New Open thread

For those excited about the other great TV event premiering this weekend, and other issues (grin)
The Doctor just isn't the same without the cheap sets and the moonlighting Shakespearean actors playing aliens.  And Leela.

Did anyone besides Odo & Stuart follow the Econbrowser thread on ExxonMobil and PO?  Tough sledding against those attitudes.

The Doctor had a number of hot companions over the years.  There was something intriguing about Leela.  Ace was kind of fun too - who can't like a girl that likes to play with dynamite :-).  I kind of liked Peri too (despite the fact that the actress was nervous and flubbed her lines), but I couldn't stand the jerk who played the Doctor opposite her.

I don't know if I can bring myself to watch the new one.  I am sure that it will be loaded up with special effects crap and have an absolutely inane plot.  Then again, the plotlines in the original series were kind of inane as well, but they all had a quirky charm to them.

If you had to ask me who my favorite Doctor was, it would have to be Tom Baker, with John Pertwee as my second choice.

Sara Jane was the best companion. (IMHO) ^_^
Well, the worst companion had to be K-9.  I liked the blonde Romana (Lalla something), too, but they frequently saddled her with that annoying dog-bot.

I'm also partial to Pertwee and Baker.

Best villain(s)?  

It'd be a toss up between the obvious candidates: the Master, the Daleks or the Cybermen.  I'd put an honourable mention in for the Sontarans though.  Favourite Doctor: has to be Tom Baker.
Until very recently I would have agreed, Tom Baker was my favourite. But I reckon that Christopher Eccleston was brilliant as the new Doctor.
I met John Pertwee at an AETN (Arkansas Eductional Tv Network) fuction in the early to mid 80's My brother dressed as Tom Baker in the hat and scarf that an Aunt made for us.  

I liked Tom Baker the best, there was a cute girl that was a fellow time lord trainee or something that tagged alone with him for a while and in the real world Married Tom Baker.  But my brother is the expert in the family over Doctor Who.  

I hope they don't screw it up any, but I guess the jury will be out till it hits the mass media.  

I thought the Doctor (Baker) seemed awfully emotional when Romana (Lalla Ward) stayed behind in her last episode.  Turns out they only stayed married for 16 months, though.
As we tap more oil supplies with lower and lower EROEI, won't the price of energy become highly volitile as the price of energy required becomes a greater fraction of the cost of making energy. I'm not sure I can even follow what I just said, but I hope you get my drift. I guess it occured to me in discussion ethanhol. Suppose an EROEI of 1.5. That says to me that the price of energy (oil, nat gas, whatever) will be a major cost component in manufacturing ethanol and thus the price of ethanol. Seems like a positive feedback which will amplify volitility.
It struck me recently that another odd factor in play with fuel sources like ethanol is that they can act as a store of value in a perverse way. Inputs to ethanol (fertilizer, diesel fuel) can be purchased up to a year before the ethanol comes out of the plant. Part of the perceived value of ethanol may just be the fact that the inputs were that much cheaper when they were purchased.
In regards to the new Mexican oil find, a question:
Seems I read somewhere that oil could not exist in
a liquid state much below 15,000 and if hydrocarbons s
are found would be natural gas and NGL. If this
deposit is at 13,120 ft. below the earth's surface
and 3,117 ft. below the ocean surface, would this
not be well below 15,000 ft.? I seem to recall
that saltwater adds approx. .45 psi per foot of depth.
I think that the formation of NG vs oil depends mostly on the temperature at the depth, not pressure. Besides the water is 2 to 3 times lighter than the rocks, so 3117 ft of water would be equivelent to some 1500ft. of rock.
Speaking of the new Mexican find...

Analysts Skeptical of Claims of a Large Mexican Oil Find

Analysts say they are skeptical of news this week from the Mexican state oil monopoly that exploratory drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico shows signs of a giant new oil field.

Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, says that early indications suggest that the field could be as large as 10 billion barrels. But analysts said that it was premature to make an estimate based on preliminary drilling.

"To me it's entirely speculative and hypothetical," said David Shields, an oil analyst and consultant in Mexico City.

Sounds like "political barrels" to me.  

i posted this in the last open thread but i got no responce.
has this been factored into the equations or is it just a bs claim?

Two geological basins in northern Afghanistan hold 18 times the oil and triple the natural gas resources previously thought, scientists said Tuesday as part of a U.S. assessment aimed at enticing energy development in the war-torn country.

Even if the new revisions or estimates are correct, its not really going to make much impact in regard to PO.
Scientists Find Big Afghan Oil Resources

Always consider the source and the hopeful language.

Nearly 1.6 billion barrels of oil, mostly in the Afghan-Tajik Basin, and about 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, mainly in the Amu Darya Basin, could be tapped, said the U.S. Geological Survey and Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Industry.

More work remains to assess petroleum reserves, conduct seismic exploration and rehabilitate wells, say government and industry officials.

Nowadays, that would be considered a pretty big find if any of this could be believed. Karzai is under big pressure to find some alternative to opium, which is Afghanistan's largest cash crop. Announcements like this should be taken with a big grain of salt.
of course they should be taken with a grain of salt but they should not be discounted either.
just trying to help keep everyone on top of the information.
It could be important to Afghanistan.  Globally, however, 1.6 billion barrels is less than 20 days worth of production - a drop in the bucket.  
Well, you did ask "is it just a bs claim?"

I think it's probably a bullshit claim.

Opium sounds like a very profitable line of business when oil's three times today's price.  Karzai might just want to think about that.  A very nice pipeful of dreams about all those trips we used to take could command a good price.
Don't believe this announcement contains a significant amount of BS. While Karzai is under pressure to fix the opium problem, turning opium farmers into oil workers is not the answer. Very little oil and gas exploration has been done in Afghanistan ( see ) and I see the findings as credible. Have a geologist friend looking at the data and will check into it personally next time I'm in the area.

It's also important to know that this area has very little infrastructure and it will be many, many years before these resources can be developed - if ever. For example, Bamiyan Province has one of the largest iron ore deposits in Asia, but no one (to my knowledge) has ever proposed developing it. Why? No decent paved roads to Bamiyan and the area has never had electricity other than that supplied by generators. To illustrate the problem, it's about 100 miles from Kabul to Bamiyan - about 8 hours of dust and bone jarring bumps

1.6 billion barrels isn't a whole hell of a lot.
We also need to look at oil in place vs recoverable reserves. Whenever announcements like this, they are giving optimistic scenarios of possible oil in place, between 25% and 65% of which might be recoverable.
I need a better editor - "Whenever announcements like this are made,"
Speaking of 'Not a whole hell of a lot..'  I haven't heard much about the EROEI and other issues affecting ANWR.  I'll have to look up the senate's vote from today, if it happened yet, plus the Pipeline spill in AK last week.  I don't know. It feels like we're watching the big ship sink, and not giving enough attention to prepping the lifeboats..

Even if it's little more than Symbolic, I planted my first 3watts of solar generating capacity in a window this week, charging 9.6v makita batteries and old 2.3ah Camcorder batts.  Then again, Symbolism is the essence of important changes, isn't it?

What's in your tank?

I'd like to take a slightly different position than the people saying "it will not make a big difference".

Yes, by itself only it will hardly make any difference compared to our current appetite for oil. But first the accumulative result from several such finds will make a difference, and second - sooner or later we will have to get used to live with much less. When that time comes such discoveries will look to us almost like we look at Ghawar today.

Bingo.  As I like to say, sh*t happens, things change, and variables vary.  

The easiest and deadliest mistake to make when looking at something as complex as worldwide energy supply and demand is to assume things will continue the way they are now.  I see this mistake countless times in energy issues (and economics in general), often when I'm sure the people doin' the assumin' are unaware of it.  

This is why I keep stressing how uncertain the future is.  All it will take is one breakthrough in the right place to completely change the rules of the game.  I'm not suggesting that "technology will save us", but that technology will throw us more than a few curve balls in the next 20 years.  We're definitely in for some very rough times and major challenges, but they and our responses to them will take shape in ways that are less than completely predictable.

Isn't this the problem though?  Say we do pull off a techno-fix which delays peak by 20 years or so, won't that just result in a much steeper decline rate at the tail (assuming a URR of 2.2 TB's and 3% growth in extraction)?  Surely an early peak in the 2005-2010 time bracket with a 2-3% decline rate is infinitely better than a peak around 2025-2030, with a 6-8% decline rate?  What economy could survive that kind of punishment?  Better to take one's lumps early...
I'm not sure I agree with that.  What we need, above all, is time, which at the moment IMHO is in very short supply.  Time first of all for decision makers to understand the problem, and time for the populace to accept the hard choices which will be necessary.   In that respect we do need an initial shortfall / price hike, but once the realisation has set in we need the time given by every possible new find, every technological advance both in EOR and in replacement power technology.  Without that, the more dire prognostications seem inevitable.
What your saying is we need 20 to 30 years to get our house in order and maybe we can handle the problem.

But we have had 30 years to get our house in order, and we didn't do it.  We kept looking for the next oil field.  We continued to consume.  If we have another 20 years we, as a society, will not make any changes.  We will continue to consume.

I think there are too many people that make decisions based on what is best for them now, not what is best into the future.  Politicians do not put together 20 year projects.  They try to cut taxes now to make the voters happy for the next election cycle.  The most forsight a politician has is about 3 years (maybe 5 for senators).

Even if PO was proven scientic fact that even the general populace could understand, and it was proven that it will happen in 2025, the general populace would make little to no changes in their lifestyle until then.  It won't be until the effects of PO are being felt and can be directly linked by Joe Blow to PO before he will start to change his lifestyle.

I would much rather have PO now with a 2%-3% decline vs 20 more years of increasing damage to the environment, 20 more years of ramping up consumption, 20 more years of population growth, and then a sharper drop off.


Even worse than that, countries and regions that did try to 'get their house in order' got financially ruined in the 1980s and 1990s when oil prices tanked. In New Zealand a massive natural gas to petrol plant was built, providing 30-40% of the country's fuel. However by the time it was finished it was almost uneconomic, and then the nat gas started to get more expensive; and now when it would actually be useful the gas field has started to run out!

There is no reason this pattern of boom and bust in oil prices will not repeat to some extent, which would further bankrupt any risky government or private schemes.

I imagine this means that many technological fixes will be in the form of dual use technologies- like extra power plants that can charge electric cars OR houses OR trains, rather than coal-to-oil synfuels.

Hedge those bets...

The Methanex plant paid for itself by allowing New Zealand to defund their armed forces. They no longer had to contribute to the US led alliance to stabilize the Middle East because of the crucial importance of maintaining low cost oil, like we did.
Now they are paying 60$ a barrel, until, and if, they get more natural gas to run the Methanex plant, or build a coal syngas/power plant right next to it to make power and gasoline.
I don't think Lou is suggesting that all the techno-fixes will be in the area of extracting more fossil fuels, even though that was what kicked off his post.  Say we had a breakthrough in efficient energy storage.  That would make the attractiveness of intermittent sources such as wind and solar that much more viable.  It may also allow more of the transportation sector to move onto the electrical grid.

Another way to look at these new oil finds is not that they will postpone peak production (although they might), but that they will reduce the rate of decline post-peak.  This will buy time and lessen the economic dislocation while we are transitioning to a post-fossil fuel society.

Extending from the previous open thread, for those TOD'ers with an economics bent take a look at the
Stern Review

In these documents are calls for developing new economic paradigms to deal with the global externalities as it is stated that current economic theory doesn't handle these well (not being an economist, I'm not judging the veracity of this). For a quick overview, see the bottom of page 5 in the pdf of Nick Stern´s Oxonia lecture at Oxford on 31 Jan 2006, the third PDF file listed.

That's a good reference and I've looked at some of the papers there, but something fundamental seems to be missing in all this economic analysis of climate change: economic thinking.

Economics is not just the study of exchange rates and taxation policy. Fundamentally, economics is a way of looking at problems that focuses on questions of what people value, what their costs are, and how they can use their resources to achieve their goals. It is this kind of thinking that seems to be absent in these papers.

The economic approach to global warming should focus on cost tradeoffs. How much does it cost to reduce carbon emissions to a certain level, and how much benefit do we get by those reductions? The most fundamental question is this: what is the optimal CO2 level we should aim to target?

I don't see any analysis of this question. Instead, the analyst pulls a CO2 level out of his hat. 450 ppm, or 500, or 550. The only thing these have in common is that they are multiples of 50 and are higher than where we are today (almost at 400, higher if we consider the contributions of other gasses). Then he talks about how we can get there.

But nowhere does he discuss how much more it will cost if the number turns out to be 550 over 500. Or if the number turns out to be 600, or whatever. We have to have estimates of these costs! Then we can compare the short-term cost of achieving a more stringent target with the long-term cost of letting the number get higher.

That is the fundamental economic question of global warming! It is the first question we must ask to even begin to decide what strategy to adopt. And yet we have hundreds of pages of economic analysis, and I haven't yet seen someone try to do this calculation, or even admit that this question exists.

Now, granted, this is an enormously difficult question to answer. At a minimum we must estimate the technological and economic capabilities of year 2100 Earth. Do they have starships and robots? Or are they back to horses and donkeys for transport? It's a ridiculously hard question. Certainly nobody in 1900 foresaw the world of 2000 in even the dimmest terms. Everything that happened was a total, complete and utter surprise.

Nevertheless this is the first step that must be accomplished to begin to estimate the costs of global warming. And that calculation is crucial to achieve a reasonable estimate of what CO2 level will minimize costs.

This is the economic way of thinking, and as I said it is spectacularly absent from the papers I have seen so far. Probably the reason is that it reveals the near-absurdity of the process of what we have to go through - guessing at inventions not yet invented, evaluating the creativity of generations yet unborn. Yet it has to be done.

I'll tell you how I would do it. I would curve-fit. I would extrapolate economic growth and technological improvements forward based on the record of the past few centuries. And since that record reveals ever-faster growth of technological capability, I would predict that late 21st century science and technology will be as far beyond our own as we are beyond the stone age:

In such a world, global warming can be dealt with as easily as we build an aquaduct today to bring water from a source hundreds of miles away. It is a modest engineering project, and the main difficulty is acquiring the legal rights-of-way. But the capability will be there, if we apply the simplest possible curve-fitting extrapolations.

So this is the other way that economic analyses of global warning are noticeably bereft of economic thinking: because thinking logically about the problem makes it go away. Dumb, curve-fitting based extrapolations from the past are the most unbiased method of predicting the future, and they predict that global warming will not be a major problem 50 or 100 years from now.

Um, err, what's the economic value of plankton and coral reefs, which are the basis of the marine food web, and, in the case of phytoplankton, produce 50% of global oxygen?

These sources of life and breath are already dying.  This says nothing of the loss of terrestrial carbon sinks, "food factories" and oxygen sources - i.e. forests.  Price 'em out if you like.  But when we're starving and gasping for breath, I'd guess the price would be about, oh, infinity.

Despite decades of our best efforts, we have yet to wipe out harmful bacteria; in fact they are evolving resistance to our best antibiotics. I imagine that a similar thing will happen with microscopic sea life, that as ocean conditions change, they will evolve adaptations to allow them to thrive in the new circumstances.

As far as food, globally we do not depend on the sea for the majority of our food supply, so even if that is impaired I don't think we will be starving to death.

And as far as running out of oxygen, hopefully this article will set your mind at ease:

AN OFT-HEARD WARNING with regard to our planet's future is that by cutting back tropical forests we put our supply of oxygen gas at risk. Many good reasons exist for placing deforestation near the top of our list of environmental sins, but fortunately the fate of the Earth's O2 supply does not hang in the balance. Simply put, our atmosphere is endowed with such an enormous reserve of this gas that even if we were to burn all our fossil fuel reserves, all our trees, and all the organic matter stored in soils, we would use up only a few percent of the available O2. No matter how foolishly we treat our environmental heritage, we simply don't have the capacity to put more than a small dent in our O2 supply.
"I imagine that a similar thing will happen with microscopic sea life, that as ocean conditions change, they will evolve adaptations to allow them to thrive in the new circumstances."

You obviously know nothing about biology and yet blithely spout off on the topic.  That prokaryotes (the bacteria in your text) have mechanisms to adapt to antibiotics - is not an argument that can then be applied to all the other "microscopic sea life" - the algal contingent of which are eukaryotes.

Evolution is a random process - it is not directed.  There is no guarantee that a species will be able to adapt.  As oceanic conditions change, selection of tolerant species will occur - and the less tolerant become extinct.  The restructuring of metabolic processes is a far more complex thing than 'simple' resistance to antibiotics.

But you are right, we won't "run out" of oxygen.  But what is the effect of all that CO2?  Do you know how many different types of carbon fixation cycles there are?  Do you know the effect on each of different levels of CO2?  Do you further know the interactive effects of water stress, nutrient stress and temperature? OR are they all just plants to you?

You know, Hubberts critics dissmissed him because "they imagined" that there was a lot more oil.

Do you use "dumb, curve fitting based extrapolations from the past" to manage your own stock portfolio, Halfin? I'd like to see the performance of your portfolio if you do that. And if you don't use such then don't try to sell that line of bullcrap here.

Robin Hanson assumes that ever increasing sources of energy are available to continue this growth. That's a pretty bad assumption to be making right now. Work requires energy - basic physics whether economics like it or not. And planetary engineering projects will require massive energy. I guess this puts you in the believer-in-technological-miracles camp. Don't do anything because something magic HAS to happen because the alternative is not what we want. That's not science. It's religion.

I apologise for not reading them tonight (tis 4am late), good to see some apparent recognition that there are perhaps problems with current economic paradigms - hard reality ultimately trumps economic reality which is only valid within its current solution space.

I've been thinking about money lately: how it works, the reality (and otherwise) of its value, the robustness of that, should it be re-instituted if it breaks, should there be controls on the 'scope' of money if so. Too soon for conclusions but my possibly perverse prejudices are forming some tentative conclusions.

For now I would suggest a few links if you are interested. My best guess is that the money system is more likely to break than not in the next 10 years. If so there may be some choice about how it is reformulated (the utility of a money system is probably beyond doubt, but the way it currently functions may be maladaptive).

This is a neat tropical island way of explaining money, its dynamics and imbalances (with relevence to current situation) from first principles:

Perhaps a more pointed view in a narrower scenario:

Going back to economic theories of money as it currently functions:
(there may be some interesting stuff on it's parent site but I haven't had time to read there yet:  )

Much older, more land wealth based, still interesting:
More recent, von Mises:

It will do you no harm (in the sense of wasting your time) to think about money - how and what it is, and is not. You may be surprised if you do, perhaps you will begin to see answers that are different from those constrained by the present 'economic solution space' ;)

     The article about the new Mexico find and the likelihood of it being "sour/heavy" oil as opposed to the "light/sweet" started me thinking about a trend we're likely to see relatively soon, i.e. an increasing dependence on sour/heavy oil.  I've read a couple of postings here that suggest the sour oil is more difficult to refine and produces less transportation fuel, but I haven't seen any writing about what a large-scale switch to this lower quality oil will produce in terms of "wastes" or "by-products".  Will the switch simply produce more useless wastes that are difficult to dispose of, or will potentially-useful by-products of the refining process become significantly more abundant than they are now?  Are there any companies/industries that would likely benefit from an increased availability of such by-products?  
Heavy crude can be cracked to make lighter feedstock for fuels but of course this takes more energy that using light crude to start with.
Bunker fuels and asphalt will become relatively cheaper and more common.

Pre-Katrina, there was talk about a prototype barge tugboat running off of bunker fuels (like ocean going ships) rather than diesel.  Bunker fuels are readily available in seaports (New Orleans & Chicago for example) and the tugboat would carry it's fuel between them.

BTW< good news for island generators liek Hawaii & Puerto Rico that get electricity from bunker fuels.

From memory, #6 bunker needs heating to become liquid, #5 bunker is liquid at about 50 F (10 C) and #4 bunker is liquid to a lower temperature. (anyone have better #s ?)

Most diesel is called #2.

lots of roads to cycle along, unless they invent an asphalt fueled car
I saw on Megahertz Channel's 'Journal' that Indians are marching for clean water in Mexico.  Some are taking out their Zapatista guns.  They held up jugs of brown water that they said was too dirty to even wash clothing.  Googling shows that scarcity of clean water is nothing new in Mexico.

Also, people are still protesting about Gaz de France merging with Suez.

PEAK COPPER or even PEAK METALS - that should have been the caption. The actual caption in today's (3/16) WSJ was "A Red-Hot Desire for Copper".

"Chile's production slipped about 2% last year, and meantime, new mines aren't being discovered or exploited quickly enough to make up the shortfall". The CEO of Phelps Dodge Corp. is quoted as saying that the mining industry is "living off the fruits of...prospectors of a hundred years ago". Elsewhere, "Concerns extend to zinc, aluminum and other resources important to the world economy". More, "Most of the large, known copper deposits that remain untapped are in regions that have unstable governments or are hard to reach, such as Central Africa or Mongolia".

Of course none of this necessarily means peak anything - but we do need a metals version of Campbell, Deffeyes, etc. to explore this for us - or do they already exist?

And copper refining seems, where have we heard this before?, huge amounts of water.

Anyway, maybe someone can find and post a link to this article?

Ask and thee shall receive:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette often has the WSJ pay-only articles for free.

Personally, I don't think peak natural resources is a long as you have enough energy. Given enough energy, you can make or make substitutes for just about anything.  

OTOH...given very expensive energy, there may be shortages of commodities even though they are not scarce.  


What would you substitute for copper, just for example?

Thanks for link.

Depends on the purpose.  We've already substituted zinc for the copper in pennies.  Copper is great for electrical wiring and plumbing, but we can use other materials if we absolutely have to.  Aluminum, silver, titanium, steel, plastic.  Fiber optics can replace copper wiring for some uses.  Composites can replace copper for some structural uses.  We already substitute PVC pipe for copper pipe for water systems in many areas.

Copper,Zinc and Nickel have all tripled off their 5 year lows; Lead and Aluminium have doubled.

Graphs are from Kitco Metals

Large graphs summarized here
I suspect it's energy that's a big part of those increases.  This is why I think we're fooling ourselves if we think nuclear energy, ethanol, solar, wind, tide power/hydroelectric, etc., can save us.  Those require a huge investment in infrastructure to make any real difference.  The raw materials needed to build it all will be getting scarcer and pricier.  Maybe if we'd started 30 years ago....but we didn't.

Wall St. types rightly point out that commodity shortages have never been anything but a temporary problem.  The market always adjusts somehow. They are expecting the same thing to happen with oil - but energy is fundamentally different from other commodities.

Leanan, maybe you're right, the graph for oil looks very similar, also having tripled off its 5 year low...
Where does this put the Julian Simons theory that commodity prices always go down?
Hear that whirring sound? Simons is spinning in his grave at the very thought! ;)
This is why I think we're fooling ourselves if we think nuclear energy, ethanol, solar, wind, tide power/hydroelectric, etc., can save us.

Can save us? Jeez. Define Save please. Methinks renewables are pretty much all we'll have left in a hundred years.

From my window just now I can see 3 pickups, and 2 SUVs*, only one of which is actually a working truck. I don't think there will be room in the renewable lifeboats to save the other four.

*Strangely enough, when I looked out the window, there were no passenger cars to be seen.

Save our "way of life."  Our civilization, if you will.

I am not sure we will have renewables in 100 years.  I think we may find the technology is too expensive to support in the post-carbon age.

My point is this. Once we have used up the hydrocarbons which have a positive EROEI, all we will have left is renewables. Peak oil, whether it was December 16, 2006, or twenty years from now, still means that we have about half of it left.

I'm still enough of an optomist to think that with about as much hydrocarbon energy left as we have ever used, we can use some of what's left to construct a self-sustaining, renewable, energy infrastructure.

Once we have used up the hydrocarbons which have a positive EROEI, all we will have left is renewables.

Not necessarily.  There's nuclear.  It's not renewable.  

I'm still enough of an optomist to think that with about as much hydrocarbon energy left as we have ever used, we can use some of what's left to construct a self-sustaining, renewable, energy infrastructure.

I'm a realist.  I think we can...but we won't.  We won't get serious about it until it's too late.

Energy is not the cause of these increases. Oil and other commodities are all increasing for the same reason: Chinese consumption is increasing dramatically, taking producers around the world by surprise.  Some of these commodities have limitations (like oil, and copper to some extent), but a big element is the lag time for big expansions in capacity investment, which went into the dumper for all commodities recently because of very low prices.

To really research these prices, you should look at them over 40 years, to see how low they've been recently, and how little they've risen in inflation adjusted, historical terms.

I meant to say:

"To really research copper prices"

Tungsten is the funny one. The CanTung mine north of sixty had to shut down because the customers defaulted on their contracts. They felt the price should be lower because it was after the dotcom bust. So the mine owners just shrugged and shut down, leaving the ore in the ground instead of producing it at the cost of the salaries of the miners and the fuel for the equipment.
The price of tungsten went up ten times after the Chinese noticed that they controlled most of the rest of the tungsten production capability. Now the mine has reopened and should be at capacity soon.
Also, the iron ore producing countries like Australia have jacked up the price of iron ore far more than the Chinese jacked up the price of tungsten. Not as much per ton, but far more in total because iron ore production is so huge.
Well, plastic pipes for one, Ooops, what if we run short of raw materials (oil) for plastics, lol.

Silver is too expensive for wire, maybe aluminium - as long as smelted with hydroelectric, but more expensive.

The truth is: many natural resources are inter-related - run short on one, substitute another, and soon enough the other runs short.

Copper is interesting and perhaps somewhat parallel to oil. As recent as 6 months ago 'experts' were predicting an imminent surplus and price drop. The last couple of months their tune has changed and many seem to now fear a shortage. As with all such things realistic data and projections seem hard to come buy ;)

There certainly seems to be sufficient supply but the price persists in hovering near its all time high. Likewise: oil, aluminium, zinc, uranium, silver, gold (for 20 year price, anyhow). I fancy a pattern emerging but, ssshh, don't tell anyone.

If energy was not the limiting factor, metals and other non-consumptive non-renewable resources would become scarce and expensive as evidence began to make it clear that recovery and production of those items had entered a terminal decline.  Since much of what we produced is still with us, I am sure recycling and scavanging and maybe even land fill mining would fill the gap between in supply and demand in the near term. More development of marginal sources would also play a part.

Assuming the human race mastered free/unlimited energy sources, the long term solution would probably have to be either extra-terrestial mining or some form of Universal Assemblers that could fabricate anything at a nanotechnology level from just about anything else. (I am not making this up.  Google Universal Assembler)  Assuming we dont destroy planetary life from the introduction of alien species from somewhere else or turn ourselves into mush courtesy of the gray goo scenario, peak metals probably could be overcome in both the near and long terms.

Of course this is pure speculation, part conjecture of actual research underway, part sci-fi reading.  The last time I checked, we still haven't mastered the "unlimited" energy source yet...

The government should fund research into nanotech assemblers that can PRINT MORE OIL!
NPR did a story several weeks ago about certain key metals growing scarce:

But Robert Gordon, another Yale researcher, says look for copper in this country and you'll find "roughly a third in the ground, a third in use, and a third in the trash."

Copper is an interesting one. It hit a new all time high price today, $2.36 / lb, three times its price about 3 years ago. Copper is an immensely useful metal, especially in electric distribution, generation, wiring - China are doing and planning a lot of this ATM.

About 9 months ago pundits were saying it was overpriced (at about $1.60 / lb) and that there would be an excess of supply in 2006, so the price would probably drop back to around $1.20. Now they are beginning to say that production will be short of demand. Unless the chinese economy takes a serious nosedive the price of copper will probably continue to increase at 50% each year.

Or US homebuilding takes a nosedive.

The US can generate more copper in scrap than we consume, if we are in a severe recession and the copper price is high.


Thanks for that tip on free versions of WSJ articles.  I have a subscription but I realize that many TOD readers probably don't.  It looks like you can peruse for articles.

Tuesday's and Wednesday's WSJ had interesting articles as well.  The daily quirky article in the center of Tuesday's front page is about the recent rise in scrap metal theft:

Metal Is So Precious That Scrap Thieves Now Tap Beer Kegs

The lead front-page story in Wednesday's paper is about a bottleneck in U.S. railroads' ability to deliver coal to electric power generation plants:

As Utilities Seek More Coal, Railroads Struggle to Deliver

The WSJ actually runs a pretty consistent trickle of energy-related articles.  Granted, very few of these use the words "peak oil," but the articles are generally interesting and topical.  I did a couple of searches in their archives and found this article, published  on September 21, 2004:

As Prices Soar, Doomsayers Provoke Debate on Oil's Future

BALLYDEHOB, Ireland -- As he sat last month in his book-lined study, Colin Campbell got a phone call that made him shriek with joy."Holy Mother!" he yelped after he put down the receiver. "The good 'ol moment's has arrived! ... Dr. Campbell is at the center of a small but suddenly influential band of contrarians known as the peak-oil movement.

     "Personally, I don't think peak natural resources is a long as you have enough energy. Given enough energy, you can make or make substitutes for just about anything."

     Leanan, you post comments consistently with such great insight into the importance of "external" factors to Peak Oil that I can't believe you wrote this.  Do you not consider such things as water and topsoil, to name but two, natural resources?    

We can make those, or make substitutes for them...given enough energy.  

Indeed, we already are.  Desalination plants provide water for Saudi Arabia and Israel.  And chemical fertilizers make up for our exhauted topsoil.

The problem, of course, is that we won't have enough energy to keep doing this once the cheap oil is gone.

Mongolia is a short train ride from northern China.  I could see China bankrolling development of a secure source of copper "next door".  The Mongolians are "cautious" about the Chinese and may prefer a Chinese/Korean JV or some such.

China & India have joint ventures in oil, why not copper ?

Hi All

This makes for interesting eeading and makes the point Mutineer in Western Australia has peaked and declined in matter of 11 months by nearly half. 1_SP158456_RTRUKOC_0_US-ENERGY-AUSTRALIA-UPSTREAM.xml

Australia peaked in 2000 at over 800K bpd and it is now around 550K.

No wonder we have this enquiry into Peak oil

There is a submissions page for you all to browse 156 and they are still taking them. ASPO is well represented.

So if you are interested in giving them your views please send them your thoughts.

Kind Regards


Iranian update, I hope it is true but I doubt it. Oil prices down tomorrow?:

In a Dramatic Shift Of Policy, Iran Says Ready To Direct Talks With US Over Iraq

By Safa Haeri
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006

PARIS, 16 Mar. (IPS) Iran exploded a diplomatic bombshell announcing on Thursday that it would meet the United States directly for the first time in decades.

"We will accept the request by Ayatollah Abdol Aziz Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SAIRI) about talking to the Americans on Iraqi problems", Mr. Ali Larijani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) told a closed door, unscheduled meeting of the Majles, or the Iranian Parliament.

We will accept the request by Ayatollah Abdol Aziz Hakim about talking to the Americans on Iraqi problems.

"No matter of the subject and no matter who initiated it, that Iran accepts to meet Americans directly at this juncture is important, for it shows that the clerical-led political establishment has realised the dangers it faces. It is also very important because such decisions can not be taken without prior approval by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, who, as the absolute leader of the regime has the last word on any major domestic or foreign policy", one political analyst commented.

"Considering that the request emanates from one of the most distinguished Islamic leaders of Iraq, therefore, the Islamic Republic, in order to help resolve the problems in Iraq and the realisation of an independent government and real freedom there would accept and would appoint people to carry out discussions about Iraq", he pointed out.

Though Mr. Larijani named no one in particular, but informed Iranian diplomatic sources said it is highly probable that the Iranian delegation for talks with the Americans be led by Mr. Mehdi Safari, a former ambassador to Moscow who is the Foreign Affairs Minister's Special Envoy for Iraq.

Washington cut all ties with the Islamic Republic and imposed unilateral sanctions on the new regime after Islamic-revolutionary students stormed the huge American embassy in Tehran early November 1979 and took 55 American diplomats and staff as hostage for 444 days.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington to the Iranian conciliatory decision, but some Western diplomats said it is a "great opportunity Washington should not drop".

"We want the wise and learned Iranian leadership to open a clear and direct dialogue with America for the sake of interests of Iraqi people and government and we demand them to give a positive answer to the proposal of the American Ambassador (in Iraq), Mr. Aziz, -- a close friend of Iranian clerical leaders, including Mr. Khameneh'i --told the opening session of the Iraqi Parliament reported by "Eufrat", a Shi'ite television channel.

Tehran accepts the painful U-turn from its basic diplomacy sat by Mr. Khameneh'i on "no to dialogue with the Great Satan on any circumstance" at a time that Washington increases pressures on the Iranian theocratic regime over its controversial nuclear activities.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the White House said in a 49-page blueprint called the "National Security Strategy" of the United States, a copy of which was obtained by the French news agency AFP.

The place of pre-emption in our national security strategy remains the same", it said. "We do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack".

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently called Iran "the greatest challenge of any single country" facing America and on Wednesday, the House of Representatives pushed forward with a bill to impose sanctions on foreign firms doing business in Iran despite White House concerns it would hinder efforts to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.

There was evidence the Iranians provided "indirect help" to Sunni Arab insurgents who attack U.S. and Iraqi government troops.

On instructions from the White House, Mr. Zalmay Khalizad, the Afghan-born American ambassador to Baghdad had ten days ago proposed to the Iranians a meeting aimed at discussing ways and means to cooperate about mounting Iraqi difficulties, including averting the dangerous escalation of religious war and the formation of a government representing all ethnic and religious components of the fragmented nation, but Tehran had refused the suggestion.

"When (the now toppled Iraqi dictator) Saddam was in power and the Americans, the Europeans and Arab countries were supporting him, all Iraqi Shi'ites, Kurds and even Sunnis were our guests and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had found refuge here. This something that the Iraqis never forget", the semi-official Students News Agency ISNA quoted Mr. Larijani as having told reporters on the sideline of the Majles meeting centred on the latest situation over the nuclear standoff.

"It is a long time that the Americans have made this request. Their ambassador has said several times that solving some of Iraqi problems needs talking to Iranians. But we don't trust them. Every time they need us, they make such demands to say other things afterward", he added, reminding that in Iraq, "our natural ally" , Iran has supported the Iraqi Constitution, the elections of the Parliament, the formation of a new government as well as the process of democracy.

"At the same time, we have always said that the troubles in Iraq come from the occupiers", Mr. Larijani, a former revolutionary guard officer and a close advisor to the Iranian fundamentalist and bellicose President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad stressed.

Khalilzad has criticized what he called Iran's "negative role" in Iraqi affairs, saying the country's diplomatic relationship with its neighbor was tainted by a policy "to work with militias, to work with extremist groups, to provide training and weapons."

He added that there was evidence the Iranians provided "indirect help" to Sunni Arab insurgents who attack U.S. and Iraqi government troops.

Iran denies the accusations and says that "based on intelligence reports, CIA and Israel are behind the bombing of religious places", including the shrine of two Shi'ite imams at Samarra last month that triggered a deadly wave on inter-religious killing between the dominant Shi'ites and the minority Sunni Muslims.

This is total BS - if you buy into this, well, go to the outer space alien blog.

I wonder, what time was this news item released?  For whatever reason, crude oil seems to have jumped $2.00 or so this afternoon, which seems contradictory.  Market noise?
What, exactly, are you calling 'total BS'?

The whole of your post? The whole of the reported Iranian position? The recent conciliatory moves you report? Just the last paragraph?

Please be more precise, your meaning is not clear to me.

I would be happy for Iran and the US to talk provided it is constructive and does not further polarize their positions and increase tensions and misunderstanding. With that in mind it might be best if any discussions were managed by a third party like Russia or France, perhaps, which had some understanding and sympathy with both sides.

Personally I find the probable Iranian role in southern Iraq(negative in US perception, validly) totally reasonable and logical given the bellicose utterances from the US regime towards Iran. I also think the Iranian role in fostering violence in Iraq reprehensible. I have always thought the US / UK invasion of Iraq unjustified, illegal and a war crime.

I have always thought the US / UK invasion of Iraq unjustified, illegal and a war crime.

By some accounts there have been over 100,000 Iraqi deaths in the last 3 years. Contemplate the disrupted lives of those left living, the generational impact on the children, the despoilation of the urban centres, the burnt husk of a nation balanced on the edge of a civil war, one which may engulf the entire region and realize that Saddam, for all his madness, achieved nothing the equal of what the Americans have done.

And there is not an American alive who can offer a rational explanation for what has transpired in Iraq, or give a valid accounting for the 2,300 American lives lost there.


I think you will discover in the near future that the top leadership of Iran, being both the President and the Head of State, want to acquire nuclear weapons and break the NPT. I hope the statement by Ayatollah Abdol Aziz Hakim is both correct and followed through on.

You can not have a President of a nation who calls out for the killing and removal of Israel from the map. We tolerated one attempt at that already in the past 70 years.

Are countries to be attacked for the intemperate rhetoric (as translated and presented to us by the western media) of their leaders? Where do you stop? The newly restated doctrine of pre-emptive action is one which gives free reign to ignore international law and interperet  "intelligence" in whichever way suits the hawks.
Under that reasoning, with many of the statements recently uttered by various western leaders and offensive preparations put in place, military action by Iran against the US, France and Britian is long overdue.  
With regard to the Israeli situation, the scenes and stories from the Holocaust still have the power to shock one to the very core sixty years on.  That the Israelis continue to use them for justification for thier own arrogance and barbarism shocks even more.
I would suggest reading this Juan Cole article for a more balanced view.  

Even if talks are held, it will take the Bush administration only a short time to sabotage them.  The nuclear weapons issue is a ruse.

It's an excellent article, Twilight, I strongly recommend people read it. Juan Cole is one of the most even handed and wise writers on mid-east affairs.

While I find Ahmadinejad's intemperate comments stupid and possibly abhorrent, I find the US regime's distortion of them and their bellicose rhetoric just as abhorrent. The US motives are more suspect than Iranian motives IMO.

If I was a senior Iranian politician I would probably argue for withdrawal from the NPT and development of nuclear weapons: US behavior seems to leave little alternative. Iran has called for a nuclear free mid-east, but the chances of that are zero. Apart from some foolish comments, probably misinterpreted, certainly distorted by US regime and media, Iran has done nothing unreasonable.

JG, if you are referring to Hitler and his extermination of Jews I must remind you that Israel did not exist during Hitler's lifetime. Hitler wanted to exterminate a race of people, that is quite different from someone saying they do not want the Israeli state in the mid-east. In case you question my attitude on Israel: I totally support the existence of the Israeli state in the mid-east, I am pro-Jew, pro-jewish state, and have intentionally visited concentration camp memorials and been profoundly sickened by what I saw.


Cole's article has a point of view, though he obviously has done some reading/experiencing. I suggest you read some more of Otto von Bismarck and understand realpolitik. Iran wants the bomb for political reasons.

After the First Persian Gulf War there was an Indian general who said, "If you are going to fight the United States you must have an A-bomb." Iran's nuclear power pursuit is not about peaceful nuclear power. This is so Iran can be like North Korea and stare the USA down. The problem is that the leadership of Iran buys into the myth of Zionist domination of stuff from Hollywood to Washington D.C. They might as well believe in UFO's and Frodo & Middle Earth.

Religious fanatics having advanced weaponry is not good by definition.

That is one reason I want Bush out of office!

Bush is not a religious fanatic.  He just plays one on TV.  
Really? O.K., fanatic may be too strong, but he is faith-based. Leanan, are you suggesting he is not high on religion?
He gave up drugs and booze for it. . . .  

(Powerful substitutes!)

I'm not sure he really gave up drugs and booze, frankly.  At least, not when he said he did.  And I wonder if he's backsliding now.  Or maybe he's just on some weird medication.    

I think we got the true view the Bush administration has of religion when those Abramoff e-mails came out.  The ones where religious people were referred to as "wackos," and mocked for being so stupid and easily manipulated.

Unfortunately, Bush sees nothing wrong with putting "wackos" in positions of power.  I don't see this as evidence he believes as they do, though.  Rather, I see it as evidence of something that has been a trait of his presidency since the very beginning: putting political supporters in positions that really should be held by people who know what they're doing.  Bush values loyalty above all, and that can be a weakness as well as a strength.  


Maybe I am naive. It is an element of my personality. But I think he gave up everything when he woke up one morning not knowing where he was and went on the wagon after that, some 20-odd years ago.

He buys into the Christian religious aspect of life.

Do not equate Abramoff with Bush. One is a moneylender, the other a true-believer.

I accept the loyalty comment. Right on.

Sometimes when you are in charge you have to cut your losses and cut your people. Bush is bad at that. As Robert E. Lee said, sometimes you have to sacrifice the tool you love - just before Pickett's Charge.

I don't believe he went on the wagon when he said he did, because there are reliable witnesses who swear they saw him drinking and drunk after that.  Could they all be lying?  Maybe.  But there's a video on the Internet of Bush at a party, after he supposedly found God and gave up booze, and he looks drunk as a skunk.

And there are times even now where I wonder if he's drunk or on drugs.  (Perhaps prescribed drugs.)  Especially last summer, when he had to speak to the press unexpectedly after the hurricane hit.  He just didn't seem right.  He looked really drugged.  Nothing like his usual self.

Then there's that "choking on a pretzel" incident.  When people fall over and hit their faces while watching football on TV, it's not usually the pretzels that are to blame.


Having been there myself, the pretzel point is a good point, but having been on the other side, sober people choke/gag sometimes too. Hey, we have odd deaths that way too.

Between Laura Bush and his self-improvement after his early years, I will give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

The main issue is until the 2006 State of the Union address, he was living in the past, and not living in the now, let along the future. Will our USA President go beyond the point we are at now, but in November 2006 and/or 2008 we will go beyond what we have now? Maybe.

This is the only time I wish Carter had a 2nd term.

But let us push this discussion back to March 2006. We use too much oil and we are heating the planet too much, and there are too many of us.

Sorry, Lunestra. Remember, the late Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist was widely known to have enjoyed the benefits of pharmacology.
Could be, but if I had to bet, I would say it was some kind of psychiatric medication. There have been rumors for a long time that Bush is being given drugs for depression, perhaps even anti-psychotic drugs.

And I really do think he may be drinking again, if he ever quit.  There are times when he slurs his words and seems to have trouble walking.  The National Enquirer ran a story last fall saying he was back on the bottle.  Yes, it's the Enquirer...but they are pretty careful these days.  Since they were sued for libel by Carol Burnett they've been pretty careful to be accurate.  Lurid, but accurate.

And since his poll numbers started dropping, the emboldened mainstream media has been reporting more on his erratic behavior.  CNN confirmed a story reported by Capitol Hill Blue awhile back; they very casually mentioned that Bush was known to fly into obscenity-laced rages and was isolating himself from all his usual advisors.  

I don't mean to be picking on Bush in particular.  We have long picked our presidents based mostly on their media images.  When we pull the lever, we are making our decision on the sizzle, not on the steak.  Bush is a very different man from his good-old-boy, born-again public image.  But he's not the only one.    

HOORAY! for Agric and BOP re the: above two comments

Do either of you Live in the US ?

The mess caused in Iraq by the US is a shocker by every possible measure. Unjustified Invasion. Illegal etc.

I believe the current US occupation/Iraq War(whatever you want to call it?) situation is very clear to most international citizens.......classic BS.

What I can't understand is why the good peace loving people of the US allowed their government to:
A) Invade Iraq Illegally
B) Get away with it after finding no WMD etc.

If US just wanted Saddam, should have done it "Special Ops" style at the very least. Killing 100,000 mostly innocent civillians was a very bad move and one that will collectively cost the US much more problems than it solved

Good People of the US, please take control of your Government. Most people around the world, from all walks of life that I have spoken with, find the US to be the biggest known threat to global peace.

Sorry for ranting. I just wanted to get that off my chest.

"Most people around the world, from all walks of life that I have spoken with, find the US to be the biggest known threat to global peace."

I doubt global peace can exist.  I believe it's just a dream.  There will always have to be someone at the top, and right now that is the U.S.  But I dread to think of the power vacuum  that will be created if we collapse.  I'm sure China will be more than happy to take on that role, and considering their Human Rights history, that doesn't sound any better.  

I wish I did have more of a say in our foreign policy, but all I can do is vote in elections.  And no matter who we put in office our policies won't change very much because of our 2 party system.  I think people here are just too afraid of change to vote for a real President that can actually mak a difference. Assuming one will ever run.  


why the good peace loving people of the US allowed their government to:


In order to understand the American people, you need to first understand the machineries of porpoganda that have built up in the USA after "America" gloriously (and without any help from the pinko commie Ruskies) defeated the Nazi's in 1945 and saved the world for "Democracy".

Every morning, innocent American boys and girls are commanded to stand up in classroom around the country, place their hands over their little hearts and recite in herd-like unison a blind pledge of allegience to "the flag" of the USA and to "the republic" for which it stands. They repeat to themselves that the USA is "one nation" and that it is under "God", and that it is "indivisble" and that somehow it always delivers "liberty and justice to all".

Then they sit down and learn about how our way of life  is a "democracy" where everyone (even those without enough money to buy their own Congressman) has a "voice" in the way the government runs. And of course, this is only the beginning of a long brain washing path. Ultimately, they are convinced that "The Market" and "The Invisible Hand" will fix everything ... but that is a very advanced head spinning class. VV_ellcome to our American Cabaret.

Scary stuff step back,

Here in New Zealand we are taught in schools to value and celebrate the individual. Their talents, skills, differences uniqueness, their opinion. No matter what differences we encounter. No national theme, no pledge, no dominating superiority speil.

So yeah, it surely doesn't help getting a balanced education and view point, when you have to chant US propaganda etc.

But its also no excuse.

Lets get down on a human level. no politics, just people.

Most people are good. I'd say around 99% of people around the world are good. Meaning that most people are peace loving, and want to live a good life, smile, laugh, eat, drink, sleep, learn, be productive, have a family.

Human beings normally have a default setting to be good. If in doubt just be good. Good is much better for overall population growth and for the success and of our species.

So be good to yourself, your family and your country.
Also treat everyone else in the world with the same approach.

I have dream that one day the world will reflect the true inner human spirit of goodness. Unleash or exercise your good side today! go on TOD readers, do something good for a complete stranger today, help an old lady across the road, give a homeless person a blanket or whatever.  

Lets practice creating goodwill internationally by our own individual actions.

I do not doubt that most people see themselves as being "good" and they try to live their lives doing "good" things.

But how "good" can you be if you are trained to see every "towel head" --be they Iraqi or Indian Sihk-- as being a nonhuman?

How "good" can you be if you are trained to pre-emptively kill "them" before "they" get to "us"?

This may sound nuts to you out there under and upside down in NZ, but I swear to you that yesterday I heard a local radio celebrity in the USA (yes Ronn Owens of KGO) saying exactly this and proclaiming that he is a middle of the road reasonable American human being. Our governement has brainwashed him to the point that he cannot see how insane and paranoid schizophrenic his position is.

I'm starting to feel like a last rational German in 1938 writing to the outside world about how our public radio commentators are slipping over to the Nazi side. This is scaring even me.

Critical, rational thinking has come to a stop in America. We are all crazed zombies marching to the orders of Herr Karl Rove. Save yourselves out there in NZ. Cover your ears so you can stop his "mixed messages" from penetrating into your heads.

Hi Jay

Global peace can exist if you dont think like a brain washed US war monkey.

"Power Vacum".. dont worry, I think the world will be just fine thanks, without US hegemony etc

No, you can do more than just "vote in elections". Help gather the good people of the USA, seek change, try make it happen. ;)

George Bush "won" the 2000 election by about 600 votes or so in Florida, where about 100,000 people voted for Ralph Nader.   The continuing irony of our move toward fascism here in the US is that a group of left leaning environmentalist types delivered the country, the world and over 100,000 dead people into the hands of George W. Bush and his cronies.

I have frequently compared Ralph Nader's "political assassination" of Al Gore to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, which triggered World War I, and indirectly, World War II.  

It's amazing what one man can do, which raises an interesting, but now irrelevant, question--why did Ralph run?   In any case, each and every Nader voter in Florida can now proudly claim (indirect) credit for at least one fatality in Iraq, with probably a lot more to come.  

You're asking the wrong question: Why did Gore (a complete loser who did not even carry his own state) run against Nader, a person who had some ideas that might actually deal effectively with fundamental issues?

Bashing Nader just shows that you are stuck in a time warp, and your loose usage of the term "fascism" reflects both your ignorance of history and current political reality.

Had Gore been victorious in year 2000, what exactly do you think he would have been able to accomplish, given the makeup of the Congress at that time and since then? How much power do you think a president has--especially one who is captive of one of the two major parties? Gore was just as much a captive of establishment special-interest groups as Bush.

Why do you think either Democrats or Republicans can implement the kinds of drastic changes that are needed to deal with extreme increases in the price of oil?

And please explain to me what constructive things you expect to result from rehashing old chestnuts? The 2000 election is history. Live with it.  

Funny how those who believe in "Democracy" don't like the game any more when their side loses and the "wrong" party wins in a so-called, fair and honest show of hands by "the people" (i.e., by the right wing evangelists, by the Shiites, by the ... you name them --whoever you disagree with).
Sailorman -

I don't think you should dismiss westexas' comments re Nader, Gore, and Bush so flippantly.

Whether Gore had been President instead of Bush would have made a big difference in ONE very critical respect: if Gore were President, we would not be in Iraq today because a small group of radical neo-cons would not have been able to shanghai American foreign policy.

 As such, the US would not have pissed away over $300 billion on a futile military adventure in Iraq, some 3,300 young Americans would have still been alive, and some 15,000 young American troops would have remained  whole instead of maimed. Not to mention the fact that the incalculable destruction perpetrated against the people of Iraq that would not have occurred.

But other than that minor point,  I'd have to agree with you that there would not have been much difference between the two.

So, in an indirect way, I think it is valid to say that if Nader had not have run, there would have been no Iraq debacle. ( I don't feel too smug about saying this, because I must confess that I made the awful mistake of voting for Bush in 2000.)

I concur with Joule's comments regarding Gore and Iraq.  

Does anyone think that Al Gore would have launched an unprovoked attack on Iraq?

Bush's term in office has been marked by the unification of corporate and state and a suppression of civil liberties.  If that is not a definition of fascism, I don't know what is.

Are you saying that the Bush Administration does not have fascist tendencies?

IMO, you are reacting so strongly because you don't like the fact that a group of left leaning environmentalist types delivered the world into Bush's hands--and in all likelihood--into World War III.  

Yes, Nader's egotism was a disaster, and Gore ran a pathetic campaign and gave in when he should have fought.  But the truth is that Gore won Florida by tens of thousands of votes, so all of these other issues are meaningless.  You are focusing on what is actually a rather minor issue in comparison.  The sad thing is that IMHO, Gore had just the right skill set to deal with the issues we face now.  

As for the statement about "the good peace loving people of the US" - we have never been a peace loving people.  As individuals, yes, sure - we just want to be left alone to live our lives in peace and prosperity.  If we cannot have peace AND prosperity, well then well take prosperity, thank you.  And we do not want to think about what has to be done to get us the stuff we want.  

I have loved my country all my life, but look at it with open eyes please!  We have been at war almost for our entire existence, and many of these have been "optional", in that we started them for our own perceived gain.  If you have something we want, and will not give it to us on our own terms - look out.  

Is it posssible that both sides stole thousands of votes in 2000?  Yes.  However, the facts we know are that the recorded vote shows that Bush won Florida by less than 600 votes, while about 100,000 people voted for Nader.  (If you want to argue that Bush stole Ohio in 2004, you get no argument from me).

In any case, my point is that the people to the left of Gore delivered us to Bush and his cronies.  

I agree that Gore would have been the ideal president for our age.  As time goes on, Gore looks more and more like a statesman.  If only the leftists hadn't delivered Florida to Bush. . .

If Gore would have been the ideal president for our age, then why could he not carry his own state??????

And is an ideal president somebody who is so delusional that he claims to have invented the Internet?

Note that in fact in the 2000 election the state of Florida was a tie--i.e., so close that no number of recounts could have determined a "true" winner, because human ability to count accurately is not perfect.

If you flip a coin enough times, it will eventually land on edge, but you may have to do it a few million times. What happened in Florida is analogous to a coin landing on edge.

To blame those who voted for a man of integrity who was not captive to special interestes for the victory of Bush is not only wrong, it is ludicrous and shows the intellectual bankruptcy of those who want to find scapegoats instead of doing some constructive thinking and action.

Don, for someone who normally seems to be so well informed, I'm surprised to hear you parroting old conservative nonesense about Gore claiming to have invented the internet.  In fact, Gore did play a valuable part in the shaping of the internet.
With all due respect, Twilight, I know that the Gore "invention" of the internet thing is based on somewhat of a misquotation. However, what valuable part did Al Gore play in the shaping of the internet? Aside from simply mentioning it? This question has always intrigued me. I'm glad it came up.

Isn't this like saying that George Bush is playing a valuable part in combating PO because he said we were addicted to oil in his State of the Union address? Seriously.

Al Gore never said he invented the Internet, and certainly didn't believe that he did.  He supported it politically.  The famous defense by Vint Cerf (AKA "the father of the Internet"):

VP Gore was the first or surely among the first of the members of Congress to become a strong supporter of advanced networking while he served as Senator. As far back as 1986, he was holding hearings on this subject (supercomputing, fiber networks...) and asking about their promise and what could be done to realize them. Bob Kahn, with whom I worked to develop the Internet design in 1973, participated in several hearings held by then-Senator Gore and I recall that Bob introduced the term ``information infrastructure'' in one hearing in 1986. It was clear that as a Senator and now as Vice President, Gore has made it a point to be as well-informed as possible on technology and issues that surround it.

As Senator, VP Gore was highly supportive of the research community's efforts to explore new networking capabilities and to extend access to supercomputers by way of NSFNET and its successors, the High Performance Computing and Communication program (which included the National Research and Education Network initiative), and as Vice President, he has been very responsive to recommendations made, for example, by the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee that endorsed additional research funding for next generation fundamental research in software and related topics. If you look at the last 30-35 years of network development, you'll find many people who have made major contributions without which the Internet would not be the vibrant, growing and exciting thing it is today. The creation of a new information infrastructure requires the willing efforts of thousands if not millions of participants and we've seen leadership from many quarters, all of it needed, to move the Internet towards increased availability and utility around the world.

While it is not accurate to say that VP Gore invented Internet, he has played a powerful role in policy terms that has supported its continued growth and application, for which we should be thankful.

We're fortunate to have senior level members of Congress and the Administration who embrace new technology and have the vision to see how it can be put to work for national and global benefit.

In 2005, Al Gore got a lifetime achievement Webby Award, for his three decades of contributions to the development of the Internet.

Thanks for posting that Leanan - I knew of Gore's hearings and advocacy, and know someone who attended them, but I didn't know that article existed.
"Gore couldn't carry his own state, Bush couldn't carry his own country." Yeah, I remember that joke. It's still funny.
"What I can't understand is why the good peace loving people of the US allowed their government to:
A) Invade Iraq Illegally
B) Get away with it after finding no WMD etc."

In a word - oil.  We in the US are so relatively comfortable thanks to the oil bubble upon which we obliviously float that we care not what our government does, so long as the comfort is protected.  "Nuke their ass, I want gas" bumper stickers adorn the trucks of the truly ignorant, but a subtler version of that attitude unfortunately, no, tragically, has a broad tacit acceptance.  Of course there are many more of us who believe otherwise, but via corporate dominance of the media, co-option of elections, fearmongering, divisive patriotism (yer with us or yer agin us) etc... the populace is kept in line.  Fascism - the control of the government by corporations, allowing for the sole societal goal of profit making - is descended upon our land.  It's not just BushCo either.  It goes way back, with a significant role played by the use of our 14th Amendment, ostensibly to give black men the right to vote, utilized far more to protect the "personhood" of corporations, which allows them to rape the land, murder the masses with their "externalized" toxins, and do pretty much anything they want to make a buck (or several billion), and there's ultimately no "person" to hold accountable.  Sorry, I guess that was more than a word...

Fascism is palingenetic ultranationalism.

"Palingenetic ultranationalism."

Had to go to the dictionary for that first word of that catchy little phrase :-)

You no doubt have in mind Hitler or Mussolini, and all that those two regimes connote. However, that is but one meaning of the word 'fascism.'  The other, more general and contemporary meaning of fascism is, "any movement, tendency, or ideology that favors dictatorial government, centralized control over private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism."

In that regard, the people who run the Bush regime come pretty close to fitting that definition, so I have no problem with referring to them as fascists, or perhaps the milder 'crypto-fascists', as many are not so overt in their true beliefs.  

look what the us and britan did to the iranians.

I am Welsh living in England, UK. But there are a small minority of US americans who probably share my perspective. Sadly the majority of US americans are just ignorant: through choice, inclination, laziness, and their peculiar main stream media (MSM).

I would guess that a plurality of non-US people, possibly a majority thereof, would say the US is the greatest threat to world peace and stability.  

I am Homo Sapiens living in Canada.

I cannot agree with Agric's generalization in regard to the American character. The issues are complex and cannot be attributed to ignorance, laziness, or the MSM. I would argue that these are not causes but outcomes. In brief, the American polity is following a socio-economic development model similar to that of Nigeria; the Americans have not yet advanced as far along that trend line as have the Nigerians. Give them time and PO, stand well back, and watch the fireworks.

With regard to the US being the greatest threat to world peace and stability, I believe this threat to be declining.

First, the 3 years of Iraq have demonstrated the utter uselessness of the much vaunted US military. As someone else commented on TOD, after three years the US military remains incapable of controlling the road to Bhagdad airport. The American military has an unparalleled logistics capacity which permits them to deliver AC units and ice cream machines to any war zone anywhere on the globe inside of 30 minutes. But there is a difference between true combat and a Mr Softee; any Iraqui can explain the difference.

Second, American foreign policy is inchoate and incomprehensible. The USA has made forfeit any global leadership role it may once have had. Peak oil, global warming, and the ballooning deficit, all of these represent far greater threats to US security interests then do Iranian possession of a nuclear device.

Third, we do not react to what people do. Instead, we prepare to respond to what we anticipate they might do in the future. This is the secret to markets and marriage and much else. The people of the world have had the opportunity to observe America blowing holes in unarmed civilians and calling this war. The people of the world have listened to an idiot call himself a "war presidente" and conduct a so, so, amusing search for WMD in the Oval Office while young people lie dead in the dirt of Iraq. The people of the world are not stupid. They can be expected to take steps to protect themselves against any future action by heavily armed American clowns.

Has anyone else noticed that North sea brend used to be cheaper than west texas crude, but lately brend has been more expensive.
The Telegraph thinks there are signs of trouble ahead:

Iceland's banks were pummelled yesterday as the Nordic economy lurched into its third week of crisis, flashing an ominous early-warning signal for markets worldwide.
This has nothing to do with oil, except persistant rumors that "hot money" from Russia is being funneled (laundry service ?) through Iceland.

Iceland has made massive moves abroad, although from a position of strength.  The national gov't has almost paid off the national debt, export earnings are strong, 100% renewable electricity and almost 100% renewable (geothermal) heating.

New aluminum smelter (hydro powered) to produce 1.5% of world's Al coming online soon.

Nope, nothing to do with oil in particular. But we do discuss globalization and the world economy here.  That's why I posted the link.
Warmer seas creating stronger hurricanes, stronger storms to come

A rise in the world's sea surface temperatures was the primary contributor to the formation of stronger hurricanes since 1970, a new study reports.

While the question of what role, if any, humans have had in all this is still a matter of intense debate, most scientists agree that stronger storms are likely to be the norm in future hurricane seasons.

The study is detailed in the March 17 issue of the journal Science.

I suppose this thread is getting pretty stale, but here goes...

Today's (March 17) Morgan Stanley Global Economic Forum includes a piece by Andy Xie, "The Ore War." , it's fourth on the list.

Xie is addressing China's demand for iron ore and its ability to negotiate with the largest ore producers, but I wonder if this might not become a model for dealing with oil purchases, too.

Potentially relevant quotes: "China acting as a one buyer could limit price increases.  Further, it should establish an international buyers' alliance that negotiates collectively to achieve fair prices." "The ore producers have huge profit margins and have to sell.  To whom would they sell without selling to China?" "Chinese producers are not sophisticated in hedging and usually lose to financial speculators."

Note: if you look for Xie's piece after Sunday, March 19, you'll have to click on the Archives and click on the March 17 issue to find his piece, since the Forum is updated every business day.

I regularly read the MS articles, and often go back and read those missed. I do recommend them if you have an interest in economics and sometimes quite adventurous perspectives of current economic events. Stephen Roach is often brave in what he says.

That is an interesting article. Seems to indicate there is further scope for improvement in China's interaction with global markets for raw materials. A two edged sword, that. The chinese tend to learn fast, and no doubt they will have read Andy's article. Quite significant for the direction of their continued growth and industrial development, too.