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.

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…

Update on North Dakota wind farm projects

Here are few updates on one approved and one cancelled slice-and-dice project in North Dakota.

First, an update on the damage from wind turbines – 5/6 – Million Dollar Way – Great Prarie-Chickens Demand Wind-Turbine Free Zones – Researchers studying prairie-chicken nests, called leks, over a five-year period found that the leks are more likely to be abandoned within 8 km of slice-and-dicer turbines. More evidence of the environmental damage from wind power, which is an expected consequence.

About that cancelled project – I’ve previously mentioned Dickinson Wind, LLC was trying to get permits for an 87-turbine wind farm.

Read more…

More on the economic damage from wind power

Germany’s push to rely on wind power and dump nuclear is hurting the economy. A few of the posts I’ve read on point:

4/22/14 – Stop These Things – Wind Power Costs send Germans back to the Stone Age – Skyrocketing electricity costs are seriously hurting poor people in Germany. Article points out 800,000 homes in Germany are off the grid because they can’t afford electricity. Article also says around 7 million households are in a place called “fuel poverty”, having to choose either heating or eating.

Read more…

Great things to learn about Bakken – part 1


All photos by James Ulvog. Rough estimate: 4 wells x 500K barrels = around 2 million barrels of oil over the next few decades. Oil drawn from solid rock.

Prof. Mark Perry provides his first report on the few days he was able to spend in Williston at the end of May. From Carpe Diem on June 16: Top ten things I learned on my summer trip to the Bakken oil fields, Part I

I was there for a few days last month also. I however, did not get a two-day personal tour of Continental’s drilling sites. What a blessing for him!

If you need a primer on Bakken, I heartily recommend his post.

Here are the first five of his points with my comments:

Read more…

Update on the federal charges against Keith Graves

I just took a quick look at the federal PACER system to check on the status of the case against Keith Graves.  As you recall, he was one of the key players in the documentary The Overnighters, which I’ve mentioned a number of times.

A few items of note:

On June 3, 2015, a second superseding indictment was filed. It now has 10 counts, including the previous obstruction, distribution of methamphetamines, and possession of controlled substance charges. A seventh count of alleged trafficking has been added to the previous six counts. That makes seven adult women he is accused of trafficking.

The docket shows that he requested and has been approved to represent himself. Standby counsel was appointed in mid-May.

Read more…

Why solar-thermal farms are accurately called wing-toasters – Ivahpah offs an estimated 3,500 birds a year.


(Wing toaster portion of a wing-toasting facility in operation. Top of the tower is where the protected, migratory, and other birds get cooked. The white-hot section is around 750 degrees. Photo by James Ulvog.)

A detailed study of bird casualties estimates the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System kills about 3,500 birds a year. This is while it is only generating at 40% of expected capacity.

4/22 – Chris Clarke at ReWire – Solar Plant Likely Killed 3,500 Birds in 1st Year – The Ivanpah facility hired a firm to research the number of birds killed at the location. The number of fatalities is in a range between 2,500 and 6,700 with a point estimate of 3,504.

That is a range of 6.8 to 18.4 per day with point estimate of 9.6 each and every day.

That is in contrast to the facility’s biologist’s official count of 695 dead and eight injured birds. That would be an average of 1.9 casualties each day. Read more…

Guess on how long Bakken oil will be pumped

A few thoughts on the upside of oil production in North Dakota.

6/14 – Million Dollar Way – A Long Rambling Note on a Bunch of Things Regarding the Bakken – If you are still wondering why I am so powerfully positive on the Bakken, check out Mr. Oksol’s post.

My overly compressed summary:

Read more…

Ivanpah running at 40% of expected output while killing about 3,500 birds a year


(Photo of Ivanpah wing-toasting tower in operation. Photo by James Ulvog.)

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System next to I-15 just south of the California-Nevada border is only generating 40% of the expected electricity while at the same time killing a lot more birds than officially reported.

6/12 – Wall Street Journal – High-Tech Solar Projects Fail to Deliver / $2.2 billion California project generates 40% of expected electricity – The Ivanpah solar-thermal plant in the Mojave Desert has been open 15 months. I think it was in testing for several months before that.

It was supposed to deliver over 1 million mWh a year but is only running at 40% of that level according to the article.

Article says offered causes include a lot of equipment breaking (even though it is only around 18 months old). They are still working their way down the learning curve with plenty of on-the-job learning on how to run the plant.

As I’ve mentioned before, they were planning to use natural gas to run the facility for an hour a day to get it going before the sun power really kicks in. They are having to use four times as much natural gas to get the plant started in the morning.

Most entertaining excuse offered for poor results is there’s not enough sun. In the Mojave Desert.

For the last 15 months it’s been more cloudy than expected.

In the Mojave Desert.

For 15 months straight.

Read more…

Downside of cool modern tech: Massive breach of federal personnel systems

The public now knows of two rounds of massive breaches at the federal agency that handles all personnel records. First round looks like it was essentially the basic personnel file of all current and many former federal employees.

Second round is the long forms used to process security clearances. Looks like it was military and spy agency records. Great. Those files list all relatives, making them vulnerable to coercion. Provides lots of ideas on how to turn or compromise employees.


Hackers meandered around the systems for a year.

If you want to build a deep profile of military, diplomatic, and spy agency staff for use over the next several decades, this would be a fantastic starting point. Will take a while to process all the files and synthesize with social media and published news reports, but those countries who wish us harm will have a superb database to track and compromise federal employees.

Read more…

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