Supplemental energy puts humans in charge

Energy is a subject that is greatly misunderstood. Its role in our lives is truly amazing. We humans are able to live and move because of the energy that we get from food. We count this energy in calories.

Green plants are also energy dependent. In photosynthesis, plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into the glucose that they need to grow.

Ecosystems are energy dependent as well. The ecologist Howard T. Odum in Environment, Power, and Society explains that ecosystems self-organize in a way that maximizes the useful energy obtained by the group of plants and animals.

Economies created by humans are in some respects very similar to ecosystems. They, too, self-organize and seem to be energy dependent. The big difference is that over one million years ago, pre-humans learned to control fire. As a result, they were able to burn biomass and indirectly add the energy this provided to the food energy that they otherwise had available. The energy from burning biomass was an early form of supplemental energy. How important was this change?

How Humans Gained Dominion Over Other Animals

James C. Scott, in Against the Grain, explains that being able to burn biomass was sufficient to turn around who was in charge: pre-humans or large animals. In one cave in South Africa, he indicates that a lower layer of remains found in the cave did not show any carbon deposits, and hence were created before pre-humans occupying the cave gained control of fire. In this layer, skeletons of big cats were found, along with scattered gnawed bones of pre-humans.

In a higher layer, carbon deposits were found. In this layer, pre-humans were clearly in charge. Their skeletons were much more intact, and the bones of big cats were scattered about and showed signs of gnawing. Who was in charge had changed.

There is other evidence of human domination becoming possible with the controlled use of fire. Studies show a dramatic drop in numbers of large mammals not long after settlement by humans in several areas outside Africa. (Jeremy Lent, The Patterning Instinct, based on P. S. Martin’s “Prehistoric overkill: A global model” in Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution.)

In recent times, humans have added fossil fuel energy, hydroelectric energy and nuclear energy to their “toolbox.” All of these energy sources have allowed humans to stay in charge.

Whether humans’ control of energy is good or bad depends on a person’s point of view. Without humans being in charge, the human population would likely be similar in size to that of the populations of chimps or gorillas–in other words, tiny in comparison to today’s human population. Furthermore, humans would be located only in the warmer parts of the world. As we will see in the next section, humans would not have evolved in the direction they did. Instead, they would have continued with only the abilities they had as pre-humans. They would have continued living in the wild, eating raw food and spending half of the day chewing it.

How the Controlled Burning of Biomass Produced Amazing Results 

Pre-humans learned to control the burning of sticks and other biomass over one million years ago. This new-found ability helped our ancestors in many ways:

(1) Pre-humans could cook part of their food. (Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human) The ability to cook food increased the variety of food that could be eaten because some foods need to be cooked to be edible. Chewing time could be greatly reduced (Chris Organ et al.), leaving more time for tool making. Moreover, cooking allowed nutrients in food to be better absorbed.

(2) Less of the energy from food was needed for the maintenance of large teeth, jaws, and guts. Instead, more energy could go into building a larger brain. In this way, our ancestors could outsmart their predators, instead of depending on their muscles and teeth.

(3) Pre-humans could use fire as a tool to burn down unwanted trees and brush, making it  easier to capture prey and encouraging new plant growth of a type more suitable as human food. Also, the fire itself could be used to frighten predators.

(4) Stone tools could be made sharper using heat.

(5) The heat from fire could be used to enlarge the range where pre-humans were able to live.

(6) Larger brains and frequent gatherings around campfires allowed language to develop.

(7) Humans, with their larger brains, were able to selectively breed different types of plants and animals, choosing characteristics that were better suited to their needs. As humans tamed fire and animals, they themselves became (in some sense) tamer.

The Physics Reason Why Energy Is So Important

We are all familiar with how the energy from food allows humans to grow. We also know how solar energy allows green plants to grow. Most physics instruction focuses on thermodynamically closed systems—that is, systems to which no new energy supply is added. Sometimes isolated systems are discussed—again a situation where no additional energy is available. In these situations, there is no growth—only a gradual depletion of the available energy supply, leading ultimately to “heat death.”

More recent analysis has shown that thermodynamically open systems, which are characterized by inflows of energy, are very different. They can, and do, change and grow. Hurricanes grow when heat from warm seawater is available. Stars grow as the result of the chemical reactions taking place within them. All of these structures (known as dissipative structures) are temporary in that they cannot continue to exist when suitable flows of energy are no longer available. They can also be undone in other ways, such as too much pollution or by other forms of “entropy.”

On earth, the energy system we experience is an open system. Energy from the sun is constantly being supplied. Energy made available by burning biomass and from burning fossil fuels is also being supplied, as is nuclear energy, in the form of electricity. The energy obtained from burned fossil fuels, in fact, reflects the re-release of ancient solar energy that was once stored in the bodies of small plants and animals. Under the proper temperature and pressure conditions, this stored energy had been slowly transformed into fossil fuels.

The Hidden Nature of Energy Consumption 

When humans burn fossil fuels today, they are able to access the use of this stored energy. Some researchers have talked about the ability to utilize fossil fuel energy as being similar to having “energy slaves.” In making this analogy, it has been observed that a human adult produces roughly the energy output of an always-on 100 watt light bulb. Even when humans were still hunter-gatherers, they made some use of energy slaves, approximately tripling the amount of energy available to the economy at that time. By the time the industrial period was reached, always-on watts per capita had climbed to 8000, indicating that energy available to industrialized humans was 80 times as high (8000/100 = 80) as the amount expected based on food energy alone. The huge increase represented primarily the use of fossil fuels.

Figure 1. Relationship between human energy use and population.

In Against the Grain, Scott finds that slave labor was very widely used in early civilizations. Male slaves were often used for tasks requiring heavy labor, such as mining and building roads. Today’s fossil fuel energy slaves can do these things and much more. For example, a truck operated on a road makes liberal use of fossil fuel energy slaves partly to make the road, partly to build the truck and partly as fuel to operate the truck.

Any commercial process requires energy in one or more forms. Part of the energy can be human energy. This human energy can be used in many ways such as typing on a computer, listening, thinking, operating machinery, speaking, digging in the ground, and walking. The rest of the energy is likely to consist partly of electricity and partly of fossil fuels burned for heat. (Some of this heat energy is converted to rotary motion in order to power vehicles.) Constructing a building requires a tremendous amount of energy; manufacturing a car is also energy-intensive. Heating and lighting a building require energy. Even obtaining a potable glass of cold water requires energy.

Figure 2 is a chart showing a breakdown of non-transportation energy consumption in the United States, based on data from the United States Energy Information Administration.

Figure 2. United States non-transportation energy consumption by sector, based on information from the US Energy Information Administration.

The residential percentage of non-transportation energy consumption rose from 23% in 1949 to 29% in 2017. We don’t have a world estimate of the breakdown of energy consumption for residential use, but the United States is probably unusually high with its 29% residential share. According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, China’s energy consumption was only 11% residential in 2014.

If people do not understand how much of our energy consumption is hidden, it is easy for them to overestimate the benefit that can be achieved through energy conservation by individual citizens. A major use of supplemental energy (that is, beyond that available from food consumption) is to provide finished goods of all sorts, such as cars, homes, electricity transmission lines and roads. Supplemental energy consumption also provides the gift of free time. Without modern agricultural equipment, many more of us would be working long hours in the fields, leaving little time for advanced education and other modern pursuits. Another benefit of supplemental energy consumption is a much longer life expectancy, thanks to such things as clean water and antibiotics. Indirectly, supplemental energy consumption also provides jobs that pay well. Without supplemental energy consumption, there would be few jobs other than digging in the ground with a stick, in an attempt to grow food.

In a very real sense, the availability of inexpensive energy supplies that work to power existing machinery and equipment is what allows today’s economy to function.

How Can We Tell If Human Carrying Capacity Has Been Reached?

If we are discussing primates such as chimpanzees, baboons and gorillas, it is fairly easy to tell when the carrying capacity of the environments they inhabit has been reached. These primates depend on local food and water supplies. If there is not enough food to go around, the weakest and the lowest ranking will find themselves without enough high quality food, bringing the population back below the carrying capacity. In some cases, as population density rises, there may be aggression toward immigrants to the territory. Females have even been observed to kill the infant newborns of community members.

Humans have control of various types of energy supplies, in addition to food. These energy supplies make it easier to produce enough food for the overall population. People today are used to having things that wild animals do not have, such as clothing, education, climate controlled homes, transportation, medical care and retirement benefits. It should not be surprising that in our case, the first sign of reaching carrying capacity is something other than running out of food. In fact, the laws of physics suggest that reaching human carrying capacity is unlikely to be signaled by running out of any energy product, such as oil.

Instead, the issue that tends to arise as humans reach carrying capacity is increasing wage disparity. This issue arose in the 1930s, and it seems to be rising again now. Increasing wage disparity is a way, within our economy, of squeezing out some members, if there are not enough energy supplies to go around. Providing climate-controlled homes, automobiles, paved roads and electricity transmission lines for people all over the world would take a huge amount of energy supplies–far more than we have available today. Wage disparity assures that some groups cannot afford these goods and services, thereby effectively holding down demand for these goods and services.

Many people believe that oil prices are likely to rise very high, if there is a shortage. However, if wage disparity grows sufficiently large, any spike in prices is likely to be short lived. Instead, the energy limit that we are reaching may be prices that do not rise high enough to encourage adequate production of energy products. Without sufficient production of these energy products, there will be a shortfall of finished goods and services.

Physicist François Roddier in Thermodynamique de l’évolution : Un essai de thermo-bio-sociologie explains that when there is inadequate energy for an economy, the situation is similar to some members of the economy being “frozen out” through low wages. The same forces allow a rising portion of the wages (and other wealth) to go to the very rich. This situation is like steam rising. These individuals do not use very much of their wages to purchase goods and services made with commodities. Instead, they tend to use their wages for services (such as tax avoidance) that are not very energy intensive. Also, they tend to use their wealth in ways that tends to drive up asset prices, without adding true value. For example, buying previously issued shares of stock can have this effect.

Eventually, the poor are frozen out. In fact, in cases of extreme wage disparity, the problems can spread further as governments find it impossible to collect enough taxes to finance their spending.

What Characteristics Do Energy Supplies Need to Have?

Unless we are willing to give up our dominion over other species, including microbes, humans need to secure a supply of energy products that grows with human population. These energy products must precisely match the needs of current infrastructure. They also need to be inexpensive and non-polluting. They cannot add new problems of their own–new types of entropy.

At this point, we are running into difficulties. Fossil fuels are becoming ever more expensive to extract. They also lead to carbon dioxide and other pollution problems. Nuclear energy seems to be quite dangerous, given the problems with waste disposal and multiple accidents, including the one at Fukushima.

Wind and solar, and indeed hydropower, are not really solutions, either. For one thing, they are not very controllable. If humans expect to control their environment, they need to be in control of their energy resources. Even waterpower can vary by a huge amount, from month to month and from year to year.

Figure 3. California Hydroelectric Generation by Year, Based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Hydroelectric, wind and solar can be used in limited amounts, as part of a portfolio of energy products, but they cannot be used on their own, unless they are hugely overbuilt. In that case, only a very small portion (which can then be controlled) is used. Many people believe that storage can be used as an alternative to backup energy supplies, but the cost of adequate storage seems to be extraordinarily high because of the long-term nature of required storage. (Note also the apparent need for multiple-year storage indicated by the pattern on hydroelectric generation shown in Figure 3.) If humans expect to be in control of other species, humans need to be in control of the supply of energy resources.

Of course, choosing not to be in control is another option. In such a case, we can expect human death rates to rise rapidly. If this happens, women will again be valued for their ability to produce large numbers of children. Men will be valued for their strong muscles. The world will become a very different place.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,426 Responses to Supplemental energy puts humans in charge

  1. Rodster says:

    Lets see how well this works out for them. I have serious doubts.

    “If Ireland Can Get Out of Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too”

    • still they need ff if they want to import biomass from tue US,
      since they dont want to burn their own “turf” anymore

    • Selling stocks and bonds of fossil fuel companies is a whole lot different from getting off the use of fossil fuels.

      No country, or part of country, has gotten off the use of fossil fuels. Without fossil fuels, they cannot manufacture anything or grow crops. They cannot operate 99% of their vehicles. They cannot lubricate their wind turbines. All the residents can do to earn a living is tell each other’s fortunes.

      Don’t these folks understand this?

      • Rodster says:

        They will probably buy wind and solar parts from someone else so they can brag how green they are. If it were so easy cutting the fossil fuel cord, everyone would be doing it. Call me a doubting Thomas.

      • Sheila chambers says:

        It’s clear to me if no one else, that they don’t understand that. I figured it out some time ago, “clean, green renewables” are as tightly tied to oil as any other high tech device & we cannot replace a RESOURCE with a TECHNOLOGY that’s dependent upon that same RESOURCE.
        If a OLD, dumb female, high school educated graduate can figure that out, why can’t they?
        There is no way we can get off oil when everything we have is tied to it.
        Our FOOD wouldn’t arrive without OIL & NATURAL GAS growing it & TRUCKS delivering it, virtually nothing we own would exist without it as all manufacturing now is dependent upon fossil RESOURCES & we need to stop calling these resources “fuel” as OIL is much more than a mere fuel, it’s EVERYTHING!
        Our “educational” system has failed us big time, we have millions of people who actually BELIEVE they was “made” a few thousand years ago by the “god” of Israel & because they don’t actually READ their bibles, their still waiting for Jesus to return to rapture them up to “heaven”, just just how dumb is that?
        We were not taught to think CRITICALLY, but to just believe what we were told, I had to teach myself to question what I was told, most people don’t, they just believe, it’s easier.

        This civilization is TOAST as are most of us, enjoy this way of life while it lasts because it can’t last much longer.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And be sure to gun the engine on the way out!!!

        • I think you have figured out pretty well what is happening.

          We have gotten ourselves to involved with models, and breaking problems down into tiny pieces, each of which are hopefully solvable, that people tend to miss the big picture. They miss obvious flaws in the reasoning. Big picture thinking seems to be out.

          I am not sure the problem is with the educational system. There is (or used to be) differences in schools. There are other countries where rote memorization is emphasized more than here. I am afraid that now television and video games play too big a part in a lot of people’s lives.

          • richarda says:

            Continuing the car engine theme, I was reading some old car magazines, circa 1976, so maybe not all that old, the 1960’s were better, and the difference in quality compared to today’s car magazines was striking. I’d guess the dunbification of the world is ongoing.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              B-ull sh it.

              Do you not remember how Detroit pumped out rubbish that broke down constantly?

              Then the Japanese came along and showed them how to do it – and the Germans

              Automobiles (other than Tesla) are far far far superior to anything made pre 1980.

            • agreed

              i always wanted a particular classic car—

              until i got to drive one—i was petrified, it was in perfect condition, but didn’t seem to want to stop

              gorgeous to look at—but well past its use-by date

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I bought a 60 something landrover in Bali …. Madame Fast refused to go for joy rides with me — because just about every time we took it on the road — it broke down…. it as an utter pile of sh it.

            • obviously Lady Fast was expecting a different kind of joyride

            • Tim Groves says:

              The cars may have been c r a p in the 60s, but as Richard says, the magazines were strikingly better. Same for the science magazines, the political magazines, the fashion magazines, and even the comic magazines.

          • Rodster says:

            The article is a little misleading and I should have mentioned that, my bad. No where does it state they will stop using fossil fuels, well because they can’t. They are just divesting themselves from fossil fuels. “It’s basically symbolism over substance”.

            It’s basically how the US Gov’t taxes/fines tobacco companies because of all the health problems they create but they have NO problems cashing their check and as such they’re not looking to put tobacco companies out of business.

        • Lastcall says:

          ‘…we cannot replace a RESOURCE with a TECHNOLOGY that’s dependent upon that same RESOURCE.’

  2. Baby Doomer says:

    Will the End of the US Empire Be a Soft Landing or a Total Collapse?

  3. Duncan Idaho says:

    72.67 USD +0.57

    Just to let reality sink in a bit——-

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      The concern is that sanctions on Iran will hurt supply and that Venezuelan production will fall further. Wild volatility seems a given moving forwards as slowing demand growth (and potentially collapsing demand) battles it out with a tightening of conventional oil supply, while the shale industry acts as wild card.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Lets just keep track of the price—-
        The Market seems to know—–

        • Lastcall says:

          What/which market?
          The one with the gu.ns doing the talking?
          The OPEC cartel?
          The loss making shale oil market?


    • I am afraid it is hard to discern what you mean.

      If on August 21, 2018, Brent oil price is $72.67, it means it made peak of $80.42 back on May 22, 2018, and hasn’t been able to retake that peak in three months. In fact, storage has been refilling in the US, suggesting that the limit on the current price rise may have been hit.

      Over the longer term, a price of $72.67 madness that the Brent price is now 4.5 times the average inflation-adjusted price of $16.26 between 1930 and 1970. This means that infrastructure is very expensive to replace.

      On the other hand, the price is still down 39% from its average price in the 2011 to 2013 period. It is down about 50% from its July 2008 high of $143.95 per barrel.

      As far as I can see, $72.67 is sort of a middling price for Brent oil. It hurts buyers and sellers more or less evenly. It is too high to allow much world economic growth, but too low to allow adequate investment for new oil.

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    I see that Will Smith and his son, Jaden are looking to “make the world a better place” by flogging their ‘Just’ brand mineral water in UK supermarkets.

    “82% of every JUST water bottle is plant-derived. The paper comes from trees. The cap and shoulder come from sugarcane. The result: a 74% reduction in carbon emissions compared to a standard plastic bottle.”

    If people used the water from their taps rather driving to the supermarket to buy water that has been bottled at a plant and redistributed around the nation by diesel-powered truck then that would be a 100% reduction in carbon emissions compared to a standard plastic bottle, says I… But then I suppose the Smiths wouldn’t get to rake in lots of cash and go on their colossal ‘green’ ego-trip.

  5. Third World person says:

    Why Socrates Hated Democracy

    We’re used to thinking hugely well of democracy. But interestingly, one of the wisest people who ever lived, Socrates, had deep suspicions of it

    even Socrates understand that homo sapiens will never good at democrazy

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      A creation of Plato, the Ronald Reagan period of Greek Philosophy.
      5th Century Athens was already in the rear view mirror, and things were going down.
      If Aristotle wasn’t the Poster Boy of Christian Thought, we would not even be considering there conservatives.
      Really comrades, it was all about 5th Century——-

      • Third World person says:

        Plato must be frustrated as to what we’ve become.. a mass of useful idiots that are lead over cliffs so easily by political leaders.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Democracy would be a disaster. It is the worst kind of government

    • Plato reader says:

      That video has more incorrect statements than correct statements.

    • Even if the US is growing, the world is doing much less well, especially on a $ equivalent basis. With the dollar high relative to other currencies, the US’s cost of energy and of commodities in general is relatively low. This helps the US, but hurts other countries.

      Also, raising short term interest rates is what has allowed the US$ to rise relative to other currencies. But this, plus the selling of QE securities, has the potential to pop the debt bubble that underlies US and world economic growth.

      • Dan says:

        Wouldn’t keeping rates low exacerbate inflation more so than what we are seeing now? As you point out when the non-elite workers can no longer afford energy resources and the associated products that also leads to a spiral where the producers need X price but not enough affordable demand at that price.

        On the flip side without low rates it will become increasingly difficult to service debt and credit will freeze so the cheap money keeps flowing which blows the bubble ever and ever larger.

        • The economic system basically self-organizes to the long term rate that it can afford. Right now, the US treasury 10 year rate is 2.84%, which is very low by historical standards.

          Raising short term interest rates, when long term rates refuse to budge, is normally a recipe for disaster. Banks earn much of their profit on the “spread” between the higher long-term rates and the lower short term rates, when they make loans. When the spread turns negative, they have little incentive to make loans. This, by itself, pops the debt bubble, because it becomes difficult to roll over loans. This is a major reason that raising rates is very hazardous, in the current environment.

          In theory, selling QE debt will make long term interest rates higher. In that case, short term rates could be higher, but we will have a marketplace that is flooded with resale debt. Rates will need to be higher to find buyers. The higher interest rates will make government finances very difficult, and make home buying unaffordable. In countries that are having energy price problems, they will be even more likely to default on debt.

          • Dan says:

            The dollar weakened Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump slammed the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, while global equity markets rose as strong economic and earnings growth favored stocks in a relatively benign environment.

            Wall Street shares rose, following stock market gains worldwide, with the benchmark S&P 500 edging closer to an all-time high.

            Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Monday that he was “not thrilled” with the Fed under his appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising rates and that the U.S. central bank should do more to boost the economy.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Last man standing…. but not for long

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Excessive leverage, which was at the root of the financial crisis in 2008 as well as the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998, has resurfaced in the U.S. market. Leveraged loan volumes are setting new records and nearing $1.4 trillion, making it larger than the $1.3 trillion high-yield bond market.”

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…residents and businesses across the Gulf [are] seeing budgets tighten and numbers fall, as a combination of sustained low oil and gas prices and a jumping cost of living hit pockets. Economic growth has slowed or stopped, public debt has been rising and political uncertainty has been clouding the future, with conflict, sanctions and blockades disrupting regional businesses.”

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    Greetings Doomies….

    Enjoy this wonderful read …

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Ashes and urine were the most important substances for mixing a good “lye”. As well as helping to remove stains and encourage a white colour, these act as good de-greasing agents.”

      Well, at least those shouldn’t be hard to come by.

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The immediate fate of emerging markets and the global credit system hangs on a word of comfort from Jay Powell at this week’s conclave of central bankers at Jackson Hole. A chorus of analysts warns there will be serious trouble if the new chairman of the Federal Reserve ignores the gathering storm and sticks doggedly to the current path of interest rate rises and quantitative tightening.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “…current trends will continue to play out, and Turkey will likely experience even higher inflation, bankruptcies, soaring borrowing costs, more debt and lower growth.”

      “An unidentified gunman fired six shots at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, early Monday morning local time. No one was injured in the shooting, but the incident has shaken up both countries, which are engaged in a bitter diplomatic fight over a detained US pastor.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “South Africa’s state-owned Land Bank said on Monday a plan to allow the state to seize land without compensation could trigger defaults… President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Aug. 1 that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is forging ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation, as whites still own most of South Africa’s land more than two decades after the end of apartheid…”

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “If India’s banking sector is in a mess, it is not just the lenders who are to blame. The government and the judiciary, too, have had a role in the industry’s massive bad-loan problem, believes Rajnish Kumar, chairman of India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India.”

        • South Africa’s plan sounds like a plan to take over large acreage with white owners, and give the land to black owners, since waiting for them to be able to afford to buy the land doesn’t really work.

          The catch is that if the land is broken up into small pieces and given to the blacks, it will likely be much less productive because the small black landowners will not be able to afford the machines and energy products needed to make it productive. Economies of scale, which have helped white owners of large plots, will be lost. The new black owners will also be much less knowledgeable than the prior white owners.

          • Rodster says:

            And yet the ANC learned absolutely nothing from “Zimbabwe”. From what i’ve read, Zimbabwe at one point in time prior to Mugabe seizing farm land from White Farmers was the breadbasket for South Africa. Now it’s in a state of near collapse.

            So here we are looking at Zimbabwe 2.0

            • Ive been watching SA developments for a while.

              just confirms that the vast majority do not–cannot–accept that food is the ultimate resource and takes skill and experience to produce it in usable quantities.

              land is like oil—it has no value until converted to energy production

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I do love a good dose of chaos…

          • Plato reader says:

            There are different measures of productivity. One man with machines and 100 acres might create 10,000 bushes of corn/year = 10000 bu/man-year. 200 humans on the same 100 acres might create 20,000 bushels/year. This is 100 bu/man-year. 99% less efficient. However at 200 bush/acre it is twice as productive as the machine-man. Plus it is 19,900% more efficient at keeping people active and engaged.

            • Getting money/food/energy back to the workers is key to making the whole system work. Too many people miss this point.

              It is also important to have enough to go around. Without the things that fossil fuels provide, it is hard to produce very much. Weeds and animal predators tend to play a very big role in cutting production. Also, missing water and mineral nutrients become an issue.

    • A Wall Street Journal article today pointed out that Jerome Powell’s 4-year term makes it hard for Trump to fire him. Trump is not supportive of the current program of raising rates either.

  10. Yoshua says:

    “Energy/Matter cannot be created or destroyed, they can only change form”.

    We can convert electrons into light photons in a light bulb that will shoot away in the speed of light, until the atoms in the string are so degraded that the string snaps.

    We can’t reverse the process. We can’t convert photons into electrons. It doesnt mean that it’s impossible. We just don’t know how to do it.

    • Yorchichan says:

      Electrons are not converted into photons in a light bulb. When an electron falls from a higher to a lower energy state, the excess energy is released as a photon, but the electron is still there.

      The process can also happen in reverse, when an electron absorbs a photon striking it and moves to a higher energy state.

      • Yoshua says:

        Electrons that absorbs or emits photons as they perform the quantum jump?

        Quarks and strings do not exist either…at least not my universe…they are just dead end streets.

        Everything is in the photon and it changes form from energy to matter, from matter to energy as it loses some weight and speeds up to the velocity of light.

  11. Fast Eddy says:

    Going on a crash diet seems great while you’re shedding the pounds. The problem is sticking with it for the long term.

    That’s what seems to be happening to the world’s miners, which have spent the years since the commodity boom peaked in 2011 holding down salaries, eking out efficiencies and extracting the highest-quality parts of their deposits to keep costs in line with deflating prices.

  12. Tim Groves says:

    Philosopher Alex Epstein – How to Speak to Climate Alarmists

    This excellent presentation analyzes the biased, sloppy, anti-human, impossibly vague and just plain illogical thinking that underpins a lot of the Green activist talking points about fossil fuels, renewables, and and globbly wobbly. We can all learn something from Alex, even if some of what he says will infuriate those of you who, despite being so smart, routinely commit factual and logical errors because of your biases.

    Epstein believes we have a moral duty to give more people more access to cheap fossil fuels. However, Epstein has his own biases and, IMHO, his own blinkers. He assumes this expansion of access is doable over the medium to long term. I for one have serious doubts about the Earth’s capacity to keep providing more and more and more of us with more and more and more and more and more and more and more finite resources.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Ayn Rand Institute[edit]
      After college, Epstein knew that he wanted to be a professional intellectual but also that he did not want to go to graduate school or to work at a university. He became a freelance writer, and two years later joined the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit organization in Irvine, California that promotes Ayn Rand’s novels and her philosophy of Objectivism. Epstein was a writer and fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute between 2004 and 2011, where he specialized in business issues.

      Yep, great reference haaaaaa

      • Dan says:

        “joined the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit organization in Irvine, California that promotes Ayn Rand’s novels and her philosophy of Objectivism”.

        He certainly believes in sucking all the buttermilk out of corpse that he can.

  13. Fast Eddy says:

    I wonder if Elon is at this moment… hoping BAU will end … to put him out of his misery…

    He should give Asia Argento a call… perhaps they could fly off to Mars together and live happily ever after

    It will be a very good day – when Tesla collapses – I will drink an entire bottle of champagne when my dream comes true

  14. Baby Doomer says:

    NZ’s foreign buyers’ ban influenced by ‘new US Civil War’ – author

  15. Baby Doomer says:

    French audit warns 840 bridges may face risk of collapse

  16. Baby Doomer says:

    Fox claims wages are going up. They’re actually falling.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Fox is for humor and entertainment—–
      They couldn’t believe what they are broadcasting.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Is there a MSM source that is not purely about entertaining, distracting … and disinforming?


    “We are not going bankrupt;” Musk Vows as Tesla Suppliers Panic Over Stopped Payments

    This is a write-up outside a paywall of a WSJ article today. Among other things it says,

    Specifically, a recent survey sent privately by a well-regarded automotive supplier association to top executives, and seen by the WSJ, found that 18 of 22 respondents believe that Tesla is now a financial risk to their companies.


    Meanwhile, vendors have finally learned that if Tesla goes bankrupt, their claims will be dumped alongside everyone else in the pre-petition file. And they are not happy.

  18. Baby Doomer says:

  19. Baby Doomer says:

    Scholar Warns We Could Be Headed for a ‘Violent Conflict’ Between Republicans and Democrats

  20. Baby Doomer says:

    How worried should we be about a second Civil War breaking out in Trump’s America?

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Civil war will break out world wide when the gasoline rationing starts.

      • Countries need a plan, and a whole lot of people with specific responsibilities, to implement oil rationing.

        Which kinds of oil are rationed? Diesel? Gasoline? Airline fuel? Lubricating oil? Asphalt?

        Who does the diesel go to? Farmers? Truckers carrying food to be processed? People who burn oil in their furnaces for heat? Frackers carrying water to oil wells? Organizations operating commuter rails? Bus companies? Suppliers for all of these companies?

        Who does the gasoline go to? Police and fire departments? Businesses who have salespeople who use vehicles for their work? All citizens with drivers licenses, including those in nursing homes? All people who own their own their own vehicles (or have multi-year leases on a vehicle)? Should people in Wyoming (who may have to drive 30 miles to a grocery store) get more than those in Hawaii (who rarely drive more than a few miles)?

        How are certificates to buy this oil distributed? Not everyone has cell phones. The poor would be discriminated against if computer or cell phone distribution were done. How does one get all of these certificates safely to those who need them? Mailing in the US mail is likely to result in a lot of thefts. People are not going to want to drive to a pickup point over 10 miles away, simply to pick up the tickets, using what scarce gasoline is available for this purpose.

        After looking at an early rationing plan on The Oil Drum, I came to the conclusion that rationing by anything other than price is very impractical.

        Long lines and closed fuel stations, with prices that are fairly low, also work as a gasoline rationing plan for the short term. This is what was used around here in recent shortages caused by hurricanes. Local authorities indicate that they will close down any station charging high prices, so the gasoline goes quickly. People worked from home for a few days, and skipped longer trips for a while.

        • rationing a critical commodity in a fully armed country is going to be messy.

        • Artleads says:

          Such great questions. A simplifying answer sounds helpful too. I’d say, no new roads, repaving only of major arteries. No new developments on open land. Developers will scream, but they have to be restrained even under the best circumstances anyway.

        • Lastcall says:

          Keep the coffee supplies up; priority 1!

        • zenny says:

          The last time Diesel was easy to get…Gas was problematic. In my location anyway.
          AOE may of been different in other locations

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Rationing would immediately set off a deflationary death spiral – and would collapse BAU

          It would be like putting a choke hold on BAU … and suffocating the life out of her

    • if you study history–the have nots have always finally snapped and taken from the haves.

      that will be a resource war, like all the rest

      • Baby Doomer says:

        This world will burn!

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Meanwhile… snow conditions were quite good this morning … a little fog at the top of the hill reduced visibility but that burned off around 1030 making for a pleasant couple of hours of skiing…

          Hey DPs … how did you go picking out your weeds this morning… how are the pumpkins coming along?

    • Third World person says:

      hahaha are these guys are gonna fight next civil war

      • DJ says:

        Maybe they could rage a little on Facebook?

      • Baby Doomer says:

        I predict when the oil starts to run out it will be so shocking and devastating it will de-condition all of the public..And all of their trust in authorities ie governments, religions, corporations, will vanish..And it will be everyone against the elites ie the rich..

        • Except that people will not recognize the problem as “oil running out.” They will think of it as financial system collapsing, or something similar.

          • Rodster says:

            And you can bet Gov’t officials would never tell the public, HEY we’re running out of oil. If they did, panic would ensue and the global economy would instantly collapse.

            • Actually, for some years, up until their report 1998 report, IEA forecasts included Jean Laherrere’s forecasts. His forecasts for peak oil were still quite far in the future, but another 10 years of projection would soon need to be added to their reports. In 1999, IEA did not publish a forecast. In 2000, USGS came out with a new (high) view of the amount of oil in the ground. About that time, IEA began talking about climate change as the problem to be concerned about. Of course, it had been mentioned earlier. Peak oil disappeared as an issue.

        • Tim Groves says:

          You have to talk to people in a language they understand. I tell them oil is not going to run out. But it is going to become unaffordable to the point where most people will no longer be able to run a car and Amazon will no longer be able to give free shipping. And if you say it with conviction, that’s should scare ’em quite sufficiently.

      • Lastcall says:

        Protesting and destroying property is a luxury that won’t be available for much longer; more immediate concerns will take over.

  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    There is no such name, as far as I know, Ohadi. I adopted it at the ingenious suggestion of young master Pagett, and it is a nod to my adopted homeland of Scotland and indeed to my own proud Scottish heritage, which consists of a hard-drinking and now deceased grandfather from Aberdeen.

    Re the transgender issue, I dare not say, as I will almost certainly get it wrong and find myself handcuffed to a chair in a room illuminated by a single bare light bulb, having some political correctness knocked into me by one of Sadiq Khan’s 900 ‘speech and thought’ officers.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      Oh, this was a reply to a comment by Ohadi Nacnud. Have no idea why it has washed up here. 😀

  22. Yoshua says:

    Chinas new silk road project would connect and integrate the Eurasian land mass and it would also control the Eurasian resources.

    The wars, sanctions, trade wars and the dollar liquidity squeeze are effectively putting a stop to this nonsense.

    Power games at this late hour. The winner takes it all: A radioactive heap of dust. Well…that’s better that being the loser.

  23. Rob H says:

    Defending yourself in the UK means use of reasonable force. If you use an AK47 against someone stealing an apple from your tree, that would not be acceptable to the police here; even if the miscreant stole one before! US is different I believe

    • Ohadi Nacnud says:


    • zenny says:

      I was wondering why my TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT signs were not selling that well in the UK.
      Geee they cant even shoot thieves.

      • Dan says:

        The castle doctrine is the name given to so-called “hold your ground” laws, which have been passed in states all over the US (starting with Florida in 2005). The Castle Doctrine states that citizens may “stand their ground,” or use deadly force, if they think doing so will protect them from bodily harm. Texas law states that you have no duty to retreat if you feel your safety is being threatened. The places where you may exercise your right to stand your ground, though, vary from state to state.

        The Castle Doctrine gets its name from the philosophy that everyone is the King or Queen in his or her own home. In other words, you shouldn’t have to flee your property because of an intruder. The Texas Penal Code designates certain areas under the protection of the Castle Doctrine: your home, vehicle, and workplace.

        In your home, Texas law assumes that you’re justified in using force to defend yourself against intruders. You get immunity under this presumption given a certain set of circumstances:

        An intruder entered unlawfully and with force
        An individual removes or attempts to remove you from your castle with force

  24. Ohadi Nacnud says:

    And in shock news, the Daily Digitup reports that FE married an ex-schoogirl.

  25. Fast Eddy says:

    New head of the U.K. Police Federation John Apter spoke with The Independent, claiming that British citizens are being “failed” due to huge demand, budget cuts, and lack of police resources:

    We are moving into an area where some crimes will not be investigated, whereas two to five years ago they were… We can’t do everything – there are going to be situations where we simply can’t deliver the policing we want to deliver.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “London mayor Sadiq Khan funneled millions into a “hate crime hub” for the Metro Police with over 900 officers deployed to monitor speech and thought.”

      • xabier says:

        London is 2,000 years old: Khan will soon be gone – in the blink of an eye as it were -, and one hopes his ‘hub’, too.

        But what an outrageous use of police officers when physical violence is rising rapidly!

      • Tim Groves says:

        Meanwhile the epidemic of moped crime, knifings and acid attacks in the Khanate of Londonistan continues to increase and the police admit they can’t cope with it.

    • JesseJames says:

      But they will still make it a priority to prosecute any citizen that defends themselves from burglars.

      • Nope.avi says:

        because the burglars will most likely members of marginalized groups

        Whose lives are more valuable than the usual target or burglars (Caucasians native to England).

        In America, man y activists believe that the lethal force should never be used to defend one’s life or one’s property….because the criminal has just as much a right to live as the victim.


  26. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The exit [of Greece from its bail-out programme] is a welcome milestone. But it offers little assurance that the 19-country euro currency union has left behind its problems with debt. The huge debt pile in Greece and an even bigger one in Italy will remain a lurking financial threat to Europe that could take a generation to defuse. Europe’s debt problems have repeatedly raised fears over the past decade of a break-up in the euro, a worst-case scenario that would cause severe economic damage in the region and shake world financial markets and trade.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Sterling fell on Monday as the dollar rebounded and investors shifted their focus to impending talks that may decide whether Britain gets a trade deal with the European Union before it quits the bloc. The pound has suffered six straight weeks of losses against the dollar, its worst run since 2014…”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The problems facing Sweden after a wave of shootings and arson attacks are every bit as serious as the country’s 1990s financial crisis, according to the favourite to become prime minister in next month’s elections… Sweden, held up in international surveys as one of the world’s happiest and most successful countries, has been jolted by frequent shootings, grenade attacks and arson attacks on cars in suburbs with a heavy immigrant population in Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg.”

        • A country needs to adapt in many ways to accommodate many immigrants from very different cultures. I am beginning to realize that this accommodation to many widely different cultures is part of what has led to a transition from admittedly arbitrary rules of behavior (children should have standard bed times; they should sit still in school, do their homework, and respect their teachers; they should behave properly on busses to and from school) to the current free-for-all we are experiencing in schools in the United States. This is part of the reason why US students do so poorly on standardized tests.

          Rising wage disparity has contributed to this as well. Having a group of parents who are high on drugs, moving from partner to partner, and frequently homeless adds to the mess. The vast majority of the people in this latter category are not immigrants. Parents who are working two or three part time jobs and depending on an older sibling to take care of the younger ones may also contribute to the problem. Or too tired at the end of the day to do much with their children, other than pick them up from day care and park them in front of the television.

          The way immigrants got involved is because they came from cultures with different standards. Different religious holidays and modes of dress needed to be accommodated. So did different levels of English proficiency. New foods became available. Somewhere along the line, the belief that we can accommodate a wide range of behaviors became the norm.

          Having lots of per capita energy gave the economy ability to allow more deviation from a standard set of rules and behaviors. In China and Japan and western Europe, “Sit down, behave, and listen to your teachers seems to still hold.” The more uniform the culture can be, the easier it is to enforce these rules. Without any rules, except the business with the most rapidly rising share price wins, things go rapidly downhill.

          • Nope.avi says:

            Among African Americans, they do not want to assimilate into what they call “white culture”… by succeeding academically. That is why I find calls for further affirmative action, strange. I was watching an old news special on the civil rights movement last month and the movement was split among people who wanted to assimilate into the wider White European culture, and other who wanted to separate. The problem with black separatism then and now was that African Americans didn’t have enough of a culture to build a separate society that was not to some degree influenced by “White Culture.” The term “white supremacy” among activists on the Left doesn’t refer to hate groups most of the tine, but European cultures. The current thought is that European cultures are the enemy.

            A undefined degree of wealth disparity in the U.S., I believe is caused by the wish for certain groups, who were victims of the wider culture in the past, to not assimilate.

            • People do want to be in a group where they are respected and treated as equals or leaders. So from that point of view, I can understand some people wanting to join separatist groups, where they “fit in” better.

              At the same time, there is an awfully lot of intermarriage of blacks and whites where I live. I can’t go to the grocery store without seeing mixed race couples and children. We also know that virtually blacks born in the US have a lot of “white” blood in them.

            • Artleads says:

              I do agree that centuries of forced linguistic and other kinds of assimilation confers a strong European heritage on Western blacks. But white society has seen fit (or perceived a need or ability) to accord “equal” status only to a minority of blacks. We also note that even the most educated and assimilated blacks remain unduly subject to police violence, white alarm if they enter “white space.” (A black professor trying to enter his own house gets called on and arrested due to neighbor alarm). It seems that assimilation by all blacks (on white terms) is neither practical nor reasonable.

            • Artleads says:

              …has NOT seen fit

        • DJ says:

          The real fun begins when the money ends.

          For now they are only practicing on each other.

  27. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Ten years later, the [global financial] crisis still essentially determines how the financial system works, thanks to the political decisions and interventions by central banks in response to it. There has been no “return” to normal…

    “The supply of US dollars funneled into the global finance system in response to the crisis partly ended up in emerging markets. In recent years, many developing countries used the low rates that followed the crisis to gorge on dollar-denominated debt. The impact of that can be seen today as the US dollar rises and investors wonder if these countries will be able to repay all the debt they’ve accrued. It’s bringing down currencies as far flung from each other as Turkey and Indonesia.”

  28. Harry McGibbs says:

    Bloomberg wondering if the emerging markets crisis is going to hurt oil prices as it did in ’98:

    “For more than two decades, OPEC has tried to avoid repeating a mistake that cost it dearly. In November 1997, at a meeting in Jakarta, Saudi Arabia convinced fellow oil producers to boost output, ignoring a crisis brewing in emerging markets.

    “The output increase came at the worst possible time. What in November 1997 looked like a hiccup, by mid-1998 was a full emerging-markets crisis spreading to Russia and Brazil. Global oil demand growth slowed, in part because of an unusually warm winter in the northern hemisphere. Benchmark oil prices fell below $10 a barrel, the lowest since the 1973-74 oil embargo.”

  29. Yoshua says:

    The universe is made of photons and space (in my mind).

    The photon is an energy particle, it has mass, gravity and produces an electromagnetic force.

    The photon appears in different frequencies:

    As high frequency gamma and x-ray high energy particles.
    As medium frequency light particles.
    As low frequency micro and radio wave particles.

    A photon that is given a negative charge turns into an electron and a positive charge into a proton. The protons then make all the atoms, stars and galaxies.

    Black holes eat stars and crushes atoms, protons and electrons and turn into massive black photon stars with massive gravity from where the photons can’t escape. Only photons in the gamma ray frequency can access enough of their own energy to escape black holes, or black photon stars.

    Humans have actually reached quite far, now we just have to learn to master the photon.

    Empty space…now…that’s a weird creation.

  30. Fast Eddy says:

    And here I was thinking justice would not be done until BAU ended….

    I enjoy when bad things… happen to bad people…. it so seldom happens

    Today … is a great day!

    • Rodster says:

      Bah, I bet nothing will happen to her. The press will either ignore it, make excuses for her or won’t cover it. Different sets of rules and standards for certain people.

  31. MG says:

    With the rising prices of electricity, the recently built natural gas power plant Malzenice in Slovakia has not been dismantled, as was planned when the prices of electricity went down, but sold to the regional energy distribution company. Now it is going to be used as the back-up for the nuclear power plants, the article says.

  32. doomphd says:

    just imagine, that face and body used to adorn boxes of Wheaties breakfast cereal, the breakfast of champions.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Those boxes are probably valuable collectors items now!

      I wonder if Bruce will wake up one day and look in the mirror and think ‘what the f789 have I done!!!’

      • doomphd says:

        medically, it might be hard to restore him/her to his former male state, so let’s hope he/she’s satisfied with the transformative results.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Just goes to show what too many anabolic steroids can do.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        coming off the roids and hgh…. can really mess with the hormones….

      • Fast Eddy says:

        US doctors coined a phrase for this condition: “shit-life syndrome”.

        Poor working-age Americans of all races are locked in a cycle of poverty and neglect, amid wider affluence. They are ill educated and ill trained. The jobs available are drudge work paying the minimum wage, with minimal or no job security. They are trapped in poor neighbourhoods where the prospect of owning a home is a distant dream. There is little social housing, scant income support and contingent access to healthcare. Finding meaning in life is close to impossible; the struggle to survive commands all intellectual and emotional resources. Yet turn on the TV or visit a middle-class shopping mall and a very different and unattainable world presents itself. Knowing that you are valueless, you resort to drugs, antidepressants and booze. You eat junk food and watch your ill-treated body balloon. It is not just poverty, but growing relative poverty in an era of rising inequality, with all its psychological side-effects, that is the killer.

        • Of course, it looks like education and training is a way out, but it really isn’t. First, this education and training has a cost. Second, giving more education and training to people doesn’t meant that there will actually be jobs for these folks that pay very well.

          Adding more education may somewhat help those who gain this education, but not as much as they expect, because the oversupply of people with every degree reduces its benefit. Instead, the education often acts more like a high-priced screening device that employers can use to decide which candidate is best suited for a relatively low paying jobs. And then there is the issue of paying for the degree.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            If I were 20ish… I’d stay in school for as long as possible … I’d have PHDs in basket weaving and transgender transition counselling …. and various other areas…..nothing too strenuous (what would be the point)

            Living large off of student loans and grants… that I would never pay back….

  33. Baby Doomer says:

    French bridges ‘at risk of collapse’

    More than 800 road bridges in France are at risk of collapsing within a few years, according to a survey carried out for the Transport Ministry that has raised alarm following the Genoa tragedy.

  34. Rodster says:

    “US says conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative”

  35. Baby Doomer says:

    Comrade Grimes’ mission is complete. Another billionaire destroyed.

  36. Fast Eddy, I wonder whether you know about this

    In 1965-1966, General Suharto killed all the communists in Indonesia. Nobody kept records so nobody knows how many of them died, but it is at least 500,000, probably many more since the killing method is usually simply killing all the members of communist groups at once.

    It might have been cruel, but it did keep Indonesia safe from Communists. Something like that will be used to maintain Civilization, if necessary.

    Collapse can be delayed by much longer than what you think.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Rumour had it that the land we owned in Bali … which was overlooking a ravine with 3 rivers… was where many bodies were dumped during this purge….

      Check out this excellent movie

      • Ohadi Nacnud says:

        Mel Gibson. The well known hat er of the sweJ. No wonder FE likes it.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          If I recall mel did not say he hated the tribe.. he said that they controlled the media and hollywood…

          Of course they do … and they also control the reserve currency … they own the Fed… and run the world.

          Fixed it for ya Mel.

  37. Grey Enlightenment blasts Peter Turchin off.

    Again, I have said many times that Turchin’s model does not take account of the recent tech advances, which can overcome many of his points. For example, in the old days it was not possible from the center to know what the periphery was doing, but now the activities done in the periphery can quickly be reported, analyzed and dealt with within a few hours or minutes. Drones are everywhere.

    I am sorry, but collapse in America can be delayed forever by exporting it to other countries. Turchin and tainter had good ideas, but tech have made their ideas pieces of trash.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “I am sorry, but collapse in America can be delayed forever by exporting it to other countries.”

      that’s a big dose of hyperbole in your use of the word “forever”…

      you must know the obvious, that nothing continues forever…

      yes, Creeping Collapse can be delayed from reaching The Core…

      but sooner (2020s) or later (2030s) it will arrive…


      Creeping Collapse is unstoppable…

  38. Baby Doomer says:

    London workers are queuing up for free food because they can’t afford to eat

    • Fast Eddy says:

      If what they were handing out looked good… and the queue was short… I’d get right in there

  39. Baby Doomer says:

    In nature, the over – extension of a population upon a resource which diminishes is well known, and the results tend to be disastrous..


  40. From WSJ EPA Is Set to Roll Back Restrictions on Coal-Burning Power Plants

    The proposed new rules, which the Environmental Protection Agency plans is expected to release within days, would be the latest in a series of reversals of policies the Obama administration adopted to slow climate change. It would replace the agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan for the electricity business with regulations that cede power to states . . .

    The Trump administration proposal would have to be submitted for a public rule-making process before taking effect. It would apply to the power industry at large, but is firmly targeted at coal. . .

    The proposed rules are designed to address what many conservatives and coal-industry supporters criticized as overreach by the Obama administration determined to force coal plants to run less frequently and close more quickly.

    • I expect that eventually, pretty much all power will be given back to the states, including Medicare (healthcare for the elderly), Medicaid (healthcare for the poor, mostly with the states now), Unemployment insurance (mostly with the states now), and Social Security (wage replacement for the elderly).

      The problem we reach is that it becomes impossible for the federal government to collect enough funds for all of the programs that everyone would like. The most palatable way of getting rid of them is to give them to smaller political entities.

      Eventually, if the US government doesn’t collapse, it will shrink away to nothing ness.

      • Artleads says:

        Whatever transferring of power needs to be done could be started immediately in very small increments.

        • I think that the proposed EPA rule change is a step in this direction.

          The insurance industry has always been regulated by the states. Their view was, “It is better to be regulated by 50 little entities, rather than a big one with real power to change things.” There is a Federal Government Flood Program, but that has always been a major giveaway program, indirectly encouraging citizens to build in flood prone areas.

          • Artleads says:

            Doesn’t sound too bad. Like my latest dream where there’s a nearby fire that gets scarily nearer. I’m telling everyone how serious it is and to get away. Then I look harder at the fire scene that is almost next door and there are some burly blue collar guys resting their weight on one leg like everything was under control. And I felt a little sheepish.

      • MG says:

        The more entities are there, the more debt can be distributed, so the whole picture does not look so bad.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      All Hail The Great TRUMP!

      Did I mention that I fill cardboard wine boxes with coal … and shove them through the gaping maw of the Rayburn in a single go? I think I’ll have a second coffee… and stuff a box in there now… the Rayburn must eat!

  41. Chinese AP1000 reaches full power operation – World Nuclear News

    This is the same kind of plant that is being built in the state of Georgia, in the USA. According to the article, “The unit became the world’s first AP1000 to achieve grid connection and power generation.”

    Also, it says,

    The unit has been undergoing gradual power ascension testing until all testing is safely and successfully completed at 100% power. Sanmen 1 is scheduled to enter commercial operation by the end of this year. New nuclear power reactors in China are usually considered to be in commercial operation upon completion of a demonstration test run of 168 hours of continuous operation at full power.

  42. Third World person says:

    Poland, the Next Turkey? Spotlight on the Zloty and External Debt

    Emerging markets have taken it on the chin. Is Poland next?
    Murray Gunn, Head of Global Research at Elliott Wave International, asks “Is Poland the next Turkey?”
    Our outlook for the Polish Zloty suggests that Poland’s developing authoritarianism is likely to accelerate.

    In case you have been living on Mars over the last few years and have missed what is going on, people around the world are becoming increasingly angry. This is especially true in the periphery of Europe, where countries like Turkey and Hungary are ruled by governments with an intolerance for people who disagree with them. After long negative trends in social mood, the so-called “populist revolution” has also resulted in the election of governments in Italy and Poland that have radical agendas. In Poland’s case, one policy of the ruling Law and Justice Party (nothing sinister about that name, eh) is to overhaul the judicial system by forcing judges to retire early. This, the European Union argues, is aimed at increasing political influence in the Polish legal system. On Monday, the EU stepped up threats of legal action against the Polish government which remains intransigent on the matter. It’s looking very probable that Poland is on the road to becoming internationally isolated.

    Indeed, the chart of the Polish zloty versus the Euro suggests that Poland may be in for the same treatment as Turkey. A multi-year consolidation ended at the beginning of this year. It looks like EUR-PLN is entering a strong advance which should see the pair explode higher. Be prepared for that to be accompanied with a further breakdown in international relations with Warsaw.

    Poland is gonna collapse like turkey

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      “Poland is gonna collapse like turkey”
      With its current political outlook, let us hope so.

    • Ed says:

      Poland should join the Russia/China/India axis.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Poland is against Russia/China, but may find a friend in India.
        Need to get on a similar page..

    • name says:

      I don’t like current Polish government, but PLN is 1.5% lower to the EUR than 5 years ago. Also current accout deficit was 0% of GDP in 2017, and is projected to be -0.9% this year, and Poland has big capital account surplus by EU transfers. This is a made up story.

  43. Fast Eddy says:

    We are used to seeing vanilla all around us – in candles, cupcakes and creme brulees. But if you’re eating something vanilla-flavoured or smelling something vanilla-scented – it’s probably artificial.

    Scientists have been making synthetic vanillin – the compound that gives vanilla its aroma – since the 19th Century. It has been extracted from coal, tar, rice bran, wood pulp and even cow dung.

    Today, the vast majority of synthetic vanillin comes from petrochemicals.

    • My mother followed these things years ago, when I was growing up. She used to tell me that the chemical formula was the same, so there was no difference. Just get the artificial substitute.

      I have been buying the real thing, partly because with the tiny amount I use, the difference between artificial and real in price is non-existent. Also, my father grew up in Madagascar.

    • doomphd says:

      very nice graphical presentation. they should do another one on palm oil plantations, it’s green, don’cha know.

  44. Fast Eddy says:

    Spending at U.S. restaurants surged over the past three months by the most on record.

    As Bloomberg reports, sales at food-service and drinking establishments rose 1.3% in July to $61.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported this week, almost catching up to the total spent on buying food and beverages from grocery stores.

    That brought the three-month annualized gain to 25.3 percent, the fastest pace in figures going back to 1992…

    Three major factors may be driving this regime shift in spending:

    First, Americans are eating out more and spending their extra cash from tax cuts on dining out (consumer confidence is elevated and the fiscal stimulus may be having an effect on the data);

    Second, major restaurant companies have recently hiked menu prices to keep up with rising food costs, higher minimum wages, and rent costs (the retail figures are adjusted for seasonal variation but not for inflation); and

    Third, across the industry, restaurants are increasingly pushing delivery services such as DoorDash to attract diners.

    • Eating out, especially in fast food places, is the little indulgence that those at the bottom of the wage pyramid can afford more, especially if they are now too busy to cook.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It is interesting to see the trend reverse — restaurant spending was declining…

        Not sure how this can be happening with wages stagnant/declining….

        Then we have all forms of freight charging higher….

        Fake numbers?

        Fed taking some sort of action that we are not aware of?

        Maybe related to the slashing of corporate taxes?

        • Rodster says:

          “Not sure how this can be happening with wages stagnant/declining….”

          Eating at fast food restaurants can sometimes be cheaper than making your own meals. For example here in SW Florida we have a fast food burger chain that sells a cheeseburger, fries, large drink with refills and an apple pie for $3. So I do agree with Gail and low wage earners gravitate to those types of deals. Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King all have value meals. At Burger King they sell 10pc chicken nuggets for $1.69

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Right … but the spend was declining overall… and now it is increasing….

          • Rufus says:

            3 USD is really cheap! I checked and the average price for the same standard menu in France is 8 EUR so 9 USD… My guess is poor people in France are less poor than in US so those fast food restaurant companies can charge more.

            • Rodster says:

              It’s all down to competition as they are not the only ones selling low cost fast food meals. Wendy’s fast food chain countered that with 4 items for $5. On any given street you can easily see 10-20 fast food restaurants.

            • suicide food in more ways than one then

            • Growing food is cheap oil the United States because of all of the mechanization and little human labor. Farmer today take down fences, so that they can plow over hills and valleys in an unending patterns. (Erosion, who cares?) They use huge machines, often only rented for a short time. Some of these machines can be operated 24 hours a day, using GPS for guidance. Because there is so much low-priced food, restaurants of all kinds sell over-sized servings, so that people will think that they are getting value from what they buy. Pretty much as cheap as food from the grocery store–except it really isn’t very good for a person to eat.

    • Not the kind of publicity that Musk would want!

      • Gregory Machala says:

        Tesla admits it cannot survive without gov’t electric car rebates/subsidies. I think the original idea was that the rebates would help kick-start electric car production. Well it is looking more and more like the electric car ubopia is not going to be kick-started with rebates. I doubt the solar rebates are kick-starting “renewable” energy either.:

        • Rodster says:

          No surprise, this is all happening to Tesla. We have been in agreement at least of us that alternative energy and alternative energy products would not exist if not for Govt funding. But the green energy crowd still expects solar, wind or whatever or flavor of alternative energy hopium will come in on a white horse and save us all.

          How in the hell is alternative energy going to save the day when Tesla can’t make it without handouts from the US Govt? How in the hell is alternative energy going to save the day when the global economic system collapses from too much debt?

          I bet the green energy groupies never considered or asked these questions. Nah, according to them it’ll all work out and in the near future we’ll have cheap, clean limitless energy.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            The common refrain is ‘You’ve got to start somewhere’

            • Rodster says:

              As Billy Preston once wrote in one of his songs: “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin'”

              Maybe the green groupies will connect the dots someday. It’s possible they’ll realize their error as they watch spent fuel rods exploding in the distance.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am unable to grasp why Green Groopies are unable to connect the dots re: Elon Musk…

              He is saving the world yet he is attempting to create a business that takes people into space (using enormous amounts of FF) for joy rides….

              Ah right… humans are f789ing stewpid… the MoT must laugh at how easy it is to lead them around by the nose

  45. Baby Doomer says:

    Global warming policy: Is population left out in the cold? (Bongaarts 2018) Science

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