Alaska is full of Venezuelans, yes sir!

Two years ago  I was in Alaska, and I found it was full of Venezuelans. Well, saying it´s full is relative, since the population of Alaska should be less than half a million. The fact is that in Alaska there are  Venezuelans. Venezuelans in one of the coldest places in the world,  covered with ice and snow.

Walking on a glacier 
Photo by 21st Century Social Critic 

I know it seems incredible that people who feel cold when it goes down to 25 degrees Celsius can adapt to that. Plus  they also have to deal with bears,  mountain lions, and killer whales.

The place is so cold that the sea is frozen most of the year. The good thing about this is that if one  falls into the sea one  freezes in about 32 seconds, so the vast majority of Alaskans don´t  care about whales, but are rather  terrified of falling in the  water. Some readers will think I'm exaggerating, so I show you a picture that I took at the beach in Alaska. Note that the sea is really frozen. And if you look carefully behind me you can see Russia.

Half of me standing in Arctic Ocean meltwater somewhere
to the West of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge

I'm a big fan of the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, and I went to visit her town, Wasilla, but she was not there. I'm sure she and her husband Todd would have  invited me to their  mansion to eat a piece of moose, but both were away at work she had with Fox News, and of course Todd had gone along . He is a good fellow, he carries her  things and gives her therapy after work. Below is a shot of one of the typical restaurants in Wasilla, where they serve excellent moose:  

One of Wasilla´s premier eateries, photo taken by B. Leza 

But back to the subject of Venezuelans in Alaska. It seems that they are alive and kicking. The fact that they can  survive tells us that,  if necessary, we  can send a Venezuelan into exile anywhere.

Indeed, when I returned from Alaska I  wrote a Venezuelan friend who works on a project in New Guinea (this is where the natives ate Rockefeller´s nephew), and  the  mercenary said if I paid more he was coming  to Alaska as well.

This confirms that if  NASA wants to send someone to Mars, it should drop off application forms in Caracas asking for volunteers, and they will find a host of educated  Venezuelans willing to go if the gig pays in hard currency.  Those Venezuelan cosmonauts will do great, settle on Mars, and eventually get their Martian citizenship and everything. 


The US raisin cartel

In the United States there is a law that controls the price of raisins to keep it high. This law was enacted in 1937 and has had very good results for some producers and packers of this product.


Other producers suffer. They are trying to have the Supreme Court  declare the law unconstitutional . As for consumers, depending on the type of grape and the year,  they pay 10 to 50% more than European consumers pay for their home grown grapes.  

The price of grapes depends on quality and where they are grown. The grapes for premium wines are worth more than the grapes  used to make raisins. U.S. law regulates the market for raisins. But in areas where farmers receive higher prices for raisins thanks to this old law,  they will plant more lower quality grapevines unfit for wine.  

I think it must have an impact on the price of grapes in general. If not, I don´t  understand how it´s possible to see the price differential between the US and Spain.  This is more so  when we consider that in America there is a lot of land, the price of fuel and water are lower than in Spain, and on top they use cheap  immigrant labor which  they exploit illegally  without mercy.

I was reading an old issue of The Economist magazine which  has an article on this topic. I buy this magazine from time to time but don´t  recommend it because the owners are neocons,  people like Aznar, Blair, Bush and the Canadian Harper. Sometimes I get so mad at their contents I put the magazine away, then pull it out a year later after I calm down.  

So, the article describes a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, where Marvin D. Horne and other farmers  asked the Supreme Court to order the Department of Agriculture to leave them alone and stop insisting they must pay the government now for grapes the farmers grew, which  the law demands they should have delivered to the government for free in 2003.

You see, the raisin price control law created  a commission made up  of 47 farmers and one consumer. This committee decides each year the amount of grapes that the government will expropriate from individual farmers. The commission  takes this share of the harvest, sells part of it wholesale,  in some cases it  gives the grapes  away, and sometimes they export the grapes so they don´t impact the US market. After the government  sells its share of the harvest, it pays the farmers some of the proceeds.

Horne the  rebel

In 2003 they said they were going to expropriate 43% of the harvest. This angered a group of farmers in California led by Mr. Horne. They began selling their harvest  without sending the government the 43 % share it had demanded. The USDA responded and sent the farmers a bill, asking them to pay the government its 43 % share of what they earned. So the legal battle ensued as farmers resisted, and the case has been around in the judicial system ever  since.

The case  has  reached the Supreme Court, which decides whether the U.S. government has the power to force these farmers  to hand over a large share  of their  harvest, and then wait to see if the government  commission pays them something.

I think the law is silly. First because it forces the farmer to deliver part of the crop without knowing how much he will eventually receive. Second because it increases the price of grapes to the consumer. Third, it increases the price of  grapes used to make wine. And this means that  U.S. wine costs more than in Spain. I think this  is good for the Spanish  wine industry, because  the overpriced grapes make America  a weaker competitor in the international market.

The law doesn´t  benefit all farmers. If it did, Marvin D. Horner and his colleagues wouldn´t have continued litigation for ten years to eventually reach the Supreme Court. They must be very upset with this goddam  system, and they  have fought their case to  the bitter  end.

Who benefits from this law? My guess:  big farmers who are commission members. And companies which package  and market raisins. I can´t imagine who else benefits if the market is choked in order  to raise consumer  prices.

This case is going to take a lot more time. The Supreme Court will rule, then it has to go back to the lower Federal Courts to work out the details. 

What remedy is left to Mr. Horne and his friends if they don´t  win their battle? They will have to convince Congress to change the law. And as the two  reigning U.S. parties are always fighting and spewing nonsense, I don´t  think this would  go far. We'll see what the Supreme Court says, and meanwhile keep drinking  Spanish wine,  it´s  better than California wine  and costs less because grapes are a lot cheaper in Spain. 


The latest I read about this case says the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Mr Horne and friends, and referred the case back to a lower Federal Court for a detailed decision on this matter:


Depending on what that court decides, the US public may see cheaper wines in a few years. Or maybe not. 


Venezuela´s Guayana Union Workers are hopping mad

Over ten thousand unionized workers have been  on strike at Sidor, a state owned company in Venezuela´s Guayana province. They claim their union´s agreement with the owners expired  four years ago, and the government is trying to stall negotiations as inflation eats their earnings.

Sidor steel workers holding march to protest government abuse

Sidor workers  published an open letter to the population, which they distributed, and also got onto aporrea´s main webpage. Aporrea is a communist run website which lately has been very critical of the Maduro regime.

In this letter the union workers claim the government is lying about their motives, has treated them in an insulting fashion, abuses them by not raising their wages, and that production at the plants dropped due to electricity shortages and not because they are lazy.

Graph shows the nature of the electricity crisis in Venezuela. 
The red curve is the delivered energy, the blue curve is 
the demand. The green curve is the installed capacity. 
To drop from the green to the red the government owned
 generation company neglected maintenance. The increase was
 due to higher population and the rising GDP due to higher
 oil prices. The dip in the blue curve labeled with the word 
DEFICIT is the  point in time when the Guayana plants 
(Sidor and others) were forced to drop production due to 
lack of electricity. 

The union workers  also claim that the Maduro  government is trying to avoid signing the new labor agreement because they want to hand over the steel plants to the Chinese, and the Chinese company (Minmetals)  wants  low wage non  union labor they can exploit like they do in China. 

Minmetals exect celebrating contract between 
Chile´s state owned Codelco and his company


We are running out of oil

Those of us who can understand the figures realize that   we really are running out of oil, but this fact isn´t well understood by the general population, nor by some politicians (and definitely by talking heads and “experts” who look like they don´t understand an iota about oil. And it´s not understood by outfits such as the IPCC. I know this is hard to believe, but oil does run out, and the oil industry is running   against time on very old legs.

Taft pumpjack from the San Joaquin Valley 
Geology website

There are quite a few websites devoted to the peak oil issue, and endless debates over the decline curves, the reserves to production ratios, and all sorts of parameters I´m going to skip. Instead, I´ll go straight to a quick display of figures about a major oil company I think represents the oil industry´s   “upper class”. By this I mean this company isn´t a technical nor a financial lightweight. It´s well managed, it´s everywhere, and it faces a problem I´m about to show you.

Lately I have been reading a lot about climate change, and the climatologists love to present the climate data as “anomalies”. An anomaly represents a deviation in the value of a parameter,  from a chosen average. For example, the temperature anomaly can be difference, in degrees, between the value in a given year relative the average for the period from 1950 to 1980, as shown in this graph from Berkeley Earth:

Temperature Anomaly Graph from Berkeley Earth

This data presentation technique is pretty useful. So I decided to use it to show you the production statistics for Chevron as anomalies. I took the production data from their 2013 annual report,  their 2014 report is here http://www.chevron.com/annualreport/2014/documents/pdf/Chevron2014AnnualReport.pdfcopied into an excel spreadsheet, and estimated the 2009 to 2013 production rate averages. Then I estimated the production anomalies as a fraction of this average. I didn´t use the actual units because some of you like barrels, others like cubic meters, and others like metric tons.

And to show you how these production figures can mask the oil declines, I grabbed their production data in “oil equivalents”, in barrels of liquids, and in barrels of liquids excluding Natural Gas Liquids. And finally I also included their gas production rates, so you can see their gas production is really zooming...

Why did I do this? Because most “oil” companies are “oil and gas companies”. And as we run out of oil, they are gradually turning into “gas and a little oil” companies.  For some reason, these companies like to use volumes  of oil equivalents (for those who use barrels this is BOE). These figures are prepared using the actual liquid production and adding to it the gas production “converted” to pseudo oil volumes. The conversion factor is estimated using the net energy in each unit volume in gas versus oil. It can change, but it usually ranges from 4900  to 6300 thousand cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil (this is for those who live in the USA). In metric units the upper range happens to be conveniently close to 1000 cubic meters of gas per cubic meter of oil. So what does the Chevron production anomaly look like?   

Production Anomaly for Chevron, 
 relative to the 2009 to 2013 average

As you can see, the 2013 liquids production, excluding “NGL”s was 92.3 % of the production rate in 2009. The  liquids production anomaly is minus 0.054, or minus 5.4 % versus the 2009 to 2013 average. Meanwhile, gas production has increased, and the “gas production anomaly” is 0.057, that is gas production has a positive  5.7 %  anomaly versus the 2009 to 2013 average. However, the "Net Oil Equivalents", which adds the liquids and the gas as a single stream isn´t doing that bad. 

This trend,  increasing gas and decreasing liquids,  is fairly constant, and  it´s also reflected in the reserves left in the ground. What does this mean? Chevron, like most of its industry peers is gradually depleting its oil reserves and turning into a natural gas plus a little oil company. 

Here´s the 2009 to 2013 liquids production graph to help you visualize the problem: 

Chevron liquids production, 2009 to 2013

What else should I mention? Did you notice I´ve been mentioning “liquids” production? As it turns out, these liquids happen to be oil plus gas condensates (I subtracted the NGLs because ethane, propane and butane are not considered ¨liquids”).

And what are these gas condensates? They are gas molecules found in ¨gas fields"  which condense into liquids at surface conditions. Gas condensates can be fed into a refinery. But they are not crude oil. And if we consider the fact that Chevron´s gas production is increasing so much, then we can presume the gas condensate production is doing well, but their crude oil production is dropping even more than I show in these graphs.

Can I dig into this and get you more detailed numbers? Sure, but this is already getting too complicated for a general audience. This post is only supposed to present you one of the reasons why I´m always writing about the end of oil.


Chevron annual report

Chevron´s giant gas production project in Australia



Visit Aruba with $20,000 in your pocket

Last week a man arrived in Aruba carrying $20,000, six cell phones, and three passports. He was traveling in a Citation jet leased to a company called Tradequip, based in Houston, which in turn had been rented to PDVSA, Venezuela´s state oil company. That guy must have been wearing cargo pants with lots of pockets, like the ones used by the military to carry ammo. 

"Free Knight" military style cargo pants
 with lots of pockets for ammo (or cell phones)

I kept thinking about the paranoia I  would suffer if I had to  travel to Aruba with SIX cell phones and $20 thousand bucks on my body….I also wondered,  what does this guy do when he goes to the beach, put the cell phones and the $20000 in the hotel safe? Or carry all of it in a beach bag and just stand there and stare at the water?

On the beach (photo from ozbock) 

But then I kept on reading, and found out this guy was Hugo Carvajal,  former head of Venezuela´s  Department of Military Inteligence (DIM), a close Chávez ally, and had been nominated to be Venezuela´s consul in Aruba. What made his trip hit the press was his arrest upon arrival by the local authorities, using  a warrant issued by the US government.

Roberto “Pollo” Carvajal having his photograph 
taken in Aruba (from Maduradas)

As it turns out, Hugo Carvajal was wanted by the US since 2008, when he was accused of aiding drug traffic and terrorism. There has been a lot of coverage in the Spanish media and blogosphere about the Carvajal arrest, because for many years he has been said to have been the protector and enabler of  large drug smuggling rings which transfer drugs from Colombia to Europe and the USA via Venezuela.

The Venezuelan government went ballistic when Carvajal was arrested, and the next day they announced all flights between Netherland Antilles and Venezuelan were suspended. This caused all sorts of panic, because international airlines have cut most flights to Venezuela due lack of payment by the Venezuelan government of a $4 billion USD debt. This means many Venezuelans take small planes and boats to Aruba and then fly on to other destinations, and return the same way. The hassle was enormous, and eventually the government rescinded the suspension order, because as it turns out many travelers are chavistas connected to the government, and they were incredibly pissed off.

So what else did I find out? One of Carvajal´s cell phones was a special encrypted model used by high level Venezuelan officials. Another was assigned to him by the Venezuelan military. And only one of them was private and registered in his name. The rumor mill says those phones were immediately taken by the DEA and CIA agents on site to be decrypted and analyzed, and this gave the US government a wealth of data about how the drug mafias work in Venezuela and Colombia.

I also found out the company which rents the plane to PDVSA, Tradequip, does a lot of business in Venezuela. Although they are nominally an oil field equipment trader, it seems they are making a bundle doing all sorts of non oil field related business with PDVSA (for example, leasing private jets venezuelan government officials use when they travel). 

The firm is run by normal guys, the kind of people we see in Houston playing charity golf tournaments and living normal lives, guys like this:

Tradequip employees, regular guys,  
posing at golf tournament in Houston

Another interesting fact is that Tradequip´s main owner is said to be Roberto Rincón, a Venezuelan businessman who  sponsors basketball tournaments and leads a very normal life…

Roberto Rincon posing with basket ball 
(is he the real hero?)

The only interesting  thing about Roberto is his business ties with PDVSA, and the way the plane he leased was used to carry Carvajal to the trap the USA and the Dutch had set up for him in Aruba. Was Carvajal set up by Roberto Rincon? Or was the set up way higher, was this done by the Venezuelan government?  Was this done to copy the information in the six cell phones he carried, or is this the beginning of the end of the Chavez mafia? 


Global Warming Status Report

I´m happy  to report that  rate of global warming over the last 13 years has dropped to 0.15 degrees Centigrade per century (0.28 degrees Farenheit per century). 

This data comes to you from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), via Bob Tisdale´s blog. I know global warming has become a hot subject, so I figured I would give you the good news. This means we may not be turning into something like a hot exoplanet:

Hot exoplanet by Abel Mendez (DailyMail, UK)
Intended to grab your attention 

The actual data from GISS is shown here (again, taken from Bob Tisdale):

Bob Tisdale´s plot of the Goddard Institute 
world wide surface temperature anomaly. 
This is the actual data, no tricks. 

Now I´m going to go pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate. 

Bob Tisdale´s full report is here

And here´s an article in The Guardian, written to scare you

The Guardian reports things their way

This is the only graphic aid  they include in their article

Deckchairs in Hyde Park, central London, last month – 
the world's hottest June on record. 
Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA
Taken from the Guardian article you can read above. 

Tikun Olam = Mend the World


“One of the most dynamic developments in the current Gaza war is the massive system of tunnels dug by Hamas militants in the past three years.  The tunnels honeycomb the Strip and allow access for fighters not just to the battlefield within Gaza, but to the Israeli border itself, where there was a successful attack that killed two IDF officers.  The tunnels, like those dug by Hezbollah in Lebanon, allowed Palestinian fighters to engage with the IDF when it was to their advantage and to disappear when it wasn’t.  Unlike Operation Cast Lead, when Hamas largely evaporated and gave the IDF the run of Gaza, this time Hamas has stood and fought.  Ten soldiers were killed in the 2009 war and 33 have been killed in this one.”

The quote above is from the Tikum Olam website, written by Richard Silverstein. 

Israeli tanks near Gaza (from BBC.com)

Richard is a liberal or progressive American Jew who describes himself as pro-Israel but is also highly critical of the Israeli government and the Israel Lobby.

I think I need to be really clear about this: Richard criticizes the Israeli government, and I tend to agree with him. For many years I´ve noted Israeli government behavior to be borderline criminal. And in some cases they have gone way over that threshold.

Palestinian girl crying on a Gaza Beach 
(from richardsilverstein.com)

I´m not Jewish, but as I wrote in a previous post  when I moved from Spain to the USA in the 1960´s I moved into a Jewish neighborhood, and most of my friends were Jewish. To be honest, in those early days I developed a pretty warped idea about US society, and came to believe most Americans were Jewish, with a  sprinkle of Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Africans.  I thought Americans with Anglo and   Saxon  sounding  names were either TV  and movie characters,  or  the few Manhattan super rich who ran the empire from Wall Street. So when the Six Day War broke out in 1967 I went downtown with some friends to see if I could sign up to fight with the IDF (sure,   I was brainwashed, I already admitted it).

However, the same way my Jewish New York friends convinced me it was a good idea to go defend Israel and kill Arabs, other Jews I met over the years have convinced me things just ain´t what they seem. 

Avigdor Lieberman(*) poses with pet anthropoid 
(from veOOZ.com)

And this puts me at odds with quite  a few of my old Jewish friends. At the same time, I don´t really mesh very well with my new Jewish friends because most of them happen to be a bunch of communists. So what can I say? It seems left wing Jews are the only ones willing to criticize Netanyahu and his Darth Vader clones.  

In this life we find ourselves taking sides with people we don´t necessarily agree with on everything. But I can´t sit here,  stare at reality,  and leave Richard trying to do it all by himself.  If you have the guts go on and read his blog, and meet Richard and his reality. 

Richard (photo from the Seattle Times)


(*) Avigdor Lieberman is a really interesting character. Here´s a quote from The Forward about him:

Lieberman’s reputation as a politician on the extreme fringe came in part from his proposal to strip hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arab citizens of Israel of their citizenship as part of any future agreement with the Palestinians. Under his proposal, the geographic areas of Israel in which these Israeli citizens were concentrated would be transferred to a new Palestinian state. In exchange, the envisaged Palestinian state would agree to cede territory on which Israeli Jewish settlements sit in the currently occupied West Bank. Such a mass transfer of citizenship would violate international law without the consent of those affected. Lieberman initially made no provision for consulting Israeli Arabs about this but later changed his proposal to “transfer by consent.”

Lieberman’s domestic positions also provoke charges that he threatens Israeli democracy. Yisrael Beiteinu’s slogan in the previous elections was “no loyalty, no citizenship,” an allusion to the party’s proposed requirement that all citizens sign a loyalty oath to Israel as a Jewish state or face a loss of their right to vote. Many of Israel’s Arab citizens — almost 20% of the population — are seen as unlikely to make such a pledge."

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/165275/avigdor-liebermans-new-role-raises-worries/?p=all#ixzz38UeyItYY


Meeting Celebrities

Many years ago I found myself sitting in first class  right next to a famous actor. To be honest, at first  I was tempted to give him the usual bull about how I admired his work, ask him for his autograph and have my photograph taken with him using my old Polaroid. 

But you know, I figured people like that must be incredibly sick of being treated like zoo animals. So I decided to be cool, and ignored him  for the whole flight.  And I suppose my attitude and my size served as a barrier for the other passengers, who decided they had better not risk going over me to to get to him. I think we were flying from Chicago to New York, or something like that, and that was one of the quietest flights I ever had. 

Anyway, when we got off the plane and we were on the gangway on the way to the terminal he turned around, grinned, and said "Thank you", I grinned back and answered "You are welcome", and that was the last time I saw him. 

Famous actor with famous actress

When I tell people the characters I met in my life by accident they think I´m full of shit. But this is for real: I met Fidel Castro when I was about seven years old. I was introduced to the guy, we shook hands, he asked me about my grades, and he turned around after I said two words. The thing that impressed me the most about Fidel was his cigar and how bad it smelled. 

Famous dictator with stinky cigar

So I´ve spent years wondering what would have happened if I had put a poisoned thumb tack in the palm of my hand...hell, I could have been a national hero, with my own statue right there next to Jose Marti´s and everything. 


The Human Manual

Congratulations! You are the proud new owner of a human being, and with this manual we want to give you a quick overview of how to train it properly. You will enjoy your new possession a lot if you follow these simple steps… 

 Meeting your new human

But first, a warning. The material in this booklet is top secret. You should read it and immediately put it in your mouth, chew, and swallow to leave no trace of evidence that we  dogs know how to read and write.

The content of this booklet is divided into two parts:

1. How to train your human
2. Tips on how to keep humans healthy.

Now we  continue with the study of this fascinating breed.

How to train your human

Introduction. Your human is very smart, almost as much as you.  This breed is known for its extreme loyalty, and submissive nature.  But first we must understand that not all humans are equal, and that some are slow, lazy, or have flaws like not knowing how to  whistle or throw a stick at a distance.  This is the reason why dogs are patient.

First, your toilet  needs:  The priority is to train your human to take you out to pee and defecate when you want. This is critical because if you don´t you will  have to pee on cement, tile, or something (current  technology doesn´t  yet allow us to grow indoor grass of the proper quality, and modern  humans don´t  survive living in the open).

Your human must understand that when you bark at the door, it  has to stop whatever it is doing, put on its shoes, and run with you to a place where you  can comfortably do your thing.

You can train your human to leave home at all hours, in the rain, in the cold,  and wind,  always with a  plastic bag and glove to pick up your feces. The other dogs are not going to treat you socially if your human is not trained to collect you shit.

Second: You can´t live with a cat. It is obvious that you are a dog who hates cats.  Living with a cat is horrible and should be avoided at all costs. Therefore it is important that when you take a walk and see a cat, bark ferociously, and if you can chase it and bite into  its buttocks (CAUTION: cats have sharp claws which  hurt horribly if the cat can turn around and hit you on the nose).

If it´s not feasible for you to prove you really hate cats, you will have to buy a cartoon DVD  with  a good fight of dogs and cats and leave it  on the table so  your human can learn the realities of life.

Let´s be honest, some humans are pretty dense,  and you might have to repeat these steps several times.  The earlier in the  human training, the better. If in the worst case your man brings home a kitten, eat it. Don´t  let it grow, or  it will become a  nightmare on four legs.

Third: The food. To eat well, you have to learn to vomit. Humans suffer a lot of stress when you vomit (later we will  talk more  about stress in humans in the health section of the human being). Your human is human. This  means that at first it may not understand clearly that your  happiness is paramount and should be their primary concern. 

Sometimes your human will buy cheap food.  Some humans  dare  buy food in giant bags containing an abominable product. If you can, pee on the bag when you see it. If you give it enough  time, your human will put some of this food on a plate. This will  hit you hard: eat it, but  don´t  show much emotion, then go to an appropriate place (a fancy carpet or the human´s  bed), and VOMIT EVERYTHING. If vomiting at will isn´t possible, you  will have to have some hidden grass, the grass is a good dog purgative. 

This process should be repeated until the human being gives you something good to eat. Some dogs have managed to train  their human to feed  them rib bones with meat, chicken thighs, and other goodies. So work hard at it, and your effort will be rewarded.

Humans are easy to train with positive feedback. When your human does something you want, show your satisfaction. For example, place  your front legs straight and rigid,   and jump a little, barking and wagging your  tail at the same time.  Your human will be happy when it  sees you perform  this way. It is important to show your man that you are a sweet dog. A good method  is to  lick its  hands and arms, or else  its face, but tenderly, and very gently (as if you were licking your own genitals).

Positive feedback example

The human may have a host of training problems, and this prospectus doesn´t have them included, however it is important to remember this: be very patient and you will be the head  of the household.

Human  health perspectives  

Humans have delicate feet, when you want to go for a walk it is important not to push your human so hard it will leave  home barefoot. You must also make sure it keeps  warm in the winter and when it rains.  Human skin is naked,  and they don´t  endure the cold or moisture very well. Your human can become seriously ill, and this will cause a huge mess. Don´t let it happen.

As mentioned above, the human can suffer from something called stress. For example, when you participate in a howling concert with colleagues in the neighborhood, chances are your human will become stressed out because it  thinks all the dogs in the area  are noisy and/or sad. A human  won´t  understand that you like to howl. Therefore howling concerts should not exceed 30 minutes. If you see your human touching its  face  and crying, the 30 minutes are up.

If your human is suffering from stress (for example,  if you chew up  its father´s pants when it   comes to visit,  and your human sees it and then  grunts and turns beet red), then it is possible that you have to lick it until it calms down. Don´t let it kick. If your human misbehaves then you must bark and show you're the boss.


Through the solar power looking glass

As we all know, media reports and the blogosphere tend to confuse us, some just lie or lay out bullshit propaganda. Things are so bad we can´t really trust most of what we read and see. 

Solar powered kitchen

To give you an example, I´ve picked off a few comments about solar power in the media showing how one can take exactly the same data and use it in diametrically opposed opinions.

To make sure the reader isn´t confused about the actual data, I copied this chart from the Spain´s “Red Electrica de España 2013”. This is the Spanish electric grid 2013 summary. It shows the actual power generated by different sources in an electric power association (unfortunately it does exclude the UK, Sweden, and other large nations).

Electric Power Generated in 2013 in European nations (from REE)

As you can see, the solar power contribution was  fairly puny. Now I´ll move on to some quotes from the media, to see how they reflect what´s going on:

From the Guardian, a British newspaper


 “UK set a record for solar power on June 9, with 3.9 % of the total electricity generated¨


“Germany, with 1.4m PV systems, generated a peak of 23.1GW hours at lunchtime on Monday 9 June, equivalent to 50.6% of its total electricity need. According to government development agency Germany trade and invest (GTAI), solar power grew 34% in the first five months of 2014 compared to last year”

From Forbes Magazine


“Germany’s residential electricity cost is about $0.34/kWh, one of the highest rates in the world. About $0.07/kWh goes directly to subsidizing renewables, which is actually higher than the wholesale electricity price in Europe.”


“In April, renewable energy accounted for a record-setting 54% of the electricity generated in Spain, nearly tripling its share of the pie from just 19% in 2006. The associated economics are something akin to the apocalypse…..In May, the tariff deficit reached a whopping $34 billion.

Overly generous renewable energy subsidies are at least partially to blame. In 2007, Spain paid a premium of $556 per megawatt-hour for electricity that rooftop solar panels supplied to the electric grid, compared with an average $52 paid to competing coal- or gas-fired power plants. By 2012, a whopping $10.6 billion in subsidies were paid out to the renewable energy industry, rising by about 20% from the previous year, and covering more than one third of all electricity generated in Spain.”


“Sweden consumes a substantial amount of electricity per capita (15,000 kWh per person/year). Few countries consume more energy, yet Swedish carbon emissions are low compared with those of other countries. The average Swede releases 5.1 tons of carbon dioxide per year into the atmosphere, compared with the EU average of 7.9 tons and the US average of 19.1 tons.
The reason for this low emission rate is that about 78 per cent of electricity in Sweden comes from nuclear power and hydroelectric power, neither of which generates carbon emissions. Cogeneration from combined heat and power (CHP plants), accounts for somewhat above 10 per cent of the electricity output in Sweden, and these are mainly powered by biofuels. About 8 per cent of the electricity is imported, and the remainder, about 4 per cent, comes from wind power.”


“The EU's statistics agency Eurostat found that while emissions were cut across the 28-member bloc by an average of 2.5 percent in 2013, they actually went up in six countries, including Germany.

Denmark registered a 6.8 percent increase in CO2 emissions, in Estonia it was up by 4.4 percent, followed by Portugal (+3.6 percent), France (+0.6 percent) and Poland (+0.3 percent).
The strongest cuts in CO2, which account for 80 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming, came from Cyprus, where emissions went down by 14.7 percent, followed by Romania (-14.6 percent) and Spain (-12.6 percent).”

My conclusions? We can´t trust anything we read. It takes a lot of digging to get down to the truth. Everybody slants the data. 

Now I want to show you a map of the solar insolation in Europe. This is is the average amount of sunlight European nations receive.

Sunlight in Europe, average for the year 
(dark or brick colored means  more 
sunlight, the greens and blues are dimmer) 

As you can see putting up solar panels in northern Europe and the UK doesn´t make any sense. If their citizens want to cut back emissions they should finance solar power in sunny climates and receive credits for being such nice environmentalists. And if they want to get extremely smart about how they reduce worldwide emissions then they should finance hydropower plants in third world countries. Look at this reference for hydropower potential in the world

Hydropower potential around the world, from Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners

So what gives? I think politicians are stupid and the environmental lobby is mostly bark and no logic.


UK  and Germany Set one day solar power record

Forbes magazine

Phys Org

Forbes Magazine

Energy consumption by Source in Europe (2013)