October 24, 2013

Facebook and Twitter v. fracking

Over the last 35-40 years, I've read an enormous number of behind-the-scenes articles about the technology innovators of Silicon Valley, starting with accounts of Intel in the mid-1970s. In contrast, I've read very few about innovators in non-alternative energy: i.e., oil and gas. (Alternative energy has been well covered in the press.)

For a long time, this made sense because computer innovation had been explosive while oil and gas was only progressing steadily. But, in recent years, I've been reading (and watching a fine movie) about the geniuses behind Facebook and now Twitter, the latter of which gives us much of the communicative capability of the telegram:
Vicksburg has fallen stop Last Confederate bastion on Mississippi surrenders to Grant after long siege stop Union can now block rebel reinfo

With Twitter, unlike Western Union, you can now use periods instead of the word "stop," but with Western Union you could actually use more than 140 characters to round out your thoughts, so it's kind of a toss-up.

(By the way, the previous sentence is 73 characters too long for Twitter.)

In contrast, in recent years, technological innovation in the oil and gas business has been revolutionary with the widespread introduction of fracking, which is changing the global economy and the map of geopolitical power. For most of my life, it wasn't that hard to remember more or less which places had oil and/or gas and which poor bastards didn't. Over the last few years, however, that has been changing fast. 

Now, fracking is not unrisky. I, personally, am happy that they are working the bugs out (I hope) in North Dakota rather than in my backyard. (But let's keep this in perspective: a previous giant project in North Dakota was building ICBM silos, which put North Dakota tops on the list of targets for a Soviet first strike. Compared to thermonuclear ICBMs raining down, fracking can't be that bad (right?). A quarter of a century belatedly, let me say: Thanks, North Dakota.)

Yet, I know very little about the innovators behind fracking, other than from comments by jody. I'd guess that Texans were disproportionately represented, but I really don't know.

A reader writes:
Hydraulic fracturing has been around a long time.  At least fifty years in the U.S.  and at least forty in California.

Most people have no idea how oil drilling works and what percentage of oil is extracted from a well.  

Who, me?

The rest of his very informative email is below the fold:



Oil is not just one big pool of oil like commonly pictured in schematic drawings;  it is usually found in some sort of matrix of a rock formation.  The amount of oil extracted is related to the porosity and permeability of the rock in which it is located.

Traditional drilling usually only recovers about one third the oil.  Flushing the well with water generally produces another 10% or so.  Fracking is  a way to free some of the remaining oil from the rock in which it is located.  In the case of shale, where most of the oil is located, the purpose of pumping the water under pressure into the well is to fracture the shale so that more oil can be pushed out of or flow out of the rock.  When fracking was introduced, the drillers used to mix ground up walnut shells with the water.  These were to prop open the fissures and cracks in the rock after the water left.

Basically, all the chemicals added to water to create each driller’s fracking fluid, is simply a refinement of the basic technique-making  it easier to fracture the shale, and to keep the fractures open so the oil can get out.

Of course in some places fracking is being used even where there was no conventional drilling initially.

Right now the major oil shale areas are the Marcellus in Pennsylvania, the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagleford in Texas.  California which as you as a native know was swimming in oil and is still the third largest oil producing state in the United States (after Texas and North Dakota, but ahead of Alaska, Oklahoma and Louisiana) has a very large shale formation that underlies about a third of the state called the Monterey shale.

It appears as though shale formations throughout the U.S. are not uniform in their porosity and permeability, and in fact oil companies (with the notable exception of Occidental in the Central Valley) have not been able to use fracking to any great effect in unlocking oil from the Monterey Shale.  Instead fracking has been used mostly in depleted wills which is how it has been used for forty years here.  I assume that eventually through trial and error drillers will find the key to unlocking fracking for the Monterey shale, but its clear from looking at a map that certain areas (such as Marin County) are never going to be exploited.

None of the established modes of fracking that have been so effective in the U.S. has worked in other parts of the world.  Again this is based on the specific make up of the shale.  It’s only a matter of time before the proper techniques are developed.

One of the leaders in fracking technology is not an American company, but a Dutch Company, Core Laboratories.

There is another technique also being perfected.  If you are capable of controlling an entire field, you can cap all the wells but one and inject carbon dioxide under pressure.  At high enough pressure the very viscous oil absorbs the CO2 and the oil starts flowing freely.  When the oil is brought to the surface the CO2, no longer being under pressure immediately boils off of the crude oil, and it can be captured, pressurized and reused.  Something like 5% of oil in the US  is produced this way today and it increases the percentage of oil extracted from the well by something on the order or additional 10 to 15% .  If you are someone concerned about C02 concentration in the atmosphere, it also provides a possible way for carbon sequestration.  Interestingly the C02 used for this purpose is mined, not captured from carbon fuel burning smokestacks.

It’s really a fascinating subject.  My [career] is entirely unrelated to oil and gas.  I am self educated in this, but its fairly easy to find people who know something about this to talk to and plenty of articles around as well.  But the one thing that is clear to me, is that in general the people who oppose fracking don’t understand how it works.  Instead, when you press them they are opposed to any further development of carbon based fuels.  My favorite question to ask opponents (just as the question should also be asked of proponents) is what would you have to learn about fracking to change your position?  Once it gets to that point, they generally admit they are opposed to any further development of carbon based fuels.

I don’t know if you saw Gasland II, but there is a really frightening sequence where some guy in Texas picks up his garden hose and it turns into a flame thrower.   When I saw the movie I thought there is a hell of lot of methane in the water.  As it turns out the guy connected his hose to a gas vent.  He knew it was false and in a court case between the guy in the movie holding the hose and Range Resources the driller he was suing, there was a finding in the court case about how he set up the fraudulent filming of the gas coming out of the garden hose and he was sanctioned.

There are serious issues with Fracking but they boil down to four:  (1) the environmental impact of taking existing surface or well water for use in the fracking process, (2) the environmental impact of the disposition of the fracking fluids once they have been repumped to the surface, (3) in the case where the fracking produces natural gas, the separation and capture of methane mixed with the natural gas and (4) the possibility that well casings might leak in which case either fracking fluids or oil could contaminate any aquifers through which the casing passes.

Its notable that so far there have no documented cases that cracked casings have led to pollution of underground aquifers.  You might want to look at a photograph of a typical casing to understand why almost all casings develop cracks yet they haven’t leaked into the aquifers.   (the answer is redundant concentric concrete).  The claims of fracking forcing methane into drinking aquifers appear to be completely unfounded.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oil & Gas == GOP [True Blue Americans]

Facebook & Twitter == DEM [Bolshevik/Neo-Feudalist/Elitist]

It's really that simple.

Although, in fairness, the True Blue Americans need to make sure that their own history gets written, and written accurately

Cause the Bolshevik/Neo-Feudalist/Elitists sure ain't gonna write an honest history about any-dadgum-thang.

Dave Pinsen said...

The FT published an obit about one of those fracking innovators recently.

Anonymous said...

Fracking is not innovative. Permanantly high oil prices are what caused the boom in it and other expensive methods of extracting oil and gas. It has been done on a small scale for a long time.

Probably the most innovative thing going on now is the extraction of very useful "natural gas liquids" which were previously wasted but now made into fuels. Deep sea drilling is also a better example of innovation.

Likewise, extraction of "syncrude" from tar sand has been going on for decades, but now is scaling up because of high prices and rapidly dwindling conventional onshore oil.

albert magnus said...

I remember watching a video about the BP oil spill from a few years ago and they went down to the Louisiana coast line to look at the damage. They found a few spots of congealed crude oil here and there on the beach, but overall it was pretty hard to see.

On the other hand, the beach in Galveston in the early 80s was a giant tar pit after a tanker collision and I think another oil spill. Nobody seemed to mind all that much and it stayed that way for a long time.

I don't know anything about the long term effects of the BP oil spill, but it seems oil spill recovery technology has improved by an order of magnitude at least superficially.

Anonymous said...

What about this major new technological breakthrough, the tweeting bra?

"A New Undergarment Called 'The Tweeting Bra' Sends A Tweet Each Time You Unclasp It"

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-tweeting-bra-2013-10

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about the long term effects of the BP oil spill, but it seems oil spill recovery technology has improved by an order of magnitude at least superficially.


Kevin Costner, of all people, funded an invention that would help remove oil from spill ups in the ocean. He sent a couple of ships down there to help w/BP cleanup. Haven't heard much of the results or at least the press hasn't publicized them as of late. Would be interesting to see if it has met with any amounts of success.


Perhaps what is a problem is that all the wrong people are vs Fracking. What the hell does Yoko Ono and Robert Redford know about environmental science? Are they scientists themselves? No. All they know how to do is find a cause and get on their high horse and lecture others about what and how to think regarding issues of the day.

Also, the so called experts have been predicting the end of on shore oil since around 1903. Lets stop playing Nostrodamaus since we really DONT know for 100% certain when we will run out of oil. One day, certainly, but we don't know exactly when with any accuracy. Sometimes its best to just say, 'we just don't know all the answers, even if Yoko seems to think she does.'

Stirner said...

Fracking is a 50 year old technology, though they are getting much more innovative about techniques and technology over the last decade.

The big game changer was the development of better/cheaper horizontal drilling technologies. This enables a single well site to have an "octopus" of wells radiating outwards from a single wellhead.

Combine that with fracking and boom, you have the surge in unconventional gas and oil.

Dave Pinsen said...

Re Twitter versus telegraph: you can include links to articles in tweets, and you can embed videos and photos in tweets. And you can do all that from a little box that fits in your pocket.

Ed said...

Good until the last drop!

Anonymous said...

What will be innovative is when they can extract oil from shale cheaply. Oil prices will crater when this is done.

staffanspersonalityblog said...

ryI've also wondered about the telegram-like communication on Twitter. I believe it's a matter of mass market. Someone noticed how popular texting is and wanted to translate that to the web.

It's specifically designed for the stupid who have no use for more than a few words at a time. And the resulting "debates" on Twitter proves this. If Twitter was a person he or she would have an IQ around 88 or so.

Anonymous said...

It's not so much that there is dwindling conventional onshore oil as that the big petro companies, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Etc, have all been nationalized out of pretty much every easy extraction market by the natives. They are American companies, and it's actually pretty shocking the abuse that they get but through when this happens in terms of confiscated capital investment, but since they are so profitable overall it's tough for them to really raise hell with the State Department or anyone about it.

Really what you see is these very high technology firms are now exploiting the less accessible oil because either they have been swindled out of easier environments, or the governments where there is still easy oil seem likely to nationalize any big investment they make. If you look at the amount of total oil 'controlled' by these big extraction companies it's been shrinking logarithmically for years.

Anonymous said...

I think reporters can put up with hanging around techies, who tend to be SWPL, and not so much with hanging around oil field roughnecks, who might give them a wedgie.

Portlander said...

oil spill recovery technology has improved by an order of magnitude at least superficially

I think the key word there is superficially. They have better dispersants now, but it's not like the oil is being contained and moved to some place safe. It's just the old stand by: dilution is the solution to pollution. IOW: out of sight, out of mind.

As far as new and improved hydrocarbon extraction techniques, you have to look at the yield. Ie. barrels in, barrels out. The old days were 100 to 1. I don't know the numbers now, but I think they are in the range of 30:1 all the way down to 10:1. 10:1 ain't gonna support 12 billion people. It might not even support 6.

Got nukes? Specifically LFTR's?

notahippie said...

1. The potential readership is probably not quite as large as that of those interested in reading about "computer technology" companies(I'm sure computers play a role in fracking, though.)


2. A large part of the story of fracking is that it is insanely destructive and I'm sure the fracking companies are just fine to do without the vanity innovation articles to keep that story out of the press.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was an active discouragement on the part of the companies were reporters to come calling.

These are some pretty crazy bastards with some reprehensible tactics to disuade public opposition to fracking.

source: Gasland 2

They know the wells/pipes under the ground are going to leak, pretty much all of them, the only innovation that could prevent this I suspect is some fundamental different piping method and materials, and they probably wouldn't bother unless it was cheaper.

Even if the pipes could be made to not leak this of course doesn't change the fact that they are pumping a smorgasbord of toxic chemicals into the ground, it doesn't take a "computer genius" to realize this is ridiculous and is going to destroy the water supplies where this is done.

-------------------


Here's an article comment 2 reminded me of, about energy innovation, regarding "crystalline natural gas—methane hydrate."


http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/05/what-if-we-never-run-out-of-oil/309294/?single_page=true

Dave Pinsen said...

Nonsense. Among the folks I follow on Twitter is a physicist who worked at Bell Labs before leaving for Wall Street and then academia. There are lots of smart folks on Twitter. And one of the virtues of the short message format is that well-known folks are more likely to engage with you than they are in other media. I've corresponded with Elon Musk, Nassim Taleb, Elizabeth Banks, plus some Steve-o-sphere people (Ed West, Education Realist, etc.).

I didn't quite get Twitter at first either, but I think Steve and others would come to like it once they get a feel for it's possibilities.

Anonymous said...

The media which is filled with women and homosexuals do not find oil and gas remotely "cool" or "sexy". Despite the fracking revolution, oil and gas are disproportionately in the hands of the likes of Putin's Russia, the Saudis, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela and Nigeria. This does not make for pleasant reading for SWPL types.

Actually, innovation in oil and gas is not limited to fracking. A lot has changed. The engineers have been able to squeeze an unbelievable amount of oil from existing old oil fields (Kern River in California is an example). Deepwater production is through the roof as well. And with fracking, they have discovered very large deposits of tight oil in Siberia that make the American fields look small.

notahippie said...

Wow Steve, looks like you just posted a nice little chunk of propaganda from your "reader."

"The claims of fracking forcing methane into drinking aquifers appear to be completely unfounded."
In Gasland 2 this was a recurrent theme, all the pro-frackers saying this line pretty much verbatim.
"Repeat a lie enough and people might believe it"

In the cases where frackers collusion with government(regulatory capture) hasn't forced the issued to be swept under the rug, it has been found unequivocally that fracking does pollute groundwater in a very bad way.
http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/whats-fracking/faq/fracking-fluid

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/04/fracking-us-toxic-waste-water-washington

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=fracking+pollution


Oh, and if the pollution isn't enough, fracking has been implicated in earthquakes, and fracking is occurring in downtown LA. San Andreas Fault, what's that?


More info -

http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/whats-fracking

Anonymous said...

The media which is filled with women and homosexuals...

...and one other hugely influential group of folks.

Gosh, their name escapes me at the moment.

But I'm sure that I'll remember it eventually.

Anonymous said...

HOLY COW HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT THOMAS SOWELL POSTED AT NRO?!?

Grab a screenshot before "Dick" Lowry yanks it right off the website.

Anonymous said...

Really what you see is these very high technology firms are now exploiting the less accessible oil because either they have been swindled out of easier environments, or the governments where there is still easy oil seem likely to nationalize any big investment they make.



No, some of that is on the oil companies. Unfortunately they have a lenghty history of exploiting the native laborers an taking most of the profits out of the countries that they did business with (think most latin us nations) Do you really think it was just a big coincidence that these so called "populist" dictators once they get the power suddenly decide to nationalize the natural resources (oil etc) that were built, developed funded etc by American corporations? No of course not.

Unfortunately, the oil companies at least in the earlier stages of their histories exploited the native workers and didn't pay much above slave wages.

Facts are facts. That's why there's been so much of a backlash vs the oil companies.

Funny how there doesnt seem to be much of a backlash in Saudi Arabia and other mid eastern nations. But then, these nations exploit their own people and have for centuries so apparently its not as big a deal over there.

Fracking at least for the time being is being done in the US. And it is much more difficult to get away with paying below market wages here where NYT; Post; et al might get a bit nosey if such things did occur.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen said...
Nonsense. Among the folks I follow on Twitter is a physicist who worked at Bell Labs before leaving for Wall Street and then academia. There are lots of smart folks on Twitter. And one of the virtues of the short message format is that well-known folks are more likely to engage with you than they are in other media.


No, there's not really that much to it. Also, that really only works if you have a small and reasonable number of followers. If you have one thousand plus followers, there simply isn't enough time in the day to personally converse with every single one of them. Also, 140 characters for most smart people is even starting to warm up. 140 = Rachel Jeantel.

Compared to Twitter the old fashioned telegraph lines were milton and Shakespeare.

Anonymous said...


In the cases where frackers collusion with government(regulatory capture) hasn't forced the issued to be swept under the rug, it has been found unequivocally that fracking does pollute groundwater in a very bad way.


Okay, Yoko, or is it Robert (as in Redford). The protest chain line went that way, stage left. Faaar left. The sky's falling the sky's falling, the sky's falling. We heard your one note already.

We got it. You hate fraking, it's evil and of the devil and of course you dont drive because you use a bicycle.

JK and LOL for the twitterspere.

Anonymous said...

Interesting link --
http://www.policymic.com/articles/58155/the-epa-tried-to-cover-up-this-fracking-report

Anonymous said...

You dumbasses, the BP oil spill was a mile down and 50 miles from shore, of course the oil was dispersed by the time it got to shore.

The fact that we can drill that far down, that far from shore is the innovation.

Dave Pinsen said...

"Also, that really only works if you have a small and reasonable number of followers."

Elon Musk has 424k followers. Elizabeth Banks has 1.3 million. Both have engaged with me via Twitter. Will they respond to every one of their followers? No. But if you say something interesting and relevant, they might. And they are more likely to respond via twitter than via other media. People who wouldn't respond to your emails will often reply to a tweet.

Twitter also is a great resource for breaking news since it makes everyone with a smart phone a potential reporter. Like the guy who just live-tweeted a background interview by the former head of the NSA, which he overheard while sitting near the guy on an Acela train.

Anonymous said...

I didn't quite get Twitter at first either, but I think Steve and others would come to like it once they get a feel for it's possibilities.

Its possibilities still ultimately just amount to messaging other people. It's just nothing like advances in something like energy, no matter how you slice it.

notahippie said...

Something to ponder --


Based on information I've seen, there appears to be regions where the water has gone from drinkable to non-drinkable, this is not in dispute. What is in "dispute"(when you have a lot of money you can "dispute" the color of the sky if you want to I guess) is why this change has occurred.

The oil and gas industry contends that this change is the result of a "natural process". Those not blinded by greed like little girls(my apologies to little girls,) say hmm oil and gas industry, that is an extraordinary claim, we're going to need to see some extraordinary evidence, because Occam's razor would tell us that it is your activities that have polluted the groundwater.


So riddle me this, is it just coincidence that these "naturally occurring" degradation of groundwater events occur where there is nearby fracking activity, or do we just not hear about all the others?

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen said...
"Also, that really only works if you have a small and reasonable number of followers."

Elon Musk has 424k followers. Elizabeth Banks has 1.3 million. Both have engaged with me via Twitter. Will they respond to every one of their followers? No.

Exactly. They don't and they won't. Also, you are aware that many of these public personalities do not directly answer their own tweets nor personally tweet? You know that, right? They often have PR firms and "ghost" tweeters and basically only occasionally respond in person.



But if you say something interesting and relevant, they might.

Duh.


And they are more likely to respond via twitter than via other media.

Strongly strongly disagree and experience bears this out. Twitter vs email most will respond via email.
Advantages are: No limits on written characters. Enough space to formulate complete and coherent thoughts and ideas.



People who wouldn't respond to your emails will often reply to a tweet.



Yes, a la Rachel Jeantel. Those residing at the right side of the bell curve will more than likely respond in depth and at greater length than twitter could ever possibly give them to a personal email.


See, email is still a personal thing. Any and everyone can tweet a public figure but only a few individuals will have access to their private email address.

Steve's right. Twitter = telegraph. Email = letter. As in toughtful, coherently developed,

Much like what these posts are! They are NOT equivalent to tweets. They have more in common with emails. Emails, like traditional letters, take time, care, attention to detail as well as to formulated thoughts, etc. The added value of editing helps guarantee that one does not come across as a babbling LOL idiotic dolt.


You have a nice day.

notahippie said...


Well Anonymous 8:36pm, hate is such a strong word for a hippie like your self who knows all these hippie words and terms, Yoko, protest line, wtf?


The point is, water, generally considered to be pretty important for sustaining life.

Auxiliary energy supplies, generally considered pretty nice and convenient (though not when it creates a nation of softies sitting on the couch watching stupid shit on tv, or dweebs in their cars on the freeway moving along at 12 mph, bodies decaying from lack of use)

What's nice about energy supplies is that we have a multitude of sources to exploit. So why should we condone companies that exploit one of many energy supplies while destroying our sole source of water?

Anonymous said...


So riddle me this, is it just coincidence that these "naturally occurring" degradation of groundwater events occur where there is nearby fracking activity, or do we just not hear about all the others?



This sounds very much like the same fringe argument "the government has had the complete cure for all cancers since about 1930 but have been deftly covering it up. How come we don't hear about it? Coverup, coverup!"


Again, the parade passed that way, to the left. Far left. Don't worry, they'll wait for you to catch up. Observing your words so far, you don't have too far to go to reach them.

Auntie Analogue said...


If you don't fricking like fracking, then give up your fricking car, and stop using fricking electricity.

I say, Frack, Frack, Frack! This will reduce the potable water supply whose dearth will then force all the illegal alien invader-colonists to go back home to pump (or pimp) for Pemex.

Anonymous said...

Elon Musk has 424k followers. Elizabeth Banks has 1.3 million. Both have engaged with me via Twitter. Will they respond to every one of their followers? No. But if you say something interesting and relevant, they might. And they are more likely to respond via twitter than via other media. People who wouldn't respond to your emails will often reply to a tweet.

So Elon Musk and some D-lister once responded to your tweets. Major breakthrough indeed.

Anonymous said...

'Unfortunately, the oil companies at least in the earlier stages of their histories exploited the native workers and didn't pay much above slave wages.'


If the workers were so cruelly underpaid... why didn't they quit and work somewhere else?

Auntie Analogue said...


Electricity must be generated by burning coal, oil, or natural gas, by nuclear fission, by green technology - wind farms, solar, hydroelectric dams.

Absent the electricity that these plants generate, see how far you get with Tweeting on Twitter - or, for that matter, see how far you get with sending an old-fashioned telegram, see how far Elon Musk's electric cars will carry you.

Dave Pinsen said...

Yeah, some famous folks outsource their social media (and are often open about that "tweets by..."). But most don't. And the ones I mentioned above almost certainly didn't. Taleb's response was too nasty to be the work of some lackey; Musk's was too risky (insinuating that a reporter was carrying water for short sellers). And Banks tweeted a video clip of her answering my question.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen said...
Yeah, some famous folks outsource their social media (and are often open about that "tweets by...").

Not all are as honest and open about that in point of fact. Various PR flacks have been interviewed the yrs about how they painstakingly tweet in their clients' tone and style so as to help the public figure remain relevant.


But most don't.


Whatever. Whatever one has to tell oneself.


And the ones I mentioned above almost certainly didn't.

I'm sure.



Taleb's response was too nasty to be the work of some lackey; Musk's was too risky (insinuating that a reporter was carrying water for short sellers). And Banks tweeted a video clip of her answering my question.


Careful, because here is where the fan boy fawning folderol whilst falling all over oneself starts to become outlandish a la Sally Fields "You LIKE me! You REALLY like me! You LOLed me, ME! You gave me a tweet! My day is like, totally made, man, dude."

"But dude, they can tweet back and tweet to millions! Like we're part of the cosmos! One big experience!"


Well, for all those tweeting tweety birds with little to much to say, 'cept in 140 characters, it's the bees knees.

But one advantage with email is that it allows for more coherent and cogent thought without all the folderol.

Calmly keying QED, sans tweeting LOL

Anonymous said...

If you're relying on "Gasland" as a source you're doing it wrong.

David said...

The old-fashioned way.

Dave Pinsen said...

Here's early Twitter investor Fred Wilson offering a couple examples of embedded media today.

Anonymous said...

"(I'm sure computers play a role in fracking, though.)"

Yes, absolutely. The amount of mass storage (NetApp, EMC, etc) needed to generate those underground 3D maps, which the oil companies then use to figure out where to drill, is on par with the amount of mass storage needed for genomic sequencing.

Interestingly, one of the reasons we haven't had to test nuclear weapons in several decades is due to the fact we simulate the whole event on computers...another thing that can take petabytes of data.

Anonymous said...

Oil & Gas == GOP [True Blue Americans]

Facebook & Twitter == DEM [Bolshevik/Neo-Feudalist/Elitist]

Nuclear == Libertarian

peterike said...

For thems as interested, the New Yorker recently had a profile of Jack Dorsey, one of the Twitter founders.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/21/131021fa_fact_max

My favorite factoid: Twitter has spent over $700 million building its infrastructure.

Dave Pinsen said...

"Careful, because here is where the fan boy fawning folderol whilst falling all over oneself starts to become outlandish a la Sally Fields "You LIKE me! You REALLY like me! You LOLed me, ME! You gave me a tweet! My day is like, totally made, man, dude.""

What did I write there that you found outlandish?

"But one advantage with email is that it allows for more coherent and cogent thought without all the folderol."

You can link to an article or blog post of unlimited length in a tweet, so it can be a conduit to as much "cogent thought" as you want. In the past 24 hours, I've clicked through links in tweets to a blog post by Greg Cochran on Native American genetics, an NYT article about Philippine efforts to exert sovereignty over part of the Spratly Islands, a post by a Starting Strength coach about low bar versus high bar squats, and the Wikipedia bio of an author who predicted the Internet in 1946. None of that is folderol.

You can continue to insist on believing otherwise, without having tried it, but I can tell you from experience using both that Twitter expands the circle of your correspondents beyond email, because it is a lower-effort media. Email is work to most people; they always have too many unanswered. Twitter doesn't make the same demands, partly because it is asymmetrical (you don't have to follow everyone who follows you), partly because there is no expectation that you will read every tweet in your stream, and partly because of the condensed format. There are people I've communicated with via email and Twitter, and Twitter (including direct messages) is our more frequent means of communication. There are other people whom I've communicated with via Twitter but never via email.

Anonymous said...

"This sounds very much like the same fringe argument "the government has had the complete cure for all cancers since about 1930 but have been deftly covering it up. How come we don't hear about it? Coverup, coverup!"" - No, what he is saying is that if this were a natural process, it should show up somewhere other than around a fracking site.

For my part, the fact that you can't turn a fracked well off is a concern for me.

Dave Pinsen said...

A couple of more points re Twitter versus email:

- In order to email someone, you need to know their email address. Often, those aren't public. Twitter handles are.

- If, like the anonymous commenter above, you're plagued by epistemic doubts about who you are communicating with, those doubts would presumably apply to email correspondents as well.

Sam said...

There's a website that I found that answers a lot of questions on the mechanics and bits of energy extraction. He explains drill bits, tunneling, muds... It's extremely interesting and he writing is so clear he can make complicated subjects much easier to understand.

http://bittooth.blogspot.com/

rob said...

If you are someone concerned about C02 concentration in the atmosphere, it also provides a possible way for carbon sequestration. Interestingly the C02 used for this purpose is mined, not captured from carbon fuel burning smokestacks.

Utilities might be literally letting money go up in smoke there. I only read an abstract, so I can't vouch for the quality of the study. Capturing smokestack CO2 for oil recovery would have been profitable even in 2005. There's probably some arbitrage opportunity there. I doubt utilities wanna deal with the hassle of capital investment for a business they don't know very well.

Anonymous said...

Clue bat for the original post's quoted 'expert'... methane IS 90%+ of natural gas.

So, of course, it's going to be trapped and not let into the atmosphere.

BTW, methane is wildly unstable in the atmosphere and burns, molecule by molecule, upon ultraviolet light excitation. This makes it totally unlike ALL of the other greenhouse gases. It's IMPOSSIBLE for it to build up in the atmosphere. The more there is, the faster it oxidizes. It's a law of chemistry.

Look up Reaction Kinetics. Much to ponder there. It will require that you have a BA in chemistry, though.

Anonymous said...

This is an accurate summary, the discussion that needs to be had mostly concerns environmental concerns 1 and 2, which are not trivial. The contents of fracking fluid are unregulated, and frackwater brought to the surface is allowed to evaporate in pools, volatilizing the unknown chemicals. Anecdotal reports of neuropathy, cancer, and other problems in people living near the fields suggest that informed regulatory attention would be valuable.

Additionally, fracking changes the shock propagating behavior of the ground, meaning that it changes earthquake behavior. USGS blamed fracking for the recent resurgence in low-level east coast earthquakes.

Both of these environmental concerns, if acknowledged, can be mitigated.

Anonymous said...

Gregory Zuckerman from the WSJ has a new book out about the fracking innovation.

"changing the global economy and the map of geopolitical power" is right. Fracking also threatens to shift the balance of power within states and nationally, which is why some media outlets either ignore it and play up the negative aspects of it, and the general public remains unaware of how important and transformative the new oil technology is. High-profile people with ties to the oil and gas business are represented as villains - i.e. the Koch Brothers, the Bush family. In contrast, generally left-leaning tech moguls are no threat to the media's favored part of the establishment and so can be safely praised and glamorized.

By the way, the idea of 140 characters in a tweet being a limitation is a canard. You can tweet a link to the complete text of a multi-volume treatise, or an entire novel.