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Bill James  

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  • Al Gore Should Support Natural Gas Transportation [View article]
    Natural gas transportation is important. More important is to restore transportation infrastructure to free markets. The Federal highway monopoly, like the Federal communications infrastructure monopoly from 1918 to 1982 is hostile to efficiency. The Federal monopoly removed efficiency as a market force:
    - thousands of miles for freight rails were lost, average 480 ton-miles per gallon.
    - we know move a ton (or 3) to move a person. Ultra-light cars could easily exceed 70 mpg.

    The Constitution limits Federal involvement in highways and infrastructure to "post Roads" specifically to preempt the current transportation monopoly. Sept 14, 1787 Ben Franklin proposed at the Convention the Federal government fund highways and canals. Madison recommended a power over infrastructure. George Mason reminded delegates of the crown transportation monopoly. Franklin's proposal was defeated 8 states to 3. Subsequently, Madison vetoed a transportation funding bill on Mar 3, 1817 noting:
    "Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled 'An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements,' and which sets apart and pledges funds 'for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses' . . . I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives. The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers."

    America current depends on oil imports for 50% of the lifeblood of our economy. Oil-wars have been required since 1990. Petro-dollars fund Al Qaeda. More oil wars are coming.

    Investments in domestic energy sources of all types will be valuable. The risk is they will be nationalized.
    Oct 22, 2013. 10:02 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Following The Rare Earth Industry? Here Are 4 Ideas [View article]
    I believe the rare earth demand is about to jump radically higher. JPods is close to agreements in India, China and the US. Hyperloop was recently announced by Elon Musk. ET3 continues to make progress.

    These are all versions of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT or PodCars). These technologies essentially bring freight rail efficiencies (480 ton-miles per gallon) to moving people and cargo in and between cities. PodCar networks are a physical version of the Internet, a cross between roller coaster technology and computer networks that create tiny railroads or horizontal-elevators.

    There are about 140,000 miles of freight railroads in the US that will be the logistical arteries as oil costs ratchet higher. There are about 2 million lane miles of urban roads that the oil to power has increased 494% since 1998. There is a need for about 500,000 miles of PodCar networks. The demand of electric motors is going to jump.
    Oct 3, 2013. 10:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Suntech - For How Long Will It Kick The Can? [View article]
    The oversupply of solar panel problem is about to be reversed. My guess the first solar-powered transportation networks will start being deployed by Oct 2013. Here are severa' videos summarizing the business case and illustrating what solar-powered transportation networks will look like:

    High Speed ET3 and JPods, 50 seconds:

    ET3 summary:

    JPods, business case:

    Solar-powered transport deployment:
    Jul 2, 2013. 12:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Paradigm Shift Has Begun - This Isn't Going To Be Pretty [View article]
    Great article. A short term trigger to the "black swan" event may be an Israel-Iran war. War will disrupt oil markets and might result in collateral damage to oil infrastructures across the Middle East and sabotage in the US. War might force foreign oil purchases to be made in gold rather than of printed money; a 50% loss of oil energy to the US.

    The economy is an artifact of energy applied by labor. Life requires energy.

    Energy and energy efficiency investments will seem most likely to endure. Warren Buffett gave this as his reason for buying BNI railroad, "the 470 ton-mile per gallon efficiency."
    Jun 11, 2013. 10:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The Fed Losing The Battle For A Sustainable Recovery? [View article]
    Life requires energy. Less affordable energy, less life.

    The economy economic momentum, an artifact of how labor applies energy to generate economic work. QE causes commodity prices to rise, energy becomes more expensive, less available to produce economic work.
    Jun 5, 2013. 09:16 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 7 Reasons Why People Hate QE [View article]
    Eric, please consider adding that it QE will force unemployment much higher. Unemployment is highly correlated to gasoline prices 2 years earlier. Less affordable energy, less life. QE increases the prices of commodities, of energy.

    Life requires energy, the economy is an artifact, the economic momentum, of applying energy in generating economic work. Spending printed money adds to GDP but decreases Disposable Energy, peoples' disposable incomes' ability to buy energy, the amount of economic work being applied to generate momentum.
    May 25, 2013. 09:03 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • No Shortage Of Shale Oil Plays [View article]
    Thanks for the detailed article Richard. Is there any source of information on the Net Energy from these sources? My guess is Israel and Iran will go to war within the year. When that happens, the cost of fuel will likely jump significantly. If diesel costs double, what would the price per barrel have to go to?
    May 1, 2013. 05:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gasoline Supply Shocks In California, East Coast Likely [View article]
    If you are watching the TWIP reports, you can see that inventories started to build faster than inventories were depleting. My guess is Sandy will suppress demand and inventories will build further.

    My guess is temporarily, gas prices will continue to decline. The margin of safety for gasoline and oil inventories is only about 2-4 days supply, or about 1%.
    Nov 4, 2012. 08:24 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Solar REITs Are A Better Way To Invest In Solar [View article]
    The solar industry is failing because solar companies and investors fail to understand who their "Crossing the Chasm" customers is.

    JPods ( will be deploying a megawatt per mile of solar over our transportation networks. The Net Energy of solar is 20:1 as compared to Net Energy from new oil fields of 3:1. There is a 6x advantage of using solar to power transportation.

    Freight railroads average 480 ton-miles per gallon. JPods are ultra-light, computer networked, robotic railroads (PRT or PodCars) that cut the costs by 10x in cities. Cost are cut from 56 cents a mile for cars to 6 cents a mile.

    PRT networks are the Crossing the Chasm customers for the solar industry. The PRT Network built in Morgantown, WV has delivered 110 million oil-free, injury-free passenger-miles since being deployed as a solution to the 1973 Oil Embargo. (
    Oct 23, 2012. 10:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Solar REITs Are A Better Way To Invest In Solar [View article]
    Excellent information and insights on financing solar.
    Oct 23, 2012. 10:02 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Next 10 Years: Much More Misery [View article]
    John. The reason CPI and unemployment became "unhinged" was that food and energy was removed from core CPI in about 2000.
    Oct 20, 2012. 08:49 AM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Next 10 Years: Much More Misery [View article]
    John this is great. Look up the Metric Disposable Energy, disposable incomes ability to buy energy. Life requires energy, less affordable energy, less life.

    Disposable Energy should replace GDP. It measures the amount of economic work being applied to the Economic Flywheel. The more work being applied, the more momentum the flywheel has. The less affordable energy is, the less work being applied, economic momentum decays.

    GDP increases at the moment government spending adds to funds to buy energy. As those debts must be serviced, the drag of economic momentum occurs in a later GDP snapshot.

    This is a great piece. Thanks

    Oct 20, 2012. 08:42 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gasoline Supply Shocks In California, East Coast Likely [View article]

    You are correct about "More money that goes into the gasoline tank implies less money for all other purchases ... including mortgages."

    Life requires energy. Net Energy is equivalent to "take home pay."

    As you note, there is lots of oil. The Net Energy of that oil sucks, sorry it is a technical term for "really bad experience."

    Americans are accustomed to a free market where we pay vendors a profit to provide us resources so we can focus our talents to receive a profit by servicing our customers. Profit for care, implies a responsibility to care.

    Customers deserve to be warned in 1998 that the $1.03 they were paying for gasoline would not be available in the future.

    Customers deserved to be warned that gasoline might not be available even at $4.00 a gallon. There is lots of oil, the Net Energy of unconventional oil sucks (a technical term).
    Oct 10, 2012. 02:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gasoline Supply Shocks In California, East Coast Likely [View article]
    Hi Ryan
    Storage and refining on both coasts is extraordinarily limited. The fragility in both markets is incredible.

    Thanks for the storage link.

    I am pretty sure PRT networks will rival the railroads of 1860-1910 and the Internet/cell nets of 1984-2010 in changing infrastructure. There are 140,000 miles of freight rail that averages 480 ton-miles per gallon. PRT networks can approach and some exceed that efficiency. About 500,000 miles of PRT are needed, or about $5 trillion. The 90% cost reduction per vehicle-mile pays for the infrastructure.
    Oct 9, 2012. 05:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gasoline Supply Shocks In California, East Coast Likely [View article]
    Hi Ross
    I believe you are correct. Life requires energy, less affordable energy, less life. But energy is the last thing people stop paying for. So as gas prices increase, eventually something else in the economy breaks.

    As gas prices increased from $1.03 in 1998 to $3.30 in 2008, families lost about $2,000 of disposable income. As more and more families chose between paying for their commutes (keep their jobs) and paying their mortgages, foreclosures collapsed the banking systems.

    My guess is gas prices will climb until something breaks. But the value of energy assets will break less than other aspects of the economy. Life requires energy.
    Oct 9, 2012. 12:24 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment