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Saturday, August 31, 2002

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Friday, August 30, 2002
tires west

***
Oil Industry Ponders Risks
Of a U.S. Attack on Iraq
By BHUSHAN BAHREE and JOHN J. FIALKA
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

As global leaders debate the wisdom of a U.S. attack on Iraq, the global oil industry is already thinking about the aftermath -- both the short-term risks of supply disruption and price spikes, and the possibility of a long-term bonanza in a region that contains about two-thirds the world's proven reserves but is still largely closed to Western companies.

With hundreds of billions of dollars invested around the world, oil companies are on the lookout for new sources of petroleum, and they are concerned about the consequences of political upheaval. France's TotalFinaElf SA, Italy's Eni SpA and a clutch of companies from Russia, China and India already have agreements to develop Iraq's huge oil fields -- second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of proven reserves -- once United Nations sanctions are lifted. Oil company executives say American and British companies are expected to be invited by the Europeans to share the risks and rewards.

Oil companies typically aren't forthcoming about their political assessments. But some of the analysts the industry holds in high regard have begun to lay out possible scenarios following a regime change in Iraq. The short-term scenarios deal with immediate oil supply concerns arising from a sudden loss of Iraqi output. Longer-term views deal with possible shifts in long-held energy and security relationships in the Middle East.

A U.S. strike on Iraq may well cause oil prices to spike, at least until oil markets feel sure that neighboring facilities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia aren't threatened. Additionally, the U.S. could open its Strategic Petroleum Reserve and seek a wider release of stocks held by other industrial countries that are members of the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

"Taking Iraq out of the equation at this point is extremely troublesome," said John Cook, director of the petroleum division of the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. Oil inventories are low at the moment and will get squeezed further during the high oil-use months of winter. But Mr. Cook also notes that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have more idle capacity, compared with two years ago, to replace lost supplies.

A common theme of the longer-term scenarios is the varying extent to which a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq may open up to Western oil companies to help it find, develop and market its formidable reserves, and diminish the dominant role of Saudi Arabia in the region and in OPEC.

"A different kind of regime in Iraq would change the balance in the whole region; a different Iraq would mean a different Persian Gulf," said Daniel Yergin, the oil historian, who is also chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass.

Much depends on U.S. intentions. It is now obvious that Mr. Hussein is in the Bush administration's sights but the administration's plan to handle the oil and economic impacts of a potential war on Iraq isn't clear. U.S. officials refuse to acknowledge specific plans. "If the U.S. is successful in making a regime change in Iraq, you have to believe we have a plan for after the event," said Larry Goldstein, president of Petroleum Industry Research Foundation in New York.

Here are some of the scenarios:

A pro-American Iraqi government keeps the country stable and united, opens up to Western companies and starts raising oil output, possibly returning to its previous peak of 3.5 million barrels a day after three years, and to potentially as much as six million barrels a day after six years. Too good to be true? Probably. If the extra oil is there, it could glut markets, trigger price wars and endanger Iraq's standing with other exporters.
Political chaos and successive governments paralyze Iraq, scaring foreign investors away and keeping oil output at a low level, or dropping it further.
U.S. military intervention politically destabilizes the whole region, jeopardizing steady oil supplies.

Regardless of the scenarios, some things will remain the same in the Persian Gulf. Rising oil production elsewhere -- most recently in Russia, the Caspian and West Africa -- has tended to mask the importance of the area, but Saudi Arabia still has a unique role in the oil world. It maintains, at considerable cost, two million to three million barrels a day in idle capacity, the world's safety net in case of supply interruptions.

Write to Bhushan Bahree at bhushan.bahree@wsj.com and John J. Fialka at john.fialka@wsj.com

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Thursday, August 29, 2002
cooking gas!

[] um so :])

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Wednesday, August 28, 2002
non-territorial voting

Today I went from California to Australia (via the internet) to get a piece of information that was available in a book about five feet away, because it was quicker and easier to go to Australia for it. Now I'm sitting here having a conversation with people all over the world, and it's easier than it would be to talk to people in my neighborhood.
prodigy....what a memory!
I remember Prodigy.. Back when I used it, I knew nothing about computers. Infact, my Mother was the one who knew how to work it. She believed that if you ran our little 14.4 buad modem, at full speed, it would wear out. So she set it to 9600 baud.. hehe

Now that I look back on that, I feel like a total idiot.

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Friday, August 23, 2002
the most important person of the twentieth century

With just a couple of bullets, this terrorist starts the First World War, which destroys four monarchies, leading to a power vacuum filled by the Communists in Russia and the Nazis in Germany who then fight it out in a Second World War. Considering that all Princip wanted was to bring Bosnia under Serb control, it's a bit ironic that after a century of very messy history, it isn't. Everything about the world has changed drastically over the last century, except that.
history's largest dose of LSD
"His mate (Judy, a 15-year-old female) approached him and appeared to attempt to support him. He began to sway, his hindquarters buckled, and it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain himself upright. Five minutes after the injection he trumpeted, collapsed, fell heavily on to his right side, defecated, and went into status epilepticus." An hour and 40 minutes later, Tusko was declared dead.

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Thursday, August 22, 2002
the price of happiness

SIR The question is not whether money can buy happiness but how much money it takes ("Subtract rows, add sex", July 27th). Paul Samuelson, in his famous economics textbook, presents an equation: happiness equals consumption divided by desire. At first glance crassly materialistic, this equation can also describe Buddha-like levels of serenity. Reduce your desire to zero and happiness becomes infinite.

Similarly, I derive great happiness from the assertion that it would take 170,000 ($260,000) a year to offset the loss of well-being my wife might suffer should I leave her a widow. In net-present-value terms this amounts to about 3m. Since my various life-insurance policies and other assets are worth only a small fraction of this sum, I go to bed easily, knowing that she has no incentive to murder me in my sleep.

savage love | furry feedback

I'm a little reluctant to print your letter, Ostrich, because I'm afraid that supply won't be able to keep up with demand. I mean, think of all the people out there just dying to own an actual fursuit that some complete stranger wore while shooting a porn video.

Anyway, I checked out the site you mentioned, and... uh... it's not for the faint of heart. There's something about the combination of big-eyed, human-sized mascots/plushies with decidedly unfurry pink human dicks sticking out of their crotches that... well... I don't mean to judge or anything... and I don't want to cast furries in a bad light or anything... but, Christ Almighty, I've had some trouble sleeping at night. Fair warning: Anyone going to Disney World in the near future shouldn't go to fursuitsex.com until well after their vacation.

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