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.

Reusable shopping bags are so dangerous they require a warning label

Got a free reusable shopping bag today from the pharmacy where I shop.

Scan your card to get a handful of coupons and they give you a free reusable bag.

I have described the dangers of reusable bags previously.

This bag came with a warning label. It said: Read more…

Update on the open frontiers – 4/29

There are amazing things going on in the wide open frontiers of technology and eduction. Here’s a few articles that caught my eye.


4/6 – American Interest (Peter)Jobs of the Future, Travel Agent EditionArticle suggests demand for travel agents is growing and could even outstrip the supply soon.

How can this possibly be? I thought the ‘net deleted the need for travel agents.

Read more…

Shame storm. Or 1984’s two minutes hate. Or just another day in social media.

We are seeing an increasing number of shame storms in social media. The goal of a shame storm is to severely rebuke and embarrass someone who stepped out of line. Doesn’t matter if the person loses a job and is emotionally destroyed as a result. As long as the instigator and following mob have a good time, they don’t care.

I discussed this issue earlier: Be careful on the ‘net. It is cruel and unforgiving. Draw wrong attention and you get dissected, then shamed.

Here are two more articles on shame storming.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because understanding social media is a large component of coping with the radical change surrounding us.)

4/20 – About Last Night – The shame sharksTerry Teachout suggests that yes, he does self-censor what he says, or what is called crimestop in the novel 1984. Read more…

More good stuff on surveillance – 4/27

Here is my sixteenth list of good stuff on our surveillance society. A few articles of interest.

The depth, breadth, and speed of the surveillance continues to astound me.

4/21 – Schneier on Security – Hacker Detained by FBI after Tweeting about Airplane Software Vulnerabilities – Check out the speed of surveillance in this story.

While in the air from Denver to New York, a security researcher joked in a tweet about hacking specific airplane systems. When he landed, the FBI detained him for a 4 hour interrogation and confiscated his electronics.

Read more…

A: 84% & minus 2%. Q: Percent of individual income taxes paid by top 20% and bottom 20% of Americans (actual for 2014)

Previously mentioned the percent of income taxes (excluding payroll taxes) projected to be paid in 2015:  A: 48% & 0%. Q: Percent of individual income taxes paid by top 1% of taxpayers and bottom half (projected for 2015).

Here are actual numbers for 2014 for income taxes paid. Again, this is income tax only and excludes payroll taxes and excise taxes. The data is for quintiles of income. Each bracket of 20% of Americans includes about 65 million people. This is not based on tax returns.

Read more…

More on stealing raisins. Oops. I meant to say, more on implementing the New Deal.

The New Deal policy of confiscating a portion of raisins from farmers every year in order to drive up prices to consumers has been previously discussed here, here, and here.

The Wall Street Journal provides more background on this foolishness that is being considered in the Supreme Court today: The Incredible Raisin Heist / A property-rights challenge to federal marketing orders hits the Supreme Court.

I’ve been wondering what the Raisin Administrative Committee does with all those raisins after they are surrendered by the farmers. Editorial points out the government may sell the raisins on the open market, ship them overseas, or just give them away.

I have to find someone far brighter than me to explain how selling the raisins or giving them away stabilizes prices. Seems that would drop prices to what would otherwise be equilibrium or even lower.

The WSJ editorial outlines the progress of the case through the federal courts. I promise you this is a paraphrase of the editorial and not the outline of a dystopian political novel I’ve been mulling over.

Read more…

Update on marijuana regulation – #17

As a reminder, 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.

4/9 – New York Times – Marijuana Taxes Won’t Save State Budgets – The governor’s office has dropped their estimate of taxes from recreational marijuana sales for the year ending June 30, 2015 from $118M back in February 2014 to $69M now.

That is a mere 0.2% of the state budget, less than a quarter of one percent. The trivial amount massively undercuts the concept that pot taxes will be a big help for state budgets, which is one of the secondary reasons touted to legalize marijuana.

Read more…

Dropping oil prices slow down North Dakota economy from previous breakneck speed

Rapid drop in drilling activity is backing off the economy in the Bakken oil patch from crazy out of control growth to merely the level of economic boom most places in the country would love to have seen anytime in the last 5 years.

4/18 – Star TribuneIn wake of oil slump, watchful North Dakotans adjust expectations – Title could have been Williston backs down from crazy out of control growth to merely as wild as four years ago.

The state jobs service in Williston has twice as many openings as applicants. Read more…

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…

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