Monday, April 4, 2011

Map baby! Map! (Americans need more land to develop)

America long ago ran out of land to chase the natives off of and settle, and right now our economy needs a kick in the pants, what to do?  I for one am ready to poo-poo the people who are "peak new world" advocates... seriously, we sent Christopher Columbus to sail West at some point in the past, and he found more land!  (Europe had pretty much been dived up amongst the nobles at that point, and land was needed, as well as gold. and timber).

Now the North American Continent has been dived up and settled, and frankly some of our states are entering a time when having enough water to support our life style is a problem.  What to do?  Well, putting some scallywags in a boat and sailing it off to the unknown worked before.... maybe it will work again and we'll find some undiscovered 8th continent with simple people that we can barter land for smallpox infested blankets... then we can start with the East Coast of our new world, and work our way west.... we'll have cowboys, and pioneers... it'll be real neat-o!

Oh, but there is a problem with my solution you say?  Horse patooties!  Sailing West is a proven method for finding new continents, no reason to think it won't work now!  Map baby, map!

You still don't believe me?  Why?  I don't understand... when I read the comments you leave on any article about oil on the Huffington Post, you say you can't wait for America to be "energy independent" and that peak oil is a lie from the big oil companies to jack up the price of gas.  You have no problem latching on to Micheal Steele bibbles famous chant "Drill baby, drill!".... following your logic, "Map baby, map" isn't a very far leap.

The European empires went through an era of land discovery, that if you were to plot out on a curve would look very much like Dr. M. King Hubbard's twin bell curves.  First there is exploration, slow at first, then more and more "discoveries", then there is a peak, and eventual decline.... and there is nothing "new" find anymore.  Following that curve is an annexation curve... one that starts out slow, has a peak, and a decline.... the cycle of empire.

"Drill baby, Drill" sounds like a great solution to the problem of energy independence... until you look at just exactly how much oil is actually left out there.  My personal favorite is the "Fluffington Post" commenter who pointed out that there are 2 billion barrels in North Dakota... that's nice, at the rate of use of 83 million barrels per day that two billion barrel supply ought to last until Christmas... of THIS year.

"There is PLEANTY of oil out there." is the classic cornucopian argument... that is true, but you won't be able to develop all of it, not by a long shot.   Back when America was 13 colonies there was plenty of land out West... and there still is; but most of it cannot be developed... most of it will not become sub-divisions.   Why... there is land there, why not use it?  Well, access to water and avoidance of floodplains of the same is one good reason, the other is geology; while the suburbs will creep up the valleys right to the base of the mountains, most people will not be building their dream house above timberline, or halfway down a vertical face of a cliff.   Other factors such as bad weather, and seasonal biting insect infestations will keep the people at bay other places.  We also can develop land without building suburbs on it, there are pipelines, power-lines, mines, and access roads to all the above all over the West, even where the people aren't.

Right now, we are at the "bumpy plateau" of  the world's oil peak; the peak of production... and in that peak comes price inflation when demand starts to outstrip supply... then the price of oil crashes as the demand for oil is reduced by the pressures of economic hardship caused by high oil prices....which are no longer high, so the economy starts to recover... then demand rises, then prices rise, then demand falls, then prices fall... it could go on for quite awhile like this, times that are never quite as good as they were, but not the apocalypse that some are predicting.  Not yet anyway.

Political instability may cause temporary price fluctuations, but here's the thing about oil..... it is underground, and no matter what the natives are doing above, the oil will sit there and wait.   However, countries with oil that descend into political instability don't usually recover pre-instability output levels even when the turmoil has passed.

So how about it you "glass is half full" types?  Do you see a shortage of land around Cleveland and Dallas for the ever expanding rings of suburbia?  Then let's put Richard Branson in a sail boat to look for a shortcut to India and hope that he runs into a large "undiscovered" land mass for us to "settle".  It is a theory that gives as much credit to mapmakers, and geographers as "drill baby, drill" gives to geologists and oil executives of the recent past; that is to say, none.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The nature of truth, oil, and "intelligence?" (The only opinion that counts? Kissinger's! Fuck your, mine, and everyone else's opinion, part 3)

The nature of finding truth is going to get rocky at this point... but there is one person who told us the absolute truth.  It happened in Harpers Magazine in March 1975 (and if you want to pay Harpers for an online subscription you can read it for yourself... you won't find it here because I won't be sued for violating copyright)

The article was written by Miles Ignotus (Latin for "unknown soldier") and the gist of it was that OPEC was a threat, and that the only way that America could secure a viable energy future was to invade Saudi Arabia, and allow "Oklahoma and Texas" based oilfield supply companies (Brown and Root) to directly control the oilfields.  The article discounted any other possible option other then direct military intervention.  The article suggested that we start with Iraq, Afghanistan, then Bahrain, UAE and ending up with "the Prize".... The "Kingdom" of Saudi Arabia.

James Atkins found out who Miles Ignotus was when he lost his job as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia after commenting publicly that the author was "out of his mind" to consider this option... Why would the Secretary of State fire Atkins unless the Secretary of State had authored the article? 

What we are continuing to see in the middle east is not some "home grown organic style democratic struggle that the US didn't see coming".... What is happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Lybia, Bahrain, Iran and Morocco is evidence that our CIA has been very, very busy indeed.

Are we such idiots that we don't understand that the "war on terror" has resulted in our agents spending billions of dollars and millions of man hours..... do you really think we didn't set the ouster of Mubarak up? Or worse... were BLIND to the brewing situation?   Not on your life

To think that is pretty short sighted considering our long history in nation toppling... we have sparked coups in Bolivia, Chile, Panama (several times), Iran, Iraq (several times) Korea, Indochina, Columbia.... our agents go out and play both sides just to cause conflict.

We were in Vietnam in 1945.... left in 75... how many billion dollars did Boeing, Lockheed, Bell, Textron, Coke, Brown and Root, and a list too long to name, make? 

All wars are purposefully deceitful to the point that the military that cause them call it "Theater of war" we (most people) think only refers to the place where the battle is occurring, it has become my firm belief of a lifetime of observation that the propose of modern warfare has been to make money through arms attrition, and securing mineral resources.   The point is seldom to win the war... it is to have the war.

A bully on the play ground who steals lunch money probably doesn't need the money, the steals it because he can... the United States and the bankers who currently run the show are the bully on the playground.

The Bully (CIA) has not shrunk, it has not reformed, it has not willingly given up power to the civilian has taken control of that government. 

Facebook is not some harmless hobby in an environment that has the state looking in on the actions and thoughts of all it's citizens, and non-citizens alike.... Facebook is the ultimate spy and surveillance tool, it asks you point blank "what are you doing?" and you respond.  You can be manipulated by what you think your "friends" are thinking.... for both marketing, and protest making.

Any long time observer knows that Henry Kissinger always gets his way, and the way of Kissinger has become the way of the "neocons".... now it is the way of "hope and change".   And that change only points to one direction.

The "remarkable" "surprise" events in the middle east are just the latest part of a long prelude that will ultimately lead to a place where we can appear to legitmately  to seize the prize; Arab oil.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The truth about peaks and populations (fuck my opinion too)

The universal truths are best explained through the use of mathematics.   People like Stephen Hawking are far more likely to "hear" the voice of "god" then say.... oh, Pat Robertson, or the Pope, or the guy strung out on smack on the corner.

Our mastery over what we call "nature" (something the industrialized people try very hard to separate themselves from) is nothing but mathematical equations and formulas of various complexities playing themselves out with manipulation from us.

One of the things we learned was that gold could not be spun from straw... but a small amount of uranium could level a medium sized Japanese city.  We learned that the earth was in fact round, and that there was not limitless land over the next rise to conquer.  We learned things that we perceived incorrectly, (or better yet, provided unnecessary inflammatory verbiage to) such as Darwin's "theory".  "Survival of the fittest" when applied to man's attempt at political structure, and race/class divisions take on a genocidal twist, "The species that most rapidly adapts to changing circumstance is likely to evolve" is a far more thought out inappropriate summary of a body of work then the almost new speak "survival of the fittest".

What's missing from the verbiage is the math (in this case the study of genetics) and the freedom from religion, and freedom from the body politic, for the body of science. 

Another scientific "theory" that is often misused, in conjunction with Darwin's for political gain with the result being genocidal in nature are those of Malthus, a man who correctly saw "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man" he also "Saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour" and for the lack of numbers (pardon the pun) it was as reasonable (if not simplistic, and superstitious) summary of where we sit now.

For the past 70 years starvation has not been about the food supply at all (there has been plenty of food) it has been about distribution.   The combined forces of capitalism (restricting distribution by income), war (restricting distribution for political purposes of an external nature), and totalitarianism (restricting distribution for political purposes of an internal nature), have joined forces, at the only time in history we as a species were able to wipe out our own hunger, and they kept that goal from ever being attained.

Last week on the CFN comment string I got into it with some guy who wanted to yowl at Jim about using the word "inarguable" when describing a possible population overshoot.  This person was all wrapped up in some study he read once that said we would run out of oil and be starving by 1992... this person couldn't let go of this study being wrong.   Being of a nature to discard old studies that didn't pan out as not worth hashing out, I didn't look up the websites the person was howling me to see as some kind of proof of something.

What I do know about the carrying capacity of the planet is that it is a rather complex math problem that most likely, can be worked out.   One must first figure out how much arable land is needed to support 1 person (if you are describing people with different lifestyles such as vegans on bicycles , or the BBQ crowd with an SUV then you come up with an average) then you figure out how many arable acres there are on the planet (not hard to figure out) then you figure out how oil has effected your equation... and the right researcher will come out with a pretty good estimate of the long term carrying capacity of the planet.   I should imagine that that number would be about half as many people that were present when oil was first used on a large scale, but not possessing anything other than 30 some years of observation and an active imagination is hardly enough to qualify on specifics.

A quick trip to the supermarket will tell you (or an alien visitor from another planet) that the population is probably being propped up by some saved up energy source.... you have grapes from Chile, Avocados from Florida, Cheese from England, and France, and Wisconsin, and NONE of it came to the store on the back of a mule.  A visitor from another planet who had been observing the planet for 500 years, and running tests on our available resources would most likely note the rise of population and link it directly with the use of oil.

That same visitor could in turn hypothesise that the using of oil at a much faster rate then it is being replenished might lead to a decline in population as the access to easy energy becomes lessened over time.

All of mankind's prophecies, knowledge, and observations can be put to a numbers test.  The numbers test may even pan out as a "self fulfilling prophecy" (for instance the bible... start in Genesis "be fruitful and multiply" (1+1=2+1=3+1=4+1=5..... ) will eventually become the book of Revelations and the end of time (7billion+1) with massive overpopulation (especially if the species in question is "successful").

Mathematics could be used to figure out exactly how much oil might possibly be here ( with or without taking geologic formation into account) by taking the age of the earth, and figuring out approximately how many calories (for lack wanting of a less understandable energy term) worth of sunlight have fallen on to the planet.  Once you have that figure you start taking out reflected light, light that didn't get used by the living systems of the planet, etc... then factor in the geologic land structure needed to capture usable amounts of hydrocarbons.  A good team of researchers and a brilliant mathematician could reverse engineer the Hubbard curve.   Then there is the math that Dr Marion King Hubbard himself came up with... that production follows discovery and that when new oil finds start to ebb, then within about 20 years production follows.  

I cringe when I read comments on CFN that say that "peak oil is a hoax engineered by oil companies to make you pay more".  Humans when acting or voicing the desired mass view will say one thing, but when it comes right down to they on an individual level will do another; case in point, Green River, Utah.

If you drive West on I-70 outside Green River you will see big blue and white state signs that warn.... "No Service on I-70 Next 108 miles".  Green River has a population of 973, they have 484 hotel rooms and 6 gas stations.   That's one gas station for every 162 residents!  The thing about Green River is that no matter how good you feel about your car's ability to make the 108 miles to Salina on half a tank, most people stop and top off (or at least get a Snapple or cigarettes) at the tiny Utah outpost of civilization.

Since Americans aren't really willing to take chances with their own lives in the Utah desert, I have to wonder where this "the American way of life is not negotiable" or "peak oil is a lie from the oil companies" bravado swells up from?  This is the same America that will spend a night in Green River (as opposed to pushing on to Vegas) as dusk approaches, rather then chance a night on the wild interstate of "no services next 108 miles"?.... This is the America that will top off the tank, grab an Arby's and a Snapple even though they ate an hour and a half ago, and gassed up 100 miles before?... This is the America that will ALWAYS err on the side of caution when driving cross country, rather than risk having to get out and push for miles.... except when it comes to our long term energy prospects? 

What I am describing here is the behavior of an addict in denial.... not a self preservationist, and it should not surprise me at all.   The oil junkie providing the folks of Green River with a reason to get out of bed is just that... a junkie stopping at the dealer's before the big snowstorm.  A alcoholic going to the liquor store to stock up before election day... or Sunday.  

If peak oil "theory" were a plot by the oil traders to drive up price based on scarcity then you can bet your bottom dollar that the PBS NewsHour would start with a sponsorship blurb from Exxon stating that Exxon is really really trying to keep prices low... BUT." They would be seeking to restrict imports (like they were in the seventies) because oversupply would destroy demand.  There would be new production quotas, and cartels.... but there aren't.  

Gas has never made any secret of when there has been plenty around... When there is a fuel glut Denver, Houston, and Calgary have " see through" glass office towers (no tenants).  When there is a glut (like there was when the North Slope and North Sea came in) the most idiotic politician looks like a economic genius (take Reagan and Thatcher, who are credited with saving the economies of the US and Britain through optimism and trickle down economics), once the glut is gone, Denver, Calgary, and Houston have a surge in office tenant's, and the stupid practice of borrowing tax cuts for the rich stops working out while the bubbles start popping like champagne at a charity ball...

The oil industry is giving us other nonverbal cues as well.  Exxon recently sold ALL it's corporate owned gas stations (while retail fuel sales is a low margin business, the pop, candy and snacks that accompany them make this a most profitable proposition for the oil companies), they also sold their in house credit card operation, and they are busy buying back stock from mutual funds.  

The other nonverbal cue: there has not been an increase in oil refining capacity in the US since 1976.
"There have been calls every year this decade for new refining capacity, yet no new projects initiated," said Geoff Sundstrom, a spokesman for AAA, the motorist organization. "Refining capacity has not kept pace with demand for gasoline."

Think about that for a second.   "Refining capacity has not kept pace with demand for gasoline"
Can you think of any industry that does not increase capacity to keep pace with demand?  Even the cocaine production and supply industry manages to keep pace with demand despite a multi billion dollar war being waged against it.

You don't see any other industry on earth (save for luxury products, and gas is hardly in the league of designer handbags) that intentionally doesn't keep up it's infrastructure to suit demand.  So what could all those non-verbal cues coming from Exxon, Shell, BP, Sinclair, Chevron, Marathon, etc.... mean?

What indeed.... to be continued

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The utter futility of debate as it pertains to the nature of truth. (Fuck your opinion)

The cliche "There are two sides to every story, and the truth is probably found right in the middle."  has given rise to a new class of ass; the person who believes that truth is so subjective that it can be found in all cases smack dab in the middle of two "differing" opinions.  This is not some localised trivial phenomena nor is it harmless and quaint; it is in fact, quite a dangerous path, and currently the one most traveled (such is the unfortunate nature of "democracy").

"TRUTH, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time."  -Ambrose Bierce

Truth does not require consent of the witness or anyone else.  Nor does it require affirmation from the courts, or the press.   Truth is above speculation, and opinion... it never defies established laws of physics (known or unknown) and it is the only correct account.

Lies serve to obscure truth... but they cannot change what has actually happened.  Nor can they ever become truth in the absence of evidence to the contrary.  Beings can debate what actually occurred at some time in the past, and one can come closer to explaining the true story than the other, but this too will not have any effect on what actually occurred.  

The truth exists even when no one believes it, or knows what it is... the truth does not care what you think, and it cannot be purchased in exchange for a change in it's nature.

The truth is that I just typed a "U" where the "I" is in the first five words of this sentence... or did I?  In this case the only one who will know that truth is me, or someone who has installed some kind of spy ware on my PC keyboard would know for sure... I may have typed "a" for "I", or I might just have typed "I" correctly in the first place .... you will never know for sure, and the truth is that it doesn't matter at all.

But what about the things that we think DO matter?  (I would guess for some of us at this point in history that the events in Daley Plaza Nov 22, 1963 would be in that category)  The nature of truth does not change.... even then.   There is one correct version of events that happened that day, only one...whether anyone knows what it is or not is what is most maddening for most who pursue to know exactly what it was..

So many people find frustration seeking unknowable truths, perhaps just knowing that there is a true story in there somewhere should be enough, but it is not.

Truth cannot side with people, but people can seek out and side with truth... people that are really good at this don't offer an opinion until they have enough checks in a column of observation.  People that are really bad at this have an opinion before any evidence is presented (and it is usually quite emotionally based)

Truth can be reported, but not if the reporter changes it in any way to meet their own agenda, then the fact becomes fiction, instantly, with no room for further debate.

The nature of truth can be widened to make someone correct (If you say the earth is 6000 years old, and I say the earth is as old as the earth is, I am more correct than you no matter what, the second I argue more specifically that that, we both become guessers... we do not know the EXACT age of the planet we have educated hypothesis, and folk lore, not candles on an Earth day cake, or rings to count to the core).

I love a good argument about things that are unknowable to the single "human primate" as he runs his ego about the planet for 72 years... especially when it involves defending his need to breed and show off.   That's the button that peak oil production hits.

And any one who has been to West Texas can see that this once bountiful Eden of petroleum is no longer a bountiful Eden... it was once a "star of the American road".... now West Texas is a has been.   Sure there's still plenty of activity out there, but the golden days of West Texas Intermediate Crude happened about 40-50 years ago.

Each place that has been blessed/cursed with oil has a peak of production.... whether it be the 100 acre "Lazy J" Ranch in Crane County, Texas, the entire state of Texas, the United States, the North American Landmass, or the planet.

The nature of the oil business is always based on deception... but the truth of oil is that it is our basic commodity, and with oil the most basic lie was always that there was plenty of it.

To be continued....

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Fluffington Post

It was somewhat sad day today as the Huffington Post got gobbled up by AOL, just another sellout in the sellout culture.  Now Ariana can fulfill her destiny and become the "publisher" of the internet's USA Today.  I wish her all the luck in the world as she morphes into someting that will be gobbled up by Newscorp.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oprah's sister's sister's problem.

The big O has a half-sister, and whats more Oprah was proud that the half sister "didn't contact the press, and she didn't try to sell her story." 
Isn't it funny that the FIRST thing Oprah did was publicy trot out a "secret" in an attempt to get the ratings for herself (she sold her story).
What a sell out; but we knew that.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The "Lord's Prayer".... I seriously hope not.

"Our Father"  Okay, you lost me right there, that is an assumption that to me borders on heresy right off the bat.  Who the hell are you assigning a sex to whatever is responsible for all that surrounds us.
"Who art in Heaven"  I thought god was everywhere, at all times.
"Hallowed be thy name"  and again with the assumptions.... you not only know that there is a god; but that it is a man and you know it's name... like you got introduced at a cocktail party or something.
"Thy Kingdom come... thy will be done; on earth as it is in Heaven"  God I hope not!  If I actually get to "heaven" and find it full of unjustifiable wars, strip malls, suburbs, SUV's, credit ratings and supermarkets I will try to terminate my eternal life...seriously, you want Heaven to be like Dallas?  Even worse, you think Dallas is Representative of heaven?  Custom home sites and gated communities, with office "parks" where people plan the collective using up of the planet to turn a profit for the quarter?
Seriously, Christians have a clear majority in the USA, and if they are "working for the lord" on a daily basis by going to work in missile factories, or the Pentagon, or strip mine operations then they obviously don't value Heaven that much.   Like other empty platitudes "done on earth as in heaven" is like "don't mess with Texas" ... just a saying, look at the garbage heap that is Texas.
"Give us this day our daily bread" ... how utterly Roman.
"and forgive us our debits, as we forgive our debtors"  our debts will not be forgiven at all, but will compound at 24.9% APR... our debtors will not be forgiven, but shall remain at large none the less.
"and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" ... seriously?  Turn on the "Christian" TBN network sometime.... sitting on faux gold thrones, with too much makeup, and bad suits begging for money.  Sounds like being delivered to evil by temptation to me.
"for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, amen."  Sounds like it was written for the Third Reich propaganda films...not to cover an ever loving and forgiving god's blessings.
maybe the "lord's prayer" needs to be thought about a little bit more, you know, updated something like:
"our loving god, who is everywhere, we don't even know your name, if there's a kingdom come, let it be better done, in heaven than it is on earth, forgive us this day the lifeforms we've abused, as we forgive our abusers, force us to lead ourselves in a manner less evil, for we don't know what your plans are... amen"