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20041227 Monday December 27, 2004


Later blog entries after this one can be found at the new blog location.

I have registered a new domain, post1.net and signed up for Java hosting with 2 GB web space, Tomcat with 64 MB private JVM and 50 GB/month bandwidth.

Let's see if this works out.

Existing entries will remain at this location.

(2004-12-27 00:55:21 SGT) [Musings] # Comments [3]

20041224 Friday December 24, 2004

Peak Gas, Canada ... ?

Is Canadian gas peaking? From the tables (below), it looks like they're drilling thousands of new wells but production is staying flat!

Canadian Natural Gas Wells Completed 2004*
Month     Wells Completed   % Change Same
                              Month 2003
January       1,659              107%
February        665                8%
March         1,192               20%
April         1,511               55%
May           1,258               63%
June            998               23%
Canadian Natural Gas Production 2004*
Month    Production (bcf)   % Change Same
                              Month 2003
January        536                -1%
February       489                 2%
March          505                -3%
April          495                 2%
May            490                 3%
June           458                 1%
* Source: Natural Resources Canada

From a recent article on FSO by Bill Powers :

(2004-12-24 11:30:34 SGT) [Energy] #

20041223 Thursday December 23, 2004

Electricity usage per month : guide

peakoil.com -> michaelbluejay.com

- it's a handy guide to help you calculate how much electricity is used per month for typical household appliances like the air-con, dryer, computer, and so on. The main thing to note that it is usually a bit more complicated than the instantaneous power rating listed on your appliance (due to motor startups and shutdowns for things like refrigerators). The only time where it *is* applicable would be for simpler things like light bulbs.

See also :

1. Electrical Appliances and the Energy Dollar (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
2. Stretch Your Energy Dollar (Seattle City Light)
3. Operating Costs of Household Appliances (Nebraska Public Power District)

(2004-12-23 15:39:22 SGT) [Energy] #

China-Russia oil alliance

news.ft.com :

Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly, could team up with the China National Petroleum Corporation to develop the Yukos oil company's main production asset, sold to a mystery bidder on Sunday.

Speaking in Germany, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said: "We don't rule out that CNPC would take part in the production of Yuganskneftegas, which was sold at an auction." ... immediately after Mr Putin's statement, Gazprom said a new memorandum, signed two days before the auction, covered strategic co-operation with China in the oil sector - particularly over oil projects in Russia. It already has an agreement with CNPC over gas.

- Looks like the Eurasia-Eastasia alliance is taking shape.

(2004-12-23 12:49:21 SGT) [Energy] #

20041222 Wednesday December 22, 2004

"Shanker Balasupramaniam Claus"

- spotted by Specop_007

(2004-12-22 14:58:34 SGT) [Musings] # Comments [1]

20041221 Tuesday December 21, 2004

Grand Mall Seizure

An article on alternet.org by Daniel Alarcon on the Mall of America:

57 types of hammers

... after an hour or two of wandering, it is with some amazement that I stand to gather my breath in front of the display of hammers at Sears. Shoes, hats, clothes, perfumes, gadgets, jewelry are available in hedonistic excess at the Mall - but hammers? They seem out of place, a wrinkle in the climate-controlled fantasy, a blip in the Mall's matrix of eternal leisure: hammers imply work, imply effort and sweat and all those things that do not exist at the Mall, at least not for the shopper. And yet, there they are: fifty-seven different types of hammers. I count. Fifty-seven varieties of this Stone Age tool, with ergonomic handles and rubber grips, in every size and weight and color scheme. So much commercial esoterica, and perhaps what is most out of place here is a tool ...

The whole world wants in

... the Mall banishes all worldly problems, man-made or natural. It is no wonder that so many people come, not only to the Mall, but to the United States: to be near so much power, so much money is to believe in the possibility of earthly tranquility. Is it too simple to say that the whole world wants in?

- Well, if the whole world wants in, all we'll need is maybe another 4 or 5 more Planet Earth's for that ...

See also :

1. Ecological Footprint Quiz (1.8 planets! what about you?)

(2004-12-21 17:48:02 SGT) [Musings] # Comments [2]

"Star Wars" missile fails - again

truthout.org :

It should surprise no one that the first test in two years of the "Star Wars" missile defense system fizzled Wednesday when a "kill vehicle" never left its silo in the Marshall Islands. The startling thing would have been if the $85-million test had succeeded.

Ever since President Reagan called for this ill-conceived system in March 1983, his conservative acolytes - including President Bush - have been determined to make it a reality despite widespread evidence of its impracticality. Two decades later, it has still gone nowhere despite Bush's rash promise that he would have a limited system in place by the end of 2004.

The government has spent about $130 billion on the program and is slated to invest $50 billion more over the next five years. Yet the only tests that have succeeded were rigged; the missiles being intercepted were equipped with homing devices, something a real attacker probably wouldn't be considerate enough to include. The most recent test before Wednesday's, on Dec. 11, 2002, failed when a warhead didn't detach from its booster rocket ...

(2004-12-21 14:34:13 SGT) [Tech] #

Airlines need $36/bbl oil to break even

peakoil.com -> bbc.co.uk

The world's airline industry is set to rack up losses of almost $5bn (£2.6bn, 3.6bn euros) this year, global airline body IATA [International Air Transport Association] has forecast. It also warned that the industry would only climb back into profit next year if oil prices fell. If oil prices remain around the $40 a barrel level, industry losses will rise to $5.3bn in 2005, the IATA added.

The price of a barrel of oil needs to drop to $36 for airlines to break even, while a fall to $30 a barrel would see profits soar to $5bn, Mr Pearce [IATA chief economist] said.

(2004-12-21 10:41:59 SGT) [Energy] #

20041215 Wednesday December 15, 2004

Meltdown Blamed For Big Freeze

rense.com -> suntimes.com

Talk about a climate change: A University of Illinois at Chicago professor says he has found new evidence that a massive meltdown of polar ice 8,200 years ago put North America into a deep freeze for a century. The "most dramatic climate change in the last 10,000 years" followed a flood of fresh water from a glacial reservoir into the salty water of the Gulf Stream, which controls our continent's weather. That led to a 43-degree temperature drop, said UIC's Torbjorn Tornqvist ... scientists believe the flood's source was a glacial reservoir called Lake Agassiz, holding twice the volume of the Caspian Sea in Eurasia, the world's largest inland sea.

According to this theory, all that fresh water gushed into the North Atlantic. There it mixed with the salty waters of the Gulf Stream. Now less salty and less buoyant, the warm surface water sank, cooling the stream that ordinarily carries tropical waters to this continent.The result? A temperature plunge of 43 degrees Fahrenheit that may have lasted 100 years or more.

At a time when scientists are focused on global warming, the "take-home message" is that climate change is a complicated phenomenon featuring abrupt swings toward both ends of the thermometer.

... could the 8.2 Event happen again, as in the disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow"?

"We don't have a Lake Agassiz now," Tornqvist said. But in Greenland, where the first evidence of the great flood was found, the ice sheet is melting at an accelerating rate. And global warming puts more moisture into the air, producing more rain and, in turn, fresher ocean water.

"It depends on how sensitive the North Atlantic is to that kind of process," Tornqvist said. "One possibility is that global warming could lead to this type of surprise but only affect part of the world."

(2004-12-15 10:46:39 SGT) [Env] #

20041214 Tuesday December 14, 2004

Bye Bye Ford Excursion

msnbc.msn.com :

End of the line for Ford's mammoth Excursion?
Automaker to stop producing much-criticized SUV in 2005

"Ford Motor Co. will kill off the Ford Excursion, its largest sport utility vehicle and a lightning rod for criticism from environmental groups, next year, a source familiar with the plan said on Monday ..."

- One SUV down, many more models to go!

(2004-12-14 17:06:00 SGT) [Biz] #

20041213 Monday December 13, 2004

Penn State University Chucks IE

rense.com :

Penn State Tells 80,000 Students To Chuck IE

Penn State with an enrollment of over 80,000 put the kibosh this week on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and urged its students to switch to alternative browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, or Safari.

The university's Information Technology Services (ITS) gave the advice "because the threats are real and alternatives exist to mitigate Web browser vulnerabilities," ITS said in a statement. It cited the security problems in IE that have been the focus of both media reports and recommendations from such organizations as the US-CERT, the federally-funded computer response team housed at Carnegie Mellon University.

"The University computing community [should] use standards-based Web browsers other than Internet Explorer to help minimize exposure to attacks that occur through browser vulnerabilities," added ITS.

Penn State's advice is the latest negative news about Microsoft's popular browser. Security problems continue to plague IE - some patched, some not - while rivals like Firefox slowly nibble away at its still-dominating market share.

(2004-12-13 11:16:24 SGT) [Tech] #

20041212 Sunday December 12, 2004

Deutsche Bank on Peak Oil

peakoil.com -> dbresearch.de

The research division of Deustsche Bank has come up with a paper on Peak Oil and put it up on the front page of their website. The paper is titled "Energy prospects after the petroleum age".

You know, there's this saying - "follow the money". Well, now the really Big Money is talking since Deutsche Bank, is, of course, one of the biggest banks in the world.

(2004-12-12 00:33:08 SGT) [Energy] #

20041209 Thursday December 09, 2004

How Complex Systems Fail

Richard Cook, MD, of the University of Chicago wrote a paper, "How Complex Systems Fail" that makes a number of interesting points :

1) Complex systems are intrinsically hazardous systems.
2) Complex systems are heavily and successfully defended against failure.
3) Catastrophe requires multiple failures - single point failures are not enough..
4) Complex systems contain changing mixtures of failures latent within them.
5) Complex systems run in degraded mode.
6) Catastrophe is always just around the corner.
7) Post-accident attribution accident to a 'root cause' is fundamentally wrong.

The rest of it is in the paper. I like #14, though, how true :

14) Change introduces new forms of failure.

Would be good to remember that next time when trying to foist a new API or introduce changes to an existing one on the rest of the developers ... among other things. :)

(2004-12-09 16:59:27 SGT) [Tech] #

Project for a New Asian Century?

John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Advisors, writes :

Did you feel the ground shake? The epicenter of the economic quake happened in Laos last Tuesday. Southeast Asian nations and China signed an accord to create the world's biggest free trade area by removing tariffs for two billion people by the end of the decade. In macro-economic terms, that is tomorrow. Leaders in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also signed a pact to create an ASEAN Community along the lines of a unified Europe by 2020. It aims to create a common market with common security goals. ASEAN members are actively talking of creating their own "reserve currency" to compete with the dollar and the euro.

On an even larger note, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand have all agreed to start free-trade talks with the ASEAN countries. (Just for the record, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.)

Now, let's couple that with another fact or two. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Total flows of Foreign Direct investment (FDI) have collapsed since 2000 - from a peak of $314 billion in 2000 to [a mere! - JM] $29.8 billion in 2003. That's down 90% ...

Right now, the world and especially Asia needs the US consumer. But we cannot always count on that. Asia is working hard on creating its own internal consumer demand.

(2004-12-09 16:18:26 SGT) [Biz] #

Honda Named 2004 Greenest Automaker

vtec.net :

American Honda Motor Co., today was recognized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) as the 2004 Greenest Automaker in the organization's biennial ranking of car manufacturers' environmental performance. It's the third consecutive number one ranking of Honda in the UCS study. Compared with the UCS's 2002 findings, Honda actually increased its lead over other automakers in reducing both greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions across the full range of its product lineup.

According to the UCS, Honda increased its lead by building vehicles that produce less than half the smog-forming pollutants of the industry average and 18 percent less heat-trapping emissions.

"Honda is in a class of its own when it comes to producing clean cars and trucks," said David Friedman, Research Director of UCS's Clean Vehicles Program and lead author of the report.

The UCS study, titled Automaker Rankings 2004: The Environmental Performance of Car Companies, is the third installment of the only comprehensive ranking of automakers' environmental performance. The report analyzes the six largest automakers in the U.S. market, which together account for nine out of every 10 vehicles sold in this country. The study evaluates data on smog-forming pollution and heat-trapping emissions from each vehicle manufacturer's fleet using model year 2003 sales information and certification standards. The report rates the pollution performance of the average vehicle produced by each company; total sales volume does not influence the results.

Honda has a long history of environmental leadership including the introduction of America's first hybrid, the Honda Insight, and the first vehicles to meet stricter emissions standards, including the first Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV), the 1996 Honda Civic, Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle (ULEV), the 1998 Honda Accord and Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), the 2000 Honda Accord. Fully 60 percent of the company's 2004 model cars and light trucks, more than any other automaker, meet the U.S. EPA's Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standard, well in advance of regulatory requirements.

- That's what I call real engineering. Power and economy and low emissions. As contradictory as these goals are as the proverbial "having your cake and eating it", it has been Honda's philosophy all along to attempt to solve these challenges. We saw it in the D15B/D15Z engines (the 3-stage VTEC of the circa 1995-2000 Civic's), and we continue to see this in the K20A 2-stage DOHC iVTEC engines of today's Honda Stream, Accord, CRV and 2.0 Civic's, and we should expect to continue to see this in the K20B engine for the newer Stream and the 2006 Honda Civic.

Toyota might have done a lot better if not for their millions of large SUV's and dirty diesels roaming the streets (lol). Otherwise, the Toyota Prius should also deserve a good mention. Not that much power though, that one, looks to me like they solved the equations for economy and emissions quite well but not power.

The Koreans are known for solving for low cost, and the Americans? Nah, they're petrol heads. Okay, gasoline-heads. Where's the finesse in throwing in a V6/V8/V10/V12 and cranking it up? None at all.

(2004-12-09 14:44:30 SGT) [Env] #

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