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 “unintended consequences”

Why, oh why, did production of oil and food collapse in Venezuela? What could have caused this amount of human suffering?

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island. Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Devastation in the oil industry and food supply chain in Venezuela is due to intentional government policies.

One article sees how the government caused the damage to the oil industry while another article sees the devastation in the food supply but cannot see any direct cause.

5/7/17 – Forbes – How Venezuela Ruined Its Oil Industry – Here is a primer on how to destroy your oil industry when you have the world’s largest proven reserves of oil and are in the top 10 of world oil producers.

If you want to destroy your country, the article provides a how-to-guide, using Venezuela as the road map.

The high point of oil production in Venezuela was 3.5M bopd back in 1998, which not by coincidence was the year Hugo Chavez became president. Production then began to slip. How could that be?

After civil unrest in 2002 and 2003, Chavez fired much of the staff of the national oil company, letting go 19,000 experienced staff.

Let me translate that: 19,000 staff who knew how to produce extra-heavy oil were fired and replaced by people whose primary job skill was loyalty to the president.

Extra heavy oil takes specialized knowledge and is very expensive to produce on top of oil production already being capital-intensive.

To generate more revenue, Venezuela invited five of the oil majors to develop more oil production. The form of investment was a partnership. The five majors invested many billions of dollars in oil production.

Read more…

More explanation of the serious downside of wind power

Part of the cost of wind power is externalized with great force on the wings and torsos of critters like this. Image of Golden Eagle in flight courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before their merger into Adobe Stock.

Two recent articles point out the serious limits and negative consequences of wind power.

5/13/17 – Matt Ridley at The Spectator – Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy – There are many economic, ecological, and environmental problems with wind power. Author focuses on three issues:

  • Tiny portion of total energy consumption provided by wind
  • The massive number of new turbines needed just to keep up with growth in energy use, let alone reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed
  • The massive amount of natural resources needed to manufacture that many new turbines

I will summarize the article with my expansion on select points.

Amount of wind production worldwide

Close up of following view. Compare the size of the turbines to the roads. Photo by James Ulvog.

How much of the total consumption of energy across entire planet do you think came from wind during 2014?

Read more…

More on the downside of technology innovation

Sometimes technology can be a bit scary. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Just like technology is constantly being used in ever more exciting ways, technology is also being used in ever more scary ways. A few articles illustrating the downside:

  • Hotel hacked by ransomware, locking guests in rooms
  • Police surveillance cameras hacked with ransomware
  • Software to help plagiarists evade plagiarism detection software
  • Cloning voice patterns to create voice recordings
  • Insurance companies using social media for background checks

1/28 – The Local, in Austria – Hotel ransomed by hackers as guests locked in rooms – A 4-star hotel got hit hard by cyber crooks, who locked the key-based door system. Every door in the place was locked Guests could neither get into a room or leave.

Hotel paid a ransom in bitcoins  of 1,500 Euros, or about US$1,608.

This was the third hit at the hotel. They successfully defended against a fourth attack.

Oh, the hotel has a plan to prevent future attacks…

Read more…

Now gasoline shortages in the country with the world’s largest amount of proven oil reserves. What economic system could possibly create this mess?

In Venezuela, that sign is needed at hospital pharmacies, bakeries, and now  at gasoline stations. Image Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The shortages and suffering in Venezuela continues. Your homework for the day: what economic system provides this level of suffering?

  • Foreign reserves are shrinking
  • Bakeries threatened if they bake too many sweets and not enough price-controlled bread
  • Pregnant women are leaving the country to deliver their babies
  • Gasoline shortages appear

3/1/17 – CNN Money – Venezuela is down to its last $10 billion – The country’s foreign reserves are down to $10.5B, from $20B in 2015, and $30B in 2011. That info in sourced to the Central Bank of Venezuela.

Article says inflation is expected to hit 1660% this year and 2880% in 2018.

3/13 – PanamPost – Venezuelan Regime Threatens to Expropriate Bakeries, Jeopardizing Bread – In addition to price controls and currency controls, the government is going to impose output requirements on bakeries. If they don’t produce bread all day at the government limited price, they are subject to take over by the government. Left out of their miscalculation is that the government has stopped importing wheat flour.

 

If bakeries don’t bake enough bread, the government will close the shops.

3/16/17 – Yahoo News – Venezuela arrests brownie and croissant bakers in ‘bread war’ – Well, that didn’t take long.

Read more…

Increasing political danger in Venezuela – #15

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The sinking feeling in my stomach tells me things are going to get far worse in Venezuela in the near future.

10/27 – Reuters at Yahoo news – Venezuela crisis enters dangerous phase as Maduro foes go militant – Article gives a depressing summary of the last few days.

On the same day, four different courts around the country released identical rulings saying the signatures gathered for the recall were invalid. Four courts. Same day. Identical rulings.

The election board said the referendum was off because the signatures were invalid.

Many of the opposition concluded that means they are living in a complete dictatorship.

Read more…

Venezuela slides further into the abyss – #14

Photo courtesy of Adobe stock.

Photo courtesy of Adobe stock.

More on the ongoing human tragedy that is the result of intentional government policies in Venezuela:

  • Infant mortality is soaring
  • Government starts to let go a bit on the widespread  price controls. Unexpectedly, food reappears on the shelves when priced at realistic prices
  • State owned oil company is losing ability to pump oil
  • Government suspends the recall effort, which leads to…
  • Lawmakers start impeachment effort

This is going to get far worse before the massive suffering ends.

10/17 – Wall Street Journal – Infant Mortality Soars in Venezuela – The infant mortality rate is soaring so far and so fast that doctors and hospitals are under pressure not to release any data because it reveals the depths of the human suffering in play.

Infant mortality is defined as the number of babies that die before their first birthday. Here is the infant morality rate, expressed in infant deaths per 1,000 live births:

Read more…

Still more on the downside of alternative, unreliable energy sources

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few more updates on the unintended consequences of alternative, unreliable energy sources.

  • Humans want electricity available the instant we want electricity – the challenge of dispatchable energy
  • An overview of the harm from burning corn in our engines

8/9 – Million Dollar Way – Dispatchable Energy – The Demand is Growing

Yet another massive problem with wind and solar energy. You cannot turn it off and on. As in, provide electricity when people decide they want it. That feature is called dispatchable.

Here’s the definition of the term:

Read more…

Still more horrifying news from Venezuela – #13

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island. Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island, Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The heartbreaking humanitarian crisis in Venezuela just keeps getting worse.

If only they had massive amounts of energy in the ground that they could sell.

Oh, I wonder what economic system caused this massive suffering?

9/4 – New York Times – Venezuelan President is Chased by Angry Protesters – After walking into a crowd during a political rally, the president was run off by the crowd screaming ‘we’re hungry’ accompanied with lots of banging on pots and kettles.

9/20 – New York Times – How Bad Off is Oil-Rich Venezuela? It’s Buying U.S. Oil – I don’t understand the process, but apparently you need to use light sweet crude in order to get thick sour crude out of the ground. Production in Venezuela has dropped so far that since early in 2016 the country has had to import 50,000 BOPD of light sweet from the US in order to maintain production.

Even with that, production is down to 2.4M bopd now from about 2.75M bopd a year ago. That reflects a 1M bopd drop from when Hugo Chavez took over as president in 1998.

9/26 – Fox News – Venezuelan children fainting in school because they are hungry – One very brave teacher is quoted by name. Last academic year about 10 children were absent from her class every day out of 30 students enrolled.

Read more…

A short (yet long enough to be plenty depressing) history of the New Deal and why it extended the Great Depression

Hunger sculpture at FDR Memorial in Washington DC. A monument to the man whose policies added extra years to the Depression yet who rarely gets credit for the unnecessary suffering. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Hunger sculpture at FDR Memorial in Washington DC. A monument to the man whose intentional policies added extra years to the Depression yet who rarely gets credit for the unnecessary suffering. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

If you want more detail that can be covered in this blog explaining how the New Deal made the Great Depression worse, increasing suffering, and extending the  pain by years, check out Great Myths of the Great Depression By Lawrence W. Reed.

At a mere 47 pages, about 40 pages without the voluminous footnotes, you can get a survey of the destruction caused by FDR and the self-declared wizards who thought they could control all the details of the economy.

Here is a very short summary of the government-extended disaster. 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…

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.

This is what the lack of freedom looks like (Venezuela #11)

The cost of freedom. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The cost of freedom. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, which was originally posted on 5/31/16.)

This freedom stuff is not just some abstract concept. The lack of economic, political, or religious freedom is ugly and painful.

If you want to see what the lack of economic and political freedom looks like, consider Venezuela today.

5/20 – Yahoo News – Venezuela, where a hamburger is officially $170 – That hamburger priced at 1,700 bolivars is US$170 at the official exchange rate. At black market exchange rates it is about a buck and a half.

Article reports that the middle class is sliding into  poverty. Keep in mind people are essentially paid at the official exchange rate.

Stores that sell anything other than food are closed. Article says nobody is buying anything other than food.

What is going on in Venezuela?

5/28 – New York Times – Venezuela Drifts Into New territory: Hunger, Blackouts and Government Shutdown – The New York Times notices the devastation afflicting the people of Venezuela.

Government offices are only open two half-days each week.

Article says protests at empty grocery stores are turning violent.

The bottler producing Coca-cola products cannot find sugar so it is halting production.

Other suffering this article doesn’t mention:

No toilet paper on the grocery store shelf and no international phone service.

The country’s largest beer producer can’t get enough foreign currency to buy hops so it has stopped making beer.

Water is rationed.

Electricity is only available sometimes and randomly at that.

Infants are dying in hospitals because of lack of medicine and respirators.

Back to the NYT article.

When water is on, people are gathering some in spare buckets for use later. The water (when available) is brownish and is making members of one quoted family sick. Many people say either lack of washing or the water itself is causing illness.

What is the cause of this suffering?

Read more…

Level of human suffering still increases in Venezuela – 10

The country with the more oil reserves that Saudi Arabia is going through the following suffering. Image courtesy of Adobe Stoc.

A country with more oil reserves that Saudi Arabia has death-causing shortages of food and medicine. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The humanitarian disaster in Venezuela keeps getting worse. Ponder for yourself what form of government created this crisis since no news reports will make the connection.

6/26 – Slate – How Much Worse Can Venezuela Get? / The country’s problems are profound and complex, with no easy answers in sight. – After the New York Times front page article noticed the humanitarian travesty, even Slate has an article by writers who noticed the suffering.

A few indicators of suffering these authors see? Food riots breaking out all over. Caracas is now the most violent city in the world. The government-owned and run oil company is seeing production drop because of neglect. Lack of medical supplies is causing unknown numbers of death. Dozens of political prisoners are in jail.

Article goes into more detail than usual as to the cause of the suffering. Corruption and general mismanagement are the most notable reasons cited.

The current turmoil is painted as conflict between the government and opposition in the legislature with both sides blaming the other as the cause of the problems. Most of the power is in the hands of the government with little likelihood of early resolution.

Read more…

Last 2 zero-emission power plants in California will be shut down.

Natural gas turbine power plant. Replacement power source for 75% of the power from Diablo Canyon nuclear plants. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Natural gas turbine power plant. Replacement power source for 75% of the electricity from Diablo Canyon nuclear plants. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

PG&E agrees to close Diablo Canyon in 2025. San Luis Obispo Tribune reports on 6/21 that PG&E decided not to apply for another 20 year license and will close the two nuclear reactors in 2025.

The massive loss of electricity generation capacity will be replaced by intermittent renewables, both solar and wind. At least that is the company line being feed to the public.

These are the last nuclear power plants in California after San Onofre closed in 2012.

The Diablo Canyon facility provides 9% of the power that is generated in the state. One out of every ten watts.

Here is what I learned by stretching my brain while browsing Wikipedia:

Read more…

Accelerating collapse of the Venezuelan economy – 9

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The economic devastation and human suffering in Venezuela is getting worse by the day. Every article I see shows the economy has taken one more step towards utter collapse.

6/9 – Washington Post – As hunger mounts, Venezuelans turned to trash for food – A man who used to work at a bakery now searches garbage cans for food because he will starve if he doesn’t find something to eat in the trash.

He is joined by small business owners and retired people in the search for enough food to merely stay alive.

Number of people below the poverty line has skyrocketed from 52% as recently as 2014 up to 76% today.

I wonder what could have caused that devastation?

In the 535 word article, the only hint of the reason for this human suffering is citing the government’s claim that the political opposition is intentionally causing this suffering in order to throw the president out of power.

While the WP reporters are incapable of seeing the cause, at least they are able to see the suffering.

6/10 – AFT at Yahoo News – Venezuela lets Maduro recall advance, with threats – Article reports looting is increasing and more protests involve violence.

A protest by opposition legislators resulted in several of them getting beat up. Yes, legislators are getting beaten when they protest.

Read more…

Post Navigation