Saturday, June 21, 2008

My vegetable garden in backyard (not mine-someone else's on youtube)

This is what I've been working on, too. Planted 2 apple trees today! Bought some feverfew and calendula from the farmer's market also. I'm going to plant it tomorrow.

Too bad I don't have a video camera or I would make my own youtube video to show! Maybe someday soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

If you could live anywhere in a post peak world, where would that be?

I found this neat website where you can explore other areas of the world to live. Click here for So far, Costa Rica seems like a nice place....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The House Resources Committee report on drilling in the Continental U.S. June 2008

If anybody is interested, here is a report from the Congressional House Resources Committee. It's a .pdf file:

Click here for full .pdf: The Truth About Americas Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits

It really explains in detail about what is available for drilling and how oil companies are not drilling where they can, basically. It would be worth it to spread this around in an e-mail to those who think our elected officials aren't doing anything in congress regarding drilling availability in the continental U.S. There are even places available for drilling in ANWR but no companies are drilling there. Why? There is nothing stopping the oil companies. It's not because of environmentalists, either.

I'm thinking that drilling will not make one difference in the price of gasoline. It explains this in the report.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More on mass transit & some recent political history

WASHINGTON — Of all the presidential prospects, Sen. John McCain appears the least likely to lift Amtrak out of the long, waking nightmare it has endured for decades. Amtrak has no more dedicated foe in the Congress than McCain, R-Ariz.

The GOP’s likely nominee is also the least likely to care about a national transportation policy. The absence of such a plan is at the heart of why motorists and airlines — and now grocers — are gagging at the price of fuel these days. ...

...In the 1990s, Moynihan was not cash-conscious. Then a Democratic senator from New York and a power on the public works committee, he wanted the federal government to invest in high-speed intercity rail. President Bill Clinton’s minions smothered Moynihan’s hopes.

The nation’s governors also turned up their noses at almost all of the mass transit subsidies Moynihan offered them.

Clinton’s disinterest in rail and mass transit might be a reflection of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s views. She supports modest Amtrak subsidies like most Democrats, but she has invested little or no campaign time talking about it. Nor has Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., her rival for the presidential nomination.

To their credit, neither has voiced the righteous outrage at Amtrak support that McCain has at every opportunity. Someone should mention that 12 states that control 180 of the 270 electoral votes needed for election are highly dependent on Amtrak.

Under President Bush, Amtrak intercity service has limped along, deteriorating by the week. Service from Buffalo to Albany is now hampered by track work that can add up to an hour to the trip.

Five days a week, Amtrak travelers from Buffalo to Boston must take a bus on the Rensselaer-Boston leg because of track work. Thanks to the Clinton administration’s creation of regional freight rail monopolies that have no oversight.

After 16 months in office, congressional Democrats have finally produced a bill reauthorizing Amtrak. It offers only anemic operating cash to the line, and fails to extend the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor into Virginia and North Carolina, whose roads choke with traffic.

But the bill backed by Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, offers $24 billion in tax-exempt bonds and 80 percent reimbursement to states for high-speed rail construction.

The business is there. Gas prices, clogged skyways and air travel hassles have driven more customers to Amtrak, hamstrung as it is. Business is up 11 percent nationally, and almost 20 percent on the rickety line from Buffalo Niagara to Manhattan.

What is needed is an unapologetic presidential commitment for a nationalized passenger system on the scale of the Interstate Highway program. President Dwight Eisenhower, who built it, was no communist.

For full article click here.

Photogallery of Greenroofs

This one was my favorite.

Here is the link if you'd like to look at them.

Joyce Marcel: Our "Cheap Oil Fiesta" s Over

Click here for full article.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and for a little while, at least, it sounds lovely.

Imagine a world where the air is cleaner because fewer people are driving cars. Where you can hop on a train to visit your friends in the West River Valley or spend a day in Boston, arriving refreshed instead of wiped out from highway driving. Where chemical-drenched agribusiness is dead, and food is grown locally. Where big box stores are gone, and the shops on Main Street sell the things you need. Where small schoolhouses again dot the hills of tight little communities.

This vision harks back to a simpler time, perhaps one directed by Robert Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart. But it may not turn out to have a happy ending.

James Kunstler came through our town over the weekend, giving a talk at Marlboro College on Saturday and sharing his semi-apocalyptic view of a post-cheap oil future. He’s talking about the time when “our cheap energy fiesta” is over, and his vision has a certain relevant ring in a week when gas prices creep up over the $4 a gallon mark and truckers in Spain tie up all the roads to protest paying over $10 a gallon for diesel.

Already, many of us are driving more fuel efficient cars, converting to fry oil, trying to piggyback errands in town and, in general, driving less to save gas. And many more of us are worrying how we’re going to heat our homes next winter.

Kunstler, an enemy of sprawl, has been writing about energy issues for the past five years. He’s not coming at this topic from a right, left, conservative, liberal, progressive, Democrat or Republican perspective. In his opinion, we’ve all screwed up.

For the last 200 years, as Americans have enjoyed an upward path of progress on every level, we have taken “bigger, faster, more” as not only our motto but our birthright.

In the past, a better technology always came along to save our butts. Kerosene replaced whale oil. Electric lamps replaced kerosene. People complained about manure-clogged streets at the turn of the last century, and then along came Henry Ford and his automobile.

Kunstler’s warning is that this upward swing will not continue indefinitely. He quotes Dick Cheney’s famous line, “The American way of life is nonnegotiable.”

“Then reality will negotiate for you,” Kunstler said. “You don’t even have to be in the room.”

The reality is a world of depleted oil reserves and intense global competition for what remains. The current manipulation of the commodity markets and the devaluation of the dollar isn’t helping, either.

Monday, June 09, 2008

ANWR: Miles O'Brien just said how much oil is there on CNN

HOPEFULLY, people will hear what Miles O'Brien just said on CNN. He did the math and showed that there is only 3 months to 2 years worth of oil in ANWR by calculating the low-end estimate to the high-end estimate divided by the U.S. yearly consumption rate. He also reiterated that it would take 10 years to get ANWR oil into production. I think this amount would be better left saved for military needs for the future.

I also heard today that OPEC was calling a meeting with producers and consumers today. I'm interested in what's going on here.

That's all I wanted to say.

oh--p.s.--I think I would like Gov. Brian Schweitzer for Obama's VP. He has some interesting ideas for energy independence. You can see him here in this interview with Charlie Rose. I hope Obama chooses him. He's not totally perfect from a peak oil perspective but I think he might be the closest we can get right now. Go ahead and watch.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Permaculture Guru David Holmgren's Website: Future Scenarios

I've just found this site. I'm not sure how long it has been up but I'd like to take a moment to circulate Mr. Holmgren's website for those also unaware of it. Having to go to work in half an hour also negates me from reading it right away as well. I will also add this interesting site to my sidebar.

I ordered my first rain barrels today here at Gardeners Supply Company. You might know they are on backorder until the second week in July! They were about the cheapest I could find for what I wanted. The garden is starting out well. Hopefully I will have some pictures up soon on this site or my picture place step at a time....

Monday, June 02, 2008

Cold Fusion - 10 years after

The above article contains many scientific and informative links.

Are the necessary materials available and in plentiful amounts?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Peak Oil Now--or not?

I've been reading about the recent spike in energy prices from a couple of different sources that I don't always read on a regular basis. It's kind of giving me pause about the underlying reasons for the spike. At first, I immediately attributed the price spike to increased demand from India and China. The supply/demand variable is a given precipice to price spikes in peak oil circles so, naturally, it was the first thing I thought of. However, I think there are other factors in play here as well.

I almost hate to give reference to Newsmax, because by my nature I attribute Newsmax to be a right-wing rag, and I lean more toward anything written with a liberal bias. I'm not sure how to peg Information Clearinghouse except that it seems more independent and is definitely not mainstream, although I do tend to accept the possibilities the articles that IC publishes (I owe to my inherently rebellious side). Nonetheless, I've been taught to identify the source and its biases, and also to read literature that doesn't always coincide with my own viewpoint. So, here I am presenting some articles from sources I don't naturally agree with in order to be fair and more educated on the subject myself.

After taking in this data and all of the previous data over the course of the last 4 years, I think I've come to the conclusion that while my view of peak oil remains intact, I do believe there are other variables at work at this particular time. I'm not sure that the world has actually peaked as I/we have no definitive proof that it has occurred. I think we will only know in hindsight without the proper hard evidence of proven reserves in all of the world. My feeling is that we are on a plateau and will seesaw up and down for quite awhile before sliding straight down.

What are the variables masking this seesaw plateau, you ask? In my opinion, the variables include availability of sweet crude vs. sour crude, the availability of refineries to meet demand and what grades of oil they have the ability to refine, the increase and decrease of consumption across the world, the fluctuations of demand destruction around the world caused by the higher oil prices, weather events affecting the physical extraction and transportation of oil, geopolitical events affecting exploration, extraction, processing & transportation of the oil, and market manipulations. These are just a few of the variables I can think of at this time.

With all of that said, I will give you the links to the two articles that tell me something other than JUST peak oil is in the mix:
Information Clearinghouse: The Great Oil Swindle
Newsmax: The Dollar and Oil-The Truth

The Oil Drum also has a good thread about the recent spike with some mainstream video of discussions on TV here if you want to look.

If you have time to read them, tell me what you think. Am I completely off the track?

The Coming Energy Wars by Rana Foroohar

Full article from Newsweek online here.

This spring, America hit a historic point. With average gas prices per gallon edging toward $4, America's notoriously profligate ways started to change fast. Americans are driving less, using mass transit more, buying fewer gas guzzlers, indeed shopping less wantonly in general, and lowering their previously unshakable confidence as consumers. Suddenly, Americans are acting differently; if not exactly like Swedes, then not quite like themselves, either. It's a shift that could change the world.

And there are more changes to come. So far the price shock has triggered the most obvious consumer shifts in the United States. Europeans, already greener, are also are buffered by a stronger currency, and Asians are protected from the spiking price of oil by subsidies that control the impact on gas prices at the pump. But if oil prices continue to rise, and the subsidy dam breaks, as seems likely, the energy revolution now transforming America will spread. "We sailed through $80 a barrel," notes energy authority Daniel Yergin, author of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power" and chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "But that doesn't mean we'll sail through $200 a barrel. That sort of price would have enormous global consequences."

A year ago no one was talking about $200 oil, and now everyone in the markets is, for scary reasons. Oil prices climbed from $10 in 1999 to $95 last year without slowing the surging world economy, in large part because the markets believed the spike was at core driven by rising demand, particularly from India and China, which feeds growth. There was concern over supply, too, but nothing like the tumult prompted by the stranglehold OPEC imposed on the world in the 1970s, at least not until recent months. As the per-barrel price climbed over the last few months, with futures reaching $135 last week, the consensus began shifting to a new more gloomy view: that not only would long-term demand, led by China and India, continue to grow, but that the supply threats, including increasing conflict, falling investment, industry bottlenecks and downward estimates of big field reserves in major oil states—aren't going away any time soon. Now many (though not all) serious people take $200 oil—and the prospect of another '70s-style oil shock—seriously. Goldman Sachs warned that the $200 barrier could be hit within the next six to 24 months.
Click Here!

That's way too fast for comfort (or should be) even for those who welcome high gas prices as a way to induce energy conservation and fight global warming. Already skyrocketing oil prices are causing real pain for ordinary people, threatening global economic growth, and reviving the specter of inflation. The price pressure is now particularly acute in big emerging markets like China and India, which in recent years had become paragons of fiscal responsibility that tended to dampen global inflation by exporting cheap goods and services. Now they threaten to become exporters of inflation, particularly if energy price controls give way. Americans now making up for their losses at the gas pump by flocking to Wal-Mart for cheap Chinese goods would be out of luck. Make no mistake: $200 oil in 2009 would be a painful shock, not just a green tax on gas guzzlers.