DrumBeat: August 24, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/24/06 at 9:19 AM EDT]

UBS: Oil output set to peak, but no fuel shortage

Oil production looks set to peak in the mid-to-late 2020s, but the decline will be offset as high fuel costs accelerate the quest for other energy sources, notably natural gas, UBS said in a study published on Wednesday.

Advocates of the peak oil theory that supplies are close to their maximum levels say it is gaining credence in the investment community.

"The cry of peak oil production has been made several times and on each of these occasions the prediction was incorrect," the UBS report said.

"Exactly when it will occur is very difficult to estimate ... However, the fact that consumption is outstripping new discoveries by more than 400 percent suggests that further increases in global reserves may be nearing an end."

[Update by Leanan on 08/24/06 at 9:40 AM EDT]

Problem slows Prudhoe Bay oil production

The 'Peak' Role of Biofuels

Even those in the biodiesel business don't believe biofuels can be a "silver bullet."

“It may surprise some of you, but we here at EERC tend to agree with this study,” Groenewold said, “We think biomass … in the longer term, may provide perhaps 20 percent of the energy needs of this country.” Therefore, while many energy experts believe the United States and the world will, for a long time, remain dependent on a wide range of energy technologies, fossil fuels will continue to be our primary source of energy. A world in which biomass energy has a one-fifth market share, however, may be music to the ears of those with a stake in biodiesel.

Jeffrey Brown writes An Open Letter to my Friends in the Media

Podcast: Richard Heinberg interview.

Energy must not cost the earth

IT systems, in particular servers, are increasingly power hungry as technology capabilities increase, but this comes at a time when power supplies are more strained and less predictable.

‘We are talking about an increase of two to three times in energy costs over a three-year period,’ said Rakesh Kumar, vice president at Gartner. ‘That is a huge increase that an IT director will have to absorb and firms will get clobbered financially.’

Some data centres use as much energy as a small town, which is significant from both financial and environmental perspectives, says the Carbon Trust.

Tom Whipple on The Peak Oil Crisis: Conserving Light

Argentina to revive nuke program

Argentina's government launched on Wednesday a nuclear energy plan that includes the completion of a third plant and the enrichment of uranium after a nearly ten-year lull.

Ukraine Won’t Siphon Off Russian Gas This Winter

Canada's Black Gold: Debt Free Thanks to Oil Sands

American among hostages freed in Nigeria

Oil lures West to troubled Myanmar

Gas prices mean more students take the bus

IEA: Too late for European global warming target

Still mopping up in Gulf

BP's announcement this week that a damaged oil platform is leaking off Louisiana highlights what many have forgotten: the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas industry is still cleaning up from last year's hurricane season.

In all, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 46 offshore platforms and Hurricane Rita destroyed 69, according to the Minerals Management Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior.

Re:  UBS article

This is basically a variation on the Peter Huber argument, to-wit, that individual sources of energy will peak and decline, but the aggregate energy production rate--which is the sum of individual sources of energy--will never peak and decline.  

"Translated" UBS Release:

From fossil fuel + nuclear sources, the world uses the energy equivalent of one billion barrels of oil every five days.  

At this rate of consumption, the world consumes the energy equivalent of the entire recoverable oil reserves in the East Texas Field, the largest oil field in the US Lower 48, every 30 days.  

At this rate of consumption, the world consumes the energy equivalent of the entire recoverable oil reserves in the Prudhoe Bay Field, the largest oil field in North America, every 30 days.

At this rate of consumption, the world consumes the energy equivalent of all of ExxonMobil's proven oil and gas reserves in less than four months.

We see no problem with this rate of energy consumption, and we predict that the world's rate of energy consumption will increase for the indefinite future.

We advise everyone, especially Americans, to continue buying and financing large vehicles to drive to and from large suburban mortgages.

Should read:

. . Prudhoe Bay Field, the largest oil field in North America, every 60 days.

Phew! For awhile you had me worried.
Right, I mean 60 days we can live with, but thirty days seems like an awful short time!  :)
And let us not forget that this is all based on CURRENT levels of use.  In order to have the economic growth required by our economic system we have to use even greater levels of energy in the future or "the system" will break down.
Thanks for the translation, Westexas.

I continue to find myself amazed at the blindness of my fellow citizens.

Six years ago I started riding my first cargo trike. I thought that folks would look at me and say -- oh, what a great solution to some of our problems with pollution, global warming, and lack of exercise in our daily routines.  "I think I'll try that!" they'd say.

Not to mention other benefits -- "energy independence" and reduction of oil-related geopolitical tensions and also "peak oil."

But no.

Many people think that use of vargo trikes is terrific, but they do not change their own patterns at all.

Many people are indifferent about the cargo trike, and think that it is a funny novelty -- nothing more, nothing less.

A significant number of people are hostile to the cargo trike.  It seems to challenge their fundamental beliefs in a way that triggers an immediate emotional response of anger and scorn.

Since I've been riding in my town (Minneapolis), I've sold three used trikes, still have two, and helped the trike maker sell yet another new trike to a person in a neighboring city (St. Paul).  I have seen increased bike riding andsome superb "bike-trailer" combinations which are very practical.

I wonder if people who sit at computers and work in climate-controlled offices and who habitually travel by car end up with imaginations bound by these routines.

I truly believe that our collective and individual imaginations are bound by a belief that our civilization is "the norm" from here on out.  Other people will eventually "catch up" to us economically, and then everyone will live like this evermore.

So the bankers who make up these reports must think with the same inability to see information and reason out the implications?

The exceptions are few and far between -- Matt Simmons, for example.

Most people have a well-documented inability to think outside the box. This is illustrated quite well by the famous 'connect the dots' problem used in introductory psychology classes.

Every civilization has thought they were the norm, from the Egyptians on up, and that they would be around forever and nothing would ever change. The foolishness of this assumption should be obvious, at least in this day and age when we have access to all the historical records of the world. But alas, it persists.

I suppose its just easier to stick your head in the sand.

at least in this day and age

Nothing is special about our present moment.
We are the same evolution-bred animals that populated many an earlier and now ceased civilization.

They too, had "all" of history --all up to their time which they were willing to acknowledge of. (Example: Modern school teachers do not teach 5th graders about Easter Island.)

It is also true that the average person tends to view both themselves and the world through slightly "rose tinted" glasses.  Thy tend to over-estimate their looks, intelligence and general social desirablility.  They tend to think they are richer in a relative sense (income percentile) than they actually are as well as over-estimate their future prospects.  Interestingly, the most accurate people at assessing both themselves and others are the mildly depressed.

 Which brings up the question: Are TODers mildly depressed?...;o)

Somedays, I'm extremely depressed that my good looks, wealth and intelligence are underestimated by the opposite sex.  Apparently, one has to be nice as well.
Nope you have to have money, be an utter bastard, but there's a certain twist to it - some utter bastards are really rather nice people, in other words.... they're utter bastards but not actually mean.

The winning combination seems to be to have money, but be a total tight-ass with it, and yes have the basic lack of consideration for others, but the main thing is, a high level of skill in manipulating others. You have to enjoy getting into people's minds and manipulating them for your own ends or amusement without the slightest twinge of guilt over how you may be ruining their life, health, etc.

If you really want to make it with the ladies, think Sociopath. Not the stupid kind that eventually gets caught and thrown in prison, the smarter kind that goes on and on and leaves a wide wake of havoc well-sprinkled with the bodies and souls of your victems.

That, in Amurrika, is Mr. Perfect.

Just "mildly depressed"? I'm depressed that you are so under diagnosing us doc. How about schizoid with paranoid delusions of doom?
That would be peakanoid derivations of doomerdom.
Peak Oil Blues - a new site found via Energy Bulletin a couple days ago.  
We are a small but growing group of professionally trained  psychotherapists who know the stress the dawning awareness of Peak Oil brings.

We invite our readers and colleagues to contribute to the growing body of knowledge regarding the unique social and emotional challenges we face in a post-petroleum age.


Our goal is to first normalize, then assist others in learning how to transform any frozen or destructive emotional reactions into more proactive, productive responses.  We believe the goal isn't simply to survive, but to thrive in our lifetime and to give to those who come after us.  Time is too valuable a gift to waste in confusion or hopelessness.

I like this site.  I wish it had been there when I first got the word!

That is a very interesting site, and an interesting development.  I think I went through some peak oil stages.  I became a "peak oil moderate" fairly quickly, but I worried about those moderate futures a bit more than I do now.  I came out the other side when I decided that humility and a little uncertainty were more healthy than trying to nail what "the" future was going to be.

It's possible to keep an eye on energy issues without commiting to a single energy future.

The Doomer issue is itself pretty interesting and not identical with peak oil considerations per se.  My impression is that most (though by no means all) doomers are middle aged or later and primarily male.  Most also appear to be left of center politically (though there have been and continue to be a lot of Christian Fundamentalist Rapture waiters-see the "Left Behind" crowd though not many are posting on TOD).  These observations suggest possible roles for a) projected mortality concerns (I am doomed and know it perceived as the world is doomed), and b) disempowerment on a political basis that may be exacerbated by male gender (all you Freudians out there can have a field day with this).  Of course, none of this means that the Doomers are actually wrong but may influence the tendency to be drawn to these issues rather than pursue the typical human tendency to maintain denial for as long as possible. (PS. I would advise taking all of the above with a rather large grain of salt given obvious speculative basis)
Of course, none of this means that the Doomers are actually wrong but may influence the tendency to be drawn to these issues rather than pursue the typical human tendency to maintain denial for as long as possible.

This is an interesting and plausible hypothesis.
But since it compensate for the "tendency to maintain denial" that would mean that there is an "optimal" level of doomerosity which has some chance to match reality.

Maybe it's the "moderate" position ;-)
You are not a "moderate" you are a troll with an agenda.

odo, this guy is out of control. People have obviously been watching this play out. I have no idea how to deal with it. I've tried several approaches. None have worked. Although ignoring him seemed to have the best effect.
this guy is out of control.

WHICH control?
WHOSE control?

I didn't know there was "control" at TOD.

So YOU are "under control", mmmm...
I wonder then who is controling the controler.

I don't agree.  A lot of young and old people are doomers.  And I don't see the male skew you see.  

Of course, it's kind of hard to tell online.  On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog, and all that.

I agree in that Doomers can be found of just about any age and sex.  My suspicion that middle age males comprise the largest doomer demographic is just that, a suspicion based on limited data, but would be interested in a more scientific sampling...
David sir, I would like to respectfully disagree with part of your suppositions. While I would agree that perhaps part of the Doomer crowd is there because of the reasons you provide, I think that it goes much deeper than this. I'll explain in a minute. First let me acknowledge that yes, the potential for `doom' is real. Even probable perhaps. I do think things could get pretty bad for a while, but I think that some sort of civilization will go on. I am an optimist, after all. Many people see the writing on the wall and extrapolate that mentally to doom.

I think that the doomerism(?) extends well beyond the PO community, and that it has both psychological and sociological causes. If you go into an inner city neighborhood, or a poor slum on the outskirts of the city, or any homeless camp, you will run into a significant number of people who are disheartened, defeated, and personally doomed. This is best evidenced in the acting out of the youth of the inner city. What have they got to do besides deal drugs? College? They ain't going to no college. They'll be lucky to finish high school. And they know it. In the past few years this feeling has crept out of the ghettos and into middle class and even some upper class areas. People increasingly have less and less opportunities. They are more constrained in life. This leads many to depression and defeatism. Projected outward, it can become doomerism. Not only that, but doom would have a few benefits -the overhaul of society, starting from scratch. Loss of constraints. More opportunities. I think doomerism and defeatism are two sides of the same coin. As someone once said, the difference between suicide and homicide is the direction of the impulse.

Take this with a grain of salt please. That's my admittedly unprofessional analysis.

I read Will Wilkinsons blogs about economics and happiness for a while.  One fragment:

My predictions:

(a) There are multiple bases for good and bad self-reports. For example, some "very happy" people may have very consistently low cortisol levels. (Buddhist happy.) Some "very happy" people have very high status-related seratonin and testosterone levels, with a moderately high amount of cortisol. (Big honcho happy.)

... so remember, if you can't be "honcho" happy, there's always "Buddhist" happy.  (And Buddhist happy might require a little less energy per capita ;-)


Now this is some "thought food" for sure, seriously as most tend to view "happiness" as fairly uniform in quality but clearly it is not.  I think it is worth noting that the "Big Hocho" kind of happiness tends to be less stable than the "Buddhist" happiness and requires a lot more maintenance and resource consumption. This would suggest that the Powerdown Process needs to promote the "Buddhist" variety of happiness--which is probably more akin to the concept of "contentment" as opposed to the ebulient hypomanic variety.
The idea of Buddhist happiness has come up in past threads at TOD, but it has been a while.  I agree that it should be part of the powerdown/consumerism puzzle.  I say that without being a Buddhist or knowing all that much about it.  From what little I know Buddhist happiness seems to make sense though.

I happened to visit a Buddhist Temple a couple days ago, which why I mentioned it.  There is a self-guided audio tour, and a cafeteria for a vegetarian lunch.  It was a nice experience.  I did notice that the Temple didn't seem to have bike racks though ;-/

I grew up in that area, interesting to see the neighborhood tip toward an asian and Buddhist community ... great strip mall food!

Optimist, I agree with you and my limited speculations were not meant to be all inclusive as to the underlying dynamics of doomerism. In addition, the example you gave shares the underlying dynamic of personal social defeat projected outward.  And, again, the potential for doom is REAL and, of course, the "Doomers" will eventually be correct--the world will end or at least "civilization as we know it" one way or another--sun novas, grows into red giant, new ice age, etc, etc.  The disturbing issues we face with PO is that the probability of doom appears to be gaining a lot of statistical "traction lately"--or I am I projecting my mid-life crisis anxst...;o) DM
DM, I think you're right in stating that the Doom Scenario has gained traction lately. I too have noticed it.

And the other scenarios you mentioned are also correct. Hopefully though, by the time the sun goes nova we'll have figured out the means to star travel. A ticket to Alpha Centauri anyone?

Can you get frequent flyer miles? ;o)

Catastrophic Utopia, or the Psychology of "Yearning For A New Dark Age"

You said, "It's possible to keep an eye on energy issues without committing to a single energy future."

It's not only possible, it is the most realistic and scientific approach.  It is a refutation of "Peak Oil" as assured catastrophic death and destruction of culture, which there is no demonstrably provable way to show that it will be.

The issue is whether I accept absolute catastrophic doom as the only possible outcome as an article of faith.  You may notice that many  people here seem to....and react in a very hostile way to the suggestion that there could be any other possible outcome....notice the response of Kevembuangga to your remarks, "You are not a "moderate" you are a troll with an agenda."

It is shocking that a so called "scientific outlook" would react to any difference with the "accepted dogma"  of assured doom and catastrophic failure of all modern society in such a violently hostile way.  What does it say about the psychology of the "peak oil" "rapture" theology?  Of course, that version of absolutism has nothing to do with science in the normally accepted way of acceptance of new thesis and theories, and then testing them with as much rigor as possible to try to prove their correctness, a tool that relies on acceptance of questioning DEEPLY any theory.  It is, in the end, a belief system.

Of course, it was predicted and described many years ago.  Rousseau and the cult of the "Noble Savage", the Ruskin/Morris aesthetic of "Neo-Gothic Medievalist, and more directly and recently related to the "Peak Oil" catastrophist theology", Alvin Toffler.

Toffler described in the 1980's what he called "The Yearning for a New Dark Age" as part of the illness he had earlier described as "Future Shock".  

This would be, he said, the mental breakdown in reaction to complexity, high cultural speed of change, overchoice of options in lifestyle, career and social choices, and the inability and or unwillingness to stay up with the more technical and modern pace of change.  

It was pointed up that those most vulnerable to "Peak Oil" depression issues are middle aged males.  These of course are exactly the same ones most vulnerable to "Future Shock", in that they are most mentally acclimated to the older, slower more simple and organizationally stable structure, and they are least shielded (in comparison to females, with their known stronger social based networks, and "people and home" orientation) form the chaos of ultra high speed cultural post modernism in the high tech high information culture.

The reaction becomes to yearn for a simpler, more primitive, slower and less diverse time, a culture that is more comparable to a known model, namely, the past.  "Peak Oil" provides a magnificent vehicle to a slower, more primitive world.  It may be a harder world, but at least the struggles for life's basics are one the human mind can comprehend.  Thus, the collapse of a completely incomprehensible ultra modern system becomes a dream, a fantasy of a way back to a simple world.  Notice that the "Neo-Gothic" movement was born in the birth of the super expansion of industrial, commercial, media culture.

Note the virulent language used against anyone who expresses any doubts about the exact nature not of "geological" peak oil (which is a fairly easily demonstrated fact of geology in the past) but about the "catastrophist" vision of the future.  First they are completely dehumanized, referred to repeatedly as "sheepies", "screaming monkeys", and no smarter than yeast.  They are declared in some state of mental illness or sickness, "denial", "sleepwalking", "brainwashed" or "hypnotized" by giant forces beyond their comprehension.

This type of attack of such viscousness and slanderous nature bespeaks something much deeper than a difference of opinion or technical viewpoint.
It indicates that anyone who perceives any weakness in the "assured catastrophist" theory is actually an impediment to a desired goal, a possible roadblock and a danger to what is a desired vision of existence, that being the return to the mental and social peace that "catastrophe", "powerdown" and the "big dieoff" will bring....a more peaceful and beautiful utopia of a simple, non technical, slower, and local culture.

Of course, like all "Utopias", the dreamed of "dark age" will not come.  The technology cat is already out of the bag.  The knowledge will survive, the more advanced methods will exist in pockets, and live on to keep the world complicated and much different than the hoped for "simple" dark age of the past.  But it lives on as a dangerous dream.  There are those who, if they do not see the dreamed of "collapse" coming soon, may begin to try to "encourage it"  to come.  The emergence of "radical solutions" of the type proposed by "Green Anarchists"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_anarchism indicate that psychologically, the "collapse", or "die off" or "End of The World As We Know It" is not so much feared as a possible outcome of oil and gas depletion" or "Peak Oil" but dreamed of as a preferable new world for humans, an aesthetic choice.

The words of the exploration geologist Greg Croft ring louder...
"The greatest danger from peak oil is that we will do something foolish in response to it."

But what may seem "foolish" to many of us, may actually be a path to perceived beautiful future to some.  At this point, the discussion has less and less to do with oil and energy at all, but more and more to do with aesthetics, belief, and desired purposes in life.  For those who yearn for "A New Dark Age" so called oil depletion or "Peak Oil" simply becomes a means to an ends, and no solution should be attempted because none is desired.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Thank you Roger. The future is yet to be written...
actually...well, uh, I'm not supposed to say this. We have been observing you for quite some time. And 9 out of 10 agree that you have the necessary skills.

The future actually has been written. It just has some serious continuity errors and wicked spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Will you help us fix these? It only pays $6 an hour to start, but I can assure you the perks are unbelievable.

I'll sign on to help debug the core algorithms.

But it had better pay better than $6/hr. I have eight years left on my mortgage.

As per Doomerism vs Whateverism:

I know I tend to the doomer side of the equation.

Put this down to working in the Y2K arena as a mainframe programmer trying to make it a survival situation.

I worked long and hard hours during this event and saw the scary side of what was hidden from most including the idioticy of the Mass Media.

We escaped it but some did not. There was no mention of those that did not. I saw mass layoffs of very key personnel, idioticy by IT management to unheard of levels.

This gave me some insight as to how we react or will react and this gave me my reasons for tending to the doom side of the future.

That being said, I hope and pray that this proposed upcoming event is averted. I have been watching and keenly reading the internet for years and observing as well personally.

Hope is something I keep near but preparedness is something I chose to do just in case.

So I hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I do not do it gleefully. Its hard work and expensive. It detrimental to good mental health and I do not enjoy it.

What I saw after Y2K was that we no longer had a cohesive society. The business leaders threw all morals to the wind and started to take this country economically to its knees.

Our morals shrank to nothing but selfcentered greed beyond belief.

We are not , IMO, no longer a suvivable species in the USA. We have not the core values to make it through.

The folks who populate this website are not the same as the general public. I applaud the attitudes and efforts of those here but realize the difference.

I still work in computer technology, precision farming and other areas. Mainframes no longer exist in meaningful numbers to keep me employed. I am currenly implementing wireless technology to autombile service areas and am amazed at the unbelievable technology in that area(automotive embedded systems) yet realize that the Big Three for all that technology are mostly on the wrong path.

Will our technology save us? I think it still tied to closely to the business side of the equation to offer much hope. If it was diverted? Say thur 'Open Source' avenues? Then we might have a chance.

I suggest the book (online version exists) by Eric S. Raymond  .....www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/

titled The Cathedral and the Bazaar and others at that site.

This to me is where we need to be. Using grassroots technology to take control of our future and not waiting for the 'guv/ or biz to make decisions for us.  I don't think they really care.

airdale--"Thankee Sai, if it do ya."

Wow, that's some writing.
Note the virulent language used against anyone who expresses any doubts about the exact nature not of "geological" peak oil (which is a fairly easily demonstrated fact of geology in the past) but about the "catastrophist" vision of the future.

So, Roger, you are speaking of me as "Yearning for a New Dark Age" and "violently hostile" ?
I am very sad...  

Of course, like all "Utopias", the dreamed of "dark age" will not come. The technology cat is already out of the bag. The knowledge will survive,

Agreed 100%, except may be with a toned down "technology cat" (not so miraculous), but alas I expect BOTH a die-off and some persistence of civilisation and technology.
This is what I am aiming for, not out of a craving for "dark age" or a yearning for "a simpler, more primitive, slower and less diverse time, a culture that is more comparable to a known model, namely, the past."

I enjoy too much the current facilities of civilisation to have any desire to give them up.
Though, there is a little bit of a difference in my appreciation with respect to what seems to be the "common greed".
As I am extremely lazy I enjoy to spend very little with almost no effort instead of toiling even more than the primitivists to "keep up with the Jones".

I really don't see the point to have to cling to "complexity, high cultural speed of change, overchoice of options in lifestyle, career and social choices" is this has a very bad EROTI (Enjoyment Returned Over Toil Invested).

And I am fairly sure that CIVILISATION has the best EROTI over "dark ages", primitivism, warlordism and any other apocalyptic credences.
More precisely, rather than aiming for die-off I am NOT WILLING to try to avoid population collapse whether this is to be soft or hard, voluntary or unvoluntary.
Sorry if this is so gloomy but this is unfortunately a TOTAL WASTE of time, ressources and ingenuity.
Overpopulation IS our problem, I seem to agree on this with TechGuy, GreyZone and PeakTO (NOT pretending they partake more than this with me) .

This type of attack of such viscousness and slanderous nature bespeaks something much deeper than a difference of opinion or technical viewpoint.

Could you please READ the arguments between odograph, and me or more recently with slaphappy and Magnus Redin and also Starvid and Magnus Redin (who seems to entertain connivance with both).
Honestly tell WHO is the most viciously slanderous?
Who is either LYING or arguing BESIDE the topic to breed confusion?

and no solution should be attempted because none is desired.

Oh! I do crave for a "solution" but probably not in accordance with the one(s) you are looking for.

I DO CRAVE for a change or restraint on 2 of our most "basic instincts" :
  • Men are eager to fight.
  • Women are eager to breed.
This were EXCELLENT options all along prehistoric and historic times, allowing mankind to evolve and spread over a seemingly "unlimited", "open ended" Earth.
The Earth is NOW bounded and closed, these are NOW deadly vicious habits.
If we don't rein in these we are going toward extinction, notwithstanding ANY kind of technology, ressources, peaks or no peaks.



First, to be sure it is understood, I was on no personal attack...as I have said before, you, I, and others have generally managed to keep a civil agenda going without, I hope, real rancor or hostility, and I have always enjoyed reading you and others (the post I am replying to for example was very fun to read, I especially like the concept of EROTI (Enjoyment Returned Over Toil Invested), I wonder if there is any way we can begin statistically measuring that! :-), something for the math whizes to work on...

The nature of the sentence that you seemed to be replying to by odograph seemed pretty mild (and I am not familiar with any other debates you and he may have had, or can't at the moment recall them) to get a return such as "A troll with an agenda", and it provoked me to address the bigger more general theme that I did in my post.  My post was intended not as a personal rhetorical insult against any one person, but simply as a discussion of the theory of what some call "green anarchy" and others refer to as "primitivism" for lack of a better description, and the fact that not all people regard "peak oil" or "resource depletion as a "bad thing", if it will act as a means and tool in dismantling the modern technical capitalist type societies.  

I only point this up for two major reasons....first, for the benefit of those new to this discussion, who may not be aware that some (certainly not all) who are most able to frighten and depress the folks who are newest to this discussion (and the "Peak Oil Blues" psychological website was the original topic of this string) are speaking more from desire for an event than from knowledge about it  (that being catastrophic collapse of modern society), and newbies should be aware that that their predictions are dire and horrifying to them, but for the person doing the prediction, actually a fulfillment of a desire, so the agenda and the "predictions" are naturally slanted somewhat.  Secondly,  newer folks to the discussion should be informed that there are political and social agenda's involved in the "Peak Oil" discussion, and try to learn to seperate this from the geological, technical and scientific issues of oil depletion.   The social and political agenda, and this is purely my view and not scientifically provable, seems to have later began to swallow up the geological and technical agenda.  Essentially, this runs the risk of moving "peak oil" away from a technical/geological discussion of energy production/consumption, and into the realm of social philosophical cause.  Combined with global warming, the science and the actual facts are becoming less and less important to those involved in this issue, as it becomes more and more a moral/philosphical/political/social crusade.  That distinction should be discussed, and I think newer people should be aware of the distinction.  It is a fundamental one.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout


without, I hope, real rancor or hostility

No rancor or hostility from me.
No matter how far apart I am with any contestant I never get upset about HONEST and wholehearted arguments.
If you didn't felt the humorous tone of my "I am very sad..." remark and icon I apologize.

I did get the humor of the "very sad" line, and icon, but was mainly jealous because I can't get my Mac to put smiley's in like that!  :-(  (see, I have to do them in black and white, like a 1950's TV set!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Perfect. I guess it should come as no surprise that just as the status quo seeks to demonise PO aware as the other, members of the PO aware community will seek to demonise serious powering down in like fashion. Truly the benighted vastly outnumber the cognisant, even here.

I would greatly benefit from a fraction continuance of the techno-orgy. It would give my librarian career security, and would allow me to continue my love of playing the electric guitar. However, I have been able to put aside those attachments in my pursuit of assessing just how sustainable any portion of modern life really is. My position of serious consideration of completely eliminating electricity consumption stems from a holistic realisation of the complexity and resource drawdown that would be required to sustain that luxury. To remain ignorant of the fact that to expect one infrastructure based on finite resources will prevail over one that is in certain short future is, well ignorant. Not to mention irresponsible and indefensible.

The simple reality remains, the host that allowed for the development of human life owes us nothing. Just because we have been able to leverage certain endowments to create a lifestyle, does not mean that that lifestyle is worthy of sustenance. to deny this simple equation is to deny what it is to be human. We came from the mud, and if we have any chance of making past this century, we had better learn to accept that life in a sustainable form will have to resemble that humble origin to a much greater extent than what is being attempted by the supposedly informed members here.

If you do not like that last statement, then by all means show the community through research and calculation how a fractional techno-orgy can be sustained. However, to resort to the making a villian out of a disparate belief only shows your cowardice and fear. It would be better for all if you just kept your self righteous prejudice to yourself and let the chips fall where they may than to strike out at those that have a deep concern for the future of humanity just because their goals force you to critically evaluate the realistic implications of your desires.

There are two things that need to be addressed in order for humanity to make it through this crises. One is an honest and rigorous evaluation of our needs versus wants. The other is to take science and its progeny technology to task and evaluate the just because we can, should we aspect of implementation.

Roger, your post is a very nice approach to the "end-of-civilization-as we-know-it" variety of doomerism wherein the doomer is not him or herself anhilated but rather the alienating hyper-modern globalizing system is brought down. It is not inconsistent with the hypothesis of projection but a nice complement I think.  
It's a very good thing to have as a support group for many of us that tune into TOD. I plan on checking it out more thoroughly very soon.

You can tell how the stress level has escalated in many threads here as peak becomes more apparent and there needs to be a psychological outlet.  Call it the TOD's R & R unit.  Go there when you need some peace and people that understand your mindset.

In regard to people who appear hostile to a cargo trike: This may just be Minneapolis urban/anger/hostility. In all of Minnesota I have rarely seen ugly incidents (e.g. between a bicyclist and a pedestrian), but in Minneapolis they seem to be routine. Road rage in Minneapolis seems to be far far worse than in St. Paul or in the burbs. It is hard even to make eye contact with very many strangers in Minneapolis; I suspect that there are so many immigrants to Minneapolis from other states that the "Minnesota Nice" ethic is seriously eroded. Also, in Minnesota the city of Minneapolis has a uniquely troubled history of race relations (that goes back at least to the nineteen thirties) and today has a per capita murder rate more than double that of St. Paul, the last time I looked.

My experience has been that the nice neighborhoods of Minneapolis are way too expensive to live in, and the affordable neighborhoods are too scarey.

Of course I am biased, but people in St. Paul seem to me much lower pressured and much nicer and more tolerant than those in the bigger Twin.

More or less my take on the sibling coties of Mpls/SP MN.

Minneapolis is truly economically segregated.

If and when peak oil brings hard times, get out of Minneapolis. Some neighborhoods I like in St. Paul border the fairgrounds, especially the Como Lake district which has many students and a history of stability and "Minnesosta Nice" along with rents substantially less than you would pay in Minneapolis for similar quality.

In regard to peak oil, I think the best advice anyone can follow is to choose one's neighborhood with great care--and get to know your neighbors.

Is that kind of like your parents, choose them with great care?
I like that area from Red Wing to Iowa border along the Mississippi River valley.
Ooops.  Typo -- "sibling cities" not "sibling coties"
Drivers could easily have a more hostile reaction to trikes than to bikes. There are lots of bikes on the road in my part of Canada (I ride one recreationally) and a growing number of special bike-only traffic lanes.

Bikes coexist with drivers pretty well here. Most of our roads have wide enough traffic lanes that drivers can pass a bike rider near the curb without moving over much. Drivers in the next lane are usually pretty accommodating anyway, and allow a curb-lane car to nudge over the lane divider while passing a bike.

Trikes are completely different. A driver has to change lanes to pass one. They're slow-rolling traffic blockers, especially in rush hour, and especially on hills. I went by one in rush hour yesterday and thought "That's just stupid, an accident looking for a place to happen".


What is funny is that every time I see a car, I think:

How stupid!  An crash happening! And the driver probably doesn't even know it."

Cars -- over-used and ill understood -- are involved in costly automobile crashes, costly geopolitical and geomilitary crashes, health crashes, healthcare cost crashes, the economic crash, and most significantly the ecological crash which is the mother of all crashes.

My high school child recently worked hard to earn a trip to Europe with "people to People" (founded by the late President Eisenhower.  She noted that the European transportation share includes far more walking, biking, scootering, and transit than in the USA.  She also noted that in Italy and France many of the cars were small relative to USA personal "comfort bubbles."  My guess is that the Europeans were becoming more like the USA in terms of transportation over the last 50 years, but that this trend will reverse.  Even so, Europe is still more dioverse in terms of transportation mode share.

It is this variety that all of us must get used to.  No longer can we afford to say that a trike or a bike-trailer are stupid, or an accident looking to happen.  The accident is already happening, and many of the people on bikes or trikes or quadHPVs are actually doing something about it.

The Global Accident is no accident.  It is more like a Global Crash in which the automobile plays a very central role.

I am not anti-car -- my family of 4 owns one hybrid, used lightly -- but I am working for the day when car use is much less of the transportation mode share.

I am not spoiling for a fight, but I am insistent that the car traffic we have is obscene beyond words, and that we must take it upon ourselves to establish a new, far more diverse transportation paradigm.

OOOps. Typo.

Third line above should read"

"How stupid!  A crash happening....."

I like my car, and even enjoy driving it on occasion, but I would much rather walk, ride a bike, take the bus, tram, subway, or any other version of mass transit we can devise. I can't argue with the negative effects of car usage you gave in the slightest (although Mr. Thatsit will probably be right along to tell you how much we love cars).

Hey, I resemble that remark!  :-)

On "love of cars", let's be honest, many do, or they couldn't sell so many, but of course, many folks hate them to the core of thier being!  Europe, which many here often cite as an example of "transport diversity", builds some of the best bicycles, scooters, trains, trams, AND cars in the world, going from one end of the transportation spectrum to the other, and displaying artistic and clever engineering in most case on whatever they build.  That to me is impressive, and a good path in the future, be ready with a product for anything!

By the way, if you think Mr. Thatsit can wax poetic on love of cars, don't get me started on trains.....the  fast rugged electric locomotives of the old New Haven Railroad....


Or the remains of a great heritage, Amtrak in New York, New Jersey and Conneticut:






consider above an ode to Alanfrombigeasy :-)

We will talk about windmills, electrc cars, sailboats and passive solar commercial scale buildings, and Stirling engines, and heat pumps... another day...It is not love of "cars" per se, but just love of good engineering and beautiful design....:-)

Roger Conner known to you as ThatsItImout

On the other hand, about 20 years back I spoke with a Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada who was working on a paper which concluded that the two most effective ways of getting away with murder (he didn't consider getting elected/selected to the executive branch of government) were (a)take the victim hunting and (b)catch him riding a bike.
Six years is a long time and looking at your pics online you are darn conspicuous. The only thing I know that works is riding a set route at a set time and eventually the drivers get used to you and tune you out. Even riding mostly in a defined neighborhood they will eventually tune you out. But 6 years is a long time.
Best I can offer is try to rearrange your routes to be on streets where there is already bicycle traffic. Or try to invite cyclists along to chat as you haul. The group ride thing also ticks off drivers but they do acknowledge defeat.
Good luck. Don't quit.

Yes, imagination is bound by routine. Even the freest thinker is working mostly by rearranging the bits and pieces seen in the foreground every day. Dreaming the same. Some level of discipine is necessary to get things done, too much routine and the mind dims quickly.

Sad that riding a bicycle these days inevitably involves risking your life...
Look on the plus side.  It reduces irrational fear of terrorists.
The difference between real danger and perceived (in terms of mathematical probability, of course).
Who makes/sells the best trike for individual use?
There is no uniquely correct answer to this question.

Much depends on how and how much the trike will be used.

To the best of my knowledge, the cheap ones are all trash made in China, trikes that will work fine so long as they are not ridden.

My own bias is for old-fashioned massive steel frames and fat tires.

Do not neglect the possibility of adding a small gasoline engine to the front wheel of your trike; alternatively, you might want to look at electic motors for auxilliary power.

Note that a heavy and robust bike or trike can do everything that a flimsier one can--but not vice versa. Also, consider bicycles with side-cars; there are some good outfits in this category, and side-cars have some big advantages over trailers.

As a general rule, you get what you pay for (sometimes less but almost never more).

I was in china.  They do things with bycicles and such like vehicles  that have to be seen to be believed.  In the forbidden city the rubbish from the bins was collected by a bike with a carrier attached.  Believe me there is nothing you can not do with a bike.

The only thing is they are dangerous.  We saw accidents where the cyclist fell but because they are altogether they fell in groups and it was ugly.  Maybe safer than cars but not by much.

I haven't tried many, but the best one I tested was a Hase Lepus, which is a delta trike - one wheel out front:


but I recently saw a tadpole LightSpeed that also has its wheel bottoms angled outward for greater stability in turns.

I think I'd prefer a more upright trike for a variety of reasons, though.  Today's paper had an article about Dutch butcher bikes called bakfiets:


These seem to fit the bill.

Someone on TOD dropped this link a while back, nice work bikes:


Not a single rider trike, but as a people moving solution, the pedal cab works well as a form of hired transportation for short distance in flatter regions. Still a popular form of transportation in Asia, they seem to be now seeing a revival in developed nations helped by mountain bike style lower frame weights and gearing.


There are many options to choose from.  It is best to consider what you like and what you will be using the trike for.

Organic engines makes great cargo haulers and pedicabs as well as an individual trike (a tadpole as I recall).  Online at www.organicengines.com  

Lightfootcycles makes some fine individual trikes as well as cargo haulers and a pedicab, but tend to be a bit heavy, IMHO.  Online at Lightfootcycles.com  

The least expensive individual trike commonly available in the USA is the EZ-3, made my Sun Cycles, IIRC.  The EZ-3 is available at a variety of bike shops.  Here in Minneapolis CalhounCycles carries the trike. Although it is an economy machine, one can haul a couple of bags of groceries on the basket behind the seat or hook up a trailer for more capacity.

The UK-based magazine Velovision is a terrific resource for reviews of many bikes and trikes. (Emphasis on recumbents and folders, with a definite propensity to higher end HPVs.) Velovision is online as well.

Google "workbike" and "worktrike" and "cargo trike" as well.  The tubes of the internets are chock full of cool websites by and/or about bike and trike and quad makers and sellers.

Organicengines gets my vote as the best USA maker.

The more trikes you are able to try out, the better informed your decision will be.  Have fun trying them out, too!

I knew a fellow who took money from the Canadian International Development Agency to develop a gearing system for the working bikes in Bangladesh. There these bikes were single speed.  Which means a great deal of work to get started, especially once loaded.  A young man would come in the from the country at 19 to start as a biking hauler and be completely burned out at 29, a physical wreck unable to make a living.  But there were always more ready to take the work.

Local resupply was an issue and so he designed a system which could be locally produced from inexpensive materials.  His system was rigged with three sprockets up front and a mechanism to deal with chain slack.  
It worked.  I rode it.  I changed the gears.  

It was rejected in Bangledesh by the industry. I not sure I ever understood the reasons why.  Probably had to do with the price of labour.

I don't know the situation today.

All in all, a hell of a better way to spend money than on imperial ambitions.

BTW a bike and trailer are a good way to go, and I can't say enough good things about the Burley trailers. I loved the Nomad I had, only thing is, it's low and aerodynamic and drivers don't see it so don't forget your "dork flag" hehe.

This is how I make my living, been doing it for about 5 years, and my business has been increasing at like 30% per year going on 2 years now, already have someone working for me and im looking for another employee to add, I literally cant keep up with the orders anymore by myself. I haul stuff for less than UPS, Fedex, or USPS chrgae and its gets done pronto, right now, not tomorrow or the next day, but right freakin now, in under a half hour if they want it done. My delivery area is roughly 18 square miles, and sometimes more.

Im continually suprised and amazed that in this day and age, not only are people willing to pay me to haul stuff, but the demand is overwhelming, 100 year old tech and plain old human power. Bikes are indeed part of the end solution to our needs in my view. Unfortunately, guys like me are so rare few ever even know we exist, there's 20 of us here in a city of 1.1 million people.

I think it's odd to "translate in" something about nuclear, to an article that didn't use the word nuclear.

It is actually a simple article talking about the peak of oil and then of natural gas.  The assumptions are:

  1.  Oil won't peak until 2020
  2.  There is plenty of natural gas to go around
  3.  The transition from oil to natural gas will be smooth

All those are questionable, but I think the key thing to observe is that they all have to be true for the course to be smooth overall.  If we had to switch quicker say, to a resource that wasn't as plentiful as described, and which lacked infrastructure for distribution ...
LOL, I think the UBS article should be nominated for 'Greatest Spin of the Year' Award.
I dont know...that is an awfully tough category! They deserve at least Honorable Mention but not in the same category with the  'They call it pollution; we call it life' spin.

As to `Huber's peak' versus Hubbert's peak:

Thanks for pressing one of my hot buttons - Huber's `Bottomless Pit'. The sheer obtuseness of Huber's argumentation is already revealed on page 2:

[O]ver the long term. The price of oil has held remarkably steady  [...] there have been price spikes and sags, but they have been tied to political and regulatory instabilities, not to discovery and extraction costs. This record is all the more remarkable when one considers that the amount of oil extracted has risen from year to year. Cumulative production from U.S. wells has surpassed a hundred billion barrels. The historical trend defy all intuition.
. [my italics]

Geddit? Geddit?  The golden rule of the Cornucopians:

Cumulative production never peaks.

Thanks to time's arrow, I suppose.

Needless to say,  no mention anywhere in the book of Hubbert's peak (even in an attempt to refute it).

One of the (many) problems with the thinking here is in the time scales people like Huber think in.  "Over the Long Term" he says prices have been steady.  50, 100 years is long term to an investor, but not a geologist.  The fact that we have used up half the worlds oil in this short amount of time and continue to increase the rate at which we use it up should be alarming, but it is not because to a money man, that is "forever".  
Typical report from bankers and economists, they spout an opinion with no data to support their position. All is well.
Somethign else UBS is doing too.  In this WSJ article...


Roughly $137.5 billion in residential mortgages will face payment resets this year, with an additional $524 billion resetting over the next four years, according to a recent analysis by UBS AG that looked at loans sold to investors who buy mortgage-backed securities. Rising interest rates aren't a problem for most of these borrowers because they can refinance or have the cash to meet higher mortgage payments. Borrowers with troubled credit records may be able to refinance into a mortgage with a lower rate if they've been paying their bills on time.

Everywhere I have read, bearish to be sure, they cite the number just for 07 & 08 to total nearly $1.8 Trillion.  So where does UBS come from to say only $524B over four years?  Now I'm wondering about the sources for 4 times that!  Anyone with any insight or a better understanding of where the info comes from?

Yes, $.4 T in '06, $1 T in '07, and $1 T in '08. They have downplayed the MBS market risk due to ARMs resetting as well. A true fountain of information, these people.
I'm not sure I've ever seen as much complacency as I see right now in stock and commodities markets.  For the first time ever, the U.S. is faced with an extended period of significant home price declines, with all of the deflationary and recessionary implications that this entails.  Yet, even though the numbers are staring everyone in the face (rising inventories, plunging sales, bailing speculators, etc.) people just don't seem to see it, or they don't understand the significance that this event will have over the next few decades.  In Japan, it took them more than ten years to get things going in the right direction again after their housing market collapsed, and the only reason they were able to do it so fast was that Japan is largely an export based economy.  With the  U.S., there's no such luck.  In a domestic-consumption based economy such as this one, a housing collapse will be catostrophic.  And I haven't even mentioned the ridiculous levels of household debt in this country.  Japanese families had savings they could fall back on.  That was another factor that allowed them to turn things around so quickly, if 10 or 15 years can be considered quickly, but what are people going to fall back on here?  In my opinion, far too much focus is put on the U.S. government's debt, which, in terms of GDP, is actually quite manageable, comparable to the debt levels of many European countries and Japan, but the levels of household debt are another story, and this economy is based entirely on consumer spending!  I'm very pessimistic, as you can see, but I seem to be part of an insignificant minority.  Take a look at VXO, a measure of market volatility, it's at 11!  There is absolutely no fear in this market and that tells me one thing, a collapse is immenent.  I have a bad feeling that the coming collapse is going to be especially ugly, due to all of the factors mentioned above, and that commodities will be particulary hard hit, due to the record levels of complacency and amateur and latecomer participation in those sectors.  A little bit later, I will post a couple of very interesting links from people who argue, based on past correlations they have analyzed, that the coming housing collapse will prematurely end the current commodities bull market, that's right, end it altogether, even though commodities bull markets usually last 10 to 20 years, yet according to these people's arguments, this one will be killed in its infancy.  I'm not saying that I agree with them (as anyone who has read my previous posts know, I argue that we are only in the beginning a new commodities bull market, although we are facing a short term pullback) but their arguments don't appear to be completely without merit either, and I feel that they are worth considering.  As i've said before, the housing market is a behemoth, dwarfing the stock market, and fully capable of having its way with energy markets as well, posibily even to the point that this very powerful commodities bull market could be cut short in its infancy.  The housing collapse will be the story of the decade in this country, and its impact will be profound and widespread.  Of particular interest to TODers, though, will be the epic battle currently shaping up between the housing collapse and peak oil.  If WestTexas et al. are right, this should be Ali-Foreman.                      
SAT -- is this a case of "intentional ignorance" ...or in other words a case of people only knowing and believing what they are paid to believe?
I think there's probably some of that, but I think a lot of it is also the typical American feeling that, "what applies to everyone else doesn't necessarily apply to us."  In other words, just because housing bubbles have happened other places, and just because what we are witnessing in this country right now mirrors what was witnessed in those other places during the opening stages of the collapse of their housing bubbles still doesn't mean it will happen here.  People continue to cling to the idea that, "the U.S. is different."  And the fact that it never has happened here doesn't help things either.  
To add to this.  In my econ stats class last night I met a realtor in my class.  Right away I said, I'm sorry.  He picked up on it and we started talking about a housing crash.  He's blindly hoping things turn out different.  I'm scratching my head wondering how an educated guy can really just flat ignore facts.  

We kept talking and oil was brought up and he wanted to say it doesn't matter that it costs more b/c "Alternatives" are being developed as producers are encouraged by higher prices(he's trained well).  I said that's great but I've looked into them (provided some good numbers to back myself up) and none provide anything near what we are accustom to.  I sent him Robert Rapiers papers on ethanol(he knew about sugar ethanol) and why that won't work.

After debunking him for 30 minutes or so he was dumb founded and I felt bad since I "dumped" this on him the first time we met.  I wonder if he'll even talk to me again.  Oh well.

More importantly, does your econ "stats" professor see any correlation of signifcance between Hubbert's curve and current global conditions? Or does history demonstrate (statistically speaking of course) that civilizations always trend along the path of "Perpetual Progress" and to the Paradise/Singularity beyond?
I haven't approached PO with her yet.  Give me time I've got 15 more weeks.  I'm going to pester the crap out of all my proff's even though I'm ready for a sanitized and BS answer.
SAT ...  

Care to comment on the DOJ's timely scuttling of its investigation into Fannie Mae?

For some reason I feel they all made a bit of money and more was made after it was "discovered."  Then again I'm getting a bit cynical and jaded at our fair gov't.  Puke.
I think the seeming complacency comes from the nature of the housing boom.  "nothing" held up those prices, and so people wait and hope that "nothing" will keep holding them up.

I think a good crash in values is likely, but I don't want to hope for it because it will mean a lot of misery.  This, even though by staying in a small condo and paying down my mortgage rather than leveraging out ... I'm actually positioned for such a crash myself.

I think the markets are something like Wiley Coyote. We have run off the Cliff. We have just looked down and notice that are feet are not on solid ground. We are JUST at the point in the cartoon when Wiley Coyote finially looks at the camera. After that, The fall. JC (It's all crowd group think)
I would also like to clarify something off-topic here, since a few people responded in unusual ways to some posts I made on other threads regarding Iraq, Iran, and the ME in general.  I just tend to sympathize with the guy with the boot on his neck, and I tend to get happy when the guy with the boot on his neck kicks the guy with the boot in the balls.  Personally, I hope that the ME thrives in the future, I hope they are able to keep their oil, expand oil production, use the enormous wealth that they generate through their oil industries to become major players in other industries (petrochemicals, tourism, shipping, industry, banking, insurance, etc.) as we are already seeing in places like the UAE and, to some extent, Saudi Arabia, just like the U.S. did in the 19th and 20th centuries, and I hope they are able to determine their own governments.  The massive transfer of wealth that is taking place due to high energy prices and high commodity prices (from rich importers to poor exporters) is something which I view as very positive and I hope it continues.  I would also like to make clear that I try to make sure that none of this (personal views, emotions, etc.) impacts my investing decisions in any way.      
It's not off-topic. It's important. Well said.
One comment:

Oil producers don't generate wealth through their oil industries, they extract it.  A little bit in technology and ancillary industries.

Unfortunately, the history of resources, and in particular petroleum, in nations that didn't already have strong pre-existing stable democracies is very poor.

In particular, in Africa, most nations with significant oil often end up the worst in many measures of stability and corruption.

The middle eastern nations seem unfortunately more prone to waste money on profligacy and weaponry.

Do I have this right? Are you happy when Hizbollah kicks IDF and W in the balls? Or in the SAT imagination just who is the booted one and whose neck is being imposed on?
And why would anyone not wish personal views to intervene in investment decisions? What would an impersonal view look like??
For the first time ever, the U.S. is faced with an extended period of significant home price declines, with all of the deflationary and recessionary implications that this entails.
... And inflationary (in the general price level sense) at the same time. I love this conundrum! The way the consumer price index is calculated, the housing price increases of the past few years were ignored, since rents are included in the CPI, but not housing prices. Now, with the housing market crashing, rents are increasing! Not only that, but while food and energy prices are stripped out of the core price index, rents are included in core prices! Hahaha!! (sorry, Mogambo got the better of me.)
 I bet the gov't will soon reduce the percentage  that Ownners Equivalent Rent contributes to the CPI. Bernanke has already primed the pump in his most recent congressional testimony by saying OER is unduly raising the CPI.
  However, I'm not confident he will reduce total money supply enough  to slow the declining value of the dollar which is the cause of inflation.
 The current and future fiscal obligations of the US gov't are so large I don't think he has any choice but to continue an inflationary expansion of our money supply.
I have been predicting inflation in food and energy prices, with strong deflationary headwinds as consumers and businesses try (unsuccessfully in many cases) to unload highly leveraged assets.

Granted, if the downturn is severe enough, oil prices will fall, but it will be temporary, because of relentless depletion.  

This is a key point.  One "benefit" of recessions is that prices drop as previous excesses are worked out.  This, by and large, won't happen in regard to the energy markets.  Consider the 15% to 30% increase in oil prices this year, as production by the top 10 net oil exporters has fallen at an annual rate of over 7% (which implies probably a 10% plus drop in net exports).  

My continuing advice:  total up your monthly expenses and ask two questions:  (1)  what would happen if your income drops by 50% and (2)  what would happen if energy prices go up by 100%.   If you can't survive these two combined events, I suggest that you change your lifestyle until you could survive these two combined events.  I also suggest that you try to become, or try to work for, a provider of essential goods and services.

I was curious what I'd see in my area and so I went and bought my typical basket of Trader Joe's groceries on 04/23/2006 and put the prices in a spreadsheet.  I just happened to compare to yestarday's haul and everything still costs the same.  I think Trader Joe's is a little more grudging in their price changes than regular markets ... it will be interesting to see if everything is still the same in 04/2007.

I also logged the prices at a local burger joint ... haven't been back to check that one.

(I think being frugal and getting into an essential industry is fine advice.)

I tried this once about a year ago. I saw the smae thing, too. But I only did it for a month. It's hard work. I wonder if there is a blog out there where somebody has actually been recording this stuff on a more regular basis?
westexas -- I'll use myself as an example of the problem with reducing my income by half and seeing energy prices double. (I do think your advice is spot-on in this regard, though.)

My wife and I both work. I am a self-employed handyperson who rides a cargo trike and keeps expenses to a minimum.  My wife is a self-employed book keeper who has a number of clients, from restraunteers to computer tech to individuals in need of book keeping and organiational help.

We support two children.  My wife has diabetes, and is insulin dependent (even though she's never been obese and takes good care of herself).  I take antidepressants.  

Currently we have health insurance through the state of MN group HMO program, although we have to buy our kids catastrophic coverage, as we are "too wealthy" to get them covered through the state program.

The only reason my wife and I currently qualify for the state HMO plan is that as self-employed people, health insurance providers turn us down outright due to "pre-existing conditions" or offer coverage that is far too expensive ($800.00 a month, IIRC!).

Without the group plan offered by the state we would be out of health insurance for ourselves.  Even the rate we pay for the state-sponsored group plan is high for us and getting higher.

So, if we halved our income, my guess is that I would drop health insurance coverage -- I've done it before.  We might even need to drop my wife's coverage.

That would leave us a bit vulnerable financially.  I would probably start a program to wean myself from antidepressants over a period of weeks.

How many others are in a similiar situation with regard to health care?  How will this affect our society if we see these real economic hard times?

We have started gardening at our "new" old house, and I am learning as much as possible about permaculture.  Our only debt is a fixed-rate mortgage on the house.  We manage it now, but at half-income, I don't know how we would do so.  We own a paid-for(!) Honda Civic hybrid car, two cargo trikes and trailers, and a pedicab.

I think we can keep "swinging from vine to vine" as we find new clients and continue with those who need continuing service from us.  However, our work will drop from those who *want* help to only those who *need* our services.

This notion of living on one-half of present income intrigues me, and I wonder if those of us already working at a more-or-less subsitstence level can do it?

Doesn't it depend upon how much slack is already in one's budget?  Will we all drop that much, or is it mostly those with more discretionary income who will cut half or so?

It is unfortunate but true that in a famine the poorest, most vulnerable segments of the population suffer the most. The oil crash will very probably resemble a famine, and our elected  and unelected representatives have decided to ration by price.
  In the Great Depression the entire world suffered deflation. Real Estate prices fell very substantially as farm markets collapsed and jobs disappeared. Here in the US many thousands of small farmers had their farms foreclosed and became homeless-hobos and tramps and Okies and black immigrants to Chicago and New York. Lots of oil producers walked off from wells making 25 barrels a day because oil prices fell to a dime a barrel in 1933. The government shot and buried cows and pigs to destroy the market surpluses while people starved at soup kitchens.
  The only people who can remember this directly are over 85, and I listened to some of their stories over the years. But I'm an exception-most people only view History as an opportunity to take a nap. They think that current circumstances are exceptional-witness the twice repeated statement that the US has never experienced housing deflation before in a couple of posts above.Read John Steinbeck for a great explication of the problem
  Westexas's advice to Economise, Localise and Produce is excellent. A guy who is a handyman with a wife who is a bookkeeper is a lot more likely to get by than a clerk at a convenience store that relies on an electronic cash register and a bar code reader. And I shudder for the plight of an old person on social security with an electric scooter.
And God help the illiterate indians from Central America who have walked up here to do lowly, illpaid service jobs.
I was born in 1938 so I didn't experience the Depression personally.  However, even as a tot I could recognize its lingering impact on my parents and their families.  I swore it would never happen to me which is what prompted me to leave the chemical industry mentally in 1972 and physically in 1974 to move to the raw land we had purchased in 1972.

Our first place was only 13 1/2 acres and we sold it in 1979 to buy our current place of 57 acres. One of the things I remember thinking when we first looked at this land was that there were thousands of trees and we'd have firewood forever.

Oilmanbob and I know about deflation.  

On January 1, 1986 (oil over $25), my wife and I and our child, were living in a lavishly remodeled turn of the century Victorian house in West Texas.  I was driving a late model SUV, my wife, a Mercedes.

On September 1, 1986 (oil around $10 or so), we had left West Texas.  We were living in a small rented apartment.  I was driving a 10 year old used car, and my wife was driving an old pick-up we had borrowed from my parents.

I'm sure Oilmanbob has similar stories.  In any case we know about sudden decreases in income.  After oil prices collapsed in 1986, about 80% of the net cash flow in the oil industry disappeared.

My family got caught in that as well. I was a small child at the time, but I still remember the effects on my family. My father lost his job and we also lost our house and car. Unfortuantely, so did everyone in that region and because their were no other job opportunities for someone poorly educated (my father never made it to college, my mother never saw high school) we ended up traveling about looking for work, homeless most of the time and always on the brink of starvation. We never recovered from that. It was only due to incredible good luck, in the form of pell grants and scholarships, that I myself made it to college. My sibs didn't.
Wow!  Some super stories and comments related to the ups and downs of the oil industry as well as "the Great Depression" and all.

My grandparents told me stories of the Great Depression and I did study it a bit as a history major in college.

I will continue to focus on the basic and practical side of preparing for the tough times ahead.  I also hope to develop a better local community of folks right in my neighborhood to focus on raising and preserving food, sustainable transportation, and sustainable heating/cooling of shelter.

I hope more people wake up to prepare for these changes.

As they say: "One day at a time" and "Easy does it."

Westexas wrote "I also suggest that you try to become, or try to work for, a provider of essential goods and services."  I work in the college (university) sector and I'm curious about the opinions of ToD'ers on what university courses will be relevant and/or popular in a Peak/post-Peak world (maybe 2010).  In UK it's extremely difficult to get students to do engineering, geology, etc., which one would think would be very useful in such times.  It's difficult to see much future for - on a big scale - business studies, psychology, media studies, etc.  I'd be grateful for comments.
I think a lot of colleges will go belly-up.  People won't be able to afford college.  
In my opinion, far too much focus is put on the U.S. government's debt, which, in terms of GDP, is actually quite manageable, comparable to the debt levels of many European countries and Japan, but the levels of household debt are another story, and this economy is based entirely on consumer spending!

US Debt: $8.2T (12/05) from http://www.federaldbudget.com
US GDP: $12.41T (12/05) from

So that's 66% of total GDP.  Sounds a bit upside down to me, that's like carrying 66% of your yearly salary in debt.  Maybe managable, but that's not real debt.  Why do corp have to book liabilities when they incur them, not when they pay them, yet our gov't is above this?

US Debt(including RX drug coverage & future liabilities): $40T
source http://mwhodges.home.att.net/nat-debt/debt-nat-a.htm

So now we're looking at $40T$12.41T=332.32%.  Still think it's manageable?  I'll say yes, but there will be no RX coverage and drastic reductions if not outright elimination of either medicare or SS.

Take a look at VXO, a measure of market volatility, it's at 11!

You know what's more scary?


The actual correlation between SPX stocks over the last 30 days has been 0.19. Folks, the lowest this thing can go is zero and the highest is 100. In 1998 it was 98.

As I said, 0.19 implies little concern for risk by investors, specifically systemic risk.

Ignoring systematic risk is plain stupid.  The SML derived from the CAPM teaches better than that.

I agree to a point, but assets and debts of the government belong to the people and so have to be serviced by the people. The states also have debt which must be serviced by the same people. So to compare just the federal debt to GDP doesn't make sense to me. You need to add the federal debt to the states debt to personal debt and compare that to GDP. I understand when you add it up the total debt is more like 40 Trillion USD. That is without counting unfunded liabilities going forward. The Europeans and Japanese have strong personal balance sheets, so to compare the governments debt is obscuring the truth.

So total debt to GDP is somewhere between 300% and 400% which is huge and actually surpasses the records set in the late 1920's.

If we extend your analogy to "the man in the street", it is as if he has an income of 60,000 USD and a debt of 200,000 USD, say 50,000 is held under one credit card called "Federal Government", 50,000 in under another credit card called "State", another 75,000 called "Mortgage" and another 25,000 under a personal credit card. Do you honestly think his finanaces are in good shape?

HongKongTrader, Tate423,

Very good points.  I find it impossible to disagree with either of you.  The point I was trying to make was only that it is the incredible debt levels of American individuals which sets the U.S. apart from other countries.  If we only measure the debts of the various federal governments, the U.S. comes out OK.  Of course, as you both point out, it makes more sense  to measure total debt to GDP, in which case the U.S. is in   uncharted waters.      

As usual, the gigantic US current account deficit gets ignored. It is the straw that stirs the drink. The shmucks are loading up on debt in a vain attempt to keep their standard of living where it was, the guv runs a fiscal deficit as tax revenues are not where they would be because of the loss of high-paying jobs from the economy.
And I'll agree with you to a point.

If U.S. federal, dstate and private debts are to other U.S. entities they net out from a system perspective.

I think two key points are overlooked in the debt doom hysteria here. One the U.S. debt to GDP ratio is in line with much of Euro and below Japan. Second, debt is not inherently bad.

If a company has a debt/equity ration of .6 is that good or bad? Should the company increase or decrease debt from this level? It depends (largely on spread of return on debt to cost of debt). The same is true of countries.

I agree that the U.S. has a lot of other long term liabilites that are not counted in the equation, but Europe may have even more.

I do think that the U.S. dual deficits and consumption to spending ratios are unsustainable and have to come to an end. When and how is much, much harder to assess.



You're saying our debt is in line with GDP compared to many other countries.  I wanted to verify this, but come up clueless as to where to look.  IBS maybe?  

For starters our GDP are totally screwed up to start with.  I have no ideas as to how the other gov't calculate GDP.  If it's not the same methodology, isn't it a bit harder to guage the real situation?

Hey SAT,

I'm a super big fan of your writing. Even if you are wrong (which is still a matter up in the air - we'll have to wait till mid-November), I want you to know that I still love you.

You provide a huge amount of instructive material, no matter what.

That being said, could you just do me one little favor and break up your essays into smaller paragraphs. Your work would benefit tremendously from using the breaks as a tool to emphasize points.

You could be somebody.

Margaret Thatcher

I'm very pessimistic, as you can see, but I seem to be part of an insignificant minority.

This is a completely defeatist attitude which you need to lose. It may be the truth. But you are approaching it from the wrong direction.

I would highly recommend you watch NOVA's "Who Killed The Red Baron?" This 54 minutes will whip you into shape. I'll bet you it's even archived on the web somewhere if you can't find it on PBS. I don't care what anybody says. NOVA and Frontline are still the best TV there is.

I'm not sure I've ever seen as much complacency as I see right now in stock and commodities markets.  For the first time ever, the U.S. is faced with an extended period of significant home price declines, with all of the deflationary and recessionary implications that this entails.  Yet, even though the numbers are staring everyone in the face (rising inventories, plunging sales, bailing speculators, etc.) people just don't seem to see it, or they don't understand the significance that this event will have over the next few decades.

As i've said before, the housing market is a behemoth, dwarfing the stock market, and fully capable of having its way with energy markets as well, posibily even to the point that this very powerful commodities bull market could be cut short in its infancy.  The housing collapse will be the story of the decade in this country, and its impact will be profound and widespread.

This is pretty much what I've been saying for the last year at TOD as well - we are headed for a deflationary depression led by a collapse in stocks and real estate. I don't think most people have any idea just what kind of impact that would have or how powerless the FED would be to prevent it once the fall in the housing market picks up momentum. Figuratively speaking, Ben Bernanke might as well be standing on a beach in the GOM ordering a cat 5 hurricane not to come ashore.


I agree with you 100% with regards to the FED, and your hurricane analogy is perfect.  A lot of people don't seem to understand how miniscule and insignificant Ben Bernanke becomes, or the whole U.S. government, for that matter, once a force of this magnitude is fully unleashed.

Here is the link I promised above, which was forwarded to me by a friend:


I found his linkage of commodity peaks to housing weakness to be the most interesting point.  

Thanks for the link. It was a good technical analysis.
Now we have to determine if their are any supply/demand fundamentals for oil that will overwhelm the market pricing technical indicators the author discussed.
Continued housing declines could slow the economy into recession - or not - but it's only one factor.  Countervailing macro-influences include the continued growth of India and China (which is trying to get it's growth rate DOWN into single digits without great success to date), continued rapid growth in all oil exporting countries, particularly Russia, KSA, Kuwait, UAE, and other ME suppliers, plus continued growing demand for infrastructure in energy throughout the world.  

As for the price of oil, I doubt suppliers are going to continue pumping if the impact is to reduce prices.   I think they see $60 as an entitlement and possibly now $70.  They are not dumb.  Why would they pump out an asset they can see will be worth much more in the future if doing so only serves to get them a lower price now, particularly when their liquidity is more than healthy.  

Crude looking mighty strong. If we're going to see mid fitties this fall I'd be thinking it wouldn't have bounced so convincingly off 70.

there is one difference between the situation in japan and our own...bernacke will print money until there is no ink left in the western world. the japanese were much more circumspect in their central bank response to their 90's depression, even though they lowered interest rates to zero. a highly inflationary response to any hint of deflation by the fed is guaranteed , in my opinion.
Agreed - it's the lesser of two eveils to manage inflation than deflation.

Actually, the Reuters article does refer to a UBS report / study which was published yesterday.

It would be interesting to get hold of it. UBS has a reputation to defend and so it can be presumed that their report cites some sources of information to back its assertions.


Yes, but usually these "reports" project huge increases in production from places that appear to be in decline.
I checked it out on the UBS home page. As to the full text, UBS laconically informs us:

To order please contact your UBS client advisor

I wonder whether it costs as much as the CERA reports.

But remember:

If it costs the earth, it must be worth the earth.

What better way to prevent your "report" from being widely disseminated and thus, thoroughly debunked. Time will tell. I personally think that there is a lot of spinning the data going on to try and prevent a panic in the financial markets. The mentality you point out is infallible. I did the report, but you have to pay to see it because it's that good.;)
Speaking as a person who has dealt with UBS, I
can say attempting to read one of their client
statements is trying to decipher gibberish. It
is written with a "spin" to keep you from understanding
what the real performance is. Trust your "client
adviser" bs throughout.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Production at the Prudhoe Bay oil field was reduced by another 90,000 barrels on Wednesday when a problem was discovered in a compressor, according to a spokesman for BP PLC, operator of the country's largest oil field.


China is increasing costs at least to the UK.

"When I went over there, I was under the belief that China is a bottomless pit of cheap product," Temple said. "When I left, I was not."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/23/business/23cnd-ford.html?ei=5090&en=35d6782e589edeb1&ex=13 13985600&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

Just when you think GM's got things figured out, Ford wants to join the party too!

Ford's chief executive, William Clay Ford Jr., is in charge of these efforts, these people said. As part of the process, they said, Mr. Ford spoke recently with Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Nissan of Japan and Renault of France, who is involved in similar alliance discussions with General Motors; that conversation was also reported in The Wall Street Journal today.

Lastly I found a cool picture that puts the GOM in perspective.

howabout a link to this picture? I can only see
half on TOD.
I never heard of this one!  That's just great!!  :-(  And as GW melts glaciers and polar ice the load structure on the earth's crust shifts.  Hence, more earthquakes become more likely in shorter time frames.  Of course, a huge chunk of Greenland ice could plop into the ocean any time now and swamp us with repeated tsunamis worldwide.  There is no limit to the size of landslide-generated waves, unlike earthquake-generated ones, which don't get much worse than the Indonesia tsunami.  This has become high on my list of likely natural disasters.
I can only see half [the picture] on TOD.

Right click your mouse over the image
and pick "View Image"
That works with Firefox, not with IE.  

With IE, right-click, choose Properties, and it will give you the link for the image.  You can copy and paste it into your browser.

This is one of things that Netscape has always done better than IE.

IE? --what's that?

just kidding


Follow up...now Ford says they might go PRIVATE.


DETROIT -- Ford Motor (F) is considering taking the company private, a move that could give the ailing automaker time to restructure operations outside the glare of critics, a source with direct knowledge of the discussions said Wednesday.
"The family is willing to look at anything," said the source, who didn't want to be identified because the discussions are ongoing. "A lot of different scenarios are being gamed out."

With Ford's shares trading around an anemic $7.76, going private could cost interested parties as little as $13.34 billion.

Sounds like a great investment. The combo of money losing operations and liabilities of 257 billion is exciting. Old man Ford didn't pass on too many smart genes.
If you really need somethimg to worry about:-


Personally I find the imminent and certain onset of peakoil choas enough to deal with.

enough to deal with.

o tempora, o mores even the singularitarians are turning doomers or at least doomers-teasers.
Technology will save us all.
May be not from our OWN madness!

The CIA is broken. It won't tell us what we want to hear any more.

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.
The consensus of the intelligence agencies is that Iran is still years away from building a nuclear weapon. Such an assessment angers some in Washington, who say that it ignores the prospect that Iran could be aided by current nuclear powers like North Korea. "When the intelligence community says Iran is 5 to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon, I ask: `If North Korea were to ship them a nuke tomorrow, how close would they be then?" said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.

They could just dust off some reports from three years ago and change the "Q"s to "N"s. That would be easier than looking for pesky facts.

I wonder what the CIA is saying about Saudi's oil reserves?

No, that's what Doug Feith was for.  Where's the guy when they need him?
The CIA is broken since a good while: The CIA as Risk Management

California Hemp Bill Passes Final Senate and Assembly Votes; AB 1147 Heads to Governor's Desk for Signature

8/21/2006 9:06:00 PM


I heard about this.  In the article it says it won't interfere with enforcement of drug laws, but if we're talking about seeds then how would you know the difference just looking at it?  I think it would be a smugglers dream.
The thing is, no pot grower with a milligram of common sense would locate their plants in the middle of a field of hemp. Hemp produces enormous quantities of pollen that would immediately get trapped in the sticky residue of the female blooms - which is what you harvest for a crop of smokable marijuana. The pollen would make the blooms go to seed, and the quality of the pot would drop off a cliff.

That's why anyone saying "Oh, they could just grow pot in the middle of a field of hemp!" doesn't have a clue what they're talking about. It would ruin the plants.

Speaking of which, I've never read any kind of feasibility study of the potential EROEI of converting hemp to biodiesel. Which is odd, because the plant is so damn versitile, and grows very quickly and in harsh conditions. It would seem like an ideal candidate for biomass conversion.

"I've never read any kind of feasibility study of the potential EROEI of converting hemp to biodiesel."

Not needed.  It would be more effective to grow enough good pot for each and every driver.  Assuming they remembered to get out of first gear, a heck of a lot of gas/diesel will be saved with 30 mph as the average speed.

Best laugh I've had all day, if not all week.  Thx.
I'm familiar with cannabis history.  Marihuana as it was called was simply demonized as a result for a search for government money.  We used to freely trade in cannabis.  The Declaration of Independence was written on it!  Hemp was used in WWII all over the place.  

There are also hemp plastics being discussed.  It's sad to see common sense trumped, but such is life.  The only reason hemp is taking off now is due to the DEA dropping their case to make hemp totally illegal back in 04 I believe.

My point isn't GROWING in the middle of a hemp field.  Rather if you import hemp seeds then you could also send cannabis seeds and only those who would know what to look for would hopefully find them.

There is no problem importing hemp seeds into the US now so I'm not sure I see the issue. Sterilized seeds are legal I believe, and even if they are not do you know what percentage of mail coming into the US is checked? Not very much. I've gotten many packages and never had one checked.

As for the fuel uses of hemp, I know that the oil from the seeds is a viable fuel, although I don't know the BTU content, gallons per acre, or any of that.

Are you ordering 100K seeds at a time?  This is far more efficient and no it has not been legal until the DEA dropped their case in 04.  Not to mention this is still only for hemp seeds, which area derivative of cannabis seeds but no the same thing.  Now the hemp industry is beginning to take root in this country.  Do you know where in the USA hemp is grown?
Its my understanding it's not grown in the US. The DEA was trying to make it illegal to sell anything with hemp in it, making the argument that it's possible it could cause a false positive on a drug test. Interesting that no one really thought it was strange the DEA was going to make a substance in food and hand cream illegal because they could possibily interfere with intrusive pee tests.
The DEA was trying to make it illegal to sell anything with hemp in it, making the argument that it's possible it could cause a false positive on a drug test.

This idiocy has been going on for a while.
Sorry the full article is behind a paywall since Aug 22.

Facts you should know about Hemp
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Farming 6% of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America's energy needs. 1
Hemp is Earth's number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months. 1
Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol, or gasoline at a cost comparable to petroleum, and hemp is much better for the environment. Pyrolysis (charcoalizing), or biochemical composting are two methods of turning hemp into fuel.2
Hemp can produce 10 times more methanol than corn.
Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution.
The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global warming.

Hemp seed can be pressed into a nutritious oil, which contains the highest amount of fatty acids in the plant kingdom. Essential oils are responsible for our immune system responses, and clear the arteries of cholesterol and plaque.
The byproduct of pressing the oil from hemp seed is high quality protein seed cake. It can be sprouted (malted) or ground and baked into cakes, breads, and casseroles. Hemp seed protein is one of mankind's finest, most complete and available-to-the-body vegetable proteins.
Hemp seed was the world's number one wild and domestic bird seed until the 1937 Marijuana prohibition law. Four million pounds of hemp seed for songbirds were sold at retail in the U.S. in 1937. Birds will pick hemp seeds out and eat them first from a pile of mixed seed. Birds in the wild live longer and breed more with hemp seed in their diet, using the oil for the feathers and their overall health.

Hemp is the oldest cultivated fiber plant in the world.
Low-THC fiber hemp varieties developed by the French and others have been available for over 20 years. It is impossible to get high from fiber hemp. Over 600,000 acres of hemp is grown worldwide with no drug misuse problem.
One acre of hemp can produce as much usable fiber as 4 acres of trees or two acres of cotton.
Trees cut down to make paper take 50 to 500 years to grow, while hemp can be cultivated in as little as 100 days and can yield 4 times more paper over a 20 year period.
Until 1883, from 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with cannabis hemp fiber including that for books, Bibles, maps, paper money, stocks and bonds, newspapers, etc. 2
Hemp paper is longer lasting than wood pulp, stronger, acid-free, and chlorine free. (Chlorine is estimated to cause up to 10% of all Cancers.)
Hemp paper can be recycled 7 times, wood pulp 4 times.
If the hemp pulp paper process reported by the USDA in 1916, were legal today it would soon replace 70% of all wood paper products.
Rag paper containing hemp fiber is the highest quality and longest lasting paper ever made. It can be torn when wet, but returns to its full strength when dry. Barring extreme conditions, rag paper remains stable for centuries.
Hemp particle board may be up to 2 times stronger than wood particleboard and holds nails better.
Hemp is softer, warmer, more water absorbent, has three times the tensile strength, and is many times more durable than cotton. Hemp production uses less chemicals than cotton. 2
From 70-90% of all rope, twine, and cordage was made from hemp until 1937. 2
A strong lustrous fiber; hemp withstands heat, mildew, insects, and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on hemp and/or flax canvas have stayed in fine condition for centuries.

Deaths from marijuana use: 0
From 1842 through the 1880s, extremely strong marijuana (then known as cannabis extractums), hashish extracts, tinctures, and elixirs were routinely the second and third most-used medicines in America for humans (from birth through old age). These extracts were also used in veterinary medicine until the 1920s and longer. 2
For at least 3,000 years prior to 1842 widely varying marijuana extracts (bud, leaves, roots, etc.) were the most commonly used real medicines in the world for the majority of mankind's illnesses.
The U.S. Pharmacopoeia indicated cannabis should be used for treating such ailments as fatigue, fits of coughing, rheumatism, asthma, delirium tremens, migraine headaches, and the cramps and depressions associated with menstruation. 3
In this century, cannabis research has demonstrated therapeutic value and complete safety in the treatment of many health problems including asthma, glaucoma, nausea, tumors, epilepsy, infection, stress, migraines, anorexia, depression, rheumatism, arthritis, and possibly herpes. 3
Deaths from aspirin (U.S. per year): 180 - 1,000 +
Deaths from legal drugs (U.S. per year) at doses used for prevention, diagnosis, or therapy: 106,000

Almost any product that can be made from wood, cotton, or petroleum (including plastics) can be made from hemp. There are more than 25,000 known uses for hemp.
For thousands of years virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hemp seed oil and/or linseed oil.
Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp by-product after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose - a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fibers. Depending on which U.S. agricultural report is correct, an acre of full grown hemp plants can sustainably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf, or sugar cane (the planet's next highest annual cellulose plants).
One acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, making hemp a perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board, and concrete construction molds.
Heating and compressing plant fibers can create practical, inexpensive, fire-resistant construction materials with excellent thermal and sound-insulating qualities. These strong plant fiber construction materials could replace dry wall and wood paneling. William B. Conde of Conde's Redwood Lumber, Inc. near Eugene, Oregon, in conjunction with Washington State University (1991-1993), has demonstrated the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite building materials compared to wood fiber, even as beams.
Isochanvre, a rediscovered French building material made from hemp hurds mixed with lime petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries. Archeologists have found a bridge in the south of France from the Merovingian period (500-751 A.D.), built with this process.
Hemp has been used throughout history for carpet backing. Hemp fiber has potential in the manufacture of strong, rot resistant carpeting - eliminating the poisonous fumes of burning synthetic materials in a house or commercial fire, along with allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting.
Plastic plumbing pipe (PVC pipes) can be manufactured using renewable hemp cellulose as the chemical feed stocks, replacing non-renewable coal or petroleum based chemical feed stocks.
In 1941 Henry Ford built a plastic car made of fiber from hemp and wheat straw. Hemp plastic is biodegradable, synthetic plastic is not.
Thanks to http://www.hempcar.org/hempfacts.shtml
for all these nicely compiled facts!

Hempseed contains 30% (by volume) oil. This oil has been used to make high-grade diesel fuel oil and aircraft engine and precision machine oil. Throughout history, hempseed oil was used for lighting in oil lamps. Legend says the genie's lamp burned hempseed oil, as did Abraham the prophet's. In Abraham Lincoln's time only whale oil came near hempseed oil in popularity for fuel.

Biomass for Energy Abundance

Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose - a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics and fibers. Depending on which U.S. agricultural report is correct, an acre of full grown hemp plants can sustainably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf, or sugar cane - the planet's next highest annual cellulose plants.

In most places, hemp can be harvested twice a year and, in warmer areas such as Southern California, Texas, Florida and the like, it could be a year-round crop. Hemp has a short growing season and can be planted after food crops have been harvested.


Jack Herer...
Fantastic! Thanks a lot...I've bookmarked this, and will give this a good read later.

That's why anyone saying "Oh, they could just grow pot in the middle of a field of hemp!" doesn't have a clue what they're talking about. It would ruin the plants.

Well, it's good to have an expert's opinion on this :->

Another expert

James Woolsey, hemp advocate
by Kurt Cobb

"If you wanted to hide marijuana in a field of industrial hemp, you'd have to be very high," Woolsey said. He explained that industrial hemp has a very low THC level compared to marijuana for recreational and medical use. (THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana.) So low is that level that placing the two plants together causes the recreational marijuana to lose its potency because of cross-pollination with the industrial version.

"There is no bigger enemy of marijuana than industrial hemp," he added. "But, the United States in its wisdom has banned all hemp--I suppose to enhance the production of marijuana," he joked.

Hemp is a prime DEC candidate for ethanol conversion using the Syntec process, however, it's absolutely pointless to discuss the feasibility of using it to solve our energy woes unless it's with Ag Canada or the U.S. military.  
Are you saying everday people wouldn't have access?  I'm missing something here, could you please explain a little?
No no.  I'm saying that any serious discussions in a public forum on hemp's potential tend to dissolve into 'everyone will get high' or 'as suggested by chronic hippie' opinion pieces that prevail in the mindsets of those who know nothing about the plant.
I wonder what the mean age would be for those here.  Maybe it's just remembering those "good ole days."
Libya wants top dollar for prized oilfields
Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:42 PM GMT

"The offer that is best for Libya is the one that will

Selfish Libyans , I can't believe they don't want to give us cheap gas for the drive from LA to Vegas

http://za.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=businessNews&storyID=2006-08-24T124222Z_0 1_BAN445696_RTRIDST_0_OZABS-ENERGY-LIBYA-20060824.XML&archived=False

Yes, I have enjoyed some of Tom Whipple's articles in the past. The idea of having someone in the more or less mainstream US press who is peak oil aware looked promising. But now Whipple starts to get on my nerves. He may be aware, but he doesn't understand. Last week he wrote about cars, how changing driving habots or getting a hybrid would be a great move. This week it's different light bulbs. And buying more gizmo's:
In too many rooms a single switch controls a large bank of lights. Providing more switches, timers, and light and motion sensors would save considerable energy each year.....

Yes, it would save tons of energy if 2 billion people drive to their supply store tomorrow to stock up on timers and switches, wouldn't it?

The problem is, Whipple, that we are way too far into the game already. Saving a few percentage points here and there has no effect anymore. We are so far into the game now that the rules stipulate it be played to the end.

There is one word that best describes this society: growth. And while an increase in efficiency is limited by thermodynamics, there is no limit to growth in the economic system we have devised. Hence, we will outgrow all efficiency measures, and mostly in very short periods of time.

We will save electricity when the lights go out because the grid collapses. We will save gas when we see $25 a gallon, become dirt poor, unemployed and go to war over that, at home and abroad.

The lightbulb/hybrid approach is like Greenpeace saving cuddly marsupials while remaining silent and/or ignorant on what threatens them in the first place. When you take that approach, you are just another part of the very system that is the problem.

Do you think we should do anything at all then?  Is your argument that we are doomed, so party on?
I will not claim that I can single-handedly solve the problem. If I had that idea, I would go do it, not write here.

What I do claim is that in order to find an answer and solution, the first step is to understand the problem.

Switching from one energy form to another is useless and counter-productive. It's the amount of energy used, not the kind. All energy use produces waste. The only good alternative energy form is the one that isn't used. I can't find back who said that, sorry. Moreover, since we now spend more energy per unit to make more energy units overall, we are deteriorating fast.

Saving 10% of your energy today, while in an economic system that requires you to grow 3% a year, is obviously not anywhere near solving your problem.
It's counter-productive because it lulls you into the I'm-doing-good sleep, and you now have less time/energy/money to spend on a true answer.

The crux of course is that a stop to growth means economic mayhem. And no, I know of no friendly peaceful way to get out of that knot.

Still, the thought that it's better to do something than to do nothing doesn't fly with me. Depends on what it is you do.

A well-known example: sending worldwide food aid results in more hungry people, and more misery, if the cause of their hunger is structural, if their land can't produce food at any time. That's hard, but very true.

As Garrett Hardin said: the main reponsibility of the herdsman is to minimize suffering.

And the main responsibilty of you and me is to make sure we understand what the problem is. At least, that's my view. And no, I don't see that as an ideal incentive for a party. We'll leave that for later.

Have you ever heard the saying "don't make the perfect the enemy of the good?"
see what you done? now you got me thinking you only call it "good" because that makes you feel good. but is it really?
I've got an old chem degree and am used to measuring things in mg and so forth ;-).  Sometimes a good can be measured that way.  If we had all these cars maybe the "perfect" would be to get rid of them all, but it was "good" to get lead out of gasoline.  Etc.
Ok mate, I'll take you up on that. If we had not replaced lead, for instance because we couldn't find anything, then after enough sick and dying people, we might have banned cars from our cities, and would now have light-rail, bicycles and nice tree lined walking areas.

Good? Smells like Jevons!

More likely we'd still be driving them, and GWB would be saying that there were still important questions to be answerd on lead and public health.
Switching from one energy form to another is useless and counter-productive.

Sorry, but that's just plain wrong. If I stop heating my house with fuel oil and heat it with wood, that is neither useless nor counter-productive.

I think it's a mindset thing. There was actually some logic in the old far-left idea of opposing palliatives to capitalism, in order to hasten the day of revolution...

But I'm puzzled as to what logic is to be found in a similar attitude to peak oil/global warming.

That one's good in the micro sense but would fail at the macro level (if everyone switched rapid deforestation would follow).

Passive solar vs. higher fossil fuel consumption is a better macro argument ;-)

If I stop heating my house with fuel oil and heat it with wood, that is neither useless nor counter-productive.

You can run for office on Easter Island.

I know you have a point as an individual, but in any setting bigger than a handful of settlements you'd be preaching disaster.

As an individual, you can grow some corn and make some fuel, sure, if you have land left after your food is taken care of. As a society, you wreck what's left of your soil. The numbers don't add up.

Nah. The country I'm living in has enough wood WASTE to replace current heating needs.

Your mileage may vary. I am taking my environment into account, and implementing a sustainable solution.

Of course, it's a drop in the bucket. But anyone who tells me it's counter-productive has got a mindset problem.

I agree with your take but you've selected the wrong fuel unless you live in a minimally populated, highly forested area.  You would do better burning switchgrass pellets. Take a look at this paper from Resource Efficient Agriculture Production-Canada:

http://www.reap-canada.com/online_library/Reports%20and%20Newsletters/Bioenergy/10%20Changing%20the. pdf

Here is the address for REAP-Canada's library: http://www.reap-canada.com/library.htm

Switchgrass, especially if the culivars selected are appropriate for local conditions, is a drought resistant, low-input, perennial tallgrass that grows well on marginal agriculture land and has an energy content close to that of hardwood.  Advances in stove design (check out: http://www.pelletstove.com/ )have overcome problems related to high ash fuels such as switchgrass.

REAP-Canada estimates that 14% of North American farmland allocated to switchgrass production could produce the energy equivalent of 1.5 billion barrels of oil, which are meaningful numbers if we keep in mind that the proposal is to use the grass for space and water heating, and NOT for conversion to liquid fuel.

In no way, does this suggest a 14% loss in food production.  Remember we're talking about marginal agricultural land.  Not that our overfed nations could not stand a reduction in available edible calories. And not that farmers and local food production all over the world wouldn't benefit from an end to the dumping of subsidy-driven overproduced US corn. (book recommendation: The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollen - learn how Americans, and most likely Canadian's as well, are chock full of corn via tasteless chicken, pigs, cows, farmed fish.  In fact, a beautifully written book, with a lot of other insights as well.)  

As someone who grew up in the Northern Forest that stretches across northern New England and NY, I think of it in these terms.  The forest could keep the local population warm for generations, if not perpetually.  But as soon as Boston and the rest of the adjacent urban areas turn to wood for heat, the hillsides will be denuded in a generation at best.  Sadly, I think this will happen.
Clifman, the urbanites of which you speak do not need to denude the northern forest for heating.  

To begin with there is undoubtedly a great deal of insulating and related work to be done lowering heat loss or gain, as the case may be. I've added 60 percent to the size of my house in Ottawa, Ontario and reduced the energy bill.  This winter, I'm going to take the further step during the coldest days at least to reduce nightly heat loss by sewing insulatated 'cushions' that we will install as darkness falls and remove in the morning light.

Wool sweaters.  I'll bet there are many residents of Boston, as here, who think that they should be able to wear summer clothes indoors in winter.    

There are unexploited efficiencies available from district heating and cooling from whatever energy source.

Through any urban area stretch miles of underground tunnels, for sewage and other purposes, just waiting for ground source heating/cooling pipes.  Because of problems relating to private access to public property, these tunnels are best exploited by municipal governments, which in any case have their own significant heating and cooling requirements. Local governments could also operate or organize district heating for privately held buildings. It is inertia that is the only obstacle, inertia fed by notions that something, another discovery, nuclear, wind or whatever is going to allow the continuation of the current consumptive lifestyle.

Ground source heating/cooling is also feasible for individual homeowners/businesses, assuming the financial mechanisms are established. (this might give some money shufflers, to borrow from another poster, something useful to do).  It is amazing to see in how small a space, the companies installing these systems are now able to work.

As I pointed out elsewhere there is enormous potential in North America for switchgrass fuelled space and water heating, both for individual homes and as is the case in Europe for district heating. Resource Efficient Agriculture Production-Canada concludes that 14% of North American farmland can annually generate the energy equivalent of 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Switchgrass is a low input, drought resistant, high energy content, tallgrass native to Eastern and Central North America, which does well on poor quality land.  It also provides great habitat for many species of our planetary co-habitants.

Just as it is perfectly feasible to improve the diets of almost all the world's population post-peak oil (I make an exception for the people of Provence, Tuscany, Okinawa and some other locales where improvement over traditional diets is unimaginable), it is also perfectly feasible to reduce our hydro-carbon heating/cooling requirements to nil, without resorting to the exhaustion of our coal resources and our forests.

While peak oil and natural gas is undoubtedly another opportunity for devious rascals to pursue their socio-pathic designs, it is also an opportunity for people of good will to make a better world, based upon local initiative and cooperation and regional interdependence.  

Somehow in that whole thing you never mentioned solar heating.
It was all about solar heating. Switchgrass is an efficient solar collector refined over millenia.  Recent application of our ability for logical thought, a process fuelled by solar generated carbo-hydrates alone, allows us to efficiently and safely extract the energy from this solar collector to heat our homes, heat water and even generate electricity, as is done with large boiler stoves.  The same ability allows us to find the best cultivar for local conditions in a wide variety of places.  Ra is good and mighty.  

What do you know about solar air heating systems, such as Cansolair [cansolair.com}?

I've argued similar points just for semantics as wind, wave, and hydro are just altered forms of solar energy.  But here's the tricky part...with wind, you need only to erect a tower and catch it, wave is similar, and hydro has the unique ability to self concentrate.  With switchgrass you need to go out and collect it and concentrate it yourself which reduces your net energy return.  It's rather diffuse, and the more diffuse a source you try to pull from, the worse the net energy return.  With direct solar, the collection area may be smaller but you don't have to expend much energy getting it and the collection is continuous as long as the sun shines, plus there's an inherent efficiency on using the energy on the spot.

I don't know too much specifically about the Cansolair system, but I do know that type of system is pretty efficient at heating.  There's generally an opening at the top and the bottom so that air can circulate convectively (no pumping losses) and they generally have flaps over the openings to prevent the reverse from happening at night.  On top of that you still retain the wall insulation (a big plus especially compared to a bank of windows).  They also go on the side of the house so they're not subjected to the weather as much as something on the roof.  However, they're not terribly pretty and certainly not as much as a nice bank of windows, and they're not angled so as to collect the greatest amount of sunlight.  Unlike a "convential" water-fluid system, there's not really any way to store heat in a tank for a couple of dark days.  However their dirt-simple and efficient nature makes them quite attractive.

>You can run for office on Easter Island.

You can argue with these people for years and not get through. These people believe that all we need to do rid the world of SUVs and Big Oil and everything will be fine. Good luck in trying to convince them otherwise.

If you haven't already started, your efforts would be served in making your own preperations to deal with PO instead of trying to change the world. Best of luck too you.

>As an individual, you can grow some corn and make some fuel, sure, if you have land left after your food is taken care of. As a society, you wreck what's left of your soil. The numbers don't add up.

Well said. Looks like you can see the big picture.

That's not what I'm arguing.  I'm arguing that you don't get to "best" without going through "better."

Or do you have a magic wand?

And I am arguing that we far too easily assume to know what good and better is. That is what Hardin, and Jay Hanson, talk about when bringing up the food aid example. You save a few lives now, which feels good, but will it still feel as good when it leads to more threatened lives in the future? Or will you then think that you should have thought about it a bit more?

In the same vein, people are eager to assume that for instance buying a hybrid car is a "good" thing. Oh yeah? Prove it.

The risk inherent in all this is that what feels better now, may turn out to be worse.

Fueling up your vehicle with ethanol may seem "good", less CO2 and whatever other arguments there are.

I suggest that in final analysis you may want to opt for a healthy soil. Which is incompatible with large scale ethanol production. Soil feeds people.

But you have to allow yourself to get to the final analysis. Too many people grab onto what feels or looks "good" somewhere halfway there. And that makes a lot of things worse, not better. Let alone best.

Doesn't this argument lead to immobility?  Nothing at all can be done, indeed we shouldn't even get out of bed in the morning, because everything has a negative impact?
your confusing the scale here, which is a common tactic.
short term pain for long term gain(ie letting the system collapse asap to leave the earth in a better position for the long term survival) v.s. short term gain for long term pain(treating the problem as a simple replacement of a with b which will very shortly lead to replacing b with c and so on. While each step does further damage or lumping a,b,c,d together and trying them all at once does the same thing.)
That's the kind of thinking that set the Unibomber on his path ... that he was so smart that he could be sure that pain today was better than his prognosticated future.
you know if your going to insult people at least be direct about it instead of trying to make a round about comment like that to give yourself the false moral high ground.
Besides i am NOT a Luddite like he was, i do not irrationally hate technology, if i did i would not even BE here typing this. That doesn't mean that i do not see the limits of our own technology in this situation.
Oh and this is your typical diversionary tactic, move the issue to something else because you can't win on the previous argument.
That was a not so subtle insult, but I think the shoe fits.

Do you want to stay on topic with your answer?  If you favor "short term pain for long term gain (ie letting the system collapse asap to leave the earth in a better position for the long term survival)" ... why don't you explain how that doesn't lead you to discounting "short term pain."

That's not a distraction, that is straight at the center of the position you argued.

That was a not so subtle insult, but I think the shoe fits.

so you admit that instead of discussing it rationally you resorted to a insult.

Do you want to stay on topic with your answer?  If you favor "short term pain for long term gain (ie letting the system collapse asap to leave the earth in a better position for the long term survival)" ... why don't you explain how that doesn't lead you to discounting "short term pain."

from this i can see you think all the problems we face can be solved painlessly. i am sorry to say that you are mistaken, as a whole we procrastinate or do half baked attempts till the absolute last second and then flail around like chickens with our heads cut off doing what we should of done long before. and as this day ticks by we have lost that much more top soil to feed ourselves and pumped that much more c02 into the air that won't leave for 100+ years, fished that much more fish out of the ocean that we are rapidly destroying by over-fishing. every day that goes by with the current way we live means that less people will be able to live once things go kaput. the short term pain is to end this preferably willingly so you grandchildren and great grandchildren can live a better life then they would if we just grasp at straws trying to keep our current way of life alive in one way or another.
insult me if you want there really is no way i can stop you, i can only point it out to others so they know you will resort to insults when backed into a corner. you can also tell me 'if you think that way kill yourself' well i will tell you right now i won't give you the satisfaction of it. i will try to live through what you and everyone else including me have brought upon ourselves though that doesn't mean i will delude myself into thinking i have a better chance to surviving then i actually do.

I think you need to think about the idea of a "rational insult" ;-).  If the idea holds then it may be both painful and accurate.

Do you want to answer the question?  Do you favor "short term pain for long term gain (ie letting the system collapse asap to leave the earth in a better position for the long term survival)" ?

The rest I'm afraid is you changing the subject, after scolding me ... when I did not.

Just to make sure I'm not misreading that original quote, "letting the system collapse" means homelessness, starvation, and death for millions, yes?
yes i never said there would not be, and millions will be a vast under-estimate. This is the short term pain i mentioned, better it happens soon leaving more of the earth un-damaged. compared to trying to prolong the way we live now, which WILL result in more damage to the earth. this in turn dooms MORE people to death and leaves less for who ever survives. if it continues further there will be a point where nothing will be left for anyone to survive when it crashes. the best example i can think of is a person with gang-green on his hands, we don't want to give up our hands we desperately try anything to stop the infection but it's too late. they have to be cut off in order to save the person's life.

and i bet your going to ignore what i post here like i posted above and on top of that paint me as a monster while painting Rosy picture that isn't true.
this is political strategy i have seen it before.

I don't need to paint you as anything.  You've said it in your own words.

For what it's worth, I see miles of difference between those pessimists who fear a collapse, and those who welcome one.

The latter is both arrogant and immoral.  The immorality of welcoming injury to others is obvious, and the arrogance isn't that hard to see either.  It is only your own belief in your prognostication that you offer as justification for that injury.

I don't have a moral problem with pessimist who fear collapse and still work to prevent one.  I think those folks may torture themselves more than necessary, but they aren't actively, or through inaction, harming anyone else.

your anthromorphizing the arguement.
this will blind you and will hurt you, nature though has no morals so that is how i look at the situation.
this will blind you and will hurt you,

No, he will win, unless you learn to tackle odograph and a few other bullshitters.
Just don't get banned...

oh i won't get banned unless i directly insult him or threaten him.
thanks for the link though.
It may look different if you and your loved ones are the ones doing the suffering.
BTW, did you just say that sustainable farming was "good?"
Nope, I did not. I said that soil feeds people. And most of our soil these days is more addicted to chemicals than any junkie I've ever known. Junkies don't even feed themselves. But soil can be regenerated. Which is the "best", there you go, that I can see. If we would like to feed our families and friends, that is.

And immobility is your fate only if you feel you are not capable of solving the problem, I would think. Might as well die trying.

I'm sorry, I guess I missed something.  Did you say you had a plan to solve the problem?  Without efficiency improvements along the way?
What you seem to be saying is that you, personally, Roel, have not yet got things clear in your own mind, so you don't know what to do yet, personally.

And from there, you make a giant leap of an assumption : that other people haven't thought things through yet, either, and are making "feel-good" decisions based on incomplete reasoning.

Well I've got a suggestion for another giant leap you can make. At a rolling donut.

I agree, and this is why Kunstler says that efficiency is the shortest path to hell.  But doing all the other stuff is so hard.  Many people really do want to 'do' something to help and thoughts like this give them something they can do.  And that's really the problem.  People do this and then think they helped somehow.  Although, in fact, they probably have helped themselves, but not the growing problem that society has.  

The societal changes and changes needed to the physical arrangements and dynamics of living are much harder for an individual to understand the ways in which they can participate.  

Explain why one person's "societal changes" would not be another person's "efficiency?"
This is the problem with words, you can have many interpretations.  By societal changes I mean shifts in how society values public space, cooperation, collaboration, authenticity, longevity, beauty and on and on.  

Efficiency is a tricky word because as you rightly point out it can vary in interpretation.  Is it more 'efficient' to build a building that can generate enough revenue to pay off its construction loans in 5 years and last 20 years, or is it more efficient to build a building that pays for its construction in 50 years and lasts 300 years ?  Depends on who you ask (investor, banker, residents, great grand children of the residents etc).

Is it more efficient to manufacture everything in a few factories in china and and transport in bulk to the US large box stores where retailing is done or have thousands of little local manufacturing that is distributed through networks of regional and local distribution points to highly localized retailers who also (BTW) support local activities in the community?  I think it depends on both external factors (such as the price of energy) and also on your perspective.  

Sorry, I may not have explained myself very well but I have limited time here today.  

FWIW, I think I can endorse "public space, cooperation, collaboration, authenticity, longevity, beauty and on and on."

... and still think hybrids and low power lighting will ease the transition.

I mean, the author above asked how 2 billion people could drive at once to buy new light bulbs.  That kind of begs the question of how 2 billion people could move at once to a new house.

The only hope we have is that around the world people will move in a messy and amorphous way to more sustainable patterns.

FWIW, my view is that history moves like a slime mold.

Please help me out here.  Are you advocating:

(1) Don't use lights, don't drive cars, or
(2) Use lights as you do, drive cars as you do, and shift immediately to wind and solar, or
(3) Use lights as you do, drive cars as you do, and wait for the collapse?

Please clarify.  I find Whipple's suggestions sensible, but am interested in understanding your point.

Could I suggest a fourth option>

(4) Don't use lights, don't drive cars (for practice)and wait for the collapse.

... said the guy, posting to the internets.
gotta fill my cube sentance somehow.
I think Whipple's suggestions will really come into play in the early stages of actual infrastructure collapse. As shortages start becoming more widespread, these "easy efficiency" measures can, if widely implemented, slow the onset of the process. They will also serve to boost the morale of rudely awoken masses (giving them an illusion of being able to do something about the situation). They will also focus people's minds on more substantial conservation and contingency measures, and they will give communities and all levels of government some extra time to react. Future will then unfold depending on what courses of action will be taken in that critical period of time in various jurisdictions.

Granted, much more radical social and political changes than what Whipple advocates would be much more effective - but do you think his audience would be willing to hear about them?

Here's a good article on potential Arctic oil / gas discoveries .

Some extracts:

The Arctic region holds vast energy resources, possibly greater than 25% of global reserves, most of which is offshore beneath thick ice and deep water.
Increased access to Arctic oil and gas has brought several territorial disputes. These include disagreements between Russia and Norway over the Barents Sea; Canada and the US on several matters; Russia and the US over the Bering Sea; and Canada and Denmark over Hans Island. Additionally, Denmark has gone so far as to claim the North Pole under the pretense that it lies on a natural continuation of Greenland.
The US Geological Survey also estimates that 200,000 trillion cubic feet of methane hydrate gas exists under Alaskan territory outside of ANWR. While only a fraction of this amount is extractable, to recover even 1% would double proven US gas reserves.
I believe Deffeyes says in one of his books that the next Bill Gates may be the engineer who figures out how to recover the methane hydrates. Hopefully without setting off the ultimate runaway global warming.
Methane hydrates are a big wildcard in the long term energy picture.  One would hope that a century from now they'd have figured out both how to use them, and how to incarcerate the resulting CO2.
>Methane hydrates are a big wildcard in the long term energy picture.  One would hope that a century from now they'd have figured out both how to use them, and how to incarcerate the resulting CO2.

The real risk is releasing methane in to the atmosphere since is by far a terrible greenhouse gas. Its highly likely that any system capable of harvesting hydrates will leak large quantities of methane into the atmosphere. I would also imagine that the EROI for harvesting methane hydrates may be low.

There is certainly nothing on our current tech horizon that would harvest methane hydrates at either an efficient energy return or with low methane losses.

By long term I mean beyond our tech horizon.

BTW, I'd use swarms of micro-robots ;-)

Thanks for the reference. Here's another excerpt:

Rising global temperatures, however, are causing formerly impenetrable ice sheets to melt and access to Arctic energy resources is increasing.

So there you are -- the bright side of climate change?


Thus far the Barents Sea has in fact been the barren sea as far as oil discoveries. Some gas has been discovered but nothing grand. This has been a great disappointment to Norway to date.
What about Shell President's appearance on CSPAN (Infragard 2006 Seminar)?
 --He says we got plenty of untapped reserves even here in the USA under Federal lands.
Any thoughts on that?
ANWR...Im sure he calls this plenty since it's millions!
Yet more questions related to peak oil and real estate and demographic patterns.

Will the housing market collapse involve many people losing jobs?

If so, which people?  Where do they live?

Will there still be "jobs" in the city for folks to commute to, or will many of the jobs be gone, thus softening the effect of movement of people from exurbs and suburbs into the cities?

I suppose some of this depends on how hard and fast the housing market collapses.  Even so, I expect that some folks will no longer have that office job to go to "downtown."

In any recession or depression many people lose their jobs. Because of the highly diverse economy in the U.S. it is seldom fruitful to make broad generalizations, e.g. urban vs. rural vs. suburban.

During the Great Depression hardship was worst in rural areas in general but not so bad in some--depending on region. Some people gained jobs during the Great Depression, for example in the booming radio and film businesses, but most industries were very hard hit.

Where a great many construction workers or auto workers live, in these neighborhoods towns and cities I expect to find maximum grief. I suspect people in aircraft and airline industries also to be hit very hard.

As a very broad generalization, bad neighborhoods will get much worse. Genteel neighborhoods may become shabby. Race relations are likely to worsen.

However there are three things (as I have stated before) about the upcoming recession that nobody knows:

  1. When it starts (Maybe this month, maybe next month)
  2. How severe it will be (Like 1980-82? Like 1930-33? Somewhere in between?)
  3. When it will end? Two years from now? Twenty years hence?

One of the few professions that will prosper is for successful collectors of rent. Also I expect the demand for car repo men to boom as more and more people become unable to make their payments. People in the second-hand goods business will see an increase in demand, but the problem here is that everybody and her sister-in-law will be trying to start second-hand stores. Pawnbrokers will do well.
I wonder if some useful alliances might be formed within urban neighborhoods, though.

My neighborhood is multiracial and multicultural and poor-to-working class.  We seem to be able to talk with all of our neighbors, and everyone is in the same boat to a great degree-- working hard and keeping a sharp eye on crime. There is some drug dealing and prostitution -- gets reported fast and dealt with pretty fast right now.

Folks are often gardening and working in yards and the neighbor kids romp over to our haouse and back with my son.  But I admit, things could get dicey if people get angry and withdraw into racial or ethnic polarization.  However, I think the big divide may be between the "have's" who live not far away and the "have nots" who work hard just to survive in today's economy. The changes may create new alliances in today's world.

Not all of these new alliances must be negative, by the way -- all though some may be regarded by many as (ahem! "radical" or (ahem! ahem!) "communist" or some such thing.

your alliances will break down rather fast.
if you look through history the most racial tension has come from ironically the most integrated populations.
this country is already well on the road to severe racial hatred. it's only missing two factors, a economic depression and a charismatic leader who plays both sides against each other.
I agree with Don above.  The problem is we are layering two projections on top of one another.  How fast far and deep will housing crash?  And then how fast far and deep will oil production crash?

Lots of plausible scenarios could be told, but no one knows how to accurately calculate probability.

And the energy grid may begin to crack all during this as well!  Collapse of Complex Civilizations will make all those studying the collapse (post-peak) wonder WTF, they KNEW!
"may" is such a wonderful word ;-)
ok..IMO..."will" would be more accurate.
Really, soon?  A side bet against the collapse of civilization might be amusing.

... and certainly with "will" as your starting point you would even give me favorable odds.  I mean survival is the longshot, right?

Nah I don't see total collapse soon.  I was just pointing out that I do believe we could see large scale power outages just like the NE back in 03.  Add that to the "layers."  I can see that in the next 3-5 years from what I've been able to read which isn't definative by any means.
I think that risk is reduced in California as they've moved more industrial customers to "interruptable" programs.  That is, SCE has the ability back at the grid to turn off demand.

IMO it should be a requirement on whole-house air conditioning  systems.

Great point.  However these are interconnected into 7 main regions correct?  I'm imagining another cascading outtage and I will try to read Matt Simmons basckground on the outtage to get some more insight.
I did a little work at power plants myself, installing emissions monitering equipment.  I'd ask the old guys about the '65 blackout (this was before '03).  I definitely got the story of cascading failures.  And I learned that a plant needs external power to restart.  So my take-away was:

  1.  smaller grids (with safe interconnects) would be good
  2.  bootstrapping plants after failure takes time.

IIRC a gas or coal plant typically takes 2-3 days to start "cold."  Customers might think that there are unsolved problems when it is really the natural cycle time.
Are there any studies at all as to the actual totality of "The Grid?"  In so far as true aggregate numbers and possibly modeled possible failures.
I was surfing earlier and found this:


"These four systems are asynchronous, tied together only by DC interconnections. These systems include continental Canada, the contiguous United States, and northern Baja Mexico. Other systems are: Alaska, Mexico, and Labrador. These systems are illustrated in the following NERC map of reliability councils."

I gather that the DC interconnections are the hard limits to a grid crash.  Certainly the '03 blackout shows that problems can still spread within a regional network.

Hydropower plants "Black Start" beautifully.  Once one is up, second can sync to Hz and restart within minutes. Then #3, etc.

Getting those fuel burners up to speed is more troublesome.  And nukes are even worse !

I almost put something in about hydro being the ultimate source for restarting coal etc, but decided not to complicate it.  FWIW, I never went to a turbine plant.  Gas and Coal boilers were getting waves of regulation in my (late 90's) timeframe.
Very interesting article on:

Why Oil Prices Will Remain Sky High: It's All About Supply

An excerpt:

4. Finally, that balance isn't looking so hot. By our preferred measure of total petroleum product supplied relative to non-strategic reserve inventories, stocks are tight and getting tighter. As the accompanying chart demonstrates, this week's reading of 49.5 days of inventory is down sharply from 50.2 days last week and appears to be confirming the long-term trendline of ever-declining days supply of inventory.

Emphesis theirs.


I think we're getting to the "just in time" inventory concept with respect to our strategic reserve.
Call it the Walmartization or FedExification of the oil industry.
OK, this is the first song on my new album. It's called:

"What ever happened to Stuart Staniford?"

Here's a link to an absolutely superb discussion that took place on this very website in September of last year(2005 - for those of you who are not so good at math).

I didn't choose this particular post at random.

Reading Heinberg's latest book, I noticed he references a guy named Rembrandt Koppelaar. This is the same guy who posts here on occasion and I wish would contribute more often.

The link is broken to RK's 76 page report, but if you go to peakoil.nl you will find it. I found it yesterday. I can't today. Maybe somebody who reads Dutch can help us out.

Let this entire thread serve as a model for how discussions should progress on TOD. With cameos by many TODers, led by Lou Grinzo. This was a good debate. Only 54 posts. Think about that. We are doing 200 every day now. Only one year ago... And now, a blast from the past...


There's a certain irony in you, of all people, trying to tell us how to have a discussion.  
Yeah. You got me. My apologies. But I know you of all people will understand me. And maybe even forgive me.
If I ever understand you, it will be time to check into the bugbin.  

I don't really see that big a difference in TOD then and now.  We are larger, of course, but the number of replies to the "analysis" posts are about the same.  

You can't expect DrumBeats to be like Stuart's threads.  DrumBeats are more or less free-for-alls, with 20 different topics, not just one.  The point of the daily DrumBeat thread, IMO, is to keep this stuff out of the other, more scholarly threads.  And it seems to be working.  

I totally agree. It's the same, but different. Don't get me wrong - for every gripe I have, there are four things I love. But I will propose the idea that one of the reasons it has managed to keep the same shape is you. You can't deny your own efforts. Which have been successful. You understood me a long time ago.
Did Oil CEO just make a pass at Leanan? ;)
If there's anything specific you want translated, I still have enough command of the tomgue, so to speak. I ain't doing 76 pages though.
Thanks. I was just looking for the link to the paper. Looks like Khebab got it below. I should probably learn basic Dutch myself. It looks pretty easy(at least from an English speaker's angle). It will have to get in line behind Arabic and Greek, however.

I won't hesitate to take advantage of your offer, very soon, however.

I once stumbled upon my own website. And I'm still convinced it was a dream, but it was too real. From start to finish, except for the words on my images, it was in French. It was one of those eureka moments. Google had done this either for me or someone else. And for free. That was the part that really blew me away. But, like I say, I haven't been able to reproduce what I saw, so I still think I imagined it.

There is an English version on the sidneypeakoil website:


Oil CEO,
He's running ASPO NL. Dropped him a note with a link to your wish. I enjoyed his last newsletter, which was in Dutch (as most of his writings as far as I know). Let's see...
www.peakoil.nl that is...

Thanks for the ASPO-NL reference. Koppelaar is refreshingly heretical. I see that his latest ASPO Newsletter estimates that Saudi-Arabia will peak in 2020.

Westexas, a special blockquote for you:

ASPO-NL expects that Saudi Arabia will peak in 2020
Thanks, Oil CEO -- great debate, virtually zero off-topic garbage or 'wimmin's' stuff.

I see Koppelaar is no acolyte of the peak oil establishment. Excerpt from his comments way back last September:

How come the ASPO liquids curve is the most realistic? Based on what? ASPO hardly produced any data to prove that curve to be true. Im still waiting on their database to come online. Until i see real figures i don't take the ASPO outlook seriously.

Stuart Staniford in the same spirit:

If you like the ASPO curve, you need an explanation for why, given that Campbell has gotten the date of peak wrong so often before, he is going to be right this time. Also, the ASPO curve is based on a database that is not publicly accessible, so there is no way to replicate it or properly critique it.

Just to jog your memories.

Stuart is right and so is Rembrandt but since we are jogging memories here, consider that Stuart posted Why peak oil is probably about now in March of 2006.

Here is the link to the final version of my report from November 2005:


The model is being updates as we speak, a new version will be out with more detailed data at the end of this year.


Your July Newsletter puts 2020 as the peak year for Saudi Arabia (in third place, after Kazachstan 2025 and Azerbaijan 2021). Since this is a very controversial issue among 'peakniks', I'm sure many TOD readers would be interested in learning how you arrived at this estimate.

Dank u voor uw goede raad!


R2 If your out there, I wonder what the eroi of corn to ethanol would be if you took the oil and also made biodiesel. What happens to the oil anyway? Is it significant?
I am here, just a bit busy. I think most of the oil goes into making corn oil and margarine. However, it is already being valued in the byproduct analysis.

You can get a bit over 2.5 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn, and a quick check tells me that you can get about 1.5 pounds of corn oil. That is probably about 0.2 gallons, but the BTU value would be around 50% higher than for the same amount of ethanol.

Housing Slump Gets Worse


Quote from MSN:

Sales of new homes fell 4.3% in July, steeper than an expected decline of around 3%, the Commerce Department said. The annual sales rate was 1.072 million units, 22% less than the level a year ago.

There were 568,000 new homes on the market, representing a 6.5-month supply. That's the highest inventory since November 1995.


But in the U.K., they are still bullish on housing.
SchNews via Indymedia

The future of Middle England, the main pillar of support for the centre right consensus, is in jeopardy. Britain's personal debt is increasing by £1 million every four minutes. Personal debt where the family home is used as collateral has grown 52% in the last five years. A recession with its inevitable round of house repossessions will have a far greater impact this time around. Will people stand by this time and allow the banks to board up their homes?
Americans are probably unaware of the demographic changes happening in UK.

Over 600,000 workers from the "new member countries" of the EU have arrived in UK since 2004... I suspect that this is creating a huge demand for housing...

More than half of the new arrivals - 264,560 - are from Poland, 50,000 are from Lithuania and 44,000 are Slovaks. The other migrants on the worker registration scheme are from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia.


There was a "special" on this topic on BBC radio 4 Tuesday evening at 22.00.  One person interviewed complained about Polish workers in the UK "they seem to be more willing to work than we are".  Shocking, what dreadful people, they should all be put on a boat!

Seriously, the signs in UK are not good - personal debt continues to rise, mainly founded on property prices in some areas out of all proportion to true value; unemployment is climbing quite steeply though has attracted little attention; expectations of more gas supply problems next winter.  Britain is not going to be a good to be in 5 year's time.

Is the UK simply mirroring the US in a freddie mac kinda of way?
It is creating a large demand for rented housing, but if there is a downturn - which there will be as we always follow what the US does then it will come down to affordability - and if noone has any jobs then they wont be able to afford to live in the house provided. Many of the Poles may up sticks and go back to Poland if the employment runs out.

The biggest effect will be if we have another inflation shock and further interest rate rises. This really does seem to be on the cards - the Boe targets CPI which does include food and energy (although not house prices) - and this is set to rocket in the next few months - as the grain, juice and coffee price rises impact. And I still don't think we have seen the lagged effect of oil and commodity price rises play out yet.

If that is the case then the Buy-to-let market will go into reverse - the yield from renting out a property currently is already less than that you would get from putting the money in the bank and interest rate rises will only exacerbate this. The UK has only allowed Buy-to-let mortgages since 1997 and so there is the overriding belief that house prices can only ever go up.

First time buyers have been excluded for some years will stop buying and we will the mother of all housing crashes on our hands.

I really think that the excess debt and peak oil mean that this is going to be worse than the 1930's. I sold my house to rent a while ago, so am waiting - looking to buy a small-holding in the next few years as we get near the bottom.

If I'd known this was going to happen a couple of years ago I am not sure I would have had kids.

If its any consolation I don't think it will ever get quite as bad as it did in the Dark ages when at one stage it was said that the only person who could read in England was the venerable Bede!

Current Account Balance Ranking by Country - 2006

1 Japan $158,300,000,000
2 China $129,100,000,000
3 Germany $119,800,000,000
4 Russia $89,310,000,000
5 Saudi Arabia $87,100,000,000
6 Norway $51,500,000,000

[...] (see link for complete list)

143 Italy -$27,620,000,000
144 France -$30,110,000,000
145 United Kingdom -$38,400,000,000
146 Australia -$41,100,000,000
147 Spain -$64,620,000,000
148 United States -$829,100,000,000

As someone pointed out: the coalition of the willing is at the bottom......

I think your right.
You know...if you just flip that list around, then the US is #1...hoot, hoot (pump fist).
Last year some commentator on the BBC said that Japan had been "an economic disaster area for the last 10 years" compared to the US.  These figures are not exactly the result you might expect from that.
Current account balance is a very weak indicator for economic wellbeing. If you were to use GDP growth, the BBC comment would make much more sense. I realize GDP growth isn't perfect, but it is the foundation for the BBC's accurate, but exaggerated statement. On that measure, the US has done pretty well.
Nonsense. A current account deficit shows the country (USA) is borrowing from the future.
I agree.  But I don't think borrowing from the future is half as serious as the ongoing theft of our progeny's natural inheritance.
The gap between 147(spain) and 148 (US) is truly stunning.

I wonder if you added all the others deficits/debts in the table if the would even add up to that tremendous number.

And apparently,  there are some that still think it is reasonable and the US dollar will not be affected by it.


It's all about population!

I am surprised that Sweden makes nr 9 on the list.

9 Sweden  $25,680,000,000

Wonder how we could lend money abroad and invest in more rail and so on? Anyone who would like to bid for a build and run contract for a new major railway in Sweden? ;-)  (It has been done once for a medium size project, the railway between central Stockholm and the Arlanda airport. )

Does it not ABSOLUTELY FASCINATE anyone but me that the country with the best "Current Account Balance" in the world is Japan, (!!!), a nation with no home resources of natural gas or crude oil (!!!) and that has just been through the real estate and monetary collapse for the last decade and a half that we are so terrified of (!!!)

Anyone care to provide some commentary, that has got to be one for the graphers and statistics gee whiz guys to play with, almost worth a thread in and of itself!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Ummm, they still make stuff?
Their markets aren't as open to the rest of the world's?
Just a couple of WAGs...
Why should a real estate bust and deflation be bad for the current account? One would expect the opposite effect.
The current account deficit preceded the impending real estate bust and deflation has yet to strike.

O.K., tackle the other issue then....
the country with the best "Current Account Balance" in the world is Japan, (!!!), a nation with no home resources of natural gas or crude oil (!!!)
Electricity Trading and the End of the Grid

Have you ever wondered how the price of electricity is determined?
I'll explain it to you, if you've got a year to spare. I work for the company that makes the control room software that runs the elctricity grid. We make the software for the 5 of the 7 deregulated energy markets in the U.S. Our software decides which power plants come online, how much power they should produce (minute by minute), and how much the power costs. Welcome to the world of wholesale electricity trading.

Want the dirty details? Sorry, no can do. I'd just like to officially say: Here we come Olduvai Gorge. The only thing that can save the grid now is prayer.

(Here's a quick logic quiz:
Premise a: I think only prayer can save us.
Premise b: I'm an atheist.

Permanent loss of access to grid electricity is one of the few scenarios that both worry me and seems somewhat plausible. My criterion for The Collapse is when I go back to kerosene lamps for light and a wood stove for heating and cooking.

However, the grid has been in bad shape for decades. See for example the highly entertaining and informative, "The Coming Dark Age" by Roberto Vacca, published some thirty years ago.

My big point is that it is tough even for experts to judge the vulnerability of huge systems--either way. These systems may be more robust--or more fragile--than the experts realize. Insiders know the bugs and kludges etc. in the system, but to me it seems likely that partial and temporary failures would go on a long time before any permanent failure--because in many societies electricity is a sometime thing.

Or on a more hopeful note:

"The Promise of the Coming Dark Age" by Leften Stavros Stavrianos


Roberto Vacca's book is out of print but is now downloadable for $10. He has added a 'hindsight note' to each chapter. I've just downloaded it myself and have started reading it -- gripping stuff, and thanks for the reference.

I reckoned it must be good, seeing that you're a Garrett Hardin fan!

P.S., for those who might be interested -- the download site is:


I still have my original copy of The Coming Dark Age. It's slowly disintegrating, given the way books have been made over the years with acidic paper and cheap glue. Interestingly, his position is similar to Tainter's - complexity as a cause of collapse, except he tries to look at it from an engineering perspective rather than an anthropological one.

I know you are on a knife blade here talking about the Grid. You can't say all you see, but the "Praying/atheist" gets your message across.

I read a few things you have said the last few days and look forward to what ever you post.

I have been a Large Systems/Data Base programmer/designer for 25 years.  Mostly the boring Inventory/OE-I/Purchasing/shopfloor control type things.  You know the stuff that "Runs the Business".

What I know about JIT systems/Inventory management and large companies,  if anything hicups,  we're in deep du du.

Keep posting what you feel you can get away with.

Give "Behind The Blackout"  a read (Interview with Matt Simmons) a couple of days after the Aug 15 blackout in 2003.


See if you agree with Matt.


Thanks, Samsara. I'm glad at least 1 person thinks my posts are interesting = )

I read that article quite awhile ago, and Simmons is right on target. IMHO, natural gas shortages are by far the biggest risk to the security of the grid. New England and Texas are especially vunerable because they have invested almost exclusively in gas turbines over the last decade. Of course, that is the general rule these days, not the exception. The crazy thing is, that article is from 2003 and still nothing has been done. The fact we made it through 04 and 05 is amazing, esp with Katrina. And the heat wave that hit the whole country a few weeks ago caused record demand in every RTO in the country. Check out this press release:
Every RTO and ISO sets new record demand (pdf)

You've hit the nail on the head about JIT systems--and the grid is the ultimate in JIT. Supply must EXACTLY equal demand, always, with almost no room for error. They say it was an "operator error" that caused the 2003 blackout--while this is not entirely true, it illustrates the point very well. The grid is stressed to the max with record demand and deteriorating and outdated infrastructure. Thus operators have a smaller margin for error than ever before. The operators are looking at our software to make their decisions, and I can tell you that we are not on top of things.Our user interfaces are definitely not giving them the information they need to make the right decisions with such little room for error. On top of this, ISOs and RTOs keep growing, meaning the same control room must coordinate more lines, more power plants, and more demand. On the software side, this means more complexity, and it's not a linear relationship.

Well, I could go on endlessly about this stuff. But I really should get back to testing this junk before we send it off to the control room.



Do you agree with Duncan's Olduvai timetable for the Steep slide?   He now thinks it's before 2012.  What's your gut feeling on it?


In the various versions that he has published over the years, Duncan always left me wanting more explanation about why exactly what would happen.

Still, my gut says that the reasoning behind the inevitability of ever bigger hiccups within ever bigger complexity is solid (and documented). There are far too many pieces in the machinery that are too old, too weak etc. Knowing the amount of maintenance hours by (often highly skilled) ISO personnel would likely be revealing, if the recent blackouts are not enough.

Much more money and energy will need to be spent on keeping up the grid, and that stops somewhere. Moreover, it has to grow even bigger. The Inuit in Quebec are buying airco's, that's as good a sign of demand increase as you will get. The present grid needs huge extensions in order to supply the growing demand. There's a limit to what you can "push" through any given  wire.

Yes, system overload is unpredictable, but only in the place and exact moment where it will occur, not in the fact itself.

By the way, I'm just realizing that I have never seen anyone call Duncan a complete fool. I'm with him. 2008 is his latest prediction for the start, 2011 for the permanent phase.

We already know what will send us into decline it happened last years.

Region will experience either natural or manmade disasters and we will not rebuild. So we will experience permanent loss of infrastructure. In only a matter of time before this leads to larger and more connected failures.

Look at the gulf coast and Flordia the insurers have pulled out anything that gets hit by a hurricane there from now on is gone.

What... you don't want to explain how overloaded everything gets, and how you have to constantly balance loads across the various lines?  How about the fact that demand must exactly equal supply + line losses at all times?  My personal favorite... as it gets hot outside (and the air conditioning comes on) the transmission lines also get hot and therefore you must de-rate their carrying capacity...

C'mon... you can share a bit!  

and when the grid goes does many other things..
I was reading through my daily reckoning and they brought up some alternative energies.

Anyone know about this maglev wind power generator?  I've got a link here:

From what I've read, it appears to increase efficiency (by 20% over conventional wind power generators) by using magnetically-levitated bearings instead of ball bearings. The magnetic bearings are strong permanent magnets which must mean that they use a lot of the the rare-earth metal neodymium, of which China is the world's major producer. It's an important development, but I'm wondering about the cost, especially the magnets.
Any ideas on total theoretical scale?  Do we know for sure how much of this metal we've got?
90% of neodymium is mined in China. We don't even mine neodymium in the U.S. Some in Australia. The problem is that neodymium is a critical component of hybrid car engines, so any wind power application will have to compete with that.
The problem is that neodymium is a critical component of hybrid car engines

Can you please expand on this? What component?

I did a quick search on "permanent magnet hybrid cars" and scored some hits.  It seems the DC motors make use of those magents and therefore (I guess) neodymium.

Ah, more here:


With all the major car companies around the world increasing their production of Hybrid Cars, and neodymium-iron-boron magnets being a key component of this technology, the demand for neodymium is likely to continue to rise. We attach two recent articles discussing plans for increased hybrid car production by such automotive companies as GM, Daimler-Chrysler, Honda and BMW.
Neodymium, eh?

I thought it was a hoax. I was convinced that I knew my periodic table... OK it was twenty-five years ago. But when I look at the lanthanide series... no, I never knew those names. (Praseodymium. Samarium. Gadolinium. Dysprosium. Get out of here.)

Where can I buy me some neodymium futures?

"Praseodymium. Samarium. Gadolinium. Dysprosium. Get out of here."


Raser Technologies to the rescue: http://www.rasertech.com/
Interesting. The comparison chart explains that these new motors don't use neodymium, but because of the design are apparently more efficient. Their website suggests these motors could be used for both hybrid vehicles and wind power generation. So much for the neodymium futures!
Haha...sorry shouldn't laugh.

But they want to leave for Las Vegas.

How does the saying go:

"Out of the frying pan,  into the fire"

Hurricanes may be bad,  but water is truely critical in my estimation.    Kunstler is right about this one,  Las Vegas and a couple of other desert cities are going to have a tough time of it in the next decade.

It's all about population!

Hello TODers,

Out of curiosity, I was exploring the sitemeter for the first time.  Now, since I am no expert, perhaps someone could clue me in [maybe SuperGoose?].

If I understand the info presented, the Federal Govt, from all kinds of locations and offices, regularly checks this site.  Here is one example.  What could the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development learn in just eleven seconds?  Or what could the US House of Representatives Information System learn in zero seconds?

I can also understand how Yergin probably pays the Neilsen Ratings Company to check TOD to see how unpopular he is here  

What about ChevronTexaco in CA reading TOD threads on Vinod Khosla as they get ready to battle on Prop 87?

I must admit that there is a treasure trove of information to be found in here if someone skilled in data mining could really explore the sitemeter.  SuperGoose, could you give us TODers a report on how often the CIA/NSA checks in on TOD, and what they are looking for?  How often does the DOD, DOE, EIA, MMS, HUD, and other 3-letter Govt. orgs do downloads?

Why would the US Census Bureau be so interested in TODers Beggar, Crazypat and others for example?  How can I do a search to see what Govt. orgs and Milgov Corps are interested in my postings? BIG Thxs, if you can answer this last question.

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

Couldnt it just be someone (the census link) who is simply PO aware and wants to learn?  I know this is too easy, but hey you never know.
Hello Tate423,

Thxs for responding.  Taxpayers should not allow any govt. employees to surf when they should be working.  It is easy enough to announce this both verbally and in-writing to the employee, and also by having a popup warning comeup on the monitor anytime they try to leave a work-related webpage.  Tracking software can verify that they are only going to the websites that are work related, and flag the time and length they spend at unapproved webpages.  This is just common business sense, but I would expect our govt. not to implement this simple task.

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

I think that any government employee who surf to this site ought to be promoted if but 1% of the information sinks in and in some ways foresighted ideas get implemented.

I think the CIA and military and science people ought to have it on bookmark.

Sorry to pop the bubble, but my boss (a minted military man) has the attitude of 'the oil must flow -at any cost'.
It took me two days to stop ROFL to respond.  I apologize.
Or what could the US House of Representatives Information System learn in zero seconds?

This usually means they just stayed on the initial page. I have played around with my site meter, and if I enter a page and don't click off to another link, it will read zero seconds.

SuperGoose, could you give us TODers a report on how often the CIA/NSA checks in on TOD, and what they are looking for?

I have seen the CIA on my blog several times. I asked someone with close ties in government, and she told me that they do a lot of energy research, so it probably wasn't anything to worry about. I was also told that some senior government officials and staffers had read some of my ethanol essays. Some were pleased, because I had given them ammunition, but I was told that I had stepped on some toes in the pro-ag camp and angered some important people. I guess they can't handle the truth!

I do love the Site Meter. It gives some really useful information about who is on your site, and how they found it.

Hello R-squared,

Thxs for responding.  So if the CIA is doing a lot of energy research--it sure would be interesting to know their consensus beliefs: do they believe TOD, or is Yergin's CERA on the correct path, for example.  Another would be if the CIA agrees with Duncan's Olduvai Theory.  But most of all, I would want to know if they are moving ahead with the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario.

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

I'm sure the CIA has plans for any of the two choices.  They aren't going to go away just because civilization might.
There were a couple of interesting comments on oil in Barron's latest issue.   Foregive me if they've already been discussed.   Anyway, herewith:

The featured investor interview was with a fellow named David Richards who appears to have lived through a lot of investment history with fairly good success.  He's a bear on the economy (housing crash, over-indebted consumers, etc) yet a bull on oil (and gold).  Why?   Looks like he's been reading Westexas.  He says the big producers - Russia, KSA, Venezuela - are so wealthy from today's high oil prices that they have no incentive to keep pumping like mad if that would result in lower oil prices.   They would just as soon keep the oil in the ground, a better asset than adding to their overflowing supply of  shaky U.S. dollars.   He's also aware of the fundamentals of PO: "...there is evidence that some of these big fields are rolling over in Mexico, Kuwait, and now there is the North Slope problem."

Then Barron's counteracts this momentary flirtation with rationality with an EDITORIAL comment by one Thomas G. Donlon, a writer (and presumably a thinker, tho' there is no evidence of that quality).   Mr. Donlan has discovered the work of M. King Hubbert, and gives him credit for predicting the peaking of U.S. oil production in the '70's, and even accurately describes what peaking means.  He then goes on to say that this makes no difference for energy availability because (are you ready for this?) the amount of oil produced is just a matter of price.  That's right, folks.   Just after saying that the U.S. could produce no more crude regardless of price incentives after the peak, he goes on to say the world can do it.  Why?   Well, because there is is much oil sand in Venezuela and Canada (each with as much oil as KSA) and, even better, there is TWICE as much oil in the U.S. oil shale as in KSA.   No matter what amount of energy is required to produce that oil.  No matter what speed at which it could concievably be produced.   IT'S THERE.   So obviously, getting all the oil we want is just a matter of price.  And what happens after all that production is released into the world?   Well, naturally, we will get a glut of oil.   And the price?   It will be back down to $20.  (Never mind that he just asserted that we will get all that oil from sands and shale because the price will go so high.)   Well, I guess that solves the problem of energy supply.   We don't need geologists and scientists and breakthough's in solar and wind generation.   We just need a good writer or maybe two.

Re: We just need a good writer or maybe two

At your service but I fear it's the wrong service according to the people you cite because--after all--IT'S THERE and it's just a matter of price.

Just a matter of price...

It makes you wonder what planet these so called knowledgeble writers are from. While, in theory, there are more consumable hydrocarbons (notice I didn't say oil) in tar sands and oil shales than in SA, the reality that escapes these people is that it is either exceedingly difficult and expensive to extract these hydrocarbons or virtually impossible to extract any significant amount of hydrocarbons from these sources. In theory, solar winds should allow humans to explore and colonize the universe (and escape oil dependancy), that doesn't mean it can be done. In theory, the USA doesn't have to import crude oil because we have more potential barrels of oil locked up in oil shales and Saudi Arabia, that doesn't mean we can actually extract any significant amount of oil from the shales.
Did anyone see this yet?


I would guess that means less for the US possibly?   500Kbpd by 2009 and 1Mbpd by 2016.  

18 supertankers and 12 new rigs may be built as well.

It's all about population!

Check out http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/HH25Dj01.html to get a bigger picture of the moves that are happening on the world energy scene and what it means to the "old" system once dominated by OPEC and the US.
The key points seem to be this sentence "No details of the oil export commitment were announced in the deals." and the intro line to your rigs and supertankers blurb being "There was speculation that..."

China is thousands of miles away from Venzuela and has a refining infrastructure suited for sweet crude. It would be very expensive and wasteful to ship Venezuelan heavy crude to China. Maybe, Chavez realizes he needs foreign investment to develop fields and doesn't want to lose face by crawling back to U.S. companies. However, Chinese funds would likely provide crude that would go to the U.S. Win-win.

The purpose of this announcement is hype. I hope you can get the hook out of your mouth.

Jack: "Chinese funds would likely provide crude that would go to the US. Win-win." There is no way you are stupid enough to believe that statement.
TSA, Transportation Safety Adminsistration..............

In the aviation world, TSA actually means "Thousands Standing Around" or "Thousands Sitting Around".
They seem more like "Gestapo" agents if you ask me.

Completely off topic...............But what the Heck!!!

I kinda like "Border Guards" myself, sounds a little more totalitarian.
The convergence of shrewd geo-politcal manuvering by Russia and China and other Eastern States with the geo-politcal miscalculations of the US and its few Western allies is creating a new counter weight to US world hegemony.  An article in the Asia Times by W Joseph Stroupe illustrates how Russia has made moves re energy resources over the past 7 years roughly to minimize the influence of OPEC and marginalize the US.  It's a fascinating article on the emerging energy resource world dominated by Russia and its Eastern partners.  The world is looking East and the US is increasingly losing its influence to shape world events.  The US may have military might and, for the time being, a fairly strong economy, however, it seems as if the US's unipolar dominance from 1989 to now is on the wane.  http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/HH25Dj01.html
China can bury the US if it wants. We are just as addicted to Chinese labor as we are to oil. China could replace a major portion of its US exports with internal demand by just granting pay raises to its workers.
My understanding is that China already is relying less on exports to the US by exporting an increasing percentage to Japan and other East Asian countries.  

Think this through. If it were easy (possible) China would have done it. Chinese economic growth has been possible because of cheap labor. Increasing labor costs and inflation are already starting to cause stress in the model. The same is true for the US currency assets that China holds.

It's a mutual suicide pact and not yet clear who has the upper hand. If nothing changes, China look better over the long term. But stuff changes.

You could say that:

China could bury the US if it wants to destroy itself in the process

- OR -

The US could bury China if it wants to destroy itself in the process

Neither sentence means much in reality. They won't and they don't.

Jack: Nonsense. This entire discussion would have been considered to be: in 1976-ludicrous, in 1986-absurd, in 1996-improbable. Now you are debating it. If current trends continue, in 2016 you will be telling everyone why you knew all along that the USA could not compete and identifying the scapegoats (the workers) that caused the downfall.
Which is why I can't see them "dumping the dollar" en mass.  Its like a negative feedback loop or something in econ.
China is devoting ~40% of GNP to capital investment (infrastructure + private).  This is near maximum levels.

Slowing this down to, say, 25% and increasing domestic demand coupled with increased exports to oil exporting nations (+ Japan, metal exporting nations, etc.) could offset much lower exports to the US IMHO.

I'm not sure that is possible. A large portion of the capital investment is FDI, not Chinese government money. And if it stopped flowing, jobs would be lost and domestic demand would shrink.

That aside, what mechanism do you suggest for diverting the cap ex to domestic demand stimulous? I suppose they could just dole out cash and hope people spent it. However, I doubt that would be sustainable.

I think over time, China will boost domestic copnsumption and that is the greatest threat to the dollar. However, I don't think it can happen overnight and until it does China needs a place to stash its cash. And despite the ranting of TOD posters, China knows the dollar is still the best place to put it.


BEIJING, Aug 25 (Reuters) - China should be careful about diversifying its foreign-exchange reserves, two academic economists said in remarks published on Friday.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily quoted Ding Zhijie, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, as saying switching reserves out of dollars could fan expectations of a stronger yuan and so spur unwelcome capital inflows.

Non-dollar assets would also be less liquid, Ding said.     As a result, he recommended that diversification be carried out gradually and be largely limited to new inflows of reserves, not China's existing stockpile of $941.1 billion.    "In the process of diversifying the structure of China's foreign exchange reserves, the principle should be liquidity, safety and stability," Ding told the paper, which is the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.   China does not publish a breakdown of its reserves. The paper said in its report that 70 percent was held in dollar assets, but it gave no source.

Zhang Liqing, a professor at China's Central University of  Finance and Economics, said China should gradually buy more sterling <GBP=> and euro <EUR=> assets -- bonds as well as bank deposits -- to reduce the dollar share of China's reserves.

Ding said China should not emulate the likes of Russia and South Africa and diversify into gold.  Those two countries had bought gold mined at home, whereas China would have to buy bullion on the international market at a time when prices are high, he said.    

The same logic applied to oil: with prices high, it was not a good time for China to use its reserves to buy oil, Ding said.     A better strategy would be for China to explore for oil overseas, he said.

((Reporting by Eadie Chen, editing by Alan Wheatley and Ken Wills; alan.wheatley@reuters.com; +8610 6598 1235))

What the Chinese could do :

  • change the fiscal structure, to encourage enterprises to increase wages at the expense of capital investment
  • institute a social welfare system, to give buying power to the huge masses of people who are excluded from the economic boom.

This could bolster domestic consumption hugely, and trade with the US would quickly become very marginal.

They could therefore stop paying alimony to the US, and let the dollar crash.

After all, the fantastic economic success of the USA for so many decades was based largely on economic autarky : the US was its own source of raw materials, and its own boom market. Imports and exports were pretty marginal.

Your first point, change the fiscal structure is so general it is really meaningless.  I would like to see you expand on it and could probably agree.

I don't disagree with your broader point. As I already noted above the greatest threat to the US dollar (other than George Bush) is the development of Chinese domestic consumption. If you think this can be done quickly, I would guess you are underestimating the difficulty. I also think you are overestimating the role of raw materials in the industrial and post industrial era. The primary US resource at this point is a legal and economic infrastructure that encourages investment and risk taking.  The so many decades you note were a century ago.

The so many decades you note were a century ago.

No, I was thinking about the decades up to about 1980. Or whenever it was that the US started its structural trade deficit habit.

Surely, 30 years ago, the USA was the most trade-insensitive of the major economies. I'm thinking that this is where the Chinese want to be, as soon as they can get there. The only real obstacle being their... dependence on imported energy.

Oh, and their growing dependence on imported food. Not smart.

Wow, in Sweden rail maintainance and investments are 0.4% of BNP and road maintainance and investments 0.6% of GNP. About a single percent not including rolling stock, cars, etc.

This is too little. :-(

If current trends continue, this will happen eventually. Guys like Bernanke are preaching right now that the massive current account deficit is a good thing. Shades of Enron.
Was Diamond wrong about Rapa Nui?


I just skimmed this and have no real opinion. But Diamond is a TOD prophet and Rapa Nui one of the favorite doomer bible chapters. Will be interested to hear feedback.

I cannot claim to know the merits of the case.
Diamond works the way generalists usually do.
Generalists can't know everything. Some of their fans think they do.
Generalists unavoidably see the past through the lens of the present. They can't immerse themselves in the past sufficiently to catch a glimpse of the reality their subjects lived.
those apply to EVERYONE not just generalists.
generalists have one advantage over specialists that count in this situation. they can see how systems interact, how they feed off each other even though they might not be directly related.
Yes, some things apply to everyone.
I have no brief against generalists, or against Diamond.
I do wonder if anyone here has ever read an erudite antiquarian history. I've never seen one cited.
Antiquaries do see connections that will escape generalists.
Historiams who work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, for 20. 30. 40 years on on topic before they venture an opinion, yes, they do partially avoid seeing the past through the lens of the present.
From the article :

Radiocarbon dates from work I conducted with a colleague and a number of students over the past several years and related paleoenvironmental data point to a different explanation for what happened on this small isle. The story is more complex than usually depicted.

More complex, may be but we would like to know.
The author does not give much explanations :

"it's the rats"
These prolific rodents may have been the primary cause of the island's environmental degradation.

"they shot the indigens"
Before he had advanced very far, Roggeveen heard shots from the rear of the party. He turned to find 10 or 12 islanders dead and a number of others wounded. His sailors claimed that some of the Rapanui had made threatening gestures. Whatever the provocation, the result did not bode well for the island's inhabitants.
Newly introduced diseases, conflict with European invaders and enslavement followed over the next century and a half, and these were the chief causes of the collapse....

Plain denial and NO real arguments.
He seems to say that the population at the time of discovery was the "normal one".
When, why and how did they built the statues then?
This smells of bullshit.
We need some "second source" on this story.

I think you always have to use a moving average with things like this, and see if future papers reinforce or undermine this position.

But strictly for what it's worth, I did a quick google to see if rats kill palm trees:

According to a grower at Dalbandin, over 1000 date-palm trees have been destroyed within one year. A survey revealed that initially rats started eating from the fleshy root zone and then moved upward to the central pithy zone resulting into destruction of the entire tree. Besides, the young non-bearing trees between age of 10-15 years are still vulnerable to rat damage.


That would be pretty freaking sad, if what (IIRC) was the world's largest palm tree was killed by rats.

Rats or no rats is a very minor point.
If the inhabitants have never numbered above 3000 as stated by Terry L. Hunt, when, why and how did they built the statues?
Even if Diamond is wrong about the details there HAS BEEN A COLLAPSE!

i agree.
this is a hypotheses at best, needs more evidence to prove it and disprove the previous one.
Jack, I highly recommend you read Guns, Germs, and Steel. I had the advantage of reading it years before I had even heard of peak-oil. I picked it up in an airport bookstore when it was first released, because I thought the title was interesting. Diamond is incredibly intelligent. This is not to say he is infallible. I also have an unread copy of Collapse I inherited from family members. Guess I'll grab that now.

I have no opinion either. Although I find it fascinating stuff. Thanks for posting that link. I'm glad I read it first.

I wouldn't exactly call Diamond a TOD prophet. He's in a different league. I think he exists in a whole different world, but his work has been used by the prophets to push their case. Diamond does his own research. His work is not derivative.

I keep meaning to read Tainter. When I'm in the bookstore I always forget to find it. Last time I went straight for Heinberg's new one. From what I hear, he is "the" prophet. Oh, wait, maybe that's Hanson. Has Hanson written a book?

He may not be a prophet, but Rapa Nui is a scared cow and hence suitable for target practice. I though this might stir things up a bit.
First Easter Island, and now Pluto. What other cherished stories are going to fall today?

Oh the humanity.

Kunstler and Hirsh both got it last week. Do you think TPTB are assinating our heros?
And where is Stuart Staniford?

Angry Chimp are you out there? Who dunnit?

I've got to admit - I miss Cherenkov. He would eat the Chimpster for lunch. I really do. I was actually starting to agree with him. Then he stopped posting. I really regret this.

Anyway. Gotta get back to my Jared Diamond Collapse. Fascinating. Just the first 3 pages of the Easter Island thing is worth the price of admission.

I don't know about this Pluto thing. The whole gig was foisted upon us by some nebulous nefarious group of shadowy scientists to start with. Turns out it is only half the size of the moon. When I got tought that in school, when they throw that stuff at you, I never remember anybody making the point that it was half the size of the moon. In fact I remember exactly nothing about the planets, because someone figured it would be a better idea to drill into us the different types of cloud formations for about three weeks, and make sure we could spell every one. Guess what. I can't spell even one. Cumulous. Uhuhuhhuh. Fourth grade sucked. Third grade was so much better. Pluto! Ugggh. Can't we at least destroy this planet in an organized manner before we try to reclassify others?
My Very Early Marrows Just Suited Uncle Ned.

That's all, folks.

Yes, poor little Pluto has been kicked out of the family. It was always obvious that he was adopted (orbital plane is way out of line with his siblings). But still. Pretty rough.

The International Astronomical Union has decided that, to be called a planet, an object must have three traits. It must orbit the sun, be massive enough that its own gravity pulls it into a nearly round shape, and be dominant enough to clear away objects in its neighborhood.

i.e. to be a "real" planet, you've got to be a big, fat bully. Pluto is relegated to runt-planet status, along with new girl on the block, Xena, and (humiliatingly) Ceres, a mere asteroid.