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 tag “downside of the new economy”

More disruption in the electricity grid from all that solar output

Curtailed electricity in California during 2016 was greater than the output from any one of those towers. Photo by James Ulvog.

The routine surge of electricity during the late morning and early afternoon in California is disrupting the electricity system. Matching the excess production of electricity during the day with highest use in the evening is going to be expensive for consumers.

The underlying issue is solar is neither reliable nor dispatchable.  The issue is beginning to be a problem and will get far worse.

3/5/17 – Wall Street Journal – How California Utilities are Managing Excess Solar Power – There is so much solar power in California that when the sun is bright, there is too much electricity and it must be sold cheaply just to get rid of it. Then, when the sun goes down and demand goes up after people get home from work, there isn’t enough electricity and the spot price goes sky high.

Article says that during the day, the wholesale spot price of electricity frequently shrinks to zero. Occasionally the wholesale spot price can hit $1,000 a megawatt-hour after dark. That would be about a dollar a kilowatt. $1.00.

At the end of the article there is a comment that on 178 days in 2016 the wholesale price went negative. The spot was below zero. The solar plants in California had to pay someone to take the excess electricity. I wonder what that does to the bottom line at Ivanpah? (That is a rhetorical question. – Impact on them is zero because I think they are on a multi-decade fixed price contract.)

Huge battery plants can store electricity during the day and discharge at night. That is expensive. Article says the price ranges from $285 up to $581 a megawatt-hour, which is in contrast to a natural gas peaker at $155 to $227 a megawatt-hour. That is around twice as expensive.

3/18/17 – David Danelski of Press-Enterprise at Daily Bulletin – Here’s how California ended up with too much solar power – The amount of solar power now online in California is so high that it is disrupting the electricity market.

The impact of so much solar capacity shows up at two times during the day.

Read more…

Deep background on disruption in music and publishing. Up next? Hollywood.

Does the graph remind you of the newspaper and music industry? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Does the graph remind you of the newspaper and music industry? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Several articles provide an in-depth view of the disruption taking place in several industries due to the IT revolution.

  • Hollywood is ripe for the same creative destruction we’ve seen in music, newspapers, and publishing.
  • New York Times is shrinking their physical space and staff size
  • Prime time TV still having a rough time

The question to ponder in the back of your mind is what are you going to do when this wave of disruption overturns your industry?

January 2017 – Vanity Fair – Why Hollywood As We Know It is Already Over – Looking for a good article on how technology is going to do to Hollywood what IT has already done to music and publishing? If so, this is what you’ve been looking for.

Check out the article to help understand the massive change surrounding us.

Disruption of music industry

First, music and newspapers. The author saw his first indication the music industry would collapse when he started downloading music. Instead of driving to a store somewhere and spending $20 to get one song he wanted, he could spend a buck and get the song immediately.

Author says the music industry has shrunk by half in the last decade. Remember that is after the first round of disruption hit.

Disruption of newspapers

Next were the newspapers. For a long time, the web part of the New York Times was physically separate from the headquarters. “Banished” is the word the author used. At the same time, startups like Instapundit (yeah Professor Reynolds!) and DailyKos were figuring out how to blog. Then WordPress and Tumblr allowed anyone on the planet to start blogging, and doing so for free.

Author says a lot of people didn’t want to wander over to a newsstand and buy a whole newspaper or magazine when instead they could read the single article they wanted, online, for free.

To illustrate the concept, I’ve never bought a copy of Vanity Fair and doubt I ever will. I certainly didn’t drive over to Barnes & Noble to buy the current edition so I could read this article. A blogger I read (see above!) mentioned it and I clicked over.

The end result of the loss in audience?

Read more…

Newspaper revenue continues to fall off the cliff

DIfference between this guy and the newspaper industry is this guy has a rope. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Difference between this guy and the newspaper industry is this guy has a rope. Oh, and he is doing this intentionally. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previously explained Still falling of a cliff, newspaper edition. The post has two graphs from Carpe Diem showing the collapse in newsroom employment levels and industry revenue.

Here are a few more articles describing the cliff that newspapers are falling off of.

(Yeah, I know. Bad grammar.)

10/27 – New York Times – More Wretched News for Newspapers as Advertising Woes Drive Anxiety – At the time the article was written (late October), layoffs had already taken place in the Times and Gannett, with layoffs expected at the WSJ.

Read more…

Still falling off a cliff, newspaper edition

newspaper-jobs-7-16

Graph from Carpe Diem used with permission.

If you want a picture of what utter collapse in an industry looks like, check out the graph above from Professor Mark Perry on employment in the newspaper industry.

From a peak of 457,800 in 1990 to 180,100 in July 2016 is a drop of 60.7%.

Advertising dollars are doing the same thing. On 4/30/15, Prof. Perry published the following graph in his post, Creative Destruction: Newspaper ad revenue continued its precipitous free fall in 2014, and it’s likely to continue:

Read more…

News from Bakken – 6/15

Whether a boom time or slow down, all the oil activity has disrupted life in North Dakota. Photo by James Ulvog.

Whether a boom time or slow down, all the oil activity has disrupted life in North Dakota. Photo by James Ulvog.

Two reports on the issue of whether transitory housing will remain in Williston: one court case closed with one remaining; city allows another year and a half to remove the camps.

Young guys who moved to North Dakota and decided to stay have brought their wifes to the area and guess what? Lots of them are having babies. By the way, our son is in that category, our daughter-in-law is someone who moved as well, and our grandson is one of the following statistics.

Finally, an indicator why people in North Dakota don’t like all the changes. I get it. Really, I get it: there are ugly sides to economic expansion.

6/8 – Amy Dalrymple at Oil Patch Dispatch – Williston Wins One Crew Camp Court Case, Another Looms – There are two cases and process against the city’s plan to shut down all crew camps. The case in state court has ended with the judge refusing to issue an injunction.

The federal case is still pending.

Read more…

More illustrations of disruption from technology

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

While tech innovations have opened up new frontiers, innovation is disrupting some fields. Here are a few articles making this point that I’ve accumulated recently:  newspaper circulation continues to collapse, higher ed is increasingly vulnerable to disruptions, and accreditation agencies (which illustrate regulatory capture) show why disruption is needed.

1/20 – Richard Tofel at Medium – The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think – Author pulled together circulation numbers from March 2013 and September 2015 for the 25 largest newspapers in the country.

Guess what? Circulation is collapsing.

Here are just a few of the numbers he accumulated: Read more…

Why I am so optimistic – 3

The future is so bright we need sunglasses. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The future is so bright we need sunglasses. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The number of people working in manufacturing has been declining for many years. Those job losses will continue at the same time as technology disrupts other industries causing the loss of more jobs.

This is not a new concept. Technological advances have devastated farm employment over the last 150 years.

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

Prof. Thomas Tunstall pondered Where the New Jobs Will Come From. Sub headline on his 11/4/15 article said:

In 2007 iPhone application developers didn’t exist. By 2011 Apple had $15 billion in mobile-app revenues.

Consider the percentage of the population employed in agriculture over time: Read more…

Downside of cool modern tech: Massive breach of federal personnel systems

The public now knows of two rounds of massive breaches at the federal agency that handles all personnel records. First round looks like it was essentially the basic personnel file of all current and many former federal employees.

Second round is the long forms used to process security clearances. Looks like it was military and spy agency records. Great. Those files list all relatives, making them vulnerable to coercion. Provides lots of ideas on how to turn or compromise employees.

 

Hackers meandered around the systems for a year.

If you want to build a deep profile of military, diplomatic, and spy agency staff for use over the next several decades, this would be a fantastic starting point. Will take a while to process all the files and synthesize with social media and published news reports, but those countries who wish us harm will have a superb database to track and compromise federal employees.

Read more…

More weird stories from worlds far away I’ll never visit

One thread of discussions on this blog are worlds far away that I’ll never approach within distance of a light year. The only way I can get a glimpse of those places is with the super long distance telescope of the Internet.

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering what direction to aim your spaceship so you can see for yourself what is in those worlds, keep in mind that being a player on those distant planets can earn you a life sentence in federal prison. More on that at the end of this post.

5/28 – Wired – Inside a Giant Dark-Web Scheme to Sell Counterfeit Coupons – Yet another world I had no idea even existed: creating counterfeit discount coupons to use at the store.

A guy whom I will not name has been indicted for wire fraud and trademark counterfeiting for selling packages of counterfeit coupons good to get discount on a variety of consumer products. Send him $25, in Bitcoins of course, and you get a bunch of coupons.

He also offers a $200 course teaching you how to counterfeit your own coupons.

Read more…

Be careful on the ‘net. It is cruel and unforgiving. Draw wrong attention and you get dissected, then shamed.

If you are in any social media platform at all, you need to be really careful about what you say. You need to be cautious in saying things that are flippant or can be misunderstood.

There are severe dangers that go along with all the supercool technology available today.  This article is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.

The twitter shame mob

A PR manager from a company sent smart mouth tweets to her 170 followers. Sent a few before travelling to London. Checked her phone there, found no reaction, and sent a few more smarty-pants comments.

While on the 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, another person saw her tweet, and sent it to his 15,000 followers hinting the person was a bigoted racist.

You know where this is going. Oh, her extended family she was on her way to visit? They are all ANC supporters.

The attack tweet went viral.  By the time this person landed in South Africa, there was someone waiting to take pictures of her as she turned on her phone and saw the deluge. Huge numbers of people around the world were trashing her and visiting Orwell’s two minute hate on her.

Read more…

More on the downside of oil production in North Dakota

There are bad things that go along with any boom time or rapid growth. For that matter, there are bad things that go along with any good thing.

Here are a few articles on the downside from the huge increase in oil production in North Dakota: drugs, corruption, and human trafficking.

12/4 – Forum News Service in Bismarck Tribune – Trafficking in North Dakota is on the rise, and often the victims can’t escape – Seven part series on human trafficking in the state coauthored by Amy Dalrymple and Katherine Lymn.

Read more…

More good stuff on the downside of the open frontiers – 7/30

The wide open frontiers of publishing, technology, energy and space do have a down side. Not everything is rosy. Here’s a few of the articles on the unpleasant side of this amazing world we live in.

The closed energy frontier and a great quote on the role of faith in environmental issues

7/8 – The Feed – Germany Bows to Green Folly, Backs Off Fracking (link broken) – Germany closed down its nuclear reactions and increased coal-burning to offset. It relies on Russia for most of its natural gas. To those two dangerous issues, a proposal on the table will ban fracking for 7 years, locking in their hostage status with Russia as they increase their carbon output.

7/8 – Wall Street Journal – Germany’s Fracking RetreatRead more…

Don’t complain about disappearing mom-and-pop record stores as you download an MP3 of your favorite song

Keep an eye out for the idea of creative destruction. That’s the idea that a new way of doing business will replace the old way and consumers reap huge benefits.

Many people bemoan Wal-Mart destroying lots of small shops. I understand the damage since that phenomenon affected friends of mine.

Before Wal-Mart, the large chain grocery stores wiped out lots of small neighborhood markets.

Don’t forget what happened in the music industry.

John Bredehoft, writing at tymshft, reminds us What goes around comes around – the record industry.

Read more…

More downsides to the Bakken expansion

Rental prices are sky-high in Williston and elsewhere around the Bakken. When I describe the rent situation in Williston to my friends here in California, I’m not quite sure if they believe me.

Here are five stories over the last few weeks describing the pain that causes.

Amy Dalrymple, writing at The Dickinson Press, describes Faces of the Boom: After return to hometown, 76-year-old struggles to stay

Read more…

A long term perspective on the turmoil and change we see around us – The best primer I’ve seen.

The two best articles I’ve read that explain the massive shifts we are seeing in the economy were from Walter Russell Mead back in June 2011. Those articles put much in perspective and give a hint at a way forward. They were foundational to me starting to focus on the radical change taking place all around us.

The Death of the American Dream I compares the painful transition away from family farms to a suburban home funded with a cheap mortgage and paid by working a life-time job. We are now transitioning away from the model that has been in place since everyone reading this was a child. It will be painful, just as the disappearance of the family farm was painful.

Read more…

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