NGC 6357 Nebula Original Modern Abstract by MelissaSherowski

My good friend Melissa Sherowski is not just a well adjusted listener of drum and bass, she is also a darn fine painter. Here I am linking to one of her acrylic paintings from her Expansion and Flux series. I was able to attend the premiere of this series in fancy dancy Vail Colorado, its was mos def.

NGC 6357 Nebula Original Modern Abstract Painting with texture in burnt orange gold maroon copper on 30x36 inch canvas

You should click below to purchase this fine painting and help support a rad individual.
NGC 6357 Nebula Original Modern Abstract by MelissaSherowski.

Whats with these crazy environmentalists and Tar Sands?

So there is a story going on about the Canadian Tar Sands, a pipeline, and environmentalists who want to stop it from happening. Sounds like more lefty liberal hippies trying to kill the American Dream and unicorns? Well if you don’t read further into the story this is a nice spoonfed way of looking at the situation, but what if you take some time to learn about Tar Sands and their impact on our world?
Faced with this question I turned to the mighty Google and found this page:
Talk about an in depth article on Tar Sands! While I dont really understand most of the science speak (Rick Perry might say this is a Theory, except there are facts involved), but there are a few interesting segments:


The average production cost of one barrel of syncrude from the oil sand resources in Canada was approximately 32 USD in the year 2006. The mining process costs about 16 USD2006/barrel of oil equivalent (boe). The InSitu SAGD extraction costs about 14 USD2006/boe, and the upgrading process to syncrude costs about 16.5 USD2006/boe. Figure 2 shows the break down of the total costs that were incorporated in the EROI calculations above (Herweyer 2007). Mining costs appear to be decreasing according to some reports in early 2008.

Syncrude has approximately the same quality as conventional crude oil, and is therefore competitive. So long as the conventional crude oil price stays above 31.5 USD2006/boe (excluding profits) it is profitable to extract oil sands. The conventional crude oil prices in 2006 were 56 and in 2007 as much as $80 USD/boe (BP 2006). However at the same time the price of diesel, natural gas, steel and so forth used in generating the syncrude were increasing. Nevertheless it appears that tar sands will be a competitive source of oil for the indefinite future.

So from a business perspective it makes sense to get into the Tar Sands and get that oil out while the Middle East is in chaos and Oil Prices are inflated by the markets.

Then there is the tax implications:

The Alberta oil sands tax regime is such that it makes it very appealing for investors to put their money into oil sands business. The attractiveness in the fiscal regime is that until all original capital (plus a return) is recovered, only a production royalty of 1% of revenue is required. After the original capital is earned back by oil sand recovery, a royalty of 25% of net operating income is required. The tax regime is such that essentially no income tax has to be paid until all capital costs are recovered (TD Securities 2004).

Since the most expensive part of getting oil from Tar Sands is the capital expense it sure is nice that the politicians made it so that until those costs are recouped they dont have to pay any taxes at all.

Seems like a total win for businesses and consumers who get more profits and possibly lower costs. As Charlie would say this is #winning!

It turns out those crazy environmentalists are concerned about CO2 which is a direct cause of Global Warming. When we look at the CO2 production of Tar Sands refinement we get some really bad news:

Tar Sands CO2 Emissions
Tar Sands CO2 Emissions

The oil sand industry is one of the major GHG emitters in Canada and the entire process approximately doubles to triples the amount of CO2 released per barrel of petroleum used compared to conventional extraction. The mining process emits about 35 kg CO2 equivalent/barrel, and the upgrading process 45 kg CO2 equivalent/barrel, and the SAGD process 55 kg CO2 equivalent/barrel, (Bramley et al. 2005). In the business as usual scenario for the GHG emissions per barrel of bitumen, the total oil sand GHG emissions until 2020 are as follows: (Herweyer 2007).

At least the CEO’s who are working to pass this pipeline will be dead by 2020 so they wont have to live with the consequences. If you bothered to read that last quote it says that CO2 emissions are doulbled to TRIPLED in oil sands extraction. Thats like, a lot(insert valley girl voice for that last sentence).

What about tax payer costs? Apparently you have to use a lot of natural gas to extract oil sands oil. Apparently you have to use A LOT of natural gas:

According to the National Energy Board (2006), natural gas use will increase from 0.7 billion cubic feet per day in 2005 to 2.1 billion cubic feet per day in 2015. Although Canada has natural gas resources, this enormous rise in natural gas demand will be difficult to meet. The current capacity of the natural gas infrastructure and production will not be sufficient to keep up with these rises and might present a problem. In addition, the natural gas prices are coupled to the crude oil prices, and so they have risen as well. There is also the large issue of where the natural gas will come from – Exxon is now saying they may not be able to build the necessary MacKenzie pipeline unless they receive significant monetary help from the government.

Sounds like capitalism at its finest!

Here is the conclusion:

In conclusion, tar sands are an economically and energetically viable, although hardly ideal, approach to maintaining liquid fuel supplies. The most severe problem is probably their local and global environmental impact, and they are already impacting Canadian CO2 releases significantly. But the tar sands are unlikely to make a large impact on overall supply of liquid fuels because their supply is likely to be rate, rather than total resource limited. If the maximum rate were to grow to about 2 billion barrels a year this would approximately meet Canada’s demand and could leave relatively little for export if Canada’s production of conventional oil continues to decline. Achieving even this rate of production from tar sands is uncertain because of growing concerns about environmental impacts downstream and insufficient hydrogen and water.

So the long term costs are horrendous and even at maximum capacity it won’t be enough oil to affect even the low oil using country of Canada of 2 billion barrels a day(the US consumes 18 Billion per day). However it is cheaper than traditional oil processes so lets aim short term and make some dough! Yeehaw!

Punch to the Face – “Google are Pussies”

Punch to the Face

Punch to the FaceThis is great writing from Brain S Hall – Google are PussiesCached Copy. Pull no punches and lay into the fucks:

Google has not innovated in a decade. But, they’ve been in many fights. Against relatively tiny, unarmed combatants. Now when they have a real fight on their hand, they run to the government.

As I mentioned yesterday Google has fooled themselves into thinking their shit don’t stink and that they are Gods. Time to wake up and smell the reality.

Great stuff Brian! Thanks to the Grubernator for finding this!

Do No Evil and Googles Religious Tendencies

Google is a bit different from Apple and MSFT. Those two sell a product. Google gives everything away. The users dont have to even create an account to use Google Search. They even give away one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world. Google is the top of the heap, everyone is their customer. If you aren’t using their search you are trying to be found on their search and everyone has to pay to be on Google search.

If you want to be found organically you need to have a website that is well curated and linked to. This takes at a minimum time and upwards of lots and lots of cash. You can be white hat or black hat about your technique here, with the former generally costing more than the latter. Google gives excellent guidance here as well: “Just adhere to standards and create compelling content regularly.” Oh really? Thats it huh? Super.

If you want the shortcut you can pay Google directly to show up on AdWords. This is probably gonna be even more expensive naturally since the profits go straight to Google. For a company that looks at marketing as lying they sure do make a lot of money from it.

Everyone and their mom signs up for AdSense and makes Google tons of income. You see these sites with ads all over the place, some of them even have useful content. Naturally Google doesn’t give precedence to sites with AdSense on them, just as a mother feeds everyone else at the same time she feeds her children…

Google controls all access but uses their whole Don’t Be Evil sermon to show us that they have the best intentions in mind. Just don’t try to step outside the rules. After talking with multiple representatives of the company it is very interesting how insulated and protective their Organic side of the house is.

Whats the line in Usual Suspects? “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” In Google’s case it might also be that the Devil fooled himself.

In business Googlers are infuriating to deal with both because there is no option but to use them and also because of their religiosity. As an Adwords customer I have heard the word ‘miracle‘ and basically been told: “These are not the droids you are looking for.” in regards to an issue I have with their Places product. (Which is one product that I don’t personally use, I find Yelp to be much more helpful when looking for something local.) Comparisons to the Organic side of the house as a ‘Cathedral’ was uttered in the most recent meeting.

Is Google what religion is going to look like next? Holy towers of algorithms collecting and distributing human knowledge all in the best interests of man. Sounds laughable at best and apocoliptic at worst. Just like the Patriot Act and Google is another man made system that is prone to human faults and tendencies. Faith that they are anything otherwise is not only folly but exactly what they want.

I believe or at least I walk the company line. My email is all hosted at the G. I use their search hourly and I make a living off of consulting for them. Just like Obama there is no better choice at the moment but that doesn’t mean I can’t be critical and suspect.

What’s that behind you now?


Whats up with the Google Formatting Change?

Google Strange Formatting of Search Results May 2011

I may be too hungover but when I did a search this morning for my new favorite song of the minute(We no speak americano, thanks Greg and his Hanover Coffee) the formatting of the search results at Google were totally different. Maybe I have a speech impediment or something but this is quite the change. I wonder whats going on?

Google Strange Formatting of Search Results May 2011
Google Strange Formatting of Search Results May 2011

Hanover Coffee is out of Costa Rica but has new stuff

Fresh Roasted Coffee now in Blends
Fresh Roasted Coffee now in Blends
My pal Greg over at Hanover Coffee has published a new post on his amazing website. Seriously whoever set that up should have been paid at least $5. Anyway it seems that he is out of the Costa Rica coffee beans that have been the rave for a while. Personally I like the Sulawesi(I think thats the one and I think thats how its spelt.)

He also announced that Hanover has two new coffee blends: The Hanover Blend and Hanover Dark. Apparently these are some shit hot coffee blends so you better order before I get all of it!

Starting next week you can get this delivered to wherever you might be. So go ahead and get some!