Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Thirst for Oil

McCain's pursuit of offshore and Anwar drilling as an end to our gasoline price problems are laughable in the face of the simple fact that we are at or crossing the peak of global oil production capacity - the peak originally predicted by Hubbert in 1956, just as he successfully and accurately predicted that the peak of United States oil production would be reached in 1965-1970.

For some time The Powers That Be have been doing their damnedest to discredit Peak Oil with the same kind of eye rolling and "can you believe what these eggheads are trying to sell us now" incredulity that is routinely delivered to those same godless scientists who brought us Global Climate Change and Evolution. But now Peak Oil has finally reached the pages of such mainstream journals as the June 2008 National Geographic, which points out that:
  • Worldwide, output from existing fields is falling by as much as 8 percent a year.
  • Many of the biggest oil companies, including Shell and Mexico's state-owned Pemex, are actually finding less oil each year than they sell.
  • Output is plummeting in once-prolific regions such as the North Sea and Alaska's North Slope.
  • While many new fields are being discovered, they are tiny in comparison to the massive giants of Saudi Arabia - none of which has been discovered since the 1950's.
Worst of all is the other universally accepted fact that the global demand is skyrocketing even as the ability to produce is leveling off and will likely enter a slow decline. Setting aside the options of the scientists, here are the comments of one of our captains of industry:

By 2010, according to James Mulva, CEO of ConocoPhillips, nearly 40 percent of the world's daily oil output will have to come from fields that have not been tapped—or even discovered. By 2030 nearly all our oil will come from fields not currently in operation. Mulva, for one, isn't sure enough new oil can be pumped. At a conference in New York last fall, he predicted output would stall at 100 million barrels a day—the same figure Total's chief had projected. "And the reason," Mulva said, "is, where is all that going to come from?"

Read that first sentence again:

By 2010 nearly 40 percent of the world's daily oil output will have to come from fields that have not been tapped—or even discovered.

First the scientists, then the oil industry executives and now even the weird merger of the two that seems to exist in every corner of our government - the Department of Energy's own blue ribbon panel - the National Petroleum Council - led by former Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Lee Raymond. Go read their July 2007 report with the confidence inspiring title, Facing the Hard Truths About Energy the next time someone tells you that current price of gasoline is simply a bubble created by oil barons and speculator-profiteers!

The truth is far worse. Just like the whale oil before it, the era of cheap petroleum is coming to an end. Why else have there been no new refineries constructed in the last 29 years? You'd better believe the oil companies know the truth!

So the question is, will we fight to the bitter end, throwing young Americans and countless civilians into endless wars over a dwindling supply of oil... perhaps even finally going toe-to-toe with Russia, the world's second largest oil producer? (How many of you knew that Russia has used petroleum to quietly climb back into the superpower business?)

So with all of this in mind, does John McCain really believe that everyone is going to climb on his magical bus to yesteryear where the future is powered with good old fashioned petroleum? I liked him a lot better when you went to his bus for straight talk, not the Bush company line.

Wit or without Barack Obama, we must launch forward with a space-race urgency to ending our dependence on petroleum of any kind in favor of the visionary ideas of the future, like this biofuel-producing 7,500 cow dairy farm in New Mexico:

Expected output from the integrated operation includes:

  • 54 million gallons of ethanol per year

  • 5 million gallons of biodiesel per year

  • 11+ MW and 155,000 pounds of steam per hour

  • 525,000 pounds of milk per day

  • 110,000 tons of animal feeds per year

    Or Valcent Products, who is growing carbon-dioxide-absorbing algae in vertical farms that produce 50% oil lipids naturally. For comparison, corn produces 18 gallons of oil per acre per year, while palm produces 700-800 gallons of oil per acre per year, while Valcent says that algae can produce the equivalent of 20,000 gallons of oil per acre per year. They say that with 10% of the surface area of the state of New Mexico dedicated to their system they can meet the entire national demand for oil, while also pulling huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

    Or even this collaboration, which is about to install an algae-based biofuel system on the tail pipe of a coal fired powerplant:

    This summer, GreenFuel Technologies and Arizona Public Service Company (APS) were able to grow algae successfully at APS’ Redhawk natural gas power plant at levels 37 times higher than corn and 140 times higher than soybeans using CO2 from a natural gas-fired power plant as input to the GreenFuel system.

    The growth rate—an average productivity of 98 grams/m2/day (ash free, dry weight basis) and reaching a high peak value of 174 grams/m2/day—surpassed previous lab growth rates and exceeded all expectations going into the project. The results provide evidence of the financial viability of using the emissions of a power plant to grow algae for the exclusive purpose of creating biofuels, according to the partners.

    Make no mistake, John McCain will only attempt to lead us to a past that no longer exists.

    One Nation Under Tyranny and Shame

    Apparently we have a new level of depravity and shame to embrace. Medical examinations of 11 former guests of the United States of America have revealed new insights to our institutionalization of torture and violence.

    Leonard Rubenstein, president of the advocacy group, said the men, particularly those held in Iraq, described "gratuitous cruelty" by U.S. personnel.

    "Another key finding is that the authorized techniques, many of which themselves amount to torture, begat yet additional forms of torture, proving once again that once torture starts it can't be contained," Rubenstein said.

    The report gave one example of the case of a man named Amir, arrested by U.S. forces in Iraq in August 2003.

    Amir said while at Abu Ghraib prison he was placed in a foul-smelling room and forced to lay face down in urine while he was hit and kicked. He was also sodomized with a broomstick and forced to howl like a dog while a soldier urinated on him. After a soldier stepped on his genitals, he fainted.

    Remember how just a few years ago we were recoiling at stories of the Hussein torture and rape chambers, that these were part of the justification for the invasion? Yet again, "we have met the enemy and he is us". These acts, and the fact they were authorized at the highest levels, are a degradation of everything that the American flag has stood for these many decades.

    A curse upon George W. Bush and his cabal of sycophants for bringing us these national disgraces!

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Blood for Oil?

    It has long been denied that the invasion of Iraq had anything to do with oil. WMDs in the hands of the madman Saddam Hussein, the right to freedom of the Iraqi people and many other noble reasons, but nothing ever won a faster and harsher rebuke than to suggest that we went there and mangled and killed all those young Americans and countless numbers of Iraqi women and children, all to secure the oil.

    Well here ya go... right from the horse's mouth:

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Just call him Buggywhip McCain!

    Mac or PC? @ Yahoo! Video

    So McCain's favorite movie of 2008 so far has been "Viva Zapata!", the 1952 Elia Kazan classic.

    I don't know which is worse, the fact that he was the one candidate who in no way answered or even acknowledged the actual question, or the fact that he may not have seen a new movie in 56 years.

    I guess I can well appreciate that Senator McCain has been too busy to see a movie in the last three generations, what with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, and everything else thats happened. And honestly that's fine... I would rather he were focused on making the country a better place rather than watching "Iron Man" with the nerds down at the cineplx.

    But the lack of ability to use a computer is more troubling... Is McCain really the man to lead us through what is warming up to be an era of profound global transition - a man who has completely missed a 30 year long personal computer revolution?

    Do we need a guy who is working on the level of Senator Ted Stevens, who plainly has NO idea how today's technology works despite vice-chairing the Senate's Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation - the group responsible for congressional oversight of the Internet?

    Or do we want a guy like Barack Obama, who trades personal email with starlets like Scarlett Johansson from the campaign trail?

    Sunday, June 8, 2008

    604/Goa Trance

    I think many of us first came to know this music from that titty bar in Level 1 of Duke Nukem 3D!

    Well done, Mrs. Clinton!

    Hillary Clinton's concession speech:

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Cantina Band on the Chapman Stick!

    Wow! Check out this guy playing the Star Wars Cantina Band's music on the Chapman Stick, a crazy instrument that I have never heard of despite it being exactly as old as I am:

    It is thus described at

    Welcome to the Stick Enterprises homepage. Our designs are based on the revolutionary two-handed tapping method of parallel hands discovered by Emmett Chapman on guitar in 1969 and taught since then to players around the world.

    With Emmett's Free Hands method, both of your hands are equal partners. As they approach the fretboard from opposite sides, your fingers line up parallel to the frets and a powerful new musical language emerges - bass lines, lead melodies, chords, and rhythm, simultaneously, and in any combination you desire.

    Giant thanks transmitted back to X-4409, the most wicked and terrible of Imperial Probe Droids, for sharing this story with me.

    These times, they are a-changing - Part II

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    These times, they are a-changing

    See: New York Times - June 3, 2008

    Take a good look at the farming land in southern Spain these days. That place is one good windstorm from turning into a dust bowl ala Oklahoma USA, circa 1933.

    If the same kind of baked starvation comes to take our friends in Mexico and Central America, we can expect a significant number of refugees to flow northward - the kind of mass migrations that may or may not be either controllable or stoppable without resorting to one kind of barbarous atrocity or another.

    It is impossible to predict the ways and scope with which a transcontinental migration would affect our nation, but there is certainly no doubt it would have an impact. Would it be possible to absorb that many people without throwing the system wildly off kilter? Could we even feed them all?

    The gigantic scope of a migration of this kind lends credence to two independent conspiracy theories:

    1. That Homeland Security and Border Patrol's Great Wall of Mexico has little to do with controlling the drug trade or the movement of economic immigrants and has everything to do with stopping the coming tide of refugees. Will we enforce this wall with fire and sword, spilling the blood of hundreds of thousands? Or will we be able to hold them at bay to starve below it, allowing some of the U.S.A.'s most brutal desert terrain to do our dirty work for us?

    Far and away the most troubling whispers about the Great Wall are the plans to hire the international Christian mercenaries of Blackwater to guard the thing.

    Blackwater is planning to build an 824-acre military-style training complex in Potrero, Calif., a rural hamlet 45 miles east of San Diego. The company's proposal, which was approved last December by the Potrero Community Planning Group and has drawn protest from within the Potrero community, will turn a former chicken ranch into "Blackwater West," the company's second-largest facility in the country. It will include a multitude of weapons firing ranges, a tactical driving track, a helipad, a 33,000-square-foot urban simulation training area, an armory for storing guns and ammunition, and dorms and classrooms. And it will be located in the heart one of the most active regions in the United States for illegal border crossings.

    Subcontracting of the patrol of the southern border would be nothing short of selling off the defense of the nation. It would be a travesty to consider sending a river of tax dollars to fund any company, let alone a private army of evangelical commandos with a track record for recklessness, brutality and a complete lack of accountability. How might a group like that respond if you ever tried to turn off that flow of tax dollars?

    2. That at the darkest depths of the coming economic collapse the cabal of government and international banking will tell the American people that the only hope for salvation will come with EU-style merger of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, at which time the new tri-national currency will become the Amero.

    This is relevant because it may be easier to control the flow of people by merging the infrastructures beforehand in order to streamline the flow of resources needed to keep chaos from descending. There is also the not-insignificant tactical consideration of the idea that by agreeing to support the Mexican population we could possibly stop the flow of immigration from Central and South America by moving the southern border from its current Texas-to-California location all the way to the southern tip of Mexico, where that country borders Belize and Guatemala. Not only is this border 2,000 miles away, but the wall shrinks from 1,952 miles long down to a trim 697 miles. From that distance it would also be much easier to forget all about the terrible deeds that would surely take place on the killing field before a wall of that kind.

    Every generation of people sings "These times, they are a-changing," but I never dreamed we might live to see the kind of change that you associate with the ice ages and massive droughts of the distant past. Perhaps it is not so surprising after all that 99.9% of all the species that have ever lived are now extinct. Scoff at the interest paid in the plight of the polar bears, but the simple fact is that our furry white cousins are only the tip of the melting iceberg.