DrumBeat: September 15, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 09/15/06 at 9:27 AM EDT]

Attacks in Yemen kill 5

Suicide bombers try to hit oil refineries

Suicide bombers tried to strike two oil facilities in Yemen with explosives-packed cars, but authorities foiled the attacks and four bombers and a security guard were killed, the government said Friday.

The attempts came ahead of this week's presidential elections, in which President Ali Abdullah Saleh faces a serious challenge for the first time since he became head of state in 1978.

They also came days after al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued a videotaped threat of attacks on the Persian Gulf and on facilities he blamed for stealing Muslim oil.

[Update by Leanan on 09/15/06 at 10:55 AM EDT]

West beams security focus on Gulf of Guinea oil

Western experts worried about the security of oil supplies from Africa's Gulf of Guinea have considered several doomsday scenarios, including suicide attacks by determined Islamist militants on offshore oil platforms.

But many analysts say domestic unrest is by far the bigger threat to a region whose oil is growing in strategic importance to the West because of increasing volatility in the Middle East.

A road map to a Britain without fossil fuels

The first comprehensive account of the measures needed to ensure Britain does its bit to avoid dangerous climate change is published today with a warning that failure to act now will only require more drastic action at a later date.

BP finds leak at Texas City refinery cracker tower

The refinery, where 15 people died in a blast last year, is in the process of restarting following shutdown ahead of Hurricane Rita last September.

EnCana eyes U.S. refinery for oil sands crude

Shell Canada shares fall close to 52-week low after refinery leak

Hydrogen sulphide, or sour gas, started leaking from a valve in a hydrogen cracking unit at the plant in mid morning Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of about 1,400 workers from the refinery and surrounding chemical plants. There were no injuries.

Ten oil companies may renegotiate drill leases: U.S.

The U.S. Interior Department told Congress on Thursday that about 10 oil companies have shown an interest in renegotiating drilling leases that at present would allow the companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in royalties normally owed on oil and natural gas found in the Gulf of Mexico.

The department mistakenly left out language in drilling contracts signed with energy companies in 1998 and 1999 that would have ended a waiver of royalties when oil and natural gas prices were at certain high levels.

GM vice chairman wants mass produced hydrogen cars by 2011

Ford slashes 10,000 more jobs, 2 plants

"The simple fact is that the business model that served us in North America for decades no longer works," Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said during a morning teleconference.

Toyota shifts to small cars in U.S.

Honda achieves breakthrough in technology to produce ethanol from cellulosic biomass

China Aims to Triple Fuel Ethanol Output By 2010

Biodiesel to drive up the price of cooking oil

OPEC: Oil demand weaker than expected in first half of 2006

Arctic ice melting rapidly, study says

Here's a link to The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index.

Excellent stuff updated every Monday and Thursday for all you number-heads.


Their homepage is http://www.brook.edu

That is where I got the following information on page 29. The whole thing is an excellent read. We will need to be up to speed when we start talking about exports and, in this case, Iraq.

I posted a chart earlier which I will be updating soon with additional information.

Here is the raw data. Many thanks to Jack for the technical support.


Percentage Exports Iraq

This second graph shows Iraqi Oil production separated into its Export and Domestic Consumption.

And the next one shows the same data as the previous one, but as millions of barrels per day. I have also reversed top/bottom order of components for easier reading. Colors stay the same.

Iraq Production August 2006

Here's a link to first post on subject

I cannot verify this data. I am going to be comparing it to EIA's numbers shortly. What I can say is that it clearly shows Exports rising and domestic consumption falling.

And remember - this is the most screwed-up country in the world.

Well, I guess this just goes to prove that Bush was right after all: Things are improving in Iraq.  

All we need to do is to  stay the course, not cut and run, and things are bound to get even better. Right?

I'm just laying out the numbers as I see collect them, man. I can't change history. As far as what I think will happen in the future, that would be pure speculation. Personally, I don't think US Presidents(or Vice-Presidents) have much control over oil production or where that oil goes. One of the biggest myths of out time.
See them/collect them - you know what I mean. Coming to you straight from the "Ministry of Oil"(MoO).
Yes and no.

A President can't do diddly to make oil, but he or she can do a lot to curtail oil production, such as starting an unnecessary war just as peak oil is looming, to lock down a sizable reserve, raise prices, and spur conservation in the short term.

Purely hypothetical, of course.

Thank you, Sir. I needed that right about now. It is quite an honor. I love "Yes and No" answers as opposed to the "Yes or No" variety. I try to stay away from the hypothetical. I leave that for my dreams. For instance...well, nevermind.

Starting an unnecessary war just as peak is looming? Did I hear you right, Sir? Should I call in the Secret Service? You're not turning Doomer on us now, are you? We have a shot for that...why don't you just try to relax.

Sorry. I saw 'The Sentinel' last night. Not a bad flick. Eva Longoria, Michael Douglas, Kim Basinger, and, of course, everybody's favorite - Jack Bauer.

Not unlike '3 Days of the Condor.'

Purely hypothetical, of course.

Good to see you back, Lou. Give'm Hell.

I guess the question would be what is behind the decrease in local consumption.
I'm curious, too. I forget what Iraqis are supposed to get for a price on gasoline, but it was ridiculous. Like 25 cents a gallon or something. So people were using their quotas and then reselling the gasoline on the blackmarket or sending out of the country.

There was an excellent article on this in the NYT months ago. If you read the Brookings report, they actually track average waiting times in line at petrol stations.

One possible explanation is that the real price of gasoline in country is tending more towards the black market price. Possibly cutting demand.

Something else I'd like to bring up is that I think pipeline attacks in Iraq may be overblown, no pun intended. There is a website that actually tracks these listed in endnotes of Brookings report. I haven't read through the whole list, but I get the sense(and this is pure speculation)that the "players" have more interest in making money from the trade in oil/gasoline than in disrupting its flow. We've seen this before. Most notably in Gaza.

When you stay in your house, hiding from various gunmen (and electric drill wielders), that might cut down on driving.
Electric drills? The mind cringes at the thought. But seriously, these drills are only a danger during the four hours a day that they get electricity <wink>
And only within range of the extension-cord.
Batteries: Bringing you 24 hours of mobile torture from 4 hours of stationary charging a day.
IIRC, the Iraqi government was forced to raise prices.  Eightfold, I think it was.  Imagine gasoline going from $3/gallon to $24/gallon overnight. That would cut consumption, I daresay.  
Eight fold? <sarcasm>I missed that announcement by the White House.</sarcasm> I dare say you are correct that such an increase would cut consumption.
Unless you've got an AK-47. Then I imagine your power of persuasion would rise to the occasion. And you might even Consume More ;)
Right you are!

Here's a Wa Post report on the Iraq gas price increase, from December of last year:


Thanks, I owe you one. I knew you were out there. I was perfectly satisfied to sit around cracking jokes until someone came by with some facts. Or at least the Washington Post. Cheers.
well, now I'm confused. If the price went up 8 fold last December, one would expect to see an immediate decline, yet January is a short term peak for local consumption and then consumption appears to descend gradually. Anyone care to hypothesize?

Could it be a sign of increasing povertization - each month more people being priced out - and not necessarily an immediate "consumer" decision to not purchase?

Inflation has climbed to 70% in Iraq. A living hell there. Things really were better for them under Saddam.
I think there is a crossover and dilution of price/demand from black market to waiting in line for four hours to get a few litres.

Think about it. Let's say you could buy milk(or whatever you fancy) for 25 cents, but had to wait for between 1 and 4 hours in line to get a half gallon. Or you could buy the same half-gallon and as many as you wanted for $3 without any wait, on the black market(from Al-Sadr Brothers).

What would you do?

Then, let's say, one day, Maliki & Sistani Grocers raised the price of the official milk to $2. But you still had to wait the same four hours.

Now what would you do? Aaaah. Choices. Choices. Economics.

Of course, your wait in line would probably decrease for the $2 stuff, but the price of the $3 stuff might go up, and you may actually have to wait 15 minutes for it.

They have a term for this in the Middle-East. I forget the Arabic. But in English...it is "Market."

I had read that it wasn't so much as a raising of the price as much as it was a stop to the subsidies they were providing.  Essentially the gasoline subsidy was bankrupting the Iraqi government before its even off the ground.

What would happen to American gas prices if all subsidies stopped overnight?

They didn't stop the subsidy, they just reduced it.  

Fuel prices are heavily subsidized in many developing countries.  In many cases, this is causing severe budget problems for the governments in question.

Stop was too strong a word, agreed.  

But from the Washington Post article and a few others I Googled through their news search, the Iraqi subsidy will take another bump if they are to meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund.  Its probably going to see at least a doubling in coming months as they shift prices to ME norms.

Imagine gasoline going from $3/gallon to $24/gallon overnight. That would cut consumption, I daresay.  

Ah, but then you drop it to $20, and everybody thinks it's cheap, ans starts driving again ;-)

I guess the question would be what is behind the decrease in local consumption.

People killed by brutal uncontrolled sectarian violence don't buy gas?
This is going to sound callous, but I think the numbers will support me. The deaths don't account for a large percentage of the population.

Second point. Iraq looks real dangerous when viewed from the car-bombing, suicide-bombing, IED viewpoint. But I ask this. And I'm not kidding. And I'm not trying to be an ass. I'm serious. I don't know your answer. And I don't know the answer.

Do you think Iraq would be safer with no Americans, no Civil War, and no sectarian violence? What if it was at peace?

Do you think 20 million Iraqis driving around in "freedom" at 100mph in those lovely shitboxes they own would be safe? With no traffic lights. And no cops.

Where were those magic traffic lights going to come from?

I could go on. You want me to?

I think the word we all better get to love is 'Transition.'

You are right of course, by the numbers maybe a hundred to a hundred fifty thousand, not much I guess, unless one of them happens to be your mom.  A lot more (any that can afford it) have run.  I think we would be better off not trying to impose our view of life on them, just my opinion, put the money and manpower into something other than g-d-oil.  Don't worry though, in the end it will be just like Vietnam, we will say they are ready to go it on there own and then a year later the whole thing will collapse.  I just hope they are as forgiving as the Vietnamese.
Yeah, I hear you. I got mixed feelings, though. I grew up over there. I think about signing up every day. I'm pisser with languages. I'd end up interpreting for frontline Marines in Ramadi. I could save lives. I could get my balls blown off. Or worse. Choices. Maybe Dick Cheney is trying to impose something. Not me. I try and figure every day whether I'm worth anything. We're all gonna die. We're doomed. What if they're right about God. Well, shit, I gotta take that into account, don't I?
Sorry CEO,

  Do you know anybody personally that has fought in a war, I mean someone close?  If you do talk to them about it.  It is not as funny as you think.

My best friends are Vietnam combat vets. My grandmother trained WWII pilots. My grandfather piloted his B-17 to 3 crash landings on New Guinea never losing a crew member. I never met his brother. He disappeared flying over the Hump. My father's my hero, though. I won't tell you about him. War sucks. That's what I learned about that subject from my family.
War sucks. That's what I learned about that subject from my family.

Sometimes you don't know which CEO you are talking to.  I mean you always know the Dave you are talking to, but the CEO ... it's hard to tell.  I will take it at face value and say we have found a point of agreement.
Yeah, sorry. I would have asked the same question of you. No big deal. I'm not sure where I was sounding funny. It probably just slipped out. Being in agreement is good, though. I apologize.
Better look up the table of military MOS's and see if they've added "Keyboard Cowboy" first......

It takes guts to go over there.

Iraq looks real dangerous when viewed from the car-bombing, suicide-bombing, IED viewpoint....
Do you think Iraq would be safer with no Americans, no Civil War, and no sectarian violence? What if it was at peace?

Do you think 20 million Iraqis driving around in "freedom" at 100mph in those lovely shitboxes they own would be safe? With no traffic lights. And no cops.

In a word, yes.

Traffic in India is crazy, leading to a death rate of 221 per million people per year. (cite)  It's a pretty high death rate in comparison to most places (about double the US's), so should make a good estimate of what Iraq's would be like.

Iraq has about 26M people (CIA World Factbook), suggesting they'd see an annual death toll of about 26*211 = 5500 on the roads.  Right now, thay see that many dead every two months.

So, yes, it seems clear that Iraq would be much safer with no sectarian violence.

Actually a significant part of the population has left the country. I've seen numbers ranging from 1 to 3 million. No reason to believe it at either end of the scale but lots of reportage.
Also, why would you believe the numbers you get on Iraqi production o rconsumption? Deems like a "lips moving" situation to me.
I guess the question would be what is behind the decrease in local consumption.

People killed by brutal uncontrolled sectarian violence don't buy gas?
What would be the cause of the drop in consumption?

IMO it might be due to the owners of real estate that is flooding the market with no buyers and the ARM mortgages that bring bad news as well.

This makes for some folks who suddenly realize that they are in deep kaka and must make some lifestyle changes.

Of course it doesn't help much but this is their psychlogical ploy to convince themselves that they are really really doing something.

They are toast anyway but don't want to think about it.

So huge debts and no buyers...ergo less spending on stupid driving habits.

Something about this situation is not quite kosher. It seems to conflict with the facts on the ground.
Check out this link from defensetech.


If the military is importing fuel from turkey that would imply they are not using domestic sources.

At the same time if the power grid is so messed up how do you operate the Iraqi refineries?  Are they self powered?

IANA refinery expert, but I'd imagine that the electricity required is a fraction of a percent compared to the energy derived.

On-site generators, of course.

Not to quible, but those numbers are higher than previous available, by over 10%.

Still, the production trend is troubling. The average daily production last year(2004) was 2.07 million barrels, according to CGES. This year through August, Iraq has produced an average of 1.864 million barrels, it said.

But this is an energy blog and in the energy industry 10% is well within any margin of era or maybe we can just blame our Iraq propaganda services.

Like I said, I haven't compared these numbers to anything thoroughly. They seem to match up OK with EIA. When we compare to CGES it is like apples to oranges to pears. EIA to IEA to BP. But you may be right. And 10% like you say isn't bad. I hope to get back to you on this soon.

If you want to see something really funky, check out the many different versions of Nigeria's numbers.

Export Land Revisited

In a January, 2006 post, I predicted a severe net oil export crisis this year.  

As more EIA data were released, I later asserted that the decline in US petroleum imports this spring, combined with rising oil prices, was evidence of declining world oil exports.  I was repeatedly challenged on this point by, among others, Robert Rapier and Halflin.

IMO, there are three key pieces of data that support my assertion:

(1)  Richard Heinberg, reported--based on an industry source--that Ghawar was down by as much as 40% from last year's reported production of about 5 mbpd, and the EIA reports that Saudi crude + condensate production is down by 4.2% from 12/05 to 6/06 (annual decline rate of 8.4%);

(2)  The WSJ ran an article, based on an internal Pemex report on the Cantarell Field, which suggested a worst case decline rate of about 40% per year (from about 2 mbpd last year) in production from the Cantarell Field.  Recent media reports (a decline of 50,000 bpd per month) and recent Pemex reports suggest that something close to the worst case decline rate may be happening; and

(3) From 12/05 to 6/06, the EIA crude + condensate data show that net oil exports by the top 10 net oil exporters (based on estimated consumption) are declining at annual rate of about 9.2%.

I respectfully submit that the available data show that we did have declining world oil exports in the first half of the year.  Futhermore, I see no reason for optimism on the export front for the second half of the year.

My assertion that we are past peak is only partly based on the HL data.  The clincher for me is the reported declines in production in the large, old oil fields, and I think that is why so many analysts are too optimitic--they are underestimating the effect of these declines.  

In simplest terms, we are trying to replace the production from fields that were producing about 1.0 to 5.0 mbpd with fields producing about 0.1 to 0.25 mbpd.  Historically, trying to replace big fields with little fields has not been successful, and I don't expect it to be successful now.

I do have a request for Halflin.  Precisely, what are you predicting?  If you view your role as being the resident skeptic, how about dropping the sarcasm?

A copy of my post on yesterday's open thread follows.  My comments from weeks past, provided by Halfin, are in bold.

"As I said last year, I expect that by the end of 2006 we will be in the teeth of a ferocious net oil export crisis."

From 12/05 to 6/06, the EIA crude + condensate data show that net oil exports by the top 10 net oil exporters (based on estimated consumption) are declining at annual rate of about 9.2%.  

"So, I expect to see $100 oil this year, but I don't think that it will stay there--in the short term."

Granted, I may have guessed too high.  My point was that the production downturn, in the short term, would not be enoough to cause permanently higher--$100 range--oil prices.  

As I discussed earlier, I did not start expressing concern about net oil exports because of US import numbers.  My concern was based on the HL analysis.  The point I was making was the anomaly of lower US oil imports and higher oil prices.  I suggested that the higher oil prices were primarily due to importers having to bid the price up, because of declining net oil export capacity worldwide. And I submit that the EIA's reported production decline by the top 10 net oil exporters support that premise.

For a number of reasons, oil prices are going to be all over the place, but IMO higher oil production will not be among those reasons.

Saudi Arabia is vastly more exposed to its largest field, Ghawar (more than 50% of production last year), than Texas was to its largest oil field, East Texas (about 7% at peak).  

Look at the number of "coincidences."  SA starts declining as predicted by the HL method and Texas model.  Heinberg reports a decline in Ghawar production when Ghawar gets close to where Yibal (same reservoir, same drilling practices) started crashing.  SA starts importing fuel oil, and we get reports of a shortage of natural gas. Finally, SA, just like Texas, starts a frantic drilling program (all the while saying that they are cutting back on production "voluntarily").

Again, the reason the HL method works is that we find the big fields first.  And I don't know how much more clearly I can say this--the big fields are almost certainly all declining.

I think this is a useful read of the past and points to some trends that could continue. But as I have argued elsewhere, I do not think it is possible to extraploate this to its logical extreme and say this will continue until the countries do not export.

Most of the large exporters are dependent on exports to fuel their economies and keep their rulers in power.

Currently the revenues from oil exports have recycled cash into the economy that is used to buy subsidized oil. However, there are at least two limts to how far this can go. First and more import is that without exports the countries can not earn revenue to buy anything. You can not eat oil, or drive it. Secondly their are diminishing returns to oil. Going from too little to enough is great. Going to having enough to bath in doesn't do much for you. Finally, as exports are curtailed, oil prices will rise and the returns to export will become even greater.

I think this is a useful analysis, but has an set of automatic regulators that change the dynamics long before an halt to exports.

I do think increased domestic demand will reduce exports to a point. If ME economies can diversify, this could be greater. But I don't think it is possible for it to be more than just another factor in inflated oil prices.

I think Jeff simply lays out the numbers, trends if you will. He does not, and doesn't pretend to, picture the consequences of these trends, and incorporate those. For good reason.

You may be right about countries needing money, but they need it now as well, and exports are going down. That may be partly explained by higher prices, but not all of it, for sure.

You could go further and evaluate at which point violence is likely to break out, inside these countries, as undoubtedly will happen in some places, as the pies turn to crumbs. That would change the numbers, but it's no use in this model, because it is "unknowable" for all intents and purposes.

You'd have to look at the minimum income the House of Saud would need to hold on to power, for instance. And so on, there are too many variables.

And again, it is not what Jeff is trying to point out.

"I think this is a useful analysis, but has an set of automatic regulators that change the dynamics long before an halt to exports."

Two recent examples of regions that have become net importers, after being net exporters, are Indonesia and the UK.  

One key point is that a lot of exporters, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, are actively encouraging greater consumption by subsidizing energy prices.

As SAT predicted, the deflationary effect of the housing crash is probably causing US oil demand to fall, or at least flatten


Someone posted the link to the above blog a few weeks ago, and I have begun checking the website on a daily basis. Reading the damn thing is  like walking out of your house every morning, knowing that an auto accident is going to happen at the same place and time every morning.  It's sort of a morbid fascination.  

Yesterday, they had a story about jantitors in California who obtained $450,000 mortgages, based on "stated income."  

This is not going to end well.  Regarding "The End of Suburbia," Jim Kunstler may have turned out to be an optimist.

I agree with your assessment 100% Westexas. It's not just the housing market, although that is the most visible component so far. Precious metals are down, oil is down, housing is down, emerging market are down, and IMO the US stock market (among others) is about to join them - perhaps in dramatic fashion. This is exactly what you would expect at the beginning of a deflationary depression. Prices fall across the board, but what seems cheap now is unlikely to seem cheap in the not too distant future, as purchasing power should fall more quickly than prices for many, if not most, people. IMO we are eventually headed for a systemic banking crisis as the consequence of a tremendous wave of involuntary debt liquidation.

Over at least the next year or two I expect oil prices to continue to fall (although not necessarily evenly as there may be sharp countertrend rallies) as demand declines, probably sharply. The kind of demand destruction that a deflationary depression would bring would be expected to create a temporary surplus of oil supply.

"The kind of demand destruction that a deflationary depression would bring would be expected to create a temporary surplus of oil supply."

I agree that at a minimum, we are headed for considerable price volatility.   Going against the prevailing opinion, the IMF just raised its price estimate by 20% for next year (see article below).

We may be facing an interesting tug of war between falling production and flat to falling demand.

Those wishing for lower oil prices may get their wish, somewhat in the same way that the characters in "The Monkey's Paw," short story got their wish for more money.   (Their son died in an accident, and they got a check in the mail for his life insurance.)  

In any case, I did advise everyone to base your plans on a 50% drop in income. . .

"In any case, I did advise everyone to base your plans on a 50% drop in income..."

It may be better to base your plans on a 100% drop in income for half the year.  I don't know how many employers and employees would agree to a 50% wage cut with full benefits.  Better to imagine losing your job entirely for 6 months, and having to pay COBRA on top of that to keep your health coverage, assuming you're lucky enough to have it.

If you have the savings to deal with that cut, then cut your spending by half and put the rest into whatever you consider a safe/good form of savings/investment.  I should start a blog of conditions in Michigan.  We seem to be leading the way to the misery of the next few years.  

put the rest into whatever you consider a safe/good form of savings/investment

AK-47's, barbed-wire, and a stockpile of aspirin.

I should start a blog of conditions in Michigan

Yeah, you should. It doesn't even have to be about Michigan. You have a certain sense about you that I think we could all benefit from.

The AK-47 is way over rated.  I bought one years ago and a friend of might got one last summer.  In both  cases the sights were so far off you couldn't hit the side of a barn.  Even after adjusting the sights with a special tool we still had to hit it with a hammer to get it to line up.

Buy a ruger ranch rifle instead. Comparable price, better quality.

Yeah but aren't AKs built for dependable spray'n'pray whereas the M16 was conversely designed to counter this type of usage with high precision, long distance, paced shoting?
Considering both are banned in the USA and I believe in most other Western Countries, does it really matter?  The AR15 is the semi-automatic equivilent to the M16 and can be converted, but those conversions are illegal too.

Sure you could by one of the ones already in circulation from before the ban, but last I checked I could buy a car or alot of other survival gear include several semi-automatic alternatives for the cost of one of those.

Also in a survival situation innaccurate automatic weapons are kind of silly considering that one of the uses, besides defense, for your gun of choice will most likely be hunting.  Not to mention that automatic usage of your ammo, is going to run you in low supply pretty quickly in a survival situation.  Accuracy and shot power for 1 shot kills are going to be your most efficient options in a situation where ammo may not be readily available.

An accurate hunting rifle with good stopping power is going to be preferable for most survival needs.  

Or conversely an accurate low powered weapon for hunting small game due to the fact that you can carry more ammo for an equal weight, ala .22 rifle of some sort.  Saw some collapsible .22 survival rifles in a recent Outdoorsman magazine(I think) when I was getting new tires for my car.  Pretty neat, light weight, and because of their construction capable of being stored in small spots in your hiking pack.

Or option three is a shotgun of some sort, capable of handling different types of shot so that you can pick the right ammo for the situation (hunting or defense).  Get a collapsible stock, and you also have one of the prefered close quarters weapons also.

Automatic weapons are mainly an advantage to militaries.  For survival, avoidance of hostile situations, and efficiency in ammo(both in carrying weight and usage) and supplies are going to be WAY more important.

When all you chaps have run out of ammo, I'll still be going strong with my old-fashioned bow and arrow, the same type my ancestors used for thousands of years.
And which I can replece entirely with the labor of my own hands.

If civilization ever does collapse, I wonder how long it will take my kin* to go back to the Old Ways? The only advantage of the White Man was guns and technology. With those gone -who knows.

*I'm not full blood.

I have not yet purchased a gun as yet, but I plan to once I get some other purchases out of the way first, not the least of which will be a gun-safe.

Aside from that my brother recently purchased a cheap 25 or 50 pound bow.  He wanted to learn the basics without investing a lot of money.  I'm tempted to get one myself and learn to shoot also.  I was actually a decent shot back in Jr High and Highschool when I attended some summer camps.  In fact one of the instructors said I was a natural.

As for the old ways, the white man may have moved in on the Native Americans with guns, but he had several other steps in the interim he made before he got there which could've been equally devestating to the Native American tribal technology base.

Guns were the direct result of an arms race between armor makers and bowmen(later riflemen).

There is a great documentary about the bow/armor arms race on the History Channel that they show every once in awhile.  I forget the name of the show it airs on, but it is a show that has bits on the evolution of weaponry throughout various time periods and countries.

Anyhow, they show how armor makers responded in their craft to the evolving arrow heads and more powerful bow designs and of course vice versa.

Given that I expect there to be a fair amount of scrap around should a sudden collapse occur, I could easily see a resurgance of plate armors once combat devolves into more primitive weapon types.

Something I've wondered about is whether what is left of any of the Native American tribes are peak oil aware.  It seems to me PO would be a good rallying cry for keeping youth interested in the old traditions.  What may appear obsolete at first glance might look alot more worthwhile if they believe that industrial society stands a good chance of failing.
Spray'n'pray kind of requires full auto. AK's for sale in the US are semi auto.  You can install an illegal full auto conversion kit but if you get caught ........
To me it's all about the 7.62 vs. 5.56. I think there's a reason the AK is the worldwide choice over M16/M4. Or rather, there's a few reasons. The 5.56 only seems to work with highly efficient American/German/Belgian/Scandinavian designs when they are cleaned and well-oiled by trained marksmen. And only with superior disciplined infantry tactics utilizing massed fire on distance targets. The AK is close-in solitary defense. That's what post-peak is all about.

A 7.62 variant of the G36C would be the best in my opinion. Which is still the G3.

The G36C looks pricey.  My ruger is cheap, reliable and has good ergonomics.  I got the stainless steel version with a synthetic stock.
Probably be even pricier after TSHTF, right? Good point though. When I think about this stuff, I always have to keep in mind ammo supply. I mean a gun's nothing unless you're stocked up on the right kind of bullets. What's a good amount to have? That's always my question. And you might have to carry it around with you. On second thought, maybe the lighter 5.56 is a better idea. There ain't no coming back from peak-oil right? So if it does get that bad, you can't really run out, or you're screwed.

This may be one thing in the woods. But in the city or suburbs, you might need a sister or a good friend playing quartermaster general.

Weight is a really big factor, that was one of the main reason for going to the smaller assault rifle round. Lighter weight and still lethal within 300 yards. The general public sees actors throwing around guns and ammo like they are made out of Styrofoam.  People just don't realize how heavy this stuff is.  A gun is a solid chuck of steel and bullets are made out of lead.

Also ammo has a shelf life.  I don't remember what it is, but the army rotates it stock, or at least they used to.  Lately they have been using it as fast as they can make it.

One thing I will definitely go along with is buy a firearm that uses a standard round.  Buying a gun that uses some silly wildcat round for when TSHTF is not a good strategy. I'm going with the standard army calibers.

I've always wondered if a better strategy would be to revert to the old black powder round. Is it time to invest in a lever action in 45-70.  It's hard to make smokeless powder but fairly easy to make black powder.

Oil Ceo if your serious about the best weapon then you want to read this article. This is the type of firearm I am most interested in using and due to ease of conversion makes the most sense for an all round rifle(not shotgun nor handgun).


a 4 part series on doing everything with an AR15 and why it is preferred. Best article I have seen to date.

I owned a Ruger Mini-30 Ranch Rifle.

I liked it but the one problem is the barrel overheating.
You expend a lot of rounds and you need to stay aware of the barrel heating. It has vents but don't seem to do that well.

I will go with the AR15. Lots of refits. Can be built form the ground up and so forth.

The 7.62x.39 the Ruger shoots is a nice round BTW. If I could get another at a reasonable price I probably would. I put a Butler Creek folding stock, 4x scope,good sling and a few more changes. It was nice but again that heating. Quite easy to make it go to full auto but I stayed away from that. It wastes far too much ammo except for close in and thats when a good 12 ga. is much better, with 00 loads.

Follow the tracers
"The AK-47 is way over rated."

May I suggest the Barrett 50 caliber, recoiless, semi-automatic sniper rifle?  It'll cost you about as much as a used car, but carries quite a punch and is built for accuracy and repitition.

Well I always did want one.

But post Apocalypse it's just not very practical.  It weighs a ton, a box of ammo will give you a hernia and the sound of one firing will draw every looter in a 10 mile radius.

Yeah, but you can practically shoot anything within a 10 mile radius.

I think if you're talking about an apocolyptic situation and you desire a gun for personal protection, you're going to be talking about a handgun...which can be easily transported and won't interfere with other movement, and probably a larger bore bullet of abundant production...which would probably be a .45 ACP or 9mm.  If you want a ranch rifle, defense or hunting, 30.30 semi-auto is probably the way to go.  Shotguns are a whole other story.

Here's some of what Bill Bonner had to say yesterday in The Daily Reckoning regarding a much less visible (but nevertheless extremely significant) debt bubble:

Twenty years ago, the total notional sum of derivatives in the entire world was close to zero. At least that is the impression you get from looking at a chart showing the growth of derivatives in the years since. From nothing, the global supply of derivatives has risen faster than the NASDAQ...faster than oil...faster even than prices of Mayfair apartments. Other market bubbles were soap bubbles compared to the Hindenburg of derivatives, which the latest estimates judge to be worth some $236 Trillion - or about eight times the GDP of the entire planet. In other words, derivatives make up a bubble larger than the old globe itself...

...But what are these derivatives, readers might want to know. They are debt. Packages of debt. Bundles of debt. Piles of debt. Rocky Mountains of debt. Debt that is stuffed into hedge fund portfolios as an investment. Debt that is laid away at insurance companies and pension funds...as an asset. Debt that is traded, extended, extruded, pressed, bolted, wrung out and wadded up...

...Derivative contracts are sometimes so difficult to understand that it takes teams of dusty mathematicians to keep an eye on them. That gives financial institutions comfort, but it shouldn't. Long Term Capital Management of Greenwich, Connecticut had two Nobel Prize winners among its quants when it managed to blow itself up after placing a few bad bets.

Why? Because behind the arcane complexity of derivative contracts are the simple-minded human beings who are at any moment in only one of two positions: long or short. Every contract is a bet. And every bet can go either way.

You might think that this means the whole shebang is a zero-sum proposition. Let them blow up, you might say; the longs and the shorts will offset each other. For every winner there will be a loser...and for every half dozen fools separated from his money there will be a new billionaire with peculiar art in a monstrous mansion in Greenwich.

Alas, that is not the whole story. Derivatives are not a zero-sum game...but a game in which the actual odds themselves follow long patterns of boom and bust. There are, for example, trillions of dollars worth of securities whose value is derived from the housing market. Fast-talking lenders write adjustable-rate, payment optional mortgages for slow-witted homeowners. Then, they sell the contracts on...whence they are packaged with thousands of others into a mortgage-backed security (MBS). The mortgage backed security is backed by a mortgage. But who backs the mortgage? That would be those sad sacks you read about in the papers, who stretched too far to buy too much house with an ARM far too long and too complicated for them to grasp.

Most of the time, and especially during the long bull market in housing - roughly equal to the bull market in credit derivatives - the payers are ready and able to pay. Sometimes they are not. When they are not...the security of mortgage-backed securities disappears.

America's average mortgage payer has not had a real wage increase in 34 years. Instead, he has become upwardly mobile by proxy... piggy-backing on the shiny surfaces of bubbles...in credit...in debt...in housing. But there must come a day when the bubbles take a bath...when the poor homeowner must find another money-tree or miss his mortgage payment. And when he misses, what a hit he will take. And that will be the day all the bubbles blow up at once - including the mother of them all, the bubble in derivatives.

I've mused about this topic in a previous posting, however, no one responded.

Here's my question:  

Were the US 07' housing collapse to precipitate the world's first global economic depression, would Peak Oil still be relevant?

It depends on what you mean when you say "Peak Oil". Are you talking about the geological phenomenon, or the socioeconomic consequences of diminishing supply?  If it's the former, then the answer is, "Of course it's still relevant - a depression won't stoip oil use or affect the geology."  If it's the latter, well, I don't think anyone can really say for sure, what with predictions being so hard, especially about the future...

My opinion is that the demand suppression caused by a global depression would push the beginning of the geologically-mediated downslope out a few years, and would flatten the downslope.  Oil prices might drop in absolute terms, but would rise in relative terms.  The effects of peak oil would compound humanity's misery, but it will do that anyway, no matter which limit we run into first, or which factor triggers the shakeout.

Well I guess it's a little of both.

If oil consumption is reduced on a massive scale (global depression) then prices fall, production is curtailed and  geologic 'peak' is pushed out x number of years.  

Once entrenched in said global depression, the socioeconomic effects of Peak i.e. global depression, would effectively be cancelled would they not?

Let me illuminate...

45,000 jobs are being cut at Ford, 1000s more at GM, Intel, etc. and it's oft said that for every 1 job cut at GM, 5 more go with it from supporting services.

Thus, 10s of thousands of Americans (who proportionately use more oil than anyone else on the planet; Canadians being the exception) are about to have their lives and consumption patterns drastically altered.

Extend this scenario into housing (the lynchpin of the US if not world economy outright) and suddenly, there's plenty of oil to go around no?


This has been predicted over at itulip.com.  Janszen knows his $hit period.  He has called for short term deflation as the housing unwinds, followed by long term inflation that may decimate us all.
There is often a gap between market demand and human need. When the ability to pay is less than the need the something has to give and that something is often debt. The auto industry contraction could trigger a chain reaction of bankruptcy. First the former auto workers, then the stores they used to shop at, then local government tax revenue drops and former public employees join in, State revenue drops and former state workers join the line at bankruptcy court. The Federal Reserve starts buying U. S. bonds instead of loaning to banks. Higher interest rates drive more over the edge.
Things need to get very bad for there to be the signifcant political changes needed to restore economic justice to America.
"If oil consumption is reduced on a massive scale (global depression) then prices fall, production is curtailed and  geologic 'peak' is pushed out x number of years."

The peak should be pushed out in a global recession, but that's a minor point.  The larger issue IMO would be the recovery.  With abundant energy supplies it aught to be a matter of time before a recovery happens.  Without those supplies, the recession never ends and you wind up with the PO effects anyway, just that they started with the global recession, but would be "finished" by actual PO effects.

I think what we are seeing today is a partial answer to your question.The price of oil lingering in the seventies obviously caused demand destruction. It was a little delayed but it has now come to the point where it is lowering prices. I agree with westexas that there will be a race between depletion reducing production capability and demand destruction lowering consumption, but I think we cannot dismiss Skrebowski's work and the prognostications of ASPO in our analysis. I think demand destruction caused by a severe recession or , god forbid, depression, would totally mask peak oil and bring prices down in the short term. An undulating plateau is our likely future. It is kind of like everything else though, sooner or later, you pay the piper. Around the beginning of the second decade were screwed.

My question:
Is there an even marginally efficient alternative energy scheme whose main limitation is manpower? (rather than land, water, nuclear engineers, etc)  I'm thinking about public works.

India's solution (valued equally as an energy source and as something for the poor to do) is making biodiesel out of Honge and Jatropha.

Return of the CCC (would be good, anyway).
Turn it around: PO is the reason for the housing bubble, because it has already slowed down "economic growth", thus prompting the interest rate cuts that resulted in the housing mania.  Now, PO has raised the specter of "inflation", prompting a rise in interest rates, popping the bubble.  Once the depression sets in, PO will prevent any true "recovery".  Geology is not negotiable, and the rest is consequences.
I don't think that I would agree with you in that PO caused the housing bubble.

IMO, low interest rates were used after the dot-com fiasco as a means of stimulating the economy (housing in particular) from 2001 to present -during which time- the price of oil showed little signs of slowing American consumption or economic growth.

Geology is absolutely non negotiable, however, if we find ourselves in a global depression before Peak... how relevant is Peak going to be?  How far out will Peak be pushed?

IMO, low interest rates were used after the dot-com fiasco as a means of stimulating the economy (housing in particular) from 2001 to present -during which time- the price of oil showed little signs of slowing American consumption or economic growth.

- but that "exuberant" economy was fictitous, based on cash-out refinancing of houses, spurred by a perception of endless rise in house values and low interest rates.  So in truth PO did slow the economy, albeit with a delay.

The economy we have now is pseudo-fictitous based on inheriting a large bank account known as "fossil fuel" to which we are overdrawing at a large rate with the assumption that a practical infinite amount of the stuff exists.
Idea: When we were in a depression last time what got us out?
Idea Answer: A World War - whew thanks for that!

Idea: Depression (not recession) hits this country in the next 3 years.  How do we get out?
Idea Answer: We retrofit our entire infrastructure to cope for sustainable energy.

No I don't think this will work, but it's a start.

It is an oft-repeated fallacy that WW2 ended the depression.

Before Hitler's Shock and Awe campaign in Poland began in September 1939, western countries were on the road to recovery (economic growth). The New Deal in the US and other western government actions to stimulate demand began well before the war and provide the primary explanation for the end of the depression.  Demand was of course given a great impetus in certain countries by pre-war, wartime and post-war militarization. Nonetheless it was state-led demand stimulation that ended the depression, not war.  Would the west have been wealthier (questions of the depletion of natural capital aside) in 1950 in the absence of war?  We'll never know.

I think the first part of this is right on target.  These oil prices pricked the bubble, and no one should think for an instant that prices falling now will let things reinflate.  Oil prices act as a slow, cumulative hardship for households.  Higher gas prices have undermined already weak household balance sheets, and many of those households are now economic zombies.  They will collapse in time, even if gas drops to $1.50 a gallon.  To recover, they would have to overcome both their increasing ARM payments and their 18%+ credit card interest payments, with no hope of increasing wages or another mortgage refinancing.

The second half depends, IMHO, on production decline rates and how quickly households can switch to lower energy transportation.  We'll see.  I think we're in more of the position of the mid-70s recession, which hurt many households, but only resulted in minor demand reduction.  It took both that recession and the early 80s recession to  really changed things for a while.  OTOH, the housing bubble bursting suggests a much bigger downturn this time.

Oops, teach me to read too fast.  I'm not sure I buy the idea that oil prices inflated the bubble, but they do seem to me to be the thing that popped the bubble.
>Were the US 07' housing collapse to precipitate the world's first global economic depression, would Peak Oil still be relevant?

Most likely, Yes.

  1. Oversea nations may not be as severely impacted as the US. Its quite possible that China and India may continue to increase their demand for oil and gas.

  2. An economic depression would likely decrease new oil and gas development. Oil Companies will be less inclined to develop new fields if demand and prices faill. However, as the existing fields deplete, there won't be any new projects to offset declines, have global production could still face steep production declines.

  3. An economic depression will likely lead to further geopolitical volatily. Nations will likely turn to domestic concerns and ignore issues and events occuring oversea. For instance support to spend 100s of billion on ME security would disappear. Some exporter may face revolts, and increased corruption and decreased stability. This will likely result in reduced maintainance of oil infrastructure (such as occured in Iraq after the first gulf war). Other nations might use nationalism and nationalize all foriegn assets, which would likely reduce production and exports.

My gut feeling is that Oil production declines will preceed a major economic recession, although its too early to determine yet. Its likely that Western nations will begin to reduce interest rates in order to stall economic declines. With falling commodity prices (Oil, Gold, etc)Central banks will have the leverage required to begin reducing rates again.
But aren't China and India heavily dependent on North American and EU consumption?

Is not a large part of China/India's respective energy consumption based on fostering industries that supply or service first world economies?

>Is not a large part of China/India's respective energy consumption based on fostering industries that supply or service first world economies?

Perhaps, but internal demand for consumer goods in India and China is growing strong. Plus, China has enough credit, Trade surplus, and buying power to run deficits for many years.

It's at least $400 trillion by now in nominal amount outstanding.
You're spot on about Purchasing power, but considering everything may be worse less, gold will have greater purchasing power than a dollar since we all know the FED will not allow a deflation and will print as much as possible.  We watched this happen not 5 years ago, and I think they will stick to precedent.  Buy on the dips and now is spectacular!
What power does the Fed have to prevent a global derivatives meltdown? The analogy I have used before is Ben Bernanke standing on a beach by the GOM and ordering a Cat 5 hurricane not to come ashore.
I totally agree, but you are dismissing what power they do yield.  Think about it, when LTCM went belly up how did this minor (compared to the nominal amounts today) hedge fund manage to not tank the entire market?  the FED, NOT THE TREASURY, got the investment banks together and they literally covered all their positions so that the market wasn't disturbed.  

Now with the scope that HF have taken on, the only power the FED has is to issue money to cover positions.  How much they could quietly manage to cover, who knows.  But the FED will try ANYTHING it can to avert a collapse, it is a profit making institution after all.  Bernanke can't order the CAT5 hurricane away, but he can set off bombs all around the hurricane in a vein attempt at trying to push it farther away from here and now.

Let me ask you this: Did the Fed try to avert the crash of 1929?
That's not fair. This is one of those hard, analytical history questions. It'd be like asking about 9/11 80 years from now. And making people answer in 500 words or less.

Good question.

I could answer in 2 words... but I'll let you guess as to what those words are.
No please, tell me. It's a yes or no question. So that's either 1 or a 5000 word explanation of mitigating factors.
You are seriously messing with the definition of "2" there. Haha. I read me a whole six hunnerd page book on the Fed one time. Can't fools me. C'mon, Syntec, give us the answer god-dangit!
Read a lot on Fed a while back, Stopped when conspiracy stuff started creeping in too much. Would not discount chapters like Jekyll. I guess it's like: until it's cleared up, who do you trust more, Cheney or Ruppert? But still,  you either do fiction or non-fiction.
My mistake.  I was referencing 9/11 not the Fed =]
Alright, you two just totally messed with my head. I'm assuming posting a minute apart was a coincidence. Nonetheless, you guys win. Good responses, too. We can have a rematch tomorrow. Nice Job.
They intentionally brought about the G. Depression depending how you look at it or they didnt realize what would happen when they raised rates from 100bps to 600bps, you decide.

It was pointed out that there was no exhaustion of credit, as in 1893, nor any currency famine, as in the Panic of 1907, when clearing-house certificates were resorted to, nor a collapse of commodity prices, as in 1920. What then, had caused the crash? The people had purchased stocks at high prices and expected the prices to continue to rise. The prices had to come down, and they did. It was obvious to the economists and bankers gathered over their brandy and cigars at the Hotel Astor that the people were at fault. Certainly the people had made a mistake in buying over-priced securities, but they had been talked into it by every leading citizen from the President of the United States on down. Every magazine of national circulation, every big newspaper, and every prominent banker, economist, and politician, had joined in the big confidence game of urging people to buy those over-priced securities. When the Federal Reserve Bank of New York raised its rate to six percent, in August 1929, people began to get out of the market, and it turned into a panic which drove the prices of securities down far below their natural levels. As in previous panics, this enabled both Wall Street and foreign operators in the know to pick up "blue-chip" and gilt-edged" securities for a fraction of their real value.

Gee, what's changed?


There were great fortunes, particularly in real estate, founded in the depths of the depression, but overall the crash made the distribution of wealth and income far more equal.
If memory serves, SAT is predicting a rebound in oil prices next year

* IMF Raises 2007 Oil Forecast to $75.50 on Supply Risk (Update1)*

By Gavin Evans


Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund raised its 2007 oil-price forecast 20 percent to $75.50 a barrel, citing the risk of cuts in supplies from major producers as consumption rises.

Here is a message I posted in response to Tom DePlume on the September 13 DrumBeat. I'm still interested to hear his thoughts on my situation, or anyone else's thoughts.

Hi Tom,
I'm very interested to know more about how this works (defaulting on a mortgage). I just sold a suburban house and bought a house in the city because I believe the house in the city will allow for a better life as fuel costs increase and because I believe the property will retain its value compared to the house in the suburbs.

However, I've taken on more debt in the form of a bigger mortgage to do this. At this point I'm able to cover the mortgage comfortably, but who knows what's around the corner with employment (I have a job that is reliant on the entertainment and construction industry).

So, Let's say I can't pay my mortgage because my employment situation changes? What is going to happen? Respond here if you like, or you can email me at tandersonbrown at yahoo dot com.

Tom Anderson-Brown

You could buy a mortgage payment insurance policy to protect yourself. There are also arrangements you can make with a living trust and LLC-type "marriage" that should serve the same function. Even better if you can include all of your extended family into the LLC so your properties can be protected by the collective strength of the whole family. I know the collective approach rubs against US Rugged Individualism, but all insurance is such and I see no reason why a myth should stand in the way of a logical protection plan.

Thanks for the advice. I'm checking with my insurance agent to see what kinds of Mortgage Payment policies they provide. Sounds like off the bat they have them for death and disability, but not sure about unemployment.

Seems like this would be a wise choice assuming there isn't a massive economic crash, in which case the insurance company would probably become insoluble and the mortgage lender's private armed reposession agents would drag me and my family out of our (their) house and throw us in the indentured servant transport wagon to work the fields.

On the other hand, let's say the banking system crashes and physical possession is all that matters in ownership. I could happily grow my veggies only to see them stolen by all of my neighbors, resulting in death by starvation.

So perhaps I'm positioning myself and my family for a long and prosperous future of extending our days on this earth by being slave laborers. At least we'll have some assistance getting food into our bellies.

Whatever =)


"I could happily grow my veggies only to see them stolen by all of my neighbors, resulting in death by starvation."

This is a typical falsehood perpetrated on us by the survivalist community. In any "crisis" situation where widespread starvation is threatened, theft from gardens and farms is going to be the least of our concerns. Short term, growing crops is not a solution to starvation.

It only take 5 or 6 weeks for food deprivation to kill people. There is little that you can grow to maturity in that time other than some greens. Learning organic gardening will help you in the long term. But to survive the short term crisis, learn how to forage. Even food storage and a rifle are not good enough, because there's always the possibility that someone with more fire power will come along. Foraging, however, you eat it as you find it. And the most that gets stolen is what you just collected.

I have no expertise in this so take it for what it's worth.  Let's say you bought a house for $500k, it is foreclosed upon and sold at sale for $250k.

1.The mortgage company may have the right to force you to pay the difference between the sales price and your mortgage.  It depends upon how your note was written.  I forget the exact term for this.

2.The IRS may go after you for taxes on the difference between the mortgage and the price when sold after foreclosure based upon the "foregiveness" of the debt.

3.Your credit rating will be shot.  Many companies now consider a person's credit rating before hiring them.  Therefore, you could be turned down for jobs for which you are qualified.

4.A landlord may also turn you down based upon the assumption that you may not pay the rent.  As a landlord, I consider a person's history important.  Unless I was hard up for a tenant, I'd turn you down since I lose money each time tenants come and go (cleaning, repairs and lost rent).

Finally, there is the matter whether you'd have to go through bankrupcy.  This isn't a free lunch either.


"1.The mortgage company may have the right to force you to pay the difference between the sales price and your mortgage.  It depends upon how your note was written.  I forget the exact term for this."

The term you are looking for is "deficiency."  Every note I've ever seen (and I've seen thousands) states that the borrower is liable for any deficiency (ie. the differnece between teh balance owed on the note and the recovery from the sale upon foreclosure.).  Sorry, but your on the hook for it.

In California, under statutory law, a homeowner cannot be forced to pay the deficiency in a short sale or foreclosure.  
True but there is a very significant exception:

California has an anti-deficiency law which covers the original "purchase money loan" on an owner-occupied home. The original mortgage is covered by anti-deficiency law, but as soon as someone refinances the loan that anti-deficiency provision goes out the door. In states like California, refinancing might be the last thing one would want to do to get out of trouble.

"3.Your credit rating will be shot.  Many companies now consider a person's credit rating before hiring them.  Therefore, you could be turned down for jobs for which you are qualified."

That is such bull$h1t.  I suppose what really gets me about that is the way they determine credit.  I know someone that's around $5,000 in debt on their credit cards and they have a fantastic credit rating.  I'm well in the plus side of things, don't have a credit card and pay cash for everything, but my credit rating is probably garbage.

> I'm well in the plus side of things, don't have a credit card and pay cash for everything, but my credit rating is probably garbage.

Option B: Get a Credit card but be sure to pay the amount due every month. You should carry a credit card for emergencies anyway. Beside you can use it to anoy the credit card companies, they really hate it when you pay the amount in full!

"However, I've taken on more debt in the form of a bigger mortgage to do this."

This is the reason that we have, for now, decided not to buy a townhouse  in a "Kunstler Kommune," i.e., a New Urbanism community.  If I could talk my wife into renting in a Kunstler Kommune, I would sell our house and move in a microsecond.   For now we are at a stalemate.  I don't want to buy, and she doesn't want to rent.

In any case, we have a small mortgage and very short commutes, 10 minutes each for my wife and myself.  

It is "interesting" to watch the housing meltdown proceed.  The new ornament on for sale signs in the area is increasingly "Price Reduced."

I'm still of the mind that as long as I can hold out until the banking system fails, then the mortgage won't really matter. I'm guessing that the number of defaults will eventually get so huge that banks will go under and the entire financial system will be unable to even attempt to follow through on claims they may have on property. At that point physical possession will become the key to ownership. Banks use local governments to evict after foreclosures and I can foresee a day when this is not realistic (imagine a local sheriff or police force agreeing to evict, say, 15% of their population!)

Now, of course, the trick in all of this is when does the banking system collapse?


This is something I've often wondered about.  In places where hyperinflation (financial collapse) happens, do people just pay off their mortgage and own the house free and clear?

If the currency collapses, do you own the house?  Or does the government try to reinstate your debt in the new currency?

What happened in the Weimar republic?

Thanks in advance!


I think that globalisation has put a severe brake on any hyperinflation conditions and will mitigate it's onset.

That said, peak oil spells the beginning of the end for globalisation unless we come up with a total energy solution - a seemingly insurmountable problem in the current political and corporate climate.

So thee is a 50/50 chance we never see hyperinflation again. I'm hedging o.k.?:)


I've been on a bunch of different boards over the past few years (Energy, Precious Metals, Economic, etc) and there is always a debate about whether we are going to see Inflation or Deflation.  I've seen good arguments for both.

Housing collapse is deflationary, for sure.  

But Bernanke has stated he intends to do whatever it takes to avoid deflation.  

All of the future liabilities of the US Govt however are inflationary.  They'll be paying for prescriptions with dollars.  Healthcare with dollars.  Social Security with dollars.  US Bonds with dollars...

How do you think the US government is going to bail out the Pension Guarantee plan, or Freddie Mac?

I don't think they'll let them default.  Not while they have the printing presses.

But I could be wrong.

"Housing collapse is deflationary, for sure."

A fast housing collapse would be deflationary, but a slow one is actually inflationary (using the definition of inflation as a general increase in prices, not the Austrian school definition) for a perverse reason.  When the commerce department calculates the housing portion of the consumer price index (something like 40% of the total), they don't use house prices.  They use something called owner's equivalent rent, along with real rent.  The owner's equivalent rent is intended to be what an owner would pay to rent their own property if they were renting it instead of owning it.  It's calculated based on rental property rates.  (Here's a good quick summary of how this works, and here's a Marketwatch article from May on the same topic.)

The problem is that the housing bubble depressed rental rates for many years.  People were so interested in buying housing, there were fewer people chasing rentals and that caused a drop in rental rates.  This showed up in the CPI as low inflation, even though housing prices were headed through the roof.

Unfortunately, many of the people being foreclosed out of their houses are now switching to renting.  That coupled with the reduced demand for housing because of sky-high prices have increased demand for rent, and rental prices.  As a result, the housing portion of the CPI has been running higher than normal, and is probably going to keep pushing the CPI higher for a while yet.  

Which is why I agree with a short term deflationary scenario FOLLOWED by inflation on a grand scale.  The latter is years away though.

I'm in total agreement.  12-36 month bust, followed by 10-12% inflation.  Maybe worse.  Especially if energy gets real expensive.
I agree with you to the extent that I think we will have deflation followed by (hyper)inflation, however, I wouldn't really call the deflationary period I foresee 'short term'. It depends on how you define your timescales I suppose, but I doubt if it will last only two or three years for instance. I expect the depression to begin this year (although it probably won't be recognized as such at first) and last until at least 2020. The kick-off I'm expecting is a stock market crash, most likely this Autumn. IMO there is very little time left for people to get their affairs in order.
My short term is 5 years max.  So 3-5 years of deflation I can see, and by this time PO will become a reality that NO ONE can ingnore.Then I see massive inflation tearing a hole through the entire economic system as everyone REALLY starts to understand how precious black gold is.  In the interim deflationary environment I suspect the FED will turn the spiggots back on which will be the precursor for inflation and I believe it's a possibility to touch Weimer 3's, but I think it's remote.

The leaders of this country don't want to put up with that any more than we do, and I feel like at some point leaders' hands would be forced and I really could see the US wanting to push the reset button in a world court.

A general response.  If we end up in a severe recession/depression, would not the demand for oil be so dampened that it would mask PO for a number of years.  In fact, by the sort of economic catastrophe you are speaking, PO would be a moot point.  We'd have bigger problems to deal with if that sort of meltdown were to occur.  Just because PO is on the horizon, or knocking on our door, depending on who you talk to, doesn't mean that is the cause for all misery in the world.  Remember much of the oil we use is non discretionary in nature.  As has been stated many times before, we could live a relatively comfortable life on a fraction of our current per capita energy(oil) use.  They way I see it, 10 years from now we will be using less oil period.  Either
 a. people realize the PO is near, and conserve.
 b. people wont realize PO is near and be forced to conserve when it hits,
 c.this house of cards called our banking and lending system will collapse and a recession to end all recessions will hit.  
 d.GW will become undeniable, or its effects will at least, its already is undeniable, and people will conserve.

 c. is the wild card, and as always unpredictable.  in any case, the end result is going to be the same, and the advise to people here does not change.  I believe Westexas stated it best, "economize, localize,..."

I personally think you will see the 'perfect storm' of both inflation and deflation.   Deflation in items purchased with debt - houses, cars, luxury items, etc.  This is one monsterous debt bubble, and bubbles deflate.  I think we will see inflation in those things that are normally purchased with cash and/or necessary to live - food, fuel, clothing, natural resources, etc. Population pressures and depleting resources will outweigh demand destruction.

Like GW, this debt-based economic model, is an experiment on a global scale.  I would say it is a crap shoot on whether inflation or deflation will dominate.  It is, however, a sure bet on how it will turn out - badly.

Garth: If there is hyperinflation in the USA, you can just pay off your mortgage with the devalued dollars. However, you still have to get these devalued dollars. Simply, a hyperinflation doesn't do a debtor much good if his wage/salary stays flat or declines. In the union heyday of the 70s high inflation was fun for debtors/workers as the majority received high salary/wage increases as inflation increased. Without salary/wage increases, higher inflation rates will do nothing to help most debtors (possibly someone who has been able to raise their income aided by inflation will buy your house in the best case scenario-you will have to sell it as interest rates would be sky-high along with the sky-high inflation rate).  

Well, that's the beauty of a fixed 30 year mortgage.  My mortgage rate is fixed.

I'm under no delusion though - I realize lots of other people have ARM's or Interest only mortgages - and their panic selling (foreclosures?) will mean lower prices in the short term.

If we get a deflation, hopefully I'll have an oppurtunity to refinance at an even lower interest rate.

If we get inflation, I just have to hang on long enough untill I start seeing it in my wage.

"What happened in the Weimar republic?"

I recall something to the effect that debtors were seen chasing creditors down the street, trying to pay off mortgages with money that would buy a loaf of bread.

For one man's experience, living in post collapse Argentina:
http://tinyurl.com/prwd6 ( http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/ )

Basically, it sounds like the banks in Argentina came out OK in the end.

If you're curious about life in general post-economic collapse here's the parent thread:
http://tinyurl.com/pmvts ( http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/ )



His answers to questions and comments in the forum are fascinating, as well.


Thanks for those links.  Hadn't seen them before and found them very interesting.


Which brings up the question: as much as we talk here about "getting out of debt", if you have any savings, and also a (fixed-rate) mortgage, should you use the savings now to pay off as much of the mortgage as you can?  Seems to me it is better to keep the savings in the bank, so you can later keep paying the mortgage for a while after you lose your job?  By the time that money runs out, hopefully you'll have enough income in the informal economy to make the payments that by then would seem smaller thanks to inflation.  Hopefully.  This also lets you use the savings for other purposes if they prove more urgent.  Remember that even if you pay down part of the principal on the mortgage, you still owe the same amount per month (for fewer months), under pain of foreclosure.  So partial early payment does not increase your medium-term security.

The tricky part is the details of: "keep the savings in the bank" - which "bank"?  What kind of account?  Will TIPS (US inflation-linked bonds) really help in case of strong inflation?  Is cash under the mattress best, in case of deflation and bank failures?  Are credit unions a better bet than commercial banks?

Deciding whether to Pay off a mortgage is a function of the effective interest rate you're paying (figuring in the mortgage tax deduction), vs. the interest rate you can get on the money in a savings account.

Outside of that, of course, it's always nice to have 6-12 months living expenses saved up and in the bank.

What do people think of tax deffered retirement savings right now?  Would I be better off to take the money and save it in various diversified sources myself?


The whole point of tax deferred ertirement savings is the assumption that when you retire your tax bracket will be lower than your current one.  Fat chance!

I agree with your sentiment. I've often thought of my fixed rate mortgage payment as rent. Paying it down doesn't mean the payments get smaller. And unless you've got a huge wad of cash to pay it down, it doesn't bring that last payment appreciably closer.

I say you should save your money in the form of gold and silver in a nice hefty (but discrete) far away from any bank. Safe deposit boxes are risky when TSHTF because the bank has the right to look at all of the stuff you're pulling out of the box and may very well feel compelled to relieve you of anything of value.

Here's an interesting link for you.


Garth, I think you ask some good questions. Not anything I have any answers to. I'm not sure that the Weimar is a completely comparable example, though I certainly can see why you would make the comparison. My knowledge of the Weimar is superficial at best, but wasn't it a case of monetary hyper-inflation. I've read of people having to use wheelbarrows full of money just to pay for a loaf of bread. In this scenario the problem isn't paying off old debt (inflation actually makes the old debt smaller), but in finding enough money to pay for tomorrows food. Still, I'm sure their must have been lots of defaults as there was also high unemployment.

I would add that I don't expect governments to last much longer than the banks. Federal governments will hold on for awhile with gradually diminishing ability to exert influence. But I expect most local governments to simply cease functioning.

I would not get your hopes up. I asked my grandmother about her experiences during the great depression. They were evicted 16 times in 4 years. (she was too young to know the financial details.) My guess is that private security will be cheap, plentiful, and not concerned about government oversight.
Them that made the bad housing loans sell the loans as soon as they are made, to pension funds for instance. Opinion: The banksters will not be hurting as much this depression. Coincidence: The bankruptcy laws have been changed to create a new class of indentured servants.

As most money today is not cash but electronic impulses, there is really no limit to how much inflation there can be. Human reluctance to believe in the money is the only barrier left.

>At that point physical possession will become the key to ownership. Banks use local governments to evict after foreclosures and I can foresee a day when this is not realistic (imagine a local sheriff or police force agreeing to evict, say, 15% of their population!)

Local gov't can also evict you if you don't pay the property taxes due. First they will put up a lien, if you can't pay the taxes the local sheriff will evict you and put your home up for auction.

>I'm guessing that the number of defaults will eventually get so huge that banks will go under and the entire financial system will be unable to even attempt to follow through on claims they may have on property.

I wouldn't count on that happening. For the most part banks don't hold the debt on mortgages. Today, Banks are service providers. They handle the paper work and collections and charge a service fee. The debt is bundled up into groups of multiple mortgages and either offered on the bond market or to the GSEs. In a Financial meltdown, Banks will make tons of money by simply foreclosing on the home and putting it up for auction. They'll charge a service fee (for the service of foreclosure and auction). Whatever amount remains will go to the bond holders, and the difference will hang on you. Because of the new bankruptcy laws, that debt will follow you for the rest of your life. The bank can go after any income you make until the debt is paid off (charging interest to boot). Did I mention the banks will be able to collect service fee's to garnish your wages?

No offense intended, but I think you aren't think this very far through. Suppose my local city government doesn't get my tax payment this year. In fact, they don't get it for a good 15% of the houses in their jurisdiction. Same true in every county around. What possible value could they see in evicting all those people? On top of which, because they didn't get the taxes they expected their also asking the police to take a paycut. And Sgt Sally's brother is one of those that didn't pay and Partrolman Bob's neighbor is also in trouble. And so on.

On the banks, I understand how it works. But consider this. If suddenly 15% of the houses in the country are being defaulted on, what kind of value do you think they're going to get in an open market auction? I don't care what the bankruputcy laws say. The banks don't want to be stuck holding thousands of houses in a market where they either can't sell them or can't get a price even close to the paper value of the loan. They can only make money if there are people willing to pay for these houses.

And, no, banks can not garnish your wages.

>What possible value could they see in evicting all those people?

  1. They would be consider dead beats and a drain on local gov't services. By evicting them, these people will have go some where and be someone else problem. If these can't pay there bills it's probably because they are unemployeed. The unemployeed have the time and motive to commit crimes (theft, etc). But removing these people they are reducing their exposure to crime.

  2. Even during the Great Depression, there were people with money. Some enterprising individuals might snap up properties for pennies and convert them into multi family dwellings. Or they could simply gut them for profit (copper pipes, applicances, etc).

> If suddenly 15% of the houses in the country are being defaulted on, what kind of value do you think they're going to get in an open market auction?

They'll simply dump them on the auction market and collect whatever they can get. To simply write off all this property is silly when there still opportunity to make money. Its very likely that the angry bondholders will want them to proceed with foreclosures and collect whatever they can, even if its pennies on the dollar.

>The banks don't want to be stuck holding thousands of houses in a market where they either can't sell them or can't get a price even close to the paper value of the loan.

You seem to not understand how mortgage banking works. Banks don't care about the value of the loan. They don't hold the debt and don't own the property. What they do care about is collecting service fees. Foreclosures are just another option for them to collect more service fees.

>And, no, banks can not garnish your wages.

Sure they can silly:

The New Bankruptcy laws past last October make it much easier for credits to seize assets and pursue wage garnishments.

I still think you aren't going far enough with regards to the depth of the problem. Let's take the example of the municipality I live in. A typical suburban community of about 40,000 people. Your telling me that this community is going to evict 15% of their population, say 6000 people with their law enforcement agency of perhaps 150? And where will these people go? Remember the same is happening in each of the towns around here as well as in the county. Sure, they might be a drain on local services - but are they going to be less of a drain if they are homeless? Remember this is already a town government that is in financial straights - can't pay its police officers there full pay, perhaps has laid off some?

Yes, there might be some speculators out there willing to take some chances, but if you think that there's enough to soak up 15% of the total housing stock..., well I'll just say I don't see it.

Are you sure its me that doesn't understand how mortgages work? In the end, someone holds the mortgage and their going to be left holding the bag. I don't much care if that's banks, "finance companies" or independent investors. (Funny though that you keep saying the banks will foreclose. The bank can't foreclose if it doesn't own the mortgage.

As for your claim that banks can garnish your wages - please take a closer look at the links you provided. Only courts can garnish your wages (well, not completely true, ths IRS and Dept of Ed have been given special authority by congress to do this). Now, consider again that 15% of all homes in the country are in default. Just how well do you think a court system (dealing with a sudden fall in funding) is going to be able to process all these claims? And remember, we're talking about people who have lost their jobs - so what wages do they have to garnish?

Your reponses seem to be assuming that the gov't, legal and financial systems could continue to operate just as they do now. If the "shock" really were of the size I'm hypothesizing, its hard to see how that would be so.

Well, for all of us out there with mortgages, let's hope it works out this way.


dude, if that were to happen, 15% of that police force would be on the eviction list

6k people being evicted? hmm, and half their neighbors on the edge -in the GD after awhile folks got together and ran off the creditors with guns

in that case, i expect a return to the past

>Remember this is already a town government that is in financial straights - can't pay its police officers there full pay, perhaps has laid off some?

Auctioning off homes is a way for them to continue to pay police salaries. The new owners will also pay property taxes also adding income to support local gov't services.

>In the end, someone holds the mortgage and their going to be left holding the bag. I don't much care if that's banks, "finance companies" or independent investors. (Funny though that you keep saying the banks will foreclose. The bank can't foreclose if it doesn't own the mortgage.

The banks will foreclose on behalf of the bond holders who will be anxious to get at least some of their money back. The bond holders aren't simply going to walk away with empty pockets if they can help it.

> Only courts can garnish your wages (well, not completely true, ths IRS and Dept of Ed have been given special authority by congress to do this).

Yes that's true, but it will the banks (or collection agencies) that will go to court to make this request, and it will be the banks that recieve payments. I made the assumption that you understood that.

>Just how well do you think a court system (dealing with a sudden fall in funding) is going to be able to process all these claims?

Court fees. The courts will require charge fees for their services. This will come out of the wage garnishment.

>Your reponses seem to be assuming that the gov't, legal and financial systems could continue to operate just as they do now. If the "shock" really were of the size I'm hypothesizing, its hard to see how that would be so.

Your also assuming that you'll be able to hold on to your home before this happens. Its going to be a considerable period before the the situation reaches this point (years). All during this time, if you lose your job and default, someone will proceed with a foreclosure on your property. Do you really believe that you be able to hold on long enough? I wouldn't count on it.

>Yes, there might be some speculators out there willing to take some chances, but if you think that there's enough to soak up 15% of the total housing stock

It probably depends on the neigborhood or area. Some areas will be desirable over others. The areas least desirable will probably be inner city properties where the crime rate will be high. But of course for the same reason why some doesn't want take over that property is probably a good reason why you wouldn't choose to remain there.

OK, I may just be rationalizing to keep myself from vomiting from anxiety about my situation (i.e., I have a mortgage), but it seems to me that the majority of my middle class comrades in the US also have mortgages that they would foreclose on if they lost their jobs and couldn't find new employment.


If we enter into an economic depression millions of people will lose their jobs. This will either inundate the financial sector to the point where it's paralyzed and possession equals ownership (squatter's rights), or me and millions of my friends will join hands to become the new face of energy, replacing tractors and excavators to get work done.

Either way, we're going to be poor. I've never lived in a third world country. It should be an interesting experience. Hopefully I'll have a better view than I've got in this windowless cubicle.

To keep your sanity, just remember: Impermanence. The things we take for granted, our posessions, our jobs, our way of life, none of these can be guaranteed indefinitely no matter how much planning is done.


I think you hit the nail right on the head. Want to know what the post peak world is going to be like. Start here (even my retured mother could relate to this one):

In the future we're all going to be a lot poorer.

>If we enter into an economic depression millions of people will lose their jobs. This will either inundate the financial sector to the point where it's paralyzed and possession equals ownership (squatter's rights),

It will probably be quite sometime before it reaches that point. What are the odds that you'll be able to hold on to your property before it reaches that point? Probably close to zero. I don't know where you live, but if its in a urban area you'll probably not want to remain there when squatters become the norm. Think about crime, drug use, violence, and gangs that will no longer be kept in check by the local law enforcement agencies. You'll be on your own.

> I've never lived in a third world country. It should be an interesting experience. Hopefully I'll have a better view than I've got in this windowless cubicle.

Interesting perhaps, but definately not safe. I'll take boring and mundane and safety anyday.

>me and millions of my friends will join hands to become the new face of energy, replacing tractors and excavators to get work done.

I doubt that will happen. Tractors and excavators will still be cheaper and safer for employeers than to deal with hundreds of depressed labors.

>The things we take for granted, our posessions, our jobs, our way of life, none of these can be guaranteed indefinitely no matter how much planning is done.

I'll agree with you on this statement.

Best of Luck to you.

I'm guessing that the number of defaults will eventually get so huge that banks will go under and the entire financial system will be unable to even attempt to follow through on claims they may have on property.

I'd speculate that those people who defaulted would probably be granted Amnesty, if it occurs in GREAT numbers,(sound familiar?, illegal immigrants, when the Govt can't control whats going on, they throw their hands in the air, and grant amnesty to all involved. Pat themselves on the back for correcting the situation.)

Those who managed to endure financial hardship to retain their home will be  penalized with a higher monthly payment than those who defaulted.
Me cynical? YES!

What i mean't by saying Amnesty is: that they would be forgiven of the debts and allowed to borrow again at a much lower govt rate. probably subsidized too.
I think there is the chance that the US Gov or the FED might make up a "SuperDuper" fund to assume the debt, maybe with a 50 year mortage or something.  You will pay what you can "For Ever" to who?

The GOV will own all the bad loans.  

Ironically,  The Gov owning much of your debt, is not unlike the the old USSR.

Anyway, Fanny and Freddie are probably unsolvent in terms of the value of their assets(today) in relation to what is needed to cover their debts.  

All your debt will be added together(credit cards, mortages, student loans, etc) and when you hit bankruptcy court, the judgement will be XXX owed, (again) with payments for the rest of your life nearly..

Ive been over there for a couple of months too and it's sobering to say the least, but like you said it's the same story, just a different angle.  We know it's really really bad, but every day we learn a little more from the benefit of time.  I'm sitting on the edge of my seat for sure.
Hmmm, seems to me if I was an oil exporter and saw the storm coming, I'd want to build up my local energy sector on alternatives to oil and then export the oil to bring money into the local economy. And this would seem to be precisely what both Russia and Iran seem to be trying to do with their various work on nuclear energy.
Actually, the trend can continue for quite a while if prices are rising, as those at tod think will happen over time. Reduced exports = rising prices so a country's net can increase as they sell less.
It is impossible to predict all the outcomes, and the timings of such complex processes.  I am grateful for all the work you've done on the topic, and your export model makes sense.  You might still be wrong, or you may be spot on--just early.  Too many variables get in the way of translating the net export idea into actual realized oil prices.  Your thesis, based on sound logic, is not really undermined by weekly US storage data or daily price movements.  If you are right eventually (and geologically speaking, you will be), all the other ramifications of a liquid fuels crisis will be manifest.  Right now, not so much.  Thank goodness.  
On the other hand, I think that you present your case with a certain humility, which is lacking from those who point to your lesser "market calls" and cry foul.  Chin up!
Thanks for posting this westexas.
I do have a request for Halflin.  Precisely, what are you predicting?

I don't really do predictions, however I like to report on what the market thinks. They're lots smarter than me.

Looking at January crude oil futures options, the market thinks the chance that oil will be < $60 at the end of the year is about 25%. The chance that oil will be > $70 at the end of the year is about 29%. And that means that the chance that oil will be in the range $60-70 is about 46%.

So roughly a 50-50 chance that we will be in the $60s, 1/4 chance we'll be less than that and 1/4 chance we'll be greater than that. The chance of seeing $80 by the end of the year is only about 8%.

Before someone pops up about how inaccurate the market has been, let's keep in mind that TOD's prediction record has not exactly been stellar:


Only 2% predicted that oil would drop all the way down to $63 as it did yesterday and today. As they say, the future is hard to predict. At least with the market we get quantitative error bars on the predictions. The market's also always willing to back up its predictions with cold hard cash, so if you're upset because people believe obviously-wrong market predictions, at least you can have the compensation of getting rich.

A few from hug:

Colorado Energy Coalition announces "The Plan for Colorado's New Energy Future"  (be nice if they had a link to, you know, the actual plan)

Renewable Energy a Reality in Downtown Salt Lake City

Jacksonville Will Make Own Biodiesel

Branson launches $400m eco-friendly fund (for "environmentally friendly fuels")

Wrightspeed X1: "Amazing: Electric Car Pwns Ferrari"

BP Ensuring Alaska Won't Be Drilled

34-year Old Oil Tanker Moratorium Being Violated

I'll stop there, but it's kind of amazing how much "environmental" news is really energy, oil, and transportation news these days ...

You can almost smell the fear...
NORCAL... Heard on the radio we may get our railroad back by the end of next summer; or not, if El Nino washes out the Eel River Canyon. I've heard this B4. Haven't heard the train whistle in about 15 years, tho.  Only half the cost of the Willits Bypass.

http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060601/NEWS/606010399&SearchID=732569 24539576




I think the key thing is:

According to the NCRA's Strategic Plan and Progress Report completed in March, it will cost approximately $106 million to fully reopen the railroad line.

They are talking about spending $4M just for an EIR and enegineering study for the Ell River Canyon. They may say going to Eureka -eventually- but I bet they never go beyond Island Mountain (which I think doesn't require going through the canyon).  In any case, all of this is way more than the Willits by-pass.

Also note that while they say they have the bucks, as far as I can see, evrything will be publically financed.

 The bypass is now estimated at 260 Mil.  That leaves us almost 150M to electrify the entire  railroad :>) But I don't expect to live long enuf to see that happen. I may not even live long enuf to see the train running again, even if I live to 100.
 A few years ago, I finally decided a by-pass is necessary. But, ignoring the theoretical considerations of the effects of PO on travel and all that, maybe a good rail system would get enuf trucks off the road that we wouldn't need it.
 It would sure help the highway out. Hundreds of container trucks hauling that pulp mill from Eureka (destined for China) just pounded the snot out of the road. Don't know if you have been south in the last 9 months, but the grade was getting like a roller coaster. (Note; T knows where I'm talkin'...Ridgewood Grade; they have been repairing it forever. Legend has it an old Indian lady put a curse on it. She didn't have to; 50 inches of rain, blue clay, and the pounding produced by all the trucks is enuf of a curse).

M Rat


I suppose we should mention that we are talking about Hwy101 in Mendocino County, CA which is the main north-south coastal highway.

To me, the irony of all this highway work is that it is predicated upon tourist traffic.  My guess is that truck traffic hasn't increased all that much with the demise of most of the lumber mills.  As far as Ridgewood Grade goes, they should have left it two lane like it was 30 years ago.


I'm sure many of you are aware of these numbers but back-of-the envelope Friday number crunching has me feeling like I was a cornucopian.

Assumptions:1.Peak is right now 2. Steady decline rate of 2% (which I consider steep enough to cause real problems)
Question: How much more oil does the world need to pump?

Answer: Over 4.3 trillion barrels. Obviously, if the peak is many years out and at a higher amount, this 4.3 trillion is an understatement.  

Need to pump when or over what timeframe?

Is the number adjusted for conservation, reorganization, demand destruction, and alt-eng contributions?

Odograph: Do you not understand the mathematical calculation or are you just being argumentative for its own sake?
I honestly don't understand.  What does X trillion barrels mean without a timeframe?
If current oil production is approximately 90 million barrels per day, you are saying we need to pump (4.3 trillion / 90 million =) 4777.77 day's worth?
Odograph: 1.Use EXCEL 2. 84.6 as starting point 3.Type in formula to decrease this amt by 2% each year 3. Sum numbers.
I mentioned this because all the time in the MSM (sometimes on TOD) you hear "we have XXX years of consumption at current rates". We are not going to consume 85 mbpd continually and then stop on a dime because the tank went empty, so the statement in quotations is ridiculous and should be dispensed with.  
That's just a demonstration that area under the curve is always greater than height of the curve.

Seriously, I assume you did that for some number of years, probably decades, and are surprised by the resulting totals.

Yes, the cumulative oil production needed over decades to maintain a fixed 85, in the face of a 2% decline, is large.  It is equal to 4777 days at current production.

Good thing we don't really have to produce that much "on a dime."

So, now that we see you are looking at decade long trends, where are your conservation and alt-fuel adjustments?

Odograph: To explain: a couple days ago, the MSM media put out a puff piece wherein a Saudi grand poobah said that there is 4.7 trillion barrels of oil in the ground so everything is A-okay. Assuming the grand poobah is correct, there is still an obvious problem for the oil-based world economy. Peak right now with a 2% decline rate year after year would not be fun for anybody and that is the scenario painted by his absurdly optimistic remarks.  
I think what he said is that the amount that would be produced, starting at 85mmb/d but reduced next year by 2% and so on, would eventually add upt to 4Tb, which is more than any of the cornucopians have so far claimed will eventually be produced. So, it is best to expect a higher decline rate... and, the sooner we start, gien a fixed amount, the gentler the slope.
jkissing and BrianT, well we at TOD know that oil is an exhaustable resource.  We don't even need to look at depletion rates to worry about a 4.X trillion barrels as a "final number" for oil reserves.  Divide that by yearly consumption and you aren't looking at that many years.  Actually, faster depletion, if the total is really true, improves the picture.  The less we produce each year the longer it lasts.

I think the key, which even cornucopians accept is that we have to transition to something.  No one expects 100 million barrels per day a century from now (ok, maybe a few abiotic oil types).

So I think the meaningful numbers are the ones we face in the next 1 to 3 decades.  Based on the idea of peak oil now, or soon, that is when we make our transitions ... to efficiency and powerdown, and/or to alternative energies.

Odograph: You might be the ultimate cornucopian. To think that the world will "transition to something" in the next 1-3 decades without having a clue what that "something" might be is hilarious. Just keep clicking your ruby slippers together.
No, actually a cornucopian doesn't ever say powerdown.

That's the big open door to a moderate.  I might transition to walking and biking even more than I do now.

Would a cornucopian really like a hybrid future plotted by Alan and I?  Biking around town and hopping on the electric train to go further?

I think not.

Strictly on energy (disregarding population for a moment), the key problem seems to be replacing fossil fuels. Lots of "greens" want the solution to be 100% green (solar, wind, hydro, etc.) but repeatedly we see issues with trying to move the existing world infrastructure over to a pure green energy solution within the timeframe that many of us expect to be needed given the potential arrival of peak.

This then drives us towards considering coal (last gasp fossil fuel) and nuclear as interim (possibly decades to a few centuries depending on how it is used and managed) energy sources while we figure out how to most effectively scale up solar, wind, hydro, etc.

And once you open the nuclear pandora's box, then a whole host of other issues arise.

The potential crisis has always been social and psychological. The technology (purely looking at technology) has always been there with nuclear, coal, solar, wind, hydro, etc. The problem is how do we get from where we are to where we need to be before oil becomes a serious problem and whether we can make that transition in a timely fashion. Failure to be timely can be just as deadly for our civilization as failure to do it at all.

No, you are not a cornucopian, odograph, but there are some big question marks regarding your expectations and since they are your expectations about how this can be solved, it is not unreasonable for others to demand more clarity where those expectations seem vague. I know you shy away from trying to be too specific but what if astronomers found an asteroid headed directly towards earth and expected to impact in 50 years? At some point in that process (and very early preferably) we'd need to get real specific about how certain problems get answered. You can't afford to wait too long and "hope" that an answer automagically appears. This is why people question others when they can't pin down their future scenarios any more clearly.

On the flip side, you have the benefit of pointing out that often (not always but often), humanity does pull rabbits out of the hat. The fear of many is that there may not be a rabbit in that hat this time.

Imagine a cancer patient. You can accept that you have it and passively hope for it to automagically go away or you can aggressively attack the future with current knowledge, incomplete and imperfect as it is. Too often your answers, odograph, seem like the cancer patient hoping for the miracle cure. Most people here are hoping for an aggressive therapy program using the best information we have now. This is why I believe people frame your arguments as cornucopian.

Most cancer patients, once they acknowledge they have the disease, are willing to look at nuclear solutions.  The same will be true when po is accepted.
I am a green and like a lot of greens have come around to supporting nuclear. Nuclear means that a lot of people could  die, but people die anyway, especially from coal.

With California's new policies to address global warming, they have effectively banned  coal from their grid unless the provider can bring the co2 emissions down to a combined cycle natural gas plant. So, really, in California, at least, the transitional fuel looks like natural gas, not coal. I'm guessing this couldn't be scaled up to a national level, much less a world wide level.

I would say ban all new coal plants and coal plant expansions but I'm beginning to come around to the view that it's too late to do much signicant about global warming. We screwed the pooch and really should have begun to get serious over 30 years ago. On the other hand, less coal would be a good thing for the environment and people's lungs regardless of the global warming issue.

If we are talking globally, coal (china) and nuclear (europe) are wll out of the box, and if full swing.

Now as to my expectations and how precise I should be ... remember the old one about being granted responsibility without athority?  You are asking me to be responsible for a future I do not control.

Oh, I can do a little.  I can try to be energy efficient in my own life, and throw a few bucks to the national wind/solar organizations, to a couple national cycling groups, etc.  Beyond that though, all I can do is observe and watch my imperfect human projections evolve over time.

There are a vast array of futures possible from this point forward.  I think what will happen is that a minority of us will make efforts toward sustainabilty, but that the majority of the north american population will lag.  That will mean, I think, a scramble.  But I have hope that a scramble will be effective.  I look at what happend in a few short years of national emergency in WWII, and picture that extended, for a couple decades.

Of course, if things change and it starts to look like the adjustment period will be less than 1 decade ... I might be loading up that sailboat and heading for the south seas.

You still don't get it.  What the original calculation shows is that, unless we actually manage to coax 4+TB out of the ground, the decline in oil extraction rate will be faster than 2% per yr.  The question of whether we react to that decline via conservation or WW3 is a separate issue.

BTW, the Hubbert "theory" (the empirical choice of the logistic curve) predicts a faster-than-exponential decline in rate of extraction.  That's why it is a parabola (increasing slope), rather than a triangle (constant slope) in a semi-log plot.  If that pans out, we'll see, e.g., 2% at first but increasing after a while to 4%, 8%...

Thanks guys for helping me to explain this to Odograph. Like both of you pointed out, even if the cornucopians are correct in their estimation of oil reserves, problems/major adjustments in the oil-based economy cannot be avoided.  
I expect that's one of the foundations for Bakhtiari's four phases of transition, what he calls T1 through T4 - each with a steeper slope than its predecessor.  Given the nature of real life we are not going to see a smooth descending parabolic curve, but one with periodic discontinuities.  It's kind of like westexas' theory of periods of relative stability punctuated by downward rebalancing auctions in the price of oil.
Oh, like I'm supposed to be surprised that we're going to run out of oil, that it's a finite resoruce.
Odograph: My point was that the MSM has been very effective in "debunking Peak Oil" by stating that the likely figure of approx 1 trillion barrels remaining is incorrect, it is actually 3 trillion or 4.7 trillion. When you run the numbers it is clear that even the most optimistic scenarios aren't that rosy.
I think the numbers should be 'what we need' each year, out some amount of time, and not to make up an artifical shortfall from current productino.

But we don't really know what we need.  Look back at my first post of the day, and it lists the kind of adjustments we'd need to know to come up with that kind of number.

Not to stick my math nose into things here, but you've convoluted daily production with annual production.  Daily production is 84.6 million bbl, annual production is roughly 30 billion bbl.  Dividing the latter number by your 2% decline rate (.02) gives what remains to be produced, i.e., 1500 billion barrels...
Kyle: Good thing you noticed that. Back to the drawing board.
Not that the 4.7 trillion barrels is real, but assuming it were, than we wouldn't be looking at 2% depletion either.  Depletion=amount used.  31 billion barrels/annum currently.  That R/P would be 150 years, and depletion around .6%.

HaH!  And I have a bridge to sell you too....

Yeah, but Kyle was the only one awake.
Kyle, it's a 2% year-over-year decline (not fixed at 2% of the peak), so the production is asymtopic, not linear.
Kyle: Since you have the math nose, the revision: 1. Peak right now 2. 2% decline annually 3. Left to pump: 1.574 trillion.

Seems like what anyone might have guessed-no wonder my numbers shocked me- they were totally flawed from the beginning. Same thing happened to me at LTCM.

could i just state (mathmatically)  kyle's method is appoximately correct  but only for a slight decline rate  , like say 2%,  but also the final production rate ,  the economic limit has to be subtracted from the current rate  or stated mathmatically   Np = ( q - qel)/ D  where Np is remaining reserves q is starting rate and q el is economic limit rate  and D is (approximately ) the decline rate in question  0.02 in this case    of course a worldwide economic limit is an absurdity  but individual wells   and individual oil fields certainly do have an economic limit
Don't eat the spinach!


The most striking thing about all this to me, is that they are having to issue a nationwide warning because 90% of the country's lettuce is grown in one area of California.

Um, hello? This should be a wake up call to all those who think a centralized food system is a good thing. (And yes, I know better, but it would be nice if people actually thought for a change.)
Meanwhile, I'll go get some local spinach at the farmer's market this weekend from the guy down the road. And not worry too much because it doesn't come from California.

Would TODers eat bagged energy intensive spianch?  (ok, I have some in my fridge ... long enough that it was too scary to eat even without this warning)
I posted this more as a sign of the problems with energy-intensive centralized agriculture than a personal warning to the folks here.
The FDA gave no information about a specific brand of bagged spinach and other bagged vegetables, like prepackaged salads, aren't affected.


Has this really been localized?  Might it be an unfortunate effect of organic practices and fresh leaf crops?  I suspect that the bagged vs. open shipping might contribute ... but a lot is left to be determined.

... and of course for some of us California produce is local.

Has this really been localized?  Might it be an unfortunate effect of organic practices and fresh leaf crops?  I suspect that the bagged vs. open shipping might contribute ... but a lot is left to be determined.

You are trying to point the finger at organic produce now. Organic produce makes up such a tiny percentage of all produce that if it were organics, they would have all ready found the exact source. And, it wouldn't have affected as many people in as many states because no organic lot is that big.

Nearly all produce is shipped bagged versus open-leaf, btw.

CNN said it was washed with "dirty water".  Not that it proves anything...
No, I'm pretty much an organic gardener when I garden.  If steer manure is showing up with the bad kinds of E Coli, that would be bad news for me.
Escherichia coli O157:H7, the strain that causes the illness, is a product of intensive, centralized agriculture. Specifically, stuffing cows with corn causes the stomach(s) to become more acidic, and this strain is somewhat more acid tolerant (Science Magazine 9/11/1998). When ingested by us humans, with normally acidic stomachs, the bugs can survive and cause disease.

Properly composted manure would probably be OK, but I would watch out for where the fresh stuff comes from.

I remember going through this while in Japan once and they decided that the e Coli was in radish sprouts. My question is this. How does e Coli, a meat born bacteria, get into spinach or radish sprouts?
In one case, it was due to contaminated water.  The vegetables were from Mexico, and had been grown under FDA-approved conditions, but had been washed with contaminated water after harvesting.

Animal dung is another common source.  Either the dung is used as fertilizer and intentionally placed in the field or orchard, or wild animals (deer, etc.) deposit free fertilizer.  

I guess that e Coli is a little more potent a bacteria than I expected if mere washing with contaminated water can be a significant threat. And I'm trying to imagine just how much deer s*&t you'd need to have it soak into the ground and get picked up by the plants. Oh well, I guess its just another reason to do your composting correctly.
On one of my earliest mountain bike trips ....

Me:  I hate it when this mud gets on my water bottles. (spit)
Buddy:  Ah, this is a horse trail.

And I'm trying to imagine just how much deer s*&t you'd need to have it soak into the ground and get picked up by the plants.

That's not how it happens.  Usually, the problem is with food that touches the ground.  And the way we process it afterwards - even "natural" or "organic" food.

In one recent example, the problem was unpasteurized apple juice.  (Poor parents bought the "all-natural" juice for their kids, thinking it was better for them.  It ended up killing some of them.) Apple juice is often pressed from apples that have fallen on the ground.  The juice of thousands of apples may be mixed together, and a few bad apples really can spoil the whole batch.  

Okay - I'll stop trying to be funny as its obviously failing.

But I do have a serious question in here. I can understand the eColi problem when it comes to meat as they have a built in food source that allows them to multiply. But when it comes to vegetables and  a little bit of eColi getting brushed on or rinsed over it, how virulent are these little suckers - I mean they're being transported 1000s of miles, say 3 - 5 days from field to consumption and there still strong enough to kill?

An aside - When the radish sprout event happened in Japan they tracked it to a particular farmer - he (perhaps naturally) complained of being made a scapegoat. But the "scientists" there "proved" it  "could have been" the sprouts by growing some in an eColi laced liquid medium. Low and behold, eColi appeared in the leaves.

But when it comes to vegetables and  a little bit of eColi getting brushed on or rinsed over it, how virulent are these little suckers - I mean they're being transported 1000s of miles, say 3 - 5 days from field to consumption and there still strong enough to kill?

Alas, being bacteria, they reproduce.  

Though usually it's only children, the elderly, or the immune-compromised who actually die of it.  Healthy adults may wish they were dead, but usually don't die.

Plant leaves aren't an ideal environment for E. coli - on a dry plant in the sun, it won't survive there very long.  But on leaves that are kept moist (in a plastic bag for example), E. coli can grow and establish pretty high populations.
So the Jackson Five were wrong!

"One Bad Apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl,
I don't care what they say,
I don't care what you've heard,"

Correction! That was not the Jackson 5, it is in fact The Osmonds, with little Donny sing the lead vocals.
Summer 1970!
i think it happens when animals  pigions, goats or humans shit on the vegetables
"Meanwhile, I'll go get some local spinach at the farmer's market this weekend from the guy down the road. And not worry too much because it doesn't come from California."

And I will walk 20 yards over to my vegetable garden and pick some, minutes before eating it. Here in NH, I plant an early Spring crop and replant in early August for a Fall crop - spinach prefers cooler weather. Kale and swiss chard, ditto.

OK, back to making/canning tomato sauce... it's that time of the year!

- sgage

20 Yards...wow that's a long way.  Good Permaculture design would put cutting veggies closer to the back door (zone 1, edge zone 1-2)
"20 Yards...wow that's a long way. "

One must go where the sun is, veggie-wise  - no sunlight at the backdoor :-)  20 yards is the walk out the front door and around the porch. More like 10 yards as the crow flies...

Still working on the permaculture angle...

- sgage

Yeah, that sun is important.  My comment wasn't meant as criticism, more as a conversation starter.

I've been doing PC since 1998 and I still make lots of mistakes...uh, I mean...  I get lots learning opportunities.

sgage -I live down south. It's too hot right now to plant spinach here, without drastic measures, and will be for another month.

Care to share your recipe for tomato sauce? I'm looking for a good one.

I pretty much go with Joy of Cooking, though I like to keep it somewhat generic and bland so as not to foreclose options when I pull out a jar in February - it's nice to have a base from which to work. I grow lots of garlic, so there's a fair slug of garlic in mine, plus onion and green pepper, oregano salt and pepper.

A lot of the recipes call for a bit of sugar, but that is over the top - even without sugar it can be oversweet.

Enjoy your sauce!

- sgage

I don't have a copy of The Joy of Cooking but I will definitely be getting one -yours is the fourth or fifth recommendation I've had for that book.
E. Coli on Spinach?  I'm guessing the solution the FDA will give a green light to is the recently approved practice of spraying food with live viruses.

As Homer Simpson might say:  "Mmmmmmmmm, viruses."

Kind of ruins your appetite doesn't it?

The new practice is currently planned for use as a method to combat Listeria contamination on food and the viral cocktail will be sprayed on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.  There is potential for wider applications.

The original announcement from the NY Times (may require registration):

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/19/us/19viruses.html?ex=1158465600&en=cee39556fcd47d4f&ei=507 0

I found this well written critique by a nutritionist:


Forgot to mention that there is no requirement for labeling of products (e.g. lunchmeat, hotdogs, or sausages) that have been sprayed with the virus.  The public will not know if their next ham sandwich is part of the brave new world of highly adulterated food.
The virus spraying sounds like the dumbest idea of the decade.
"Consumers nationwide should not eat fresh bagged spinach, say health officials probing a multistate outbreak of E. coli that killed at least one person and made dozens of others sick. ..."

- will we ever see an article saying: "consumers should not drive or ride in cars, given a multistate outbreak of car accidents that only yesterday killed a hundred Americans and injured thousands..."?  The way our consumerville culture emphasizes some dangers and glosses over others is mind boggling.

We have to drive, otherwise the terrorists win.
"The Bush administration has imposed a gag order on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from publicly discussing perchlorate pollution, even as two new studies reveal high levels of the rocket-fuel component may be contaminating the nation's lettuce supply." EPA Bans Staff From Discussing Issue of Perchlorate Pollution

Last day for early registration for ASPO-USA Conference in Boston


Thomas Friedman's comes out in today's New York Times as an unabashed ethanol booster after apparently getting religion a recent trip to Brazil. His column (headlined "Energy Lesson") touts a number of possible technological advances that could "double" current energy yields from sugar, but does not mention EROEI, soil depletion, land use, or climate differences between South America and North America. His final conclusion: "If only we were as smart as Brazil".

Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Man, even before this I could not stand Friedman, how he gets so much attention is beyond me.  Robert, batter up...  maybe you could get him on the phone as well.
"how he gets so much attention is beyond me"

He is a very good writer and a passionate speaker.  I am guessing that he believes that he researches a topic well and then synthesizes an opinion that he communicates very effectively.  My guess is that his sources are lopsided on this one.  I would change my mind on that if I see him consider and reject the arguments of RR and others.  

does not mention EROEI

OK, so I will. Ethanol for sugar has an energy balance of 8.5 - 10.

Here are five studies that all cite figures of positive 8.5-10 EROEI for ethanol from sugar cane. I have given page references for three of them and will find and post the others later.

1) FO Licht presentation to METI,

EROEI Calcs: Page 20

2) IEA Automotive Fuels for the Future

3) IEA: Biofuels for Transport

EROEI calcs: page 60

4) Worldwatch Institute & Government of Germany: Biofuels for Transport  (Link to register - study is free)


EROEI Calcs (for 12 fuel types): Page 17

5) Potential for Biofuels for Transport in Developing Countries

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/IW3P/IB/2006/01/05/000090341_20060105 161036/Rendered/PDF/ESM3120PAPER0Biofuels.pdf

Thank you for another fine opportunity to address the misconception that all ethanol is similar to grain based ethanol.

The same stuudies explain that sugar is cultivated on abandoned pasture land, is not typically irrigated and is not nearly as fertilizer/herbicide intensive as corn.

By the way, I agree with Engineer Poet that the inefficiencies of the internal combustion engine doom liquid fuels as a long-term solution to fueling vehicles.

The Brazil example does not apply very well to the US for reasons Robert Rapier has laid out clearly (although part of that is a bizzare system of subsidies that makes sugar in the US very expensive).

But for the next 20 years in countries such as Brazil, Thailand and other tropical countries - particularly those without oil - ethanol will be a part of the solution to waning energy supplies.

IEA and Worldbank reports are politically motivated, hence worthless. The Worldbank talks about developing countries, see Monsanto's African cassava disasters. Leave the poor with the destruction.

Worldwatch does some nice things (or has in the past), but really lost their marbles over biofuels. That leaves a Japanese study, which must be viewed in light of the fact that Japan is very eager to get countries to produce fuels of whatever kind, as long as they burn. "I tell you it's safe, now sell it me."

The argument that marginal lands are the mainstay for sugar cane, you can't really believe?! Abandoned pasture gets the highest yield for sugar cane? Why and how would that be? Where's the logic? Brazil's been ethanol caning for decades, and what do they produce on all that land? They are the prime case to prove the limits to biofuels.

EROI numbers for biofuels are so widely all over the place, they should be treated with great care. Palm oil's EROI is much better than any other, or so they say, but what's the use of that when Borneo and Malaysia have no forest cover left? Will you incorporate the damage from that in your EROI?

One thing you can count on: for the next twenty years ethanol, any kind of it, will be a prime factor in destroying what's left of the ecosystem.

"One thing you can count on: for the next twenty years ethanol, any kind of it, will be a prime factor in destroying what's left of the ecosystem."

Globalized capitalism has no way to deal with ecological problems like this. All of the free ecosystem services (water, air, living soil) are priceless. But they're free, so they're worthless. It's the tragedy of the commons writ large.

To quote Stuart McBurney, ecology into economics won't go.

- sgage

Sigh... here we go again Jack.

Brazil has been cultivating cane for 200+ years.

Sugarcane (technically a grass) is one of best crops in the Americas for both soil and the envionment.

Roughly 1% of Brazil's suitable farming land is planted with sugarcane or 4.5 million hectares.

Vinasse is a nutrient rich by-product of production that is used for crop irrigation.

The mills produce electricity for itself and surplus for the grid.

I all my research, I have yet to come across an EROEI of cane->ethanol production that is less than 8-1.

My problem is that though Im not particularly religious, i do have faith in thermodynamics. And what you are proposing is a free ride, which contradicts my "belief system". If you were right. besides ironing out a few minor quirks, we'd be home free and sailing and kicking, into an indefinite future, to infinity and beyond.

And that I do not have faith in.

So here's sighing right back at you.

Agriculture is not self-contained system, the type to which the laws of t. apply.  The sun daily provides a new input of energy.  Plants capture this energy and convert it, much more efficiently than anything we've devised.  Some plants have other characteristics such as an ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Contact Milton Maciel, as I say below, and he will explain to you how sugar cane cultivation can continue on the same piece of ground until the sun fades.
Plants capture this energy and convert it, much more efficiently than anything we've devised.

This is patently not true... photosynthesis is ~0.5% efficient as compared to PV at 15% and Stirling-solar is claiming ~40%...

So efficiency-wise, your arable land would be better covered with PV panels... (and, I guess in theory you could even have "the best of both worlds" since you still have 60-85% solar energy to grow your crops...)

The only advantage of the photosynthesis route (sugar-to-ethanol or bio-diesel) is for some limited liquid fuel uses where greater energy density is required... aviation and maybe, long-distance trucking.

Hopefully, emerging battery technologies can bring the efficiency of pure electric to personal transport..  

Every spring, there they are: more leaves, more grass.  And your PV's?  The eroei of switchgrass processed into pellets and used for space/water heating is 20:1.   And your PV based water heating system is what?
I'm not proposing anything.  Nor did I suggest that 'we' (whomever that may be) are homefree, sailing and kicking.

I merely highlight the success of the Brazilian sugarcane->ethanol industry as a counter to your argument that said practice shows the limitations of biofuels.

The opposite is true - Brazilian ethanol production proves that biofuels (in this case ethanol) can in fact be produced economically in a sustainable fashion with a net EROEI - faith not included.

I'm not proposing anything.  Nor did I suggest that 'we' (whomever that may be) are homefree, sailing and kicking.
The great return seems to imply that. Where exactly is the problem? Is it scale? Does EROI slump on larger scales? Truly, i don''t get it. If the whole thing is as good as you make it sound, where does it still go wrong?
I merely highlight the success of the Brazilian sugarcane->ethanol industry as a counter to your argument that said practice shows the limitations of biofuels.
I see nothing countered. Somone says 8:1, and that's it? No thermodynamics? Anything you don't just find, like oil, will be subject to regeneration rates, and thermodynamics as far as I can see.
The opposite is true - Brazilian ethanol production proves that biofuels (in this case ethanol) can in fact be produced economically in a sustainable fashion with a net EROEI - faith not included.
So why don't they, or we, do it, and get the energy discussion over with?
If you are sure something will give you an 8:1 rate into eternity, all you need to do is get on with it. Shell and Exxon and everybody will be kissing you all over, because you have solved their biggest worries, all they have to do is buy land and processing facilities and they are set for life. And beyond,

So again: where is the problem?

My problem is that though I'm not particularly religious, I do have faith in thermodynamics. And what you are proposing is a free ride, which contradicts my "belief system"

As toilforoil says you have a misunderstanding of thermodynamics...  this is not a closed system. So it is no "free ride" (something for nothing)... you are not getting more out than you put in.

I mean... what is the EREOI of food; of firewood/lumber... would you consider that a free ride? No.

Think of it as diffuse solar energy concentrated into plant form over a whole season and released/burned in a short period of time.(Low energy-long time >> high energy-short time)

If you were right. besides ironing out a few minor quirks, we'd be home free and sailing and kicking, into an indefinite future, to infinity and beyond.

So what is the catch?... essentially only one... the land for growing sugar in USA is fairly limited... and would provide miniscule dent in American liquid fuel imports; besides displacing land currently used for food.

Of course, the only risk in this bio-fuel strategy is the inevitable destruction of forests in suitable regions for more fuel-producing land... eg sugar in Brazil; palm oil in Indonesia.

Finally, there is one other factor for all bio-ethanol production that doesn't get sufficient mention:

In a low energy future... EFFICIENCY IS EVERYTHING... there is no way we will be able to afford to burn ethanol in an ICE... Burn it in a CHP device, develop an ethanol fuel cell, use it as chemical foodstock; even drink it!!... but don't intentionally piss away 2/3 of the energy as heat to the atmosphere...


Go to the yahoo energy resources group.  As it isn't particularly efficient to search through all of his posts, find one Milton Maciel, an advocate for and grower of organic sugar cane, involved in the sugar-cane to ethanol development and debate for decades, researcher and consultant and in possession of a good deal of information and insight, and in possession of sincere environmental and humanitarian concerns.  E-mail him with your thoughts and ask him for his views, other reports, scientific evaluations of the EROEI of sugar cane and whatever else you need.  Ask him for an explanation of how and why sugar cane can be grow until planetary heat death on the same ground.  

In Canada, we are permitting the industrial rape of the boreal forest and our own rain forest.  It is not grain production on the prairies, which is responsible for this.  Similarily, it is not sugar cane production in Brazil which is responsible for the loss of rainforest. Milton can explain to you how depleted pasture land, in the appropriate environmental zone, is transformed into sugar cane plantations, with an ongoing reconstruction of the soil.

Sugar cane cultivation does not find suitable conditions in Amazonia.  Perhaps its cultivation is suitable for other rainforest locales around the world, but I don't know this.  Milton could probably answer this question as well as provide information on the required growing conditions for this gift from nature.  

The case for ethanol from corn or bio-diesel from soybeans is at the very best pathetically weak.  I have insufficient information about the palm oil situation, including information about the range of environmental conditions that will support palm oil plantations.  I certainly worry that production for export can have severe humanitarian and environmental consequences and admire Monbiot for raising this concern.  And I hope that within a century or so our progeny can reverse the environmental damage that producing for wheat and other agricultural exports has done to Europe, North America and Australia, among other locales.

There is a case worthy of debate, though lacking information, that any fuel production, which has an EROEI of less than 5 to 1, is not sustainable.

But this is not the case for certain agricultural crops used for particular energy applications, such as sugarcane for ethanol and switchgrass for solid heating fuel.  

Nor is it the case that these latter crops will necessarily reduce food production or wreak environmental destruction. It is in fact arguable that the contrary will be the result as we search for concentrated solar to help maintain food production.  And restoring some of the footprint of native perennial grasses like switchgrass restores habitat.

TFO, thanks, I will try Maciel one of tehse days.
  • If it works so well, why doesn't it work? Why can Brzail produce so little ethanol?
  • I am convinced food can be grown in "beneficial" ways, but that doesn't happen either
  • Switchgrass doesn't work, as far as I know the cellulosic breakdwon process has been tried for decades, and never solved. Sounds like more research money is needed. Yeah, right.
  • Thermodynamics make break down at the subatomic level, but certainly not in growing crops.
Brazil allocates approx. half its cane crop for ethanol and half for sugar production.  The farmer gets paid for his crop regardless of end use but the market determines which end product the cane is converted in to.  And again, only 1% of Brazilian farm land is dedicated to cane production.

Switchgrass->ethanol does work, however, no one has built a commerical scale cellulosic operation as of yet.  There are I think 3 plants slated for commission in 07' - Iogen's being one of them and Abengoa another.

BTW Iogen has had a million litre a year demo facility up and running in Ottawa for some time now.

So far, switchgrass/cellulose to ethanol is another corporate welfare project.  It might work, and I don't object to spending some public funds to try to find out if it can be commercialized.  Using switchgrass as a solid fuel for space/water heating awaits only the impending decline in natural gas production.  Once that market opens up, I doubt that any switchgrass to ethanol producer will ever be able to compete at the farmgate.
I sincerely hope you are not trying to say that Iogen has a profitable operation, or one with a positive EROI
If I was saying that, I wouldn't have described it as corporate welfare.  I am saying that if taxdollars are to be thrown at various ideas, there are worse than Iogen's.

As for why Brazil is not blanketed in sugar cane, that has to do with suitable growing conditions and competitive demands for land in the right areas.  As for why, ethanol producers don't get all the available cane, that is about the ability of sugar producers to compete at the farmgate.  

Ethanol production in Brazil receives zero subsidies.  That in itself should tell you something about the positive EROEI of ethanol from sugarcane.

Somethings are not too good to be true.  They are just true.

Friedman should put his money where his mouth is and buy a farm in upstate New York to grow his ultra-productive sugar cane!
Article about California's efforts to combat global warming in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/15/us/15energy.html?hp&ex=1158379200&en=291624f0d44f67a9& ei=5094&partner=homepage

Anyone besides me notice that graph in the lower left? The one that shows California electricity consumption flat for 28 years?
They must be in catabolic collapse. The population must be plummeting. A severe economic depression for decades now. Their neighbours must be coming to steal their wives, their pigs, their children, their goats. Yessir flat energy consumption for decades, California is a living Hell on Earth, the future we all have to fear after the peak.
Please look a little closer - that's per capita electricity consumption.
oh those old hippies....phooooooop.
So what? I've learned here at TOD increasing access to energy is what's written in my genetic code. Must be millions and millions of weird mutants on the left coast. Steady state just can't happen. Abhorred by nature.
 Not too shabby for the 6th or 7th largest economy in the world. If we can do it, why can't the world's largest? You know, the one with its 2 remainng auto companies going belly up.
California imports a lot of things it used to make.
Yes, but California has diverged drastically from national consumption trends, which should also import a lot of things it used to make.

Washington Monthly and New York Times explain:

This is the state whose per capita energy consumption has been almost flat for 30 years, even as per capita consumption has risen 50 percent nationally.


For the more fun loving conspiracy minded individuals, here are some interesting links relating to falling gas prices.

When you compare the map of national gas prices

With the chart of  republican senate seats in jeopardy

Then throw in the prudhoe bay oil production cuts, you get an interesting correlation between gas and politics.

Remember very blue states and very red states are not easily influenced so only swing states matter.

Also this graph is informative. It plots presidential approval ratings verse the reciprocal of gas prices.

John Gray reviews HEAT, George Monbiot's new book on climate change, for the New Statesman. While Monbiot already lashes out against micro wind turbines and biofuels,
"Biofuel production is a formula not only for humanitarian disaster but also for environmental catastrophe."
Gray doesn't stop there:

As [Monbiot] recognises, it may already be too late: "Because the carbon released now stays in the atmosphere for some 200 years and causes climate change many years into the future, there is perhaps a 30 per cent chance that we have already blown it." It is a sobering admission, from which Monbiot immediately retreats. "I am writing this book in a spirit of optimism," he declares, "so I refuse to believe it." [..]

Like nearly all environmentalists, he believes we would lose nothing by moving towards a more sustainable way of life. But is this actually the case? If there is a 30 per cent chance that the ground on which we are standing is going to give way whatever we do, what is the point in focusing all our energies on trying to make our position more sustainable? Growing numbers of scientists believe the probability of highly disruptive climate change occurring during the present century may be a good deal higher than 30 per cent. If this is so, will we not be better employed preparing to cope with the disruption than by pretending that it can still be stopped? [..]

... first we have to accept that we cannot control the process of climate change we have set in motion. Unfortunately this requires an insight into the limits of human power that is beyond most environmentalists. Like the rest of humankind, they cannot bear very much reality.

Gray seems to assume that sustainability is only about global warming.  Peak oil and peak everything else will require that we takes steps to be sustainable. We can wait for the deluge or plan accordingly.

I believe Gray states exactly what you said in your post.

He says "what is the point in focusing all our energies on trying to make our position more sustainable? ...Wil we not be better employed preparing to cope with the disruption than by pretending that it can be stopped?" I don't think he's arguing for sustainability, at least based on the snippet posted by roel. The way I read it, he's saying we're shit-canned and should spend our energy learning how to minimize the pain.


Yes, and I think it's good to point out that he says the Brits are trying to sustain what is simply not sustainable, like their coastal towns and lands, and should make the inevitable consequences of climate change a part of their future planning. To do that, however, you would first have to accept that it's indeed inevitable. We're in the denial phase, or so says Gray.

The acceptance offers no guarantees of survival, there are zillions of possible warming effects, but you can try.

So instead of building more dams, move to higher ground, that sort of thing.


A central feature of this long baseline is this: At no time in at least the past 10 million years has the atmospheric concentration of CO2 exceeded the present value of 380 ppmv. At this time in the Miocene, there were no major ice sheets in Greenland, sea level was several meters higher than today's (envision a very skinny Florida), and temperatures were several degrees higher. A more recent point of reference, and the subject of two papers in this issue, is the Eemian: the previous interglacial, about 130,000 to 120,000 years ago. This was a warm climate, comparable to our Holocene, during which sea levels were several meters higher than today's, even though CO2 concentrations remained much lower than today's postindustrial level.

This is from Science, the top U.S. scientific journal. Even today's CO2 levels are enough to melt the ice sheet in Greenland and cover most of Florida. Coastal cities around the world will be inundated. Costs will be enormous, incalculable. Again, this is with today's CO2 levels. And even the optimists expect that even with stringent controls we will roughly double CO2 levels before they level off.

So yes, I'd say it's very appropriate to be concerned that we've already gone too far. This is the real "inconvenient truth" that we face. This Monbiot guy's failure to face the truth is just intellectual cowardice.

What does facing the truth mean? It means that we have to accept that our only choice is to work towards advanced technology that can remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This is philosophically horrific to environmentalists, who generally hate technology and wish we could go back to a pastoral lifestyle of hard labor without mechanized aid. The last thing they would want to see is rockets blasting chemicals into the upper atmosphere to reduce solar heating, or fleets of ships seeding the Antarctic ocean with iron to cause plankton blooms that sequester CO2 on the ocean floor.

But in my opinion this is our only choice, to avoid the catastrophe which is already upon us. CO2 levels are already far too high, we have passed the tipping point, and at this point we can't solve things with conservation. We need technology, we need to intervene and take control of the situation. Luckily there are a number of solutions on the drawing boards, and realistically we have several decades in which to act. By that time we should have many options which are technologically feasible, some of which are likely to be quite inexpensive to boot.

This is philosophically horrific to environmentalists, who generally hate technology and wish we could go back to a pastoral lifestyle of hard labor without mechanized aid. The last thing they would want to see is rockets blasting chemicals into the upper atmosphere to reduce solar heating, or fleets of ships seeding the Antarctic ocean with iron to cause plankton blooms that sequester CO2 on the ocean floor.

It's also philosophically horrific to technocrats who understand the Law of Unintended Consequences.  Given that we created the problem by doing something we didn't know was going to have global effects, I'm uncomfortable with attempting to solve it by doing things we know in advance will have global consequences.  TANSTAAFL, and all that - Mother Nature always charges you for lunch.

Doing things like this also implicitly underwrites a continuation of Business as Usual.  If we continue on that path, even if we solve this problem we will merely bump into another limit a little further down the road.  There are plenty of such limits waiting for us.  As a result, I'm most in favour of doing things that get (some of) humanity off the BaU treadmill, and will give as many of us as possible the tools we'll need to cope with a changed world.  It just seems safer to do that than to tinker even more with systems we don't really understand.

I see proposals like seeding the oceans or the upper atmosphere as evidence of the most astonishing hubris.

I will personally shoot the first idiot who tries to technofix climate change. If anything, technology is the problem, not the solution.

Drawing boards? Like trillions of dollars a year of sulphur bombs?

It's the kind of scheme that perfectly answers Bob Shaw's question:
"Are humans smarter than yeast?"

Crutzen is the first to admit that the idea is pure fantasy. Sulphur doesn't last, the operation has to be repeated constantly, is terribly expensive and would cause enormous problems. It's a thought experiment by someone who should have shut up, and likely realizes that by now.
How tolerant of you.

Tell me, you plan to shoot GM for pursuing Hyrdrogen cars, or Toyota for pursuing hybrid technology, or all those guys pursuing solar,wind,hydro,tidal,geothermal energy.

Those are all "Technofixes" to Global Warming.

Technology got us into this mess and Technology is going to have to get us out.  Its either that or collapse(sudden or slow doesn't matter), and chances are the climate and environment will suffer a WHOLE lot more, through war, famine, and the scavenging of resources should collapse be the option.  

"It means that we have to accept that our only choice is to work towards advanced technology that can remove CO2 from the atmosphere."

That's a pretty brazen statement. Why should technology be the "only" choice? Check out John Hamaker's book "The Survival of Civilization" if you want a non-tech solution that would be doable if the political will existed. But the truth is the political will does not exist, not for his solution, nor for yours.

Beyond that, your faith in technology (along with your gratuitous jab at environmentalists), may demonstrate more about a lack of imagination than about any potential "solution." Did you stop and consider that it was "technology" that got us into this situation? Did you consider the problem of unintended consequences?

Frankly, the idea that we might start trying to "manage" the  global ecosystem frightens the dickens out of me. We have an extremely poor record at "managed" systems. Even the human ones were pretty poor at, much less the natural ones.

I don't consider your brand of techno-enthusiasm any less dangerous than those who believe we will find "some" technology to transition away from oil.

Given the choice between the mucked up mess of a global ecosystem that we currently have and the possibilities of what some "eco-management" approach would f&%* up, I'll take my chances with the current mess.

"This is philosophically horrific to environmentalists, who generally hate technology and wish we could go back to a pastoral lifestyle of hard labor without mechanized aid."

Not most of the environmentalists I know. Nice straw man though.

"The last thing they would want to see is rockets blasting chemicals into the upper atmosphere to reduce solar heating, or fleets of ships seeding the Antarctic ocean with iron to cause plankton blooms that sequester CO2 on the ocean floor."

Darn right, and not because environmentalists hate technology. It's because those are a couple of batshit crazy ideas to anyone with any sense of complexity science. We do not know nearly enough to know what the unintended consequences of such measures would be. And they would likely be very long term/irreversible.

"We need technology, we need to intervene and take control of the situation."

Spoken like a true cornucopian engineer. The hubris of that statement is mind boggling. We can not intervene and take control of the situation - we need to get out of the way and let the system work.

If you really need to indulge in engineering wetdreams, stick with the "giant mirror in orbit" thing. At least then we can stop the experiment instantly when something goes wacky. Or try CO2 injection into oilwells, or something like that. Don't go juicing up the oceans with fertilizer - you're liable to end up with a gigantic dead zone.

What we "need" is to learn how to pull back from the coastlines in an orderly fashion, and to learn how to cope with changing climate patterns.

We simply don't know enough to go messing around in the ways you suggest.

- sgage

Amen to what you and Davidsmi are saying.

I wouldn't rule out intervention altogether.  Reforestation and other planting might make some difference by locking up some of the CO2, while we wind down on the CO2 production side.  I just don't know if anything can be done about melting permafrost and the accelerated release of methane.

A lot of future living might well be underground.

Time to walk the Beagle and then head over to hear Kunstler.

Oops, that'll be 7 days from now that Kunstler is addressing a meeting here in Ottawa.  Time is not flying like it used to.
Why do you have to broadbrush environmentalists?  I consider myself one and am fairly convinced that we have to start intervening, as you say.  We could, of course, experience unintended consequences, like most technological intervention.

But really, perhaps, many of us, are just attached to the status quo. Perhaps we need to learn to live with the consequences of our actions.  Not that it is likely that I personally will have to live with anything horrific. Although, you never can tell, especially if you believe Lovelock.

I think it is interesting to post the transcript of an interview with Simmons, of August 6, 2005, especially in the light of yesterdays' remarks of this Saudi guy, and remarks to "debunk" PO


Thanks to Leanan for posting the Yemen article.

It brings up an interesting question of whether citizens of oil exporting countries (esp. Islamic) will increasingly take the view that whatever oil is left in their country must be rationed and conserved as much as possible for future generations.  Many already view the relatively good price Westerners are getting for their oil as tantamount to theft.  The result is likely to be more attempts to sabotage production.

In the late sixties to early eighties, my father-in-law was a high-ranking State Dept economic advisor and a good portion of his assignments were in the Middle East.  He recalls that back then the average person in oil exporting countries had very little sense of the finite nature of their black gold.  That is no longer true.

Does Washington think it can head off the urge to hoard by pressuring ME countries to join MEFTA thereby using free trade agreements to ensure global access to remaining oil reserves?  

Remember, Bush's long term "vision" (hallucination?) is that the Islamicists don't control the oil in 2050.  What oil?  
I think that Bid Laden was quoted as saying that oil prices should be in the $135 plus range.
Trying to take away our freedom: to drive!
In this context, and in discussing the "export land" model, I think it is important to note that a country is not a monolythic entity.  If an exporting country is ruled by a rich elite who use the revenue for importing their luxuries, while the poor majority is cut off from the oil-based economy, then there is no reason why "domestic demand" should rise.  Isn't this the way many oil exporting countries are ruled these days?  But, this arrangement is conducive to "domestic unrest", as is currently seen in Nigeria and Iraq, among other places.  If and when and where this "unrest" results in internally-driven "regime change" that then pushes for limiting exports, how will the rich importing countries react?  (Hint: Iran, 1953.)

With today's news of the pope's quoting of a 14-th century Byzantine emperor causing an uproar across the muslim world, the "clash of civilizations" route to WW3 seems more likely than ever.

Here's how I see GM's "hydrogen car" announcement.

Of course, GM is in heap big trouble and doesn't know which way to jump. That's not news, we've all seen that happening for years now.

The important subtext in this statement is contained in two references: the first to the use of non-petroleum fuel, and the other to the year 2011. What Mr. Lutz is telling us with this statement is that GM has figured out that Peak Oil is for real, and that the decline in the world's oil supply is
going to be indisputable by 2011.

GM knows they've already lost the fuel efficiency wars to the Japanese, but they are still faced with the problem of corporate survival in a world of shrinking oil supply and rising fuel prices. So they are thinking about a trying a Hail Mary pass, and hoping to reinvent themselves in an alternative energy universe.

The problem is, they are showing the same inability to innovate in that universe that they showed in this one. Hydrogen fuel cells are an unbelievably low-percentage technology to hang your corporate future on, especially over the next five years. Battery electrics, maybe. Plug-in hybrids - absolutely. Fuel cells? GMAFB. Peak Oil is for real, but General Motors is not.

I think they're just saying "Don't sell our stock".  The average Joe still believes in the hydrogen future.
sgage - nice to see another NH TODer!  Greetings from Weare!
This is exactly it.  Buy stock. Don't leave us.

GM recognized that it can't be the hybrid car company so instead, they are trying to corner both the flex-fuel and hydrogen sections of product placement.  Meanwhile, both Toyota and Honda are moving into ethanol territory because they realize that the Hydrogen Economy is nowhere to be seen.  

Unfortunately what goes for GM goes for the country.

And as posted earlier...

I was in attendance for the launch of Canada's premier R&D hydrogen fuel cell center this week - Peak Oil is definitely not the impetus behind the research, nor is the concept even on their radar.  

I decided a few months ago that GM will declare bankruptcy, but not before Ford.  I think I may have to revise this idea.  When I read that GM is trying to lead the way for hydrogen cars, in only 6 years, is absolutely INSANE!  GM may file first now, but my odds are still 60/40 Ford.
I thought BMW or somebody else was supposed to roll-out the hydrogen soon. Sorry, I don't really pay attention to the hydrogen stuff. I've known the basics for years, but haven't really followed who is going ahead with implementation. It does seem a bit stupid. I thought hydogen had been thoroughly debunked about four years ago for all the logistical/practical reasons. All the high-tech shows still love to showcase these one-of-a-kind $2 million prototypes and they're still re-running that show Alan Alda did. What's the deal?
BMW was putting out a Hydrogen car... you are correct.


BMW succeeded in converting a gasoline internal combustion engine so that it could run on hydrogen.  Note that this isn't even a dual-fuel vehicle;  just a modified engine that only runs hydrogen.

From that link...
Based on the gasoline power unit featured in the BMW 760i, BMW's hydrogen combustion engine boasts the most advanced technologies such as BMW's fully variable VALVETRONIC valve drive.

The main modifications to the engine involve the fuel injection system adapted by BMW to the special attributes and requirements of hydrogen.

I dont get it either.  They built a hyrdogen pump up in Michigan (of course) and the one pump cost over a million $, if I'm remembering correctly.  Maybe a google search can answer the questions, but alas too little time.
gm and ford sere saved from extinction -ford stock dropped to $1 around 1981 -  by new supplies in the far north. There will be no new supplies this time.  They're going to either compete successfully with japanese higher efficiency/quality cars, or go under.
Queen to B7...Check....
GM defines the phrase "terminally stupid" - always has ever since Mr. Smith began to run the company.  Anyone remember when that was?

MEES released their figures for July OPEC production. 29,890 thousand bpd, down from June's 29,980. MEES's OPEC figures show they peaked in October, 2004.

Note the uptick from KSA.  What evidence does this data series present about Ghawar?  If it is declining, they seem quite capable of bringing other fields on to suppliment it.  
Are you referring to the 70,000 bpd uptick? For SA, that's meaningless noise. Still well off 1st qtr this yr production. For now doesn't tell us anything one way or the other.
Per Stuarts chart linked below, and for 18 months, SA has been adding 1.33 new rigs every month.  SA wells are not particularly deep, so one would expect each rig to add one new well/month.  On this basis, the new rigs would have added 228 more new wells than were drilled by the eighteen rigs that were in use before the ramp up over the period.  Given that one thinks of SA wells producing several thousand b/d, one might expect the new wells to add around 1mmb/d+... but, production has been declining since end o5.  Quite astounding. True, the new wells might be the multi-leg horizontal 'superstraws' that take longer to drill (and which are designed to efficiently get the last bits before rising water reaches the gas cap), resulting in fewer wells than assumed above, but such wells are supposed to be extremely prolific.

If production has really climbed for at least one month/month, perhaps they finally have enough new wells to compensate for what looks like rapidly accelerating declines from old ones.  And, they state that they will shortly have 100 rigs looking for oil, so they may in fact increase output... maybe not for long.  Definitely trying hard.


in reference to bagged spinach and E coli


Its ok tho, I am sure Technology will save us(provided a buck can be made)

Good day

Knock,Knock,Hello,Anybody home?
I had hoped to get some feedback to the link I provided above. My error, I can see the one time poster zanth and his retarded inane poll takes precedent, so in keeping with what is really important on this forum I am conducting a poll.
What should Briteny Spears name her newborn baby boy?
  1. Justin
  2. Brian
  3. Mark
  4. Peter
next all important question
Should wannabe Jon Benet murderer Mark Karr be sentenced to:
1) Insane asylum
2)Champagne brunch on carnival cruiseship
3)Breakfast at Tiffanys
4)Complete reading of the pros and cons of ethanol
Who will win Fox Celebrity Duets?
write your favorite here.
This forum is fading and fading fast.

OOps I know how important spelling is on this forum it should be Britany not Briteny my bad

3,3, Duh

Thank you. Poll is closed.
Lets see, taking the statistical average of the number of respondents, dividing by the number of questions they did not answer, multiplied by the IQ of respondents and we statistically come up with the number of respondents. a/b*c=x.  Amazing. Math is our friend. :) ;) :/ :(
I am POed
A Risky Game of Chicken

Japan and China's growing assertiveness in the East China Sea could start a military skirmish--or worse.
If that game of chicken becomes hot, the US will be in on the side of the Japanese, which is probably the moment the Chinese will make their move on Taiwan with the additional wild card of the Korea matter.  You will have a REALLY messy Orient at that point.

Its been in the back of my mind that at least part of the  ME game is nothing more than the US attempting to flank the Chinese on the western border by land and have the Chinese hemmed in by sea on their east.  In otherwords... like the strategy used on the Soviets.... containment.

The internal push for a militarized Japan with almost no mumblings on the matter from the US, the now very prominent place Iran has in the news as a possible target to attack, the positioning we gained in Afganistan and Iraq, combined with an ever strengthening Taiwanese naval and missile defense capabilities, China has to be feeling it.

This isn't meant as a pro or con opinion on the matter... simply an observation that keeps getting momentum everytime I see pieces on the board move into place.

I thought I'd go ahead and tally up the responses to Zanth's question from Sept. 12th's Drumbeat.

Zanth asked:

Hi all, I'm kinda curious about the demographics in TOD and hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions...

-What's your age?
-What's your family status (wife, husband, kids etc)?
-Do you live primarily in an urban, suburban, or rural area?

Total responses:  46

Age 25-29     11%
    30-34      7%
    35-39     15%
    40-44     15%
    45-49      9%
    50-54     17%
    55-59     15%
    60-64      9%
    65-69      2%

Single  22%
Married  62%
Divorced  16%

Rural  22%
<50,000 pop. 9%
50-200,000 17%
>200,000 28%
Suburban  24%

Maybe now that we have advertisers, they'll be interested, too!

My econ stats class would eat this stuff up, even though it seems to be a smallish sample.
Agree, Tate.  We can't conclude how representative of a sample it is.  I always got the feeling that a large # of posters here are in their 50's which it does reflect.  Of course, the responses were interesting on an individual level for those who recognized the personalities.  I always try to imagine the age of someone while I'm reading a post.  It's been years since I took stats, but enjoyed it.  I always enjoy your posts, BTW, and your economic related links, etc.  Good luck as you finish your degree!
It is a small sample size (and self-selected, to boot).

But it looks pretty evenly distributed to me.  Perhaps there are a few more 50-somethings...but then, the boomers are in their fifties now, so that wouldn't be surprising.  

Unless it's normally distributed you can't use the Empirical rule to establish central tendencies and establish some real information.
Two interesting demographics that should be asked next time are gender and occupation (or general occupation field).
"Get yer fresh, hot propaganda here!" : Some big honcho from Car and Driver Magazine was just on CNN - funny name, I forget - and he reminded everyone very clearly that gas prices have only been going up for a year.  Boy is that good news!  Somehow I remember paying $2.55 the week before Katrina.  I gotta check my meds again...
But this is the sort of stuff that makes me go all "Alex Jones" - you'd think a rag like Car and Driver would be independent, but here is this guy blatantly lying on CNN to sooth everyone.  And the crazy part is, lots of people buy it!  They don't wait anymore to change history, we do it as we go.
I wouldn't jump to conclusions about their motives at C&D.  They are so thoroughly "car guys," so completely devoted to a lifestyle that revolves around, well, cars and drivers, that they can't see beyond their hood ornaments.

I think you're giving them way too much credit for intelligence and importance by assuming they're trying to shape public opinion in the sense of it being a Grand Plan.  They're simply too narrow-minded to see the big picture.

I've added two forecasts in the Peak Update post:


Wow, Bakhtiari has us at 55mbpd by 2020.  Ouch!  That would hurt!
Whether you're concerned about the decreasing habitability of our Planet or just like Train Wrecks, stay up to date on climate change at The Heat Is Online, Ross Gelbspan's website. Author of the The Heat Is On and The Boiling Point.

Also, be sure to read at Real Climate if you want the details.

Things aren't getting any better...

The real "Final Frontier" for
producing hydrocarbons
Just waiting for the ice to melt

Thanks, Dave.  Perusing Real Climate, I found this little gem:  the American Association of Petroleum Geologists awarded novelist and director Michael Crichton its 2006 Journalism (!) award for "contributing to the public understanding of geology."  This is for that ridiculous GW-denying book, State of Fear.  Understandably, some object to this:(pdf)


I just love science, or, what passes for it these days...


tptb, dude

know what i realized tonight, bout the second round? I work for Darth Vadar! I'm a fucking storm trooper!

now how the fuck do i desert and where the hell is the rebel alliance?

Unlike the movie, the rebellion has been crushed.
Resistance is futile.
Leaders of the rebellion have been sucked into the TV Death Star and have emerged as American Idol wanna-be's.
Better luck next time.

(The next time being when the Universe collapses into its own worm hole and then re-emerges out of the hiny of the worm hole as something that sounds like a big bang.)

I was drunk off my a** last night. I had NO business being online.
Crichton's predictions haven't been so good... still no dinosaurs and, better yet (considering my grades in foreign languages), so far we haven't had to learn Japanese.
Try also climateark.org. Excellent clipping service