Sunday evening open thread

Don't worry, we'll be back soon with juicy new content!

To get you started: Tom Paine's summary and response to Ted Koppel's Friday NY Times editorial* on the US's oil driven foreign policy. Says Koppel, if considerations about oil "did not enter into the Bush administration's calculations when the president ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it would have been the first time in more than 50 years that the uninterrupted flow of Persian Gulf oil was not a central element of American foreign policy." (via Big Gav)

*This may be behind the Times Select wall. If so, here is an alternative source of the text, and there's a blurb about it in Editor and Publisher.

Well, let's see if this sticks with anyone.  




There should be no question whatsoever that we must undertake a Manhattan Project to coordinate a global effort to add ice to the northern polar cap.  There are plenty of other environmental initiatives that divert attention and funds away from this issue, but it's clear that many are missing the big picture.  We have to save the northern polar cap.  Quickly. We have no choice.  I state again that reducing the existing emissions levels will not solve the immediate problem.      

We must concentrate a full scale effort on stabilizing the ice sheets and glaciers in the northern cap region.  We have to add ice.  Period.  

Cleaner Air Aids Global Warming

New measurements of tiny particles in Earth's atmosphere contain a sobering message: All those hard-won efforts to cut air pollution may unwittingly accelerate global warming.

The result: The planet is likely to warm more and faster than current projections suggest, according to a team of British and American scientists.

The group has produced the most precise estimates yet of how tiny particles, known as aerosols, could affect the world's climate. Aerosols, which include pollutants, have a cooling effect on the atmosphere, and the team's work suggests that the cooling effect is strong - nearly as strong as the top estimates of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Thus, the dwindling presence of aerosols means that global average temperatures could rise faster than previously estimated and reach toward the high end of projections for the end of the century.

Those estimates currently range from 2.7 to 7.9 degrees F., depending on how emissions of greenhouse gases and other factors play out in coming years.

A Global Warning
60 Minutes


"The entire planet is out of balance," says Bob Corell, who is among the world's top authorities on climate change. He led 300 scientists from eight nations in the "Arctic Climate Impact Assessment."

Corell believes he has seen the future. "This is a bellwether, a barometer. Some people call it the canary in the mine. The warning that things are coming," he says. "In 10 years here in the arctic, we see what the rest of the planet will see in 25 or 35 years from now."

Over the last few decades, the North Pole has been dramatically reduced in size and Corell says the glaciers there have been receding for the last 50 years.  

There's long been a debate about how much of this is earth's naturally changing climate and how much is man's doing. Paul Mayewski, at the University of Maine, says the answer to that question is frozen inside an ice core from Greenland.

Mayewski says we haven't seen a temperature rise to this level going back at least 2,000 years, and arguably several thousand years.

As for carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, Mayewski says, "we haven't seen CO2 levels like this in hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions of years."

What does that tell him?

Even if we stopped using every car, truck, and power plant -- stopping all greenhouse gas emissions - Mayewski says the planet would continue to warm anyway. "Would continue to warm for another, about another degree," he says.

That's enough to melt the Arctic - and if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the temperature will rise even more. The ice that's melting already is changing the weather by disrupting ocean currents.

One big supporter of climate science research is the Bush administration, spending $5 billion a year. But Mr. Bush refuses to sign a treaty forcing cuts in greenhouse gases.

"When you look at the American government, which is saying essentially, 'Wait a minute. We need to study this some more. We can't flip our energy use overnight. It would hurt the economy.' When you hear that, what do you think?" Pelley asked.

"Well, what I do then is, I try to tell them exactly what we know scientifically. The science is, I believe, unassailable," says Corell. "I'm not arguing their policy, that's their business, how they deal with policy. But my job is to say, scientifically, shorten that time scale so that if you don't push out the effects of climate change into the long, long distant future. Because even under the best of circumstances, this natural system of a climate will continue to warm the planet for literally hundreds of years, no matter what we do."

OK, what's the plan?

Northern Polar Cap Manhattan Project (NPCMP)

TJ and others,

The plan is to actively solicit Congressional support from both houses for creating a new Manhattan Project which will focus national funding, resources, and potential solutions directly on the restoration of the northern polar cap.  

A successful sponsoring bill will require 150-250 sponsors (Congressional Members who sign on), so the undertaking is not a mild exercise.  It may require reintroduction in a number of successive Congresses to reach passage.  One can expect a 1-5 year window prior to successful passage, depending on the level of citizenry and corporate ramp up that pushes for the legislation.  

There is a high probability that the Bush Administration would support such legislation once the merits were addressed.  

If the United States of America can fund a war campaign of the financial magnitude that we're now committed to, then we have the capacity and means to set up a Northern Polar Cap Manhattan Project (NPCMP) devoted to avoiding a global disaster as will be created once the northern polar cap vanishes.  

It's my judgment that the project should undertake a multitude of critical actions, one of which would be to establish a multiple location hydro mechanical watering operation, the responsibility of which would be to repair ice sheet damage, generate new water flow to build additional ice sheets, and undertake additional actions which would help slow the meltdown of the ice cap.  The goal is to repair the northern polar cap while it still exists, as the absence of a working platform compounds the problem.  Similarly, such NPCMP operations need to be undertaken in Greenland, and other deep cold locations.  

There will plenty of detractors, but that is to be expected.  The people who will dismiss this idea are not the leaders who got us to the Moon, built the largest dams and bridges in the world, or dug the Panama Canal.  

This project takes real leadership.  The call to go forward with the Congress is the first major political step.  Thereafter, seasoned professional from a number of fields (mechanical engineering, hydrology, climatology, Corps of Engineers, et al) will take the helm at the direction of the Congress and whatever Administration is serving at the time the Northern Polar Cap Manhattan Project (NPCMP)  is authorized as a federally funded project.        

I roughed out the basic concept here:  



Stormy's post



We ought to be able to enlist Santa Claus' help too... after all it's his home that's at stake!

Perhaps he can deliver us a deliver us a giant solar-powered refrigerator to help make all the ice we need...

I appreciate your humor, but for someone who is trained in chemical engineering, I would have hoped for a better response.  

Santa Claus?  He's gonna be all wet.  As will everyone who lives along a coastline in North America.

OK - here's the chemical engineer's response:

This is not even remotely possible.

The amount of energy you would need to throw around to do this would easily be several orders of magnitude (hundreds or thousands of times) or more greater than mankind's total energy production capabilities.

It's a question of scale. A quick look at the amount of energy sloshing around in natural systems compared with the amount of energy humans can command will tell you this.

Engaging in this type of activity is about as effective as trying to stop a freight train with a pea-shooter.

Or as Ben Elton once put it, a bit like pissing into a hurricane.


Well, it's a better answer than your first effort, but I respectfully don't necessarily agree with you.  

Sure, the scale is large.  There are many ways, though, to increase the rate of ice growth at the northern polar cap.  Collectively, it is possible that the situation could be improved substantially over doing nothing.  

What you appear to be overlooking is the theory behind refrigeration and the potential for making ready use of Earth's natural power to assist in growing the ice sheets.  The polar cap is still a refrigerator.  It just needs a little help with materials to freeze.  Scaler electromagnetics could be employed along with a number of other approaches.  Same for wind applications plus clouding seeding as well as hydro mechanical means.  

There is no question that we could use large scale pumping systems, whether powered by nature or nuclear power, to repair some of the ice sheet breaks.  Anyone familiar with large scale hydrology projects would not readily dismiss the idea.  


Another idea that may have merit is a global pipeline fund to flood the deserts of the world with seawater.

There are many areas of the world that are inland deserts well below sea level, for instance the Caspian Basin, the areas surrounding the Dead Sea, areas of the Australian desert and many others. Pipelines and canals could be built from the ocean, funded by a every nation on earth as everyone would benefit from the lowering of sea levels. The pipelines could be siphon driven with nuclear powered pumping stations perhaps.

The benefits would be large- as well as mitigating the effects of rising sea level (enough to counteract melting ice) you would also create inland marine ecosystems, increase evaporation and precipitation and possibly create new forested areas in the desert, which would remove large amounts of carbon from the air over time.

It would be a huge engineering project over hundreds of years, but it looks like similar things are already happening: The news story below talks about a pipeline being planned to refill the Dead Sea.,2763,1479583,00.html

This might be easier engineering-wise, although it does nothing to reduce the source of the problem- CO2 emissions.

You can draw some power until the water levels equalize.  I don't think the Baku, Azerbaijani folks are going to be real happy to hear about this plan though.  They're kinda' in a mess already.
OK, lets follow this through.

  1. I am not overlooking refrigeration theory - the North Polar cap is not a refrigerator, and there is no "natural power" running it. The north pole is cold because it doesn't absorb as much heat from the sun as the rest of the planet - partly because of the low (average) angle of the sunlight (less power input per unit of surface area) and partly because it is white (reflects a larger fraction of the incident light back out to space). Heat comes in from the sun and heat is lost though radiation to space - the surface temperature is a (complex) balance between these two things.

  2. Suppose you want to use refrigeration to supplement the ice generation rate at the north polar cap. The first thing we need to estimate is how much extra ice we want. Lets take a number which (I'm guessing) is smaller than the number that you would propose, say, 1% extra ice cover. Taking data from wikipedia ( as accurate, we have about 10 million km^2 of ice. If we take a conservative assumption of ice thickness 1m thick (this will result in an underestimate of the energy requirement), the volume of ice we need to make is 1% x 10 million km^2 x 1m. There are a million square meters in a square kilometer, so the volume we're talking about is 0.01 x 10 million million square meters x 1 meter = 100 billion cubic meters of ice. Given the density of ice at about 1 tonne per cubic meter, that's about 100 billion tonnes of ice, more or less. How much energy will this take? The latent heat of fusion of water is about 330kJ / kg, meaning that it takes about 330kJ of energy to convert 1kg of water at 0C to 1kg of ice at 0C. So to add an extra 1% coverage of sea ice 1m thick, we need  100 trillion kg x 330 kJ/kg = about 3.3 times 10 to the power of 16 kJ, or 33 million billion kJ of energy. How much is that? Well, if you wanted to do this in a year, the power requirement would be about a TeraWatt, meaning that you would need about a thousand average sized power stations (nuclear or otherwise) running just for that purpose. If you wanted 10% ice coverage, it would be 10,000 power stations be they nuclear, coal, wind, whatever. Now, the thing about refrigeration is that it generates more waste heat than the cooling created (check refrigeration "coefficient of performance") - the first law of thermodynamics says that it is at least equal to the amount of cooling done, and the second law says that it is a lot more. This is why a refrigerator dumps heat to the room through a heat exchanger, and why an air conditioner dumps hot air to the environment outside. If you refrigerate the north pole with 1,000 purpose built power stations (2,000 with a realistic coefficient of performance for the refrigerator), where would you send the waste heat? Note that what I've written so far doesn't make any assumptions about technology, it's only considering thermodynamics (ie, physics).

  3. "Scaler electromagnetics" are technology, not energy. Regardless of what technology you might want to use, ALL OF IT requires more useful energy going in than you get useful energy or work coming out. Unless you want to advocate using perpetual motion machines. This means that if something is energetically impossible, it is also technologically impossible. If if it is technologically impossible, it is politically, economically and socially impossible.

  4. Fundamentally it's a problem of energy balance. There is no way to "grow the ice" without either a) decreasing the energy that is coming into the system, or b) increasing the energy that is going out of the system. Because whether ice grows or shrinks depends on the temperature and the temperature as I mentioned depends on the balance between energy coming in and going out. Increasing the energy leaving the system is not possible because you cannot decrease the temperature of the sky (this is what controls radiative heat loss). That leaves decreasing the energy coming in by filling the sea with ping pong balls, polystyrene, floating metallised foil etc., all of which would have unintended consequences and all of which are questionable in terms of practicality given the area that would need to be covered.

  5. Compare the scale of the "large scale hydrology projects" you mention with the scales involved in the calculations above.
Very Good.  Now do the numbers for a scheme putting windmills on the ice cap that pump seawater straight up and out on the ice to freeze in the winter cold.  Nothing else used.
How much ice would that sea water melt before it got cold enough to freeze?  Would it be a net gain or loss of ice?

Personally, I think we should all just leave our refrigerator doors open!


I appreciate your time and effort.  My remarks below correspond to your number ordering.      

  1. You stated some basic information that we all know, but in my judgment you miss the point on how the planet Earth works.  It's a heat pump.  There are three principle thermostat locations.  Two ice coolers (cold box refrigerators) - northern polar cap and southern polar cap, and an interrupter - the Isthmus of Panama. Those are the critical components that influence the heat pump function of the planet.  If those thermostat locations do not perform their current functions, the planet's climate shifts radically.  It's not much more complicated than that, other than sun radiation patterns and the heat sink capacity of the oceans and certain land masses.  Yes, everything is influencing the heat pump, but its primary components are as stated.    

  2. That's not a bad answer overall.  But you glossed over hydrology and pump GPM considerations.  That's another factor.  Yes, there will be heat exchange at the polar wherever the hydro mechanical is being accomplished.  That effort could very well lead to additional snowfalls, so (if true) that needs to be factored in. If the hydro mechanical stimulated more snowfall, that would be a positive benefit.  Of course, there are other ways to help induce greater snowfall. You also excluded the consideration of natural flow force potential for moving fluids through a pipeline.  There may be a way to tap currents to drive some of the flow.  It would help to have a few pipeline specialists address some of the finer points of pipeline operations such as the pumping station at Delta Junction, Alaska.  Have you ever watched a snow generation system work?  I'm surprised that no one mentioned that technology.  Of course, wet bulb is the issue there.    

  3. I disagree with your position on this one.  I have followed some of the Russian work on this technology applications since the early 1970s.  They were not just wasting their time.  Climatic influence is apparently well within reach.  I have seen some papers that discuss matters that I will not go into (divulge), but I am not convinced that this approach is a wasted consideration.  That's all I will say.  There are a few ongoing projects that appear to support the general theory and available technologies in practical applications.    

  4. I agree with many of the basic comments you shared.  I do not agree with your notion that we "cannot decrease the temperature of the sky (this is what controls radiative heat loss)".  That's not correct technically nor with regard to Earth's recent history to the best of my knowledge.  You also didn't mention the heat sink capacity of the oceans and seas, and how events create temperature variations in those pools of water.  I suggest that the oceans are of primary consideration, not the atmosphere in the sky.  The ability of sea salt water to hold heat is significantly larger than that of the sky.  There is no comparison, actually.  This all goes back to basic knowledge of heat pumps and heat sinks.  There are, moreover, a number of ways to transfer heat back, deep, into the Earth.  Of course, we haven't explored that potential.    

  5. Scale is not an obstacle for my strategic thinking.  It's a secondary consideration.  As to cost, how much are the cities and infrastructure along the East Coast worth?  This is a question raised by Stormy that no one to my knowledge bothered to answer.  

I do appreciate your fine effort.  Thanks, xuewen.
Hello Movie Guy,

I have some further responses for you, retaining the numbering sequence we appear have adopted.

  1. The earth is NOT a heat pump! A heat pump takes energy and uses it to move heat from a cold temperature to a higher temperature, expelling it along with the energy that was consumed. I believe you may have a fundamental misunderstanding about why the poles are cold. Unlike your domestic freezer, they are not cold because of the action of a heat pump. Like your house on a cold day, they are cold because heat naturally flows to something that is even colder. In the case of the North Pole, what is this thing that's even colder? The sky (NOT the atmosphere). The night sky has a temperature of about 3-4 Kelvins, as close to absolute zero as makes no difference. Heat is continually lost from the planet to the sky by thermal radiation - to prove this is as simple as drawing a system boundary around the earth. Energy comes in from the sun, and because the earth's state is more or less at equilibrium, more or less exactly the same amount of energy is radiated to space. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it all goes somewhere. The reason why the poles are so much colder than the rest of the planet is simply that they receive a whole lot less solar energy per square meter than the rest of the planet (but their heat loss rate is [more of less] comparable).

  2. <regarding hydrology and pumping> I didn't "gloss over" it. It's irrelevant to the calculation because I'm talking about energy balance considerations - thermodynamics. If you want to consider the necessity of pumping, it won't be as large as the heat of fusion considerations, but will only increase the calculated energy requirements and render the proposal even more impossible (is that like something being larger than infinity?). Snowfall? Snow falling on the ice doesn't help because it doesn't increase the surface area of the polar cap. Snow falling on the ocean also doesn't help because it melts immediately. The polar caps grow when the temperature gets low enough to freeze the top of the sea. Making artificial snow does not remove any heat from the system (it actually adds a small amount because of the pumping energy used) and so does not help the situation.

  3. <re: "scaler magnetics" and technology vs energy> I'm sorry, but you're flat wrong. Electromagnetics of any kind ARE NOT energy sources, they simply convert energy from one form to another. They are a technology. Technology is not the same kind of thing as energy. To claim otherwise is equivalent to claiming to have a perpetual motion machine. If you want to make such a claim you would not only need to provide some sort of logical argument, evidence or at least references, but they would have to be very, VERY good arguments, evidence, AND references. This confusion between technology and energy seems to be the source of a great deal of (potentially fatal) muddled thinking in our society, particularly from the economics side (sorry LouGrinzo).

  4. I said sky, not atmosphere. They are not the same thing. The night sky has a temperature of around 3-4 Kelvins. And no, its temperature has not changed over any time scale that is of geological interest to humans. The beauty of the first law of thermodynamics, as I'm sure you are aware, is that it applies to all systems regardless of whatever the hell it is that goes on inside the system. So the complexities of atmosphere, oceans etc don't make a lick of difference to my argument. Pumping heat into the earth would take at least as much energy as the heat you are trying to pump, and it wouldn't stay where it's put.

  5. <re: scale being a secondary consideration> I'm surprised you aren't dead. For me, considerations of mass and velocity scales are what stop me from stepping out into moving traffic or jumping from heights much more than a meter or two. As to cost, well I haven't considered it yet. It's hardly worthwhile costing something that we know is not physically possible. Physics trumps engineering and economics. ie if something is not physically (eg, thermodynamically) possible, it can't be engineered no matter how hard you try, and no matter how much money you throw at it. [BTW, what's really interesting I think is that it appears that mathematics trumps physics... ]
Restoration of the northern polar ice cover and the melting of the Greenland ice sheets? What drugs are you on?

This is Mother Nature we're screwing with. Man is not the measure of all things as the Greek put it. The sooner you understand this, the fewer posts of this kind you will make. This, in turn, will restore some clear thinking as to what we're going to do about it. Hint: we've got to cut GHG gas emissions right now and going forward because a significant volume of those emissions end up in the atmosphere. This warming melts ice, warms the oceans and generally causes longterm surface warming of the planet as it attempts to come into radiative heat balance.

Just because we can make ipods and cellphones doesn't mean we can 1) increase world-wide oil production without limit and 2) stop climate warming. Technology has its limitations as humankind is about to learn (and is learning) in a very disruptive way.

Time to powerdown and take the problems associated with exponential growth (of people and energy consumption) seriously. The arrogance of people to think that they can do anything they want. The Fossil Fuels Age is a 300 year window in the whole of human history. Time to think about what we're going to do as it winds down in a realistic way right now and not spend our time thinking we can engineer the climate and geophysics of planetary processes.

Take a deep breath and, as in The Matrix, take one of these pills.

Take the red pill and deal with reality. Or take the blue pill and decide we can engineer the climate (technology will save us) or have blind faith in Adam Smith's invisible hand (the markets). It's your choice.
I fear peak oil means it will be a lot harder to lauch "Manhattan projects."  Indeed, the last one we launched was the Apollo program, forty years ago.  Before we hit the U.S. oil peak, perhaps not coincidentally.  

We have been forced to lower our sites, and peak oil will mean lowering them even more.  


You don't have your facts straight.  You can condemn and quibble, but you haven't grasped the bottom line of our situation.  

Your emotional outburst is an understandable response, but it's clear in my judgment that you understand little about refrigeration theory and the operation of heat pumps, or the principle of delayed effect.  

Taking global emissions to ZERO tomorrow morning will not save the northern ice cap.  Call NASA and any experienced climatologist and ask them that question.  The answer is no.  

Similarly, the cleaning up of the air in the atmosphere has further complicated the problem with temperature increase.  

The question is simple.  The ice cap is melting rapidly.  What will the nations of the planet Earth do about it?  The cap still serves as a refrigeration center or thermostat, and it's still functioning.  If we were to experience massive increased snowfall on the northern cap for the next few decades, it's rate of meltdown would decrease.  Absent that potential, we can add artificial snow or simply freeze more water on the existing remaining ice fields, whether on ocean or land.  That initiative, in turn, will help stabilize the cap until emissions reductions kick in over the longer term.  

We have no choice in attempting to supplement the ice fields of the northern polar cap.  A large undertaking, yes, but not insurmountable.  


There is an effective alternate to snowing and icing the northern polar cap by the means I have recommended.  While effective, there are a number of negatives associated with this climate strategy.  

We could initiate a few Plinian eruptions, but then we would have the problem of ash clean up.  But the planet climate would change rapidly.  

It wouldn't be overly difficult to light off a few volcanoes, but that's hardly the first course of action that I would recommend.  And if you believe that they won't try that later on, probably after we're dead, I would think again.  They will get desperate after we also lose the southern polar cap.  

Anyway, here's a brief overview:



Dave and Everyone Else, Do you agree with Movieguy's following assertion: "Taking global emissions to ZERO tomorrow morning will not save the northern ice cap." If you are unsure, then point to where the science is unclear. If you disagree, then argue the case. Only in this instance do you have a plausible response. If you disagree, then you have one of two options:
  1. Be fatalistic and accept the loss of much of the coastline and some countries.
  2. Explore how we can arrest or slow ice cap melt.
Movieguy's assertion is at the heart of his case for at least thinking about delaying the melt. How much is NYC worth?
I think we will have no choice but to pick #1.  There seems to be a growing consensus that it's already too late to arrest or reverse climate change.  And with peak oil looming, we'll have more than enough on our plates already.  
And here's the list of possible sources.  

Global Volcano List


Hello TODers,

I am not a scientist by any means, but would a gazillion white ping-pong balls lower the Albedo Effect enough to create more ice?  They certainly would be easy to suck up if they started drifting too far south. Or would this be too dangerous for the Arctic wildlife?

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


Assume that the area we need is comparable to the size of the arctic ice sheet or ~10 million km^2 (source:

A ping pong ball has weight 2.7g and diameter of 40mm. (source:

If we assume that the balls are square packed, the amount of area covered by a single ball as 40x40 = 1600 mm^2.

1 km^2 = (1000 mm/m x 1000 m/km)^2 mm^2 = 1e12 mm^2

Square mm in the polar ice cap ~10e6 km^2 x 1e12 mm^2 / km^2

= ~1e19 mm^2

Number of balls required = 1e19 / 1600 = ~6e15 balls
Mass required = 1.7e16 grams

... or about 17 billion tonnes of ping pong balls!

Please think about the scales involved.

Where would we make them?
How would we ship them?
Where would the energy for this exercise come from?
How long would it take to do?
How long do we have?

How would we keep all these ping-pong balls from being blown into the Berants Sea or Antartic Ocean, drifting around for years, not being eaten by dolphins and finally clogging up the pipelines we're going to build to the Dead and Caspian Seas?  And if they don't clog up the pipelines, what will the folks living near the Dead Sea and the Caspian Sea do with all of them?  
Your fundamental premise in this post and the others is just wrong. We can not engineer natural processes to suit us just as we are influencing them in the wrong direction. What, do you think Homo sapiens is, God?

There is a book called The Arrogance of Humanism by David Ehrenfeld which is "an inquiry into the origins, dissemination, and consequences of the modern belief that humans can solve any problem and overcome any difficulty, given time and resources enough."

We've got a fairly good handle on what anthropocentrism has and is doing to the Earth so far--exponential growth is a powerful thing--do you think we could possibly know enough to reverse the processes we have set in motion? Or have the psychological wherewithal and will power to do so?

Have you ever seen the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still?

You know, the global warming deniers make a lot of mileage out of false dichotomy and framing probability questions as if they were binary.  They want proof ("0" or "1") and then binary action ("do nothing, or cripple the economy").

I'd hate to see mitigation treated the same way.

It's not a binary.  There are more choices than "do nothing, or launch large, costly, and risky mega-engineering projects."

Some things are so natural it's hard to fault them (planting trees).  Others have been suggested which, while costly, seem harmless enough (paint all roofs white).  At the furthest extreme there are things like dumping iron in the oceans which, while possibly effective would strike me as quite risky.

Obviously there is a scale to these things (in both cost and risks).

Some issues are logically binary. But I did give a third alternative: You are not sure that we have reached a tipping point. In short, we have time to pursue conservation and technological change.
If a logical sequence seems false, demonstrate it. Simply saying that some issues cannot be framed this way is not enough. Is this one of those issues?
Psychologically, I know that considering world-scale projects is very, very uncomfortable. People will think that you have gone off the deep end. It will be one more reason they will not heed the danger. You will be a true Cassandra, looking very, very silly, more like a Chicken-little clown than anything else.
I would suggest that emotionally we have yet to grapple with this issue. Our intellect says "Danger," yet we look around and everything seems fine. Daily experience challenges what we intellectually know.
I for one experience this bifurcation every day. Consequently, I wait. In the last analysis, I am not sure. I cling to daily experience, hoping it will stay the same. So, too, do the deniers. We are not so different from them, I think.
I happened to just say this in another forum, but it applies here I think:

Last year, or the year before, I was struck by two parallel trends. On the one hand this binary view of global warming was strong, and on the other hand poker was becoming a very popular game.

I've always thought that this would be a good teaching opportunity for global warming. Maybe someone who is a better writer than I could take a crack at it ... but basically, sometimes it's a good idea to fold after just seeing a few cards. You have not "proved" who will win, but you a good idea of the odds.

Abusing the analogy, the stereotypical global warming denier wants us to play out the game, prove who wins ... and then bet.

Unfortunately it's too late then, the game is over.

The Global Warming deniers I run into fall into one of 10 categories:
either they believe in binary counting or not.

OK. Kidding aside, a large majority of the deniers can be broken out into 2 extreme camps: those who know no science and think it's just quirks of the "weather" as always and those who know too many scientific attacks on the details and are waiting for the unassailable ultimate proof. Like you said, that proof will come when it is too late and a Category 6 hurricane is blowing humanity off the face of the Earth (yes, I know there is no 6. It's a figure of extremist speech.)

We were pushing category six last year. With continued global warming contributing to hotter Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico waters, combined with this year's El Nino, we may get one, or more.
What's risky about dumping iron in the ocean to fertilise the algae to suck up all the CO2? The only risky thing about it is that it probably won't work. What's the worst thing that could happen if we tried it again, in different places, at different times, to see which places and times worked best?
How do you know it won't artifcially inflate some species populations, while depressing others?  How would the "new" ratios of plantonic creatures shake out through the higher food-chain?
That will probably happen because that's what happens in the real world. The plankton will be eaten by zooplankton, which will be eaten by small fish, which will be eaten by big fish.
But which big fish?
When the cod disappeared recently, the lobster catch boomed. Was it connected? Causal? No idea, but lots of theories.
So maybe the former cod fishery gets replaced by a herring fishery?
This has already been tried.

From what I recall it was not a huge success (for reasons of scale, once more)

If it did work, the algae could suck up all the oxygen, too, killing fish and causing "dead zones."
Overnutrient dead zone happen in rivers and rivering environments with limited oxygen, like under a freshwater fan in a delta. Those deadzones are caused by fertiliser runnoff.
Since we are adding the feritiliser, we have an economic incentive not to overfertilise.
And remember, the alternative is global warming, malaria in your town, and storm surges wiping out the coastline.
You asked what could go wrong.  Oxygen depletion is one thing that can go wrong.  The law of unintended consequences applies.

We may not know we have overfertilized until it's too late.  The problem often happens when the fertilizing stops.  A dieoff occurs with the sudden drop in nutrients, which does bad things to the water quality.    

Funny, but this sounds like some Star Trek episode where they're debating the Prime Directive.
I'm with Dave and Leanan on this one. We have pressed up against the limits of what nature will tolerate in many, many ways, not just a few -- not just climate. The day of megaprojects is over -- it's time to start scaling back our footprint on the planet. Megaprojects increase our footprint and consume vast resources. I'm sure the administration is not hostile to this KIND of project, whether it favors this particular one or not.

Always, always, always, no matter what the threat, whether it be wayward meteors, ICBM attacks from outer Flubenia, global warming, or peak oil -- the solution is another moon shot, a vast mobilization of resources, big money for big contractors, with no responsibility for results, no clear definition of results, no concern for results.

But the real threat is our inability to rein ourselves in, reduce our footprint on the planet, and say goodbye to ever increasing growth. At this point we ARE going to take some blows from nature, unavoidably. But if we become nimbler and lighter on our feet, more cooperative,less locked into war, we can get through it, get on a path to sustainability.

Unfortunately, this approach which is objectively quite conservative, cautious and reasonable is made to seem nutty -- while the megaproject approach seems like it is doing something, like it's addressing the problem. But it seems that way only because we're been brainwashed.

Even within within the limits of our system as it is, there is so much that could be done RIGHT AWAY with practically NO capital expenditure, and with SOME a whole lot more. 55 or 50mph - enforced!
Carpooling enforced! No car zones in cities. Rewarded job swapping to reduce long commutes.

Like almost instantaneously we could cut our energy consumption in half -- if there were a will. Other countries maybe not so easy because they've done a lot of the easy stuff. We've done almost NONE of it. But there is no will because there is no MONEY in doing the right thing. And there is a lot of money in doing the wrong thing. So things will get worse and worse until we establish a social order in which profit is not allowed to trump common sense, rationality, science, and even the survival instinct of species. Is there such a thing? I hope so. I'd like to see it start kicking in.


The mega projects are over?  

Note what these guys are considering:

Climate Control Requires a Dam at the Strait of Gibraltar

In another hundred years there may be mega projects that make everything accomplished in the last 75 years look very small.  


Protagoras, the ancient Greek, said words that translate into:
"Man is the measure of all things."

He was a sophist, one of those hated and despised by Socrates and Plato, because Protagoras explicitly denied the possibility of finding truth (objective solid scientific knowledge or genuine knowledge of any kind).

Protagoras is important in the history of philosophy as perhaps the first clear advocate of extreme subjectivism as a view of the world. His spirit is alive and well today in various anti-science schools of thought, e.g. the deconstructionists.

In my opinion Plato decisively refuted Protagoras, but it is hard to bury the stinking corpses of false ideas, because they keep rising up as zombies in different clothing.

The issue is fundamentally one of epistemology (How do we know what we claim to know?), and let's not go there.

Protagoras is ... perhaps the first clear advocate of extreme subjectivism ... a view of the world [that] is alive and well today in various anti-science schools of thought, e.g. the deconstructionists.

Me-self, matey never did do too well in philosophy. Got spun and off-balanced by all those shadows on the cave wall. However it sounds as if there is quantum truth to Protagoras' view. IOW, his view is true at the same time that Plato & scientific unification theory is true.

For some people, the world seems to operate according to a valid, subjective truism model (especially if they never took any science laboratory courses). So yes, the markets always provide for them. Yes, humanity always finds a way a far as they see it. Optimism triumphs over pessimism. Chicken Little was always wrong. (They never heard of Easter Island and never will.)

The pessemist will always fail.

Optimists fail more than they succeed.

Therefore . . . ?

Are you a quitter?

I doubt that. Because if you were, then why post anything?

Are you a quitter?

By definition, if I quit being a pessimist and become an optimist, I'm a quitter.

This pirate, arggh, never stays the course. We may be walking down the plank one way on Sunday, matey, and then we's turns ourselves about and heads the other way on Monday.

Staying the course is for sissies.
Only the brave and independent, cut and run their film against the establishment.

George Clooney for President 2008.
Pass it on.

Ah, the old "can do" attitude!  I would not even know where to begin to calculate the amount of energy required, but suffice it to say that we are talking about moving energy on a planetary scale.  I've heard estimates of the energy in one hurricane that are stupefying.  I realize that one may not have to supply the energy to do such a thing directly if there is some process that could be "steered" or catalyzed in some way, just as the carbon is acting as a trap for the energy of the sun.  However, in the end the engineer in me is very skeptical.  

We suffer from too much solar energy being trapped on earth.  The only option would be to try to block some of it, but I doubt we could ever do this in a controlled fashion, and there would be enormous bad side effects.  One does not mess with energy amounts that large without consequences, just as we are seeing now.  We aren't that smart yet.  

It took us many decades to let this genie out of the bottle, and in that time we've released a good portion of the stored solar energy of millions of years (there was a thread discussing these quantities a while back).  I would think that if you want to put it back, it will take a similar amount of energy to do it, or at least you'd have to block a similar amount of energy from reaching earth.

Maybe in the movies.

Then you are in the fatalistic camp? Nothing can be done.
Or maybe nothing should be done.
By all means, I think we should look at what can be done - I'm all for funding research on it.  However:

a.    I doubt we have the ability to do much about it.
b.    Even if we have the ability, I doubt we would have the knowledge to use it without causing even bigger problems.

So I guess the answer to your question is yes.  It's dangerous to believe that we have the ability to fix anything/everything.  Look upon a creature that has just died, and observe that to all appearances it's just like it was a moment ago - but it is gone, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.  We need the humility to understand why we must be so very careful of that which is precious, and beyond our ability to fix once it is too badly damaged.  

The Earth will continue, and life will thrive on it, human life too.  But it may be a very different place than it would have been.  It remains to be seen how quickly that change will happen, but I believe we're all going to be considerably distracted by political and economic problems that will not be ignored.  

It's unclear how stable the climatologically system is, but I'm quite alarmed by the possibilities of what we have set in motion.  

You don't have a remotely credible technical approach. Therefore, political action on the subject will be actively harmful.
Let's set the professional record straight, Stuart.  

It's my personal and professional judgment that you lack the professional expertise in the fields necessary to render such a judgment.  

Aside from your aloofness and arrogance on this matter, you have offered nothing constructive on the scope of recommendation, whether undertaken in part or whole, or taken in concert with other actions as deemed necessary to save the northern polar cap.  Nor have you shown the calculations upon which you decided to condemn the recommendation.  

First, you are not a mechanical engineer.  I doubt that you any background whatsoever in building and operating large pumping systems or power systems.  Name one major pumping project that you designed, worked on, or led.  

Second, you are not a hydrologist.  That's a complex field of which we have many experts.  You are not one of them. I have worked with many of the finest and most accomplished individuals in this field.    

Third, you are not a climatologist.  We have sufficient expertise from those who have studied the problem with the northern polar cap to state openly that the problem is serious and that elimination of current man-made emissions will not stop the meltdown of the polar cap.  I respect their judgment, and concur with their observations and projections.    

For you to state that political action on the subject of creating a Northern Polar Cap Manhattan Project "will be actively harmful" demonstrates your ignorance of the need to (1) address the problem formally and (2) take whatever action an oversight commission and supporting panel of accomplished experts would recommend to the Administration and Congress as necessary and prudent.  I am more than willing to defer to the professional judgment of a project commission, the membership of which would be composed of professionals associated with such project undertakings.  

I have had the fortunate opportunity to work on national water resource projects with outstanding professionals who are nationally known for their expertise.  Similarly, I have provided testimony to the U.S. Congress on water resource matters.  I know the legislative process.  I ran one of the nation's river associations and learned enough about hydrology working 80-112 hours a week for a few years to force a major Federal lawsuit after working with three states concerned.  Many said that couldn't be done, but it happened.  

I may not have a perfect answer, but it's better than anything I have seen you and others throw on the table.  You can act as though you are an expert on this matter, but I do not believe it.  

Negativity isn't the answer to being an outstanding leader.  That's usually reserved for staffers and technical personnel who normally demonstrate reluctance with new undertakings.  The same staffers who if lead properly brag about major accomplishments on such projects later on.  

If the U.S. Congress conducts hearings on this subject, it is my expectation that such a process will ultimately lead to the formation of a commission and perhaps a core working group of accomplished professionals who will arrive at the appropriate solutions.  It is unlikely that they will be fearful of the scale of the project undertaking in light of what is at risk.  If called upon, I will certainly testify in support of forming a commission and subsequent Northern Polar Cap Manhattan Project.  No question.  

We landed on the Moon.  But we did not accomplish that national goal with your attitude.  


You're calling out Stuart on an insane point that you're making about engineering the warming of the polar ice caps due to anthropogenic climate change? Wow. I had thought I'd seen everything up until now. And given all I know myself about climate change and years of reading technical papers on the subject by climate scientists, you might as well take your best shot at me and everybody at RealClimate. You couldn't touch their knowledge about the problem or Stuart's or mine about the subject with a long stick (if you could find a long enough stick).

You've set a new standard here at TOD. Unfortunately, that is a race toward the bottom regarding intelligent discourse.

I familiar with the writing at RealClimate.  They do a good job for those issues that they address.  You'll get no complaint out of me about RealClimate's efforts.  

I don't take kindly to your attitude.  You set a new low for arrogance and lack of discretion at TOD by attacking me.  And I have read TOD for a long time.  So, don't play the innocent.  

Now, as a point of fact, your 'extensive' knowledge of climatic matters fell significantly short in my opinion.  Your post elsewhere demonstrates a lack of awareness that the northern polar cap will melt away with or without the reduction in current man-made greenhouse emissions.  And Stormy raised a question that you did not answer.  

If it is the case that the northern polar cap will melt down regardless of what the planet's nations do toward reducing greenhouse emissions, what is your personal recommendation for addressing the meltdown of the northern polar cap?  Seriously.  What's your Plan B?  Nothing?  

Come on.  That's what this is about.  We have to think outside of our existing self-enforced box (of which you are trying to play God-like Cop) and address the problem in other ways.  You are acting as an obstructionist for new ideas.  And everyone is able to watch your obstructionist campaign.  All you had to do was send me an email; we could have talked on the telephone.  You didn't extend that courtesy.  So much for your sense of decency.  

Back on point...

Could we go to the northern polar cap and starting adding mass to the ice sheets and glaciers?  Sure.  Is it a good idea?  Maybe or maybe not.  The obstacle isn't the mass scale of the project.  We have the existing mechanical engineering, hydrological, and climatology expertise and available means of financing a demonstration project.  If it shows promise, the professionals in charge could recommend going to the next step.  

But at the very least, we have to be more serious about the nature and scope of the pending problem.  

If your recommendation is that we should plan to relocate the Eastern Seaboard critical infrastructure, I could support that approach.  I would ask, though, why we're not addressing the meltdown.  If impossible to influence through cloud seeding, scaler eletromagnetic efforts, and a host of other considerations, then we're stuck with relocation.  Fine.  But let's explore ALL options.  Mechanical and otherwise.  

Scalar Electromagnetics and Weather Control

scalar potential interferometer & artificial EM fields

We can act like some governments haven't attempted to influence/interfere with climate patterns previously, but that's not true. Some of that information is classified and some isn't.  

We will address the northern polar cap problem more seriously within the next few years.  I know that much from discussing the matter with Members of Congress.  


Maybe The Oil Drum (A Community Discussion about Peak Oil) should stick to oil subjects (which it does so well)...and let the Global Climate websites talk about global warming.

An open thread does not mean that any subject is allowed, does it?  Is the upcoming baseball season allowed?  Or, the NCAA basketball tournament (March Madness - Go Spartans)?

There are many subjects that are best discussed else where.

And in my opinion, that includes the extremely large, and controversial subject of global warming.


Global warming has always been part of the discussion here.  It was the hurricanes that put this place on the map for a lot of people.

Even at, where they are forced to be strict about off-topic posts due to bandwidth considerations, climate change is considered a legitimate peak oil topic.  

Movie Guy,

You don't need to be any kind of engineer - it's not about technology, it's about energy. They are not the same thing.

Stuart knows enough about energy and the scale of what's involved to not even need to do the proverbial back-of-the-envelope calculation.

The first step after you've got a bright idea for a solution is to apply the first law of thermodynamics: how much energy  do I need to do this, and how much have I got at my disposal?

A rough calculation will often suffice (see my post on ping pong balls)

If you don't have enough energy (or other resources) to do it, forget it right there and move on. It ain't gonna happen, regardless of technology, regardless of expertise, creativity, the invisible hand or any of the other "resources" that economists like to talk about. Go on to the next idea. When you've got one that passes that first test, please tell us all about it.

I studied thermodynamics when I was in mechanical engineering as an undergrad.  I understand what is involved.

In my judgment, you are overlooking the additional means we could engage to harness the Earth's natural energies.  

I addressed a few of those points above in my a response to one of your earlier posts.  My second response under your silly Santa Claus crack.  



You posit that various governments have experimented with scalar climate control in the past.  Given the US's notable denial that climate change occurs, you'd think  that they at least would already be working against climate change.  Why not just let them deal with it?  What are the possible outcomes?

  1.  They try and it works.
  2.  They try and it doesn't work.
  3.  Climate change is actually part of the plan and they don't try to stop it.

Unless branch 1 is (or could be) true, advocating the use of scalar climate control is pointless (and could be actively dangerous if branch 3 is true).  The fact that climate change persists in the presence of such a technology indicates that branch 1 is in fact false.

From a practical standpoint, scalar effects must be very weak if they exist, because many electrical/electronic devices contain elements which would be expected to serve as scalar radiators and antennas, yet scalar effects are not observed.

Dude, you're being awfully rude to your host.
This has got to be the funniest thread I've yet read at TOD, especially if you like your humor black hole dark.
Without having any idea who you are, and after a cursory glance at this comment thread, I would like to offer my feedback: STFU!
MG: If what you say in this post about your personal history is in fact true, I can now understand why FEMA failed after Katrina, and is still failing today. There are only 2 ways to replenish the polar ice. Pipe the excess energy into outer space or change the chemical makeup of the atmosphere. When you have the piping design authorization approved let us know. BTW  melting ice in the Arctic Ocean would cause the ocean level to remain constant due to the fact it has already displaced its equivalent melted volume. Of course you are well aware of this fact, however some other folks may not be. So the only place you can pump additional snow is on Greenland or Antarctica, and not on top of ice sheets, they are also already floating.
That should be true, but isn't. The water from melting ice is fresh, not salt, so the volume displaced isn't the same. Sea level will rise a very small amount because of the melting polar ice cap.
That is the least of our worries from a melting polar ice cap.
Well I wasn't getting that technical, however if you are interested you may be interested in this site. html
BTW I have no doubt spent man years doing borehole formation conductivity simulations using salt & water solutions.
Stuart, I really respect the work you have done here. It has been amazing. But please note, you are calling into question his credentials. Call him. Speak with him personally. This silly flaming has got to stop.
I most emphatically agree: Flaming is counterproductive.

Also, I question the relevance of questioning a person's credentials. The "smartest" Harvard MBS loaned billions to Brazil and Argentina that will never be repaid; other top Harvard econ or business graduates went a long way to screw up Enron. Credentials do not impress me.

I may (and do) disagree with Stuart on some issues, but I respect his competence, integrity, clarity, effort to be fair-minded, and especially the elegance and simpicity and power of his math. I might respectfully suggest that Stuart (or anybody) should do more homework in certain areas, but I have found that the military experts (generals) lose wars, the architects who designed the Twin Towers were criminally irresponsible despite their credentials, and that sailing certificates issued by the American Sailing Association are utterly worthless.

Thus, I classify most appeals to credentials as fallacious appeals to authority.

Y'know, I never liked the aesthetics of Yamazaki's WTC towers, but I don't see any particular irresponsibility in the design.  They weren't intended to be fortresses, and behaved structurally about as well as could be expected.
I liked WTC since they did not pretend to be anything elese then big brutal and fairly practical office boxes. Impressive in the same way as a large hydro dam. Probably not the best way to build a nice city but they were some kind of statement in the same way as the loundness of a rock and roll concert.
Pity I never got to see them with my own eyes.

It is easy to design a better WTC when you have hindsight.

I would add thicker and more robust fire insulation and a "closed" floor truss design with extremely overdesigned connections between floor trusses and the wall and central column. One nice touch would be to make the floors out of prestressed concrete with heat resistant tensioning cables, perhaps such can be made out of carbon fibre? This becomes easier if you skip the requirement of large column free spaces.

The cental column would be made stronger with several independant and reinforced emergency evacuation stairs and elevators with independant power supplies.

The sprinklers would be complemented with armored high capacity foam units in the central column of the same type as used to fill hangars with foam. This would slow down a massive fire. You can probably not win but losing slower saves lives.

Structural temperature sensors inside the structures to detect approaching structural failure. Perhaps in the form of melting wiering.

I am anyway impressed that the buildings held out so long after such massive damages and fire.

Well, you are correct about hindsight.  The WTC wasn't a quirky design.  Clients want and like column-free spaces, so architects and engineers find a way.  Clients like renting all the windowed space, so stairs tend to be pushed close together in an interior core, where a jet can take them all out.

Increasing the weight of each floor with a more robust structure would increase the size of the columns on the floor below, and would eventually increase the weight on the foundations.  I've never broken it down that way, but I believe that in ordinary buildings foundations represent about 15% of the cost.  For skyscrapers built on moist or filled-in Manhattan sites they must cost a lot more.  So you don't want to add weight without a strong reason.

Don, since you brought it up.  First there was no architectural failure, as the building appearance or form had nothing to do with it, other than maybe the height, so I assume you mean structural failure.  Neither was there a failure of the fire protection system and, since this is a perfect example of several unrelated systems failing at the same time, perhaps it is worth continuing the previous thread's discussion.  

1.) Buildings, except nuclear power containment structures are not designed for anything close to aircraft crashes, with containment structures only being designed for high velocity projectiles that may resemble certain parts of aircraft that might strike it, but actually the condition is more like a telephone pole hurled by a tornado.  Normal high rise buildings arn't even designed for tornados and in many places in the world won't resist a Cat 1 hurricane.  Given the limited number of buildings in the history of the world struck by airplanes, its hard to justify that design condition being applied, especially when the cost of meeting it would be prohibitive to constructing buildings anyway.  It would effectively be prohibiting the building of any structure tall enough for an aircraft to hit at all.  In all probabity, the WTCs I think could have survived hits from anything less than one B-727 or A-320 size aircraft.  Even though, as I'm sure you know, the Empire State building was hit by a DC-3 type size in the 40's and survived quite well.

2.) Fire protection is usually provided for 2 hours of a fire burning and producing temperatures from combustibles usually found in buildings.  In this case, excess temperatures were produced by large quantities of burning Jet A1. Clearly, fire melted and weakened many critical members at their reduced limit stresses caused by the exceedingly high temperatures, but to call it a failure of the fire protection is a stretch, as would be asking for 2 hours of fire protection for temperatures caused by massive quantities of burning jet fuel, which obviously should not have been in the buildings anyway.  Not to mention that the fire protection would weigh so much that it would be difficult if not costly for any building column to support its own weight, thereby once again, effectively prohibiting the construction of anything tall enough to be hit by aircraft.  

So this at first glance, appears to be the cumulative result of many causes; 1.) Airport Security  2.) Excessive Local Lateral Load 3.) Excessive Global Lateral Load 4.) Excessive temperatures due to combustion of inappropriate materials in building 5.) Inadequate security and protection of airspace from pirated aircraft with unknown intentions. 6.) inadequate protection of the WTC structures themselves, which obviously should have had long range surface to air missile systems and AWAC target acquisition and tracking capability installed on rooftops, since another terrorist attack should have been expected, given the first one had already taken place.  7.) A group of wack-Os managed to get visas.

Most all design codes are based on the probability of exceeding a given "stress" (here meaning any kind of stress, ie. stress at elevated temp, load stress at normal temp, fatigue stress at x load cycles) limit, taking into consideration a certain probability of having a certain percentage of a material's actual resistance value come in at about 5% or so under the specified minimum when subjected to the most probable loading conditions, that are also identified in the codes, except for unusual loading condition or limit stress which must be included when such can be REASONABLY expected to occur at least once in the life of the object being designed.  

So now we have to ask ourselves, how "worth it" would it be to design just for the 7 items I listed?  It seems like only item #1 is worth it.  At least that's all that has been done so far, unless there is now some rule of engagement that partially covers certain parts of #5 and new visa requirements for #7.  The others are obviously and clearly not practical to provide every occupied skyscraper or other critical structure that sticks up high enough to be hit by an airplane.

So, 7 <relatively> independent systems that all failed at the same time (or within a short time of one another), none of which by themselves can really be attributed to being the one root cause that made the ultimate destruction of the towers inevitable, (but if I had to pick it would be #1, maybe #5, or stretching it, #7), yet the towers survived a sufficient length of time to "minimize" casualities under the extreme circumstances they were subjected to.  IMO.  Certain economic realities must be balanced against designing for every improbable case one can dream up, the result of which when all converge to casuse a failure is one of those cases covered by "Murphy's Laws".  

Now, with that said, I don't understand how it can in any manner be attributed to a structural failure or how one could ask for the design codes to be increased to cover such improbable and costly conditions.  I do note that a certain percentage of individuals are asking if the "usefullness" of constructing more of these skyscraper structures is now in question.  Have any new ones been built in the US since 911?  

IMO it is criminal irresponsibility to design a building that will fail catastrophically if hit by the largest airplane that can reasonably be expected to fly into that building during the building's life. Airplanes have been hitting buildings for a long time, and the ones that hit the Twin Towers were nowhere nearly as big as say, a 747 or a C5A, not to mention some of the Russian monsters.

Please explain to me the logic of buildings that collapse so easily. Yes, I am an economist, and I realize that you cannot build to resist an earthquake of 9.9 on the Richter scale or 700 knot wind gusts--at least not at reasonable cost. But there are plenty of reasonable alternatives:

  1. Build more underground, less above ground.
  2. Build pyramids.
  3. Use older, somewhat more expensive approaches, such as those that seemed to have worked well for the Empire State Building--more reinforced concrete, thicker steel, more sprinklers, just common-sense precautions.
  4. Forget skyscrapers altogether: The economies of cramming large numbers of people into small spaces become more and more questionable as communications (phone, e-mail, cellphone, etc.) become better.

To the best of my recollection, when the Empire State Building was designed, it was designed specifically to be able to take a hit from and survive a crash from the biggest plane on the drawing boards at the time--roughly a B-17. And of course when it was hit by a fairly large bomber (in 1944, if memory serves), it took the hit and stood with only moderate damage.
Well, you are welcome to build a pyramid for yourself, but I think you'll balk when the bids come in.  I just got a million dollar add alternate to repoint a nine story brick-faced classroom building.  We encourage our clients to go for brick and block because it lasts, not because it is the cheapest initial cost.

As I noted above, heavier, safer structure will lead to much larger, more costly foundations, and therefore to much shorter buildings on the same soil.  

The Empire State Building had a few advantages in surviving the aircraft collision:
The ESB structure was hand-calculated, with redundant framing, close column-spacing, high steel-safety factors and thick masonry fire protection.  Yamasaki's team used computer programs to reduce all the structural members to the smallest weight possible, used long span floor members and spray-on fireproofing (as did most contemporary buildings).
The plane was carrying fast-burning fuel, which quickly burned away, and hit the building at random.  The jets were carrying slow-burning fuel and were aimed for maximum damage.  I believe the plane was flying more slowly, too.

Absolutely no doubt about the Empire State Building bomber being slower. The cruising speed of a B-25 Mitchell is listed as about 230 MPH. The weight of the bomber probably just about equalled that of the passengers on the airliners. The B-25s maximum fuel load, without auxiliary tanks, is 974 gallons. As it was on a flight from Massachusetts to New Jersey, it probably had quite a bit less than that on board. No vertical beams were severed by the collision. A fire killed eleven people and two women survived a 75 story fall in an elevator. One engine traversed the building and started a fire in a building across the street.
I haven't seen the Empire State calculations, but I sincerely doubt that the ES was designed for anything other than high wind, even if somebody happened to publish otherwise, I'd ask for the calcs.  It would be a first in my knowledge of building design and actually, I'm a structural engineering P.E., so I would only consider the calculations themselves as having sufficient authority to confirm this.  

Might as well design design buildings for getting hit by the largest meteorite you can imagine.  Is it criminal irresponsibility to NOT design cars for 100% occupant survivability during head-on impacts of 200 mph?  Is it criminal irresponsibility to design airplanes that do not crash or sailboats to take hits from VLCCs or SSBN conning towers?  If you want to talk criminal irresponsibility, I suggest we move over to the topics of Economics and US monitory policy, or if you prefer to get back on topic, there's PO and US DOE "Energy Policy".  

Stuart did not impugn anyone's credentials.  He criticized the idea, not the person holding it.  Criticizing someone's ideas is not flaming.
I was criticizing not Stuart but the stupid jerk who made an attack on Stuart because he was not a mechanical engineer, not a hydrologist, not a climatologist, etc.

"Stupid jerk" in this context is not insulting, merely accurate characterization.

I would prefer that you not use personal attacks like that, even if you are defending me :-)
O.K., sorry, I try not to lose my temper but sometimes do so.

Maybe we can develop some polite acronyms;-)

I'm not questioning his credentials - I don't know what they are, and in any case that's not a style of argument I generally make on this blog. In the previous thread where he first bought this idea up, I pointed out that the amount of ice required to offset even current sea level changes was infeasibly large. Greenland alone is currently losing several hundred cubic kilometers per year of ice. I pointed out that this O(100x) more fluid than the global oil industry moves now, and of course it would need to be much more in the future. This seems manifestly infeasible to me. Xuewen has made a similar point in a different way. I have yet to see Movie Guy make any quantitative effort to argue that the scale is feasible - despite repeated appeals to do so. Instead he writes that "Scale is not an obstacle for my strategic thinking. It's a secondary consideration". That should tell you everything you need to know about whether this is a reality-based approach or not.

I don't have the slightest dispute with Movie Guy that the problem is extremely serious and worthy of major societal efforts. Nor am I opposed in principle to geo-engineering approaches (eg I'm still checking out the LLNL references that Engineer-Poet posted). But direct nuclear powered ice creation completely won't fly as far as I can see - at least until someone shows me a sketch of a design and a rough calculation that argues this is in fact remotely feasible. Movie Guy can call me all the names under the sun, but if his numbers don't add up, it avails him nothing.

I think I'm done with this particular discussion which doesn't seem very productive. There is enough material already for anyone to evaluate the situation for themselves. I will continue to post on the subject as I develop my own thoughts to a point where I feel comfortable defending them.

Ok, it's a crazy plan, but it just might work!

No, I have no idea if there's anything workable here.  Understanding how truly vast the volume is that I'm speaking of,  do any of you engineers/chemists know if there is anything that can work to directly collect carbon from the atmosphere? Balloons like weatherballoons or  (Gazillions of them) that would float at an approp. altitude and suck through air like big whales gulping up krill, filtering the undesired pollutants and dropping little bb's of neutralised carbon, or sink with the load to then redeploy.. etc.??

Naturally this is hare-brained, but so was the Furbee, and they sold TONS of those little gremlins!  Maybe I'm only off on the vehicle, or the fact that it would need 20,000 years to work, but I have to ask, since I don't know the science that might apply towards directly filtering the atmosphere, or at least trying to.  I remember the weather attempts at 'salting' clouds with silver solutions to affect rain, etc.

If I get any reply, I hope some thought is given to how some aspect of it 'could' work, not just a million graphs that 'prove' it's impossible.  Think like Scotty, MacGuiver, Martha Stuart, fer-gad-sakes!  I know, 'I'll never walk again..'  dang!


I don't think we have the technology to do this kind of thing yet (suck significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere). However it seems likely to me that we will have the ability to do it in maybe 20-30 years.

The key would be to use some kind of self-replicating technology. The most likely candidate would be an engineered bioorganism designed to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and to somehow thrive by doing this. In this way the actual investment to get the process going is relatively low, as the organisms reproduce themselves.

Now, obviously this kind of project is extremely risky. It is easy to envision doomsday scenarios where these organisms mutate or otherwise get out of hand and cause an environmental catastrophe that is even worse than what we were worried about. Maybe they eat too much CO2 and now all the plants start to die. Or maybe they become a ubiquitous sludge and interfere with some other crucial biological process.

I don't know what kind of attitudes society in the 2030s will have towards planetary engineering projects like this. Today I don't think we would do it. But 30-40 years ago society was such that they might have been willing to take it on. It's possible that 30 years from now a similar change in attitudes will occur, especially if the world is facing severe challenges from climate change.

In any case I would suggest that working towards this kind of technology is more likely to be cost-effective than trying to refrigerate the Arctic.

Self-generating Bio-solution.. Trees?
  Yeah, I'm happy to throw 'big concept' science ideas out there, but of course, the law of unintended consequences leaves guys like Johnny Appleseed with a better hand, it seems.

  I think we do have to look at the position that says 'This thing may very well go south on us, let's have a plan and some preparations set to try and weather it out, survive it.'

Like the old adage of 'Do No Harm', I think we must consider ways that our products and byproducts are pushing nature out of balance, and work hard to pull them back. (Even if the effects can't preclude some or many of the anticipated disasters)  There was an idea in the pollution-dialog some time back, where it was said 'You don't really need to Clean Up the rivers, just stop throwing pollution into them in the first place'  Nature's flows will do a LOT to restore their balances, if we're not just continuously pushing them off-center.

Halfin, I tend to agree with you that "The most likely candidate would be an engineered bioorganism designed to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and to somehow thrive by doing this."  

I seem to recall reading that this is a theory about how the early atmosphere of earth evolved, with bacteria producing oxygen as a waste product.  But I think the time scales for such a thing are still very long in geologic terms.  And of course, I'm not sure we would want to be seeding our atmosphere with some GM organiss.....

A few posts ago, I thought you guys were joking about this. These "bioorganism(s) designed to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and to somehow thrive by doing this" already exist!

They are called trees!

Do you really think you can genetically engineer something that will outcompete natural organisms trying to survive in the same space? These natural organisms are constantly honed by fierce competition. If there were some feature that would give a competitive advantage in the ecosystem, don't you think nature would have already evolved it?

The GMOs we currently release only outcompete the natural organisms because they live in a non-natural environment (typically, one that contains herbicides).

Relax - for me anyway it was just an interesting thought experiment.  I'm actually very opposed to the present GMO thing - see my comments about not screwing around with things we don't fully understand.

And I love trees, but if you haven't noticed, we're busy cutting them down to grow fuel for cars and subdivisions, etc.  I'm not sure trees have the potential to multiply fast enough to perform an atmosphereic cleansing function in a short period of time.  I doubt anything could without serious side effects though.  But I'm all for a world-wide reforrestation - sign me up!

One last thing - if one wanted an organism to perform some terraforming-like function, I doubt there would be time to let something evolve.

Save the money. Or give it to me because I've got a cheap solution that will even save billions of dollars and have other positive side effects.

USA alone has 9,960 nuclear warheads more than enough to cause several world-wide nuclear winters. Gradually detonating them in the Nevada desert would bring enough dust in the atmosphere to compensate for the loss of aerosols and even reverse global warming. The nuclear warheads will be enough for much longer time than we have oil, NG and even coal for.


Unfortunately, you are basically correct.  

There are those who would consider such measures once pressed to the wall.  

I think that if you are going to do teraforming this will be the least risky way to go. Large scale nuclear test have been already made during the previous decades and the negative effects were closer to none.

It is a matter of chosing the least evil, IMO.

  I assume that you submitted this facetiousely.  I do think we could use the Nuclear arsenal to power our Nuke plants, since we have to deal with that processed material anyway, and will need the juice.  But no way should we put our energy into  building new Reactors, and of course, any series of Detonations are fraught with any number of predictable side-effects, besides the possibility that the promised 'Nuclear Winter' fails to materialize due to some other, unforseen byproduct of steadily salting the planet with Radioactive dust particles.

  On the other hand, 'EVERY future crop could get to be Genetically Modified', saving just billions in r&d for Monsanto and ADM


...Radioactive dust particles...

If you use big high-yield H-bombs the radioactive fallout would be minimal. Actually a lot less than in conventional nuclear bombs and a lot less than the results of nuclear tests in the 50-s.

I do agree that there are risks, and if there was a better choice I would not even dream of proposing it. But if the choice is between inventing some GMO that can easily take over the whole Earth biosphere and this, I know what I'd choose.

If it's all the same to you I don't want either you or Halfin to be Emperor of the world.  At least give me some warning so that I can go to Mars.
I'm afraid it's too late for Mars, we've already been there :)

But seriously, that's what modern civilisation is all about - a series of effects and contraeffects, trying to fix the initial ones. In the process you are forced to make some tough moral choices and usually "the least evil" applies. Unfortunately there are only 2 ways for us to go on: either we continue this evolution of probes and mistakes, or we totally abandon the "project Civilisation".

If some other Emperor of the world picks the second option, not the first one then he/she must think of a way that we orderly go back to the caves without trashing everything on our way down. Probably I'm short-sighted but I don't see such a way, and that's why I choose to pick the first option.

  I'm going thru fits just to get the LEAD dust out of my daughter's system.  I can only hope the Cadmium, Mercury and other traces our kids receive as a National Base Load of toxics are just leaving because they sense that they are unwelcome.   I have a really hard time believing that a 'High Yield H-bomb' detonation will be somehow 'inherently less malignant' than other Nuke options.  Scientific language has a way of being very self-validating in our minds.. Promises, Promises..

 "Of course those aluminum tubes were for enriching uranium.. they were 'Anodized', after all."  Sounded good enough to parrot at the time, I guess.

I think my GMO line was misread..

I wasn't suggesting developing some airborne GMO that would (as suggested in an earlier post) eat up the carbon..  I was joking that all that fallout from this Nuclear-Snowmaking machine could have the fun and interesting side-effect of mutating everything growing on the planet. It could be like a great grabbag of 1950's movie monsters!

And if you elect me Emporer of the world, I promise that I will name the first Man-Eating Spiderplant "Seymour".

Csar Bob

Yeap, science is an awful thing, I know.

Of course it has nothing to the with that SUV I'm driving, the computer I'm using to spread my fantasies around, or the medicines that saved my daughter's life. Sure - we must forbid that stupid science. Who cares about medicine, electricity, agriculture, transportation and so on. I don't see'em so I can live without them, ain't I?

I wasn't trashing Science as a whole, but there is a tendency for Scientists to have a level of overconfidence in their conclusions.  It added up on the chalkboard, ergo, it's true.

As a religion, I'd take science over most of the other ones in it's quest for truth, but I still have to look at the 'assumption of objectivity' and the 'assumption of authority' as familiar Achille's heels that can mar good science as yet-another well intended, but completely Mortal pursuit. It's a human activity, not as clean as the pure, Euclidean forms it tries to work from.  We have to know our blind-spots and self-critique if we are going to be able to see where we might be driving ourselves off the road.

  Science DID give us that SUV, for all it's great and it's terrible consequences.  Science yields a bounty of chemicals that make our fields feed a hungry and scientifically unaware population.  Science gave us the Computers that Creationists are using to network and  cast doubt on Science, and that Scientists use to network cast doubt on Creationists, and the House still always wins (ie Oil, Coal, Nuclear and NG producers, who power those machines).  'What have the Romans (Sciences) ever done for us?'.. Lots, and too much.

Are those in the science fields any less defensive when their god is put in a critical cartoon?  I doubt it.  

Homer said it best..
"Science, the solution, (and cause) of all our problems."

Ok. That was Homer SIMPSON.. and he was talking about beer, but the point is not entirely extinguished.


I agree, especially with the point of questioning the assumptions. Basicly this is why we're discussing all these things here.

There is a point though, after which questioning turns into inaction and inaction turns into disaster. I'm absolutely convinced that even 10 years after PO, there will be people still doubting that it happend and searching for some abiotic oil bounty that we somehow missed in the haze.

Doubt has it's own point of deminishing returns and it is very essential to be able to identify it because, you know time is ticking away and there are problems to be solved (even if you doubt they exist, they will not be gone, granted).

I doubt that.

Just kidding. Right, there is the 'Avowed Skeptics' camp, who will just take the contrary position 'just because'.. and the Ignorance+Apathy version ('What's Ignorance and Apathy mean to you?', 'I don't know, and I don't care.'), and either can prevent getting past the arguments and into plans and action.  I find too many times in the company of other 'Progressives' (whatever that actually means), that there's such a history of anti-institutionalism, that we get stuck when creating any new programs, because we start to immediately distrust them.

I like it!

Better still, let a few nukes 'slip' into the hands of Al Qaeda and look the other way while they detonate a few around the place.  Then retailiate against the 'Axis of Evil' with more nuclear weapons, making sure you piss off the Russian and Chinese as well, so that it escalates to the extreme.

Boom, boom, boom, you've just killed two birds with one stone!

You 'remove' 80% of the world's population (making Jay Hansen's day) and initiate an intense period of global cooling (keeping Lovelock happy).

It's certainly easier than Movie Guy's idea!

Where do we start?  ;-)

I'm quite puzzled how you came up with this scenario.

If I was not clear, I'm proposing detonating the existing nuclear warheads in the middle of some desert. Not donating them to some desert kingdom.

If you think nukes are less threat in some silos in mid-eastern Siberia, than in the form of tiny particles buried in the sands of Sahara, then I don't think we are talking about the same thing.

The only terraforing idea I have heard about lately that might beat this one in stupidity is to genetically engineer some super plankton that thrives, dies and falls to the bottom.

Oups if it takes too much of the sea biomass with it or lowers CO2 too much or if we figure out we needed the CO2 levels to be high to not get an ice age.

We do not yet know how our climate works. Do not turn knobs untill we are very certain that we do know how it works.

All teraforming ideas are implicitly stupid, of course.

Unlickily we are already amidst one long-term teraforming project called "Let's make the Earth like Venus". Nobody is seriously stoping this one; and nobody is stopping the others like "Modern Agriculture", "Urban Development", "Deforestation" etc. Instead we are getting other projects (Kyoto) that don't seem stupid but achieve the same result - moving the problem from the left pocket to the right one (and replacing it with other ones).

But of course you are all right. I'm abandoning the idea, It's already screwed up anyways.

I have a little more to add. I have that feeling of double standards here.

Somehow people that are enviromentally concerned don't mind that much, when technology is applied adversely from people/countries/organisations we expect it from (let's call them the Evil Ones or the Dark Side if you wish). We don't protest when China builds coal power plants or nukes, when oil and gas companies buy politicians, when countries do nuclear test like there is no tomorrow etc. Somehow they are expected to do it - so let them do it. But not us. It's them, the Evil Ones that spoil our nature.

Well here is the news - sometime in the future we will be forced to make some tough choices and to take decisions that we don't like. There will be coal, tar sands, there will be deforestation for biofuels, nuclear power and waste. Probably there will be wars. And it will be us that does it. The society. It's not them. There is no "them". "Them" it is "us".

I think it's a matter of control.  We have no control of what China does.  We may hate it, but we can't do a damned thing about it.  

The future is still open to political influence, though, at least theoretically.  

I think if push comes to shove, environmental concerns will go out the window.

However, when push comes to shove, it might be too late to build the new infrastructure we will need for a big expansion of coal, nuclear, natural gas, or whatever.  

Whatever?  Water.  (sorry you had no question mark)
Well, I suggest it just to turn the tables around for a few minutes and consider the threat from the other side rather than from the typical discussion on TOD.  Wonder what Peak Water looks like in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria?  Maybe we'll get nuked first afterall, or trade water for Perrier.  So will anybody care when we get to PO?  Forget it.  Its late here.  Good night.
Oh, I've considered what peak water will mean in the Middle East.  There's so much conflict there already, plus they are way over carrying capacity for desert lands.  If I were Israel, I would give serious consideration to Ahmadinejad's suggestion of establishing a new homeland in Europe.  They're downstream from everyone, they may not be able to get fuel for their desalination plants, and if they don't have fuel for their tanks and helicopter gunships, it's going to be hard to control the Palestinians.

The Middle East is one place I do not want to be for peak oil.

Israel has already captured the Golan for it's water supplies. Which is kind of funny since they lose money on agriculture anyway.
Turkey is grabbing water from Iraq. Sudan is not grabbing water from Egypt, yet. But Ethiopia may and Egypt is upset.

I think you may have missed the smiley at the end of my comment.

Although I was being tongue-in-cheek, I must say that your original idea of detonating the nuclear weapons has some merit.

I was struck by the same idea when Stuart talked about nuclear tests causing, what did he call them, forcings?

Mind you, I think we've done so badly looking after the planet up until now, I wouldn't trust us to finally 'get it right' now.

All these grandiose schemes aimed at righting the wrongs of our past just strike me as more meddling.

There are no little cats A thru Z lurking under our hats ready to jump out and clear up our mess.  Truth is, we need to stop while the pink stain is still in the bath (the cat's already in the house)!

Absolutely, I concur to everything you say.

But sometimes I feel a little desparate about it, and I feel that there is too little rationality in the way things are going in the world today. "We" can not stop, because we don't seem to have a protective mechanism on collective level that can order us to stop. At least I don't see any.

It seems to me like we are put against our will as watchers to a slow-motion movie showing how everything is slowly falling apart and you can do nothing about it. And PO is just a part of the picture, not even that major part. I think in other times falling apart would not be that bad, but the presence of strong military and especially nuclear weapons around makes me quite nervous about how things may play out.

You're not alone in those fears.  I feel we are at a time of great transition: at o nce an ending and a beginning of something else.  I expect it will be painful for many.  

I don't know how GW will play out (either of them!), but I think we need to resist the temptation to screw around with things we don't understand - we'll likely make things much worse.

OK, having said that, the engineer and SF fan in me wonders:  How about large partial barriers in outer space to block portions of the sun's radiation?  We could destroy them if they caused problems.

I liked the GW part :)

The idea is much better than mine, but the carbon capturers here seem to be even better. I just did not understand why they don't plan to use them directly in coal power plants exhausts - seems pretty straightforward to use them there first.

The problem of both ideas would be just one: costs. When I think of the hundreds of square miles of solar barriers and carbon capturers needed, I seriously doubt that somebody will agree to finance it... Gosh, we hardly manage to keep that International Space Station alive.

Not to mention that little telescope thingy - what was that for again?  Could it be used as a weapon?  No? - too bad then.
It is very hard for me to see how the scientific projects we've been dreaming up as kids are gradually floating away.

But I guess that's the way it has to be. I'm starting to think that first we have to pass through some change of mind in order to become ready for them; otherwise it is not that certain what are we going to use them for.

Yes, perhaps the biggest challenge we face is that of re-engineering our expectations and assumptions.  
You get more bang for the buck by blowing off the top of a volcano. Depressuring the lava quickly should get a lot of dust into the atmosphere.
Pick a small volcano for the first one. Just in case it works better than we expect.

I think that volcanic areas are often densely populated, because of the fertile land around... something tells me that people there will not like the idea :)

If you want to read much, much more on this general theme of trading blood for oil (as well as imperialism and militarism), then I can't recommend Chalmers Johnson's book SORROWS OF EMPIRE strongly enough.  It should be required reading for every voter on the planet, and it's probably the most unsettling thing I've read in my entire life.
Hello Lou and fellow TODers,

First off--Kudos to Ted Koppel! Let the national debate begin.

It all boils down to two political stickers, one for SUVs, one for bicycles:

"Nuke their Ass--I want Gas" or "No Thanks--I like Empty Tanks"

Recall my numerous postings advocating the remelding of our detritus-driven 'humanimal ecosystem' back into the natural ecosystem.  If we do not chose to voluntarily Powerdown, Nature and violent human conflict will do it for us.

Exosomatic reach, enhanced by detritus, is a very powerful addiction to overcome.  Yet somehow, we need to find the methods to re-equalize the infinite 'humanimal taxonomy' back to a single specie of an intimately bio-solar lifestyle for the human race; we must try as much as possible.  'humanimal wolf'= 'humanimal deer'= 'humanimal rabbit' .... and so on.  It is time to muster the National Will to solve the instinctual competitive drive and search for inclusive fitness given to us by Genetics.  Failure to do so will only result in the SUV bumper sticker mentioned above.

America still has the communications infrastructure where a full-bore of Peakoil and Dieoff info can saturate the public.  All it would take is for few billionaires to step up to the plate [Recall that Bill Gates and Richard Rainwater have both read Simmon's "Twilight..."].  They can solicit the milgov and general public to match their donations to buy five cable channels for 24/7 video discussion of all the topics we thrash about text-wise on TOD.  It would rapidly become MUST-SEE TV.

The crucial question: is the wolfpack interested in helping the deer?  If not, the propaganda will continue its present course for "Nuke their Ass-I want Gas".

The honest discussion of history will be vital.  Chalmers Johnson's book will be essential, along with many others, like John Perkins's "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", to clearly illustrate how the exosomatic grasping for resources leads to the humanimal ecosystem that now overlies the Natural Ecosystem.  This will also show how the First World has succeeded in keeping the sharp edge of the Dieoff Pendulum overseas.

Universal American recognition of all these facts will be the greatest test of our Nation's character and moral values.  If we choose the "No Thanks--I like Empty Tanks" bicycle sticker, then a gungho program to embrace ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols, the Kyoto Protocols, and any other ideas for conservation, voluntary birth control, and methods to accelerate the paradigm shift to localized permiculture and humanure with widespread adoption of daily biosolar systems [PV, wind, tide, geothermal, agrofuels, etc].

Choosing the bicycle sticker means that Americans have the confidence and knowledge to Powerdown the Dieoff Pendulum faster than it can cause violent Homeland deaths as it swings back from Overseas.  We can be a wonderful role model for the World again.

We can develop the national political dexterity to mitigate rapidly shifting Liebig's minimal constraints.  We can restructure the misallocated infrastructure [Kunstler] to make a more humane lifestyle.  We can reduce globalization by finding optimal programs to shrink transnational summative carrying-capacity.  We can find a way to shrink the military to eliminate Blood for Oil.

Or else the best we can hope for is a quick and painless death.

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

There is a bicyclist with a nice tagline:

"Oil is for sissies"

Follow up with David Ray Griffin's:
"9-11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions"
In a surprisingly strong Op Ed on Friday, Ted Koppel, the former "NIghtline" host who is now an occasional columnist for The New York Times, argues that when it comes right down to it, the U.S. adventure in Iraq is, as some charge, "about the oil."
No kidding, Ted, and when I say that I mean it positively. Isn't it interesting that Koppel leaves ABC (the corporate news world) and then feels free to say what he actually thinks based on many years of analyzing the issues? This is one of the best examples I have seen about the muzzling of debate in the "free press" on what American foreign policy is all about. Good for you, Ted. Go for it.

I suppose it is gratuitous to note that this policy is an utter failure and has been very very expensive both in terms of lives and dollars. Not to mention that Jihadist terrorism has now increased in that region and around the world based on this stupid, rapacious neocon policy. I see that Ted has not bought into the "manufactured consent" that created the war in the first place and continues to be implemented to keep it going.

I've noticed the same thing about the "new Ted" ;-)
Be interesting to hear him say himself why he hasn't mentioned it DURING THE LAST 50 F****** YEARS!  Teleprompters must adversly affect the left half of the gray matter.  At least he finally said something.  Can't fault him for that.  RUN WITH IT!
Re: "Teleprompters must adversly affect the left half of the gray matter."

Yes. A good salary and high prestige position in the world tend to have the same effect.

As regards the Cheney quote that Koppel captured (and is repeated at TomPaine) ... I've had this funny feeling that the reason the administration stonewalled on Cheney's energy meeting was not (as most people feared) industry-government collusion ... but because they talked about Iraq, far before the invasion.
OMG... Really?!?
(sarcasm intended)
well, I suppose it's good that someone like Ted Koppel is bringing some of these issues to the fore.  However, I do have quite a bit of antipathy toward those individuals whom only 'come out of the closet' once they've securely 'got theirs' . I think the term, 'limousine liberal' is at least partially apropos. It's easy to be for all sorts of causes after a person 'has theirs' , but the person of true courage does it when he/she has something important to lose. Nevertheless, it is better than nothing, and I guess for that we should be thankful.

One of my biggest disappointments was that then Secretary of State Colin Powell didn't stand up to the Bush regime and denounce the plan to invade Iraq rather than give a presentation filled with what he knew was  bogus arguments. For shame!  This was not a profile in courage, but rather a profile in cowardice. I'm sure that Colin is now making a bundle of dough working as a lobbyist or as a  person who provides all sorts of scum with 'access' to the US government.

Let's face it: we are  ruled by swine!

Everyone got a piece.  Here's another one, still squelched by CNN.

Bush I's Secretary of State James Baker and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacker, as well as Thomas Kelly, who directed Pentagon operations during Gulf War I, all subsequently went on the Enron payroll.  In 1991, I attended a meeting called to introduce him as the VP of Enron Power.

Gulf War personalities on CNN In-Depth Specials apparently prefers NOT to tie Gen. Kelly in with Enron, showing him as going on the "lecture circuit" and working for "Wing Power".

Now: Kelly retired from the army in March 1991, and went on the lecture circuit. He spent four years at the Wing Group, a company that built natural gas power plants overseas, before retiring in 1999. He died of cancer June 6, 2000, at the age of 67.

Ya. I know he's dead, but in the interest of historic accuracy...needs to change.

Is it 'Limousine Liberals', or just well-trained citizens of Corporate Totalitarianism?  (and I think Conservatives take Limo's too, which could cloud the label some)

I'm just reminded of that speech that Kruschof gave (finally) about the many evils done by Stalin, when a voice (in the Duma?) spluttered out, 'Why didn't you do anything about it, if you knew', or something like that.  Kruschof(sorry sp.) went silent, then said 'Who said that?'.. nothing.  He Yelled "WHO SAID THAT?!".. still nothing.. and he concluded, "Well now you understand why we did nothing."

  (Recounted by Gore Vidal on Thom Hartman? couple nights ago)

If you have any links to that story, I would be interested in hearing more of it.
Sorry, no link offhand..
Hartmann's show plays on Air America Radio on the weekends, don't know what other outlets carry him.

..puts you in the ballpark
The shows are archived, in case you want to Podcast(Pod-ceive?) the thing.


I'm sitting here watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and it got me to thinking what the world would be like in 2010 at the time of the next Olympics. So I thought I would start a thread. What does everyone think the condition of the world/energy markets will be like in 2010? Do you think there will be an Olympics?

While I am quite cynical/apocolyptic on this topic, I couldn't help but have a glimmer of hope as I watched the mayor (he is parapaligic) of Vancouver (next Olympic city) receive the Olympic flag and wave it eight times.

Re: "The plan is to actively solicit Congressional support from both houses for creating a new Manhattan Project which will focus national funding, resources, and potential solutions directly on the restoration of the northern polar cap."

This is insanity and should be called out as such. That Movie Guy would even bring it up as a possibility shows such a departure from reality that it is hard, if not impossible, to respond to.

But I did my best, given that this is TOD and we strive to be a "reality-based" community.

I am actually a bit disturbed that this kind of drivel surfaces here on these threads and is actually taken seriously by some people.

By the way, because of my personality or depending on my mood or wine intake, I actually respond sometimes (unlike PG, HO, Stuart, Yankee, SuperG, Bubba) to this kind of complete nonsense.

But my viewpoint is that somebody has to. So newbies and such don't get the idea that somebody is putting forth a serious solution to our immediate and longer term problems that is bogus and not based in the "reality-based" community we have attempted to create here.

Underlying any serious TOD post on energy issues is a wealth of knowledge, even given the uncertainties. There is no room here for fantasies. We are all struggling to figure out what the real energy future looks like and what the hell we're going to do about it.

And I thought Reality was for people who couldn't handle Drugs..  put that wine down.  I'm almost done this beer, and then I'LL stop.

I don't mind being thought of as unrealistic.  'Realistic' is overrated, sometimes.  The patent officer in 1900 who recommended closing down the patents office, since 'everything had been invented already'..that, and 'Nobody will EVER need more than 64k of RAM'(Gates)  The Experts can do well to keep an ear towards the commoners, jesters and jerks, if for nothing more than a little salt in the oatmeal.

  I think we need to float all sorts of ideas here, even if they are totally off the wall.  We've got the unbelievable asset of this medium where anyone interested enough can toss some notions around, and it might be just that unexpected combination of ideas from which a useful plan can start to develop.  I don't think we can 'refreeze' the polar ice caps, per se, but you start at some of the needs at one end, the 'what's possible' (in our current assumptions) at the other, and you dig in and try stuff.  

  Do doctors say 'You'll never walk again' just to inspire the patient to fight back?  I always wonder that..

"There can be no greatness without Audacity." -Oscar Wilde

Re: "I think we need to float all sorts of ideas here, even if they are totally off the wall"

Right, off the wall. Float those ideas all you want ... but let's stay with realistic solutions--even if they do seem few and far between...

Simmons, Deffeyes, Kunstler, Campbell, Staniford et. al. are not talking about the peak without evidence. Peak oil and climate change, which are related in a complex way, are no joke. No, I am not willing to entertain seriously any fantasy that comes down the pike....

Reality-based, OK?

  You lean on that word "reality" like a crutch that won't break, and talk about 'fantasies' like they are simply frauds.  "Reality" is not what's real.  It's just our WORD for what's real, and our words have some constant shortcomings, in that they're kept by minds that get glued to Current Realities, like those minds that think 'Our way of life is non-negotiable'.. and I don't say that to suggest that is your perspective.  I know that we're both on this site because, going back very few steps in this 'overall thread', we are clearly on the same page in terms of trying to find some ways to make the best of what we recognize is a very serious situation.  But when I'm at the drawing board, all bets are off, and you throw down all sorts of wildness, in case one crazy notion has a kernel of truth in it.  You try to listen to what comes into your head, because there is a reason that it did.  So I find it unproductive to worry about whether that part of the process contains things that are 'unrealistic'.. Most of what is in our minds is actually unrealistic, but it is there for a reason, and has some keys in it that can lead to a deeper truth.

  I don't expect that every wild notion that 'comes down the pike' will be either applied as such or even taken altogether literally, but when you knock it down with the 'reality' defense, you are constraining the thinking and demanding 'preferred dialog', that fits nicely back in its little Box again.  We have this Left/Brain Right/Brain combination, it seems, for a very good reason, and we need to let them work with each other.

  Have you noticed that they used 'Laptops' and 'Pen-Tablets' on Star Trek, long before we had the ability to create such things?  Self-fullfilling prophesy, or at least a way of planting seeds in the minds of the 1960's that allowed for the possibility and the form and application of these things, for the time when they became possible.  Fantasy and Imagination are critical parts of our Creativity, and we need it in full swing around this problem.

"The Tao which can be spoken is not the eternal Tao.." Lao-tse

"Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, none but you can free your mind"



Please explain, in detail, why we shouldn't advocate that drivers use telekinesis to power their vehicles.  After all, telekinesis is free and nonpoluting, so it should be easy to get people to support it.


You are correct.  You get it.  

If one goes back the original thread that Stuart put up and where I made my first post on this subject, it's very obvious that few individuals were willing to put forth the slightest recommendation.  

Why?  Fear of being slapped down (as has since been demonstrated by Stuart and Dave)?  Previous experiences at TOD?  

Dave's attempt to play Politically Correct Cop is misplaced.  

Dave didn't even know that the elimination of all current man-made emissions would not save the northern polar cap.  So much for his research and knowledge base.  

It doesn't matter if my idea is ever put to use.  The intent was to open a dialogue and create a discussion.  

There will always be closed minds around who attempt to straight jacket the discussion.  But Dave really needs to catch up and understand the scope of the problem.  

For starters, he could be decent enough to answer Stormy's question above.  That nails it down.  

The question is what are the nations of the world really going to do? The problem eclipses the Kyoto Accord by a wide and growing margin. That initiative doesn't come close to resolving the problem of losing the northern polar cap.  

We have to take our thinking further.  The clock is running and the ice will continue to melt.  What's Plan B?  


Re: "Dave didn't even know that the elimination of all current man-made emissions would not save the northern polar cap. So much for his research and knowledge base."

Where exactly did I say that? In fact, if we stopped all man-made emissions now, we would still get 0.6 degrees C of warming over time (global mean surface temperature anomaly since measured records) and that would no doubt decrease ice cover in the Arctic.

So, now you have "put words in my mouth" which I never said. Have you no shame?


I don't have any problem in reposting your arrogant and childish response from a previous post.  Here it is:

Restoration of the northern polar ice cover and the melting of the Greenland ice sheets? What drugs are you on?

This is Mother Nature we're screwing with. Man is not the measure of all things as the Greek put it. The sooner you understand this, the fewer posts of this kind you will make. This, in turn, will restore some clear thinking as to what we're going to do about it. Hint: we've got to cut GHG gas emissions right now and going forward because a significant volume of those emissions end up in the atmosphere. This warming melts ice, warms the oceans and generally causes longterm surface warming of the planet as it attempts to come into radiative heat balance.

Just because we can make ipods and cellphones doesn't mean we can 1) increase world-wide oil production without limit and 2) stop climate warming. Technology has its limitations as humankind is about to learn (and is learning) in a very disruptive way.

Time to powerdown and take the problems associated with exponential growth (of people and energy consumption) seriously. The arrogance of people to think that they can do anything they want. The Fossil Fuels Age is a 300 year window in the whole of human history. Time to think about what we're going to do as it winds down in a realistic way right now and not spend our time thinking we can engineer the climate and geophysics of planetary processes.

Take the red pill and deal with reality. Or take the blue pill and decide we can engineer the climate (technology will save us) or have blind faith in Adam Smith's invisible hand (the markets). It's your choice.



No where in these remarks do you once acknowledge that cutting greenhouse gases (GHG - your phrase) will not stop the meltdown of the northern polar cap.  Your immature "Hint" doesn't begin to solve the problem.  As such, your "Hint" added nothing of value to the point I was making about the meltdown of the northern polar cap.  You missed the whole point.        

It strikes me that you do not have a clear understanding of scope of the climatic problem or you were just screwing around with your previous post.  The northern polar cap will have melted away by the time your solution kicks in on the scale necessary to save the cap.  And by that, the sea levels will have risen substantially.   And that's the bottom line based on some of the latest climatology analysis.  

Of course, my original post at the top of the thread includes the views of Corell and Mayewski.  Apparently you glossed over their critical statements when you threw out your "Hint".  

Note this:  

Mayewski - Even if we stopped using every car, truck, and power plant -- stopping all greenhouse gas emissions - Mayewski says the planet would continue to warm anyway. "Would continue to warm for another, about another degree," he says.  That's enough to melt the Arctic - and if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the temperature will rise even more.

Corell - Because even under the best of circumstances, this natural system of a climate will continue to warm the planet for literally hundreds of years, no matter what we do."

If you want to argue the point, call them.  

QUESTION:  Do you acknowledge that your "HINT" doesn't begin to resolve the problem of saving the northern polar cap?  Yes or No?  


Dave and Movie Guy..
Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher!

Remember what you're here for.  Using words like "Childish" is only going to add to global temperatures even more.  It's too easy to sound belligerent in this medium.  We get too cranked, and then all real communication stops.

C'mon..  Group Hug...  There you go!


Well, one reason why people aren't putting forward solutions is that they can't think of any!

It's not about a lack of imagination or leadership, or about negativity or trying to stifle discussion. In my experience the discussion on this blog is the very highest I've found anywhere on the net.

This site has a very high "signal to noise" ratio, because the comments are generally carefully considered and passed through a "common sense filter" before they are posted.

You're welcome here, but please take the time to understand the basic physics that are involved before you start slanging off at people.


I posted my original post under Stuart's thread.  This post, of course, was under an OPEN THREAD.  I'm well within my lane.  

The last time I looked at my computer's trace system, this web site was operating in the United States of America, not Communist China, Iran, or Russia.  But I do sense that that there is an active element of Politically Correct Cop in play on The Oil Drum with regard to matters pertaining to climatology.  And yet we are to be surprised that the Bush Administration is doing the same type of thing with NASA and other federal agencies being 'given the word' to not speak out.  

If you take the time to go back and read, in time chronology order, it is very clear that I didn't initiate the negative dialogue.  I didn't use the trashy language that Dave spewed out.  But I won't put up with it, either.  Never.  Not once.  So, look elsewhere for correction of the problem in communications.  

My recommendation for forming a Northern Polar Cap Manhattan Project (NPCMP) that encompasses all aspects of our national concern over the meltdown is valid, reasonable, and desirable in my judgment.    

You may not agree with that objective.  You may not believe that anything can be done to ward off the meltdown of the northern polar cap.  You're more than welcome to your beliefs.  That's your business, not mine.  

What my original post on this thread did do was to create a more active discussion.  And that, in itself, was a worthwhile undertaking.  

Who made the Santa Claus post?  Why, it was you.  Imagine that. And you want to lecture on what should be posted on this American-based blog?  Perhaps you will one day explain the physics of Santa Claus and his rapid global travel capabilities.  You brought up both subjects on the same thread.  


My personal favorite is to build a 500 mile levee in mid-Atlantic to shut off the Gulf Stream and glaciate Europe.   As a chem e, this has the additional benefit that now the civ e's have to figure out how to do it.
Easy!  We only have to dam up the 90 miles between Florida and Cuba.  That´ll catch enough of it that the rest won´t matter.

Your arrogance is misplaced and childishly condescending.  You have no knowledge whatsoever of my professional background. Your attempt to discredit my personal and professional integrity is inappropriate and mean spirited as well as being a crude form of communicating.    

Your understanding of the scope of the climatic problem is so weak that you did NOT know that the reduction of global greenhouse emissions would not save the northern polar cap.  As evidenced clearly in your previous remarks.  

My single hydro mechanical recommendation may never be pursued (and that will not bother me), but there will be Congressional hearings eventually.  It's very likely that a commission and core working group of accomplished professionals will be assembled to address the problem. That most assuredly is a worthy goal.  

I have worked on national environmental matters for over 16 years. There are those in the U.S. Corps of Engineers who go pale whenever I provide testimony or communicate publicly on water resource matters. And for good reason in those cases where the playing field isn't level. For those who have ever taken on the Corps, it's known as taking on an eight ton gorilla.  I have enjoyed professional success in those endeavors which is quite difficult to achieve.  But that's another matter.  

We may never do anything but stick our collective heads in the sand while the northern polar cap melts away rapidly.  But it will not happen because of loudmouthed negative commentary on a blog.  The decisions instead will be based on science, available technology, and supporting skilled professionals.    

On a personal note, I am not a one of your little puppies to slap around. Nor am I am a newbie to the blogs nor to research.  Not by a long shot. Ask around.  

If you were a mature adult you would have been respectful enough to send me an email instead of trying to slap me down on the blog.  I would have called you had you provided a telephone number.  And we could have discussed the matter before you put up your personal trash.  But you opted to be arrogant and loudmouthed.  Par for the course with supposed hotshots.  

Until you realize that the northern polar cap will melt down with or without the complete elimination of ALL current man-made greenhouse emissions, you haven't begun to understand the scope of the problem. As I advised you previously, feel free to contact NASA or any accomplished climatologist to verify what I have explained.  

Regardless of your amateur opinion of my recommendation for action, there will be some movement on the action front.  I am very hopeful that within the next few years, appropriate additional funding and other resources will be put in play by the Congress and Administration to focus more attention on the northern polar cap.  Otherwise, we can rest assured that there is a strong likelihood that we will lose the Eastern Coastline quicker than we have anticipated.  


Until you realize that the northern polar cap will melt down with or without the complete elimination of ALL current man-made greenhouse emissions, you haven't begun to understand the scope of the problem. As I advised you previously, feel free to contact NASA or any accomplished climatologist to verify what I have explained.
So, who are you? How did you come to your conclusion about what I think is going to happen to the "northern polar ice cap"? By the way, what are talking about? The Greenland Ice Sheet? The extent of permanent ice cover in the Arctic even during the summer months? I don't understand the scope of the problem? The actual problem is, I do understand it and that's why I worry about. I have had personal communications with Jerry Mahlman (do you know who he is?) and Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS (do you know who he is either?) and others regarding climate change. I even starting writing up a site called Climate Warning which I stopped maintaining some time ago because it wasn't worth my investment in time or money.

Either establish that you're not insane or go away.

I am starting to suspect he may be a "performance artist."  In short - a troll.
Seems to fit the pattern.  Besides, interposing the moon between the earth and sun would cool things much more efficiently.  According to Archimedes that should be quite possible. :-)
Thanks, got a good chuckle from the Archimedes reference.

I posted a couple of simple posts at the beginning of this thread.  I subsequently answered a question.  Thereafter, the majority of the posts were in response to attacks or further discussions on the subject that I raised.  

Perhaps you're looking in the wrong direction as to what actually happened here.  

I have as much interest in the environemental programs and crude oil/retail programs of the United States and other nations as anyone I know.  Hardly the traits of a troll.  

I said what I intended to share.  And thereafter offered a limited but reasonable defense to the detractors.  Only a lightweight would do less.  

There are a few posters here who know me or at least know my type of research and posts.  Stuart is one, as we've exchanged viewed on Jim Hamilton's Econbrowser blog.  And Jim has posted at TOD.  Those who know me or my posts know that I'm a straightshooter.  

If you want to question my integrity and be an adult about it, send me an email and provide a telephone number.  


If you think this, then email him and ask to speak directly to him. Talk with him on the phone. He has offered the invitation. Stop flaming. If you have followed any of sites where he has posted, you will know that he does his research. And he has always been respectful. The flaming here is unwarranted. He has raised an issue. You may feel uncomfortable with it. What is the Plan?
Who's flaming?  Not me.

And I never, but never, give my phone number to strangers on the Internet.  

IME, the best way to deal with suspected trolls and flamewars both is to just ignore them.  If you're wrong, there's no harm done, right?

I've already said what I think "the plan" should be.  Roll with punches.  Go for things that will be sustainable in the post-carbon age.  Think small, not big.  

Yes, this likely means retreating from the coast.  Even if we burn coal cleanly, China, Russia, etc., may not.  We'll be rebuilding all our infrastructure anyway, in order to accommodate a world without cheap oil.  Might as well build it where it won't be underwater if the ice caps melt.


Now you want to be a name dropper.  A game that I've listened to many times as others try to impress.  It's never a successful strategy, by the way.  Your decency to others along with thoughtful sharing of ideas and information is what will earn my respect and belief in you.  I like many of your posts.  What's missing is your respect for others.  

Let me break this down:  

Dave:  So, who are you?  

That won't be disclosed on a blog.  Nor to many people in general.  Who I am is not important to anyone other than my family, friends, associates, and certain Members of Congress as well as some in various industries. I'm just Movie Guy as far as you're concerned.  If we ever develop friendly relationship, you will know who I am.  I suggest forwarding a telephone number so that we can share private conversations.  

If you mean what are my qualifications to write commentary, I can assure you that I have as much right to communicate as does, say, a software engineer from Ontario, Canada, or a tennis player in Boulder, Colorado.  I am reasonably good researcher and forward thinker not afraid of thinking outside of the box.  

Dave:  How did you come to your conclusion about what I think is going to happen to the "northern polar ice cap"?

My thoughts on your most recent views were based on your remarks on this thread.  You have not once acknowledged or stated that the northern polar cap will melt down with or without reductions in man-made greenhouse emissions.  Yet, you readily threw out your "Hint" as to what we are to be focused on as a potential solution - reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  And, of course, that "Hint" doesn't resolve the polar cap meltdown problem.  The northern polar cap will have melted away by the time your solution kicks in on the scale necessary to save the cap.

Here again, in part, is what you said:  This is Mother Nature we're screwing with. Man is not the measure of all things as the Greek put it. The sooner you understand this, the fewer posts of this kind you will make. This, in turn, will restore some clear thinking as to what we're going to do about it. Hint: we've got to cut GHG gas emissions right now and going forward because a significant volume of those emissions end up in the atmosphere. This warming melts ice, warms the oceans and generally causes longterm surface warming of the planet as it attempts to come into radiative heat balance.

As far as I can determine, you don't understand the situation at the northern polar cap.  Or you haven't explained why your "Hint" was supposed to have any real meaning with regard to my original issue, the northern polar cap meltdown.  

Dave:  By the way, what are talking about?The Greenland Ice Sheet?The extent of permanent ice cover in the Arctic even during the summer months?

Are you asking what is the northern polar cap?  That information is readily available, and anyone deeply familiar with climatology and geography should know what the term means.  But, yes, to clear up the point - Greenland is included in my scope of consideration.  

Dave:  I don't understand the scope of the problem? The actual problem is, I do understand it and that's why I worry about.

That's good.  Same story for me.  

Dave:  I have had personal communications with Jerry Mahlman (do you know who he is?) and Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS (do you know who he is either?) and others regarding climate change.

Ah, the name dropping...   Well, let's see.  I believe that Jerry is still in Colorado and Gavin is over in New York.  I wish that Jerry was younger as he has a bright mind and has provided great leadership in the field. He has also provided excellent Congressional testimony.  Gavin was back in the news earlier this month.   Don't know if you saw that. Hopefully, you have taken advantage of the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Jerry, considering that both of you live in Colorado.  That would be worthwhile.  

Jerry has pointed out in previous Congressional testimony that the "Summer Arctic sea ice is expected to disappear by the middle of this century."

Dave:  I even starting writing up a site called Climate Warning which I stopped maintaining some time ago because it wasn't worth my investment in time or money.

Wish you had continued it.  Good web site concept.  

Dave:  Either establish that you're not insane or go away.

Time to be nasty again, eh.  It's just not necessary.  

I'm an accomplished and reasonable individual.  I can readily hold my own ground.  

If you clean up your blog language, we could get along.  But you can knock off the adolescent slams.  I will not put up with that trash.  Nor should others.  

BTW, I received your email which you forwarded long after you started your ranting.  Appreciate your follow up on my suggestion.  It should have happened before you started your rant.  I am willing to I am to talk with you as my permits, but I won't respond to that email.  Send a telephone number if you want to talk.  

Hopefully, we will not have to go through this drill again.  

I am decent fellow.  I have a few different ideas.  It's not the end of the world.  


Why do so manny people like to hide? Or rather pretend that they are hiding?

Is it to not be too associated with the 10% of ones comments   that are of low quality or realy stupid?

Is it that you assume that FBI/KGB/TLA find you so threathening to the world order that you need to hide to not be run down by black helicopters? There are millions of good ideas, how could you matter so much?

Do Hells Angels plot to take your TSHTF stash of dried beans and your water filter? Worry about your neighbour instead, no, dont, get to know them instead.

Somebody plot to take your gun? Actually I can understand that one. I only got a uniform at home, the gun is in a caisson I dont have a key to.

My TSHTF plan is to be part of trying to do something about TS before or after HTF. I got packets of cofee and enough food to make a reasonable ammount of hot soup in any the power goes down TSHTF. It is very likely that some friends will show up before I go trying to do something about TS together with the other 0,3% of the population that has signed up for the home guard. Those friends will get hot coffe and a set of keys to the apartment.

Whatever happens I have the ambition to be part of the solution on whatever level that is possible to reach. Any solution is probably a teamwork. What do trying to hide your identity say about improvised teamwork? :-( Or is it my slow ways of learning new people that makes me sort pseudo anonymous "handels" into "dont bother"?

Or you might be right, I might be the crazy guy that will be hit by lightning as soon as there is a storm and you better crouch down. But that would be too depressing. And the most likely outcome is that nothing earth shattering happens and the world continues more or less as it has done before PO, etc.

Is china back or is china back?

This should help OPEC revise some figures.,,2004580002-2006070189,00.html

69% growth. That is scary.Even if you take into account the drop in the last few months.

This shows china's imports up over 69%.
Sorry meant to paste this. Prof goose can you please remove earlier comment?

Movie Guy - You're talking about geo-engineering, changing things on a planetary scale....but that's what we've been doing for the last 100 years with our CO2 emissions.  You want to try to correct this enormous inbalance in world geochemistry with what...another imbalance?  What would work that would not at least as bad or worse?  What if you do set off volcanic explosions to increase the reflection of sunlight?  You'd have to keep doing it over and over again until the excess carbon dioxide in the biosphere is removed - several hundred years, likely.  The effect of reduced sunlight on agricultural productivity might make you regret you thought of that one.  

Or take another example - the idea that iron is a limiting nutrient for algae in the ocean, and that by dumping bio-available iron in the ocean, we can promote enough algal growth to suck up carbon from the atmosphere.  Might be true, but I bet it would turn the oceans into dead ponds.  All that carbonaceous material raining down from the surface waters would suck up the dissolved oxygen down below, killing untold marine species.  Can we do it?  Yes.  Should we?  No.

There's good news, bad news, and a suggestion about algae and iron enrichment of oceans.
  1. The good news is that the increased organic matter does not rain down on the abyss and kill off the bottom life.
  2. The bad news is that the increased algae does not rain down on the abyss and sequester CO2.
  3. The suggestion is that we do it anyway because it does seem to encourage plankton, zooplankton, and presumably fish. This might let us get more calories from fish instead of beef, which would reduce prices for beef to the point that we would let some pasture go to forest, which would sequester CO2, which is the point.
Seems worth investigating, anyway.
Brother Kornhoer,

Yes, I am suggesting a form of geo-engineering.  At a minimum, I am adding a consideration for discussion purposes to a much larger discussion among nations, primarily the G-8.  

The absence of any attempt to salvage some portion of the northern polar cap is not necessarily the best answer for the economies and societies of the world.  

I do not recommend using volcanoes due to incontrollability issues and ash problems.  This is not an optimal solution by any means.  I would rather consider measures that could help preserve the northern polar cap without causing extensive environmental damage elsewhere.  

Dave raised Jerry Mahlman's name as part of a challenge to me.  Well, here's part of what Jerry actually told the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation in March 2004:  

"A doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide amounts is expected to occur within this century, almost independent of expected progress in emissions mitigation measures."

"Another 3-6 degrees Farenheit global warming is expected to occur this century, with continued warming thereafter."

"Global sea level is expected to rise steadily over the next 1000 years, with ominous very long-term consequences."

"Summer Arctic sea ice is expected to disappear by the middle of this century."

"Semi-arid continental areas are expected to have substantially less soil moisture in summer, with daunting implications for agriculture."

"Humid subtropical climates such as in the southeast U.S. are expected to have summertime heat index increases that well exceed the temperature increases."

"Tropical storms are expected on average to have stronger winds, and much more rain."

Jerry's not kidding.  He's done his research.  


Yes, Jerry has done his research, something that you might consider doing as well. I find your proposal absurd. I find your failure to answer objections by falling back on a "trust me" catechism to smack of having no real knowledge of what you propose. You've been challenged on the energy consumption requirements, the volume of water to be refrigerated, and the amount of heat to be dissipated, yet in all three cases you fail to answer the challenger, instead demanding that we trust you because (according to you) we have no other choice. I'm sorry but we do have other choices, whether you like them or not. And unless you can answer the simple challenges placed before you here, I don't think many of us are interested in hearing about science fiction as a way to address these problems.

Quite bluntly, your proposal appears to be a desperate idea from someone in denial about what we've done and what's about to occur.

odograph -

Re: your suspicion, check out the figures released from Cheney's energy task force due to the lawsuit by Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club:

Note the date on the first one: March 2001.

Now that is sad.
Press release notes $250MM.  Coincidentally (?) the same amount of money that was <supposedly> diverted from New Orleans leeve repairs to the "Iraq effort".
While I unrev from Artic de-icing, let me vent on the Ted Koppel Op-Ed. I'm very cynical about it -- well, no need, you'll see. I read it as support for administration policy, not a critque. The administration (I call it the Junta, which is really what it is - an administration is something you can vote out - a Junta you can't - so we'll see, won't we? - but for now I'll be polite), the administration, as I said, is having a lot of trouble keeping everyone on board in Iraq. Yet there is so much more to do. And everyone really does kinda suspect what it's all about, don't they?

So, they figure, why not turn it around: you  do want your standard of living, your SUV, your whatever? So how do you think that will be possible without oil? I long ago saw a write-in to my local paper saying "yea, it's about the oil - let's go get it." In another place I saw a long quote from Coulter to this effect: no, it's not about oil, blah, blah, blah, BUT -- even if it were -- what would be wrong with going after it?

This may be the new sell: the direct approach. Knowledge of peak oil cuts two ways. The Germans were mobilized around Lebensraum. Things are little subtler these days -- hypocrisy is de riguer. But I don't think Lebensraum was trotted out in the early days of the Thousand Year empire either, when small adjustments were being made, historical injustices corrected. It was later - the appetite comes with the eating.

I concur.  Reading Koppel's text, I don't see any hint of disapproval of the concept of going for the oil.  Rather, it is being portrayed as an honorable policy with plenty of precedence.  And he's not calling for debate on that policy either.  But hopefully he will provoke some debate.
All this "debate" about fantastical super-projects to reverse global meltdown is - "interesting" and is, in most science fiction called "terra-forming". It's the stuff we talk about doing to Mars and other "worlds" to make them habitable. There are, of course, many problems contected with terra-forming Mars which I don't think anyone really wants me to go into here. Let's just say, it's somewhat of a challange! The idea of trying terra-forming here on Earth at the North Pole is theoretically very interesting and I stress the word "theoretically". In practice I fear this line of thought only serves the purpose of underlining how Big a problem we face in relation to global meltdown and how desparate were getting. Are we really turning into drowning men clutching at any staw that floats by?

Personally I think on these open threads one should be given a great deal of room to say vertually whatever one wants about the issues surrounding the PO debate. Not becuase every "crazy" idea it potentially "true", but because often, by considering the "impossible" briefly, we sometimes, in contrast, see more clearly the contours of the "possible". Sorry, if that's a bit jumbled, but I too have been indulging!

Friends, let's try not to bash each other over the head to much shall we, please? I think Movie Guy is probably being "ironic" about the idea of terra-forming the North Pole! His subtle form of humour seems lost on most of you! I would hate to think the TOD was moving towards "civil war" in relation to this issue. After all, if we don't retain a sense of humour in relation to PO we're surely sunk.


You raise good points.  A wise man.  

If we're afraid to think outside of the box, however absurd as it may appear, it's unlikely that we will dig and find all the tools that really are in the box.  

Clearly, we are witnessing changing personal attitudes in the United States and not all for the best.  

There are plenty of Bode Miller types out there who are satisfied with being in the show but will not measure up to the task at hand.  Olympian Bode Miller stated that his goal was to be in the Olympics but said in effect that he didn't care about winning the Gold.  Tom Brokaw worked him over for those remarks.  The lack of reach and absence of general fire that is missing from a larger than normal segment of our population is disturbing.  It's dangerous to our future well being as a nation and society.    

Dave said it all with these words posted earlier in the thread:  

"do you think we could possibly know enough to reverse the processes we have set in motion? Or have the psychological wherewithal and will power to do so?"  

And others repeated on the thread such similar defeatism.  It's sad.  

Those willing to go down without a fight will most certainly perish.  And we're seeing more of this mentality in our university classrooms and first/second tier employment opportunities.  Now, we still some outstanding performers, but their ranks are thinning on a percentage basis of the population.  

I pushed the envelope with an idea.  And I addressed the problem that is most serious.  We will likely lose the northern polar cap.  Along with losing the cap we also lose our major eastern cities in North America.  There is some question as to whether the locks are high enough at the Panama Canal to avoid a breach.  It's becomes increasingly serious.  

If we're not willing to dig and try to sort out a range of plans for our future well being, we will be in trouble.  But we will be in much more trouble if we can not develop the next few generations of leaders who have fire in their minds and hearts.  

Appreciate your remarks.  Take care.  



Don't let "them" push your emotional buttons.
No need to go all that ballistic or defend your online ego.

It's not real.
You are merely conversing with virtual entities.
If they laugh, then they laugh. So what?
Sometimes they have useful ideas, sometimes not.
That's the nature of a virtual online community. None of us are really real. Believe it or not, I personally do not live in a lemming hole. It's just made up stuff. Calm down. Breathe a little. Go for a walk.

Rest assured that you are not the only one who is thinking about global-scale refrigeration systems.

In the system I'm looking at, they run only at night.
Hmmm. I wonder why?

But keeping the ice from melting, now that is a "problem".


I pinched the following article concerning the Mexican Cantarell oil field posted on the CrisisEnergetica website, and translated it from the original Spanish text available at,

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Continuing the bad news coming from PEMEX concerning the largest producing field in Mexico, recently published in the report "Reubica Pemex proyectos en Cantarell", "Relocation of Pemex projects in Cantarell", in which Pemex's director of E&P, Mr. C.M Gil, admits that Cantarell is at risk of having a fracture in the northern area where it could infiltrate with water may also accelerate the production decline.

Reproduced from the newspaper "Reforma", Mexico City, 23 Feb 2006

The director of Pemes E&P, C.M. Gil, confirmed and explained that the facts have obliged Pemex to make structural changes.

"The decision was to relocate two drilling projects to zones of higher pressure that are located in the block southeast of the field.

The two projects involving platforms Akal Q and Akal W, will be moved to the southeast region of Cantarell, where they might be used to control the ingress of water into the reservoir.  

During the 26 years that Cantarell has been in operation, the production zone has been decreasing and there are zones in the northeast where the problem of water infiltration into the producing zone is now greater.

The E&P data refers to the fact that the distance between the water and oil is acutally less than 250 meters, but Mr. Gil clarified that not all the reservoirs located in the Cantarell field are in the same situation.

He emphesized that the installations in the northeast region will remain and the production continues as it was originally planned.

He indicated that relocation expense for the platforms will be paid from the present budget as authorized and that no additional expenditures will be necessary.

The official denied that Cantarell is showing signs of overproduction and further commented that the investments made since 1997 until today will extend the field's useful life to the year 2030.

However he admitted that this year will begin the decline process in Cantarell's production.

The 2006 production will be 905 MM BOPD and for 2008 it will decrease to 430 MM BOPD.  This year (2008) will start the declining tendency that will last 25 years and that the produccion will be between 200 and 300 thousand BOPD.

The company replaced the Cantarell with the Ku-Maloob-Zaap project, Crudo Ligero Marino, Bermudez y Puerto Ceiba, that will permit production 3.847 MM BOPD in 2008.

The original volume of Cantarell is 36E9 BBLS of which only one half can be produced since the reserves are heavy crude.
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I Saw My First Hybrid Metrobus today

Metro Introduces its Newest Diesel Electric Hybrid Buses to its Fleet

Hopefully this will make up for the natural gas busses out there.

The bus had a big banner near the top proclaiming "THIS BUS IS RUNNING ON CLEAN HYBRID ELECTRICITY".  I won't nit pick about the "clean" part here because they aren't listening.

Fertlizer riots in Bangladesh:

Highways blocked and government offices besieged, amid accusations of urea hoarding...

The melting of the ice caps and glaciers is now considered inevitable. It is something the world needs to adjust to over the next century. The first thing I propose doing is to ban new construction at elevations below 10 meters MSL. The populations that currently live below this line need to be resettled elsewhere or provided the means of permanently living on floating platforms.  Resettlement could be financed using the FHA model.  Another option would be raising the coastal cities in a manner used by Galveston a hundred years ago.  I think resettlement is the most feasible approach which means it is the least likely to happen.

I concur with your proposal. That's the most realistic approach I have read in the past few weeks.  

We could start with the mess down along the northern Gulf Coast.  

If you haven't had the opportunity to see it in person, it would make you ill.  


Remember those "missing barrels" we discussed a week or so ago?  Looks like Sohbet Karbuz has found them: they are used by the US military overseas.
Excellent.  Thx.
This makes no sense. The US military uses gasoline and jet-fuel, not oil. The article you provided shows this distinction, but then uses "oil" and "petroleum products" interchangeably, completely confusing the issue.

We are talking about a supposed "missing" 650 million barrels of crude oil.

The US military has always operated overseas and used petroleum overseas. The US military has been at war for three years in Iraq. What makes its operations in the last year special?

The entire US military doesn't use that much oil in a year, heightened operations overseas would hardly account for it.

This is not the answer.

Nigeria turns to China for defense aid.

China is making more of the "right moves" while the US flounders. Of course, China's approach to local security will leave the rebels wishing it had been the US intervening instead.