DrumBeat: July 17, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/17/06 at 9:32 AM EDT]

From the Wall St. Journal: Oil rigs leave Gulf of Mexico for more lucrative jobs

This is expected to accelerate production declines in the Gulf, putting upward pressure on domestic energy prices. The rig exodus is squeezing what was an already tight market for drilling equipment. In 2001, about 148 rigs were in the Gulf. Now, about 90 remain, and more are expected to leave soon.

The rig migration will have the most pronounced effect on natural-gas production and prices because most of the rigs leaving the Gulf are jack-ups used to find gas in shallower waters. Gulf gas reservoirs are often quickly exhausted, so energy companies must keep punching new wells to maintain production.

Despite surging fuel costs, Americans keep on trucking

NEW YORK (AFP) - Soaring fuel costs have so far failed to dampen US enthusiasm for hitting the road in summer.

..."The American consumer's demand for gasoline is insatiable," said Jason Schenker, Wachovia Securities, who noted only modest changes in auto preferences of US motorists.

But it's starting to hurt: Pinched at the Pump

High fuel prices are pushing some drivers to the financial brinkā€”and to the pawnshop for gas money. Low-wage earners are feeling the most pain.

Greenland makes oil companies melt

From Korea: High Oil Prices Take Toll on Firms

According to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), which in May surveyed 627 firms in the metropolitan area, 63.2 percent of local companies said they would have to halt business operations if international oil prices surpass $80 a barrel.

From Australia: Slashing greenhouse gas would cut GDP

Achieving deep cuts to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions would slash the nation's GDP and require massive reductions in industry output, a new report suggests.

India can't accept cap on its energy consumption

U.S.: House urges IT managers to buy energy-saving servers

WASHINGTON -- Power usage at fast-growing server farms became an issue for Congress last week. The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring a federal study of ways to improve the energy efficiency of servers and data centers.

U.K.: Labour plans carbon cap on household energy use

"The Canary Project: What Global Warming Looks Like"


With regards to the GW issue ..

I was watching the Discovery channel
program last night hosted by Tom Brokaw
titled Global Warming - What You Need to Know ..
and it sort of hit me .. TPTB won't be mentioning
Peak Oil and depletion issues going forward to
engineer societal change .. the public focus for
change will be the GW issue .. The proposed
"solutions" or mitigation strategies would be
identical to those required to address depletion
and Peak Oil .. I got the distinct impression that
the PR wonks feel GW is a more 'saleable' issue
than depletion or Peak Oil would be for public
'education' purposes ..

Triff ..  

That's been my hope.  In fact my suggestion to politicians was to believe in GW, and if they couldn't do that, pretend to believe in GW.  The solutions do indeed build American energy security.
The proposed "solutions" or mitigation strategies [for GW] would be identical to those required to address depletion and Peak Oil

Some Yes, some No.  True for Conservation, Electrification of Transportation, wind & nuke.  Not true for coal to liquids, tar sands, oil shale.

Alan, well-stated!

I think this distinction that you made is an important one.

Ah, true for the environmentally friendly ones? ;-)

It's not like we loose (we being enviro-peak-oilers) when politicians lead with GW.

Indeed, GWers and environmentalists would lose if politicians (as some do) led with energy security.

Wel, you know, GW is a real problem too...  So if attention to GW will get in the way of CTL etc that's a good thing.  Even if you think GW is not a problem, CTL is not a long-term solution to PO.  For that matter, anything short of a stable population and a steady-state economy is not a solution to the real root problem of both GW and PO.
GW >>> PO

Peak Oil may undo a couple of hundred years of industrialization.

Global Warming threatens to undo a few million years of evolution.

Nah, just provides new and different evolutionary opportunities! (Just not for us...)
Exactly! In a nutshell.
Global Warming = take measures to protect the environment so your grandchildren can enjoy trees and squirrels and sunsets. Peak Oil = things are going to get rough and you may go w/o a lot of dinners!

The call to "care for the environment" has resulted in a good record of altruistic behavior in Americans, yeah say what you will, but you don't have the kind of "litterbugs" I remember as a little kid, etc there have been changes. If the propaganda is heavy enough, people will change if they figure it's "no skin off my nose, and it's a nice thing to do". And the anti-littering propaganda in the 70s was pretty pervasive as an example - it got results.

Peak Oil on the other hand is just plain fackin' scary. Scary stuff has always resulted in more selfish behavior - exactly what we don't need.

Global Warming = Being able to grow crops where we are used to growing them.

I think GW is scarier than PO, which is why I advocate only PO solutions that help both PO & GW.  We would be better served with a Depression and less GW than with a recession & more GW.

Ok, Fleam, have it your way. Choose your preferred poison. In your case the article Leanan referenced on the prospective oil bonanza in Greenland must be heartwarming -- keeping the good ol' non-negotiable life style rolling. But the need for wearing "brown underwear" is explained at:


The opening qoute has never been more applicable:

"Down one road lies disaster, down the other utter catastrophe.Let us hope we have the wisdom to choose wisely." - Woody Allen

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it"
Yogi Berra
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Maid with golden hair
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.
GW and PO are both potential disasters. But GW is making itself more obvious to average people due to crazier weather. Meanwhile, the only obvious symptom of PO is the price at the pump or the price of a barrel.

While we are PO-aware here, most people aren't unless one of us manages to talk one-on-one with someone. Lots of people like to scapegoat oil companies, Arabs, etc. for the ever-climbing gas prices.

But there is a critical difference between the two issues: With GW, we can choose to mitigate it and use less, but PO will force us to use less! Big difference. The gas prices (and its trickle-down effects) will force the mitigation. After all, tar sands are hard to extract. And shale is probably a done deal in terms of being too hard to extract.

I agree, it's as if we have 2 large asteroids heading towards us. One is large and will hit in 2 years, it's called PO and one is absolutely humongous but won't hit until quite a bit later than PO. It's called GW. Because PO is about to hit us if we don't do something it is forcing us to act. So in the short term we need to take agressive and expensive action to deflect PO. Unfortunately we have watched PO approach us for 50 years and taken no action to deflect it. Afterwards (or maybe at the same time) we can work on GW. Hopefully we will learn that relatively small actions now will deflect GW enough to pass us by rather than making the same mistake we made with PO - i.e. allowing it to get close so that it becomes more difficult to deflect. Small actions count more over large distances than large actions over small distances. At the end of the day, we likely will deflect them either way - it's a matter of cost.
PO >>>>>>>> GW

Not even close.  Does GW have the potential to cause die-back to pre-industrial revolution population levels (1.5 billion people or less)??  Peak fossil fuels is a far more serious problem for civilization in general and it's severe effects will occur much faster.  

Depends on what it does to the food and water supply.
From a purely selfish national point of view I would prefer a dire PO scenario over a dire GW scenario. If you already have a good climate, ok infrastructure and plenty of natural resources it is easier to weather PO and then a climate shift forcing you to move somewhere while abandoning all fixed investments.
Wouldn't it be interesting to have crocodiles in Sweden ?

No need for summer vacations in Spain, etc.

Crocodile teeth have been found in the high Canadian Artic islands, along with warm temperate tree species.

Having a freezing winter kills a lot of potential pests wich makes it possible to farm with fairly little pesticides. We loose productive months compared with warmer climates but what is produced is often good with small inputs of nasty stuff.

Having plenty of rainfall, often fairly well distributed over the months makes it very easy to get fresh water and good crops and gives us plenty of hydro power.

I rather have rainfall and a green summer then a nice summer vacation where one can see brown vegetation. The other extreme, a new ice age, is of course even worse.

PO is a more obvious problem for the next generation or two.  GW is a more serious problem for our entire planet as an ecosystem.

GW threatens to cause the extinction of a significant portion of the species on our planet.  GW means leaving our children a home that is barren in comparison to the world we inherited from out parents.  What are all the implications of that?  I can't begin to imagine.  

Here at the leading edge we will watch coral reefs and polar bears dissapear from the planet.  But that is just the beginning.  I am confident that 10 generations from now our children will look back and condemn us for poisoning the abundance of life on our planet.  The fact that we burned through our oil so fast will just be a side note, a cause, but not an especially relevant effect.

There's a report put out by the Pentagon which essentially foresees war.  Resource depletion is a major concern, but mass migration from lands no longer able to sustain a population because of climate change and land use is expected to put severe stresses on the global society and economy.  If they're right (and they're no more pessimistic than some of PO doomers here) then yes, GW may indeed lead to a major population "drawdown".
IMHO, yes.  Change the monsoons, turn the North American Great Plains into a Dust Bowl, slow or stop the Gulf Stream, etc.

GW "losers" will migrate or die-off and the disruption from that will carry over into social disruption and a decline in technological civilization (worst case).

And then it dawned on me, the parallels between the the run up to the Iraq war and Global Warming.

First you create an evil bogeyman, (9-11=Iraq), in the case of  Global warming it's anyone who disagrees with the supposed scientific consensus.

Now we are in the "you are either with us or against us" mode of thinking.

Next comes Colin Powell and his charts and graphs proving, or in this case, whichever scientists agree with the case that Humans are causing Global Warming.

Finally anyone who questions you can be considered an uncritical behometh intent on destroying the planet.  
Or in the case of Iraq anyone who opposes the war is a coward and is giving into the terrorists.  Who had the courage to say no?  Certainly not our politicians.


Scary but not caused by humans.  

Go back to spin school.  Saying one argument is "like" another only works if (a) your audience is stupid enough to accept that on face value, or (b) the argument really is "like" the other.

The truth is the Bush admin has been on the BS side of both arguments, Iraq and GW.

GW has happened in the past.  This is an indisputable fact.  50 to 60 million years the ago, the arctic wasn't the arctic,  it was more like Northeast Brazil.  
It is a common troll technique to cast out partial truths in succession.  When each one fails, to cast another ...
Another Tsunami in Indonesia today.  I wonder whats happening underneath the seas.  Hmm, is there any connection to GW?  

BTW, how do you explain the WW GC that took place from 1950 to 1975?

What did I tell you about partial truths in succession?  Take it to a scientific blog, and see if you can stand on one position without shifting.

Here's a good one:


Meanwhile, back to PO ...

the arctic wasn't the arctic,  it was more like Northeast Brazil.

 The world didn't look the same in those days; sea level was 80 feet higher...

How fast can this go? Right now, I think our best measure is what happened in the past. We know that, for instance, 14,000 years ago sea levels rose by 20m in 400 years - that is five meters in a century. This was towards the end of the last ice age, so there was more ice around. But, on the other hand, temperatures were not warming as fast as today.

How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today - which is what we expect later this century - sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don't act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth's history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.

Carbon dioxide level highest in 650,000 years
November 24, 2005

Carbon dioxide levels are now 27 percent higher than at any point in the last 650,000 years, according to research into Antarctic ice cores published on Thursday in Science.

And it is ours. Isotope studies.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases -are-due-to-human-activities-updated/

With James Hansen, sea-level rise is the certain outcome of GW, and likely to begin soon. The other prospects are equally scary, we just can't be certain what they are.
that's a good one...

I think that's called plate tectonics - the change in climate during that period occurred over the course of millions of years, not the 150 or so years during which anthropogenic warming has taken place...

don't confuse local warming with global warming...

classic technique from the naysayers - they can pick out every one year anomaly and use it to support their position but as soon as someone says wow - the hottest five years on record have been over the past decade - well, they are the first to scream "that doesn't prove anything, there's no trend, there's no trend, we were cold 750,000 years ago for 3 weeks how do you reconcile that ?"

Those that deny climate change just want to use smoke and mirrors to continually move the goal posts for the burden of proof.  Nothing would ever be good enough.  Scientists have been digging further and further back into the climatological record and keep coming up with the same answers - but if they give you 10,000 years well that's not enough; if they give you 100,000 years that's not good enough; ok, well we're up to 650,000 years now - yeah but what about 650,002 years ago blah blah blah blah...  There was an ecologist (I think) who was quoted as saying we were going to go down in history as a species who studied every miniscule detail of our own extinction...  Troll ostriches like "oil" seem to want to guarantee this happens as we roast the planet...

It's all a bunch of nonsense - the whole argument - the case is closed - we have been and are inducing warming.  Now we need to figure out how to deal with it

This is why I don't read WIRED. I knew one of the founders and he's an asshole, and the mag's content has pretty much satisfied me that the rest are too. WIRED is just a Forbes for younger people, consume, consume, consume.

My take on GW is, even if it's not caused by humans, it's proven that human activities can have a great impact on the atmosphere, land, ocean, so "whoever" caused it, there's a wide range of possible responses by us, to either act as responsible members of the biosphere and help counteract it, or act like dumb yeast and help the Earth become another Venus.

I think the nastiest (biggest) interaction of GW and PO is going to come from shortages of NG. As a substitute, we'll burn enormous and increasing quantities of coal [pure fossil carbon] for electricity. On average, I expect our "solutions" to PO will make the GW issue far worse.

So I'd add "coal-to-coal" to Alan's list of problem technologies.

How about a moratorium on new coal fired plants unless they can be certified to sequester all their greenhouse gases?  Clearly, if we take global warming seriously (which Bush doesn't), this would be a necessary beginning.  We simply cannot wait twnenty years for all the necessary technology to come on line. Greenhouse gases accumulate; they don't dissipate in any kind of reasonable time frame. GW has already begun, especially in the higher altitudes and latitudes; so we need to cut back now not when the deus ex machina of hydrogen comes.

Of course, we are having power outages as we speak due to the hot weather. Surprise, surprise, July is hot this year. Who knew?  

The question, of course, is what could be done to make a moratorium feasible. We could begin by mandating that all new capacity be solar, wind, hydro, or any other methods that doesn't add to the GHG problem.  Second, we could require that air conditioners be universally required to cycle off and on during peak times of the days, as is currently done on a voluntary basis in California.  No doubt there are dozens of other things that could be done almost immediately.

Where there is a will, there is a way. I know, what a cliche. But in this case, I think it is true.   Also, we could shut down the internet.  No, just kidding on that last one.  But seriously though, there is apparently a lot that could be done to make all those server farms more efficient. The federal government is on the case so I'm sure that problem will be solved in short order.  

How many power plants could we save by just replacing all our bulbs with CFLs. Or turning of the lights, for Chrissakes.

Problem is that this would stand in the way of such things as a massive switch to coal, and that's the most likely solution to PO that will be followed.  So in some regards, the answers (such as they are) to PO and to GW CAN be at odds.  Or rather, the most likly answers to PO and GW are at odds.
The solutions are not identical.  Although, if you truly deal with GW, you will probably have dealt with peak oil.  However, I don't think that people see GW as a threat to their way of life, whereas Peak Oil is.  GW is not a solution to Peak Oil because we only operate on fear.  Peak oil is scary. GW is not for most people, even though I personally feel that GW is more important and actually more scary.
Don't forget the intended audiences' degree
of understanding of the subject matter ..

From a govenment's propaganda campaign point
of view it's going to be alot easier to rally
the troops around the necessary changes in our
energy habits/lifestyles via the GW argument
rather than the realities of PO/fossil fuel
depletion ..

TPTB have to use a 'cover story' .. I'm just
advocating that GW is what's going to be used
to accomplish powerdown/PO mitigation/fuel
switching etc etc ..

Triff ..  

Anyone else find it ironic that Subaru sponsored that GW special on Discovery?
Not really. I can't watch TV without being advertised to by automakers. They sponsor everything. All the time.
They've traditionally had good envio-cred.  They were the car of choice among Sierra Club types, etc.  For a 4wd they got pretty good mileage.  That was before they started to trubo everything and give everything a 6 sec 0-60.  Since then the earthers have been moving to hyrbrids.

Subaru has promised hybrids from time to time (and their parent company makes some for the asian market?), but so far ... they are leaning more toward the performance market in the US.


If you live in snow/mountain country (I don't) the outback from Subaru is almost a requirement because of the all wheel drive. Lots in Colorado for example.

Their 2005 Outback met very tough emissions standards in California to make them a "green" car. Interestingly, their Forester did not.

I am a long time Subaru owner (have one now, and six in the past - I need the 4w drive for work) but shortly plan on going for the Ford Escape hybrid.

If you live in snow/mountain country (I don't) the outback from Subaru is almost a requirement because of the all wheel drive

I used to live in upstate NY, lots of snow and ice, and while the hills were small they could be steep.  Never had a problem in my old Saab.  I remember cruising down the MassPike in a blinding blizzard, cars off the road every mile or so, every one of them an SUV -- though I don't remember if any were Subarus ;)  I think the 4wd requirement in snow is often more a desire than a need, and too often a crutch to make up for lack of judgment.  Having said that, 4wd is definitely a plus, right behind 1. driving technique, and 2. snow tires (it still amazes me how many people won't drop $400 on snow tires for their $30000+ SUVs...)


O.K. requirement is too strong, let us say liked, especially if you do not want to put on snow chains.

We have a 97 Subaru Legacy All Wheel wagon.  Manual shift and windows, no frills.. love it.  You have to hop out through snowbanks at least a dozen times in a Portland (ME) winter, and slick and icy streets are almost always managable, as is avoiding all the 2wheel drive cars & pickups skidding around.

Wish I could get it in diesel, and hang out at the dumpsters of all the greasy diners in town..  But we still get low 30's, and use our bikes and sneakers when we can avoid driving.

Do you have Michelin Arctic-Alpine tires?

IMO, they are the best.

Wish I knew..  just got some all-weather radials which are doing great, but haven't kept the brand in mind..


Well, there's the TDI Quattro ... across the pond (they get all the good stuff!)

Don S: had good luck with Bridgestone Blizzaks, might be newer and better things now.

Blizzaks are excellent.
I live in what you could call northerm Quebec with lots of snow, many snowmobile and I dont know how many mountains.

While I do mostly town or rural trips, I have no need for a Pick-up or a 4WD.  I get by (like many other folks around here) with a small Toyota Corrola.  Small cars are very popular around here.

When you work as a lumberjack,have week-end leisure or any work in the forest, you need a pick-up.

While I think I could make a difference if they'd use something else, I dont think It would amount to anything significative.

The bulk of our petroleum compsumtion is from forestry machinery and agricultural uses.  I know that filling one forest "camp" with diesel for a week need the same amount of liquid than a regular gas station for a full year.

A a side note forest "camp" are much more spacious than they were 30 years ago.  They dont freeze in winter, you have to put on slippers after comming in.  A large locker room is located next to the entrance, for putting up working clothes.  They have satelite TV, phone, highspeed internet, pool tables, large cafeteria with many choices of all you can eat food.  Many of food choices are pretty healthy for that matter, even vegeterian menu from time to time.

Ah, cause the times they are a changing!

I missed the commercial where Subaru tells me to buy a Hummer to restore my manhood.
I missed the commercial where Subaru tells me to buy a Hummer to restore my manhood.
Did you see that commercial where they tell you to buy a Hummer to "Get Your Girl On"?

"Hey ! Jake was next"
"Well now we're next beeowitch and you're just a loser"
"Oh my. There is a Hummer ad. It shows me how to Get My Girl On. As God is my witness, I will buy that Hummer and never go hungry for status again. Ma loser days are a Gone with the Wind foreever. Jake shall never be pushed or pulled off that pride slide again. Frankly I give a damn. Wheee."

And I thought the Chevy Apprentice ads (Hitler liked small cars/Girlie men like Priuses/Go ahead, get 15 mpg/Drop $100 on a tank of gas/Because if you don't/Everyone will think your penis is small.  Lots more like that...) were tongue in cheek!
what happened to the theory that men buy powerful cars to make up for  "shortcoming"
well they did a great job more or less on presenting the problem.
they did forget a few things, they forgot to say after mentioning the natural variance in the earth orbit that it was already ruled out as a cause.
they forgot the mention the major feedback loop of melting permafrost.
but the worst thing of all out of the whole thing is their mention that we can have our cake and eat it too and all you have to do is change a couple little light bulbs, go deeper into debt buying yet another car, wile unplugging appliances when not in use. NOT a single mention of the initial carbon cost(excluding the unplugging, though still it doesn't do a thing to their initial carbon debt.) of everything they tout as a solution which none of them actually do anything to take ANY c02 out of the air.
Hint being carbon neutral is taking OUT the c02 you put in NOT just putting out a little less. It's like telling people they will get out of the hole they are in by using a hand shovel instead of a larger one while they dig.
I hope i will stay alive long enough to be in line for the 'HA-ha' moment.
All the talk about GW is just talk. Nothing will be done about GW. PO & Peak energy will hit us so hard that GW will be totally ignored. It really is impossible to damage the planet any more than nature has damaged it in the past. A supervolcano or asteroid would dwarf our damage in an instant. If we had the energy we could move cities and do anything needed to counter GW. Unforunately we aren't even going to have the energy to continue our current lifestyle. I guestimate with a fudge factors I pulled out of my butt that we need to build 100 1 gigawatt nuclear plants a year just to maintain current energy production over the next 30 years. I'm all for it. Let's go nuclear to the max. It's the only way to give us time and prevent death by coal
Thank you for pulling that out of your butt. Unfortunately the human species is capable of causing damage on the scale of asteroids or volcanoes.
You might also note that humanity has no possiblity of altering asteroid strikes hundreds of millions of years ago. Altering current behavior is at least a theoretical possibility.
Even if neither you nor I expect it.
"Altering current behavior is at least a theoretical possibility." Thank God for your optimism. I nominate that for the daily William S. Burroughs dark-humour-of-the-day award. You guys should work together more often. You generate a certain kind of "energy." I like it. I like it alot.
Some of the rhetoric around here is overwhelming at times. A guy who talks about pulling fudge factor out of his butt I can deal with. Laughing enough I could care less if he's wrong.
Hardcore. I tend to agree with you. And so does oldhippie.
So half my electric power already comes from non-fossil fuel sources.  Is that just an accident, or was someone thinking (in California) along the lines of PO and/or GW?

I do remember that alt energy got its big push in the 70s.

/begin sarcasm

Ain't no global warming here. None at all...

This 110-120 degrees in South Dakota is completely normal!

And the heat wave hitting Britain is completely normal!

And the 90 degree temps coast-to-coast in the US are completely normal!

And the violent changes in Alaskan climate are completely normal!

And nevermind reams of data about what's happening. We don't need no stinkin' data! We know that the American way of life is NON-NEGOTIABLE, even with god, nature, and the laws of physics!

/end sarcasm

Well, for those who can't get enough of that shrill blood for oil shrieking -


But be warned - this is written by a (former?) Republican. One of his books has gotten a bit of attention in the last few months, too.

Further evidence that peak oil is penetrating the main stream media, from the NY Times Magazine section:

When it comes to America's future energy needs, one of the larger points of confusion is the somewhat tangled relationship between fossil fuels and electricity. Current prices at the gas pump, for instance, or the possibility that we are approaching a moment of "peak oil" -- the point at which the global supply of crude peaks and then diminishes forever, with cataclysmic consequences for transportation, trucking and the economy in general -- actually have little to do with the future supply of power. Making electricity is generally about creating a source of heat and steam, and using that steam to turn giant turbines and generate power. Less than 3 percent of our electric power is generated from oil. Besides the 20 percent contribution from nuclear power, 50 percent of our electricity comes from burning coal, 18 percent from burning natural gas and (in a heat-free method that is often the cheapest) 6.5 percent by harnessing the energy of water moving through dams. Wind and solar power make up less than one-half of 1 percent of what we use on a typical day.

I wrote a post over at TOD NYC about Rudy Guiliani entering NY State's energy debate.

Can you spot a trend here??

Drivers take a ride instead

Bus ridership in Des Moines was up 9 percent in the budget year than ended last month. That's about 340,000 more rides, and it represents the biggest increase in recent history.

"People are tired of paying for gas, paying for parking, waiting in traffic," said Brian Litchfield, director of program development for Des Moines' transit authority. "Over the last 10 years, this is the biggest spike we've seen."

The numbers have been fueled by the price of unleaded gasoline, which since July 2005 has risen nationwide about 68 cents per gallon and about 67 cents per gallon in Iowa. For a 12-gallon tank, that translates to $8 more for every fill-up.

Many U.S. cities have seen similar jumps. Ridership is up 50 percent on Salt Lake City's 19-mile, light-rail system. The Utah Transit Authority added 10 used rail cars to meet the demand. In Tulsa, Okla., trips on the public bus system are up 28 percent, and in Peoria, Ill., Citylink ridership surged 15 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

I saw a bumper sticker on the highway into work today.  It said, "Donate your car."  What a glorious concept.  The car btw was a OJ Bronco, beatup and in need of some basic maintenance.  This got me thinking.  The government just recently removed the subsidy for donating cars to charities via the tax write off.  The subsidy I speak of was to write off the retail amount, while the current structure is you getting a receipt for the fair value determined by auction of the charity.

Now I don't really know how these programs work but it doesn't matter.  If they are giving these cars to people who need them, the worst cars get donated to the worst off and become a money pit for these people.  Especially if the car is an oversized SUV that many people will be giving away soon anyway.  Now if they auction these vehicles then the fair market is going to collapse and the write off for these vehicles is going to be nil and there will be no incentive to donate the vehicle.  

Now this could be good b/c the people will be forced to make an alternate choice as to what to do with the vehicle or it could be bad that many people abandon these vehicles as the cheaper alternative to dealing with it.  We've got a lot of older, less efficient vehicles on the road and I believe many will start to make choices that will ultimately result in alot of scrap metal being available.

Tate that's just one aspect, and one method, of enacting the great American tradition of giving the poor the biggest, swiftest, heftiest, kick in the nuts possible. The poor get charged, I swear, 2X the normal utility rates, many low-consumption ways of doing things are effectively forbidden to them, and many high-consumption ways of doing things are almost mandatory. And hey, let's be NICE, let's give 'em a gas-guzzler car, let's put 'em into job training programs and then fix 'em up with jobs only reachable by car, etc.
Sometimes its hard to realistically discuss anything that can provide change.  I mean yeh it sucks being poor in our country, but most times I feel like they have it great compared to most poor around the rest of the world.  The fact that you have the opportunity to pay utilities demonstrates this.  Now I can't agree that those poor should pay twice as much or any more per unit than anyone else for utilities.  But that's the reality part of things.  Companies take advantage of those who it can and this is the harsh reality.  The harsh reality of the baby credits is that it won't work as nice as it looks on paper, but nothing ever does.  You've got to look at the best possible scenarios on paper and chose one.  After that you mold all the details until it resembles SOMETHING of which you started with.  Too bad most times we look like we start with "David" & we end up with "Starry Night"
The American poor have it "great" compared only to the third world. Most developed countries have figured our far more humane ways to provide housing and, yes, health care for all. The US has deep a Calvinist streak: you get what you deserve, and you deserve what you get.

Fortunately for the bourgeoisie everywhere, the poor tend to be pretty meek. I'm not sure what happens if PO reduces the middle classes to poverty, but my guess is they'll be rather irritated by it. And they may behave poorly.

Not only do you deserve what you get, but the more you get the more help you get from the system. It is set up like a reserve handicap foot race where the fastest runner gets the largest head start and the slowest runner starts last. Sometimes the leader trips and the result is not so predictable.
Agreed. Note that your point also works in the corporate world, with the leaders getting the biggest perks such as agricultural subsidies, ethanol subsidies, synfuel credits, and (my favorite) royalty-free oil and gas leases.
Save the 67 and 69 Pontiac GTO. The 67 and 69 are my 2 favs. Now if only i could get one with flex fuel capabilities.
Those cars have carbs.

No problem.

Ample literature here; if you need some references I'll cite some, but this problem is easy to solve.

I hate electronically controlled fuel injection with a purple passion. Please, do not encourage me to go there.

I hate electronically controlled fuel injection

And yet it is exactly these technologies that are boosting milage and performance.

Just because YOU don't understand 'em is no reason for the hate'n.

IMO, simplicity and ability to fix trumps efficiency.

As a pilot, I can fly a DC-3 with ease. An F-22 . . . forget about it. Damn things are unstable and will kill you.

BTW, I like the DC-2 even better than the DC-3, because the older plane will stay aloft in extreme icing conditions that bring down the noble Gooney Birds.

I like real simple - when you fix it yourself you find out that less crap = leass crap to fix.  But when it comes to engine controlls that means a basic carb, and the pollution and lack of efficiancy that goes with it. My old Ferguson tractor is like that - but then it stinks and uses a lot of fuel (and yes, it is well tuned).  The implements behind it get a coating of carbon on one side - that's the last thing we need more of, at least for mass produced transportation.

Once upon a time one of the manufacturers would mark a piston top with a little notch the size of a grain of rice to identify the proper installation direction.  Simple, efective, and not acceptable anymore - that little dent traps too much in the way of unburned fuel, and blows the emissions numbers.  It's a good indication of just how accurately controlled these engines are.

My '88 Jeep still has a carb, and it's well set up, but the vacuum control systems are so complex!  There are not too many people who actually understand how all that stuff works - plenty who think they do though.  I've got datasheets on all those vacuum devices.  But for all that complexity, it's non-feedback and does not work anywhere near as well as a modern EFI system.  Even the small production tolerances caused a large percentage of vehicles to run poorly, and the system could not compensate.

On the otherhand, my simple 4cyl 2wd 5spd pickup (16yrs old) has multipoint EFI with a mass airflow sensor, distributerless ignition with multiple sparkplugs per cylinder & knock sensor, upstream and downstream O2 sensors, and heated intake air for faster warmup.  If it rains and a little rust gets in the tailpipe end, you can drive it a couple of days and the rust will stay just as bright.  No soot, and it will do 29mpg on the highway.  But you have to roll the windows up yourself.

If you want any kind of efficiency or economy, you need a digital EFI system, but you can keep the rest of the thing light and simple.

and i prefer the 737-200 over all the other models, why? so darn easy to fix. it's more mechanical than electrical. yet, my forte is avionics.
go figure!
The latest generation of jet fighters are the easiest to fly of all jet fighters. It is at least true for Saab Gripen compared with Viggen, Draken and Tunnan. The instability is "hidden" by the control system and results in the aeroplane pointing in the desired direction realy fast.

But you have a point, the first two Gripen crashes were due to control system problems due to the pilot trying to fly the aeroplane in the traditional sense. There is a time lag between stick movement and aeroplane movement due to control surface authority and inertia. The pilot wanted to correct the aeroplane and moved the stick in what his reflexes said where the right direction but the time delay meant that the aeroplane reacted on his second last movement while he were moving the stick in the other direction. This gave a feedback loop that increased the movement untill the aeroplane went out of control. If he had been a playstation player and moved the stick to the direction he wanted the aeroplane to move and not tried to fly it nothing much would have happened. This prompted a development of new control system laws to dampen such a feedback, I have to look up if the control stick also were made stiffer and harder to move.

In World War II in 1940 I believe a Hurricane fighter with eight machine guns could be built for less than ten thousand pounds. A pilot could learn to fly one safely with minimal instruction. The plane could turn inside anything the Germans put into the air over Britain, and it climbed marvelously. Early models had wooden propellors (so if you crashed and broke one, you could theoretically whittle a new one from some nearby tree and the hatchet in your survival kit). And most important, they were easy to fix.

More than any other machine, the Hurricane won the Battle of Britain. Late in WWII Hurriboxes were converted into ground-attack planes that carried rockets or cannon (up to 75 mm, I believe) or bombs in addition to machine guns and high-speed 20 mm cannon.

Of World War II aircraft, I believe the Hurricane is the most underappreciated. It can still turn inside any modern fighter, and if you know how to spin it correctly, you can make the machine drop like a stone into a nearby cloud, which is a trick that has saved many a pilot's bacon.

Sounds great. If we ever need a LOT of fresh fighter jocks, just recruit all the flight sim players to fly the American version of the infamous "Volksjager" aka Heinkel 162 of WW2 fame.

Video games and fly-by-wire makes it possible to indeed build a "peoples' fighter" while fortunately the Germans couldn't. There are millions of potential pilots itching to get behind the joystick! Eh? Where's the keys to that SR-71? I want to drive to Miami from Chicago in 40 minutes!

Even the best WW2 games have the technical specs of the planes wrong. The Brits carefully faked spec sheets for the Hurricane in particular, then even more carefully allowed one of these "top secret" sheets to be sold at a very high price in gold to a German spy in Turkey or some place. In the real world some of the Hurricanes ran on gasoline with octane boosted with Dupont's tetra-ethyl lead. (Others did not; it depended on the squadron.) Such an innovation as lead to boost octane never occurred to the Germans, which I find somewhat surprising, given their master-race pretensions and good reputation in chemistry. Anyway, with leaded gasoline the Hurris outflew the fastest German prop planes all through the war, and with the throttle to the firewall they could outclimb and fly faster than all but the very latest 1945 Spits, the ones with five-bladed props. Hurricanes fairly often dived on and shot down the Jet-powered ME-262 near the end of the war and may have shot down more of them than all other plane types combined--hard to say; I've read conflicting data on this topic.

Those crafty Brits kept making movies, etc. about the Spitfire and glamorizing that excellent (but hard to fly and a bitch to fix) plane in hopes that the Germans would never twig to the fact that at full-throttle the octane-boosted Hurriboxes were shooting down the 109s at a ratio of four or five to one. Indeed, the RAF purposely falsified shoot-down numbers to make it look as if the Spit were the better plane--which it is not. The Hurricane was a superb gun platform and stunning at aerobatics. (The Spits were about even with the ME 109s, but the Brit pilots were better than most of Goering's lice-infested luftwaffe flyboys. For some reason, Germans have always skimped on training their fighter pilots--a false economy that persists to this day. Shortage of fuel??? Dumb, anyway.)

I heard on the radio that the Brits also put out the story that their pilots ate lots of carrots to improve their eyesight (rather than the radar technology that was actually being used). To this day, it appears that people believe eating carrots will improve your eyesight.
Interesting. I skipped the books today at Barnes and Noble. Instead I just grabbed a bunch of magazines and checked into a table to recon whether I could plug a laptop in. Flipping through a couple of Airline-oriented magazines, I noticed that the "current" Luftwaffe is using British Tornadoes? Is this true? Can somebody comment? What's up with the Euro-Fighter?

How would one rank German pilots? Personally I would put them number 5.


Historically they would come number three after Americans and British, although it may be contested between 1 and 2 with the English-speakers.

You could even make the case for Germans at number 4.

Who makes the best sailors? I'll say Americans. Greeks are number 2.

I think the Tornado was a joint European program with the Germaas and Italians - F16 vintage hardware.  The Eurofighter is brand new - unflyable - stick anyone in the cockpit type of plane alongside the computer, that is a broad European cooperation involving all the major european powers - except the French - of course.

Don't forget the Brits are masters of low flying - both above and below ground.

i'd like that!
A few months ago I bought a 1990 minivan from the Salvation Army for $500.  It has a big dent on the left side but the mechanicals are still good and the interior is in great condition. The A/C doesn't work and because they used R-12 my mechanic won't touch it.
Population Control?

No one has had a thread that dealt with actually trying to do something about the rapidly growing (and unsustainable) population in the USA (and the world). So, I thought I'd try to attempt to jump start a discussion of possible means of accomplishing this.
One of the things that I have heard stated often is the need for a carbon tax and or gasoline tax to reduce energy consumption. What about a "Birth Tax"?
Your first born child is tax free. Your second child incurs a birth tax of $5000 plus an annual population tax of $2000 per year until the child is 21 years of age. Your third child incurs a birth tax of $10000 and an annual population tax of 5000 per year until the child is 21. Anyone who has a child and cannot pay the birth or population tax is sterilized (man and woman) (Note: sterilized is just pregnancy prevention, it doesn't keep them from still having fun)
And of course the deduction for children on the income tax would be eliminated too.

This isn't being put forward as the best or only system, but just as an idea to start discussion on the best way to accomplish the halting of the continued population growth and eventually the reduction to sustainable levels.  Surely some of you out  there have some really great ideas to accomplish population reduction ?

All that would do is to stop the poor from reproducing (but maybe that's your goal). I personally know a few middle class couples who have gotten second mortgages to adopt foreign orphans. A tax wouldn't really slow them down any more than the methods already at force, namely, expensive and unavailable daycare and the modern need of a two income family to remain middle class. These two have already worked to keep second generation birthrates below replacement levels for quite some time, and are much more politically acceptable.
I think you are correct. Modern fertility treatments/surrogacy can cost more than the listed amounts, and with no guarantee of success. People are highly motivated to have babies. Those who can will pay large sums willingly, if that is all it is about. Schemes where the sale of 'the right to a child' is allowed, will suffer from the same effect. So long as the tax is regressive, there will be a strong wealth effect in terms of who is effected by the tax.

A flat tax, in contrast, like a 3% increase in income tax per child under 18, might act as a more balanced disincentive.

Kutz is just channeling Malthus and Galton. The poor are scum and should not reproduce! (Except enough to keep "us" in butlers and maids eh?)

Newton barely made it, Faraday was born quite poor, so was Edison for that matter and they thought he was "addled". Dickens was born poor, or was born somewhere in the lower reaches of the middle class and then his family became very poor, I forget which. In either case his family wouldn't have been able  to pay the tax.

And what do you do if the family can't pay that $2k a year tax? What do you do with a say, 11 year old whom you owe back taxes on? Too young to put into uniform, there's always child prostitution though......

When posters on TOD start advocating forced sterilization of Americans who can't pay their tax bills, you know the USA is going to be a scary place post-peak.
the USA is going to be a scary place post-peak.

The USA is already a scary place, even before peak.
I have a hard time believing using a mix of chicken shit and wood shavings as cattle feed realy happened. It to wierd for me to accept withouth some proof.

I never noticed any stench about fermenting silage bales. Its a lactic acid fermentation and they dont stench although it smells in an aromatic way.

I think there is a large risk that he us pulling Kunstlers leg.

Bagged silage is very popular in Sweden. Its main benefits are that it is much more flexible then a fixed size pit silo or vertical silo. It locks up less capital in equipment. You can make the silage with fewer workers working at the same time wich is good for small farms. Quality problems and freak accidents tend to wreck one or a few bales instead of manny tons. You can use them at a lower pace, a pit silo needs to be emptied faster to keep ahead from spoiling on the exposed end. This has spawned a nich for smaller bales of not as rich silage for hobby horses. They make it a lot easier to transport and trade silage. The machines are suitable for cooperation between manny small farmers. The main drawback is indeed the cost for plastic even if it is recycled, I dont know what it is recycled for.

An odd use of this technology is bagging garbage during summertime to incinerate for heat production during wintertime. The bags need to be air tight otherwise the biomass part of the garbage start to rot and you loose energy content. That is probably one main reason for not mining old dumps for the energy content wich would be a neat way of financing a repackaging of the waste with a better technology. But they are sometimes energy mined thru catching the release of methane.

Please: chicken "manure."
or chicken "guano"
Believe it - there are so many standard American practices which are simply inconceivable for Europeans it is almost amusing. And yet, it is the American media which constantly reports on how backward Europeans are, since they don't follow modern American concepts - like feeding bird shit to cattle.

Laughing or crying - it is a matter of where you live, I guess.

Actually, the white 'hay balls' seem to be pretty rare this harvest season around here - a couple of years ago, they were much more common. I have no idea why, but German farmers are both very price conscious, and within their own framework, very environmentally conscious. I can imagine that getting rid of the used plastic turned out to be a bad deal in some way, probably due to some idiotic German Green inspired laws, which stop profitable businesses just trying to bring prosperity and growth to all because of some abstract concern over sustainability or something.

My own pet idea is to charge school taxes on a sliding scale according to income but multiplied by the number of kids the family has. You pay what you can afford for the first kid, but the school tax goes up on a per kid basis in an equation like this:

tax = X * income * kids with the X being the tax multiplier in a less-than-unity format like property taxes. The state government collects this tax instead of school districts to prevent wildly huge budgets in rich suburbs. This would do much to discourage childbirth and also distribute education money more evenly.

I would outlaw fertility drugs by making them Schedule 1 Controlled Substances like heroin. If you are infertile, adopt!  

Population growth in the US is driven entirely by immigration.  If immigration was ended, the US would have a steady population without need of your suggestions.  Population is likewise decreasing in Europe and Japan.  It is the "developing" world where population growth is out of hand, I don't think taxation will do much to curtail it there.
Exactly.  Curbing immigration would be a far easier and more politically palatable way to curb population than a "poll tax."  
Agreed. Population control isn't possible without cutting the flow of immigrants. Unfortunately, that means the "no amnesty, no quarter, no mercy" anti-immigration brutes in Congress probably have it half right. The other side of the coin is imposing severe fines or even prison terms on people who hire illegal immigrants. No one wants to threaten professional working couples with prison time for hiring an undocumented nanny from Guatamala, but disincentivizing the employer is the only real solution. The message right now is "if you come, you will find employment in the U.S.," whereas the message needs to be: "you will get a criminal record for hiring an undocumented worker."
I think you better check your facts.  


Population growth in the U.S. as of now is approximately 3 million people per year and climbing.  Immigration accounts for approximately 1 million of that increase.

Try the following site:


There is also a good paper on illegal immigration: port_1211.pdf+%22population+growth%22+Census+United+States&hl=en&gl=ca&ct=clnk&cd=8

(There is a pdf version of the above.)

In short, the U.S. population is increasing--and legals and illegals do not account for the entire increase.

IIRC, the US population would be stable (or falling) if there was no immigration AND recent immigrants had non-immigrant average number of kids. But hey, why not look at it as a chance to share our wealth with those less fortunate? Lesson from Kindergarten?
Population growth in the U.S. as of now is approximately 3 million people per year and climbing.  Immigration accounts for approximately 1 million of that increase.

But recent arrivals tend to have larger families than those who have been here awhile.  Eventually, they assimilate, and family size drops, but it takes 2-4 generations.

That is what they mean when they say immigration accounts for all U.S. population growth.  Without those two effects - immigrants increasing population by moving here, and by having larger families once they get here - the U.S. would have a population growth rate similar to Europe's.

My own family is a perfect example.  My great-grandparents were fresh off the boat, and had something like 13 kids (that lived).  My grandparents had 5-6 kids.  My parents' generation had 1-3 kids.  My generation has 0-2 kids.

I hear you Leanan,

My Great Grand Parents - 16 kids

My Grand Parents - 9 kids

My Parents - 3 kids

I have - 2 kids


The big population growth problems are in the developing world, so the total growth in America in world terms isn't that big.

The issue is profligate consumption habits. If you allow one person to emigrate from China, India, or Asia, local oil consumption will drop by about 2 barrels per year. If he moves to the US, and acts like the locals, his consumption will grow to 24 barrels per annum. Approximate numbers:

Chinese couple, in China, limited to 1 child:
      3 people x 2bpa = 6 bpa
Same couple, emigrates to US, has 2 children:
      4 people x 24bpa = 96 bpa

Their consumption increases by 33% because the family has grown from 3 to 4, and it goes up a further 1200% because they are now consuming like Americans.

The world already has an unsustainable population, so population growth is really problematic. But the worst thing we can do is compound the effect by moving people from low consumption areas to high consumption areas.

Watch out there, Rick. I made that point to a bunch of liberal friends and they jumped all over me as a SELFISH, GREEDY  RACIST.  My argument that I was merely bringing up  obvious arithmetic just got me deeper in the doo-doo.

Gotta remember that people are GOOD and more people are MORE good.

I have great sympathy for the Chinese who cannot fulfill their desires for more than one child. The way the one child policy has been enforced is unspeakable. I'd emigrate from there in a heartbeat, and I respect those who have. In an ideal world, the ability to have children at a zero population growth rate (1 child, on average, per breeding adult) shouldn't be forcibly restricted.

Please don't misread my point, and take it as prejudicial if you will: one American baby, regardless of where his parents are from, will use more than 12 times the oil of a baby born in the developing world.

Over-breeding by itself is a problem that creates unsupportable exponential growth. Overbreeding hyper-consumers creates a growth rate that is unfathomable. But I suppose it will be self-correcting.

Sorry, Rick, for the ambiguity.  I am entirely with you on this.  I was refering to what some liberal friends take as  dogma -people good, more people, more good.  Their idea, certainly not mine.

My idea- people good, less people, more good. Way less people, way more good.  Problem of course, how to get there without hurting  good people.

Well, regarding the size of families, I'm wondering.

Maybe the available level of energy and land has allowed previous generations to give birth to many childs.  Given also the opportunity of less war, more food available and less desease, a lot lived good lifes.  

For my own familly:

great great grand-mother: 12 children, some died while babies
great grand-mother: 12 children 1 died while a baby
grand-mother : 7 children
Mother : 4 children
Me : none at 30 years old.  I have one neice (1 yo)

I guess that what happened is the possibility of raising and giving enough for each children droped as each one required more as generations passed by.  First generations needed less per children to live: food, clothes, roof (small), 1 horse, some books.

Each next generation elevated the number and real price of things needed to go trough life. Those "minimal" requirements putted a cap on how many child that could be fostered.

Emmanuel Todd and other stated that women litteracy also put a cap on child per familly. As women get more educated, they tend to work more out of the home, preventing a too large familly building and assuring a better familly income.

A larger familly income was needed from the start of the seventies probably because of increase in energy prices.  That larger income commanded more work, thus women entering the workforce in droves.

Now we can say that occidental countries have a large percentage of women working, thus putting a lid on child birth.  

While it slowed the growth pace, I think the result is not the same as previous generations.  As prof Albert Bartlett stated (and the exponatial function by itself for that matter) even a small percentage of growth (1%) of a large number insure a doubling after 70 periods.  

As for our propension to growth, I think it cannot be controled in a "choosen or intelligent" way.  I mostly agree that we will grow our population until we are not able to.  War will be waged at some points or new desease will spread faster because of promiscuity.  It occured in the past and it will in the future.

One thing is sure, child birth will always be as high as minimum cultural material needs can be acheived for any generation (now or in the future)


Your method would probably have little effect on US population. Those people who pay taxes usually don't have more than 2 children anyway. We already have a method of population control - education of women, women's rights to control their reproduction and availability of inexpensive methods of doing so. In the years since these methods became common in the US the  US birth rates dropped dramatically.
But because of the flood on immigrants into this country our poulation is also increasing dramatically and our birth rate is again rising because immigrants with no tradition of women's rights or education have a higher birth rate. Add to that, there is a movement to take away womn's control over their reproductive rights because some old men have become concerned about possible population declines...
Other old men love women of all ages (over eighteen, that is) and especially like highly educated women in high powered professions or high levels of business.

After all, the higher a woman's income, the nicer are the places she can take me to;-)

The difficulty with population controls is that they are very sensitive issues, hitting at the core of our insticts as living beings, and very ripe for abuse (as evidence by the mixed success in places like China). Also making this difficult is that it take a generation before many effect take hold, and it is sometimes difficult to guess what the effects will be.

That being said, I always thought a better solution would be to create a market. Every female at birth is given 2.1 "child credits" (2.1 being the rough steady state children/women ratio, given the fact that males tend to die at a slightly higher rate before reaching adulthood. If you want to reduce the population, lower the number.) You cash one credit in with each birth, and these credits are transferable. You want a 3rd kid? Find someone who doesn't want to use all their credits and will sell you 0.9 credits to go along with your spare 0.1 .

Want to stick with 1 kid?  You can sell your spare 1.1. Feel compelled to do more to reduce the population? Don't use or sell your credits.

Of course, there is still a question about enforcement. And what about "accidents"? And still, when you start taking reproductive rights, raw nerves are touched everywhere you turn.  Lots of people reject any birth control, even basic  contraception, and would be willing to fight violently about it.  And unfortunately I am sure some guys would balk at giving women so much control.

There is an alternative.  Mother Nature has her own methods of population controls than are much more brutal and nasty. Our choice, I suppose.

Can I charge it?
Several ideas for controlling population have already been mooted--

Avian Flu
Nuclear accidents
Lhassa fever

and of course, the traditional, plain old war-- which at the moment seems to be having the most success.

Oral sex.
That reminds me of the historical way the birthrate was kept under control in Europe: many persons didn't marry (religious occupations, army, plain single peasants). Those who did marry, married late. Why? Because they waited until a house with accompanying pieces of land was available. Meanwhile, the engaged couple had to bide their time. Not inactively, of course.
Let us bring back the bundling board.

So many great ideas . . . so many abandoned for no good reason.

The demographics might surprise you.  

But why tax the poor mom when the father of the child runs away scout free.  Tax every male older than 14, if he has a kid, he pays for it by the tax, if he has two kids, its double if he has three kids, he just works for the state.

I don't think taxing kids will work.  Want a revolt?

The reason the US population is growing is in the influx of families and workers and others from other countries, for a while there we had reached a good slow pace.  Not as slow as other nations, but slow.  

I don't like to think of a Government handling the genetic code to control population, but it seems that sooner or later someone is going to think its a good idea and slip it in a bill and WHAM DNA tests to see if we want you to reproduce or not.

The solution to this problem was proposed over 30 years ago by the economist Kenneth Boulding.  Establish a credit system for births based on one's overall birth goals.  For example, each couple get a credit for two children. Or each individual gets a credit for one child.   If they want to exceed this amount, they buy a credit from another couple or individual or they buy it from a credit exchange set up for this purpose. If they want less children, they can sell their credit. This doesn't discriminate against the poor because they can actually choose to increase their income by trading off a child credit. This permits the better off to have more children by paying for it. In any event, the overall level of births is kept at a lower level, depending upon the overall goal.  This could be adjusted as circumstances permit.

There will always be some cheating, of course, but that would be true of any system.

Another HUGE advantage of this plan is that it tends to redistribute income from the wealthy to the poor.
This scheme runs into two basic problems:
(1) the charge that only the rich get to have (many) kids, which is a serious charge in the eyes of those who think that there's nothing better than having lots of kids, and that that's a basic human right (not that I agree with that view), and:
(2) the still open question of what is to be done to, or about, people who break the rules (or have an "accident") and have an "illegal" child.  Schemes that punish the parents financially, while they are also financially responsible for taking care of the child, hurt the child, who is of course not to blame for the parents' transgression.  (Although any society with major wealth disparities that leaves poor parents to struggle alone to support their children cannot claim to be on the high ground of this issue.)

So although I think that population control should be our first priority, I still don't see a workable method that can be called "humane".   (How did they enforce the one-child rule in China?)  Of course it could be argued that a not-quite-humane scheme of birth control is still far better than Nature's method of death control.  When there won't be enough food (or employment, or health care) for everybody, will the rich who will hold on to their privileges (i.e. luxuriate while others starve) still claim that birth control is immoral?

Perhaps one relatively humane solution is forced sterilization of anybody (male or female) who has a third child.  No financial penalty, no effect on the innocent third child, no impact on the parent's future fun, only denial of any additional pregnancies to those who already had more than their fair share.

Sailorman's Solution:
Mandatory oral sex education beginning in the fifth grade.

Guaranteed to work.

It beats genocide.

Make (oral) love not war?
So although I think that population control should be our first priority, I still don't see a workable method that can be called "humane".   (How did they enforce the one-child rule in China?)  Of course it could be argued that a not-quite-humane scheme of birth control is still far better than Nature's method of death control.  When there won't be enough food (or employment, or health care) for everybody, will the rich who will hold on to their privileges (i.e. luxuriate while others starve) still claim that birth control is immoral?

Isn't this the same as the plan presented above?  You are saying nature is inhumane in terms of human population control, but a manmade credit system to better control the aggregate is less humane than nature?  What we've got now IS inhumane accordiny to this thinking, so wouldn't an improvement be better?  There will always be micro issues that have to be dealt with almost on a case by case basis.  

The current reality is the same anyway.  The rich in control now do have as many children as they please and do not worry about food.  A credit based system would allow them to do that, but pay a bit more.  By no means is one paragraph or even an essay going to answer ALL the questions, but in terms of an idea that has merit and a possibility at results should be entertained.  Maybe this boils more down to a morality test since this would be a greater good concept and there would be losers at the expense of the collective planet.  Awe too bad!

Are you proposing a national or global DNA registry of all males and when the third baby or previously unregistered child is found that fits a DNA profile the police hunts down the father, sedates him and takes him to a hospital where he is sterilized?

If that is ok how do you handle database errors? It would probably be quite an effective way to unhinge a competitors mind.

Are all fertile women to be forcibly checked for pregnancy every 6 months if they dont show up as scheduled? I guess it would have to start around the age of 12 to be on the safe side.

There are some major drawbacks to your suggestion.

I did not suggest anything remotely like your two "drawback" examples.  But I am not surprised by your emotional response, this is after all a "taboo" subject.

The system does not need to be that intrusive, nor does it need to be perfect: if a few escape penalty, or have a third child (even if then punished), that is not a big deal.  What's important is that the overall population growth is stopped, and that that is achieved mostly by people regulating their own behavior.  The policy challenge is to find the policy that achieves that end result with the least unpleasantness.  If you have better ideas on how to do that, let us know.  If you are simply averse to any population control, then tell us how to avoid starvation.

I suppose you'll remind us that in Sweden (and many other currently-affluent countries) the population is declining.  Some think that the same will happen everywhere once we achieve full industrialization.  To that I say:

  • the USA is a major counter-example, with a significant rate of population growth despite affluence.  (It's not just immigration, another comment on this thread gives references to that.)
  • the "developing" countries will never "develop", due to PO,
  • the "developed" countries are going to de-volve, and when times get tough they may return to both religion and making babies.

The only way population control can be constitutionally entered into in the USA that I can think of is by taxing more than one children families at very high rates. That would still allow for the rich to have more kids, but otherwise you are talking about revolution, and it would be more like the French (bloody) one than the USA 1776 one.

It is both taboo and one no politico could get elected on, at least for the next few years. . . .

Remember, we can talk about whatever we like, but as Otto von Bismarck said, "Politics is the art of the possible."

If such a system were to be implemented locally in Sweden it would probably have to handle everybody and not only properly married couples. Stupid bad things have a tendency to be fairly accepted if they are shared by everybody. Wonder how manny immigrants would be sterilized?

An alternative solution that have worked a few decades ago is if some people can be classified as not being fully human. An even worse idea.

What scares me most is that we have had a system where some people were classified as less worthy humans. We had a sterlization program running before and after the second world war, based on race research and cultivation of the people stock. Gypsies, mentally retarded and difficult women with socially unacceptable sexuality were sterelized. The last remnants of the program, sterilization of mentally retarded, did not stop untill the pill were developed. That part had the best motivation, they could not raise children but having sex were good for their quality of life.

I think things like this will return but organized on a personal level more or less like in the GATTACA movie. Why not choose your very best eggs or sperm? Sorted and perhaps with some gene tweaking. A lot of other people do it and random children are allmost allways handicapped in the competition...

The current average number of births is currently 1.75 in Sweden and the long term prognosis from www.scb.se is 1.85
The subsidy systems have knobs the government like to turn to financially reward having more children and they might somewhat work. There is an active competition for population between the municipialities, few like to live in a declining area. There is no overall craze for growth in population and decline is now and then talked about as a problem. It is sad when families die out and even worse if it would happen to whole cultures.

I think I have a more human idea. Make education up to high school mandatory and charge parents a minimum fee + certain percentage of their income for each child attending in public schools.

The side effect on the general education level would also be strongly positive IMO.

How long do you suppose it will take after fuel prices go way up and people are having a hard time getting fuel to get to work that the government will take steps to try to prop up the economy? My guess is that high on their list will be a "temporary" ban on the use of gasoline or all liquid fuels for entertainment and recreational purposes. No internal combustion racing on land, water or in the air. No ATVs running over the countryside, no outboard motors or inboards, no powered sport aviation. Can you hear the weekend warriors squealing loudly about not being able to fuel their toys?
Oh, you could still use electric motors for racing, boating and sailplanes for flying, but that "temporary" ban on liquid fuel will stay permanent unless the population is cut drastically. (Or we come up with a new source of liquid fuel)
If the folks in Washington DC haven't thought about this yet, maybe someone should clue them in?
Never gonna happen. All of the activities you
mention are big dollar industries with lobby
groups in D.C. Our current politcal system is
setup to resist change and is the reason I have
little hope regarding a way out of our energy
problems with little pain.
There is no reason to announce a ban... the ban will take place through price rationing (e.g. once the price per gallon gets high enough, recreational use will drop).  This is already occurring in the recreational boating market where Brunswick (maker of a number of different boat brands and boat motors) reported a loss of around $1.00 per share as sales of recreational boats have fallen off of a cliff.  I have also read numerous stories where boaters are just hanging out on their docked boat rather than motor out on water.  Some of these boats have 300+ gallon tanks!
Sounds good to me.  They can start by keeping these nuisances off our public lands.  In addition, owners of these vehicles run up and down the county roads, which is illegal, but not enforced.  Further, their pollution level should be as stringently controlled as cars.
Of course, the real problem is that TPTB tend to see population growth as the solution, not the problem.

In Europe, they are trying to figure out how to increase the birth rate.  Ditto Australia, which wants each family to have at least three kids.  And one irate politician in Japan suggested cutting off social security benefits to women who don't have at least one child.

I'm reminded of the Roman and Mayan civilizations in their decline, when they couldn't feed their existing populations but nevertheless tried to get people to have more kids.  Even when it meant starving the men in order to feed the women.

Mussolini worried a lot about the low birth rate in Italy. One of his ideas was to give free double-bed sheets to married couples, to discourage them from sleeping in separate single beds (as apparently was common in Italy; I cannot imagine why.)

Musso's idea did not work.

Italy now has, I think, the very lowest birthrate in Western Europe. People cannot afford both a car and a second child--so they buy the car.

A famous sociologist said:
"The prospect of owning a motor car has been sufficient to sterilize much of the English middle class." or words to that effect.

Couples who could afford it used to have separate bedrooms all over the world.
Hmm..... developed world has been synonymous with car-addicted world.

I wonder if it's really come down to that, low birth rates because if it's a kid or a car, people choose the car often enough that less kids get born?

Of course one American driving a car is about equivalent to what, 10, even 20, third-worlders? Is our population in the developed world really decreasing? It all comes down to energy use.

I'm reminded of the Roman and Mayan civilizations in their decline, when they couldn't feed their existing populations but nevertheless tried to get people to have more kids.  Even when it meant starving the men in order to feed the women.

The Mayans did this? And here I thought I had read just about everything concerning the collapse of the Classic Mayan Empire, but I have never heard of this one.

Actually very little is known about the collapse of the Classic Maya. No glyphs record the collapse. They only record the war victories and the human sacrifices to the gods, along with other things about the succession of kings, calendars and such. The glyphs stop exactly where the collapse began. There is however a skimpy archeological record of the collapse. It seemed to be sudden where the people turned on the priesthood and the noble elite. Probably because they were starving and the priest could not make it rain. They have found bone-piles of people with notched front teeth, a mark worn only by priest and others of high rank.

I wonder if our priest, preachers and illustrious leaders will suffer the same fate when our collapse arrives?

Tainter discusses it in The Collapse of Complex Societies.  He notes that as collapse approached, the skeletons of the Mayan people changed.  The male skeletons grew stunted, with signs of malnutrition and disease.  But the female skeletons were as tall, healthy, and robust as ever, which led anthropologists to the conclusion that the Mayans preferentially fed the females over the males.  Nearby societies were known to revere women of reproductive age, so it's not a huge stretch to assume the Mayans had similar ideas.  
Not sure this necessarily follows, but we can stipulate

I'm reminded of the Roman and Mayan civilizations in their decline, when they couldn't feed their existing populations but nevertheless tried to get people to have more kids.  Even when it meant starving the men in order to feed the women.

A few questions come to mind: were they trying to have more kids, or were they trying to ensure that the children be reasonably nourished, since that was the future?  If productivity is falling, but it requires an investment to achieve productivity, what do you do?  Was it so clear to them (or even to us) that they had reached the carrying capacity of the land?  Since the collapse was region-wide, what options were available?

I think it's natural for TPTB to want to increase the population as collapse approaches.  (Though the ordinary people themselves often disagree.  Tainter found that population growth slows, even reverses, as collapse approaches.)

The reasons are pretty obvious, when you think about it.  It's for the same reason Japan, Italy, France, Australia, etc., think declining population is a problem.  People are power.  Especially before the Age of Oil, when the more densely populated society tended to win conflicts.  You need laborers, consumers, soldiers.  Especially if you are in conflict with another society.  

Even when you know your population is too large, you can't afford to scale back. Not when your hostile neighbor isn't.  They'll have more laborers, soldiers, taxpayers, than you, and end up kicking your butt.

Leanan, you are exactly correct. And the reason for this is explained by Stephen LeBlanc in one of the best books ever published on the subject:

Not only are human societies never alone, but regardless of how well they control their own population or act ecologically, they cannot control their neighbors' behavior. Each society must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will not live in ecological balance but will grow its numbers and attempt to take the resources from nearby groups. Not only have societies always lived in a changing environment, but they always have neighbors. The best way to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off competitors as well as take resources from others.
Steven LeBlanc, "Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage" page 73
As I said in another thread, the only logical conclusion then is that either (a) we all return to hunter-gatherer existence (which won't be stable because someone will start a civilization somewhere and the race is on again) or (b) there is one advanced civilization that practices population control and which utterly destroys any other budding civilization before it can become a threat. Since humans will never accept (b), we will get (a) instead with the resulting continued destruction of the ecosphere until it can't support any civilization at all and maybe not any higher life either.

It's not a pleasant conclusion but we are what we are. Look at these threads about population control. Population growth cannot continue forever, yet it runs on unabated while we don't impose external controls. We are bred to breed. Our genes drive us to breed, so we do. To control our genes means we have to choose to control ourselves.

Regardless, I am convinced that homo sapiens is currently incapable of addressing that problem so nature will address it as usually happens for other species in overshoot. Nature's solution will be "ugly" by human standards, but when it's over someone can point to that and say "Gee, how'd we have that accident? We can avoid it next time! Let's do it again!" And off we will go, still totally oblivious to the power of exponential functions. ;)

I agree.  We will never solve the population problem.  Never.  Too bad as it is the one problem that we know everything about and that we are capable of solving.  There is no chance.  Zero.  Zilch.  
"Nobody knows anything"

William Goldman  (Hollywood Screenwriter)

Hello Jokuhl,

As all the discussion on this thread illustrates, we now do know that: "our genes are not our friends".

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

Bob, cut it out.  You're harshing my buzz!

But really, you can't expect to be 'friends' with your genes.  YOU have to 'be the Multi-celled organism'..  you're bigger than them, and they depend on you not to lead them astray.  Yes, I know.. 'And a gene shall lead us' and all, but take some responsibility.  Set up a playdate between your little Genies and some neighbor Yeasties, and see that they all play nice.

The problem with population control is becuse of it being a giant ethical/moral dilemma. It's like the train and switchtrack dilemma:

You are standing at the lever of a switch track. A train is coming, but 5 people are standing on the track and will get hit unless you flip the switch track to divert the train. But if you do so, a sixth person is standing on the track and will get hit in that case.

The population dilemma is similar. You can impliment any number of policies like forced sterilisation, forced abortion, etc. all of which are ugly. But if you do nothing, nature will impliment its own methods - which are even uglier. The politicians are merely leaving the lever alone to avoid losing the religious vote. It would be like walking away from the lever and calling 911 to avoid getting your DNA on the lever and avoid probable prosecution for murder.

We can avoid it next time!

Which "next time"?

There is at least 3 unsupported assumptions behind this:
- Someone will be there at some later point in time to say "Gee...".
- Memories of the collapse causes will have been kept in some form and with better accuracy than the usual legends about floods, etc...
- There will be ressources and skills to restart civilisation for a good "next time".

Plus, how about what we already know from civilisations collapses, Tainter, Diamond et als which does not seem to have ANY impact on the ambient sillyness?

I would say that time is NOW OR NEVER!
This may well be correct, but I don't see the relevance. I don't see the neighbors of France, Italy, US, etc about to invade or take resources.  Japan has a lunatic next door, but even he isn't a direct threat, as he uses carefully calibrated outbursts of psychosis to extract concessions from the rest of the world.  I think LevinK's post below about growing a tax base is more accurate, in which case "liv[ing] in ecological balance with slow growth" may well be a more appropriate solution.  The question then becomes, can you do this with no growth? (I know the economist's answer to that question)
Davet, I wasn't for one moment proposing a solution. Heavens no, I was just trying, or rather LeBlanc was just trying to explain why things are like they are and why societies in the past have behaved like they did.

There is no solution to the current massive overshoot of people on this planet. Peak oil and the anarchy that will follow will surely take care of that problem. Natue gave us this detrius and nature gave us the prodgeny that sprang from the energy and food it produced, and nature shall surely take it away.

- Nature must, in the not far distant future, institute bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization, and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming species following their exuberant expansion in response to the savings deposits their ecosystems had accumulated  before they got the opportunity to begin the drawdown.
 - William Catton, Overshoot

"The question then becomes, can you do this with no growth?"

davet, I have always doubted the notion that PO and the exhaustion of other resources would bring the end of growth for good. First the potential for "doing more with less (resouces)" is yet to be discovered. Second we could well turn into a society where spiritual and intellectual products begin to be cherished more by the society and this will still be regarded as "growth" in the future, though probably maybe not by the todays standards. Third, a declining population would mean there will be more for fewer, and I don't see why a sustainable, slower-growth equilibrium with environment can not be met in the long run.

Of course these are all best case scenarious, but it is worth as a guidance for the direction to go, right? We will "only" need to evolve to a system that does not stimulate the excessive consumption and misallocation of resources between rich and por that we ave today...

I didn't posit that because I necessarily think that's imminent, but rather to throw it out for discussion.  In a finite world there will be a limit at some point, no matter how clever we are (I don't think we're there, BTW, as I'm not a doomer)  Ideally we'd approach it asymptotically, but if we do, what then?  Is there realistically such a thing as a sustainable zero-growth economy?  (In practice, I suspect we'll overshoot, crash, repeat -- like other natural systems)
I suspect we'll overshoot, crash, repeat

A fully static equilibrium is of course unlikely.
EVERY regulation works by monitoring changes and introducing negative feedback, the changes are a MUST.
The whole point is to avoid "crash" i.e. irrecoverable damage.
Unfortunately I think "we're there" and damage there will be.
But that does not mean we cannot try to minimize damage and plan for a smarter mode of operations thereafter.
Times have changed radically since middle ages. Technology has made large numbered armies obsolate and now the strength of the army is determined by the number of planes, tanks, war ships etc.etc. Consider 100 mln. Arabs vs 3 mln. Israelis, or 300 mln. US citizens vs 1.3 bln Chinese.

IMO stimulation population growth nowadays has little to do with political power, and everything to do with stimulating economic growth - more people -> more consumers&laborers -> more growth. Economic power supports military and political supremace, but this is not the primary reason, IMO.

Consider the few hundred required to conquer Siberia, Mexico & Peru et al.  A technological advantage trumps in most cases.  Gueriila war is one case where technology is of value but limited value.
Mexico and Peru were conquered by zootic diseases, i.e. those diseases spawned by agriculture and which the Europeans had developed resistances and/or immunities to before entering into conflict with the civilizations of the New World. Most epidemic diseases come from animals which come from our contact with them via agriculture. Such diseases are rare amongst hunter-gatherers hence their lack of immunity to the same.

The Europeans simply moved into the power vacuum created by the epidemic diseases and assumed control.

See Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel for more details.

mass numbers do beat technology but as technology advances more and more are needed.
Well, though various European politicians are concerned, they still have the small technical problem of turning women into mothers.

Truly, one of the more interesting global conflicts currently raging under many guises is the power that women have gained in a number of societies, and what that power means in terms of both economic and reproductive freedom.

Germany is in a very special position in this debate, however, which is why you won't find too much information - both Italy and France are much better examples. The Nazis were huge fans of promoting the birth of appropriately suitable children, and quite honestly, they were so revolting in both conservative/religious/traditional terms (the Nazis were very radical, even in terms of sex) and in human terms (I knew a woman whose mother was a tall blond - though green eyed - with an identical twin - her mother was pampered in another type of Nazi camp, since she and her sister were obviously superior).

At this point, Germany is experiencing social shifts brought on by less children, some positive in the terms normally adopted for this debate, for example, an estimated savings of something like 100 billion euros for education over the next 15 years was reported on the radio recently. But there is a certain feeling of change or call it egoism or call it self-centeredness or call it inflexibility in a society with fewer children.

The social changes are deep and long lasting, and just beginning, I think.

But before the birth rate starts to climb significantly, women will have a much larger say than at any time for the last several thousand years. Unless civilization collapses first , of course - and listening to some of the more hysterical (that is a pun, sort of) men, you would think that women having less children is already the collapse of the comforting bosom of the society they grew up in (and did I just compare some of those men to momma's good boy, waiting for their beddy time story before dreaming of conquest? - sure did).

Personally, this sort of shift in human social relations is the sort of thing which people predicting doom tend to overlook - there are changes going on. Whether they are enough is another debate, but to say nothing is changing is simply wrong. Even if that change is painted as negatively as possible.

Demand Destruction

Now that oil prices are high and approaching the highest ever seen even with inflation is it possible to track demand destruction ?

The US stockpile remain good but if we really are starting to see real demand destruction imports should be falling off in other parts of the world.

We normally consider OCED countries but I suspect the initial impacts would be on the poorest countries. In any case if possible I think its time to start tracking worldwide demand as poorer nations get cut out of the global economy.

I notice the forecast for today is hot across much of the US.


Is there any way we can tell how the grid is holding up (% of capacity, say), short of brownouts and full power outages?

I was wondering about that too.

This AP story about the heat wave notes that

Power grid managers asked California residents to conserve electricity, predicting demand will spike for air conditioners.
I go to Fry's, a California electronics sort of superstore, very often. They have huge "islands" of air conditioners stacked in the passageways near the front of the store, for quick deployment out the front door to happy buyers. There must be well over 100 of the things, 3 or 4 different models. They're probably selling a ton of them today.
I rode to India today.  OK. little India but still it felt pretty epic in this weather.

Anyway, I rode up the San Gabriel River trail and saw a few energy related things.  The cooling water outlets from the SCE power plants were positively churning.  Seemed like more water than usual, I suppose they had the plants cranking (about a dozen turbines down there).  The other was that the were drilling oil in Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Long Beach.  Tip up rigs but with narrow pipe.  The pipe was curved hanging in the rack.  Two drills were less than a mile from the power plants.  If they're getting natural gas, thats convenient.

Hey Odo if I still lived in Orange County, I'd form a PO group and hold the meetings at Cappy's Cafe on the Newport/Huntington Beach border, there's an oil well right outside the window.
You can find the daily California forecast here - http://www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html.  Click on the chart and hourly forecast data will come up.  Today looks like a squeaker!
Nothing compared to ISO on July 03, 2001
Note the obvious ENRON-inspired "plant maintenance".
Ontario is projected to see a new electrical consumption record today.  Last year, the web site pleaded on its website and in the media for people to conserve on particularly hot days.  No such plea today, at least not on the web.  Forecast today was for a high of 32C (~90F) in Ottawa today.  That'll melt some igloos  ;-)


"Gas is largely a local market, so upward pressure on prices can't easily be offset by increasing imports from overseas. By contrast, oil is a global commodity, and the impact of the Gulf's shrinking rig fleet on oil pricing will be smaller, but not negligible."

NA ng prices will increase, but international oil prices will decrease on account of rigs leaving the gulf because they are presumably going to where they will produce more oil.

On a world-wide basis, having the rigs leave the Mexican Gulf for the Persian Gulf is a positive for crude production.  It is a reasonable assumption that those rigs will produce more oil in the Persian Gulf and they would in the Gulf of Mexico.

But, that does not mean that oil prices will drop.  It does not mean that oil production will increase.  It just means that everybody is scrambling like hell to mitigate their production declines.  It is actually quite a bad sign for world-wide production that rigs are suddenly in such short supply.  It means that the Saudi's are working very hard to ensure their production.  Something that has been very easy for them in the past.

The G8 Summit echoed the recent US-EU summit with a heavy focus on energy security: http://en.g8russia.ru/docs/11.html.

They're looking at 50% energy demand growth by 2030, with 80% of that coming from fossil fuels.

The statement includes reference to adoption of the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI)

Since this was a major piece of the EU-US summit declaration as well, it seems that the international community has come to agree with Matt Simmons' rallying cry for globall oil production and reserves data transparency as a critical first step toward addressing the problems of peak oil, even if they don't seem to recognize peak oil itself.

The statement on global energy security also suggests an immediate need for crisis planning and the development of an international response to oil infrastructure threats as they arise.

The document also promotes the idea of top level international planning for energy efficiency and energy conservation, as well as the usual calls for development of alternative energies.

So the G8, who have mostly signed up for Kyoto, are stating that there is no way they are going to meet Kyoto.  
`THE COMMUTE IS KILLING ME': Joseph Godino at his job in Buena Park. The truck driver travels 200 miles round trip from Apple Valley and spends about $650 a month for gas.

$650 currently buy 320 gallons of gasoline.  Mr Godino is driving 4000 miles per month.  4000 divided by 320 yields 12.5 miles per gallon.

I hope the commute does kill him.  Soon.

Ooops.  650/3.20 equals 203 gallons.  That's about 20 mpg and not nearly so bad.

My bad.

Still, he could get a used Honda Civic and cut that bill in half for not very much money.

This is to far up thread for you to catch it but you better go back and figure that out again.   devide the number of miles he drives by the number of gallons of gasoline he uses and you will find that he is in fact getting 12.5 miles per gallon of gas.   What he pays for gasoline has nothing to do with mpg.  
It explains why he's driving such a gas-guzzler at the end of the article.

He moved to the high desert two years ago because he was unable to afford a home closer to work. At the time, Godino's Volkswagen Beetle was getting good mileage and his employer, Oak Harbor Freight Line, was talking about opening a terminal near Apple Valley.

But the Volkswagen got totaled in an accident, forcing Godino to commute in his less-thrifty Ford Ranger pickup. His monthly fuel bills have jumped to $650. And so far, Oak Harbor hasn't opened that inland terminal.

"The commute is killing me," he said. One oil company credit card has a balance of more than $1,000. His wife cut up the other one.

"There's more money going out than coming in," Godino said. What's more, the Oak Harbor terminal where he works is moving to a larger site in Montebello at the end of July.

"It's farther," a dejected Godino noted.

Seems like it wouldn't take long for the savings in fuel to pay for a used civic, say.  
I read that too - frankly if I were him I'd give up the house, move into an apt close to work, and save save save. Then buy a house again after RE collapses. No mention of kids, I think it's just him and his wife. I bet his wife hates "Stepford Wives" Apple Valley too.
Living on Credit.. and the bankruptcy option.

It's like all the 'Bedroom Communities' have become the new 'Debtors Prisons', and the inmates have no 'outside' to escape to, if they even know they're incarcerated.

What were the changes in bankruptcy law recently?  Anybody remember what happened?

Why is greenland allowing drilling for oil and gas? Burning these contribute to heating of the earth, what in turn might lead to melting of greenland. Don't these people have a clue? or do they just don't give a damn? If they don't even care about their own enviroment, why should we feel sorry for the effect that our contribution to the greenhouse has on their country?
If they don't even care about their own enviroment, why should we feel sorry for the effect that our contribution to the greenhouse has on their country?

Because your country's greenhouse gas contributions affect your country, my country, and Greenland to a much larger degree than Greenland's greenhouse gas contributions. (I'm assuming that you are a US citizen.)

And if Greenland bothers you, you should be totally steamed at Canada. Judged only by our greenhouse gas emissions, we're total bastards.

Considering most of Greenland is ice and snow, maybe global warming isn't such a bad thing.
Someone around here has pointed out the lack of engineers in our colleges and this article points out how lacking our over priced colleges are.

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=reutersEdge&storyID=2006-07-17T085009Z_01_SP 243616_RTRUKOC_0_US-SERVICES-EMPLOYMENT-SKILLS.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&cap=&sz=13& amp;WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage3

"What will inevitably happen (is) big employers are not just going to be in the business of finding labor, they'll be in the business of making labor," said Marcel Legrand, Monster Worldwide Inc.'s

The number of jobs requiring math and science skills is rising four times faster than overall job growth, according to the Department of Labor. But U.S. high school graduates rank near the bottom among industrialized countries on math achievement scores.

"At this point in the economic recovery, there's no longer this large pool of qualified candidates," Rutgers University labor economist Steven Director said. An index of the difficulty of filling top jobs is "way up," he said.

I love the quote, "at this point in the economic recovery"

""At this point in the economic recovery, there's no longer this large pool of qualified candidates," Rutgers University labor economist Steven Director said. An index of the difficulty of filling top jobs is "way up," he said".

Actually there is a pool of skilled labor: the special visa programs, which will not hurt the wealthy in the US. It will kill insentives to help the not so wealthy go get training...except to man the military. As Gen. Buttler said: War is a Racket.

Read somewhere once that the typical yankee intinerant trader would sell the paint off his wagon. Today's yankee "traitors" are busy selling the wagon also.

The same people who are booster for this patriotic checkenhawk administration, will move equipment overseas for another buck.

Americans born in the US are extremely discouraged from going into engineering, unless they have plenty of money backing them up, or are the right race. I know, I know, race again but ppl outside the US just don't realize how all-important it is in the US, and those inside the US have become so numb to it that they need to be reminded of how grotesque the racial preferences system really is.

I had neither the money nor the right color skin to become an engineer and I was reminded of this frequently. When I became self-employed almost a decade ago it was a huge relief to be in a situation where my pay depended on performance rather than race - race played a huge role in the size of my paycheck and promotions when I worked for someone else, and this is a univeral experience among non-affluent Americans.

I am now considering going into a machinist program at the local jr. college, because I'd like those skills for my business. I'm glad I can just pay for the classes and no involvement with the Politburo oops I mean Financial Aid will be required. This is definately blue-collar training, and I will hopefully end up able to do the one thing that's the forbidden fruit - make stuff. They used to train kids in this stuff, the basics anyway, at the high schools and "vo-tech" schools, but that's all dead now. It's easier to just import workers.

I wonder if the fact that there has been so much affluence for so long in the USA effects how students think about the future.
Will a severe recession or depression with it's large unemployment cause students to think more about working harder in school to make sure they can get a job when they get out of school?
You know, Kutzie, even a broken clock is right once in a while!

You're right, the US has gone from a mostly working class and proud of it society to one where working with your hands is looked down on, and one where there's even been a sort of ugly caste system emerging. People born here who are Caucasian seem to want to just trade futures or shuffle paper, and important paper, like stocks or bonds or house deeds etc., to make a living. I was taught that any work was work, and something to be proud of, and yes in my working life I literally shoveled shit (hint: be sure to shower after that kind of job before showing up for night class, even if the shower makes you a few min. late) and done all kinds of low-level stuff. But most Americans who are not Depression kids didn't go through that kind of poverty, and have a very elitist view of work. The oil party has been just so darned good for everyone in this country! It's going to be very funny seeing all these hopeful future CEOs sweeping floors or weeding the corn I can tell you.

I'm of the white persuation, but I know what you mean. Had many jobs myself, including shoveling knee deep cow shit on a farm. The "Next Generation" of Star Trek kids are so removed from hands on work and empathy for those who do it.

My most frustrating moment came when one of my own kids threw garbage down on the floor at a motel room and said, "oh the maid will pick it up --she gets paid to do that". I was fuming. The kids of this generation do indeed believe themselves to be of the "rich and famous" upper caste and they do look down on those who, just because of less grace from God, are forced to perform menial jobs. It's very sad.

Sadder yet is that colleges are producing an over-supply of CEO wanna-be's. There aren't that many corporate ladders around so that everybody can be at the top of his own.

Let's hope we have enough corn to go around so that every college grad can shuck some in the post-PO era.

Steppers you are right - a whole generation that has lived as differently from you and I who grew up in the "dirty 70s" as there is between our lives and those of the people who grew up in the "dirty 1930s".

I was the friggin' maid, or rather, on lucky days, I helped my mom who was the real maid, when she could get the work, and felt like sharing, I got to help clean the rooms. There was talk of $1 per room but that never materialized - however I still did it when I could because people often left food in the fridges in the rooms.

thanks for sharing that --when TSHTF many of us will be thrilled to have a maid's job, any job
Being a bodyguard is a great job. When TSHTF, you off the rich guy, take his loot and rape his trophy wife just for fun. Then you get together with a few likeminded times and party on with burning, killing, looting and raping--though not necessarily in that order;-)

In regard to police and armed forces, can you spell M-U-T-I-N-Y and P-I-R-A-T-E and B-A-N-D-I-T?

"We don't need no steenkin' badges!"

... working harder in school to make sure they can get a job when they get out of school?

We never did answer Jon's question.

IMHO, the statistics are going the other way in America. More kids are dropping out of school with the understanding that studying harder and harder does not guarantee you any job. Not everyone is a scholastic genius.

High unemployment is a deterrent to higher school achievement. If your big brother who studied hard can't find a job or get into college then a why bother attitude grows. this has been an inner city fact of life for a long time.  Out in the affluent lily white burbs a kid who studys hard is gauranteed a job in his daddy's office (or his daddy's golf buddy's office). One of the ways racism has worked in America over the past 25 years is the defunding and bad mouthing of public schools.  If companies really wanted engineers then the Chamber of Commerce would have insisted on higher taxes on business in order to train them instead of whining about the lack of qualified workers.
From what I'm seeing the engineering jobs are going overseas, at least the ones associated with manufactuing, but perhaps my view is distorted somehow.  Further, one would expect that if there were a real shortage of engineers, then the salaries for  these jobs would be taking off.  Don't see that either.  

I think what's happening is that there are a shortage of people willing to go through the effort and expense of getting an engineerig degree, in order to work for salaries that are being pressured downward by the Indians and Chinese.   They may be making a mistake, as these may still end up being good jobs in a world where everyone's income is dropping.  Just another way of saying we're all going to be working harder for less.

Welcome to the new American century!

Excatly.  If engineering jobs paid as much as an MBA you would see a huge rush to them.  But why would the best and brightest go into engineering when an MBA would pay so much more?
After they've gotten rid of the manufacturing, product designers, and service and support people, then they can work on the marketing, sales, and advertising.  That leaves the MBAs and the financial people to fight over who gets to turn off the lights.
Don't forget the H1B's.  If there was truly a shortage of engineers in this country, they'd make more money than real estate agents.
Hi All, I'm a new poster here, I've been lurking for a couple months though. I have a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the U of Maryland, I graduated in '94. Before I started school and part of the time while in school, I worked as an auto mechanic.
  I've worked on cars for fun and for family/friends since probably the age of 12. And I'm pretty good at it if I do say so myself. After I graduated with my degree, I got an engineering position with a large filtration corporation learning process controls etc. in their manufacturing facility , with the long term promise of managing and developing new production lines etc. Long story short, company gets bought out and production moved overseas, and I get laid off. I get 3 months severance pay, and commence looking for new job full time. 4 months later and still no decent opportunities at all, at least in my area. The rent is due, and my impending wedding is only months away with all kinds of catering etc. bills to be paid. So I went back to being a mechanic.
    5 or 6 years later, and here I am, still working on cars. You know why?  When I got laid off from the engineering job, I was making around 44k a year. Last year, working on cars at Carmax, I made just shy of 6 figures, and I get great benefits. I'm still embarassed when I run into old friends from college and they want to trade life stories, and I have to explain that I'm a "grease monkey". Even though I'm pretty sure I make more than alot of them do, they still give me the "Oh, gee, I'm so sorry look" when I tell them. I know I might be able to find a job now, since the defense industry has taken off again, but my skill sets and resume are going to look like crap at this point. Anyway, that's my story, I'm learning so much about the PO situation here, and really enjoy the high level of conversation on this site. Thanks!
Chris in MD
I graduated 11yrs earlier than you, or I'd likely be in the same position.  Now I'm looking at starting a new career, but it is unlikely to pay what I get now.  No matter, that won't last long anyway.  I won't be considering anything related to the auto industry though!  With your skills, you might be able to do OK keeping older cars going, but perhaps you should be thinking about careers that you might transition to.  
Believe me, I'm under no illusions that my current job would survive post-peak. I picture auto dealerships, home depots, barbeque world etc. all just being abandoned at some point. But what to do with my path now (career and otherwise) comes back to this-How bad do you think it will get??
Will it be a long, slow, moderately painful decline where fuel is still reasonably available, albeit at a much higher price? Or will it be complete and utter chaos? If its the latter, then the career will be the last thing on the mind.
Ideally, I'd like to transition to a blend of engineering and mechanics, like working for an alternative energy research firm, building electric cars, trains, whatever...I already produce my own biodiesel in significant quantities and run my car and truck on it nearly exclusively. Maybe I'd like to get involved with a bio-fuels business if the opportunity presented itself, who knows?
If you like working on cars, and it pays the bills, why care what your former classmates think. I went through a similar situation when I could not find a job out of law school and I went back to being a cabinetmaker/carpenter to make ends meet. Thirteen years later I'm still working as a carpenter and fairly satisfied with how things worked out. I have no bills, simplified my lifestyle, and my trade keeps me in good physical condition. Besides, woodworking skills, like automobile repair, provide a good skill set for a post peak world.
I say laugh your ass all the way to the bank while yelling something like "that's what 6 figures looks like beyootches!!!"
Hey, if the dominant Republican party and its corproate contributors want a low tax economy where good schools are only supported in wealthy neighborhoods they have gotten what they wished for. And if they choose to support such mind deadening television as a place to advertise their products that goes double.

The second point is a little more debatable, I know, because if TV executives perceived a demand for smarter programming they might be more likely to put it on. On the other.. by doing their best to eviscerate public TV and radio teh Republicans and their corporate contributors to the problem there as well.

About a third of the times I take a cab to the airport (usually O'Hare field, Chicago) I get a foreign born cabbie, who listens to the BBC on Sirius radio... which woudl seem to indicate that in other countries even the less formally educated actually learn, and care to learn when they can.

Sunlight, one of the Little Dirty Secrets about the US is that we're just about last in social mobility over the past 50 years and certainly over the past 30, in the industrialized world.

Social mobility means the ability to start out sweeping floors and end up an engineer through education. We're far behind England in this and England is no shining example herself - just looks golden next to the US.

I've read hobbyist electronics magazines from England and for such a small country, the amount and quality of hobbyists is incredible - you see, they have much more available regardless of race or money, education available there. And they tend to have free time - anyone remember that? Once upon a time people didn't work 60 hours a week, they worked 40 or so and had hobbies. And, losing it all, house etc in England doesn't mean living under a bridge, it means you get a place to stay and something called "the dole" which isn't the trial-by-fire getting help in the US is, and if you're normal at all, you get back on your feet and get on with your life.

I keep seeing this observation pop up, so I'll repeat it: the US has more in common with Argentina than with England or any country in Europe.

In the "Peak Oil and L.A." thread, Don Sailorman made the following extraordinary claim:

Don: Now here are the facts, which so far you have not chosen to acknowledge: In the real world, there are several million Ford Tauruses (and twin Mercury cars) that run on flex fuel. Some thousands of them do run on E-85 and nothing but E-85. The real world performance on E-85 is superior to the performance (both in terms of mileage and power) than the performance on regular 87 octane gasoline.

He accused me of ignoring "evidence", which so far has consisted of "lots of people told me this". My evidence has consisted of controlled DOE studies that show Don's above-mentioned Taurus actually gets 27 mpg on gasoline and 20 mpg on E85. This 26% drop in efficiency is consistent with all of the other studies I have seen looking at E85. In addition, in an earlier thread I pointed out that fuel efficiency statewide in Minnesota, a state with an ethanol mandate, is over 10% lower than the fuel efficiency statewide in Wisconsin, a state very similar demographically, but one without an ethanol mandate.

I know that Don is highly-respected on this board, but I take challenges to my credibility and integrity very seriously. I believe Don is dead wrong on this issue. I have given him scientific studies (which he has ignored) and he has accused me of ignoring his "facts", which appear to be nothing more than hearsay. You can see the exchange starting here. This is a very important issue to resolve, because if E85 did have superior fuel efficiency to gasoline, it would mitigate some of the EROI issues. So, let's get to the bottom of this claim.

In my opinion, Don owes me an apology for the charges he leveled against me, or he needs to present actual scientific evidence to back up his claims. I am not the one who has been guilty of ignoring facts because they don't fit preconceptions. Don seems to think that I simply want to believe that E85 gets worse gas mileage, despite the fact that my "belief" is based on scientific studies. Don seems to be the person engaged in wishful thinking here.



I am happy to apologize to anybody any time for any reason.

However, I believe you owe ME an apology for your false accusation that I questioned your integrity.

In any case, I am genuinely sorry for any hurt feelings.

It has never been my intention to attack anybody's integrity.


You accused me of ignoring data that did not fit my preconceived notions. If I had actually done this, it would be an indication of questionable integrity. You accused me of "ducking an issue" that I have addressed on several occasions. You wrote "I do understand that these facts do not fit into your paradigm", as if I have some fixed paradigm. You again stated "I know that you are uncomfortable facing evidence that does not fit into your preconceptions". For me, those are all questions of integrity and credibility.

You will find that I am skeptical, but with an open-mind. Your accusations above would indicate that I have made up my mind, in spite of the "facts". Those are pretty serious accusations to hurl at a scientist or an engineer. My position is based upon nothing more than scientific data. You still have not provided any scientific data to back up your position. I am asking now for the 3rd time for you to present a scientific study showing improved gas mileage with E85, or admit that you just might be wrong about this claim.



Pretty please with sugar on top, let us bury this silly hatchet.

I ALREADY admitted that I might be wrong--and did so explicitly and with no wiggle room. What puzzles me again is that you did see or understand (or accept????) this plain statement by me.

Nor have you accepted my apology.

Why not?

IMO this integrity issue is bogus. Now cleary you opinion differs. O.K., I'll leave it to others to umpire this issue.

Please readers, chime in with your take on our "debate"? Was I in any way shape form manner questioning RR's integrity?

To question premises, to question whether certain data are being taken account of, how on earth this can be misconstrued as questioning integrity is flat out beyond me.

Just a casual observer, not following things ... but to be honest Don, I think you said "let's agree to disagree" at a point when a "fact based discussion" would have gone to the data.

It has an extensive bibliography of peer-reviewed articles.

I have read and understood most of them.

I see no evidence whatsoever that a certain other person has explored certain aspects of issues connected with ethanol. This statement in no way is intended to imply anything about anybody's integrity.

Please, let us have less heat and more light.

An "appeal to hidden data" is not a fact based argument.
Are you saying that a certain person is appealing to "hidden data"?


I have presented data.

It has been ignored or denied or ridiculed.

I remember giving you a link to this Car and Driver story, which includes their (presumably careful) study of gasoline versus E85 mileage:


Did I miss an open and visible fact based counter to that?  If so, I humbly apologize.

Also, maybe not in one of "our" discussions, I think I've given this link to the EPA's studies on E85 mileage:


Which of those models did your friend have?

I remember giving you a link to this Car and Driver story, which includes their (presumably careful) study of gasoline versus E85 mileage:


This confirms the numbers I quoted to Don. I told him that the 2006 Taurus showed a 26% drop in efficiency on E85. In the link above, the Car and Driver tests showed an approximate 30% drop in fuel efficiency on E85 (testing a flex-fuel 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe).



I claim no knowledge of new cars.

My auto will go faster than your car.

It is almost fourteen years old and has 217,000 miles on it. But, it is an Audi maintained by an Audi master mechanic whose wife's car it was. It has never failed to start, nor has it let me down in any way.

There is one problem however: At about half throttle it goes 110 m.p.h. The speedometer goes up to 170 m.p.h., and I have the "autobahn" chip in it instead of the U.S. nanny chip, but actually I don't think it will do much over 165. And anyway, I cannot afford perfomance tires.

As a science fiction writer, the thought has crossed my mind that under certain nasty scenarios it would be a good idea to have a very fast all-wheel drive car.

I paid $4,000 for tenderly used Audi about four years ago. Probably I could sell it for that same amount now.

Why some people always purchase new cars is something perhaps best left to the psychoanalysts in many cases.

Even if I had ten million dollars suddenly, I'd just pay the taxes on it, give the rest to The Nature Conservancy and keep my old car.

I'm tempted, however, to buy an old British motocycle (roughly a 1955) with a side car. Maybe a BSA, maybe a Royal Enfield or a Triumph or a Norton; they are all good machines I love and understand. (O.K., so they leak a little bit. Nobody is perfect.)

I love side-car outfits. Old engines I can understand and fix. New stuff has to go into the shop, and I can't identify some of the stuff on the engine and have no idea what it does. Then the mechanic explains what it is, and still I don't get it.

Let's go back to the 1950s keeping only what is good from new ideas, such as improved batteries and seat belts.

Also, 1949 was an excellent year for U.S. cars. Even GM cars were good back in those days. Indeed, I'd love to have the 1937 Buick my Dad drove: Headroom (because men used to wear hats), elbow room, hip room, real upholstery, running boards, two spare tires, a crank you could use if necessary, all steel--and it cost $800 new back when a dollar was not a peso.

Do we begin to see a pattern:
1937, Dad pays $800 for a fine car with radio with tubes.
1961, Sailorman buys new VW Beetle for $1,500, O.K. radio
1971, Sailorman buys new VW Squareback for $3,000, fine Blaupunkt sound
1977, Sailorman buys new Chevvy Imapala station wagon for $7,500. Crummy GM sound system including 8-track stereo

1992, Sailorman buys new Taurus station wagon for about $15,000-- fine Japanese (I think) radio and sound system.

I believe that car is still running with over 300,000 miles on it, but it is now out of the family.  

1993 Somebody purchases a 1993 Audi for $47,000 plus tax. Truly great DVD player and radio. (That is my car now.)

So ... what's $800 1949 in 2006 dollars?
The $800 for a fine car, a Buick, refers to 1937.
i think it's multiply by inflation.
though i am not sure on this.
Plenty of fun to be had less than 100 mph, and the penalty for error is less dire.
He is saying that you are appealing to hidden data.

It seems to me that you may be confused as to what I consider "data". I don't consider second hand accounts of what you were told by an auto mechanic "data". That is the kind of stuff you have presented. If E85 actually got better fuel efficiency, it would be a trivial matter to show this in a controlled test. Yet all of the controlled tests show just the opposite.



Please refer to peer-reviewed articles in reputable journals, such as the recent one you wrote a letter in response to in "Science."

I consider a reference to "Car and Driver" HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY questionable.

Come on Don, it is an visible source with data much like the EPA's (another visible source).  This game of "I'm sure you could go find data to prove my point" is very tiring.
I have cited peer-reviewed data.

You have ignored it.


I give you direct links, as I say to "visible" data and you say things like:

Please refer to peer-reviewed articles in reputable journals, such as the recent one you wrote a letter in response to in "Science."

That's the same as saying "please do my work for me."

Can't we move on to something less contentious ... like the ME conflict?  :-)
Amen and thank you.
I don't believe this peak oil crap, please point to peer reviewed articles in the magazine Science to understand my position.
Thank you for your excellent idea.

Now why do you not implement it and enhance your own education?

Ignorance is no disgrace and is 100% curable.

No, the way it goes Don is that I pretend I have implemented it ... my Science articles support my position.  YOU have to look them up to know I'm right, you're wrong, and you never should have suggested otherwise.
You are so funny!

I love librarians. They find articles and books for me through Interlibrary Lending Service.

Librarians do it by the book. And they know where the books and journals are.

Frequently, you can get a limited number of articles from, "Science," etc. printed free--or at most for about five cents a page. Old articles are often available on microfilm.

Most useful knowledge is not recent.

I see no evidence whatsoever that a certain other person has explored certain aspects of issues connected with ethanol.

Name some, and let's investigate. I doubt there is any aspect of ethanol that I haven't explored.



RR, Don, I am puzzled by some of the ethanol numbers. RR pointed out that the Saab Bio-Power gets more power and torque using E85 than gas at a 12.5% cost in mpg. That seems to back up Don's claim that E85 has higher octane which can be taken account of (higher compression ratio? advanced ignition timing?). Maybe ealier Taurus models were optimized for E85? But certainly the current models don't seem to be (given EPA stats). Curiously, Saab UK doesn't produce mpg numbers for the Bio-Power (strange, I thought they were legally obliged to). Magnus Reddin, have you any numbers from Sweden?
IMO, EPA is a questionable authority at best.

Governmental mileage estimates often prove to be off by thirty percent--and sometimes much more in the real world.

BTW, an accusation of lack of integrity is almost always a variant of the ad hominem fallacy.

Call me a pervert, call me stupid, but please never accuse me of being guilty of so obvious a fallacy;-)

I wouldn't call you anything so extreme.  You're just a stubborn old coot caught supporting a bad position.
Flattery will get you everywhere:-)
I take it as a rule of thumb that EPA gas mileage figures are where you are driving downhill with a hurricane force tailwind. How else can you get a 30mpg SUV? Yeah, that may be cynical or sarcastic, but with the errors being 30 percent always optimistic, you can see how anyone could assume those driving conditions.

BTW, here's an idea for lonely country roads (like Oklahoma) where it's chronically windy. Take your plug-in hybrid and rig a sail. That'll get you your EPA gas mileage! (and a slow ride)

RR, Don, I am puzzled by some of the ethanol numbers. RR pointed out that the Saab Bio-Power gets more power and torque using E85 than gas at a 12.5% cost in mpg. That seems to back up Don's claim that E85 has higher octane which can be taken account of (higher compression ratio? advanced ignition timing?).

I haven't disputed that you could close some of the efficiency gap by increasing the compression ratio. That is well-known. What I dispute is Don's suggestion that any engines have actually been able to get better gas mileage on E85 than on gasoline. Even the Saab, optimized for ethanol, showed a 12.5% increase in fuel consumption when using ethanol. This means the fuel efficiency dropped by 12.5%, instead of 25-35% as would be expected from a straight BTU comparison.

In the link I provided in the other thread, the 2006 Taurus gets 27 mpg on gasoline, and 20 mpg on E85. It was the Taurus that Don said got better gas mileage on E85 than on gasoline, and I dispute that. I have seen at least 4 different studies, 2 by government organization and 2 by consumer groups, that reiterate my point. I have yet to see a study that shows what Don claims, and I am asking for some kind of study to back up his claim. If such a study existed, the ethanol lobby would be all over it.



Excuse me:

Could you please give the EXACT QUOTATION where you allege that I said that E-85 gives gallon for gallon better gas mileage than pure gasoline?

Thank you.

Could you please give the EXACT QUOTATION where you allege that I said that E-85 gives gallon for gallon better gas mileage than pure gasoline?

Sure thing. I quoted it above in my original post:

Don Sailorman wrote: The real world performance on E-85 is superior to the performance (both in terms of mileage and power) than the performance on regular 87 octane gasoline.

You wrote superior "both in terms of mileage and power".



I stand by that claim based on the written logs of reputable individuals.

Robert, you may be unaware of the "verstehen" tradition in sociology as enunciated by the famous Max Weber.

I work in that tradition.

There is no special reason you should be aware of it.

Note: I know a little bit about physics, chemistry, and engineering. Not much, just a little.

How much do you know of sociology, economics, and the history of ideas?

Yer dragin' down this fact-based site, man.
Same to you.

Where are your peer-reviewed studies.

All I see is hand waving and no science whatsoever.

What is not "peer reviewed" if every technical article on TOD?

Are you opposing whole method and discussion here now?  We can't graph, chart, compare, reference, crosscheck?

All we can do if freaking pretend to have a document at our elbow that supports our position?

Please explain why Indy 500 race cars are switching to ethanol to get better race perfomance. As you are doubtless aware, racing cars are severely weight constrained.

I have been told (and I know that this is not "evidence") that ethanol runs cooler and more reliably than gasoline under extreme conditions. In other words, with ethanol you are less likely (all other things being equal) to blow an engine than with gasoline. I have also been told (again, no claim to evidence here) that ethanol-fueled cars are not only more reliable, they are also faster than gasoline cars, other things remaining the same.

Never forget ceteris paribus;-)

Please explain why Indy 500 race cars are switching to ethanol to get better race perfomance. As you are doubtless aware, racing cars are severely weight constrained.

I think others have adequately covered this.

I have been told (and I know that this is not "evidence") that ethanol runs cooler and more reliably than gasoline under extreme conditions. In other words, with ethanol you are less likely (all other things being equal) to blow an engine than with gasoline. I have also been told (again, no claim to evidence here) that ethanol-fueled cars are not only more reliable, they are also faster than gasoline cars, other things remaining the same.

Not only are these anecdotal claims, but they have nothing to do with fuel efficiency. That is the issue that sent us down this path. I long ago concluded that there are certain performance improvements associated with using ethanol. Is it worth the drop in fuel efficiency? When we are running out of oil, my ethanol ration may only be 2 gallons a week, but just think of how fast I can accelerate from 0 to 60. :)



Cars that are safer.
Engines that run cooler and are less prone to failure.
Winning races.

None of this is relevant?


Cars being safer isn't the discussion...energy content in a gallon of ethanol vs a gallon of 87 Octane Gas.

Engines that run cooler and are less prone to failure isn't the discussion either...energy content in a gallon of ethanol vs a gallon of 87 Octane Gas.

Winning races isn't the discussion...energy content in a gallon of ethanol vs a gallon of 87 Octane Gas.

No none of the above is relevant.

You're welcome.

But maybe the ability to run more efficiently is relevant? It's how many BTU's that hit the road that counts...
Don -

For what it's worth, I think RR is right and you are wrong.  

While you did not come right out and state that he lacked integrity, I think you implied, quite strongly at times, that he was highly biased, stuck on a particular paradigm, and had an agenda he was pushing without regard for the facts. You kept accusing him of ignoring the evidence, but you didn't present any real evidence yourself. I'm not saying you did this maliciously, but you did it nonetheless. No big deal.

As an aside, I think some clarification is needed on this octane issue. The octane rating of a gasoline is merely an indication of how well the fuel resists pre-ignition.  It is NOT a measure in any way of the energy content of the fuel.

Higher compression engines need higher octane gasoline to avoid pre-ignition. However, this was far more important in the era of carburetors than it is now, where sophisticated computerized engine fuel management systems can automaticaly adjust ignition timing, fuel richness, etc. to optimize performance with the specific fuel being used.

It is generally true that the performance of a high-revving, high-output, high-compression engine will suffer when a lower octane fuel is used. However, a garden-variety moderate-compression engine does not necessarily benefit from going to a high octane fuel (perhaps at full-bore maximum load, but not under normal driving conditions). If the engine can burn the fuel without pre-ignition, then the octane is sufficient for that engine.

The only reason that alcohol is used in some racing engines is that some of these engines have compression ratios as high as 14:1, which would make even 100 octane gas cause destructive pre-ignition. It is NOT because the alcohol has a higher energy or delivers better mileage. All things being equal, a race car on alcohol will have worse mileage than an equivalant car on gasoline. The use of alcohol is merely an expedient.

One other thing: how in hell's name is a group of auto mechanics and car salesman going to be in position to determine what kind gas mileage their customers get?  By asking them?  If so, how many people collect accurate, scientifically valid gas mileage data?  If someone answers, "Oh, pretty good," or "Lousy" does that count in your book as "data?"  No, the only way you can make a valid comparison of fuel economy is to run the same car on the two fuels under identical driving conditions and load application, and to do this for several runs and then average the results.

Gas mileage can be a pretty slippery thing, which is why the stated EPA fuel economy figures for a particular car often bear little relation to reality. They are more useful in comparing one car against another rather than being an actual predictor of what you will get.

In closing: Don, RR ..... play nice!  

Pretty please with sugar on top, let us bury this silly hatchet.

Don, I apologize if I came on strong. My wife calls this "Creationist attack mode". It comes from years of battling Creationists on the boards, and I tend to move in for the kill in a relentless manner. Occasionally I find myself doing this to my wife, and she hates it. As Odograph mentioned, I would much rather get back to debating the factual issues. However, I still want to address a couple of things you wrote:

I ALREADY admitted that I might be wrong--and did so explicitly and with no wiggle room.

I confess I did not see this. The admission that I saw was this:

Now it is POSSIBLE that you are correct and everybody else is mistaken or lying. Yes, that is possible.

That is neither explicit, nor without wiggle room. It is a sarcastic way of saying that I am actually wrong, without coming up with any data to show that I am wrong.

Nor have you accepted my apology.

Don, I accept your apology. However, I do hope my position is clear. I have no problems with anyone attacking any of my arguments. I can defend those just fine, and it is always possible that I will see data that will cause me to change my position. But that was not the issue here. You did not attack a premise of mine. You said that I had ignored data and dodged an argument. It was that to which I took strong exception.

To question premises, to question whether certain data are being taken account of, how on earth this can be misconstrued as questioning integrity is flat out beyond me.

I would not mistake the questioning of premises with a challenge of integrity. I think you are still confused about the issue that had me annoyed. I think just about anyone on this board, if they were accused of ducking an argument and ignoring data - especially when they had not done so - would be annoyed. That has nothing to do with challenging premises.

Now, I have said my piece. Let's get back to the debate, because this is very important. I contend that E85 will drop fuel efficiency, and I can point to many published studies that prove this. You have claimed superior mileage with the flex-fuel Taurus. Show me the study, since I have shown you the study that shows otherwise. And please tell me which of my premises you question.



RR: On the subject of ethanol, why is it that ethanol (i.e. E10) cannot be transported in pipelines but that there is no problem transporting it in tanker trucks or in underground tanks at gas stations?
Ethanol pulls in water.  I believe it is easier to keep water out of sealed tank vs. a pipeline.
>Ethanol pulls in water.  I believe it is easier to keep water out of sealed tank vs. a pipeline.

This brings up another issue with Ethanol. Unlike gasoline and diesel water can mix with water as well as other substances causing corrosion. A unscruplous fuel dealer could also sell customers watered down ethanol.

As was stated, ethanol absorbs water and carries it along for the ride. You can build a pipeline to withstand this, but the pipelines that we have today will corrode at a rapid rate. My presumption of transporting it in tanker trucks is 1). The metallurgy of the tankers is different than that of the pipelines; and 2). It is easier to exclude water from the tankers.



I have a measuring tape I could lend you 2 guys if that would help ;-)
Just to show absolutely no hard feelings, please let me extend a special sailing invitation to you and your family. For anybody on TOD, I'll be glad to check you out as a "Junior Skipper." (For what this means, you can go to the UC, Berkeley, Cal Sailing Club website. The whole site is wonderful.) But for you, Robert, I'll be glad to sail with you until you are ready for the Senior Skipper rating.

This is a higher and more rigorous rating than those offered by the American Sailing Association or U.S. sailing (that usually requires lessons costing some hundreds of dollars).

When we sail we neither drink ethanol nor burn fossil fuel;)

Most sincerely apologetic still,
P.S. After sailing, I have been known to mix a special hot unbuttered rum--the rule for which is "One to a customer, and no driving for eight hours after."

Just to show absolutely no hard feelings, please let me extend a special sailing invitation to you and your family. For anybody on TOD, I'll be glad to check you out as a "Junior Skipper." (For what this means, you can go to the UC, Berkeley, Cal Sailing Club website. The whole site is wonderful.) But for you, Robert, I'll be glad to sail with you until you are ready for the Senior Skipper rating.

Don, if you are in Minnesota, I may take you up on that someday. I am not that far away. I appreciate the invitation.

Back to ethanol, though, I am still interested in getting to the bottom of this. I think my position on fuel efficiency is firmly supported by the published studies.



Thunderdome on the lake! Two men enter, one man leaves!
Both men leave, hugging one another and as good friends.
It has never been my intention to attack anybody's integrity.

Never?  You are then a prince among men Sir.

Thank you, Eric.

From the age of 13, George Orwell has been my model and inspiration for integrity.

Where is George, now that we need him?

Where have the great journalists gone?

Can I safely assume that you've read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia and are aware that he fought with the POUM militia in the Spanish Civil War? POUM was left-fringe anarchists, in today's debased language the only word available to describe them would be terrorist.
Were Orwell around he would be branded a terrorist and would have to hide and struggle even to blog. Completely unemployable. More likely he would be locked in a deep dark hole, or executed.
Journalists respectable enough to be published in the New Yorker, as Orwell did, get labelled traitor and worse on this page.
The twenty first century lacks the tolerance or the humor to endure another Orwell.
Franco was the upstart revolting terrorist.

Orwell fought to support the legitimate Nationalist government in Spain.

The Left Book Club group got to hate Orwell worse than Hitler, because of "Animal Farm," not to mention "The Road to Wigan Pier" and "Homage to Catalonia."

Every young person, I think, should read Orwell's essays plus
"Down and Out in Paris and London"
"Burmese Days"
"Keep the Aspidistra Flying"
"Coming up for Air"

Then the later works such as "Politics and the English Language" and "Shooting an Elephant" and of course "1984" can be better appreciated.

You should read again. He stated that his intention was never to attack anybodys integrity.  Those intentions often delude down the slippery slopes of an intense argument at times, but alas he did not start out to attack anybody, just anybodys data.
Gentlemen, the reason gasoline gets far better mileage than E85 is imbedded in the laws of thermodynamics. Gasoline contains 114,132 BTUs per gallon. Ethanol contains 76,000 BTUs per gallon, one third less than gasoline. Methanol contains 56,800 BTUs per gallon, about half that of gasoline.

Diesel is the most potent of all, therefore usually giving more miles per gallon. Diesel contains 138,000 BTUs per gallon.

Anyone can attack my integrity but let me give you fair warning, you attack the integrity of the laws of thermodynamics at your peril. ;-)


The Laws of Thermodynmics where Army Boots.....Well, I attacked them and nothing happened.  I think I'll start arguing for Intelligent Design Theory now..;o)
The religion of ethanol is tiresome, so back to physics. And I hereby ask Don emphatically about this too. Because basic nineteenth century physics works well, and IC engines are mainly about basic nineteenth century physics.

I'm given to understand a gallon of ethanol yields roughly 2/3 of the energy of a gallon of gasoline, when combusted. So that might work out to around 3/4 for a gallon of E85, versus straight gasoline.

So, now, if I take an engine and correctly tune the controller for each of the two fuels, how do I get anything other than 3/4 of the MPG for the E85, give or take a low single digit number of percentage points? Is energy disconserved, or something?

If the E85 mileage in a valid real world trial is nearly as good as, or better than, the gasoline mileage, then doesn't this reveal something about the controller or the engine - i.e. it isn't, or can't be, tuned to use gasoline well - rather than revealing anything about the qualities of E85?

And isn't that the important question, to compare similar or identical engines that are correctly tuned? After all, in the larger scheme of things, most engines will be pretty close to correctly adjusted - there is surely a huge economic and political incentive to get any MPG out of them that can be gotten as simply as by turning a (software) knob.

Please explain why ethanol is now incrasingly dominating the highest performance auto racing engines.

I thank you in advance for your elucidation of this matter. Note that racing cars are severely constrained by weight considerations. If ethanol is an inferior fuel, then why does it trump gasoline in auto racing?

I just did a little Googling on why IndyCar is switching to ethanol, and it appears that it is driven by corporate sponsorship from the ethanol lobby.  All the cars use the same fuel, so there is no competitive issue.

Most classes of race cars are very tighly regulated and fuel is standardized.  Formula 1 cars, for example, are required to use a standardized fuel almost identical to plain old gasoline.  No deviation is allowed.

I don't know enough about auto racing to know precisely what they tune their engines for, so as to analyze this in detail; I was kind of hoping an expert might be able to comment.

However, their job is usually to get around the racetrack as fast as possible, so engine life is probably not a major factor in their optimization, and MPG is probably only indirectly a factor. (They do seem to burn out engines more often than most of us could afford.) So, subject to disproof, I would speculate that they generally adjust their engines - and vehicles - in a manner that may not be overly relevant to everyday driving.

Please correct me if I have my facts wrong here, but it my understanding that most of the significant advances in auto engines were first tested and demonstrated to work in auto racing.

Thank you.

Diesel Wins Respect
Think diesel is stinky and slow? This history-making 220mph racecar aims to prove you wrong. Click inside for video...

. ..It also allows the racecar to reach a staggering 650 horsepower at only 5,000 rpm, while its competitors must hit an ear-splitting 12,000 rpm to achieve that power. In production cars, the key bonus is mileage--Audi's diesel Q7 SUV will get 23 miles per gallon.

Can someone explain why this car and others like it have two seats when they are always racing with only one person in them?
Got to have room for a beauty queen.

Also, I suspect that many race cars are prototypes for ultra-expensive sports cars.

Now fess up: Your next car just HAS to be that Diesel Audi, right?

Whoops, I forgot. You are a happily married man;-)

Ever since they increased bus-fare to 90 cents, I've been taking the skateboard to work.
Hello Oil Ceo,

Sorry, this car has only one seat.  More pictures can be seen at the Audi Racing website  I am very impressed by the engineering in this car, especially the diesel motor technology.

I want them to shift their engineering focus to World GP Motorcycles with hi-perf power diesels and also production scooters with hi-tech, hi-mileage optimized small displacement diesel engines.  IMO, diesel torque vs gasoline horsepower needs further investigation for two-wheel transit.

By working on small motors, you can try a lot of different tech ideas for small cost compared to the millions it took to develop this awesome Audi R10 TDI powered by a completely new 5.5-litre, twelve-cylinder bi-turbo TDI  diesel race motor.

In my reading of motorcycle websites, off-road motocross racers rarely utilize max hpower in whatever gear their in, but they are always looking to applying peak torque whenever they think an passing opportunity exists so they can lunge ahead of a fellow racer.  The enormous torque of a diesel/cc offers a good chance for competitive advantage if engine design can accomodate a sufficient rpm ramp rate.

For hi-mpg design, the higher inherent energy of diesel means a smaller gastank is required to go the same distance as a comparable gasoline motorcycle, and every avid motorcyclist dreams of less weight.  This is key to accelerating, stopping, and handling transition time [i.e. the flip-flopping of a bike through a s-shaped chicane].

The advent of 110 octane race fuel has allowed full-race gasoline engine design to advance rpms with much less detonation, but the required weight of exotic hi-rpm valving designs is running into the diminishing returns of tremendous exotic metal and machining costs, very high pressure FI-electronic controls, and specialized maintenance.  

A no-valve simplified injection rail diesel design could offset the extra valvetrain weight and more importantly, the higher CG in gas engine design: offering cost savings, less weight, and better handling to boot.  Instant flickability under all conditions is the holy grail of motocycle design.  Current World GP racebikes make in excess of 230 HP, but almost all effort goes into figuring out how to effectively harness this output to the track; the handling component.

I am not an engineer, but it would be facinating to find out if a hi-tech 100cc diesel scooter could adequately compare in acceleration and peak power with a 175cc gas scooter, but offer much better MPG for the same costs.  The smaller motor would work harder, but it would be merely maximizing the advantage of the richer BTU/gal content with less weight to boot.  This would be all to the good of motorcycling as fuel costs rise postPeak.

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

I don't understand, Bob. I appreciate the post. I also am super-psyched your a race-fan as well. My thing is F1.

I know what an open-cockpit, single-seat car looks like. These ain't them. Indy, CART, and F1 cars are all single-seat. These Sports-Cars/Lemans getups clearly have two driver bays. I have no idea if there are actually seats there.

I'm not gonna read the whole Audi website. Don't get all mystical on me, brother. Just tell me what the catch is. I'm seeing two driver "tubs" and the aerodynamic teardrops behind where the two-headed monster would be. You would never see a Ferrari or a Williams designed that way.

I'm not saying your wrong. In fact I believe you. It would be insane to think there are two driver pods here. But what am I missing is what I'm asking.

Hello Oil Ceo,

I am not the racefan you think I am, but periodically I follow motorcycling racing to see what the latest trends and tech are in the field.

I had a tough time trying to figure out why this car has only one seat but looks like a two-seater.

I spent a great deal of time trying to figure this out, still not sure what the best answer is.  At the Audi website, I watched several times an overhead camera time-elapse assembly video of this racecar being built.  No second seat as the opening was too small, but it looked like a whole bunch of instrumentation equipment went in.  When websurfing on this car, it talked about the extra weight, new rules requiring less downforce, and safety rules requiring two roll bars, so the designers probably thought it would look nicer to make the body more symmetric by giving it the two-seater look.

Sorry, I wish I could tell you more.

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

Re: 2-seat aspect.  Historical relic like leg-bones in a whale, indicates that these are nominally prototypes that could inspire road-going versions.  In ages past, sports cars were road cars used for sport (as opposed to, say, Grand Prix cars) and had to be homologated, with a certain number built and sold to the public.  The 'O' in Ferrari's iconic 250 GTO stood for "omologato".  Later homologation was for racing only, then dropped altogether when it was found that there weren't enough qualified buyers.
Both Germans and Brits make some very fine diesel-powered motocycles, and the U.S. Marine Corps has adopted a Kawasaki 650 motorcycle that runs on (I believe) either kerosene (jet fuel) or diesel.

Soon if not now, civilian versions will be available, or such is the buzz.

As a sailor you should know the difference between "fast" and "racing to rule."
Many successful sailing ideas (e.g. the Cunningham and the spinnaker) began as "crazy" racing innovations.

If you lose a race, excuses don't matter.

If you win, you get the trophy and the pretty girls.

That sidesteps the question.  Is ethanol chosen in "unlimited" racing classes?

(A spinnaker might be fast, but a catamaran might be disqualified.)

The fastest engines are jet turbines powered by kerosene. Some decades ago they took over Indy 500 racing, but they sounded like jet planes instead of Offenhauser engines, and so they were banned.

I have heard (again, no claim for evidence) that ethanol is a higher performance fuel than gasoline, runs cooler, is less liable to blow an engine and can defeat a pure gasoline engine of equal displacement.

We'll see from the Indy numbers when the ethanol shift is completed what happens.

Stay tuned!

I met Mr. Drake (Offenhauser) a few times, buddy of my granddad.  My dad, who was an aircraft prototype machinist before becoming a teacher, had the comment that they "ran great until they blew up."
Don -

You are really getting a little tedious with your fixation on this ethanol stuff. And gas turbines for cars? Nobody has taken them seriously for several decades now. Their drawbacks are legion. Get up to date on your technology.

Don, I accept that you are a very  witty and learned man, a child prodigy, one who knows all there is to know about economics, sociology, sailing, and everything else in this world... are a bon vivant,  a real hot guy with the chicks,  a gourmet cook, and on and on and on . That's fine ... more power to ya. But please.... I beg of you.... don't discuss anything that is remotely related to automotive engineering -  because ,,, to put it as delicately as I can.... you appear to know jack (and as my son used to say, "Jack left town).

I have many faults, but I pride myself in understanding that I have a good grasp of what I don't know. I really don't think you have mastered that humble little skill.  

It's the old trap of the Noble laureate in physics who, goaded by the press, finds himself pontificating about all sorts of things that have absolutely nothing whatsover to do with his chosen field. He inevitably makes a fool of himself. Hollywood jerks fall into the same trap.

Save yourself whist there is still time! You are very (nay, extremely) good at what you do, so doon't fook it up by pretending to know something you don't. Shoemaker, stick to thy last.

thanks, the way I deal with this type of blowhard bs. on a job site just can't be replicated over the internet.
again, thanks
Thank you. You are right.
Don, concerning race car safety. Flash back to the Indianapolis 500 in 1964. A truly nasty crash occurred. At least three cars ending up in a mass of gasoline fueled fire. Eddie Sachs & Dave MacDonald were killed. This was a bad wreck but the deaths occurred largely because it was almost impossible to put out the fires with the resources at hand. The answer was a fuel that would mix with water to produce a non combustible liquid. The choice at the time was methanol. I suppose it could have been ethanol ... but it wasn't.

BTW, my understanding is that alcohol dragsters do out perform otherwise equivalent gasoline powered beasts [given similar aspiration, displacement and weight.] Once again, IIRC the fuel of choice is for the most part methanol although ethanol is not out of the question.

One other angle on the safety issue. In a recent interview Chis Economaki related an incident from the 60s or 70s where Jackie Stewart was demonstrating the ease of putting out an alcohol fire with water for benefit of the TV cameras. Jackie managed to briefly set himself on fire in the almost invisible alcohol flames that he erroneously believed that he had quenched.

One bit of gratuitous trivia. In 1952 Freddie Agabashian qualified a Cummins diesel in the pole position at Indianapolis. It is hard believe that it had the best power to weight ratio although it probably got better fuel economy and had better trailer towing capability than the rest of the field. :-)

Less efficiency = more pit stops = more action = more spectators.
dominating the highest performance auto racing engines.

  1. runs cooler.
  2. allows for higher compression.
Don, ethanol does have a higher octane, meaning that it burns smoother and can stand a much higher compression before it self ignites. This gives them more power quicker, because they can run higher compression ratios, but cost them dearly in terms of gas milage. But what the hell, all cars must have the same size tank so milage is not a consideration in this case.

Indy cars, the only place where alcohol is used in race cars, runs a mix of 90% methanol and 10% ethanol. Beginning in 2007 they will run 100% ethanol.

Also, one of the major considerations when the Indy cars went to methanol in the late sixties, was safety. Gasoline is much more dangerous than alcohol. The gas tank in Indi cars are much more exposed than the tank in stock cars, (Nascar).


AFAIK, Indy used to run on methanol for safety reasons.  Alcohol fires burn much cooler, with higher survival rates and lower injury rates amongst the drivers and those trying to pull them out of wrecks.
>Please explain why ethanol is now incrasingly dominating the highest performance auto racing engines.

This is because it can burn hotter and faster (better expansion) than gasoline. If I recall correctly Ethanol may a higher pre-detenation pressure which can permit engines to run with higher compression.

What most people don't know that the octane number does not refer to how much energy is stored in the gasoline, but the resistant to ignition/detonation under pressure. This is why lower octane fuels cause engine knocking. As the fuel is pressurized it self ignites before the pistion reaches the top. A fuel with a higher octane rating usually contains lower energy content.


I believe Nitro Methane is the preferred racing fuel of choice because it includes both the fuel and oxdizer, It has a much lower energy content than gasoline or ethanol, but burns and expands much faster.

FWIW: Fuel perfomance and energy content aren't the same. Diesel offers the highest energy content of all the major fuels but burns slower.

Teaser: Which has more stored energy: A one ounce cookie or one ounce of TNT?


(For the Lazy: The cookie does!)

ethanol is now incrasingly dominating the highest performance auto racing engines.
This is because it can burn hotter rns+cooler+racecar&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2&client=firefox-a

Alcohol has a lot of power, and it burns cooler, which is really great for a race car,

Don -

Well, the fact of the matter is that it is NOT increasingly dominant in auto racing. While Indy uses alcohol, NASCAR does not. Sports car racing is all gasoline. Grand Prix (I think) is still gas.  Drag racing has many classes, some of which use gas and some of which use alcohol, and the highest of which uses nitromethane, a dangerous substance akin to rocket fuel.

Ethanol IS an inferior fuel in terms of miles per gallon, but, as I and other have pointed out, it has certain advantages for some racing applications:  namely less tendency for pre-ignition, cooler running, and  safety.  These things have little if anything to do with its merits as fuel for passenger cars used on the street.  

In fact the design and operation of racing engines, in general, have very little relevance to passenger cars. What makes a good racing engine generally make a very poor street engine, and vice versa. You could't drive an all-out racing engine on the street, as it would probably continually stall out or foul its plugs at any engine speed less than 4,000 rpm.

Racing engines are also designed for a short but happy life. In fact the engines used on top fuelie dragsters are typically torn down and rebuilt after every one or two quarter mile runs .... the fastest of which are now well under 5 seconds.

So when we are talking about passenger cars and racing cars, we are really talking apples and oranges.

So, now, if I take an engine and correctly tune the controller for each of the two fuels, how do I get anything other than 3/4 of the MPG for the E85, give or take a low single digit number of percentage points? Is energy disconserved, or something?

Say you have 1 gallon each of liquid which on oxidation releases exactly the same amount of energy, the only difference being that one type burns and the other blows up.  The first makes for excellent ICE fuel, the second does not -- an ICE can make use of more of the energy of the first fuel than from the second.  Ethanol has intrinsically high octane number, so you can run it at higher compression and get more work out of its potential than you can from most types of gasoline, no matter how optimized the engine and no matter that EtOH's potential is less than that of gasoline.  Gasoline doesn't have a fixed composition, and you can refine a gasoline with the same octane number as EtOH (it's just very expensive and is used mostly for racing) -- an engine optimized for that would get significantly better mileage than a similarly optimized EtOH engine.  But it would either have to detune or suffer a short lifetime when using typically available gasoline.

Engine loading is also important.  Diesel has ~12% greater energy density than gasoline, and a good diesel running wide open throttle will go ~12% further on a gallon than a comparable good gasser running wide open, which is where they're most efficient.  But in the real world you never run WOT and diesels are much more efficient at partial load, so in the real world diesel cars are 25-50% more efficient than comparable gasoline cars.  It's not just about energy density.

The Mercedes-Benz 240Ds were routinely run at wide open throttle for hours; in the right hand lane of the German autobahn.  The engine was expressly made for such operation.
When DCX released the new Mercedes Benz E320 (C320?) diesel last year, as a publicity stunt they had the FIA randomly pick 3 off the line, seal them up, and take them to some test track in Texas, where they were run wide open for 30 days with only regularly scheduled maintenance.  All three averaged nearly 140 mph, each covering 100000 miles in those 30 days.  WOT indeed!
Well, yes and no.

The yes part is that until you have driven a standard Mercedes going at least 80mph (and up - way up, depending on the model and driver), you have no idea what driving a Mercedes is meant to be. My old BMW R100/7 motorcycle was similar - the real acceleration of going from 50mph to 75mph was the bike's sweet spot - and even until the late 1980s, no twin cylinder sport bike tested (Ducati, Buell, etc.) could touch it, and even the 4 cylinder ones couldn't beat it. In the real world, going from 50mph to 75mph in rush hour traffic is much more fun than zooming from 0-60mph, and cruising the highway at the high side of 70mph was what the bike was designed for.

The not really part is the right hand lane, though it is not impossible.

The rules of the autobahn are quite rigid - slower traffic stays to the right. The right lane is the truck lane, basically - and the truck speed limit is 80kph (50mph). Just another example of that regulation which hobbles European economic efficiency so badly - I mean, 40 tons of plastic shipped frm China was meant to be screaming down the road at 85mph, right?. But trucks are essentially banned from the autobahn from 10pm to 6am (? - could be earlier, unlikely to be much later), and on holidays and Sundays. Thus, in the early morning, for example, you could be going wide open in the right lane most of the time, but during normal driving times, the trucks would be a real hindrance.

How about the Norton Commando in its 850 c.c. configuration?

For that matter, I think a 1959 Triumph Bonneville tuned for racing could take your BMW bike--and that baby had only 650 c.c. but was one of the alltime best motorcycles ever built.

Neither the Mercedes 240D or an old BMW boxer will ever be mistaken for racing machines.

But the following BMW joke also applies to the Mercedes -

A BMW and a sport bike are stopped at a light in DC, and the sport rider asks 'Want to race?' and the BMW rider says 'Sure, to Miami.'

I have done a 1000 miles a day on my old bike, and riding somewhere for two days straight was an opportunity, not a burden. I have only done one 1000 mile day on my current Kawa 750GT (not sold in the US, but essentially it is a 1990s Zephyr in an older frame) - it wasn't a burden either, but lacked a certain feeling - which could be called nostalgia, of course. My current bike even has a fuel indicator, after all.

For sheer fun and excitement, it is hard to beat an old Triumph Bonneville. Light and simple machines: What an outstanding rider can do on these machines puts some of the modern monsters to shame. And only 650 c.c. (in the early models), and carburettors, . . . and (by modern standards) primitive brakes. A flat-out amazing machine that blew away all competition in its day, and they are so simple you can keep them running forever.

Parts are widely available.


The name says it all.

(However, I will grant that Nortons are more beautiful bikes.)

My question is specific but I imagine that many readers have similar questions about preparing their finances for when TSHTF.

I'm a post-college English teacher working in Japan for a comfortable but modest salary.  I've just had the fortune of inheriting USD20,000.  Any ideas on how best to invest/safeguard this small fortune? Is an interest bearing gold-denominated swiss bank account possible?

I browsed a few economic blogs but didn't see anything of help.

Have you heard of the GOld ETF: GLD? I would recommend that as the safest place for money to retain and grow value in these turbulent times.
>Have you heard of the GOld ETF: GLD? I would recommend that as the safest place for money to retain and grow value in these turbulent times.

Rule #1: Never invest in something based purely on a one line recommendation on a message board!

Rule #2: Investing in something, such as a precious metal does not guarentee anything. Any object, whether its paper money, commodities, stocks, bonds, etc, is only as good as people are willing to trade for them.

In my opinion, investing in precious metals may not be a sound idea:

  1. The worlds largest Central banks have tens of millions of ounces of gold and silver sitting in vaults. In times of crisis, its highly likely that gov't would act to prevent their currencies from collapse by dumping gold and other metals. The powers to be are not going to simply let power and control slip from them without putting up a fight. I would imagine that if the dollar begins a period of severe declines, the US treasury would act by dumping gold on the market.

  2. There is a large amount of people that have gold and silver coins. When push comes to shove, they'll paun it to put food on the table, put gas in the car, pay the electric bill, or pay the mortgage. Ultimately this will put a cap on the value of precious metals (PM).

  3. If you believe that the smelly stuff really will hit, investing in ETF or some other PM fund is a bad idea. For instance, how can you guarentee that you be able to take physical ownership of your PMs. What happens if the markets are closed and no one answers the phone when you try to withdraw your investment? If your investing in PMs to protect yourself, it would be better to take physical ownership of your PM investments than use an Fund. The purpose of the fund is to make it easy to invest in PMs, but it doesn't offer security. Since some of these PM funds are hedge funds, they aren't even regulated. How do you know they are actually aquiring and holding PMs?

  4. Its quite possible that a dollar crisis will lead to much higher interest rates instead of a significant loss of purchasing power. If investors become concerned about inflation or defaults, they will begin to demand much higher rates for the money they loan, or they might simply stop loaning money. This will force rates much higher (perhaps in a very short period). Interest rates may exceed 20% in a crisis. In the event that this occurs, gold and other commodities will decline. This is because gold and commodies don't earn interest. There will also be someone out there with a business that is profitable and capable of delivering a return better than PMs (which technically don't generate revenue). I know that someone here will argue in favor of gov't induced inflation, but there is no guarentee that this will occur. There are a lot of wealthly people, that have a significant influence in gov't, and wouldn't want the gov't to inflate away their wealth.

FWIW: I am not recommending any strategy for wealth preservation. My objective here is to point out some issues that you need to consider.
1. US treasury would act by dumping gold on the market.

-We will dump it to pay our debts.  And then when everyone else has the rest, then what? It still holds value.

2. There is a large amount of people that have gold and silver coins. When push comes to shove, they'll paun it to put food on the table, put gas in the car, pay the electric bill, or pay the mortgage. Ultimately this will put a cap on the value of precious metals (PM).

-You are implying an exchange process.  You'll have to turn these coins into something first.  Will it be the dollar?  If there is runaway inflation, caps aren't going to be discussed.

  1. Agreed
  2. Lots of if's and I agree it's hard to tell.  In the end yes the rich control power and they will see to it that their paper wealth is protected.
>-You are implying an exchange process.  You'll have to turn these coins into something first.  Will it be the dollar?  If there is runaway inflation, caps aren't going to be discussed.

I am thinking in terms of deflation. When desperate people part with PMs below market value.

>We will dump it to pay our debts.  And then when everyone else has the rest, then what? It still holds value.

Domestically there is a good chance that it will hold value.
Were you planning to retire on the French Rivera?

If we were to dump to pay off trade and foriegn debts, the nations holding dollar reserves would undergo deflation as the US has been the dumping ground for excess manufacturing capacity for decades. Its possible that foriegn Central banks have already written off dollar withholdings. If Central banks dump the dollar they would in affect destablized thier own currencies and plunge their economies into deep recession. By holding dollars they have essentially inflated their own currency by an equal amount.
At least half of the blame for trade deficits is on the hands of the large trade partners ( eg. Bretton Woods II) by not spending their trade surpluses or by continuing to dump goods and services in America.

The only item that is of real importance of foriegn trade is oil and gas and imports. Once PO is fundementally recognized its doubtful that exporters will be shipping oil and gas anyway no matter what becomes of the dollar.

In a TEOTWAWKI scenario, I doubt that people will be interested in PMs. If we look at the Soviet Union collapse, interest in PMs, foriegn and domestic currencies was next to nil. People in Russia an Soviet States were interested in basic goods for trade: Food, vodka, spices, sundries (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, heating fuel (wood, coal, etc). For barter, you needed items in these categories for trade and money and PMs were not generally accepted.

My suggestions are a diverse set of hydroelectric utilities or merchant power providors plus Encana (later this fall, when US NG storage is full).

Canada, Austria, Brazil, Switzerland, New Zealand all have hydroelectric utilities.  Geographic diversity.  Reinvest dividends.

Buy older pennies, in a few years they will still be worth a penny.  If the manure hits anything, you have a big source of movable money, one the melted down makes great wires.  Hard to steal.  35 dollars of pennies will fill a 4 liter jug.  You will need a big place to store them but hey, theives can't steal much of them.

Buy land, good producing organic crop land or land that has a rich bio-deverse web of plants and animals that use it, preferably with a good spring on it.  

Buy some 2 to 5 year out oil contracts, while they are cheap.

Do all of the above.

FYI:  That means pennies minted before 1982.  Otherwise you'll be buying zinc.
I'd recommend GoldMoney
I would find a pleasant place to live that needed a bike repair shop and use the money to start a small and fun business.

Orville and Wilber did all right with their shop, I seem to recall.

Personally, I think we will be in for a slow squeeze, say with oil production dropping 2-4%/year beginning in maybe 2008-2010. IMO, it will be a long time before society breaks down, if ever, regardless of the pain level. If oil is causing inflation that drives gold or other things, it is oil itself that will do best; and, while inflation may cause a recession, in which gold may do poorly, note that in the seventies there were three recessions, and the avg price of oil never declined yoy. Note, too, that nearly every ounce of gold man has ever produced is still with us while nearly every barrel of oil produced is long gone. (Oil is the real non-renewable commodity - the metals, for example, are mostly recycled.)

I like a couple of small US e&p's with substantial reserves vs their market cap, and with growing reserves, production and net income (the majore are increasing net, but their oil reserves are mostly declining). My principal holdings are ard and gpor, each of which produce approximately 85-15 oil-ng. (the latter took a hit from k/r, but looks to be back on track in 2q06 after two very weak quarters.) IMO, while there might be a windfall profits tax post Bush, such a tax is not likely to be applied against those looking for new reserves.
Good luck.

I appologize for not being up on finance & market lingo, but could you or someone explain this to me in layman's terms?  What are "ard" and "gpor"?  I also think AlanfromBigEasy's suggestion about hydroelectric utilities sounds good, at least to my common sense.

It appears afterall that my main problem is this: I have no experience in the markets on the one hand, and as a fool and his money are easily parted, I'd rather not try to play investor.  But on the other hand, this would put me in need of a PO/GW aware financial planner, and planners, as such, have a rather annoying propensity for irrational optimism.  Would there be some funds or basic strategies for diversification, etc, that one could reccommend I look into?

Thanks a bunch.  The gold discussion was interesting.

You might want to start listening to the FinancialSense News Hour It's a weekly radio show and the guys are peak oil aware. They talk a lot about investing in precious metals, gold mining stocks, renewables, water, etc. I've been listening to them for awhile now and find it very informative.
Just bought a copy of "The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200" by Stephen Leeb published just this Feb.  I should get it this week and when I get a chance to read it I'll let you know what recomendations of some professionals.
FinancialSense News Hour interviewed the author of that book back in March. Hit the link to download an mp3 of it.
Got no Audio here at work...what did they think of it?
I can't remember since I listened to it back in March. I think they liked it overall.
ard and gpor are symbols for two small exploration and production (E&P) companies that specialize in oil - you can input these symbols in the yahoo finance page, which then brings up a lot of data on the respective companies. If you are uneasy, don't invest now, just watch their performance over time.
I began with mutual fund investments, went to specific stocks after gaining confidence. I no longer use funds, but my favorite energy mutual fund remains icenx, with rsnrx, which invests in other commodities as well as energy, second. (you can also look up these symbols at finance, and note that they have mutual fund screeners that are fairly easy to use.)
Note that when you pull up a performance chart on a specific symbol you can then add other symbols, allowing you to compare the performance of a variety of investments over a period of your choosing, eg

Incidentally, I first selected these companies in march, 2005, principally on account of their low cost reserves. As their reserves have expanded along with their stock price, they still look good to me.  However, like oil, the companies are volatile. Don't expect to buy at the bottom or sell at the top, and best if you can peek just once a quarter, with the announcement of that q net income.
Good luck

I have always felt that our large middle class made the US politically stable, and as middle class folk continue to drop into the working poor category, I've wondered where we're headed politically. I'm thinking more and more that this middle class decline is the US symptom of a dieback - certainly not as severe as what is happening in Darfur, Iraq or North Korea, but enough to make the American way of life much more negotiable than we expected.

This is a sad and compelling protest song made even more effective with video clips:


"Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore"

Greenland is great, cool they are going to make sure the the USGS gets the facts straight and that they are swimming in up to 50 Billion Barrels of oil.  YAY,  Where are they going to get the rigs?

Can I vote for a pro-nuke no-oil president?

Oh never mind, that is not going to happen either.

Looks like there's a squabble going on above... 

Let's look at today's really good news. Just go to the NY Times.

He's on top of it

Leanan's first link, rigs leaving the Gulf Of Mexico. If you looked at the article, this rig migration will affect natural gas production and new rigs to take their place will not be available until 2009 at the earliest. AFAIK, this production can not be replaced in North America until LNG imports are incresed, again 2009 at best but probably later than date. I'm just wondering what we'll do 'till then.

And don't get me started on Greenland...

Yes, that was what I found interesting, and why I put it first, even though I had a rig shortage article just yesterday.  Natural gas will be most affected. Yikes.  Oil finds its way to the world market, whether it's pumped in the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Mexico.  Not so with natural gas.

I wonder if we'll have any power emergencies this week?  It sure is hot enough.

Some few miles north of Twin Cities metro today: temperature out in my yard at twelve thirty this afternoon is 78 degrees F. with strong and dry NE breezes.

I feel so sorry for you unfortanate ones who need air conditioning.

Here in Canada (near Ottawa) temp is near 40 celcius (100 f).. Record breaking stuff.
90 F 72 F dewpoint at 1:29 PM at New Orleans City Hall; and we have not had our afternoon shower yet today (down into the high 70s then, with a climb back into the 80s afterwards).
76 F, 68 F dewpoint at 4 PM as the afternoon thunderstorm goes through.

I LOVE the days that we get thunderstorms !

When the dewpoint goes to 68 F. I jump on my fastest vehicle and go north.

Did you know some used $3,000 motorcycles can do an honest 212 m.p.h.?

Don't worry, I wear a helmet and full body armor.

86 F, 73 F dewpoint at 10:52.  Rather comfortable outside an hour ago when I walked to the store for milk.

Good for your complexion (and that of the women here as well :-)

BTW: WONDERFUL night last night !  Port of Call hamburgers (bets in New Orleans, 1 hour wait but worth it) and then Monday nights at Donna's, a local jazz club (WONDERFUL music !).  I took out (my treat) 16 volunteers* that are here gutting houses for free for those w/o enough money.  Hot, dirty/filthy (think 11 months of mold) work in a New Orleans summer !

Several are talking about moving here and several earlier volunteers already have.  They like our food, music but even more the sense of community & comity here.

*8 were high schoolers from the Bronx.  Many questions, a real eye opener here.  Two were "privileged" college kids from CA, a landscaping contractor from Ohio, a grad student from England (pretty), a gay guy from NYC, a CN working class guy, a medical school student from CA, two college girls from IN.

Mike, that was 40 Humidex CBC was touting all day. Temp only got to 33C/91F.


Ah, point taken, but do remember that come next January when it's -25F/-30C north of the Twin Cities, with the wind howling, massive piles of fresh snow needing shoveling, and the roads blocked with drifts and/or slick with ice, many TOD readers will be reciprocating the sentiment. It's really pretty hard to think of any place in North America with decent year-round weather; maybe Vancouver comes closest?
My Mom said San Diego weather was so perfect it was boring.  My Dad was stationed there for a while.
That's ok - when it is 78 in Atlanta in Dec and -40 where you are - then we will feel sorry for you ;-)
Minus forty degree temps bring out the "Minnesota Nice" in people here. People work out in the woods in shirtsleeves only when the sun shines and there is no wind at minus forty. Actually, such days are gorgeous, and during the long nights, ah, the long, long, winter nights, well . . . ahem, . . . some of us find ways to keep quite warm without turning up the thermostat.
Does it sadden you that folks almost never comment on all the "sex" references in your posts of late?
Supposedly (LOL) there are other sites on the Net covering this subject matter, making its discussion on TOD unnecessary.
Too much TOD time leads to depression leads to decreased libido.


Make love, not war.

Don't waste perfectly good latex on high-performance car tires. I can think of much more vital (or "anti-vital") uses for latex.

Current ng glut will probably last thru next winter, particularly because major industrial users are rushing offshore.
But, ng production, probably already in permanent decline, might begin crashing in 07/08. I don't expect much help from lng, certainly not from the cheap kind - last winter, with us prices at 14/mcf, england and spain routinely oubide us because of crashing north sea production and the unwillingness of intervening countries to pass along russian ng to those at the end of the line.
I don't know whether you caught this or not, but at the closing banquet in St. Petersburg, the cameras were let in for a photo op of sorts and there was an open mic. (You can see the segment at cnn.com if you hurry; no telling when they will yank it but somebody's bound to archive it somewhere). Anyway, everybody's all excited because Bush used the word shit, but that's just a distraction, the real word that stands the hairs on the back of my head right the fuck up is the word "they". See transcript below. Note that on the video, most of what Bush and Blair was captioned, since the sound was poor, however the [part in brackets] was not; instead the caption read [unintelligible]. Yeah, right.

Bush:  What about Kofi Annan? I don't like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything else happens.. but... you know what I'm saying?

Blair: I think the thig that is really difficult is you can't stop this unless you get the international presence agreed.

Bush:  Yeah.

[Blair: what you guys have talked with about Israel, I mean it's the same thing. Seeing what works with them, seeing how reliable that is. But you need that done quickly. ]

Bush: She's going. I think Condi's going to go pretty soon.

Blair: Well that's all that matters. If you see, it will take some time to get out of there. But at least it gives people some hope.

Bush: It's a process, I agree. I told her your offer too.

Blair: Well it's only .. or if she's gonna or is she needs the ground prepared as it were. Obviously. See if she goes out she's got to succeed as it were. Where as I can just to out and talk.

Bush: See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get the Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.

Blair: Syria?

Bush: Right

Blair: Well it's all part of the same thing. Look. What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if he gets a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he's done it. That's what this whole things about. It's the same with Iran.

Bush: I feel like telling Kofi to get on the phone with Assad and make something happen.  See, we're not blaming Israel and we're not blaming the Lebanese government.

[At this point, Blair notices that the microphone is on and he reaches over and turns it off.]


Who's they? Is Bush referring to Kofi Annan as "they" or does "they" refer to the Israelis that Condi is going to go visit?

But what comes through loud and clear is that when Bush said that bit about "they need to get Syria", you could almost hear panic in Blair's voice when he echoed "Syria?" As in, "gee boss, do they have to be attacked too?". Also, the tone in Bush's voice was peeved, as if the answer was so simple and only he could see it. Check out the video if you can, it's historic.

They both sound utterly irrelevant, a complete waste of time and money.
It's no wonder Condi's scowl gets more severe.
Is an "open mic" an Irishman drinking Guinness?
Life Imitates Art


Mr. Starti decided to take a peek at his garden a block away from his Blair Street home before 11 a.m. Mass at St. Stephen Church in Hazelwood. When he arrived, he said, he could not believe his eyes.

Before him was a vision of destruction. Nearly all of the 400 or so tomato plants he and his brother-in-law had been tending since March had been knocked down the night before, along with a bunch of the 300 pepper plants the pair had planted.

"It may be hard to understand this, but I actually felt broken-hearted,'' said Mr. Strati. "I love those plants. If I would accidentally break one of their little branches when I was working with them, I would say I'm sorry. Now, to see something like this ...'' he said.

I'm giving Don S's novella the benefit of the doubt.
Thank you. Actually, "The Adventures of C.C. Eggum" is a young adult novel--just a bit too long to officially qualify as a novella (which BTW, is a length I like very much in the old SF magazines, about 30,000 words serialized in two issues).

The fictional theft-of-corn incident is based on a real-life one that happened some time ago near Mankato, Minnesota. In that case the gardener did break down in tears. He is my best friend.

Are the numbers of "Berserkers" increasing or am I just getting more paranoid?
I was just watching a video last night about Alaskans near Anchorage seriously trashing nearby parks.  I don't have the link handy, but it was depressing.
California just set a new record today for energy usage - we exceeded the old record by a good margin. Yay for us! We're No. 1!
An American Foreign Policy That Both Realists and Idealists Should Fall in Love With

Published: July 16, 2006

AS liberals try to articulate a post-Bush foreign policy, some are feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance.

They have always thought of themselves as idealistic, concerned with the welfare of humankind. Not for them the ruthlessly narrow focus on national self-interest of the 'realist' foreign policy school. That school's most famous practitioner, Henry Kissinger, is for many liberals a reminder of how easily the ostensible amorality of classic realism slides into immorality.

Yet idealism has lost some of its luster. Neoconservatism, whose ascendancy has scared liberals into a new round of soul-searching, seems plenty idealistic, bent on spreading democracy and human rights. Indeed, a shared idealism is what led many liberals to join neocons in supporting the Iraq war, which hasn't turned out ideally. In retrospect, realists who were skeptical of the invasion, like Brent Scowcroft and Samuel Huntington, are looking pretty wise.

It's an unappealing choice: chillingly clinical self-interest or dangerously naïve altruism? Fortunately, it's a false choice. During the post-cold-war era, the security landscape has changed a lot, in some ways for the worse; witness the role of 'nonstate actors' last week in India, Israel and Iraq. But this changing environment has a rarely noted upside: It's now possible to build a foreign policy paradigm that comes close to squaring the circle - reconciling the humanitarian aims of idealists with the powerful logic of realists. And adopting this paradigm could make the chaos of the last week less common in the future.

Every paradigm needs a name, and the best name for this one is progressive realism. The label has a nice ring (Who is against progress?) and it aptly suggests bipartisan appeal. This is a realism that could attract many liberals and a progressivism that could attract some conservatives.

With such crossover potential, this paradigm might even help Democrats win a presidential election. But Democrats can embrace it only if they're willing to annoy an interest group or two and also reject a premise common in Democratic policy circles lately: that the key to a winning foreign policy is to recalibrate the party's manhood - just take boilerplate liberal foreign policy and add a testosterone patch. Even if that prescription did help win an election, it wouldn't succeed in protecting America.


Progressive realism begins with a cardinal doctrine of traditional realism: the purpose of American foreign policy is to serve American interests.

But these days serving American interests means abandoning another traditional belief of realists - that so long as foreign governments don't endanger American interests on the geopolitical chess board, their domestic affairs don't concern us. In an age when Americans are threatened by overseas bioweapons labs and outbreaks of flu, by Chinese pollution that enters lungs in Oregon, by imploding African states that could turn into terrorist havens, by authoritarian Arab governments that push young men toward radicalism, the classic realist indifference to the interiors of nations is untenable.

In that sense progressive realists look a lot like neoconservatives and traditional liberals: concerned about the well-being of foreigners, albeit out of strict national interest. But progressive realism has two core themes that make it clearly distinctive, and they're reflected in two different meanings of the word 'progressive.'

First, the word signifies a belief in, well, progress. Free markets are spreading across the world on the strength of their productivity, and economic liberty tends to foster political liberty. Yes, the Chinese government could probably reverse the growth in popular expression of the past two decades, but only by severely restricting information technologies that are prerequisites for prosperity. Meanwhile, notwithstanding dogged efforts at repression, political pluralism in China is growing.

Oddly, this progressive realist faith in markets seems to be stronger than the vaunted neoconservative faith in markets. After all, if you believe that history is on the side of political freedom - and that this technological era is giving freedom an especially strong push - your approach to fostering democracy isn't to invade countries and impose it. And if you believe that the tentacles of capitalism help spread freedom, you don't threaten to disrupt economic engagement with China for such small gains as the release of a few political prisoners.

A strong Democratic emphasis on economic engagement always threatens to alienate liberal human rights activists, as well as union leaders concerned about cheap labor abroad. But the losses can be minimized, thanks to the second meaning of the word 'progressive.'


The American progressives of a century ago saw that as economic activity moved from a regional to a national level, some parts of governance needed to reside at the national level as well. Hence federal antitrust enforcement and the Pure Food and Drug Act. Analogously, problems that today accompany globalization call for institutionalized international responses.

In the economic realm, progressivism means continuing to support the World Trade Organization as a bulwark against protectionism - but also giving it the authority to address labor issues, as union leaders have long advocated. Environmental issues, too, should be addressed at the W.T.O. and through other bodies of regional and global governance.

Nowhere does this emphasis on international governance contrast more clearly with recent Republican ideology than in arms control. The default neoconservative approach to weapons of mass destruction seems to be that when you suspect a nation has them, you invade it. The Iraq experience suggests that repeated reliance on this policy could grow wearying. The president, to judge by his late-May overture toward Iran and his subdued tone toward North Korea, may be sensing as much.

Still, he is nowhere near embracing the necessary alternative: arms control accords that would impose highly intrusive inspections on all parties. Neoconservatives, along with the Buchananite nationalist right, see in this approach an unacceptable sacrifice of national sovereignty.

But such 'sacrifices' can strengthen America. One reason international weapons inspectors haven't gotten a good fix on Iran's nuclear program is that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty gives them access only to 'declared' sites. Wouldn't Americans be willing to change that and let inspectors examine America more broadly - we have nothing to hide, after all - if that made it harder for other nations to cheat on the treaty?

There is a principle here that goes beyond arms control: the national interest can be served by constraints on America's behavior when they constrain other nations as well. This logic covers the spectrum of international governance, from global warming (we'll cut carbon dioxide emissions if you will) to war (we'll refrain from it if you will).

This doesn't mean joining the deepest devotees of international law and vowing never to fight a war that lacks backing by the United Nations Security Council. But it does mean that, in the case of Iraq, ignoring the Security Council and international opinion had excessive costs: (1) eroding the norm against invasions not justified by self-defense or imminent threat; (2) throwing away a golden post-9/11 opportunity to strengthen the United Nations' power as a weapons inspector. The last message we needed to send is the one President Bush sent: countries that succumb to pressure to admit weapons inspectors will be invaded anyway. Peacefully blunting the threats posed by nuclear technologies in North Korea and Iran would be tricky in any event, but this message has made it trickier. (Ever wonder why Iran wants 'security guarantees'?)

The administration's misjudgment in Iraq highlights the distinction - sometimes glossed over by neoconservatives - between transparency and regime change. Had we held off on invasion, demanding in return that United Nations inspections be expanded and extended, we could have rendered Iraq transparent, confirming that it posed no near-term threat. Regime change wasn't essential.

To be sure, authoritarianism's demise is a key long-term goal. Authoritarian states never have the natural transparency of free-market democracies, and the evolution of biotechnology will make an increasingly fine-grained transparency vital to security. But this degree of transparency will only slowly become a strict prerequisite for national security, because the bioweapons most plausibly available to terrorists in the near term aren't effective weapons of truly mass destruction. (Anthrax isn't contagious, for example, and there is a vaccine for smallpox.) For now we can be patient and nurture regime change through economic engagement and other forms of peaceful, above-board influence.

The result will be more indigenous, more culturally authentic paths to democracy than flow from invasion or American-backed coups d'état - and more conducive to America's security than, say, the current situation in Iraq. Democrats can join President Bush in proclaiming that "freedom is on the march" without buying his formula for assisting it.


When expressing disdain for international governance, the Bush administration morphs from visionary neocon idealist into coolly rational realist. Foreign policy, we're told, is not for naïve, Kumbaya-singing liberals who are seduced by illusions of international cooperation.

Yet the president, in his aversion to multilateralism, flunks Realism 101. He has let America fall prey to what economists call the 'free rider' problem. Even if we grant the mistaken premise that the Iraq war would make the whole world safer from terrorism, why should America pay so much blood and treasure? Why let the rest of civilization be a free rider?

The high cost of free riders matters all the more in light of how many problems beyond America's borders threaten America's interests. The slaughter in Darfur, though a humanitarian crisis, is also a security issue, given how hospitable collapsed states can be to terrorists. But if addressing the Darfur problem will indeed help thwart terrorism internationally, then the costs of the mission should be shared.

President Bush's belated diplomatic involvement in Darfur suggests growing enlightenment, but sluggish ad hoc multilateralism isn't enough. We need multilateral structures capable of decisively forceful intervention and nation building - ideally under the auspices of the United Nations, which has more global legitimacy than other candidates. America should lead in building these structures and thereafter contribute its share, but only its share. To some extent, the nurturing of international institutions and solid international law is simple thrift.

And the accounting rules are subtle. As we've seen lately, the cost of military action can go not just beyond dollars and cents, but beyond the immediate toll of dead and wounded. In an age when cellphones can take pictures and videos of collateral damage and then e-mail them, and terrorists recruit via Web site imagery, intervention abroad can bring long-term blowback.

Further, when you consider the various ways information technology helps terrorists - not just to recruit more fighters to the cause, but to orchestrate attacks and spread recipes for munitions - and you throw in advances in munitions technology, an alarming principle suggests itself: In coming years, grass-roots hatred and resentment of America may be converted into the death of Americans with growing efficiency.

That domestic security depends increasingly on popular sentiment abroad makes it important for America to be seen as a good global citizen - respecting international laws and norms and sensing the needs of neighbors. One of President Bush's most effective uses of power was the tsunami relief effort of 2004, which raised regard for Americans in the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia. Much of the war on terror isn't military.

Of course, some of it is, and we'll need the capacity to project force anywhere, anytime. Still, a full accounting of the costs of intervention makes it clear that we can't afford to be the world's army.

Fortunately, globalization has made the peaceful suppression of at least some forms of disorder easier. Economic interdependence makes war among nations less attractive, and never before has this interdependence brought so much transborder contact among businesspeople and politicians.

So it's not shocking that India and China, which clashed repeatedly over disputed borders during the cold war, have kept things cool since becoming enmeshed in the global economy. Or that the most worrisome nation of the moment, North Korea, is about the most isolated from the global economy; or that its rival for worrisomeness, Iran, is far from full immersion.

Obviously, wars can happen even when they're irrational. Still, their growing irrationality is a progressive force worth honoring. It strengthens the case for economic engagement and for regional and other international bodies that help cement commercial entanglement with political cooperation.


The excesses of neoconservative idealism have prompted various scholars to adapt realist principles to a changing world. The political scientists John Ikenberry and Charles Kupchan outlined a 'liberal realism' two years ago, and Mr. Ikenberry's book, 'After Victory,' showed how international governance can serve the interests of hegemonic powers. This fall the historians Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman will publish a foreign policy manifesto called 'Ethical Realism.'

Such works are true to the spirit of Hans Morgenthau, chief architect of realism. Writing in the mid-20th century, he emphasized that realism's implications would change as the world changed. World peace could require radical constraints on national sovereignty, he said, and the nation-state might drop in significance as 'larger units' rose.

Morgenthau seems to have sensed something that later political scientists dwelt on: technology has been making the world's nations more interdependent - or, as game theorists put it, more non-zero-sum. That is, America's fortunes are growing more closely correlated with the fortunes of people far away; fewer games have simple win-lose outcomes, and more have either win-win or lose-lose outcomes.

This principle lies at the heart of progressive realism. A correlation of fortunes - being in the same boat with other nations in matters of economics, environment, security - is what makes international governance serve national interest. It is also what makes enlightened self-interest de facto humanitarian. Progressive realists see that America can best flourish if others flourish - if African states cohere, if the world's Muslims feel they benefit from the world order, if personal and environmental health are nurtured, if economic inequities abroad are muted so that young democracies can be stable and strong. More and more, doing well means doing good.

Of course, resources aren't infinite, and the world has lots of problems. But focusing on national interest helps focus resources. Notwithstanding last week's carnage in the Middle East, more people have been dying in Sri Lanka's civil war than in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But given the threat of anti-American Islamist terrorism, forging a lasting two-state solution in the Middle East is a higher priority than bringing lasting peace to Sri Lanka.

This sounds harsh, but it is only acknowledgment of something often left unsaid: a nation's foreign policy will always favor the interests of its citizens and so fall short of moral perfection. We can at least be thankful that history, by intertwining the fates of peoples, is bringing national interest closer to moral ideals.

Harnessing this benign dynamic isn't the only redemptive feature of progressive realism. Morgenthau emphasized that sound strategy requires a 'respectful understanding' of all players in the game. "The political actor," he wrote, "must put himself into the other man's shoes, look at the world and judge it as he does."

This immersion in the perspective of the other is sometimes called 'moral imagination,' and it is hard. Understanding why some people hate America, and why terrorists kill, is challenging not just intellectually but emotionally. Yet it is crucial and has been lacking in President Bush, who saves time by ascribing behavior that threatens America to the hatred of freedom or (and this is a real time saver) to evil. As Morgenthau saw, exploring the root causes of bad behavior, far from being a sentimentalist weakness, informs the deft use of power. Realpolitik is reality-based.

Is progressive realism salable? The administration's post-9/11 message may be more viscerally appealing: Rid the world of evil, and do so with bravado and intimidating strength. But this approach has gotten some negative feedback from the real world, and there is a growing desire for America to regain the respect President Bush has squandered. Maybe Americans are ready to meet reality on its own terms.

Robert Wright, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is the author of 'The Moral Animal' and 'Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny.'


I've been reading this BLOG for about 3 weeks now and my wife tells me I should have better things to do with my time.  She is Senior Lecturer at our local university which is equivalent to Professor in most countries (in Scotland we can still afford to put ourselves down).  She has warned me that I have to be wary of stuff I drag off the internet - afterall it has not been subject to the rigours of peer review.  A point in case was an article I found via TOD on the economics of U mining which, according to this article, will go over the energy cliff (EROEI < 1.0) some time around 2070.  So is this true or not?

My position was that peer reviewed articles take 1 to 2 years to get published (I've lots of frustrating experience of that) and are often reviewed by cronies of the authors and are just as likely to distort the truth as articles published on a BLOG such as this that get subject to ferrocious review instantaneously - by many readers who seem to be highly qualified and motivated to comment.

So what is best, peer reviewed articles, independent articles produced by the likes of ICEED or quality blog articles such as published on TOD?

Keep firing away.

PS Whatever happened to Oil CEO?

Re: Where does the truth lie...

I'm not PG but I'll take a crack at this. To make a long story short, it is not a matter of will oil peak, it is a question of when. There are many contenders to be substitutes for oil but none are without their attendant problems. In addition, none will come onstream in quantities sufficient to allow a smooth transition should global oil production peak soon. Light sweet crude has already peaked, apparently, and it was this substance primarily upon which industrial civilization was built and population growth exploded. There is still oil out there to produce -- about 1/2 the total nature bequeathed to us. However, the "low hanging fruit" -- oil which is easy to find and produce -- is gone. Therefore, production from now on will take place in increasingly difficult environments (eg. ultra deepwater) that require vast amounts of capitalization and that contain substantial technical challenges. My remarks are not meant to minimize the substantial contributions of the other primary fossil fuels, coal and natural gas, in the building of the world you see around you now.

If my remarks are accurate, it's a whole new ballgame and all our lives will change. You should definitely be careful about what stuff you drag off the internet.

Also, some of us are concerned that total liquids production has already peaked. But we really don't know and we will almost certainly see the peak in the rearview mirror.

Yes, on average about 150 million years to form oil and 50% of what formed blasted off into our atmospher in a mere 150 years - I'm reading up on ocean - atmosphere equilibrium dynamics now to get a better handle on this one.

I know I have to be careful about sources of information but one of the greater problems faced by our society is the vast amount of information available and the ability of the press and politicians to cherry pick the bits they want to pick.

Thanks Dave, but still hopeful that PG may pick this one up as a discussion topic - what is the best source of accurate data and its objective interpretation?

One advantage of TOD is the live, in front of your eyes, peer review.  Witness the debate between Westtexas & RR as a good example.  I have found a few minor quibbles with Westexas presentations and he has modified his stance (slightly).

Early on I was challenged on some of my assertions regarding rail and was able to supply enough data to bavk things up.

This rigor is one reason that, IMHO, civility largely reigns here.  There is a "prove it" mentality here that focuses on facts.  Rare on the internet.

Select some of the better expositions and show them to your wife.  Unfortunately, issues that were presented, challenged and proven are now accepted "dogma" and she may not see the prior peer review.

The peers coem from a variety of academic disciplines (by guess, 15% of posters are professors; about 1/5 of the attendees at the recent conference were professors) and industry professionals, engineers and just intelligemt people are free to participate in the "peer" review.

Given the wideranging nature of Peak Oil (a dozen academic disciplines) our process is better than the academic journal methodology, IMHO.

Alan,  I agree that the quality at TOD seems to be very high.  The range and depth is breathtaking.  I don't have time to read it all.  Also very useful for picking up links to information.  But trying to untangle the truth is a major challenge - always has been always will be.
The information on PO is a patchwork quilt, and "authoritative" is a word that few here would apply to any work on peak oil, even the best stuff. As Matthew Simmons points out, our worldwide data on oil is shockingly bad. As other posters have pointed out, you'll unfortunately need to piece together your own conclusion.

I think that the best (dense) introduction to the issue is the so-called "Hirsch Report:"Peaking Of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management," Robert L. Hirsch, Roger Bezdek, Robert Wendling, February 2005. Hirsch is a pretty distinguished fusion scientist, and the report reviews a lot of other studies in passing. Hirsch report PDF available here.

Good luck, and please write when you've found the authoritative source ...

Thanks for the link - interesting report.

At present I'm trying to piece together conclsuions to present to politicians (in the UK) - first objective is to get them to see that current energy conservation measures are woefully inadequate - locally our politicians are expanding our road network (US style), expanding our airport (to support amongst other things golf tourism) and are building all over the yards around our railway station.

You have to assume that someone, somewhere is reading TOD on a daily basis, is distilling information and opinion and is writing the defintive work - hey that sounds a great idea - problem is that reading one day of TOD takes one day to do.

Well said!  

In answer to Cry Wolf, I will add something which is an anathema to most of us technical types: you will end up having to make up your mind about what is coming based, at least partly, on intuition and "feel".  

Some things can be proven with data (rail is cost effective and efficient, a given field is in decline, the EROEI of biofuels, etc.).  But a large part of this stuff goes wandering off into complex areas way outside of my field or experience, whereupon I find I cannot follow it.  It often ends up in an extended debate by several people who are well qualified, looking at the same data, and coming up with opposite conclusions!  Especially that money stuff.

I haven't the time to go research everyone else's fields, so I end up just trying to remember what was said about how things will work, and then trying to pay attention to what actually happens.  But since I need to make decisions now (ok, and I'm impatient), I know and accept that I'll have to make some choices by filling in the gaps with informed guessing.  TOD provides a way to make that guessing better informed.

Fortunately (!) we live in a time where we have an opportunity to test many theories.  

Cry Wolf, the only thing to do is do your own research. Many peer review articles are bullshit but most are not. Many blogs published on the net are not bullshit but most are.

I really do not think you have to worry about things going over the cliff in 2070. What you have to worry about is the whole damn world going over the cliff in about 2020, some ten to fourteen years after peak oil.

I do my own research. I keep a detailed, month by month file of every country and their oil production. I have noticed that after any country goes into long term decline, a decline caused by depletion and not voluntary restraints or political turmoil, then that country never comes out of decline. Most countries are now in decline. Only Russia, Angola, Brazil and very few much smaller countries are still increasing production. All the very big producers, except Russia, are in decline. A few more are on a bumpy plateau but showing signs of depletion. Therefore I am convinced that we are at peak oil today. And I came to that conclusion not because of some blog or book I read, but because I did my own research.

I am reminded of something I read a few years ago concerning holy writ: "A revelation is a revelation to the person it is revealed to only, to everyone else it's hearsay." If you have discovered something on your own, it's not hearsay.

Self reliance, I'm reasonably comfortable with that.  But as a speciese we have got where we are by team working.
I need to support Darwanian here - you need to do your own research and make up your own mind. There is no guarantee for the quality of information form anywhere. Look at CERA, Daniel Yergin and co. They are supposed to be the smart guys, who know, don't they? Well I think that if you decide to lean on this only you are screwed.

Personally I think that that energy cliff in 2070 is a pure BS, built upon a carefully picked set of assumption, but I wouldn't discount PG credibility for quoting this article. I try to keep my mind open and remember that under certain circumstances any scenarious are possible. This is the world we live in - we have many possible alternative futures and try to plan accordingly. So we need to allocation resources to each possible world to come. In this case the article you mention tells me that if we don't do enough uranium exploration, if we don't do fuel reprocessing or develop breeders we may have problems with uranium EROEI in future. A useful piece of information nevertheless, but the *if*s I could put were because I made my homework and I was able to put it in the correct context (OK, "correct" according to my own visions).

Dude if academia, or any institution, came clean on this stuff, they'd put themselves straight out of a job. I think your wife is just looking for a socially acceptable excuse not to believe the obvious:

a. we're running the heck out

b. our "mitigation plan" is to go to war to grab what's left

c. cover your ass cause of a and b

Pretend for a moment that the economy really is on the verge of collapse due to the issues discussed here and elsewhere. You really think you're going to find a dozen peer reviewed academic journal articles that say "hey everybody, the economy is about to permanently tank, there's going to be wars everywhere, gas at $10 a gallon, more Katrina type events to now it's time to cya!"?

considering that most universities get substantial funding from energy, automotive, and other publicly traded companies that are vested in people believing business will continue as usual, you're NEVER going to see a bunch of peer reviewed journals that tell you the truth.

the closest you're going to come is here and some other sites.

if you scored yourself a prof for a wife my guess is you have at least enough functioing brain cells to discern bullshit from ice cream on your own sans the social approval a peer reviewed academic journal article has.

as far as your wife, even Richard Rainwater's wife sounded like she thought HE was a bit kooky since readig Kunstler's book and that's a dude whose got $500 million sitting in cash to deal with this situation. I doubt the rest of us can expect to fare better with our spouses/sig. others.

No way - my wife is as nuts as I am!  

85% of our friends think we're living in a dream world and don't want to hear about it.  Won't they be surprised when they wake up and find they're living in our dream/nightmare?

You still have friends?
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened
are always interesting to me,
because as we know,
there are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know."

Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Deopartment Briefing, 12 February, 2002

Sorry, getting here late. Didn't make it down this far the first time I read it. Your wife is never wrong. Your life will be much happier if you understand that. But otherwise, I agree with a lot of the responses above. TOD is its own peer review system, as many smart people as we have here...does it mean we always get it right? Heck no. But on a lot of thinking that's going on here, I think we're light years ahead on the integration that is required to understand this problem. See, that's the problem to me about all of this: integration. One of my points early on here was that this problem touches just about every single discipline in academia that you can think of, from hard to soft science, from positive to post-modern, to practicum to theory. But that's also why this is so freaking hard to grasp. Sand squeezed in the hand, etc., etc. Academics these days are trained to be specialists, and in that way, we do ourselves a detriment as a society...we should be thinking much bigger picture...and I think that's what we do here at TOD...we talk across those false barriers of specialization while remaining insightful and technical. It ain't easy though. And there's quite a learning curve.
Remember What Happened Here

Gaza is freed, yet Gaza wages war. That reveals the Palestinians' true agenda

Jul. 10, 2006

Israel Invades Gaza. That is in response to an attack from Gaza that killed two Israelis and wounded another, who was kidnapped and brought back to Gaza ...which, in turn, was in response to Israel's targeted killing of terrorist leaders in Gaza...which, in turn, was in response to the indiscriminate shelling of Israeli towns by rockets launched from Gaza.

Of all the conflicts in the world, the one that seems the most tediously and hopelessly endless is the Arab-Israeli dispute, which has been going on in much the same way, it seems, for 60 years. Just about every story you'll see will characterize Israel's invasion of Gaza as a continuation of the cycle of violence.

Cycles are circular. They have no end. They have no beginning. That is why, as tempting as that figure of speech is to use, in this case it is false. It is as false as calling American attacks on Taliban remnants in Afghanistan part of a cycle of violence between the U.S. and al-Qaeda or, as Osama bin Laden would have it, between Islam and the Crusaders going back to 1099. Every party has its grievances--even Hitler had his list when he invaded Poland in 1939--but every conflict has its origin.

What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that the event at the origin of the "cycle" is not at all historical, but very contemporary. The event is not buried in the mists of history. It occurred less than one year ago. Before the eyes of the whole world, Israel left Gaza. Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away.

How do the Palestinians respond? What have they done with Gaza, the first Palestinian territory in history to be independent, something neither the Ottomans nor the British nor the Egyptians nor the Jordanians, all of whom ruled Palestinians before the Israelis, ever permitted? On the very day of Israel's final pullout, the Palestinians began firing rockets out of Gaza into Israeli towns on the other side of the border. And remember: those are attacks not on settlers but on civilians in Israel proper, the pre-1967 Israel that the international community recognizes as legitimately part of sovereign Israel, a member state of the U.N. A thousand rockets have fallen since.

For what possible reason? Before the withdrawal, attacks across the border could have been rationalized with the usual Palestinian mantra of occupation, settlements and so on. But what can one say after the withdrawal?

The logic for those continued attacks is to be found in the so-called phase plan adopted in 1974 by the Palestine National Council in Cairo. Realizing that they would never be able to destroy Israel in one fell swoop, the Palestinians adopted a graduated plan to wipe out Israel. First, accept any territory given to them in any part of historic Palestine. Then, use that sanctuary to wage war until Israel is destroyed.

So in 2005 the Palestinians are given Gaza, free of any Jews. Do they begin building the state they say they want, constructing schools and roads and hospitals? No. They launch rockets at civilians and dig a 300-yard tunnel under the border to attack Israeli soldiers and bring back a hostage.

And this time the terrorism is carried out not by some shadowy group that the Palestinian leader can disavow, however disingenuously. This is Hamas in action--the group that was recently elected to lead the Palestinians. At least there is now truth in advertising: a Palestinian government openly committed to terrorism and to the destruction of a member state of the U.N. openly uses terrorism to carry on its war.

That is no cycle. That is an arrow. That is action with a purpose. The action began 59 years ago when the U.N. voted to solve the Palestine conundrum then ruled by Britain by creating a Jewish state and a Palestinian state side by side. The Jews accepted the compromise; the Palestinians rejected it and joined five outside Arab countries in a war to destroy the Jewish state and take all the territory for themselves.

They failed, and Israel survived. That remains, in the Palestinian view, Israel's original sin, the foundational crime for the cycle: Israel's survival. That's the reason for the rockets, for the tunneling, for the kidnapping--and for Israel's current response.

If that history is too ancient, consider the history of the past 12 months. Gaza is free of occupation, yet Gaza wages war. Why? Because this war is not about occupation, but about Israel's very existence. The so-called cycle will continue until the arrow is abandoned and the Palestinians accept a compromise--or until the arrow finds its mark and Israel dies.

So, let's assume Germany invaded and occupied England half a century ago. Today, they would cease to occupy Cornwall, but keep their forces on the rest of the country.

Do you expect that would satisfy the English resistance?

Good point!
As I get to know you fellas, I'll respond. Waiting for the likes of Cherenkov, smekhovo, and prole sucks the energy out of me. And you know how scarce that shit is. I gotta know I'm going to get a response.

Tell you what. Supercede those guys and we'll talk. It will probably only take a day. They're so lame. Look at what happened with the PLA(PLO) and Hamas. Play with the best, die like the rest.

The original point is a fairly silly one. Israel didn't invade 50 years ago, the land was given to the people by the UN. The only invasion of territory by Israel happened because the regional countries tried to attack Israel and lost. Israel appeared to be willing to give virtually all of it back at Camp David, but Arafat refused.
Oh, lets play the game of who's to blaim!


David Clark
Monday July 17, 2006
The Guardian

Whatever else can be said for or against Israel's escalation of military action against Lebanon, there is little prospect that it will achieve its stated objectives. If Israel couldn't defeat Hizbullah after 18 years in which its army occupied large swaths of Lebanese territory, it is not going to succeed with air strikes and blockades, or even another occupation.


Death on the beach: seven Palestinians killed as Israeli shells hit family picnic

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Saturday June 10, 2006
The Guardian

A barrage of Israeli artillery shells rained down on a busy Gaza beach yesterday, killing seven Palestinians, three of them children. The attack put further strain on the 16-month truce between Israel and the governing Hamas movement.

Now, could this whole thing be staged?


Or, because the source URL is just so 'hot'

October 6, 2005

Urgent Appeal

End Closures of the Gaza Strip

After the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip, a new situation emerged, where the fate of the Rafah crossing and other major Palestinian ports of entry and exit are in the hands of the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces imposed a strict and comprehensive closure on all of its borders with the Gaza Strip, putting 1.4 million Palestinians under complete siege for indefinite period. This situation is converting the Strip into a closed prison, where no access to the outside world is allowed. Thousands of patients, students, and other traveling citizens are stranded at the border for weeks.

According to Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) the closure has resulted in a huge shortage in medical supplies, mainly drugs used for treatment of (Diabetes Mellitus) D.M., hypertension, cardiac & cancer diseases, as well as drugs used for treatment of elevated triglycerides. Such situation is created by poor infrastructure in the medical field accumulated from being under Israeli occupation for many years.

In addition, hundreds of Palestinian citizens are withheld at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing and forced to sleep for weeks at the border denied of their basic human needs. What make it worse are the bad conditions and insufficient facilities to accommodate such big crowd of citizens in the Egyptian side. As a result, hundreds of women, children, and elderly, who are prevented from passing, are left to live in intolerable conditions. These unjustified measures do not spare patients coming back to Gaza after treatment abroad and being held for days, which in turn result in more suffering and deterioration of their health conditions.

All such Israeli measures are a clear violation of international law which treats Israel as an occupying force - Israel insist to continue to be, despite the disengagement from Gaza.

We urge all governments, UN agencies, the European Union, the Quartet committee, and international human rights organizations to act urgently by putting pressure on Israel to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and allowing free movement of Palestinians. We appeal to all of you to help in enforcing the international law of the freedom of movement to Palestinian citizens as set by the 4th Geneva conventions.

We all must demand that Israeli government refrain from such practices and measures and immediately permit the Palestinian citizens to pass through the crossings as well as allowing medical supplies to enter Gaza in order to ward off a humanitarian disaster resulting from deteriorating health conditions.
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme

KRAUTHAMMER?  You've got to be kidding!  At least try to find something objective.  

Fortunately, I'm too tired to get fired up tonight.  I've got a whole day of HR training tomorrow on how to "coach" employees, or some such drivel, and it's going to be hard enough to stay awake as it is.  Gotta get to bed!

Besides, I need to keep out of these things after that last go round.

Yeah. Krauthammer. But bear in mind the neocons are not univerrsally dumb. Make big boom, change equation, see who's loyal.
Oh what a lovely war.
And yet what Krauthammer says is true. Israel gave them Gaza. They could have humiliated the Israelis by taking the high road which would have put immense international pressure on the Israelis to make any remaining concessions necessary.

Instead they attacked. On the first day they had Gaza, no less. And they've been attacking ever since.

I've said before I think both sides have dirty hands, and that I think the neocons want this war for other reasons, but Hamas started it. Hamas did not have to shoot those rockets. It did not have to kill 2 soldiers and kidnap another. It did not have to launch missile attacks on Israel.

Likewise, neither did Hezbollah.

Remember two things here - Hamas moderates wanted a vote on recognizing Israel and Lebanon's coalition government was starting to put pressure on Hezbollah to honor their promise to disarm. How convenient for the militants that these events happened, no?

Stop blaming the US alone for everything like some third grade boogeyman. Both sides are dirty here but Hamas started this. And they didn't have to do that. It's pretty damned clear when you look at the facts.

If I can grab them there are two articles from what I think is the most recent New Republic. The first is an editorial on Hamas/Hezbollah that reads exactly like Krauthammer piece but adds some stuff, cuz it happened a week later.

The second is about the Kurds in Iraq.I guarantee this will be the most overlooked piece of writing this week. Ackerman is the writer. Spencer is his first name(I think). I've read his stuff before. He's no dummy.

The reason I bring the piece up is because it is about OIL.

But we will talk about this piece. I got a hunch that the Middle-East is gonna be on the plate at TOD. I know a bunch of people that need to get their asses to the library fast and catch up. You, GreyZone, are not one of them. Nor is Twilight or oldhippie. I'll be publishing a bibliography soon on the Mid-East. Sailorman might beat me to it.

And as you know by know - extremely heavy criticism and counter-attack is expected. Bring It.

I am loathe to get spend much more time on this, there are some criticla thinsg that need to get done in the next two weeks here in New Orleans.  But you used the wrong verb.

Israel gave them Gaza.

Currectly stated, "Isreal retreated under fire from Gaza, taking their settlers with them, when it could no longer economically sustain the occupation due to the irregular attacks of Hamas".

There was zero magnanimity or good will involved in the Isreali retreat. Sharon simply does not have those emotions in his character (as explained earlier, he is mass murderer and violator of the Geneva Conventions on war).  It was a strategic retreat that would not have occurred if Gaza had been peaceful.

This economic & military victory by Hamas against the hated occupiers helped them politically.

Most militaries pursue a retreating foe. I suspect (not knowing) that Hamas wanted to make the point that Isreal was retreating under fire.

hey could have humiliated the Israelis

I do not see how this is possible.  Isreal is apparently immune to shame (having elected the terrorist & probable mass murderer Begin and then Sharon).

Weakness in your enemy is to be exploited.  That is, by my observation, the common view of all sides there.  And a Ghandhi like restraint would have been interpreted as weakness.

Israel gave Gaza to the people who lived there because nobody else wanted them. After the defeat of Egypt in the 1973 war, Egypt refused to take Gaza back; as you may recall, Egypt claimed Gaza for decades.

Big dirty secret: Other Arabs mostly hate the Palestineans. In Jordan, in Sept. 1970, King Hussein kicked out the PLO. Jordan renounced its claim to the West Bank after one of its many military defeats by the Israelis because the King wanted nothing to do with Palestinians--whom he fears and hates, because they outnumber his Bedouin relatives and are the true and legitimate rulers of Jordon, if there is ever an honest census and genuine elections.

Both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia kicked out tens of thousands of Palestineans in the early nineties and turned them into refugees--about as many as were refugees in 1947; nobody knows exactly how many because to discuss this topic is politically incorrect.
Irony is an overused word. But. What else fits?

Twilight, get all the rest you need. I'd love to hear a good response. I have always valued your opinion and always will. I agree with Krauthammer on certain issues. And disagree with him other times. Here, I agree with him on every word. I posted this because these words might as well be coming from my own mouth.

Try an experiment. Go back in time. Imagine I had forgotten to credit Charles. Or misspelled his name so you didn't recognize it. Or made the decision to plagiarize and simply cut his name and posted ,"by Oil CEO." Re-live those possibilities. What would your reaction be? Clearly the issue with you starts with the messenger in this case. It's not about the messenger...

This reminds me of people like Tad Patzek...leaves the oil industry, and is now secretly funded by them to trash ethanol...by the way, great interview with him on the GoG2G site, http://gog2g.com/2006/07/10/my-indepth-interview-with-tad-patzek.aspx ... and he gets caught by vinod Khosla calling him ignorant... http://gog2g.com/2006/07/14/vinod-khosla-responds.aspx ...
This reminds me of people like Tad Patzek...leaves the oil industry, and is now secretly funded by them to trash ethanol...

If he is secretly funded by the oil industry, how do you know about it?

by the way, great interview with him on the GoG2G site, http://gog2g.com/2006/07/10/my-indepth-interview-with-tad-patzek.aspx ... and he gets caught by vinod Khosla calling him ignorant... http://gog2g.com/2006/07/14/vinod-khosla-responds.aspx ...

Khosla is definitely ignorant with respect to ethanol. He has said many things that simply do not hold up to scrutiny. He has claimed that we can follow Brazil's example and farm our way to energy independence. He has made all sorts of absurd charges against oil companies in an effort to win support to his side. He is a charlatan, nothing more. He may know something about computers, but that does not render him an ethanol expert. I challenged him to a debate at the end of a post he made at The Huffington Post. If he accepts, you will know by the end of the debate that his ethanol IQ is pretty low.



All accusations of who is funding whom are examples of the fallacy of adhominem.

It matters not whether God or the Devil funded you. What matters is whether or not reputable scientists can replicate your results.

For example, no scientist that I am aware of has EVER been able to replicated Pimantel's results.

Who cares if he is a whore to the oil industry. That is not the issue. The issue is, is he right? Or are the multiple authors in the recent issue of "Science" that (IMO) demolished Pimantel's false claims correct? THAT is the issue--not the question of who is writing the checks.

Never in one trillion years would I suggest that BECAUSE RR is working for the oil industry that his views are suspect. That position (IMO) is contemptable.

Where is your evidence of secret funding?
I know this is near the end of a drumbeat, but has anyone heard of the DEBKAfile website? I was surfing for information on the supposed missile hit on an Israeli warship. The DEBKAfile web site seems to provide very detailed information on the Lebanon situation. Do they have a political slant or are they neutral in reporting the news? And how accurate is their web site?
Israeli corvette hit
Everything you read on DEBKAfile should be taken with a grain of salt.  The site reports all kids of rumors and speculation.  I first came across the site following a link when they reported that Osama Bin Laden had been captured.  Their slant is decidedly pro-Israel, which means the Iranians (and Syrians) get blamed for everything that goes wrong in the world.

Nevertheless, the site is worth reading because they are quick to publish first-person accounts directly from the region, and sometimes their rumors even turn out to be true.  

You have to take Debka with a very big grain of salt. They post all kinds of rumors that turn out not to be true. I was an avid reader leading up to and during the recent invasion in Iraq, and I doubt that 50% of what they reported on was correct. "Sadaam has fled to Syria, where he is directing military action" A lot of stuff like this that was never verified, and ultimately didn't appear to be true.



Data center efficiency?

It's true these things suck gigantic amounts of power but there is decent competition in the server market and competition is already slashing power consumption and heat dissipation there - if you look at the AMD/Intel race power consumption has been going down down down ever since.

Chips that sacrifice performance can get much lower power usage still of course, but I'm not sure at what point it becomes more efficient to have lots of slow processors over a few fast ones. Latency matters so I suspect the market will favor fast/power hungry chips for now.

At any rate, if you look at Googles new DCs they are being built next to a big hydro plant for exactly this reason, not sure why the US Govt feels a need to intervene here.

I thought that I wasn't a political person.

I thought I was cynical and separate from it.

But after hearing the Bush & Blair + G8 open mic gaff, I must say
this - 'politics will always fail' - thanks to those esteemed leaders for laying it out so clearly.

However sophisticated, delicate and important any human relation may be - it is a 'job', it is collateral to others.

Our fate lays not with political leaders but in tatters.

Good instincts. Keep visiting.
Wow. CNN talks truth to power guzzling people:

right click & "view image" to see full
I haven't seen any comments concerning Natural Gas with regards to the rig exodus. So I thought i'd pose a few questions. If Natural gas is extracted across the oceans, how is transported here, by Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). and how many LNG vessels are there to transport the stuff? Then if it's such a valuable resource, would it not be vulnerable to attacks by those bad guys?
I am sure there will some left here in the GOMEX, but how much of an effect can we anticipate with this rig exodus?

Just curious!

House prices (in UK): more unreality here:


which predicts a 50% rise in the next five years above already over-inflated prices.  This can only encourage more to overstretch themselves with monster mortgages in the period between now and inevitable price collapse.  More debt, more misery, more repossessions.  Is this sort of nonsense still being peddled in the US too?

Actually, right now, at least in the DC/Baltimore market, alot of real estate agents are sweating bullets. The couple of agents that I know have said that the bottom has dropped out of the market for "McMansions", which I would classify as cul-de-sac homes selling for $600k on up. Not that the prices are in a free fall yet, but just that there are very few serious buyers. The more "affordable", if you can call it that, houses in the $200k to $350k range are still moving fairly well.
I have felt for a while that overseas property investors [arabs, russian, chinese maybe??] have been buying the SE region for the last decade. There are about 2 generations of 'normal' people who cannot afford to leave the parents home now in the UK.