Monthly Archives: May 2010

Truly Terrifying


Take this with the usual grain-of-salt that comes with reading commenters’ thoughts, but I found this gem from a comment on a PBS article about how the government and BP have vastly underestimated the flow of oil:

…there were at least two leaks – one “set” of leaks from the well head, the other from the broken 21″ riser pipe. From just the former video of the broken riser, NOT including the well head leaks, it is relatively simple math to figure out the amount of oil that was leaking from the pipe. With d=inner diameter of pipe in inches, the flow rate assumed at 2.5 pipe diameters per second (from the video), and oil assumed as 50% of total flowing fluid flowing out of pipe (from the video), the math is: [(3.14159) * (d/2)**2] in2 * [2.5d] in/sec * [1 gal/231 in3] * [3600 sec/hr] * [24 hr/day] * [0.5 oil/total ratio] = (367.20)*d*d*d in gallons/day. For a 20″ inner pipe diameter, this would equal 2,937,593 gallons/day. To get new numbers, we could change: (a) flow rate in pipe diameters per second (used 2.5 above), (b) oil ratio from pipe (assuming methane gas the rest) (used 0.5 above), and (c) d as inner pipe diameter in inches. But even if the reasonable numbers used above give us an estimate that is off the mark by 50% too high, we’re still talking 2 million gallons per day leaking just from the end of the broken riser (instead of 3 million), NOT including the well head leaks. And that, my friends, is 47,619 barrels per day, NOT including the well head. But let’s say we’re WAYYY off… 200% too high, so there would “only” be 1 million gallons per day from the broken riser. That is still 23,809 barrels per day, NOT including the well head leaks, much more than the new estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day…

Could this possibly be even close to correct?

Leak Cam

Chinese Influence Over N. Korea (Or Lack Thereof)

Re: the tragic sinking of a South Korean Naval Ship, a good read (as always) from Fareed Zakaria on CNN:

But here’s the dilemma. If China is going to play a larger role in the region, in Asia, what does it say when the country they have the maximum influence on — they have really one vassal state and that is North Korea — and if they can’t get the North Koreans to toe the line on what is a very reasonable request, what does it say about China’s ability to conceive of a foreign policy, enact it, and contribute to regional stability? And I’m not talking about Chinese intentions, which may be perfectly fine.

While I was in China, there was a big air show that unveiled new jet fighters comparable to the U.S.’s last-generation (I.E. F-16′s, etc.). The big deal was that China was branching out from a traditional army, which can only exert local influence, to a more robust military capable of projecting force further and further. As a comparison, the U.S. – with it’s I.C.B.M.’s, long-range bombers, satellites, deep-sea subs and military bases all over the world – offers the ultimate example of global force-projection. I’m not endorsing this, I’m just sayin’…

So now that China is clear with its aspirations to exert more influence in regional and global affairs, and they’re building the equipment to do it, they need to start to be able to handle these relatively minor feats of diplomatic dexterity, don’t you think?

Google Fonts vs. FontSquirrel

I use Font Squirrel for this site. Their selection is incredible (and I don’t like anyone hosting my font files but myself). Though you’ve got to admit one thing: if google is in it, then they’re in it to win it. So their service will only get better over time. And this means the good news for all of us is a richer internet with more typeface variety. Sounds good to me.

Sol y Olas

My cousin in Raxó, Spain (Galicia) runs a hut on Sinas beach. In Spain these huts are called Chiringuitos and they sell water, beer and snacks. Every week during the summer he does a churrasco which draws a decent crowd. This year, in an attempt to bring a little brand-recognition to his venture, he asked me to design a logo that he could put on give-aways and other merchandise (lighters, t-shirts, etc.). So I spent some time on Saturday and here’s what I came up with. Sol (sun) y olas (waves):

Great Read

Fantastic essay by Steven Johnson on the value of keeping text/information linkable:

Ecologists talk about the “productivity” of an ecosystem, which is a measure of how effectively the ecosystem converts the energy and nutrients coming into the system into biological growth. A productive ecosystem, like a rainforest, sustains more life per unit of energy than an unproductive ecosystem, like a desert. We need a comparable yardstick for information systems, a measure of a system’s ability to extract value from a given unit of information. Call it, in this example: textual productivity. By creating fluid networks of words, by creating those digital-age commonplaces, we increase the textual productivity of the system.

The reason the web works as wonderfully as it does is because the medium leads us, sometimes against our will, into common places, not glass boxes. It’s our job—as journalists, as educators, as publishers, as software developers, and maybe most importantly, as readers—to keep those connections alive.

The Machines Just Took Over

Great Update from Robert Reich:

Regardless of why it happened, it’s further evidence that the nation’s and the world’s capital markets have become a vast out-of-control casino in which fortunes can be made or lost in an instant — which would be fine except for the fact that most of us have put our life savings there. Pension funds, mutual funds, school endowments — the value of all of this depends on a mechanism that can lose a trillion dollars in minutes without anyone having a clear idea why.

Via HuffPo:

“I think the machines just took over. There’s not a lot of human interaction,” said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group. “We’ve known that automated trading can run away from you, and I think that’s what we saw happen today.”

There were reports that a technical glitch hastened the selling. Stock in the consulting firm Accenture fell to 4 cents after closing at $42.17 on Wednesday. It was priced at about $41 in the last half-hour of trading.