DrumBeat: August 7, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/07/06 at 9:20 AM EDT]

Rising oil price has wider impact

(CNN) -- Higher oil prices are starting to cause havoc far beyond the petrol bowser. Slowly but surely, the rise in the price of oil is pushing up inflation and interest rates and affecting people's spending habits and share markets.

How power-hungry cities drive projects like NYRI. Goal: Move excess energy to coasts.

Energy-efficient homes the wave of the future

Oil's twilight: The Chicago Tribune reflects on the meaning of Paul Salopek's special report on peak oil.

PTT Exploration Finds `Significant' Energy Reserves in Myanmar

U.K.: British high street targets energy-conscious consumers

Eco-friendly Britons seeking relief from soaring domestic energy bills can now pop down the high street and pick up solar panels for their homes.

Electrical goods group Currys became the first major retailer in Britain to sell the power panels after Britain experienced its hottest month on record in July.

Japan checking disputed oil production

TOKYO: Japan is checking whether China has started production at a disputed gas field in the East China Sea that Tokyo says may extend into its territory, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

The stated-owned parent of China's CNOOC Ltd. said on its Web site on Friday that the firm had begun production at the Chunxiao field in the East China Sea.

Dubai to take control of offshore oil resources

In planning energy future, think local, small and clean

OVERSHADOWED by the expanding debate over global warming, another environmental issue is heating up: the grim prospects that Appalachia and the other coal-rich areas of America face as energy companies plan a series of some 150 major new coal-burning plants.

Already, reports Joe Lovett of the Lewisburg, W.Va.-based Appalachian Center, the brutal mountaintop removal that operators currently favor as the fastest way to extract Appalachian coal has buried more than 1,200 miles of previously free-flowing streams and caused the loss of more than 1 million acres of the world's most productive hardwood forests.

[Update by Yankee on 08/07/06 at 1:22 PM EDT]

William Saletan reflects on why air conditioning is destroying the world

That's the problem in Washington today. Policymakers aren't facing global warming, because they aren't feeling it. They gave themselves air conditioning in the 1920s and '30s, long before the public got it. White House meetings and congressional hearings on climate change are doomed hours beforehand, when the thermostats are set. One minute, you're watching video of people sweltering in New Orleans. The next minute, you're watching senators dispute the significance of greenhouse gases. Don't ask whether these people are living on the same planet. In effect, they aren't.
AP has this story, which is related to our previous discussions of Robert Putnam's work:

Isolated Americans trying to connect

In bleak nursing homes and vibrant college dorms, in crowded cities and spread-out suburbs, Americans confront an ailment with no single cause or cure.

Some call it social isolation or disconnectedness. Often, it's just plain loneliness.

An age-old ailment, to be sure, and yet by various measures -- census figures on one-person households, a new study documenting Americans' shrinking circle of intimate friends -- it is worsening.

Among the causes: ever longer commutes, and the Internet, which gives people the illusion of intimacy.  You may have 1,000 "friends" on Facebook, but if you're arrested for DWI at 3am, will any of them go to the ATM for $200 and come bail you out?

I was particularly surprised to learn that many college students are spending all their time in their rooms, chatting online with their high school friends rather than meeting people in person.  I really enjoyed the campus social life when I was in college.  I'm an introvert, but in college, it was easy to make friends.  Hundreds of kids torn away from their old connections, eager to make new ones.  Not any more, I guess.  

I was sitting at a coffee shop over the weekend and two young women walked by. They were both talking to someone else on their cell phones. I've seen this alot, where two people would rather talk to someone else on the phone rather than the person they are with. No wonder people are lonely.

Our local radio host went to lunch two weeks ago at Big Sky Cafe and a dad and son sat down next to him. The son was listening to tunes on his ipod, all plugged in so to speak, and the two did not have a conversation with each other through the entire lunch.

Q. How do you know when a modern teen-age girl has had an orgasm?

A. The sound of her cellphone hitting the floor.

That's hilarious!
A few months ago, I think that the WSJ ran an article on this topic, especially focused on suburban bedroom communties.  After working and commuting all day long, people were just out of time and too tired to spend time on social networking in their communities.
And then there are your own kids and relatives to deal with...very little time for friends these days.
I live in an old mining town; guys would work hard in the stopes and shafts all day, have family at home, and still had time to support a lot of bars and churches.

But then, back then there was no TV, internet, or stereo systems.

Sure sign the housing bubble is bursting

Flip That House

Coming on Thursday, July 14, at 9:30 p.m.!

House flipping -- buying and renovating a house to sell for profit -- is currently the hottest trend spreading through the real estate industry. A "flip" occurs when an individual purchases a home, remodels the home in a short period of time (anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months) and then re-sells the home for a profit.

Flip That House is a new series for Discovery Home that dives into this very craze. Each episode is a fun, fast half hour that will document the entire flipping process of one house.

A perspective on flipping:

Flipping real estate by John T. Reed

John  T. Reed is one of the few real RE gurus. Yeah, he uses that term too lol! His page is worth reading, every word, ever review, everything. His newsletter is pennies compared to buying a house, and probably well worth getting too - I read the sample copy and it's up to date on reality not RE agent propaganda.
What's really funny is that show premiered last year.
My how things have changed since then in the housing market.
A few months ago, I came close to buying a condo in the suburbs. Why I decided against it was a lack of bars in walking distance. Bars are my mode of choice for being at all social, sub-optimal as it is. But it's better than nothing.

And that's the problem. The suburbs are about like a lunar colony where the homes serve as habitats and the cars as the spacecraft. You can't walk anywhere in the suburbs any more than you can walk on the moon without a spacesuit. That's becuse everything in the asphalt desert is too bloody far away. I lived briefly in the suburbs before what seemed to be a mass extinction of bars. Now, it would be some lonely stuff out there.

Why the mass extinction of bars? The automobile is a good suspect. With DUI being dangerous, and fiercer crackdowns to get these morons off the road, people gave up on going to the local bar. So, they close up.

It's little wonder the coffee shop cropped up. But people are too busy to socialise there thanks to laptops. Also, if you're already an insomniac, a coffee shop is a poor choice anyways even without laptop proliferation.

Maxout this is where you really need to read Kunstler on the evolution of US housing, the house with no garage at all unless it was the house of wealthy ppl then it had a carriage house in back. When cars evolved and started to displace people at the dominent US life-form, you first had houses with a garage in back, small and almost out of sight, to a larger garage about the same distance from the curb as the house, to today's "snout house" with the garage right out in front, and the front door almost an afterthought - which after all an entrance for people would be. The people only seem to exist to support the cars.

I wish I could find this..... in the 70s they had a 2nd version of The Mickey Mouse Club show on TV, with some neat re-runs of some of the funkiest Disney cartoons, one was about cars, and was from a sort of "space alien visiting Earth" perspective, it was eerie, the space alien's conclusion was that cars were the dominent life form and humans seemed to be a sort of parasite on the cars.....

I hate the garage in front of the house design.  It's ugly, IMO.

However, there is a reason for it.  The garage is put between the house and the street in order to shelter the living space from street noise.

Unfortunately, what it proclaims to the world is that "Cars Live Here!"  
The actual human-occupied portion appears increasingly secondary, little more than an add on in the back. An architectural nightmare.
The importance of the automobile in US culture cannot be overstated.
Well, in detached housing the alternatives are garages in front, or alleys in back.  I think in general I like alleys less ...
And garages are often huge today.  Three, four, six bays and more.  Craziness.  I know people who have two-car garages at the front of the thouse, and build another two or three bay garage in back.  

Personally, I'm fond of the "breezeway."  A little screened or windowed porch that connects the garage to the house.  You can sit out there in summer, and put the beer there to keep cold in winter.  :)

My parents' garage is in back of the house, connected to the kitchen.  But I think that's partly because of the association rules of the subdivision they live in.  You cannot leave your garage door open if it can be seen from the street.  So people turn the garage sideways and put it in the backyard.

Chris Alexander in "A Pattern Language" makes a strong case about doorways, transitions and entrances. No, the garage is there first and foremost because that is how people come into their home. It IS the front door. It's not there to block noise from the street. I'm one of those Mainers with a garage too useful to park a car in - in other words it's full of trash and treasure. My ex lives in one of those developments where cars have to sleep in the garage. That's her front door, an oil-stained concrete slab. I have to walk outside past the roses, peony and herbs. Sometimes in the rain.

My bike, OTOH, lives in the house, in the front entryway. Hers is hanging up with flat tires in the garage.


I thought the front door were the one intended for visitors. Seems lonely to have your garage as the front door.

Its quite common that a door closer to the kitchen is the most used door even if it isent the front door.

Cultural difference?

Is not Starbucs etc an example of exactly the kind of trend needed to create more social meeting places? Even if people are bringing their lapatop "TV" with them, its a lot better then staying at home. Btw, I realy should take my laptop to a coffe shop. ;-)

And I prefer insomnia before alcoholism any day even if both are realy bad for your driving.

My single piece of Peak Oil advice to other people, because not everyone has money or usefull skills, is to stay connected to people - friends/relatives/neighbors/work colleagues, nuture all of your personal relationships, get involved in your local community, etc. But really invest your time in people, not things.
I'll second that.
Most important thing. Even for hermits like myself.
Biologically, the motive to socialize is the motive to try and move up, or at least not fall behind, in the social hierarchy.  (i.e. dogs socialize, cats don't.)  But in our enormous highly-mobile and ever-expanding industrial cosmopolis the people you actually meet almost never have anything to do with your success or failure - as opposed to tribal times.  Be as rude as you want and the supermarket ATM still takes your card, Medicare still approves you, the AAA truck comes when you call, and the same score comes back on the SAT.  I think people are catching on to this after several generations lag from cooperative farm-economy ethos, and cutting down on wasted effort.  It's rational.  Change the economy first, and friendship will come back.
Perhaps the greatest attraction of New Orleans to me, a recent immigrant (only 14 years here) is the inter-personal relationships.  More attractive than our Best in the World food :-)), great music, outstanding architecture or walkable + streetcar "Old Urbanism".

It is one of the few US cities (are there others ?) where being a "good guy" is randomly but consistently rewarded.  Free Jazz Fest tickets last two years, people recognize me and compliment me and ask if there is anything they can do to help.

The volunteers from outside (God Bless Them) are consistently amazed at how easy it is to talk to strangers (my guess, 10% to 15% move here, mentioning that you are a volunteer gets all sorts of extras in our disaster zone).

My only other post here, a month or so ago, spoke to the possible benefits of peak oil. Part of that was how it would force us to reconnect with people and our communities. I have been making a concerted effort to talk to people, go to local farmers markets, ride the local light rail, etc.

Have been also making my old 5500 generator run, stocking up on water, fuel and non-perishables. drive an '83 BMW that get 31 mpg. Am also attending a local zoning hearing tomorrow and urging for more infill/density (less Suburbia) Just little things but trying to be ready.

I'm not a cornucopioan or a doomer, just an average person looking at a harsh reality and wanting to make the best of it.

Connecting with other people may be the hardest but most rewarding aspect of this process. I have noticed the more I try to say hello or strike up conversations the easier and more frequent it becomes. People do seem ready to re-connect.

We are undoubtedly facing some tough times ahead, but it will have some benefits. I am urging my daughters to study/work toward energy related fields.

Good luck all!

Two Cents that's a great 2c. Yes, oil use has allowed a very unnatural culture, one that's colonizing the whole earth, to arise. Lack of cheap energy is the only thing that can kill it.
I'll use myself as an example to support the case.

I now live in a new city, working at a new company for the last year. In that time, I have been invited by only one individual to a social function.

Further, as a single, middle-aged, divorced man with no children, I find that there is no social network in which I fit.  Too old for the younger single crowd; too different for the middle-aged family crowd: too young for the geriatric crowd.  Translation: social outcast.

Additionally, in the 12 years since my divorce, I have yet to meet a suitable woman to date.  When I lived in Dallas, all the woman commented that I did not meet their standards because of low job status or low income.  In other words, I did not rate.

As a consequence of the above, I spend my free time ambling around my apartment and reading theoildrum instead of engaging with people.  It seems that people can't be bothered anymore.

In the fairy tale of "Cinderella", only the alpha male prince gets the "inner beauty" princess.

Many a young girl are taught to hold out until their prince in a shining castle shows up. Some grow up and figure out it was another lie-of-the-elites.

If you give up and mope in your apartment, then the outcome is guaranteed. If you go out to some PO or other conferences you might meet somebody of like mind. Don't give up. All you got to do is meet one, even if there are a lot of toad princesses along the journey. Good luck mate ... and God speed.

You won't meet any by staying in your apartment. There are lots of eligible women out there looking for an intelligent, decent man. But you have to go find them! You can't meet Ms. Right by staying at home -unless she is the pizza delivery person!
Volunteer for a cause you believe in.  Political, charitable, whatever.  IME, there tend to be more women than men who volunteer, so the odds will be in your favor.  

Also, take community education classes--great way to meet people and learn new skills.

Good suggestions. Also, you could branch out by trying something new/outgoing that you always wanted to, but just never had the motivation or time to do so until now. Go boating, camping, hiking, biking, martial arts, or even bowling. Happiness comes from within, personal satisfaction and inner harmony, not from without, the approval or adoration of others.
Try going to dance a class. Personally I love five rhythms, because as my partner says 'I have my own sense of rhythm' and it doesn't matter there.

Religion is great at this, and one of the biggest things we have lost in realising its evil side. But times are a changing. Some are very accepting of atheists.  Assuming you don't already have a faith, try a Buddhist group (particularly Zen) or the Society of Friends. If you look at it from an evolutionarily point of view, we evolved religion to bring us together, to unite us.  You don't have to abandon your beliefs to utilise the parts of our wet-ware that were made for this purpose.

Alternatively get involved in some kind of sustainable group building straw bale houses or such like.  That will get you involved in just the right kind of people.

Fitness things are great as well.  you don't even need to be supper fit, just making some effort.

There is a huge middle-aged single crowd, or if "crowd" is not the right word, a lot of middle-aged singles.  And a lot of women more interested in a man's character than his bank account.  
I don't know what the long future holds here in the US, or there, but I am moving at the end of September to Lima, Peru. For sure, Peru has its problems, and civilization there despite far lower per capita energy use seems to me to be ultimately no more sustainable than here.

But the sort of social isolation described in this thread that I can also relate to is much less rampant. Places like Peru and Colombia are also dating nirvanas for a decent single north-american or european guy who speaks a little Spanish. Nothing I know of compares to the friendliness and passion of a true (unamericanized) latina woman!

Read and see "The Lonely Guy". Won't solve any problems but will make you laugh.
Two more ideas: Pick a fight with Kevembuangga. Should keep you busy for a couple of months. Pretend to be a teenage girl on My Space. Hey! Maybe you are a teenage girl pretending to be middleaged divorced guy!
Not funny. Prole emptied his heart to us. He needs our support, not jokes. Although I kid about the "herd mentality" often here, the need for human company is a strong biological one. Almost no one can be happy all alone. Hang in there prole. The PO community is rooting for you. Don't limit yourself to PO. Explore. Try a bit of everything. Go where no single /divorced guy has gone before. It's kind of like exploring for oil. If you don't sound out the territory and drop a couple of test bores, you'll never know. So force yourself out of that apartment on Wednesday nights and hit the single scenes. Bring us back good news. Well no, keep it private. But you know that we mean you well. Best of luck.
Indeed, well said sb.
When I was single, the grocery store, library, and laundry mat were great places to strike up conversations with eligible young ladies.  They were cheap places to try to get to know someone and doubled with getting something else done if socializing failed.
Good advice there, prole.

Go to the places you often visit, like the grocery store, with the object of being friendly and pleasant to any attractive female you encounter. Of course she will turn out to be married (all the good ones are already married). Be friendly anyway because the married ones have unmarried or newly single friends. There's no better way to a woman's heart than through the good graces of her closest friends.

You don't have to be overwhelmingly suave and smooth, just pleasant.

And remember this, you usually find what you are looking for when you are not looking for it....in other words...sometimes let fate happen and don't push it.
Libraries are especially good, because you can hang out for hours each day without spending money. Nonmaterialistic and interesting people tend to spend a lot of time in libraries.

And never forget the bumper sticker:

"Librarians do it by the book."

Some groceries stores actually have "singles nights."  

Personally, I've had a lot of guys hit on me at the Barnes & Noble superstore.  It's kind of an interesting way to meet people, because you can tell a lot about them by what section of the bookstore they're lurking in.  You meet a lot of guys in the science fiction section.  They may be dressed in Star Trek costumes and speaking Klingon, though.  ;-)

Ha....ya...stay away from the SciFi section I think. Borders and Barnes & Noble are kinda the modern day chic library experience.  Plus you can get a coffee, sit down and read, and gaze at people over your book or magazine.
Yes, if you meet someone interesting, you can have a cup of coffee with them right away.  :)

I have not had much luck at libraries (aside from my college library).  Public libraries, IME, tend to discourage socializing.  It makes noise, y'know.  

And an awful lot of the people I have met in public libraries have been genuine, card-carrying nutburgers.  There was the guy who used to hold up his pencil and talk to it like it was a person.  The guy who came to the library to read their newspapers and would get so worked up he'd start swearing and spitting on the articles.  (Kinda discouraged anyone else from reading the papers.)  The guy who had Vietnam flashbacks whenever someone of Asian descent came in.  The man who seemed like a friendly, intelligent, normal guy, until he asked me if I'd seen any CIA agents (they were following him, you know).  

And best of all, the handsome young man who followed me around in the library with his hand in his pants, jerking off.  I complained to the police, and they said as long as he kept it in his pants, it wasn't illegal.  They also said this type of guy wasn't dangerous, so I shouldn't worry.  Two weeks later, he raped and sodomized a 14-year-old girl in a laundromat.

Oh my...that's not a great story.  

When I referred to libraries, it was in my college days, and yes, college libraries are a different animals than public libraries.

So the morale of the story is "stay away from Leanan's library and laundromat.

The book store route (Borders, Barnes & Noble) is probably the best idea if you are not at a university.  

Many public libraries have become defacto homeless shelters.  There was an article in the local paper a year or so ago about suburban public libraries struggling to cope with the increase in homeless patrons.  They would find them in the bathroom using the sink to wash their socks and many of them would stake out part of the library and get in shouting matches if another homeless person came into "their territory".

At the main downtown branch of our library, they're better equiped to deal with homeless and as a result, they are better behaved.  But walking around you can tell who is there for the air conditioning and security of an indoor space.  Barnes & Nobles can ask anyone they don't want there to leave whereas the public library has to pretty much wait for the person to do something that will involve the police.

There is a rule in our library against putting your head down on the tables, so you'll often see people sleeping sitting up with a book in their hands.

As a culture, rather than trying to deal with the problem, our solution has been to abandon public libraries in favor of private bookstores (normally of the corporate chain variety).  It reminds me a lot of how the problems of the inner city were "solved" by moving the middle and upper classes to the suburbs/exurbs.

This is quite true and I agree with you about what public libraries have become and the state of our country that homeless must find a library for sanctuary.

I do not shun our local public libraries even if there are a few people that are a bit unkept in there.  I would not look for someone to date there, however, which was the topic of discussion.

There are still some great kids reading and craft programs at our public libraries and make for a cheap entertaining day trip in the summertime.

Buy a good suit. Take it to a good tailor.
Wear a carnation in that buittonhole in the lapel. As you walk down the street everyone will smile. People will come up and talk to you. They will think you are fascinating, a real character. If you can't keep up your side of the conversation they will think it's their fault.
You will get a date. Since you have a flower in your buttonhole you are absolutely obligated to bring the young lady a bouquet. She will accept it and then accept everything else.

Very seriously, doing something outward and visible that denotes a high level of self-regard and self-confidence - wearing a carnation - will transform the way everyome you meet behaves towards you and will lift your spirits. As the ladies see how well-treated and well received you are they will gravitate towards you

There is much truth to this article. I moved to L.A. almost a year ago and have found that making friends is much more difficult that I expected. The responsibility is shared, however, as I have been a bit more prickly than I should be. I have a theory that our recent distrust of others is partially derived from the constant steam of advertising that is pumped into us. I would venture to say that at least one quarter of what we hear or read today is some form of advertisement, and as a result, we as a society has placed rather strict filters on what we actually listen to and believe in. Much like how newspeak shaped the thoughts of the proles in 1984, ads have caused us to become much more callous and less willing to believe.
I think are a lot of bad excuses for why people are so isolated.  Though I admire your honesty that some of the responsibility is shared.  I live in LA and have far too many friends so the problem isn't LA.

IMHO, if you want to meet people turn off the TV and leave the house.  You'd be amazed.  Churches are an excellent place to meet people and, as mentioned above, there are numerous different faiths in LA.  I'm surprised there isn't a Peak Oil church here yet!

I lived in L.A. for about a year, and found it it be friendly enough, it's been around longer and thus has more "soul" than most McSuburbs.

I know another middle-aged loser er grown up single person like me, he plays the guitar and plays around downtown, not for tips but just for fun, it's a safety valve from his soul-killing military industrial complex job and he has a whole network of friends.

Hanging out in community places like the independent coffee shop, the funky downtown if you have one (if not, better move) and getting into something you really like, from sailing to rockhounding, should result in a good crop of real friends after the required number of years. Things where you need friends like sailing, hiking, rockhounding, etc may be especially good since it's kind of known at any time you may really need each other for help while out on the water, our in the desert, etc.

What would be the symbol of the Church of Peak Oil? A gas gauge on the E? Or an oil derrick? Our "messiah" would have to be M King Hubbert, not to be confused with that wack job L Ron Hubbard.
Leanan, the answer is No. In fact, our society is competitive and class-ridden to the extent that strangers will generally help you more than friends. Strangers don't know your money or status situation often (unless you're a filthy desperate homeless person, in which case I'm sure no one will help you) and for all they know you could be a bit higher status than you are. Hence, call up a "friend" or three for a ride because your car's broken down, and they'll happily laugh at you, but stick your thumb out and soon a stranger will give you a lift. I've regularly seen strangers give people far more help then I've ever seen friends give, in many ways.
I can attest that coworkers are not exactly helpful. Working in building maintenance, I often have a task that would otherwise need someone to be helpful - were it not for how I end up finding a way to do the task myself, often with the helpfulness of a forklift. Having to ask multiple coworkers for a few minutes of helpfulness has taken its toll. I gave up on it then found ways to do things solo.

A case in point. We have a variety of battery-electric vehicles in the building and all too often people use a vehicle until it dies. Now, it must be pushed with the helpful person to steer - or I bring a fresh battery on a cart and a "jumper cable", attach the cart and vehicle to pull it, and the cable. The result is that the vehicle is like the old locomotive with tender car and I drive it to the room with the battery chargers, and charge it. With the jumper cable, the forklift can carry its external battery back! It takes less time to do it this way than to find someone to help!

I have to say, my coworkers are helpful and cooperative.  If people are sick and can't work, we donate our vacation days, cash, diapers, etc.  They've driven me to the auto repair place when my car was broken.  They do free surveys and inspections for coworkers who are buying homes (it's an office full of engineers and surveyors).  

We have on occasion been too helpful.  For example, the time someone stole the soda vending machine.  Several of my coworkers helped the thief load it onto his truck, not realizing he was a thief and not from the vending company.

Leanan Oh, also, the number of hours worked, plus the number of hours commuting, maintaining our larger living quarters, etc. have grown exponentially over the last 30 years. We're paying people to mow our lawns instead of the neighborhood being out mowing on a Saturday or Sunday, then getting together over some lemonade later while the kids play together. Hell, I remember when I was about 5, we flew kites in the street! Honest! It was my Dad who started it, we all had those kites you put together, and my Dad got on going up so far, it took about 3 strings tied together. Yes the tails were made of old tied up sheets. This was in the street, right in front of our house, and I suppose a car or two came by, but not today's frantic Soccer Mom zooming through at 40MPH at everyone's peril.
Has anyone seen that new PSA about global warming? It was sponsored by several different groups. One was an environmental group, one was Pat Robertson, the rightwing Christian evangelist. (He's seen the light on global warming after the recent heat wave.)  And one was the Ad Council.

It shows a man standing in front of an oncoming train. The narrator says something about global warming not being a serious problem for 30 years, so "It won't affect me." The man steps out of the path of the train, and you see that standing behind him, hidden from view until then, is a little girl, with the train bearing down on her.

This link is given at the end of the ad.

Leanan, your work is outstanding. Thanks.
Hear! Hear!  Nice find, Leanan.
Yes indeed, DrumBeats are the first thing I read in the morning now.

It's not funded by Pat Robertson. (I think his conversion was too recent to have already funded commercials.)

Rather it is partly funded by the Robertson Foundation, controlled by Julian Robertson who ran a hedge fund (the Tiger Fund) for about 30 years with success similar to that of George Soros.

Pat Robertson was paid $2 billion for his Christian broacasting network -- so maybe he'll decide to throw some money at it as well in the future.

Unfortunately the ad is misleading. The changes are looking to be much more sudden than conventional wisdom considers reasonable. Methane hydrates, for instance, already thawing and bubbling up off the coast of California (watch the video):

and the Amazon forest could be essentially gone within a handful of years:

Grain shortages are already showing up (7 of the last 8 years, there has been a global deficit and global grain stocks are now at their lowest point in more than a generation).

Climate change needs to be discussed as immediate and unprecedented crisis. No more of this "think of you children" stuff. More like: think of saving your own ass in the next few years. It should have the same personal urgency as a cancer diagnosis.

This from RealClimate:

Amazonian drought
Filed under:

    * Climate Science
    * Greenhouse gases

-- gavin @ 10:51 am

There has been a flurry of recent commentary concerning Amazon drought - some of it good, some of it not so good. The good stuff has revolved around a recently-completed interesting field experiment that was run out of the Woods Hole Research Center (not to be confused with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), where they have been examining rainforest responses to drought - basically by using a very large rainproof tent to divert precipitation at ground level (the trees don't get covered up). As one might expect, a rainforest without rain does not do well! But exactly what happens when and how the biosphere responds are poorly understood. This 6 year long field experiment may provide a lot of good new data on plant strategies for dealing with drought which will be used to improve the models and our understanding of the system.

The not-so-good part comes when this experiment is linked too directly to the ongoing drought in the southern Amazon. In the experiment, older tree mortality increased markedly after the third year of no rain at all (with around 1 in 10 trees dying). Since parts of the Amazon are now entering a second year of drought (possibly related to a persistent northward excursion of the ITCZ), the assumption in the Independent story (with the headline 'One year to save the Amazon') was that trees will start dying forest-wide next year should the drought continue.

This is incorrect for a number of reasons. Firstly, drought conditions are not the same as no rain at all - the rainfall deficit in the middle of the Amazon is significant, but not close to 100%! Secondly, the rainfall deficits are quite regionally variable, so a forest-wide response is highly unlikely. Also, the trees won't all die in just one more year and could recover, depending on yearly variation in climate.

While this particular article is exaggerated, there are, however, some issues that should provoke genuine concern. Worries about the effects of the prolonged drought (and other natural and human-related disturbances) in the Amazon are indeed widespread and are partly related to the idea that there may be a 'tipping point' for the rainforest (see this recent article for some background). This idea is exemplified in a study last year (Hutrya et al, 2005) which looked at the sharp transition between forest and savannah and related that to the coupling of drought incidence and wild fires with the forest ecosystem. Modelling work has suggested that the Amazon may have two vegetation/regional climate equilibria due to vegetation and climate tending to reinforce each other if one is pushed in a particular direction (Oyama and Nobre, 2003). The two alternative states could be one rainforested and wet like today, the other mainly savannah and dry in the Eastern Amazon. Thus there is a fear that too much drought or disturbance could flip parts of the forest into a more savannah-like state. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty in where these thresholds may lie and how likely they are to be crossed, and the rate at which change will occur. Models go from predicting severe and rapid change (Cox et al, 2004), to relatively mild changes (Friedlingstein et al (2003)). Locally these responses can be dramatic, but of course, these changes also have big implications for total carbon cycle feedback and so have global consequences as well.

Part of that uncertainty is related to the very responses that are being monitored in the WHRC experiment and so while I would hesitate to make a direct link, indirectly these results may have big consequences for what we think may happen to the Amazon in the future.

After reading the amazon article, I think I'll just go have my self a godd cry.
Oh come on now, Eskibridge next thing you'll be telling us Monster Park up here in the Bay Area is named after Monster Cable not Monster.com - everyone knows it's for Monster dot com! "You da Monstah!!!"

(it's named after monster cable lol!)

I watched the ABC video and read the Amazon article. Tell me, how is it that we are not entirely screwed?
Actually, that ad (there were two) were new back in March.  I can't imagine Pat Robertson had a hand in their production, since his "conversion" is relatively recent.  He may be paying for air time.  The environmental organization is Environmental Defense (formerly the Environmental Defense Fund.)  Check the dates on the ads at their website.

There was actually a discussion at the time that the ads were out of line.  Denial runs deep.

Nuclear shutdown in Sweden

Close call for nuclear meltdown?

An incident last week that led to the shutdown of 4 of Sweden's 10 nuclear reactors has thrust the issue of atomic power back onto the national agenda, with leading politicians calling for a broad investigation into the safety of the nuclear industry.

Hoglund said he rated the incident as nearly as serious as the 1986 nuclear explosion and fire at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine and the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in the United States.

That view was disputed by most of those involved in the oversight and running of Sweden's nuclear plants. Claes- Inge Andersson, head of communications at Forsmarks Kraftgrupp, which runs the plant, said the risk for a meltdown had been "nonexistent."

But both he and a spokesman at the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate said they rated the incident as "serious."

This has been rated a "2" on the INES scale. A "0" is normal operation while a "7" is like Chernobyl.

IMO,  comparing this incident to Chernobyl or even TMI is like  comparing that infamous role model Twinky Winky to Al Capone.

Here is an officail statement about the incident copied from the forsmark plant homepage:

English summary incident Forsmark 1

FORSMARK BWR/NPP UNIT 1 - Safety analysis report (reference
F1-2006 - 0699)

Loss of external power and loss of power supply from 2 of 4 diesel generators


On July 25 a two phase short occurred during ongoing operations in a 400 kV power grid switch yard. The opening of a section disconnector under full load caused an electric arc and a short circuit. The unit line breakers disconnected the plant generators and the plant automatically inserted selected control rods, initiated recirculation pump run-back and switched over to house load turbine power supply. Shortly after the initial event the plant was scrammed and the containment was isolated. Two of four divisions in the internal grid (500 V) were out of power supply for approximately 22 minutes. When the two 500 Volt diesel bus bars was connected manually to the 6 kilovolt system, the main internal grid on all divisions regained the power supply and the plant could go safely to a safe state.

Shortly after the initial event, before the scram, one turbine tripped due to low hydraulic pressure in the control valve system. The turbine speed decreased to 2820 rpm which should have opened the generator circuit breaker due to low frequency (47.5 Hz). The generator breaker did however never open causing the main power supply net, supported by diesel generators (500 V) to disconnect. During the electrical transient two UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) units faulted. The UPS units supported, among many other things, the speed measurement control logics to the diesel engines who accordingly failed to start. The loss of power resulted in loss of two auxiliary feed water pumps.

As the two UPS-units failed, two divisions of the internal 220 V grid failed. Components supported by the 220 V grid in two out of four divisions failed due to the loss of power:

  • Sensors, transmitters, controllers and event registrations
  • Indicators and supervision possibilities in the control room
  • Fine motion control rod drives (all rods were inserted by the hydraulic scram system)
  • Motorized isolation and pressure relief valves had extended operation times
  • The motor drives of four recirculation pumps tripped


The protection system in the 400 kV switchyard, did not work as specified. As a result of that, the magnitude of the electrical transient was higher the expected. If the line breakers had opened earlier as expected, the short circuit would have been disconnected in approximately 100 milliseconds, and the behaviour would have been "normal". The transient would in that case not have affect the two UPS units. As the magnitude of the electrical transient was higher that expected the set-point values for the component protections were exceeded in both the rectifiers and the inverters of the standard UPS-units.

The generator frequency protection breakers (< 47.5 Hz) failed due to a design error 2005. Two phases were shifted erroneously. The importance of the phase dependency in the frequency protection equipment was unknown, neither in the design nor the installation nor at the component test. Normally (for other components) phase testing is a part of the routine. If this frequency protection system had worked properly the power supply from the external 70 kV grid would have been connected automatically to the internal power supply system earlier. The loss of power would have been limited to seconds instead of minutes.

During the initial event, four recirculation pumps tripped. Even so, the transient was mild. No dry-out occurred during the transient. The behaviour of the pump drives is understood and is caused by the loss of the 220 V grid.

During the transient the pressure in the reactor vessel decreased to 6 bars over a period of 30 minutes. The level in the vessel was stabilized on +1.9 m over the core. With the pressure, the saturation temperature decreases and affects the temperature transient budget for the vessel and internal components. The temperature transient is calculated to occur not more than 25 times in the reactor vessel life time.

Actions and assessments prior to restart of Unit 1 and prior to start-up after yearly out-age of Unit 2

  • A design change of the protection units in or above the rectifier (in the UPS units) will be carried out.
  • Installation of the frequency protection unit of the generator breaker will be corrected. If the problem exists at Forsmark unit 2, it will be corrected there as well.
  • The issue of selectivity in protective equipment for electric systems will be assessed in a broader perspective.
  • Install parallel power supply of the speed measurement device on the diesel generators in two divisions.

Long term actions

  • Install parallel power supply of the speed measurement device on the diesel generators in two divisions.
  • Verification of the shortage protection in 400 kV grid switchyard.
  • Investigate the situation in control room during the event and follow the recommendations from this.
  • Correct inaccuracies in SAR and instructions.
  • Investigate enhancements concerning of displays, signals in the control room and event registrations.
  • Investigate if the breakers, connected to the diesel supported grid, shall reengage automatically in case of loss of power.
  • Make corrections in the testing routines concerning phase order dependencies.
  • Investigate routines and equipments for work on 400 kV grids (SVK, The Swedish Power Distribution Board).
  • Investigate an optimal behaviour of the generator breaker after a turbine trip.
  • Investigate if extended protection against overload is needed.

Above is the link to my post.  Sorry.

Barron's article today on ethanol is hurting ethanol companies' stock prices across the board.

http://online.barrons.com/public/article/SB115473726554127607-Z0aqTzshYopyAcR7cKdW0tcPvxI_20060906.h tml?mod=9_0002_b_free_features

From the Barron's article:

The real risk from all these planned ethanol plants is that they'll use up vast quantities of corn. America's entire corn and soy crop could supply fuel volumes equal to just 12% of gasoline demand and 6% of diesel demand, notes a University of Minnesota ecology professor, David Tilman, an author of the July 25 Proceedings article. That's not a full accounting, however. Netting out the fossil fuel used to produce those biofuels, the nation would actually be trimming less than 3% from its fossil-fuel consumption.

It's not likely there will ever be enough corn to fuel many E-85 vehicles. And for that matter, ethanol gets only two-thirds the mileage of gasoline, so consumers may balk at paying comparable prices.

Nice find, and from a such an august business publication, no wonders.....
Good article, and the closing paragraphs are a good summary of where ethanol stands.  In part:

THE U.S. NOW HAS 101 ethanol plants, with aggregate capacity to produce 4.8 billion gallons per year, says the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group. By the middle of next year, capacity additions could lift the industry's output to seven billion.

Throughout the ethanol industry's quarter-century gestation, some scientists doubted whether using ethanol even helped the environment, after accounting for fossil fuels used in ethanol's production. The latest accounting seems to have settled that debate in favor of biofuels. In the July 25 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of Minnesota-based researchers concluded that ethanol yields 25% more energy than the fossil fuels used to produce it. What's more, the making and consuming of ethanol produces 12% less greenhouse-gas emissions than gasoline.

The real risk from all these planned ethanol plants is that they'll use up vast quantities of corn. America's entire corn and soy crop could supply fuel volumes equal to just 12% of gasoline demand and 6% of diesel demand, notes a University of Minnesota ecology professor, David Tilman, an author of the July 25 Proceedings article. That's not a full accounting, however. Netting out the fossil fuel used to produce those biofuels, the nation would actually be trimming less than 3% from its fossil-fuel consumption.

Now where have I heard these arguments before? :-)

On a similar note, Vinod Khosla is preparing an essay for The Oil Drum. I have read the first draft, and it is sure to elicit a lot of comments. I have responded to his draft, and as soon as he has it in a final form, I will post it here as a story. He read through all of the comments in the other stories I have written, so consider this a chance to influence someone who is influencing our energy policy.

Now I need to rest my brain. I spent the weekend with Nate "thelastsasquatch" Hagens, Jay Hanson, and some like-minded folks off the grid in a nearly sustainable living arrangement. Quite a lot of Peak Oil discussion over the last few days.

Unless Khosla has modified his "There is plenty of food in the world" stance then I think his views are of limited usefulness.  Seems to me that the "Food vs. Fuel" issue is paramount.

RR, sure wish I was a fly on the wall for your weekend.  Love to hear whatever you can tell us about what transpired.  It sure is good to see Jay Hanson back in the game, we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.  Humans who truly care about all of humanity seem to be in short supply these days...

Mr. Khosla has asked me not to post the essay yet, but I can tell you the food versus fuel issue is there. Here is a direct quote from the current draft that I have: "There is no scarcity of food but rather a scarcity of income to buy it for the poorest of the poor." We will have a chance to convince him that his view is wrong, and that the situation will be worse going forward.

The weekend was a trip. We had some mind-blowing discussions. We spent a lot of time looking into the crystal ball to get a grasp on where this is all headed. I may write up a bit about it at some point.

The weekend was a trip. We had some mind-blowing discussions. We spent a lot of time looking into the crystal ball to get a grasp on where this is all headed. I may write up a bit about it at some point.

Robert, please do write up what you can remember of these discussions you had with Jay. I am sure we would all enjoy reading them.

Ron Patterson

The questions are:
-When will it crash? Will it be slow or fast?
-How many will die?
-How much natural environment will be left? (And accordingly, how many people will the world be able to support?)
-How much knowledge (and technology) can be saved?
crazypat - I'd like to encourage you to change that last one to;
-How much knowledge can be recovered?

My thinking is that we don't need much of what passes for knowledge that is linked to modern day life. We do need to relearn many of the techniques our ancestors had for surviving in a local, sustainable economy/polity.

I agree wholeheartedly.

At the same time, I really love the fantastic things we have discovered in science. I've always been curious about how the world works since I was a little kid. Why do boats float? Why is the sky blue? That's why got my degree in physics. I find the world is a more beautiful place when I can envision the very smallest inner workings (atomic and molecular interactions) to the very largest (planetary geology, cosmology) and then see how the two are intimately connected. Here's an example: the weakest force in the universe (gravity) is able to control the strongest (the strong force) and enables the thermonuclear fusion that lights the universe. Awesome!

Now if only we could use our scientific understanding to honor and enhance the natural world, rather than dominate and destroy it. We need new paradigms for thinking, teaching, and living. This is my hope for the future. Out of the ashes rises the Phoenix.

Hello Darwinian,

Good suggestion!  Also recall that theLastSasquatch earlier promised a keythread posting after his meeting with Jay too.  I am hoping TLS follows through--I am always interested in what Jay Hanson has to say!

Sadly, I was a latecomer to Dieoff_Q&A-- never got the chance to fully quiz Jay on the potential of Asimov's Foundation before he withdrew to put his PV panels on his house.

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

IIRC, 70% of agricultural land is used for cattle grazing or growing cattle feed. Just halving our meat consumption would free vast amounts of grain for the poor. But could they afford it? That, I think, is Khosla's point - we outbid the poor at the same time as we choose not to divert any (or at least, not enough) of our income their way...

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
-- Matthew Ch 25 verse 44.

"70% of agricultural land is used for cattle grazing or growing cattle feed."

Then add the amount of land that goes to produce sugar, corn syrup, tobacco, etc. It seems pretty clear that a huge amount of land is wasted and using for fuel doesn't need to be a competition with food.

RR I'm sure you know the convenient belief here in 'murrika, that "there's more than enough food for everyone on the planet, it's just a matter of distribution, and there will always be enough food, our science is so good"
Last month my daughter attended a conference in DC called Powershift: Energy Security for the 21st Century.  Vinod Khosla was one of the presenters, and he provided this recent white paper as a take home.
Thanks for the White Paper. Haven't read it yet. Saw the "Trajectory, Trajectory, Trajectory" line what ever that means in Hubbert land ;-)  Is this the paper that RR is holding out on?
Actually he uses that line in the essay he has written for TOD, but it is mostly unique material (but not unique arguments). We have been debating the material by e-mail, and he called again earlier tonight and talked about it for an hour. At this point, I think it is ready for some critical responses from TOD folks. I am going to let him know that I think the latest version is ready to go.
I think I've read those before, too. ;-)

I envy you your weekend.  Wish I could have been there, but I'm down in the heat, humidity and hurricane territory at the moment.

On the shutting down of BP's line for repairs and its impact, I got the following from a friend. Kind of gives a sense of a driven supply and demand system:

I don't know about peak production, but current prices ($74/bbl) are spurring exploration to a frantic level. The current US rig count (actively exploring rigs) is over 1700 this week (http://www.mywesttexas.com/site/news.cfm?brd=2288&pag=460&dept_id=474108&nr=1&nostat =1 ), as opposed to less than 300 about 10 -15 years ago. I have watched workover rigs sprouting like ironweed all over west Texas this last 2 years while anyone with an active stripper well tries to get it producing again. People are pulling 60 year old junk out of storage because they can't get their hands on newer rigs.(I have seen this personally.)  Construction company superintendents have told me that they are hiring anyone who can pass a drug test, because the oilpatch is hiring people at better wages than anyone else. There are plans to break ground on a dozen ethanol plants in the Panhandle over the next year. One will start construction next month, about 30 miles west of here.

Oh, and windmill generator towers are sprouting all over the place out here. I am talking about hundreds of them in the last two years. They will be staying online for the next 20 years to pay for themselves. There are also plans to build a privately owned uranium enrichment facility west of Denver City, along the Texas/New Mexico border.

The 20-year pay-off for wind generators is at today's prices.  What will electricity cost in 5 or 10 years?
I expect they pay off much faster than that; the energy of construction is returned in 3-5 months (data).
I think that we will see a never ending boom in almost anything related to energy, but this is going to look like a never ending bust to the rest of the economy.

Cut thy spending and get thee to the nondiscretionary side of the economy.

The nice thing about this advice is that it prepares one in a general sense ... less spending (and debt) makes one more prepared for whatever comes down the pike.  Injury or illness might get anyone of us before peak oil.

(I've been meeting some highly leveraged people lately, which makes me see debt as the immanent risk ... or amplifier of risk.)

George Ure, over at Urban Survival (http://www.urbansurvival.com/week.htm), has a very nice piece this morning on regarding TOD local and contributor "Westexas" (Jeffrey Brown's) work and frequent salient points. Really breaks it down for the economically aware but perhaps non peak oil crowd. Might want to have a look.
I had a long talk with George on the phone yesterday.  One of the things we talked about was trying to stay sane in a world gone mad, careening toward multiple problems.  One begins to understand why Jay Hanson withdrew from public discourse.  If you think that we are facing a dieoff, and if all the emerging data fit your model, what do you do?  

George thinks that the dieoff has already begun in the poorer developing countries, and he is basically making plans to be as self-sufficient as he can on a small tract in East Texas.  

Minor correction to his comments on the blog (which he may have corrected by now).  I think that the world in 2005 was where the Lower 48 was at in 1970.

If you think that we are facing a dieoff, and if all the emerging data fit your model, what do you do?

You make sure they don't fit other models as well? ;-)

Maybe my problem is that I see both sides of things ... all the time, sometimes to the point of immobility.  Maybe for that reason I have a hard time seeing current events as uniquely fitting any one (loosely speaking) model, or future.

I think the answer is to be aware, prepared, responsive.  Then you can act if some bad thing looms ... and you don't waste energy preparing for the wrong "bad thing."

odograph...I think that's excellent advice especially for one's own mental health.
I chose to accept that there is a sizable, but unknowable, percentage chance that TSWHTF, and that my individual efforts will make a small, finite difference on the margins.

What needs to be done is clear to me.  What will happen in the future is hazy; with only the broadest outlines visible in the mist.

This visit to Portland has opened possibilities (I will report later) that, *IF* brought forward to fruition, could reduce world greenhouse gases by 0.05% (or more) and world oil consumption by hundred thousand barrels/day, and free up 1+ GW worth of natural gas.

We are all curious monkeys; wanting to know our fate.  BUT our time is better spent on improving our chances than finding out exactly what our chances are !!

Best Hopes,


BUT our time is better spent on improving our chances than finding out exactly what our chances are !!

Or, as Han Solo said, "never tell me the odds!" (while flying through an asteroid field running from the Imperial Star Destroyers who were in hot pursuit, in the Empire Strikes Back -yes, I am a Star Wars nerd)

I didn't pass through Portland on my recent trip, but was amazed and pleased by the number of bikes in racks in downtown Eugene, Oregon.

One of the ideas I've had from time to time is that people on the fringe "test" ideas that the mainstream may adopt later.

"One of the ideas I've had from time to time is that people on the fringe "test" ideas that the mainstream may adopt later."

Already has a name: Early adopters.  Part of the "Technology Lifecycle" that goes from the cutting edge to early adoption to state of the art to mainstream

It's funny, I've read Christensen and Utterback ... but as I wrote that I was thinking of something else.

Maybe it's just that in tech cycles early adopters are more recognized, and in socal movements it's a little less obvious.

BUT our time is better spent on improving our chances than finding out exactly what our chances are !!

This needs to be said more, and louder.

But our chances look pretty good to me, if we take this problem seriously.  The USA has a couple terawatts of wind potential, on the order of half a billion tons/year of carbon being captured and mostly discarded, and a host of things which say that a power-UP is quite feasible even without breakthroughs in e.g. solar or fusion.  The world as a whole is pretty well-off too.  The question is if we will take the resources we have and build the new systems to go forward, or squander them on trivialities like Ford Expeditions, BMW 735's and rolling houses which get 6 MPG.

One begins to understand why Jay Hanson withdrew from public discourse.  If you think that we are facing a dieoff, and if all the emerging data fit your model, what do you do?  

I just spent the weekend with Jay, talking a lot about all of the important issues. He kept saying that he has given up, but I pointed out that this really isn't true, or he wouldn't be spending time conveying this information to my generation. If he truly thought things were hopeless, he wouldn't bother with the discourse. But he definitely isn't the activist he once was.

I think you need to make a distinction, Robert. Jay has given up on trying to save civilization as we know it. What he's doing now is trying to educate those who will listen so that they have a better chance of surviving the dieoff.

I've wondered before if it is time for an organized project to save the literary and scientific works of the world in remote, defensible locations such as we saw with the monasteries that sprang up after the collapse of Rome.

Unlike Bob Shaw, I see zero chance that any biosolar habitats will ever emerge from the current state of affairs. If they do emerge it will only be after a serious collapse and dieoff. Further, some people (like yourself) believe that if we do the correct things right now that there need be no dieoff and we can transition to a sustainable society. I'm sort of in that camp in that I've always believed we have the technology to solve this problem but that we lack the political will to do so.

In any event, Jay does seem to have given up (at least as I interpret his behavior and writings) on saving civilization as we know it. I agree that him remaining somewhat active means something but I don't think he's trying to help you turn the tide, only to survive its coming and going.

In any event, Jay does seem to have given up (at least as I interpret his behavior and writings) on saving civilization as we know it.

Reminds me of a story...

I'm no peak oil expert, but I've known about it for a long time. Credit the geology department at the University of Toledo for that.

I just returned from the Midwest, which featured a visit with my old geology professor, Craig Bond Hatfield, who is now retired and living in Toledo. He was an early "prophet" of the coming crash. In fact, when I read his article "How Long Can Oil Supply Grow?" (PDF), I really sat up and paid attention. It's worth a read to see an early template of the warnings going around now.

Anyway, my chat with Professor Hatfield was sobering. He, too, has "given up" trying to warn of the crash. He handed me an envelope of his writings going back to the early 80s. He has been in The Wash Post, NYT, Chicago Tribune, Nature magazine, and other places, warning of peak oil. A career highpoint for him was a talk he gave on oil depletion in the 90s at the Gordon Research Conference. He retired in 1999 and has not written about oil since then.

"It's time to have fun," he told me. He says he became angry and disheartened in the late 80s, when "TPTB" didn't take his warnings to heart.

Professor Hatfield is by no means a morbid, morose man. During our chat, he still had that infectious friendliness I remember from class back in 1979. It's just plain too late to do anything about a supply shortfall.

He would not make predictions about our future, but only said there might be time to requisition all recreational gasoline usage for agricultural use and to enact a voluntary, worldwide population reduction program. This does not hearten me.

I take the warnings of westexas, Jay Hanson and others very, very seriously, given how they confirm what my dear old professor has been warning about for years.

Well said, and the approach I see an increasing portion of the  more 'doom'-convinced side taking.
Todd and myself are of the same mindset. Personally, I've grown weary of trying to convince the passengers that the ship is not unsinkable, and that maybe, just maybe, they should consider putting on a lifejacket and heading for the lifeboats.  One reason I don't post here much anymore, and have taken to bouts of lurking instead.  
There are other residents of TOD I've noticed who also follow a similar pattern (Bubba and Subkommander Dred come immediately to mind).  Endless arguing is tiring and draining.

Civilization, at least as "we" know it, probably cannot be saved. But perhaps some of it can.

It's time for triage. Save who you can.

Just curious ... isn't the motley response we are seeing on different scales (individual, corporate, state, federal) to "the energy problem" a sign that people have been listening?

The case would be stronger for me that "nothing can be done" if Barrons didn't publish that ethanol story, or if they just pretended (along with GM) that everything was going to be fine on E85.

We are not perfect at planning for our far future, but neither are we completely awful.  So we're left figuring out what a messy response brings.

The general tone of this site has markedly changed in the space of a few days it seems. The doomers are no longer the fringe tin hatters they once were. What has happened that has changed so many deeply entrenched minds?

All I can say is, welcome to the dark side.

Join us.

It is your destiny.


I'm still not a doomer; I don't think doom is probable.
But I do think the probability of doom is non-negligible.
I like to say it this way: "there is a non-zero probability that we are SOOOOO screwed."
Are you familiar with The One Percent Doctrine?

The author suggests that the internal logic in the Whitehouse was that WMDs (esp. nuclear) were so bad, that even a 1% probability had to be met with full force.  X thousand US troops and Y thousand civilians killed become acceptable under that logical framework:

[...] Unfortunately, he contends, their meticulous intelligence-sifting went unappreciated by administration policymakers, especially Dick Cheney, who formulated an overriding "one percent" doctrine: threats with even a 1% likelihood must be treated as certainties. The result was "the severing of fact-based analysis from forceful response," most glaringly in the trumped-up alarm over Iraqi WMDs

Compare and contrast to a high level of commitment to other low probability (but also horrible) outcomes.

... it's tricky, because if we apply The One Percent Doctrine to all low probability (but horrible) risks, we might become a bit overcommited ... and we might even miss some higher probability (but less horrible) dangers (Katrina?).

My connection took a hit on that one ... pasting the same message again:

(I think that IS the story of Homeland Security and Katrina!)

the 1% doctrine is costly, but in today's world, it is probably the correct strategy.

the other problem is that to execute the 1% doctrine correctly, you need a tax base that's a lot bigger than the one we have now...

in other words, terrorism/oil is doing to us what we did to the Russians: making us spend until we fall apart.

It's more than terrorism/oil, if the US is going to uniformly persue the one percent doctrine on all fronts:

  • hurricanes
  • bird flu
  • global warming
  • earthquakes
  • floods (our levies in California)
  • nuclear accident
  • etc.

... as you might guess, I think Cheney used a "one percent" argument to obscure the fact that he didn't have a hard probability, and just want to tackle his hot project.

"Unfortunately, he contends, their meticulous intelligence-sifting went unappreciated by administration policymakers ..."

[the 1% doctrine is costly, but in today's world, it is probably the correct strategy]

Isn't the possibility of oil peaking in 2006 greater than 1%.  Is our government launching hundreds of billions of dollars to address that threat?  Sadly (and I say this as an ex-hyperconservative, ex-military, ex-Republican), the 1% doctrine is merely Bush and Cheney's way to justify doing whatever they want.

(I thiUbunhat IS the story of Homeland Security and Katrina!)
I sometimes wonder about the self-selection involved in who comes here, every day.  Certainly we have to think PO is an interesting problem.  And if we think PO is critical (or as critical as die-off) that might draw us a bit more strongly.
I didn't start out as a doomer. But the more I learned....

As you and I know, NO ONE CHOSES TO BE A DOOMER in the sense that, gee, ain't it great to consider the collpase of society.  But, like Jay (and I hope I'm correct in this), the reality becomes overwhelming.

Living in the boondocks as I do forces "reality" on you.  Right now, I have a big problem with wild pigs destroying our garden and a bear came in last night and pushed over a 25 year old pear tree to shake off any ripe pears.  I mention this soley because I cannot escape reality in my daily life.  I have to confront it.  I confront the future the same way.


"Living in the boondocks as I do forces "reality" on you."

Found a guinea dead this morning, think a horse may have stepped on it.  Always had trouble with the chickens getting into the garden...they have a radar for ripe tomotoes.  Had two (old) great producing apple trees go belly-up in the past five years.  Last year had one horse die of old age, and a foal die from a T-post to the chest.  The "back to the Earth" crowd just doesn't know what they're asking for.

fallout said, "It's time for triage. Save who you can."

Agree.  I posted over 1000 times on PO.com before quitting.  Some of the posts were extremely technical and required hours to draft.  (for example, detailed analyses of why fusion can't replace oil even if all technical problems are solved and why space solar power could never have positive EROEI unless a space elevator existed)   I would never waste that much time that way now.  Instead I spend most of my spare time managing my investments and looking for the right bush tract/farm.

Did Jay ever profess that civilization as we know it could be saved? I have been corresponding with Jay since about 2000 and I don't ever remember him saying civilization could be saved. He has always been a pessimistic doomer just like myself.

He has always professed that there must be a dieoff. In fact, that's what he named his web site way back in the 90s. Of course one might say he wanted to save technology, or a bit of the arts and sciences as we know them today. I too hope that a little can be saved. But not much I fear. But as far as the population goes, it is going to crash, and much of civilization as we know it will go down the drain with it.

Actually if you read some interviews with Jay his entire purpose was to awaken the masses and bring about change. Later after his failed political run, he went more radical but even dieoff.org was an effort to awaken people. However, he found that even mortal danger to modern civilization would not change behaviors. I've read Jay also for a long time and it seemed he focused more and more on what he calls the "thermo-gene collision" as he became more disillusioned about getting folks to change.

Now my impressions could be wrong but I got the definite sense that even in the yahoo groups he was trying to bring about change - until he just walked away suddenly realizing that this civilization truly is doomed. I could certainly be mistaken but those are my impressions.

And can anyone explain why we'd want to save "civilization as we know it"??

That is the twenty-gazillion dollar social evolutionary question.


A failed paradigm that can never work for many reasons is not one anyone who can think would want to save.

People who sit around and try to work out a way to keep the autos running is performing exactly the same way as the Nazis would: Keep them ovens running!!

Yep. The automobile is the kissing cousin to the Nazi showers. Trouble is most people are too ignorant to notice.

Cherenkov old buddy, this calls for a quote from Ward Churchill!! (getting out book)

"The Specter of Hannibal Lecter - At this juncture, the entire planet is locked, figuratively, in a room with the sociocultural equivalent of Hannibel Lecter. An individual of consumnate taste and refinement, inbued with indelible grace and charm, he distracts his victems with the brilliance of his intellect, even while honing his blade. He is thus able to dine alone upon their livers, accompanied by lofty music and fine wine. Over and over the ritual is repeated, always hidden, always denied in order that it may be continued. So perfect is Lecter's pathology that, from the depts of his scorn for the inferiors upon whom he feeds, he advocates himself as their sage and therapist, he who is incomparably endowed with the ability to explain their innermost meanings, he professes to be their savior. His success depends on being embraced and exalted by those upon whom he preys.Ultimately, so long as Lecter is able to retain his mask of omnipotent gentility, he can never be stopped. The spirit of Hannibal Lecter is thus at the core of an expansionist European "civilization" which has reached out to engulf the planet."

"A Little Matter of Genocide" page 93, ISBN-0-87286-323-9

When he says "European" he does not necessarily mean "white" since this is the same monster-civ that ate up the Picts, the Druids, the "heathen" - those who run around wild on the heath, etc.

Yes, this is the writer who described the office workers in the Twin Towers as "little Eichmanns" and once you understand that Eichmann was one of those in the Nuremburg trials who leaned most heavily on the defense that "I just went along, I just followed orders, I was unaware of what was 'really going on'" you have to agree.

I am an absurd optimist, being a hardware type and local fixit man.  "Ah kin fix anythang that's busted".  But with regard to saving civilization as we know it, I say, broke, bad, don't fix.  Replace the whole shebang.

I offer the following evidence from an incident this morning.  As a result of the females of my clan being very very busy preparing for a wedding, I had the job of taking two little grandkids to their swimming lesson. After the little ones were in the pool, I sat under a tree to wait the end of the lessons.  Beside me in the parking lot were a row of cars with people in them.  All the cars were running to keep the people in them cool.  All cars and the people in them were obese.  The day was warm but not excessively  so- except when a shift of the breeze brought over my head the stink of exhaust and the fetid breath of the cooling systems of said obese cars.  

Parking lot warming. Global warming. For what? People cooling.  Out with it. All of it.  say I.  Back to sloshing water down the open front of my overalls.  Ah!  Cool!

What an image!
Odo, I hope you didn't get the wrong image here, maybe I should have said more accurately "open top".  I was thinking of myself as a kid like every other kid of that time having nothing on but bib overalls, down the top of which one could pour a hat of water along the entire skinny below, with resultant instant relief from heat, dirt, skeeters, dog hair, and the rest.
No, no, it was the image of people waiting in cars that you conjured for me.
The erudite William Saletan points out the insanity of heating the planet to air condition people:
Good comment.  Now the fixit man has gotta think about this.  The people are hot because the sun is shining.  Sunshine-cooling-power, some sort of connection here.  OK, lets think about it.
Changing it and reforming it would, at first guess, probably be more efficient than allowing it to totally collapse. It also has an innate humanitarian appeal to it whereas collapse is seen as a tragedy and disaster of massive proportions.

However, the truth may be different than we guess in terms of efficiency, and the dieoff may be inevitable depending how far into overshoot we are.

I really think it's the humanitarian spirit, fleam, of not wanting others (or yourself) to experience something so potentially bad. Sadly, we really cannot know because we lack the precision in our sciences to let us truly discern maximum sustainable population from current population.

I first found Jay Hanson in sci.environment and his infamous website. He tried to warn everyone, but he was a poor messenger of the right message. He was the one who turned me on to the oil peak topic. The stuff sounded so bizarre that I used Google when it first existed to find other oil peak sites, of which there was few. That was when I became a peaknik.

Nonetheless, I realised how we won the Cold War. We had help from the Soviet oil peak. I titled a posting "a 'peak' into the X Files". Believe it or not, a CIA document was declassified in year 2001 describing the prediction of the Soviet oil peak!

Ghawar & Cantarell

For some time, based on what I have read about these two fields, I have been noting that the basic problem is one of simple physics.  The remaining oil is between an advancing water leg and an expanding gas cap.  The rock is more permeable to water and to gas than to oil.  So, the faster that the oil is pulled out of the rock, the easier it is for water and gas to bypass the oil.

Note that Pemex blamed the Cantarell decline on well shut-ins due to high levels of water and gas production.

Lots of people would like to see some confirmation of Dr. Heinberg's report that a source says that Ghawar is down to about 3 mbpd.  IMO, the reported decline in total Saudi oil production of about 7% (from the EIA report last year to the recent Petrologistics report) is more than sufficient confirmation.  I realize that people would like something better than Petrologistics, but they were right about the April/May decline.

Let's look at the two great hopes for heavy oil/bitumen production--Canada and Venezuela.  According to the EIA, the most recent report shows that Canadian crude + condensate production is down by 11% since December.  I'm sure that it will rebound, but the bottom line is that the tar sands production is having trouble offsetting just the local decline in Canadian conventional production.

The EIA is reporting flat production for Venezuela, but the WSJ reports that their production is falling.

If you take these four examples together, IMO we have four warning beacons burning brightly, warning us that we are at the start of the Post-Peak Oil Age.

Colin Campbell and Kenneth Deffeyes both projected a worldwide peak between 2000 and 2010, based on a refinement of Hubbert's Original Data. As of last year, Campbell estimated it to be in 2007 and Deffeyes predicted 2005. So, we are in the ballpark if those two are anywhere near correct.
Thanks for your free advise across the board westtexas. As for the Canadian tar sands, do you have any idea if production will suffer from a lack of NG? Understood Canada will be out of NG in a decade or so, and at present they also sell 50% of their production to the US under NAFTA.

Just curious as it is well known that extraction rate of tar sands is so low it will never ever offset any conventional production decline.

So George Ure thinks the die-off has started? I tend to agree; look at the countries around Lake Victoria for example. Look at Somalia, at Sudan. At Nigeria, or Niger. Look at the daily influx of refugees from Africa arriving at the Canarian Islands in leaking boats.

"As for the Canadian tar sands, do you have any idea if production will suffer from a lack of NG?"

If all else fails, they will increase their use of bitumen/oil as a source of heat.   I think that the biggest problems they have right now are the shortage of equipment and personnel, causing costs to skyrocket--up to the range of $100,000 in capital costs per bpd of production.

why would anyone do it at that cost?  Even at 70/barrel, that would be at least a 10 year payback.  Unless they are assuming $200/barrel for this production, their ROI is going to be pretty piss-poor.
Oil at $200 a barrel is a pretty good deal when you consider how much animal and human labor it replaces.  I would assume the investors are aware of that.
No investor (bank or corporation) would buy into an investment assuming $200/barrel oil.  A few visionary (or wacko) individuals might, but unless their name starts with bill and ends with gates they wouldn't have the money for something like that.
Saw the National Governors Association hearing on alternative energy a little while ago. Schwietzer called for the feds to put a $30/bbl floor on the oil price. Claimed that would cause Wall Street to flood alternative energy infrastructure with more than enough capital to eliminate all oil imports.
The idea is sound.

But thirty dollars a barrel is way too low. Make it sixty for the next five years, then have the price floor go up at the rate of inflation. There would indeed be an immense flow of financial capital into investments with little risk attached.

Government can always create a surplus by providing a price floor above the equilibrium price--works every time.

The big joke is, of course, that as oil prices go up the cost of all of the production equipment and the energy needed goes up.  Does the dog ever catch its tail?
Look at Somalia, at Sudan. At Nigeria, or Niger.

Zimbabwe is in a horrible state as well:

As Zimbabwe reels under a world-record inflation, many are forsaking meals, and walking or cycling for scores of miles to work every day in a tortuous battle to survive. An average family of six needs at least 41 million Zimbabwean dollars (US$405) for food to last a month, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), but the average worker earns 14 million dollars.
Zimbabwe would be hell even with $10 oil.  It has the same problems as the Ukraine did in the 1930's.

I disagree. With low fuel costs, Zimbabwe would be in much better shape today. Much of the current crop of problems are political in nature, but widespread fuel shortages -- due to astronomically high costs -- have been instrumental in collapsing the economy.

I don't think its well known that Zimbabwe was a country that several years ago was selling up to 500,000 metric tons of surplus food to the WFP for distribution to starving people elsewhere, and was considered a "breadbasket for southern Africa."

I knew that quite well.  I also know that Robert Mugabe is responsible for single-handedly destroying that state of affairs.

When the starving turn to cannibalism, let's hope Mugabe and his well-fed cronies are on the menu.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that, but if it does I doubt that Mugabe would be at risk.

I am against capital punishment but I would open a bottle of champaign after seeing a picture of Mugabe hanging from a lamppost.

He could have been a Nelson Mandela. He could have brought his whole country generations of wealth and hapiness. He could have retired in pease as an icon of good statemanship. He had every opportunity and the resources but decided to destroy it all for some feeling of immediate absolute power. Shame on him and his cronies!

If we're going to start hanging dictators, Mugabe shouldn't be the only one swinging from a lamppost. He isn't the only one who's been corrupted by the prospect of holding absolute power.

Having said that, his regime has brought tremendous suffering to his people -- not to mention the loss the freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and on and on. It could have been different there, and I wish that it was. Unfortunately, those in power who are responsible for such actions very rarely pay for their crimes.

Being from the south coast of Spain, I can tell you that the influx of Africans on leaky boats to Spain has been going on for a long, long time. They are just moving to longer, riskier routes when the easier ones (crossing the Gibraltar strait is just 10 miles and puts you right in continental Europe) get better policed. Now they cannot sail from Morocco any more so they sail to the Canary Islands. The new left wing government has tried (and seems to have succeeded) to call international attention to the matter, unlike the previous right wing government.

the difference in GDP per capita between Morocco and Spain is the biggest (16 times) between two neighbouring countries besides the one beteen North and South Korea. Imagine the migratory pressures that brings.

Let us see how do the migratory flows respond to peak oil.

These countries were in catastrophic shape when oil was at $17 a barrel - rising prices haven't helped, but they didn't cause their problems...
I spent some time thinking about this on Sunday, in a non-linear sort of way (that is, while I was running, cleaning in the basement, etc.).

There are several facts, which taken together with some suppositions, make me think that some decline at Ghawar is taking place now, and that we could be facing a short-term price spike for light sweet crude. Here are my facts/suppositions;

  1. During last year's hurricane season, SA sells out a major portion of its European and Carribean storage tanks, to make up for lost production in the GOM. This is light sweet crude, easy to refine, to allow the Europeans to replenish their stockpiles while shipppig so much to the US. Half fact/half supposition.
  2. SA keeps pumping its lesser fields at their max, and replacing the sweet stuff in storage with the sour stuff. Sort of like replacing the sirloin in your freezer with haggis. All supposition here.
  3. SA complains that it can't find any buyers for the sour stuff. All fact.
  4. This allows production figures to remain high, without an immediate impact on refineries, tanker traffic, or anything else that could be measured by someone outside the friendly confines of Aramco. Half fact/half supposition.
  5. Ghawar continues to slide, and SA has now depleted its freezer of sirloin, and will be offering haggis this winter. All supposition.

Just trying to string some things together to make sense of all the facts. The future will, of course, prove this out (or not).
It so happens that Richard Heinberg agrees with you:
"At the ASPO conference a well-connected industry insider who wishes not to be directly quoted told me that his own sources inside Saudi Arabia insist that production from Ghawar is now down to less than three million barrels per day, and that the Saudis are maintaining total production at only slowly dwindling levels by producing other fields at maximum rates. This, if true, would be a bombshell: most estimates give production from Ghawar at 5.5 Mb/d."
Having posted on Thailand some time ago, naturally I am interested in PTT's finding a "significant" amount of oil and natural gas in offshore Myanmar (formerly Burma). From here.
The newspaper quoted an official from the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) as saying that geologists from France and Myanmar have uncovered evidence of hydrocarbon deposits in deep water blocks off the western Arakan State.

'The survey area covered 2,500 square kilometres and we made 15 multi-channel seismic surveys,' Khin Maung Kyi, MOGE chief geologist, said of the survey sponsored by France's Total SA.

'We discovered thick sedimentary rock in deep water regions and found channels and basin floor fans, which are evidence of existing oil and gas reserves,' he told the semi-official Myanmar Times.

Their seismic data indicates the presence of [ancient deltaic or braided stream] channels and basic floor fans. Basin floor fans may have trapped hydrocarbons but there's no guarantee. Ancient river or stream channels have paid off in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere. Drill a test well, anyone? Here's more information than is contained in the Bloomberg release.

If I had a dollar for every annoucement like this, I'd could retire. I wonder what the actual recoverable reserves will be.

A geologist, a petroleum engineer, and a geophysicist are being interviewed for a job. In each case, the interview goes along famously until the last question is asked: "How much is one plus one?" Each of them suspects a trap, and is hesitant to answer. The geologist thinks for a moment, and says "I'm not sure, but I think it converges". The geophysicist says "I'm not sure, but I think it's on the order of two". The petroleum engineer gets up, closes the door to the office, and says "How much do you want it to be?"

I'm probably behind the curve on this, but still: I was in Salzburg the other day and saw these puppies:

I thought they were kind of cool. The overhead wiring was ugly in places, but at least they don't require in-street rails like streetcars, which makes it easier for bike riders other regular drivers.

As I noted on another thread, instead of using electricity to make hydrogen and oxygen from water, and then combining hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell to get (less) electricity and water, just use the original electricity to power electric trolleys (and buses) and light rail--pursuant to Alanfrombigeasy's proposals, combined with a crash wind power program.
In the US, I believe that's called Communism.

American culture is simply not prepared for non-suburban, expensive-motoring life. It's alien.

Even before the recent "spike" in oil prices, there was growing pressure for more Urban Rail (less for electric trolley buses; they are in Boston, SF, Philly, Dayton OH and Seattle).

Some major cities that are building more Urban Rail with just 50% fed funding (we built interstates with 90% fed matching):

Miami, Salt Lake City, Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland OR, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Austin, Minneapolis

Not as unAmerican as it once was!

Communism is so out of fashion.  These days Americans would slam electric public transit by saying if we stopped driving SUVs it would mean the terrorists have won.
Too late, Tom.
The war on terror is over, and we've lost.....
We're all quite terrorized.
Absolutely, except that there's no need to exclude personal vehicles from this program.  It turns out that mass transit is only slightly more efficient than personal vehicles:  light rail is about as efficient as a Prius, as measured by kwhrs per mile.

Electric transportation combined with wind makes so much sense.

I disagree on two points.

You data is based on the most recent #s i.e. 2004.  The ridership gains reported since then will give higher efficiency for Urban Rail for 2006.  When an oil emergency comes to pass, Urban Rail efficiency will spike upwards as load factors increase.  Not true for Prius.

Urban rail was NOT designed to minimize electrical consumption .  BART with it´s aluminum cars is a possible exception.  IMHO, electrical efficiency gains of 50% to 100% for Urban Rail are quite achievable IF higher capital expensitures are made (aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber vehicles) thicker conductors, more DC rectifiers, more private ROW, etc.)

A car based Urban fabric will not result in any indirect savings.  Urban Rail will.  Postal workers and police walk or bicycle, UPS can deliver several packages close together, the plumber puts far fewer miles on his truck.

I disagree that private EVs are a good substitute for Urban Rail.  They are a poor substitute but better than ICEs.

I wouldn't suggest substituting EV's for urban rail.  I think both are great ideas.  I've always thought that rail had many advantages, and I take a train to work every day.  I agree that rail has efficiencies of scale, and I would advocate for removing many of the hidden subsidies for cars vs rail, such as free parking, zoning, too-cheap gas, etc, etc.

However, I think many people think that rail uses power at a rate that is an order of magnitude lower than cars, and that's not true.  Despite efficiencies of scale, rail isn't dramatically more efficient than cars, and is not a silver bullet.  There may be good reasons to move from cars to rail, but it look to me like saving energy really isn't the main one.

However, I think many people think that rail uses power at a rate that is an order of magnitude lower than cars, and that's not true.

I respectfully disagree.

Take the real world fleet economy (EPA -15%) with 1.05 to 1.1 per car/SUV and NOT some very high efficiency car that is in the 99 percentile.  Compare to what Urban Rail saves directly and the even larger indirect savings.

If you believe in Peak Oil, increase load factors (i.e. efficiency) for Urban Rail going forward; and increase the rate of TOD and indirect savings.

I believe that ~20:1 fuel savings are quite possible by building Urban Rail vs. not building.

We will have to have EVs, I agree that smaller EVs are a major step up from ICE SUVs.  Easily a 5:1 efficiency gain I suspect.

The core of our disagreement is, I believe, in the fuzzy and highly variable area of indirect savings.  And I add extra efficiency going forward vs. 2004 data (2006 will have more pax-miles/kWh.  Monthly reports on ridership in different systems clearly show this). Extrapolate to ~2010.

If electricity were more expensive, agencies would take steps to reduce use (in Portland, run one LRV instead of two cars off peak on Red & Yellow Lines as one easy example).  This "too cheap to save" factor affects the reported efficiency #s.  Higher cost electicity will result in savings & better effiency.

Our differences seem to revolve around how wide a net each of us use to calculate savings.

For example, I might look at Honolulu or Phoenix in 2020 & 2025 with light rail vs. Honolulu or Phoenix in 2020 & 2025 with only buses.

" real world fleet economy (EPA -15%) with 1.05 to 1.1 per car/SUV"

Do you mean 1.05 to 1.1 kwhrs/per mile?

"and NOT some very high efficiency car that is in the 99 percentile."

Sorry for my lack of clarity.  I agree that rail is much more efficient than ICE's.  I'm comparing EV/PHEV's to rail.

From a previous post, I understand that per APTA's 2006 Public Transportation Fact Book, Table 55, "Bus and Trolleybus National Totals, Fiscal Year 2004", that Heavy Rail (e.g. New York subway, Washington Metro, BART -- Table 81) carried 14,354,281,000 passenger miles or 3,683,674,000 kWh, for a whrs/mile of 257 (light rail and trolleys were higher, but accounted for only 11% of "rail" miles).

257 whrs/miles is about (or a little higher than) what the Prius and Tesla use.  That's what I'm thinking about.

I agree that TOD, growing usage, lighter chassis's, better scheduling etc, will increase efficiency.  OTOH, EV/PHEV efficiency is also a moving target:  Toyota intends to make the next Prius roughly 25% more efficient, with more efficient batteries and other stuff.

I just don't see an energy efficiency rationale for promoting rail over EV/PHEV's.  Now, I see a lot of other reasons: congestion, speed & convenience (for SOME uses, though definitely not for some others), safety, lower stress, etc.  are all good reasons to like rail over personal vehicles.  Just not energy.

Finally, I think marginal electrical efficiency as not that big a deal, as I don't see an electricity shortage.  Peak oil is really just a liquid fuels problem, at least in the US.  GW is a factor, but EV/PHEV's work really well with wind, in fact they support wind with a multiplier effect, so that as you add more EV/PHEV's you decrease BOTH liquid fuel usage AND coal usage.

We used to have this type of bus in Chicago about thirty years ago. I used to ride them on Grand Avenue to go to school. I can never understand why the CTA did away with them.
It is more hassle to operate a dual fleet (electric plus diesel) and the electrical infrastructure (poles, wires, DC rectifiers) than just a diesel only fleet and let city Public Works deal with the infrastructure (city buses pay no fuel taxes, so infrastructure is free and diesel used to be cheap).

When I was a kid growing up in Cambridge, MA (approximately 28 years ago) these types of electric buses were everywhere.  The overhead lines snaked across street after street.  I always thought they were really cool.

They're all gone now.  (In Cambridge and Boston)  What a shame.

The MBTA (Mass Bay Transit Authority) is 8 BILLION dollars in debt.  It's crazy!!!  

Even still - I think Boston is a pretty good city.  It's hub layout and relatively compact design should lend it's self well to public transport as energy gets more expensive.  Even as it stands now I know lots of people who live in the city that don't have cars.  My girlfriend is one of them.  There's no need.

They still have some of these running on Mass Ave in Cambridge.
There are still a lot of electric bus routes in Cambridge, Watertown, and Belmont that run in and out of Harvard Square.
they had this same arrangement in philadelphia 50 years ago when i was a kid. i don't know if they still use them there. we called them "trackless trolleys."
"I thought they were kind of cool."

I don't.  Even electric, they are still busses which get stuck in traffic.

Mass transit by bus is not the way to go.  I take the trolley to work, and the fact that I don't get stuck in traffic is at least as important as the cost savings.  Many people would take a trolley or subway if available, but would never step on a bus.  Maybe much higher prices would change this attitude, but I think it will have to be much higher than current.

I will gladly admit to hating the bus.  And whenever possible I much prefer the T (Boston's subway system).  

That being said, at my old apartment, If I wanted to take the T to Harvard Square, I had to take the green line all the way downtown, then connect to the redline and ride that all the way back out.  It was 30-40 minutes minimum.  

Or I could take a 10 minute bus ride down Mass Ave.

I'm no fool - I took the bus.

You took a bus that followed the same route a trolley once took. The tracks are still in place beneath parts of Mass Ave.
Seattle has tons of electric buses and overhead lines throughout the city. They are a joy to ride on and live near. How nice it is to be near the transit line, but without the roar of a diesel engine.
I used to go to school on a trolly bus very much like that in Portsmouth England. Have a look at these pictures
Philadelphia has had them for years. They are called trackless trolleys. The one line that I am familiar with was changed to buses a year or so ago. Short term thinking vs long term as usual. The trolleys took too much maintaince to keep going.
SF Muni uses both electric buses and trolleys.
The power source for the cable cars is also electric.
They have those in San Francisco too, they have that big fish pole on the top and run on regular tires, they're very quiet but you can tell one is coming by the "twip, twip" sound that's carried ahead on the wires.
Chicago had buses with trolleys and overhead wiring like that. Not pretty, but a lot better than having no bus service at all. Too bad they took it all apart to use fossil fuel buses instead of nuke electricity.
At last, someone who has balls!
I don't buy the single transgressor theory in any war, AC.  Both sides are at fault here, and to frame it as being one country's fault is narrow-minded and naive.
Never a single trangressor in any war?

Hm, does that mean the U.S. transgressed against Japan before Peral Harbor by telling them to get out of China????

And all those cities over-run by Ghengis Khan, um, how exactly did they "trangress"?

History is filled with examples of wars where one party is entirely at fault and the other side is 100% wrong. Many times one party is guilty and the other innocent--purely black and white. Most history is shades of gray, but by no means is that true in every case.

"Hm, does that mean the U.S. transgressed against Japan before Peral Harbor by telling them to get out of China????"

Well Don, Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum laid out an eight step plan in order to provoke Japan into attacking the United States.  I would say Pearl Harbor wasn't a surprise at the top of the food chain:
Looks like the plan worked huh?  

Of course part of the plan was to cut off all US oil exports to Japan.   What would happen if someone did that to the US?

All these so called "conspiracy" theories are just standard operation procedure for the Military Industrial Complex.  One in awhile they screw up and lets us see inside "their" world such as the declassified Nothwoods Documents:

"In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities."
Sound familiar?  They ran with the script when Johnson had Israel attack the USS Liberty and they were planning to blame it on Egypt so the US could enter the war on Israel's side.  When a Russian ship showed up and observed the attack it was time to do what they do best, cover it up;
I suggest you get Bamford's book "Body of Secrets" and read it:

It might give you a welcome break from all the oil hysteria...


What's it all about?

9. It is not believed that in the present state of
political opinion the United States government is capable of
declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely
possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the
Japanese to modify their attitude. Therefore, the following
course of action is suggested:

A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of
British bases in the Pacific, particularly
B. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of
base facilities and acquisition of supplies
in the Dutch East Indies.
C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government
of Chiang-Kai-Shek.
D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to
the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in
the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese
demands for undue economic concessions,
particularly oil.
H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan,
in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed
by the British Empire.

10. If by these means Japan could be led to commit an
overt act of war, so much the better. At all events we must be fully
prepared to accept the threat of war.

A. H. McCollum

And in 1939, how exactly did Poland "transgress" against Hitler and Stalin?

There are literally hundreds or thousands (depending on how you count them) examples of unprovoked aggression. My point is that the naive, "Both sides are always somewhat at fault." position is flat-out unambiguously 100% wrong.

"Two extracts from contemporary sources will introduce and suggest the theme to be expanded. The first extract is from Roosevelt's own files. The U.S. Ambassador in Germany, William Dodd, wrote FDR from Berlin on October 19, 1936 (three years after Hitler came to power), concerning American industrialists and their aid to the Nazis:

Much as I believe in peace as our best policy, I cannot avoid the fears which Wilson emphasized more than once in conversations with me, August 15, 1915 and later: the breakdown of democracy in all Europe will be a disaster to the people. But what can you do? At the present moment more than a hundred American corporations have subsidiaries here or cooperative understandings. The DuPonts have three allies in Germany that are aiding in the armament business. Their chief ally is the I. G. Farben Company, a part of the Government which gives 200,000 marks a year to one propaganda organization operating on American opinion. Standard Oil Company (New York sub-company) sent $2,000,000 here in December 1933 and has made $500,000 a year helping Germans make Ersatz gas for war purposes; but Standard Oil cannot take any of its earnings out of the country except in goods. They do little of this, report their earnings at home, but do not explain the facts. The International Harvester Company president told me their business here rose 33% a year (arms manufacture, I believe), but they could take nothing out. Even our airplanes people have secret arrangement with Krupps. General Motor Company and Ford do enormous businesses/sic] here through their subsidiaries and take no profits out. I mention these facts because they complicate things and add to war dangers"

Believe me Don I understand your point.  
One could say, and there is ample evidence to back it up, that Hitler was nothing without the financing of Wall Street.  If you give a madman the means and money the madman will likely do what madmen do.  For the Wall Street financers to claim ignorance is a joke.  They knew exactly what Hitler was going to do but I think it took them by surprise how successful he was.  Especially with families like the Bushs continuing to finance Hitler after the US entered the war.

"Bush - Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951" - Federal Documents

Apologist for the elites, like Quigley, always try to sugar coat what these men are attempting to accomplish;
These organizations and their financial backers were in no sense reactionary or Fascistic persons, as Communist propaganda would like to depict them. Quite the contrary. They were gracious and cultured gentlemen of somewhat limited social experience who were much concerned with the freedom of expression of minorities and the rule of law for all, who constantly thought in terms of Anglo-American solidarity, of political partition and federation, and who were convinced that they could gracefully civilize the Boers of South Africa, the Irish, the Arabs, and the Hindus, and who are largely responsible for the partitions of Ireland, Palestine, and India, as well as the federations of South Africa, Central Africa, and the West Indies. Their desire to win over the opposition by cooperation worked with Smuts but failed with Hertzog, worked with Gandhi but failed with Menon, worked with Stresemann but failed with Hitler, and has shown little chance of working with any Soviet leader. If their failures now loom larger than their successes, this should not be allowed to conceal the high motives with which they attempted both.
It was this group of people, whose wealth and influence so exceeded their experience and understanding, who provided much of the framework of influence which the Communist sympathizers and fellow travelers took over in the United States in the 1930's. It must be recognized that the power that these energetic Left-wingers exercised was never their own power or Communist power but was ultimately the power of the international financial coterie, and, once the anger and suspicions of the American people were aroused, as they were by 1950, it was a fairly simple matter to get rid of the Red sympathizers. Before this could be done, however, a congressional committee, following backward to their source the threads which led from admitted Communists like Whittaker
{p. 955} Chambers, through Alger Hiss, and the Carnegie Endowment to Thomas Lamont and the Morgan Bank, fell into the whole complicated network of the interlocking tax-exempt foundations. The Eighty-third Congress in July 1953 set up a Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations with Representative B. Carroll Reece, of Tennessee, as chairman. It soon became clear that people of immense wealth would be unhappy if the investigation went too far and that the "most respected" newspapers in the country, closely allied with these men of wealth, would not get excited enough about any relevations to make the publicity worth while, in terms of votes or campaign contributions. An interesting report showing the Left-wing associations of the interlocking nexus of tax-exempt foundations was issued in 1954 rather quietly. Four years later, the Reece committee's general counsel, Rene A. Wormser, wrote a shocked, but not shocking, book on the subject called Foundations: Their Power and Influence.
~ Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time, Macmillan New York 1966

Take a look at the map of Germany before and after World War I to see why a German might be a little pissed off from the results of the peace process. I'm not saying they were in any way justified, but as Chris Rock might say, "I understand".
Ask Joe Kennedy.
For the only waqr that seems to make a difference to people of your generation, WWII, The Big One, simply refer to what your hero, Maynard Keynes, had to say in 1919. Never was a war so well foreseen and never were all the parties so willing to have another go.
Do you believe Poland was a "transgressor" that was partly responsible for causing World War II?

Plenty of countries and peoples are innocent victims.

The idea that "everyone is responsible" quickly collapses into: "Nobody is responsible."

All great powers had a hand in.

Poland not what you are choosing to call "transgressor"
Neither was Siam. Or Illyria. Or Erewhon.

Moral calculus should be indulged in rarely and with great restraint.

Current historical thinking largely makes WWI and WWII a single war, with intermission. A twenty year timeout but a single war with single cause. A resource and market war.

What Americans like to argue about, or preen about, are quidditiea. It behooves one not to be serious about history when American history is merely hagiography, mythologizing, and raw jingo propaganda.

Would it be asking too much to ask people like you to at least get your facts right? Yes, Roosevelt anticipated that the embargo would result in a Japanese attack. That does not mean he anticipated an attack on Pearl Harbor or that anyone else did. The attack was expected to happen in Manila.

But no, folks like you have to sex it up by claiming Pearl Harbor was a setup.

Secondly, that still does not make the US a transgressor. Japan never declared a vital interest in oil before the embargo. Under international law (especially as laid out in the 1930's), vital interests have to be declared overtly. Look it up.

"Would it be asking too much to ask people like you to at least get your facts right?"

Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
by Robert Stinnett

People like me huh.  I'm not about to dive into the facts that show the men at Pearl Harbor were sacrificed to cause a wave of indignation that would hurl US citizens into war hysteria.  It would be a waste of time.  It would like trying to tell a devout Christian god and the bible are nothing more than an adult version of "Santa Clause" and the "Tooth fairy".  

Would it be asking too much to ask people like you to give up on you relished beliefs on how this government operates?  Could you wrap your mind around the fact that you are cattle to be slaughtered whenever the ruling elite deem it necessary?  No I doubt it.  To you, that "evil doer" Osama bin Laden was the master mind behind the attacks on 9/11.  That's all you know and all you need to know because the truth is so monstrous you cannot face it.  Your life is ruled by "The Big Lie"...

"All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes."
~Adolf Hitler "Mon Kempf"

Read that quote several times.  Maybe it'll sink in.  Just maybe...


The main evidence Stinnett offers is the volume of naval materiel shipping going from California to Hawaii before PH. He conveniently ignores the patently obvious, which is that PH is on the route to Manila (& Guam and other threatened US positions).

To believe the Roosevelt set up Pearl Harbor requires believing not only that he wanted to enter the war (which is true) but that he was willing to lose it (which is ridiculous). If the Japanese had had better intel they would have won the war on December 7th, so concentrated was the Navy in PH. Dumb luck made their attack less of a success and thereby enabled American victory.

"Dumb luck made their attack less of a success and thereby enabled American victory."

OF COURSE!! DUMB LUCK that is what is was.  It was DUMB LUCK!! That's why all the aircraft carriers we called out of Pearl Harbor. Only ships that were not vital to the outcome of the war were struck.   Now I see.  It makes so much more sense now.  Everything is not, as they say a conspiracy, but really just a coincidence.  Thank you for setting me straight!!


11 February 1941 - FDR proposed sacrificing 6 cruisers and 2 carriers at Manila to get into war. Navy Chief Stark objected: "I have previously opposed this and you have concurred as to its unwisdom. Particularly do I recall your remark in a previous conference when Mr. Hull suggested (more forces to Manila) and the question arose as to getting them out and your 100% reply, from my standpoint, was that you might not mind losing one or two cruisers, but that you did not want to take a chance on losing 5 or 6." (Charles Beard PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND THE COMING OF WAR 1941, p 424)

Washington, in an order of Nov 26 as a result of the "first shot" meeting the day before, ordered both US aircraft carriers, the Enterprise and the Lexington out of Pearl Harbor "as soon as practicable." This order included stripping Pearl of 50 planes or 40 percent of its already inadequate fighter protection. In response to Churchill's message, FDR secretly cabled him that afternoon - "Negotiations off. Services expect action within two weeks." Note that the only way FDR could have linked negotiations with service action, let alone have known the timing of the action, was if he had the message to sail. In other words, the only service action contingent on negotiations was Pearl Harbor.

J. Edgar Hoover told his friends in early 1942 that FDR had known about the Pearl Harbor plan since the early fall. It was totally in character for FDR to concoct such a plan. Not only had the US Senate already censured FDR for utterly lacking moral perspective, but as Walter Lippmann wrote: "his purposes are not simple and his methods are not direct."

FDR had to do it to get into the war, as he himself later told Stalin. He needed massive public outrage and that required big sacrifice.
Would he do it? Did he "love the Navy too much?" He was sacrificing ships in the Atlantic for the same purpose. Of course he would do it - he was doing it.
He saved all the important elements of the fleet. In the spring he had sent many ships to the Atlantic. He kept the aircraft carrier Saratoga on the West Coast. And his sending of the two carrier groups out of harbor meant that not only they but also their fast escort ships would be saved - all the new ships stationed at Pearl Harbor were saved. Only WWI junk was left in harbor. Here is a list of all the ships saved - Ships saved at Pearl December 7
FDR's attitude is best summed up by co-conspirator Admiral Bloch's testimony to Congress, "The Japanese only destroyed a lot of old hardware. In a sense they did us a favor."
This was obviously FDR's view as well, because on 7 December at 2:15 PM, minutes after hearing of the attack and before any damage reports were in, FDR called Lord Halifax at the British Embassy and told him "Most of the fleet was at sea...none of their newer ships were in harbour." He had protected the new ships, the important elements of the fleet, and that fact was at the forefront of his mind in relation to the attack. First, it means FDR didn't care about the old ships. Secondly, it means he knew before the attack that only old ships were in harbor for the attack. Therefore, Pearl Harbor was "the first shot without too much danger to ourselves" he sought. FDR was the architect of the attack plot from the oil embargo to the ultimatum to the final touches of deciding who would live and who would die.

It was by dumb luck that Japan did not find out about said naval movements and redirected the initial attacks.  FDR did not know the extent of Japanese intel operations in Hawaii. It was small, but he knew better than to count on it being small.
In your new novel, "The Golden Age," the character Peter Sanford, pondering how FDR had hidden so much about Pearl Harbor from the American public in order to get the nation into war for whatever purposes, says: "The few always knew best. The many must always follow the lead. This was the 'democratic' way in the United States."

Well obviously Peter is being ironic, but he's being accurate; the few do know, and the few do govern. There's a great line by David Hume, the 18th century Scots philosopher. He said, "How is it that the few control the many," because the many are many, and they theoretically would have the power to overthrow the few. And he said the few control the many through opinion. And he meant the churches, the schools, the broadsheets, as they called newspapers then.

When you control opinion, as corporate America controls opinion in the United States, by owning the media, you can make the [many] believe almost anything you want, and you can guide them. Roosevelt had fewer means than people have nowadays, but he was a master of those means. He wanted us virtuously to come to England's aid against Hitler; France had just fallen, this was 1940 where I start the story. France has fallen, England is being blown up by the Nazis. Eighty percent of the American people refuse to go to war on England's side, there's nothing Roosevelt can do, he tried everything, exhortation and threats, and nothing worked ... So he began a series of provocations of the Japanese. So that they would strike at us, and give him a cause for war ... What is still moot is, Did Roosevelt know that they were going to hit Pearl Harbor ...?

So the few run the country their own way and generally they are in agreement. The interesting thing about that period, which is why I set "The Golden Age" in it -- I cover 1940 through 1950, which is the beginning of the global empire of the United States -- is that there was a genuine political debate, the last one we've ever had.
~Gore Vidal

So now you're citing fiction? Fitting. Very fitting. And a complete sidestep of my point, which you do not address.
LOL Fiction.  Yes ones work has to considered fiction if you stray from the mainstream with the "founding father" crap.  I'm done debating Pearl Harbor we might as well debate Religion...


You are square in the middle of current historiography on Pearl Harbor. You are being guided by good intuition but hitting low quality sources. It hardly matters, these true believers will never be convinced.
Oldhippie, can you give a list of recommended books? I've read Gordon Prange's "At Dawn We Slept" but that's about it as far as Pearl Harbor history. I'm skeptical about conspiracy, but hey, if you got some reliable research I'm willing to learn.
Oldhippie is quite right, the current thinking among many war historians is that, indeed, there was an impetus to involve the US in the war, and that all that was needed was an act or incident to break prevailing isolationist sentiments to ensure it happened.  
Lend lease (the outright arming of one side), the embargos of the Japanese and Germans, the draft (began in 1940), reorganization and rampup of US military forces, redeployments of capital ships, even the approval of the dispatch of the Flying Tigers to China all played a role.

In an effort to circumvent the American public's reluctance to enter the war, Roosevelt took a number of steps, including introduced a massive arms buildup, repeatedly provoked Germany through an undeclared naval war in the Atlantic, applied increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Japan (reaching a climax in late July, 1941, when the U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands froze Japanese assets. Japan lost 75 per cent of its foreign trade and 90 per cent of its oil supply), promised that any Japanese attack on British or Dutch possessions would bring the United States into the war, had Secretary of State Hull delivered an insulting diplomatic ultimatum to the Japanese government on November 26, 1941, which gave Japan no choice but surrender or war, retained a weak Pacific fleet in Hawaiian waters, despite contrary naval advice, where it served only one diplomatic purpose, an invitation to a Japanese surprise attack, and furthered that surprise by causing the Hawaiian Commanders to be denied invaluable information from decoded Japanese dispatches concerning the rapid approach to the war and the strong probability that the attack would be directed at Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese "purple" (diplomatic) code had been broken by the US, and the British had broken JN-25 years previously. Winston Churchill himself called FDR scarecely a week before Pearl Harbor to warn him of an impending attack in the eastern Pacific against US naval assets.
Former C.I.A. Director William Casey, who was in the OSS in 1941, wrote in his book "The Secret War Against Hitler", that "The British had sent word that a Japanese fleet was steaming east toward Hawaii."

This is no longer the realm of "conspiracy buffs", but near-mainstream viewpoint.  
And hardly a new concept, either.
In early 1945, historian William L. Neumann published a brochure, "The Genesis of Pearl Harbor". He reviewed the diplomatic background to the outbreak of the war and pointed out how the Roosevelt Administration had launched an economic war against Japan in the summer and fall of 1941. Neumann concluded that both sides were responsible, but that Washington could not have been surprised by the attack at Pearl Harbor, given FDR's diplomatic activities in the months and days preceding December 7th.

For more info, try any of the following:
"Pearl Harbor: The Facts Behind the Fiction", by James Perloff
"Day of Deceit", by Robert B. Stinnett
"Pearl Harbor, Mother of all Conspiracies", by Mark Willey.
"A Time for War", by Robert Thompson
"Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath", by John Toland
"Betrayal at Pearl Harbor: How Churchill Lured Roosevelt into WW II", by James Rusbridger and Eric Nave
There are others.

This website is a decent (free) crash course, if a bit discombobulated. Still, worth a perusal.

Thank you for doing that legwork for me, I was really dreading it, WWII not my thing. And I'm working many hours this week.

This stuff is completely noncontroversial aside from veterans and a certain type of patriot.

I'll go out of bounds here and cite something which must remain sort of unattributed. I have slept under FDR monogrammed bed linen, the real deal, and I can report that the family does not take the royalist line held by most in this thread.

And of course, the evil, war-mongering USA affronted the whole world by just sitting there waiting to be attacked, while the good generals and emperor of peace-loving Japan were forced to attack Pearl Harbor (and Nanking, and Korea, and the Phillipines) by all those people who refused to embrace their enlightened reign over the region.

And I'm the king of Siam.

"And of course, the evil, war-mongering USA affronted the whole world by just sitting there waiting to be attacked"

You are missing the point. The US was manipulated into fighting the war.  The War itself was about control.  Breaking the world up into blocks so it could be controlled.  The Big financers like the Rothschilds financed both sides of the war, Communist and Capitalist.  I'm not saying it was not a war that didn't need to be fought but everything about it covers the true meaning of the war.

Modern warfare IS A RACKET my friend always has been and always will be.

Smedley Darlington Butler

Butler was the man that prevented the attempted Fascist takeover of FDR in the United States by the finacial cabal.

"During this century, no President had dared to challenge the power of this financial cabal. However, FDR, with his mandate from the American people, is now in a position to do so. As Governor of New York, and during the 1932 Presidential campaign, FDR has made clear his understanding of the use of the power of the executive branch of government to shape policy initiatives, and to mobilize support for them. Should Roosevelt exert the full power of the Presidency, as defined by the U.S. Constitution, including power over financial and economic policy, he could take away power from the financial oligarchy, the Morgan-Mellon led cabal, restoring a balance between financial and industrial capital.

That, for the cabal, would have been bad enough; but as 1932 became 1933, Morgan's spies learned that Roosevelt might be considering more radical measures, ones that could take control of America's most precious commodity--its sovereign credit-- away from Wall Street and the London-based financial oligarchy who controlled the Morgan interests. American credit, and therefore government economic policy, had been held under the thumb of the private financial markets and their banking houses, like Morgan. Should a President Roosevelt seize control of the nation's credit, and deploy it for a recovery program based not upon continued bankers' looting, but on economic development, and should he rally the American people to that program, the power of the London-based financial oligarchs might be broken.

With their power thus threatened, the financial oligarchs were ready to choose radical action: Roosevelt had to be eliminated, and the institution of the Presidency destroyed or weakened. Thus was set in motion here in the U.S. a series of actions paralleling the overthrow of the von Schleicher government in Germany, that would have led to the American equivalent of the Hitler coup."



Source link for the coup attempt.

I think you need another layer of tinfoil there.
That crap is too thin!!  That won't stop the ELF waves from scrambling your noodle!!  I use two of the big aluminum roasting pans...


Get a third. You are far out ahead of the "all conspiracies believed eagerly" crowd that usually fills these comments pages with speculation, assertion and wild guess work.
Thanks Jack.  You have done a great job debunking my "wild guess work".  A third it is...


"I'm not about to dive into the facts that show the men at Pearl Harbor were sacrificed to cause a wave of indignation that would hurl US citizens into war hysteria.  It would be a waste of time."

It would also be embarassing, because it would show you for a fool. The hysteria that ensued after Pearl Harbor was caused by Japan's having started the attack prior to issuing a declaration of war, and that particular detail was caused by a timing SNAFU at the Japanese embassy to the US, not to anything FDR could have predicted. Furthermore, FDR wanted to concentrate on opposing Germany, and hysteria against Japan put on him pressure to concentrate more resources in the Pacific, when he wanted to get the Mediterrenean front open and heated up ASAP. All FDR wanted was a simple formal entry into the war.

"It would also be embarassing, because it would show you for a fool."

Oh yes of course it would.  Why are you so angry.  I'm the angry chimp here.

"The hysteria that ensued after Pearl Harbor was caused by Japan's having started the attack prior to issuing a declaration of war, and that particular detail was caused by a timing SNAFU at the Japanese embassy to the US, not to anything FDR could have predicted."

Oh ya.  Now why didn't I think of that??


Well, know thyself. Why didn't you think of that?
I'm sorry I was [attempting] being sarcastic.  I'm not about to SPELL everything out for you because it would be a waste of my time and yours.  Nor do I want to engage in a name calling match.  I'm beyond that and I'm attempting to change my image from angry chimp to not so angry chimp.  My PR agent told me it would be in my benefit.  Remember we are all adults here, except for me, which you eluded too in another post.  If you don't mind me asking how old are you?  I'm 35.

I'm sure the below video will go up you ass sideways.  It will probably throw you into violent seizures of vomiting.  But try to watch as much of it as you can.  Especially about Germany and state sponsored terrorism.  Flip through check out USS Liberty, Gulf of Tonkin, 9/11 etc.  You may see a pattern, you may not.  Alex is a little aggressive but don't be scared try to stay with the plot line.


"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the Field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
~Woodrow Wilson,The New Freedom (1913)


You would do better not to use sarcasm when you speak of things on which you are so manifestly ignorant. Again:

Japan drafted a declaration of war and cabled it to DC, scheduling the attack to happen after the declaration was presented.

Why? Because that was the norm under international law at the time, and they wanted to be seen as a formidable foe, not a treacherous one.

The cable took too long to decrypt, and the ambassador was stuck in traffic, resulting in the declaration being presented after the attack was already under way. On finding this out, hours later, the admiral Yamamoto was utterly horrified. He knew the SNAFU would result in hysteria.

Instead of addressing this issue, i.e. your ignorance of this matter and the extent to which it utterly blows your assertions out of the water, you side step by again casting aspersions at me.

Ironically, this is the third time you decline to address facts and yet you have the nerve to call me closed minded.
You're a nut, just like Alex Jones, whom you are using to try to sidestep yet again.

"Japan drafted a declaration of war and cabled it to DC, scheduling the attack to happen after the declaration was presented."

Who the fuck cares you bumbling asshole?  So you are saying if they declared war first it wouldn't have caused hysteria?  What is your point? Japan attacked and the Next day the Morgan and Rockefeller controlled newspapers began beating the war drums.  If they would have got the declaration first it would have been different?  The front page of the paper would have said "Maybe it our fault because Japan warned us.  Let's have tea".   That is like saying if Bin Laden sent a telegram and declared war on the US and then attacked the Twin Towers it would have been OK.  If you were in arms length of me I would strangle the life out of you because you are such a fucking idiot.  They implement an eight point plan to coax Japan into attacking the US and the largest navel base is never put on alert.  Everyone is sunning on the deck and all the weapons are locked up.  What would have happened if they placed Pearl Harbor on alert and they stopped the attack with minimal losses and no ships destroyed?  You think they would have gotten the war hysteria they needed?  

You sound like my Dad.  He spent 1966-67 in Vietnam killing VC and watching his friends die for reasons he could never come to grips with.  In his 30's he joined the National Guard and went to Air Assault School at 34.  When he was done playing solider and had to confront his past in his 40's his life fell apart consumed by PTSD.  For years I would listen to him about his war stories.  The killing his friends dying the whole fucking deal.   The funny thing is he told me he would never trust this government again.  Most of his life he was a blaster working with explosive in a quarry.  So he knows about explosives.   When I show him videos of WTC Tower number 7 coming down he knows it was demolished with explosives.  I remember when he saw it for the first time how big his eyes got the look of disbelief.  He wouldn't believe it was a WTC tower he though I was trying to trick him.   Yet he still can't bring his self to the face the facts about 9/11.  He will not address it he won't talk about it.  It is like the line from the Big Lie:
"Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."
The older you are the harder it is to adjust to it.  Ya I'm a fucking nut like Alex Jones.  I only wish you were standing in front of me when you say it you fucking little coward...


You claim that FDR wanted anti-Japanese hysteria. The historical record shows that hysteria came from Japan starting an undeclared war, something seen as obscene at the time, and that this, something over which FDR had no control, was the cause of the hysteria. The record also shows FDR wanted to fight Germany, and did not want to allocate resources to the Pacific without a dire need. A stalemated war with Japan would have given him the leeway to put all his weight against Germany, which is why he did not want hysteria.

Anyone who cares about whether or not you are full of sh*t, is going to care about this issue. You evidently don't care, which shows that even you don't care whether or not you are full of sh*t.

I'm definitely glad you're back. I may not agree with you but you make for interesting and entertaining reading. Don't stop on my account. :)
Apuleius, conspiracy theory nutters are best ignored. They never get their facts straight. And they don't believe anything is simply as it seems. The more complicated and unlikely the scheme, the more likely they think it is. They believe Occum should have slit his throat with that damn razor.
Too true. My bigger concern is poeple reading this thread and thinking Angry Chip is right because he is being left unchallenged, but I guess that can't always be helped.
"Too true. My bigger concern is poeple reading this thread and thinking Angry Chip is right because he is being left unchallenged, but I guess that can't always be helped."

Don't worry Mr. Apuleius.  We are all adults here.  People can choose to label me a lone `nutter and move on.  No one will be hurt by seeing an alternate perspective.  The education system has done enough to destroy free thought.

"We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought."
~Bertrand Russell

The least we can all do is to try NOT to snuff out free though in the "blogsphere".  

I have noticed that most negative responses to my perspective on History are emotional rants on how I'm crazy or as Ron says, a "nutter".  Not well reasoned rebuttals but emotional rags.   Most likely stemming from this type of conundrum of thought;

"Human beings never think for themselves; they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told--and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings."
~Michael Crichton

Have a good night Mr. Apuleius and please try never to allow yourself to snuff out the process of freedom of thought...


To quote an earlier comment by you: "I'm not about to dive into the facts that ..."

That's strong evidence that no, we are not in fact all adults here.

Ok.  If you say say so Mr Apuleius.


There are more precise terms available.  A very pertinent one is "moral idiot".
I hope you can find your "inch" before you leave this earth.

"I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish, every inch but one. An inch, it is small and it is fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away; we must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you."

I love you Ron, I truly do...


On Japan and Pearl Harbor:

One of the books I've kept (as I divest myself) is "Riding the Tiger" subtitled "An American Newspaper Man in the Orient" by Harry Carr, 1934.

One of the things that was shocking as I read it in my 20's or 30's was how inevitable war between Japan and the US was seen, by both sides, a decade before the attack.

(Japan was already in Manchuria and Korea by then ...)

Oh, indeed. In fact, the 1922 Five Power Naval Treaty signed in Washington was largely an attempt to head off what many at the time saw as a naval arms race (between Japan and the US) with an inescapable conclusion. It temporarily averted the naval arms race that had begun after World War One.

Both Japan and the U.S. foresaw a future conflict over control of the Pacific, and both the US Navy (War Plan Orange) and the IJN drew up war plans and wargamed various "what if" scenarios premised about this possibiity, which might have happened sooner than it did had the Japanese Army coup of 1929 not failed.  
It was this massive blue water surface action that the US Navy had prepared for throughout the 1920's and 30's.  Advanced in naval avaition, however, brought obsolescence instead.

Your desire to stick to the quaint notion that the U.S. did nothing to provoke a Japanese attack is... charming.
David I think that's exactly what at least 99% of Americans believe.

It's very hard to dig up anything different, and there will never be anything that isn't the standard line in the MSM.

Sometimes this story of provocation is told with the implication that Japan would have been peaceful without the ratcheting of tensions (I'll say ratcheting because, like modern examples in the middle east, these things feed on themselves).

Certainly accounts from Manchuria played on western minds as accounts from Iraqi Kurdistan have done in more recent years.

The question really is whether the whole history could have been derailed, and at what point.  Did expansive Japan simply demand a response?

Two things, and you can take 'em or leave 'em, do with them what you want.

I find it rather interesting that if the US was so hell-bent on going to war with Japan that it would purposely provoke the attack on Pearl Harbor - that immediately subsequent to December 7th, it would begin sending most of its resources and young men to North Africa to battle the Germans.

Secondly, I am reminded of the story I heard told on a documentary I saw on Pearl Harbor once. A Japanese-American, I believe sometime in the 1990's was near some memorial in Hawaii(probably at Pearl) as a young Japanese couple on their honeymoon came running up to him. They had just read a plaque commemorating World war II and were incredulous. They asked the narrator of the story if it was true that the US and Japan had once fought a war - they had never heard of such a thing.

The Japanese historical cover-up of World War II is well documented. Recently China had a big issue with a certain Japanese textbook, and Korea's grievances are well known.

What exactly are the Japanese trying to hide? I think the answer is rather obvious to those who have studied the Pacific War.

I'm constantly baffled by how conspiracy theorists constantly take a narrower view of reality then their opposites across the table who espouse the dreaded mainstream view.

"I'm constantly baffled by how conspiracy theorists constantly take a narrower view of reality then their opposites across the table who espouse the dreaded mainstream view."

"In a way, the world-view of the party imposed itself most successfully on the people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding, they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just like a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird."
~George Orwell, 1984

Hello Oil CEO.  Of course the same charged of a "narrower view of reality" could be leveled at the, as you term it, "the dreaded mainstream view".  IMO the mainstream view has been subjected to "flagrant violations of reality" because followers of that view miss what is trying to be accomplished.  In the mainstream view everything just happens by chance and there is a reaction to what happened.  Once you study these events, not just Pearl Harbor, you see that they fit a pattern of "Problem Reaction Solution".  The ruling elite are attempting to accomplish a goal.  They create the problem, draw a reaction from the hapless proles, and then offer the solution they wanted as the "fix".

For example the elite need to gain access to the entire Middle East oil reserves before Peak Oil brings down the United States.  Hundreds of thousands of civilians will die.  They have a problem that needs a solution.  Enter the government sponsored false flag of 9/11. Now they created the problem, America is under attack by Muslim extremist that just happen to live on top of 60% of the proven oil reserves left on the planet.  The reaction from the brainwashed proles, with help from the media, is we must go to war with the Muslims and protect ourselves.  The solution is unfolding on your TV screen right now....

It is a debate that like every other debate will never end.

Of course I could be entirely wrong and borderline crazy.  This I have considered...

"This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so.

I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years, and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it, or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies... but in general, my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known."
~Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan, 1966) p. 950


My 1934 book shows more public (MSM) wrangling with the problem than mainstream history remembers.  Indeed I wonder if you are looking more at simplified history, rather than unanamous discourse at the time.

What are people going to remember about Iraq?  I'd guess that it will be a simple conceptual history (written by the intellectual winners, if not the battlefield victors), with at most one or two alternate views.

We could probably count up a dozen views of the war held in real-time, but they'll fade ...

This question is under the assumption peak oil isn't going to destroy industrial civilization soon.  How do you think the events of 9/11 will be recorded in "official" History 20 to 30 years from now??  Will the "truth movement" be erased like the "Peoples History"...


"Islamic extremists" is a simple explanation, and one that I think will stick.  I'm not sure how history will relate the religious and "culture clash" aspects though.
(I should probably caveat all my projections with a statement that I don't think I really know, but that would get kind of redundant.)

Heck, get a few years out into some futures, and you might see historians calling this the Nth Crusade.

A timely article, as I was thinking about this:

Only traitors try to make us afraid of terrorists

For what it's worth, I accept the "principle facts" of 9/11, but think most people miss the subtext and motivation of the players.  OBL and GWB were co-dependent on each other, as they both pursued opposing strategies.  Why did GWB leave his "OBL determined to attack" paper on the coffee table and go to chop wood?  That might make it as one of the principal alternative histories ... time will tell.

By the way, the book also has an undercurrent of what we would now call racism, which was an obvious enabler of the whole conflict.  Another echo to today's problems in the [mid] east.
An excellent point, Odograph, and apt comparison.
Suggest you bone up on the ramifications of Manifest Destiny <g>...
I agree Mr. Goose but my idea is to show how bias the coverage is for the benefit of Israel. I don't know where you get the idea that I think there is a "single transgressor".  What I see is unfolding is a genocidal war for control of resources.   I don't think Galloway believes it is ONLY Israel's fault either.  He is just pointing out the obvious by attempting to show that everything being broadcast is either outright lies or extremely biased towards Israel's favor.  Where is the freedom of press?  How can anything be resolved if the media is flooding the population with lies?  This is a final push for the extermination of the Muslim people in the Middle East.  Let's call it like it is.

It should be obvious to everyone what Israel is doing now has been in the works for quite some time.  It was laid out in a document called "A Clean Break" by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.

One should note, with interest, how the US has done some of the work for Israel such as the removal of Saddam Hussein;

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq -- an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right -- as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam."

I have no problem with individuals that support the wholesale extermination of a race of people to take their resources.  It has been going on since homo-sapiens been playing the game.  As long as you call a spade a spade and not attempt to explain it as the spread of "freedom and democracy", in defense of "evil doers" or some other bullshit fabrication.

It is very easy to prey upon the population with fear as a tool.  All they have to do is CREATE the right monster and the DNA will do the rest;

"Given the right leadership and sufficient external threat, the primary product of such spirituality may be extraordinary social cohesion... Almost every leader of note has, either consciously or unconsciously, fished these murky waters at some time or other.
Their reward is a united people armed with humanity's shining Excalibur.  To unsheathe this magic blade, such visionary leaders must first win over the populace with the primal fairy tale, which invariably contains two ingredients;

1.) A Monster-preferably one who speaks an alien tongue, prays to heathen gods, wears peculiar clothing, and/or has different-colored skin.
2.) A Miracle-earned only by sacrifice, but culminating in triumph for the home team and a nasty end for the Monster.

This tired old routine has worked its magic with astonishing regularity since the dawn of history, and no one with fully functioning DNA seems wholly immune to the lure of it.  Its genetic nature shines through the grisly statistics that follow every major conflict, especially those that incorporate genocidal slaughter."
~Reg Morrison, 1999 "The Spirit in the Gene, Humanity's Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature"

Click here for our latest creation:


my idea is to show how bias the coverage is for the benefit of Israel.

You mean, like these doctored photos run by Reuters?  Or this fraud, quickly removed, posted (wittingly or not) by the BBC?

Or the fraudulent casualty claims at Qana?

Does it make a difference if the claim is inflated forty to one?

Only if Hezbollah gets caught in the lie?

How about if all the "deaths" appear to be staged?  For instance, what's a mortician doing at the scene, in a helmet, hours after the "attack"... which never hit the building in question?

Bias isn't the word.  Bias assumes a slant on the truth.  A lot of the "news" you're getting about Israeli "crimes" has no truth to it at all.

No, I'm not Jewish.  I just find liars despicable.

What I see is unfolding is a genocidal war for control of resources.

You mean, like the genocides attempted by the Muslims in 1948, 1967, and 1973?  Or the numerous pogroms earlier?  The ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab nations in the immediate aftermath of 1948?

Or do you mean the genocide preached in the USA and put into practice by people like Naveed Haq?

Come back to reality, before you look down like Wile E. Coyote and find there's nothing beneath your feet.

LOL Engineer Poet that post is so ridiculous I'm not even going to address your silly points.


Then I will.

Either we believe in international law or we are all Nazis willing to commit any crime we think we can get away with.  There's no rock-hard doctrine on which to stand in between.  But if we believe in international law we must define the actors.

The Zionists began the Israel colonization project with every intent of removing Arabs from their private property, every bit as much as the English began the America colonization project with every intent of removing Indians from as much of their property as was physically possible, and the vast majority of the American colonists who came here to Mexican Texas intended to take ownership of the entire territory as soon as feasible.  (Don't make me drag out the quote of Jabotinsky, who called for total ethnic cleansing of Arabs back in the 1920s - twenty years in advance! - and still has an Israeli government medal named after him.)

The particular individual Arabs (called Palestinians) who were deprived of their private property had exactly the same right to fight to the death that the American Indians did.  They also had the same right to solicit outside help, which the Indians did during the French & Indian Wars.

Since white imperialism had deprived the Palestinians of a state under British rule, what was their legal relationship to the colonists?  There was none.  What crimes had the Palestinians committed that they deserved to lose their land, and how could they be punished for the crimes of white Germans against Jews?  It's not like the stripping of Germany's territory to reward states that it victimized.  As the king of Saudi Arabia told FDR, it would have been justice to give German land to the Jews, but I guess we didn't value the suffering of the Jews quite enough to give them any white man's land.

However, the problem is the intervention of the other Arab states against the patently unfair theft of land by the United Nations.  Did the Arab states have the right to intervene?  And did they have the right to intervene for utter eradication?

The problem is that there should never have been an assortment of Arab states in the first place.  The principle of the nation-state, held sacred by America, is that a state represents the will of an actual "people" or "nation" as we used to use that term.  Woodrow Wilson and Lawrence of Arabia tried to make Britian keep its WW1 promise to Prince Faisal that in exchange for help in fighting the Turks, Britian would "not prevent the creation of a single Arab kingdom", presumably consisting of all land liberated from the Turks: currently called Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait.  Obviously, Britain betrayed and defrauded the Arabs - less surprising if you know that oil was discovered in Iraq in 1910.

If the British had kept their promise, then there clearly could not have been an Israel.  No one would have dared ask such a concession from a single Arab nation-state.  So did the weakened puppet states thus created have a right to be suspicious of Britain's motives in introducing a Jewish homeland into the equation?  Did they have the right to suspect that the punishment of the Palestinians was exactly like the treaties America forced on the Indians at gunpoint - part of a new plan for total conquest of the Arab nation?  Did they have the right to act on that assumption?  Hard to say.

But it certainly discredits the Israeli argument that the people whose land they stole should emigrate to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.  The white rulers of the globe had decreed that Syria, Lebanon and Jordan were sovereign states with no attachment to those Arabs unlucky enough to be in the Palestine.  If Israel claims that all Arabs are in fact one nation and can be forced to move there without meaningful harm - then the Arabs have a legal right to reunite in the same fashion that Germany and Italy were reunited - by Arab-on-Arab war.  Yet Israel and the US would declare war on the Arabs if they seriously tried that.  Or the Arab states would have the right to regard an attack on their co-nationalists in any land as a justification for war - the exact right Turkey now claims in threatening to intervene in Iraq against Kurdish mistreatment of ethnic Kurds, and not denied by the US.

To bring this back to Peak Oil, if an Arab has no property rights that a white man is bound to respect, then why should the Arabs trust that whites won't steal their oil as whites once stole their farms and previously stole their sovereignity?  It's as crazy as a southern Vietnamese patriot fighting the US-equipped French for 8 years to force them to relinquish their criminally-ruled colony, only to find US troops arriving and claiming they're only there to protect the "legitimate" republic founded by a tiny French-speaking Catholic minority.  Oh, you don't like it, abandon your farm and move north, you Commie.

Well done super390.  Well done indeed.

Wouldn't you say that the Jews were given the Palestinian land so that the Rothschilds and other interests could basically set up a protectorate in the middle of all the Arab nations.  By doing this there would always be conflict thus making it easier to get at the oil, everybody broken up and fighting instead of an organized Arab nation?   Edmond de Rothschild played a major role in the formation of Israel.
Engdahl says in "A Century of War" that it was not a mistake but a calculated move to maintain influence over the Middle East.


"Obviously, Britain betrayed and defrauded the Arabs - less surprising if you know that oil was discovered in Iraq in 1910."

You can see a map of a "second Baku in the making" from the May 23, 1914, London Petroleum Review half way down the page:


2) Geopolitics & Petroleum Diplomacy.

(a) The Role of British Petroleum and Oil Companies

Although not generally known, Imperial Britain has had a keen interest in the Baku oilfields since the beginning of the twentieth century. This is dramatically illustrated from the May 23, 1914, London Petroleum Review, which reports the Ottoman oils fields of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and Kuwait) as "a second Baku in the making" (note the report blow - the "Baku" caption is highlighted for reference - see also William Engdahl (p.40-41) in References):


It was in the 1860s when Russian geologists discovered substantial petroleum deposits along the Western Caspian, mainly in the former Persian territory of Baku. The British certainly had eyes for those Baku deposits, but these were under Russian occupation at the time (recall the Golestan and Turkemenchai treaties cited before).

This is why they had such a keen interest in the "second Baku" of Mesopotamia. The First World War allowed Imperial Britain to move into Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf as to appropriate the region's oil deposits for itself. The major weapon used by British intelligence to dissolve the Ottoman Empire was its ethnic diversity, expressed mainly by different languages (e.g. Kurdish, Arabic) and religions (Christian, Muslim, Alevi, etc.). Petroleum diplomacy has had a long tradition of mobilizing ethnic strife to achieve its geopolitical and economic objectives. This is based on the proven Roman dictum: Divide and Rule.

The collapse of the former Soviet Union finally allowed for the opening of the Caspian oil market bonanza to western interests. The legendary poise and patience of British Petroleum (BP) diplomacy has again paid off. The present chief executive officer of British Petroleum is Edmund John Philip Browne (Baron Browne of Madingley) (left Photo below). He was a party to the nearly three and a half years of negotiations with Heidar Aliev (the late President of the Republic of Azerbaijan) to develop Azerbaijani oil deposits. On September 20th, 1994, Aliev signed a production sharing contract with a whole host of western and Turkish oil companies in Baku's Gulistan Palace (below right photo - Browne 2nd from left in front row, Aliev - in front centre -stands next to him).


The presence of BP in this project is significant. Other members of note on September 20th, 1994, were John Imle (Unocal - recall its disastrous role in Afghanistan), Stanislav Pugach, (Russian Ministry of Fuel and Energy), Tom Hamilton (Pennzoil) and Sitki Sancar (Turkish Petroleum).

At present, the Anglo-American petroleum access to the oil and gas deposits of the Caspian basin is extracted via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. This pipeline meanders through Eastern Turkey, around Armenia, through Georgia and finally through to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The security concerns with the pipeline however are high, making the project economically costly. Georgia is unstable, and has struggled to maintain its Ossetian and Abkhazian minorities within its borders. Eastern Turkey, teeming with Kurds, is vulnerable to attacks by separatists there. This explains why the pipeline has virtually skirted around the Kurdish region - proof again of the project's costly and inefficient basis.  

The intense political manoeuvring between Turkey, Iran, Russia, the Anglo-American political and economic elites, and the EU in the Caspian region has been characterized by some as "The New Great Game" - perhaps this is true. The end result for Iran has been unsuccessful in that she has been barred from any economic participation in the pipeline (mainly as result of Anglo-US foreign policy)[vi].  

Iran is a stable and politically unified state, which (unlike Turkey) minimizes the need to maintain large military forces in potentially hostile regions (e.g. eastern Turkey's Kurdish region) in order to safeguard pipelines. It is far more economical to transport Caspian oil via Iran's efficient transportation system which links the northern Caucasian regions to the Persian Gulf, where modern and efficient ports are fully operational. Allowing Iran to participate in the Caspian project however is geopolitically inconsistent with the Bernard Lewis plan, unveiled in the Bilderberg Conference of 1979 (item 1).

(b) Dismantling Geopolitical Obstacles: Dismembering Yugoslavia

William Engdahl (see References) has provided a detailed analysis of Petroleum geopolitics and its ambitions in the Caucasus. Engdahl also argues that the civil war and partitioning of Yugoslavia is part of the larger scheme to secure the Caspian pipeline into Europe

"...The Yugoslav model had to be dismantled...Yugoslavia also lay on a critical path to the potential oil riches of Central Asia ...the National Endowment for Democracy...began...handing out generous doses of dollars in every corner of Yugoslavia, financing opposition groups...journalists...trade union opposition...and human rights NGOs...(p.240)...using groups such as the Soros Foundation...financial support was channeled into often extreme nationalist or former fascist organizations that would guarantee dismemberment of Yugoslavia (p.241)..."

[William, Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. London: Pluto Press, p.240-241, 2004]

Your claim that the casuality claims at Qana are fraudulent are not supported by the linked article.  28 bodies recovered + 13 still missing and assumed to be in the rubble makes 41.

22 rather than 9 survived in the basement so a simple miscount in the immediate aftermath

Was the Bush claim of 6,000+ dead on 9/11 fraud ?  (I think not in either case).

Of course there is the "other" Qana massacre where Isreal bombed a UN observation post and killed 106, mostly civilains seeking protection under the UN flag (the rest were UN).  Spring 1996 from memory.

How'd they get the 52 figure, if they hadn't pulled the bodies out?  Isn't the mere fact of a claim without evidence, carelessness with the truth, sufficient to call the accuracy (and even basic truthfulness) of the claimant into question? 

For that matter, why was the roof of the "bombed" building intact?  Maybe the whole thing was staged.  The perps have had plenty of practice with things like the Mohammed al-Dura affair.

I assume that they got the 52 figure from those that survived in the basement.

With Isrealis bombing everything that moves in the area (remember Red Cross on roof of ambulance that Isrealis hit exectly on center), exactitude in numbers in neither expected nor likely.

As for roof, a ground level ground blast can easily to that.

Your claim of "fraud" is spurious.  The reporting was as good as can be reasonably exxpected.

After the WTC, they had not pulled the bodies out yet; yet Bush, Guliani et all were claiming 6,000.  And this with the rest of NYC in pristine shape, superb communications, media capital etc.

I reject you claim of fraud in reporting !

"I reject you claim of fraud in reporting !"

Poet is a clown.  He spent too many years in school and now he thinks he knows everything.  What a waste of a mind...


I'm just going to savor the irony of that for a while, thankyouverymuch.
AC, I'm less likely to read you when you say call people names...
JN2 thanks for your comment and I agree with you.  I called poet a "clown" because he called me a "moral idiot" in this thread:


Apuleius had been attacking me all along.  I know it is hard to follow in this mess but I tried to be nice but "they drew first blood... ;-)


I started reading the Koran the other day. All the calls to kill infidels was just getting too monotonous for me. Nearly every surah had calls for killing infidels as well as religeous excuses for breaking treaties with unbelievers. Muslims feel no obligation to honestly deal with Westerners. With each line it became more and more apparent that Islam is a religon of war and the less economic interaction we have with Islamic nations the better off we will be. The Hebrew scriptures have many accounts of war and genocide on the one hand but certainly doesn't say it is an obligation of every Jew to either convert others to Judaism or kill those who don't.  
Bring the troops home from Iraq and the engineers home from Suadi and other Arab autocracies.
Hope you're aware of The End of Faith by Sam Harris; he postulates much of what you wrote concerning Islam:
Why lie so obviously? Everyone knows what ol' YHWH told his chosen people to do to everyman, woman, child and domestic animal of their enemies.
That was 2000 years ago.
The present & clear problem today is what ALL_H tells ALL his "brainwashed" street people to do to all unbelievers right now.

And as for you Christian "pacifists" out there. Realize that they despise your 3-headed God even more than the Jewish one-headed God. They pick on Jews first merely because they are cowards and see the Jews as a convenient scape goat, one that will lull the heathern Crusaders into a false sense of safety. Jesus-lovers, this knife is for you. Allah achbar over "all" heathen dieties. No exceptions made. Sorry. We would if we could. But it is written. You understand.

I hope for your sake that you are a believer.
Remember. Five times a day to the East and make sure to mutter death to ALL infidels. Once you have stamped the "others" with a label of low-life nonhumans, this will levitate the special chosen you and your white saintly robe many feet up into the air, well above the unbelieving riff raff.

As for moderate Muslims who practice their faith in moderation, as do moderate Jews, as do moderate Christians, I apologize for having upset you. This was intended for those with blind hatred in their hearts and for those with blind love in their hearts. Moderation in all things. Peace.

He's sure not one for dialogue.  I find him irritating in the extreme.
He's sure not one for dialogue.  I find him irritating in the extreme.

LJR, I love the format for The Oil Drum, but one fault is, when you reply to a way upstream post, and don't indicate exactly which post you are replying to, it leads to confusion. I tried following the lines on the left hand side of the posts to find the post you were replying to, but with not much luck. I simply cannot figure out who "He" is. I wonder if I would find "him" irritating in the extreme also?

Could you clue us in?


Ron I believe he is talking about Galloway in this interview:



I tried following the lines on the left hand side of the posts to find the post you were replying to,

Hello TODder's
Note that there is a "Parent" button on the bottom left of each comment box

No need to trace up the heierarchy lines!!!!

Just hit "Parent"
Then use your browser "Back" button to get back to where you were

nice find ac
Someone posted awhile back about money being representative of energy flow. The rebuttal was that things like real estate ostensibly have no connection to energy flows. But to the extent that luxuries like diamonds and silk have no connection to necessities like food, clothing and shelter aren't they representative of surplus energy flow? Land, in fact, has a direct connection to energy flow since it is used to produce food. To the extent that it becomes a derisirable thing because of things like location and aesthetics, then it is representative of the surplus energy that makes production of luxuries possible and that frees up desire for things other than necessities.
A little story unrelated to the end of the world as we know it

What do you do for a middle school science project when your dad is a geoscientist?

I suggested that my daughter look into the tidal forces caused by the moon.  

When doing gravity surveys, we have to correct for "earth tides," i.e., the tidal effect of the moon.   The moon (and to a much lesser extent, the sun) cause ocean tides, but these same forces cause the earth to expand and contract.

In any case, she started with photographs of extreme high and low ocean tides.  Given this observation, the tidal force must be measurable.  So, we used a borrowed ($25,000) gravimeter to measure the earth's gravitational field several times a day for several days and then we plotted the results, showing the measured gravitational effect of (primarily) the moon.   Kind of cool for a middle school science project.

On the same tangential vein as westtexas - I need a topic for my Law Review note.  (40+ page footnoted paper discussing court cases relating to a particular topic).
Any lawyers here?  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd love to have it tie into PO/energy in some way but I haven't figured out a way to anchor it into any existing court decisions.



It's not Peak Oil related, but how about looking at the latest rulings on Eminent Domain?  The government is stealing neighborhoods from people.  It's un-American.  There was a great article in the Boston Globe this weekend.

I can't seem to find an electronic link for it, but if you're interested I'd be willing to mail you the article.  My email address is behind my screen name.


It's an underwhelming decision, but there's a 10th Circuit case, Ashley Creek Phosphate Co. v. Chevron USA, Inc. (2003 10CIR 1) that deals with an antitrust suit brought against Chevron's natural-gas derived fertilizer business. You might take a look at it.
How about a review of court cases regarding the nationalization of energy assets and the voiding of existing contracts, with special emphasis on Venezuela?  Might be a stepping stone into international legal work focused on energy issues.
Hello westexas,
I might not be a middle schooler, more like a middle ager but I need some education assistance. Iron Triangle. I have searched the archives for this, for I learned about it from you. Could you redirect me to appropriate definition?
Thanks for your time.
Who says you can't teach an old dog? I tried a different search type and found a reasonable definition. Thanks
Brown/Khebab articles on the EB (check out the Mainstream media article):

http://www.energybulletin.net/news.php?author=jeffrey+brown&keywords=&cat=0&action=searc h

There is an issue related to which federal agency (or agencies) has (have) jurisdiction over wind and wave energy projects, especially projects off-shore beyond the territorial state boundaries.  You might want to look into that.

Good luck with the LR article.  It won't be much fun.

Thanks guys- particularly westtexas and enviro atty.  Those sound like appetizing topics.  I'm hoping that by keeping the topic interesting that the paper won't be so painful, or at least less painful than all the cite and source checking assignments throughout the year.

Thanks again

You might find some of the utility cases against the government regarding spent nuclear fuel of interest. Here's an example from the Court of Claims:
Hi Ben, and everyone at TOD.   I am a very, very long-time lurker here (a year??), and I'm finally mustering up both the needed courage and effort to post. . . TOD kicks ass!

A "peak-aware" law review note or comment would be great. Here are a few ideas.  

(1) If you're into patent law (my field), I've often thought that "peak oil" (along with the corresponding peak natural gas, etc.) will also mean, for various reasons, "peak patents."  My thinking on that is a bit complicated and I don't want to bore the hell out of TOD'ers who don't care about patent law, but comment back if interested.

(2) current developments in building air space rights, which will become increasingly important for solar and maybe even wind installations.  Especially in cities, where density might mean competition for sunlight... Related would be issues with condos, etc., where rooftops are commonly owned . . .

(3) the legal aspects of what Matt Simmons and myriad other people have called for, and that is, auditing of oil field production and reserves.   I believe in free markets, but I think that peak oil will go down as the biggest "market failure" of all time.  That is because the market didn't (and still doesn't) have the information it needs to adequately price a barrel of oil over the long-term. (Though more info doesn't mean a "better" or "more accurate" price per se -- because there would still be uncertainty about decline rates, new technology for recovery in the future, etc. But this info would help substantially and, for the most part, narrow the range that the most plausible predictions would fall into for both the date of peak and for the likely overall decline rate thereafter).

How would an international system of audits/reporting be setup and enforced? Which institution(s) would be responsible? And, a critical question that I have never heard addressed:  how would reporting be standardized? This is important because  presumably we need to know not only about production and about reserves in the ground (which are easy to report because it they are numerals), but also about the types of technology previously or currently deployed on each oil field.  This is necessary to get better info on the probable decline rate and long-term production probabilities of any particular field.  (How does this reporting clash with any company trade secrets on oil recovery, also? Would these trade secrets simply yield?)

So an article which takes the idea of "hey, we need audits on individuals fields" to the next level, and gets into the legal details of doing that, would be a great contribution.  To design a working reporting/auditing system, you could maybe borrow from other areas of the law that have reporting requirements:  securities law, environmental law, etc. . . even patent law.

Thanks for the comments - the standardized field reporting does sound like it has possibilities, as does the air rights.

I think the main problem here is to tie them into cases so they aren't too broad/hypothetical.



Portland area TODer asked to meet me after Hydro conference

And I cannot find his old eMail.  I am available today, tonight and tommorrow before supper.  Wednesday breakfast as well.

Please eMail me.

Alan_Drake at Juno dott com

I moved to Portland, Oregon a year ago, and was
delighted to discover that Portland had a
growing and thriving Peak Oil group. I quickly
joined up, but as an attractive single female,
I found myself being "black-balled" by the Alpha
female, who was married and extremely territorial.
When I attended meetings, she followed me around,
but ignored me, never acknowledged my existence
(even when I spoke directly to her), talked over me,
and was an outstandingly perfect bitch.
At one event, I was afraid she was going
to lift her leg and urinate around the space
where I was standing. I'm not kidding about the
territorial behavior, it was unbelievable.
Now, this group touts itself as a "builder of bridges"
 and stresses the importance of community building,
but I didn't realize that they only meant White,
professional class married people, or single men.
Single women can go piss up a rope.
We don't always get to choose who the members of
our communities are, so if you have a particular
hatred: people of color, jews, homosexuals,
hetrosexual unmarried women, you might find it
tough to get real community backing for your
project. Jesus, if things are good now, and there
is this kind of personality disorder malfunction
going on in Peak Oil groups, what the hell are
we going to do when TSHTF?
Peakoilfaerie, there are psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in every group. I'm sorry for what you experienced. Please don't take it to represent the community as a whole.
Peakoilfaerie, that is exactly how mammals work.  Volunteer organizations are the worst.  At least in paid jobs, everybody gets something.  In volunteer organizations the currency is social status and is a zero sum game.  And yes, the peak oil community works the same way.  For example, on PO.com, the alpha male poster MonteQuest made no effort to prevent the departure of his intellectual rival, the equally articulate poster Devil.  In the end, there can be only one.

Forget about saving the world, find a partner who will enhance your personal odds of survival.

yep, what he said.  those people need to work on their inclusive fitness.  If you're going to be an arsehole, you had better contribute to the community in an above average fashion.  Otherwise, there's no reason to keep you around!

welcome to TOD... :)

and take those carriage returns out of your posts!  :)

It's shocking sometimes when we realize how thin is the veneer of civilization over our primate natures. As AMPD will undoubtedly point out very soon, most of what we do revolves around sex or social status that is useful in a reproductive sense.

If I was single, I would be utterly enthralled to find a single female interested in Peak Oil. They seem quite rare. Don't be discouraged, Portland is a great place for Peak Oil cooperation.

Peakoilfairie -

You gave a perfect and very entertaining description of organizational dynamics everywhere!

That is one reason why I avoid activist groups like the plague.  I know I should be 'active', but I just can't bring myself to dealing with a certain type of person that these groups seem to attract.

Self-righteous, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, dogmatic, fanatical, political, thickheaded, and just plain ignorant are just a few adjectives that come to mind. I have spent most of my professional life in the environmental field, and am quite familiar with environmental activist that fit the above description perfectl.

Forgive me for saying so, but it's also been my admittedly limited observation that females tend to be worse than males in this regard.

I think many people use activist groups merely as a vehicle to reinforce their own self-importance and give meaning to their life.  I myself am a loner, an unenthusiastic  team player, and prefer to free-lance.

IMAO, someone like you is a good reason to hang out at peak-oil fora.

Unfortunately, the land of heat, humidity and hurricanes is a long way from Oregon.  But this job won't last forever...

> there is this kind of personality disorder malfunction going on in Peak Oil groups

"we preach what we most need to learn" - this does seem to apply, all too often.

It is easy to feel great and strong feelings for community until said community becomes populated by certain actual living breathing faulty humans; then one hearkens back to the joy of not having to deal with them.

Maybe the solution should be fragmentation - who says there needs to be only 1 peak oil 'tribe' in a given geographic area?  Maybe the 'open space meetings' approach should also apply to the tribes, and you (and others) should vote with your feet, and join another tribe.
(which will of course drive Tribe#1's leader crazy)

I suspect that similar tensions/dissatisfactions/dysfunctions occur in many PO groups, which dissuade individuals from joining them.

Freedom of speech includes freedom for those who are not taking their medications, freedom for the sociopaths, freedom for all. The editors of this website doubtlessly grind their teeth, but it is probably better to allow the babbling of fools and the deranged than to impose censorship.

My personal solution has been to identify the hundred or so worst posters and then simply scroll past them. Also, I have noted that the worst posters tend to be active for a few weeks and then vanish, while the best ones tend to remain.

The one best rule (which sometimes I violate) is to never respond to the inane and insane remarks. Sick minds are looking for responses; do not feed their need.

Well said wise sailor philosopher.

My belief is that we are all sick. Some of us are in deeper denial than others.

It is the human condition.

So if I feed the trolls every once in a while, forgive me. I know not what I do. I am just another infected and inflicted monkey. ;-)

(P.S. Recall that Galileo was a "sicko" for believing that the Earth circles about the Sun when obviously the Bible says it is the other way around. It is written and still he blasphemed the Holy truth. They should have deep fried him right next to that Joan of Arc kook. Death to all witches! It is the only humane and rational thing we can & do do.)

Christ, guys, can't you come up with any good news?  Yeesh.
Also, new open thread on Prudhoe (with this latest news) on the front page.
The BP Alaska story is now the top headline at google news.

I found this paragraph from the Washington Post pretty amazing:

But the most likely scenario, based on a limited conflict, has prices falling from current $75 levels to below $70 by year-end and to $60 by end-2008, which would allow the world economy to keep expanding, with U.S. growth slowing to 2.5 percent in 2007, S&P said.

Imagine flatly stating the "most likely scenario," and beyond that, knowing that the world economy can sustain $60-70/bbl long term.


As we've seen with other stories, high energy prices are combining with an explosion of negative savings rates.  To migh eye, that might say that damage is being built in now, but perhaps really felt later.


"migh eye?" little bit of a misfire there ...
To go along with negative savings rate:
Now a spike in credit card debt in June.


Airconditioning is unwritten flip side to power dressing. That's how you get to wear a sharp black suit in stinking hot weather. You step out of your a.c. home into an a.c. car with your reserved parking spot close to the door of an a.c. office. You then discuss a.c. thoughts with your fellow power brokers. If I'd known this earlier I coulda been somebody.
By golly, Boof, you got it!  THAT'S why I never impressed people with all my great ideas- no AC.  As one mechanic told me once, when I was a CEO, " That suit makes you look like you need an oil change".  And I gotta admit that I had some of the same perceptual problem.  Once in India I was talking with a guy dressed in nothing but a skimpy loin cloth for quite a while before my thick head got over the "naked savage" impression to realize he was a genius.
Judging a book by its missing cover, eh?
That reminds me of the guy who went to see a shrink for the first time - dressed in nothing but Saran wrap. The psychiatrist took one look at him and said,"Well! I can see your nuts."
My sister (a lawyer in Sacramento) thinks we should ban dry-cleaners.  Not only do they use a lot of toxic chemicals and a lot of energy, but without dry cleaners, no one would be wearing wool suits all year round.  People could actually dress for the climate (which is pretty pleasant in northern California), rather than air condition the buildings.
When I decided to indulge myself in a tailor-made suit, I told my tailor that I wanted a "wash and wear" or "permanent pressed" fabric--one that would look good without dry cleaning. The dialogue that followed was approximately thus:

"No. It cannot be done!"

"But I'm the customer. The customer is always right."

"I make only the finest suits from the best fabrics. Here, in my books you can choose any of a thousand kinds of cloth. But dry cleaning is essential; there is no substitute."

"Suppose I am willing to give up some 'neatness' to avoid dry cleaning."

"No. I will not do it."

"How about if I add in a few hundred dollars?" [The price range we were negotiating was about twelve hundred dollars, including half a dozen tailor-made shirts.]

"No. It is not to be considered."

"Surely, I could find some other tailor who would make me a suit from permanent-pressed washable fabric."

"Hmph. Then go find him. I could not hold my head up if I do it."


At this point my woman friend intervened, took the side of the tailor, and with two against one I had to give in. The suit is superlative, and so are the shirts, and if I ever have another suit made, I'll probably go to the same tailor, because I admire a person who has the courage of his convictions. (Even when I disagree with them.)

"But I'm the customer. The customer is always right."

Ah, more sound logic from that never-wrong market.
The Market guides us and we obediently follow.
For we are but sheep and ...
The Market our shepard.
If I remember right, gymnos means nekked in greek, so a gymnasium is a place where you run around bare.  Good idea.  Most of the south should  be declared  a gymnasium.  Would save most of that north slope oil right there.  

Gee, great idea, why didn't I think of it.  Now- what else ya got that needs fixin'?

Liked the one about the saran wrap.  Will try it out with the wife at supper. Might have more of a chance than most.

I can think of a GREAT reason to ban dry-cleaning. Those chemicals are CFCs, which not only wipe out the ozone hole and add to global warming, but can be mixed with a liquid fuel to make a chemical weapon molotov cocktail. The next best thing is to avoid any dry cleaners owned or operated by people fitting "that" profile!
why does Brent Crude trade for more than Light Sweet crude?
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