Browsing Tag: resources

    Ice
    Articles, Blog

    Ice

    October 17, 2019


    You probably don’t give much thought to
    ice unless you’re thinking of ice skating in the winter or cooling a beverage in the
    summer. Ice is abundant not only on Earth but throughout
    the solar system. Here in Wyoming, we appreciate the many forms
    of ice – from snowflakes to glaciers. Ice is formed when there is a phase transformation
    of water from liquid to solid. Ice can also form when there is a direct transformation
    from vapor to solid. This phase change will leave your lawn a frosty
    white or require you to scrape the frost off of your windshield. The types of ice are various and include:
    glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, icebergs, snowflakes, hail, frost, icicles and ice spikes. The formation of ice can be beneficial or
    harmful to living organisms. Because ice has a lower density than water,
    it floats. This helps protect organisms living in the
    water by insulating them from the harsh conditions above. Ice formation can also be very destructive. If ice forms in cells, the crystals expand
    and shatter the cells. If the damage is extensive enough, the organism
    dies. Before the advent of modern refrigeration,
    ice was a very valuable resource and was harvested and stored through the summer. We don’t need to harvest ice anymore but
    we still rely on the formation of ice for many of our winter activities. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
    I’m Mae Smith, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

    Grand Encampment Tramway
    Articles, Blog

    Grand Encampment Tramway

    October 11, 2019


    Did you know it is thought that Wyoming was
    home to one of the most important copper mines in the West, in the late 1880’s to early
    1900’s? Copper deposits were discovered in the Sierra
    Madre Mountains in south central Wyoming in 1874. A decade-long copper boom did not occur until
    sheepherder Ed Haggarty discovered a more significant copper deposit in 1897. The copper boom brought people, money, and
    engineering achievements. A steam and gravity-powered tramway was constructed
    to transport ore from the Ferris-Haggarty mine to the Boston-Wyoming mill and smelter
    constructed in Riverside in 1902. The tramway traveled east and gained nearly
    1,000 feet in elevation to cross over the Continental Divide. The tramway then descended over 3,000 feet
    to the eastern flanks of the Sierra Madres, and on down to the smelter. The tramway was considered an engineering
    marvel and was the longest in the world at the time. Each of the 840 buckets on the tramway could
    transport up to 700 pounds of ore. The extraction of copper at the mine ceased
    in 1908. To learn more and to view sections of the
    aerial tramway visit the Grand Encampment Museum. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
    I’m Windy Kelley, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

    Wolfpack Wood Recycling:  From Crisis to Clean-up at the Oroville Dam (Morbark Owner)
    Articles, Blog

    Wolfpack Wood Recycling: From Crisis to Clean-up at the Oroville Dam (Morbark Owner)

    August 15, 2019


    My name is Tim Dempewolf and I own Wolfpack Wood Recycling I’m working on a site here in the
    foothills out of Oroville California. I’m under Syblon and Reid company and
    they’re working under Department of Water Resources. It was kind of a hurry up emergency to
    get people in here to get the trees out. They were worried at the time that if
    the water come over the spillway that it would wash all the trees down into the
    river and they didn’t want that to happen. When they said it was gonna come
    over the spillway the next morning it was … “Get my stuff out first!” It was a lot of people trying to move pretty quick, getting everybody out of harm’s way. Now it’s just trying to get everything in order to so they can start fixing the dam. At this point I started out clearing, like I said, under the emergency overflow. Then I went down and was chipping trees and brush where they were taken to make room to put stockpiles for the dirt they were taken out of the river. Now at this point I’m clearing under power lines that they had to move and reposition. I started my business in 2007. Most of the time I do subdivisions and orchard removals by myself, or my wife and I have. I have Buck and Hunter. They’re my little buddies. I’m trying to teach them how to run the grinder and excavator. My equipment — I’ve got a 320 CAT
    excavator and a Morbark 4600XL on tracks. I’ll be honest with you. I wouldn’t buy
    a grinder unless it was on tracks. A lot of the work that I do is on hills
    and steep ground. I purchased the Morbark equipment because they’ve always had a pretty good name, and I’ve had nothing but good luck with
    Morbark grinders. At one point when I started grinding I
    would get my wear parts from a different company because of pricing but now Morbark is getting their prices more comparable and their tips are getting better. At this point I think I am going to stick with Morbark parts. I was doing a project last summer out of Auburn California on a railroad job, and I hit some parts that come out of the
    railroad tracks. I’ve tore up some stuff hitting steel, but I never really have completely damaged the machine. When I hear the words “Morbark Strong” it means to me that you’re gonna have something that’s dependable and will hold up. It’s quite a project here. A few people, if I go into a restaurant or something they’ll see me dirty and ask me what I’m doing, I’ll tell them I’m working on the Oroville dam. They’re pretty appreciative of everyone doing their job up here.

    What If There Were No Prices? The Railroad Thought Experiment
    Articles, Blog

    What If There Were No Prices? The Railroad Thought Experiment

    August 11, 2019


    To appreciate why market prices are essential to human well-being, consider what a fix we
    would be in without them. Suppose you were the commissar of
    railroads in the old Soviet Union. Markets and prices have been banished. You and your comrades. Passionate communists all. Now, directly plan how to
    use available resources. You want a railroad from city A to city B,
    but between the cities is a mountain range. Suppose somehow you know that
    the railroad once built. Will serve the nation equally well. Whether it goes through the mountains or
    around. If you build through the mountains,
    you’ll use much less steel for the tracks. Because that route is shorter. But you’ll use a great deal of
    engineering to design the trestles and tunnels needed to cross the rough terrain. That matters because engineering is also
    needed to design irrigation systems, mines, harbor installations and
    other structures. And you don’t want to tie up
    engineering on your railroad if it would be more valuable designing
    those other structures instead. You can save engineering for
    other projects. If you build around
    the mountains on level ground. But that way you’ll use much more steel
    rail to go the longer distance and steel is also needed for other purposes. For vehicles, girders, ships, pots and
    pans and thousands of other things. Which route should you choose for
    the good of the nation? To answer, you would need to
    determine which bundle of resources is less urgently needed for
    other purposes. The large amount of engineering and
    small amount of steel for the route through the mountains,
    where the small amount of engineering and large amount of steel for
    the roundabout route. But how could you find out the urgency
    of need for engineering and steel in other uses? Just one way engineering is used
    is to build irrigation systems. To assess the importance of a particular
    irrigation system, you would need to know what the farmers know about how irrigation
    would increase the yield of their fields. And to know the value of that increased
    yield, you’d need to know what grocers know about their customers eagerness for
    that produce. That in turn depends on what customers
    know about the better meals they could fix with that produce. How would you find all this out? Just one way to use steel
    is to build new trucks. To assess the importance of a particular
    new truck, you would need to know what the trucker knows about the capacity
    of his current truck, and how much more quickly he could make the deliveries his
    customers want with a new bigger truck. To know the importance of those
    deliveries, you would need to know what his customers know about the value
    of getting goods delivered. That in turn depends on what still others
    know about the uses of those goods at their destinations. To reason about where
    to route the railroad, you need this kind of information for all
    possible uses of engineering and steel. That’s a massive amount of knowledge, held
    by millions of people throughout society. How might you get it? You might try surveys, but think how
    many people you would need to survey. All those who prepare meals with produce,
    and all those who take delivery by truck for
    starters. The numbers would be staggering. And often people don’t even know what they
    prefer until they face an actual choice. So they might not be able to answer
    survey questions accurately. Even if they could,
    by the time the surveys were returned and processed, much of the information
    would be out of date. And even if you could get complete and
    timely information about what everyone knows, that’s relevant
    to every use of steel in engineering, you would still need to deduce from
    it where to build the railroad. How would you begin to make
    sense of that mountain of data? In the words of Ludwig von Mises,
    you would be groping in the dark. You would face what is known as
    the knowledge problem of central planning. The reason why comprehensive
    socialism inevitably fails. Central planners cannot get the knowledge
    they need in order to plan effectively. You, commissar, simply cannot know on what
    projects scarce resources should be used for the good of the nation. But now change the thought experiment. Imagine that somewhere in the market
    economy part of the world, you are the chief operating
    officer of a railroad company. You work not for the good of the nation,
    but to generate profits for your firm. You want to run a railroad
    line from city C to city D. Again, there’s a mountain
    range between them. Now, how do you decide on the route? You choose what’s cheapest. You would calculate the total
    cost of each route for each one, multiplying the amount of engineering
    required by the price of engineering, and adding that to the amount of steel
    required times the price of steel. Then, you would choose whichever
    cost your company less. You might give no thought at all to the
    good of the nation or society as a whole. But, and here’s the marvel,
    by choosing the route that is cheapest for your company you would thereby choose
    the route that’s best for society. You would use the bundle of resources
    that’s least urgently needed for other purposes. Why? Because those market prices you calculate
    with reflects the urgency of need for engineering and
    steel in all their alternative uses. For example, suppose customers wanting
    to taste your meals, would buy better, more expensive produce, if it were
    on the shelf of their local grocery. In effect,
    they’re offering grocers more for produce. So the grocers will offer farmers more for
    produce. So the farmers who feels would be
    sufficiently improved by irrigation will offer more for irrigation systems. And those who build irrigation systems
    will offer engineers more to design them. Now that designing irrigation
    systems pays engineers better, people who want to hire engineers for
    other projects, such as railroads, will have to offer them at least as
    much to make it worth their while. The higher price tells everyone who
    uses engineering that it’s become, for some reason, more valuable so
    maybe they should use less. In this way, the market prices of
    resources represent the particular knowledge and preferences of
    millions of people who directly or indirectly use those resources. And the prices communicate
    that knowledge and those preferences to everyone interested. Only with market prices to communicate
    this vast amount of human knowledge to us. Can we calculate the least costly
    ways of producing the things we want, coordinator activities with the activities
    of others, use resources where society values the most, and thereby satisfy
    as many human wants as possible?