Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt
Bin Laden Offered Haven in Pakistan
Bush Declassifies Bin Laden Intel
Pakistan to Probe Alleged Arms Trading by Troops
U.S. Fears Over China Nuclear Weapons

Press For Truth
Documentary by 9/11 Widows

Confessions of a U.S. Mercenary in Iraq
Worms Hit the Big Time
This link is included in this week's picks not so much for its content - some readers of this blog know more about worms than the writer of the article - but for its position. The entire magazine section of the New York Times two weeks ago was given over to "eco-tecture," architectural innovations that are supposed to wean us from our much decried energy dependence. That the New York Times gave air time to ultra-'green' red worms should set off alarm bells in anyone who has been lulled by the illusion of a holding pattern in the news into complacency. Another noteworthy article in the issue was a profile of 9/11 and environmental activist Ed Begley. J.O.

Yangtze Flood Alert as Tibetan Glaciers Melt

From an article on French politics in The Daily Reckoning:

...Remember, for instance, Felix Faure, who died suddenly - in office - in1899. The priest arriving on the scene asked if the old man had still hadhis 'consciousness' about him when he died ('connaissance', in French is aword that can be translated as either 'knowledge' or 'acquaintance'). "Notso," replied the policeman, "she left by the side door."


Rice Farmer said...

Man invents machine that makes salt water burn

There's a video, too. Quite an amazing feat. But don't get excited yet. Neither the article nor the video makes any mention of how much energy the inventor's machine consumes. To be anything which might prop up the high-energy economy, it would have to produce AT LEAST 10 times as much energy as it consumes. And what are the chances of that?

Jacob said...

I believe they have reached the same conclusion over at Latoc

FTW admin said...

swift has left a new comment on your post "Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt Bin Laden Offer...":

Bush Admin Taps Zoellick to Head World Bank

Rice Farmer said...

As a chemist friend of mine points out, it takes more energy to part hydrogen and oxygen than you get when rejoining them. So this may well be an energy loser like biofuels. Although I don't have the URL handy, there is a good article on the FTW site that everyone should read to become energy-literate. Just remember: there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Rice Farmer said...

Sign of the times: Just saw a TV news item about how farmers have organized night patrols of their fields to deter vegetable thieves. They even have attack dogs!

Rice Farmer said...

Still wondering why the US created AFRICOM?,1518,484603,00.html

Rice Farmer said...

Kuwait’s Disappearing Oil Reserves

The financial sector is coming around!

Rice Farmer said...

Russia bans live crab exports

gaelicgirl said...

Hmmm....interesting short article on what people say they will NOT do, no matter how high the gas prices go.

Insurgent said...

Is Mike open to making any more public-speaking engagements?

swift said...

Bush Admin Taps Zoellick to Head World Bank
The Bush administration has announced plans to name former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. Zoellick spent four years as the U.S. trade representative until 2005. He went on to the State Department before leaving to join the financial firm Goldman Sachs last year. Zoellick previously served as a paid advisor to the energy company Enron before its collapse. He was an early backer of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and a co-signatory of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century letter calling for Iraq regime change.

Can you believe this crap, Paid advisor to Enron, New American Centery supporter, can it get more obvious?

Pandabonium said...

Gaelicgirl - interesting article. The psychology of denial is truly amazing. What those people don't realize is that not only will they face higher fuel prices, but that as a consequence they may not have a job to commute to. And no matter what they are willing to pay, at times there may be no gas available at any price.

rice farmer - re: vegetable thieves - a neighbor who lives a kilometer away but owns some greenhouses next door to me often comes by in the middle of the night to check on her crops. (Kashima City, Japan for others reading this)

Excellent new interview on Global Public Media- David Fridley, staff scientist at Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory, discusses biofuels, China, globalization and high fuel prices. He's is very well versed and his comments are brief and spot on.

Chris XVX said...

As far as electric cars go, Tesla motors seems to be the only company that has got it right.

Chris XVX said...

The Prophet of Garbage:

Joseph Longo's Plasma Converter turns our most vile and toxic trash into clean energy—and promises to make a relic of the landfill.

Of course the cons are only given a few sentences of attention...

Jacob said...

Nasdaq bids $3.7bn for Nordic OMX

"US stock market operator Nasdaq is offering to buy its Swedish counterpart OMX in a $3.7bn (£1.8bn) deal."

Could anyone with slightly more economic knowledge than me comment on this?

Pandabonium said...

Headline: Consumers feel the heat from rising food prices

"Ethanol-driven demand for corn is just one of the causes."

Rice Farmer said...

Yea, just check out that trash converter!

Just by looking at this image you can see we're talking about some serious energy consumption. I just glanced over the article, but didn't see anything about energy input. A big problem with these schemes is that they overlook the dependence on oil.

Thermal depolymerization is a good example. They start with their turkey offal and calculate the energy gained in the processing, and subtract processing energy consumption, then say we've got an energy surplus, so this technology is a winner. Well, that's a load of crap because the turkey guts have to come from somewhere, and that is the turkey raising operation and the turkey processing plant. Energy used in raising the turkeys, transporting them to the packing plant, processing, and then hauling the offal to the TDP plant all has to be factored in. Without oil, no turkeys in the first place. Duh!

Similarly with this plasma scheme, the trash has to come from somewhere. Most packaging material now is petroleum-based. Food and everything else is produced using oil. Then you collect and haul the trash to the plasma processing plant. Are they considering that cheap oil is necessary at all the stages until wastes are delivered to the plant? Excuse me for thinking that this makes about as much sense as the ethanol scam.

Pandabonium said...

The worst storm to hit the Arabian Peninsula since 1945 is expected to hit Oman within a day and pass right over the Straits of Hormuz.

Cyclone Gonu is a catagory 5 with winds up to 160 mph and is creating waves of 40 feet in the Gulf of Oman. Ships there are actually now reverse loading - pumping oil back into the storage tanks on land.

Follow the link and look at the map. Then think of how much oil flows through the very waters the storm is over. This could get very bad. Oman itself produces 3/4 million barrels/day. Then there is the potential disruption of shipping, and who knows what damage along the coasts of the Persian Gulf. We'll soon find out.

Fasten your seat belts.

Rice Farmer said...

Low-tech can help us weather the coming peak-oil storm. Everyone is familiar with solar cookers. Like other low-tech solutions, these can be build out of junk. And they can also purify water (you don't need to boil water to kill pathogens).

Some time ago I left a post on solar space heating. Again, this is very low-tech and can be built out of junk.

Another really great low-tech solution is the rocket stove. Again, it can be built from junk. Although not adaptable to space heating, it is great for cooking. It has high efficiency, and burns twigs and sticks.

Definitely check these out. There is plenty of information on the web about all of them.

Rice Farmer said...

The bravado in the article posted by Gaelicgirl is most revealing. But in truth, people just don't have a choice. They'll pay break-the-bank prices for gas until they are financially exhausted and flat broke because modern societies won't function without motor vehicles. So even if it costs $100 for a fill-up, people will beg, borrow, or steal to get that $100. They need to get to work, to go shopping, and do other things, and many people live in places where public transportation is not an option.

Of course the American sense of entitlement is part of this equation. As a US congressman (forget his name) said, "When I flick the switch, I expect the lights to come on." People like him will either change their way of thinking or find themselves quite unprepared for the hard times ahead.

Anonymous said...

Robert Rapier (R-squared blog) did a good job of post analyzing the thermal depolymerization debacle
and, of course, pulling ethanol-from-corn and cellulosic ethanol apart:

Same basic problems crop up for most of these type of methodologies.

Rice Farmer said...

One Japanese who years ago helped open my eyes to energy reality is a Mr. Kawabata (forget his given name), who was the first person in Japan to conceive the maglev train technology. He was gung-ho about this at first and promoted his idea, but in later years repudiated his own idea and opposed the maglev because he realized that the high-energy civilization is based on ephemeral oil-based riches. Once I attended a public lecture he gave, at which he noted that this era is a brief window in human history when we'll be able to drive cars. So saying, he quipped, "When I realized that, I immediately got a driver's license!"

Rice Farmer said...

Thanks to Fallout11 for those links. One feature of these energy balance calculations you often see with regard to TDP or ethanol or whatever is that they say their waste products can be used as livestock feed or fertilizer and contain this much energy, and so they put that in their plus column. Whoa! Are the livestock and fields right next to the factories? Of course not. For those waste products to be actually used, they must be trucked to user sites. And what to the trucks run on? Duh!

BTW, I found that FTW article I recommended the other day. This is an excellent primer for anyone who wants to think seriously about energy issues and not get sucked into one of the many scams that abound.

Rice Farmer said...

Another efficient way to heat is the Japanese "kotatsu."

Traditionally, the Japanese don't heat buildings, they heat the body, which is far more energy-efficient. The Japanese started using space heating in their homes when kerosene heaters became available. Anyone who has used a kotatsu (especially the traditional kind) will tell you that it keeps you toasty warm with only a small fraction of the energy you would need to heat even a small room.