Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Midsummer Pause

58ºN is the latitude at which we spend our summers. We are 3º south (and 120º west) of Anchorage, Alaska. Currently, the weather here is subtropical, and has been for weeks on end. A pair of shorts suffices as far as clothing (laundered daily by jumping in the river). Jumping in the river is still refreshing, although it's warm enough to spend half the day in without getting chilled.

Daytime temperatures hover around 27ºC; tomorrow's max is forecast to be around 30ºC. There is frequently a thunderstorm and a torrential downpour in the afternoon. Everything, including weeds, is growing much faster than usual. There is a big crop of apples on the way, many of which are being blown to the ground during the afternoon thunderstorms, and picking them up and doing useful things with them is turning into a big job. The only way to deal with so many apples is to build a cider press and a still. Next year there will be Calvados.

With so much going on at the moment, there is less time for me to write, so I will make this one short and to the point. I will publish a longer post on Thursday. For those who want to read it, there will be three options:

1. Register and pledge $1/month or more via my page at Patreon. There, you will find an entire archive of articles that you may have missed out on.

But since some people don't like the idea of a monthly pledge, even a minimal one, or don't like Patreon, or are too Luddite to navigate Patreon's interface, or don't have a credit/debit card, or generally believe that high-quality web content should grow on trees, I offer two other options:

2. Learn French and wait a week or two. Almost everything I write eventually becomes available in French here. (Since 80% of English is actually derived from French, this shouldn't be a problem.)

3. Learn Unspell and read the free, unspelled versions of my paywalled articles. Unspell is even easier to learn than French, since it's actually just spoken English written down without all the spelling mistakes that have found themselves into English dictionaries over the centuries. (Since 80% of English is either misspelled or mispronounced, or both, this is a big problem.)

Meanwhile, I would also like to share with you three observations that I found particularly interesting.

1. Shale oil fields in the US are depleting at an ever-accelerating rate. The most recent drop is half a million barrels per month per day. The Red Queen Syndrome—having to run faster and faster just to stay in one place—is in full swing.

2. With oil prices now higher than they have been in quite a while, you'd expect that the US shale industry would be making money, or at least breaking even. Well, no, it's still hemorrhaging money. We still hear sporadic noises about the US shale industry becoming "more efficient than ever." But what use is efficiency if it just results in more efficient financial losses?

3. The US is currently the world's largest oil producer and has become an oil exporter. But it still isn't producing enough to satisfy its own oil addiction. It depends on oil imports for another reason: shale oil is very light. It is most useful for making gasoline, which is a small-engine fuel. It is not useful for making diesel, jet fuel or heavy oil, which is what industry runs on.

This brings up a number of questions:

• With decline rates this high and rising, how long will it take for US shale oil to crash?
• Once it crashes, what will happen to the mountain of debt it has left behind?
• Since shale oil and shale gas drilling are related, what will this do to the currently fashionable dream of competing against Gazprom in Europe?
• Trump dreams of repatriating offshored industry by imposing tariffs. But industry takes energy, and given that this is what's happening with energy, isn't he just whistling past the graveyard?

Feel free to discuss, and stand by for Tursday. Meanwhile, I have a few wheelbarrows of apples to chop and mash.


Ien in the Kootenays said...

This post left me with a big smile. Happy apple chopping. Do you have to worry about attracting bears like we do? And forest
wildfires? Till Thursday.

Unknown said...

Totally nailed it. Have a nice summer.

Jonathan L. Trapman said...

Bless you and the swift word count to mull over. Also I am up for a dram of Calvados next year. Presently we reside in Somerset UK with hopes to settle soon in the Krasnodar Krai but it is a beautiful fact Calvados was originated in these apple orchards of Somerset before they were exported in the times when England 'owned' several parts of France. What was left having retreated the English 'dogs' was a new and burgeoning Calvados industry.
In earlier years on our annual sort to the 24 hr Motor bike fest at Le Mans - the journey was broken by a stopover in Normandy to continually taste the sweet liquor. So palette is awaiting and bravo you for certain success!

Unknown said...

This is timely. By a happy coincidence I read a recent quote in Sputnik that made me laugh

" US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in an interview on Thursday that the Nord Stream 2 and the Turkish Stream pipeline projects are not commercially viable and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be a major player in Europe. "

So Nord Stream is "not commercially viable" but I suppose LNG from the US is "commercially viable". Right.....

I have also been reading Steve St Angelo's SRS Rocco reports - he's great isn't he? So I knew what dire straits the debt fuelled US shale Ponzi scheme are in.

After I finished laughing I searched out your "Laughing Gas" article from May 2017. Which made me laugh again.

So I would like to say a big thank you for all your work.

Anonymous said...

If you aren't already, I suggest you make apple cider vinegar with your apple peels or any part of the apple minus the seeds. It is very easy. Add water so apples are below the surface and a little sugar. Bonus: add some raw cider vinegar as a starter. Then it needs an airlock or another way to release gas. I just made it in a large jar with the lid a bit loose and shook and opened it occasionally.

MoonShadow said...

Trump knows little to nothing about resource extraction, and less about the economics that drive it. So I don't think that he's even "whistling past the graveyard", because I don't even think that he's noticed the gravestones.

Sounds like that those Northern latitudes are benefiting from climate change, at least in the near term. Perhaps that North-Eastern and North-Western passages will be usefully open in the not-to-distant future. I've heard that the Northern portion of Greenland has mineral rich soil, if it were ever warm enough to grow anything there. Perhaps the characters in 'The New Age of Sail' were in the Northern Territories of Canada, the shores of Greenland, or off the North coast of Russia.

RB Seymour said...

Waiting for your next book....

RogerCO said...

Did you know that Patreon will not accept PayPal Balance payments? I've been trying (occasionally) for months to sign up but it never seemed to show my balance, only my credit card which I don't want to use cos I'll get hit with horrendous fees for currency conversion (more to the card company than to you on small amounts!). I put some money into my PayPal account specifically to pay you and converted it from GBP to USD at a only slightly usurious rate and tonight I tried deleting my credit card from my PayPal account and now it actually tells me that Patreon doesn't accept payments from PayPal account balances - VERY frustrating as now I have a bunch of dollars sitting in paypal and no use for them.
Please please can you provide some way of paying internationally without incurring card fees every month. Perhaps if you offered a 12 month or two year deal it might be worthwhile.

Nigwil said...

At last! You are publishing contemporary 'literature'/commentary using Unspell. Great! I will revive my interest in Unspell forthwith! Where do we find it???!!

NomadicBeer said...

The US is still a net oil importer, isn't it?
We had 35 C here in Pacific Northwest accompanied by drought. At least is not as bad as California.
I gathered a lot of berries (mostly blackberries) and made pies using only whole wheat flour, pasture butter and cane sugar.
I am curious if you plan to do some beekeeping, it's one of my next steps.

Dmitry Orlov said...

I googled "patreon paypal" and got this:

Can I pay with PayPal on patreon?
3) Click "continue" and you'll be taken to a confirmation page, where you can add a credit card or Paypal account*. ... *Since Patreon is a recurring membership, PayPal requires you add a credit or debit card to your account as a backup method.

So, if you maintain any sort of balance on PayPal, your credit card won't get charged.

Dmitry Orlov said...

Unspell is where it's always been, at http://unspell.blogspot.com

Nigwil said...

Bbbut you say...
"3. Learn Unspell and read the free, unspelled versions of my paywalled articles. Unspell is even easier to learn..."

I am a (miserable but reliable Patron), so where do I find the paywalled articles in Unspell, please? I assume these are auto-translated versions of your normal posts?

Winston said...

Where exactly is 120 degrees west of Anchorage. Anchorage is 120 degrees west. I can only find 179 degrees west which is Russia.
The grand solar minimum indicates there will be warmer temperatures in Alaska and perhaps other northern regions.

Pantalones Frescos said...

Great to hear of those little details. Daily river dips, windfall apples. For me right now, the plums are nearly overwhelming me. I've been skipping my typical egg breakfast and walking out to gorge on sweet, juicy purple plums. Feels good. Nice to see the unspell!

toktomi said...

Dmitry, what is accomplished with $1/month paywall?

Dmitry Orlov said...

tokomi -

What is accomplished with a $1/month paywall is face control. The wide-open internet is a cesspool. The discussions on Patreon are excellent; the ones on Blogspot are crap. Deleting comments from clueless people who feel that they have something to contribute is one of my least favorite chores. Also, many people value my work at much more than $1/month, so I do get a considerable boost to my ability to write instead of just making money.

RogerCO said...

"We're sorry, your CO-OPERATIVE BANK-1194 and BALANCE are not accepted. Please add another card to complete your payment."
and if you add a credit card then payment comes from that not from your balance :-(
There seems to be no way to pay Patron with a PayPal balance, it is simply not an option whatever their help file says.
Shame, but that's the way that it is.

JavaKinetic said...

Unspell needs a very simple video in spoken English, to show how the word "teacher" is derived, and then how the vowels look like the symbols. It's hard to get a quick win with Unspell; The video would help. Im picking away at it ... a word at a time ... like Canadians read a Canadian cereal box.