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.

Rig count in North Dakota during summer of 2016

An increasingly rare sight in North Dakota. Not only the active rig, but the flaring as well. Photo by James Ulvog.

An increasingly rare sight in North Dakota. Not only the active rig, but the flaring as well. Photo by James Ulvog.

Here is a recap of the North Dakota rig count. All of the data is from Million Dollar Way. The number of rigs isn’t as important now as it was a year or three ago, but it is still one indicator of activity. One rig today creates a well that produces a lot more oil that a few years ago, and in less time, and at lower cost.

Some older data repeated for context: Read more…

Updates on news out of Williston

2014 photo by James Ulvog.

2014 photo by James Ulvog.

A few updates on Williston:

  • Crew camps must close by 9/1
  • New airport has all the land needed for construction
  • You can actually find a hotel room in western N.D.
  • Former strip club reworking its image

Check out the by-lines. You will see the news out of the North Dakota oil patch I find most interesting typically has one name. How does one person generate so many good articles?

8/9 – Amy Dalrymple at Dickinson Press – Williston crew camps get Sept. 1 deadline to close – City Commissioners voted 5-0 to force all crew camps within their reach to close in three weeks, remove facilities by May 1, 2018 and restore sites by August 1, 2018.

Read more…

Another biased report on oil

What answer did you have in mind? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

What answer did you have in mind? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previously mentioned an agenda-driven research project that was unsuccessful in finding any ground water contamination caused by fracking. Said report will intentionally not be publicized, according to the lead researcher.

Now a report from Duke University looks at above ground spills of brine water and concludes there is “widespread” contamination of water and soil across North Dakota. Been holding this post for while. May as well publish it.

KFYR TV reports on 4/27: Duke University Conducts Water Contamination Study in ND.

The health department in the state says 1% or 2% of the 3900 spills which have been reported require long-term cleanup. Let me translate that: any spill, even of a few barrels, is required to be reported. Of those spills reported, 98% or 99% are immediately contained and cleaned up. Somewhere between 40 and 80 require ongoing efforts.

The researchers looked at four spill locations.


Read more…

Lots of malnutrition in Venezuela and conditions will get worse – 12

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Economic conditions continue to deteriorate in Venezuela. It will get worse.

8/5 – Miami Herald – Hunger haunts Venezuela, especially its children – Severe hunger is widespread in the country, causing children to pass out in class, killing some with malnutrition, leaving others vulnerable to malaria and mange due to lack of medicine.

Read more…

Outlook for oil, some short-term and long-term thoughts

Tight Oil Production - Courtesy of Energy Information Administration

Tight Oil Production – Courtesy of Energy Information Administration

More news on the energy market. Supply and demand may equalize soon. Maybe.

Saudi Arabia may have bit off more than they can chew. The US and world markets will benefit, along with everyone who consumes energy.

7/1 – AP at Bakken.com – US energy secretary sees oil market coming into balance – The Saudi oil minister thinks worldwide demand will catch up with production by around the end of 2016. The US Energy Secretary thinks it will go into 2017, perhaps another year. Prices likely to go up as demand and supply stabilize.

7/18 – Wall Street Journal – Oil Prices Steady but Products Glut Looms – There are hints in the air that several markets, such as gasoline, are oversupplied, which will put downward pressure on crude oil prices. Another indication that nobody can predict the future.

7/31 – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph – Texas shale oil has fought Saudi Arabia to a standstill – This is a must-read if you follow my blog.

Twenty months ago Saudi Arabia launched a price war, generally considered to be an effort to take out American shale producers.

Didn’t quite work out that way.

Read more…

Wind turbine fails, or, why they earn the title slice-and-dicers

Here are merely two of the many published videos showing wind turbines as they fail. Watch for the burning hunks of rare earth metals getting spread across the prairie. Look for the reason wind turbines rightfully deserve the name slice-and-dicer.

8-3 – Gizmodo – A Malfunctioning, Flaming Wind Turbine Is Actually Quite Beautiful – Video catches two burning turbines that won’t be slicing-and-dicing any more. One in foreground produces pretty smoke patterns when the tip catches fire. Fire slows down when turbine throws a blade a few hundred feet away.

Title of video: Windmill Fire Live Video Palladam Tamilnadu 2016; link:  https://youtu.be/Q5COAi6KM8o?t=38

Another video demonstrates why every turbine needs to constructed many hundreds of feet away from anything of value, like houses, farm buildings, livestock, transmission lines, or roads.

With luck, the turbine, tower, and massive blades will fall straight down upon failure.

Without luck, those hundred foot long blades will go airborne like a javelin. In the video, when launched at a roughly 45 degree down angle, it looks like one blade travels 4 or 5 times its length, which would be somewhere between 400 and 700 feet. How far would a blade travel if launched at a 45 degree up angle?

At worst, the three blades disintegrate into small chunks of shrapnel, flying every direction, imitating an explosion from World War II anti-aircraft artillery.

Warning: the clip of a vulture getting hit, falling to the ground mortally wounded, struggling to regain its footing, is nauseating. That only happens to raptors, what, many thousands of times a year in the U.S.?

Yeah, wind turbines have worked hard to earn the well-deserved title of slice-and-dicer.

Title: Best Wind Turbine Crash/Fail Compilation HD 2016; link: https://youtu.be/wfzgIxMEo8g?t=19

Oh, tornadoes and wind turbines don’t play well together. Ponder the overlap of where tornadoes and wind turbines are concentrated.

Reference point of wages for Civil War soldiers

Union soldier reenactors at Azusa Pacific University on 3/1/14. I do not recall what unit they are with. Photo by James Ulvog.

Union soldier reenactors at Azusa Pacific University on 3/1/14. I do not recall what reenacting unit they are with. Photo by James Ulvog.

John D. Billings told of his experiences in the Civil War. He wrote Hard Tack and Coffee in 1887.  Currently priced at $0.99 for the Kindle version.

He has a delightful writing style which is a joy to read. Wish I could write that well.

Among many other things, he provided a few reference points for the cost of items.

Soldier wages

In discussing the sutlers who provided items to soldiers, he mentions pay rates. He says a private’s Read more…

The incredible wealth of Mansa Musa, the ancient emperor of Mali

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.

Map of Mali courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.

Barron’s suggests Mansa Musa, the Emperor of Mali in the 1300s, was the richest man who ever lived.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Attestation Update. The article is brought into this blog because previous discussions addressed the tragic civil war in Mali. Mansa Musa provides background to the rich history of the country.)

Since I firmly believe that I am richer today than John D. Rockefeller was back in 1916, I would also insist that I am, right now, richer than Mansa Musa was in 1324. But that isn’t the point of the story. I’ll mention travel costs momentarily.

The 7/23 article from Barron’s gives a glimpse into ancient finances by wondering Who Was the Richest Person Who Ever Lived? / The Emperor of Mali lived on top of a 14th century Goldmine so prolific that it probably made him the richest person who ever lived.

Musa Keita I is referred to as Mansa, or Emperor, Musa. He was born somewhere around 1280 and died somewhere around 1337. He was the ruler of the Mali Empire which stretched across Western Africa.

Consider the economic resources in the area: gold and salt.

Read more…

More news on the damage from solar power

For those panels to pay off, the regulators need to keep rules in place for a decade or two. Not a good bet. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

For those panels to pay off, you are betting the regulators will keep rules in place for a decade or two. Not a particularly good bet. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com


Two articles last week on disruptions from solar power. Illustration why it’s not wise to make it decade-long bet on residential rooftop solar. Also, a video surveillance system that might, perhaps allow getting an accurate count on the tally of bird deaths at Ivanpah.

7/26 – New York Times – Why Home Solar Panels No Longer in Some States – Friendly suggestion for your consideration: Don’t place $20,000 on a 12 year bet that politically driven government regulators won’t change the rules.

The story of one specific man in California is used to illustrate the danger of betting on stability in government rules.

In California, electricity rates have been structured so that there are four tiers of consumption. To punish heavy residential electricity users, prices in tiers three and four are steep, running as high as $.36 a kilowatt-hour for tier 4 with PG&E. To protect most folks from rising cost of electricity the lower two tiers were set low, resulting in a cross-subsidy. Read more…

Astounding new technology has arrived. Astounding old technology is fading away.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Production line for that world-changing plane could possibly close in a few years. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Ponder the remarkable contrast. We see phenomenal breakthroughs in space exploration almost weekly. On the other hand, the production line for the 747, the plane that opened up world travel to the masses, is slowing down and could be shuttered in a couple of years.

7/26 – Satellite Today – Sky and Space Global Details Vision for 200 Satellite LEO Network – The company, Sky and Space Global, plans to put 200 nanosatellites, or cubesats, into a low Earth orbit to provide a worldwide communications network. It is categorized as narrowband, providing only voice and messaging along with data forwarding.

Company estimates the cost for constellation of 200 satellites will be somewhere in the range of $120M up to $160M.

Read more…

The long, deadly, anti-human shadow of Malthusian thinking. A 200 year trail of evil.

In my reading and thinking over the years, I have learned anytime Malthusian ideas surface in a discussion those ideas will inevitably be wrong. More often than not, they are immoral as well.

After considering Matt Ridley’s discussion of The Long Shadow of Malthus, I now realize that Malthusian ideas are often evil as well.

This post is a review of Prof. Ridley’s published article. If you want a longer version that shows in more detail the suffering, misery, and needless deaths caused by followers of Malthus, check out chapter 11 of his book, The Evolution of Everything.

The core of this school of thought holds that the planet will not be able to sustain whatever growth in population is taking place at the moment. As a result, it is mandatory that us bright people (that’s you and me) limit the increasing population of those people. As the professor says:

It centres on the question of how to control human population growth and it answers that question by saying we must be cruel to be kind, that ends justify means. It is still around today; and it could not be more wrong.

Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798.

The consequences of his ideas were extended until they

…inadvertently gave birth to a series of heartless policies — the poor laws, the British government’s approach to famine in Ireland and India, social Darwinism, eugenics, the Holocaust, India’s forced sterilisations and China’s one-child policy.

Check out the article for the long shadow.

Here are a few shameful examples of the harm and suffering intentionally created by Malthusian disciples: Read more…

A few more signs of energy recovery

Where crude oil goes for refining so we can have the gas to drive our cars. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub

Where crude oil goes for refining so we can have the gas to drive our cars. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.

There are some signs that oil production is slowly recovering. Productivity improvements continue. Hints that the US has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia.

7/1 – The American Interest – Frackers Fix Their Fatal Flaw – A report from Reuters indicates several drillers have figured out how to ease the extreme drop in production early in a shale well’s life.

Read more…

More media outlets are catching on to the damage caused by wind power

Nice photo from Palm Springs, but unforunately this is not symbolic of the sun setting on destructive wind power. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before merging into Adobe Stock.

Nice photo from Palm Springs, but unfortunately this is not symbolic of the sun setting on destructive wind power. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before merging into Adobe Stock.

Check out the following articles showing two more media outlets finally catching on to the economic, environment, and wildlife damage caused by intermittent, expensive wind power.

7/19 – New York Times – How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course – Article explains how massive subsidies to renewable wind and solar plants along with brute force efforts to require utilities to buy the expensive electricity is pushing nuclear energy out of business.

The severe disruptions to the grid which are expected as a natural consequence of wind and solar power are now of concern to this author.

Here are just two of the massive distortions from the current push for artificially increasing reliance on renewables.

Read more…

More wind power coming on line in North Dakota

Above party did not speak at hearings which approved 159 wind turbines. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Above party did not speak at hearings which approved 159 wind turbines. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Several articles on the increasing number of slice-and-dicers in the state.

Also, ethanol lobbyists want the feds to force customers to buy more of their food-based power; this is cronyism in action. That customers don’t want to burn more corn in their cars and don’t want the higher prices and don’t want to risk damaging their engines is not a factor in the lobbying.

6/16 – Forum News Service at Bismark Tribune – N.D. utility regulators approve wind farm project – The state PSC approved the Brady Wind Energy Center I near Dickinson. There has been a lot of public opposition to the project for quite some time.

Read more…

Fun news on the open frontier of space exploration – 7-18

Recovery of Falcon 9 after CRS-9 launch. Photo courtesy of SpaceX via Flickr in public domain.

Recovery of Falcon 9 after CRS-9 launch. Photo courtesy of SpaceX via Flickr in public domain.

Yet more jaw dropping news from the open frontier of private space exploration.

  • SpaceX describes their efforts to put a colony on Mars.
  • Their fifth successful recovery of the first stage booster, a Falcon 9, tells me they are making progress on their overarching plan. Oh, and making the effort pay for itself along the way.

6/10 – Washington Post – Elon Musk provides new details on his “mind blowing” mission to Mars – Interview reveals a few more details on SpaceX’s plan for travel to Mars and building a colony there.

This is no longer in the pure fantasy realm. Things have moved so fast that it’s actually a possibility.

Read more…

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