Fauster's Facts Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Peak Oil

Life After The Crash

Also see interview with David Goodstein (Cal-tech physicist):
Crude Awakening

Interesting included merger timeline:

December 1998: BP and Amoco merge;
April 1999: BP-Amoco and Arco agree to merge;
December 1999: Exxon and Mobil merge;
October 2000: Chevron and Texaco agree to merge;
November 2001: Phillips and Conoco agree to merge;
September 2002: Shell acquires Penzoil-Quaker State;
February 2003: Frontier Oil and Holly agree to merge;
March 2004: Marathon acquires 40% of Ashland;
April 2004: Westport Resources acquires Kerr-McGee;
July 2004: Analysts suggest BP and Shell merge;
April 2005: Chevron-Texaco and Unocal merge;
June 2005: Royal Dutch and Shell merge;
July 2005: China begins trying to acquire Unocal

If the oil companies aren't monopolies now, what constitutes a monopoly? Exxon CEO gets $6 from every American family of 4 for his retirement. You better believe we already paid him that money at the pump. Efficient hand of the market?

Cache of the Time article:

Feb. 17 - Remember 1973? If you do, there are plenty of reasons to wish you didn’t. Chief among them (right after leisure suits) would be the oil crisis that began in October. The Middle Eastern OPEC nations stopped exports to the United States and other Western nations just as stateside oil production was peaking. The artificial shortage that followed had devastating effects: The price of gas quadrupled in the United States, climbing from 25 cents to more than a dollar, in a matter of months. The American Automobile Association reported that in one isolated week up to 20 percent of the country’s gas stations had no fuel; in some places motorists were forced to wait in line for two to three hours to gas up. The number of homes built with gas heat dropped.

But that was the 1970s and this is now, right? Not according to David Goodstein. Saudi princes and SUV drivers may do well to read his new book, “Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil” (W.W. Norton), in which Goodstein argues that our oil-dependent civilization is in for a crude awakening when the world’s oil supply really begins to run out—possibly within a few decades. “As we learned in 1973, the effects of an oil shortage can be immediate and drastic, while it may take years, perhaps decades, to replace the vast infrastructure that supports the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of the products of the 20 million barrels of oil we Americans alone gobble up each day,” he writes.

Goodstein’s book is not a happy read, but an important one. In layman’s terms, he explains the science behind his prediction and why other fossil fuels might not do the trick when the wells run dry. Goodstein, a physicist and vice-provost at the California Institute of Technology, recently spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Brian Braiker about the fundamental principles of oil supply and demand, and whether civilization can survive without fossil fuels. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: This is scary stuff. You’re saying that oil production will soon peak.

David Goodstein: The prediction that it will peak—that is to say the crisis will come when we reach a peak when half the oil has been used up—that prediction quantitatively is unquestionably true. But the quantitative question of when the peak will occur depends on extremely undependable numbers. The so-called proven oil reserves as reported by various countries and companies around the world are often just guesses and they’re often not even honest guesses. Among those who would analyze those figures, some have predicted that it will come as early as this year; others, within this decade. It could possibly be in the next decade. But I think that’s about as far as you can push it.

Let’s start at the beginning. What is oil and what do we use it for?
Oil is hydrocarbons that grew up in the earth when source rock full of organic inclusions sank to just the right depth—not too little and not too much—and got cooked over the ages. It took hundreds of millions of years for the world’s supply of oil to be created. The oil is used to make gasoline obviously, but also home heating oil, diesel fuel but also 90 percent of all the organic chemicals that we use. That includes pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, plastics, fabrics and so on. They are petrochemicals, meaning they originate as oil.

So our demand, regardless of supply, is unlikely to decrease anytime soon.
Well, the need for those hydrocarbon materials has been increasing for 150 years and will go on increasing especially because the world’s population is increasing. The poorer parts of the world want to increase their standard of living, which inevitably means using more energy. Fossil fuels are our principal source of energy.

You used an interesting word: “need.” Do we need the oil or is it something that we have just become dependent on?
We have certainly become dependent on it. This is a habit that will be very, very difficult to break.

Knowing human behavior and how hard the habit is to break, we probably won't, in all likelihood, break it.
I think we will not. One of the reasons I wrote the book was in the hope that enough people will become aware of the problem and we will be a little better prepared.

How do you suggest people prepare now?

Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil by David Goodstein
Right now we don’t have the kind of leadership that would take us in the direction that would make major changes. As individuals we can do things; I drive a hybrid car, for example. But as a society we have to redesign cities so that people live close to where they work. There are all kinds of measures. We are so profligate in the use of energy that even with the smallest effort we can reduce the rate at which we use energy very significantly, as Californians showed after the last energy crisis. But what we really need is massive infusion of research on all of the possible ways of ameliorating this problem.

You’re talking about researching fusion and fuel cells and —
Fusion, fuel cells, biomass. There are all kinds of possibilities, but none of them are worth a thing unless you’ve shown that it actually works. You’ve got to prototype it; you’ve got to show that it can be scaled up, that it can be done on a large scale. And so on.

You write that the crisis doesn’t happen when we run out of oil, it happens when we reach the peak, the halfway point. Explain that.
We had a peak once before—it was in 1973. The production in North American had reached its peak in 1970 and was declining. Supplies were not available in North America and the Arab countries embargoed the oil; they shut down the pipeline. We had an immediate, instantaneous panic, mile-long lines at gas stations and fear for the future of our way of life. That was an artificial, temporary peak. And it’s just a slight foretaste of what will happen when we reach the real [global] peak and supplies start to decline and continue to decline forever.

So what happens then? Do we revert to coal?
It’s possible for us to revert either to natural gas or to coal or both. Among consequences are the increasing global climate change. But another consequence is, let us suppose you tried to substitute coal for oil. Natural gas is a good substitute and it will last for a while but it will have its own peak one or two decades after oil, so it’s only a temporary solution. If you turn to coal, we’re now using twice as much energy from oil as we are from coal. So if you want to liquefy coal as a substitute for oil in transportation—which is its most important application—you would have to mine coal at a rate that’s many, many times at the rate of what we’re doing now. But the conversion process is very inefficient. So you’d have to mine much more than that. If you put that together with the growing world population and the fact that the rest of the world wants to increase its standard of living, you realize that the estimates that say we have hundreds of years worth of coal in the ground are wrong by a factor of ten or more. So we will run out of all fossil fuels. Coal will peak just like any natural resource. We will reach the peak for all fossil fuels by the end of the century.

You mentioned transportation as one of oil’s greatest uses. Doesn’t alternative technology already exist?
Not exactly, no. We tried electric cars and that was sort of more or less withdrawn from the market. I think there was plenty of demand. But when I tried to buy an EV1 some years ago, they said that the car had a range of 50 to 100 miles, but there was an onboard computer that always told you what your range was and when it was freshly charged, it had a range of about 30 miles. And they only sold them in California and Arizona because they were useless in colder climates. So that’s not the solution. There are advanced batteries—the kind of batteries that we use now in our cell phones and laptops are lithium ion batteries and they have about five times the energy density of the old lead acid batteries. So if you could imagine something like an EV1 with five times the range, that starts to become believable. But nobody is showing that you can scale up the lithium ion batteries to use in transportation.

And another alternative is nuclear.
Nuclear is an alternative, but remember you’re not going to have any nuclear cars and nuclear airplanes. Nuclear is not a substitute for oil. There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen because of the president’s initiative—the governor of California has also announced an initiative. I think what people don’t understand about hydrogen is that it is not a source of energy. You have to use energy to make hydrogen—it’s just a way of storing and transporting energy. And with today’s economics and today’s technology, it takes the equivalent of six gallons of gasoline to make enough hydrogen to replace one gallon of gasoline.

How do we know that all the oil that will be discovered has been discovered?
We don’t know that all the oil that will be discovered has been discovered, and this is a somewhat controversial subject. But we do know that the peak in oil discovery occurred decades ago. The rate at which we’ve been discovering new oil has been declining for decades. That’s one of the arguments that the peak in oil supply must be coming soon because the supply curve follows the discovery curve by a few decades. The United States Geological Survey conducted an exhaustive study between 1995 and 2000 and gave out a statistical output in which they said that the amount of oil that we started with, we could be 95 percent certain, was at least 2 trillion barrels. But they also thought there was a 50 percent chance that there was 2.7 trillion barrels. The difference between those two is 700 billion barrels of oil—that’s the entire reserves of the Middle East. They were predicting discovering the Middle East all over again. That’s pretty implausible. But if you really did add 700 billion barrels to the world’s oil supply, it would delay the peak by about a decade. So we’re not talking about really something that does away with the problem.

And opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska?
It makes no dent at all. It isn’t even worth talking about.

Is there a silver lining here?
I really don’t think so. If the peak comes and we can’t get our act together fast enough to make up for it, you will end up with people all over the world burning coal as fast as they can just for the space heating and primitive industry. And if you do that the effect on the climate is completely unpredictable.

What about solar energy?
Solar energy will be an important component, an important part of the solution. If you want to gather enough solar energy to replace the fossil fuel that we’re burning today—and remember we’re going to need more fossil fuel in the future- using current technology, then you would have to cover something like 220,000 square kilometers with solar cells. That’s far more than all the rooftops in the country. It would be a piece of land about 300 miles on a side, which is big but not unthinkable. But making that area of solar cells one heck of a challenge because all of the solar cells every made probably wouldn’t cover more than 10 square kilometers. This is not impossible. It’s just difficult. It’s hard and we’re not trying.

You’re a physicist by training.
This is not my research field. I do research in a completely different field. I just thought that this was such an important problem that somebody ought to write a book about it. I am not an expert—there is no subject covered in that book about which I know more than anybody else. If you want to know about superfluid helium or certain kinds of phase transitions I may know more than anybody else in the world. I just thought I should lend my pen to this cause.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

For me:

May switch my page to this site: Nearly Free Speech

To Boost Feingold's rankings:

Russ Feingold: Born again as a Dem? Only with Feingold's help. He can win. He's the only Dem I know with balls. All others are afraid to take Bush on over the negative spin they'll recieve from: FOX, abc, and MSNBC. Ready to switch parties just to vote for Russ in the primaries. Unfortunately, can't jump ship in primaries in Oregon. Nice way to solidify the 2 party system. Someday, somehow, the U.S. will ammend the Constitution to allow for a parlimentary system. The only reason we have a 2 party system now is to let the Whigs and Torries stay in power.

Argentina on 2 steaks a day

Though I feel guilty for eating fellow mammals, can't wait to try the program:

Argentina on 2 steaks a day

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Religious Inclination By County

A very cool site:

Mapping Religion in America

Leading religions: (terrifying red counties)

Church Adherents:

Reminds me of:
Goverment maps for drinking and drug use in substate areas

Marijuana use:

Binge drinking:

30 pygmy owls left, now not a species

How fucking distinct does an endangered owl need to be before the government will admit it's a species?! The cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is 6 inches long and weighs 3 ounces! Now it's not a distict species with much larger owls with which it DOES NOT MATE? If it had a single unicorn horn coming out of it's forehead would it be a distinct subspecies? This just in: Endangered Species Act no longer needed after the U.S. government discovers that all owls are the same species! Meanwhile, Fish And Wildlife Service managers are found indistinct from lying criminals. If branches of the government intentionally refuse to uphold the endangered species act, they are breaking the law. Playing semantic games by saying a species isn't a species doesn't make their actions any less illegal. If you intentionally torch a forest, it's arson and a felony, regardless of whether you call it a large campfire.

soon to be extinct pygmy owl

Tiny Owl May Be Taken Off Endangered List

Fri Apr 14, 8:33 PM ET

TUCSON, Ariz. - A tiny desert owl is set to be taken off the federal government's endangered species list, drawing praise from developers but protests from environmentalists.

The cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is only about 6 inches long and weighs in at less than 3 ounces, but has been at the center of a battle between environmentalists and developers for more than a decade.

Environmental groups successfully sued to have it placed on the endangered list in the early 1990s. Developers countersued in 2001, opposing restrictions placed on land use to protect the bird. An appeals court ordered the government to reconsider the listing and the habitat designation.

The owl is set to be removed from the endangered species list next month, a move that also will rescind critical habitat designation for 1.2 million acres in Arizona.

The Fish and Wildlife Service determined the bird was not a distinct subspecies and therefore not worthy of protection. The decision is expected to go into effect May 15.

The bird is native to the Sonoran desert and its population has dropped below 30 at last count.

The decision is likely to be fought by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity.

"We might end up having to take it right into the courts," said Daniel Patterson, a desert ecologist with the environmental group. He said the move was a political decision that ignores years of research.

"It's anti-science, it's anti-conservation and it's anti-public interest," Patterson said.

The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association said the federal decision ends the fight.

"Now that the federal government has made its final ruling, we consider this issue to be over and will direct our attention to other development policy issues in southern Arizona," he said.

The decision won't mean much in Pima County because the county's Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan protects sensitive habitats for all species, said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Some of the pygmy owl's prime habitat is in Pima County.

Iraq Mobile Biolabs Hoax

At the time the Bush Administration claimed to have found WMD in Iraq in the form of mobile biolabs, the CIA had already concluded that these labs "had nothing to do with biological weapons". According to the Scott: this is nothing new, we knew that we had bad intelligence regarding Iraq. This is a lie. This revelation is new. In the months after the bioweapon trailer hoax, there was a tremendous amount of debate in the press regarding their authenticity. At the time, those who doubted that the trailers produced some bioweapon were shouted down.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

The administration diliberately misled the public into believing that WMD had been found in the runup to the 2004 presidential election. Evidence of this duplicity was made classified. While the revelation surrounding the facts of the WMD hoax is new, it is hardly surprising. Most people either concluded that the labs were cladestine, or forgot about it entirely. Now that this is out of the open, no one is really surprised by the Bush administration's abuse of power and their abuse of classifying information to serve political goals.

Here is a cache of the above Washington Post article:

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War
Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 12, 2006; Page A01

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

The authors of the reports were nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- scientists and engineers with extensive experience in all the technical fields involved in making bioweapons -- who were dispatched to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency for an analysis of the trailers. Their actions and findings were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with six government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it.

None would consent to being identified by name because of fear that their jobs would be jeopardized. Their accounts were verified by other current and former government officials knowledgeable about the mission. The contents of the final report, "Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers," remain classified. But interviews reveal that the technical team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons. Those interviewed took care not to discuss the classified portions of their work.

"There was no connection to anything biological," said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: "the biggest sand toilets in the world."

Primary Piece of Evidence

The story of the technical team and its reports adds a new dimension to the debate over the U.S. government's handling of intelligence related to banned Iraqi weapons programs. The trailers -- along with aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq for what was claimed to be a nuclear weapons program -- were primary pieces of evidence offered by the Bush administration before the war to support its contention that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction.

Intelligence officials and the White House have repeatedly denied allegations that intelligence was hyped or manipulated in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. But officials familiar with the technical team's reports are questioning anew whether intelligence agencies played down or dismissed postwar evidence that contradicted the administration's public views about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Last year, a presidential commission on intelligence failures criticized U.S. spy agencies for discounting evidence that contradicted the official line about banned weapons in Iraq, both before and after the invasion.

Spokesmen for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency declined to comment on the specific findings of the technical report because it remains classified. A spokesman for the DIA asserted that the team's findings were neither ignored nor suppressed, but were incorporated in the work of the Iraqi Survey Group, which led the official search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The survey group's final report in September 2004 -- 15 months after the technical report was written -- said the trailers were "impractical" for biological weapons production and were "almost certainly intended" for manufacturing hydrogen for weather balloons.

"Whether the information was offered to others in the political realm I cannot say," said the DIA official, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. "It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides," said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

U.S. officials asserted that Iraq had biological weapons factories in trailers, even after a Pentagon mission found them unsuited for that role.
U.S. officials asserted that Iraq had biological weapons factories in trailers, even after a Pentagon mission found them unsuited for that role. (By Pfc. Joshua Hutcheson Via Associated Press)

From 'Biological Laboratories'
Two Iraqi trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops became a center-piece of U.S. claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. But shortly after the fall of Baghdad, an internal report showed the trailers had nothing to do with banned weapons.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

George Promised to FIRE the leaker!

No MSM replays of GW's quote that he would fire anyone found to be the leaker! Of course, he knew all along that there was no leak, because this info was secretly declassified. But it's time for GW to fire himself. Resign!

Libby reveals Bush as Leaker in chief


Why 'leaker in chief' charge harms the president

By Linda Feldmann, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor Mon Apr 10, 4:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Leaks of information out of the White House are as old as the republic. So the assertion that the president himself had authorized the dissemination of then-classified information to select reporters should come as no surprise. Except that the president in question is George W. Bush.
click here

President Bush has long railed against leaks of classified information as a threat to national security; his administration is vigorously investigating unauthorized revelations of classified material to the press about secret overseas prisons and warrantless wiretapping. Now, a revelation of grand jury testimony establishes Bush himself as a player in White House efforts to discredit an
Iraq war critic through the use of classified information.

The president is not accused of illegality. And no one questions his legal right to declassify information. But critics are now charging Mr. Bush with hypocrisy - a development that makes efforts to put his presidency back on track all the more daunting.

"Here's why this hurts: It reminds people again that the intelligence was bad and we're in Iraq without end for some of the wrong reasons, and that's at the heart of his 36 percent," says Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, referring to Bush's job approval rating in recent polls.

In a legal filing last week, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald does not allege that Bush was involved in exposing the identify of
CIA agent
Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joe Wilson, the Iraq war critic whom Mr. Fitzgerald says the White House was trying to discredit. Ms. Plame's "outing" as a CIA agent lies at the heart of Fitzgerald's investigation, which eventually led to the indictment last October of Vice President Cheney's then-chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Mr. Libby was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the investigation, though not with illegally exposing Plame's identity.

Private Briefing
It was in Libby's grand jury testimony, revealed publicly for the first time in the government filing, that the former White House official stated that Bush had approved Cheney's instruction to reveal portions of a classified prewar National Intelligence Estimate that they believed would bolster the administration's argument that Iraq was seeking to develop nuclear weapons. At least three reporters received that information: then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller, author Bob Woodward, and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine.

On July 18, 2003, after those three had been privately briefed, the administration publicly declassified much of the document. A striking aspect of the administration's private dissemination effort is that the information Cheney and Libby put forth - regarding efforts by Iraq to acquire uranium from Niger - had already been widely discredited within the administration.

In his filing, Fitzgerald described a "concerted effort" by top White House officials, with Cheney at the heart, to "discredit, punish, or seek revenge against" Ambassador Wilson.

Even if Bush turns out to have been a bit player in an effort to discredit Wilson, he is now explicitly tied to the decision to selectively disseminate classified information. Whether that constitutes a "leak" is a matter of semantics.

"Most White Houses believe that a leak is an uncontrolled revelation where they're not in control of it," says Charles Jones, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Otherwise, it's associated with implementation of policy."
ACLU online townhall meeting tonight Terrorists calling Americans? FISA never applied to the target of surveillance being a foreign citizen. Only when the target is an American. And for God's sake, why can't Gary Hart run again? Who the fuck cares about his trist on the Monkey Business now?

NSA may have violated rights of Millions

According to congressional investigators with classified info, spying is much more widespread

Feb 14th 2006 article


Security & Terrorism
Whistleblower says NSA violations bigger

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans' Constitutional rights.

Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a "special access" electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.

Tice said he believes it violates the Constitution's protection against unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information without breaking classification laws. He is not even allowed to tell the congressional intelligence committees - members or their staff - because they lack high enough clearance.

Neither could he brief the inspector general of the NSA because that office is not cleared to hear the information, he said.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said they believe a few members of the Armed Services Committee are cleared for the information, but they said believe their committee and the intelligence committees have jurisdiction to hear the allegations.

"Congressman Kucinich wants Congressman Shays to hold a hearing (on the program)," said Doug Gordon, Kucinich's spokesman. "Obviously it would have to take place in some kind of a closed hearing. But Congress has a role to play in oversight. The (Bush) administration does not get to decide what Congress can and can not hear."

Tice was testifying because he was a National Security Agency intelligence officer who was stripped of his security clearance after he reported his suspicions that a former colleague at the Defense Intelligence Agency was a spy. The matter was dismissed by the DIA, but Tice pressed it later and was subsequently ordered to take a psychological examination, during which he was declared paranoid. He is now unemployed.

Tice was one of the New York Times sources for its wiretapping story, but he told the committee the information he provided was not secret and could have been provided by an private sector electronic communications professional.

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