"A growing number of oil and gas assets have either reached, or are approaching, the end of their economic lifespans, and, in accordance with current regulations, will have to be decommissioned and removed. This presents challenges for the owners and operators of these assets, but offers major business opportunities for engineering consultants, contractors and service specialists. [...] At the moment, there are three accepted strategies for the removal of these larger production facilities, namely piece small, reverse installation and single lift. [...] Until recently, decommissioning has not been considered within the overall lifecycle of an offshore asset. As a result, maintenance regimes have often overlooked key items of plant and equipment that would be needed during the abandonment stages, leading to significant and arguably unnecessary costs. There are welcome signs that this attitude may be changing, with some companies now introducing decommissioning as part of their graduate development programmes. However, further effort is required before decommissioning is fully considered throughout the lifecycle."And to give you a sense of the scale of what it takes to remove such rigs, here's a NatGeo docu on assembling one of the very biggest! And Discovery docu on North Sea Mega Rigs!
30 November 2014
Ingenia's Brian Nixon spotlights Decommissioning North Sea giants...
28 November 2014
Mike Schuler at gCaptain spotlights Damen Shiprepair's MRO work on the MSC Magnifica! And here at Blohm+Voss Elbe yard, the Braemar was cut in two and extended by 10m!
27 November 2014
Check out Root Capital, a financing and connections-making social venture which helps small and growing rural agri-businesses thrive long-term, socially, economically, and sustainably. See especially their Timeline and here's founder Willy Foote sharing how it all started... And a summary of their approach... And a Skoll World Forum Uncommon Heroes mini-docu on Root...
26 November 2014
MSF works in Jordan on seriously injured Syrian refugees. Here's a snippet of their work... Now the key additional thing is to ensure affordable quality prostheses are, in fact, accessible to those Syrian amputees, otherwise this was not inspiration but cruelty.
25 November 2014
24 November 2014
22 November 2014
17 November 2014
The Economist surveys The Pacific Age including the dramatic re-emergence of Asian economies and related trade with the Americas...
"The refrain, “The Mediterranean is the ocean of the past, the Atlantic is the ocean of the present and the Pacific is the ocean of the future,” first heard more than 100 years ago, is still repeated today. Yet exactly half a century after Japan “rejoined the world” (in the phrase of Ian Buruma, a writer) by hosting the Olympics in 1964, the Pacific Age has now clearly arrived. Japan’s economic power may have peaked 25 years ago, but it produced a trans-Pacific competition that now has America and China vying with each other for the title of the world’s largest economy (at purchasing-power parity). All three Pacific nations trade vigorously with one another."
16 November 2014
Superstorm Sandy -- two years ago, this past two weeks or so -- exceeded expectations and caught much of NYC and our American eastern seaboard surroundings short. Surge flooding, power loss, transit disruption, property damage, and more. Watch the docus to get a sense of scale and ferocity... The NYC Comptroller has upped estimates of property at-risk and the NYC leadership are on the ball pushing for change. DotEarthling Andrew Revkin spotlights NYC's softer relationship with the sea and especially NYTimes colleague Alan Feuer's Building for the Next Big Storm ~ After Hurricane Sandy, New York Rebuilds for the Future...
"In the next four decades, scholars say, sea levels are expected to rise by as much as 30 inches, and if the worst projections come to pass, about 800,000 city residents could find themselves living with the threat of being swamped. According to an insurance report commissioned by the city, if New York suffers another storm like Sandy in the early 2050s, when ocean levels and the population are likely to be higher, it could cause $90 billion in damage -- almost five times the cost of the initial storm."Some radical new thinking is needed about coastal flood resilience, defence-in-depth, room for the water, more savvy infrastructure, and more... Especially watch this series of speakers highlighting plans for Recovery and Resiliency at NYC's Hospitals (NYU Langone, Bellevue, etc)... P.S. Here's some historical nuggets, including my commentary on 27 Oct 2012 Superstorm Sandy ~ Tracking Emergent Weather, 28 Oct NYC Evac Map ~ Warning Zones for Sandy, looking at big picture on 29 Oct Imaging Sandy ~ NASA/NOAA Timelapse, the disaster retrospective Into the Storm ~ Final Days of Tallship Bounty, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announcing PlaNYC, early thoughts on resiliency, the power of drills in the hospital evacuations, and specific inventions, like the Tunnel Plug!
13 November 2014
MIT Media Lab colleague Steven Keating shares at a Koch Institute talk how his curiosity caught his cancer -- and now enables him to share unprecedented -- and often hilarious -- insight into how he and team dealt with it... P.S. Check out story at CancerCommons, Super Patient: Steven Keating Fights Brain Cancer with Data!
12 November 2014
Bronwen Manby at African Arguments asks How will the UNHCR’s statelessness campaign affect Africa?
"On 4th November the UN launched a global campaign to end statelessness within ten years. I confidently predict that the result of this campaign will be to ‘increase’ statelessness by many millions of people. This is not because I think that the campaign is misconceived -- far from it -- but because the statistics on the numbers of stateless persons are currently so inadequate that one of the main impacts of greater attention to the issue will be that currently uncounted populations will come into focus. This is a good thing."Read the rest, it's important.
11 November 2014
Behold Mike Spinelli's beautiful photo of Anthem Veterans Memorial!
"At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States."Let's never forget those who had to fight or stood ready to.
10 November 2014
Ronald Bailey at Reason asks Can We Save Nature by Making It Economically Useless?
“Decoupling” human economy from ecology could render large areas of pastures, croplands, and managed forests too remote for exploitation. [...] "The way we will save nature is by rendering it economically worthless," declared Ted Nordhaus. Nordhaus, chairman of the Breakthrough Institute, was speaking at "Making Nature Useless," a seminar sponsored by the D.C.-based think tank Resources for the Future. With that one sentence, he summed up the entire session’s theme. [...] "Why are we using just half of the planet's ice-free land surface?" he asked the audience. Cropland only occupies about 12 percent; pasture, 24 percent; managed forests, 9 percent; cities, 3 percent. About 12 percent of the world's ice-free land, he noted, has been formally set aside for conservation and preservation. What makes that 12 percent different? His answer is that, for the most part, it is too high, too dry, too steep, and too remote. We have saved what we have saved, he suggested, largely because it is not worth anything economically. Most of the lands that are not legally protected but remain unexploited share the same economically off-putting characteristics. [...] humanity is on the cusp of "peak farmland." If current land-use trends continue, an enormous amount of crop and pasture land will be abandoned and returned to nature. [...] Urbanization contributes to the process of decoupling economy and ecology, since fewer hungry people engaged in low productivity subsistence farming mean more land for nature. [...] Analysts with old-fashioned Malthusian mindsets are again decrying the imminent approach of "peak everything" followed by a collapse of civilization. The data presented at Wednesday's seminar points toward a much happier version of "peak everything," as humanity increasingly withdraws from the natural world during the rest of this century."
09 November 2014
03 November 2014
Pascal van den Noort at VeloMondial spots Nick Falbo's Protected Intersections video... Nick does a good job synthesizing lessons-learned from Dutch designs including those noted by two of my favorite cycle blogs, Mark Wagenbuur's BicycleDutch and David Hembrow's View From the Cycle Path.
02 November 2014
The NYTimes spotlights Shell's Prelude with photosynth imagery by Stephen Mallon and Jon Huang...
"Owing to shifts in oil prices and a change in the climate of energy arbitrage, a vast amount of usable natural gas -- an estimated three trillion cubic feet of it -- is now profitable and waiting to be tapped within an area called Browse Basin, under the Indian Ocean, roughly 125 miles northwest of Australia. That’s where Prelude will soon be towed, then fixed."
Thanks to Kuriositas for spotting How Does it Grow, an ongoing series sharing stories of our food grows and goes from field to fork! First full episode, Mushrooms, which I don't like, but it's cool to see how they're grown! Next, Garlic! Finally (for now), Cauliflower!
Airline food "How It's Made"... Swiss Gate Gourmet... Emirates Catering... LSG Sky Chef Trolley cam... LSG Sky Chefs general... The so-called "Dirty Truth" about airline food...
NatGeo's Dan Stone and Spencer Millsap followed truckers Tim and Karen Rife shepherding a load of strawberries across the USA in...
"...three days, from California to Washington, D.C., to understand what it takes to deliver food grown thousands of miles away."
Thanks to the Scuttlefish for spotting trailer for The Great Invisible...
"Margaret Brown’s searing documentary [...] Rather than simply hurling oily muck at the perpetrators of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, this film promises a far more in-depth view of one of the worst environmental catastrophes in global history, its lingering effects, and the economic and human consequences of a global addiction to oil."
01 November 2014
From last year's Science special issue on Grand Challenges in Science Education here's MIT J-PAL Executive Director Rachel Glennerster speaking about her teams piece on The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World summarizing lessons from randomized control trials (RCTs) of programs that aim to improve the learning outcomes of school-age children...
MapPorn spots South America in globular perspective, published as a foldout supplement from the December 1937 issue of Fortune magazine! Be sure to click through to the full-size, hi-res map!
Thanks to Henry Melcher at ANblog for spotting new New York City Comptroller’s office policy brief On The Frontlines summarizing updated estimates of expected cost of property at risk from the next big Hurricane Sandy-class storm. Bottom line: ~US$130 Billion, over double previous estimates mostly due to expanded boundaries of expected damage, as visualized on maps...