A little humor and an open thread

Those who wish to see how big a mining machine can get, might want to look here.  Warning, it is a Powerpoint and downloads. But there is a little humor attached.

And for the rest - enjoy the space- I hear the wall a calling  . . . .

How about folks post some peak oil related cartoons? Here one that I think about all the time...

It reminds me of Chapter 3 of Michael Moore's book, Dude, Where's My Country?  It's called "Oil's Well That Ends Well."  

Chapter 3 is supposedly a dream Moore has, where he's 100 years old and being interviewed by his great-granddaughter, Ann Coulter Moore, for a school project. It starts with her bringing him a candle as a present ("because we got an extra one in our ration"), and him asking her for her pencil, so he can burn it for warmth. (She says no, it's the only one she has for the whole year.)  The little girl is astonished and annoyed to hear that we burned all the oil, and didn't even think of leaving any for her.

Because of the way the "story" is told, we get only small glimpses of the post-peak world, but it's very effective and amusing. (At one point, the child asks what an American is - a line that speaks volumes.)

And yes, he does mention a die-off. He actually uses that word:

"When oil production peaked, the price of food went up in lockstep with the price of fossil fuels. The world's poor starved to death first. But, as soon as people realized what was happening, stores and warehouses were attacked, and being rich was little guarantee of having enough food to eat. To make matters worse, when the die-off began, people could not afford to get to work, to heat their homes, to buy electricity. There were some experts who predicted world oil production would peak around 2015, and they were laughed at - but they were right. Fuel prices began escalating ever more sharply - but it was too late to plan for a smooth transformation to a different way to obtain energy. The catastrophe was upon us."

See, what you and M. Moore call a "catastrophe" is just good old demand destruction to an economist. :)
The rich will starve to death just as fast.   My neighbors all know that "Bear" (( the name my girlfriend and several of my friends and neighbors call me )) knows the plants in their yards that can give them a bit to eat if they need it. And most of them are what is known as the working poor, but very few of them work pay check to pay check.  The know how to save, to cut corners and how to barter and trade and get things without ever paying green backs,, er sorry the new ten is orange and funny looking.  With out ever paying orange backs and blue backs and what ever color the 5 and one will get.  I vote for violet,  covered in a bit of confectioners sugar, then put the flowers around it and make it a nice center piece ,, But I digress.

Some of the Poor thrid world will die, those that live in the big cities and can't live off the land.  A lot more Americans will die if the crisis gets big and bad, Because they don't know what to eat if they can't buy it in a store, let alone find any green space in a city of 1 to 8 millon.

Alternate caption: "You made BAGS out of it, to put your GARBAGE in?"
WOW :) How many miles per gallon this baby makes?
It says in the slide: 1/3 mpg.
No... this is the speed - 1/3 miles per hour.

If I had to guess about the fuel economy of this machine it would be in the range of hundreds of gallons per mile.

Oops.  Didn't have my coffee yet.
That's what Abrams tanks get also. 3 gallons per mile!
I didn't look at the powerpoint, no time.  But I can walk at least 9 times faster.  Likely in a few months 12 times faster.
A good overview of the types of dragline used in the oil sands can be found here:


Hard to believe the EROEI is positive on that hunk of metal, but I suppose it's a matter of scale.
It would probably not have been built if it had been more efficient too use several smaller machines.
Hello Heading Out,

Terrific photos, thxs.

Do you know the facts of how the dozer got caught up in this wheel?  Was anyone hurt?  Was the Krupp operator fired for incompetence?  Was the dozer just parked unoccupied, or was someone taken for the ride of his life?  Did the Krupp monster get damaged, and for how long?  A dollar cost of repairs?  Was the dozer safely lowered to the ground by crane, or was it allowed to drop to the ground?

Inquiring minds want to know! Thxs for any info you can dig up.

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

The Discovery Channel sometimes shows a documentary called "Mega-Exavactors."  It's about the giant machines built to mine coal - the largest machines ever built on land.

It's fascinating. These things are monsters. Twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, weighing 15 million pounds, taking years to build and costing $100 million dollars or more. According to the coal company exec they interviewed, these machines were developed in the '60s, when we used up all the coal in easy reach and had to develop ways to get at the coal too deep to mine by the old methods. One of the talking heads said it would take 200,000 men to do the work of one of these machines.

I really doubt we'll able to scale up coal enough to replace oil, once we're past peak.

I really doubt we'll able to scale up coal enough to replace oil, once we're past peak.

Leanan, with all due respect but this is the type of claims that makes a lot of people dismiss peakoiler as nuts. Of course neither coal, neither nuclear or renewables can replace oil by themselves. But how about all of them together?

Here is my claim - with a proper mix of coal, nuclear and renewable energy on the supply side and efficiency and conservation on the demand side we can cope with the declining oil production for long enough time until we wean off completely of it. Note that I am not using the words "we will cope...". But for that we can do it I'm standing on 100%. Technically there is nothing stopping us, the burdens are within our society and within ourselves.

how long can we keep up the current production levels of coal and nuclear power let alone increase it with declining oil production?
Both heavily rely on the current oil economy and not just to power the machines to mine coal and to build reactors.
Yeap, we are going back to the basics of the PO debate.

IMO any energy source with high enough EROEI (say > 5) can very well fare and be used as a replacement to oil. Both nuclear and coal have EROEI well above 10, wind is claimed to be around 20, but with the hidden losses I'd rather put it around 10. If we go that deep the oil needed for coal/uranium mining, transportation etc. or for the wind turbines and solar panels can be easily synthesized. We definately can not synthesize all the oil we use today, but as for exploiting other energy sources - we can do it for sure. There could be for example built nuclear assisted coal liquification factories, where the heat from fission assists the liquification resulting a very high total efficiency of the process. And there will be other solutions we can not even imagine today...

Again the key word is that we can do it... but we also can feed the world with modern agriculture but we don't. Hence we have a societal problem not technical one.

Some factoids,

The majority of streetcar lines were built between 1895 and the start of WW I, before the Age of Oil, with coal, iron & copper ore, manpower and horsepower.  and not particularly large quantities of any of them compared to today.

Iceland has MASSIVE quantities of low pressure steam (not quite good enough for producing electricity) but good enough for all sorts of process heat.  Add to this their wind potential, hydro potential and geothermal potential and they could be a decent % of world's renewable energy.

As I have stated before, replacing 18 wheel trucks with electrified railroads gives a ~ 1:24 efficiency gain.  Urban rail about a 1:100 efficiency gain.  Walking and bicycling (yes, oil based synthetic rubber is worn down for both + oil based food), perhaps a 1:10,000 gain in efficiency ??

Just for fun I calculated that if an hour of walk burns 200 kcal and goes 3 miles; and a kilocalorie of food takes 10 kcal of oil to be produced (which I personally doubt very much) then the walk will cost you 2000 kcal of hydrocarbons for 3 miles.

If you took a 3 mile trip by your 25 mpg.car you would burn 4350 kcal of gasoline, so the savings are not that big :) Of course in walkable cities the distances are an order of magnitude shorter, so this is not a correct comparison. For example in Bugaria 3 miles would be the distance between the outmost quarters and the center of the capital (Sofia, 1.5 mln).

Back to efficiency - I think the most energy-efficient means for personal transportation would be electricity-assited bike.

  Are your units correct?  Isn't a kcal a thousand calories?  I would understand a 3mile walk burning 200 calories, not 200,000, since we only take in from 1500-3000 a day. unless a calorie is annotated a kcal..(?)

  I'm not sure that your electric assisted bike would actually beat just a bike alone.


yes, kcal stands for thousand calories. The scientific definition accepted for calorie is the energy needed to heat a gram of water by 1C ~ 4.19J. This is in the SI system and is also called small calorie or gram calorie.

For dietery information on products in USA the use the such called "large Calorie" which is equal to 1000 calories in SI. Hence 1 kcal (SI) = 1 Calorie on your diet.

In Europe they usually write "kcal" in the product information. Here they don't do that and I can only guess why.


Yes 200 x 1,000 = 20,000 would be correct
I didn't get what is that for, but I think you're short of one zero :)
A human male of 30 age range walking one statue mile, will burn 200 calories or the calories in the average single can of sugared flavored soda water.   NOTHING near 200,000 calories or else american would be called the thin nation.

K-cal means 1,000 calories,  hence the Kilo-calorie.  Confusing terms I know.  But I have been planning a diet for a Diabetic wife for 4 years and have taken several classes on the use of food and exercise to lose weight.

1,000 calories of food if using oil imputs takes about 10,000 calories of oil.   Tractor on farm,  truck the plant, Truck to wally world, Your car to get it.  Not mention anything shipped 10,000 miles.

You can only lose weight through walking if you hike and do a lot of walking 5 to 10 miles a day,  and by what you eat.   5 to 10 miles is 1,000 to 2,000 calories of food.  you could get that with some of the sandwiches at a fast food resturant.  

3 miles is only 600 calories.  
I flex and upper and lower strength train,  4 to 5 hours a day,  This includes times for walking,  my fast pace is 3.5 mph.  the regular stroll while can collecting 2.5 mph.
A healthy starvation diet is 800 calories,  anything below that and you loss things you don't want to lose.

If I am heavily cross country hiking and pushing hard I could go threw 3,000 to 6,000 calories a day and still lose weight.  200 calories is the standard, But I have fast paced 3.5 miles in an hour.  Say i walk 8 hours, That could be 29 miles.


For 6.3 billion people in the world kcal has another meaning. I don't know why God did not want americans to learn the metric system but it probably has something to do with Sun revolving around the Earth and US in particular.

yes, oil based synthetic rubber is worn down for both

I believe Burma-S rubber is the rubber made from Ethyl Alcohol.   Go back to WWII documentation, they claim a 1/5 the energy cost to using Ethyl Alcohol as the base for rubber in WWII.


I think the most energy-efficient means for personal transportation would be electricity-assited bike.

Compare a photon -> food VS photon -> PV -> battery to power an electric bike.   YES an electric assist bike is a winner.

One of the fine laws Bush the Lesser signed - allowing a 1 HP elecric bike is street legal in the USA.

Now, if you can get Clear Channel to stop advocating running over bicyclists with their SUVs.....

Leanan, with all due respect but this is the type of claims that makes a lot of people dismiss peakoiler as nuts.

That's their problem, not mine.  The majority of Americans also think I'm nuts for believing in evolution instead of creationism.

Of course neither coal, neither nuclear or renewables can replace oil by themselves. But how about all of them together?

Probably not, at least according to Goodstein's calculations.  Maybe if we started 30 years ago, when Jimmy Carter warned us.

I think what people are not considering is the effect that high energy costs will have on all the alternatives.  Which is sort of the point of this post, or at least, that's how I read it.  Scaling up anything is going to be difficult without cheap oil. Coal, ethanol, nuclear, solar, wind...all of it.  Ditto building railroads and other public transportation.

France was very smart, to build all those nuclear power plants while oil was cheap and it wasn't "economical."  There are some real drawbacks to the free market.

Well... who am I to argue with Goodstein but... what I've seen in all projections of the future is that people can arrive at all kinds of scenarious depending on their assumptions and simplifications.

Under some assumptions I can easily prove that the whole world can be powered for centuries by some 10 000 nuclear reactors built in the next 20-30 years. The resources to build and fuel them are available, and even the oil needed (a lot less than you imagine) can be synthesysed.

And I can easily prove the opposite - that we can not do it because we will lack the resources, the technologies or the social peace needed to do it (for example if I assume that we will not find enough uranium to fuel them, there will be wars etc.)

I absolutely agree that it will be a hard task, whichever path we take... but hard is a whole lot of different than impossible, right? And - with a reference to my experience in software development - it is usually the case that after you have commenced and made the first steps with some project; after that it usually happens to be not that difficult that it looked like before you started it.

I absolutely agree that it will be a hard task, whichever path we take... but hard is a whole lot of different than impossible, right?

I would ask a different question.  Is it worth it?

Maybe we could quadruple our coal production, and build the infrastructure it would take to use it to power our cars.  But is that a good thing, especially given the high probability of failure?  Or are there better things we can be doing to with our limited time and resources?

I don't buy the "anything that's got a positive EROEI is worth it" argument.  It's like saying that when your trust fund runs out, you plan to take 50 jobs at McDonald's to replace it.  After all, they are each "money-positive," so it should work.

Well I do think about the time software developers will not be needed and I'll have to proabbly work in McDonalds. Think it is a pretty fair comparison.

I guess your solution along the lines of this allegory, would be to stay unemployed and smell the roses. To this I'd say smelling the roses is good but being hungry sucks.

Personally I do not see why we can not do both things: cut back a little, give up that stressful carreers of a WallStreet monkey or an overworked employee, and become a fisherman, and still keep our houses warm.

I think we can do it and it is not necessarrily to be painful.

I guess your solution along the lines of this allegory, would be to stay unemployed and smell the roses.

No.  It would be to scale back your lifestyle.  Do you need the mansion, the helicopter, the yacht, so much that you work yourself half to death, and force your wife and children to do the same to try and keep them?  Or do you work reasonable hours and accept a lower standard of living?

Where is my beautiful helicopter?  Where is my beautiful yacht?

Same as it ever was.

Tonight, on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert hosts Robert Greenwald, of Brave New Films, who has produced Outfoxed and Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, which I reviewed on IMDB:


Colbert's Shtick is to parody O'Reilly, Scarborough and other self-absorbed pundits.

This is a bit off-topic, but so what.  

I love Colbert.  Back when he was on the Daily Show, him and Stewart were freaking great.  And Colbert Report for the first few months was witty and original.  But, I think this particular Schtick is running out of steam.  I mean, it's just losing alot of it's humor now.

I tend to agree.  And not having watched pundit shows, a lot of his parody escapes me.
Mostly PO'ers are defeatist, saying no single thing, and no combination of things, will allow us (meaning the existing world population) to maintain their standard of living as we hit the downslope. Perhaps they feel guilty in some way, thinking we have despoiled the planet, gw etc, and deserve some terrible fate. And, some are willing to consider only those solutions they personally find acceptable (eg no nukes) to maintain standards or food production. But, many of the world population will consider any solutions that both solve the energy shortage and avoid co2 emissions - assuming, that is, that gw comes, over the next decade, to be both widely accepted and concluded to be a bad thing.

SO, actinide breeders to avoid long term waste and running out of U235, wind and slowly increasing solar where appropriate/economical, some expansion of hydro, both in Canada and Arizona. All of these things will be possible when oil production is a quarter of today's - we began fabricating nukes in the late fifties. ASPO says we will be producing 1/3 of today's oil production in 2050, and ng, though past peak, will be higher than today. The market's hidden hand will not take us from a high standard of living oil based society to a high standard of living non-oil based society painlessly, but it is just amazing what very high oil prices will do to reduce consumption and bring alternatives to market. No doubt the longer we wait to start, the greater the pain, particularly for those unable or unwilling to invest in oil stocks. As usually happens in a crisis, the poor, young and old, will do poorly. Other things equal, it is simply better to be rich. However, as a society we are nowhere near out of time.

Poor countries suffering from vast incompetence and corruption (sub-Saharan africa, parts of south america, n korea, former soviet block, etc.) may in fact return to subsistance farming as their cities die because rich countries, already going through donor fatigue, are likely to become introverted. It does indeed remain to be seen whether the US, with its various record deficits, debts and foreign adventures, can still be considered to be a rich country.  

As an aside, I wonder if much of the world has suffered from a lack of liquidity - consider China, jump started with US dollars, apparently unable to jump start themselves with their own currency - and the US, in running its trade deficit that the rest of the world gripes about, is merely supplying the needed liquidity, expressed as demand? Note that there is no real world bank that functions like the us fed reserve, supplying liquidity when necessary and (well, they used to) removing it when not.  Perhaps asian economies can eventually generate the demand as their internal market, and confidence in their yuan, grows, at which point they might not need so many dollars, as many others have suggested. Luckily, their dictators fret about their grip and are accordingly quite conservative, therefore seem likely to maintain the status quo for some time after it is needed...

LMAO,  Or waking it off, either way.  

You are totally correct in my opinion.  Somethings are not worth it.  Why do we need McMansion?  Joe has one dear.  Okay lets hock the future to pay for a McMansion to live like Joe.  

 Well that is what everyone is doing and A house worth about 35 to 40 thousand sold for about 55 thousand, to people who are paranoid with their wealth.

 We as a nation,  Are VERY Paranoid about what the World will do to us.  

Which is sort of the point of this post, or at least, that's how I read it.  Scaling up anything is going to be difficult without cheap oil. Coal, ethanol, nuclear, solar, wind...all of it.

Also you have to add to it the cost of maintenance. Which is something i have found no information on how any of these alternatives can be repaired/replaced when they break down without the current oil economy.
You're probably right that your mix is technically feasible.

However todays' info through energybulletin reaffirms my doubts on nuclear, whcih I still strongly object



With all due respect but such reports and articles are politically motivated crap. And the report is coming from a government agency in the current pro-green cabinet not from the industry which is going to do the decomissioning, which speaks a lot.

Nuclear power plants have been decomissioned all around the world and the costs have been nowhere near these heights. The practice shows they are usually somewhere in the range of 10-20% from building a new plant. Nuclear industry is the only industry where the cost of decomissioning is included in the current production costs in the form of payments for a decomissioning fund - which I believe you also have in GB. In comparison - the costs to decomission the four reactors in Bulgaria that were stopped because of EU pressure will be less than $1 billion. I don't believe you have 400 reactors that will cost $100 billion in GB, do you?

On a personal note I am already tired of repeating same old things. I decided just to let myself anticipating the rewarding process of watching Great Britain freeze in the dark - and I won't hide that I intend to enjoy the view. I think you deserve it pretty much - UK was among the stronger lobbists to stop the reactors in Kozloduy, which among other things quadrupled the price of electricity in just 5 years. For a poor country with poor people this is a huge hit - thankfully your own shortsightness will provide you with the opportunity to experience what this feels like. Enjoy.

Hello Leanan,

Your quote: "One of the talking heads said it would take 200,000 men to do the work of one of these machines."

Gee, that means that there will be very little unemployment in our postPeak future.  How does that old song go?

"You mine 21 tons, and wot do ya get.... 'nother day older, and deeper in debt."  :-(

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

16 tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
the history channel had a similar program.

i wrote down the names during the broadcast.

big muskie

silver spade


Let's try to find out what is being used in the powder river region in june.  these big machines are apparently only being used to remove the overburden.

i got some neat color maps on coal methane well drilling in the mail.

they think i'm a prospective investor.


"peak oil may overthrow the green revolution"


Core inflation creeping up:
Before the open, the Commerce Department issued its final revision of fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), saying the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7%, up from the rate of 1.6% previously reported. The rise was right in line with economists' expectations.

But an important measure of the inflation in the report came in hotter than expected. The Federal Reserve's favorite inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes food and energy, rose at an annual rate of 2.4%, the Commerce Department said. The rise was bigger than the 2.1% rate previously reported and the 1.4% rate at which prices rose in the third quarter of 2005.

There was a good program on NPR this morning about global warming (On Point, with Tom Ashbrook):


Human denial and inertia can have awesome power, but so can human insight and gumption. For two decades, Americans in particular have lived in debate and denial about global warming. Well, the debate is over, and the warming is on.

We're on our way to the hottest planet in a million years. If we want to rein it in and survive, it's do or die time for bears and bugs and icebergs and us. Ten years, we're told. Ten years to get a handle on the warming. That sounds like an American challenge -- and not much time.

Hear about waking what it will really take to whip global warming, and thrive.

·    Kevin Knoblock, president, Union of Concerned Scientists, an alliance of 100,000 citizens and scientists that advocates for a cleaner environment.
·    Reid Detchon, executive director, Energy Future Coalition, a coalition of business, labor and environmental groups that looks for alternative solutions to energy problems. He was principal deputy assistant secretary for conservation and renewable energy during the first Bush administration.
·    Daniel Bromley, professor of applied economics, University of Wisconson at Madison. He has written extensively on natural resource and environmental economics. He is co-author of, "Economics, Ethics and Environmental Policy."

You can download MP3 podcasts of the program too.

Thanks for the link, ericy.

I used to live where this show played regularly, it was the most palatable of the NPR hourly's.  Listening to this one was an exercise in building frustration.  No mention of PO (not really a surprise) but the "experts " concluded that: 1. Switchgrass, and 2. Market solutions (Aided by a decades-long gradually increasing energy tax)will solve the problem/save us.  They kept saying "I think we're up to the challenge".  Oh yes, technology will appear also.  Another wish (that no one expected to be forthcoming) was for 'Political Leadership',

Part of the program was talking about why it is that we have such difficulty just in reducing our oil consumption.  That the incentives are all wrong.  Lots of people just don't give a crap about global warming, so they want to just go on doing whatever they are currently doing.  I am afraid that the only thing that will change public behavior is higher prices.  Taxes won't work - politicians would never support it.

We had a talk about energy at our church from a guy who retired from DOE.  I was curious what direction he was going to go with it - he was also optimistic that somehow new technology would save the day.  I suppose I could have played the proverbial role of the turd in the punchbowl and started to ask him about peak oil, but we didn't have the time.  The materials for the discussion:


do mention peak oil, but this guy didn't even touch on it.

Not sure if this was mentioned in the last open thread, it's buried in with the rest of the carnage from Iraq, but a minibus full of refinery workers were executed.  

And, just for chuckles, the price of gasoline across the street has gone up twice today (four cents and then two more cents) to $2.47.

on this side of the oountry (SF) it shot up twice this week and now stands at an average $2.80.  Beat that ;D
€1.46 per liter (US $ 7+/gallon) at Shell fuel stations across Holland. Good enough??
Y'all win.

I did take the occasion (it's up to $2.57 now, 24 hours later) to talk to a co-worker about the fact that we pay this for gas and still pay huge taxes for roads, maintenance, military defense of oil fields, etc.  

Wave energy action is still in baby shoes, but here is something from Italy via China:


    ROME, March 29 (Xinhua) -- For the first time anywhere in the world, Italians have managed to tap the national electricity grid into power generated by waves, Italian News Agency ANSA reported on Wednesday.

    The successful experiment took place at Italy's southern city Messina in Sicily, where the waves of the Strait proved to generate a respectable 40 kw of power.

    The three-propeller turbine prototype developed by the Italian Bridge of Archimede company, dubbed Kobold, is even more environmentally friendly because much of its own power comes from 39 solar panels.

    "The project is a proud achievement for Italy and I'm happy that Messina has become the first city on the planet to receive electrical power from the sea," said Archimede company's PresidentElio Matacena.

"The project is a proud achievement for Italy and I'm happy that Messina has become the first city on the planet to receive electrical power from the sea," said Archimede company's PresidentElio Matacena.

This ignores the tidal generation plant at St Malo, France, in commercial-scale operation since 1965.

Archimede's president is technically wrong, as you well point out. But as I see it, there are the following project TYPEs out there:

  1. Tidal operations like the St. Malo project of which there are several but they rely on tides to drop and rise dramatically and operate for ten of 24 hours at best.

  2. Wave operations like this one which I believe to be unique.

  3. Ocean currents, such as the Bermuda project under construction, and a similar project in Portugal built by the Scots (though one, the Bermuda project, is clearly to be under water, while the Portuguese project is anchored on the surface. - I am not sure of the differences).

Any further views on this would be helpful.
Exxon says they ain't going.
10-1 odds that the policemen [with guns] escorts them out their offices and out the country.
Oil broke the $67.00 barrier today, apparently on Iran worries.  

And gasoline futures are almost $2.  Heading back to the post-Katrina zone.

And Dec '06 futures hit $70.00!
Oil ang gasoline went up 5% for these 3 days. USD is down almost 2%, and the gold and silver are up by 7% and 10% respectively. This in spite of the IR rise in Tuesday and the strong indicatation they will be lifted again.

I'm starting to get nervous.

Apologies for this rather long post. IMHO the recent increase in fossil fuel shortage related movies is a positive sign, one that will help introduce the concepts of decreasing oil supply. But I am thinking that the trigger events in most of the movies are too focused on sudden or dramatic losses in supply. This was mentioned before on TOD when discussing CNN's 'We were warned'.

I have a movie plot concept I would like to suggest, one that is not as gripping as a Hollywood block buster, but if directed properly and included some known movie stars, this idea might work to introduce concepts and solutions that the average viewer could identify with. This is what I feel is very important right now, that enough people understand that there are solutions, but we must act now and together to realize them.

The movie is actually 3 short movies.

The opening scene is in a poorly lit room, which lacks definition to say if the room is lavishly appointed or a sparse living space. An elderly man is talking to his grandson or daughter. He is remembering the time of his youth, the turn of the century. The movie continues with his narration and flashes back to him as a young boy, in the year about 2005. He discusses the 'slow squeeze' and we the viewer, are taken to that time following his youthful character as the years pass. This movie segment follows the course of resource wars, increased global violence, partial breakdown of society and start of die off. Somehow this segment must be created in a highly believable way, not some extraordinary circumstance. It is important that the viewer understands that this is a very possible outcome.

The segment ends at the grandfather and child, where the child asks the grandfather why the people did not try to develop other energy sources instead of going to war over the energy. The grandfather again remembers the time of his youth (a different course of history), this time following the build up of coal usage, nuclear, CTL, tar sands, heavy oil. This segment has opportunity to show the environment effects from the increased coal usage, the failure to manage the tar sands environment, and other environment issues. This segment allows the movie viewer to see the effects of trying to create alternative liquid fuel sources to feed the current system, i.e. retain the automobile as supreme ruler of our lives. The segment ends with a environmentally destroyed world. One where, for example, ethanol or biodiesel production in developing nations takes place of food production.

Again the segment ends at the grandfather and child, this time the child asks the grandfather why the people in the time of his youth did not simply use less energy and attempt to reduce the overall impact of the reduction in energy resources. The last segment returns us to the grandfathers youth, a time when the energy resources are declining. The movie now has a chance to show how planned reductions would effect the population. There are opportunities to show that the delay in taking action (our 20 year window, now closing) effects the difficulty to archive the reduction. The increase in environmentally friendly alternative energies and how they worked to close the gap and at what cost. How much industry was returned to local countries as a way to offset for the losses of other currently booming global economy sectors, no longer supported in an energy restricted world. How planned population control lowered the energy requirement for all and massive investment in mass transit (electrified light rail and others) helped to rescue the suburbs from extinction .

The movie ends with the camera panning away from the grandfather and child, showing a small but comfortable house, panning further away showing the house in small hamlet, where it is obvious that farming is a major village activity, as is generating local use energy, from wind and solar. The movie should let the viewer feel that although the path to reduction is not painless, the other options are far less desirable.

Now, how to convince a movie production company to take this project on and what is a good name for the movie.. Any additional ideas from fellow TODers?

Sorry, in advance, I'm feeling rather cynical today.  Your movie would need:

  1.  Sexy female lead/love interest (Angelina Jolie?)

  2.  Opportunity for positive product placements (Has anyone else noticed how damn many of these there are in 90% of all movies now?) Maybe some eco-cola or fossil-fuel free candy-bars, and spin-off products, now that I think of it...

  3.  Maybe a patriotic/pro-military angle, something to get the US military 'on-board' - they have a lot of good resources

Really, I'm on the list at the library to see 'End of Suburbia' again.
I like it. The retrospection idea is good especially if it captures the personal hardship, rises and falls this man had in his life, and how the things happenning around him affected it.

Your ending is of course too idealistic for my taste but I intend to be broad-minded on that :) The idea to get people's attention on energy is good enough by itself.

Eh... I don't mean to disparage anything here, because I'm sure as hell not doing anything positive, but I don't really like that plot structure.  It feels a bit "after-school special", The History Channel-ish.  Nothing wrong with that, but not particularly a great form for a movie.  The challenge is to create a drama piece that follows the same likeable characters through the Peak Oil crisis, and then provide redemption.  The scenario has to be realistic and it also has to make the viewer care about what happens to the characters in order for them to understand that it's actually a representation of the object, the viewer's story.  The point is for them to walk out of the theater thinking about what they would do in a crisis, and from that point for them to think about what the crisis is itself.

I'm not talking Jurassic Park or War of the Worlds here, but something very linear and dramatic.  As far as the studio, best bet would be one of the major studio's "indie-flavored" studio branches like Focus or Fox Spotlight.  They'd guarantee a wide release and a bit of artistic freedom without butchering it like the main ones would.

All that said, I have absolutely no connection to the movie industry, and you're just as good to follow my advice as you are a banana nut muffin's.

How about a prequel to "Mad Max"?
I hear, actually, that's what Apocalyptico is. rimshot

Yea, that's not really that funny.

From last Sunday's Washington Post:

Katrina: The Big One Or Just a Warning Shot?

A chilling account of a pair of hurricanes that hit Florida in the 1920s.  It seems human nature - and human hubris - hasn't changed.  Eleven people were shot for looting in Miami.  Those living outside the affected area refused to pay for improving the dikes.  Engineers sure they could conquer nature found out how tragically wrong they were.

John McPhee wrote a memorable book (I read it 10+ years ago and still remember it...) "Man Against Nature"  wherein he wrote of humankinds' efforts to tame nature; specifically in Iceland, So. Cal. and The Mississippi.  I recommend it.
$2.75/gallon and rising in Indy. I predict $3.50/gal by July 4.
$2.59 in Houston! Something tells me that i'll be looking back one day saying those were the "good ole days"!

There is this thing on the web - a sort of Apprentice type of deal where people can create their own commercials for Chevy Tahoe.

Well, this guy won't win, that's for sure:


but it is kind of funny.

Some of these things are brilliant!  It's really interesting to see the form subverted like this.  "The View From Hubbert's Peak" is my favorite so far.
I liked the Chevy Coulter, except that last line.
What's wrong with being a 'Hoe? It pays the gas bill. It's all part of supply and demand. The elites need their Hoe's. The Coulter delivers. This is the marketplace at its best. Quality Hoe for quality people. I vote to keep that one on the American Idolized Extra-vagons (sic) show, at least for the next round. :-)
It should have been, Chevy, Tha Hoe.

Coulter's a media ho.

Amazing - I'm laughing my butt off!  I wonder how long it will take them to realize it.  What a piece of marketing genius.
I don't post very often, but since this is an open thread I figured you might find the following story interesting.

I was born with a cleft palate. For those of you who don't know what a cleft palate is, I was born without the roof of my mouth. Neat. I got it fixed as a baby, but it has also caused other problems.

I have "mild" hearing loss in both ears of 20 decibels. Why? Because of the cleft palate, my ear drums have been "sucked in" to my middle ear, which damaged both the ear drum and the bones underneath.

I had surgery yesterday on my left ear. They replaced my ear drum with some skin taken form the side of my head, and they inserted a permanent tube into the new ear drum so that it wouldn't get sucked in an damaged like the old one.

Since there is a hole in my ear drum now, that means that I can never get water in my ear, or i'll get an ear infection. Since the tube is permanent, that means it'll be there for the rest of my life.

I'm 21 years old, and the rest of my life is a long time. Long enough for some major advances in health care and microsurgery to occur.

With Peak Oil on the horizon, it's also long enough for microsurgery to become extremely expensive. What happens to my hearing 20 years from now if my ear drum fails? Will there be someone who can fix it? I don't think it's wise to assume that constant advancement is assured in the future.

I just hope that whatever they do to me will last 60 years without needing any maintenance or failing.

Man, I need big time eye sight correction myself. Contact lenses or glasses. If my glasses get lost or broken after the capitalists fail, it's gonna be rought to see anything. So it goes ... it's gonna be much better anyway. Even if I can't see much, I expect to hear some good stories around the campfire once we're human again. What I do see is that we are gonna lose a lot, but gain infinitely more.
There are people making preparations.  Some are getting their vision surgically corrected.  Some are teaching themselves to grind glass lenses, so they can make their own glasses if necessary.

Curiously, myopia seems to be a problem that comes with "civilization."  They always tell you that reading won't ruin your eyes, but the fact remains that illiterate societies have very low rates of myopia, that jump when they become literate.  Also, leaving a nightlight in a child's room makes it more likely he will need glasses.  Maybe man was not meant to have lights on at night?

As I have said in a previous post.  I don't use lights at night very often.  I left the front vertical blinds open and the front door open, it is pleasant here and is rainy.  I have rarely used a light even when living with either one of the 2 past wives.  I like the dark, and turning the light on ruins your night vision for a few minutes.
Why not opt for laser surgery?  I don´t mean to sound flippant but if the bill is to steep borrow the money, everyone else seems to be doing it.
It isn't especially hard to learn to make spectacle lenses with simple technology. As a teenager I used to grind and polish pyrex disks by hand to an accuracy of one-eighth of a wavelength of sodium light (the Raleigh limit), and compared to that, making lenses for glasses is a piece of cake.

Lens grinding is a useful trade. It is what Spinoza used to support himself while he lived for philosophy. The tools are readily available, and there is a superabundance of written instruction "how to" that goes back some hundreds of years.

Surgery of any kind is not without risk.

And if we were not meant to wear glasses, why did God give us ears;-)  ?

I'm sure that the grinding wouldn't be too difficult, but what about figuring out the prescription itself, since it tends to change over time?  It takes my optomitrist nearly a half hour of "Better 1, Better 2?"s before he gets done, and that's using a fancy machine.  Or perhaps this is just an example of us all being screwed by part of the healthcare industry?

Either way, where would a person start with a hobby like that?  

Using early twentieth-century (or even mid nineteenth century) techniques you might end up off a quarter of a diopter in correction, compared to current techniques, maybe even half a diopter, if you are sloppy. You'll never notice a quarter of a diopter difference.

Recall that Benjamin Franklin invented BIFOCAL glasses and was able to read rather fine print by candlelight even when he was seventy years old.

Are we certain there are no ill effects down the road?

I'd hate to be stuck with some unanticipated consequence and be nearly blind after TSHTF.

I also worry how I'l be able to get a new artificial leg every 3 to 5 years. Though I won't get an infection if I can't.

I hope there will be someone verry handy with wood around me. In your case the infection may be treated with traditional cures. But better just try to keep it dry forever because microsurgery will be either very, very expensive, or non-existent.

I asked my doctor what I should do if I happen to get water in my ear. His response was that I should put some anti-bacterial drops in as soon as possible. He looked at me funny when I asked if there were any natural anti-bacterial drops that could be made at home. I told him I was wondering if I would be ok if I happened to be stranded on an island. I didn't mention that I don't think that our current level of medical sophistication would be around much longer than 10 years.
My dad has a perforated eardrum.  (Kept him out of Vietnam.)  It doesn't keep him from swimming, though he does get swimmer's ear a lot.  

There's been some talk about a new vaccine against ear infections.  Perhaps this would be helpful for you?  I believe there is a version for adults.  

Well, if my ear problems keep me safe from the draft, then maybe it'll all be worth it!
My naturopathic physician has prescribed mullein and garlic in olive oil as a safe and effective remedy for ear problems. You can find a recipe here.
Reading the recipe, it says that it isn't safe for ear drum perforations (I have one, now.) and isn't safe if you've got an ear infection.

I'm sure there's something out there that'll work well for perforated eardrums. Just not this one. Thanks, though!

My own view is that teh United States will (most likely scenario) follow the path of the United Kingdom after WW II.  Loss of Empire, a shrinking of Global Power to Regional Power, lower living standards, a turn towards socialism.

The last point will create socialised medicene with associated rationing.  Few new medical advances, and rationing of what is available.  Under this scenario, you will get maintenance until you retire (better hearing > better worker > more taxes) at age 69 or 70 (or whatever it turns out to be). After retirement, you will be "back of the queue".  Perhaps a new resident MD will get to train on you (at an advanced age) if you are lucky.

Artificial legs, eyeglasses, not a problem, century + old technology doable with small workshops.

On the other hand finding someone who can whip you up a new battery for your implanted cardiac pacemaker working out of their garage, or locating a secure supply of the immune surpression drugs you need to servive with that pig replacement heart valve you had put in a few years ago....

One of my children is severely deaf and relies on bilateral hearing aids. I am hoping hearing aids and batteries will still be available for a long time, but I'm hoping to find a good sign-language class for the whole family just in case being battery-operated ceases to be an option.

I also have an asthmatic child dependent on ventolin and steroid puffers every time he gets a cold. It's awful to think that the medicines that keep him alive may not always be available. I'll be looking to stock up over the next couple of years.

Battery operated hearing aids have been around for a long time, but they used to be huge and clunky. However, they were relatively low tech . . . might be worth doing some research on the history of technology. I recall one of my aged aunts using a machine from (I think) the nineteen thirties and refusing to replace it with the more compact and elegant devices of the 1950s.
A partially deaf relative of mine wore a 1960s hearing aid from an early age and his first sounds were attempts to imitate the feedback and white noise he was always subjected to. He eventually stopped using it and isn't noticeably any worse off than he had been with it.

Even 1990s analog hearing aids (provided free on the National Health Service in the UK) were pretty awful compared to the fancy new digital aids, which can be programmed to fit a hearing loss profile exactly. My deaf child hated the analog hearing aids - they amplified every extraneous bump and squeak and made it very hard to concentrate on what she wanted to hear. Her success in school has increased dramatically, to put it mildly, since she went digital. It would be such a shame to see that kind of progress reversed, but she gets through an awful lot of batteries and those can only be stockpiled for a relatively short time. Time rationing of battery power may become necessary.

A great deal of human potential, which previously would have been lost, has been developed thanks to modern innovations and fossils fuels. I hope we don't have to revert to the earlier situation, although I can't say I'm terribly optimistic in the long run.

Perhaps it would be prudent to have at least one spare hearing aid and also figure out some alternative source of energy.

Big bulky batteries are low tech, but if you had them in every room, one could just hook up to different ones during the day. Alternatively, an upscale backpack can conceal quite a bit of juice in simple lead-acid batteries and not look dorky at all. For children, of course, appearance (and not looking different) is extremely important.

You are probably right, that the ancient hearing aids of the first part of the twentieth century were not very good--but for some elderly people they were much better than the old "speaking trumpets."

I suspect it would take a great deal of education and some rather exotic materials to make a modern hearing aid. On the other hand, I think there is perhaps a 50% probability that when the crunch comes it will not be The End of the World as We Know It. Perhaps one could make friends with people who design or make hearing aids, just in case worse comes to worst. Engineers are always good people to know.

Having a spare hearing aid would be great, even though they're $2000 per ear for the kind she needs (she has a very complex hearing loss profile and uses an aid that preferentially emphasizes speech frequencies in the direction she is facing). If finances permit, we'll probably try it. At least they last for several years. Now someone needs to invent rechargeable hearing aid batteries!
I wonder if somebody has invented rechargeable hearing-aid batteries; the problem would be that they would not have as much juice as the disposable ones.

Also, thinking like a business person, were I to want to make hugely obscene profits, I'd create an elegant machine (such as the safety razor) and then through patents get a monopoly on a disposable item (such as razor blades). How much profit, I wonder, is being made on those hearing-aid batteries? How different are they from relatively inexpensive watch batteries?

Were I into entrepreneurship, I think I would try to design relatively inexpensive hearing-aid batteries disguised as attractive plastic eye-glass frames--rechargeable ones with much more capacity than the current disposable ones. As the population ages, surely there will be a hugely increased demand for hearing aids, and throwing away expensive disposable batteries is dumb.

I hope somebody takes up this idea and runs with it.

Stoneleigh, these things add significantly to the stress of trying to plan.  But even without an inherent disability, there is always the danger of injury or illness.  It has taken so long to cure the multiple bouts of Lyme disease for my wife and kids - what do we do if one of us gets it again?  It's almost inevitable that it will.  We are trying to learn about natural antibiotics and antivirals, etc.  We have found that many naturopathic and homeopathic cures work very well, but things like oil of oregano and olive leaf extract may still be out of our reach - these things do not grow in the mid Atlantic states.  

I would recommend that people read some old newspapers from the mid 1800's.  It's interesting to see the morbid fascination with injury, illness, and misfortune.  The articles usually go into great gory detail - I guess it's because these things were such real parts of people's lives, I don't know.  

I do think it makes sense to learn to sign - it's a fallback that cannot fail, and certainly preferable to risking isolation, even if only temporary.  And heck, it would be cool to be able to communicate well without sound.  Also, it would seem the power requirements of a hearing aid should not be that high - perhaps a solar cell, regulator, and storage capacitor attached to a cool hat?

I don't think the power requirements are that high, but AFAIK they only work with one specific kind of tiny battery that fits into a small compartment. If the compartment is open, then the circuit is broken. Perhaps somone cleverer than I am with technical fixes could figure out a way to connect them to a power source other the batteries. My whole extended family (with the exception of myself) are engineers, but none of them know anything about hearing aids unfortunately. I'm going to try making some enquiries of the manufacturer as to alternate power sources along the lines of your suggestions. I bet they'll just look at me like I came from outerspace, but it's worth a try.

At least signing is low-tech. My daughter and I can already communicate soundlessly across a room by lip-reading, but it only works with someone one knows well, as the form of mouth movements varies slightly from person to person. Accents give her terrible trouble. It took her quite a while to learn to lip-read Canadian.

I hear you about the Lyme disease. That's starting to become common around here too as the deer population has exploded. Thankfully none of us has had it yet, even though we live in the country. I know what it does to people when it isn't treated as a relative living in Germany caught it. She was visiting the UK when she began to feel ill, but they didn't recongize the symptoms because it isn't common there. It was eventually treated properly when she went back home, but by then she had developed permanent arthritis. If I hear of any natural remedies, I'll pass them along.

The obvious answer: eat the deer!  >:-D
Quite right, Leanan. I've never been hunting myself, but many others here do. Once TSHTF I doubt if people will be observing a 'hunting season' and only catching the number of animals they can get ministry tags for. The deer population is likely to plummet. Hopefully the tick population will decrease as well, but I don't claim to know anything about tick population dynamics.
We have found that many naturopathic and homeopathic cures work very well, but things like oil of oregano and olive leaf extract may still be out of our reach - these things do not grow in the mid Atlantic states.

One would expect this to be less of a problem for homeopathy, as homeopathic medicines contain very little or none of the purported active ingredients.

I've also been rather more suspicious of testimony in favor of "natural cures" since first reading about Eben Byers, who extolled the virtues of one such medicine he took regularly - and which later caused his gruesome death.  While such extreme cases are quite rare, they nicely point up the problems with testimonials as evidence.

Pemex Oil Output to Drop Without Private Investment (Update1)

Petroleos Mexicanos, the world's third-largest oil producer, risks declining output for the first time in seven years unless lawmakers allow for private investment, cutting supplies on the world market as demand increases.
 Congress has rejected calls by President Vicente Fox to amend the constitution to permit foreign companies to join with Pemex on concern the law change would be a step toward selling the state company to private investors.
 The long-term solution to replace Cantarell will require investment of $17 billion a year to tap deep-water deposits and an onshore field called Chicontepec, which now contains 40 percent of Pemex's proven, probable and possible oil reserves, Ramirez said.
Interesting article in Technology review. Coal-Powered Jets

Researchers have powered a turboshaft jet engine, the type used to drive helicopter rotors, with a coal-based fuel that could eventually replace military and commercial jet fuels, says Harold Schobert, director of the Energy Institute at Pennsylvania State University. The successful development of the coal-based fuel, which was described this week at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, could also have uses in diesel engines and fuel cells, Schobert says.

Coal-powered aircraft are not new -- Germany used fuels derived from coal to power planes in World War II. But the high cost of building production plants to turn coal into liquid fuel has prevented the technology's widespread use. Now Schobert and colleagues have developed a way to make jet fuel containing as much as 75 percent coal products using existing oil refineries, eliminating the need to build costly new plants -- and potentially making coal-derived fuel an economically viable alternative to oil.

I think Tom Whipple is a great voice on PO:


... but why did he have to close with "Fill your gas tanks early and often." ???

Probably because it's good advice if you're expecting shortages.  I used to wait until the tank was empty to go get gas.  Since Katrina, I fuel up whenever I reach the halfway point.
I would have said, "Fill it up now, but try to make it last by finding ways to drive less often."

I only fill up when I'm near empty.  In the late 70s I kept a lot of gas in the tank so I could siphon it into the moped, but I can't see doing that again.  I'd more likely get some sort of an EV.

Howdy!  As for naturally anti-bacterial ear drops that can be made at home, I've long used this formula:

1 part rubbing alcohol
1 part witch hazel rub
1 part clean water

The alcohol does two things - it reduces surface tension of the fluid it encounters, thus helping gravity drain it, and it is a mild anti-bacterial.

The witch hazel rub is a mild astringent, helping to tighten pores.  It may also have mild anti-bacterial qualities.

The water makes the solution cheaper, and milder on the tender tissues of the inner ear.

I put the mix in a little plastic dropper bottle.  For years I used an eyedrop bottle very successfully, as it won't break when dropped, and has a nice rounded dropper head, which won't fit very far into the ear canal...which is a good thing.

I use several drops in each ear after swimming.  Put them in with the ear facing up, allow them to trickle into the inner ear canal, then turn the ear facing down, and almost all water trapped in the ear will drain out freely.  Anything left has anti-bacterial properties.  Never got swimmers ear, and spent many years in the tropics, so am convinced the formula works.  Doesn't sting, either, so easy to get children to use this mix.  And the witch hazel helps make it smell nice - a crisp, clean outdoorsy sort of smell.

Hope this helps.

Great string.  I shared the where's my dozer with some friends who appreciate such things.  Some operator had a rough day!

Scuba divers oftentimes use ear drops to prevent ear infections.  The ones I use smell like isopropyl alcohol and water.  Maybe with something else added in.  What you are using sounds a lot like this.
Okay so my first day of my first yard sale was long and very rewarding,  Not a sibgle person showed up, but i have a block party planned for a few weeks before I leave and the newest neighbors over paid for their house and are scared to death of the rest of us.

My house aprrased at about 36,000 their's was marked down to 57,500 to sell It is a 3 bedroom, carport only on a small city lot.  In What has been touted all over Huntsville as one of the worse nieghborhoods in the city.

I have accidently left my billfold on my passenger seat with my door unlocked for about 3 days.  Gate open wide, and I have had my front door unlocked for over a year, and car too.  I walk the neighborhood and almost daily,  and I do all my Staff  ( a 6 foot 3/4 inch ID iron gas pipe threaded on both end with end caps,  most standard free weights fit on it, and the end caps lock them on, though the do slide.  Which for my training is best. ) Exercises on my front lawn facing the street.  Today I showed several nieghbors my latest effort, to balance the pipe on my head shoulder parrellel, and walk with it there in an effort to straighten my posture. 10 feet far.  

Well while inviting everyone home to a block party in may, I notice that the new neighbor has set his car alarm while his car is under his car port and padlocked his gate.

If they want it, a padlock is not going to stop them, but his neighbors will watch his place when he is gone and
No one will touch it.  And anyone that does,
 does not live on my street.  That is one reason we ahve to be watchful the generalizations we make about the poor and the rich.

My street has retired folks,  poor folks and working class folks,  and a few folks that think the rest of us are riff raff and drug dealers.   Everybody that passes my house gets a wave if I am out side, or out walking too.  Folks wave at me that do not know me,  Just know I live here.

below caught my eye ..  what is going on out there that we should know about it I wonder

Dan aka,  Charles Owens, Or Bear to his neighbors  ( I am 6'-0",  can curl either arm 6 gallons of water (( free wieghts for the above )) and do things with a staff i could only dream of when I was working with it before 15 years ago and 100 pounds lighter than now.

Five Whales Wash Ashore in Fla.

Published: 3/31/06, 7:45 PM EDT

HUTCHINSON ISLAND, Fla. (AP) - The body of a melon-headed whale, rarely found in Florida waters, washed ashore this week hours after four others were found dead or had to be euthanized because scientists determined they were too sick to be saved.

The first was found dead Wednesday morning at Vero Beach. The others were discovered on Hutchinson Island later that day, said Steven McCulloch, executive director of marine mammal research and conservation at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.

"It's been kind of a wild goose chase, and we're not sure it's over yet," McCulloch said.

All of the melon-headed whales, also known as electra dolphins, were about 7 to 9 feet long and appeared thin and malnourished, said Greg Bossart, director of marine mammal research and conservation at Harbor Branch, a research facility north of Fort Pierce.

Necropsies showed that the animals had ulcers in their stomachs, a sign of stress, and had not eaten for weeks.