Tuesday 28 August 2012

Working in Edmonton and all points west this week --The stuff that Sheiks are made of

Good morning folks and folkettes,

I will be working in Edmonton today and tomorrow and then on to Calgary for Thursday and then a quick dash out to Kelowna to see my grandson and his mommy and daddy :)

I don't know how many of you, like me, were cc'd on the threads about oil production, peak oil and how the oil in the ground came to be, but what the hell.. I have a few minutes to kill on this flight, let's take a plunge shall we?

Oil, black gold, Texas tea, Alberta Spit, it's the stuff that can cause the President of arguably the heaviest armed country on the planet to fall on bended knee in front of a white linen wearing dude that for not the reserves of oil under the sand would be a goat herder.   Not that goat herder is not an honourable profession, it just rarely invokes a genuflect.

Crude oil is effectively just a mixture of long chain carbon - hydrogen molecules.  Element numbers 1 and 6 (easy when you keep a Periodic Table in your wallet, or in this case it was me and in my wallet) as well as molecular compounds containing Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfer; just for fun deposits often also contain Iron, Nickel, Copper and Vanadium.

The long chains consist of bonded Carbon atoms with Hydrogen atoms hanging off the Carbon atoms through an electron bond.  What crude oil is not.   It is not Fairy Dust, or a prize left at the end of a rainbow by a Lucky Leprechaun.

A short segue, I have a friend that is a Creationist, he says that God (the large G god as apposed to the lessor small g gods) made the oil and put it in the ground for us to find later and pollute the atmosphere.  What he cannot explain to me is why God put all of the American's oil under the Saudi's sand..  but that is the mystery of God's works.

And we're back..  

Now then, if we wanted to make some crude oil for ourselves.. we would need an abundant supply of carbon rich gooey material, we could start with that bubbly stuff that emanates from the neighbor's 2 year old boy's nose, but we need more!   

Vegatable matter!  grass clippings, plankton, crustacean carcasses, trilobites, zooloplankton, algae, sewage, we can use it all.   Oh and some pressure or heat.  You see they are really interchangeable, but if we have both we can really speed up this process.

Take all of this Carbon and Hydrogen rich material and squeeze it together and wait.....

Eventually the mixture will transform into a dark, waxy substance called Kerogen.  If our temperature / pressure is too low, we'll have Kerogen forever, if our temperature / pressure is too high, we'll break our molecules down too far and make natural gas.  A great place to do this job is under the ocean under layers of silt and sediment and anywhere between 3 weeks and a few hundred thousand years and Shazaam..  The stuff that Sheiks are made of.

Have a good day, burn up some ancient algae.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Working in Ottawa today --Sandlance, Chameleons and Mayors

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Have you ever thought about the benefits of your binocular vision, specifically in its ability to perceive distance to objects?    I apologize in advance to Derek, long time reader and one eyed.  Derek lost one eye while run-jumping over a fence with a pool cue to the sounds of his mother yelling, "don't run with a pool cue, you'll put someone's eye out!".  dark days man.

But what about having your eyes in a non-yoked together manner.  Like the Sandlance or the Chameleon you could have one eye scanning your surroundings looking for predator, wife or traffic cop while your other eye tracked some prey, go-go dancer or read your newspaper while driving.

Now I am sure that you are thinking, "but Uncle Daniel would the benefit be out weighed by the loss of depth perception?"

A very good question indeed, but worry not!  It turns out that creatures with independent moving eyes like the late Marty Feldman and the above mentioned Chameleons solved the problem the very same way.  They retain a parallax capacity by shifting the nodal point way forward of the axis of rotation of their eyes as well as maintaining a complete 360 degree visual memory and update it through subsequent optical input.  Cool.

So what does this have to do with Mayors?  Enter.. Mayor Rob Ford.  Now you may be thinking, "What the hell Bam Bam, haven't you already included Mayor Ford in you column 2 or 3 times?".   I would have to respond, yes.  But if I jump on the plane and draw a blank for a topic, I can always rest assured that Ford will have said or done something to provide ample fodder.

Bam Bam?  Yeah.  Rob from Leak Pro (fixes windshields and generic wind and rain leaks in vehicles --fixed my Jeep's windshield a few months ago, nice job btw) plays Racquetball some Wednesdays and some Sundays calls me Bam Bam in the court because of my wicked line drive return shot.  Has been known to cause opponents to hit the deck to avoid being decapitated by it.  Fun for all :)

Back to Ford.  He was recently photographed driving on the Gardiner Expressway while reading a newspaper.  He defended his actions explaining that he can simultaneously read and keep one eye on the road.

I figure he must be a lizard or a type of coral fish.

Have a good day, I'll keep an eye out for ya!

Thursday 16 August 2012

Working in Montréal today --I WAS WRONG, BRIAN WAS RIGHT

Good morning folks,  I will be working in Montréal today.

Last night my friend Brian, while having beer after Racquetball, had made a remark about Canadian diamonds being inscribed with a polar bear to specifically identify as Canadian as apposed to diamonds mined by oppressive regimes and slave labour.  I thought hmmm...  

I am not a gemologist, although I have played one on TV, but my understanding of diamond cutting was that one involves cleaving off whole facets into the desired shape and then polishing the surface with other diamonds.  So I queried Brian on the method, and he said, "lasers".

Right, I thought, 'lasers' the answer that everyone spits out when they don't know.  My doubt was that my understanding was that lasers passed through a diamond without exciting any of the carbon atoms.  My doubt did not reach a full heckling of Brian's assertion, but I did express it with a certain degree of pub table confidence, however I did promise to do a bit of research on this and figure out how this could be and report here if it indeed could be.

I finished my beer, went straight home, started to read about diamonds, wavelengths, lasers, ablation, and promptly fell asleep.  Here I am at 27,000 feet and will attempt to recall what I learned.

Lasers generally are ineffective at affecting diamonds.  But!  That is because most lasers are in the spectrum range from the bottom of visible light right up through far infrared.  These lights all pass through diamonds.  Yes, I wish I could stop right about here.. But sadly.. No.

There are a number of lasers that emit light in the near (300-400 nm), middle (200-300 nm) and far ultraviolet(122-200 nm) ranges.  I know of no lasers that emit light in the extreme or vacuum UV range but the next wavelengths are X-rays and we have plenty of machines that emit energy in that frequency range.

Sorry, got carried away.  It turns out that light in the far UV, actually very far < 200 mn can excite carbon atoms on the surface of a diamond, destroy the bond with their neighboring atoms and result in ablation.  For those of you that are curious and not just reading this out of sheer politeness the rate of ablation is reportedly 1 carbon atom abated per two photon's energy absorbed.

I guess I was wrong and Brian was right.  I WAS WRONG - BRIAN WAS RIGHT.  Bastard.

Have a good day anyway.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Working in Ottawa today --dolphin gossip

Good morning folks I will be working in Ottawa today.

What a bunch of crap in the news this morning!  A Sperm Doner, despite signing a contract stating that her would never attempt to assert parental claim to any resulting child, and supplying a sample for artificial insemination now claims to be the lady's father and wants to meet him and presumably take paternity leave from his place of work.  What a buffoon.  I guess his doesn't get it, takes more to be a father than wanking into a specimen cup while balancing a disturbingly soiled 1975 Playboy magazine.

Oh wait!  The news just became better... Seems that dolphins gossip.  Saywha?  Yeah, Scotland's University of St. Andrews biologist and amateur surgeon Vincent Janik (reportedly performed an emergency appendectomy on himself on his kitchen table while his lab partner ate a pizza) studies the 'signature whistles' of dolphins, the whistles that dolphins use to greet each other in the wild.

Janik and his team have overheard dolphins conversing with one another and uttering the signature whistles of dolphin that were not around.  Janik has not revealed whether or not he and his team further spread the rumours, especially about weeeee wheee hoooooo.

That's about all I have today, have my mind preoccupied with some work stuff.  But I will add that my niece Denise was wedded to her most excellent match Jason on Saturday in Calgary.  Sharlene and I had a great time and wish the happy (and very cute) couple all the best!

Have a great day.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Working in Montréal today --copyright 2012, Daniel Puckett

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today and then will be off Friday and Monday returning to work on Tuesday.

So here is a skill testing question for you.

If there were an organization who's numbers and their membership unknown but have a stated dogged determination and capability to make their enemies live generally suck for a while, would you go out of your way to pick a fight with them?


You have nowhere to hide, because we are everywhere.

We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

These are the motto words of Anonymous.  And they have a logo too!

A headless man wearing a black suit, white shirt, black tie bordered by olive branches arcing up the sides and a ? where his head would otherwise and ordinarily be.

That's right kids, if you were at Distributel's winter costume party in Ottawa back in January it is what I was wearing, that and a Guy Fawkes mask where my face would ordinarily be.  I also had printed up a few round cards with the logo that I scattered around a few tables and had one affixed to my suit jacket breast pocket.

If it is not clear to you why the group Anonymous chose Guy Fawkes masks as part of their standard MO when present at protests and rallies, it may be because Fawkes was a general shit disturber for Spain at the turn of the 17th century, certainly anti establishment, even was in a failed conspiracy to kill King James I.  There is also the movie V for Vendetta based on the 10 series comic book of the same name.  In which V (Hugo Weaving) wears a Guy Falkes mask and fights to bring down an abusive and totalitarian gov't in Britain.  And finally, the masks look pretty rad and can be found just about everywhere.

Now then, French  Tshirt company Early Flicker has filed in France copyright documents claiming ownership of the Logo and the Motto.  This presents two absurdities.  One, that a company and the copyright rules allow someone to claim copyright of what is clearly the prior art of others and further that the company would pick a fight with an organization that can cause them sooooo much grief.

Anonymous has already started warming up to the fight as well.  They have published the list of the company's sites that they will take down, the owner's residential address, his photo, facebook info and a terse warning to smarten up, revoke the application and apologize.

Further on that absurd side.  I think that I make copyright and patent the following prior art items. The colours and logos of the Miami Dolphins; the arc of the lower portion of the number 5, The Pythagorean Theorem, but will rename it to The Danielorean Theorem; and finally the practice of accepting a business card from an acquaintance and placing in a shirt pocket.

Have a good day (copyright 2012, Daniel Puckett)