Thursday, July 31, 2008

the link of horror

Lileks has a pretty good bleat today, reminiscing about 80's music videos like
"Take me on" and "money for nothing". It hit a nerve because I'm of the age
that I remember the show "nightflight", where they played an entire hour of
videos - straight! Then a year or so later Mtv started when I was a freshman
in high school, and I would go into zombie attention fixed mode whenever I got
to see it because we didn't have cable at home those years. So someone starts
talking about early videos and my ears perk up like a dog when someone mentions

Unfortunately, Lileks also describes a nightmare he had, and he wrote down a scary
phrase from the dream, then used his mac to speech synthesize the ghostly voice.
(another 80's trick, 'yeah, someday the computers will talk..."shall we play a game?".)
Unfortunately, the apartment we're in is the attic of a 600 year old house, and the
boooo factor is already off the charts, so I really can't click that link and listen to a
scary voice. It's pitch black in here, if the voice is really scary I'll have to face the
embarrassment of carrying my laptop around like a flashlight so that I don't have to
walk in the dark to a light switch.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bloglink editing

I look at the links on my sidebar and I feel that same shame of undone labor
that you feel when you look outside and it's 96 degrees and the grass hasn't been
cut in 3 weeks. If you wait until it's cooler than you run the risk of cutting the
grass in the dark with all the risk of cutting off a sprinkler head or stepping on
a hidden snake (a big phobia of mine), so you drink a half quart of gatorade and
head out into the miasmic louisiana humidity.

It always seems easiest to weedeat first, just like when weedeaters first came
out and my dad bought one, it was possible to magically cut down all the weeds
that grew along the fenceline and around the shed without having to reach my hands
into any potential, you guessed it, snake hiding places. So I'll weedeat first by adding
some new links that I tend to read more nowadays. There's Bob the Onscreen scientist
that sometimes sounds like Bill Gates and other days sounds like St. Paul. The Hobo-
who is always funny and shocking.

The blogs that I read a lot but never linked to like ace of spades, confederate yankee
and blackfive, I need to link to because I keep losing my bookmarks and I want to
be able to have a link from whatever computer I'm on. Dr Sanity is always fantastic
mopping the floor with the cognitve dissonance of liberals.

For anyone in the oil industry, the oil drum is required reading, and for anyone who
suspects that global warming is a crock, climate audit has the data.

The comics Achewood and XKCD are both hilarious at times and other times strange, instead of the normal gausian funniness of Dilbert, those two comics have a definite skew. My favorite xkcd is this one, I thought that I invented that.

I went to cut out a few links and there really isn't much to cut. If I were charged per
link I'd cut like a madman, but since they're free I left the memorial link to Acidman,
and the link to phil carter even though he's off blogging and working on Obama's campaign.
Lou Minatti just gave up blogging because he has issues, but I'm sure he'll be back and
hopefully keeping the link will send some google love that might help him out.
Big picture small office was a fantastic blog by a person at a consumer products corporation,
but now he's got a password on the blog after he retired, so I guess he's off the list.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thanks for your support Washington Post

I was reading an article about John Edwards on the
Huffington post (I just read it for the naked pictures, really)
and I noticed a banner from google adds that says "violence
in Iraq kills 10 soldiers" read whole story
So I click over there to the story and it is a story from October 2006.
I think that says something pretty negative about the huffington post
that the wp would make a targeted ad that says what the people there
are expecting to see. It doesn't put the washington post in too good of
a light either.

It's as if the press is still celebrating the happy days of 2006
when they were winning elections and hundreds of soldiers per month
were getting shot. Like the old ad for a stock broker, where a guy
is in his living room watching cnbc show the dow hit 12000, then he
presses rewind, he wasjust watching a video of January 2000 CNBC
reliving happier days.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In fashion in Italy

We're in Italy now, we've been here a week and I still feel jet-lagged.
I have to say that was one of the worst airplane trips ever, only beaten out
by the 10 hour diarrhea flight from hell way back in 2000, when I flew
from bogota to germany and spent 9 out of 10 hours on the plane in the
bathroom. I've never had so many germans angry at me, I felt like the
Jewish guy at a nazi rally. [der fatten guy es en der batroom again]

This trip was crappy purely due to poor service from continental. We were
the only suckers with y class tickets on the plane not in first class, and we still got
wrong information from everyone we spoke with. I called their international line
and confirmed seat assignments and tickets on both legs of the trip, when we
arrived in Paris we didn't have a confirmed seat on the air france flight and we
were on standby. Air France did give great service and get us on the flight, so in
the end things worked out, it was just exhausting.

Ravenna is super crowded now. It is now the high season for tourists visiting the
churches here and the beach at Rimini. The quiet little town I first came to 2 months
ago is now packed with beautiful people and buses of icon gawking american tourists.

[here's the plaza de popalo looking
away from the stage]

We even had a fashion show last night. The plaza de populo was filled with a runway
and lots of chairs, while beautifully dressed people circled anxiously waiting to see if their
designs would be accepted by the masses of walmart shoppers. Or maybe they didn't care
if anyone bought anything, who knows. We got to watch them do a sound check then
later on at night we watched the show. I videotaped most of it, even when the male models
came out, I just shot them as part of a wide shot. Yes, it was just a coincidence that all
the male models were panned back while the lingerie models were shot zoomed until the
sony camera was making a clicking noise that said "I can't zoom any more, perv".

[a picture of the mic check with
the models practicing walking down
the runway.]

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rabbits, coyotes and an import tax on oil

Having worked in the
oilfield since 1991, I tend
to be a pessimist about the
price of oil, meaning I worry
that it will go down. Since I
also drive a car and eat I worry
that it will keep going up as
well. It's a conundrum that
will likely be solved shortly
by the market, as previous oil price
spikes have been followed by
crashes for the past 150 years (see, The Prize, by Daniel Yergin).

One way to model the price of oil over time is as a differential equation, with
consumers chasing oil. The above chart models a similar system of coyotes
and rabbits. (the link goes to the University of toledo, thanks) As the rabbit
population grows, the coyote population grows, then
the rabbit population crashes, soon followed by the coyote population. The price
of oil has followed this dynamic for the past 30 years, as more consumers join the
market, the price goes up, then the economy cools and the oil industry crashes into
dust. The points on the chart with high rabbit population are equivalent to when the living
for the consumer is easy, the price of oil is low and oil companies and service companies
are laying off engineers by the dozens. When the rabbit population is low are the oil industries
fat times, it is easy to change jobs, day rates are soaring and things are booming, baby!

[before 30 years ago the shut-in production of the texas oilfields helped to damp out
a lot of the wild spikes, now there is very little shut in production even in SA. To increase
production we have to drill. ]

These cycles will continue until the LAST CYCLE, where we'll pass peak production and consumption will always be higher than production with ever increasing prices. I don't think we're at the last cycle yet, it is reasonably likely that the slowing economy will decrease demand, decreasing demand not just for oil but for crap from China, which will double whammy the price of oil back down to the $40 dollar range. By this time next year we'll see people with H3's filling up for $30 again.

Suggested Solution:
I'd like to suggest some coyote control right now. There should be an import tax for the US
to artificially support the price of oil at around $80, low enough that it might never have any
effect whatsoever, high enough that if there is a crash than all the expensive projects in the
deepwater GOM, oil shale, etc can have a high enough guaranteed price to continue. We'll
protect some US industry, as well as the new alternative energy industry, and keep the US
on the path to improve it's energy future, not let it backslide back to cheap oil.