Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

Strangely enough, the limit we seem to be reaching with respect to fossil fuel extraction comes from low prices. At low prices, the extraction of oil, coal, and natural gas becomes unprofitable. Producers go bankrupt, or they voluntarily cut back production in an attempt to force prices higher. As the result of these forces, production tends to fall. This limit comes long before the limit that many people imagine: the amount of fossil fuels in the ground that seems to be available with current extraction techniques.

The last time there was a similar problem was back in 1913, when coal was the predominant fossil fuel used and the United Kingdom was the largest coal producer in the world. The cost of production was rising due to depletion, but coal prices would not rise sufficiently to cover the higher cost of production. As a result, the United Kingdom’s coal production reached its highest level in 1913, the year before World War I started, and began to fall in 1914.

Between 1913 and 1945, the world economy was very troubled. There were two world wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Great Depression. My concern is that we are again headed into another very troubled period that could last for many years.

The way the energy problems of the period between 1913 and 1945 were resolved was through the rapid ramp-up of oil production. Oil was, as that time, inexpensive to produce and could be sold for a very large multiple of the cost of production. If population is to remain at the current level or possibly grow, we need a similar “energy savior.” Unfortunately, none of the alternatives we are looking at now yield a high enough return relative to the required investment.

I recently gave a talk to an engineering group interested in energy research talking about these issues. In this post, I will discuss the slides of this presentation. A PDF of the presentation can be found at this link.

The Low Oil Price Problem

Oil prices seem to bounce around wildly. One major issue is that there is a two-way tug of war between the prices that citizens can afford and the prices that oil companies require. We can look back now and say that the mid-2008 price of over $150 per barrel was too high for consumers. But strangely enough, oil producers began complaining about oil prices being too low to cover their rising cost levels, starting in 2012. Prices, at a 2019 cost level, were at about $120 per barrel at that time. I wrote about this issue in the post, Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending. Oil prices now are in the $40 range, so are way, way below both $120 per barrel and $150 per barrel.

Interest rates and the availability of debt also play a role in oil prices. If interest rates are low and debt is readily available, it is easy to buy a new home or new car, and oil prices tend to rise because of the higher demand. When prices are too low for producers, central banks have been able to lower interest rates through a program called “quantitative easing.” This program seems to have helped oil prices to rise again, over a three-year period, after they crashed in 2008.

OPEC producers are known for their low cost of production, but even they report needing high oil prices. The cost of extracting the oil is reported to be very low (perhaps $10 per barrel), but the price charged needs to be high enough to allow governments to collect very high taxes on the oil extracted. If prices are high enough, these countries can continue the food subsidies that their populations depend upon. They can also sponsor development programs to provide jobs for the ever-growing populations of these countries. OPEC producers also need to develop new oil fields because the old ones deplete.

Oil production outside of the United States and Canada entered a bumpy plateau in 2005. The US and Canada added oil production from shale and bitumen in recent years, helping to keep world oil production (including natural gas liquids) rising.

One reason why producers need higher prices is because their cost of extraction tends to rise over time. This happens because the oil that is cheapest to extract and process tends to be extracted first, leaving the oil with higher cost of extraction until later. 

Some OPEC countries, such as Saudi Arabia, can hide the low price problem for a while by borrowing money. But even this approach does not work well for long. The longer low oil prices last, the greater the danger is of governments being overthrown by unhappy citizens. Oil production can then be expected to become erratic because of internal conflicts.

In the US and Canada, oil companies have been funded by bank loans, bond sales and the sale of shares of stock. These sources of funding are drying up, as many oil companies report poor earnings, year after year, and some are seeking bankruptcy protection. 

Chart 6 shows that the number of drilling rigs in operation has dropped dramatically in both the United States and Canada, as oil companies cut back on drilling. There is a lag between the time the number of drilling rigs is cut back and the time production starts to fall of perhaps a year, in the case of shale. These low drilling rig counts suggest that US and Canadian oil production from shale will fall in 2021.

Of course, unused drilling rigs cannot be mothballed indefinitely. At some point, they are sold as scrap and the workers who operated them find other employment. It then becomes difficult to restart oil extraction.

How the Economy Works, and What Goes Wrong as Limits Are Reached

Slide 7 shows one way of visualizing how the world economy, as a self-organizing system, operates. It is somewhat like a child’s building toy. New layers are added as new consumers, new businesses and new laws are added. Old layers tend to disappear, as old consumers die, old products are replaced by new products, and new laws replace old laws. Thus, the structure is to some extent hollow.

Self-organizing objects that grow require energy under the laws of physics. Our human bodies are self-organizing systems that grow. We use food as our source of energy. The economy also requires energy products of many kinds, such as gasoline, jet fuel, coal and electricity to allow it to operate.

It is easy to see that energy consumption allows the economy to produce finished goods and services, such as homes, automobiles, and medical services. It is less obvious, but just as important, that energy consumption provides jobs that pay well. Without energy supplies in addition to food, typical jobs would be digging in the dirt with a stick or gathering food with our hands. These jobs don’t pay well.

Finally, Slide 7 shows an important equivalence between consumers and employees. If consumers are going to be able to afford to buy the output of the economy, they need to have adequate wages.

A typical situation that arises is that population rises more quickly than energy resources, such as land to grow food. For a while, it is possible to work around this shortfall with what is called added complexity: hierarchical organization, specialization, technology, and globalization. Unfortunately, as more complexity is added, the economic system increasingly produces winners and losers. The losers end up with very low wage jobs, or with no jobs at all. The winners get huge wages and often asset ownership, as well. The winners end up with far more revenue than they need to purchase basic goods and services. The losers often do not have enough revenue to feed their families and to buy basic necessities, such as a home and some form of basic transportation.

The strange way the economy works has to do with the physics of the situation. Physicist Francois Roddier explains this as being similar to what happens to water at different temperatures. When the world economy has somewhat inadequate energy supplies, the goods and services produced by the economy tend to bubble to the top members of the world economy, similar to the way steam rises. The bottom members of the economy tend to get “frozen out.” This way, the economy can downsize without losing all members of the economy, simultaneously. This is the way ecosystems of all kinds adapt to changing conditions: The plants and animals that are best adapted to the conditions of the time tend to be the survivors.

These issues are related to the fact that the economy is, in physics terms, a dissipative structure. The economy, like hurricanes and like humans, requires adequate energy if it is not to collapse. Dissipative structures attempt to work around temporary shortfalls in energy supplies. A human being will lose weight if his caloric intake is restricted for a while. A hurricane will lose speed, if the energy it gets from the warm water of the ocean is restricted. A world economy with inadequate energy is likely to shrink back in many ways: unprofitable businesses may fail, layers of government may disappear and population may fall, for example.

In the discussion of Slide 7, I mentioned the fact that if we try to “stretch” energy supply with added complexity, many workers would end up with very low wages. Some of these low wage workers would be in the US and Europe, but many of them would be in China, India and Africa. Even though these workers are producing goods for the world economy, they often cannot afford to buy those same goods themselves. Henry Ford is remembered to have said something to the effect that he needed to pay his workers enough so that they, themselves, could buy the cars they were making. To a significant extent, this is no longer happening when a person takes into account international workers.

The high interest rates that low-wage workers pay mean that loans don’t really help low-wage workers as much as they help high-wage workers. The high interest on credit card debt and personal loans tend to transfer part of the income of low-wage workers to the financial sector, leaving poor people worse off than they would have been without the loans. 

COVID shutdowns are extremely damaging to the world economy. They are like taking support sticks out of the dome on Slide 7. They produce many more unemployed people around the world. People in low wage countries that produce clothing for a living have been particularly hard hit, for example. Migrant workers and miners of various kinds have also been hard hit.

We Seem to Be Reaching a Major Turning Point

Oil production and consumption have both fallen in 2020; oil prices are far too low for producers; wage disparity is a major problem; countries seem to be increasingly having problems getting along. Many analysts are forecasting a prolonged recession.

The last time that we had a similar situation was in 1913, when the largest coal producer in the world was the United Kingdom. The UK’s cost of coal production kept rising because of depletion (deeper mines, thinner seams), but prices would not rise to compensate for the higher cost of production. Miners were paid very inadequate wages; poor workers regularly held strikes for higher wages. World War I started in 1914, the same year coal production of the UK started to fall. The UK’s coal production has fallen nearly every year since then.

The last time that wage disparity started to spike as badly as it has in recent years occurred back in the late 1920s, or perhaps as early as 1913 to 1915.  The chart shown above is for the US; problems were greater in Europe at that time.

With continued low oil prices, production is likely to start falling and may continue to fall for years. It is hard to bring scrapped drilling rigs back into service, for example. The experience in the UK with coal shows that energy prices don’t necessarily rise to compensate for higher costs due to depletion. There need to be buyers for higher-priced goods made with higher-priced coal. If there is too much wage disparity, the many poor people in the system will tend to keep demand, and prices, too low. They may eat poorly, making it easier for pandemics to spread, as with the Spanish Flu in 1918-1919. These people will be unhappy, leading to the rise of leaders promising to change the system to make things better.

My concern is that we may be heading into a long period of unrest, as occurred in the 1913 to 1945 era. Instead of getting high energy prices, we will get disruption of the world economy.  The self-organizing economy is attempting to fix itself, either by getting more energy supply or by eliminating parts of the economy that aren’t contributing enough to the overall system. Conflict between countries, pandemics, bankruptcies and economic contraction are likely to be part of the mix.

Coal Seems to Be Reaching Extraction Limits as Well 

Coal has essentially the same problem as oil: Prices tend to be too low for producers to extract coal profitably. Many coal producers have gone bankrupt. Prices were higher back in 2008, when demand was high for everything, and again in 2011, when quantitative easing had been helpful. 

There have been stories in the press in the past week about China limiting coal imports from Australia, so as to make more jobs for coal miners in China. The big conflict among countries relates to “not enough jobs that pay well” and “not enough profitable companies.” These indirectly are energy issues. If there was more “affordability” of goods made with high-priced coal, there would be no problem.

Coal production worldwide has been on a bumpy plateau since 2012. In fact, China, the largest producer of coal, found its production stagnating, starting about 2012. The problem was a familiar one: The cost of extraction rose because many mines that had been used for quite a number of years were depleted. The selling price would not rise to match the higher cost of extraction because of affordability issues.

The underlying problem is that the economy is a dissipative structure. Commodity prices are set by the laws of physics. Prices don’t rise high enough for producers, if there are not enough customers willing and able to buy the goods made with high-priced coal.

We Have a Major Problem if Both Coal and Oil Production Are in Danger of Falling Because of Low Prices

Oil and coal are the two largest sources of energy in the world. We can’t get along without them. While natural gas production is fairly high, there is not nearly enough natural gas to replace both oil and coal.

Looking down the list, we see that nuclear production hit a maximum back in 2006 and has fallen since then.

Hydroelectric continues to grow, but from a small base. Most of the good sites have already been taken. In many cases, there are conflicts between countries regarding who should get the benefit of water from a given river.

The only grouping that is growing rapidly is Renewables. (This is really Renewables Other than Hydroelectric.) It includes wind and solar plus a few other energy types, including geothermal. This grouping, too, is very small compared to oil and coal.

Natural Gas Has a Low Price Problem as Well

Natural gas, at first glance, looks like it might be a partial solution to the world’s energy problems: It is lower in carbon than coal and oil, and it is fairly abundant. The problem with natural gas is that it is terribly expensive to ship. At one time, people used to talk about there being a lot of “stranded” natural gas. This natural gas seemed to be available, but when shipping costs were included, the price of goods made with it (such as electricity or winter heat for homes) was often unaffordable.

After the run-up in oil prices in the early 2000s, many people became optimistic that, with energy scarcity, natural gas prices would rise sufficiently to make extraction and shipping long distances profitable. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that, while prices can temporarily spike due to scarcity and perhaps a debt bubble, keeping the prices up for the long run is extremely difficult. Customers need to be able to afford the goods and services made with these energy products, or the laws of physics bring market prices back down to an affordable level.

The prices in the chart reflect three different natural gas products. The lowest priced one is US Henry Hub, which is priced near the place of extraction, so long distance shipping is not an issue. The other two, German Import and Japan Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), include different quantities of long distance shipping. Prices in 2020 are even lower than in 2019. For example, some LNG imported by Japan has ben purchased for $4 per million Btu in 2020.

The Economy Needs a Bail-Out Similar to the Growth of Oil After WWII

The oil that was produced shortly after World War II had very important characteristics:

  1. It was very inexpensive to produce, and
  2. It could be sold to customers at a far higher price than its cost of production.

It was as if, today, we had a very useful energy product that could be produced and delivered for $4, but it was so valuable to consumers that they were willing to pay $120 for it. In other words, the consumer was willing to pay 30 times as much as the cost that went into extracting and refining the oil.

With an energy product this valuable, a company producing it would need virtually no debt. It could drill a well or two, and with the profits from the first wells, finance the investment of many more wells. The company could pay very high taxes, allowing governments to build roads, schools, electricity transmission lines and much other infrastructure, without having to raise taxes on citizens.

Besides using the profits for reinvestment and for taxes, oil companies could pay high dividends. This made oil company stocks favorites of pension plans. Thus, in a way, oil company profits could help subsidize pension plans, as well.

Now, because of depletion, we have reached a situation where oil companies, and in fact most companies, are unprofitable. Companies and governments keep adding debt at ever lower interest rates. In fact, the tradition of ever-increasing debt at ever-lower interest rates goes back to 1981. Thus, we have been using debt manipulation to hide energy problems for almost 40 years now.

We need a way to counteract this trend toward ever-lower returns. Some people talk about “Energy Return on Energy Investment” or EROEI. I gave an example in dollars, but a major thing those dollars are buying is energy, so the result is very similar.

I think researchers have set the “bar” far too low, in looking at what is an adequate EROEI. Today’s wind and solar don’t really have an adequate EROEI, when the full cost of delivery is included. If they did, they would not need the subsidy of “going first” on the electric grid. They would also be able to pay high taxes instead of requiring subsidies, year after year. We need much better solutions than the ones we have today.

Some researchers talk about “Net Energy per Capita,” calculated as ((Energy Delivered to the End User) minus (Energy Used in Making and Transporting Energy to the End User)) divided by (Population). It seems to me that Net Energy per Capita needs to stay at least constant, and perhaps rise. If net energy per capita could actually rise, it would allow the economy to increasingly fight depletion and pollution.

Conclusion: We Need a New Very Inexpensive Energy Source Now

We need a new, very inexpensive energy source that buyers will willingly pay a disproportionately high price for right now, not 20 or 50 years from now.

The alternative may be an economy that does poorly for a long time or collapses completely.

The one ray of hope, from a researcher’s perspective, is the fact that people are always looking for solutions. They may be able to provide funds for research at this time, even if funds for full implementation are unlikely.

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About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.

2,885 thoughts on “Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

    • I don’t know, but the previous “world’s biggest battery” in South Australia was reported to be 100MW and cost $90 million dollars (since the article mentioned at the prevailing “exchange rate,” I guess this was US dollars and not Aussie dollars). It was built by Elon Musk/Tesla. So this one will be bigger.

      • Tom Murphy’s posts are great! I met him once in person, too. He seems to still be at the University of California, San Diego, now as a Full Professor in the physics department. https://tmurphy.physics.ucsd.edu

        The post you link to puts forth the idea that one way of looking at the storage needs is to figure out what three days of storage for US energy, using lead acid batteries, would take in terms of (a) cost and lead and (b) quantity of lead. Lead was chosen because it is cheap and abundant, compared to other battery storage approaches.

        He calculates that the quantity of lead required (to use lead acid batteries for US energy storage alone) would be more than the amount of lead that seems to exist in the whole world, by a factor of at least three. The cost would be more than one year’s GDP for the US. And the battery wouldn’t last very long, so that recycling would have to be done every 5 years.

        I would argue that this estimate is very much on the low side. Three days storage is not nearly enough. Energy is needed to a significant extent in winter for heating, which is precisely when solar electricity is less available. Tom Murphy has already reduced the energy needs to take into account the efficiencies that electrification would bring, so that doesn’t help. We likely need months of storage, not three days’ worth.

        • I tangled with Tom Murphy 8 years ago.

          https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2012/03/space-based-solar-power/

          Mark Gubrud on 2012-03-22 at 10:22 commented on the back and forth between Tom and me.

          >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          The discussion here follows a familiar template. To begin with, visionaries like Keith Henson have proposed audacious megascale engineering projects incorporating many ingenious and non-obvious ideas.

          Then intelligent scientists like Tom Murphy, who specialize in other areas, apply first-order analysis to some of the more obviously outrageous aspects of these scenarios and easily show that they are wildly unreasonable.

          A chorus chimes in to scoff at the visionaries.

          But the visionaries have done their homework. They are ready, and they hit back with references to papers that have already addressed the obvious criticisms.

          The work of visionary scientists and engineers deserves careful critical scrutiny. Such scrutiny will often reveal elided points, errors, and unwarranted assumptions. But finding those takes time, first to actually read the visionaries’ work, and then to analyze and document the weaknesses. Often, one gets lost in the details or finds that one cannot announce a definite conclusion.

          I tend to agree with Tom’s view — for the immediate future. I do not see how we could undertake such massive and high-risk projects as Keith Henson proposes, even if the costs may be estimated as comparable to those of invading Iraq or having another war with Iran. But I would not be so reflexively dismissive of these proposals on the basis of “math” that is done with insufficient attention to what has actually been proposed.

        • “Three days storage is not nearly enough”

          Depends on how long an interruption you need to bridge. Power satellites need as much as an hour, but the outage takes place at times when the rest of the grid has lots of extra power.

          StratoSolar sits at 20 km which is far above the clouds. This makes energy production as consistent as the sun coming up. It happens that the design makes storage easy, you get a 20 km mountain for free gravity storage.

          Then there is the PV to synthetic oil (fuel) that I have been lightly analyzing. That’s been difficult because the technology changes from week to week. News last week was PV that might run up to 66% But if it can be done, this is a way to use existing oil infrastructure to make and transport oil.

  1. I wonder if anybody here subscribes to New Scientist and can give a brief summary of their findings in this article:

    “Ball lightning is so strange it might just come from another dimension. Mysterious floating orbs of light have puzzled scientists for centuries, inspiring no end of creative explanations. A new idea suggests they aren’t entirely of this world”

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24833053-000-ball-lightning-is-so-strange-it-might-just-come-from-another-dimension

    I’m unable to see the full article myself.

    I can recommend the following books: “Earth Lights Revelation: UFOs and Mystery Lightform Phenomena – The Earth’s Secret Energy” by Paul Devereux, and “Lightquest: Your Guide to Seeing and Interacting With UFOs, Mystery Lights and Plasma Intelligences” by Andrew Collins.

    • Not a subscriber, but I did find this staid scientific paper:

      These characteristics are suggestive of a modification of our familiar overt space,
      which we can think of as a different but parallel covert space. The transition from
      the overt space to the covert space may be an on off proposition or a matter of
      degree.

      These thoughts suggest the following hypothesis:
      A ball/lightning is a port connecting our overt space to a covert space with similar but not identical properties.
      https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1609/1609.04238.pdf

      Keep in mind when you read sensational conjectures that the simplest explanation is usually the best.

      • Nikola Tesla is said to have greeted visitors on numerous occasions by holding a ball of lightning in his palm.

      • Ball lightning has two features: a strong electromagnetic field, and light. Michael Faraday proved many decades ago that an electromagnetic field could refract light; could a strong enough field enclose light? Obviously not, because the ball would then be invisible. But could it confine the light long enough to make it bleed out more slowly? The math says yes, and that’s enough for me.

      • Thank you, Nehemiah. ‘A parallel covert space’. Really that just adds mystery to the mystery.

    • All I did was paste the link after a teaser quote, I had no idea the whole PDF was going to attach itself to my reply!

      • I think I know the secret. If you put the link to the PDF on a separate line, it shows the whole thing. If you just begin the name of the PDF on a line with other writing (without a carriage return), then you just get a link.

        This same thing works with photos and other images.

  2. [snip]
    MACRON IN LAST-DITCH BREXIT PUNISHMENT WITH THREAT TO DEVASTATE UK WITH ENERGY BLOCKADE

    Emmanuel Macron [of France] reacted furiously to Boris Johnson’s claims that trade talks are “over” between the UK and EU. Mr Macron has played hardball in the talks on fisheries, insisting on Thursday that French fishermen would “not be sacrificed” for the sake of a deal. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal then French fishermen could faced being banned from British waters.

    In response, the French President has signalled the EU would launch a devastating energy embargo against the UK unless Boris Johnson gives in on fisheries.

    Following the EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Mr Macron told French radio that if the UK does not allow French fishermen in its waters, the EU would have to block the UK’s energy supplies to the European market.

    As Rafe Champion points out – energy sales are worth more than fish:
    SNIP
    The UK wants to get back its fishing rights as part of a Brexit deal. The French aren’t too happy about that, but since the UK is heavily dependent on French interconnectors Macron can and is holding the UK electricity grid hostage.

    Green Energy puts the UK in a much weaker negotiation position.

    The French interconnectors under the Channel are needed both to import reliable nuclear power and to sell off the excess fluffy green kind of unreliable electricity that UK wind power makes at random times. The “value” of energy sales is more than the value of the fisheries (at least in hard currency). But UK imports are larger than the exports, and the UK electricity grid is so fragile it fell over last year leaving people stuck in underground trains for hours, and cutting off a million customers in an instant. The biggest weakness of all is probably the reliance on a foreign power to just keep the lights on. The cost of unplanned blackouts would trump everything else. And could the French “Break” the UK grid with plausible deniability and some inconvenient outage? Sorry but the interconnector had a fault?
    SNIP
    http://joannenova.com.au/2020/10/hands-up-your-fish-or-your-electricity-macron-threatens-to-cut-interconnector-to-uk/

    • When someone threatens US energy supply the US invades. How much of France would the UK have to hold to protect its energy supply?

      • None: the UK already has a reliable supplier in Norway, which would ignore any EU interference. But a blockade of the channel ports would cripple France, if only Boris had the guts to do it. As for the French fishing boats, cut their nets and wave them goodbye. If they resort to force, sink them.

        • >>the UK already has a reliable supplier in Norway

          I am not familiar with this. Can you provide some details?

          • https://www.norskpetroleum.no/en/production-and-exports/exports-of-oil-and-gas/

            Here is a very good description of Norwegian petroleum exports. If you scroll down a bit you can find details on the amount the UK receives. I’m not sure what gas consumption is in the UK but I bet it is not too far from the Norwegian export number. Norway basically don’t use gas herself. I can imagine Norway can supply UK with a good amount of oil and gas for atleast another decade, maybe longer if demand keeps falling.

            • I don’t think the UK has any oil burning power plants. Natural gas, since there is no pipeline through the North Sea, has to be compressed, shipped, then decompressed. Even if the Norway and the UK have the plants to do this, it is probably not on a big enough scale, and also I don’t know whether the UK has enough spare capacity in their gas fired plants to increase their electrical production this way even if they can get enough gas.

            • If demand is low, then Norway may quit producing oil and gas.

              But the issue with France is electricity, I believe. That is a separate issue from the oil and gas.

            • From the International Petroleum Encyclopaedia 2006 (only year I bought this annual publication), ‘Norway’, p129:
              “Ormen Lange development
              This giant deepwater gas and condensate field, discovered in 1997, will have no installations visible above the water. First production is scheduled for 2007. Much of Ormen Lange’s gas will be exported to the UK via the 1200 km Langeled pipeline system. The planned gas export volume is about 20% of Norway’s gas exports and 20-25% of UK gas demand [in 2006].
              … After condensate removal [at Nyhamna on mainland Norway], the gas will be shipped on the Langeled system’s northern leg, a 660 km, 42 inch pipeline to the Sleipner riser platform [in the middle of the North Sea], and then exported via the southern leg, a 450 km, 44 inch pipeline to Easington [close to Hull], UK”

              There is a map showing the location of the gas field and the pipelines, indicating clearly a direct gas pipeline from Norway to the UK, via the North Sea.

            • I found this Shell sheet that says something similar: https://www.shell.com/about-us/major-projects/ormen-lange/ormen-lange-overview.html

              The Ormen Lange deep-water project off the coast of Norway produces natural gas from deep beneath the Norwegian Sea and pipes it onshore to the processing plant at Nyhamna. The plant supplies approximately 20% of the UK’s gas. In recent years produced gas from Ormen Lange has equaled up to 20% of the UK’s total gas consumption.

              There is probably somewhere a listing of amounts pumped each year. These wells don’t last indefinitely.

              There is also an expansion planned for 2018 to 2020. https://www.worldoil.com/news/2017/2/13/start-up-of-nyhamna-expansion-to-increase-ormen-lange-production

              Start-up of Nyhamna expansion to increase Ormen Lange production

              The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has granted consent for start-up of the expansion of the gas plant at Nyhamna in Møre og Romsdal County. This will allow the Ormen Lange field in the Norwegian Sea to increase production by 25-30 Bscm (Sm3) of gas.

              The upgrade – also called Nyhamna expansion – consists of two main parts. The first, expansion of the gas plant, includes land-based compression of gas from Ormen Lange. A new compressor will maintain gas pressure at Nyhamna as pressure in the reservoir drops.

              The other part includes export and process facilities for Polarled. This pipeline will transport gas from the future Aasta Hansteen field to Nyhamna.

              Polarled compression and export are scheduled to start in the autumn of 2018. Gas from the Dvalin field – with planned start-up in the autumn of 2020 – will also be transported through Polarled.

              The expansion will increase Nyhamna’s export capacity from 70 to 84 MMscmd. The gas will be exported via the Sleipner A platform in the North Sea to the Easington gas terminal in northeast England.

      • @Slow Paul, Okay, they have gas pipelines, that’s good, but how much spare capacity do their gas fired power plants have? Can they replace what they normally buy from France?

        • Sorry, I was thinking of energy supply in general terms and not electricity. From looking at some norwegian news articles, it seems like a cable between Norway and England (Blyth) is under construction, and there are plans to make another one to Peterhead in Scotland. I doubt this will be as impactful since Norway has a lot less surplus hydro energy compared to petroleum.

  3. Covid and blood type A.

    My annual physical was yesterday, inquired what percent of Mayo Covid cases are blood type A, blood type is not collected, which appears to mean unknown. I do not speak for Mayo so this is best idea.

    We really don’t know the factors which influence this disease, much of it seems to be a guess. Medicare/Medicaid would probably have some of the best overall data, the government could search Red Cross blood doers and come up with a good guess fairly easily.

    When I ran the large public health dental clinic from the get go we were databased, we could do this type of analysis rather easily regarding oral health. With regards to oral health, at one point I thought the dental community/dental schools, etc. would welcome this data and conclusions. That was naïve, underlying capital investments in dental care might be affected, it would not work politically. Lesson: there is a great deal of money in data – reality proven.

    Dennis L.

    • Countries with a government operated healthcare system generally have much better information than we in the US have. Everyone in the country has to report the same information, coded in the same way. (Of course, the countries are a lot smaller than the US.)

      I would think that Kaiser Permanente has pretty good data on its members, but I am not sure that they record blood type either. I know that I have never had a blood transfusion, so there is not necessarily a reason that they would have gathered this information. I have given blood quite a few times, but through the Red Cross.

      • Your understanding at Kaiser is the same as at Mayo, I was advised doing the test at Mayo would be expensive, non covered, no price quote, no transparency. Here if Trump can do it, get medical facilities to post their prices and then live by them.

        I was advised to give blood which I have not done in a while, get blood type that way. Literally getting a blood type paid in blood.

        Coding is not an issue, there are dx codes and treatment codes. Some years back results of heart surgeons in Milwaukee were reported holding initial dx constant, the big names did not have the best results, that practice sort of disappeared. Basically, rating doctors is not that hard, sort them by outcome based on initial dx. Politically, that one would be a challenge.

        In dentistry at the end I knew my results of treatment, costs for the state/encounter went down, oral health up on metrics measured, not a very desirable financial outcome for dentistry. We tend to point fingers, everyone has to make a living, do this consistently and the best dentists will make the most money, have the most money, Amazon effect. The difference in productivity among dentists is considerable, a guess with be Prateo again, winner take all. Ultimately, it all comes back to money and not in a idealistic way, we are seeing this in many areas of society, solutions are not obvious, anxiety amongst the bottom 80% is considerable.

        Dennis L.

        • Well, right. Is “productivity” measured in the number of patients with improved oral health, or the amount billed per patient?

          I knew a dental hygienist in Boston who had worked around quite a bit and told me that there were only three dentists in the whole city that she would trust. She told me the others would do quick and sloppy work and then, if the patient had to return for further resolution, the understanding was to be that “that was always a problem tooth”… and what patient is the wiser? They have no way of seeing or evaluating what the dentist is actually doing.

          • Lydia17,

            I answered that question, we did both. I was at the top of my class, etc., average doesn’t hack it, have to do it other ways.

            Many here are very brilliant, I listen and take notes, maybe how they say “Good Morning” will be instructive.

            Dennis L.

        • Forcing transparent pricing will literally require an act of Congress, just like when they forced transparent pricing on the auto repair industry many years ago, and the industry fought that tooth and nail, said it was unworkable, etc., now it is routine. There is a surgery center in Oklahoma that advertises all it prices up front, but the industry as a whole refuses. If the voters want change, then many voters will have to fire their congressmen and senators.

    • I am type A too (A neg). There was some early data indicating that type A’s were at higher risk, and it is not at all uncommon for varying blood types to have varying susceptibilities to various ailments, but from what I have read more recently, any link between type A and covid is too weak to be certain of. Being male is still an enhanced risk, although the added risk can be eliminated surgically. However, I would prefer to take my chances!

      • Nehemiah, sadly, you have the highest possible risk factor for covid: you are alive. I wish you the best of luck with your chances; your contributions here would be missed.

      • There is exactly zero surgical procedure that can remove the Y.

        The b@ll5, though, can be removed. But that won’t change the fact you are a man.

        • Exactly. XX you are a girl; XY you are a boy. That is a brute fact of biology; it is encoded in every cell of your body, and it is immutable. Natura locuta, causa finita.

        • @kowaleinen, The increased covid risk from being a man is believed to be due to the additional ACE2 receptors in the testes, not from having a Y chromosome per se.

          • Fair enough. I’m keeping mine and I’m letting Gaia call the shots, not Astra Zeneca.

  4. Real estate in midwestern city approximate population 110,000.

    House down the street sold in 6 days, up 100% since last sale in 1990 per Zillow. Simple interest of 3.3% and that is after tax interest in effect, so 6% pre tax everything in for median income earners.

    Pretty hard to save fast enough in after tax money to purchase a home, better off planning on living somewhere, bite the bullet and buy, sure it will go down, but for how long? As long as one does not sell, the real cost to the owner are the payments which will go up due to RE taxes, local governments love that part.

    The biggest issue I have personally heard of is people using their home as a piggy bank, second mortgages for the 50K+ pickup in the drive. Use the second for the down payment, don’t be stupid, don’t assume a raise tomorrow, increased value to cover payments, etc. Banks love stupid.

    Dennis L.

    • Part of the run-up in home prices is related to the drop in interest rates. At lower interest rates, people can afford more expensive homes, because the monthly payment is lower. The average 30 year mortgage interest rate in 1990 according to one reference was 10.13%.
      https://www.rocketmortgage.com/learn/historical-mortgage-rates-30-year-fixed

      Today, the average interest rate according to one site is 2.961%.
      https://www.nerdwallet.com/mortgages/mortgage-rates/30-year-fixed

      I have a hard time believing that mortgage interest rates can keep going lower, but if the government is giving away money, I suppose they can.

      The question, is, “Can you ever sell the house, buy cheaper property elsewhere, and use the difference to buy other things? Of course, you would have to pay capital gains tax, which would discourage many people from doing this. But as a practical matter, all the other houses will have gone up in price as well.

      The problem we are running into now is that young people cannot afford all of these absurdly high-priced homes, especially if they also have student loans and car loans. If families start moving in together (parents and adult children), we will have more homes than are needed. A person would think home prices would drop.

      • Rates are highly manipulated (by the Fed in the US), so they can absolutely go lower. Competition with “risk free” government bonds causes prices for all bonds across the risk spectrum to be bid down. Several national governments are selling bonds with negative yields–the holders actually pay the government for the “privilege” of lending it money.

        However, low rate targeting by central banks is not a guarantee against housing price declines. A lot should depend on whether we are headed for an economic recovery next year (the fabled V shaped recovery) or a deeper, synchronized global recession. I think the latter is more likely, and I think that will become more clear when we get the econ data for either the fourth quarter, or perhaps for the first quarter next year.

        • Nehemiah,

          In the end one still needs a roof, mortgage rates are fixed for 30 years, bad bet they will be low over that 30 years, good bed house will be worth more.

          There are no sure things.

          Dennis L.

          • @Dennis, my argument was not that rates are moving higher any time soon, but that house prices can decline even if rates remain low, as in the Great Depression for example. Housing is in an asset bubble, just like tech stocks. All bubbles burst eventually.

      • Not sure if understand correctly, but there is no federal capital gains taxes on sale of a house, not sure about 1031 and a exchange for a new house of very high value, house needs to be owned for two years. Purchase a duplex and it was possible to rent one side, live in one side, depreciate, not rent it for the last I think two years, pay no recapture of depreciation. It’s the law as a certain US individual has pointed out.

        “A person would think home prices would drop.” I would agree, but the longer one rents, the less equity gained. Take rent, factor out expenses for ownership and the equity over a few years would cover any reasonable losses, do a probability on gain and expected value is most likely positive. Gail, that idea has been around for a long time, over ten years even purchasing a the top it tends to be a losing game, and in the mean time one has rental costs.

        Dennis L.

      • UK houses don’t attract capital gains tax which is one reason why average prices have risen 400% since 1990.

  5. A Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to two ladies for a gene editing tool that has potential applications in the human genome, like health and intelligence, and in crops and stuff.

    The technology is new and the consensus is to proceed with caution where humans are concerned, to demonstrate benefits and safety to the individuals before use.

    Eventually persons could safely enhance themselves in various ways at home like boosting memory, just like we use vaccines or paracetamol today.

    Embryos can also be modified before implantation, so the entire species could be upgraded.

    > CRISPR genome editing pioneers win Nobel prize in chemistry

    Professors Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of CRISPR genome editing.

    The approach devised by the pair allows researchers to alter the DNA within cells with record accuracy, using molecules that evolved in bacteria as a defence against viruses.

    Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry explained the significance of CRISPR genome editing: ‘It has not only revolutionised basic science but also resulted in innovative crops and will lead to ground-breaking new medical treatments.’

    Professor Charpentier first published her finding of the tracrRNA molecule (part of the DNA-cleaving CRISPR/Cas system) in the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, in 2011. Shortly afterwards she started a collaboration with biochemist Professor Doudna, and the pair succeeded in manipulating the naturally occurring CRISPR/Cas complex to make precise targeted DNA edits.

    CRISPR/Cas9 is faster and less expensive than previous approaches to precise genome editing, meaning it quickly became invaluable to researchers across a plethora of disciplines and has contributed to major discoveries in many research areas.

    Some resulting work has raised ethical concerns, notably after Chinese scientist, Dr He Jiankui, created the world’s first genome-edited babies (see BioNews 997). The experiment caused an outcry within the scientific community, raising concerns ranging from the level of consent gained to the unknown long-term effects of genome editing.

    Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust (the charity which publishes BioNews) said that the Professors Doudna and Charpentier had ‘devised an unprecedentedly powerful and precise means of changing DNA sequences in living cells.’ She added: ‘there is still vast potential for CRISPR to bring further benefit to humanity, provided that it is used in a diligent and well-regulated way….

    https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_152453

    • Yes, and this would help in the case of genes of major effect, which usually are genes that cause disease or other serious dysfunction. However, complex traits such as intelligence, personality, etc., even height and weight, are extremely polygenic, involving no known genes of large effect but thousands of genes of very small effect. The human genome has a bit over 20,000 protein coding genes, with most probably having multiple small effects, and according to one study the average human gene had 14 alleles (variants). So we need to figure out the multiple effects of each of 280,000 or thereabouts alleles. For a complex trait such as intelligence you will then have to edit thousands of alleles. Recently, my curiosity was sufficiently piqued that I googled this and I found a site that said the cost per edited gene has come down to “only” about $75 per gene and a “few hours” of editing time. Multiply that by several thousand genes if you want to have more than a very minor effect on a complex trait, and I doubt that we are going to be genetically engineering a race of supermen any time soon.

      • Nehemiah,

        A thousand genes is $75K, doable for a millionaire and one offspring, easy for a billionaire and 10 offspring. What is giving your child the edge worth? Give him/her an IQ of say 160 and entrance to MIT is say 100% and tuition say 0. Probably a pretty good investment. For a talented person who is willing to work it is hard to lose.

        Chinese IQ is about 13 points greater than whites which is about 14 or so points greater than others(fill in the blank). It follows income closely, and if one throws in Ashkenazy Jews, well, look at history of Nobel prizes, or more prosaic, the atomic bomb work, boom!

        Found an interesting site on Ashkenazi Jews, they can trace their ancestors to about 300 people if the internet is correct, and is it ever wrong?

        https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-ashkenazi-jews-dna-diseases-20140909-story.html

        Interesting source of funding, NIH, hmmm.

        Dennis L.

        • “Chinese IQ is about 13 points greater than whites”

          I wonder if you have a source? 13 IQ points is almost a SD (15 points). I have read fairly recently that the difference is half a SD which would be 7-8 points. The difference is still significant when considering the size of the Chinese population.

        • ‘White’ countries have varied average IQs.

          The ‘Flynn effect’, whereby IQs increase along with economic development and education, seems to be spent in UK but that does not mean that it is spent everywhere. Many countries are just now experiencing the development that some of Europe enjoyed in 20c. and it seems likely that their IQs will increase, as they did in some European countries.

          Notably, the English always used to talk down the Irish as less intelligent, as imperialist and colonialist propaganda. But Irish in UK now earn a full 40% more on average than the ethnic English. Ethnic minorities as a whole earn more than the English in the under-30s and nearly all ethnic groups do better than the English in UK schools. So the old studies about national and ethnic IQs are unlikely to stand up.

          Much of China is still less developed than some of Europe, so they seem to have a higher IQ starting point than Europe and their IQ is likely to increase further through the Flynn effect.

          • K, the ‘sneer’ seems to be your ‘herd call’, not sure that you really interest me though. Maybe there is a chav bar somewhere?

          • it is an unfortunate aspect of human nature, that there is a tendency for a bimbo to be found as arm candy with a billionaire

            even if said billionaire is 80 and needs an arm candy bimbo on both sides to hold him up

        • 13 points? In Shanghai, probably, but more generally urban Chinese appear to have an IQ about 3 to 6 points higher than the “Greenwich Mean” IQ. Japan’s IQ has been reported as 107, but there is a small, rural province in far northwestern Japan that has an IQ 7 points above the Japanese national average. Japanese IQ declines along a north-south gradient, more evidence for the “cold winters” theory. Although for different reasons, American Ashkenazi and Episcopalians both seem to have an IQ of 109. Israeli Ashkenazim also have a high IQ, but it drops to 97 for their Sephardi (Ladino/Spanish Jews) population, and to Arab levels among the Mizrahi Jews who are native to the Middle East. European IQ of about 100, the highest in Europe, is found in or bordering the regions that long lived under manorial feudalism in the Middle Ages, and these peoples and their diasporas have produced by far most of the innovations of the Modern Age.

          The Flynn Effect has topped out in a number of advanced countries (hard to say just how many because not all seem interested in keeping track of the changes), and I am sure the Flynn Effect still has a ways to run in many parts of the world. However, the Flynn Effect does not load on the general factor, which rises very little in response to environmental interventions unless one lives in an unusually deprived environment. Or one might say the general factor responds so well to even modest environmental stimulation that additional stimulation does not have much effect. More narrow, specialized abilities appear to respond more to training, or require more training to fully bring out.

          I doubt that tweaking a mere thousand genes would give many people an IQ of 160. About 80% of genes are believed to be expressed in the brain. Nearly all that affect intelligence have a very weak effect. None seem to have a strong effect. Some genes that raise intelligence appear to have adverse health effects. Once these genes are finally and fully deciphered (and God knows how long that will be), MAYBE a few millionaires (and I think we will have far fewer of them when the FF age begins to fall apart) will engineer some very smart children if the State does not effectively forbid it, and more power to those millionaires if they can swing it, but these drops in the bucket of humanity are not likely to have a measurable effect on the genetic trajectory of the human race. They would, however, be an asset to humanity. I worry far more about having a too dumb ruling class than a too smart one.

          But keep in mind the time factor too. A “few hours” per gene! Let’s say few equals three. To edit a mere thousand genes would require 3000 man hours, maybe more. If one skilled lab technician (and is the cost of the technician’s time even included in that $75 per gene cost?) worked on the project 40 hours a week, it would require a year and a half to edit 1000 genes of one child. If you edited 5000 genes, it would require 7 years per child. This is basically surgery, so I don’t see it being replaced by mass production. And I wonder whether the technology will long survive the pricking of Hubbert’s Pimple.

          • Likely it would be much simpler to simply clone high IQ persons. The entire genome would thus be replicated, bypassing any real urgency of understanding its complex interactions. We have cloned loads of animals, humans are just another one.

            • Cloning animals: you can just cull the ones that don’t work out. Also, not all animals are equally easy to clone. For some reason, primates are especially difficult.

      • Prices in all technologies are dropping all the time, and our knowledge of the human genome is expanding exponentially. CRISPR/Cas allows for cheap simultaneous editing of multiple genes, hence its importance. Hundreds of genes involved in intelligence have long been identified. CCP has gathered 10s of thousands of complete genome sequences from the highest IQ persons from all over the world. CCP has many thousands of scientists working on gene editing every day. Sorry to disappoint you but it is only a short matter of time now. Even if the West is held back, CCP will certainly press ahead. The benefits for social and economic development are irresistible.

        • Oh dear, I had forgotten about that project after the lead person bailed for making money in the private sector. I applied to be one of their sample but they do not seem to consider me “highest IQ”, oh well.

          • lol I would not worry, I expect many people got the ‘yea no, it is alright’ letter. They wanted IQs over 160, which only 1 in 30,000 have. Nobels have an average of 150.

            • “Nobels have an average of 150.”

              Interesting, do you have a soure for this statement?

              I would have guessed a much lower value. Iq matters, of course. But much (even very much) less so than luck, being the right person in the right time, at the right place, meeting the right people and so on. Conscientiousness (=Industriousness/orderliness) is also of great importance, but a bit less than IQ.

              Even Einstein, the very symbol of high IQ, seems to have had a great deal of luck. Other great(er) intellects had already paved his way. The great mind of Gauss had already 100 years before Einstein thought about non-Euclidean geometry. He tried to prove the curvature of space when developing land surveying techniques. Of course, he could not prove this with the measuring devices available at his time. Following Gauss, Riemann formulated the mathematical language necessary to general relativity.

              Moreover, Einstein had the great luck of befriending David Hilbert, one of the greatest mathematicians of that day. Many people were hunting the equations of general realtivity, Einstein was far from alone. Einstein had been stuck for quite a while, some other like Gunnar Nordström seemed to be closer to the solution. Hilbert would change this.

              In fact, Hilbert was the first person to express the field equtions of general relativity, likely the most impressive equations of physics. Hilbert never seemed to be interested in exploring the physical consequences of these equations. He left this to Einstein.

              It’s easy to ascibe a to high IQ number to succesful people. We always want an explanation for their success. Luck is not a very satisfying explanation but in the end probably the most important one.

        • I am aware of the CCP’s neo-eugenics program. I do not know how well it is currently supported under Xi Jinping. Politicians are fickle. Regimes and ideologies come and go. A few years ago, a Chinese scientist helped an HIV positive woman to have a healthy child by editing the embryo for a well publicized anti-smallpox gene that also has the advantage of not allowing HIV to infiltrate the body. (It’s not a perfect advantage, there are tradeoffs, including higher susceptibility to West Nile virus.) Xi was not pleased. I think the scientist ended up in prison.

      • Nehemiah, editing 20,000 gene at $75 each is only 1.5 million. Bill Gates and the CCP and several other oligarchs and governments can easily afford this.

        • Likely China does not a mass of workers with 160 IQ, just enough intellectuals. Average workers may in fact be more content with their lot if they have a lower IQ. It could even be ‘cruel’ to boost theirs.

            • maybe
              serf farm hand, serf soldier, serf worker
              skilled mason, skilled smith, skilled scout
              loyal guard, loyal sheriff, loyal jailer
              smart and loyal manager, smart and loyal tax collector
              very smart and free ruler

              We have been worrying about how hard farm labor is but we can grow labor that is happy working themselves to death at age 35.

            • Stratification is just like normal in any society, also in capitalism. It is just like the division of labour that allows societies to function, probably since hunter-gathering.

              Ideologically there is some resentment about that reality, I try to not take resentment too seriously. Capitalism has an element of fluidity to the work roles, which likely encourages an ideological ambivalence about inequalities. Fake bourgeois ‘democracy’ has the same effect.

              It is easy for Westerners to ‘moral posture’ about it, as if they are somehow ‘better’ than reality. Religions tend to do a similar thing. Any excellence is resented, ridiculed, somehow ‘wrong’.

              It is probably just the ‘herd’ asserting itself as usual in a contemporary manner – the ‘sneer’ as the ‘herd’ ‘call’.

          • Whether or not it would be “cruel” to raise the intelligence of average workers, if there were a contest or rivalry between two nations, one with a mediocre population led by geniuses, and the other with a general population of well above average intellect and leaders only somewhat smarter than those they ruled, I would bet my money on the latter society to come out on top, other things being equal. If some or even many people find themselves stuck with jobs that are well beneath their talents, they can always get hobbies. That is not the sort of “tragedy” that is going to break my heart.

            Oh dear also wrote: “hundreds of genes involved in intelligence have already been identified.” — More accurately, “associated with.” How many of these associated genes actually affect intelligence, versus tending to be inherited with genes for intelligence simply because they are located nearby, is still an open question. I fully expect additional progress to be made in this area, but I don’t expect it to change the world–or to save the CCP from the vagaries of history.

            • Just because a person is intelligent does not imply indistriousness and intuition.

              I can read 1000’s of books with regard to driving F1 racing cars, now will that make me a great driver. Of course not.

              Gaia would not care less which of the genes are important for leading a paradigm shift in society. In fact, IC kicked off in the UK, even though East Asians have a higher IQ.

              As I have stated, the methamorphosis is now underway, we have to come to the realization that mankind is about to be a loosely connected hive-mind. Perhaps the superhuman AI will not even be a Machine at all.

              Isn’t that Internet connected ‘collective subconcious’ tickling your soul and spirit as well? 😊

          • Thinking that a person with 160 in IQ will be your errand boy is simply ridicilous. You’d only find yourself being hated and obstructed along the way. The only one who can rule a 160 IQ person is the one with 170 in IQ.

            The only thing that matters is not to contain intelligence, neither human nor machine. Mundane human affairs is boring enough. Smart asses need their daily dose of black pills and new ideas.

            In order to have a 160 IQ person function reasonably within specs requires bread and circuses. Yes, mr Xi, tear down that firewall.

    • Massive funding all over the world is now going into gene editing.

      > Gene Editing Market 2020 By Regional Trend & Growth Forecast To 2026

      According to GMI, the gene editing market might touch USD 10 billion by the year 2026. Numerous biotech companies have expanded their R&D budgets to improve the availability of new-age gene editing techniques at affordable prices. Proliferating growth of the biotechnology sector across developed nations could offer multiple opportunities for enterprises conducting gene editing practices.

      Tools like CRISPR-Cas9 are widely used by researchers given to its efficiency and simplicity in gene slicing. Increasing emergence of technologies like Crispr gene editing could enhance the adoption of gene editing in newer markets.

      The gene editing market is poised to witness lucrative revenue growth on account of increasing federal as well as private investment targeted towards developing genetic therapies. Gene editing helps in eliminating inherited disease, protecting endangered species, and even aids in resurrecting extinct species. Increasing R&D expenditure by biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies along with research institutes could massively benefit the industry outlook….

      https://www.eturbonews.com/1111810/gene-editing-market-2020-by-regional-trend-growth-forecast-to-2026-2/

    • This is very good news, millions of patients may soon get the organ transplants that they have been waiting for.

      > Gene-edited pigs expected to provide organs for human transplants

      An international team led by Chinese researchers has used gene-editing technology to produce “Pig 3.0” prototypes, a leap forward for life-saving organ transplants from animals to humans.

      In a recent paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers from China and the United States reported the successful production of pigs whose organs are more compatible with the human immune system and are free of active porcine endogenous retrovirus.

      Globally, there is a huge gap between the number of people who need organ transplants and the number of organs available, said Yang Luhan, a corresponding author of the research as well as co-founder and chief executive officer of Qihan Biotech.

      It has long been hoped that the challenge could be alleviated through animal organ transplants — a concept known as xenotransplantation.

      The Pig 3.0 immunological and blood-coagulation compatibility with the human immune system was enhanced and PERV was eradicated. Engineered pigs also exhibit normal physiology and fertility.

      James F. Markmann, chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and a co-author of the study, said that Pig 3.0 demonstrates critical progress toward a truly transformational option for millions of patients….

      • Growing human organs in animals for transplant, or for any reason, makes me nervous. Too much risk of an animal pathogen jumping the species barrier. Like we need more of that problem!

    • “every third person tested” — right, but those who get tested are not a random sample of the population. You can be sure the share of the TOTAL population which has actually been infected is much lower.

      Read a bit farther (thank God for machine translation!): “However, we cannot rely on the fact that what we are diagnosing is the actual number of infected in the population” says the “director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics.”

  6. I’d tell you a pandemic joke. But there’s a 99.9996% chance you won’t get it.

    • Asked my physician about C-19 and got a diatribe about Mike Pence not wearing a mask. Really tough to understand what is really going on.

      Dennis L.

      • Not much.

        A media blitz based on the usual geopolitical narratives together with a money laundry racket coming to an end together with its fossil fueled underpinnings.

        Yawn.

        Play along with the herd. Returning to Scenario 2 is inevitable.

        Post savage black pilled comments online and share the entertainment from the absurdities with your trusted close friends.

        • Good one Tim. Be glad to. Where to start – our politicians?

          Pssst, Nicola…

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