Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blogger in Distress

Paula Hay has an interesting new blog with a theme of looking at the rise (and possible fall) of civilization through a religious lens.  Right now she is in personal distress and in need of donations.  I encourage readers to help her out.  There but for the grace of God...

Update 4/30/11: Good news.  Paula has a rather heartfelt and emotional video thank-you here. Apparently she got enough donations to get over the immediate hump at least, and she now has a place to live for the summer and some work.  Thanks to any readers who may have helped her out.

I thought what she did was a pretty interesting experiment (and rather gutsy).  In a desperate situation, can you basically throw yourself on the mercy of the Internet, and expect it to help you?  And, for her, the answer was yes!  Of course, she wasn't trying to raise that much ($800), but on the other hand, she only has been blogging for two months, so I assume hasn't built a very large audience yet.

Small Saudi Arabia Caveat

Friday, April 29, 2011


Congress returns next week to a flaring brawl over oil industry profits and tax breaks, with both parties hoping to capitalize on growing public ire at high gasoline prices.

President Obama touched off the latest flurry with a letter to Congressional leaders last week calling for the repeal of $4 billion a year in tax incentives for domestic oil and gas production, saying the industry was doing very well, thank you, and needed no help from the government. Republicans responded that the president’s proposal would only raise the cost of production and the price of gasoline, which now tops $4 a gallon in many parts of the country.

Both parties are planning legislative maneuvers this week to try to caricature their opponents as either in the pockets of the oil companies or hostile to domestic energy production.
An entire article in the paper of record on the politics of high gas prices.   And no mention of "Libya", "Saudi Arabia", "Iraq", "fuel economy", "China", or any other factor that actually matters to the price of oil.  The disconnect between our political elite and reality couldn't be much wider, could it?  I mean, I suppose we could be launching rockets to drill for oil on the moon...  That would be worse, right?

IMF Short Term Elasticities Are Not Crazy

Thursday, April 28, 2011

EIA Slashing Energy Data

Via Gregor, the following immediate cuts are amongst those being made in production of EIA stats, in response to the latest budget cuts:
There are more detailed in the press release.  There's some pretty big deal stuff that's being slashed.  It's certainly not going to make doing energy analysis any easier.

Chinese Inflation, and Next Recession Musings

Latest Data on IPO Filings

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Few Notes on Personal Strategies around Peak Oil

There is a whole genre of advice on peak oil sites for how to deal, at a personal level, with peak oil, most of which is so inane that I have tended to steer clear of the whole subject.  Things like gardens, solar panels, etc, can be overemphasized.  I also am wary because everyone's situation is completely different and so there's a limited amount of advice that really generalizes.

But this morning, I feel inspired to offer a few suggestions, mostly with a focus on the situation in the US, and focussed on people in the struggling middle.  They may only be worth what you are paying for them.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anyone Read Arabic?

It would be really great if someone competent could translate this.

Russian Oil Production

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Texas/Oklahoma Drought in Context

Note to Krugman

Paul Krugman complains about the Ryan plan (in which he has exposed massive quantitative flaws in a series of recent blog posts):
I’m in an airport lounge, for my sins, and there’s no avoiding the TV running CNN. And there’s David Gergen, telling me that the Ryan plan, whatever its flaws, is “serious”. So I guess that’s the Very Serious People line.


So, we have a plan that proposes to cut spending to Calving Coolidge levels, without explaining how it will do that; that includes $2.9 trillion in tax cuts, but asserts that it will make that up by broadening the base — yet says literally nothing about what that means; and has as its centerpiece a Medicare plan that will collapse as soon as seniors start getting their grossly inadequate vouchers.

Oh, and it directs us to a totally ludicrous Heritage Foundation analysis for support.

There’s nothing serious about this plan. And the way our pundit class swooned over this fantasy document suggests that all those people lecturing the American people about our unwillingness to face up to reality and make hard choices should spend some time looking in the mirror.
The reason for this is that the pundit class is by and large innumerate.  And the reason for that is that journalists and TV producers are by and large innumerate.  I don't mean that they can't add or subtract, but they can't look at numbers or statistics and begin to ask or answer the most elementary but important questions: how big is this number as a fraction of other important numbers in the problem space?  How does the current instance of the number compare to the trend over time?  What would happen if I corrected this for inflation or economic growth?

The blogosphere is the best hope of this improving over time.  At a minimum, it has meant that some of us now have access to expert opinion that is not filtered through the lowest common denominator of what a news culture dominated by one-time english or journalism majors thinks the public wants to know.  And hopefully, over time it will elevate to more prominence thinkers who are extremely savvy and quantitative (Calculated Risk comes to mind).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Email Address

Note that I'm using a new personal email address: stuart -- at -- earlywarn -- dot -- org.  Anyone that ever writes to me, please change your address book.  The old sbcglobal address has become unreliable and will be retired altogether shortly.  (At some point, I may set up the blog to be at the address too, but at the moment it just has an email address).

Trends in Animal Product Consumption

Friday, April 1, 2011