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.

In addition to gracious help from Indians, what moved the Pilgrims from starving to thriving?

The first winter for the Pilgrims was terrible. Between starvation, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, about half died.

The second winter was terrible, again with little food. Those who survived the first two winters only did so by the goodness of the Native Americans who graciously shared their food.

The third winter was far better, with plenty of food. In a few years, there was enough abundance that the Pilgrims had paid off their debt to those who financed their trip. They were alive, thriving, and free of debt.

Those are a few highlights of the Pilgrims’ story told by Karl Denninger in his article from 2006, which is reposted at Market-Ticker:  The Truth About Thanksgiving.

What caused the change from starving to thriving is the part of the story I never heard growing up.

Read more…

Space flight *is* rocket science. And expensive in lives.

Bill Whittle comments on the crash of a spaceship.

11/21 – The Firewall – A Crash in the Mojave – Space flight IS rocket science. It is dangerous. So dangerous that people will die learning how to fly in space.

He points out a lot of men died in the Mojave Desert paying for the knowledge and information that allows us to fly around 30,000 major domestic commercial flights per day with zero, count ‘em zero, fatalities in thirteen years.

The copilot on the Virgin Galactic flight, Michael Alsbury, had 1,600 hours flight time as a test pilot. Sixteen hundred hours. Test pilot time. You don’t get any better trained than that.

Read more…

More reaction to the hit pieces on North Dakota regulation of the oil industry

There is an old explanation that the best learning you will get about news coverage is when you watch media sources report on a topic for which you have deep knowledge.

It has been quite sobering to occasionally read a story where I can compare my knowledge gained from education and experience to what a reporter explains. In some situations, it is so easily to identify biases, slanted explanations, and sloppy reporting.

On the other hand, I’ve also learned from following the deworming valuation issue in the nonprofit community that sometimes reporters have an incredible depth of accurate knowledge, report accurately, and don’t even give the full range of damaging information they have gathered.

I’ve learned a lot about energy in the last four years. Am still quite new to the field, but finally know enough to carefully evaluate what I read.

That of course leads me to the hit pieces from the New York Times against state regulation of energy development, previously discussed here.

More on the first of two stories from the New York Times…

11/23 – Say Anything Blog – About that New York Times “Downside of the Boom” Story and 11/24 – Bakken.com – The dark side of the boom – isn’t so dark

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/25

First comprehensive random survey of groundwater finds no contamination. Increased employment from Bakken spreading towards Black Hills in South Dakota, and another reason production will fall for the next few months.

11/17 – Dickinson Press – Groundwater study shows no contaminationRead more…

The wide open frontier of technology

Just like the wide open frontier of the American west after the Civil War, the technology world today provides tremendous opportunities.

Need to post something upbeat today after posting about the foolishness of IFRS accounting rules and a hit piece editorial on the Bakken.

11/12 – Seth Godin – An end of radioRead more…

Editorial hit piece on Bakken presented as front page reporting

The New York Times ran an entertaining hit piece on the entire Bakken oil field with particular focus on the intentionally lackadaisical enforcement effort from the state. I learned of the front page article from some complimentary twitter comments, from which I guessed this was a major attack before even reading the first paragraph.

Check out The Downside of the Boom.

As I’ve expanded the horizons of my reading over the last four years, I’ve learned how to see the slant on articles. It’s easy to pick up on agendas if you read carefully, watch the choice of words, and assess the point of view. The goal in this report from the NYT is oh so obvious.

Million Dollar Way’s read is the same:

It was clearly an editorial which will be used by movers and shakers in Washington to support their case that the environment is too important to leave it up to state regulators.

Having said that, I believe my point of view is just as visible – since I’m not a professional journalist, I don’t try to hide my worldview when writing about an issue on which I have an opinion. You may thus filter my comments and the NYT article as you wish.

On to the article…

At a simple level, the adjectives and adverbs are slanted. The oil service roads “slash” through the landscape. That description is in a caption for a photo showing a peaceful farm in the foreground, pump jacks on the hill at the horizon, and not a service road in sight. The farmer with those slashed wheat fields is likely depositing checks for twenty or fifty thousand dollars each month.

Leaks in pipelines which are under federal and not state supervision are the fault of the previously mentioned lackadaisical state regulators. Keep in mind a federal agency is responsible for most pipelines and all the big pipes.

Read more…

Photojournalism site telling the story of North Dakota and the Bakken

Just found a wonderful site – Intersection Journal -

Founder and photojournalist Chad Ziemendorf’s description:

Intersection Journal is an online magazine dedicated to capturing the culture, industry and way of life in Western North Dakota through photography and writing.  Optimized for the mobile generation, we celebrate living, working in and exploring the Peace Garden State.

Read more…

Update on marijuana regulation – #11

Legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington is a natural experiment to see what happens when the government lays heavy regulation on a brand new industry. It is also a natural experiment on how to handle an entire industry that moves from the shadows into the lawful world.

10/25 – The Feed – Colorado Thinks Twice on Pot? – Legalization in Colorado passed 55-44. Recent survey says 50% of people in survey think it wasn’t such a great idea.

Current prediction is the state will fall $20M short of the tax revenue forecast. That is one of the unintended consequences I expect to see and think it will be discussed a lot.

Read more…

Would you rather be in the middle class today or the richest man in the world in 1836?

If it was possible to choose, would you prefer to live life in the middle class, struggling to get by in a lousy economy with an uncertain retirement, or would you rather live the life of Nathan Rothschild, who was the richest man on the planet when he departed this life in 1836?

John Kay discusses this idea in his article, Precise inflation figures ignore evolutions in product quality and consumer choice.

Mr. Kay points out that Mr. Rothschild was richer than either John D Rockefeller or Bill Gates. He was the second richest man in all of history.

Before you say you’d rather live his life than yours, consider this:

Read more…

Amazon and Hachette resolve their contract dispute

11/13 – Wall Street Journal – Amazon, Hachette End Publishing Dispute – After an extended, public dispute, Amazon and the publisher Hachette have a multi-year agreement.

Terms are vaguely hinted at: Hachette will set retail prices of their books with Amazon giving higher payouts for lower prices. Will go into effect in 2015 but that should resolve the spat in advance of the 2014 Christmas shopping season. Both of them are highly motivated to move tons of product in the next six weeks.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 11/18

A few articles on the open frontiers of technology, energy, space and publishing that are worth a read and a brief comment.

About those low energy prices – #4

11/15 – Dickinson Press – Bakken keeps booming: Despite low prices, companies continue to invest in Oil Patch – Estimates attributed to “state officials” suggest that crude oil prices would have to drop to $42 per barrel to bring most production in the state to a halt. The impact of that price would be far more devastating to OPEC and Russia than the U.S. industry.

Read more…

Value of oil production in North Dakota

The monthly market value of oil produced in the state has increased more than five-fold in the last four years.

Check out the economic output of oil from North Dakota, by month:

 11-14 value of crude production

Read more…

Update on solar and wind power – solar #33

More on the economic, environmental, and ecological devastation caused by solar and wind power. This post discusses flaws in the master plan to develop wind and solar in the California desert.

Update 11/18: Chris Clarke informs us that You Have More Time to Comment on That Desert Energy Plan. The deadline for comment has been extended from January 9 to February 23, which is an additional six weeks. He points out you better get started. At 8,000 pages, you need to get through 800 pages a day to make sure your comment is thorough and responsive enough that the regulators can’t just throw away your letter.

10/23 – ReWire – California’s Renewable Energy Plan Misses the Point of Renewable Energy - Chris Clarke shreds what logic and rational thought went into the plans to develop the California desert into a massive solar and wind farm.

The 6,000+ page Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is essentially an EIR to develop the desert starting from east of LA and San Diego all the way to the Nevada border. Previously mentioned this plan here.

Mr. Clarke explains the goal of the plan is to develop 20,000 MW of renewable energy in the desert by 2020.

Mr. Clarke says that is equivalent to an additional Read more…

Crude price is still above the prices that generated the current boom

The Director’s Cut report from the NDIC Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Division has lots of good info every month.  I’ve been reading that for quite some time.

One piece of information included is the average sweet crude price. That is a usable benchmark for oil production. My understanding is there may be a discount for Bakken oil to allow for transport. The number in the reports are a reference point.

I accumulated the price mentioned in the reports going back to January 2010, which is the oldest report available online.

Current month Director’s Cut can be found here. Previous reports can be found here.

Here’s what I found:

11-14 crude price by month

Notice something?

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Near term prediction for oil production in North Dakota

Million Dollar Way thinks we will see the monthly production drop in November. Might still see one more record in October before the drop for winter.

Mr. Oksol’s comments from his post, New All-Time North Dakota Oil Production Record… Read more…

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