More good stuff on the open frontiers in energy & education – 4-29

It’s a wide open frontier in energy & education: why shale unlikely to boom elsewhere, U.S. getting greener because of shale, & one stat to show why higher education is in economic distress.


3/27 – The Feed – America’s New Oil Milestone Is a Big Deal – In the last quarter of 2013, US oil production was 10% of world-wide production. That is up from 9% the prior year quarter. Vast majority of the rocketing production is from fracking. The US is only country in the world that is getting significant production from shale oil. Why? Article led me back to…

10/24/13 – The Feed – North American’s Special Providence in Shale – There are several countries with large shale oil fields. Only the US is producing significant amounts from those potentials. Having lots of shale oil here is only one of several reasons we are producing so much. The article summarizes the other major factors: private ownership of mineral rights, existing network of infrastructure, entrepreneurs, available capital, available water, previous surveys showing where the shale oil is. Only a few of those factors are natural blessings (from God of course). Many other countries have those blessings also. The unique factors, leading to so much production, are features of our political and economic systems.

Hmmm, that’s called capitalism. Freedom. Democracy. Respect for property rights. Maybe I should write about that…

4/17 – The Feed – US Getting Greener, No Thanks to Greens – Carbon emissions in the US dropped 4.5% in ’12 compared to ’11. Why? A continuing shift from dirty coal to cleaner natural gas. Why? There is so much natural gas around it is cheaper to use gas than coal. Why? Fracking. The article points out we are still mining lots of coal, but we are sending it to Germany. Why? To help cover the electricity shortfall from their cutting back on nuclear and feeble attempts to rely on green energy.

So here’s the basic picture:

  • US using fracked gas = getting greener.
  • Germany relying more on wind and solar = getting dirtier.

4/20 – Kansas City Business – Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boomAs lots of jobs flow to union workers from work in the oil field, especially tracking shale gas, the unions start to support fracking because of the huge number of good jobs created.


4/14 – Bloomberg – Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops – Small colleges are seeing enrollment and tuition revenue decline. This is affecting their financial stability and endangering their future. Moody’s has downgraded 28 colleges each year since the recession which is a large increase from the average of 12 per year before the recession. Moody’s also says “dozens of schools” have experienced a drop in enrollment of 10% or more. One study by a professor that is cited in the article suggests there could be a large number of colleges and universities that close their doors in the next 15 years.

4/25 – Marginal Revolution – The Great Reset, higher education edition – The need for major restructuring is shown in one sentence:

35 years ago there were 44% more tenured faculty than adjuncts. Today there are 76% more adjuncts than tenured faculty

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