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.

Archive for the category “Change around us”

In July 2019, North Dakota oil production breaks record for second month in a row.

Four of the reasons oil prices are *not* completely crazy after the attack on Saudi Arabia’s processing facilities this past weekend. Photo by James Ulvog.

The Million Dollar Way blog points out With The July, 2019, Data, North Dakota Set Four New All-Time Records.

In July, the state energy wizards set four record levels of production:

  • Crude oil
  • Gas
  • Barrels of oil equivalent (converting gas into equivalent amount of oil and combining with crude production)
  • Number of producing wells

Breaking production records in North Dakota, New Mexico, and Texas is something to celebrate if you like being able to get gasoline for your car whenever you feel like doing so, or if you like having gas available at reasonable prices in spite of when, oh, say, someone drops a bunch of bombs on Saudi production facilities.

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Cost of Los Angeles and Las Vegas football stadiums

3d rendering of an outlined stadium. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It is fascinating to see the cost of large projects. Check out the price tag for new football stadiums in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Los Angeles

The new stadium under construction in Los Angeles which, will be the home of the Rams and Chargers, will run a cool $5 billion.

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Deepfake – manipulating video to create a fabricated story.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

How’s this sound for another down side of technology?

Applying cutting edge technology to a video, changing the words said, altering the mouth movement to conform to the fabricated words, changing facial expressions, and thus fabricating a new video telling a story that doesn’t exist.

That is called deepfake.

Currently, the technology is at a level where a human watching a deepfake can tell it is fake. Inconsistencies in facial movement or lighting or pixelation will give away the fabrication. Several articles say the technology is advancing so fast that soon humans will not be able to detect a fake just by watching.

Special computer programs can detect the alterations.

A few articles for more background:

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Just another routine space launch and recovery of the booster. What a delight to ponder recollections of the Apollo 11 mission along with another SpaceX mission.

Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule lift off on CRS-18 mission. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Just a few days ago we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. What an astounding accomplishment and what a joy to remember. Take a look at the grainy views of the launch and walk on the moon mentioned in immediately previous post.

Check out the SpaceX Commercial Resupply Mission yesterday, 7/25/19. CRS-18 carried about 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station. In four weeks about 3,300 pounds of cargo will be returned to earth.

The mission press release says this is the third time this Dragon capsule has flown, which is a new record for reuse.  This is the second time this particular Falcon 9 booster has flown. The booster was successfully recovered.

The announcer on the broadcast said this is the 44th successfully recovery of a booster.

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North Dakota oil production expected to accelerate this year. Also two more new huge oil finds where oil wasn’t expected.

Photo by James Ulvog.

Latest guess, from someone who has a clue about such issues, on where production is going in North Dakota is somewhere around 1.5M or 1.6M barrels a day late this year or early next year.

Huge finds off coast of Guyana and in New Mexico/Texas.

Question needs to be asked again:  What Peak Oil?

 

The Million Dollar Way – 7/7/19 – ND Oil Production to Surge – Lynn Helms. Citing another source, the article says Lynn Helms, director of DMR, thinks production in North Dakota will surge later this year after gas infrastructure construction is done.

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First sentencing in college admissions scandal

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A sentence has been handed down in the first of the college admission scandal cases to reach a judge. The former sailing coach at Stanford received:

  • $10,000 fine
  • 1 day in jail, already served
  • 6 months house detention
  • 2 years supervised release, i.e. probation

(Cross-posted to my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Prosecutors recommended 13 months in prison.

Several articles pointed out this person is the lease culpable of those lined up for sentencing. He did not receive any money directly.

If I read the articles correctly, the only student admitted as part of this scheme was not actually an athlete and has since been expelled.  No other students were admitted.

One key point of detention is an assessment of what type of crime is present.

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What is the total federal and state tax on gasoline in California?

Ever wondered what you are paying in direct taxes for that gas? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

State tax on gasoline in California went up again on July 1. Have you been wondering what is the federal & state tax load on a gallon of gas in the state? I was. So I calculated it.

The total excise and sales tax load levied the federal and state level is 72.5 cents a gallon, which is 23.9% on top of the cost of gas.

On July 1, CNBC reported After tax hike, gas in California is now a dollar higher than the national average.

State excise tax went up 5.6 cents for each gallon bringing total state haul to 47.3 cents.

Oh, the 2017 bill that imposed the tax hike also contained an inflation adjustment.

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Intro and update to college admissions scandal

Lots of things going on behind closed doors that have drawn the focused attention of the U.S. Attorney in Boston. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The pretend-to-be-an-athlete-in-a-sport-you-have-never-even-played scandal in higher education is one of many issues I have not focused on over the last year or more.

Family issues have pulled me away from blogging. Hope to start getting caught up on the massive changes taking place around us. I’ll begin with the college admissions disaster.

(Article cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.

Brief background:

A large number of parents were paying Mr. William “Rick” Singer to help their children get into colleges where their kids wouldn’t otherwise gain admission.

More background:

The schemes, according to a long string of articles covered in most newspapers which I won’t link, included techniques such as:

  • Creating fake profile of the student being a competitive athlete when the student had not even played the sport.
  • Paying to have another person take your SAT or ACT tests.
  • Hiring a proctor to oversee extra-testing time and then correcting answers.

Flow of cash was complicated, as expected. Most of the dollars went to a non-profit foundation set up by Mr. Singer. He then distributed portions of the money to college sports coaches, proctors, and other participants. Some of the payments went directly from the parents to the colleges.

Oh, by making those payments to a charity, the payments became tax deductible. So there is also a tax fraud angle for all the involved parents to ponder. You can easily guess someone from IRS Criminal Investigations is involved in each of the cases.

Current status:

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US hits all time record high for oil production, is now net oil exporter, and is set to surpass Saudi Arabia in export of crude & oil products.

16 reasons US has been moving towards a net exporter of energy and finally hit that point. Well visible right of center with Missouri river in background. Williston, North Dakota. Photo by James Ulvog.

The changes in energy production over recent years is astounding.

My blogging has dropped off a lot over the last year or so due to distractions. Have a huge backlog of things to discuss, such as:

  • The US is a net oil exporter
  • Oil production in US is at all time record high
  • Sometime later this year the US will be exporting more oil product than Saudia Arabia

MSN – 12/7/18 – US ends its reliance on foreign oil for the first time in 75 years – In the last week of November 2018, the US exported more oil than we imported. The US is now a net exporter. Ponder that.

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Well completions by year in North Dakota

Photo by James Ulvog.

While pulling together the graphs of oil production in North Dakota for 2018, I wondered what the trend of well completions might look like.

So, pulled a graph together. Primary source of my data is a spreadsheet I maintain of the monthly information released by the N.D. Department of Mineral Resources. Well completions is one of many data points accumulated on the spreadsheet.

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In 2018, North Dakota oil production broke record level of output 6 times during 8 months.

Two things to notice. Lots of space between pumpjacks means there will eventually be several more wells on that pad. Lack of any storage tanks means the pad is tied directly to an underground pipeline. Photo by James Ulvog.

Oil production in North Dakota hit an all time high of an average of 1,229,572 barrels of oil per day (bopd) back in December 2014.  The effort by Saudi Arabia to flood the market in order to drive down prices in order to collapse the US shale industry slowed production in North Dakota but didn’t succeed in killing the shale sector.

Output fell to a low of 942,322 bopd in December 2017. Output then started rising with a typical slowdown in winter of 2017/2018.  After the winter lull production again climbed.

In 2018, producers in North Dakota broke the record level of production six times in the last eight months. The record-breaking months:

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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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More tidbits from the technology revolution

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Fun articles on technology change that caught my interest over the last few months:

  • Yes, your color printer may very well be marking every printed page as belonging to you
  • Not only are land lines disappearing, growing number of people won’t answer the doorbell unless you text first
  • Dropping oil prices are a worry for central bankers, even as that saves consumers bunches of money
  • Amazon is developing its own delivery system
  • IBM has fewer employees in the US than in India
  • Google drew a multi-billion dollar fine from the EU

6/7/17 – BBC – Why printers add secret tracking dots – A large portion of color laser printers add tiny yellow dots to the page in order to allow tracking of which specific printer was used to print a specific page.

This is handy for criminal or espionage investigations. A particular leaking case is in the news, with the perpetrator having been found using microdots.

Might be handy for tracking down whistle blowers.

The espionage angle isn’t of interest to anyone reading my blog.

If you every want to keep something you print really private, you might want to pay attention.

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