Saturday, August 29, 2009

SAR #9241/Weekender

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?


ballyfager said...

Re Cornucopia, talk about setting up a straw man. This proves nothing vis a vis "peak oil".

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

ballyfage - On the contrary, if the largest field we've found since the 1970's only has 9 billion recoverable barrels of oil, then we're not finding enough oil to replace places like Canatrell - third largest ever found - that is declining precipitously. We've found all the big easy ones and will not be able to live off the smaller, scattered and more expensive ones. We would have to discover and bring into production at least one new Kashgan field a year (at 1.5 million barrels a day) just to replace Cantarell - and that's not happening.

Anonymous said...

Essay Assignment: In about 500 words, please explain “What caused the current mess?” without saying “too much debt,” over and over and over.

“What caused the current mess?” Ultimately, the degradation of the Rule Of Law. The Rules and Laws were all in place to prevent this disaster but they were not enforced. And still aren't and will not be. (All that Debt could be piled on because the Regulators were corrupted.)

So, the Measurement that is really needed is the Rule Of Law Index. It's heading South at an alarming rate.

ballyfager said...

IF....and everything you say after that is even iffier.

OSR said...

Interesting Times: OMB assumes that by 2011 GDP will be growing at 4% while unemployment is still hovering around 10%. How they do that?
It's quite possible, actually. It's called slavery. Corporations will profit richly from our declining standard of living. Why go to Mexico when you can bring it here?

Essay Assignment: Now if I were to spill the beans, how am I supposed to write my book? Baseline Scenario missed the boat, though. Too much foreign capital is merely a symptom. The answer is a chain of interlocked events initiated in 1974.

Anonymous said...

Essay Assignment: Ignorance about basic ecological facts (there is no free lunch, there are limits to growth) combined with greed.

TulsaTime said...

Ben got a secret indeed, it's called a pack of lies. Everybody with brain cells knows that the big banks are insolvent shells. The government is too, and we can't have that illusion punctured, or Tinkerbell will be in a place where even the clap can't save her.

Crazy that there are so many illusions out there that prop up 'the world we know', and to admit to any of them is a threat to all of them. To heck with all of it. Me and Jesus and Santa and the Easter Bunny are gonna go to the beach and get tanked. Maybe we can drag the Tooth Fariy along as the designated driver.


K Ackermann said...

Corporations can show an increase in the average worker's salary in 2 ways:

1) Pay more money to the workers.

2) Lay off the lowest paid workers.

Which one is good for the economy?

K Ackermann said...

That methane boiling up reminds me of Putin's recent submarine trip to the bottom of lake Baikal to look at the expanse of natural gas hydrates at the bottom of the lake. There is a huge deposit there, but getting it to the surface is a problem, they say. I say just wait a while, it will come up by itself, but probably not in the form they want.

In 1945, Mikhail M. Kozhov started making detailed weekly temperature recordings at the same spot on lake Baikal. His daughter, and now his granddaughter have kept up the logs. It's an extraordinary body of work from a successive line of professors, and very helpful right now.

The lake is warming faster than predicted, but more worrisome is the chlorophyll levels have tripled since the records started in 1945.

Methane is 7 times more opaque in the infrared band than CO2. It dissolves faster, but can contribute sharply.

It's amazing we have any ozone. Introducing one molecule of chlorine into a chamber of pure O3 will break it all down to O2 in no time at all. The chlorine is a catalyst; it does not combine for long but rather keeps on converting ozone to oxygen.

The ozone problem is a perfect example of man altering the atmosphere in a harmful way, and then taking corrective action. I'm still waiting for Glenn Beck to exhale CFC aerosols.