DrumBeat: June 19, 2006

Update [2006-6-19 9:36:2 by Leanan]: BP says: Spare output to double by 2010.
Global spare oil production capacity may double by 2010, helping reduce the “fear premium’’ that is helping boost crude oil prices, according to BP Plc, Europe’s largest oil company.

When load shedding goes bad: Angry football fans attack power supply offices.

BANGLADESH - Angry football enthusiasts attacked Paikgachha and Batiaghata Palli Bidyut Samity offices in Khulna on Tuesday night, as they could not watch World Cup matches due to power outage.

They hurled stones at both the offices and damaged the windowpanes at about 10:45pm protesting the load-shedding. Security forces deployed at the centres, however, foiled their attempt to break in.

Something strange is going. We've already had OPEC telling us to conserve oil. Now we have a car guy who thinks we should drive less. The CEO of the largest chain of auto dealers in the country wants the gas tax raised by $1/gallon.

Money and Markets warns that the most powerful force on earth, population growth, is the real problem driving peak oil, inflation, and the cycle of debt.

Peak Speak 2 is a free peak oil conference, organized by Powerswitch. It's Saturday, 15 July 2006, in Hackbridge, just outside London.

A lot of warning signals on biofuels going up. Scientists are worried about biofuel plants' impact on aquifers in the midwest. Kurt Cobb says that "renewable" fuels are not really renewable. In the northeast, scientists caution that biofuels are good short-term solutions, but not sustainable over the long haul.

Oil company execs defend high pump prices:

Americans paying $3 per gallon at the pump have it relatively cheap when compared with prices globally, say oil and gas company executives who defend their record profits as essential to maintaining supplies.
Looks like they're really worried there will be a windfall profits tax or some such thing.

Seven states vie for futuristic power plant

Touted as the power plant of tomorrow, FutureGen involves technology that converts coal into highly enriched hydrogen gas that burns cleaner than coal. Plans call for the 275-megawatt plant to capture most of its emissions of carbon dioxide _ a "greenhouse" gas widely blamed for global warming _ and inject them permanently into underground reservoirs, a process called sequestration.
Update [2006-6-19 11:14:10 by Leanan]: TheStormTrack.com has a synopsis of an article from Science called “Climate Sensors Dropped From U.S. Weather Satellite Package”:
Six instruments that have been scrapped from NPOESS are Conical Scanning Microwave Imager/Sounder (CMIS), the Total Irradiance Sensor (TIS), the Earth Radiation Budget Sensor (ERBS), the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor, the Space Environment Sensor Suite, and an Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite. The first three instruments on the list are of critical importance to monitoring climate while the last three are important to air pollution monitoring, solar terrestrial relations, and stratospheric ozone properties, respectively.

...As the NOAA is the only current source of global climate information from satellites, researchers may have some difficulties in their climatological studies due to a lack of solid data.

Cost was cited as the reason for the cuts.
Interesting new development....demand must be there....


The golden buffalo is a legendary symbol of the American West; soon it will roam again as the nation's first pure gold coin.

The U-S Mint will start taking orders in the coming week.

I'm just about done with reading Bowling Alone, which I highly recommend reading. Here is one of the best graphics of the book - Social Capital by state.

I'd love to get folks comments on how much they think social capital (or social cohesion...) matters in the range of peak oil scenarios. I've put up a long post over at TOD NYC - I will update that post tomorrow with some of my final comments on the book.

I *REALLY* question the criteria to make that map !

AZ is just below "high" and they are dominated by the soulless Phoenix, where everyone lives behind walls, one does not know their neighbors name, nor even what they look like, but what they drive.

Meanwhile, Louisiana which has New Orleans, numerous small towns and several 100,000 to 250,000 cities with stable families with roots, ranks at the lowest possible rating.

At one of the Louisiana planning sessions, an interactive computerized feedback was set-up.  One question was "how deep are your family roots".  53% had been there for 3 or more generations.

I question that map as well. Texas has much tighter-knit communities than Washington, DC, where I lived for 6 years before moving down here for the last 17. In fact, I feel better about communities in Texas than in Ohio where I grew up. I also find it questionable since the two of the "most cohesive" states are two states with far left track records. The map looks like utter BS built with political spin and no real data.
I also find it questionable since the two of the "most cohesive" states are two states with far left track records.

Which ones are those?  To me, it looks like the  right-leaning states are the ones that are "cohesive."

I have always had a  very hard time taking seriously any sort of state-by-state ranking on such completely subjective things as 'cohesiveness' or 'quality of life'. It is really BS disguised as science.

On several ocassions in the past I have been involved in this sort of thing, and they are typically done by using some sort of matrix scoring system to make it look objective, but in reality the way the various factors are weighted introduces the bias that was there from the very beginning. In other words, these things generally come up the way the people doing the ranking wanted them to come out before they went through the formal exercise.  

I think the main flaw in a state-by-state ranking is inherent in the very idea that somehow a 'state' is something having the same level of reality as a  mountain range or a sea. People forgot that a state is really nothing more than an agreement by the general populace to govern the area inside these lines on a map seperately from the area inside those lines on a map. I think some people need to be reminded that you can't see any state boundary lines in a satellite photo of the US.

In my view the main divide is between urban and rural. A resident of New York City and a resident of Chicago will generally have much more in common with each other then the New York City resident has with an upstate New York farmer or the Chicago resident has with a downstate Illinois farmer.

So, state-by-state is a very flawed way of looking at such things as cohesiveness or quality of life. At the risk of oversimplification, the single most important factor determining your quality of life is how much money you have, not which state you live in.

I have always had a  very hard time taking seriously any sort of state-by-state ranking on such completely subjective things as 'cohesiveness' or 'quality of life'. It is really BS disguised as science.

Try comparing quality of life in Nigeria with quality of life in the Netherlands. I assure you that you will find very real differences. The differences between US states are no less real, just smaller. Or are you really saying that there is no difference between California and Mississippi?

On several ocassions in the past I have been involved in this sort of thing, and they are typically done by using some sort of matrix scoring system to make it look objective, but in reality the way the various factors are weighted introduces the bias that was there from the very beginning. In other words, these things generally come up the way the people doing the ranking wanted them to come out before they went through the formal exercise.

So have I. One should expect some correlation between what we think we'll see and what our measurements say, else why make the measurements at all? This is what theory formation and hypothesis testing is all about. If you don't like the way things are measured, then go get your own measurements and present them for others to critique.

Social scientists labor under two problematic conditions --the inablity to conduct experiments and 'squishy' variables that are based on difficult-to-measure concepts. Yes, it's hard, and it's often wrong, but social scientists at least make the effort to apply, however imperfectly, the scientific method.  

I think the main flaw in a state-by-state ranking is inherent in the very idea that somehow a 'state' is something having the same level of reality as a  mountain range or a sea. People forgot that a state is really nothing more than an agreement by the general populace to govern the area inside these lines on a map seperately from the area inside those lines on a map. I think some people need to be reminded that you can't see any state boundary lines in a satellite photo of the US.

Yes, but collective agreements on governance are often more important to everyday life than something 'real' like a mountain range. Legal slavery, for instance, was an important distinction between US states before 1865, no? If you look here you can see that since 1945 alone political violence has killed an estimated 24,083,800 people worldwide. That's quite a lot for something that isn't real, isn't it?

In my view the main divide is between urban and rural. A resident of New York City and a resident of Chicago will generally have much more in common with each other then the New York City resident has with an upstate New York farmer or the Chicago resident has with a downstate Illinois farmer.

So, state-by-state is a very flawed way of looking at such things as cohesiveness or quality of life. At the risk of oversimplification, the single most important factor determining your quality of life is how much money you have, not which state you live in.

I agree on both points. Rural/Urban is probably the most important societal cleavage and that is always better to try to get as disaggregated data as possible. Unfortunatley, that is often very difficult to get. You have make do with what you have. Insofar that some states are more or less rural that will usually show in the statistics. However, in the map above, rural/urban doesn't seem to be a terribly great indicator of social cohesiveness. The Dakotas and the South are very rural, yet are on the extremes.

How did Putnam rank the states? What was his method?

You should re-read Joule's post. In the USA, money is the big stick (or shield). Being dirt poor in a "cohesive" state is riskier than being rich in a "non-cohesive" one. Obviously, money provides mobility advantages also.  
Being dirt poor in a "cohesive" state is riskier than being rich in a "non-cohesive" one.

Duh. Which is why it's a rather trivial statement. Gee, all things considered, it's better to be rich! The sky's blue too, in case you haven't noticed.

The relevant comparison is between poor people in cohesive vs non-cohesive societies or between rich people in cohesive vs non-cohesive socieites. If social capital makes, other things being equal, the poor and rich better off that's an important thing to discover. It the context of the debate at this site, it means societies that have lots of organizations and institutions that cut across social cleavagess will likely fare better under Peak Oil conditions than those that don't. It also means that differences between rich a poor are less likely to turn violent in a society that is rich in social capital than in those that are not.

Maybe. If I was attempting to predict which areas of the USA would react violently to post-PO conditions, I would have to bet on the areas that are currently violent crime-ridden. You don't need a complicated cohesion equation for this-just look at the stats.  
Sure. But the interesting question for social scientists is why do you get the crime to begin with? Why do you get violence and mass killing in area A but not area B? Crime? What causes the crime?
IMO, there are many reasons. Cultural,educational,economic and access to effective weaponry.
Motive and opportunity.

Don't you watch all those detective shows?

Actually, the move to suburbia was middle and upper America's response to crime of the 1960's. It removed the "opprotunity" part of the equation.

Pervasive public transport allowed roving gangs of young people to move easily from one neighborhood to another in the "inner cities" of the 1960's. Older people don't commit as many crimes because --well they are old & slow, and perhaps they have developed a set of morals (except for Enron execs). So the violent crimes problem is mostly one of gangs of unemployed males.

It is the expansive highway system and the need for expensive cars that keeps large gangs from forming in Suburbia (outside of school grounds). Recently, we have advanced to "gated" communities. Why?

Did the scare for nuclear war play a role during the early cold war?

I know there were plans to evacuate large cities in Sweden and disperse the population on the countryside in case of total mobilization during the early cold war.
Building suburbia is more or less a volotary preemptive evacuation.

These plans were later replaced with a shelter building program. Maintaining the shelter stock is more or less what is left of our civil defence, hardly any are built nowdays. :-(

They are not especially fancy, the minimum spec on later generations were detonation of a bomb with 125 kg of TNT in 125 kg of steel casing with no further containment 5 m from a wall or roof, 50 kPa long lasting overpreassure or 8 kPa long lasting underpreassure, 97.5% fallout reduction, basic NBC filtering with 60 Pa overpreassure, 72h livability with one person per 0.75 m2 and 50 year design life lenght of the construction. Finnish and Swiss designs seems to have better minumum radiation specs and the Finns have added roof concrete spalling reinforcments as a minimum requirement.

But the Finns and probably the Swiss continue with complete shelter building, I envy those that are wiser.

Most of the hardened civil defence structures being built nowdays in Sweden are overground or partly buried control centers for municipiality fire brigades and county disaster control centers. Almost every municipiality had an N hardened small civil defence control center built in bedrock, most of them are now abandoned or used as server halls, backup storage and so on. But they had the drawback that they took longer to mobilize then having a control center next to city hall. What is slowly being built today is the ability to react on for instance a traffic accident with nasty chemicals in an urban area.

We also had civil defence battalions and brigades that had mobiliziation depots distributed around cities and towns with massive ammounts of pneunmatic jackhammers, diamond saws and so on to get people out of shelters below fallen buildings. All gone now since we in the future wont have anythings as old time as a war in Europe. I realy hope that is a good prediction of the future.

Hello Prodigal Son,

I believe the answer to your questions can be partially derived from studying Genetics and Memetics:  Googling Hans Selye's General Adaption Syndrome [GAS] and the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness [EEA] which obviously includes 'inclusive fitness'.  Evolved behavioral switches, which can be probabilistically extended to larger social groupings, combined with entropic decline forms the basis of discussions by Diamond, Tainter, Hanson, et al--what I call the Thermo-Gene Collision.

Isaac Asimov's Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline uses Hari Seldon's psychohistorical analyses to mitigate decline.  I have no proof that any governmental orgs are using supercomputer simulations to do the same--it remains beyond my discovery-- yet historical trends seem to point to various manipulations.

We have had long ranging debates on certain Yahoo forums about this Foundation possibility and ultimately agreed to  disagree about the existence of such an entity.

Evolutionary inevitability vs. human exercise of freewill is obviously a volatile topic, yet Overshoot and Dieoff occurs constantly in Nature.  I believe humans will be very, very lucky if we can optimally mitigate our own decline-- the odds are against us when one considers the totality of the forces arrayed towards a plague specie.

Here are a few links to get you started:



Thus, there is a very good reason Asimov's Foundation Series was voted the best Hugo Science Fiction Award-- a tantalizing glimpse of a possible Rosetta Stone to predict how masses of humans will behave and how to control them.  Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Aldous Huxley, H. G. Wells, Darwin, Malthus, et al, were way, way ahead of their time.

Peakoil and climate change is just thermodynamics [physics in action], the real interesting stuff is on the human genetic and behavioral side.  Googling Foundation brings up everything from Al-Qaeda [the base or foundation!] to Joseph Caldwell [a nuclear weapons scientist's prediction of our demise in a full-on nuclear gift exchange to less than 500 million]:


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

Being poor in the USA just plain SUCKS because our culture values money over almost any other social attribute.

Studies of non-US cultures within the US show that even when the poverty is dire, inhabitants of say, Indian reservations etc., have more actual security than even the very rich in the greater US.

Think about it, you can be uber-rich and you'll still only get the "friendship" and care you can pay for, and that only until they've figured out how to get your money and let you die. But those damned Indians etc. they'll help each other because they actually LIKE each other. They care for each other, feel obligated to each other, are a true extended family. Yeah, there are assholes even on the Rez, but sociologists have found a basic level of decency unimaginable in our society. No wonder we tried to wipe 'em out.

The 4 most cohesive states are Vermont, Minnesota, North & South Dakota.  MN & VT are strongholds of progressive liberals, SD gave us Senator George McGovern, presidential candidate from the left, but state politics there & in ND are a mix.

The next three are Montana, Nebraska & Iowa.  Iowa is fairly progressive, MO & NE more R.

The next six states are four New England states, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Conneticut and Oregon & Washington.  All but NH solidly progressive left and/or limousine liberal.

The lowest 11 states are Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North & South Carolina, and West Virginia.  WV usually votes democratic, but it is a very conservative D state.

I think the political bias (and the blatant ignorance of reality) is apparent.

Weirdly, I think of Vermont as being rather conservative.  Very white and very rural.  

Before the right-wing spin machine painted Howard Dean as a crazy liberal, the knock on him was always that he was a Republican in Democrats' clothing.

The influx of newcomers since the 1960s with the children of the older residents moving out, have completely changed the politics (and social fabric) of the state from the  perspective of an outsider looking in.
Yeah,  nothing like a 'celebration of cohesiveness map' to tear us back into 'My State', 'Your State' competition..  maybe it's an incentive program, designed to give the 'Loser States' a greater urge to emulate the 'Wonderful-togetherness States'..  

This must be from one of the statisticians destined to drown in that lake with the average depth of 1 meter..

I mentioned before, when I was working in NewOrleans last month, just how easy it was to just go up and talk to folks, you didn't feel like you had to 'merit' to make a little conversation, ask for directions, find out what's going on...  It reminded me of NY, which may look gruff to many, but can be very sociable and helpful on the personal level.  I think that some cities where you are on your feet a lot give you a lot of contact and break down that 'decent distance' barrier I feel in some other places.  Everybody is a little odd, or different.. it would take too much energy to worry about all of them being a 'threat'.. so you don't.

  Small towns can be warm and welcoming, but they can also be suspicious of 'outsiders' and 'the freaks', leaving folks out of the club, too.  I told a doctor I was at upon my return how great it felt to be able to just go up to people in N.O., and he said, "Unlike Maine, right?".. and I had to agree, in part.   Maine does have some very strong community bonds, family connections, and a sense that individuals should be capable and independent, but not with that sort of isolated 'pioneer' mentality that grew out west.  But you do have 'insiders and outsiders', there are definitely cliques and clubs that you do or don't belong to, and class, poverty, and resentment of outa-staters is not just a stereotype.  Education Disparity and some heavy Addiction also serve to keep us from cutting across old barriers, here.

  I want to look at how people across the political divide are building bridges and staying friends.  We've got that sort of ridiculous Blue/Red State thing, too, which gets countered with a 'shades of purple' states.. neither of which is really useful, in my mind.  I think we're constantly fed all this stuff which makes us see the differences, when we could make some progress finding the things we agree on, and get to work on them.  There is a little patch of Cobblestones atop our 'Munjoy Hill', right in the Middle of Congress St... here in Portland, with the last 30' of our old Trolley Rails, looking cute, and helping noone, sad to say.

  Maybe you can give me a link to one of your approp. articles again that I could keep handy as I talk with our Town Council about their Transit Planning.  I would love to see Hybrid Electric Buses (Electric-while-intown, etc), if not Rail-based transit helping to make Casco Bay more accessible without a car.

  We also have an historic Narrow Gauge Railroad that runs a few-thousand feet down by the Old Port, but the owner has tried to raise the possibility of expanding that into a neighborhood transit solution..  Don't know if it makes sense, but it could be a boon to tourism as well as commuting, if it worked out..


Bob Fiske

I think the political bias (and the blatant ignorance of reality) is apparent.

Let's spin a story about why this may be instead of simply disregarding the results becasue we don't like them. Isn't that what folks here say others are doing in relation to Peak Oil?

I've read Putnam's "Making Democracy Work' -- which is basically how social capital aids democratic governance in Italy. Haven't read Bowling Alone so I don'tk now how he measured the concept in the US, but I'm familiar enough with his study of Italy to understand what moves his model.

Social capital is basically trust. Do you trust other people enough, for instance, to trade with them regularly? Do you trust them enough to rely solely on formal political institutions in order to guarantee your life or property? If you don't think this is important, see Iraq today or, closer to home, post-Katrina New Orleans.

So what factors increase societal trust? Off hand I can name four -- population size, social diversity, economic inequality, and horizontal versus vertical organization of civil society.

Very simply, small populations promote trust as it is easier to keep track of everyone and how you have interacted with them in the past. Once populations get too big the large number of non-personal relationships reduces your trust of other people because you, obviously, don't know them.

Diversity also reduces trust because of the insider-outsider mentality it brings. Members of other religions/racial/ethnic groups aren't 'like' you or members of your group so you don't necessarily trust them as much as members of your own group.

Economic inequality acts in the same way as societal diversity. The poor and the rich quite simply see themselves as different tribes. If you are rich it is easier to trust another rich person while if you are poor it is easer to trust another poor person. This problem is compounded if you don't have a middle class that in essence interacts with both, thereby serving as a go-between for the two.

Finally, the organization of civil society is important. If organization is 'horizontal' it cuts across the above cleavages and increases trust between members of very different groups. If civil society is vetical, it does not cut across group boundaries and, instead, reinforces them.

Now, why is the 'South' deficient of social capital in relation to the rset of the country? Very simple:

  1. Relatively large populations.
  2. Very racially diverse.
  3. Lots of economic inequality.
  4. Long history of 'separate but equal' racial animosity that kept groups apart. The Southern Baptists, for instance, was specifically formed to keep blacks out of white churches.

Why are the Dakotas rich in social capital?
  1. Relatively small populations.
  2. Relatively homogenous in terms of ethno-racil makeup.
  3. Relatively homogenous in terms of economic inequality.
  4. Probably (as I don't know for sure) lots of organizations in civil society that cut across what divisions there are in Dakota -- Churches, for instance, include both the rich and the poor.
Thanks for the synopsis.  Fascinating.  I'm going to have to read this book, I think. It's been on my Amazon wishlist for awhile now.  

Any idea why Nevada is so starkly white among neighbors aren't?

Any idea why Nevada is so starkly white among neighbors aren't?

Don't know. As a first guess I would have to say it's due to the relative newness of a lot of the population in Nevada -- especially Las Vegas. Not a lot of time to develop lots of cross-cutting organizations. Another may be the transitory nature of the population or the type of folks moving there. It's a definite outlier and I would need to know more about it.

Nevada is receiving the whites fleeing California, imagine growing up here and seeing the house you grew up in, your neighborhood, turn into gangland and a place where you get the hairy eyeball for walking down the street you played hopscotch on, for reflecting too much light. There's been a huge exodus, since the laws are set up so that, you can't say a thing to Them, but they can throw rocks through your windows, vandalize your car, mess with you 6 says to Sunday and make you feel your life is in danger, and you cant' say a thing or you're "racist". I'm not saying this is happening everyone or to everyone, but it's happened and is happening to tons of people, and they're getting the hell out. When one group is allowed and backed by the laws, to apply pressure, and another group isn't allowed to apply counter pressure and has to resort to hiding inside their house most of the time, the natural reaction is to flee. Sure, if more of the whites were tattooed azz-kickers this would be less of a problem, but mostly these are older folks who aren't good at fighting, never thought they'd have to fight, and won't stand a chance against a group of 3 or more and know it. So they get out.

I have no idea why they're choosing Nevada, I understand the weather's actually worse than Phoenix, and it's not good for farming. I favore more a tactic of political/demographic coordination, choosing farmable areas in California and moving to them en masse, and using the same block politics the invaders use, but again, these are older folks whose lives have by no means prepared them for a real struggle for survival. They mainly just want somewhere they can retreat to and hopefully die nonviolently in their own beds.

The result is a lot of whites in Nevada, as well as Arizona, from California.

Times are good, stomachs are full, the law's against 'em, its easiest just to move on. It will be interesting to see how it will be when things change, after all, the Indians resisted being forced out to the badlands.

Nevada is not an "outlier", it is the expected result.  The errors are in the surrounding states. Arizona is the error, it should be as "white" as Nevada,  Phoenix and Las Vegas have much in common and both dominate the populations of their respective states.

California is a large & diverse state, but the "white" influence of Los Angeles & San Diego (I know much less of SD) and Silicon Valley should make the entire state "white" or very close.

"Social capital" is what kept people alive till FEMA finished providing relief to the white "Rs' in Metairie. (It was a completely dry drive from their Metairie pickup spot to the Convention Center.  Metairie opened up on Wednesday with Port-a-Lets & ice).  The looters shared what they got had with all others.  Any prejudice was based on need, not color or status.  I have heard numerous instances of this.

One woman helped knock in the windows at a "Big Lots", pushed out a shopping cart with "waterproof" goods on the bottom and diapers, paper towels, on top.  She gave away 100% of her first load and kept a quarter of her second load.  Another guy got a crate of oranges; handed out two to everyone and kept three for himself "Because I scored them".

The pastor at the Lutheran Church in the Marigny turned it into "Camp Marigny".  30 people at first, 80 in the end.  His son (a recently discharged Marine with tours in Afghanistan & Iraq) was in charge of security & foraging details.  First they cleaned out the homes of all that were there (drained hot water tanks for potable water) then broke into unoccupied homes (minimum damage & essentials only taken with records kept.)

My home was looted of a gallon of distliied water, all my wine, canned goods, an umbrella, flashlight and cooked meat in the frig (must have been early).  Left my digital camera, and computers in plain sight.  He or she left a mess with things thrown around.

"Christains with Chainsaws" were the first to create a path through (one vehicle wide) the streets with their fallen trees.  The volunteers, perhaps 80% Christian groups, were and are still the core of the relief effort. Gutting out tens of thousands of homes (hard, dirty work in the heat).

My personal observation is that AZ* has almost zero "social capital" and the South is quite rich in it.  His "analysis" shows otherwise.  Therefore his analysis is TERRIBLY flawed.  I have better things to do with my time than disect how this bigot derived his "scientific" findings.  I am reminded of some German scientific findings from the late 1930s.

At first I was "tolerant", but I have concluded that bigotry should be called by it's proper name.

*Phoenix is about half of the population of the state.  Tuscon is supposedly similar.  I assume that the Navajo, Pima & Hopi have high social capital but they did not earn AZ its' "mid-rating".

OK, but didn't some lack of social capital keep people from crossing the bridge to the next county?
Absolutely. It was a lack of social capital that led to the posting of guards that kept poor, black refugees out of rich ones. Rich white folks clearly didn't trust them and weren't in the mood to help them.
"Social capital" is what kept people alive till FEMA finished providing relief to the white "Rs' in Metairie. (It was a completely dry drive from their Metairie pickup spot to the Convention Center.  Metairie opened up on Wednesday with Port-a-Lets & ice).  The looters shared what they got had with all others.  Any prejudice was based on need, not color or status.  I have heard numerous instances of this.

Exactly. The social cleavage of importance here was between rich and poor and, insofar as it was correlated with it, between white and black. Religion obviously aided people in this case because it most likely cut across these social cleavages and prompted mutual aid. Thus your 'Christian with Chainsaws' comment above.

My personal observation is that AZ* has almost zero "social capital" and the South is quite rich in it.  His "analysis" shows otherwise.  Therefore his analysis is TERRIBLY flawed.

It is the observation of Daniel Yergin that there is lots of oil out there, thus the analysis presented here is terribly flawed.

I have better things to do with my time than disect how this bigot derived his "scientific" findings.  I am reminded of some German scientific findings from the late 1930s.

Oh please. How is this bigotry? I explained the model as I understood it, suggested a plausible story as to why it got the results that it did. How is this bigotry? Did I or Putnam anywhere say 'The south is made up of racist rednecks and so have no social capital!' No, of course not. The model actually does quite well in explaining outcomes in Katrina -- small, homogenous communities maintained cohesiveness while large, diverse ones broke down.

At first I was "tolerant", but I have concluded that bigotry should be called by it's proper name.


Instead of polemics you should perhpas provide more systematic evidence or a more convincing story as to why his model is 'bunk' akin to Nazi raceology. There probably are very real flaws in his methodology, but one data point does not a trend make.

Exactly. The social cleavage of importance here was between rich and poor and, insofar as it was correlated with it, between white and black.

That was choice made by our national gov't and had zero to do with local social capital.  It only had to do with the "social capital" of the current federal administration.

I now need to get ready for building some more "social capital"  I am attending the Fauberg Marigny Improvement Assoc. monthly meeting this evening.  I used to live in the Marigny and have kept up my membership there.  I am also friends with the past President of this neighborhood assoc. She worked on Bourbon as a stripper whilst President.  Contemplate the "social capital implications" of that.

And New Orleans is almost exactly half Catholic & half Protestant, both black & white.  Before WW II, we were the most gay friendly city in the country (SF took that title from us after WW II).  We are still the most "Tourette Syndrome friendly" city.  I have a high degree of trust accross all social & economic groups here.  More grist for the mill.

:-) You're probably correct in that NOLA has a lot of social capital and probably AZ doesn't. One explanation as to why Putnam got the results that he did is in differences in how all that social capital is organized.

Plus, one way we could see for sure is simply inflict some sort of catastrophe on Phoenix. But, alas, we can't conduct experiments like that! ;-)

Ah come on Alan, I think you just don't like AZ. cause it's so damned hot out here in the summer time. -:) All kidding aside, I have to somewhat agree with you, That's the biggest reason I left the Phoenix, Metro. area in 86, and moved down into the southeastern part of the state.  From people I know who still live up there, it's even worse now.
I thought something looked familiar on that map. It reminds me of some religous distrubution maps I've seen. Here is the distribution of Lutherans  and Baptists for example
The match for German ancestry is even better (large pdf)
I think the political bias (and the blatant ignorance of reality) is apparent.

Is it political bias and ignorance of reality? Or is it the reality of the different outcomes arising from the politics in different states?

I don't know the answer but (I imagine) the survey would have been based on some methodology and should not just be dismissed before reflection.

One of the things such surveys are supposed to do is make a stop and examine our preconceptions. For sure, we need to check the validity of the evidence being put forward. However, I don't think we should just say, "This looks like bullshit served up by a politically biased agenda so I'll just trash it".

To that poster I think it's the People's Republic of Minnesota and The Peoples Republic of Vermont. Garrison Keillor and Ben & Jerry. Bad.
Minnesota is famous for an old-time Socialist trend, that goes back to those darned Swedes, a cohesive tribe and unable to think in any other way but that everyone ought to be taken care of - in their universe, people are.

All of this needs to be viewed through a Dawkinsian lens, even left-wing researchers have found, regrettably, that in mixed-um, culture, neighborhoods, social capital tends to be basically, zero.

mixed-um, culture, neighborhoods, social capital tends to be basically, zero

That may be one of the things I love about New Orleans.  That is simply not true here.

Some points of trivia.

I spent much of the Sunday before Mardi Gras day watching parades with an evacuated resident.  Formerly a licensed practical nurse (she started as an orderly) at a now closed hospital, she did not have enough money for a hotel so she was sleeping in her car while "checking things out".  She found wages were now higher, so she could afford the higher rents.  She found a man renovating lightly flooded apartment (old mansion cut up) and he agreed to rent her a unit when it was finished in "June".  I told her what I knew of things coming back, especially hospitals (not good news).  We laughed and joked some as we scrambled for beads.

Her one luxury for the trip was a bottle of better quality bourbon.  She offered me some and gave me the bottle to pour my own (she has ice).  The last point is critical.  Usually someone will pour a stranger a finger or two, but keep control of the bottle so as to make sure not "too much".  But she trusted me enough to just give me the bottle.  Class & race are clearly recognized in New Orleans, but I have never found them to be a barrier to trust here.

Our one billionaire here often took public transit to work.  The 1923/24 built unair conditioned St. Charles streetcar.

I saw him board the streetcar a few times.  Twice, a young black man gave him his seat (such courtesy is not unknown here and it crosses racial & social lines).  What was striking both times was that they thanked him for his work for scholarships.  Unfortunately he died of a heart attack a year before Katrina.

I was once offered a chance to join Zulu, the premier black Mardi Gras Krewe,  I could not afford to then, but I was still honored.  Zulu & Rex, King of Carnival, are the only two Krewes to offically parade on Mardi Gras Day (about 35 krewes parade in the weeks before MG).  White members of Zulu (a distinct minority) are REQUIRED to dress in "Al Jolsen" black face while parading.  Optional for black members.

Our classic housing patterns are for grand mansions on the grand boulevards, middle class houses a couple blocks back and then working class neighborhoods.  In years past, all classes took the streetcar.  This may be one reason that streetcars are so beloved here.  I get a lot of 'social capital" for supporting & working to build more of them.

The close, linear housing patterns made for much more daily interaction.

In the early days after Katrina, O talekd with many people about the fitire of the city. All white residents, save one, wanted the city to be at least half black.  Some wanted less than 2/3rds but "at least half.  Let the criminals stay in Houston".  I can think of no other American city where the white population would wish for minority status.

Hagin won with, last analysis I heard, 79% of the black vote and 80% of the Republican vote.  An atypical coalition.  Landrieu was polling higher with black than white voters before the primary (26% vs 23% from memory).

The sobriquet for New Orleans is the "Big Easy".  This is a defining description of our society and the extremely widespread tolerance accross all sectors of the city.

At parties elsewhere, one of the first five questions seems to be "what do you do ?".  Here I can go an hour w/o that coming up.  Classifying and categorizing people is just not a priority here.  I still remember a Mardi Gras party in the  Quarter that spilled outside. I 'crashed" and ended up in a multi-hour, drunken conversation about the US constitutional system*.  Only at the end did I find out that she was a Tulane professor in the Political Science Dept. specializing in our courts.

*The starting point was that we were in sight of Gen. Jackson's statue on which Gen. "Beast" Butler had inscribed a slogan during the War Between the States.  He also authorized rape as a means on controlling the population of New Orleans.  Abe Lincoln let that pass, while imprisoning people (included elected representatives) at whim without any judical review.

I have spent too much time, need to do some real work now.

I also find it questionable since the two of the "most cohesive" states are two states with far left track records.
You're talking about North and South Dakota, right? Or maybe Montana, Nebraska and Alaska? The map may be BS, but I don't think it's because it favors some kind of left-leaning ideology. At least, not based on the states it calls cohesive.
If you broke out "cohesiveness" along party lines, I suspect that conservatives would be cohesive within their little enclaves of hate speech, their families, their churches, their political parties and would generally hate everyone else and not be "cohesive" with those outsiders who dare to have a differing opinion, religion or "lifestyle."

Liberals, I suspect, would be less likely to have tight "cohesive" families, communities or political parties. But they would be more likely to cohese with those that conservatives would call "other."

In effect, how you define the terms defines the chart.

Alan - I thought you might not like this map. I think it would be even more interesting to see much more local levels to see how it falls out at a community level. No state is truly one community, but many, many different communities.

However I think the state level analysis is fairly revealing. The Dakotas, Minnesota and Vermont are interesting because they are fairly different politically, yet score well on this measure. You have to read the book to understand all the criteria that goes into social capital - trusting of others, civic involvement, political participation to name a few. The correlations at the state level on a wide variety of measures such as academic achievement, health outcomes, etc are pretty good.

That sounds really interesting.  

Though I wonder how long the fabric of community will hold in the face of peak oil.  As I've mentioned before, community is as much about who's an outsider as about who belongs.

Here I don't usually agree..

I don't think Inclusion depends on Exclusion, like some kind of equal and opposite reactions to one another.

When I mentioned NYC and NewOrleans above, I referred (loosely) to an urban culture which had developed a certain ability to make connections with 'outsiders', as opposed to more insular local cultures,(such as you might find in some ways in Maine) where the barrier between In and Out is more protected.

I don't think either one is inherent, however, but are cultural tools that develop when a people has traditionally experienced a frequent interaction of 'outsiders' or not,  so Port Cities sometimes have a strong lean towards faster communication and assimilation with outsiders..  At a smaller scale, there are very close-knit families who will bring you in as one of their own in a matter of hours, and those who never will.

Urban Legend,
'In NYC, they say FU, and really mean "Hi, how's it going?", in LA, they say "Hi, How's it going", but really mean "FU"..

I don't think Inclusion depends on Exclusion, like some kind of equal and opposite reactions to one another.

Not equal and opposite reactions.  More like yin and yang.  One cannot exist without the other.  Without darkness, there can be no light.  Draw a circle, and what you exclude is as important as what you include.

Well, if inclusion/exclusion is causing the raising of voices, here's an interactive map of global urban/rural populations.  It's interactive and goes from 1955 to 2015.  FWIW, the US is shown as the most urbanized place in the world.


To which I'd say the same thing, I think there are well-bonded groups of people whose definition of their inner circle does not necessitate keeping the outer doors shut, where those who are outside this group are not de-humanized or marginalised as a result.

I grew up on a Prep-school campus in a small Maine town where there sadly was a strong boundary between the Campus and the Townies, and I don't deny that many groups, families and 'societies' do live in a mindset that uses their togetherness for protection and identity, to the detriment of relationships that might have been possible outside their (real or theoretical) enclave.  You're with us or against us, you're a Teamplayer or an oddball, etc, etc..  Since those days, I've watched to see where socities have been able to be together, but still have the interest and attraction to leave the nest and engage with the rest of the world.  That's what I think of with that line from Silverado the other day..  not that you blindly trust everyone to be your 'friend', but you look out on the world and know that there are 'friendlies' out there, in the other groups, in the other states, the other Political Parties, and it's up to your own abilities to judge character, to reach out a little past the safety zone and take some chances, in order to find them and build up that Social Capital.

As I noted in the TOD-NY forum, the two most importsnt real world factors in social capital are multi-generations (and sibling) living close together with attending religous servcies a close second.  On both counts I suspect that Vermont does not score very high, but the white states (except NV) do.

I have better things to do with with my time & $ than dissecting such on-the-surface nonsense.

BTW, how much are the social cohesion ratings affected by membership in Mardi Gras Krewes ?  

New Orleans (and much of Acadiana) should score quite well in this real world, and important example, Vermont quite low I suspect :-/

I don't buy the "attending religious services" thing.  I'm sure a community could be built on that, but it's not necessary.  

When I was growing up in Hawai`i, religion wasn't that important.  Mainly because it's such a melting pot.  Many families lose their connections to the religions in the old country, if only because they can no longer understand the language.  But the sense of community was quite strong nevertheless.

I'm not sure deep family roots are that important, either.  There were certainly deep family roots in the town I lived in, but it seemed to hurt as much as help.  People held grudges for generations, not speaking because of incidents that happened while their grandparents were playing in the sandbox together.  It also made it very difficult for outsiders to become part of the community.  

Historically, religion and family ties have been huge in terms of social cohesiveness in societies throughout all human history. Ignoring that when facing catabolic collapse (your choice of terms there if I recall correctly, not mine) in favor of relationships based entirely on our industrial/technological society seems silly to me.
Family, yes, and there may even be a genetic basis for that.

But religion...no.  It's been a big part of European social identity, but it's not a human universal.  Well, religion of some sort is, but not the importance we have traditionally given religion.  Religion was our government for a long time (and may be again, the way things are going).  But that's not the case in all societies.

I don't deny the importance of family, but many Americans are going to be facing peak oil without family.  Or without much family.  Mobility, smaller family size, later marriage, etc.  

And this is not unnatural, either.  Exogamy has been the tradition with primates for millions of years.  Young adults leave their natal groups and form or join new ones.  It seems to be the way nature prevents inbreeding.  

With our mobile society, many young American depend on "urban tribes" - unrelated friends of similar ages and social class - for the support they might have gotten from families in other times.  This is not an unnatural result of the industrial/technical age.  It's just another variation for a species that is pretty malleable when it comes to social organization.

I don't buy the "attending religious services" thing.  I'm sure a community could be built on that, but it's not necessary.

Yes, it is certainly possible to build community on bowling leagues (as noted in the book) but religons acrively promote both a self-less ideology and a sense of a community that gives to others.

Both attributes will have greater value (and community trust) than a history of drinking beer together IMO.  Of cource, it is better to know someone from a bowling league than not know them at all.

I make an effort to help those in need of some help, be it major or very minor.  I have noticed over time, that other's have observed me and marked me as "a good guy".  New Orleans is one of the few cities where that attribute brings positive rewards "out of the blue".  Free JazzFest tickets as one recent example :-)  I did take 3 people without cars with me when I evacuated for Katrina.

I have no family here and no real roots here (although I like to point out that one of my ancestors was expelled from New Orleans in 1799 for being an American spy).  But I "fit in" because I "get" this unique city.

Still, family is NOT to be discounted when conditions are "in extremis".

I must admit to some skepticism regarding the "self-less ideologies" of Western religion.  They claim to promote that, but it's always seemed to me that was window-dressing to make their social-control objectives more palatable.  I agree that religions strengthen communities, but drawing on Leanan's circle analogy above, I think they do it in large measure by increasing the contrast betweeen those inside the circle and those outside.

IMO, having a serious challenge to survival is a good (and more productive) substitute for religion when it comes to building social cohesion.  We see that constantly in times of disaster.  We see it in times of war, too, of course. Politicians count on this reaction - for instance when they equate "loving America" with "hating the terrorists".

I think Peak Oil and Global warming are going to unite our societies like nothing before in history.

Good point.  

I remember one study that found men who were in the trenches together in WWII felt a deeper bond with each other than anyone else in life.  Even decades later, they said no other relationship came close.  Including wives, children, mothers, etc.

Yes, it is certainly possible to build community on bowling leagues (as noted in the book) but religons acrively promote both a self-less ideology and a sense of a community that gives to others.

A sense of community and mutual self-sacrifice, but aimed and directed at whom? That's the important question in this case.

If there is only one religion and it includes everyone, then it crosses social divisions and propmotes community and trust. If it is instead the root cause of social division (as in the case of multiple faiths operating in the same society) and it is not counteracted by other cross-cutting social institutions then it leads to division. Bowling leagues seem unimportant, but insofar as they cut across cleavages like religion, race, and class they serve to increase trust between different groups. As a Catholic, for instance, I'm not likely to go out and kill and maim Protestants as a group if I bowl with them on Saturdays. If there are no cross-cutting organizations like that non-demoninational bowling league then I don't interact with Protestants, meaning that when TSHTF the mutual trust that is needed to keep Catholics from butchering Protestants or Protestants from butchering Catholics isn't there.

In Iraq there were no organizations like that bowling league outside those permitted by the Baath controlled state. When that state collapsed, people turned to religion in a context that didn't have a large number of counter-balancing, cross-cutting insutitons of civil society. The Sunni-Shiite violence we see there today is a direct consequence of that.    

Hey Alan: Do you think bringing the National Guard in is an overreaction?http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/19/D8IBGUA80.html
It depends upon context. Social capital can be seen in how very small communities work or how very large communities work.

Alan is focusing on small towns and how they operate, where everyone is usually quite similar and where religious attendance probably increases social capital and inter-personal trust precisely because everyone is relatively the same. The only social cleavage of note may simply be between rich and poor, conflict between which is smoothed over by mutual membership in a cross-cutting institution of civil society -- a church. Church membership increases social capital in this case because members of two differenct groups, rich and poor, interact with one another through it.

Make society a bit larger and more diverse, and now the role of religion becomes more problematic. Suppose we have the same town, but now with two faiths, Protestant and Catholic. Membership in Protestant or Catholic churches increases social capital between members of the rich and poor of the same faith, but the existence of multiple faiths may reduce social capital between members of different faiths unless other cross-cutting institutions of civil society exist -- such as non-demoniational professional organizations, labor unions, or even leisure or sports clubs. In many countries you don't have, for instance, a doctors' association or a lawyers' association you have a 'Muslim' lawyers' association or a 'Hindu' medical association. If you don't have the cross-cutting organizations in civil society then religion can be very detrimental to social cohesion -- look at India or Iraq.

Finally, add in more complexity by adding in other ethno-racial groups to the mix. Does religion foster cohesiveness and trust for the population as whole or make it worse? You can't say for sure because it is wholly dependent on the context of a given society. In the south, where whites and blacks were organized into largely separate religious institutions and no cross-cutting organizations, it is likely religion did not increase societal trust. Where religion cuts across social cleavages, it is likely it does foster societal trust and cohesiveness.      

Education and Income are also strong relative drivers of civic participation. The Bowling Alone book also notes that the old Protestant Mainline churches like Episcopal, Methodist, etc have more of a link with civic participation than the Evangelical or Roman Catholic churches. These factors favor the Upper Midwest and rural Northeast.

Again, this is statistics - I'm not basing this on anecdotes or personal experiences, just the statistics shown in the book from peer review literature.

And Alan - I really appreciate your perspectives on this and many important issues. All I ask is that you read the book if you haven't and remain open-minded on the subject. Dismissing these ideas on their face is similar to dismissing PO on the face without challenging the data. Just because it doesn't fit with your current worldview, doesn't mean there is no validity to it.

Alan the Bay Area works that way too. I live in a huge apt complex, and everyone only acknowledges the existant of members of their own tribe - if you're Indian you only sai Hi to Indians, all others are ignored like so much empty air, and so on. It's considered rude to not say Hi to members of your own tribe though. Interestingly, I know members of my own tribe who live here, but don't know the names etc of members of other tribes who literally live less than 10 feet away (such as upstairs) and they likewise have no desire to know my name etc.

I can only hope members of my own tribe are armed and armed well for when the stuff hits the rotating blades :-))))

You find the most social capital in areas like Minnesota etc where people are really of the same tribe, often you'll find towns where the majority hail originally from the same area in Sweden etc.

And Richard Dawkins smiles down on us all.

I think it's going to matter a lot.  Perhaps more than anything else.  But more on the individual level than on by region.  Some people just have a knack for connecting with others, some don't.  (See "The Tipping Point."  ;-)  

The only way region matters, IMO, is that that might determine the fault lines society cracks along.  And I'm not sure it's all that predictable.  The Nazi types that peak oil seems to attract are expecting racial war.  It's a possibility, but not a certainty.  I could see the fault lines being along class, politics, religion, etc., instead of race.  

I remember reading about an incident that happened back in the 15th century or thereabouts.  Two sailors were convicted of sodomy, which wasn't that common at the time.  A lot of men did it, few were actually prosecuted.  Why were these two singled out?  Not the fact that they did it on deck in view of the rest of the crew.  Not the fact that one was a white Englishman, the other East Indian.  No, what upset people was that the East Indian was Hindu.  Having sex with someone of a different religion was the problem.  

I have discussing the fact that my parents don't much know who lives around them.  They never did really it was us kids, my brother and I that got my parents talking to the folks around them.  

Yesterday in sunday school I mentioned to someone I have known for 30 years that I don't lock my car, and if it was my house I'd not lock it either.  The agast look of concern for my sanity was priceless and also very scary.  These folks don't hold to the same beliefs that I do and one set are my parents and the other is folks at my Christian (Lutheran) church.  Sure the world is full of bad people but if you know your neighbors and they know you and everyone knows everyone else it is hard for the strangers to show up and steal things.  And if you truly know your neighbors you have been in their houses and they in yours, you have helped them fix the drains and they have helped you have yard sales.  

I know it is not easy to go up to total strangers and say "HI There"  I used to be ultra-Shy.  But I have taken the time to fix that problem and get to know the people I live with, and around and work with and even go to church with.  I find it very sad that we have let ourselves become the stand offish folks that we have become.  This will allow the strangers to come in and take things like cars and kids and my bowling balls out of my house and yard and no one will be the wiser till it is to late.  All because we have fractured ourselves from our surroundings.

And Peak Oil will just make matters worse because the blaim game has already started.  It is them that did it.

PS.  I still keep my car unlocked, its all in who you trust and I trust GOD,  if someone takes it, I'll report it, but I won't worry about it.  They needed it more than I did.

My 80 year old father never locked anything either. I lock my apartment, but never lock my car. Since I travel a lot in my business, I do stay in motels with automatic locking devices.
I might be talking through my hat on this, but it seems that paranoia of modern society can be correlated closely with the kind of television and radio programs that a person watches and hears. A lot of TV-shows like CSI, Law and Order, "reality" shows like Cops, news channels like Fox and commentators like Bill O'Rielly, Nancy Grace, and the fat white guy that hates immigrants so badly-all trade on hypeing fear. Listening to the radio sharks like Rush or his clones give people a false sense of community, and the televangelists and gigantic megachurches give a false sense of communal religeon. They camoflage the truth that its just one person alone.And they use fear and horror to stir up emotional extreme views.
  The I Ching, an ancient Chinese book of philosophy
says that a person needs to watch what they nourish themselves on, that the thoughts and fears and fantasies that we absorb from our surroundings are incorporated into our personalities. Seems true to me.And at least discussing peak oil on the internet gives me real feedback from real persons.
   I live in Galveston, a small city that I think has a pretty good sense of community. We have a population thats about half white, a quarter black and a quarter latino. There is a lot more porch sitting and visiting than in Houston where I spent most of my life. But, there is quite a bit of small time dope dealing and prostitution and illegal gambling, which I attribute to the racism that demonizes young black men and makes it very difficult for them to get a good job. And the cops all went through school with the criminals and look the other way with victimless crime.  And I sleep with my door open to get the seabreeze.
But, there is quite a bit of small time dope dealing...And the cops all went through school with the criminals and look the other way with victimless crime.

Drugs and no victims?  Yeah right.  I've got some cheap land to sell you too...

Ask any cop if he'd rather arrest a stoner at the wheel or a drunk.  There IS a relatively benign end to the drug trade, not perfect, but a lot less deadly than Alcohol and Domestic Violence..  They usually know if they're dealing with a Meth-lab or just a weed-grower..
Yeah he's right, legalize pot and keep those who'd be really causing trouble stoned, if that's what they want to do. It's not too good for you, but much less harmful than alcohol.
Cannabis and the rest of the processed drugs are seperate in my mind.  I agree it should be legalized, but addiction creates all kinds of victims.
35 years in Chicago, always sketchy neighborhoods, never locked a door, never had a problem. Once a guy came through the window when he coulda walked thru the door. I woke and scared him off. Ten minutes later he was back 'cause he'd left his shoes. I made him breakfast and got myself a friend & a first-rate auto-body man.
Safest place I ever lived was 3100 block of Seminary when the Herrera family received & trans-shipped Mexican brown out of half the apts. there. No one locked a door.
That is sweet...except there was only brown...
My parents do not watch TV nor listen to the Radio, they read lots of older Westerners, if they read anything at all.  I don't know about the folks I talked at my Sunday School class.  I don't watch TV. Though I have watched TV this year, and last year, especially during my Hospital stay for Blood Clots in my legs and lungs.  But I got tired of it pretty fast and did not watch it much the last 3 days in the Hospital. So my total veiwer time is less than 100 hours for 2005 and 2006.

Their veiwing time is less than 100 hours from 1996 till present.  They buy lots of dvd's but even these are still in the original warping un-opened.

I don't know where my parents get their fears, maybe my mom is just to old to be taught anything else but fear.

But then I still practice with a 6 foot steel pipe in a form of martial arts and staff fighting, in their front and back yards,  hoodlums beware I can throw dirt clods at you if you get to close to the house and scare my mom.

LOL Ur!!

Around here, well, I don't have a TV, but I know what stuff was stolen from my friend's porches around here, and I lost a hand truck (kinda let that happen, lol) and I know from hearing ppl report it to management that if you leave easily pawnable stuff like a pile of CDs or an iPod on your car seat overnight, you'll lose it and a window. I don't care because I keep my car pretty neat, but one guy I talked to (the fact that we were talking is that we're the same tribe - never saw each other before but talked up a storm, instant tribal friendship is weird) said he got his car broken into 3 times, for tools and stuff. What can you say, keep your car neat.

Some odd domestic fights, yelling, once in a while, lots of ppl moving in and out, it's amazing more doesn't happen around here lol.  I help ppl with stuff a kid get his ball back, stuff like that, but mainly the different groups try to slide by each other with the least friction here. I guess it's the kind of neighborhood where you can find trouble if you want it, but nothing happens to you unless you set up the preconditions lol.

I pay zero attention to TV and radio..... listen to Air America the most, and the righty stations I switch to at times for variety are never talking about crime, they're talking about mortgage rates or gas prices or something, there seems to be no radio equivalent to CSI or Cops so far. (Unless you listen to the real cops on their own ongoing "radio show" lol.)

Hey fleam. Toss me your age and location. Or fuck with me, (how would I know?). Your posts have always interested me. There has always been something missing, though. That's what I'm asking for. Tell me your story. Under 1000 words(I have to go to bed soon) - unless it is good. If it's really good, you can write all night.
What tribe are you from?
Jewish-Delians. How 'bout you?
Thai White Guys
There's more than one of you?  Ahhh, that's probably better.
Visiting one another's houses, yeah, but try helping your neighbor board up to evacuate from the coming hurricane. Or cleaning up after, repairing fences, cutting down broken branches from his tree in my yard (or vice-versa), etc. My house gets locked, not for my neighbors but for strangers who wander through the neighborhood at random - something our current culture makes easy.

Of course on the other side is the old lady who refused to leave during the last hurricane. Her attitude was that if God wanted to take her away, then he could come get her right there where she'd been living all these years.

Leanan we're certainly going to get to see how it all pans out. From what I've seen in various places in the US, and under various amounts of affluence and opportunity, the future is tribal, very tribal.

You have to live in areas where the economy sux and the unemployment, the real one, approaches 25% to see this, and right now discussing race/tribe issues is just about illegal, so we're all uncomfortable as hell discussing it. But it's real, it's very real.

I think this graph might simply be pointing out where there are homogenous populations.  The south where there is a history of tension between blacks and whites might simply be ranked very poorly because in effect there are two separate communities living side by side.  
Interesting idea, but Hawai`i, fairly dark, is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation.  

FWIW...one of the reasons it's so diverse is the sugar plantation owners' attempts to avoid unionization.  They figured if workers couldn't talk to each other, they couldn't organize.

Hawai'i is the future, so it's worth ones time, if one can, to go  there and live and see it. There are about eleventy-thirteen racial groups and they all dislike/distrust each other, and they all agree Whitey is the root of all evil. Real unemployment really is about 25%, and the population basically hasn't grown since 1989 when the economy tanked because Japan's did. People tend to form elaborate mutual help networks based most strongly among members of their own race, and then looser connections among those of other races, of course of the economy really does a Cuba those less tight connections will be severed first.

Different types of job are parceled out by race, and this especially in government service- the best thing is to be of Japanese descent of a family that's been in the state for a few generations.

The tightness of mutual help networks is amazing and poignant, but they're that because they're so necessary. It's the most cut-throat place I've seen.

Those of Japanese ancestry were quite dominant in the '70s, but it was a transient thing.  And yes, it was due to an incredible old boys' network.

The thing about Hawai`i is that the racial mixing there is unreal.  Indeed, that is why they are the 50th state, and not the 49th.  With segregation being a major issue at the time, southern states didn't want to admit a new state where something like 1 out 3 marriages crossed racial lines.  It was viewed as a miscegenist hell (and the Massey case only enforced that view).  Even the supposedly "liberal" NY Times denounced Hawai`i as being full of "mongrels."

I believe that last census showed that the majority of babies born in Hawai`i are of mixed race.  It's a point of pride in Hawai`i, to be able a "Heinz 57" type.  You hear people bragging: "I'm Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Samoan, Korean, Portuguese..."

Exactly.  Small, homogenous poplulations promote trust and, therefore, social capital. Large, heterogenous populations don't.
Actually there is another factor - density. Small towns do better for some of the reason of familiarity than big towns but cities are more participatory than the suburbs. In the suburbs (and many deeply rural areas) many people don't know their neighbors and have little connection to those around them. The same may be said about people in urban areas, but they don't drive around in cars so they actually have daily interactions with strangers on the street and some familiar faces.
Excellent point. Denisty and urban design clearly set the stage for how population, regardless of size, interact. Small, dense towns may promote the creation of more social capital than a rural community of less population density but of similar size.

If you hold density/design constant population size likely decreases social capital formation. If you hold population constant, density/design may increase social capital formation. An interesting and clearly testable hypothesis.  

On this point from Prodigal Son, perhaps this will be helpful:  The classical sociologist Emile Durkheim spoke directly to this ("The Elementary Forms of Religious Life") in arguing that as people congregate they experience episodes of high social density, when they're reminded of their "groupness" - the larger categories to which they belong - which is typically not part of the more atomized experience of their everyday, workaday worlds.  As they ritualize their shared experience, collective understandings are created, constituting a moral order.  We now call these collective understandings symbols, which act like batteries storing up this periodically socially-generated energy, and as we engage symbols we're touching the high-voltage circuitry (he wouldn't have used such an electronic metaphor) of culture.  These "social facts", he argued, constitute the normative order which both constrain and give meaning to people's lives.  In brief, the more social/ritual density, the denser the moral "cocoon" around us and the less alienation (and less suicide, to refer to another of his best-known works) people experience.  Durkheim for all his theoretical holes was a creative theorist and launched, one could argue IMHO, the main intellectual line of thought leading to the current idea of social capital (see Bourdieu, Pierre  1986  The Forms of Capital. In Richardson, John G., ed., Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, pp. 241-258.  NY:  Greenwood Press).  I'll be interested to see how Putnam deals with all this.

I'm interested in how actors combine forces to utilize social and other forms of capital for various social purposes ("politics" in the broadest sense, the life of the polis).  As I think about the social and cultural effects of peak oil unfolding before us, as an anthropologist I find myself yearning for more ethnography, getting away from such large categories as "religion", "small towns" or "urban vs. rural", which are somewhat helpful, and trying to grasp and document now the large scale forces affected/set in motion by depleting oil play out in the everyday lives of ordinary people.  I'm interested in any and all examples of how people actually utilize and/or accumulate/develop social capital as they deal with peak oil issues.  AlanfromBigEasy's vivid accounts of people in New Orleans coping with Katrina are great examples.

Thanks all, I'm putting Putnam on my summer reading list.

Yup, social capital is akin to financial capital in that how the institutions that deal with such capital are organized greatly affect how they are utilized. If civil society is not organized correctly, for instance cutting across cleavages rather than reinforcing them, then more social capital could actually increase the potential for violence.
Does the lack of minorities in the dark green states need to be considered?
Yes. How diverse a society is has a direct impact on how much trust there is in it.
I believe you are defining social capital very differentlly than the map makers.  Social capital can be measured using health care, education, crime, suicide, infant mortality and other factors.  If the only place a man can get psychatric medication is jail then that will show in the crime and suicide rates. Per student spending and per cent going to college are measures of social capital. A tolerance for a high infant mortality rate in some counties is a measure of social capital. No single factor would place a state in one category or another but a composite score would.
A question for those "in the know" here about in situ Oil Shale extraction:

As I understand what I have been reading so far the proposals that have been talked about result in a very large volume of highly heated rock. Following the extraction of the hydrocarbons do the designs anticipate some method of recovering the heat energy still present in what would then be the depelted source rocks? i.e. treating the field as a kind of man made geothermal energy site for electricity production?

Is this just not mentioned? or is it impractical for some reason I don't get...

Problematic as Oil Shale is it seems at first glance that this would improve the EROEI of the concept.

I don't know the exact figures but if the scheme involves holding the temperature steady at 370°C for three years and the time to  reach the that temperature is short compared to the three years, it means most of that energy fed in during the extraction cycle will have leaked away by the end since the maximum energy that can be extracted cannot exceed the energy required to heat the rock up to its steady state temperature. It is therefore unlikely to greatly affect the overall EROEI.

A question that occurs to me is how well do they have to extract the oil formed to prevent the ground water being contaminated when the refrigeration is turned off and the ice melts and the water flows back in. The point at which extraction would end from purely short term economic considerations may not be the point required to stop there being any risk of exceeding the permitted level of contamination.

Having created the oil underground in porous rock they will have to keep sucking it up and keep the refrigeration going until it is safe even if the price of oil falls and the operation is no longer profitable.

The experiences of mines going bust and leaving toxic waste leaking out for others to pay to clean up would make it vital that there would have to be very strong guarantees of completion of the cycle not at public expense.


After the cell is pumped dry (4 to 7 years) the drillers inject water into the well that produces steam.  The steam is harvested and most byproducts are separated from the steam leaving a clean hole with no pollution.

All this while a few miles away Encana is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars fines for Benzene escaping into drinking water supplies........

But of course this is in one of the lowest populated areas of Colorado.  And who is going to notice except for an abundant population of Mule Deer.

btw:  where are they going to haul the collected contaminants?  new york?

Nice one. Totally Agree. I could answer your questions, but it would make both of us very sick.
Soylent cookies using oil byproducts.  Market them under the name of SLICKIES......

That should get rid of a whole bunch of assorted chemicals.

ur right.  it would make both of us sick.....

Can anyone tell me why natural gas prices have risen over a dollar last week?? Supply and demand perhaps??
What price? What market? Spot?  
Re; gas commodity prices rising
  trying to interpret commodity prices on a short term basis is about as bad as trying to evaluate "social coesiveness". A crystal ball or drawing lots might be better methods of evaluation,but, here goes-
  A lot of commodity speculation is by hedge funds who are seeking highly leveraged short term returns. Many hedge funds have really been stung by the stock market in the past couple of weeks. The Hedge Fund managers are very possibly seeing natural gas as undervalued because the tradional method of pricing gas is 1,000 cubic ft of gas is worth about 1/6th of the crude oil price. And hurricane season will probably cause prices to double if a hurricane passes through the central gulf, but probably won't decline below $5/mcf at the lowest. So the potential downside risk on gas is only about 20% and the potential upside is about $12/mcf in the next three months.  
Spare capacity?  What spare capacity?

Oh, I see,  double speak.   2 times zero is still zero.    I get it,  it's not really a lie, your honor.

My monday morning sarcasm.

It's all about population!

2 times zero is still zero.

That was my first thought as well ;-).  Other cynical responses might in a recession-generated spare capacity.  I mean, otherwise demand is gonna grow to match any meagre capacity increase.

I've never heard economists use terms such as noise and signal.  Now in a matter of two hours I find two articles that talk about seperating economic noise from the signal and developing new measurements that are much more accurate and include reality.

For starts the Dallas Fed has a Senior Economist who has created a new measurement called trimmed-mean PCE.  It's a mouthful but it takes food & energy in and throws out ALL spikes in ANY sector of the economy (trimmed mean).  PCE is personal consumptions expenditure deflator.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/columnists/all/stories/061906dnbustxview.140c580.htm l

At least there is someone who may be trying to do something.  I fear the accuracy of the numbers may scare a few people into not releasing the numbers for publication.

He's said recently that the trimmed-mean PCE of 2.4 percent is showing "unacceptable" price pressures.

The other article is 8 pages printed, so only a few die hards may find this useful.  John Mauldin's new letter details new funds to invest in that are not capitalization index funds.  Instead there is a new fundamental weighted index that outperforms the market and proves the reality that the capital asset pricing model(CAPM) is not 100% correct.  In fact there is plenty of graphs to quantify a 2% increase in returns YoY for the life of the fund.  2% YoY compunded is HUGE!  

Basically the article chips away at the efficient markets hypothesis and manages to talk about more "noise" & "signal" engineering jargon.


You would probably like this mp3 recording:


The ethanol/aquifers connection (same text?) also appears here.  They say:

The Mahomet Aquifer, along which several ethanol plants are proposed, has plenty of water. Running across the midsection of the state from the Indiana line to the Illinois River, it supplies an estimated 250 million gallons of water per day to municipalities, industry, farms and homes.  That is a pittance given the estimated 13 trillion gallons of water in the aquifer, Wehrmann said. It would take more than a century to pump the aquifer dry even if no water returned through rainfall and other natural recycling, which amounts to about 40 million gallons per day, he said.

Note that the current usage is already (without the ethanol plants) 6 times the recharge rate.  (And the recharge rate may fall if the climate changes to a drier one.)  So, as usual, catastrophic impact decades down the road is ignored.  At best, due to a religious-like belief in future innovation.

Note that the current usage is already (without the ethanol plants) 6 times the recharge rate.  (And the recharge rate may fall if the climate changes to a drier one.)  So, as usual, catastrophic impact decades down the road is ignored.  At best, due to a religious-like belief in future innovation.

This is one thing that really hacks me off. We are heading for a disaster with all of these ethanol plants. It is just a matter of time before we pull some of these aquifers down, and then what are we going to do?

Also, from the same article:

"Corn generally comes from a 50-mile radius around an ethanol plant, so there's only so many plants you can put in and get the corn you need to operate them," said Phil Shane, marketing director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

People building ethanol plants outside the Midwest should take note of this fact. You aren't going to be able to make a profitable ethanol plant in Arizona or California if you have to ship the corn halfway across the country to do it. That is, unless you plan on charging $6/gal for the ethanol.


I am aware of a lovely small town debating an incoming ethanol plant.  They aren't a top corn producer county, but have abundant water.  A few locals are fighting it based on pollution and truck traffic, etc.  Could you please link/reference me to the best, concise couple of articles to provide them with additional ammunition for fighting this plant coming in and ruining their area?  Thanks!
That might be a tough one. Aquifer depletion is a good one, because corn farming in some locations uses lots of water, and ethanol plants use lots of water. But you say water is not an issue. There are some links to pollution from ethanol plants. Here are a couple:



My personal opposition is to the way we produce ethanol in this country. Namely, it is just a fossil fuel that is very heavily subsidized, and results in soil erosion, pollution, and little real benefits except to ethanol producers and corn growers.


You might add, the way we produce meat in this country. We produce meat by producing corn which in itself is a far cry from the way meat was traditionally produced, i.e., in a pastoral, grass setting which maximized the fertility of the soil in a symbiotic relationship between cows, hog, chickens, turkeys, bugs, the sun, and the soil.  This approach maximizes the use of solar energy and minimizes the uses of external inputs, especially those which require massive amounts of fossil fuels to produce.

If you haven't read it yet, I think you would be interested in Pollan's book, Omnivore's dilemma which brilliantly describes what is wrong with our current industrial agriculture. Ethanol is just a natural byproduct of an stupid, insane, destructive, industrial approach to food and life.  That would include those who have to process this meat and those who eat the meat and all the byproducts of processed corn.  

Of course it is all tied together by one thing -- subsidies. In a nonsubsidized corn world, it is doubtful that we would have all this corn available. In the nineteenth century, the solution for all this surplus was corn whiskey.  Now the latest solution is ethanol, the twenty-first century's corn whiskey.

We are subsidizing the destruction of our soil and our soul. Nice.  


The link below


Brings you to a Norwegian blogspot that recently posted some interesting diagrams (in English) about the development in oil production and reserves for 4 groups of countries, OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development), FSU (countries in the Former Soviet Union), OPEC (which most of the readers in this group is familiar with) and ROW (Rest Of World, oil producers outside of OECD, FSU and OPEC)

R over P ratio (Reserves divided by Production) for these 4 groups of countries was as of yearend 2005;

  1. OECD   R/P = 11,2
  2. ROW    R/P = 16,6
  3. FSU     R/P = 28,4
  4. OPEC   R/P = 73,1

The 4 groups share of global oil production in 2005

  1. OECD   24 %
  2. ROW    19 %
  3. FSU     15 %
  4. OPEC   42 %

The production from the OECD countries has so far had a high as of 1997, and since been in general decline, and production declined by close to 5 % through 2005. The growth from the ROW countries did not offset the declines from the OECD countries.

The low R/P ratio for the OECD countries suggests that this group of countries could see accelerating declines in the near future, and production from the ROW (which includes Angola, Brazil and China) countries could find it challenging to offset future declines from the OECD countries.

This leaves future growth in oil supplies to come from OPEC and FSU, which as of yearend (and according to BP Statistical Review 2006) holds more than 85 % of global oil reserves.

All of this suggests that OECD countries will come to see an increasing reliance on oil supplies from OPEC and FSU.

As many of TOD readers are aware of recent data from OPEC countries, by EIA, has shown a slight decline in oil supplies.

I had seen pictures of a coal and switchgrass "co-generation" plant on TV.  It seems a 3 month test project is complete, and the results are in.  Most positive:

Reduced emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas, by a total estimated amount over 50,800 tons through reductions at the power plant,

though some might argue the second half of that same sentence:

and because the switchgrass absorbs carbon dioxide from the air during its growth cycle and stores a portion of the absorbed carbon in its deep root system -- this also improves the soil conditions on the fields where the switchgrass is grown.

more here:


That's a pretty interesting story. Something like that just may have a chance at sustainably supplying us with electricity. The one thing that the article didn't address was soil depletion. It said that the ash was sold for use in concrete, meaning nutrients are also being removed from the soil. I don't presume they can harvest switchgrass year after year without depleting the soil.


If the ash is both coal and switchgrass there's probably not much else they can do with it.  But yeah, it sound hopeful.

(my brain misfired above, should be "co-fired" not "co-gen...)

odograph -

Ash from coal is typically fairly high in heavy metals and therefore can cause various environmental problems when mixed with soil and allowed to come in contact with ground water.

Ash from switchgrass and other biomass is more benign, as long as the soil pH is controlled (e.g., water coming in contact with wood ash tends to be alkaline).
Some, but not all, of the nutrients originally present in the switchgrass will be also present in the ash, so that ash might have some benefit if reapplied to the land at a reasonable rate.

Unfortunately, most of the original nitrogen content of the switchgrass will not be present in the ash, as the nitrogenous compounds will tend to volatilize upon combustion and be released to the atmosphere as nitrogen oxide emissions. (By the way, high NOX emissions is one of the concerns regarding the combustion of animal wastes as a means of disposal.)

Sorry, that's what I was trying to get across when I said "there's probably not much else they can do with it" relating back to the earlier comment "It said that the ash was sold for use in concrete"
My understanding is that the root system of grass is affected by how it is cut. If it is cut short and repeatedly, the root system becomes more shallow.  So, over time, one would expect that less carbon is sequestered.

As far as nutrients go, I cannot see that they have discovered a free lunch here.  Grass is attractive because it does not require fossil fuel inputs for its growth. Over time, however, because they have, in effect, overgrazed the grass, it will only be sustainable by the introduction of expensive inputs like fertilizer. Then, we may be sort of back to square one.

Switchgrass = Tall Prairie Grass

Before the plains were settled Switchgrass covered millions of acres across the Great Plains.  

And every few years burned and grew back from the roots.  And never required an ounce of oil to regenerate itself.  It developed its own ability to fix nitrogen into the soils like legumes.

We plowed it under and grew corn and wheat.  With high priced oil.  Nothing grows anymore without oil.......

Lets replant the Switchgrass and let managed Buffalo herds roam wherever they want to grow protein naturally.

Nahhh.  To simple.  We would have to tear down fences and walls.  Man wants to build them.  The paradigm change will allow that to happen.  But first the weeds will take over.  

It would take thirty years for nature to reclaim itself.  

We could do it in ten.

We won't.  ADM and Monsanto are at those controls.


BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 18 -- An environmental disaster is brewing in the heartland of Iraq's northern Sunni-led insurgency, where Iraqi officials say that in a desperate move to dispose of millions of barrels of an oil refinery byproduct called "black oil," the government pumped it into open mountain valleys and leaky reservoirs next to the Tigris River and set it on fire.

Any oil patch folks here today that might give us some engineering/geology context to this report?

  This news bit isn't very specific about what they are burning, but I suspect that it is tank bottom sediment and asphalt. I'd guess that the refineries haven't upgraded much since the embargo of Iraq in 1991 and that they just seperate gasoline and kerosine and waste much of the crude . The good news is that natural organisms degrade a lot of the gunk eventually. And, if they ever end this stupid war the stuff has economic value. But ask a chemical engineer if I'm giving a plausible guess as to what's being burned
Guess it's a slow day for everyone....

Here's an article about the oil rigs and how prices have sky rocketed 30% YoY for exploration costs.  In additon rigs have almost quadrupled in price in under 18 months.  They go on to say this high prices may hurt the industry.  Isn't this like a paradox?  I mean it's like a closed system, but the affects of the oil indsutry ripple throughout the world and right back into the oil indsutry that they are forced to deal with.

The only control we have in all of this is consumption (i.e. demand).  If we all exercised some, the beast would get hungry less, no?

Supply and demand.
Until 2004, most of the rigs were underemployed, 20 years of layoffs, downsizing or 'rightsizing' bled the industry of service company support and infrastructure. New-build rigs were relatively few and far between. Worse still, a decade of Engineers, Geologists, technicians and other specialists are missing. The industry was in fact in recession for 17 out of the previous 20 years.

The net result was that when the oil prices ramped up from a low of circa 15 US/bbl, no one was prepared. The big issues from 2005 to now and continuing still is the lack of equipment and manpower. This leads to a bidding war and prices increase both for equipment and experienced manpower.

Because of the low day rates from 1986 to 2004 for both equipment and personnel, the industry cold stacked rigs, let them rust, people left etc. The industry is paying for this now.

Trouble is, accelerating rates can pinch off the viability of marginal fields and speculative exploration.

Furthermore, although a lot of industry insiders know that this is a long term boom (I know of one company who's order books for primary rig gear stretches full out to 2012), the financiers do not know if it will bust or not.

Counter statements such as Lord Browne's regarding an oil price bust are unhelpful when planning ahead.

And right now the world needs good quality forward planning like never before.  

Who backs big oil?  Banks?  Is it mostly equity financed?  Bonds?  I'm just curious where the money lies.  Anyone?

I don't necessarily agree with the recesion until 2004.  I distinctly remember 2000 as being the year gas topped $1 and stayed.  I lived in STL and we had the 2nd lowest gas price in the country.  The gas man kept saying it would come down after Y2K, but it never did.  It crept up from there on.  Now I will agree the increases weren't 10-20% in a year, but it was rising ahead of inflation.

Retained earnings are the primary source of funding.
So right now there are little bonds that energy co's would have available?  If they languished for nearly 20 years where do retained earnings come from?  Granted I know they make money, but a business downturn is simply not enjoying healthy margins.  They can break even just fine, but long term capital intensive investment is required especially in the energy sector.  They got that for the last 20 years with R.E.?
Yep.   XOM is basically debt free, as is Shell, Chevron, BP.   COP has investment grade debt, but they do not require "funding" from the debt markets for capex.  Smaller firms tend to have higher debt/cap, but still the recent trend, outside of acquisiton financing, has been to reduce debt and buy back stock.  Cash flow is not a problem.   When it was, say 10 years ago, most firms would issue both equity and debt, the debt going to the standard mix of insurance cos, pension funds, and banks.
So over the last 2 decades they have issued debts at different points, but have used free cash flow to pay down debt and buy stock back using "windfall" money?
But the oil service companies struggled from 1986 - 2004.
Hard to believe I know, but the likes of Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker had some very tough times during this period with the odd year or two of reasonable returns.

During this period, most western majors struggled and were not the doyens of the stock exchanges that they are now.

Big Oil does not actually equate to big profits during this period. In fact, during this period, oil cos consistently underperformed the stock market with ROCE's of less than 12% pa. Oil Service companies had similar, dismal returns.(compare with software and dot comms..)

During this entire period, anyone would have been completely forgiven if they invested in any of the following socially acceptable stocks: Microsoft, Pornography, Cocaine or other class A drugs and not touched the big, evil oil companies and the service companies.

Face facts: The industry that has driven the western world became a cinderella in the last two decades. Now of course, the industry is an evil, gouging monster.

A new high - tech , deep water , HPHT derrick semisubmersible offshore rig costs circa half a billion dollars from blue prints to sea trials. Very few new builds occured between 1986 and 1996. People left the industry in droves. Young Graduate Engineers and Geoscientists stayed away in droves. Everybody became Lawyers and Psychologists and aromatherapists.

Not only is the kit expensive, but good people are expensive too.

Now costs are going up and everybody is bitching.

Once upon a time, the USA was the major rig builder in the world, lot of skilled and ultra-skilled , high tech jobs, wages that could feed a family, all down in Baton Rouge and Houston. A lot of that has been 'globalised'.

You dont know what you got till its gone.

  The domestic US oil industry was in recession because of low prices combined with higher extraction costs in smaller fields with older wells. The big boys overseas did pretty well, but the smaller domestic producer's languished.
   I'm a landman. I buy oil leases and clear land titles, mostly in Texas. Very few people were trained in my specialty because no one uses many landmen overseas where all the minerals are owned by the government. Day rates for experienced field landmen have gone from $200 a day in 1990 to $500 a day or more today because most guys left the business. I did myself, but have been lured back by the money. The same is true for geologists and production engineers-everbody either retired, died or left for other professions.
   Lately I have been looking around for a shallow drilling rig on the Gulf Coast of Texas to drill a shallow (2500') salt dome prospect. I can't find one to give me a quote. The equipment is stacked and rusty and the drilling hands are all workng in north and east Texas on rigs drilling Barnett Shale and Cotton Valley Lime. Hopefully, one will turn up because its a good, economic prospect.
   I plan to sell interests in the prospect myself to people I know that like to take a flyer on oil prospects, plus I have a couple of friends who have drilling funds. And that's how we will get the money.

According to MEES


Saudi Oil Output Falls Below OPEC Quota To 9.05Mn B/D In May On Weak Demand
Saudi oil production fell to 9.05mn b/d in May, pulling back from a revised level of 9.1mn b/d in April and well down from the March assessment of 9.42mn b/d as Saudi Aramco cut exports in response to lower demand from refiners, particularly in Asia, MEES learns

Demand still dropping? Only for Saudi oil??

1 pm CST
CNBC announced that they will be answering the question "Are we running out of oil and returning to the stone ages?" over the next hour, in which Kunstler will be interviewed.
Thanks, caught a little of it.  In my opinion the format didn't really lend itself.  They said to you trust the EIA numbers?  He says no, points out the major fields are in decline, and predicts the end of Disney World, Walmart, and the interstate highway system.

I'm guessing that it wouldn't "catch" with a PO newbie.

Yes, he specifically mentioned that Saudi can't produce, that no alternatives will match oil energy, and said that "it will not be the end of the world as we know it" but that it will be very difficult.  It was a short interview, but for CNBC it was a pretty good start.
This year, more than $300 billion worth of hybrid ARMs will readjust for the first time. That number will jump to approximately $1 trillion in 2007, according to the MBA. Monthly payments will leap too, many beyond what homeowners can afford.

Last year, foreclosures hit a historical low nationwide at about 50,000. But that number has more than doubled since then, according to Foreclosure.com.

That last part is intersting b/c the foreclosures hit a low (last year), just as equity cash out(last year) was peaking.  Not to mention the staggering nominal amount that will reset next year should scare banks.

How will we deal with peak oil? It's a question most of us in TOD think about a lot. Here a two interesting examples of how mainstream Conservative european politicians look at the problem, and what they appear to think are viable solutions. Now, I'm not saying this is the way it's going to go down, only it is, I think, an indication about current Conservative attitudes in europe. You'll have to excuse me paraphrasing a lot, because I was cooking and listening to the radio at the same time!

The first comes from Liam Fox, who is the UK Conservative party's defence spokesman. He recently gave a speach in London at Chatham House, which is a conservative defence thinktank. Fox is concerned about how our reliance on foreign energy imports is going to become the paramount security consideration facing us in the coming decades. How can we remain politically independent, when we are becoming increasingly energy dependent? Here, Russia is seen as the main cause for concern. How will europe's relationship to Russia develope as we come to rely on them for more and more of our oil and gas? But he also mentioned Hugo Chavez and Venezuela and the problem of 'resource nationalism'. That is, countries that use their energy resources to promote their political or ideological agenda. According to Fox enegry policy and security policy are becoming one and the same thing, and we have to diversify our energy sector pronto!

I think the concept of 'resource nationalism' and how we deal with it, is going to come up increasingly in the future.

The next guy I heard as I was Germany's defence minister Franz Jozef Jung. He pointed out that German's and the german army were going to have to get used to the idea of seeing the german military being deployed anywhere in the globe in order to safeguard germany's energy supplies in an increasingly uncertain world. What really interested me was he remarks about foreign countries refusing to invest and produce energy in the quantities western countries require, especially now, when demand from China and India is also increasing dramatically. Jung appeared to hint that oil producing countries that refused to increase production rates would be regarded as hostile and a threat to our fundamental economic and security interests.

Basically I think what both these guys really mean is, that we are going to get the oil and gas we need, one way or another, the hard way or the easy way.

'' being deployed anywhere in the globe in order to safeguard germany's energy supplies ''

Did they not try this once before?

Maybe thats why they have re-instituted the Eisern Kruetz

So, in other words, let's kill a bunch of people because we haven't figured out a way to do without what they produce even if they are not producing full out based on the very sensible notion that they might want to conserve a valuable resource so their children and grandchildren won't live in absolute poverty.

Morality aside, this seems be a rather short sighted view of the oil situation.  We need to start killing people so that we can run out of what we need as quickly as possible so that our children will live in some sort of post industrial, post energy  shit hole fighting over recylced toilets.  

I just got done reading ASPO-USA and there was the following item:

4. Energy Briefs
* Offshore oil and gas drilling contractor GlobalSantaFe said it has
signed a contract with Saudi Aramco to provide four jack-up rigs for
four-year terms commencing in the first half of 2007. The Saudi Aramco
agreement is believed to be the largest jackup agreement in the history
of the offshore drilling industry.

Is there a typo or something? I find it hard to believe that 4 jackup rigs would be the largest jackup agreement in the history of offshore drilling?
Can any of those with industry knowledge comment please.

Largest in dollars?
Day rates.
Money magazine has an article called 5 ways to save by living green.  Mostly the usual stuff - buy PCFs, don't speed, buy energy-efficient appliances, etc.

But the last one on the list is interesting: Buy a human power generator from Windstream Power.  (They also sell small wind turbines for home use.)

The human power generator appears to be a bike-type deal that turns your pedaling into electricity.  Cancel the gym membership and lower your power bill.  Or make your couch potato kids earn their TV or Playstation time.  ;-)

Buy a human power generator from Windstream Power

Human watt generating capacity:

Lance Amstrong - 644 watts when trying really hard.
400 or so watts cont. for 6-8 hours

Average human - 150 to 200 watts if you want to try an get 8 hours.

One solar panel is worth one mans labor during a sunny day.

At $0.25 a kwh and $500 for the generator....I'm not seeing the money-energy payoff.    

They're counting cancelling your gym membership.

Also, you could use this in a city apartment.  Not so with a solar panel or wind turbine.

Leanan -

Makes a good argument for reinstituting slavery, doesn't it?

Sit in the comfort of your air-conditioned home and enjoy your various electronic entertainments whilst a team of üntermenschen furiously pedal away,  prodded on by the lash of your live-in overseer. The only drawback is that you have to give these people food and water, but I suppose we can always feed them the slops left over from ethanol production. A truly symbiotic relationship with a pretty good EROEI.  

Perhaps these human power generators will become the galleys of the 21st century and a means of dealing with enemies of the state.  

The final solution to the people problem.

It would be a lot easier to just have a lot of kids.  ;-)
This is why in farming cultures you had a lot of kids - takes a lot of animal power to run a farm and on a pound for pound basis, humans are about the hardest working animals there are.  The Hawaiians had no beasts of burden, and did all their farmwork themselves, and were prodigious workers. The sailing captains loved to get 'em as sailors because they were such hard workers. Farming cultures tend to go two ways though, toward overuse of the ecosystem and population crash, or with a lucky/smart few, sustainability like in historical India, Vietnam, Tikopia.

Can't people see that if we didn't command much "horsepower" in the pre-oil era, we're not going to be able to in the post-oil era? Pre-oil ppl weren't dumb, if SUVs were actually possible pre-oil, if cars were possible to run on whale oil or melted beeswax or the rendered fat of prisoners, if there were that much of the resource, we'd probably have had the things a thousand years ago.

The truth is, there just WASN'T THE ENERGY. People go around with 1 horsepower if they hitched up the wagon. Most of the time one people power as in walking. Electricity was for "signal" use not power use. The telegraph network was powered by batteries in jars, no kidding, research it. No generators, no hydroelectric, it was powered, the whole thing, by jars of chemicals before it was powered by later stuff.

If we're lucky, we'll get to keep bicycles, the telegraph, and simple radio.

> If we're lucky, we'll get to keep bicycles, the telegraph, and simple radio.

And about a TW of hydro, nuclear and wind power electricity. That is more then 100W per capita for the world and a kW ought to be reasonable. This and accumulated knowledge is a world of difference compared with life 200 years ago.

Hello Leanan,

If the average human can only generate 125 watts, just imagine how many people it would take to power the average American home with AC/heat, hot water, and all the various electrical appliances and electronic toys!  Most Americans flip a switch in total ignorance of just how many 'energy slaves' we really use during the course of a day.

Peak household power draw may require a backyard full of 200 people pedaling their asses off, and trickle-charging the batteries for an electrified SUV with a reasonable range may require another 200 people pedaling 24/7 too.  Yikes!

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

Most powerful force on earth-no comments
The human power generator appears to be a bike-type deal that turns your pedaling into electricity.
Remember Soylent Green?
Anybody /Everybody should see that one again
, you know they even mention the year 2006. Its is kinda spooky,
"The Soylent Green, Its PEOPLE!!

Does anyone know when this movie will be released? in small theaters or on DVD or ?

Their website is pretty "mum" about when or how you could see the movie, other than listing recent film festivals it been at.
A crude awakening
The Oil Crash                                   
A 90 minute documentary on the planet's dwindling oil resources

I e-mailed the producer and received a reply as follows:

both cinema and DVD release envisaged for the autumn in the U. S. - we'll keep you posted.  This reply was from Ray McCormack of Lava Productions.  

The Financial times reports today that GE is hot for some coal-to-gas process (that they got from Chevron) so that people will still want their gas generators.  Is there a significant difference 'twixt CTG and CTL?

[Also FT reports that the oil cos say that we're rolling in refinery capacity and oil.]

Yeah, there is a difference. CTG is the first half of the CTL process. CTL takes a lot more capital.

Have you got a link, or was this in the print version? I can't find the comment about "rolling in refinery capacity" on their web site. That statement simply isn't true. We are rolling compared to where we were 6 months ago, but capacity is still tight.


Over at Energy Pulse is an article about placing large arrays of PV in geosync orbit, use that power to beam intense microwaves to a field of "rectennas" then convert the resultant DC to AC to feed the grid.  The article made many economic arguments but never mentioned mow much energy would be needed to lift tons of mass 22,000 miles. It was a very well written article about a very stupid idea.  Just like all those trillions of bbls of oil in the Colorado shales that we shouldn't even bother extracting the solar energy available in space doesn't mean a thing down here.
And the resulting shade will stop global warming


we're saved!

Just checking some stock quotes today. Keithster's favorite stock, Pacific Ethanol, down 30% over the past 2 weeks and 50% over the past month. People are starting to see through the sham.


Robert Reich's comment on inflation worries. Short read, but interesting.
A small local bookstore has hired a new employee. Guy seems cool, let me take my coffee in with me, knows who R. Crumb and Richard Dawkins are. Not bad. I asked about Peak Oil books, he knew where to find 'em.

I finally asked, "What do you think of the Peak Oil theory?" He basically told me the standard cornucopian line, that we're innovate our way into all the oil we need, no problem.

This is what we're up against.

Oh my god. It's far worse than I imagined. Even the bookstore clerks are against us. Who do you think bought them off?
Oh my god. It's far worse than I imagined. Even the bookstore clerks are against us! Who do you think bought them off?
OMG that chart!! I love it!! Can I append it to each message now, like the "Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast?" thing?


how's this look? Does the red make me look fat?

Hello TODers,

The upcoming Mexico elections maybe crucial to Westexas & Khebab's export depletion theory:


Also, many Mexicans remember the crucial role played by  Presidente' Lazaro Cardenas against the US national oil companies:


Will Mexico be the first exporter to stop exporting?  Cantarell is going up the tubes extremely fast!

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

Indonesia and the United Kingdom beat them.
Hello Alan,

You are correct, but I was thinking in regards to the 1.7 million barrels/day of Mexican oil headed north to us Gringos.  This will very shortly be politically unsustainable down Mexico way as more dire social problems will require this energy for Mexican mitigation.  Looming Mexican water and food shortages will trump powering US SUVs and viewing big screen HDTVs in A/C comfort.

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

a good series of 6 articles on america as melting pot from 1998 from Washingtom Post covers a lot of stuff talked  about above by everyone and easier than buying a book:



As a child of immigrants (Canada/Irish catholic and English protestant) born and raised in Alaska who has emigrated to Germany 15 years ago and married Russian/German with 2 trilingual children I find the topic fascinating. Personal identity changes from generation to generation.