[[ Check out my Wordpress blog Context/Earth for environmental and energy topics tied together in a semantic web framework ]]

Saturday, December 31, 2005


For my New Year's resolution, I will not post unsubstantiated claims.
Gas, Oil, and Palestine. A most reliable source tells me this. "[I]t appears that along the Gaza coast there is oil and gas deposits. The CCC company of Hasib Sabbagh and Sa`id Khuri are the leading company that will explore and extract gas and oil on a 60% to PA and 40% to CCC basis. Sa`id Khuri is the man paying large sums to both Muhammad Dahlan and Jibril Rajjub." Now we know who is funding their campaign (along most likely with US taxpayers' money).

Starting tomorrow.

Leap of Faith

Because of the addition of 1 leap second to this years calendar, the world will use an extra 1000 barrels of oil above and beyond used in a typical year.

Sounds like an oil company conspiracy.

Or perhaps this provides the rationale.

hmmmm, Naaaaah!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Take only pictures, leave only tracks

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Transportation Energy Data Book

I wish I had run across this data earlier. The Transportation Energy Data Book put together by the U.S. DOE contains tables galore, in easy to convert Excel format.

In particular, check out Chapter 8:
Table 8.16  Bicycle Sales, 1981-2002   
Table 8.17 Specialty Bicycle Sales by year, 2000-2002
Figure 8.3 Walk and Bike Trips by Trip Purpose, 2001 NHTS

Also, talking about an elaborately rationalized bicycling initiative, note this Portland, Oregon group's purpose:
... riders go out to organic farms, native american communities and sustainable businesses, doing service projects and learning about sustainability.
More information at the Sustainable Energy in Motion Bike blog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The "Real" War for Oil

As we come closer and closer to the realization that Bush's Excellent Adventure amounts to a power grab for oil, we will continue to see a desperate reframing of the rhetoric. Look what your typical (sun myung) moonbat now says about Operation Iraqi Freedom:

There was always something odd about calling OIF a "war for oil". Oil from the Middle East has been shipped through established marketing channels for decades. OIF is unlikely to alter those arrangements. Perhaps the real war for oil, in the sense of a struggle for arrangements that do not yet exist is over the reserves in Central Asia. In that struggle Russia has the key advantage of geography. It lies right across the Eurasian landmass and the petroleum roads of the 21st century must pass within or close to her borders. The future oil fields are redoubts of the Islamic fundamentalism and the traditional arena of the Great Game power rivalry between Russia, China and the leading maritime power, once Britain, now the United States.
I find it kind of odd that he calls Central Asia a frontier for the "real war for oil". Which begs the question: Does that make Iraq a phony war for oil? The "arrangements" for Iraqi (or for that matter Iranian) oil that the blogger talks about show no solidification as far as I can tell. It may or may not quite shake out as expected according to A Story About Oil You NEED To Hear.

I predict that with films such as Syriana and The Deal providing convenient routes for oil geo-politics to enter pop culture, we will see the inevitable backlash against so-called Hollywood phoniness. Somebody will eventually assert that the "phony" Iraq/oil connection came about whole cloth from the minds of leftist screenwriters.

But then again, you can't make this stuff up. Take a look at this interesting graphic from a post entitled Syriana for the Quantitatively Oriented: The Transportation Oil Gap .

You can argue the plot-line but the numbers speak for themselves. Somebody has to go to war for the SUV army.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Ice roads and helicopter pads, which will melt each spring, will minimize man's footprint, which will be on a 2,000-acre plot about one-fifth the size of Dulles Airport. Nevertheless, opponents say the environmental cost is too high for what the ineffable John Kerry calls "a few drops of oil." Some drops. The estimated 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- such estimates frequently underestimate actual yields -- could supply all the oil needs of Kerry's Massachusetts for 75 years.
Let us all follow George Will's advice, pile into the van, and move to Massachusetts. This should keep us supplied with oil for three more generations, at least.

Moral: A pair of granny glasses does not a deep thinker make.

Update: Others have caught on to this spin, from Peak.Oil.com:
* Draws a dotted line on the graph , pushing the peak back another week or so *

Is this what we are reduced to ?

No doubt some effort has gone into this "discovery" and it amounts to a weeks worth of oil ? And it warrants "huge" ?

Im rather dissapointed in the BBC for not qualifying exactly what 700 million barrels really means in the big scheme of things. There should have been a foot note or something saying how much the world uses a day , or a year to put things into perspective.

I guess some politicians will indicate that its like a billion years worth of oil for Nebraska or something.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

No Controlling Legal Authority

Under the imperial presidency, in the not-too-distant-future:
"White House Counsel John Hinderaker has conclusively demonstrated that, since there has never been a legal challenge to a President's decision to run for a third term, there is no controlling legal authority in this area."

By that logic, it becomes a short Humpty-Dumpty hop to:
The world has never hit peak in the past, therefore no one can demonstrate how and if it can actually happen.
Why must we have a Patriot Act? Why pretend to have a detailed energy policy in any case? The powers in charge will just end up adapting to what amounts to The Queensberry Rules as they go along.

Marquess of Queensberry Rules (modified)

  1. To be a fair stand-up boxing match in a twenty-four foot ring or as near that size as practicable. However, since the GWOT changed everything, you can run but you cannot hide.
  2. No wrestling or hugging allowed. Too gay.
  3. The rounds to be of three minutes duration and one minute time between rounds. This will establish the cadence "Bring it on" followed by "Hey, not so fast!".
  4. If either man fall through weakness or otherwise (except for peanuts, mountain bike, Segway, etc), he must get up unassisted, ten seconds be allowed to do so, the other man meanwhile to return to his corner; and when the fallen man is on his legs the round is to be resumed and continued until the three minutes have expired. If one man fails to come to the scratch in the ten seconds allowed, it shall be in the power of the referee to give his award in favour of the other man.
  5. A man hanging on the ropes in a helpless state, with his toes off the ground, shall be considered down. We do not Torture.
  6. No seconds or any other person to be allowed in the ring during the rounds. On the other hand, sloppy seconds and "do-overs" permitted, because, hey, Clinton did it.
  7. Should the contest be stopped by any unavoidable interference, the referee (is) to name the time and place as soon as possible for finishing the contest, so that the match can be won and lost according to a computerized voting system, unless the backers of the men agree to draw the stakes (which will be overseen by one Wm. Bennett).
  8. The gloves to be fair-sized boxing gloves of the best quality and newly purchased from Halliburton.
  9. Should a glove burst, or come off, it must be replaced to the referee's satisfaction. Otherwise, you go to war with the army you have.
  10. A man on one knee is considered down, and if struck is entitled to the stakes. A man on two knees signifies the kissing of Lord Rove's privates and gets a do-over, c.f. rule #6 -- sloppy seconds covered by a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
  11. No shoes or boots with springs1 allowed. Lasers? Permitted, as the framers were strict constitutionalists.
  12. The contest in all other respects to be governed by the revised rules of the London Prize Ring (TBD) and the No Child Left Behind Act (aka "voluntary" enlistment)

1 ... from Africa ...

DIY Christmas

The following bit of observation demonstrates grassroots involvement bordering on the trivial yet still gives me a warm holiday feeling.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak contributed a trail report to the upper midwest's skinnyski.com cross-country ski web site on Christmas Eve.
Dec 24 - City of Lakes Loppet Trail (Minneapolis):
Conditions: Good, deteriorating.
I just got off the Loppet trails at Theodore Wirth and they are still very good. With the cloud cover I guess they will still be good into early afternoon....a few dry patches but mostly enough cover to get a good run. I also skiied them yesterday and there was surprisingly little deterioration.
The best are the trails back in the wood, esp. behind the Quaking Bog....but even the straight away from the golf course to Wirth beach was good. I suggest parking at Wirth Beach and skiing in both directions.
A huge thank you to all the people who have made this amazing trails!
(Reminder to stay on the marked trails. We sold these trails to the fierce protectors of the park by saying it would keep people off unmarked trails. Please also remind mountain bikers, who now also have their own great trails, to do this, too.)
(RT Rybak)
Granted, Rybak takes a personal interest in this particular trail system, which hosts the only urban XC race in the country, but I laud the contribution in any case. XC skiing will never make more than a cursory dent as a means of transportation, but word-of-mouth makes a huge impact in making enthusiasts aware of good quality trails. Strange as it may seem, but give me a passably groomed trail which happens to follow a commuter route and I would not hesitate to use it daily in the winter, finding the mode of transportation pretty much equivalent to biking.

Even odder, a quality set-track XC course has amazing positive implications for the intrepidly-inclined handicapped individuals. Check out how cross-country programs for the blind started in Norway during the 1950's, which continue as a highly progressive initiative even today. Off the top of my head, only tandem bicycle riding can compare as a "blind"-friendly form of human transportation, and that necessitates a greater degree of dependence on an able body. And not only the blind, but mobility-impaired skiers can take advantage of set-tracks.
As early as the 10th century, cross-country skiing was basic transportation.
So we can dream:
D: How is the freeheel scene in Norway?

FG: During the "rebirth," everyone did it, or at least wanted to. But what happened, the way I see it, is this. People in Norway are not that comfortable with having to travel to go skiing, they would rather just walk out the door and put their skis on. Therefore, every little place in Norway with a few houses has their local hill or ski area. Cause everyone skis!
By the way, my own ski report for today:
The northern metro sucks bad, dirt with occasional patches of snow.
Best bet -- wait for global warming to subside.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Richard Duncan's Model

A couple of years ago Dr. Richard Duncan used a commercial piece of software, Stella, from ISEE Systems, to forecast future trends in oil production. I got around to evaluating his model with a trial version of the software and, although usable, it really demonstrates no groundbreaking ideas. Since the vendor markets Stella as a system's modeling tool which ostensibly solves linear and non-linear dynamics, I thought Duncan may have gone the extra mile and actually done something above and beyond using it as simply a charting and bubble diagramming tool.

The company also provides a sample model for Oil Price Dynamics. Based on my own evaluation of a 30-day trial version, I believe that Stella, with enough screwing around, may turn out as potentially useful to someone as a depletion modeling tool. However, with a single-seat license costing around $1800, I will pass on it.

Other than using my own custom-programmed algorithms, I have had better success modeling oil depletion using a free-ware electrical circuit simulator than my rudimentary attempts at using the Stella tool. Frustrating to say the least. (Cut to Marlon Brando screaming at the top of his lungs)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

TOP: The Overshoot Point

The closer that global peak oil comes to fruition (if it hasn't occurred already), the more that sudden perturbations gain special significance. Every uptick or downtick in numbers will provoke analysts to episodes of bipolar hysteria. Unlike regional peak oil occurrences, where the oil companies can simply switch suppliers and thus ameliorate the effects of a local peak, we have no where else to go under a global peak oil regime. I believe it common knowledge among savvy oil depletion warriors that upward pressures on extraction rates can prolong the peak's occurrence by several years, serving to obscure the true peak either via a plateau or a wiggly roller-coaster.

In an earlier post, I tried to show how the world can delay the peak if extraction rates start to incrementally increase beyond an oil shock onset. Up to that point in time, extraction rates show a relatively constant value. Without further discoveries, a gradual increase remains the only way to maintain oil production at its current value (not to downplay the economically-driven increases required due to future demand pressures).

The following two hypothetical curves show production under two regimes. The more-or-less normal looking curve shows a clear peak under a constant extraction rate over time starting from day-one discovery. This makes the somewhat naive assumption that extraction rate remains at the mercy of technological limitations and that oil companies don't have a secret trick or two up their sleeve. The other, "flat-topped", curve comes about if the extraction rate starts to modulate upward right when we detect the peak. (The wolf at the door remains the vicious backside as we prolong the peak. i.e. No free lunch.)

For the plateaued peak, the extraction rate profile looks like the following inflected curve. Taken from the parameters of the generic oil shock model solver, we can plot:

This clearly shows that we may have a devil of a time designating when peak oil officially hits if the oil companies soon start to modulate extraction upwards. Right near the peak, we only need subtle upward changes to counteract the relentless downward pressure of oil depletion. Mathematically, this comes out of the wash any time we deal with a slope near zero, which occurs right at peak. However, in psychological terms, increasing the extraction rate through technical improvements or last gap measures will only confuse people that believe in the sanctity of the symmetric Hubbert curve.

To summarize, in a reality-based framework, peak does not have to occur when half the available oil gets used up, instead we really have to think in terms of a new metric to alleviate confusion.

I propose using the inflection point in extraction rate increase to more effectively describe when a pragmatic peak oil point hits us. I will refer to this as The Overshoot Point. Unfortunately, the overshoot only becomes apparent if you look at implicit values contained within a model. It will not show up in any explicit measures such as yearly oil production. A good model remains the only effective way to make sense out of this mess. Good old hand-waving, the opiate of the technically semi-literate masses and of Michael Lynch, just won't cut it any longer.

When we reach TOP, I will be the first to let you know.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

DarkSyde Illuminated

Uber-blogger DarkSyde (aka ~DS~) has gained front-page status at the DailyKos. Watch that space for good stuff, as ~DS~ has displayed quite a gift for getting people interested in often-times arcane science and technical topics.

I salute him with a cartoon representing the final objective of the corporatist fundie cabal. How else could it turn out but through a virtual stranglehold over puritanic capitalism.

Support the NY Transit strike. Yesterday, I bicycle commuted three miles each way in -7F weather. Deal with it, folks. From the LaborBlog comments:
Great post. I will say that it was incredibly refreshing to hear NPR describe folks walking across the Brooklyn Bridge this morning as chipper. So often media plays unwitting advocate for antilabor forces when they report on how the public is against strikes.
Wanna bet that the strike will provoke a few new commuters to join the pedal-power ranks? Monbiot provides a timely bit of advice on what we can expect as a backlash:
After the London bombings in July, he (Clarkson) observed that “many commuters are now switching to bicycles … can I offer five handy hints to those setting out on a bike for the first time. 1. Do not cruise through red lights. Because if I’m coming the other way, I will run you down, for fun. 2. Do not pull up at junctions in front of a line of traffic. Because if I’m behind you, I will set off at normal speed and you will be crushed under my wheels. ...”(6) Clarkson wants society out of his way when he’s driving, and he isn’t too particular about how it’s done. One day, one of his fans will take him seriously.
I fully expect us bicyclists to become the family dog, getting arbitrarily kicked silly because patriarch WingDad McNutt had a bad day at the office.
She (Maggie Thatcher) spoke of “the great car-owning democracy”, and asserted that “a man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure”(13).
Treated like a dog and then a failure. Pretty good fighting words there.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Objective Strategies

The title of this blog has nothing to do with Ayn Rand and the notion of "objectivism" that got promulgated by that series of cult fiction books. Actually, I believe that the Randians have co-opted the idea of objectivity well beyond the rational and dry technical meaning of the term into some sort of libertarian calling card, giving it some unfortunate connotations.

Simply put, in the systems engineering world, (1) objective evaluation relates to the idea of verification and (2) subjective evaluation implies some sort of validation. This essentially sums up the distinction between what you can prove versus what the customer really wants.

Having never read any Rand, I simply wanted a made-up word that you could easily Google, and msubjectivist stinks (in more ways than one).

Following on this, I recently received a tiny booklet from IEEE Press that provides a bit of inspiration to authors and others that wish to innovate. It contains a limited set of short thoughts to keep in mind while investigating a research area. Taken together, they kind of remind me of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies deck of cards. A bit less artistically inclined, I would call these "Objective Strategies". As an act of brainstorming, it won't get us to what the customer wants, but it does describe the collective march toward a breakthrough that may just pass a smell test.

8 Elements of Innovation

Eureka moments are sparse and far between
-- unless you're looking for them.
Passing thoughts sometimes harbor the
biggest breakthroughs.

(Tap into these transient fantasies to
open up a whole new perspective.)

The creative imagination leads where the
technical skill-set must follow.

In an age of continuous improvement, the "wouldn't it be
great" ideas may already have supporting technologies.
Keeping pace with the latest breakthroughs may bridge
the juncture between theory and application.

Where will this innovation fit within the existing
marketplace? The selling point of every technology lies
in its one-upmanship over existing technologies. What
sustainable advantage does this innovation introduce?

Define a criterion for success -- measurable objectives
that clearly outline your research goals.

Design empirical experiments that qualify and quantify
the research results.

Troubleshooting is vital to conducting research.
Testing several hypotheses provides valuable insight
into what works.. Adjustments to the process can
save valuable research time and materials.

Detachment and clear-sightedness go hand-in hand
with innovation. Mentally polarize the intention of
creation and the act of creating. Is there a better
technology that might take our research further?

Be open to the possibilities that might drastically alter,
but improve, your original plans.

Cling to the indefatigable strength of purpose that
drove you to become an engineer.

Seek answers where there are only questions, and
accomplish what can't be done.

The dialectic between theory and application is
vital to innovation.
Applications that bridge the gap
between observed phenomenon, like ferro-electric current,
and high performance technologies, like Fe-RAM,
revolutionize the technological landscape.

But communication is not bound to white paper. Consulting
an expert or perhaps a peer who specializes in another field
of interest may just *spark* that light-bulb moment.

Stirling Newberry came up with his own set of Oblique Strategies here.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This bothers me too

I side with Dave Johnson on the attitude of a significant portion of the SlashDot fellowship toward global warming. Pretty sad in my opinion.

(Score:5, Funny)
by Himring (646324) on Sunday December 18, @10:24AM (#14284962)
There might be a surplus of seals since the bears won't
be around to eat them so go ahead and hunt them too.

So this baby seal walks into a club....

Try the veal....
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

(Score:2, Insightful)
by fatmal (920123) on Sunday December 18, @05:58PM (#14287491)
Q: What's a fur seals favourite drink?

A: Canadian Club on the Rocks!!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

SlashDot has this weird rule that if you pay membership dues you get early viewing and commenting priviliges to news posts. Lot of good this does for the quality of the opinions, eh?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Subtitled : Syriana

I cast my ballot along with monkeygrinder that the movie Syriana hits exactly the right notes. Call me old school but I cater to movies circa the 1970's when filmmakers first started to exercise their freedom from the captive studio approach of the past. Movies from this era took way more risks than they do today. (dead giveaway that director Gaghan pays homage: he gives Clooney a Chinatown-like gash on the nose in one scene)

I could imagine someone getting confused with the plot who hasn't kept up with the news and politics of the middle east, but I had absolutely no problem keeping the multiple threads synchronized. No spoonfeeding required. Other reviewers claim that they don't understand all the characters motives or history -- well, welcome to the real world; forget the spoonfeeding here too. Roger Ebert basically gets it:
Writer-director Stephen Gaghan (who won an Oscar for writing "Traffic") creates a plot is so complex we'’re not supposed to follow it, we're supposed to be surrounded by it. Since none of the characters understand the whole picture, why should we? Strangely, even when I couldn'’t understand exactly why something was happening, I always knew what the scene meant. . In the short run, you can see who wants oil and how they're trying to get it. In the long run, we’re out of oil.

By the way, I happened to sit right next to a few Moslem folks and they seemed to really enjoy the plot thread held together by the subtitles, chuckling at all the jokes and cultural references. Really, if Gaghan wanted to keep everyone really confused, he could have dropped the subtitles.

Character actor Peter Gerety from the all-time great TV series Homicide resurrects his sweaty-guy role in playing the "oil-man of the year". Another oil lap-dog played by Tim Blake Nelson gets off the best line, reciting the following with toothy relish:
Danny Dalton: Corruption. Corruption is our protection, corruption keeps us safe and warm, corruption is why we win.
Oily indeed.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Canadian production model - Weyburn

Take a look at the following chart of production from the Weyburn oil field in Canada (from TOD):

The classic shape of the green region reminded me a lot of the original micro version of the oil shock model. Notice the asymmetric profile reminiscent of a gamma curve.

The Weyburn field makes news today as an experiment in CO2 injection and sequestration (which gives the secondary peak in Purple). I went to the original paper, and transcribed the data to see how well I could understand the shape in terms of the generic model which works so well for depletion profiles in the context of a much larger macro-depletion scope. I concentrated on the initial depletion behavior first.
Discovery delta51 million m3 (320 million barrels) backdated to 1954
Fallow phase1.25 years
Build phase2.5 years
Maturation phase2.5 years
Depletion rate7% of remaining total per year

The article (which shows the original curve in m3 of crude) states that Weyburn has 1.4 billion barrels of original oil in place with about 34% of that available under water flood. That comes out to 476 million barrels available. The difference between the estimate and the model (320 million barrels) comes out to 154 million barrels extra from additional infill drilling.
An estimated 34% of the oil in place will be recoverable under waterflood. In excess of 80% of this oil has already been produced according to government statistics. Incremental production with injection of CO2 is estimated to be in the order of 15% of initial oil in place, in the area of the field to be flooded. This will produce an additional 130 million barrels (21 million m3) of oil over the anticipated 25 year life of the tertiary recovery project.
If I put in the difference from the recent infill drilling, treating it as essentially a new discovery circa 1986, the new model looks like the following:

Interesting how well this model, which uses the same depletion rate as the USA lower-48 oil shock model, qualitatively fits the data from a much smaller exploration region. Even though the Weyburn field pales in comparison to the size of all the USA's (or the world's) fields combined, the essentially scalability of the oil shock model provides more evidence of its general applicability.

As for the remaining 15%, how much the substantial CO2 injection will cost us in dollars and sweat remains a big question.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mourning Sedition

A few hours away for the last Morning Sedition radio program.

Why, oh why, can't the vast resources of the USA commercial sector maintain a broadcast medium with the level of humor and thoughtfulness that Marc and Mark have provided the last 20 months?

Update: Stirring last show. Lots of bloggers piped in to say goodbye and good luck. Marc Maron clearly did not want to leave the program, as he recalled never once not looking forward to coming in early to cohost. The yanking of this show chafes a lot of bloggers, including uber-guest James Wolcott. It angers me because I consider a good radio show like MS a lot like a personal blog or diary, and preventing someone from the airing of grievances on a blog just doesn't happen in these days of the internets. In contrast, when it occurs to a radio program, the juxtaposition of the grand potential of free-speech against corporatist decisions strikes my psyche pretty hard. Bloggers have it good, while commercial media remains totally dependent on the decisions of suits.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Symmetry: The Eye of the Beholder

As a rule, humans would rather deal with symmetry than asymmetry in their day-to-day lives. Pragmatically, it really boils down to having to deal with half the information than one would normally have to face under skewed circumstances. Psychometrically, it means you only have to process half the visual data and automatically mirror reflect the rest via the brain's powerful built-in DSP hardware. I haven't thought about this in the context of oil depletion for awhile, but this post from peakoil.com concerning Campbell's discovery plot board got me thinking.
I have read this entire thread from start to end. It is a huge, huge shame that what started out as a civil conversation has taken such a sour turn thanks to a few doomers who feel that personal attacks will silence the optimists.

Mr. Lynch - thank you for your time on this thread - lots of great stuff!!

With regards to this chart, I spent the past hour doing a year by year analysis. I will admit I rounded to the nearest whole number so the numbers may not be 100% accurate but fairly close. For the consumption numbers I used the same chart on LATOC that has consumption line drawn from 1930 to today.

Here is what I came up with:

Total Discoveries 1930-2005: 1.814 billion barrels
Total Consumption 1930-2005: 1.052 billion barrels

Some interesting points of interest from the chart:

1) It is my understanding that it takes roughly 10 years to get a new discovery online. Based on this, the chart says in the past 10 years, 123 billion barrels were discovered - which has yet to come online. I could be off on the 10 years but the point is it is not all online yet as of now.

2) The chart estimates that we have 137 billion barrels of oil of yet to be discovered oil between today and 2050.

Now for the problems I have found with this chart (and why I believe it to be a Peak Oil doomer scam):

1) According to the chart, we should only have around 760 billion barrels of oil left in the ground, yet most proven reserve estimates I have seen say we have at between 1.000 to 1.278 trillion barrels (depending if you count the Tar Sands in Canada or not).

2) Assuming worldwide Peak Oil is the point at which we consume 50% of the oil in the ground, Peak Oil should have happened in the year 2000 yet we have continuted to produce more and more oil. This also does not take into account that the new oil discovered in the past 10 years are not online yet (which should have put Peak Oil around 1997).

3) This chart does not account for the 5 trillion barrels of unconventional oil in the world (of which we can get around 1.1 trillion barrels of oil with current technology).
The bolded part (emphasis: Mine!) apparently causes certain people lots of grief. Actually, only the most rudimentary models of oil depletion assume a symmetric production profile. By inspection one can see that the 50% consumption point obviously occurs at the peak for the Logistics curve, Gaussian normal, and other symmetric profiles. This in fact has become the conventional wisdom among certain analysts.
Gas-peak detractors
William L. Fisher, director of the school of geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, contends that application of the Hubbert curve for resource assessment or for projection of production peaks is "seriously flawed."

"It assumes that the amount of oil or gas is known, which it is not. It assumes that the peak will come midway through the production of the resource, thus the symmetry of the curve, which is not necessarily the case. It also assumes that resources are inelastic, not responding measurably to economics and technology."
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
However, if we use a more realistic model for oil production from discoveries, the production profile is asymmetrically weighted for any symmetric discovery profile. The asymmetry provides a much longer ramp-down time than ramp-up time assuming a fixed Markovian extraction rate. This necessarily pulls the peak in closer than a symmetric profile would. The fact that the oil shock model most naturally follows the gamma distribution (Red curve below) also supports this observation.

I suppose you could use the 50% consumption point to estimate peak if you needed something in a pinch, but if you can follow and understand the mathematics behind stochastic processes, conventional wisdom takes a hit.

Asymmetry: Deal with it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No win situation

Take your pick:

  • Report: Great Lakes near ecological breakdown

  • or

  • Deal protects massive exports of Great Lakes water

  • I guess you get what you pay for.

    Oil we are saying

    From 1991, a tape collage of audio bits recording during the events of the first Gulf War set subliminally to a John Lennon tune.

    And for a real blast from the past, an innocent tune entitled Oil Well, Texas by Louis Jordan.

    Somebody thinks that they can generate power from magnetic tape. Since no one uses tapes for music, and for that matter, data storage, much anymore, I suppose we should classify this as a renewable source of energy.

    More Songs about Trucks and Oil here.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    The Way It Was

    I extracted the following editorial from a fishing magazine published nearly 30 years ago. Mr. Pazik published Fishing Facts from a suburb of Milwaukee, gearing it to the hard-core freshwater fisherman (both young and old) amongst us. "The Way It Was" seemingly has frozen in time, with our political atmosphere staying in a holding pattern, waiting for the right conditions to make a landing. In hindsight, it looked like we had a soft landing in store for us. With more than 30 years of procrastination behind us, that has turned into a bumpy landing today.

    The Way It Was - George Pazik, December 1976

    We face an uncertain future. Our industrial society was built on cheap and plentiful petroleum (crude oil and natural gas), and petroleum is not likely to ever be cheap again and cannot be plentiful for long. The new administration in Washington must now chart an intelligent course for the future; we cannot afford to drift any longer. Basic to any plan for the future must be a plan for energy which recognizes what is now obvious.

    However, it is almost impossible in a democracy to tackle a critical national problem if the President denies that it exists and Congress ducks its responsibility. Any energy policy for the future has to involve tough conservation measures. There are few votes in offering people a future of self-denial, but it has to be done.

    Before we can plan the future, however, we need to know where we are today and understand how we got here. We need to know the way it was.

    Unless you lived it, you can never know how it really was to grow up during the Great Depression of the thirties and the war years that followed. We who were the "depression kids" are today in our forties, fifties and sixties. Some of us are today's leaders of government and industry, but most of us play humbler roles. We built the America of today, we "depression kids", we built the "American way of life" that is the envy of countless millions in other countries I and other continents. We built America with our hard work, we built it on our hopes and our dreams of a better life for ourselves and our children.

    It was not always a noble struggle. We also built on our greed, on blind ambition, on cruelty, and callous indifference to the needs of others. . . for we are also human, and let no one forget that! We patriotically stood up and recited the Pledge of Allegiance while we ignored the human rights of many in our population. The rights of minorities? They were to know "their place" and stay there. It was different in the North and the South, but only in degree. We always were more subtle in the North. The rights of women? They, too, were expected to know "their place". "Their place" was usually to work for a lot less money than a man doing the same work. The "rights" of Indians? They had none. The Quality of Life? We were concerned first with the quantity, struggling to keep things together in a society where everything seemed to be falling apart. You don't worry about the quality of life unless you have a full stomach.

    Because we were a nation of immigrants, we had no roots in this country. In order to get a sense of "belonging", we organized many private clubs and societies, always pledging our Allegiance to the American flag at every meeting. Of course, in most of our clubs and societies we had membership requirements that succeeded in keeping out the Negroes, the Jews, the Italians, and the Catholics, in that order. The fact that these were not the things for which our Flag stood was never argued.

    Our country was prosperous for most of the Twenties, the so-called "jazz age". Those who lived in the cities enjoyed prosperity, for the most part, while those who lived on the farms were in their own depression, but the rest of the country couldn't have cared less. Business prospered and so did some skilled laborers fortunate enough to belong to one of the craft unions. People who labored in the factories were often mistreated and exploited, but it was better to be exploited in good times than in bad.

    The Stock Market Crash of 1929 bewildered most of us. We didn't know what it meant until 1931 and '32. We were in one of the most severe depressions in our history and it was worldwide. You cannot know the hopelessness of men looking for work when there is none, of proud families going "on relief" (the old word for Welfare) because there was no other way. The bread lines and soup kitchens; thousands of wandering, jobless men; only quaint photographs today in our rich and affluent country, but they were the grimmest kind of reality in those days.

    The working man was especially hard hit. Those today who would rave on about the excesses and abuses of union labor (and there are some, of course), should get acquainted with what it was like to work in a factory in those days. Good lighting? It didn't exist. Good ventilation? What's wrong with eating asbestos dust and gas fumes for 10-12 hours a day? Guards on machines to prevent injuries? Are you kidding? If a man or woman lost a finger, a hand, an arm or leg in an accident, they were sent home and fired. Health insurance? Workman's Compensation? No such things! Decent employers existed then, of course, just as they exist today, but it took hard bargaining and costly strikes and hard won laws to make them all decent.

    In Europe, the Germans found a leader by the name of Adolf Hitler. He promised them a return to their "former glory", gave them an enemy to hate at home, (the Jews) and an enemy to hate away from home, (England, France and America). In Italy, the people found a leader named Benito Mussolini. He promised them a return to the glories of the Roman Empire.

    The American people found a leader in 1932, a man who promised us all something. . . a return to good times. His was the friendly voice on the radio, (yes, many homes then enjoyed that latest electronic marvel), the voice that told us in ringing tones that we had "nothing to fear but fear itself", and we believed him. We had to believe in somebody. Franklin D. Roosevelt got us believing in ourselves again and his "New Deal" gave us many new and innovative programs. Some of these programs failed, some succeeded. What mattered to us was that we were trying. His campaign theme song was "Happy Days Are Here Again". (I've never forgotten the words.)

    It was during the Great Depression years that organized labor really started to come on with the organization of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1935. Now entire industries were organized, and the resistance was sometimes bitter and brutal. Some companies hired thugs (goon squads) to break workers' heads and beat their bodies. Some men paid with their lives in the struggle to win decent wages and working conditions for all laboring men and women. (Not all who labor have the good fortune to work for decent employers.)

    We were not completely out of the Great Depression when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor on December 7,1941, destroying our Pacific Fleet. The next day Hitler declared war on us, followed by Mussolini. This time the voice of Franklin D. Roosevelt rang with anger as he told Congress and the American people what had happened to us on that date which would live forever in infamy. World War II had started in Europe in September 1939. Japan had invaded China several years before. Now we were in it. We marched off to war. We were fighting for our country's life and we knew it.

    We fought our way from unknown island to unknown island in the Pacific and from Africa to Italy to France and German In Europe. We who marched were away for years. At home we were missed sadly. Families were torn apart, husbands, brothers and sons killed and crippled. There were many things we did without - or with less - butter, coffee, sugar, tea, meat, canned goods, gasoline, rubber tires, automobiles, etc.

    More than just a war ended in 1945 with V-J Day, it also ended a fifteen year period of "doing without". WE NEEDED EVERYTHING.

    To make anything, you need energy, and we had it. Good, cheap, plentiful, never-could-run-out petroleum. The petroleum industry pumped it out as never before and from this gush of oil came the fastest, most accelerated, dizzying "progress" the world has ever seen. We are now the best fed, best clothed, best housed, best transported, best equipped, best entertained people in the world. (Most of us, that is).

    Why shouldn't our cars get longer, lower, wider, heavier and more powerful? Why not more chrome, high fins, and more speed? Build more shopping centers, flee the older parts of the cities, get two cars or three cars for every family? Why not? What did it matter that other people in the world went hungry due to a lack of fertilizer for their food crops and we poured it by the millions of tons on our golf courses and lawns? We were to have more cars, more television sets, more refrigerators, washers and dryers, etc., than anyone on earth had ever had. We were to have electric gadgets to open tin cans, mash trash, brush our teeth, shine our shoes and mix our drinks. We were to shop in year-round heated and air conditioned malls.

    We hardly know what it is to get food from the farmer's market anymore. It's fast frozen, processed, pre-mixed, pre-cooked, pre-seasoned and pre-everything else and comes to us in heat-'em-up-and-throw-away containers. The bulk of our beer and soft drinks come to us in containers we use once and throwaway. In the thirty years since World War II we have hardly built a home, commercial building or factory that was completely insulated. Why was it always cheaper to waste?

    I suggest that a better life lies ahead of us. I believe that we have the innate decency and good sense to know that we have wasted too much, too long. I refuse to regard a return to saner values as being doom and gloom. I don't even think driving smaller cars and insulating our homes is going to destroy America. I think we have more good sense than the politicians are giving us credit. We will soon find out.

    Update: George Pazik died October 22 at the age of 84. For another extended piece of his, see this editorial on peak oil.

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Imagining ground zero

    Hemel Hempstead, UK, suffered through a huge oil explosion early this morning. I have visited this area several times and can't imagine what force this powderkeg unleashed. From notes I gathered from someone I know who lives less than 20 miles SE of HH, this thing essentially jolted everyone up, not quite as if an earthquake had occurred, but more like that something had fallen down in the house. The explosion set off a black cloud that moved southeast and then south reaching the outskirts of London in the early evening. The really thick black smoke had the faint whiff of benzene.

    Hemel Hempstead resides right off the M1 expressway and has a residential feel with open spaces and farmland. Apparently, most of the buildings had their windows imploded with some roofs going up. The oil depot provided jet fuel to Heathrow and Luton airports (the latter just north of there). The most recent re-fueler truck stationed there happened to escape the major explosion. But cascading explosions also occurred which continued throughout the day.

    Rumor has it that people heard the explosion in Surrey (south of London) and northern France (not as far as one would imagine if you don't know London's geography).

    Next time I go to London, I might get a chance to check the area out.

    One last note from the U.K sums up the situation: "reliance on fossil fuels"

    Update: Possible terrorist attack?
    On Wednesday, a videotape by al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri was shown on the Internet calling for attacks against Gulf oil facilities. Portions of the video were released Sept. 19 and shown on Al-Jazeera television.

    "I call on the holy warriors to concentrate their campaigns on the stolen oil of the Muslims, most of the revenues of which go to the enemies of Islam," said the Egyptian al-Zawahri.

    "The enemies of Islam are exploiting such vital resources with incomparable greed, and we have to stop that theft with all we can and save this fortune for the nation of Islam."

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    How will this spin?

    Will LATOC start like this?
    Meanwhile, villagers in the community of Dongzhou in the southern province of Guangdong said armed police were continuing to hold them at bay, four days after authorities allegedly opened fire on thousands of demonstrators protesting the amount of compensation being offered for land to be used in the construction of a wind power plant.
    Watch in the next few days as this will either get spun as "China: The very worst in fascism" (by the right-wing wurlitzer) or "Time to head for the hills?" (by the die-off crowd) or, the rather highly unlikely, "I have no freaking idea what this means" (by me).

    If Greenpeace somehow gets implicated as the bad guy in the altercation, I beg of you, please, just shoot me now. I would rate this as the projection to end all projections. Darn eco-nazis, trying to foment another Cultural Revolution. I just knew we couldn't trust them. Thank GOD, we didn't elect Gore.

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Digby! Digby! Digby!

    I have followed Digby for awhile hoping that he would weigh in on energy matters (at least as far as I have noticed). Well, at last the expert political blogger applies his rhetorical skills to the issues via a deconstruction of the movie Syriana.
    The film observes various American and middle east actors running about with idealistic, nihilistic, greedy and personal agendas, bumping into each other sometimes at random and at others by design. But the single most important player is oil (which in real life, for reasons that are mystifying, is widely considered to be a tin-foil hat, loony-left explanation, even among liberals.) I don't normally consider myself a cynic, but on this topic, it's very hard not to be. In the final analysis, this really is a modern version of the Great Game. When we ask ourselves "why are we in Iraq?" it makes more sense to refine the question and ask whether we would be in Iraq if it weren't for oil. I think it's fairly obvious that we would not be. Terrorism, in the grand scheme of things, is not an existential threat no matter how hard the warbloggers wank. Invading Iraq was actually counter-productive to the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and may end up creating another Islamic state. Even the Bush administration knew that this was not an adequate rationale for invading Iraq so they pimped the WMD threat.
    The facile cynic in me says that it took Hollywood to wake up L.A.'s Digby to matters of energy. On the other hand, up to now, he has had his hands full going after the rapscallions dominating our political culture. And with that, he covers the ground with great panache.

    As Dave Johnson is fond of saying, Digby! Digby! Digby!

    Update: Through some sort of telepathy, I happened to have just read Elaine Supkis's recent blog entries at Culture of Life News while she concurrently commented on a recent post of mine. Please read her take on the Japan/US trade balance situation -- a very interesting case of downsizing of fiscal obligations matched against an irresponsible upsizing of fiscal irresponsibility. Guess which side we fall on?

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Hubbert Linearization

    I discovered the dirty little secret behind Hubbert Linearization. The conventional wisdom basically states that plotting dU/dt/U versus U, where U refers to cumulative oil extracted, you can extrapolate a negatively sloped line that intercepts the axis at ultimately recoverable resources. Most analysts use the logistic curve or Verhulst equation to "prove" this limiting behavior. Whereas, in practice, any peak will do.

    First take dU/dt, which gives the production rate. When plotted, this will give a Hubbert-like peak somewhere in its lifetime. Any somewhat symmetric peak when Taylor-series expanded about its center point looks like this -- an upside-down parabola:
    dU/dt = A (1 - k2(t - t0)2)
    And then, any cumulative production increase looks like this near the peak -- a linear trend upward:
    U = a (1 + b/a(t - t0))
    Then make the substitution for time shifted around t0, T = t - t0, and you get this relationship:
    dU/dt/U ~ (1+kT)(1-kT)/(1+b/aT)
    The two positively increasing terms in the numerator and denominator more or less cancel, and you get
    dU/dt/U ~ C (1-kT)
    Which basically gives the famed Hubbert linearization term. Unfortunately, it doesn't give one any insight other than proof that you can linearize an upside-down parabola. Big little deal. We need way more insight than this to make headway in our understanding of depletion. (cue in the Oil Shock Model).

    Peak Oil and TOD commenter Khebab also had an interesting point a while ago concerning residual analysis from Hubbert Linearization. As I got reamed for not doing this recently, it pays to read what Khebab said (which I agree with, if you substitute U for Q in the following derivation):
    I'm skeptical about the use of this method to present production data because the relative error doesn't seem to be distributed uniformly. The relative error in the log domain of the vertical ordinates according to the logistic model is the following:
    D(ln(aP/Q)) = Dk/k - DQ/Q x Q / (1 - Q)

    where D stands for the greek symbol Delta, Dk/k and DQ/Q are the relative errors on k and Q which can be presumed constant. The error behaves has following:

    • Production start Q -> 0:
      D(ln(aP/Q)) = Dk/k

    • Production Q -> 1 (total URR has been extracted):
      D(ln(aP/Q)) = -infinity

    Because we are in log domain, D(ln(aP/Q)) = -infinity means that deviation around the asymptotic line will tend toward zero!

    That's why, we observe these wild deviations around the line when production is starting whereas it seems to converge nicely when Q tend toward 1. This behavior can be misleading for an observer because it seems to reinforce that there is some inexorable mechanism at work pushing the production data around the line.
    I checked the math on this, and it really gets you thinking about what data visualization expert Tufte says about graphing data in a biased fashion. That convergence on a continuously shrinking error acts like a laser beam and gives people the impression of an excellent fit that may have dubious value at best.

    Which explains my reluctance to do error analysis when the competition has issues of their own.


    Monbiot wrote a Guardian story on what we all suspected: "Worse Than Fossil Fuel":
    The last time I drew attention to the hazards of making diesel fuel from vegetable oils, I received as much abuse as I have ever been sent by the supporters of the Iraq war. The biodiesel missionaries, I discovered, are as vociferous in their denial as the executives of Exxon. I am now prepared to admit that my previous column was wrong. But they're not going to like it. I was wrong because I underestimated the fuel's destructive impact.

    Before I go any further, I should make it clear that turning used chip fat into motor fuel is a good thing. The people slithering around all day in vats of filth are performing a service to society. But there is enough waste cooking oil in the UK to meet one 380th of our demand for road transport fuel(2). Beyond that, the trouble begins.


    It is prepared to sacrifice the South East Asian rainforests in order to be seen to do something, and to allow motorists to feel better about themselves.

    All this illustrates the futility of the technofixes now being pursued in Montreal. Trying to meet a rising demand for fuel is madness, wherever the fuel might come from. The hard decisions have been avoided, and another portion of the biosphere is going up in smoke.
    Proving once again how much you have to work to get unstuck between a rock and a hard place.

    In regards to a HuffingtonPost entitled "The Plan to Steal Iraq's Oil", Charlie Cray describes how other human weasels show their true designs on raiding the hen house. PSA's used to refer to Public Service Announcements; short spots made on radio and television stations to provide balance to those people unable to get their voices heard. The acronym now means nothing more than deal making on a bait-and-switch level. How nice, PSA, a Production Sharing Agreement. We will all share. Yea, sure.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Theory vs Experiment

    Working out theories about oil depletion through non-traditional channels such as a blog has some interesting side effects. I basically sit here and pontificate about stuff that I don't work on as part of my day job. This apparently gets some people upset, even though they pontificate about the same things I do and presumably don't do this as their day job either (actually I shouldn't pretend to know what they do).

    So I have finally got someone beyond the tipping point:
    I've explained to you about 10 times what you need to do to establish that you have a better model. You never do it - you just complain that people still choose to use the best predictive model we have right now If you had the first bit of sense, you'd realize that Hubbert was a first-rate scientist, and name-calling him takes away from your credibility rather than his.
    Which prompted me to reply with this:
    What is wrong? I have a theory. Theorists don't always have to defend their position. That's what experimentalists are around for. It's a classic position in the scientific world. Theorists don't mind getting attacked for their ideas. And that's not to say I am any first rate theorist, just that I know how the game is played.

    No use getting worked up over this.

    Hubbert never used any mathematical model; as far as I can tell he did his computations graphically. And why would I name call Hubbert anything? I think I dissed "Hubbert Linearization" because it is based on that ridiculous Logistic curve. It doesn't have any basis in reality.
    I remember clearly the rallying cry my co-researchers and I would sing out when faced with challenging circumstances, man-made or not, "Nature's fighting us. We must be on the right track!"

    In reality, I play the part of either Punch or Judy in a hand puppet dramatization of the world's oil predicament. Puppets sitting around theorizing versus neocons experimenting with their own puppets in toeholds of power, I actually feel part of some absurd War on Brains.

    As Milfington would say, "whatever".

    Wait, disaster happens

    Part-time NO resident Harry Shearer on his Le Show radio program yesterday said that the tide has turned (so to speak) and the Katrina flood has transformed from a natural disaster into becoming the largest man-made disaster of all time. He reiterated this assertion on his Eat the Press blog at the Huffington Post.

    Try this Google search on for size: "largest civil engineering disaster".
    Robert Bea, a University of California, Berkeley professor who led a National Science Foundation investigation of the levee failures, said the mistakes made by the engineers on the project were hard to accept because the project was so "straightforward."

    "It's hard to understand, because it seemed so simple, and because the failure has become so large," Bea said.

    "This is the largest civil engineering disaster in the history of the United States. Nothing has come close to the $300 billion in damages and half-million people out of their homes and the lives lost," he said. "Nothing this big has ever happened before in civil engineering."

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Esso: Morph This!

    Apparently, the British and other members of the international reality-based community do not think highly of Bush for his oil industry connections. I do computer visualizations for a living, and despise Macromedia Flash for its prorietary, non-open format, but this stuff keeps me grinning.

    Even before global peak oil has recently become a media reality, Greenpeace and other organizations had built up quite an awareness campaign to ostensibly alert the world to the dangers of global warming. They have unwittingly given the oil depletion crowd lots of reusable snarkware components for the coming roller-coaster.

    This one has BushCo relevance as well. Off-topic, but the same animator adapted a short video based on a dream diary of Air America Radio's Marc Maron. Unfortunately, we only have two more weeks of the Morning Sedition radio program to go before it officially gets axed.

    I'm just glad thoughtful,
    funny people are on the
    radio while I sit at my
    computer day after day.

    Modes de Transport

    If I want to travel from point A to point B without the aid of a powertrain, I usually mull through a few options depending on the weather and terrain. I don't claim my list complete, but short of including draft animals, no one would claim that we have an abundance of human-powered alternatives to choose from. As you will see, not all these provide a practical means of commuting, unless, as you will notice, the proverbial hell freezes over.

    Mountain Bike:
    The old reliable that operates decently under just about any climactic conditions. I bought this one custom-made in 1984 and still use it after it remained in cold storage with a frozen seat-post for several years. This one has a shorter wheel-base than my other mountain bike which gives it a squirrelly feel and a more upright ride. Notice the snow on the tires. At one point long ago, I tried an experiment and I covered the tire treads with an array of short machine screws to gain better traction on ice. Unfortunately, I chose screws a wee bit too long and I made it a few yards before the tires deflated with dozens of puncture marks. Duh. Lesson: You may fall on ice. Deal with it.

    Road Bike:
    I will pass on the mountain bike without hesitation if I have good road biking conditions. The choice really comes down to efficiency; I will break less of a sweat on a road bike any day. The day-to-day trade-off remains dealing with tire flats. Keep the tires inflated to avoid pinch flats and don't skimp on quality tires and tubes. Pictured: a Bridgestone RB-2 purchased for $99.

    I don't think I would ever use a recumbent bicycle; I would much rather loom over a car driver than sit at the same elevation as road-kill. Never mind the differences in mass, road bikers and bike messengers will become the Alpha males of the city streets once all the SUV's disappear. Height always wins.

    Hypno Skates:
    Hypno makes inline roller blades with a detachable chassis. I would recommend these for any relatively smooth pavement without a lot of steep downhills. I have a long history with in-line skates, having purchased the original RollerBlades not long after local hockey playing brothers first brought these to market in the early 1980's. I can remember naively skating around university hallways on RollerBlades before the big crackdown - "NO SKATES ALLOWED!". The Hypno Skates bring back some of that freedom. As for advice, resist the temptation to use the heel brakes; practice until you get good at doing slalom/pivot stops.

    Cross-Country Skis:
    No lie: I have actually commuted on cross-country skies, about 7 miles each way. I started with classical skis, but have used skate skis almost exclusively the last dozen or so years. For skate skis, you need specific snow crust conditions to get the best efficiency and mobility. Basically you have to wait for a thick blanket of snow, followed by a partial meltdown, and topped off by a hard freeze. If you have this and happen to live on a large connected maze of lakes or safely frozen rivers, consider yourself lucky. Unlike England, we can't count on right-of-way pasture lands to navigate. And, conversely, England can't count on snow. Rats, Utopia does not exist. One other possibility, you can follow rural snowmobile trails or use partially plowed roads. Unfortunately, these will become your "rock skis" after this point. Lastly, consider a move to Norway.

    Hypno Skates (ice):
    Kind of bizarre, but I have ice skating attachments for my Hypno skate boots. Occasionally one can find a considerate lakeshore homeowner who will Zamboni a skating lane around the perimeter of a lake. Many people from warmer climates don't realize this, but the number of transportation routes increases in the winter. Commuters that had to make quite a detour to cross a river during the warmer months get to use an ice crossing for a few months in the winter. A narrow window of opportunity (and safety) to say the least.

    Clap Ice Skates: These speed skates use cross-country ski bindings and boots. A European idea, I bought these from REI a few years ago; I don't think they caught on but they do work amazingly well. As a word of advice, unless you live on a series of canals ala Amsterdam, don't depend on the consistency of lake ice; prepare to take a number of "headers". In the last few years, we haven't had as much snow, so I have gotten used to unexpectedly flying through the air hat first.

    This narrowly beats a canoe if you happen to have a commute that follows a slow-moving creek or river or a long lake. Kind of a rare occurrence, I know, but what the heck.

    Finally, I can't forget to mention the backup strategies: walk, jog, or run. Advice: Start by crawling, and you will soon get the hang of it, usually by the age of two.

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Monkeys flying out of butt quiet time

    Bombshell from the assmissile:
    "With oil prices declining rapidly since September, prospects for current and future economic growth appear excellent."
    Excellent? Not.

    Assmissile and his bud ShortTrunk have become the Wayne and Garth of the right-wing set -- always guaranteed for post-pubescent overexuberence and unbridled optimism.

    Next time the Ponzi gang at Powerlien should dispense with the formalities and just interject "party time!" over and over.