DrumBeat: July 31, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/31/06 at 9:33 AM EDT]

Serious spill on large Russian export pipeline

Natural Resources Ministry warns of 'environmental catastrophe'

MOSCOW - A serious oil spill has occurred on one of Russia’s largest export pipelines near the border with Ukraine and Belarus, the Natural Resources Ministry said Monday, warning it could cause an environmental disaster.

The ministry said that oil from the pipeline had contaminated local water sources and forests in the western province of Byransk, adding that the spill affected an area of nearly 4 square miles.

Oil Depletion Economics 101

Coal May Surpass Oil as Better Bet on Demand for Cheaper Fuel

A thirsty world is running dry: Australia could be the OPEC of uranium.

Scouring Scum and Tar from the Bottom of the Pit

Faced with the undeniable reality of “Hubbard’s Peak” in global conventional oil supplies, the world’s largest multinational energy corporations are now hell-bent on squeezing oil out of tar in northern Alberta, like junkies desperately conniving for one last giant fix in a futile attempt to quench America’s insatiable “addiction to oil” (described so eloquently by President George Bush II).

Nigeria cuts daily crude output by 26 percent

LAGOS, 07/31 - The crude production in Nigeria has been cut by 675,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 26 percent of the country `s normal daily output, local leading daily This Day reported on Monday.

"The cut is a result of recent militant attacks in the Niger Delta and a pipeline leak there last week, " the report said.

Royal Dutch Shell, which produces half of Nigeria`s oil, said last Tuesday a leak of an oil pipeline in south Nigeria had cut output there by 180,000 bpd. As a result of the leak whose reason remains unclear, the contracts of Shell might not be honored in July and August.

Sri Lanka: Energy crisis: Have we woken up from a long slumber?

Coal to fuel India's economic growth

A combination of triple scourges this winter: Along with Peak Oil, Peak Grain and Peak Water the world enters crisis overload

While Lebanon burns, the Saudis feign impotence

"For the Saudis, the Lebanese and Palestinians are ‘throw away’ people. All this nonsense about Arab solidarity is merely a circus act to shore up the legitimacy of the kleptocrats in the Gulf."

...Here we are at peak oil. Petro dollars are flowing by the tens of billions into Gulf coffers. And Saudi Arabia drops its last fig leaf and demonstrates to one and all that it has struck an alliance of convenience with Israel and given the IDF a green light to ravage Lebanon and Gaza.

On the face of it, it doesn’t make much sense. The one Arab country that has the leverage to shelter the region from American financed Israeli brutality decides to publicly turn on its own people. To make partial amends, King Abdallah has offered to compensate the Lebanese for some of the damage inflicted by the Israeli war machine. Unfortunately, for all their wealth, the Saudis have yet to perfect a way to bring back the dead or reattach missing Lebanese limbs.

I'm not surprised at the attitude of the Saudi's. If they would lessen the exports significantly, they will be under fire from two angles: their own population who will suddenly have to make a living for themselves instead of relying on oil wealth, and a certain great power. And if their internal unrest goes out of control, it might give the US gov an excuse to place the region under military control.
Re:  Saudi Oil Exports

Petrologistcs reports that Saudi oil production has probably fallen below 9.0 mbpd.  Let's assume 8.9.

The peak Saudi crude + condensate production last year was 9.6 mbpd (EIA).  Using 8.9 as a current estimate suggests a decline in Saudi production of about 7%, while oil prices are up by 15% to 30%.  During prior oil price spikes, the Saudis have tended to increase production, to bring the price back down.  

Based on the HL method, Saudi Arabia last year was at the same point at which the prior swing producer, Texas, started a so far irreversible decline in production.  

Background information:  http://www.energybulletin.net/16459.html

Didn't the Saudis indicate they were going to cut back on sour crude production because no one wanted it?

Perhaps this is the cause of the production drop?

Personal Opinion:

Q:  How can you tell that the Saudis are lying?

A:  Their lips are moving.


I remain intrigued by the comments by an energy consultant--recommended by Saudi Aramco--at a recent Peak Oil debate.  He said that major oil exporters would soon start cutting back on oil exports--to prolong the life of the fields.


A news release from the Saudis saying that their production is down because of field maintenance, and that the results of new wells will soon carry them to new production highs.

Didn't the Saudis indicate they were going to cut back on sour crude production because no one wanted it?

That's what they said! But only the really credulous believes it. There is a huge market for heavy oil. The Saudis could sell all their heavy oil by just lowering the price slightly. Well, that is, if they had any spare heavy crude.

Check this one out concerning the Saudi's cutting back on production:

I'd heard somewhere ...... it shoud be researchable.... a "first class" citizen among the Saudis got a stipend, something around US $30k a year in the 1980s, but it's gone down over the years, due to varying oil profits, demographics, etc and is now about US $7k a year. That's a huge decrease, in the US the working and middle classes have been barely keeping even or in the case of the working class losing ground, but imagine that kind of decrease. Thus, the Saudi kingdom must have a very pissed off middle class, interestingly this seems to be the class that terrorists out of there are coming from.
Fleam, I spent five years in Saudi Arabia, 1980 to 1984, and I have a son who has been there since 1991. He is here now on repat. I just called him and asked him if he ever heard of such a thing. He had not and neither have I.

I don't know what you mean by "first class citizen". Perhaps you mean the royal family, of which there are a two or three thousand. Perhaps they get some kind of stipend but the average citizen does not.

When I was there the government did give a newly married couple a small grant of land to build a house. I don't know if that practice has stopped or not.

Saudi Arabia is a highly stratified society. The royal family is at the top, and then there are those that are friends of the royal family and those that are friends of these people and so on down. It is called "wasta". If you have wasta then you get promoted in your job, you never have to pay a traffic ticket and so on. If you do not have wasta then you are S.O.L. There are degrees of wasta. Some have lots of it, like the royal family, some have less and some have only a tiny bit while others have none. How high you rise in your job depends entirely on how much wasta you have and absolutely nothing else. But there is no "official" wasta. It is all under the table.

The Sunnis are also a rung above the Shiites. A Sunni will always have more wasta than a Shiite. Well, that is in ARAMCO and most of the rest of the country. In some towns where the Shiites are in the majority, they would have more "local" wasta than a Sunni. But there is no hard line between "first class" and "second class" citizens although there is a strong, but graduated class structure.

OK I was hoping someone who knew would pipe up here. My understanding was that somehow, there was a kind of basic living provided to those of the royal family (which is large) and to a sort of middle class, and it sounds like there is, a sort of providing jobs, immunities from fines, etc.

Am I correct in that the amount has been decreasing, causing unrest?

OK here's an example of the stuff I've been hearing, an article by Zepezauer on Third World Traveler:

"The level of corruption in the House of Sa'ud is staggering. While they impose strict Wahhabi law on their subjects, with public beatings for alcohol consumption and amputations for thievery, the thousands of princes have siphoned off billions of dollars from the public treasury, wining and dining all over Europe and America, building lavish palaces and gambling away their stipends. A minor scandal ensued in Washington when some of the Saudi entourage's slaves tried to escape from a hotel suite by jumping out of windows. Meanwhile the standard of living for ordinary Saudi citizens has fallen dramatically over the past two decades, while annual budget deficits are soaring from the family's high living and the extraordinary level of military spending."

Thousands of princed spending away, and standard of living for the middle class joe going down.

Yes Fleam, this hits the nail on the head. There are still desperately poor people in Saudi Arabia, no matter what you hear. I have seen old women begging in the streets. When their husband dies they are all left destitute they have savings or unless their extended family will take them in. Life insurance is against the law in Saudi. It is considered placing a wager against the will of Allah.

Saudi has one of the highest unemployment rates in the Middle East. They have over five million expats in Saudi and about 5 million unemployed Saudis. But don't get the wrong idea, only a few thousand expats have a really good job making lots of money. The vast majority or expats from third world countries doing things that the Saudis consider "below" them. They will starve before they will do menial labor.

Reminds me of that great P J O'Rourke quote; from 1st Gulf War:

"The heaviest thing you will ever see a Saudi lifting is money..."

In fact, many Saudi princes carry no money. They have slaves for that.
That does make me wonder about what happened in the 90's when there were American troops stationed in Saudi. On one side, rednecks, i.e. working class Americans, in large part from the South, for whome the highest idea of manliness is to show off broad shoulders and strong arms in doing heavy lifting, and on  the other side, Saudi Arabs, for whom that kind of display is the utmost servility...

I came across that googling after reading your post. Don't know if it's true. I found it highly disturbing.

If I ever have kids I'm adhereing to the Hulk Hogan school of parenting.  (Sidenote: he tossed some punkass pop star boy band member out of his house for being disrespectful to him. Didn't see it but the image is damn funny.)

You could be confusing KSA with Kuwait..

Kuwait has a kind of "class system" ... depending on proving your blood line from the original bedouin tribes (pre 1920)  Only 1st class males were allowed to vote until recently.

When zI lived there (1991-99)... All males were guaranteed A "desk job" in a ministry... there are numerous state gifts... upon coming of age, upon marriage; also housing loans (which tend to be "forgotten" after the first few repayments) etc... as well as free health care & education; and of course, no income tax!!

I'm not sure how these differ for each "class"...  

Hmm..... that could be......

The point is, the gravy train is starting to show signs of coming to an end in these countries, and in many cases there's been quite a drop in the standard of living. This breeds a lot of anger.

We've yet to see real signs of this in the US, but it's coming for us too. Timothy McVeigh probably would never have bombed if he'd had a good job to come home to, or college that didn't cost an arm and a leg. We've so far seen a slow rot in the standard of living for the US working class, and it's bred some anger. When things start dropping like a rock, it's going to get very interesting.

Yet, I have a feeling the good ol' boys will be much more open to ideas like permaculture than is often thought.

This string is such a textbook example of the point I was making the other day, and got a bit of kicking around for...


We have no idea what the helll's going on....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

(P.S.  Are we now to understand all that heavy sour crude in the Middle East, which for decades they could barely give away as garbage, has now somehow dissappeared too?)

This is partly what distresses me.  Twice in the last two years, SA has been asked to increase production.  After the gom hurricanes, the IEA & Bush asked them to bump the rate to offset concerns wrt supply and rising prices.  The USA energy secretary said prices were rising due to "fears of supply shortages" ...not actuals prob's on the ground.

SA reached into its spare capacity and complied and we all knew it would likely be for a short duration as it coincided with falling demand in the usa and china.  But, not that they indicate supply will be dampened, in part due to a 2006Q2 surplus of 1.8-mbd on the global scene.  As we see in the nuance of the sub-thread,  the reduced or perceived reduction is now being treated as a sign of post peak.  Complete and utter balderdash.

What you are uttering Freddy, is complete and utter balderdash. Saudi Arabia did not increase production after either hurricane.

Saudi did not increase production after Ivan. They did increase production in March of 2005 by 100,000 barrels per day. They kept this production level for six months then reduced their production by 100,000 barrels per day in October, immediately after Katrina and Rita.

You should check your facts before spouting off Freddy. Check out the facts at:

You won't go far wrong if you listen carefully to Freddy Fraudster, then believe the exact opposite.
Ron, we had these dum debates for over a year at EnergyResources.  It always stemmed from your being six to nine weeks behind the curve 'cuz your married to the EIA database.  You don't see trends for months after i related them.  Your mocking of IEA data just demeans your credibility.  Stuart's graph work here of both agencies shows that there is no significant differnce. Except that u are always late for the party.  AT ER, u had to eat crow two months after every single debate we had.  Some things never change...

IEA states that SA extracted 8.75-mbd in 2004.  They ramped up to 9.26-mbd in 2005Q3; held at 9.27-mbd thru 2006Q1 and drifted down to 9.01-mbd in 2006Q2 with surplus demand of 1.8-mbd at hand.

It is clear why Aramco ramped up and why they softened.  Think what u want about an SA peak.  I am confident that announced capacity developments are under way and that the IEA Medium Term Outlook is on target.  We can compare notes in 2011.


What you are uttering Freddy, is complete and utter balderdash.


Isn't Cantarell heavy? I said this before here, but surely if Cantarell is in decline then people would be looking for a new source of heavy. So it's hard to reconcile that with the Saudi's not finding buyers for heavy? I thought refineries were adjusting to take heavy - which would imply increased emand for heavy? So how come the Saudis can't find buyers for heavy?
It is very probable that they were lying about that all along.
Thats the whole point. We will soon see as clear as day whether the Saudis can indeed deliver more heavy. They won't be able to hide behind "there is no demand" anymore.
In using your HL methodology as a backgrounder, i note that u have chosen H1 with a 1.863-Tb URR for SA whereas your H2 using ASPO data shows 2.84-Tb. I am also troubled that u seem to have attributed a 5% new Depletion factor when ASPO/Laherrere/Koppelaar ... the only gentlemen that have studied depletion fully on the global scale use an avg of 2.7% 'til exhaustion.  No offence, but y'all seem to be data fitting to suit the results desired.

On the larger scale, 'cuz SA represents 80% by your figures, whereas your HL  forecasts global URR of 2.2351, Laherrere's longtime HL work indicates that we are in a new paradigm leading to 3.1-Tb.

With respect, how do u reconcile.

"With respect, how do u reconcile."


I asume that you are asking me.  For SA, I assume that you mean 0.1863 Tb, or 186.3 Gb.     I further assume that you are referencing this article:  http://www.energybulletin.net/16459.html

There was no data fitting.  I asked Khebab to do HL plots of:  Texas; Lower 48; SA and the world.  Note the strong linear pattern present in all four plots.  I noted that SA, in 2005, was at about the same point at which Texas peaked.  I knew that the world, in 2005, was close to the same point at the Lower 48 peaked.

So, I asked Khebab to generate production profiles lining up SA with the known Texas peak and the world up with the known Lower 48 peak.

I had nothing to do with picking the technical parameters for the HL plots, and anyone that has studied Khebab's work knows that he is an objective scientist.  

What we know is that SA and world oil crude + condensate production are both down since December (EIA).  We also know that all of the world's four largest producing oil fields are almost certainly declining--I find this hard to reconcile with a projection of rising oil production.

Thanx for your patience with my decimal place and 80% faux pas earlier.  Keyboard was not connected to the brain (again).  Jean Laherrere introduced me to HL and i trust the inferences.  Perhaps it is his using "all liquids" vs your "c+c" that has caused the large variance.  Thanx for being forthright on Khebab's plotting of the global workup.  I will add his figures to one of the URR tables that we use for averaging purposes our the Depletion Scenarios.

Everyone has their pet peeves and fav's.  The merging of the models is for the most part due to wrongful assumptions or missed data being corrected. In your case we may be comparing apples and oranges. The all liquids data seems to preserve the depletion rate better.  I'll watch your stuff more carefully so we can adjust for the differences in components. Thanx again.

Everyone has their pet peeves and fav's
Like I said.....here's mine...

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

A little outrageous suggestion here: TOD uses reddit to try to gain attention, why not use reddit as a message board as well?
<part rant>Leann, another great set of posts. The article on the Canadian view of tar sand development and the funding of the boreal forest's "environmentalists" is very interesting.
  It seems to me that we have a basic perception problem in the United States which is exaberated by the advertising in the MSM.
   No one can deny that the American lifestyle is very wasteful of energy and money. Yet who is perceived to be more wealthy, the family with big SUVs who commute an hour plus each way to work and jet ski's and 4 wheelers sitting unused in the garage of the McMansion, or the family that works from a home office and a couple of hours a day of free time and who rides bikes and uses public transportation, renting a car or truck if necessary and living in a cultural center with museums, parks, art galleries, live music and dance?
   Are we fucking nuts? I buy oil leases from folks and can judge fairly well who has more real wealth-their main shared charicteristic is they spend less than they produce and ake the time to enjoy their lives. And, what is the use of money if you don't have the time to enjoy the money. Whose opinion give a person status? My own self-image and that of people who think and create, or the mavens of the consumerist society?
  Somehow abandoning individual ownership of cars is seen as a decrease in wealth. Even going back to one car per family instead of one car per adult is viewed as impoverishment. Yet any realistic view of the cost of autos is $1,000 dollars a month per car. The environmental degradation from breathing pollution and global warming is directly tied to the number of cars. The greenspace we could gain by not having a paved road to each home is considered impoverishment.
  Enough ranting. I need to go to work in the sacred quest to find more fossil fuels. But as individuals take a look at West Texas's Economise, Localise, Produce. I swear it will make you wealthier.
Oil Man Bob. I heartily agree, on most points. However, I'll dispute the $1,000/car/month. We have three vehicles (all old, all paid for, all foreign and well made), but drive less than 5,000 miles/year TOTAL. Getting rid of two of them wouldn't necessarily help the environment much, but it would strand us when one of them stops working (a not infrequent condition).

Also, one is a '85 4x4 samurai (we live in the sticks), a '86 toyota pick up (we haul lots of compost and building materials), and a '91 nissan (for occasional trips with family).

I'd put our total costs at maybe $3,000/year, total (just a guess).

OTher than that, you're right on. We live in a 250 ft2 energy efficient adobe we built ourselves, have a large orchard/garden, and live cheaply enough our fixed income plus our produce sustains us.

And yes, those idiots with long commutes and tons of expensive toys, up to their eyeballs in debt, and in for a  long squeeze and an eventual rude awakening.  

Jim, for years my vehicular situation was very similar to yours.  I didn't much enjoy it.  Every time the phone rang I would dread hearing the words "the car's broken down". Then I would grab some tools and hop into another vehicle and head off to do some roadside mechanical work.  

Now I live in the city and I am largely car-free.  I love it.  When the phone rings, my worst fear is that it is a telemarketer.

I have some friends who run a small biz, who juggle two (sometimes three) Plymouth Voyager vans this way, old beat up things you can pick up for $1000 or so, but it's constant repairs. They're good at coordinating and shuttling back and forth, fixing stuff or having their mechanic do it after getting one or the other van towed. Still, they're delighted with the things because they can carry a ton, aren't too hard to fix, get decent mileage (about 24MPG) and don't look good enough/bad enough to be attention getters. I'm sure their costs (other than gas) are less than a grand a year per van.
The local dick lenghteners seems to often be a motor/sail boat and some kind of summer cottage, house, caravan or caravancar(?) and often hunting in your own or a hired forest and inviting to traditional parties on your summer cottage.

Would it be possible to change to such that dont require car commuting? USA seem to in large parts be like Sweden, a country with lots of free space.

You could perhaps enjoy it in other ways then with a suburbia? Like taking your old SUV down from the blocks in your apartment complex garage, inflate the tires and change the oil, fill it with family and friends and burn a large ammount of E85 while traveling to the Suburbia park where you relive the Good Old Days for a week? The budget concious then bicycle between the attractions such as beach party, drive in fried chicken land, outdoor movies and the mini disneyland. You like packaging things, right?

You raise a most interesting and important point in regard to status symbols. Need they be based on using material resources?

My claims to status are based on who I know (name dropping), education, skills (cooking, sailing, flying, fencing, tennis, fixing things), and boldness: For example, in a social situation I always try to strike up a conversation with or ask to dance the very most attractive unattached woman. (Believe it or not, strikingly beautiful women are often starved for conversation because they scare off most men. Some regard this as a major affliction and reason why they need psychotherapy.)

When I was younger, much of my status was connected to my ownership of a small single-cylinder two-stroke motorcycle, and then to a brand new $1,500 VW Beetle in which I gave my carless friends rides to and from airports, etc.

Most of the people I know own large boats. Why? I own two small boats, one eleven feet long, the other fourteen (plus bowsprit, a wooden gaff-rigged sloop, a San Francisco Bay Pelican that I'm restoring using no technology later than that available in 1900).

Oh, one thing I forgot: As a grandparent I am champion bragger than mine are the prettiest girls, smartest kids, most darling and precocious, etc., etc., and this seems to be a major status symbol for people my age.

It is easier to buy then be social. (types a man sitting alone at his kitchen table... )

I think it is sustainable to have material things as status symbols if they have a long life lenght, dont need too be fed with large ammounts of energy all the time and have other productive uses.

There is a local culture of having old and large, often US cars as status symbols. Once or twise per week during summers those people get togeather in some scenic town or place and are social while being customers for coffe houses, bars and dancing places. Its also popular for vacation traveling. Those cars are not used year around, manny are a generation or two old and they will last for manny more if they are sold between people who take care of them as hobbies and status symbols.

Here in Maine (US) we collect old swedish cars... my boyfriend just bought a '90 Saab convertible for a fun car, which he will probably wax more than he drives. Another good friend has a '63 Saab 96.

Can't say that we are the norm but it's funny that you guys are collecting American cars while we are collecting Swedish cars.

And you can always "buy" socialness. Go to a bar on a Friday. Caveat: Leave the car at home! But you're right. Except for the overly gregarious, it's easier to just shop than be social, especially out in the isolated suburbs. In the suburbs you must drive everywhere. The cabbie in the Tribune PO piece mentioned picking up drunks who lost their licenses becuse of how driving is nearly the only way around.

It's a lucky person who can be gregarious and sober at the same time. But even so, suburbs are so isolated that you have no idea where to go to be social except possibly a church. And those who need ethanol to be social are S.O.L. in the suburbs. It's like prohibition by proxy.

Putting down other people's grandchildren by comparison is not effective among people your age.  Status symbols in general are not very effective when bragged about.
Liz: Why do I get the feeling he is not your type?
Liz is sore at me because she touts Smart Cars. Months ago, I pointed out that a three-wheeler, with the sigle wheel in front, is pretty much a death trap, especially in a strong crosswind on wet pavement.

She has never forgiven me for being right.


I'm willing to be friends if you are, Liz.

You are right about the "trikes" in that configuration. Better to have 4 small light wheels, much better, than to try to save on weight by having 3 wheels. A compramise is to have 1 driven wheel in back and 2 wheels on the front - seems odd but it works. There are "utility" bicycles that are this way, and various vehicles, some of which at least are made starting with a motorcycle engine.

However, bragging blowhards are just unpleasant, most of us here are here because we're interested in discussing Peak Oil.

Yes, it's the unsung holocaust of the 21st century - people who were foolish enough to get into smart cars. Never Again! :-)
Maybe the "smart car"'s whole point is to be a Darwinmobile, saving resources by doling out Darwin Awards! Each Darwin Award of course takes out of circulation one more user of resources, making for great effectiveness.
Don, I don't mean to speak for Liz, but I would hazard a guess that the animosity stems from posts such as the one where you talked the price of a woman in Fort MacMurray. If memory serves (this was some time ago and I apologize if I have misremembered the details) you were saying that young women could earn a lot of money by 'working' there. That sort of post is not likely to endear you to the female contingent here.
Smart Cars have four wheels:

as do the Tango, Tesla, and other high end EVs.

Cheaper EVs have three wheels to qualify as motorcycles:

or even as bicycles:

I sense an opening for the standard Smart (US) car rant:

ZAP's Americanized Smart Car EPA-Rated at 40 MPG

If you really want to get an efficient, dependable car...look towards a toyota echo which will give you upper 30's to lower 40's mpg, toyota quality, has a long lasting timing chain, a back seat and a trunk.  I'd also look into 1989-1991 Honda Civics, upper 30's to lower 40's MPG with the 1.5 liter engine, again with a back seat, but these years are hatch designs and can accomodate bigger items.  If you find a low mileage example and take care of it, it's likely to keep ticking until 250,000 miles+

As the ZAP Smart car is going to be priced in the 20,000+ range, you can get a used echo or civic and still have $10,000 - $15,000 left over for gas or something.

I think the Smart only makes sense as an EV or if you need to park anywhere.
"You raise a most interesting and important point in regard to status symbols. Need they be based on using material resources?

My claims to status are based on who I know (name dropping), education, skills (cooking, sailing, flying, fencing, tennis, fixing things), and boldness: For


When I was younger, much of my status was connected to my ownership of a small single-cylinder two-stroke motorcycle, and then to a brand new $1,500 VW Beetle


Why? I own two small boats, one eleven feet long, the other fourteen (plus bowsprit, a wooden gaff-rigged sloop, a San Francisco Bay Pelican that I'm restoring using no technology later than that available in 1900)."
Don... the last time I looked, sailing, flying, fencing, tennis, motorcycles and cars were based on using material resources.  Though my guess is that you were aiming for "look what you can do with a small amount of (long lasting) stuff" I think you might have flopped a little and fallen into contradiction.  Who needs two boats anyway? ;)

It appears that the decline into a net negative national savings rate continues, and it looks like it may be accelerating.  I think that the most recently monthly number was a net negative 1.7% (negative for 12 months in a row).  

IMO, a huge contributing factor to the negative savings rate is Americans going into debt and liquidating assets in order to maintain their SUV/Suburban lifestyles.  In addition, poorer households, without extravagant lifestyles, are getting hit hard.

Realistically, one can't pin the blame for this on just the energy cornucopians like Yergin, et al, but their oft repeated statements that we have abundant oil supplies have not helped, and Peak Oil Deniers have--in effect--encouraged Americans to maintain their SUV/Suburban lifestyles.  

IMO, a huge contributing factor to the negative savings rate is Americans going into debt and liquidating assets in order to maintain their SUV/Suburban lifestyles.

But this is the blessed American way of life! Surely if we put up more statues the trees will grow back.

Regarding the negative savings rate:

Don't underestimate the envy factor.  I live in a fairly new subdivision of $175-230k homes.  Over the weekend, a neighbour started putting up a deck, covering his small garden with wood and railings.

Every household's male occupant was staring at the deck with envy.  I won't be surprised if another 5k goes onto a lot of credit cards soon and a bunch of new decks appear.

I've seen the envy factor trick many neighbours into installing sprinklers, buying dogs and having their front gardens landscaped.  I've watched (with bemusement this time, I must admit), as our next door neighbour, who can barely afford his house, lusts after the harley parked in the driveway opposite.  Some basic herbs and vegetables in our garden have prompted some neighbours to marvel at our amazing horticultural ability, and of course spend money on their own (decorative only) herbs-in-half-barrels.

I hope that the same envy factor can work to our advantage, but I'm not holding my breath.  Shade trees close to the house would block the deck, manual garage doors are inconvenient, etc etc.  I also don't see many people looking with envy at solar panels.

I try to resist the lawn game (but often fail), and my wife is completely taken in by grass envy.  We spend a lot of money on water, grass seed, gasoline for the mower, tools to aerate the ground and fertiliser to feed the grass.

All because our neighbours do it.

Unless you've already done this, buy a Prius. Maybe your neighbors will envy that.
I have a 3 year old Corolla, thankfully paid in full.  I don't want to take on a new car payment until I can get full electric at the same or less than I paid for my Corolla.  Since I only have 20k on the clock, I reckon I can squeeze another few years out of the car :-)

All the guys around here have pickups, sports cars or SUVs.  When I mentioned that I use a park and ride, several people looked at me like I was insane.

I think we will get to $7 gas before the neighbourhood guys start thinking about giving up their big toys.  ($4 and $5 gas won't do it)

The power went out after yesterday's storms in MI.  Maybe if I had solar, and thus my lights still worked, my neighbours would take notice.  Most of them would probably buy a generator that runs on natural gas.

Nah... put up a grape arbor. Cheaper than a deck and much better looking. Then you can sit in the shade.

If it gets really hot, hose down the leaves, makes a nifty evaporator.

Perhaps having a beautiful garden could become a status symbol, helping people make the transition to energy decline with style.
Your suggestion: Gaia's Garden is on the desk right now. A wonderful book. I am on the Water chapter, with the swales and lenses <g>. It's just great. There is so much we could be doing.  
try this.


Cheaper than grass
Doesnt use much water or chemicals
Very theraputic (until the cats discover it has other uses)

Reminder: If you're in the Chicago area, the Chicago Tribune special report on peak oil will air in documentary form, on August. 3, at 7 p.m. on WYCC, Ch. 20.
Cool! I'd like to see that shown on PBS, maybe that's the local PBS station there, but it seems like it would make a very popular PBS program.
There was a debate in the comments recently with regard to the question "what drives the ultra-rich". There is an interview with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at forbes.com with a quote I find relevant:

Whatever money is, it's just a method of keeping score now.
"Whatever money is, it's just a method of keeping score now."

A related one that struck me from the movie "Sound of Thunder", which is a good summer popcorn rental IMO, two rich business types talking to each other:

"What's the point in being rich if you don't buy things poor people can't afford?"

Good point. When everything else gets its meaning from money, money cannot possibly have a meaning of its own.
These are people who literally don't know how to stop or slow down. They're the go-go-go, obsessive types, they would be considered "wetiko" or at least crazy, posessed by an evil spirit, if they lived in the old-old times.
Neurotic. Sociopathic. Delusional. Psychotic.
Many adjectives spring to mind for this personality type.
Unfortunately, all of them are premised on mentally illness, which these individuals are most assuredly suffering from.
Wal-mart goes green! No, really! Read this article on Fortune before flaming the notion...

Wal-Mart's CEO says he wants to turn the world's largest retailer into the greenest

Al Gore was there. Conservation International's Peter Seligmann was there.

"For years Wal-Mart simply brushed off such criticism. 'We would put up the sandbags and get out the machine guns,' [Lee] Scott recalls...' If we had known ten years ago what we know now...'

"...twisting the arms of suppliers - who would soon learn all about Wal-Mart's new crusade..."

"Scott, meanwhile, is personally pushing his cause with Fortune 500 CEOs."

Anyone know if it's feasible to convert methane waste gas to Compressed Natural Gas for transportation fuel?
If the BTU content is high enough (and if there aren't any corrosive contaminants), there is no reason that it couldn't be used for transportation.  

Boone Pickens has a company in Dallas providing CNG facilities for fleet vehicles:  http://www.cleanenergyfuels.com/

Landfill gas has high percentages of CO2, water vapor, and hydrogen sulfides. The H2S and H2O can form sulphuric acid but by passing the gas through a quicklime solution the CO2 is absorbed and the acids neutralised. Energy would then be expended to compress it for vehicle use. Burning the raw gas on site to generate electricity IMHO is the best use of this resource.
Burning on site to generate electricity IMHO is the best use of this resource.

I find that answer at the end of many analyses of energy. It make electric seems like a pretty good medium for almost everything, especially if it becomes a source of distributed power. It makes plug-in hybrids or all electric vehicles seem much more attractive when you consider that.

My post on this very subject appeared and disappeared a short time ago due to some logistical difficulties arising from HO and Stuart being out of town and keeping TOD content fresh. It will be published tomorrow.

That's becuse compressing a gas to shrink it wastes the energy of compression. To recover some of it you would need a device that converts pressure to work like an old time steam engine did or a steam turbine. BTW, the exhaust gas gets cold, so it could absorb heat before going to the normal engine for some A/C.

You'd be better off with the genset to charge a car's (or bicycle's) battery pack.

Methane from misc fermented waste is used for thousands of cars in Sweden but the quality of landfill methane vary a lot.
In my home town we are on the second generation of biogas busses for all in-town traffic and now they work ok, the first generation were almost a disaster.

The production facilities use food industry waste, manure, sewage sludge, glycrol from biodiesel manufacturing, etc. Silage and leftover mash from ethanol production is starting to be used. You can use anything that is biological in origin and have no heavy metals, if it is contaminated with bacteria you heat it before the process and still get good fertilizer.

I think gas from old landfills mostly is used for heating, via a motor and a generator if the quality is good. Garbage incineration have soon replaced all direct landfills with methane producing waste making the methane from landfill a parenthesis that will be gone on a decade or two. (I dont realy know for how long you get spontanous methane production in a landfill. I only know that it vary a lot.)

Jim Kunstler has picked up on the Guns of August meme.

Mommy, I'm scared.


"America has been reduced in the current affair to something only a little better than a nervous bystander. America's growing exhaustion and its inability to control events is on display for all to see. So is the foolish intransigence of our easy-motoring, suburban sprawl-building economy, which has made us psychologically the vassals of the Islamic oil-exporting nations. We're doing nothing to prepare for the day when all that oil stops coming through the Strait of Hormuz. Most of the American public not only has no idea what trouble we're in, but they're strangely proud of their cluelessness -- as they kick back and wait for 'the market' to 'come up with something.'"

"We're doing nothing to prepare...they kick back and wait for 'the market' to 'come up with something" -- Kunstler

The 3M composite conductor can carry 1.5 to 3 times the current of conventional steel-core, power-line cables.

The 3M conductor holds up better when subjected to high winds, vibrations, salt corrosion, and extreme cold.

Alabama Power Company..."The use of the 3M conductor for this project allowed us to avoid the replacement of 22 transmission structures and the installation of eight additional structures."

Tracy Anderson, 3M project manager for the ACCR, said interest in the new conductor "is building quickly as a cost-efficient and reliable way to relieve many of the national grid's potential bottlenecks. Before bringing this product to market, we devoted four years to extensive field testing with several utilities and the Department of Energy, under virtually every conceivable atmospheric condition. The ACCR met every expectation."

Wow.  What biased, one-sided parroting of the official line and the MSM corporate propaganda.  How disappointing.  There's a whole lot of crap going on, and it's often tough to tell what's going on - what is true, and what is false.  But it's sure as hell clear what side Kunstler is on.

The Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Seniora complains that his country is being brutalized, but fails consistently to explain why his government won't control the war-making activities of a vicious paramilitary operating freely within Lebanon's borders.

Like he has that capability.

Israel's weapons are at least targeted at military objectives, even when tragic errors like this one occur.

What utter shit.  Not even worth responding to.

Yes, there are bad people willing to do anything to further their goals - but they are on all sides, they are all around us.  

I find it quite depressing that people I otherwise agree with, and seem to have a lot of common ground, can then show such utter blindness and bias.  

I have the overwhelming feeling that this is blowing up all around us - the ticking has stopped, and now we wait for the explosion.

I now get the feeling is that Kunstler's real motivation for getting off ME oil is so that we can kick their ass without consequences.  As much as I have loved reading all his books, I am gaining less and less respect for him.  He really should quit trying to be a middle east expert and stick to suburbia.
I think it's just that tribal allegiance trumps everything.  

Just as in so many places, as the established order and the rule of law breaks down, we retreat to those groups where we feel we belong.  I've been thinking about this lately, and wondering what group I would claim if it comes to that.  I'm not one that develops fanatical blind devotion to groups very easily - which could be a problem some day.  I suppose I could always fake it - it's not too hard to figure out what people want to hear.

Kunstler has been quite consistent in his ill informed understanding of Middle East history.  It doesn't appear that he has made any attempt to inform himself but is content to mouth the same anti-Islamic rants.  (Muslim=fundamentalist=jihadist=terrorist=the enemy=subhuman=bombs away!)
Yes, Kunstler is very tribal, I love his stuff on the suburbs, but I've realized for a while now that deep down, it's because in the past, when they were first built in the 1950s, Jews were excluded from most of them. He's for hyber-urbanization and feels the burbs will simply die, because surprise, surprise, his people were city people living in very dense cities. The truth is that the burbs will depopulate and depave to come extent, but will become townlets, hamlets, villages, etc., especially since so many of them are built on land suitable for small intense farms. Kunstler mentions his experiences during a power blackout, surprise, surprise, he doesn't know his neighbors and has something like a jar of capers and a tin of smokes oysters in his fridge - he ends up driving out of the powerless area and staying in a hotel.

His contempt for those who are not urban, urbane, mind-workers just oozed through his writings once you spot it. He's constantly harping on the deficiencies of those lumps, those cretins, those goyim who work or at least until very recently, worked with their hands. And oh! Those fried-meat stands, on and on about the fried-meat stands! Why this fascination with fried-meat stands? Well, traditionally, Jews do not eat blood, no blood-sausage for them, and they treat their meat with salt to get the blood out, hence Kosher salt. Meat is then broiled, boiled, etc., fried-meat stands implies a bloody steak thrown in the pan, or worse, modern hamburger which is often "filled out" a bit with blood. Nummy, but not Kosher.

Figuratively standing there in his "pin-stripped" suit, ranting, he's entertaining and has awakened a lot of people to our modern poor planning and horrible architecture. His book on that may even be being used in college classes. And sometimes it takes a real ranter to wake people up. It's just saddening to find that the motor powering it all from underneath may well be tribal affiliations and hatreds.

I found Kunstler's The Long Emergency a great read: thoughtful, careful, thorough, and it persuaded me of the seriousness of peak oil.

In his column, however, his bitterness reduces his credibility and drives people away, even before they read his blind support for everything Israel does, coupled with his hatred of those who worship Allah and his support for savage military destruction of them.

You make an amusing point about his helplessness in the face of a relatively minor emergency (blackout). His idea of making himself useful is to write a local newspaper. Not quite comparable to growing food or repairing a water pump.

Heinberg seems to me to be a far more constructive voice.

I bought the long emergency and it's great for one read. And if you time your beer break so you're kind of skimming the rah-rah let's go kick ass in the middle east because they all want to kill us part. I lent it to a neighbor, who moved away, taking it with him! I don't miss it, since it's one of those books that only stands one reading. I found it uninteresting the 2nd time. Yes there are books I've read more than 10 times because there's good stuff in there. This is not one of them.

Heinberg is great, grows his own stuff, in one video interview you can see his "kitchen faucet" is a pump no doubt pumping from his own well, you can see from the guy's build he gets out and works in the garden, and I think he grows/barters with other growers for all his food stuff. No, he's not perfect, I"m sure he uses some gas in getting to his various lectures, he may own a car, not sure. But he's sure pulling his weight.

You skimmed the book pretty shallowly if you think there is a "rah-rah let's go kick ass in the middle east because they all want to kill us part."
It seems everyone forgot one detail about the ME debacle: It takes (at least) 2 sides to fight. Hezbollah might have "started it" but Israel sure went off the deep end. Then of course Hezbollah merely escalated it.

We might end up being best off to divorce Israel. Even if we did that, the Moslems will still have a permanent grudge for having aided and abetted Israel all this time. While things were never easy there, having set up Israel after WW2 sure didn't help.

Had we after the war took half of Argentina by force to set it up, we'd have Hispanicist terrorism instead, just becuse displaced people will be permanently pissed. We would have to keep the Mexican border SEALED to keep Mexican suicide bombers out.

There is only one unmanned continent we could have given to a proto-Israel: Antarctica. But the penguins would be blowing themselves up in the iced-over cafe's!

To illustrate my point that both sides are guilty in the conflict, consider this. Zionists before the Israelis declared they now have Israel, one of the things they did was blow up a hotel with a truck bomb. They noticed a milk truck stopping in front of a Palastinian hotel every 2 days. They bought a warehouse along the route, and bomb materials. They hijacked the truck then drove it to the warehouse, where their bomb in milk jugs were loaded onboard. Then they drove it to the hotel, and pulled a Tim McVeigh. No wonder where Islamists got the idea! And that was with other smaller Zionist terror attacks.

Besides the terrorism, when in the 1930s Zionists moved to Palastine, they did so with the intention of forming an Israel, which they did. Neither side is innocent, but both sides can sure hold a grudge.

A little known historical fact is that in the late 1930s... there were moves by Isaac Steinberg of the Freeland League to start a Jewish "colony" (as opposed to state) for 75,000 European jewish refugees in north Western Australia.


Nothing became of it... but imagine... the world might now be a very different place(in both locations)!!

As evidenced by Mel Gibson and his dad, you's might have the occasional Aussie suicide bomber as well as the countless Arab ones. (and Arab-Aussies taking part too)
Thank you for expressing thoughts I hadn't quite articulated for myself yet.  I generally concur, Kunstler is a powerful, useful voice for PO awareness, and I continue to recommend The Long Emergency to just about everyone.  I read his blog occasionally, and found his recent piece The Twilight of Lumpenleisure very stimulating.  

But his dissing of the 'burbs is just a bit much.  I live in the burbs.  Even at the peak of cheap oil I see quite a bit of neighborliness (not just small talk, but sharing equipment, cars, food, watching each others' kids, etc.).  There are any number of retrofits to suburban sprawl which, while still far from an ideal buildout, could make many of these areas more habitable that the picture K. paints.  Relaxing some zoning standards could quickly allow small businesses to spring up out of people's garages - the corner store so familiar throughout urban Latin American, for example.  Heck, the city governments around here already have to periodically clamp down on a few home-based businesses - people selling appliances out of the garages, running day care operations, etc.  

Though difficult and a big change for many people, I don't think such retrofits would be that big a stretch once we reach a tipping point, thought I continue to wonder when/what that might be.

Yep the burbs are just bustin' out to be self-sufficient, there'd be a lot more "victory gardens" instead of lawns, folks building furniture etc in their garages, chickens, ducks, etc if the zoning police didn't constantly clamp down on nonconformity. And they do! After all, Archer-Daniels-Midland might be really hurtin' if 'merricans started growin' their own food to some extent.......

There's a book on line called "possum living" that's a crack up, basically some people got tired of the way The Machine does things, and did them, back in the 1960s or so, and ever since, they've tried to be as independent as possible. Asset: One large old house with a bit of land around. They grow some stuff, guerrilla farm and harvest more of it, and grow rabbits in one of the spare rooms! Easy to imagine chickens in another room, but they're into rabbits. It's an interesting read.

Your attempt to psychoanalize Kunstler would almost stand a chance if Kunstler had ever been an observant Jew. Except he never was. And as a New Yorker he never had the dubious joy of  realtors hanging up on him (or his Dad) since this or that suburb was a No-Jews place. (That was largely a Chicago and Boston phenomenon.)
I'm not one that develops fanatical blind devotion to groups very easily - which could be a problem some day.

Neither am I, so I can advise you ...

I suppose I could always fake it - it's not too hard to figure out what people want to hear.

You cannot "fake it", it works only as long and makes things worse in the end when "they" find out.
You become a target even more than outsiders.

I agree.  He has written some questionable pieces concerning Iraq and ME in general that make me wonder about where he's really coming from.
That "utter shit" happens to be the truth. Here's something you may not know. Hezbollah is demanding a prisoner swap. The first prisoner they want is Samir Kuntar. He is serving a life sentence for crushing the head of a 4 year old girl with his rifle butt.

To Hezbollah, that makes him a hero.

Now you can go on Youtube and find plenty of drone clips showing exactly what Israel's artillery and air force are targetting: katyusha launchers. And find plenty of evidence of exactly where they are, and why that is leading to civilian casualties in large numbers. The Qana bombing, for example, there is a video clip of it. THey were dropping a bomb on a rocket launcher.

 Sure - the truth is what you want it to be.  The world is black and white, one side pure good and the other pure evil.  Make your own reality - it's in fashion these days.

They were dropping a bomb on a rocket launcher.

No, they were dropped two GBU's on a building, which they hit rather accurately.  The missile launchers are on trucks, which there did not appear to be any of in the house that was hit.

I notice that the pinpoint accuracy and those surgical strikes sure seem to make a lot of mistakes.  Or maybe not.  I'll bet those red crosses on the roofs of ambulances really let the tracking circuitry get a heck of a lock.  And yes, firing missiles full of ball bearings into civilian areas is also very cruel.  But then those cowards are hiding in villages!  They should fight like REAL men and form Napoleonic formations in open fields - works well against F-16s and Apaches, I hear.

There are more than enough war criminals to go around - some of them have even been elected Prime Minister.  Look at the world around you, and see what people do to other people.  See it in Iraq every day, see what the US did in Falluja, what the Russians did in Chechnya, what is being done on both sides in the ME.  But not the Israelis, oh no, they wouldn't do that stuff.  Can you possibly be so naïve, or do you just spout propaganda?  Do you not see how grotesque it is?

There are more than enough war criminals to go around - some of them have even been elected Prime Minister.

Sorry about off-topic, but I hate to see continued stereotyping, and when the bombs fall the irrational definitely takes over.

I've read of several independently formulated Israeli-Palestinian peace plans that are supposed to have very widespread popular support among all parties. The inevitable wrench in the works are the extremists of both sides and the governments (in Palestinian case, a shadow at best) that end up following the extremist line. My own reading of the Middle-East situation has most people wanting some reasonable compromise of peace plan enacted, but this seems not to be possible because of extremist agendas of the governments which are basically pandering to extremist elements in the population. This applies to other nations as well; i.e. Iran and its hyperbolic rhetoric. This rhetoric would not have any traction in a situation where the sides were actually coming to some accord. It's group psychology, and it is amazing that that there is so much denial that such a phenomenon even exists.

The current tragedy, as in many others elsewhere, is that the many innocents suffer because of the actions of a few. The tactic of punishing a group for the sins of a few never works and virtually always has negative consequences.

Actually, the GBU's hit next to the building, And here was the attack. Note the active launcher.

Now you might want to comment about mistakes. Well, active rocket launchers show up real bright on infra red cameras. People huddling in basements don't show up at all.

Now, Hezbollah does not need to fight in Napoleonic formation. They could simply give peace a change. But if they don't, while it is true they are at a disadvantage compared to F16's, that is irrelevant. War is not a sport. The laws of war are not written to even the playing field. And being at a disadvantage does not mean Hezbollah has the right to hide behind civilians.

They could, however, hide behind other things. Empty buildings. Orchards. Caves. No civilians. But they don't. They shoot rockets from the middle of villages even though the rockets have no defensive use and thus cannot possibly be said to belong there.  And that is why they are to blame here.

Now I'll refer you to the 1977 protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions, article 51:

7. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

Capisce? What the IDF did was no crime. What Hezbollah did was a crime, specifically "perfidy" (also defined in the Protocol, article 37).

I'm sorry but the best of intentions is no excuse for slaughter of innocents.
Defending one's country may or may not be the best of intentions. But when your enemy is hiding behind civilians, their deaths is your enemy's fault.
"...when your enemy is hiding behind civilians, their deaths is your enemy's fault. "

Sorry, I completely disagree. One could easily justify any kind of mass slaughter on this basis (and such has been done). When war breaks out, morality and ethics usually fly out the door and "all is fair." Which, in a sense, is to say that "nothing is fair."

Sorry that there are no easy blacks and whites in these situations as you seem to suggest.

Take your disagreement to the UN general assembly, and ask them to delete articles 37 and 51 from the Geneva Conventions. 37 prohibits and defines perfidy. 51 says as follows:

7. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

In other words, if you put your rocket launcher in your neighbor's home, you're the one to blame when I blow the place up.

In simple terms--that should be obvious-- it is a matter of proportionality. My reading of events is basically this:

2 Israeli soldiers captured/kidnapped (depending on who you read or believe) by Hezbullah

~500-600 Lebanese killed, ~800,000 Lebanese refugees created. A huge amount of Lebanese civil infrastructure destroyed.

Now you can go down the path of 'who started it' but you might end up at the battle of Jericho with the Hebrews wiping out the Caananites. This is a fruitless argument IMO.

Quoting the Geneva Convention doesn't justify slaughter of innocents. Can I nuke a town because a few of the 'enemy' are hiding in it?

This notion is almost old-testament biblical, except that God said that if one worthy person was found in Gommorah, he would spare the city. Here we have one unworthy person making it ok to wipe the city.

Proportionality to what? If Hezbollah is launching rockets at me I have the right to take out the launcher.
One more time around.....

You are going to tell me that all of the 500-600 Lebanese killed so far were in the process of harboring Hezbullah rocket launchers or something similar?

I won't post any more on this. It is getting ridiculous.

No, but Hezbollah was in the process of hiding its assets among civilians. Even the UN confirms that much (Jan Egeland has complained of this.)
Sorry to break it to you Bunkie, but in Israel crushing the skull of a 4-year old Palestianian etc girl doesn't make you a hero, only because they'd run out of precious metals if they gave a medal to someone every time they did it.
You're casting aspersions like a kindergartener. I'm pointing to a simple truth. Samir Kuntar killed 4 year old Einat Haran by crushing her head with a rifle.

To Hezbollah, he is a hero.

Now, if you can name a single IDF soldier who won a medal for braining a child, go ahead and name him.

The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as `innocents' of the enemy."

All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said.

Any more questions, people?

The IDF is a secular run army whose officer cadre loathes the Yesha Rabinnical Council. Which is immaterial unless you can actually cite any link that says that (which I seriously doubt).

A more relevant, and non-rabbinicale cite, is Geneva Conventions, Protocol 1 addendum (1977), article 51:

7. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

The IDF is a secular run army whose officer cadre loathes the Yesha Rabinnical Council.

I beg to differ :

From BBC's In pictures: Lebanon fighting.
Religious CRAP on BOTH sides used to make the "cannon fodder" charge ahead happily while defending more realistic prizes.
They will get to a paradise of some sort...

I think the above post wins the Mel Gibson award for today.
You can pick up your trophy at a local brown shirts meeting hall.

BTW, here is US army:

So you are saying soldiers should not be allowed to pray?
Or are you saying they must pray only to your diety?
(And we can guess which one that is.)

So you are saying soldiers should not be allowed to pray?

I am saying that ANY religion is CRAP, but they should be allowed to pray, they ALL deserve what they get.
Same for the US Army, same for Mel Gibson, same for Hezbollah.

I DO NOT TAKE SIDES, especially not siding with idiots.
Which "prize" do I get for that?

This is really, really weird but well known that some people are "more equal than others" isn't it?
Hideous nazis at the BBC, Eh?

Or are you saying they must pray only to your diety?
(And we can guess which one that is.)

Oh! Yeah?
"It is better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

P.S. I am not Mike Linksvayer so don't bug him.
You still have not named any IDF soldier who has received a medal for braining a child.  Because you can't. There isn't one.
Re:  "The Guns of August"

MSNBC is reporting that Syria is mobilizing their army.

Oh for goodness sake. You're starting to sound like Dave and his end-of-the-world Archduke Ferdinand routine at the end of April.

Syrian tanks and troops are NOT being mobilized yet. The President of Syria has called on the army to "increase readiness". The Jerusalem Post reports that the Syrian government has not made any announcement about calling up reserves.

Syria president puts army on alert

DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered the armed forces "to step up their state of readiness" Monday in the face of Israel's continuing offensive against his country's western neighbour, the official SANA news agency said.
The president ordered troops to "intensify their training efforts, be prepared and increase their state of readiness in the light of the international situation and the challenges in the region," SANA said.

Assad issued the new orders as the Syrian military prepared to commemorate Army Day Tuesday.


...and from that JP article -
"Travelers from Syria have reported that some reservists have been called up for military duty -..."
Just reporting what MSNBC said--but who would have predicted that the assassination of one minor political figure would have resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people over the next four years?  

From Stratfor.com:

Syria: Troops On Maximum Alert
July 31, 2006 14 56  GMT

Syrian army units posted on the Lebanese border are on maximum alert, a source in Lebanon reported July 31. Syrian units near the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights have also been reinforced with three brigades from the Iraqi and Turkish borders. Anti-aircraft missile batteries have been spotted by motorists south and east of Syria, as well as along the coast in the northwest.

And an accidental artillery shell or bomb here
or there...

And it seems Israeli aim is not that good.
I remember seeing an interview with the head honco at MSNBC recently where he said something like 'I want to make our news *compelling* to watch'. I instantly knew that I'd not be watching MSNBC for any *news*.
Israel plans to call up thousands more reservists after Cabinet approved expanding ground war in Lebanon, Reuters reports quoting Israel Radio.
Ha! Love it! Kunstler is still the neocons' Peak Oiler, and he still can't tell the difference between "reigning in" (incorrect) and "reining in" (correct).

The comments at the bottom are good, his readers are not letting him get away with being a pro-Israel war hawk.

In an exciting turn of events, Cassini has discovered lakes of  hydrocarbons on one of Saturn's moons, Titan. NASA/JPL will be joining forces with Exxonmobil to be the first to send an oil rig into space. Peak oil has been averted! Drilling/slurping will commence when the task force arrives...in seven years.


IrishD -

I wonder how long it's going to be before someone like Vinod Khosla starts selling shares in a Cassini-to-Earth pipeline.

It would be a lot easier to go to the moon and get the Helium-3.
wstephens -

Great idea!

Hey, we've got to start thinking outside the box.

How about using gigantic atomic-powered thrusters to move Cassini out of Saturn's orbit and into earth's orbit?  If we can somehow put it into a stationary geosynchronous orbit, we can just run a 'short' pipeline down to earth, and presto: energy problem solved and goodbye TOD!

Hey! That's a great idea. Now why didn't I think of that? Actually Julian Simon uttered cornucopian ideas that are just as stupid. And the sad part, he was serious.

Bartlett on Simon:

Now Simon had a book that was published by the Princeton University press. In that book he's writing about oil form many sources including bio mass and he says clearly there are not many ***51:33? for this source except for the sun energy. He goes on to note but even if our sun was not so vast as it is, there well may be other suns elsewhere. Well Simons right, there are other suns elsewhere, but the question is, would you base public policy on the belief that if we need another sun we will figure out how to go get it and haul it back into our solar system.

One problem. We'll end up with a Peak Air websire called "The Oxygen Cylinder".
My comment was deadpan humor, but let's continue -- this is no canard. There is a research institute that is actually trying to build a helium-3 fusion device at the U of Wisconsin. If it can be built, and if moon mining could take place, one calculation shows that there would be enough helium-3 in one single space-shuttle load to power the U.S. for a year -- truly Buck Rogers stuff. I have seen news (propaganda?) items that allege that Russia, China, and India have contemplated going to the moon for helium-3.

I haven't read enough about the "space elevator" concept to know if has gotten beyond the "thought experiment" stage. I admit that the combination of moon mining and space elevators talk could marginalize an organization rather quickly -- even if they were serious about it.

The only thing that makes talk of more than exploratory mining/travelling to the moon pretty farfetched is the fact that getting into orbit is real expensive from an energy stand point. Even with fuel as cheap as it is now, space on the space shuttle was selling for tens of thousands of dollars a kg (if not more, it's been a while). If/when energy starts to spike, people will think twice about sending their belongings by airmail, let alone rockets to the moon.
The space elevator stuff is intriguing, however. If we can get this carbon nano-tube stuff in large scale production, there are feasible ways to implement it to move objects into low earth orbit. After that, it's "pennies" to the moon. (Pop-Sci had this as a front cover last year, I remember).
I think the point of the Helium-3 on the moon notion is that it depends on a fusion technology being developed. If the fusion somehow worked then the EROEI would skyrocket. Ten-thou per kg wouldn't stop E=Mc^2.
Perhaps we need some discussion on the Best Use of our energy resources. WRT fossil fuels the term Least Worst may be more appropriate.
Is it better to use natural gas to heat a backyard hot tub in winter or heat a poor elderly widow's home? Even if the hot tub owner's taxes pay for the widow's heat? Is it better to use CNG for buses and garbage trucks?
Does it make more financial sense to liquify natural gas in Qatar and ship it 10,000 miles or convert our homes, businesses, and factories to some other energy form?
Does it make sense for a farmer to rent his wind to a utility's windfarm then turn around and buy electricity to irrigate his farm?
Is it better to fuel the practices of a traditional farmer or use that fuel to manufacture hydroponic greenhouses and equipment?
Is it better to convert CO2 from a coal burning powerplant into algae biodiesel or create algae farms in the desert?
Or is solar thermal powerplants a better use of desert lands?
Is it better to subsidize zinc-air fuel cell systems or subsidize hydrogen and ethanol?
Is using biomass as boiler fuel better than converting it to a liquid fuel? Is a cogeneration system (combined F-T and electric generation) worth the extra investment?
Is F-T better than Iogen for ethanol production?
Is Dimethyl ether a better use of biomass than ethanol?
Does air freight using 747s better than waiting for ship or rail?
Is it better to use money and fuel to rebuild our Interstate highways or to build a high speed rail system?
Is it better to invest in desalination systems for South California's water needs or should we subsidize moving people and businesses to where fresh water is abundant?
Is the free market system inherently wise in deciding Best Use of anything?
I think your last question is a "trick" question. Herewith is my answer.

No, of course the free market is not "inherently wise." Adam Smith most certainly did not believe it to be so and stated emphatically the need for government intervention where the market fails bigtime.

However fire is not inherently wise either. It is not bad. It is not good. Fire is powerful, and it can be used either to create or destroy.

One can argue that in the ascent of humans there have been three great inventions (and only three):

  1. Fire
  2. the wheel
  3. the free market, which is a very recent idea, perhaps no older than Mandeville. To the best of my knowledge, nobody advocates a free market in atomic weapons. Nobody seriously maintains anymore that the free market will provide justice or police protection or effective fire-fighting services or an adequate national defense.

People who are often mischaracterized as advocating totally free markets (e.g., Adam Smith or Milton Friedman) typically argued against only certain kinds of government intervention--not the idea that government is necessarily bad or useless. Adam Smith, for example, believed that government should subsidize public education, and he was so optimistic that he believed better education for more people would lead to better government. Gosh, doesn't that idea ring a bell?    
number 3 should be soap.
number three should be air conditioning!!!
Ishi thought wooden matches were one of the most amazing things he saw in 1910s Bay Area.  I guess that's under your #1.
He loved glue too, he thought it was just great to be able to have first-rate glue handy all the time.

Modern glues and adhesives are great. Modern fibers and cordage are great. Modern fabrics and coverings are great although in the ultimate powerdown barks and skins always worked fine. I think steel needles and awls were a huge hit with "primitive" groups and instrumental in infecting them with the modern culture-cancer.

Number 3 should be Clothing. Making natural fur obsolete, we don't have to pick out body lice like chimpanzees do. Not to mention you can layer clothing to tolerate cold that would wipe out conventional apes.

Of the 3, Fire was the one that started it all. Fire allowed wheels to be made and clothing to be made. Once we invented Fire, we started our journey toward becoming the "automotive ape".

You know, people don't think about this but why would we lose fur in the first place? Name another mammal that has lost its fur or most of its fur. Can you think of any that are land dwelling? Interesting, eh?

Now further, talk to any zoologist who has worked with various apes. They are not terribly fond of water nor does their fur have natural water contour flow patterns. Yet whales, dolphins, seals do. So do humans. Further, humans show instinctive swimming behavior, which has been exploited to teach extremely young infants to swim.

There is a theory that during some point after our remote ancestors left the savannahs of Africa that they spent time along the ocean shore, actually living in the water a great deal. For these hominids, losing hair was similar to what happened to the ancestors of dolphins, seals, and whales when they moved back into the water. Except we didn't stay there and returned to dry land. Now naked apes, we needed ways to stay warm as we moved north and as hunter gatherers, we started taking the hides of what we killed to cover ourselves and to keep warm.

Some people add to that theory the idea that we became erect by wading in the water to catch prey.
The obsoleting of fur with clothing is kind of like dark people in Norway and the occasional albino surviving and adding in "white" genes that get watered down. When people left Africa, they were still dark so the emphasis became light skin, and some albinos helps the transition.

When clothing was invented, an occasional fur-free person could then survive better - and was probably more attractive due to less lice-removal maintenance.

As far as the ol' aquatic ape thing, primates are lousy swimmers. A Mark Spitz may be good for an ape (fur-free or not) but is crappy compared to any number of swimming-capable land animals. Let's see Mark Spitz in his prime in a race with a nice adult alligator.

Fire is something that occurs in nature and humans merely learned to control it. After fire the invention of literacy meant knowledge was no longer dependent on memory. The invention of eyeglasses meant experienced craftsmen could continue working and pass on their experience to the next generation. It was no accident that the Italian Renassaince closed followed that invention. Telescopes and microscopes are extentions of eyeglasses which brought the awareness of the unseen and created modern science.
Note that the control of fire is necessary to make glass lenses.

Also, I think the great human achievement (as given in the myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods) was to overcome the fear of fire. How that happened we shall never know.

My WAG is that there was a mutation.

Is it better... Is it better...

Is it better for WHOM?
This is the "forgotten question".
What's the point arguing for this or that if you are not in a position to reap some benefits, direct or indirect, nor in a position to ACT to bring about what you propose, or not even know WHAT to do, or, even worse, you are meddling with other people interests which you should not care about?

If we pretend to look for some "common good" should not we first agree (roughly at least) about what this common good IS.
It is useless to debate about policies and means if we do not agree first about the goals.
I think that there should be some balance between arguments about means and arguments about ends.
It is much too often tilted toward arguments about means where emotional responses prevail.

Is it better to fuel the practices of a traditional farmer or use that fuel to manufacture hydroponic greenhouses and equipment?

Let's not artificially limit the options! Consider, also, the widespread creation of small "pasture" farms. See Joel Salatin and Gene Logsdon's books. The meat is much healthier (low in fat & cholesterol, high in omega-3's). It requires much less energy and no fertilizers or antibiotics or pesticides or herbicides. Yes, it can provide a comparable amount of food. It requires little capital. It can be done on a small scale.

And that's only one other option.

Conventional farming (grow grain and carry it to the animals; carry away the waste) is energy and capital intensive and environmentally harmful; hydroponics is energy and capital intensive. I am unsure of its overall environmental impact, but I find it to be a concern

The "Coal May Surpass Oil" and "Coal to Fuel India's Economic Growth" are certainly eye openers. Everything old is new again. Coal has been reinvented as the thing it started out as: the unlimited resource that will power an industrial future until the end of time. Welcome back to the 18th century.

I would feel sorry for coal and all the responsibilities we've placed on its sooty shoulders for the coming decades, if only there weren't so damn much of it.

Fischer-Tropsch, coal gasification, coal to fuel India's economic miracle. Coal to fuel China's economic miracle. Coal to fuel America's 21st century energy needs. The Hirsch Report and peak oil mitigation. Squeaky clean coal to cook our food and heat our homes.

The more I read about how important coal is going to become -- again -- the more relieved I am that the U.S. sits atop an infinite, inexhaustible supply of it.

What about Bartlett's exponential growth lecture...didn't he show that starting with nominal 500 years of coal reserves...1/2 recoverable gives 250 years....

Then with an annual GROWTH in the use of coal... the USA would actually have between 37 years (@ 8% growth) and 76 years (@ 2.86% growth)worth!

Hardly infinite then!!

Exactly! And I think the coal-heads have known this for years 'n' years 'n' years which is another reason why petroleum use took off.

That lecture by Bartlett is great stuff! I love the part with the milk bottles, and how some of the enterprising germs find two more bottles of milk "by searching all over and on the continental shelf" lol.

He is one of the studs of the Peak Oil movement.

I assumed Kenny was joking. Once CTL ramps up the USA will draw down those huge reserves real quick.
The important thing is that the rhetoric of limitless energy seems to have jumped ship from oil and resettled on coal.

Worried about the high price of oil? Worried about supply constraints of oil? Have no fear, because coal will save us, and its supply is practically infinite.

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky
As lucky can be

No, no, now we have "clean" coal.  And that's part of the problem - you can scrub all the soot out, but you can't see the CO2, and all that's going right up there.
That is a "clean coal" plant-the electrostatic srubbers were just turned off to reduce electricity consumption during the heat wave. And the good news is that the particulates and sulphur reduce solar gain, thereby solving climate change issues.
CNN world gas map

CNN showing various gasoline prices around the world. Helps put things in perspective!

It's Good - long way to go still....

Would be even more extreme if also showed how much the costs are relative to GNP per capita or using the 'Economist' Big Mac index, which shows how long an individual person needs to work to earn the cash to buy a Big Mac in theire country.

notice there are no prices mentioned for Russia. would be interested to see what they pay as well.
Just a few random notes:

My sister, who is fairly well off, has been grocery shopping farther and farther afield. Instead of shopping at the Giant a few blocks away or Food Lion half a mile away, she had been driving several miles to Weis to take advantage of sales. Yesterday, she came back from Costco with hundreds of dollars of food, raving about the savings there. Will the affluent be enough to keep big box stores solvent?

It does seem that most commentators pick a side in the Israel vs Hezbollah.  Democracy Now! has been showing all the Lebanese dead and criticizing Israel for indiscriminate attacks, NPR trots out Daniel Schorr who takes the Israeli POV, and Kunstler seems to agree with Schorr.

As I see it, Hezbollah is hiding behind the citizenry - waging a classic fourth generation campaign,


but Israel doesn't seem to care any more about civilian casualties than Hezbollah (or the US, for that matter). Perhaps the achilles heel of 4GW is assuming that the technologically-superior power will balk at genocide.

At staff meetings, my boss has been assuring us for several months that we had plenty of work, that the economic climate looked good, etc., but I knew we were getting slow. I took my vacation early because I had nothing to do, and they called to tell me that today would be my last day working there. So I'll be out pounding the pavement to see if anyone is busy.

Damn - sorry to hear that.  It won't be long until I'm there too.
Thanks. I'm sure I'm not alone, though.
I am coming to the conclusion that it is time for me to stop posting comments on TOD.  The reasons for this are several-fold:

First, I've violated my own rule of never posting any political statements on the Internet.  I have a family, and my first duty is to them.  It says something that TOD is the only place I've broken that rule.  As our nation (and world) become increasingly stressed about oil, and the US hegemony that controls it, we will see more and more violent conflicts.  With that will come more fascism, fanaticism, and further withering of our civil liberties - and having one's political comments preserved in writing may be a very bad thing.  While the cattle are already out of the barn, there will still be some time until things get rough, and I can at least hope to hide in the mass of data that will pass until then - so there may be some benefit of closing the barn door now anyway.

Second, I contribute little to the technical discussion here.  And as oil cannot be separated from the geo-political events transpiring in the regions that it is found, and I find I cannot always bite my virtual tongue, I end up getting into it too often.  This clogs up the board, gets me too worked up, accomplishes little, and makes the first problem worse.  Mostly I am a consumer of the excellent information posted here, and it would be less distracting for others if I did that quietly.

Third, I've got a heck of a lot of work to do, and I'm spending an awful lot of time on TOD, as well as the time spent learning about what is happening on other sites.  I'll still need to do a lot of that (it's not like I'm going to watch TV, and I've about had it with National rePublican Radio), but writing comments and watching for responses is at least a big part of it.

Last, there are getting to be too many comments about the relative sizes of personal anatomy, too many comments aggressively supporting the empire and its allies, too much self-promotion, too much crap in general.   TOD is suffering from a rapid increase in size and complexity, and the noise level is a bit too high.

So I'm going back to self-imposed lurker status.  I believe it's going to be a hell of a ride over the next year or so, and it's beginning now.  But I'll still be reading, and I appreciate the work that's being put into this site!

Don't sweat the men of zion. They are singleminded but quite transparent. It's good that on TOD at least their lies never go unchallenged.
Bye bye, happy lurking.  

If the world falls to hunting for us off our internet posts, the internet won't be up much longer than a few weeks anyway.  If the world crashs that fast or that far few of us will really care about the internet except for some of our friends that we talk to via it.  We won't have to much time to worry about them either, we will be checking out the food stocks and seeing how many things we have spares  of handy.

Enjoy the buzz.

Yep I don't worry about it. Mainly, I don't have that much imagination so if I feel some way about something, thousands or millions also feel the same way. In my better moments I may have the eloquence of a hack Reader's Digest writer, so I don't stand out as a future demogoge. Almost everyone here can out-write, out-imagine, and out-research me, so if TPTB are worried about me, they have much larger problems and can't do a thing about me anyway.
Hello Dan Ur,

Seems Zimbabwe wants to track, then crack down on internet users-- legally proposing to call them all 'terrorists'.

Bills put Zimbabwe under 'martial law'

Mugabe critics say new legislation is designed to silence dissent. President Robert Mugabe is consolidating his grip on Zimbabwe through new autocratic laws that analysts say are calculated to cripple opposition to the veteran leader's 26-year-rule and muzzle criticism over the imploding economy.

Mugabe's multi-pronged strategy to silence dissent includes attempts to spy on private email and telephone messages, the jamming of private radio stations broadcasting to Zimbabwe, and restricting civic and opposition groups by branding legitimate resistance to Mugabe's rule "terrorism."

Brian Raftopoulos, a senior lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development Studies, said the legislative package is clearly designed to consolidate Mugabe's grip on power. "It is meant to create the impression that the government is watching its opponents and that it is aware of every move they make," he said. "This represents a movement towards some kind of new fascism."

The anti-terrorism bill is certain to sail through parliament, where Mugabe's Zanu-PF party enjoys a comfortable majority.  Madhuku added there was little to be be gained from challenging the constitutionality of these laws, given that government has already shown it will not obey court rulings that do not fit with its program.

We can expect similar laws here in the US at some future postPeak time--you will Act like a 'Patriot', or else you are a 'terrorist'.  Yikes!

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

Twilight: Too bad. Your posts are always worth reading (unlike many on this site, as you note). Good luck.
I know how you feel My Economic Vow Of Silence (revised) I cut out the part of TOD that was annoying me (all the silly and stupid anecdotal economics stuff). I have been feeling like a successful user and contributor of TOD since then.

Long story short, I minimized my serious comments to the things in which I'm really interested. I still like to make (what I think are) humorous comments for entertainment only. So consider something like my approach and you may become more satisfied with TOD.

seems tropical storm number 3 is finally on the way: