* Posts by Perpetual Cyclist

122 publicly visible posts • joined 9 May 2007


Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Stop whining...

I cannot see why the ability to reserve a seat is any left-off for trains being full (In general, leaving aside this individual train). It simply means people who reserve a seat guarantee that they get to sit down, whilst people who need to travel at short notice (or do not have internet access or competence) are guaranteed to have to stand when the train is full. A lot of the least able in society (through age or infirmity or poverty) are disadvantaged by the system. Also, the infirm and encumbered find it difficult to walk the length of a train looking for the one free seat amongst the scrum of passengers settling in in the narrow isle, and constantly asking an mp3-encased youth if a baggage strewn seat is available can be an intimidating process.

Trains are a lot less civilised than they could be, and load factors are at record high levels.

Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: More indicative / venting than any real chance

If you compare the postcode distribution of votes for the petition


it shows a very high correlation with the postcode distribution of the Remain votes for the referendum


which suggests that there is relatively little random vote stuffing.

Norway might insist on zero-emission vehicles by 2025

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Give & take

Here in the UK new electric cars have £5000 discount - but you still have to pay 20% VAT, which on a car costing £25,000 is - £5000.

You do not have to pay annual tax on electrics, but for the last few years a large number of small diesel cars did not pay it anyway. Similarly for the London congestion charge,

At present electric cars can charge of free at the Ecotricity fast charger network, mostly located at motorway service stations and similar - but they could start subscription charges at any time. All other recharging networks run on a subscription basis, and some also require payment for each charge - sometimes the payments cost more than the same journey would cost in a diesel powered car.

The cost of insuring an electric car can be higher (or lower) than an equivalent ICE - a lot of insurance companies do not want the business.

In the UK electricity is charged at 5% VAT, which is a lot less than the tax on petrol/diesel, which is

currently of the order of 280%.

As far as I know, electrics do not get free parking or bus lane use anywhere - unless they are a registered Taxi, of course.

Microsoft force-feeds Win10

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: What's the big deal with wires?

I have finally got around to Minting a couple of old laptops I had abandoned as hopelessly slow when running outdated windows (xp and Vista). It is a revelation, I now have two laptops as fast as my Windows 8 boxes, with a desktop that is intuitive to any windows user, and far cleaner and more secure administration. As long as I can avoid any MS specific technology (and with cloud based applications almost ubiquitous, that is getting easier) then it is getting very hard to justify not dumping MS once and for all.

Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet!

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: What's the big deal with wires?

Our main database servers are approaching 16 years old , Sun enterprise 250s. I have been helping to write their cloud based replacement for the last 3 years, at which time both they and I will be put out to grass. Fortunately (for my short term employment prospects) populating the new system with content is already 1 year behind schedule and progress is slow. Our most mission critical server is making alarming noises at present, but as the local computer museum has a 250 on display, I know where to get some cheap spare parts...

Ring Chime: Needy wireless doorbell or $30 bling t'ing?

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: What's the big deal with wires?

I've just fitted one. It works a treat. No more batteries and I fitted a cast iron bell push more in keeping with the thatched roof and lime plaster walls.

On my previous house I fitted a Victorian style bell and bell pull, but that was a bit more of an exercise.

Fertiliser doom warning! Pesky humans set to wipe selves out AGAIN

Perpetual Cyclist

There are no shortage of sources of nitrogen based fertilizers - all you need is enough energy and you can make it out of the nitrogen that is the air we breath, However, there are limited reserves of phosphorus deposits that are concentrated enough to be economically extracted. Once again - the exact amount depends on how much energy you are prepared to expend extracting and refining it. Which of course is the biggie. It has been calculated that 10 calories of fossil energy are burnt for every calorie of food on your (industrial, first world) dinner plate. Modern industrial agriculture is so dependent on fossil fuels, that without them, global food production would collapse, followed a few weeks later by the vast majority of the 7 billion people dependent on it.

Which is very worrying, and gives a lie to the use of biofuels from food crops, since these simply convert one fossil fuel into another, sometimes at a net energy loss.

Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

Perpetual Cyclist

Will this life sentence also apply to every minion in MI6 and GCHQ who regularly hack into every system they can? One law...

IRONY ALERT: Former MI6 chief warns of 'mass snooping' - by PAEDOS

Perpetual Cyclist

Let this be a warning to you

I used an email with an open distribution list to track down a girl I liked the look of.

We have been married for 12 years now....

Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Thin end of the wedge

If my contact is a typical case, then private hire car will be top of the list. Not that (s)he tells me where (s)he is going...

Power station fault cuts electricity, water and internet in Cairo

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: ' When we chose Cairo, we were aware of their power problems

Egypt has not emerged from bloody revolution, it has mostly stopped being reported in the main stream media.


What is less recognised, is that it is shortages of food and energy that triggered the bloody revolution, and they are getting worse.

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: UK too this winter

There is a significant chance there will be power cuts in the UK this winter, the highest probability is when the demand is highest, which will be when the temperature is -4C or even -14C as it was a few years ago. I am going to rewire my central heating so that I can legally run it off an inverter when that happens.

However, our supply and demand problems are (as yet) peanuts to what Egypt is facing. In the longer term, we are going to be facing cold , dark nights many many times.

Perpetual Cyclist

Egypt is well on the way to Mathusian collapse. Too many people, not enough food or energy, too many terrorists to sustain a tourist industry.

MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

Perpetual Cyclist

A bit of a clue - it is less than 20 miles from a major gas drilling site. I don't know if they employ fracking. If you look at a wider view of the site, for example on google earth, it looks like a moonscape of cratered permafrost.

Explosive release of methane expelled from methane hydrates or melting permafrost, as a result of high summer temperatures. Possibly, build-up of gas seeping from lower level gas deposits trapped under the surface layer of permafrost, erupting like a gas geyser.

Consistent with, but not proof of, global climate change.

NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

Perpetual Cyclist

Black propaganda.

Discourage whistleblowers by saying 'We know where you are , we are coming to get you!'

If they did have a technique that worked , they wouldn't publish the details, because then whistlebowers , or ISIL terrorists making their 'cough up or we kill the kid' videos would very quickly take precautions to avoid their location being identified.

Maybe they can track location, but they aren't going to tell us how they do it.

You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Not quite

Of course as industrial society expanded we found more and more resources of key minerals and even energy supplies. However, we have now surveyed the entire planet (apart from the deep oceans) and we have a very good idea of what is down there. Shale oil has been known about for 50 years or more, but it was only a five fold increase in price (and incremental technology improvements) that brought it on tap in the US. Production from that source will peak in the next 3 YEARS.

Oil is the first major energy source to hit the buffers. It will not be the last. technology cannot outpace depletion for ever.

Perpetual Cyclist

Energy return on investment.

Yes there is a vast amount of resource under the ground. These can be divided fairly neatly into two - minerals that are used to build things /grow food, and minerals/liquids/gas used as a source of energy. Extracting anything from the ground uses energy. An energy source that use more energy to extract than it usefully provides is not an energy source, it is a sink. We may get to the point where drilling for oil is a net energy sink, because oil is so much more useful to society than coal, that we are prepared to still extract it using energy from coal at a net loss. However, we will never mine coal at a net energy loss. And coal is still the single biggest source of energy in the industrial world. All the easy sources of energy are mined first. That means, unless technology improves exponentially, the net energy from each KWh of energy extracted must decline, relentlessly, regardless of how much is under the ground. All the easy sources of all minerals are also mined first. They need ever larger amounts of energy for each Kg on mineral extracted over time, unless technology can improve exponentially. And the mining of energy needs ever more kg of minerals as people dig and drill deeper and further.

So over time, we spend more and more energy extracting the same amount of minerals, and more and more energy and minerals extracting the same amount of energy. More and more of the global resources of both minerals and energy are used to keep the mining industry expanding, and less and less is left over for the rest of society.

This is not sustainable. Long before the total energy budget peaks, industrial society peaks. Demand for the ever more expensive minerals and energy cannot be sustained, the price falls below that required to invest in further mines and oil fields in ever more extreme environments, and investment collapses. Then industrial society collapses.

We are at that point. All the major private oil companies are way past peak production, and are cutting their capital budgets because they cannot find more oil to drill at an affordable price, even though the price rose FIVE FOLD in a decade.

Yesterday, the official estimate of shale oil (as in fracking) resource in California was cut by 13 billion barrels, or 95%. That oil is still down there, but it is going to stay down there. For ever.

Britain'll look like rural Albania without fracking – House of Lords report

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: long live fracking

The USA has not had energy independence since 1948, and it never will again, until it resembles Albania. (Which may happen sooner than many expect...)

US NG storage fell to a 30 year low this spring after a cold winter, rising NG demand and flat supply.

The US shale gas boom is well and truly bust. Prices are rising and there is a real risk of NG shortages if next winter is as cold, because current production is not high enough to refill storage before autumn and 3/4 of the drilling rigs have been redeployed to drill for oil.

The jack rabbit 'drill baby drill' rampant capitalism of the US has once again shot itself in the foot, leading to glut and dearth, and major investors are going to lose megabucks on shale gas (and later shale oil).

Of course, long term, planned development of both energy sources and electricity generating capacity means that our highly regulated energy market is humming along just fine.

Oh dear.

Life support turned off: NHS Direct dies silent, undignified death

Perpetual Cyclist

NHS Direct once told me to go direct to casualty, who sent me home.

5 days later I was back in casualty and admitted for emergency operation...

NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Place your bets

10/1 it is a nuclear armed Islamic country with a reputation for hosting terrorist training camps in ungovernable badlands, a widespread fundamentalist insurgency , strong cultural and economic links to one of the big five, and a local intelligence community who are as likely working for the opposition as the home team.

UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on

Perpetual Cyclist

Still secret because we sold it as secure post war to tin pot regimes - or were our targets more domestic? Would it turn out that that a programmable decoding machine could decode the transmissions of embassies to Germany, France, or even more trusted partners?

Unbelievably RARE, two-horned 'UNICORN' SPOTTED in woods

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: All references to unicorns are just for the hype

There is a two horned unicorn in the zoology museum at Cambridge University. (currently closed for

18 months for refurbishing). They are straight, helical, and attached to the skull. Donated by a whaler many

decades ago.

Brits give thumbs-up to shale gas slurping in university-run poll

Perpetual Cyclist

Problems with fracking.

1. It is not cheap.


Oil companies in the US are losing their shirts on shale gas. They have had a supply glut since 2008 collapse in demand and no export capacity. The UK is not so blessed.

2. Nobody knows how much is there that can be economically extracted. Shale geology is very localised. Until we drill hole it is hard to predict what will come out. A hole 5 miles away will tell you very little. I would bet good money that 90% of what is claimed to be down there either isn't there or stays there forever.

3. Each well depletes very very fast, so to extract all the resource that is claimed would require 30,000 wells. That is a lot of holes and and a lot of disruption and a lot of contaminated water to dispose of. Also, although the risks of any given well suffering a blowout or bad cement job is low, multiplied by 30,000 it becomes disturbingly large.

4. As pointed out above, only a few percent of the methane needs to escape before NG becomes as bad a greenhouse gas source as coal.

5. All this hype is leading to the expectation that UK energy security can be fixed for a generation or more by drilling a few holes in the ground. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shale is the last gasp of the fossil fuel industry, expensive, unpredictable, and above all short lived. Money spent developing shale resources is money not spent on building sustainable energy supplies, or more importantly, building a resilient LOW ENERGY society. The cheapest energy in the world is the joule not dissipated.

The fast-growing energy source set to replace oil: Yes, it's coal

Perpetual Cyclist

Renewables can be more than afart in a hurricane.

I'd just like to point out that yesterday at mid day, Germany was generating over 60% of its electricity demand from renewable energy.

Enough to meet the entire UK demand.

Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Perpetual Cyclist

I'm a bearded vegetarian cycling greenie...

...and I have been saying that industrial scale biofuels are a disasterous idea for a decade.

Apart from the eoccide of cutting down rainforests to plant oil palms or the vast quantities of primae agricultural land that is used for corn ethanol or rapeseed biodiesel - both of which need huge amounts of natural-gas based fertiliser etc. to grow, driving up the price of food in many countries, attempt to supliment the global oil supply with biofuels is bound to fail the thermodynamic test.

The global oil supply has peaked, global population continues to grow at 90M a year, and we are very close to the global limits to economic and population growth. There is no more land, fresh water or cheap high density protable fossil fuel to exploit. We are the generation of yeast on the petri-dish who suddenly notice that doubling consumption of resources every 20 years is not such a good strategy when the dish is 70% full of yeast.

I think there have been studies that show that biofuels growth for use in agricultural machinary are marginally more efficient than using the same land to feed workhorses to do the same work.

The UK Energy Crisis in 3 simple awareness-raising pictures

Perpetual Cyclist

Too right we are running out of gas.

UK North Sea production of gas peaked 13 years ago. It has been in steady precipitous decline ever since and has now declines to less than a third of its peak production, and is likely to decline a lot further in the next decade, regardless of onshore fracking, which will not be cheap or extensive enough to save our bacon.

We are in the middle of decommisioning most of our coal and nuclear power stations, and no new ones will be built for at least a decade. We import most of the coal we burn anyway, and we import nuclear powered electricity from France.

We also import an increasing percentage of the oil we consume. We even import wind generated electricity from Denmark. Sterling has devalues 10% in the last year. That is 10% on our bills straight off.

Add to that that global supply of oil has peaked, more or less, and the price has increased 5 FOLD in the last decade, and we are now competing directly with Japan and Germany for LNG imports at twice the price of North Sea gas, and China is buying an ever larger fraction of world coal exports, we are up the energetic creek with an empty fuel can for outboard motor.

We do have one small glimmer in this cloud. Wind turbines have been producing a continuous 5GW of electricity for the last 3 days in this stiff NE wind that has been freezing us. Without that exta power we would already be facing powercuts.

Boeing recipe turns cooking oil into jet fuel

Perpetual Cyclist

Some numbers

29 M tonnes - that is about 25Kg per person per year. Less than a litre a week. Assume a 70% conversion rate to fuel, and you get about 30 billion litres. China has about 100 million cars, so that is about 300 litres per car per year. Enough to drive each one about 2,500 miles ar 35 mpg That will help the fuel bill.

Polar sea ice could set another record this year

Perpetual Cyclist

Data in context

To put this data in context, here is the last 30 years of data (sea ice area)


And here is the same plot for the arctic


I haven't got the plots for sea ice volume to hand - but they are far more dramatic.

Now, which record is more significant?

Osborne hands £80m tax break to punters drilling in 'old' oil, gas fields

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Dredging the bottom of the barrel

Whats not to like ? We import more gas than we import oil already as it is. Our coal reserves are 95% depleted - we peaked production in 1914 - 98 years ago, we import most of our current consumption and prices on the global market are rising for both as China , japan etc. increase imports at exponential rates. The FT process is hideously inefficient and polluting in terms of CO2 emissions and would generate petrol at twice the price we pay today.

It will take a minimum of at least a decade to build new nuclear, and I don't see plans for more than about 6 reactors - not enough to even replace the current generating capacity due to be retired. The only nuclear station being built in Europe is already 5 years late and hideously over budget. This is normal for nuclear industry. We are facing an energy cliff today. Consumption is already falling as we a priced out of the industrial age, this process is accelerating.

We are building wind turbines. Once they are built, the energy is almost free. We can't sustain our current lifestyles, but the difference between 0 and 1 KWh/day is far larger than the difference between 1 and 10 KWh/day.

Perpetual Cyclist

Dredging the bottom of the barrel

Oil is the largest single source of primary energy used by humans, about 37% just ahead of coal (which, thanks to China, is catching up rapidly) and gas at about 20%. Nuclear, hydro and renewables make up the scraps. UK oil and gas supply peaked about 12 years ago, and we are once again a net importer of both, and imports are rising rapidly as domestic production is falling at 7% a year, every year, for over a decade.

This is not good for the UK economy. Tens of billions not good. The global supply of oil has peaked, and consumption is now a global zero sum game, with China et al increasing consumption and OECD nations being priced out of the market - 10% fall in consumption in the last 4 years. The real price of oil has gone up 5 fold in a decade - because the easy to develop oil has mostly been found and drilled, and because theremaining oil exporting countries are now so rich they are burning more of their own oil and selling less on the global market. Either way we are consuming less oil in the UK and will continue to consume less oil, year on year, for ever. We are broke as a nation and we are going to have to adapt to living on a lot less energy.

Spending a few millions on drilling the dregs of the North Sea is not going to change much.

Amount of ice in Bering Sea reaches all-time record

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: The discussion is beside the point

There you go spoiling a good slanging match by introducing a bit kill joy morality into the fire over what is exclusively a matter of individual self-interest, whether enlightened or not!

Who cares about the rest of the world? They are not on facebook.

Perpetual Cyclist

Define 'Amount'.

The surface area of sea ice in the arctic as a whole is below the long term average - as it has been continuously for the last nine years.


However, the volume, or mass of arctic sea sea ice is calculated to be equalling last year's all time low for the time of year.


If this trend in the rate of melting continues, we will sea the Arctic completely ice free at its summer minimum before the end of this decade, possibly even in September 2015.

The true, tragic cost of British wind power

Perpetual Cyclist

Gas - the energy of the future?

UK natural gas production fell 20% last year. It fell 15% the year before and 12% the year before that. We now import more than half the gas we burn, a lot of it inherently expensive LNG. There is growing global competition for this gas, with Japan and China amongst others. Prices have risen relentlessly in the last few years, and Sterling has decline 20% in value in the last 3 years, so we are paying near record prices. Demand for gas has fallen, because it is cheaper to burn coal, and our CO2 emissions are rocketing as a result. (we already import 2/3 of our coal, and we also import an ever increasing percentage of our oil).

Shale gas is also an inherently expensive technology, the UK reserves are uncertain, and the logistics limitations means we will never be able to ramp up shale production faster than North Sea production is falling.

Importing energy into this country is already costing our country tens of billions of pounds a year, is rising exponentially, and we are already broke.

It may be cheaper to build a gas power station than a wind farm, but if we can't afford to buy the gas, then it is no more than a giant rusting monument to our own stupidity.

RIP: Peak Oil - we won't be running out any time soon

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Re: This post could not be more wrong

Bioethanol from maize or sugar cane looks and behaves nothing like oil, being a low energy density substitute for petrol, but is counted in global oil production, as is bio diesel.

Natural Gas Liquids are short carbon chain hydrocarbons, a by-product of natural gas production. The carbon content is too low for transport fuels, but it is used as a petrochemical feedstock. They are counted in global oil production.

Tar sands are so thick that they are dug out of the ground with a mechanical shovel. They need chemical treatment to break down the long carbon chains to a point where a conventional oil refinery can use them as a feedstock, but it is probably reasonable to call them 'unconventional oil'.

There is as yet no peak in total fossil fuel production, but oil is the largest single source of primary energy on this planet, at about 30%. There is no way on earth it can be replaced by ramping up any other energy supply, fossil, nuclear or renewable.

Perpetual Cyclist

Re: Re: This post could not be more wrong

Hi Identity,

A report on the internet does not make a fact. The US has been a net importer of oil EVERY DAY since 1964. Very briefly they exported more refined products (petrol and diesel) than they imported.

That was because domestic consumption has collapsed in the recession, and land-locked supplies of Canadian Tar sand oil were so (relatively) cheap that it was cost effective to use spare refining capacity and export the products. Since then those refineries have been shut down as uneconomic.

The lies the US media put out about oil are hard to credit sometimes.

Perpetual Cyclist

shale oil

Shale oil is a light oil that is extracted from the same hole in the ground as shale gas. Recent widespread deployment of horizontal well drilling combined with multistage fracking (facturing of the source rock by pumping in liquids under high pressure) has lead to an increase of both oil and gas production in the US in recent years, US oil production has increased from 5.1Mbpd to 5.6Mbpd, but US production peaked permanently at over 10Mbpd in 1971. The US consumes about 15 mbpd of oil products, and imports about 8 -9 Mbpd at the moment (and falling rapidly). (The numbers don't add up because of 'refinery gain').

Oil Shale is a oily shale resource rock found in huge quantities in parts of the US. Nobody has ever worked out a way of extracting oil economically from it, because it uses almost as much energy to extract as is contains. It is also hugely polluting. Oil shale will NEVER be produced.

Perpetual Cyclist

This post could not be more wrong

Global conventional oil production peaked permanently in 2006, SIX years ago.

All growth of supply has since come from tar sands, coal to liquids, and biofuels.

The price of oil is $124/barrel today an all time record when converted to Sterling or Euros.

(Brent front month futures contract). When the UK North Sea supply peaked in 2001 it was below


Tar sands and similar reserves have a future production potential of 5-10 millions barrels per day, in 10 -2 0 years time. The world burns 85 million barrels per day.

Biofuel consumption has a global potential of 3-5 million barrels per day, but all it really does is turn natural gas into ethanol or prime rain forest into palm oil plantations. The US has just cancelled its bioethanol subsidy. Last year, Brazil IMPORTED both oil and ethanol from the US!

In the last 4 years US. Europe and Japan have cut oil consumption by 3 million barrels per day. The rest of the wold has increased consumption by 4 million barrels per day.

Last year another superspike in the price of oil was only avoided by releasing 60 million barrels from the US and EU strategic reserves. There is already talk of another release in the next few months.

The global supply of oil has peaked, and economically inefficient users of oil (Europe and the US) are being systematically priced out of the global market. At the rate that China and India are expanding imports, and the global supply of available exports is shrinking, then there will be NO oil available for import to any other country by 2025.

The US has not been self-sufficient in oil since 1964. We have been net importer since 2009.

Government launches hydrogen motoring task force

Perpetual Cyclist

Hydrogen is a bad answer to the wrong question

There is no efficient way to make hydrogen. There is no long term way to store hydrogen. (It leaks out of containers too quickly), It's energy density is quite low so you need large heavy tanks to give practical range. There is no infrastructure to distribute hydrogren, and you cannot retrofit existing vehicles to run on hydrogen (to my knowledge). It is inherently expensive.

Compressed natural gas is a mature technology. Vehicles can be retro-fitted. Range is practical, national distribution network already in place. Duel fuel vehicles can have increased range. Widely used in parts of the developing world already.

Of course natural gas is a fossil fuel, we currently import an ever increasing percentage of our supply, but global supply has not yet peaked (unlike oil). At present, it costs about half as much as oil per unit energy.

Unfortunately, CNG is not the long term answer to personal motorised transport. We are at the peak of industrial civilisation and beginning the downslope. 30 years from now, there will be very few cars on the road, anywhere in the world.

2011's Best... Cars

Perpetual Cyclist

Given that the global supply of conventional crude oil peaked permanently in 2006 and is beginning to go into rapid decline, it is a fair bet that the only two of these cars on the road 20 years from now will be the leaf and the Mclaren, because the only the super-rich will be able to afford petrol.

UK lays carbon plan before Earth Goddess

Perpetual Cyclist

This is pie in the sky.

We will not be getting most of our electricity from gas. UK North Sea gas is in terminal decline, and the UK economy will have imploded to the point where we will not be able to afford to import much gas either. Or coal. Or oil. We will still have a little bit of shale gas left, but that is all.

We will be largely running on renewables, because once built, the wind , waves, tide and sun are free. The more windmills we build now before our credit rating finally expires in the face of peak oil and global energy shortages, the more electricity we will have in 20 years time.

We might manage to build one or two nuclear reactors before the bailiffs move in, but I doubt it.

World population's appetite TO DOUBLE by 2050, boffin warns

Perpetual Cyclist

Malthus did not anticipate better technology and fossil fuels.

There are limits to the productivity that better technology can provide, and there are limits to fossil fuels. We are approaching the first, and we are already at the second.

Poor third world farmers are already being out-bid for fertilisers and fuel for the irrigation pumps by first world SUV drivers, who are topping up their tanks with food-derived ethanol. Once they can no longer afford the pesticides or the seed corn for their terminator gene round-up ready GM ready crops, they will starve.

Shale gas: If we've got it, flaunt it

Perpetual Cyclist

Shale gas is not cheap natural gas. The production decline rates are very high on most wells, requiring the well to be regularly re-fractured to sustain economic flow rates. The true volume of economically recoverable shale is unknown, and any figure reported by a shale gas drilling company needs to be treated as pie in the sky. It will require drilling of thousands of on-shore wells, which will be at least as disruptive and more polluting and noisy than a large scale wind farm in the same area. There is widespread hysteria about the fracturing process itself, this has been widely used in the industry for decades already, and the dangers are well understood. The earth tremors recently caused were extremely small, but there is need for careful control and clean-up regulations to avoid serious environmental impacts.

It is a fossil fuel. It is a lot less polluting than coal, which is the fuel it will replace in our power stations. It will not, however, prevent us being a net importer of natural gas because we cannot drill wells fast enough to offset North Sea decline. It will make the coming energy crisis sllightly less painful, but we are still facing fossil fuel powerdown in the next twenty years, We cannot burn what is not there.

Doctor Who and the Unsatisfactory Five Hole Tape Punch

Perpetual Cyclist
Big Brother

My father worked on a little known very early computer in the early 1950s whilst in the MOD. He designed a punch tape reader for it, using compressed air. Needless to say, it didn't catch on... He did use it for early neural net and image recognition experiments, I have seen the report, dated 1954. Vertical reel to reel tape drives were still employed by the MOD in the 1980s. My hippy brother got his locks trapped in one, and had to be cut free. The drive was wrecked.

Yes, the MOD did employ hippies ... he is still there

Lancs shale to yield '15 years' of gas for UK

Perpetual Cyclist

This does not provide energy independence

Even if these initial reports are true, and oil and gas companies drumming up investment are notoriously over-optimistic, this will not stop the UK being a large, and rising net energy importer of oil, coal, (nuclear) electricity and energy infrastructure hardware.

Shale gas has stopped the USA suffering a natural gas energy crisis this last 5-10 years, but even the USA is still a net importer of natural gas. In all probability this find will still result in the UK being a net importer of gas too. Shale gas wells are notorious for being 1. expensive and 2. having very rapid production decline rates, requiring multiple refracturing of the wells, with variable success.

I am not against these wells on pollution grounds - they are no more polluting than conventional wells, but this will not result in cheaper energy bills, or prevent an overall energy crisis in this country and the whole world.

Twitter users charged with terrorism for false tweets

Perpetual Cyclist

Terrorism is whatever we want it to be.

So playing a stupid prank is now terrorism.

Wasting police time, yes. Terrorism no.

Throw the book at 'em on the sentencing. Make it clear that there are real terrorists about and even a tweet can cause major panic. But a tweet is a tweet. It is not killing people or planting bombs.

Green energy and jobs will cripple the UK economy

Perpetual Cyclist

Forget 20 years...

Forget 20 years time. When UK oil production and exports peaked in 2000 we were selling it at $10 a barrel. UK oil and gas production has declined steadily at 5-7% a year since, and we now import oil at $110 a barrel. Global oil production has peaked. We import half the gas we use. We (along with the US and most of the OECD ) are being systematically outbid for the remaining reserves of oil, gas and coal by Chindia who continue to expand consumption at 5-10% a year. We are as a nation also deep in debt to these nations, and we need (fossil) energy to grow our economy out of recession again.

It isn't going to happen. Without energy we are back in the middle ages. It's renewable energy or fuedalism. Nuclear could be expanded, but we will struggle to support working reactors as we go through the transition to our inevitable third world status. If Japan can suffer a triple meltdown/dirty bomb style explosions, then so can we.

Councils and police to publish speed camera data

Perpetual Cyclist

Death and Statistics

There are over 2000 deaths on our roads each year. That is enough for some statistics

Like the kind of road, which for mile driven, is the most dangerous. Which turns out to be quiet B roads. There is nothing physically dangerous about about quiet B roads, it is where all the stupid drivers go to try out their (in)ability to drive at lunatic speeds without having to worry about speed cameras.

Use of Weapons declared best sci-fi film never made

Perpetual Cyclist
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Something fishy...

Two books got more votes than the next 48 put together. Something smells of trawler rigging.

Personally I think Foundation (3rd) was the obvious winner, not least because it is the only one I have read!

Lasers set to replace spark plugs in car engines

Perpetual Cyclist

Why is petrol cheaper?

Petrol and diesel are two different fractions of the same barrel of oil. There is some overlap, and they have different additives. How much you get of each is a matter of the grade of oil, the complexity of the refining process, and the relative market prices. Europe uses more diesel then petrol, the US uses far more petrol. In Western Europe, which costs more at the pump is entirely decided by the tax man. In Turkey petrol is far more expensive.

Unfortunately, the best oil grades for diesel included Libyan oil. That has caused a massive headache for European refiners, and almost stopped me buying a diesel car. Any technology that improves petrol efficiency is to be welcomed, on energy security as well as environmental grounds. Unfortunately the technology will come too late to prevent the end of the oil age.

Saudi Arabia promised to make up any shortfall in Libyan oil from their spare capacity. However, far from increasing production by 1.6 million barrels per day, they have cut it, by 0.8 million barrels/day. Because the world is 'oversupplied' with oil. At $124/barrel.

Production is finally collapsing at Ghawar, the largest oilfield in the world. Saudi Arabia is running short of oil.

The price of oil will continue to rise until global demand is choked off. In 2008 most of the demand destruction was in the USA. Where will it fall this time?

RAC prof: Road charges can end the ripoff of motorists

Perpetual Cyclist

We will all drive less in the future.

The RAC are completely out of touch with reality. Congestion is falling, because we are driving less. We are driving less because we have had the worst recession in 80 years and UK fuel prices are at an all time record high. These factors are directly linked.

Global oil supplies can no longer keep up with exponentially growing world demand. Even before the US stopped deep water drilling. When the financial bubble was at maximum inflation in 2008 oil production was stalled at 86M barrels/day, and the price just kept going up until the Western World's debt bubble burst. We are now stoney broke, and being systematically outbid for soon to be declining oil supplies by China and the developing world. We are simply going to have to consume less, and drive less, year after year. The supply is limited and we cannot afford it.

So, it will be electric cars, biofuels or nothing. Mostly it will be nothing. If it takes double double dip, triple dip or permanent recession, then that is what will happen. We will be consuming a lot less oil in future.