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Countdown to 100$ oil (16)

by asdf Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 09:19:09 PM EST

(Updated, following polite suggestion by Jerome, who could have just deleted the diary.)

I'll probably get whumped for hijacking this title, but here's a current reading on the price of oil. Ironically, Jerome's first 100$ oil diary was in June.

At this point, just entering winter--when the risk is high because of the unpredictability of upcoming demand--oil futures are at the lowest since early summer.

"In London on Friday, the price of Brent North Sea crude for January delivery eased also by nine cents to 54.76 dollars per barrel."
[AFP/Netscape News]

Trend? Or just a brief dip before the real crisis hits?

ANSWER is below!

Read more... (6 comments, 611 words in story)

Italian coinmakers seem to be confused...

by asdf Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 11:08:56 PM EST

Italy is celebrating the first anniversary of the EU constitution by issuing a new two-euro commemorative coin. The constitution was signed by EU leaders in Rome on 28 October 2004, but was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands several months later.

The new coin, issued this week, depicts the goddess Europa holding a pen over the text of the constitution.

?????

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4443318.stm

Comments >> (1 comment)

God - You Europeans are crazy

by asdf Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 10:49:23 PM EST

Seriously.

This is the really irrefutable difference between the USA and Europe - you Europeans have completely lost track of the underpinnings of Western Civilization. Across the European political spectrum your willingness to throw overboard more than 2000 years of cultural development is staggering - and not a little bit disturbing.

You have completely misread your history, and have concluded that since religion--according to your view--deals in absolutes, it must be completely eradicated from public life. By looking narrowly at the abuses of the medieval Catholic church, and completely ignoring and/or misinterpreting the progression from the ancient Greeks through the Protestant Reformation, you have lost track of the single most powerful force for good.

Instead of working towards religious freedom, and the establishment of an inclusive society that can accept differing philosophies and cultural values, your politicans work tirelessly to rub out anything that smells of public displays of philosophical thought. Your ban on headscarves and crosses is only the beginning. I suppose that next you will decide that  German barmaids must not expose their breasts during Oktoberfest. Oh, sorry, that already happened!

The current lack of tolerance in Europe, including on the left, is scary.

Read more... (56 comments, 295 words in story)

Peak Oil -- So What?

by asdf Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 02:47:44 AM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

There have been a lot of predictions here at ET about how the sky is falling as far as the global oil supply is concerned. Chicken Little is running all over the village announcing that we're all going to freeze to death in the dark--if we don't starve first--because in only a matter of weeks the world will run out of oil.

But what do the experts think? Is this something we should worry about? Or is it just a case of a hysterical extrapolation of irrelevant production curves that doesn't add up to anything?

Read more... (35 comments, 439 words in story)

Why the US Will Soon Be The Environmental Leader

by asdf Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 11:11:24 AM EST

There's widespread frustration with America's wasteful attitude towards energy consumption and the environment in general. It's usually assumed that since the Democrats are the "leftist" party, they are therefore more in tune with environmental issues. And since the Republicans are in power, those issues will stay on the back burner, right?

Wrong.

Read more... (5 comments, 347 words in story)

Worker Mobility Poll

by asdf Sun Oct 30th, 2005 at 08:15:34 PM EST

In a recent discussion
http://www.eurotrib.com/comments/2005/10/29/04223/086/45#45
I suggested that worker mobility in Europe might be less than in the U.S.

Out of curiosity, perhaps a EuroTrib poll might be enlightening...

Read more... (20 comments, 62 words in story)

Global Household Expenses

by asdf Thu Oct 13th, 2005 at 10:13:36 PM EST

Ok, I'm leaving on my holiday to North Platte, Nebraska tomorrow. Here's a picture of the North Platte railroad yards.

You may recall that I was going to try a cross-cultural shopping expedition on this trip. See below for current shopping list.

Read more... (3 comments, 273 words in story)

Bye-bye SUVs!

by asdf Tue Oct 4th, 2005 at 10:47:44 AM EST

This is relevant in Europe too...from the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Americans are wasteful users of petroleum, that's not under debate. But how fast, in the presence of increasing oil prices, could America change her tune?

"John Mathews of Universal Toyota in San Antonio has witnessed the day that auto industry executives in Detroit said would never come.

"We are seeing people who are driving $40,000 Suburbans trading them in on $15,000 Corollas," said Mathews, who manages a dealership in a state where big trucks and sport-utility vehicles rule the roads. "The last 30 days have been unlike anything I've ever seen in the automotive industry."

"Nationally, Toyota Motor Corp. officials say the Corolla, one of the Japanese company's smallest and most fuel-efficient passenger cars, had 8.7 days' supply of inventory at the end of last week. In the industry, inventory of 50 to 60 days' supply is seen as adequate."

Read more... (9 comments, 258 words in story)

What America Thinks

by asdf Fri Sep 30th, 2005 at 01:04:52 PM EST

Here is an extremely succinct and well-written article by one of the rising stars of the Democratic party in the United States, Barack Obama. I think that this article captures correctly the way our governmental leaders think, and reflects an accurate reading of the American electorate. It's worth a read, and I will only quote very briefly:

"From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon.  They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.  They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs.  They don't think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country."

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/30/102745/165

Comments >> (12 comments)

Bush Sells Louisiana Back To France

by asdf Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 12:35:28 PM EST

[This is a joke that is circulating amongst REPUBLICANS over here...]

Baton Rouge, LA

September 18, 2005 (AP Wirephoto) -- President Bush and a jubilant Jacques Chirac shake hands as the deal is finalized. The official handover is to occur on October 15th.

[Picture of Chirac shaking hands with Bush under a Louisiana state seal. I still haven't figure out how to upload pictures...]

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005, BATON ROUGE, LA (AP) - The White House announced today that President Bush has successfully sold the state of Louisiana back to the French at more than double its original selling price of $11,250,000.

"This is a bold step forward for America," said Bush. "And America will be stronger and better as a result. I stand here today in unity with French Prime Minister Jack Sharaq, who was so kind to accept my offer of Louisiana in exchange for 25 million dollars cash."

The state, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild.

"Jack understands full well that this one's a 'fixer upper,'" said Bush. "He and the French people are quite prepared to pump out all that water and make Louisiana a decent place to live again. And they've got a lot of work to do. But Jack's assured me, if it's not right, they're going to fix it."

The move has been met with incredulity from the beleaguered residents of Louisiana.

"Shuba-pie!" said New Orleans resident Willis Babineaux. "Frafer-perly yum kom drabby sham!"

However, President Bush's decision has been widely lauded by Republicans.

"This is an unexpected but brilliant move by the President," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. "Instead of spending billions and billions, and billions of dollars rebuilding the state of Louisiana, we've just made 25 million dollars in pure profit."

"This is indeed a smart move," commented Fox News analyst Brit Hume. "Not only have we stopped the flooding in our own budget, we've made money on the deal. Plus, when the god-awful French are done fixing it up, we can easily invade and take it back again."

The money gained from 'The Louisiana Refund' is expected to be immediately pumped into the rebuilding of Iraq.

Comments >> (6 comments)

Vatican Picking on American Gay Priests

by asdf Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 10:59:08 AM EST

"Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process."

Why is the Vatican picking on American gay priests? Aren't there any gays in European churches?

Read more... (3 comments, 242 words in story)

Colorado Wind Power

by asdf Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 02:02:52 AM EST

I was poking around and found a couple of interesting sites about wind power in the U.S.

First is this page showing the status of various projects across the country.
http://www.awea.org/projects/index.html
It says that the U.S. has almost 7 GW of installed wind power generation. I think the world total is around 48 GW.

Another interesting site is this one
http://www.eh.doe.gov/nepa/ea/EA1521/
which is the environmental impact statement for a proposed 130 MW (0.130 GW) wind farm in northeastern Colorado. It has a pretty good summary of what goes into the site approval process, with maps and pictures and stuff about disturbing native American sites.

Comments >> (2 comments)

Do Like the Dutch Do?

by asdf Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 03:14:13 PM EST

"Old Europe": planning ahead and paying for it - imagine that? promoted from the diaries ~ whataboutbob

It's been proposed that America should look to the Netherlands for ideas about how to build a storm-proof sea wall. How much would that cost?

I'm not an expert on this by any means, but looking under various internet rocks here's what I found: It would be BIG BUCKS. But the results might be worth it.

"After the 1953 [giant storm in the English Channel] disaster, the Delta project, a vast construction effort designed to end the threat from the sea once and for all, was launched in 1958 and largely completed in 2002. The official goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in Holland to once per 10,000 years."

Is that good enough? Perhaps. Now, how much would it cost?

Read more... (14 comments, 772 words in story)

Watch Out France!

by asdf Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 01:17:10 PM EST

The Tour de France organizers may have shot themselves in the foot by making doping accusations against Lance Armstrong. To get revenge, he's considering a comeback!

"I'm thinking it's the best way to piss (the French) off," says Armstrong.

Read more... (11 comments, 172 words in story)

Speed limits in France

by asdf Thu Sep 1st, 2005 at 03:34:51 PM EST

According to The Times, the side effects of Katrina are spreading to Europe.

"Brent in London jumped $3.55 to $68.42 when trading resumed after Bank Holiday Monday. The record prices prompted governments in France and Belgium to flag populist measures to protect consumers.

"French ministers were squabbling yesterday over a proposal to cut the national speed limit to reduce fuel consumption. Dominique Perben, the Transport Minister, had called for a 115kph (71mph) limit on motorways, down from 130kph at present, saying that it would save motorists €7 on a 500km journey and also reduce the road death rate. His call sparked fierce criticism from within the governing centre-right Union for a Popular Movement. A spokesman for the party said that the measure was "inappropriate".

"In Belgium, Didier Reynders, the Finance Minister, proposed a €75 government cheque for every household to soften the blow of expensive fuel."

Read more... (2 comments, 329 words in story)

Arctic Argument Brewing

by asdf Tue Aug 23rd, 2005 at 09:47:03 AM EST

A spat between Canada and Denmark is developing over an uninhabited rock called Hans Island in the eastern Arctic region. A visit there by Canada's defence minister last month angered the Danes. Canada believes it has territorial sovereignty over parts of the Arctic where borders haven't been negotiated in the past.

The US has already said it regards the passage near the island as an international strait, not Canadian waters. Russia, Norway and Denmark also have competing claims in the artic.

Why is this suddenly so important?

Read more... (8 comments, 173 words in story)

France deals abruptly with Islamists

by asdf Fri Jul 29th, 2005 at 08:56:35 PM EST

America responds to terrorism with a massive clampdown on airline security, but ignores numerous other potential trouble spots. Britain responds by hand-wringing, as it's virtually impossible in U.K. law to kick somebody out of the country. France responds by summarily sending troublemakers home.

"The gulf between British and French treatment of preachers of hatred and violence was thrown sharply into focus yesterday when France announced the summary expulsion of a dozen Islamists between now and the end of August. A tough new anti-terrorism package was unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and a popular centre-Right politician. His proposals reflect French determination to act swiftly against extremists in defiance of the human rights lobby, which is noticeably less vocal in France than in Britain."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/30/ncleric30.xml&am p;site=5

Read more... (3 comments, 159 words in story)

GE jumps into Wind Power

by asdf Mon Jul 18th, 2005 at 12:27:11 PM EST

The wind power industry has had a tough history, with many business and technical failures. Extracting electrical power from the wind requires a tough combination of technology, development capital, and access to the power market--all while operating under sometimes-ambivalent government regulation. But the wind industry may be finally undergoing a real step towards maturity as large energy companies reconsider their involvement.

According to the latest issue of the IEEE Spectrum magazine, "After largely ignoring alternative energy for most of its existence, GE has jumped in headfirst.

"Over the past five years, the company, based in Fairfield, Conn., has begun manufacturing wind turbines and photovoltaics, invested in hydrogen fuel cells, and become a leader in the development of gasification equipment that could double the efficiency of coal-fired power plants and even capture their greenhouse gases. Pulling all those strands together in a high-profile speech delivered in Washington, D.C., on 9 May, GE's chief executive, Jeffrey R. Immelt, unfurled what the company is calling its "ecomagination" initiative. Immelt described it as "a growth strategy, driven by our belief that applying technology to solving problems is good business....We are launching ecomagination not because it is trendy or moral but because it will accelerate our growth and make us more competitive."

Read more... (9 comments, 314 words in story)

Hybrid Car Hacking

by asdf Sun Jul 17th, 2005 at 08:39:12 AM EST

Over here in techno-crazy America, the geek patrol has been working furiously to dream up ways to improve the already impressive fuel economy of hybrid cars sold by Toyota and Honda. While Europe has pursued a path of small high-speed diesel engines for passenger cars, we've elected to go the high-tech route and put thousands of dollars of batteries and electronic motor controllers into our cars. Purchasers of the Toyota Prius face queues of several months to buy a car, and the Honda Civic and Accord hybrids now make up a significant proportion of sales.

Both of these cars have very limited range when running on batteries alone. The Prius can only go a few miles before its small batteries need to be charged by the internal combusion engine (ICE), while the Honda mechanical system requires the ICE to run all the time.

But never fear: The electronic "hacker" community has probed into the systems of these cars and discovered ways to get even better performance than Toyota and Honda advertize!

Prius hackers have developed larger batteries and the ability to plug into wall electrical outlets as a way to significantly improve the situation. Meanwhile, Honda enthusiasts have added manual controls to the electronics of their cars so they can over-ride the computer system--and get 20% or more improvements in economy!

The two groups recently met for a shoot-out at the Tour de Sol in rural New York.
http://www.nesea.org/transportation/tour/

Read more... (5 comments, 601 words in story)

No Peak Oil Worry After All!!!

by asdf Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 02:53:05 AM EST

Promoted by Colman

Over on this side of the pond it looks like we're out of the woods, for now at least.

"A sudden and mysterious drop in China's oil consumption helped to push down the International Energy Agency's estimate on Wednesday of global demand for this year.

After growing 11 percent in 2003 and 15.4 percent last year, China's overall oil use declined 1 percent in the second quarter from the comparable quarter a year earlier, the agency said.

The drop is the latest in a series of unclear and often conflicting indications about whether the Chinese economy is still growing strongly. Top officials of the agency said in interviews they believed that the decline was temporary and that they expected Chinese demand to rebound in the second half of the year, but added that world oil prices could take a heavy blow if Chinese use did not increase."
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/14/business/worldbusiness/14oil.html

Read more... (12 comments, 391 words in story)
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