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Comment Re:Too late about climate change (Score 1) 241

but the incentives to save energy and resources for a better future are just not there, neither in the developed, nor in the developing world.

Yeah, there's no incentive to buy a fuel-efficient car or energy-saving lightbulbs. Oh wait, yes there is... it's called saving money! I make a consumer-driven decision to buy a 40-highway-MPG car to commute in and CFL lightbulbs, because I like to lower my monthly bills. The higher gasoline and electricity prices become, the more I save. Pure capitalism works well good because the best decisions are made by the consumer; however, pure capitalism does not currently exist in the Free World(TM).

Comment Re:Bigger Problems Than That (Score 5, Informative) 241

I'd be far more worried about the water laced with sand and chemicals that is shot down into the Earth to release this gas from the shale. They can't leave it down there for fear of it seeping into the water table and when they suck it up, what do they do with it?

First, let me put out there that I Am A Frac Engineer (IAAFE), so take what I am about to say for what that's worth...

Sand (or other suitable grain material, known as "proppant") is pumped into a hydrocarbon-bearing formation to keep induced fractures propped open after frac operations have finished, so that such fractures do not close up (negating the effects of creating the fractures in the first place). Sand keeps that "highway" open from the fracture network in the formation to the wellbore, so that oil and gas can freely flow to the production tubulars and up to the surface. I assure you that the intention, by design, is to *keep* the sand in the formation, not "suck it back up".

The best frac fluid by far (for optimum oil and gas production) is plain freshwater with no additives whatsoever. However, in the real world various additives are necessary to make fracturing possible: anti-clay swelling agents (NaCl, KCl) are needed to keep clays in the formation rock from swelling up and closing up pore throats, acrylamide polymers are needed to reduce the pipe friction of water at fracturing rates so that surface pressures are minimized, surfactants are used to reduce the surface tension of the water so that the water does not block up the pores and fissures by capillary effects, guar gum is used to gel up the water so that sands don't settle out of the water too soon (causing the sand to bridge off and block flow), etc. The total concentration of chemical additives used in the frac fluid usually does not exceed 0.5% by volume, and at those concentrations are relatively benign.

Frac fluids are flowed back naturally to surface, not "sucked up". The reason they are flowed back is that, well, you can't immediately tie the well to a sales line and start selling it until the produced fluids meet a certain quality. The first fluids that flow back out are the last you put in (LIFO), so by extension the frac fluid would be the first fluids back to surface (and they aren't worth anything to any gas pipeline companies or oil refiners), so they must be stored in a tank and hauled off to wherever it goes (either disposed of in a permitted waste disposal well, or recycled for other frac jobs).

It's well known that it contaminates water supply but greed can overpower any environmental problems.

No, it is not a well-known fact. It is presumed in some cases, but not proven. The link you cited has many other factors that have contributed to water contamination, including the shallowness of the hydrocarbon-bearing formation, and the fact that surface retention pits were largely unregulated for a certain period of time. Surface pollution *is* well known to cause water contamination. Engineers and geologists also know that if your hydrocarbon-bearing formation is within a few hundred feet of a water table, that hydraulically-induced fractures *can* propagate into them. There are a few scientific methods for measuring hydraulically-induced fracture growth, which have been utilized in every active shale play in the United States.

Comment Re:Latency (Score 4, Interesting) 396

Hi! Thanks for the reply. To put some perspective - I've been troubleshooting this particular issue for ~1.5 months and have done the traceroute to make sure it is their issue and not mine. The 3rd hop hits one of their centers in a major city near me and that is the turning point.

I didn't include this in the original story as I figured it was far to specific to my case.

Have you tried IM'ing CTL_Joey at the forums? I used to have CenturyLink, and there were always connectivity issues cropping up. He was usually able to have my issues resolved, or at least explain what was going on.

Comment Re:Already implemented here (Score 1) 299

With a minor upgrade recently that checks your speed and if you driving over speed limit it puts there red light right in front of you. Great for ecology, traffic fluence, safety... you name it!

Certainly they aren't doing this for the environment. Stopped, idling vehicles generate more pollution in cities than moving vehicles. Sounds like a municipality that has nothing better to do with its time than to annoy some of their civilians.

Comment Re:Study in texas.... (Score 1) 297

In order to get a fault to become active, you must increase the pore pressure within the fault to the point where you overcome the friction pressure within the fault. This requires a vast amount of water to do. Individual hydraulic fracturing operations do not inject enough fluid to a) reach most faults, and b) to pressurize said faults enough to lubricate them. Also, propped fractures add a small amount of stress in the rock due to rock deformation, but this stress drops off drastically the further you are from the fractures, just a few feet. So between fluid volumes and rock deformation, hydraulic fractures are negligible compared to natural tectonics.

Now water disposal wells, that's different thing entirely. When you're disposing millions of barrels of waste water a day (most of which comes from natural connate water production, with a small percentage from hydraulic fracturing "flowback"), it *is* possible to lubricate faults and increase seismicity in the area. This means that disposal wells will need to be regulated more closely, spread out volumes in larger areas, furthest away from known faults, etc.

Comment Re:Study in texas.... (Score 1) 297

Fracking can never be done safe, at least not with today's technology. You are drilling russian roulette mode, sometimes it's safe but mostly it's not.

When a company has drilled a few hundred wells in a field, with all the electric log analysis, reservoir simulations, and production decline analysis, I believe that it's safe to say that the oil company has a pretty darn good idea what's happening subsurface.

Companies are simply making guesstimates of what will happen when they pressurise formation and, where the fractures will go and how it will affect ground water at various depths.

Ever heard of microseismic monitoring? Oil companies want to maximize the contact of hydraulic fractures in the pay zone and minimize growth into zones directly above and below the pay zone (because the horsepower, water, and proppants end up getting wasted in non-productive zones). Microseismic monitoring has been performed on literally thousands of shale wells. There are other similar technologies, such as surface and subsurface tilt-meters that measure rock deformation (these tilt-meters are also used on some busy bridges to monitor strain on the steel beams, protecting vehicle traffic in high-population areas). Microseismic data has shown time and time again that shear events from hydraulic fracturing operations may be detected a few layers of rock, around 300-500 ft at most, above the pay zone. So a horizontal section of a well drilled at around 7,000-feet deep will not get nearly close to fracturing into an aquifer. Perhaps in a case where a drilled to 3,000 feet with an acquifer at 2,500 feet would it be possible to propagate a fracture to the aquifer, but that's not where any of the shale zones are at.

Will it affect nearby wells, they don't know and they don't give a fuck.

You don't drill a $7 million well and not care about how one well affects another, or whether your fractures are optimized in your pay zone.

They paid their lobbyists to influence Darth Cheney to write laws to protect frackers from the frackers murderously greedy activities.

The so-called "Halliburton loophole" was done to keep an over-reaching EPA from regulating apples and oranges cases. For decades, the EPA did not regulate hydraulic fracturing operations as "hazardous waste disposal", and rightly so. The purpose of hydraulic fracturing is to create fractures, not dispose of hazardous waste. At some point in the early 2000's, a bureaucratic at the EPA, not understanding the process, decided to treat hydraulic fracturing the same as waste disposal. These are not nearly the same things. But of course, the fact that Cheney helped reverse this error is interpreted by some people to be an act of greed.

The reality is there is no technology currently available to forecast what will actually happen when you try to turn rock formations into massive soda fountains, none at all, it is a straight up guess.

Totally, absolutely false. Sure, there is still some uncertainty to what *exactly* goes on subsurface. But there *is* a lot of technology out there that oil companies and the oil service industry employs to understand hydraulic fracturing. 2D hydraulic fracture equations were developed in the 60's, and 3D computer simulators in the 80's. Reservoir simulation software. Petrophysical analysis (electronic well logs and core sample analysis). Production decline analysis. Hydraulic fracture treatment pressure-matching, mini-frac analysis, etc. There are a *lot* of different techniques being employed to try to understand hydraulic fracture growth in hydrocarbon-bearing formations. There is also millions of research dollars being spent in universities to advance the science. There are a multitude of conferences every year where engineers and scientists in the industry go to peer-review each other's works and advance their understanding of fracture behavior. This is not some hidden process that gets applied haphazardly.

Pretty much a safe bet for the fracker they will likely get a big profit as for everyone else around that location, let's be honest, as far as the frackers are concerned luck of the draw 'Fuck Em'.

Safe to say that if an oil company's well end up fracturing into a water zone (even a salt-water zone, which are much closer to hydrocarbon zones than freshwater acquifers), that the oil company is sure as heck not making a profit on that well. Water wells do not oil companies a profit make.

Comment Re:Frak! (Score 1) 297

It may be difficult to achieve a perfect cement job in a High-Pressure/High-Temperature environment and in horizontal wellbores in hydrocarbon-bearing zones, but it isn't all that hard to get a good cement job in vertical boreholes at shallow depths (where our freshwater aquifers are). Many state regulatory agencies are the most strict about the "surface casing" that protects freshwater aquifers, such as requiring cement all the way back up to surface (and topped off if necessary), specific cement mechanical properties, and pressure testing the casing shoe after the cement is allowed to set prior to proceeding with drilling.

By the time the production casing is set and cemented, there are usually around 3 layers of casing lining the wellbore at the shallow depths. Deep offshore wells have many more layers than this (due to the complexity of the pore pressure and fracture pressure gradient profiles), and the hazards that results from blowouts from bad cement jobs are a hazard to the surface (crew, environment, etc.) but do not pose a danger to any rock layers behind the casing layers in previous intervals.

Comment Re:Shortage of engineering jobs, (Score 3, Insightful) 580

Shortage of engineering jobs, not of engineers or potential engineers. Its almost as if we moved many of our jobs to other countries for short term profits in exchange for long term economic vitality.

Exactly. If we actually protected our industries from being sent overseas, we would have plenty of things to "engineer." It's kind of hard to need engineers if you don't make anything. We make it easy to import cheap goods from countries like China, but it is almost impossible to sell our own goods to those same countries.

Comment Re:I wonder how long until it "accidentally" leaks (Score 1) 1224

*looks at prop8 in california, all other anti-gay legislation, anti-abortion laws* And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Christians have been trying to push their morals and beliefs down the throats of everyone in the US for centuries.

"anti-gay"... oh, you mean the laws that defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, the laws that existed as long as this country existed (adopted from the countries that the colonists originated from)?

"anti-abortion"... oh, you mean upholding the law against murdering an innocent human? It's not a Choice, it's a Child.

It's interesting how modernists have taken basic rights and turned them around into negative terminology, and using euphemisms for things that used to be morally wrong but now are okay because you put a "pro-" in front of them and demonize the opposing view by putting an "anti-" in front of them.

Comment Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (Score 1) 406

I would argue that driving slower than the speed limit (unless you're following someone going slower than the speed limit and you can't safely overtake them) is not "sharing the road". In most states driving in a way that impedes the normal flow of traffic is against the law.

Sharing the road simply means driving in a way that allows other motorists to get out of potential conflicts. Right-of-way is an implied system, not a hard set of rules. If someone decides to give up their right-of-way to you, then you are entitled to slowly and safely proceed to accept the right-of-way from the other motorist. If two motorists get in an accident because of right-of-way issues, most officers would at the very least give the driver with the right-of-way a warning to not insist on their right-of-way (as most states laws have a clause to this effect).

Cutting in a line of traffic should be a non-issue... following (tailgating) another car so closely that it prevents a motorist in another lane going in the same direction from merging/cutting in is against the law. Every state has a law to the effect that you must keep a reasonable space in front of you taking into account your speed. Although it isn't specifically written in the law, police officers will often cite two- to four-second following distance as reasonable. This should leave at least a couple of car lengths ahead of you, and thus room for another motorist to merge into. If all motorists on the road obeyed this law, "cutting in" would be a non-issue and not a cause for a conflict.

Comment Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (Score 2, Insightful) 406

Let's not forget that drivers think they're better drivers than everyone else on the road.

Right. They think they are better not in the sense that they can equitably share the road with other motorists, but because they believe they are have l33t skills at handling their car and have cat-like reflexes that allow them to tailgate and whip around slower motorists with precision.

What they don't realize is that these qualities are exactly what a good driver isn't. Good drivers are defensive drivers who have a larger awareness of the roadway than just simply their selfish needs to get to point B as quickly a possible; good drivers tend to "share the road" with other motorists. Collisions are caused by conflicts in the roadway. Aggressive drivers who think they are good drivers cause more conflicts than defensive drivers. When you get two aggressive drivers causing a conflict at the same time, you have an accident. (I'm not saying that this is how all accidents happen, just preventable ones)

I think this also stems from people passing judgement on other motorists when they do something unexpected to them. They think they are a better driver because they are appalled at all these other drivers pulling out in front of them, driving too slowly in front of them, taking their time making a right turn, etc. They conveniently forget all the other times they pulled something stupid in front of someone else because they were either too busy focusing on getting to point B, or think themselves above other motorists. The automobile is a powerful psychological device that gives people their only opportunity for power trips, so to speak, since they feel powerless in the stresses of their life off the road.

Comment Re:Pfft... (Score 1) 356

... when Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel left the Garden of Eden there were already cities which the sons took wives from. Creation was never meant to be instantaneous event but a metaphor for the creation of everything in the universe. Of course those who take it literally are missing the point entirely, but it doesn't make Genisis incompatible with modern science.

Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden before Cain and Abel were born. Eve likely conceived and bore females also (as Hebrew writings usually focus on male decedents and often leave out details of females). Cain likely married his sister (although Mosaic Law would later prohibit this practice, in-breeding was a requirement for the advancement of Adam and Eve's race).

The side-effects of in-breeding, mainly genetic deficiencies in offspring, would have little effect on the first offspring of genetically perfect parents. This could point to one explanation of why humans initially had longer lifespans, which decreased over time as human genetics degraded gradually because of further in-breeding in Noah's time after the flood (which seems to be the point in time which human lifespans reduced to near where we are today).

I personally think there is more to Genesis than metaphors.

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