DrumBeat: July 19, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/19/06 at 9:41 AM EDT]

"Energy Security Will Be one of the Main Challenges of Foreign Policy"

In a SPIEGEL interview, United States oil expert Daniel Yergin discusses fears of a global energy crisis, the growing confidence of oil-rich nations and changes in world politics caused by rising energy prices.

Europe's suppliers could decide to just save their energy

WHAT if they leave the oil and gas in the ground? That unwelcome prospect emerged as the world’s leaders tiptoed round President Putin last weekend, like postmen negotiating their way past an irritable alsatian.

“Prudence and friendly dialogue” to face energy crisis

Chile must insist in a friendly dialogue with Argentina while it strives to achieve energy autonomy because the “real truth is that Argentina is running out of natural gas”, warned Chile’s former Economy and Energy minister Jorge Rodriguez Grossi.

Niger: Protests Against Soaring Cost of Living

Hundreds of people turned out on the streets of Niamey on Tuesday to protest against high costs for fuel and other essential commodities.

Demonstrators, organised by Nigerien civil society groups, called on the government of President Mamadou Tandja to reduce the price of fuel by 50 percent through slashing customs duties and taxes.

Southern Africa: Region in Search of Energy Self-Sustenance

UN backs Nigerian delta activists on oil wealth

ABUJA (Reuters) - A United Nations report on Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta has backed a call by local activists for the region to receive a greater share of its vast oil wealth.

Deep water windfarm ‘key to EU energy plans’

U.K.: Heatwave trebles electricity prices

German June Producer Prices Increase on Oil, Raw Material Costs

(Bloomberg) -- Producer price inflation in Germany, Europe's largest economy, held close to a 24-year high last month, led by higher energy and raw material costs.

Goods from plastics to newsprint were 6.1 percent more expensive in June than a year earlier, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said in a statement today.

In California, energy shortages are becoming a political issue.

Road to recovery sinking into Gulf. The highway to Port Fourchon is going under.

U.S. Cities in Harm’s Way: SustainLane ranks the risk. (You might want to think twice about buying that condo in Miami.)

Peak oil preview: North Korea & Cuba

IEA Will Use Oil Reserves in Event of Supply Problems

Uranium’s Outlook Is So Bright, It Glows in the Dark

Under the "really???" column: Oil price spike "very uncomfortable": OPEC.


The company said it expects fuel costs to substantially increase from the third quarter 2005's 95 cents per gallon and exceed the second quarter 2006's $1.42 per gallon. The company is roughly 70 percent hedged for the rest of 2006 for oil at $36 a barrel.

Its really amazing how well Southwest hedged their fuel.  It should be no suprise to hear that they are actually improving.  

The "fly in the ointment" is that Southwest reported difficulty in finding "qualified" private placement partners for hedges on a recent drop in oil prices.  The public markets are too small for their needs (although they use them).  Their hedges run out in 2010 and they are DESPERATELY searching for ways to save fuel.

They recently were the first customers for a retrofit kit from GE for their older engines.  This kit takes elements from the newer engines and retrofits the older engines.  1.6% better fuel economy and lower combustion temperatures (longer time between maintenance & less pollution).

In another forum, I am on record predicting that Southwest will launch the 737 replacement (~25% more fuel efficient) with an order for about 400 a/c with entry into service of 2012.

Who is working at present on a replacement for the 737 that is 25% more fuel efficient?

Unless Boeing starts now with their so far not flown plastic fuselage technology of the 787 it will be a while.

There are new designs all over now.

There is one little diesel twin I like, and I love the ethanol planes in Brazil, which have been around for forty years and are now becoming more numerous and larger.

As one might expect, ethanol is an excellent aviation fuel, and it decreases maintenance expense considerably because it burns so clean and cool.

And since ethanol is 1/3 less efficient these ethanol planes should really help!
They have been economically efficient in Brazil for forty years, often with minimal or no subsidies at all.

Brazil is a large country with a lot of smart people in it. Maybe we could learn some things from them.

Great side step...you gonna move forward now?
For air travel it comes down to power per weight, rather than the more conventional power per volume.  The numbers I've seen are:

Kerosene: 45.9 MJ/kg
Ethanol:  29.7 MJ/kg

So there's basically a 50% higher weight penalty carrying ethanol for fuel.

I was actually more hopeful until I had those numbers driven home for me:


Would you like to see some two dozen scientifically reputable peer-reviewed articles listed in accepted referance form?

Or do you prefer to go on with meaningless handwaving, snide remarks and armchair theorizing?

In other words, do you want to genuinely learn something of value?

I think I've given the source for every number I've provided as a URL.  I think that's pretty much standard form on TOD.

If you have better data, ideally with a URL to provide easy access to all of us, that would be great.

My sad experience has been that about 98% of URLs are unreliable and most are worse than useless. What we often have on the Internet is a Reign of Error.

Indeed, my opinion is that excess posting of links tends to make people stupid.

I am extremely selective in what I choose to study. Most of my secondary research is done in libraries and with the aid of reference librarians. That is why I have so much accurate information and so little garbage in my memory.

By the way, I have been home brewing ethanol from the age of fourteen and have been doing small-scale replications of some of the key research papers for decades.

Expertly written and edited books and peer-reviewed reputable scientific publications is the way to get an increaingly accurate and complete world view, in my opinion.

I rarely post links, for the reasons indicated above. I presume you pay taxes: Some of this goes for libraries. Why not use them. Librarians are some of my favorite people; they know where the good stuff is and are delighted to help you find it. And who knows, you might meet somebody interesting and intelligent in a library--happens to me more than once a month.

BTW, I keep in touch with chemists who have advanced degrees and who keep up in their fields. How many chemists do you know well enough to call by their first names?

"Expertly written and edited books" at least have ISBNs. Care to share a list?
Thank you. List posted below on this thread.
I keep in touch with chemists who have advanced degrees and who keep up in their fields. How many chemists do you know well enough to call by their first names?

Chemical engineers rather than chemists have much of the knowledge needed to analyze the EROEI of ethanol.  RR is one (graduate level research in ethanol at the second best ChemE department in Texas).  (I was in the best ChemE Department in Texas and transfered to BioMedE, then my tenured professor & I resigned to chase a dream; a liquid membrane blood oxygenator using liquid perfluorocarbons).

Don, you've made an interesting line of defense, but unfortunately one that indicts not only me, but TOD, and everyone who has ever published a number here.

I am really loathe to get into a credentials battle, in an obvious logical fallacy (an appeal to authority) but since everyone else is doing it ;-), I'll mention that I have a chem degree myself.

Ultimately the value of the web is created and reinforced when we can point, and link with URLs, to things we find which are true.  That builds value (and google rank) for those that come after us.  It is a community process.

And of course, science itself is moving on-line:


Scientists themselves coverse with URLs.

Odo, yes, etahnol's specific energy may be down, but what about the efficiency? If ethanol aircraft engines are, say, 35% efficient and kerosene 23% then fuel consumption would be the same, no?
The track record does seem to show, in cars at least, that ethanol gets 25-30% worse mileage. In Brazil, ethanol has traditional sold at a discount of a bit more than 30% to gasoline, based on the % of ethanol in fuel. If a fuel contains 20% ethanol, it should sell at a 6% discount.

Unfortunately, this seems to be an unavoidable barrier and ethanol will have to be economically viable at a discount of 30% of gasoline. I do think that ethanol from sugar cane can meet this criteria, once sugar markets adjust. Right now, growing ethanol use, combined with other factors, has driven sugar prices up.

My calculations have a breakeven point below 70% of current gas prices, although at this level it remains more profitable to produce sugar. A price of 80-85% is required to be better than sugar. It is almost always more profitable to produce ethanol than molasses, which is about 30% of a sugar refineries output.

The additional weight/volume issue is not a death blow for cars, but may well be for airplanes. I would guess it will always, make sense to use petroleum-based fuel and increase ethanol in vehicles.


"say, 35% efficient and kerosene 23%"

Sure, that would do it.  My assumption is that a turbine has relatively equal efficiency ...

For what it's worth a raft of papers on ethanol in aviation are here:


In a fast pass it looks like ethanol is used in piston craft and biodiesel has been tested in turbines?  Anyone feel free to investigate and correct me.  A chem degree is not required ;-)

I had some time and scanned this paper:


It gives similar MJ/kg numbers to the ones I gave above:

avgas - 44.2 MJ/kg
ethanol - 27.2 MJ/kg

Interestingly, flight tests show a smaller penalty:

Although not shown, the full-power, full-rich Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) of ETBE and avgas was essentially identical, while that of ethanol was measured at only about 15% more.  (Compare these actual data with expectations of 23% and 62% more consumption based on the heating value ratio.)  This is consistent with previous results both in flight and during tests performed on other test stands.  Flight test data has shown a 10 to 15% reduction in range operating on neat ethanol compared with range on avgas.

So there, I think that shows how you do it.  It confirms both that my earlier number was correct, shares my "expectations of 23% and 62% more consumption based on the heating value ratio" ...  and finally shows that it is possible to add to our knowledge with a URL. ;-)

Thank you!
When you're right, you're right.

And that is usually the case.

What bothers me is that people sometimes think that just because I disagree with maybe 2% of a person's posts that I do not like or respect them.

Anybody who agrees with me always should be committed to a locked ward of a state hospital.

I change my mind whenever I get new evidence that suggests my previous view was incomplete or incorrect.

Hey, here's an interesting one.  It's a presentation by Boeing on "alternate fueled aircraft"


I'm not sure if it was clear to the reader above, but I'm more optimistic about piston aircraft running ethanol.  This paper addresses large commerical passenger aircraft, and from page 8 says such an ethanol aircraft requires:

  • 50% Larger Engines (needed for extra weight of fuel and wing)

  • 25% Larger Wing (needed to carry more fuel since it contains less energy*)

  • 35% Heavier Takeoff Weight (20% OEW Increase)

Energy demands:

  • 15% More energy use on 500 nmi mission

  • 26% more on 3K nmi mission

Imagine my astonishment when the folks who are normally preaching to me that it will be impossible to save autos are on here designing post peak airplanes!  :-)

Be the oddity of that as it may, it gave me pause to remember one of the single great "beautiful items" ever designed by human folk, inspired by the last time we were at peak, or at least were sure we were...




What we found out then is that efficiencies can be improved by staggering degrees with aerodynamic and structural  development.  

The price of fuel crashed in the early 1980's against everyone's bet and sadly, the plane failed terribly as a commercial venture.  But a few are still around, and the models and photos, to prove it can be done.  Due to it's efficiency, it of course would change all calculations of needed fuel and needed power to weight ratio.

Whether something he actually said or not, in the movie "Tucker", the car designer Preston Tucker is attributed the words, on finding out that his venture is not going to make it, and the handful he has built is all there will ever be.....
"Son, you don't understand, it's not how many you built, even if it's just ONE, It's the IDEA that matters, just so that get's built...."

With the Beechcraft Starship, it did.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

As I wake up I notice the correlation between the two above papers, one for piston and one for jet aircraft.

That is:

  1. the agreement on lower MJ/kg
  2. the cited 15% reduction in range

I think it's pretty clear, based on the MJ/kg data, and reinforced by Boeing's numbers, that the range reduction is not a flat percentage, but based on distance of travel.  The further the (loaded) distance, the greater the penalty.

So ethanol looks good for shorter flights in piston or jet aircraft, but a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo may be problematic.

Great work...I think it's settled then.
Couple other quick points I got from reviewing info on ethanol fueled aircraft. One is that currently most piston GA aircraft use 100LL gas, which is leaded. One concern in GA is what to do if leaded gas is outlawed for aircraft. With some modifications, ethanol has a high enough octane to use with GA engines. Second, due to the fact it burns cleaner, it can yield greater time between overhauls (TBO). This is more meaningful in aircraft than in automobiles.

I am staying out of the range/power debate till I see specific results of real world tests. With aircraft, any reduction in maximum power output significantly changes performance and safety in a variety of situations.

The new aircraft you mention of is an all composite fuselage, whereas the current fuselage on all 737's is metal. metal is susceptible to cracks and corrosion, it is very time consuming job to repair a crack in the skin, or replace a corroded part.
Then there is the weight factor. the "skin patch" or "skin patches" on the plane adds to more weight too.  Sheet metal is heavy, even the paint adds to the weight.

A composite fuselage is completely different, for one thing, it's far more lighter than metal and more durable. the weight difference alone will help save on fuel costs. Composites will need to be repaired too, especially if there a puncture, which induces moisture, which is not good. Composite repairs take time, they cannot be "hurried" up. If a composite repair requires a 4 hour "cook" time, before the repair is paintable, then you must wait 4 hours. Cut and dry.

I've only read one time about the order of airplanes, and have never seen it since, would LUV to get a copy of the article that i read it from.

On the flip side, it is exceedingly difficult to repair large composite bonded aircraft structures, making P.D.M. on such structures a nightmare from a longterm repair, maintenance, and sustainability standpoint.
I first forecast the EIS date of 2012 (which means a launch likely in 2008, perhaps 2007), and Southwest would order 400 about 5 years ago in the Yahoo Group "Orders". Original prediction was 20% to 25% improvement in fuel economy.  SW was not even flying 400 a/c then.

It will be the 787 team told to "once more, but smaller" for the 737 replacement.  At the current airshow, Boeing has already said that the 737 replacement will have a composite fuselage.

Tidbits keep leaking out.  PW said that it was told to have next generation small commercial engine ready for EIS 2012 as one example.

Yes, thats where i read it. in yahoo, under LUV headlines on the finance section. sure would like a copy of that article.
Composites crack as well and like some others have pointed out, it is much hardes to repair the composite material.  IMO I think the Boeing plane makes it.  There is nothing else that comes close in terms of efficiency gains and those will pay for the planes.  My issues are long term and I see someone paying a lot of maintenance costs.  So if that turns out to be the case, then all that's happened is a structural change as to who makes more money off the airlines.  Will it be the plane manufacturers, the gas co's, or the plane maintenance company?  
Boeing will sell FAA approved composite repair kits, and training seminars on how to use the kits.

At the airliens request, they are making the areas with greatest risk of "ramp rash" thicker.  Supposedly, sledge hammers bounce off those areas.

They also use a composite with mixed hard & soft spots, so cracks will not propagate.

This has been a decades long effort.  B-2 was first all composite a/c (a "flying wing").

And oh boy did the B-2 have humongous problems and obscene cost overruns. Some of these problems have not yet been resolved, and there is talk of grounding the plane (especially by pilots who dare not speak in public about this sacred cow of pork-barrel politics).
oh yea. it is said that a peice of the b2 is made in almost every state. this would make it imposible to kill the plane no matter how bad it's safty record.
B2 production were suspended after a handfull of aeroplanes and the production line is dead.
USA anyway got the worlds most powerfull military and why build more B2:s when you won the cold war?

I guess the reason I dont hear about any B3 project is the F-22 and JSF going over budget, the development of unmanned aeroplanes and you dont have to build the replacement yet if todays force of B52:s, B1:s and B2:s is enough.
Btw, the FB-22 idea looked reasonable.

What looks stupid from afar is that you did not change to modern engines on the B-52:s manny years ago, it could almost have paid for itself when oil were cheap and would have given much larger range and less service work although you would have had to buy parts and not draw on old almost unlimited stockpiles of engines.

Boeing offered to re-engine (4 replace 8) the B-52 fleet for a good % of the fuel savings years ago.  The USAF finally told them to stop bugging them about it.

Longer range, lower maintenance costs, shorter takeoffs*, better mission availability.  Just give Boeing most (not all) of the fuel savings. Win-Win (big win for Boeing as future results have shown).

*B-52s take the longest runways of anything flying (the Space Shuttle just drops, not flies), the world is littered with 10,000 to 14,000 foot runways just for B-52s.


Usually I am close to you in your thinking, but no B-2 has ever crashed and it flies incredible miles from Missouri to deliver payloads over Afghanistan. Are you speaking of the B-1 that has had some issues?

The last bomber I really liked was the B-36 "Peace Keeper."

Now there was a brilliant concept.

I say, convert its six prop engines and jets to ethanol (or maybe "bio-kerosene" for the jets), then put in sleeping berths and use it for long-range passenger travel at roughly 250-300 knots.

If some routes demand extra speed, then use the jets to go up above 400 knots (but not much more).

Land for fuel every now and then. Honolulu is in a good place, and so is Iceland--two of my favorite places to stop while changing planes or refuelling.

Sorry, the B-2 was not first with composite construction!
The first I can remember is the Variviggen which was followed by the VariEze. Both were homebuilt (experimental aircraft plans built) and both were designed by Burt Rutan. The same Burt Rutan that heads the company that designed and built Spaceship One and the round the world non-stop unrefueled aircraft a few years ago.
He and his company, Scaled Composites, were the first to delve into composite construction techniques. A lot of private citizens all over the world built those planes to plans and instructions suppled by Mr Rutans company. Go to any homebuilt flyin and you will see lots of them.
And the flying wing concept goes back to Northrup in the 50's and also a company in Germany (Horten)  in the early 40's.





Not too much new in the world these days is there.

Aren't the Japanese building the composite fueselage?
They and Topeka (former Boeing plant divested)and Italy.
I will just repost a post on another forum by Ed Tennyson, transit professional par excellance & about age 90.
Rail Energy Efficiency

In 1989 the American Planning Assoc- iation published Kenworthy &
Newman's report on motor fuel ccnsumption in major North American
metropoli. It showed that more passenger-mles on transit means less
motor fuel consumption by signifcant amounts. The metro areas with high
passenger-miles per capita were New York, Toronto, Boston.
Philadelephia, Washington, Chicago and the Bay Area,
The metro areas with high motor fuel consumption were Dallas,
Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles. Phoenix and Saint Louis. That
was 1989. Since then Dallas, Denver, Houston. Las Angeles and Saint
Louis have added Light Rail but only Dallas and Los Angeles have
multiple lines.

To see what has happened since 1989 I looked at the 2000 census,
APTA FACT BOOK and motor fuel consumption. I could not get a break down
by metro- politan ares but each state reports its consumption.,
DC (not a state) was low with only 343 gallons per capita, despite
its high congestion ranking. NewYork and Hawaii were almost as good
with 349 and 355. Califonia has improved to 384. Mass. with MBTA is at
500, Illinois with CTA and Metra burns 513, Pennsylvania with SEPTA and
Pat is 520, and Maryland with MdTA and WMATA is 553. Hawaii is in the
rail fuel efficiency group because it has no interstate highways and
water blocks auto travel. Alaska is fuel efficient also for lack of

The National average was 589. The rail areas' transif average was
430. Low income southern states with good ole boyz in pick-up trucks
were the shocker, They average 739 gallons per year per capita. MARTA
in Altanta is forbidden to serve the extensive suburbs so can not help
Georgia that much, Georgia has 8.4 million people only half a million
of which are in Atlanta. You can see why the oil companies and their
politicians are so opposed to rail transit. Rail transit makes huge
impact. Look how fuel consumption per capita fell in California as rail

With major rail areas 159 gallons per year per capita below national
average.and with motor fuel at $ 2.99 per gallon, each man, woman and
child is saving $ 477 per year because of rail transit, A family of
three is saving $ 1.431 per year. A Metro area with 2 million population
would save $ 964 million per year. That would pay for free rail

The savings are not just miles per gallon. The savings also include
Transit Oriented Development and fewer trips caused by transit's
inconvenience for making multiple trips. But people have lo use transit
to get the benefit, Too much inconvenience will waste fuel. Transit sort
of forces trip consolidation for users,

All voters need to know this, Our energy problem is real and
threatening wars.
E d T e n n y s o n

MARTA in Altanta is forbidden to serve the extensive suburbs so can not help Georgia that much

I wonder what is the claimed reason for this one. It is true - MARTA does not serve the suburbs in Atlanta. It strikes me as an utter stupidity because if you happen to work in downtown and live in a suburb, getting to work every day would look more like braking through a military blockade. Just considering the traffic here I suspect that a large percentage of these 3-4 million people would love to use it.

They do not, and did not want to in the past, help pay for MARTA.  A major reason (IMHO) was the illogical fear of "those people" coming into their suburbs.  A common reason to oppose mass transit BTW.

Perhaps the suburbs can join now, but, without a change in FTA procedures, they are looking at a decade or more.

This should be a good example of how one problem left lingering around causes many others more or less severe to appear over time.

You don't usually fight crime and racial unequalities by restricting mass transit, encouraging suburban sprawl and abondaning historic downtowns to wandering bands, but this seems to be exactly what is happening. Why not try with education? My experience with the gypsies (the problematic minority in Bulgaria) is that problems with the educated ones are very rare. Mandatory primary and secondary education works.

The situation with MARTA is a prime example of how bad the influence of the highway lobby can be.

When MARTA was first created, it was suppose to extend to all five of the core counties in the metro.  Three of the five counties, after agreeing to be part of the system, did not pass legislation to fund the system.  As a result, to this day some of those non-paying counties have representation on the MARTA board, where they've interfere with the operations of the system they don't pay into. One recently was found to have taken money from a vendor bidding on contract worth over $100 milllion for a new fare system.  When caught, the county he represents refused to remove him from the board.  The stayed on the board until he was arrested for not paying child support. And then it was only because there is a state law prohibiting child support non-payers from serving on state boards.

Though it is a state agency, MARTA receives no funds from the state for operations and only the occasional token earmark for special capital projects.  It is by far the largest transit system in the country with no operations funds from the state.  It is funded by the two core counties.

Despite having the best per passenger mile effiency in the country for its heavyrail, the people have been lead to believe it is a corrupt money pit.  

Though it is only funded by two counties (Georgia has small counties, thus metro Atlanta has close to twenty counties), it operates under a state charter.  As a result, the legislature is always causing trouble.  For example, by law only 50% of MARTA's income can be spent on operations.  As a result, the capital fund is flush with cash that can't be spent while the operations side is eating through the agency's reserve fund.  Bus routes have been eliminated and the frequency of buses and rail have been been greatly reduced.  This of course leads to less riders.  A few years back MARTA was able to get the legislature to agree to change the operations/capital ratio to 55/45.  When that provision was to expire this year, the legislature refused to renew it.  It wasn't until one of the very last days of the legislative session that the 55/45 ration was extended a couple more years.  In general, the fact that the agency isn't always to manage the opeartions/capital ratio itself is stupid.

The chair of the state legislature's oversight committee is the owner of a frameshop.  Apparently that gives her the business experience needed to tell a large transit system how to operate.  This past year her big thing was to try to get the agency to stop using fuel hedges to manage fuel costs.  To her, "it just doesn't seem to make sense".  I wish I was making all this up.  

Though the system is continually hampered by outside forces, it still is used for more trips per day (around 500,000) than the two most congested roads in metro Atlanta (GA400 and the northern side of 285) combined.  

Expansion is unlikely for many reasons.  The suburbs have been convinced that rail will destroy their property values and bring in crime.  The crime factor in the inner suburbs may become less of an issue since they are already seeing a huge increase in crime due to migration to exurbs, so crime can't be blamed on the transit system since it doesn't go out there.  Unlike the state DOT, the transit system does not have the power of emenent domain so it is nearly impossible to buy the required right of way.

The interference of the legislature and suburban counties with members on the board is not an accident.  These are all people in the pockets of highway builders.  They recently had a huge gala at the historic Fox Theatre in which the road builders invited the state politicians for a free party.  Members of the public had to pay $1000 per plate.  While Travis Trit sang onstage about highways (fact sometimes is stranger than fiction), the road builders chummed it up with the politicans enjoying their free concert and caviar.

Eventually it will come crashing down.  In just the past four years the state DOT has borrowed over a billion dollars and a third of the gas tax now goes exclusively to debt service.  Despite all the money sunk into roads, traffic congestion is only getting worse.  The latest projects are breathtaking in scope.  One would expand a suburban interstate to 23 lanes and cost 1.2 billion.  For a state of eight million, that's a pretty heafty price tag.  Sadly, it is only one of many such mega projects being pushed to build our way out of congestion.

Bizarre.  But presumably there is a perspective whence this all makes sense (corruption? NIMBY? cultural?) IOW, if this is to change, there are clearly issues to be addressed, whether they're reasonable or not.  What are those issues?  
EndineerAU, thank you for this precious information.

Obviously the situation is getting from bad to worse for this city. I had some interractions with the GA DOT some year ago and I am familiar with how these people work, but I had no idea that the situation is so dire. I can only hope that the recent cost overruns on highway construction and maintenance throughout the whole country would prevent those projects from ever taking off.

In general Atlanta's perspective post peak oil is not so bad - tha city has good mass transit that can be made much better, has no problems with water resources and is center of an agricultural state. In recent years it grew primarily as a transport and service center which may not be so good post peak, but on the other hand which US city can say it is well positioned post-peak economically? Detroit?

I live in the Atlanta area (Decatur) and find its post-peak prospects scary.  The area is a poster child for sprawl and one of the most car-dependent in the nation.  As noted above it would take years to add to MARTA rail even were that politically feasible, and bus service is poor.  There are ongoing disputes between GA, AL and FL over water from the Chattahoochee that provides Atlanta's drinking water, and we have had recurring drought problems in the last few years.  Not to mention poverty, crime and racial tensions in the inner-city areas all of which can only get worse with gasoline shortages/high prices.  I would leave in a heartbeat if I could convince my husband.    
Amen on that - the Army Corp of Engineers is in the process of draining lake Lanier to keep some stupid fish alive down river - is that wacked or what? Let the humans in Atl die off - but protect some endangered species. When I was student at Ga Tech in the early 70s, I had an Econ prof who said the only natural barrier to Atlanta's growth would be water.
On the subject of mass transit: There is a rail line that circles Atl called the belt line that could be used for part of a mass transit hub. But NOOOOO - the city is going to rip up the tracks to make a hiking trail. Oh well this is the same city that ripped up the street car tracks in the 50s or 60ss.
I think you have the various parts of the Beltline confused.  They are acquiring land for both a mutli-use trail and for transit.  Along most of the Beltline, both uses will be in the same corridor but in a few places, especially in the NW section, the transit and trail will split.  The city is buying the land but because transit take a lot of time to develop, the cycling/hiking trail is very likely to be finished first.  As far as any existing tracks go, I don't know if they are usable.  The gage might not be right for available rolling stock and could be structurally troublesome. The real issue to watch out for is the suburbanites who will want to turn the transit portion into a busway that could then become a vanpool lane, then HOV4, HOV3, and eventually just another road.  Buses will be cheaper from the capital expense side of things, but the operational expenses are much higher.  In the case of MARTA, the cost of transporting a person one mile on the bus is more than double that of the train.

The city is planning on bringing streetcars back to Peachtree Street.  The plans keep getting extended further north and south.  The city of Atlanta is actually doing quite a bit to reduce automobile dependency but it is metro Atlanta that is burying its collective head in the sand.

I disagree with your position. At some point, and it comes pretty soon, we have to learn to live with the limitations of resources we have. If you think the population can grow forever and everyone can use all the water, oil, etc they want you are obviously wrong. Not because of environmentalists or moralists, but because of physics, geology and real limitations. So some would have us push and push till the last tree, fish, and waterway is destroyed - but then guess what - you eventually run right into the same limitation anyway with no more wiggle room, except that you have lost what otherwise would have made for a desirable, sustainable living situation. You destroy resources like the Grand Banks fishery to get the last fish, and are left with far less than what you had before. You dam the last river and face the same shortage 5 years later anyway.
absolutely keep that "stupid" fish alive with that water...

just like I would advocate keeping the stupid salmon alive with the irrigation water in the Northwest...

much better use of that resource than as a means to fuel yet more sprawl

at some point it would be good to recognize that humans are the ONLY organisms on this planet that can actively, rapidly adapt their behavior.  Fish are absolutely not able to change their behavior - i.e. wake up one day and realize their conditions aren't that great anymore and then decide "hey - maybe I'll live on land from now on..."  No - they just keep living on instinct until one day they are dead - and the only option they had for saving themselves was evolution over millions of years... Far too little too late if you're the poor fish...

That's why I think we have an OBLIGATION to give that stupid fish at least some of the water...

One vote:  FISH


I lived in Decatur several years ago. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Took 4 or 5 light cycles to get across many intersections, the traffic was absolutely hideous, the trees were dropping limbs because of the low water table, it took my kids 45 minutes to get bussed to the local school, everybody drove through residential neighborhoods to avoid clogged arterial streets, those same neighborhoods installed speed bumps EVERYWHERE to deter this "cut-through" traffic.

I hope you get out. Life's too short.    

I would give up two thirds of my annual income for the privilege of moving away from Decatur. There may be worse places in the U.S., but I do not know where.
As a south Georgia native who frequently visits the greater Atlanta sprawl zone (in the southeastern US, all roads lead to Atlanta), I have to agree completely with Liz's analysis of Atlanta's prospects post-peak.  That is, not very good. Kunstler often cites Atlanta as an elegant example of a city in dire straights, and I agree.
Whither you and the kids go, he is likely to follow.

Or not.

I'm considering that approach.
I would disagree to the 'no problems with water resources' part. Atlanta is currently pretty much at max on their water consumption. They have been casting covetous eyes toward the Tennessee River which has prompted the Tennessee State Goverment to pass a law requiring state approval for any inter-basin transfer of Tennessee waters. Atlanta also has as Liz pointed out had major issues/law suits with Alabama and Florida over excessive outtakes from the Chattahoochie and Alcusa Rivers.
Plus most Global Warming models predict that most of Georgia will get much warmer and drier; fears are not allayed by the current heat wave and drought in the region....
I've often wondered how much of metro Atlanta's water problems are due to wasteful lawn watering.  Most suburban homes have huge yards filled with non-native grass.  just like the neighbor's yard, it must be watered constantly to keep it nice and green in the hot Georgia sun. Anyone with a brown yard is considered the dirtbag of the neighborhood.  The fields in which these suburban subdivisions were built did just fine with only natual water.  In drought, the plants died like they are suppose to.  When the drought would end, the plants would rebound.  I can understand irrigating for agriculture but to have a pretty lawn to keep up with the Jones seems stupid.

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I'm going to make a guess and say that if we stopped trying to have several million lawns that look like green Lego pads, the water problem would be greatly reduced.

In Florida, it's +/- 50%. Available somewhere at http://www.sjrwmd.org . This is probably based on newer homes with irrigations systems.
I second to that. In addition consider the land that is wasted in lawns and the related sprawl encouragement. IMO, lawns should be outlawed right now in the whole country and the construction codes should be changed to something more sustainable. Pity we can not outlow sheer stupidity too...
Thank you posters for the regional perspective. My perception is that my own area in San Antonio is particularly oil-addicted and water-stressed; after reading about Atlanta and Robert's impressions of LA a couple of days ago, it's clear to me that most of us will have the same problems dealing with depletion of energy and resources.  On a side note, very little planning or political wil here for light/heavy/medium rail. You can park  your hybrid downtown for free at the meters, though.
We Georgians may need to get serious about rainwater harvesting. Roof catchment plumbed to cisterns.  Even if our area gets drier in the coming years we should still get enough rain in 3 out of the 4 seasons to get us through ever drier summers.
I don't have the link but the state of Texas has some great rain water harvesting info.
Missed in this discussion is the point that Ed made that Urban Rail alters the fabric of the city it is in; and saves far more fuel than what it's passengers save directly by taking the train to work, shopping, the ball game, etc.  

The indirect fuel savings of Urban Rail dwarf the direct fuel savings.

I came across the an anti-peak oil site http://groups.google.com/group/Peak-Oil-Debunked?lnk=lr. Has this been discussed here? Are any of their points worth comments?
From here.
I began to see the doomer viewpoint for what it is: dogma. A dogma is something you have to believe, without questioning it. And I began to see the hidden agenda of the powerdowners, namely, to bring about their utopian vision of the neo-agrarian society, no doubt with themselves its leaders. They know that most people won't willingly accept a return to centuries past, because most people are like me. We like our modern first-world lives! Some of us wish more people in the world could have the same lifestyle, even if it means sharing what's available a bit better. But if people can be convinced that a powerdown is as unavoidable as gravity, they may bring it about simply by surrendering to it and not looking for alternatives. Scratch the surface of the powerdowner philosophy, and you'll find Marxism dressed up in radical environmentalism.
I can't speak for others, but I started writing about energy issues because I want to be King.  

Have you read my article on alpha males and peak oil? On this point, the above author actually does get it right, well sort of. My theory is that if a man goes into politics, he does it for one of two reasons: "to get p---y or steal money."* As you and I are both male, that applies to us too. For more on my theories:


*Clinton, Bush being two obvious examples.

There's a lot of truth in that article, I can't deny it. I owe you some email (soon).

Among certain segements of our society it is not socially acceptable to admit or cop to one's baser desires. So they get sublimated into things like "activism", "sustainability" and "community". To the genes, it's all the same: a fight for status which is really a fight for resources and mating partners.

If people were TRULY about the these things they would, at the very least, give up personal use of the car and all air flights as these are 2 of the worst, if the not the 2 worse activities, when it comes to the environment and social justict.* But few activists or sustainability advocates are willing to align their actions with their rhetoric. (I'm not so I quit the rhetoric.)

Eating beef and non-essential use the air conditioner are two other notorious offenders.

Genes? Or just the collective action problem? Individual's impact on total consumption is so small it doesn't make sense to conserve and cut back as you will have no meaningful effect anyway.
An individual that voluntarily reduces his consumption may not have much of an effect on the world but he definitely helps himself and others.  Serving as an example of how to act does influence others even if it is hard to see.  Anything saved thru conservation will be available to someone else that may need it more.  We have to start somewhere and our own actions are the best place to start.  I suspect TODers are good conservation role models for others.  When you personally achieve small conservation victories the larger problems don't seem as overwhelming to you.
"use of the car and all air flights", etc.

(I've used this example before but...) If a "typical" driver drives 15,000 miles per year, lives in, say Indiana, and takes 1 trip to the beach each summer (750 miles each way, 1500 miles total), then giving up that 1 trip would save him/her 10% of annual driving fuel consumption.

To your point, perhaps there are lots of "activists or sustainability advocates" that spend 51 weeks a year saving the planet in small ways and 1 week going on a vacation that negates their yearly savings in one blow -- without them realizing that they have blown it!

A sinister (right wing) person could compose a 'save the world' article which convinces those activists to stop vacationing altogether -- to save the planet! Thereby making vacations cheaper, less crowded, and more politically compatible for themselves.

You are right that it is all about total ecological footprint.  I think the sinister person is actually doing a different slight of hand with that though - implying that improving your practices in some ways is not good enough.

It's the old "making the perfect the enemy of the good" isn't it?

I'm afraid that is what some suggest, that an environmentalist must be perfect to be good.

My problem is that people can change their beliefs (a new environmentalist) and change their behavior (with a hybrid car) and then use their (big new) beliefs and their (small new) behavior as a justification for their preaching to others about how *they* must change.

Compare it to this...

By about 1980 there was no overall or even significant difference in the personal behavior (including sexual habits) of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, urban and suburban populations. -- John Lukacs, Yale historian
It's hard to put useful numbers on your "good" environmentalist, much less a "perfect" one.
My definition of "good" is easy enough, anyone who moves the mean in the right direction.  You can use whichever mean you like, gasoline per capita, swordfish per capita, etc.

But I never endorsed "must" .. my suggestion is that a happy lifestyle can have less of a footprint.  Heck, depending on where you are starting, it might even be happier.


So if a slaveowner who preaches about freedom and human dignity gives up only half his slaves is that him being "better but not perfect" or is he just flat out full of shit?

I say he's full of shit.  

That's quite an inflamitory example, perhaps intended to generate more heat than light.

But of he may be full of shit, while doing some good ;-)

According to George Monbiot, one perons' trip to Thailand will pump into the air an amount of C02 equivalent to an entire years of driving.

How many people who claim to be conservationists are taking enough (perhaps shorter) flights that they effectively wipe out all their efforts conserving elsewhere?

Of course, if you mention this to them they will come up with all sorts of rationales for their behavior. Human nature at its finest!

So this leads us to aggregate data. Or, whether FPL invests in one more wind farm or not is more important than all the vegetarian power-down eco-dudes out there.
Now if you fueled your nice slow PBY Catalina type planes with ethanol, you could have a long pleasant flight to Thailand, make a couple of fuel stops--and add not one whit to CO2 from burning fuel.

Ethanol is good.

What did you use to distill that ethanol?
Solar energy.
That would be nice to see ;-), Alan and I traded some back of the envelope stuff that showed a pretty huge investment required to approach a current plant's gallons per day output.
Pretty please with sugar on top: Read the book I recommended.

Solar energy for alcohol distallation has been around for a long, long time. It works. It is simple. It is robust.

You know Don, I think I'm in the middle computer age.  I'm older than the kids who text and IM, but young enough to be divesting myself of paper books.

Everything is going on-line.  As all through history, Sturgeon's Law applies, but what of it?  If there is good data out there, and you, or someone seeking to support your position, can find it.

IMNSHO an appeal that truth cannot be found on-line does not fly in 2006.

Now if you want to defend solar energy for alcohol distillation in (as I said) current production capacities, feel free to run the numbers.  I don't mind being wrong.  Heck, on the internets it is more of an accomplishment to be graceful in defeat than to be merely right.

Thank you.
If you check my comments, I think you may find that this year I have:
  1. Apologized more times than anybody else.
  2. Used the terms "please" and "thank you" as many times as anybody else.
  3. Learned an enormous amount.
  4. Checked out some hundreds of links.

Now, about Sturgeon's law:
"90% of everything is crud," was the exact wording, I believe, based on memory. (Sorry no link;-)
The problem I have with even the best websites such as TOD is that it is relatively hard to filter out the crud from the gold dust. O.K., I was born in 1940 and learned to do serious library research in 1953--doubtless that accounts for much of my bias. I know how to apply quick and efficient and easy filters to written materials (with the aid of reference librarians and colleagues of course).

Now, if you have some suggestions, I'm reading: How can I quickly and efficiently filter the crud from, for example, Wikipedia, which is not a bad site, but not to be spoken of in the same breath with the depth, breadth and accuracy of information to be found in even a small public library.

Now, when you consider the resources of a major university's library, it seems to me that it is simply wasteful of time to stagger knee deep or thigh deep or eye deep through the online crud.

With TOD I've gone to the silly length of memorizing about 100 names of the most stupid or most crazy posters, and then I do my best to scroll right past them. Efficient? No. But it works for me.

TOD is the only blog on my computer's "Favorites" list.

I haven't played with this yet, but here's one bet:


That's google's attempt to put scholarly works under one search page, and to filter out the more casual soruces.  Tons o' ethanol stuff there.

FWIW, I think the current generation of scientists is working to get it all on-line.

At some point, Google scholar will get beyond the Beta version. At some point we will be able to read online any book or journal article now in the Library of Congress or major University Library. We are, alas, at least twenty years from that date and possibly much more.

One of the hugest problems is that much of the best research was done fifty or seventy-five, and some even one hundred years ago. For comparison, recall how many decades the fundamental genetics paper of Gregor Mendel was ignored. It was "rediscovered" almost by accident simulaneously by three researchers and got modern genetics started. That kind of article was superlative research, but by its obscure nature and where it was published, it took a while to get noticed. Because of online obsessions with "the latest buzz," it is my impression that the online world largely overlooks most research that is more than twenty-five years old.

Another example: Suppose you wanted to replicate Kepler's work in which he established that the orbit of Mars was an ellipse. I challenge you to find instructions or discussions of how to do this or anything like that online. By way of contrast, at any major university library you can find multiple sources for this enormously important breakthrough in about ten minutes just by walking through the astronomy or history of science stacks. In other words, I claim that for many many important questions, online research just does not do nearly as well as doing it the old-fashioned way.

I will confess to the bias of being extremely proficient at doing library research. But let us not forget that for many applications the abacus is faster, more efficient, and less error prone than any electronic computer ever made. Should we therefore cancel our Internet connections? Of course not. But to me, the argument that only sources readily available online are somehow "worthy" simply falls to the ground upon close examination.

Everything is going on-line

Unfortunately NO!

No need to go back to century old reference papers to be hit by the problem.
In a different field (computer science) I have lots of late 70 or even some late 80 papers for which there is no availability on the web, or at best a quick mention on CiteSeer with the dreaded note Document Not in Database.
Nothing either on Google Scholar, CiteULike or Rexa.

Even when there is some "meat" here the problem becomes to sort out the usefull from the bulk.
I don't mean there is much crud at these places but the "race to publish" results in 15 variants of the same idea and you still have to pick the best out of those 15, which takes TIME!

IMNSHO an appeal that truth cannot be found on-line does not fly in 2006.

You are dangerously dazzled by the glitter of technology.

Alas, the web is the only way to have a shot at making everything available publicly. There is no library that can have every worthwhile article in stock, let alone every article that could be worthwhile.

I'm writing my dissertation now. To be able to use an article I need to find out where it could be, go there, find it, copy it and archive it at home. Very time and money intensive. While, if it is on the net, costs are reduced to electricity and computer - which are sunk costs for most researchers. That time can then be spent on pondering the validity of the articles: and that's far more important from a scientific viewpoint.

That time can then be spent on pondering the validity of the articles

Yes, yes, I do appreciate myself the enormous amount of "new information" which is easily and quickly available, yet you may not assume that "truth [that] cannot be found on-line does not fly in 2006".
I have found that in many cases I could witness this leads to "reinventing the wheel", a real waste of ressources and brainpower.

IMNSHO an appeal that truth cannot be found on-line does not fly in 2006.

You are dangerously dazzled by the glitter of technology.

I'm making a slightly different claim than as implied above.  Not that every paper is on-line, but that some equivalent is on-line.  Do you think I'm jumping the gun on that?

I'm looking at it as a 20+ year net user, who has seen rare domain-specific "full text databases" passes and surpassed by the uncoordinated mess that is the web.  It's a mess, but it's a huge mess.

It's possible that I was thinking of topics of interest a few days ago (like the alt-energy trend we are in toda) ... but I find it hard to be stumped on a web search these days.

(i'm on vacation only checking in now and then)

You are continuing a fallacy.  Is the "environmentalist" ahead of the guy who did not conserve all year, and took the same flight?

You seem to have it in your head that environmentalism is in pursuit of a moral, rather than practical, goal.


How many people who claim to be conservationists are taking enough (perhaps shorter) flights that they effectively wipe out all their efforts conserving elsewhere?

I don't know, do you have data?  Or are you pulling that out of your ass?

I remember an interview from this past spring (if memory serves) on NPR of the head of the (I think) Natural Resources Defense Council. The discussion was a review of the benefits of recycling. At one point the head of the NRDC said that recycling glass doesn't really have any benefit, but that he thought it was "good" for the public to do it anyway.

In general, I believe, that leaders of movements, NGOs, political parties, etc push the agendas that they believe will benefit society (and usually the disadvantaged more than others), but that they also "throw in", like this NRDC guy, some "extras". Those "extras" are just conceit. Unaffiliated people generally have good conceit detectors and recoil at these little add-ons. We all have a little of this conceit, but we shouldn't try to foist it upon others.

Having a science/engineering background my initial thoughts on reading this are how the glass thing could possibly be true - thinking that there must be low-grade glass uses, and that the energy balance must be better than refining from silica sand ... who knows, maybe he wasn't thinking of energy, but the "harmfulness" of extra glass in then environment.  Other than being sharp it is very inert.

Double but, that's not where you're going is it? ;-)

I don't have a real comment on leaders of movements, other than to say they seem to share some traits, regardless of what the movement is (environmental, political, lifestyle, ..)

True, that one 1500 mile trip ate up 10% of annual miles driven.   But the more interesting point, to me, is that the cost of that trip in gasoline at $3/gal assuming 35 mpg (he's a "sustainability advocate", remember) is less than $150, not much for the big annual holiday.  Even more interesting: at $10/gallon, the gas cost would be about $500.  Considering that the cost of lodging and food for a family of four on such a trip is probably $500 per day (if they are frugal), you can see how unlikely it is that "shocking" escallations in oil price from current levels will have much impact on American driving habits.  Not too many folks will cancel a $4,000 annual family vacation just because the cost of gasoline went up by $350.  

And, yes, the cost of food and lodging also would go up because of a general inflationary trend.  On the other hand, so would the family's wages.

So the most consumption reduction will come about the hard way: by lack of spending money.
Wages have been stagnant in the lower 80% of earners for nearly 3 decades.  So are we only discussing the top 20%?
tate423, The specifics of my example are from my wife's aunt going to Myrtle Beach. She is an organist in a church. I do believe that she is in the top 20%, but you never know.

oilaholic, I also don't think that the trips would get cancelled just because of the $350 gas. But you don't seem to recognize that other costs at the beach would rise perhaps more than the "general inflationary trend". Beaches have very little in resources or manufacturing, so *everything* gets driven out there -- including the employees, who cannot afford to live there.

To counter your idea that the family's wages would go up, I think the general problem could be one of "stagflation" -- where wages do not rise as fast as prices.

"My theory is that if a man goes into politics, he does it for one of two reasons: "to get p---y or steal money."

This is brilliant and enlightening.  I had always wondered why an incredibly intelligent man with a degree in Nuclear Physics such as Jimmy Carter would decide to be governor and president.  

Nixon, Carter, Reagan 1, Reagan 2, Bush, Clinton 1, Clinton 2, Bush 1, Bush 2

Notice a general pattern, dino? Of the last 9 administrations, 8 of their cheif executives have cleary been there to get p---y or steal money, Carter possibly being the one exception.

Do you seriously believe Ronald Reagan ran for president to become richer?

Questionable premise.

Fallacious argument.

No evidence at all.

judge somebody by their actions. "the fruit of the tree." Reagan/Bush and their cronies stole money, slashed social programs and rerouted it to their rich cronies in the defense industry.
And your reputable sources for these claims are:
Thank you for filling in the blanks.
I don't think he became president for money. He was obviously ambitious and had a vision he wanted to promote. I disagreed with his policies however. I believe the exaltation of greed as a core American value really took off with his policies and attitudes. I don't think I'll go further though - maybe not right for this forum.
What proof do YOU offer that said administration DID NOT?

No convictions in the legal system - is that the standard you wish to use?

I honestly do not think Reagan was a "bad" guy. I think he really believed in his fairy tale 1950s vision of a better America. And it was a compelling vision as the election results showed. I do think that those around him exploited him as you suggest, but I don't think Reagan did any of that deliberately. He ran on this idealistic (and impossible) platform and then as Alzheimer's progressed, he was exploited by those around him who continued to use him as a talking head.
consciously, he was out to "make America a better place." I think his self-deception muscles were quite strong, strong enough he actually believed this. But like I said, I judge a tree not by its intentions but by the fruit it bears. And in the case of Reagan's tree that fruit was money being stolen.
I've always wondered whether Reagan's "vision" or luck caused him to propose Star-Wars missile defense programs at the right time that caused the Soviets to respond with spending that sunk them into collapse. Would it have happened anyway?
Who came up with the canard that the US caused the USSR to spend itself to death? Why does it still have reflexive credence?
The USSR had been sick for decades. Brezhnev was a dimwitted. limited man. Soviet spending followed Soviet imperatives. USSR collapsed when it was going to collapse.
Star Wars yielded very little. Since it produced so little that was tangible, there was no need for the Soviets to respond.
Have you read Orlov's comparisons of the US and USSR?  There's something to be said for the idea that both countries shot themselves in the foot while running in the arms race.  
Replace "Reagan" with "Hitler", "America" with "Germany" and "Alzheimer's" with "Parkinson's". Do you recognize a pattern?
Yes. Human beings get sick and then they die.
Reagan was paid $8 million by the Japanese in his first month out of office to give a few speeches. Daddy Bush and Clinton have also cashed in post presidency. Dubya will probably recieve tens of millions from the Arabs in Feb 09 for giving a few speeches. Nixon and Carter did all right by writing books also.
Reagan was pretty far gone in Alzheimers by the time he left office. It probably began afflicting him early in his first term.

I find your premises highly questionable.

Do you seriously believe Ronald Reagan ran for president to become richer?
Questionable premise.

Really.   Huh.   Interesting claim.

I'd like to see reasons as to WHY Mr. Reagan was different than other presidents.

Please show in  your proof how keeping his salary shows it was 'not about the money'.

The base premise that human motivation is about money holds.
The base premise that politions have used their position to create income oppertunities for themselves also holds.

The proof that Mr. Regan is different is up to you, as you call the premise 'questionable'.

"Notice a general pattern, dino? Of the last 9 administrations, 8 of their cheif executives have cleary been there to get p---y or steal money, Carter possibly being the one exception. "

If you had said the last 9 presidents of the United States are only there for those two persuits (one of which is entirely legitimate BTW), then you have a case.  If you limited to federal office, maybe you could attempt an argument.  But, you said all of politics.  I could never be a politician, but I work with a lot of local ones and I can tell you that they get neither rich, nor much p---y.  Most are there because of what they believe in (good or bad depending on your perspective).


that just means there not very good at what they do.

Completing you list to go back as far as Nixon, what about Gerald Ford? [Maybe you would list him in a subheading under Nixon #2?]

If personal enrichment and pursuit of the opposite sex make for problematic motivation, you should have continued through LBJ and JFK respectively. OTOH if Carter's heart was pure, maybe we need SOBs.

BTW, I agree with DON Sailorman on Ronnie. IMO [in no way provable -- at least by me] his main motivation was an intense hatred for commie ideology.

My nominees for the most recent U.S. presidents whose motives I cannot understand I would offer Carter and Eisenhower.

There are several excellent and reliable biographies of Ike.

The definitive work on Carter has not been written, but in my opinion he is

  1. A genuinely sincere Christian in the true spirit of Jesus
  2. Honest
  3. Relatively poor, largely due to extreme generosity
  4. A guy I'd like to meet and spend a weekend with
  5. The only case I can think of where a failed president went on to a long and magnificent and highly productive further life of public service and a beacon of light for reason and compassion in the world. Give us twenty Jimmy Carters, and we could change the world.
  6. The president with the highest Stanford Binet I.Q. in the White House during the twentieth century, with the possible exception of Woodrow Wilson--another failed president.

BTW, stereotypes to the contrary, Reagan was extremely intelligent and hard working. It is too soon to judge him a great president, but as with Harry Truman, his stock as a president seems to be in a long-term bull market. More than anybody else, he does indeed deserve the credit for destroying the Evil Empire--and then making friends with Russia--magnificent achievements, both.
No diagreement except:
(i) the net effect of Carter's probably well meaning post presidential activism. [I wish that he would evidence a lot more scepticism when dealing with left leaning movements.] and;
(ii) his beliefs / positions voiced during the "energy crisis" of 1970s which I personally believe placed the timing of the oil [but not the natural gas] crunch far too early. His positions in effect amounted to crying "wolf" without pointing out the the "wolf" although present and dangerous was on the horizon ... not at the door.
The question that remained un-asked in my last post. What in your opinion made DDE tick? Comparisons of Kay Summersby [spelling] versus Mammie excepted [my own variant of "don't ask don't tell" / expound.] :-) !!!
All I can say is go to amazon dot com or a similar site, type in Eisenhower or something like that, then look through customer reviews of maybe ten of the most popular biographies of Ike. I've read three very good ones, and there are more than that. To fairly judge a prominent person, I think three biographies are a reasonable minimum requirement, because biographers--even the best ones--have different views and different blind spots.

For examples, I've read a dozen biographies of Churchill, four on John Maynard Keynes, including all of the three-volume definitieve masterpiece, at least six on Freud, three or four on Marx, and more than twenty books by or about Albert Einstein. With a lot of help from my physicist friends, I first mastered the Special Theory of Relativity and then struggled thirty years to get a full grasp on the General Theory. But now that I've got it, it is there. After all, you never know when you might want to whip out something from the General Theory to impress beautiful and brilliant women physicists, of whom I happen to know two.

Topnotch biographies are some of the best reading in the world.

Cause when he got his degree there not much call for nuclear engineers - except to work on a sub - which he did. As a GA resident I can say that JC was perfectly suited to be a pol since he wasn't too bright. Most of us were quire surprised when the rest of the US elected him.
I thought good old Jimmy had a peanut farm. I suspect he still does.
Actually he has a winery now - how is that for southern baptists joining the mainstream!
Carter is the brightest President we have ever had. For starters, I don't think a dummy would have been able to be qualified as a nuclear engineer.  And what is Bush's claim to fame?
He ran a failed oil business.
Strategery thats what!
He hit the trifecta (lucky him!)
He did not lust in his heart.
He is the decider and the bring it on man.

I guess the operative word here is "we" as I thought of Wilson, Teddy, Jefferson, possibly Hoover for raw intelligence.

Bush did learn to fly a plane at supersonic speeds. I think the word is ignorant in his case.

This reminds me of a great Futurama episode.
Season 3 Episode 15

[He presses a button and a film title, I Dated A Robot!, appears on the screen. In the movie a couple sit in a cafe and stare into each other's eyes. A narrator walks into the scene.]

Narrator: [in movie] Ordinary human dating. It's enjoyable and it serves an important purpose. [He turns the table over and a crying baby appears. He turns it back again.] But when a human dates an artificial mate, there is no purpose. Only enjoyment. And that leads to ... tragedy.

[The woman behind him turns into a blank robot and the man downloads a celebrity onto it.]

Billy: [in movie] Neat-o! A Marilyn Monroe-bot!

Monroe-bot: [in movie] Ooh! You're a real dreamboat, (mechanical voice) Billy Everyteen.

Narrator: [in movie] Harmless fun? Let's see what happens next.

[The scene cuts to Billy's bedroom where he kisses the Monroe-bot. His mother walks through the door.]

Billy's Mom: [in movie] Billy, do you want to walk your dog?

Billy: [in movie] No thanks, Mom. I'd rather make out with my Monroe-bot.

[Enter his dad.]

Billy's Dad: [in movie] Billy, do want to get a paper route and earn some extra cash?

Billy: [in movie] No thanks, Dad. I'd rather make out with my Monroe-bot.

[The girl from the cafe, Mavis, walks in.]

Mavis: [in movie] Billy, do you want to come over tonight? We can make out together.

Billy: [in movie] Gee, Mavis, your house is across the street. That's an awfully long way to go for making out.

Narrator: [in movie] Did you notice what went wrong in that scene? Ordinarily, Billy would work hard to make money from his paper route. Then he'd use the money to buy dinner for Mavis, thus earning the slim chance to perform the reproductive act. But in a world where teens can date robots, why should he bother? Why should anyone bother? Let's take a look at Billy's planet a year later. [The scene changes and a foam hand rolls across an empty football field.] Where are all the football stars? [The foam hand drifts across an empty laboratory.] And where are the biochemists? [The scene changes to a split screen of human and robot couples making out on beds.] They're trapped! Trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips. All civilisation was just an effort to impress the opposite sex ... and sometimes the same sex. Now, let's skip forward 80 years into the future. Where is Billy?

[The scene changes to a post-apocalyptic world. Billy is an aged man but still with his Monroe-bot and still making out with her.]

Billy: [in movie] Farewell!

[He dies.]

Narrator: [in movie] The next day, Billy's planet was destroyed by aliens. [A fleet of flying saucers destroy buildings with laser shots.] Have you guessed the name of Billy's planet? It was Earth. Don't date robots!


GREAT link. I'm going to incorporate it into an article I'm writing entitled, "Why Your Daughter is a Stripper: The Social Costs of a High-Tech Lifestyle."

The basic point is that prior to air conditiong, cell phones, etc, parents and grandparents had much greater oversight over their kids. Grandparents,for instance, would sit on the porch when it got hot while the kids played outside. So if your daughter was hanging out with Joey No Good you were going to find out from somebody and could go kick someass. Today, the grandparents and the kids are in their own air conditioned cells and you don't know whose calling cause your daughter has a cell phone so it's a free-for-all.

Don't knock stripping. My former student (with a four point zero GPA and EE degree from Michigan Tech) makes more than a hundred grand in cash each year stripping, meets interesting rich men, works maybe thirty weekends a year and her price for sex with guys she likes went up to six thousand a night (plus posh expenses including veddy veddy expensive clothes right of the jet from Milan). She plans to put the money into real estate after it crashes, and she also just gave her mom a nice 250,000 dollar little cottage as a gift. Her mom pretends to believe she is an engineering consultant.
I'm not knocking it from a financial perspective. However, your example is like me pointing to Derek Jeter and saying "don't knock major league baseball" and talking about his $18 million a year salary even though about 1,000 new minor leaguers are signed to contracts each year and most never make more than $800 a month.

And as Chris Rock said, "they don't give out grades for fathers but if your daughter grows up to be a stripper, you f--ked up."



"And as Chris Rock said, "they don't give out grades for fathers but if your daughter grows up to be a stripper, you f--ked up."

Right, but this one did not grow up to be a mere stripper, but a prostitute

There are much worse jobs than working at the Mustang ranch.

Take coal mining for example. Or picking tomatoes by hand sixteen hours a day in 120 degree temperatures of Calif.'s central valley. Or working at an inner-city school where murders and rapes of teachers are routine. Or being a highway patrolman and mopping up the human hamburger before the ambulance gets there.

Not all of us can be lawyers and brokers and petroleum geologists. Come to think of it, I know a couple of geologists (not in petroleum) who were crippled on the job and damn near killed in the field.

For that matter, when my father did his fieldwork in anthropology he got malaria and amebic dysentery both--and quinine and atabrine did not work for the malaria. Took four years to get over the dysentery that nearly killed him, but that of course was long before we had the current generation of powerful drugs that usually work. It is not just Indiana Jones who found fieldwork dangerous--so did his Dad;-)

O.K. Stop me if I'm taking you out of context here... My original reply was a comment on "a fathers pride" in what his children do for a living when they grow up.

I'm trying to imagine a conversation you might have with your daughter, if you have one based on your comment that teaching in a ghetto is a nasty job. She has just earned her teaching certificate, but the only school that is offering her a position for the fall is lets say in the Bronx, or some other "rough neighbourhood"

Would you be saying something to her like:

"You know dear, you really might want to consider prostitution instead of teaching. It's legal in parts of Nevada, They have big strong bouncers in all the bordellos, and I think you even get paid extra if the client wants anal. In fact with looks like yours you might even be able to make it as a high end escort, I could pass your card around to some of my rich friends at the yacht club, you'd be making 100K a year in no time."

The only job on your list I have done is ambulance attendant. Yes, human bodies are messy and smelly when you split them apart in a road trauma and I still have the occasional bad dream about that stuff, but absolutly no regrets about having done that work.

What do you really know about what it is like to work in a bordello?

Mildly offensive:
Woody Allen, from Deconscructing Harry, after sleeping with a prostitute:
     "Doesn't your work get you down?"
     "It's okay. Beats the hell out of waitressing."
     "It's funny. Every hooker l meet says it beats the hell out of waitressing. Waitressing's got to be the worst job in the world."
Deconscructing?" Whatever. You get the point.
I've worked in three of them.
Am I getting this right? In response to john milton's query upthread you are stating that you worked in three bordellos? What sort of work did you do there? After working in one of these establishments you found the life sufficiently compelling that you went back and tried it two more times? Elsewhere on the thread you mention an ex-student who worked as a stripper, I would imagine that if you worked in bordellos you would know many sex workers and have stories to tell. Please do put some of those stories into the fabulous Sailorman Saga.
Would you be saying something to her like:

"You know dear, you really might want to consider prostitution instead of teaching..."

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. But, come to think of it, this must be more like serving in hell.
strippers are created by too many hugs or not enough.  I've dated six and they all were either molested or grew up without a dad or both.  
Anecdotal, all.

How about letting people make choices, instead of believing everyone is "made" by their childhood traumas?

We are all a product of our own personal experiences.
I wish I could live in your fantasy world to really believe that past experiences have NO influence on future choices.
Please point out where I said "past experiences have no influence on future choices."
You really shouldnt have...

How about letting people make choices, instead of believing everyone is "made" by their childhood traumas?

How about letting people make choices

here's the choices part which indicates a future action, namely to choose

everyone is "made" by their childhood traumas

A childhood trauma is a past experience

So now together we have a childhood trauma is a past experience that can lead to a different perception of the world we live.

oilrig medic knows what he's talking about.
My coach thought I could make it as a knuckle ball pitcher.
I wish I had had the courage to try out for professional baseball at least once. But when young I feared failure.

Then after I failed at many many things about sixteen hundred times or so, I got used to failure and getting back up off the ground time after time after time.

Matt, I took intermediate tennis SEVENTEEN TIMES, and finally could beat most of the varsity players.

I hearby challenge you to a five-set singles tennis match, preferably on a windy day, when I have evil tricks known to few.

My approach is to break the other player's concentration, and I know more than a hundred effective ways to do this without breaking the letter of the rules. Thus, not only will this old man wipe you off the court, he will utterly humiliate you in front of beautiful and athletic rich women tennis players.

Are you ready for this?

Have racket, will travel.

Yeah right Don. I know an ex-stripper too, since high school. Made a lot of money. Quit after ten years 'cause she got tired of going to co-workers funerals. Easy money. Sure.
And the interesting rich men. Lots of them in strip clubs. Everyone I know who's loaded and has a rich interesting life hangs out in strip clubs.

There is this guy who teaches dating skills based on the facts you exposed before:


If after reading this page you want to go to my Full Blown Website Click here

I'm R Don Steele.   Author of the NUMBER ONE dating book at Amazon!

In this course you will find the secrets to successful dating. The principles are simple. They are in nature all around us. In nature, females choose the Alpha male. For you to have the widest selection of females to choose from, you must display that you are the Alpha male.
How do you do this? It's communicated to the females by the way you dress and the way you conduct yourself. If you dress well, conduct yourself in a "manly" manner, you will be successful.

This course addresses the following -

Dress like a MAN. In the first 3 seconds, a woman will quickly scan you up and down, then look at your hair, belt and shoes. Within those 3 seconds she will have a feeling in her gut about whether she wants to meet you or not.
If your shoes are shabby and hair needs cutting, she will see that you cannot even take care of yourself, hence you could not take care of her. Remember - what drives her behavior is SEX. Deep in her bones, each man she looks at must be capable of being a father to her children. Even is she is 24 and KNOWS she will have 20 boyfriends before getting married at 30, she is still driven by her DNA to pick those men that "could" be good fathers to her children & take care of her. She cannot help but comply with her DNA, any more than we men can control our urges.

        Tom Leykis interview (free)   CLICK HERE to listen.
Hear Don interviewed on Tom's radio show. Don discusses why women wish to date older men.   It does not require money or power. It requires you to be a MAN. Dressed well and confident.



I am NOT Don Steele and you can never find evidence to prove the contrary;-)

But he has made tons of money with advice such as
lose weight
shave your nose and ear hair

With genius insights such as these, he has created a very lucrative business for himself.

Da*n, I should write a how to pick up women best seller. The problem is that it is so easy for me I cannot figure out how taller handsomer and richer guys so often strike out when I often succeed in leaving a party with the most strikingly beautiful woman who was there.

I think the big thing is that beautiful (lookalikes for movie starlets) do not scare me, and I actually look them in the eye rather than down the cleavage. Women do not like to talk about peak oil. No, most of them are eager to tell you about their horrible ex-husbands or Anal pore ex-boyfriends.

So don't be a jerk. Right there you are ahead of maybe 89% of single guys. Some women would say ahead of 99%.


You really need to take a look at the "male seeking woman" personals on Craigs List.  Anytime I feel the LEAST bit insecure about myself I check those ads and end up feeling a whole let better. A significant percentage of them are so bad they're funny.

The female version of that is myspace.com I swear sometimes I think it's a competition to see who can post the least classiest profile possible.  I'd say at least 10% (if not more) are so bad I end up saying to myself, "I can't believe anybody would post this publicly."

As far as women and peak oil: I don't talk about beyond these boards with men or women.

In a social situation I almost always aim for the most attractive single woman in the room. Contrary to stereotype, I have found a (weak) correlation between extreme beauty and high intelligence.

However, I have dated plain women and one ugly one who could beat me in martial arts, dive under the hood of any stalled car and fix it in 90 seconds flat with chewing gum and bobby pins, and she cooked Swedish potato pancakes to die for. I would have asked her to marry me, but she did not want to have any children, and always I have thought it my moral duty to have many children to improve the quality of the gene pool;-)

I was in his newsgroup and he is VERY good.

Years ago an ex girlfriend casually opened a book from my bookshelf and showed me indignant a ticket to a spa given to me by a previous girlfriend, which I absolutely forgot about.
I knew that she must had been peeking around and I felt sick about her attitude.  

With Steele I learnt that it was just in her genes. In fact every female does the same.

He wrote Office Politics, too. Worth a try.

Matt - I've read several of these analyses of people's motivations, and I won't say that there isn't something useful in them, interesting, or that they aren't true.  But they strike me as oversimplifications.  Like the blind men and the elephant, each understands a bit about a portion.  Their view may be correct, as far as it goes, but it is not complete.  Sometimes when you simplify things down too far, you get to the point where you say "yeah, so what?" - The answer is no longer useful.  

As a parallel, in science you can often get complex equations where each part represents something tangible - you can understand what it means because you can see how the parts fit together and interact.  Often, such an equation can be simplified much further, into a more compact form - but then you cannot visualize it at all.  f(x)=f(x) is true, but not very useful.

Actually, all of symbolic logic and math rests on the identity theorem that A is identically equal to A, first clearly stated by Aristotle who then went on to more or less invent symbolic logic and hence the foundation of all mathematics.

Yet he considered himself primarily a marine biologist, secondarily generalist philosopher, and thirdly a collector of whatever odd stuff (e.g. rare sponges) he could finagle his students or former students such as Alex the Great to bring to him from far places.

Oh, incidentally, he also invented the scientific method, research labs and recognized that if qualified philosophers cannot replicate a finding, then it isn't science.

He was a great listener--the only one of Plato's students who was able to endure an eight-hour nonstop lecture on the soul.

Plato's idea of the soul is fascinating, so long as you understand he meant it as a poetic metaphor and explication of ethics--not meant to be taken literally.

Aristotle had a very different conception of the soul and claimed that plants and animals had souls (vital spirits) that died. He flat-out denied immortality of the soul on the very reasonable grounds that body and soul intermingle and interact, and so when the body dies, so does the soul.

I've always wondered what would have happened had Christianity been created by Aristotelians rather than the neoplatonist theologians created created the early dogmas.

BTW, Aquinas, greatest of Roman Catholic theologians and alltime great philosopher (and the second fattest philosopher in history, not far behind 300+ pound David Hume) was an Aristotelian and believed that the soul did not enter the fetus until sixty days after conception (which is what Aristotle had stated fifteen hundred years earlier) and hence early term abortion was not a sin. Then, as so often has happened, the RC Church flipflopped on its dogma not all that long ago.

Ah...Well , since you bring up Aquinas:

Just War Theory

Just war theory tackles the question as to under what circumstances it is legitimate to go to war. Though there are earlier references of the ethics of warfare, Thomas Aquinas's account in his Summa Theologica provided the basis on which just war theory is based. The theory developed by Thomas and his followers identifies various specific conditions that must be met if a war is justly to be waged.

Just Cause
The first condition that must be satisfied before war can legitimately be declared is that there must be just cause for the war. It is wrong to wage war without sufficient reason.

Sufficient reason certainly includes self-defence against an act of aggression, but what else might provide just cause for a war is difficult to discern. Defence of others against an aggressor nation may well be sufficient justification for war. It is less clear whether pre-emptive strikes against a nation that may or may not pose a threat meet this condition.

Proper Authority
The second condition is that war must be declared by a proper authority, a representative of a nation. Neither you nor I can declare war; that is a matter for governments. There are, however, circumstances where it is unclear whether a government represents its people. A dictator King, who rules by fear, or a democratically elected government acting against the wishes of the  

electorate, arguable do not represent those whom they govern. Whether they can justly declare war is therefore questionable.

Right Intention
If a war is to be just then the third condition that must be satisfied is that it must be waged with the right intentions. If a nation has just cause to declare a war, but its real reason for doing so is simply to further its own interests or to inflict suffering upon a hated enemy, then the war is not just. Traditionally, it has been held that the right intention must be a desire for peace.

Probability of Success

A fourth condition for a just war is that there must be some likelihood of success. There is no justice, it is held, in a government resisting a superior power only for its people to be utterly crushed. For a war to be just, the chances of it achieving its aims must be significant.

The last of the conditions of traditional just war theory is proportionality. This condition is violated if the bad effects of waging a war are likely to outweigh the good that it achieves.

Aristotle favored the position taken by his teacher Plato and his teacher Socrates: You fight to the death for your city. If you lose, you lose honorably, as did the Trojans who got the Iliad largely from their hopeless bravery.

Courage was a virtue for Aristotle inseperable from temperance, justice, and prudence--which were, according to him, one big ball of wax.

In other words, cowardice excluded the possibility of justice AND temperance and prudence. Now if courage was taken to far, only then was it rashness and hence (by definition) a perversion of a virtue into a vice.

The most exciting trend in ethics today is IMO the "virtue ethics" of the past sixty years, beginning with my favorite female philosopher Phillipa Foot and including a bunch of Catholic philosophers, Mortimer Adler, and a whole bunch of relatively young and original and exciting women such as Julia Annas, who wrote the excellent MORALITY OF HAPPINESS.

I beg to differ. I will stick with the Venerable Thomas.
A man whose time has(even still)yet to come.
After 9/11 , Afganistan could be easily deemed Just.

Iraq , I think, cannot be deemed just.

Lebanon currently fails proportionality.

Would it really fail proportionality? I mean this is an ESCALATION of events.  You can't draw a line and say this caused that.  Maybe directly that day it caused it, but there are so many events that have lead us to this.  For once Israel left Gaza and the very next day(or same day, but damn not even a couple of days) Hamas uses a underground tunnel that took TIME to develop to steal an Israeli soldier.  Then Hezbullah took some more.  So for once Israel tried to methodically leave, only to be baited again.  Their response now is a culmination of the smaller events and IMO in proportion.
The Canadians would disagree.  They have lost seven civilian citizens to Isreali attacks, more civilians than Isreal has lost.
Something nice for a change. A new Ocean is being created.

(regretably not between Isreal and Lebanon...)


Geology trumps all

Don't forget the six Brazilians. Or the two Koreans

Of course this is just and proportional if you figure that the Israelis know what they're doing, the Mossaad is all-wise and that Canadians are terrorists too.

They talk funny, don't they?

This indeed a very tricky question (for those of us indulging in red wine and edam while the world burns).

Isreal's act of withdrawl from the occupied territories was met by Palestinian cross border attacks almost from day 1, The kidnapping of IDF soldiers from the rightful side of the Isreali border by 1) Hamas and 2) Hezbullah was a provocation to an extreme.

So, is the current war of escalating fire power justified?

I still think not.

Isreal is killing women and children, (as indeed are Hezbullah). They are doing it over 3 kidnapped IDF boys. The lot of soldiers in this sorry world is to fall. Now, I know the NOK of these boys must be in an agony best not felt, but I cannot imagine that even they (the NOK) think that dead innocents on either side are worth it, or will resolve the situation or will bring the boys back. The boys are in the hands of very sinister and evil cats-paws of even worse puppet - masters

Israel would have gained the moral high ground more by staying its hand (This time). As a schoolboy I remember seeing live on tv (aren't we civvies so lucky to live in this comforatble, modern world?)the attack on Isreal in the Yom Kippur. Watching aghast, I saw a nation invaded and  I believe the stated intention of the invaders was to drive Isreal into the sea. Later , in amazement, that same invaded nation took apart the invaders. Where most kids had the Che poster, I had a poster of Moshe Dayan. Isreal held world opinion as a David against Goliath.

But bombing dairy farms and killing women and children is not proportional , just, or even sensible.

Hezbullah has got exactly what it wanted out of this low-cost psy-op.


If you could use spellcheck, it would be helpful in your argument.

You might want to checkout that right wing source, the NYT today:

Hassan M. Fattah, The New York Times:
With the battle between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah raging, key Arab governments have taken the rare step of blaming Hezbollah, underscoring in part their growing fear of influence by the group's main sponsor, Iran.

Saudi Arabia, with Jordan, Egypt and several Persian Gulf states, chastised Hezbollah for "unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts" at an emergency Arab League summit meeting in Cairo on Saturday.
The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel, "These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them." Prince Faisal spoke at the closed-door meeting but his words were reported to journalists by other delegates.

The meeting ended with participants asserting that the Middle East peace process had failed and requesting help from the United Nations Security Council.

It is nearly unheard of for Arab officials to chastise an Arab group engaged in conflict with Israel, especially as images of destruction by Israeli warplanes are beamed into Arab living rooms. Normally under such circumstances, Arabs are not blamed, and condemnations of Israel are routine.

But the willingness of those governments to defy public opinion in their own countries underscores a shift that is prompted by the growing influence of Iran and Shiite Muslims in Iraq and across the region.

I thought Israel pulled out of Gaza (but still controlled it and restricted movement) last summer.  Don't forget they shelled a Gaza beach in June, killing 9 civilians, then refused to admit it.
It's like I've woken up in a parallel universe.  

The strongest military machine in the Middle East with its history of invasions, illegal occupations, and racist intimidation, is portrayed as the "victim of provocation".  And the "victim" propoganda is going on while this military machine methodically destroys a weak neighbor's civilian infrastructure and hundreds of its people:


Israel takes prisoners from Palestinian territory all the time and it freaks out when the reverse happens to a couple of its soldiers?!  And that is supposed to justify such vindictive destruction?!  It's like some guy slapping you in the face and you shooting him and his family dead, then saying "officer, I was provoked!"

I have to say I expected more thoughtful analyses from this web site.  After all, with so many posters having worked in the oil industry and travelled through the Middle East, one would expect a better understanding of what is really going on.  

Anyone who has been to Israel and its territories knows the degrading conditions the native Arab inhabitants are forced to live in.  Anyone who's been to the Middle East knows that Hamas and Hezbollah are grass-root popular resistance movements and not terrorist organizations like al-Qaida groups.  If you want to "destroy" Hezbollah and Hamas, you will have to kill whole populations.  Israel seems to have no problems doing this, but why do we have to say Amen?

Or are we so ignorant that we think Hezbollah and Hamas are basically the same as al-Qaida?

These are very important questions to answer.  If we are so damn prejudice that we aren't moved by the moral issues, at least we should consider the peak-oil implications.  The big oil reserves which aren't expected to peak for another couple of decades are all around the Persian Gulf and are all Shia populated (even if ruled by Sunnis, as in Saudi).  Israel's massacre of Shia neighborhoods in Lebanon with U.S. support could haunt us for years to come.  

I've given up on them, Fire Temple.
They do not regard Arabs, or Muslims, or fundamentally Gentiles, as part of the same species as themselves.
But Agag and the Amalekites, to be smitten hip and thigh.
Ah, but you forget:
When God commanded the Israelites to kill the Amalekites, every man, every woman, every child, the Israelites (as usual) defied God, refused to commit genocide and therefore were punished, yea unto the 300th generation.

What is Hezbollah but the distant desendants (literal or metaphorical) of the Amalekites?

Stupid Israelites.
Too soft.
Too kind.
Isn't Haman an honorary member of Hezbollah?
Isn't Hitler an honorary member of Hezbollah?
1 Chronicles 41

41 The men whose names were listed came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. They attacked the Hamites in their dwellings and also the Meunites who were there and completely destroyed [h] them, as is evident to this day. Then they settled in their place, because there was pasture for their flocks. 42 And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. 43 They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.

Genocide completed.  Land taken.

Saul did not obey the command to wipe out all the Amalekites, which really angered God and caused Saul to lose his divine favor:

"He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed". 1 Sam 15:8-9

from this site

Hmmm ... this seems enough to justify new wars.
Something that happened thousands of years ago, if it did at all. :-)

Fire Temple, your post is incredibly naive. I will gladly respond to each and every one of your sentences. Would you like like? You said these were important questions. Interesting that the first person responding to you (and apparently showing support for your viewpoint) is our resident Nazi.

Gentiles? Smekhovo, you are doing a great job singling out Jews.

Some of us Gentiles don't quite agree with you.

Under the Aquinas rule, Hezbollah is waging an unjust war because they have no hope of beating the Israelis. Nada. Not even a forlorn hope.
My spoll chek is somwat dyslexic.Asis mi brane

I assume you refer to Isreal.

Go back to the earlier thread re Aquinas and the Just War:

I think that St. T.A was not burdened by an absolute opinion regarding war. He lived in a warlike time and sought to mitigate the effect of war on innocents. He accepted war as a part of earthly life. A part of life which was distasteful and un-heavanly. Aquinas was a real man living in a real and violent world. He sought to bring logic and order to this violent world: accepting that it may be improved by logic, he may have sought to impose some rules of warfare upon his time and thereby mitigate the essential disaster of war.

What interests me is that the (few) rules he set out regarding a just war are as true today as then.

Ask yourself: If graduates of West Point and Sandhurst were first required to learn these rules and hold them as an equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath then how different would our world be? - From a point of Honour, on our side a lot, but on the side of those who do not subscribe to this methodology, nothing. But the fact that the 'other side' doesn't hold to these rules does not mean we should not.

Warfare is almost always the world of young men, (and now) women. It almost always goes horribly wrong in terms of innocent casualties, dead and mutilated soldiers and collatoral damage on either side. As Queen Elizabeth the First said: `I hate war, the outcome is beyond my power of control'.

Getting back to the Isreal - Hezbullah conflict:

Although Isreal has been wounded by the loss of these three soldiers, aiming ordanance at the Lebanon is not the way forward. Not this time anyway. Don: Hezbullah are not judged by the rules of Aquainas : We, the West (inc Isreal ) are. We, the democratic west should judge ourselves by these very high standards

A clever Isreali would have :

1)    Done nothing now.
2)    Appealed to world opinion
3)    A year later sent in hit squads to quietly locate and take the bastards out.

In the long run, violence or the threat of violence settles almost everything.

Ask the Native Americans.

You lose, you die.


Well of course. All language is the simplification of much more complex ideas.

All language is the simplification of much more complex ideas.

I generally agree with your point; but I would like to give a specific counterexample which calls into question your over generalization of "All".

President George W. Bush

Strategery god damn it!!
The complication of much more simple ideas?  It probably didn't matter as much when everthing he said was slurred, so there was never any real need to learn how to speak.
Bill Clinton went into politics to compensate for a small penis. His bimboes do all they can not to laugh when the itty bitty limp one comes out, but because he is or was president they give him oral--for a hundred bucks a trick but no autograph.

Enquiring Minds had to know this.

Where's your proof?


maybe he is dating Monica now
Don't make fun of Monica. She is one of his nicer bimboes. Also, she is on Hilary's hit list.

Would not be surprised to see her listed as a "suicide" just as some other people close to Hilary have been, complete with faked notes and a gun twelve feet from the body.

I stil don't see how they can really say it's a suicide.  I mean the guy was found in a park and there was little evidence to rule a "suicide."
Evidence is not necessary to a smear.
The one former President speakig out on peak oil, and you trash him. Jeesh. I, for one, always felt that the reason the republicans hated Clinton so much was because they knew he was getting more in two weeks than they had gotten in a lifetime.
At least he is paying less than your students charge you.
I have never paid for sex. I'm much too successful with the amateur competition and also much too cheap to pay for sex.

I have worked as a security officer at three Nevada bordellos, two of them in Elko, which is a great little gold mining and cattle town known for its exceptionally good treatment of both whores and tourists. At one bordello I also was in charge of food service, and oh my goodness did people ever like me there;-)

In my opinion prostitution is a more moral and decent profession than that of law as now practiced by 90% of U.S. lawyers. I'll find ten trustworthy and competent used-car salesment for one honest and competent lawyer. There are some good ones; I know of two in Minnesota, both of whom have done most excellent work for me (one in writing wills, the other in setting up a corporation). Both women by the way.

Doing stuff for money is bad anyway. Prostitution is just on the far end of the scale. Most people sell the time they could spend doing things they love. The disdain for prostitution is rather hypocrite, if it is not extended to all paid services.
The disdain for prostitution is rather hypocrite

Yes, but times are changing, LOL!
I began to see the doomer viewpoint for what it is: dogma. A dogma is something you have to believe, without questioning it. And I began to see the hidden agenda of the powerdowners, namely, to bring about their utopian vision of the neo-agrarian society, no doubt with themselves its leaders. They know that most people won't willingly accept a return to centuries past, because most people are like me. We like our modern first-world lives!

The text you've quoted reveals exactly why I ignore those (JD, et al.)who think (a)peak oil is all about "doomers" vs everyone else and (b)there is no reason to worry about a possible disaster occurring:

They cast themselves as armchair psychoanalysts.

Psychoanalysis is the attribution of thoughts and feelings to others in such a way as to flatter one's own prejudices.

Oil drum is good when it offers data in simple language (Thank you, westexas).

Sites like PO"debunked" are mere vitriol.

One merely has to notice that they talk more about the personalities than the issues.

JD had a standard method of operation here and at other PO sites. He would post some inflammatory statement, wait for replies, cherry pick the least rational response, then run off to his blog to pick apart the strawman and "prove" that people worried about peak oil are crazy. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum. Once you see the method in action, it's easy to avoid.
Psychoanalysis is the attribution of thoughts and feelings to others in such a way as to flatter one's own prejudices.

Psychoanalysis can be extremely helpful, particularly in therapy, but any psychoanalyst will tell you that it will take several sessions before you can come to anything meaningful, and the "psychoanalysis" of people you've only read online is something akin to an essay on Ulysses based on the cover of Barnes & Noble's latest printing.

Actually, psychoanalysis is a belief-building process, as hokey as any parlour game.


Where are the scientific studies to prove the effectiveness of Freudian (or Jugian or Adlerian) psychoanalysis in helping people to deal with emotional woes such as depression or anxiety or panic attacks or conversion hysteria--or anything at all for that matter?

Two thirds of people who underego pychoanalysis get better.
Two thirds of people who get no treatment of any kind get better.

If your daughter (or son or girl companion) was dying of anorexia, you wouldn't be so glib.
I underwent psychoanalysis. $140,000 dollars down the drain, paid to one of the wealthiest and somewhat famous Freudian analyst in Berkeley, California. It was fun, but now I wish I had given the money to the Nature Conservancy.

Bipolar disorder and unipolar depression both run in my family. Talk therapy can give temporary relief only, but drugs work wonders, once you find the right ones and the correct dosages.

If one of my three daughters had anorexia I would take her to Cecil's Deli where there are no slender people. Slender people are pitied and assumed to be dying at Cecil's. I get respect there, especially when I order the "Fresser" for very serious eaters. It is a sandwich with maybe a pound of meat in it, and I scarf up every crumb, then ask what is for desert. One time I was there with a beautiful (and nonchubby) woman and her six-year old daughter. The girl asks me how much I weigh (roughly twice what her mother does) just as Cecil's son and current main owner of the Deli comes by with the coffee. (I like places where the owner serves coffee and gets to know his regulars.) In a good humored way he told the girl, who I know well, that at Cecil's you must never ever ask that question of anyone.

I remember when one seventy year old three hundred pound diabetic came in to eat there. He ordered about six thousand calories of delicious food and scarfed it down with good grace, even though he's almost blind and his kidneys are failing. When we got to talking he made it clear that because he had eaten as much excellent food as most people would in a hundred and fifty years of slender life, that he was ready to go to the great beyond, but he was not going to starve himself just for a few additional years of hunger and misery.

Moderation in all things. I allow myself to go there only six times a year, but even moderation can be practiced to excess.

I've often wondered if Jews are smarter than Christians because they eat better;-)

The definition of psychoanalysis given above is actually the definition of a pscychological defense mechanism: projection only the goal is not so much flattery as anxiety reduction.  
He is actually debunking the doomer standpoint, not that PO will happen.
He does have what my English friends so charmingly call "part of a point". Some commenters on these matters do seem to show an unseemly relish for forcing us all to become deeply impoverished peasants. It gets worse on other sites - some named in Ianqui's post on sustainability in Cuba. For example, I see Community Solution as too adulatory of Cuba. After all, a place that so many people will take such extraordinary risks to leave - and whose regime uses extraordinary threats and violence to prevent them leaving, in violation of the most basic human-rights law - strikes me as having little merit.

The operational definition of "sustainable" seems to be to live solely by harvesting diffuse and/or intermittent energy as direct or indirect solar - rejecting coal, rejecting other non-easy-oil hydrocarbons, rejecting nuclear, and rejecting efforts to harness fusion (or simply funding fusion at the too-low-to-even-be-derisory level of about one Bridge To Nowhere per year, which amounts to rejection.) Like it or not, with seven or eight or ten billion people on the planet, just-say-bo of that sort will tend strongly to push future generations in the direction he's trying to slam. It would be far more likely to produce an utterly pointless and brutal feudal mere-existence than to produce the sort of cheerful neo-medieval utopia the fantasizing painter of this mural at a co-op in my town apparently had in mind.

Amen brother.

Both extremes seem to have those partial points and in my opinion these are used solely to defend one's preconceptions. That is the curnopians have already decided that there is nothing to worry about before studying PO; much like the die-off crowd has already decided that there must be a die-off of some kind so that the ecotopia they have in mind comes around. Logically reaching to the "no worry" or "die-off" outcomes is just a mminor technical detail.

What do they call people who can divineother people's true motives by being able to into their heart and soul? Bush thought he could do that with Putin but it turns out Putin's soul is just as black and barren as Bush's.

I don't think I'm a doomer (whatever that really truly is) but I would like to see powerdown because I think we are destroying the planet and our quality of life with too much fuel.  For those who don't mind living on a hot, melting, mostly dead, species scarce planet with billions and billions of more people and millions and millions more highways and autos everywhere, then I can understand why they would be bumbed out by the power downers. I think it power down would be a necessity without peal oil.  

I, for example, don't think we need 300hp giant vehicles to get one person from point A to point B to have a reasonable quality of life and a reasonalbe level of comfort. I don't want to return to neo agrarian society because it would probably be a pretty grim existence for most of us.  I have enough on my hands with my greenhouse and garden but don't pretend to have the skills or the inclination to be self sufficient.  On the other hand, I would like to see a lot less waste, maximum conservation, and minimum consumption of fossil fuels.

I would like to see cities that are largely automobile free. That's my secret and devious agenda. For those who think cities should be completely dominated by noise, traffic, pollution, freeways, and busy, dangerous streets and that this is all part of what we were promised as our American way of life, then I can understand why they would be upset by those of us who would like to see some powerdown.  

I thought Elvis was the King!
Rather than debunking PO, he seemed to feel he was the only one with the right attitude towards PO.  He used to post here, but then declared that he was no longer concerned with PO.  He pops in from time to time to remind us that he is still unconcerned.
he couldn't handle the cognitive dissonance.
He likes to tell us how "bored" he is with P.O.

I'd be bored if I ever visited NASCAR sites, so I avoid that state of mind by never going there.

They (the other groups) are tiresome.  Obviously, no one can read the future -- and OilDrum writers seem more likely than most to understand that.  Peak Oil is a meaningless concept if there is no demand for oil -- that's just a tautology.  But getting to "no demand" requires an economic and political disaster -- so obviously any discussion about points in between demand and no demand will have to make SOME assumptions about economic and cultural issues.

Still, OilDrum is better than most at taking the data, making reasonable extrapolations, and letting the politics go.  I don't see a lot of ideological or religious zeal on this site -- and almost no snide or snarky or ad hominem attacks on other posters.

So, I keep reading.  I thank you for the thoughtful posts and the intelligent moderating.  And I don't post much, because I am not an engineer or oil professional or economist.

Well said. Consider this encouragement to post more often.

Scary-Ass CNN Breaking News Email Alerts I Have Received in the Past Week

--Taliban forces capture control of U.S. Senate, hold Republican Party line on women's reproductive rights, gay marriage, stem cell research and reprimands for unfavorable news coverage.

-- Category 9 hurricane removes North Carolina. South Carolina, Georgia residents await inevitable. (FEMA waits for orders)

--North Korean missile tests have awoken 50-meter, prehistoric metaphor off coast of Japan. Witnesses describe fire-breathing, screaming creature as "pugnacious, unstoppable."

--Millions fleeing from everywhere. Updates as events warrant.

--NASA officials report space shuttle Discovery has landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, inadvertently carrying deadly alien virus, deadly alien and Death himself.

--U.S. Federal authorities report swarms of killer bees returning to southern portion of United States. Each bee said to be piloting stolen F-14. (Should be yellow jackets)

--Approaching 40-mile meteor observed moments ago by bored Little League outfielder.

--Rand McNally removes Lebanon from all maps, globes.

--Latest al-Qaeda video reveals terrorist organization has mastered cloning. President Bush vows to continue seeking all Osama bin Ladens.

--Molemen no longer stuff of legend. Numerous underground attacks cause oil prices to skyrocket to $200 a barrel.

--Canada, Mexico make historic agreement to share border. United States to conscript everyone.

--The Center for Disease Control reports "everything stolen" from labs.

--Apes said to be mobilizing, donning armor, attending Berlitz language classes, establishing governing body.

--Excessive heat warnings issued for the Northeast, Midwest, southern plain states and North Pole.

--G8 summit ends with world leaders huddled in corner, crying.

--Red vines, crop circles, ray gun attacks witnessed throughout world.

--Sharp, sudden increase in "manimals" linked to casual consumption of corn fructose, vitamins, water.

--Talks between India and Pakistan break off as both nations begin to raise, arm undead.

--Rocket ship with world's best and brightest seen blasting off earlier today. Explanation still pending. (Hey, they didn't call me!)

--Earth appears to have just passed by Mars, fast approaching Jupiter.


Interesting bike touring site mentioned on TreeHugger:


Wonderful graphs!
Khebab great graph. Is there data on the number of entrants into the real estate business versus the market cycle?

Seems that whenever the housing markets is about to peak, there are lots of folks going into real estate sales.

Debt forces one in four to fall behind on monthly bills

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/19/06


 Despite a growing economy and low unemployment, nearly one in four Americans say they frequently fall behind in their monthly bills because they're in debt, according to a national survey being released today.

Worries over debt are so pervasive that 82 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed said debt is a "very serious or somewhat serious problem" that's growing worse.

The survey, conducted by a Republican pollster and a Democratic pollster on behalf of the Center for American Progress and the Center for Responsible Lending, shows the country's growing "economic anxiety."

 American Progress is a Washington think tank founded by John Podesta, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff. Responsible Lending focuses on consumer issues such as predatory lending.

 U.S. credit card debt, cited as the No. 1 source of people's debt in the survey, stands at $813 billion, according to John Halpin, a senior fellow at American Progress. He said the average American family is carrying more than $8,000 in credit card debt.

Personal savings, meanwhile, is at seven-decade low, with Americans dipping into their savings or borrowing against lines of credit.

 Despite those sobering statistics, Americans actually are carrying debt well beyond credit cards, the study found.

 More than half of those surveyed said they owe more than $10,000. Two in 10 of those are $20,000 in debt, the survey found.

 Mortgage debt is not included in those figures.

 Seven in 10 Americans reported their debt has grown or stayed the same during the past five years. They traded disposable income for homes and cars, college loans and impulse purchases. But they also cited factors beyond their control: a higher cost of living, low wages, unemployment, rising gas and energy prices as well as child care and medical costs.

The Chicago "Merc" has recently started running futures contracts on housing markets in ten US cities. Unfortunately, they only go forward one year. But this can give an idea about market expectations in that time frame.


The market seems to be thinly traded so far, but the consensus for most cities is for a decline of about 5% in housing prices over the next year. Interestingly, San Diego is one of the better cases, with only about a 3% drop. This is odd because what I read locally makes it sound like SD is one of the worst cities in terms of its housing market prospects. Maybe the market thinks that the bad news is behind us, down there.

Too bad they don't run these markets farther out, it would be interesting to see whether traders expect this 5% decline to continue for long.

How would this work as a bumper stickers?

Peak oil = Enron^1000

(Of course, the 1000 could be put in superscript, with typesetting.)

Due to our dismal public education system, I'd bet that less than 15% would understand the mathematical notation for "to the power", let alone understand what the result is.
ok, then how about?

"peak oil = tip your [sic] it times infinity plus one no returns!"

I'm eagerly awaiting peak oil, because its coming has worried me (sometimes to the point of sleepless nights) since 1949.

However the GAS (Great Aerobic Sex) I get, the less I worry.

I predict more leisure of high quality in the future.

Hunter and gathering tribes often had more than half their waking hours for leisure and often slept ten hours out of twenty-four. This idleness infuriated Christian missionaries almost as much as the savages having sex, everybody age eight to eighty having sex several times a day. Just plain drove them nuts--or to monasteries. Then the sons and daughters of nineteenth century missionaries became sociologists in large numbers, and the rest is mystery.

Whoops, meant to say something such as:

The more GAS I get, the less I worry about Peak Oil (or anything else, for that matter;-)

You are unusually, er, glib today Mr. Sailorman.  New meds?

New woman in my life.

But she works, and so for nine hours a day I'm lonely and go to TOD for learning and laughs.

I could hear your grin.  Good for you.
Merger Promises Solar Power At Fossil Prices


Report on the McCuistion Show Peak Oil Debate (two different 30 minute programs)

The panelists:  yours truly, an independent oilman, a representative from ExxonMobil and a consultant from Houston (recommended by Saudi Aramco).    Michael Lynch called in from Tokyo.  

I was the designated Peak Oil Pessimist.  Everyone pretty much followed the script.  

My points:  HL is an improved and simplified version of Hubbert's methods; The Lower 48, Russia and the North Sea all fit the HL model; the world is now at about the same point that these three regions peaked, and the recent data show a decline in world oil production and if technology will save us, why haven't Texas and the Lower 48 shown production increases?

Lynch did admit that some regions peak and decline, but he asserted that there are always new areas to drill, not counting vast unconventional resources.  (If discrete areas individually peak and decline, wouldn't the sum of a group of discrete areas peak and decline?)   He said that the Hubbert method has worked two or three times, but failed dozens of times.  He cited the UK.  (Of course, the total North Sea shows a beautiful unambiguous HL pattern, and in regions that have shown about 2 mbpd or more for 20 years or so, I am not aware of any HL failures.)

The Houston consultant had some very interesting comments.  Before and during the show, he said that more and more exporters are going to consider cutting back on exports, in order to prolong the life of the fields.  Remember, this gentleman was reportedly recommended by Saudi Aramco.  Do you think that they might be sending us a message?

FYI--When I find out when and where the shows will be broadcast on PBS, I'll let you know
What did the rep from Exxon have to say?
He said that their data show that we have trillions of barrels of conventional reserves, not counting unconventional reserves.  Very sharp guy, but no surprises.  In the green room, I gave them (there was a PR guy there too) my pitch that their anti-Peak Oil stance would damage themselves as oil prices continue to climb in a post-Peak Oil environment.  The consumers will reason that if we have lots of oil, then high prices must be a result of a conspiracy to keep oil off the market. I didn't appear to make much headway.
The Dallas Morning News had an article this morning on the record electricity usage yesterday (107 degrees in DFW yesterday).   If Houston had not had some rainshowers, we might have been looking at some rolling blackouts.

They had some interesting case histories.  A recurring theme was that lots of people were insisting on keeping their thermostats at 72 degrees or so.  One gentleman with a 4,000 square foot home just got a (one month) electric bill for about $1,200.   (We are keeping our thermostat at 80 degrees when home, 84 when gone.)

Warning: repeat
Westexas, you should enjoy this:
Crude oil exports from Russia in January-May 2006 were down 1% year-on-year, in May down 4,2% year-on-year.
Crude oil production (including condensate) in Russia in January-June 2006 was up 2,3% year-on-year, in June up 2,4% year-on-year.
Note: It's all Cyrillic text.
That's why I translated it.
Hello Smekhovo, would you like to translate some more?  Does this simply mean that growth in Russian domestic demand is outstripping growth in production?
Yes, that's all there is to it. Less exports despite more oil, just as our fellow poster always says.
Exportland just got a little more interesting...
Russian is the next language for me to learn. People tell me it is easier than German for most Americans to learn--at least well enough to easily read your great novels in their native tongue.

Also, I'm fond of Russian poetry, and translating poetry is about as hard as finding a way to econonmically and efficiently get hydrogen fusion to work to generate electricity.

BTW, I am about 80% convinced that hydrogen fusion will be online as a major source of electricity in less than thirty years. Some of my elderly physicist friends are far more optimistic than I am. They say I'll probably live to see it, and then I can go around to all the naysayers with that most satisfying four words ever invented:

"I told you so!"

Fusion is thirty years in the future, and always will be.
And you have certain knowledge to support this statement based exactly on what?

Where is your scientific evidence.

BTW, I got the highest grade in the class in every one of the four college physics classes that I've taken, and I've been aquainted with two Nobel Laureate physicists; indeed, I taught Owen Chamberlain to sail.

Raw translations from altavista babel fish:
first link:
Rosstat: The export of oil from RF in January- May of 200'g. was reduced by 1% - to 103,2 million t. RBK. 19.07.2006, Moscow 10:01:00. The export of oil from Russia in January- May of 200'g. was reduced by 1% in comparison with the analogous period of 200shchg. and was 103,2 million t, reports the Federal Service of state statistics (Rosstat). During May 200'g. the export of oil was 21,8 million t, after being lowered by 4,2% in comparison with May 2005g. Previously federal customs service reported that in January- May 2006g. Russia exported 94 million 085,4 thousand t of oil, which is less to 2,13% than by year it is earlier in the same period. As reports Rosstat, the specific weight of the export of oil in the total volume of the Russian export in January- May of 200'g. composed 35,1%, in the export of fuel-energy goods - 51,4%. During May 200'g. mean actual export price of the oil was 439,3 dollars/ton (increase by 5% in comparison with April 200'g.). Price of the oil of brand Urals on the world market during May for 200'g. was 472,8 dollars/ton (decrease to 0,5% in comparison with April 200'g.).

second link (takes 20-30 sec):
That's no gentleman....
Re: Daniel Yergin (from Leanan)
Spiegel: So the whole idea of peak oil is nonsense?

Yergin: The image is misleading. A more relevant description would be a plateau in production capacity that might be reached in the fourth or fifth decade of this century. So the major obstacle to the development of new supplies is not geology but what happens above ground: international affairs, politics, investment and technology.

This man is tireless. Not geology! This Bryant Urstadt article has come up lately -- The Oil Frontier, which is subtitled Don't expect the scarcity of fossil fuels to drive us toward alternative energy sources anytime soon: we're getting smarter about finding and extracting oil. Highly recommended. If you read it, you will find out to what incredible and expensive lengths Chevron will go (ultra deepwater) to produce 0.5 Gb (billion barrels) of oil. For those who need to be reminded, this is (all liquids) approximately 25 days of current US consumption. This would have been unthinkable even 5 years ago. And why are they doing this project? Because the geology tells them that the "easy oil is gone" (Urstadt). Ironically, 0.5 Gb is considered an "elephant" field nowadays. How many of these suckers do we have to find and produce every year to meet just US demand (all liquids)? 14.6. What happens above ground just makes all this worse.

'nuff said.

Re: 14.6 projects

Not enough said. I used the simplifying assumption that we get all 0.5 Gb at once and there are no incremental flows. However, assuming a flow rate of 250/kbd for each ultra deepwater project, we need about 80 producing rigs to meet daily US consumption.

OK, got that off my chest. I was a bit put off.

So here's what R. Hirsch, in a preview of his upcoming report, says about CERA's plateau prediction:

Hirsch doubts that the world can keep increasing oil flows for much longer. "CERA sees a long plateau ahead," he said. "But I can't find a plateau in the data I'm looking at." The downturn, when it comes, could take the world by surprise. "Peaking could come with little warning and sharp declines," he said.


Having now seen Yergin on TV, he is such a wimp with his assertions.  He is always setting up hedges.  "There's plenty of oil, if only we could get access to it", "Prices would fall if China wouldn't use so much of our oil" etc.  No matter what happens with supply or price he wants to be able to say I told you so.  Of course he then references all this "field by field" data and modelling from CERA that at least I have never really seen any evidence of.  
If you do a Google News search for Daniel Yergin, the "Daniel Yergin Day" story is still #1.  If you do a Google search, the story is now in the top 10.  

Of course, oil prices have fallen back somewhat, now trading at about 1.9 Yergins (One Yergin = $38/barrel).  

double yergin also gets top three on google. Maybe by tomorrow it will be top four ;-)
westexas -

It's so discouraging to see that Yergin has now become the MSM's official energy guru. It appears to be a self-reinforcing process: the more he is on TV,  the more his reputation grows; the more his reputation grows, the more he is on TV. This cycle will be broken only when it becomes unavoidably clear that he has been massively wrong and has made a fool of himself.

I have read two of his books: Energy Future (written quite a while ago) and The Prize.  I must say that they were both very well done.

What really puzzles me is that when it comes to the condition of the world's major oil fields and their potential for production increases or production decline, Yegin and people like Deffeyes and Matt Simmons don't appear to be talking about the same planet!

Peak oilers are predicting the peak anywhere from yesterday to 5 - 10 years out. Yergin, on the other hand claims we can muddle along at even higher production rates for another 4 or 5 decades. Deffeyes and Simmons make a very pursuasive case backed up by lots of data.  Yergin basically says, "Trust us because we're smart and have an inside track to info that you don't have."

CERA is a fairly large consulting firm, and surely they have (or at least should have) a good team of experienced petroleum geologists with actual experience in exploration and production. If so, then how could CERA's prognosis on what the future holds be so totally opposite from that of the various peak oil experts?  I don' see how  competent, experienced petroleum geologists working for Yergin can come to such  radically different conclusions.

As far as I can tell, the only possibilities are:

  1. Yergin is right, and all the peak oilers are wrong.

  2. Yergin is wrong, but he doesn't realize it.

  3. Yergin is wrong, but knows he is wrong and dare not admit it, lest he lose credibility with his clientele for reversing himself on earlier predictions. In other words, he might be so heavily invested in a previous position that it is impossible for him to change direction.

One thing I will say: Yergin sure has a firm grasp of the obvious. I'm sure it never dawned on me or anyone else here  that "Energy security will be the greatest foreign policy challenge of the 21st century". Wow!  Being fluent in Consultant-Speak, I loosely translate this statement to more or less mean,  "Bomb all the ragheads and take their oil."

Anyway, do you or any others here know who CERA's main clients are?  That information might explain a lot.

 I think a little Mark Twain might be applicable here:

"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."

"Anyway, do you or any others here know who CERA's main clients are?"

If memory serves, Matt Simmons suggested that Yergin may be principally working for the Saudis.

westexas -

Aha!  If so, that makes CERA more of an international PR firm than a true energy consulting firm. Sort of like that Washington PR firm that gave us those horrible stories of Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait during the first Gulf War and who turned out to concocting such out of thin air under retainer by  the Kuwaiti government.

Matt Simmons' book has convinced me that the Saudis have a great deal to hide regarding the general health of their aging giant oil fields. So Yergin is working for the Saudis, his  'field-by-field model' of the current global state of oil is inherently fraught with conflict of interest.

This guy Yergin should be made to prove some of his rosey projections. We're not talking about touting up a dubious stock for Wall Street here: we're talking about the very survival of the Western world.

If we all believe Yergin and his ilk, we are all liable to get caught with our pants down. How can we call this guy on his BSt?

"If we all believe Yergin and his ilk, we are all liable to get caught with our pants down. How can we call this guy on his BSt?"

When energy gets really expensive, I guess we can burn their books for heat.

You are discussing the Yergin Method which uses an evolving three point strategy.
  1. Hide behind your "above the ground" hedges so you're never wrong
  2. Assert untestable hypotheses without doing any modelling
  3. Allude to data (the 2005 CERA report) that allegedly makes your case but that hardly any one has seen because you have to pay for it.
Concerning point #3, see Skrebowski's Megaprojects 2006 update. Then read Megaprojects analysis explained from which I take
I only incorporate publicly available and verifiable data. Current stock exchange disclosure requirements mean that timely and accurate information is now available for all publicly quoted companies. Although state oil companies are not under this sort of disclosure pressure they are becoming increasingly open and accurate with new project data. Many are now being partially privatised or opened up to private shareholdings and as a result they increasingly see the need for data disclosure comparable to a quoted company.
See the difference?
In that same link, Yergin talks about ethanol.

Yergin: It means investing in new technologies. It's extraordinary how inventive one can be with ethanol right now. Within four or five years the US might be getting 10 percent of its gasoline from ethanol

I think the signs are pretty clear.

Yep. Too bad they're all pointing in the wrong direction.
Hmmm. If we have a 40 to 50 year plateau, why even bother to increase ethanol? Must be because it's cheap and green.
The weekly inventory report is out:

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 14, 2006

Crude stocks barely up, imports up, gas and distillate inventories up.



Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 20.7 million barrels per day, or 1.7 percent less than averaged over the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.6 million barrels per day, or 1.9 percent above the same period last year.
Look at that soaring gasoline demand. EIA needs to update this graph.

Note that the crude oil and total petroleum import numbers are now beginning to show year over year declines (and not just declines when measured against late 2005), while oil prices are up.
Yes, the new status report is out and if you read between the lines demand is FALLING in a very significant way.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 20.7 million barrels per day, or 1.7 percent less than averaged over the same period last year.  Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.6 million barrels per day, or 1.9 percent above the same period last year.  Distillate fuel demand has averaged over 4.1 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, or 4.8 percent above the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is up 0.1 percent over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Gasoline demand is up 1.9%
Distilliate demand is up 4.8%
Total demand is DOWN 1.7%

This means that "other" users must have cut back to the tune 9.5% as compared with last year in order for the numbers to fit. These "other" users are probably petrochem companies that are hiding behind existing hedges (much like Daniel Yergin). Once their hedges run out, they will be forced to buy at current prices and then we will see one serious bull market.

I've updated my charts:

Weekly Petroleum Status Report

  • gasoline consumption is up and right on expectation for this time of year despite increasing retail prices.
  • gasoline stocks coverage is on the lower range
  • gasoline imports are at the same level as last year
  • crude imports are way below expectations (0.7 mbpd less than expected)
  • refinery crude inputs are up
  • refinery ustilization is up but below expectations
  • crude oil stock coverage is above average and above the last 5 years.
Khebab, great graphs, thanks!

Some questions about Total Net Imports (fig 10): I see the 2006 number (12,507) is almost the same as the 2005 figure (12,575) yet your graph is showing about a 300 point gap. Why is this? What is the adjustment you've done to the 2005 number and why? Thanks. EIA source and summary.

Hello Khebab, nice charts.  I spent a long time looking at the Petroleum Balance sheet yesterday and I found it difficult to make sense of ceratin things.

One observation is that crude stocks are up 441 bpd over a 4 week period.
But product stocks under "Other supply" are down 613 bpd in the same period.

Also the unaccounted for crude balancing item distorts the real picture.

The other observation is that US petroleum consumption is falling - mainly as a result of "the other oils" falling.

So one way of looking at the data is that US refinery feed stock is falling and US consumption is falling - and prices are still rising.

On another theme, there was some deabte about the rapid retreat of the oil price a couple of days ago.  Since then I've seen various reports with the historic oil price chart rebased in 2003 $.  One thing that struck we was that the historic oil price high was just below $80 (2003 $).  It seems likely that this price could provide quite a lot of resistance - but once that resistance is breached the price may rise quite dramatically from there.

Crude consumption defined as the refinery input is really in the lower range of what have been observed for the past 15 years (see Fig. 11). In the same time, the share of Refined product imports has grown almost 10% every year since 2000 (see graph I posted here). It means that the production of refined products is being outsourced for various reasons (lack of refining capacity for sour crude, availability of natural gas, etc.). Also, depsite record gasoline prices, gasoline consumption is exactly on target (see Fig 4.).

there is a

"life blog"

from the ASPO 5 conference.

Seems to deliver good summaries of what is going on near Pisa.

marotti32, berlin

Ahh, Thanks for the link.
OK, it is a live blog, sorry the hot weather here...

marotti32, berlin

Net US Petroleum Import Update (for week ending 7/14/06)  

22 of 28 weeks in 2006 have shown lower imports than the week ending 12/30/05, while oil prices have traded in a 15% to 30% higher range than late December (all four week running averages).

The most recent number represents about a one mbpd drop from the recent high value.  This drop in imports corresponded to the recent rebound in oil prices (prior to the problems in the Middle East).


Good article from business day sourced from FT.  Mostly talks about G8 failure and Russia's new influence lead by Putin.

The second component would understand that, most of the time, Putin is bluffing. For all its present good fortune, Russia is a state in decline. Its almost complete economic reliance on oil and gas is reminiscent of the late Soviet era. The country's population is shrinking by more than 500000 a year and its workforce is ravaged by ill health and alcoholism.

Those with close knowledge of the industry say that businesses such as Gazprom, the state gas monopoly, are rotting from the inside. Gazprom is hopelessly inefficient, technologically backward and can meet its orders only by coercing central Asian suppliers. As for threats to cut off supplies to Europe, Gazprom has no other customers.

In short, Russia has none of the attributes of a 21st-century superpower. In poker terms, the country's oil and gas reserves give the Russian leader a hand equivalent to, say, a pair of sevens. But Putin knows how to bluff -- easy enough when your opponents have so obviously lost their nerve.

I would think that infrastructure improvements haven't been made to these facilties in the abysmal decade of the 90's for Russia.  They may be paying down debt like no one else, but the cash needs to be reinvested in the source of their wealth.

Philip Stephens is probably the stupidest person writing for the Pink 'Un. His piece is one long exercise in wishful thinking.
Russia is a collapsed state. Only two things hold it afloat in this sea of interlocked "peer polities" - a decaying military might and the ability to produce a few products that other states still need. Russia could recover from its collapse but it hasn't really yet. It's taken simplification steps by abandoning its non-functional Soviet political hierarchy (or much of it) and releasing direct control over states that proved to be a drain on Russia's own need. But yes, they do appear to need to reinvest in their infrastructure more in order to move from a collapsed state to a rebuilding state. I would guess that Putin and his advisors are not even aware of Tainter's or Diamond's work and are not even sure what has actually happened to their country, hence all these faltering steps in various directions on the economy and other issues.

It won't happen but Russia could be a case study in objective evaluation of complexity, investment in complexity, payoffs of complexity, and whether to go down that road or not. Unfortunately, Russia doesn't exist in a vacuum and the peer polities around it are also competitive so Russia will have no choice but to start the climb back up towards complexity or be absorbed (or destroyed).

To Bob Shaw - the above is precisely why there cannot be and never will be a planned large scale powerdown. The political entity that chooses to powerdown will be attacked, absorbed, or destroyed by its competitors.

I think Putin is smart, tough, ruthless, and he seems even now to be milking some of the nostalgia of the "good old days" of Stalin.

From those who know more than I do about this (which is about a hundred or three hundred people on this blog, I'd guess), what kind chances do you see for Putin developing into Stalin junior?

There must be a hundred Russians who read this site--maybe five hundred. Any way to tell?

I think 20 months in office (before 2008 elections) are too little to become a new Stalin.
Hello Greyzone,

You may be correct, as I am a doomer in beliefs too, but I believe the world has no choice but to continue to push for a worldwide organization to assert proactive Powerdown such as ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols and voluntary pop. controls.  Just letting Nature and our genetics run their normal course would be pure stupidity, but the collective mass of humanity will determine this outcome, not me.  

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

Do you mean that "the collective mass of humanity" is not Nature?
I am afraid it is!

Hello Kevembuangga,

Thxs for responding.  Generally true, but we have a small chance to use our collective wisdom and problem-solving ability to try and optimize the coming Dieoff Bottleneck.  Otherwise, we go down by the worst-case scenarios.

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

yeah,russia is such a collapsed state that they are producing more oil than any other, including saudia arabia
I think you are a bit late. 5 years ago your analysis would be correct. But today the situation in Russia is completely different. Foreigners don't understand the speed of changes. A few years ago military plants stayed idled. Today some of them (for example the producers of fighter-jets) produce more then in the peak Soviet days.
But I fully agree with your words about the importance of complexity.
From todays Telegraph...

The increase in gas and electricity bills, which has caused financial misery for many families, has also pushed the inflation rate to the highest level since the consumer price index was introduced in 1997.

Gas and electricity costs have soared over the past 12 months

Fuel and power bills rose by 28.2 per cent in the past 12 months - the fastest rate since 1981, when the last oil crisis helped to cause recessions around the world


Alpha Male


Energy Star

Kill a Watt

Start a Green Business
A very sad posting on the Middle East Situation, brought to you by "This Modern World" (my favorite cartoonist).
Hello TODers,

The Sustainlane link posted by Leanan [thxs] cannot be taken seriously by anyone concerned about declining detritus energy.  The risk potential from natural hazards is important, but I would argue that the study should have also included the potential risks from ramifications arising from detritus-driven collapse.

The best future areas to live in, after considering for natural hazard risk, would include water availability first and foremost, then localized food supplies, climate desireability, mass-transit or bike ability, and what percentage of electricity comes from biosolar generation.

Allowing for these factors would drastically change the city rankings in this study.  Mesa, a huge sprawling suburb of the Asphalt Wonderland, would probably move much closer to the bottom, and a city like Portland would move towards the top.

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

Sustainlane has done exactly what you are asking for here,  ranking the top 50 cities on "essential quality-of-life and economic factors that affect your personal sustainability."  Portland is indeed at the top.
Hello Liz,

Thxs for responding and providing this new info.  If Oregon, current pop. of 3.6 million, had a sudden influx of 3 million Peakoil-aware multimillionaires, like Richard Rainwater, for example--I wonder what the political response would be as this state already has a pretty high awareness % of Peakniks?

Would the political drive for protecting a sustainable large biosolar habitat arise causing the formation of the state of Cascadia or the Jeffersonian state arise?

Or would the Federal Govt and the unstoppable forces of greed and exploitation force this area to become a huge sprawling mess like Mexico City area, pop. 18 million?

Imagine if just a mere 30 million of the American Southerners decided to move to this Northwest area as A/C and fuel costs spiral higher.  Would OR, WA, and northern CA allow this to happen, or would they pass some kind of immigration law to forestall disaster?  Is legal secession and Earthmarine protection the only answer?

I think the US Supreme Court should be Peakoil informed so that they can pre-emptively and legally rule that over-swamping a biosolar 'lifeboat' cannot be allowed.  In short, the collective rights of survival trump the individual right of freedom of movement.  This would allow Oregon to freeze population at roughly 4 million, pass sustainable laws of HELP and other measures, and enforce a rule that nobody can move in unless another Oregonian chooses to move out.  We will see.

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


I believe it would take a constitutional amendment to restrict interstate travel.

Hello Liz,

Thxs for responding.  You may be correct, or Homeland Security could just further extend the 'no fly' prohibition in the Patriot Act to 'no drive' for certain areas. This would make it easy to force people to use mass-transit as soon as it was built.  London's congestion fee could easily be changed to a rate where most would be forced to mass-transit, and I soon expect similar laws in the US.  A downtown area could designate certain blocks as no driving allowed to increase property values:
"We misinterpret what people choose versus what they want," Frank said. "There's a huge unmet demand for a more walkable environment. A lot of people are just priced out of it.

"We could build products that are affordable and more walkable in the areas where we're building a lot more sprawl."

The proof that there's strong demand? Frank notes the most walkable areas of Greater Vancouver are the neighbourhoods that are appreciating fastest.

Portland could start off with small areas, then gradually ramp it up to include the whole state of Cascadia.  Makes tremendous real-estate sense to me, and immigration movement is automatically limited as very, very few could then afford to buy in Cascadia.  The insiders merely have to agree not to sell to outsiders thus preventing the swamping of the lifeboat.

I don't see how to stop this once the ball gets rolling, do you?  Why would anyone want to stop a city from becoming walkable?  Why would anyone want to stop a state from becoming a biosolar habitat as detritus starts depleting?

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

Bob, I appreciate your comments about the top 50 sustainable cities, I too was amazed that Mesa, AZ was tops until I reread the criteria used to construct the scale.  I'm always amazed that Portland is so highly rated in terms of PO readiness; many good features in place already, to be sure - good mass transit (electric light rail), walkable vibrant downtown, high social K (have to check Putnam), good climate, not overpopulated, great farmland around, growth controls, more solar potential than you'd think, etc. - but there is SO much to do yet - still sprawling development, land use system with its urban growth boundaries under attack, peak oil awareness still low, etc.  Other cities in Oregon face similar pressures.  I don't see much change in composition or density of traffic yet.

While I'm sure we'd like you PO folks, and we're a pretty easygoing bunch, as former Gov. Tom McCall (Republican, BTW) often said, please come to visit but for heaven's sakes don't move here!  Don't Californicate Oregon! (my wife, Bay Area native, hates that attitude)

I lived there in the 70s so I would just be moving back. :)
Hello LoveOregon,

Evidently, Oregon cities are already becoming boomtowns.  I expect this to become a flood as more people become Peakoil aware.  Your population growth rate already exceeds the national average from these statistics.

My thinking is that the primary Peakoil impetus for people to move is that they want to live in an area of ideal climate first; a place where heating and cooling costs are minimized naturally.  These migrants are assuming that the political will to force walkable communities, mass-transit, water conservation strategies, etc, can be easily achieved later to further enhance conservation of resources.

By moving to an ideal climate, it offers the homeowner the greatest potential self-control over his home energy costs, which will increasingly become a large part of the average homeowner's budget.  I think this is a wise strategy because postPeak it will be much easier to choose a small, superinsulated home to further save energy money in an ideal climate.

The big question is at what point does the Cascadia populace politically decide that no more in-migration should be allowed.  This is a key concern if the area hopes to retain any postPeak viability through Biosolar Powerup.  Every area worldwide should be allowed to optimize their Dieoff Bottleneck, or prevent it entirely if they so wish.

I believe Phx leaders, by their obvious lack of postPeak planning, are on a current maximization strategy to make the Asphalt Wonderland grow as much as possible till the badnews really hits, and are fully cognizant that untold millions of Southwesterners will then choose to head to the Northwest.

The Phx elite, IMO, will then postPeak profit handsomely by buying properties for pennies on the dollar, carefully dis-assembling the resources, then selling this to Cascadia, along with imposing extortionate rates on any exported surplus grid power.  

Phx voters have been extremely short-sighted by voting for freeways instead of bike paths and mass-transit:  we all know we are going to age to where we cannot drive or pedal anymore-- Yet the elderly are the voting leaders against any tax increases.  This nonsensical violation of logical self-interest will really hit home postPeak.  The miles and miles of sprawl in Sun City directly violates the best interest of the elderly that live there--it really boggles my mind that anyone would choose to retire there.

Oregon leaders, on the other hand, seem to be preparing for sustainability, even calling the report, "Cascadia", possibly to nudge the populace into a future biosolar secession mindset?  Cascadia Institute appears to moving ahead on biosolar planning for sustainability.  It really should not take much from the local MSM to make this regional issue the main topic of discussion for everyone in the postPeak future.  I hope the Northwesterners start early as this will help the rest of the country polarize into biosolars versus detritovores.

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

Uranium's Outlook Is So Bright, It Glows in the Dark

According to this article, the price of uranium has gone up substantially in the last two years, but the stocks of uranium producers haven't performed as well as the metal. The article suggests BHP as a potential uranium play.

Can anybody out there name other companies that could benefit from the rise in the uranium price? How about "pure play" uranium producers? Is there any such animal?

Over 70% of the world's mined yellowcake comes from just 10 mines.  A number of these have ambitious expansion plans that may well match or exceed immediate demand plus older, shutdown mines can reopen.

I think we're seeing a bubble that will balance itself within a couple of years.  However, the market has been depressed so new capacity going forward will have to cover costs so I'd expect yellowcake to settle in at some price level higher than it was during the long nuclear hiatus.

Plus, the US and Russia have recently agreed at the G8 meeting to proceed with "Megatons to Megawatts" for plutonium, further supplying the US market.  Already Russian uranium from converted weapons fuels about half of US nuclear production or 10% of total US electrical production.


We're a long, long way from peak uranium.  I've promised a submittal to TOD on this topic.

I pulled an article of TOD a few days back that showed U mining going over the cliff in 2070 (EROEI for mining <1).  This was  Oxford Reserarch Group Fact sheet 4.  It also showed CO2 emission from mining escalating above gas fired electricty production.  I have no way at present of evaluating these claims - so I look forward to your article.

I will almost certainlybe dead by 2070 (unless I live to 113) but it doesn't seem that far away.

Spare away the technical details, how would you qualify a prediction for more than 50 years ahead based on data which is more than 50 years old??? (no major U search has been done since the 50s and 60s)
Pure crap, that's what I'd say.
I had a discussion with Prof Goose and others the other day about fidning the truth and used this Oxford Research report as the example - so your comments are timely.


The Oxford report is based on the assumption that no new U deposits are found and shows dwindling U grades through the 21 st Century.  At around 0.02% U3O8 they argue it becomes uncommercial to mine (that is 200ppm).

OK so the likes of the Scandinavian Alum Shale (a vast resource of carbon and U in Norway and Sweden) has 200 ppm + of U and higher grades locally.  I see your point, lower grades will never have been mapped and recorded as potential ores.


The mining industry would obviously like to mine higer grades and I assume finding high grades on surface is simply a matter of flying around with a Geiger counter - have to assume that this has already been done.  Finding higher grades with no surface expression may be more challenging - looking for He and Rn gas?

I'm looking forward to Whitehall's post on this one.  It looks like the peak U debate may be as divided as peak oil.

I commented on the Oxford Research briefing paper about a week ago.  The core assumption in this report, tactly buried in a sidebar note in a small font, is that no more uranium will be found!

The conclusion then is analogous to saying "If you stop going to work, you'll run out of money."

It's bogus antinuclear propaganda.

These guys go on about how much more we understand uranium ore body geology today.  Another analogy is that today we're just beyond oil seeps exploration wise.  Salt domes, anticlines, 3D modeling lay ahead.


Oxford also makes a big deal out of greenhouse gas emissions from uranium mining and processing.  Sure, you use trucks and D-9s and such but the big hit is in enrichment.  In a big mine, lot's of this could be electrified - those big coal strip mines use electric shovels, for example.

Enrichment technology has moved from gaseous diffusion (obsolete) to centrifuges and is headed to lasers - all needing less energy.

The build program for future reactors seems to be large and growing - I seem to remember seeing a table with ridiculous numbers to be built over the next few years in Cameco's annual report.

Can you think of any co's which benefit directly from building a new generation of nukes apart from France's Areva?

For GE, "power" seems too small in its sales mix, same for Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Hitachi; and for Siemens its almost insignificant.

There must be some interesting design / construction niches people haven't though of..

By the way, do you know anything about what USEC is like as a company from an investment perspective?

Market-wise, USEC is facing stiff competition in getting a domestic centrifuge plant up and running (Louisana Enrichment Services?).  On the other hand, they've been formally selected to be the US agent for US and Russian surplus plutonium.

Frankly, they'll survive on government handouts for many years but they don't seem particularly aggressive or entrapuneurial.  Most of the people are former DOE bureaucrats - what does that tell you?

I suspect that some better-run company will leap ahead to laser enrichment and  undercut them in before long (10 years?).

They might make sense as a cash cow with some growth but they're no Microsoft or even SBC.

The other flawed assumption is that neither fuel reprocessing neither breeders will ever take place.

Let's imagine for a moment that no new deposits are ever found in the years to come. So what will happen? Will utilities just sit and wait until U hits $1000/lb and voluntary go out of buisiness? AFAIK fuel reprocessing is feasible even now, while breeders will be at some $100/lb. Utilising only the depleted U that we currently keep in storage will be enough to fuel the current and projected in next decades nuclear plants for centuries. This whole setup is so lame that it stinks.

"breeders will be at some $100/lb."

From where does this number come?

Sorry I can not provide a link, I was quoting this estimate by memory. Since breeders are already a commercially tested and working technology (with U trading at ~$10/lb) a number in this range makes sense.
Do you have any opinion about the critics charges that "technical issues" have shut breeders down, i.e. that these things are an engineering nightmare, good in theory, but nobody can get them to work reliably, etc, etc.
IANE (I am not an expert), but I would say that if there is not a financial incentitive then there is no incentitive to fix the technical problems which are charactiristic to any new technology.

Just look at commercial aviation for example. If one looks back at time at all the people that lost their lives because of the failures of the immature then technology, one would say that it would be never permitted nowadays. But no, people wanted to fly back then, and the drive to solve the problems was there, and as a result we do have a relatively safe commercial aviation now. It did not appear overnight or after the production of several test planes.

Similarly in a future when we are short of fossil fuels and cheap uranium is probably not able to fill the gap, we will have the drive to get the breeders up and running. That is, if we still want to keep the lights on (and I suspect this we will always want).

One further thing they neglected to mention is that Thorium can be used to breed new fuel as well, and this fuel cycle (Th-232 -> U-233) does not produce plutonium so it is much more friendly from a nuclear arms proliferation standpoint.  Also, Thorium is 3x's more abundant in the earth's crust, so if / when Uranium prices go through the roof and breeding / reprocessing becomes the way to go, then I assume Thorium will become the cost winner.  

Another advantage, from wikipedia:

Nevertheless, the thorium fuel cycle, with its potential for breeding fuel without the need for fast neutron reactors, holds considerable potential long-term. Thorium is significantly more abundant than uranium, so it is a key factor in the sustainability of nuclear energy.

Its funny how they kinda forget to include such information, eh?

Whitehall, Babble, LevinK and Steve - glad to have got you all stirred up a bit.
I've checked my geochemistry book (Taylor and McLennan) and am pleased to report that you are right, Th has a concentration of 13.4 ppm in pelagic clay and U has a concentration of 2.6 ppm - so Th is about 5 times more abundant in this environment.  But wait a minute, U ores have concentrations over 20,000 ppm - a 1000 times enrichment over average.  I have a pretty good understanding how this happens - oxidised U (6+) is very soluble in water whilst reduced U (4+) is completely insoluble.  So when a redox boundary is crossed, flowing sub-surface waters dump their U forming ores.  Thats why many petroleum source rocks are so-called hot shales - the organic material provides reducing conditions and U gets dumped.

I have to confess to not knowing too much about the geochemistry of Th mineralisation.  I've not read much about Th mining either so maybe you could enlighten me.

All you have to know about thorium deposits - "Black Sand"

Black sand is widely deposited.  The mineral of interest is monzanite (sp?) and is the source for the rare earths. Thorium is similar chemically to the rare earths and can be a co-product.

India has huge stretches of black sands. Jacksonville, Florida in the US also has deposits, for another example.

It is of interest to me (and regulators) that some commercial uranium ores are lignites.  That's why burning many coal grades emit more radioactivity than nuclear power plants.  The uranium isotopes aren't so much the problem as the decay daughters (radon, radium, etc).

This makes sense then
With about six times more thorium than uranium, India has made utilisation of thorium for large-scale energy production a major goal in its nuclear power program...
Also from the same source they add
Over the last 30 years there has been interest in utilising thorium as a nuclear fuel since it is more abundant in the Earth's crust than uranium. Also, all of the mined thorium is potentially useable in a reactor, compared with the 0.7% of natural uranium, so some 40 times the amount of energy per unit mass might theoretically be available (withouit recourse to fast breeder reactors).
Thanks Steve, this is interesting stuff.

Th only has one natural isotope - 232Th - which is why 100% of it can theoretically be used.  This isotope, however, is not that radioactive and cannot be used as nuclear fuel on its own.  The WNA paper says that Th has to be bred to 233U to be useful - presumably by bombarding this with neutrons in a reactor - so its not that straight forward.

I'd also play down the fact that Th is 5 to 6 times more abundant than U because it is the geological concetrating process that is important - i.e. the mechanism of mineralisation - which Whitehall has described above.  The numbers of interest will be a comparison between U grade ores and Th garde ores.

Thanks Whitehall, very interesting.  Monazite is a REE phosphate mineral common in granites etc.  Monazite basically mops up elements that don't easily fit into the strucure of other minerals and is therefore very enriched in elements such as U - I didn't know that it also sucked up Th.

Monazite is very heavy and therefore gets sorted and concentrated by sedimentary hydraulic processes - hence your black sands.  In oil wells, electric loggers sometomes need to be careful to not get fooled by "heavy mineral layers" that give a spike on gamma logs and mistake these for "hot shales" which may be used as stratigraphic markers.

The problem with lignite you mention, will be realted to the redox behaviour of U - which can become concentrated in any organic rich sediment.  I trust you are not burning lignite in the UK.  It sounds like you should try and recover the U from the flue gas - that would be a win-win nice little earner.

As I'm sure you are aware the radioactivity of U itself is not that dangerous but the decay products Ra and Rn are.

Here's a curious thing - about 50% of background radioactivity comes from U and the other 50% from K - the 40K isotope being radioactive - and people use KCl as a NaCl substitute cos they believe salt is bad for them.  The decay rate of K is very slow and it decays directly to stable Ar and is probably completely harmless - but I don't see the point in taking the chance.  Worth thinking about anti-nuclear protestors though spraying radioactive KCl on their chips - it is the sort of thing they would probably do.

Hello CapnBligh.  For 30 odd years the world's U market has been distorted by recycling of neuk warheads.  From what I understand, the stock pile of neuks to be recycled is comming to an end.  There's not been much U exploration for years, demand is soaring and yellowcake (U3O8) prices are soaring.


Only one pure big U mining play and that is Cameco - a Canadian company.  Nice thing about Cameco is that most of reserves are in Canada - nice and secure.  The other pure U play in Paladin Resources (Australian) who don't have any production yet, but should have first production this year from the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia.  Paladin was the World's best performing stock I believe in 2004 - so your Glow in the Dark article seems to have missed some of the action.

Last Year BHP Billiton (the worlds biggest mining company) bought another company called WMC Resources and with that they acquired the Olympic Dam copper mine in Australia.  U is a major bi-product at Olympic Dam and the amount of U present at Olympic Dam happens to make it the World's biggest U resource.  BHP Billiton plan to expand operations there.  Problem with BHP Billiton is that they mine everything else - coal, copper, iron - you name it - apart from diamonds.

Main U resources world wide are in Canada, Australia, Namibia and Kazhakstan.  Australia has only 5 mines (from memory) and has a moratorium on new mines - thus making expansion of Olympic Dam attractive to BHP.

Otherwise, Rio Tinto operate the massive Rossing mine in Namibia - but like BHP, Rio Tinto comes with a lot of other baggage.  Another one to watch is SXR Urnaium One (Toronton) who are developing brown field mines in South Africa.

The Russian and American HEU (warhead uranium) is about complete but the plutonium recycling has only just begun.

Duke is constructing its MOX fuel fabrication plant so that Russian plutonium can replace Russian uranium for half of the world's biggest market.  It's first task is using American surplus Pu. There are other MOX fab plants in Japan and, of course, Europe.

Any play on the uranium bubble is short term in my opinion and I read most of the enthusiasts as trying to sell you something.  While one can be bullish on uranium, it's by and large a small market for big companies.

But, hey, it's your money....

You got me Whitehall, I don't know enough about Pu and MOX reactors.  But isn't it the case that most reactors today run on U?  Breeder reactors, from what I read, have not been that successful.

I look forward to your article with great interest.

AFAIK MOX can be used in the same reactors that use U. That's the whole beauty of it.

Pure Pu is even a better reactor fuel that U-235, so it needs to be deluted in even lower percentage than it is in enriched U (~3%).

But I hope Whitehall will expand on this one.

If a reactor is to be shifted from uranium to MOX, the owner has to spend from $20 to $50 million for security upgrades, neutronics and safety analyses, and maybe control system tweaks.  There are slightly increased operational costs too (more guards and paperwork).  US owners have been reluctant to get involved in what has been a federal initiative since the utilities have little or no financial incentives.

But on the whole, Levin is correct, light water reactors (LWR) can easily burn Pu.  In fact they already do in that half the fission power at the end of a long fuel cycle comes from built up Pu created in operation.

You don't need breeders to burn Pu.  In fact, you don't need breeders to make Pu.  A LWR has a conversion factor of maybe 0.4 (if memory serves) while a breeder, by definition is >1.00.  It seems impossible to break 1.0 with water moderation.

Whitehall, I will assume you are a Russian spy based in Washington.  I am a geochemist based in Aberdeen.  A couple of observations about nuclear power - which I strongly support.  In the UK, and particularly in Scotland, the people for whatever reason are terrified of this safest of technologies.  It might have something to do with having UK trident and US trident missiles loacted on our soil (actually in our lochs) and a completely safe experimental reactor located in a very remote area - Dounreay - which has leaked radioactivity over some lovely sandy beaches.  But as I say I am a strong supporter of nuclear.  But I don't understand why Pu is more of a security risk than U.  But what I do understand is that Pu is one of the most toxic substances known to man - more dangerous I believe for its toxisity than its radioactivity?  Correct me if I'm wrong.  How do you plan to convince a sceptical public that as yet untried technologies are safer than the ones they are already terrified of?

Fire away.

Start by convincing me. Convince me that an untried technology is worth trillions to become tried. That it's worth decades of effort. That it beats tried ideas such as conservation. That you can find minders for this new technology when the history is operators drunk and asleep in the control room. That when you're right and it's accepted practice the world is better off than if we had powered down. That centralized high tech power in the hands of big money and big pols is a better idea than widespread small wind and solar.
If all of the world powers down exept one region that region will be a provider of vital goods that everybody wants and it can also afford the biggest army. I would like to have that region as close to me as possible, preferably living in it since it is easier to make a living in a rich region and I can hopefully have some miniscule influence in keeping it well run and nice to our neighbours.

The reward for keeping high tech high power running in a region is very big in physical richness, prestige and political power. But it does of course not realy matter if it is done with massive ammounts of wind and solar powerplants or a handfull of breeder reactors.

This is of course a cynical line of reasoning but this cynical motivation excists and must be handeld in some way. Thus I hope that the most advanced, democratic and peacefull regions in the world wont power down but instead turn efficient and highly productive. A power down into no industrial capacity would set a wonderfull example of self sacrifice that will be laughed at in the winners history books for centuries.

As I said above I am a supporter of nuclear.  Einstein's mass to energy - the way forward.  Scotland has two big commercial reactors producing about 40% of our electricity (from memory).  I think in future we should plan to have three big neuks and fill the rest with hydro and wind (if it can be proven to pay in energy terms).  Definitely better to run the risks of nuclear (whatever they are) than to return to the dark ages.  However, I still look forward to Whitehall's post.  The main issues (appologies if these points have alreday been covered on TOD but I'm relatively new here):

Do MOX and Th based fuel cycles work (proven technology) and do they work 100% safe?
What are the facts about U and Th fuel supplies and recycling bomb Pu?
Get a semi-permanent solution for waste storage sorted fast.
Economics - time to forget about $ and £ and to focus on EROEI

I don't have too much confidence in our home-based nuclear research facilities - Dounreay and Windscale - which seem to be a mess.

> Do MOX and Th based fuel cycles work (proven technology)

Both have been test run and work, India is probably the world leader in Thorium fuel cycle research.

> and do they work 100% safe?

Nothing is ever 100.0000% safe, if modern "western" technology has proven to be good enough for you then it is safe enough, if not I dont think safe enough can be attained for you.

> What are the facts about U and Th fuel supplies and recycling bomb Pu?

The very short fact about Pu for bombs is that it has to be rotated thru a reactor often and that the reprocessing separation of uranium, transuranic elements and fission fragments must give pure Pu. The current large scale processs were developed for the military need for Pu and gives pure Pu, other processes are possible and some research has been done.

> Get a semi-permanent solution for waste storage sorted fast.

Call www.skb.se, low and medium level waste facilities are running in Sweden since some years and they have a high level waste solution that were good enough for Finland. But it is optimised for crystalline bedrock.

> Economics - time to forget about $ and £ and to focus on EROEI

Carefull, both ROI and EROEI must work out, otherwise the economical system will slow down.

The cynical and still terrified public is told that it's either nukes or the dark ages. See why we don't trust you?
Why would anyone believe that those who reason this way are superhumanly brilliant when they do engineering?
Here's an article I did going in to more detail about nuclear waste storage and reprocessing.  Turns out that the political stalling on Yucca Mountain (the US waste repository) has driven up the costs so much that the reprocessing option is much much cheaper:


The concern with Pu in civilian reactors is that someone can chemically seperate the Pu from spent fuel.  That result can then be directly used, albeit inefficiently, for a weapon.  With civilian uranium, one has to add isotopic enrichment, a much more difficult process, to get it to bomb-grade (~>80% U-235).

Plutonium is generally classified into two grades - weapon grade and reactor grade.  The former is almost all Pu-239 while the latter has lots more 240, 241, and even 242.  Those make it much more difficult to handle and to construct an effective (non-dud) weapon.

For example, one can hold a sphere of pure weapon-grade Pu in one's hand (it's warm) but reactor-grade Pu is much more radioactive and would give one a significant radiation dose.

The new MOX fuel initiatives will focus on consuming weapon-grade Pu.  Once the US returns to reprocessing, the MOX will increasingly be reactor-grade.

For OldHippie, "nukes or Dark Ages" is a bit strong but there is a lot of truth there.  We've difficult adjustments ahead and nuclear will be essential.  Those who say we can do without it have not made a convincing case to most people.  I don't think the physics are there, assuming one wants to maintain anything close to our lifestyle or levels of civilizational attainment.

We can't take care of the big stick we've got. We need a bigger stick. Realpolitik says so.
The pure play is the Toronto exchange traded fund "Uranium Participation Corporation", symbol U.  Invest in the yellowcake, it is that simple.
From Australia (via Euro Pacific Capital - europac.net)
SXR Uranium One Inc Com - ISIN#CA87112P1062  (aka SXRFF)
David Pimentel has something to say, http://gog2g.com/2006/07/19/david-pimentel-has-something-to-say.aspx, interesting "rebuttal" but hes got a point...
the link does not work.
Copy the link into your browser without the final comma.
Target: The Canary in the Economy?
July 18, 2006 (BusinessWeek)

Many fear the slowdown in the retailer's sales is a harbinger for reduced consumer spending--and that business can't pick up the slack

Cheap-chic retailer Target suffered a one-two punch from higher gas prices and the cooling housing market as shoppers pared down visits to the store.

"We believe the weakening housing market and prospects of high oil and gasoline prices, along with other negatives, will during the next few quarters pressure same-store sales for Target and other retailers," A.G. Edwards analyst Robert Buchanan wrote in a research report as he downgraded Target and several other retail stocks to hold from buy (see BW Online, 5/17/06, "Could Consumers Call it Quits?)".

Stagflation eventually had to hit the heart of the economy, consumer spending that represents 70% of the US economy. This appears to be happening now, a good six months after energy prices and borrowing costs increased significantly while wages, except for the top 20% of wage earners, either stagnated or declined in real terms.

The thing to keep in mind when watching the economy is that there are often long delays between changes to inputs (prices, jobs, wages, etc.) and measurable changes, often six months to a year, such as between the time energy prices increased and declining housing related wealth, cash and credit resulted in a decrease in consumer spending. That's because consumers don't behave according to the CPI, interest rate and housing price numbers reported in the financial press. They react eventually and reluctantly to the observation over time that they have less wealth than before and less money to spend. At first they compensate by increasing their borrowing, even at higher borrowing costs, in the hope that the problem is temporary. They resist changing their behavior, delay an adjustment to a lower standard of living, because that is an acknowledgement that they are in fact now poorer, a painful thing for any person to admit even if it's largely not that person's fault. Their mistake was to believe that the housing bubble "wealth" like the tech stock bubble "wealth" before it was ever real.

Eventually consumers do admit that they are poorer, have less money to spend. If that adjustment is rapid and painful enough, consumers -- who are also voters -- begin to look for someone to blame. In times of rising gasoline prices, oil companies are always a good scapegoat. (But don't blame your local gas station. You'll notice them going out of business in your neighborhood if you haven't already. The reason is that retail sales of gasoline is a very low margin business. When gasoline prices are high, people buy less but the gas station owner is stuck paying high prices from distributors. If the station owner hasn't been watching cashflow carefully, a couple of months of slow sales can wipe him or her out. We've lost two in our area, and there is now only one station within 10 miles open on a Sunday evening.) As property taxes rise, the town's managers are also handy scapegoats, but no one was complaining about the rocketing housing prices that inspired the lavish spending plans that drove those tax increases.

The real culprit is, of course, the policy makers responsible for the policies that made the US economy dependent on credit and consumption versus savings, foreign borrowing and the trade in inflated assets versus production, in the first place. Greenspan got out of Dodge last year, but the guys on Capitol Hill are sitting ducks.

PEMEX still drifting lower...

Just reported June numbers.


May: 3.770 mbpd
June: 3.723 mbpd

All the loss is heavy oil (probably from Cantarell):

May:  2.338 mbpd
June: 2.276 mbpd

Hello Khebab,

Here is some more info on Mexico:

Cantarell's decline and the continuing dispute over the Mexican election could lead to some very interesting social dynamics down Mexico way.  AMLO supporters screamed and pummeled Calderon's car with their fists today. This link mathematically purports to show how election fraud was possibly accomplished. Greg Palast talks about how things can go much worse in an interview.

Yet plans for SUPERNAFTA continue as Kansas City Southern has declared itself the nation's first NAFTA Railroad by buying a Mexican railroad.

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

Does this mean that Cantarell's decline can be offset by increased production from Safaniya in KSA?  In which case Mexico's decline may be largely irrelevant short term - except for the Mexicans.
The projects in SA are an attempt to offset dropping production from Ghawar and other SA fields. They are having their own problems maintaining production, much less making up for other's losses.
Yes, but my understanding is that Safaniya is a heavy crude field - and the Saudis are having problems selling this product cos few can refine it.  So while their light sweet production may be falling from Ghawar, Abqaiq, Berri et. al., falling production at Cantarell may make room in the world market for more heavy crude from Safaniya - where there is no shortage.  Hence, falling production at Cantarell may be irrelevant for the time being.  What is relevant is falling light sweet production in KSA, and that, in the total KSA production figures, the proportion of light sweet to heavy crude may be falling.

In other words, Cantarell's decline may provide KSA with a means of masking trouble at home.

I see your point, and imagine you could be right unless some other factor is at play.
Damn, someone beat me to it.
Here's a good rant on consumerism from Joe Bageant
Twilight, A perfect example of the incredible amount of excess we could downsize over time as the peak rears it's ugly head. That coupled with the relatively slow decline prophesized by most, and the ingenuity of the increasingly motivated scientists and engineers, gives me some hope. Not much, as the whole infrastructure thing is an insurmountable problem, but some nontheless.
President Bush rejected legislation Wednesday that could have multiplied the federal money going into embryonic stem cell research, using the first veto of his presidency to underscore his stand on the emotionally charged, life-and-death issue.

Just a quick update on what I've been doing since the last e-mail.  I get work done fast and faster still as more and more people learn and try to find ways to help me.  I'm not too far from making my own full time job of working for implementing solution regarding peak oil.

I have written what was done with a diagram of the few solutions I try to implement here.  I will probably be able to relate my work after the next 2 weeks,  I'm one of the organizer of the International Swimming marathon in Roberval Traversee. I organize the day camp for youngsters, organize a parade and a beach party.  Yes, I'm busy.

Well you can get a sense of what I'm doing regarding peak oil at this web site.  This is a new posting for the relocalization network.  I hope it will help some of you.
Pascal Gagnon new blog

Just read the 2nd post and download the solution diagram, it's one of the best diagram of the mental representation of part of the solution regarding peak oil.  It may not apply for you all but some of it is good.  I can do it because I know a lot of people but don't underestimate what you can do at the local level.  That's what's driving me!

Have a good day|


List of reputable sources on ethanol easily available through Interlibrary Lending from libraries from references and bibliography in book listed below.

Bernton, Hal, William Kovarik, Scott Sklar, THE FORBIDDEN FUEL: POWER ALCOHOL IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. New York: Boyd Griffin, 1982   ISBN: 0-941726-00-2
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 81-85112

This book is reputable, well-documented, and has a large and useful bibliography of peer-reviewed articles in reputable journals. For those who want to learn about ethanol as a power fuel, I suggest this book and its bibliography will lead you in the direction of sound scientific research, research that has been replicated over and over again.

You may also find a rare copy of "The Forbidden Fuel: Power Alcohol in the 20th Century" somewhere in a library. I was a co-author. Hal Bernton was the lead author.


Six used copies on Amazon

If you are Scott Sklar, you autographed my copy to somebody whose name might be April or something like that.

I consider this book to be one of the 25 best nonfiction works published in the twentieth century. Congratulations!

I'm not Sklar - I was simply quoting his post.

I yam what I yam.