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 from the open frontier of space travel

After a rough week on the frontier of private space travel, some good news: a huge investment by Google and a probe landed on a comet.

11/11 – Space.com – Google Leases NASA’s Moffet Field, Historic Hangar for $1.2 Billion - and 11/11 – CNN – Google leases massive Navy blimp hangar

Read more…

More good stuff on surveillance – 11/14

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

11/14 – Wall Street Journal – Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program – Devices on Planes that Mimic Cellphone Towers Used to Track Criminals, but Also Sift Through Thousands of Other Phones -

The same technology used to identify and track terrorists in battle zones is being used on U.S. citizens. The Department of Justice in running a program through the US Marshall Service that puts a detector in a small plane and flies over an area.

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/13

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news from the Bakken that I won’t cover in a separate post.

Hard work, determination, and perseverance will produce superb results in Bakken. With those skills in California, you are underemployed. And that assumes you can even find a job.

Here is one more in a non-ending string of stories of people who find success in the oil patch of North Dakota:

Read more…

Ivanpah update – solar #32

The huge collecting solar power plant in the California desert near the Nevada border, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, is in distress as an energy producer and as a business deal.

Output in the first eight months of operation is about one-third of what was expected.

Project negotiated a delay of its first two loan payments and is requesting federal grants to pick up the tab for those payments plus one more.

In the accounting world when a borrower doesn’t make payments in accordance with the original loan agreement it is called a troubled debt restructuring. In finance that is called a workout. In banking that is an impaired loan. In politics and the media world we call that a bailout.

9/23 – Wall Street Journal – Ivanpah Solar Project Owners Delay Repaying Loans, Documents Say – NRG, Google, BrightSource Said to Delay Paying Back Loans – Project was built with a $1.6B guaranteed loan as part of the total reported price tag of $2.2B.

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – 3

A global game of chicken is underway. Will falling oil prices slow or shut down the rapid expansion in shale oil production in the US before the budgets of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Russia are devastated? Which will happen first?

I think it isn’t a smart bet to go against the human ingenuity that has driven the shale revolution.

10/30 – American Interest – OPEC Makes Shaky Bet on Fragility of US Shale Boom – Article quotes a Bloomberg report which in turn quotes the OPEC Secretary General saying that 50% of tight oil (read shale in US) is uneconomical at current prices. That means he believes a lot of projects will get shut down at current pricing. AI article calls that a game of chicken. I agree.

11/3 – Wall Street Journal – Saudi Price Cut Upends Oil Market – Saudi Arabia dropped the price they are asking for crude oil shipped to the U.S. and increased their asking price for oil shipped to Asia.

A graph in the article helps explain why.

Read more…

Why separate blogs for nonprofits, accounting, and coping with change? Why so much discussion on banking and energy?

  • Why do I have so many blogs?
  • Why are there separate blogs appealing to the nonprofit world and CPAs?
  • Why do so many posts talk about banking?
  • Why so much discussion of energy production?

Might be time to mention again how my writing is organized.

The basic idea is that blogs need to have a narrow focus in terms of topics or issues. Then the blog will gather an audience of people with that interest. Cover too many topics and everyone will lose interest.

That means I have split up the core of my writing into three blogs, each designed to appeal to a different audience. People interested in one of those areas may not be interested in the other topics, so I assign my posts to the blog that will have readers who will be more interested in that discussion. The main blogs are:

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/8

Here are a few articles of what’s going on in North Dakota. Focus for this post is infrastructure and employment.

11/7 – Al Jazeera – From the wars of West Africa to the oil boom of North Dakota – Yes, my first link to Al Jazeera.

This is a superb story – in-depth view of the life of two immigrants from Africa (him Sierra Leone, her Liberia) who are making a combined $30 an hour Read more…

Space travel *is* rocket science

Two disasters in one week naturally leads us to wondering if private space exploration is safe.

Well, no.

It is rocket science.

And it isn’t safe.

But it is wonderful and will be safe enough soon enough.

11/1 – Marginal Revolution – Space Tourism Still Not Ready for FlightRead more…

Concentration of Wells

Here are some more photos to show how dense the well sites are in the Bakken.

Following photos by James Ulvog taken from air in October 2014 when landing from the east into Williston.

Check out the number of pads in that short section of road. Probably less than one mile:


Another batch of pads: Read more…

Tough week in the open frontier of private space travel

Well, that was a rough week for private space exploration. First, an Orbital Sciences rocket exploded seconds after liftoff. Then Virgin Galactic lost a space ship along with one crew member and another injured.

10/31 – Los Angeles Times – ‘Tough day’ for space travel as Virgin Galactic’s spaceship crashesRead more…

Two more states legalize – Update on marijuana regulation #10

The grand natural experiment in regulation of a new industry continues. Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. legalized recreational marijuana on Tuesday.

For concepts such as whether excessive regulation strangles business or not, it would be great to run a huge experiment: let one state our metro area run with heavy regs and another run with light regs; watch for a few years; measure results; then repeal both laws while you study the result.

Doing so would be terribly disruptive, likely illegal, and actually cruel to whichever group suffered poor results.

So what to do? Watch what happens in a locality, region, or state when a new policy is implemented.

That’s what we have in Washington, Colorado, and now Oregon and Alaska. There is a huge natural experiment to see what happens when heavy regulation is imposed on the newly legal industry of providing recreational marijuana.

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – 2



(Photo by James Ulvog; five more reasons why gas prices are going down.)

This is second of several posts on the drop in oil prices. Not to worry – human ingenuity will kick in again as prices drop.

10/31 – Bakken.com – Fracking is saving Americans billions of dollars – The American Petroleum Institute estimates that without fracking, crude oil prices would be somewhere between $12 and $40 a barrel higher. That means Americans would otherwise be paying around $250 billion a year more in energy costs.

10/30 – Wall Street Journal – Energy Boom Can Withstand Steeper Oil-Price Drop – Some drillers in the U.S. will have trouble as prices drop and some locations may not be economical, but there are huge numbers of drillers who own huge numbers of sites that will be profitable at lower prices that we see today.

Check out the range at which drilling is still profitable; data from the article and a cool chart: Read more…

Update on a short term production prediction


(Photo by James Ulvog – 2 pump jacks in operation, 2 more being assembled, 1 workover rig, 1 drilling rig – That site will hold an investment of around $54M or $60M when finished and will produce somewhere between 3 million and 6 million barrels of oil during its useful life.)

Oil production in North Dakota set another record in August 2014. Total production in the state averaged 1,132,331 barrels per day. Production in Bakken only was 1,068,609 bopd. That is a 1.61% increase statewide and 1.70% in Bakken-only.

Very cool.

On 9/23, I described the prediction from Bentek: Another short term production prediction for Bakken. Time to see how that turned out.

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – 1


(Photo by James Ulvog; 4 teeny tiny slivers of explanation for why gas prices are going down.)

This is first of several posts on the drop in oil prices. What will that do to U.S. production? Amount of new drilling?

10/9 – The Feed – When Should U.S. Shale Producers Worry? -

Read more…

Old buildings in downtown Williston



(Out of focus and tilted photos by James Ulvog)

I enjoy looking at older buildings. They usually have ornate brickwork. I think they are beautiful works of art.

Here are a few views of buildings in downtown Williston for your enjoyment. From Main and Fourth, looking south toward Broadway:



At Fourth and Main: Read more…

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