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.

This is what hyperinflation looks like

10T zim

(ten trillion Zimbabwe dollars worth about 4 cents in US currency)

The government of Zimbabwe is converting all Zimbabwe dollars into U.S. dollars. It will then remove all Zim dollars from circulation. The economy has functioned on South African rands and American dollars since 2009.

The reason for getting rid of their currency?


Read more…

Thoughts about the Director’s Cut from The Overnighters documentary – part 2

This continues my pondering about the Overnighters program after watching the director’s cut of a documentary by the same name.

Your worldview controls how you view everything in the world

Your worldview filters everything you see and think.  It drives how you interpret everything around you.

You take your worldview with you into every conversation.

Mr. Jesse Moss, who created, filmed, and directed the documentary, has stated several times in articles I have read that he is not a Christian. If I understood his comments correctly he is not a follower of any faith tradition. I do not state that to be critical in any way; I merely wish to identify his worldview.

In case it was not previously obvious, I will share with you that I am a Christian. In particular I worship in a denomination that is a part of the Protestant community. I do not hesitate to say that my worldview filters everything I see and how interpret everything around me.

Back to the documentary.

What was the pastor’s motivation?

Read more…

More news from the open frontier of space travel

Progress and sad news on the frontier of private space exploration:

6/9 – Washington Post – SpaceX founder files with government to provide Internet service in spaceRead more…

Thoughts about the Director’s Cut from The Overnighters documentary – part 1

I recently watched the director’s cut of The Overnighters. Many things come into focus after listening to the interview.

This will be the first in a series of posts reflecting on the director’s cut. I would like to get these posted before the middle of July, which is the scheduled start of a federal trial of one of the participants in the documentary.

My previous discussions of the documentary can be found here.

The limit of my vision is not the limit of the world

That is a perceptive comment I came across a few years ago that helps me understand many things. There is far more going on in the world that I can see or perceive or understand or even have a clue that exists.

Assuming that nothing exists beyond what you or I know about is a serious danger.

Read more…

The War on Coal

If you sometimes think there is an orchestrated effort to shut down coal, which currently provides 40% of our electricity, you would be correct. There is even a name for the effort. It’s called the “war on coal.”

5/27 – Politico – Inside the war on coal The article shows this is a multi-front guerrilla campaign. According to the article, one of the leaders is the Beyond Coal project run by the Sierra Club.

The article, apparently written by an active partisan who is loyal to the campaign, spells out the strategy.

Read more…

What do the economics of one Bakken well look like?


Two traditional pump jacks aside two of Chinese design. Photo by James Ulvog. I see two or three million barrels of oil from that pad over the next few decades.


Prof. Mark Perry pulled together some estimates on the economics of a Bakken well in North Dakota in his post Top ten things I learned on my summer trip to the Bakken oil fields, Part II. Previously discussed Part I and Part II.

Here was his data:

Average cost to drill, frack and complete a Bakken oil well: $9 million

Expected production life of a Bakken oil well: 45 years

Lifetime oil production per well: 615,000 barrels

Expected lifetime revenue generated per well: $46.125 million at $75 per barrel

Total operating expenses per well: $2.3 million

Royalty payments to mineral owners per well over 45 years: $7.3 million

Taxes Paid per well: $4.325 million total ($2.1 million gross production taxes, $1.8 million extraction tax and $425,000 in sales taxes)

Total employee salaries and wages per well: $2.125 million

Average Profits Generated per Bakken well: $20 million net of costs and taxes

Let me rework those numbers –

This is a really rough guess of what the lifetime income statement might look like for one well: Read more…

While you are laughing at all those robots falling down…

… keep in mind the tasks in the competition were to:

  • get out of a vehicle,
  • walk a distance over level dirt,
  • walk over several feet of broken concrete,
  • climb about 5 steps,
  • identify and approach a door,
  • grasped the door handle and open the door, and
  • walk through the door.

That is a sophisticated collection of gross and fine motor skills.

Yeah, a bunch of them fell down.

Here’s the video:

In terms of autonomous robots that could carry out disaster search and rescue tasks, we are about at the same place that space travel was in the late ‘50s.

If you weren’t aware, consider there was a large number of quite spectacular failures in the early days of missile development. For example, the rocket that lifts 10 or 15 feet off the ground, slowly drifts back to the earth, and crumples with the expected spectacular explosion.

Read more…

More great things to learn about Bakken – part 2


Four pumps pulling up oil that was untouchable 20 years ago. Photos by James Ulvog.

Prof. Mark Perry did a heap of learnin’ on his trip to Williston in May. He wraps up comments at his post, Top ten things I learned on my summer trip to the Bakken oil fields, Part II

My comments on part I here.

If you are looking for a primer on the oil revolution or Bakken or fracking, check out his articles.

A few highlights from his 3,000+ word post and a few of my thoughts. Read more…

Peak Oil doctrine is still dead.

Previously discussed an amazing article by Mark Perry at Carpe Diem. Post provides yet another reminder that Peak Oil is a failed concept.

Check out the June 23 post from Carpe Diem at American Enterprise Institute:  Bakken updates: 1) Williston as ground zero for the American spirit and 2) Here comes Shale 2.0!

Recoverable oil

The post quotes a correspondent who works for a drilling company and has deep knowledge. This correspondent says the expectation at the beginning of the boom was 3.5% of the original oil in place would be recovered. Industry estimates today suggest the recovery rate is 15-18%. With additional technological developments, the correspondent’s guess is there could be another 5% of the oil recovered.

Get a fresh cup of coffee and journey with me as my little brain processes through what this means.

Read more…

Individual drive of workers in Bakken

Amazing article by Mark Perry at Carpe Diem. Brings to mind lots of ideas, such as the amazing attitude of people working in the oil patch and yet another reminder that Peak Oil is a failed concept. Here is the first of my reactions to his post.

American Spirit on display in Bakken field

6/23 – Carpe Diem at American Enterprise Institute – Bakken updates: 1) Williston as ground zero for the American spirit and 2) Here comes Shale 2.0! – Article quotes a correspondent amazed at the people working in Williston. Everyone is there to earn a living. Not looking for handouts. Wanting to work.

Two sentences from the person: Read more…

About those raisins – one part of New Deal destruction reversed by Supreme Court after about eight decades

Did you know raisin growers have to turn over a huge portion of their crop to the federal government? Growers get paid whatever is left over after the feds sell at a discount, giveaway or throw in the trash the reasons they collected.

In one year, a particular farmer got back less than what cost him to raise the raisins. In the following year he got zero. Zip.

Well, the good news is that as of today, that one specific New Deal program comes to an end. At least for raisins.

Read more…

Don’t bet against shale oil

So many articles are pointing toward the idea that shale will be a major player for a long time.

What do you suppose would happen to new and used car dealers if automobile prices dropped by 50% in the next 6 months with no indication when (or even if) the prices will recover? What would happen to retail bookstores if prices of books dropped by half?

How many new car lots, used car dealers, or bookstores would be open after 6 months?

A few articles on shale in general and Williston in particular:

Read more…

Thoughts on jumping into cloud computing

Bruce Schneier has a series of articles that ponder the risks and rewards of jumping into cloud computing. That is the concept of storing your data and computing power with an on-line service provider.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because understanding cloud issues is a major part of keeping up with the massive change around us.)

Some things to consider:

6/10 – Schneier on Security – Should Companies Do Most of Their Computing in the Cloud? (Part 1) – The answer is complicated. The efficiencies and cost savings are real and a major advantage.

On the other hand, there may be legal issues, such as your government creates far higher privacy standards than the country where your data will be stored or another country places severe restrictions on data you store there. Read more…

Details from June ’15 Director’s Cut

The monthly report from Lynn Helms of the Department of Mineral Resources has lots of info about oil production.

Things I find interesting are highlighted in the following graphs:

  • Fracklog increasing. This is the count of wells that have been completed but not fracked. Thus, no production. Bruce Oksol has characterized this as storing oil in the ground. Idea is to wait until prices recover, then bring the oil out of ‘storage.’
  • Oil prices are recovering. Quite a noticeable change.
  • Rig count continues to drop. Graph suggests a reduction in the rate of drop.

Here are the graphs.

Fracklog, or in-ground storage:

fracklog 6-15

Recovery in average price: Read more…

When we think about the damage to bats, maybe we should call a wind turbine ‘slicer-dicer-decompressor’

A commenter on another post introduced me to the term barotrauma. His concise explanation:

There is also something called barrotrauma, that is pulmonary embolism caused by a bat or bird flying behind the spinning blades. No contact is necessary and bats and sometimes birds can fly for quite a distance before hemorrhaging to death.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m not concise. So here is my longer explanation.

My correspondent refers to this summary. You can find the full article on the second tab of that link. I don’t see a specific data, but do notice a 2008 copyright date.

I also found the article here: Barotrauma is a significant cause of bat fatalities at wind turbines.

The team of biologists explain wind turbines create a low-pressure area behind the turbine. Bats have superb echo locating ability so they can easily identify turbines and stay out of their way. The low-pressure area is undetectable for them.

Read more…

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