Butterflies remember a mountain

A couple of months ago we went to see Nicola Benedetti play a concert of chamber music at Warwick Arts. There was Ravel and Brahms (wonderful, both) a duet by Mark Anthony Turnage written for Benedetti and her partner Leonard Elschenbroich and a new piece by Arlene Sierra called Butterflies Remember a Mountain.

It was inspired by a natural phenomenon – the epic migration of Monarch butterflies and the way that at a point in the journey they swerve to one side and back again as if to miss an invisible obstacle.

The amazing part of the journey is the sudden eastward turn that monarchs take over Lake Superior. Monarchs fly over the lake, necessarily, in one unceasing flight. That alone would be difficult, but the monarchs make it tougher by not going directly south. They fly south, and at one point of the lake turn east, fly for a while, and then turn back toward the south. Why?

Biologists, and certain geologists, believe that something was blocking the monarchs’ path. They believe that that part of Lake Superior might have once been one of the highest mountains ever to loom over North America. It would have been useless for the monarchs to try to scale it, and wasteful to start climbing it, so all successfully migrating monarchs veered east around it and then headed southward again. They’ve kept doing that, some say, even after the mountain is long gone.

The piece was beautiful. Here it is now:


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Butterflies remember a mountain

HSBC peak oil report 2017.pdf

10 things we need to know about Peak Oil says HSBC:

  1. The oil market may be oversupplied at present, but we see it returning to balance in 2017e
  2. By that stage, effective spare capacity could shrink to just 1% of global supply/demand of 96mbd, leaving the market far more susceptible to disruptions than has been the case in recent years
  3. Oil demand is still growing by ~1mbd every year, and no central scenarios that we recently assessed see oil demand peaking before 2040
  4. 81% of world liquids production is already in decline (excluding future redevelopments)
  5. In our view a sensible range for average decline rate on post-peak production is 5-7%, equivalent to around 3-4.5mbd of lost production every year
  6. By 2040, this means the world could need to replace over 4 times the current crude oil output of Saudi Arabia (>40mbd), just to keep output flat
  7. Small oilfields typically decline twice as fast as large fields, and the global supply mix relies increasingly on small fields: the typical new oilfield size has fallen from 500-1,000mb 40 years ago to only 75mb this decade
  8. New discoveries are limited: last year the exploration success rate hit a record low of 5%, and the average discovery size was 24mbbls
  9. US tight oil has been a growth area and we expect to see a strong recovery, but at 4.6mbd currently it represents only 5% of global supply
  10. Step-change improvements in production and drilling efficiency in response to the downturn have masked underlying decline rates at many companies, but the degree to which they can continue to do so is becoming much more limited

Source: HSBC peak oil report 2017.pdf

HSBC peak oil report 2017.pdf

Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 – UK Findings

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. The survey is Edelman’s 17th annual trust and credibility survey, measuring trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries.

Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 – UK Findings

The UK findings are striking and, with such an uncertain future, distinctly uncomfortable:

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. Trust in media (43 percent) fell precipitously and is at all-time lows in 17 countries, while trust levels in government (41 percent) dropped in 14 markets and is the least trusted institution in half of the 28 countries surveyed. The credibility of leaders also is in peril: CEO credibility dropped 12 points globally to an all-time low of 37 percent, plummeting in every country studied, while government leaders (29 percent) remain least credible.

The Trust Barometer found that 53 percent of respondents believe the current overall system has failed them—it is unfair and offers little hope for the future—while only 15 percent believe it is working, and approximately one-third are uncertain.

The survey is Edelman’s 17th annual trust and credibility survey, measuring trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries.

Key findings include:

  • It is now evident that we have underinvested in the levers of trust across the board. We are experiencing a total collapse in trust in the institutions that shape our society. Trust in the UK is at a historic low at 29 per cent.
  • Trust is in an accelerating spiral of decline. Data from the closing days of 2016 and first week of the New Year shows an unparalleled plunge of 11 percentage points in a matter of weeks.
  • Attitudes to institutions are no longer defined by left and right, but by a political realignment around those who have “faith in the system” and those who don’t.
  • There is an unprecedented feeling in the UK that life is not as fair as it used to be. Only one in nine of the UK population think that the system still works, and globally half of those that are high-income, university educated and well-informed. Faith in the system is not about income anymore.
  • Loss of belief in the system appears to be fuelled by growing fears of forces beyond our control: immigration, the erosion of societal values and the pace of technological change.
  • Trust in authority is draining away and being replaced by trust in those closest to us and most like us. The UK population trusts their family and friends over four times more than political parties and leaders.
  • Politicians and the government are in real trouble – people don’t think they are the solution – they simply don’t trust them.
  • Trust in politicians is close to rock bottom, with Theresa May the only politician trusted by just over a third of the population. No other politician scored higher than 25%.
  • Business needs to lead. It is just about standing at 33 per cent, but will lose trust unless it engages with the people, and demonstrates solutions to public concerns.
  • The majority of people believe blunt, outspoken, spontaneous straight-talkers over rehearsed and diplomatic communicators.
  • Business should expect UK government intervention as seven in 10 believe the government should impose trading restrictions to prevent job losses.
  • 71% believe the government should protect jobs and local industries in the UK, even if the economy suffers.
  • Trust in media amongst Informed Publics is at a low, only surpassed in 2011 in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, at only 28 per cent.
  • Trust has been so corroded that we now trust leaked information much more than traditional news sources; and algorithms over human editors.
  • There is a consensus that now the UK has taken the plunge to leave Europe, we should get on with it.
  • A repeat of the EU Referendum would yield the same result; 87% of Leave voters are still sure of their vote, and 88% of Remainers would make the same vote.
  • Brexit still divides the UK: 31 per cent are more confident about their future, 36 per cent more worried, and 29 per cent remain neutral.
  • The UK is united in its attitude towards Trump. Fewer than one in five think he will have a positive effect on stability in the world, the global economy, the lives of our children, national finances and society in general.
Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 – UK Findings