Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
peak oil trademark
Post archived to comments due to innaccurate reporting on my part.
I apologize for the confusion.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
greatless minds think alike again and again
I was worried, when I posted only a moron wags the dog twice, that I had read a bit too much into the Bush administration rhetoric. After all, they got plenny a problems in this troubled season. Perhaps, I thought, it was a case of walking loudly and carrying a big dick, but no more. (Sorry for that, Teddy.)
Turns out the Bush Administration will never disappoint when it comes to misunderestimating their ability to effectively run the American Empire.
Who Are We to Pick Syria's President? by Paul Craig Roberts
Someone (tell) Condi Rice that the game is up (...) the secretary of state is trying to ramp up war against Syria.
Grasping a UN report that uses unreliable witnesses to implicate Syria in the assassination of a former Lebanese government official, Condi Rice told the BBC on Oct. 23 that Syria's crime cannot be "left lying on the table. This really has to be dealt with."
This is amazing for many reasons. Here is the person in charge of U.S. diplomacy acting as if she is the secretary of war unsheathing military force. Whoever heard of an American diplomat wanting to start a war because a former Middle Eastern government official was assassinated?
And you might have thought Jello Biafra was joking when he said "Greetings: This is the Secretary of War at the State Department of the United States. We have a problem."
President Bush said he had not ruled out military action if Syria does not comply.
I can't help but wonder if Bush would rule out military action if Condi Rice refused to comply.
But then, why would she scorn him -- she's practically married to him.
One thing is certain. Through all the troubled times ahead, Rice will always appear calm. She has good reason to feel safe and secure for she has the unquestioned support of the only man who matters: Bush. When last year she referred to Bush as 'my husband' it was a Freudian slip that reflected how close Rice and the Bush clan have become.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
only a moron wags the dog twice
Bush Calls for U.N. Action Against Syria
President Bush on Friday said the U.N. should deal quickly and seriously with a report implicating Syria in the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, a killing that led to protests and withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon after nearly 30 years as overlord.
"The report strongly suggests that the politically motivated assassination could not have taken place without Syrian involvement," Bush said.
The United Nations investigative report, which Bush called "deeply disturbing," made a link between high-ranking Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in the car bombing that killed Rafik Hariri and 20 others in February.
So then, sir president, dipping into the playbook for one more Hail Mary Pass?
Current events got you down? Worried that that Patrick Fitzgerald just put up a vanity website? Cheney having trouble with the ol' ticker?
Let's start a freakin' war then, eh?
Ann Coulter hates the house lawyer you nominated for the highest court in the land. Weird. And now Poppie's friends are gangbanging you in the liberal media!
The justification for the previous war is set to crumble -- let's start dropping bombs!
Oh, and the domestic economy? Click your ruby slippers together three times and say "holy fucking shit we're screwed," and perhaps the stock market won't crash until 2006.
I'd say you've spent your political capital, and switched to credit. I'd say the well has gone dry.
Stay stupid, baby. Who loves yah.
"Kinky Sex Makes The World Go 'Round"
Greetings:This is the Secretary of War at the State Department
of the United States
We have a problem.
The companies want something done about this sluggish
world economic situation
Profits have been running a little thin lately
and we need to stimulate some growth
Now we know
there's an alarmingly high number of young people roaming
around in your country with nothing to do but stir up trouble
for the police and damage private property.
It doesn't look like they'll ever get a job
It's about time we did something constructive with these people
We've got thousands of 'em here too. They're crawling all over
The companies think it's time we all sit down, have a serious get-together-
And start another war
He loves the idea!
Friday, October 21, 2005
con job and the man for it
With Mobjectivist’s critique of Michael Lynch and friends fresh in my mind (ponies), I listened to Lynch debate novelist James Kunstler on Open Source radio. (Skip past the beginning where the host interviews Kunstler.)
James “Rolling Stone” Kunstler ripped MIT’s Lynch a new one on points, even as Lynch maintained a façade of calm competence throughout the show. Lynch variously claimed that the pessimist geologists referenced by Kunstler were “afraid” to debate him (bullshit), and Oil Shale is likely profitable now that oil costs more than 40$ a barrel. (I have your shovel ready, sir. Please start with the kaka.)
I can easily understand why the likes of Colin Campbell would generally avoid debating an oil consultant duck fart like Lynch; for starters he is apt to attack the arcana of statistical models as a means to sidestep discussion of the reality of oil depletion.
Listening to Lynch, my imagination probably got the better of me, particularly at the very end of the interview, when Michael Lynch stated, with an edge in his voice, that he would be “very interested” to see what the price of oil would be next year, seeming implication being that the steep rise in prices since 2000 in energy is to be naught but a temporary flutter.
To me it is “very interesting” that he would bring that up, in the sense of things unsaid, or things known but explicitly not stated. Lynch is using a future anachronism to argue against peak oil. It will certainly be a non-sequiter looking back at this moment from the future; but many uninformed listeners might simply remember that Lynch said crude prices will be lower…
Confused? Hurricane Katrina enacted a certain level of demand destruction for CRUDE oil, (not gasoline, which the USA is presently borrowing from European reserves.)
That’s what happens when heavy weather knocks over refineries; one can’t refine as much crude. So it just floats around.
So, certainly, expect the world to be awash in crude next year. Also expect the American Economy to be in shambles, thus enacting more demand destruction.
Peak averted? Cheap oil is back?
Very clever, Mister Lynch. You ride that Peak Pony.
You’ve fooled ‘em all, except them who know.
the farms are not allright
Agriculture facing its own Katrina via EnergyInvestment
Agriculture today is facing a major catastrophe not experienced since the Dust Bowl days of the Great Depression. Based on expert economic projections, for the first time in decades, many U.S. farmers cannot possibly "cash flow" a crop or crops for the year 2006. Bankers are saying "No." Many of us will not be able to farm this year or the next. The doubling and tripling of fuel and petrochemical prices are the last link in a chain of bad economic events.
These two storms had an impact on the nation's fuel refining capacity, increasing prices beyond an already dismal situation. In agriculture, we cannot pass these prices along as other industries do. Ultimately, it means the numbers don't add up. If we can't show positive cash flow, we won't get our operating loans.
For farmers, a Katrina-like disaster is building. It will soon swamp many family farming operations. Astronomical fuel prices, fertilizer and chemical costs have reached the point that even a modest profit is impossible.
Farmers are receiving the lowest price for commodities that myself or most farmers can remember. Farmers are a proud group, usually not willing to protest. This time, I hope someone is listening. We are literally at the end of the turn row. That's a metaphor for desperation. Agriculture is in serious trouble.
This is the wrong time in history for family farms to be going under. And I would love to know why commodity prices are so low -- bears investigation; is Wal-mart setting the agenda for wheat prices? With worldwide declines in grain production, low commodity prices don't make sense.
More on this later. Something strange here.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Saw this via pharyngula.org and it provides storks for thought. Note the movie is several megabytes.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
peak oil talking points
A friend recently emailed this comment:
During the testimony last night, there were two people who spoke urging the County Council to consider the impacts of Peak Oil on how and where new development should occur. To my knowledge, this was a first. While it is encouraging that normal citizens are becoming aware of the issue, I felt like the speakers did not do a good job of explaining the problem for the council and the rest of the audience. They may as well have been saying "don't bother with planning, Jesus is coming". Perhaps our little cadre could develop some talking points for raising the issue before uninformed audiences.
This has spurred some activity to try and come up with ways to deftly present Peak Oil in public forums, which is a tricky concept to explain to anyone out of the gate -- much less local government types who need something useful and actionable.
In other words, if the problem is framed too far outside of the mainstream, it will be ignored, even if valid.
"In 10 years, cars will be harvested for their organs and goats will rule suburbia. Also, 3 out of 10 of you on the council will be dead from starvation."
Not inflamatory, but still useless:
"Gasoline shortages will force people to live closer to food producing areas."
Has a chance:
"With the price of gasoline rising, local government should invest in mass transit, bicycle paths and walkable communities."
So, readers, I open it up to you. Please let me know in comments what you think are some effective ways to usefully inform local government of impending energy shortages.
happy birthday bouphonia
If you've never visited Bouphonia, you are missing out. And today, you have no excuse; they're serving cake.
Monday, October 17, 2005
I've got your non-negotiable way of life right here.
GM and Ford's US sales plunge
General Motors and Ford Motor paid a heavy price last month for their dependence on gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles, reporting a steep fall in US vehicle sales and market share. Demand for smaller cars and trucks, especially hybrid petrol-electric vehicles, remained buoyant.
Underlining the financial and competitive crisis facing the two biggest Detroit-based carmakers, GM reported a 24 per cent slide in September sales compared with a year earlier. Ford's sales were 19 per cent lower.
For those who haven't figured it out yet, everything is connected to energy.
The Western gas guzzling economies have resulted in global warming, fallow soil, unsustainable populations, and American car companies that have buried their heads in the sand.
The economic repercushions of blind stupidity have historically been awful.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
first, the poor
Record natural gas prices spur cutoffs
CHICAGO, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The average Illinois resident will pay $600 more for natural gas to heat a home this winter thanks to hurricanes and rising demand. Ed Hurley, Illinois' special director of emergency energy assistance, gave the downbeat forecast Tuesday during a congressional hearing in Chicago.
Peoples Gas said 30,000 Chicago residents have been disconnected and 14,000 more are eligible for disconnection, the Chicago Tribune reported. Peoples Gas, Nicor Inc. and Ameren Corp. said there is not enough money to help low-income customers through the winter.
I guess this is an "I told you so moment," but I take no pleasure in relaying this news. And the advice to buy a sweater applies, though I wish it were merely a joke. As Kunstler points out, people may well freeze to death this winter for lack of energy. Pinheaded optimism is presently being buffeted by reality.
The poor are being disconnected, because the cost of natural gas is so high that they cannot pay. The cost of natural gas is high because supplies are limited.
These high prices are a result of hurricane season, however, they are also framed against a backdrop of peaking supplies of natural gas on the North American continent.
Time to get busy, applying real solutions to our energy problems.
Pork & nonsense won't cut it.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Gas tax delay pricey Seattle PI
(I)n the time supporters of (Washington State) Initiative 912 have used to try to repeal the new 9.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase and convince voters that the state Department of Transportation has been wasting money on misplaced priorities, their ballot measure has gobbled up tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.
The transportation engineers factored in annual inflation over the length of the projects using the 2005 construction cost index of 5 percent as stated by industry analysts Global Insight. The outcome: Even if voters reject Initiative 912 next month, the delays it will have caused sapped $66 million in buying -- and road-building -- power from the $8.5 billion transportation package.
Not examined in this article is the following question: Why is inflation running so high? It is the high cost of energy. Better roads will facilitate more inflation, as the vehicles which traverse said roads burn -- energy.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
learn 'em right
In the referenced article in the previous post, it was noted among other shortages that plastic diaper liners will be in short supply.
Will the result be a carpet apocalypse, with piles of malformed infant poo strewn across the houses of America from sea to shining sea?
Ancient, occult wisdom of our elders will shortly be revealed. No Koolaid required.
Dare to Bare
As an anthropologist, I know that this idea is nothing new. Most babies and toddlers around the world, and throughout human history, have never worn diapers. For instance, in places like China, India and Kenya, children wear split pants or run around naked from the waist down. When it's clear that they have to go, they can squat or be held over the right hole in a matter of seconds.
Parents and caretakers in these cultures see diapers as not the best, but the worst alternative. Why bind bulky cloth around a small child? Why use a disposable diaper that keeps buckets of urine next to tender skin?
The trick is that infants in these cultures are always physically entwined with a parent or someone else, and "elimination communication" is the norm. With bare bottoms, they ride on the hip or back and it's easy to feel when they need to go. The result is no diaper rash, no washing cloth diapers, no clogging the landfill with disposables, no frustrating struggle in the bathroom with a furious 2-year-old.
Our future is shaping up to require more care and effort by people to live within their environment in a sustainable way. Less thoughtless consumerism, more work. But in some cases, more work up front means a way, way less down the road.
The biggest short term obstacle to something like this gaining acceptance in my country (U.S.A.) is puritan cracker culture, also known as the "mainstream".
Let it not be unsaid -- avoiding diapers is organic.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Some US Plastic Shortages Seen From Natgas Price via LATOC
The US government should help repair damaged natural gas processing plants and declare a "national emergency" to make consumers aware of supply problems triggered by the storms, Liveris (chief executive officer of Dow Chemical) said.
"Soon the loss of chemical manufacturing in the Gulf will ripple through the economy in the form of shortages and higher prices," Liveris said. Some of the products that may develop shortages include widely used consumer goods such as plastic bottles and bags, he said.
"The short-term outlook for natural gas consumers is grim," he said. "If prices remain at or near current levels, manufacturers will be driven out of the market and many may not return."
The government should also "declare a national emergency" to shock consumers into awareness of tight supplies, he said.
For example, if all Americans turned down their home thermostats by 2 degrees this winter, an extra 3 billion cubic feet per day of gas would be available, Liveris said.
The shit starts now. The energy news of late has been so unrelenting, and so grim, that it is difficult for me to maintain an even keel in analyzing the situation. As a reminder, natural gas costs also affects fertilizer costs, in turn affecting food costs. Some of these price ripples are a month or two downstream. As the sales people might say: It's in the pipeline.
So far, broken infrastructure has been mitigated by mild weather and oil from Europe, and the lack of refinery capacity in the U.S. post hurricane(s) has kept the price of crude oil from bubbling too high. These effects will be temporary.
I still believe that the American economy is floating on a bubble of credit and wishful thinking. I'm not the only one. Nobody wants to look in the box, everybody knows the cat is dead. Who bells the consumer?
Many are saying this is going to be the winter that all hell breaks loose. Now, with the CEO of DOW chemical, Kunstler has some company. It appears he has been rubbing shoulders with reality all along.
Enjoy the Last Pancake Breakfast of our crap consumer culture, while it lasts.
Monday, October 10, 2005
As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound nyTimes
With major companies and nations large and small adopting similar logic, the Arctic is undergoing nothing less than a great rush for virgin territory and natural resources worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Even before the polar ice began shrinking more each summer, countries were pushing into the frigid Barents Sea, lured by undersea oil and gas fields and emboldened by advances in technology. But now, as thinning ice stands to simplify construction of drilling rigs, exploration is likely to move even farther north.
After raping the world, and strangling the "natural cycles", hominids cleverlessly expose the last, great, virgin land -- ripe for bug hunts with pointed sticks, among other games pursued by the opposable thumbs set.
These resources are not worth billions. They are both priceless and neccesary building blocks of our only world.
Last year, scientists found tantalizing hints of oil in seabed samples just 200 miles from the North Pole. All told, one quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources lies in the Arctic, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The United States Geological Survey also reports that Santa Claus has already established a lease on half of this oil, and the Easter Bunny has hidden some eggs amongst those tricky methane hydrate deposits. The U.S. military is gearing up for reindeer games, because Westerners love the hydrocarbon immolation dance, down to the last drop.
Earth. On track to becoming the other Venus.
If the melting continues, as many Arctic experts expect, the mass of floating ice that has crowned the planet for millions of years may largely disappear for entire summers this century.
These ice cubes will float south for the summer, to quench the parched valleys and towns of California with crystal clear homo-habilis era water.
Indeed, not everyone agrees that warming of the Arctic merits concern. No one knows what share of the recent thawing can be attributed to natural cycles and how much to heat-trapping pollution linked to recent global warming
Indeed, some people are vastly ignorant. Like the Times reporters who hodge-podged this article together. One cannot point out that ice which has "crowned the planet for millions of years" is melting away in one paragraph, and mere words later weigh in with the point-counterpoint piffle about "natural cycles".
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Unicef bombs the Smurfs
Unicef and the family company, IMPS, which controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed. The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.
Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.
I'm just wondering, now that we can blow up smurfs somehwere outside of a BBS text file: Can I make a hilarious smurf cartoon involving smurfs suffering the ravages of global warming (village inundated by rising oceans!) or a experiencing die-off in a Jay-Hansonian post peak oil future?
Or, worse, the tragic Kunstlerian outcome wherein the smurfs are forced to give up their cars and move out of their suburbs into agrarian communities where the pace of life slows down and 99% of food production is local... which for certain hipsters would be no less than a full blown apocalypse.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
good, ugly, bad, and worster
I really don't believe that the Logistic curve applies very well to the problem of estimating oil depletion rates. No matter what you hear and read, the formulation of the Logistic curve just doesn't have the correct physical basis to stand on its own feet. To many, this may sound like heresy, as oil analysts since Hubbert have used the differential equations (in particular, the Verhulst equation) describing the Logistics curve to estimate when peak oil would hit. More than anything, I think its utility came about more through coincidental properties that just happened to match those that should come about through a more mathematically rigorous and sound physical basis.
Mobjectivist is at it again, locking horns with Hubbert's ghost and Michael Lynch in the same post. This is a fascinating read, even though many of the technical points whizzed over my head. (So much to do in my life and what I really want to do is go back to school...) Heavy on statistics. Also check out out his Peak Oil model, rolled up here.
Fears Over Climate as Arctic Ice Melts at Record Level via Energy Bulletin
Satellite pictures show that the extent of Arctic sea ice this month dipped some 20% below the long term average for September - melting an extra 500,000 square miles, or an area twice the size of Texas. If current trends continue, the summertime Arctic Ocean will be completely ice-free well before the end of this century.
Scambos (...) said melting sea ice accelerates warming because dark-coloured water absorbs heat from the sun that was previously reflected back into space by white ice. "Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold. We could see changes in Arctic ice happening much sooner than we thought..."
Peak oil isn't scary. Climate change, now -- there is something deeply unsettling about living in the midst of it. The weather has been loony and extreme EVERYWHERE this year. This is one of the fundamental predictions of the warming model, and it is coming to pass. Along with strange changes in the oceans -- late upwelling, devastating whole ecosystems that depend on plankton. Perhaps if all the Arctic ice melts, this will mitigate the rising acid levels in our oceans before whole food chains are lost. Peak oil can't come soon enough, to enforce Kyoto-plus via depletion.
Report: Rigs take record hit from Rita via From the Wilderness
The newspaper reports that the hit taken by rigs could delay exploration drilling as far away as the Middle East ... Rigs were in short supply even before the hurricanes, the newspaper reports. They cost $90 million to $550 million, and a rig ordered today to replace a damaged or destroyed rig won't be available before 2008, according to the report.
Rigs are always in short supply on the downslope of the peak -- one must drill more to keep up with depletion. Now, just to get supplies that are shut in (running over 70% for both Gulf Oil and Gas) billions must be shelled out, or put another way, energy will be burned to produce future energy.
Dow Ends Down 124 on Weak Economic Report
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell hard for a second day Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average losing more than 120 points after a surprisingly weak reading on the service sector of the economy raised concerns about the continuing impact of higher energy prices.
Higher energy prices affect the economy -- who woulda thunk it. More days like this to come. Count on it. Plan for it. Ignore pollyanna thinking.
Hell, even an idiot like The Mogambo knew to buy gold!
I am, as hard as that is to believe, getting freaked out more and more. didn't increase total credit by much, but they The Federal Reservedid continue accelerating down the Road To Economic Hell (RTEH) by buying, outright, $2.4 billion of debt last week. In short, the government borrows by issuing debt, and the Federal Reserve creates the money to buy the debt! Bingo! Not only creating more money and credit, the damn thing that got us to this point, but to fund the activities of the government! Gaaahhhh!
I've been searching for a diagram that best describes this economic perpetual motion machine that the government has concocted, and I believe I have found one that is just right.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Striking Iran would shoot up oil prices to 400 dollars
“During last year’s evaluations of various theoretical outcomes, we reached the conclusion that in the event of an oil sales embargo on Iran the price of oil would reach 110 dollars and in the case of a military attack on Iran its price would reach 400 dollars (a barrel). Therefore, knowing the West’s strategic knowledge of this matter, the oil sanction and military attack options against Iran are just a bluff.”
So says Brigadier General Hassan Abbasi of Greater Persia.
What do I think about this? I think he is absolutely correct. And those prices may be a best case scenario, describing a world where the currencies haven't collapsed.
After all, taking out oil infrastructure is the easiest damn thing in the world. Even hurricanes are getting in on the action! Nigerian rebels are thumbing their noses at the western world! Iran is well situated to bonk Kuwait and Saudi in the refineries. They are, after all, allies of the U.S.
Iran has no more chance of winning a conventional battle against the U.S. military than Iraq. But they have enough supersonic Russian made Sunburn cruise missiles to drop a carrier group, or more likely, blockade the Gulf. (No oil freighters out.)
So, for as long as reason and logic prevail, no one will poke a stick into Iran.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Jevons Paradox and Peak Oil
I happened to catch the tail end of the Congressman Bartlett's Peak Oil conference on CSPAN. (Transcripts one, two, and three courtesy Energy Bulletin.) John Howe came on last, in a presentation that was unfortunately somewhat disorganized.
One thing he mentioned caught my attention: He related to Jevons Paradox to a previous speaker, Donald Wulfinghoff:
So another kind of delusion is that efficiency will save us. Well, there (are) wonderful things about efficiency. I certainly defer to my co-speaker here. Efficiency, we have to get every bit of reduction of usage that we can find. But in the long run many times better efficiency has led to more consumption. This is called Jevons paradox. When we have better efficiency, the price goes down and people use more, and this is what’s happened time and time again. So efficiency is a tiny step in the right direction. You can’t argue with hybrids. They are more efficient, but they’re just a tiny step.
Wulfinghoff gave an excellent, content rich presention-- the only real problem, as he pointed out is to make buildings more efficient you must build them correctly -- and design them correctly. There are limits to retrofitting. There are also limits to rebuilding a century of plastic drywalled infrastructure.
What I really want to highlight, however, is that Jevons Paradox, (perhaps Jevons Effect might be a better name) will be meaningless after peak oil, when supplies of energy are in decline. (Temporary or otherwise.)
Conservation and efficiency will be absolutely necesary. People will no longer have the luxury of trading in their SUV for a Hummer. So it is silly to invoke Jevons Paradox as reason to pooh-pooh efficiency (and perhaps, extoll the virtues of ones clever solar powered tractor.) Not to ding Howe too much here -- he just made the mistake of mixing up the present with our future. (Say, after Thanksgiving or so.)
Every drop of energy, and every idea, will be needed to keep food production and distribution rolling.
Speaking of rolling:
More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four.
Now, admittedly, bicycles are efficient, so maybe this is an omnious sign of the coming apocalypse. (Badum-ching.)