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.

Update on solar and wind power – 7/2

Here are a few articles on the environmental damage from solar and wind energy.

Oh. And I expect to never hear another word about the horrid amount of water used to drill an unconventional oil well. The Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project in Riverside County will initially use as much water as it takes to drill 1,369 wells and each year for 50 years will draw water sufficient to drill 130 well.

Wing-toasters, or unknown numbers of streamers

6/17 – ReWire – Bird Deaths Continue Through May at Ivanpah Solar – Number of dead birds at the Ivanpah toasting facility dropped slightly in May to 80 birds and 2 bats.  Scorching, singeing or melting feathers was visible on 44 of the birds. Several had burns on their bodies. Severe impact of not covering the whole facility when looking for birds is described in the article as follows:

As only about 20 percent of the facility is covered by the carcass surveys, it’s reasonable to assume the actual month’s death toll is upward of 300 or so.

Read more…

Drone pilots and more background on drones

Article in the Economist discusses the pressures on drone pilots – Drone pilots:  Dilbert at war. Article in WSJ gives more background on the range of drones in operation today. First up, the Economist article.

There are serious pressures from being in a war zone for an 8 or 10 hour shift then going home to have dinner with your family in your own home/apartment. You can’t get a brew at the on-base club and decompress with the other crews who also have nothing else to do except hang out with you. Classification levels and operational security requirements mean you can’t discuss anything outside a secure area.

Read more…

A few records set by North Dakota and the Bakken field

North Dakota has set several records in oil production.

In her article, Amy Dalrymple, N.D. oil production hits 1 million barrels per day reminds us of a few records that I’ve read elsewhere: Read more…

More good stuff on surveillance – 6/28

Here is my thirteenth list of good stuff on our surveillance society that I’d like talk about but only have time to recommend with a paragraph.

6/6 – Wired – Some Governments Have Backdoor Access to Listen in on Calls, Vodafone says- Read more…

“Hockey Stick of Human Prosperity”

Take any one of a variety of economic indicators. Per capita income. Life expectancy. Stuff people own. Average height. Child mortality. Number of pants and underwear owned.

Graph it over the last 2,000 years.

You will see a hockey stick. Flat with no growth for century after century. Brutal, hungry, and disease-ridden short lives were the norm 3000 years ago.

And 1000 years ago.

And 500 years ago.

So far, any graph you draw of any of those indicators is a flatline.

Then, about 200 years ago, every one of the graphs took off like a Shuttle launch. Something happened.

For the first in a series of videos, Professor Don Boudreaux explains what this hockey stick looks like.

And what made things get so mind-bogglingly better.



Another idea for a hockey stick graph: number of natural teeth in your mouth at age 50.

Oh, wait. People usually didn’t live that long until a few hundred years ago.

link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9FSnvtcEbg&feature=player_embedded

Accident rates for military drones

The Washington Post has started a major investigative series on drones. First article describes losses in the military. Check out When Drones Fall From the Sky published June 20.

Looks to me like the implied conclusion the authors want you to reach is that drones are insufficiently reliable and unsafe for operation in U.S. airspace.

Several reasons for high loss rate come to mind. Institutional learning curve for brand new technology. Intentionally nonredundancy for an unmanned weapon system moved into use during combat. Not as much safety margins are designed in for unmanned systems in combat zone. Tradeoff of redundancy for reduced cost, increased range, and higher weapon payload.

Some great research from the article:

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 6/25

I read the news and see wide open frontiers in the worlds of publishing, technology, space, and energy. In terms of opportunities and growth, this reminds me of the wild west and homesteading days in the late 1800s.

Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in.

Perpetual Malthusian foolishness

4/25 – Wall Street Journal – The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out – Ecologists worry that the world’s resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again – There are constant shouts of fright that we will run out of some resource in a decade or two. Maybe the day after tomorrow. Such predictions are as foolish as they are wrong. Matt Ridley points out that innovation, human creativity in other words, blasts through those limits over and over and over again.

Here is part of the blindness: Read more…

Formula 1 pit stops – 67 seconds in 1950 – 4 seconds in 2013

For your chuckle of the day, check out this video of a leisurely pit stop in 1950.

The driver barely stops in 2013. Watch carefully or you will miss the refueling and tire changes.

(hat tip: carpe diem)

What’s it cost to run an oil well for a year?

I’ve been wondering about that. Million Dollar Way quotes some comments from a Google Discussion Group that gives some info: Monthly Costs For Maintaining An Active Well…

Most companies estimate production costs at $6,000 to $8,000 per month per well…or $70,000 to $100,000 per year.

Keep in mind that a majority of wells require a week or more of maintenance each year with a workover rig with support equipment and crew at $10,000 plus per day.

You also have significant power costs in addition to general lease operations. A 6-8 well pad could easily require $750,000 to $1 million per year to keep everything in top condition to maximize production without any major operational downhole problems.

Since I’m an accountant, I’ll convert that background into a specific calculation adding in a few of my assumptions. Read more…

Predictions for plateau in North Dakota oil production

Think I’ll start accumulating predictions for the highest point of oil production in North Dakota now that the state has passed 1,000,000 barrels per day.

In a feature article, N.D. oil production hits 1 million barrels per day, Amy Dalrymple, provides two estimates: Read more…

North Dakota oil production passes the 1 million barrels per day mark in April ’14.


April marked the month that the average production passed the 1 million point. Preliminary number is 1,001,149.

Everyone has been waiting for this day. Yippee!

Here’s a graph of production for state-wide and Bakken-only:

ND production 4-14



Read more…

Mali and Central Africa Republic update (and Iraq) – 6/17

Iraq seems to have blown up in the last week or so. Is it really necessary to say I don’t have a clue what is happening? To see what give me a vague, fuzzy hint of something that looks like a clue, check out…

6/16 – American Interest – The Middle East and Beyond – Iraq: What a Way To Go – Adam Garfinkel provides deep background on how Iraq came into being and helps sort out the mess that is happening now.

Read more…

Visuals explaining why wind turbines deserve name of slice-and-dicer & why the number of sliced birds is undercounted

I’ve been referring to solar farms as wing-toasters and wind farms as slice-and-dicers for some time.

Found a few articles that explain why wind turbines have earned that well-deserved title:

4/30 The ECOreport – How Much Wildlife Can USA Afford to Kill? – Lots of footnotes.

Don’t go to the link unless you can stomach photos of large raptors sliced into pieces. Staff at wind farms are picking up chunks. One eagle was beheaded.

Read more…

Here is an illustration of the damage caused by our government from the spying scandal: We can see the loopholes in corporate denials.

Those who have paid attention to the massive spying effort of the feds have learned how to parse corporate denials. Comments like We have never knowingly participated in program ‘AbuseOurCustomersTrust’, could mean one of three things:

  • The company didn’t know they were participating because they got bugged or hacked, so they really didn’t know until they read it in the newspaper like you did, or
  • The company knows the actual program was TellTheFedsEverythingYourCustomersEverSaid, therefore they really and truly didn’t participate in a completely different program called AbuseOurCustomersTrust, or
  • The company has no idea what name was used for the program for which they were a fully aware participant.

All of which means the company was telling the technical truth while fully cooperating with the specified program and saying they didn’t.

Shall we apply this parsing ability to a denial from the UPS about shipping packages to the NSA for hacking?


Read more…

Don’t complain about disappearing mom-and-pop record stores as you download an MP3 of your favorite song

Keep an eye out for the idea of creative destruction. That’s the idea that a new way of doing business will replace the old way and consumers reap huge benefits.

Many people bemoan Wal-Mart destroying lots of small shops. I understand the damage since that phenomenon affected friends of mine.

Before Wal-Mart, the large chain grocery stores wiped out lots of small neighborhood markets.

Don’t forget what happened in the music industry.

John Bredehoft, writing at tymshft, reminds us What goes around comes around – the record industry.

Read more…

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