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.

Wind and solar not viable without massive direct subsidies

The only way that wing-toaster and slice-and-dice power plants are economically viable is with massive federal subsidies. They just can’t proceed without heavy taxpayer funding.  Here are a few of the recent articles I’ve seen making that point:

1/23 – ReWire – Developer Won’t Build Controversial Solar Plant Without Tax Incentives-

Read more…

Digital currencies are radical change on the horizon for banking and credit cards. (Radical change #2)

There is radical change all around us and more on the way. I know that. My blind spot is figuring out how that will affect my audit firm.

Here’s one part of radical change I can see on the horizon:

1-24 – Wall Street Journal – Bitcoin and the Digital-Currency Revolution / For all bitcoin’s growing pains, it represents the future of money and global finance.- For a brain stretcher on digital currency, check out the article. Focus is on Bitcoin, which is merely the starting point in a revolution of disintermediation.

Just like money funds disintermediated (that means cut out of the picture) bank deposits in the distant ‘80s, bitcoin and other yet-to-be-invented digital currencies will disintermediate a huge portion of the financial system.

Picture the long series of transactions when you buy a cup of coffee at the corner shop with your credit card (this is a long quote cited under fair use, oh, also to promote the book it is extracted from): Read more…

More about the price war in oil – #12

A few more articles about the global price war underway in the crude oil market. My guess? This will not turn out as well for OPEC as OPEC expected.

A commenter at Million Dollar Way has some optimistic contrarian thoughts: A Reader’s Perspective on the Bakken in the Face of Plummeting Oil Prices.   Gloomsters are apparently starting to think the N.D. economy will collapse. For a few contrarian ideas, consider the following:

  • Projects underway include two fertilizer plants and a huge plastics plant.
  • Catch-up work for infrastructure is a $1B, yes billion, to do list.
  • Oilfield workers are very flexible and highly productive. They could start a new job in a new industry tomorrow morning and be quite productive by lunch. (Application: there could be a good supply of workers available in the next few months to start immediately on that $1B construction backlog.)
  • Innovation and investing isn’t going to stop for a minute.

My biased, wild guess? After OPEC blinks and prices go up a fair amount, North Dakota will be stronger than in mid 2014. I don’t think that is what the various oil ministers are betting on.

1/16 – Forbes – When Will The Price of Oil Hit Bottom? The Market is Looking at the Wrong NumberRead more…

I get the concept of radical changes in our near future. I am blind to see how it will affect my business. (Radical change #1)

We are in the midst of radical change. I’m writing this blog (Outrun Change) to sort out the change around us.

I get it in terms of tech change obliterating newspaper want ads, count of first class mail pieces for the Post Office, and devastation to bookstores (remember Borders?).

I totally get the concept that you can be your own book publisher with a cost of under $200 per title if you have the skill to use Adobe Acrobat along with Microsoft Excel and Word. Major publishers are dinosaurs.

Running your own digital publishing company? Been there. Done that. Three times. And publishing the Nook version is literally one extra click, one click, in the on-line production cycle.

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – #11

Here’s the rest of the energy articles I’ve been wanting to catch up on. Have a few articles discussing the price war that will be posted next week.

1/6 – Shale Plays Media at Bakken.Com – “The American Moment”: API president delivers the 2015 State of American Energy – API calls today

… “The American Moment” where the current state of abundance and global leadership is something no one would have predicted just a few years ago.  “This unique American moment is the result primarily of American ingenuity and technological advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.” He noted that the United States is expected to soon become the number one producer in oil production, and some believe we already are.

The lights are not about to go out and we aren’t out of either oil or natural gas: Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – #10

Have a long backlog of articles on oil that I wanted to mention. Will start getting caught up:

12/30 – McKenzie County Farmer – As I see it – Editor Neal Shipman:

The only thing that is certain is that oil prices go up and they go down. Some oil experts believe that there is still room for oil prices to go lower. Others believe that this drop in oil prices is short-lived, and that they will soon return to previous levels. (emphasis added)

I think both set of experts are correct. Oil prices will go up and they will go down.

1/2 – Wall Street Journal – Low Oil Prices May Be New NormalRead more…

NCAA agrees to restore Penn State’s wins. Apparently sanctions for covering up child molestation are merely temporary in addition to being mild.

Just in case it isn’t clear, this is an opinion article.

Under pressure of a lawsuit which could have lifted all sanctions on Penn State for their coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s systemic molestation of young boys, the NCAA agreed to reinstate the 112 wins for the university and Joe Paterno.

Two state politicians filed suit against the NCAA. They modified their suit after it was filed in order to claim the entire consent decree was invalid. They didn’t want any sanctions on Penn State for their help in covering up molestation. The University shouldn’t bear any consequences in their view.

NCAA and the Penn State trustees agreed to a revised consent decree.

One trustee of Penn State, who was willing to be quoted, said there ought not have been any punishment of any sort, but he voted to accept the settlement just so they don’t have talk about the NCAA or the minor costs-of-doing-business sanctions any more.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontier – 1/17

A few articles on technology, energy, and publishing that are worth a read and a brief comment. Efforts for soft landing to recover a first stage came amazingly close to success.

Worlds far away I’ll never visit

1/9 – Wired – Why the Silk Road Trial Matters – Some background on the upcoming trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind behind Silk Road, which is allegedly one of the first dark markets to sell all sorts of illegal stuff.

Since that is a world I’ll never get within a few light years of, following the case is only way I’ll get hints of what is that planet is like.


Read more…

Update on marijuana regulation – #13

Not a lot of news on how the recreational marijuana market is doing lately. There is some preliminary info suggesting the tax haul won’t be as big as expected. Will take more time before we can fully see how severely the regulatory burden is constricting the market.

Just as a marker for the future, I believe the heavy regulation of recreational marijuana will severely constrain the industry. We shall see. I will watch developments as they become visible.

Read more…

Comments on North Dakota oil production. More info on big trigger and little trigger – 1/15/15


(Photo by James Ulvog. A view of what OPEC is trying to shut down. One drilling rig and one pump in foreground. One drilling rig in distant background. About half a dozen working pumpjacks are on the very short road to this site.)

The top oil regulator in North Dakota, Lynn Helms, spoke to media after releasing the monthly production data for November.

Multiple media sources covered the presentation. These comments from the Dickinson Press – Helms: Oil production could decline by third quarter.

He indicated drillers have pulled back to the four key counties of the Bakken region because the returns there are rich enough for drilling to remain profitable. Only 10 of current count of 158 rigs are outside those counties.

Info on rig count Read more…

North Dakota oil production barely hits new record in November 2014


(Photo by James Ulvog. Notice the miles and miles of farm land in the background with one or perhaps two wells in sight)

Crude oil production in North Dakota edged up a smidgen (0.31%) in November to an average 1,187,206 bopd from a revised 1,183,515 in October. The data for September and October was revised for one more well being reported. The October production was down a smidgen (-0.24%).

The November ’14 production is barely a record compared to the previous revised high in September ’14 of 1,186,305.

Here is my graph of production by month:

 nd production since 08

(Will someone please, please, claim that flat top is proof positive that Peak Oil doctrine is true? And that production will now start an irreversible decline to near zero? Please?)

Here is what the price trend looks like.

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – #9 – on the price war



I have a backlog of articles about what’s going on with crude oil prices. Will start catching up.

Articles in this post look at the issue of whether this is a price war kicked off by Saudi Arabia.

1/8 – Reuters at Bakken.Com – No chance of OPEC output cut, even after oil dips below $50 – Gulf delegatesRead more…

Best 2014 energy graphs from Carpe Diem


(Photo by James Ulvog)

Carpe Diem has been running a recap of the best-of graphs from 2014. Last week the focus was energy:  My Top Ten Energy Charts of the Year For 2014.

Here are some of my favorites.  All graphs used with permission of Carpe Diem.

If you have just tuned into the energy revolution, look at these graphs to see how much things have changed in the last decade.

Check out the total U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas. That is a great proxy for the shale revolution.

energy gas and crude

Look at the crude oil only production graph. Read more…

Historical count of drilling rigs in North Dakota

With rig count dropping in the state, thought I’d look at the history of how many rigs are in operation. Here are two graphs to give some historical background. Data is from the website of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Division. The general statistics page is here. Go to the monthly statistics line for the annual reports.

Here is the average count of rigs by month:

rig count by month 12-14

The impact of the Great Recession hit the rig count in late 2008 and early 2009. I think the drop in rigs in 2012 is due to rapid increases in productivity. Multipad drilling using walking rigs meant one rig could drill lots more wells.

Drop in count is quite visible in the last four months.

Here is the average count for each year:

rig count by year 2014

Drop in ’09 is quite visible.

My graphing ability is improving rapidly, having been watching Carpe Diem for a few years and learning a lot from Prof. Mark Perry by watching closely. Only took a few minutes to develop the above graphs.

Knowledge is the source of value and wealth

Gotta’ question for you – How much does the economy weigh? (Cross posted from Attestation Update.)

Can’t answer?

Okay. How ‘bout this – Does much does the economy weight today versus 1950?

Before you answer, consider that I just counted 220 books on the bookshelves in my office. I currently have 195 books on my Kindle.

Now, how much does the economy weight today compared to 60 years ago?

Read more…

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