Monday, September 27, 2021

Monday Morning Links

  •  [E]nergy usage is going to keep rising, led by China, the US and India, while energy transitions tend to both take a very long time and never actually end. We just pile new sources on top of old. The world still uses much the same amount of traditional biomass (wood etc) as it did 100 years ago. Even after many years of efforts, coal, oil and gas still make up 80 per cent of our global energy mix, pretty much exactly the same number as a decade ago. We are running to stand still. [FT]
  • The recent rally in oil stocks has been “the biggest dead-cat bounce in history,” said Jampel, who’s also the co-chief investment officer of HITE Hedge, which oversees about $650 million in all for clients. [Bloomberg]
  • Over the next few quarters, Dorchester may be able to pay distributions that are the highest it has paid since 2008. At current strip prices, Dorchester could pay a quarterly average of $0.60 per unit between Q3 2021 and the end of 2022. Longer term I am still assuming slightly lower commodity prices (such as $65 WTI oil). At that oil price, Dorchester's estimated value is around $19 to $19.50 per unit, while it should be able to sustain distributions of around $0.50 per quarter. [DMLP]
  • Crop harvesting, in essence, is a statistical process. It’s powered by the lack of overlap in the probability distributions of the physical traits of different parts of a plant. Crops that can’t be harvested in this way remain extremely labor intensive and expensive to produce. Strawberries, for instance, must be picked by hand due to their fragile nature. As a result, strawberries upwards of $2.00 per pound, and labor makes up about 40-60% of their production cost. For comparison, corn (which is harvested mechanically) costs somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 cents per pound, and labor consists of just over 1% of its production costs. Timber harvesting provides an interesting example as well. Trees are harvested mechanically, but NOT via simple repetitive movements or a filter-like process. Instead, large boom-mounted saws cut down trees one at a time, using human-like movements (reach out, grasp tree, engage saw, move tree to truck). Thus despite being mechanized, timber harvesting doesn’t seem to have seen the same gains in labor productivity that other parts of agriculture have - between 1950 and 1980, rather than decreasing, Oregon’s logging employment moved more or less in concert with it’s volume of wood harvested. [link]
  • Many of the waterfront hamlets of the Istrian peninsula—a piece of land now split among Italy, Slovenia and Croatia—were once Venetian possessions. Even now, they are marked architecturally by distinctive campanile, or bell-towers, as well as by the sort of sinuously sloping windows, many garlanded by vines, seen in some of Muggia’s private houses. Since the fall of the Venetian Empire in the late 18th century, the region was largely under the aegis of the Austrian Habsburgs, who based their maritime operations from the splendid limestone city of Trieste (now in Italy). In the 20th century, the region was variously carved up between Italy and what was then Yugoslavia. Briefly, in the postwar years, from 1947-1954, it was legally its own territory, the Free Territory of Trieste, stretching from the town of Duino, a little over 10 miles northwest from Trieste, all the way to Novigrad, in what is now Croatia. Two sets of national borders now divide the peninsula. But, for the people who live and work in the geographically fluid region, the Istrian peninsula still retains a distinct, unified character. [WSJ]
  • You can find quality craft beer flowing in Astoria and Warrenton any day of the year, but every February, stouts take center stage. During Stout Month, Fort George Brewery, Rogue, Astoria Brewing Company, Buoy Beer Company and other participating Astoria & Warrenton bars and brewpubs offer expanded and limited-time selections of this notoriously strong, dark and delicious beer. You can embrace Astoria’s dark side by visiting anytime during Stout Month, or plan your trip around the Festival of the Dark Arts for a weekend of dark beer, dark arts and other shenanigans at Fort George Brewery. [link]
  • Settled people do not belong only to each other: they belong to a place, and out of that sense of shared roots there grow the farm, the village and the city. Vegetation cults are the oldest and most deeply rooted in the unconscious, since they are the cults that drive out the totemism of the hunter-gatherer, and celebrate the earth itself, as the willing accomplice in our bid to stay put. The new farming economy, and the city grows from it, generated a sense of holiness of the planted crop, and in particular of the staple food – which is grass, usually in the form of corn or rice – and the vine that wraps the trees above it. Such, surely, is the prehistory of the bread and wine of the Eucharist. [Roger Scruton]
  • French/civil law countries seem to be systematically inferior to common law countries for investing, because this paper finds that civil law is less protective of minority shareholders, specifically in the legal treatment with respect to looting by insiders. I do not understand why investors tolerate these legal regimes where the rules of the game put them at a disadvantage. The goal of investing is to receive coupons, payments of cash, not annual reports with nicely escalating accounts (that you will never touch). Investing in Brazil or China is like buying a noncumulative preferred stock. They are trick securities, unsafe at almost any price. [CBS]
  • As part of our re-nicotinization research, we may at some point write a blog post on the costs vs benefits of using nicotine. Potentially beneficial aspects of nicotine that you can find via anecdote or actual research are: cognitive enhancer / nootropic, energy booster, appetite suppressant, anti-depressant / mood enhancer, sociability enhancer, "protective action against nigrostriatal damage" (Parkinson’s disease), and competition with coronavirus for ACE2 receptors. Potentially harmful aspects of nicotine are vasoconstriction, tachycardia / other cardiovascular effects, and up-regulation of ACE2 receptor expression (offsetting factor for coronavirus risk risk). Another aspect to consider would be whether tolerance / adaptation / receptor up-regulation mean that there is truly a net benefit from consuming nicotine. (There is the same question regarding net benefit given tolerance and adaptation with caffeine.) [CBS]


viannacapitalist said...

Why has the WSJ used the most appalling beach in Istria for this article?
Other than that, the peninisula is a fantastic place...:-)

CP said...

CBS Vienna-style coffeehouse meetup in Istria??

CP said...

Recently, the price of Rolex watches has gone hyperinflationary. For reasons nobody fully understands, supply has dried up. Visit any authorized dealer today and you will find almost nothing to buy. The display cases are literally empty. There are a few undesirable models sitting around – smooth bezel Datejusts and the like – but you aren’t finding any watch that one would have considered even the least bit desirable just two or three years ago.