Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links

1.Recycling America’s Abandoned Auto Plants: Shuttered U.S. auto plants aren't eyesores, they're valuable assets worth saving and recycling.

2. Exxon's Big Bet on Shale Gas: ExxonMobil now produces about as much natural gas as it does oil, and CEO Rex Tillerson thinks the fracking party has just begun.

3. Hitchhiking in Cuba: It's about the only way to get around outside Cuban cities. Gasoline costs about what it does in the United States. Most Cubans don’t have cars. Most earn a monthly government salary of less than $20.

4. EveryHeartBeat.org: An online network into which anyone can record their medical data through a wireless phone.

5. George Will in The Washington Post asks "Should the U.S. Legalize Hard Drugs?" and I think his answer is Yes. 

6. Netflix's Unlimited Employee Vacation Policy; Why It Works

7. Indian Farmers Use Cell Phones to Pre-Purchase Solar Energy on a "Pay-As-You-Go" Basis.

8. Racial racketeer Marion Barry demonstrates the black racism against Asians that tends to get ignored. 

All originally sent through Twitter, follow me here

29 Comments:

At 4/16/2012 4:36 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I have trouble believing a private-sector toughie like Rex Tillerson is mistaken.

Shale gas is here to stay.

 
At 4/16/2012 4:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Well, there you go, Larry G. Supposedly, 'everyheartbeat.org' will eventually allow you to store your medical data online, and presumably share it. Is that good enough for you, or is it necessary that we all be forced to do it?

 
At 4/16/2012 6:03 PM, Blogger Bob said...

Hey, there is no such thing as "black racism"! Only whites can be racist, duh.

 
At 4/16/2012 6:15 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Marion Barry? What a complete ass.

 
At 4/16/2012 7:26 PM, Blogger IowaBill said...

Bob is right. Our diversity guest speaker at last year's conference on campus said so.

 
At 4/16/2012 7:44 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: every heartbeat...

the phones are "sensors" and "receivers".

you need two things for a real electronic medical system.

1. centralized servers that are repositories for data so that the data is "pushed" to devices that want them.

2. standardized data schema.

In order for any phone app to move data - there has to be standardized data schema.

A doctor is not going to have a dozen different software apps to decipher your data and he's surely not going to plow through dozens of pages of unstructured text data.

I keep saying - if you REALLY want the free market to take over health care - make the data electronic, standardized in format, and you own it.

The you go to whoever you want, whenever you want, and much more likely - at the price and service you want.

Smartphones are really full blown computers.

Anything you can imagine a laptop doing, a Smartphone can do.

The Dick Tracey communicator has arrived... but still has not reached the wrist-watch form factor.

 
At 4/16/2012 7:44 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/16/2012 10:17 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

BTW, we keep hearing that shale oil will peter out etc.

Here is what Oxy says about their CA oil shale wells.

n terms of review of our major domestic assets. In California, for the year, we expect to drill and complete 154 shale wells outside of Elk Hills compared to the 107 wells we had indicated at the beginning of the year. Including Elk Hills, we expect to drill 195 shale wells for the year. We expect to drill and complete a total of 42 shale wells during the fourth quarter.

Our experience has been the 30-day initial production rate for these wells, depending on areas between 300 and 400 barrels of oil equivalent per day. With respect to shale wells outside of Elk Hills, about 80% of the BOE production is a combination of black oil and high-value condensate. The cost of drilling and completing these wells has been running about $3.5 million per well, and we expect this to continue to decline over time. Our conventional drilling program is progressing somewhat better than planned.

--30--

So Oxy is drilling a well for $3.5 million, and getting about 12 million in oil out in year one.

Somehow I think we are going to see a long-term boom in oil production in CA. Only if oil goes down below $70 will we see a change.

 
At 4/16/2012 11:34 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I wondered when you would get around to the indian solar cells story.

 
At 4/17/2012 5:44 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

George Will on "Should the U.S. legalize hard drugs?" makes the following points:

1. Twenty percent of American drinkers consume 80 percent of the alcohol sold here. The same 80-20 split obtains among users of illicit drugs.

2. About 3 million people — less than 1 percent of America’s population — consume 80 percent of illegal hard drugs.

3. Drug-trafficking organizations can be most efficiently injured by changing the behavior of the 20 percent of heavy users.

4. Marijuana probably provides less than 25 percent of the cartels’ revenue...cartels...make much more money from cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

His conclusion: Would the public health problems resulting from legalization be a price worth paying for injuring the cartels and reducing the costs of enforcement?

My comment: There's no mention of rehabilitation. Instead of putting illegal drug users in jail, they can be put in drug rehabilitation centers (they don't have to be country clubs).

I suspect, many illegal drug users, particularly the heaviest users, want to quit, cut down, or stop for a while.

 
At 4/17/2012 6:52 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

the primary PRACTICAL difference between Illegal drug use and just-as-serious "legal" prescription drug (and powder cocaine, etc) use is the wealth and economic status of the user.

How many "legal" addicted drug users do we have that never go to jail verses "illegal", mostly young and dumb drug users that easily fall into the criminal justice system.

How many "legal" drug users turn into homeless street people existing from petty thievery and mugging, etc?

I would submit that economic class differentiates punishment and consequences more than anything else.

as a society, we almost never investigate and prosecute those of means who use drugs and that's a reality. Celebs and Doctors alike get wrist slaps ...whereas a 22 year old gets the slammer.

 
At 4/17/2012 11:26 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Exxon's big bet on shale gas ... CEO Rex Tillerson thinks the fracking party has just begun ..."

Pfffft, what would he know about it? Doesn't he get Vanges newsletter?

"Exxon estimates that worldwide electricity demand will increase 80% by 2040 as hundreds of millions in the developing world achieve a middle-class lifestyle. An increasing amount of that electricity will be generated by natural gas, which will pass coal as the world's second-largest fuel source, behind crude oil, by 2025."

That could prove to be very inconvenient since, as Vange insists in comment thread after comment thread, the entire shale gas industry is a scam and all of these companies will be bankrupt by then.

"The strategic decision I made was, Okay, we're going to enter this wholeheartedly, and we want a big position now," says Tillerson. "We can build it, and it will take several years for us to get to a material position. Or we can buy it."

Hmmm, Vange or Rex Tillerson. Who do you think understands the energy market better. Tough call.

 
At 4/17/2012 12:04 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

How many "legal" drug users turn into homeless street people existing from petty thievery and mugging, etc?

==================================

Well, read a story about a woman with four children and ALL of them came down with RA, controlled with Enbrel at around $1000 a month, each.

She expects to be homeless before long.

 
At 4/17/2012 12:53 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Che is right. Tillerson is not some clown working to boost the Defense Department budget--he is a tough-minded private-sector money maker.

I bet on Tillerson.

 
At 4/17/2012 2:20 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"as a society, we almost never investigate and prosecute those of means who use drugs and that's a reality. Celebs and Doctors alike get wrist slaps ...whereas a 22 year old gets the slammer"...

Oh stop! Please stop before I break out in lachrymose fit...

Its just so unfair!

Yet another inane call to a classless/commie society...

 
At 4/17/2012 2:36 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"An increasing amount of that electricity will be generated by natural gas, which will pass coal as the world's second-largest fuel source, behind crude oil, by 2025"...

Call me skeptical but something tells me this won't quite work out that way...

Natural gas isn't found everywhere but people who want electricity are found everywhere...

Natural gas is much more expensive and complicated to ship in bulk to places that need to generate electricity than say bulk coal...

I don't think coal is going away anytime soon as a source for electrical generation and maybe with some new technological evolutions there may yet be another coal renaissance in the not to distant future when it comes to energy generation...

 
At 4/17/2012 4:58 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

oh but did you consider that natural gas can be used to produce ethanol which then CAN be transported?

 
At 4/17/2012 6:43 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

it's a curious chart because as you say... there are no numbers so you ought not to read more into it than what is shows.

the main thing that stands out is how stable "share" was for 20 years or so and that even though both probably went up... oil went up much more.

no?

 
At 4/18/2012 1:10 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

George Will puts forth a hard-edged, statistics-backed case for legalization then pussies out by not calling for legalization, but just passively saying we're about to find out what legalization is like. I guess that's better than being a mindless drug warrior like Peak, so I'll give him credit for that.

Peak, Will specifically talks about how imprisoning dealers is a waste of time, but you change the subject to whether users should be imprisoned. I don't think almost anyone would disagree that those who are caught driving under the influence of some drug, whether alcohol or something harder, should be put in jail or rehab, but you go too far when you would jail people simply for using, regardless of whether they did anything to someone else.

Larry, the problem with the technical solutions of centralized repositories and standardized medical data formats is that nobody is driving that. Patients don't care so doctors don't care also, plus the doctors are cheap as hell and will never spend a penny that isn't absolutely required. The insurance companies could drive this, but they never do anything that doesn't involve more elaborate ways to deny claims, and electronic records would probably make that tougher for them, compared to the stone-age ways they make practices submit claims now. So nobody drives this important issue, because almost nobody gives a shit about actually making things better.

 
At 4/18/2012 1:50 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Sprewell says "Will specifically talks about how imprisoning dealers is a waste of time."

There was more to the article (which I cited above), although it was ignorant.

I've shown a wide range of extensive data before that supports my position that rehabilitation has a greater net benefit for society than legalization, which may have no net benefit.

Nonetheless, some people will continue to cling to their dogmatic modes of thinking, regardless of the evidence.

 
At 4/18/2012 6:19 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: drugs and criminalization.

I can agree that actually do cause direct harm to others should be sanctioned.

drunk drivers should be held accountable.

people who drink and drive should be held accountable.

but making alcohol illegal because some people abuse it and hurt others is a big step when you're imprisoning people who are "contributing" to bad behaviors.

re: medical record standardization.

I think it's pretty funny in a lot of respects because we all take for granted the voluntary standardization that has already taken place and yielded huge gains for everyone.

For instance, email. Can you imagine how badly things would function if every brand of email used it's own proprietary format that was incompatible with other email brands?

TVs, cell phones, tires on cars, etc, etc, etc all have some basic level of standardization.

What if the interstates were done different in every state or every county?

diagnostic codes?

as we speak, unbeknownst to most, Medicare has instituted/mandated standardized electronic medical records which, just like those diagnostic codes will eventually take hold and become a de-facto standard.

http://goo.gl/26bgi

Then some enterprising young guys will incorporate that standard into social media, smartphone apps, etc.

 
At 4/18/2012 2:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"A doctor is not going to have a dozen different software apps to decipher your data and he's surely not going to plow through dozens of pages of unstructured text data."

You are already out in the weeds here, with problems that don't even exist yet.

You probably should have read the article before you commented. It would have made you appear to be a little bit smarter.

I encountered the following right away.

"Saxon wants to create an online network into which anyone can record their medical data through a wireless phone, so users can better understand and control their health and so researchers can follow and identify health trends, some of which may still be unknown."

That sounds a lot like the basic concept of something you keep advocating. There's no need to think up imaginary problems with details that don't yet exist.

 
At 4/18/2012 3:19 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"drunk drivers should be held accountable.

people who drink and drive should be held accountable
"

Yes. These are the two groups who cause the most problems when driving.

LOL

 
At 4/18/2012 3:33 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" "Saxon wants to create an online network into which anyone can record their medical data through a wireless phone, so users can better understand and control their health and so researchers can follow and identify health trends, some of which may still be unknown.""

you missed what is missing which is health care providers.

In order for health care providers to use a centralized service to store/retrieve health records, you need far more than a smart-phone app.

Medicare has already defined a standard.... and is getting medicare providers to use it.

Everybody and their dog from Google to Microsoft are providing "online" health care records but without a standardized data schema there are no apps that can access the different formats.

At some point you need to standardize and that's always been the challenge.

anyone can write software but it's the standardized data schema that makes it universally accessible among any/all health care providers from you primary care to the ER doc working on your unconscious body and who does not know a thing about your medical history (unless he can look it up on a standardized database).

you might try familiarizing yourself on these issues, fella.

do you know where medical diagnostic codes came from?

HINT: not some guy blathering about software.....

 
At 4/18/2012 3:34 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " Yes. These are the two groups who cause the most problems when driving."

you must be too young to remember how drunk drivers were treated a couple of decades ago but no more.

 
At 4/18/2012 4:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"re: medical record standardization.

I think it's pretty funny in a lot of respects because we all take for granted the voluntary standardization that has already taken place and yielded huge gains for everyone.
"

"For instance, email...TVs, cell phones, tires on cars, etc, etc, etc all have some basic level of standardization."

You seem pleased with market based standards that have developed over time, without expressing your appreciation for how they came to exist.

Most developed without any direction from government, and are the result of market forces, including customers voting with their dollars.

Are you forgetting the lengthy war between Sony's Betamax and JVC's VHS videocassette standards? Do you believe government chose VHS for you?

"as we speak, unbeknownst to most, Medicare has instituted/mandated standardized electronic medical records which, just like those diagnostic codes will eventually take hold and become a de-facto standard."

What are you talking about? Medicare has used codes for medical procedures since the beginning. There are so many codes, in fact, that medical service providers may just pick one at random out of frustration at the difficulty of finding the one that best describes what they actually did.

For instance, are you aware that there are at least a dozen codes available to describe an injury caused by the bite of an alligator?

"Then some enterprising young guys will incorporate that standard into social media, smartphone apps, etc."

Yes, some enterprising young gal has already done that. I knew you hadn't read the article.

"What if the interstates were done different in every state or every county?"

Think about it. By definition, an interstate runs between states, or else it would be called an intrastate.

What do you think is so magical about standards developing over the last 100 years? It's what we should expect.

 
At 4/18/2012 4:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"you might try familiarizing yourself on these issues, fella.

do you know where medical diagnostic codes came from?

HINT: not some guy blathering about software.....
"

As usual, you have missed the point, and are talking about some other subject.

 
At 4/18/2012 4:19 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"you must be too young to remember how drunk drivers were treated a couple of decades ago but no more."

Yeah, that must be it.

One more example of missing the point.

 
At 4/18/2012 6:37 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: standards.

some standards evolve as industry standards. Others emanate from the Govt.

For instance, it is the govt that sets radio/broadcast/communication spectrum and frequencies and medical diagnostic codes, tire performance, etc, etc, etc. hundreds if not thousands of standards that industry played some role in but ultimately the govt promulgated.

Medical diagnostic codes are not mandatory except for govt reimbursed services but industry has adopted them because those standards make sense .. even if flawed.

we recently had an issue with a company called LightSquared involving standards and other companies - GPS companies themselves opposed the proposed spectrum use and ultimately the Govt ruled against their use.

Clearly if the govt had not been involved LightSquared was prepared to implement and there was and remains serious concerns about their intended use of that spectrum.

These are the types of standards specification and enforcement that the govt must be involved in IMHO.

with respect to electronic health records, you obviously did not read the link I provided to you opting instead for more smart ass comments that ignored the info provided to you.

we can continue to play this little game of chewing on each other as long as you wish, dude.

 

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