“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.”- Albert Camus
On the subject of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas formations (fracking if you must), one of the main objections seems to be the possibility of groundwater contamination from the chemicals involved in the water injection process. Whilst the proportion of chemical additive to water is very low, there are large amounts of water involved – many thousands of tonnes meaning a few hundred litres of chemicals albeit some quite innocuous ones that are often found in foodstuffs such as guar gum, salt and a few others.
With that slight aside out of the way, having read a little on the subject, the following quote came to mind this morning when reading a BBC article (quote from US DOE report – opens pdf) :
A typical fracture treatment will use very low concentrations of between 3 and 12 additive chemicals depending on the characteristics of the water and the shale formation being fractured.
The piece in the BBC article which prompted that thought? Well, I think you will agree that this has a somewhat different slant on it :
Fracking – short for “hydraulic fracturing” – involves drilling deep under ground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hundreds of chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.
Interestingly, I grabbed that specific quote this morning but the article has now been amended to read :
Fracking – short for “hydraulic fracturing” – involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.
I wonder where the “hundreds” disappeared to? It is still available here for example.
As for it’s origin, I suspect some BBC research wonk did a bit of googling and blundered over the list at this wiki link which gives the 750 or so recognised additives used in various operations.
Paid a visit to a local country pub on Sunday and I think it will be that last time they get my business.
Well there is a rather nice beer garden where you can sit and watch the country views whilst having a pint and a fag and then there is the sloping ex-car park next to the bins where all you can see are walls and the “rather nice beer garden.
The first picture below is the view from the excuse for a smoking shelter up towards the rather nice beer garden (it was pissing it down) with the reason I won’t be visiting again highlighted :
And for the benefit of those who can see bugger all in the red circle, the details :
“Please keep this Beer Garden Smoke Free!!”
Apparently, some bint was complaining about the second hand smoke affecting the health of their precious brats using the bouncy castle.
Smokers are now allowed on three tables in the car park, down wind of everyone else.
Mark Grant is always an amusing read and here is his latest missive reposted in all it’s semi-psychedelic glory, for it amused me :
“For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere, then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this time and again for always to nowhere, now not to be borne once again always and to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up and into nowhere, suddenly, scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them.”
-Ernest Hemingway, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
The European Union is leading the nations of Europe nowhere. They have sat there and languished in their own self-adoration, propped up their egos on self-congratulation and flounced recitals of praise fluffed and huffed by one politician and told to another. They have a central bank promising what cannot be delivered and they have used up all of their capital to buy the debt they have created to support the artifice. Then having mutilated the pension funds of their citizens and having pressured every money manager on the Continent they congratulate themselves on their lower yields.
“Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news hath but a losing office, and his tongue sounds ever after as a sullen bell, remembered tolling a departing friend.”
-William Shakespeare, “Henry IV”
They say it is improved financial sustainability; I say it is chicanery. They see a road without end; I can see the end. They congratulate themselves; I yawn as the mumbo jumbo continues. The spice must flow and so it does but they are now consuming more than is being produced and I can smell the coming storm and the signs of the forthcoming giant sandworm abound.
“When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.”
-Frank Herbert, “Dune”
They honey is the ability to trade with each other. The vinegar is the cauterization if anyone leaves. Germany prospers. Everyone else suffers. The unemployment rate hits 12.2% which is a concocted number far below actuality but that is what they say, that is what is believed, but our old friend reality always has a funny way of showing up when you least expect him.
In France they now have 3.26 million unemployed with two uninterrupted years of monthly rises in their unemployment rate and a 1.2% increase from March. Nearly 337,000 more people are out of work in France than there were when Hollande was elected in May 2012. Unemployment is Spain at 26.8%, some 6.2 million people out of work while the economy has shrunk -1.3% in the last two quarters. Italy’s economy is projected to shrink by -1.8% this year according to the OECD while their unemployment rate hits 12%, a thirty-six year high. Besides Germany these are the pillars of the European Union and that union is crumbling.
Stick your nose up into the wind.
The stench is overwhelming.
“At the great iron gate of the churchyard he stopped and looked in. He looked up at the high tower spectrally resisting the wind, and he looked round at the white tombstones, like enough to the dead in their winding-sheets, and he counted the nine tolls of the clock-bell.”
-Charles Dickens, “Our Mutual Friend”
For those who may be wondering what happened to The Wasp – he is here but utterly dismayed by UK politics and the constant stream of piffle and hot air that is the UK. Other priorities need attention currently but I am not going away be assured.
In the mean time, another one of my favourite Grant lines :
A fool-proof method for sculpting an elephant:
First, get a huge block of marble; then you chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.
Sitting here in Tallinn enjoying some much needed rest I was flicking through BBC News to see if anything was happening in the world when I cam across one of those headlines that makes a jarring sound in your head when you read it because some words just do not belong together in a headline :
Teachers rampage against reforms in Guerrero state, Mexico
Come on now – teachers and rampage in the same sentence with the teachers doing the rampaging rather than an acne encrusted armed lunatic as is usually the case when those two words are found near each other in a headline. My brain immediately offered visions of a jostling horde dressed in corduroy, worn brown shoes and jackets with elbow patches but it would seem that Mexican teachers are not like those of my school years :
Teachers incensed by sweeping education reforms have attacked the buildings of political parties in Mexico’s south-western Guerrero state.
For several hours, masked protesters started fires and attacked the offices with pickaxes and sticks, spraying slogans on the walls.
The state governor has called for support from the federal government.
The reforms impose centralised teacher assessment and seek to end corrupt practices in the education system.
Those practices include the buying and selling of teaching positions.
I would imagine the lessons are worth attending there!
On Wednesday evening, a fire at the plant suddenly exploded with a huge, deafening bang, throwing people to the ground blocks away. It measured as a 2.1-magnitude seismic event, according to the United States Geological Survey. Even 50 miles away, homes shook.
The blast came minutes after the fire began, so firefighters were already on the scene. Some may be among the dead, but the casualty count is unclear, Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said, estimating that overall, five to 15 people may have lost their lives. Smith said the death toll could spike to 60 or 70. More than 160 people were injured.
“We have two EMS personnel that are dead for sure, and there may be three firefighters that are dead,” Smith said.
About half the town was evacuated, including a nursing home with 133 residents. A middle school is also near the plant.
A reminder of what we were warned of back in 2000 from the infamous Independent article – it is still online but a bugger to get to load so here is the text I grabbed a couple of years ago :
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.
Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.
The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London’s last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.
Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6Â°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.
However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain’s biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. “It was a bit of a first,” a spokesperson said.
Fen skating, once a popular sport on the fields of East Anglia, now takes place on indoor artificial rinks. Malcolm Robinson, of the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club in Peterborough, says they have not skated outside since 1997. “As a boy, I can remember being on ice most winters. Now it’s few and far between,” he said.
Michael Jeacock, a Cambridgeshire local historian, added that a generation was growing up “without experiencing one of the greatest joys and privileges of living in this part of the world – open-air skating”.
Warmer winters have significant environmental and economic implications, and a wide range of research indicates that pests and plant diseases, usually killed back by sharp frosts, are likely to flourish. But very little research has been done on the cultural implications of climate change – into the possibility, for example, that our notion of Christmas might have to shift.
Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.
“We don’t really have wolves in Europe any more, but they are still an important part of our culture and everyone knows what they look like,” he said.
David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.
Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.
The chances are certainly now stacked against the sortof heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in “London Snow” of it, “stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying”.
Not any more, it seems.
Compared with the reality this morning outside The Waspsnest :