Californians have been growing almonds for a long time. "The Almond Grove At  T. H. Selby's Residence, Fair Oaks, Cal." ca. 1870. NY Public Library

Californians have grown almonds for a long time. “Almond Grove At T. H. Selby’s Residence, Fair Oaks, Cal.” ca. 1870. NY Public Library

2006 was something of a banner year for both beekeepers and growers. A high fraction of beekeepers experienced better than 50% losses. Many growers could not rent bees at any price. Lots of almond groves in California went without pollination that year, and, as with many species of nuts, if the pollen isn’t carried over from an unrelated plant, nuts do not develop. Almonds, like many crops, (and most nuts) do not self-pollinate. Unless pollinated by an agent like a honey bee, they just don’t bear fruit. The price of almonds shot up in 2006 and has not dropped very much since.

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Now you see her; now you don't

Now you see her; now you don’t.

There aren’t enough bees to perform all of the pollination work in the United States. So, if you like to travel, make money doing it, and don’t mind a sting now and again, then professional beekeeping may just be for you.  And hey – it’s a seller’s market.

About 1.4 million hives get hauled to and around California every spring. They travel by plane, semi or pickup trucks. 60% of the American hives are engaged in commercial pollination. They pollinate almond trees, and other key crops:

  • Cranberries in Massachusetts and New Jersey.
  • Blueberries and peaches from Jersey to Georgia,
  • Pumpkins from Jersey to Illinois.
  • If it comes from a flowering plant, it’s pollinated by bees.

You can take your bees “On The Road” and make money without writing a word. And if you actually hate to travel, you can just send the bees.

Just make sure they all don’t all disappear.

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Bill Thompson

Bill Thompson

Behind Oz’s Curtain of ‘Law and Order’

By C.C. Reilly

Bill Thompson: Schools not Prisons

“The [$34 million] the city wants to spend on [the Brooklyn House of Detention design] contract would be better used as a means to reduce class sizes and build more schools.”
NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.
November 19, 2009

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PLPortfolio.1407aOn Dec. 21, 2012, I put $16 Million imaginary dollars in equal imaginary investments in 16 real energy companies; Eight in the Sustainable Energy space and eight in the fossil fuel space. Here are the results since Dec. 21, 2012:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 30.26%.
  • The S&P 500 is up 38.04%.
  • The Fossil Fuel Portfolio is continues to dramatically underperform the reference indices. It is up 25.08% from Dec. 21, 2012.
  • The Sustainable Energy portfolio is down 11% from last month, but is up 221.77% from Dec. 21, 2012.

The details are below.

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Qatari Emir w Ismail Haniya, Oct. 2012

Qatari Emir Hamad al-Thani with Ismail Haniya, Oct. 2012, Photo NY Times.

In October, 2012, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, as reported in the NY Times, here, “pledged $400 million to build two housing complexes, rehabilitate three main roads and create a prosthetic center, among other projects” in Gaza.

The $400 Million could have built 133 MW of offshore wind or 100 MW of PV Solar electricity generation capacity.

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Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Relational Databases, RDBMSs, circa 1999, such as DB2, MS SQL Server, Oracle, Informix and Sybase, implementations of E. F. Codd‘s work at IBM and built according to Codd’s 12 Rules, are effective for solving OnLine Transaction Processing, or OLTP problems. These might be termed “Blue Quadrant” problems, if you consider Stonebraker’s Matrix, 1, below.

X-Ray of broken arm,  courtesy of C. Bethel, MD, and A. Dean, MD.

Broken arm, courtesy C. Bethel, MD, and A. Dean, MD.

They are billing systems, trading systems – accounting systems.  Relational databases are useful for tracking widgets and money, as long as those widgets can be described with words or numbers.  Processing simple data, even with a high volume of transactions.

Relational databases could also be used to store images, such as those of Scarlett Johansson or Marilyn Monroe, above, or X-Rays, left. However, these are stored in the database as Binary Large Objects, aka “BLOBs.” While RDBMSs could operate on large volumes of data in various ways, there are just two operations they could do on on BLOBs: store and retrieve.  They could not query on intrinsic properties of a BLOB. They could query on data that describe a BLOB, but not the BLOB itself. There is no other processing in a traditional RDBMS. And they could not search on images, only on text describing images.

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EnergyPortfolios_Indices_2014_06 We are watching a paradigm shift.

How else can we explain the dramatic rise of the Sustainable Energy portfolio, the equally dramatic underperformance of the Fossil Fuel portfolio, compared to the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 since I started this experiment on Dec. 21, 2012? The data are in my post of June 24, 2014, Energy Portfolios, 18 Months: Sustainable up 257%, Fossil Fuels up 24.6%.

Consider these questions:

  1. Which companies are Disruptive or Subject to Disruption?
  2. Which companies are Evolving and which are doing what worked for the last 20/30/50/80 years?
  3. Can management execute?
  4. Is management asking for government subsidies?
  5. What about the long term side effects? What are the Economic Externalities?

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PL_EnergyPort_14_06On Dec. 21, 2012, I put $16 Million imaginary dollars in equal imaginary investments in 16 real energy companies; Eight in the Sustainable Energy space and eight in the fossil fuel space. In the 18 months between the close of trading December 21, 2012 and the close of trading June 20, 2014,

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 29.46% from 12/21/12.
  • The S&P 500 is up 37.27%.
  • The Fossil Fuel Portfolio is up 24.56% from Dec. 21, 2012.
  • The Sustainable Energy portfolio is up 257.06% from Dec. 21, 2012.

In addition to the data summary, below, this post, the 21st in the series, will be followed with a summary analysis.

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Indoor Cloud. Courtesy 'Where Cool Things Happen.' com

Indoor Cloud. Courtesy ‘Where Cool Things Happen.’ com

Before We Called it “The Cloud” … We Still Had “Software as a Service.” We just didn’t know what Marketing wanted to call it.

Back in 1990 – ’91, before we called it “The Cloud,” before most of us used the Internet, when we were young and idealistic, I worked on three systems that offered what we would now call SaaS – Software as a Service.

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Image of Explosion at Fukushima

Fukushima Explosion, Courtesy Forbes

A lot of people have been talking about a new dawn of nuclear power (Telegraph, article from 2013 here).  “Fukushima,” they say, perversely, “proves nuclear is safe because only 3 reactors melted down.” They also say, “a culture of safety can make or break nuclear power.” (Japan Times, op-ed, here).

I think these people are not asking the right questions.

For example, the melt-rate of Antarctic ice has double since before 2010, that is since before Fukushima. Andrew Freedman on Mashable, here, and Phil Plait, on Slate, here wrote about a scientific study, accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters which documents the increase in the rate at which Antarctic ice is melting. The study attributes this increased ice-melt-rate to rising ocean temperatures. The conventional wisdom is that “The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing ocean temperatures to rise.” But … what if this is only part of the problem?

What effect, if any, does the release of radiation from the Fukushima melt-down have on ocean temperature and therefore, the rate of melting ice?

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Limits to the Cloud

by L J Furman, MBA June 1, 2014

While Amazon Redshift offers “fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service… for just $0.25 per hour with no commitments or upfront costs and scale to a petabyte or more for $1,000 per terabyte per year” (and I can do it for less – see below) there are limits to the cloud.

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Energy Portfolios: 17 Months: Sustainable up 211.6%: Fossil Fuel up 18.52%

by L J Furman, MBA May 21, 2014

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 26.29% from 12/21/12. The S&P 500 is up 32.03%. The Fossil Fuel Portfolio is up 18.52% from Dec. 21, 2012. The Sustainable Energy Portfolio is up 211.6% from Dec. 21, 2012.

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The Wrong Way Into The Cloud

by L J Furman, MBA May 18, 2014

How not to implement a cloud-based information service. What’s the Cloud? The Internet is The Cloud. GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail are cloud based information services. More technically, these are referred to as Software as a Service, or SaaS. There are also Platform as a Service, PaaS, and Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS.

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Energy Portfolios, 16 Months: Sustainable Energy up 204.25%, Fossil Fuel up 15.38%

by L J Furman, MBA April 22, 2014

On Dec. 21, 2012, I put $16 Million imaginary dollars in equal imaginary investments in 16 real energy companies; Eight in the Sustainable Energy space and eight in the fossil fuel space. The results: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 24.54% from Dec. 21, 2012. The S&P 500 is up 30.56% from Dec. 21, […]

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Energy Portfolios: 15 Months: Sustainable up 222.6%: Fossil Fuel up 7.3%

by L J Furman, MBA March 23, 2014

On Dec. 21, 2012, I put $16 Million imaginary dollars in equal imaginary investments in 16 real energy companies; Eight in the Sustainable Energy space and eight in the fossil fuel space. The Sustainable Energy portfolio is composed of Cree and Lighting Sciences in the LED space, GTAT, which at the time made solar ovens […]

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