Tuesday Open Thread

Oil just passed $69 in Asian trading a few minutes ago...

Just barely into april, cool weather means less driving at least on the left coast, and yet gas is up near last year's summer peak in price.

Makes me glad I drive a... well, I can't say it, just go to www.southparkx.com and download the episode called 'smug alert' and laugh your butt off!

Er, I mean, .net
Regarding oil prices, each month a new contract disappears from the futures strip and the next month in line becomes 'front month'.  Right now we have monthly prices until december of 2012 and May 2006 is 'front month' (meaning the most trading and the most liquid). (meaning there are 67 unique WTI crude oil contracts)

The 'front month' while we were being bashed by hurricane Katrina was November 2005, and it reached approximately $71.75 at its peak. However, at that moment, December 2006 futures were at $70 and are now at $72.20. So even though the main stream media front month hasnt made a post hurricane new high, almost all of the back months have. Not only that, but the spread between near term and long term has flattened (this was discussed here)

Similarly, natural gas has plummeted since the hurricanes. But only near term contracts - longer dated contracts are all within 50cents or so of all time highs.

Bottom line: when one speaks of 'new highs' and 'the futures market is saying XXX', one should keep in context there are many different futures contracts for each commodity, reflecting different information. The front month contract is priced at the marginal barrel (or cubic foot) and is much more volatile than back month contracts.

A minor correction: Katrina hit in late August, and at that time the front month was October, not November. I don't have historical futures prices here so I don't know what October prices were at the time.

Don't you just love nit pickers.

Actually the high was put in on Sep 2. And according to my futures broker, Nov was front. But we're splitting hairs. Or nits...;)
Yes, I laughed hard at that whole episode.  The Toyonda Pious...
It's funnier than shit. I actually have a copy on CD in the glove compartment of my "pious" because I want to give it to a friend who loves southpark but doesn't go on the net on his own comp after a nasty ID theft episode.
Last night was the ep where they solved spontaneous combustion by farting all the time, which of course led to... global warming.

Poor South Parkites, they can't catch a break.

Let us now open a forum on the "forgetten" motor fuel.

It is easy to transport, has a long history as a motor fuel in industry, agriculture, and utility trucks.

It can be made from either crude oil refining or natural gas production.  Unlike LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) it does not have to be stored at super cold tempeture, but only needs a few pounds of pressure to convert it to liquid, although it burns as a gas.

It can be stored safely for many months, so that if a Co-op were to get together to lease/buy a large tank, it would assure a stable supply of fuel over the course of a season, and thus smooth out the seasonal variations.  The fuel would be bought at seasonal low price and used in the higher consumption months.

What is this miracle fuel?

LPG, or Liquid Propane Gas.  I hereby open the floor on discussion of Liquid Propane Gas as an automotive fuel, and as a price and supply stability enhancer for transportation fuel, and to contribute to supply reserve storage in the event of a gasoline supply disruption.  The goal:  FUEL DIVERSITY.

Let's talk.

Good point. Common to drive on LPG here in Holland, actually. Storage and transportation however is a bit sensitive (dangerous).

And, as you said, made from oil or gas.

And you cannot run solely on LPG. If you did starting would be troubling and the engine would wear down faster.

It is cheap and clean.

It's used in a lot of Toyota no less, forklifts in the US, they smell like a fart.
Here in the land of Oz almost all service stations sell LPG. I ran a 2000 Ford Fairlane on dual fuel for 3 years, the price of LPG is about a third or a half of the price of unleaded, today it is 56 cents vs $1.40 a litre. The consumption of LPG was about 14.5 litres per 100 km vs about 13 litres per 100km on unleaded petrol. The performance was virtually the same and the gas conversion paid for itself in about a year and a half. With both tanks full I could drive 1000 km without stopping. Now I drive a seven seater Puegeot diesel wagon which uses about 6 litres per 100 km and I can go 1300 km without  stopping for fuel, one standard hDi 406 puegeot turbo diesel on an economy run did just over 2300 km on a single 70 litre tank full! www.vectorbd.com/peugeot/archive/General/2002/Aug/0134.html

All of our taxis and a lot of fleet cars are LPG only straight out of the factory.

LPG is a fine thing,   But using it in transportation when food could be cooked with it, and homes warmed....I prefer part the legal framework during Nixon - where gas wasn't a fuel for making electrical power.   Using gas for transportation is a poor choice.

And HOW is a non-renewable fuel a 'miracle fuel'?

New Zealand is officially in recession  -two
consecutive periods of a shrinking economy,
but inflation is surging: petrol is up another
6 cents today (to $1.62 a litre, diesel $1.16)
and presumably there will be another rise next
week on the back of the latest surges in crude.

With the cost of imported oil rising by the
month, if not by the week, the already
appalling balance of payments is virtually
certain to deteriorate further. Poor economic
performance puts downward pressure on the
dollar, thereby increasing the cost of buying
imported fuel, in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Of course the NZ government insists that
the IEA and the USGS have it right and
that peak oil is still decades away.

All the chickens of free markets,
deregulation, laissez faire ecomnomics
and the politics of failure are are coming
home to roost.

Having been the western world's guinea
pig for deregulation and free trade, are
we now to be the guinea pig for oilcrash?
It is sure starting to look that way.

Didn't I read around two years ago, NZ is doing very well with a thriving economy? Or was it another nation? If so, it is astonishing how fast obviously a boom can turn to a bust.

However, can alone high energy prices be blamed for this?

"Didn't I read around two years ago, NZ is doing very well with a thriving economy? Or was it another nation? If so, it is astonishing how fast obviously a boom can turn to a bust.

However, can alone high energy prices be blamed for this?"

NZ has a current account deficit worse than the US - 8.9% of GDP!!!  This was worsened by a debt fueled consumption boom based on the yen carry trade.  The carry trade has unwound and the Kiwi is in freefall.  The "Lord of the Rings" tourism boom was fueled by cheap air fares from the US, now gone.  The agriculture is very energy intensive, 170kg of nitrogen per hectare.  The power grid is inadequate.  New Zealand is looking at an economic abyss.

Iceland is having serious problems also as the Yen carry trade unwinds.  These are probably the "canaries in the coal mine."
Iceland underwent a boom with the construction of the Karahnjukar Dam and associated aluminum smelter.  The currency almost doubled.  Roughly $2 billion in capital spending with a population of less than 300,000.  Construction is winding down.

In addition, Icelandic companies went on a buying spree in the UK and the banks may have over extended themselves.

However, the balance of trade is strong (aluminum is a major export and it hit new highs recently, fisheries are stable & sustainable, some high tech exports (deCode, the world's leading genetic "miner" is having troubles), they keep putting off the date that the national debt will be repaid, but the national debt is small and shrinking.

All in all, not bad.  A net energy exporter via aluminum and ferro-silicon alloys.  The fisheries use large amounts of diesel, but world fish prices help pay for that.

There have been a lot of commercials promoting Iceland tourism on the major AM radio station here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sure, burn up tons of oil flying here, screw the earth's ecology at large, and come see our steam vent power!
Do you have a link for this? as far as I know they have only had one quarter of negative growth. (-0.1%)

This of course is due to the insane currency markets. Money flooded into NZ to get the higher interest rates, which made the currency more valuable, which made exporters uncompetitive. On the positive side, the NZ government looks to be in a good financial position at least. I don't believe your doom and gloom to be warranted in that respect.

Can a modern economy really do anything in the face of trillions of speculative dollars pouring in?

 Interesting world we live in when foreign speculators are priviledged enough to disprupt the economic welfare of the inhabitants of a country. A "You cannot eat so I can afford my second hot tub eight parking garage McMansion" kind of world.
BOP you are right. Look up the trade in something called "coltan".

You have to starve, get shot at, and probably die before you reach adulthood so I can have a new cell fone!

Sounds like the "Kiwi in freefall" is the best thing that could happen for them. It will make their exports more competitive and help turn around their trade balance. Of course it does make energy imports more expensive, but keep in mind that energy costs are only about 5% of total GDP for modern western countries. It's not going to break the bank if energy even doubles in cost. And all of NZ's trading partners are in the same boat on that anyway, they're all paying through the nose for energy so it won't hurt NZ's competive position.
SHiFTY, ignore KevinM, he's a doomer (check his previous comments).

I can say that if NZ is indeed in a recession, there is not much sign of it in business, the media or general life here.

That's not to say we aren't heading for one, but I doubt NZ is that much worse off than most countries around the world.

Sure, housing prices are a bit of a bubble, but the really expensive realty has been bought by foreigners, so there's not going to be many NZers losing millions on property.

And the "kiwi in freefall" is just fantasy. Yes, the kiwi has fallen against the US Dollar, but so have most currencies, including our 'big brother' neighbours, Australia.

More than half our electricity comes from renewables, the government is talking about improving rail services, and it's actively talking to the Greens about Peak Oil.

All in all I'd say that we are looking a helluva lot better than we did 12 months ago, when the finance minister hadn't even heard of "Peak Oil".

"Do you have a link for this? as far as I know they have only had one quarter of negative growth. (-0.1%)"

The current account deficit is what used to be called the trade deficit, that is what is now 8.9% of GDP.  The super high US current account (trade) deficit is just 7 something % of GDP.  Kiwis are even worse borrow and spend addicts than Americans, no savings.

PS: Preliminary reports are that 1Q 2006 was probably negative growth also.  Two quarters negative is the definition of recession.  NZ is definitely in recession now.  In Waikato, home sales have pretty much stopped dead, except at auctions with no reserve.  I know a guy who put his house on auction and the only offer was $150,000 below his reserve price that he HAD to get to avoid financial catastrophe.  Many tears.

NZ would get a good deal on Australian uranium under the free trade agreement, except it means a change in both legislation and mindset. A nuclear plant in a geologically stable area could iron out the vagaries of hydro, and no doubt could replace oil imports in various ways. Australia already imports medical isotopes from NZ. Can't happen? We'll soon find out whether the low carbon/no nukes economy is as rosy as supporters claim.
NZ has some of the finest wind sites in the world.  Steady, ~40% load factor.  12 to 24 months from financial decision to operation.

Wind and hydro are a great match.

For a small market like NZ, one or two nukes is too many eggs in one basket.  Routine maintenance would be a problem, a sudden outage might be beyond their ability to cope.

Even if we see a dip in May like last year, the coming Autumn/Winter will take us close to 100 $/bbl. And that if all goes well.
Does anybody know what percentage of the produced oil (globally) is actually traded on the commodity exchanges?

My thought is this : Shell produces crude and has it transported to it's refineries, where it's converted to gasoline. Where in the equation does the oilprice influence the cost of the product they sell?

So only the poor suckers that have to buy the oil they need on the world market pay the full price.

The public traded oil companies actually produce about 15% of the crude worldwide. The rest is produced by national oil companies (NOC) like Saudi-Aramco.

So even Shell has to buy a large portion of it's crude from others producers via NYMEX/IPE or by direct delivery-treaties from NOCs which usually link their price to the oil bourse level.

The price of oil is set on the basis of world demand.  All of the oil produced in Texas (down about 75% from our peak) is sold locally, but increasing demand in China affects the price.  

IMO, what we are primarily seeing is too much demand chasing declining export capacity.   I predict that the story this year will be:  exports, exports and exports.  Again, it's very early, but the shortfall in US imports is widening as time goes forward.  I can't help but wonder what the impact on US imports is going to be of Cantarell declining at up to 40% per year.

Texas, the Lower 48, Total US, Russia and the North Sea have never equaled the production they had in the vicinity of 50% of Qt, based on Hubbert Linearization (HL).  The top four net oil exporters are well past the 50% of Qt mark, and growing domestic demand is a significant factor in an at least three of the cases.

The ultimate irony is that so many politicians have claimed that the US needs to become more energy independent.  They may get their wish.

Following is a link to my (slightly edited) January post:


"It would seem from this case that these factors could interact this year produce to an unprecedented--and probably permanent--net oil export crisis."

Speaking of exports...

Tensions Brew Over Oil Exports

There seems to be some kind of power struggle going on in Russia over oil exports.

Hello Leanan,

Corruption and the struggle to maintain a monopolistic postPeak power structure invariably leads to frozen and/or bloody corpses in the Eurasian snows.  Putin and the Eurasian energy industries can only ride the tiger's back for so long.

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

It seems that in my area, Dallas/Arkansas/Memphis/Mississippi,
an effort has been underway to equalize prices.

Up to maybe three months ago you could find a $.30 differential.  Now all are within pennies of each other.

There is a threshold of $3, I think.  As the avg US price moves to and thru that point, the economy freezes up.

Then this: Real Demand Destruction

It is now obvious the criminal globalist elite plan to use nukes and believe they can contain this once unimaginable usage to the "third world" where "rogue regimes" with or without nukes or weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with in severe fashion--that is to say they must be irradiated and suffer horrible deaths.

"In addition to the immediate effects of blast, air shock, and thermal radiation, shallow nuclear explosions produce especially intense local radioactive fallout," explains Nelson of FAS. "The fireball breaks through the surface of the earth, carrying into the air large amounts of dirt and debris. This material has been exposed to the intense neutron flux from the nuclear detonation, which adds to the radioactivity from the fission products. The cloud typically consists of a narrow column and a broad base surge of air filled with radioactive dust which expands to a radius of over a mile for a 5 kiloton explosion."

Imagine such "intense local radioactive fallout" in Tehran, population approximately 12 million.

Obviously, if Bush indeed nukes Iran, as we are now told, we are dealing with a war criminal of Hitlerian proportions.

Then this: From Jan Lundberg/Culture Change/The Trojan Horse Sisters

With only about ten percent of the original population left after the Great Collapse, there was finally quiet, if not peace. But the knack of working together and making community decisions was coming slowly. Many people attached to their old lives - gone forever - of driving to the shopping mall and the supermarket felt that the only way to survive was to have more things, food and property than others. Hence, the ugliness of the ruined town and its losses was hard to overcome with enthusiasm and enjoyment of new ways.  


Crude prices on the London exchange at $69.53 have passed their previous all time high. They did not climb as high as New York post Katrina. Petrol prices have passed £1/litre
£1.02 on the M1 motorway, that's $6.89/US gallon.

LPG (Usually taken to mean Liquified Petroleum Gas over here) is available at over 1400 outlets and has favorable tax rates, both the fuel itself (it is about half the price of petrol) and the annual tax on vehicles using it.

The Smart Car converted to LPG is exempt from the £7/day London congestion charge and gets 54 miles/US gallon

Lou Grinzo, if you're out there, I wanted to chat a bit about your recent post on Kunstler.

I'm kind of confused about where you stand. You seem to be almost cornucopian when it comes to the subject of automobiles. In fact, the drift I got from your post is that -- with hydrogen, ethanol, switch grass, coal liquefaction, electric cars etc. -- easy motoring isn't really threatened at all. But if that's the case, why are you so concerned about peak oil? So concerned, in fact, that you think governmental intervention will be necessary to handle it? It doesn't add up. It just seems like a weird position for a moderate: automobiles are NO PROBLEMO, but for peak oil WE NEED THE GOV'T TO DO SOMETHING. Can you help me understand better?

If want to talk at length, please drop me a line through the comment form on my site or directly at lougrinzo at rochester dot rr dot com.

In a nutshell, my view:

  1. Peak oil will be a really serious problem, with considerable human and economic pain caused by higher prices, spot shortages, layoffs, etc.

  2. Transportation will bear and cause the bulk of the problems, being (today) so heavily dependent on oil.

  3. We'll go through a transition period when we deal with the effects of PO and shift transportation away from oil and toward renewables and electricity.  This is when conservation will become critical, as lowering demand even a little would reduce the upward pressure on prices, and therefore reduce the economic impact.  Note that I didn't say it would be NO PROBLEMO--that was Kunstler.

  4. Gov't intervention in the form of good policy will ease the pain of the transition by promoting the development and use of non-oil technologies and conservation.  Gov't intervention is not required for us to "survive" PO, but it will make a difference, even at this late date, in minimizing human pain.
Thanks, Lou. I guess what I'm curious about is your view of motoring in the post peak oil period. Kunstler believes that peak oil will lead to restructuring of living arrangements and urban design. I got the impression from your post that you feel peak oil will not deeply affect those things -- that the exurbs, low-density living and American car culture will continue almost exactly as before, just that the cars will be more efficient and run on different fuel. Is that correct?
At a very high level of abstraction, that's pretty much my view.  Let me elaborate a bit...

We're currently at a very weird time in the transportation situation, as virtually no one buying or leasing a new vehicle today realizes how much car technology and the market will change in the next 5 to 10 years.  In particular, there will be a frickin' huge loss of value for people with newer, low-efficiency vehicles (read: larger SUV's) once public acceptance of them really turns sour.

Once gasoline prices get high (sustained at over $4 to $5/gallon) then things will get very interesting, and consumers will be clamoring for ways to avoid the pain.  That's when the transition to lower oil use per unit of transprtation (which has started with the diving SUV sales) will kick into high gear.  I expect to see all-electric cars, the first mass market hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, diesel hybrids, plug-in hybrids, etc. all taking off.  It will be a typical scramble to find a set of good solutions to an overall economic problem.  We'll see a split of cars, buses, and some trains moving to batteries or fuel cells, and trucks staying with liquid fuels, derived from oil, coal, and bio sources, becuase they'll need the higher energy densities.

In the longer run things will sort themselves out, and the economic crunch will ease as we move an ever greater percentage of transportation off petroleum.  I think the key dynamic is that there's enough technology either here today or ready to hit the market very soon that we'll avoid high transportation costs by finding cheaper transportation, not by reshaping the physical layout of every urban center in the country.  

I'm NOT making a value judgment about which solution (better cars vs. better cities) is inherently, well, better.  I'm simply saying that looking at the technologies, costs, and scale of the situation, "better cars" seems to me to be the path of vastly less economic and cultural resistance, and is therefore the solution that will "win" by being used most and first.

I'm feeling ripped off because I bought my Prius early in '05, before the energy bill went through.  I only get a $2000 deduction, and '06 buyers get a $3000+ credit.  Poor me.

But really, all of us who think the government isn't doing anything should step back and think about those credits.  They are huge.  The gov is chipping in like %10 on people's car purchases.  The wouldn't do that unless they really wanted to tip the auto fleet in a new direction.

("borrow and spend" government still sucks, and US peak oil response is still uneven, and half the time even stupid.)

They give even bigger subsidies to Hummer buyers.
The absolute worst was the business tax credit offerred for a few years ... but I think that one is closed now(?).
Jerome a Paris covered the Christophe de Margerie thing yesterday:


He had this intereesting graph:

It gets worse:


If you dont like the science, then dump it

I saw that news yesterday, totally amazing in its stupidity.
Just a note on the "Project Energy" reports done at CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis, MN.

The first report, aired last night on the 10 PM news, was excellent.  Anchor Don Shelby, who is producing and reporting the series, interviewed Deffeyes, Simmons, Bartlett, and former US President Jimmy Carter.

Energybulletin noted this and linked to WCCO.  the reports continue in 7 minute segments through Friday.

Here's the Energybulletin link:


You can watch it on their Web site. (Linked in the Energy Bulletin article.)
Great show ... let us know when new episodes appear

That really was superb.  In 7 minutes they did a better job than CNN did in 42.  I think CNN was holding back because they were afraid of offending the sponsors or some such.

I liked the interview with Carter - it wasn't that he said anything terribly profound, I guess, but just hearing him talk about it provided an interesting link back to a different time when we really could have done something that would have made a difference.

Found this link on F**kedCompany.com:

U.S. environmental regulators are conducting a criminal investigation into BP Plc's management of pipelines in Alaska's North Slope, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday.

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-04-06T091413Z_01_L06199 10_RTRUKOC_0_US-ENERGY-BP-PROBE.xml&rpc=22

Excellent Fred Kaplan piece on Hersh article.


This gives a new meaning to "pedestrian friendly development":  Woman, 82, Gets Ticket for Slow Crossing
Oops, this URL may work better:
Woman, 82, Gets Ticket for Slow Crossing
This is a growing issue, due to the aging of America.  Someone who is old and frail may need twice the time to cross the street as someone who is young and healthy.  

Older drivers are also driving changes in infrastructure.  Older people need larger, brighter signs and wider pavement markings.  They may not be able to turn their heads to check for oncoming traffic.  Their depth perception is poor (hence the tendency to be nailed while making a left turn across oncoming traffic).  Florida is already designing for seniors, and the rest of the nation is likely to follow as the baby boomers age.  

Assuming we're still driving, anyway...

In our town, only the foolish walk anywhere.  It is risking your life to cross a major intersection as a pedestrian, even with traffic control signals - cars routinely run yellow / red lights, right turn on red is legal (after stop) only drivers don't stop (much less look to their right when that is where they are turning), the pedestrian signal is much to short, etc. etc.

The pickups and SUVs rule the road here, in all respects.  And the drivers are pretty much laughing at $2.79 gasoline.  It's going to need to go much higher before it impacts their lifestyle, it seems.

You are correct about the hazards of walking; it is by far the riskiest activity I engage in (and here we're talking about a cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking fat but very clean old man with a keen eye for the ladies). Walking in a city such as Minneapolis is about as dangerous as bull fighting or hang gliding, because drivers typically seem to be on cell-phones/drugs/alcohol/animated conversations and all this while grossly violating speed limits and red lights. I've seen seven cars in a row go through a red light at a busy intersection, each going at least 40 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone.

Ray Bradbury wrote a memorable short story titled, I seem to recall, "The Pedestrian."

Highly recommended.

            (to PAUL)
Eh, he's a nice old man, isn't he?

Oh yeah, he's very clean, y'know.

    They all agree with PAUL.


From my years of highly risky living.  Crossing busy streets in front of, or just behind 70 mph semi's and dump trucks, and letting cars pass within inches of my toes and I could reach out and hit any of them if i wanted to lose a finger or hand.   No its not so bad for ME I just have been informed in recent months by my Girlfriend that I must not engage in my previous life of risky behavior, She wants all my parts working and would like to spend some time with a healthy Charles.  So I still cross the street with my eyes closed,  er okay, I have them open, gee take all the fun out of the daring them to hit me.    I have noticed that people have more cell phones growing out of their ears now.  I am wondering if they have them in delivery rooms.

Johnny can have the hands free model, we just implant it into the cheek bones and he will have his own service till you parents switch him over to your service. We will add it to the bill for Birth and other aseccories,  Or Johnny can wait till you get him his own toddler-cell from your service provider.  You know goo-goo-gah-gah and all that for infants to call the others on their dial up lists.  Share stories of mom and dad feeding them mixed veggies after the mushie peaches.  Well folks here is your cell phone bill for using it to podcast your birth and party afterwards.

Bill board here in town, every kid under 12 having their own cell phone.  Friends complaining that they can't get so and so on the cell, and couples walking into stores each on the cell, and not paying any mind to each other.  Makes me gald I do not own one, and if I get stuck in the boonies on a flat tire, I do what I do all time I walk out.

God I hate cell fones.

Needless to say I don't have one, I had one and got tired of paying $50/month for something I hardly used.

$50/month is $600 a year to spend on Ham Radio folks!

I went the opposite and finally canceled my land line.  They didn't seem surprised, must be more people doing it.  As far as needing one or not ... I use it when I hike/bike alone as my 911 link.  And sad to say, I have called in with a broken arm :-(
Not having a land line and going cell only is another trend.

I have DSL and use my land line to make calls so it makes sense for me to keep that. For emergencies, the ham radio option isn't bad, it often works better than 911 in remote areas, and as for in town, if someone else doesn't have a cell or a payfone isn't handy, the local hams are a very helpful bunch.

I decided to keep my land line last summer.  When Hurricane Rita was headed at Houston, authorities started one of the worst-managed evacuations I have ever seen.  The crush of people who hit our little town (we have an official hurricane shelter, being over 100 miles inland, but little or no resources stocking said shelter) caused our cell service to be interrupted for almost a week.  You could get a signal, but it was impossible to place or receive a call.  Of course, you couldn't buy gas (the stations were out and the supply trucks were stuck in traffic from Houston) or bottled water, but that was just from people acting crazy.

I figure $20 for a land line isn't a bad backup.

We have found in New Orleans that text messaging gets priority over voice.  All Mayor Nagin had to control things during Katrina were messengers (problematic) and sporadic text messeges that could go in & out.

So, in an emergency, forget @ voice, just use text.  And a cell w/o ext is next to useless.

Why, you old rooster you...

BBC, Today:

''4x4 vehicles 'school run hazard'  
By Justin Parkinson
BBC News education reporter at the ATL conference  

Teachers have safety concerns about 4x4 vehicles
Danger signs should be placed on 4x4 vehicles to prevent parents from using them on the school run, teachers say.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers will vote on plans to put warnings on dashboards.

History teacher Phil Whalley said 4x4s and sports utility vehicles were more likely than conventional cars to kill children and the danger was increased when bull bars were attached.

He urged the government to carry out further research into the risks.

'Chelsea tractors'

Mr Whalley, whose Hardenhuish School is in a rural area of Wiltshire, said many parents bought 4x4s as "status symbols".

He added: "This is not about bashing the toffs in their Chelsea tractors or town against country.

"It's not about environmental issues. It's about child safety and education."

He said international research showed 4x4s were more likely to kill small children than normal, lower, cars, as they tended to collide with their chests or heads.

The driver's high vantage point also made it harder to see pedestrians.''

(You cannot ban them in a free market, but you can make them tasteless...)

 More correctly this is an issue of arrogance on the part of all drivers, accomodation of that arrogance by elected officials, and acceptance of this state of affairs by the automobile public.

 There is a very positive side to Peak Oil, demand destruction and consequent forced social change.


If TSHTF, I can imagine the drivers remaining being even more arrogant towards those that can no longer afford to drive.
I think it will be just the opposite. In the eighties there were stories of well-to-do south africans being marketed 'flame-throwing' cars to repel angry throngs of people. Im trying to find a picture but not being succesful - perhaps it was hyperbole but Ive heard it from a few different people.

If few can afford to drive, what will prevent the majority from at least lobbing rocks and such...?

In I will Fear No  Evil, Heinlein had the wealthy being driven in armored Rolls-Skodas that had turret-mounted guns for their bodyguards.  
Yup, once again, Robert Anson Heinlein had a view of the future uncanny in its vision. You want to understand Pat Robertson and what he could lead to? Just read "Revolt in 2100."
THAT'S who you've been reminding me of, Don!


Jovial, Convivial Over-wise Altekaker.. a bit rounded, likes the girls, cigars (?), and dancing through discussions on just about anything..

Am I close?


Jubal is one of my identities; I am Man of Mystery who has been accused of being Green Lantern, Lazerus Long, Robert Heinlein himself (possibly reincarnated), and sometimes I have been confused with my father, Indiana Jones. Because it is a bother to be asked for autographs at airports I travel incognito.

However, on general principles, I admit nothing and deny everything except as to where I live: The land that time forgot, Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, where the women are all strong, the men are all good looking, and the children are all above average.

Sounds right.  It's quite a game, getting pictures of people from just their writing.

I have to drop in my own alteregos, whether an old blog ever gets seen again or not..  I tend to identify with both Linus and Snoopy (which leads to the phonetics of my handle, there), with a bit of Manuel Garcia O'Kelly, if Heinlein is to get included in the mix.. though I might be more like Mycroft Holmes, from the same story.

Well, of course doing anything that might affect the ability of people to drive as much as possible is a horrific crime. How un-American of her!!

I myself bike to work (and other places), much of the time anyway, and I have been stopped and lectured (not given a ticket, yet) by Police a number of occasions for no particular reason (for being in a left-turn lane, for not going fast enough, for "obstruction", for "endangerment" (though I bike by a wreck at least once a week, and have never been involved in one myself), etc. ).

Notably, my route to work does go by a Krispy Kreme (insert police/donut joke here).

Really, it is easier for Police if everyone is in a car. Not driving is, in no small way, an unusual, problematic, even deviant behavior, something to be discouraged. Though, I jokingly remind people that the more a bike, the more gas is available for them.

Ancedotally, the past year or so I have seen noticably more bikes on the road. I am sure the Police are fuming.

Thom going bike-only kicks ass. I did it for 4 months then realized with my small biz I was saving money but missing out on more money. I'm hoping once I get my rather massive debt paid down I can go back to bike only. Maybe sooner if certain things work out.

The things you see on a bike are great, cool, and amazing. I've seen trucks flipped over, cool places to pick up boxes and packing materials, got to know every pothole in town and was developing a good bunnyhop, and you just see more of life. People got to know me, after all they're seeing my whole body and face not a car.

Rode with the Western Wheelers and got my azz kicked by ppl 2X my age (and I'm in my 40s) at first, I guess my downfall was riding with 'em more than paying attention to the utility riding I had to do, and the mountain climbing then gonzo descent routine proves you don't need a Porsche or Ferrari to be speed-crazy.

Recommended books people: Asphalt Nation, stuff on messengers.
Recommended web pages: Look up Lucas Brunelle's videos, wild stuff!

I was wondering how many TOD people mountain bike during my ride today (saw a bobcat and a coyote, not bad for orange county calif).  I totally agree on the speed bit.  That's one reason I can give up cars with 0-60 claims.  Of course, I "think" I'm being conservative these days.  The last broken bone need a bone graft, and that turned out to be no fun.
I used to be a car courier, at age 35 I quit driving completely and traded my cars/trucks for a bike. Now Im a bike messenger and own my own company and havent driven in 5 years, healthier and happier for it. It can be done, and quite easily. Fuel can go to $100/gallon for all I care. Someone somewhere will always need something hauled, and I can haul quite a bit when I want to. Whats really funny, I didnt even take a pay cut, I actually make more $$. Losing the car payments and $300/month for commercial insurance does wonders. Bikes turned out not to be very sturdy though, I break stuff all the time, at least the parts are cheap :)
And your bike and associated parts are made where again?
All over, some in the US, some overseas. Suprisingly most of it is made in the US, but I ride a simple fixed gear bike.

Lets see, US stuff:
cranks?not sure, may be US
stem and seatpost

other misc nuts and bolts are easy to find anywhere

You should see the amazing stock price run that ethanol companies are doing right now. A particular stock I own, Pacific Ethanol, is going through the roof. This is the future!
So, I guess we can drop any and all subsidies for ethanol and for all other forms of energy, including fossil fuels?
Right. Just after we drop the five bucks a gallon military subsidy for oil and gas. I'm with you all the way. Not just half the way.
As I understand, it is interesting to note that virtually all of the 30+ ethanol companies producing in the United States are privately held, usually as a co-op. Most are in the 30-45 millions of gallons a year producers. Plus lots under construction.

Some of the few publicly held ones may end up being scams. One of the very few listed companies is sounding out the California market and has no production - and just hired a front man from San Diego to give it "visibility."

Subsidies are good for these businesses in baby shoes.

People have made money in ethanol, and people may continue to do so. But I wouldn't risk my money for something that is entirely dependent upon government subsidies and mandates. The energy balance for ethanol is horrible. California has just received an oxygenate waiver which will hurt the market for ethanol there. Some producers say they already have contracts in place, but do you think they will still overpay for ethanol when those contracts expire? Don't you think other states will ask for the same waiver? If I lived in a state that had little to no potential for producing ethanol, I would certainly request a waiver.

The funny thing is that most proponents of ethanol that I have encountered are completely ignorant of its faults, and delusional about its potential. I am currently engaged in an exchange with an official at the Minnesota Dept. of Ag. He is trying to tell me that ethanol is more energy efficient. The thing is, I think he believes it himself. But where I show him calculations, he simply says "I disagree with that". No calculations. No logic. Nothing but "I disagree".


The Really Big Factor (RBF) here is the price of corn. Corn is way way way too cheap. Corn-based ethanol is a way to increase the demand and hence price for corn.

In rural midwest there are two topics of conversation:

  1. The Evils of Eminent Domain (EED)
  2. The Deplorably Low Price of Corn (DLPC)

With a higher price for corn, most family farms can survive. Without it they cannot.

It is just about that simple.

A) the production of ethanol is not 'entirely dependent on government subsidies'... Bill and Vinod could attest

B) mandates for the usage of ethanol are no different than mandates for other things used in society today... smart investors capitalize on this

C) the EROEI of current methods of ethanol is MARGINAL not horrible... as technology evolves with the industry, the EROEI will increase significantly

D) the waiver has been put in place because demand is going to outstrip supply... there's NO WAY california ethanol producers are going to be hurt ANYTIME SOON

E) contracts schmontracts... the legislated usage for ethanol in 18 states is going to outstrip production

F) yeah you might request a waiver but farmers and greens wont

G) dellusional my ass...  post your exchanges better yet post your calculations - I've had a few exchanges with ethanol proponents out of MN and found that they are at the top of their game

A) the production of ethanol is not 'entirely dependent on government subsidies'... Bill and Vinod could attest

The fact is that this industry could not exist without subsidies. Ethanol has consistently cost more than mid-grade gasoline on the spot market for 20 years, and yet has only 70% of the energy value.

B) mandates for the usage of ethanol are no different than mandates for other things used in society today... smart investors capitalize on this

I agree. There are a lot of stupid politically motivated mandates out there.

C) the EROEI of current methods of ethanol is MARGINAL not horrible... as technology evolves with the industry, the EROEI will increase significantly

How is technology going to evolve? Fertilizer production and distillation are both very mature technologies. The only way the EROEI can increase significantly is to use something other than grain as a feedstock. And an EROEI of 1.34 is horrible. It is about 1/4th of the energy return for gasoline.

D) the waiver has been put in place because demand is going to outstrip supply... there's NO WAY california ethanol producers are going to be hurt ANYTIME SOON

That is patently false. Feinstein has sought a waiver because they showed that use of ethanol actually increased pollution, and that they could meet the pollution requirements without it. The ethanol was adding a lot of costs to California consumers, and they were getting worse gas mileage as a result. It had nothing to do with supply/demand constraints.

F) yeah you might request a waiver but farmers and greens wont

Most "greens" I know are against ethanol because they see it for what it is.

G) dellusional my ass...  post your exchanges better yet post your calculations - I've had a few exchanges with ethanol proponents out of MN and found that they are at the top of their game

I have documented these in detail at my blog. I will be posting the exchange with the official at the MN Dept of Ag in short order. But here is one. See if you can refute it:

The EROEI for ethanol is reported to be 1.34. (I have shown in my blog that this is actually exaggerated, but let's go with that). So, let's say that our goal is to create 10 BTUs of energy. We will do it by producing gasoline, and we will do it by producing ethanol.

In the case of ethanol, we have to use 10/1.34, or 7.5 BTUs. We only net out 2.5 BTUs. In the case of gasoline, the following pieces of information are widely known, and I can personally verify that they are correct. The EROEI for oil production is about 10/1, and then for refining the oil into gasoline it is also about 10/1. Overall, the EROEI is about 5/1. So, to produce 10 BTUs using gasoline, we will need 10/5 or 2 BTUs. We netted out 8 BTUs, over triple what we netted out using ethanol. In addition, we wasted far more BTUs during the production of the ethanol than we did during the production of gasoline.

There you have it. Attempt to refute it. The MN Dept of Ag couldn't. All they could do was say "I disagree". I said "Fine, but show me some calculations". They never did. Maybe you can?


A - Care to make a comparison on ethanol subsidies versus the $150 Billion known (i.e. GAO reported) concessions that have been made to big oil over the years???  How much are the sisters NOT PAYING you in GOM royalties again???  

Yeah... that's what I thought.  The ethanol industry CAN and WILL survive without subsidies.

B - Agree with what exactly? My was response was that one is smart to invest his money on mandates (hint: they tend to be legally binding) and your response is... stupid politics?  

Word to the wise dude - POLITICS IS EVERYTHING.

C - "How is technology going to evolve??" Are you serious?  Let me guess, you're using a Commodore64 right now aren't you... aren't you?!

There are many other ways to produce ethanol... fermentation is but one.  Technology is ALREADY increasing viability, economics and yields of ethanol production.  Oh and if you want to break out the different TYPES of ethanol to support your argument than perhaps you should have stated so in the first place.  I'll accept that corn-based ethanol derived from fermentation has a  'sigh'   horrible EROEI but I'll take you down with cellulosic-ethanol everytime : )

D - That patently false feeling... tra la la la....

"A waiver would allow refiners and marketers to use reduced quantities of ethanol during periods of time when supplies are inadequate to meet demand" - Governor Davis Urges Feds to Grant California's Request for Oxygenate Waiver 05/22/01

F - Uh huh.  Maybe you should get outta Texas mor 'ofen

G - Thanks for your posting.

700 Club-today/tonight. It has not aired yet in most markets. I work at a TV station and just saw it on satellite for recording. Pat has Simmons and Bartlett on. They don't screw up by outing hydrogen or any such thing as a main solution. Folks, we have entered the twilight zone. If the most intelligent discussion we can get on TV is through the 700 club of all places, then we are really and truly screwed. Pack that tinfoil-I wasn't so much until just now!
Oh, yes, they said they are having a multi-part sereies on peak oil. I guess Pat is telling the Repuglican evangelibots to buy some futures contracts and make some big bucks. You know, just in case Jesus doesn't really come back or something:-p
Pat has been a bit of peak oil kick for awhile.  It does tie in with a lot of his political agenda.  The end times are coming, obviously.  Close the borders and keep them furriners out.  Withdraw from the rest of the world and quit meddling in foreign wars.  
   Why must the end come? Why not change? 2006 is much different than 2000 isn't it. Different than 1965 and more so than the 1860's.  Withdraw from the rest of the world? This is a global society...there are no foreign wars.  A sick child in Africa is a health risk here.  An american killed on foreign soil is the same as one abroad.  We have deep interests overseas.  Moderation maybe, A cooler lighter foreign policy possibly, but a shut-in? Xenophobia would not help.
Ask Pat.  I'm not the one who believes in the End Times, he is.   I'm not even a Christian.
"An american killed on foreign soil is the same as one abroad."

Hard to argue with that.

I think you need to ask Pat and the other fundamentalists why they think, er... believe the end must come.  When we enter the realm of belief, well, anything goes, eh?  But here in the real world, there ain't but so much oil, gas, coal, water.  And you're right, it's a global society, but much less so once the easy shipping of goods comes to an end.  The silver lining?  The easy shipping of bads (soldiers, bombs, DU...) will also come to an end.  The hubris of humanity is about to get a much needed (for what's left of us, and, moreso, for all the other lifeforms on the planet that don't believe in anything) wake up call.

Hah! Typo good catch.

I am not talking about biblical end times.  I am referring to the opinion many TODers express of certain bicycle organic farming neoshire future.  The dark view is roving bands of brigands stealing raping and burning the neoshire.

Why can't the invisible hand develop solar/wind/hydro?  Coal and fission will provide the cushion. I think twenty years from now america will be a cleaner healthier more diverse nation with just as much airconditioning and private vehicles.

 Pat Robertson does not believe what he says...false prophet he is in it for the money.  Christians don't profit off their prophet.  Whatever he says beware! He'll sell you the word of GOD!

The loss of the easy shipping of bombs and soldiers?  There will always be war.  As soldiers have better transportation civilian deaths drop.  Footsoldiers walking cross country have historically ravaged every thing they cross.  Sailors must put into port and secure supplies.  Our advance weapons lower body counts on both sides.
Reference: Every war previous. Mortality rates get higher the further back you go.

Matt Tipton

Not so sure I agree with your last para on Wars becomming less deadly for civilians. A lot of wars eg: 100 years war, War of the Roses, English Civil War (save the highly charged religious 30 years war )and most of the stuff in the 18th Cent, Were quite genteel compared with the kick off of Modern Total War by (Lets say)The American Civil War and of course, the nightmare of the 20th Century. Wars may start to look a lot less 'surgical' after peak , when energy is scarce and manpower common (The Congo and Darfur come to mind)

When asked what the 3rd World War would be fought with, Einstein replied: ''I do not know what the 3rd World War will be fought with, but I think the 4th World War will be fought with Rocks and Clubs...'

Anyway. Grubs up.

Look at what Ghengis Kahn did to the city of Bokhara in six days with swords and similar weapons in six days. Maybe ten times as many as were killed at Nagasaki by the most powerful nuclear weapon ever used in war.
True enough Sailorman. Tamerlaine had his moments as well.
If the Mongols would have had there way in China, they would have exterminated the peasants (why do horses need rice? - Fortunately, somebody stepped in and pointed out that they are the basis of China's wealth.). However If you look at Western Warfare, Industrial levels of death and the capacity and indeed the will to wage it, kicks in with the industrial revolution. I would posit that from the Reformation Settlements until Napoleon at the earliest or the ACW, that civilian deaths in the wars of europe tended to be avoided where possible. The outstanding exception was the Thirty Years War which may have lead to the deaths of 30% of the civil population in Germany and surrounding lands. The sack of Magdeburg has been called the Hiroshima of the reformation. Generals otherwise avoided civil casualties and with good reason:
The new, structured and regimented armies were frequently winter quartered with peasants or within towns. Crops need to be sown and harvested, and the ruling (Military) class were largely land ownwers with some sense of decorum or at least a sense of where the money comes from next year.

When it becomes industrial: state against state, handled by politicos then it becomes industrial killing. When it becomes tribal and over meagre resources, then it becomes genocidal.

The Congo or the Wars of Marlborough anybody?.

Can't take casualty figures literally, whether for battles or massacres.
Often need to lop off at least one zero.
This is where politics and religion interact in America.  Kevin Philips (American Theocracy) thinks that 25% of Americans are "end times" believers.  That is that the end is coming soon, and that current events (middle east) confirm it.  He thinks that a higher number (50%) "relate to the symbolism when holy wars or tsunamis dominate the news" (pg. 106).

This is a tricky thing.  The "end times" was not something one discussed, in the conservative Christian church of my youth.  But by discussing it (and evolution, etc.) other groups come to dominate what the public perception of a "Christian" view is.

There are strange interactions between "end times" religion and national policy.  Tim Lahaye, author of the "left behind" books, was also president of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a Religous Right politcal group, etc.

I don't know how it adds up, but it seems strange.

And so it came to pass that George spoke unto his disciples exhorting them to embark on a holy crusade to wrest from the infidel the land of his father, in eager anticipation of the riches to flow there from, and to wait in fervent expectation of the rapture to follow.
Is that 'father' or "Father" - makes no difference to me personally, as it could just as well be Allah, Yahweh, Eloim, and/or "Abba" (Jesus's reported reference.)

As an aside worth expanding upon at a later time: I do think organized religion and "sprituality" will become important mediators for our collective experience of Peak Oil and other related economic, social, political and geological phenonmenon. That's not to introduce the dreaded subject of religous belief into this very civil discusion, but simply to observe that people generally retreat or advance to places of worship to address ineffable questions.

That's not to introduce the dreaded subject of religous belief into this very civil discusion, but simply to observe that people generally retreat or advance to places of worship to address ineffable questions.

Right. And then impose their views on the rest of us.


</iAductio adsurdum> argument won't get you very far. I find it hard to see how certain organized religion (e.g. Reform Jews) impose their religious beliefs on the broader community. Similarly Mainline Protestant denominations and Roman Catholics, outside of sexual morality (albeit no small matter), eschew imposing their doctrines on others. Not all religous believers are fundamentalists or doctrainaire.

In any event, the point is the many peopl, irrepesctive of the real dangers of religious coercion, look to their religious leaders for guidance and support in uncertain times of conflict.

I was referring to the religious views of the people in the current adminitration.

Religion is man's highest calling. But it is also true that it has been used to inflict more harm on mankind than any ism you can think of.

As a Christian I don't side with the regular End times of the "Left Behind" series.  When the END happens, IT IS OVER no lingering, no left behinds, nothing else it is OVER the END.  But you have a large group of folks that think the end will bring the believers and leave the rest to mull about and die or not.  I do not believe that and Have not for many decades.  This whole end of times issue puts a bad light on the rest of us normal Christians.

I do think that in the coming years it will get rather nasty in the world and we if we looked back into the eyes of a Roman, or a Greek or any other major Civilazation would see parrellels to the agony of the people and places going on.  

No one knows the hour of the end.  All those that predict it have been and will be wrong.  I do not think that "pat" or "george" or anyone else should go trying to HELP GOD get it over and done with, that implies they do not TRUST GOD enough to let it happen in His good time.

In some way they are ringing like cultist in my eyes,  You can't do like Christ and Hate anyone and wish them dead, even your enemies, even as they nail you to a cross and want you dead you have to say as Christ did, Forgive them.

I've just finished a fantastic book about William "strata" Smith the father of geology, really fascinating.
I was a bit worried by a reference note on page 19:
A survey conducted in 1991 showed that fully 100 million americans still believed that "god created man pretty much in his own image at one time during the last 10,000 years", and anecdotal evidence now suggests this number is climbing.

the book is called
by Simon Winchester

that means that roughly one third of the US population doesn't believe in Geology!!

I wonder if he hopes the end times don't come until after he gets a chance to bump off Hugo Chavez?
You liberals should try to make money once in a while. You won't be in such a bad mood.
   So what kind of snake oil are you selling? First, you come on this board and make a grand pronouncement about some company that is going to make you rich, then you start insulting folks on this board. Not a very good sales tactic.

         Subkommander Dred

He's probably a pump-and-dumper.  Ignore him.
As more than half of his comments to date on this board involve cheerleading for ethanol or other "opportunities", and most mention specific companies by name, I am inclined to agree.
The funny thing is that Pacific Ethanol has been losing money, and is forecast to lose money again this year. If they can't make it with the current mandates and subsidies that exist, then they do not look like an investment with good underlying fundamentals.

I have seen lots of high flyers like MCI and Enron come crashing to the ground because of issues with the underlying fundamentals of the business. Perhaps Keith can tell us why they aren't currently making any money.


Actually, I tried to short this stock several times and there are no shares to borrow, which tells me lots of people are short already. Wait for one bad crop or the EROI impact of lengthy distribution chains, etc to have an impact - PEIX doesnt get all the subsidies either - some go to farmer and distributor.
I just ran across some more information on Pacific Ethanol:


More like gambling than investing.


Also, Robert-the links to your powerpoints on your blogsite dont work. Shoot me an email at thelastsasquatch@yahoo.com if you have a chance.
I sent you an e-mail, but I think I got the links fixed. Thanks for the heads up. Here are the direct links. These should work:

Article Describing My Grad School Research

PPT Describing My Grad School Research


Umm... maybe it's because they are still building their plant?
Now that all the drivers, even here in Texas, are softened up a bit by high gasoline prices, its a good time to preach the sermon of finding Jesus, energywise.

And I have a great little tool for doing so. We have a peak oil discussion group called Crude Awakening here in Austin, and one of our gifted members, Peter Lunsford, has created a great PDF that you are encouraged to download, photocopy, and spread freely among the masses. Its meant to be used to reach the average person with info about peak oil without seeming too gloomy. Here's the link.


Please STEAL THIS LEAFLET!!!  -- Roger

Tex,  Thanks.  Excellent intro flier.  Two suggestions that have helped me in introducing the concept to folks.  First is the simple fact that we're using so much more than we discover now.  You have a mention in there of the last BIG discoveries.  But it would hit harder to add that over 2003-2005 global discovery averaged - what - 6 billion barrels, whilst consumption was in the neighborhood of 30.  That makes the problem pretty evident without having to grapple too deeply with HL curves and the lot.  2nd point is to show how potent and undervalued oil is.  Ask:  How long would it take you to push your vehicle 25 miles? (or whatever it gets per gallon)  That's an indication of how much energy oil/gas contains.  Does it make you tired just thinking about it?  How much would it cost you to pay someone else to do it?  Even the cheapest labor at the days (weeks?) it would take would cost hundreds of dollars.  That's how much oil is undervalued and underpriced.  

These two points I think help make clear to the avg. person (it worked well with my teen nephews) the magnitude of the problem.

Ah, thank you for reminding me yet again how much the conversation can change when you drive 75 miles north...nothing going on with PO down here in San Antonio; we'll be 'dead' last to wake up to the problem.
I am the author of the flyer and offer global permission to download it and distribute it widely.

It can be printed font and back on a single sheet of paper. My hope is that it makes a positive difference and educates many.

Any chance of a black and white PDF?


When you print the document, simply select "black and white" in your printer settings dialog.
What cool weather?  It hit the mid 80's here in Huntsville and Hit the high 70's in Northern Colorado yesterday.

Summer is here as far as most folks are concerned and the driving is just getting started, Some schools are already out.  

Drive more, speed more, and consume, its the american way. argh,  

Joy joy joy, lets see how hight he gas prices can go to make my travel that much more painful.

CNN breaking news:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran will "soon join the club of countries with nuclear technology."

Meanwhile, the Saudis have promised to increase production.  Dunno which way oil prices are gonna go...

Rresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a habit of expressing himself in 'colourful' language. I wonder what he means? I suppose we'll find out 'soon.'

I was just thinking, playing around with an idea, let's assume that Iran is going hell for leather to secretly develop nuclear weapons, and they've done it. They have the Bomb!

Ahmadinejad announces in public at a big rally in Tehran tht Iran now has nuclear weapons. It's his big spring surprise for all of us!

How do we react to this historic news? Do we believe him or not? Does the Bush administration suddenly begin to argue that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and Ahmadinejad is lying or bluffing? What are the consequences, do we have to attack them now? Wouldn't this be very risky for us, given that we have so many soldiers functioning as 'hostages' in Iraq? Could we take the risk/gamble that the Iranians don't have the bomb if they say they have? Would we demand that Iran proves that it has the Bomb, before we decide to attack or not attack them? If they had the Bomb would the whole game be over? Could Iran defend itself with a few words spoken by Ahmadinejad?

Anyone else beginning to think that the Iranian government wants the US to attack them?

Back to a post I made on the Iran thread.  In the "Sum of All Fears," terrorists set off a nuke in Denver, and with a two pronged plan:  (1) either kick off a nuclear war between Russia and the US or (2)  make the US think that Iran did it, and provoke a nuclear launch on Iran.  The purpose of #2 was to inflame the Moslem world against the US.   Note that the Jack Ryan character refused to confirm the launch order (sort of reminds you of what the Pentagon seems to be saying right now).

Stratfor.com had an essay a few months ago to the effect that any way you slice it, Iran is a winner. We took out their #1 enemy and rival in the region. Now, either we attack them and turn the world, especially the Moslem world, against the US, or we don't attack them and it appears that Iran made the US back down.  

The irony of the whole terrorist/nuke debate is that while a nuclear attack is always a possibility, the more Moslems that the US kills, the more it becomes a probability, if not a near-certainty.

As Jim Kunstler would say, what a CF.

By the way you need to read the essay by the retired three star Marine general in Time.  He all but called Bush and Rumsfeld criminals for getting us into an unnecessary war in Iraq.  I don't think that it is a coincidence that this came out right after the New Yorker article.  I think that the Pentagon is sending a message that they don't want any more Americans and Middle Easterners to die unnecessarily because of some kind of Neocon fantasy.

Stratfor.com had an essay a few months ago to the effect that any way you slice it, Iran is a winner. We took out their #1 enemy and rival in the region. Now, either we attack them and turn the world, especially the Moslem world, against the US, or we don't attack them and it appears that Iran made the US back down.

Have to applaud the brilliance of US foreign policy. Next we'll discover that "An american killed on foreign soil is the same as one abroad."

I'm not sure if the Iranians want the Americans to bomb them, but I'm sure that they are nor afraid of it.  You are right, they win either way.

The thing that jumps out about today's anouncement is not just that they have successfully enriched Uranium, it is the fanfare with which they made the announcement.  It appears that they feel that this moment in time is a unique opportunity for them to change the status quo.  Unique because the US is militarily constrained by Iraq and economically constrained by oil supply.  So they believe that the US is unable to "punish" them.  And they have taken advantage of this opportuinity to end their enrichment moratorium, and also end the extraordinary inspections.  

Perception is reality, and they are making as big a deal as possible now, while the US is impotent, so that enrichment looks like a "done deal" a couple of years from now if more oil is on the market and the US military is resting in Kuwait.


I am not sure if the essay I saw a couple of months back was at Stratfor.com or not, but there has been an arguement made that the Iranian Govt. would accept/even welcome an attack on it because it would strengthen its hold on Iran's populace, many of whom are not happy with the theocratic rule.

The leadership would hole up somewhere in the north-east of the country and wait out the Americans and than be on top after the Bush Storm was over.

It defies logic at several levels, but there have been enough confirmed reports that indicate a willingness to even launch a surprise attack on USA forces by elements of the Iranian military and political leadership.

Personally, I do not think it will come to that. Some sort of sanctions will be put in place, hopefully involving refined oil products, that Iran lacks, and some sort of political movement takes place.

P.S. The General's essay in Time probably has more to do with General Zinni's new book.  

Or, we are seeing a coordinated effort by retired generals and by the JCS leaking to Hersh, all intent on avoiding a war in Iran.  Newbold explicitly said that the military was fooled again--the same way that that they were fooled in Vietnam.  IMO, we are seeing the beginning of a de facto military revolt against Bush/Rumsfeld.  

From News Reports:

High-ranking retired military generals want Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign or be fired.

Retired Marine General Gregory Newbold assigned to the joint chiefs before the Iraq invasion writes in 'time' magazine that the decision to go to war, quote, "...was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions - or bury the results."

Newbold calls for Rumsfeld's departure becoming the third prominent retired general in as many weeks to do so.

"We made a series of bad decisions. Bad decisions in terms of disbanding the army, letting the de-Baathification go too far, not having a process of reconciliation," said retired General Anthony Zinni author of The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose.

Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command, joins others who say Rumsfeld ignored advice on the number of troops needed to stabilize Iraq.

For instance General Paul Eaton - who was once in charge of post-war training for the Iraqi military - who later called Rumsfeld incompetent.

"From the very beginning, we did not put enough boots on the ground to prosecute phase four of this war," the Army's Eaton said.

The White House is unwavering.

CNN analyst David Grange - a retired general who knows Eaton and Zinni - says it's unusual for three senior retired officers to speak out in a short time-span.

"I think there is maybe some growing dissent within some of the officer corps," Grange said. "But again it's retired people. Of course, when they're retired then they'll speak publicly. When they're in the service they'll talk behind closed doors."

Secretary Rumsfeld's press office would not comment on the criticism, but one top pentagon official points told CNN that many retired generals do support Rumsfeld. And General Grange says he doesn't think those three generals, prominent as they are, represent the majority in the officer corps.

I agree, that is what I meant by Zinni's book appearing, it was sort of the Very Pistol flare saying to the others, O.K., let us go public with our deep concerns.

I work with an ex-officer who resigned over Vietnam (he wanted more war, not incremental warfare), which is why he is still working as he lost his pension because of his decision, and Hersh's article pointed out that officers were thinking of resigning over at minimum the nuclear weapon part of the plan.

By the way, we all know that there are lots of plans. Kaiser Wilhelm II once remarked that "We have war-plans for every county" (which was not true, but that is another story - he certainly had the wrong one in 1914.)

Saudis also seeking to prevent US action against Iran:

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia, fearing that US military action against Iran would wreak further havoc in the region, has asked Russia to block any bid by Washington to secure UN cover for an attack, a Russian diplomat said on Tuesday.

During a visit to Moscow last week, the head of the Saudi National Security Council "urged Russia to strive to prevent the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution which the United States could use as justification to launch a military assault to knock out Iran's nuclear facilities," the diplomat told AFP in Riyadh on condition of anonymity.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2006/April/middleeast_April291. xml&section=middleeast&col=
Iran announces it has achieved uranium enrichment levels necessary to fuel a reactor (which are also going to be sufficient to build a bomb, should they choose to do so).
Yes and no. The enrichment levels necessery for a regular electricity producing PWR or BWR is much lower then what is needed for a nuclear weapon. Highly enriched uranium is only used as fuel for some research reactors and compact reactors that are run with extremely long refueling intrevalls such as submarine reactors. But if you have machinery that can give you a few percent enrichment you only have to countinue to iterate the process with the same kind of machines to get weapons grade uranium.

Its like demonstrating that you can destillate a small shot of bad vodka. You can then iterate the process and produce good vodka and you can make a lot of the small stills and fuel a car with high grade vodka. Iran proclaims that they have made a small shot, this is significant since if it is true they only have too build more of the same machines to in time get as much as they want of any grade.

Sorry for the double post but this is an open thread.

I just got this in my mail, How I have no clue, but I have replied to them, asking how much money this is.  But I signed it my Fictional Robin Hood charactors name.  I can get story lines form anything so beware.  I thought Nigeria was the home of the scam artist, or is this guy sitting in a-rent-a-office in philly laughing his butt off at all the replies he got the first day out.

Charles,  aka Richard Mann ( jack of all con-killers)














Classic 419 scam.
One person's attempt to catch the scammer.  Rather long, but VERY funny.
I just found 3 more like it in my bulk folder, seems I am being scammed by people who think I am rich,  Laughs,  They can't take money out of a bank that is in the negitive numbers already.
In recent weeks I've been reading a lot about metals prices zooming up, for all the usual reasons: stuff is harder to extract, increasing demand,insufficient investment, higher cost of energy, and, one must presume, the higher cost of metals reflected in the cost the equipment associated with extraction. Nor can one omit the higher markups that become possible in a period of shortage.

In other words, all the same things that are affecting energy. Thus the energy and metals run-ups are mutually reinforcing. It is taking ever more energy to extract the metals, and it is certainly taking more metal to extract oil and gas: rigs, pipelines, lng tankers, etc.

There is a third leg to this tripod (isn't there always in a tripod? smack): securing the above the processes -- which comsumes vasts amounts of both energy and metals.

The end result is that these three elements are mutually re-inforcing and accelerating. This is something that isn't necessarily apparent if one looks at them separately and isolation.

There has been talk of peak everything. We use peak in regard to two of the above items, not in regard to the military. But there's no real reason not to. There will be peak military also, although in a slightly different sense than the first two.

Maybe it's stretching the above scheme too far (if I haven't already) to include global warming and environmental devastation. This may play out on a somewhat larger timescale than the other three.

One final stretch: peak population.

We were discussing Hurricane Season in another thread recently (Atlantic Season starts in less than two months, officially) and I found an interesting sea surface temperature map at Rutgers.  There are tons of links on the left side of the page, I've linked to a daily composite (I hope).
Breaking News. Iranian president says Iran has
enriched uranium.

"Don't create hate in the hearts of the Iranian

More panic in the markets?

I assert that nuclear electricity makes a lot of sense for Iran. They have negligible coal reserves. Oil and natural gas can be sold for hard currency — why would they want to burn either one to generate electricity? If they have their own enrichment capability, they can buy uranium on the cheap from Africa. What I regret is that Carter effectively shut down our research into new reactor technology and spent fuel reprocessing. How much better off would we be if we could offer Iran (and other countries) access to proliferation-resistent technology? So that there wouldn't be any of this argument over whether it's a peaceful power program, or a weapons program?
Why would african uranium be cheaper then other uranium when uranium is freely traded on a world market?

Iran can combine nuclear electricity production with non proliferation by buying fuel elements and returning them after use and allow inspections of their nuclear powerplants. Iran can probably get a realy nice contract for that if it helps defuse this dangerous situation.

It is possible to develop even better nuclear technology but this foreign policy situation is not due to a lack of adequate technology. We have this tense situation since Iran want it and USA have played into their hand, I do not understand why.

Well, for me it is obvious they want at least to have the option to develop nuclear weapons - if not intending to do it immediately. And why not, if I may ask? There is a nuclear Israel that can wipe them out any moment, a hostile nuclear USA in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nuclear Russia, China, Pakistan and India around. Wouldn't you want a deterring weapon in such case? I would want it badly at their place.

What is not recognised by the West is that the ball has always been in our yard - we were the ones that brought radicals is power in Tehran and we are the ones that are radicalizing it even more.

Iran can combine nuclear electricity production with non proliferation by buying fuel elements and returning them after use and allow inspections of their nuclear powerplants.

While I wouldn't make the choice this way, I can understand a country like Iran being reluctant to put their nuclear electricity supply at the mercy of the possibility that the UN or countries selling them such fuel elements will impose arbitrary new inspections or other odd conditions. The history of the Middle East over the last 100 years, and the number of regime changes that have been imposed by the West, have not, IMO, been conducive to building a lot of trust.

Another episode of Oil, Sweat, and Rigs airs tonight on The Discovery Channel:

"MARS: Getting the Oil Pumping"

Capt. Woody Woodward needs to overcome technological challenges in order for the oil to flow again on the MARS platform.

Thanks for the reminder. This series is really good.
Thanks, I was going to get some sleep.
The Fat Lady's road trip is coming to a close.  Just in time as gas prices skyrocket.  I have been thinking a lot about farmers and the energy they consume on this trip.  If an average farmer who now can farm 500 acres almost alone, added 1,2,10 more farmers for the same land, could energy be saved?
It doesn't look like it. As gasoline and deisel start to get in tight supply, all our farmers will end up with a priority for the fuel.  I don't see anyway out of that.  The possibility for fraud is obvious.  Sell your "farm fuel" to the highest bidder.  Under this senario rural wins because cities will starve.  My recommendation is to buy land in central Kentucky.  Beautiful country where land is still cheap.
From Fred Kaplan

The Europeans, Hersh writes, are "rattled" by "their growing perception that Bush and Cheney believe a bombing campaign will be needed." He quotes one European diplomat as saying, "We need to find ways to impose sufficient costs to bring the [Iranian] regime to its senses. ... I think if there is unity in opposition and the price imposed"--in sanctions--"is sufficient, [the Iranians] may back down."

Now if we just substitute American for Iranian, we might get somewhere......

 I was going to make the same post then thought no, enough yankee tweaking. Then again "too much" may never be enough.