From the memory cupboard

We need to be constantly reminded that there really is nothing, or very little, new under the Sun just like the Good Book says.   I read about all these alternative energy sources being touted now like they are something that came to mind only in the last few years.   I remember when we represented a natural resource and mining company well over thirty years ago.  It was an mini conglomerate.  That was the business fashion in those days.  It was about the time of the first Arab Embargo on oil.   The company owned several interesting pieces of property but we weren’t able to entice real buyers.  We were trying to work out a Chapter 11 for the company at the time and definitely were motivated sellers as the saying goes.  One of the properties was a geothermal vent on the Nevada/Utah border.   The vent went down  several thousand feet and produced a natural steam from the heat of the earth and the water flowing into the vent from underground.  With steam you can produce electricity.  You put a turbine on the surface to force the steam through it and that motion in turn will produce electricity.  It had been there for eons and I betcha it is still there venting that natural steam today.   We couldn’t find any takers–zero interest.   Our client was run by a PHd. in physics if I recall and he was ahead of his time I guess.  We eventually sold the tract for a small copper mine on the same land.   No value was assigned to the steam vent.  When we did the research at the time we learned that there were many places around the world where the same system could be employed but not many occurred naturally like the one our client owned.   Most of them would have required substantial engineering and drilling to reach the natural steam.  That natural source is still there and around the world.   So get your buddies and start building your own steam geothermal energy production company.  These days you could probable get all kinds of tax breaks from the Government and maybe even a grant to fund the development.   What a world!

The same client also owned the Diamand mine in Arkansas.  Yes, the very same one you read about in the paper every now and then when someone picks up a diamond worth a few thousand dollars.   That property sits on top of a natural rift in the formations below and like most diamond production around  the world the diamonds are forced up to the surface over the eons by the pressures underneath.  It is now a State park in Arkansas.  We couldn’t find a buyer for it but them.   The diamonds are mostly not of high quality and the the quantity is low compared to other diamond vents around the world and especially those in Africa.   I still have somewhere an old “diamond digger” from the property when we flew up there while working on the case.  That was one of my more exciting flights I have taken by the way.  It was a foggy day and we were flying into a very small airport in Hell and Gone somewhere near Murfreesboro.  It was a small private plane but the pilot was a friend and very experienced pilot but the fog snuck up on us and as we descended we were all watching for the hills to emerge from the mist.  Thankfully we did finally get below it and were near the airport.   Those couple of minutes of descent were pretty white knuckle though.

Everyone talks about too big to fail these days. I remember 40 years ago when it was too big too exist.  LTV was large conglomerate company based in Dallas.  It was in aircraft and aerospace, steel mills and even toy and athletic products among other things.  The Government came in and broke it up under the Sherman Anti-trust provisions.   I didn’t agree with that action then or now frankly.   But the circle does turn doesn’t it.   Now we have banks that were cuddled by politicians of both parties that are huge and do much more than traditional banking and they are too large to fail.   The individual companies did fine after the breakup for years.   The owner had to start all over.    He second venture was not as successful.  He was not a poor man but the dream of building something special was dented forever.

If you want to understand today’s headlines, start by reading yesterday’s headlines.

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Filed under Culture, Economics, government, history

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