DrumBeat: June 23, 2006

Update [2006-6-23 9:17:39 by Leanan]: President Clinton raises the alarm about oil depletion. Looks like he's read Twilight In the Desert, and thinks Matt Simmons is correct.

Iran to halt gasoline imports, impose rationing

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will halt gasoline imports from September 23 and start rationing gasoline supplies to motorists because of budget constraints, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said on Friday.

Parliamentarians in the OPEC producer approved a budget for the year to March 2007 that cut the amount to be spent on gasoline imports to $2.5 billion from $4 billion.

This meant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's populist government, which draws its support from the poor, was faced with an unappetising choice of hiking petrol prices or rationing, both potential sources of social discontent.

What will you be driving in 10 years?

Perhaps a diesel hybrid, fuel cell or industrial-sized popcorn popper

One thing is for certain, though, the next 10 years to 15 years will change what we drive more dramatically than anything we have experienced during the past 50 years of automotive history.
Update [2006-6-23 9:36:19 by Leanan]: Ukraine Scrambling To Crisis Over Gas Supplies
MOSCOW — Ukraine is scurrying to form a government coalition and head off a gas crisis that could hit July 1, when its controversial supply deal with Russia expires.

Leaders of Orange Revolution factions announced Wednesday they had reached a last-minute coalition deal. But with just two days left to collect signatures before parliament must be dissolved, Turkmenistan announced it could cut off gas supplies.

On the U.S. political front...

3 Oil Firms May Alter Gulf Leases

Facing angry lawmakers from both political parties, executives from three major oil companies — Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips — indicated on Wednesday that they might be willing to give up sizable taxpayer subsidies for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

But one of the most active players in the gulf, the Kerr-McGee Corporation, showed no signs of compromise and told a House hearing that it was entitled to the subsidies — known as royalty relief — even if oil prices remained above $70 a barrel. And Exxon Mobil said it saw no reason for the subsidies to be changed.

Maybe that Cape Cod windfarm will be built after all: Lawmakers reach compromise on wind farm.

World Cup, Al Gore, go "carbon neutral."

Speaking of carbon... A Torrent of Darkness

“THE AIR WAS SO THICK that I thought I was choking,” she said. “The pollution was just unbelievable. All the locals wore surgical masks, and so did almost everyone in our group. I would get back to the hotel room and I had black lines of soot all over my face. I would cough up black phlegm all evening. I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s and 1960s and I never saw anything like it before.” The speaker was a close acquaintance who visited China about two months ago.

And you can see streaming video of T. Boone Pickens on The Charlie Rose Show here.

Lehman Brothers says Oil and gas firms' spending accelerating. They were expecting it to increase 14.7%; instead, it's 21.3%. Not including Aramco.

The Saudis say they have foiled another attack: Saudi forces shoot dead six al-Qaida men.

Update [2006-6-23 12:58:47 by Leanan]: EPA report concludes 'boutique' fuels not the culprit in high gas prices.

"Boutique" gasoline blends to help states meet clean air rules are not a factor in higher prices as President Bush has suggested, says a draft of a study ordered by the White House.

...Facing growing public outrage over soaring gasoline prices, Bush ordered the study on April 25 in a speech in which he attributed high gas prices in part to the growth of special fuels.

It's not just gasoline: rising electricity rates are becoming an issue. In Maryland, the governor vetoed a utility relief plan. Consumers are facing a 72% rise in rates. In Pennsylvania, they are trying to deregulate without the price spikes Maryland is facing.
Interesting that the Iranian government would say that they are unable to pay for imported gasoline while crude prices are so high.  It would seem that the budget surplus from the high-than-predicted crude prices would be enough to pay for the higher gasoline price.

The interesting part is that an enbargo of gasoline exports to Iran has often been mentioned as a possible sanction if Iran does not stop enrichment.  Instead of a budget issue, a suspension of gasoline imports may be Iran's way to prepare for forced lower domestic consumption and a way to neutralize the threat as a negotiating tactic.

Good point. This would certainly seem to be a possibility.
Certainly a good move on the Ayatullahs' part! Go on the "diet" before anyone forces them to. This does a lot to reduce sanctions' effects if we go and do it up. A minor problem is pissing off those college grad kids who are waiting for some Westernism to get there. They want Westernism to some extent but the clerics don't.

Who knows? Maybe they might see the light in that just you wait for Mohommed to return but he will not. Kind of like Melanesians who set up airports waiting for us Americans to come back not understanding our logistical/economic system. (Melanesians are prone to "cargo cults" due to WW v.2.0)

Why all the doom gloom and threats?

Here is a reply I sent to a reply I received from Grey Zone on a different thread here...

I can tell by your name that you are cerebral. You read all of my posts? Could you not have stepped into the conversation sooner? If you noticed this site uses blog software and it is not suited well to involved conversations. It is difficult at best to reply and respond since the thread becomes fragmented.
Your comments are cleaver and I'll bet you have to work hard at being that cleaver? You commented that my plan is nonsense. Then you commented that I went off topic. Then you said that if I'm serious about my nonsense then nature's cull of Homo sapiens is an example of why humans will be culled. Mr. Grey Zone, I hope that you are able to locate help for your issues prior to the cull.

I can go off topic or choose to discuss topics that go in a lighter direction. Some may laugh and others may be too cerebral or clever. As it happens I had been talking with another member for some time and I decided to break the cold w/ warmth and a smile.

I don't know if you envy me or maybe you have a lot of pride but it has been a while since I have been called a useless parasite. Possibly that was a threat based on the words you elected to use. You believe that I would purge you or something like that.

You could point out to me the place I used the word 'purged' and then query me as to what I was talking about. Here is your comment, "If you come to "purge" me, be forewarned that I plan to purge useless parasites like you first."

"If you come" -this opens a conditional statement used to catch my attention since you are about to follow up with some dick waving.

"to "purge" me" -here you twist words that were never directed to you and conclude that when I say, "Purge" I am threatening you with death or punishment.

"be forewarned that I plan" -now you threaten me with a warning and state that you have a plan.

"to purge" -using this does two things. #1 It verifies that you feel that purge means murder, harm, kill and #2 it defines your plan.

"useless parasites like you" -in this you claim that my penis is smaller then yours in an attempt to induce me to take the bait.

"first" -(this is the best part) here you claim that after you kill me or dispense with me there are more people on your list to "purge" this shows that you are not stable at best and possibly a killer.

You have issues good luck with them!

My point is that we need a plan. The graphs and all are depressing. Here is how depressing PO is as people I don't know decide that threats will help things. I love debates but threatening to PURG me is not a plan. I read back over my posts to look at how I used "purge" and this is what I said...

I see it as fair that housing, food and energy for all would be free. Those that are determined to do as little as possible will not earn any credits. They will have the basics and not be lying in the streets. Over time this sort of lifestyle would be purged. The social issue of the day is that the middle class are disproportionately burdened by taxes and consumer prices.

No death threats at all. I called being lazy a lifestyle that would be purged. I didn't say or imply how. I simply assumed the lazy behavior would go away. I might be lazy today but tomorrow that feeling is replaced by the desire for a new pair of shoes... Cha ching PURGED

Grey Zone is frustrated. He does not like learning that we are like rats or mice on a wheel. He has become a doomer. There are many doomers these days...

  1. Weather Doomers
  2. PO Doomers
  3. Bible Doomers
  4. Disease Doomers
  5. Magnetic Reversal Doomers
  6. And on and on and on...

What is the point of worrying about spilled milk? If I want to survive I need hope. I need to see the threats. I need to make plans. I need to make alliances. I need to laugh, etc.

Come on in the sky is falling! Holly shit we are all gonna die... Well yea we are so what is your plan till we do? Will you purge me? Will you purge hope? We happen to be on a journey and we don't know exactly what will happen. As I said several times in that thread, "Tell me your plan or help me with mine!"

If you don't like graphs, this is not the site for you.  
 See this is communication. I commented that graphs are depressing. I didn't say they were not needed. Apparently you are showing me the door. Thanks, I'll be just dandy. I posted about how people act. I have a point of view as you do. You showed me the door but you didn't threaten to purge me off the site! When free speech becomes threats then anything can happen. The small part I mentioned about graphs is the least important part of my post.
PO Graphs are depressing. PO is depressing. Being threatened is depressing. And on and on!
GreyZone posted what set you off yesterday at what looks like just before he signed off, judging from the timeline of comments. You should let him respond to your response before progressing. Everybody should just relax.
LOL    I see your point and I'm not exactly shaking in my shoes about him purging me. Regardless, receiving threats of any sort for posts here or any place is uncalled for and morally repugnant. You may agree or disagree with me and/or the posts I make however you must agree that direct threats like this one are out of order. So rather than explaining this yesterday I rather just have it out here in the open today!

I was wrong and promptly admitted it comes to mind. As per graphs the people here have talents yet the results get more and more depressing. Suppose decline goes over 12% then we are at or off the cliff. Surely most of us will no longer have an internet connection and will not get to see the graphs any more. This is why I want to see plans now since it is all mixed together.

Frankly I have been reading this site for much longer than I have been posting on it. I don't remember my first visit here. PO is peaking frustration since the squeeze is on all of us. If I move too far down the doomer path then the point of attending this site becomes just as meaningless is I go too far down into denial.

My future wife and I sometimes watch the news and the propaganda is thick. Why are gas prices so high? Well it's the war you see. How many doomers does it take to change a light bulb? None, since the light is to blame! I have many doom moments too!


Are you even serious? Look, so far in that other thread you called for giving people free energy, free food, free healthcare, and then you say you will "purge" (YOUR CHOICE OF WORDS NOT MINE) anyone who does not go along with your program.

I can't even have a rational conversation with such a position. You are like a child demanding we all live in a fictional place like Middle Earth, sing kumbayah, and roast marshmallows around the campfire for the next billion years.

You do NOT have a plan. You have an irrational wishlist that has no relationship to reality, what homo sapiens is, and how we have behaved to date. If you think that demanding that we behave differently is going to make us change our behavior then you don't understand natural selection at all.

You are the one that used the word "purge" first. Don't get all sanctimonious with me when you started this. You are a Stalin-lite, full of nonsensical ideas and willing to "purge" people who don't cooperate. Well guess what? The rest of us may not roll over and let you "purge" us at all.

Free energy? Free food? Free healthcare? Who is going to provide all this? Oh... it's not really free is it? In other words, you are incapable of even using the English language clearly. You don't even know what you are saying. What you are really proposing is a system of quotas whereby everyone gets the same amount of such things (and the rich don't get to have more than the poor) but have you looked at history and why such utopian BS never works?

I see you waffling on your use of the word purged too. How are you going to make lazy lifestyles go away if someone else doesn't want to cooperate? What are you going to do, wish them into compliance with your new world order? How are you going to make people stop behaving in a way that you don't like? Answer that please.

Homo sapiens is a nasty species, especially compared to other mammals. It's precisely why we are at the top of the heap on this planet right now. It's why we are capable and willing to go to war and kill one another whereas most other mammals won't do such things. This is how we've been naturally selected, and any "plan" for the future that fails to account for what we are is no plan at all.

Issues? You are the one with issues. You are the one living in a total fantasy world. Good luck with your "plan" because I can guarantee that several billion others are not going to cooperate with such nonsense. Deal with that reality.

And my final comment yesterday still stands. TOD is a community focused on reality not fantasy. Bringing utopian fantasies here doesn't help solve anything.

Ah, the threatener/doomer has arrived! First go to that thread and copy and paste the offending "purge" comment that I made here so we can talk about it like adults.
Go do your own homework, Stalin. Don't order me around, Stalin.
I did and it is in the first post I made on this thread!
I'm still waiting
Listen fella you banter all sorts of BS here. You have no right to tell me what I can talk about and you have no right to stipulate what is or isn't allowed. Nothing gives you that right.

Back to the point show me the comment that says I will purge anyone who does not agree. Show me how I became a dictator while you're at it. I was under the impression there would be elections. Not only free homes fella homes that are efficient and yours till you die unless relocation becomes necessary as in eminent domain!

Show me the money honey!

And additionally, YOU are the one that brought up Mayan calendars, 4 angels, 144000 servants of god, the earth reversing its spin, and Bill Gates retiring as all "relevant" to this entire discussion.

Pseudo-mystical nonsense doesn't have a place here, thank you very much. The great strength of TOD has been in facts, data, and clear headed thinking, not in pseudo-mystical nonsense.

Still waiting
Then you are going to wait a damned long time.
No. You can't show it since it is not something I said. You used it as a threat and that is the point of this post! You have made yourself a liar!
I don't know who said what and why and when. And how and under which circumstances and what have you. I don't know.

But I do know that every time I see two grown up guys getting into an argument here, they must be americans.

Never see a Swede beating up a Chinaman, or vice versa. Or a guy from paris doing a block-block-jab on a guy from Brazil.

This is not high school. You can't bully your way around.

Can you guys go back to the way mom told you? Even in the blog world, it's no good all this shouting. If you would rase your voice to your neighbor like this, he would call the police. Or the Sherif, if you are from Texas ;-)

(The last line is a joke. Don't shoot me, I am unarmed and I have no WMD. No oil either ;-)

How many times do you go online and get your safety or life threatened on TOD??
Alpha Omega,

To tell you the truth, I don't think anybody has ever treatened me in my whole life.

Feel free to scroll up and read the entire post from the point I started here today. He twisted the meaning around rather than debate it if he had a doubt. Purge or purged are only words. This guy makes the case for why we have laws. I get threatened for a word. The name calling on his part is fine but threats are another matter!

Do you have to sling playground persiflage back and forth here on the valuable real estate of TOD?  Can't you take this somewhere else please?


although persiflage is probably not the best word to describe it as you two are not softly teasing each other :-/
Netiquette Rule #7

But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

Please be kind and rewind.


I'm pretty much the only one talking Bradshaw. The other fella said I would be waiting a long time. I posted the facts and we shall see what we see.
Let me ask you this...
Suppose you're online and Greyzone traces your IP and manages to find out information about you (location, time zone, sex, age, name, street address, work address). At some point this person threatens you in such a way that you are not completely sure if you or your family are SAFE any longer. You don't know what Greyzone knows regarding networks, weapons, etc.
What would you do?
I would ignore him.  I recommend you do the same.  It's the best way to deal with people you can't get along with online.
99% of the time that would be the case. I'm pretty sure I was physically threatened and I leave this in the hands of TPTB here @ TOD to determine. I wanted to give Greyzone the opportunity to retract that comment. He did not and thickened the gravy instead. So yes it is wise to ignore such an ass I can't help but feel chased away from a thing that I like. He has a blog and I don't go to it or threaten him! I have not threatened him as far as I can see.
You weren't threatened.  Lighten up and move on.  We'll all be happier if you do.  

And ask yourself if you are really contributing anything to this "thing that you like" by continuing this.

He did threaten me! Is he going to purge me? I doubt it!
Leanan how is this:
You give me a block/iggy button and that is no issue!
You give me a block/iggy button and that is no issue!

I wish I could.  Believe you me, I would be making use of such a function myself, if it existed.

You can try PeakOil.com.  They have an Ignore function there.

Your sweet! XXX
You're right, you should unplug right now.

Are you serious?  Seriously, you should just move off topic... post about something else... and get on with your day.

I'm going to lunch, Hey Greyzone, see if you can back trace my IP, I'm spoofing trough 4 IPs right now see if you can geo-target me :)


Why would I want to waste time tracing your IP? Or the IP of AlphaOmega? I never once suggested I would do such. End-of-the-world-Mayan-calendar boy here said that. Go argue with him about crazy scenarios he wants to concoct in his addled brain.
GreyZone, I was joking... relax, enjoy your weekend :)
I think we could measure how close we are to Peak Oil by the increase of insanity and paranoia in the general population.
would you like me to chart that for you?  provide some data sir and I will post an image shortly :-)
OK...first data point.

(scale of 1-10; 1 not at all and 10 totally)

     Insane   Paranoid
Me -  2          1

Current Day:
     Insane   Paranoid
Me -    8        3

Who's next?
You asked for it, you got it.  Toyota?


Ha...OK...You took some liberty with the extrapolations.  2004 I was probably a 9/9 due to elections and have somewhat settled since then.  Sometimes "best fit" is not the most accurate.
By the way...I just bought a Toyota...how wierd...did you read my mind...are you stalking me?

Oops...better add a point to my paranoid stat.

Yes, I am stalking you, nice car BTW... and cut your hair.
In my defense you did not provide all data points so I indeed took liberty :-)
Insanity/paranoia/religion sure took off around the Y2K scare. Since then, it's taken off like a Gulfstream 5 with a hefty dose of steroids in the tanks of diesel - and with a few Burt Rutan rockets as JATO rockets added for flavour. (Sure would be a fun plane to drive!:)

My impression is that the Y2K computer failure wasn't computers but the minds of too many Americans and the people in the Middle East. It's like people abandoned logic and reason en masse and embraced delusion in the form of religion. BTW, a Gulfstream 5 is a business jet like a Lear Jet, only about 60mph faster. (stock version) Google the license plate "N379P" for details! That's the infamous Gitmo Express license number in an earlier incarnation.

Hello Dragonfly41,

This is confirmed by Hans Seleye's General Adaptation Syndrome [GAS] and numerous other scientifically peer-reviewed studies among all over-stressed and confined species.  Here is a good link by Reg Morrision, reknown author of "The Spirit in the Gene" and "Plague Species":


See the PDF article called "Hydrogen: Humanity's Maker and Breaker".

A GAS attack

I have previously inferred that an auto-collapse mechanism is built into the genomes of most plague animals.32 Evolutionary safeguards are triggered in social species when
populations grow exponentially and stress levels rise. This results in a predictable spectrum of physiological and behavioural responses that invariably reduce the population's fertility below replacement level. The Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye in 1936 named these responses the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS),33 and many
other studies have corroborated Selye's findings. A GAS decline typically appears well before famine and disease begin to cull the population, and its hormonal `fingerprint'
often persists in wild mouse populations long after the population has shrunk to plague levels and the habitat has recovered. GAS has led to the local extinction of a species
in some instances.34

Why should this concern us? There are four reasons:

1. There is no evidence that we are fundamentally distinct from other species. We too are shaped, driven and manipulated, both directly and indirectly, by our DNA, and
no basic distinction has ever been detected in the biological fabric of our bodies--or in our behavioural drives.

  1. The graph of our population growth for most of the past century was exponential and precisely mirrored that of any mammal entering what we call a plague phase.

  2. All plagues end in similar fashion, with a population collapse that mirrors their exponential growth. Such an abrupt termination is essential to the evolutionary
process. If it did not occur, `successful' species could proliferate indefinitely, endangering the existence of all life on Earth. This does not happen.

4. It follows that evolution's auto-collapse mechanism must therefore reside in the evolutionary process itself and persist via genetic replication. I would argue that
this safeguard is essentially expressed via Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome. I would further argue that our species now displays most of the GAS symptoms and has already begun its GAS decline. And most significantly, many of our fertility inhibitors are associated with either a surfeit or dearth of hydrogen.

Our genes are not our friends.  The question is can we collectively outsmart them?  Most Geneticists and Historians think we cannot, but a small part of me remains optomistic [but that could just be delusion from GAS].

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

Have you ever read "The Selfish Gene"?


The Selfish Gene is a very popular and somewhat controversial book on evolutionary theory by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. The phrase "selfish gene" in the title of the book was coined by Dawkins as a provocative way of expressing the gene-centric view of evolution, which holds that evolution is best viewed as acting on genes, and that selection at the level of organisms or populations almost never overrides selection on genes. More precisely, an organism is expected to evolve to maximise its inclusive fitness - the number of copies of its genes passed on globally (rather than by a particular individual). As a result, populations will tend towards an evolutionarily stable strategy. The book also coins the term meme, for a unit of human cultural evolution analogous to the gene, suggesting that such "selfish" replication may also model human culture, in a different sense. Memetics has become the subject of many studies since the publication of the book.

Hello Dragonfly41,

Not yet, but I have read a lot of book reviews, excerpts, and brilliant discussion by Jay Hanson, Ron Patterson, Reg, Nate [theLastSasquatch], Matt Savinar, AngryChimp, and others at Dieoff_Q&A over time.  IMHO, Jay was a true, very patient intellectual supernova--very rare--I miss his webprescense greatly, even though I have never met him, but I am glad his writings are plastered all over the WWWeb. I remain in awe of these gents, but I think I have fairly good grasp of the basic Thermo-Gene Collision principles as explained in the hundreds of pages at Dieoff.com.  I still consider myself to be a newbie having first discovered PO in summer 2003. I have got a lot to learn with very little time.  Thxs for responding.

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


One of the reasons I am the doomer that I am is precisely because of this stuff.  I've been into sustainable living for over 30 years and know what's involved.  And, what's involved is adopting a different reality.  That's not going to happen.

I'm currently working on a tongue-in-cheek (but serious)post entitled An Interview with a Doomer.

Hello Todd,

I anxiously await it's arrival.  Please submit to EnergyBulletin if you think it will be newsworthy.

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

This is the greatest place.  Someone asks for crazy people info and voila, someone KNOWS even that.  Rock on people!
Still waiting for the quote I used
As a geologist long since retired, I try to keep current through reading and following events on the net.  Newspapers are not much help.  TV is a disaster.  The convergence of climate change, depletion of fuels,  political volatility and general angst is fascinating. The breadth of information and flux of views on this site has me spending more time than I really want to.  I have learned from both AlphaOmega and Grayzone -- thank you, guys!  But your postings today frayed the thread some.  To Doom or not to Doom: that is the question.

--Cheers, Mort  

Indeed, this is over a couple of blog posts! Imagine if these 2 are next to each other in the same 3 block line at the gas station a few (years / months / hours depending on your "doom level") both hoping to get the last 2 gallon ration so they can make it to work for the week...

When I said a few threads ago that folks don't scare me as individuals, but only as collectives I think I spoke too soon...


 Hey John,
You are exaggerating a point. If I attack you in a post or message or call or at dinner or at work or at a gas station you would not turn the other cheek for long. One of the issues here is that this is simply blog software. No private messages, no way to ignore someone offensive and no moderator to cool discussions down before they get to hot.
John if I gave you a rash of shit there is no reason for you to tolerate it. So look at what you fellas are doing you can see there is an issue? I know you can see there is an issue, so now you jump in and take the piss out of it.

The 2 offending parties from your point of view don't seem to be talking so let me just show them what sort of asses they are by taking the piss out. He would PURGE me then blame you for it if you were on the gas line. Think about this if you met me you would have no idea who I was and who knows same goes for the other guy.

If you bothered to read the very first post I made spoke to exactly what you commented about. I happened to be more interested in hearing wobble head. I admit that went no place.

So what's the point?

Here's my other cheek :)
Check this out. Just today, I told a friend to keep the remaining $1.52 change after I bought him lunch and myself where he went to get it this: Keep the buck-50 for 2 fifths of gas. He did, and I meant it. He laughed when I said it... but sure what I meant in terms of gas prices.

You know it's getting bad when people start thinking in terms of fifths when talking about gasoline instead of drinkable ethanol! Just wait. It'll get to a buck a fifth all too bloody soon here in America. My car gets about 5 miles a fifth with A/C used. %.5 miles/fifth without. (closed cabin)

Queue the "war on terror" and "global warming" scare.  It's time to change the paradigm...

Ya ya I know, it's "satire".



POLITICAL: Like the inspection-scheme surrogates, proposals for plenipoteniary international police are inherently incompatible with the ending of the war system. The "unarmed forces" variant, amended to include unlimited powers of economic sanction, might conceivably be expanded to constitute a credible ex- ternal menace. Development of an acceptable threat from "outer space," presuma- bly in conjunction with a space-research surrogate for economic control, appears unpromising in terms of credibility. The environmental-pollution model does not seem sufficiently responsive to immediate social control, except through arbitrary acceleration of current polution trends; this in turn raises questions of political acceptability. New, less regressive, approaches to the creation of fictitious global "enemies" invite further investigation.

Nevertheless, an effective political substitute for war would require "alternate enemies," some of which might seem equally farfetched in the context of the current war system. It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the principal apparent threat to the survival of the species. Poisoning of the air, and of the principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at first glance would seem promising in this respect; it constitutes a threat that can be dealt with only through social organization and political power. But from present indications it will be a generation to a generation and a half before environmental pollution, however severe, will be sufficiently menacing, on a global scale, to offer a possible basis for a solution.

It is true that the rate of pollution could be increased selectively for this purpose; in fact, the mere modifying of existing programs for the deterrence of pollution could speed up the process enough to make the threat credible much sooner. But the pollution problem has been so widely publicized in recent years that it seems highly improbably that a program of deliberate environ- mental poisoning could be implemented in a politically acceptable manner.

However unlikely some of the possible alternate enemies we have mentioned may seem, we must emphasize that one must be found, of credible quality and magnitude, if a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration. It is more probably, in our judgement, that such a threat will have to be invented, rather than developed from unknown conditions. For this reason, we believe further speculation about its putative nature ill- advised in this context. Since there is considerable doubt, in our minds, that any viable political surrogate can be devised, we are reluctant to compromise, by premature discussion, any possible option that may eventually lie open to our government.


The following substitute institutions, among others, have been proposed for consideration as replacements for the nonmilitary functions of war. That they may not have been originally set forth for that purpose does not preclude or invalidate their possible application here.

  1. ECONOMIC: a) A comprehensive social-welfare program, directed toward maximum improvement of general conditions of human life. b) A giant open-end space research program, aimed at unreachable targets. c) A permanent, ritua- lized, ultra-elaborate disarmament inspection system, and variants of such a system.

  2. POLITICAL: a) An omnipresent, virtually omnipotent international police force. b) An established and recognized extraterrestrial menace. c) Massive global environmental pollution. d) Fictitious alternate enemies.

  3. SOCIOLOGICAL: CONTROL FUNCTION: a) Programs generally derived from the Peace Corps model. b) A modern, sophisticated form of slavery. MOTIVATIONAL FUNCTION: a) Intensified environmental pollution. b) New religions or other mythologies. c) Socially oriented blood games. d) Combination forms.

  4. ECOLOGICAL: A comprehensive program of applied eugenics.

  5. CULTURAL: No replacement institution offered. SCIENTIFIC: The secondary requirements of the space research, social welfare, and / or eugenics programs.

"Another possible surrogate for the control of potential enemies of society is the reintroduction, in some form consistent with modern technology and political processes, of slavery. Up to now, this has been suggested only in fiction, notably in the works of Wells, Huxley, Orwell, and others engaged in the imaginative anticipation of the sociology of the future. But the fantasies projected in Brave New World and 1984 have seemed less and less implausible over the years since their publication. The traditional association of slavery with ancient preindustrial cultures should not blind us to its adaptability to advanced forms of social organization, nor should its equally traditional incompatibility with Western moral and economic values. It is entirely possible that the development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control in a world at peace. As a practical matter, conversion of the code of military discipline to a euphemized form of enslave- ment would entail surprisingly little revision; the logical first stepmoould be the adoption of some form of "universal" military service."
`Universal National Service Act of 2006'
Check out the front page of yahoo:

Center page:
Terror suspects sought ties with al-Qaida

Far Right side:
Al Gore's Global Warming Warning

Aghh!!  Please save us from all this horror!!!

Take away our borders and unite the United Sates with Canada and Mexico!!


Then we can all be safe and snug in our global feudal federation of super states.  Slavery IS freedom after all...

"The splitting up of the world into three great super-states was an event which could be and indeed was foreseen before the middle of the twentieth century. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire by the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only emerged as a distinct unit after another decade of confused fighting. The frontiers between the three super-states are in some places arbitrary, and in others they fluctuate according to the fortunes of war, but in general they follow geographical lines."

The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and been replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three super-states, instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed for ever from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This -- although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense -- is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: War is Peace.
~George Orwell

You got to love the Georges

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
-- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States


I'm actually working on a piece called "2024" now, its no big deal and if folks would like to jump in with contributions thats fine...

Abstract: Take the text of 1984 and make the following changes:

  • Switch Jewish references in the original to Muslim / Islamic ones

  • Change "Big Brother" to "The President"

  • Change Emmanuel Goldstein to Bin Laden

  • Change London to Washington

  • Neutralise the obvious British dialect references i.e. change pub to bar, gin to whiskey, lift to elevator, etc.

  • Offset dates relative to 2024, rather than to 1984

When its done I'm going to do an mp3 file of it being read by my computer. The flat emotionless effect of that voice really works with the text, and the "creepy factor" makes my hair stand up.

I think I love you...


Hello AngryChimp,

You never fail to astound me with the very compelling stuff you find on the web, MSM, and in books, then your ability to link it to present events. Kudos!

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

Seems like we already have much of what you are suggesting, and it isn't working.  I would suggest a large flood of the milk of compassion -- not the inverted kind that GWB campaigned on.

-- Mort.

Well, you know, we have to conserve our compassion. Might run out of it otherwise ...
Another data point on that "social capital" thing...

Americans living lonely, isolated lives

Americans have a third fewer close friends and confidants than just two decades ago -- a sign that people may be living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past.

In 1985, the average American had three people in whom to confide matters that were important to them, says a study in today's American Sociological Review. In 2004, that number dropped to two, and one in four had no close confidants at all.

"You usually don't see that kind of big social change in a couple of decades," says study co-author Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

The reason?

More people live in the suburbs and spend more time at work, Putnam says, leaving less time to socialize or join groups.

Also, people have more entertainment tools such as TV, iPods and computers, so they can stay home and tune out.

so I suppose we are "atomized" as a society and have  really low social capital individually as we have no friends, just internet-friends and pop stars or movie stars we feel we know but really don't.

This will have a bad effect on our coping when it all gets difficult. People who are not used to dealing with each other will have a hard time building community with their neighbors after TV and internet are turned off.

But maybe not. We will adjust. Sad however. It is part of the  extremes of a decaying society in overshoot. Energy is being wasted for purposes detrimental to social cohesion and survival(entertainment, travel to and from work in offices to work on a computer).

Joshua Merowitz wrote "no sense of place" in 1986.  In this book he predicts the following:

 that the proliferation of cable television and electronic communication will allow society to fragment.  Actually, he believes that shortly before his book was written, society became less fragmented bc/ of the nature of the dominant medium, broadcat television.  There were only a few choices- ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS.  So everyone- white or black, male or female, white collar or blue collar, young or old- tuned in to the same shows, i.e. Cheers or The Cosby Show, and so we all had a common experience.  Prior to the broadcast television era the dominant medium was the printed word.  Wealthy white housewives read different books and magazines than middle class white housewives, men and women definitely read different books and magazines, Democrats and Republicans read different newspapers, etc.  There was less of a connection at that time than there was in the 60's to 80's.  Now, according to Merowitz,  we are entering a phase more similar to the time period prior to the broadcast television era.  We choose which cable news service jives best with our beliefs, we visit only the web sites and blogs that re-inforce our narrow point of view.  Thus we are becoming more fragmented and are losing our ability to get along with people from a different point of view.

Look at the proliferation of "personal" everything.  The Sony Walkman started something.  Now with iPods, personal DVD players and more, everyone can be plugged into their own little personal reality and completely disconnected from the people around them.  Hardly anyone needs to connect with strangers anymore. Look an any random collection of people at airports, half of them at any moment in time jabbering on cell phones (the spookiest ones are those that don't have any visible phone at all, just waving their hands and yelling - I have to look twice to see if they're not a mentally-disturbed street person who took the wrong subway car and ended up at the airport).  We fuel our own vehicles, get money at an ATM and get our boarding passes from machines.  No people interaction.

Out at the lake we have "personal watercraft".  They can go wherever they want without compromising with someone else on the boat.  Skimobiles, same thing.  Out in the traffic, the commuters are all alone in their cars, zoned out listening to Rush Limbaugh or classic rock or talk radio or their favorite music, no need to consider what anyone else wants.  100 years ago music was a shared experience, because the singers and musicians were right there in the room with you.

Look at the average number of people per household, going down.  More condos, more apartments, smaller families.  I don't have to mention the relationship of all this to energy.  You can see where it goes.  What happens when the energy per capita starts going down a lot faster?

  - Dick Lawrence

This is something I've noticed in the past few years since I graduated and started my "real" job in the rat race.  It seems like Americans spend a huge amount of time and energy making themselves miserable.  I think at the root of it is people are chasing status rather than happiness.  So we get some desk job pushing papers, enclosed in an ugly air conditioned building and suffer through the tedious drive through the sprawl everyday, but as long as we get to supervise somebody else we feel all important.  I truly believe that most people burn far more value in gasoline driving to work than they create when they are there.  I'm as guilty as everybody else.  I sit in a room all day with a tiny window thats eight feet high, but it pays well and it sounds impressive and high tech when I describe it to people, but what I really want to do is shove my computer onto the floor and walk down to the creek and sit with my feet in the water and watch the trees grow.  

<end rant> . . . catching breath . . .

The good news, from a PO standpoint, is, at least as far as I can tell, that a huge percentage of this economic activity that we do is completely unneccessary (honestly, don't you think we could live without insurance underwriters, for example?), so when TSHTF, there should be quite a bit of fat to trim, without causing too much pain.  

Hmmm,  I'd better clarify something I wrote.  I'm not advocating that we eliminate insurance underwriters, or anyone else for that matter.  I'm just suggesting we may want to redirect where we allocate our resources, which as many others have noted, we will have to do sooner or later anyway.
Propane, the fuel I used to heat my house, includes an additive which smells if the flame goes out and the propane is leaking. This additive is welcome as it serves as a warning of a gas leak and possible catastrophic danger of a blowup.

We need to use an additive for co2.  The coal gases and particulates from coal is an obvious wake up call to the citizens of Peking.  The poison is everywhere and the people are dying from it.  Unfortunately,   co2 is odorless and colorless, so those who are not in an obvious high pollution zone, are blissfully unaware that co2 is even more dangerous than the particulates and oxides that come with the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

Make CO2 noxious to the visual and olfactory senses. Make it ugly and make it smell.  Then, perhaps, we would start doing something about it.

Great idea!  Problem is, CO2 is only maybe 400ppm.  Too little to smell much no matter how ugly and how smelly.  But if you take the same idea and apply it to people- might work.  Way too many people.  People are very very obvious, almost impossible to be out of sight of.  Make the PEOPLE  ugly and make them smell.  THEN  we might start to move toward a solution somehow.

(Now, now,  for you who find yourselves outraged by this little jest, please keep in mind that it was intended to be so outrageous as to be totally obviously not serious.  After all, I myself, as well as my lovely, kind, clever and most effective wife,  and my three kids and my 4 grandkids, are very good people, and I think it fortunate that none of us are ugly, and none smell, except as is usual and proper, of course).

But then------there's some sort of idea around in there somewhere, if I could only put my finger on it-----.

The additive is methyl mercaptan, CH3SH. It's more expensive than propane, and would be prohibitively expensive to scent the many traincarloads of CO2 produced daily in the US, even though it is only a few PPM of the carrier gas.

Unfortunately your nose quickly becomes inured to the odor, so you'd be stinking up the planet for nothing.

From The Scotsman - Power blackouts for Scots homes if new energy plants are not built soon.

The report from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, on which the Scotsman article is based is here.

From Business Week: Land of Milk, Honey - and Oil?

John Brown, a born-again Christian who believes the Bible will guide him to oil and gas in Israel, is planning to test the faith of investors in the U.S. in the next few weeks. The Texas-based novice oilman who founded Zion Oil & Gas is aiming to raise between $2.45 million and $14 million in an initial public offering, tentatively slated for July, to fund drilling at a kibbutz northeast of Tel Aviv. God, Brown says, "has promised in the Bible to bless Israel with one of the world's largest oil and gas fields."

It may take some Divine help for him to pull the venture off. Hundreds of wells have been drilled in Israel in the past 60 years, but none has yielded significant production. Explorers turned up natural gas off the southern coast in recent years, but British Gas walked away from its drilling rights there in recent years. And locals are dubious. "The Israelis are skeptical," says Eldad Weiss, founder and board member of an Israeli oil and gas services provider, Paradigm. He cites "a great history of disappointment for oil and gas companies in Israel."

There are con-artists always pumping money to drill a well in Israel. I first ran in to the phenomenon in about 1976. They claim that bible passages have given them a good spot to drill.I,personally would rather put my faith in psychics or dowsers.But I damn sure won't give them any money.  
A while back I read a claim that the world's largest oil field is under the Dead Sea.  Nobody touches it for purely political reasons.
The oil is just offshore beyond the Gaza Strip.
There is natural gas offshore of Gaza. But oil? Maybe. But the Dead Sea is a nonstarter. It sits on top of the Syrian-African fault line, which makes it a highly unlikely place for oil to accumulate.
How far can they drill horizontally?
My company here in Germany exported some high quality expensive spare parts to an Iranian refinery a few months ago when it was really getting heated up about this whole situation with US/Iran. They obviously were in a hurry about this then. Maybe their were just stocking up for supposed long haul with sanctions. Now it has calmed down somewhat (calm before the storm). As the Iranians have to import a lot of gasoline and the high quality spare parts for refineries come from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, etc. this rationing of  oil looks like a smart policy on Ahmadinedschad's part. They are hunkering down for the long haul more than likely. 22nd August is a long time to give for answering the ultimatum. Probably they will are trying to buy time to prepare their population through rationing and other serious measures like stocking up on food, etc. Ahmadinejad is a very hard guy. I read in Der Spiegel a few weeks ago that he used to personally do torture/killing of dissidents for the revolutionary guards so he is not one to back down. I am unsure if any Neocons/ Bush/ Cheney/ Rummy/ Condi cabal have the balls and intelligence to stand up to and outtrick him. More than likely he  will win out and force Bush to back down relying on Russia, China, and the failing US Iraq war effort as protection.      
Article says that Iran imports 40% of 440,000 barrels a day of gasoline. That is 176,000 barrels per day, or one very small tanker. So, not really a big deal to start with, although rather pathetic I suppose for the 4th largest producer of crude in the world. But to suddenly cut 40% of your consumption - that should be interesting to watch.
The problem is that the Iranians are paying market prices for what they import, but they are only charging 40 cents per gallon at the retail level.  
Why can't they build a refinery? That's what I don't understand. One refinery should cost them about $2 Billion. But they want a nuclear program. This situation just seems bizarre.
Oil CEO -

I was just asking myself the exact same question: If the need to import a large fraction of their gasoline is the only area in which Iran is energy-vulnerable, then why wasn't the construction of additional refining capacity given top priority, not an an economic venture but rather as a natural security necessity?

Perhaps poor planning or perhaps internal political wrangling over budget allocations?  Who knows.

But at any rate, if the prospect of a gasoline embargo looks likely, then from the standpoint of the Iranian government it would be better to get the people prepared sooner than later.  Plus, it's got good psychological value in further rallying the people against the US.

I find this move rather ominous, in that it suggests the Iranians expect things to get worse and appear to be a bit fatalistic about it.  They have recently claimed that the US is bent on aggressive action against Iran and that not matter what concessions they make, the US will always find an excuse.

Then we have to consider the US congressional elections in November and the possible desire by Bush to reinforce the notion that he is a 'war-time president'.  I don't like the way this all looks.

From whom does Iran import its gasoline?  It's probably not an OECD country, and I imagine it's another OPEC country.   I could be wrong about this, if someone's knowledgeable, please correct me, but how could America cause an embargo of gasoline from Iran?
Oops, I just caught the last paragraph of the article, maybe the US could force an embargo:

Most of this comes from western Europe, with trading house Vitol the leading supplier, market sources said. India has also featured as a key exporter, at times supplying up to 25,000 bpd

What a strange energy world we live in. Oil poor west europe imports oil from OPEC refines it then exports it back to OPEC countries.  How bizarre. Reminds me of a phenomenon in the coal industry around here.  I can watch two coal barges full of coal going in opposite directions on the Ohio River.  West Virginia coal (high sulfur) being shipped down river to Iowa and Iowa Coal (low sulfur) being shipped up river to West virginia.  Each plant has to stay under the sulfur requirements, so Iowa buys cheap high-sulfur coal from WV to mix in with its expensive low sulfur coal.  WV buys low sulfur coal from Iowa and mixes it with its own high sulfur coal.  I suppose the cost of shipping coal back and forth is cheaper than for WV to use sulfur scrubbers.

That's a common phenomenon. For example, Germany and the UK export almost exactly the same quantity of potatoes to each other.
I have seen the same barges before....why can't they sell sulphur coupons and save the bunk oil to push the barges.  The legislation to lower polution is causing more polution.
The article said Western Europe and India, I believe. It sure isn't Afghanistan. And I wonder how much is smuggled across the Iraq border paid for by US tax dollars and making Halliburton executives rich. Tell me I didn't just say that. I must be getting cynical.
Why not a refinery? I can see at least one train of thought that would object to another refinery. If Iran's government accepts what Dr. Bahktiari (head geophysical fellow for the Iranian National Oil Company says), then the Iranian government also believes we are at or near peak right now. If this is true, perhaps the government would rather not incur further dependence on oil amongst its own population. This fits with their desire for nuclear electric power too. And it matches up against a goal of exporting as much of the remaining oil as possible for the largest financial gain possible while they still have it.

I've not been able to find a clear answer to this but is Iran planning/building into rail at all? Light rail, heavy rail? Moving into rail would be another signal that they are trying to discourage oil dependence so that they can export more of it. However, they also have not taken the simplest step to discourage oil dependence - removing their own subsidies on internal oil consumption. Of course, that may be a political hot potato that they don't want to touch yet.

Nuclear power scares the schoolbully away
Blockbuster $21 billion oil deals set: Texas-based Anadarko buying Kerr-McGee and Western Gas, adding deepwater and natural gas resources

Apparently Anadarko wants to get into deepwater drilling.

"An all-cash deal, it was unexpected and a very bold move," said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer. "But I have faith in (Anadarko CEO Jim) Hackett. This is the crown achievement of his career, and he's not likely to buckle."

Gheit cited Kerr-McGee's extensive deepwater drilling expertise, saying the firm could go "head-to-head" with any of the bigger oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico.

"He's buying companies with complementary resources and tremendous upside potential," Gheit added.

Also in CNNMoney: Oil consumption seen soaring: Much of world's growth will take place in Asia, although U.S. will still use the most; OPEC needed to meet bulk of demand, EIA says

No surprise here for TODers, but I do want to note that this is part of a bigger CNNMoney special on the Gas Crunch 2006 (not sure if this has already been mentioned).

Question for the folks who run the site:

Is there some form of downloadable archive of the site content available which could be obtained via SFTP or some such?

If so does include a copy of the graphics contained in the msg's.?

That is an excellent question. I know that commenters have to host their own graphics. What appears is referenced by the actual html in the comments. (I think).
Well, I can tell you the graphics themselves are not contained in the messages.

As Oil CEO has pointed out, the messages reference images that are hosted elsewhere.

I removed an image that I posted and it disappeared from the blog.  So the blog is not "caching" the images either.

You'll probably have to crawl the site to pull down the content and hope that the images are still wherever they were when referenced.


But there must (risky assumption) be some sort of backup in case the server has a heart attack?
I'm sure there's a backup, I'm just saying that you can definitely not count on the images nested within the posts to be available as part of some "download" if you will.  The images are not cached so you'll have to fend for yourself with regard to that matter :)

s'chast-leev-vwe pyat-net-tsa (Happy Friday) in phonetic Russian :)


The Calcasieu Ship Channel remains closed due an oil spill.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says he'll tap the SPR if needed.  

A funny couple sentences:

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said his department stood ready to tap the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate any supply interruption.

"That's what it's there for," he said in response to a question about the releasing oil from the SPR. "It's not meant to deal with price problems, it's meant to deal with supply problems."

I would have thought it was there to deal with strategic problems.

Now it's the Strategery Petroleum Reserve.
Jim Jubak over at MoneyCentral has posted a great article on inflation.

The Worst Case Scenario Is Not About Us

Admit that even if you have a hammer not every problem is a nail. If energy costs are the major culprit in increasing inflation and in worries about future inflation, then raising interest rates seems a strange way to fight energy-produced inflation. To reduce energy prices by hiking interest rates you have to raise them high enough to slow growth across the entire economy. Wouldn't it be better to try to reduce energy demand -- which would reduce energy prices -- by using programs that increase the efficiency of energy use in the economy? That way we might get lower inflation and economic growth, too.

Of course, I can rant on this page all that I want -- so can you from any soapbox you can commandeer -- and the Federal Reserve doesn't have to do a thing or even listen. These bankers don't stand for election. They're appointed for 14-year terms. They're never accountable to voters. For that matter, they aren't even accountable to the people we do elect.

What we've done is put some of the most important decisions about how our country is run in the hands of officials over whom we have no control.

It's a lousy way to run a democracy.

The fed gov has no control over the fed reserve, but they do have the option to push for energy efficiency.  And vice versa: the fed reserve cannot do anything directly about efficiency, so they are left to futz with interest rates.  It's not that everything is a nail, it's that the fed reserve is a hammer.  Their only purpose is to control the money supply, trying to balance between inflation and deflation.  They'll fail, but that's due to the larger context.
Monetary Policy(FED) doesn't equal Fiscal Policy(Congress) doesn't equal social policy(Executive) at all times.  A true leader(executive branch) would make sure these were ALL equal MOST of the times.
Great article? How? One of the themes around here is that we (that generic societal "we") are going to be needing truly massive investment in energy supply and conservation over a fairly short time. So, let's see now, what is Mr. Jubak's vision? Well, in effect, let inflation run amok, because he says that's better than some bogeyman he's dreamt up.

Fair enough, maybe. But with the U.S. savings rate already negative, plus the boomer retirement era coming up, and that huge need for savings to invest in correcting the energy imbalance, is stagflation really an appropriate incentive to do what needs to be done? Stagflation will discourage and destroy investment as it did in the 70s - except, as in the 70s and most unfortunately, for overinvestment in massively energy-guzzling houses (embodied energy, infrastructure embodied energy, heating/cooling, interminable commutes, new schools on cornfields, etc.)

In other words, punishing non-house saving/investment while giving an even better free ride to mortgage holders will only skew the already perverse incentives even more. Energy demand will explode even more, while both real and effective energy supply will be further depressed. How in the world is that a useful, functional outcome?

Higher interest drive economic efficiency by forcing all sectors of the economy to be come more efficient by spending money more wisely. The global higher demand for energy was the direct result of the US fed lowering rates. By raising rates global demand for energy will cool since it takes money to build new infrastructure everywhere. Since the US dollar is the worlds reserve currency the US interest rates drive interest rates worldwide. When the US raises it rates other central banks are usually forced to follow, otherwise capital will leave their countries and head to the US markets. Investors will always invest their money in which ever country has the highest returns for the least risk.

We can see that most of the major industrial nations have raised their interest rates in response to the US rates, this includes (EU, China, Korea, Austrilia, and soon Japan).

Raising interest rates is the only tool the US has to curb global energy demand. For instance raising taxes on energy (ie gasoline tax), it does not affect consumption overseas. Lower consumption in the US would likely lead to higher consumption in China, India, or other growing nations. Another words a reduction in US consumption doesn't mean the cost of energy will fall. Higher energy taxes also can fuel inflation as business and consumers demand higher prices and wages, while also providing the gov't additional income that would likely be spent on wasteful programs (new highways, higher entitlement spending, etc).

If you believe a global conservation effort is part of the solution then you wan't higher interest rates.

It seems the Royal Academy of Engineering in UK had a seminar in May 2006 entitled "Energy 2100". The presentations have been posted here. The presentations include one from both Shell and from BP.
World Watch is hosting a poll on bio-fuels:



# 1 - a  possible near-term solution to our energy and climate crisis

# 2 - over-hyped; it's not clear how biofuels will contribute to sustainable development

# 3 - a disaster that would drive up food prices and destroy remaining tropical forests

# 4 - not sure


The results mostly fall into category number 2 and 3. I believe WorldWatch has been pushing ethanol.  Perhaps they are in for a rude awakening. I subscribe to WorldWatch but may not renew because of this ethanol nonsense.
After their recent starry-eyed pro-biofuels report, perhaps they got enough negative responses to bother with this poll.  Go ahead and vote!  My vote is #3.  The current poll results have #2+#3 (combined) outvoting #1.
I voted #3, an absolute disaster. I agree with George Monbiot that "The most destructive crop on earth is no solution to the energy crisis".


the problem I see with the Fed and interest rates is that they are blaming energy prices for all the inflation in our US economy.They are ignoring their printing money to cover their deficit spending, and what may be foreign holders of debt and srcurities starting to bail out of US economy.
You make it plainly obvious why we have to prepare for SOMETHING to happen, and I will be short equities, long gold.  Ready....set...
GM eyes 'plug-in' hybrid

GM, which has trailed some of its competitors in offering fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, is looking at a new version known as "plug-in hybrids" not yet on the market, which can offer drivers even better mileage, according to someone familiar with company plans.
they are just pushing the energy and pollution problem behind a curtain. out of sight and out of mind i guess.
Plug-in electrics make a lot of sense, particularly if you don't expect them to replace so much as supplement conventional gas-powered vehicles. City dwellers could use small, cheap plug-ins for daily use and reserve their conventional cars for vacations and other long trips, thus saving themselves money and bother. If you don't have to engineer an electric to run three hundred miles on a charge, everything becomes much easier. Cities get quieter, utilities get to sell a lot of off-peak power, and busy drivers save an immense amount of time because they can skip the trips to the gas station.
I would like to see a study beeing done into the use of ultracapcitors in electric vehicles.

These offer the potential of imensly fast charge times. They would not need a very long range, you can imagine stoping every 50 miles to charge the capacitors because that would only take a couple of seconds.

The capacitors aren't available in high energy densities yet, but there are companies claiming energy densities comparable with batteries.

Ultracapacitors is what the heavy truck manufacturer Scania plan to use for their hybrid drivetrain. Volvo trucks have chosen a more compact and cheaper to produce lead acid accumulator.
My first article for Financial Sense was just published:


Readers of TOD will recognize some of the arguments about ethanol, E85, and Brazil, but I also took a long hard look at Pacific Ethanol in the last section of the essay.


Good job, RR. Go for it.


Kudos my friend.


Excellent: Appreciate you efforts. Am passing along your work to the uninformed.
RR: Good article.
Good article. Kudos.
Excellent article, Robert. Well done, sir!
Ahh.....love the bit on Pacific Ethanol.

Incidentally, what ever happened toKeithster100 and his pump-and-dump push for PEIX?

A big, big congrats to TOD's thelastsasquatch who had a letter published in the current issue of Science. This is a very big honor, as Science is very selective about what it publishes. You can see a listing of this month's letters here:


The full letter - Energy Returns on Ethanol Production - is behind a pay wall, although I have been sent a copy. Hopefully, when he gets finished traveling, he can make it available here for discussion. The letter is a rebuttal to the recent pro-ethanol articles published in Science. The truth is spreading.


Call it: "Speaking Truth about Power" rather than to Power
Direct link for those of us with access:


You can now access it for free here:



Mmmmm . . . . I see The Last Sasquatch has entered the battle for peak oil alpha male supremacy.



Hello Matt,

Great post! LOL!

Please keep me laughing periodically so I don't go nuts. =)

[theLastSasquatch & AlphaMaleProphetOfDoom go way back to Jay's Dieoff_Q&A in case TODers did not know this.]

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

What I love after a long discussion about ethanol pointing out its energy return problems and so forth, there is always someone who pipes up, "yeh, but at least it's grown locally and we won't be beholden to those A Rabs", or something to that effect.  Or, "at least it will help with the carbon problem".  Yes, well, we refine gas locally too so I guess that's the least we can say about gasoline that it's Made In The USA.
World Energy Consumption Could Be Cut by Half If Clean Technology Applied: IEA  by Rory Mulholland
Oil and electricity consumption across the world could easily be cut by half, with major benefits for the environment, if clean energy technologies that are currently available were applied, an international watchdog said.

"A sustainable energy future is possible, but only if we act urgently and decisively to promote, develop and deploy a full mix of energy technologies... We have the means, now we need the will," said Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

He was presenting an IEA report written in response to a call last year from G8 leaders who asked the agency to develop and advise on alternative scenarios and strategies for a clean, clever and competitive energy future.

The IEA report was published ahead of next month's Saint Petersburg summit of the G8 group of the world's leading industrial nations, which is expected to focus largely on energy questions.

The mix of technologies the IEA advocated included improved energy efficiency, carbon dioxide capture and storage, renewables and -- where acceptable -- nuclear energy, said Mandil.

The report said record high oil prices raised concerns about the long-term balance of supply and demand. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased by more than 20 percent over the last decade, it noted.

If the future is in line with present trends, CO2 emissions and oil demand will continue to grow rapidly over the next 25 years. Extending this outlook beyond 2030 shows that these worrisome trends are likely to get worse, said the IEA report.

Energy efficiency is essential to mitigate growth in energy demand and CO2 emissions, added the document from the Paris-based IEA, which was created during the 1973-74 oil crisis to advise industrialised countries on energy questions.

"Improved energy efficiency is an indispensable component of any policy mix, and it is available immediately," said Mandil, presenting the report titled "Energy Technology Perspectives: Scenarios and Strategies."

Accelerating energy efficiency improvements alone can reduce the worlds energy demand in 2050 by an amount equivalent to almost half of today's global energy consumption, said the report.

To achieve this, however, "governments, in both OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and non-OECD countries, must be willing to implement measures that encourage the investment in energy-efficient technologies," Mandil added.

Another key technology is the capture and storage of CO2 emitted from power-generation or industrial processes. The IEA study pointed out that the early demonstration of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) in full-scale power plants should be a high priority.

"If we do not succeed in making CCS viable, the cost of mitigating CO2 emissions will be much higher," Mandil warned.

Deploying CCS, along with more renewables, more nuclear and more efficient use of natural gas and coal, can significantly decarbonise global electricity generation by 2050, according to the report.

"With the right policy incentives we think there is scope for renewables to quadruple by 2050 and for nuclear to gain a more important role in countries where it is acceptable," said Mandil.

Rising oil prices and supply concerns, as well as the growing need to combat global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, have raised the profile and economic viability of some renewable energy sources.

Those concerns have also sparked renewed interest in nuclear power as a source of climate-friendly energy.

At last July's G8 summit in the Scottish resort of Gleneagles, the group issued a statement that said: "We will act with resolve and urgency to meet our shared multiple objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the global environment, enhancing energy security and cutting air pollution."

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse

What do ya know the problem is solved just like that...DING

I think Mandil is completely correct, we could cut energy use in half just by systematically going after low-hanging fruit.

When I think of all the "decorative" fireplaces whose chimneys I've plugged and capped over the years....most of them in multi-unit buildings too. Well, personally, I'm carbon-negative for the rest of my existence.

But you've gotta lead the horse to water AND you gotta make him drink. After discovering & capping, say 4 chimneys on an 8-unit condo when it's below zero & the boiler wasn't keeping up and everyone has got the auxiliary heat going -- suddenly it's cosy and the boiler shuts off and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. I tell the condo assoc. "I just did that on straight hourly, so I can be comfortable while I work here. You saved my hourly fee in gas bills the first day. Now I have some ideas how you can save even more..." And no one, no one, will ever spend a penny. Efficiency is not just un-American, people actively hate it. Twenty people get a demonstration on the coldest day of the year and not one will go beyond a quick Thank You and do something to help themselves.

Efficiency works and somebody please tell me how it can be sold.

It will be an easy sale, once the energy price is high enough. People love to waste cheap stuff.  
True, some years ago the health care system in the U.K. provided lots of "medical stuff" that one could find at the drugstore for free i.e. the Gov't paid for it. No perscription required.

A relative of mine, I won't say who ;) who was doing a night class in furnature repair, stuffed a large sofa using "free" cotton balls...

Good thing they did not have a "wood stove" ;>

Good comment. I just want to agree with you. I do.
Lets see. 30Gigabbls per annum x $70/bbl. Cheap stuff.
Wish I knew what IEA was thinking of  to change behavior.
Good point. It's not relatively cheap, it is just that most people are creatures of habit and they are in the habit of wasting energy. However, I think even current prices are starting to modify behaviour.
I think the striking thing might be that the IEA is talking about cutting energy use "by half."  That's a strong signal that the game is changing.

Maybe we get to use the words "tipping point" in a year or two?

Accelerating energy efficiency improvements alone can reduce the worlds energy demand in 2050 by an amount equivalent to almost half of today's global energy consumption, said the report.

this is the key section of whole article.

   this seems to tie together a lot of individual strands in my different ways of looking at the U.S., which in the last years have generally been leading to growing incomprehension.

   Now, I think I know why some of what is happening in the U.S. seems so difficult for outsiders (even ones who come from there) to encompass -


WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday.

Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.

"This is a big social change, and it indicates something that's not good for our society," said Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin, lead author on the study to be published in the American Sociological Review.

Smith-Lovin's group used data from a national survey of 1,500 American adults that has been ongoing since 1972.

She said it indicated people had a surprising drop in the number of close friends since 1985. At that time, Americans most commonly said they had three close friends whom they had known for a long time, saw often, and with whom they shared a number of interests.

They were almost as likely to name four or five friends, and the relationships often sprang from their neighborhoods or communities.


I won't even bother to wander among my various beliefs and obsessions, but it seems as if America has become a fairly unique social construction - and one of such stunning human poverty that is difficult for me to imagine.

And I came from there. Imagine someone growing up in a normal place, something like the America of pre-1985.

And that is the stunning tie-in to me about peak oil and America. By any reasonable measure, America's drive for conservation/alternatives had been run into the ground at roughly the same time a new framework of growing social isolation was taking hold.

This almost belongs in the social capital thread, since at this point, America clearly lacks the normal framework of most other human cultures. Talking about social capital in the face of such stunning results is just more whistling past the looming graveyard.

I still remain fairly unconvinced about die-off in the sense of mass starvation, but my fear of a war led by a resource starved America has gone up another few very quantifiable notches - in a society where 25% seem to have no interests larger than themselves in terms of other people, the appeal of smash and grab for personal benefit likely seems not only logical, but required, since if you don't, another person as alone as you will.

I think Jevon's paradox is possible to avoid in a society with enough self-awareness and interconnections - after all, if you use it, your children can't is certainly one perspective which avoids the paradox among people who care about the future. But in such an isolated social framework, Jevon's paradox is likely to cause all sorts of problems. A tiny glimpse - as the rest of the world conserves, America continues to burn fossil fuels to its maximum capacity - I can imagine an ultimatum from the world's conserving societies (1/3 of humanity? 1/2? with most of the rest in collapsed societies) focused squarely on the dangerous one with an attention deficit. And if the climate was clearly turning into a run away catastrophe, an ultimatum backed by the potentially lesser evil of nuclear war becomes at least imaginable - and now I am too seeing die off, not as a cynical game among the rich/rulers/owners, but as a desperate attempt to preserve some future among those who see no other choice. A nuclear powered powerdown, a truly appalling pun.

Simply from reading about something seemingly normal for most Americans to experience in their daily lives, which was not imaginable to me last night.

No wonder that much of what I write seems so skewed in American eyes. Sometimes, societies turn sociopathic - I live in a place where that happened too recently. And this little piece of information is the sort of fact which likely will be scrutinized by future historians looking at cause and effect.

Agree.  Although I lived in the US for the first 50 years of my life, for the last 25 years, the US was busy mutating into an alien culture.  From fake news to fake elections to fake neighbourhoods somehow a nation of citizens was replaced with a mass of Xbox consumers.  Ironically, NZ 'feels" more like the old US republic than the US does.  Except for Auckland, which is a typical materialistic globalist city, much of NZ still has good social capital.  The descent down the Hubbert curve will be more socially cooperative here.
Is it possible this societal fragmentation and isolation is linked to the increasing use of anti-depressant medication in the USA? I read an article the other day that claimed a lot of pre-schoolers were being given anti-depressants!
Personally, I think it is the result of a large number of factors, including various medications, profit driven media penetration in all facets of life, the decrease in free time and in security, the rise of various convenience concepts (human relations are rarely convenient), the logical extension of keeping up with Joneses turning into a vast masquerade, where the truth is not possible, and on, and on.

And notice that this list is utterly apolitical - if I was to include various other factors, the list would become very unwieldy, and a number of different people would view it through politics.

To me, one of the most fundamental reasons for this is a lack of free time - that such a decline would lead to these results seems so logical, but it never occurred to me.

Did people, say in the early 1900s have lots of free time?  
Free time is a very tricky concept - if you prefer, time spent in the company of other people, who may or may not be friends, but are very much part of your community.

You can see this in a sense in how people in countries considered poorer may spend a higher proportion of their time on 'work,' but then you notice that the work includes a lot of time spent with other people - generally, a Westerner sees this as being inefficient or lazy.

An hour long commute alone is something new, as is the sitting in front of a screen, eating meals in a car (I still can't believe the figure I believe was posted here).

A list from the past will not really give you the correct flavor of how life was - it may have taken hours of backbreaking labor to load a wagon, then more time to have the horse or mule haul it somewhere - but when you where there, you would also spend time with people - after all, there wasn't really other entertainment than each other. In the modern version, you most likely sit in front of a screen, drive alone, work in whatever sense of the word, drive back, and sit in front of a screen, then sleep. You have much more free time by one measure, but in another, your time is spent on little of value in terms of other people.

How many times do you go to a mall or chain store for pleasant conversation with someone? Certainly, even in America there is still an oasis or two to be found - a good motorcycle shop comes to mind - but in general, the entire texture of life has changed. Other societies have resisted these changes, with lesser or greater success, and in some, their lives would be likely 'better' if they spent more time working. Then of course, the question becomes 'working for who?' - and we are back into politics in a sense. This is a mystery to me in America - why does almost everybody seem so determined to follow a path which seems so clearly against their own interests in living life as part of a larger whole?

Also in the Asia Times: Iran plays by its own rules

For Iran, with its millennia of history as a civilization behind it, eight weeks mean nothing as a period of reflection. For the United States, with its compressed, intense history, one-sixth of a year is an awful long time.

This "clash of civilizations" over time and space colored the Iran-US discord this week. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, while addressing a small town audience in the western province of Hamedan on Wednesday, made a reference to the European Union package of "carrots" regarding Iran's nuclear program (specifically to get it to stop uranium-enrichment activities) awaiting consideration in Tehran.

I bet Ahmadinejad is really trying to delay till late August betting on some really big hurricanes destroying some GOM infrastucture and upping the oil price siginificantly and downing Bush's poll numbers thereby giving Iran a lot more room to manouver politically. Basically time is on his  side.