DrumBeat: July 16, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/16/06 at 9:33 AM EDT]

Dearth of offshore rigs pumps up oil prices

Oil companies have run out of offshore exploration rigs for the first time in almost 20 years. Projects are having to be delayed or shelved because of the shortage of rigs, while hire costs have soared up to fivefold in two years.

From James Howard Kunstler: The Twilight of Mechanized Lumpenleisure

Is Oil at the Tipping Point? Probably not...

So, is oil at a tipping point? Could higher prices trigger a recession? Well, yes. But they'd probably have to rise much higher than $80 a barrel. No one really knows. What we do know is that the American economy has consistently confounded powerful reasons for it to falter. It has shown itself to be remarkably resilient. If we are lucky, it will prove so again.

Drivers May Have to Shift Gears

Will the upheaval in the Middle East and the latest spurt in oil prices finally tip gas-price-wary motorists into making wholesale changes in their driving habits?

In Hawai`i: Some industry experts fear prices could soar when resources peak

With crude oil prices at record highs approaching $80 a barrel, the big question locally is what will happen to island gas prices, which already are the highest in the country.

How Much Do You Care? Things you can do to use less oil.

Our wasteful ways will finish us off

Passing Off Debt To People Who Make Less Than Two Dollars A Day

• Tanzania will save $140 million through canceled payments to the World Bank and IMF, but it will have to pay more than double that amount on the increased cost of importing oil.

• Sierra Leone will spend almost twice as much this year to cover the hike in its oil bill as it will on health and education services for the entire country.

The lures (and limits) of natural gas: From Boston to St. Petersburg, natural gas is changing the way the world thinks of energy. But as gas goes global, will Russia become the new Saudi Arabia?

The energy debate: Wind

Coal to oil: A limited solution

All eyes look to the Kurdish region and its oil riches

The DNO discovery has encouraged many who believe that the geological trend that made the massive and ageing Kirkuk oifield extends to the north and east. It would suggest that Iraq’s oil reserves may be much greater than current estimates and it would, in turn, give a huge economic boost to the Kurdish region.
British Army , hit by a 3000 man shortfall


Army hit by 3,000 front line shortfallMICHAEL SMITH

Leaked documents on shortages of infantry in the British army: Director of infantry report on undermanning as of 1 December 2005 | Director of infantry cancels redundancies due to `manning deficiencies'

Iraq: break up along ethnic and religious lines makes sense:

''Iraq's salvation lies in letting it break apart
The partition of Iraq into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shi'ite areas is the only route to peace,'' writes Peter Galbraith


At last, The US Army,  finds a way forward:

Hug an insurgent: US's new plan to win in IraqSARAH BAXTER , WASHINGTON

THE US army has turned years of conventional military thinking on its head in a new field manual for soldiers on counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. The manual, the first for 20 years, emphasises that it is far more important to secure moral legitimacy and the support of the community than to kill insurgents and win battles.


But it may be too late for our comfortable world:


Britain and world set for `hard landing'DAVID SMITH, ECONOMICS EDITOR

FEARS are growing of a sharp slowdown in the global economy, triggered by big increases in energy prices and rising interest rates. Economists at HSBC say there is a greater risk of a "hard landing" for both the world economy and Britain. Oil prices hit a record of more than $78 a barrel on Friday, driven up by the escalating Middle East conflict. At the same time the Bank of Japan ended its zero interest-rate policy by raising its key rate, for the first time in six years, to 0.25%.

AFAIK, this is the first use of the phrase "peak oil" in the New York Times, in this article about nuclear power (on page 2). This article also confirms that Toyota has announced a future plug-in hybrid.
Ahhh...there are times when I really like the NY Times.  That's a great article.

There are also times when I like Toyota and that's pretty much all the time.  They see the future and know how to provide products consumers want and need.  They are highly "adaptable".  They will survive in this changing environment unlike some companies unwilling to change.

I've read in a company profile article that Toyota is notoriously shy of getting in debt and having to report to bankers. This financial freedom allows them to make long-term, strategic investments.
The folks running Toyota know.

Banks and credit are designed to do one thing - suck the life blood out of anyone they can get into their clutches. I was reading one of the various Frugality books about a year ago, and one story in there was about a company that started up, and no one would lend them money to get going. The co's founder was so bitter about that, that a vow was made to never borrow for anything, anything. The company took off, like a rocket without huge sandbags of debt like most co's start out with. At the time of the book's writing, the only thing that co. didn't own was the "head on the postal scale and that's only because they won't sell it to us", they did pay a small lease fee on that.

Makes me happier than ever I got a Toyota.

Greetings Fleam

Yes, but borrowing can be a good thing. A few days ago someone put together a post on this board advocating a tax on savings [as if savings were an evil thing] coupled with a position that ban on lending at any rate of interest should also be banned. Yikes!!!!

After recovering from a near stroke as my blood pressure subsided and laughter ensued, I wrote a response taking the opposite position that without savings most if not all enterprises are screwed [I think that if the technical term :-) !!!] ... it is only a matter of time until something doesn't work exactly as planned ... and oh by the way, why would any loans be made if savings were taxed and the lenders would not even be compensated for the enevitable defaults that would occur at least from time to time?? ... and if all loans were interest free, why not pary hardy NOW???

A recent article posted on one of the bearish oriented websites talked about finance in terms of three states. The first was where the existing receivables would be liquidated to pay off the debt. The second situation was where cash flows from operations in general could be reasibably expected to generate cash flows sufficient to pay off or at least service the existing debt. The last was referred to as "Ponzi" finance where the only hope of even servicing the existing debt was creation of new debt to pay the interset on the existing debt.

I would add a "party hardy" category borrowings to that list, where the only benefit was a thoroughly undisciplined consumption oriented form of instant gratification.

Not to put words in your mouth, but I suspect that what you find objectionable are at leat in large measure the elements of "Ponzi" and "part hardy" financing. True???

"Natural gas must compete against other fuels."

Really?  Sort of like saying that oil has to compete against other fuels.  Putin is stupid for promising the west anything.  If he was the sort of man the frothing-at-the-mouth western media hacks make him out to be, he would set a policy of sitting and waiting for the pompous west to come grovelling.  The Globe and Mail openly states that Canada has eight years of gas left.  The US production is going to expire before 2020 also.  Prices are going to be stratospheric before 2012.  Around this time the hard math of insufficient discoveries of oil and gas is going to start sinking in (as production mirrors discovery with about a 40 year lag).

The Globe and Mail openly states that Canada has eight years of gas left.

The reserve/production ratio is eight. This does not mean natural gas is running out in 8 years. It has been between 7 and 11 for the last 25 years. In 1980 the reserve/production ratio was 9, obviously we didn't run out of natural gas in 1990.

So you are saying that the Globe and Mail is being alarmist in its claim.  It's a new thing for conservative mainstream media to behave this way.
The MSM have a long history of using R/P ratios despite the fact that they are not useful for estimating the remaining resource.

Sometimes the effect is alarmist and sometimes it is comforting (eg the numbers often quoted for coal). It matters not. It is a simple statistic which is easy to understand, and it is probably for this reason that it is most often used by the MSM.

Wow another great reading list, Leanan.  Maybe the NY guys already have this one:

Internet Help Multiplies for the Carless on the Go

Last month the IEA wrote in their Oil Market Report published June 13th, their estimate of world oil production:

World oil supply rose by 445 kb/d in May to 85.0 mb/d, fuelled by increases from OPEC, a lull in North Sea maintenance and recovering US GOM supply.

This has been a statistic reported in every Oil Market Report as far as I know But for the first time in my memory, this month's Oil Market Report contains no estimate of world oil production. Would anyone venture to speculate on why?

The bits that catch my eye are the three blue bar charts showing 2Q 06 world oil supply down, 2Q 06 OPEC supply down and 4Q 07 world oil demand approaching 88 mb/d - intesesting times.
I'm glad someone else thought the IEA blurb about supply felt different.  I've bee reading these every month for a year and a half.  It's always the same, World oil supply rose by XX kb/d to XX mb/d.

This month's brings in biofuels and seems very vague,  like the writer didn't want to say what the numbers show.  Of course for the last 3 or 4 months they've been saying oil supply rose to 85.0 mb/d.  Funny thing about that.... every month it rose to 85 but it never seems to get there.

STRELNA, July 16 (RIA Novosti) - There is no global crisis in fossil fuels, and their rising cost is due to the absence of infrastructure at deposits, President Putin said Sunday.

"There are sufficient hydrocarbon reserves in the world, and the only issue is that their cost is rising," Putin told the Junior 8 Youth Forum, comprising students from G8 member countries, on the sidelines of the G8 summit near St. Petersburg.

Putin also said modern methods of extracting hydrocarbons needed to be improved.

In response to the J8's UK representative, who said the group had come to the conclusion that nuclear energy was an environmentally friendly and reliable source of energy, Putin said: "It is pleasant to hear that your discussion has come to this conclusion."

Putin said modern technologies had allowed this energy source to be safe.

Looks like Putin is out of touch with reality.

Putin is not out of touch at all.  

Here's the Putin translator, "There are plenty of fossil fuels in the world, but they are either sour crude or in locations that will cost more to extract.  We should start switching over to more nuclear energy, which is now more safe than it was 20 or 30 years ago."

How is that different than what we know here?

I wouldn't say that there is no fossil fuel crisis and that all we need is some investment in extraction technologies to save the day.  But this is what Putin is saying, like a typical oil CEO.  Maybe he is not being honest when he says it, but I think he is like all the other politicians on this planet, not up to speed on peak oil and gas.

Vladimir Putin IS an oil company CEO.  

And he doesn't even have to buy an army with political donations.

The peak of light, sweet crude oil and the switch to heavier, more sour crude is why petroleum fuel is getting more expensive yet there have been no shortages.

We have plenty of oil left if we can afford it.  That's why this "crisis" is different than the one in the '70's and has not caused the panic we saw in the '70's.

We are seeing a "squeeze" on the global lower class citizens and the attrition of the lower, middle class as this "cost" becomes unbearable.

The question, if we claim to moral, humanists, is how long will we allow the "squeeze" to happen?  How much suffering will we witness until we take some action to stop it?  From the events I've seen in recent history, I'd say we (those in the US middle to upper class) will keep letting it happen awhile longer.

How on earth would you go about reversing the "squeeze" you describe? From looking at the bell curve, it looks like that squeeze will just continue until all vehicle owners are squeezed out.

I'm not at all sure this is something we "allow" to happen, anymore than we "allow" the onset of winter.

Ever heard of conservation?
Crickets chirping tentatively from their hiding places ...

tumbleweeds blowing down the street.

Conservation will do nothing in a global energy market that works on the basis of comparative advantage and profit.

Jevons paradox anyone?

No, not as far as I'm concerned. Jevons' Paradox basically says that, if Toyota invents a more efficient engine, more people will use it, maybe for other things like utility generation or whatever. I'm not really much of a believer in the universality of Jevons'.

As for conservation, it could save me money right now — in the money I don't spend for fuel ... or in better health & fitness from riding my bicycle to work (provided I don't become a road pizza).

I'm more a believer in Malthus / Hubbert / Ehrlich / et al. The human-baboon analogies of Matt, or the yeast concept of Bob. That sort of stuff is uhhh, scary but seems likely to me.

Well, yes, I would agree that conservation could certainly help individuals get by--of course.

My contention is this.

In a global energy market of natgas and crude, Jevon's paradox most certainly applies. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice--they all know this... That's why the US is "projecting it's military might". It doesn't matter if we conserve and say "bye-bye" to imports, as China is more than willing to keep on digging into its cookie jar of poverty stricken hundreds of millions (not to mention the rest of the world, which certainly needs more energy, else one wants to just raise up hands and give up on them--which seems to be the route the West has taken for some time now.)

My point is essentially that anywhere efficiency is gained products just utilize that efficiency more. Cars are more efficient today, but much bigger than they were 30 years ago. Some with refrigerators. That's just the commercial sphere...

Then there is just pure population and demand. And conservation by any nation (such as the US, the world's only superpower) will just be displaced into consumption for another nature. It's the nature of the beast. The wonderment of globalization!

However, I do agree that individuals should practive conservation--as it will do two things.

First it will get people ready for the future of forced conservation (deficit high quality energy, equals high prices as we all know). Second, is the reason you posited: it's the smart thing to do, and saves you money.

However, critics of Jevons Paradox, imho, are wrong. Jevons was right. So far as I can tell, I don't know of one historical macro example where Jevons Paradox does not hold true.

Energy is a global market, and Jevons Paradox will hold true until it is no longer possible to extract ever increasing amounts of energy--which by this forum's standards is quite soon.

What you're describing is just the old fashioned tragedy of the commons. If I am a good little citizen of the village and just have my one cow on the commons, some other a*h** will run a herd of goats on it.

Jevons' paradox was true in the early industrial revolution — someone invented a more efficient steam engine, which then resulted in greater use of fossil fuel because the more-efficient design found many new applications.

That's how I was thinking. Peak oil and global warming are "The Tragedy of the Commons" playing out on a global scale.
Unless the community is tight enough to make that socially unacceptable, as most were during the largest part of history.
What exactly is the problem?  Sure, if we conserve more, others will use the excess supply.  But then they conserve more to save money and we can use more.  The end result is we all are driving around in more fuel efficient vehicles, or using much more efficient forms of transportation.  What exactly is the paradox here?  

We'll use the energy available.  When it's not available we'll have to do with less.  The only problem is we're not going to draw out oil production for many more years through conservation.  But it will still set us moving in the right direction.  Using energy more efficiently also means we'll need to replace less energy.  

I think you're over thinking the situation.  We need to solve our own problems and count on others doing the same, and eventually resulting in a better situation.  Saying we shouldn't try to conserve because others won't is just being fatalistic.  

Forced conservation will probably be the only answer that works.
You ask:

"The question, if we claim to moral, humanists, is how long will we allow the "squeeze" to happen?"

Well, my guess is that it is some distance below the AIDS Pandemic in Africa on the "to do" list , since doing the obvious and meaningful things on that issue would be easier and cheaper for the rich "moral humanists"... How would you say they are doing on that issue?

The oil peak is a slo-mo crisis. The 1970s crisis was caused by the Arabs suddenly shutting the valve, while now there is a gradual dropoff in production. That with production no longer rising to keep up with demand is the slo-mo effect that has avoided the panic. It's like nature is SLOWLY shutting the valve.

Depending on elasticity of demand, the slow decline will affect people one by one as the price climbs.

What about Chernobyl? The most serious accident in nuclear history. And Putin is saying NUCLEAR is the most environmentally friendly?

As much as many of us see the bankrupt aspect to nukes in the long run, they have to be used as a bridge to the future, considering the GHG situation and the over-population fix we are in worldwide.

Things can get worse.

Don't worry.   George W Bush says nuclear power is renewable.

(and my understanding is the brittish have decicded to stop using government money to fund the nuclear power industry)

no he doesn't, he says new-kyu-ler power is renewable. a whole other thing. <grin>
I try to post "something rail" every day.  Llet me describe several systems under construction in the next days..

Dallas and some (not all) of the neighboring suburbs enacted a 1 % sales tax to operate a consolidated bus sytem, build some HOV lanes and build an Urban Rail system in the early 1980s.  They originally wanted a 145 mile Rapid Rail system (subways are Rapid Rail, but Rapid Rail can be at grade if completely isolated by fences, or elevated.  They usually run off an electrified 3rd rail, do NOT touch !).  With 90% Federal funding, that is what Dallas would have built.

But the price tag was just too high !  So they are building a "heavy" light rail system (lots of grade seperation, a short subway under a rich subdivision next to downtown that wanted nothing to do with rail, widest cars in US) of 90 miles by 2013.  45 miles are open and another ~21 miles are under construction with opeings in 2009 & 2010.  All current plans finished by 2013.


Plans for 2015-2030 are being hotly debated.

Local opposition has evaporated and rail stations are seen as "hot" development sites (they are now building before the rail even gets there).

IMHO, if Peak Oil becomes accepted dogma  and post-Peak Oil economcis a reality, a sizable minority of Dallas area residents & businesses could coalese around the stations.  Buses could carry many there.  All proposed lines for 2030 could be built within eight to ten years, much more rolling stock bought, longer trains & stations.  And some few lines in the "non-DART" suburbs.

With high gas prices, the Park & Ride lots are overwhelmed and the cars are running at capacity (few take the bus to the rail station yet; just walk from TOD or Park & Ride).

My "crystal ball" shows the 2020 Dallas metro area as strange hybrids.  Some dying suburbs, largely populated by retirees, and frantic high density (largely ugly & poorly designed with exceptions) building around the rail stations.  Some few streetcars feeding DART.  A rail system running at capacity with demand for more than it can deliver.  Perhaps a 170 mile DART system (that runs trolley freight at night).  Ft. Worth area decaying and trying to build beyond a couple of starter lines.

We see this practically everywhere, Alan.  Introduce (or RE-introduce) rail transit to a region which only knows cars.  Then the predictable vehement opposition to said plan by local residents and politicos commences.  Then the trains begin running, ridership often exceeds expectations, and whoops - the citizens experience a curious change of heart, and the politicos who fought it are rendered silent or become enthusiastic supporters.  Imagine that!

If this could happen in car-crazy Dallas, it could happen anywhere.  And it HAS been happening just like this in so many places!  Give rail a chance - bring it to places people want to go; make it convenient and economical for them as a viable alternative.  (Personally, I do enjoy seeing rail opponents defeated, because their spurious arguments NEVER hold up).

I ride New Jersey Transit's "River Line" light rail system to my job in Trenton every weekday.  Introduced in 2004, it was conceived not so much as a way to reduce congestion but as an economic engine along the Camden - Trenton corridor.  Time will tell on whether it actually does this.  But as gas prices rise I have noticed slow but steady ridership increases.  It provides such an enjoyable ride to work (along the scenic Delaware River) that I simply cannot stand the thought of driving to Trenton again.  There are more than a few colleagues of mine who agree.


Politicians stop criticizing light rail after it's too late to stop it. Voters don't like "We told you so!" politicians telling them they were stupid. They like politicians that blame other people for the increased taxes necessary to pay off the construction industry pork light rail bonds.
Oh, the reason they have the widest cars in that post above you is to make sure that there is only single source bidding for cars so they can make bigger profits. That's why BART out here in the Bay Area had a different guage than conventional railroads.
DART has had multiple bidders for it's rail cars (as has BART).  There is "limited" compatability between different US systems, but most have a standard width, voltage and gauge.  Still, they get multiple bids.

There has been a sea change in attitudes with now general support in the Dallas area for more expansion past the initial proposed network (and fighting over where).  Cities that optioned out during the founding are now looking for ways to join DART.

In Minneapolis the first light rail line to open (since they were all illegally and systematically decommissioned in the 50's by the auto industry) was the Hiawatha Light Rail line, in April of 2004, with service connecting going from downtown to the airport and Mall of America.  Even with the Federal matching subsidies, getting the thing in there was like prying teeth politically, from both the right and the left.  And transit oriented development (TOD) was definitely invoked to sell the project.  But after only the first month of operation, ridership was double the projected numbers.  It now appears that the if the network is expanded, the payoff will be as close to instant as you can get on a public works project.

Rail is what the US population is missing but doesn't know it.  Not only is it cost effective, but it's sexy too.

I would be very interested in hearing your comments after reading the article at the URL about the DM&E Railroads (troubled) expansion plans.



Sometimes promoters of shady character latch onto an extremely economically viable project.  That economicist John Law founded New Orleans (and named the streets with an eye towards political influence back in France) as a relevant example.


I wonder if that is what is happening here.

One of the things I was wondering about is your take on the fact that is has taken about 10 years to try to get the DM&E upgrade/expansion through the permitting stage and all the community relations problems and law suits. And they are still trying to get financing for the project, so it is not a sure thing yet.
I know you are a strong supporter of rail, but how can we ever upgrade our rail system on a national basis to handle the freight traffic increases and also to try to bring back passenger service when it takes so long and so much effort.
What structural/regulatory changes do you see as necessary and do you think there is really any good chance to get them put in place?
The existing rail lines do service most of the places needed, but without needed competition.

Most lines have had tracks torn up (3 & 4 track > 2 track; 2 tracks > 1 track).  Most US railroad ROWs are 100' (30wide, room for 4 tracks if need be.

Add a second track to a single track line and capacity probably jumps by a factor of 4.  (In single track, trains go one direction, wait to clear, and then the other direction).

I would like to see (not "essential" but a very good thing) a limited network of semi-high speed rail that transports pax at max 110 mph and average 100 mph and speciality, low & medium density freight at max 100 mph and average 90 mph.  Mostly on new ROW.

DM&E was a private effort, perhaps gov't sponsored efforts would be easier & faster.  I do not know enough of the obstacles they faced to comment on what could be simpler & easier.

I ride DART light rail daily. It is usually pretty full, at least around commuter time. In the 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm time frame, there are often two trains coming one after the other. (There appears to be a length limit of 3 cars due to the size of the stations.)

I consider myself to be fairly lucky. My home is 2 miles from the station, and my work is 1/2 mile from the closest stop. In my case, I do drive to the station, but walk the 1/2 mile. There is a bus line between my home and the train that I could take, but I'd still have to walk about 1/2 mile to catch it, and because of the (in)frequency, I'd have to leave about an hour earlier.

They do allow bicycles on the train, which I've considered doing. But in Dallas you realy are taking your life into your own hands when you go out on the roads on two wheels.

Hopefully. DART will supply bicycle "Park & Ride" spaces (taking from the automobile.  Some form of security (bike lockers ?. security guard ?) to assure that the bike is there when you get back  in the PM.  And bike lanes are added as well.
It's not just Dallas where riding a bicycle is an activity for daredevils. The bicycle doesn't really fit in anywhere except for bike-only paths. Why? On a sidewalk the bike becomes too fast, making a hazard for walkers. On the street they are too slow and vunerable, requiring fearlessness.

BUT as people get desperate to avoid paying at the pump, bicycles will proliferate. Eventually, they will be out in numbers large enough that the daredevil aspect will go away. That can't be anything but good news for bike advocates.

Slightly off topic but here is an aspect of global warming I didn't think of.


5,000,000 tons of rock will fall of the Eiger sometime in the next couple of days.

The rock was held in place by the glacier below but now that the glacier has retreated there is nothing supporting the rock anymore and so gravity will do its thing.  

This has been happening in Switzerland on a large scale since 2003. One of many facets of global warming that slide by below radar.
They are also quite worried about the loss of tourism from other, warmer, flatter European countries, as you might well imagine if you think about it.
Speaking of electric rail and the Eiger, how about that railway (the Jungfraubahn ) that tunnels 7 km through the Eiger to Europe's highest railway station?

This blows me away: as early as 1860 Swiss entrepreneurs said, let's build a tourist railway up to the Jungfraujoch. What about the snow? No problem, we'll just electrify and tunnel through the Eiger and Monch mountains. Construction ran from 1896 to 1912, and it's been carrying tourists ever since. The train stops midway to let you look out picture windows in the side of the Eiger.

For you engineers, the train runs on 3-phase, 50Hz, 1125 volts.

Odd, SBB runs on 16 2/3 Hz (1/3 of 50 Hz).  Quite possibly an old, limited volume installation that was never standardized.
There is an article in the newest Harper's about peak oil (August 06) titled "Imagine There's No Oil: Scenes from a Liberal Apocalypse" written by Bryant Urstadt.

Anyone else get a chance to read it yet? Mine just arrived Friday, and I must say, the article leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe we should have a post about it? I dunno...

Harper's:  It's my favorite mag.  This article was pretty lame.  That "objective" style that gives one side, then the other, and tries to stay neutral, is what's so often wrong with journalism these dyas.  I feel the reporters' job is to learn something more, and then share their knowledge with us.  Have an (informed) opinion.  No one is objective, don't pretend that's the case.  I think the problem is the incursion of the commercial sphere into the 'news' sphere, and now also the incursion of the ideological into journalism.
In a way it is a big step forward, in that peak oil was finally presented in a major article in a major monthly. He presents the facts, but presents its human face by making the tiny New York City peak oil community look like cultists. So he gets the story across, while dramatically pulling its punch.

On the other hand, maybe he didn't give the topic any progress at all. "The world is doomed" he seems to be saying, "but anyone who acts on it is a quasi-religous cultic nutjob."

I guess anyone reading it will draw whichever conclusion they prefer, which is polarizing, while also providing mentally stimulating entertainment, which is what Harpers does best.

Perhaps it accurately portrays the schizophrenic manner in which our society looks that this issue. But at least he lays out the primer from King Hubbert to Ken Deffeyes.

the  reporters aren't stupid. they have to resolve their own cognitive dissonance on this issue. if they admit to themselves the folks prepping are "correct" then that means they themselves may have to reconsider their career. (as most of us do)
Another possibility is the author is furiously making preparations to protect his family/tribe and understands that public apathy is his ally.  I have accumulated more capital in 16 months of peak oil investing than in the previous 32 years of working.  This windfall was only possible because the rest of the investing public either was clueless about peak oil or thought that peak oil was a freaky loser cult.
Good point. If I was in a true position of influence, I'd shut the f--k up myself. As is, I'm just a more sophisticated version of a guy on the corner with a sandwich board so I can say pretty much whatever I want.
I think we should post on this. Now, all I need is the magazine. Can't seem to get an electronic copy.
I would be willing to scan it and OCR it to text, although then Harper's may call the copyright police....

However, I would feel somewhat righteous doing it as I sort of feel that the article mocks the entire community of people concerned about oil depletion as being "kooky".

The article goes on a few tangents that are irrelevant and ends up comparing those concerned with energy depletion to earlier "doomsayers" in a way that is entirely disingenuous.

The sad thing about the article is that it is hardly better than the PO article that appeared in Salon a while back. Which is quite distressing, as I consider Harper's a few rungs above Salon on the totempole of good writing and journalism. It is clear the editors at Harper's do not know the subject as well as they should--which is only indicative of how fucked we are w/r/t to the MSM.

If Harper's can't get it right, no one can.

Should I scan the article, and extract the text from it for the TOD community, or is this not kosher, so to speak?

the salon reporter asked me questions like,  "but you probably hated suburbia and cars prior to knowing this stuff?"  I told her the truth which was I hadn't given suburbia one thought one way or the other and as far as cars, I wanted a Hummer when I was 22-23 years old. then I realized maybe that wasn't the most realistic or most appropriate of goals given where we are heading.

I think she was hoping I was a bit nutty or just some malcontent who was salivating at the prospect of suburban collapse.  she grew up in the suburbs of houston so obviously even if she is somewhat sympathetic to the general message she probably has major psychological motivations not to fully understand it. Like what Byron King says which is something along the lines of, "there is no reason to be scared of Peak Oil, so long as you don't understand it."

Who can blame her? I've talked with a couple of frequent posters here. (I'm not thinking of you, btw) and it turns out they are quite openly in favour of dictatorship, state run negative eugenics programs (that is, deciding who should be allowed to procreate). Compared to that, 9/11 conspiracy theories seem pretty innocent...

I'm convinced that peak oil is a real, huge problem. That's why it worries me that comparatively many of the people who agree with me about that, are completely nuts, and neo-totalitarians as well. If I didn't feel a certain confidence in my own abilities to check the facts, odds are I'd react as some journalists: dismissed it as a crazy doomsday fantasy. Moreover, that would be the reasonable thing to do. If I came across a site making some claim I couldn't evaluate - say, that a major part of Manchurian history is suppressed by the chinese government - I would probably dismiss it out of hand if the discussion board was mostly populated by flat-earthers. And this would be a perfectly sensible thing to do in my situation.

This is why decent peak-oilers have to give a methaphorical cold shower and slap in the face to the people who claim things that go beyond the science in connection with peak oil. AND to reject out of hand anything that is racist, fanatical, paranoid, totalitarian, no matter how much the proponents try to tie it in to the peak oil meme.

As has been said before... the magnitude and implications of energy depletion can make for a very twisted worldviews. As things progress I can only imagine that Hubbert's original ideas will be distorted and used for who knows what ends.

It is quite hard to find any type of ideas analogous to the problems posed by the peaking of world oil production. In light of our dependence, and the very likely inability to replace the deficit energy supply, industral economies will certainly be challenged and perhaps eventually collapsing.

When the prospects of these realities present themselves, you can be sure that people "in favour dictatorship, state run negative eugenics programs" will sadly have many champions.

Look at Germany after WWI. I'm not faulting the Germans as a whole--it was simply a social phenenoma that definetely was seeded by massive economic turmoil and societal difficulty. When people are desperate, that's when you really have to watch for picnic baskets that are short more than a few sandwiches.

You are precisely correct in your diagnosis of why the MSM  thing PO is way overblown and essentially a fanatic cult of liberals who have nothing better to do but fret, or worse conspiracy theorists who think Dick Cheney is secretly harvesting babies to turn them into delectable souffles in his bunker under Mount Rushmore.

The problem with global peak oil production, is that for one to really get an idea of what it means--or what it could possibily mean, a lot of reading and research must be done. I don't buy the line that "peak oil is a relatively simple concept". It isn't. It is much like evolutionary biology, except, obviously, way simpler... But still, it requires a lot of studying to fully appreciate and understand the implications behind it. I fear that the masses, perhaps even the journalists, lack the critical thinking and abilities to do true research on these vitally important issues...

Hence, since a few people have done most of the heavy lifting when it comes to PO--Hubbert, other petroleum geologists, our hosts here at TOD, and other like-minded good samaritans--it seems like these should eb the "GO-TO" people so to speak... Yet, here we have Salon and Harper's, two of the "Left's" flagship publications totally fucking it up... What to think?

As for resisting the fascistic ties to PO, I think this is un-doable. Most people have been trained not to think for themselves, and will simply be herded by different proponents with differing agendas. Hell, it is already happening without any help from PO. Look at Ann Coulter, Bill O'Rielly and Co. These people are the tip of the iceberg--it gets much worse, and the fact that these people are given airtime to broadcast to MILLIONS is indicative of where we might be heading in the future, politically. For instance, PO will most likely be faaaannntastic for the church. Religious activity will probably surge like nothing else. This is not to say that religion won't have beneficial aspects in some circles--but on a whole I honestly believe some scary stuff will happen with religion. I understand your point though. People that are knowledgeable and relatively sane should be on the offensive when it comes to people co-opting the science and observation of PO with other wild-eye insane schemes.

Okay enough of my rambling...

It's quite worrying that the only party in the UK which can be said to have "got" peak oil (or at least realized that it will be a problem) in the British National Party.

I have a suggestion. I think there should be a moderation system on The Oil Drum. Not to censor anyone, just the way it works at social aggregation sites: comments below a certain treshold have their content hidden by default. Best of all would be a moderation system which included knowledge of social networks, so that if I give you a +1 sensible, then people who you think are sensible should also be given a boost in visibility (for me only), and so on.

I have the impression that TOD uses fairly standard web authoring software. Surely there are moderation modules avaliable for it? Are anyone objecting strongly to such noise reduction measures?

Two posts ago you were worried about totalitarian tendencies, and now you want to reduce "noise" in an open forum?
YES. There's nothing wrong with making judgements about which comments are worth listening to. If you listened, I suggested the practice at many sites of concealing beneath a link comments that are rated below a certain treshold.

"This comment is rated below your current view treshold, click to view"

That's not censorship, especially not when you can set those settings as you wish. Free speech is a right, equal publicity isn't.

I agree, moderation in this setting does not seem to be appropriate. On a whole, I've found that people here at TOD are quite well behaved and engage in minimum of BS bickering and asinine trolling.

I'm not entirely against moderated forums, as sometimes if things get out of hand someone must step in, else the social discourse is threatened and deteriorated. However, I think there is a concensus here that we are all in the same boat and we're trying our best to figure things our. TOD seems to be immune to the type of trolling that is seen frequently on other peak oil and enegry forums on the internet.

I suspect it is because of the austere professionalism of the people that run this here place and the seriousness (even when jokes are thrown around!) which heightens the level of dialogue.


Are anyone objecting strongly to such noise reduction measures?


This is both childish and dangerous.
Aren't you enough of a "big boy" to manage your own reading?

As for taking care of offenses to others this is a slippery slope.
Once the principle of censorship is accepted you never know to what the censors (whomever they are!) will end up, they may even censor YOU :-P

This introduce a bias which gets a "life of its own".
Popular "opinion" within ANY group (of censors...) can go berserk, so don't start.

To the hell with political correctness, there is no reliable, reasonable boundary between "common sense" restraint on ordinary profanity and utter madness.
Remember this ?

"they may even censor YOU :-P"

They are welcome. Remember, my comment would only be hidden from immediate view, beneath a link saying "this comment is rated below your treshold" or something like it. If what I said was genuinely interesting to the site, it should eventually get modded up again. If not, Who am I to complain? I have a right to speak, but you have no duty to listen. People must decide for themselves whether I (or anyone else) is worth listening to.

Yes, I would object most strongly.

The problem with such systems is they tend to get all-fired political.  IOW, people start rating posts on whether or not they agree with poster, rather than on the merit of the content.  I could see it turning into a doomer vs. cornucopian or liberal vs. conservative thing very quickly.

IME, having the community rate posts is fine to keep spammers out of sight.  Or maybe for a Yankees message board suffering from an invasion of Red Sox trolls.  But it's not suited for a site that wants to encourage serious discussion of sometimes controversial issues.

This is a more sensible objection, but there are ways to avoid polarization. Best of all would be to use some kind of social networking algorithm, so that you only had to see the posts that "your clique" would find most useful - up to a treshold of your choice, of course. There's nothing wrong with setting it to zero. It could even be the default.

This may sound problematic, only seeing the opinions of people you agree with etc. but the point is that you get to decide by how much they must agree with you. We all have those limits anyway. I may discuss with a conservative, but I will not debate a stalinist. I'd rather be spared from the anger I get from seeing people advocate eugenics and dictatorship at TOD.

Proper social network analysis would be best, but I doubt there are such modules avaliable to TOD, I don't know of any good implementations myself. Just regular, slashdot-style moderation would be sufficient, IMO. Come on, TOD posts get 100+ comments these days, we can't read it all. The second best thing is some way finding the most interesting.

Re merit of content, no one can objectively judge the merit of content independently of their opinion of it. (That's another Popperism, by the way...) No one can say for sure that they are objecive. It's better to just be honest to yourself if you think an argument is rubbish, and let the mod systems work it out if you're wrong. As long as there's no actual censorship - deletion of comments, as opposed to hiding - then there's no trouble.

Rather than jumping through all those hoops and dealing with new layers of complexity...why not just add a simple "ignore" function, as many other message boards have?  You could weed out posters whose views offend you, as well as those who post too much idle chit-chat.  

FWIW, PeakOil.com already has an ignore function. It was a frequently requested feature before they finally added it.

It's an interesting detail that the post you linked to as advocating eugenics, didn't. It made the claim that voluntary birth control would tend to have a dysgenic effect, which seems at least possible. But it advocated randomized schemes for limiting procreation, not eugenics.
Look, if a totalitarian state decides who should be allowed to have children, and they do this to avoid a so-called dysgenic effect, it doesn't matter if they use some element of randomness or not. It's still "racial hygiene", eugenics.

What kind of person seriously uses a word like "dysgenic" anyway?

Assuming, and I DO SAY assuming, that there is a dilemma between "racial hygiene eugenics" and the disappearance of mankind as a whole (excluding any "middle" option), could you please elaborate on WHY we should choose disappearance of mankind?

Just repeating loudly how "disgusting", "horrendous", "repugnant", etc... eugenics is won't count, no more than GW arguments against stem cells research.

P.S. Please stick to these prequisites otherwise the resulting argument is not of much interest.
I said I'm not here to debate totalitarian ideas. If you don't understand why eugenics is wrong, morally "disgusting", "horrendous" and "repugnant" (and I don't believe you do) it would be a waste of time.
I'd rather be spared from the anger I get from seeing people advocate eugenics and dictatorship at TOD.

Poor little thing!
Manage your own reading big boy.
Why should others be bothered by bells and whistles provided for your convenience, mmmm...
Is your emotional comfort worth more than theirs?

Also "only seeing the opinions of people you agree with" appears indeed "problematic" on a forum like TOD.
Why not going sing any gospel you are fond of with your real peers then?
You've just been a perfect example of why moderation is needed. If you don't get upset at people seriously advocating these sick policies, there's something wrong with you.

You didn't bother to read my post either. I said we all do this kind of "censorship", closing off opinions we don't find it worth the time to listen to. Right now my only way of doing that is to walk away from this site. That will mean that we will both see one less opinion we disagree with - same result.

So the question is not how much diversity of opinion we will have. We all have our limits there, and one way or another,  on the internet we will only see as much of it as we want. The real question is whether people who drop in on the Oil Drum will find only a nest of totalitarian moonbats, because everyone else got fed up.

You've just been a perfect example of why moderation is needed

ROTFL! Many thanks for that!

Right now my only way of doing that is to walk away from this site.

No, no, no, please stay.
I was only suggesting that you leave to relieve your suffering, not mine (actually I don't suffer, as long as there is no censorship).

That will mean that we will both see one less opinion we disagree with - same result.

Your choice, not mine, I am always interested in contrarian opinions, I am a contrarian myself.

whether people who drop in on the Oil Drum will find only a nest of totalitarian moonbats

This is precisely NOT the case, you are deluded in thinking that your opinion is worth more than other's opinion or that your opinion is the majority one, please read again Matt's reply.

"If you don't get upset at people seriously advocating these sick policies, there's something wrong with you."

So if someone doesn't agree with you, there is something wrong with this person?

I can only answer one thing to that: Totalitarian Moonbat!

Seriously: pay more attention to things that offend you. There might be an internal logic in them, and when you understand that logic, you might find other ways of dealing with those people and their opinions rather than to muffle them away.

I've read many books about the internal logic of totalitarian ideas, but is not what I'm here for.

I can and do talk to people who disagree with me on a lot of issues. I draw the line at the comments of the kind I've linked to, where one poster advocates dictatorship, another advocates that the state should decide who gets to have children (to save natural selection from itself, no less).

Yes, those people diagree with me, and incidentally, there is something wrong with them. "Totalitarian moonbat" wasn't just a smear. Why not go have a look for yourself, and explain  to me why they aren't?

I am glad to see that you did not leave (yet?)

How do you know about my "totalitarian ideas"?
I did not wrote any book, so you are making a LOT of guesses here!

I did not use myself the words "Totalitarian moonbat" because the meaning is not too clear to me.
Could you explain yourself about this wording?

Why not go have a look for yourself, and explain to me why they aren't?

Though this is not directed to me could you also explain WHY the opponent has to justify his position while you disdain to do so yourself?

Transcendental insight?
God given truth?
Superior breed of human?
What else?

That the state should decide who gets to procreate is a totalitarian idea. That we should sacrifice individuals when they are told it's for the group's survival, that's a totalitarian idea.

It's been explained by better writers than me why these are wrong. If you want me to do it again, I take it that it's because you haven't got it, which indicates to me that those ideas appeal to you.

That we should sacrifice individuals when they are told it's for the group's survival, that's a totalitarian idea.

So, you mean that using ANY army is a totalitarian practice?
Don't the soldiers sacrifice their lives for the group's survival?

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE that it would be wonderful to get rid of any armies and war!
This idea has been floating around since times immemorial, yet it did not succeed very much.
Might it be that the problem of dealing with social groups competition is a little complicated?

Now would you please tell us how the butchering (warning, REALLY gruesome) of live human beings compare with enforcing restrictions on human breeding, however unsavory this is (which I DO find unsavory too), when the purpose is to prevent or mitigate die-off?

which indicates to me that those ideas appeal to you.

Please DO NOT speak or think on my behalf :-)
Knee-jerk reactions are a guarantee of idiotic and DAMAGING responses, before rejecting or endorsing anything you have to look and think.
Not so paradoxically compliance to "conventional" ideas is the very source of the abuses.

Gruesome is an understatement.

Makes me proud to be an Ameri....
I mean a member of the human race since we all do this to each other. Yuck.

You know perfectly well there's a difference between self-sacrifice and other-sacrifice, which is what you want, and see as the lesser evil.

quote from David Schmirtz:

Problem is, people like you can always conjure up some greater evil to justify whatever you want - or no, of course you don't want it, you DO find it unpleasant, how reassuring!

Wherever I go, whether my audience consists of local students, congressional staffers, or post-Soviet professors, when I present the TROLLEY case and ask them whether they would switch tracks, about ninety percent will say, "there has to be another way!" A philosophy professor's first reaction is to say, "Please, stay on topic. I'm trying to illustrate a point here! To see the point, you need to decide what to do when there is no other way." When I said this to my class of post-Soviet professors, though, they spoke briefly among themselves in Russian, then two of them quietly said (as others nodded, every one of them looking me straight in the eye), "Yes, we understand. We have heard this before. All our lives we were told the few must be sacrificed for the sake of many. We were told there is no other way. What we were told was a lie. There was always another way."
I was speechless, but they were right. The real world does not stipulate that there is no other way. (Have you, or anyone you know, ever been in a situation like TROLLEY, literally needing to kill one to save five? Why not? Have you been unusually lucky?) In any case, I now see more wisdom in the untutored insight that there has to be another way than in what TROLLEY originally was meant to illustrate. As Rawls and Nozick (in different ways) say, justice is about respecting the separateness of persons. We are not to sacrifice one person for the sake of another. If we find ourselves seemingly called upon to sacrifice the few for the sake of the many, justice is about finding another way."

First part of the italics text is not part of the quote, it's mine, sorry for the typo.
"Yes, we understand.
We have heard this before.
All our lives we were told the few must be sacrificed for the sake of many.
We were told there is no other way.
What we were told was a lie.
There was always another way."

I was speechless,
but they were right.
The real world does not stipulate that there is no other way.

Well said.

A good anecdote about our "Wealth of Tunnel Visions" approach to living on this Planet.

(The hard question of course, is coming up with a workable "other way" to organize ourselves so that everyone pulls their fair share of the weight and the machine moves in a viable, sustainable direction rather than along a self-destructive path.)

You know perfectly well there's a difference between self-sacrifice and other-sacrifice

Are you saying that every soldier is willing to self-sacrifice?
What about the draftees and even most of the "professionals" who see army as just a kind of job, not to speak of civilian casualties.
The war casualties are more than 99% "other-sacrifice" enforced by the governements.
It IS already totalitarian!

which is what you want

Still thinking on my behalf, do you pretend to be a psychic?

If we find ourselves seemingly called upon to sacrifice the few for the sake of the many, justice is about finding another way.

Well known, Fiat justitia, pereat mundus

I can tell you what your righteous indignation is all about.
This is ONLY our monkey genes competitive paranoia.
It is SOOO much more vexing to see a threat from an intentional agent than from an accidental cause.
You are threatened by "them" whomever "they" could be, I am a menace, any "totalitarian" group is a menace, etc, etc...

Great, except THIS is what drives us toward the cliff:

That's why we worry more about anthrax (with an annual death toll of roughly zero) than influenza (with an annual death toll of a quarter-million to a half-million people). Influenza is a natural accident, anthrax is an intentional action, and the smallest action captures our attention in a way that the largest accident doesn't. If two airplanes had been hit by lightning and crashed into a New York skyscraper, few of us would be able to name the date on which it happened.

I will not titillate your paranoia anymore, nor the one of other similarly minded monkeys, be assured that I am NOT advocating "self-sacrifice" nor "other-sacrifice", you may have peace about that.

I will only try to shelter myself and any people, knowledge and ressources I deem valuable from the various impending crashes and wait for natural selection to wipe out the paranoid competitive monkeys.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 NRSV)

Though I am a strict atheist I think that such pronouncements do not come out of thin air but from some wisdom of the collective inconscious, which of course has been hijacked/recycled for other questionable purposes.

There's a key on your keyboard that makes comments that you don't want to read or respond to disappear instantly: "Page Down".

Your system to effect this culling is bizarre too: how are articles rated that are not yet read?

Big V,

I didn't have a chance to read the eugenics post but I think you're grossly mischaracterizing or misunderstanding Bob's post on future forms of government.  He's not advocating these things so much as pontificating on what he sees as likely developments.

It's not unlike me pontificating that "yeah, lots of people are going to die in Iraq." Obviously I'm not advocating it or am happy about it.

Same thing if I explain how Germany invaded Poland. Obviously I'm not glad it happened simply because I can recount the history to you and speuclate about different aspects of it.

Matt, you can't have read the whole exchange with Antonietta III. He quite clearly said that elected government was incapable of solving our problems (a lie we have heard from totalitarians since the beginning of democracy), and he proposed that issues should be resolved "by fiat", in other words by a dictator.

He then engaged in a righteous fantasy that people who were unhappy with this way of doing things would go in a bar or sulk (instead of violently resisting it, which is what people actually do when faced with a dictator who severly goes against the majority's will)

He did not just describe something, he advocated something. Something quite sick, and very dangerous.

How do you feel about an informal ban on foul language?

The goal would be to increase access to TOD for people using, for example, high-school computers.

For the life of me, I cannot see what forking purpose foul language serves to improve the quality of debate;-)

for example, high-school computers

Ho, ho!
Don't you think your frequent references to sex could be detrimental too?

This is really a Pandora Box, can we let it firmly closed?
Ah, but all my references are in good taste!

(Or they taste good;-)


by Maurice Ogden

Into our town the Hangman came.
Smelling of gold and blood and flame
and he paced our bricks with a diffident air
and built his frame on the courthouse square

The scaffold stood by the courthouse side,
Only as wide as the door was wide;
A frame as tall, or little more,
Than the capping sill of the courthouse door

And we wondered, whenever we had the time.
Who the criminal, what the crime.
That Hangman judged with the yellow twist
of knotted hemp in his busy fist.

And innocent though we were, with dread,
We passed those eyes of buckshot lead:
Till one cried: "Hangman, who is he
For whom you raise the gallows-tree?"

Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye,
And he gave us a riddle instead of reply:
"He who serves me best," said he,
"Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree."

And he stepped down, and laid his hand
On a man who came from another land
And we breathed again, for another's grief
At the Hangman's hand was our relief

And the gallows-frame on the courthouse lawn
By tomorrow's sun would be struck and gone.
So we gave him way, and no one spoke.
Out of respect for his Hangman's cloak.

The next day's sun looked mildly down
On roof and street in our quiet town
And stark and black in the morning air,
The gallows-tree on the courthouse square.

And the Hangman stood at his usual stand
With the yellow hemp in his busy hand;
With his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike
And his air so knowing and business like.

And we cried, "Hangman, have you not done
Yesterday with the alien one?"
Then we fell silent, and stood amazed,
"Oh, not for him was the gallows raised."

He laughed a laugh as he looked at us:
"...Did you think I'd gone to all this fuss
To hang one man? That's a thing I do
To stretch a rope when the rope is new."

Then one cried "Murder!" One cried "Shame!"
And into our midst the Hangman came
To that man's place. "Do you hold," said he,
"With him that was meant for the gallows-tree?"

And he laid his hand on that one's arm.
And we shrank back in quick alarm,
And we gave him way, and no one spoke
Out of fear of his Hangman's cloak.

That night we saw with dread surprise
The Hangman's scaffold had grown in size.
Fed by the blood beneath the chute
The gallows-tree had taken root;

Now as wide, or a little more,
Than the steps that led to the courthouse door,
As tall as the writing, or nearly as tall,
Halfway up on the courthouse wall.

The third he took-we had all heard tell
Was a user and infidel, and
"What," said the Hangman "have you to do
With the gallows-bound, and he a Jew?"

And we cried out, "Is this one he
Who has served you well and faithfully?"
The Hangman smiled: "It's a clever scheme
To try the strength of the gallows-beam."

The fourth man's dark, accusing song
Had scratched out comfort hard and long;
And what concern, he gave us back.
"Have you for the doomed--the doomed and black?"

The fifth. The sixth. And we cried again,
"Hangman, Hangman, is this the last?"
"It's a trick," he said, "That we hangmen know
For easing the trap when the trap springs slow.""

And so we ceased, and asked no more,
As the Hangman tallied his bloody score:
And sun by sun, and night by night,
The gallows grew to monstrous height.

The wings of the scaffold opened wide
Till they covered the square from side to side:
And the monster cross-beam, looking down.
Cast its shadow across the town.

Then through the town the Hangman came
And called in the empty streets my name-
And I looked at the gallows soaring tall
And thought, "There is no one left at all

For hanging." And so he calls to me
To help pull down the gallows-tree.
And I went out with right good hope
To the Hangman's tree and the Hangman's rope.

He smiled at me as I came down
To the courthouse square through the silent town.
And supple and stretched in his busy hand
Was the yellow twist of the strand.

And he whistled his tune as he tried the trap
And it sprang down with a ready snap.
And then with a smile of awful command
He laid his hand upon my hand.

"You tricked me. Hangman!" I shouted then.
"That your scaffold was built for other men...
And I no henchman of yours," I cried,
"You lied to me. Hangman. foully lied!"

Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye,
"Lied to you? Tricked you?" he said. "Not I.
For I answered straight and I told you true"
The scaffold was raised for none but you.

For who has served me more faithfully
Then you with your coward's hope?" said he,
"And where are the others that might have stood
Side by your side in the common good?"

"Dead," I whispered, and sadly
"Murdered," the Hangman corrected me:
"First the alien, then the Jew...
I did no more than you let me do."

Beneath the beam that blocked the sky.
None had stood so alone as I.
And the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there
Cried "Stay!" for me in the empty square.

Interesting poem. I don't think giving people the option to hide comments beneath a link is equal to hanging them, though.

ftr, I'm opposed to the death penalty as well as to eugenics and dictatorships...

No, but I think the idea that we should hang together, not separately, applies here.
I don't think we all should "hang" for the kind of opinions that I've objected to as beyond the pale. But indeed that's what happening, regarding our message in the MSM.
Give me a killfile and the intolerant will be the first ones in it.

I like your proposal. It has a certain survival of the fittest aspect to it. It'll certainly separate the alphas from the betas.

As I used to say on Jay's list, "the the battle for list dominance shall rage on!!!

To inclusive fitness!


Be careful what you ask for. What if the points you find most repulsive happen to garner the most votes? I think you're assuming, perhaps subconsiously, the posters you appreciate would (naturally) be the ones with the highest rankings. That might be the case. It might not. We wouldn't know unless such a system was put into place. What if it turns out the posts you find most repulsive got pushed to the top?

If that turns out to be the case, it would be a definitve sign that I waste my time here (and that I should worry more about the repulsive ideas asociated with peak oil than peak oil itself). But a social network system could avoid this problem even then, because what was rated highest for me wasn't necessarily what's rated highest for you.
I think she mostly saw (real-active) peak oilers as a bunch of hippies who are just looking for an excuse to rev up the VW van one last ride, albeit one powered by biodiesel.  In many ways that is not an inaccurate assesement of a significant portion of people attracted to thise meme, particularly those located in my neck of the woods. (Norther California)
Is it true that growing pot is still the mainstay of the economy in your "greater Geyserville" area?
I just read the Harper article IMAGINE THERE'S NO OIL and this is the first time I've heard about the Peak Oil movement. I'd like to put my hands on solid research and background material on this issue. Any advice on best place to start--I'm a non-scientific type--Heinberg's book PARTY's OVER which Urstadt mentions?
I'm a writer.
... to put my hands on solid research and background material on this issue.

Welcome to FogLand.
There is no "solid" material because the liquidy gooey stuff is all buried underground between the cracks of porous rock formations.

There is an enormous amount to learn.
You might want to start here: PO Center Intro
My favorite for newbies is the Fate of Humanity tutorial but warning: it's very long and kind of depressing once you grasp what it is telling you. After that I suggest a good psych book on coping with grief (you know: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance)

P.S. The authors of Fate of Humanity are constantly updating their tutorial. I just went back and scanned Chapter 2. Kudos to them for explaining why we will never "run out of oil".

The phrase "run out of oil" is a ruse used by cornucopians to confuse those who do not know better.

Chapt. 4 on Easter Island & St. Mathews Island is a favorite of mine although it is somewhat simplistic. Suggest you also read Jared Diamond's book, "Collapse" for a better understanding of the many overlapping factors that can lead to demise of a civilization. Peak Oil is just the tip of the iceberg, I'm sorry to say. Our Titanic civilization keeps propelling mindlessly towards that berg despite the shouts of the on-board Cassandras.

As you continue your journey into FogLand, you will quickly learn that there are many camps; spanning from extreme cornucopians (Peak Oil is hoax, we will never run out) to extreme doomers and gloomers (the end is now). If you think it makes sense to pick a "balanced" middle position, think twice. What is your rationale for doing so? Ask yourself even if human beings are rational creatures for having gotten ourselves so deep into this pickle. And why does hardly anyone (including yourself, until recently) even know about the PO problem?

p.s. a bit of blog whoring regarding Fogland here

Welcome to a fellow writer!

My advice is to plunge into TOD and spend two hours a day on it (which is my daily limit).

When you do not understand something, look at older posts or look up words, and often you can figure out pretty tough stuff.

If math is not your strong point, do not worry. If you made it through sixth grade and can add, subtract, draw graphs, and venture occasionally upon percentages and even long division (using a big eraser, which is what I do) you can check calculations.

If there is anything you must know right now, just e-mail me at sunfishsailor@hotmail.com


Because I'm an old blowhard, but if I do not know something I'll admit it. Also, I taught for thirty-one years at a community college and am pretty good at getting difficult stuff across--yea verily, even supply and demand (which turn out to be rather difficult to grasp. Most of the commenters on this site do not have a sound understanding of these fundamental concepts).

If you must go to the library and check out one book, hm, . . . well, I'd go to Interlibrary Lending Service and see if they can find you a copy of

"Man, Energy, Society," by Earl Cook, San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Company, 1976.

I used to use that book for my Environmental Economics class.

Alternatively, go to Barnes & Nobles, stoke up on caffein, and get a whole stack of new books (highly uneven) and browse through them in an easy chair until the Alpha Male Prophet of Doom or some other interesting guy sits down by you and begins frothing at the mouth about Peak Oil.  

One addendum:

Forecasting the future for Peak Oil is impossible (but we try).

Forecasting what we need to do is much easier (how much, how fast is still ???).  Generally agreed on TOD:

  1. Conservation BIG TIME
  2. Electric Rail (intercity freight with pax added, Urban Rail)
  3. Renewable energy (mostly wind, some hydro add-ons, geothermal, solar consensus is weaker except for water heating & space heating)
  4. Localizing food production & consumption

Weaker consensus:

  1. Plug-in Hybrids & electric vehicles
  2. Nukes
  3. Tar sands & Coal to Liquids
  4. Natural gas powered cars
  5. Solar PhotoVoltaic (PV)
  6. Oil production peak is 2006, 2008, or 2010 (we are sure that it will be an even numbered year though !)

Hope this is fair summary.

I am the Electric rail mono-maniac here :-)

2.1 City planning. Having parallell working infrastructures for car travel, train/trolley/bus and walking & Bicycling in dense neighbourhoods with nice buildings with services in manny ground floors saves a lot of fuel and makes it a lot cheaper to live well if you have some bad luck.

Personally I also think it makes it possible to have close to congestion free traffic, something cars and highways dont seem to be able to accomplish on their own regardless of the road budget. The efficiency in energy and less queueing time should make such towns more productive and they ought to have room for more cultural variation.

One problem with this line of thinking is that focused PR and short messages are more efficient then an unfocused creation of room for other peoples lives. Advocating a possibility rich infrastructure that dont force peoples choises is harder then "car hallelulia" or "rail hallelulia".

I haven't looked at everything on the site, but my impression is that The Beginner's Guide to Peak Oil, at wolfreading.litho.uk is a pretty conscientious effort at an introduction. I also like Paul Roberts's book The End of Oil as a starting point.
As coincidence would have it, the 5th Annual ASPO Conference commenced the day you posted your note in Pisa, Italy. I'm still in Pisa now, it finished yesterday:


It's been my first ASPO conference.

Heinberg's 'Party's Over' was my introduction to the subject about 2 years ago and I would recommend it. It's a good synthesis of the major strands and stepping off point down the rabbit hole. I went to see Colin Campbell shortly after (he wrote the introduction to Heinberg's book) as he lives in Ireland, and is the founder of ASPO - The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas.

I'm keen to see the Harper article as a friend just mailed to tell me about it and how Peak Oil came off as a cultist fad.

I'm not in the US and can't get a copy of Harper's easily and would be very grateful if you did. If they ask you to take it down then you can comply.
Ah, yes Matt, I remember that review now--didn't realize that was Urstadt too. Well, at the very minimum, at least he actually wrote a review of The Long Emergency. I think MIT's Technology Review was the only serious journal to do such a thing.

Thanks for the links--especially the second one which I somehow missed...

Harper lauds natural-gas plan G8 host Putin joins PM in supporting $1.5-billion Canada-Russia joint venture

MIKE BLANCHFIELD, CanWest News Service
Published: Sunday, July 16, 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his G8 host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, voiced enthusiastic support yesterday for a proposal to ship Russian liquefied gas to North America for the first time, as the Canadian leader steered clear of direct criticism of his Russian counterpart's commitment to democracy.

Harper and Putin voiced support for the $1.5-billion plan to ship natural gas that would be liquefied here in St. Petersburg and then shipped to North America through a Quebec port. Petro-Canada and the Russian gas company, Gazprom, have signed a letter of understanding to explore co-operation.
Russia, one of the world's top natural gas producers, wants to make inroads and become a major supplier to the United States.
"We believe in the free exchange of energy products based on competitive market principles, not self-serving monopolistic political strategies," Harper told his London audience in a thinly veiled swipe at Putin.

src: The Gazette of Montreal
After studying the peak oil problem, I quickly decided that to remodel my house in any form that did not make it more energy efficent would be folly. Therefore, I replaced my 2 layer shingle roof with a insulated metal one. An interesting side effect of this, I've noticed, is that there is quite an amount of condensation that comes off the roof in the morning, probably due to our high humidity climate here in Florida, and throughout the southeast. While surely not enough to water the whole yard, esp. with a 1k sq. foot house, placing buckets or something under the eaves might be worthwhile to stash away some water during dry spells to water critical plants, i.e. food. I'll follow this up later with some form of empirical measurement, hopefully tied to humidity levels.
Also, the stock market is reacting to what we already know:
The state of Texas actually encourages building in runoff capture systems into homes. Not many do it, but the state does encourage it. And San Antonio and Austin actually give rebates of up to $450 for building rainwater capture systems.

For your reference, the state of Texas claims that 600 gallons of water can be reclaimed from every 1000 square feet of roof surface.

Here's one official Texas document discussing rainwater runoff capture systems. (WARNING! PDF!)

Runoff water can be treated for drinking or, in municipal areas, can be used for irrigation and other purposes, thus lowering demands on municipal water systems. The state of Texas estimates that a runoff capture system, including the cistern to store the water, would cost $5000-$8000 to install.

Absolutely, however keep in mind there is difference between runoff, which occurs in abundance here in Florida during the rainy season (actually, more than you could ever hope to capture) and condensation. However, if you did have a system to capture one, you could capture the other as well.
I've heard of several areas (Seattle comes to mind, I think as well as a few Canadian cities) that will pay for a 'rain barrel' for your home, simply a large barrel that sits underneath your gutter/eaves that is mostly enclosed to discourage mosquitoes. We here in Florida use about 50% of our potable water to water our lawns and plants, and we are quickly running out of this supposedly renewable resource. Note that we also get most of our water by pumping it out of the ground...
Hello Greyzone,

Arizona is H20-helpless to the Overshoot greed of real estate developers, and those who subdivide their properties.  They build with no regard to future water shortages caused by drought and groundwater overdrafts [PDF warning]:


It does not rain enough in most of AZ to justify the homeowner expense of rainwater catchment cisterns, and in the Asphalt Wonderland, the monts-long roof buildup of tire carbon-black dust, pigeon poop, asphaltic tars, and other industrial heavy-metal pollutants, combined with the sparse and infrequent rainfall means any catchment water would have to be heavily treated to be potable.  This is far beyond the skill level of the average homeowner.

Sadly, most Phoenicians would rather waste water at the countless carwashes to keep the aftermarket bling shiny on their 'chrome penises'.  The HUMMER dealership near me offers full customization services to fully dress out your SUV purchase.  I like to call this high profit selling of the ultimate automotive hard-on the "Viagra Package".

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

Bob, you may think that Phoenix could not use runoff catch systems but there are earthships even in the Phoenix area that use rainwater catch systems as their only source of water. I suggest you read up on the earthship as it might be a very feasible thing to build once suburbia begins to disintegrate.
My good friend Jerry Unruh lives with his wife in an earth ship in the mountains above Colorado Springs. I spent several days with them a couple of years ago. They get their electricity from the sun, and live a pretty sustainable existence. Their house was an inspiration to me.

You can read a bit about their experience here:

Where the rubber meets the roof/ Environmentally friendly earthship



There is something called an air well. The concept is that the ground below 10-20 feet down is at a temperature below the dew point causing it to condense water out of the air. Might work better in muggy Texas than dry Arizona.
Hello GreyZone,

Thxs for responding.  I am familiar with earthship design from my web-surfing:



IF I had the funds, I would like to build a very small 400 sq. ft house inside a bought-used buried culvert that would give me about 2000 sq ft of underground spare living space.  I think windows are over-rated in Phx, as the cool-losses are too great, and nobody just sits and stares out their windows.  They should prefer to just get up, and go for a hike outside.  I like the idea of SOLATUBES for natural illumination and doors for fire safety evacuation.  

Ideally, based upon the desired temperature, I could move appliances based upon whether I wanted to add heat to the total underground living space or keep it out.  For example, a small, used 18 ft flatbed trailer could hold all the kitchen and clothes washing appliances.  During the hot season, I would open the culvert door and wheel it outside by battery powered electric motor.  Then the heat and fumes from the stovetop, grill, oven, etc would not add heat to the culvert interior space that the swamp-cooler unit would have to remove later.  My guess is that the 400 sq ft super-insulated living space, inside the culvert, could be very infrequently temp. and humidity controlled by the smallest available A/C unit on the market.  During the colder weather, obviously with safe venting of fumes, this appliance heat would be welcome to heating the interior space.

The idea of having extra culvert space is for storing items [food, water, Beer, toilet paper, etc] and tools I would like to trade postPeak.  Being underground, except for one end, would make it hard for burglars to gain entry if the the security doors were of sound design.  I wouldn't have indoor plumbing in the conventional sense as it is too expensive and wasteful, but a solar heated cistern for washing, and a camping toilet that could be easily emptied into a solar biodigester to create topsoil.

Once there is no electricity period, being underground is the best way to moderate the temperature naturally.  If it worked for our caveman ancestors, it can work for me too.

I am no architect, but this seems like a pretty cheap, sturdy, thermo-efficient, and safe housing idea for the do-it-yourself guy.  A backhoe to move the dirt to cover the culvert would be real nice, but a bunch of friendly guys to shovel for pizza and beer is doable over time.

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

Hello Bob,
You might be surprised how cheap a little Bobcat (skid-steer earthmover) is to rent at this time. I just rented a flatbed truck from HD and saved myself about 40$ on furniture delivery costs. I have a friend that lives on some springs near Orlando that has rented quite a bit of 'heavy' equipment and saved countless dollars by renting equipment and paying for labor by the hour (i.e. labor finders or other day labor places)
However, your idea for living 'underground' is ideal. Here the water table is too high to make that a possibility. But there are other possibilities...
Trade: "food, water, Beer, toilet paper, etc"

Hmmm... interesting list but I have some questions about it:

The beer is the obvious one as it has a very short shelf life, and is bulky and heavy. If you want to cater to the drinkers why not stock absolute ethanol instead, which you could then sell straight up, or cut down with water to an ersats moonshine. I would imagine also that brewers / vintners yeast, stored in nitrogen drypacks would also be in demand, figured you would be up on that one ;)

I would think some other drugs would be good choices too, stuff which is not going to get the law on your case now but which folks might really find it hard to go without; basic antibiotics, birth control pills (including the "morning after" pill), insulin, anti-rejection meds (somebody walking around with a transplanted organ in them if there are no functioning big pharmas or if the prices go way up will be a very motivated buyer)

Unless you live in the desert (in which case I would advise moving now) water again is too heavy & bulky, but water filter units or water purification tablets I would think would be popular items

etc etc

Well, I have a brewery about 1-1/2 miles from my house, and they sell 'growlers' (1/2 gallon refillable jugs).  Which solves some of the energy issues with throwaway glass containers.  I have been meaning to try the chocolate donut stout, but they were out the last time I was in there :-(.

I guess my point is that small breweries can sprout up all over the place - the main thing you need is a good local supply of water.

Desert living sounds like a loser to me too.  I have a friend who just moved to Las Vegas (wasn't my idea).  The sheer waste all over the place there is just astounding.

I live in Galveston, Texas in a house that was originally built in 1895. There is the remnant of a cistern, as there isn't any fresh water on an island that is a sand bar in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the houses have these cistern foundations, as they do in the older parts of Houston.
  People didn't use as much water a hundred years ago. They owned far fewer clothes and didn't launder as much. They had outhouses rather than flush toilets and bathed in fresh water about once a week. Still, we could still have a safe water supply and plenty of water if we just used cisterns and reused some of the water by using the "grey water" to flush toilets and water plants.
  Both Galveston and Houston are in areas with plenty of rain. But these techniques could help stretch the water resources without cutting in to our lifestyle much if at all. In Galveston the City Council loads all kinds of fees on the water bill, stuff like the EMS and garbage collection, so they can claim that they haven't raised taxes. I personally have nothing against high taxes as long as someone else pays them, so I have been contemplating a cistern to flush toilets and water plants.
Gunmen kidnapped a senior Iraqi Oil Ministry official Sunday.

Attackers stopped Adel Kazzaz, director of the North Oil Co., shortly after he left the ministry. They beat his bodyguards and whisked him away, ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.

The North Oil Co. runs Iraq's oil fields around the northern city of Kirkuk. The other major fields, in the south, are run by a separate company. Both are government-owned.

Kazzaz was in Baghdad to attend a meeting with ministry officials, Jihad said.

The northern fields have been plagued for years by sabotage attacks on pipelines and other infrastructure. Exports were restored last month after a long delay but halted again last week and not expected to resume soon.

On Saturday, gunmen kidnapped the head of Iraq's National Olympic Committee and 30 other people. Six were freed, but there was no word Sunday on the fate of the others.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

With the shortage of offshore oil rigs, can any of the oil literate on TOD take an educated guess as to when they might even be able to start drilling in the newly proposed offshore areas of the USA if and when they get authorized and if they find anything how long it would then be until they actually start delivering product in volume?
If it's 2010 or beyond before they can get drilling rigs in place plus another 5 years before volume deliveries - Well I think most here see significant declines in global oil production long before 2015?
Doubt that it will have any real effect in keeping the wolf away from the door.
The market will, in general, allocate oil rigs to the most promising prospects.  So if better prospects are leased, they will be drilled.
you follow the money:

Saudi Arabia/Gulf has money,shallow offshore acreage.

GOM has deepwater,hurrricane risks, insurance liabilties etc.

If you owned a rig , where would you put it to work?

You would take it to the place where you can maximise its day rate and mimimise its its potential losses.

Bye Bye GOM, Florida, West Coast, East Coast.

Sorry, but your rig owners have already worked it out for themselves.

Saudi has some excellent prospects AND $$$ but they have, so far, taken only half of the GoM rigs.
They will Pay more.
They have the money.
They have the acreage.
SRAMCO Is a bigger beast in the jungle than XONMB, Shell,or BP.

They have clout.

Although it's not likely that this thread will get to 300 messages like the ones lately, I have found a nifty way to jump to new messages with a mouse click. It starts with Google's web browser toolbar (which some kind poster recommended here for spell checking about a month ago). Get the toolbar here:


Two utilities: current-page-word-search and current-page-word-find are key. When you type the following in the seach box:

"[new] "

Type in everything including both double quotes and the space after right bracket. The utility will find and move the cursor to that familiar blue type-faced [new] character string that denotes a new post.

Saves a lot of scrolling.    

This is really useful. Although, I always wondered why can't we just use CSS to make the backround of new posts be a very faint light blue--that way it is easy to scroll through a thread one has already read and identify posts not already read by the user. This way one doesn't need the google toolbar (as I like to keep my browser as "open spaced" as possible


Firefox users can press the / key and do the same thing, however, it is built in and does not require an extra toolbar. Hit Control-G to move onto the next result.
I use control f in windows to do that.
This can also be done in Internet Explorer directly. To use via menus, go to Edit...Find (on this page), fill in "[new]" in the dialog box. Can also be done with the Crtl-F command.
OK guys, could you please stop putting "[new]" in al your reponses, is messing up my system!  oopps!
Oil production limit reached: expert

Snip ....

"The problem will become the day that you cannot optimise by price," he said.

"You will have to optimise by availability, so there won't be oil for everyone."


Hello Prole,

Good link, thxs. I like the quote: "You will have to optimise by availability, so there won't be oil for everyone."

Seems the better choice would be to optimize energy to maximize food, water, and medicine production for as long as possible to as many as possible.  IMO, this would be the best way to reduce violence.

If no money was spent anymore on the military-industrial complex, then huge financial amounts could be directed towards this beneficial end.  If agreement could be reached that no detritus-powered weaponry would be manufactured anymore [not even bullets]; that the world would purposely choose hand-to-hand combat with spears and swords as our preferred method of decline, then this alone could drastically reduce the tendency towards long distance resource wars until our continiung world population fertility decline prevents any desire to attack our neighbor.  The horrors of face-to-face battle would make most choose to cooperate instead.

The hard part, obviously, is to convince every individual that not owning a gun, or a bigger killing weapon is in the best genetic collective interests of everyone.  'Survival of the Fittest' in the true genetic sense implies a competitive battle of athletic prowess and mental wits, not effortlessly eliminating a foe with a sniper rifle headshot from a mile away.  No genes can adapt to that kind of assault.  Nature, in postPeak time, will inevitably force us to the 'Hutu-Tutsi Song of the Machete' Dance'-- being proactive now by world disarmament will forestall and help prevent this tune's rapid rise to #1 on the Hit Parade.

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

Not paying for war makes a big bag of other gooies possible like good schools and good health care and good public transit.
This helps the really wealthy how?  Oh, you say it helps the society in general - who cares.  Time to get with the program.

Sorry, sarcasm off.

The other thing is, the money we spend on the military goes for things that are not supposed to be used (well, from one naive point of view anyway).  Thus, with luck the thing produced will ultimately be scrapped, and the direct effort of making it is a waste.  Only the secondary benefits of technology creation are realized.  Think how much better off we'd be if the money spent on weapons went instead to something that was of direct benefit itself.


Thanks for the link....I found it interesting that Dr Ali Samsam Bakhtiari also set a time frame, giving approximately 5 years before the threat of true shortage set in, and what we could call a true emergency took hold.
I wonder if that is just a "guesstimate" or whether he is pretty firm in that number?

If so, we can see that the structural ineslastic oil consumption could be  held down, at least in the U.S. by that time, IF, and this is such a big IF, we begin to go onto almost emergency mitigation RIGHT NOW.  (ala Hirsch Report)

#If the current SUV and Truck fleet is aged out and a sizable percentage of them are changed to smaller and more efficient vehicles. (a sizable percent being Diesel)
#If a measurable percentage of the population plan their relocation and job close to where they live (there will be a considerable number of relocations just as an ongoing part of life during 5 years)
#If corporations plan their transport much more around rail and barge transport, and work to get loose from JIT (Just In Time) inventory where it is not fundamental to the business structure.
#If the remaining highway truck fleet is changed over to more efficient trucks (ala WalMart's plan to reduce Diesel consumption by 50% with advanced efficient trucking
#If natural gas and propane consumption is held in check by solar hot water on new homes, and good insulation,  and a massive push is made to more energy efficient lighting and appliences, we can diversify some natural gas and propane over to transport use, IF, and again, BIG IF, we do it in a very efficient way, and do NOT waste it willy nilly all over the place  (high density cities would be able use Hybrid buses fueled by CNG or LPG to help relieve the pollution problem locally, for example)
#Look at developing fuel diversity at every level
#It should go without saying that expansion and promotion of train/bus/ferry boat service should be examined and put in place ANYWHERE it seems feasable in an effort to increase mass or community transit options

These are baby steps, no huge technology, no new breakthroughs, that can knock the growth out of crude/natural gas consumption, without knocking the wind out of the economy.  They will make us more able to withstand the tightening of supply as we buy time.  

Time to do what?  We know what works, but what has not been accepted.
Full electric cars for in town transport, Rail for transport between cities.
Passive solar design in homes, and ground coupled heat pumps in new construction.  Hybrid and plug hybrid electric cars as the batteries improve, and photo voltaic and wind turbines wherever they can be most useful
(solar in the sunbelt, wind on coasts and the flat plains of the Midwest, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, where there are large electric power markets to begin.
This to push as much transportation energy demand (where's our electrified rail buddy? :-) over to the grid, and to electric delivery vehicles and suburban runabouts, and use the wind and photovoltaic to help hold down the GHG (Greenhouse Gas emissions), using the excess electric power available at night to power up vehicles.

Now I know someone will be screaming, "but, but, that can't be, your talking about alternatives!!  Your talking about actually DOING something that can reduce oil/gas consumption!!  Your talking about jobs, and investment, and training our young people as technicians, and scientists, and designers, and not how to plow with a mule!!"  Wha'....it can't be....the physics won't allow it!!   There cannot be options, possibilitiies, it just isn't permitted, can't you see, it's over, IT'S A DONE DEAL!!"

Fine.  Then let's have some damm fun on the downslope.  Me and a buddy of mine are looking at building a kit car, one seat sportser to zoom about the suburb with....it will be a plug hybrid with a tiny Hanz Diesel engine, lithium ion batteries...we're thinking this thing will be more popular with the kids today than the old fiberglass dune buggies were with the kids in the 1960's....our stats are showing we can break over 120 miles per gallon, have a top speed of say 45 mile per hour....not a rocket, but around the burbs, it will feel like it compared to walking, run all electric for anything up to top speed, and run all electric for anything out to 40 mile range....it wouldn't even stress the batteries and if you did want to hop across to another hood or town to visit a new girlfriend, tiny Hanz Diesel kicks in to keep stress off the batteries......TO THE MALL!  :-)

By the way, why every high school and Community College in the land does not have a semester course for our kids on "Energy Diversity, Energy Security, Advanced Design" should be pizzing us all off.....could it be because it will cause the brats to demand REAL INNOVATION from American product design firms?

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I take what Bahktiari puts out with the same level of seriousness as what Simmons says. He is in the circle to actually know some of these things. When he says that the Saudi's or Kuwaiti's are having problems with production it's because he actually talks to their engineers as opposed to the systematic review of data we are forced into. It is interesting that the five year statement seems to correlate well with the data. Roger, where are you getting your batteries?
treeman, I am inclined to agree with you on Bahktiari's reliability, I was just wondering if he had used the number he gave before, or it was a bit "off the cuff" as an estimate.  Either way, we keep getting these people that are right in the industry who are not holding back on what sounds to me like the strongest warnings they can give, given the sensitivity of some of their positions, Simmons, Pickens, Bahktiari, and head of Exploration for French Total, Christophe de Margerie.
However, Lord Browne of BP and the Chief of ExxonMobil continue to sing a happy tune...."if you got the money, we got the time"
If however, major players begin to take the 5 year number seriously, we should, in fact MUST see corporate efforts at mitigation kick in, if we assume the managements want these companies to survive  (If you were a major airline, or UPS, what could you do fast, except....hoarding?  Either way, it is past time to begin to make big changes....on your other question...
On the suburb scootabout and your battery question, here's the direction we are looking at:
My pet choice:
(they provide the upgrade batteries to the Segway, by the way :-)

And more radical, but all the more fascinating

Also interesting, a stacked set of:
(we are waiting on cycle life stats and more info...

To drive an electric motor something like this....
(with the AC motor, regenerative braking is built into the motor controller, and makes engine management great, plus makes onboard "plug in recharging easy :-)

The Diesel Hatz, 2 cylinder, a little piece of art :-)

How would it look?  Something along thsee lines, but this is just to give an idea:

another direction for aerodynamic arrangement, borrow from VW's work...
http://eng.volkswagen-media-services.com/medias_publish/ms/content/en/pressemitteilungen/2002/04/15/ the_1-litre_car__.standard.gid-oeffentlichkeit.html
and mix in a bit of MB's styling ideas....so the final look will be a mix of the best done in little scoots' in the last few years, but it is the drivetrain that makes it special, as long as the weight and aerodynamic drag are kept down...this thing could jot all over town for nearly nothing :-)

What'da ya' think?  We want to build one or two first for our own fun, and expose the techies at our local community college to them.....and then, who knows.....it could even be "contracted out" on construction as a recreational type vehicle like the old dune buggies, and built in modular fashion by someone specialized, like Bertone of Italy  (if you remember the little
Fiat X 1/9 from the 1970's, they actually built it as a contract for Fiat in their own fabrication shops at Bertone)  Google it, is interesting stuff....:-), here's a link to a pic of the X 1/9, almost 40 mile per gallon, and huge fun to drive!



Picture it as a little electric runabout, that's another whole project right there!

Roger Conner  knoiwn to you as ThatsItImout

Looks like an impressive attempt. Good luck with it. Our little Community College here on Kauai actually placed second in the world for a solar car entry a couple of years ago. Taught me to never discount how much the motivated kids can accomplish. What do you think of the Laremo and 123's new nano lithium/ion batteries?
Sorry should have been Loremo, I think.  As to your point about the feasibility of recovery, I think it will depend greatly on location. You cannot dismiss the knowledge we now have and the ability to use technology to enhance the energy we end up having available to us. We will not go back to the cave, but on the other hand the overshoot in some areas, LA basin for one, may be so extreme that a mad max scenerio is inevitable. We are already planning to produce enough Biodeisel to run our critical transportation and the machinery necessary to produce the fuel for our biomass power plant. All sustainable, in the strictest sense other than we can't make new tractors. Plenty of room for food plenty of water and no need for heat or cooling. Probably one of the best possible cases, but I still see intense social pain as this unwinds.

treeman, I am not familiar with the Laremo batteries, if you have  a website, I will appreciate it, and I will hit the Google as time allows (it's getting late, and my weekend is running out, drat!), on the 123 batteries, the stats they show are very good, but they are expensive even by Li-ion standards.....they do have one thing going for them though, and that is that as the production ramps up for their power tool customers they should get cheaper.

Some other friend I have at a gridable hybrid Yahoo group associated with the Calcars group claim they will not even talk to a "tinker" customer, however, as they seem to barely able to stay up with demand by OEM makers....I don't know that as a fact, but for that reason, I bypassed them in first research, but do keep an eye on them.
A good Dow Jones story reprinted on their website gives an informative overview:

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Roger Conner, My apologies for not being clear. The loremo is a car developed in germany that seats 4, goes 100 mph, and gets 157 mpg with a two cylinder turbocharged diesel.Google will get you there.
I somehow missed that one, and man, is it a kick!!  As Charlie Brown used to say, THAT'S IT!! :-O

There could be NO better textbook case of what I have been driving everybody nuts about around here with for the last several days:  DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN!

Parents and Americans, please, if you DO NOT want your child sharecropping for the man living down in some shack, sitting by the pot belly stove, burning scrub brush for heat post peak, this is the way you and most importantly, THEY can beat it.  Teach them, educate them,  and vote, vote, vote, pester your school board and your community college and and Board of Regents and the Dean of your alma mater....PRESSURE THEM to tell you why we are not educating the applied designers and technicians that can preserve a modern culture for the United States of America.

Look, that is how it's done!  We won the World War that way, the Cold War that way, and the Space Race that way....We see design after design coming into this country, we see Americans going to other countries, and coming back and telling us, they have high speed trains, they have efficient cars and homes, and they have 6 dollar gasoline and they don't seem to notice!  How?
Because they have designed a culture to take it!  Toyota builds it's designs with American labor, the great hybrid...nothing magic, PURE DESIGN, APPLIED SCIENCE, but it is they they get the money and make the rules!

But the challange is soon to get very much greater.  Again, I beg you to please ask yourself what kind of a future your children and grandchildren can hope for if we refuse to create the technicians and designers that can reduce our fossil fuel consumption by two thirds (or more) without even slacking off our economy!  (In fact, creating whole new industries in it!
THE PHYSICS, AS YOU CAN EASILY SEE, DOES NOT PREVENT IT!  The lack of education, EFFORT, and talent does!  Talk to your Congress, your State Representatives, and your colleges!!  It is that hard?  Talk to them at parties, on the golf course, at the bar, whenever you can catch them!  Is that such a high price to pay....it is your young who can make the difference, for themselves, and yes, for us oldsters....you spent money on thier education for something, didn't we?

Lobby for at least a beginning curriculum semester,
"Energy Security, Energy Diversity, Advanced Design" and work outward from there.

In a nation that teaches classes like "Situation Comedy as Existential Sociology" and such crap, can we not afford education of our young on ENERGY AND DESIGN!!

Give me feedback on this, tell me what you all think of this effort, we have communication, we have a forum here, many of you have bright kids and grandkids that I am sure you want to see do well....is this not the fire front of the fight right here, is this not where the change begins, and our time turns back to us, and to them?  Frankly, watching the Europeans and Japanese laugh into the face of peak oil, when they have less oil and gas at home than we do, because they know they have us, at least for now, on design, technology and applied efficiency engineering, is beginning to make me a man with a mission, and I do not have any children!  I do have nephews and a niece, however, and cousins with bright children.  And I wish only the best for everyone elses.  I WANT THEM TO HAVE A FUTURE, AND TO KNOW AN AMERICA AS GOOD AS I KNEW.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I love it already, 1/2 to 1/3 of my current cars fuel use if it were a diesel. I want that car! I hope they can stick with making it small, efficient and inexpensive.
Adults are considering Urban Design now, most for the first times in their life, here in New Orleans.  Because we grew up in the midst of one of the best examples of "Old Urbanism" there is a knowledge that is endemic to the population, and not in the plague of Urban Planners that have descended upon us.

We "see" the faults on their images of what can be.  Not enough emphasis on beauty, too much accomadation of the automobile, among other faults.

Frankly, watching the Europeans and Japanese laugh into the face of peak oil, when they have less oil and gas at home than we do, because they know they have us, at least for now, on design, technology and applied efficiency engineering

Neither the Japanese, nor the Europeans, Taiwanese, Korean, Chinese and Indians are that bad at "technology and applied efficiency engineering" especially the ones educated in the US who went home and who will do so in even greater numbers if the US economy tanks for any reason.

You are still hammering your "Technology Supreme" message, not a bad thing but you tend to overlook too many other factors.

Ancient Chinese had a more balanced view of the criteria for success of any endeavour.
There are 4 conditions:
- You must have the skills. To grow anything you must be a good gardener.
- It must be the right time. Growing strawberries in the open in winter is hopeless.
- Public opinion must be in agreement. If nobody wants strawberries what's the point? They may even uproot your plantations.
- Last but not least, you must be IN CHARGE. You must be an appointed gardener or have your own garden otherwise you will have a hard time growing anything.

Western minds are inclined to focus mainly on the first point, the skills, "where there's a will there's a way".

BTW, I answered your latest reply about the "derivative".

First, I answered your question on my reading of Tainter, here

Second, I think you misread my sentence on the Japanese/Europeans.  My contention was that they are laughing because the ARE SO EXTREMELY GOOD at design and applied tech.  It is so interesting to see this almost "we are doomed, our azz is wiped out, it's back to the stone age for us" mentality by Americans, and yet, if you go over to Japanese websites and listen to Japanese commentators, they show no great sign of panic.

Recently, I saw a report that said Toyota had began an exercise working on Toyota product, market structure, management and financial arrangements out to 100 years!!  Someone asked a Toyota exec on a public TV show, "do you really intend to be in the car business in 100 years?"
I am not kidding, he looked confused by the question, completely puzzled!
Haltingly, he said, "....uh, of course, it's what we do...", after all, Ford has been in 100 plus years, Daimler Benz has been in over 120 years....why would they assume they would not be in the car business 100 years from now?

But how?  One of the recent demonstration houses in Japan was a marvel, beautiful to look at, and had solar photovoltaic panals on it, with a recharge stand in the center of the garage fro a plug hybrid, the house and the car could be powered mostly by the sun most of the time, but would gas up a small natural gas tank as range extender if it was to go out of town.
Honda has shown several versions of photovoltaic solar produced hydrogen fuel cell cars.  But, that won't work, will it?  Yes, but it's expensive.  But it takes up too much room!  Where would you put the solar panals?  Watch local news film the next time they have a helicopter up!  The rooves of malls, WalMarts and the possibility of covered parking lots alone enouogh square yards to power half the cars in the city, and that is at current efficiency rate.  That rate is improving.  Oh, oh, now I am in trouble, as you say,
"You are still hammering your "Technology Supreme" message, not a bad thing but you tend to overlook too many other factors."

Kevembuangga, let me admit to you that the "other factors" are daunting beyond words.  It will be the greatest miracle in history if we can pull this off at this stage in the game.  The "other factors" are so complex and so challenging  that we will need EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN using every talant they have to pull it off.  It is at best a 1 in 100 shot.  But, it will have to be tried.  Others will try, and perhaps the others who try and pull it off will be the most ruthless among us.  That is why this has to be inclusionist, we have to disperse, spread, propagandize the methods and the need.  

This is where you are so correct in your point:
- Public opinion must be in agreement. If nobody wants strawberries what's the point? They may even uproot your plantations.
On your other points, most of us who read the Hirsch Report believe the time is right.  Even if Peak is 10 to 15 years away, we should be moving full speed now as though it's tomorrow.  We have to convince the public of this.
You must be in charge.....No, the majority, the masses must be in charge, and placing the demand for real design and efficiency on the companies, the producers, the technicians.  The designers, the technicians, the producers of efficiency must be "the guides", the revealers, the showers of a possible path.

In the end, it is the public that must choose, an advanced way, the status quo,  or the old way, back to a primitive path.

But to clarify:  Why do I hammer on this, stay on this?  Because I think the "technology" path will be easy?  Because I think it's a cakewalk?

Exactly the opposite.  Because it will be so hard, so challenging, require SO MUCH wisdom and creativity, I am waging aware against the loss of will.  We cannot do this without EVERYONE helping, studying, looking for ways to design, to simplify technology so that it retains the communication and transportation, the ability to move INFORMATION we have now, but at a 10th or a 20th of the consumption of resources/energy.  If we are to have even a 1 in 100 chance at success, at maintaining culture, at avoiding suffering, we can have no loss of will, no one who is convinced by some fictional physics that it cannot be done.  If it cannot be done, we will find that out soon enough.  If we can succeed, we will spend the rest of our lives proving it.
But it will be a more meaningful life, and a more joyous life, than going to the caves or the hut.  Surely the future of our children, and the dignity of our effort will mean enough that we will not go that path.  

I am more and more convinced that this is NOT about technology, per se.

you say
"where there's a will there's a way".

and I say, perhaps, but where there's NO WILL there's NO WAY.
absolutely NECESSARILY SO!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Thanks for your lengthy and thoughtfull replies.
Neither I, "can't resist a few more words" :-)
First, I do support your quest for technology improvements, everyone is welcome to contribute according to his own tastes and skills.

the time is right

May be, let's hope it is not too late...

You must be in charge.....No, the majority, the masses must be in charge

A slight misunderstanding.
Being "in charge" is about ACTUAL position of power, NOT what "should be" with respect to whatever other criterion.
No point being more clever and wiser than the prime minister. If you are not actually the prime minister this is just a waste.

Because I think the "technology" path will be easy? Because I think it's a cakewalk?
Exactly the opposite.

THIS is where Tainter's objections get a grip!
"be[ing] so hard, so challenging, require[ing] SO MUCH wisdom and creativity" is a COST!!!
It is the pressure of much less effective (or totally unrelated and even counterproductive) but REWARDING alternatives which will prevent such worthwhile efforts to happen.
The "invisible hand" of the market makes a killing here, in many senses of the word!

I am more and more convinced that "this is NOT about technology, per se.

I absolutely agree that "this is NOT about technology, per se." but, alas, it is not about will either.
Will is an attribute of the INDIVIDUAL not of a group or society in spite of the abuse of language.
What I think "IT" is really about is social structures which will allow the development AND deployment of "appropriate" technologies.
I have no real fears about the possibility to come up with the appropriate technologies, man is a clever tool building animal.
This still leaves the problem to reach a consensus about what are "appropriate" technologies and to implement them which is again a societal problem.

Ummm... Japan has absolutely no oil, and depends overwhelmingly on foreign imports.

If people in Japan are aware that oil is a finite resource or that depletion will begin soon, and they are not worried--then I am amazed.

Japan is not immune to energy problems just because their videogame market is 4 years more advanced than ours...

mr f

Japan has absolutely no oil, and depends overwhelmingly on foreign imports.

It's even worse than that...they have absolutley NO home natural gas, and had to advance and build the design of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) to have any gas to run their industry!

Which was my point....they should be in an ABSOLUTE PANIC!  And they should certainly be laying NO PLANS for retaining and even advancing a modern technical state....yet they do (???)  Remember, they cannot even dream of home bio mass energy or ethanol on a scale we can (even if it would work!), they have to now import much of their food!

They have no sunbelt emty spaces to put vast solar panels, and yet....

To use your sentence,
"Japan is not immune to energy problems just because their videogame market is 4 years more advanced than ours..."

No one is immune to energy problems.  Yet Japan has an advanced solar panel market, an advanced battery market, an advanced hybrid vehicle drivetrain market, rapid advancing development in renewable hydrogen production technique, advance fast trains....are we starting to see a pattern here?

This has effects far beyond the home market....recently, Ford admitted that it could have sold twice as many Hybrid Electric Escape SUV's....the market was there for them, but due to the fact that America has no home market manufacturers of hybrid control components and advanced batteries, they were having to buy them from the Japanese.   The Japanese, however, had long standing customers who were contracted as "first serve customers", and given the booming Toyota and Lexus Hybrid sales, the large Japanese advanced battery and component makers could provide very limited parts.

Please, think about this.  Here is Ford, in dire need of sales, in fact, struggling for survival, with a product that is advanced, that the customer wants, and due to nothing other than American engineering and design failure, CANNOT take advantage of the market, increase fuel efficiency for America, and advance technology for us all.

Frankly, this is a failure of management, logistics, planning and corporate organization that should be considered by the shareholders and the customers as outright negligence bordering on breach of contract and  break of corporate responsibility.  This sort of thing is shameful, humiliating to America, and a disgrace.  Should there not be some way to call these so called "educated" highly paid managers to task, to let them know we see how shamefully they are letting down their nation?  

You say, "If people in Japan are aware that oil is a finite resource or that depletion will begin soon, and they are not worried--then I am amazed."

I am sure some are.  But the talanted ones do seem to spend nearly as much time worrying as they do solving.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Frankly, this is a failure of management, logistics, planning and corporate organization [in America as opposed to what happens in Japan] ...

In my day job, I sometimes deal with foreign engineers who for various reasons come here to work under American management.

Very soon they become shell shocked at the gross incompetence of the "superiors" to whom they report.

I try to explain to them about our glorious MBA educational system

... but after a while I give up and tell them to find the answer in Dilbert.

(Right click & pick View Image to see bigger)

Next one off topic, but is Elbonia really Hell's-Bollimia?

Thank you, that's funny....Dilbert, why don't Scott Adams  have a management school somewhere, he seems to see right to the heart of the idiocy!

As an aside, I think one of the things that has caused so many countries to be willing to jump into our markets is exactly what you describe....the more foreign managers we bring over and let see that our vaunted management/logistics/organizatonal skill is a myth, the more they are willing to go home and say to their bosses and bankers, "we can take these guys, they are just not that good!"  It is noticable that now even third world developing nations are willing to go after our most sophisticated product lines with confidence...

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Scott Adams does have a management consultancy business. His tips to managers Dilbert-ise the workplace. Conflict of interest? You betcha!
When Ford bought Swedish Volvo cars they first continued investments in the safety work Volvo is famous for. Ford have now announced that they will invest in Volvos hybrid work.

It took them some time to recognice the value of what they have bought but they can probably increase the pace to quicker get products to their customers.

One quibble.

I think the emphasis should be on electric Urban Rail (with bicycle, bus, walking and GEM type EV feeders).  Electric rail "naturally" leads to more energy efficient urban forms AND large gains in total energy efficiency.  

Not everywhere, Towns of 25,000 are not good candidates for Urban Rail (although I can find historic examples), and EVs have a use there.

An EV dominant post-Peak transistion will, IMHO, lead to another crisis in a generation because the gains in efficiency are not large enough.

Your theory....

"An EV dominant post-Peak transistion will, IMHO, lead to another crisis in a generation because the gains in efficiency are not large enough."

First I cannot refute that, the math that far out in front would be very hard to guess.  We don't know the effect of nano tech on battery and solar panels, materials science, controllers/computers, it could be huge, or it could be a fissle.  How the vehicles would be used would be very important also....I like trains for any real distance, but am thinking more in the area of local in the suburb commute, and the local need to get about that everyone swears will destroy the suburbs, the little trips to school, to shopping, to work often only 4 or 6 miles down into downtown....if the small electric scoot can be operated on off peak utility power anyway, and be built with environmental materials and designed for recycling, it becomes very benign as auto transport goes...combined with trains and super efficient bus/coaches, we begin to see a suburb, with photovoltaic panels, and conservation methods applied, and garden/greenhouse out behind the house that is very possibly sustainable.  

The electric car does pose a big problem taht any car does, however, and to me, right now this is a greater threat to auto mobility than fuel supply.....gridlock.

I have known more people give up the "commuter car race" due to the stress and the amount of time a day lost sitting in traffic jams than due to the high price of fuel.  Whether cars are powered by gasoline, electricity or banana peels, there are still too many of them in many places to make them an efficient way to get around.  Peak oil or no, the gridlock problem will have to be resolved, unless we assume peak kills the car and empties the roadway for us.  I frankly am not placing high bets on that, because the motive force that propels cars is advancing now at an almost exponential rate, and we are getting closer to  period of technical confluence that will basically completely throw out current economics on autos, fuel and energy consumption/distribution.
We must repeat that:  The current assumptions and projections regarding fuel consumption, fuel type, fuel distribution, fuel diversity, and fuel economics in automobiles is close to a paradigm change, and not just due to peak oil, but due to technical confluence that most people do not even know is coming  (actually already here, but it is not yet distributed, and is only at the front of what will be greatly far reaching and faster moving development)  But that still leaves us with the traffic jam! :-(
It has always been true that the more successful the auto is, the more it suffers from the burden of it's own numbers....we are running out of places to drive them faster than we are running out of fuel to put in them! :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Hello ThatsItImOut,

Good point about rushhour gridlock, it is occurring in more and more places for increasing time periods.  My costfree short-term solution is to repeal any laws against two-wheeled lane-splitting.  California allows lane-splitting and motorcyclists save tremendous time on their clogged freeways and streets.  Arizona does not allow this, and I am unsure about the other 48 states.  This could be an added incentive to conservation if it was allowed nationally.

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

Please consider the large number of conditionals required to make EVs a good, long term choice.

.if the small electric scoot can be operated on off peak utility power anyway, and be built with environmental materials and designed for recycling, it becomes very benign as auto transport goes...How the vehicles would be used would be very important also.

IMHO, US society is unlikely to meet any, much less all, of these conditions.

You miss the key point, EVs do little or nothing for a more energy efficient urban form.  There can be savings from having postal employees walk their route, police walk their beat, plumbers driving 2 miles between calls and not ten and UPS deliveries being clustered together.

Consider my home.  2.5 blocks from the streetcar, 5 places to buy food within 6 blocks, tailor, insurance agent, barber, superb pizza, many restaurants within 4 blocks.  I take the streetcar to downtown (~1 to 1.5 miles) and the French Quarter (1.6 miles) as well as Tulane (2.5 miles other way).

I burn 6 gallons of diesel/month in my 1982 M-B 240D.  No need for new technology.

When I see

the little trips to school, to shopping, to work often only 4 or 6 miles down into downtown

I wince.  These trips should be, in a sustainable world (see Europe & Japan as partial examples) either walked, bicycled or taking the streetcar in most cases.  Again, no need to wait for new technology, or the implementation of new technology.

Regardless of whether RR or Westexas is "right" about PO, we fo not have the time to "wait".

In sum, I am agnostic about EVs.  I do not want to discourage them per se, but I have a different, and I believe better (more sustainable, more liveable, lower energy density, implemented sooner) vision.  Streetcar feeders for circulators and to Light/Rapid Rail stops through dense "autophobic* " neighborhoods.


* Most streets are 28' wide with on-street parking both sides or 20' wide with one way car and two way bike lanes and limited off-street parking.  Parking needs to be a pain in the posterior, even for EVs.  There is, IMHO, a direct correlation between auto hell and good for people & vica versa.


First, I do not want to be put in the camp of not completely supporting both electric rail and the idea of the "walkable" city, because I do think those are laudable, and have the most positive effect on both GHG and energy conservation....

So when you say,
You miss the key point, EVs do little or nothing for a more energy efficient urban form.

I am not so certain I "miss the key point", as I try to confront the fact that we have a very large already built environment.  Remember, we have just been through one of the most prolific and long lasting housing construction booms in history, one that seems to be still underway.  Most of those suburbs were built with anything BUT "a energy efficient urban form."

The investment in these almost new suburbs, from both an energy and a financial standpoint is HUGE.

My scenario of behavor runs something like this:  Peak actually is close at hand, or a major world supplier falls apart, oil begins to climb, and climb and climb on price.
At above $6.00 a gallon for gasoline, Suburban man says, I have gots to have some relief.  Then, by sheer pluck, there is an actual fuel interruption.  The pumps at his station are dry.  Now he has to drive clear across town, and is not sure he will get there in time to get fuel before others get there and empty the tanks.

He's in trouble, he's got to think fast....he looks at has map....(I am using a real example here, from my local area now), his suburb is about 4 miles out of town proper....there is a Super Walmart there in town proper....elementary school for his daughter, about same distance...but not at same place, and his workplace, close, maybe a bit shorter, about 3 miles....so, walk, bike?  All well and fine except.....hard thunderstorms, lightning, wind, two days this week.....and what about about winter.....tempeture at 7 degrees last year in January and Feb., and carrying groceries, or his daughter if she calls home sick and wants to come home...:-(, and what if he did need to go to hospital for tests, treatment, it's about 10 miles away, could he bike that in the rain, sick?
Now at this point, we can see the value of a small electric runabout, two seater with very small cubby for groceries (if you want more groceries, do it on a day you are not carrying your daughter) or maybe even a cute little trailer you put on the back for a picknic to Saunders Springs or Freeman Lake (both real locales, one about  4 miles away from suburb described, the other 10 miles)

With a range of even 40 miles (easily done with modern batteries) and a top speed of 30 miles per hour, the electric runabout becomes the difference between absolute primitive existance, cut off on rainy and cold days, unable to go to your daughter at school or her events....it would be the difference between living and surviving frankly....

With photovoltaic panels on the roof of the house, can anyone make a case that given the waste we see now, this would not be sustainable for a very long time into the future?  It essentially makes the suburbs the best of all worlds, in that the homeowner has the land for gardens and a greenhouse, the solar exposure for passive and electric solar, and now, a benign way to get the 4 or even 8 or 12 miles about town, to do things, to go out, to get to his daughter...:-)

And this is where your electrified trains come in....if we had a real network of electric trains, there is no reason why, if you could not runabout that local 10 to even 15 miles on electric, it would put you to a train station, at which time you could travel anywhere in the land, get off the train, rent another electric runabout....

The idea is to be able to use the massive investment we already have in American nieghborhoods and suburbs, many of which are barely months old.

We simply will not and cannot abandon these massive investments in what are the single biggest possession many people will ever own.

And the beauty of how things are advancing is that we will not have to. :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

What are your 10 favorite works of fiction? - Yes 10. Trust me.

Oil CEO- You asked, "What are your 10 favorite works of fiction? - Yes 10.  Trust me"

Well, I don't know if I can trust ya', but yeah, what the helll, you have to tell me why though....:-)

1.Man of La Mancha,  Cervantes (beauty in word, and I love the quest and the lost cause, you don't fight because you can win, you fight because you are alive!

  1.  The Divine Comedy by Dante, (it's a freakin' love story, if anybody noticed, at the end he gets Beatrice and Heaven....the Muslims with their cadre of virgins in Heaven couldn't have done it better!

  2.  Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, the American Man of La Mancha, but much more tragic in it's reality, I loved it when I was young, love it more as I get closer to Willy Loman's age, the most real of characters, and the play made me respect the old tired declining man and show some humanity all my life, how many plays do that much for you?  And Arthur managed to bed Marilyn, so he had to have something going on! ;-)

  3. Herzog by Saul Bellow, a funny tragic intellectual, a bit of Man of La Mancha, a bit of Woody Allen, a bit of Willy Loman, but far funnier, and very touching character, the Cold War Era was driving him to near madness, and he was fighting, loving and laughing it off...great guy!

5.More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow, I liked it better than most folks did, it was an understated intellectual with woman trouble, it can't get much  worse than that, but he made it fun, and a very good look at the American isolated intellectual, in particular a Jewish one...and real trouble if surrounded by big women!

  1.  Harvey a play by Mary Chase. It won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, about a likable drunkard and his giant invisible Rabbit....makes a person think about purpose and what really matters....great line, "I found that I could either be remarkably smart or remarkably nice....I've found I prefer to be remarkably nice."

  2.  Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, a country story of desire, duty, and who not living to the true self can have horrible consequences, again,  a story of purpose in life.

  3.  'night Mother a play be fellow Kentuckian Marsha Norman, asking if it is sane to end your life when the purpose has run out, and in fact, may it be the most sane choice you can make?....a story of the drama of the world, played out between mother and daughter in one small house, if you have not seen it, it is shattering.

  4. Glen Berger's "Under the Lintel", a play, has a lowly librarian found the track of the immortal wandering Jew of legend, or is he simply bored, needing excitement and gone mad.  Purpose versus madness, what is important, and what is just a fascination to justify my own existance?  Why do Jewish writers do this so good?

  5.  One movie, but the absolute best way to face a crisis, "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Bomb."

Can humans beat the most overwhelming, horrific madness with laughter?  Damm bet ya'  :-)

You know what, you were right....I should have trusted ya'....I don't have to ask you why after all, and what a fun and educational exercise to explore what drives us....you want to try it now?.....anybody else?

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

We simply will not and cannot abandon these massive investments in what are the single biggest possession many people will ever own.

There is historical precedent for just that.

After World War II it was the deliberate policy of the US Gov't to promote suburban growth (VA loan terms, highways, grants for new sewers. water systems, etc.) and encourage people to abandon our existing housing stock (pre-WW II construction was uniformly better than almost anything built in the last few years) and their associated business districts (dying downtowns became a cliche accross America).

A truly massive investment trashed !  All to promote more "growth" and economic activity.  Many older home owners lost their equity due to this gov't policy (Johnny just back from Germany or Korea would like to buy in his old neighborhood, but he can't get a VA loan on a house that does not meet current code, i.e. all of them, or to make improvements, so he buys out in Levittown or another suburb) or via "White Flight".

I expect some new K&B Homes McMansions may never have a legal homeowner.  New built, and boarded up.  An occasional squatter perhaps.

We did it once, why not again ?

It is not as if suburban house were built to last anyway (unlike the pre-WW II homes that we trashed).  They have a limited economic life even w/o Peak Oil.  It varies, but I would put the average at about 50 years before repairs become a major expense.  So if we board up an 18 y/o McMansion, we are only throwing away 32 years or 64% of it's depreciated value.

We did it once.  Why not again ?

The suburbanite that you modeled will become desperate as reality crashes in on him.  "For Sale - Reduced" signs will dot his streets. He does not get to the hospiral when sick, but lives anyway.  His daughter walks a mile to a bus stop, rain, snow or shine. His wife loses her job, but he still has his.  Bankruptcy, and then move into a former strip shopping center remodeled into rentals.  His family moves into a windowless 580 sq ft corner with a shared bathroom. "Unpleasant" living arrangements among the desperate !  On the city bus line, but fares are up and service down due to fuel prices.  His wife gets a minimum wage job, they save, and finally they buy a 892 sq ft condo on the 6th floor just 5 blocks from a rail station.  The American Dream come true !

I forgot to mention that the 892 sq ft. condo came with a small garden plot just 4 blocks away, on a torn down housing lot & torn up cul-de-sac street that had been intensively rehabbed for gardening by the developer. (Think ratio between 5^2 and (5+4)^2.  There will be space around dense developments for green/gardening space.

What happens to suburban developments of today when vacancies reach, say 25% and values plummet by a third ?  IMO (based upon historical observations), the slide keeps going down unless the metro area starts to boom and thes e"bargains" are snapped up.  But if the housing form is seen as undesireable, or the metro area stays depressed, it just keeps sliding down hill into largely abandoned slums.  Some solvent homeowners stay put, no matter what, as their neighborhood decays around them.  And then they slowly die-off or go to nursing homes.  I have seen it before.

Pre-Katrina, I saw several GEMs (neighborhood EVs) in my neighborhood.  I knew where one was parked but there were at least two more around.

I do NOT put you into group that does not support Urban Rail whole heartedly.  And I am agnostic on EVs.

Small EVs are definitely an improvement.  But I do not want gov't subsidies for them (like the hybrids of today).  That gov't money is better spent on speeding up existing Urban Rail projects and building still more.

I did a Firefox search on 'carbon' and 'CO2' on the Times of India article on CTL but nary a mention. Seems there may be no Inconvenient Truth in the world's fastest growing economies.
What can you say about Kunstler?  What a gift for words ("lumpenleisure") coupled with a meanness of spirit and a pathological hatred for cars and suburbs.  I always enjoy reading him but I must confess that he detracts from the believability of peak oil just by being associated with it.  His carelessness with facts and enthusiasm for societal collapse is a little creepy.
The truth is not always palatable. Kunstler does not sugar coat the truth.
Kuntsler is very good at predicting the past.

You could make a similar argument about TOD, mainly that it is so academic and elitist that it detracts from the understanding of peak oil. Sure some data and technical stuff is okay but what's with these TOD freaks posting all these graphs and numbers and data and stuff!  It's just creepy I tell you, creepy!

Point is, you can't have every author/commentator adhere to whatever YOU think is the optimal way to present this information.

"You could make a similar argument about TOD, mainly that it is so academic and elitist that it detracts from the understanding of peak oil."

Not me Matt. I'm not better than anyone ... err ... did I actually write that? :-)


...It always makes me dream of an interview where someone would ask,
"Mr. Kunstler, do you see any possibility whatsoever, even if only 1% chance, that society will not collapse, and if so, how would you deal with that horrifying outcome?"
hee, hee, hee....:-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I agree with your assessment of Kunstler.  While I share his overall pessimism and I think much of his analysis is spot on and always fun and witty, I sometimes find his tone obnoxious.  I think time has made him milder.  The Long Emergency was much less strident than Geography of Nowhere.
I think he trys to get the peoples attention by displaying apocolyptic visions and how dire the world can get or will be if we do not start changing our way of life.
He uses Fear as the motivator for us to change and/or be prepared. But these changes in our lives could be extremely sudden to us all, by contrast change is normally slow and orderly.

Lets use TV's or example, Once upon a time there was no TV. Only radio, AM radio, then the Televison was invented, gradually as people could afford one, people bought a TV, but it was the only one in the house, the whole family viewed it. It was also black and white, and the channels and volume were adjusted manually, (normally this was the task of the youngest person watching TV),
Then color TV showed up, so gradually everyone phased out the B&W TV for a color TV, then a few years later the TV volume and channels were controlled by a remote control unit. The price of TV's dropped, and people started to buy these units for other rooms in the house. Now most homes have 2 or 3 TV's. They can be put in the kitchen, the bedroom, or even the bathroom.

The point of all this is that change was gradual and orderly. Which is so easy to deal with in the span of many decades. But Kunstler is trying to explain without sugar coating anything, that we will have some very rapid changes that we must adapt to in real short order. perhaps days to weeks.
These rapid changes will NOT be for the better, au contraire, these changes will be for the worse, and what use to be important to us now, is suddenly and dramatically not even remotely important at all. Our basic human needs will be the most important, note Maslows Heirarchy of Needs

  1. Physiological (Biological needs)
  2. Safety
  3. Love/Belonging
  4. Status (Esteem)
  5. Actualization

Kunstler may seem wierd and way out there on some things, but i really think he's right on some things like suburbs, look at Denver, CO. The new Denver International Airport (DIA) was built approx. 40 miles outside the city. The only way to get to the airport from town is via the highway. Well, there are suburbs near the airport too, and those people either work at the airport, or work in Denver. If you can't afford to drive your car, Denver suddenly becomes a very long walk, or bike ride from the airport. or vice versa from Denver to home or airport. Those people may need to just leave town, the company they worked for just closed its doors due to energy costs, or you can't afford to live so far away from town, due to energy costs.

sorry for being long winded on this I was just caught up in the moment! My apologies.............  

Maslow will be very important as we weather the peak, and it's a useful approach to bring up.

On Kunstler: I hope he's wrong, but I also think he is useful. We need a loud, articulate voice that tells what could happen. It's an important counterbalance to the very dangerous cornucopian fallacies.

Did James Kunstler take the title of his book from Bruce Springsteen's song For You?
"I came for you, for you, I came for you,
but your life was one long emergency ..."

Denver is currently debating whether to make the planned train to the DIA airport electric or diesel (earlier decision was diesel).  Of course we are several years from this line opening (from uncertain memory 2012).
Kunstler is the master of dry humor. His acid approach makes him sought after as a speaker and he is getting the word out in ways that I see we bemoan we wish we could do on this blog. Does he discount the possibility of good news/ yes. But he is raising awareness on a level that is commendable. Go get em jim and keep posting those "architectural blunders".
Hello TODers,

The Mexican election mess appears to be getting worse.

"To defend democracy, we are going to be begin peaceful civil resistance," a stern-faced Lopez Obrador told an estimated 900,000 cheering supporters.  Chants of "Hold on, Lopez Obrador, the people are rising up!" echoed from the crowd.

Lopez Obrador supporters compared the vote to the fraud-stained 1988 election lost by leftist candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas and said they were ready for a long struggle.

Despite calls for peaceful demonstrations, Lopez Obrador adviser Manuel Camacho said the country might be ungovernable if the Federal Electoral Tribunal -- which has until August 31 to review appeals alleging fraud -- doesn't order a total recount. Lopez Obrador has promised to keep convening massive marches until a vote-by-vote tally becomes a reality.

The dispute threatens to further divide Mexico along geographic and class lines. Lopez Obrador won in the mainly poor southern states, while Calderon swept most of the more-affluent north and northwest.

Just imagine how angry the poor will be when the effects of Mexican oil depletion start hitting home.  There is no way that oil exports to the US can continue much longer unless Bush & Fox create a SuperNAFTA of totally open borders with Mexico.  Then untold millions of Mexicans can follow the millions of barrels of oil heading north.

I have no idea if that is the best solution.

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

Hello TODers,

Pres. Bush is not doing much to dampen the ME crisis and Craig Smith, the co-author of Black Gold Stranglehold predicts $125/barrel if Iran gets involved.
Mr Smith said $US100 a barrel was likely by the end of this year unless the US, which consumes about 25 per cent of the world's oil, declared it was serious about exploration and conservation.
Does it seem increasingly likely that outside forces will make Bush and Cheney reinstitute Carter's sweater speech?  You would think Bush would rather lead on Peakoil instead of being forced to follow.

Hint: Have you bought a used scooter yet?

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

No scooter.  

I made the mistake of going to a motorcycle dealer to check out new scooters.  Oops.  Some of the big cruisers caught my eye.  Next thing I know, I've got brochures and a full blown midlife crisis on my hands.

It's a step in the right direction, anyway.

What I did next was go take the local Motorcycle Safety Course.  Very interesting how many people were in the class, at least in part, due to fuel prices.  Probably 10 out of the 22 participants.  They wanted a cheaper way to get around town.  

By the end of the class I was convinced that fun and economical is the way to go.

I tried going that route with a motorcycle safety class. I didn't wreck but had a hard time of it. The end was the state's motorcycle riding test. You get 3 tries. I tried once but flunked due to lousy balance. What sucked was I had no way to practise up for a second or third try, so I never bothered. This brings up the question of how do I learn to ride a motor scooter solo legally.

This is a case where an infrastructure of friends is a BIG help - which I don't have. To try it again, I'd get to spend the $300 to take the class again. Again, if I flunk, I'm out the $300 becuse of my having no way to practise before trying the test again.

Helpfulness of people is scarcer than light sweet crude in the Chicago suburbs. At work, there are various tasks that normally take 2 people but I worked out ways to do solo to not bother with asking around for help. It's an example of the breakdown in community in America in general. This with the lack of helpfulness is a function of how we Americans are brainwashed to never cooperate but always compete. The result is the notion that helping anyone means helping a comprtitor!

I teach people to ride motorcycles safely.

The official classes are a bad joke.

Here is how I teach:

  1. First you learn to ride a mountain bicycle proficiently. Hardly anybody can do this. Once you learn that I
  2. have you encounter everything bad that can happen on a motorcycle first on your mountain bike: Deer jumping in front of you, oil on the road, gravel, trees running into your bike, etc., etc., etc. You repeat my slalom course over and over and over again at about six miles an hour. You learn how to take a fall. You learn the importance of proper helmets and body armor and racing gloves.
  3. Then and only then do you get on a 49 c.c. moped. You become proficient on this machine at about twelve to fifteen miles an hour.
  4. Finally you are ready to move up to The Big Bike--an old 125 c.c. Japanese machine. You become proficient on the course at the flashing speed of maybe twenty miles per hour.
Several hours later, after you have your license, I say it is O.K. to go out on the road.
  1. We follow a well planned route, with me following close behind you making mental notes of everything you do right (and also the other stuff).
  2. I praise you profusely. Then we get down to business on how you damn near killed yourself seven times in three miles. Then we do the course again and again and again.
  3. Finally, I sign your log book and certify you as safe.

IMO no lesser program will be likely to save your life and limbs.
Don Sailorman,
Excellent advice.  Thank you!

Maybe you can put together a combo "Junior Skipper" and Rider Safety Course for TODers?

Do you ever take your classes on the road? (Say, Bellingham, WA?)  We've got some great sailing and mountain biking.


Will trade motorcycling and sailing lessons for food--sure. I love Washington state, especially the N.E. corner up around Ione but also Spokane and the apple groves and of course your fabulous coastline and the ferries and the sailboats, the sailboats, the sailboats, I've never seen as many sailboats in San Francisco Bay as I saw one Sunday not far from where you live.

Oh, BTW, my parents met when my mother was working as a waitress up at a lodge by Mt. Rainier. A long time ago . . . . And talk about twist of fate: It turns out both of them were working their ways through the University of Chicago at the time (1932).

Bob Shaw, Go back and look, after a 1 hour meeting with Simmons, Bush gave three speeches in a row every bit as dire as Carters cardigan sweater speech in the summer of 2001 and had the shit beat out of him by the democrats, You only want to drill in ANWR, You only want to feather the bed of your oil co buddies, etc.  To be fair, a democrat giving the same speeches would have recieved the same treatment from the right. Energy talks are losers if you are a politician.