two times, but not more.  So, what does that say about vehicle mileage on the older vehicles or the likelihood that older vehicles are used as primary daily drivers?  It indicates to me that older vehicles, in general, are not prime movers.  And are not as high mileaged as one might be lead to believe in terms of continued annual usage.  I know that they're not with any of my friends and family.  Good back up and recreational usage vehicles, but not B&F primer movers  (back and forth).  And it's for that reason that I'm not overly concerned with the Polk info.  

If gasoline was priced at $4.00 or $5.00 a gallon, the fleet replacement rate would accelerate quickly.  And the offerings of more fuel efficient vehicles would jump.  At a minimum, buyers would be opting for the smaller displacement engines in the same platform body.  It's under such conditions that vehicle scrappage will increase.  Meanwhile, households will continue to keep some of their older vehicles, particularly if they only carry liability insurance on them.  And why not? The vehicles aren't worth anything on the wholesale market.  As long as the mileage doesn't require a new long block or other major expense, the decision to keep the vehicle as a backup or a youth's vehicle makes sense.  Besides, the kid can bang it up and the parents aren't going to go totally ballistic over the repair costs.  Well, they might, but that's probably more show than substance.  All part of the teenage training and learning experience.  Remember those days?    


Under 40 MPH, my prius hybrid will coast easily (with none of its engines running) and gets awesome milage on the half of my daily commute that goes downhill (75 MPG).  I see no problem with manufacturers educating consumers of specialty, high-economy vehicles on how to maximize the benefits.

On the subject of better vehicle fuel economy, my own experience leads me strongly in favor of lower (and enforced speed limits).  I get 43 MPG on my daily commute when I am able to drive 70 MPH in the fast lane.  But my preference is to drive 55 MPH in the slow lane and average 52 MPG.

I would also like to see plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology available, especially for trucks. Some experimental PHEV's use no liquid fuel at all for trips below 20 miles (like my commute).

Thanks for the plugs.  I'm probably not awake enough to catch the true import of this, so I'll just respond to a corner of the argument.  I have a Prius, and I do coast down hills much more than I used to in my 300HP Camaro Z-28 6spd. ;-)

On the one hand I see the drive by testers to create "indentical conditions" when comparing cars, but on the other, I know first hand that certain cars and certain behaviors go together.  There are feedback loops.

Maybe a bar-graph MPG computer would have changed my Camaro behavior ... but more likely at that point in my life I would have wanted one that measured cornering G's ... as I jammed toward each corner, and set my braking points at the last possible position (before hitting a downshift and coming out full throttle).

Anway, I'm consistently pulling 50 mpg out of each tank (or as it sometimes goes 48 on one tank and 52 on the next).

For that reason I feel the "indentical conditions" tests are missing a good part of the story.

Energy Bulletin has posted an article called Enforced relocalization.  

The author, Bill Henderson, is worried about "overcrowded lifeboat syndrome."  (Probably for good reason.  His hometown of Vancouver, BC sounds like a good place to weather the peak.  I'd move there if Canada would let me in.  :-)  

He points out that the Great Depression caused massive migration, and peak oil is likely to result in something similar.  

He warns that we must plan for this, but he doesn't offer any concrete suggestions for how to keep the lifeboats - the communities that have planned for peak oil - from being overwhelmed.

Leanan, why wouldn't Canada let you in?  I thought Americans just had to walk across the border, (maybe) get a job and register for higher taxes.  Did Canadians finally get smart? :-)
I was just being flip.  I haven't actually tried to emigrate to Canada (though I love Canada, and have checked their requirements, because I really do think it will be a good place to weather the peak).

But a friend of mine tried to move to Canada with her fiance back in the '80s.  They were stopped at the border.  They would not let her in (perhaps because she didn't have a job in Canada).  Her boyfriend promised to support her, but they still wouldn't let her in.  So she married him, there at the border, and then they let her in.  Her family was very upset.  Not that she married him, but that they weren't invited.  

Out front of 7-11 this morning, there were two old duffers ogling a cherry red car.  They sounded very impressed.  It wasn't a Mustang, Vette, or Beemer.  It was a Chevy Aveo.

I don't get it.  The Aveo is small, but the mileage, 27/35, isn't that special.

bottle of wine in the front seat.
i must confess, i do like to see the commodities link on the right hand side. Thanks!
When will we hit PC ---Peak Comments?
My guess is three days after when the topdogs nuke the entirety of Iran precipitating the worldwide fast collapse.  Martial law and energy shortages will shutdown the Internet discussion in roughly three years after that sad event.

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

Dont think so.

The blog / internet discussion format is starting to be used as an internal and external emergency information channel. During the long lasting blackout after a storm in southern Sweden a year ago Internet became one of the most important, possibly the most important channel to get information to people who had no telepone or electricity to their homes. They sought out neighbours, workplaces or towns with electricity and network feed or even hills with GSM/GPRS coverage to get to Internet and current information.

I think lessons are beign learnt and I am almost sure there is some kind of energency plan and servers if the global DNS system goes down and the Nordic parts of internet are on their own.

Is there a web site with info on how to form a post-collapse Internet using these technologies? Thanks.

Even if there is no collapse, it seems that governement censorship of the Internet (China style) is imminent and that those who may want to have access to non-propaganda information would need some sort of mesh system that is resistant to domestic spying and government suppression of free speech.

I'll go for that.  Could use some strong encryption algorithm as a "CollapseNet" standard.  I think its even legal in the USA to use encryption, as long as you're not terrorizing anybody or otherwise involved in illegal activities.  Whatever is legal these days, I'm not sure.
It will not protect from a government turned bad. If our Swedish government turn bad we are screwed as this is a strong government society with a very high level of thrust in government authorities.

The effort to harden internet services is a cooperation between the academic enthusiasts who introduced Internet in Sweden, teleco operators and defence organisations. It is one of the reasons for one of the root DNS servers being in Sweden. Our pioneers talked about this from the very beginning of Internet and got a reasonable ammount of response such as access to hardened sites to locate servers.

The hardest part was to get some response for virus and worm hunting and so on. Most government authorities are in love with MS and it wears off slowly and since MS said Windows is secure they believed them since MS is the big authority, a US one at that. But most of that problem is anyway a privat enterprice one.

I have no pointer to a build-an-internet guide, I have more or less left that world for the energy area. I think all needed software is available as free software, you only need to add knowledge and hardware.

A system resistant to spying and government suppression breaks down to a crypto-key exchange and validation problem wich is a trust problem. I do not think that is solvable in an opressive environment. The best response is probably to make friends, create social capital and slowly and non violently be usefull for ones country and change the local government. Dictatorships has turned into democracies withouth bloodshed but it seems to require time, a strong culture and impressive ammmounts of forgiveness.

Let me re-phrase because I think something got lost in the translation. I'm thinking of radio based meshes. It would be like ham radio. Independent operators would set up transmitters/ repeaters with short range transmission to link to the next point in the mesh and so on. I guess the government could pass laws against such radio transmitters, but at this point if you are dealing with a repressive governement that has cut off civil rights, then who cares. Why respect "them" if they don't respect your inalienable rights to free speech and free thought? What's the point to living if you can't have freedom to blog? :-)
I hope to see more on this topic from those with the knowledge to contribute.  How to maintain communications as the infrastructure degrades will be critical to staving off the forces of evil as well as disseminating knowledge, co-developing useful approaches to many problems, staying in touch with friends and families and otherwise keeping up morale.  
This could be a good example of what Don is saying just below about useful plans of action to be developed here.
I think we're already past that - at least as a quality, I think we are on the downside (mine humble contribution included of course).

It is normal - the events we are discussing are on a timescale of years, probably decades, while our discussions and speculations are developing within days. Hence we are bound to repeat ourselves and the quality drops.

I dare to predict that after the March scheduled Iranian Great Event does not take place, lots of us will take a break and step back for a routine world view maintainance. Normal again.

Why should quality drop as ideas are repeated? My hope is that through reasoned discussion that good ideas can be honed and improved, bad ones exposed as such, and that with many many many drafts of similar themes we may come up with useful and effective plans for action.

One reason that I am an optimist, is that I see the nutty people leaving TOD after a while but a core of serious and reasonable and concerned people remain.

It is sometimes hard to ignore the froth and focus on the rich broth cooking below, but I think it is reasonable to hope for better ideas to bring forth better more effective actions at all levels, from personal to global.

And what are the alternatives to this hope?

As in your advice re family, friends, neighbors for investments so to speak; I think TOD should add the C for community.
I've been watching the blog for a year now and I definately notice some drop in the posts quality. I'll hurry up and say this is the mean post quality and that I don't consider it a bad thing necessarily.

First there are new commenters which not always keep up with the good tone or with the high standarts of this blog; second I guess the blog editors and the commenters are also humans with their personal lives and problems. A lot of very important points were subject to great discussions already (and maybe that's what I'm missing). I can deduce that such discussions take a lot of time and effort of the posters, and it would be almost impossible to keep it up on that level.

I think currently the blog is transforming from more of an academic place to a forum or community like place and I can say I like it because it broadens the subject range and allows more people and opinions to join in. But of course there are trade-offs just like with everything we do.

I wish it would keep its focus on oil and peak-oil. Climate change/global warming is related in that the debate surrounding it is largely about carbon use. International security issues are related because oil and war have been two peas in a pod since the beginning. Everything else simply gets in the way.