March 14, 2011

Tidal wave or meltdown?

The tragic events in Japan have answered a question I have had since I went camping at the spectacular Montana del Oro state park south of Morro Bay on the Central California coast in 2007. 

The one jarring note in the idyllic beach and tidepool scene was a tower with a siren on it. Was that to warn about a tsunami or a meltdown at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant a few miles to the south? Or both?

Say you were woken up in your tent in the dark by an earthquake and the siren going off. What's your number one priority? Getting as high up the hill as fast as possible or getting as far north away from the nuclear power plant as possible along a road that frequently dips to sea level?

Well, now I know. Tsunamis can happen faster than meltdowns.

103 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a gorgeous place, but also gives the impression of being fraught with danger. The one time I was there, in '04, they had just removed a group of rattlesnakes from the stairs leading down to the beach, and where you walk on top of that big mesa you can see all sorts of snake tracks in the sand going across the trail. We also saw a baby diamondback by the side of the trail and we talked to a fellow who'd been trail biking and said he'd almost biked right across a large Pacific rattler lying right on the trail. There are also signs posted everywhere warning of mountain lions in the vicinity, although I would guess they're relatively rare. (My daughter, who was 10 at the time and had already begun to treat me with disdain, suddenly became very affectionate to me after seeing those signs and would not let go of my hand.) And the mesa itself is not a reassuring place for people with a fear of heights.

But I guess a guy courageous enough to publish this blog would not be frightened off by a few snakes.

Steve Sailer said...

Snakes?!?

Anonymous said...

Who is scared of snakes and mountain lions? Sheesh, you drive on the highway don't you? That's much more dangerous.

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, but snakes are snakey.

Kylie said...

The title of this entry reminds me of the old Three Stooges routine.

When given the choice of being burnt at the stake or having his head chopped off, Curley chooses the former because "A hot 'steak' is better than cold 'chop'!"

My choice in either situation would be "Include me out."

Speaking of choice, camping?? Camping's what you do when you've never had to live outdoors.

Carol said...

I spent a glorious spring break at a ranch up in the Cayucos hills (Morro adjacent) circa 1962. I rode horses, hunted for abalone in the tidal pools, and played games at a beach pinball parlor listening to Joey Dee on the juke box. I moved from Cali in the 70s, and I had no idea Diablo Canyon was in those parts. No wonder no one ever seems to wax poetic about the area, which is beautiful and otherwise well situated. I thought it was still a well kept secret.

Anonymous said...

'Speaking of choice, camping?? Camping's what you do when you've never had to live outdoors.'

Kylie, that's probably true in that campers can be very elitist. (Actually, camping is right up there in the SWPL list, too). I have campers in my family, and they look down their noses at motels and hotels, no matter how swanky.
Gilbert Pinfold.

SGOTI said...

"Tsunamis can happen faster than meltdowns."

I currently have a sick two-year old and a PMSing wife.

Tsunamis and nuke plants both lag in the speed, violence and meltdown department.

Anonymous said...

Diablo Canyon 1 why can't you be more like Diablo Canyon 2?

Dan in DC

Kylie said...

"Kylie, that's probably true in that campers can be very elitist. (Actually, camping is right up there in the SWPL list, too). I have campers in my family, and they look down their noses at motels and hotels, no matter how swanky."

Campers are elitist because they can afford to be. A roof over their heads is always available to them so the discomfort of spending time in the great outdoors is always a choice.

It's a way of being "authentic", something else that appeals to elites.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear energy will almost certainly take a PR hit in the public mind due to the reactor-situation and ensuing news coverage. This will not be displeasing to the Left.

Thats saddening to me because nuclear energy would be a way for us to evade carbon credit trading should it be imposed upon us, and it still very much can be. A couple of hot summers will put that issue right back on the front burner, and it really has the potential to decrease our wealth and make us much less competitive, and lead to more offshoring of industry.



BTW---Japanese Treasury buying will obviously probably slow down a bit. I also doubt we will be selling them as many Buicks for the next few years. This is bad all the way around for us.


I wonder how soon it will be before any establishment pundit mentions the "i" word as a prospective way to "rebuild a stronger Japan". Maybe one of Steve's readers can note it here if he sees it. I'd bet on about 10 or 12 days myself.

JSM said...

"I have campers in my family, and they look down their noses at motels and hotels, no matter how swanky."

Well, at least one's own sleeping bag isn't contaminated with the dried bodily fluids of a thousand strangers, like those bedspreads in swanky hotels.

Anonymous said...

If it isn't a new tower, it's probably there to warn you that the Nipponese are coming with their jets and bombers on surprise attack.

There used to be a lot of towers and posts like that on the California coast for some reason.

'Speaking of choice, camping?? Camping's what you do when you've never had to live outdoors.'

Kylie, that's probably true in that campers can be very elitist. (Actually, camping is right up there in the SWPL list, too).


I go camping and long-distance backpacking across mountains and such. I do look down on the less rugged and their hotels. A less swipple family member brought me along to a $1k per night luxury beach resort where my wife and I continually agitated for the family to ride the cooks' and houskeepers' bus out to the woods to camp and have some real fun for a couple nights.

John Craig said...

I'm the one who's scared of snakes and mountain lions, and yes, I drive on the highway. But we didn't spend millions of years of evolution developing a fear of fast moving pieces of metal, whereas we did spend that time developing a natural -- and healthy -- fear of slithering reptiles and big cats.

Plus, people always quote those statistics about how fifty thousand people a year are killed in auto accidents vs., say, 12 by snakebite a year in this country. But once you factor in how much time American citizens spend in close proximity to poisonous snakes vs. how much time they spend in automobiles, the time spent with snakes, or sharks, or bears, or whatever, no longer seems quite as safe.

David said...

>once you factor in how much time American citizens spend in close proximity to poisonous snakes vs. how much time they spend in automobiles, the time spent with snakes, or sharks, or bears, or whatever, no longer seems quite as safe<

Any writer who can quantify this would have a first-rate article.

Steve Sailer said...

"Any writer who can quantify this would have a first-rate article."

Here's a start. My aunt went hiking in the mountains of Southern California maybe twice a week for 60 years. She told me she's seen about 8 rattlesnakes.

I've seen two in about an order of magnitude less hiking. Seeing (and, especially, hearing) a rattlesnake shake its rattle is a memorable experience.

Sideways said...

Nuclear power plants are, by a large margin, the safest machines ever built. This should have been an easy question.

I mean, the number of people killed building natural gas power plants in the last 13 months is greater than the number of Americans killed by American nuclear plants ever

Kristen said...

I live in AZ and see rattlers daily on my desert walk. No big deal.

Anonymous said...

The current crisis reminds me of K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER.

Anonymous said...

(Michael Farris)

John Craig: "But once you factor in how much time American citizens spend in close proximity to poisonous snakes vs. how much time they spend in automobiles, the time spent with snakes, ... no longer seems quite as safe."

1. Technically, snakes aren't poisonous (dangerous to eat) they're venomous (inject dangerous stuff into your body).

2. If you're outdoors you spend a lot of time around venomous snakes. Fortunately, they're mostly timid and reclusive and not interested in biting anything that's not on the menu or threatening them (though being timid they're quick to feel threatened). Most people who get bitten were messing with the snake instead of leaving it alone.

3. They say for every snake you see you've stood or walked past 10.

4. North Americans have probably been selecting for quieter less obrtusive rattlesnakes by killing conspicuous ones (fun thought).

Whiskey said...

Somewhat OT, I hope Steve you will do a post on young Ms. Alexandra Wallace, of "Asians in the Library" Youtube video fame.

[Short version, she made a Youtube video complaining that Asian kids don't follow the rules in the Library restricting noise, and their elderly relatives on weekends descend to cook/do laundry for them. UCLA promises punishment. Ms. Wallace is apparently a part-time swimsuit model, no kidding.]

The UC chancellor has weighed in, Huffington Post has two minutes of hate, its Great White Defendant as rather innocuous hot blonde coed. Hard to gin up images of the Klan from what amounts to a real life Malibu Barbie (hot women are not threatening) but the media is trying.

This seems right up your alley -- the internet + female need to express one's self + diversity costs of constant friction = PC jihad against a designated "villain."

eh said...

It was extremely foolish to build a plant along the coast, or indeed anywhere near the fault line that runs thru California. At the time I found it a very surprising decision.

Events in Japan emphasize that clearly.

Additionally it is shocking how ineffective the emergency core cooling system design in Japan, generally a very technically advanced nation, seems to be. Something to investigate there.

Chris said...

I don't get why the power plant wasn't placed in a spot that's a bit more elevated wrt sea level. Diablo Canyon is at something like 100 ft. Why put one within reach of a 30-ft tsunami?

Pete N said...

Maybe, but if you went high to evade the tsunami as first priority, then you would be in a real mess once it caused a meltdown like in Japan....

With enough warning, you could probably drive far enough away by the road.

Anonymous said...

"This seems right up your alley -- the internet + female need to express one's self + diversity costs of constant friction = PC jihad against a designated "villain.""

Dislikes run 10 to 1 against her.
She's defeated in the court of public opinion. Just like most of ISteve readers.

Big Bill said...

If you wake to the tsunami alarm, the cores at the nuke plant are being/have already been scrammed. Control rods are inserted into the core and the Uranium chain reaction has been quenched. There is still some residual heat due to secondary chain reactions that will need to be removed, but a catastrophic event has been avoided.

Gamel Jarush said...

Alexandra Wallace....It's absolutely ridiculous that major media groups and University chancellors have felt the need to be involved in what in saner times would so obviously be minutiae of a non-event of a 20 year old girl complaining about Asians being noisy in the library and having large get togethers. Its truly a sign of the times.

They must be so desperately in need of Great White Defendants since so few white men are causing even innoculous mischief, that they are now willing to jump the canonical evil white male, to try to pursue a young white girl gossiping as a terrible evil that must be reined in from on high at all costs, as though it were the bubonic plague.

beowulf said...

Nuclear energy will almost certainly take a PR hit in the public mind due to the reactor-situation and ensuing news coverage

The nuclear industry will have to rebrand, like they tried to do with food irradiation ---> "cold pasteurization" (don't think the FDA let them get away with that one). It will take much money and a lot of focus groups to put just the right mental image in the public's mind, something like,"zero carbon energy" or "synthetic solar".

Big Bill said...

@Kylie: "Campers are elitist because they can afford to be. A roof over their heads is always available to them so the discomfort of spending time in the great outdoors is always a choice. It's a way of being "authentic", something else that appeals to elites."

Social climbers are intensely aware of their trappings, their "brand". For them, camping has too many poverty-related connotations.

There are those for whom "camping" or generally wandering around outdoors is a part of who they are.

For example, go to Germany and witness the groups of old people with staffs walking 10-15km through the hills to eat lunch at a village restaurant.

Some races/ethnicities/nationalities have no particular interest in nature or camping.

Non-whites, for example, are not moved by Teddy Roosevelt/John Muir-ish paeans to nature and (more to the point) National Parks. It is not in their blood.

The lack of "diversity" in the National Park customer base is becoming an issue at the national level.

This is also reflected in the lack of diversity in the outdoorsy government jobs. NAMs hire on as Post Office employees, not Park Rangers.

beowulf said...

She also mocks their speech and faults them for calling family in the wake of the tsunami. "I swear they're going through their whole families just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing," she said...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/alexandra-wallace-racist-video_n_835505.html

Classy broad.

Jacob Bane said...

What is craziest to me about Alexandra Wallace is that she bothered with UCLA at all. The woman has some innate assets that would earn good $$ in another prominent California industry. Why bother with wasting time to go to school for another 4 years (or 5-6 years these days) to go on to a $40,000 yr 9-5 (and that's if you're lucky these days), when she could have an extra 4 (or 5 or 6) years of time climbing the porn industry ladder, at the salaries they make? That's primo years there going down the drain- they only have a short window for this kind of thing.

That being said, its pretty funny (and sadly typical) to see the hypocrisy on display over the powers that be going ballistic over one girl's rather mild complaints about Asians, but not a peep is said over the flood of vile hatred and blatant racism in Asian comments and videos that are in the response to it, not to mention all the other videos, writings, etc out there spewing forth much more virulent hatred against whites long before this came along.

Big Bill said...

The chancellor made his YouTube video about Alexandra Wallace because he is probably the last white guy to hold the job and he doesn't want to lose it before retirement.

If the Chancellor was Asian, he probably would have made some quiet joke to fellow Asian faculty and staff about blond shiksas (or whatever the Asian equivalent is) and never mentioned it publicly. Alexandra's outburst would be an embarrassment for white faculty and staff, but not for the Asian elite at UC.

Why? As all Asians know, it is just a matter of time before the blond bimbettes never matriculate to the UC system anyway. They will be replaced by Asians. So why fret? Just smile, laugh at the white foolishness and ignorance and let the inexorable white replacement continue.

The white chancellor's self-righteous huffing and puffing about "equality", and "respect", and "stereotypes" just shows how weak he is.

The white chancellor acts like like some Christian leader in Pakistan desperately explaining that "real" Christians do not proselytize or blaspheme against the Prophet (and praying to keep his job and his life).

His YouTube speech stank of flop sweat and race guilt. Anyone who bobs, whines and tugs his forelock as furiously as the Chancellor did is desperate to keep his job.

As more of these old gutless white farts lose their jobs and are replaced with Asian and Mexican colonists you will see more of this racial abasement by the few that remain. They know they have their jobs only at Mexican and Asian sufferance.

Anonymous said...

I go camping and long-distance backpacking across mountains and such. I do look down on the less rugged and their hotels. A less swipple family member brought me along to a $1k per night luxury beach resort where my wife and I continually agitated for the family to ride the cooks' and houskeepers' bus out to the woods to camp and have some real fun for a couple nights.

This can't possibly be serious, can it?

It has to be sarcasm or facetiousness, right?

AMac said...

Driving past the San Onofre nuclear station, I've been surprised by its precarious geography. Built on a very small parcel of land wedged between the I-5 and the Pacific. And right on the beach.

This plant is obviously much less prepared for a tsunami than were the Fukushima stations. Other contingencies? Dunno, but I wouldn't think complacency is called for.

Are spent fuel rods stored on-site? Almost certainly. As we are learning to our sorrow today, that's highly imprudent at a site like this.

By the way, here is a 1-MB, 25-slide PDF on a study by a TEPCO engineer, in the wake of the 2010 Chilean mega-earthquake. It discusses the tsunami-readiness of the Fukushima stations.

Anonymous said...

Campers are elitist because they can afford to be. A roof over their heads is always available to them so the discomfort of spending time in the great outdoors is always a choice.

It's a way of being "authentic", something else that appeals to elites.

There's something in this, but I can't see camping as a full-on SWPL activity. For one thing, small children love camping (mine did, anyway), and they don't love other SWPL display activities. So there has got to be something more primal in the appeal.

Cennbeorc

Mr. Anon said...

"Sideways said...

Nuclear power plants are, by a large margin, the safest machines ever built. This should have been an easy question.

I mean, the number of people killed building natural gas power plants in the last 13 months is greater than the number of Americans killed by American nuclear plants ever."

To say nothing of gas pipe-line explosions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_San_Bruno,_California_fire

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/pennsylvania-natural-gas-explosion-leaves-dead/story?id=12883552

Anonymous said...

Steve,
As a proud American citizenist, may I humbly suggest that there is a broad concensus among essentially all readers at Isteve that immigration of NAMS should be sharply curtailed. But this disaster in Japan provides the US with an opportunity to lend a humanitarian hand and also enhance the prospects for today's American citizens. With the disaster in Japan, we can offer to evacuate a few million educated and skilled Japanese to the United States. Certainly the current US citizens would benefit from a few million more citizens of Japanese ancestry. I don't need to remind you that the average America of Japanese ancestry pays dramatically more in taxes than the average American of non Japanese ancestry.

Luke Lea said...

At good place to get un-hyped news of the nuclear plants in Japan is at the World Nuclear News site:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Possible_damage_at_Fukushima_Daiichi_2_1503111.html

Lubos Motl at The Reference Frame puts it all in perspective: the radiation levels on site are far from neglibible but drop off radically with time and distance.

Anonymous said...

"Dislikes run 10 to 1 against her.
She's defeated in the court of public opinion. Just like most of ISteve readers."

Not public opinion. This is internet where anyone can express their thoughts without worry of public censure or shame. Change the wording from "public" opinion to "pure" opinion.

Kylie said...

"Social climbers are intensely aware of their trappings, their "brand". For them, camping has too many poverty-related connotations.

There are those for whom "camping" or generally wandering around outdoors is a part of who they are...."


Thank you for the explanation of various peoples's enthusiasm or indfference or distaste toward camping. Actually, I was already aware of a continuum of opinions and behaviors re this activity. In my comments, I was referring specifically to SWPLs or "elites" as should be have evident when I said, " "Campers are elitist because they can afford to be. A roof over their heads is always available to them so the discomfort of spending time in the great outdoors is always a choice. It's a way of being 'authentic', something else that appeals to elites.'"

Next time, I will try to be as exhaustive in using qualifiers as you were in your categorizations.

By the way, I suspect that social-climbers, while having no particular bent toward camping, see it as an SWPL activity and would be willing to climb a hill in the great outdoors if they think that would help them climb the social ladder. Also, social climbers, once they saw how pricey modern camping equipment is, would quickly lose any prejudices they have against camping as a lower-class activity. They know elites like to do things in their leisure time that some of the rest of us have to do all the time (e.g., walking or biking or taking public transportation instead of driving). They also know elites like to use expensive accessories while engaging in these humbler activities (e.g., pricey running shoes, bicycles).

Doing something that was once essential to daily life in the Western world but no longer is and doing so in a way that is ostensibly authentic but also prohibitively expensive is quintessentially SWPLish. Such an activity has intrinsic value for elites and utilitarian value for social climbers.

Anonymous said...

I expected you to comment on the pervasive media meme of the "calm" and well organized Japanese.

Fox has sent some of their anchors over there. When interviewed on air they invariably remark that the Japanese people don't panic, prepare ahead of time and behave well in the face of adversity. Could there surprise have something to do with the newscasters recent disaster reporting experience in New Orleans and Haiti?

Funny that none of the news people ever mention race.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

I still can't get over the idea of central CA being "fraught with danger." I have too many small children to go camping. Now I am freaking out that they're all going to grow up afraid of snakes. GET IN THE CAR KIDS WE'RE GOING TO FIND SOME NATURE.

Anonymous said...

"As more of these old gutless white farts lose their jobs and are replaced with Asian and Mexican colonists you will see more of this racial abasement by the few that remain. They know they have their jobs only at Mexican and Asian sufferance."

These guys turned on the white American population long before it dawned on them that they'd end up being replaced by minorities themselves. Their desperation is to keep the universities stocked with students from around the world; I guess in the belief they can keep providing the same content in pretty much the same way despite changing attitudes towards higher education.

No doubt Miss Wallace will be suspended as a result of broadcasting an honest response to Asian rudeness/bizarreness albeit at a very bad time. Is this what they call schadenfreude?

I've experienced the noisy library myself though from a different minority congregating at tables and generally acting like they were in the cafeteria. And the invasion of old folks on the weekend. Come on. College dorms and apartments are protected turf. Parents are only welcome on designated days. Even at the religion affiliated university I attended, which had single sex dorms, anyone whose parents showed up more than twice a semester was considered weird.

Most commenters on iSteve understand that racist rants are not the sole provenance of the white race. The more you've interacted outside your own race/culture; the more you know this is so. I'd still have avoided: a) recording it on YouTube, b) timing my rant to coincide with a catastrophic event. Unfortunately for English speakers, ours is the universal language. What you might get away with saying in Mandarin, Urdu or even Spanish, won't go unnoticed when broadcast or written in English.

airtommy said...

The Nuke Industry started by trying to claim this Japanese disaster is not really a big deal. That didn't stick, so now they're rolling out Plan B:

Reactor Design in Japan Has Long Been Questioned

In other words, they're telling us that nuclear energy would be perfectly safe if we could just be better organized socially and more advanced technically than Japan. As laughable as such a notion is, most people don't question it.

Dahlia said...

Michael Farris said,
"They say for every snake you see you've stood or walked past 10."

Yes, when we would go looking for deer tracks, many more snakes were noticed than otherwise. Because this was mostly done after recent rainfall, we mainly saw cottonmouths.

I came upon rattlesnakes, and even a coral snake once, mostly when blackberry picking in a dry field next to our house.

The thing I was most afraid of, and thankfully never came across on foot, was an alligator. Saw one two Fridays ago when on a picnic, but he stayed in the water. Still scary!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile in England. "Midsomer Murders" is basically a series of Agatha Christie-like short stories for TV - murder mysteries set in an English village.

"The executive producer of Midsomer Murders was in crisis talks about his future on the show today after revealing he deliberately excludes ethnic characters.

Brian True-May was taken to a meeting in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and a further statement is expected to be released later.

Mr True-May, who has already been suspended, refused to comment as he left his house in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.

He created a storm by saying he did not use black or Asian people in the ITV drama because 'it wouldn't be an English village with them'."

Anonymous said...

"In other words, they're telling us that nuclear energy would be perfectly safe if we could just be better organized socially and more advanced technically than Japan. As laughable as such a notion is, most people don't question it."

Yep, look at us, rushing to build more nuke plants

wait

Kylie said...

"There's something in this, but I can't see camping as a full-on SWPL activity."

It is for the SWPL who enjoy it. There are other groups of people who enjoy it, too, of course. My use of the word "elites" was meant to refer to the attitude that they and only they take toward camping. Sorry I didn't express that clearly enough.

As a Girl Scout, I camped in the Rocky Mountains, drawing water from a stream, chopping wood, cooking over a camp fire, etc. And come TEOTWAWKI, I'll do all those things again. Meanwhile, I want to live in modest comfort--modest, that is, by Western standards.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The Nuke Industry started by trying to claim this Japanese disaster is not really a big deal. That didn't stick, so now they're rolling out Plan B:

I'll still take the nukes. Plenty of locales with low earthquake/tsunami incidence left on the planet. Nukes are huge energy return on the technology. Internal combustion engines have turned our cities into toxic cauldrons. Wind/solar is a pipe dream. Ethanol is net energy-consuming. If you want electric transport, you better get used to nukes. This also means less money going to nihilistic, corrupt Wahabbists, which is one group I'm getting real tired of.

Svigor said...

Mountain lions, not so much. The ones left alive are probably pretty heavy with the fear man gene. Snakes...

Campers are elitist because they can afford to be. A roof over their heads is always available to them so the discomfort of spending time in the great outdoors is always a choice.

It's a way of being "authentic", something else that appeals to elites.


Camping means different things to different people. For rednecks, it involves electricity. For SWPLs, it does not. For the hardcore, it's backpacking, not camping.

But I'm uncomfortable with the word "elite" here. Anyone think George Soros goes camping?

Camping seems like a pretty easy way to divide SWPL from "elite."

Svigor said...

Ethanol is net energy-consuming.

This does not pass the smell test. I need to see hard numbers if I'm going to believe this. Maybe putting the numbers for Nebraska corn next to those for Brazilian sugar cane? Because clearly, Brazilian sugar cane is energy-producing. I've looked for a plain-English explanation for the "ethanol is net energy-consuming" thing, but my G**gle-Fu came up short. Until I see one, I'm going to assume it's shilling from some petro think tank.

Kevin C said...

"The chancellor made his YouTube video about Alexandra Wallace because he is probably the last white guy to hold the job and he doesn't want to lose it before retirement."

-In a rational country where the brains of the elites are firing on both cylinders, the Alexandra Wallace video would be a non-issue. Since modern day US is not rational, it is unfortunate that University officials didn’t use their voice to cool the flames over this nonsense. Here is what a sensible university official should have said:


I have recently been informed of an online video made by a student of UCLA entitled,”Asians in the library”, where the student comments about annoying behavior by fellow Asian students in the library and around her apartment. Since then, I have seen and heard many comments urging harsh punishment and expulsion for the student, hateful statements about the student and her gender and ethnicity, and complaints about how this demonstrates an unfathomable level of racism on campus.

To all parties involved, I would say, ‘Grow up’. To the individual who posted the video- If you, as a student feel that your ability to study is compromised by noise at the library, then you should report this issue to library officials. Videotaping your complaint as childish gossip and posting it online to thousands of viewers is not appropriate. This also applies to the situation around your apartment complex. Tell your concerns to your landlord.

To those members of the community who have chosen to respond to the video in a negative manner: while the video is not an appropriate forum for addressing the issue of noise in the library or around an apartment complex, neither is it the appropriate forum for voicing hateful rhethoric in response. If you felt the video was inappropriate, why do you feel the proper way to address this is to smear all women, all white people, or all white women in response? The content of the original video quite frankly pales in comparison to many of the vile responses that have been made in its wake.

To the members of the media who have sensationalized this event, I would say not only to grow up, but to go elsewhere. Evoking the spectre of white racism to boost ratings by vilifying a young female student who used poor judgment in gossiping about events that annoy her is not only truly pathetic, but is dangerously irresponsible in a city that has already experienced painful racial riots of the magnitude experience by LA in the past.

It is hoped that one day, our country will achieve a more sensible perspective and will reach a point where a lone student posting daily gossip will not be reacted to as though the sky were falling.

JSM said...

"Maybe putting the numbers for Nebraska corn next to those for Brazilian sugar cane? Because clearly, Brazilian sugar cane is energy-producing. I've looked for a plain-English explanation for the "ethanol is net energy-consuming" thing, but my G**gle-Fu came up short. Until I see one, I'm going to assume it's shilling from some petro think tank."
Svig,
I read financialsense.com. Honestly, I don't see that Jim Puplava is a shill for any petro think tanks.
Puplava one time explained that the ostensible positive EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of Brazillian ethanol results from use of tremendous amounts of manual, stoop labor to plant and harvest the cane, as opposed to Nebraska farms using tractors.

So if you have slave labor at your disposal, then ethanol is net positive. But do we realllllly want to go back to the plantation system? *I* don't cotton to the idea (pardon the pun -- that was in poor taste).

Underachiever said...

Liberals on Reddit think that the lack of looting in Japan is caused by a shame culture, better government response, and lower economic inequality.

Money quote, "[the Japanese] have been raised better...with more decent values and respect. i'm not saying they're better people...i'm saying they've been raised better. we could learn a lot from asians, if we weren't so racist against them."

In other words, if we weren't so racist against Asians, blacks would act better in the US. Also notice how the commentator goes out of their way to avoid identifying with the racist hypothesis.

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/g4fdt/why_have_we_not_seen_katrinalike_looting_in_japan/

Gene Berman said...

Most snakes are generally secretive, whether venomous or not. A "10 to 1" rule of thumb may not be scientific but is probably conveying an entirely correct impression.

Anywhere the temperature goes under 65 F for any extended period, snakes will hibernate underground, especially where they can access burrows of other animals or rock crevices leading to deeper recesses. Then when T again reaches comfort levels, they emerge from the dens, first, just for the warmer hours and then, as average temperatures rise, spread from the den area over a wider territory. Typically, denned snakes will be found to contain a variety of species together. It is during this "spreading-out" time that people are most likely to encounter them--rattlers along with any other types. Greatest danger is in walking where you're not looking (ahead) and, most importantly, putting your hands where you shouldn't (reaching down into vegetation or above where you can see into rock formations), which safety precautions are only commonsensical and for additional reasons than the possible snake presence.

Many years ago, I worked with reptiles extensively (though not much at all for over 50 years) and have been poisoned by two rattlers (one just born) and a cottonmouth (a freak occurrence: I'd "milked" a drop of venom onto my thumbnail and it ran down into a "hangnail" opening--giving my thumb an "erection" that lasted longer than the Viagra warnings). But I've handled virtually everything of any note (excluding Australian species or sea snakes). I even had one large (Texas) diamondback bite clear through a heavy "engineer' boot and leave clear fang marks on the nails of my big toe and the one next to it. I don't know "everything' about snakes but close enough to answer almost any question asked by most. (Someone, above, estimated U.S. annual deaths due to snakebite at a dozen; I'd guess it closer to 2.)

I have an old friend with whom I used to hunt snakes here in NJ and PA. He now lives on a 40-acre rural property near Davis, CA on which they have many snake species, including quite a few rattlers; they only disturb those too close to the house--moving them further away. We were both invited snake-hunting this season down on the Pecos near Iraan, TX by another old friend. But we both had to pass because we're going to the NCAA Wrestling tournament in Philly (Thurs-Sat); maybe next year.

Olave d'Estienne said...

Here is a study by someone named Patzek on the subject JSM and Svigor are talking about. "Taking into account the energy required to grow the corn and convert it into ethanol, they determined that burning the biofuel as a gasoline additive actually results in a net energy loss of 65 percent."

Apparently it take energy to grow corn? Who knew! I mean, we all knew it took solar energy, but that is supposed to come for the taking. Ethanol was supposed to be a way of getting around the inefficiency of solar panels.

Anonymous said...

"But I'm uncomfortable with the word 'elite' here. Anyone think George Soros goes camping?"

Someone doesn't know the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions.

Olave d'Estienne said...

I should note that I chose that quotation because it made a useful sound-bite from the study's author, not because it was quite accurate. Per the article, it actually understated the energy waste of ethanol.

Methanol anyone? Artificial photosynthesis? Convincing the hippified public that nukes are a good idea? All sound hard.

Underachiever said...

Steve,

If you made an article which demonstrated step-by-step why Japan did not have looting and clearly tied it down to HBD, someone could link it in the Reddit article.

Anonymous said...

Clearly camping does mean different things to different people. When I stayed with my brother recently, he suggested we go camping. When I looked wary, he said '...not real camping, not hiking or anything - car camping.'

My kind of camping, it was: ice boxes, BBQs and a tent you could stand up in.
Some of my other relatives would be too purist for this. When I stayed with them a while back, I noted that their hobbies were mountaineering, skiing, kayaking and British folk music.
'You're practically White Nationalists.' I told them.
They were horrified.

Anonymous said...

Oops, that was me, Gilbert Pinfold, with the camping stories.

Anonymous said...

What is to be done when the kind of tsunami in THE LAST WAVE hits? We should have home-made submarines?

Abdullah Ibrahim Yamaguchi-O'Leary said...

>>Dislikes run 10 to 1 against her.
She's defeated in the court of public opinion. Just like most of ISteve readers.>>

Sounds like the "public" jury consists entirely of fat and ugly women, eh?

Nanonymous said...

Re: corn/ethanol

Here is the paper that goes into great detail on the issue of energy balance. It is by this guy. It's a serious work that withstood most serious criticism.

As for the ethanol from sugar cane: Sure, it does have positive balance. That's because it's not corn. It has a lot of more SUGAR (duh). When sugar cane grows in Iowa, then we can talk about ethanol without subsidies. (But the issue of environmental pollution remains).

Kylie said...

"Camping means different things to different people. For rednecks, it involves electricity. For SWPLs, it does not. For the hardcore, it's backpacking, not camping."

Exactly. Very succinct, thanks. I'm in the hardcore camp, so to speak. If you go camping with more than what you can put in a backpack, you're not camping, as I understand it. I thought that was evident from my original statement: "Camping's what you do when you've never had to live outdoors." (I now know I was wrong.)

When I camped outdoors with my backpack, I had a tarp to put under me and a jacket to put over me but no bedroll, sleeping bag or tent. I did this for a time in all weathers, including winter with snow on the ground.

ben tillman said...

Certainly the current US citizens would benefit from a few million more citizens of Japanese ancestry. I don't need to remind you that the average America of Japanese ancestry pays dramatically more in taxes than the average American of non Japanese ancestry.

And you think that's a good thing? The government, with its trillions in resources, is our enemy. We need to starve it, not feed it.

Kylie said...

"Oops, that was me, Gilbert Pinfold, with the camping stories."

Great stories. Your family sounds like a hoot. Love the "White Nationalists" remark.

Laban said...

"When I camped outdoors with my backpack, I had a tarp to put under me and a jacket to put over me but no bedroll, sleeping bag or tent. I did this for a time in all weathers, including winter with snow on the ground."

And you didn't get exposure when it rained ?

Anonymous said...

"Sounds like the "public" jury consists entirely of fat and ugly women, eh?"

Youtube demographic. Young, multi-ethnic, computer literate, young.
The future.

ISteve demographic. Old, white, male.
The past.

Svigor said...

then you should report this issue to library officials

Do we know that she didn't?

I read financialsense.com. Honestly, I don't see that Jim Puplava is a shill for any petro think tanks.

Maybe he's getting it from shills. I'm just saying, something doesn't add up. I smell a rat every time I hear that statement. And when I smell a rat, I want to see the books. The books are the only thing that will convince me at this point. Just a simple breakdown of the numbers would do.

It doesn't take that much gas to run a tractor and bring in a harvest (I'm no farmer, but the impression I get is that you only have to run a tractor over a crop a few times, mostly at planting and harvest). Maybe they're referring to BTUs and whatever they have to burn to make ethanol from corn, but that's the kind of thing that smells like a rat to me; it's not as if burning immature pine or whatever is going to cost us at the gas pump, so while technically it's "energy" and might factor into a result of "net energy consumer," I'd call bullshit in that case.

I guess that's my point, really. "Net energy consumer" is vague. Who gives a shit about a net energy loss if, for example, the energy lost is due to inefficiencies converting solar to unleaded? That's a bean-counter's idea of "net energy consumption."

Puplava one time explained that the ostensible positive EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of Brazillian ethanol results from use of tremendous amounts of manual, stoop labor to plant and harvest the cane, as opposed to Nebraska farms using tractors.

So if you have slave labor at your disposal, then ethanol is net positive. But do we realllllly want to go back to the plantation system? *I* don't cotton to the idea (pardon the pun -- that was in poor taste).


See, here we go. This suggests to me that the tractor fuel is the problem. And that really doesn't pass the smell test for me, because it just doesn't take that much gas to run a tractor. I bet we could glean some useful info by looking at the price of corn, and crop yields, and comparing the price of gas for the tractor; the cost of diesel to run tractors is obviously folded into the price of corn.

Svigor said...

When I camped outdoors with my backpack, I had a tarp to put under me and a jacket to put over me but no bedroll, sleeping bag or tent. I did this for a time in all weathers, including winter with snow on the ground.

Kylie, that's more like uber-hardcore. I wouldn't go that light. I mean, they call it backpacking because you fill the backpack with stuff.

No wonder you hate camping. :)

Someone needs to combine redneck and SWPL sensibilities and invent TSHTF-prep backpacking; light (or ultralight, but no need to get obsessive about it) backpacking, plus trapping/fishing/shooting. You can survive indefinitely on trapping in an area with a decent amount of small game. And I was kind of amazed to find out how simple trapping is; a snare is basically just a length of wire with a loop at the end, and it runs itself (animals are so dumb they keep walking forward until they tighten it around their necks).

Kylie said...

"Youtube demographic. Young, multi-ethnic, computer literate, young.
The future.

ISteve demographic. Old, white, male.
The past."


You mentioned young twice. It must really be a selling point for you. I can only hope you don't live near a school.

And it would be more accurate to call today's young "somewhat computer savvy" rather than actually "computer literate".

But you're not interested in accuracy, are you? Just in scoring cheap points. Well, better you should try to score here than on a playground.

Anonymous said...

Maybe in tsunami zones, houses should be made with plastic floatable foundations on the bottom that automatically detach from the ground when water levels rise. We saw plenty of images of housing floating in the videos but the problem is they eventually sank. Had they remained afloat, more would have survived.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Svigor,

Ethanol, i.e., ethyl alcohol, consumes a lot of energy in its production because it's a distillate: you have to burn fuel to boil the corn to extract the ethanol and it's still real thin on the BTU's.

Ethanol has a net energy ratio of about 1.3/1 versus petroleum, which is about 5/1. Without subsidies and government mandates ethanol would disappear except maybe for chafing dishes or fondue.

Svigor said...

Youtube demographic. Young, multi-ethnic, computer literate, young.
The future.

ISteve demographic. Old, white, male.
The past.


Typical married family man: Republican voter
His past: young, "tolerant," Youtube junkie.

Svigor said...

Nanonymous, thanks, I'll take a look.

Kylie said...

"And you didn't get exposure when it rained?"

Well, I was exposed to the wet. But I didn't suffer from exposure, if that's what you mean.

Eventually I compromised by buying a folding, collapsible umbrella which fit in my backpack. In rainy weather, I propped it open and slept with my head under it. Not bad, except in the worst thunderstorms when the wind blew hard.

Anonymous said...

You know, it's a good thing that the Japanese have been orderly AFTER the tsunami but maybe they should have been less orderly, but instead, more urgently panicked BEFORE the tsunami, i.e. 'ran like a mothafuc*a'.

Japanese are so used to acting in groups and in taking orders--being told what to do--that many seem to have lacked instantaneous survival instincts.
In black communties, when there's gunfire, people instantly run into doorways or hit the ground. Of course, blacks get so out of control that they can make a mess of things in the evacuation too. Japanese might be more prone to feel frozen, unable to react immediately when they must. Too many Japanese are like the Yohei character in SEVEN SAMURAI.
Whites are somewhere in between blacks and Asians in reacting to sudden crisis. Quick but not hyper.

Look at the white people driving for the hills right away in the following video. Meanwhile, too many Japanese are going about things too orderly when shit's about to hit the fan.
Japanese have been so drummed and conditioned to act in groups and according to plan by genetics and culture that they have faulty survival instincts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJLT0tm-jWw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2k-kK_nE20

They should have dropped everything and just ran like a mothafuc*a.

JSM said...

"It doesn't take that much gas to run a tractor and bring in a harvest (I'm no farmer, but the impression I get is that you only have to run a tractor over a crop a few times, mostly at planting and harvest). Maybe they're referring to BTUs and whatever they have to burn to make ethanol from corn, but that's the kind of thing that smells like a rat to me; it's not as if burning immature pine or whatever is going to cost us at the gas pump, so while technically it's "energy" and might factor into a result of "net energy consumer," I'd call bullshit in that case."

Can't show you the numbers, SVig, but Puplava says counting ALL imputs, not just the diesel to run the tractor, but the natural gas converted to fertilizer to grow the corn, the fossil fuels required to run the still to turn the corn into ethanol, the energy required for trucks to haul the ethanol to the station (ethanol can't be pumped through a pipeline because of its corrosiveness), and others I can't remember off the top of my head, that counting ALL the fossil-fuel energy inputs, corn ethanol is a net loss; that you'd do better just burning the fossil fuels directly than turning them into ethanol -- with the concomitant losses required by the laws of thermodynamics -- and THEN burning them.

What WILL work?

Maybe this:

Matt Simmons, an old fossil-fuel energy investment banker who wrote Twilight in the Desert arguing that the Sauds don't have the petro reserves they claim they do, (written before he was mysteriously found drowned in his own bathtub) started Ocean Energy Institute to study the feasibility of using offshore wind and ocean currents to make ammonia and burn THAT in internal combustion engines.

Anonymous said...

In a tsunami it's good to be a bird and it's good to be a fish but not anything that crawls on land.

JSM said...

Svig,

Apologize for the "plantation" crack. I was attempting to score cheap rhetorical points with the libtard lurkers (THAT WE ALL KNOW YOU GUYS ARE HERE, READING STEVE).

But you're a serious debated and deserved better. When they say ethanol is a net-loss, they are referring to all fossil-fuel inputs necessary to make and transport corn ethanol.

Because ethanol is lower in energy density than gasoline, it takes a larger volume of the stuff to run the same numbers of cars the same numbers of miles as compared to gasoline. So ethanol requires more trucks for hauling, so more diesel is spent getting it from the distillery to the pump.

Anonymous said...

"Just in scoring cheap points. Well, better you should try to score here than on a playground."

Don't like scoring cheap points, except on a basketball court.

I don't think what happened to the girl is cheap. I feel a little sorry for the wench. I think we've just seen the first Youtube public lynching of a white girl. And it's been thumbed up by a huge majority of the internet.

Just more evidence that we live in a new world.

Anonymous said...

What will happen a comet hits the ocean? God help us.

Kylie said...

"Kylie, that's more like uber-hardcore. I wouldn't go that light. I mean, they call it backpacking because you fill the backpack with stuff."

I know it. I weighed my backpack and contents once, the grand total was 13 lbs. Not much stuff.

I'm almost afraid to mention that some of this camping took place on a creek bank in Missouri during the Great Flood of 1993. So when I mention camping in the rain, there was a lot of rain.

I wanted to experience a kind of solitude and self-reliance that's hard to find nowadays.

And of course, being hard-core, I never let myself forget that I actually hadn't made my back-pack or any of its contents so how self-reliant was I, really?

It was an experience I'm glad I gave myself and looking back, I don't think I'll ever feel freer (or wetter) than I did then.

Olave d'Estienne said...

Someone needs to combine redneck and SWPL sensibilities and invent TSHTF-prep backpacking; light (or ultralight, but no need to get obsessive about it) backpacking, plus trapping/fishing/shooting. - Svigor

That sounds fun. I mean, as long as the fertilizers and the fan stay apart it would be fun. But useful even more than fun. In fact, I think it should be the centerpiece of a new group I like to call Coed Eagles Scouts for Right-Wing Adults, which is ... *man* that is one fine name I thought up. (I'm not actually kidding here even if it sounds like it.)

You can survive indefinitely on trapping in an area with a decent amount of small game....

A decent amount of small game and a limited amount of humans. Best to live out of range of big cities during The End of the Power Grid as We Know It. AKA, the end of deliveries to major grocery chains, the end of free sushi for punks, the end of cops willing to take a bullet for citizens who compare them to squealy farm animals, etc.

This is one thing that has always made me a little worried for the Amish. Famine won't touch them but hungry Philadelphians might. Me, I'm probably not quite out of range of big cities but I think my town is a little better armed than the Amish.
- B Lode

Svigor said...

Can't show you the numbers, SVig, but Puplava says counting ALL imputs, not just the diesel to run the tractor, but the natural gas converted to fertilizer to grow the corn, the fossil fuels required to run the still to turn the corn into ethanol, the energy required for trucks to haul the ethanol to the station (ethanol can't be pumped through a pipeline because of its corrosiveness), and others I can't remember off the top of my head, that counting ALL the fossil-fuel energy inputs, corn ethanol is a net loss; that you'd do better just burning the fossil fuels directly than turning them into ethanol -- with the concomitant losses required by the laws of thermodynamics -- and THEN burning them.

Caveat: I'm going to read the PDF but until I do I'm still just yakking speculatively.

That said, yeah, but that's kinda my point. WHY would we count all inputs? Natural gas doesn't run cars (maybe it can be used to run cars more efficiently, but that's not what we're discussing; and NG isn't renewable, so I'd rather save it for fertilizer). Ethanol does. Trucks to haul it doesn't do anything for me, since we can haul it in trains running on steam if we want to. Fossil fuels aren't required to run a still - you can use wood or anything else (solar is GREAT for heat, and the breadbasket isn't that far from the desert). Natural gas for ferts is a wash since you have to use it for any corn, not just the corn you convert to ethanol.

I'm not some ethanol guy (TBH, I'm more interested in wood-gas these days). I don't have a dog in this fight, except that I'm interested in energy and do a bit of reading now and then and like to do my own thinking and math on the subject. Which is why I want to see the numbers for myself - does anyone else find it fishy that, given the enormous importance of the subject, and the ubiquity of the argument in question, I couldn't G**gle up a simple breakdown of the numbers, despite several tries? My G**gle-Fu is pretty advanced.

What WILL work?

Maybe this:

Matt Simmons, an old fossil-fuel energy investment banker who wrote Twilight in the Desert arguing that the Sauds don't have the petro reserves they claim they do, (written before he was mysteriously found drowned in his own bathtub) started Ocean Energy Institute to study the feasibility of using offshore wind and ocean currents to make ammonia and burn THAT in internal combustion engines.


There's lots of stuff. Solar is the long-term solution; if we can cost-efficiently tap even a small fraction of its potential, electricity will be so abundant that we can use hydrogen (via electrolysis) in our cars. Hell, maybe nuclear can offer something similar if we grow a brain and put the environmentalist luddite wackos out to pasture. There's algae and bacteria. There's coal to gas. There's wood-gas. There's the increasingly viable extraction and processing of shale oil and other lesser fossil fuels. I would just like to see ethanol criticized fairly, and something about that "you get out less than you put in" argument strikes me as rotten.

Svigor said...

Apologize for the "plantation" crack. I was attempting to score cheap rhetorical points with the libtard lurkers (THAT WE ALL KNOW YOU GUYS ARE HERE, READING STEVE).

Didn't bother me none. :)

But you're a serious debated and deserved better. When they say ethanol is a net-loss, they are referring to all fossil-fuel inputs necessary to make and transport corn ethanol.

Because ethanol is lower in energy density than gasoline, it takes a larger volume of the stuff to run the same numbers of cars the same numbers of miles as compared to gasoline. So ethanol requires more trucks for hauling, so more diesel is spent getting it from the distillery to the pump.


That's what I'm doubting. I suspect it's more like the argument you summarize above, making apples-to-oranges arguments about the crap burned to heat the still (who cares?), etc. I could absolutely be wrong, because I'm definitely speculating. I'm just trying to be a good skeptic.

That sounds fun. I mean, as long as the fertilizers and the fan stay apart it would be fun. But useful even more than fun. In fact, I think it should be the centerpiece of a new group I like to call Coed Eagles Scouts for Right-Wing Adults, which is ... *man* that is one fine name I thought up. (I'm not actually kidding here even if it sounds like it.)

Yep. I'm a survivalist at heart. Not a prepared survivalist, but thinking about it is one of my secondary hobbies. It's not that I want or even expect TStHTF. I just think there's something profoundly stupid about everyone's assumption that it won't HTF. That it can't HTF. I don't have a problem with advanced, complex supply chains; I have a problem with no plan B. Don't even get me started on what I think of the government doing nothing to prepare people, either.

Anyway, I was really pleasantly surprised to discover how easy/viable it is to survive by trapping game. Here's the site I read:
usrsog.org

Kylie said...

"I feel a little sorry for the wench. I think we've just seen the first Youtube public lynching of a white girl. And it's been thumbed up by a huge majority of the internet.

Just more evidence that we live in a new world."


I have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that this girl, going to college in 21st century California, actually thought she could post this video and get away with it.

Come to think of it, since her complaints were about Asians (those who used to be called "Orientals"), I think a lot of the animus against her was not actually due to anything she said. The left ignores Asians when trumpeting the need for social justice for non-whites. And as recently as the mid-90s when I lived in a college town, neither blacks nor Hispanics had anything good to say about Asians.

I think this was the mob's chance to bring down an attractive blonde white girl, no more and no less. Every NAM who's been turned down by a white girl, every left-winger who thinks a white girl is the unworthy recipient of white privilege, every NAM female who's lost a man to a white girl, every homely white girl who couldn't possibly compete against that and knows it, every white beta male who's been turned down by a pretty blonde.

She's the personification of white (and even worse, blonde) privilege.

To me, the evidence that we live in a new world came in back when OJ was found not guilty of murdering his pretty blonde ex-wife. No way was that jury going to convict him, not just because of who he was but also because of who--and what--she was.

Similar thing here. Expect to see more of it.

harkin said...

I lived in Los Osos (just north of MDO) while I went to college. The prevailing winds are from the northwest so you would probably not be in any danger nuke-wise. As for tsunamis, you don't have very far to run at the state park to be on high enough ground.

One strange thing about the central coast - 10pm to 4am is the best part of the day. Usually very calm and a steady 55-65 degrees. During the day the winds really kick up, esp after noon.

Kylie said...

"Don't even get me started on what I think of the government doing nothing to prepare people, either."

Are you serious?

I'm glad the government isn't doing anything to prepare people. Think about it. Do you really want the government stepping in? Who do you think the government would focus on saving? What do you think the cost/benefit of government-sponsered preparation would be to the average taxpayer? How do you think precious resources would be allocated? I sure as hell don't think anyone in the federal, state or local government gives a rat's ass about my demographic. I'd just as soon it be left up to the individual.

JSM said...

"making apples-to-oranges arguments about the crap burned to heat the still (who cares?)"

Right, the crap burned to heat the still, if it were not fossil fuels, if it were, say, cowchips, whothehellcares?

But it takes a LOT of heat to boil enough corn to make enough ethanol to make a dent in America's need for transportation fuels. And that means burn the fossil fuel of coal.


All you've done by switching to ethanol is gone from using one fossil fuel, oil, ultimately, to another, ultimately -- burn coal to make ethanol -- with a concomitant loss of available fossil-fuel energy from the inefficiency of it all.

Because if, when you count all the fossil-fuel inputs, ethanol takes more energy than you get back, you're better off to just directly burn the fossil fuels in the most efficient way possible, without all the extra to-do of growing, making, and trucking the ethanol.

Also, coal means greenhouse gases.

Now, don't get me wrong. I *like* GHGs; I think they've maybe staved off the next ice age awhile. But LIBTARDS don't like GHGs. So if we're going to stop using oil because of GHGs, it makes no sense to burn coal to make ethanol. (Which ends up pumping out MORE GHGs because coal has a higher carbon content than oil.)

MY real argument is: the coal, from America's own coal fields in Powder River Basin, WY, ought to be Fischer-Tropsch'ed straight to synfuel gasoline and diesel, rather than used to boil corn into ethanol.
This is the most efficient use of scarce, valuable, energy-dense fossil fuels.

But will such a thing happen? Heck, no. AIPAC has an interest in keeping America dependent on foreign oil.

See, if we MUST have our navy in the Middle East to keep the oil flowing, we're told by Israel-firsters that we need Israel as our bestest-buddy-forever, in order to use them as "an unsinkable aircraft carrier." And therefore, they assure us, its in OUR interest to keep handing over all the foreign-aid goodies to them.

And Christian Zionists buy the argument. (Never mind that we've NEVER ONCE used that "unsinkable aircraft carrier" despite ALL the trouble and oil shocks that have gone in the Middle East in the last 4 decades.)

JSM said...

Hi, Svig,


"That said, yeah, but that's kinda my point. WHY would we count all inputs?"

We have to count all fossil-fuel inputs. Because all fossil fuels can be Fischer-Tropsch'ed to turn one into another. Germany invented the process during WWII when they couldn't get oil imports but had plenty of domestic coal supplies.


"Natural gas doesn't run cars (maybe it can be used to run cars more efficiently, but that's not what we're discussing;"

It can. It can be liquified and run cars. If we burn the natural gas to make the heat to boil the corn to get the ethanol, that's a collossal inefficiency / waste of natural gas.


"and NG isn't renewable, so I'd rather save it for fertilizer)."

But ethanol, itself, requires HUGE amounts of NG-derived fertilizer to grow all that corn.

As an aside, in point of fact a Gillette, WY high school student (!) did a science project that proves coal-bed methane can be "farmed." (Water and microbes added to the coal to make natural gas which can be brought up through a well bore.) So NG may, in fact, be a "renewable" or at least long-term sustainable, resource. Her idea has gotten tremendous interest from the industry.



" Trucks to haul it doesn't do anything for me, since we can haul it in trains running on steam if we want to. "

But it would require massive reconstruction of our infrastructure to set -- and all that infrastructure-building would require massive amounts of oil to run the construction equipment and haul the building supplies. Also, what are you going to burn to make the steam to move the trains? Coal, again.



What I thought *might* make sense, before this Japanese disaster, is build nuke plants to make electricity to electrify the rail system. With nuclear power, because it's such an intense source of power, you can do just about anything you want electrically, as the electrons are readily available.
But with Japan's catastrophe, now I'm going hm. Pebble-bed reactors burning thorium MAY still be the solution.



"Fossil fuels aren't required to run a still - you can use wood or anything else (solar is GREAT for heat, and the breadbasket isn't that far from the desert)."

But it would require massive amounts of diesel to haul that much corn to the desert to distill it and then haul it to the pumps across the nation.




"Natural gas for ferts is a wash since you have to use it for any corn, not just the corn you convert to ethanol."
No, the farmers during the ethanol boom converted huge amounts of farmland from growing less fertilizer-intensive crops to corn to meet the demand for corn. The demand for NG-derived ferts soared. Which is one factor that drove NG to quadruple in price to $14 an mmbtu in 2008.
So, maybe NG for fertilizer for ethanol will end up sounding ok, but condensing and burning NG directly in the car engine sounds more sensible to me.

I *do* have a dog in this fight, sorta, in this respect:
As a WY resident, I'd like to see our WY coal and nat gas used to supply my fellow Americans with transportation fuels (along with an immigration moratorium and throw the invaders out so "American" means something again) so we don't HAVE to maintain a vastly expensive military might to keep ME oil flowing -- and see economic development for jobs for my fellow Wyomingites.

Svigor said...


Are you serious?


I'm thinking in terms of "whelp, the gubbmint steals about a third of my money, the least they could do is publish a book or website with comprehensive TSHTF survival/rebuilding info." But yeah, of course they'd just make an institution, union, and welfare program out of it.

Even Saddam seemed to care about and prepare for TSHTF more than the US gov.

MY real argument is: the coal, from America's own coal fields in Powder River Basin, WY, ought to be Fischer-Tropsch'ed straight to synfuel gasoline and diesel, rather than used to boil corn into ethanol.
This is the most efficient use of scarce, valuable, energy-dense fossil fuels.


Yeah, if coal to gas is more efficient, I say go with it. But that stuff's not renewable, either. Ethanol, using sustainable agriculture as heating fuel, is renewable. Probably won't support the number of cars we want, but, them's the breaks unless we get solar going (or nuclear, but I'm not really up on how much fissible material we have in the ground) and switch to electric cars. I already think we need to yank all the tractor trailers off the road and put that stuff on electric trains.

But it would require massive reconstruction of our infrastructure to set -- and all that infrastructure-building would require massive amounts of oil to run the construction equipment and haul the building supplies. Also, what are you going to burn to make the steam to move the trains? Coal, again.

You can burn anything to make steam. Again, I think rail is long-term better than trucks because we can use electricity, which is much more versatile in terms of energy sources. And rail would allow for better long-distance mass transit, too.

Pebble-bed reactors burning thorium MAY still be the solution.

The Japanese meltdown hasn't put me off nuk'ler power one iota. Accidents happen. How many people die in cars every year? That doesn't stop anyone from advocating cars, much less the concept of traveling at high speed.

But it would require massive amounts of diesel to haul that much corn to the desert to distill it and then haul it to the pumps across the nation.

Again, long term, we have to plan on using electricity, over liquid fuels in combustion engines. That means switching to electric rail, over trucks. And finding non-fossil-fuel ways to generate electricity (solar, nuclear, hydro, wood gas, wind, etc). And given the solar infrastructure to heat that ethanol, it's not too much of a stretch to think it could power the rail lines to bring in the corn from the breadbasket.

I think the real problem with ethanol is that it competes with the food supply, so there are hard limits on how much we can produce.

JSM said...

"And finding non-fossil-fuel ways to generate electricity (solar, nuclear, hydro, wood gas, wind, etc). And given the solar infrastructure to heat that ethanol, it's not too much of a stretch to think it could power the rail lines to bring in the corn from the breadbasket."

I'm with ya that we somehow must find our way past oil-dependency. I'm convinced that Peak Oil is here.

I just think that the fact that corn ethanol requires gov't subsidy, or else nobody wants to bother, is proof enough that it's not a viable solution.

Stephen Leeb in his book, The Oil Factor, said we have enough wind resources in North Dakota to power everything in America. Problems are: power loss in long transmission lines, and how do we store it, because wind blows intermittently?

That's why Matt Simmons' idea sounds so good: Make ammonia, using wind and ocean energy, send it down a pipeline, and burn it in passenger car engines. That truly is a direct sunlight-to-transportation-fuels conversion (because the wind and the ocean currents are, in the final analysis, driven by the warmth of the sun.) (And use nuclear to electrify the rail system for goods transport. I hear ya on getting semis off the highway - what a COLOSSAL waste. We could only be so wasteful of valuable petroleum when it seemed we were drowning in the stuff).

The other tiny, unmentionable problem, of course: You can't have a first world country with a third world population. If White guys go extinct, who's going to invent, design, build and pay for all this post-oil infrastructure?

Svigor said...

I just think that the fact that corn ethanol requires gov't subsidy, or else nobody wants to bother, is proof enough that it's not a viable solution.

Stephen Leeb in his book, The Oil Factor, said we have enough wind resources in North Dakota to power everything in America. Problems are: power loss in long transmission lines, and how do we store it, because wind blows intermittently?

That's why Matt Simmons' idea sounds so good: Make ammonia, using wind and ocean energy, send it down a pipeline, and burn it in passenger car engines.


If ND has that much wind, no need for offshore anything. We could just build a zillion windmills in ND and produce loads of ammonia. Ammonia isn't ideal (deadly poison, has to be stored under pressure; bad combination), but it's better than nothing. Interesting stuff. It all comes down to how much wind there really is, of course, and how much ammonia a windmill can produce, and how much a windmill costs, though.

Kylie said...

Svigor said, "I'm thinking in terms of 'whelp, the gubbmint steals about a third of my money, the least they could do is publish a book or website with comprehensive TSHTF survival/rebuilding info.' But yeah, of course they'd just make an institution, union, and welfare program out of it."

Thanks for a civil reply to a slightly overwrought comment. I get pretty torqued about this subject.

We don't need the government to provide us with that info, we have the Internet. There are some great blogs out there about various survival scenarios with lots of useful information, really detailed stuff.

JSM said...

"If ND has that much wind, no need for offshore anything. We could just build a zillion windmills in ND and produce loads of ammonia."

Yeah, I think Mr. Simmons suggested the ocean because it's a ready source of the vast quantities of water we'll need to get the hydrogen to make enough ammonia to meet America's humongous transportation fuels requirement. Also, offshore wind blows pretty much constantly.

"Ammonia isn't ideal (deadly poison, has to be stored under pressure; bad combination), but it's better than nothing" Yeah, my understanding is that the dangers are comparable with gasoline or liquid propane gas as a fuel. In a wreck, the ammonia might poison you -- but it won't explode and turn you into a crispy critter. Prevention of atmospheric release in a wreck is one of the few technical challenges left.

Apologies if I talked your ear off, Svigor. But I, like you, am interested in energy.

Anonymous said...

I heard that 25% of Japanese population is 65 or over.

Could there be an internal logic as to why some nations have so few kids? Maybe once population control kicks into gear(even for a single generation), it has a psychological effect of reducing of birthrates of future generations.

If a community has families where each family has five children, there will be lots of kids intermingling with one another, and this mean social interaction and less solitude(and less of a culture of solitude). But, if a husband and wife have only one child or two children, the parents will shower special attention on the kid(s), and the kid(s) will grow up thinking he or she is the center of the world. If a family has five children, kids will grow up with less special attention and will be more accustomed to 'lots of people in the house' as a norm.
Once the kid grows up and goes off on his or her own, he or she may long for a large family since he or she remembers his or her family life that way.

But if a kid grows up as the only child or with only one sibling, he or she will think the norm is a small household. Or, the kid, having been doted and valued as an 'only child', won't be satisfied with anything but the 'very best'. So, unless he or she meets the perfect Other, he or she would rather live alone than get married.

Anonymous said...

It's MORE PEOPLE, HAVE LESS vs FEWER PEOPLE, HAVE MORE. In our materialist world, people may prize the possession of things more than the company of people.
Of course, if there are fewer and fewer people, everyone will eventually have nothing.

Svigor said...

We don't need the government to provide us with that info, we have the Internet. There are some great blogs out there about various survival scenarios with lots of useful information, really detailed stuff.

I'd like to see the Encyclopedia TSHTFania published. Not just how to survive, but how to start from scratch and create a manufacturing base from nothing. Covering everything from mining to smelting to...well, what have you.

I.e., not just survive, but recreate the whole thing writ small from scratch. That's part of what scares me about TSHTF scenarios; there's so much important knowledge that's proprietary, and so much knowledge in the wrong format for this kind of application.

Svigor said...

Apologies if I talked your ear off, Svigor. But I, like you, am interested in energy.

Not at all, I learned a couple new things so it was my pleasure.

Kylie said...

"That's part of what scares me about TSHTF scenarios; there's so much important knowledge that's proprietary, and so much knowledge in the wrong format for this kind of application."

Well, dang. I'm thinking in an uber hard-core way again but this time, it's your fault!

Back to basics means just that to me. How to hunt or grow and preserve and store food. How to maintain arms and make ammo (the latter being incredibly easy, like making meth in one's car--that easy)--and how to develop the will to use them when necessary. How to do first aid, minor medical procedures (I've seen survival blogs that show that), how to make and mend clothes, how to build, maintain and heat shelters and how to do animal husbandry.

I know I've said it before but my favorite passage in Doctor Zhivago (the novel, not the film) is when Yuri writes in his journal about all the food they've grown and stored for winter.

There is great info online already, no thanks to the gov't, so dive in, look around and print it out. (I wouldn't be at all surprised to find one day that those survivalist blogs have been shut down.)

Two great preparation tips: if you have an ocular condition that can be corrected by surgery, have it done now. And if you can then dispense with glasses altogether, all the better. Also, make sure your teeth are in the best possible shape. There won't be many opportunites to have cataract, lasik or dental surgery after TSHTF.

Sorry I can't help with, say, getting a fast Internet connection or performing any of the minor techonological miracles that Mr. Spock uses to construct a "processor interface" in "The City on the Edge of Forever". But there's definitely info out there in the public domain that will keep the stalwart and savvy alive.

Anonymous said...

How about a scuba-gear for everyone in a tsunami region?