Thursday, December 17, 2015

Requiem for a Process Engineer

Sometimes I really hate Process (Chemical) Engineers. They epitomize "paralysis by analysis". I used to have a sign in my office that read "There comes a time in every project wen you have to shoot the Process Engineer and begin construction".

So today, we are trying to get a package out. The designer is beavering away changing all his piping line weights because they didn't print correctly and everyone is staying late to get the drawings organized. In the meantime, the Process Engineer wanders into the design area with a typographical error he found.

He was lucky he escaped with his life.


Commenters reminded me that using cannons to punch holes in burning oil tanks was done to prevent a BLEVE (Burning Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion). Here's a video of one:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fighting Oil Field Fires with Artillery

I ran across an interesting piece of oil field history the other day. It was a first person account of fighting an oil tank fire in 1884. Lightening had struck an oil derrick and ignited a small storage tank. This tank leaked and the resulting pool fire spread to a battery of large storage tanks. The fire then became uncontrollable. The fire fighting method of the day for oil tank fires was to fire a cannon into the tank in order to punch holes and drain the tank before the fire caused the oil to boil over. Several of thee cannon can be found in various oil field museums.

The story was printed in MIT's newspaper, "The Tech". A link to it is here. Be sure to browse the paper for other news of MIT and advertising of the era.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fracking History

On December 10, 1967, the US Government, in cooperation with El Paso Natural Gas Company, experimented with fracking using atomic bombs.

Two other test sites were "fracked" as well. The gas was too radioactive to distribute thus ending the experiment.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dec 7

Call it Memory Monday. This is a good day to read this old post again and think about the sailors at Pearl Harbor.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review - The Promise

Elvis is back along with Joe Pike and Maggie the K9 in this latest book by Robert Crais. Elvis is engaged to find a missing woman who had allegedly embezzled a large amount of money. But the woman who hires him to find her friend will only meet anonymously in parking lots. In addition, she calls Elvis continuously demanding progress reports. As Elvis investigates he finds himself in the middle of a police call concerning a murder that escalates when Maggie finds explosives (It seems she was trained to find IEDs when she was a Marine which nobody knew). While Elvis is trying to find the truth concerning his new client and the missing woman, the police consider him a suspect in the murder and he has to avoid their surveillance by enlisting Joe and Jon Stones help.

I really enjoyed this one as all of my favorite characters came together. Crais has written this book in a sort of Rashomon style where each chapter is told from the viewpoint of one of the characters, including Maggie. Crais is the only person I have read who makes me believe that he can get into the mind of a dog and I really enjoyed the chapters told from Maggie's point of view.

This is a great read and I think it's one of Crais' best.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Head Count

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia beheaded 6 murderers and 3 druggies last month. This brings their year to date total to an even 140.