DrumBeat: August 30, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/30/06 at 9:17 AM EDT]

Kurt Vonnegut Says This Is the End of the World

"I'm Jeremiah, and I'm not talking about God being mad at us," novelist Kurt Vonnegut says with a straight face, gazing out the parlor windows of his Manhattan brownstone. "I'm talking about us killing the planet as a life-support system with gasoline. What's going to happen is, very soon, we're going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum. And there go the school buses. There go the fire engines. The food trucks will come to a halt. This is the end of the world. We've become far too dependent on hydrocarbons, and it's going to suddenly dry up. You talk about the gluttonous Roaring Twenties. That was nothing. We're crazy, going crazy, about petroleum. It's a drug like crack cocaine. Of course, the lunatic fringe of Christianity is welcoming the end of the world as the rapture. So I'm Jeremiah. It's going to have to stop. I'm sorry."
[editor's note, by Prof. Goose] Also today is an interesting catch by Mike over at Green Car Congress on Dick Lugar:
In the keynote address to the Richard G. Lugar-Purdue University Summit on Energy Security, at Purdue University, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-IN) called for a set of immediate action to address US transportation energy vulnerability, including flex-fuel capability in all new light-duty vehicles, accelerated investment in cellulosic ethanol and the institution of more aggressive fuel economy standards. Lugar asserted that none of the major stakeholders—the oil companies, the car companies, the Federal government, and US consumers—are taking the necessary, substantive actions to address what he calls a national security emergency.

Current oil price satisfactory - OPEC president

Gasoline prices could keep falling

Gasoline prices are falling fast and could keep dropping for months.

"The only place they have to go is down," says Fred Rozell, gasoline analyst at the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). "We'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving."

Oil, Oil everywhere! How consumers are being duped

If our legislators really want to help "WE THE PEOPLE" they would mandate the construction of two new refineries in America and when completed we would see gas below $1 a gallon very quickly. But really, what oil company wants to make less money than more?

Peak Oil and the Fall of the Soviet Union

Californians weigh a new tax on oil companies

STUDIO CITY, CALIF. – As Los Angeles motorist Jill Cantrell removes the pump nozzle from her Honda Civic gas tank, she spouts out two figures: "$56 for a gas tank for me and $78 billion in profits last year for the oil companies," she says. "I'm livid."

BP = Big Problems

BP's reputation as one of Britain's biggest corporate success stories took a fresh battering yesterday after the oil giant confirmed that it is being investigated in the US for possible manipulation of the crude oil and petrol markets.

U.K.: Energy protesters blockade nuclear power station

Iraq’s parties reach deal on oil-sharing

Petronas disputes Chad expulsion order

China says Japan 'generating new conflicts' over gas field dispute

Aussie brothels offer discounts on gas bills

[Update by Leanan on 08/30/06 at 10:23 AM EDT]

Good article. Just about everyone who's anyone in the peak oil community is mentioned. Hirsch, Simmons, Lynch, Kunstler, Pfeiffer, Yergin, Diamond.

End of an era

Global demand for oil will one day overtake our ability to produce it cheaply, and prices will skyrocket as half the world's easily extractable oil is gone. But when? A growing number think soon - if it hasn't already happened.

[Update by Leanan on 08/30/06 at 10:46 AM EDT]

Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 25, 2006: Oil and gasoline inventories higher than expected, sending crude prices lower.

I was just reading yesterdays CGES response and find the closing sentence illuminating:

"....and that is as much as we dare say on this subject at present"

They know PO, that's for sure

I love Vonnegut and his unfiltered Pall Malls.  He is someone about whom I would be proud to say (his works) are a fine example of American culture and literature.  Are there any contemporaries in American literature that one could compare to him though?  
Tom Robbins?
Robbins?  Definitely.
Also, try Bukowski.
Philip Roth.
Thanks.  If you are going to be suggesting authors, it would be great if you could also point to one or two books that you like.  I know at least that Robbins is very prolific so knowing what to sample would be nice.  

BTW, I didn't know the NY Times had dubbed Vonnegut the "laughing prophet of doom".  He would fit right in on many of these peak oil sites with that handle.  

Wait a few years, and you'll have your modern day Steinbeck. Faulkner comes to mind. Nothing spawns good inspired stories as well as misery does. See, it iIS good for something. Link it to Leanan's posting on dying drying farmers and we're talking Nobel material.
Good music also is born of misery.  Something else to look forward to :(

The world of Boxing will probably make a comeback as well.
I can see all kinds of outlawed entertainment coming back with a vengeance. Cock fighting comes to mind.

Well with less oil there will be a lot less policing by the government.  At least at the federal level.
Um, cock fighting never went away..... illegal sure but so's tearing that tag off of your mattress.

There's all kinds of stuff going on, ways of life, etc that are hidden from the owning and chattering classes but are part of reality for the dreaded underclass. Growing up, I sometimes wondered if we'd landed in the 1970s or the 1930s.

Hey Fleam,
I know cock fighting happens. I just meant that we would be watching cock fights in people's front yards instead of in the basement of some tenament building in Tijuana.
Hello Dinopello,

Excellent Point!

I don't have satellite radio like Sirius, so I don't know if they already have a "Peak Channel".  But they ought to have one while they still can.

Is there an WWWeb radio station that specializes in the "Songs & Poetry of Doom"?  I think a economically viable market for this exists--might be a good way to hammer into the reptilian-brain level of those who are text-averse to actually studying Peak Everything.  Could help many to conserve and push for political reform.

The revenue would come from advertisers like booze, guns & ammo, painkiller & sleeping pills, bicycle mfg, etc.  The playlist could be interspersed with snippets of dire news, or interviews with experts to help further juice the advertisers' sales.  The playlist would feature the songs and the audible reading of poetry that is often posted here on TOD.

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

Morbidly funny there Robert...
Paul Fussell, a great critic and skeptic.
Joseph Heller:

Catch 22
God Knows

Sorry, I can't recommend any authors, but I love the end of the Rolling Stone article.

"Now I'm forced to suffer leaders with names like Bush and Dick and, up until recently, 'Colon.'"....

That'll get a laugh from me every time.

Good authors, but how about some current authors that aren't contemporaries of Vonnegut?  My suggestions would be Douglas Coupland (Generation X) and Neil Stephenson (Zodiac and Cryptonomicon).
Oh yeah, Coupland, "Girlfriend In a Coma" and the one where the protagonist has all those hair-care products....
No, thats 'Shampo Planet'.
Yeah, Girlfriend In a Coma AND Shampoo Planet, GF in a Coma is much more depressing lol.

Shampoo Planet kinda cops out at the end, Microserfs too .... a job/jobs appear(s) and all ends well.....

We've got a ton of great articles in the MSM these days!

As we all know we're going to run into a famine in the near term.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=reutersEdge&storyID=2006-08-30T091750Z_01_SP 21186_RTRUKOC_0_US-MARKETS-GLOBAL-GRAINS.xml

"It is going to be a year of tight supplies," said Mark Samson, vice president for South Asia of the U.S Wheat Associates. "And with expectations of high world prices, more hedge funds are increasingly paying attention to this market." The interest of investment funds in grains is growing and helping to push up prices. The Deutsche Bank Fund now allocates 22.5 percent of its investment funds to wheat and corn trading.

I think I might be stocking up on some cereal now.

For those finance/econ people who want to read a little about the Bonds that are rebuilding New Orleans.


That's the way bond investors should think about New Orleans on the first anniversary of Katrina. Focus on a few things that didn't happen, and be thankful.

The city didn't become a ghost town, the state didn't turn its back on the hard-hit municipality and there wasn't a wave of municipal-bond defaults.

That's very good news, because bad things like that, had they occurred, would surely have augmented the toll of human misery throughout the region for some time to come, delaying a recovery already likely to take years.

More Detroit news ony this time they are reducing retail outlets.  Well everyone BUT GM.  They must know something no one else does.


Falling production levels by Detroit automakers could force many smaller dealerships around the country to close or consolidate.

Some dealers think attempts to cut are downright dumb.

"I know of no manufacturer in the world that would attempt to reduce its problems by reducing outlets," says Jack Fitzgerald, whose dealerships in Maryland and Florida include Chrysler and GM brands.

"Only Detroit would come up with that stupid conclusion."

On Tuesday, the NY Times ran an article on the failing corn crop in the northern Great Plains:  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/29/us/29drought.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The article talks about how they don't have enough corn for the 2007 Corn Palace.  When I visited the Corn Palace on a cross-country road trip in 1991, I wondered what they would do if, as predicted, climate change made it impossible to grow corn in the Corn Belt.  I guess that we're about to find out.

Hello fellow pessimists (I was going to say doomers),

Wanted to recommend a little light reading (took me 2 days to finish) if you need a new doomer fix, but are a little tired of PO.  It's  Dark Ages America, The Final Phase of Empire by Morris Berman. For those of us who tend to think that Americans lack something in their psychological makeup to deal with the serious issues that are looming, this is one speculation.  It's not perfect,  the collapse thesis could be more fleshed out, but the historical perspectives on the "American character"  and the tit-for-tat history of our involvement in other countries for our own interests is very good.


check out "Dark Age Ahead" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Age_Ahead

Jane Jacobs -- just recently deceased at about 89 years old.  Famous activist and author of incisive deconstruction of modern consumer society-- "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Jacobs#The_Death_and_Life_of_Great_American_Cities

Prophesying collapse is not new.  And collapse has occurred many times in the past.

The interesting question is "what shall we save?"

The interesting question is "what shall we save?"

Indeed. That is the most important question around, as Lovelock and others have said also. Yet here we (rhetorical "we") are willy-nilly trying to save the Titanic.

I keep waiting for someone to say "screw this" and start doing something about "what shall we save?"

Its too late to save the Titanic, I think. And this is coming from an eternal optimist.

Instead of trying to save a doomed ship, its now time to say screw it, grab what we can, and make for the lifeboats.

and make for the lifeboats.

Where do you see lifeboats?

Where do you see lifeboats?

Lifeboats are not going to materialize out of the thin air through the power of prayer, nor will they be provided free of charge by the Titanic's crew. We have to build them in our local communities using whatever skills and resources we have at our disposal, now. Here is one of the lifeboats I've been working on in my community:


So far, we have distributed several thousands of edible fruit trees, and planted a bunch throughout town. We are focusing on low-maintenance edible perennials in order to maximize local food production with minimum inputs. There are loquats, figs and mulberries growing around town with no care at all, producing thousands of pounds of fresh fruit. I would love to have this model replicated across the country.

All of our labor is volunteer labor, with most of the work done on weekends, and the land for our nursery is 'leased' for free from a local organic farm, which is conveniently located within the city limits, 20 minute bike ride from my house. Our next step is to plant a lot of edible perennials in the city parks in partnership with the city's parks department.

Local activists here managed to stop the city-owned utility from building a new coal power plant, and are pushing the city commission to construct a smaller biomass plant that would use locally available waste wood (which is currently burned or dumped in the landfill) instead. Tomorrow night, we are having a workshop with the city and county commissioners on building a better bicycle network.

If we are going to make it through peak oil and the aftermath (OK, it is a bis IF), we will have to work real hard on the very local, low-tech, low-energy mitigation solutions. Moping and lamenting the lack of lifeboats will not do us any good.

big IF, not 'bis IF'. Darn Roman alphabet.
<Lifeboats are not going to materialize out of the thin air through the power of prayer, nor will they be provided free of charge by the Titanic's crew. We have to build them in our local communities using whatever skills and resources we have at our disposal, now.>
 I agree 100%. Everyone should consider their personal situation and work to mitigate the effects of peak oil for themselves and their loved ones. There is no 1 size fits all answer. But everyone needs to prepare as they see fit.
Prepare on the individual, family and  community level as much as possible.
Everyone should consider their personal situation and work to mitigate the effects of peak oil for themselves and their loved ones.

Though this seems the "most reasonable" thing to do it is EXACTLY what will bring the collapse (EVERYBODY is doing that already, Peak Oil aware or not).
We should think "out of the box", that is, out of the The Prisoners' Dilemma and out of Zero sum games.
See GliderGuiders' opinion in another thread which I fully endorse.

What peterburger said.

I never said they were all ready there. Sometimes you have to jury rig something out of 'floatable' materials...

Global Warming Walk: Five Qs&As with Bill McKibben

Meteor Blades: If you rubbed a compact fluorescent bulb and the Eco-Genie popped out to offer you one wish - passage of a single piece of narrowly focused global warming legislation - what would you ask for?

McKibben: I think the rapid phase-in of a 40 mpg average for new cars. Because the technology is there to do it easily, because it would demonstrate to us that the change in our sacred lifestyles will be very small at first - and because it will give everyone the added benefit of saving some money on gas. Unless you drive a hybrid, you can't believe the number of people who sidle up to you at a gas station and ask some longing questions about exactly how far it goes on a tank of gas.

And after that I'd work my way down Energize America 2020's  list of policies. I just wrote an overview article for Sierra magazine on our energy situation, and described that joint effort as the single most impressive package of energy policy anyone has yet concocted.

"40 mpg average for new cars"?  That's the best he could come up with?  It doesn't matter if everyone gets 40 mpg if we keep adding millions upon millions of people to the planet every year.
Not only adding people but adding vehicle miles driven per person.  Both those things have to change.  But, I always wonder about this high mileage problem.  My 1978 Mazda 5 passenger, hatchback averaged over 40 MPG.  It was a light car with a small engine (1.3 litre I think).  No magic required.  Here's a vintage add you can buy from ebay (why anyone would buy it i don't know, but it shows the mileage)


Six weeks ago I bought an '02 Corolla for $7700.  36MPG!  No fancy battery pack. Great little car! The cars are there, people just have to buy them.
It doesn't matter if everyone gets 40 mpg if we keep adding millions upon millions of people to the planet every year.

It matters ESPECIALLY if we keep adding millions of people to the planet.  I imagine that's part of his point.  Or would you prefer we keep our 22 mpg status quo?  

You evidently disagree with his suggestions; perhaps you can recommend alternatives?

Um, a massive Great Depression-style public works project to build out rail based trasportation systems in and between American cities;

OR a massive public works project to build nuclear generators, windfarms and solar farms, going hand in hand with a mandated switch-over to electric cars;

OR a rapidly rising energy consumption tax along with massive tax credits for alternative transportation, and making homes extremely energy efficient;

Now none of those are politically feasible right now. But talk to me in 3 yrs...

The fact is that our quaint little notions about economic freedoms are going to disappear so enough. Better to start now and actually get something useful done.

It's also my belief that with the massive dislocations in store for us from energy shortages and resultant economic turmoil, our belief in America an open society and democracy is probably not going to exist in a decade. Hope I'm wrong about that. But societies under severe strain are rarely open. Britain during WW2 is one positive example we might look to though.

Electric cars aren't going to work.  You want to plug 200M vehicles (we'll say only 100M) into the grid at night or during the day?  It really doesn't matter since the grid as it stands is at/near capacity.  From what I've heard from expat it's ready to crumble.

Electric cars en mass, ain't gonna happen.  I can see electrifying rails and the first part of your second choice, just not the cars.

All the rest is sad, but true.


It's a question of priorities.

If we instituted a command-economy imperative to spend $400b shoring up our grid and another $400b constructing plants, it could work. Override local rights to sue, environmental regulations, immediate emminent domain, institute a TVA-style workforce of a million or more... that would all be required.

But again, we're absolutely running out of time, even for measures like this. Which seem "extreme" while we are all still watching SUV ads every 5 minutes on TV, but retrospectively might seem pretty agreeable in ten years compared to the fix we'll be in.

<<Lugar asserted that none of the major stakeholders--the oil companies, the car companies, the Federal government, and US consumers--are taking the necessary, substantive actions to address what he calls a national security emergency.>>

This is a Republican senator talking for god's sake. It's just a very slight acknowledgement of the tip of the iceberg.

Our society and the particular breed of free market economy we have is failing catastrophically to deal with these problems. That needs to be recognized immediately and we need to put aside all the various objections and deal with the situation as we have in the past when faced with emergencies like WW2 and the Civil War. In essence, becoming more of a command economy.

I do not think that the free market (ie free to make money and devil take the hind-most) will save anyone in the west.

Yesterday I posted a long dense paper (pdf, 42 pages) on the U Boat blocade of Britain. I will post it here again.

http://www.jmss.org/2003/spring-summer/documents/rev-weir-cdfai2.pdf#search=%22uk%20imports%20during %20the%20u%20boat%20blockade%22

Why do I think this paper is important?

  1. UK Access to imported calories after peak oil will become progressively like the U Boat blockade.
  2. The UK immediately developed command economy which started in 1939 and really kicked off after the fall of France in May 1940.
  3. The government was able to take over all aspects of of life: re-directing industry, agriculture, supply, rationing, clothing, alcohol , you name it (Even to an ordinance limiting the level of Bathwater in your bath to a height of 4 inches). You can see how this worked from many of the tables in the paper.
  4. It happend with the full support of the UK population
(A well armed bunch of professional soldiers across the channel tends to wake up the brits...eventually). Everybody 'did their bit'. Some examples were a little bit daft: Collecting Aluminium pots and pans to melt down 'to make Spitfires' - more about morale than turning out 'Spits'.
5) Many minor entitlements and rights were suspended for the duration. But overall, civil law remained in place throughout (very important to keep the civilised and civilising rule of law if you are fighting to keep the flame of democracy lit...eh Rumsfeld?).

It was total war.

Peak Oil, ultimately will require the same level of application and approach. It cannot be any other way.
A free-wheeling market economy in the face of ever reducing resources, food, economic activity is not up to providing the basic needs of a population under such duress. Either you all 'hang together' or all hang separately, or even the poor hang the rich.

Trouble with PO is that it is not a tangible enemy. It is invisible, it manifests itself at the pump or in higher bread prices. It has detractors and many appear persuasive. It cannot be easily displayed , like shot down Luftwaffe fighter aircraft in Trafalgar Square...

There is therefore no apparent sense of urgency that can galvanise a population.

I've already looked quickly thru your essay and think it's fascinating.  The emphasis on shifting consequences into the future is important because that is the one thing we clearly cannot afford to do right now, but will be tempted to.  I would like someone to write an essay on the details of the non-quantitative issues enumerated above: the British approach to wartime central control and curtailments on civil liberties.  It is appalling that Americans assume that in "wartime" we immediately give up all our civil liberties before we give up any of our material excess.  The issue of how democratic Europe dealt with a war on terrorism in the 1970s is also worth considering.  The Europeans did not for a second dream that they could create perfect security by surrendering all of their civil liberties or imprisoning government critics.  They lived with the occasional violence just like we all live with traffic fatalities and chemical-caused cancer.

Thank you for re-posting that -- I missed it the first time.  Excellent stuff.

But yes, yes, yes. Britain in WW2 should be our civilizational model right now. Moving into command economy mode is the only legit response available.

Of course, the fact that our political leadership is dangerous, corrupt and deluded right now is not a cause for hope.

And it is not just PO. It is PO combined with accelerating climate change. It is far and away the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, and if we don't acknowledge it and begin acting immediately.

And what a terrible sham that the human mind, collectively at least, cannot respond the same way to abstract threat as a physical enemy.  

Think hard about the minimum level of central planning, it can be horrendeously misused, be carefull with how much you wish for. And market mechanism can be very efficient and makes room for other innovations then those pleasing the central planner.

That's kind of dodging the point.

Are you suggesting that British society in WW2 could have been as successful if the "invisible hand" were guiding all actions?

And did Britain emerge a free society after that centrally planned war effort?

Could the US space program have blossomed without central planning?

There's this dogmatism (probably the result of corporatist propaganda) that central planning of any economic enterprise is dangerous.

But who has the power (in the US anyway) now?

An incredibly corrupt set of private, corporate interest that is functionally bent on destroying our civilization and our planet.
In the USA anyway, we have a coopted and corrupted "free market". I think where we stand is extremely dangerous.

I am well aware of the potential abuses of centralized economic planning. But at least there is a hope of success that way -- a proven track record of getting things done on a huge scale in a very short period of time addressing a very specific "enemy". That is our current fix.

I am weary of unnecessery command economy since to much of it has hurt my country Sweden while cunningly supporting market mechnisms have encouraged fast technology development and fielding. The later is of course a state intervention and so on but you need to be sceptical while proposing state interventions to not let thru leftist of other control agendas.

If it were business as usual, fine.

The point is: we are in a very tight fix and if to improve our civilizational and societal odds of getting through this intact we need to get a lot very quickly.

My educated opinion is that centralization is the only way to do this.

Free market economies have gotten a lot done in times when existence itself is not on the line. But when things are bad (thus the relevance of the WW2 Britain example) the fear tends to override the greed and investment capital becomes scarce, etc. For whatever reason, the system is just not able to function as effectively -- to achieve as much, as quickly, and with as much social unity.

When it is pretty clear what you need to do (as in this case: put together an energy infrastructure for a post-PO world where climate change is threatening to spin out of control, so its gotta be carbon neutral) and the stakes are life or death, planned and/or command systems have a good track record. Free markets do not. (Though I'd be interested in any examples to show otherwise.)

If we were truly thinking of the greater good, we very well would have electric cars as we hope(BIG ONE TOO) detroit would take care of retooling and the massive gov't overhaul of the grid would modernize the infrastructure.  Only problem with that is these companies will need to go back to regulation to prevent this crap from happening again.

I like the idea of electric cars and I'm sure we'll have some, just not the mass produced everyone's got one era.  Sadly we know this isn't going to happen anyway.

I wouldn't count out the electric car and thin film solar as the one two punch that takes on the existing auto industry. The solar is supposed to be $.50 per watt within three years from companies now going commercial (three at least, this year) The breakthrough in lithium ion batteries (A123, Toshiba, etc.) allows much faster recharge rates, less than 10 minutes, ( Toshiba claims 80% recharge in 1 minute), dramatically increases recharge cycles by an order of magnitude, and increases energy density  2-3 times vs. conventional lithium ion. Cars that can go 250-400 miles between charges and recharge in 5 minutes are right around the corner. Recharging a spare battery pack at home or a battery system which can then recharge your cars battery at night is totally feasible with the projected costs of thin film solar. The key word above is COMMERCIAL for both technologies. There are no breakthroughs required to make this happen, just ramped up production. As I said before, the race is on to see if we have enough energy to ramp up quickly enough, but I am much more optomistic than even 6 months ago.
Preach it! Solar was made for cars. Give me some pv, & an electric suv, and you can tell OPEC to stick it where the sun don't shine, literally. They are so close to a system that makes $ense, I can smell it.
50 cents per watt..................

I just got some cells, super score, .10 a cell. Now, 24 of them will give me about 12 volts at about 500mA. That adds up to $2.40 my cost, divide that by 6 and I get .40 a watt. But! I got a screamin' deal, one wayyyy out of proportion to the present cost of cells. These cells are worth more like $1 each, $2 each built into ready to plug in assemblies, that means $4 a wall.

So, how do we get from 50 cents a watt from $4 a watt, when the cost of processing semiconductors is rising fast due to the massive energy inputs required?

Nanosolar. These people are building the facilities to produce as much PV panel per year as the rest of the industry combined... starting 2007. They are credible. They have demonstrated that their processes are cheap and scaleable.

Main trick is : no silicon.
It's thin-film printed semiconductor (nanotech Copper-Indium-Gallium-Diselenide) on a low-cost flexible substrate.

I hope they've got options on the raw materials they need.

I know about Nanotech, who are the other two?

I'd like to buy shares in all three... one of them will probably corner the market, if they have different technologies.

Check out the following-Innovalight, Konarka, Miasolé, and HelioVolt,  In December, Honda Motor said it will enter the thin-film business and mass-produce cells by 2007. also check out http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/02/south_africa_pi.php

The grid isn't at capacity, or even close to it, at night.

Electric cars (even if augmented by small IC engines) will work.  The changeover won't be as fast and the grid can be upgraded.   There will be will to do this once gasoline hits $10-$12 and the electric cars---presumably from toyota first---are a real option.

Upgrading the grid doesn't violate any laws of physics, unlike trying to replace all our petroleum consumption with biofuels.

Of course if you run the numbers, the cost for lots of new nuclear plants and electric grid upgrades is huge.  But then again, so it the size of the oil industry.  Once you consider that alternate energy will be an industry as large as the current oil industry (as it has to be) the ability will be there.

Naturally it will be tight and expensive but people will do it.

Get out of Iraq now and cut the defense budget in half. Throw that money in the kitty.  Should be a pretty good start to what we should have been doing 30 years ago.
I heartily second that view!  The preamble to the Constitution includes the phrases, "...to provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty..."  The activities ongoing in the ME do not appear to be satisfying those precepts.  At the same time the downsides of climate change cry out for the funds being wasted abroad to be better spent here at home.


Hi Mort,

Think about who pushed for war in the ME.


BushDick thinks we need oil to "provide for the common defence (how else do we power our war machines to protect our homeland?), promote the general Welfare (without oil our economy would tank), and secure the Blessings of Liberty" (actually I'm not sure BushDick cares about this one).

So BushDick is doing everything in his power to uphold the consitution. Right?


I believe that at its root, the justification for the ME adventure has been to sequester enough oil to supply our "non-negotiable" life style.  The great risk is a wrench in the gears of the war machine in the form of a cork in the strait of Hormuz.  This could not result in other than diversion of domestic oil to the war machine.  Because the domestic economy is already under substantial stress from excessive debt, sensitive housing and commodity markets, drought and NOLA costs, such an oil shock would, in turn, cause the domestic economy to tank, or worse, to descend into tyranny.  So much for defending the homeland, the general welfare and the blessings of liberty.  IMO the risks at this juncture are far greater than any likely benefits.


Ill stand by my prediction that electric cars won't be available as mass produced vehicles on the same scale as now.  Many elites and the like will drive cars on empty roads, but working class people will be on trains.

When you get down to it, it's still not efficient at all to have 100M or 200M electric cars.  Cars are the most wasteful forms of transportation and where does the electricity come from?  

NG - we know better.  Coal - Maybe, but I don't think everyone is gonna want to deal with the health issues, but I'm sure I could be wrong.  How else does this electricity get generated?  Wind - THe most promising alternative won't scale enough to keep cars on the road, let alone the homes heated and/or cooled.  Hydro - mostly tapped, not to mention GW.  Solar - another promosing venture with little hard evidence that it can scale across the country, only limited to areas with lots of sun.

Yeah, I think you're wrong on coal:  people would MUCH rather deal with the health issues than give up automobiles.  Of course, using electric cars also cuts out a HUGE source of pollution (and a few large, centralized emission sources are easier to scrub than a hundred million moving sources), so it might still be a net positive.

You also left fission off the list.  People don't like it, but we may have little choice.

Ill stand by my prediction that electric cars won't be available as mass produced vehicles on the same scale as now.  Many elites and the like will drive cars on empty roads, but working class people will be on trains.

Really?  The problem with trains is that they don't go where almost everybody needs to go.  Working class people need to go to work, university, grocery store, etc.  In 98% of the nation, there isn't remotely enough rail.

What is the cost of laying huge amounts of new rail, buying up the right of ways and upgrading the rail grid?

It's much more difficult than converting to electric cars and upgrading the existing electricity grid which does go where it needs to go.

I think it's more likely that working class people will be riding scooters, economy motorcycles, and jitneys as is common today in the 3rd world.   They are already priced out of ubiquitous petroleum consumption.

You'll see electric or hydraulic-hybrid private jitneys making neighborhood rounds.   More practical than trains for most in the real world.

Look at the 19th century---even where there were train lines people were still extremely dependent on personal transportation for everyday needs:  the horse.

Trains may replace much medium-distance air travel.

When you get down to it, it's still not efficient at all to have 100M or 200M electric cars.  Cars are the most wasteful forms of transportation and where does the electricity come from?

Coal, hydro, nuclear, and a little wind.  The midwest USA will have lots of wind, but there isn't much potential in other places because of climate.  Only offshore in the coasts is there enough wind.  

West coast is impossible because the continental shelf drops off very fast and the ocean is much too deep to put a wind farm.  On the South East, there's this little problem called "hurricanes" which are guaranteed to wreck your spindly little windfarms.   That leaves only the northeast.     And that's Nimbyville.  See "Cape Wind", which is probably geographically as good as it gets for offshore wind in USA combined with need.

They'll be building many nuclear plants in the Southeast.

Again, at the risk of sounding like a whackjob (at least to people who are a bit fuzzy on the nature of the threats we're facing), those questions of NIMBY and eminent domain and all the other hurdles to doing much-needed work to build out rail infrastructure, shore up the grid, and build a hell of a lot of nuke plants and wind farms, simply needed to be neutralized.

We need to start thinking of war-time modes with a much more powerful and active government.

Expanding coal use would be a disaster. It'll probably happen anyway, because it's such low-hanging fruit (even if poisonous).

No, the grid only stands "at/near capacity" during peak hours.  At night, there's plenty of spare capacity to charge electric vehicles.

This takes energy, of course; extra fuel would have to come from somewhere.  One simple source is the oil saved by conversion to electric vehicles.  Instead of converting it to gasoline (~83% efficiency) for Otto-cycle powertrains (14.9%, net 12.4%) we could just de-sulfurize it (maybe 93%?) and burn it in combined-cycle turbines (55% or better, net 51%).  You'd have some losses in transmission and whatnot, but you'd get at least a 2/3 reduction - AND you could substitute coal, landfill gas, wind, solar or cogeneration.

For simplification, assume vehcle miles driven per capita stay the same, and the same percentage of drivers.  

If we have 7 billion people now driving 22 MPG cars and oil is has plateaued (assume not peak for simplicity), we need to do something because population is increasing.

If we incrementally increase fuel mileage to 44 MPG, we would have the same situation at 14 billion people.  Is that a better situation?  Then maybe we could increase fuel mileage to 88 mpg and 28 billion people I suppose.  

It seems at some point, we either can't increase mileage further or we all start to die from pollution, famine or pestulence, although on the bright side we get to continue to do our long commutes to work/school/shopping every day.  

I thought that was what he was talking about.  

My prefered 'solution' is to reduce the mandatory transportation that we seem to have in our everyday lives by planning and building settlements that are compact, walkable and mixed-use and that have daily needs within walking distance.  Connecting these settlements with rail is then feasible and efficient since once you get from one settlement (sometimes known as villages, towns or cities) to another you can get around easily.  

This is a slow process (creating/retrofitting settlements like this), but it is happening in many places across the US.  

Now, IF you could increase mileage and use the reduced pressure on energy prices that would result to plow into fixing our setlement patterns then yes it is a good idea.  However, it seems that unless there is some other public policy changes at the same time it will just perpetuate system with no future.


So much for Bill McKibben.  An articulate, pious fraud for my money.  (Yes, I buy magazines to read his articles.)
Some of the commenters have missed the point that McKibben, in addition to calling for a 40 mpg average for new cars, also endorses the Energize America program (a better link than the one above). I regret the length of this summary, but it appears many are unaware of the extent of this program.

Energize America Acts

I.......The Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act ("500mpg cars")

II......The Transportation Industry Efficiency Act ("Long Haul")

III.....The Fleets Conversion Act ("Mass Transit")

IV.....The Community-Based Energy Investment Act ("Neighborood Power")

V......The Passenger Rail Restoration Act ("Bullet Trains")

VI.....The Clean Coal Generation Act ("Clean Coal")

VII....The Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Act ("Harvest the Wind")

VIII...The 20 Million Solar Roof Act ("Harness the Sun")

IX.....The Renewable Portfolio Standards Act ("Fair Everywhere")

X......The Federal Net Metering Act ("Get on the Grid")

XI.....The State-Based Renewable Energy Investment Act ("Green States")

XII....The New Energy Technology Demonstration Act ("Liquid Coal and Golden Glow")

XIII...The Sustainable Energy Economic Prosperity Act ("Focused for Lasting Success")

XIV...The Carbon Reduction Act ("Atmosphere Stability")

XV....The Federal Energy Policy Enforcement Act ("People's Energy Watchdog")

XVI...The National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Act ("EnergySMART")

XVII..The Home Efficiency Act ("C the Light")

XVIII.The Demand Side Management Act ("Real Time Energy Pricing")

XIX...The Telecommuter Assistance Act ("Work Smart")

XX....The Energy Security Funding Act ("Paying the Piper")

The laundry list is great, but when the eco-genie gave him one wish he blew it on a 40mpg average.  He could have wished for a carbon tax that slowly increased or something.  That would end up getting him all his other wishes.
The CNN article I read about this ealier this morning said that gasoline consumption was down this year compared to last. Now I notice they've performed a ninja edit and taken that out. I like online news but I hate the way they update their articles without showing a history of the changes made.
Whats funny is that gasoline consumption isn't DOWN from last year.

*Sluggish demand. Gasoline use in the first eight months of the year is up 1% vs. a year ago, less than the 1.5% to 2% growth that's typical, says Michael Morris, analyst at the U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Wholesalers are trying to get rid of product. The growth in demand for gasoline has really tapered off," he says.

It's funny that demand is "sluggish" when it is GROWING 1% over last year.  Consumption IS NOT DOWN, it' still UP a measly 1% from last year.  I lvoe how they frame this stuff to read.

But I'm quite sure consumption is down in many other parts of the world due to the high prices.  And it is a worldwide market.  So less consumption in the "poor" countries means more for us to guzzle and slightly lower prices.  Which will probably last until Iran gets bombed.  Then it's "oil shock" time!  And we can blame the Ay-rab "fascists".
So less consumption in the "poor" countries means more for us to guzzle and slightly lower prices.

This doesnt make sense.  If we are in a WORLD oil market then the spot price of oil is the same throughout, it is denominated in dollars after all.  If we outbid "poorer" countries than we would not be paying lower prices, they would be higher since we had to bid higher than these "poor" countries.

Since we consume nearly 25% of this WORLD total, I would surmise we make a hellava lot more difference in total consumption than these "poor" countries anyway.

But those poor countries can't afford it anymore.  Not at these prices.  They subsidize fossil fuels so their people can afford it, but if they keep that up the gov'ts will go broke.  And they can't fake that like the US, which has been bankrupt for many years of course.  So this adds to the world supply.  Supply/demand.  And the economic downturn worldwide we're starting to see lessens demand.
Start back at the beginning of what I said.  My focus isn't the world consumption.  The issue is US consumption and wether it is increasing or not.  World consumption is up too seeing is how 85mpd is more than last year and the year before, etc.

The point was that MSM says "sluggish demand" yet it's still growing.  It's a bit backwards.

There is no adding to supply b/c one country can't pay for the gas.  Maybe you should attempt a read at a freshman econ text that explains S&D.

Oh, economics.  Sorry, I deal in the real world.
Explains why you don't get S&D.
Or maybe you should crack open that book again.  And I could have sworn that a few responses ago you started out talking about world demand.

World aggregate demand is composed of demand from all of the countries of the world.  If demand declines in one country, that is, not instantaneous demand but longer-term demand, then it would indeed either provide more for other countries or lower prices.  No increase in world supply is needed for apparent supply to increase in a given country because another is using less.

Look at it this way, if the crashing US housing bubble puts us suddenly in a nasty recession next year, our demand for oil may also fall.  Probably not quickly, but over a short period.  Assuming that other countries don't also fall into recession (probably a bad assumption, but bear with me for arguments sake), the supply we didn't use is now available for others.  That unused supply floating around the world oil markets should cause prices to fall.  

If we're ever going to get to $40 a barrel again, this is how it's likely to happen.  Significant recession somewhere, either in the guzzling US or in lots of less-guzzling countries, reduction in local demand resulting in a large enough reduction in aggregate demand to lower prices.  The other option is a sudden increase in supply, which doesn't appear to be on the horizon.

I didnt start out talking about world demand.  Sunspot brought up poorer countries and how they will help us save money on the price of gas when they don't buy it.  It's funny how one post can get so off course and we're not even talking about the orignal topic.

I merely pointed out the fallacy in claiming sluggish demand (USA) even though it's GROWING.  Demand isn't sluggish when it's growing.  That's all I was pointing out.

Now of course consumption is going to be down in select countries(micro).  The truth is world demand (consumption) has done nothing but increase YoY.  How are there going to be lower prices when the supply remains relatively fixed and demand is growing?  This is what I'm trying to get at.  When the supply isn't changing but the US wants to consume 1% more than last year, we are going to pay higher prices, not lower as sunspot said in his response.  We are taking supply from these poorer countries by outbidding them for the oil.

This would be a whole lot easier with some nice graphs or a data table.

Demand isn't sluggish when it's growing.

Not true.  Not growing as fast as expected is sluggish.  

The population is growing.  If demand is not growing as fast as the population, then yes, demand can be sluggish, even when it's growing.

Never mind the can of worms that our growth-based economy opens up.  Where increasing sales by "only" 1% disappoints investors and causes your stock to tank.

I'll leave the semantics debate for anther day.
I'll leave the semantics debate for another day.
Come on! We live in the US where the government "cuts" spending when all they really do is cut the increase in spending.  The whole thing makes perfect sense to me. :/
Tate, I suspect that demand growth in the developed countries is hiding demand loss in poorer regions. Total Demand Increase = Increase from developed countries - decrease from undeveloped ones.

In other words, demand isn't sluggish at all in the First World. The growth just appears sluggish because some of the poorer regions have dropped out of the tussle, thus negating some of the increases.

The original article spoke strictly about US DEMAND. US DEMAND isn't sluggish when it's growing.
Perhaps the author should have written 'sluggish growth'.
But when growth is the norm, sluggish can stand alone and still mean sluggish growth.  Soaring, increasing, sluggish, flat, falling, crashing.  Watch for them. They are the usual modifiers and this is the order in which movement in demand is normally depicted.

Speaking of language (uhch-umm), as a long time advocate for rail, I note with pleasure that the press makes little or no use of the term 'rail buff' anylonger.  Legitimacy, at last.  And an indication, that the main challenge we face is mental.

yes it is, in a purely semantic way

it is totally stupid, and insane use of words, but that is what media are about.

yes it's misleading, and it's propaganda of the US copyright Adolf kind, but still:

sluggish growth IS possible, it's not an oxymoron

It's amazing how much goes down the memory hole. I've taken to File->Print->File for every important article and archive them all as pdf. It takes a bit of time, but I have my references and can search that. Saves me time compared to google.

cfm in Gray, ME

And what does that memory hole net you?  So you can say "I told you so?"

Who controls the present controls the past.

Who controls the past, controls the future.

The Memory Hole simply drove Winston Smith mad -- but the nightmare went on.

BTW, I too, have my Winston Smith file.  But I rarely look at it.  It makes me cry for all the missed opportunities

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has an article this morning Mississippi Dangerously Low

With the river this low, the size of barges is limited, reducing the amount of grain and other products that can be shipped down the Mississippi.

They've been suffering a 500-year drought in the western U.S., and it's sobering, how far-reaching the consequences are.  Farmers are losing their crops and selling out to developers.  Businesses that depend on fishing or boating tourism are losing money.  Towns are finding their drinking water intakes left high and dry.  Transportation is suffering, since there's not enough water for barges (including the barges that bring coal east).  Hydroelectric power is suffering, but so is nuclear, since nuclear plants still use water.  

The conflicts among these different uses are already getting heated.  I could see water wars in the west again.

Don't forget the coal plants!(over half of US generation) They mostly are located on rivers, draw water to run their steam generators which must be cooled before being returned to the rive/lake from whence it came. Also many of them receive their coal by barge.
So is hot water being sent back into these rivers?  Or does it cool on its own before being piped back in?  I'm clueless on electricity generation at the factories.
They use cooling ponds or cooling towers to avoid raising the temperature of the river or lake the water is drawn from.

When people envision a nuclear power plant, it's often the cooling towers they think of.  But it's not just nuclear plants that use them.

So those big holes in the sky are cooling towers?  Sorry like I said, I never stopped to ask how it worked before.
This is a cooling tower:

So where is the actual nuclear stuff contained?  Inside the box there I assume.

What happens when that river floods?

The dome is the containment structure.  


Watch out.  You might be violating the Unpatriotic Act.
This is the most insane waste I see.  Does anyone know how many greenhouses you could heat with this stuff.  My god the growth I could get.  Plants love root zone heat!!!!!  In northern climates this is soo wasteful  
All heat engines emit "waste" heat.
It's part of how they work.
Welcome to the laws of thermodynamics.

(BTW, before you go all super genius on us, yes engineers have figured out that they can use the waste heat for co-generation purposes)

I can see that...nice cooling tower wasting heat...imho
In France, not all of the heat is completely wasted. It's not a thing that's widely advertised (for some reason!), but market garden greenhouses are heated by the waste heat from the Bugey nuclear power plant about 50 km east of where I'm sitting. There is another, further south, where they use heat for a ... crocodile farm.
The water that goes back into the river is generally warmer than the river upstream of the power plant. Regulators have determined a "safe" temperature for water discharges from power plants, but the water is warmer (i.e., the cooling towers and ponds don't cool the water to the temperature of the river upstream. Makes me wonder how they determined what temperature is safe.
I suspect they measure the temp and then state that the measured temp is safe.  :-(
I've seen, first hand, the results of this. On the south end of Biscayne Bay there is a large nuclear plant that dumps its "cooled" water back into the bay. There is a very large (I'm not going to guess how large because its been years since I was there)dead zone where this water comes into the bay. Its absolutely crystal clear, you can see the sand at the bottom even at well over 20' deep. Its even sort of beautiful as the water appears a brilliant blue, whereas where stuff is growing on the botton the water is greenish. Of course, as there is no seaweed or other bottom growth, there are no fish, either.

On the other hand, I haven't seen it, but I hear that the manatees love to play in the nice warm water that comes out of various powerplants here in Fla.

I like that!  Just like telling people smoking is safe...
typically, the state regulatory agency will set seasonal temperature limits to ensure that that the mixed river temperature downstream will not exceed a set limitation, and will often set maximum discharge temperatures and temperatures within a mixing zone downstream from the discharge.

Another significant issue with power plants is that they will evaporate a significant amount of water.  During drought conditions, this will reduce the amount of flow in the river, and raise the dissolved solids levels in the river.  

Global Warming sucks.
I've actually more the impression that it blows.
It's your first choice. In the European heatwave this summer, nuclear plants were forced to limit output because the river water was too warm to receive their warm water as well. You get oxygen problems at a certain point. And dead fish, and...
I'm clueless on electricity generation at the factories.

Good question.
The turbines of a generator plant spin because there is a pressure differential between the hot-steam side and a cool condensed side of the water/H2O flow. The "condenser" of an electrical plant is just as important as the boiler in creating that difference in pressure (P2-P1).

In fact, when people learn that James Watt invented the "steam engine" they are being misinformed. Watt came up with the idea of including a "condenser" in the steam path. When steam hits the condenser, it rapidly cools and shrinks in volume, thuse creating a low pressure zone that opposes the high pressure zone created at the boiler head.

The cooling towers are there to rapidly remove heat energy from the condensers so that low pressure can be maintained on the condenser side of the rotating turbines.

Aren't you glad you asked?

That pretty cool stuff, even if it was proposed over 100 yrs ago.  Seems simple after you're told how it works.  Your additional diagram made it clearer than the one on the website.
Substitute a boiler where coal is burned to produce the heat in place of the reactor and the above drawing then becomes a coal plant. Either one can be forced to shut down in extreme heat or drought.
Not quite true.  Engines before Watt used condensation (had to, because their boilers couldn't run much above atmospheric due to lousy materials); they worked on the difference between the atmosphere and the relative vacuum of condensing steam.  What Watt did was to separate the condenser from the power cylinder, allowing the cylinder to remain hot at the beginning of the next cycle and taking far less heat (and energy, and fuel) to operate compared to Newcomen's system.
Speaking of coal... at the end of BBC news article about coal in Wyoming... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5295922.stm   there is a most wonderful quote from a politician...

Jim Esche, the Democrat candidate standing against Lee Terry in Omaha says:

  "I think we can do whatever we want with energy. If we want to come up with brand new forms of energy, I'm pretty confident we can do that too."

You've just got love politicians... who needs the Laws of Physics...??

Yeah, magical thinking. We just have to want it and it will come true. LOL Politicians get elected by telling people what they want to hear.
Demand, my children, and it shall be supplied unto you. Learned that in collitch.
Where are the Supply/Demand curves for Cranial Candy and Instant Gratification?

The common folk demand Candy (Happy News) for their Brains and the Politicians eagerly deliver.

Vote for me and ye shall get everything for free.

The Candy Man

Speaking of water issues, the Omaha World Herald reported last week that for the first time in 65 years water may not be released from Nebraska's largest lake, Lake McConaughy, for irrigation purposes in central Nebraska in 2007.  The article is behind a registration wall.


Here are some of the pertinent quotes:

For the first time in the 65-year history of irrigation from the state's largest reservoir, farmers in south-central Nebraska may not receive water in 2007 because the lake is falling to record low levels.

Nearly 900 irrigation customers in Gosper, Phelps and Kearney Counties would lose a significant source of water for their crops.

Johnson Lake near Lexington and three other west-central Nebraska lakes most likely would go dry.

The Nebraska Public Power District may not have enough cooling water to maximize the amount of electricity generated at its plant near Sutherland.

Low inflows into McConaughy, blamed on drought and upstream groundwater pumping, have not been adequate to refill the reservoir since 2000, despite Central's attempts to reduce outflows, said Tim Anderson, a Central spokesman.

The lake is expected to sink to an all-time low elevation - about 20 percent of capacity - sometime in mid-September.

"This is almost beyond people's ability to comprehend," said farmer Tom Schwarz of Bertrand, who uses water from McConaughy to irrigate cropland.

Lake McConaughy is on the Platte River, and is the lifeblood of much of the farmland of central Nebraska.  This is mostly corn and soybean country.

Posts by Consume More, Leanan and others above point up what could be a most significant economic and social problem in the immediate future, with global as ewll as domestic aspects.  If drought conditions continue to affect many parts of the US for several more years, some among the following dislocations will or may occur:
    1) closing power generation facilities that use cooling towers, leading to brownouts and blackouts.
    2) substantial reduction of grain harvests, mainly corn, wheat, soy beans and rice.
    3) many small and medium-sized producers bankrupted by inability to irrigate.
    4) reduced grain exports to sensitive populations.
    5) shortages and inflation at grocery counter.
    6) lowering water tables with dry wells for personal and small town water systems.
    7) add your own concerns.

Insofar as there is risk of any of these happening, a lesson should be drawn that access to food and water is more important to survival than access to alternative fuels and such luxuries as air conditioning.

Think of the 1930s dust bowl years as a trial run.


I like my lights and my ac for sure, but I'll take food and water any time if it came down to it.
This is mostly corn and soybean country.

Marginal land which was not meant to grow corn and soybeans, I might add.  Nebraska has not set limits on irrigation, so more wells have been sunk every year.  Irrigators dependent upon Lake McConaughy use a canal system for irrigation.  There has been competition between pivot irrigators (causing lower levels in the Ogallala aquifer) and surface irrigators.  Western Nebraska city wells have had problems because of these lower aquifer levels, as well. The increased demand and price for corn because of the ethanol plants springing up everywhere have increased the incentive for this irrigation, but it has happened in a time period of drought, so that irrigation is becoming more expensive and less available.  From a recreationists standpoint, this is really sad because the Lake is a real jewel.  It had over 100 miles of shoreline, much of that shoreline wide sand beaches, since its located in the Sandhills.  Wonderful for sailing, Don.  The irrigation district owns 100% of the lake, so recreational use is not its priority.

Likely much better suited for a drought resistant crop like switchgrass.  For use as a solid, space and water heating fuel of course.  What a continent.  Want to be a respected welfare queen? grow corn, process corn, promise that you can save the automobile.
Goodbye ethanol and good riddance.
Not so fast tstreet.  It is always surprising what well-known individuals pop up in Iowa, especially at the Iowa state fair, but it seems RR's and our friend, Vinod was there this week.  

Investor touts E85, flex-fuel cars

Ames, Iowa
Corn ethanol puts us on a trajectory to energy independence," said Vinod Khosla

he believes the nation can "replace our dependence on gas with home-grown fuels within the next 25 years"

Khosla also said that:
-the volume of ethanol that can be produced from an acre of corn will increase from about 500 gallons to nearly 3,000 gallons within 25 years.

Personally, I'd really like to see this guy expand his vocabulary.  

It seems like he didn't listen to TOD'ers and RR's arguments too well, or else they didn't influence him, except for an afterthought in the article's last sentence.

We need to make sure its (investment) based on facts, not hype.
Any area that is used to grow a corn crop suitable for ethanol, or soy beans suitable for biodiesel, is an area that would be better devoted to growing food.  Despite the need to find alternative fuels to underpin a successful powerdown, such crops should be restricted to areas with marginal soils.

Wherever they are grown, crops to be processed into biofuels also require water.  The energy used to produce and deliver that water should be part of the EROEI equation.


We need to make sure its (investment) based on facts, not hype.

Baby steps.

I am going out to Palo Alto in a couple of weeks. Maybe I will look Mr. Khosla up and see if he wants to chat over lunch.

Make him pay and order the most expensive thing on the menu.
Baby steps?

Nah, trajectory !

Robert you'll love Palo Alto, all those yellow ribbons on SUVs, and you'll probably never see more Hummers than you'll see in the Bay Area so bring your camera so you can send some good shots to www.fuh2.com
The restrictions so far (9 & 9.5' drafts, narrower floats) are NOT extraordinary.  Many shippers will wait till spring when rates decline.

The Tenn-Tom allows a full draft alternative at times like this.  Narrower strings, locks slow things down on that waterway.

This happens every few years.

Of course things could get worse; OR a nice, wet hurricane could dump massive amounts of rain on the Ohio River Valley.

according to this Dutch article http://www.telegraaf.nl/buitenland/49137591/Carter_gaat_praten_met_Khatami.html
The Washington Post reports that Jimmy Cartet will engage in talks with former Iranian President Khatami.

Can anyone find out if it is reported what will be discussed?

Yesterdays article in the Post Gazette would seem to merit more attention than it gets so far. Comments from TOD's experts on depletion are called for. Building 250 new refineries (or more), total price tag presumably well over $1 trillion, is a feat in itself. It gains a whole new dimension when you consider that we'll be past peak once most come online (2010 and after).

"The hefty profits have spurred many new projects. Scottish oil consultancy Wood MacKenzie counts 500 plans to expand or build refineries world-wide, and figures that maybe half will actually get done. Few are in the U.S. Despite considerable expansion and upgrading of existing American refineries, oil companies haven't built a new refinery from scratch in the U.S. in 30 years."

Two-fold question, I suppose:
1/ How do we rhyme this huge expansion with dwindling supplies? Naturally, there'll be a shift towards heavy crude refining, but still, we're talking mass migration here,
2/ Effects on US. Moving refining capacity out of North America will have impacts. What will they be? Let's address energy security, shall we? US refineries will close, one would guess. How much money and employment can we expect to see leave the US economy?

It would be useful to have more information on all the refineries now in the planning stages. Do we have that information available somewhere?

Could this be more evidence of increased local consumption by (soon to be prior) exporters?

To use the crude it has to be refined and we did it, but now that they need it locally, they will have to refine it locally.

I suppose the answer would be in where those refineries are located.

Looks like we are going to have to put PO on hold for a few years. Govt & API figures today show we are just overflowing with Crude, Unleaded, and distillates.

Some degree of hoarding seems to be going on. That doesn't necessarily mean that supplies are rising. In fact, it's frequent both a symptom of and a contributor to scarcity.
Anyone want to make bets this trend will continue
to, oh say, the November elections?
And then bounce back up in the Dec/Jan timeframe?  You nailed it...very convenient isn't it.  Just when the Democrats had their rallying cry to get elected...high gas prices.
(it's all just a conspiracy, there's plenty of oil...)
As TOD's semi-official conspiracy nutcase I would appreciate it if you would check with me before firing off "unofficial" conspiracies!!



Okay, AC, how does this sound.  KSA has been secretly pumping millions of barrels into storage in an operation called SAVETHEFREAKINGINFIDELSASSSOTHEKINGCANHOLDHISHANDATLEASTONEMORETIME.  Michael Lynch was tipped off, thus his "prediction" that oil will hit $40 soon.  The GOPpers are saved, Michael is famous, and the King gets to fondle george, and all his cousins are once again welcome at the whorehouse.

Whaduya think, AC, do we have a movie here?

GOP: the Grand Oil Party.
I like it!!!! But to get a movie deal we need to somehow fit the "EVIL" Council on Foreign Relations into this plot.  Like maybe we could fit the CFR's "the sky is falling" premiere mouthpiece, Matt Simmons, into this with all his "dire" predictions and book deals (a little extra cash never hurt) to help jack up and justify the high price of oil so Team NWO could siphon the rest of the wealth from us before they drop the hammer on the hapless proles.  You know the Daddy Bush and all his cronies WILL HAVE THEIR NWO!!  


Everyone is so Bush laughing at his borderline retarded son they can't even feel the rope tighten around their neck.  Cheers to Daddy Bush and his son!!  Checkmate!!

Call Michael Moore


"The trouble with most folks isn't so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain't so."
~Josh Billings

NWO= Niggers Without Oil?

"The trouble with most folks isn't so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain't so."
~Josh Billings

Don't know Billings, but he stole a Mark Twain line.

Um - could be shades of the mid 70's again - I lived thru that PO era as well.

Here come Kuwait anouncing the coming online of more light sweet earlier than planned:

Is this the same Kuwait that said a few weeks ago they would clarify what the TRUE oil reserves were and most likely limit production to mere % of total reserves to maintain the fields?  Hmmm...
No wonder people want to pull their hair out - you can't believe ANYTHING the sources in the ME say. But if it is shades of the mid 70's - then watch out - OIL GLUT!!!
The announcement that this would definitely happen was made on July 18th. It said that their true reserves would be announced within days.

Since then there have been other demands for clarity in reserves:

But since the newely elected opposition party has stated they would do this, there has been nothing but silence from them. Days have turnet to in almost a month and one half.

Now you know that if they actually found that they really had 100 billion barrels of reserves, thay would have announced it immediately. But I suspect they have found that the truth is that less than half that amount actually exists. And of course they are having second thoughts about revealing the truth.

Im firmly in your camp.  This smacks of something's off.  Gas around my area is $2.54/gal and it hasn't been this since one year ago prior to Katrina.  Little has changed, I would argue it's gotten worse, yet my gas is mysteriously cheaper as we begin the commercials all over TV.  Glad I got cable and lots of movie channels, then again I'm stuck reading through text books so maybe I won't notice the advertising as much.
I think anyone that believes anything will change come November should just take a long Rip Van Winkle nap and see what things are like when you awaken 100 years in the future.
By change in November, I mean politically.
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the powers that be work hard to keep oil and gasoline prices low as long as possible. You have to remember the Dems and Republicans serve the same masters. Why would the outcome of the elections in November necessarily affect the governments policies on oil and gasoline?

Perhaps I'm giving the government too much credit for being able to manipulate the market, but it seems to me when they put their heads together with the banks and the oil execs they could do whatever they pleased right up to the end. (Of civilization.)

With articles like 'Oil, Oil, Everywhere' its no wonder people get confused.

But I have to wonder -does the author of that article really believe what he's saying?

I want to share a poem with you all. These are the lyrics from Rage Against the Machine's 1999 album, The Battle of Los Angeles. The lead singer Zach de la Rocha was truly a "truth addict" who "spits fire". Enjoy. And remember:
"Hope lies in the smoldering rubble of empires"

The movie ran through me
The glamour subdue me
The tabloid untie me
I'm empty please fill me
Mister anchor assure me
That Baghdad is burning
Your voice it is so soothing
That cunning mantra of killing
I need you my witness
To dress this up so bloodless
To numb me and purge me now
Of thoughts of blaming you
Yes the car is our wheelchair
My witness your coughing
Oily silence mocks the legless
Ones who travel now in coffins
On the corner
The jury's sleepless
We found your weakness
And it's right outside our door
Now testify

Now testify
It's right outside our door
Now testify
Yes testify
It's right outside our door

With precision you feed me
My witness I'm hungry
Your temple it calms me
So I can carry on
My slaving sweating the skin right off my bones
On a bed of fire I'm choking on the smoke that fills my home
The wrecking ball rushing
Witness you're blushing
The pipeline is gushing
While here we lie in tombs
While on the corner
The jury's sleepless
We found your weakness
And it's right outside your door
Now testify
Yeah testify
It's right outside our door
Now testify
Now testify
It's right outside our door

Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set

Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now controls the past
Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now?

Now testify
It's right outside our door
Now testify
It's right outside our door

- Zach de la Rocha, 1999

I was listening to that on the way to work this morning. That CD stays in my player all the time. Their politics are a bit extreme, but what a great band they were.
Who knew? We both were listening to the same thing on the drive in. Nothing like riding in my coffin, banging to the funk blast.

They were an amazing band. Yet so overlooked in America. Sadly, so many people just listened to the burning guitar riffs and pumping bass lines but ignored the lyrics. Perfect example: their track "No Shelter" was released on the the Godzilla soundtrack. The entire song is about how American entertainment is a complete distraction from the real killer--consumerism and the oppresion that supports it. One of the lines:
"And Godzilla pure muthafuckin filler
To keep ya eyes off the real killer "
And it's on the soundtrack to the very same movie.

Certainly amusing, but not really unique. Pop culture has long been able to incorporate criticism of itself. Consider the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" - reputedly the most played video ever on MTV (when MTV actually played music videos.

But these are bands that were, from their inception, part of the broader consumerist oriented culture. The global capital regime is capable of coopting far greater counter-cultural movements than individual bands. Consider the corporatization of reggae music. Admittedly its connections to the Rastafarian  movement was strained from the beginning as it was part of the local "star" system, but look at the way rastafarianism has been pigeon holed and reduced to a genre. And we're not talking about some would be anti-globalization protestor from the suburbs, we're talking about people who really did set up a way of living outside the "global capitalist system" (even gamed it for awhile through promotion of cannabis and the early cultural counter penetration of some of those very same "stars" who converted.

Jamaica is by far one of my favorite islands.  Culture culture culture....oh and location, location, location.
  The Cosmo article linked above is a pretty good peak oil primer. I just wish they had tied it in to attracting a man or achieving a better orgasm so their readership would pay attention...now if we can get an article posted in Playboy next to the centerfold we might reach Americans!
Just for the record...the publication is Cosmos, not Cosmo.  Two entirely different magazines!

Agree that it's a good peak oil primer.  

Below is the copy of my e.mail today, no one but TOD gets me as Dan Ur at ceojr1963@yahoo.com so, you are all the product of Data Mining.

Hope you like the fact that TOD has made it to the mainstream on the data miners.

Yeah Yeah I am am the long lost son of some guy name james and I am his only hier in the universe.  Oh wait I did write this story a few decades ago, Oh never mind. Just a long lost billion.

Dan Ur, aka Someone Your Daughter knows.

HON Patrick  IJELE (MR)


Dear Respectful One

I have access to some legal and confidential information concerning a late Mr.James. T. Ur a resident investor here who recently passed away. I handled some legal briefs for him concerning a deposit of valuables and cash he made with a deposit company here. Owing to the demise of my client and by virtue of my relationship with him, I have decided to use all the resources within my power to retrieve the deposit,
since my client died intestate . Until this time I, the solicitors, have been trying to determine the whereabouts of any of the relatives who will assume the responsibility of safe guarding the estate of the deceased.

It is not my will to see the above matter treated that way hence I conducted a search that will assist me in first and foremost fighting for the safety of the consignment and all that is contained therein.I am very much aware of my client's last dealings with the deposit firm and I have the singular privilege of being in possession of some of the signed agreement papers. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client because If a relative is not found within six weeks then the Public Trustee will seize the entire estate of my late client, a substantial windfall for both the government and the deposit company.

I look forward to your cooperation and your extreme discretion in this matter. Until such time as this matter is settled, I will continue to work with you to see that the deposit is retrieved and forwarded in your name as a bona fide proxy to my late client. We shall within the course of the next few days plan and execute how best to pursue this mutual matter with a view to cost effectiveness, I have all the necessary legal documents that will be used to back up any claim we may make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. Please get in touch with me by email to enable us discuss further.

Yours sincerely

Hon Patrick Ijele Esq


I am getting around 10 of these a day now. Fortunately, Gmail sends them right to my Spam folder.

I recently read an account of a guy who ran a reverse scam on these scammers. He set up a meeting where there was an outdoor webcam, and got these guys to show up on 2 different occasions. He had carried on a long correspondence with them prior to setting up the meeting.

So what did he gain?

I marked it and all others as spam.  I really don't have the time to figure out ways to pull the wool over their eyes.

Thanks for the laugh though.

Charles,  aka Dan Ur.

These guys have the time...
Here's an interesting article. Though some of the scenarios he presents are extreme, its worth the read.


Follow that URL.  Keith Gottschalk does go on --

It is said that TOD is not the place for politics -- just facts.  However, they often intertwine.

America was built on a foundation of chattel slavery, where certain human beings (of African ancestry) were counted as 3/5 of a white person, and certain other human beings (the folks who were here when the Europeans arrived) weren't counted at all-- in fact, they were expected, and strongly encouraged to at least become invisible if they didn't have the grace to die.

Hydrocarbon energy replaced human slavery for a time-- it was much cheaper, and then no one knew what to do with the ex-slaves and the remnant Native Americans, so they were just left to the tender mercies of the Free Market.  Then Katrina showed that the Free Market has to enlarge past the fantasies of the World Bank, and include such inconvenient things as Nature -- which is, after all, the ultimate Free Market.

We know all this, of course.  Eloquently detailed in Ecclesiastes and Job, among other mythic sources.  We just forget from time to time...

"As Los Angeles motorist Jill Cantrell removes the pump nozzle from her Honda Civic gas tank, she spouts out two figures: '$56 for a gas tank for me and $78 billion in profits last year for the oil companies," she says. "I'm livid.'"

Ok, wait 1 second.  I just bought a new Honda Civic.  Those cars are nice little cars that have a gigantic 13.2 gallon tank.    Where in the world is she paying $4.30 a gallon?

no doubt a nice tip for the attendant
At $4.30 no wonder she's bitchin.  Now when the rest of the motoring public gets to this, things should be interesting.
Meanhile, in the real world everything remains simple: rich get richer, poor get poorer, and the US economy has added steroids to the process.

Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity

"wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960's"

"...the buying power of the minimum wage is at a 50-year low..."

Since the 1970's, 8.6% of US GDP has shifted from workers' wages to corporate profits. In 2006 terms, this represents 1.135 trillion dollars. Assuming there are 200 million "workers" in the US, each and every one of them has been tricked out of $5500 this year alone, or $11.000 for a lot of families, many of whom will soon see the value of their homes dive off a very steep clifff, while at the same time, how ironic, their mortgage payments soar.

How to survive in Kansas on a Bangladeshi salary. They call it poverty, we call it globalization.

But incomes are up ... I guess the moral of the story is that if you work for a living you're a sucker.
Drilling accident in Java: 11,000 flee

Four villages and 19 factories have been submerged in a 240-hectare (600-acre) sea of mud in East Java that is growing up to 50,000 cubic metres a day in a major environmental disaster triggered during an oil exploration venture.
Wow.  That's like something out of a horror movie.  Drill a little hole in the ground, and 50 acres of toxic mud come spewing out.  And the more you try to stop it, the worse it gets.

The interior minister even says he doesn't know if it can be stopped, EVER.  While that's extreme, it does make you wonder WTF happened down there?
Yes, it did make me wonder.  So of course I did some research.  ;-)

Mud volcanos are apparently common in the area, and some have been spewing mud and fumes for hundreds of years.  They are often associated with petroleum deposits.  

The drilling company was at fault.  They were reminded that they should use a casing, for safety's sake.  A casing would allow them to seal up the well in case something like this happened.  But they did not use a casing, despite the warning.  As a result, when they poured concrete into the hole to try and plug it, the mud just went around it, carving out the sides of the well.  

It was when this info surfaced that the company agreed to compensate the victims.

Hello Leanan,

Since you are the surfing expert-- could you please find, then post a link to a video of this mudflow [assuming it exists on the WWWeb]?  If 314,500 barrels/day are actually flowing out-- it should be dramatic video-- if not censored by the authorities in charge, like the welfare minister.

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

Ok, so do we know if this thing is just going to continue to spew?  is there NG in the mud, this is why the rotten egg smell?

Natural Gas is odorless.  My guess is it's sulphur.
Anaerobic respiration by sulfate reduction bacteria.
H2S (Hydrogensulfide) produces the rotten egg smell.
H2S is supposed to be more toxic than HCN (Hydrogencyanide), but because of the odor, people tend to avoid it.
NG containing H2S is called sour, like sour oil.
The drill apparently penetrated the Java subduction zone. The mud (it's ocean sediment and water) comes from the surface of the plate being subducted, before pressure has solidified it. It sounds to me a bit like cracking into Pandora's box. There might be quite a lot more mud to come.
Or, more likely, the hole got close enough to the boundary to cause a failure in the overlying plate. In either case, what were they thinking!!!
$$$$ is what they were thinking.
The mud (it's ocean sediment and water) comes from the surface of the plate being subducted, before pressure has solidified it.

Porsena, I am sure you are correct here, after all where else could the mud come from. But I simply cannot imagine how mud could be subducted. I would think as the hard plate being subducted scraped against the plate sitting above it, the soft mud would simply be scraped off. After all, the plate above would put millions of pounds of pressure per square foot on the plate being subducted. Yet the mud was subducted also????

This is the crazyest thing I have ever heard of.

Apologies for omitting the source, which is here.

Achim Kopf, a geologist from the University of Bremen, Germany, who has studied mud volcanoes extensively, explains that marine sediment can be scraped off an oceanic tectonic plate as it slides underneath a continental plate. If the sediment accumulates rapidly and water is trapped in its pores, this can stop the sediment being cemented by pressure. The resulting reservoir of mud can be trapped underground. In the case of the East Java mud flow, the mud is thought to have come from a reservoir some 2.7 kilometres below the Earth's surface.
Hello Porsena,

Great post!  I hope the irony is not lost to any readers:
"The drilling company is PT Lapindo Brantas, which is controlled by the family of Indonesia's powerful senior welfare minister, Aburizal Bakrie."
Obviously a huge conflict of interest!  Will they attempt to financially shield themselves, or is their primary concern to compensate the mud flow victims?

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

Hello TODers,

This would have been a tremendous oilfield, if they had found oil -- instead of toxic mud.  IF 50,000 cubic meters per day is the actual outflow:

  1. 42 gallons [US] or 1 barrel = 0.15898729 cubic meter

  2. 50,000 x 0.158987 = 7,949 barrels/day

If this exceeds the capacity of the original borehole, then we must assume this hole will get ever larger due to erosion, and the ejected mudflow will continue to increase until the underground pressure is equalized at the surface.

Pretty ugly in terms of total environmental degradation unless they can get this stoppered up!  Will the toxic chemicals prevent the concrete from setting up and gaining strength to be effective?  Any chem experts out there to respond?

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

Hello TODers,

Sorry, math mistake due to units confusion!  Should be 50,000 cubic meters/day multiplied by 6.29 barrels/cubic meter = 314,500 barrels/day --- a world class record if they had found oil.

1 cubic meter = 264.17205 gallons [US]

264 gallons divided by 42 gallon/barrel = 6.29 barrels/cubic meter

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


I'm not a chem expert but I'm an engineer. It seems to me that trying to get concrete to harden in a continuously flowing mud volcano is next to impossible, especially when, as you say, the hole will continue to get larger. Imagine trying to pour the concrete to build the Hoover Dam without diverting the Colorado River first. Pretty much impossible, and that seems to be what they're proposing to do here to plug the hole. Concrete needs to sit in one place undisturbed before it can harden.

I believe the claims of attempting to stop this mud volcano by pouring concrete in it are either from politicians who don't know better or are an effort to convince people that they're trying everything possible (in vain).

Hello Tandersonbrown,

Yikes!  Thxs for your reply-- looks like this area is toast-- I feel bad for the villagers.  Amazing the drill boss didn't insist on casing the original borehole.

They needed to cut costs, oh and they wanted that OIL NOW.  Who can wait for a casing when you need it yesterday?

Well I guess they aren't gonna find any oil then huh?

Makes me wonder if this sort of thing will happen more commonly. Folks are looking for oil in places that are not as stable, are on melting permafrost, or are generally less likely to produce oil. I would think the likelihood of these types of complications (and tragedies) is going to increase in our quest to find oil.


Does anyone have any information on the BBL (Balgzand Bacton Line) gas pipeline from Netherlands and the United Kingdom?  It is meant to be commissioned 1st Dec 06 with a capacity of 30mcm/day rising to 42mcm/day in March 07.

A few months ago I heard of problems at the Netherlands end... can we in the UK expect to see this new gas before the end of the year?


From the above link to the Cosmos Magazine article, Michael Lynch says:

"I think the current market is driven by speculation, and that we will see relief in the next few months."

Michael Lynch has been repeating that same line for about two and one half years now. In March of 04 when oil was trading at around $35 a barrel, Lynch said, in the Detroit Free Press, that oil would soon move back down to $25 a barrel. He said then that the "funds" and speculators were responsible for the high price of oil. But this is classic Lynch, from the above Cosmos article:

"demand determines production, not geology."

Of course, of course, all we must do is demand more and God will put more oil in the ground.

Ron Patterson

The irony is that oil prices may well moderate in the next few months, not because of reduced speculation or more supply, but because of a slowing economy. Lower oil prices forecast a recession. If so, everyone will be lulled into complacency with lower oil prices, only for prices to come back up with a vengeance at some point (after the November election, no doubt). It's concevable that oil prices could remain lower for a year or two if we have a lengthy global recession (housing crashes, Asia tanks, U.S. dollar falls, etc.)
Good points. I've been reading you lately, believe it or not. Of course Darwinian is one of my favorites so that helps, too. Keep on rockin' in the free world, as Neil Young would say.
I know Lynch has been famously wrong, but I also believe that oil prices are poised to drop off a cliff if we make it through hurricane season intact. I noted my surprise all the way back in the spring that they were hanging in at such a high level, despite very full inventories.

Now, I don't believe we are going below $50 a barrel, but I think we could see $60 between now and year end. I will be very surprised if oil is able to consistently stay above $70 in the next 3-4 months. I also think gasoline will continue to slide. Rack prices have gone down (at least in my area) far more than street prices have fallen. So, if you can delay that fill-up for a few more days, it might be a good idea.

However, if a hurricane shows up in the Gulf, or we slap serious sanctions on Iran, all bets are off.

I'll be even more concerned if the UN does NOT slap sanctions on Iran.  Leaves the door open for the Bush administration to take military action.  As long as the situation is left unresolved there will be some related risk premium in commodities prices, imo.
"despite very full inventories."

Where are inventories full, and where is marginal demand?

Oil inventories are very, very high. Gasoline inventories are not as high, and in some places are pretty low.
"Oil inventories are very, very high."

Any chance they're filled with heavy crude for which there is no refining capacity available?

Aaaah. I've been waiting for this. SAT camp. The figure is $57 by mid-November. Agree or Deny. The Gitmo for you, should you refuse to answer! Don't ever commit unless you are willing to commit. There is still time to back out. Your ass is covered. In fact, you still have at least two Get-Out-Of-Jail cards left. Yeah, TODers save their own.
"demand determines production, not geology"

This is precisely the reason for resistance to the concept of Peak Oil:  it strikes at the very core of the religion known as Capitalism.  Some 18th century preacher would have invoked the phrase "God will provide" in times of want; today, the sentiment "the Invisible Hand of the Market will provide" is what predominates, at least among those with access to the corridors of power.

If we have a striking example where the laws of economics are trumped by the laws of physics, as with Peak Oil, then perhaps the Market isn't the omnipotent God our society has made it.

"demand determines production, not geology."

This might be my favorite quote in the whole PO issue (though Deffeyes' comment about waving money at the ground won't put more oil in it is pretty good too). It also reminds me that I will never, ever truly understand economics, or at least economists.

I will never, ever truly understand ... economists.

When your only tool is an S&D graph, all solutions lie at the intersection.
Census bureau says average commute is getting SHORTER!  If you believe that.

The average daily commute to work has shrunk from 25.5 minutes in 2000 to 25.1 minutes last year

Other points noted in that report:

The share of people driving alone to work increased from 75.7 percent in 2000 to 77 percent last year.

The share of people carpooling to work dropped from 12.2 percent in 2000 to 10.7 percent last year.

The share of people using mass transit stayed the same at 4.7 percent.

The share of people walking to work dropped from 2.9 percent in 2000 to 2.5 percent last year.

The share of people working at home increased from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 3.6 percent last year.

Hello TODers,

Are events in Mexico increasingly pointing to rising conflict?
"With that in mind, it's been rumored that a contingent of US Special Forces has been sent to help the Mexican military guard the country's oil fields in case of trouble. Mexico's Pemex state oil company produces about 3 million barrels of oil a day and ships about half of it to the US, thus making Mexico one of this country's leading oil suppliers."

This hispanic website does not paint a pretty picture either:
"It is uncertain where things will go from here, but one thing is for certain - political tensions continue to grip Mexico and some are beginning to worry this might spark into a mini civil war."

Negotiations have not been fruitful so far for those in Oaxaca.  In Chiapas, tensions are rising as the election commission will have to oversee a challenge to the recent election.

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

a "mini" civil war?  What, is that akin to "civil war lite" like what's happening in Iraq.  Is that the new fashionable term to describe civil wars these days?  

thank gawd I live in northern Cali instead of southern :P

Hello TODers,

Wake Island may soon be gone because of Typhoon Ioke.  It is expected to totally submerge the island under storm surge and battering winds & waves.  Everyone has been evacuated already.

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

Hello TODers,
"The typhoon is expected to reach Wake Island at 1100 GMT Thursday with winds of up to 161 mph and gusts of up to 195 mph. Ioke will likely pound Wake Island with powerful winds and rain for about 10 to 12 hours if the storm continues to move forward at current speeds, Powell said."

To get an idea of what 195mph winds are capable of:

Hurricane Andrew photo: 2 x 4 driven through palm tree.

Hurricane Andrew photo: sheet of plywood driven through a palm tree.

Better yet, watch the astounding 120-160mph windtunnel promotional video at Skyventure.  My guess is a 195 mph windblast with flying debris would quickly turn a human into 'tenderized' hamburger.

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

Or the trees could have split when bent in a gust, and the foreign objects got blown into the cracks only to get trapped when the trees bent back.

Much more likely than the "spear" model, and unfortunately can't be confirmed or denied without much more detailed observation.

Or the trees could have split when bent in a gust, and the foreign objects got blown into the cracks

You never balk at the most outlandish deceitful distortions.
Fantasizing about MUCH MORE implausible explanations, which fortunately "can't be confirmed or denied".

That tells A LOT about all other arguments you make.
Thanks for the exhibit.

Did you look at the waferboard picture closely?  The crack in the tree goes way above and below the board through it, and the end of the waferboard isn't damaged as it would be if it punched through something.

As for the rest of what you say, I'm happy to have your distortions and lack of critical thinking on-record.

As I said: fortunately "can't be confirmed or denied"

For the OTHER photo I guess your explanation is that it's a fraud and the 2 x 4 has just been nailed onto the hidden side of the palm tree?

As for my "lack of critical thinking" I am not too sure everybody will agree.  

Fraud is one possible explanation.  Two others are:
  1. It was blown through the intact tree and punched through by impact.  However, the splintering one would expect to see on the exit path of the 2x4 is not visible.
  2. The tree split under the force of wind; the passing 2x4 flew into the crack and got stuck when the gust passed and the tree sprang back.  However, the crack one would expect to see above and below the embedded 2x4 would not be visible from the angle of this picture.

The reader who still cares can ask why someone of such self-proclaimed critical thinking abilities didn't come up with these himself, and pre-empt me by posting first.
The reader who still cares can ask why someone of such self-proclaimed critical thinking abilities didn't come up with these himself, and pre-empt me by posting first.

Because I have NO doubts about the reality of poles punched thru trees AND other wooden objects by hurricanes.
This without the need for fantasized explanations, it is hard to figure which point you are trying to make with this.

Not only are there many other photos of this kind around but I did see one family photo dating the 1928 cyclone in Madagascar taken by a direct eye witness, while your "arguments" are only hypothetical gibberish.
So far you are just confirming your penchant for outlandish deceitful distortions, a moron with gusto (or yet another psychotic TOD poster?).

Because I have NO doubts about the reality of poles punched thru trees AND other wooden objects by hurricanes.
Then you must have explanation (preferably with documentation) for the complete lack of splintering or compression of the impact end of the foreign object, the lack of splintering of the trees where the object exits, and the lack of scrape marks from the object being forced through the tree.  The vertical extent of the crack in this picture well beyond the region of the plywood also needs explaining.

You know, standard forensic stuff.

This without the need for fantasized explanations
Damn, my irony meter just blew out from the overload.
Looks like 400 million tons/yr isn't enough to dig out of Wyoming. BNSF and UP railroads are looking to further expand capacity to enable them to ship *500* million tn/yr. http://www.trib.com/articles/2006/08/26/news/top_story/e54fcff228d965d8872571d60004786a.txt
Does anyone have any idea of the size of a 500 million ton mountain would be?  The proposal includes increasing unit train size to *150* cars. UNREAL! I can tell you that the disruption to towns along the route is enormous now. Just wait!
As for the coalbed methane up in the Powder River Basin, it's going hell bent for leather.  One of the proposed solutions for the production water is to pipe the water, sweet to highly sodic, to the North Platte River, some 120+ miles away and dump it in. The North Platte is suffering just as much here in central WY as down in central NE. We actually had decent snows up in the headwaters this past year, good enough,in fact that the state didn't put a call on the water in April in Casper as it has done the last few years. Of course we turned hot and dry in April, the snow melted two months early and there was no sustained summer runoff to keep the highly managed North Platte River system full. All of the reserviors in central and eastern WY (Seminoe, Pathfinder, Glendo and Guernsey) are near alltime lows like McConaughey. The drought is threatening the very life blood of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the North Platte Valley. What global climate change? Heck, PO may not be near the issue around here as much as finding enough water to sustain our towns, let alone the farms.
Hello TODers,

Greenland feels effects of Global Warming.
Global warming has changed the climate in Greenland to such an extent, it is now possible to raise cattle on the island for the first time in centuries.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

You may recall my recent email asking the Red Cross on how they intend to prepare for Peakoil and Global Warming.

Well, I got a reply from the Red Cross today:
Thank you for contacting the American Red Cross.  We regret that we are unable to assist you.

The mission of the American Red Cross is to provide relief for victims of disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Accordingly, the American Red Cross cannot support such requests outside of its mission.

Please contact an appropriate organization to assist you.
So it looks like we cannot count on the Red Cross to be prepared WTSHTF.

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

Post of the Day!!!!!
Hello Kalpa,

Thxs for responding.  Actually the Red Cross's official policy is to join up with Walmart:  [Credit to Savinar's LATOC]

Pay To Be Saved: The Future of Disaster Response

The Red Cross has just announced a new disaster-response partnership with Wal-Mart. When the next hurricane hits, it will be a co-production of Big Aid and Big Box.

This, apparently, is the lesson learned from the government's calamitous response to Hurricane Katrina: Businesses do disaster better.

"It's all going to be private enterprise before it's over," Billy Wagner, emergency management chief for the Florida Keys, currently under hurricane watch for Tropical Storm Ernesto, said in April. "They've got the expertise. They've got the resources."

But before this new consensus goes any further, perhaps it's time to take a look at where the privatization of disaster began, and where it will inevitably lead.

Here's a snapshot of what could be in store in the not-too-distant future: helicopter rides off of rooftops in flooded cities ($5,000 a pop, $7,000 for families, pets included), bottled water and "meals ready to eat" ($50 per person, steep, but that's supply and demand) and a cot in a shelter with a portable shower (show us your biometric ID -- developed on a lucrative Homeland Security contract -- and we'll track you down later with the bill. Don't worry, we have ways: spying has been outsourced too).

Unless a radical change of course is demanded, New Orleans will prove to be a glimpse of a dystopic future, a future of disaster apartheid in which the wealthy are saved and everyone else is left behind.

Oh, Joy!  =[   I hope all TODers read this article.

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


That is off-the-charts hilarity!!! Pick a free book off my site and I'll it send it to you, it's a shame this post is buried so far down the thread. =(

Hello AMPOD,

Thxs, but no book is necessary.  But I will forward you a copy of my original message & Red Cross reply so you can verify it yourself.  Feel free to publish on LATOC if you wish [after removing email addy, etc].

We regret that we are unable to assist you.--makes one wonder how many millions of Americans will get this message as we go postPeak.  Yikes!

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

Here's a hurricane-related question:  How did we suddenly get from Ernesto to John?  That's five tropical storms/hurricanes that went by in a blip - with no media coverage particularly calling attention to this blip to speak of.
Hello PhilRelig,

They use two different sets of names--one for the Pacific, and one for the Atlantic. The eastern Pacific is just ahead of the Atlantic at this time. The hurricanes across the International Dateline are called typhoons.

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

I went and got the latest Rolling Stone magazine for the Vonnegut article, haven't read it yet but you know, this looks like an interesting magazine, seems to consistantly have journalism on subjects most mags won't touch.

Gas prices are indeed down, here in the Bay Area you can get gas for just under $3, I doubt that will last though.

Some kind of summer (autumn?) cold going around, cough.

Some propaganda I quickly rigged with my mad G1mp0r sk1llz:

What do y'all think?

Mmmm.... love it. "Do not tap your _ here"

Yeah! Do not tap your head, do not tap your dashboard, do not tap your penis, do not tap your __ ..... not here, anywhere but here!

Kinda like the ads for the financial service ING, where they have someone/something blocking the area before the letters ING...... makes the viewer think, Feeding? Fighting? Fucking? Ing ..... something Ing........