“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Sensible Natural Gas Alternative to Imported Petroleum

A full tank of gas supplies the GX with a driving range of approximately 220–250 miles.

No pie in the sky here. Honda makes the car and so can all the rest. Most existing cars can be modified. Use a little imagination and set up the distribution.

Gazprom Pushing Natural Gas for Cars in Europe

Russian energy giant Gazprom wants to set up a network of service stations across Europe for cars fuelled by natural gas. Gazprom controls a quarter of the world's gas reserves.

Gazprom plans to increase its presence in Europe's gas retail business, the company's chief executive announced on Friday, June 27. Currently, few cars in Europe run on natural gas, in part because there are few places to tank up.

"We are proposing to our European partners the creation of a network of natural gas stations in Europe with the participation of Gazprom," Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller told a shareholders' meeting in Moscow on Friday, June 27.

Natural gas is seen as cheaper and more environmentally friendly than regular fuel. While the idea has yet to catch on in Europe, natural gas is widely used in cars in Argentina, Brazil, India, Iran and Pakistan.

For the moment, Miller said he doesn't see any "realistic alternatives" to hydrocarbons. He also panned biofuel, which he blamed for leading to a global food crisis.

Gazprom eyes liquid gas

Gazprom supplies a quarter of Europe's gas. It is also aggressively moving into the liquid natural gas (LNG) market. Gazprom wants to control 20 or 25 percent of the LNG market in the upcoming years, Valery Golubev, Gazprom's deputy chief executive said on Friday.

Russia's first LNG project on the far eastern island of Sakhalin is due to start production later this year. Gazprom's large Shtokman field in northern Russia is due to come online in 2014, executives said.

Banking on government support

Miller sees a rosy future for Gazprom. Its strong ties to the government give it a huge growth potential and it aims to become the world's energy leader, the CEO said Friday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who took office last month, previously served as chairman of the state-controlled gas giant. Gazprom announced Friday that Medvedev's replacement as chairman will be former prime minister Viktor Zubkov.

DW staff (th)


    Published: June 27, 2008

    DENVER — Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.

    The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

    But the decision to freeze new solar proposals temporarily, reached late last month, has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry, as fledgling solar companies must wait to see if they can realize their hopes of harnessing power from swaths of sun-baked public land, just as the demand for viable alternative energy is accelerating.

    “It doesn’t make any sense,” said Holly Gordon, vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs for Ausra, a solar thermal energy company in Palo Alto, Calif. “The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry.”

    Much of the 119 million surface acres of federally administered land in the West is ideal for solar energy, particularly in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California, where sunlight drenches vast, flat desert tracts.

    Galvanized by the national demand for clean energy development, solar companies have filed more than 130 proposals with the Bureau of Land Management since 2005. They center on the companies’ desires to lease public land to build solar plants and then sell the energy to utilities.

    According to the bureau, the applications, which cover more than one million acres, are for projects that have the potential to power more than 20 million homes.

    All involve two types of solar plants, concentrating and photovoltaic. Concentrating solar plants use mirrors to direct sunlight toward a synthetic fluid, which powers a steam turbine that produces electricity. Photovoltaic plants use solar panels to convert sunlight into electric energy.

    Much progress has been made in the development of both types of solar technology in the last few years. Photovoltaic solar projects grew by 48 percent in 2007 compared with 2006. Eleven concentrating solar plants are operational in the United States, and 20 are in various stages of planning or permitting, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    The manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental impact study, Linda Resseguie, said that many factors must be considered when deciding whether to allow solar projects on the scale being proposed, among them the impact of construction and transmission lines on native vegetation and wildlife. In California, for example, solar developers often hire environmental experts to assess the effects of construction on the desert tortoise and Mojave ground squirrel.

    Water use can be a factor as well, especially in the parched areas where virtually all of the proposed plants would be built. Concentrating solar plants may require water to condense the steam used to power the turbine.

    “Reclamation is another big issue,” Ms. Resseguie said. “These plants potentially have a 20- to 30-year life span. How to restore that land is a big question for us.”

    Another benefit of the study will be a single set of environmental criteria to weigh future solar proposals, which will ultimately speed the application process, said the assistant Interior Department secretary for land and minerals management, C. Stephen Allred. The land agency’s manager of energy policy, Ray Brady, said the moratorium on new applications was necessary to “ensure that we are doing an adequate level of analysis of the impacts.”

    In the meantime, bureau officials emphasized, they will continue processing the more than 130 applications received before May 29, measuring each one’s environmental impact.

    While proponents of solar energy agree on the need for a sweeping environmental study, many believe that the freeze is unwarranted. Some, like Ms. Gordon, whose company has two pending proposals for solar plants on public land, say small solar energy businesses could suffer if they are forced to turn to more expensive private land for development.

    The industry is already concerned over the fate of federal solar investment tax credits, which are set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress renews them. The moratorium, combined with an end to tax credits, would deal a double blow to an industry that, solar advocates say, has experienced significant growth without major environmental problems.

    “The problem is that this is a very young industry, and the majority of us that are involved are young, struggling, hungry companies,” said Lee Wallach of Solel, a solar power company based in California that has filed numerous applications to build on public land and was considering filing more in the next two years. “This is a setback.”

    At a public hearing in Golden, Colo., on Monday, one of a series by the Bureau of Land Management across the West, reaction to the moratorium was mixed.

    Alex Daue, an outreach coordinator for the Wilderness Society, an environmental conservation group, praised the government for assessing the implications of large-scale solar development.

    Others warned the bureau against becoming mired in its own bureaucratic processes on solar energy, while parts of the West are already humming with new oil and gas development.

    Craig Cox, the executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a renewable energy trade group, said he worried that the freeze would “throw a monkey wrench” into the solar energy industry at precisely the wrong time.

    “I think it’s good to have a plan,” Mr. Cox said, “but I don’t think we need to stop development in its tracks.”



    Environmental study my ass. A bunch of goons in the pocket of big oil is what they are. Fsckers.

  2. John McCain is the champion of the BLM buerocrats.

    Cost us $50,000 to force 'em to obey the law. They make up their own, as they go along.

    That's the GOP for ya.

    Beholdin' to the Sauds.

  3. As to the GM car, natural gas has already started to come into high prices and short supply, for running electrical generating stations.

    It is not a viable alternative to gasoline, in cars.

    Global Demand Squeezing Natural Gas Supply
    in the NYTimes, dated May 28, 2008

    CAMERON PARISH, La. — The cost of a gallon of gas gets all the headlines, but the natural gas that will heat many American homes next winter is going up in price as fast or faster.

    That fact makes the scene in the languid, alligator-infested marshland here in coastal Louisiana all the more remarkable.

    Only a month after Cheniere Energy inaugurated its $1.4 billion liquefied natural gas terminal here, an empty supertanker sat in its berth with no place to go while workers painted empty storage tanks.

    The nearly idle terminal is a monument to a stalled experiment, one that was supposed to import so much L.N.G. from around the world that homes would be heated and factories humming at bargain prices.

    But now L.N.G. shipments to the United States are slowing to a trickle, and Cheniere and other companies have dropped plans to build more terminals.

    A longstanding assumption of American energy policy has been that natural gas would be plentiful abroad, and therefore readily available for importation, as production falls off in North America, where many fields are tapped out.

    But some experts are starting to question that idea, saying natural gas could be subject to the same explosion in overseas demand that has made oil so expensive.

    Natural gas, that's another lead balloon

  4. Environmental study my ass. A bunch of goons in the pocket of big oil is what they are.

    No. This is worse. They’re a bunch of goons in the pocket of Mother Gaia. True Believers they are.

    Focus like a laser on their naïve duplicity and hypocrisy.

    Soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  5. Just to put a number on their Faith, a mid-level manager of a major land development company in California once told me (this was about 6-7 years ago) that the front-end planning for large master planned communities (on the order of square miles) was increased by 5 to 10 years with the various environmental, biological, archeological, and histrical impact analyses and documents.

  6. It's a very tangled web. You can point to some positive developments but they pale in comparison to the nutty stuff that has been imposed through a vehicle no more weighty than lack of good judgement, not to mention lack of good data.

    This issue is going down the exact same road as the recent Court ruling on Guantanamo Bay - we can't abandon standards and rights just because we're under duress. That's when we have to stand up and prevail. The issue is personal and emotional.

    Pragmatic - that's a four letter word. It's also an unacceptable compromise.

  7. The other issue that is going to come out of this is bureaucratic efficiency. Even if an environmental assessment is performed in a manner that is prudent and responsible, it still has to go through the "process" which is a multi-year effort for straight-forward design, but can quickly devolve into a special form of torture if a reviewer decides he doesn't like something.

    The market analysts are talking about the blame game. This one is going to be good. The regulatory review process for construction is a nightmare. Last man standing wins.

  8. If the past is prelude, it'll all end up in Federal Court. Somebody will sue, or already has, and the judges end up running the National Forest, The BLM.

    I had to do an environmental impact statement on my 800 feet of street, an absurdity if there ever was one. It didn't really cost me all that much, however, it being a 'survey' I quess, rather than a 'statement', and there being nothing there to survey other than some stubble. Not even a pheasant, or a coyote, was interviewed, none being about. No arrowhead has ever been found.

    This time around, I have to host a 'neighborhood meeting', a new requirment, so the folks can gang up on me, if they choose, even before the zoning meeting, where they can gang up on me again, and the hearing before the city council, where they can gang up yet a third time. Thankfully, I have few neighbors, and a few look to profit from the deal anyway.

  9. This is old history but worth bringing up. California State Fish and Game Departments in the 1980's had a reputation for being aggressively anti-development. Their review process was overtly obstructionist and this went on for quite awhile until the "relentless noise" reached a critical level. But one shouldn't discount the border-line abuse of power issues that arise, escpecially given the weak science behind much of the regulatory criteria.

    "It's the Judgement stupid."

    Always the Judgement.

    And there are some very good people in the field but too many of their neighbors are unsavory.

  10. And remember to watch your speech around these people.

  11. I'm not a big fan of centralized solar farms, or centralized anything. I believe that the decentralized model is the better way to go. But, right now, concentrated solar plants (these use mirrors to direct sunlight toward heating a synthetic fluid that then powers a steam turbine, producing electricity) are the most efficient way of harvesting solar energy. All solar panels require maintenance to keep them clean and free of derby. This maintenance will sometimes require water; Water that can have dual use in watering farm produce grown in the desert under the partial protection of these solar panels.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Roger Bezdek, MISI, Robert Wendling, MISI, February 2005

    Entire chapter devoted to Natural Gas experience.

    G. Lessons Learned

    A full discussion of the complex dimensions of the current U.S. natural gas
    situation is beyond the scope of this study; such an effort would require careful
    consideration of geology, reserves estimation, natural gas exploration and
    production, government land restrictions, storage, weather, futures markets, etc.
    Nevertheless, we believe that the foregoing provides a basis for the following

     Like oil reserves estimation, natural gas reserves estimation is subject to
    enormous uncertainty. North American natural gas reserves estimates
    now appear to have been excessively optimistic and North American
    natural gas production is now almost certainly in decline.

     High prices do not a priori lead to greater production. Geology is
    ultimately the limiting factor, and geological realities are clearest after the

     Even when urgent, nation-scale energy problems arise, business-as-usual
    mitigation activities can be dramatically delayed or stopped by state and
    local opposition and other factors.

    If experts were so wrong on their assessment of North American natural gas, are
    we really comfortable risking that the optimists are correct on world conventional
    oil production, which involves similar geological and technological issues?

    If higher prices did not bring forth vast new supplies of North American natural
    gas, are we really comfortable that higher oil prices will bring forth huge new oil
    reserves and production, when similar geology and technologies are involved?


    On the other hand a number of companies are actively exploring new deposits and are very optimist. There is considerable activity in this area. (via Jim Cramer)

  14. geological realities are clearest after the fact.

    Well that's not good.

  15. The greenies want to live by the environmental impact statement, now they can die by the environmental impact statement. Even were they to raise Tesla from the dead, and come up with a way to plug appliances directly into the ground, they would need to address how tapping into the earth's magnetic field might affect the navigation system of the common honeybee.

  16. Most existing cars can be modified.

    I don’t think this part is a slam dunk but having said that I still support pursuing this option. Part of the Can Do attitude.

    The subject of a new fleet of vehicles points out a problem noted in the SAIC paper about replacing the existing fleet:

    The U.S. has a fleet of about 210 million automobiles and
    light trucks (vans, pick-ups, and SUVs). The average age of U.S. automobiles is
    nine years. Under normal conditions, replacement of only half the automobile
    fleet will require 10-15 years.

    The US demand for oil cannot be reduced overnight.

  17. Hey Deuce,

    How does 150 miles-per-gallon sound to you?

  18. I'm not a big fan of centralized solar farms, or centralized anything. I believe that the decentralized model is the better way to go.

    Mat - I disagree. The economies of scale argument. I don't realistically see how decentralization will lead the charge. It may evolve incrementally during or as a result of the transition away from oil-based fuels but it won't be in the forefront.

  19. Leaning, Three-Wheeled, Hybrid Scooter: 170 MPG

    Bravo, Vespa!

  20. mat...the peddling part may have to be tweaked.

  21. Even were they to raise Tesla from the dead, and come up with a way to plug appliances directly into the ground, they would need to address how tapping into the earth's magnetic field might affect the navigation system of the common honeybee.

    Classic Lil.


  22. "Mat - I disagree. The economies of scale argument."

    You're right, at least as far as industrial consumption use goes. But for home consumption use, I think most homes, if not all, can be made such as to supply all their energy needs in full.

  23. These vehicles won't penetrate the US market without substantial overhaul of the regulatory code.

  24. There was a movement gaining steam for awhile to demand an 'economic impact statement', to match the 'environmental impact statement', at least here in Idaho, but, it died. Haven't heard from it for awhile. Waiting for its comeback.


    Smells like a lily, spits like a rancher.

  26. That's true - residential, commercial, and industrial are different market sectors. I would impose a geographic layer on top of that - at least until storage technology improves. This is going to be a wild ride.

  27. By the way, has there been an
    'environmental impact statement' filed for that Mars Lander? They are definitely disturbing the environment there, in a way it hasn't been disturbed for many millennia, or more.

  28. All these 'environmental impact statements' around the country didn't mean squat, in my view. What we've had is the virtual outlawing of the nuclear industry, to be replaced by the coal fired plant.

    Smooth move, exlax.

  29. And now we get a bunch of irrationals using nazi like tactics to disrupt a community meeting to get together to discuss the issue, an issue that may help pull our chestnuts out of the fire.
    I already know what arguments the math professor will use, to argue against my proposal for a zone change. He will bring up traffic, mainly, and energy use, but, my side will argue, pointing to the map, how, in the long run, this is a very good proposal, cause, it can take traffic off of highway 95 north and route it away from town. And, it is environmentally friendly, as, folks can walk to the U of I from there, and, the University owed Mall too, which pays part of the professors retirement.

    I got about one fight left in me, and, this is it.

    What the professor really cares about is his view, I am ruining his view. He's a Johnny Come Lately, and will use some statistics and shit, when, he is really fighting for his view.

  30. And, of course, people use all these 'environmental' arguments, traffic arguments, on and on, and such, to either protect, or enhance whatever economic position they got in society. Hence the big resistance to Wal-Mart here by the local merchants, who want to continue to fleece us poor suckers with really outrageous prices, when Wal-Mart can do us all a lot better. They want to keep Wal-Mart out, so they can continue to charge 50 or 100 percent more for the same crap as Wal-Mart sells, and get away with it.

  31. You know, this riff has more potential than Spider Man on steroids. But I have looked into their eyes and I was ... sort of itchy.

    Some very good, competent, and rational people work in land development. They know the requirements and they are able to clearly communicate what needs to be done so the money men can factor that into their front-end planning.

    It is an unfortunate imbalance in the performance history of the environmental movement that past excesses obscure the positive developments. But it has become a religion. Global Warming, I mean Climate Change. Just the present-day example.

    It is funny and serious at the same time. And believe me, the money men are very serious - and they don't like surprises, which usually come through the engineers.

  32. Ir's all about whose ox is getting gored.

    Mrs. C., who owns Tri-State here, and is rich as hell, having fleeced us all for years and years, fought like hell to have the city council turn down the Wal-Mart Super Store. Argument, we must keep the local small town community spirit,etc. Real reason, they will compete with her, give her a run for the money.

    Upshot, Wal-Mart Super Store turned down for now. Upshot, that city council voted out of office because people want Wal-Mart Super Store, and the lower prices it brings.

  33. And Hillary, that 'has been', who said "It takes a village", was on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors, working feverously there, to build a "village".

    How we can be serious about any of these candidates, and not crack a smile, well, that's a hard thing to do.

  34. Where it’s Always a Small Price to Pay for Quality,
    Tri-State Idaho’s Most Interesting Store!

    And, the mark up is 100%, long as we got no competition, cause we got no competition!

  35. Fish our waters, travel our backcountry, run through wide open spaces with your arms outstretched...and if Tri-State can help make your experience the best it can be...we’re more than happy to do it.

    We'll 'help you out' as long as we fleece you to the tune of 100%, long as we can keep Wal-Mart out!

  36. Just need a huge bank of batteries, mat, to run my A/C, clothes washer and dryer and video needs.

    I mean huge, amigo.

    Been there, done that.

  37. "DENVER — Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years."
    EB can Solve This!

    ...start a movement to DEMAND that the Feds supply us all with our allotments of KoolAide so we can just get this over with, already.

  38. Without facoring in the A/C, still need a bunch of batteries, a big bunch.
    Especially if you ever use an electric kitchen appliance, like a toaster or George Foreman grill.

  39. Or a hair dryer


    and do not leave the TV plugged in, between viewing sessions.

  40. A company here is talking about water storage generation for their windmill farm.

    I'm going to propose tinfoil hats.

  41. "Mat - I disagree. The economies of scale argument. I don't realistically see how decentralization will lead the charge."
    Funny guy.
    Ha ha.
    The charge is the POINT.
    w/o that and something to store it in, we're sunk.

  42. Enviros have cut off geothermal at Kiluaea:
    The fumes, you know.
    Meanwhile, a new vent opened up 2 weeks ago increasing the VOG (volcanic fog, hydrochloric and sulfuric acid and the like) by a factor of TEN.
    ...but at least it's NATURAL.

  43. The decentralized lifestyle, refered to as "off grid" is doable, but quite different than the normal middle American lifestyle we've come to know and love.

    TV & A/C on demand.
    24/7 internet access.

    Not with current electrical storage capacity, not at the home level, soon.

  44. leading the charge

    I got a look to me but it's not that cute.

  45. Now we all gotta know. least Lullus posts pictures.

  46. dRat,

    decentralized =/ off grid

    In Germany, excess solar home electricity production is sold to the utility companies. Most homes run an overall surplus. And that's in sunny Germany.

  47. "The decentralized lifestyle, refered to as "off grid" is doable, but quite different than the normal middle American lifestyle we've come to know and love."
    We had a friend that had a place up behind hearst castle, at about 2,000 ft I think.
    ...nice view of the ocean from Vandenberg to Monterrey, almost.
    Water consisted of a spring a thousand feet down a canyon on the backside.
    He built storage tanks out of 4by 8 sheets of plywood. (boxes)
    Had a gas powered pump that you would hike down to when it was time to transfer water from the tank on the bottom to the tank near the house.

  48. We had a spring 300 ft ABOVE the house.
    His wife kind of envied our 100lbs of free water pressure running a 1 inch pipe 24hrs/day.
    Almost hate ourselves for selling the place.
    Especially now.

  49. ...but, of course, I would need rifle training, and an arsenal to fend off MS-13 drug runners now.

  50. Hot water was a galvanized loop I put in the firebox of our woodstove.
    ...gravity circulation to the tank on the second floor.
    Burbled a bit to get started.
    Solar assisted for sunny day luxuries.

  51. And have the Chicanos call you Boss.

  52. Did you see my Moe Berg link in the previous thread, Mat?

  53. The ex-CIA superhero yid,
    you Putz!

  54. A company here is talking about water storage generation for their windmill farm.

    I had an idea something like this, but mine was you build a dam, back up the water, run the water trough turbines, use the juice to pump water up to the dam, repeat.

    Then I figured out nuclear energy would be a lot simpler.

  55. If we can hold a meeting without the environazis breaking the place up.

  56. Biographer confused him with Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. Heheh.

  57. I'm sorry, Doug. The worship or admiration of personalities is not my thing. You will have noticed, I'm never one to eulogize the dead.

  58. Doug, it always ticks me off, you don't even know what cold is, and, if by accident, you should get a chill, you can always stroll down a few hundred feet in elevation and warm up. Or, take a dip in the ocean!


    Your attitude particularily angers me in December, and January!!

  59. Shit, it's almost mid-summer here, and the river is still rising.

  60. "You will have noticed, I'm never one to eulogize the dead"
    He won't let em have heaven,
    and don't credit them here on Earth.
    Yid's got a Jooish Id,
    I tell ya.

  61. Myself, I'm terminally Id ridden.

  62. Wife calls me her Libido Machine.

  63. He agrees with 5 of our Gods in Black Robes.

  64. because the father's opinion is obligatory

    Sometimes daddy does know best, as a grown up daddy like myself can testify. But, the deal is, in the muzzie way, the poor girl has no choice, is passed on like a pork chop.

    I've been of the opinion for many years that each individual has an inviolable center, and they should be raised to recognize that, and learn to live with it, freedom of choice, or, the freedom to decline, being the reflection of the image of God in us. Thus, we should raise the daughters to age 16 at least, maybe 18, I'd go even higher, and advise them the best we can, letting them make their own informed choice at that point, rather than slapping them on the meat counter at age 7, 9, or 11, or whatnot.

  65. Mat, shame on you!

    I quess you might call that a stone cold f**k...

  66. What's wrong with Libido Machine? :)

  67. In Switzerland you don't own your burial plot, you rent it. When there's no one to care the for payments, they simply dig you out and place a new corpse in there.

  68. Hey, don't knock it!
    That's as big a turn-on for Mat as watchin Lesbos go at it.

  69. Mat, they found a guy who had been 'buried' for something like 20,000 years, with an arrow in his back, when the glacier melted a little, there in Switzerland. He wasn't payin' no rent, and he's now encased in a fancy vault there somewhere, under study, and for viewing, having beaten the system.

    My will says, burn bob.

  70. Stone Cold Swiss.
    Guy here grew up there.
    Rather removed from his parents.
    2 years ago they checked out together.
    Very Businesslike.
    Hope they left him a note.

  71. Burn Bobby Burn!


  72. Mat is a child of Mars. At least so it says in his Horoscope.

  73. They're probly researchin how best to extract value outta what's left of him.
    Plus trackin down his lineage to take care of their arrears.
    Always coverin their ass, them Swiss.

  74. And then, why are you hanging around here, and not on the Mars Lander, where you ought to be? Digging soil samples?

  75. Miller would have his side kick diggin hisself outta that comedic black-hole.
    His Go To Jew.

  76. "Salmon"
    ...looks like Salmon Rushdie, according to Miller.

  77. Bob, you know I'm conducting an environmental study for possible colonization. :)

  78. Neat picture of 3 submarines at the North Pole. Circa 1987!

  79. Mars Lander. That sounds Swedish to me. What are implying, Bob?!

  80. Miss Mars Lander, she's my sis. You have to ask her first.

  81. Ask her twhat? If she shaved her beard?

  82. Rufus!
    I was just tellin the wife about you tryin to prepare us for a soft landing.
    Not too many non wackos called this crunch as close as you did 2 years ago.
    Nazi Elitist Pig Arnold is givin crazy John shit for wantin to drill.
    Meanwhile, he extracts ever more from Californians Freedoms and Pocketbooks.
    ...Offset w/carbon credits, no doubt.
    Worse than Gore.

  83. But, before I go, teacher LeFemme LaFlamme catches fire, and Get's Fired, and More

    What have we come to?

  84. They do not use A/C, in sunny Germany, mat.

    Different energy needs, totally.

    The CIA tells US this, about Germany:
    total: 357,021 sq km
    land: 349,223 sq km
    water: 7,798 sq km
    Area - comparative:
    slightly smaller than Montana

    Slightly smaller than Montana
    In a locale that needs not A/C or other high impact energy use.

    With 82 million people with a meidan age of 43, a population in decline.

    But with about 25% of the population, of the US, in an area slightly smaller than Montana their population density is not omparable, to US, either.

    Their problems and solutions are obviously not all that similar to ours, just by the nature of their population density. Packed in like sardines, those Germans.

  85. Bout the same density as CA, I'd guess.
    Usta be a nice place.

  86. Plus, the Krauts don't bathe too often from what I've heard smell.

  87. No, twice the density of CA.

  88. Here in AZ, those that generate their own electricty can sell it back to the utility.
    As they reportedly do in Germany.

    But the utility is also there to supply the solar generators, when they do not produce enough energy for themselves. Which is more often than not.

    It is common throughout the US, but in AZ the program pays out like:

    SRP will pay $3.00/watt (based on the DC Watt STC rating) up to a maximum of $30,000 (10 kW) per Generating Facility. The incentive will be made after the Owner signs SRP’s current form of the Interconnection Agreement and the Generating Facility passes SRP inspection.

    The buyback program does not change the physics of A/C electrical demands.

  89. Power Companies To Buy Back Solar Energy From Customers

    POSTED: 3:30 pm EST March 4, 2008

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- More Floridians will now be able to sell electricity generated by solar panels back to power companies.

    Florida's Public Service Commission unanimously ratified a rule intended to promote the development of customer-owned, renewable electricity generation and getting those systems connected to the power grid.

    That means customers who generate more electricity than they need through solar panels or other renewable methods will get credit for that extra power.

    So-called net metering already exists in Florida on a small scale, but the new rule expands eligible systems from 10 kilowatts to 2 megawatts. A PSC spokeswoman says that's roughly the difference between a single family home and a large store or office building.

    The power companies do not cut many checks to the independent producers.

  90. I tell ya, in my one trip to Europe I was in Germany for maybe a couple of weeks. There's a poem by Heinrick Heine about crossing the border into Germany. Can't remember it now, but it had some lines about the big change to be felt when crossing into Germany. I felt that. I was on the trains mostly. The German conductors, the passport checkers, man, they felt they amounted to something. Very military, seemed to me. Uniformed, very precise. Probably not that way now. All the other European countries were laid back, by comparison. That was a long time ago, though.

    The Germans can have Germany

    Achtung. Ordnung.


  91. In fact, the Europeans can have all of Europe. North America is a lot better place.

  92. Has anybody ever tried to estimate just how much milk is up there?

  93. Has anybody ever tried to estimate just how much milk is up there?

    hmmm...this is a good question. Wouldn't we have to know first whether they are homoginized, pasturized, 2%, 1%, or skim, or farm fresh? Only a dairy maid would know for sure.

    Recalling the philisophical discussion in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" between Jim and Huck on the related question of where they came from, the option being, I think I recall, whether "they was made or just happened", I think Huck finally offered no opinion, but Jim held that the moon laid them, which seems as reasonable as any other outlook, to me.

    My hunch is that there may be a dreamery creamery up there somwhere, churning out the butter of everlasting life.

  94. No doubt the Messiah could verbalize a harmonic melding of the philosophical positions posited by Huck and Jim.
    We are fortunate indeed to have him and his razor sharp intellect.

  95. Damn,
    Computer was still playing KRLA when I returned.
    Mike Gallegher was talking about his conversations with his wife, who is apparently in her final days with cancer.
    Instructed him to go do his show.
    Talking now about some teens beating a homeless man to death in Cleveland, while passerby's recorded the event on their cellphone cameras.

    I should be more grateful for good health.
    Probly wouldn't hurt to take a bit better care of the old bod, either.

  96. Just tried to post this link of al-Bob's over at BC and it just disappears into space when I push the button.
    Maybe someone else could try a trial post.
    Don't tell me I've been banned already!
    Obama: Arab American?

    Kenneth Lamb, journalist of some note, posits an interesting argument to Obama Hussein's roots on his blog, Reading Between the Lines . Please go here and read it all.
    Yes, it's important.
    Add it to the troubling pot of where Obama
    Hussein's allegiances lie
    Obama Hussein, descendant from Arab slave traders.
    Ouch. Spin that.
    The thing is, the media and the Democrats are touting his "African American" background and using it to mine white liberal guilt (millions of white folks are voting for him to prove they are not racists!) So it stands to reason that we expose his actual descendancy from Arab slave traders - the worst practitioners of racism and human trafficking (even still, even now.) Hardly the "only man that can fix America's soul" as Michelle Barack keeps reminding us.
    BTW, there is nothing wrong with the American soul.

    Barack Obama: Washington Post, Chicago Tribune investigations confirm autobiography lies; now asking: Is "African-American" a lie too
    The author opens citing the work of Mr. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post.
    Mr. Cohen’s columns about the “composites,” rearranged timelines, and complete fabrication of events in Sen. Obama’s autobiography are the basis for a further investigation into Mr. Obama’s claim to be “African-American.”

  97. "They do not use A/C, in sunny Germany, mat."

    Have you looked at this:

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  99. "I tell ya, in my one trip to Europe I was in Germany for maybe a couple of weeks. There's a poem by Heinrick Heine about crossing the border into Germany. Can't remember it now, but it had some lines about the big change to be felt when crossing into Germany. I felt that. I was on the trains mostly. The German conductors, the passport checkers, man, they felt they amounted to something."...

    Bob, I had a similar experience. I lived in Germany for two years. We rented a house in a small village not far from a US Army post.

    It was a very pretty country, but ultra organized and obsessively efficient society.We joked that a German would take a job for less money if they could wear a uniform.

    On road trips back to the UK, I always felt a sense of relief crossing the border to far less efficient Belgium. You could always tell the difference by the more relaxed, charmingly and slightly slovenly look and feel of the place.

  100. Yeah, mat, it says it doesn't work, well, at best

    Concentrating solar collectors only work well with dry clear skies, since diffused light cannot be focused. Concentrating solar collectors required for absorption chillers are less effective in hot humid, cloudy environments, especially where the overnight low temperature and relative humidity are uncomfortably high.

    Won't be seeing any solar A/C, soon.

  101. It seems to me that decentralized solar in the right climate would have the advantage of reducing peak demand on the centralized electricity-generating facilities.

    But I have heard more than one person say that they wouldn’t have those ugly panels on their house/home.

    It’s all about excellence.

  102. Obama says we have to fix housing before we can fix the economy.

    Nationalize the housing industry?

    This Mission to Fix is not good.

    Already losing sight of the ball. The housing-credit issues would be typical market corrections - if not complicated by the predicted effects of peak oil.

    It’s the mind-set that worries me. Government cannot fix everything - but government is required to fix some things.

    Housing (6% of mortgages are in default) will work it out and so will credit. If the news reports are correct, the tax rebates are being used to pay off debt. But the energy transition requires government.

    So the Democratic plan suggests that they will fix housing first - to help the disadvantaged - before energy.

    What did somebody say about prioritizing input data?

    Obama skepticism derives from not knowing who that “strange black guy with the funny name” is.

    I submit that is McCain’s problem even more so. I have been thinking this for awhile. Laura Ingraham made a similar point. McCain hasn’t defined himself (obviously for some here, he has, in spades) - is he a maverick? A conservative? A centrist with left-leaning social policies?

  103. The other thing that is complicating the debate - are speculators creating an oil bubble? - the answer is both yes and no. There is a short-term bubble residing within a long-term shortage that will drive up the price. I have heard various estimates of a fair value for oil - anywhere from $80 to $120, but that doesn't change the long-term supply equation. It just gives more time.

  104. Just to put a decimal point behind it, the U.S. is the most heavily regulated environment in the world. The environmental code is front and center, but safety and health code aren’t pikers. Materials of construction are another. Anyone with direct or peripheral experience in trying to implement a new technology or a new material or a new process knows the challenges.

    The regulatory code - federal, state, municipal, and local - is going to present a huge obstacle to a transition that we are told must be expeditious.

    So the BLM wants to take a closer look a commercial-scale solar. Nothing wrong with that on the face of it, but the regulatory environment will be forced to evolve in parallel with the new technologies under consideration.

    It’s the fear of litigation that delays the regulatory review.

    It’s not the housing.

    My understanding is that the lobbyists will frequently write the code on behalf of government staffers. Where the rubber meets the road. I have seen this also in the private sector but to a limited extent.

  105. I just got back from a week in California checking out the population density. I came down I-5 past Mt Shasta, fourteen thousand feet and it rises right from the freeway with no intervening foothills like Mt Rainier. Then we went down into the Big Valley, miles and miles of peaches and rice and wheat and olive trees. The breadbasket of America. Then we went to the Bay Area, where my uncle warned me of three hour commutes. We went everywhere with no delays and no problems (other than California drivers, who don't signal). Saw our gal-pals get legally married. Went over the Golden Gate Bridge, up through some lovely country with some awful darn big trees, 2000 years old some of them, even drove through a tree, but there weren't that many folks around.

  106. "Concentrating solar collectors only work well with dry clear skies, since diffused light cannot be focused."


    That's not what's used in home application. Concentrating solar is used only in the large industrial solar farms.

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  109. Slade,

    Compare and contrast:

    China passed legislation on renewable energy in January 2007, pledging to spend some $200 billion over the next 15 years.

    The US Congress just passed legislation authorizing $162 billion in military welfare spending on the Iraq /Afghan conflict.

  110. Mat -

    The debate between Max Boot and Andrew Sullivan over America’s postwar relationship with Iraq really captures what the Times Online has asserted in a recent article: “the evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat. The current mood on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, represents a kind of curious inversion of the great French soldier’s dictum: ‘Success against the Taleban. Enemy giving way in Iraq. Al-Qaeda on the run. Situation dire. Let’s retreat!’ ”

    I was just thinking this morning about the difficult decision facing President Bush in 2003 on the eve of OIF and post-911.

    - Increased and accelerated violence being aggressively exported out of the ME - source of world’s largest oil supply in the face of projected 50% increase in demand over a 15-yr time frame.

    - Active proliferation of portable nuclear weapons.

    - The long history of violence that was getting worse, not better, and actively exported cross-border. As Noted by Wretchard, the movement into Venezuela narco-trafficking predates 911.

    What to do? Put on a sweater and have a fireside chat asking the American people to buddy up and carpool because we were all out of oil and the bad guys were having a bad turbin decade? Assemble an emergency energy task force of American Academy of Sciences to identify and screen alternatives - and, by the way - rewrite the regulatory code and overhaul the federal review process? Which they did - except it came from SAIC between 2005 and 2007. The regulatory code remains a problem.

    I don’t want to argue the expense of this war. I will argue that the alternatives did not seem appropriate or compelling to me - not then and certainly not now. We must leverage the current advantage on the ground and not be afraid to move definitively if the future so requires.

    The energy transition will require money but, more importantly, regulatory revision to free the economy to move. [Will the Democrats do that in this environment - or will they stop and "fix" housing first so "grandma and grandpa" can keep their $350,000 bungalo?] Money is of lesser importance than creating a process that allows markets to work better - with some very limited targeting at emerging energy technologies. Look how this country and this world have literally thrown money at problems - the IMF throwing trillions of dollars predating the 1997 Asian currency crisis, how much money has been thrown into education?, how much money has been thrown at the UN?

    The role of government is to provide the blueprint, more than the money. As Robert Reich suggests, some “jump-start” money might be required - on the order of %50B. I believe that is true. But not long-term subsidies.

  111. The Left sneers that Iraq was all about oil.

    Of course it was. At least part of the equation. If someone here wants to balance economic stability with the threat of terrorist aggression, have at it.

    What the critics can't assimilate is that oil profits exist side-by-side with the (1) western lifestyle, both European and American and (2) emerging powerhouses - China and India.

    Every single argument reduced to self-serving populism. Hot news flash. The world is more complicated.

  112. Funny how the numbers just seem to fall in place.

    The Chinese are investing $200B in a country of 1.3B which works out to $153/capita.

    If the U.S. invests $50B in a country of 300M, that works out to $166/capita.

    If you normalize the investments as a percentage of GDP, the Chinese have a GDP of $7MM, which works out to 3%.

    The U.S. has a GDP of $14MM, which works out to 0.4%.

    We have an edge but not the will to use it.

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  114. "What to do?"

    Set a budget.

    As they say: Plan your trade, and trade your plan!

    A $25 billion dollar operation, means a $25 billion dollar operation. It does not mean a trillions dollar black hole.

  115. ..a trillion dollar black hole..

  116. trillion dollar black holes

    20-20 hindsight. I don't need to remind anyone here that the war declaration was passed by Congress.

    The issue can't be resolved nor can it be undone. I have stated my position repeatedly that disruption of portable nuclear weapons market and exposure of UN corruption - on the order of trillions of dollars as well, part of which was funded by U.S., were crucial accomplishments. The ground evidence suggests that Iraq is moving forward as a nation-state - a huge accomplishment, for U.S. and for the people of Iraq.

    The issue now is refusing to sacrifice the gains that have been made, refusing to revisit mistakes of the past, and building on the SAIC peak oil studies, which is either here or near.

    George Carlin's "Heaven, Heck, or Hell." Well man was kicked out of heaven so it seems our choices are heck or hell.

  117. Set a budget. Set some discipline in spending. This level of spending is absurd and obscene.

  118. "exposure of UN corruption"

    What the hell are you talking about? What exposure? How many people have gone to jail?

  119. "disruption of portable nuclear weapons market"

    Again, how many people have gone to jail over this?

  120. Agree about the spending.

    Jail time is a luxury the higher up you go. You're a purist. I am not. It is enough for me - right now - that they were exposed for as worthless conniving self-serving little pieces of sh^ts in silk suits. Gives U.S. political leverage if we're smart enough to use it.

  121. "You're a purist. I am not."

    Pragmatists always lose. By definition.

  122. I guess McCain has a shot.

    Believe me - I could post deep into negative territory - wouldn't break a sweat. The UN story disgusts me - continues to disgust me and now we are poised to elect a transnational liberal who will re-engage what I consider to be a hopelessly corrupt institution of dillettants.

    The Boutique Bourgeois can have their little playground.

    As long as business in this country continues to do what it has always done better than anybody else.

    I pick and chose my battles. Oil is a finite resource. Prices are not going down long term. If that's too complicated a slice of economics to understand than I guess it's values all the way down.

    Or turtles.

  123. One mite wrung from the labourer's hands
    Shall buy and sell the miser's lands,
    Or if protected from on high
    Does that whole nation sell and buy.
    He who mocks the infant's faith
    Shall be mocked in age and death.
    He who shall teach the child to doubt
    The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
    He who respects the infant's faith
    Triumphs over hell and death.

  124. I have a handicapped relative. I know all about the faith of angels. I have seen it in his face my entire life.

    Believe me hard cold pragmatism kept him alive.

    Along with some good medical technology.

    Don't lecture about naivete to me.

  125. Slade,

    I'm not lecturing. I'm saying a mite can grow into something very unmanageable, and often does. The point is, kill the mite before it does you.

  126. Oh.

    I always struggled with literature.

    Buckets of sweat to grind out those essays.

    I blame Bill Gates. The digital age shortened the attention span to a few seconds. We can't see the end of the year, let alone a decade out. Like 300M blind people feeling up an elephant - in between naps.

  127. Reminds me of the movie Executive Decision with Kurt Russell and Halle Barry. After amateur Cessna pilot played by Russell lands a highjacked jumbo jet dropping the nose just before the cliff:

    "These things practically land themselves don't they."

    Maybe we'll get lucky.

    But I doubt it.

  128. Slade,

    This thing is set to crash, and is set to do so on purpose.

  129. That's my prognostication, anyway.

  130. There's just no way the US economy can survive a trillion dollars deficit (and that's where we're going) in it's balance of trade every year for very long just on account of oil. And oil is still very cheap at $140/bbl.

  131. $140 per barrel of oil

    1 barrel of oil = 672 US cups

    140/672 = ¢21 per cup of oil.


  132. And oil is still very cheap at $140/bbl.

    I'm going on record as agreeing with that. I have a very bad feeling about all of this. Some major discoveries will curb the hangover but not the addiction.

    When Bill "The Great Egalitarian" Clinton was elected, he made a point of diversifing his cabinet and advisers - Zoe Baird (who of course didn't make it), Janet Reno, Ron Brown, Madeleine "The North Koreans Lied to Us" Albright.

    I heard an Obama adviser saying on TV [it's always somebody different] that nobody cared about the campaign advisers or staff appointments.

    Key that into the patience and endurance of Islamic-narco traffic alliances along a leaky border.