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.

Volume and value of 2017 oil production in North Dakota

Notice all the empty space on that pad? Notice the disproportionately high number of storage tanks for the number of pumpjacks on site? One day there will be a lot more wells in operation. Photo by James Ulvog.

Before showing the average daily production, annual production, and value of that production, just a note on December 2017 production.

Average daily production dropped from 1,196,976 bopd (revised) in November to 1,181,319 bopd (preliminary) in December, a decline of 15,657 bopd, or 1.31%.

Here is what the average daily production by year looks like. Notice the recovery in 2017?

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More cool pictures of the successfully Falcon Heavy test

Image in public domain, courtesy of SpaceX

Here are a few more pix of the successful test of SpaceX’s brand new Falcon Heavy and its payload.

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Sounds from the Falcon Heavy launch

Behind the Black points us to a report of What the Falcon Heavy launch sounded like.

What a treat it must have been to watch from miles away.

Using special stereo mikes, the recording catches the clicks of many nearby cameras before being overwhelmed by the rocket sounds.

Listen carefully for the multiple sonic booms from the boosters returning to earth. Each booster gives off a boom from the engines, then the landing legs, and then the directional control arms. So 6 booms expected. Sound track wave form shows echos, but one overlapped, so there were 5 booms from each booster.

Astounding, all the way around.

Also Behind the Black provided Update on Falcon Heavy core stage landing failure.  Turns out that two of the three engines scheduled to fire, slowing the descent, did not do so. Core booster missed the landing barge by around 300 feet.

BtB says this is why one runs experiments. Find out what doesn’t work, figure out the reason, and fix it.

Successful test of Falcon Heavy

Image in public domain, courtesy of SpaceX

SpaceX’s test of their three booster, 27 engine rocket was an astounding success. The three side-by-side Falcon 9 boosters worked perfectly together. The two side boosters successfully separated, which I think is the highlight of the test.

Both of the side boosters were recovered. See astounding photo above.

Image in public domain, courtesy of SpaceX

The payload was successfully lifted into the Van Allen radiation belt and continued to operate. Apparently that is a major milestone (my little brain doesn’t understand why that was a tremendous deal to NASA).

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Abundance of food today compared with routine scarcity of food earlier than 150 years ago.

Abundance of refrigerated fresh meet at your conveniently available grocery store. Not an option for anyone on the planet 200 years ago, to say nothing of the 10,000 years prior. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Johan Norberg describes the tremendous progress in the last several hundred years in so many areas, such as life expectancy, health, sanitation, liberty, education, and equality in his book Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. Here are a few more tidbits I found fascinating.

Consider the scarcity of food in the past and the drop in cost to feed a family in the last 150 years.


Look at just a few of the statistics on availability of food:

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Most of the improvement in life expectancy in the last 10,000 years has taken place in the last 100 years.

Johan Norberg describes the tremendous progress in the last several hundred years in so many areas: life expectancy, health, sanitation, liberty, education, and equality. He discusses these wonderfully delightful trends in his book Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. I will highlight merely a few of the many things I found fascinating in the book.

Life expectancy

Book provides the following estimates of life expectancy, which I graph above:

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Gross World Product over last 27,000 years

Gross World Product, according to Wikipedia is

the combined gross national product of all the countries in the world. Because imports and exports balance exactly when considering the whole world, this also equals the total global gross domestic product (GDP).

I got curious about the world-wide GDP after thinking about two previous posts:

What would happen if you multiplied the drastic increase in  population with the radical increase in per capita income? I made a feeble effort to multiple the two data sets and quickly realized that wouldn’t work. Poked around a bit on the ol’ internet thingie and found the answer at Wikipedia – gross world product is what I was looking for.

27,000 year time horizon – Check out the graph at top of this post for the estimated gross world product on a very long time horizon, specifically from estimates back in 25,000 B.C. through 2014 A.D.

Copyright notice:  Graphs in this post are based on data in an article titled “Gross world product” by Wikipedia, which is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.  As a result the following tables which are derived from this information are licensed for use by anyone under the same CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Any use of these graphs must in turn be distributed under the same license.

I will show the raw data at the end of this post.

With that 27,000 year time horizon, there is a radical turn in the 1900s, at which point the graph appears to goes from horizontal to straight up vertical.

That is too long of a time horizon to understand, so I broke it out into smaller blocks.

Last 2,000 years – To remove the many earlier millenniums of slow growth, time horizon was revised to 1 AD through now. Notice there is still a radical change in the 1900s. With the dramatic changes in the last 200 years, the line from earlier looks like it is flat, but it isn’t.

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Growth in world population

Our World in Data, the web site of Max Roser, visualizes data in amazing ways. Check out this graph of world population:

World Population over the last 12,000 years and UN projection until 2100” by Our World in Data is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.  The graphs which follow are derived from this information and are licensed for use by others under the same CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Very cool. The dramatic expansion in the number of people is amazing.

The graph includes projections through 2100. I pulled out the projections and developed the following graph:

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Oil production in North Dakota increases 1.0% in November 2017; getting close to record output

Production of crude oil increased 12,110 bopd in November, or 1.02%, going from 1,182,810 (revised October) to 1,194,920 (preliminary November).

The record high production was 1,227,529 average bopd in December 2014. Production in November 2017 is 32,609 bopd below the high in December 2014. It will only take another 2.7% increase in average production to clear the previous record. I’ll guess that will happen in December 2017 or January 2018, before the winter start to cut into production. (That is not a very bold prediction since Mr. Helms thinks the record production level will easily be surpassed regularly in later 2018.)

Above is a graph of average production in the state since 2004.

Check out the following graph for production from only Bakken formations and total for the state since 2008:

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Photos of aircraft on display at USS Midway Museum

Above video shows many of the aircraft on display at the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum in San Diego.

Why did I make the video? Several reasons.

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Crude production during October 2017 in North Dakota rises 7%, to 1.18 million barrels a day

The big increase of 78,154 bopd to 1,185,499 bopd follows 4 months of over 1.5% increase each month. That is a 14.8% runup in fourth months.

The record high production was 1,211,330 bopd in June 2015. There have only been four months when the average daily production was higher than in October 2017.

Another 27K bopd increase would put the state at a new record for production. With November and December production stats to go before the weather turns really nasty, that level of increase is likely. (Notice how lame that prediction is? A forecast two months out that is a mere 2% increase, when 8 of the 13 months have seen greater than 1.5% increase and 5 months saw a decline.) For perspective, at mid-December the couple of snow falls received so far haven’t outlasted the sunshine.

In my next post I will scratch my head wondering why the production jumped so much in one month.

Here is the monthly production, with a breakout of oil from the Bakken formation (which also includes the Sanish, Three Forks, and Bakken/Three Forks Pools formations):


For a longer term perspective, here is the total production in the state since 1990:

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Increase of income per person over last 200 years

Here is an approximation of annual per capita GDP from 1 AD through 1913:

I’ve long been amazed at the radical growth in per capita wealth over the last 200 years. That means since the Industrial Revolution.

Living in dirt-eating poverty as the normal way of life for essentially every person on the planet changed about 200 years ago, give or take.

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Who picked up the bill for our freedom?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For our freedom, I offer up a humble thank you to all who have gone before standing endless watch, slogging through the jungle mud, freezing in a foxhole, shooting Nazis with a machine gun at 30,000 feet, doing yet another round of dreary maintenance, brought home a life-long injury, or paying the ultimate price fighting to defeat the Confederacy.

Because of millions who did what had to be done, I can say what I wish without fear of being thrown in jail.

It seems so insufficient, but I’ll say it anyway – – Thanks.


“It is the soldier, not the reporter,

who has given us freedom of the press.


It is the soldier, not the poet,

who has given us freedom of speech.


It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,

who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.


It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag,

who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Jeremiah A. Denton Jr.


More updates on the purge in Saudi Arabia

Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

As pointed out in the last article mentioned below, few articles on Saudi Arabia are going for the idea that the current wave of high-profile arrests is really about fighting corruption. There is a far deeper effort. Here are my comments on a number of articles from the last few days. Sort it out for yourself.

11/6/17 – Karen House at Wall Street Journal – The Strategy Behind the Saudi Strife   – Article provides a more nuanced background on the arrests. One entertaining point, which I mentioned in earlier post, is that with the widespread malfeasance, misfeasance, and flat-out corruption, every Prince and every official is vulnerable to charges of corruption. I’ll guess every person with any government or business power has created massive amounts of electronic evidence.

Article speculates this is a part of the effort to modernize by MBS. Going after a huge number of corrupt senior royals, high-level businessmen, and a wide variety of government officials not only sends a very powerful message that the corrupt old days are gone but puts fear into everyone that hasn’t been arrested yet. It won’t take long for realize that they either play along and keep quite or go to jail. Article says this will have the benefit of increasing his popularity with younger people.

More importantly, consider this in relation to the dramatic efforts for social change over the last year. Granted there needs to be humongous social change to catch up with the 20th century, but there has been a dramatic amount of change in the last year. If those efforts create individual freedom, the current anti-corruption campaign makes corruption a bad thing, and the social guard rails of the religious police go away, then there might be a chance, slim though it may be, that the country could actually modernize and move beyond its deadly addiction to oil.

All these pieces fit together as a crash course in modernization, according to Ms. House’s theory in the article. The main idea is that personal freedom could lead to financial responsibility which could lead to entrepreneurialism and a vibrant, expanding economy.

11/7/17 – The Guardian – “This is a revolution”: Saudi’s absorb Crown Prince’s rush to reform – Article also makes the point that the massive arrests are part of a major effort to transform the country. The super elite, who are untouchable until last weekend, will now be removed or warned to get out-of-the-way.

Article points out the changes so far this year have been radical. The religious police have lost much of their power. More social changes on the way. Another article mentioned below says a lot of clerics and activists got arrested in September.

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Mid-day update on turmoil in Saudi Arabia

Flag of Saudi Arabia on flagpole. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I had been thinking that there might be enough news out of Saudi Arabia for an update every few days.

Silly me.

This is my second post of the day, my third since news of the crackdown broke on Saturday.

Another Saudi prince died over the weekend. During a gun fight. With government forces. While the government was trying to arrest him.

11/6/17 – Zero Hedge – Second Saudi Prince Confirmed Killed During Crackdown – A prince was killed during a firefight between his security team and the government. The government team (military? Security agency? Police?) was trying to arrest him.

This prince was the youngest son of King Fahad.

King Fahad ruled from 1982 through 2005. He was one of Ibn Saud’s 45 sons and the fourth of the six sons who ruled. Read more…

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