Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Environmental devastation from constructing wind turbines and solar farms.

Turbines under construction in Holland. Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com.

Turbines under construction in Holland. Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com.

Constructing turbines or solar panels consumes vast amounts of natural resources. Consider just some of the resource drain created by ‘renewable’ energy discussed on 1/13/15 at The Scotsman:  Comment: Renewables drain our resources

Wind turbine towers are constructed from steel manufactured in a blast furnace from mined iron ore and modified coal (coke). Turbine blades are composed of oil-derived resins and glass fibre. The nacelle encloses a magnet containing about one third of a tonne of the rare earth metals, neodymium and dysprosium. Large neodymium magnets also help propel electric cars.

A third of a ton of rare earth metals for every turbine. So what? Consider: Read more…

News from around the Bakken – 7/27

Mancamp near Ray, ND. Photo by James Ulvog

Mancamp near Ray, ND. Photo by James Ulvog

Williston city and Williams County are working to cut back mancamp housing, which will have the expected unintended consequence of putting upward pressure on housing prices. The new airport in Williston is moving forward. Biggest news is indication that newest wells aren’t seeing production deplete as rapidly as in the past. Read more…

Construction of wind farm in Scotland contaminated the water

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Water in an area around a 215 turbine farm in Ayrshire contains high levels of E.coli along with other coliform bacteria. Water has far more than the safe levels of trihalomethane (THM). That stuff has been linked to a variety of cancers, miscarriages, and stillbirths. Discussed at New Evidence: Wind Farms Contaminating Water Supply in Scotland.

The power company running the slice-and-dicers denies having caused the pollution but does acknowledge that they failed to warn residents that the water supplies could be contaminated as a result of the turbines.

So in Scotland it looks wind turbines are causing human health damage from diarrhea and miscarriages in addition to causing ecological damage from killing off birds and bats.

Wind turbines contaminating drinking water? How does that happen?

Read more…

Fun news from the open frontier of technology – 7/24

Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Did you know more employees are using Uber than traditional taxis? New York has new rules on licensing bitcoin dealers and the Air Force is having challenges getting enough pilots to fly drones. A few fun updates on the wide open frontier of technology:

Read more…

Capitalism undermines feudalism and offers economic freedom to Dalits

Capitalism does a better job providing freedom and equality than any other system. It is a far better option than feudalism.

Capitalism has been allowed to flourish in India since 1991. The results have been to release large numbers of Dalits from bonded labor. Previously those individuals were restricted to the most dirty, dangerous jobs.

Check out the results in this article by Swaminathan S. Ankelsaria Aiyar, writing at Cato Institute: How Capitalism Is Undermining the Indian Caste System

Article is reprinted in full under a Creative Commons license granted by the author: Read more…

Rounded to the nearest percent, solar provided zero percent of US electricity in 2014

large solar farm in England producing electricity

large solar farm in England; photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Energy Information Administration sent this tweet a few days ago:

EIA renewable sources tweet


How much of the total electricity generated in 2014 was from wind and solar?

Let’s do some math –

Read more…

Rig count in North Dakota, April to July

IMG_0650 7-21

(Photo of drilling rig on North Dakota plains that will bring us half a million barrels of oil by James Ulvog.)

The falling rig count in Bakken is getting lots of attention. The importance of the number of rigs has dropped a lot in the last few years as the drillers created increasing efficiencies. The importance of the drop in rig count is less significant than it seems since the best crews are working with the best locations, which means the productivity of each of the current 70+ working rigs is far higher than the 190 in the field a year ago.

Here is a recap of the North Dakota rig count as I’ve been tracking it. All data from Million Dollar Way: Read more…

Case study of the economics for rooftop solar panels

Photo courtesy of DollarPictureClub.com

Photo courtesy of DollarPictureClub.com

Came across a helpful case study analyzing the economics of installing rooftop solar. This analysis is provided by a website whose owner is not readily identifiable. Keep in mind the purpose of this website is to gather leads which are provided to rooftop solar installers. Thus the goal is to sell rooftop solar.

You can find the analysis at How Much Do Solar Panels Cost.

The case study is designed for a typical household that is a customer of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. (This is relevant because a subsidy from LADWP covers 25% of total cost.)

In this case, a 3 kW installation is designed to cover 5600 kWh of the household’s 8,000 kWh annual consumption.

Total system costs are usually in the following proportions: Read more…

More news from the open frontier of energy – 7/17

Amazing things are happening at the energy open frontier. Vaca Muerta is a huge shale gas field in Argentina that I doubt will be a big player anytime soon. US passes Russia as largest oil & gas producer and OPEC revenue slumps.

6/10 – Yahoo Finance – U.S. Ousts Russia as Top World Oil, Gas Producer in BP Data – Data from BP shows that the U.S. is world’s biggest producer of hydrocarbons, surpassing Russia for the first time.

Hmm …. I wonder if there is some correlation to the following …

Read more…

Upside possibilities of refracking and different ideas on what Saudi Arabia is doing

Initial reports hint that refracking an existing well might pay off big time. Also, what is Saudi Arabia after?

7/12 – Million Dollar Way – Random Update Of a Recently Re-Fracked MRO Well in Killdeer Oil Field – Re-fracking is going to be the next big thing, based on articles I have read. Here is an illustration of the concept –

This well had been producing about 1,100 barrels of oil a month from June 2014 through November. Re-fracking took place in December or January. February production was almost 14,000 barrels. The next three months were about 10,000 in each month.

Read more…

News from the open frontier of technology – 7/15

Amazon’s Prime Day sale marks an amazing anniversary. Autonomous robotic ‘cheetah’ can jump over obstacles as it is running. Other fun news from the astounding open frontier of technological innovation.

5/29 – Washington Post – Oh cool, now this robotic cheetah can make running leaps – Extremely cool. A mechanical cheetah that can run is an amazing step. Compound that with been able to clear barriers half its height.

Watch the slow-motion and you can see the complexities of calculations needed to position and push-off for the jump, having to pull in the rear legs to clear, having to absorb the force of the landing, and then resuming the run.


7/15 – The Economist Espresso (via email thus no on-line link) –  Amazon at 20: bargains and much, much more –

Read more…

About those photos showing the North Dakota oil fields as bright as Minneapolis…

…they are bogus.


6/10 – Say Anything Blog – UND Researchers Debunk “Inaccurately Derived” Satellite Images of North Dakota Flaring – Remember that satellite photo about two years ago showing the Bakken oil fields almost as bright as Minneapolis and spread over a larger area than the twin cities metro?

Now that the researchers point this out, I’ll mention that if you have been in Western North Dakota anytime in the last five years you will never mistake it for an urban area where there is a streetlight every 50 feet with a strip shopping center every half mile.

Read more…

The Overnighters documentary streaming free on PBS for 3 more days

Free through Wednesday!

The documentary was shown on PBS June 29. It is available for live streaming at the PBS website here. Will be available free until July 15, 2015.

You can find the trailer for the PBS showing at the following link:



Thoughts about the Director’s Cut from The Overnighters documentary – part 7

This is the final post in a series discussing my reactions to the director’s cut of the documentary, The Overnighters.

I was privileged to be able to see a screening of the documentary when Jesse Moss, the director, was personally present for a question & answer session after the viewing.

Here is one the questions asked, which is as close to a quote as I can recall:

Why don’t the oil companies, who are making billions of dollars from all the oil, do something to take care of the homeless in Williston?

The questioner wanted to know essentially how there can be any homelessness in Williston with the huge amount of profits made by the big bad oil companies.

I chuckled.

Read more…

A few more tidbits on rising oil production in North Dakota – 5/15

Each month after the statistics are released for North Dakota oil production, I run a few graphs showing the story of what is going on there.

Here are a few more for May 2015.

Average number of producing wells by year. This is the number of producing wells in the statistics, here and here, with my calculation of the average of the monthly amounts. You can see a breakout in 2010 and 2011. The huge increases are in ’12, 13, and ’14. Even with the slump in prices, which led to a drastic drop in the number of drilling rigs, the average number rigs in ’15 has increased more than any year prior to ’12. Read more…

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