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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters l Danish and his cave
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Thursday, March 29,2012

Letters l Danish and his cave

Corrections: In the March 22 story “Act legalizes cottage chefs,” the figure reported as the cap for small producers was incorrectly reported as $100,000. The cap is actually $5,000 in net revenues.

The March 22 story “Taste-trepreneurs” incorrectly described the way in which Life Opening processes its cacao beans. The cacao beans are not soaked or germinated. Rather, they are dried at low temperatures. Therefore, they are “alive” and keep all of their available nutrients.

Danish and his cave

(Re: “The President’s astonishing chutzpa,” Danish Plan, March 22.) I’m not sure who appointed Paul Danish the excess-presidential-hubris monitor, in his branch of the bankrupt cave he must live in. His math says “24 billion” of natural gas and “7 billion” make “energy math,” right? Silly chemistry! What good is it? We wouldn’t ever waste scarce/expensive oil to drill more oil, right? That 24 billion cubic feet may give half the energy of the 7 billion barrels, but still, an easy replacement, right? Profit forever. Yes, unless you know economics. Also (wait for it), natural gas isn’t the same thing as oil.

It seems his cave-written investment plan is growing bankrupt. Shockingly, too, the energy return on investment (EROI) of oil is different than natural gas! Trivial oil drilling has disappeared. Down from a 1,000x return for one barrel in the 1920s to a 5x return for one barrel. Before equipment costs. Actual oil net gain, only. Quickly trashing 20 percent of your diamonds or gold from that hard-won mine sounds a bit sad, no? Non-energy tech costs are further down. Even so, it’s plummeting from the ’70s, when 20x or 40x were reasonable returns. The clock is ticking from 5x down to 2x.

Still, the funniest part of this portfolio failure is lost on Danish and many others: Oil company oil isn’t “our” oil yet. Shock. Even if a mythical 50 billion bar rels came right from North Dakota (less the drill-cost of 10), it would easily be driven up in price by China (or any other debt-free country).

Wait! Just hold the presses! Danish hopes bribe-kindliness to hyper-profitable world companies of $4 billion a year will keep them drilling in our country. Take that! I wonder if the U.S. will get “our” hard-bribed-for oil? They’ll stay loyal when they own the oil? Right? It’s “ours,” right? Deficits spent on bribes are a good bet, right?

Actually, they can laugh as needed. You see, it’s rumored companies instead run a “global oil market” where the U.S. buys its IOU-settled portion after those with assets set the real price.

Imported? Exported? Who cares, these aren’t strawberries! Our beautiful five years of North Dakota crude will taste sweet after China (and others) bid and fill their pitcher at the new top price. Then the rest is all for us! (Sticker shock notwithstanding.)

All right then. Now we only need two more North Dakotas every decade, forever. Easy. All ready and prepared to go?

No. Also, the EROI hasn’t stopped. Tar sands in Canada? EROI of 2.4. Even in a cave, an EROI of 1-2 is where no sane person would drill for oil. A sane world would find it wasteful and fire such investors who waste our money. Other alternatives would look better as part of a long-term investment.

Silly world. We must understand Paul Danish must be far more worried if Obama gets credit for anything. Also, it makes him happy if he gets blame for things he can’t control. He is happy in his cave. He can’t be bothered with $4 billion less deficit spending per year. Don’t worry. China and the oil companies will just lend it back to us at interest.

A winning strategy!

Christopher Hassell/Lafayette

Make your own labels

I support Pamela White’s contention that consumers who are concerned about genetically modified foods should be able to know what they are buying (“The fight to label frankenfoods,” Uncensored, March 15). But I disagree with her solution.

Efforts to mandate labeling will take a long time to wind their way through Congress, and even if successful, the result will be a watered-down version of the legislation, thanks to industry lobbyists. Then, regardless of the final form of the law, producers will immediately start finding loopholes. Updating and enforcing those laws will take years and require a whole new army of taxpayer-funded government employees.

A much better solution is to put the information on the label ourselves, albeit virtually. Modern smartphones have the ability to scan UPC barcodes, which means we (“the people”) can hijack a globally ubiquitous supply chain technology to use for our own purposes. Virtual labels can contain information beyond the spin of marketers, and that information can be updated instantly.

Manufacturers can’t do a damned thing about it.

True, not everybody has a smartphone. But a large and growing number do, and if there really is widespread opposition to GM foods (not just “sure, why not” support in surveys about labeling laws) the negative impact on sales will still be heard.

If we took all the energy being expended on the campaign for legislation and simply co-opted some existing technologies, the solution would be available next week. Without Congress or lobbyists having anything to say about it. Disclaimer: I am an advisor to theopenlabel.com, a startup working in this space.

David Rea/Boulder

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