24 month portfolio gain or loss

50% +   0 votes - 0 %
40 to 50%   1 vote - 6 %
30 to 40%   3 votes - 18 %
20 to 30%   1 vote - 6 %
10 to 20%   1 vote - 6 %
0 to 10%   2 votes - 12 %
0 to -10%   0 votes - 0 %
-10 to -20%   0 votes - 0 %
-20% to -30%   0 votes - 0 %
-30% to -40%   0 votes - 0 %
-40% to -50%   0 votes - 0 %
-50% or worse   0 votes - 0 %
-----snark options below----   0 votes - 0 %
I don't have a portfolio you corporate whore   7 votes - 43 %
saving money is for losers   4 votes - 25 %
capitalism is a conservative myth   5 votes - 31 %
 
16 Total Votes
I heard that MTBE->ethanol thing this morning by DesiredUsername (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:27:32 PM EST
Almost veered off the road. How cheap could MTBE be to be cheaper than something we are paying farmers not to grow?

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farmers grow corn. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:35:19 PM EST
turning into ethanol takes a little more than fairy dust.


[ Parent ]
Whereas MTBE is found lying on the ground? by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:47:16 PM EST


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[ Parent ]
MBTE is a pollutant by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:36:07 PM EST
and probably carcinogen too, I'm not sure and too lazy to look it up. If someone sold the policy change on based price, then they're fucking retarded, which is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Did they mention the increased transport costs of ethanol? It has to be trucked around. It can't be pumped through pipelines because it picks up water, which is bad enough for your engine but it rusts out the pipeline too.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Actually by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:47:02 PM EST
A regular, mostly-unmodified car engine can run ethanol at only 180 proof (that is, 10% water) just fine. The problem is that putting gas and ethanol together makes the water precipitate out (if that's the term) and that's bad. So technically you could run ethanol through pipes, if you weren't using it solely as an additive. FYI.

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[ Parent ]
Oh, fucking Bullshit! by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:02:38 PM EST
You know the shit they sell at the service station, for people with water in their fuel systems? You know what that is?

IT'S FUCKING ALCOHOL, WHICH IS WATER-SOLUBLE. IT ALLOWS THE WATER TO MIX WITH YOUR GAS AND PASS THROUGH THE FUEL SYSTEM WITHOUT FUCKING UP YOUR CAR.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
isopropyl alcohol != ethanol by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:08:09 PM EST
I don't know that much about it, but I assume there's some ratio thing going on. Like, if you have 1 oz of water in there and add 16 oz of alcohol, that brings the "proof" up high enough that the water doesn't come back out.

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[ Parent ]
No. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:00:09 PM EST
Ethanol, Methanol and Propanol are water-miscible, at any concentration.

A high enough ratio of alcohol to water ["proof"] will allow the mixture to meet the LEL, in which case, the mixture's vapour will burn in the presence of oxygen and an ignition source.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
But what about in the presence of gasoline? by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:10:33 PM EST
1. That's why you add it to a nearly-empty tank by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:36:32 PM EST
so that it blends with the water first.

2. 167 proof is not as good a fuel as 200 proof, which you cannot feasibly obtain, nor use, because the water will not contribute any caloric value to the reaction.

3. The alcohol/water mixture is DENSER than gasoline, therefore it settles at the BOTTOM of your fuel tank, where the pump removes it from the tank BEFORE the gasoline is moved to the fuel line.

4. Your original premise, that "putting gas and ethanol together makes the water precipitate out" is STILL INVALID.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
2) So and yes you can, apparently by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:45:43 PM EST
It matters not much that 167 proof isn't as good a fuel as 200. If you get 80% of the effect for 80% of the work, have you lost anything? And yes you can feasibly obtain 200 proof if you use a molecular sieve to remove the water after azeotrope is reached (which even a home distiller can do). Storing anhydrous ethanol may prove difficult, though.

4) But my point, which is that water per se is not bad, remains, since you can indeed run an engine on ethanol + water even though you can't run one on gasoline + water.

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[ Parent ]
Always use MOPAR molecular sieves. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:52:05 PM EST
That's my advice to you, sparky.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
I think you're incorrect by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:25:49 PM EST
but my quick google searches turned up nothing.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
I've been reading up on it by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:36:33 PM EST
About 6 books in the last month or so. Assuming these books, which were written by a variety of sources over the course of almost 30 years, are right, I'm right.

Which part do you disbelieve? That mixing hydrous ethanol with gas "precipitates" the water out or that you can run on hydrous ethanol if you don't add gas? Assuming the latter, which seems less believable on the face of it:

Mother Earth News circa 1980: As far as its use in an engine is concerned, MOTHER's researchers have had excellent results with various strengths of alcohol, from 160 proof to anhydrous (200 proof). Additional water added beyond the 20% limit causes the engine to hesitate and idle roughly ... hence that practice is not recommended.

Or a website: 180 proof ethanol is equivalent to 106 octane. You would need to modify your engine to run a fuel that is 90% alcohol and 10% water. This involves carburation (or fuel injection) and timing. But if you buy or own an E85 car, these adjustments are done automatically, due to a new computer chip and Oxygen sensor in the fuel line.

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[ Parent ]
I wasn't talking about car performance by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:06:14 PM EST
I was only considering issues with pipelines. I pulled several articles, based on those the main problem seems to be a lack of piplelines linking the midwest to other parts of the country. If I come across the technical problems again (I can't remember why people were claiming pipelines won't cut it for blended fuel) I will bring it up.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
I guess pipelines could have a problem by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:17:41 PM EST
Or, more generally, storage facilities, since you can make ethanol out of a lot of local crops, making pipelines per se unnecessary.

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[ Parent ]
non-corn ethanol sources by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:44:20 PM EST
aren't well developed yet. We're stuck with truck and rail transport for a while.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Brazil and Russia may be surprised to hear this by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #32 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:07:05 AM EST
sugar cane and potatoes

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[ Parent ]
I'm talking about the US by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #42 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:40:21 PM EST
particularly materials that could be used in the northeast to make it for a similar price. Since we don't have vast acres of farmland out here it's going to have to be things like trash, trees, and other non-typical materials.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Well 'we' have more fields than you in Boston by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #43 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:51:09 PM EST
and of course there's maple sap.... But you are right, there seems to be nothing ethanol-related going on in the NE. I saw something about a plant called "switchgrass" just recently that I haven't even bothered to follow up on because it will just get my hopes up. Something like 1100 gallons of ethanol per acre. That has to be a typo.

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[ Parent ]
switchgrass by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #44 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 03:11:49 PM EST
Bush was promoting that a while back, maybe even in the SOTU address, so be very wary of any numbers you see published.

I'm considering new England as a whole. The farmland m^2 / people ratio is way, way lower than it is in the midwest. How much biomass energy each state could create per capita would be an interesting research topic.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Yes, it would by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #45 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 03:26:39 PM EST
Any grass or wood-based ethanol is going to require converting cellulose to simple sugars that yeast can digest. That's experimental at this point, IIRC, but could also yield massive amounts of ethanol since we have a LOT of cellulose lying around.

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[ Parent ]
I think there's also a problem in that by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:09:09 PM EST
alcohols are corrosive to some materials that aren't oil-corrosive.

That is, ethanol may eat through fittings and such that were designed for oil and gas.


--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Right, that's one of the caveats hiding behind by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:13:44 PM EST
my "mostly-unmodified". It's apparently generally pretty simple to replace fuel lines made of rubber and whatnot and in any case modern cars (at least of the Flexible Fuel variety) have been made with this in mind, so no work need be done there.

There are also possible issues with carburetion, but again possibly not with a recent model.

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[ Parent ]
You know I wonder if that's what's lurking in my.. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:18:45 PM EST
memory - that ethanol didn't work well because it didn't vaporize properly in carburetors.

Since just about all cars are fuel injected these days, I guess that changes things.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Yes, I believe so by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:22:35 PM EST
And the FFV fuel injectors automatically adjust for ethanol.

From what I've read, after you correct for things like efficiency and whatnot, ethanol is about on par with gasoline on a per gallon basis (and clearly way ahead on a per dollar basis).

There's also an issue with cold starts, but I guess that's easy to fix with a fuel line pre-heater in areas where that is required.

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[ Parent ]
Could also be a problem for by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #33 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 03:04:48 AM EST
small engines - lawn mowers, that sort of thing.

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You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
I haven't gotten a clear answer on that by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #34 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 03:12:37 AM EST
The bottom of this page for instance says to go ahead, but then the actual PDF lists specific equipment that is OK. Does that mean other equipment isn't? Dunno.

If the Still Good Shed still had lawnmowers every week I'd pick one up and mess around with it.

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[ Parent ]
The oil companies were forced to add *MTBE* by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:26:36 PM EST
by the feds to reduce pollution. Heck, they make the gas stations in my area add extra MTBE in the winter.

I suppose the gas companies could start adding lead to the gas again...

IIRC, ethanol has a lot of problems in variable temperatures, otherwise you'd see moonshiners running their cars on white lightning all over the midwest.


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You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
how quickly I forget by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:31:01 PM EST
the problem is that it was getting into the water table.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
That's true. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:41:20 PM EST
Yes, MTBE seems to be showing up in all sorts of unexpected places.

But the EPA hasn't found any evidence that this is causing problems.

Hrm. I suppose the good news is that wikipedia claims that cars made after 1984 don't need lead or MTBE or oxygenates. I don't know how true that is.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
the epa may not mind by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #31 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 10:34:37 PM EST
but the california environmental and health agencies are all aghast, and the use of MTBE is currently illegal here.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
In CA by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:13:40 PM EST
Lots of people claimed it was fucking up their mileage...I'm not sure if that was anything but a myth, though.
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[ Parent ]
Yeah, I heard some of the same stuff by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 06:13:11 PM EST
I have no idea how true it is, though...

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You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
MTBE by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #30 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 10:31:59 PM EST
MTBE was banned in California after it was discovered that it was contaminating the groundwater tables.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
My portfolio by joh3n (4.00 / 2) #5 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:47:12 PM EST
has had fantastic growth.  In just 6 months, I've gone from the ability to eat 3 donuts, all the way to 4!

take that!

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i wish they'd make hitler toilet paper
-mns

My portfolio is up by over 40% over the 3 yrs by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:27:30 PM EST
Or so the government assessors tells me. Which means that my taxes have all increased proportionally.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Portfolio. by miker2 (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:20:19 PM EST
If the cocksuckers at Target Corp. hadn't withdrawn their matching shares (in TGT stock, a good performer) after they LAID US OFF, I'd have great growth, but instead I have a mere 5%.

Yanking the matching shares after you layoff employees, that's a great move by a company whose image is everything.


Ah, sociopathy. How warm, how comforting, thy sweet embrace. - MNS
I put 10% - 20% on the poll by theboz (2.00 / 0) #35 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:39:30 AM EST
However, my "portfolio" of stocks I hold onto hasn't done that great. The best of my long term stocks has been VDE, which is not an actual stock but rather a viper (sort of an exchange traded mutual fund) based on the energy industry. It hasn't yet doubled, but it's done well in the year or so since I got it.

Additionally, I still trade options when I can, and I have gotten anywhere from small losses up to about 300% with Apple when they came out with the video ipods. Still, that's small very short term investments. I was done with that in a few days, but I rarely can make that big of a hit, and I don't have enough money to put into it regularly since I'm trying to go with safer long term investments for a while to buy a house.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n

Spirited Away by duxup (2.00 / 0) #36 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 05:07:31 AM EST
I saw Spirited Away twice, each time with different translations.  I was amazed how asstastic the poor translation was.  It was full of inexplicable and annoying noises coming from the characters and dull voice acting.  On the other hand the higher quality translation had meaningful dialogue and fairly good voice acting.  It was like watching a whole new film.
____
Ethanol, oil and profiteering by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 06:00:33 AM EST
I read recently that the process to create ethanol uses 29% more energy than the ethanol will produce.  I wonder if that's actually correct, but too lazy to do any checking.

Who knows how much oil is left?  No one.  So they will charge what the market will bear.  Right now it's obvious it will beat $70+ a barrel and $3 a gallon of gas.

Capitalism is profiteering.  Charging what the market will bear is capitalism.  Profiteering is squeezing the price point to get as close as possible to the break point with the consumer.  At some point the consumer will not pay.  They'll walk, they'll go through the DTs, but they won't pay.  I see no difference.  Anyone who pushes unregulated capitalism has no standing in a profiteering argument. 

And you're portfolio is up 42%, but where will it be when the Baby Boomers start selling their stocks to fund their retirement? 




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."

You need to retake Econ 101 by lm (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 08:32:58 AM EST
In neoclassical microeconomic theory, the equilibrium price for a good is only found for those goods which have high elasticity. For products, such as gasoline, for which the consumer has few realistic substitutes, the suppliers can pretty much set their price. This is especially true if the present demand exceeds the present supply.

Further, neoclassical microeconomic theory requires assumptions that are obviously untrue in the case of gasoline, such as perfect freedom of entry into and exit out of every industry for suppliers. The fact of the matter is that there are very high barriers of entry to any firm that wishes to sell a gasoline substitute.

Hence the charge of profiteering. Profiteering is usually defined as the practice of artificially raising prices on goods for which consumers have no choice but to purchase. The keystone example of profiteering are raising the price of scarce goods during wartime so that the producers enjoy a profit margin higher than the normal margin for the industry. If oil companies are making record profits simply because prices have risen and the standard margin on an astronomical amount of money is astronomical, that is one thing and only hard core lefties are really concerned about it. But if oil companies are making record profit margins, then they are profiteering.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Profiteering by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 10:02:59 AM EST
I maintain that profiteering is a meaningless term when applied to unregulated capitalism.  Price is part of the equation in supply and demand.  Demand will go down if the price exceedes what the market is willing to bear.  This part isn't economics, it's marketing. 




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Try again by lm (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 10:08:20 AM EST
``Demand will go down if the price exceedes what the market is willing to bear.''

As I mentioned before, you are assuming elastic demand. Most economicists will gladly explain how goods with no substitutes have inelastic demand and are not subject to market equilibrium.

``This part isn't economics, it's marketing.''

IHBT


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Marketing by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #46 Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 03:06:57 AM EST
Actually I just realized it was marketing while I wrote that comment.  I haven't been in school for almost fifteen years.  Price setting on goods in a business is a function of marketing.  Finding out what price people are willing to pay before they go somewhere else.

In the case of gasoline there are alternatives.  When the price reaches a certain point people will view the alternatives as acceptable.  Biking, public transportation, walking, hybrid autos...  So the commodity may not have an alternative, but the consumers do.  The people in the marketing department know this.  There's a reason a pair of Nike sneakers that cost $5 to make cost $120. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."

[ Parent ]
I'll hesitantly agree with that by lm (4.00 / 1) #47 Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 03:39:04 AM EST
One of the largest complaints that I have with neoclassical economic theory is that one of the assumptions is that all consumers are perfectly rational. If this were so, the advertising industry would not exist.

That said, the way most marketers get their prices is by applying neoclassical supply/demand price theory to figure out at which point along the supply curve (price and quantity sold are the two axes) is maximally profitable to the firm.

But in the case of gasoline, many consumers have some choice, but not enough to dramatically alter the aggregate demand. Take the oil crisis in the 70s. With government mandates, government funded incentives, rationing, private incentives and spiking prices, the US reduced it's total oil consumption by a mere five percent. There are not that many choices that the average consumer can make that dramatically alter their fuel consumption.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
i can get B99 for $2.55 a gallon by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 08:44:51 AM EST
down the street from my house.  Oh yeah, baby!