Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review - The Crossing

Bosch is back! I guess Michael Connelly has been busy with the screen writing for the Amazon series and is off his regular schedule. I have been waiting for this latest in the Bosch series and it is finally here. Bosch has been forced into retirement and is trying to adjust to his new circumstances. But Mickey Haller has a job for him if Bosch is willing to cross over to the dark side and work for the defense to free an accused murderer. Bosch is slowly sucked into the case as he finds anomalies in the evidence. He vows that in order to be true to his personal integrity, he will not just find the evidence necessary to provide reasonable doubt but will find the actual murderer. And so he begins his search for the "crossing" - that point at which the victim crosses paths with their murderer.

Guaranteed to keep you reading until the finish. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tossed, but not Sunk

Translation: Tossed, but not sunk. It is the motto of Paris. You can see it on the City's coat of arms. This graffiti is courtesy of a group of street artists called "Grim Team". Their Facebook page is here.

The Latin motto refers to the Isle de la Cite where Paris, then called Lutetia by the Romans, was first founded. It was an unsinkable ship.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

College Campus Demonstrations

I attended college during the Vietnam Era. It was common to have anti war demonstrations on campus (I attended an urban private university in Boston - no, not Hahvahd). We also got the occasional bomb threat.

As engineering students, we didn't cut class. Trying to catch up from missing even one lecture was not worth the trouble. One day we were all in a Fluid Statics and Dynamics lecture when the word was passed that the building had received a bomb threat. The professor stopped the lecture, looked around the room and said, "The walls here look pretty substantial. I am going to continue the lecture, but feel free to leave if you want to." Everybody stayed.

STEM students don't have time to demonstrate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review - Saturn Run

John Sandford broke from his genre and tried his hand at SF. He partnered with someone named Ctein, whose name I still haven't figured out how to pronounce. Bottom line - stick with what you know and do well.

Strange activity is seen around the rings of Saturn and it is suspected that aliens have planted something out there. The decision is made to investigate and a race between the USA and China is on to investigate what is out there. The book then goes into detail concerning the propulsion system, construction of the vessel and life aboard the space ship. There is very little character development and I found that I didn't really care what happened to any of them. The Chinese were almost forgotten about until the last part of the book and then they were portrayed as caricatures of their race.

I have always found that Sandford's crime novels get a hook into you and you want to keep reading to see what happens next. In Saturn Run, not so much. Much of the book is as boring as interplanetary space travel. It doesn't begin to get interesting until the last 100 pages and then it's predictable. The final victory of the good guys seems almost anticlimactic.

SF fans may like this novel. Comparing it against Sandford's other works, this is not one of his best. But, if you are faced with a long airplane flight, this book may be just the thing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This Week in Oil and Gas History

Nov 14, 1947. The first offshore oil well drilled out of sight of land was started. A wooden platform in 20 feet of water about 10 miles from shore was built by Brown and Root for Kerr McGee. That area is known today as Ship Shoal 32.

The wooden platform supported the derrick. Support equipment, power and quarters was on a tender barge that was moored to the platform. This barge began life as a Navy utility barge in 1945. It was built at the Boston Naval Shipyard near the end of the war as YFN-893. It was sold to Kerr McGee and renamed "Ker Mac Drilling Tender No. 1", a utilitarian name if there ever was one. In 1978 she was sold to Norman Offshore, an offshore pipeline contractor and named "Pipeliner 8". This is where I first encountered her. I was the Project Engineer for Mobil Oil and had contracted her to lay some pipe.In 1983 she was sold to Global Industries,another offshore contractor, and renamed "Delta 1". At this point in her career she had reached 40 years and was near the end of her useful life. She was eventually sold for scrap.

WW II surplus provided a great deal of equipment to the fledgling offshore oil industry. Submarine diesel engines were used for generator sets on floating drill rigs. Their electric motors were installed in the lower hulls of semi submersible drilling rigs and used to propel them from location to location. Gun tubes were used as piles to support fixed platforms. Liberty ships were converted to drill ships by cutting a moon pool in the hull and adding a derrick. And it all started this week in 1947.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Are They Thinking?

Thoughts on a couple of recent political issues.......

Obama wants to "ban the box". The box is the thing you check on job applications to answer the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Dems think checking YES hurts the poor misunderstood ex-con. But during the job interview, ones work history is bound to come up. How do you explain a gap of several years in your resume? I was making license plates?

The progressives also want to let self declared trans genders into female bathrooms and locker rooms. Never mind the adolescent who will claim a new gender identity just to get a glimpse of female anatomy.....anyone who has been to a large event knows that there are never enough toilets for the ladies. In fact, the more desperate ones can be seen entering the mens room to use a stall there because the line was too long at the womens room. The last thing women want is competition for the few toilets available. Talk about your war on women!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Head Count

Saudi Arabia beheaded only 8 murderers last month. The year to date head count is now 131.