Wendesday Open Thread 2

because one just isn't enough, at least for today.
I have been studying this lately. If I was a general tasked with invading Iran, how would I do it?

Well first off, all the generals have learned the lesson of Iraq, which is you can't hold population centers. So the first order of business would be to get Iran to do something REALLLLY STUPID,, like cutting off oil to the west. This would be a political action, but would be required to carry out any successful invasion of Iran. The reason being, is that if we invade Iran, with the ultimate goal of disarming Iran, and implanting an Iraqi style government, it would be doomed to failure, and Bush and all the gererals know this. BUT, if the ultimate goal is to "restore the free flow of oil to world", then you have an achievable goal.

So right off the bat, the invasion of Iran will be an invasion to restore Iranian oil output, not an invasion to free it's people.

So after a lot of study of Iranian oil field locations, Oil pipeline and NG gas pipeline location, and looking at population densities and locations, I come to the very easy conclusion, that the areas surrounding the bulk of the Iranian oil infrastucture is relatively free of people and major cities.


Looking at the Mid-East map

You realize that Iran is SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES, by areas controlled by the U.S. Iraq and Kuwait on one side. On the Other side you have Pakistan and Afghanistan, and on the other, Turkey. The only open sides faces Turkmenistan, which to be honest, I'm not sure which way they would turn in the event of an invasion. But my guess, is that in the next few months you'll start to hear more about them.

And most importantly The United Arab Emirates are directly across the straights of hormuz from Iran. And Dubai(remember that), is home to most of the US Gulf regions naval forces.


So here is a look at the way I would cut off the rest of Iran, from it's oil fields. I would bring armor across from Iraq, and then bring light armor across the Straights of Hormuz. There would be a feignt of some sort towards the capital of Tehran, forcing much of Iran's heavy infantry and armor to form up around Tehran. But they would swing into Iran, and then head down towards the oil fields. Coming up from the Straights of Hormuz, would be the light armor, which would quickly cut the major roads leading into the Iranian Oil patch. With air cover from carriers, and the bombers from Abu Dabai, and Diego Garcia. You would be looking at a complete wipeout of Iranian defenses in that area quite quickly. With land based fighters coming in from Afghanistan, and Iraq, you could quickly plunge Iran into a "dark age". And any attempt to move armor from The south down to the oil patch would be met with pounding air power, just like the road of death in Iraq from the first gulf war. A-10 warthogs prowling the sky, looking for anything on the road to blow up.. Most of the oil pipelines leading to the North and to Tehran would be immediately cut. Most of the major oil pipelines start in the Persian Gulf or in the areas directly across the border from Iraq, and then flow up to the north. If these were diverted to the south and accross the straights of Hormuz into Dubai or Oman. They could easily be transported to any of the offloading areas in Saudi Arabia.

I would think the initial invasion portion would require less than 50 thousand troops, and pretty much all available naval airpower and Air Force bomber protection in the area. Things like the converted C130 Gunship would have to be in the area. It would take less than 2 weeks to militarily pacify the area, and then you could move into defensive mode. Which as any good tactician will tell you, is much easier. If you have a clearly defined area to protect, it's much harder on the invader than it is you. And in this case Iran would become the invading force not us. Once we have that foothold with no plans to expand outward to conquer the whole country, there will be no need for us to pacify an entire country. If you look at the resource maps of the middle east, with this move we would be in contol of all mid-east oil. From the Kirkuk fields of Iraq all the way through Southern Iran and the straights of Hormuz, accross and down through Dubai, the UAE and into Saudi Arabia.


Check and Mate

Robert NW Ohio

This former US Navy pilot I know, my father, insists that invading Iran would be a logistical nightmare due to the surrounding geography.  
Where would we get the troops? We're already stretched way too thin and have "eaten the seed corn" in some cases to get expert personnel to Iraq.

We'd have to strip our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . and there still would be insufficient troops. Not a workable plan.

What we do have an abundance of is strategic air power. After their electricity is gone, so is any potential to make nuclear weapons.

Gimme a D
Gimme an R
gimme an A  = F =  T

what's that spell?     oh sh*t

looks like we'll be headin' to Canada for more than strong beer and cheap drugs.

 To be honest/serious, though::
I can't imagine the US public getting behind another war, let alone one requiring a DRAFT.
This isn't 1941. Maybe I'm underestimating the Rummy/Fox News Right. Could they be so patriotic?
Heaven help us.

What is your idea of making Iran intentionally cut oil exports without the world understanding that we are the cause?

If you have a clearly defined area to protect, it's much harder on the invader than it is you.

This is probably valid in conventional warfare, but will hardly work with the guerilla resistance I would pick if I were on the Iranian side.

Clearly the chances that we will "restore oil supplies" are even lower than we had them with Iraq. Everybody knows it and the international resistance will be fierce.

Hi Robert,

You wrote:

> Most of the major oil pipelines start in the Persian Gulf
> or in the areas directly across the border from Iraq, and
> then flow up to the north. If these were diverted to the
> south and accross the straights of Hormuz into Dubai or
> Oman. They could easily be transported to any of the
> offloading areas in Saudi Arabia.

Vous rigolez, m'sieu - n'est-ce pas?

You seem pretty knowledgeable about US weapon systems (though so do a lot of people with access to the Internet). But what is your background in the oil industry? You don't just "divert" multiple million barrel per day pipelines, especially with an entire hemisphere of angry Muslims gunning for anything that looks vaguely American. You'd have to invade, occupy and lock down everything from Algiers to Surabaya to get anything like "control" of Iran's oil.

Easier to occupy a limited area? Most of the big fields in southern Iraq (open desert) lie within an hour's drive of each other, 15 minutes by helicopter, 3 minutes by F16 (take your pick, it makes no difference). You can see all the flare plumes from any of the Gathering Centers. Yeah, the Americans - sorry, the Coalition - are doing a bang-up job of maximizing output from the area. NOT.

I should put on record my considered opinion that Shrub isn't stupid enough to try something like this. Old Deadeye's advice has to be good for SOMETHING. And if that wasn't enough, America - sorry, the Coalition - has already had a pretty good demonstration rammed down its throat that it just doesn't work.

Another good reason you can't hijack a country's oil industry is that it's pretty easy under IMO regs to get an international maritime arrest warrant. This lets your bailiffs arrest a ship in any port in the world and tie it up for months (at $40k per day demurrage for a VLCC on current Worldscale dayrates) while the courts puzzle it out. Most shipowners won't touch legally encumbered cargoes (they don't like losing control of their vessels), and last time I looked all the big shipbuilders from San Diego to Singapore were fully booked years ahead (it's those high oil prices, don'cha know?).

Or does your Tom Clancy fantasyland include abolishing maritime law and setting the USMC loose on the high seas looking for tankers to seize?

You don't just "divert" multiple million barrel per day pipelines,

The pipelines are already there, check a map with oil infrastructure on it. All of the pipeline run right down towards the straights of Hormuz. So all you have to do, is protect what you have.. Tall order..

In response to the fact that Iraqi oil is not up to pre-war levels. You have to remember that Iraq's oil infrastructure was completely decimated before the war even started. 10 years of neglect and mismanagement guaranteed that we wouldn't see significant oil from Iraq for 5 plus years.

Robert NW Ohio

Prior to the invasion Iraq was pumping over 2.5 mbpd. In the three years since, in spite of the termination of sanctions, vast amounts of money being thrown at remediation and infrastructure improvements, the daily output is on a one-way descent towards oblivion. Currently Iraq is pumping about 1.5 mbpd - the principal reason for the steady collapse in output is the fact that there have been over 300 attacks on oil infrastructure, per IAGS figures; that's roughly 2 per week, every week. On top of that there are attacks on the electrical infrastructure which the oil infrastructure depends on. There will be significant improvement in Iraq's ability to produce oil until the insurgency ends - which will not happen, de minimis, until the US occupation ends.

Invading Iraq has been a disaster for oil output; invadind Iran would lead to the same outcome.

How much of China's oil gets shipped through the Straights of Hormuz? India's?

Yes, the Iranians could shut down the Straights with one missile. A couple more would shut down the Saudi's. At that point, every country in the world is directly effected. Even net oil producers would be screwed: the following depression would hit them just as much.

The US wouldn't need to invade; the rest of the world would do it for them. The most likely way is assassination, bombing, and a coup. The mullahs hold the power in Iran but there are an awful lot of Iranians who hate them. Military officers freaked at such an action could rebel.

I don't think the Mullahs would last long and I think they know it. They're pretty wealthy and fat these days. It's one thing to convince a boy to seek his reward and quite another to do so yourself.

My only fear is that the cult that the President belongs to tries to bring the Mahdi back; that requires that the world be in chaos, apparently.

As far as limiting world supply goes I think they are much more likely to use al-Sadr in southern Iraq to keep the Iraqi oil off the market (and keep the Americans tied down).

"My only fear is that the cult that the President belongs to tries to bring the Mahdi back;"

My only realistic fear too.  I don't admire Baby Doc Bush but I think he is backed into a corner by history and circumstance.  A corner he knowingly walked into... no way he was blind to peak energy/fossil fuels.  No need to kid ourselves.

Hopefully the Iranians don't really believe they "hear the voice of God" ... and hopefully Baby Doc doesn't really believe that either ("my dad (godz) kin beat up your dad (godz) anyday!).

Homo Da Saps.

I should clarify: I'm referring to the Iranian President.

The religious group he belongs to has a decidedly apocalyptic bent. The election that put him in power was carefully controlled: only approved candidates allowed. The mullahs like him. Whether they like him because he scares the bejeezus out of westerners or because they agree with him isn't clear (at least to me).

Iran holds some hefty cards and they know it.

Dave I think you See Clearly Now the Fog is Gone...

Honestly - the God-HEARing are the most hideous and scary of all homo sapians... they turn their religions form helpful hammers that build communities into Terrible Hammers that smash skulls in their community.

Same with Mad Scientists practicing With Out the required Mother Nature's Licensing...

Beware of Global FruiCakes Claiming their Snake Oil Will Cure the Climate Blues... just as dangerous as the Distraction we call Religion for the poor sap we call Hom (IMHO)


In 1980 Saddam attacked Iran because he thought he could take advantage of the internal chaos in the country after the Iranian Revolution. The part he wanted to have is exactly the one you point out: the oil fields.

It took them 8 years and I don't know how many hundred thousand lives to figure out this wouldn't work.

Why is it you think we have any right to do anything with Iran's oil?  It is not ours - does that not mean anything?  Are we so immoral that we believe we can just take whatever we want?  Sure the Iranians hate us - they've every right to, given our apalling behavior in the past.  How does that justify us attacking them?  And until we deal with those who have made no attempt to comply with the NPT, then there is no nuclear issue to use as an excuse.  

If I was a general tasked with invading Iran, I would have an obligation not to commit such a war crime.  I would be required to refuse such an illegal order.  

Tactically, we cannot hold the oil fields against the Iranians.  They do not need electricity to mount human wave attacks, as they did against Iraq.  About all we can hope to accomplish is to destroy the oil infrastructure that is there, so that nobody can get any oil out of it.  

I've considered this over the last six months and more, though not in the military detail you have probably done.

My conclusion was, and is: military invasion of Iran is almost completely non-viable given present situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would be an open invitation to escalate insurgency in those countries. It also has almost no benefits - Iranian oil doesn't supply US at all. It would have political repercussions: Chavez might cut oil supply to US. It might lead to impeachment of president. It might encourage a revolution in Saudi Arabia. It would increase instability and violence in Israel / Palestine. It would further isolate the USA.

What might be the benefits? I hope they don't include access to several million bpd oil production, that assumption would be very silly.

It would be insane from just about all perspectives to invade Iran.

Exactly.  As Scott Ritter said this week, "There is no ligitimate reason to ask Iran to give up their stated nuclear objectives."  Its US politics.  

Iran will be delt with using international sanctions, probably for the next 50 years.

But then sanctions may be all it takes for Iran to shut off the spigots - they've already said as much (I'm sure you guys heard the "hurt and pain" comment that one Iranian ambassdor made - that gave me chills). As such, sanctions may be a complete non-starter at the UN as well.
If I were advising Ahmadinejad, I'd tell him to have the mudpumps and cement mix standing by in the oilfields.

How long does it take to turn an oil well into not-an-oilwell but just a patch of desert with some cement-plugged pipes?

I think the US Navy base is in Qatar now. Not that it changes anything.
Gain control of Iran's oil while losing control of the Straights and the 15 MMBOPD that goes through it wouldn't do much good.
I think the first thing that you need to note is that the Iranians are not stupid, and any scenario premissed on the Iranians doing something stupid is unlikely to happen, let alone pan out in the way that you think it might; obviously, starting a scenario with the US doing something stupid makes a little bit more sense. The Iranians don't need to take their production of the world market to use it as a weapon - they can selectively lose a couple of hundred thousand barrels of production to a few customers for the pain to start, or send their oil traders on 2-week breaks to Dubai without their mobile phones if they want to make a point and add a couple of dollars to the oil price. They can stop and start this as they please, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

The US forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan are already fully committed to tasks at hand - ie combatting a raging insurgency. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the Pentagon has yet to master the art of quantum deployment whereby marines that are doing combat patrols in Kandahar or Anbar cannot simultaneously spearhead an offensive into Iran. It's also worth noting that US forces are disposed in the wrong areas for either of these locations to be useful as a launching pad - apart from in Diyala province, there are no substantial concentrations of US firepower adjacent to the Iranian border. It's worth bearing in mind that at least 5000 Iranians go to Iraq every day, and that there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iranian military/intelligence/diplomatic assets in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries on their border - they know exactly what is happening on the ground there and any attempt to put forces into a hostile posture will be noted and countered long before anything
leaks into the public domain.

The second thing is that the Iranians have formal, normalised and peaceful diplomatic relations with every country on their border - that includes Turkey, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, the UAE, Iraq and Afghanistan. None of these countries have any particular motive for getting involved in a hare-brained scheme that is actually going to severely damage their interests. Pakistan complains every time the US military fires at a target in Waziristan - there is no chance of the US using its territory for military operations against Iran. Turkey, which was unwilling to allow the use of a land-corridor into Northern  Iraq in 2003, in spite of a 60 billion bribe has no credible motivation for allowing the US to use its territory for this either ( domestic public opinion will not permit it, and their government is, er, democratically accountable ). Similar considerations apply to the gulf states and Kuwait - they can allow the US to use facilities for this at the price of domestic rebellion and some serious Iranian retaliation. For what?

Of course, the Iranians do have a pretty good idea of the threats ranged against them. This is why their regional military and domestic security system is set up to operate autonomously. Now, the oil areas may be away from the centre, but there are hundreds of thousands of Iranian forces stationed there who would have to be dealt with.  The idea that the US military could just take the Khuzestan area and the Straits of Hormuz and the 500-mile Persian gulf littoral between the 2 areas with 50,000 troops, that the US doesn't have available anyway, is utterly fanciful. And of course, what happens when the Iranians start to fire back - there will be missile attacks against US ships, US bases in the region are all within easy range of Iran's large, varied and mobile missile inventory, and the Iranians will activate their mates in Iraq to cut the US logistics chain from Kuwait. This conflict scenario is pointless because you don't consider the range of Iranian options and what would be necessary to forestall them - once you do that the military assets required for invading and holding bits of Iranian territory and countering the various plays available to Iran are simply never going to materialise.

In short, it's a damn good thing that you aren't a US military planner, as you would be facing severe retribution when you screw up your military in a way that makes Iraq look like a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

But that wouldn't do much about the nuclear program which is the raison d'etre for the whole thing.
With air supperiority established, it will be easy to shoot a few bunker busters, and put them down.

Robert NW Ohio

No, it wouldn't.  Air power isn't enough.  It wasn't enough in Iraq, and it won't be enough in Iran.

Basically, the problem is intelligence.  We don't really know where to bomb.  The intelligence turned out to be bad on Iraq, and is probably worse on Iran.  

Iraq also had bunkers too deep for bunker busters.  That's why Bush asked for nuclear bunker busters.  

The Iraq and Iran problems, from a military stanpoint, are quite different. In Iraq we needed control of territory to look for WMD and to accomplish regime change and [though we did not have enough troops for this] establish the civil order and rule of law that would be needed to give the Iraqi people a shot at democracy.

In Iran, with bombs alone we can take out all their electrical power, plus the infrastructure needed to repair it. While people are freezing and starving and dying of disease in the dark, there will be no rebuilding of nuclear reactors. Eventually, we may be able to scrape together enough ground troops to secure the oil fields in Iran. So far as occupying the whole or even much of the country of Iran, why bother? What would be the point of doing so?

A bonanza approaches. Strategize to your little heart's content, armchair warriors.


[opening paragraph]
It's official: the era of resource wars is upon us. In a major London address, British Defense Secretary John Reid warned that global climate change and dwindling natural resources are combining to increase the likelihood of violent conflict over land, water and energy. Climate change, he indicated, "will make scarce resources, clean water, viable agricultural land even scarcer"--and this will "make the emergence of violent conflict more rather than less likely."

Peak oil opinion variations:

  1. The booze is running out, but we'll come up with even better booze
  2. The booze won't be enough, but we'll drink coke instead
  3. The booze will be over, but we'll drink less
  4. The booze is almost over, we'll have to kill each other so there is enough for all
  5. The booze is over, the world is over, best thing to do is just shoot ourselves

Any more?

  • The booze is runnig out, but we will find more booze.
  • We are awash in booze. There is nothing to worry about.
  • The booze may be running out, but the market will solve it.
I think 2) doesn't hold already, even for the most washed up brains.
6. We're running out of cheap booze, but the cellars loaded with expensive stuff.
7. Booze is produced abiotically
8. We won't need booze, we'll have Leclanché cells!
9. The Lord shall'th provide more booze just as surely as He provided Mana for 40 years to the wanderers in the desert. If you don't get your share of the booze, the reason is that you don't believe hard enough.
LOL :)

I appreciate it guys you made me fall down the chair :)
(no booze envolved here :)

We get a booze-like high everytime we stick our finger in the electrical outlet !  So who need sbooze ?
The USGS is confident that there is a large amount of undiscovered booze. We just don't know where.

We will apply advanced booze recovery methods to extract booze more completely.

We don't need real booze, because we can now make synbooze from anything organic.

Every time we've ever needed booze, somebody has come through with a bottle, so why worry?

We protect the distiller, so he owes us.

All booze is "produced" by mankind and not "extracted" from Nature. If we really, really wanted to make our own booze, we easily could. We just choose not to. When the time is right we will easily make our own copy of the stuff.

We will also make trees.

- Learn to make your own booze?

I'm rather surprised that wasn't the first thought that sprung to mind.

2. The booze won't be enough, so we'll snort coke too.
WOW! Sure - at least we'll have a happy Doomsday :)
rdenner -

I think you are falling into the trap of viewing the potential conflict between the US/Israel and Iran strictly in tactical military terms. This is one of the reasons the Bush regime screwed up so badly in Iraq. In that debacle the US has not lost a single 'battle' with the insurgents, but in spite of all our awesome military might, they are still there and appear to be getting stronger, while our problems are growing. Now why is that?

I have little doubt that the US military could attack Iran and split off a small chunk of the country, such as that oil-rich province everyone has been talking about lately. The real question is: what happens after we do that?  Do you really expect the Iranians to sit back and say "Okay, you win!" I'm sure they know what the US is up to and have several different contingency plans to make our life hell.  

First, I think we can be fairly certain that an attack on Iran (especially if Israel is involved) will result in the largely restrained Shiite militias in Iraq going into full attack mode against the US forces.  One military analyst I've corresponded with also thinks it's not out of the question that the Iranian's would launch a massed infantry attack into Iraq. Though they would suffer  massive casualties, it would tie down US forces for quite a while and plunge Iraq into total chaos. He also fears that our lines of communication coming up from Kuwait could be cut and thus leave large concentrations of US troops stranded.

Of course there would also be missile attacks on the Green Zone, US bases, and also probaby against Arab countries friendly to the US such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. How effective these would be is not known.

Then we have the problem of protecting the super tanker traffic going into and out of the Persian Gulf. It is not good enough for the US to secure the Strait of Hormuz.  Most of the Iranian coast has rugged terrain perfect for the concealment of mobile anti-ship missiles.  Even super tankers hugging the Arabian side of the Gulf would be mostly within range. It's hard to picture a moving target that's easier to hit than a super tanker.  Just one super tanker sinking would send world oil markets into total panic.

Nor are our aircraft carrier battle groups safe from the same sort of attacks. Regardless of a protective cordon on missile frigates, etc, just one or two cruise missile hits on the deck of a super carrier would so materially degrade its ability to continue its mission as to effectively take it out of action. If we do attack Iran, expect our carrier battle groups to leave the Gulf and take up a safer position way beyond the other side of the Strait of Hormuz.

Then we come to the biggest potential danger, and it is one that has nothing whatsoever to do with the 'battlefield'. And that is the reaction of the rest of the muslim world. Pakistan is a particular worry. Musharref is hanging onto power by his fingernails, and If the US/Israel attacks Iran, I think he is toast. Then what happens to Pakistan's nukes? And what if a country like Venezuela refuses to send oil to the US? What about a major oil embargo by countries furious at what the US has done?  It will be a total mess.

Of course, Iran will have its oil fields and related infrastructure all set up for demolition should it appear that the US will gain control. You can count on a total scorched earth policy, much like the Russians did with both Napoleon and Hitler.  It would probably take years to get Iran's oil back up to pre-war production.

No, if you thought that Iraq was a cake walk, wait'll see Iran!

Some people are structurally incapable of learning from their mistakes, and unfortunately many of them occupy high positions in the Bush regime.

I think you are right to emphasise the effect a US attack on Iran would have on the islamic world, it would be a most adverse consequence. To which I would add the damage to US international reputation, a probable sell off of US treasury bonds by China at least, a serious plunge in the US$, and the trigger for much unpleasant unwinding thereafter.

Though the US will probably be able to secure the Hormuz straits eventually it will take time, for reasons you explain. That's a lot of oil that isn't getting to market for a while. A US attack on Iran is, as things currently stand, akin to US economic suicide IMO.

I've posted our February USA Energy Reserves Report and the enlightening aspect of this month's musings is that Standby Global oil Production looks to have reattained 2-mbd threshold and that bodes well for oil pricing looking at the next three or four quarters.  Contract (vs spot) Prices are again approaching fifty bucks.  And that will keep most economies in the black wrt real GDP growth.

The graphs on crude, gasoline & nat'l gas all show that we are well above the 5-yr channels.  Again illustrating the unlikelihood of sustained price spiking.


There will be both a new monthly extraction record & new quarterly global production record in 2006Q2.

Freddy - could you please explain what is meant by "contract vs. spot prices".   I assume the spot prices are those of the near month traded futures contract, no?  So what is the "contract" price.  You say it's headed toward $50, but what is it and where do you find the information?  Thanks.
The graph on the left is the real price oilco's are paying in the usa (blue).  The right graph is what idiots pay when they don't buy on contract.  Methinx we can assume most of them once were the energy decision makers in California.  Though up from the end of the month, today we see contracts have risen to $54/barrel while the spot price quote is $64.  These are EIA feeds.  For more than two years, the spot market has been the playground of speculators and has been as much as 30% above running contracts that may be for weeks, months or years.  Some spot buying is being protected by counter options betting on the other direction.
Excellent, thanks Freddy. It would be interesting to see a plot of (spot - contract) prices, the gap appears to have been stable the last year or so, though I realise you would have to make an arbitrary choice over which measures to use.

I'm not so optimistic about the 2 mbpd cushion, where exactly did those numbers come from? the post doesn't explain. If true it should be enough to fill China's intended SPR if they get that act together. I'd be happy if the cushion stayed at 1+ mbpd for the next two years.

Note as well that some OECD reserves were shipped to US in wake of hurricanes, hopefully they have been replenishing them already.

December may have been a record but it's still looking like a plateau to me. I guess we'll all crack open a good bottle when(?) production breaks the 85 mbpd barrier, it won't be in January or February 2006. I rhetorically wonder how many months in 2005 the production data exceeded the 2004 equivalent? I'd suggest that if the answer is between 4 and 8 it's looking like a plateau, if higher then it suggests scope for higher production (I haven't checked in advance, BTW).

I totally agree that stocks are generally high (crude, distillate, gasoline and gas) ATM, and prices should probably drop further to reflect that. A certain amount of risk premium does appear to have become structural but I'd guess that is no more than about $5.

Exxon's CEO was fairly open when he agreed with comments by the usa Energy Dept Chairman's musings that what we have is "fear" of a shortage.  Not a supply problem.  He went on to state that at $60, there is twenty bucks of "fear" component.  I agree.  And it is why we are seeing obscene profit announcements in the energy sector over the last two quarters.
I would put it a little differently. Price for a storable commodity like oil is not based just on supply and demand. At least, it's not based just on today's supply and demand. Pricing incorporates estimates of tomorrow's supply and demand as well.

Today we have high prices even though stockpiles are larger than normal, but this is because markets foresee possible supply shortages in the future. It is those anticipated shortages that the Exxon guy describes as "fear" of a shortage. But the point is that this is perfectly reasonable and rational market behavior.

Certainly there are many factors in play that could reasonably be anticipated to produce oil shortages in the months ahead: Iran, Nigeria, and hurricanes to name three. Given this uncertainty it would be irrational for oil prices to drop to $40 or whatever. It's not just blind "fear", it is a perfectly reasonable and prudent anticipation of possible problems.

What is interesting is that it is all driven purely by the profit motive. Speculators in the oil markets drive up prices for summertime oil delivery, gambling on shortages. This in effect drags up today's prices. That causes demand today to be suppressed, which causes stockpiles to build, and that leaves us in better shape to handle these shortages if they happen.

It's Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" at work. The result is that this decentralized oil market, with thousands of participants all just trying to maximize their own profits, works in just the manner that a centralized director would have it, taking steps today to moderate demand and prepare for problems later this year. And it works far more efficiently than any centralized system could manage.

I just found something really Looney!

Go to: http://eia.doe.gov/ and click on "This Week in Petroleum" over at the right, under "Publications and Reports". This should take you to http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip.asp

The second paragraph starts off, "As EIA predicted in its February 15 edition of This Week in Petroleum," with "This Week in Petroleum" highlighted as a link.

Click that link!

It takes me here:


which is a page about Taz, the Tazmanian Devil star of the Looney Tunes cartoon show.

This is using Firefox, maybe it is specific to that browser. But not exactly something you expect to see on an official U.S. Government Department of Energy web site!

I just might be able to top you, Halfin. At 7:34 Eastern, I clicked on your link, and it took me here:


If you just mouse over the link on the TWIP page, you get this:


which redirects to that bizarre site hosted at Hermetic.com. "The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism"?? I don't think the government is going to be too happy about that. (This is in Firefox. Even more strangely, when you use IE, there is no redirect, just a "we can't access that page" message.)

Ah, the phrase "temporary autonomous zone" rings bells for me, I will check out that hermetic link when I have time, looks like my kind of oddity. The bells rung:
http://deoxy.org/deoxy.htm  (3 years ago this was, I felt, a groundbreaking net site)
...your mission, should you accept it, is to find your way to the philosopher's stone page without cheating by using this link:
- but do go to that page and understand the truth. It is probably the most ultimate 'truth' for humans as we currently are.

While I'm at it I'll dump some similar-ish links on you:

Note that I do not necessarily endorse, believe or agree with any of the above sites, travel at your own mental risk ;)

As a trivial example of what you may find at DeOxy here's one on capitalists and deodorant:
Re Tassie Devils see this
Item #51 talks about the population threat. There was a plan to send a breeding pair to Copenhagen Zoo but there is no test yet for the mystery tumour.
Fails to work for me (at GMT 02:50 Thursday), using IE as browser it points to the link:

That link, and all truncated versions of it, go nowhere for me :-(

HELP! I'd just written a post on India, Iran and Pakistan on the other Wednesday thread and now this comes up - HELP!

It really isn't a good idea to attack Iran. Mainly because we don't know how they will react. Wars, nasty things that they are, have a habit of surprising us and getting out of hand!

Iran is roughly four times the size of Iraq. It's population is far bigger than Iraq's. It hasn't been subject to seige like Iraq was. Iraq was a country vertually on it's knees prior to the invasion. Iran is far stronger than Iraq was. Iranians are not Arabs. Iranians are very well organised, resilient and disciplined. It would be fatal to underestimate them.

One could not expect them to sit back and allow the United States to occupy their oil fields without a fight. The Iranians are Shias. The majority ethnic group in Iraq are also Shias. The Shia politicians in Iraq have, almost to a man, the closest imaginable links with Iran. Links of culture, religion and politics. An attack on Shia Iran would be rightly seen as an attack on Shia Iraq too. I believe the Shia would rise up in their millions, in a revolt that would make the current Suni resistance seem like tea-party! They could overrun the American army in Iraq or at the least cause massive casualties. What do we do then - nuke them?

One of the problems is, we've empowered Iran, by destroying Iran's great foe, Saddam and his Sunni army and his secular state. We've replaced it with a Shia pro-Iranian theoracy allied with Iran. This would be almost funny if it wasn't so disasterous.

Now, it seems the US, having finally realised this, now wants to change horses in mid-stream, by dumping the Shia and supporting the traditional ruling-class the Sunis! The American ambassador in Iraq has been trying for over three months to reverse the results of the Iraqi election, by calling for a government of national unity. This means giving power to the Sunis at the expense of the Shia who won the election! Naturally the Shia say no, we won the elsection why should we share power with the Suni minority?

The whole thing is a complicated mess. We've opened up Pandora's Box and we haven't a clue how to go forward. But how do we stop the conflict in Iraq spreading and escalating into a full regional conflict? With Shia states and Suni states getting dragged in? It is going to be difficult, requiring a level of intelligence, sophistication, knowledge and luck, which I don't believe the current Bush administration has.

I recon the administration is split about what to do. Pulling out of Iraq is a really big defeat, worse than Vietnam in my opinion because the stakes are higher. Maybe Iraq would fall apart even if we pull out? We've destroyed so much in Iraq that maybe it simply can't be put back together again. This of course would be disasterous for the region and somebody would have to step in and restore order. Who would that be?

The alternative to cutting and running is escalation. Sending hundreds of thousands of extra troops and before that even attacking Iran and smashing the emerging Shia super-state. Clearly escalation and another war with an unknown outcome is also fraught with danger for the US. I wouldn't want to go there! Will desparation on the part of the Bush administration be the deciding factor. I know some of you will talk about Bush bashing etc. However, it's valid in this case because after all they got us into this mess and they chose to destroy Iraq as functioning state.

The whole situtation reminds me of Shakespeare's play Macbeth. Towards the end when Macbeth is surrounded by his enemies and he knows the game is up, he ponders his choices. None of them are good. Macbeth seas himself standing up to his waist in a rever of blood. What should he do, go backwards, go backwards to what? He can't undue all the killing he's done. Should he wade forward towards certain defeat? What a choice to have to make. Macbeth, being a tragic hero and a brilliant soldier, decides to keep his armour on pick up his trusty sword, and go forward across the river of blood to face his foes like a man face to face and go down fighting and take as many of his enemies with him on the way! I really wish we could send Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld out on the same mission and leave the rest of us out of it!


I think I've written enough about Iraq/Iran and I'm afraid I can't fake being Gung-Ho about it. So I'm going to try to refrain from writing anymore until the bombs start dropping and then it won't matter much what we think or say, the logic of war will take over from the logic of peace. I just really, really hope were not talking about WW3 here and escalation to nuclear attacks. If that happens kiss American democracy goodbye, it was a brave and noble attempt, and say hello to full-on fascism American style! Stopping the war before it starts is probably the best option for us and our children. Now I will stop.
Before the Iraq debacle, I thought of two possible ways to get that oil.

A: befriend Saddam all over again

B: invade and occupy

We all get to play Monday morning quarterback now. Had I been in Bush's sandals I would have picked option A. Why? Saddam was after all a client dictator of ours, to serve as a counterweight to Iran. After all the two had their Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. By throttled arms support, the two cancelled each other out like matter and antimatter.

Had we became buddy-buddy with Saddam again, the counterweight would remain, AND we could unsequester the oil, by playing along with Hans Blix. Iran would still be pinned down. Saddam also was able to keep a lid on extremism in Iraq too, cutting down on a supply of terrorists.

BUT NOOOOO!!!!! That was too much like making sense. Like a botched play causing you to get sacked, injured, and a newbie taking your place on the gridiron in a Superbowl, Bush decided on invasion/occupation. With Shiites being allied with Iran and rabid enough to drive an airliner into a building, we opened a Pandora's Box. And one minus the marble of hope but with a softball-sized blob of plutonium.

Now, there are two outcomes:

A: a civil war based on religion

B: an Iran-like theocracy allied with Iran

Kind of like being Socrates being given a choice of Hemlock or ethylene glycol to drink.

C. If lucky a hopefully stable tripartite devolved republic.
D. Three separate countries: Kurdish state, Shia state which will merge with Iran in time, Sunni rump state.
Let's just tell Iran we're going to give Iraq back to Saddam and leave if they don't behave.
Might be politically too difficult, at least for our inept Bush Regime. Giving Iraq back to Saddam may be impossible becuse now we'll end up with a Shia insurgency, and Shiites are a lot bigger group and a bigger supply of insurgents. Worse, Iran will have that insurgency to fight a proxy war, using the ol' Cold War playbook. (the Russians will gladly lend them a copy!)

Having picked war was a surely irrevocable bad choice. No matter what we do now, we only sink deeper in the tar pit.

One problem with attacking just the oil rich area is that this area is predominately Shiite Arab--the same ethnic group as the people who now have a majority in the Iraqi government.  It is difficult to believe that they would stand by and do nothing if we invade.  We have our hands full dealing with a rebellion by the minority Sunnis in Iraq; if the Shiites take up arms against us we're in serious trouble.
I think we need to change the subject of the thread to 911 as in the prior thread, in order to get more postings!

But seriously, I don't know how you can have intelligent people gathered together and not eventually get into the 911 discussion/debate. It was a watershed event that must never be forgotten. OOOPS... maybe I just committed a "hate/thought" crime by borrowing the "never forget" mantra!

Its very refreshing to have people thinking and have a good number of them questioning authority and the official "party line".

In some distant land many years ago, these same people would have surely filled the ranks of the gulags.

My bro-in-law went to FOSE today,
and brought back the Teleworker
newsletter, which is all about
A Few Factoids

  1.  In the oil producing area of Iran (the Southwest), the dominant population is Arab not Persian.  And they aren't happy with Persian domination.

  2.  Iran's plan to block the Strait is not to use regular naval ships, but small fast boats loaded with 1 or 2 mines.  But they have hundreds of them.  In 6 hours, the Strait is blocked for months.

  3.  The Israelis have subs in the Indian Ocean loaded with cruise missles, both conventional and nuclear.

So, while you armchair Iran keep these things into consideration...
Fat Lady,
Have you ever heard of mine sweepers?
But Iran's speedboats could easally be suicidal people behind the helm of a go-fast with a bomb instead of drugs. A human-guided torpedo. The go-fast bomber merely 9/11's the minesweeper.
Not comparable situations at all: Even the fastest speedboat is easy to take out at 1,000 to 2,000 yards with a .50 caliber machine gun--not to mention more potent weapons. Of course, if you are in a USS Cole situation and not on alert, then you have a problem.

Moral: Keep watch.

Keeping watch is the key. A CIWS (that R2D2 looking Gatling Gun) can SHRED a Go-Fast bomber all but instantly. Time for a software upgrade. Belching out 100 rounds/second, the suicide go-fast bomber will get 72 virgins - but fail.

For best results, add a web-cam to the CIWS so a person in Weps can grab a mouse and point to the go-fast on the screen and click the left button. BBBBUUURRRPPP!!!! go-fast gone fast. :) When a lookout sees the go-fast, he tells CIC, and the gunner on watch flips the switch to web cam mode, and has the second of fun. The individual CIWS radar can determine distance, and a computer can do the stepper motor to aim up the little bit. With the radar to determine range, a green laser pointer mounted on the CIWS can be used like the laser pointers on pistols already. Makes software development easier. When the gunner flips the switch, he puts the dot on the go-fast bomber and clicks. Mouse interface plus serial from radar makes it such that QuickBASIC could be used! (or use joystick port and trackball) With a CIWS and video game style interface, the go-fast bomber weapon is now ineffective... IF they keep a good watch.


You are, of course, aware that the minesweepers will have to be lucky every time whereas the minelayers only have to be lucky once.

There is more to laying mines than you might think. Not a job for amateurs.

In both World War I and World War II minesweepers were highly effective. New higher tech mines are harder to sweep for, but they are not widely available. Also, mines are most effective where you can lay a helluva lot of them of different types. The evidence I've seen suggests that the Iranian pirates (and that is all they are, really) have only low tech mines and not a huge number of them.


So far, you're right - about previous wars. Minesweepers are indeed effective against most presently known mines. But we can learn from land mines. The best antipersonnell landmines are those Falkland Specials, plastic mines that metal detectors can't detect until the user steps on one.

Since the opponent is willing to play MacGyver (hence IEDs using our own unexploded munitions) it sure adds a wildcard into the equation. Let's see. Mines (the anti-ship type) are aimed at disabling a navy, obviously. We and the opponent knows we like steel ships, but also use wooden-body minesweepers to rid a place of magnetic mines. Now, a minesweeper will look for METAL mines to get rid of. A sea variation of a Falkland Special (my own term) will not be detected. It need be only have .99 the density of the surrounding water to float but waves will hide it. It may sink some, but will come up to become a random hazard. The way these jerks think is they LIKE randomness. Throw a bunch of .99 specific grav plastic contact mines in the water and watch the fun. Some of the time they will be too deep to be in play except to subs. The rest of the time they wait until ANY ship hits it and jars a seismic fuse.

An easy time delay fuse to allow throwing them in is a battery that runs out releasing a solenoid that, no longer powered, engages the seismic fuse. The seismic fuse will not be TOO sensitive, as you want it to go off wnen a ship hits it, not an errant shark.

A major thing is to think like a terrorist to understand the tactics possible to our opponent. That's what they know. We have to think accordingly to understand them. And keep a good watch.

You are correct that it is a constant contest between offense and defense. After World War II it was fun to take out floating mines with rifle and (sometimes) even revolver fire from on deck, but as you suggest those defending against mines have to keep on their toes.

Query: In the real world, how many ships, boats, or jet-skis have the Iranians actually sunk with mines over the past fifty years???????????

I remember the Iran/Iraq war. The Iranians had some mines out and when we found out about them, the US ships escorting the tankers had the tankers go first. Tankers are hard to sink with mines because oil is lighter than water and mines blow holes below the water line. The tankers just settle a little.
While living in Brazil, experiencing a hot summer while my family and friends in the Northeast U.S. are going through a mild winter, a thought/question occurred to me.  

Is it possible to interconnect the energy grid so that demand is able to be met throughout the entire world and no electricity is wasted?  I don´t think we(the world) would go for it because of security, however I am still curious of whether constructing a worldwide grid is possible/inexpensive to implement and would it produce surplus/cheap electricity?

Without a superconductive transmission line, really long distance electrical transmission doesn't work.  The resistance losses are too high to make it practical.
Russia has some surplus hydroelectricity in Eastern & Central Siberia that often goes to waste (the Soviets were aggressive builders).  Could be used back West in European Russia but too far to transmit.

At higher power costs (in EU Russia) it could be made to work with DC lines and significant line losses.

Distance is the enemy of power transmission, because you lose a bit of it as heat as it travels.  An international grid isn't going to happen any time soon.  We don't even really have a national grid in the U.S.   Texas, for example, has it's own grid.  There are some international grid connections, but they're short distance connections (e.g. some northern states import hydro-generated power from Canada).  
There has very recently been some news about planning an EU wide grid, I think the cost I heard was Euro 635 billion (about $750 billion). Yes, feasible but expensive. There are several experts on electricity distribution and grids here at TOD, maybe they will reply. If not you should keep your eyes open and pounce with your question when they reveal themselves ;)

It would not produce cheap electricity but it might help maximise use of generated electricity. It also has the scope to exploit poorer nations who produce surplus electricity. Electricity distribution over long distances wastes electricity but advanced technology might reduce that waste.

We can't even get Spain and France to connect.
Well, for all the back and forth on Iran, whether it's feasible, whether it's advisable, whether it's rational, whether it's moral (well, it's obviously not -- so what is meant is: does morality have anything to do with it?), ONE THING is clear: they are intending to do it!

Where else can it go? Why all the preparation? Why all the commotion? We've been there before, haven't we?

One other thing is clear: it will be disastrous. The empire failed to instill shock awe in Iraq even though it clearly intended to. What can it do to restore credibility by instilling it this time? This is what is truly horrendous to contemplate.

Shock and Awe

Is the initial wave of air power and armor.  Nobody can stop us if we want to do it.  After that it's the dog that caught the car.  Now what....   If beating up Iran has to be done it can be, but we can't try to control the country on a local level.  

Shock and awe.  By that you must mean high oil prices and inflation?
Nobody is going to invade Iran.  We're just going to take out as much of their nuclear enrichment equipment as is possible from the air.  And only after the UN has failed to enact sanctions against Iran.

Why? Because the industrialized world is experiencing a growing volume of attacks by fundamentalist Islamic fanatics.  To allow Iran, the seat of this movement, to have a nuclear weapon would be suicide for industrialized societies.  

In case anyone has not noticed, there is a world-wide war going on.   The delicious irony is that the combatents are mutually co-dependent as suppliers and purchasers in the realm of oil.  So no oil will be destroyed in the process of attacking the Iranian nuclear facilities.

YES - You drew a good picture.  Two very drunk and scared sailors tied to eachother with a chain, each has a knife and the life boat fits one and only one... tick tick tick- which one Hears his godz FIRST is the one that might decide to try to take out Israel while he has a chance... one last GASP (or grasp) FOR ALLAH (strawmonster phantasims build in simple minds that Rule).

Too bad, but kinda funny to watch from the sidelines (hopefully - got popcorn will watch the follies beyond my control Here and Now).

I'm a little sick of the 9-11 stuff myself --I come here to cheer up :) -- but I saw this tonite:


There is no precedent for the burning and collapse of the high-rise steel-framed World Trade Center towers and neighboring 7 World Trade Center.
This catastrophe will alter building design and municipal building codes.

Posted above the fire hydrant in the fire fighting display room on the ground floor of the Museum of the City of New York, seen after I put out a fire in the adjoining men's room.

Precedents happen.

I have an open mind on 9/11. The official story is almost certainly not properly true but I find it near impossible to believe the regime complicit stories, nor is there adequate evidence for them that I have seen.

We'll know much of the truth of it, eventually.

You come to TOD to cheer up? What kind of sicko are you, LOL ;)

A steel frame building was on fire in Madrid Spain, a true towering inferno for many hours -rather than minutes,


and with even a giant crane load the the top of the building there was no collapse. Of course we think that Spain is part of old Europe, so the laws of physics have not been updated to the new way of "thinking".

I saw this building when I was in Madrid.  We went shopping at the Cortese Ingles next door.  

Again, this does not support your case.  From what I read, the fire was started by a cigarette, firefighters fought the blaze, the building did partially collapse, and had to be demolished.  Imagine if the fire had been fed by several thousand gallons of slow-burning jet fuel.  Imagine if the fireproofing had been dislodged by the impact of a jetliner.  Imagine if columns had been sheared off by the impact of a jetliner.

Completely different situation.

"Corte Ingles" porfavor.
Steel will withstand a low temperature burn for many hours.  No Jet A-1 high rapid combustion and temp buildup was involved in the Madrid example.
One way to prove or disprove the dispute is to build a scale model & test it with a jet fuel burn

How hard would it be for the US Governement to build such a test model? Some scrap steel welded together and a little bit of fuel?

They tested the foam puncture theory on the space shuttle, didn't they?

I don't think a scale model would work.  Heat transfer is greatly dependent on geometry, particularly the ratio between surface area and volume.  When you increase the size of something, the surface area goes up by squares, while the volume goes up by cubes.  

They did test the foam puncture theory, but they used an actual spare part from the shuttle.  Full size.  Cost almost a million dollars. And it was the only spare they had.  NASA really didn't want to do it, but the investigators deemed it necessary.

The investigators did all the calculations, and had visual proof that wing was struck by foam as they theorized.  They were sure that was the cause.  

But many of the NASA engineers didn't believe that a foam strike could bring down the shuttle.  It had happened numerous times before, after all, and the shuttles had landed safely.  It was to prove it to them that the test was done.  When the dust cleared and the gathered NASA employees saw the dinner plate sized hole the foam had created, there was an audible gasp.  Some just hung their heads and walked away.


There's some that don't think the foam was not the cause; "the space shuttle was struck by a sprite."

Heat transfer can be modeled quite well for strange shapes, such as the cooling fins on motorcycle cylinder heads, CPU cooling fins, laser burning of micro integrated circuits and ceramic coated turbine blades in jet engines.


Test what? Fireproofing?  That's been tested many times.  Buildings are rated for 2 to 4 hours of fire resistance, but that is conditional on a burn of materials normally found inside buildings.  

Do you mean a scale model of the building?  A full scale model can be (and most likely has been) run in someone's 3D structural analysis computer program.

The space shuttle foam was impact tested.

TWA 800?  Now that was a shoot down!

Interesting replies, but one does not have to build a full scale replica of the whole twin towers.

Why can't they just use a full sized corner of one floor and load it with appropriate top weight while subjecting it to jet fuel flame to see how long it takes for the steel to fail? If it takes a lot longer than it took for the real twin towers to come down after the plane struck, then we'll know something is fishy.


But wouldn't you know it... NIST just couldn't get the towers to collapse.

Of course NIST also ignored the pools of liquid metal found in the basements of WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7, the video evidence of office workers standing on the edge of the airplane impact crater in the North tower who called in to say 'Don't worry, it's not that hot in here' as well as the audio evidence of NYPD Firemen making it to the 78th floor and calmly stating that a couple of water lines will put out the few fires that remain.


Crazy huh?

If true, very CRAZY. The scariest part of post-internet life is that you never know what electronic presentation of information is true and what is fabricated fiction. What I do know from samplings of newspaper stories where reporters report on subject areas I'm knowledgeable in, is that the reporters almost never get it right. Getting it right would take too much time and focus, and it wouldn't be as entertaining.

Like that famous Congressman, newspaper reporters probably say: "Don't confuse me with the facts."

A fire in a lumber yard can collapse a warehouse building w/o any fireproofing on the columns quite easily.  Fireproofing isn't "proofing" its only a timed delay to give the occupants a chance to get out and FD's a chance to put out the fire, if possible.  

You can see various graphs representative of steel stress reductions with temperature (w/o fireproofing), here,

At around 500-600ºF steel is reaching stress levels that would equal many higher stress areas of the design.  Tension members would start to stretch significantly.  Local deformations of certain columns could easily cause a collapse the affected column.  Both of these effects would tend to overload adjacent beams, columns and tension members.  Given some of these members were probably damaged by the aircraft strike prior to a fire, there would be nothing unusual in my mind if collapse of the structure occured shortly thereafter.  In fact, I was surprized to see that they lasted as long as they did.

Connection designs of the WTC (FEMA report Appendix B) and failure modes here,
The discussions are consistant with my experience as a structural engineer and the photos are exactly what I would expect to see.  (Of course I don't know if they showed them all, right?)

a) we're not talking about a lumber yard warehouse, but rather a steel-framed highrise - a structure that has NEVER EVER collapsed due to fire

b) WTC steel was CERTIFIED to withstand MUCH MUCH higher temperatures and the FEMA report you refer to states the burning jet fuel (all 4000 gallons of it) was NOT the cause of the collapse

c) still haven't explained why there was MOLTEN METAL 80 floors down.

LOVE to hear your theory on that one.

You mean fire and a slightly big passenger jet hit?  I don't see anything unusual with a building collapsing after getting hit by a jet, actually, whether the building caught fire or not.  Snagging jets ain't a design condition (period).  All the pictures are consistant with how buildings fail after experiencing an overload.  Whether the first failure was induced by fire or snagging the jet is rather immaterial.

I'm not trying to explain this, but OK, how'd the molten metal get down there and why is that relavent?  

First, I will gladly agree that "fireproof" isn't. To really fireproof something, it would about have to withstand re-entry from orbit. The "re-entry standard" is what I'll call fire-proof. Everything else is fire-resistant. Kind of like a Kevlar vest being bullet-resistant. A Teflon-coated stainless steel bullet will work against a Kevlar-clad opponent. So will a Howlitzer. Second, more important, is the WTC had a subtle design flaw.

The design flaw was that instead of building it like Chicago style skyscrapers (monkey bars fit for Godzilla) they settled on a design of a load-bearing core and load-bearing walls. Trusses held up the floors. Against gravity and wind, it worked as good as the monkey bars design. They designed it that way so interior decorators had no load-bearing columns to deal with. Except for the core, they had the run of any given tenant's floor. It worked... until some idiots thought they were cute on 9/11/2001, of course. The planes served as giant molotovs, and we know the rest.

If I were to design a replacement WTC, I'd take the original design but add columns and tanks of water laced with airport fire fighting foam for a gravity-fed sprinkler system. Fun note for Navy vets: "airport fire fighting foam" has the exact same acronym as the Navy's "aqueous film forming foam" used for fighting Class Bravo (petroleum fuels) fires. This new WTC would be double strength and have a kick-arse fire suppression system to neutralise planes used as molotovs.

100% correct, but its not a design flaw.  A design flaw is when something doesn't stand up to what it is designed for.  NO building (including nuclear power plant containment structures) are designed for an aircraft hit.  Not even a teny tiny Cessna 150.  It aint in the building codes.  NOWHERE.  Just like offshore GOM platforms arn't designed for 100 ft waves.  If you put big fire systems on the new WTC, they'll just hit the building next door.  Maybe we should put up a ring of dirigibles with snag nets all around all cities with skyscrappers.  Get real.
Thanks to all of you guys who do the war gaming.  It's something I know little about really and appreciate listening in on very much.  Also, thanks a lot for the links etc - outstanding discussion, keep up the good work!
Warning: thread control suggestions!

Open threads (and others, LOL) often drift off into very active sub-threads about current hot subjects or issues that arise. The increased activity at TOD makes individual topics a bit unwieldy. I suggest some possible solutions:

  • Start specific topics as need arises
  • Have open 'suggested topic' threads for ideas for the above
  • When specific threads get too big create follow on threads
  • Provide edited in links to prior and follow on threads in the headers of topic specific threads
  • Ask posters to stay on topic within specific threads
Yes, I think something needs to change.  I don't think starting new open threads once one reaches 100 works - it clutters up the main page too much.  Perhaps the flat post structure needs to change, or open threads need to move to a seperate area.  I would like to see more attempt to stay "on topic", especially on comments to technaical posts - but that's a subjective definition, and hard to enforce.  

'Tis getting very busy around here!

I like the idea of more open threads.  It was kind of weird before.  Sometimes you'd get one every day, sometimes it would be days before you'd get a new open thread.  

However, automatic new threads may not be a good idea.  They tried that at DailyKos, and no one liked it.  Everyone knew that when the post count hit the magic number, a new thread would be started.  No one wanted their immortal lines of deathless prose to be at the bottom of a long thread.  So they'd post junk, to force the thread over the limit, so they post their real messages at the top of a fresh thread.  It quickly made the open threads not worth reading.

And here I thought only my prose was immortal!  My concern is that when you view the main page, the "real" posts will quickly get scrolled off the page if there are too many open threads.  Perhaps a thread a day would make more sense.

Part of the issue is that the open threads are a free-for-all.  They are not all about one topic.  I suppose that a forum section would allow people to start their own thread about a particular topic, and then (hopefully) the comments there would be "on topic".  That way we would not get posts about, say, Iran scattered over 3 or 4 threads.  Once an open thread gets old, I hesitate to comment there, as it probably won't be read.

Just thinking out loud....

Old threads do get read.
Just cause no one posts anymore doesn't mean it's not being read.

Perhaps the moderators (Goose, HO, SS etc) can add a header to the open thread once they see it heading in some major direction. Example: "SS note: Main theme of commentors here seems to be CTL technology."


Scientists have produced superheated gas exceeding temperatures of 2 billion degrees Kelvin, or 3.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit.

This is hotter than the interior of our Sun, which is about 15 million degrees Kelvin, and also hotter than any previous temperature ever achieved on Earth, they say.

They don't know how they did it.

(Why on The Oil Drum - here's the payoff)

One thing that puzzles scientists is that the high temperature was achieved after the plasma's ions should have been losing energy and cooling. Also, when the high temperature was achieved, the Z machine was releasing more energy than was originally put in, something that usually occurs only in nuclear reactions.

(Interesting, over unity....somehow)

Back in January, I was watching CNN International, and they had a promo for an upcoming program on CNN Presents.  The voiceover went "Running out of oil: How much is left, and who gets it", and the video had stock footage of various oil related things.  The implication at the time was that this program would run in Feb, but it never turned up.

Well the program is surfacing now:


over on the very left hand side for "Coming Up" it has:

We Were Warned: Tomorrow's oil crisis
Saturday, March 18 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET

It won't be until next week that we will get more details about the program.

Just as well it didn't run in Feb - that could have been during the Olympics.

There is discussion of the program here:


BLITZER: All right, Frank. Give us a preview, though. You've been doing a lot of digging into this story.

SESNO: That's right.

BLITZER: We're a nation addicted to oil, according to the president.

What have you learned?

SESNO: Deeply addicted. OK? And here in United States alone, we burn nearly 21 million barrels of oil a day. That's 25 percent of total world consumption.

Sixty percent of it, nearly 60 percent of it is now imported. The president was talking about that. We're using more every year.

So we have been looking into some of the technology that might get us past all of this.


SESNO (voice-over): First, hydrogen vehicles. In Detroit, I saw GM Sequel, an amazing piece of technology. No internal combustion engine at all, hydrogen creates power to turn an electric motor. But it would cost you $1 million today, and hydrogen isn't close to commercially available, so this one's way down the road.

A better bet, fuel from plants, leaves and agriculture trash. This is cellulose ethanol. We saw them making it from wheat straw at a demonstration plant we visited in Canada.

It's not made in the U.S. yet. But there's promise here, and Detroit is actually making some flex fuel vehicles that can run on a mix of 85 percent ethanol, just 15 percent gasoline.

Plug-in technology could take hybrids to maybe 100 miles a gallon. The rechargeable battery takes you the first 35 miles or so, then regular hybrid technology takes over. It's not available yet, the batteries need work, and hybrids are more expensive.

By the way, there is new oil out there, unconventional oil it's called. I visited Canada's oil sands. They have 57,000 square miles of them, putting Canada right behind Saudi Arabia in oil.

They don't pump this stuff. They mine it, then extract oil from the sand. A million barrels a day. It could be three million a day in 10 years.

But here's some perspective. World demand, driven by the U.S. and now China and others, is predicted to leap by 30 million barrels a day.


SESNO: So, Wolf, you can see that even with all of this promising technology -- and there's some great stuff out there in the pipeline, if you'll pardon the pun -- it -- we're in a race. We're in a race against world consumption. It's going to require a major national commitment, a major global commitment to get past the era of oil.

BLITZER: the president's critics are already saying what was thunderously missing in his speech last night on this subject was a call for conservation, for lowering the temperature, you're getting higher mileage cars, all of that kind of stuff.

What do you make of that?

SESNO: Well, it really was very interesting. It was glaring by its absence.

You know, we have talked to a lot of people, CEO of oil companies. We talked to John Brown, the CEO of BP. What does BP call itself now? Beyond Petroleum.

And folks over at Chevron who say the era of cheap oil is over, they all say we have to have conservation, much more efficient usage as a key part. There are three parts of this if you're going to get beyond this oil crisis that we're at right now: major new extraction, pull out what we can, major new technology. The president talked about that, and a major push on conservation.

You can find more stuff by googling "We were warned" and "oil".  The thing was screened on Monday at GMU:


I will repost this in the next open thread - people probably won't notice it here.

Letters to The Mother

This week an Angry Reader Writes:

"I hope it does hit Fast and Hard
and in one year (homoSap)is BK and wondering what happened.

That sound mean etc - but the fact is That Much faster we stop the waste by Critters like him - unnecessary parasites left over from the Golden Age of Delusion.

Honest to godzain'tMighty - I'm not "ready" either but I want it now and I want it as hard as mother can make it.

No more having to play pretend or have to try to convince deliberately ignorant morons (hens or cocks guarding nest or picking Daily Lint furiously) anymore -

THERE you want proof you dumb motherfuckers - THERE now you have proof.  Go eat your credit card dumb fucks all."


((( ...Mother says, "You betcha baby, you betcha, just let me rinse off here first little onezzz..."  )))

FYI, Dan Yergin has an article on energy security in Foreign Affairs ($ req).

Excerpts are here.

Thanks, we couldn't wait for that one to come out. You've not been here long have you? Thanks for posting what you did of the article. That's the only way I'm going to read it before  I see it in Barnes and Noble. And after seeing what I did, I'm in no rush.

Being from the finance world, you know what a hedge is. This is a hedge.

Hi Oil CEO, I am relatively new here.  Seems to be an interesting set of characters.
You can say that again. Good to have you here. Just be forewarned that Yergin doesn't garner much credence here. While I am of an open mind, it would seem to me that the man from Cambridge and his associates are in a small bind having realized recently that they may have overlooked a few things.