Casting a shadow on solar

Now here’s an interesting article written by Frank Eltman: Solar project can’t save the forest for the trees. Let’s take a look at the “economics” of the article since I claim to write my blog about economic issues (well, most of the time).

Summary
• Cut greenhouse gases
• Replace defunct nuclear power plant
• Fight global warming
BUT
Demolish 350 acres of woodlands

• Cut 15,000 trees
• Cut 134 acres of trees
• Commitment of responsible use of the land
BUT
Provide 72 megawatts of solar power for 13,000+ homes

A definition of the word “economics” is provided by Investopedia.com:
Economics. Basically economics is the management of “scarce” resources. So although I usually write about banks and the “Fed*”, I guess it’s OK to write about trees. (*Federal Reserve Bank)

I love trees, I love to hear the rustle of the leaves through the trees when the wind blows. I love to sit under a big ‘ole tree, close my eyes and just feel the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees. And, how can one forget Autumn! Well… I mean running (as a kid) through the dried, fallen leaves making that great rustling sound… not the raking of them!

We need power to drive our world economies. We need the sun to light up our lives, grow our crops and feed our people. We need trees to anchor the earth beneath our feet, filter the sun and shade our lives. So it’s “forests” vs. “farms.” It’s interesting that solar installations are referred to as “farms.” “Wind” farms are referred to in the same way. Wind farms are quite a sight to see. I remember seeing one in California, like trees in a forest, the windmills stand lined up to catch prevailing winds, drive turbines and generate much needed electricity. The thing about solar farms is that, of course, they use solar panels to catch the rays of the sun. Unlike wind turbines, they require probably much more land acreage to install a cost-effective energy generating system. Ah, there’s an economic money term “cost-effective.”

In our yin and yang struggle to safeguard the environment we also seem to manage to threaten it. There is mention in the above news article of using the multiplicity of roof-tops and shopping mall parking lots for installing solar panels. I just thought about the difference between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, two inventor geniuses who harnessed electricity and devised two different approaches to the delivery of electrical energy to the masses at the beginning of the 20th Century. Of course Westinghouse won out because he promoted “alternating” current (AC) vs. Edison who championed “direct” current (DC), the two different delivery methods for electrical power at the time.

So here we are at the beginning of the 21st Century! I guess we need an Edison, Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla or two to help us sort out the current dilemma we have. How do we harness solar power and wind power for economic good as well as environmental good without destroying one or the other in the process???

Anybody got any good ideas?
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Moon
Eclipse
Candle

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Meet and Greet: 7/30/16

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

Horseshoe Nail

 

It’s strange (at least to me) how one topic or comment or news article in this case, can lead one “on and on” to different searches on the Internet. In this particular case, the news article that touched off my latest rummage of the ‘Net’ is a news piece on the Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper. Well, in thinking about my cyber journey a little more, it’s not so strange. My head is full of the two presidential conventions just ended and all of the rhetoric that transpired therein.

The particular Financial Post article to which I am referring is this one: Inside the Aging Lock that is one breakdown away from crippling North America’s Economy. After reading the news article it triggered in my head the old adage “the battle was lost because of a horseshoe nail.” So I searched around for the correct version of this adage and found that Benjamin Franklin wrote a version of it in his “Poor Richard’s Almanac” news paper. Here’s a version of Franklin’s verse at: goodreads.com. www.goodreads.com.

What I really want to talk about is the Financial Post article. Basically, the “Soo Locks” are two water locks that control access to the Great Lakes of North America. The Great Lakes  are: Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. They are “fresh” water lakes vs. “salt water” such as our oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific contain. The Great Lakes are connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

If we are to believe the article from the Financial Post, the Poe Lock, which is 50 years old, is vulnerable to serious breakdown and economic impact to the U.S. as well as Canada. Getting back to the Presidential conventions and the themes of the political parties’ platforms vis-à-vis economic issues, to quote from the news article: “A six-month shutdown of the Poe Lock … would plunge the nation into recession, closing factories and mines, halting auto and appliance production in the U.S. for most of a year and result in the loss of some 11-million jobs,” the report warns.”

There are obviously other “issues” that one could pick to launch into about the types of jobs these “11-million” are referring to, where the freighters are taking the out-going cargoes, are jobs being lost because of this “shipping”, whatever else one can think of. My point is that how short-sighted are we getting (have we gotten) that our U.S. economy is disastrously threatened??? We have not recently heard about the sequester funding bill that was enacted in Congress and its impact on the U.S. economy for a while now. What potential disasters that legislation may be causing thanks to the lack of elected officials not doing their jobs.

Anyway, here’s an interesting paper written by Robert M. Williamson For the Want of a Nail. It highlights Ben Franklin’s adage and discusses the idea of apprenticeships for job training. I guess I started out this blog entry talking about water access but ended up talking about jobs, that’s what happens when one’s mind wanders across the Internet. Relative to the jobs or “lack of” issue, I have written several articles about that in the past. If you are interested, here is a link to the compilation of these articles:  Jobs Archive.

How can we, with conscience, allow the deterioration of our society because of such “craziness.” It’s all about “money,” the lack of it, too much of it, too little of it, the temptation of it and what it can buy, who has it and who doesn’t have it or enough of it. It brings to mind a motion picture “Other People’s Money”. In the movie Danny DeVito is a Wall Street “raider” who buys and sells companies for their assets. There is a happy ending to the movie, the employees save their jobs and a manufacturing plant stays “vital” in the community. The real lesson from this movie is the value of “compromise”, this value is sorely lacking in our current Federal, State, and perhaps local governments. Custer’s last stand ended up with a slaughter and it seems we just can’t get out of that type of mentality!

Apology

Banks and Banking in Year 2016

Here’s what’s happened to the “big” banks and banking in general since the Great Recession. Bloomberg.com has published a piece by Yalman Onaran called “Citigroup, HSBC Jettison customers as Era of Global Empires Ends.”

Executive Summary of article

  • Citigroup®
    Since crisis has doubled derivatives contracts to $56 trillion dollars.
    Focuses on trading.
    Focuses on richest customers—high-net-worth individuals
  • HSBC Holdings PLC®
    Quits “retail” banking and stops serving 80 million customers
    Relys more on investment banking.
    Eliminated 1,600 U.S. locations in U.S.
    Closed 500+ branches in U.K.

“All this retrenchment hasn’t silenced calls to break up big banks. In the U.S., both the Republican and Democratic platforms call for reinstatement of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which separated consumer and investment banking” writes Onaran.

Onaran mentions Internet banking in his article and “that near-zero interest rates have made traditional banking less profitable,” quoting KBW’s Cannon.

All in all, I guess using the U.S. Postal Office as a bank is a pretty good alternative. See my posting entitled “Back to the Future, using the USPO as a bank.” What do you think?

Author’s note, 9/24/16: Here’s a couple of articles on the Wells Fargo fiasco:
Hole dug by Wells Fargo Bank
How fragile is our Financial System?
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Panic
Value

Saskatchewan drinking water measures could be in place for months due to Husky oil spill: official — Financial Post – Top Stories

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — Communities affected by an oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River can expect precautionary drinking water measures to be in place for weeks or even months, says a Saskatchewan government official. “It’s not going to be a short-term event,” Sam Ferris with Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency said Monday. “It could go…

via Saskatchewan drinking water measures could be in place for months due to Husky oil spill: official — Financial Post – Top Stories

This photograph and news article from the Financial Times(r) is just too shocking not to share it with others. Of course, we have heard of huge oil spills, think of the Exxon Valdiz for one. But these photographs do make us, I would hope, pause to think.

I am not an “environmentalist” but I do try to recycle, repurpose, redistibute, donate or re-use items if possible so as to help the garbage glut on our planet. We do need oil to “run” our planet at least for the “short term” which of course still could be for a couple of hundred years more.

I don’t know the answer, I’m certainly not God. One could say, which is more precious, oil or water? The neanderthals existed without oil but could not exist without water.

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Dramatic
 
Witness
Border

Meet and Greet: 7/23/16

Stay cool everyone!

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

Debt – Deficit Conundrum

I listened to Mr. Trump’s nomination acceptance speech on Thursday, July 21, 2016. Many of you did also. As I listened to the litany of “initiatives” that he was suggesting for his term in office as the President of the United States, I thought “Hmmm, I’ll check out his speech on the factcheck.org website.”

There’s just too much to absorb and, obviously too many issues that the listener has to be aware of, in order to effectively understand those problems or challenges about which Mr. Trump is speaking. Here’s the web link to Mr. Trump’s acceptance speech as analyzed on factcheck.org. Factcheck.org is funded by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. There appears not to be any political influence in their funding income so hopefully we can trust analysis and commentary as “non-partisan.”

I have previously posted about the concepts of “debt”, “(monetary) deficit,” and “trade deficit.” Needless to say, all three (3) are very complicated issues of contention in the Presidential debates as well as deeply influential challenges in the U.S economy, and guide or influence many of the laws proposed or enacted by Congress (hopefully, instead of by “executive orders” from any U.S. President!)

Here they are again; each post has web links to additional information about the topic. Obviously it’s too much to absorb at one time, but this post is meant as a reference to further your research and knowledge about the above three (3) concepts. Mr. Trump’s speech contains many other issues but as my blog is centered on Economics issues, those are the ones that I highlight.

Debt vs. Deficit: What’s the Difference? In a nutshell (and that’s a bad analogy so I apologize ahead of time!) Deficits are an accumulation of debt. Please don’t stop reading here, check out my link. It’s a boring but so essential difference for us to understand while listening to the politicians and now in addition, a businessman candidate discussing them. Link to: Debt vs. Deficit:  What’s the Difference?

U.S. Debt Limit: Now, this is one of those annual brawls that the President has with Congress where the U.S. budget is “hammered out” for passage, and historically a lot of “pork barrel” shenanigans happened for special interest. I call this a “shell game” vs. nutshell! Link to U.S. Debt Limit.

Trade Deficits: Trade deficits or surpluses (I understand that they DO exist!), are a result of trade agreements. Country A agrees to buy widgets from Country B, Country B agrees to buy grain from Country A. However, it should be so simple! In actuality, the United States is involved in multiple-country trade agreement such as NAFTA. Link to: Trade Deficits.

Sketch of U.S. Economy in 2016: Following is a link to an article slideshow by Heather Long created for CNN® Money. There are  ten (10) charts depicting several statistics which represent different economic indicators such as unemployment rate, personal income, job hiring, to name just a few. Sketch of U.S. Economy in 2016

As usual I offer several reference links for further reading. The breadth and depth of these economic factors affect us all. Don’t try to read or even scan it all in one reading. I know that you won’t anyway. But I hope that you come back to read this post several times. As I mention in my profile, I’m an amateur investor just like you. “Chunking” out the information makes it easier to digest. Granted these are mammoth “chunks” but then the U.S. has a mammoth economy!

It sure needs some TLC* right now, let’s hope we choose the right and proper caregivers.

*tender loving care
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Connection
Sandwich
Dilemma

It doesn’t really matter! (I guess)

What I’m referring to is the U.S. Presidential election and the U.S. stock market.

There is a saying “on Wall Street” that the stock market projects six (6) months “down the road.” This means that “the markets” are already anticipating the future or have “a forward looking view.” In other words, “the market” is probably not responding to the news which is happening now (e.g. July 20, 2016), or this week or perhaps even this last month, but rather “the markets” are acting positively or negatively towards “the future”.

The U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is bumping it’s head up against ANOTHER “all-time high.” To quote the New York Times, “The Dow Jones industrial average inched 25.96 points, or 0.1 percent, higher for its eighth consecutive gain to set another record at 18,559.01.”

Here’s how the Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail relates the U.S. stock market in relation to the U.S. presidential election.

CNBC has an interesting “take” on the stock market vs. presidential election phenomenon: History shows stocks rally

If you are interested in “market indicators”, here are two (2) blog posts which focus on this subject:

What are Economic Indicators?

U.S. Economic Indicators

Update to R2D2 where are you?

Here’s the latest news on U.S. Bill HR1599: Looks like it will be placed on the President’s desk for signature and enactment, see Chicago Tribune article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-genetically-modified-food-labels-20160714-story.html

Below is a copy of my original blog: —————————————————————————–

Well, I guess I have another reason to finally succumb to the purchase of a smartphone. Why? So I am able to read ingredient labels of products that are represented by QR codes! Oh, it’s not that I’m illiterate…far from it. It’s that I’m NOT the robot R2D2 from Star Wars.

If you are part of the “older” generation which grew up around “billboards” and “Burma Shave” roadside ads, QR codes are obviously “from outer space.”  QR codes are like the bar codes used on products so the item can be “digitally scanned by a computer. There is vital information stored “on” the barcode BUT only a computer-type device with specialized software can read the codes or “images” displayed. Well, my eyes and brain are programmed to read written language not “computer” language and…there’s the “rub”, a computer must intervene.

The Chicago Tribune article that I’ll refer you to is entitled: Will food shoppers really seek out GMO information using QR codes?  I read Nutrition labels. I look for sugar content, salt content, and fat content of the product. One issue raised by the news article is that GMOs  (genetically modified organism) information present in the product will not necessarily be mentioned on a printed ingredients label (if there is a human-readable label present to read!

There is a U.S. House of Representatives bill being “considered” for passage this week in the House. It is  H.R. 1599. There are “those” who do not want product labeling to specify whether GMO-type ingredients are in a product or in the case of meats (for example) if the live stock was fed GMO-type animal feed. I, for one, want to know these things because I’m trying to “clean up” my eating habits. It’s hard but one tries as well as one can.

My feeling is that if you want us to buy your product, tell us what’s in it. The thing about capitalism is that money “votes” yes or no on the success of a product. The obvious fear about the consumer knowing that GMOs are present in a product, maybe the consumer won’t buy the product. Guess what you are right! I vote with my wallet. I don’t want any GMOs or scientifically modified products, if I can avoid them. I have enough “health” issues and if avoided potential timebombs helps me eat better than I’d try to avoid them.

Unlike R2D2, my body parts aren’t so interchangeable and if they do need changing another human may have to donate that body part to me  (if I’m lucky).

Not only are GMOs a health issue, they are an economic issue, a financial issue (for the consumer and the manufacturer/producer), a monetary issue (affordability vs. safety perhaps), an ethics issue and perhaps a moral issue.

Now that I’m “issued” to death, how do you feel about eating GMO modified foods? Given a choice the consumer can vote “yes” or “no” to his/her purchase.