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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Answer to Our Energy Woes

Here it is. I will be obtaining a patent for this shortly.
Source of leaking oil ->
Leaking oil collecting device ->
Plate 66:
Drawn By: WHT

Of course the collecting device must be buried underground. To save costs, ordinary sewer lines can be used to transport the collected oil to treatment facilities.

Cats in a Sack

The latest George Monbiot essay once again addresses ways out of the current energy dependence abyss.
The surplus has led us to believe in the possibility of universal peace and universal comfort, for a global population of 6 billion, or 9 or 10. If kindness and comfort are, as I suspect, the results of an energy surplus, then, as the supply contracts, we could be expected to start fighting once again like cats in a sack.

The rest of the essay describes his experience helping out a tiny settlement of like-minded British citizens that have worked out ways to meet self-sufficiency. Mentioning that "Some of the locals, mistaking the settlers for new age travellers, went beserk. There was plenty of internal strife as well." reminded me of how one of my colleagues described how wary people normally become when their turf gets invaded -- it was as if "they were strange bulldogs sniffing one another's butt".

Monday, August 30, 2004

Critical Mass Prologue

Democracy Now reporting before the event and after

AMY GOODMAN: How many of you ride at once?

BRANDON NEUBAUER: Starting last year, we started getting more than 1,000. We’re getting up to 1200, 1500 people. We go up Sixth Avenue or any major avenue. We stretch more than 20 blocks, which is a mile. This despite the threats of the Police Department, I'm expecting this tonight's ride, which is a 7:00 p.m., Union Square North, to be awesome. And the reason why the cops are cracking down on it, because they know it's a source of spirit for the people involved.

So 5000 show up at the start.
BILL DiPAULO: My name is Bill DiPaulo, I work with Time's Up, an environmental group. We're using our bikes in nonpolluting transportation. And we want everybody to be aware that this is a positive thing happening, and not to be looked at as a demonstration but a positive celebration.

The aftermath appeared surreal and concocted.
LEIF: My name is Leif. I'm 19 years old. I was arrested for riding my bicycle. They put me in a bus, brought me to this place, it was like a pier, I don't know where it was. I think it was on the west side. The conditions were terrible. It was like these big, tall fence cages with barbed wire at the top. The floors were covered in this motor oil, type deal that gave me like a rash on my arm. It was terrible. And from there, we went to just cell to cell to cell. Basically I just got out just now.

UNIDENTIFIED: It feels like a really good plan. To break us mentally and physically. A preplanned system where people would be put in these very, very dirty facility and come out of the system, mentally broken, and physically dirty. And then, even the police people in the downtown station were constantly asking us, why are you so dirty and crusty punks? They were laughing at us. And they did -- I don't think they ever been there, they hadn't realize that they did it. That their system is doing it. And I think it was done intentionally to a crusty punk any possible legitimized person that is arrested. So that when they come out, any picture taken of them is just like this dirty anarchist madness.

Typical mountain-biking experience, ask this guy.

UPDATE: To those arrested, Velorution says don't pay the fine for traffic violations.
"We saw it coming as the rides have been growing,'' Mr. White said, adding that he found it paradoxical that any crackdown on riders would come at a time when the city's Transportation Department has advised people to use bikes as an alternative because of the heavy traffic expected near convention sites.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Oxy Morons

Rapidly we are seeing double-speak with the same absurdity as Orwell penned. I became intrigued by the more prevalent recent use of the term "Free Energy", a perpetual motion spanking machine if I have ever seen one.

"Catastrophic Success" -- Bush on conquest in Iraq.
"Creating a Terrific Company" -- Trump on his latest bankruptcy, also quoted saying "It doesn't matter - it's a modern-day thing, a legal mechanism"
"Blowing off Steam" -- Rush Limbaugh on rationale for torture.

and one paradox certain to appear as election day approaches:
"Low Prices at the Pump"

Bonus Round
Since Bush has been an advocate of physical fitness, having gotten into running in 1972 and biking recently, I have noticed that all of his "presidential races" have been timed. And, truthfully speaking, his times have been quite impressive, including doing a 3-mile road race in 20 minutes, 29 seconds within the last year.
``It's interesting that my times have become faster after the war began,'' Bush said in an interview with Runner's World that hit the newsstands Thursday. (last year)

That sounds suspiciously like the effects of adrenaline rush.

``I was so out of shape, a friend of mine played to my vanity to get me to start running,'' Bush said. ``Back then, I was a man who was known to drink a beer or two. And over time, I'm convinced that running helped me quit drinking and smoking.''

Bush has said he stopped drinking after turning 40.

``If you're drinking too much, and you're running to cure a hangover, pretty soon you have to make a choice. Do you want to keep getting a hangover, or do you want to feel the way you do after a run?'' the president said.

So, considering all that history, the following blog comment by someone defending Bush's alacrity, or lack thereof, in responding to the 9-11 crisis:
Sat in a classroom for 7 minutes?! OH NO!! Yeah, he should have broke out the red cape and just flew out of the room and caught the planes in midair right? What the hell was he going to do? Honestly?

Prompted me to respond with this rant:

Think of what would have happened when Bush was serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Say, his unit was ordered to scramble into action for national security purposes (like an invasion by Mexico "REMEMBER the ALAMO"). How long would his superiors have tolerated him sitting on his hands?

Now, I know this is all very hypothetical and never would have been an issue because the Chimpy was AWOL during this time. So I agree, what could the guy have honestly done? I mean he was AWOL and there was no way he was going to be able to drive from Alabama to Texas in 7 minutes. And of course that is contingent on that his superiors had actually known that he was in Alabama at the time. And that they could find some reservist, or anyone that had his current phone number. And that he was not hungover from partying too long the previous night, in which case he might have been asleep and wouldn't have heard the phone ring anyways. And then had he answered, it would have taken awhile to convince him to defend against an attacking force that may or may not be supplying his cocaine fix for the next decade.

And that was before he started his running regime.
My theory, which explains everything, is premised on the following quote (Bush on his running times):
``They were pretty fast all along, but since the war began, I have been running with a little more intensity. And I guess that's part of the stress relief I get from it,'' Bush said. ``You tend to forget everything that's going on in your mind, and just concentrate on the time, distance or the sweat. It helps me clear my mind.''

So I would diagnose any and all of Bush's slow reaction times (such as questions from the press) on effects due to drifting into the ozone of a runner's high.

UPDATE: The Bush running quotes from this this cached page at Ultramarathoner's World

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Critical Mass Update

Bicyclists have as much right to use public roadways as people using any other "conventional" form of transportation. Try getting hit by a car (not recommended as a sport), and you will find to recoup medical insurance costs you will likely have to provide your auto insurance policy. This, by itself, suggests that a bicyclist is a first-class citizen on the roadways. This leads me to laud the participants in any Critical Mass rally. As performance art, it lends some populist fascination as a parade or circus would. In particular, the taunting by the bicyclists (lion-tamers) against the motorists (lions and tigers) provides an edginess that seems ultra-real. However, the tension that the bystander must feel has got to be balanced by the thought that the bicyclists by themselves would never seriously get hurt were it not for the motorists. They move much too slow. Non-violent mass demonstration; Ghandi would be proud and would feel at home being in the midst of this kind of rally (think the pedal-powered streets of any Asian city).

Apparently, NYC bicyclists pulled off a Critical Mass rally in Manhattan timed to coincide with the start of RNC. About 264 people were arrested.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Free Energy Fringers

The Free Energy fringe will certainly gain more exposure over time as the global oil situation becomes more dire. The last post, about the Brown's/Klein's/HHO/Santilli/Magne Gas "anomalous energy" claim keeps my interest up because of the comments some of my work colleagues have made about it. In one email, someone stated concerning the white paper (by Santilli) I quoted from, "didn't that guy win the Nobel prize?".

Apparently, Ruggero Santilli may be just a lunatic fringe scientist, in disguise. From a cached Salon story.
Some, like Ruggero Santilli, an Italian physicist, have published hysterical attacks on mainstream science. Santilli maintained in his book "Il Grande Grido: Ethical Probe on Einstein's Followers in the U.S.A." that physicists Sidney Coleman, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg (the latter two are Nobel laureates) conspired to frustrate his attempts to conduct research on his theories to disprove relativity while he was at Harvard.

Enough opportunists have been trying to attach their name to the gas, that it certainly deserves a good debunking. I suggest two scientists who have been vocal about the oil depletion issues: either Chemistry Professor Richard Smalley of Rice or Condensed Matter Physics Professor David Goodstein of CalTech could give Santilli a good spanking in short order.

UPDATE: In the past, Santilli, from the looks of it, has been assisted by "scientific ethics" henchmen to execute cease and desist orders to supplement some of his excessive whining and threatening lawsuits.

I am having second thoughts. I don't think Smalley or Goodstein would or should waste their breath on this nutcase.
The point in all this that may affect each of you, personally and directly, is the following. Two decades of studies in the field have established that a necessary condition to reach really "new" and clean energies and fuels is to generalize Lie's theory and its underlying symplectic and other geometries. Prof. Santilli proposed in 1978 (see his two monographs of 1978 and 1982 published in the most prestigious series of Springer Verlag) the isotopic lifting of Lie's theory, including the lifting of universal enveloping associative algebras, Lie algebras, Lie groups, Lie symmetries, and Lie representation theory, that can be expressed via the following lifting of Lie transformation groups in their finite and infinitesimal forms

(1a) A(w) = Exp(ixXxTxw)xA(0)xExp(-ixwxTxX) = U x A(0) x U^+,
(1b) ixdA/dw = AxTxX - XxTxA = A*X - X*A = [A, X]*,

where: AxX is the conventional associative product; A*X = AxTxX is Santilli isoassociative product¹ [A, X]* is the Lie-Santilli isoproduct (see several independent monographs in various countries listed in the submitted paper); w and X = X^+ are the original Lie parameter and generator, respectively; and T = T^+ is a fixed matrix or operator with the same dimension of X.

This is the kind of thing you used to see squeezed into a 2"x2" abstract submission to the yearly APS meeting, usually having to do with "plate tectonics and the discovery of universal truth".

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Weird stuff brewing on the energy transformation front. A new gas, sometimes referred to as Brown's, Klein, or HHO gas is being considered as an alternate form of energy storage. The hype concerns its use in automobiles, as a better hydrogen fuel cell. The reality that it may be useful in welding, a notoriously difficult process for certain types of metals, i.e. consider aluminum.

A confidential information PDF white paper came in the email from a co-worker and I took a crack at trying to understand what's going on. In a separate post, I will try to outline some of the personalities involved, but for now here are some snippets.

First, this is not as new as the mass media implies.

More recently, there has been considerable research in the separation of water into a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases. These studies were initiated by Yull Brown in 1977 via equipment generally referred to as electrolyzers and the resulting gas is known as "Brown gas" (see patents [2]).

The following confirms that the author is walking a tight-wire in establishing a new material form without resorting to unconventional and non-traditional interpretations.

The main scope of this paper is to report, apparently for the first
time, new clusters of hydrogen and oxygen atoms contained in the HHO gas, which clusters appear to escape the traditional valence interpretation and constitute one of the novelties of the HHO gas over the Brown gas.

The efficiency computations are bunk; with a real problem in the formulations (note the scf/W below; scf/Kwh is the only thing that would make sense here). This could only be a typo, but sloppiness does not portend well in these kinds of white papers.

The first remarkable feature is the efficiency E of the electrolyzer for the production of the gas, here simply defined as the ratio between the volume of HHO gas produced and the number of Watts needed for its production. In fact, the electrolyzer rapidly converts water into 55 standard cubic feet (scf) of HHO gas at 35 pounds per square inch (psi) via the use of 5 Kwh, resulting in the remarkable efficiency of 55/5,000 = 0.001 scf/W (sic), namely, an efficiency that is at least of the order of ten times the corresponding efficiency of conventional water evaporation, thus permitting low production costs.

This next one is bad because hydrogen fuel cells do not have a net effect on atomic depletion or creation. This smacks of a marketing move to set it apart from perhaps higher efficiency forms.

A second important feature is that the HHO gas does not require oxygen for combustion since the gas contains in its interior all oxygen needed for that scope, as it is also the case for the Brown gas. By recalling that other fuels (including hydrogen) require atmospheric oxygen for their combustion, thus causing a serious environmental problem known as oxygen depletion, the capability to combust without any oxygen depletion (jointly with its low production cost) render the gas particularly important on environmental grounds.

The word anomalous is used quite a bit. And notice a new name to the mix, Santilli, with a catchy moniker, magnecules, presuming a contraction of magnetic molecules.

With the understanding that any expectation of a complete understanding of the chemical composition of the HHO gas in this first paper is not realistic, and any lack of release of anomalous new measurements due to lack of their final understanding is not scientific, we here submit the working hypothesis for further future studies according to which the chemical composition of the HHO gas is a novel realization of the new species of Santilli magnecules[3].

Melting something does not prove anything, even if it is impressive!

The first experimental evidence supporting the magnecular structure of the HHO gas is its capability of instantly melting tungsten and bricks.

And finally the qualifications, meant as a CYA.

The reader should be aware of serious difficulties in detecting the new species of magnecules with instruments conceived, developed and tested for the different chemical species of molecules. To avoid not infrequent "experimental beliefs" caused by insufficient or
inapplicable analytic instruments, extreme scientific caution is
suggested for any substance with suspected magnecular structure before releasing serious experimental results or personal views (see Ref. [3] for details).

More later.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Bow down to greatness as Fafnir has spoken:
"Could bigfoot end the world?" says me.
"Nah, his foot's too big," says Giblets.
"What if we run outta oil cause theres only so much oil an we all keep usin oil an the world jus stops cause it all runs on oil?" says me.
"We will never run out of oil!" says Giblets drinkin oil.
"Giblets that is what you said about runnin out of dodos," says me.
"There are still some out there!" says Giblets. "Come back to Giblets little dodos! Giblets misses you so!"

Nothin left to say. All others go back to workin.

UPDATE: WHT has committed an unpardonable sin. I have attributed greatness to Fafnir, whereas that should have been bestowed and layered unto Gibletsian greatness. Excuse moi (even though Fafnir is asking the right questions).

Our dear leader the Chimpeder peeks for oil

In a registered user only story from the LA Times, we can start to understand the thought process of the Bush administration concerning stewardship of the environment.

First off, lets look at the wilderness acreage set aside by presidents during the last 40 years:

########## Johnson
# Nixon
### Ford
################################################################# Carter
########## Reagan
#### Bush-1
######### Clinton
½ Bush-2

where each # represents 1 million acres. Clearly, we are losing ground in set-aside lands. GW Bush is clearly not an enviro-fiend like Carter and not even enviro-friendly as Nixon was when he signed off on the creation of the EPA in 1970.

This sets the stage for the authors' analysis on the admin's oil policy with respect to native land exploration and extraction. Thanks to Cursor for pointing to this bit of climate changing philosophy:
"Deer, elk, sage grouse, all the charismatic mega-fauna we have tried to protect, are no longer considered to be part of the natural heritage; they're considered impediments to oil and gas development," said Dennis J. Willis, an outdoor recreation planner for the BLM in Utah and a 28-year agency veteran, who made it clear he was speaking for himself and not the bureau. "It's like saying the Vatican and the Colosseum are impediments to urban renewal in Rome."

Mat Millenbach, a longtime BLM employee and former state director in Montana who left in 2002, said he became concerned when the Bush administration began referring to wildlife protections as "impediments" to leasing.

It goes on from there, pointing to the admin's indifference to other facets of environmental protection, including potential pollution problems due to increased oil exploration activity.

My only concern is that the article's authors apparently have not been totally enlightened by knowledgeable oil depletion experts, as they write:
The effort is so intense in the oil- and gas-rich Rockies that some Bureau of Land Management employees there have taken to calling the region "the OPEC states."

Instead of "states", given the locality and actual content of oil, perhaps wiser to characterize these regions as OPEC counties, or, more accurately, OPEC townships.

In summary: The great uniter's administration blames our energy woes on furry little impediments. All the while, chief impediment Chimpy, doesn't realize that if he would care to lift a rock and peek underneath, he wouldn't find much anyways.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Arterial Sclerosis

Interesting story from MSN Money called Is Saudi Arabia running out of oil? which places an apropos medical analogy to the oil situation. Hardening of the arteries indeed.

The question came up as to how the fields were doing in that part of the world.

Well the soccer fields are doing very good in Iraq.

And the poppy fields are doing very good in Afghanistan.

But with all the pipeline sabotage going on, the region is going to need the equivalent of multiple coronary bypasses to get the stuff moving out of the oil fields.

Noam Chomsky on Theory

Chomsky's blog has been quiet as of late. The last two from July included this one entitled Peak Oil Theory. Quoted in entirety:

The basic theory is incontrovertible. The only questions have to do with timing and cost. ...

The date can be pushed back much farther if more costly (or maybe some to-be-discovered improved) technology is used. As for the estimates of cost, by reasonable standards one could argue that oil is far under-priced. In real terms, it's not particularly high now as compared with other commodities, from some reasonable base line. And low-priced oil leads to heavier use and less effort to create sustainable alternatives.

That I think is a far more serious problem than production peaking. In fact, one could argue that the earlier production peaks, the better off the human species (and a lot more) is, because of the effects of unconstrained use of hydrocarbons on the environment.

Talk about "shrinking our economies" is pretty meaningless. Our economies would shrink substantially if we got rid of huge expenditures for the military, for incarceration, and other highly destructive activities. Sustainable economies might lead to highly improved quality of life.
Posted by Noam Chomsky at July 26, 2004 10:43 AM

I hope the inestimable Chomsky's postings have not peaked.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Join the fun, share the pain

The Belly of the Beast blog is conducting a contest to forecast end-of-the-year oil prices.

However, all is not settled in the belly as the beast is grumbling. Politicians on both sides are out to lunch on the oil situation. I can only add that the oil and vinegar are not mixing, with the vinegar content being high amongst the smear crowd.

He who smelt it, dealt it?

Sir Philip Stott rants principally as a global warming skeptic. However, in a recent Times column, the bard of the EnviroWatch blog has started to cover his bases in a most transparent manner. Although he still vehemently disbelieves in any global warming theories, apparently the real culprit behind climate change resides in the massive amounts of concrete, farmland, and terrain/waterway modification that have occurred during modern times.

Don't have the on-line article, but here is a link to some quotes.

To put it bluntly, Sir Stott thinks it unseemly to drop trou' and take a dump in a crowded room, but letting it rip with a "silent but deadly" is perfectly acceptable behavior. Philip, please don't be blaming the dog.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Oil Sores

For reference purposes, I want to save this prediction. The Economic Outlook writer at The Sunday Times in England, David Smith calculated that oil prices would need to reach "just over $200 to produce the same kind of inflationary and recessionary shocks as in the past". He goes on to say that this "would be uncharted territory and is not remotely on the agenda". His rationale is that oil contributes much less to the overall GDP (at least in England) than it did in the 1970's.

Oil soars again, but no need to panic just yet

He ends on a pessimistic note however. Since England became a net oil importer for the first time in 11 years in June, "the more we import, the more that high prices will add to an already substantial trade deficit".

Cue echoey music.
Where the hell have you been
We`ve been waiting with our best suits on
Hair slicked back and all that jazz
Rolling down the Union Jack
See you at the barricades babe
See you when the lights go low, Joe
Hear you when the wheels turn round
Someday when the sky turns black
It appears because it`s what I feel
I know I don`t understand
If you ask you know I don`t mind kneeling
But when my knees hurt I like to stand
Instinct is the common lawyer
A million years won`t erase
Strike the chord I`m searching for
Call it a committed race

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Peak Challenge

Members of the Washington Post finally admit to a risk aversion when it comes to presenting potentially promising prognostications:

From Common Wonders
Woodward, for instance, told Kurtz that the atmosphere at the paper in early 2003 was such that “it was risky for journalists to write anything that might look silly” – that is, forcefully present the other side of the story – “if weapons were ultimately found in Iraq.”

Now here is the new challenge: substitute "weapons in Iraq" for "vast new global reserves of oil". I can imagine it would look really silly if a paper like the WaPo incessantly ran stories on peak oil issues, when one day *poof* a Cairn-like company struck it rich in petroleum reserves in unimaginable ways.

The question is what the real driver to reticence (in contrast to an OJ or other news-story compulsion) in reporting and critically opining on peak oil turns out to be?
  1. Not getting it right

  2. The truth is too depressive

In the past, Woodward would never have shied away from #1, but #2 is enough to lower a newspaper's circulation if peak oil is repeated incessantly in daily pieces.

Derrick and the Domino Theory

Anytime that we have to face a new global issue, chances are that it least tangentially touches on energy.

Mr. Stupid says in Altercation
If you don't think the genocide in Sudan has anything to do with the war on terror, consider this: while the United Nations can't get more than a handful of "peacekeepers" into Darfur, China has 4,000 troops stationed in Sudan protecting its oil pipeline. Not coincidentally, China has been the biggest deterrent to the Security Council putting pressure on the Sudanese government. This is a glimpse of our future: everyone who saw Fahrenheit 9-11 and wants us to draw a line with the Saudis better be prepared when they reply "fine, we have a new client and a new protector -- don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Geopolitical thinkers used to talk about the "Domino theory" and how it applies to the spread of Communism in the world. Well, if it has not happened already, the upgraded Domino theory should include the shifting in strategic alliances centering on oil and trading off on military support.

Update: James at Alternative Energy has more thoughts in the comments section and at his blog.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


A cairn is a carefully placed and often precariously balanced set of stones layered on top of one another. In England, at least, these structures can last hundreds of years, with local citizens taking care not to disrupt the center of gravity.

Lucky break for Bill Gammell and the oil find his company Cairn made recently. Whether any of this has to do with his old school-chum friend Tony Blair and long-time family friend George W. Bush, we will probably never know. This story got picked up in The Independent and The Times and the implication they intended to convey was that this inner circle of mutual support eventually pays off.
"News accounts of Cairn's good fortune have been spiced up by Gammel's peculiar fortunes as a boy."

The actual oil find in the Rajasthan region of India, is big in wealth terms (ceiling estimated at 1 billion barrels), but not big in meeting long term energy needs, which once again is not pointed out in the articles.

So the bottom line is the wealthy get wealthier and the inner circle gets inwardly tighter. However, this cairn of oil will get kicked over in no time and be long gone before a small pile of rocks in Cumbria even gets nudged.

Norman D. Fell

Last two weeks spent in France.

Conventional Wisdom
France is a socialistic society.
France is home to elitists and snobs.
The French hate Americans.
John Kerry looks French.
France is part of old Europe.
The French are pansies and cowards.
Therefore, don't try to emulate the French in any way.

The French are way ahead of the U.S. in using nuclear energy to meet their demands.


Time to suck it up.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Misle Ad

From Josh Micah Marshall
'Non-factual statements' my vice president told me ...

You'll notice that today in Hot Springs, Arkansas Vice President Dick Cheney blamed Democrats -- particularly John Kerry and John Edwards -- for high gasoline prices. The reason being that they opposed the administration energy bill.

"The only thing I can think of to do [to lower prices]," said Cheney in response to a question about gas prices, "is to keep pushing hard to enact a comprehensive energy plan on a national basis." But Kerry and Edwards, who voted against the administration's energy bill, "weren't with us in trying to come up with a national energy policy."

Yet, the Energy Department's own study of the bill -- a study requested by Senator John Sununu (R-NH) -- said its effect on prices, even years into the future, would be "negligible".

Could a future admin bill involve some sort of tax relief, maybe?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Ask the USGS

I recently learned that you can ask questions of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) staff.


My question: Are we running out of oil discoveries, or at least on the downslope of running out?
From: "GS-AK ESIC"
To: websterhubbletelescope@yahoo.com
CC: archive_ask@usgs.gov, askusgs@usgs.gov
Subject: Re: Petroleum
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 13:08:50 -0800


Here's the latest Factsheet on world oil and gas reserves: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-062-03/. Gas has declined, but oil still appears to be on the "upslope."

Greg Durocher

About Peak Oil

Snipped from a thread that I started on the Peak Oil message board. I really feel good about being lumped in with creationists.

A somewhat popular how-to and practical advice website called About.com has an entry entitled "We Will Never Run Out Of Oil".


It falls under the Macroeconomics advice section of the website, written by a budding economics PhD student named Mike Moffet.

I blogged about it here in the context of skeptics and skepticism:

and then sent in a comment to the About.com editors, saying that the article should be modified to reflect the current reality. I did get a comment back (in a rather roundabout way):

I stumbled onto your website and saw that you linked me. Thanks!

I’d just like to point out that I’m a long time reader of both Skeptic magazine and Skeptical Inquirer so there are “peak oil nay-sayers” in the skeptical world as well.

As far as “free-market economists” (there’s really no such thing in academia, but I suspect you mean “neoclassical economists”), I’ll paraphrase Churchill: Neoclassical Economics is the worst possible scientific economic paradigm, except for all the other ones.

Take care,

Mike Moffatt

Economics Guide at About.com

Encyclopaedia Brittanica they ain't.

Joined: Jul 21, 2004
Posts: 31
Location: Chicago, IL
[Post] Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:04 pm Post subject: [Reply with quote]
If you are interested in a very powerful critique of neoclassical economics from an energy perspective, go to the library and borrow "Beyond Oil" by Gever et al. (1991). Also, for a very sophisticated read, I recommend "The Entropy Law and the Economic Process" by Georgescu-Roegen (1972).
Back to top

Joined: Jul 26, 2004
Posts: 44
Location: England
[Post] Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 3:14 am Post subject: [Reply with quote]
As i understand it the reason why people say that classical economics doesn't apply in the oil market is because when prices rise supply is supposed to be stimulated as that higher price is more attractive to producers. This is said not to apply becauase there is no more production capacity in the oil sector.

Right, i agree with that, but this is covered in economics, the supply is said to be 'inelastic'. Therefore all that happens is that demand sets the price , and regardless of the price the quantity supplied is the same. So in effect on a supply and demand graph, the supply line is vertical. This in effect means that all that happens is that the amount set amount produced is open to the highest bidder and that cost is filtered directly down to the end consumer. If you are rich you get your oil , if you are not you are f*cked! [Wink]

Is this right, or am i blowing out of my ass? [Laughing]
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Joined: Jul 08, 2004
Posts: 53
Location: Nosebleed Seats
[Post] Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:53 am Post subject: Mike Moffat [Reply with quote]
Another e-mail response from Mike, the economics genius at About.com.
This one is absolutely rich, because he compares peak oil theorists to young earth creationists. Or am I missing something here?

--- "Mike Moffatt, About.com Guide to Economics" wrote:

> That's quite true.
> One thing you should consider is how similar the "peak-oil" arguments
> are to the "young earth" arguments that biblical creationists use.
> They're all about taking rates of change, assuming those same rates hold
> for all time, and extrapolating backwards or forwards in time. As
> skeptics we should be wary of such arguments.
> At the same time, I also understand why you would be skeptical of the
> arguments made by most economists.
> Take care,
> Mike

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Webster T [mailto:websterhubbletelescope@yahoo.com]
> > Sent: July 29, 2004 12:41 AM
> > To: Mike Moffatt, About.com Guide to Economics
> > Subject: Re: Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer
> >
> > I will defer to history instead of economics on the
> > ultimate outcome. Time will tell, and apparently
> > nothing anyone can do about the situation accept to
> > pontificate. Which is the boat we're both in.

The only similarity creationism arguments have to anything is when cherry-picking of data advances the theory.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Petroleum News Flash

From an interview with Matt Simmons in Petroleum News
“All of these fields are old,” he pointed out, “but Saudi Aramco has managed them in a ‘gold standard’ fashion by instituting careful and rigorous water injection to maintain very high reservoir pressures. They’re effectively sweeping the reservoirs until the easily recoverable oil is gone. In so doing, they have defied the standard decline curves. With water injection, they’ve maintained reservoir pressures above the bubble point. The trouble is, once they finally finish the sweep, they’ve done both primary and secondary depletion. There isn’t any Act 2.”

Ever seen a big dog eat a package of brats or a hunk of cheese? Basically it goes down in one or two gulps, and the dog invariably looks at you expecting more. Well, folks, that's the situation we're in.

Inanity Part 2

Submitted, a fine rhetorical trick to quell any debates on the long term viability of the oil economy.
Adversary: I'm simply pointing out that there are two sides to this so called peak oil issue.

Agreed. The two sides are (1) the side that comes before the peak hits and (2) the decline after we have reached the peak.



I submit a boilerplate question, response, and followup which essentially summarizes every inane "preaching-to-the-choir" talk-show format known to man.

Sean Hannity
"If you had a choice of whether to be the top scientist in your field, or have mad cow disease, what would you choose? It's a simple question, just say yes and we'll move on"

"Obviously, I'd like to be the top scientist in my field"

Sean Hannity
"You've made a wise choice my friend. For a second there, I thought you were going to choose Mad Cow!"

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Gas prices too high?

I actually got this in my email box courtesy of JCWhitney auto-parts catalog:

FuelBoss™ Magnetic Fuel Savers
Fits easily over inbound fuel line and uses a magnetic field to break up fuel clusters for a better fuel burn. Your engine will have more power, run smoother, last longer and require less maintenance!

And why does my local TV station show the movie Racing For The Sun (1996) as a Sunday matinee?
(a) Alternative energy transportation ideas are on the rise
(b) The students built and drove solar/battery-powered contraptions that kind of looked like the bikes that Lance Armstrong might ride
(c) Halle Berry is popular
(d) Maybe Cat Woman was not so good.

And no, I could not bear watching it, way too hokey, even though there was a semi-evil photo-voltaic company involved and Berry could have made my list of good scientific role-models.