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.

Update on military drones and anti-drone technology

An MQ-9 Reaper performs during an air show demonstration May 29, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.)

Here are a couple of articles on drones in the US inventory and anti-drone technology.

9/16/16 (yeah, about a year old) – Strategy Page – Warplanes: Reapers Replace Predators – Good background on MQ-9 Reaper.

USAF bought another 30 Reapers in 2016 at a price tag of $13M each. This will bring the total inventory up to 200 by 2019. Article says there were almost 150 Reapers currently in service back in mid-2016.

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Pay scales in early 1800s

Here are a few data points on pay in the early 1800s.

When Congress voted for war with England in 1812, they increased the pay for a private in the army from $5 a month to $8.

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Illustration of relation between proved reserves, economically & technically recoverable and original oil in place.

Here is a graphic that shows how the different categories of oil and gas relate to each other.

From most certain to least certain and then the total:

  • Cumulative production to date
  • Proved reserves
  • Economically recoverable resources
  • Technically recoverable resources
  • Remaining oil and natural gas in-place
  • Original oil and natural gas in-place

 

Courtesy of U.S. Energy Information Administration.

This illustration is from Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources, from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Hat tip: The Million Dollar Way

Update: If you have any passing interest in what I say about the energy industry or oil or North Dakota, you really, really should be reading The Million Dollar Way regularly. If you landed here from the gracious shout-out over at MDW you already knew that. Mr. Oksol’s writing at that blog has provided a large portion of the learning I’ve gained on energy issues.

Drop in transportation costs from Erie canal

Erie Canal, Newark. Date: circa 1910. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Infrastructure such as canals, interstate freeways, and the internet provide a foundation that enables the economy to boom.

This is one of many ideas I’m enjoying as I look at John Steel Gordon’s explanation of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power.

In the 1790s, the road system in the US was so poor that farmers in western Pennsylvania could not afford to ship their grain to the east coast. To make a living they had to distill their grain into whiskey so they could afford the shipping costs. A new thing I learned is how to describe that situation: value-to-weight ratio.

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Vector Space Systems, another competitor, focused on small satellites

Illustration of small satellite, a.k.a. cubesat. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previously mentioned Vector Space Systems here. A video at Behind the Black prompted me to dive deeper. Here’s what I found.

8/3/17 –  Behind the Black – Video of Vector test launch – Nice video of the second test launch from a new, private space company, Vector.

Company does not have their guidance control system installed so there is visible wobble a second or so after launch. The third launch will have G&C installed.

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Academic cheating scandal at University of North Carolina is still alive

UNC Chapel Hill bell tower. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The systemic academic failure at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has been out of the news for a while because the NCAA has been taking their time addressing the cheating. Oh, also because UNC appears to be stonewalling, according to the following article.

It is possible that after six years of the scandal there might actually be some closure in August after an NCAA hearing.

You can find my previous posts on this self-induced fiasco here.

7/31/17 – The Virginian-Pilot – UNC’s arrogance over academic scandal has tainted the school’s once-great image – Article provides a good recap of the scandal. From ‘93 through ’11 there were 3,100 students who took special classes which neither required attendance not taking notes nor homework nor quizzes. A non-academic administrator graded the term papers, assuming the frequently plagiarized (per the article) term papers were actually written by the students. The term papers averaged an A-minus grade. Over half of the students were athletes.

That’s just the starting point of the fiasco.

Purpose of the fake classes?

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Suggestion for coping with massive change that could replace your job: Take full responsibility for developing new skills for yourself.

Embrace Change” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The rate of change we are seeing around us is massive. There are threats of automation or artificial intelligence even eating into what is called the white-collar world.

Here’s a suggestion on how you might cope with this overwhelming change:  Take on full responsibility for keeping your skills and abilities current.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Attestation Update.)

8/1/17 – Medium – Skill, re-skill, and re-skill again. How to keep up with the future of work. – The rate of change is accelerating and the skills needed to do work in the new economy are changing as well.

Article provides a brief summary of our education system. I will expand that with what I have learned elsewhere. Then I’ll mention a plan to dealing with this turmoil.

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Second fire at Hedderick’s

Photo by James Ulvog. (Ckeck out that beautiful blue sky.)

The smouldering debris in the Hedderick’s building reignited on 7/24.

Photo by James Ulvog.

7/26/17 – Williston Herald at Plains Reporter shopper – “On replay” / Hedderich building burns again, 2 weeks after first blaze (no link available)– After the initial fire on July 10, the landmark building reignited on July 24.

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Elections in Venezuela

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

An unofficial plebiscite was held to oppose the end of democracy. The vote for a constitutional convention to re-write overthrow the current constitution has been held, with uncertainty as to the actual turnout.

 

7/15/17 – Reuters – Venezuela opposition hold unofficial plebiscite to defy Maduro – The opposition holds an unofficial vote on 7/16 as a protest against the upcoming official vote which many consider to be the last votes ever in Venezuela as a new constitution will essentially put the legislature under the thumb of the president.

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Continuing devastation in Venezuela – #29

What economic system produces this result? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The political and economic conditions in Venezuela continue to deteriorate.

7/3/17 – Bloomberg – Venezuela’s Poor Rebel, Roiling Maduro’s Socialist Strongholds The power base for the leaders of the socialist country is poor people.

From previous reading I’ve done, massive subsidies to the poor successfully bought their allegiance. The collapse of services including water outages, random outages of electricity, and empty store shelves are rapidly undermining support from the poor. Protests has spread to many of the poor communities in Caracas. There have been nightly protests in a number of communities for several weeks.

7/5/17 – Wall Street Journal – Maduro Supporters Storm Venezuela’s CongressRead more…

While on a long road trip, what economic system provided the goods and services I needed, when and where I wanted them?

How is it that services are available on the interstate highway system when and where I need them? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I took a road trip from the Los Angeles area to Williston last week. My wife and I drove there with our son and his family.

A few questions came to mind on the trip

Questions

1. What economic system provides a gas station within a few miles of the point that we decided we wanted to fill up the tank?

With four drivers in the car,  we were planning to drive on through the night. We were too tired to do that so we decided to stop for the night.

2. What economic system provides multiple hotels and motels half an hour down the road from where we changed our mind?

3. Furthermore, when we wanted to stop, what economic system provided motels at multiple price points so we could pick the one that fit our price range and taste?

4. Why is it that the motel we choose included a full breakfast for all of us in the price?

5. Why did the motel even have two upgraded lamps on the night stands each with 2 USB charging points and two electrical outlets on the base of each lamp?

Answers

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Increased interest in “The Overnighters” documentary – part 3 of 3

Flaring of natural gas. A common site in 2012 and 2013, but is rare today. Photo by James Ulvog.

There has been a lot more interest in my posts on “The Overnighters” documentary recently. This is the third and final part of this series of followup on the documentary. Previous discussions include my disclosures, and reporting with agendas.

This post will close with some lessons we can learn from this disaster.

Other articles

As I was looking for some source of the increased interest lately, I also came across some older articles I’ve not noticed before. Keeping in mind my extended discussion in part 2 about writing with agendas, these additional articles have a minimal agenda visible.

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Increased interest in “The Overnighters” documentary – part 2 of 3

Flaring of natural gas. A common site in 2012 and 2013, but is rare today. Photo by James Ulvog.

There has been a lot more interest in my posts on “The Overnighters” documentary recently. This is part 2 of my followup on the documentary. Previous discussion, including my disclosures, is here.

Might want to get a fresh cup of coffee. This will be a long read.

Reading a story when I know more than the reporter

It is fascinating to read coverage of a story when I have in-depth knowledge of the issue.

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Update on military drones

MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech Air Force Base, Nev., during a local training mission June 9, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Paul Ridgeway)

A few recent articles on military drones: New US variations in use, shootdown of military drones in combat zones, anti-drone technology, and increasing exports of Chinese drones.

My observation: the military drone arms race is on.

7/2/17 – UPI – New Reaper drone variant performs first combat mission – The first in a new series of MQ-9 Reaper drones flew its first combat mission. Referred to as the Block 5, the drone dropped a precision bomb (GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions) and fired two missiles (AM-114 Hellfire).

Oddly, the article says targets were ISIS positions but does not identify the country where the strike took place.

USAF Staff Sgt. aircraft armament systems specialist inspects an MQ-9 Reaper at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan Aug. 18, 2014. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained here.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

6/8/17 – Wall Street Journal – American Pilot Shoots Down Armed Drone in Syria – A drone, described as Predator-style, was shot down by a U.S. pilot after the drone fired on a patrol by forces the US supports.

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Increased interest in “The Overnighters” documentary – part 1 of 3

Flaring of natural gas. A common site in 2012 and 2013, but is rare today. Photo by James Ulvog.

There has been a lot more interest in my posts on “The Overnighters” documentary recently. In particular, my 7/2/15 discussion of Where are they now? Follow up on people you saw in The Overnighters documentary has been getting a lot of page views. It has been running between 100 and 130 views a month for the last six months, with a peak of 217 views in January. Yesterday, 7/16/17, there were 62 views.

While those counts of page views are trivially small for the internet world, that’s a lot of attention to one of my posts, especially one that is two years old.

Did some searches online and cannot find what in particular is driving that growing interest. Did find a few things that I wanted to mention.

“Overnighters” streaming on Netflix in July and

running on lots of PBS stations

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