Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Easter Islanders Weren't So Dumb After All

Jenna Orkin

I've always been suspicious of the assertion that the Easter Islanders chopped down the last tree. It seemed more likely that they chopped down a number of trees while leaving others to germinate, if that's what trees do, but that by the time the tree population had gotten less robust, some blight came along and did away with the remaining ones.

A few nights ago, I talked to a woman who recently returned from Easter Island. She said the blight theory wasn't so far off. What actually did in the trees were rats from ships, possibly from Polynesia, who ate the trees' roots.

So the Easter Islanders weren't so dumb after all. But we still are.

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Guinea-Bissau: One Step From Becoming First African Narco-State

16 comments:

Rice Farmer said...

Love that cellphone story. Of course it's actually just one more way of using the phones to track their owners. Americans are already living in a fishbowl. What next?

Tyler Havlin said...

Oil-rich Alaskans struggle to heat homes

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080229/ap_on_re_us/alaska_s_oil_wealth

In the village of Metlakatla, a few hundred miles south of the Capitol in Juneau, Ed Littlefield is among those trying to reduce his fuel bills by chopping wood.

"The fuel prices are so high that I was out of fuel for two days and, boy, I froze my butt off," said Littlefield, a partially blind Vietnam veteran who suffers from diabetes. He lives on disability.

Lawmakers have less than two months in this year's session to address the problem or risk further embarrassment by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has been quicker to come to the aid of Alaskans than their own Legislature.

"Everybody hates Hugo Chavez, but I want to thank him for the fuel he got me. That lasted me about three or four months last year," Littlefield said.

Despite the state's vast oil wealth, fuel can still be pricey because most of it must be shipped as crude oil to be refined on the West Coast. Then it gets sent back to Alaska.

"It seems crazy to me that Alaskans are paying so much for a resource that we get in our own backyard," said Democratic state Rep. Mary Nelson.

Tyler Havlin said...

Fed underrates inflation - expert

http://money.cnn.com/video/#/video/news/2008/02/28/news.hunter.shadowstats.Feb28.cnnmoney

Economist from ShadowStats.com says inflation is much higher than the Federal Reserve is reporting.

Tyler Havlin said...

Chavez warns of war with Colombia

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080302/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/venezuela_colombia

Warning that Colombia could spark a war, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent tanks and thousands of troops to the countries' border Sunday and ordered his government's embassy in Bogota closed.

The leftist leader warned Colombia's U.S.-allied government that Venezuela will not permit acts like Saturday's killing of top rebel leader Raul Reyes and 16 other Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas at a camp across the border in Ecuador.

"Mr. Defense Minister, move 10 battalions to the border with Colombia for me, immediately — tank battalions, deploy the air force," Chavez said during his weekly TV and radio program. "We don't want war, but we aren't going to permit the U.S. empire, which is the master (of Colombia) ... to come to divide us."

Tyler Havlin said...

Oil Jumps to New Record on Dollar's Fall

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080303/oil_prices.html

The surging price of oil reached another milestone Monday, jumping to an inflation adjusted record high of $103.95.
The weaker dollar that has propelled oil and other commodities prices higher sent light, sweet crude for April delivery past $103.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the level many analysts consider to be the true record high for oil, after its $38 barrel price from 1980 is translated into 2008 dollars.

Surging oil prices are boosting prices at the pump. The average price of a gallon of gas stood at $3.165 Monday, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. That's down 0.1 cent overnight, but up nearly 70 cents from a year ago. The Energy Department expects gas prices to peak near $3.40 this spring, well above May's record of $3.227, but some analysts predict prices could rise to nearly $4 a gallon.

Megan said...

Jenna,

I was wondering what your response is to people like Lindsey Williams? I don't know if you've heard of him, but he authored The Energy Non-Crisis. He seems to think that there is enough oil in Alaska to make America completely energy independent. He claims to know this, because he worked with Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline in the 1970's. There he witnessed a government cover-up of the company's oil findings. I personally think there's something fishy about it, but I was just wondering what your thoughts are on it.

Tyler Havlin said...

UN approves new sanctions on Iran

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7274902.stm

Fourteen of the council's 15 members voted in favour of measures including asset freezes and travel bans for Iranian officials. Indonesia abstained.

Western powers suspect Iran may be developing nuclear weapons, but Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful power generation only.

Tehran has refused to comply with demands that it stop enriching uranium.

The measures are in a sense lowest common denominator sanctions that even China and Russia - who maintain closer links with Iran than the Western powers - would support, says the BBC's Laura Trevelyan at the UN in New York.

In a statement before the vote, Iran's envoy to the UN, Mohammad Khazee, described the resolution as politically motivated, illegal, and illegitimate.

He insisted Iran's nuclear programme "has been, is, and will remain, absolutely peaceful".

He said Iran would ignore the sanctions.

FTW admin said...

megan

at the suggestion of another reader, i heard a bit of his presentation but soon turned it off as familiar disinformation

D! said...

Megan

I know that you didn't ask for my input, but I have watched some of the videos featuring Mr. Williams. To make a long story short he was a chaplain for an oil company. Somehow that qualifies him to make assessments of oil quantities with absolutely no qualifications whatsoever. All of his figures are entirely theoretical and baseless solely because he relies on what oil executives told him...in the 70's. Which if you look at the production models for the area in question he is way off. Toodles.

Tyler Havlin said...

Speculation Adds to Oil Price Surge

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080304/energy_prices.html

Market speculation on energy prices may have added as much as 10 percent to crude oil costs and the peak may be yet to come, a top Energy Department official said Tuesday.

Guy Caruso, head of the department's Energy Information Administration, told a Senate hearing that supply and demand would suggest a price of about $90 a barrel.

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Prices fluctuated around $102 a barrel Tuesday -- although futures prices later dropped below $100 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- on word that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are likely to keep production as is when they meet on Wednesday. Oil prices had surged to $104 a barrel on Monday.

President Bush, meanwhile, chided OPEC for failing to pump more oil as energy prices soar and the U.S. economy slumps. "My advice to OPEC is understand the consequences of high energy prices," Bush said after an Oval Office meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

"I think it's a mistake to have your biggest customers' economies slowing down as a result of higher energy prices," Bush said.

Caruso acknowledged difficulty in predicting short and long-term prices given today's price volatility.

"In the long run we do think...that high prices do stimulate investment on the supply side," he said. "We do think that over time the (fundamental) economics should prevail."

"It's our view that the longer term impact of the current high oil prices will lead to more exploration and development and investment." But Caruso noted the EIA has hedged its numbers for 2030. It said crude oil prices could be $111 a barrel by 2030 under one economic scenario, but as much as $185 a barrel under another set of economic assumptions.

Tyler Havlin said...

Bernanke Urges Banks to Forgive Portion of Mortgages

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aLPiHQ.ASN48&refer=home

"Efforts by both government and private-sector entities to reduce unnecessary foreclosures are helping, but more can, and should, be done," Bernanke said in a speech to bankers in Orlando, Florida, today. "Principal reductions that restore some equity for the homeowner may be a relatively more effective means of avoiding delinquency and foreclosure."

gaelicgirl said...

Tonight on the PBS Newshour with Jim Leherer, a reporter from no less a mainstream news organization than the Wall Street Journal, actually talked, by name, about Peak Oil (in reference to high oil prices). He treated it respectfully, gave his tacit agreement. From here it can't be far to the truly mainstream media.

A peon said...

I have a question for Mr. Ruppert or Ms. Orkin.I've been wanting to view Mike Ruppert's last recorded public speech "Fear and Present Danger",and would like to know if and where it is available for purchase,and if it is no longer available for purchase,where it might be viewed online.

FTW admin said...

a peon

contact ken levine, mike's agent. klevine641@aol.com

Megan said...

Thanks, Jenna and D! for answering my question. I thought it was a load of crap myself, but I just wanted some insight from you all to pass on to the friend that told me about Mr. Williams. Oddly enough it is that same friend who introduced me to the genius of Mike Ruppert!

JJR said...

I managed to find a used copy of Part 2 of Mike's Lecture Series "Building a Better Map" on Amazon.com, which I promptly purchased.

I would really like to get my hands on Part 1, which is 2 complete CDs, as I recall (Part 2 is just one CD).

The irony is I once owned both but in a fit of naive optimism I donated them to the Rosenberg Public Library on Galveston Island. As far as I know, they were never added to the collection (most material donated to public libraries are in fact sold off later by Friends of the Library organizations). At the time I was the Technical Services librarian at nearby TAMUG. I did at least make sure that _Crossing the Rubicon_ was added to our collection, along with books by Matt Simmons and Richard Heinberg and James Howard Kunstler.

I also lent a copy of _Truth and Lies of 9/11_ to a library co-worker who was curious, but I never got it back...I'm glad I bought another copy before FTW had to shut down.

I know there's still bad blood between them, but I also find Daniel Hopsicker's DVDs very eye opening--another piece of the puzzle--but unfortunately Hopsicker is apparently ultimately a believer in the "incompetence" & "blowback" theories, both of which Mike effectively demolished with his research. Hopsicker seemingly misreads his own evidence, which points to a CIA connection surrounding Atta, which corroborates Mike's own research.

These days I keep up with James Howard Kunstler's blog (JHK is allergic to what he views as "conspiracy" stuff--unfortunate, but nobody's perfect) and also Black Op Radio, Feral Scholar (Stan Goff's blog), Real History Blog, George Washington's Blog, and Rigorous Intuition (that one just keeps getting weirder and weirder), and Lenin's Tomb from the UK.
I really appreciate Jenna's keeping this blog going also, which is also on my blog-roll.

Main thing I'm working on now is getting out of debt and trying to prepare for the coming economic shocks from oil war and oil scarcity. I'm just glad I have a friend in town here who hails from Berkley, CA and shares much the same world view as me and very knowledgeable about deep politics. We keep each other sane, though passers-by who eavesdrop on our conversation probably think we're both a little out there.