Saturday, 5 April 2014

By on April 5th, 2014 in personal, streaming video

10:13 – Barbara is out doing the first major yard work of the season. I’m working on taxes.

CBC announced yesterday that there will be a season 8 of Heartland. Shooting starts next month, so Heather Conkie and the rest of her team must already be working madly on scripts. CBC also renewed another of its flagship series, Murdoch Mysteries, for an eighth season. Barbara and I have already watched the first five series on Amazon streaming, which is all they have available. Series six released on DVD last autumn, so I suspect it should be available soon on Amazon streaming. It’ll be interesting to see the first batch of episodes that were produced under the aegis of CBC after Rogers Media canceled it at the end of series five and CBC picked it up. Given the money crunch at CBC, I was a bit surprised that they elected to renew Murdoch Mysteries. As a period drama set around the turn of the 20th century, it must be very expensive to produce.

Speaking of production costs for Canadian TV series, we were discussing this recently in the comments. My position is that Canadian series pay much, much lower salaries to the actors. And that was confirmed by an interview I read recently with Hélène Joy, who was one of the lead characters in earlier seasons of Murdoch Mysteries. The interview took place four years ago, and she mentioned that her annual income had finally made it into six figures. And even with the leading role in Murdoch Mysteries, she was still working a side job of renovating houses for resale.

26 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 5 April 2014"

  1. OFD says:

    Assuming that the Canadian TV shows have a substantial audience down here, I wonder why their pay scales are so much lower?

    On Season Two of “Southland,” not a bad show at all; fairly realistic cop and detective work and naturally the cops and detectives are flawed human beings like the rest of us, perhaps more so in some respects, yet have this power of life and death in their hands 24×7, which is, of course, legitimized. We were trained/taught that it was an awesome power and that, correspondingly, we were to be judicious in its use and use lethal force as a last resort, in defense of life. Now it seems like it’s the default setting for every encounter they have with the civilian “enemy.”

    44 here today, and mostly overcast, with a brisk wind; the postmistress informed me the other day that it doesn’t really start to warm up here until the ice is outta the bay. And all reports indicate there is still one to two feet of it there, but we’re seeing more patches of open wottuh.

    Another job interview Tuesday, back at the Big Blue Plantation up here. And back again to the security clearance stuff, looks like. I’ve been run six ways from Sunday for the past year on this and everyone should be on the same page by now that I’m not a criminal or terrorist, but they’re not. Each check starts from scratch, apparently. What a colossal waste of time and effort, yet that piece of shit down at the D.C. Navy Yard had all kinds of alarm bells ringing and he skated through all this stuff.

    Mrs. OFD and MIL will be in Williamsburg tonight, visiting more of the clans down there and then they’ll be flying back up here tomorrow. I’ll be at a gun show in the afternoon and then picking her up, maybe a cheap dinner date after at someplace local.

  2. ech says:

    Assuming that the Canadian TV shows have a substantial audience down here, I wonder why their pay scales are so much lower?

    I don’t think they do have a substantial audience down here. If they did, it would be reflected in their salaries. I can’t think of any CBC shows on US commercial network TV over the last few years. There are a lot of US shows shot in Canada, all dramas IIRC, that take advantage of lower costs. Once Upon A Time, Fringe, Suits, and others are all shot there with a mix of US and Canadian actors.

  3. OFD says:

    Ah, that may explain it then. I may have been assuming that those shows shot in Canada were managed up there, haha, “up there” is about ten miles. I did notice, however, that several of the series I’ve watched recently had multiple Canadian production credits, sometimes as many as half a dozen, but I have no clue what any of that means.

    And now for something completely different; I’ve been seeing and reading a fair amount of stuff over the past year on the ‘peak oil’ scenarios, and some debunking of same. For economics and science people here, what’s the real story? Can it be summarized in a paragraph with a couple links or something? I’ve got ongoing discussions/arguments in several places.

    The gist is that based on what Hubbert came up with decades ago, we are approaching a fairly steep drop-off/slope when oil won’t be in the massive quantities we’ve become used to in the past century and that indeed, this past century of our cornucopia of riches and comfort is, in fact, an historical anomaly.

    The debunkers say that new sources of energy are coming online real fast and that the new technologies are also going to make the difference and we have many, many decades, if not centuries, of cheap energy coming our way.

    I’m kinda looking for something definitive here, one way or the other, at this point. My study of economics is limited to reading of Adam Smith and Henry Hazlitt back when, and my knowledge of science, as documented previously here, is, sadly, stuck back at high school earth science and biology. Plus whatever reading in it I’ve done in the forty years since, “Science” magazine being current.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Flashpoint was co-produced and was broadcast during prime time in both countries on CTV in Canada and CBS in the US.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Re: peak oil

    As I’ve been saying for 30 years or more, there ain’t no such thing as peak oil. Petroleum is commonplace. It was created in a continuous process over tens of millions of years, a process that continues today (although humans are too ephemeral to see it happening). At a guess, we as a species may have located maybe 0.00001% of what’s actually down there. Right now, including fracking, we’re just scratching the surface, literally. A few hundred years from now, we’ll still be extracting petroleum by the gigaton from seriously deep deposits. I hope by then we’ll be reserving it mostly as an organic feedstock rather than burning it for energy.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The problem right now is politicians and frightened, ignorant voters getting in the way of the scientists and engineers. Military officer trainees are taught the danger of taking counsel from their fears, but no one has ever bothered to teach ignorant voters of the risks involved in allowing their ignorant fears to influence their voting.

  7. SteveF says:

    I hope by then we’ll be reserving it mostly as an organic feedstock rather than burning it for energy.

    +1000000 (to steal Lynn’s accolade)

    I want to see electric cars with a nuke plant in every neighborhood and a dozen gigawatt nukes in every state. Solar power satellites with 100-mile reflectors would be good, too. Reserve the hydrocarbons for the chemical industry.

  8. OFD says:

    What, then, concerning their arguments that it’s getting increasingly difficult and costly to locate and extract? Point well taken on the pols and hacks fomenting FUD on this; it’s what I’m trying counter. It is one of three major planks in a political party that straddles the U.S. and Canada, i.e., that peak oil has already come and despite a few geysers here and there and upticks in supply over the next few years, the downward slope has begun and at some point will become precipitous. Naturally once there is no more fossil energy available at a reasonable, if not cheap price, for whatever reasons, we will see the collapse of industrial civilization.

    And assuming that the supply remains more or less constant and available, would it then be in the interests of our global political elites to fiddle with it and actually cause, with malice aforethought, said collapse, in the belief that they’ve maintained that the world is overpopulated and can’t sustain it all anymore? That safe in their enclaves with their armies of retainers and security, and their own sources of power, they wouldn’t mind and would actually encourage the mass die-off of most of the planet?

    We do know, in any case, that based simply on arithmetic, the financial house of cards cannot be sustained much longer; that alone is likely to create international havoc.

  9. SteveF says:

    Put the burden on them to prove the assertion that we’re almost out of crude and gas and we’re all gonna diiiieeee! Aside from the truism that an assertion made without evidence may be dismissed without evidence, there’s the demonstrable fact that gasoline prices in general are not skyrocketing worldwide, and most of the increases can be attributed to reasons other than raw material shortage.

    I’m sure Lynn can read chapter and verse on refinery bottlenecks, regulation, and taxes, but I stick with my first line of defense: Tell the yammerheads to prove it or shove it.

  10. Lynn McGuire says:

    Reserve the hydrocarbons for the chemical industry.

    To make more plastic water bottles!

    The debunkers say that new sources of energy are coming online real fast and that the new technologies are also going to make the difference and we have many, many decades, if not centuries, of cheap energy coming our way.

    I guess that I am a debunker. Lets put this in local terms, the USA is overflowing with sweet light oil and natural gas. So much natural gas that almost half of the natural gas produced in the USA is being flared (Colorado and North Dakota) because we do not have the infrastructure (treating facilities, compressors and pipelines) to get it to the marketplace. Natural gas treating facilities are being installed as fast as they can to remove pentane , butane and propane as these cannot go into the pipelines since they form hydrocarbon liquids and cause the pipeline flow to almost cease (read up on hydrocarbon slugs). And other problems. And the pipelines are incredibly expensive to build (have you bought 36 inch stainless steel pipe lately with 4 inch wall thickness?) and the paths have become political (Keystone which is a liquid pipeline).

    The light sweet oil is actually a problem in the USA. Sweet means less than one ppm (part per million) of sulfur in H2S. Light means 99% of the oil consists of decanes (C10) or lighter (there is a better term called API gravity but I don’t want to explain that here). Unfortunately, until the late 2000s, all of the new oil found in the world was heavy (C10 to C20, even some C30) and sour (up to 10% H2S). So, the refining industry in the USA spent billions of dollars re-equipping the refineries to handle sour heavy crude. So, they are having to reconfigure the refineries once again to handle the light sweet crude. Refineries are not erector sets, they cannot be easily converted around. Most of the crude treating and conversion happens when the crude has been heated into a hydrocarbon vapor so these are high temperature processes using stainless steels, etc.

    The world outside the USA is sucking wind. Literally. Europe had a bad winter and almost ran out of natural gas. So did China and the other Asian countries. Japan is in very bad shape from shutting down all their 55 nuclear power plants and buying LNG ships as much as they can get them. The price of natural gas in the USA is $4.50. The price of a ship of LNG (liquified natural gas) is $18. The price of diesel in the USA is $4. The price of a ship of diesel is $8. This is why China is running all their no emission controlled coal power plants whenever they can instead of buying LNG and diesel.

    Unfortunately though, the cost of hydraulic fracking is rising rapidly. The wells do not last long as 90 days is a good one. So, the companies are constantly drilling and drilling. And the costs of drill pipe and labor is going up along with the fracking fluid (water, a very special sand and other stuff). The industry actually thought that the cost of crude oil was going to drop to $70/barrel by now. Not gonna happen, in fact, I expect the opposite as the Asian tigers buy anything and everything on the global market for energy.

    So, in short, we have plenty of hydrocarbons for energy and plastic bottles. But, the cost is going to continue increasing due to demand. I would say that we have at least 10 to 20 years of light sweet crude in the USA. And we have yet to peak in our production of this. Natural gas, we have at least 200 years worth. Maybe a 1,000 years. The problem is getting it to market.

  11. OFD says:

    They mainly seem to rely on decades-old data and hypotheses and looking now at the “Peak Oil Review” for the past few months, they mostly cover various political events concerning energy around the world, rather than actual material shortages or projected shortages. The further claim with that organization and elsewhere is that those who portray the endless cornucopia of cheap energy are themselves beholden in some way to the energy and banking industries, and in turn, the governments don’t want a mass panic.

    My sense is that rather than physical depletion, we can expect unprecedented political and financial chicanery in collusion with the usual media suspects to jack up prices at some point, along with the prices of everything else. Much like the manufactured OPEC crisis of the early 70s, where we saw the odd-even license plate days of cars lined up for blocks to get gas, yet out to sea off San Francisco there were a couple dozen tankers sitting at anchor. (we could see both of these scenarios from our radar site on top of Mt. Tamalpais). The next “crisis” will likely beat that one by several orders of magnitude.

  12. OFD says:

    I guess I’m looking, at this point, for a link to a quick summary of the existing physical resources and reasonable availability to industrial civilization and the masses for the next centuries.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I recall the analysis around 1900 that concluded that major cities had reached their limits of growth because there’d be nowhere to put all the horseshit.

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    We do know, in any case, that based simply on arithmetic, the financial house of cards cannot be sustained much longer; that alone is likely to create international havoc.

    I disagree. The USA is in fact, being sustained by cheap energy right now. The amount of money flowing into the USA government is over half a trillion dollars per year from taxes and production on public lands more than it was just a couple of years ago. The change is that significant. It will soon reach one trillion dollars per year.

    If we did not have the fracking boom in the USA, we would be paying $8/gallon for gasoline right now. The repercussions from that would be immense and the USA government would have a two trillion dollar per year debt instead of a trillion dollar per year debt. Obama has no idea how good that he has got it.

    I will submit with this kind of cheap energy in the USA, that we are good until the overall debt reaches thirty trillion dollars. Maybe forty trillion dollars. Shutoff the cheap energy (stop the hydraulic fracturing) and those numbers drop precipitously. Or allow the interest rates to treble or quadruple (not gonna happen). It is all about the rate of change.

  15. OFD says:

    1.) The U.S. spends far more than it takes in. And we’re at least $17-trillion in debt already. Meanwhile our national infrastructure is falling apart and we still maintain a DOD that thinks it can prosecute two major wars simultaneously around the world with advances science-fiction-level weapons systems based on their ongoing model of Second Generation Warfare, against whom, exactly? And how many major banks have we bailed out so far?

    2.) You describe the fracking boom as…a boom. What happens when the boom, like they all do, ends? Paying eight bucks a gallon for gasoline may be just one of many doublings or triplings of costs, especially with regard to food.

    3.) It appears that a lot is hanging on the current situation of having cheap energy, a helluva lot. And knowing what we know about the games our banksters and financial hucksters play with our money, in collusion with the State, I am not as optimistic.

    I’m still looking for some summarized hard data that shows we have nothing to worry about in terms of available energy resources and their costs.

    As I am for the other side’s claims that we’re about out of time.

  16. Ray Thompson says:

    have you bought 36 inch stainless steel pipe lately with 4 inch wall thickness?

    Well I guess I will have to put off re-plumbing my house.

    I recall the analysis around 1900 that concluded that major cities had reached their limits of growth because there’d be nowhere to put all the horseshit.

    I thought they just put the horse shit in Washington DC and called it a congress.

  17. OFD says:

    “I thought they just put the horse shit in Washington DC and called it a congress.”

    Not all of it. But most of it. Distributed among the Congress, WH, State Department, DOD and SCOTUS.

    More was distributed in NYC at the Times, the UN and Wall Street.

    And finally, a few million tons of it in Hollyweird, where it continues to give off its sublime fragrance with each year’s output of crappy movies and politically motivated actors and directors, almost always on the Dippy Left.

  18. Lynn McGuire says:

    I’m still looking for some summarized hard data that shows we have nothing to worry about in terms of available energy resources and their costs.

    Two hard facts:

    1. The price of gasoline here in 2014 is less then in 2008, the peak of gasoline prices across the USA. All the oil peakers were predicting that gasoline was going to be $6 to $8 by now. Admittedly the price is only 50 cents less than in 2008, but, less is less.

    2. The price of natural gas is way less now than in 2008, also the peak price of natural gas here in the USA. It peaked at $14 and is around $4.50 now. There were actually companies in my industry talking about building CTG (coal to natural gas) plants just to meet the existing demand for natural gas in the USA. Also, there were several LNG vaporization plants built for the importation of natural gas. Never happened. We now sell natural gas to the Canadians and Mexicans. It has been a mixed blessing to the Canadians who shut down their sour (H2S) natural gas wells because they did not want to run the sulfur treatment plants anymore.

    While gasoline usage in the USA is down by some 10% since 2008 (I’ve seen the 2013 data somewhere), the demand outside the USA is still growing so that does not explain the falling price.

    And natural gas usage in the USA has increased by 15% in the last ten years and is rapidly increasing since it it now the fuel of choice. Many trucks and utility firms are moving from diesel and coal to natural gas. This will only accelerate over time.

    To me, market prices are always the best comparison of how things really are.

  19. Lynn McGuire says:

    I’m still looking for some summarized hard data that shows we have nothing to worry about in terms of available energy resources and their costs.

    I really do not have a good answer for you here. You can look at the EIA forecast but they are relying upon self reports of hydrocarbon reserves by oil and gas companies. Many of these companies, lie. A lot of them over forecast to pump their stock price and some under report because they are very conservative such as Exxon.

    Another thing is what Bob mentioned. Hydraulic fracking is a “new” technology that is extremely successful because of its coupling with another technology, horizontal drilling. Also, our geophysical analysis of hydrocarbon reserves has gotten better, way better due to better seismological tools and computer models. There are just about zero dry holes drilled nowadays. Who knows what technology we will be using in just 20 to 40 years? Unlike fusion reactors, I have a very high confidence here.

  20. Ray Thompson says:

    Question for Chuck since he works with video.

    I am going to start redoing all the cable in the broadcast studio at my church. Most of the connections are BNC using a few composite video signals with conversion to SDI for the switching and conversion back to composite for final broadcast. We do have a few HDMI connections but they are confined to final conversion to the switcher as the switcher has four SDI and four HDMI inputs.

    My question is which better for cabling? RG6 or RG59?

    Currently all the cabling is RG59 that was removed from the switcher rack before the acquisition of the new switcher. The cable was reused grabbing whatever length was long enough. The back of the rack is a rats nest. I want to cut custom length cables routing such cables in an orderly manner. In the process I will be labeling the cables with source and destination and create a VISIO chart of the connections.

    A tedious process but one that can be accomplished over several days doing a few cables at a time.

  21. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m not Chuck, but if it were me I’d use RG-6 in a heartbeat if the higher cost isn’t an issue. As far as I know, the only advantage of RG-59 over RG-6 is that RG-59 is cheaper.

  22. Sam Olson says:

    There’s lots of information out there about peak oil and the probable consequences. Just go to and do a search — there’ll come up page after page of documentaries. One that I really enjoyed watching, and found very inspiring, was “Fuel” by Josh Tickell. Unfortunately it’s no longer available on YouTube for free, at least not all of it — see links below. But if you have Netflix, it’s well worth watching. Here’s a link to a TedTalk by Josh on the big energy picture …

    TEDxSoCal – Josh Tickell – Redesigning Society – From Scratch

    “Fuel” Trailer on …

    Parts 2 – 11 of “Fuel” film on …
    (each part is 10 minutes long)

    Fuel Film-2

    Fuel Film-3

    Fuel Film-4

    Fuel Film-5

    Fuel Film-6

    Fuel Film-7

    Fuel Film-8

    Fuel Film-9

    Fuel Film-10

    Fuel Film-11

    Can’t find “Fuel Film-1” !!

    I bought it “used” on amazon. Here’s the link …

    Fuel (2010) – Josh Tickell (Director) – Rated: NR – Format: DVD

    Eleven years in the making, FUEL is the in-depth personal journey of filmmaker and eco-evangelist Josh Tickell, who takes us on a hip, fast-paced road trip into America’s dependence on foreign oil. Combining a history lesson of the US auto and petroleum industries and interviews with a wide range of policy makers, educators, and activists such as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. Animated by powerful graphics, FUEL looks into our future offering hope via a wide range of renewable energy and bio-fuels. Winner of the Sundance Audience Award.

  23. SteveF says:

    If only he’d managed to get Michael Moore and Al Gore into that lineup, he’d have had a full slate of large mouths connected to tiny brains.

    (I like Neil Young’s music, but have no respect for his activism.)

  24. OFD says:

    Young’s earlier music was just OK, when he was still with Crazy Horse, which I guess is back with him again recently. Don’t care for his singing voice at all; like fingernails on a blackboard, and even less for his brainless Hollyweird-style activism schtick. Just learned the other day that he is a manic model railroad enthusiast, which kinda always struck me as another indication of Peter Pan Syndrome.

    Algore and Moore belong in re-education labor battalions on road gangs. Slim those buggers right down and reduce their emissions into the earth’s atmosphere accordingly.

  25. bgrigg says:

    Young became a manic model railroad enthusiast because his son, who has cerebral palsy, enjoyed playing with them. I’m certainly not a fan of his politics, but he shouldn’t be compared to Peter Pan because of his love for his child.

  26. Bob Phillips says:

    Most of these “Energy” people only consider 1 item from petroleum, gasoline!!! None of these people never think of where their “Aspirin” comes from;… Another un-thought thought, that even amazed some of my “Shell Engineering” friends; the products that make gasoline HAVE TO COME OUT OF PETROLEUM!!! during the fracturing process… Where, on this Earth are we going to store all the of these unwanted products??? In the beginning, these products that made gasoline were burned-off… So, without the internal combustion engine to burn gasoline in, what are we going to do with these products???

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