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Nitroglycerin in the Pennsylvania oil fields

From The Titusville Morning Herald of June 17, 1866, "Our attention has been called to a series of experiments that have been made in the wells of various localities by Col. Roberts, with his newly patented torpedo. ... The torpedo... is lowered into the well, down to the spot, as near as can be ascertained, where it is necessary to explode it. ... The object of the torpedo is to clean out all the deposits at the bottom of the well."
In the western Pennsylvania oilfields of the second half of the 1800s, "shooters" were men who set off nitroglycerin charges in wells to get the oil flowing again. Tales of Destruction relates stories and legends of this absurdly hazardous job. Additional notes here, in Samuel Pees's Oil History. (Previously)
posted by tss on Nov 5, 2009 - 4 comments

Something something making sausage!

"We only went into Iraq because of oil, you know." "We only appease Saudi Arabia because of oil, you know." To hear people talk sometimes, you'd think they never used oil. - David Mitchell on hypocrisy and politics, and how we blame our leaders for making decisions based on what we want, not on what we say.
posted by Artw on Oct 19, 2009 - 74 comments

IT'S ALL (natural gas) PIPES!

Does your tap water taste funny? Have you tried lighting it on fire? [more inside]
posted by Sys Rq on Oct 14, 2009 - 49 comments

Do oil-exporting nations deserve compensation for carbon taxes?

"If wealthy countries reduce their oil consumption to combat global warming, they should pay compensation to oil producers." Previously.
posted by anotherpanacea on Oct 14, 2009 - 81 comments

International Fine Art

The Images of Eyes Gallery exhibits images and paintings of eyes by international artists, featuring work from about 200 artists from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Gallery I contains figurative paintings, oil and watercolor paintings, portraits, charcoal and ink drawings, lithographs, sculpture, digital, and other fine art content. Gallery II exhibits nude paintings, so may be NSFW.
posted by netbros on Oct 11, 2009 - 10 comments

_____ Blue

Coke is Corn. (Among other things.) [more inside]
posted by Sys Rq on Sep 27, 2009 - 44 comments

Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller

Post-(cheap)oil: will the end of globalisation be the beginning of re-localisation? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 27, 2009 - 17 comments

The Long Good Bye

Foreign Policy has an interesting double in the latest issue: Oil's very future is being seriously questioned, debated, and challenged. Just as we need more oil than ever, it is changing faster than we can keep up with. An article by the often controversal Pulitzer prize winner Daniel Yergan.
This article is complimented by: Subpriming the Pump; Oil wealth used to hurt only those who had it. Now, it's hurting everyone. By Mahmoud El-Gamal and Amy Myers Jaffe both of Rice University.
posted by adamvasco on Sep 16, 2009 - 9 comments

Potholes on the road to a green future

Inspired by a recent Wall Street Journal* article, Robert Rapier, chemical engineer, peakist, blogger, and currently chief technology officer for a bioenergy company, reviews the pretenders, contenders, and niche players in the emerging field of green energy, with particular consideration of liquid fuels. Meanwhile, the boffins at Foreign Policy consider the risks of the coming of the green energy era, and depict the end of the oil age. (Both part of FP's extensive look at the end of oil; previously.) [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Sep 8, 2009 - 19 comments

“I wish we had found water.”

The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil: requires registration, but it's worth it.
...dependency on natural resources can poison a country’s economic and political system. Inflows of hard currency push up prices, squeezing the competitiveness of non-oil businesses and starving them of capital. As a result, productivity growth withers (a phenomenon known as “Dutch disease” after the negative effects of North Sea gas production on the Netherlands). Meanwhile, the state institutions in charge of oil often become corrupt and evade democratic control. And oil-rich states almost invariably waste the income it brings, many ending their oil booms deeper in debt than when they started.

posted by anotherpanacea on Aug 29, 2009 - 32 comments

Energy Independence and Peak Oil

A Saudi Prince tells America to give up futile dreams of energy independence. Op-Ed in the NYT says Peak Oil is a waste of energy and an illusion. Meanwhile, the OECD's energy advisors, the IEA are saying cheap oil will run out in ten years, a decade sooner than estimates made as recently as 2007.
posted by bystander on Aug 26, 2009 - 88 comments

Axis of ChiRan

Multi - polarity in Eurasia. Pepe Escobar on Iran, China and the New Silk Road 1 & 2
Iran and China just signed a $3 bn. deal for China to help develop Iran's refinery capacity in Abadan and the Gulf. ( previous )
posted by adamvasco on Aug 10, 2009 - 16 comments

Yesterday's Energy of Tomorrow...and more

Peak Oil, 1925. In 2000, 20% of new buildings will be solar equipped. By the late 1990s, 90% of the world's energy will be nuclear-generated. These and other erroneous projections are being collected as part of the Forecast Project on the website Inventing Green: The Lost History of Alternative Energy in America.
posted by Miko on Jul 27, 2009 - 65 comments

Expensive gasoline is good for you

The author of a new book on how rising oil prices will change America makes the claims that higher gasoline prices will make the country healthier and safer. Christopher Steiner asserts that, for every $1 that gasoline prices rise, obesity rates drop by 10% (as people walk more and eat out less). As for "safer", that comes in when high gasoline prices force police out of their cruisers and onto bicycles and foot patrols, where they can interact more closely with their communities. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jul 22, 2009 - 61 comments

war profiteering in Iraq

It is fitting that today’s deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities coincides with a meeting in Baghdad to auction off some of the country’s largest oil fields to companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and British Petroleum. It is a reminder of the real motives for the 2003 invasion and in whose interests over one million Iraqis and 4,634 American and other Western troops have been killed. However, today's bidding was not the bonanza that was expected. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jun 30, 2009 - 44 comments

Know Your Fats. Yummy, yummy fats.

Fats, whether from plant sources or animals, have been in use in cooking for a long time. Olive oil's history goes back 7 millenia and palm oil has a history dating back to 3000 BCE. Once widely used in place of butter during the 19th century, lard is finally making a comeback (and you can easily make your own). Schmaltz, the Jewish lard alternative, will probably never rebound as a food, although the word itself is still popular (to describe something that is overly sentimental). Although fat in general has a negative connotation, you need fat to survive and there are good fats and bad fats. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Jun 22, 2009 - 48 comments

Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation

In a talk titled Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation given at The New Emergency Conference, Peak Oil activist and writer Dmitry Orlov (previously 1 2 3) shows how he has come to the conclusion that the oil price spike of summer 2008 was the trigger for the financial collapse that occurred later on in the fall. He goes on to summarize (from his point of view) pretty much everything that has been happening in the past year or so, and what he thinks is coming up next. [more inside]
posted by symbollocks on Jun 19, 2009 - 41 comments

Wiwa vs. Shell

Wiwa vs. Shell. 14 years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa (prev) was hung with his counterparts for speaking out against Shell and the atrocities they were committing upon the Ogoni people of the Nigerian River Delta. [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on May 30, 2009 - 23 comments

New US Fuel Economy Plan: Win, Lose, or Draw?

Car companies were facing a variety of efficiency and emission standards throughout the United States, from the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, On May 19th, and then an even stricter emission standard from California and 13 other states (plus DC). On May 19th, President Obama announced nation-wide new vehicle fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks through 2016. The goal is to rapidly increase fuel efficiency,without compromising safety, by an average of 5, culminating in 39 MPG for cars and 30 MPG for light trucks. Currently, no auto makers are meet the final standards, though some are closer than others. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 28, 2009 - 85 comments

Cuba's Oil

Cuba's Undersea Oil Could Help Thaw Trade With U.S. [WAPO bugmenot] - Deep in the Gulf of Mexico, an end to the 1962 U.S. trade embargo against Cuba may be lying untapped, buried under layers of rock, seawater and bitter relations. [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on May 16, 2009 - 29 comments

“Americans want their gasoline cheap but it’s not possible without cutting a few corners.”

“Oil is not a commodity,” Eronat said. “It’s a political weapon.”

Enter the world of the oil fixer, one of expensive dinners and third world leaders.
posted by plexi on May 15, 2009 - 21 comments

It's Mine - No, it's Mine.

Pipelineistan Goes Af-Pak, the second article from Pepe Escobar; Asia Times reporter after his Postcard from Pipelineistan - Liquid War.
Energy Wars for the 21st Century as recently indicated by Moscow. ( previous ).
posted by adamvasco on May 15, 2009 - 11 comments

The Canadian Oil Boom

Scraping Bottom: The Canadian Oil Boom. "Once considered too expensive, as well as too damaging to the land, exploitation of Alberta's oil sands is now a gamble worth billions."
posted by homunculus on Feb 26, 2009 - 41 comments

The race for the world's resources

China prepares to buy up foreign oil and gas companies with its huge currency reserves.
posted by Smaaz on Feb 23, 2009 - 41 comments

Randolph and Mortimer have moved on from FCOJ.

Was market speculation behind this year's rise in crude oil prices? Earlier this year, prices topped $100/bbl, the highest seen since the oil crisis of the late 70s/early 80s. By July 2008, the price of crude oil reached a record high of $144/bbl, costing US consumers between $4-$5 per gallon at the pump. [more inside]
posted by elizardbits on Jan 13, 2009 - 29 comments

Black Gold

When the modern oil industry began 150 years ago, many speculators moved into Northwestern Pennsylvania. Among them was John Wilkes Booth, who walked off the stage and onto the oil fields in an attempt to increase his fortunes with the Dramatic Oil Company. [more inside]
posted by hoppytoad on Jan 10, 2009 - 4 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

Time's Person of the Year?

Celebrated Yup'ik Iron Dog snowmobiler and father of five, Todd, has had an illustrious career in the oil and fishing industries. Now that his latest aspirations have been dashed, what will this well dressed man do now? (18 links)
posted by gman on Nov 8, 2008 - 46 comments

Have high oil prices caused the current recession(s)?

CIBC's Jeff Rubin and Peter Buchanan have written an article (pdf, pages 4-6) arguing that triple digit oil prices (and not plunging real estate prices) are to blame for the current economic woes of the OECD. [via]
posted by adamdschneider on Nov 7, 2008 - 41 comments

олигáрх

Moscow is home to the largest number of billionaires and in Russia, there are nearly 100 billionaires. Due to recent economic developments and the drop in oil prices, the oligarchs, who rose to prominence under Gorbachev, have lost a combined total of $200 billion. Help is here.
posted by gman on Oct 30, 2008 - 21 comments

ChinAfrica

China, Africa see closer cooperation since Beijing Summit. Others see it a bit differently: 'We never pay,' he said, 'because once you pay you become their bitch; you will pay for ever and ever.' The phenomenon even has a name on the ground in the sub-Sahara: the Great Chinese Takeout. China, Africa and Oil: China's national oil companies are, in some cases, politically stronger than the government agencies charged with regulating them. previously
posted by allkindsoftime on Oct 21, 2008 - 22 comments

The Insiders

Jane Meyer of The New Yorker explains how John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 20, 2008 - 189 comments

I drink it up. Everyday. I drink the blood of lamb from Bandy's tract.

Oil sands will pollute Great Lakes The environmental impacts of Alberta's oil sands will not be restricted to Western Canada, researchers say, but will extend thousands of kilometres away to the Great Lakes, threatening water and air quality around the world's largest body of fresh water. *****Report: How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin***** (pdf) Policy makers around the lakes, in both Canada and the U.S., are largely unaware that the tar sands will lead to massive industrial development in their region, and consequently have no strategy to minimize the environmental impacts. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Oct 8, 2008 - 33 comments

oil tied economies - the gift that keeps giving

As many peoples eyes will be elsewhere the readers of the blue may not have seen the red flowing in the streets of Mother Russia. Russia’s two main bourses, RTS and MICEX, said on Wednesday they were suspending trade until further notice. How bad? Russian shares suffered their steepest one-day fall in more than a decade on Tuesday, losing up to 20 per cent, as a sharp slide in oil prices and difficult money market conditions triggered a rush to sell. [more inside]
posted by rough ashlar on Sep 17, 2008 - 67 comments

"forward, forward I say"

"Fog of War" cited by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad. He was speaking to journalists to clarify reports concerning his unauthorised contacts with foreign government officials, among them Asif Ali Zardari; a then contender to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan. Earlier this year he was being touted as a possible successor to Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan as seen in these two articles. So who is Zalmay Khalilzad? Neo con and oil businessman. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Sep 10, 2008 - 8 comments

Diddy needs oil

Having a hard time grasping the far-reaching implications of higher oil prices? Diddy puts it in perspective.
posted by mkultra on Sep 2, 2008 - 46 comments

Fuelly tracks your gas mileage.

Fuelly tracks your gas mileage over time, helping you save fuel and expenses as you drive.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 21, 2008 - 52 comments

A Better Place

Shai Agassi's Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road. Now it's Agassi's turn. He starts off uncharacteristically nervous, stammering a bit. He's got something different, he says. A new approach. He believes it just might be possible to get the entire world off oil. For good. Point by point, gaining speed as he goes, he shares for the first time in public the ideas that will change his future—and possibly the world's. [more inside]
posted by destrius on Aug 20, 2008 - 68 comments

Grifters, Oil Men, Tabloids, The Scrappy Ingenue, The Titans and the Hardass: An American Story

Corrupt U.S. Government officials leased the Teapot Dome oil field to one Harry F. Sinclair in 1922 in a sleazy no-bid contract.

Turn back the clock. 27 years earlier, suspected grifter Gilmer Bonfils had seized control of the Denver Post; he and his family turned it from a sleepy, staid paper into a wild, brazen broadsheet. So brazen they were shot by a furious lawyer. For an editorial page, Tammen and Bonfils substituted invective, raked up so much scandal—a good deal of it true — that they kept a loaded shotgun in their office to discourage reader complaints. As the Post grew in power and prosperity, its proprietors branched into other fields; the Post became the first and last U.S. daily ever to own a circus (Sells-Floto), run a burlesque house and sell coal." [more inside]
posted by felix on Aug 13, 2008 - 33 comments

Persia

Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran. "A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation."
posted by homunculus on Aug 4, 2008 - 35 comments

Jumping Through Hoops

Is Xinjiang Province The Islamic Jihad Battlefront in China? China detains 82 'terrorists' targeting Olympics and police have shot Uighurs dead. Meanwhile people from the Uighur minority call on the international community to boycott the Beijing Olympic games. What side of the Jihad is China on? Previously there was The Al Qaeda - China Tie. The oil and petrochemical sector account for 60% of Xinjiang's local economy.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 16, 2008 - 21 comments

There Could Be Blood

Andy Grove on Our Electric Future - "Energy independence [viz.] is the wrong goal. Here is a plan Americans can stick to." Perhaps some infrastructure spending1,2 is in order? [etc., &c., cf.] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 15, 2008 - 14 comments

Pickens Plan

Pickens Plan -- oilman T. Boone Pickens has a plan to reduce America's oil dependency problem: exploit the country's massive windpower potential for domestic energy, replacing natural gas, and then use natural gas to power cars instead of foreign oil. Some problems with the plan.
posted by Laugh_track on Jul 10, 2008 - 41 comments

The Politics of Radicalized Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money

Bush had Karl Rove. But the original wiretapping President needed brains too. Introducing Kevin Phillips. He predicted the prolonged Republican dominance of Washington 1970-present and advised the Ford and Reagan presidencies. He predicted a more liberal 1990s and when the Bushies killed his party he became uttery disgusted. Recently he spoke about the influence of the christian right, our addiction to oil, and America's debt (public and private) at the University of California Santa Barbara. [more inside]
posted by Parallax.Error on Jun 28, 2008 - 57 comments

Buy Now, It'll Only Go Higher

Is speculation a prime cause of high oil prices? Yes, No, Maybe. (Very Wonkish)
posted by Xurando on Jun 27, 2008 - 94 comments

Forgetting Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is more than your average headline-making, human rights-eschewing African nation. Likening the country’s uneasy street-silence to that of Pyongyang, deported journalist Peter Maass reveals an unparalleled culture of fear blanketed by an international media blackout. But for the Whitehouse, ExxonMobil and Teodoro Obiang—Equatorial Guinea’s torturous leader—the poverty, abuse and dead-quiet are business as usual.
posted by dead_ on Jun 24, 2008 - 13 comments

Waiting for the New Way Forward

Fables of the Reconstruction. According to a new GAO report [PDF of full report], the surge has resulted in security gains and reduced violence in Iraq, but the political goals the surge was supposed to buy time for mostly haven't happened. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 24, 2008 - 32 comments

Hold all bets, please

How much of the Oil Shock of 2008 is peak oil, and how much just speculation? Will the cavalry ride to the rescue?
posted by ilovemytoaster on Jun 10, 2008 - 49 comments

"Crude is passé"

Eight reasons you'll rejoice when we hit $8-a-gallon gasoline.
posted by jbickers on May 31, 2008 - 156 comments

Smoke and mirrors

Meet Joules the climate change-sceptic robot. Joules is employed to teach 8-14 year-old school children in the UK about energy use. Joules says: "oil and gas could be in short supply in about 50 years time. The earth is believed to be getting warmer and sea levels apper to be rising. Energy Chest is funded in part by the world's biggest oil company: ExxonMobil. [more inside]
posted by MrMerlot on May 27, 2008 - 45 comments

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