DrumBeat: July 21, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/21/06 at 2:03 PM EDT]

The August Harper's cover story is about peak oil. It's not available online, but from what people are saying, it's not bad. Written by Bryant Urstadt, it's called "Imagine There's No Oil: Scenes from a liberal apocalypse."

And here's another link to the article I posted this morning. This one does not require registration.

Saudi Arabia's Oil a Huge Question

[Update by Leanan on 07/21/06 at 2:30 PM EDT]

Julian Darley wants A new kind of money

The decline in the availability of cheap energy is likely to be accompanied by an equally ominous possibility of world financial meltdown. That we are facing both of these threats now is not an accident: energy and financial stability are intimately linked. I believe the solutions for dealing with these twinned threats are equally linked. To build an environmentally sustainable, monetarily stable world, we need to create an economy in which locally produced energy provides the backing for local currencies.

Greenland opening Arctic sea to oil wells: Energy giants gather to discuss, Greenpeace calls idea 'insane.'

China oil production rises 2 percent

China to need more jumbo oil tankers over next five years

Drivers' love of the road grows costly

In St. Louis, the Governor sent the sent the National Guard to evacuate residents from their sweltering homes. With electricity down due to heavy storms, it was feared that people would die in the 100F temps.

In New York, thousands are without power due to mysterious grid failure.

Hyundai breakthrough in fuel cell technology

[Update by Leanan on 07/21/06 at 3:08 PM EDT]

Valero expects to lose 1.3 million barrels in lost-refining capacity

Valero Energy Corp. has shut down the company's fluid catalytic cracking unit at its St. Charles refinery in Louisiana for needed repairs.

Valero spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown says the repairs should take 20 days to complete.

This will result in a loss of gasoline production of 65,000 barrels per day or 1.3 million barrels. Refinery officials do not expect a material impact to the 250,000-barrel-per-day facility's distillate production. Distillates include jet fuel and diesel.

Highly Recommended Article from Sprott


Of Oilsands and Caviar and Malthus (PDF)
Eric Sprott and Sasha Solunac, Sprott Asset Management


...we were shocked two week ago when Shell Canada and Western Oil Sands announced that the price tag of their Athabasca oilsands expansion won't be $7.3 billion (Canadian dollars) as initially projected, but rather $11 billion - or 50% higher! If that's not inflation folks, then we don't know what is. This isn't the first, and we doubt it will be the last, cost increase that we'll hear about in the oilsands. Costs there are a continually moving upward target.

Announcements like this make it most obvious that the era of cheap oil is clearly over, especially when it costs so much for the world to get that incremental barrel of oil production, especially from heretofore unconventional sources. Remember that the oilsands were supposed to be the great saviour of the world's energy problems. It would appear that this purveyor of abundant energy is on its way to ignominity due to spiraling costs.

As unfortunate as that announcement was for oilsands producers, this article isn't about the oilsands. More interesting is what it implies for the cost of all things going forward. To wit, this article will be a general discussion on two inter-rated principles, or perhaps more accurately, two inter-related perils.

One is cost-push inflation, and the other is Malthusian theory. As we've already said, we found the oilsands announcement to be shocking - so much so that it effectively changed the landscape. Not only is it highly inflationary, but we fear that it is the kind of inflation that threatens to pervade absolutely everything. It is difficult to envision a scenario where the cost of energy soars without impacting the cost of all things, whether good or service. Just about everything we do comes from or relies on energy.
(July 2006)
From an investment firm that's peak oil conscious.

Thanks for the reference, WT, that was an excellent article.  I'd never heard of Sprott Asset Management until now.  If you go to their home page you can see their track record, which looks pretty good.  They also have a peak oil page, http://www.sprott.com/peakoil.php , which has a number of prior articles plus some current energy headlines.
They're also global warming aware too.
Investment Implications of Abrupt Climate Change
My appologies if this has been previously posted on this website.  I have been without internet access the past couple of days.  The St Louis Post Dispatch is reporting
that the power outage in this area has affected a nearby refinery.  Radio reports yesterdy were asking people not
to panic and "rush out to topoff there tanks".

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/metroeast/story/5931607E4094FF4B862571B10078B99D?O penDocument&highlight=2%2C%22refinery%22

This is ConocoPhillips' Wood River refinery. I knew about this yesterday morning, but couldn't say anything until it hit the press. This refinery is responsible for about 1% of all oil refined in the U.S. That's all I will say for now, until determining what the news media is reporting.



Power outages following last night's storms shut down oil refining at the ConnocoPhillips plant in Hartford.

On a normal day, the 10th busiest such plant in the nation refines 306,000 barrels of crude into gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, propane and other products that it ships by pipeline to St. Louis, Chicago and Indianopolis.
Not a single barrel was refined there today.

Plant spokeswoman Melissa Erker said the refinery had hired additional contractors to assist AmerenUE in repairing numerous downed lines and other damage to the plant.

Erker said she did not know when power would be restored. And she declined to speculate where the shutdown would affect area fuel prices.

Since there are no pipelines from there to my STL side, I'm not too worried.

Hello Tate423,

How about power outages caused by people stealing the oil from electrical transformers?  This is really getting oil the most dangerous way possible!
The company was forced to buy new transformers to replace those burnt down.

Once oil is drained from a transformer, it overheats, and if power is not switched off on time, the transformer explodes and cannot be repaired for future use.

The above mentioned losses only include replacement of transformers, but does not include the loss of revenue incurred by the Company for the inability to sell electricity units to consumers.

The loss does not also include many hours lost in tackling the theft.  There are reports that 40 per cent of the power supplied to India's capital of New Delhi disappears through "transmission losses" meaning it is consumed without being paid for. It is stolen.
I predicted some time ago that detrito-terrorists will add positive feedback greatly to Tainterian collapse.  The path to Olduvai Gorge gains more people everyday.

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

Hello TODers,

If you are going to steal electricity, stealing an extra electrical meter is a pretty clever way to do it.  I would imagine the Tanzanians use their regular meter for 3 weeks, then switch to the stolen unit for the week prior to when the utility company meter-reader arrives to determine the monthly billing.  After he/she leaves, then switch back to the original unit for more free juice [this process only takes a few minutes to accomplish due to snap-in, snap-out design].  A unique theft tactic if you ask me!

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

You could just make 2 connections before the meter and get it free.

There is a gizmo you can make that requires only 1 low power connection before the meter and 2 after it [ie any domestic wall socket]. It will subtract x kilowatts from the meter measurement, where x depends on the internal construction.

I met a guy who used to hire them out for a few weeks before meter readings..

At one time, I believe you could drive round gas meters with a vacumn cleaner after they were removed.

Then again, our water is unmetered, so just run a generator from the tap.

All ranked up there with treason, if you get caught.

Yeah, and electric distributors (at least in this area) have software programs which can identify habitual thieves from usage records. I know because I hace worked on such programs. In our area people who bypass meters are usually either running an underground 'weed' growing farm or a moonshine still in the barn and don't want to appear to be using unusual ammounts of electricity.
I hope thats motor oil, like lubricant.  That's when you know its bad.  This is something!  Gas is, as you may guess, starting to become hard to come by.  So much so, it is on the radio and it's turned into a game.  People are calling in to talk about where the gas still is and where people can go if they need to.

So I got the thinking.  Downtown there is a concert, Live on the Levee, it's going on as planned.  That's going to drain the power, and its shutting down eads bridge, aptly renamed eats bridge for the concert.  So transportation flow takes a hit for "economic gain."  Its a contractual agreement that they go on with the restaurants.  I wonder what kind of financial hardships that could arise from insurance being hit for a lot of cancelled events due to lack of "ingredients?"  What do you think?

Hello Tate423,

Not sure if I understand your question: "I wonder what kind of financial hardships that could arise from insurance being hit for a lot of cancelled events due to lack of "ingredients?"

My guess is a lot of future events will never get off the ground because people won't be able to afford to travel to them, much less spend money on the food and trinkets, excluding local neighborhood 'potluck' parties.

The ins cos. that refused to write hurricane and flood coverage along the East Coast are so far looking profitably vindicated [these cos. could care less if your uninsured property got flooded].  Tropical Storm Beryl could have spun up further into real bad news, and the season is still young.

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

Robert, does this mean that if the media is reporting something different from what you know to be the truth then you should remain silent and let the lie ride?
There's a right time to blow the whistle.
RR got me going.  I called the Post, they said they don't know what might be so big about it other than a refinery is shut down.  I'll wait on RR I guess.
Robert, does this mean that if the media is reporting something different from what you know to be the truth then you should remain silent and let the lie ride?

That's not it. The media is not really reporting anything. I just was a story on CNN, and they talked about the storm and all of the damage, but didn't mention the refinery. That is a very big refinery, and as spooky as the markets have been I would have assumed it would have gotten a mention.

You have to realize that sometimes I may have some information that has not been released to the public, and I could lose my job if I am the one who releases it. When news is released, I can comment on it.



P.S. To "tate123" above: This refinery is a major supplier of fuel into STL.

Damn, I always thought the idea of a pipeline coming from TX was BS.
This is ConocoPhillips' Wood River refinery. I knew about this yesterday morning, but couldn't say anything until it hit the press. This refinery is responsible for about 1% of all oil refined in the U.S. That's all I will say for now, until determining what the news media is reporting.



Im in st.louis and my aunt is a manager at a local mobil gas station,  and she said they are down to about 600 gallons of gas and they told her there wont be any more coming very soon.  So I went and filled up all three of my cars / work vans.  

MD...I'm with you as soon as I get off work.  This is stupid.
According to the radio report that I heard yesterday it is not only that the refinery that is down but also the terminals.  As was stated in the report, even if the refinery was operational there would be no way to ship the product(s) until power was restored.

To RR's comment above: I too, am puzzled as to why this is not getting more attention in MSM.

What about Valero?  Should New Orleans residents rush out to fill up their tanks, too?
Shell and Murphy are still up, as well as ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge and 3 or 4 other smaller refineries in the area.
I wonder how similar situations to this are going to play out?


Should New Orleans residents rush out to fill up their tanks, too?

I would. In fact, I can offer a standing piece of advice. Any time a large refinery goes down in your area, fill up your tank IMMEDIATELY. A couple of things can happen when a big refinery goes down. It will remove a large amount of supply in the local area, and unless the refinery comes right back up, supplies can be drained. Prices will come up to stem demand, so the faster you react the better. If the refinery is down for more than a few days, supplies will start to come in from other areas, but you are going to pay a higher price. (That's one reason prices went up nationwide after Katrina; supplies were diverted to the gulf).

After Hurricane Katrina hit, I knew pretty quickly about the extent of the damage. I had direct knowledge of one refinery down there, had an early warning on the Mars platform, and knew that supply was going to be knocked out for a long time. I called my friends and family in Texas and Oklahoma right after the hurricane and advised them to fill up all of their vehicles and any gas cans they could scrounge up. Gas prices at the time were around $2.20 a gallon, but I warned that they could go up to $3.00 in just a few days. That is just what happened.

This is what I mean when I say sometimes I have information I can't share. I had an early warning on these things, but that warning came as a result of my employment. I can't share those pieces of information in a public forum. Assume that I issued a warning here at TOD about supplies in the wake of Katrina. I would have been guilty of helping cause a panic and a run on supplies. Even though that happened anyway, it's best for me that my company doesn't come back and ask why I had a hand in it.



During hurricane season, I keep at least 2/3 of a tank plus a couple of gallons of diesel in a "gas" can.  Enough to get me to Tennessee even with 8 hours of stop & go driving.

Since I need to fill up otherwise every 2.5 months or so, I can wait (I average 6 gallons/month).

The New Orleans Metro area refines perhaps 10 times what we use locally, with more refineries nearby.  Any local reduction can be spread over a much larger area by reducing shipments out.

As Saudi depletion kicks in, I do not expect gas lines in Riyadh.  

"The Grapes of Wrath"

Just a coincidence.  No time to get to library and a stash of 'must read' old paperbacks.

I want to know what people are reading this weekend.

Me? I'm rereading Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" and laughing so hard that I just about fall out of the chair.

Also, I'm working on my knuckle ball again.

Stephen Leeb, "The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel"

Got it yesterday via amazon among some other books, and read the first two chapters.  Leeb was inspired by Diamonds "Collapse" & Tainters "Collapse of Complex Civilizations"

He reasoned that these two had all the data and the facts to support the position that most are not in.  He then goes on to explain a little background on PO, enough to really scare you.  I'll check back in to let you know how it is.

Read it about a month ago---2 thumbs down IMHO.
1491 by Charles C. Mann. It's good reading and gives me a vision of what we can do to care for the planet.
The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

Late Graduation Present from a family friend of mine.  I've only touched on the first few pages.  Damned 50 hour work week.

His statements on oil in this book are some of the best writing in the book. BTW, it is a fast read; I went through it at about 3,000 words per minute and missed nothing.

(Usually I read only 1,500-2,000 w.p.m.)

I watch films in fast forward and can see (on average) 450 frames per second:).

But seriously, you reading speed is bionic. I once purchased a book on speed reading. it was a slow read!
It taught you how to move your eyes etc. Was a good book
if you needed to learn how to digest HUGE amounts of information quickly and efficienly eg for research.

However when i read novels for example, I (like most other people I am sure) start to see in picture and subconsciously forget tat i'm digesting words. So if my enjoyment is being 'inside' that book i would rather prolong that experience, especially if the book was good.
That is to say taking my time and reading slowly ADDS to the enjoyment; therefore, [for me] no benefit in speed reading is gained!. Interesting though. I digress! Peak Oil.


Benjamin Graham, for example, I read at less than 100 words per minute because I fill the margins with my notes in "auditor's fine point" ballpoint. Also, I've read books by Benjamin Graham more than five times because I learn more (and write new notes) every single time.

Last time I was tested on advanced economics journal papers, I got 99.7% comprehension at 2,500 words per minute.
My sister can also read very fast with excellent comprehension, and hence I suspect there is a genetic component. My father was a slow reader because he was always underlining and filling the margins with very tiny writing in both blue and red pencil. I think my mother could read very fast, but because she so enjoyed reading, she rarely did so.

I was tested at 600 wpm with 98% comphrension.  After I ewas blinded in oen eye after a criminal assault, I found that I had been reading one set of words/phrase with one eye and the next set of words with the other eye.  It took a while to adjust.
I just did 3013 wpm at 100% comprehension Here


The problem I encounter with speed reading is that of long term retention.  The faster I read, the less I am able to retain "long term"  Going over the book several times, making notes is the best approach for myself anyway.


Sorry to hear of your misfortune.

I used to write and mostly revise self-defense manuals for certain organizations you have heard of. If you live in N.O., you need this knowledge. By the way, it is mostly about dividing your attention: Most effectiveness in combat is based on habits and mental/emotional focus plus training and nasty experiences that one survives.

As a civilian I strongly recommend that you not carry a gun. In the Big Easy, I'd carry a half-full-of-water champagne bottle in a brown paper bag every where I went. That is a far, far more effective deterrant than all the expensive crap that the phonie-balonies want to sell you at inflated prices.

Thanks, but I prefer not to live a life of fear.

If "Looking out for #1" survival post-Peak Oil was my highest priority, I would take a completely different course for living my life.  I have mentally mapped precisely what needs to be done for the 5 to 7 years before TSHFT for myself and less precisely, for a longer period, for society.  

I have chosen my path and it is not a path that minimizes risk for #1. My chosen path does maximize good food & music with friendship and social connections and a deep profound joy.

The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man but once.

I appreciate your courage. Speaking as one who is a lot older than you and has gotten bloody more than once, I do fear for your saftey. We cannot AFFORD to lose you.

Are they still producing Herbsaint in your city? If so, I'd like to send you a bottle. For drinking, that is.

I watch films in fast forward and can see (on average) 450 frames per second:).

I watch boring documentaries at 2x. Everybody sounds like the chipmunks but I'm done in half the time and don't miss any of the info.

I watch using Tivo at 3x, with closed captioning. Works well.
A Green History of the World by Clive Ponting.  From what I've read so far, it looks to me like Diamond's Collapse owes tons to this book.
Excellent book.
reading Wole Soyinka --"You Must Go Forth at Dawn."

Reminicences of a Nigerian novelist and playwright -- Nobel Prize for literature 1987.  

Oil riches have destroyed Nigeria -- maybe the world will regain some version of sanity when the hydrocarbons are less abundant?

Hello NeverLNG,

As Peakoil drives us to economize in every process, we can expect Americans to replicate this "justice" process to keep as many as possible on their best behavior.

We will not be able to afford to spend million$$$ like we did on Scott Peterson or O.J. Simpson.  A rope and a tree, or the ever popular burning tire necklace will be the standard way to mete out justice in a postPeak world.  African villagers are just ahead of the sanity curve because their hydrocarbons are less abundant.

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

Wow Death and torture and it all happens in a mere few minutes.  I guess that's worse then years of going through the legal system only to be injected with poison my a beauracrat doing his job.  I wonder if you have to be caught in the act to get burned alive.  Imagine falsely accusing somebody and then never getting the chance to take it all back?
Hello Oil,

Yep, this will be a sad postPeak development, but hopefully intense familiarity and cooperation with one's neighbors will make most behave in an honest fashion.  That way a person will have nothing to fear because you will be seen as a vital member of the community.

Imagine when we are all reduced to pedaling or horseback--stealing someone's ride will be considered the equivalent of the thief imposing a death sentence upon his victim.  Society will respond in kind when they catch the bastard.

Historically, lynch mobs are too drunk with anger and power to worry about the mental 'moral luxury' of falsely accusing somebody and then never getting the chance to take it all back.  Life at the postPeak Thermo-Gene ragged edge has only survivors, and then those that get removed from the gene-pool.

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

Reclaiming the Commons

can't remember who wrote it because it's not in front of me right now...

it's about the quest to run community gardens / farms in suburban Boston

so far the story is quite inspirational

Masanobu Fukuoka : I just read Revolution of a single straw in just 5 hours (breaked in 3 parts)

Now I'm starting the Natural Farming book, from the same author.

I tend to read more positive books to help me go trough nicely.

As for Music, right now it's Claude François, it's 60-70's french Pop music, kitch to boot and entertaining.

But I could say that I write more than I read :)

Just turn off the computer! it's a good day out!

Fukuoka's "The One Straw Revolution" is the starting point for all people interested in no-till farming. This guy was way ahead of his time.
"The Revenge of Gaia" by James Lovelock.  Good solid doomer fare ;-)
"The Nature of Order - Book One", by Christopher Alexander.  I'm almost done!  Three more books to go...
"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", by John Perkins. I seen this on the recent releases shelf at my local library branch and decided to finally read it.
I've heard of this one.  Has it been a good read?
I read it a few months ago. I enjoyed it. Pretty crazy if it's all true. John Perkins was interviewed on Democracy Now! back in 2004 about it.
I've got to get a copy of this book!  I just read the entire interview and it sounds amazing.  Wonder how much is macho BS.
I believe Perkins is pretty much telling the truth. This book reminds me of "Blinded by the Right" by David Brock. These guys are tormented by their conscience and are trying to make amends. As a former member of the Federalist Society I can understand. Fortunately I came to my senses before being recruited to do any dirty deeds.
no, they realize the system is collapsing and a good way to gain social/financial capital is by playing the role of prodigal son.

If perkins weren't so full of shit, he ahve come clean 10 years ago. He says he had the book mostly written previously. But he waited until now to publish cause he knows there's a market for it now cause people are pissed.

don't get me wrong, I got nothing wrong with the guy making $$$. Some of it was very informative, most definitely worth the $25 I paid. But let's not paint the guy as some saint.  

I've got a copy, I'd be willing to trade for a copy of omnivores dilemma
Pretty crazy if it's all true.

I did not read that book, just the interview you linked to and I got a strange feeling out of this.

I am wondering about a few things:

- Looking for John Perkins on Wikipedia you find that he is also the author of some weird books.
  • Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time, ISBN 089281800X
  • Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation, ISBN 0892816635
  • The World Is As You Dream It
  • The Stress-Free Habit
  • The Spirit of the Shuar
- Looking for Stoner-Webster on Google you find that all the pages are about Perkins book, I could not find ANY page about some Stoner-Webster company, truly secretive indeed.

- If he has been bribed and threatened why did he not also got killed by the "jackals", a lowly hitman like him should not deserve more mercy than higher visibility public figures.

Though the whole of his thesis is certainly plausible and there is NO DOUBT that such things have been done and are still going on, CIA in Mossadegh's Iran, Halliburton and Bechtel plundering the third world (so obvious in Iraq now), etc... I think that Perkins explanations are deliberately warped toward the conspirational side, meant to confuse the issues with partial truths and probably significant omissions rather than meant to illuminate the subject matter.

This may be the reason that he has been "allowed" to publish.

So, either he still work (in subtler ways) for "the house" (of some sort) or he is a mythomaniac lunatic, or BOTH!

Have you ever considered actually READING the book before passing judgement on it?

A couple things:

1. Yeah, the guy's previous writings prove him to be an eco-whacko. I agree.

I think he's one of these guys who would be selling tours of the rainforest while soliciting money for some "protect the rainforest" campaign not realizing the reason it's getting destroyed is cause he and others like hime are flying rich white people all over the globe to look at the rainforest.

  1. Some of the book struck as "possibly embellished" but not the parts that were about international affairs. The part about him bangin the woman at the firm and then her up and disappearing was just weird. Not saying it didn't happen, just saying my "bullshit" alert went off.

  2. Great explanation of how petrodollar recycling went down, he in fact was one of the engineers of the scheme.
  1.  I appreciate that Mr. Perkins is speaking out.  The book, however, is one long WHINE about how for decades he wished he'd spoken out sooner.  He realizes he's doing evil things, over and over, and spends decades more doing them.  Spare us the WHINING, please.

  2.  If you haven't actually read it, you're not biased by the content, and can objectively comment upon it.  (Joke)

  3.  Chris Alexander (A Pattern Language) solved PO and most other problems a couple decades ago... A point I often stress is that we HAVE solutions to most of our problems (GW's a toughie) we just aren't able to IMPLEMENT them.
before passing judgement on it?

I have not been "passing judgement" on the book but just the interview, didn't I say that?
Improve your practice of speed reading ;-)
Also, it looks that your opinion about John Perkins and his writings matches mine 98% or so.
Thanks for your support, sparing me $25 and the time to read it only to roughly confirm what can be known (more reliably) from other sources.

I forgot to mention:

Although I found parts of the book quite informative, this was the ONLY time I almost through a book across a room.

At one point, don't remember where, I realized the books is a big scam even though it's a scam with some very informative tidbits in it. Here's why:

1. All the info is about companies and people no longer in existence. This throws the liberal do gooding reformers and crusaderers off the trial of the current criminals and hitmen.

The parts where he says:

A. they tried to bribe me and

B. the mainstream media won't interview me

. . . are designed/intended to buy credibility with above described liberal do-gooders. "See this must be true or they wouldn't have tried to bribe him!"

Now maybe the guy is still an agent. Or maybe the folks at the CIA/NSA/whoever are really, really smart and have done enough profiling that they figured this guy would make a good gatekeeper/tool and are using him as such.

(It's also possible everything is on the up and up, but if I let myself believe that I'd have a lot less to talk about.)

2. The guy made tons of $$$ lying and bullshiting through life. My belief is that a person's basic nature never changes although it may get turned up or down as time marches on. Me for instance, I have a big mouth. Will probably always be that way although not quite as loud at 28 as I was at 18. And at 38 I will probably not be quite as loud as I am currently at 28. "Once a loudmouth, always a loudmouth" algthough maybe not quite as loud as before.

So Perkins made tons of cash "working for the man" and screwing people over for about 30 years and now we are to believe he's done an 100% about face and is out to "expose the man" and fight for the good of the world?

Sure, it's possible. But once a bullshitter always a bullshitter.

Whatever. I brought Perkins into the mix a week ago. Nobody seemed to give a shit about him then. You have bigger fish to fry. Apparently Nasrallah thinks he should be "The" Prophet of Doom. Just let me know if you need some help. Until then I'll be trying to help real people. Watch some TV. And visit a library in your spare time.
I brought Perkins into the mix a week ago. Nobody seemed to give a shit about him then.

Does not that tell you something?

Great book!  I was finishing it standing on the bus earlier this summer, and a woman caught my eye over the top of the book.  She told me she was Honduran, and had worked as a TV executive in Honduras in the '70s.  She said she picked up the book in Italy before it was available in the US.  And then she said, "It's all true, you know.  Every bit of it.  I saw it happen."

I can't buy any of Perkins' current spiritual orientation, but this bood is a must-read - especially for anyone who feels that US foreign policy as implemented through the IMF and WB is intended to benefit the recipient nations.

Put it on my amazon wish list....next order, it's mine.
Jill Jonnes: South Bronx Rising. The story of the abandonment of the Bronx in the postwar period and it's subsequent modest resurrection. Cheap oil was bad for the Bronx. Will expensive oil be good?
Rent controls were probably even worse. After 60 years of inflation, if you are lucky enough to inherit (yes, inherit) a rent-controlled apartment that by some miracle is actually maintained, you may get to live there practically for free.
I'm not reading this weekend, I'm going to set up a WiFi hotspot at the site of an upcoming peak oil conference I'm helping to organize which you can read about here... ;)


Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solomon

I ususally don't dig doomer lit, but Solomon keeps it pretty light.  His ideas are practical for some, but he won't have me changing my own techniques.

The Coming Disaster in the Derivatives Market

When big operators take on a lot more risk than they otherwise might -- they drive faster, perhaps, because they know their car has anti-lock brakes -- it tends to raise the danger stakes for the system as a whole. Millions of dollars of losses can break the bank at a few unlucky firms. Billion -- or even trillion -- dollar failures can bring down the whole house of cards, especially given the dense network of dependent relationships that exists in the global financial arena. ...What will likely make matters worse is the fact that the derivatives market has become mind-numbingly complex and remains extremely opaque.
'The End of Faith' by Sam Harris and 'House of War' by James Carrol.
I'm re-reading The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. Set in Mexico in the late 1800s, it is beautiful, passionate, romantic and very funny. And absolutely zero connection to Peak Oil :)
"Ubiquity" by Mark Buchanan
"Collapse" by Jared Diamond
"The Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence" by Harry Jerison
"The Big Burn" by Don Miller and Stan Cohen
"Wind Power" by Paul Gipe

Among others. I'm usually reading 5 to 10 books simultaneously, switching between them at frequent intervals. Guess I have a short attention span. :o)

Just curious cause I haven't seen this book, but in "The Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence" by Harry Jerison, does he talk about the brains of other animals or just the exalted human brain?

I would also recommend:
"Conspiracy of Fools" (The Enron story) by Erlich???? (sorry forgot the author's name) -although we now know how it ends for Kenny Boy and Skilling, it is an insightful look into how the geniuses of accounting can cook the books to make dozens of money losing enterprises look like they are instead making money. I always feel safe when people do it "by the numbers".

Jerison's work is a foundation-type treatise on the evolution of the vertebrate brain. It covers reptiles, dinos, birds, mammals, many orders. The book is fairly old, from the mid-70s, and a lot of research has been added to his contribution.


Just finished 1491. Good paradigm-shifting stuff. Am now into The Omnivore's Dilemma. More overlap in these two than you might think. Don't think I'll ever touch commercial meat again. My own recommendation for best energy-related book of the decade- possibly of the century- is 'Into The Cool' by Schneider and Sagan. My only quibble with them is that they got their fundamental metaphor backwards: Nature Loves a gradient.
I'm trying to wrap up Paul Ormerod's "Butterfly Economics" and Peter Tertzakian's "A Thousand Barrels a Second." I'm finding that Ormerod's book is much more interesting than Tertzakian's, even though Tertzakian's is much more to the point for this website. I'm about done with both.

Tertzakian gives a frustratingly dismissive description of Hubbert and "Hubbert's disciples": "He was bang on in his Nostradamus-like prophecy, which is why his work attracts so much attention today." Not that Hubbert used advanced analysis for his day or that his methods are sound. Overall Tertzakian indicates we are about at a "breakpoint", when people will have to switch to other energy sources, such as oil sands, though he conveniently avoids discussing the natural gas and water problems associated with oil sands.

He made one really interesting point that hadn't occurred to me before: we are already at gas prices that basically correspond to the records set in the late 70s/early 80s. That helps to explain the sucking sound coming out of Detroit.

Ormerod's book follows his earlier "The Death of Economics." In Butterfly Economics, he points out that people are not simply rational automatons and that we tend to follow the examples of others. He starts out with an experiment done on ants in which they are given two identical food sources an equal distance from their mound but in opposite directions. The scientists expected the ants to eventually settle on one of the two food sources. Instead, they leaned toward one, then the other, then back again, in patterns similar to GDP graphs. He suggests that this is an important insight, since the GDP is based on the actions of millions and thousands of consumers and companies, influenced by and influencing each other, just as the ant colony is made up of hundreds of individuals, influenced by and influencing each other.

A very important point for our discussion is that a given person's proclivity to do something, or continue to do something, is influenced by what everybody else is doing. Further, changes in significant areas of the economy, such as willingness to switch from SUVs to more economic vehicles or from SOV commutes to transit or nonmotorized transportation, are often discontinuous functions. His examples are crime and inclination to marry.

His example graphs are like this:

You can think of the X axis in this case as gas prices, moving from lower at left to higher at right. The Y axis in this case can be thought of as willingness to use less gas. The graph itself could either be an average individual's willingness to use less gas vs. gas price or a societal willingness to use less gas. We in the US are on the lower part of the curve. As prices increase, people are only slowly more willing to use less gas, until we reach a certain point (Tertzakian might call this a breakpoint), at which attitudes suddenly change dramatically. Once that new attitude is ingrained, prices can fall considerably, and people will only slowly increase their fuel use, until another point at which the price is so low that behavior changes dramatically again.

I think of this as a useful description and explanation for the situation in the 70s/80s as well as today. At some point, fuel prices will break the family budget and people will suddenly make drastic changes. Until then they will muddle through as best they can, changing very little. Anglosprawling countries will likewise continue current transportation patterns until enough people are forced to change to less fuel intensity, and then the whole society will switch. There will always be people for whom gas is too cheap to worry about, but if the country is switching to rail, transit, and nonmotorized travel, the expressways will only be maintained for so long, and people may start to see solo driving in Hummers as an offensive ostentation of the rich.

people are not simply rational automatons and that we tend to follow the examples of others.

IOW, herd behavior is observed in species homo sapien, huh?

And I originally thought they each had "free will" and engaged in rational decision making.

"Overshoot" by William Catton, and "Cradle to Cradle" by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
Read "Overshoot" and I agree, it is one of the best books ever published on the human predicament.

Another great book on the same subject is "The Spirit in the Gene" by Reg Morrison. Down Under it was recently published under the title "The Plague Animal".

And if you are interested in human behavior in the historical past, and the way we will likely behave when we return to our tribal ways after the collapse then read: "Constant Battles: Why we Fight" by Steven Leblanc.

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

Rather than asking, Can any group of foragers  stay in ecological balance for an extended time, the real question should be, Can EVERY group of forgers in a region stay in ecological balance? I believe the answer to that question is unlikely, if not downright impossible. Once one group gets out of balance, competition would ensue.
 - Steven A. LeBlanc, "Constant Battles"

As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular  human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
 - Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene
New York Times bestseller: "The Politically Incorrect Guide to ISLAM (and the Crusades)" by Robert Spenser
what makes it politicly incorect?
Anne Proulx's "That Old Ace in the Hole"  which incidently has some intersesting historical accounts of water and oil drilling in the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles as well as the depletion of the Ogalalla
"a short history of tractors in ukranian"
A novel, reccommended by the Economist in their year end list. Well worth reading , and funny; written by Marina Lewycka.
Reading this weekend:
Started and could not put down: Jeremy Leggetts' - Half Gone; Oil, Gas, Hot Air & the Gobal Energy Crisis. This I found quite optimistic & uplifting like there is hope.
Reading in Progress, The Templars & the Assassins - The Militia of Heaven by James Wasserman. I started this to get a handle on the Politics of Religion in the Middle East. It is easy to read (comparatively) but I'm only half way through.

Article talking about the massive rate increases to homes that consume higher proportions of energy.  There's a great quote from a lady who doesn't get it...

The amount: $799.36, more than triple the previous month's bill of $259.35 for the 2,500-square-foot house - featuring an outdoor rock pool - where Ponce lives with her husband and two teenage sons.

"This is insane," she said. "I don't understand why they're punishing the middle class on this one, especially those of us who live inland."

She claims that she doesn't turn on her AC until 4 pm. She also says she only runs two out of three of her pool pumps.  This does seem like an incredibly high electric bill.  What are they charging per kw?  Is her house totally uninsulated?  And/or, is she lying?  Maybe pool pumps use a lot of energy. I wouldn't know.
I started to type out a post where I was blasting her but the more I read it, the more I agree with you.  It seems somethine else has to be in play.  But then again I have no pool, not even half the size, older insulation, older appliances, and I live in MO and my electric doesn't even touch that one with a ten foot pole.  I'm thinking she's lying about the AC & 4pm thing.  You mean NO A/C in CA, in June/July until it's blazing hot?  I don't think middle class included a pool and five pumps, not to mention it says rock pool, so I wonder if it's one of those elaborate ones with a small waterfall.  If so, it's not that "middle," & she will painfully realize that she can't afford her "middle" class lifestyle.
If I'm reading this correctly, up to 36 cents per kwh ("delivery" plus worst case "gen"), but more likely in the 25 cent range for the marginal kwh. I don't see anything on how they pick how much of which "gen" they charge for, or whether they can use the category to punish some customers and benefir others. All in all, maybe worse than the Con Ed 'coneheads' in NYC. California seems to have radically punitive increasing block rates, as opposed to the quantity discount more usual in just about any other business transaction. Of course, it's all politics - oil is something of a problem just now, but if you happen to consume vast quantities of luxury energy as jet fuel rather than electricity, then California will hand you nearly-free use of the airports, tourist subsidies, etc. etc. ...
We have Pacific Gas and Electric plus a 3.5kW PV system and a solar hot water system.  Without getting into all the minutae, here is how our power is charged (rounded).  We have Time of Use (TOU) metering:

Peak rates (noon-6PM weekdays)
0-130% of baseline - $0.29/kW
131-200%           - $0.38

Off-Peak (all other times)
0-130% of baseline - $0.09
131-200%           - $0.18

We get around the peak rates by switching to our PV system, usually around 10:30AM and back to the grid between 6-7:30PM.  

At this time of year, the bulk of our grid usage is for irrigating our garden, orchard, grapes, berries and landscaping.  Last month we used 791 kWH off peak (25.5kW/day) and 12kWH on peak.  The bill was $84.


One additional thing, except for really hot nights at bedtime, we only run the AC on the PV system.
How many kWh in 130% of baseline ?

What is price for 200+% baseline ?

I don't get the
especially those of us who live inland

Because houses are cheaper inland ? Because it is hotter inland (see #1) ?

I do agree with her that "this is insane" but not quite in the same way that she meant it.

Yes it is insane. Not only does it range up to somewhere around 36 cents as I just noted, but the rates vary according to a complicated map. Probably because it's mercilessly hot in the 'Inland Empire', up to 120F/50C or even a bit more.
I noted that her husband is "landscaping & pool contractor".

The obvious solution of draining their pool (which saves on scarce S. California water as well) would admit that their economic lifestyle is unsupportable.

I commend the CA PUC for focusing on the high energy users (I note that they adjust the basic consumption level by climate and have three classes of residential users; 0 to 129.9% of minimum; 130% to 199.9% of minimum and 200+% of minimum.  First 130% under "old rates", 130 to 200% at higher rates and 200+% at highest rates.  Clear message; get rid of those pools !  And any other massive electricity user (subZero refrigerators, massive a/c homes, etc.).

Landscaping is a new home & recently purchased home business.  It requires lots of driving around (supplies, job sites, etc.) in a pickup.  If Orange County sprawl slows down, and mortgage interest rates bite; her husband will need to find new employment.  Word will soon get out that pools are "not good", and neither are over sized homes.

It would be interesting to see how long those on the bubble refuse to see reality.

If I were in his shoes; I would try and hook-up with a plumber and start pushing solar water heaters.  Perhaps even try getting either a plumbing or elelctrical license.  And sell that house ASAP !

Probably not a lot of Americans are going to voluntarily spend their summers sweltering at the danger point in tiny bungalows as you seem to be recommending. Perhaps the entire country, all 300 million, should move to the coastal strip from San Francisco northward, as that is the only area of North America that offers decent weather year-round?

In a more practical sense, since staying home is to be punished so severely, I suppose folks should just take untaxed and massively subsidized jet flights seasonally to wherever is livable. There are no increasing block rates on tourism. Come to think of it, we call retired folks who already do this "sunbirds".

Flights are not untaxed.  My recent RT flight from New Orleans to Houston is about 25% direct taxes & fees + indirect fuel taxes, landing fees, gate rentals, etc.

The average new house/apartment in the US was less than 1,000 sq ft until recent decades (1970s ?).  We managed to survive.

I have little sympathy for the "middle class existance" outlined in the article.

Nor do I. I moved into a 900+ sq. ft. 1940 home near downtown in Orlando a few years ago, best decision I ever made. My GF, my son and I, and we manage just fine. Got a nice porch, a little yard and garden, and electric bills ranging from $50-$100, and that's using the A/c at 78-80 degrees during the summer. Each extra person, what do they need, maybe another 200 sq. ft.?
We have graduated pricing here for electricity, but I've only seen it once or twice (>1000 kwh I think), we do for water as well. Over 4k gallons a month almost doubles the rate, IIRC. The local news has stories once a year on people who use the most, usually >100k gallons a month. It's all public record if it's a public utility.
Me neither.  We have two adults, two kids, and our dog in our 899 sq. ft. 1969 ranch.  It suits us just fine.  No pool though.  I guess that makes us deprived.  :-(

Oh wait, does the kids wading pool count? :-)

We have graduated pricing

Why not use this concept for
transportation fuels, too ??

Standardize state and federal taxes ..

Use five or six price zones with
weekly adjustments ..

Give every licensed driver with a registered
vehicle say 500 gallons at the base price ..

Increase prices by $1.00 per gallon in units
of 100 gallons above the 500 gallon base ..

Use the 'extra' tax dollars to fund alt energy
and PO/GW mitigation strategies ..

Triff ..

I dont think such a system could be practically implemented. With electricity there are meters tied to customer accounts and physical addresses. With gas, people go to different gas stations to buy gas, they have multiple cars, they buy for their generators. You'd have to have some way to make it work and I can't imagine it outside of some orwellian nightmare.
Give them 100 gallons per year period and watch how fast we can buy 100mpg cars. Then start cutting it back.
Some here at TOD could already get by on a 100 gallon pa ration and sell off excess to high bidders.
Picked this up from the EnergyBulletin.  The Falls Church News has an excellent article about Peak Oil awareness and The Washington Post.

WestTexas will love the Iron Triangle concept of Yergin controlling the Peak oil debate in that paper.  

Last October the Post gave a Yergin, a contributor of long standing, a full Op Ed piece in which to push the notion that peak oil is a false premise and that there will be oil for every conceivable want for the foreseeable future.

And since that paper guides Washington thinking it is hard for Federal Politicians to take Peak oil seriously.  

Media outlets do matter.

From Leanan's post:


Saudi Arabia's oil a huge question

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 07/21/06


"Right now, I am not really sure how to read things beyond concluding that the Saudi statements do not make sense, do not fit the market situation and don't fit what they are doing," Hamilton said. "The evidence is going to dribble in."

As one of Ayn Rand's characters said (according to Don,quoting Aristotle), if something doesn't make sense to you, examine your premises, because you will find that one of them is wrong.

Revised premise:  As predicted by Khebab's HL work, Saudi Arabia--just like the prior swing producer, Texas--has peaked.

Speaking of Ayn Rand - everyone should read Atlas Shrugged - it is a long book but well worth reading. The government today is closely following the path she predicted.
BTW, I may be reading too much into this, but the consultant (recommended by Saudi Aramco) at the Peak Oil debate last week repeatedly said that some producers would probably beging cutting back their production to prolong the life of their fields.  
Historical footnote.  Ouray, Colorado was reportedly Ayn Rand's inspiration for Galt's Gulch.  

Of course, today Rand would be labeled a cornucopian. Nevertheless, her description of what happens as the producers withdraw is a pretty good--and profoundly scary--prediction for what happens as our energy production rate declines.  If memory serves, the lights go out in New York City as Galt, et al, fly away to Galt's Gulch.

I cannot agree that Rand was Cornucopian as we now understand the term. If memory serves it took her eleven years to write "Atlas Shrugged," in large part because she could not figure out an upbeat ending.

She deeply feared and hated the forces of government and especially the corrupting forces of special interests such as those of U.S. Steel, which is identified by everything except name in the book.

She never said Reardon metal would save the world.

BTW, I read my father's copy when I was ten years old, was thrilled beyond words and promptly set out to invent Reardon metal on my own, using pennies, copper-coated steel BBs and tinfoil.

The fun we had, back when we could buy real chemistry sets. I had Chemcraft's Biggest and Best and most lethal set, and with it there wasn't much I could not do.

Nowadays it is impossible to buy a real chemistry set--even if you are an adult and certifiable sane person.


Well, the plane that they flew out of New York City was powered by Galt's "Free Energy" motor that obtained its power from static electricity in the air, and the oil guy, Wyatt, had invented a method to tap unlimited amounts of oil from oil shale.  Also, if memory serves, I think that she had Dagny Taggert saying that by the time that the sun burned out, she always thought that mankind would have invented a replacement for the sun.

However, as I said, I still think that the overall book is a great metaphor for Peak Oil, except that it is an "Energy Atlas" holding up the world.  Anyone want to track down quote where (I think) Franciso was talking to Hank Rearden about Atlas holding the world on his shoulders--and not being able to hold up the load any longer?

"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders--what would you tell him to do?"
Did Rand ever use the word "unlimited" in regard to shale oil potentialities? I do not recall that she did.

Also, clearly, the potentialities of static electricity, even if we could tap them might be large but clearly they are not unlimited.

Rand was a clear thinker and had a bunch of adoring quantitative groupies (such as Alan Greenspan) hanging around her all the time. The quants read and critiqued draft after draft.

The one thing I think Rand really screwed up on in that book is that Hank Reardon and Oren Borel (or whatever the evil Steel guy's name was) are the same person. As Reardon succeeds, his innovative and entrepreneurial Reardon Metals company morphs into U.S. steel, and as Reardon gets old and fat and mentally constipated he morphs into Oren.

Or, if Rand did understand this important point, she did not want to think about it.

She is one of the most interesting philosophers of the twentieth centuries, and most Ph.D. philosphy profs hate her with purple passion because she actually got millions of people excited and interested in important ethical issues--something that not one professional philosopher in ten thousand can do.

"Did Rand ever use the word "unlimited" in regard to shale oil potentialities? I do not recall that she did."

Page 233, Ellis Wyatt, speaking to Dagny and Hank:

"Everybody's wondering what I'm doing with it.  Oil shale.  How many years ago was it that they gave up trying to get oil from shale, because it was too expensive?   Well, wait till you see the process I've developed.  It will be the cheapest oil ever to splash in their faces, and an unlimited supply of it, an untapped supply that will make the biggest oil pool look like a mud puddle."

A suggeted quote for TOD

From "Atlas Shrugged," Part Two, Chapter Five, "Account Overdrawn," by Ayn Rand:

"Winter had come early, in the last days of November.  People said it was the hardest winter on record and that no one could be blamed for the unusual severity of the snowstorms.  They did not care to remember that there had been a time when snowstorms did not sweep, unresisted, down unlighted roads and upon the rooofs of unheated houses, did not stop the movement of trains, did not leave a wake of corpses counted in the hundreds."


Within the context, I think it is pretty clear that Rand meant "UNLIMITED for at least a hundred years [or until my honey, Hank, comes up with something better]."

In the thirties nobody thought we would still be dependant on oil in the twenty-first century: The smart money among physicists was on nuclear, while the idealists mooned on about solar energy.

BTW, nuclear energy was one of the main preoccupations in ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION of the late thirties, including Heinlein's classic and now more relevant than ever, "Blowups Happen," which, if memory serves was written in 1938 and published in 1939. It has been very widely reprinted, and rightly so.

In 1942 the Fibbies came to John W. Campbell Jr.'s office in the Street and Smith building in New York, and they laid down the law:

"No more stories about atomic energy!"

Then Campbell said to the F.B.I. guys:
"But atomic energy is one of our main themes. If we quit publishing stories about atomic energy, then the enemy will be sure we're working on an atomic bomb--"

"Say those words again, and you go to jail."

"Uh, you'll have to put H.G. Wells in jail, then. He invented it more than thirty years ago and regarded it as the weapon to end war."

"GGRRrrraarrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhh. You want us to cut off your paper supplies?"

Now for the rest of the story: The governement did reduce the paper allocation, but instead of killing "Astounding Science Fiction," Street and Smith killed the best fantasy magazine of all time, the much lamented "Unknown Worlds."

Then the story got even stranger, but I'm going to have lunch and leave that part out.

Philosophy profs don't hate Ayn Rand. They just don't respect her because she never did philosophy as they understand it.

It's a lead pipe cinch that you won't inspire the millions if you do actual philosophy. Philosophy has never played well to the cheap seats. You lose your audience as soon as you pay attention to the disagreeable complexities of serious ethical and epistemological problems. The public wants to "discover" that it has always been right, and it doesn't want to exert itself in the process. Objectivism is an intellectual potato chip.

Ayn Rand is full of crap.

The m.o. is just like innumerable stupid television series: inflict characters with 'undesirable' philosophical positions with nasty personal habits and criminal impulses.

It's not much different from Stalinist propaganda in a mirror.

Someone who knows how to read. Miracles shall never cease.
I third this. I find Ayn Rand repulsively smug and incoherent all the while claiming to be omniscient. Ayn Rand was an angry, chain-smoking elitist who had a wholly lowbrow, BS conception of philosophy.

Rand now has a few cults of her own. They vie against each other like parasites.

It's been a long time since I read Atlas Shrugged, but ...

As a member of a fifth-generation small family farm where everybody worked very hard to grow food and to send seven kids through parochial school, I was really put off by her pretension that only a few brilliant industrialists made the world work and that everyone else is parasitic.

Oil shale cost me more than $7 billion in the early 1980s, most of it going as government subsidies to Exxon and Occidental, two of the brilliant industrialist companies. As soon as those subsidies dried up, so did the brfilliant industrialists. They were off to loot Latin America or whatever ...

They left behid a boom-bust cycle that ruined thousands of lives here on the Western Slope. All they wanted were government handouts, and then the great industrialists were gone with the wind.

Another footnote:  a combined Library of Congress and Parade Magazine poll of American readers a few years ago found that "Atlas Shrugged," was the second most influential book ever written (the Bible was #1).

As I noted in a earlier post, in the book, Ayn Rand said as things began to unwind, one could discern the truth by assuming the opposite of what the government and the media told you was happening.

BTW, I read my father's copy when I was ten years old, was thrilled beyond words and promptly set out to invent Reardon metal on my own, using pennies, copper-coated steel BBs and tinfoil.

Pretty much the same with me. I read all her books when I was in the 9th grade and was thrilled by them. Now her ideas seem destructively simplistic, almost ludicrous. I must've grown up...

Many ideas are like that...

Who was it who said something like: "Anyone who isn't a Marxist when they are 20 is a fool, as is anyone who is still a Marxist when they are 40?"

But SA won't come out and admit that this is there new policy, right?  How long can they keep this under wraps.  And what signal do people get when you cut production while prices are high?  
While I'm wet behind the ears on this forum (with respect to knowledge), hasn't a good case been made that only SA's light sweet has peaked?... and that there really isn't refining capacity for all the thick, gooey stuff that they currently are capable of supplying to the market? Aren't the Saudis building refineries just to alleviate that bottleneck?

I just don't think that they are making up those numbers for their future production. In any case, we will know in a year or two.


 "hasn't a good case been made that only SA's light sweet has peaked?"

The trillion dollar question is Ghawar, accounting for more than half of the Saudi's production, and Ghawar is light, sweet.  

Cantarell, the second largest producing field in the world, is probably crashing, and it produces heavy, sour.  

IMO, it is likely that the two largest producing fields in the world--one light, sweet the other heavy, sour--are both declining.  We know that #3 and #4 are both declining.

IMO, the temporary surplus in heavy, sour, is probably just that, temporary.  It just makes sense that light, sweet would peak before heavy, sour.

What is field nr. 5 actually, and what is its position on the curve?
Excerpt from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article:

"...the Saudi statements do not make sense, do not fit the market situation and don't fit what they are doing..."

After reading this article and related TOD comments, I happened to delve into the EIA's 2006 Annual Energy Outlook. As many of you know, the EIA produced three world oil price forecasts - a reference case ($57 per barrel in 2030), a low price case ($34 per barrel in 2030), and a high price case ($90 per barrel in 2030).

What struck me in the EIA's publication is the following (page 33 for those of you who have a copy):

"Although OPEC produces less output in the high price case than in the reference case, its economic profits are also less, because resources are assumed to be tighter and exploration and production costs higher for conventional oil worlwide. In the absence of tighter resources and higher costs, an OPEC strategy that attempted to pursue the output path in the high price case would subject OPEC to the risk of losing market share to other producers, as well as to alternatives to oil."

So assuming that Saudi Arabia is behaving in an economically rational fashion, even the EIA's logic seemingly points towards "tighter resources and higher costs" (i.e. peak production?) for this key oil producing nation.

The war is heating up: Note my highlight below. The article is from an Israeli military site.

I will be on our local radio today, 5:30 p.m. PST at 920kvec.com streaming live on a call in program on the military activity in Syria, Israel, and Lebanon (and off the coast).

This major engagement has brought out the exceptional qualities of Israeli troops, but it must also be said the shortcomings developed in six years of warfare against an opposition of inferior fighting caliber, Palestinian terrorists. In their first ordeal by fire, Israeli special forces are displaying bravery, determination and self-sacrifice. This is especially marked in the performance of the Maglen Special Unit 551 and the Egoz paratroopers. The Israeli custom of officers and NCOs leading their men into battle has led to the high proportion of fallen sergeants.

In South Lebanon, soldiers in their twenties are fighting tough, highly-trained guerrilla fighters for the first time on unfamiliar terrain without air or tank cover. Choppers are not used for fear of anti-air missile ambushes and the tanks in rugged mountain terrain are at the mercy of densely-placed roadside bombs and heavy Hizballah Katyusha rocket and mortar fire. Two tanks have been blown up.

Ground troops are therefore taking the brunt of the fighting.

Some report to DEBKAfile that in close combat, they have heard officers shouting in Farsi. Just as in Jenin 2002, Israeli forces encountered Hizballah and al Qaeda fighters in support of Palestinians, now they are facing members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards who are aiding Hizballah in Lebanon.

The men come home with hair-raising accounts of storming the hundreds of bunkers and caves in which Hizballah fighters are lurking.

On Wednesday, July 19, Israeli soldiers fought their way into a tunnel in the Maroun es Ras area, blew it up killing the 10-15 fighters inside, and emerged to engage another group of Hizballah hiding in the dense foliage a few yards away. A hand-to-hand battle ensued in which the first two soldiers, 1st Sgt Yonatan Hadasi, 21, and 1st Sgt. Yotam Gilboa lost their lives. Israel's death toll would have been higher had not rescue and ambulance teams braved heavy fire to extricate the wounded.

Five years of tactics used against the rag-tag Palestinian terrorists - painstaking counter-measures, air strikes on empty buildings, succumbing to diplomatic pressure for restraint, have left the IDF ill-prepared to face tough Hizballah guerrilla methods of warfare. The Shiite terrorists are trained in Iranian Revolutionary Guards facilities and their commanders are graduates of their officers' schools.

When Maj.-Gen Benny Ganz, commander of ground forces, warned Thursday that the IDF faces a difficult period - "We shall need to upgrade our capabilities over time" - he was really warning the troops that the next ten days to two weeks of combat were potentially costly in lives before the armed forces develops new combat techniques and capabilities adjusted to meeting Iran's Revolutionary Guardsmen and their disciples.

For the IDF, the Maroun er Ras battle may acquire the epic significance of the Ammunition Hill battle for Jerusalem of the 1967 War. Hizballah and their Iranian sponsors will strive to make it Israel's Tora Bora, which gave al Qaeda the upper hand over the US army in Afghanistan. The IDF and its top command must not let this happen. A defeat against the hard-line, fanatical Hizballah and its hate-filled Iranian masters is something Israel cannot afford.

Westexas: Re your comments about countries competing for declining oil imports, I divided GDP by oil imported for each major country to ballpark an economy's ability to finance/compete in the coming bidding wars. The results were somewhat of a surprise- many countries are worse off than the USA in this regard (obviously not China or India).

The worst (of major oil importing nations):

  1. Belarus       .19
  2. Netherlands   .22
  3. Belgium       .31
  4. South Korea   .43
  5. Sweden        .48
  6. Greece        .50
  7. Finland       .51
  8. Portugal      .57
  9. Spain         .65
10.Japan         .74
11.Italy         .79
12.France        .80
13.Switzerland   .84
14.Chile         .84
15.Turkey        .93
16.USA           .94

CHINA            2.75

So, for the near term anyway it looks like the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Greece,etc. are the canaries in the coal mine.  

Good work.  I looked at a handful of countries using a similar approach a couple of years ago, and if memory serves the US was kind of in the middle of the pack.  An interesting variation would be to plot the non-service GDP.  
An interesting variation would be to plot the non-service GDP.

To take this further could you remove gov't spending from GDP to assertain the consumers ability to pay more, rather than our gov't?

 Is inflation adequately accounted for in US GDP numbers?
I have wondered if rising GDP isn't just a function of having to pay more for the same things instead of the gov't headline which leads us to believe that people are buying more stuff leading to a growing economy.
Are re-exports taken into account? Antwerp and Rotterdam are important redistribution harbors.
Oh, that's what what bothered me. I was wandering how the ratio could be less than one - how can a counry be spending more on oil imports than it's whole economy has produced? If these are the gross imports then any ratio is possible. I think BrianT should recalculate it using the net imports data, otherwise it does not make a lot of sense.
Sorry guys-I should explain. I just tabulated this on a whim this morning. The figures are GDP/1 million over barrels of oil imported per day. So the USA has a figure of .94 which is $12,360,000,000,000 GDP divided by 1 million over 13,150,000 barrels imported per day. Numbers are from CIA Factbook. I left out the extra zeros to keep it simpler. I realize this is a very rough ballpark approach.
Thank you I understand it now. The number now represents how many products and services (in mln.) are produced for each barrel imported. This would be a good measure for the short term purchasing power, but does not account for the trade imbalances. If some country (say US) produces mostly services of no value to other countries it's ability to outbid other countries would depend mostly on its ability to constantly borrow money.
I suggest you plot the ratio of exports vs oil imports as a more sustainable indicatior in the longer run. This would show how much a country can offer to the rest of the world to cover its oil imports.

I don't think it is very likely that we (the US) are going to be able to continue our "borrow from abroad and outbid the others" policy for a very long time.

IMO. wrong metric.

I consider domestic elastcity of demand for oil (it varies significantly) and the ratio of exports to oil demand.

If a nation can export enough to afford the oil that it NEEDS (plus other essential imports), that nation will be OK.

The Dutch can cut their domestic demand for oil significantly (oil used in their massive refining complex will be passed on to the final product users) and export enough "other stuff" to buy what they need.

Remember that the oil exporters will be importing goods & services even more than today.

The US, despite our 5 million b/day production, is the "weak sister".  We have a very low price elastcity of demand (short & medium term, unsure about 10 years plus) and a massive trade deficit.  New Zealand may be a comparable, we shall see.

New Zealand has a higher current account deficit as percentage of GDP than the US.  However much of the energy consumption is for agriculture.  At the present time agricultural prices are low compared to energy costs, so the ag producers are being squeezed.  Chile is in the same boat.  Farm sales are plunging, and rural land prices are very soft.  (Local farm prices are 2.5 times the usual price/productivity ratio.  Don't buy a farm here until land prices drop 60%)  At some point it will be best to take land out of production until farm commodity prices go back up.
Sweden as a top sensitive country?!?

The figures I can find is that crude and oil product imports were 11.1% of the imports in jan-april 2006 and 5.4% of the exports. Total exports are higher then imports, if you only have the import volume you need to halve it.

Sorry. I will redo the thing on net imports and repost it. Thanks for the input from everybody.
Do NOT apologize! You did nothing "wrong" (morally). You made an effort to produce a model to help people evaluate price fluctuations. You've now been given criticisms to improve the model. Just thank everyone and produce version 2.0. :)

But don't feel guilty or apologize! Thank YOU for making the effort!

Updated: GDP/Net Oil Imports:
(Worst to First)

  1.  Belarus     .20
  2.  Belgium     .55
  3.  Netherlands .58
  4.  South Korea .60
  5.  Greece      .62
  6.  Portugal    .66
  7.  Spain       .71
  8.  Finland     .74
  9.  Japan       .75
  10. Sweden      .77
  11. Chile       .84
  12. Switzerland .87
  13. France      .97
  14. Italy       1.00
  15. Turkey      1.00
  16. USA         1.02

CHINA           3.07

As Magnus mentioned, Sweden has a lot of oil exports (and imports).

Hi BrianT,

Thats an interesting way of looking at it. I thought it would be good to do a forward looking analysis like this. See, the UK is not in there presumably because of the North Sea. If we look at the projections 10 years out what would it look like? A bit more work I know.


Also, I not sure if you should look at GDP/imports or GDP/consumption. When the price of oil goes up won't it hurt regardless of whether it is domestically produced or not.
Hi HK: I used GDP/Net Imports because like Westexas says, I think there will be a bidding war for declining exports (exports will decline faster than production). However, I agree that there might be other metrics that are more useful/accurate in predicting which countries are on the edge.
I kind of feel like that dude in the Verizon commercial. "Are you a doomer now? Good!"

Bummer. It's collective punishment, a friggin slaughter of civilians in the west bank, gaza, and lebanon, war crimes that will probably result in a few more UN resolutions that the Israelis will ignore.

As a civil libertarian, as a pacifist, as a humanitarian, as a non-religious agnostic, as an amateur student of history, it is obvious to me that if there is an axis of evil it is us and Israel.

I am damn glad to be an ex-pat.

Jack: You should be more clear on your stance here. It is hard to tell who you are cheering for in this conflict. Go team!
What's the likely end game here?  To destroy Hezbollah's ability to wage war and establish some provisional government, with the Israeli's likely controlling the south of the country and the UN becoming responsible for security in the north?  The US reduced Saddam's military to rubble in a few weeks but it hasn't been able to pacify Iraq.  Quite the contrary.

If you believe that all troubles in the ME can all be traced back to Syria and Iran, then you have to believe that stability won't be established without toppling those regimes too.  So, my question to those of you that seem to think that the destruction of Lebanon is the correct action, is "what comes next?"  Once Lebanon is reduced to rubble, then what?  How many Middle Eastern countries can Israel, the EU, and the US "police" at the same time?

Actually they do not want to repeat controlling Lebanese territory, they would like to see the Lebanese Army on the border and not hezbollah.

Would the USA tolerate a drug cartel controlling Baja California, being independent of the Mexican govt., having it own army and sending missiles into Chula Vista? Do the math.

Hello Jack,

Good point.  But according to Mike Ruppert, Catherine Fitts, and other writers: corruption is plenty profitable.  The US CIA, in cahoots with special laundry bankers, and other topdogs in Mexico and elsewhere, have an excellent drug cartel down South, supported by a corrupt Mexican military, that regularly sends northward drug 'missiles' across the entire US.

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

I don't thing using mexico is going to help your argument.

-The Mexican army has been accused of escorting drug shipment across the border
-Mexican gangs control at least one city on the border
-The Mexican government publishes guides on how to illegally cross into the USA
-Inumurable federal agents have been killed in the above listed activities on the US side of the border.

About the only thing missing is the rockets.


What a great name. Are you over 50? 60 would be more proper.

It is funny but that came up in the exchange with the host, almost verbatim. I said, "it was almost the same thing as we have now," (minus the missiles - unsaid but thought).

Jack -

I guess it's just an oversight, but your post forgot to heap praise on those gallant Iraeli pilots flying American-supplied F-16s and dropping American-supplied laser-guided bombs on Lebanese civilians.
They should get some of the credit, too.

Hey, it's an ugly job whacking all these Arab untermenschen, but, hell,  somebody's got to do it.

Keep up the good work!

The Hezbollah does a pretty good job killing Arab children in N. Israel. Or had you not noticed that?

Somehow, I suspect their weapons are coming from a country other than the U.S. And they are specifically trying to kill as many civilian women and children as they possibly can; most of the Israeli men of military age are probably in uniform and mobilized by now.

Figures I read recently have the civilian death toll in Lebanon at over 200, somewhere in the teens for Israel.

I've come to the point of being disinvolved emotionally with the Israeli-Arab conflict. There are so many 'right' points of view. A few provisional observations on the situation:

  1. There is no overall moral high-ground
  2. The operative principle for all sides is 'might makes right'
  3. There seems to be no 'statute of limitations' on property ownership
  4. corollary to #3 is that religious imperative is no legitimate excuse for territorial claims (who did God give the land anyway?)
  5. If someone is a fiercely partisan armchair observer, they are almost certainly wrong in important ways (corollary to #1?)
  6. It's enough to make anyone weep and tear their hair if they look at the situation closely and in any historical depth
  7. ...... etc.
The numbers I heard yesterday were 25 Israeli Civilians to about 250 Lebanese Civilians.   Neither number is more righeous, and neither is bringing any security to either Israel or Lebanon.

   I remember the charge a year or two ago that there was a shipment of Iranian weapons sent to Palestine, but I never saw a complementary report about how many Shipments of US arms had been flowing into Israel at the same time.

  The imbalance in deaths might have a correlation with the imbalance in US military support over any meaningful, diplomatic support.  Sending more guns is the most backhanded form of Aid we could be offering, but the fearful (to the point of chronically traumatized) leaders in Washington and the Knesset are not able to see any other way out.


This has nothing to do with righteousness. More like biblical - the birthplace of humankind with ALL the baggage.

Peace, not anytime soon. But buying 5-10 years by getting rid of the most of 5-10,000 missiles that just kill. Yes, this is good.

I would argue that Jews do not want to kill, the vast number of Jews, Arabs because they are Arab. Islam-fanatics do want to kill Jews. To say the President of Iran is not anti-Semitic is patently absurd.

And yes it would be good if the Middle East (including Iran) was big at raising carrots, and had no oil.

From USA today:

Finally, it Seems, Iran Has Overplayed its Hand

Youssef Ibrahim, USA Today:
The attempt by Hezbollah and Hamas to drag the whole Arab world into their war with Israel in the past two weeks has drawn flak in the form of Arab public opinion that neither militant jihadist organizations anticipated.

Speaking in an unusually blunt tone, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain openly rejected what they described as unilateral "adventurism," telling both groups that they are on their own vis-à-vis Israel. More important, indications are surfacing that a long-silent Arab majority has had enough of being hijacked by extremists in its midst.

In a meeting of its 22 foreign ministers Saturday in Cairo, the League of Arab States did not mince words. "Behavior undertaken by some groups in apparent safeguarding of Arab interests does in fact harm those interests, allowing Israel and other parties from outside the Arab world (read Iran) to wreak havoc with the security and safety of all Arab countries." READ MORE

The outburst has been long coming, building up ever since the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution, which poured political militancy into the red-hot religious rivalries between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Iran championed the oppressed Shiites as well as repressed revolutionaries in the Arab world. It also has lent a hand to jihadist Islamic fundamentalists, launching savage wars against their governments and societies in Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia since the early 1980s:

  • Algeria's slow-burning civil war against ferocious armed Islamic groups has claimed more than 110,000 civilian deaths since 1992.

  • In Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda terrorists have bombed civilian and oil facilities, killing Saudis and foreigners indiscriminately.

  • In Egypt, these extremists have killed secular writers and government officials, burned churches and hounded the Christian minority of nearly 8 million.

Long before targeting the World Trade Center's towers and subways in London and Madrid, jihadists have been relentless in their march to Islamize the Arab world.

The latest outburst in Gaza and Lebanon was particularly alarming to the Sunni Muslim public, as it so transparently bears the imprints of Iran and its Shiite mullahs. This is disconcerting because the Persian nemesis is historically viewed in the region as a neighbor with imperialist ambitions. In pushing its immediate proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, to engage Israel now, Iran reached ever further to set the Arab world's agenda of war and peace by advancing its own agenda to confront the West, Israel included. To be sure, Syria acts as Iran's Sunni agent in the Arab world, supplying access to Iranian arms and material and feeding the cycle of violence. It is working hand-in-glove to accommodate Iran's regional strategy.

For centuries, Sunnis dominated the Muslim world. That began to change in 1979, when the Iranian Shiite mullahs' revolution led to an astonishing ascent of what King Abdullah of Jordan last year decried as a menacing "Shiite crescent" rising above the Sunni Muslim Arab world. Similar alarm was voiced by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and indeed by Saudi Arabia, the mother of all Sunni regimes. In Iraq, the two sects are engaged in a bloody massacre of one another.

What frightens the Arabs is that Iran has an impressive network already in place to do its deeds. Even before the United States conveniently dispensed with Iraq -- which was the major bulwark against Persians -- Iran had planted seeds throughout the region. Hezbollah was formed in the 1980s as Iran's private militia in Lebanon. Shiites loyal to Iran were dispensed to Iraq. And assorted jihadists spread to Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia.

At first, the Iranian motive was self-defense of its young revolution, but by the 1990s its ambitions graduated to regional hegemony. The election last year of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president signaled Phase 2 of the Iranian march, further alarming normally placid Arab majorities who appear to be silent no more.

The collective resistance spoken by Arab presidents, emirs and kings at the highest levels is echoed below among ordinary people. In Lebanon, for instance, it is evident that the people in the streets are blaming Israel, of course, but also Hezbollah for today's crisis.

Ironically, Hamas and Hezbollah's provocation of Israel, coupled with the Jewish state's retaliation, might have opened a new chapter in the greater Middle East discourse -- but not the one these groups anticipated. Perhaps the time has come in which war for war's sake might not just bring condemnation from the world at large, but from the Arab world as well.

Youssef Ibrahim, a former Middle East correspondent for The New York Times and energy editor for The Wall Street Journal, is a freelance writer and political-risk consultant based in the United Arab Emirates and New York.

How does this affect my point?

The growth of Fundamental Islamism in Iranian Politics has all too much to do with our using the 'Hammer' (be it Mossadegh, Osama or Saddam) to solve mideast problems, instead of international diplomacy, or some creative (ie, something OTHER than embargoes) use of business and trade.  We have gotten blowback or 'backdraft' from our misguided devotion to 'toughness' as a cure-all, and there's little sign that the US is wising up.

Whether or not the Israeli people 'want' to kill arab civilians, the vicious circle of violence in this conflict shows the tragic efficiency of IDF weaponry and tactics to annihilate bystanders (or the 'captive audience'?) as multiple times more deadly than the similarly shortsighted approaches of the enemies of Israel.  

The US must decide whether to change its past practise of pouring more gas on the fires, in the form of armaments that have clearly shown little ability to 'end this'...

A suggested book, "The Guns of August."

I wonder if the exhausted survivors of World War I could even remember what they originally went to war over.

Great book. Barbara Tuchman is one of the best historians of our time, and is very readable, unlike some historians. I would also suggest her book  "Stillwell and the American Experience in China". Tuchman really shows how we really screwed up as to our policy towards Asia.
Professional historians are no kinder to Tuchman than the philosophers are to Ayn Rand.
I suspect those ivory tower types are jealous that they cannot write anything that doesn't put the average reader to sleep with minutes. Tuchman never considered herself a historian, but her research was first rate and very well documented. She was quite typical of someone with a background in "old school" journalism. The professors from the history department where I got my degree respected her very much, but this was a small private university, without the "publish or perish" mentality that pervades many of our larger universities.
My sister is a card-carrying academic conehead.  Ivy League professor, etc.  And she loves Tuchman.  I bought A Distant Mirror on her recommendation.
"A Distant Mirror" is #5 on my list of best 25 nonfiction books published in the 20th century.
#1. The Garrett Hardin book I've mentioned four times before: VOYAGE OF THE SPACESHIP BEAGLE: NEW ETHICS FOR SURVIVAL
#2. George Orwell, HOMAGE TO CATALONIA
#3. George Orwell, ANIMAL FARM
#4. George Orwell, 1984
If you want a popular synthetic history substitute Fernand Braudel for #5
Callimg #3 and #4 non-fiction is exactly the sort of licence I like. OTOH #1 and #5 are just non-books. #2 makes my top ten
Her most tendentious work. She claims to know with great confidence many things which simply cannot be known.
People who work to discover history hold those who invent it in low regard. At my large public university it was withering contempt and, since the lady does sell so well, I saw the full show from 4 different profs. Even at my lowly level (M.A.) you get to where you read her (I think there's always a copy of one of her books within 50 ft. wherever you are) and go HUNH? on nearly every page.
Scholars who worked WWI or Medieval took deep personal offense at her methods, it was nothing to do with fashions or minor foibles.
If you want to read a novel about the beginning of WWI  I'd pick Der Zauberberg over The Guns of August.

To the query above  "if eexhausted survivors (of WWI) could even remember what they went to war over" the best answer is in Maynard Keynes' pamphlet The Economic Consequences of The Peace. His sharpest comment was simply his departure from the Versailles peace conference. Maynard's correspondence with Virginia Woolf on the matter is also enlightening.

Or for that matter why not just read Celine?

He wraps up the era quite nicely.

westexas -

'The Guns of August' was an excellent book!

Though I read it many years ago, I was fascinated by her very detailed description of how this 'unpleasantness in the Balkans' inexorably grew and grew and took on more and more a life of its own until there was no way for anyone to stop it. Paradoxically, the same politicians and diplomats who made the conditions ripe for war frantically tried their best to stop it from starting once they realized things were getting out of hand. But it was too late.

One of the lessons of WW I is how dangerous alliances can be for both the stronger and the weaker parties.

Another is that what is desireable and possible politically and what is desireable and possible militarily are two very different and often conflicting things. I was amazed to learn that the German diplomats didn't fully realize that it was the established doctrine of the German army that war with Russia automatically meant war with France and vice versa. So when Russia mobilized its army against Germany, Germany attacked France to basically 'get it out of way' before she turned east to take on Russia, whose mobilization was huge but quite slow.

Another is that one should be careful about making threats, as sooner or later someone is going to call your bluff, and then you can't back down.

And yet another, if you make a lot of dangerous war toys, sooner or later they are going to be used.

One indication that no one learned much  from  WW I is that the ink was hardly dry on the Treaty of Versailles when the strongest remaining naval powers (Great Britain, US, and Japan) were already engaged in a game of naval one-upsmanship that was only partly curtailed the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921.

The parallels between July 1914 and July 2006 scare me.

It can be stopped this time (should the will to stop it be there).

This time around, the railway timetables are no where near as good.

Small matches--assassinations & kidnappings--can start big fires.  
Don -

They are ALL doing a very good job of killing each other.

But it's so much easier to be doing it from the comfort of the cockpit of your American F-16 flying at 10,000 feet than by getting up close and personal or by wearing a suicide belt. The latter is so much messier (for the perp, that is).

I predict that the destruction of Lebanon is going to backfire in a very bad way for both Israel and the US. And I think that both will be far less secure when (and if) this whole thing is over. Time, of course, will tell.

Canadian civilians as well.  More dead Canadian civilians so far than Isreali by my count.

Little chance of a Canadian retalitory strike though.

I concur.

Israeli Weapons > Mounties in canoes.

 You also forgot to mention how every day in school those hate-filled Israeli children are taught to disrespect the flag and humanity of their neighbors. Here is proof:

OOps did I get the wrong picture?
Sorry, this one is of Iranian students.
But you get the picture.
How disgusting - they are pointing guns at a burning piece of cloth!  Let's drop bombs on their cities.
I wonder what you would have said if it were Republicans holding a burning Iranian flag and little American Christians shooting it with toy guns. However, I suspect I already know the double standard that would drive that response.
Do you think I cheer for the Iranians?  How hard is it to imagine someone who finds the actions of both Israel and their enemies to be disgusting and immoral - why must someone be on one side or the other?  Why aren't we allowed to weep for children on both sides?

I would have said that they were idiots, but that they were entitled to that expression.  It's only if they act in violence that it upsets me.  I'm into this "quaint" concept called the rule of law.  It's fallen out of fashion lately.

You might try putting things in perspective. Or you might not care...
No, it's good to have the real story behind it, and it sounds much more innocent than it appears.  

It is so easy to stir up hatred among people, as most people do not spend all their time on guard.  I believe most people can easily live in harmony with others, but it is so easy to come in and say, "they are different, and you are better - look what they do".  Once you start looking at the actions of others through that filter, then everything seems sinister.  Then the cycle of hatred is begun, and it grows and grows, each side feeding off the other.  That has been my point.

  Sorry. It appears you fail to see the whole picture.
  I weep not for a burning cloth.

  Look at the children, at their heads.
What is being programmed into their brains?
That is the question.

  This is a factory for manufacturing WID's -- Weapons of Islamo-facist Destruction (aka suicide bombers)

I weep for these children --and their children --and all the victims of this perpetual hate mongering.

Shall I post the picture of the sweet Israeli girls signing the artillary shells?  Do you think that only one side does this?  

Is it more moral to kill civilians who are just trying to live their lives by dropping US made bombs from US made F16s than it is to do it by strapping bombs to willing people?  

Can you tell by looking at the body of a dead baby if it was an "Islamo-facist" or a "Zionist pig"?  Because this is what it's about - innocent people being slaughtered by angry men on both sides - people who thing that one more bomb or missile will make it right & justify all those that went before.

It's digusting, and I'm sick of it.  Your steadfast belief that one side is right blinds you to the truth of the matter.  I have no allegance or attachment to either side.  I do not care if there is a state called Israel, or Palestine, or Lebanon.  These are political entites that mean nothing to me.  I only want the slaughter to stop, and it will not as long as people close their eyes, ignore it, rationalize it, justify it, explain it away.  THERE IS NO EXCUSE!

A bit of bitter misanthropy.

Can you tell by looking at the body of a dead baby if it was an "Islamo-facist" or a "Zionist pig"? Because this is what it's about - innocent people being slaughtered by angry men on both sides

Of course the dead baby was innocent but what were the chances that he/she would have turned into either an "Islamo-facist" or a "Zionist pig" JUST DEPENDING on which side he/she was born?

As long as we don't thoroughly understand how this works and CURE THIS there is not much hope and weeping is useless.
These are political entites that mean nothing to me.  I only want the slaughter to stop

Touche with the Israeli girls.
Minor point: Their's was not an organized school activity.

However, if you are truly ethno-neutral, why don't we see you waving the Amnesty International flag and decrying killings/violations the world round?

Is it just me that notices an amazing attention by some here to bash "Israel" above, and to the exclusion of all others?

If you truly "only want the slaughter to stop", how about the 16,000 Americans that get killed by drunken drivers every year?

No, it is not just you that notices. Never underestimate your support.
I suspect that many of us who are members of Amnesty International, who do decry killings around the world - from Tibet and Nepal to South America, the ex Soviet republics, Indonesia, Burma, Sudan and Somalia, not to mention current ME hot spots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon and Israel - are just too damn tired and sad.

In addition, I sure don't feel like picking a side as the pundits in control of the current spin on this one seem to demand of anyone who expresses an opinion.  And if you don't pick a side they automatically assume you support their "enemy".  A pox on all their houses.

Another thing this conflict illustrates is the amazing power of the MSM. 10 Americans killed in Iraq last week and barely a mention in the MSM (no mention at all on TOD). Even on this site the MSM dictates what is important, what will be discussed, what the priorities will be. As Step Back says, we are to a certain extent all sheep. The bell rings and we start running or grazing or whatever the guys running the three card monte want done.  
While it's true that the MSM is always selling the "bloodbath of the week", most people are just burnt out on Iraq.   The majority of Americans supported the Iraq invasion.  Now that it's become an unsolvable mess, nobody wants to be reminded how gullible they were.
Their's was not an organized school activity.
 They thought of this all on their own?

I do support Amnesty International, but starting a thread about that would be quite off topic on TOD.  

Is it just me that notices an amazing attention by some here to support "Israel" above, and to the exclusion of all others?  

I am reacting to the constant propaganda, also from one point of view.  I did not start up this thread, I am responding to one that began way back with a post on the military state of affairs, but with a clearly biased tone.  The assumption was that anyone reading it would OF COURSE want Israel to prevail.  Why?  I cannot recall a thread that I started condemning Israel and defending her enemies - if you can find one I will look seriously at your accusations of bias.

You and others take it for granted that Israel is the victim, but not everyone shares that point of view.  Of course it appears to you that everyone is biased against you, because you assume that yours is the balanced, centered view.  But I see a partisan, way over on one side - and therefore everyone else appears the enemy to you.  

If someone started a thread defending the actions of the US in Falluja, you can bet I'd want to respond to that too.  I suppose it would be as much on topic as this, as it's occurring in the ME oil regions.  But do you really think that I should start posting on drunken drivers?  Wouldn't that be a bit OT?  

I'm well aware that there are plenty of other wrongs going on all the time.  People are dying all the time, often through injustice - but none of that excuses another.

As a follow up, I pledge that I will refrain from responding to any posts regarding Israel.  Wave the bloody shirt as you will, I will keep out of it.
Is it just me that notices an amazing attention by some here to bash "Israel" above, and to the exclusion of all others?

More of my federal tax dollars go to support Isreal than go to build new Urban Rail in the US.  None, AFAIK, go to Iran or Hezbollah.

Isreal is a de facto client state of the US.  There is not a major moral difference whether the USAF ir IDF is killing Lebanese and Canadian civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure.

My solution would be simple.  Announce before every Isreali election that if any currrent or former member of Likud gets a ministers post, then all US aid will stop until he or she leaves office.

I have not noted the same level of atrocities from Labor gov'ts, and the three Isrealis that I know who advocate genocide were all Likud members.

Isrealis are still free to elect Likud gov'ts, and they can still perform atrocities (but without a supporting US veto in the UN), but they can do so without my tax dollars and "moral" support.

IT is indeed tough to be brave on foot, without choppers and tanks to back you up and all you can do is call in f116's to soften up the cowardly enemy positions. WHite south africans were even braver during the apartheid years, considering how much they were outnumbered.

It no doubt took great courage for the germans to terrorize the french countryside, knowing how much they were hated. Destroying Lebanon's infrastructure and terrorizing the civilian population is, in fact, reminiscent of Hitler vs. the french resistance - if a soldier is killed, kill at least ten nearby civilians.  By the numbers - anybody want to guess how many israelis have been killed by palestinians, and how many palestinians have been killed by israelis? I seem to remember the israelis think the number must be at least 10:1 in their favor - wonder where they got that idea.

It is suggested that the only solution is to overturn syria and iran.  Does anybody really think that this would make israel safe from the millions that hate them?  The only hope for peace is to withdraw from the west bank of the Jordan, which just might, with time, bring a peaceful coexistance.  

BTW - Israel was, indeed, attacked by arab countries many times, but never by the palestinians, whose lands were overrun first by the invading arabs and then by the israelis, who decided to stay. Egypt, being sovereign and having a standing army, was eventually able to negotiate for the return of the Sinai, but the palestinians, having neither, cannot do the same.

JK: Contrary Investor has a good July monthly update if you have not read it- covers oil stocks and their valuations.
It was worse than 10 nearby civilians. The civilians to be shot, 10 for each German soldier were already selected and in prison. Their families has been given the opportunity to pay a ransom to the Gestapo for their release. Very profitable business for the Gestapo. he hostages who were shot were people whose families could not afford the ransom.
BTW the Germans description  the resistance fighters was "terrorists".

It is difficult to know how strong the resistance really was since the French state "discourages" any histories of the occupation. Even english language histories are banned. In some places, for example the Alpes Maritimes, the resistance was strong enough to defeat the German army before the allies arrived. American troops entering my home town were indeed greeted with flowers on 24th August 1945 by a population who knew the Germans had already gone.

Yeah, there will be a lot less killing when they don't simply have bombs and planes to just blow them away since there won't be fuel to do it. Drunk driving, jetfighters, and missiles will all be decreased a lot. And people won't have moral stances of what's going on halfway around the world. Because they will neither know about what is going on or be contributing to it or be affected by it.

This conflict has been predicted by a few to be the beginning of some civilization-destabilizing thing. I even have heard talk show people talk about it. Catastrophism seems to have gotten into the mainstream. Probably will really be a cover for the oil depletion.

Makes you wonder just what war it is that these hardened Hizbollah guerillas have been fighting in that has given them such a leg up on their Isreali counterparts.
Ignoring your cheerleading, it sounds like a realistic analysis of how the fighting is going/will go.

I'm looking for the opportunities for it to stop, and I don't see them.  Israel has not achieved anything yet except truckloads of civilian corpses, and they cannot quit now without losing face at home and their reputaion as the toughest dudes on the block.  So they will send in the ground troops, and it will be bloody, but not very effective I'll bet.  There will be many opportunities for this to escalate and spread.  I cannot see anyone backing down unless one side gains a clear upper hand.

My guess that we would be at war with Iran by the November US elections seems to be right on track - this isn't the way I thought it would start, but no matter.  

So now all we need is a good hurricane - the waters are nice and warm, just got to get a little air rotation.  

Here is a good assessment of why it won't stop for a long while yet from Asia Times. It's a clear headed piece that talks about the political corners into which Nasrallah and Olmert have backed themselves, with no other way out than winning. It's a depressing but accurate example (in my opinion) of "inclusive fitness" at work as it traps two leaders into paths of action that cannot really benefit either one.
I am not taking sides in part because I gave up trying to sort out these conflicts years ago, but I have to believe that Israel has been looking for the right pretext in order to appear justified in kicking Hezbollah's ass.  Sort of like Roosevelt in WWII hoping Japan would attack us, or .... on and on and on.  

And to what extent was the U.S. privy in these plans even before the kidnappings?  

The Israelis obviously believe this will enhance their security. But will it?  

Oh, well, this shit will never end, certainly not in my life time unless the whole region just gets incinerated with a few nuclear bombs.  Probably not good for oil production.

Another typically well done analysis from AT.
The atimes piece is very good, One fly in the ointment they didn't pick up is that there are still tens of thousands of foreign nationals in Lebanon witnessing the bombing and soon to witness an escalating humanitarian catastrophe. No power. No water. No food. No transport. (And you get bombed if you move). As wacky as Nasrallah may seem, Israel continues to alienate the world. It's not just the 7 Canadians now, it's Brazil, Korea, China and Japan. More to come.
Not directly related to peak oil, but with tangential relevance:

Is the US going bankrupt?



Prof Kotlikoff, who teaches at Boston University, says: "The proper way to consider a country's solvency is to examine the lifetime fiscal burdens facing current and future generations. If these burdens exceed the resources of those generations, get close to doing so, or simply get so high as to preclude their full collection, the country's policy will be unsustainable and can constitute or lead to national bankruptcy.

Not much coverage in mainstream media, though Bloomberg is carrying it...

He's just saying that someday the US will have to reduce Social Security and Medicare.  He's calling that a default on on a promise, and equating it with bankruptcy, where you default on loans.

It's a scare tactic.

Alan Greenspan during his tenure told congress he can gaurantee social security payments in perpetuity.
However, he added that the value of the dollar those payments were made in could not be gauranteed.
ie. we will get our $3,000 a month SS check,, but a loaf of bread may cost $500.
The future of pension type costs are hanging like a blade over GM's head. Why should they not hang similarly over the US government's head? Because the government is different, special, and somehow exempt?

Social Security and Medicare are promises to pay, conceptually similar to promissory notes. You can get into legalese all you want but this is how it was sold to the public. To fail to deliver that to the same public that paid for it amounts to a default on that promise... in other words, bankruptcy.

You can sugar coat it how you wish but millions of retirees without support will create a crisis that will very probably sink the dollar overseas, having the same ultimate impact as a formal declaration of bankruptcy. Given the above, why should I quibble with him calling this bankruptcy?

I wasn't trying to sugar coat anything. In fact, I was trying to point out that there is no painless solution.
It appears to me the end result is the same
-the US government either defaults on its promises
-the US government pays the amount promised in dollars with little relative value
There is no free lunch.
GreyZone-I just realized you weren't posting to me ,,sorry.
I am very interested in the impact the declining value of the dollar will have when combined with the supply/ demand fundamentals of oil. I guess I got excited when I thought I had someone to talk to about it.
Too quick on the keyboard..
"The future of pension type costs are hanging like a blade over GM's head. Why should they not hang similarly over the US government's head? Because the government is different, special, and somehow exempt?"

Not at all.  And just like GM renegotiated it's retiree's health care costs recently, reducing them by 20%, the federal government can do the same.  No one said GM went bankrupt when they renegotiated those costs...

"Social Security and Medicare are promises to pay, conceptually similar to promissory notes."

Well, it's also "conceptually similar" to my promise to pick up milk for my wife on my way home.  "Legalisms" matter.

" millions of retirees without support will create a crisis that will very probably sink the dollar overseas, having the same ultimate impact as a formal declaration of bankruptcy. "

First, countries reduce social benefits all the time, and their trading partners barely notice, except to note that the country in question is probably now in better financial shape, and therefore more creditworthy.  

Second, no one's talking about a sudden elimination of benefits.   For SS, the worst thing that could happen is that in 35 years(!) benefit levels would drop by 30%.  That's only if economic growth is much lower than in the last 15 years. Medicare might have to drop the new drug benefit, and raise fees (and maybe reduce coverage - I admit I don't know as much about Medicare as I'd like).

Social Security and Medicare are in trouble because people are living 3x longer after retirement than they did in 1935. The obvious solution is to gradually raise the retirement age, to maintain the ratio of workers to retirees and make people spend some of their additional years of life working - not a bad deal, really.  Is this a reduction in benefits, or just a freeze in the growth of benefits?

The Social Security thing is a bit of a red herring. By increasing the minimum age gradually you can right the ship relatively easily (people don't live forever and the post-peak environment might help in this regard also).
Red herring indeed. The peaking of worldwide oil production will bring on a recession/ depression cycle that will bankrupt what is left of the US treasury. You don't pay taxes when you are unemployed. People may be dying sooner but much of that will happen due to the collapse of the medical system. Maybe we just won't need social security and medicare! I'm a big believer in the ability of technological achievements mitigating these problems but I don't believe we will put forth the effort required in time.I'm also convinced that once the decline starts the technical efforts to boost production, practiced for the last couple decades, will make that decline a cliff.
I'm on vacation next week, so I'm hoping to finish reading a handful of books I started: Collapse, Omnivore's Dilemma, Working Poor, and a few I have in a pile: the big Beatles bio my daughter gave me, and a Narayan telling of the Mahabharata. We're planning short drives to visit Falling Water and Kentuck Knob. I've been to Falling Water a few times, but I only recently found out there was a usonian house nearby.

I just finished a set for a local production of Gypsy, then got asked into a production of Lil Abner, and suspect that I never posted my montage of Not Now Darling from the Spring:

There is an interesting thread about hybrids and EVs here:

One comment struck me:
#  Kevin:
July 20th, 2006 at 4:58 pm

It's blatantly obvious that an electric car is wildly impractical, and that is why almost no one would buy one. I don't believe for an instant that any "supporter" posting messages to this board would actually pay out real money for one. None of the brainwashed masses stumbling out of the theater after watching that dumb movie would spend $30,000 on an electic car either. Actual money has a way of clearing the head of nonsense.

An absolute prerequisite for a car to have value is that you can quickly refuel it at a service station. It's a car, it needs to move from point A to B, that's the whole point of it. You cannot do that with an electic car, which is why the electric car useless. That is intuitively obvious to most people.

To say that most daily commutes are within the 100 mile range of an electic car ignores the fact that occasionally you DO have to drive further, a simple fact which fatally undermines the EC. Sorry, but that's obviously true. Next time I make the 450 mile trip to visit my mother, I don't expect it to take a week each way as I go 100 miles, then stay overnight in a hotel, ever step of the way. A weekend trip to some neighboring small town barbecue joint is too far for an elecric car. A single workday when I happen to have a couple of crosstown errands is too far for an electic car.

Briefly, Kevin doesn't want to accept lesser convenience, range and mobility than what we have now with gas & diesel vehicles. Although some of us are already prepared (resigned) to cycling, moving closer to work and taking shorter trips, I think that will be the stumbling block for most people, assuming they still have a choice.

When Kevin is facing $10 per gallon gas, he'll look at the electric car, scream in anger, and cry out "Nuke their ass and take the gas!" I'll bet money on it. And down that road be dragons.
Yes, they will not be able to give up on the infinitely mobile lifestyle.  Once upon a time, travel outside of you local area was not possible other than by train (or maybe boat in some places).  Local travel was restricted to what a horse could do, so you were restricted to what - a 10 mile radius?  Maybe more like 6 miles realisticly.  You ate at the local barbecue joint or you didn't have barbecue.  This concept is very difficult for most people to grasp - many people have no identification to the area around where they live.  The idea of having a leash - even a 50 mile one, is unimaginable.
What do you wise TODers think of this?


The Tesla Roadster is powered by 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries -- the same cells that run a laptop computer. Range: 250 miles. Fuel efficiency: 1 to 2 cents per mile. Top speed: more than 130 mph. The first cars will be built at a factory in England and are slated to hit the market next summer. And Tesla Motors, Eberhard's company, is already gearing up for a four-door battery-powered sedan.

It was discussed some in yesterday's drumbeat.
The article says this car will be in the $80,000 range.  No thanks.

Skip the top speed and the range and make it a practical, useful vehicle.

Let me guess, Kevin is single? Most 2 car families use one car primarily for family outings/long trips. The other car just gets used M-F and when a second car is needed on the weekend. These are the people who will primarily buy an EV (along with environmentally conscious singles).
One of the good things about an electric car is its lack of range.  We need to create a transportation system where most of our long trips will not be by car, that taking your car to grandma's house 450 miles a way is unthinkable.  The use of the car should be limited to only what is absolutely necessary which will require a world, not third world, class transportation system.  

I think the personal cocoon mobility paradigm has to go if we are going to deal with oil and global warming issues.  Yes, this is a personal preference.  I have seen the future and it worked, when I lived in Germany 23 years ago.  Yes, of course, they had cars, but at least you had real choices.

Car free cities need to be the future.  Cars should be used like the Chinese used to eat meat--- just as a condiment, not a main course.  

If Kevin is driving more than 150 miles to a rib joint because he likes their sauce he is going to have a lot of fun post-peak.
Actually I think electric cars are perfect for most people. I would be willing to use an electic for going to work and short trips. When you you want to go on a longer trip use a different car. After budgets start to get squeezed it is the total cost of the solution that matters. Electric cars should be small and cheap. There is no reason an electric car should cost more than $10,000.
[sarcasm]yea who needs those pesky battery's in a electric car[/sarcasm]
the only way your going to get a 10k electric car, and we are talking a car here not a erector set like vehicle is if you get it without the large amount of battery's
Your expectations are too high. If you cut the range you cut the weight and price of the batteries. http://www.zapworld.com/cars/xebra.asp
On average I rarely drive 20 miles a days.
Has anyone been following the storms here in ST Louis?  Since I happen to be here there are some weird things happening.  For one, my boss hasn't been here for two days.  Her story is crazy.  She drove 30 miles to go to a McDonalds to feed her family last night.  The power has been off for nearly two days, her groceries are ruined, and she has nowhere to go since her family is close and all of their power is also out.  She lives in a small suburb of STL on the IL side, and they are probably a low priority.  

I was IN this storm and I was thinking the whole time that it was no big deal.  I mean there were surges, which are common really.  I've got UPS backup on anything that needs it, so I woke up on time the next day to see the news reporting massive damage.  Soemthing like 80MPH winds and little rain, just lots of strong winds.  

Now all the damage that this little storm did is starting to resonate the peril that minor inconveniences cause.  This small storm has stranded many and they are travelling everywhere to get anything.  I'm ranting, but it seems a bit backwards that a small storm can stop so much.

Now you begin to see just how close to the edge we really live, and how a series of cascading failures at the wrong time, a proverbial "perfect storm" of events, could lead to major problems. Many people don't "get it" until they've had it happen to them. Up to that point they think there is some magical auto-organizing effect in modern civilization that automatically puts everything back to right no matter what happens.

We're very close to the edge and the wrong events could leave us incapable of responding to true suffering even here at home. What's worse, is that as the population climbs, as global warming worsens, as resources generally become tighter, the probability of such cascading events will simply grow.

Just try an 'Energy Fast'.

Not even a thorough one, but just switch off your Electric Service at the main breaker for a night.  No Furnace or water heater, no fridge, none of the cordless phones will work.. still have a princess phone around?

Something interesting to note, however, is seeing what IS still there, and how people interact, what you all find to do, once you've found the candles, the matches, etc..

I had this happen on a shortfilm shoot, where the cast/crew was all staying in a lakeside cabin and a storm took out the power.  Everyone had been facing the walls and corners, watching videos, working at PC's, listening to BoomBoxes, etc.   Power's out, and we all ended up together on the porch, facing in, and talking and singing.  (I was the electrician on the shoot, and seeing the repair trucks working their way up the road, I snapped off the breakers and let the evening continue uninterrupted by electricity, until people were already brushing teeth and heading to bed, then I, playing God, or Hephaestus, snapped our magical power back on..)

But the point remains, when the lights go out, the water stops pouring from the spout, or you can't refill the car, you face some easily forgotten choices in what to do next..  and even if you've lived without before, you get acclimated to the access to power very quickly, and the change can still be a great shock.

Great observations, jokuhl. And I'm glad someone pointed out one of the positive things that can arise from a technological "break", if you will.

Your notes gave me a wicked thought, though:

When the big powerdown arrives, how many families & other groups of people will break apart when they are then compelled to truly get to know each other...and discover that they really don't like the people they are with... ;o)


there still will be people who sit by 'insert device name here' pressing the power button to turn it on after the power goes out. also there is a difference between how people will react when the know it will be a temporary loss of power and water(through a storm etc) and a long term, possibly for good one via the breakdown of infrastructure or the fact you can't pay the ever rising bills.

In a temporary situation people will get together like that and make it a fun event. Though as the hours stretch to days and days to weeks, actual withdraw will hit and thats when there will be trouble.

But as power grids get stretched, rolling blackouts occur, not permanent outages.

There is a difference between between, "the powers out lets eat the neighbors" and "powers out again, who's got beer?"

Reoccurring power outages and intermittent gas shortages may well increase neighborhood cohesion as we spiral towards a power down.

I doubt if businesses will appreciate it very much. Really tough on the productivity thing ...
Do the words "the Monsters are due on Maple Street" mean anything to you?
Twilight Zone
Admittedly, my example relates only a very short-term situation.. in no way is that my prediction for a societal powerdown.  But I do have an image in my head of 'Fred', calling up from the candlelit basement, hollering "Honey, the hammer still works!" .. that we have to play the Apollo 13 game and figure out what tools we have, both physical and social, that do not disappear and in fact might be reemphasized once the bright lights aren't blinding us to them.  With all that we have around us, and all that we have developed by way of social structures and personal attitudes towards being a leader here, a teammate over there.. the understanding that isolation and paranoia will weaken us and not provide the security we need to survive.. this is why I cannot subscribe to the pure "Chaos will Reign" philosophy.  Chaos will exist, as will Order in the Extreme, as they do today (since it is already underway, as I see it).. but so will creativity, reason and compassionate decisions, by people who can see that we will get better returns from a constructive process than a destructive one.

  Sadly, I think that our perspective on what 'human nature' is has also been heavily influenced by this period of 'Absolute Power', such that it flavors the predictions of what humans will and can do when that level of power downshifts on us..

Greyzone says...
"Now you begin to see just how close to the edge we really live, and how a series of cascading failures at the wrong time, a proverbial "perfect storm" of events, could lead to major problems. Many people don't "get it" until they've had it happen to them."

Well, if it don't happen in less than 5 years, the odds start turning against it ever happening on a widespread basis.  By then, the world will be massively reorganizing against the old centralized electric grid system, and instead going to a decentralized, destandardized type of system that will be producing power in tens of thousands of places and dozens of ways at the same time, and able to just shift around systems problems, or kick in local and varied (including renewable) "spinning reserve and stabalization power production.
(That's a great magazine by the way, and you can register for it for free!)

But why do people think these stability and sustainability isses will get worse and not better?  It is purely a problem of philosophical blindness and hubris.  Greyzone says...
"Up to that point they think there is some magical auto-organizing effect in modern civilization that automatically puts everything back to right no matter what happens."

Note the AUTOMATIC ASSUMPTION IN THAT SENTENCE:  Our problems are caused by modernity, modernity so great it is even percieved as magic.

Again, allow me to give to you the most RADICAL assumption you will here, among all the radical assumptions you hear at TOD:

IF we will make the assumption, just for one minute, that our technology is not modern, is not the ZENITH of man's design and engineering skills, but instead is only an early step in the development of our science, which IS BARELY AT THE DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE OF A CHILD LEARNING TO WALK FOR THE FIRST TIME,  and just consider that the weakness, the problem with our technology is NOT that it is so modern, or that it is so advanced, or that it is so hard to sustain and so complex because it is so advanced, BUT BECAUSE IT IS STILL SO PRIMITIIVE.

Using the technology we have as the standard by which technology should be judged?  It is nothing more than a glorified fire pit and a stone hammer.  Change out the wood, use oil.  Change out the stone, use steel, BUT NO NEW PRINCIPLES SINCE THE BRONZE AGE!!  YOU WOULD USE THIS BARBARIAN SCIENCE TO JUDGE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY BY??

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

just consider that the weakness, the problem with our technology is NOT that it is so modern, or that it is so advanced, or that it is so hard to sustain and so complex because it is so advanced, BUT BECAUSE IT IS STILL SO PRIMITIIVE.

I agree that, may be, a more "modern technology" will solve some problems but I am afraid that we are running into a Marching Morons problem.
That is, the BULK of society is made of ignorant/uneducated/stupid people and that the few "enlightened" ones cannot bear the brunt of moving the whole "masses of asses" toward some salvation.
Given, also, that among the ressourcefull people a large minority (or is it a majority?) are looking for their own immediate selfish interests the prospects seems to me pretty grim :
Please all TODders realize that you are NOT among the "average" citizens (did not you noticed already?) and that you are all fooled by your own estimates of the intellect/wisdom of the majority.

Very good post. I work and live among blue-collar workers, most who barely made it through high school. The beliefs they hold are so misinformed, so deluded and so out of touch with reality it makes one's head explode. This is the big reason we suffer from the politicians we have because they pander to these morons. Just throw them some "red meat" like the war on drugs or terror, or appeal to their superstitions, to guarantee a lifetime job in politics. This is why I hold political reformers in such contempt - with so many morons it is impossible to get any rational policy enacted because unscrupulous politicians such as Karl Rove will pander to these idiots.

End of rant

... the few "enlightened" ones cannot bear the brunt of moving the whole "masses of asses" [aka Moronic Masses] toward some salvation.

The "enlightened ones" should be smart enough to come up with a viral paradigm that use the mass network effects to its advantage rather than as a barrier.

No one said it was going to be easy, but there may be ways to make the Invisible Greedy Hand bend towards doing the right thing once in a while.

P.S. They are not "morons". They are human animals just like you and me.
They were programmed differently.
That's all.

It is not their "fault" they were programmed differently.
It is not our "merit" that we were programmed to see farther. We merely stand on the shoulders of giants --to quote Isaac Newton.

The "enlightened ones" should be smart enough to come up with a viral paradigm that use the mass network effects to its advantage rather than as a barrier.

Yes, "merchandising", this has been discussed in this thread by Roger:

"but there is no way to market to a middle aged couple with college age kids and a bankroll that would choke a horse who becomes "peak aware" that HEY, MY BUTTS IN DANGER HERE, AND ALL I STAND FOR.....well, except to sell them books and tapes to tell them.....HEY, YOUR BUTTS IN DANGER HERE, AND ALL YOU STAND FOR!!"

They are not "morons". They are human animals just like you and me.

You must mean "morons" is not politically correct, I guess?
Or may be you never met any moron?
OK, let's not nitpick on this.

It is not their "fault" they were programmed differently.

Of course "it is not their fault", nor mine, nor yours, this not a matter of responsibility, they are not to be "judged".
Unfortunately they cannot be cured, you cannot negotiate, and they will kill you, and me, and themselves.

It is not our "merit" that we were programmed to see farther.

I do not claim any merit, I just want to save my ass (and any other willing to).

LOL --can't we harness "the powers of stupidity"?
can't we harness "the powers of stupidity"?

This is EXACTLY what TPTB have been doing all along history but it looks that faced with large global problems like PO & GW they are not going to be very successfull, even with respect to their own selfish goals.

after posting the question,
I realized the Smithian "Dream" (i.e. the American Dream) is exactly how "we" harness the powers of stupidity

Anyone wanna buy a lottery ticket?

I do not see your new paradigm developing "in my lifetime", much less five years.  Rather I see a growth towards a stronger, wider area grid as renewable power increases.  A "Super Grid" will better match renewable supply with renewable demand.  And there are not "dozens of viable technologies".

Consider renewable technologies, ranked by their current economic viability.

Storage (dam) hydro - Location specific, dispatchable upon demand, somw seasonable & year to year variation, good spinning reserve

Run-of-River hydro - Location specific, you take the power when you get it (some schemes allow shifting power by minutes), hourly variations in power but these can often be predicted a day in advance

Geothermal - Location specific, Currently developed for 24 hour/day, steady base load.  They could, with greater investment, be turned into dispatchable peak power for the grid

Landfill gas - Near urban centers, small MW, steady base load

Wind - Regional specific, somewhat seasonal (usually poor in summer), erratic, bigger & taller is better, low density, 90+% of new renewals coming on-line in the next decade, few limits of resource.

Biomass - Widespread possible, few specific economic locations today (mainly sawmills, sugar mills).  Can be dispatched with increased fuel storage.

All above are economic today, Those below are not.

Solar Photovoltaic - Available almost everywhere, Limited hours & erratic, low density, requires either batteries or grid.  Only renewable that favors distributed generation.

Solar Thermal - Desert SW only for electricity - some storage dispatch (for a few hours), low/medium density.

Tidal - Very location specific, on almost 24 hour cycle, useful only with grid.

Wave - Erratic. low density, long way to economic generation

I see a need for a "Super Grid" to ship regional wind surpluses around and to connect surplus wind with hydro (and perhaps air) pumped storage.  I see little or no movement towards distributed power unless solar PV becomes economic.  Even then, it will be the smaller trend.  Batteries will remain expensive.

  I think there are more options from Solar Heat than you suggested.  For a much greater decentralization of current electrical demand, and for displacing heating fuels in the north, solar can supply a great deal towards heating, cooling, refrigeration, and hot water than it does today.  Whether these comprise one or many technologies is up to anyone to choose, but there are a broad range of variations that we've hardly scratched the surface on, in terms of 'Soaking up some Rays'.  I would like to see a modular roofing and outer wall system designed with overlapping tiles, where various groups handle different energy tasks for the home (business, etc), Respiration, Photosynthesis, Water Absorbtion, Cooling/Radiation etc.   I think our roofs are one area where we are still not at all 'modern' or even 'current' in our thinking.  Asphalt tiles? Bah!

Some Solar Cooling Links..

Kommt einige aus deutschland

SunDanzer, via Nasa

and from the French.. (first pix..)

and explain themselves..

Even HiTech needn't be that hitech.  We're still wowed by Gas Discharge Lighting (Compact Fluorescents, the new big thing, Mercury Lights, Neon..), which Tesla was playing with over a century ago!

our roofs are one area where we are still not at all 'modern' or even 'current' in our thinking.


On this issue, I'm with you.
Just had a roofing guy here explaining the options to my SO & I regarding re-roofing our aging buliding top.

As sunlight hits the conventional, asphalt roof tiling, it converts the thick hydrocarbon into a lighter and more volatile hydrocarbon which simply evaporates into the atmosphere. Our roofs are a source of global warming gases.

The reason you need to replace your asphalt tiled roof every 20-40 years is cause the sun has eaten its way through the original asphalt.

A very efficient (perhaps chest) refrigerator operated by a grid based combination of wind turbines and pumped storage via the grid beats all the examples given.

Solar water heating is a "no brainer" whereever practical (some retrofits may be difficult).   And this can displace some electricity.

And sometimes solar space heating during winter is better than  WT + pumped storage powered ground loop heat pumps, sometimes not.  Sometimes a mix is best.  Some times (New Orleans) air source heat pumps are best for heat.

  I'm not sure a solar-powered Ammonia Evaporative Fridge is beat on energy inputs, but more than likely is worse on capital costs.  My advocacy for that technology is to keep your food supply less vulnerable to grid failures, which WT, Pumped Storage and DC Grid doesn't address, although I like them as appropriate moves forward for the overall energy picture.

  I would like to see as much self-sufficiency for individual homes and communities as possible, while not wanting this to direct us into an isolationist mentality.  'Good fences make good neighbors' (?)


Our technology is advanced. It is our philosophy, values, and behavior that are very primitive.
"High Tech" ---That's one of those manipulative phrases that makes me cringe.

What makes our technology "high"?
Are we smoking dope?
Technology is technology.
Nothing makes one tech "higher" than another.

True that mankind probably has many new technological frontiers to break into. We are neither at the peak or the valley of our technological capabilities --it's probably more like an undulating plateau where Dark Ages follow too much exuberant enlightenment.

Cheap Oil, alas, was one of our historical periods of overly exuberant enlightenment.

Move to New Orleans >:-)
did your tomatoes get by alright?
I need some help with this one
rolling on the floor laughing my ass off!
Wow, St. Louis currently (11:55 EDT):

Heavy rain and thunder, wind NW 47 mph gusting 54.

Quite the severe thunderstorm moving through the city...

I know I just ventured out to pick up lunch for a few in the office and as soon as I went to walk back to the office it starts POURING!  So I ran 4 blocks and I'll dry before I go home, but it's now going to be a miserable rest of the day!
I am currently working in STL on the southwest side.
I spoke to some people at my motel about the storm and power outages.  One lady told me that she drove an hour from her home to get the last motel room available where I
am staying.  The motels that have power are booked solid through the weekend as people are waiting to get their power restored.
Yesterday, I spent all day in a Regional Planning session (300 to 400 people divided into tables of 8, idea to get consensus and overlooked concepts.

To  mich to put into single post.

After working on levess & rebuilding wetlands (tradeoffs in time, location, annual costs, salinity) we did economic planning.  I made Peak Oil pitch.  3 to 3 split among others at table.  We had a 10 minute discussion, dispassionate and went with planning for "ever higher oil prices, rate of increase uncertain" on 7-0 vote.

Only improved road on our plan was to Port Fourchan (2 lane today, 1,800 heavy trucks/day, source of ~28% of US imported oil and main supply line to offshore oil platforms).  Rest was commuter rail network.

Majority (3/4 ?) of other tables also went rail heavy.

Chief Adminstrative Officer of Houma Louisiana at my table asked me at break what his city could do.  I promised eMail for more beyond smaller cars.  Any workable ideas from TOD ?

He brought up good point on controlling small town sprawl.  Using septic systems requires so many sq ft/single family residence.  Extending local sewer system would improve density.  He talked about zoning much more mixed use (head of Aquarium lives in old factory that has been converted into 260 apartments with ground floor retail in New Orleans).  Good info exchange.

BTW, Houma will likely be in a permanent boom post-Peak as more & more money chases declining oil.


Could you provide us some information on how you 'got into' city planning like this? You're one of the people desperately trying to build lifeboats out of existing materials on the sinking ship SS Peak Oil. Understanding how you got to the point where you were talking to officials on a fairly regular basis might help others who want to do the same.

Before Katrina, I attended public meetings, used public comments to make (usually small) positive suggestions for im[provements.  Took lower level guys I liked to lunch (pick up tab is a good thing ! :-)  Took advice early on "Make no enemies".  Tried hard not to and instead be friendly and attract people; not chase them away.  Debate logically without emotion (most of the time) and people that oppose you will "pick up" on that clue.  Use more emotion with supporters.

Had one early major success, a plan (to be announced ~45 days after Katrina) to build half of the Desire Streetcar Line as  Public Works project (street was within a decade of needing to be rebuilt; rebuild it now and combine the two).

I believe in the "Power of a Good Idea".  Create a concept that is so compelling that others can take it with them and spread it for you.  That is what I am using TOD for.

I have become known as "the Streetcar Guy" and people with questions come to me.

After Katrina there has been a dramatic upsurge in public involvement in EVERY dimension of civic life.  One example. Last Saturday, 80 working class black folks sat politely for 1.5 hours through a consultant presentation with minimal a/c in a flooded church with no water; then asked TOUGH questions for an hour.  Voluntary clean-up krewes every Saturday. etc. etc.

Persistance & time & good ideas.  Our high social capital here helps.  I connect with one member of a group and others of their group are brought to me.

This happened several times at yesterday's planning session.  I have 14 business cards (I scrawled notes on most of them) to input today with associated eMails.

I sign my eMails with

Best Hopes,

a positive note to end with.

Thanks for the info. How have been your encounters with the local press?
I imagine that this is a pretty common question among people who would like to make a difference but just think "they" won't listen to little ole me.  It turns out, its not so hard.

I was never much of an 'activist' or person that thought I would be involved in civics or politics or that kind of stuff.  But, I became interested in town planning, mostly from a sociological perspective and started reading and then as part of trying to learn more I started going to local public meetings just to observe.  I started asking questions and making my opinions known at these meetings.  If you do this, more than likely you will be identified as a 'community leader'  or at least an active participant and will be appointed to advisory commissions and kept 'in the loop'.  You start setting up one on ones with elected officials.  They seem happy to hear opinions of their constituents at this level.  The process of actually changing the course of things is indeed slow, as politicians are generally very conservative about change, particularly fundamental change but they do listen.    

If you are really ambitious, you can start a group or lead an existing organizaion such as a neighborhood group or something.  It's amazing how much weight a politician will put in what a group of a dozen people say, particularly if it actually makes sense!

Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential

Like many others on this site I have been trying to figure out what this years hurricane season is going to look like. Especially in the oil producing gulf of mexico region.

I've found several sites and links in the past with surface sea temperature (SST) maps, but they never really answered my question of how does this year look compared to last year.

Well, I finally found what I wanted.  Not only does it have SST maps it also has Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential.


Here are the links that shows the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential for yesterday.


and for comparison the same day in 2005


In general the energy available for hurricanes looks much less,  EXCEPT in the Gulf of Mexico.  If one forms in the gulf it should really chow down on all the heat energy.

Yep, the gulf is ripe... When surface water reaches that critical temperature threshold, about 26.5 C, then a hurricane is possible, provided other conditions exist (such as favorable upper-level support). It is interesting that increasing temperatures above this threshold don't seem to correlate strongly with increased incidence of hurricane development. More intense 'canes, perhaps, with higher temps but not more. This informs that the critical thing to watch is where that 26.5 to 27.0 C isotherm is.

Hmmm... One might expect then that the longer water temperatures remain in the favorable development range each year, the more hurricanes. On average.


Good link - I was looking for something like this too.  The only caution I would raise is that it's a snapshot of one day vs. another from last year.  It doesn't give a feel for how much this changes from day to day, week to week.  
It looks like the wholesale retreat back to our old 18th and 19th century energy source coal in the face of peak oil and natural gas has already started.


"Rep. Kurt Granberg, D-Carlyle, who sponsored the legislation, estimated the project would create 1,500 new jobs. Power Holdings of Illinois LLC is building the gasification plant near Mount Vernon. The plant is expected to use 10,000 tons of coal daily. The company estimates the plant could provide 5 percent of the state's natural gas needs.

Construction on the plant will begin in 2007 and be finished in three years. The project is estimated to cost $1 billion."

The only hope for reducing CO2 emissions is to plan on leaving coal in the ground. I've concluded that we need to maximize our use of nuclear and wind power. Coal is the end of the environment as we know it. We should be cutting coal production.
Yup, a supporting argument by Kurt Cobb that you may already know about.

A New Flickr Group About Oil Depletion

I have just created a new group on Flickr for the data junkie like myself dedicated to charts and graphs about peak oil and oil production profiles:

Flickr: Oil Depletion

You will have to be a Flickr member (free registration) in order to see or post pictures.

Two relevant quotes from the article for turning algae into oil.

"A Spanish company claimed on Thursday to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel."

"Bio Fuel Systems has developed a process that converts energy, based on three elements: solar energy, photosynthesis and an electromagnetic field," it said in a press dossier."

Could someone explain to me what an electromagnetic field is and how this aids the process of turning plankton into oil?

oil -

I read the same news clip and was also puzzled by their mention of an 'electromagnetic field'.

The term 'electromagnetic field' is pretty general and can include anything having to do with the electromagnetic spectrum, from the field given off by an electrical transformer, an eletric magnet, microwaves, or even radio or TV signals.

Any scheme to harvest plankton from an aqueous medium has to involve one or more liquid-solid separation steps, such as settling, filtration, dewatering, etc. I suspect, and it's only a guess, is that they might be using some sort of electric charge to nullify the natural electrosatatic repulsion forces that cause small particles to remain in suspension.  

As I said, it's just a guess, but that's about the only place I can conceive of an electromagnetic field coming into the picture.

Oil -


Perhaps there's a step somewhere in the process whereby they break up the plankton into colloid particles (including the oily 'active ingredient') and then use electrophoresis to effect a separation from the liquid. Electrophoresis is the application of an electrical field to cause movement of colloidal particles.

Now I'm starting to get interesing.

That's the step before, "calibrating the phase variant modulators to produce a resonance pulse via the anti-neutrino emitters, thus creating a gravimetric distortion in the fabric of space-time."

Simple, really.

do you suppose the Janes will forgo this fuel ; )
Electrophoresis is the application of an electrical field to cause movement of colloidal particles.

(No ME politics in this reply, honest.)

Actually, electrophoresis is a biology lab process that all first year biochem majors learn about. Not very complicated.

A sample is placed at one end of viscous medium (a gel).
A voltage is applied across the gel cell, from one end to the other.

Many biological molecules have a polar preference, they drift towards a positive or negative voltage faster than others. (Molecule size and drag in the medium are another separation factor) So you can separate biological molecules according to the speed which they drift through the viscous gel (aka colloidal suspension medium).

When you see those DNA smear pictures in the movies or on TV detective shows (where they "match" the DNA), they are acutually showing you a gel separation strip --not necessarily electrophoretic, there are other kinds.

All of the science is interesting and thank you for responding.  

However...i was trying to figure out if there is a new process here, proprietary, innovative to the point where the conversion of algae can be counted on as an alternative fossil fuel within 5 to 10 years?

With all of the doom, why can't there be a little space for optimism?

Mexico, Ghwar, mob justice, starving to death, impoverishment via inflation, evolutionary psychology turning us into the killing machines we truly are!

If we are talking about the same old conversion processes disguised as the second coming of Jesus(lol) then we are going to run into the same old constraints, and bob in arizona will have a legitimate chance of being the SUN-KING!

Why do these Spanish academics think they have something new?  Anybody have any insight into this press release or is this just more bull honky propaganda to get more funding?

With all of the doom, why can't there be a little space for optimism?

Because it all boils down to EROEI of this process, can you get the number?

I think one issue has to be speed of photosynthesis and speed of separation. Electrophoresis is notoriously slow --so is conventional photosynthesis. And then again, how much energy does it take to push the plankton into the separation gel? What is the EROEI? At first blush it does not sound all that promising if that is what they are doing.
step back -

Yes, I am aware that electrophoresis is more of a lab-scale analytical tool rather than a large-scale liquid-solid separation process, but it was about the only thing I could think of that might involve an 'electromagnetic field' as stated in the news clip.

I did forget,though,  that it involved using a gel rather than a free-flowing aqueous medium. So, maybe this thing involving an electromagnetic field is not electrophoresis after all,  but something else.

I would think that if the objective is to remove plankton from an aqueous medium, then conventional liquid-solid separation processes would be applied, such as coagulation and settling followed by physical dewatering of the resultant sludge. How they then extract the oily material from the plankton 'concentrate' is where some proprietary technology might come in to the picture. I wouldn't be surprised if some heat is applied in some way to break down the plankton cellular structure to get at the oily material.

My gut feel tells me that whatever they are doing probably requires a not insignificant energy input, and I suspect that the actual EROEI is not all that impressive.

I'd still be interested in learning more about this process.


I agree.
Replicating plant oganisms of the plankton--algae size offer advantages that the conventional biomass (ie. corn, switch grass) do not, They can be circulated in an aquaeous medium, exposed to sunlight on a regulated basis and harvested more easily.

This is ConocoPhillips' Wood River refinery. I knew about this yesterday morning, but couldn't say anything until it hit the press. This refinery is responsible for about 1% of all oil refined in the U.S. That's all I will say for now, until determining what the news media is reporting.


Im in st.louis and my aunt is a manager at a local mobil gas station,  and she said they are down to about 600 gallons of gas and they told her there wont be any more coming very soon.  So I went and filled up all three of my cars / work vans.

Does anyone know what the optimum thermostat temperatures are for heating and cooling with an automatic programmable thermostat?

For example, one reference for optimal energy savings indicates that you should not have more than an 8 degree deferential between you're at home setting and your away setting.  The logic is that more than an 8 degree swing uses more energy to catch up (cool or heat) when the programming turns from "away" to "home".  Other documentation indicates that a 10 degree difference is OK.  Does anyone have any thoughts, or can point to research that indicates the optimal temperature differential?

Also, does anyone know of references or research to heating/cooling temperature levels that are optimal for conserving energy use, while maintaining some level of comfort?

For reference I'm using the following temperature settings (in degrees) for my Northeast Ohio house:

At Home: 68
Away: 60

At Home: 75
Away: 83

I'm just tinkering to see if I can get some more efficiency out of my climate control system.

I have tinkered with mine quite a bit. Incidentally, your "away" settings look more like my "at home" settings. :-) Of course this is a constant source of disagreement with my wife and kids.

One thing that I have figured out is it is very easy to cool the house off in the morning, before the outside air heats up. Once upon a time, I kept the setting indoors at 79-80 most of the time in the summer. When the AC did kick on, it just ran and ran and ran and couldn't catch up. Now, I will chill the house to around 72 early in the morning. It doesn't take long at all for that to happen at that time of day, and then I will let the inside temperature come up during the day. The result is that I get a quick cooling in the morning that benefits me the rest of the day.

Hope that helps.



P.S. When I am gone, I turn it completely off.

Energy efficiency is a factor of the temp of the refrigerant gas in the condenser coils and the outside air cooling those coils.
So your AC is more efficient running in cooler air. Or, if you can afford it, an AC that has a liquid cooled condenser using either ground source or body of water source to dissapate the heat energy will be the most efficient. Saving can be very significant.
I set my thermostat at 76 when I get up in the morning and down to 70 about an hour before going to bed. My house is masonary so I cool it down at night when the AC is most efficient and then let it slowly gain heat during the day. Even on hot days the AC seldom kicks on before 3 PM and mostly doesn't kick on until I turn down the thermostat at night.
This also helps to eliminate running my AC during the Peak Energy hours of the day.
Also, my AC is located on the East side of my house so it always in the shade when it is running. Anything you can do to keep the sun from shining directly on the unit will cut your energy consumption. If you have a "window" unit, get an awning to keep the sun off the AC unit.
The materials your house is constructed from, the level of insulation and the rate of air exchange (how air tight the house is) will all effect what your best mode of operation is. Of course, your individual comfort zone will also have to factor into the equation.
Another one of those things you can't really give a fixed answer to.
Whenever it rains in the summer in New Orleans, I run the a/c.  More efficient then due to excellent rejection of waste heat.  Just store up the cold BTUs inside for "later".
If at all possible, I would try turning the A/c up to 78. Fans will help with this, but I don't know how common they are in Ohio. I have a ceiling fan in both bedrooms and the living room and it makes a big difference when you're under them.
How much difference between the 'home' and 'away' numbers is economical probably depends on how long you'll be gone. If it's 8 hours or more, I would think you could easily go to 10 or more degrees.
Think of your house as a water bucket full of holes.  Setting the AC thermostat lower is like keeping the bucket fuller, resulting in faster leakage.  Letting the bucket drain down (setting the thermostat higher) reduces the leakage (energy transfer), which will more than make up for the extra water (energy) required to bring the level back up (temperature down).  

Think of an extreme case.. should you not adjust your thermostat when you are away for a week because you will have to use extra energy for a short time when you get back? Of course not.

The one exception might be a dual stage heat pump where the inefficient heating coil turns on with a large temperature differential.  In that case it might be better to keep a steady temperature unless you are not going to be home for a few days.

I use three AC temperature settings: Not home (daytime), at home (evening), and nightime (a few degrees lower than "at home").  The last setting is used to cut the humidity at bedtime - when running the AC should be more efficient.

Hi all,

First time poster, 5-6 month lurker. Thanks to all of you for the great education and entertainment I'm getting here at TOD. I'm impressed with the level of expertise and the clear dialogue for we non-engineers. You would probably classify me as a "Pragmatic Doomer with Cornicopian fantasies."

Current books: Better Off-Flipping the Switch on Technology, by Eric Brende. The author is not anti-tech, more seeing what the optimum level of tech might be. Well written - kinda Thoreau like. Good read.
Endgame-The Problem of Civilization, by Derrick Jensen. Some real interesting thoughts on the unsustainability of civilization at any level. Way too much complaining and repetetion. So-so read.

My position / opinion on PO: It seems WestTexas' "declining exports model" due to peaking in the majority of big producing fields (light sweet first) will be/is  the biggest short term factor, forgoing big geopolitical and nature caused events. IMO the latter two items have a decent chance of happening/escalating and impacting exports in the short run, as well. I also tend to agree with RR's take on the timing of global PO. I guess we'll all know at some point.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work!


Where do you sail?

Thanks for the inquiry. I currently sail mostly off the coast of San Diego...where I live on my boat.

I'm fortunate to have found a way to live on the water, in a great climate on a very reasonable budget. Although, the more I learn about PO and the possible extreme consequences, the more I'm tempted to begin looking at places with a lot smaller population.

I'll stay here for now, but if the SHTF w/ out too much warning, I can always cast off and turn left or right (South or North)...As you're aware, with a sailboat, once clear of the slip, no petrol is required.



Should the exports decline as Jeff Brown is predicting, the United States will be the last nation on earth to get less then it needs.  I believe there is time to prepare, to start conserving.  I mean with a few policies and some propaganda I have to believe the US could cut daily usage by a minimum of 25 percent.  Anyone else have a more scientific way of showing how much we could save per day if we actually passed a law or two or three?
As for "time to prepare", I'm inclined to believe the experts. Hirsch: 10-20 years prior to PO. And his latest report estimates a needed investment of $1-trillion a year to mitigate the problem. As for "policies and propaganda" , most of what I see supports Jeff's "Iron Triangle" theory, which drives policy and its attendant propaganda.


I ain't gonna' spend long on this....

If we assume energy consumption can be reduced by passing "a law or two or three" it's not gonna happen, and if we assume that this is a transition that can be made by hurling a trillion bucks a year at it, it ain't gonna' happen....trying to make the structural changes needed, the technical advances needed, and train and organize the technical, managerial and logistical line staff that is called for cannot be done from the top down like some Brussels Euro beauracracy...it will have to be fast, lean, flexible, sales and result and goal directed....something a COMMAND structure system is not.  As the man said in the movie, SHOW ME THE MONEY, and then we we will deal with this little problem....

This, by the way, is why "peak oil" is almost impossible to sell to businesspeople (and whatever else they may, almost ALL Americans are business people):  They can't figure out why the BIGGEST CHANGE in modern history presents not one damm way to make a thin dime!  Helll, even the smallest demographic change can be sliced, diced, quantified, qualified, commoditized, and merchendized!  But not the BIGGEST OF THE BIG, Peak Oil!

The bidness' class can find a way to merchandise to 9 year old girls developing vanity, to 12 year old boys sense of adventure, and to a 16 year old teens angst and budding independence, but there is no way to market to a middle aged couple with college age kids and a bankroll that would choke a horse who becomes "peak aware" that HEY, MY BUTTS IN DANGER HERE, AND ALL I STAND FOR.....well, except to sell them books and tapes to tell them.....HEY, YOUR  BUTTS IN DANGER HERE, AND ALL YOU STAND FOR!!
These are professional class liberal arts types, you'd think they wouldn't have to be told that more a dozen times by Kunstler and Darley and Deffeyes and Heinberg more than, oh, a few hundred times, before they would say, o.k., fine, let's organized, let's set priorities, let's run some pilot projects and begin to structure cogent responses, do some meaningful presentations and DO LUNCH, we maybe can work a DEAL.....

C'mon, let's get some merchendising in this catastrophe, it's the only way your gong to get it to pay it for itself, and don't look to uncie Sam for that trillion a year.....why should they pay for the ticket to your show....you've already decided their act sucks anyway...if your going to be a critic you can't expect free front row seats....this baby is going to have to be spun off and go corporate and commercial, there ain't gonna' be no socialized peak oil..., privatize this and let's see some venture entrepreneurial spirit post peak!

If you can't make it big and make the family proud of you on the biggest trainwreck in industrial technical history, you a dammed embarrassment to your baby boomer daddies, that's for sure!

opps, spent too long on it already....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout


I'm starting to like you. That's not natural. Let'smake a deal. You post your ten favorite works of fiction, I'll join your tribe. C'mon. Even trade.

Post your directions to join your sight - right here, right now - to prove you are are at least considering my proposition. Otherwise, I'll leave you alone. That's my modus operandi.


I had that little assignment done days ago, I ain't no underachiever...
As you have probably already realized, I am the one person you don't want to ask for critical reviews....I take the advice of the humble James Joyce,
"I ask nothing from my readers except that they devote their lives to the study of my work."  By the way, I wouldn't hang my neck out and say I will join your tribe until after you have read the list....what if I insisted that any member of my tribe read only books about Hannibal Lecter, and study the philosophical value of his way of life, and oh, by the way, each year, we have an annuel dinner....at a special place of my choosing....after all it is my tribe....

as it turns out, that's not the case.....read um' and weep....

(by the way, notice there's a challenge in there, you ain't no underachiever are you?)

on the other subject, go to

e-mail at southern_comfort75@yahoo.com
to request an invite, I need a valid e-mail to send the invite to (Yahoo's rule, not mine....:-)

Roger Conner  known to you as  ThatsItImout

What the hell are you doing up?
Vampires. Aren't you? Try "I Am Legend." Roger, you know this guy? I think he might hafta get bit.

I'm a night worker, don't get in till about 1:30AM....then come over here to listen to the cheerful chatter and unwind....:-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout


My apologies. I must not have seen that. I knew I asked you the question a few days ago. But thought you didn't answer. The only reason I asked you in particular in the first place is because I know you always provide detailed explanation. Thanks again.

I'll be posting your suggestions soon. And you can always edit them. Just let me know. But you've got to wait. Sailorman is at the head of the queue. And Don gets express priority. In fact, nobody moves in front of Don. I ammend that. You can bribe me.

I have a feeling this group is going to become very close, very soon. There are few of us. We all know each other. It is only so long before we trust each other more then the rest of the world.

Whaddaya say about that, Bob Shaw? Jack will control all the  Kerosene in Thailand, we'll know where to go, and we'll make a deal he can't refuse. He will also know how to play us. Why? Cuz he wrote the book. I love Don Sailorman's books. Soon to be available online.

Re: Scenes from a liberal Apocalypse

I object to this part of the title. This Apocalypse is open to people of all political persuasions.

Silly Dave.  The Rapture will take the good, conservative Christians away from it all.  Only the liberal sinners will be left behind to face the peak oil apocalypse.  ;-)
Leanan -

Bumper sticker seen a while back:


try Joe Bageant's essays at cold type:

''when the rapture comes and your pink ass floats away, can I have your new volvo? - just leave the keys in the ignition.

Or something like that

No Leanon,

The Rapture will take away all the bass boats and big diesel pick ups, leaving lots of oil for the powerdown conversion to Ecotopia.

Liberals must pray for the Rapture to come soon!

I'd call it "Scenes from a Secular Apocalypse." Peak oil is Armageddon for Atheists.
when's the last time amtrak was on time? it's incredibly annoying that in the northeastern corridor there is no reliable train service.

my girlfriend and i planned to meet this evening for dinner at a friend's house in southborough, ma - due west of boston. she started from the north fork of long island ... i'm driving from albany, ny.

her plan was to take the ferry from orient point to new london, ct., hop onto an amtrak train from new london to boston's south station and, finally, catch the commuter rail to southborough, where we were to rendezvous.

the ferry trip went fine, but she arrived at the new london RR station to find amtrak more than 1 hour behind schedule. that throws a major wrench into the cog. needless to say, the ripple effect of this major delay means dinner is out the window.

sure, it's quite a few hops - but the plan didn't feel overly ambitious. it appears, however, that it was just that.

this type of experience is such a barrier to getting people to switch the way they travel. it's just no fun to wait around the better part of a day at stations. i'm not psyched about paying $3/gallon, but i'd much rather drive than get abused by amtrak and the system as it exists today

Yeah, it must be reliable to be useful.
im a christian and the rapture is not true.  
These are all things WRONG that the church teaches:
  1. God is a trinity
  2. bad people burn in hell
  3. good people are rewarded with heaven
  4. the soul is immortal
  5. the earth is only 6,000 years old
  6. dinasours didnt exist
  7. universe was created in 6 literal days
  8. rapture is not going to happen

all wrong i say,  and they all contradict the bible.  
Who will the Christians blame if there is a really bad peak-oil experience in a few years?
You ask that as if all Christians are some monolithic block who all think identically. You don't really believe that, do you? What if I substituted "blacks" or "Muslims" or "hispanics" for "Christians" in your sentence. Would you think it even possible to apply? Or would you be offended?
Of course the Christians are not monolithic, but it is the fundies that run the Republican party which runs the country. So their mind set is natually on one's mind when one thinks of Christians.  The fundies are organized; the non fundies aren't and, unfortunately, are largely irrelevant from a political perspective.

Btw, if Christians and the rest of us followed Christ's principles, we would be much better off.

Well, they blamed 9/11 on the gays, didn't they? I suppose that will work for peak oil as well.