Wars were once fought over salt.
Cornucopia: To offset the decline of the world's major oil fields, many point to the Kashagan field, beneath the Caspian. It was the world's largest petroleum discovery in 30 years when it was found in July 2000. It is thought to hold 9 billion recoverable barrels of oil – enough to supply the world for four months at today's rate of consumption. The oil is heavy and sulfurous and under immense pressure, and very expensive to extract. To date over $136 billion has been invested, with the hope of one day pumping 1.5 million barrels a day – 1.7% of today's demand. Thank goodness we don't have to fear peak oil.
Essay Assignment: In about 500 words, please explain “What caused the current mess?” without saying “too much debt,” over and over and over.
Interesting Times: OMB assumes that by 2011 GDP will be growing at 4% while unemployment is still hovering around 10%. How they do that? Especially when at least one Federal Reserve official admits today's unemployment is at 16%.
Toil and Trouble: As predicted, global warming is leading to more global warming. As Arctic currents warm, methane is released from sub-sea methane hydrates. Since methane is a greenhouse gas, it causes more warming, which causes more methane to bubble up from the seabed. Over 250 plumes of methane are boiling up from one small area.
What He Said: “It’s comforting to think that we live in a meritocracy. But we don’t.”
Ben's Got a Secret: Bloomberg said, “May we?” and the Judge said “Most certainly.” And the newly re-crowned Sir Benjamin said “No way. I can't tell you who we bailed out with your money because we're afraid you won't want to keep you money in such poorly run places.” Well, that's what he meant, anyway.
Joke's On Us: You thought we'd fixed the ozone hole, right? Wrong. The hole is still there, but the 1989 Montreal Protocol banning CFCs was working – it had stopped getting bigger and was scheduled to shrink. But now scientists find that N2O – known as laughing gas and a by-product of fertilizer – will soon be a greater threat to the ozone layer than all other known sources of ozone depletion.
Ready? Insider John Kanas is predicting that another 1,000 banks will fail over the next two years. Most will be smaller institutions – those that deal with mom and pop and the guy thaqt wants to start a small shop down the street. These are the ones that are too small to be saved, too small to buy politicians' support, but big enough to bring down the small towns they are call home.
False Hope: The headline read “US to Scrap Missile Defense”. For a brief moment it seemed possible that 20 years of fake test shots and abject failure had done the project in. But no, politics has simply relocated the boondoggle from Poland to the more malleable Israel.
Lest We Forget: We invaded Afghanistan to wrest power from the Taliban and punish them for harboring Bin Laden and refusing to let Condi's folks build a pipeline. Eight years later, the Taliban are still around, Bin Laden has moved next door, and now we've got a bunch of war lords, drug barons, and petty and not-so-petty thieves on the payroll. And about 100,000 troops plus mercenaries, running around pacifying the place. Sound familiar?