Saturday, September 21, 2013

Apple iPhone Sales Continue

Now that the Apple iPhone 5c and 5S launch is history, I thought I would stop by the local Apple store to do some browsing.

But the lines were still long. Not THAT long, but no homeless people in line.

This was around 2:00 p.m, Saturday, the day after the launch. I think they were allowing non-iPhone customers to go in but they had to stay on one side of the story, while the other side was reserved for iPhone customers.

From MacRumors:
Apple appears to have sold out of its iPhone 5s stock, with shipping estimates for all models in the United States slipping from 7–10 days to an ambiguous "October" ship date. The phone, which went on sale yesterday, saw shipping times of 1–3 days for the first four hours that it was available before estimates dropped to a seven to 10 day ship time. 
The photo above was taken in South Lake Town Center, Texas. I never noticed that before, but it appears that it is Merrill Lynch next to the Apple store. Hmm....

More Idle Ramblings On A Beautiful Saturday Morning

I haven't visited a McDonald's restaurant since my last road trip, but I was in the mood for a Big Mac while doing some blogging. Knowing that McDonald's never has an electric outlet, I just brought in the computer without the charger.

Lo and behold: two outlets at a window seat. And the outlet works. I know, because I went outside and got the charger for the computer.

It's one of the bigger, more brightly lit McDonald's I've visited in quite some time. The manager or assistant manager or person in charge or whatever was a middle-aged Hispanic woman. As friendly as they get. My hunch is she is singularly responsible for keeping the outlets. I'll be back.


I don't know if folks have really thought about this story yet, or if it has sunk in: the oil and gas industry in North Dakota is now reported to have surpassed the agriculture industry in terms of economic value. Did you all read that story? Did you see what I saw? Of course, it's a record (the oil and gas figures) but it's more than just a record. In economic terms, the oil and gas industry is walloping agriculture in North Dakota:
It’s also more than double what was the record value of the state’s crops and livestock grown and raised in 2012, based on prices received by farmers.
This is what surprises me. For the past two or three years I have not seen one story in which a legislator actually suggested the oil and gas industry might surpass agriculture in North Dakota. It has never been a headline. It was not a headline when the two industries were neck and neck, or when oil and gas went ahead by $1. It was not a headline until the numbers were so stunning even the publisher, The Dickinson Press, couldn't miss it. Twice the agricultural value. Wow. Twice. North Dakota is producing $2 billion worth of oil and gas every month. This production is occurring, for the most part, in four counties: Dunn, McKenzie, Mountrail, and Williams. Looking at the permits, one could argue that it's coming down to two counties, McKenzie and Williams.

The gap should continue to widen. Agriculture will remain in a "range," which appears to be about $12 billion annually based on the linked article. So, there it is: a data point with which to compare the oil and gas industry in North Dakota.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Ennio Morricone


I will continue to post articles on ObamaCare, but it's pretty clear to me how this will all play out, and how it has already played out. Without a doubt, there has been nothing so disrupting to the culture of America as ObamaCare since the depression. And it was absolutely preventable. It is not often a politician in the same party as the president calls something a "trainwreck" that will be that president's legacy. "Not often"? Probably never.

My only frustration: folks still see this as a GOP-DEM-TeaParty-Progressive issue. Seventy, eighty, ninety percent of Americans, depending how you ask the question are now opposed to ObamaCare. The unions are opposed to ObamaCare. The Democratic writer of the bill calls it a "trainwreck."

But if one wants to make it political, I think the TeaParty is handling the issue exactly right. Even if the TeaParty did nothing else at this point, they have accomplished all they needed to. They kept the issue on the front burner; now Americans across the board can decide where to go from here. Had the TeaParty (and I use that term in a general sense) let the issue die, Americans would not have had a chance for a do-over. My position on ObamaCare is the same as my position on slicers and dicers. I did what I could to alert folks to the debacle. It's a democratic country and if folks want slicers and dicers, that's their call. The same for ObamaCare.


I will also continue to post articles on "global warming." It is now absolutely clear that "global warming" was a scam from the beginning. The UN report will bear that out.

Oh, by the way. That reminds me. I was surprised Scientific American, did not edit a comment out of their special issue on quantum physics. [The following is very, very esoteric. I don't expect the editor or the publisher, The Dickinson Press, to read it, and if one or the other does, expect them to understand the implications of the concluding paragraph.]

The Special Collector's Edition, Scientific American
,"Extreme Physics: Probing The Mysteries of the Cosmos" has a display date until August 12, 2013.
The articles in this special edition included:
  • Portrait of a black hole
  • Black stars, not holes
  • A Quantum threat of special relativity
  • Beyond the quantum horizon
as well as a great graphic of the Standard Model, something all high school students today should know, just as high school students of my generation all "knew" the periodic table.

The last article was an interview with Leonard Susskind, a Stanford University physicist, who forty years ago co-founded string theory that transformed the status quo in physics; the theory has become the leading candidate for the unified theory of nature.

The interview ended with his thoughts on multiple universes and the philosophy of physics.

This paragraph was totally unexpected:
The universe is very, very big. Empirically we know it's at least 1,000 times bigger in volume that the portion that we can ever see. The success of the concept of cosmic inflation opens the possibility that the universe is varied on big enough scales. String theory provides Tinkertoy elements that can be put together in an enormous number of ways. So there's no point in looking for explanations of why our piece of the world is exactly the way it is because there are other pieces of the world that are not exactly the same as ours. 
There can't be a universal explanation of everything that it is, any more than there can be a theorem that says the average temperature of a planet is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Anyone who tried to make a calculation to prove that planets have a temperature of 60 degrees would be foolish because there are lots of planets out there that don't have that temperature.
Wow, this is coming from one of America's pre-eminent physicists, based in California, center of the universe for fruits and nuts. It's possible there are multiple interpretations to his "60-degrees Fahrenheit-global-temperature" comment, but it is clear to me what he is saying.

Who would have thought that in less than four years, the global warming folks would be seen as inaugural members of the "new flat earth society"?


I hate to belabor the issue, but do you all remember the predictions of all that increased solar activity we were supposed to be experiencing this year? An update:
LONDON: Predictions that 2013 would see an upsurge in  solar activity and geomagnetic storms disrupting power grids and communications systems have proved to be a false alarm. Instead, the current peak in the solar cycle is the weakest for a century.
Subdued solar activity has prompted controversial comparisons with the Maunder Minimum, which occurred between 1645 and 1715, when a prolonged absence of sunspots and other indicators of solar activity coincided with the coldest period in the last millennium.
This is very, very interesting. Next thing we know, the next president will be begging us to burn more coal. China and India will be at the forefront of solving the global cooling problem. Of course, there won't be any relationship between fossil fuels and global temperatures, but that won't stop Hillary. I don't think she ever bought into Algore's theorem anyway.

Idle Ramblings On A Beautiful Saturday Morning

This is an incredibly beautiful day in the Dallas-Ft Worth area. It is almost noon, and the temperature is in the high 60; and not a cloud in the sky. Wow, it is simply gorgeous. I would love to be "on-the-road" today traveling to the Bakken, but unfortunately that will have to wait.

Normally, I would do some posting of links, and would be doing the links to The Wall Street Journal but I'm not really in the mood right now. Maybe later.

I think what really got me in the mood to do some idle rambling was the op-ed piece by the publisher, Dickinson Press Some of the best things the US Air Force did for me was to encourage me to never quit reading, to put things into perspective, to be optimistic, to keep trying to make things better. The Air Force sent me to any number of courses, symposiums, and conferences on strategic planning and quality improvement. The military puts a huge emphasis on continuing education. In the Air Force, it was the expectation that enlisted would have their college degree upon enlistment, or get it while on active duty. Officers were expected to get an advanced degree, often a master's degree in business. But all of us were expected to keep reading.

When I read the op-ed linked above, all that I could imagine was that the writer had quit reading some years ago. To write what he wrote was simply incredible, as in unbelievable. It certainly explains the general content of the newspaper.


On a completely different note, I don't know if anybody is really following this story out in California. It's not about the Bakken. Because one has to read multiple sources and then connect some dots, it's unlikely The Dickinson Press publisher has noted this.

Over the past six months there have been reports that two major oil companies, Chevron and Conoco, have been moving their folks out of California, to Texas. There are three reasons: a) the oil industry is shifting back to Texas after years of relative neglect; b) the Californians in general do not appreciate the oil and gas industry; and, c) Governor Brown has just signed legislation that will regulate fracking for the first time in the state's history. The fracking legislation is benign in the big scheme of things, probably, on paper, no worse than the North Dakota regulations (do not take that out of context; there are significant differences).

In addition, it looks increasingly obvious to the casual observer that California shale will not be an easy nut to crack. Predictability of the shale seams are incredibly important in horizontal drilling; all the tectonic shifting have disrupted that linearity, and it will create havoc for drillers. There' s a reason it is called horizontal drilling: the drill bit goes horizontal. In the Monterey Shale, the drill bit is going to be all over the subsurface landscape trying to find the seam.

So, politically and geologically, the oil companies will find California an increasingly challenging environment. Regular readers saw that coming two or three years ago with random posts of oil activity in California. The proof in the pudding was the first article about Chevron moving its northern California employees to Houston, and then the more recent article (this week), Conoco, I believe, moving a significant number of employees also to Houston.

Then this: for the second consecutive month California noted an increase in the unemployment rate, and they were not trivial increases. The unemployment rate in California is now 8.9%. The only good thing about that number is this: it is not 9.0%. If the unemployment rate hits 9.0% when the rest of the global economy seems to be turning, it will be a very bad omen indeed for the Golden State. In fact, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to connect the Fed's decision to continue buying bonds with no "tapering" and the unemployment rate in California. I forget, but I think California has the largest state economy in the union.

When oil and gas jobs disappear there is a trickle down effect, when support services are affected. It's no wonder that North Dakota and Texas are shipping increasing amounts of oil to California.

Week 38: September 15, 2013 -- September 21, 2013

Nominee For Top Story Of The Year
Oil and gas industry surpasses agriculture in North Dakota... by twice as much

Nominee for 2013 Geico Rock Award
Publisher, The Dickinson Press

Nominee for best forecast in 2013
Director, NDIC, for predicting huge IPs for summer, 2013

Nomination for best photograph of the week
Jets on tarmac at Williston International Airport

Nomination for stories missed by most
KOG market cap passes US Steel

Typical day in the Bakken
EOG corporate presentation 
EOG corporate presentation, again
TPLM update -- Mike Filloon
$80 million bet on Triangle; huge new storage complex to be built in Alexander, ND
New post-boom record for low number of rigs in North Dakota: 177
Putting the Bakken into perspective -- again

MRO: Re-fracking

New natural gas pipeline will add almost 50% new capacity for Burke, Mountrail area

Second Tractor & Equipment Store to open in Williston
Real estate trust to add 324 luxury apartments in Minot, Grand Forks
MRO contributes $3.5 million to North Dakota housing fund
Update on that new airport in Bowman, ND
Dakota Growers Pasta, in Carrington, to be bought by Post
Update on the four-lane highway between Watford City and Williston
Japanese conglomerate sets records with North Dakota grain elevator; build it, they will come

Posting Will Be Delayed Today; Interrupted By Granddaughter's Soccer; North Dakota Oil Patch Now Twice As Big (In Dollars) As North Dakota Agriculture/Ranching

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Is the oil industry now bigger than farming in North Dakota?
The latest figures are rather startling, raising eyebrows on even oil industry experts gathered in Grand Forks this week who are most in touch with the boom that hasn’t leveled off after six years.
In the 12 months ended July 30, the value of the record amount of crude oil and natural gas produced in North Dakota totaled $24.9 billion, based on production figures and average prices for Bakken sweet crude and gas reported monthly by Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources and the state’s chief regulator of the industry.
Like nearly all numbers in the Oil Patch during this boom, that figure is a record.
It’s also more than double what was the record value of the state’s crops and livestock grown and raised in 2012, based on prices received by farmers.