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By Robert Rapier on May 23, 2011 with 296 responses

Democrats and Energy Policy

An Energy Epiphany

I have often thought that if all domestic oil production and refining ceased in this country for a month, we would see an energy epiphany in the U.S. the likes of which we have never seen. Such an event would really drive home our dependence on petroleum products.

In fact, this essay started as an introduction to a book review I am writing on Amanda Little’s book Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair with Energy. The book described Little as an award winning columnist on green politics. Prior to writing Power Trip, her views on the energy industry were typical of those of most liberal environmentalists. But her eyes were opened wide during the major 2003 blackout in the Northeast. Suddenly she saw society without the dirty power that fellow environmentalists fight so hard to stop — and she recognized that life wouldn’t be all roses if environmentalists get all of their wishes:

“There was virtually nothing in my office—my body included—that wasn’t there because of fossil fuels… I had understood this intellectually before—that the energy landscape encompasses not just our endless acres of oil fields, coal mines, gas stations, and highways…. What I hadn’t fully managed to grasp was the intimate and invisible omnipresence of fossil fuels in my own life…. I also realized that this thing I thought was a four-letter word (oil) was actually the source of many creature comforts I use and love—and many survival tools I need. It seemed almost miraculous. Never had I so fully grasped the immense versatility of fossil fuels on a personal level and their greater relevance in the economy at large.”

The belief that Little describes — oil is a four-letter word — seems to be thoroughly embedded among most Democrats because they fail to recognize the role it plays in their lives. And if they fail to recognize oil’s role, how can they expect to pass sensible energy policies?

The Democratic Disconnect

As I read Little’s book, I kept coming back to the question “Why is is that so many Democrats seem to be so disconnected from the role energy plays in our lives?” And I ask that question as someone whose political views generally fall on the Democratic side of the spectrum. While I tend to stay away from discussing politics in general in this column, due to my energy views some readers come away with the impression that I am a Right Wing Conservative. That is a very inaccurate view. In fact, I dislike both extremes of the political spectrum. I don’t care for the shrill political views of Rush Limbaugh or Bill Maher.

Without getting into detailed position statements on universal health care, abortion rights, Creationism in schools, environmental protection, etc. – let me just say that my political views are left of center (but not too far left). I would describe myself as “mostly” a Democrat. But my views on energy are completely at odds with the mainstream views of the Democratic party.

The reason for this is that I believe the left – and especially the far left – is disconnected and naive when it comes to energy. They display the kind of thinking Amanda Little displayed before her epiphany. For example, I love the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I think Jon is incredibly insightful and intelligent. But when Jon wades into energy discussions, he often ends up spreading the kind of misinformation that leads to liberal naivety on energy issues. The view always seems to be that the oil companies are the enemy of the people, even though they depend on oil for so many modern conveniences.

Imagining Life without Oil

Leonardo di Caprio provides a perfect example of this kind of mentality. He has devoted a lot of passion and energy into educating people on the dangers of our fossil fuel dependence (and has also done a lot of good work fighting against species extinction). He really seems to try to practice what he preaches. He seems to strive in his personal life to keep his energy usage low. I admire him for all of the above. But I don’t think he appreciates just how much his life is still enabled by what the oil companies do. (For instance, di Caprio was in Rome when Obama won the presidency; a trip that was enabled by petroleum). When he recently campaigned for an end to oil company subsidies, I thought “He doesn’t even know what these subsidies are, and he really has no idea of what his life would be like without the oil he takes for granted.”

If di Caprio suddenly found himself without gasoline or jet fuel, he would have his own energy epiphany. I think Democrats would be in less of a hurry to marginalize our domestic oil industry if they saw a glimpse of life without the oil companies. Al Gore would have to cancel his lectures on the dangers of climate change as he found himself unable to fly to his venues. The ethanol industry would shut down as they no longer had natural gas to run their plants. Large scale farming activity would cease. Instead of cleaner, greener, and cheaper, you would see people start to starve  as the food distribution systems broke down.

President Obama’s Flip-Flops

The disconnect in the Democratic party extends right to the top. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama preached on the dangers of our fossil fuel dependence. I felt at the time many of his ideas were those of an idealistic Democratic candidate with yet another distorted view of the oil industry. Once he was in office, he started to make decisions indicative of someone coming to grips with the reality of our energy consumption. But he has been extremely indecisive. Apparently realizing that renewable energy won’t be replacing oil any time soon, he first came to the conclusion that we need more domestic production. Following the BP spill, he decided we needed a moratorium. Now we are back to needing rapid domestic development. He wants to end incentives for domestic oil production, and then almost immediately says we need more incentives for oil production.

Here is the dilemma he faces. Candidate Obama can rail against the oil companies all he wants to score cheap political points. President Obama may continue to rail against the oil companies for political benefit, but privately he knows that marginalizing domestic oil companies does nothing to lessen our dependence on oil. It simply increases our dependence on imported oil and weakens the country. In a tight supply/demand environment, incremental supplies could make a big price impact, and to the extent that those supplies are domestic that money circulates within the U.S. economy. If he fails to work to develop domestic supplies, people will point fingers at him and blame him for driving up gas prices (which they are already doing).

Democrats in the Oil Business

I think the core of the disconnect is that so few Democrats are involved in the business of producing and refining oil. Speaking from experience, people on the left make up a small minority of oil company employees. There is thus a long-standing hostile relationship between Democrats and conservative fossil energy companies, and I think this has led to a total disconnect of what the industry does and how it operates.

I would bet that an anti-oil activist like Tyson Slocum has never spent any time up close studying the industry he criticizes so fiercely. Thus, he and many other Democrats have a ‘comic book’ view of how the industry works. I have no doubt that if you embedded Slocum, Al Gore, or Leonardo di Caprio inside ExxonMobil for one year, they would come away preaching “Guys, we have had this all wrong” — and not because of Stockholm syndrome. (That is not to suggest that they wouldn’t still believe we need to move away from oil, but they would see why their ideas of how to do that have been completely wrong).

What Are They Thinking?

I understand the thinking of the Democrats. Many of them believe that the only thing really standing between the status quo and a clean energy economy are the traditional power providers, their lobbyists, and their allies in Congress. Therefore, if they pass legislation to marginalize our major providers of energy in this country (oil companies, coal companies, nuclear power companies), their share of energy production will decline and green power will save the day. I see that viewpoint again and again. It is so far out of touch with reality, and yet at the heart of the divide between the left and right on energy issues.

I believe part of the issue is also that many Democrats think the use of fossil energy is morally wrong, and therefore the industries that profit from that are to be ostracized and punished. That’s why you see liberal think tanks like the Center for American Progress expressing outrage over oil company tax deductions, but silent over Apple’s or GE’s tax deductions. The issue isn’t really taxes. They want an end to the consumption of dirty fossil energy, and they therefore try to stir up anger toward the oil companies. The casualty of their tactics is that they decrease America’s average energy IQ with misinformation campaigns, and they make it much more difficult to have rational energy policy discussions.

Be Careful What You Wish For

My ultimate goals are not much different from theirs: Declining dependence on fossil fuels, no oil spills or nuclear accidents, cleaner air and water, etc. But by failing to understand the real nature of our energy usage (how much petroleum we use, where we use it, why we use it, etc.) they pursue strategies that will push us toward a result other than the one they were hoping to achieve.

I am not suggesting that our dependence on fossil energy is a good thing. We have made many choices spanning decades that have put us in a vulnerable position. I believe we must adopt policies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But doing so requires a real understanding of the magnitude and nature of that dependence. Because they fail to do so, I often see Democrats pushing for solutions that will:

1. Simply maintain our dependence by striving to keep oil prices low (e.g., tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserves).

2. Maintain our dependence, but shift that dependence to imports to a greater extent (e.g., adopting policies that weaken our domestic oil companies but do nothing to their foreign competitors).

Of Course It’s Not Only Democrats

In closing, I would be remiss not to mention that Democrats don’t hold a monopoly on simplistic thinking about our energy issues. There are plenty on the right who believe that the only reason energy independence eludes us is that we haven’t developed our own resources to the fullest extent. Or that the trillion barrels of oil shale in Utah and Colorado could make us energy independent, if not for those meddling environmentalists. I get e-mails from people all the time asking if the Bakken formation could make us energy independent. Those are naive views as well that really don’t display an appreciation for our level of oil consumption.

Compromise Around Reality

In order to address our energy future in a way that makes long-term sense, both sides of the political spectrum are going to have to abandon naive views. Otherwise, the left is going to continue to ostracize the oil companies while they hold out for vast quantities of renewable energy that can’t possibly replace our current levels of oil consumption. The right is going to hold out for increased domestic production to replace our current levels of consumption. And as they bicker, we dig ourselves into a deeper hole.

But there is much room for compromise if both sides develop a more realistic view of our energy policies. For instance, I have made suggestions that draw ideas from both sides that would help both on the supply and demand side. For example, expand drilling, but earmark the proceeds of those lease sales and royalties for programs that will reduce oil consumption (via conservation measures and targeted alternative energy programs).

Both sides have ideas that can be part of a good overall energy policy, but taken as a whole neither side will solve this issue. And if they don’t, the winners will be oil exporters, who will step into that supply void, happy to sell us oil at $200 a barrel.

  1. By carbonbridge on May 23, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Robert Rapier said: 

    An Energy Epiphany:  Both sides have ideas that can be part of a good overall energy policy, but taken as a whole neither side will solve this issue. And if they don’t, the winners will be oil exporters, who will step into that supply void, happy to sell us oil at $200 a barrel.

     



     

    RR: You hit the nail squarely upon its head in your last two sentences.  Thank you for publicly providing your own thoughts plus some reference URLs on this topical subject.  While citizens get angered over recent price spikes for refined petroleum distillates – maybe we haven’t seen nothin’ yet…  Just like the book writer whom you’ve quoted – she didn’t didn’t really ascertain the intricacies of the total BIG PICTURE until the lights went out in a regional n.e. Atlantic blackout.  Then the intertwines of fossil fuels into all aspects of her personal life began to make much more sense to this woman.  And her views changed…

    Today I think of the many readers of this blog who themselves didn’t live through the Arab Oil Embargo of 1974.  This same generation of people has no personal “experience yet” for a regional blackout or for when gasoline stations quickly shut down as liquid fuel supplies became exhausted.  Until you’ve pushed your car into a filling station, after a 10-hr. wait — and then are limited to a $2 gasoline purchase ($2 used to buy about six gallons) – some of what you are writing about still will not click through to generations of people who are not personally experienced with disruptive events such as these…

    Misunderstandings by many citizens – both politicians and consumers alike – concerning how fossilized carbon is actually mined, processed, supplied, taxed, subsidized, transported, retailed and integrated into everyone’s lives – continue to be far reaching as well as highly polarized.  Thank you again for your most insightful thoughts on this topic while Americans continue living under the financial drain of imported fuel supplies without a sensible domestic energy policy which is clearly understood and supported by the majority.

    –Mark

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  2. By Douglas Hvistendahl on May 23, 2011 at 6:15 am

    There is a tendency on all sides to not notice our dependencies. For those who are interested, “Mother Earth News” figured out that our dependency on fossil fuels can’t last forever, forty years ago. They don’t get everything right. Many of their articles have been useful for our family – our intensive backyard garden, for example. Much of our cash available for investing has come from saving on direct and indirect energy costs. PV electricity may not be at the grid parity level yet, but blowing summer air through the basement into the house (with dehumidification) is cheap cooling. It also has warmed the soil under the house over the past years to the point where the problem with pipes freezing in winter cold snaps is cured. Many other things can be done without waiting on the politicos.

    At the same time, we are dependent at present, and should see that. If we don’t, a negative black swan event is very likely to happen.

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  3. By duracomm on May 23, 2011 at 7:10 am

    The political class in this nation is amazingly
    1. Incompetent
    2. Ignorant
    3. Arrogant enough to not realize they have a problem with 1. and 2.

    The safest, most dependable energy policy is to minimize involvement of the political class in the energy market.

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  4. By Walt on May 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

    The Methanol Institute shows a couple recent changes…and after years of waiting it looks like the Open Fuel Standards Act is back on top:

     

    http://www.opencongress.org/bi…..87/actions

     

    ——————————

    The Methanol Institute today,
    for example, announced that it’s backing of the Open Fuel Standard Act
    of 2011 (H.R. 1687) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Methanol is just one of the several alternative fuels that are being researched as affordable alternatives to fossil fuel.

    “The Open Fuel Standard Act is all about choice,” Methanol Institute
    Executive Director Gregory Dolan said in a statement. “By ensuring that
    new
    cars
    can operate on something other than gasoline, Americans can reap the
    benefits of multiple alternative fuels. Methanol in particular is poised
    to play significant role in reducing our dependence on gasoline, as the
    most affordable, easily deployed, sustainable fuel available that would
    retail at the pump today for just $3.19 per gasoline equivalent
    gallon.”

    Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-1…..z1NB3A2Zrn
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  5. By Hefferbub on May 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Robert,
    You are so right in pointing that most people in developed countries, and especially America, don’t understand that the lifestyle they lead would never have been possible without massive amounts of cheap fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately, you seem to draw the wrong conclusion. Rather than acknowledge that this 150 year stretch of human history is a bizarre anomaly driven by a one-time infusion of a windfall of millions of years worth of stored solar energy (fossil fuels), you seem to say that if we just drill harder, we can keep this going forever. It ain’t possible.

    People who are serious about creating solutions have to be rigorous in understanding the nature of the problems they hope to solve. Many people of a variety of backgrounds and political tendencies understand that the challenge is not how to keep this anomalous lifestyle going as long as possible, but rather how to transition to a society that once again lives on an energy budget driven by current income (yearly solar input) rather than by burning through stored capital. That certainly means living on less than 1/10 of the energy we use today, and probably a lot less.

    The objection I have to oil companies, airlines, multinational shippers, giant agribusiness and their (often paid) defenders is that they actively seek to delay this inevitable reckoning.

    We won’t get to keep this current way of life, and the sooner we come to terms with that, the more options we’ll have in the incredibly difficult transition to whatever comes next. By denying and delaying, those folks diminish the admittedly-slight chance that we can make this transition without intense chaos and massive die-off.

    This is the problem that many environmentalists have with the oil industry is not that they provide for things we use today, but rather that they actively seek to block us from making the wrenching changes that need to happen to deal with the coming decades of inevitable change.

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  6. By moiety on May 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Hefferbub said:

    The objection I have to oil companies, airlines, multinational shippers, giant agribusiness and their (often paid) defenders is that they actively seek to delay this inevitable reckoning.

    We won’t get to keep this current way of life, and the sooner we come to terms with that, the more options we’ll have in the incredibly difficult transition to whatever comes next. By denying and delaying, those folks diminish the admittedly-slight chance that we can make this transition without intense chaos and massive die-off.

    This is the problem that many environmentalists have with the oil industry is not that they provide for things we use today, but rather that they actively seek to block us from making the wrenching changes that need to happen to deal with the coming decades of inevitable change.


     

    I would like to know exact instances of this. The only real instance I can remember was the block on green/second gen biodiesel that was prepertrated by supporters of first generation bio-diesel. Large companies like Shell and Exxon are investing heavily in green and renewable energy projects. I cannot speak for OPEC suppliers but at least on this side, big oil shows a certain amount of support for renewable.

    What prohibits renewables is the need to apply large subsises for the power. Wind and solar recieve approximately 24$/MWh production which is much higher than coal (0.44) http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/se…../chap5.pdf. This massively increases the cost of these systems but allows them to compete in the market.

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  7. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

    “lifestyle they lead would never have been possible without massive amounts of cheap fossil fuels.”

     

    Not so massive really. It take a small amount of energy per person to provide a large amount of benefit.

     

    First, it is important to desperate electricity from transportation.

     

    Making enough electricity is not a technical issue. The blackout in 2003 started near Cleveland (that is called the Midwest). It was a management issue and did not spread into the PJM which was better managed. The rolling blackouts in California were caused not enough generating equipment and was solved when California finally built some new CCGT.

     

    An modern efficient all electric house does not use that much energy. I would use my house as an example using an average of 1200 kwh/month for three people. Most of our industrial processes have made much more efficient since the 70s. Yes it take energy to make steel and aluminum, but it they last a long time and can be recycled.

     

    In North America, we are not running out of fossil fuels to make electricity. France has demonstrated that fossil fuel use can be minimized with nuclear power.

     

    “I think Jon is incredibly insightful and intelligent. ”

     

    Comedian! Poets, actors, musicians and other creative people have words of ‘wisdom’ to share about life. Ever notice how much is not really wisdom well thought out. Providing electricity to live in a comfortable shelter and provide clean drinking water is something engineers can do fine. We all can not be rock stars.

     

    Transportation is different because we have to store the energy or be tied to a wire. When the energy in fission, we can also make liquid transportation fuel. Between farmers and BEV I am not too worried about the future. I think we could do a lot less driving too

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  8. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

    “This is the problem that many environmentalists have with the oil industry is not that they provide for things we use today, but rather that they actively seek to block us from making the wrenching changes that need to happen to deal with the coming decades of inevitable change.”

    Of course oil producers including the big multinational P&R companies seek to block change. Oil company lobbyists pace the Halls of the U.S.Congress every day throwing out campaign contributions in exchange for favors to the oil industry. After all, there’s still $100 Trillion$ in untapped oil still in the ground and oil companies are not of a mind to transition peacefully into “alternative energy”

    Huge companies. Hugely powerful and influential. And loaded with $ billions and $ billions in profits to invest in their own self-preservation..

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  9. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Well, here we go again. We start to recover a little bit, the price of gasoline hits $4.00, and we begin the slide back into recession. Oil is great, but there just isn’t enough of it.

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  10. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Robert is famous for his “thought experiments”

     

    But here is a REAL experiment for you…..

    Next time you come home from work, walk out into your garage and locate your breaker box.

     

    Flip the main breaker and sit in your house for a week without electricity as everthing in your refrigerator rots and begins to stink as you stumble around your house with candles, unable to take a shower because the hot water heater won’t work.  No toaster.  No Television.  No electric dishwasher. No AM/FM radio. No stereo.  No computer.  And no R Squared Energy Blog. 

     

    Most of all…. no lights. And if you have an electric stove, then no stove  You won’t even be able to cook the rotting food in your icebox

    Now, sit there and tell me your major concern is going to be how much gas you have in your car in the garage.

     

    Gasoline shortage ?    Highly over-rated.

     

    An Electrical wipeout, however,  ends with looting in the streets and anarchy as it did in N.Y.C. with the rolling black-outs they experienced.

     

    Civilization will end without oil ? 

     

    Nonsense. 

     

    But civilization as we presently know it WILL end without electricity

     

     

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  11. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Those gasoline pumps ARE powered by electricity, aren’t they? :)

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  12. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

    It’s going to be a long 10 years, I’m afraid.

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  13. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Yes, they are Rufus.

    No more gravity pumps like the early gas stations.

    If you try to buy gas the pump it won’t work and your credit card won’t work because it’s Electronic Funds Transfer. so no electricity also wipes out the banking industry.

    No gas ?

    No problem.

    There are lots of fill -ins and work arounds.for gasoline ……….bio-fuels, synthetic fuels, PHEVs and electric cars and CNG to name a few.

    No electricity however is a huge problem.

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  14. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Robert.

    Our present day civilization does NOT run on crude oil. It runs on electricity.

    Mac

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  15. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    RR said, “The ethanol industry would shut down as they no longer had natural gas to run their plants.”

    What? Don’t you know they produce more energy than they consume? ;-)

    Why if they had to, I bet they could even use some of the ethanol they make to replace that natural gas and diesel fuel they are now dependent upon. (Not)

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  16. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I do, however, think there is more “good news” on the electricity front than on the liquid fuels front. Wind, and Solar are coming on strong; whereas, biofuels are in a “lull.”

    We’ve, basically, maxed out our allotted corn ethanol production, and cellulosic is fighting some strong headwinds.

    When it comes to transportation, both the Dems, and the Pubs are pretty much worthless. The Dems dream of some utopia where everyone drives 100% “electric” powered by Wind, and the Pubs run around screaming, “If they’d just let us Drill ANWR everything would be Alright.”

    Both positions, of course, are silly. We Do need to drill ANWR, because if we wait much longer the TransAlaska Pipeline will be shut down (and, extremely hard, if not impossible, to restart.) And, Electricity can, and will, contribute some.

    However, both of those, taken together, can’t possibly save our bacon in a world where China, India, and the oil-exporting nations, themselves, are increasing their usage by over a million bbl/day, annually.

    We have to get “real” about a third strategy, and we need to do it, Yesterday.

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  17. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Our present day civilization does NOT run on crude oil. It runs on electricity.

    mac,

    Our present day civilization runs on energy, and motor fuels made from oil play a significant role. (Look around your house. If you’ve got something, it was almost certainly delivered on a truck burning diesel fuel. If not directly to your house, at least to the store where you bought it.)

    We are addicted to neither electricity or to oil. We are addicted to the luxury and lifestyle that using energy in profligate amounts gives us.

    We could live as people did in the 1880s when per capita energy consumption was low, but only a few of the hardiest (and certainly not many politicians) would be able to thrive and enjoy that lifestyle.

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  18. By Mercy Vetsel on May 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for another great post.

    RR wrote:

    I would describe myself as “mostly” a Democrat. But my views on energy are completely at odds with the mainstream views of the Democratic party.

    That’s actually a pattern that I’ve noticed over and over with my Democrat friends. They lean left overall EXCEPT for the one area where they have extensive direct personal knowledge and experience. An econ professor who is a big Democrat EXCEPT for his area of expertise — the economic returns to pharmaceutical research; a fund manager who leans left on everything but recognizes how badly government regulation has screwed up incentives for the money center banks; the Democrat doctor who understands how badly the government has mangled the healthcare system.

    After pondering this, I have an explanation that seems obvious in retrospect. We learn the left-wing view of the world in school and accept it on authority and for many people it sticks. For most subjects, accepting the authority of the teachers and textbook writers works fine, especially for non-political topics but it all adds up to a very left-wing view and creates a systematic and self-reinforcing bias that’s hard to address piece by piece.

    Now occasionally students are exposed to the entire framework of the “conservative” or classically liberal perspective, but normally they see it in an incoherent, piecemeal manner that only reinforces the course caricatures they learned in school.

    Therefore, when the “standard college model” doesn’t hold for what an energy engineer sees in his field, it’s easier for him to make an exception than to rethink the standard model as it applies to healthcare, taxes, poverty, trade, minimum wage, rent control, consumer protection, banking, agriculture, affirmative action, manufacturing and so on.

    -Mercy

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  19. By LarchOye on May 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    NAIVE HATRED? The fossil fuel industry is 100% responsible for each and every ecological disaster it’s caused. Global oil-production, and access to mid-east oil is THE UNDERLYING REASON for the middle-east’s ever increasing instability. The U.S. Military’s fossil fuel consumption ALONE is why “access” to mid-east oil is so ‘IMPORTANT’ to us… And our military presence in the middle east IS THE REASON FOR TERRORISM AND *WHY WE WERE ATTACKED ON 9/11*. The U.S. government has been paying BILLIONS in subsidies to big oil for DECADES, despite near continual growth in the massive industry profit. Recently, the industry has been posting RECORD PROFITS, gained atop RECORD FUEL PRICES… Prices which LEAD DIRECTLY to the nearly-doubling in the COST / PRICE of ALL OTHER COMMODITIES. Prices which caused a substantial number of people’s Loan-Defaults, Rampant Foreclosures, and the over-all value of real-estate DROPPING 50% AND EVEN 75% across the entire country. WHICH OF COURSE LEAD TO THE WIDESPREAD FAILURE OF BANKS, THE STOCK MARKET, RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS, AND DOMESTIC INDUSTRY PRODUCTION. CAUSING MASSIVE JOB LOSS, A 2ND WORLD STANDARD OF HEALTHCARE: THE OVERALL STANDARD OF LIVING WE HAD IN 1948.

    Anyone who doesn’t hate fossil fuels is severely delusional.

    What’s NAIVE? Believing that environmentalism is LIBERAL. NAIVE? Pretending that sustainable energy options- and the cost of RENEWABLE ENERGY is “too high for the average person right now”, or not yet feasible because of upfront costs, etc.

    DOESN’T ANYONE REALIZE THAT YOU’VE BEEN SAYING THAT ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY FOR 40 YEARS NOW? The amount it would have cost us to be generating 100% of the world’s electricity from solar power TODAY: would’ve amount to about 3% of what we’ve spent on petroleum in that time…

    Anybody that doesn’t already own solar panels, and claims to be “FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE” is so clearly naive they should be considered “REALISTICALLY RETARDED”, “RATIONALLY INEPT”, and be diagnosed as a “CLINICAL DUNCE”.

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  20. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    They lean left overall EXCEPT for the one area where they have extensive direct personal knowledge and experience.

    Mercy,

    Many left-leaning liberals have changed their views on crime and law and order issues after they’ve been mugged, their homes have been broken into, or their cars have been stolen. Suddenly it’s no longer an issue of, “It’s not their fault, our unjust society causes them to do it.” to one of “Where are the police? Somebody protect me.”

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  21. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Global oil-production, and access to mid-east oil is THE UNDERLYING REASON for the middle-east’s ever increasing instability. Anyone who doesn’t hate fossil fuels is severely delusional.

    LarchOye,

    I take it then that you use no oil — either for transportation, or something made from oil — and live the lifestyle of a pioneer in Nebraska in the 1880s?

    Unless you are telepathic, you must have written your rant on a computer. Do you think no fossil fuels were used making your computer or that none are used keeping the Internet running?

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  22. By Phil on May 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    A nice, thought-provoking piece, Robert!

    What I take away from it (and fully agree with) is our need to replace or, at the very least pair idealism of any kind – left or right, pro or anti-oil – with a healthy dose of realism. A lesson, that applies to virtually all aspects of society, not just politics…

    For now it appears that there are areas we are have no commercially viable alternative to oil – and other areas where we can and should shift to other energy sources.

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  23. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    The safest, most dependable energy policy is to minimize involvement of the political class in the energy market.

    Amen to that! Unfortunately, the idiot politicians stand ready to screw everything up, the moment people wail hard enough about oil prices.

    Rather than acknowledge that this 150 year stretch of human history is a bizarre anomaly driven by a one-time infusion of a windfall of millions of years worth of stored solar energy (fossil fuels), you seem to say that if we just drill harder, we can keep this going forever. It ain’t possible.

    Hey, Heifer,

    Can you read? I suggest you spend some time researching RR’s positions, which are generally well-thought out, before you show your ignorance with one-dimensional criticism. This is not a “drill, baby, drill” blog.

    Oh, and relax, will you? Mad Max is not coming for the children. See quote #1 above.

    This is the problem that many environmentalists have with the oil industry is not that they provide for things we use today, but rather that they actively seek to block us from making the wrenching changes that need to happen to deal with the coming decades of inevitable change.

    Oh, and it’s not our fault we want our cake AND eat it, is it? Afterall, we’re special. Careful not to scapegoat Big Oil for society’s ills.

    But civilization as we presently know it WILL end without electricity

    Now there’s a thought. But again, chances appear to be slight.

    Comedian! Poets, actors, musicians and other creative people have words of ‘wisdom’ to share about life.

    Kit, aren’t you disturbed that the only places you seem to get honest comment about American society are from the comedians? Compared to the dumbed-down local news, Jon Stewart is a genius.

    Anyone who doesn’t hate fossil fuels is severely delusional.

    Oh, I see, hatred is the basis for rational thought and good decisions about the future. How did I miss that?

    You are the only deluded one, Larchy.

    Oh, and STOP SHOUTING! if you have an intelligent comment, let’s have it. In your indoor voice.

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  24. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Hefferbub said:

    Robert,

    You are so right in pointing that most people in developed countries, and especially America, don’t understand that the lifestyle they lead would never have been possible without massive amounts of cheap fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately, you seem to draw the wrong conclusion. Rather than acknowledge that this 150 year stretch of human history is a bizarre anomaly driven by a one-time infusion of a windfall of millions of years worth of stored solar energy (fossil fuels), you seem to say that if we just drill harder, we can keep this going forever. It ain’t possible.


     

    Au contraire, that is the exact opposite of my position. I have written numerous articles addressing your 2nd paragraph and how to transition away from a fossil-driven society (and about the dangers if we don’t). In fact, I allude to it in this very article, but if you dig a bit you will see my writing urgently about this very topic. That is, after all, the fundamental reason I write about energy.

    The objection I have to oil companies, airlines, multinational
    shippers, giant agribusiness and their (often paid) defenders is that
    they actively seek to delay this inevitable reckoning.

    No doubt the oil industries are going to work to serve their own interests. But we have to recognize when their interests are also our interests, and when they are not. If we disadvantage domestic oil companies and don’t do the same to foreign competitors, that is not in either of our interests. If we work to reduce oil consumption, that is in our interest, but not theirs. I have sought to do the latter.

    RR

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  25. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Wendell,

    Robert just wanted us to get a perspective on how important oil is. I thought it was important to inform Robert that we gave a far more seminal energy source than oil and that is electricity, without which the modern industrial world would collapse into anarchy within a matter of days.

    Most modern factories run on electrical power, from auto- mobile assembly lines to Intel plants. Aluminum and steel arc furnaces run on electricity – not coal.

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  26. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Kit P said:

    “I think Jon is incredibly insightful and intelligent. ”

     

    Comedian! Poets, actors, musicians and other creative people have words of ‘wisdom’ to share about life. Ever notice how much is not really wisdom well thought out. Providing electricity to live in a comfortable shelter and provide clean drinking water is something engineers can do fine. We all can not be rock stars.


     

    And of course many people dismissed Ronald Reagan as just an actor.

    But as Jon recently showed, his serious side is certainly a match for the best and brightest at Fox News:

    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/…..ontroversy

    RR

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  27. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    mac said:

    Civilization will end without oil ? 

     

    Nonsense. 

     

    But civilization as we presently know it WILL end without electricity


     

    While it isn’t an either/or, I believe we would be in a lot more trouble without oil. The entire global transportation system — which moves food around the world — is utterly dependent upon petroleum. The business of large scale food production is utterly dependent on oil and natural gas. So where you see a lot of conveniences brought about by electricity, oil sustains far more mouths. Life without electricity would cause havoc; life without oil would kill billions in just a few months. Many people in developing countries live today without electricity. But they are thoroughly dependent on grain imports.

    The other thing to point out is that we produce a respectable amount of electricity from nuclear power and hydropower. We produce no other liquid fuels that can keep the jets and big trucks moving.

    RR

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  28. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    mac said:

    Robert.

    Our present day civilization does NOT run on crude oil. It runs on electricity.

    Mac


     

    See above. The only reason about 80% of the world’s population is alive is the green revolution, made possible by oil and natural gas. Society literally runs on oil; the entire global transportation system.

    RR

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  29. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Mercy Vetsel said:

    Thanks for another great post.

    RR wrote:

    I would describe myself as “mostly” a Democrat. But my views on energy are completely at odds with the mainstream views of the Democratic party.

    That’s actually a pattern that I’ve noticed over and over with my Democrat friends. They lean left overall EXCEPT for the one area where they have extensive direct personal knowledge and experience.


     

    While that may be true in many cases, there are many Republican positions that are anathema to me. For instance — and hopefully this doesn’t sidetrack the conversation — Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms. I am quite strongly against the mainstream Republican position on that one, and I do know the subject matter in great detail. I also believe that everyone should have access to health care. I have seen our system and I have seen the UK system, and while the latter has its own issues, it is a good safety net for people that doesn’t require community bake sales so some poor kid can get a new liver. I can imagine the arguments against this are similar to arguments that were thrown up when we were trying to institute social security.

    After pondering this, I have an explanation that seems obvious in
    retrospect. We learn the left-wing view of the world in school and
    accept it on authority and for many people it sticks.

    I grew up in rural Oklahoma, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more conservative area of the country. I went to college at Texas A&M University, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more conservative school. So that doesn’t explain my political views.

    RR

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  30. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    “The only reason about 80% of the world’s population is alive is the green revolution, made possible by oil and natural gas. Society literally runs on oil; the entire global transportation system.”

    Yes. and as nat gas derived fertilizers expand the “dead zone” in the Gulf, I’m sure at some point we will regret our dependence on fossil fuel derived agricultural fertilizers.

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  31. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    “Society literally runs on oil; the entire global transportation system.”

     

    Society can do without oil, despite your protests.

     

    While there may be no “one on one substitutes for gasoline,”  there ARE  substitutes

     

    There is at present, absolutely no substitute for electricity.

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  32. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Society can do without oil, despite your protests.

    mac~

    Please look around your house and identify the things you use that have their roots in the petrochemical industry. One of the worries about burning all our oil and wasting it on transportation is that we could no longer have fossil fuels to use as a chemical feedstock to make about bazillion other things people have gotten used to using.

    We could get along without many of those things (plastic bags certainly), but others are near irreplaceable — such as synthetic nitrogen made from natural gas.

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  33. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I’m sure at some point we will regret our dependence on fossil fuel derived agricultural fertilizers.

    mac~

    Only if the earth’s population were closer to one billion instead of seven billion. You’d be hard pressed to convince those other six billion making synthetic nitrogen fertilizer from fossil fuels was a bad idea.

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  34. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Well, I don’t want to try to do without Transportation Fuel, OR Electricity.

    I, also, don’t want to be stuck in a moribund, receding economy. But, at present, that’s what we’re looking at.

    The first of January the economy was humming along, growing at 3%+. By the end of Feb, early March, we were slowing quickly. We ended up with a 1.8% growth figure that will, likely, be revised, downward. This quarter we will, at best, be “flat,” (plus, or minus, a couple of tenths,) and next quarter we will likely be negative.

    What happened?. Gasoline Prices. Same as the end of 2007, beginning of 2008. Gas prices go over $3.50, and we start slowing. They go over $4.00 and we’re “fork-ready.”

    Here’s a Scary thought: What if we go into a full-fledged recession, and gasoline prices Still stay in the $3.50 range? It’s going to happen, eventually. If not this time, very likely “the next.”

    This is Serious Stuff, Buckeroos.

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  35. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Robert,

     

    Horse feathers…..Besides. who said we had to run our transportation system on  “liquid fuels”

    We can keep the Big Trucks moving with natural gas and in some cases electricity as some of the “mules” at the Port of L.A.

    are pure electric.

     

    Boeing recently tested bio-kerosene in one of their jets and was pleased with

    the results. (see Boeing News)

     

     

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  36. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    “Only if the earth’s population were closer to one billion instead of
    seven billion. You’d be hard pressed to convince those other six billion
    making synthetic nitrogen fertilizer from fossil fuels was a bad idea.

     

    Yes, some of the midwest orignally had a fertile layer of soil up to 18 feet thick. 

     

    Now, in many places the top-soil is just 6 inches deep.  No wonder the midwest farmers went to no till.

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  37. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    There is at present, absolutely no substitute for electricity.

    Ah yes, but the oil vs electricity is NOT an aples to apples comparison. Oil is an energy source. Electricity is just a carrier. Oil will eventually run out, electricity will shift to different generating fuels. So the scary discussion of what happens without electricity is mostly academic.

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  38. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    After pondering this, I have an explanation that seems obvious in retrospect. We learn the left-wing view of the world in school and accept it on authority and for many people it sticks.

    The Liberal Media Myth, extended version. People can’t think for themselves, they allow teachers/proffesors/educators/etc. to lead them by their noses. Got anymore insults for us?

    They lean left overall EXCEPT for the one area where they have extensive direct personal knowledge and experience.

    There is an old clique to explain this: If you are young and you’re not a liberal, you don’t have a heart. If you are old and you’re not a conservative, you don’t have a brain. The liberal view often appears to be more compassionate. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t work so well in the real world.

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  39. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    mac said:

    “Society literally runs on oil; the entire global transportation system.”

     

    Society can do without oil, despite your protests.

     

    While there may be no “one on one substitutes for gasoline,”  there ARE  substitutes

     

    There is at present, absolutely no substitute for electricity.


     

    No, you have it backwards. There are plenty of ways to make electricity that don’t involve fossil fuels. Those ways can substitute for a large fraction of current electrical demand. There is nothing at all on the horizon that can displace much oil in the transportation system. I have thought before about this dilemma: If you told me I have to live without electricity or without anything petroleum-derived, which would I choose? Electricity in a heartbeat.

    Horse feathers…..Besides. who said we had to run our transportation system on  “liquid fuels”

    You are running into the trap of what we could do, as opposed to what we actually do. Big difference. At present, petroleum keeps the majority of the world’s population fed.

    Boeing recently tested bio-kerosene in one of their jets and was pleased with the results.

    And if you understand things like scale — and then do the math — you will see why biofuels won’t even displance more than perhaps 10% of present petroleum consumption. Magical thinking notwithstanding. The other important point is that if you look at bio-kerosene, you will see a healthy dose of petroleum inputs enabling that. This is a key point many biofuel fans miss.

    RR

     

     

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  40. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Optimist said:

    There is at present, absolutely no substitute for electricity.

    Ah yes, but the oil vs electricity is NOT an aples to apples comparison. Oil is an energy source. Electricity is just a carrier.


     

    Very important point there.

    RR

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  41. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Optomist.

    If you are ever out on the golf course and get struck by lightning you might change your mind about electricity as an “energy carrier:” or real energy..

    “The scary discussion of what happens without electricity is mostly academic.”

    Not if you get hit by lightning.

    It becomes very personal.

    I can hear you now ……………:

    “The energy carrier didn’t kill me, but the lightning did.”

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  42. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    We went from, essentially, No ethanol, to 10% Ethanol in our gasoline supply in about 3 years. No muss (except politically,) no fuss.

    Think about it; that would be roughly equivalent to putting 60 Million Hybrids on the road in 3 years. We’re only selling about 13 Million vehicles, Total.

    As far as I can see, Ethanol is the only thing that Will Scale.

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  43. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Rufus said:

    We went from, essentially, No ethanol, to 10% Ethanol in our gasoline supply in about 3 years. No muss (except politically,) no fuss.


     

    But of course, due to the heavy reliance on fossil fuels, it didn’t displace all that much usage. It displaced a tiny amount of petroleum (in fact, as I have shown it isn’t even detectable in the data), and required a lot of natural gas. So it only scales to the extent that the fossil fuels are available to allow that. How it would fare without fossil fuels propping it up is anyone’s guess.

    RR

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  44. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t get me wrong; I think Hybrids will play an important part. A lot of people will buy them when gasoline is $3.50+, and they do save a lot of gasoline.

    One problem is: Many of the people that are the hardest hit by high gasoline prices are the people that will have the hardest time affording a New Hybrid.

    Bubba drives that ’92 pickemuup” for a reason. Many times, several reasons – not the least of which is that that was all he could afford to buy. And, his wife ain’t driving that ’98 Dodge cause she thinks it’s just a cooler ride than the new Prius. She’s driving it because she only had a thousand , down, and that was the only payment she could make.

    Both of those vehicles will run just fine on 25% ethanol. Just ask our Brazilian cousins. They didn’t all go out and buy new cars when Brazil went to 25% ethanol.

    There are even some people that will be well-pleased with the new Nissan Leaf. A couple, anyway. :)

    My takeaway from our present predicament is, we had better start going in a Lot of different directions, pronto. Assholes, and elbows, time.

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  45. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Well, of course (headslap,) dumb me; I forgot. Ethanol gets Zero miles per gallon. Sheesh.

    Seriously, though, I can’t figure it out; one minute everyone is all excited about turning nat gas into methanol, and the next they’re boohooing the end of the world because some nat gas got used in the making of ethanol.

    The fact is, the next big step will be using the lignin from the adjacent corn stover-cellulosic plant to power the corn kernel ethanol plant, and the stover plant.

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  46. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    “I do, however, think there is more “good news” on the electricity front than on the liquid fuels front. Wind, and Solar are coming on strong; whereas, biofuels are in a “lull.””

    The US grid is very reliable. I wonder why Rufus thinks increasing the amount of generation from the most unreliable sources is “good news”.

    “such as synthetic nitrogen made from natural gas.”

    Since we have hydrogen in water and nitrogen in air, you can make synthetic ammonia with nuclear power. It has been done before with cheap hydro.

    “Anybody that doesn’t already own solar panels, and claims to be “FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE”…”

    I have done the calculation for my house and the payback period is 60 years. Part of the reason for the poor economic is my utility does a very good job of making electricity with coal in West Virginia. The other part is implied by the answer to the first, I do not live where the solar resource is good. Besides, I think shade trees are a much better way of reducing the amount of electricity we use.

    Making small amounts electricity on a nice sunny day is not big accomplishment. However, I am always open to changing my mind. Please tell me what your systems cost (before rebates). Then tell me how much electricity you have produced and the time period.

    Since we ‘own’ about 40 big trees which are homes to many birds and squirrels, I am just not very impressed with the owners of glass and aluminum panel as protectors of the environment.

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  47. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Yes, Robert,

    It was a 50/50 blend in the Boeing experiment..

    So what ?

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  48. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Kit, my feeling about electricity is that for the immediate (and, probably, mid-term) future we’re in pretty good shape. He have a good resource of coal, and Nuclear, and, even though we import about 10% of our nat gas we might have something working with the “shale” thing.

    I just like doing the Solar, and Wind, just in case Fossil Fuels, and Nuclear starts getting a little expensive. It’s nice to have a fall-back (I’m an ex-insurance man, remember?) :)

    If a guy has some nice trees, and squirrels, and birds, and would rather have those than a solar panel on his roof I can’t think of a reason in the world that he shouldn’t have just that.

    But, if a cold-storage outfit in LA sees an advantage to putting a couple of megawatts of solar on their roof, I think that’s great, also.

    The fact is, Right Now, we have a transportation fuel crisis, developing. Not next year, not in 10 years, not in 2050. Now. The Poor Folks are getting hammered, and anyone that thinks this country can thrive when the bottom quintiles are out of the game, just hasn’t studied the game.

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  49. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    …they’re boohooing the end of the world because some nat gas got used in the making of ethanol.

    Right, and that’s because using NG to make ethanol is an indirect and inefficient way to use NG. Making ethanol requires making synthetic nitrogen fertilizer from NG, and once the corn has been planted, fertilized, harvested, transported, ground, and fermented, using more NG to separate the ethanol and water that comes out of the fermentation tank.

    On the other hand, transforming NG to methanol is a direct process.

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  50. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    “There is at present, absolutely no substitute for electricity.”

    Ah yes, but the oil vs electricity is NOT an aples to apples
    comparison. Oil is an energy source. Electricity is just a carrier.

    Very important point there.

    RR

     

    If oil is singing along at a 15:1 EROI that’s great.  But when the EROI falls to 3.5 to one then that’s  a different story.

     

    Just as it requires fossil fuels to make energy from fossil fuels so it takes energy to make electrical energy ftom fossil fuels.

     

    By that standard gasoline is just an “energy carrier” and that is exactly the case. Gasoline is exactly that,

    just an enetgy carrier.

     

    All the efforts required to get the gasoline are similar and not much different than the efforts to produce  electricity..

     

    The problem is:  Electricity has a higher EROI than gasoline, a fact that gas addics can’t stand.

     

    It is not Apples and Oranges.  In the end electricity is much more efficient  than gasoline  burned gas in a n ICE.

     

    It’s Apples to Apples, Robert

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  51. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I have a question. How many btus of nat gas are needed to produce a btu of Methanol? All tolled. Feedstock, process energy, the whole shebang.

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  52. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    “Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms.”

    I do not know any Republicans who believe that Creationism should be taught in school. Nor do I know any Christians, who think that way. I am not saying that you can not find any such loons on Fox news, that is why they are on Fox news. Fair and balanced is not a loon from the right and a loon from the lest, it is entertainment.

    Historically, Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon were POTUS when the paradigm changed on how we thought about the environment. If you have been to Yellowstone NP you know where manifest destiny to cut down every tree and mine every mineral ended. If you remember a river in Ohio that caught fire, you know when the modern era of environmental regulation began.

    Performance is what gets recorded in the environmental historic books. It is too early to tell what the legacy of George Bush is. I think he was a visionary for renewable energy. New regulation for coal plants and low sulfur transportation fuels have coming into effect. Both make are energy more expensive but I think the benefit out weights the cost.

    Obama’s failure is not building on the accomplishments of Bush. If the goal is to replace fossil fuels, you do it by slowly displacing fossil fuels not attacking those who work hard to meet the daily needs of society.

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  53. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Rufus~

    I think the EROEI of methanol made from NG is approx 3 to 1. RR, Paul N, or Walt can probably give a better figure.

    That would be 3 to 1 from start to finish. Invest one unit of energy into finding, drilling, transporting, and transforming NG into methanol, and get three units back from that initial investment.

    With regards to converting NG directly to methanol, that would always be less than one. But that wouldn’t be EROEI, that would be process efficiency, and is probably in the range of 80-85%. The efficiency of any process is always < 1, otherwise you would have a perpetual motion machine and be in violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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  54. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    So, if you had 0.3 btus invested in finding, pumping, transporting, processing etc. And 1.0 btu for the feedstock, and received back 0.85 btus of methanol it would look something like this:

    0.85/1.3 for an eroei of 1:0.65

    one btu “in,” 0.65 btus “out.” Is that about right?

    As opposed to ethanol’s One btu “in,” 2.3 btus “out.”

    And, this is the great deal that you’all keep carrying on about?

    hmm . . . .

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  55. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Rufus said:

    Well, of course (headslap,) dumb me; I forgot. Ethanol gets Zero miles per gallon. Sheesh.

    Seriously, though, I can’t figure it out; one minute everyone is all excited about turning nat gas into methanol, and the next they’re boohooing the end of the world because some nat gas got used in the making of ethanol.

     


     

    Of course the issue isn’t ethanol’s mileage. If it took a BTU of oil to make a BTU of ethanol, you would see zero displacement even though ethanol’s gas mileage is positive. I have explained this to you before, which is why the zero mpg argument is a red herring.

    Second, we are talking about life without fossil fuels. My point is that per today’s technology, life without fossil fuels is life without ethanol. It would also be life without methanol.

    The fact is, the next big step will be using the lignin from the
    adjacent corn stover-cellulosic plant to power the corn kernel ethanol
    plant, and the stover plant.

    Funny though how those ‘next big steps’ always seem to be just around the bend though.

    RR

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  56. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Wait, that should be stated

    0.65:1

    It’s kind of confusing when the output is smaller than the “input.”

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  57. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    mac said:

    Yes, Robert,

    It was a 50/50 blend in the Boeing experiment..

    So what ?


     

    That wasn’t my point. My point is that it actually took a lot of fossil fuels to produce the bio-kerosene. Look at the process for it. This is the piece you are missing. You suppose biofuels can step up to replace fossil fuels, when in many cases they are fossil fuels.

    RR

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  58. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Rufus said:

    Wait, that should be stated

    0.65:1

    It’s kind of confusing when the output is smaller than the “input.”


     

    As it is for ethanol. As was pointed out, you are confusing energy return with process efficiency. The process efficiency of ethanol would look at a BTU of corn and figure out how much energy it took to produce that and convert it into ethanol. The number on that is about 30% or so efficient for ethanol.

    RR

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  59. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    “Don’t get me wrong; I think Hybrids will play an important part.”

    I would have to disagree Rufus. Hybrids and BEV are status symbols for white shipping urban folks. I was very excited about the concept 10 years ago. I must say that Japanese gimmicks are more interesting that Detroit gimmicks.

    I still think the biofuels are the way to go. Five years into the experiment corn ethanol is the leader. When Bubba 20 year old pickup is a flex fuel, he can haul batteries to the landfill for the white wine drinkers.

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  60. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Yep, if it took a gallon of diesel/gasoline to make a gallon of ethanol then it would be a big, fat zero. No doubts about it.

    Thankfully, it only takes about 4 gal of Diesel to raise 160 bu of corn, which can produce 480 Gallons of Ethanol.

    Whew, we dodged a bullet there, huh? :)

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  61. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    mac said:

    The problem is:  Electricity has a higher EROI than gasoline, a fact that gas addics can’t stand.


     

    Mind showing your work on that one?

    RR

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  62. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    As opposed to ethanol’s One btu “in,” 2.3 btus “out.”

    You left out the process efficiency for the ethanol.

    one btu “in,” 0.65 btus “out.” Is that about right?

    And no, that’s not right at all. More like this: Invest one unit of energy, to get three units of NG. (After drilling, fracking, et al.) Then converting three units of NG to methanol at a process efficiency of 85% would give 2.55 units of energy in the form of methanol for an investment of one unit — better than that of corn ethanol.

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  63. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    If you are ever out on the golf course and get struck by lightning you might change your mind about electricity as an “energy carrier:” or real energy..

    ROFLOL! Did you have a point, or did you just feel the need to interject humor?

    By that standard gasoline is just an “energy carrier” and that is exactly the case. Gasoline is exactly that, just an enetgy carrier.

    One can indeed make that argument. That still leaves oil as an energy source. Capiche?

    The problem is: Electricity has a higher EROI than gasoline, a fact that gas addics can’t stand.

    You obviously know next to nothing about electricity generation efficiency, do you? I suggest you go do your homework before making more ridiculous comments like that.

    There indeed seems to be an addict with a comprehension problem here.

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  64. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Thankfully, it only takes about 4 gal of Diesel to raise 160 bu of corn, which can produce 480 Gallons of Ethanol.

    Have a source for the Happy Speak, Farm Boy?

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  65. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms.”

    I do not know any Republicans who believe that Creationism should be taught in school. Nor do I know any Christians, who think that way.


     

    I know lots. The school boards in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas are full of people like that. A high-profile trial in Dover, Pennsylvania took place because the conservative school board voted to include Intelligent Design in the classrooms:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K…..l_District

    RR

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  66. By rrapier on May 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    As opposed to ethanol’s One btu “in,” 2.3 btus “out.”

    You left out the process efficiency for the ethanol.

    one btu “in,” 0.65 btus “out.” Is that about right?

    And no, that’s not right at all. More like this: Invest one unit of energy, to get three units of NG. (After drilling, fracking, et al.) Then converting three units of NG to methanol at a process efficiency of 85% would give 2.55 units of energy in the form of methanol for an investment of one unit — better than that of corn ethanol.


     

    It’s even better if you start allocating energy inputs to the coproducts. ;)

    RR

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  67. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope.

    That 3 units of nat gas will give you 6 units of ethanol.

    So now, you have one in, and six out. Methanol loses, again. :)

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  68. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Hybrids and BEV are status symbols for white shipping urban folks.

    I think you nail it as far as BEVs are concerned. But 50 mpg for midsize sedan is nothing to sneeze at.

    I must say that Japanese gimmicks are more interesting that Detroit gimmicks.

    Toyota definitely nailed the hybrid game. Mostly at the expense of Honda, who can’t seem to get hybrids right, even, embarrassingly, when they tried a direct copy of the Prius. The Detroit 3 were mostly mocking from the sidelines until recently.

    Five years into the experiment corn ethanol is the leader.

    Please explain by what metric corn ethanol is the leader, other than receiver of highest subsidy funding

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  69. By Wendell Mercantile on May 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Thankfully, it only takes about 4 gal of Diesel to raise 160 bu of corn, which can produce 480 Gallons of Ethanol.

    If true, why don’t farmers take 6.8 gallons of those 480 gallons of ethanol and use that to run their tractors, and then sell the remaining 473.2 gallons? (And don’t tell me it’s because ag equipment makers don’t make tractors that run on ethanol. They would if farmers demanded them.)

    (4 gallons of diesel = 518,000 Btu = 6.8 gallons of ethanol)

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  70. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    That 3 units of nat gas will give you 6 units of ethanol. So now, you have one in, and six out. Methanol loses, again. :)

    And you actually believe yourself? Where in Washington DC is the lobby firm that you work for again?

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  71. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Aw, Optimist, I chased those numbers down, and posted them so many times. Look: just google; How many gallons of diesel to grow an acre of corn?

    It’ll pop up somewhere along the line. But, that does remind me. Over a third of the ethanol refineries, now, are removing the corn oil from the DDGS. Out of 160 bushels you would get somewhere around 20, or 25 gallons of corn oil, IIRC. That’s way more than enough for all the farming, shipping of corn, transporting by rail, etc.

    So, no, ethanol, actually, does Not, in the final analysis, need oil in the slightest.

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  72. By carbonbridge on May 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Rufus said:

    And, this is the great [MeOH] deal that you’all keep carrying on about?
    Nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope.  That 3 units of nat gas will give you 6 units of ethanol.  So now, you have one in, and six out.  Methanol loses, again. :)

    RR:  As was pointed out, you are confusing energy return with process efficiency.

    Optimist   Where in Washington DC is the lobby firm that you [Rufus] work for again?


     

    Rufus:  I think your slip is showing.  Maybe it is time to collect a pink slip and quietly disappear?  It is plainly obvious to most of us reading here that as a long-time anonymous poster — you are gainfully employed by some Corn Ethanol Lobby anchored to some physical address somewhere – be it in Wash D.C. or someplace else…  When the webstats program which monitors this blog site shows you tapping in 64x in just one day from your hometown server in Mississippi – I would imagine that to spend this much time defending fermented corn ethanol – you’d be collecting a paycheck from somebody – and also having to eat your lunch and dinner while at your computer screen.  Best wishes.

    -Mark

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  73. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    “But 50 mpg for midsize sedan is nothing to sneeze at. ”

     

    Is that your experience Optimist? R&T did a test a number of years with professional drivers trying to achieve good mileage. The VW TDI did much better than the window sticker beating the the Pious which did 10 mpg less. So if the you get good result for how you drive, more power to you.

     

    “Please explain by what metric ..”

     

    I can buy E10 for my old PU. I do not have a problem with incentives so I will skip the ‘subsidized’ squabble. I like corn farmers so I will Rufus explain again that corn is grown for food and the energy extracted leaving the protein.

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  74. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Mark, I’m a bored, old man. I quite often (almost, always, actually) eat my lunch at the computer. I’m flattered that you care enough to monitor my posts.

    BTW, how many posts did I make yesterday, defending wind, and solar?

    I might want to ask for a raise from my bosses at the wind, and solar lobbying firms. :)

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  75. By Hefferbub on May 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    Au contraire, that is the exact opposite of my position. I have written numerous articles addressing your 2nd paragraph and how to transition away from a fossil-driven society (and about the dangers if we don’t). In fact, I allude to it in this very article, but if you dig a bit you will see my writing urgently about this very topic. That is, after all, the fundamental reason I write about energy.

    Good point Robert.  That is why I read your blog–and thanks for your contribuitions to this important topic!

    But I still don’t understand your thesis in this post.  If you are saying that we need to drill oil to keep alive for now and to power our one-time transition away from fossil fuels (and your last few paragraphs seem to support that), then I fully agree;  it would be practically impossible to bootstrap this change on a renewable-energy budget alone.  

    If you mean oil companies are not evil, I would tend to agree with that too.  They are incredibly skilled and diligent at doing an immense job–delivering every 15 days or so a billion barrels of oil in useful form.  But you and I both know that for all their skill and magnificence, they are essentially buggy whip makers;  their obsolescence is inevitable (although that may no longer be true for buggy whip makers)!  And their interests are not the interests of human society, so we need to get them out of the driver seat (somehow).

    If you are saying that the political system has so far been incapable of responding usefully to this fundamental sea-change, you’ll get no argument either. 

    But even if we agree on all that, I still don’t get the point you are trying to make.  I suppose you are trying to encourage someone in politics to speak the truth and support rational policies.  

    But if that is the case, I don’t see why singling out Democrats makes sense.  For all the buffoonery of Democrats, at least they tend to support some of the precursors to a renewable transition.  Some of them even understand that the price of energy is going to rise no matter what, and that government policy can be used to steer some of these increases toward investments in the change rather than seeing all of it go to oil company profits and petro-dictators.

    Why pick on the folks who are doing a tiny bit right on energy policy and leave alone the ones whose policies seem destined to drive us right off the cliff?

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  76. By Walt on May 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    For instance — and hopefully this doesn’t sidetrack the conversation — Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms. I am quite strongly against the mainstream Republican position on that one, and I do know the subject matter in great detail. 


     

    Yes, this is right in line with my subject matter.  While I certainly do not support any republican version of creationism, I love the debate of involving atheists vs. creationists.  There has never been an atheist I’ve seen win the argument, but most certainly they do demonstrate a desperate attempt at trying.  Not only should we allow creationism in the classroom, we should demand that if atheists want to teach only evolution they should be prepared to prove it with the evidence of true science…not with politics.  Politicians make very bad scientists and school administrators.

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  77. By Walt on May 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms.”

    I do not know any Republicans who believe that Creationism should be taught in school. Nor do I know any Christians, who think that way. I am not saying that you can not find any such loons on Fox news, that is why they are on Fox news. Fair and balanced is not a loon from the right and a loon from the lest, it is entertainment.


     

    I’m not a republican by a long distance, but am a Christian and believe Creationism should be exclusively taught using real science in the classroom.  There is no room for faith in evolution for the classroom.

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  78. By Walt on May 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Rufus said:

    I have a question. How many btus of nat gas are needed to produce a btu of Methanol? All tolled. Feedstock, process energy, the whole shebang.


     

    What grade of methanol do you want?  What scale of process?  What is the quality of the natural gas you are using?  What is the delivery pressure of the natural gas you are providing?  What is the temperature of the gas?

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  79. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    The VW TDI did much better than the window sticker beating the the Pious which did 10 mpg less.

    I actually drive an old 300D, which gets a decent 26 mpg. On a WVO blend, as it happens.

    You have data that proves the 50 mpg is a myth?

    I can buy E10 for my old PU.

    Quite the bargain @$6 billion a year in subsidies.

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  80. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    There is no room for faith in evolution for the classroom.

    Amen to that.

    I love the National Geographic approach: Nobody should believe creationism, because no scientist was there to verify it. Everybody should believe evolution, even though no scientist was there to verify it.Wink

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  81. By rate-crimes on May 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    “Only if the earth’s population were closer to one billion instead of seven billion. You’d be hard pressed to convince those other six billion making synthetic nitrogen fertilizer from fossil fuels was a bad idea.” – Wendel Mercantile

    Perhaps.  However, their children, or their children’s children will require little convincing that unbounded population growth was a bad idea.

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  82. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    And their interests are not the interests of human society, so we need to get them out of the driver seat (somehow).

    Categrorically true. The problem is that they are only in the driver seat because we are so addicted to oil. Every president since Nixon spoke about energy independence at some time. And every one had a chance to do something about it. But given a choice between energy indepence and cheap oil, the all made the same decision. Should we call them cowards for that? Liars? Dimwits?

    The point of RR’s post is that the best thing that can come from the Democratic drive to break Big Oil is a humiliating defeat. Worse would be success: destruction of the American oil industry, which would leave America more dependent than ever on imported oil. Messrs. Chavez, Putin and Agmadinejoke stand ready to feast on the leftovers of the US oil industry…

    Deep down RR would like to see Democrats hand out subsidies for renewable energy to Big Oil, as they stand ready and willing to do for everybody else. Big Oil, more than anyone, has the infrastructure, and the expertise, to bring renewables to market. Why wouldn’t you encourage Big Oil to get involved in renewables? You might even discover that they don’t eat puppies for breakfast…

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  83. By Optimist on May 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    However, their children, or their children’s children will require little convincing that unbounded population growth was a bad idea.

    Bob Malthus has been wrong for 200 years. He was either one hell of a visionary (I won’t try to predict what problems the human race is going to face 200 years from now) or flat wrong. I think it is obvious which it is. But I guess 200 years from now the Malthusians will still believe that Malthus will be proven right “in the next 20 years”…

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  84. By rate-crimes on May 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    “But if that is the case, I don’t see why singling out Democrats makes sense.” – Hefferbub

    You’re correct: it doesn’t.  Nor, does it make sense to succumb to the distraction of the false dichotomy of Repucrats/Demoblicans.  Our political system was established by a culture of ever-increasing energy consumption.  It was not designed to solve the problems emerging from energy descent.  Leviathan has no clothes.  Behold the sterile horror of self-absorbed complexity laid bare.

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  85. By rate-crimes on May 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    “Why wouldn’t you encourage Big Oil to get involved in renewables? You might even discover that they don’t eat puppies for breakfast…” – Optimist

    Could any concept as abstract as “Big Oil”, or any entity that controls unmatched PR resources, ever be found culpable for missing puppies or blood-stained bowls?

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  86. By rate-crimes on May 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    “But I guess 200 years from now the Malthusians will still believe that Malthus will be proven right ‘in the next 20 years’…” – Opitimist

    And what will the costs be if your guess is incorrect?

    BTW, only two sentences earlier you stated,

    “(I won’t try to predict what problems the human race is going to face 200 years from now)” – Optimist

    You’ll “guess” in order to dismiss potential risk, but you “won’t try to predict”?

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  87. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Well, I don’t know anything about 200 yrs. I wouldn’t even make a large wager on 20 yrs. But, I’m pretty danged sure that we had better find something to put in our tanks in the next 5 years.

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  88. By mac on May 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    RR.

    In regard to the relative expense of electricity vis-a-vis gasoline, I have only this to say: Electricity is cheaper by the mile than gas. That ought to tell you something about EROI..

    The fact that a large proportion of our electricity is made with fossil fuels has nothing to do with it.

    Of course. plain facts will not disuade you.from your madness.

    Ding dong…… Ding dong…….Ding dong…….

    Is anybody home upstairs on R-Squared Energy Blog ????

    I doubt it…..

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  89. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:20 am

    mac said:

    RR.

    In regard to the relative expense of electricity vis-a-vis gasoline, I have only this to say: Electricity is cheaper by the mile than gas. That ought to tell you something about EROI..


     

    Do you actually understand what EROI is? The above tells you something about the raw materials and methods for producing electricity. It only would tell you about EROI if all of the energy inputs were fungible.

     

    The fact that a large proportion of our electricity is made with fossil fuels has nothing to do with it.

    I beg to differ. It has a lot to do with it. Coal is cheap.

    Of course. plain facts will not disuade you.from your madness.

    Especially when you just make them up.

    Ding dong…… Ding dong…….Ding dong…….

    Is anybody home upstairs on R-Squared Energy Blog ????

    I doubt it…..

    Says the guy who made a claim about EROI, and instead of responding to a request to back up that claim, responds with insults. Yeah, your case is really convincing once you go that route instead of providing data.

    RR

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  90. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Walt said:

    I’m not a republican by a long distance, but am a Christian and believe Creationism should be exclusively taught using real science in the classroom.  There is no room for faith in evolution for the classroom.


     

    Except for the fact that evolution is taught using the scientific method and is subject to Popper’s falsification criteria. That separates the science of evolution from Creationism.

    RR

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  91. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Optimist said:

    Deep down RR would like to see Democrats hand out subsidies for renewable energy to Big Oil, as they stand ready and willing to do for everybody else. Big Oil, more than anyone, has the infrastructure, and the expertise, to bring renewables to market. Why wouldn’t you encourage Big Oil to get involved in renewables? You might even discover that they don’t eat puppies for breakfast…


     

    Not really. What I would like to do is put a premium on depleting fossil fuels such that we might use them more frugally. That would have the secondary benefit of making renewables more competitive; no special subsidies required for anyone. I think Big Oil would step into that gap and provide the lion’s share, but I don’t want them to preferentially receive subsidies.

    RR

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  92. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Hefferbub said:

    But even if we agree on all that, I still don’t get the point you are trying to make.  I suppose you are trying to encourage someone in politics to speak the truth and support rational policies.  


     

    What I would hope to do is get Democrats to wake up and have a better understanding of our energy situation. By doing so, I don’t expect them to work any less hard to get us off of oil, but I expect their methods will change. What I see them heading for now are policies that will simply put domestic oil companies at a disadvantage to foreign competitors, while keeping us just as dependent on petroleum. This will weaken the economy and won’t get us any closer to the solutions we need.

    But if that is the case, I don’t see why singling out Democrats makes sense.  For all the buffoonery of Democrats, at least they tend to support some of the precursors to a renewable transition.  

    That is the actual reason I single them out. They have many important elements of rational energy policy, but their blind hatred of the oil companies will prevent them from ever passing long-term, sensible energy legislation. If they better understood how the energy world worked instead of having this comic book view, I think they would be on the path to sound energy policies.

    Why pick on the folks who are doing a tiny bit right on energy policy and leave alone the ones whose policies seem destined to drive us right off the cliff?

    Oh, I haven’t left the Republicans alone. I have gone after them many times. For instance, Google Sarah Palin and John McCain and see what I have said about them.

    RR

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  93. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 12:48 am

    The fact is that electricity is cheaper per mile does not require any of Robert’s so-called facts. It’s simply “cheaper” and that’s a fact you apparently don’t want to deal with.

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  94. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:53 am

    mac said:

    The fact is that electricity is cheaper per mile does not require any of Robert’s so-called facts. It’s simply “cheaper” and that’s a fact you apparently don’t want to deal with.


     

    To be honest, I don’t even know what your point is. First you said that society doesn’t run on oil, it runs on electricity. I dispute that.

    Second, you claim that the EROI for electricity is better than for gasoline. I asked you for data, and the responses have been insults. So it has nothing to do with me not wanting to deal with anything or descending into madness, I just don’t understand what point you are trying to make. I thought I made a straightforward request, but I certainly have not gotten a straightforward response.

    RR

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  95. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 1:10 am

    The “data” you request is simply “The Market-place” Electricity is simply “cheaper than oil”

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  96. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 1:24 am

    mac said:

    The “data” you request is simply “The Market-place” Electricity is simply “cheaper than oil”


     

    First, the data I requested was an EROI calculation. You failed to provide it, choosing to respond to this simple request with insults.

    Second, electricity isn’t cheaper than oil. I covered this in an article for Forbes last year: The Price of Energy. At that particular time, oil was selling for $13.43 per million BTU, and electricity was $26.31 per million BTU. Gasoline was $17.81 per million BTU. None of these imply anything about the EROI, but if you are to be believed there is your proof that the EROI for gasoline is better than for electricity.

    Third, what point are you trying to make? That electricity is cheaper than oil? It isn’t, but so what if it was? What is your point?

    RR

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  97. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Robert.

    What insults ?

    I simply said you can drive an electric vehicle for less money than you can drive a gasoline powered vehicle. Ar present nat.gas prices and utility rates, that’s true.

    As far as the “supposed” insult in saying “ding dong, is anybody home on R-Squared”, I stand by the comment.

    Look…….

    Electricity and CNG are both cheaper than crude based diesel and gasoline (by the mile) right now. in the market-place.

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  98. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 2:15 am

    mac said:

    Robert.

    What insults ?


     

    Really? You claimed the EROI for electricity was better than gasoline. I asked for you to support that statement. You responded by saying “plain facts will not disuade you from your madness.” So you accuse me of madness for asking you to back up a statement. Then, you further insult me by asking if anyone is home. All for asking you to support a statement (which you still haven’t supported). You follow up by suggesting that my facts are “so-called” and saying I can’t deal with your information. So I have to ask, just what is your problem?

    I simply said you can drive an electric vehicle for less money than

    you can drive a gasoline powered vehicle. Ar present nat.gas prices and

    utility rates, that’s true.

    Well no, that’s not what you “simply” said. You said a lot more. As far as natural gas goes, I have preached that many times on this blog. The fact that electricity may be cheaper per mile though is due to the efficiency of the electric motor and has zero to do with the EROI of electricity.

    As far as the “supposed” insult in saying “ding dong, is anybody home on R-Squared”, I stand by the comment.

    Which says more about you than it does me.

    Look…….

    Electricity and CNG are both cheaper than crude based diesel and gasoline (by the mile) right now. in the market-place.

    And once more, so what? How does this relate to the discussion? You see, I have completely lost track of whatever point you are trying to make. As I said, if they are cheaper, so what? What point are you driving at? Have I argued that natural gas isn’t cheaper? This whole exchange with you has just been bizarre.

    RR

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  99. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Look, Robert;

    You don’t think that the nat gas people and electric utilities haven’t figured out their costs. ? And can’t make money at present gas and electric rates.

    Ding dong……..

    Is anybody home upstairs on R=Squared Energy Blog ????

    The EROI is figured into the price of the commodity.

    Ding Dong….

    [link]      
  100. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 2:36 am

    mac said:

    Look, Robert;

    You don’t think that the nat gas people and electric utilities haven’t figured out their costs. ? And can’t make money at present gas and electric rates.


     

    If you are trying to have a strawman contest, you win.

    Ding dong……..

    Is anybody home upstairs on R=Squared Energy Blog ????

    That is an extremely ironic question, given your last few posts.

    The EROI is figured into the price of the commodity.

    Ding Dong….

    You don’t understand EROI. Not even slightly. That’s why you never supported your statement, and instead resorted to much handwaving.

    If your point is that the EROI of electricity is better than for oil because of cost, I have already used your own criteria to disprove that. So if you wish to support it in some other way, feel free to do so. But I won’t hold my breath at this point.

    RR

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  101. By Some one on May 24, 2011 at 2:55 am

    What the heck is your arguement lol?    You are trying to debate RR on stuff he has never argued against….  is there any one home in ur attic?? “ding dong”

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  102. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Robert

    What ?

    You want “facts” from the EIA stating that w are.well positioned in regard to oil. Or was that the IEA. I can’t remember.

    So much for statistics…

    “There are lies. Then there are :”damned lies” Then there are statistics”

    Mark Twain

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  103. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 3:57 am

    mac said:

    Robert

    What ?

    You want “facts” from the EIA stating that w are.well positioned in regard to oil. Or was that the IEA. I can’t remember.


     

    At this point I don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

    RR

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  104. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Robert.

    Sorry to suggest that you turn off your electricity for a week. Actually about two hours would do it.

    You would soon discover that the electric grid is far more important to you than your local gas station.

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  105. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 4:17 am

    mac said:

    Robert.

    Sorry to suggest that you turn off your electricity for a week. Actually about two hours would do it.

    You would soon discover that the electric grid is far more important to you than your local gas station.


     

    I have been without electricity for over a week before following a terrible winter storm, but we did have liquid fuel to get to the store to buy food, and we still had natural gas to cook with. And we lose electricity in Hawaii all the time. So that experiment wouldn’t have the impact you think.

    But I stand by my statement that without oil, far more people would be dead within six months. There are numerous people around the world who have no electricity, but who are utterly dependent on grain imports. Without oil, those people would start to die in huge numbers. The global population is sustained by the green revolution, which is oil and natural gas based. It is not sustained by electricity. That is a huge convenience, but not in the same category as liquid fuels as far as being life-sustaining.

    I just don’t think you get that there are billions of people around the world whose lives wouldn’t be impacted too much if electricity disappeared, but would die without oil. The population explosion over the past century correlates with global increases in oil production:

     

    RR

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  106. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 6:02 am

    No.Robert…

    I just don’t think you get that there are billions of people around the world whose lives wouldn’t be impacted too much if electricity disappeared, but would die without oil.

    Total B.S. The exact opposite is true. The nearly 2 billion people on earth who have no electricity are starving for it. They are not starving for oil.

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  107. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 7:48 am

    ‘mac’sturbation.

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  108. By Walt on May 24, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    Walt said:

    Kit P said:

     

    I’m not a republican by a long distance, but am a Christian and believe Creationism should be exclusively taught using real science in the classroom.  There is no room for faith in evolution for the classroom.


     

    Except for the fact that evolution is taught using the scientific method and is subject to Popper’s falsification criteria. That separates the science of evolution from Creationism.

    RR


     

    In your dreams!  I put that comment along the same lines as there are no gas flaring in America except in emergency shut downs.  It is not reality, but it makes for good politics.

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  109. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Simple lighting and refrigeration (powered by electricity) can provide enormous benefits to those previously denied them.  However, in such cases, starvation is entirely another matter.  Also, beware the cultural juggernaut that lurks close behind electricity (television, pop music, 24-hour ‘news’, hard-drive crashes, stockbrokers, economic bubbles, Blankfacedbook, lava lamps, etc.)

    Of course, Robert is correct to point out that billions of lives depend on modern agribusiness, which in turn depends on the myriad interdependencies of the global fossil fuel economy.

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  110. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 8:16 am

    “Sorry to suggest that you turn off your electricity for a week. Actually about two hours would do it.

    You would soon discover that the electric grid is far more important to you than your local gas station.” – mac

    Why don’t you visit any of the thousands of Amish blogs and post that suggestion?  Laugh

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  111. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 8:23 am

     

    “You have data that proves the 50 mpg is a myth? ”

     

    No but I have been looking for some reason to buy a hybrid. When I bought my wife a her new Corolla I ask the salesmen. He said the Pious was just marketing. Imagine that, a car salesmen passing up an opportunity to gouge a customer.

     

    If someone claims something will make a difference, then it should be based on something other than press releases.

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  112. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 8:27 am

    “I put that comment along the same lines as there are no gas flaring in America except in emergency shut downs.  It is not reality, but it makes for good politics.” – Walt

    ND House looks at curbing natural gas flaring

    “North Dakota oil drillers burn up almost one-fourth of the natural gas they extract, and state lawmakers want to curb a practice that they say wastes energy and may harm the environment.”

    [link]      
  113. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Can I assume RR that this was an unintentioanl editing mistake?

    Kit P said:

     

    I’m not a republican by a long distance, but am a Christian and believe Creationism should be exclusively taught using real science in the classroom. There is no room for faith in evolution for the classroom.

     

    Kit P did not say that!

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  114. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 8:35 am

    “You have data that proves the 50 mpg is a myth? ” – Optimist

    Over the past decade, my 2001 Honda Insight has achieved an overall average 60 mpg.  On some highway trips it has achieved well over 70 mpg.  Over 80 mpg has been reported by other Insight owners.

    [link]      
  115. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

    “The population explosion over the past century correlates with global increases in oil production: ”

     

    Oh gosh, I thought it had something to do with public health. Clean water, vaccines, anti-biotics.

     

    Anything RR can do with oil, I can do with coal. The cho-cho train did not go away because we ran out of coal but because diesel-electric trains are better. In any case the trend is electrification of the world.

     

    Some of you need to check your assumption. You start out with how terrible the future will be because of whatever! History keeps showing everything getting better. I will have no problem providing all the energy you need until a solar flare or meteor ends all life on the planet. And there are lots of people like me.

     

    As far as our children are concerned, if they all become lawyers and none become doctors, farmers, or engineers; there could be a problem producing food and energy to sustain good health.

     

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  116. By duracomm on May 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Actually you don’t need electricity to run a refrigerator, plenty of propane and natural gas fueled refrigerators are available.

    Propane (LP) Gas and Natural Gas Powered Refrigerators

    [link]      
  117. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 9:16 am

    “my 2001 Honda Insight ”

     

    As it should! Of course it is not really a hybrid. Just think how much better it would do without the heavy batteries. BTW, Rate Crimes what is the mileage with 5 passengers.

     

    “reported by other Insight owners ”

     

    Kids say the darnedest things and sometimes they never grow up. Here is what data looks like. Say you drive 100 miles a day in heavy city driving. You would look for a report where professional drivers drove different cars in heavy city driving. If you drive 100 miles a day highway driving, you would look data for that type of driving.

     

    I just read a report for a diesel and hybrid SUV from the same auto maker. If you want economy do with the diesel, if you want performance go with the hybrid. So if you are going to rob a bank and want to do it efficiently, steal the hybrid.

     

    If you want to save $45k buy a Corolla and you still can carry 5 passengers and get better mileage.

     

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  118. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am

    “History keeps showing everything getting better.” – Kit P

    235, Alexander Severus at council with his generals, “This empire thing just keeps getting better!  Hey!  Put down those swords!  Ouch!  Uuuu…”

    1220, Mayor of Samarkand to merchant, “How are things?  Great!  Everything keeps getting better!  Hey, are those Mongols marching this way?”

    1629, Venitian harbor master to recently arrived captain, “How are things?  Everything keeps getting better!  Hey, what are those boils on your neck?”

    1896, Svante Arrhenius looks up from his calculations and ponders, “This warming from increased atmospheric CO2 might be a boon to humanity!”

    1908, A smiling, relaxed Tunguskan man looks up from his fishing pole towards a bright object in the sky, “What the hell is th-” [boom]

    1931, Somewhere along the Yangtze River a farmer looks up, “Ahhhh, finally!  Some rain!  Everything is looking better!”

    1957, Chinese peasant to Red Army soldier, “How are things?  My harvests have never been better!  ‘Great Leap Forward?’ Now?”

    2011, Fukushima nuclear worker, “Baka yarou!”

    2011, Joplin, Missouri.

     

    Scientist lives with endangered tribe to save disappearing language   November 8, 2010

    “The threat of global warming to their traditional hunting life has left the Inughuit believing that their current settlements will not be here in 15 years’ time, that people will relocate southwards, and will assimilate into a broader Inuit culture,” wrote Leonard.

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  119. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

    “If you want to save $45k buy a Corolla and you still can carry 5 passengers and get better mileage.” – Kit P

    An Insight cost all of $18K in 2001.  The car can carry one passenger.  If one looks at statistics, over 90% of all miles driven are by a single occupant.  Or, you can just glance around the next time you’re in traffic.  The remaining 10% of driving time can be shared by the five travellers.  For the 2% of time one may need to drive a group of five, just rent or borrow an SUV from a neighbor.  Your neighbor could use the extra cash to buy gas.

    “You would look for a report where professional drivers drove different cars in heavy city driving.” – Kit P

    Why would anyone look for a report whose results are skewed by professional drivers? 

    You may have missed the first sentence of my statement,

    Over the past decade, my 2001 Honda Insight has achieved over 60 mpg.” – Rate Crimes

    That is the average mpg over 90,000 miles.  That car may be the only car that helped me to build wealth instead of draining it away.

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  120. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

    “The population explosion over the past century correlates with global increases in oil production: ” – Robert Rapier

     ”Oh gosh, I thought it had something to do with public health. Clean water, vaccines, anti-biotics.” – Kit P

    The population explosion of logical inconsistencies and invalid inferences correlates strongly with the number of words written by Kit P.

    You appear to be confusing correlation with cause.

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  121. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

    “You appear to be confusing correlation with cause. ”

     

    Let me see what might cause there to be more people. People living longer, that might be one cause. Reduced infant mortality, that looks like another cause.

     

    More people means we need more food. I do recall people like Rate Crimes predicting widespread famine. That seems like a reasonable prediction based on the ‘bad’ old days.

     

    When you look at the energy crisis of the 70s, the energy to grow corn in Indiana was certainly an issue we studied at Purdue. So how are we doing 35 years later. It takes a lot less energy to grow corn and American farmers are so productive that we can take some of the energy out of corn and use it for fuel.

     

    As productivity increases there are more people who have afford the benefits of using oil for transportation.

     

    Again, producing energy is not a problem. Providing electricity is highly regulated. With all due respect to RR limited experience losing power in the south, grid operators know that the sudden loss of electricity can result in many deaths, if emergency plans are not put into effect. One of the interesting things, very few die in heat waves in the southwest. It is mild climates without AC where you see old people dying when the community is not prepared for the emergency.

     

    Winter storm frequently knock out power. It can be a family boding experience around the wood stove or it can be a family dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. All those Honda generators that rich people own is leading to emergency rooms being flooded carbon monoxide poisoning.

     

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  122. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

    “predicting widespread famine” – Kit P

    Now, monsieur “history keeps showing everything getting better”, you’re confusing the past (i.e. history) with the future (i.e. prediction).

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  123. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

    “One of the interesting things, very few die in heat waves in the southwest. It is mild climates without AC where you see old people dying when the community is not prepared for the emergency.” – Kit  P

    Once again, you are confusing correlation with cause.  Repetition is not correction.

    While there may be a correlation between heat-related deaths and air-conditioning, one must also account for other factors such as income, aging, physiological conditioning, other climate conditions such wind and humidity, and geographical factors such as proximity to and availability of water.

    You regularly present shallow evidence in attempts to justify your preconceptions.

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  124. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 11:53 am

    “It can be a family boding [sic] experience around the wood stove or it can be a family dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. All those Honda generators that rich people own is leading to emergency rooms being flooded carbon monoxide poisoning.” – Kit P

    Is there no end to you foolishness?!  Wood stoves create carbon monoxide too!  Geesh.

    [link]      
  125. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Walt said:

     

    In your dreams!  I put that comment along the same lines as there are no gas flaring in America except in emergency shut downs.  It is not reality, but it makes for good politics.


     

    First, that wasn’t the comment on gas flaring. That was the strawman you kept coming back to, but Creationists are famous for their strawmen.

    I can promise you that you do not want to debate me on this. I did this extensively for years. I have chewed up and spit out some of the heavy hitters in the Creationists movement; guys like Walter Remine, Jon Sarfati, and Fred Williams — guys that I bet are far more familiar with this material than you are.

    If you want to see how Creationists operate, here you go:

    http://www.noanswersingenesis……ics_rr.htm

    http://www.noanswersingenesis……ine_rr.htm

    But since you said “In my dreams”, I would be happy to hear your falsfication test for Creationism. I can give you many for evolution.

    RR

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  126. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Kit P said:

    Can I assume RR that this was an unintentioanl editing mistake?

    Kit P said:

     

    I’m not a republican by a long distance, but am a Christian and believe Creationism should be exclusively taught using real science in the classroom. There is no room for faith in evolution for the classroom.

     

    Kit P did not say that!


     

    Yes, it is fixed.

    RR

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  127. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    mac said:

    Total B.S. The exact opposite is true. The nearly 2 billion people on earth who have no electricity are starving for it. They are not starving for oil.


     

    Let me just chalk you up as desparately needing a clue; not understanding the difference between craving electricity and being fed by oil. I have been in many of these communities without electricity. That wasn’t the basis of their population growth. Oil and natural gas based fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides was.

    This is really a silly argument, when we can point to 2 billion living without electricity and yet being fed by oil. It is a no-brainer. No doubt people would die without electricity, but once more, if you had to eliminate all electricity or all oil and natural gas, you have a far greater chance of death in the short term with the latter. I don’t know too many people who would even dispute this. In our current system, billions would starve to death without oil; billions would suffer hardship without electricity.

    If you want to have hours of entertainment, run over to The Oil Drum and post your comment in one of the threads there. Tell them that electricity is more critical to the global population than oil, and enjoy the debate.

    RR

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  128. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Walt said:

    “I put that comment along the same lines as there are no gas flaring in America except in emergency shut downs.  It is not reality, but it makes for good politics.” – Walt

    ND House looks at curbing natural gas flaring

    “North Dakota oil drillers burn up almost one-fourth of the natural gas they extract, and state lawmakers want to curb a practice that they say wastes energy and may harm the environment.”


     

    Straw man alert. I bet you do make a great Creationist. Are you next going to tell me evolution isn’t true because an ape never gave birth to a human? Or why aren’t apes still evolving into humans? Or if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes? All Creationist classics.

    For review, what was said is that I am unaware of natural gas being flared onshore. I asked you many times for evidence, and instead of providing it you got testy and self-righteous. When you finally provided it, I said “that’s what I have been looking for all along.”

    So you may wish to go back and review the thread in question. The sad thing is that this has been pointed out to you several times, and yet you still cling to these notions. So I bet debating evolution with you would be a real fun exercise. I can see the righteous indignation from here, and following that the revisitionist history.

    RR

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  129. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Kit P said:

    “The population explosion over the past century correlates with global increases in oil production: ”

     

    Oh gosh, I thought it had something to do with public health. Clean water, vaccines, anti-biotics.


     

    It has to do with a lot of things, but once more there are people who have no access to the above, and whose populations still exploded because they had access to surplus food. As I said, it isn’t an either/or, but oil had a far greater hand in the population explosion, and plays a far greater role in maintaining it. That is the whole genesis of the doomer viewpoint. About 5 billion people are alive only because of oil, and when oil goes away so will they.

    Anything RR can do with oil, I can do with coal. The cho-cho train
    did not go away because we ran out of coal but because diesel-electric
    trains are better. In any case the trend is electrification of the
    world.

    In theory, but not everything has been done, and it certainly hasn’t been done economically. Further, if you start trying to make massive quantities of fuel and plastic from oil, you will quickly see a much heavier environmental impact as demand for coal doubles or triples.

    RR

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  130. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Robert, your comment #129 misassigns blame to me.

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  131. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Rate Crimes said:

    Robert, your comment #129 misassigns blame to me.


     

    Fixed. That’s twice that’s happened; I need to be alert to see if something is bugged. Not sure why you would have shown up in that comment.

    RR

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  132. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I expect any minute an argument will break out over whose momma can whip whose momma.

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  133. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    And what will the costs be if your guess is incorrect?

    You’ll “guess” in order to dismiss potential risk, but you “won’t try to predict”?

    BTW, only two sentences earlier you stated,

    “(I won’t try to predict what problems the human race is going to face 200 years from now)” – Optimist

    Well, Bob Malthus STILL being wrong will be of minor significance. I meant I don’t know what humankind’s MAJOR problems will be 200 years from now.

    Oh, and I’m not guessing that Malthus is wrong: I know it. 200 years of history proves it.

    And if you are still not convinced, consider the basic errors pastor Malthus committed: he observed high population growth rates in the new world, but ignored much lower growth rates in the old. It is no mystery why populations grew so fast in the new world: new technology (from the old world) allowed higher population density. As it always has. As it always will. The current high growth rates started with the Industrial Revolution and then kicked into overdrive with the discovery of penicillin. Technology.

    And if you are STILL not convinced, I can only offer my condolences…

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  134. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    So, before you get started, just let me tell you this, My Momma can whup yore Momma, and yore Poppa, too.

    So, There!

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  135. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Some of you need to check your assumption. You start out with how terrible the future will be because of whatever! History keeps showing everything getting better. I will have no problem providing all the energy you need until a solar flare or meteor ends all life on the planet. And there are lots of people like me.

     As far as our children are concerned, if they all become lawyers and none become doctors, farmers, or engineers; there could be a problem producing food and energy to sustain good health.

    Crud. Mark the calender. Kit meade not one, but two statements I have to agree with!

    Rate Crimes: 235 – 2011

    #1 Natural disasters will always be with us. Your point?

    #2 Fukushima indeed proves the problem with nuclear energy is that when things go wrong, they go wrong in a BIG way. But again, it hardly reverses all the progress made, some of it using nuclear power.

    #3 Your reference to Communist China shows how dangerous atheism can be. As Facism showed. Again there are lesson for mankind. But, in spite of the large scale mistakes progress continues to be made.

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  136. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    About 5 billion people are alive only because of oil, and when oil goes away so will they.

    But presumably RR isn’t foolish enough to support that POV, is he?

    Further, if you start trying to make massive quantities of fuel and plastic from oil, you will quickly see a much heavier environmental impact as demand for coal doubles or triples.

    That’s true at present. But these things usually gets better over time.

    What’s your take on the current excitement about bio-plastics?

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  137. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    So, before you get started, just let me tell you this, My Momma can whup yore Momma, and yore Poppa, too.

    Finally Rufus is showing his intellectual capacity.

    Or maybe he just consumed too much of the moonshine…

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  138. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    “#1 Natural disasters will always be with us. Your point?” – Optimist

    Originally, my point was that Kit P consistently belches out absurdities and inanities such as,

    “History keeps showing everything getting better.” – Kit P

    It is surprising that you would share similar deficiencies through your cherry-picked responses.

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  139. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    “The current [energy driven] high growth rates started with the [energy driven] Industrial Revolution and then kicked into overdrive with the [energy driven] discovery of penicillin. [Energy driven] Technology.” – [Energy driven] Optimist

    Mountebank Wins Nobel for Infinite Planet Theory

    “Few people have read the dense volumes published by the economist Milton Mountebank, but his work has affected you, me and every single person on the planet. Dr. Mountebank has revolutionized economic thought, and now he has been recognized for his singular efforts.”

    “In his presentation of the award, Mr. Norborg stated, “Dr. Mountebank has demonstrated imagination and inventiveness beyond what the rational mind can comprehend.” Indeed, it is because of his theories that we all do what we do economically. Nations strive for continuous GDP growth and endless expansion of consumption thanks to infinite planet theory.”

    [link]      
  140. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Optimist said:

    About 5 billion people are alive only because of oil, and when oil goes away so will they.

    But presumably RR isn’t foolish enough to support that POV, is he?


     

    The Doomers consider me to be a hopeless optimist. What I think is that life as we know it is going to change a lot, but we really don’t know the carrying capacity of the planet. If everyone ate as they do in India, the carrying capacity is a lot greater than if everyone eats a Western diet. So what I think will happen is that we will adapt to new realities, and unless oil peaks and plunges rapidly, I just can’t see the worst case scenarios playing out.

    “Further, if you start trying to make massive quantities of fuel and

    plastic from oil, you will quickly see a much heavier environmental

    impact as demand for coal doubles or triples.

    That’s true at present. But these things usually gets better over time.

    What’s your take on the current excitement about bio-plastics?

    Will be interesting to see if they can be produced at the kind of scale we use at present, and whether they can cover the spectrum of plastics we currently use. I don’t know the answer to either question.

    RR

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  141. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Well thanks Rate Crimes. I knew Bob Malthus was wrong. I didn’t realize he had been proven wrong mathematically. That settles it then, I assume.

    I particularly liked this paragraph: The end of cheap oil, species extinctions, climate change, deforestation, resource depletion, crippling poverty, loss of ecosystem services, soil and aquifer degradation—these are trifling problems, so long as we continue to grow the economy toward its ultimate size: infinity and beyond. Under no circumstances should we allow creeping thoughts about a finite planet or constraints handed down by universal physical laws to get in the way of building a bigger economy. And certainly we should shut our ears to the dreary doomsayers who continue to rain their inane facts upon our parade of growth. Growth, alone, is the moral and political ideal.

    The end of cheap oil a trifling problem? Sounds about right. A bit insulting to people working on the solutions, perhaps. But ultimately the end of cheap oil (2005 was it?) is… make that was NOT the end of civilization as we know it. Quite the opposite.

    Now if we could reign in the deficit and fix Wall Street, things would really be great…

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  142. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    The Doomers consider me to be a hopeless optimist. What I think is that life as we know it is going to change a lot, but we really don’t know the carrying capacity of the planet. If everyone ate as they do in India, the carrying capacity is a lot greater than if everyone eats a Western diet. So what I think will happen is that we will adapt to new realities, and unless oil peaks and plunges rapidly, I just can’t see the worst case scenarios playing out.

    Well, I agree. And in a free market, the price of steak goes to what consumers will pay for it. And if it goes high enough, some entreperneur figures a way to keep steers while using less oil. Change may well be coming our way, but the sky isn’t falling.

    What gets me a bit concerned, is the power of vested interests in the good old US of A. These guys are trying to have Uncle Sam extend their ride, when really it should be coming to an end. That is where the rapidly growing deficit is coming from. The inability of the prostititians to make the tough choices, and do the right thing is the biggest threat to our future.

    Will be interesting to see if they can be produced at the kind of scale we use at present, and whether they can cover the spectrum of plastics we currently use.

    I find it a bit hilarious that converting food into car seats is now the next Big Thing. Didn’t we learn anything from the corn ethanol fiasco? The powerful vested interests at work, again.

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  143. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    It is surprising that you would share similar deficiencies through your cherry-picked responses.

    I think you’re confused. Picking random events, such as natural disasters, to argue that we’re not having it better every year… that is what one calls (deperate) cherry-picking…

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  144. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Yeah, we learned that we could replace 10% of our gasoline w/o breaking a sweat.

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  145. By rate-crimes on May 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Optimist said:

    It is surprising that you would share similar deficiencies through your cherry-picked responses.

    I think you’re confused. Picking random events, such as natural disasters, to argue that we’re not having it better every year… that is what one calls (deperate) cherry-picking…


     

    The only thing that is confusing is the structure of your sentence.  Are you stating that the events are random in themselves, or that they were selected randomly?  In fact, neither is the case.

    Choosing a list of historical tragedies in order to highlight the absurdity of the statement,

    “History keeps showing everything getting better.” – Kit P

    is not cherry-picking.  Certainly, delivering an exhaustive list would be as obscene as is untempered cornucopianism.

    “having it better every year” – Optimist

    OK, Rip Van Optimist, the latest in the series of ‘bubbles’ has burst, catastrophes of all flavors abound, world food stocks are at a low, prices of all commodities are up, people are increasingly underemployed and underfed, the Middle East is in coniptions, and plunderers remain on their thrones.  Time to wake up.

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  146. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Rufus said:

    Yeah, we learned that we could replace 10% of our gasoline w/o breaking a sweat.


     

    And that’s nice in theory, except for the fact that it isn’t true. Our conventional gasoline usage has gone up — not down — as ethanol ramped up:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pe….._1&f=A

    RR

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  147. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Okay, my mistake; I really don’t have 10% Ethanol in my fuel tank.

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  148. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    My interpretation of that, after looking at the Data Link, is that that 10% increase in refinery AND Blender production just might be due to the “Blenders” adding 10% Ethanol to their gasoline.

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  149. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I am interpreting the word “Blender,” correctly aren’t I?

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  150. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Rufus said:

    Okay, my mistake; I really don’t have 10% Ethanol in my fuel tank.


     

    I would think you would have learned by now that there is a difference between having 10% ethanol in your tank and replacing 10% gasoline. The energy difference is the most obvious, but not only, reason that’s not true. Of course you know this, you just willfully choose to repeat misinformation.

    My interpretation of that, after looking at the Data Link, is

    that that 10% increase in refinery AND Blender production just might be

    due to the “Blenders” adding 10% Ethanol to their gasoline.

    And you would be wrong. They break out ethanol blended gasoline separately:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pe…..blpd_a.htm

    The data is admittedly convoluted. The last time I dug into this I had to contact the EIA to see what they were and were not including in specific categories. But the last time I did it, there was certainly not the expected displacement from putting 10% ethanol into the gasoline supply.

    RR

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  151. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Of course you know this, you just willfully choose to repeat misinformation.

    RR~

    Don’t you think it must have been a trying experience for potential insurance customers when they sat at their kitchen tables with Rufus and tried to get the straight word on what their premiums would be and exactly what the policy he was about to write would actually cover?

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  152. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    OK, Rip Van Optimist, the latest in the series of ‘bubbles’ has burst, catastrophes of all flavors abound, world food stocks are at a low, prices of all commodities are up, people are increasingly underemployed and underfed, the Middle East is in coniptions, and plunderers remain on their thrones. Time to wake up.

    Now where did I leave my hat?

    The bubbles have indeed burst. Hopefully now we can get back to real economic growth, not pretend growth. The prostitutians indeed did their level best to destroy American capitalism, or more precisely, they are still trying. But inspite of their best efforts, the economy seems to be slowly coming back. How did that happen?

    Again, terrible as they are, natural disasters don’t tell us where humanity is headed. The challenges abound.

    Stocks are low and prices are up, as market theory would predict. Somebody is going to replenish the stocks and make a profit doing so. Fair enough?

    Underemployment is a temporary situation, as the economy adjusts to changing realitities. Barring too much interference from Washington, things will work out fine.

    Famine, unfortunately, is the byproduct of politics. In Africa, famine is caused mainly by heartless dictators like Robert Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir, although corruption, nepotism and incompetence all play a role. In the US, it is caused incompetence and crony capitalism at USDA.

    The Middle East is undergoing a long overdue transition to democracy. Not to say that it will be a smooth transition, but the process has started and now there will be no putting the genie back in the bottle. It will be the end of Al Qaeda as a significant force. When people have the option of voting, and participating in their future, there is no need to turn to terror.

    Some plunderers will no doubt survive (for a while). It remains a broken world. But the overall trend is toward a better future.

    Sounds great, doesn’t it?

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  153. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I went to your link, and then clicked on this link:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pe…..MBBL_A.htm

    My takeaway was different. However, the refineries are going to produce as much as they can (or shut down, basically.) The main difference in product used would probably come from the amount imported. And, these also, can be virtually undecipherable.

    The Important thing is, My Tank contains 10% ethanol. If you want want to make the argument that I’ve only replaced 8% of my gasolione I won’t argue. In fact, I will agree. I should have said, “we found that we could replace 8% of our gasoline without breaking a sweat. Okay? :)

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  154. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Got news for you Wendell; I’ve been retired almost two decades, and I still have over a thousand policies in force. Those in the business say I might have the highest “persistency” in the history of the business.

    I attribute this to my customers knowing “Exactly” what the coverages, and premiums were. And, that in almost twenty years no one has come along and made them a “better deal.”

    Oh, and I didn’t do “kitchen tables.”

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  155. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Rufus said:

    The Important thing is, My Tank contains 10% ethanol. If you want want to make the argument that I’ve only replaced 8% of my gasolione I won’t argue. In fact, I will agree. I should have said, “we found that we could replace 8% of our gasoline without breaking a sweat. Okay? :)


     

    If the topic is ethanol, I know I can count on you for an exaggeration. The energy content of ethanol is 2/3rds of gasoline’s. So no, 10% ethanol didn’t replace 8% gasoline.

    RR

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  156. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Yes, Robert, but the Octane Rating is 114..

    I give up about 20% in my flexfuel Impala.

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  157. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Got news for you Wendell; I’ve been retired almost two decades, and I still have over a thousand policies in force. Those in the business say I might have the highest “persistency” in the history of the business.

    I attribute this to my customers knowing “Exactly” what the coverages, and premiums were. And, that in almost twenty years no one has come along and made them a “better deal.”

    And, I didn’t do “kitchen tables.”

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  158. By Optimist on May 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Meanwhile, some good news from the GOP field: One of the immutable laws of modern American politics is that no candidate who wants to win the Iowa Presidential caucuses can afford to oppose subsidies for ethanol. So it’s notable—make that downright amazing—that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty launched his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination Monday by including a challenge to King Corn.

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  159. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    but the Octane Rating is 114

    Which means something if you have a high-compression engine capable of taking advantage of that high octane. What’s the compression ratio of the engine in your Impala?

    [link]      
  160. By Walt on May 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    For review, what was said is that I am unaware of natural gas being flared onshore. I asked you many times for evidence, and instead of providing it you got testy and self-righteous. When you finally provided it, I said “that’s what I have been looking for all along.”

    RR


    It is amazing what evidence does to the highly trained expert blogger in energy.  It turns their error into a means to distort the facts to make them look like they were only asking a simple question.  In reality, I provided links to all the data…as we do in creationism…but those truly who believe their are self-righteous ignore the data and instead go for the character destruction of their opponent.

    More evidence facts are ignored…simply out of being lazy to dig into the source documents that were provided.  Providing the source documents on creation will only be ignored and ridiculed (e.g., using the ape argument was an example).  Make the opponent look like a fool…and make people laugh…and then go for the final destruction of the character.  Typical.

    But, it works wonders in politics and in science…at all costs to avoid the facts and evidence.

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  161. By mac on May 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Robert is certainly correct to defer on the cost of bio-plastics.

    Many of the so-called “bio-plastics” are actually olefin and cellulose blends

    The cellulose gives amazing strength to conventional oil based resins.

    DOW chemical is a big proponent of bio-plastics. How much of their production is exclusively sugar based, I have no idea

    The result is that many of the blended (so-called bio-plastics) are no more Bio-degradeable than than traditional oil based plastics.

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  162. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    :)

    Pawlenty is saying the same thing that Grassley, and the ethanol lobby has been saying for 6 months. Everyone in Iowa knows this. BTW, don’t overlook the word, “Gradually.” It’s a Very Important “word.”

    Wendell, it’s the 3.5 L six. Not a “high-compression” engine. Where ethanol helps is in an area of gentle, rolling hills. Ethanol delivers a little more “torque.” The burn is slower, and last longer. As a result, a car such as mine doesn’t downshift as often when running E85 as when burning straight gasoline.

    Having said all that, I’m probably the perfect “ethanol driver.” I drive, mostly, country roads, at medium speeds, and hardly ever “get on it.” :)

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  163. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Walt said:

    Robert Rapier said:

    For review, what was said is that I am unaware of natural gas being flared onshore. I asked you many times for evidence, and instead of providing it you got testy and self-righteous. When you finally provided it, I said “that’s what I have been looking for all along.”

    RR


    It is amazing what evidence does to the highly trained expert blogger in energy.  It turns their error into a means to distort the facts to make them look like they were only asking a simple question.
     

     

     


     

    Of course the thread is still there. So one can go back and verify that I kept asking the same question, and you were responding as if you were under an inquisition. I kept explaining to you that I was just trying to find out the truth, and yet you kept being incredibly defensive over the whole issue. You were 100% in the wrong then, and not long after you followed that up by posting some insulting tripe about me slanting my coverage away from methanol because of my employer.

    In reality, I provided links to all the data…as we do in

    creationism…but those truly who believe their are self-righteous

    ignore the data and instead go for the character destruction of their

    opponent.

    You provided links. I dug into your links; did not find evidence for your claims. Since you were familiar with it, I asked you specifically where in the documents to find that evidence. You turned surly and combative. Finally, after a great deal of back and forth, you provided what I had asked for from the beginning. Why it took that long, I still don’t know.

    More evidence facts are ignored…simply out of being lazy to dig into the source documents that were provided.

    Lies. You know I dug into the documents, because I excerpted from them. I just didn’t find what you were claiming (and in fact, never saw it in the documents you linked). I thought it was a simple request. Still do. Had you responded with the EIA link in the beginning, we wouldn’t have gone 15 rounds on a merry-go-round.

    Providing the source documents on creation will only be ignored and ridiculed

    I bet I know those “source documents” better than you do. I have read over a dozen books and literally hundreds of articles on Creationism. Typically, when I argued with a Creationist I knew their material better than they did. How many books on evolutionary biology have you read? How much classroom study do you have on the subject? I will bet that you have a comic book view of the ToE, and that would be apparent 1 or 2 posts into a debate.

    If we ever debated the issue, it wouldn’t be dueling links. You would have to articulate the position, define your terms, and address very specific criticisms of your position. Heck, I used to argue from the Creationist position. You are going to be hard-pressed to hit me with anything I haven’t seen (and refuted) numerous times.

    RR

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  164. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Where Pawlenty is in good shape is, he has a lot of “cred” with ethanol proponents. He was a BIG Champion of ethanol in Mn. They were the first state to have a 10% ethanol blend, a 4% biodiesel blend, and they have over 400 stations (way more than any other state) that sell E85.

    The corn ethanol producers are tired of fighting the war over the tax credit. They figure it’s mostly going to the oil companies, anyway, and the average refinery could “give a rip” about E85, blender pumps, etc.

    Grassley wants to get something done, also. remember, 98% of the people of Iowa ARE NOT FARMERS.

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  165. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    “In theory, but not everything has been done, and it certainly hasn’t been done economically. Further, if you start trying to make massive quantities of fuel and plastic from oil, you will quickly see a much heavier environmental impact as demand for coal doubles or triples.”

    I am not saying it would be easy. That’s why I support modest incentives to try new ways of doing things. It is also why I think we should recycle plastic instead of using it for fuel. Since paper comes from wood, burning producing it while recycling may use more.

    I also do not think that modern methods of producing coal have more environmental impact than oil or gas.

    “It is surprising that you would share similar deficiencies through your cherry-picked responses.”

    History does show things get better with time but only for those who learn from history.

    China did not learn from the US how to enjoy the benefits of an industrial society without killing 5000 minors a year or polluting the air in cities.

    In the recent report on the West Virginia coal mine accident there was a 100 year old essay. Methods to prevent such accident was new back then but it still took several more disasters before the minor added cost of preventing those accidents. After many years of safe mining, a few got complacent and people died.

    My point here is to not debate mine safety but to point out that overall it is better. Air quality is better, water quality is better, pick a metric it is better. When you look at trends, you have to consider randomness. It has been a bad year for tornadoes. However, it is random for a tornado to plow through farm land killing no one instead of the middle of a city killing hundreds.

    So you have to look at how we make things better. You have to be open to criticism. In the navy they would run drills and after word we would have the critic. How can we do it better next time? Look at where you have been with an eye to where are you going.

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  166. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Where ethanol helps is in an area of gentle, rolling hills.

    Those “gentle, rolling hills” of Tunica County — in the Mississippi Delta? I once lived in Mississippi — whenever I drove through the Delta I was always impressed by it’s singular flatness.

    Ethanol delivers a little more “torque.”

    Pshaw! Then why don’t farmers want ethanol-powered tractors to replace their diesel burners? Why isn’t Caterpillar making ethanol-powered bulldozers?

    [link]      
  167. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    The corn ethanol producers are tired of fighting the war over the tax credit.

    Even the “ethanolistas” have finally realized it’s time to remove the training wheels.

    [link]      
  168. By Mercy Vetsel on May 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    While that may be true in many cases, there are many Republican positions that are anathema to me. For instance — and hopefully this doesn’t sidetrack the conversation — Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms.

    I am quite strongly against the mainstream Republican position on that one, and I do know the subject matter in great detail. I also believe that everyone should have access to health care. I have seen our system and I have seen the UK system, and while the latter has its own issues, it is a good safety net for people that doesn’t require community bake sales so some poor kid can get a new liver. I can imagine the arguments against this are similar to arguments that were thrown up when we were trying to institute social security.

    You’ve illustrated my point perfectly.  Creationism in classrooms is not a mainstream Republican position.  It’s not party of the national platform and it’s not endorsed by any of the major Republican-leaning publications. 

    The real debate is over who should decide what’s taught in schools.  I (and generally Republicans) favor local control, while Democrats tend to favor these choices being made at the state or local level.  If I don’t agree with the local school board, I can move, but when you insist that this battle has be waged nationally, then we’re stuck with the side that wins.

    So here rather than grasping the real issue, you instead sieze on the charicature of Republicans as ignorant, religious rednecks.  So 60% of Republicans (and 40% of Democrats) allow their religion to influence their view of human origins.  That’s a 20% difference.  So 1 in 5 Democrats has a more accurate view of evolution than Republicans and yet that’s enough for you buy into the course charicature even though it’s only a tiny aspect of the battle to determine what’s taught in school. 

    My kids are taught plenty of left-wing psuedo-science in public skool, and what’s scary to me is not the Republicans who want theit local school to pick their own curriculum, it’s the many Democrats (yourself included) who want to force a national winner-take-all culture war to determine standards for the entire nation.

    Your views on healthcare are even more of a cliche — a complete parallel of the view that the oil companies are just plain evil.  It’s a fact that per person, Americans receive more healthcare from government than any country in the world and way more than the British, the French or the Canadians.  We have universal healthcare for the poor and for the elderly. 

    Even some of the more economically-literate Democrats understand that our mostly socialized system has screwed up incentives horribly and that the best examples of market-driven healthcare systems like those found in Switzerland, Singapore and even France are vastly superior to the Soviet single-payer model found in Canada and the UK.

    To me, your discussion of healthcare sounds EXACTLY the way a Democrat who doesn’t understand the even the basic dynamics of the energy market talks about oil. 

    Your M.D. dopelganger, Steve Smithier would probably say “the Demcorats are horrible on healthcare, but on energy I completely agree with their positions that we should use alternatives rather than coal and oil rather than screwing the environment like the Republicansl.”

    Finally, as long as I’m in this far, I seriously doubt that the faculty at A&M (or any major university) push right political views over left views.  Even at “conservatives schools” the facutly leans left and the few Republicans tend to be in scientific and engineering where it’s more difficult to push a political agenda.

    -Mercy

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  169. By Mercy Vetsel on May 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Mercy Vetsel said:

    I (and generally Republicans) favor local control, while Democrats tend to favor these choices being made at the state or local level


     

    Whoops!  I hate to post corrections, but that should read “Democrats tend to favor these choices being made at the NATIONAL level”.

     

    -Mercy

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  170. By Rufus on May 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Wendell, the hills start just a few miles East of where I live. They curve around in a NW direction toward Memphis. It IS called the “bluff city,” you know.

    [link]      
  171. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Mercy Vetsel said:

    Robert Rapier said:

    While that may be true in many cases, there are many Republican positions that are anathema to me. For instance — and hopefully this doesn’t sidetrack the conversation — Republicans believe that Creationism/Intelligent Design should be allowed in classrooms.

    I am quite strongly against the mainstream Republican position on that one, and I do know the subject matter in great detail. I also believe that everyone should have access to health care. I have seen our system and I have seen the UK system, and while the latter has its own issues, it is a good safety net for people that doesn’t require community bake sales so some poor kid can get a new liver. I can imagine the arguments against this are similar to arguments that were thrown up when we were trying to institute social security.

    You’ve illustrated my point perfectly.  Creationism in classrooms is not a mainstream Republican position.  It’s not party of the national platform and it’s not endorsed by any of the major Republican-leaning publications. 


     

    It certainly is in certain Midwest states. I have followed — and even participated in — a number of battles over Young Earth Creationists getting elected to school boards and immediately trying to push that into the schools. Even Republican candidates for president have to tiptoe around the issue; I have seen them change the subject many times over that question.

    Your views on healthcare are even more of a cliche — a complete parallel

    of the view that the oil companies are just plain evil.  It’s a fact

    that per person, Americans receive more healthcare from government than

    any country in the world and way more than the British, the French or

    the Canadians.

    All of which rank ahead of the U.S. according to the World Health Organization. My views on this were formed from direct personal experience, which I blogged on at the time. You see, I have experienced both systems first hand. So they aren’t cliches for me.

    I seriously doubt that the faculty at A&M (or any major university) push right political views over left views.

    I can only presume you have never spent any time at Texas A&M. Phil Gramm used to be a professor there, and that was where he declared his candidacy for president (to a huge, enthusiastic crowd that I was actually a part of). That is the location of the George Bush Presidential Library. If you haven’t experienced A&M, I suspect you might be in for a change of heart regarding your assumptions. The campus is something like 50,000 people. I remember once there was some sort of gay rights event on campus. They marched across campus — all three of them.

    RR

     

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  172. By thomas398 on May 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    RR,

    Coal is “cheap” as long as the lives of coal miners are not economically significant.  If the risk of serious injury and death (about 30 deaths a year) was distributed to the public at large than it wouldn’t be a “viable” energy source.  Coal mines would be treated worse than nukes and we’d have a NG powered grid. Its the worse kind of bigotry.

    Full disclosure: I’m long Peabody Energy (BTU), which makes me a hypocritical bigot. 

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  173. By armchair261 on May 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Interesting that the topic of evolution pops up in the same article as Democratic Party energy policy.

    I think the roots of our poor energy policy, as it relates to the domestic oil industry, lie in the generally abysmal level of economic and scientific literacy among the public. In a recent poll, 61% of Americans thought that oil companies were responsible for high oil prices. The Democrats’ confused perception of the industry plays off these mythical public attitudes.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/0…../index.htm

    Which brings us to evolution. According to another poll, the exact same percentage of Americans do not believe in evolution. This ranks the American public between those two scientific beacons, Greece and Turkey, in that sentiment.

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar…..ution.html

    Perhaps a coincidence, but I wonder.

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  174. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    “Creationism in classrooms is not a mainstream Republican position.  ”

     

    I agree Mercy but would go farther that it is not any stream Republican because it is not a serious issue. GWB went to the Episcopal Church and Methodist Church. Therefore, employing RR’s logic all Episcopalian and Methodists Republicans.

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  175. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    If the risk of serious injury and death (about 30 deaths a year) was distributed to the public at large than (sic) it wouldn’t be a “viable” energy source.

    Armchair,

    Of course it would. We lose more than 30,000 people a year driving cars and we consider cars a “viable” mode of transportation, don’t we?

    30 deaths a year out of population of 311,400,000 million is only 0.00000096 %. We lose a larger percentage of our population due to skateboarding accidents each year.

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  176. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    “lives of ..”

     

    Fill in the blank Thomas. I have some bad new for you, last year not a good year for NG if body count is your criteria. Stuff explodes at the drop of a hat. That is the problem with energy, it is energetic.

     

    So Thomas if you really feel guilty maybe you move back to your cave.

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  177. By navin-r-johnson on May 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    176 posts??  What happened did someone bring up religion and politics on an energy blog? 

    I thought this post was about what happens with no electricity and no fuel.  It’s really no problem.

    No phone, no lights, no motor car, not a single luxury.

    You just sit around all day eating coconut cream pies, you wash your clothes with a bicycle powered washing machine, and you try to figure out who is better looking, Ginger or Mary Ann. 

    I bet the Rsquared followers go more than 90% for Mary Ann

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  178. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    My apologies Armchair, the reply above was to Thomas398.

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  179. By Wendell Mercantile on May 24, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    My vote is for Mary Ann.

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  180. By navin-r-johnson on May 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Someone mentioned Pawlenty.I am from Minnesota, T. Paw. was a BIG ethanol supporter, now he is changing his tune.  He was a global warming believer, now he is a skeptic.  But other than those flip flops, he seems like a decent guy.  He did accidentally drop the F-bomb while dropping the puck a t a Wild hockey game, which I like. And he told this joke which I also liked.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..e573ZXTjT8

    I just never thought of him as very presidential but after the last 7 or 8 Presidents, I think he would do OK.

    Now if you want to talk about my Representative Michele Bachmann, my opinion would be a little more negative.  She is out there…

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  181. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Creationism in classrooms is not a mainstream Republican position.  ”

     

    I agree Mercy but would go farther that it is not any stream Republican because it is not a serious issue.


     

    It was serious enough that it went to trial in Dover. It is serious enough that in Texas and Oklahoma, every year they have to beat back legislative efforts to get it taught in schools. So don’t tell me it isn’t a serious issue. Believe it or not, a lot happens outside your microcosm.

    RR

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  182. By rrapier on May 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Navin R Johnson said:

    176 posts??  What happened did someone bring up religion and politics on an energy blog? 


     

    There is a good reason that I don’t bring up general politics or religion here. I am carrying on multiple side conversations as a result.

    RR

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  183. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Finally, complete agreement with Wendell.

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  184. By Kit P on May 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    that in Texas and Oklahoma

     

    Another reason not to take some people from Texas and Oklahoma seriously. 

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  185. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Kit P said:

    that in Texas and Oklahoma

     

    Another reason not to take some people from Texas and Oklahoma seriously. 


     

    Let’s not forget Pennsylvania. The Dover trial was the highest profile trial to date after they voted to teach Creationism in schools.

    Of course there’s Virginia. The modern Creationist movement was started by former Virginia Tech professor Henry Morris. So we all owe Virginia a thank you for that. And of course Roanoke-based Science Ministries is a hotbed of Creationist activity. Per Kit, a good reason not to take some people from Virginia seriously. Wait, isn’t that where you live, Kit?

    RR

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  186. By Mercy Vetsel on May 25, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    I can only presume you have never spent any time at Texas A&M.


    Well, I don’t doubt that your impression is sincere, but the facts support me.  According the to the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M professors favor Democrats in their political donations.  Statewide, Texas professors gave 71% of their 2008 donations to Democrats and 24% to Republicans.

    All of which rank ahead of the U.S. according to the World Health Organization. My views on this were formed from direct personal experience, which I blogged on at the time. You see, I have experienced both systems first hand. So they aren’t cliches for me.

    I don’t think either one of us want to debate healthcare here, but you keep bolstering my point.  Now you sound like the guy who took a media tour of a cellulistic ethanol factory or a test drive in a Leaf.  The contrast between your approach to energy and healthcare is striking.  You don’t really understand the dynamics of different healthcare systems, otherwise you wouldn’t propose the Canadian or UK systems.  That’s not even where the debate is at.  There are plenty market-based approaches that achieve the goals of universal coverage without destroying options.  This paper is a pretty good primer to the real issues.

    Of course if your instinct is to have the federal government take complete control over the entire system and completely illiminate choice from the system, so that I have to either be wealthy enough to fly overseas or else beg some faceless bureaucracy to get an MRI for my kid when it’s not triaged high enough, well, then maybe you are a Democrat!  I’ve also nationalized healthcare when my child was injured overseas, but trading anecdotes is no way to discuss an issue as monumental as whether or not healthcare should be completely taken over by the government.

    It certainly is in certain Midwest states. I have followed — and even
    participated in — a number of battles over Young Earth Creationists
    getting elected to school boards and immediately trying to push that
    into the schools.

    It’s great that you fought for good science to be taugh locally, but
    you’d better hope that you win nationally because Creationism is just a
    tiny irrelevency in the larger battle over what is taught in school and
    when the federal government makes a curriculum decision that you don’t
    like, good luck trying to argue your case then.

    I live in New Jersey where left-wing radicals actually are successfully pushing all sort of politics and pseudo-scientific nonsense in the classroom.  So for me it’s annoying theoretical things that some local Republicans somewhere are TRYING to do versus the annoying things that Democrats are ACTUALLY doing, plus my lack of a desire to force my views on other peoples kids that puts me in the Republican camp on education.  In Newark, we’re spending $25,000 per pupil with horrific outcomes.  But at least no one is trying to sneak any ID into the classroom.  All safe on that count.

    [link]      
  187. By Rufus on May 25, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Well, NY-26 had, prior to today, gone Democratic 3 times since 1857. Now, it’s 4.

    The Dem grabbed ahold of “Ryan-Care” and beat the Republican Mercilessly with it. The Dem went from four down, to Seven up when the Republican, finally, yelled for “No Mas.” Corwin conceded before all the votes, including 6,000 absentee ballots, were in. It was bloody.

    The Pubs just can’t understand that Dems, and Pubs both, like Granny having Medicare, and, truth be told, they can’t wait till they can tell the insurance companies to go pound sand, and sign up for Medicare, themselves.

    And, before you start throwing rocks at me, I retired from the insurance biz, and I’ve voted Republican in every election since my twenties. It’s just that on this issue the Pubs are idiots.

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  188. By carbonbridge on May 25, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Rufus said:

    And, before you start throwing rocks at me, I retired from the insurance biz, and I’ve voted Republican in every election since my twenties. It’s just that on this issue the Pubs are idiots.


     

    Rufus:  I would have guessed that you were an older gentleman, retired, bored [as you've admitted] and also vote Republican.  Thanks for your clarifications.

    Wendell:  I’ll join you and cast my vote for MaryAnn.

    This just in a few hours ago:  Topical enough to this discussion to repost some of this Huff Post article plus a URL for the balance of this story if interested in reading further…  Even though I don’t believe that Ted could accurately describe the differences between a BTU and a Kilowatt [like a few other people I know] — I still enjoy his personal and passionate quotes. 

    And he’s not posting his feelings anonymously.  He’ll let his own name carry into a headline.  LOL.  Night.

    -Mark

     

     

    Ted Turner Says Coal, Oil Industries Need “A Good A** Kicking”

    Posted: 05/24/11 05:47 PM ET

    ANAHEIM, CA — Philanthropist and CNN founder Ted Turner has turned his sights to renewable energy — and he had some fighting words for the wind industry at the kickoff to its annual convention on Monday.

    Turbine manufacturers and clean energy utilities can’t sit idly by while the coal industry touts its “clean coal” plan and oil companies flood the airwaves, Turner said. He noted that he had “nightmares” caused by clean coal advertisements.

    “Let’s go out and kick their asses. That’s what they need, a good ass-kicking,” Turner told the group assembled for the American Wind Energy Association’s conference.

    Turner acknowledged that wind energy faces an uphill battle, with critical tax credits expiring over the next two years and formidable push-back from carbon-based energy producers. The political calculus is particularly tricky in coal country, as Turner illustrated with an anecdote about a conversation he said he had with Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.): [more here in the full article.]

    Turner believes renewable energy is critical for avoiding disruptive climate change over the next century — but he also thinks global warming is already behind events like the tornado that tore through Missouri over the weekend.

    Such severe weather is being caused, Turned said, “by the heating up of the atmosphere because of the goddamned carbon dioxide.”

    “I’d rather have a nuclear than a coal plant built, because one might kill ya and the other one will for sure. But wind doesn’t kill anybody,” Turner added.

    [a bit more of this dialog at:]    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..66438.html

     

    [link]      
  189. By moiety on May 25, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Mercy Vetsel said:

    1. This paper is a pretty good primer to the real issues.
    2. Of course if your instinct is to have the federal government take
      complete control over the entire system and completely illiminate choice
      from the system, so that I have to either be wealthy enough to fly
      overseas or else beg some faceless bureaucracy to get an MRI for my kid
      when it’s not triaged high enough

     

    1. That paper maybe a good primer (it does have some good points) but some of its so called facts are wrong. For example from page eight.

    In addition, there is a 5.25 general social contribution tax on income (reduced to 3.95 percent on pension income and unemployment benefits)

    This is not true. The social contributions make allowances for health care, family allowances, invalidity, pension and death. A good chunk of the health care benefits are primarily towards dental which is not covered by most basic insurance premiums. Not only that but most of these are tax deductible.

     

    2. Not true. In the countries that I have lived where I have had insurance (Ireland, U.K.,m Netherlands), the heath care insurer has a direct responsibility to ensure that the services that you have paid for in said insurance are provided. So if I am insured against sever injuries (which is common basic in most policies) and need said treatment then the insurance pays up. Insurance in Europe comes after the doctor has had his say and given the assessment. If the care required is lifethreatening, insurance does not get involved and it is a state cost (in the Netherlands there are some exceptions to this like ambulance cost etc).

    [link]      
  190. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Mercy Vetsel said:

    Robert Rapier said:

    I can only presume you have never spent any time at Texas A&M.


    Well, I don’t doubt that your impression is sincere, but the facts support me.  According the to the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M professors favor Democrats in their political donations.  Statewide, Texas professors gave 71% of their 2008 donations to Democrats and 24% to Republicans.

     

     


     

    Not to pick nits too much, but I went to the actual donations. Zero donations from A&M professors to Democratic candidates among the 50 biggest donations, one among the top 75. To the Republican party, 1 from A&M in the Top 25, 6 in the Top 50, 9 in the top 75. So of the Top 75 donations to either party, 1 from A&M to Democrats, 9 from A&M to Republicans. Further, it said statewide it was 71%, that UT was the highest at 74%, but I did not see them specify what it was for A&M.

    So clearly those who donated the most money from A&M — presumably the most politically active — went 9 to 1 to Republicans.

    I would also say that that 2008 election probably wasn’t the best metric for determining whether I was exposed to more Democratic professors. Not that many people got all that excited about McCain. And as the story said, “even traditionally conservative campuses such as Texas A&M University.” I wasn’t there in 2008; I was there from 1991 to 1995. So the facts don’t support you with respect to what I was or was not exposed to.

    RR

    [link]      
  191. By Walt on May 25, 2011 at 4:33 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    Kit P said:

    that in Texas and Oklahoma

     

    Another reason not to take some people from Texas and Oklahoma seriously. 


     

    Let’s not forget Pennsylvania. The Dover trial was the highest profile trial to date after they voted to teach Creationism in schools.

    Of course there’s Virginia. The modern Creationist movement was started by former Virginia Tech professor Henry Morris. So we all owe Virginia a thank you for that. And of course Roanoke-based Science Ministries is a hotbed of Creationist activity. Per Kit, a good reason not to take some people from Virginia seriously. Wait, isn’t that where you live, Kit?

    RR


     

    For those who would like the evidence on the modern creationist movement, I would suggest they dig further than those who on this blog proclaim they are an expert on the subject.  There are so many experts, especially from those who claim they are the one’s behind insuring school boards to not allow Creationism to be taught in the classroom.  Evolution takes enormous blind faith, and should be removed from the classroom, but because it is (like the ethanol lobby) funded to force government ignorance upon a nation we will continue to see the decline of society by those who are ignorant of the subject matter.

     

    For the start of the modern creationist movement, all those that have spent any time learning the subject matter, will point to the true pioneer who fought a good fight to raise the issue in Europe and America.  Those who are serious that want to understand the “modern” movement and the core basic arguments, I recommend they start here:

    http://www.wildersmith.org/

     

    Don’t just glance at the site, for those who want to avoid the experts on this blog who claim to be bashions of research, listen to the recorded files to understand the true research and history of the debate.   Remember it is the presupposition and epistemology that governs this subject, as with all subjects, that you will have to overcome in your own mind to reject the faith promoted by evolutionists and atheists.

     

    Again, I have never ever seen an evolutionist (even those who claim to be experts and highly skilled in attacking creationist “faith”) win an argument…except maybe at a local school board or in Congress or in a TV commercial.

     

    For those who want some of his written books, see here:

    http://store.calvarychapel.com…..6308235197

     

    “Dr. Wilder-Smith is probably responsible for Richard Dawkins refusing to
    debate creationists any more. In 1986, he and E. Andrews debated the
    two leading evolutionists in Britain, Dawkins and J. Maynard Smith (the
    two strongest Darwinians in Europe), at Oxford — this debate is on CD
    at http://www.sermonaudio.com/sou…..ad81206173 .”

     

    Let’s get to the real facts and evidence…and tell the self proclaimed experts (whether they are on energy or evolutionary faith) to stop the lies and self righteous claims to the truth!  They are removing creationism from being taught in schools, and they will come to your home next (actually they already are) and take it from your children as it is their atheist religious fervor that drives their passion.  It has nothing to do with science.

    [link]      
  192. By Walt on May 25, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    If we ever debated the issue, it wouldn’t be dueling links. You would have to articulate the position, define your terms, and address very specific criticisms of your position. Heck, I used to argue from the Creationist position. You are going to be hard-pressed to hit me with anything I haven’t seen (and refuted) numerous times.

    RR


     

    Since I have seen you seek to publicly debate the ethanol lobby, I suggest you take up the challenge these guys have been offering for years.  Although I don’t know anything about the group, I have seen some of the evolutionist reference the site over the years.  It sounds like the perfect group to take away their $10,000…like taking candy from a baby!  Why debate the Young Creationists when you can go to the source?

     

    http://lifescienceprize.org./

    They claim:

    More than 374,000 evolutionists, by individual or
    organization invitation, cannot be coaxed to reveal their scientific
    evidence even for $10,000 on a continuing basis. That acid test,
    confirmed in Topeka in May 5-7, 2005 and in Brussels on October 11,
    2006, proved beyond any doubt that evolution is devoid of objective
    scientific evidence. It dominates biology instruction by frauds,
    forgeries, superstitions, brass, bluff, and totalitarian censorship and
    persecutions.”


    [link]      
  193. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Walt said:

    Evolution takes enormous blind faith…


     

    We call that projection.

     

    “…the faith promoted by evolutionists and atheists.”

    And that. You know, I have never had an atheist knock on my door to convince me to join their cause.

    Again, I have never ever seen an evolutionist (even those who claim to

    be experts and highly skilled in attacking creationist “faith”) win an

    argument

    Then by all means, do not argue with me. I would hate to see your streak come to an end. But I know how that game is played. Evolutionists can’t win, because if they did that would mean you are wrong and you can’t be wrong. Thus, evolutionists never win. It is like saying “I have never seen a square circle.” By your definition, it isn’t that evolutionists don’t win, it is that they can’t win. That’s not allowed. But I can guarantee you one thing: If you start to lay down various Creationist positions — or attack various evolutionary positions — I will have you back-pedaling very quickly.

    “atheist religious fervor that drives their passion”

    I think someone is really confused about religion.

    RR

    [link]      
  194. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Walt said:

     

    Since I have seen you seek to publicly debate the ethanol lobby, I suggest you take up the challenge these guys have been offering for years.  Although I don’t know anything about the group, I have seen some of the evolutionist reference the site over the years.  It sounds like the perfect group to take away their $10,000…like taking candy from a baby!  Why debate the Young Creationists when you can go to the source?

     

    http://lifescienceprize.org./


     

    I have never seen that specific one, but I have seen plenty like them. And I have seen them dance a fine tap-dance when someone goes to claim the prize. It generally starts when someone asks them to define their terms. That’s one thing Creationists like to avoid; that way they can always claim “That’s not what I had in mind.” If you want, I know some people who tried to claim a prize like that, only to have the rules changed over and over. I can look up and post that for you tomorrow.

    But I see your $10,000 and raise you $1,000,000. All you have to do is prove the supernatural exists. So just take him evidence of God, and claim your prize:

    http://www.randi.org/site/inde…..lenge.html

    But seriously, from your link:

    It is predicted that this prize also will go unclaimed indefinitely because there is no such thing as a homologue, or an evolution sequence, or micro-evolution

    I guess that means that Great Danes and Chihuahuas, or herefords and bison do not share a common ancestor. Even Creationists concede that this is micro-evolution. To claim there is no such thing is to put yourself really far out on the fringe.

    RR

    [link]      
  195. By Kit P on May 25, 2011 at 7:17 am

    How about Ted Turner becoming a becoming a responsible citizen and tell the wind industry to focus on building wind turbines where they will provide customers electricity when they need it. That is what the coal industry does. That is what wind will have to do if it wants to replace coal.

     

    Making electricity is not a football game, where do not need cheerleaders.

     

    “”I’d rather have a nuclear than a coal plant built, because one might kill ya and the other one will for sure. But wind doesn’t kill anybody,” Turner added. ”

     

    Ever consider educating your journalists on the topic. All it takes is a ’4-hour tour’ of a nuke plant to understand it.

     

    However let’s get real. Journalism is about ascertainment, if it bleeds it leads.

    [link]      
  196. By Duracomm on May 25, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Economics is a science.

    So here is this week’s message for the Left: Economics is a science. Willful ignorance or emotional rejection of the well-known precepts of this science is at least as bad as a fundamentalist Christian’s willful ignorance of evolution science (for which the Left so often criticizes their opposition).

    The last point he makes can’t be emphasized enough.

    In fact, economic ignorance is much worse, since most people can come to perfectly valid conclusions about most public policy issues with a flawed knowledge of the origin of the species but no one can with a flawed understanding of economics.

    As far as I can see not believing in evolution would only impact a persons ability to competently work in fields like paleontology, and evolutionary biology.

    A believer in creationism would do just fine in computer science, manufacturing, physics, engineering, math, business, chemistry etc, etc.

    It would be nice to see more concern over economic ignorance in education since that has caused and continues to cause far more damage than belief in creationism ever has.

    [link]      
  197. By Walt on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    But I see your $10,000 and raise you $1,000,000. All you have to do is prove the supernatural exists. So just take him evidence of God, and claim your prize:

    http://www.randi.org/site/inde…..lenge.html

    But seriously, from your link:

    It is predicted that this prize also will go unclaimed indefinitely because there is no such thing as a homologue, or an evolution sequence, or micro-evolution

    I guess that means that Great Danes and Chihuahuas, or herefords and bison do not share a common ancestor. Even Creationists concede that this is micro-evolution. To claim there is no such thing is to put yourself really far out on the fringe.

    RR


    I love the argument from atheists who say what they preach and teach is not religion…but we will ignore that discussion on this forum.  In our generation, many discussions I have with engineers or scientists or collegel professors demonstrate the atheist presupposition.  It really is the most popular thing now and growing among middle schools, high schools and of course universities.  If you do not adopt the atheist religion in school, be prepared to get your head handed to you in public, or be removed from either the classroom or tenure.

     

    “far out on the fringe” is a matter of perspective.  What is a supernatural divine architecture and plan for civilization is seen by one presupposition, while the other sees it by chance, lottery and no order but unexplainable luck.  Without a perfect divine order one is left with scientific principles that cannot be proven absolute by its simpliest definition.  Of course, the atheist religion does not allow even to define atheism as a religion, but rather they will get right in your face to scream they are not a religion.  They don’t knock on the door to discuss the topic, they send in violence to show what is a non-religion.  Study the Soviet empire which is a perfect picture of what atheism is all about, and speak to those who lived with the day after day broadcasts that there is no god and no religion but atheism.  Some might call communism and atheism extreme examples of the most radical religion, but if you speak to an atheist it is not religion whatsoever…their cause is “science” only.

     

    Fortunately, I think there is a growing trend at the University level that those who loose their tenure and jobs due to their teaching creationism are not going to sit by silently.  Although atheism is not new in history or in science, many are starting to see it as the religion it rejects itself as, and moving it back to facts and evidence…not fear and threats to loose one’s job or tenure.  Those days are coming to an end.

     

    By the way, there is a couple groups who knock on doors to discuss religion, but I would not classify them Christian from my research.  I recommend telling them you are not interested and sending them down the road.  Nobody needs to listen to these unqualified children.

     

    If you want to hear a young teenager speak on the subject, I would start here:

    http://www.reformation-scotlan…..h-binning/

    “Hugh Binning was born at Dalvenan in Ayrshire. His father was a
    landowner and wealthy enough to give him a liberal education. He entered
    the University of Glasgow in 1641 at the age of thirteen. A student of
    exceptional ability, he was taught philosophy by James Dalrymple
    (subsequently Viscount Stair), and graduate MA ‘with much applause’ in
    1646. He then began to study divinity, but when James Dalrymple resigned
    his post as regent, Binning was strongly encouraged to apply for the
    position. As was customary at the time, anyone who had ‘a mind to the
    profession of philosophy’ was invited to make a competitive presentation
    before the University Senatus. The college masters favored Binning, but
    the Principal, Dr John Strang, preferred one of the other candidates on
    grounds of age. When a member of the faculty proposed to resolve the
    matter by extempore public debate, the alternative candidate withdrew in
    acknowledgement of his meagre chance against ‘such an able antagonist’.
    So in November 1646, at the age of only 18, Binning was elected regent
    in philosophy at the University of Glasgow. Though he had little time to
    prepare, his lectures were well received, and notable for their
    sustained attempt to free philosophy in Scotland from the jargon of the
    schoolmen.”

    http://www.scottishphilosophy……nning.html

    [link]      
  198. By Duracomm on May 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Rufus said,

    The Pubs just can’t understand that Dems, and Pubs both, like Granny having Medicare, and, truth be told, they can’t wait till they can tell the insurance companies to go pound sand, and sign up for Medicare, themselves.

    The problem is when it comes to medicare people like something that is utterly unsustainable.

    Medicare fiscal problems

    But the real shocker in this year’s report is a letter that the chief actuary of Medicare attached to the very end of the report, basically saying that things are much worse than the trustees suggest.

    The combination of these factors, the actuary says, means Medicare as it now stands is in far, far greater trouble than either the trustees or CBO are projecting:

    In other words, Medicare as we know it is on the fast lane to ruin.

    It’s not the House Republican Budget that is undoing it, it’s the current structure of the program,

    [link]      
  199. By Wendell Mercantile on May 25, 2011 at 10:37 am

    “I’d rather have a nuclear than a coal plant built, because one might kill ya and the other one will for sure. But wind doesn’t kill anybody,” Turner added.

    I’m curious: Does Ted Turner have a wind farm on those thousands of acres he owns in Montana?

    …but he also thinks global warming is already behind events like the tornado that tore through Missouri over the weekend.

    Not really Ted. There are tornadoes as strong as the Joplin event every spring. What was different this spring is that it went smack plumb through the middle of a good-size city instead of tearing up wheat and corn fields and a crossroads village in some rural part of the state.

    That has nothing with climate change — that’s the luck of the draw.

    [link]      
  200. By Steve Funk on May 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Good post. I was indirectly associated with the timber industry for many years, and can relate.

    [link]      
  201. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Duracomm said:

    As far as I can see not believing in evolution would only impact a persons ability to competently work in fields like paleontology, and evolutionary biology.

    A believer in creationism would do just fine in computer science, manufacturing, physics, engineering, math, business, chemistry etc, etc.

    It would be nice to see more concern over economic ignorance in education since that has caused and continues to cause far more damage than belief in creationism ever has.


     

    Let’s clarify something here. Whether a person is a Creationist isn’t my concern. I believe in religious freedom, and my family is full of Creationists. (Most of the Christians I know believe in religious freedom as well, unless that freedom involves choosing no religion. You can just hear Walt’s contempt for atheists in his posts).

    My concern is when they campaign to get those ideas taught as science in schools. And if you don’t know the extent to which that happens, I can tell you that it is a lot. I am on a mailing list for legislation to force that into schools, and I get notices all the time. That is my concern over Creationism. Our scientific literacy is bad enough without dumbing it down even more.

    RR

    [link]      
  202. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Walt said:

    I love the argument from atheists who say what they preach and teach is not religion…but we will ignore that discussion on this forum.  


     

    One thing you have consistently demonstrated here is the fallacy of being unable to distinguish between evolution and atheism. No wonder you think evolution is a farce. You have no idea of what it actually is, just as I suspected. And I am quite certain that you have never read a book on the topic, or had any college coursework in biology. So your position is fairly typical: I don’t understand it, but I know it can’t be true. Evolution is as atheistic as Theory of Gravity or Atomic Theory. None of them speak to the existence of God.

    As far as atheism goes, important to note that you are an atheist for the most part. I am sure you don’t believe in the vast majority of gods. Those you refer to as atheists just don’t believe in yours either.

    “far out on the fringe” is a matter of perspective.

    Not really. I am quite familiar with mainstream Creationism. I don’t believe I ever heard one deny microevolution, given that it can actually be observed over short time scales. So when someone denies that, I would have to ask them to define microevolution. Only by understanding what they think it is can I provide examples (or point out logical fallacies in their definition).

    By the way, there is a couple groups who knock on doors to discuss

    religion, but I would not classify them Christian from my research.

    Nice hand wave. So did they knock on your door to discuss evolution then? I can tell you that in my lifetime, I have probably had 50 different people/groups knock on my door to discussion some form of Christianity. I am still waiting on the first person to knock on my door and discuss atheism or evolution.

    As far as your earlier comment about evolution being faith-based, it is as faith-based as DNA testing to establish paternity or convict someone of a crime. But so far I see zero evidence from you that you understand it. The first step of a debate would be for you to explain in your own words what you think biological evolution actually is. Second step would be to clarify all of your misconceptions around that. Third step would be you denying that they are misconceptions, and insisting that you, someone with absolutely zero experience in the subject matter, really understands all of the things evolution encompasses.

    RR

    [link]      
  203. By Kit P on May 25, 2011 at 11:52 am

     

    “I’m curious: Does Ted Turner ..”

     

    Wendell do you know if Ted is dead? If he is right, he must be dead. He said coal would kill him. I have heard of death by smoke inhalation in a house fire, better never death by coal. Accidental death is news worth most places. I am sure I would have hear, ‘Ted Turner was found dead outside a West Virginia coal fired power plant. If is not clear yet if it was death by coal or just another horrible transporter accident. He last words by cell phone were ‘beam me down Scotty’.

     

    Of course if Ted Turner was found dead outside a coal fired power plant, we would never hear the end of what insight he had.

    [link]      
  204. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Walt said:

     

    Since I have seen you seek to publicly debate the ethanol lobby, I suggest you take up the challenge these guys have been offering for years.  Although I don’t know anything about the group, I have seen some of the evolutionist reference the site over the years. 

     

     


     

    And here is a detailed examination of a similar offer of $250,000 from Kent Hovind (I wonder if he is still in prison for tax evasion?), long used by him as proof that if evolution existed then someone would have claimed the prize. In short, Kent makes up his own bogus definitions and then expects people to meet that bogus metric. And here is the experience of someone who actually tried to pin Hovind down over the offer.

    So the moral here is that if you think these sorts of challenges are evidence in your favor, then you will have to admit that Randi’s challenge of $1,000,000 works against you. Or we can agree that these sorts of challenges are really just publicity stunts that don’t have much to do with science. After all, it is trivially easy for me to point to examples of microevolution, something your site above denied.

    RR

    [link]      
  205. By thomas398 on May 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

     We lose more than 30,000 people a year driving cars and we consider cars a “viable” mode of transportation, don’t we?

    30 deaths a year out of population of 311,400,000 million is only 0.00000096 %. We lose a larger percentage of our population due to skateboarding accidents each year.


    Wendel,
    I think you are confusing the issue. What percentage of those car deaths were caused by the manufacturer cutting corners on safety or a design flaw? Cars are not dangerous in general i.e. no one is killed by idling their car in a parking lot. Human error (the driver) is dangerous. We have become quite resigned to car deaths caused by user error. Deaths caused by factory or design errors, however, are unacceptable. When a car model increases user risk  because of these errors the car is quickly recalled–to the shame of its manufacturer.  This is not the case with coal mines.  Safety is routinely sacrificed in the name of profits. Oil and NG are guilty of this as well.  Last year’s gulf oil spill being a prime example.

    As a side note, we’re about ten years away from a smart car revolution, the same technology that flies a missile through the window of an enemy compound (gps and lasers) will weave cars through traffic to deliver yuppies to their respective coffee shops.  Future generations will look back at our current private transport system the way we look at public health before penicillin and DDT. Everyone will be a back seat driver but much safer.

    [link]      
  206. By rrapier on May 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Duracomm said:

    Economics is a science.

    So here is this week’s message for the Left: Economics is a science. Willful ignorance or emotional rejection of the well-known precepts of this science is at least as bad as a fundamentalist Christian’s willful ignorance of evolution science (for which the Left so often criticizes their opposition).

    The last point he makes can’t be emphasized enough.

    In fact, economic ignorance is much worse, since most people can come to perfectly valid conclusions about most public policy issues with a flawed knowledge of the origin of the species but no one can with a flawed understanding of economics.


     

    That was a really good post at that link, by the way. What are we to make of people who are willfully ignorant of both? :)

    RR

    [link]      
  207. By Benny BND Cole on May 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I agree with RR totally on the Democrats–even more so.  I have never understood the “anti-business” stance of Democrats, though I, like RR, tend to be a little left of center. For example, I consider the Department of Defesne to be bloated and ossified, a situation made far worse since 9/11 and the creation of a whole new set of agenices to fight terrorism. 

    But I like businesses and business people.  Our standard of living is higher thanks to free enterprise, including the oil guys.  Polllution is a serious issue, as the price signal fails when it comes to pollution.

     

    I keepo hoping someday I can vote for a pro-business Democrat, or an anti-militaristic Republican. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [link]      
  208. By Kit P on May 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    “Wendel, I think you are confusing the issue.”

    I think Wendell is thinking pretty clear. Comparing how consumers use energy to how we produce seems fair. Thomas why is it wrong to make a profit when you take more risk to save a penny? Thomas thinks it is okay to endanger his children to save money or get someplace faster.

    “This is not the case with coal mines. Safety is routinely sacrificed in the name of profits. Oil and NG are guilty of this as well. Last year’s gulf oil spill being a prime example.”

    Yes, those are examples of accidents but they are not evidence that it is ‘routine’ to put profits over safety. The cost of preventing an accident in a coal mine is small compared to the cost of an accident. Killing your workers and destroying your assets is hard on profits. It goes unnoticed that we work every day safely to bring energy to our customers.

    Thomas on the other hand is dirt bad. Want to bet he heats with NG just to save a few bucks. I suspect Thomas never thinks about safety of his family. Thomas likes to question the ethics of others so I think he is fair game. Is Thomas greedy when his electricity rates go up and he demands the people providing energy take less money so he can waste more?

    I think Americans have the right to demand high standards from those who provide energy. Please use that energy with the same care that we produce it.

    Ouch! Just twisted my ankle getting off my soap box.

    [link]      
  209. By Walt on May 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Opps, got their hand caught in the cookie jar.

    ———————————————-

     

    A recent McClatchy investigation documented how end-users of oil
    historically made up 70 percent of the oil futures market, but today
    they are only about 30 percent, as financial speculators comprise about
    70 percent of the market.
    The charges show that speculators who
    are not end users of oil are nonetheless active in the market for
    delivery of oil. Big Wall Street financial firms are believed to be
    involved in the physical oil-delivery market, although there is little
    transparency to the public — either through regulatory data or
    Securities and Exchange Commission filings — about how deeply involved
    they are.

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/201…..z1NOaHveRk
    [link]      
  210. By Optimist on May 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Oops, that’s baloney. Doesn’t matter if the future’s market is 99.9% speculators: in the end they all have to sell for what a real consumer would pay. And if the speculators outnumber the real consumer, that means they real consumer would have a lot of choices out there. Sounds like a recipe for prices to go down. And rapidly.

    Please explain how the speculators all make money, even if you did assume they had the ability to bid prices in the stratosphere at will. recent events have shown that they don’t have that ability, which is why prices occasionally comes down, and sometimes do so rapidly.

    This CNN story illustrates the point nicely:  Oil speculators charged with price manipulationThe price of crude during the months of the alleged misdeeds changed very little, generally staying within a $10 range but the traders made their money off the daily fluctuations. Crude traded at $99 a barrel Jan. 2, 2008, and ended March 2008 at $101 a barrel. So for all that excitement and wrongdoing, the bad guys never moved the price of oil more than $10/bbl. And for long term impact, they added (no more than) $2/bbl over three months. Sick’em, Rex!

    The story also points out the fact that RR repeats so frequently: While the CFTC does periodically find isolated examples of speculator wrong doing, previous CFTC investigations have found no evidence that oil speculators are artificially driving up the price of oil over the long term. (Emphasis added)

    It’s NOT the speculators. Get over it.

    [link]      
  211. By Optimist on May 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    …although there is little transparency to the public…

    Oh, I see. We need Uncle Sam to review every trade, do we? We obviously don’t have enough bureaucracy in this country. And regulators can be trusted to never make mistakes. Or be corrupt. Or in on the take.

    Just because somebody isn’t forced to disclose something in public, does NOT mean something illegal is going on.

    Funny how many Republicans are willing to have Uncle Sam police every little detail, when it suits their cause…

    [link]      
  212. By Benny BND Cole on May 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    BTW and OT, but worth an RR follow sometime.

     

    The WSJ and NY Times are reporting today a CFTC action against traders who cornered the NYMEX–just what some here have said cannot happen.

     

    Evidently, in 2008 some “obscure traders” gained control of the majority of West Texas oil, roughly two-thirds, to be shipped to Cushing for the month of Feb.  They created an artificial shortage. 

     

    Imagine, if some “obscure traders” can game the NYMEX, what can soveriegn wealth funds of a Russia or Saudi Arabia accomplish? 

     

    These stories should put to rest the idea that the NYMEX cannot be gamed.  It has been gamed.  It probably is being gamed. 

     

    The question is, why would Russia not game the NYMEX? 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [link]      
  213. By thomas398 on May 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Kit P said:

    I have heard of death by smoke inhalation in a house fire, better never death by coal. Accidental death is news worth most places. I am sure I would have hear, ‘Ted Turner was found dead outside a West Virginia coal fired power plant. If is not clear yet if it was death by coal or just another horrible transporter accident.


    Kit coal does cause premature death similar to second hand cigarette smoke.  You’re following the same logic Congressman Barton did when he said that since no one is dying from mercury/SO2 poisoning, we shouldn’t worry about  coal plant emissions. I guess the two of you know better than the American Lung Association. Coal particulates cause heart attacks, strokes, cancer and asthma. Go read the research at the end of this letter that tells Barton he’s way out of his league.

    http://www.lungusa.org/get-inv…..ter-to.pdf

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  214. By Optimist on May 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    These stories should put to rest the idea that the NYMEX cannot be gamed.  It has been gamed.  It probably is being gamed.

    Benny, can you READ? If you see my comment #211 above you’ll notive that:

    1. The market can and was gamed.

    2. These guys made $50 million (see the link) doing so.

    3. Oil prices stayed in a $10/bbl range. Over three months the price increased by $2/bbl.

    4. No evidence so far of speculators having a long term effect.

    So even when the market was manipulated, the effect on price was negligible.

    So can the Putin is manipulating or markets BS already! But go ahead: Remember to check under your bed before dozing off…

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  215. By Benny BND Cole on May 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Optimist–

     

    I can read what you write.  It does not satisfy my suspicions.  We know that oil can trade as high as $147 a barrel, when markets are fully supplied–indeed, even when there are gluts and oil tankers parked in Malta, full, and no where to offload.  When the margnal cost of production is probably half of that, at worst. 

     

    Thus, there is an obvious disconnect between the NYMEX price of oil, and the physical world of supply and demand.

     

    Also, from the sounds of things, these “obscure traders” were somewhat small potatoes.  Imagine larger, more powerful entities, operating safely beyond the reach of US authorities.  These guys had a few mil to play with.  Not a few bil.

     

    Given that the short- to medium-term demand for oil is price inelastic, the NYMEX strikes me as a market ready-made for manipulation. Obviously, others also share this view, including our wayward obscure traders. 

     

    I will concede that in the long-run, oil cannot be sustained above $100 a barrel, by artifice or otherwise.  Eventually, with gathering accumulation, the demand for oil starts to shrink, while supplies grow.  Demand for oil is long-term price elastic. 

     

    Still, along the way, a few hundred billion dollars or so might be drained out of US coffers. 

     

     

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  216. By Kit P on May 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    “premature death ”

     

    Wow, Thomas what classic back pedaling. You have gone from gross disregard for human life by greedy CEOs to junk science. Part of science is putting a number on the risk. Tell me how many days the death is premature.

     

    “You’re following the same logic ”

     

    No, I do my own research and rely on approved regulations to protect people. Yes, we use a systematic scientific approach to safety.

     

    Thomas thanks for the clever fabrication from the American Lung Association.

     

    “pregnant women can have significant exposure ”

     

    The is a big difference between ‘can’, ‘could’, ‘might’, ‘maybe’ and does. Zero is the number of pregnant women and children that have a level of mercury above a threshold of harm. The CDC checks those things. Notice the clever language of the fear mongers. They list the numbers at risk for being at risk. Mercury is ubiquitous to the environment, we all have mercury in us. It is natural. There have been problem with mercury in the past but it did not have anything to do with burning coal.

     

    Now Thomas if you like you can blame coal plants that are no where near you live for the problems of the chronically ill. Could you and American Lung Association get your fear mongering story straight.

     

    “similar to second hand cigarette smoke ”

     

    Wait I thought it was smoking two packs a day, or is radon, or how about trucks.

     

    “Barton he’s way out of his league ”

     

    That is right, fabrication is there specialty not protecting people.

     

    Once last point Thomas. Your concerns with coal have been addressed by new regulations. Old coal plants are either going to have to shut down or put on new pollution controls. It is not going to help the chronically ill because that was not the cause but their electricity will be more expensive. At lest locally, the congressmen that voted for the new regulations blamed greedy utilities for cost increases.

     

    Just as matter of disclosure. My present job is the result of coal generated electricity becoming more expensive. I used to be against coal but they deserve a lot of credit for reducing the environmental impact of what we need.

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  217. By thomas398 on May 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Kit P said:

    I think Wendell is thinking pretty clear. Comparing how consumers use energy to how we produce seems fair. Thomas why is it wrong to make a profit when you take more risk to save a penny? Thomas thinks it is okay to endanger his children to save money or get someplace faster.


    I think traffic related deaths and our underlying resignation to their inevitability is unfortunate. I’d be in favor of putting breathlizers on ignition switches. The public, myself included, are not quiltless in our use of fossil fuels.  After being in two car accidents where everyone walked away unscathed, but the cars were totaled I’m glad the auto industry has embraced safety (with intial proding by government) .  I will be the old man standing in line with the yuppies to get my car modified to drive itself.  

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  218. By Optimist on May 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I can read what you write.  It does not satisfy my suspicions.

    I guess the obvious question is: Will anything?

    Thus, there is an obvious disconnect between the NYMEX price of oil, and the physical world of supply and demand.

    Nope. As has been shown before, a high price in 2008 is EXACTLY how you would expect a rational market to react to the preceding three years Look at the picture: In creasing demand, supply static.

    The only thing left to argue about is the dynamics: why did it take so long for the market to react? Did it really have to go as high as $147/bbl, or was that an overshoot?

    Given that OPEC works overtime to keep things opaque, it should come as no surprise that there is overshoot, at both the high and the low end.

    We know that oil can trade as high as $147 a barrel, when markets are fully supplied

    You are showing your ignorance of the science of economics, Benny! In a free market there is NO shortage, price goes up until either some buyers leave or new suppliers show up. When you have an inelastic demand curve, what happens?

    You only get a shortage when there is an attempt to limit the price. Ain’t Richard Nixon a genius?

    It is the same argument RR always makes about anti-gouging laws and supplies running out when refineries shut down for a hurricane or other event.

    There is no foul play, Benny. Outside of your rich imagination. Accept it.

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  219. By Rufus on May 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    There are Always shenanigans going on. The Main thing is to remember that the Main thing is the Main thing.

    Are said “shenanigans” the main thing? Or is increasing demand from Non-OECD Nations in a “supply-constrained” world the Main thing? In the short run, there is no doubt that the shenanigans can cause a lot of hiccups in the market.

    In the long run? I suspect Supply/Demand is what is making the mare run.

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  220. By mac on May 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Benny has proposed that the commodities markets are manipulated. That;s true.

    While speculators can often make Big Money on short term volatility in oil commodities (futures), The fact is that if they (the speculators) persist, they will bring the price of oil to the point of demand destruction as people conserve (or simply cannot afford oil based products)

    I think speculators are definitely involved in the oil market and do actually drive up prices. I agree.

    I despise them because they “gin” and “churn” the market for their own gain.

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  221. By Wendell Mercantile on May 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I think you are confusing the issue. We have become quite resigned to car deaths caused by user error.

    Thomas398~

    That’s exactly the point, we have become resigned to 30,000+ deaths/year in automobiles. And the majority of those deaths are preventable, user error or not — if we wanted to take the necessary steps. An Indy, NASCAR, or F1 race car can crash at 200 mph and more often than not the driver walks away. That’s because they use helmets, roll cages, and five-point harnesses. Clearly the technology is there, but we’ve never felt inclined to take the necessary steps.

    30,000+ lost in car crashes yearly, and you worry about 30 coal miner deaths.

    At least the deaths of those coal miners serve a purpose. The other 311,400,000 people in the country get to enjoy the luxury of using the electricity made from the coal those miners dug. What is the purpose of the 30,000+ auto deaths? Deaths that could be greatly reduced by implementing only a handful of simple standards.

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  222. By Rufus on May 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Speaking of oil; Oil is flying in Asia, tonight. Tapis up $3.90, Oman up $3.45, Minas up $3.95.

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  223. By mac on May 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    RR’

    Oil ‘speculators” have nothing to do with the fine P&E oil companies who actually go out and find oil for us.

    It’s a banking issue.

    Or, is it ?

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  224. By Kit P on May 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    “After being in two car accidents where everyone walked away unscathed, but the cars were totaled I’m glad the auto industry has embraced safety ”

     

    Before we had rules about how many hour we could work, I fell asleep on the way home from work and hit a tree. I had a new car, one of the first subcompacts that allowed the occupants to survive such a crash.

     

    This is another example of things that are better. Thomas and I lived long enough to maybe die of cancer. Both my parents and two of my grandparents died of cancer. One grandfather died in a flu of pneumonia before penicillin.

     

    So I grew up in a world of polio, small pox, cars without seat belts, burning coal to heat houses, and playing with mercury in school. Now that we have reduced the risk of environmental hazards we now obsess over insignificant risk.

     

    Do cell phones cause brain cancer? Not very likely but they do contribute to fatal traffic accidents when teenagers disengage the brain. Minimizing risk is an important concept but first you must decide what resources to expend. A smoke detector has a huge benefit for a small cost. In my opinion that $300 million added cost on an old coal plant is has very little benefit.

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  225. By thomas398 on May 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

     Deaths that could be greatly reduced by implementing only a handful of simple standards.


     

    Wendell,

    Almost half of those car deaths are caused by people not using the safety features cars already have (seat belts).  The other half can be attributed to intoxicated,distracted, or inexperienced drivers.  Its a driver problem not a safety problem.  This would be equivalent to miners lighting cigarettes in the shaft.  

    Nuclear power is treated much differently than coal, why?  I would argue its because there is a slight threat that nuclear plants could cause direct death and injury to the public. This makes it “dangerous” and “controversial”.  The Fukushima disaster has caused governments around the world to reassess their nuclear industries.  Not a single person was killed or seriously injured, imagine if thirty people were killed.  A nuclear plant is actually much safer than a coal plant to those who live in its vicinity, but the possibilty of public risk puts it on a different regulatory level.  If any form of power averaged thirty public deaths a year it would be quickly pushed aside for safer, albeit more expensive, options.

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  226. By mac on May 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Why people would anyone on R=Squared want to object to the idea that oil speculators actually exist. And, seemingly, actually defend the practice’

    Apparently, they think that Oil is just another “free market commodity” and completely independent from any supply/demand manipulation by the Saudis, or OPEC, or oil speculators.

    What a naive idea !!!!

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  227. By thomas398 on May 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Kit P said:

    Now that we have reduced the risk of environmental hazards we now obsess over insignificant risk.

     In my opinion that $300 million added cost on an old coal plant is has very little benefit.


    The cost of 24,000 premature deaths/year and the increased rates and severity of childhood asthma caused by old coal plants easily surpasses $3 billion in months.  Please see the peer reviewed data. You’re right though, $300 million is too much to spend on an old coal plant.   

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  228. By biocrude on May 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Wow, it took me quite a while just to get to the end of all these posts!  RR, love the article, and your patience as you continue to argue with reason, sound science, and always back up your statements.

     

    Apologies beforehand if I offend anyone with my comments:

     

    @ Walt – How can you think so clearly about methanol, but be so batshit crazy about creationism?  Seriously amigo, I am probably not the only one that lost a lot of respect for you when you played the creationist card.  In my opinion, it’s totally cool whatever you think, and if you want to brainwash your kids by homeschooling them, by all means do it, but keep it to yourself.  Creationism has no place in an energy blog which is mainly about talking “science.”  

     

    @Mac – You don’t seem to be grasping the absolute stranglehold that petroleum has on our transportation sector, and literally everything in between.  Even ethanol at 13 billion gallons a year, isn’t 10% of our 150 billion gallons of gasoline that the US consumes in a year.  And ethanol is the only fuel that is remotely close to making a dent in petroleum’s share in our transportation sector.  Wow, Boeing tested biojet in a 50/50 blend?!  How much are they producing this year?  15k gallons?  Seriously, as cool as that is, and as passionate as I am about biojet, green diesel, and other drop in renewable fuels, NONE in the US are currently at scale, except for Dynamic Fuels in Louisiana.  Check out this video which depicts a scenario where all the oil in the ground is one day gone.  Not likely to happen, but it gives you an idea of how the scenario could play out: http://channel.nationalgeograp…..2/Overview

     

    @ Kit P – Okay, maybe coal only directly kills 30 people a year, but it indirectly kills thousands each year from health issues.  There is no disputing when a river goes from crystal clear to black when a mountain top removal coal mine comes in nearby, and then half the town mysteriously starts having tumors and cancer incidents.  Furthermore, the coal industry continues to show no respect for humans and their workers when they keep using this method of mining, reducing the miners role, and thus reducing jobs.  Why are all the heavy mining regions typically the poorest ones?  CEO Blankenship of Massey Energy almost goes out of his way to be an asshole.  Unbelievable.  

    @ Wendell – As long as I am attacking and ranting, you are always talking about CNG.  I am all for CNG, but I have just one question: “What is the industry going to do about the environmental consequences of fracking?”  Nat Gas needs to clean that up, or it is going to come back to haunt them.

    @ Rufus – Unfortunately, as a fellow champion of ethanol, I must correct you on your octane rating of E85 at 114.  It is actually even less than 105, which is what is usually stated on E85 pumps.  This is from the RFA:

    “A

    minimum octane for E85 is not specified.  FFV’s can tolerate the lower octane of gasoline i.e. 87 (R+M)/2.  There is no requirement to post octane on an E85 dispenser.  If a retailer chooses to post octane, they should be aware that the often cited 105 octane is incorrect.  This number was derived by using ethanol’s blending octane value in gasoline. This is not the proper way to calculate the octane of E85. Ethanol’s true octane value should be used to calculate E85’s octane value.  This results in an octane range of 94-96 (R+M)”  

    Source here: http://ethanolrfa.3cdn.net/dd9…..6bdgh3.pdf

    Now before everyone gets on their “I hate ethanol hat” let me lay out a few points on ethanol and this blog posting:

    1) Ethanol works because flex fuel vehicles work.  As a friend of mine is fond of saying “The best thing about a FFV is that it runs perfectly fine on gasoline.  The worst thing about a FFV is that it runs perfectly fine on gasoline.”  When you have a transportation sector that is 96% dependent on petroleum, it is hard for any alternative to gain a foothold, other than riding a bike, which we all know has it’s limitations.  The vehicle is dependent on the fueling infrastructure, and the infrastructure is dependent on there being vehicles to fuel.  The chicken and egg scenario in it’s most basic form (Walt, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Answer: They were magically created by Gandolf at the exact same time!) 

    2) This one is a question for RR – If FFVs were optimized to run on E85, would you still think ethanol inefficient?  Ie, if there was no mpg penalty.  

    3) With all this talk about where we stand with regard to the political spectrum, I have always identified as a Democrat, but seriously, the only thing any politician stands for anymore is their special interest groups and getting reelected.  This means continued short sighted viewpoints and doing anything to cash in quickly at the expense of future generations.  I would call myself an “energy realist” much the same as RR tries to show on this blog.  I feel like a broken record when I say this, but we need everything!  Biofuels, CNG, EVs, Hydrogen, but most of all reduce our consumption of energy.  Tax the gasoline and people will start to change, and alternatives will become economically viable.  It is a sad reality, and one that no politician wants to pursue because it will doom them, but if we increase the cost of gasoline, we can reduce our dependency on petroleum, and overall that will be good for the US.  

    Don’t worry the future is bright… we’ll get there eventually, it is just going to be a bumpy ride.  

    -Jake

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  229. By armchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Evidently, in 2008 some “obscure traders” gained control of the majority of West Texas oil, roughly two-thirds, to be shipped to Cushing for the month of Feb. They created an artificial shortage.

    WTI spot fell in the month of January 2008. I invite you to look at a plot of daily price changes: you won’t see anything unusual. There was a gradual monthly decline, despite the fact that sinister forces “controlled” WTI.

    Below are average daily price changes by month, along with the standard deviation by month as an indicator of volatility.

    Let’s see if January is anomalous by looking at the three months prior and three months following. If the defendants were in fact able to manipulate the market, we should see some pretty unusual figures for the month of January 2008.

    October 2007: average daily price change was +0.5%; the standard deviation was 2.1%; the average absolute value price change was $1.24
    November 2007: 0.0%; 1.7%; $1.27
    December 2007: 0.1%; 1.6%; $0.92
    January 2008: -0.1%; 2.1%; $1.54
    February 2008: 0.5%; 1.4%; $1.07
    March 2008: 0.1%; 2.0%; $1.69
    April 2008: 0.4%; 1.8%; $1.46

    This doesn’t look very anomalous to me, and would probably look less so if more months were considered. If the defendants were able to manipulate the markets, they were doing so well under the radar of statistical significance, and probably in very short time frames (even though the long position they took was gathered over the space of two weeks). I suppose hourly or even more frequent price data would give a better answer.

    January 2008′s average daily price swing of -$0.27 per barrel (or $1.54/barrel if you use absolute values) is tiny compared to the much larger longer term price swings over the past few years. I’d conclude from this that if the defendants indeed tried to manipulate the market, then they were not very effective at doing so, and were certainly unable to create price swings that matter on the global scale.

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  230. By arnchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Sorry, forgot to mention, the CFTC charge was that the trading activity took place in January 2008, not February.

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  231. By Mercy Vetsel on May 26, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Duracomm said:

    As far as I can see not believing i evolution would only impact a persons ability to competently work in fields like paleontology, and evolutionary biology.

    A believer in creationism would do just fine in computer science, manufacturing, physics, engineering, math, business, chemistry etc, etc.

    It would be nice to see more concern over economic ignorance in education since that has caused and continues to cause far more damage than belief in creationism ever has.

    Exactly!  Economic ignorance has very real effects on all of our lives.  Intelligent Design Theory does not.  In fact that brings us back to exactly what RR is describing in his post — a very real issue where the Democrats are pushing poor policy based on hopelessly flawed economic reasoning.  I can’t think of a single policy causing ill effects due to kids being taught false religious origin stories.

    But economic creationism is only one tiny part of the problem that the left has with science.  To start, the left has an even more fundamental problem with evolution than the right.

    No, I’m not talking about the Soviet and Maoist atheists who starved millions by implementing anti-evolution agricultural policies:

    Jasper Becker in Hungry Ghosts traces the foolishness of close planting to the fraudulent science of the Soviet Union. T.D. Lysenko was a quack who got the support of Joseph Stalin and ruled over Soviet genetics for twenty five years. Among the many erroneous notions promoted by Lysenko and which had to be accepted in Marxist countries was his “law of the life of species” which said that plants of the same species do not compete with each other but instead help each other to survive.

    That’s an ugly history, but I’m talking about today.  Evolutionary psychology has provided a solid scientific basis for the existence of a very specific human nature and this is anathema to the doctrine of the left which hold that humans are a blank slate and that anti-social behavior arises from class and society.  Read Pinker’s book “The Blank Slate” and it’s clear that if Christians had any brains they would enthusiastically embrace Darwin and evolution — evolution actually provides a scientific confirmation of much of the Biblical view of “man’s sinful nature”.

    So one the one hand we have warriors on the left defending evolution in absolutist terms despite the havoc it wreaks on the intellectual foundations of their creed while on the other hand we have some members of the religious right attacking evolution with equal ferver, blistfully ignorant of the support that evolutionary psychology offers for their traditional view of human nature and the proper interaction of mankind with the intitutions of civilization.

    So the left flunks science when it comes to economics, psychology and the implications of evolution, in short all of the areas of science that intersect most strongly with public policy, while the relgious right flunks human origins.

    Sure I think Creationists are clearly wrong and when I consider that they are fighting on the wrong side and that their major effect is to drive intelligent Christians away from the faith (Creationism provides a testable claim), I’m inclinded to get upset that they don’t just drop it, EXCEPT that I know that isn’t really the root of the problem.  Even if 100% of all Republicans were atheists and accepted evolution enitrely, there would be some other way to smear them. 

    It’s simply a sordid combination of a flawed political ideology and raw political calculation that causes Democrats to overrule science in the pursuit of their political careers.

    -Mercy

    P.S. RR – Regarding Texas A&M, the Houston Chronicle article said that MOST contributions from A&M professors went to Democrats and it also stated 60% as the lower bound for the percentage (based on the percentages they listed for the schools most favorable to Democrats, which didn’t even include A&M).

    You found some convoluted “top donor” metric that gave a different impression, saying if I understood correctly “sure overall more professors donated to Democrats, BUT the professors who really gave a LOT of money were Republicans.”  That struck me as cherry picking a much more narrow measure of support.

    It’s not a contradiction for a school to have a relatively conservative reputation and still have a left-leaning faculty.  Columbia Business School has a reputation for being a conservative school as well, but the overwhelming majority of my professors there (including Joe “Chavez” Stiglitz) tilted-left — at least in the areas where they lacked expertise! Wink

    So, perhaps the makeup of the faculty at A&M became much more left-leaning since you went there or perhaps your metric is better than the one reported by the Houston Chronicle, but frankly I don’t find either of these arguments compelling.

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  232. By Rufus on May 26, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Jake, I believe I said “”Ethanol” has a 114 Octane Rating, NOT E85. Of course if you mix it with 84 Octane gasoline it will come in considerably lower.

    According to your link (in one place) you should add 2.5 for every ten percent ethanol. 2.5 X 8.5 = 21 and change. add that to 84, and you would get 105. If, in the real world, it comes out closer to 95, well, that’s okay too. It still beats the heck out of 87, and its burn characteristics do deliver more torque.

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  233. By arnchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Walt said:

    Again, I have never ever seen an evolutionist (even those who claim to
    be experts and highly skilled in attacking creationist “faith”) win an
    argument…except maybe at a local school board or in Congress or in a TV
    commercial.

     

    I have never been able to teach my cat that the basics of trigonmetry. It refuses to listen or even acknowledge the Pythagorean Theorem, and always walks away unconvinced.  I always wondered about that. But the above flash of insight has suddenly given me the answer. It must mean that trigonometry is false.

    But thinking about it more, I really got myself wound up. I know of no cases where a Baptist has convinced a militant Muslim to go to church daily. So it must mean radical Islam is the true path. But then, no Islamists have ever convinced a true Baptist to join the jihad, so where does that leave us? Are they both right? Or both wrong?

     

    OK I am being sarcastic, and I respect the right to religious beliefs, but really. Smile Such an argument is meaningless, isn’t it?

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  234. By Rufus on May 26, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Here’s where it gets complicated. WTI futures are up $0.27 bbl. Brent futures are up $0.02 bbl.

    Tapis (Singapore) Spot Price is up $3.54 as we speak. Minas, and Oman Spot Prices about the same.

    There are lots of moving parts in the oil bidness. Not the least of which is Saudi Arabia, and the other OPEC nations. Then there’s Goldman, and Morgan Stanley. Goldman put out a sell call on crude a few days ago, and drove the price down $10.00, or so. Then, day before yesterday, they reversed, and started touting “long-term shortages,” sparking the current rally. How much do you suppose “They” made?

    Heard any calls in Congress to investigate Goldman’s oil trading? Morgan Stanley, the last I saw, owned several millions of barrels of crude, stored at Cushing. Meantime, I assume they were in the futures market trading with both hands. Any investigations there?

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  235. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Mercy Vetsel said:

    P.S. RR – Regarding Texas A&M, the Houston Chronicle article said that MOST contributions from A&M professors went to Democrats and it also stated 60% as the lower bound for the percentage (based on the percentages they listed for the schools most favorable to Democrats, which didn’t even include A&M).

    You found some convoluted “top donor” metric that gave a different impression, saying if I understood correctly “sure overall more professors donated to Democrats, BUT the professors who really gave a LOT of money were Republicans.”  That struck me as cherry picking a much more narrow measure of support.

    It’s not a contradiction for a school to have a relatively conservative reputation and still have a left-leaning faculty.  Columbia Business School has a reputation for being a conservative school as well, but the overwhelming majority of my professors there (including Joe “Chavez” Stiglitz) tilted-left — at least in the areas where they lacked expertise! Wink

     


     

    Well I never even saw any evidence to support the Chronicle’s claim when I looked at the data. When I start to look at individual donations, they were heavily weighted to Republicans for A&M. So maybe a whole bunch of professors all donated $50 to Dems; maybe a lot of professors got on Obama’s bandwagon; I just don’t know. But I did go to school there, and have traveled all over the world. It is one of the most conservative places I have ever been.

    So, perhaps the makeup of the faculty at A&M became much more

    left-leaning since you went there or perhaps your metric is better than

    the one reported by the Houston Chronicle, but frankly I don’t find

    either of these arguments compelling.

    Here is the part that is compelling: “even traditionally conservative campuses such as Texas A&M University.”

    There is a reason they say “traditionally conservative.”

    Even if 100% of all Republicans were atheists and accepted evolution enitrely

    Again, evolution is not the same as atheism. That’s like saying “Even if 100% of all Republicans were atheists and accepted the Theory of Gravity entirely.” Evolution does not speak to whether God exists.

    RR

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  236. By arnchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Rufus said:

    Then there’s Goldman, and Morgan Stanley. Goldman put out a sell call on crude a few days ago, and drove the price down $10.00, or so.
    Heard any calls in Congress to investigate Goldman’s oil trading? Morgan Stanley, the last I saw, owned several millions of barrels of crude, stored at Cushing. Meantime, I assume they were in the futures market trading with both hands. Any investigations there?


     

    This $10 fall was due entirely to GS’s statement? Maybe GS saw something that troubled them, something that troubled other traders as well.

    GS and MS also, presumably, have positions in other commodities, and in securities too. I’m not sure what to make of this. Should we prohibit any investment house from making any public statements on any financial instruments, if they possibly stand to benefit from the statement? 

    People seem incredibly eager to blame someone for serious oil market manipulation, but without providing any more evidence than “prices seem too high to me given current inventory” or “they COULD be doing it – they have a motive.”

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  237. By Rufus on May 26, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Aw, I take it all with a grain of salt, Armchair. I figure (and, of course, I could be wrong) that(1) oil prices are in a generally “rising” trend. (2) There are several things that can happen when prices reach a certain point. (3) Whatever that point is, I don’t know what that point is.

    There, that’s about all I Know about oil prices. I know I study them all the time, and, if I were a trader, I would have been broke “long ago.” I’m quite sure I’m wrong much more than half the time.

    There Were several things working besides Goldman’s statement, but Goldman has shown an ability to “move the market,” although a sudden, violent move of that magnitude is a bit much even for them.

    I am totally convinced of one thing; there Is no such thing as a “bottomless milkshake.” However, whether this particular milkshake started running out last year, or will start this year, or two years from now, or five I haven’t the foggiest.

    I’m just glad my car runs on ethanol. :)

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  238. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Biocrude said:

    2) This one is a question for RR – If FFVs were optimized to run on E85, would you still think ethanol inefficient?  Ie, if there was no mpg penalty.  


     

    Funny you asked: All BTUs Are Not Created Equally

    RR

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  239. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 3:21 am

    mac said:

    Apparently, they think that Oil is just another “free market commodity” and completely independent from any supply/demand manipulation by the Saudis, or OPEC, or oil speculators.


     

    It isn’t either/or. I was on a roundtable discussion today; I will link to it in a future essay. But the topic came up, and what I said was that the only way speculators can have a big impact is if the underlying fundamentals favor that kind of volatility (i.e., supplies are tight; demand is high). If not for the latter, speculators couldn’t bid the price up by much, because new supplies would flood into the market. So there is an underlying supply/demand issue here. Oil didn’t rise by an order of magnitude over a decade just because of speculation.

    RR

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  240. By Walt on May 26, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Biocrude said:

    @ Walt – How can you think so clearly about methanol, but be so batshit crazy about creationism?  Seriously amigo, I am probably not the only one that lost a lot of respect for you when you played the creationist card.  In my opinion, it’s totally cool whatever you think, and if you want to brainwash your kids by homeschooling them, by all means do it, but keep it to yourself.  Creationism has no place in an energy blog which is mainly about talking “science.”  

    -Jake


     

    Jake,

     

    I would beg to differ that creationism is not science based, and in fact would argue it is the only basis for true science.  However, I agree this blog is not the place to discuss it, and as you said, will destroy my reputation.  As a Christian, in the world of business and science, the record is clear to keep your mouth shut and go with the flow.  When I practiced a form of orthodox Judaism many years ago it was far wiser in business.  My little tribe of fellows kept things running worldwide, but then I spent almost two years buried in books while flying back and forth to London visiting old book stores reading everything I could find on the subject (before the internet provided copies), and since becoming Protestant Christian I agree it is best to shut-up about creationism.  It will be done!  I’ve provided the links to the best sources.  As I said, I know nothing about the people who offer these challenges…it was given only for those who want to take up the debate publicly.  I don’t endorse folly.

     

    In the opinion of the evolutionist, biology, chemistry and physics should be left to the atheist agenda, and any counter argument should be removed from all public schools.  It has been done effectively at the university level and those who control the text books have implemented it at the high school and grade school level.  Science is neither balanced in our schools, nor will those allow for even discussion of both sides of the argument.  Science is controlled by the thought police of our generation, and if one wants to learn anything outside the public funded school system I recommend researching it outside school.  University education is poor quality learning, but it is expensive learning.  I don’t recommend anyone attend a university to be educated in logic, critical thinking or effective principles of learning.  It is really a social club.

     

    It is ironic how people argue that to understand the issue one needs to take a biology class in school, but at the same time they make it clear they would refuse to allow any creation science being taught in that same biology class.  Do you see the contridiction in eliminating critical thinking skills?  As we have learned in the soviet union expirment, the best way to force one’s atheistic views on a population is to control what they read and learn in schools.  Critical thinking is forbidden.  This agenda to remove all forms of creationism from the school system is and will be effective at the lowest school levels across our nation, and future generations may never hear of the word “creation science” unless (as you correctly admit) it is taught in the home.  The soviet experiment did fail, and I suspect it will fail in American education over time too.

     

    This will be my last post on the subject.  By the way, since I see you are an engineer, I can say that I have met some really bright engineers who are Christians and believe in creation science…so not all engineers believe publicly or privately as you and Robert do.  They do speak publicly although would likely never do so on this forum.  I agree the focus here should be on energy solutions not on evolution vs. creation politics.

     

     

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  241. By Mercy Vetsel on May 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

    RR wrote:

    Again, evolution is not the same as atheism.

    Yes, that was why I pointed out that the problems that atheistic socialists running 20th century regimes and with ideological problems with evolution have caused problems (starvation deaths in the millions) that make the efforts to teach Intelligent Design Theory in some parts of the country look like a silly joke.
    In fact, if you read that post, you’ll see that I take the most stronger position that evolution bolsters the traditional Christian view of humanity and society. Plus, the parallels between free-market economic systems and biological evolution are striking, but that’s a whole other topic.

    That’s like saying “Even if 100% of all Republicans were atheists and accepted the Theory of Gravity entirely.” Evolution does not speak to whether God exists.

    No so. It would be like saying “even 100% of Democrats rejected the left’s view of human nature and accepted evolutionary psychology entirely.”
    Obviously, the reason that people on both the left and right have problems with evolution is that it conflicts with their religion (right) or ideology (left). Take away the religion/ideology and the unscientific objections to evolution would vanish. If all Republicans were atheists, they clearly would not have such a problem with evolutionary explanations of human origins.
    Dawkins, the most eloquent defender of evolutionary theory, also rejects the truism that religion has nothing to do with evolution.
    -Mercy

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  242. By armchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Walt,

    I have an advanced degree in geology and 34 years of experience. I’ve read creationist “scientific” writings. It’s not science. Science means impartial investigation the workings of the universe. When you conduct research to prove a preconceived notion, e.g. creationism, this is not science. It’s religion.

    And when I say it’s not science, I’m not talking about theory, about some topic which can neither be proved nor disproved. I’m talking about poorly informed people, as in for example, a reference to “continental plates” and “oceanic plates,” or the notion that settling from the “great flood” has produced a stratigraphy of increasingly complex fossil remains as a function of some weird settling process. This is nonsense, yet people cite it as science.

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  243. By Kit P on May 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

    “the increased rates and severity of childhood asthma caused by old coal plants”

    I have seen the ‘the peer reviewed data’, it does not say what you think it does Thomas. Use some common sense here. We no longer burn coal to heat houses and pollution from coal plants have decreased dramatically.

    Thomas is telling me that a chronic disease that we do not know cause of, is being made worse by factor that is getting better. Logically then pollution from coal reduces asthma.

    Thomas I would like you to explain to how you can attribute the costs of air pollution in California to big coal fired power plants when they have none. How about that big coal plant in Eastern Oregon there are no very many people there? It is called selective modeling for political reasons.

    I will repeat another thing you are not hearing Thomas is that new regulations are taking the pollutants out of transportation fuel and coal plant emissions. Check the air quality where you live. If it is poor and coal is causing those problems become active and get the coal plant shut down. However, if your problem is local traffic which it is, please stop telling me to read ‘the peer reviewed data’ which you have not bother to read.

    Pollution is personal. My wife has some chronic health issues that are the result of not being young. She was not a smoker or coal miner. On hot humid days with a high pollen, she has trouble working in the garden. When she has trouble breathing, the best thing she can do is go inside and rest in that nice AC using coal generated electricity.

    “There is no disputing when a river goes from crystal clear to black when a mountain top removal coal mine comes in nearby, and then half the town mysteriously starts having tumors and cancer incidents.”

    Biocrude you live in California right? I have lived there too and maybe you should stick to your own knitting before you start telling WV how to do things. There is no disputing that the air and water is cleaner in WV than California.

    “CEO Blankenship of Massey Energy”

    You mean x- CEO. Like x-governor Davis. Neither would want me on a jury if they got tried for endangering the public and workers while doing their job. Part of leadership is figuring out what is the right thing to do, even if it is not popular

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  244. By Walt on May 26, 2011 at 11:35 am

    armchair261 said:

    Walt,

    I have an advanced degree in geology and 34 years of experience.


    Great…on that topic.  How do you calculate effective stress and reversible deformation in the near well bore?  I’ve worked on this problem a lot with some really (at least in my opinion) smart geologists and a couple would exceed your experience, but several do not.  I’ve developed a highly advanced software program using all the bottomhole data and rock mechanics that have been validated in the field.  We recently installed another tool in Michigan to validate the software again.  Since you are obviously experienced in geology…can you tell me how to calculate reversible and irreversible deformation with different rock formations?  I encourage you not to mention anything about religion or who created the rock…it is not in my question, as I know your answer.  My focus is on the algorithms alone and the hard data to prove the scientific principles.

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  245. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Kit P said:

    “CEO Blankenship of Massey Energy”

    You mean x- CEO. Like x-governor Davis. Neither would want me on a jury if they got tried for endangering the public and workers while doing their job. Part of leadership is figuring out what is the right thing to do, even if it is not popular


     

    Just so readers can understand the depths of your hypocrisy, here Kit is defending Massey right after the disaster:

    The coal mining industry has a very good safety record. You may want to wait for the root cause before suggesting executives are the blame. The CEO of Massey Coal gave an interview on the condition that it not be edited.

    And that was well after I did my review on Big Coal, where author Jeff Goodell had already detailed Massey’s safety record long before the accident. Kit’s response to that has been to criticize Goodell numerous times as being just a journalist, and belittling the idea that we would listen to them for energy information.

    Let me tell you something Kit. I have had just about my fill of your hypocrisy, double-standards, and the way you treat fellow posters. You are about one slip-up from me just starting to delete everything you post.

    RR

     

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  246. By Wendell Mercantile on May 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    The other half can be attributed to intoxicated,distracted, or
    inexperienced drivers.  Its a driver problem not a safety problem.

    Armchair,

    No, it’s a safety problem.  Even a distracted or inexperienced driver would walk away from a crash if wearing a helmet, his/her car had a roll cage, and a 5-point suspension harness. (I didn’t include intoxicated because if they’re too drunk to drive, they’re probably also too drunk to put on a helmet, and fasten their 5-point harness — although the roll cage might save them.)

    The point is we know how to drastically reduce car accident deaths, but have never taken action because of the added cost, and most people would think it inconvenient.  Doesn’t that sound a lot like the same excuse coal mine operators use for cutting corners with safety? 

     It is the same excuse — cost and inconvenience; except in U.S. coal mines it costs only 30 lives a year. When we use that excuse for not making cars more safe, it costs more than 30,000 lives/year.

     

     

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  247. By thomas398 on May 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Wendell,

    Look up the concept of risk compensation.  It says that  the safer people “feel” the more risky their behavior.  Its effect has been demonstrated with anti lock brakes, as well as, with safer football helmets and skydiving gear.  Some safety measures manage to lower user risk in spite of this compensation.  Seat belts decrease risk much more than the driver percieves.  

    Risk compensation is cited as the practical limit of highway safety efforts.  If you made street cars as safe as Indy cars people would drive them like Indy cars ( the average driver having much less skill than his Indy car counterpart).  It all goes back to the driver.   Human psychology the final frontier….

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  248. By armchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Since you are obviously experienced in geology…can you tell me how to calculate reversible and irreversible deformation with different rock formations?

    No, Walt. Other than application of sonic and core data to derive relevant elastic moduli such as Poisson’s ratio. Geology is a very broad field and this is not my area of expertise. If you’re trying to call my credibility into question, then you are challenging the orthopedist on heart surgery technique. I could ask you any number of questions on 3D seismic interpretation or other areas of exploration where you may not have experience. Would it prove anything? It would not.

    The point here is that much of what passes for “science” in creationist literature is not science, but rather religion cloaked in scientific language.

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  249. By armchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    The other half can be attributed to intoxicated,distracted, or
    inexperienced drivers.  Its a driver problem not a safety problem.

    Armchair,

    No, it’s a safety problem

     

    Wendell, you have mixed me up with someone else again. :-)

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  250. By Kit P on May 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    “Just so readers can understand the depths of your hypocrisy, ..”

     

    Actually that is me changing my position when I have more information. I took the time to read the report on the WV, I took the time to read the report on the deep water, and I will take the time to read the reports recent events on Japan.

     

    “It is the same excuse — cost and inconvenience; except in U.S. coal mines it costs only 30 lives a year.”

     

    Wendell did you read the report I recently linked? Preventing the tragedy in WV was neither expensive or inconvenience. That is kind of the tragedy of it.

     

    Wendell do think if people trained themselves to not become distracted and slowed down, that they would be less likely to have accidents? As Thomas said,

     

    “It all goes back to the driver.”

     

    Paul has recently discussed wind in the PNW and Rufus renewable energy in California. BPA has improved their link to include more information.

     

    http://transmission.bpa.gov/bu…..altwg.aspx

     

     

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  251. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Just so readers can understand the depths of your hypocrisy, ..”

     

    Actually that is me changing my position when I have more information. I took the time to read the report on the WV, I took the time to read the report on the deep water, and I will take the time to read the reports recent events on Japan.


     

    You didn’t read Big Coal, yet you told us all how full of crap the author was. The same author who warned of a Massey-type accident long before it happened. So you get more information when it suits you, and just spout off when it suits you. No consistency.

    RR

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  252. By thomas398 on May 26, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Kit P said:

    Thomas is telling me that a chronic disease that we do not know cause of, is being made worse by factor that is getting better. Logically then pollution from coal reduces asthma.


     

    Kit as we’ve discussed before, air pollution has decreased but that fact doesn’t mean that air pollution no longer poses a risk to public health.  Smoking has decreased in the last thirty years but second hand smoke still poses a health risk to those who are exposed to it.  Old coal plants are spewing the same pollution they were thirty years ago, thus they still pose a threat to the public in their immediate vicinity.  (We will save the effects of mercury in the global food chain for another day.)  The old plants should be modified to decrease emissions or decommissioned.  Your logical is flawed as usual and you flip flop well enough to seek public office. 

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  253. By Optimist on May 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Why people would anyone on R=Squared want to object to the idea that oil speculators actually exist. And, seemingly, actually defend the practice’

    Who’s objecting to the idea that they exist? Clearly they exist. The question is: Does it matter?

    Apparently, they think that Oil is just another “free market commodity” and completely independent from any supply/demand manipulation by the Saudis, or OPEC, or oil speculators.

    You have evidence? Didn’t think so. Look up the evidence I posted that while speculators (and even illegal manipulators) exist, they don’t make a difference. SO much ado about nothing.

    What a naive idea !!!!

    The idea that speculators alone are responsible for prices >$100/bbl is what one might call a naive idea !!!!Wink

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  254. By Kit P on May 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    “So you get more information when it suits you ”

     

    Fancy that, getting more information when it suits me. Then selecting free public information from reliable sources. Zero is the number of books on energy written by journalist that I have bought.

     

    That is one of those little mysteries of life. Do you spend $10 on book by a critic at the NYT to pick a good red wine or do you go to the store and spend $10 on and see if you like it.

     

    I do not know about the rest of the readers but when all the critics and actors like a movie and call it best picture; it will be very painful to watch. Great picture, entertaining no!

     

    I could go on and discuss at the topics where I choose to think for myself instead of journalists but wait that would be everything.

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  255. By Wendell Mercantile on May 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    If you made street cars as safe as Indy cars people would drive them like Indy cars ( the average driver having much less skill than his Indy car counterpart).

    Thomas,

    I don’t believe that — a roll cage, helmet, and 5-point suspension harness wouldn’t turn a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Camry into an Indy car. But even if it did, that wouldn’t be a bad thing — only 14 drivers have been killed at Indianapolis during* the 500 mile race, and none since 1973.

    It says that the safer people “feel” the more risky their behavior.

    Wouldn’t that mean if coal mine owners made their mines safer, the miners would take bigger risks, and that probably more than 30 would die each year? By your line of reasoning, the more dangerous the mines, the more careful miners would be.

    _______
    * Others have been killed during practice and qualification runs.

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  256. By Optimist on May 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    How can you think so clearly about methanol, but be so batshit crazy about creationism?  Seriously amigo, I am probably not the only one that lost a lot of respect for you when you played the creationist card.  In my opinion, it’s totally cool whatever you think, and if you want to brainwash your kids by homeschooling them, by all means do it, but keep it to yourself.  Creationism has no place in an energy blog which is mainly about talking “science.”

    Aren’t you the clever cat?

    Biology, by its nature, does not allow extrapolation, unlike physics and math. Never observed a black swan? Obviously that doesn’t mean anything. So evolution is NOT proven science. It is an elegant theory. But due to the limits of biology it will remain a theory. Just like creationism.

    The chicken and egg scenario in it’s most basic form (Walt, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Let me guess: The scientific answer is: (stand to attention, everybody!) E V O L U T I O N (as you were!) created them both at the same time?

    No, I’m not talking about the Soviet and Maoist atheists who starved millions by implementing anti-evolution agricultural policies:

    You raise a good point: In the 20th century the atheists (add Fascism to the list) killed many (hundreds of millions) more than those evil religious fundamentalists. So anybody with a brain should think carefully before embracing atheism…

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  257. By Kit P on May 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    “ that fact doesn’t mean that air pollution no longer poses a risk to public health. ”

     

    Never said it did. Since my air quality is good, it does not pose a risk to public health where I live.

     

    There are some places that do have health issue with air quality but no coal plants.

     

    “Old coal plants are spewing the same pollution they were thirty years ago, thus they still pose a threat to the public in their immediate vicinity.”

     

    Where? Thomas you are making stuff. I am betting that you can not find a place with a coal plant that has worse air quality than where you live. Yet Thomas you raised your children there.

     

    BTW you can tell me I am wrong and call me names but you can not find that place.

     

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  258. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Kit P said:

    Fancy that, getting more information when it suits me. Then selecting

    free public information from reliable sources. Zero is the number of

    books on energy written by journalist that I have bought.


     

    And ironically, he warned of exactly the kinds of problems that you denied, even after the incident. So you chose at the time not to get more information because you didn’t consider the author reliable — despite not even having read his book. You didn’t consider him reliable because of what he said, but you have ultimately come around to his position. Fancy that.

     

    That is one of those little mysteries of life. Do you spend $10 on

    book by a critic at the NYT to pick a good red wine or do you go to the

    store and spend $10 on and see if you like it.

    Yet he was spot on about Massey, and you were wrong. Hence, the lesson you might learn here is that you don’t know everything, and a journalist who spent years researching and writing a book might just know something. You might also learn not to post negative comments on said journalist if you didn’t actually read his book. That is pretty presumptuous, don’t you think?

    RR

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  259. By rrapier on May 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Optimist said:

    Biology, by its nature, does not allow extrapolation, unlike physics and math.


     

    So then DNA evidence, I take it, can’t be used to establish paternity? Evolution is like forensic science. We don’t require eye witnesses to every crime to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    So evolution is NOT proven science. It is an elegant theory. But due to the limits of biology it will remain a theory. Just like creationism.

    Really? Creationism a theory? How does one test it? How would one falsify it? I can give you numerous tests of evolution from genetics, biology, paleontology — but I can’t think of how one would test Creationism. God could always be invoked as an explanation for any Creationism falsifications. 

    Further, “proven science?” What does that mean? Science isn’t static. We have theories, and evidence to support or falsify those theories.

    “The chicken and egg scenario in it’s most basic form (Walt, which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

    Let me guess: The scientific answer is: (stand to attention, everybody!) E V O L U T I O N (as you were!) created them both at the same time?

    Easy answer to that one. Egg-laying evolved millions of years before birds evolved, so the egg came first.

    You raise a good point: In the 20th century the atheists (add Fascism to the list) killed many (hundreds of millions) more than those evil religious fundamentalists.

    But it wasn’t atheism that killed them. People don’t kill in the name of atheism. I could point out that Hitler said he did what he did in the name of Christianity, but that is almost as silly as what you just wrote (even though he actually did say that). But I don’t believe it was Christianity that killed millions in WW2. I believe it was a madman. 

    There are atheists who kill, but they haven’t done it to advance the cause of atheism. There is no cause of atheism; people don’t embrace atheism. It’s like saying you are advancing the cause of not believing in Zeus by killing people who believe in him. Far more common is someone killing because you DO NOT believe in their god.

    So anybody with a brain should think carefully before embracing atheism…

    People don’t embrace atheism any more than they embrace not believing in Zeus. It isn’t something you embrace; it is just something that is.

    RR

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  260. By armchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    optimist,

    How would you characterize the resistance developed by various species of insects and bacteria over time to toxins developed by we humans to eradicate them? If it’s not evolution, then what is it?

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  261. By Walt on May 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    armchair261 said:

    Since you are obviously experienced in geology…can you tell me how to calculate reversible and irreversible deformation with different rock formations?

    No, Walt. Other than application of sonic and core data to derive relevant elastic moduli such as Poisson’s ratio. Geology is a very broad field and this is not my area of expertise. If you’re trying to call my credibility into question, then you are challenging the orthopedist on heart surgery technique. I could ask you any number of questions on 3D seismic interpretation or other areas of exploration where you may not have experience. Would it prove anything? It would not.

    The point here is that much of what passes for “science” in creationist literature is not science, but rather religion cloaked in scientific language.


     

    The question was specific to geology in the near well bore area.  It has nothing to do with 3D seismic.  I was not trying to offend you as you told me you were an expert in geology with advanced degrees and many years experience.  I only said I am working with some geologists who have more experience than you and some less.  If I want to ask you about 3D seismic, I would need to know you are an expert in the field.

     

    Drop the issue.  What we have proven with hard data has reversed what has been known for many generations…I can say don’t believe everything you read in text books or off a computer program calculation.  For example, here is a good question from the senior technologist for one of the world’s largest oil companies.

    ——————————-

    Currently at the IPTC in Qatar, so I’m not in a position to check the
    mail very often. Saw the message from your lawyers, which was clear. Did
    get the hand-made graphs your guys made and they did make very clear
    what your technology is about, without telling how it is done. The
    remaining point is of course, and your scientists will confirm that, is
    whether an inflow performance curve can actually look like that, i.e.
    show a decreasing liquid rate at increased drawdown (or reduced FBHP).
    The normally used “Vogel” curve for inflow performance shows diminishing
    returns for further increase of the drawdown (or reduction of the FBHP)
    but not an actual reduction of the rate. If that really happens, the
    whole world is actually working with a mis-conception of inflow
    performance, overlooking a kind of “gas-block” of the reservoir. If you
    do not mind I would like to consult a reservoir engineer on this topic
    and see if he can simulate such an effect…….

    ——————————-

     

    I frankly believe our work will change calculations on fluid flow through rock under stress, but that is not a topic for this forum.

     

    I hope to demonstrate the same thing in direct conversion of methane and a host of hydrocarbons at larger scales.  However, I’m frustrated.  I located an analyst report that shows by Dec. 2008 Solazyme had raised $70 million dollars, and am not sure what they raised in 2009 and 2010.  But in light of Robert’s article he referenced today, he writes:

    ——————-

    To me there were two key takeaways from those contracts. One was that
    whether the real price the navy is paying for fuel is $425 or $133 or
    $67 per gallon, the costs are clearly not yet down in the range
    that some of the hypesters claim. That doesn’t mean they will never get
    there, but they aren’t there yet. I have seen numerous claims algal
    fuel at $3 or $2 or even lower per gallon. If that was the case, then
    the navy wouldn’t need to throw in R&D money to get the fuel they
    need. They would just contract with the companies who can make it for $3
    a gallon.

    ——————-

    Here is what Biodiesel Digest wrote on March 15, 2011 on the numbers.

    ——————-

    Below $3.44 per gallon? While not exactly blowing diesel out of the
    water, that’s 47 cents per pound, or about 20 percent below the cost of
    soybean oil, and about 8 percent below the cost of palm oil. With diesel
    retailing at $4.20 per gallon in my neighborhood, and oil prices
    expected by the DOD to climb to as high as $131 per barrel this year,
    they are very much in the parity range if the $1 per gallon biodiesel
    tax credit is taken into consideration. Sold at a miniscule margin,
    Solafuel might have had a nearer-term future in the market than
    expected. But we don’t expect to see much Solafuel in the biodiesel
    market anytime soon. Too many higher-value opportunities, and not enough
    fermentation capacity. More on this later.

    How fast has this come down. In late 2007, the company says it was at
    around $4,000 per metric ton, and at around $1200 per ton in 2009. What
    we don’t have are forward-looking statements, for the obvious reasons
    of risk and liability, of where those numbers are likely to go in
    2012-15.

    Let’s put a frame on it, though. Is crude oil reaches the DOD’s
    estimate of $131 per barrel this year, that’s $905 per metric ton. If
    Solazyme squeezes 10 percent more performance out of its critters (the
    production platform formerly known as algae), that would bring it sub
    $900. And these are designer oils, fit for purpose, not the jambalaya of
    molecules in a barrel of oil.

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdig…..-100m-ipo/

    ————————

     

    Why frustrating for me?  I just went through a round of discussions trying to get my methanol SALES PRICE down to less than $1.00 per gallon in order to get our first customer.  Please someone…let me sell it for $1.50 to the government!!!  I don’t need $67 per gallon or even $3.00 per gallon.  This is why one has to go down stream with cheap methanol unless you are large supplier.  There is no doubt methanol to jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel is the future.  Give me $2.00 a gallon for gasoline, and I bet it is possible at a small scales…at least with our designs.  They are not as expensive as Exxon, but they want to squeeze every ounce out of carbon efficiency.  I want to sell gasoline cheap.  They have government contracts…I have local blenders and station owners.  Big difference.

     

    I hope Solazyme raises their $100 million and gets a lot more government contracts for jet fuel.  Obviously, on these contracts to pay those sorts of price per gallon you must know people in all the right places.  That just is not realistic outside silicon valley, wall street and washington, dc.

     

    What revenues look like in some parts of the world just amaze me!  Worthy of press releases and going public.  $900 a ton…only in my dreams!

     

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  262. By armchair261 on May 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Walt said:

     

     

    What we have proven with hard data has reversed what has been known for many generations…I can say don’t believe everything you read in text books or off a computer program calculation.  For example, here is a good question from the senior technologist for one of the world’s largest oil companies.

     

    I have no problem with this. I’m well aware of the limitations and uncertainties of many numerical models, and I have seen enough surprises in my career to know that rules of thumb and conventional wisdom are often overturned, and in fact opportunity is often found in this way. Operators spent about 50 years drilling right on through the Bakken towards deeper reservoirs, believing that the Bakken wouldn’t deliver. Estimates are now starting to come in that it may rival Prudhoe Bay in recoverable reserves.

     

    I spent 3 years living in Qatar, btw, and know it well. Smile Interesting place.


     

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  263. By thomas398 on May 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    If you made street cars as safe as Indy cars people would drive them like Indy cars ( the average driver having much less skill than his Indy car counterpart).

    Thomas,

    I don’t believe that — a roll cage, helmet, and 5-point suspension harness wouldn’t turn a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Camry into an Indy car. But even if it did, that wouldn’t be a bad thing — only 14 drivers have been killed at Indianapolis during* the 500 mile race, and none since 1973.

    It says that the safer people “feel” the more risky their behavior.

    Wouldn’t that mean if coal mine owners made their mines safer, the miners would take bigger risks, and that probably more than 30 would die each year? By your line of reasoning, the more dangerous the mines, the more careful miners would be.

    _______
    * Others have been killed during practice and qualification runs.


     
    Wendell,
    A 500 mile race with ~30 drivers over 38 years is 570,000 race-miles, resulting in no driver deaths. That doesnt prove that Indy car is safer than driving down a highway.  The national average is on the order of 1.5 deaths per 100 million road miles.  The three non-race deaths since 1973 clearly illustrate that Indy car drivers despite, all their safety equipment and driving skills, are taking higher risks than the average driver. This risk compensation theory seems to hold here. 

    You have the right to your opinion, but please debunk the hard science that’s been done on drivers with anti-lock brakes and sky divers with better equipment.  Thousands of lives could potentially be saved if you could find the “true” reason for this observed phenomenon. 

    I think coal miners are very careful, but most of the risk they take is company imposed.  This is equivalent to a busy intersection whose traffic lights are purposefully placed out of sync.  The people involved are quility of reckless endangerment at the very least.

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  264. By Walt on May 27, 2011 at 8:33 am

    armchair261 said:

     

    As you know, in Saudi Arabia, and other areas in the middle east they produce thousands of barrels per day per well. These wells drop down to less than 500 bbls/day very quickly, and I’m not an expert yet on their anticipated production life.

    This is not necessarily true: it depends on the reservoir. The most important Saudi reservoir is the Jurassic Arab D Formation. These reservoirs are highly permeable (not fracture plays) and as a consequence don’t decline that steeply. For example, Ghawar’s Ain Dar #1 was drilled in 1948, and is still producing around 2,000 bopd.

    You may be thinking of the younger Shuaiba reservoirs. These are fractured chalks located in the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia, and into Qatar and the UAE. I believe they have much steeper declines than the Arab Formation.


     

    My comment was a bit confusing.  I meant the wells in ND rather than in Saudi.  I know the wells in Saudi remain producing for a long time.  I met with Aramco in UAE to discuss the very topic last October, and learned how little GOR problems they have compared traditional fractured reservoirs.  You look at Nigeria for example, and their have high GOR problems relatively quickly.  It is not all water drive or gas cap drive, but solution gas.  Rich in NGL’s as you mention below.

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  265. By thomas398 on May 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm

       

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  266. By Walt on May 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    armchair261 said:

    I have no problem with this. I’m well aware of the limitations and uncertainties of many numerical models, and I have seen enough surprises in my career to know that rules of thumb and conventional wisdom are often overturned, and in fact opportunity is often found in this way. Operators spent about 50 years drilling right on through the Bakken towards deeper reservoirs, believing that the Bakken wouldn’t deliver. Estimates are now starting to come in that it may rival Prudhoe Bay in recoverable reserves.

     

    I spent 3 years living in Qatar, btw, and know it well. Smile Interesting place.

     


     

    Speaking of Bakken…we just spent the last week reviewing at a very high level 1,832 gas flares, and have analyzed all the flares in Divide County.  We prepared a fairly detailed report over the past two weeks, and summarized it today.  “As a result, in March Divide County flared a total of 89 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas across 67 wells…”  The wells are really fascinating as they peak fast due to operating them using what is defined as “maximum efficient rate” or MER and the flares can go from 2 mmscf/day to 200,000 scfd in less than 12 months.  Oil production also drops fast.

     

    As you know, in Saudi Arabia, and other areas in the middle east they produce thousands of barrels per day per well.  These wells drop down to less than 500 bbls/day very quickly, and I’m not an expert yet on their anticipated production life.  These total flare volumes are enormous, and really should be a valuable resource to preserve and monetize, but with high oil prices the only incentive is to flare as much as possible and produce as much and fast as possible.  This is the incentive…it is not what everyone does…as there is some MER calculations used of course.

     

    The problem with flaring restrictions is they don’t work.  That is why in March 2011 there was 3.2 BILLION cubic feet of gas flared statewide, and when you go to approach operators to stop flaring IMMEDIATELY their gas becomes worth precious gold.  What is being wasted immediately becomes something of extraordinary value, and twice what is quoted on the NYMEX…but why?

     

    Because it has the natural gas liquids in the flared gas, and that is worth probably $4/mcf and the gas is worth $4/mcf both processed.  So that is like gold without any pressure to stop flaring, or restrictions that are enforced….leave it wide open or at MER and throw that gas in the sky.  If you want the gold…when oil prices are climbing…go away and come back another day!  Tough to get someone’s gold without paying top dollar.

     

    The interesting fact is that to take a small flared site, drop out the NGL’s and convert it to liquids is not easy.  Even the wonderful multi-billion dollar Bloom Energy and the Bloom Box cannot take wet gas and process it cheaply to electricity.  They need clean, dry gas and that is not cheap at the retail level…certainly not $4/mcf all cleaned up delivered to the commercial site.  The key is to find a technology that can take off-spec gas, “as is, where is” and convert it to liquids on site…cheap, fast and move it off site.  I won’t bore you about someone I know who can do it, as we all know from the experts it is not possible except if you are in Silicon Valley…but that is just me beating a dead horse.

     

    Back to reality…take the cheap liquids and further process them to jet fuel, diesel and gasoline for less than $67.00 per gallon.  Methanol is currently selling non-discounted at $1.28 per gallon or $426/ton.  http://www.methanex.com/produc…..2011.pdf  In order to break into that market you need to sell at $1.00 per gallon.  It is not easy without scale, and especially when you have to pay gold prices for the raw flared wasted gas!  Welcome to America…what a country!

     

    It’s all a numbers game…reduce costs…fight for every dollar by avoiding waste and battle the titans.  Otherwise, move to the valley, fall over all the money that drops into technologies that don’t work but will go public, and live the life of a prince spinning companies into the market year after year.  I loved this picture and toast.  Just think of all the love being shared while families in the heartland are hiding from tornadoes!

     

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..nteractive

     

    They keep telling me… IT IS NOT THE TECHNOLOGY STUPID… FACE IT.  All right…I get the message.

     

     

     

     

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  267. By Walt on May 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    armchair261 said:

    I spent 3 years living in Qatar, btw, and know it well. Smile Interesting place.

     


     

    I actually submitted a preliminary request for technology development funding a couple weeks ago.  We made it past the initial review, and sent out our NDA for review this week.  They said it will take about 8 weeks to be approved if we make it through all the steps.  Not only are they progressive, but they seem to be far more interested in the technology than our board of directors or how much money we have raised to date.

     

    It is one of the middle east countries I’ve not visited.  I hear excellent things both from many sources.  I’m hopeful as they like fuels, chemicals and anything to do with “environmentally friendly” technologies as I understand from our dialogue.  Gas flaring reduction/CO2 removal is friendly.

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  268. By thomas398 on May 26, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Kit P said:

     “Old coal plants are spewing the same pollution they were thirty years ago, thus they still pose a threat to the public in their immediate vicinity.”

    Where?  


    Are you saying there aren’t any 30 year old plants that have been grandfathered around the Clean Air Act?  Are you saying that these plants don’t have an adverse effect on public health in the towns/cities where they reside?  The median existing U.S. coal-fired generating station was built in January 1966.   Look up Monroe, MI, its coal plant and its air quality.  Where you and I live has nothing to do with this discussion.  I think your position has been shown to be illogical and now you’re trying to personalize.

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  269. By armchair261 on May 27, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Speaking of Bakken… “As a result, in March Divide County flared a total of 89 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas across 67 wells…”

    Bakken production has grown so quickly that it’s outpacing infrastructure development. Much of the oil is being trucked, and there are plans for a railroad export that could handle something like 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day, I believe. The Canadians are talking about building an export line into Alberta or Saskatchewan (and if so we’ll get to hear the squeals of folks demanding to know why we’re exporting oil!). We’ll probably see less gas being flared as infrastructure catches up. North Dakota is on track to overtake California within a few years as the nation’s #3 oil producer, and there are predictions now of one million bopd capacity perhaps as soon as 2015, I believe.

    The rapid declines are typical of fractured reservoirs. Fluids drain from the fractures first at high rate, but after fracture poroperm does its magic, you’re left with matrix deliverability, hence the long, slow tail.

    As you know, in Saudi Arabia, and other areas in the middle east they produce thousands of barrels per day per well. These wells drop down to less than 500 bbls/day very quickly, and I’m not an expert yet on their anticipated production life.

    This is not necessarily true: it depends on the reservoir. The most important Saudi reservoir is the Jurassic Arab D Formation. These reservoirs are highly permeable (not fracture plays) and as a consequence don’t decline that steeply. For example, Ghawar’s Ain Dar #1 was drilled in 1948, and is still producing around 2,000 bopd.

    You may be thinking of the younger Shuaiba reservoirs. These are fractured chalks located in the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia, and into Qatar and the UAE. I believe they have much steeper declines than the Arab Formation.

    These total flare volumes are enormous, and really should be a valuable resource to preserve and monetize, but with high oil prices the only incentive is to flare as much as possible and produce as much and fast as possible.

    When I left Qatar, they were flaring about a bcf per day offshore. The incentive wasn’t oil price or any optimum oil rate; it was because, with about a qcf (yes, a 1000 tcf) of gas in the nearby North Field, a few odd tcf here and there was just not worth developing commercially. I don’t know what’s been happening with that gas lately.

    The problem with flaring restrictions is they don’t work.

    They sure do work in California. If the state tells us we can’t flare, we won’t flare.

    The interesting fact is that to take a small flared site, drop out the NGL’s and convert it to liquids is not easy.

    I don’t know the technology, it’s getting outside my field. But I do know this is happening: operators everywhere are turning to liquids, either oil or wet gas. Leases in liquids rich gas fairways sell for top dollar.

    It’s all a numbers game…reduce costs…fight for every dollar by avoiding waste and battle the titans.

    I’m not sure if this is what you were referring to, but it’s interesting to note that the majors have largely been shut out of all the developing shale plays. The main players are the independents like Chesapeake, Devon, Whiting, Brigham, Hess, EOG, Continental Resources, and the like.

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  270. By armchair261 on May 27, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Walt said:

    It is one of the middle east countries I’ve not visited.  I hear excellent things both from many sources.  


    Qatar has been an amazing story. When I first started going there in the mid 1990′s, it was pretty sleepy and Doha was full of empty expanses. There were only two international quality hotels. Qatar was producing about 300,000 bopd, and there was no significant commercial gas (LNG) production.

    Now they are at over 1 mm bopd and are the world’s leading LNG exporter. Doha is looking ever more like Dubai. They have the highest GDP per capita in the world (I believe). They’ve built universities, are hosting the World Cup, run Al Jazeera, and host the first pro tennis tournament of the season. Pretty impressive for a country of about 250,000 natives and another half million or so expats. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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  271. By Walt on May 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

    armchair261 said:

    The problem with flaring restrictions is they don’t work.

    They sure do work in California. If the state tells us we can’t flare, we won’t flare.


     

    Let me clarify.  I think enforcement of no-flare regulation works.  However, I have yet to find any state in the union…except maybe Alabama…that enforces no flare policy.  Everyone applies for and receives an exemption to flare allowables.  I don’t have a problem with this provided that the operator does really desire to find a solution to flare down.  This has been pushed hard in Norway and Canada, and so we find mostly temporary flaring until their plans get to the gathering system and flare down.  I recognize flaring is required due to lack of technology options at site, but the real problem is in the legislative definitions.

     

    Regulators state you can exempt from no flare if you cannot economically get your gas to market.  Of course, with cheap natural gas prices, that is a good reason to open the choke and let her flare while watching for near wellbore damage.  Of course, I know this issue on what is damage, and how to limit it, but that is another topic.  The argument is that the flares are necessary to produce oil and there is no economic means to get the gas to market via pipelines, CNG or electricity.  I argue worldwide there is an option, although new and requires small scale flares to reduce.  It is easier to close a $2 million dollar project than a $200 million dollar project in these tight project finance markets.

     

    Of course, $2 million (even with a nice return) is not interesting if flaring gives them more money by flaring with high oil prices.  If oil prices fall, then they will look for more money…just like natural gas companies look for more money out of cheap gas.  Oil companies want only high oil prices if they can flare.  Gas companies want gold for their gas which is at record market lows over the last few years.  Finding the balance is tricky without regulators saying…stop flaring or else (which is what you mention below…but does not exist).

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  272. By thomas398 on May 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Kit,

    Here’s a list of the worst SO2 producing plants in the country.   The pollution coming from these plants is a public health risk.  Their operating companies are fighting tooth and nail to keep these from being retrofitted with scrubbers.  Congressman Barton and others want them to continue to operate untouched by the Clean Air Act. 

    Rank  ↓ Plant Name  ↓ State  ↓ Year(s) Built  ↓ Parent Company  ↓ Capacity  ↓ Total SO2 Emissions  ↓ SO2 Rate  ↓
    1 R. Gallagher IN 1958-61 Duke Energy 600 MW 50,819 tons 40.38 lb/MWh
    2 Muskingum River OH 1953-58, 1968 American Electric Power 1529 MW 122,984 tons 32.78 lb/MWh
    3 Warrick IN 1960-70 Alcoa 755 MW 92,919 tons 32.69 lb/MWh
    4 Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station PA 1969-71 Allegheny Energy 1728 MW 135,082 tons 28.91 lb/MWh
    5 Portland PA 1958-62 Reliant Energy 427 MW 30,685 tons 28.30 lb/MWh
    6 Wabash River IN 1953-56, 1968, 1995 Duke Energy 1165 MW 58,793 tons 27.66 lb/MWh
    7 Shawville PA 1954-60 Reliant Energy 626 MW 47,287 tons 26.96 lb/MWh
    8 Cayuga IN 1970-72 Duke Energy 1062 MW 86,174 tons 26.68 lb/MWh
    9 Morgantown MD 1970-71 Mirant 1252 MW 98,073 tons 26.08 lb/MWh
    10 Keystone PA 1967-68 Reliant Energy 1872 MW 164,354 tons 25.83 lb/MWh
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  273. By Wendell Mercantile on May 27, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I think coal miners are very careful, but most of the risk they take is company imposed.

    Oh, I don’t know about that. Take a bunch of coal miners in the early 20s, all competitive, and all trying to out-produce each other. I bet more than a few young coal miners cut corners on their own while trying to gain an edge or establish their credentials.

    That happens in all professions involving young strong guys fueled by pride and testosterone: Construction, racing, rodeo cowboys, Alaskan salmon fishing, fighter pilots, et al. Hopefully the mature old heads can make them be careful — before they kill themselves.

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  274. By Kit P on May 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Thomas why is it so important for you to think that making electricity with coal is such an evil thing? Is it not good news to hear that the environment impact of making 50% of our electricity has been reduced to an insignificant point?

    “Look up Monroe, MI, its coal plant and its air quality.”

    Used to work there and lived in Erie close to another coal plant. Air quality is very good!

    http://www.airnow.gov/

    “Where you and I live has nothing to do with this discussion.”

    If you lived out here with the coal plants you would know our air quality is good. I check almost every day. The first problem with your list is that it is out of date.

    “Their operating companies are fighting tooth and nail to keep these from being retrofitted with scrubbers.”

    Not any more, once the regulations were changed; they either added equipment or plan to shut the plants. I will open a new thread next time I see a good article on the topic.

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  275. By thomas398 on May 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    I think coal miners are very careful, but most of the risk they take is company imposed.

    Oh, I don’t know about that.


     

    No doubt its a risky job and it takes a certain amount of bravado to take it up.  However, managerial negligence has been an issue in recent disasters.  The industry needs to be more tightly regulated, but they have their lobbyists.  All that money on non existent “clean coal” could have been used to improve mine safety. 

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  276. By Wendell Mercantile on May 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    The industry needs to be more tightly regulated, but they have their lobbyists.

    And the miners have the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), but let’s not get into union politics, OK?

    We’ve already strayed too far from the topic which was: Are 30 coal miner deaths a year an acceptable cost for the luxuries that electricity made from that coal brings other Americans each year?

    More than 30 members of the US Armed Forces die each year in training accidents — not in combat, but in training accidents*. Are you going to accuse our armed forces of being poorly regulated and say the senior military leaders of our country are not taking proper safety measures in training our soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors?

    ————
    * Every time a Navy aircraft carrier sails on a six-month deployment with its crew of ~5,000 sailors, mortality tables show 5 to 6 of those 5,000 will not make it back to their home port. That’s a death rate much higher than sending miners under ground to dig coal; in fact, working on an aircraft carrier is one of the most dangerous jobs there is, and those sailors don’t even have a union to look out for them.

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  277. By Kit P on May 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Wendell one of the things noted in the report on the mining disaster is that the inspectors are over whelmed. Nuke plants have two resident inspectors at each plant. At the drop of a hat, the NRC sends an augmented inspection team. Yes, regulation are expensive but not relative to to the value of the electricity produced.

     

    “working on an aircraft carrier is one of the most dangerous jobs ”

     

    Working on the flight deck and being aircrew that is. Sailors are a lot safer out to sea, than driving home from the EM club.

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  278. By Wendell Mercantile on May 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Correct Kit, I should have explained that better — the flight deck is the dangerous part of an aircraft carrier. Those down inside the boat live fairly safe and comfortable lives — although it is cramped and noisy, and most don’t get up into the fresh air very often.

    Look closely at the picture of a carrier and you can see a net sticking out from under the flight deck all the way around the boat. That’s there because it is not uncommon for a jet maneuvering on the deck with the engines at power to accidentally point the jet exhaust at one of the deck crew and blow them overboard. Just one of the dangers. Perhaps Thomas398 thinks someone needs to regulate that better.

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  279. By Kit P on May 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

    “Perhaps Thomas398 thinks someone needs to regulate that better. “

     

    It has been a long time since there has been a serious accident. One person’s mistake or an equipment failure turns into a disaster. The navy learned to ‘regulate’ better. Both the reports on the coal mind and oil rig disasters pointed to how the navy made changes. Also how the nuclear industry made changes after TMI (not a disaster in terms of loss of life).

     

    So Wendell I think you have your facts wrong about navy’s safety record.

     

    Furthermore, Wendell the coal industry does need better regulation.

     

    One of the things that is special about the navy is that we do not have ‘regulators’ out to sea. We have to look after ourselves. Before a ship deploys it undergoes ‘refresher training’. We simulate ‘war time’ conditions and demonstrate that we can repair damage before the ship blows up. Then we demonstrate out ability to find and blow up the other guy. Once we missed what we we shooting at and fortunately the fishing boat. We then has a big investigation.

     

    After the hard work, it is customary to make a few port calls and maybe hoist a brew. It called showing the flag and hopefully petty dictators will get the message. Anyhow a month after demonstrating how good we were at ‘damage control’, my petty officers will telling me that we had lost the ability to put out fires. I verbally passed the message along but it was ignored. I then wrote a letter a short letter to Captain and copied my congressman. All the senior officers were angry because I had turned into a pain in the rear. Then there was the look on the face of the guy responsible for things that blow up other things figured out when could not protect bombs from fires. It was a simple case of letting the daily chores have priority over safety.

     

    Safety first is not just a slogan. Every morning you must ‘know’ that you can do your job safely, you do not start working. This is where the ‘macho’ young bucks have to be retrained especially if they went to the Naval Academy. I once refused to be relieved by as engineering duty officer who walked in and said I relieve you. His assumption was that conditions were the same as yesterday. I had been up all night fixing a problems. It then became a ‘macho’ contest since he was unwilling to fess up. Since I was radiation safety officer, I reused to delegate my responsibilities by leaving the ship on my day off. On such matter the EDO and Engineering Officer can over rule me. While the Captain had the authority to over rule me, he would not for two reason. I was right and second he would eventually have to explain Admiral Rickover.

     

    The point here is that safety is a constant daily challenge. It is not the money grubbing CEO, Admiral Rickover, or the government weenie ‘regulators’ that is going to get killed. Safety starts when you grab your socks in the morning. Wendell when you walk to work in the morning you are statistically doing something more dangerous than working in a coal mine. If you do not pay attention ‘regulators’ will fail to protect you from texting teenage girls.

     

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  280. By OD on May 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I’m very late to this discussion, but I have to comment about those saying oil is more important than electricity. Mac focused on personal comforts electricity provides, but we should really look  at the industrial side. If we were suddenly forced to do factory machine jobs by hand, production would drop to a mere fraction of what it currently is. So sure we could still put fuel into the trucks to ship goods, but how empty would the trucks be? We may have 4 billion more people on this planet than would be without fossil fuels, but to attribute the majority of this growth to oil is in error, imo. Without the ability to produce parts to build tractors, equipment, etc. in mass with electricity those people would not be here. Just as they would not, if we did not have the fuel to ship food to them.

     

    We only have to look at Japan right now and some of their factories to see what happens when the power is shut down. The way we currently have arranged society, we must have both liquid fuels AND electricity. Perhaps someday we will have a breakthrough that drops our need for liquid fuels to a fraction of what it currently is, but I can not see any breakthrough that would reduce the importance of electricity. For that reason, I agree with Mac that electricity is indeed more detrimental to our soceity than oil, at least long term.

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  281. By Wendell Mercantile on May 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

    So Wendell I think you have your facts wrong about navy’s safety record.

    Kit P.

    I am agreeing with you. For the large part the military has a pretty good safety record considering they are always around explosives, guns, and heavy equipment designed to kill people*. But it is a fact that when a carrier with a 5,000 person crew leaves port on a six-month deployment, the Navy expects that 5-6 of those sailors will have died before the boat returns to home port.

    Officers in all the military services don’t have very long careers if they ignore the safety of those they command.

    ——–
    * Every year in one of the Army’s mechanized or armored divisions, several soldiers are killed during training maneuvers when at night a tank or truck runs over an exhausted grunt sleeping on the ground. I spent two years attached to an Army division, and always told my people that if they laid down to sleep at night during an exercise, to make sure it was between two trees large enough that a tank or heavy truck could not drive over them. Of course, that’s hard to do in the desert.

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  282. By rrapier on May 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    OD said:

    For that reason, I agree with Mac that electricity is indeed more detrimental to our soceity than oil, at least long term.


     

    As I have said, it isn’t either/or. But, we have many more ways of producing significant amounts of electricity without fossil fuels. Hydropower and nuclear are two examples of firm power that contribute a lot to the grid. At present, we have no way of producing anything resembling significant quantities of say, jet fuel or diesel without fossil fuels. So while I would agree that society would be in trouble without electricity or oil, fossil fuel-based liquid fuels are presently much more important to society than fossil fuel-based electricity.

    RR 

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  283. By Kit P on May 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    “the Navy expects that 5-6 of those sailors will have died before the boat returns to home port. ”

     

    That is BS Wendell. At least when I was in we had the expectation of bring everyone home from a deployment. I would have to see a link to your source and then I would look to see how they died. When I arrived on a ship in the middle of a deployment, I did not like the way the crew was treated. Except officers and CPO, the crew was patted down when returning from liberty. I know of three cases where young sailors were taken to sickbay for observation and then later has to be revived.

     

    What I learned was that the CO was a soft spoken hardass. We were visitors in a foreign country. Behave badly and Norfolk, Virginia would be the next port when you could get off the ship.

     

    Each risk must be considered on its own. Coal can be produced without disasters. Every fatal work place accident should be investigated to prevent it from happening again.

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  284. By OD on May 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    At present, we have no way of producing anything resembling significant quantities of say, jet fuel or diesel without fossil fuels

    …But if we don’t have electricity to power factories to build the parts to make jets etc., or even repair them in any significant quantity, isn’t worrying about having fuel for them a moot point? ;-)

    I took Mac’s point as electricity as a whole, regardless of the energy source, is more valuable to society and I agree. In any case, we seem to be in agreement that both are currently needed for society to exist in its current form.

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  285. By rrapier on May 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    OD said:

    At present, we have no way of producing anything resembling significant quantities of say, jet fuel or diesel without fossil fuels

    …But if we don’t have electricity to power factories to build the parts to make jets etc., or even repair them in any significant quantity, isn’t worrying about having fuel for them a moot point? ;-)

    I took Mac’s point as electricity as a whole, regardless of the energy source, is more valuable to society and I agree. In any case, we seem to be in agreement that both are currently needed for society to exist in its current form.


     

    But just about any big industrial process that requires an electric motor could be replaced (less efficiently) with an internal combustion engine. But there is no way to replace jet travel with electricity.

    At the end of the day, I think we could cope without electricity. People would die and life would be harsh. Coping without oil or natural gas is in an entirely different category. Again, I point out that 2 billion people in the world today live without electricity, but could not live without the food that is being provided by fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides from oil and natural gas.

    RR

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  286. By thomas398 on May 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    We’ve already strayed too far from the topic which was: Are 30 coal miner deaths a year an acceptable cost for the luxuries that electricity made from that coal brings other Americans each year?


     

    No, in an advanced, free country like ours, preventable deaths are not acceptable.  We should treat the risk to a coal miner just like the risk to a member of the general public.   Coal mines should be regualted as strictlyas nuclear power plants if that’s what it takes.  The output of coal mines is profitable for both producers and users, but it is not “cheap”.   If you feel differently we can agree to disagree.  

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  287. By Wendell Mercantile on May 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    No, in an advanced, free country like ours, preventable deaths are not acceptable.

    Thomas398~

    Then why do you oppose proactive steps to make a substantial reduction in the number of highways deaths by requiring drivers and passengers wear helmets, cars have roll cages, and their occupants use 5-point suspension harnesses? A large number of the 30,000+ annual highway deaths are preventable.

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  288. By thomas398 on May 29, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Wendell,
    Do you know of any studies that have tried to assess the effect helmets, harnesses, and/or roll cages would have on highway safety (not on a specific crash situation)?   Or is this “substantial reduction”  of highway deaths you speak of based on your (debunked) intuition of the relative safety of Indy car? I’m not arguing that these safety measures don’t decrease driver risk, anti-lock brakes make the driver safer in a specific crash situation. However, studies have shown that drivers with anti-lock brakes stop shorter and follow closer than drivers with less advanced braking systems.  Would your safety measures have a detectable statistical effect on highway safety?  Only studies could show. 

    I would be in favor of systems that prevented ignition unless all passengers were wearing seat belts and the driver passed a breathalyzer.   Those measures might require a supreme court ruling, unfortunately.

    This is a conversation for another forum. If you can’t  see the difference between a guy taking a corner too fast, killing himself and his passenger in a rollover and a mine company  putting profits over the safety of its employees, again, we can agree to disagree. 

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  289. By Wendell Mercantile on May 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    OK, we shall disagree. You say in a modern country, preventable deaths are unacceptable, but have also demonstrated no willingness to take the simple steps that could prevent many of the deaths on our highways. (Perhaps because you would find those steps inconvenient when you are behind the wheel?)

    I don’t want people to die in coal mines either, but if it was a question of where we would get the biggest bang for the buck, making cars safer would save far more lives than the ~30 that die in coal mines each year.

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  290. By OD on May 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Again, I point out that 2 billion people in the world today live without electricity,

    I perhaps am not explaining myself well. I do not see how such a large fleet of tractors, trucks, and everything else involved in growing, harvesting, and shipping that food aid to some of those 2 billion people could not exist without machine factories, which are powered by electricity. So they might not personally be using electricity, but they are benefitting from it.

    Electric motor or eternal combustion engine does not matter as both are currently made in factories which consume large quantaties of electricity. How can John Deere, for example, continue to build parts and tractors without electricity? Food aid would be cut off if either liquid fuels OR electricity go away. We can’t feed the worlds current population using Amish farming techniques.

    I think we are going in circles and mostly agree. However, I can not get on board with the idea that oil/natural gas are more important than electricity. We wouldn’t need oil/NG in the quantaties we currently use them, if it were not for electricity.

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  291. By savro on May 30, 2011 at 12:05 am

    OD said:

    Again, I point out that 2 billion people in the world today live without electricity,

    I perhaps am not explaining myself well. I do not see how such a large fleet of tractors, trucks, and everything else involved in growing, harvesting, and shipping that food aid to some of those 2 billion people could not exist without machine factories, which are powered by electricity. So they might not personally be using electricity, but they are benefitting from it.

    Electric motor or eternal combustion engine does not matter as both are currently made in factories which consume large quantaties of electricity. How can John Deere, for example, continue to build parts and tractors without electricity? Food aid would be cut off if either liquid fuels OR electricity go away. We can’t feed the worlds current population using Amish farming techniques.

    If I’m understanding RR’s point correctly, it’s that liquid fuels can be used as a substitute for electricity, while electricity is incapabable of substituting the use of liquid fuels for air transport and the like. Therefore, everything as we know it would grind to a halt without liquid fuels, while, on the other hand, without electricity it would not be as bad, since liquid fuels can fill in the gaps to a certain extent.

    I think we are going in circles and mostly agree. However, I can not get on board with the idea that oil/natural gas are more important than electricity. We wouldn’t need oil/NG in the quantaties we currently use them, if it were not for electricity.

    Going back to RR’s point that liquid fuels can make up for lost electricity, then the opposite of your above statement would be the case: We would be using more oil/NG than ever. In fact, peak liquid fuels would quickly become a problem as the world consumes more than it can produce.

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  292. By thomas398 on May 30, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    OK, we shall disagree. You say in a modern country, preventable deaths are unacceptable, but have also demonstrated no willingness to take the simple steps that could prevent many of the deaths on our highways. (Perhaps because you would find those steps inconvenient when you are behind the wheel?)


    Wendell,

    Convenience plays no role in my position.  Please cite a study/studies that backs up your assertions.   Here’s a study that points out that airbags and full face helmets can be dangerous.  Its not a simple as you think.  The perceived anonymity that a helmet provides might make some drivers more aggressive. Ask cops about tinted windows.  Harnesses will probably have a lower compliance rate than standard seat belts, perhaps cancelling out the reduction in risk.    I could go on, start a highway safety blog and I’ll debate you there. Without any data you’re doing the equivalent of saying daily use of cayenne pepper increases life expectancy.   An important consideration is what it encourages you to eat.  When evaluating the efficacy of a safety feature the (guaranteed) change in driver behavior must be considered.

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  293. By Kit P on May 30, 2011 at 9:53 am

    “Convenience plays no role in my position.”

     

    I agree. The purpose of race cars is to drive very fast with others who are going in the same direction. If a tire blows and you flip the race car most likely your neck will break. A harness and helmet might protect you.

     

    The problem even good drivers face is a drunk driver heat us head on. A few years back I was reading about such a case. Everyone walked away except for two children who were killed. The parents wanted the the drunk driver prosecuted. The were very angry as they should have been. According to the police report all passengers were wearing seat belts except for two children who were killed.

     

    This was not a case of inadequate safety equipment but not using what is proven to save lives.

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  294. By OD on May 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Therefore, everything as we know it would grind to a halt without liquid fuels, while, on the other hand, without electricity it would not be as bad, since liquid fuels can fill in the gaps to a certain extent.

    Of course we can feed our power plants liquid fuels to generate electricity, but to what other extent could they fill in? If we suddenly lost our ability to generate electricity from any source, granted I don’t know how such a scenario could arise, and were truly forced to make a ‘world by hand’ then I do not see how food production would not drop dramatically. I recently moved to farm country and hang out on some farming messageboards, and tractors parts do fail. Now suppose if when one of these parts failed, farmers were required to wait on a replacement while it was forged by hand instead of mass produced in a factory. What would farming look like? That is why I maintain our ability to generate electricity has played a bigger role in making our modern society.  It has given us the ability to produce things at such a scale, that likely wouldn’t be possible without it.

     

    I will concede as long as we maintain our ability to generate electricity, Robert’s point is correct.

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  295. By gonewest on June 2, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Robert Rapier said:

    there is no way to replace jet travel with electricity.


     

    Yes there is.  It’s called “video conferencing” (or “telepresence” if you go for the more snazzy high definition gear).  You don’t need to go face-to-face if the audio and video quality are excellent and the delay is low enough.  

    Note, I’m talking travel to discuss or do business…  I know you can’t use telepresence to ship goods, and I know it’s not the same as visiting your family in person, and not a way to go on vacation.  But whenever I go to the airport I see a hell of a lot of business travelers and I wonder how much of their travel could be avoided.

     

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  296. By gonewest on June 2, 2011 at 4:34 am

    “if all domestic oil production and refining ceased in this country for a month, we would see an energy epiphany in the U.S. the likes of which we have never seen…”

     

    I have a problem with the premise of this article.  Cutting all domestic oil production suddenly, and without any preparation or change to our infrastructure, is obviously not what Democrats or anyone else wants to have happen.  It’s the sort of proposition that gets conservatives all riled up.

    The point is we have time to make adjustments. It doesn’t need to be sudden, and the outcome of the adjustments does NOT mean a country with no electricity, no safe food supply, and no clean water.  That said, things definitely will CHANGE, and that change includes how we live and work (and how FAR we live from work), how we eat (and how FAR we are willing to transport food), etc.

     

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