2016 Predictions

My predictions from last year seem to have been about right on. Of course, "less pessimistic than JHK" seems to be easy money.
  • "Sustained low [oil] prices": Check, in spades.
  • While immigration will continue to be a contentious political issue, there won't be 'open ethnic warfare' in 'France, Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden', nor will the level of violent racial conflict in the US return to the levels of the 1960s or 1970s": Check, though there were certainly more active attempts at provoking that level of conflict than I would like.
  • "No huge constitutional crisis [in the US], either. Dysfunction and gridlock will continue to be the political order of the day": Double-check.
  • "the Russia/Ukraine situation[...] probably won't lead to the outbreak of a world war next year": Check, and that "probably" was just exaggerating for humor... I hope.
Per tradition, Kunstler once again has an annual prediction post that goes for exaggerated overconfidence on even more pessimism. His stock market prognostications (~50% decline by June) seem wildly outlandish in their intentionally-entertaining specificity. But oil below $30 is entirely possible; that prediction is quite close to being right already. Kunstler's predictions on the political front are more interesting (stuff about race relations in the US aside), though I don't think that a Trump presidency would be as exiting as Kunstler predicts (or that the Republicans will get a dark-horse candidate to save them from another Clinton presidency).

John Michael Greer's predictions continue to be much more level-headed. Those more or less match my predictions: Things that are getting worse will continue to get gradually worse (but in ways that might not be so dramatic or sudden), financial bubbles will pop eventually, but you can't predict exactly when. Tech bubble popping in 2016, maybe. New bubble in photovoltaics, no idea. Trump presidency, maybe, but I'd bet against. Saudi Regime falls in 2016... well, I'd be willing to be on eventually, but don't know about this year specifically. Read the whole thing, though, it's interesting.

Seems the general trend is that 2016 is predicted to be like 2015, but more so.

What are your favorite prognostication posts this year? What are your most interesting predictions for 2016?
Peter Mietkiewicz Stagetorn Kolos, autokonkurs, EUDP, Opfinder, konkurs

Ukrainian inventors suffer from fraud in Denmark

Dear Sirs,
My name is Olexii Tarasevich. I am the citizen of Ukraine. I am an inventor.
My father is the doctor of Chemistry, the inventor and the author of many Patents.
Starting from 2006, we have been involved with the development of new silicon purification technologies. Throughout the research period since 2006 till 2011 we have registered seven patens for invention in this field.
In 2011 we have accepted the proposal of Mr. Peter Mietkiewicz Stagetorn Kolos, the citizen of Denmark, about joint implementation of our inventions in Denmark based on the principles of equal and open partnership. At that time we thought of Denmark as of a country of absolute European democracy, a country of fair and happy people, with zero tolerance for corruption. Therefore, his proposal to consolidate our intellectual assets with his financial and business assets in the joint venture "North Atlantic Innovation Group ApS" in the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Denmark seemed attractive.
We paid a heavy price for this illusion!
Currently, as a result of corporate raiding of our joint ownership by our ex-partner (falsification of documents and fraudulent bankruptcy of the company) we have actually lost our ownership and the opportunity to work on the project.
All our attempts to restore justice with the help of the Danish police, State Prosecution office and other public institutions are either ignored or are faced with persistent unwillingness to see the obvious facts.
I have filed two claims in the City Court of Copenhagen, but instead of considering the cases on the merits, I only received financial pressure, first of all through illegal decision of “Kbenhavns Byret” (dommer Anette Burko) on financial pledge of 200 000DKK just for consideration of my case
Today Mr. Peter Mietkiewicz Stagetorn Kolos have reached his strategic aim - to exhaust my family financially. We have no means to pay the lawyers anymore.
But we don’t want to believe that the issue of restoring justice in Denmark is just a question of money! This is why I try to use social networks, online newspapers and open sources of public authorities to attract attention of Danish citizens and international community to our problem.
I am placing several posts which will not contain my conclusions. There are only facts and documents.
1. Mr. Peter Mietkiewicz Stagetorn Kolos is a founder and Director of 20 companies-bankrupts; financial receipts in the amount of DKK 3,084,800 for fictional people (without names and other details of beneficiaries) provided by MR. Peter Kolos as a full package of financial documents.
2. Official documents of Kbenhavns Byret ( Illegal decision of the court on "financial pledge" of 200 000 DKK for the applicant (claimant) as a prerequisite for consideration of the case "on the merits" and Clauses of the Danish Law stating that this rule is not applicable in my case.
3. The documents sent to the prosecutor's office and the police office of the Kingdom of Denmark, as well as to Ministry of Justice of Denmark are ignored. (Official Letter of the Deputy Director of the Department of Consular Service of the MFA of Ukraine with the information taken by the MFA of Ukraine No.71/ВКЗ/19-091_56530 dated 25th June 2014 )
4. The documents confirming the fact of concealment of the Patent Applications “A process for the production of fuel for heat engines on the basis of silicon and hydrogen, and an industrial installation”. “Vanishing” of this and others non-material assets at the time of mandatory annual audit (auditor “Beierholm”)
5. EUDP Documents – “Energiteknologisk udvikling og demonstration”, - the State Fund allocating the Denmark taxpayers’ money; confirmation for 8,962,645.32 DKK
to North Atlantic Innovation Group ApS and 9,209,000 DKK to a private company of Mr. Peter Mietkiewicz Stagetorn Kolos “Danica Greentech ApS. EUDP Internal investigation report and violations revealed.
6. A legal company "ADVOKATFIRMAET PAUL HENRIK JLVER". My cooperation experience. Work quality and Results.
I'll be happy to cooperate with interested journalists/public authorities and I am ready to provide full information, as may be required for a journalist investigation. I warranty reliability and authenticity of the documents. All documents are legally obtained.

I thank all indifferent readers for reposting!
Peak Oil

2015 Predictions

It's the new year, and that means one things to all the futurists and wanna-be futurists out there: Time for predictions!

Kunstler's annual predictions post is as dramatic as ever. The guy seems to be playing doomer Martingale: If your pessimistic predictions turn out to be overly so, make your predictions next year twice as pessimistic, you're bound to be right eventually!

John Michael Greer's predictions are also justifiably gloomy, but I think his predictions are better calibrated (and better explained).

Do any of you have other links of note to share on that topic? Predictions of your own?

As for me, here are my incredibly vague predictions:

Scarcity means that oil prices will rise eventually, but I think the likely scenario is sustained low prices next year. Any sort of big economic disruption is going to cause a big decrease in demand, even as it hits supply. So you might not see high prices again until the next "recovery". The next big crash could be in 2015, but maybe not. (On the other hand, Kunstler is right that some events in the middle east could cause a supply crunch so fast that price would ramp up rapidly.)

While immigration will continue to be a contentious political issue, there won't be "open ethnic warfare" in "France, Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden", nor will the level of violent racial conflict in the US return to the levels of the 1960s or 1970s (it seems the Kunstler is really hankering for a race war). No huge constitutional crisis, either. Dysfunction and gridlock will continue to be the political order of the day. (Wouldn't be surprised if things get gradually more interesting as we move into 2016, though.)

I'm not making any predictions about the European monetary union. Not making predictions about the Russia/Ukraine situation, except that it probably won't lead to the outbreak of a world war next year.
Peak Oil

Subprime Oil

This article has been in my queue for a while, but it's worth a comment:

In 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast that the US would outpace Saudi Arabia in oil production thanks to the shale boom by 2020, becoming a net exporter by 2030. The forecast was seen by many as decisive evidence of the renewal of the oil age, while informed detractors were at best ignored, at worst ridiculed.


But the IEA's latest assessment has proved the detractors right all along. The agency's World Energy Investment Outlook released this week says that US tight oil production - which draws largely from the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas - will peak around 2020 before declining.


The IEA report says:

"... output from North America plateaus [from around 2020] and then falls back from the mid-2020s onwards."

Mid-2020s actually sounds like a nice long reprieve to me. But things are unlikely to go that smoothly if companies were counting on a more optimistic supply curve. Shale oil companies have been raking in revenue, but maybe not so much in the way of profit. From Bloomberg:

Floyd Wilson raps his fingertips against the polished conference table. He’s just been asked, for a second time, how he reacted when his Halcon Resources Corp. (HK) wrote off $1.2 billion last year after disappointing results in two key prospects.


Halcon spent $3.40 for every dollar it earned from operations in the 12 months through June 30. That's more than all but six of the 60 U.S.-listed companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Independent E&P Valuation Peers index. The company lost $1.4 billion in those 12 months. Halcon's debt was almost $3.2 billion as of Sept. 5, or $23 for every barrel of proved reserves, more than any of its competitors.

Maybe this means the shale boom will get its own financial crisis to precede round two of the bumpy plateau. I wonder how that will compare to 2008. On the plus side, at least it's all junk bonds. It's not a crisis of supposedly-safe investment-grade debt, so there won't be the web of insurance and derivatives that made the subprime mortgage crash such a cascading failure. On the other hand, a lot of projections of America's financial future are pinned to assumptions about shale gas.


Оригинал взят у juice_earth в ПЕРЕРАБОТКА БУРОВЫХ И НЕФТЕШЛАМОВ
Наиболее экологически, экономически и даже этически оправданными способами очистки природных объектов от нефтесодержащих и других видов загрязнений являются биотехнологические способы, воспроизводящие природные процессы самоочистки почв от всякого рода загрязнений. Все известные способы биотехнологической очистки сводятся к тому, что из некоего природного комплекса микроорганизмов, участвующих в процессах очистки от загрязнений, выделяются штаммы, якобы особо эффективные в процессах очистки. Отметим, что выделенные штаммы всегда обладают более низкой способностью разложения нефтепродуктов, чем комплексное сообщество, а главное – это неспособность искусственно выделенных узконаправленных штаммов решать комплекс проблем.

Из всех существующих на Земле сообществ почвенных организмов наиболее высокой метаболической активностью и самой высокой способностью к самоочистке обладает сообщество почвенных организмов черноземов. Предельно допустимые концентрации практически для всех токсичных веществ самые высокие у черноземов.

В 2012г. на производственной базе компании «Зарубежнефть» были проведены успешные испытания по переработке буровых и нефтешламов с использованием концентрированного почвенного раствора «Сок Земли». После совместной переработки смеси буровых шламов, нефтешламов и бытовых отходов культурой черноземообразующих организмов и концентрированным почвенным раствором, адаптированными к переработке нефтепродуктов, получились почвогрунты, пригодные для выращивания растений.

Выращенные на этих почвогрунтах растения и сами почвогрунты были сданы в сертифицированную лабораторию («Лабораторию экотоксикологического анализа почв» при факультете Почвоведения МГУ им.М.В.Ломоносова) для определения класса опасности. Был определён V класс опасности, то есть почвогрунт является безопасным для объектов окружающей среды.

Collapse )

Post-Peak Parenting

In the past few years, I've read a few books that discuss modern American middle-class parenting:

Leanore Skenazy's Free Range Kids suggests that middle-class American parents are going crazy with worry in a media environment that exaggerates the risks posed to children by crime or accident. (The sole risk that gets understated is the danger of automobile accidents to children as passengers.) She suggests that parents calm down, try to get their perception of risk in line with reality instead of cable TV, and remember the benefits of children being able to do things on their own.

Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids notes that middle-class American parents favor methods of parenting that take a lot of time, money, and labor, but that the same parents overestimate the effects of their parenting methods. In addition, people focus on the short-term, so they over-focus on the drawbacks of having young children and under-focus on the benefits of having adult children and grandchildren. Thus, they might be making the wrong trade-offs when deciding between expensive, difficult parenting methods and few or no kids versus cheaper, lazier parenting methods while having more kids.

Jennifer Senior's All Joy and No Fun describes some rather dramatic changes that have occurred in the last two to three generations in the attitudes that middle-class Americans have towards parenting, and the effect of that on the experience of parenthood. This book is more a work of sociology than an argumentative essay, so it doesn't really give much in the way of advice.

All of these books suggest that something has gotten really weird about American middle-class parenting in the last 70 years or so. (It's not just America, either.) That time-frame isn't a coincidence. Parents raising their children a commute away from everything, families increasingly living places where children can't get anywhere by themselves because you need to drive to get anywhere, towns being organized in ways that make them more convenient for cars at the expense of the comfort and safety of pedestrians, and (early on) lots of opportunities for upward mobility (followed now by pervasive threats of downward mobility), all of these are factors that pushed the concerted cultivation model of parenting. And all of those factors were shaped by the oil boom and subsequent peak.

So here's what I'm wondering: Is there any good writing on the impact of peak oil on parenting specifically?

The books I mention describe a dysfunctional situation, and give some advice for mitigating that situation. But they miss something about the underlying causes, and they don't do much to anticipate any sort of future change. Is there any good writing that describes the experience of raising children during an economic contraction? Or speculates about the effect of peak oil on families? So far what I've got in terms of advice is something like, "Read The Upside of Down (or maybe The Up Side of Down) and try not to stress out too much."

(Stuff about places outside of America and socioeconomic groups outside of the middle-class would be interesting as well. I recognize that this is a bias in my reading, but it's where I live.)
The Captain's Prop

The Slaves We All Happily Keep—With Addendum

I'll take a break from a currently tumultuous family life and digress into a thought that has niggled at my brain for about three decades now. Back in college, a friend and I were mulling over beers about a simple question: Why is invention—specifically the rate of invention—accelerating?

Some historians say it is not, that looking at inventions from the distance history provides is like trying to judge the speed of an observed train at a distance without knowing the distance; from farther away, be they historically or in proximity, things appear slower. But this answer is, to me at least, just waving off the preponderance of evidence for an invention acceleration as simply not worth considering.

Back in college, I suggested it was education. More and more are getting more and more education. Could that be it? Perhaps, but this answer simply pushes the question down the road; why are more and more getting educated at greater rates? In other words, what changed in our education system from previous years?

Very recently, I think I've stumbled upon the answer, and I'm not sure I like the implications. More are educated today, more invention happens today, and more of us do less strenuous work today for the same reason that prisoners today Collapse )
Gas Prices

Iran Invades Iraq in "Sectarian Violence" Turned Civil War

And suddenly, Fox News is taking Iran at their word:

Iran is coming to the aid of its historic nemesis, sending elite fighters to Iraq in the wake of a Sunni insurgency that has claimed two key northern cities and now threatens Baghdad, Fox News has learned.

Some 150 fighters from the Revolutionary Guards elite Quds force have already been dispatched by Tehran, and the division's powerful commander, Qassem Suleimani, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Thursday and pledged to send two notorious Iranian brigades to aid in the defense of Baghdad. That could amount to as many as 10,000 soldiers sent to fight the Sunni group known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Maliki is believed to be considering the offer, especially in light of reported decisions by the U.S. to reject his request for American airstrikes against the Al Qaeda-affiliated militants who have recently overrun Mosul and Tikrit and appear to be preparing for a march on the capital. [...]

Not everyone is reporting the same news about those airstrikes, though, see this from The Washington Post:

Iraqi media and a source close to Maliki's office in Baghdad said that Obama had already agreed to "imminent" U.S. airstrikes, to be launched from a base in Turkey. The senior official described those reports as "premature" but said a decision could come "today, tomorrow, in the coming days."

Oil prices are up a bit this week, but not much, currently under $107/bl. However, prospects for future oil development in Iraq are looking even worse than they were previously, which was not so great to begin with.
Gas Prices

Catching Up on Peak Oil

I knew it had been a while since someone posted to this community, but nothing since January 2013. Anyone still listening?

Major Peak Oil stories from 2013 and 2014 so far:

July 6, 2013 - The town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec was destroyed when a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed and exploded.

September 22, 2013 - Peak Oil blog The Oil Drum closed its doors.

October 18, 2013 - Saudi Arabia refused a seat on the UN Security Council.

February 2014 to present - Crisis in the Ukraine. Civil unrest, ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea. Issues at stake include control over natural gas pipelines and some significant debts for natural gas owed by Ukraine to Russia.

April 13, 2014 - Suicide of Michael Ruppert, author of (among other things) Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.

What big stories am I missing?

Vehicle-miles traveled in the US dipped significantly in 2008 and has been in a bumpy plateau at the lower level since.

Oil prices have mostly stayed in the $90-$110/barrel range. The stock market has risen about 30% since early 2013, but the economic recovery continues to be underwhelming in many areas.

Peak production of light sweet crude oil was likely in 2005. Peak of global oil production was possibly in 2008, or may be yet to come, but supply has been looking rather plateau-like since 2005, even in the face of relatively high prices.