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.

Good news for birds – proposed plan for a more dangerous solar project pulled by owner

The owner of the proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System in the California desert that would have been more damaging to birds that the Ivanpah facility has withdrawn their plans. That according to reporting by Chris Clarke at ReWire: Massive Solar Power Project for California Desert Scrapped.

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 9/26

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news that I won’t cover in a separate post: cost of Bakken wells going up, short-term production drop and long-term increase.

Cost of wells

9/20 – Million Dollar Way – Idle Chatter on Costs of Completed Wells in the Bakken -

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 9/25

Just like the wild west in the late 1800s, the frontiers of energy and technology are wide open. Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in. Just brief comments from me.


9/14 – Wall Street Journal – Russell Gold – Fracking Gives U.S. Energy Boom Plenty of Room to Run – Current Top Gas Well Produces Five Times as Much as Record Setter a Decade Ago- What was an amazing gas well ten years ago has been topped by a factor of five.

Read more…

Update on wind power – (solar #29)

Here are a few articles on the environmental damage from wind energy: reclamation of wind farms, damage from Germany’s enegiewende program, and research on taller wind turbines.

9/3 – Dickinson Press – PSC orders financial pledge for cost of reclaiming wind farms – Two wind farms in North Dakota have reached the 10 year point in their operation. That is the time when the corporate shells that operate the slice-and-dicers must post a financial guarantee from their corporate parents to cover the costs of removing the blades, towers, foundations, and transmission lines at the end of their estimated 35 year life.

Why are guarantees necessary?

Read more…

Another short term production prediction for Bakken

I know my ability to predict oil production in North Dakota is lousy.

Let’s see how Bentek is doing:

9/23 – BakkenShale.com – Bentek Energy: ND Bakken Hit 1.2 Million b/d – Aug. 2014 - Article says Bentek is predicting production in North Dakota from just Bakken field shale will hit 1.2M bopd in August.

This is the second month in a row they predicted 1.2M bopd.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 9/23

Several fun articles on the open frontier of privately designed and funded space flight.

Lacking any convenient place to comment on worlds far away that I can only see with the telescope of a feature news article, I’m adding a new section to my More Good Stuff series of posts. Will call it Worlds far away, as in places I’ve never been and don’t want to approach nearer than a light-year away.

Previous articles along this line have discussed the alien world of allegedly selling huge volumes of illegal drugs on Silk Road and storing huge volumes of questionably legal stuff on-line. Check out:

Have another article today that describes another planet I’ve barely heard of.

Worlds far away I’ll never visit

9/16 – The Atlantic – How Gangs Took Over PrisonsRead more…

Saving a few hundred sparrows doesn’t make up for killing a brown pelican. Solar #25


(Photo by James Ulvog)

(Update: this is actually solar #27. Oops.)

One of the entertainingly deceptive arguments defending the number of birds killed by wind turbines and solar farms is that cats kill far more birds every year.

Various reports suggest upwards of a billion birds nationwide are taken out by cats each year. The intentionally misleading argument is essentially that the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of birds taken out by renewable energy don’t count because outside cats are responsible for so much more damage in the avian world.

Funding spay &  neuter clinics as mitigation for dead migratory birds

So that you don’t think I’m making this up, check out the AP’s Big Story report: Emerging Solar Plants Scorch Birds in Mid-Air.

This major AP report discusses the thousands of birds killed at the Ivanpah facility south of the Nevada-California border on the way to Las Vegas.

Over 300,000 heliostats focus sunlight on three towers 400 feet in the air. The temperature around the towers reportedly hits 700 degrees.

Nobody knows how many birds are killed by the towers and die on site. Current methodology for tallying those fatalities is seriously undercounting the number.

Nobody has the foggiest clue how many birds are mortally wounded and land outside the perimeter of the site since there is zero effort to count them.

Nobody understands the causality of why so many birds are dying.

Scroll down to the last six paragraphs of the article. Some key comments:

Biologists don’t know of any way to reduce the number of birds that get their wings toasted.

The project owner is offering to pay $1.8 million to compensate for the expected bird deaths. The net impact of that settlement would be issuing a kill-all-you-want permit that gets them off the hook for all future birds that die at the site.

The company is also offering to fund projects to spay and neuter domesticated cats.


(Photo by James Ulvog of a threat to pelicans and migratory ducks that is every bit as serious as a couple of heliostats in the desert. Also as much of a threat to the golden eagle and California condor populations as any wind turbine. Check out the vicious eyes, fangs, and claws of a deadly bird killer.)

Read more…

More data points on building power plants using natural gas and solar

It is far more expensive to build solar or wind plants than natural gas. A few more data points:

8/25 – Million Dollar Way – Power Plant Costs – For the Archives – August 25, 2014; Cost of Renewable Energy – Staggering – Bruce Oksol accumulates some costs for building different kinds of power facilities:

Read more…

“Life = Risk”

Some people were failures in their field before becoming hugely successful.

What famous actress  and comedienne got kicked out of drama school?

What basketball star got cut from his high school team?

What world-changing rock group was turned down by a recording company?

You will be surprised at the names.

Check out:


Read more…

“If you only write one book in your whole life … (it) will be someone’s absolutely favorite book of all time”

That is the encouragement from John C. Wright in his post “Your Book of Gold.”

The beautiful, full sentence:

If you only write one book in your whole life, and only sell 600 copies or less, nonetheless, I assure you, I solemnly assure you, that this book will be someone’s absolutely favorite book of all time, and it will come to him on some dark day and give him sunlight, and open his eyes and fill his heart and make him see things in life even you never suspected, and will be his most precious tale, and it will live in his heart like the Book of Gold.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 9/16

Amazing technology today and the technology that is long gone. Also, a decision soon on private sector spaceship.


9/13 – Carpe Diem – Video of the day: Awesome machines – Very cool machines automating complex stuff:


I like the chicken picker-upper and the huge tree-cutting stuff.

9/11 – Heaven666 – These are the Things Your Kids Will Never Understand – Gotta’ check out the article for the visuals. A few I like:

Read more…

More good stuff on surveillance – 9/15

Haven’t mentioned any good stuff on our surveillance society for a few months. Here’s a few articles of interest:

Downside of technology (cross-posted from previous post

because it has significance on the surveillance society we are in)

9/6 – The Economist – The two towers – Junk science is putting innocent people in jail – Cell phone calls don’t necessarily go to the nearest tower.

Read more…

Update on solar power – #26

Here are a few articles on the environmental damage from solar energy:  half the Palen plant has been tentatively approved and an AP article that shows how the debate over environmental damage from solar farms has shifted.

9/15 – ReWire – California Set to Approve Controversial Solar Plant – Chris Clarke reports the California Energy Commission let loose an announcement at 4:55 on a Friday that it had tentatively approved half of the Palen Solar Electric Generating System. Late Friday news releases are a tested bureaucratic trick to get news out yet avoid lots of attention.

The tentative plan is expected to be rubber stamped on October 29. The approval is for only one of the two proposed towers.

Read more…

How would you like to work in an industry where a monthly output increase of 1.7% is preceded with the description “only”? Welcome to Bakken.


(photo by James Ulvog taken in October 2013)


(Photo by James Ulvog, closeup of above pump; notice flare pit in foreground)

Production in North Dakota in July was 1,110,653 bopd, an increase of “only” 1.66% over the slightly revised June number of 1,092,519 bopd. Bakken only production was only up 1.9%.

(Update at bottom of post about that 5% increase for the month.)

Here’s the graph:

ND production July 14

I say “only” because Mr. Helms was expecting an increase of 5% for each of the summer months.

Read more…

Can you live with mission critical applications disappearing for a week?

Consider your vulnerabilities to a software vendor disappearing overnight.

I changed RSS readers for a third time this week. They keep shutting down on me.

As an active blogger, reading a lot of blogs and news sources is mission critical. Well, I suppose I choose to make it mission critical – it’s a big deal for me.

Substitute your mission critical applications for my reliance on RSS feed and you can think through an assessment of how vulnerable you are to vendors just going away.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit update.)

On Monday Bloglines disappeared. That has been my RSS feed for quite a while. Might be a server problem. Maybe a software upgrade that failed. Down lines somewhere. I can live with that for a little bit.

Read more…

Post Navigation