Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Latest On DAPL -- February 28, 2017

Over at Francais Express:
  • hearing held earlier today; this is the last lawsuit (for now)
  • judge hopes to decide on/about March 7, 2017, "final" decision
  • wants operator to give him 48 hours notice if oil were to flow sooner than March 7, 2017, so he could issue ruling before oil flows
  • Judge Boasberg: questioned how the water could be harmed since the pipeline is being built under the Lake Oahe and oil would not likely touch the water in the event of a spill.
  • Native American reply: the pipeline would spiritually degrade the water on the Missouri River because of its presence and that would prevent tribes from carrying out ceremonies because other nearby water sources had been contaminated from decades of mining. 
And exactly how would the pipeline "spiritually degrade" the water? To think this $3.9 billion
pipeline was held up over that "level" of argument.

Soulmates and Shoalmates

I did not know this until yesterday.

Most fish are said to swim in schools. There is an exception.

Quick! Without looking it up, herring do not swim in schools. They swim in ......?

I came across that factoid while reading about the history of salt (previously posted).

I never would have posted that bit of trivia in a million years except I'm listening to the soundtrack to the Coen brothers movie, Inside Llewyn Davis. The song: "The Shoals of Herring."

From wiki:
In biology, any group of fish that stay together for social reasons are shoaling, and if the group is swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner, they are schooling.
In common usage, the terms are sometimes used rather loosely. About one quarter of fish species shoal all their lives, and about one half shoal for part of their lives.
Fish use many traits to choose shoalmates. Generally they prefer larger shoals, shoalmates of their own species, shoalmates similar in size and appearance to themselves, healthy fish, and kin (when recognized).
Fish can be obligate or facultative shoalers. Obligate shoalers, such as tunas, herrings and anchovy, spend all of their time shoaling or schooling, and become agitated if separated from the group. Facultative shoalers, such as Atlantic cod, saiths and some carangids, shoal only some of the time, perhaps for reproductive purposes. 
And I probably would not have even noticed any of this except a reader, a long time ago, introduced me to one of my favorite DVDs: Muscle Shoals.

Fare Thee Well, "Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Isaac

Fox Business News Slamming CNBC -- February 28, 2017

I knew it was startling, but not this startling! I saw the headline earlier and linked the article, but it is quite amazing:
FBN averaged 218,000 viewers during the hours between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in February, an increase of 59 percent over February 2016. CNBC, meanwhile, dropped from 212,000 to 182,000 in the same measurement, Nielsen Media Research said.
That's a startling change for a marketplace where CNBC was once considered the unquestioned leader. But CNBC has suggested those raw numbers are deceptive: the network stopped using Nielsen as a basis for advertising sales two years ago because the service did not measure viewership in offices or anyplace out of the home, and also short-changed its count of wealthier viewers that CNBC targets. Nielsen says it will begin counting out-of-home viewership starting in April.
Fox Business Network traces its surge to a decision in 2015 to load its daytime lineup with more of its most prominent hosts: Maria Bartiromo, Stuart Varney, Neil Cavuto, Trish Regan and Liz Claman — all CNBC alumni. The network also takes a broader view of business news than its competitors; during Regan's show on Tuesday, most of the talk was political, discussing President Donald Trump's upcoming speech before Congress.
The network also takes a broader view of business news than its competitors" -- also less fake news on Fox Business News.

Futures Look Good Going Into Tomorrow

All indices are up right now, after the presidential address to Congress. 

Whiting With Two More Bakken Permits -- February 28, 2017

Active rigs:

Active Rigs4038119192183

Two new permits:
  • Operator: Whiting
  • Field: East Fork (Williams)
  • Comments: the last consecutive sixteen permits have all been Whiting permits; all permits from February 21st through today have been Whiting permits; of the 125 permits issued by NDIC to date, this calendar year, fifty (50) have been Whiting permits
Three producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:
  • 28991, 2,120, CLR, Radermecher 2-22H1, Camel Butte, t2/17; cum --
  • 28998, 1,880, CLR, Radermecher 4-22H2, Camel Butte, t2/17; cum --
  • 31639, 2,640, BR, Old Hickory 43-32 MBH-R, Sand Creek, 4 sections, t2/17; cum -- 
All Of The Above

Meanwhile, Stark County has approved a very, very contentious wind farm. Bismarck Tribune:
  • Brady Wind Energy Center I
  • northern Stark County near Dickinson
  • $250 million project; 150 MW ($1.7 million / MW; I don't know if that includes the transmission line)
  • NextEra Energy Resources
  • PSC voted unanimously to approve it
  • includes a 19-mile transmission line
  • longest wind farm hearing in state history; 15 hours of testimony, March 31, 2016
  • sounds like most area residents were against it except for the landowners that gain financially; I could be wrong; that was my impression

Random Update Of A Hess Re-Frack: HA-Mogen, Hawkeye Oil Field -- February 28, 2017

The well, API 33-053-02811:
  • 16694, 348, Hess, HA-Mogen-152-95 0805H-1 ST2, Hawkeye, t12/07; cum 310K 12/16;
Production profile around time of re-frack (no production from 2/12 to 10/14):


Original frack production data:

Random Update Of An MRO Re-Frack: Bottleson 34-22H, Reunion Bay -- February 28, 2017

The well, API, 33-061-00548:
  • 16687, 600, MRO, Bottleson 34-22H, Reunion Bay, t11/08; cum 376K 12/16;
Production profile around the time of the re-frack:

The Trump Economy, T+39, Off The Chart; Making It Illegal To Hire A Person With Limited Skills -- February 28, 2017

Consumer confidence soars to 15-year high (that would encompass both the Obama administration -- hope and change -- and the Bush administration -- more of the same). One wonders where we would be if Hillary were president.
February's reading of 115 topped the 15-year high of 113.7 set back in December after Donald Trump's election victory. Best reading since July, 2001.

So, what's the market doing? Flat, crawling back from a negative opening. Yesterday: twelve consecutive days of record-setting closes -- ties record.

Back to the Oscars. My hunch -- the conspiracy theorists are correct on this one.

Worth repeating: As Nobelist Milton Friedman correctly quipped, “A minimum wage law is, in reality, a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.”

Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes
Svante Paabo
c. 2014
DDS: 569.986 PAA

The author: director of the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. In 2009, Time names him one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Most likely just behind President Obama.

I never thought about this before:
Each of us carries only one type of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which comprises a mere 0.0005 percent of our genome. Since we carry in each cell thousands of copies of just the one type, it is particularly easy to study, unlike the rest of our DNA -- a mere two copies of which are stored in the cell nucleus: one copy from our mother and one copy from our father.
Neanderthal bones first discovered in a small cave in a quarry in Neander Valley in 1856, a few years before the US civil war and three years before the publication of Darwin's The Origin of the Species.

Neanderthal disappeared some 30,000 years ago.

Most common type of damage to DNA:
  • occurs spontaneously
  • whether nuclear DNA or mtDNA
  • the loss of a chemical component
  • the chemical component that is loss: an amino group
  • an amino group on the cytosine nucleotide (C)
  • the loss of that amino group on C turns C into uracil (U)
  • U is not naturally found in DNA (it is found in RNA)
  • enzymes remove the U's from DNA; excreted in urine
  • about 10,000 C's per cell morph into U's each day, only to be removed and replaced
  • and, this is just one of several types of chemical assaults our genomes suffer.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): technique invented by the maverick scientist Kary Mullis in 1983
from a single DNA fragment, it is possible, in principle, to obtain a trillion copies after forty cycles
awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993

Early on:
We compared our 379-nucleotide Neanderthal mtDNA sequence to the corresponding mtDNA sequences from 2,051 present-day humans from all around the world. On average, twenty-eight (28) of the positions differed between the Neanderthal and a contemporary person, whereas people alive today carry an average of only seven (7) differences from one another. The Neanderthal mtDNA was four times as different.
Figure 1.3 on page 13: the mtDNA tree of all humans alive today --
  • all trace back to one common mtDNA ancestor ("Mitochondrial Eve")
  • Neanderthal does not trace back to "Mitochondrial Eve"
  • Mitochondrial Eve: lived between 100,00 and 200,000 years ago
  • the common ancestor linking Mitochondrial Eve and Neanderthal Man lived about 500,000 years ago
Independent lab chosen to confirm:
  • Penn State University
  • Mark Stoneking
  • Stoneking had been a graduate student and then a postdoc with Allan Wilson at Berkeley 
  • author knew him when the author was a postdoc at Berkeley in the 1980s
  • Stoneking: one of the people behind the discovery of Mitochondrial Eve
  • Stoneking: one of the architects of the out-of-Africa hypothesis of modern human origins: the idea that modern humans originated in Africa some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, then spread around the world, replacing all earlier forms of humans, such as Neanderthals in Europe, without admixture
  • Anne King also in Mark Stoneking's lab
Background regarding three journals:
  • Nature, British
  • Science, US
  • Cell
Competing with out-of-Africa theory: the multi-regional model
  • paleontology-based
  • modern humans evolved on several continents, more or less independently, from Homo erectus
Other names mentioned at this time:
  • Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum in London; paleontologist; early adapter of the out-of-Africa theory
Milford Wolpoff, University of Michigan, a multi-regionalist paleontologist


Beautiful, beautiful day for biking. A thunderstorm is forecast for mid-morning but then the rest of the day should be overcast, humid, and very warm.

I wish Sophia could have been with me this morning. The cows and calves were right up along the fence and she would have loved walking up to them. The cornfield -- plowed under from last year -- was filled with Canadian geese. I saw one blue jay. As a kid, I drew a lot of blue jays and squirrels in art class but I never saw a squirrel or a blue jay in Williston until I was in middle school (we called it "jr high") and I would each lunch at Central? Park. I forget the name of that park. But it was the park near Central Jr High. My lunch usually consisted of a Kraft Velveeta processed cheese-on-processed-white-bread that apparently is now considered bad for one's health. If I was lucky, I might also have an apple. I don't recall what I had to drink; maybe a little thermos with water. I know it wasn't milk; I hated milk. Maybe apple juice. Whatever.

Yesterday, I saw a flock of robins -- so I knew spring was here, and then a few minutes later, a most gorgeous cardinal. It appeared to be a young cardinal so maybe a year old? I don't know. Does a one-year-old cardinal look any different than a 5-year-ld cardinal?

But a great day for spring. And, Sophia and I saw at least a dozen turtles down at the creek at the park.

Last evening, when it was pitch black, about 7:45 p.m. Central Time, I pointed to the bright object almost overhead, to the west-south-west, telling 2 1/2 year-old Sophia that was the evening star. She said one word: "Venus."

I swear on a stack of bibles that's exactly what happened. I pointed to the bright object in the sky, pointed it out telling Sophia it was the "evening star" and said it was "Venus."

I had forgotten that we often look at the stars and I always point out what little I know. It's amazing what young minds remember.

The Political Page, T+39 -- February 28, 2017

Already at work: Trump / Fox News interview at 6:00 a.m. I do not recall any president in modern history with this 24/7 work ethic. And that's why he is not attending the correspondents' dinner -- he takes the office too seriously to engage in frivolous activities.

Cabinet: Wilbur Ross confirmed as Secretary of Commerce overnight. Trump's cabinet remains on track to be confirmed by the end of his second term. Sub-cabinet positions are on track to be confirmed in Mike Pence's first term.

How difficult can self-ordering kiosks be? For more of this, go to YouTube and google Boston Dynamics:

This robot can lift at least 100 pounds for warehouse work. It can go up and down stairs. It can go down snow-covered hills. 

The Energy And Market Page; Saudi Arabia In Deep Doo-Doo, T+39 -- February 28, 2017

In deep doo-doo: if Saudi Arabia "hopes" to see $60 oil in 2017, the country is in deep doo-doo. Oil slumped again today, down almost 1.5% and now below $53 again (10:43 a.m. Central Time).

PipelineNew Jersey OKs gas pipeline through protected Pinelands. The only thing I have a problem with is all this emphasis on jobs in such contentious affairs -- unless they are permanent jobs, perhaps: energy projects should be decided based on need, not jobs.
The company said the vote "recognizes the energy reliability challenges facing southern New Jersey and the balanced solution this project offers. The careful construction of this pipeline will address the energy demands of 142,000 customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties, protect and create jobs, and provide a meaningful opportunity to significantly reduce air emissions."
US electricity: generating capacity increase last year (2016) -- largest net change since 2011. It appears when you subtract the NG retirements from the NG additions, both wind and solar additions (there were "no" wind/solar subtractions) beat out NG last year. That's fine. One last hurrah.

SRE: beats by 3 cents. Revenues beat. A big whoop. Shares in pre-market trading: up a whopping penny on a $108/share stock. Whoopie.

Not a bull's eye: Target shares down 13% in pre-market trading. Story over at The WSJ. From my perspective, Target's problems began with the security breach and then a series of missteps from there. All big-box stores are struggling, but between Wal-Mart and Target, the latter seems to be lagging on many levels. From $66 yesterday to $58 today; apparently the biggest drop since the company went public decades ago.

GDP: 4Q16 - revised: at 1.9%. Unchanged from "first look."

GDP: 1Q17 -- forecast, at GDPNow -- latest forecast: 2.5 percent — February 27, 2017, yesterday.
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2017 is 2.5 percent on February 27, up from 2.4 percent on February 16.
The forecast for first-quarter real residential investment growth increased from 7.8 percent to 10.8 percent after the housing data releases last week from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Canadian Oil Sands: add Shell to the short list of operators who shun the Canadian oil sands --
Exxon Mobil Corp. slashed reserves after removing the $16 billion Kearl oil-sands project in Athabasca from its books last week. A day earlier, ConocoPhillips said that erasing oil-sands barrels had reduced its reserves to a 15-year low. In 2015, Shell itself took a $2 billion charge as it shelved an oil-sands project in Alberta, and last year sold other assets in the area for about $1 billion.
The oil-sand mines in the region are among the costliest petroleum projects because the raw bitumen extracted must be processed and converted to a synthetic crude before being transported to refineries, mainly in the U.S. In addition, Canadian oil sells for less than benchmark U.S. crude because of the cost to ship it and an abundance of competing supplies from shale fields.
Hope springs eternal: via Twitter -- Saudi Arabia "wants" oil to reach $60 in 2017.

More On Target
From Fortune:
The discount retailer on Tuesday reported its third straight quarter of comparable sales declines, as a 34% surge in its digital business was not enough to make up for shoppers' exodus from its stores during the holiday season. And Target expects its struggles to persist this year while it figures out how to re-tool its business.
For the full fiscal year that started on February 1, Target expects a low-single digit decline in comparable sales, coming off a worse than expected 1.5% drop during the fourth quarter.
In contrast, Walmart U.S. last week reported its comparable sales were up 1.8% during the same period.
Some of the initiatives that Target will disclose in detail at its annual meeting with Wall Street analysts later on Tuesday include launching in the next two years 12 new house brands it thinks can eventually garner $10 billion in annual sales, and, perhaps more crucially, lowering its prices on many goods so as to be competitive in the price wars with Walmart and Amazon.com.
Perhaps one of the "12 new house brands" needs to be the "Trump" brand, or the "Ivanka Trump" brand. Just saying. 

Television Is Training Me To Not Watch Television -- Scott Adams -- February 28, 2017

Active rigs:

Active Rigs4138119192183

RBN Energy: will natural gas production in SCOOP/STACK be "OK"?

Scott Adams: television is training me to not watch television.

And right on cue, via Twitter:


Later, 7:57 p.m. Central Time: Fox Business surges in ratings competition with CNBC. Yes, I don't watch CNBC any more during the day; it's all Fox Business for me except first thing in the morning, 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (if I'm up that early), when I flip between Fox Business and CNBC. Whenever Becky Quick comes on with Warren Buffett, I immediately switch networks. When Maria Bartiromo gets into a long segment I generally switch networks.

Original Post
I agree with what Scott Adams had to say (see link above).

Right after the Trump election, I started watching MSNBC "Morning Joe" but that lasted about ten days. I no longer watch MSNBC. Same old stuff. Same old talking heads. I don't get up early to watch Fox Business News or MSNBC "Squawk Box" any more. In fact, I don't turn on our television set any more.

I now watch television -- if I watch it at all -- on an old MacBook Pro. I have an app that immediately mutes every commercial. The great thing -- the app is free and needs no special effort to install. The app is my left index finger, hitting the mute button on the computer. No remote device and therefore I never "lose" the remote device.

I won't be watching