Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 14, 2021

Thoughts On Three Issues - Putin On Europe's Gas Crisis, Iran Talks, Lebanon Shooting

Natural gas prices in Europe exploded last week after reports of too low inventory of natural gas for the upcoming winter. Claims were made that Russia had caused the price increase. But even the BBC finds that this is not the case:

Russia's own gas storage is also down.

Adeline Van Houtte, a Europe analyst at the Economist's Intelligence Unit, says: "Currently, the Russian domestic gas market remains tight, with output already near its peak and winter is looming... limiting gas export capacity."

There are several other factors affecting the situation in Europe, such as:

  • cold weather at the start of 2021 depleting stocks
  • rising prices in spring and summer put traders off buying to sell later in the year
  • limited supply from Norway because of maintenance issues
  • reduction in other energy sources such as wind power
  • growing demand for gas elsewhere in the world

The 'liberalization' of European gas markets by the EU has also led to more speculation. It was one of the many mistakes made in European energy policy.

Yesterday Russia's president Vladimir Putin held a remarkable speech about energy supply to Europe and pointed out some of its weaknesses:

Over the past 10 years, the share of renewable energy sources in the European energy balance has skyrocketed, which, on the face of it, appears to be a good thing – and they are now playing a significant and noticeable part. What can you say? It is a good thing any way you look at it.

However, this sector is notorious for erratic power generation. It requires large reserve capacities. In the event of major generation failures, primarily due to bad weather, this reserve is simply not large enough to cover the demand.

This is exactly what happened this year, when, due to a decrease in wind farm generation, there was a shortage of electricity on the European market. Prices soared, which triggered a spike in natural gas prices on the spot market.

Importantly, gas consumption is seasonal. Its reserves are traditionally replenished in the summer to meet the winter demand. However, this year, even after a cold winter in Europe, many countries chose not to do so, relying on spot gas supplies and the “invisible hand” of the market, but a spike in demand has sent prices even higher.

To reiterate, the rise in natural gas prices in Europe stemmed from shortages of electricity, not the other way around. There is no need to lay the blame on other people, which is what some of our partners are trying to do. Occasionally, you get stunned by what is being said on this account, as if these people do not know the numbers – I will say more about this later – as if they do not see the reality and are just covering up their own mistakes. Systemic flaws have been gradually introduced in European energy over the past decade, which led to a major market crisis in Europe.

As a reminder, when nuclear and natural gas-based generation were the leading energy sources, there were no such crises, and there were no grounds for them.

Europe, especially as it wants to change its road traffic from hydrocarbon to electric driven, will need more basic electric generation capacity. The only 'green' way to achieve that in sufficient size is by nuclear energy.


The Biden administrations finally recognizes that its 'Iran policy is failing.

Blinken says US is prepared to turn to 'other options' if nuclear diplomacy with Iran fails

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that if diplomatic talks with Iran fail, the United States "is prepared to turn to other options" to prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran does not want to obtain nuclear weapons.

The diplomatic talks with Iran will fail only if the Biden administration fails to return to the nuclear deal and does not lift the sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration. The sole problem is that Biden wants more concessions from Iran than it had given under the JCPOA agreement.

It is funny then to hear Blinken talk of 'other options' when everyone knows that the U.S. does not have any. Any U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear installations will invite a strong military response. A war with Iran would destroy Israel and whatever is left of the U.S. position in the Middle East. Obama had recognized that. Trump had recognized that. It is high time for Biden to recognize that too and to act accordingly.


This morning followers of Hizbullah and Amal in Lebanon protested against a judge who is tasked with investigating last years enormous explosion in Beirut's harbor. The judge seems to steer the investigation against Hizbullah even as other groups were responsible for the ammonium nitrate storage that has caused the disaster.

During this mornings demonstration snipers from the fascist Lebanese Forces militia opened fire on the protesters. Six were killed and several were wounded. All of them were Shia followers of Amal and Hizbullah. But reading 'western' media, here the Guardian, you would not learn that this was a very one-sided affair:

Five people have died in armed clashes that broke out in Beirut during a protest demanding an end to a judicial investigation into last year’s massive blast in the city’s port.

The Lebanese interior ministry confirmed the deaths, and gunfire reportedly wounded more than a dozen other people. The deployment of soldiers failed to stem the violence, which took on a sectarian tone. The fighting happened near a civil war-era frontline in which militias from Maronite Christian and Shia Muslim blocs have previously clashed.

The assault on the protesters happen just as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is visiting Lebanon. Given her direct involvement in the 2014 Maidan coup which also saw sniper fire against protesters it seems unlikely that this is just a coincidence.

Posted by b on October 14, 2021 at 16:10 UTC | Permalink

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Excellent energy discussion! Thanks to Jen @69 for outing Enron et al's criminality that never was properly punished--they killed people while scamming billions! I know, I was there at the time. China's White Paper is all about what they're going to do in the future to attain two goals--carbon reduction while increasing energy production. All those STEM grads will have plenty of work to do.

I must commend William Gruff @87 & 89 as he gets it. Many people have noted that the Outlaw US Empire ceased its research and other activities dealing with advanced energy production in the mid to late 1970s, which coincides with the triumph of Neoliberalism and the beginnings of the Financialization of the economy and downward plunge of an expanding GDP coupled with the falsification of all economic numbers. My wife had never watched 2001. I recently bought it on DVD and we watched it a few weeks back. I saw it on the big screen when it was released in 1968; and at the time, all the futuristic tech seemed 100% plausible AND likely. But by the end of Reagan's first term, all hope for any of that was gone. Today, we have the Chinese and Russians proving that 2001 was indeed possible, while we now know what was done instead and why. What's important for humanity is China's quest is being done for its benefit--to create a prosperous shared future for humanity is China's ceaseless mantra, a future the Outlaw US Empire opposes with all its might.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2021 15:32 utc | 101

@Piotr Berman | Oct 15 2021 13:12 utc | 91

The bottom line is more cruel: the plans like "carbon neutrality by 2050" are totally unrealistic,
There is a line further down, which is that such plans are totally unnecessary as they are built on lies. CO2 does not have the claimed "global warming" effect and CO2 is not pollution, there is not enough CO2 for efficient photosynthesis, and all life on earth depends on it.

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 15 2021 15:36 utc | 102

Stonebird @98

With a little infrastructure development lots of useful industry becomes possible on the Moon. That is why it is a mistake to roll the cost of the infrastructure into the price of any particular product. We don't include the cost to build highways into the cost of building nuclear power plants do we? With the infrastructure costs separated out SSP would be much cheaper than coal, even in the short term and without counting "carbon credits".

Anyway, it doesn't matter what the consensus is. I bring the issue up now so that people have a few years to get used to the idea and don't get all caught up in all of the hysterical hyperventilating among western presstitutes when the Chinese start breaking ground (does that term still apply to space construction?) on SSP satellites.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 15:40 utc | 103

RE: Posted by: vk | Oct 15 2021 15:06 utc | 96

“Obviously, we're not even close to nuclear fusion, otherwise we wouldn't have this debate. “

Certainty is the basis of belief, whilst uncertainty is the basis of science.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Oct 15 2021 16:10 utc | 104

William Gruff @101--

Classical & Progressive economists have always proposed that the role of government is to establish the necessary infrastructure so businesses can outcompete competitors within other nations who don't fulfill that role. The reason why workers within the Outlaw US Empire can't compete is precisely because of those reasons Hudson continually cites--the government doesn't support them, but actually creates policies that further burden workers so the FIRE sector's Rentiers can make more money. That's why we have almost none of the tech displayed in 2001.

Hydrocarbon fuels will eventually become too sparse and expensive for use. The same potential exists with the use of uranium and other rare earth elements that go into what are now deemed to be renewable energy collectors. To sustain the moderately prosperous economies of the future, bold new infrastructures must be planned and deployed. Currently, fusion is part of that plan, thus the need to mine He3 on the moon. When we recently watched 2001, I pointed out the vast extent of infrastructure constructed on the moon, yet the "donut" space station was still under construction. Clearly, moon development was at the time seen as more important than mega-sized space stations. IMO, today's Russian and Chinese engineers also think that way. Just look at China's plans for its new space station which will soon receive its next crew; it's very modest when compared to ISS. The same can be said of Russia's planned station to replace its ISS use. Both Russia and China recently rolled out their newest efforts at extra heavy lift rockets. Everything they're doing is leaving the Americans and their vassals in the dust.

Russia, China and similarly minded nations are thinking, planning, and acting on the future while Neoliberals skulk in their vaults counting their coins like so many Scrooges. I'd very much like to live to see what 2100 will look like; right now the USA looks like it will be a vast slumland still armed with 100+ year-old nukes.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2021 16:23 utc | 106

karlof1 @99

That sense of possibilities that you felt in 1968 is very much alive and well in China today. The things I mention in my previous posts in this thread doubtless seem impossible to so many in the West who watched in despair as each ambitious effort to take humanity into the future was trimmed to the bone then finally abandoned. In China, though, the feeling is that they are just getting warmed up. "The Three Gorges Dam? The South–North Water Transfer Project? Heh! We didn't even break a sweat! What `til you see what we do tomorrow!"

I used to wish it was America leading the charge into the future, but I am starting to see that things are better this way. The future China is creating is not one built on genocide and Mickey Mouse delusion. It is bright, clear-headed, and ambitious. And they are not intending to exclude us.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 16:27 utc | 107

Jen @ 71

Spot markets are notoriously vulnerable to manipulation: any single operator with capacity greater than the reserve margin (= capacity - forecast demand) can exercise market power due to the almost perfectly inelastic short run demand elasticity for electricity. Just take enough capacity offline (or don't bid it in in the day ahead market) and put in a huge offer for the rest of your capacity at an extremely high price - an offer which you know will be accepted. Or, like Enron's "Fat Boy" scheme you can over-forecast demand so that the system operator believes that demand will be higher than it actually is.

It has long been known that for a competitive auction there needs to be no collusion and bidders must be incented to bid their true willingness to supply: it's doubtful that both of these conditions are met in practice. Nevertheless, "free market ideology" triumphs and long term contracting is discouraged while rigged spot markets are supported.

Per a report on The Enron Tapes:

"The recently released transcripts indicate that traders were unabashed about what they were doing, repeatedly using words like lying and stealing to describe their activities:

“It’s called lies. It’s all how well you can weave these lies together, Shari, alright, so,” says an Enron employee.

To which “Shari” responds: “I feel like I’m being corrupted now.”

The first employee adds, “No, this is marketing,”

On a widely distributed tape, one Enron employee says: “He just (expletive) California... He steals money from California to the tune of about a million.”

“Will you rephrase that?” asks a second employee.

“OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day,” replies the first.

“They’re (expletive) taking all the money back from you guys?” complains an Enron employee on the tapes. “All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”

“Yeah, grandma Millie, man”

To which the Enron trader responds with utter contempt: “Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to (expletive) vote on the butterfly ballot.”

“Yeah, now she wants her (expletive) money back for all the power you’ve charged right up, jammed right up her (expletive) for (expletive) $250 a megawatt hour.”

Posted by: spudski | Oct 15 2021 16:31 utc | 108

karlof1 @106: "Hydrocarbon fuels will eventually become too sparse and expensive for use."

I imagine people a hundred years from now saying "I can't believe they actually burned all of those hydrocarbons! Even when they made plastics from them they barely bothered to recycle that precious resource! They just burned that too or buried it. Why did they so like burning things? Imagine all that we could make with it if people back then hadn't turned it all into carbon dioxide and water vapor?"

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 16:51 utc | 109

@ptb #38
There are a lot of people who don't agree with what you said:

The Road to Clean Energy is Messier Than We Thought

That realization resulted in a 34 percent production decline from U.S. shale plays by the middle of last year as companies pulled back on expansive drilling program, pledged financial discipline and vowed better returns for investors. This year, U.S. oil output is about 11.4 million barrels a day, down from 12 million in 2019, and the Energy Information Administration predicts it will fall another 100,000 barrels by year’s end.


An analysis by Hart Energy found that total U.S. oil production fell by 34 percent before the pandemic. Given the high decline rate of shale plays – which account for about 70 percent of U.S. production — Brown estimates the U.S. needs about 3.8 million barrels a day of new production just to maintain pre-pandemic output — roughly the equivalent of a new North Slope of Alaska every six months. That’s about 15 times as much oil as producers needed to generate in 2008 to offset production declines.


Mexico is a good example. From 2004 to 2019, its production fell by 50 percent — from 3.8 million to 1.9 million barrels a day. During the same period, net exports fell by 90 percent, from 2 million to 200,000 barrels a day.

Even in Saudi Arabia, skyrocketing domestic demand triggered a 5.7 percent drop in net exports between 2005 and 2019, although the kingdom’s total production rose by 9.3 percent. As oil-producing countries channel their petrodollars into economic development, their internal need for energy rises, leaving less oil and gas to export.

Meanwhile, two of the world’s most populous countries, China and India, have had a massive surge in energy demand since 2005. Their combined net oil imports rose to 14.8 million barrels a day in 2019 from 5.1 million in 2005.


That’s a concern for the U.S., because we’re still importing about 5.9 million barrels, and our import needs could rise if the U.S. shale producers continue to sit on the sidelines.

We can’t expect much from the Oil Patch these days. Scott Sheffield, chief executive officer of Pioneer Natural Resources PXD +0.3%, the biggest shale operator, recently told the Financial Times that it doesn’t matter how high prices for the Brent crude, the global benchmark, go.

“Everybody’s going to be disciplined, regardless whether it’s $75 Brent, $80 Brent, or $100 Brent,” he said. “All the shareholders that I’ve talked to said that if anybody goes back to growth, they will punish those companies. I don’t think the world can rely much on U.S. shale.”

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 16:55 utc | 110

@William Gruff #69, 89
Exo-atmosphere solar collection is NEVER going to happen. Beaming the energy down is identical to a weapon - and one that is light speed and covers huge portions of the Earth 24/7/365.
No nation on Earth is going to tolerate that threat level - so fantasies about space mining and exo-atmospheric solar collection will remain fantasies until there is an actual World Government. Which will happen the 12th of Never.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 16:58 utc | 111

One very uplifting aspect of alterative media (especially Moon of Alabama and "The Saker") is that comments about China's role internationally have become more vibrant, reasoned and logical.
But one theme is lacking: "A de-bunking of the myth about a "Tiananmen Massacre" in June 1989.
Until this happens, the discrediting og US propaganda has not been carried out completly.
I am a Scandinavian- and Chinese-educated interpreter who soon after the massacre stories went to Bêijing and all over the rest of China, everywhere asking people for what they knew. Aside for those who all the time listened to "Voice of America" in English, Mandarin or Cantonese, they all mostely approved of how Dàng Xiâopíng had averted that China fell into the same trap as Gorbatchew's and Yeltsin's USSR/Russia after 1989.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Oct 15 2021 16:59 utc | 112

miguelhose @63

Almost twenty years ago now there was a feature article in Scientific American concerning breeder reactors and the possibility of using the backlog of spent fuel waste in energy generation processes that would also leave the residual from that in an inert state and thus safe for permanent disposal. From what I remember the main area of contention was how to ensure this waste brought back into an active cycle from illicit diversion, theft, and/or use in covert weapons programs.

I made the mistake of bringing this article up on the (public, "progressive") forum I participated in at the time. Not a degreed engineer or scientist/researcher I did attend university towards an engineering degree and studied all the higher math, physics, statistical analysis, etc. Well, the resulting torrent of hate I received (after referencing that article) from both sides of the issue and the unwanted technical info sent my way was shocking.

I feel your...pain(?) I am not either equipped to assess all the technical issues, so I find my own "position" guided by some obvious generalities and easily observed facts. The original promise from the US nuclear energy proponents was that it would generate electricity "too cheap to meter" and that has certainly not turned out to be true. My main objections remain the environmental aspects of mining, processing, and disposal. Trying to be skeptically honest, I'm not sure whether the insurance underwriting cost prohibitions are the result of proven reality or merely public perception. The asinine stupidity of those responsible for the Fukishima failures is astounding. "Tsunami," after all, is a Japanese word. Fusion reactors always seem - every decade - to be "at least a decade away."

I am not precluding anything. It is my observation that humans, always and everywhere, will do what is easiest. The problem with that is that the observed horizons are nearness limited. While we argue over how to equitably supply 9bn humans (soon, and soon after that 10bn) with energy, no-one seems to have a clue how all of that mass is to have adequate potable water. Considering that last, how foolish is it to pollute beyond recovery, approximately 13m gallons of potable water to complete each and every fracked gas or oil well?

Posted by: vinnieoh | Oct 15 2021 17:05 utc | 113

@vinnieoh #113
What I have always found amusing is that nuclear fission is actually a natural process. U238 is not created - it is concentrated out of U235.
Furthermore the fission of U238 occurs naturally. Critical mass accelerates the process but isn't actually (significantly) changing how much U238 decays over long time scales. There is evidence of naturally occurring fission reactors in nature, for example.
And thus the output of U238 fission would always have happened anyway. Is it better for this output to be concentrated or spread out everywhere?
I fully agree that the primary reason the public has been pushed against nuclear fission is weapons proliferation. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate defensive weapon - and the US doesn't want any others to have this capability if it can be helped.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 17:16 utc | 114

In those years up to 1990. both "Voice of America" nor the BBC got intecely scrambled or disturbed from within China (Táiwan Kuomintang however often tried, but could only disturbe Fújàn and some parts of Zhèjiang and Hâinán -- with US help!)-

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Oct 15 2021 17:17 utc | 115

c1ue @111: "Beaming the energy down is identical to a weapon..."

The Chinese will not be asking your opinion.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 17:18 utc | 116

c1ue @111: "Beaming the energy down is identical to a weapon..."

More importantly, the Chinese will not be asking for your permission.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 17:19 utc | 117

@ snake | Oct 15 2021 5:27 utc | 80

thanks snake.. it is how i thought.... think of all the strings, or cookies attached with nulands visit to lebannon...

@ 71 jen - quote ''eu politicians are learning the hard way on the issue of neo-liberalism.'' indeed! and they are making everyone else suffer too for their ignorance..

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2021 17:26 utc | 118

William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 15:40 utc | 103
karlof1 | Oct 15 2021 16:23 utc | 106

As Karlof1 says, the Chinese and Russians are aiming for the moon. Which is why the new Space stations will be comparatively small, just way stations. Anything that can be sourced, or mined on the moon does not have to be lifted from the Earth. Easier, faster and cheaper.

Water, He3, even minerals and substances to be used in ceramics, (Heat from nuclear power). Even water can be broken down if you have nearly unlimited power available in a moon colony. (Water from meteorites or other sources such as cometary debris could have built up over the ages.) etc.

The Chinese have the advantage of having actually studied a bit of the other side of the moon. Which is where the He3 is estimated to be.

What is there not to like?

Both countries try to think in decades, with options increasing in the future. they have given us enough examples of this, (Hypersonic is just one).

However, I do agree with those that think the Chinese and Russians are willing to include the rest of the inhabitants of our planet, in future projects. The total effort necessary to mount a real and efficient exploration of nearby planets, will be so colosssal that ALL the capable forces on Earth could be useful.


(As long as they find enough people in the west who haven't gone crazy first.)

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 15 2021 17:42 utc | 119

William Gruff @107 & 109--

Yes, the mantra is all humanity, not just Han Chinese. I find it odd to say the least that recycling wasn't made mandatory here many decades ago. Here in my part of Oregon, we can only recycle certain classes of plastic while all glass except returnables go into the landfill!!

Meanwhile, China plans massive expansion of PV on Tibetan Plateau:

"China needs to vigorously develop photovoltaic power station projects in the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau to achieve its double targets of carbon peaking and neutrality, and to track, detect and assess the impact of photovoltaic projects on the ecological environment on the plateau, a senior Chinese scientist said on the sidelines of the COP15 on Thursday in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

"Chen Fahu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of the academy's Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, told the Global Times that the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau has vast desert and Gobi areas, such as the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province and the Ngari Prefecture of the Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region, with abundant photovoltaic energy resources. And boosting photovoltaic bases in the plateau is of positive significance to reaching the targets of carbon peaking and neutrality and the sustainable development of the ecosystem.

"Some studies show that photovoltaic bases in desert areas could reduce evaporation and improve the ecosystem. Yet, Chen said 'We still need to track and assess the impact of photovoltaic energy on the ecology of the plateau and formulate ecological benefit evaluation standards for the photovoltaic industry....'

"About 4.4 billion kilowatts of hydropower, solar energy and wind energy are exploitable on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, but only about 2 percent has been developed, Chen said....

"The plateau can significantly help China achieve carbon neutrality, and China is working on turning the plateau into a demonstration area for China's carbon neutrality campaign.

"The total carbon emissions of the plateau is about 100 million tons, less than 1 percent of the national total. Under the current warm and humid background, the plateau carbon sink is about 110 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, accounting for about 10 to 16 percent of the total national carbon sink.

"'It is estimated that the ecosystem on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau will absorb 190 to 230 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2060, nearly double the current level,' Chen said." [My Emphasis]

As the article illustrates, the Climate Crisis will induce environmental changes that alter the current nature of sinks and non-sinks, which both Russia and China aim to take advantage of. Pakistan's Khan has already implemented a massive reforestation program of planting a billion trees which is rapidly advancing to its conclusion.

Once upon a time, Americans were praised for what was deemed their Can Do attitude. As we see daily, that mantle is now owned by the Chinese and their Russian partners as witnessed by massive Siberian projects carved out of that wilderness.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2021 17:43 utc | 120

Tollef @ 112,

Off topic, but here's our discussion on the subject:

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2021 17:45 utc | 121

Stonebird @119--

Thanks for your reiterations!! We're reaching a stage in human relations when one faction needs to just step aside as this article's headline suggests, "US Asks Russia to ‘Do More’ for EU’s Energy Security After Spending Years Sabotaging Nord Stream 2". Pretty ballsy or perhaps an offhanded admission of guilt. The article recaps the Outlaw US Empire's unsourced accusations, Russia's counters with facts that were vouched for somewhat reluctantly by the EU--particularly Merkel.

This long lasting event, perhaps moreso than the illegal invasions or rather on top of them, prove to the planet's nations that the Outlaw US Empire is absolutely no force for Good, and instead is a massive source for Evil. It must get the hell out of humanity's way so humanity can get on with solving the planet's problems as the Empire only serves as an impediment or worse.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2021 18:02 utc | 122

@c1ue 110

Thanks, I appreciate the counterpoint. There's definitely room to argue about the breakeven price for unconventional oil in the US.

US crude prices in the past few years makes me believe those, who put the unconventional oil breakeven around $50-60 WTI, as a rough overall figure. Maybe it gets higher because the good spots are used up. Not sure how fast that happens.

Re: the need to constantly drill to keep up -- fracking makes wells that spit out most of the production rate in the first year. True but well known. Yes it gets worse as US conventional production fades away. The energy industry knows how to plan around this.

The fact that the industry has lost money, IMO, was firstly because prices fell too low -- i.e. too much, not too little. Then of course they did very much exaggerate their breakeven cost. For many years there were constraints of takeaway capacity (local pipelines), and the midstream went home with more money and the owners of the wells went home with less.

So while investors got screwed in the past decade, the oil was produced anyway. I think this can continue. If necessary, the US government is very much capable of de-facto subsidizing (via wall street) domestic oil production because avoiding having to import crude is a strategic issue. What might change is that they do something to prevent US exporting crude, to keep the international market from pulling US prices up too high, and using up the unconventional reserves too fast. We'll see about that.

And again, the story of dry gas is its own thing entirely.

Posted by: ptb | Oct 15 2021 18:13 utc | 123

Electrical energy systems (production, transmission, consumption) are complex and run at real time. For production, they are all based on water. In one case, power of waters flowing over the surface of the Earth, a.k.a Hydro energy - water is basically dropped from a height to turn the turbines, which turn generators which produce - electrical energy.. The other case is indirect - water gets heated somehow to generate steam which allows generators to rotate and thus provide electrical current. water is heated in various ways - by burning coal, oil, gas or by heath generated by nuclear reactions. That is well known and everybody "knows" that. Since we all "know" that, we want to "improve" the process by generating less pollution, read kill coal and oil burning thermo-generation plants.

What we do not know, most of us is that all types of power plants have their role in the system and that roles are not interchangeable. This means, hydro power cannot do what nuclear or thermal plants do, and vice versa. Burning gas or oil to generate heat to convert to electrical energy can do he same things as nuclear or coal plants can do. Oil and gas can do the same things hydro stations do - provide peak energy. But, oil/gas plants cannot do both roles at the same time. Gas/oil plants are built to work either as classical thermal plants, or to work as hydro plants and produce peak energy.

Problem with electrical systems is fluctuating demand. The system must produce exactly what consumers demand in any given moment. Consumers do not actually demand anything, they simply turn the switch on and "pull" necessary power and energy from the electrical grid. In the morning, demand for power and energy is high, then drops a bit, then again goes up at night, then drops then up again next morning.
If you produce much more than is consumed at some point, the system breaks down. When demand is much higher than production, same thing happens - the system collapses. Huge jumps in demand or production in short time produce imbalance in the system, which leads to collapse. Roles of hydro and thermal plants are to complement each other. Thermal and nuclear plants produce much more energy than hydro. However, they cannot work in isolation. They tend to produce more or less equal amount of power/energy over time. And they cannot increase production by say, 20%, easily. So when demand surges, hydro plants kick in. Water stored in huge reservoirs is flown through turbines and in seconds can add huge amount of power, for short time, hence less total energy (Power times Time). when demand drops, hydro plants can turn the turbines off quickly. On the other side, for nuclear and thermal plants, it is as difficult to drop the production. Hence, thermal plants can cover only the base level of demand - energy that is always needed. If demands drops seriously, we cannot shut off thermal and nuclear plants. It takes long time, weeks, to shut down a thermal plant, and more to bring them up to normal production level. Again, hydro power helps. Water is pumped from lower elevations to higher, hundreds of meters. Those pumps consume lot's of power and energy, so they add to demand, so the demand never goes below base level. Thus, nuclear, coal, oil plants keep chugging at their optimal level. Technology has advanced enough to allow gas powered plants to cover peak demand, similar to hydro plants.

So, energy needed for producing electricity must be stored when not needed, and quickly brought back when needed. Storing and ability to follow demand at all times are key parameters that determine energy quality. Oil, gas, coal nuclear - they all can be stored and used when needed, in different roles. They all have negative impact on nature, but we need them. Hydro plants do not produce poisonous gases, they are renewable, but, they cover lots of arable or livable land, sometimes whole towns are flooded to make room for a hydro plant. Solar and wind generated energy have very low storability and zero flexibility. Wind and sun have their own schedule and cannot be controlled. All other types of energy we use can be either stored, or controlled to yield predictable power, or both. and both wind and solar plants consume lots of land are costly to maintain. The only reliable thing about sun and wind is - they are unreliable for practical use.

Before we start thinking which source is the best, remember that all sources have different roles in the system, energy generation is tightly tied with consumption, which is predictable only to a degree. It does not make sense to compare a nuclear pant with gas or hydro powered one, without knowing about the system, which at least has two components - demand and production, where both depend on properties of the network they supply. The issue is too complex to be solved by public debate. Wind and Sun are out of question for electricity generation - they produce too little and infrequently. Using solar energy for heating to lower temperatures is totally different thing, possible and doable, which may lead to freeing limited electrical supply for other purposes. Wind can be uses as it was used in the past - turning some wheels that can do useful work - pumping small quantities of water from the ground to higher elevations, or anything that does not require just in time power and energy.

Electrical cars? They will add to the demand and could cause troubles given how much time it takes to replenish energy. If one electric vehicle is hooked to the city grid 6 hours every night, no big deal. But a few millions of electric vehicles is a different story - they would have significant impact on demand and timing of the demand.

Climate change or no climate change, we cannot find substitution for oil, gas, coal for foreseeable future. More hydro electric plants? No luck either. More or less, wherever we could put a dam and create reservoir, we did it already. Not much available hydro power remained.

Time to think how to save energy we still have, while we have it.

Posted by: zidar | Oct 15 2021 18:31 utc | 124

@ vinnieoh | Oct 15 2021 17:05 utc | 113
Thanks vinnieoh. Totally agree with your take on the upcoming--happening now-- fresh water scarcity. Back on the nuclear topic, the concept of re-burning spent fuel seems plausible but the complexity and vast sums of investment to research, scale, build, (also recover the fuel rods), seems improbable. China and resistance countries might be capable since they can work together for the public good (most of the time). We in the dying U.S. empire are not capable: our greed has gone wild and we're fast becoming a shit hole country like Ukraine, Colombia, Honduras etc.

Posted by: migueljose | Oct 15 2021 18:36 utc | 125

@William Gruff #116
nor will the "space debris" that strikes the satellite.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 18:40 utc | 126

@Stonebird #119
Yes, there are a lot of minerals and what not in space.
No, they are not economical without essentially a literal unlimited, free source of power - at which point why bother with space?

Let's first consider the build cost of lifting materials to orbit. $10K a pound is a nice round number.
How heavy is an orbital vehicle? Apollo's lunar lander was 500 lbs - so would cost $5M just to lift into orbit. The orbiter was 3x that. And of course, all that Apollo 17 was doing was driving to the moon and back. Note this ignores the ginormous weight of the lifting engines, fuel etc.

Actually installing heavy equipment is far, far more weight.
A coal steam shovel can weigh 9.3 million pounds plus another 1.7 million pounds of ballast during operation. It requires fuel. It requires parts. It requires operators. It requires trucks and machinery to gather and process the ore.
Even if this is magically overcome (and I use the word magically deliberately), the cargo itself is also extremely dangerous and a weapon.
HE3 you say. How much HE3 would be required to fuel 10% of China's energy needs in a week? That's a nice, big bomb that is being collected and sent through a fiery deorbiting.

And even then, deorbiting industrial scale materials is not a lot less dangerous than outright kooky ideas like space elevators - even disregarding the nonexistence of materials strong enough to work, a space elevator would be an extraordinarily dangerous man-made object. We're talking if it ever failed, it is in the range of extinction level meteor strikes when its parts crash.

These space ideas are simply not rooted in any form of pragmatic real world engineering in the absence of both a unified world government and cheap fusion power/some other magical energy source, and also often require materials utterly unknown today.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 18:54 utc | 127

@ptb #123
I think we both agree that we're not going to literally run out - although prices are clearly in a secular increase period.
What I am seeing, and echoed by a number of others, is that there are a confluence of factors which will ensure this particular cycle is going to be vicious.

1) ESG - the major oil companies have been spending less on exploration than ever before. This guarantees their medium term production is lower.
2) Shale - already discussed.
3) Biden as US President - defocus on fossil fuels, renewed focus on alternative. Meaning the USG has no will to ramp up shale/whatever fossil fuel production.

Or put another way: what we're seeing is very possible only the first part of a multi-act performance - the end of which we may well challenge the $150/barrel mark set in 2007. The only good (?) news is Fed tightening may well result in a major market crash before then, thus kneecapping the recovery and thus demand.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 19:00 utc | 128

c1ue @126

That would be a bad idea, which suggests that idiot Americans would want to try it. Still, the SSP satellites we are talking about here are not delicate little StarLink or Iridium birds in low Earth orbit. SSP satellites are half million ton (or more) behemoths in geosynchronous Earth orbit (very far away), and there is no reason to make them lightweight and delicate if they are being built from materials sourced on the Moon. Your "space debris" is unlikely to be able to significantly harm an SSP satellite and is instead just going to make the orbital environment hazardous for smaller vehicles.

Of course, that would also be an act of war, so your stupid ass would get nuked.

No, there will be lots of outraged squealing from the has-been American empire, but they will do nothing. Certainly there will be no covert actions since it would be really difficult to get head-chopping death squads up to geosynchronous orbit, and even harder to make it look like they belong there.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2021 19:05 utc | 129

Washington is probably going to make London to invoke the "snap back"-clause shortly before the JCPOA expires. The UK is - unlike the USA - still participant in the JCPOA and perfectly entitled to do so.

Posted by: m | Oct 15 2021 21:20 utc | 130

m @130--

More prevarications from you I see. The UK failed to fulfill its duties under the JCPOA just as did France, Germany, and the EU; therefore, they have no standing whatsoever to impose anything related to a treaty in which they're effectively no longer a party. Ta!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2021 21:59 utc | 131

"is prepared to turn to other options"

A C-130 loaded with pallets of cash?

Posted by: ian | Oct 15 2021 22:14 utc | 132

@William Gruff #129
Now you’re flying half million ton satellites 238,000 miles from the moon to Earth. How many tons of fuel needed just for that?
Ain’t gonna happen in your grandkids lifetimes if ever.
I’m case you hadn’t noticed - progress is not uniformly forward. The US landed on the moon over 50 years ago.
The fantasies of space mining and what not are no more realistic than the Jetsons’ personal air cars.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2021 23:14 utc | 133

@c1ue @133

"In case you hadn’t noticed - progress is not uniformly forward. The US landed on the moon over 50 years ago."

I'm keenly awaiting Gordog's analysis of this alleged technical accomplishment...

Posted by: retiredmecheng | Oct 16 2021 0:09 utc | 134

One can only hope that this excellent energy discussion doesn't come to hinge on whether the US actually did land on the moon 50 years ago ;)

Quickly moving on - I'm an optimist, and I observe that the universe is also: it richly rewards positive activity, while consigning negative activity to dead ends. This isn't always obvious but I think it can be seen.

I admire the vision articulated by William Gruff, and I have no doubt that all the objections placed against that vision are on the table as Chinese and Russian engineers quite simply work the science and get the solutions to each and every one of these obstacles.

As karlof1 has described in such plaintive terms, people in the US used to have that kind of faith in their ability to solve problems. But that faith is returning to the ground, to humus, or humility or even humiliation, and there it must stay until it can rise again, which may take a century.

I often speak of the Demonstration Effect, and we see it in operation in the geopolitical world. I prize it as an underrated yet hugely forceful dynamic. It does much more heavy lifting than is generally credited - the pandemic showing the most obvious latest global example, as the world struggled to emulate China (and massively failed).

Anyway, I think that the US will not degenerate for too many decades before the overwhelming demonstration of global equity and the success of the multi-polar world forces a political change wherein the people simply insist on better governance and a better share of the bounty of society. So I think that as the old nation becomes ready to look upward again, the world itself will lift it up. I think that just as colonialism will be banished forever from global culture, so too will allowing any nation to become too bad of a failed state. The US may receive such a gift, deserving or not.

I'm grateful that others believe that the rising world has no desire to exclude the people of the US from its largess. I think so also. If the cruelty that the rulers of the US have inflicted on the rest of the world didn't turn it against the people, perhaps nothing that the empire remains capable of can. I don't believe that even the khazars will nuke the world out of spite, and I suspect that within a decade Russia and China will be able to shield against the decaying strike force of the US - and the demonstration effect of that will turn such ideas into obvious ludicrosities.

Call me an optimist, or simply someone who feels the hope of the world outside of the west, and sees what that spirit brings forth daily. The American Century is long over. This is good.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 16 2021 0:10 utc | 135

c1ue @133

Miles don't count in orbit. It is all about where you are in relation to gravity wells. If you cannot understand that then spend some time playing "Kerbal Space Program" with Gordog until you do. In the meantime just shut up and focus your attention on things that you know something about.

Just so that you know, it is possible to travel from lunar orbit to geosynchronous Earth orbit using almost no fuel at all. We're talking about 2km/s worth of delta-V for a basic Hohmann transfer orbit, and there are elaborate orbits that use much less if you are patient.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 16 2021 0:47 utc | 136

c1ue @133

Another point: Just because you and your culture lost your nerve and abandoned progress to embrace greed and short-term personal gratification doesn't mean everyone else has. The Chinese are, at least partially, delaying gratification to build a better future.

Yet another point: Nobody like you ever landed on the Moon. Those people were better than you. By a lot.

But it is perfectly OK for you not to try. Humanity isn't expecting anything from you. Nobody is.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 16 2021 0:57 utc | 137


"The judge seems to steer the investigation against Hezbollah even as other groups were responsible for the ammonium nitrate storage that has caused the disaster."

Who is still thinking that this "explosion" was due to ammonium nitrate?

Posted by: Olivier | Oct 16 2021 1:05 utc | 138

@ William Gruff | Oct 16 2021 0:57 utc | 137... william.. just because you see it differently, doesn't mean you have to denigrate or diminish the views of another person..

statements like this below are more a reflection on you then anything else... i know you can do better then this!
"Just because you and your culture..."

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2021 1:13 utc | 139

well, it is trying to diminish the person as read your comments again... i think that is poor form myself..

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2021 1:16 utc | 140

@131 karlof1
Look up the provisions of the Iran deal! If there is a problem any of the participating parties can bring it up and there is a several months long dispute resolution mechanism. If the problem can`t be solved during these negotiations the status quo ante JCPOA automaticly "snaps back".

Iran could have invoked that clause if it is unhappy with the implementation of the JCPOA by the EU/E3. It didn`t. The USA could have invoked that clause before it left the Iran deal. Now it can`t anymore.

If the UK invokes the "snap back" clause China, Russia, France, Germany and the EU will habe to decide if they go along with this farce or if they brake the letter of the JCPOA and with it international law.

Posted by: m | Oct 16 2021 5:06 utc | 141

Renewable energy can work at local, individual, level.

At least in Europe, where renewable energy fails for now is centralized generation and distribution. We have not yet been able to overcome the physical hurdles of large capacity storage. Our grid is designed to produce and distribute. Our grid is not designed to produce, store and then distribute alternately and intermittently.

That being the case, at least for the foreseeable future, renewable energy would stand a chance if households were allowed to produce and store on site. For that to come about however, 2 things have to happen.

On one hand, the cost of storage has to drop significantly.

On the other hand and far more importantly, government has to let go of, or at least, get creative with, the fiscal aspect of allowing individual households to produce their own energy. For all intents and purposes, a household that is energy independent is anathema to the natural tendency of the state to achieve centralization; albeit a centralization that is enacted through "private" entities.

Posted by: guidoamm | Oct 16 2021 7:01 utc | 142

@c1ue | Oct 15 2021 18:54 utc | 127

How heavy is an orbital vehicle?

An orbital vehicle weighs nothing at all, it is weightless when in free fall orbit. It has mass, but doesn't weigh anything.

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 16 2021 7:02 utc | 143

Re: Nuclear

Why are we not pursuing Thorium reactors? Simpler, more cost efficient, less dangerous and reusable waste. What is the hand up?

Posted by: guidoamm | Oct 16 2021 7:08 utc | 144

@guidoamm | Oct 16 2021 7:08 utc | 144

Why are we not pursuing Thorium reactors? Simpler, more cost efficient, less dangerous and reusable waste. What is the hand up?

You can't make weapons from Thorium. Cynical answer, but true.

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 16 2021 7:24 utc | 145

c1ue | Oct 15 2021 18:54 utc | 127

Re; Russian and Chinese forward planning.

I think you didn't catch what I was proposing. All "heavy" objects lifted to the Moon stay there. What goes up - stays up if it is on the moon.

There would be no "geospace" mining of asteriodes and debris, or at least not until the Moon can be used as the base. The "lift off" from the moon is several orders of magnitude less than from the Earth.

Although the return of He3 "carriers" could (theoretically at least) solve many energy problems on earth, it might be rather like landing a nuclear bomb => softly, (as you said...).

So it makes some sense to plan and then make a permanent base on the moon where only the minimum would still need to be transported from earth. (Humans mainly, but robots to do the heavy lifting and hard work - controlled from Earth).
The Russians and Chinese think along long term schedules, with intermediate steps calculated in. No one will be expecting an immediate gratification.

Just as an aside the BRI is an expanding idea, in that 600kph (or was that miles?) maglev trains are being introduced. These will rely on prefabricated "units" of infrastucture, for which the Chinese are past masters. So I expect that multiple heavy-lift space craft will become standardized as much as is possible. The Russian Rocket RD-180 has been serving faithfully for many years. So new motors will also be expected to function correctly for similar periods of time. The major cost then becomes one of replacement (or renewal) rather than on develeopment.

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 16 2021 8:03 utc | 146

james @139

Except narcissism really has become a core component of American culture. And nobody is looking for anything like leadership from the USA anymore. America's inability to handle the blowback from its own bio attack on China last year pretty much sank global expectations for American leadership to nil.

Furthermore, this isn't about differing opinions. This is about a severely butthurt sore loser saying "If we can't do it then nobody can! If they try to build it then we will destroy it!" That kind of attitude is so pathetic it deserves to be called out. Furthermore, it is really in the poster's own best interest to confront that butthurt now and deal with it because China is already achieving many amazing things that his "team" cannot, and they will be doing more each year. He's got nothing but bitterness and disappointment ahead of him with that attitude.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 16 2021 10:57 utc | 147

Nuland is no mere US official.

She is inarguably one of the faces of Transnational Jewish Ethnonationalist power. Any assessment of her involvement in international affairs which neglects this stumbles into irrelevance ab initio.

And it is effectively impossible to discuss this honestly, openly (and fairly) even on much of the internet.

But Nuland, like her husband, acts always for Ersatz Israel.

Posted by: Robert K. | Oct 16 2021 12:07 utc | 148

Re: Nuclear

Why are we not pursuing Thorium reactors? Simpler, more cost efficient, less dangerous and reusable waste. What is the hand up?

Posted by: guidoamm | Oct 16 2021 7:08 utc | 144

There is nothing inherently "simple" and "less dangerous" in thorium reactors. It is a type of breeder reactor that converts uranium to plutonium, the fuel initially gets neutrons to be emitted in heat producing manner from thorium, and those neutrons are absorbed by uranium and make new isotopes, notably, plutonium. Plutonium is "controversial" because it is chemically different from uranium and thorium, thus separation is much simpler, so it is simpler to make bombs.

As we know, nitrogen fertilizers can make good bombs too, most recent spectacular demonstration in Beirut. In short, there are rational ways to handle dangerous materials. Breeder reactors may be a necessity once nuclear energy becomes a prime source of electricity globally -- it will require to reduce fuel consumption by a large factor. Thorium is attractive because it is used to produce nuclear fuel in a mix with depleted uranium, both ingredients are relatively plentiful.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 16 2021 13:20 utc | 149

But Nuland, like her husband, acts always for Ersatz Israel.

Posted by: Robert K. | Oct 16 2021 12:07 utc | 148

This is what THEY WANT YOU TO THINK. Some descendants of Khazars could not care less about Israel, ersatz or not, they want to re-create long lost Khazarian Kaganate. But as an over goal, it would not fly in the current set up of Western elite, so pretend Zionism may be one techniques to mask their real goals. [huge snark possibilities]

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 16 2021 13:25 utc | 150

Bad Jews are just regular old capitalists, and Israel is just a big military base in the Middle East put there by the empire to protect its control over the region's hydrocarbon resources. If BP, Exxon, and Shell were all back in control of Iran then you wouldn't hear a word of aggression from the nutty yahoos and their ilk. The "Zionists" would then be just as buddy-buddy with the Persians as they are with the Saudi Barbarians. Likewise when Saudi Barbaria and the other fake countries created by Churchill run out of oil then the empire will no longer need such a big and expensive base in the region and Israel will be history (actually an elaborate cost/benefit analysis: when returns from hydrocarbon extraction drop below cost of maintaining hostilities then the plug will be pulled on the Israel project).

It is disappointing to see people getting caught up in the religious mumbo-jumbo that is used to disguise real power relations in the world.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 16 2021 14:28 utc | 151

The "Zionists" would then be just as buddy-buddy with the Persians as they are with the Saudi Barbarians. Likewise when Saudi Barbaria and the other fake countries created by Churchill run out of oil then the empire will no longer need such a big and expensive base in the region and Israel will be history (actually an elaborate cost/benefit analysis: when returns from hydrocarbon extraction drop below cost of maintaining hostilities then the plug will be pulled on the Israel project).

It is disappointing to see people getting caught up in the religious mumbo-jumbo that is used to disguise real power relations in the world.
Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 16 2021 14:28 utc | 151

You wish...

Have you 'forgotten' that AmeriKKKa spent $6 Trillion on Fake Wars in the Middle East - for "Israel". Show me the cost-benefit sums for the average US Taxpayer? Haven't you noticed that the West's Jewed-up US-NATO Christians are being Neoconned into embarking on a West vs East (Capitalism vs Commies) war for the future of 'Civilisation'? And the pressure is unrelenting?

The bribe-loving Mock-Democracy West is already governed by pro-Israel Lunatics, Liars and Cretins who'd sell their grand children, and/or yours, for a small bag of shekels.

If the Neocons manage to pull it off, and "Israelis" take over in what's left of The West, then the survivors will soon find out what being Palestinian feels like.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 16 2021 16:03 utc | 152

@ 147 william gruff... okay, but i still don't read it like that.. it seems like a personal attack.. i can see making general statements on the usa and americans, but from what i have read of c1ue - i think you are being very unkind to c1ue... fwiw - i agree with you @ 151.. thanks...

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2021 16:05 utc | 153

Most of the energy generated by whatever means is wasted on non essential trivia, like driving individual cars and big pickup trucks. Our entire civilization, with few exceptions, is based on self destruction. Just the meat raising industries are ridiculously destructive of our own bodies ,not to mention the environment. We’re all going to die prematurely by our own hands, all the while destroying the very planet we live on. Humans are terminally greedy, stupid and self destructive. The only good news is that they will eventually die out and the planet will survive to harbor various forms of life that do not destroy their environment.

Posted by: Karl Brantz | Oct 16 2021 17:00 utc | 154

the other side
more from the other side

Posted by: snake | Oct 16 2021 17:12 utc | 155

Hey, Piotr! You are just plain wrong about how thorium works in a reactor! It does not make plutonium. Mistakes like this pretty much destroy the rest of your argument, too. My recommendation to you: read & study.

Folks interested in thorium-fuelled nukes can find plenty of information. It is a remarkably interesting and practical alternative to (typical in the US) uranium-fuelled pressurized water reactors. We will see thorium reactors running (in China) within the next year.


Posted by: JP Straley | Oct 16 2021 19:19 utc | 156

Karl Brantz | Oct 16 2021 17:00 utc | 154

"Humans are terminally greedy, stupid and self destructive. The only good news is that they will eventually die out."

I once sat through a calvinist funeral, cold seat, cold comfort, and I must have been the only person actually listening to the preacher. At one point he said "we are all going to die, Perhaps even me". I loved that "perhaps". You are not a preacher by any chance ?

Anyway, if you want to assure your place in the rafters, I reckon we are here to do something about the situation, even if it is only small things in our normal surroundings.

I don't really see why I should be one of the "disposables" for the rich, and I don't yet feel like a "non-essential trivia".


PS. The dinosaurs did not destroy their environment, and a fat lot of good it did them. Although you could argue that Karma finally caught up with them even if it took a few million years.

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 16 2021 20:29 utc | 157

@ stonebird 156... thanks for saying all that! i too didn't sit comfortably with the outlook expressed by karl brantz @ 154.. its not that i have to have all my comforts looked after.. i know how to and don't mind roughing it in life too! i tend to have an optimistic view of people, but this doesn't extend to those who are still figuring out that being a predator on others is acceptable... they form a very small % of people on the planet, but are always seeking power and control... i hope they evolve.. i think it is possible.. i see them as lesser people who haven't made the evolutionary jump yet... when they make the jump, i will view them as equals...

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2021 20:48 utc | 158

There are different designs for using thorium, and when you read about proposed technologies. many use both thorium and uranium, while India was experimenting with plutonium and thorium.

In the Indian design, plutonium is "burnt" and thorium is gradually converted to U233 which sustains fission reaction and more conversion of thorium to U233, that is perhaps the "cleanest" version. Other designs may aim to maximize the amount of energy that can be extracted, so depleted uranium is also in the fuel rods, hence plutonium as a product that is eventually consumed. The idea is to have fuel rods that will be changing composition and produce energy for a much longer time, with reprocessing potential, and that requires rather intricate structure of the rods.

Other remarks I read are that thorium processing has some difficulties, and since much less work was performed on thorium than uranium, it is still more "experimental". At this time, it is probably cheaper to go for uranium that is sufficiently plentiful for now.


RosAtom started to build BREST reactor that has a few benefits. One is that it can consume plutonium, for now, plutonium remains to be a troublesome waste, the second is that it operates with low pressure and it can produce more electricity for several hours each day.

Low pressure comes from using molten lead as the coolant, unlike water, lead has very high evaporation temperature, so it increases pressure only a little when overheated, then overheated lead is cooled by exchange heat with water that produces steam and drives turbines of power generators. However, you can also store some amount of overheated lead and use the heat from that storage to produce steam --> electricity. Thus heat is produced by the reactor at a steady rate, while electricity output is increased for the peak hours. So far, you can reduce output of nuclear reactor, but this saves very little, hence quite wasteful; in turn, it is harder to adapt nuclear power to daily cycle of energy demand. I wonder what is the limit of this approach.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 16 2021 21:11 utc | 159

Tom Fowdy's Lebanon backgrounder is quite good, and he tells us his buddy started The Cradle website, which emphasizes West Asia events.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 16 2021 21:32 utc | 160

@159 karlof1

Agreed the Fowdy piece is a good insight into the dynamics of Lebanon, quite well simplified for such a tangled web. The colonial birthing is the key to all of its troubles.

I can't help wondering who that buddy actually is. You're correct, and I endorse it, that The Cradle is an indispensable source of analysis on the Levant and West Asia - also quite prolific already, and thus belongs in news feeds rather than occasional looks.

The platform doesn't say who manages it. The only journalist who makes commentary about the platform itself is Sharmine Narwani, who is based in Beirut, as is the Cradle. Narwani is a superb analyst in her own right, of course, and describes high hopes for the site as a magnet for regional analysts.

It's clear already that the Cradle has revealed an insider view of the region that previously only people of the Magnier ilk could supply us. Narwani suggests there is a wealth of such insider knowledge waiting to be revealed. It's quite exciting that this site has arisen, and it's a sign of great hopefulness of tipping points having tipped. Narwani has long spoken of this new efficiency that exists in West Asia now, and even in the languid Levant - she repeats this in her introduction to the site.

This efficiency is a new faculty that we should not ignore. The Levant is gaining in efficiency - witness Hezbollah - even as the colonialists all are gaining only in their incompetence - witness Israel, 2006 - and even dotage.

The Cradle is part of the voice of these times in this region. Welcome it is, indeed.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 17 2021 2:26 utc | 161

1. Putin is almost always right.
Plus 1
2. Iran will nuke Israel ASAP
Minus 1
3. Snipers
Plus 1

Posted by: Cadence | Oct 17 2021 6:04 utc | 162

james | Oct 16 2021 20:48 utc | 157

The "evolutionary jump" idea brings forward a real but oldish question, if this is to be an individual advance or a group evolution?

I do not think that the 1% will be capable of any other format than the one that they are at the moment. (Predator etc). Partly because they are winning so there is no need to change. Witness the attempts to dumb down and eliminate any possible avenues of opposition taking hold. Ie. Education, Media control, Financial and political control etc. Plus the use of vaccine obedience and possible undeclared addditions to them. (I am referrring to the "things" found in the blood of those vaccinated and who subsequently died. Including graphene and undefined materials).
(Note that I do not know IF those inclusions are dangerous or not - all I am saying is that if the 1% could find a way of using vaccines to eliminate the possibility of all opposition - they would.)

At one time I thought that any evolution of humanity would be in parapsychology, educational level or similar (ie. individual improvement), but now I reckon that what will be needed are generalized movements. Ones that allow new alternatives in behaviour to become the norm, => Grouped. ie. Mutually beneficial. Joining personal responsibilty with collective action to eliminate percieved blockages. (Even "the Cradle" as per; Grieved | Oct 17 2021 2:26 utc | 160, is coming to the conclusion that new collective means can be used to tap into the "efficacity" that already exists within a geographical area/population.)

If one can reach a reasonable level of autonomy (mental and physical); this fits in with the BRI and Chinese and Russian thinking at the moment! Independance.


OK, I am just using your comment as a starting point for a bit of meditation. However, the other alternative - that of individual "cognitives leaps" - is fascinating in itself. In which humanity (multiple members of a group) reach a form of platform at the same time, which then leads to a new variant.

I try to be an incurable optimist.

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 17 2021 9:17 utc | 163

could be but i doubt it

Posted by: snake | Oct 17 2021 12:59 utc | 165

@ 163 stonebird... thanks for forcing me to think about this more!

i think it might be both individual and group advance... here is a real story that might serve as an analogy.. when new discoveries are made, often they are made on different parts of the planet by different people around the same time... i think it was the show 'connections' from back in the deep past where i got this idea.. it always stuck with me... so, perhaps it is individuals leading the way, but maybe it could be a group evolution at the same time.. i guess i am an incurable optimist in this regard.. i do believe it is possible we move beyond what we presently witness, even though the way is not clear, obvious or apparent.. you raise valid concerns in your observations of what is taking place today as well... thanks for engaging on this topic with me! i spend parts of my day writing songs, or playing songs that are uplifting.. i am removed from the madness of the crowds in many respects, but do frequent moa as a place of trying to understand the bigger world out their... of course i read a lot too and perhaps all of this is helpful for me to cultivate a particular attitude that maybe i would like to think is an ascension attitude - something uplifting and freeing..

Posted by: james | Oct 17 2021 18:24 utc | 166

james | Oct 17 2021 18:24 utc | 166

Actually you are lucky, music is one of the things that has a resonance across cultures and time. Normally I listen to Irish music, with the same pleasure that I listen to Netrebko singing a bit of Donizetti. (My wife opened my ears to opera). Helps when drawing or painting.


"when new discoveries are made, often they are made on different parts of the planet by different people around the same time"
So using your analogy, a "change" will come from any direction, in multiple formes, then all at once.

I have just read about "the amazing mathematics of the sandpile". In fact it is the way that "sandslides" happen. The maths, not really too complicated for me for once, shows that instability comes when a certain number of grains are at the same point. (2.25 grains?) The resulting collapse continues until relative stability is found. What this has to do with our subject is that an imbalance (ie. in world affairs) can continue until a point where a definite number of complications is reached. At which there is an instant "all fall down". Multiple complications are cumulative. Not independent from one another. Finance - bah, war - bah, protests - bah, loss of faith in Government - bah, the law - bah, Vaccines - bah. But once you put them all together, then something is going to change. Bam.

For info, to read if the subject interests you.;


Ascension: Each of us has to find their own path, by facing a series of (interior or otherwise) questions that need to be solved. For me it is a long trip to find out the "why?".


PS. With all those "bah's" above, I'm sounding more like a sheeple.

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 17 2021 20:08 utc | 167

Grieved #135

Thank you for those good words.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2021 20:43 utc | 168

@ 167 stonebird... thanks for sharing that link... i thought it was quite interesting and learned a few new words - geometer and abelian.. astrologers are into geometry as well, but they don't call themselves geometers, lol... i enjoy your humour too! thanks for all those bahs as examples..

i do find people who are curious the most interesting... asking questions and not having answers - i think this is a healthy thing.. i am reminded of something i read a long time ago - something to the effect that logic only goes so far... will power is something that operates outside the realm of logic... i think universes exist outside the realm of logic.. maybe it is okay to not have answers, but it is fun to keep on searching for the answers regardless... i have started to realize answers are a bit of a trap in fact.. they trap a person into a particular position and outlook when other answers could just as easily work, but would require a different position... thus the relatively of answers, lol.... now i am getting really tangential! i don't think i would be good at certain subjects..

Posted by: james | Oct 17 2021 22:35 utc | 169

'...A war with Iran would destroy Israel and whatever is left of the U.S. position in the Middle East...'

So it'd be a wash?

Posted by: Colin Wright | Oct 20 2021 4:01 utc | 170

The solution is fairly obvious. Less usage, especially wasted usage in military and air travel. Much more PV, Wind, Geothermal, than needed. Much more storage than needed. Very wide area distribution. Demand Management of expendable loads. Keeping older systems available for backup.

Those with the wealth and power prefer to use it otherwise, because fossil fuels are future income they're already counting on. Politicians prefer "solutions" that are much thinner than needed, but sound good in speeches. I'll be gone, you'll be gone.

Those that have the need in future, don't have the power now.

Posted by: Charles Peterson | Oct 20 2021 6:46 utc | 171

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