Interesting Items 10/10

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue –

1.  Wet Batteries
2.  Nord Stream
3.  Kristin
4.  Trans
5.  Dutch Farms
6.  Dutch Natural Gas

1.  Wet Batteries.  One of the fallouts from One Size Fits All government meddling in the marketplace is the magnification of disasters.  A marketplace will weed out problems, as successful approaches and solutions tend to displace unsuccessful ones.  Usually, customers tend to purchase things that will work and are affordable.  Over time, we then tend to see improvement, especially in the technical world.  When a government gets itself involved, they quickly assume a solution, and force it down the unwilling throats of their citizens which instantly stops incremental improvement.  We saw it with the Space Shuttle.  We saw it with the vax vs therapeutics discussion during COVID.  We are seeing it with forced adoption of windmills and solar over all other forms of electrical generation.  Following hurricane Ian, we are starting to see it with electric vehicles (EVs).  Did you know that EV batteries react poorly to getting wet?  And not just poorly, when you try to recharge a lithium – ion battery what has gotten wet, it ignites and is almost impossible to put out, a lesson we should have learned from high school or college chemistry.

Firemen in Florida have battled multiple fires caused by EV batteries waterlogged by Hurricane Ian.  This is one difficulty with EVs never considered by the greens or the democrats pandering to them.  I suspect it is also the cause of no small number of E-bike fire videos starting to show up online (those not censored by Big Tech so far).  Amount of water necessary to extinguish such a fire is huge, and it is open to discussion whether dousing such a fire does any better than simply letting the vehicle burn.  One definition of a bomb is a device that stores energy.  It is the speed that energy is released that makes it a bomb.  And it appears that the feds, greens and democrats are forcing us to purchase bombs.  It is ironic that gasoline and diesel, both of which can explode are far safer in a far larger range of conditions than EVs and E-bikes currently are.  My prediction is that the E-bike manufacturers will figure it out far quicker than the EV manufacturers will, simply because they are operating in a marketplace the feds are mostly ignoring.  The only wild card in this is Tesla, as Musk and his people are generally quick to face up to and address development problems (autonomous vehicle operations, for instance).  At over 5% of new vehicle purchases in the US today, EV manufacturers have a problem they now have to solve.

2.  Nord Stream.  This story has been percolating a couple weeks, with significant movement last week.  Four explosions over 17 hours damaged parts of both Nord Stream natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.  The Russians were pretty quiet following the blasts.  Natural gas from the ruptures was visible on the surface following the blasts.  The bubbling water was visible via satellite.  The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate immediately pointed at sabotage, likely from the US, for what initially appeared to be an attack.  The ever-reliable (/sarc) John Brennan trotted himself out to take credit for a US covert action.  Note that whenever Brennan runs his mouth on anything, what he says is invariably a bald-faced lie.  We do know a few things.  One thing is that the pipelines were full of gas and had been so since Russia shut them down a month ago.  A second is that there 17 hours between first and last explosions.  Third, the ruptures seemed to take place at bends in the pipeline.  Fourth, and most important, Russia has a well-known (and well deserved) reputation for incompetence.  A few comments are in order.  Natural gas pipelines need regular care and feeding, especially those under cold water.  Some volume of natural gas will tend to precipitate out a gas-water mixture called gas hydrate (think of ice that burns).  How quickly this happens depends on temperatures, pressures, and the amount of water vapor mixed in the natural gas.  Precipitate out enough hydrate and you form a plug of some unknown length.  Do something with the pipeline (depressurize it, for example) poorly, and you can get that plug (if it exists) to move.  If it is long enough, once the plug hits a turn, it either stops or becomes fractured, releasing natural gas back into solution.  Do this quickly enough and you get an explosion.  I ran across one description that suggested that the Russians tried to depressurize the pipeline from their end rather than both ends at the same time.  No verification on that as yet.  Only thing that tends to confirm something odd on the Russian side is a Reuters report from Sept 5 that Gazprom now deemed their compressor station hazardous, meaning they had a known technical issue following shutdown.  Second issue is that any western (or other nation) military or intel operation will do their level best to do everything they want to do simultaneously so as to maximize confusion and minimize the chances of getting caught.  Waiting for 17 hours between the first and last explosion is the height of incompetence.  The suggestion that this was incompetence on the Russian side rather than a military or intel operation was first posted in Lawdog files on Sept  29.  I ran across it a few days later and sent it out to some of the local natural gas experts where it triggered some head scratching.  Expect more to come as we try to figure out what happens.  As of this writing, this is the best current explanation that I know of. 

3.  Kristen.  One of the new wars conducted by the feral Do(In)J against pro-life Americans has been investigation, arrest, and swatting of pro-life protesters for an event in Nashville 18 months ago.  Mark Houck, is a PA pro-life Catholic author who was swatted, arrested as 20 – 25-gun toting FBI agents rummaged through his home 3 weeks ago.  Seven screaming kiddos watching their father dragged away was a nice touch for Do(In)J.  Houck was arrested for violation of something called the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), a 1994 gift from the Clinton administration.  Do(In)J resurrected a case dropped over a year ago.  The Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights, one Kristen Clarke appears to be using her position to get even with Christian activists over Dobbs.  Clarke was roundly blasted by conservatives during her confirmation hearings in the senate for being incompetent, doctrinaire unfit to serve.  As usual, that criticism was understated.  For some reason, Clarke and her FBI enforcers are still completely uninterested in the vandalism and attacks on pro-life pregnancy crisis centers since Dobbs.  Make no mistake.  This is little more than intimidation by Clarke, Garland and the goons that work for them, yet another reason to never, ever vote for a democrat again.  Clarke is also involved in the Jan 6 prosecutions, apparently farming investigations off to various field offices to create the false impression that right-wing domestic violence is a widespread national problem.  She is ensuring that protesters on the political right are hammered and any protesters on the left are patted on their pointed little heads and sent to continue their evil ways. 

4.  Trans.  Sometimes, perhaps more than we would like to think, the medical community gets it wrong.  Not just a little wrong, but a whole lot wrong, permanently hurting a lot of people.  Case in point is a piece in Hot Air by David Strom that makes the case that trans treatments today are the new lobotomy.  Lobotomy was one of several invasive medical treatments used to address a rapid rise in the number of patients in mental hospitals during the first part of the 20th Century.  It is basically a surgery that disconnects part of the brain.  It was initially highly controversial until the inventor won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1949.  Generally used on people with severe behavior problems, with over 40,000 performed in the US before it was discarded.  Interestingly, it was the Soviet Union that led opposition to the procedure, banning it in 1950.  The important part of this is that the Nobel Prize award worked to stop criticism, at least for a while, and ensured the procedure continued to be used for years longer than it should have been.  Today, lobotomies (leucotomy) are viewed as medical barbarism and an example of medical trampling of patients’ rights.  Essentially, it was a fad, just like trans treatments have become today.  During the lobotomy era, tens of thousands worldwide who were designated as too disruptive suffered permanent damage to their brains because of a fad.  Today, we are seeing a similar fad play out with our children, once again inflicting permanent damage via medical mutilation.  Even puberty blockers and hormone treatment cause permanent damage, as they essentially stop the natural changes in the human body during the last growth spurt during puberty.  And once that is gone, there is no way to bring it back.  All of this is being done to children, most under the age of majority (18 or 21, depending on the state), aided, and abetted by a medical community that ought to know better, democrats, and their allies in the teachers’ unions.  I don’t think this is going to end well for any of us.

5.  Dutch Farms.  Coming soon to a farm near you….  Arbitrary government limits on nitrogen emissions from farms in the Netherlands spiked a rolling protest by farmers.  This government cramdown is coming to Canada and in short order, to the US.  By all measures, farming in the Netherlands is an economic winner.  It is the largest exporter of meat in Europe and the second largest exporter of food overall by economic value in the world, after the US.  Farm exports generate nearly $100 billion/year in revenue.  Target pollutants for reduction are nitrogen oxide (NOx, generally from industrial emissions), and ammonia (NH3, generally from manure and synthetic fertilizers).  Governments are proposing sharp cuts in ammonia emissions over a very short timeframe.  The only way to get these sorts of cuts in the arbitrary period is to sharply decrease the use of fertilizer, which will in turn sharply decrease food production.  In the Netherlands, the government cramdown will reduce livestock by 33 – 50%.  The government is now demanding that ammonia emissions are cut by 50% by 2030.  Farmers are predictably upset.  As with all things environmental, the new limits and arbitrary timeframe summarily stopped a very successful long-term reduction in these sorts of emissions 1995 – 2006.  The Dutch operated a system of “mineral bookkeeping” under which farmers measured nitrogen inputs in the form of feed and fertilizer, outputs in the form of milk and meat, calculating how much was escaping.  Farmers took various measures to decrease pollution and paid fines for exceeding limits.  In that decade, the system that allowed farmers choice how to meet the limits reduced emissions by a whopping 70%.  Not good enough for the government, trying to align its system with EU regulations, so the mineral bookkeeping system ended and triggered a growing revolt among farmers.  Ammonia release flatlined after 2006, not getting worse, but not getting any better.  In 2015, the government tried to introduce an emissions trading scheme which would allow farmers to trade emissions between one another.  The EU Court threw it out in 2018.  The Dutch high court agreed in 2019.  In response, the government latched onto hard targets and regulations, the ongoing cramdown.  Today, the government is focused on shutting down farms near nature areas.  Rules and regulations as usual are based on models, which are widely disputed and reviled.  In this, economists and regulators are driving the bus, leaving the actual farmers who successfully cut emissions for a decade on the receiving end rather than active participants.  A similar effort in Sri Lanka crashed its agricultural sector and along with it the national economy.  That crash led to the government flipping.  Canada just adopted similar limits on emissions of ammonia.  Harris – Xiden are not far behind.  Like I said at the beginning, coming soon …

6.  Dutch Natural Gas.  The partial destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines coupled with some very poor policy decisions regarding energy (shutting down coal plants, refusing to frack, shutting down reactors, and embracing solar and wing), Europe is about to have a very, very harsh winter.  With that in mind, the largest natural gas reserve in Europe is located in the Netherlands.  The Groningen Field has been operating since 1963.  It is among the largest European natural gas suppliers for half a century.  The problem with the field is that it has earthquakes.  Since they first started in 1986, there have been hundreds.  Most are undetectable.  Some are decently large, with a M 3.6 in 2012.  And the quakes are damaging buildings in the vicinity of the field, as masonry doesn’t play well with earthquakes.  In response, Dutch authorities have been cutting production from the field, today a tenth of what was produced in 2013 with a total shutdown expected in a few years.  There are thousands of property damage claims by residents.  Over 3,300 buildings were demolished in the area since 2012.  As usual, damage claim payments aren’t close to what the property owners are wanting.  The dilemma is that on the one hand, Shell can immediately ramp up production to replace what Germany lost with the Nord Stream shutdowns.  On the other, if they do that, you have continued subsidence which is being blamed for the earthquakes.  I am wondering why seawater isn’t being pumped back into the field to mitigate the subsidence caused by natural gas production.  It’s a tough decision.  Get cold or ride out earthquakes. 

More later –

– AG

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