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.

Supreme Court to hear arguments whether feds can continue to take raisins without compensation

For reasons that defy logic, common sense, and basic morality, the federal government still has in place a New Deal era policy that raisin farmers must turn over some percentage of their crop to the federal government without compensation.

The purpose of the program is to increase prices to consumers.

No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day post.

No, I’m not making this up.

George Will points out in his April 17 article, Shriveled grapes, shriveled liberty, the Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments next Wednesday (4/22) on a case that has been in court for years.

Read more…

More on the economic damage caused by solar and wind power

Still have more catching up to do on describing the damage caused by wind and solar power. Here are two articles on the economic disruption involved.

11/29 – Forbes – Levelized Cost of Electricity: Renewable Energy’s Ticking Time Bomb? – I don’t quite understand the whole concept, but apparently there is a new technique in circulation that cooks the cost of renewable energy.

The core error is based on the idea that there are several times a year when the cost of electricity goes skyhigh for a short time. Those peaks in prices are what makes the power plants profitable. If the electricity is not available at those minutes, the bottom line for the year suffers.

Read more…

More good stuff on open frontiers – 4/17


The frontiers of private space travel, technology innovations, and the education revolution are amazing to watch. Here are a few articles that caught my eye that I thought are worth a mention of the frontiers that are wide open today:


4/14 – Popular Mechanics – Elon Musk:  Falcon 9 Landed “Too Hard for Survival’ – Getting closer to success… The third attempt to land the first stage of SpaceX’s rocket didn’t quite work. The rocket landed on the barge, but apparently hit too hard for the rocket to be reusable. First reports don’t give much more info. The video feed shows the rocket trying to maneuver to the remain completely vertical right before landing, which is probably an indication of some minor issue in addition to too much speed.

A few more tries and then success and then a radical drop in the cost of space flights.

4/15 – Behind the Black – Why SpaceX’s first stage failure is really a magnificent successLonger video of landing show the rocket was not maintaining straight vertical position. Thus it was wobbly when touching down, fell to the side, and exploded. That is progress. Read more…

More info on the timeline in documentary “The Overnighters”

I watched the director’s cut last night. Want to add some more data points to the timeline. Eventually I will integrate all these comments into one large post. In the meantime, I am building the story one post at a time.

8/12/13 – director’s cut – This is the date on the letter from the zoning and planning commission directing the church to close the program within 30 days.

At issue is violations of city code.

The ironic thing is Jay Reinke states in the director’s cut that the Fire Chief did a walk-through of the facility a year earlier knowing what the program involved and said it would be okay to continue the program. A year after the walkthrough? Time to shut it down.

9/12/13 – director’s cut – This would be 30 days after the city’s letter and therefore approximately the day the program closed. Read more…

More on the environmental and ecological devastation caused by solar power

I’ve been remiss in my coverage of the damage caused by wind and solar power. Have lot of articles to discuss. Will get started with articles I’ve accumulated on wing toasting solar power.

2/24 – Investors Business DailyCrispy Critters – Nevada Solar Plant Not For The Birds – The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonapah, Nevada is scheduled to open in March. During a test run, it fried 130 birds. Here is a mental exercise to understand the lack of outrage you have noticed: Read more…

North Dakota oil production drops 1.2% in February, or 14K barrels a day

Numbers are out for February 2014. Average production in February was 1,177,094, which is down 14,104 from the very slightly revised January amount.

Here is the production in graphs:

4-15 production 

For a longer term perspective:

 4-15 prod long term

Using the average sweet price mentioned in the Director’s Cut, here is the value of monthly production.

 4-15 value by month

Reason for the drop in value is the price per barrel:

 4-15 price by month

That slight recovery in current month is good but not a lot of help. On the other hand, at least the price isn’t still falling.

More graphs for February production are here.


Rig count and wells waiting for completion in North Dakota – 4/14/15

For more depth behind the slowdown in production mentioned in the previous post and a hint of what is to come, consider the count of drilling rigs in the field and the backlog of drilled wells that need to be completed. After drilling, the wells need to be fracked and then they start producing.

The count of wells is dropping fast:

 4-15 rig count by month

As you look at the graph of estimated number of wells waiting to be completed (i.e. fracked), keep in mind state regs only allow a site to sit for a year before it must be completed. Otherwise it has to be plugged. That means there will be a surge of wells getting completed late in 2015.

Speculation is that if the ‘big trigger’ is pulled, dropping the tax on production, the completion activity will take off fast. Read more…

More good stuff on Bakken – 4/14

A few articles on what’s going on the Bakken oil patch. Williston keeps growing. Rig count falling. Neither a surprise.

3/16 – BakkenShale.com – Population Grows 20% in Williston – Researcher Nancy Hodur of NDSU has done a tally of the total number of people in Williston and Williams County. She started with the census numbers and added hotels, man camps, and RV parks. Her estimate:

  • 2012      2014      % chg  area
  • 25,915   31,143   20%     Williston
  • 44,308   52,778   19%     Williams County

4/3 – Reuters Media at Dickinson PressClock keeps ticking toward North Dakota oil tax break Read more…

How soon will Saudi Arabia blink? (dropping oil prices #14)

Here’s one summary to pull together the following five articles:

4/7 – Million Dollar Way – How Much Longer Can OPEC Hold Out? – Mr. Oksol points out the pressures on Saudi Arabia are growing. He previously pointed out that their fight with Yemen is costing a lot. They are buying lots of new F-15s and using up a lot of bombs. You can buy a lot more planes at $100 a barrel instead of $50.

His summary: Read more…

Operating costs per hour for USAF planes



To support a side comment in previous article, I did a quick search on operating costs of fighters. For future reference in other articles, I’ll list some of the info here.

4/2/13 – Time magazine – Costly Flight Hours – This is the longest list I could quickly find. Author cites a researcher who volunteered the info he had gathered from official sources, so take it for what its worth. Cool official pictures for the planes, too. A few highlights:


B-1B Lancer Bomber — $57,807

B-2A Spirit Stealth Bomber — $169,313

B-52H Stratofortress Bomber — $69,708

I’m not quite sure why a B-1 has lower hourly operating costs than a B-52.

VIP transport:

C-20B VIP Plane (Senior Pentagon Officials) — $32,212

C-32A VIP Plane (Vice President, Cabinet Officers) — $42,936

VC-25A Air Force One — $161,591

E-4B Flying Headquarters — $163,485


F-15C Eagle Fighter — $41,921

F-16C Viper Fighter — $22,514

F-22A Raptor Fighter — $68,362


MQ-1B Predator Drone — $3,679

MQ-9A Reaper Drone — $4,762

RQ-4B Global Hawk Drone — $49,089

At one-tenth the hourly cost of an F-15, you can see why the military likes the small drones.

12/30/14 – Business InsiderThis Chart Shows the Staggering Hourly Cost of Operating US Military Aircraft – Info from this article for hourly operating costs:

  • $1,500 – Predator drone
  • $11,500 – A-10
  • $70,000 – V-22
  • $32,000 – F-35
  • $44,000 – F22
  • $135,000 – B-2

10/16/09 – Key Publishing forum – Only looked at one post on the forum which has a long discussion. One person mentioned these hourly operating costs from 2009:

  • $5,000 – F-16
  • $17,000-$30,000 – F-15C
  • $19,000-$30,000 – F-22

Brief introduction to the Industrial Revolution

I am increasingly interested in economic history. We are now in a place of prosperity and health that would have been unimaginable 300 years ago and barely comprehensible two generations ago. How did we get to a place of such wealth?

If we can figure out an answer to that question it will be easy to figure out how to sustain what we now enjoy. More importantly, if we figure out how those of us who enjoy prosperity got here, we have a better chance of sharing it with other people living in countries more reminiscent of life 500 years ago.

I’ve been reading a lot of economics lately. You can tell from the blog posts. I want to write more on the topic.

Here is a great article on how we got here:

3/27 – A Fine Theorem – “Editor’s Introduction to The New Economic History and the Industrial Revolution,” J. Mokyr (1998) – The post describes a lengthy description of the Industrial Revolution. More on the underlying document in a moment.

The linked article gives a great summary. Here are the five major points in the article with a few aha! ideas that registered in my simple brain: Read more…

Current status of Keith Graves, one of the main people in documentary “The Overnighters”

If you watch the superb documentary “The Overnighters”, you will find that one of the central players is a man by the name of Keith A. Graves. Since the documentary was released he has gotten a lot more public attention and will be in the news even more over the next few months.

I am going to extend my discussion of the documentary beyond what I’ve mentioned before. I’ve been wanting to talk about more things for a long time. My new posts will not be in chronological or logical sequence, instead I will build my coverage one piece at a time.

Because Mr. Graves is such a major part of the story covered in the documentary, I think it is worth following his story. This will reflect back into the documentary as well.

Full disclosure

Read more…

The source of wealth, as explained by two musicians.

Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan explain where jobs, growth, prosperity, and wealth come from.

Hint: it isn’t from government.

“A Business Lesson by Frank Zappa”


(Title: A Business Lesson By Frank Zappa – youtube name in case link fails: TWXUatVuxQg )

(Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWXUatVuxQg )

He puts out $250,000 of his own money to get a tour ready. He takes all that risk expecting it will pay off later. Here’s the deal: Read more…

Update on marijuana regulation – #16

In case you were wondering, I’m watching the legalization of recreational marijuana to see what effect heavy-handed regulation has on a newly legal industry. My hypothesis? Overbearing regulation will restrict, if not strangle, an emerging industry.

Articles discussed in this post: taxes raised from recreational marijuana in Colorado may have to be returned to taxpayers and two radically different plans for legalization in Ohio.

4/1 – New York Times – In Colorado, Marijuana Taxes May Have to Be Passed Back – The taxpayer’s bill of rights in Colorado requires that when the state collects more money that it forecast on passing the state budget, the excess has to go back to taxpayers. Sounds like an okay plan, right?

Wrinkle in that plan is that all programs generating money get hit. Apparently the details in the voter approved plan will require that most or all of the money collected on sales of recreational marijuana may have to be returned to the taxpayers somehow.

To whom and how much remains to be determined. State legislators want to keep the money, of course. So they are trying to figure out how to not return it to the taxpayers.

Read more…

Crude production increase in 2014 is largest in 100 years. What Peak Oil – #38

The Energy Information Administration says the increase in crude oil production (counting lease condensate also) during 2014 was 1.2M bopd. That is the largest increase since 1900, when record keeping started. The percentage increase is 16.2%, which is the largest percentage increase since 1940.

Is the cratering of crude oil prices going to crater oil production as OPEC wants to make happen? Not quite.

EIA expects crude oil will increase by these amounts:

  • +8.1% – increase in 2015
  • +1.5% – increase in 2016

What Peak Oil?

Read more…

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