Coping: With Idiocy – It’s Alive and Well

Here we go again:  Another “Planet X” claim.  The inbox (and the recycle bin) usually dispose of them without me so much as getting a look at them.

But the catchy headline this morning “Midwest quakes surge caused by Planet X/Niburu, not fracking!!!” strikes me as a new low point in mental acuity.

A few facts, if we can? Not to ruin the doomporn business, but let’s face it, the end of the world from a runaway planet is not something to be taken lightly.

So we look at the latest 30-day map of 2.5+ earthquakes around the world, zooming to North America and what do we find?


This is not particularly hard shit to figure out:

There are a whole bunch of quakes that are going on up and down the west coast.  No scientist in his (or her) right mind would place the burden of that on Planet X.  No, this most assuredly has to do with the long-term activity of the Pacific Plate which has something to do with mountains running into it – like the Sierra Nevada and back a ways, the Rockies.  And more importantly, current times coastal ranges.

And that explains everything from the Continental Divide and west.

The little cluster of quakes down in the area of Puerto Rico is (again) plate making mountain ranges.

Maybe this hasn’t been widely explained enough in school: Most of the Caribbean islands are sitting on top of undersea volcanoes.   If you buy that – and the idea that the earth had more wrinkles on it than the average 100-year old, then we are left with what?

A gob of quakes in what Midwest state that has fallen ass-over-teakettle for what?  FRACKING!

I will go so far as to admit that the link between fracking and earthquake is maybe only 95% probable.  However, even in states like Oklahoma if you read this 2011 report, you’ll find admissions like this (highlighted part):


What’s going on right now is a clever (more or less global) move by the Oil & Gas industry to “negotiate” an acceptable level of earthquake increases in order to address the problem of Peak Oil.

Oh, that.

Yeah, well, as I pointed out in this past week’s Peoplenomics report, the USA is consuming about 6-billion barrels per year and we are only producing 2.8 billion per year (in spite of the BS about “unlimited oil” which is a pantload).  At best, therefore we only have about 12-years of domestic US oil reserves left.

It’s not like the US is alone, either.  The British Parliament has a report that says, in so many words if you understand the playing field, that the Brits will bend over as much as needed not to be the “first out” in the oil depletion wars that are forming up now.  (Like Ukraine is the gas war, right?):

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering have reviewed the risks associated with fracking. They concluded that the health, safety and environmental risks can be managed effectively in the UK, by implementing and enforcing best operational practice. However, they made several recommendations including calling for more research on the carbon footprint of shale gas extraction.

So that’s where life is going:  More and more drilling.

And last night, I politely explained to the folks who want to drill some 60-foot deep seismic wells on Uretopia Ranch lands (and load them with 2 1/2 pound charges for a 3D survey) that I’ve turned that whole matter over to my attorney to deal with.

Believe me, I understand the game here, I know the problem, and I am not amused to find that virtually everyone in Texas (who doesn’t own their subsurface rights) is, in effect, a squatter on a problem waiting to come by and make demands that their (superior) subsurface right not be infringed.

My friend Howard mentions a horrifying reality – far more urgent than Planet X:  “You ever look at the red/blue maps and the oil/subsurface rights maps?

All of this, no matter how you cut it, is going to come down to a process and the object of the game is always a deal because the supply of oil is NOT unlimited and Big Oil knows this and doesn’t want people to figure out that over time we’re going to be moving (more and more) into a world of trading seismic impacts and surface rights for energy consumptive lifestyles which are marvelously profitable for Big Oil.

So if someone sends you bullshit about Planet X being the cause of Oklahoma quakes, suggest they go back to wherever they went to school and demand their money back:  Clearly they got conned.

You might also suggest, if they can handle something more than a picture-book, that they pick up a copy of  Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.

Still, if you insist on demonstrably stupid ideas, I’m sure the Oil & Gas trolls will be along with another whopper next week, rather than explain the real trade-off in play. 

Second Gunman on Grassy Knoll Responsible for Quakes…”    Way more probable…

Meantime, I’ve penciled out a budget for the pending “My attorney is better than your attorney” if reason doesn’t prevail. 

I figure to cut the checks and watch the floor show.  Sometimes in life (oil exploration and divorces come to mind)  delegating to a good attorney the least stressful way to approach things and they’ve been trained in the art…

But I have mentioned that  an effective radiated power of 5 kW at 14,300 MHz is not the kind of power you want to be mindlessly using electric blasting caps around.  Just sayin…

The Friday Twofer Woo-Woo

Reader Mark has been vexed by missing almond butter and reference books, in our latest tour of the world where things just happen that shouldn’t:

“…when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes, from The Blanched Soldier

Hi George, 

This is a twofer woo-woo. 

Case #1. About six weeks ago I was working on a client project and needed to access a couple of my writing/marketing reference books. I have an ordered library system, where my reference books are always in the same place on the same shelf. I went to get my two books and they were gone. There was also an empty space where the books would normally be. So I’m thinking that I must have pulled them out and used them previously and left they somewhere else. 

George, I literally pulled my office apart looking for these books, not once, but three times! Nowhere to be found. I even sent e-mails to clients where I had visited to inquire if they had seen my books. Nothing. So I just went about my business, hoping these books would show up at some point.

Case #2. About the same time I also attended a tradeshow where I purchased some locally homemade almond butter (absolutely delicious!) I ate half of it in the first two days and set it in the fridge, nothing on top, before or behind it. Two days later I went grocery shopping and bought some celery to cut up to use with the almond butter. I got home, cut up the celery and went to the fridge for the almond butter. Gone! I took every item out the fridge to look for this, but it was gone. At this point I’m thinking that I must have eaten it all and just gave up. 

Two weeks ago, I opened up the fridge and you guessed it…the almond butter was right where I left it. I just stood there, staring, wondering where it had been. So I’m thinking, what about the books? Sure enough, I went to my bookshelves and there were my two books, right where they should be. 

So, applying Sherlock Holmes’ deductive reasoning, my almond butter and reference books were being enjoyed by my double in an alternate universe! Anyone else have two items or more go missing at the same time?

Not sure which universe I’m writing from,


We ought to have a few readers who’ve had this “multiple objects disorder” but it is a truly re-Mark-able story…

Liquid And Diets

Earlier this week, I think it was, I did an outlook on the future of liquid diets.  In the main, I like ‘em.  And so does our consulting reactor engineer:

Hi George,

Speaking of liquid diet, I (and several thousand others) helped crowdfund a product called Soylent ( – gotta love the cheeky name – which is made to meet all the recommended daily allowances of various nutrients, along with specific ratios for carbs, protein, and fats.  They’ve had a number of production delays, but will begin shipping the product next week. 

I expect to receive a month’s supply in a week or two and if you are interested will report in on what it will be like switching to an all-liquid diet.  I’ve done some baseline testing with my doctor and will do a comparison once I’ve been on it a few weeks.  Should be interesting.  After the first month I don’t plan to use it exclusively for all my meals, but more as a staple that keeps me out of fast food joints.

I’ll just remind you of the experience of reader Allen:


You column today got me thinking….. When I was in high school, I knew a very large overweight guy. I remember being with him one day when he exclaimed that he could not figure out why he was not losing any weight, even though he was drinking two containers of metrical with each meal…. not the sharpest tool in the shed.

On the other hand, the micronutrients and such seem to be working well in conjunction with the Gabriel Method – down six pounds as of this morning.  Maybe not great, but any move toward  the objective…

AMU’s and BMU’s: Are We Knots?

There’s an axiom in aviation that the cost of going faster pencils out to about $1000 (also known as One Airplane Money Unit/1 AMU) per knot.  AMU’s are identical to Boat Money Units (BMUs) just drier.  The one goes to Aircraft Spruce or Mark the Mechanic, while the BMU’s went to West Marine and Seaview Boat Yard.

So when I picked up the plane from it’s annual service and wallet check a couple of weeks back, I noticed that the performance was really, really good.  125 MPH  (108 knots) at just 2,350 RPM.

That got me to thinking:  If I get some rubbing compound and buff out the entire airplane, slick as snot, then put on special aircraft sealing whatchamacallit, and then put on a coat of special-sliperry-stuff that is supposed to reduce the boundary layer thickness, might I get the old Beechcrate a couple of knots over factory speed?

Already, it makes book numbers:  Trim the rig, tune this, new fairing that, lower profile LED lighting, shortened (flush mount instead of protruding) gas sumps…all that kind of stuff.

I’ll let you know how it works out, but seems that elbow grease may be the cheapest way to higher aircraft (or boat) speeds.  Which wouldn’t be so bad if the elbow grease came in a zero-time, zero-effort package.  That, I’m still looking for.

Maybe this weekend we’ll all find it…

Write when you break-even – and more Monday (provided there is a Monday, of course)