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Dodgy Demand Data? The Oil Price Collapse Conspiracy

Dodgy Demand Data? The Oil Price Collapse Conspiracy

  • WTI oil prices have given up nearly all their gains since Russia invaded Ukraine, falling roughly 9.5% over the course of the week amid fears oil demand is collapsing.
  • Some oil pundits are now claiming that the Biden administration has been fabricating low gasoline demand data in order to drag prices lower.
  • While Gasbuddy claims there was a 2% rise in gasoline demand last week, the EIA reported a 7.6% drop in demand.

WTI crude oil prices fell to their lowest point since early February on Thursday, giving up virtually all gains since Russia invaded Ukraine. WTI crude for September delivery tumbled -1.5% to close at $89.26/bbl while Brent crude for October delivery fell -2.1% to $94.71/bbl. WTI crude has lost ~9.5% over the course of the week, marking the largest one-week percentage decline since April amid growing fears that oil demand will collapse when western nations descend into a full-blown recession.

While oil producers are certainly beginning to feel the heat, it’s refiners like Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO), Marathon Petroleum Corp.(NYSE: MPC), and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) who have been hardest hit by the pullback thanks to a sharp decline in their refining margins aka crack spreads.

For months, refiners have been enjoying historically high refining margins, with the profit from making a barrel of gasoil, the building block of diesel and jet kerosene, hitting a record $68.69 in June at a typical Singapore refinery. The margin later settled in the high 30s a few weeks later, a level still nearly four times higher than the $11.83 at the end of last year, and some 550% above the profit margin at the same time in 2021.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Reuters Data Scientist Fired After Nuking BLM Narrative, Exposing ‘Significant Left-Wing Bias’ In Reporting

Reuters Data Scientist Fired After Nuking BLM Narrative, Exposing ‘Significant Left-Wing Bias’ In Reporting

On Tuesday, we republished a column from a journalist who resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because the network exhibited such extreme left-wing bias and propaganda that she couldn’t be a part of it any longer.

Today, bring you the story of Zac Kriegman, a former Reuters data scientist who was fired after performing a statistical analysis which refuted claims by Black Lives Matter, and spoke out against the company’s culture of “diversity and inclusion” which unquestioningly celebrated the BLM narrative.

As journalist Chris F. Rufo writes in City Journal: “Driven by what he called a “moral obligation” to speak out, Kriegman refused to celebrate unquestioningly the BLM narrative and his company’s “diversity and inclusion” programming; to the contrary, he argued that Reuters was exhibiting significant left-wing bias in the newsroom and that the ongoing BLM protests, riots, and calls to “defund the police” would wreak havoc on minority communities.”

Week after week, Kriegman felt increasingly disillusioned by the Thomson Reuters line. Finally, on the first Tuesday in May 2021, he posted a long, data-intensive critique of BLM’s and his company’s hypocrisy. He was sent to Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion for the chance to reform his thoughts. –

He refused—so they fired him. -City Journal

Kriegman, who has a bachelors in economics from Michigan, a JD from Harvard, and “years of experience with high-tech startups, a white-shoe law firm, and an econometrics research consultancy,” spent six years at Thomson Reuters, where he rose through the ranks to spearhead the company’s efforts on AI, machine learning, and advanced software engineering. By the time he was fired, he was the Director of Data Science, and lead a team which was in the process of implementing deep learning throughout the corporation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Hypothesis is no longer about Discovery

COMMENT: The old definition of the scientific method was “In a typical application of the scientific method, a researcher develops a hypothesis, tests it through various means, and then modifies the hypothesis on the basis of the outcome of the tests and experiments. The modified hypothesis is then retested, further modified, and tested again, until it becomes consistent with observed phenomena and testing outcomes.”

The new definition of the scientific method is that you alter your data until it conforms to your hypothesis.

C

REPLY: This is so true and has been used in both the virus as well as climate change. In economics, we have people constantly trying to force the economy to support their equality hypothesis first proposed by Karl Marx. The fact that Communism has failed, they have tried so desperately to adopt Marxism which has been like trying to be a little bit pregnant. They protest about the lofty 1% who own most of the public companies, but nobody looks at the fact that the savings of the individual are seized and put into things like government pensions which then are restricted to invest only in government bonds.

The public fails to understand that the billionaires made what they did from stock investments – not cash salaries. Perhaps they are always left to prevent others from making what they did. Gates goes further and wants to reduce the population as well.

Nobody looks at the evidence anymore. Then the government takes your money, pays you no interest, and you celebrate when you get a refund check with no interest. The government borrows from the poor without interest yet pay the rich interest through bonds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Data Our New False Religion?

Is Data Our New False Religion?

In the false religion of data, heresy is asking for data that is not being collected because it might reveal unpalatably unprofitable realities.

Here’s how every modern con starts: let’s look at the data. Every modern con starts with an earnest appeal to look at the data because the con artist has assembled the data to grease the slides of the con.

We have been indoctrinated into a new and false religion, the faith of data. We’ve been relentlessly indoctrinated with the quasi-religious belief that “data doesn’t lie,” when the reality is that data consistently misleads us because that is the intent.

Nobody in the False Religion of Data ever looks at what we don’t measure because that would uncover disruptive truths. My latest book Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World looks at everything consequential that we don’t measure, and since we don’t measure it, we assume it doesn’t exist. That’s the end-game of the False Religion of Datawhat’s actually important isn’t measured and therefore it doesn’t exist, while what is measured is artfully packaged to support a narrative that enriches those behind the screen of “objective data-based science.”

The data-based con can be constructed in any number of ways. A few data points can be cleverly extrapolated to “prove” some self-serving claim, a bit of data can be conjured into a model that just so happens to support the most profitable policy option, inconvenient data points can be covertly deleted via “filtering out the outliers,” statistical trickery can be invoked (with a wave of this magic wand…) to declare semi-random data “statistically significant,” and so on, in an almost endless stream of tricks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How effective is a hard lockdown against the COVID epidemics? The data say not so much

How effective is a hard lockdown against the COVID epidemics? The data say not so much

Data about the mortality of the coronavirus epidemic start being available. Above, a list of mortality rates for European countries taken from theInstitute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. It is not the complete data set, only Western Europe and the US. The data are ordered by the projected number of deaths per million inhabitants. In addition, I built a “lockdown score,” also based on the data reported by IHME (except for the US, where different states chose different options). It would be difficult to say that these data support the idea that a “hard” lockdown that includes a stay home order is more effective than a looser kind of lockdown. (for a live version of the table, write to me at ugo.bardi(whirlette)unifi.it)

Your friend has a headache. She takes a pill and, after a while, she feels much better. And she is sure that it was because of ot the pill. Maybe, but how does she know that the headache didn’t go away by itself? Was the pill a homeopathic medicine? In this case, you could tell her that she ingested pure sugar, unlikely to cure anything. But, if you ever tried something like that, you know that it is nearly impossible to un-convince someone who believes to have been healed by the miraculous powers of homeopathy or the like. It is a typical problem of medical studies: how do you know that a treatment is effective? That’s why there exist precise rules defining how you can test a new drug or treatment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ontario to release ‘stark’ COVID-19 projections Friday

Ontario to release ‘stark’ COVID-19 projections Friday

Premier Doug Ford promising a ‘sobering discussion’ about the coronavirus

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is pictured during a press briefing at the Ontario Legislature. Ford promised Thursday to release his government’s projections on COVID-19 death rates. He said the data would be ‘sobering.’ (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Provincial health experts are expected to provide a briefing Friday on modelling projections for the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario.

At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Premier Doug Ford promised health officials would explain “where this could go.” Ford said the people of the province “deserve to see” the same data about the pandemic that he sees.

“People are going to see some really stark figures,” Ford said.

“It’s going to be a real sobering discussion.”

Matthew Anderson, the head of Ontario Health, Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the University of Toronto’s public health department, and Dr. Peter Donnelly, who heads Public Health Ontario, will hold a news conference to explain the models. CBC news will stream that briefing live starting at around 12 p.m. E.T.

Most ICU beds full

The number of available intensive care beds in certain parts of the Greater Toronto Area is rapidly shrinking as the number of COVID-19 patients surges higher, according to data obtained by CBC News.

Just 13 critical care beds remain available among the 153 ICU beds in the hospitals of the Central Local Health Integration Network, which includes Mackenzie Richmond Hill, Markham Stouffville, Southlake, Humber River, and North York General hospitals. 

Those hospitals are caring for 28 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 — double the number they were four days earlier.  

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Smart TVs Caught Sending Sensitive User Data To Facebook And Netflix

Smart TVs Caught Sending Sensitive User Data To Facebook And Netflix 

A study by researchers from Northeastern University and Imperial College London found that many popular smart TV models, including models by Samsung and LG, as well as streaming dongles Roku and Amazon FireTV, are leaking sensitive user data to advertisers.

The models listed above would share data like location and IP address with Netflix, Facebook and third-party advertisers, according to the FT.

Just when social media companies were starting to modify their data collection practices to better respect user privacy, the next threat is coming from the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart TVs are becoming increasingly popular in the US.

In some cases, users’ data were being sent to Netflix even though they didn’t have an account. And it’s not just smart TVs: other smart devices from speakers to cameras have also been caught sending user data to third parties like Spotify.

Nearly 70% of Americans have a smart TV or a Roku or Apple TV. Nearly all of these devices have recognition technology that tracks what you watch, and sells data approximating your interests to advertisers.

In a separate study of smart TVs by Princeton University, researchers found that some apps supported by Roku and FireTV were sending data such as specific user identifiers to third parties including Google.

Amazon was one of the third-parties contacted by about half of the devices tested by researchers at Northeastern.

“Amazon is contacted by almost half the devices in our tests, which stands out because [this means] Amazon can infer a lot of information about what you’re doing with different devices in your home, including those they don’t manufacture,” said David Choffnes, computer scientist at Northeastern University and one of the paper’s authors. “They also can have a lot of visibility into what their competitors are doing.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re Flying with Eyes Partially Closed into Turbulent Markets & Economy

We’re Flying with Eyes Partially Closed into Turbulent Markets & Economy

But for the markets: “No Data is Good Data”

“NOTICE: Due to a lapse in federal funding this website is not being updated,” it says in big lettering against a bright red background at the top of the data sites of the Department of Commerce.

This morning, the Commerce Department was supposed to release crucial data for the housing market: sales and inventories of new single-family houses (“new home sales”). This includes sales and inventory figures, how many months of supply there was, and the median sales price of the new houses that sold. Today’s release would have been for sales that closed in December. But the Commerce Department is part of the shutdown, and no data was released.

This makes it the second month in a row that we have not seen national data on new home sales. The last month for which we received data was for October, released on November 28. And it was very lousy. So thank God that there is no data, because homebuilder stocks that had gotten battered by a series of lousy data have surged during the absence of data.

This morning, we were also supposed to get the report by the Commerce Department on “durable goods” with crucial data on orders and shipments in the manufacturing sector. But no.

This morning, we were also supposed to get the report on steel imports from the International Trade Administration, but it is part of the Commerce Department. The US is the largest steel importer in the world, and given all the hullaballoo about the tariffs on steel imports, it would be good to know for the industry and data watches alike what is going on. But there is no data on steel imports.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Uncle Sam Wants Your DNA: The FBI’s Diabolical Plan to Create a Nation of Suspects

Uncle Sam Wants Your DNA: The FBI’s Diabolical Plan to Create a Nation of Suspects

“As more and more data flows from your body and brain to the smart machines via the biometric sensors, it will become easy for corporations and government agencies to know you, manipulate you, and make decisions on your behalf. Even more importantly, they could decipher the deep mechanisms of all bodies and brains, and thereby gain the power to engineer life. If we want to prevent a small elite from monopolising such godlike powers, and if we want to prevent humankind from splitting into biological castes, the key question is: who owns the data? Does the data about my DNA, my brain and my life belong to me, to the government, to a corporation, or to the human collective?”―Professor Yuval Noah Harari

Uncle Sam wants you.

Correction: Uncle Sam wants your DNA.

Actually, if the government gets its hands on your DNA, they as good as have you in their clutches.

Get ready, folks, because the government— helped along by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget)—is embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.

As the New York Times reports:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If We Can No Longer Tell the Truth, We’ve Failed

If We Can No Longer Tell the Truth, We’ve Failed

The Gulag Archipelago is not a distant memory; it lives on in every modern state, cloaked with modern-day technologies and the well-worn tools of suppression.

The last thing addicts want to hear is the truth: the only thing more terrifying than the truth is the possibility that they will lose access to whatever they’re addicted to: smack, Oxy, coke, alcohol, sex, porn, power, etc.

If we fail to tell addicts the truth, we fail them and ourselves. As long as co-dependents remain complicit in the addict’s destructive state, as long as those who know better keep silent because they don’t want to deal with the trauma, the addict is free to maintain the illusion that he/she is in control, that his/her secret is safe, etc., and manipulate those around them with lies and victimhood.

Not wanting to deal with the trauma of forcing those in denial to face up to reality is understandable: who wants to deal with the shock, denial, anger and depression that characterize facing up to a terrifying truth?

But we fail ourselves if we’re too weak to speak the truth and grind through the denial, anger and depression. If we opt for the easy way out, we’re just like the addict, who is also opting for the easy way out, i.e. finding refuge in the labryrinthine Kingdom of Lies.

The status quo is a Kingdom of Lies. “Raw data”, i.e. facts collected without regard to future interpretaion, are “processed” into the “right kind of data,” i.e. data that supports the status quo interpretation, which is that everything’s just fine thanks to the wise leadership of our self-serving elites.

The deeper you dig into the statistical foundation of GDP, the unemployment rate, trade deficits, etc., the more questions arise about the accuracy and agenda behind the headline numbers.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Diesel or no Peak Diesel? The Debate is Ongoing

Peak Diesel or no Peak Diesel? The Debate is Ongoing

In a recent post, Antonio Turiel proposed that the global peak of diesel fuel production was reached three years ago, in 2018. Turiel’s idea is especially interesting since it takes into account the fact that what we call “oil” is actually a wide variety of liquids of different characteristics. The current boom of the extraction of tight oil (known also as “shale oil”) in the United States has avoided, so far, the decline of the total volume of oil produced worldwide (“peak oil”).

Shale oil has changed a lot of things in the oil industry, but it couldn’t avoid the decline of conventional oil. That, in turn, had consequences: shale oil is light oil, not easily converted to the kind of fuel (diesel) which is the most important transportation fuel, nowadays. That seems to have forced the oil industry into converting more and more “heavy” oil into diesel fuel but, even so, diesel fuel is becoming gradually more scarce and more expensive, to the point that its production may have peaked in 2015. In addition, it has created a dearth of heavy oil, the fuel of choice for marine transportation. In short, the famed “peak oil” is arriving not all together, but piecemeal — affecting some kinds of fuels faster than others.

Turiel’s proposal has raised a considerable debate among the experts, with several of them challenging Turiel’s interpretation. Turiel himself and Gail Tverberg (of the “our finite world” blog) discussed the validity of the data and their meaning. Below, I reproduce the exchange with their kind permission. As you will see, the matter is complex and at the present stage it is not possible to arrive at a definitive conclusion. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How To Be Invisible On The Internet

Everywhere you look, concerns are mounting about internet privacy.

Although giving up your data was once an afterthought when gaining access to the newest internet services such as Facebook and Uber, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, many people have had their perspective altered by various recent scandals, billions of dollars of cybertheft, and a growing discomfort around how their personal data may be used in the future.

More people want to opt out of this data collection, but aside from disconnecting entirely or taking ludicrous measures to safeguard information, there aren’t many great options available to limit what is seen and known about you online.

THE NEXT BEST THING

It may not be realistic to use Tor for all online browsing, so why not instead look at taking more practical steps to reducing your internet footprint?

Today’s infographic comes to us from CashNetUSA, and it gives a step-by-step guide – that anyone can follow – to limit the amount of personal data that gets collected on the internet.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Singularity is already here – it is the market

The Singularity is already here – it is the market

The market economy exhibits most of the traits of the much hyped – and feared – singularity, where an artificial intelligence takes over the show and humans are enslaved.

We have all heard the stories of the powerful algorithms. They control our choices and they learn by analyzing an ever increasing amount of data. In the book Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari says that we have replaced the idea of God with an algorithm. In this emerging ideology, which he names Dataism, the ultimate goal is to increase the amount of information flow through the algorithm.

“Hitherto, data was seen as only the first step in a long chain of intellectual activity. Humans were supposed to distil data into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom. However, Dataists believe that humans can no longer cope with the immense flows of data, hence they cannot distil data into information, let alone into knowledge or wisdom. The work of processing data should therefore be entrusted to electronic algorithms, whose capacity far exceeds that of the human brain.”

Harari makes a link to the markets in his analysis, for example he says that:

“We often imagine that democracy and the free market won because they were “good”. In truth, they won because they improved the global data-processing system.”

These are good observations, but in my view he doesn’t draw the full conclusions of his own observation.

That the market is the super AI and the Singularity.

According to the singularity hypothesis, an intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial general intelligence) would enter a “runaway reaction” of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that would far surpass all human intelligence. (Wikipedia)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Truth Is What We Hide, Self-Serving Cover Stories Are What We Sell

Truth Is What We Hide, Self-Serving Cover Stories Are What We Sell

The fact that lies and cover stories are now the official norm only makes us love our servitude with greater devotion.

We can summarize the current era in one sentence: truth is what we hide, self-serving cover stories are what we sell. Jean-Claude Juncker’s famous quote captures the essence of the era: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”

And when does it become serious? When the hidden facts of the matter might be revealed to the general public. Given the regularity of vast troves of well-hidden data being made public by whistleblowers and white-hat hackers, it’s basically serious all the time now, and hence the official default everywhere is: truth is what we hide, self-serving cover stories are what we sell.

The self-serving cover stories always tout the nobility of the elite issuing the PR: we in the Federal Reserve saved civilization by saving the Too Big To Fail Banks (barf); we in the corporate media do investigative reporting without bias (barf); we in central government only lie to protect you from unpleasant realities–it’s for your own good (barf); we in the NSA, CIA and FBI only lie because it’s our job to lie, and so on.

Three recent essays speak to the degradation of data and factual records in favor of self-serving cover stories and corrosive political correctness.

Why we stopped trusting elites (The Guardian)

“It’s not just that isolated individuals are unmasked as corrupt or self-interested (something that is as old as politics), but that the establishment itself starts to appear deceitful and dubious. The distinctive scandals of the 21st century are a combination of some very basic and timeless moral failings (greed and dishonesty) with technologies of exposure that expose malpractice on an unprecedented scale, and with far more dramatic results.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Industrial Forest Science: Industry’s Bitch

Industrial Forest Science: Industry’s Bitch

Photo Source Gunvor Røkke | CC BY 2.0

“As soon as you are a scientist … you take a political side [because] you must necessarily choose to ask only certain questions. Many scientists … produce risk assessment for forest management [which] asks ‘how much can we cut, graze, salvage, spray, develop … and do to Earth’s ecosystems without making them buckle.”

–Mary O’Brien, 1994. Being a Scientist Means Taking Sides. BioScience 43(10): 706-708

“The larger and more immediate are prospects for gain, the greater the political power that is used to facilitate unlimited exploitation; Political leaders … base their policies upon a misguided view of the dynamics of resource exploitation; Distrust claims of sustainability; Scientists and their judgments are subject to political pressures.”

–Donald Ludwig, et al., 1993. Uncertainty, Resource Exploitation, and Conservation: Lessons from History. Science 260: 17/36.

Back in the late 1980s, the good people of Minnesota, alarmed by heavy logging, asked that an impact analysis be done. Jaakko Poyry, an international forestry consulting firm, was hired to produce a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), and in 1992, the draft of the million dollar analysis was released for public scrutiny. In essence, it read “There will be ecological damage, we’re not sure how much, but industry rules.”

At even the lowest level investigated [the level that had caused public concern], there were projected declines in species of rare trees; declines of tree species within their ranges; unavoidable destruction of rare plant communities; loss of genetic diversity in many plants, including trees. The authors wrote “The lack of data … make it difficult to interpret impacts with any degree of certainly”; “Projections assume no natural disturbance” [Really!]; “Implicit assumptions [are] unrealistic”; “Loss of genetically unique ecotypes is irreversible.”; “Knowledge [is] not sufficient for detailed analysis of effects of fragmentation on biodiversity.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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