Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 2/11 - Reclaiming Native Ground, Should Cash Be Abolished?

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 12:42 PM

Economy

The Coming Of Depression Economics (David P.)

This has led many economists to believe that World War II was the answer to “secular stagnation” the first. In orthodox parlance, Krugman describes it as an S-curve with multiple equilibria, being careful to pronounce such analysis as dangerous because such a model would be, “a device that can justify practically any policy.” Even still, that is exactly how not just the US economy but the world economy acted in the 1940’s.

The United States Is On The Precipice Of Widespread Civil Unrest (David P.)

We are a nation that is deeply, deeply divided, and now this latest controversy threatens to divide us even further.

When I was out earlier today, I saw a pro-Trump billboard that some business owner had put up that was urging liberals to quit their whining.

Two of China's Biggest Exchanges Stop Bitcoin Withdrawals (Adam)

Both OKCoin and Huobi indicated that their platforms would now go through an “upgrade” to combat “money laundering, exchange, pyramid schemes and other illegal activities”, though no further details were provided.

Following the publication of this article, BTCC announced that it would also upgrade its internal systems. In the meantime, the exchange said, bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals will take 72 hours to process.

‘A Sense of Dread’ for Civil Servants Shaken by Trump Transition (jdargis)

This article is based on interviews around the country with more than three dozen current and recently departed federal employees from the Internal Revenue Service; the Pentagon; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Justice and Treasury Departments; the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development; and other parts of the government. They reveal a federal work force that is more fundamentally shaken than usual by the uncertainties that follow a presidential transition from one party to the other.

Should Cash Be Abolished? (David P.)

Money emerged because barter could not support the market economy. A butcher who wanted to exchange his meat for fruit might not have been able to find a fruit farmer who wanted his meat, while the fruit farmer who wanted to exchange his fruit for shoes might not have been able to find a shoemaker who wanted his fruit.

The distinguishing characteristic of money is that it is the general medium of exchange. It has evolved as being the most marketable commodity.

The Costs Of Dragon Maintenance (GE Christenson)

However the village existed a long distance away from the United States and the dragon maintenance saga happened before the world developed central banking, fiat paper money, deficit spending, ever-increasing debt, High Frequency Trading, derivatives, Quantitative Easing, PhD Keynesian economists and career politicians who manage our nations … so don’t worry … about dragon maintenance.

A Possible Bee Replacement: Tiny Drones Covered In Sticky Goop (jdargis)

There are some significant issues with the drone, though. For one thing, this sort of setup is likely to be incredibly expensive. Similar-sized mini-drones retail for about $35 each, and that’s without any of the more advanced hardware and software a drone setup would need to operate autonomously. For another, the tiny size and high energy required to fly make small drones extremely short-lived. These drones usually can only last for about ten minutes on a single charge, which would make it troublesome to operate a large fleet over a significant area of farmland.

Reclaiming native ground: Can Louisiana’s tribes restore their traditional diets as waters rise? (jdargis)

This is the dilemma Dardar spends much of her time agonizing over. She has lived in Pointe-au-Chien for more than 40 years, in a house overlooking a bayou lined with shrimp boats. (Pointe-au-Chien means “Dog Point”; the larger rural community is often called Pointe-aux-Chenes, or “Oak Point.”) She has served as a deckhand on her husband Donald’s shrimping boat and has skinned the nutria he once trapped in the winters. She’s watched that shrimping business dwindle, and the trapping business disappear altogether. And she’s seen neighbors give up on their gardens and animals.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/9/17

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

19 Comments

blackeagle's picture
blackeagle
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A Possible Bee Replacement: Tiny Drones Covered In Sticky Goop

Business as usual.... stick to the symptoms and never look at the root cause(s). Won't go far.

The only solution is to address the problem of chemicals poisons.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Whoops! Oroville dam might fail within the hour

This is a pretty shocking development.  I'd been somewhat enjoyng watching the spillway disgorge huge amounts of water, but apparently things took a turn for the worse.

THOUSANDS ORDERED TO EVACUATE AFTER OROVILLE DAM PREDICTED TO FAIL

OROVILLE, Calif. -- Officials have ordered thousands of residents near the Oroville Dam to evacuate the area, saying a "hazardous situation is developing" after an emergency spillway severely eroded.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office says the emergency spillway could fail within an hour unleashing uncontrolled flood waters from Lake Oroville.

The department says people in downstream areas need to leave the area immediately. It says residents of Oroville, a town of 16,000 people, should head north toward Chico and that other cities should follow orders from their local law enforcement agencies.

A major dam failure is a very rare, and possibly symbolic thing to occur at this time.  Very much not "first world."

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cmartenson
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More on dam failure

This was a very good piece of reporting by a private citizen...much better than Da Newz...which presumably didn't want to overly concern anyone...or something.

At any rate, another great reason to keep your go bags organized, even if that means having your most important affairs in one place where you can get to them quickly.

The major issue is that the Oroville dam has too much water behind it.  There are only three 'approved' ways for it to be released.  I've pulled these three images from the above video.

1) is the hydro plant at the base of the dam.  That has been shut down because of some sort of problem.

2) Is the concrete spillway.  That is severely compromised (see pictures below) and is in danger of failing.

3) Is the emergency spillway.  The problem there is that the water got high enough that it took an unapproved route there too...the unreinforced parking area is now spilling water.  

There are no good choices left for releasing additional water.   So the spillway may fail and the first, large modern dam in US history could fail.  Wild.

Here's the damage to the spillway that was there before the additional releases had to happen...they had noticed an already weak spot in the spillway was being badly eroded, stopped the flow briefly, and found this:

And in this next photo you can clearly see what happened when they had to continue releasing via the spillway to avoid losing the entire emergency spillway which was also being eroded badly at the base.

Oops. No good choices left here.

You can clearly see that the emergency spillway is eating its way up towards the earth that is holding the water in the dam back.  Bad choice.

But the emergency spillway is eroding badly both at the parking lot end and the far right side where emergency concrete was poured at the base of the emergency spillway just a day or two before the water topped it.

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Time2help
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Lake Oroville

California State Water Project (Wikipedia)

Scroll down to the "Dams and Reservoirs" table and sort by capacity. Not sure what percentage of California's water supply this reservoir makes up, but it's 61% of the table below.

cmartenson's picture
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Annnnnnnd ... it's gone (the spillway)

NBC now reporting that the spillway has failed.  I have not confirmed this via a second source yet.

This is not the same thing as the dam failing...but it's a step closer to that.

Hopefully the bedrock stops the process before failure. 

Here's the best (jargony, but seemingly knowledgeable and factual) account I've come across so far:

I have heard that the emergency spillway is eroding through cutback. This will be an evolutionary erosive failure. It will take some time for the cut back. Hopefully the erosion will be stopped at bedrock.

However, I fear that if the erosion of the emergency spillway, on the canted bedrock of the abutment communicates with the hydraulics of the principal spillway, this may result in a V notch failure.

This would be the most serious type of failure. I believe there to be a good chance of a loss of the gate structure on the left (facing downstream). I expect loss of rock and perhaps some of the weir of the emergency spillway.

The training wall between the emergency and the principal spillway is a likely place for failure of structure. I understand that significant releases, which will be uncontrolled will take place, the possibility of this becoming very serious does, indeed exist. I am sorry with all of my heart that this is taking place. This is one time that I want so deeply to be wrong. All of my best wishes are with you tonight.

Scott Cahill (update 1)

As I write the Oroville dam in California is eroding back toward a breach of the reservoir. I am a dam contractor. If you ever heard someone say "that dam contractor.." they may have been talking about me.

I have repaired hundreds of dams including ones like Oroville, which were in the process of failure. I know a lot about dams.

The spillway failure is a common type of failure, where phreatic, or surface water entered the spillway, migrating beneath the slabs. (A static element on a dynamic element, A hard element on a live element). The dam is hydrated and dehydrated as water levels rise and fall, moving, as soils swell from pressures and water mass. In times of high rain the phreatic surface (hydrated soils line) moves toward the surface, venting into the void so produced.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAmsAAAAJDc5YWY5MmE2LTBmNzgt

This creates a void. Moving water over the years has eroded soils from beneath the slab downstream and left a channel. Now, the spillway has been actuated in a high-flow event and the plates of the spillway have failed into the stream, scouring from beneath them. They will continue to fail as the water continues to flow. The hydraulic jump exacerbates this erosion.

If the flow continues for a long enough time, with sufficient velocity, the reservoir will be voided by the migration of the erosion to the pool (cut-back). I cannot tell if failure is imminent, from Ohio, but it is an unacceptable situation that has been allowed to develop. It is a case of pennies pinched producing dollars spent, perhaps tragedy.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAv2AAAAJGY5OTA3M2M0LTE3ZmEt

What we can learn as a nation is the information that is being disseminated. Words chosen carefully, to not excite, to not scare. The issue, as it now stands is serious, life-threatening even. The officials, the owners reps, the media will tell us now, that there is nothing to be be frightened about - all under control (remember Katrina??).

We have, for so long, ignored the failing infrastructure of this great nation, Let us hope that a fatal failure is not necessary to get us to act. Past experience does not make me hopeful of that.

Oroville is 770' high, 6,920' long. It is one of the 20 largest dams in the world. If Oroville breaks, The city will be flooded.

Eight thousand three hundred and seventy five residents are at risk within the inundation zone. Two hundred thirty critical facilities in the city of Oroville are within the inundation zone, including; Eleven schools, twenty one day care and children service centers, fourteen elder care facilities, twenty six bridges will be lost, the airport, two fire stations, the government administration building, three law enforcement stations, the EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER (brilliant) Two waste water treatment plants, the jail, and the Hospital. (from the City of Oroville local hazard mitigation plan update May, 2013)

We are not talking about a river rising, where people have time to evacuate. We are talking about a wall of debris, mud, and water taking out a city, buildings, roads, bridges, life, in a horrible instant.

When will we, at last mandate proper maintenance and inspection of these high hazard and medium hazard dams? Why are we willing to suffer a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to save a couple of dollars on proper and responsible dam safety and repairs?

Whatever you may hear, this is a significant event which could be horrible in its scope and its magnitude. Let us pray that it does not breach, and let us hope that, at last people are sufficiently concerned to act.

Scott Cahill (original) (Source)

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If the spillway can hold for just a few more hours...

...then the water level will be below the level where it's needed.  This is good news!

Latest update from officials:

The Department of Water Resources has provided an explanation as to why the mandatory immediate evacuations in Oroville and areas downstream are occurring. The concern is that erosion at the head of the emergency/auxiliary spillway issued evacuation orders for residents. The concern is that erosion at the head of the emergency spillway threatens to undermine the concrete weir and allow large, uncontrolled releases of water from Lake Oroville. Those potential flows could exceed the capacity of downstream channels.

To avert more erosion at the top of the emergency/auxiliary spillway, DWR doubled the flow down its main spillway from 55,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 100,000 cfs. The next several hours will be crucial in determining whether the concrete structure at the head of the auxiliary spillway remains intact and prevents larger, uncontrolled flows.

Current flows are contained with downstream channels.

Flow over the auxiliary spillway weir began Saturday morning and has slowed considerably. DWR officials expect that flow to stop entirely soon, according to a press release sent at 6:11 P.M. Sunday. This would reduce the erosion on the downstream side of the structure.

DWR officials stress that Oroville Dam itself is sound and is a separate structure from the emergency/auxiliary spillway.

(Source - Reddit)

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More rain later this week

No major storm system yet on the radar, but it looks like wet weather with an inch or two of rain coming beginning on Wednesday.

Not sure yet if that really impacts the story here...

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
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Live coverage here

 for love coverage of the Oroville dam and spillway. On Youtube, not cable news. 

I am so very sick of the national mainstream news media not doing their jobs. 

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I gave up on TV...

Wendy S. Delmater wrote:

I am so very sick of the national mainstream news media not doing their jobs. 

You and me both!

I'm at a hotel currently and I turned on the TV for a while to see if it could do better than Reddit, Youtube and Twitter.  Not even close.

Turned it right back off.  Now I'm plugged in again and receiving up to date info.

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Ummmm...this reeks of desperation

I just don't get a good vibe from this:

When you are at the "rocks from helicopters" stage, things are probably pretty desperate.

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...but my guess is that the dam holds tonight.

Water levels are dropping and there are signs that things at the dam are holding up right now.

So my guess at this point is that the dam is safe...for now.

As to the rain coming next week...we shall see.

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Not the first large dam failure in modern US history

cmartenson wrote:

So the spillway may fail and the first, large modern dam in US history could fail.  

Not the first, depending on your definition of modern wink

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teton_Dam

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Rock drop process

FYI as background. Seeing this would not inspire confidence (no reflection on the pilots/helicopter crew, they are doing their jobs/best).

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fated
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Helicopters against nature

Confidence - Nil.

T2H - that clip reminds me of the insignificance of the response humans were able to make to the Hazelwood mine fire, even with their 'advanced' firefighting technologies. Those choppers seem huge, imposing, and all powerful while on the airfield or flying over your house - but pale into nothingness once they have a significant natural backdrop behind them. If I were starving and they were making food drops - yes I'd be happy with their capabilities. But them sorting large scale natural disasters quickly - I've seen the ineffectiveness first hand.

helicopters from 3.30 on.

and
just for interest

Lies, denial and misinformation from the 'authorities' to the detriment of local residents.

I hope everyone over there is safe and this can be resolved ASAP.

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cmartenson
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Perhas some old school...

Time2help wrote:

FYI as background. Seeing this would not inspire confidence (no reflection on the pilots/helicopter crew, they are doing their jobs/best).

Pergaps a breaching trebuchet? Or a dozen being fired by honed crews?

The helicopters are just for something to do...

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cmartenson
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Uh Oh....water needs to drop by 50 feet

Here's the latest on the storms that are due to arrive with more rain for the Oroville catchment system:

DWR needs to lower the lake level by another 50 feet to prepare for the incoming storms.

They've got just a couple of days to do this.

I am not at all clear on how much water was arriving vs. leaving between the 11th and 12th, but it took almost exactly one day to reduce the level by 1 foot:

(Source)

If I lived anywhere downstream of that dam in a low lying spot I would be clearing out all of my stuff that I cared about.  

And, right now, I'd be driving very far away so I could find reasonable long-term living arrangements...I bet this isn't resolved for quite some time.  A week minimum, until they safely get past the rains and feel confident about the dam structure.  But possibly a lot longer (and that's assuming no "uncontrolled release" situation).

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cmartenson
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Not the First dam

rhare wrote:

cmartenson wrote:

So the spillway may fail and the first, large modern dam in US history could fail.  

Not the first, depending on your definition of modern wink

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teton_Dam

You are right...I'll count that as a modern, major dam.  What a mess that was too.  

I loved these parts from the wiki article you linked, because I bet both dams will share this precise feature:

In 1973, when the dam was only half-built, but almost $5 million had already been spent on the project, large open fissures were encountered during excavation of the key trench near the right end of the dam, about 700 feet (210 m) from the canyon wall.

The two largest, near-vertical fissures trend generally east-west and extend more than 100 feet (30 m) below the bottom of the key trench. Some of the fissures are lined by calcite, and rubble fills others. Several voids, as much as 6 inches (15 cm) wide, were encountered 60 to 85 feet (18 to 26 m) below the ground surface beyond the right end of the dam and grout curtain.

The largest fissures were actually enterable caves. One of them was eleven feet (3.4 m) wide and a hundred feet (30 m) long. Another one was nine feet (2.7 m) wide in places and 190 feet (60 m) long. These were not grouted because they were beyond the keyway trench and beyond the area where the Bureau had decided grouting was required.

This necessitated using twice as much grouting as had been originally anticipated – 118,000 linear feet were used in total. Later, the report of a committee of the House of Representatives which investigated the dam's collapse felt that the discovery of the caves should have been sufficient for the Bureau of Reclamation to doubt its ability to fill them in with grout, but this did not happen: the Bureau continued to insist, even after the dam had failed, that the grouting was appropriate.

After the dam's collapse, debris clean-up began immediately and took the remainder of the summer. Rebuilding of damaged property continued for several years. Within a week after the disaster, President Gerald Ford requested a $200 million appropriation for initial payments for damages, without assigning responsibility for Teton Dam’s failure.

Yep, wouldn't want anyone form government being held responsible now would we?  You know accountability?  That's just for citizens, I guess.

Try having even a slight error on your tax forms during an audit, and you'll find out exactly how lenient the government can(not) be.  :)

The shared feature on the Oroville and Teton dams will be a complete lack of assigned blame.  Plus poor construction/maintenance.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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currently writing on geology

Migod - all of the research I am doing for this book (fiction, but involves a mine collapse) says calcite seams are the worst, most unstable.... 

We'd better hope that's not what they have under that spillway at Oroville. 

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Some calculations

Let's look at what it took to get the lake to drop one foot in 23 hours.  The lake is perhaps just over 10 square miles or about 300,000,000 sq. ft.  So that's 300M cubic feet in about 83,000 seconds or just under 4000 cubic feet per second net (inflow - outflow) to achieve that.  But they were dumping 100,000 cu. ft./s over the spillway, so inflow averaged 96,000 cu. ft./s.

Now, they have about 3 days until Thursday when the rains begin in earnest or 260,000 seconds.  They need to drain 300,000,000 x 50 = 15 billion cubic feet of water or about 55-60,000 cu. ft/s net drainage rate.  They better hope the inflow drops to an average of  40,000 cu. ft./s if they keep up the 100,000 spill rate.  That doesn't sound to likely.

On to the rain:  Last 06 UTC (10 PM PST) GFS weather prediction model was predicting 5-10+ inches of precipitation in the Sierras from day 3 to 9

Not quite the 10-20 inches that fell over the past week:

The reservoir drains about 4000 sq miles or 110 billion square feet.  5 inches of precipitation makes for a bit under 50 billion cubic feet of water.  if it all runs off in one week (about 600,000 seconds), that would be 83,000 cu. ft./s.  Of course some will fall as snow and won't run off til spring, but the peak flow rate will also likely be significantly higher than the average for a few days. 

Another look: Lowering the reservoir will free up about 15 billion cu. ft. or about 30% of the expected precipitation in the basin over the next 10 days.  I doubt they'll free up any more than 5-10 billion though.  Of course, they could drain 60 billion cubic feet over days 4-10 at 100,000 cubic feet/second and some will be stored as snow, so maybe things will work out.  But precipitation forecasts of that magnitude 4-10 days out are subject to significant error too.  An then there's the question of whether the existing damaged spillways shored up by whatever reinforcement they can do over the next few days can sustain 100,000 cubic feet/s without failing.

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