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Sunday, July 30, 2006


While the Chicago Tribune recently had an extended piece on Peak Oil (covered at TOD), the LA Times hit the ecology front with a lengthy piece on ocean slime. They hit the nerve-endings pretty hard initially with this intro:
Moreton Bay, Australia -- The fireweed began each spring as tufts of hairy growth and spread across the seafloor fast enough to cover a football field in an hour.
Later on in page 6, it says this:
At its peak in summer, the weed now covers as much as 30 square miles of Moreton Bay, an estuary roughly the size of San Francisco Bay. In one seven-week period, its expansion was measured at about 100 square meters a minute -- a football field in an hour.
So the intro mislead the reader into believing that the plant grew at the rate of a grass fire whereas they really implied that the cumulative growth applied to the entire bay... oh well.

Air America's Ecotalk discussed the current status of coral reefs and ocean pollution here -> [mp3 - 12 minutes].

And more disgusting man-made slime here.

As the LA Times piece shows, I see how some of these stories occasionally exaggerate a bit and feed the claims of conservatives and libertarians that ecological horror-story-tellers completely overblow their claims. However, I do find it interesting how green organizations like the Sierra Club have slowly transformed their original charter into stewards for the common man. Take a look at the work that the Sierra Club has sponsored in New Orleans and Mississippi: Are FEMA trailers 'toxic tin cans'?

It turns out that the times have almost forced greens like the Sierra Club have to take up the business of protecting our citizens from environmental poisons -- largely because BushCo has busily dismantled the traditional agencies responsible for stewardship such as the EPA. Since the EPA has just about gone kaput in many people's minds, the Sierra Club finds itself probably best equipped to take up the work.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Flying Electrons

After over 100 years, battery power has finally triumphed over the Wright Bros. gasoline engine, courtesy of the Japanese.

If this image does not evoke youthful vitality, rosy nostalgia, and the promise of a better tomorrow, I don't know what does. Story in EE Times.

Matsushita has had this battery technology in the works for a few years now.
The two cells drove the 18.5 kg car with a driver for a distance of 1,200 meters, according to a Matsushita spokeswoman.

Two AA batteries and a hot pit crew; no grease monkeys need apply.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sunk-cost model

An interesting post on the sunk-cost model reveals that economists should remain the most immune to its generally lousy outcome.
Education. Research shows that the sort of person who is least likely to engage in sunk-cost reasoning is (drum roll, please) an economist. Economists are trained to avoid this, are shown how easy it is to fall into it, and are shown why it is fallacious reasoning.
Sunk-cost relates to the dogged persistence in people that have invested their own money and ordinarily would show rational behavior if they happened across found money. For an analogy, think of the guy digging a hole with a shovel who doesn't know when to stop. Why then don't economists en masse reject the stock market and moreover why don't they ever scream loudly and persistently about resource constraints?

digression: Personally, I have minimal sunk-costs in my bicycling equipment but will continue to deepen my hole, however gradually. My latest experiment involves the purchase of inner tubes of 4 times the thickness of ordinary road bike tubes. I will see if that helps reduce my predilection for flats. The typical research work trades non-recoverable sunk costs against the possibility of a profitable breakthrough to make it all worthwhile.

I would hazard a guess that the consideration of sunk-costs has to hit home first on a personal level, well before it becomes a global one. In that case, it will forever remain someone else's problem.

Sunk Costs = Digging a Hole + Not In My Backyard

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Rapier at TOD takes apart Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and his plans for pushing an ethanol-based energy economy here.

When Khosla wrote tangentially on this topic at HuffPo a while ago, I commented to the post something to the effect he should concentrate on electronics (his forte) and perhaps look into the electric car instead.
Seeing as you are an electrical engineer with quite a track record at Sun, what do you think of the electric car?
No response to that one. Apparently others have had better success at going to-to-toe with Khosla.

Now, Khosla apparently wants to debate Rapier after reading today's post (news travels fast) so I look forward to the fireworks that will ensue.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usCorny I know, but I don't think Khosla has a kernel of truth to stand behind, while Rapier has my ear based on his surgical husking.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The reason

Why do we need good oil depletion models? To placate people that say things like this:
Economist A.F. Alhajji of Ohio Northern University, contributing editor for World Oil magazine, dismissed the idea of peak oil as the echo of an old notion. That's a fear first broached in 1862 and repeated periodically since, he said.

"We don't have the right methodology to estimate. It could be that oil already peaked. It could be the peak won't come for another 200 years."

Which brings up an interesting point. While Alhajji seems apprehensive about placing error bars on something as obvious as oil depletion, other economists can generate a model at the drop of a hat. Take a look at this essay by Ulrich at the Wharton School, who claims that bicyclists actually add to the global energy load over their lifetimes, primarily by living healthier and therefore longer, which means they will extract more energy than their sedentary counterparts. Obviously written partly tongue in cheek, as Ulrich remains a committed cyclist, it nevertheless illuminates how we should occasionally go out on a limb and take fresh looks at the numbers and what they may imply. What could we fear from this other than we gain a little insight?

  1. Cigarette smoking reduces social security outlays
  2. Vegetarians clog up septic tanks faster
  3. etc.

And how about this one? Electric cars, because of their inherent reliability, reduce the after-market profits which account for 40% of money spent on maintaining gasoline powered cars. Thus the reluctance to put them on the market according to Chris Paine's documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car". [mp3]

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Romania Oil Shock Model

Based on some intriguing results that Staniford posted at TOD regarding historical Romanian oil production, I thought I would compare it against the oil shock model. Staniford plotted against the production data (shown below), and effectively fit to the Hubbert Linearization method assuming a Gaussian shape.

This curve looks similar to one that Laherrere published (which also includes estimates of discoveries) :

(aside: note that Laherrere's discovery curve tries to "connect the dots" between years of discoveries, which has the unfortunate effect of indicating more earlier discoveries than are warranted; check his cumulative curve to get the right data)

As I mentioned on TOD's comment page, the model I use derives completely from stochastic considerations and so would generally apply more caution for someplace like Romania (or worse yet, France) as I worry about overlooking the heavy influence of deterministic effects. This comes about from a small sample size in these countries and asking whether one should apply to the maximum entropy estimator of equating the mean to the standard deviation on the rate random variables. In addition, since the Romania data crosses through a sweet spot that includes the years of WW2, one could imagine a huge perturbation occurring during that time.

In any case, I tried to keep the model as simple as possible and used means of 6 years for the fallow, construction, and maturation periods, and a 16.66% depletion rate for extraction (also corresponding to a 6 year 1/e time).

The oil shock model misses the actual reported peak by a lag of less than 5 years, but does catch up on the down slope. Earlier on in the production life cycle, the model does predict the two other significant peaks (corresponding to discovery deltas), but both the location and scaling remains way off. It almost looks as if much of the very early discovery estimates either did not deliver as much oil as predicted or, less likely, went to waste for whatever reason. Based on Laherrere's analysis that the cumulative oil production has not matched that from discoveries (see below), it would not surprise me if the "missing-in-action" pre-1900 discoveries account for the discrepancy.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Addicted to Oil

On HuffPo and Oil Change, a sendup music video, Addicted to Oil.

Spot the reference to Lee "The Hutt" Raymond.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Crazy Horses

Freakback to 1972 and we find The Osmonds ranting about the horses of the Apocalypse and the pollution that they help create.
...What a show, there they go smokin’ up the sky, yeah.. Crazy horses are the riders in you and I...
Rocking Mormons, and what next but a blazing Mennonite in one Floyd Landis:
His past offers a key to his riding. Landis was one of six kids in a strict Mennonite household that banned modern influences such as TV and short pants. Bikes, however, were allowed. With close friend Eric Gebhard, he began riding at age 15 to reach their favorite fishing spots. Soon, riding became more fun than fishing. "We liked the competition, " Gebhard remembers. "But it was something more for Floyd It was an escape."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Standup Meltdown

From the slim ranks of comedians that proudly display right-wing leanings comes this rather sad opinion piece:
Freud called it displacement. People fixate on the environment when they can't deal with real threats. Combating the climate gives nonhawks a chance to look tough. They can flex their muscle for Mother Nature, take a preemptive strike at an SUV. Forget the Patriot Act, it's Kyoto that'll save you.
I believe stand-up comic Julia Gorin wants Ben Stein's job as an absurd Republican apologist.

More Republicans fixated on the environment:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, hugs a 63-pound king salmon she caught July 7 along the Kenai River in Alaska.

From an annual fundraiser July 6-10 for conservation of habitat along the Kenai River.
Alaska's other U.S. senator, Ted Stevens, and Gov. Frank Murkowski co-hosted this year's event. It drew about 200 people, many of them lobbyists and executives from major U.S. industries.

Others senators attending this year were Kit Bond of Missouri, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Larry Craig of Idaho, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Pat Roberts of Kansas and John Sununu of New Hampshire. All are Republicans.
Right-wing comedians and stand-up comics can't find work because you can't make that much fun of people, left or right, enjoying themselves in this great big green world.

Monday, July 17, 2006

One-percent Doctrine

Author Ron Suskind in his recent book, "The One Percent Doctrine", helps explain the Bush administration's rationale behind invading Iraq. In a nutshell, the idea has to do with a technique which applies conditional probabilities to rank a risk.
And the Vice President says two things. He says we need to think in a new way about these low probability, high-impact type events, a different way. And then, by the end of the briefing, he has that different way. He says, "If there's even a 1% chance that WMDs have been given to terrorists, we need to treat it as a certainty, not in our analysis or the preponderance of evidence," he demurs, "but in our response." At this moment the Vice President officially separates analysis from action, allows for an evidence-free model to move forward, and says suspicion may be all we have to use the awesome powers of the United States. (from a DemocracyNow! interview)
So BushCo has essentially given a high-risk, low probability event a first-class upgrade. Corporate engineers that do trade studies as part of their job know this trick all too well and can game the system to eventually get what they want by creatively cooking the probability numbers, not to mention playing around with other criteria.

So we know that Cheney understands risk. Consider the remote possibility that he doesn't want to game the result. What then does he do with the risk of a grave potentiality such as global warming? If it turned out as unlikely, it would still rank high because of its huge eventual risk on world society. Why then doesn't BushCo do something about global warming like they did about the low probability WMD's?

Fill in this puzzle:
"invading Iraq is to WMD"
"____ is to global warming" ?

The same question holds true for peak oil and its own significant impact on the global economy.

A rhetorical question, of course, as I could surmise from Suskind's own editorializing: "At this moment the Vice President officially separates analysis from action..." I would read this as separating analysis from reality. No way else to explain their selectively biased criteria for taking on an issue.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Local Perspective

Where I come from, we have a strange little fellow that runs something called the Taxpayer's League of Minnesota. A kind of a minor league Newt Gingrich or Grover Norquist, he fashions himself a disillusioned academic (sans PhD -- fancy that, who would of thunk it?) with a bunch of answers that not surprisingly follow the conservative mindset to a T.

The League of Underwhelming Gentlemen probably don't exert huge leverage upon the local citizenry -- apart from the true believing choir members, but I still find it instructive to find out how they push the energy depletion meme from their think-hovel. They have posted a white-paper on what they perceive as the rationale for high gas prices on their home page.
"Gasbags - What the politicians and the pundits aren't saying about the fluctuating price of gas and oil- and what you need to know !"
One of the biggest concerns with oil availability is not the quantity of oil available in the world, but who controls it. Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and the long list of other producers who control world oil supplies are not reliable trading partners, nor are they particularly efficient producers. Iran, for instance, is one of the most oil-rich countries in the world, but their industrial capacity is so degraded by a corrupt political system that they have to import most of the gasoline they consume!

And for those of us who remember the Arab oil embargo of the 1970's, it is easy to see how international politics can have a direct impact on the availability of oil.

Even here in the United States, the home of capitalism and the free market, lawmakers are constantly intervening in the marketplace in ways that drive up the price and lower the availability of oil to average consumers. For 25 years the Federal government has imposed a moratorium on the exploration for and drilling of oil off the coasts of America, and of course everyone is aware of the never-ending battle over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Despite the huge run-up in the price of oil and gasoline, lawmakers have refused to allow drilling for the billions of barrels of known reserves in U.S. control. It is simply impossible to have our cake and eat it too: if you want oil to be more plentiful and cheaper, then you have to be willing to extract it out of the ground where it is.

With policies like these, is it any wonder that as the years move on, the U.S. gets more dependent upon foreign oil? (their emphasis)
OK, from that slanted perspective we know immediately that the League has no clue that the USA has long glided past a significant depletion event. But then I discover that they have hedged their bets, as well:
In all likelihood, the industrialized world will shift energy consumption away from oil in the coming years for reasons other than declining availability. High prices, political and environmental concerns including pollution and the possibility of climate change, increasing numbers of options, and government regulations will all change the way we power our economy in the coming years.

Petroleum has been king for a century, and will remain so for years or decades to come. But the end is in sight as technology and attitudes toward oil consumption change.
Petroleum will remain king for years or decades to come? Grammatically parsing that sentence would indicate that petroleum could likely only remain king for less than 20 years (otherwise why suggest years in addition to decades?). All in all, I would recommend reading the paper fully; no where else will you find a mixture of unbridled optimism mixed with an underlying trepidation which almost borders on fear and desparation.

The lord gnome of the Taxpayer's League claimed on a radio show that a university in North Carolina (A&T perhaps? Didn't quite catch the reference) actually used this "white-paper" in their curriculum.

David Strom, League president, contributing to global warming while chatting about the benefits of home schooling.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Kibbles and Bits

As I listen to the very last of the Marc Maron radio shows on Air America radio, I realize that nothing crystallizes your thoughts like listening to similar-minded people articulating their own thoughts on the issues. Marc has talent and surrounds himself with the same caliber of talented people. B-b-b-b-but, he also talks about the issues. Not any issues, but the issues and topics I am interested in.

1. Politics
2. Energy
3. The environment
4. The history and science of comedy
5. Absurdism
6. Pop psychology
7. The mundane - cats, etc
8. Food and music
9. Relationships
10. Paranoia

It will be awhile before anybody else will span these topics as skillfully as Marc and crew will again.

Requiem ("I needed to hear voices and to try to sort out what I was thinking about")

This happens to coincide with Wisconsin Public Radio's cancellation of their weekly broadcast of Harry Shearer's long-running Le Show. Strange how this show disappeared just as Shearer has become more political, with regular mocking of BushCo and lamenting the destruction of his second home of New Orleans (the new "home of the homeless"?).

What us connoisseurs of radio comedy have left resembles nothing more than the corporate crap that permeates our workspaces. Stuff that in the immortal dialogue of Shearer's Spinal Tap, all the dignity of choking to death on vomit -- actually, someone else's vomit. That always happens when you work for the man. As bloggers, we don't have to worry about someone pulling the rug from underneath us. How else to explain why this treatment of Maron and Shearer bothers me so much?

Game over, man. Goodnight sheeple. Uh-huh.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Good Cop/Bad Cop

I truly appreciated the way that the NY Times dug into the secretive financial monitoring program now widely known as the Swift operation. Opponents claim that the NYT should never have published the story because the administration told them not to. But right there in the initial story, you can see that the administration's people had laid it out for all the world to see, on the record:
Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, "has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities," Stuart Levey, an undersecretary at the Treasury Department, said in an interview Thursday. The program is grounded in part on the president's emergency economic powers, Mr. Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans' records.
What, you say, that the NY Times would have printed the story even if Mr. Levey had not talked on the record? Au contraire, the reporters Lichtblau and Risen used the old reliable technique known to everyone who has watched their fair share of cop shows. They basically emptily threatened to publish leaked information, and the traitorous Levey, acting as the only named source, spilled all the information. Dear Mr. Leakey, how ignorant of you, anybody in your position of authority should know better not to fall for this kind of *bleeping bleepity-bleep* stuff.

I don't understand why no one in the media has pointed out this classic "good cop/bad cop" trick that the NYT pulled off.
At its bare bones, it is nothing more than a variation of the 'good cop, bad cop' scenarios that we have seen on other TV shows. Pembleton is warm, cordial even pleasant to Tucker, while Bayliss unrelentingly questions him on the facts and inconsistencies that have developed in the Araber's story trying desperately to cause a crack in this man's facade. This goes on for half the episode.
Then about halfway through comes an exceptional sequence. In it Bayliss and Pembleton begin to speak in precise rhythm drilling in to the Araber's head what they know--- that he killed her..
And it happens again with the Wilson/Plame affair, whereby Novak revealed that Karl Rove acted as his secondary source in outing the CIA agent. A secondary confirming source leaking information should rate the same as a primary source, as Rove, just like Levey, should not have fallen for this likely bait-and-switch ruse.

Rove should go to jail for leaking this information and join Levey; let them stew away for several years, all the time wishing that they had watched more cop shows in their youth.

We can only hope that oil executives and OPEC members would prove this gullible. If they had, we would have long ago figured out our global oil reserves.

But they better watch their backs, as this guy looks like a good cop/bad cop rolled into one.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

XM TuneSelect List

Many bloggers like to regularly post their iPod shuffled playlists, often implying some sort of synchronicity in the arrangement of tunes. What can I say, but these lists tire me, and so I offer up a trendy alternative. XM Radio has a neat feature that allows the listener to lock on an artist currently playing, add that to a search list, and which then beeps at you when that artist gets played again on any of the umpteen channels that XM broadcasts over. My current TuneSelect:
  1. Kate Bush
  2. Minutemen
  3. Go! Team
  4. Buzzcocks
  5. Al Green
  6. Boz Scaggs
  7. Waterboys
  8. General Public
  9. Fifth Dimension
  10. Honey Cone
  11. Steve Martin
  12. Julian Cope
  13. Hem
  14. Tahiti 80
  16. Roxy Music
  18. Phoenix
  19. Todd Rundgren
  20. Husker Du
You get limited to 20 items and you can't enter new ones by a keypad, so the list slowly morphs over time as interesting bands pop up. (The spelling makes a huge difference as the search only does an exact match.) Apart from that my favorite XM channels include Soul Street (channel 60) and of course Air America (channel 167) -- read this for the latest AAR travails.

I recently posted on David Byrne getting his bike stolen; well, Ray Davies had it happen as well, in the midst of the New Orleans chaos from a year ago, and worse yet got shot at prior to the petty theft.
And lastly, I think about the bicycle I left behind. New Orleans is almost entirely flat --— as the world knows all too well now -- and I found that a bike ride was a great way to get around while strengthening my injured leg.

When I left last year I forgot to put the padlock on my bike. Whoever took it, I pray that they get to ride it around the French Quarter again soon.
I will add The Kinks to my TuneSelect as soon as they hit the XM screen crawl.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Immaculate Conception Peak Oil Models

Staniford revisited his Hubbert Linearization (HL) formulation in some recent TOD posts. In the latter comment, he makes a mention of the good fit over a range of data of US oil production using a Gaussian curve.

I don't recall pointing this out in anything more than a passing comment, but one can represent a Gaussian curve in terms of a rate equation. The familiar bell-shaped curve of a Gaussian follows from this partial differential equation:
dP(t)/P(t) = K(T1-t)
where P = production, t = time, T1 = the peak date, and K parameterizes the width of the Gaussian. I suppose one can read that as exponentially growing production with the throttle linearly pulled back through to where it switches sign at the peak. However, the T1 number looks suspiciously preordained as opposed to coming out of some intuitive process.

Although Staniford has some good empirical fits using Hubbert Linearization, he still doesn't know why they work out so well:
However, we don't, at the moment, have a very good theoretical understanding of exactly why, so there remains room for doubt about whether it will continue to work as well in the future.
Where HL works well (eg the US), it seems to be because the production curve is close to Gaussian. Presumably there is some kind of central limit theorem "adding lots of random variables together" or "random walk through oil exploration space" kind of reason for this. If so, the asymmetry of individual field profiles may not necessarily give rise to an asymmetric overall shape. However, since we lack a clear and persuasive account of why the Gaussian shape arises, it's hard to say.
I will start to label this style of analysis under the category of Immaculate Conception Peak Oil Models. The empiricism leads straight to the fact that no one has ever suggested a forcing function to cause the temporal behavior in any of these models, including the logistic curve. They remain at best a set of heuristics that tend to at least shadow the production data. Without a clearly identified forcing function, I half-jokingly suggest we cook up analogies to Spontaneous Human Combustion to get better insight.

For a more practical model, go here.

On the other hand, I could side with Staniford and look at the Gaussian from a law-of-large-numbers/ central-limit-theorem-flavored approach, which would mean for me to give up and punt away my understanding, while waving my hands wildly. A hand-waving heretic? Not me. An Immaculate Conception believer? Not me. An agnostic function forcer? That's the ticket.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


A basically pointless urban myth has arisen once more in the form of a Mobil Oil radio advertisement. The ad recommends that car drivers turn on their air conditioning rather than roll down their windows to stay cool. They claim that the A/C uses little energy while the open windows and rear window act like a huge parachute, making the engine work harder at a given speed.

Notwithstanding that few people roll down their windows completely and a bit of intuition should invalidate the claim, some basic consumer reporting debunks the advertisement completely.

So why does Mobil Oil do this kind of stuff? (1) Because they can, and (2) people lap this up because they don't have to feel inconvenienced while believing they have helped conserve energy.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Azimuth hit the ground

"The rocket -- as I say, I'm not exactly sure what the azimuth (his emphasis) was of the rocket. We've got our people still analyzing that."
Like, exactly out to sea?

Likely Chucklenuts just learned the word today... Say, George, what happens when you fall off your bike?

"My aszz-mutht hit the ground."

Good, George, now can you use the word 'isthmus' in a sentence?

"Is mus be mah lucky day."

Geo-politics, solved.

Arianna wrote some biting commentary at the HuffPo on the "Who Killed the Electric Car?" documentary.
GM has responded to the positive critical response the film has received with a sniveling blog post written by a company PR flack
The blog response she refers to reveals the odd momentum that corporate alternative energy ideas have taken. I remember noting with optimism when GM started their FastLane blog back in January 2005. They used to accept comments back then. Do they now? Fat chance.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How to Eradicate Slime Mold

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Internet = not Truck

"The Internet is not a Truck"

As I got some hill-climbing action in today on the 4th, I happened across a white-haired women in what looked like to me a red, white & blue jumpsuit borrowed from either Evel Knievel, the Harlem Globetrotters, or Jean Schmitt operating a gas-powered blower on her driveway. I wouldn't have noticed the oddity but for the fact that the noise associated with blowing a fine-coating of (probably non-existent) dust off of pavement startled me. Drats, no camera, as I rode away noticing that I too had on a Banesto red, white, blue, and yellow colored biking cap.

? Blasphemous desecrator.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ethanol whiplash

Two researchers from a maglev research center wrote an ethanol hit piece for Sunday's WaPo. The researchers James Powell and James Jordan had written a warning salvo concerning oil depletion for the Washington Post two years ago. Even though they probably have a scientific bias in favor of electrical technology, the two appear to have interests in a variety of research areas so like Robert Hirsch they at least have some background in energy policy. I tend to agree with their poor prognosis of biofuel technology's potential.

Sheldon Drobny, one of the founders of Air America Radio, has a provocative piece on the profits from gasoline here. I consider it provocative because it flies in the face of what constantly hear: that oil companies make most of their profits at the pump and actually consider the gasoline a by-product of the refinery process. Through some very straightforward math, Mr. Drobny shows that the oil companies will barely break even selling their oil at $3/gallon. They instead consider it a cheap way of "disposing of refinery waste". (Drobny picked up this information while working at his real job of IRS auditor, where his auditees included big oil)

Hmmm, if big oil does consider gasoline waste, then they might as well give it to the farmers, who can dispose of it properly in their quest to produce ethanol. Sometimes I think we live inside a large Klein bottle or travel on the surface of a Moebius strip, never getting to the bottom of anything. Oh well.

Speaking of AAR, Jim Earl of The Marc Maron Show has a wicked War on Brains segment courtesy of Patrick at TheSnotGreenSea.com. We find Earl questioning the pending relaxation of California offshore drilling regulations, in the meantime hilariously dragging Barbra Streisand and Marcus Welby's "butt-boy" into the argument.
Short Audio [MP3]

If you understand BitTorrent, you can get the whole show here, as Marc and Jim also interview TV guy Peter Horton on his featured role in the documentary "Who Killed The Electric Car?". At one time Horton had in his possession a real-live electric car and recounts how it got pried from his fingers when GM decided to recall the fleet of leased vehicles all at once.