Oil pipelines

Oil pipelines – the pros and the cons

Refer to the article cited at the bottom of this post.

1. Oil is going to be shipped regardless. Period. The only question is how it is to be done while minimizing –

2. -the impact on the environment. The objective must be: zero spills anywhere, any time. This brings up the subject of –

3. -the technology, which will be very expensive. So be it. We’ve been under-pricing oil for at least 100 years. One observer suggested costs such as for three US fleets of warships protecting shipping routes should be included in the cost of every oil shipment. To automate the “no spills” demand, we’d need relays, radios, computers, software, and valving, the costs of all of which can be accurately determined and properly assigned to the right part of the system, i.e. charged to transporting oil. Alternatively, we can accept the huge, indeterminate, and tragic cost of destroying the wilderness. We must not – again – permit a huge and domineering oil industry to run our economy and our governments by, as the economists say, “externalizing their costs” so that someone else (guess who?) gets to pay them. See the book, Juhasz, Antonio, The tyranny of oil.

4. The justifiably strong political overtones will work their way out only when the pipeline proponents find a way to present their case as a result of scientifically sound, expertly interpreted, ethically, objectively, and responsibly based, believably costed, soundly engineered planning and management. They are several miles away from this today and are their own worst enemy. They need to reboot.

Bullet points:

* Spills. In this day and age, why should we have to put up with days of delay in shutting off a leak? As an engineer, I think immediately in terms of remote directional detectors and segmenting valves. This is because of my experience in long-line telephone/telegraphy, which is almost the same problem as pipelines.

* Conflict of Interest. Trans Canada keeps hiring consultancies whose work will, absolutely inevitably, be strongly influenced by the interests of TCP.

* Redactions should be simply inadmissible.

* Considerations of anthropological global warming should be excluded because it is a whole other subject on which the debate is emphatically not “over” despite the overblown screeches of the AGW crowd. If we get into AGW, we’ll never finish.

* Poor cost estimating by TCP. With experience as a cost estimator on multi-million dollar capital projects, I wouldn’t bet a nickel on TCP’s estimating.

* Bad history, right up to this current moment, of Enbridge and others re spills, should worry us.

* There is a recent report to the effect that railcar spills are four times as frequent as pipeline spills. This doesn’t make pipelines good, just not as bad, for spills. We should probably opt for pipelines.

* Eminent domain (E.D.). E.D. is bad enough when used by governments, and I am shocked to find that TCP tried to use it as a private company pretending to be acting as a Government arm. (E.D. is a principle whereby a government can, at the end of the day, do as it wishes with someone’s private property, such as expropriating it even at an artificially low value. I believe there is no appeal possible.)

* Filename PipelineOct15
– end –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline

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Personalizing politics

From: Frank Gue B.Sc. MBA, P.Eng.,
Burlington, ON
Sent: Oct. 26, 2015
To: letters@thespec.com
Subject: “Hot or not … “ and “Looking to
Canada … “, Oct. 26 Editorial page
For: Editor, The Spectator
Re: “Others looking to Canada” and
“Positive politics”, cited from the
Christian Science Monitor on
your “Opnion” page today

Dear Editor:

You cite the Christian Science Monitor as praising Canada for the “positive politics” message sent to the world by the outcome of the Oct. 19 election. Let’s follow that up a bit.

There is a sad weakness among some Canadians: a practice of personalizing politics and imagining opponents to be enemies.

For 60 years I have been known and published as a local conservative Conservative voice, attacking no one and dealing entirely with policies, never personalities. Yet:

* Three consecutive Provincial Liberal Members would not shake hands with me in public.

* Our current Burlington MPP will not answer phone calls, emails, or a registered letter on a non-political subject of public interest. I once thought – mistakenly, apparently – that my Member was my Member regardless of party. (Current Members of whatever Legislature are invited to consider this and act accordingly.)

* Among our priceless and cherished neighbours, we nevertheless once had just one who tore a Conservative mailer into little bits and littered my lawn with them.

These small acts signal a much bigger problem: the unnecessary conversion of neighbors into enemies.

Inevitably there are identical examples among Conservatives, with enmity and smallness also at work where there is no need or room for them in a tolerant, democratic Canada.

Here is a friendly challenge to the reader, be s/he Liberal, Conservative or other: Study the Federal Liberals’ platform to identify their good policies (there are several); write your Federal Member (Karina Gould in Burlington), and encourage him/her with your support (politicians get plenty of the other kind) for any sound Liberal policy. A copy to the local Conservative party president wouldn’t hurt either.

The losers on Oct 19 needn’t just sulk for four years. We can be ongoing voices, between elections, of a Canadian democracy, but not by being small and casting neighbours as enemies.

Cheers,

F.

ConservativesAreNotOurEnemiesMacleansNov2/15

Filename: MacleansReTrudeauOct15
Date: 25 Oct 15
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, Professional Engineer
For: Editors, Macleans
Re: “Conservatives are not our enemies”, Editorial Nov. 2
246 words

Dear Editors:

Prime Minister Trudeau has put his finger on a sad weakness of some Canadians: a practice of personalizing politics and imagining opponents to be enemies.

For 60 years I have been known and published as a local conservative Conservative voice, attacking no one and dealing entirely with policies, never personalities. Yet:

* Three consecutive Provincial Liberal Members would not shake hands with me in public.

* Our current MPP will not answer phone calls, emails, or a registered letter on a non-political subject of public interest. I once thought – mistakenly apparently – that my Member was my Member regardless of party.

* Among our priceless and cherished neighbours, we once had one who tore a Conservative mailer into little bits and littered my lawn with them.

Inevitably there are identical examples among Conservatives. with enmity and smallness also at work where there is no need or room for it in a tolerant Canada.

Here is a friendly challenge to the reader, Liberal, Conservative or other: Study the Federal Liberals’ platform to identify their good ones (there are several); write our Federal (Liberal) Member, (Karina Gould in Burlington) , and encourage her with your support (politicians get plenty of the other kind) for any sound Liberal policy. A copy to the local Conservative party president wouldn’t hurt either.

The losers on Oct 19 needn’t just sulk for four years. We can be ongoing parts of a Canadian democracy, but not by being small and casting neighbours as enemies.

F.

Memory – its two elements

Filename: SciamReMemoryOct15
Date: 21 Oct 15
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
Burlington, ON Canada
For: Editors, Scientific American
Re: “Sleep on it!”, Oct. edition

Dear Editors:

There is a little-reported phenomenon closely related to sleep and memory.

My companion issues a rapid, continuous string of words. I comprehend each one instantly. My brain multitasks as I contextualize them and fit them into my response as he speaks.

I respond. I need a familiar, much-used word. What is that darn word? It’s on the tip of my tongue. It’s been in my vocabulary for decades. Embarrassing pause. Or I use an awkward substitute.

Any time from a minute later to a week later, often upon waking, that word springs unbidden and no longer usefully to mind.

Clearly: (a) there are two retrieval methods my brain uses, input much better than than output; (b) my brain accepts an assignment to find the inaccessible word; (c) my brain works subconsciously over time to develop a new access method to replace the one that failed. Further, this all happens much more frequently as I age (I am 90) or if I am bone-tired.

I speculate that this is an evolutionary survival phenom: Input is a rustle in the grass. It may be a snake – jump back instantly. If it wasn’t a snake, no harm done, but if it was a snake I may have saved my life. Speed means survival. There is a name for this, isn’t there? Action of least risk, or something. Notably, good debaters have less trouble finding their words quickly than the rest of us.

Is anyone studying this, with a view to improving the situation?


Cheers,

F.

EconomistReNorwayOct15

Filename: EconomistReNorwayOct15
Date: 19 Oct 2015
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON Canada
For: Editors, The Economist
Re: “Norwegian blues”, Oct. 10

Dear Editors:

This article explains how Norway, a notably socialist country, combined the happy coincidence of
huge windfall oil wealth with astonishing wisdom to prove the adage that only the wealthy can
afford socialism.

The wisdom is not all that new: the Book of Genesis, chapter 41, recounts how, 3,029 years ago,
Joseph advised Pharaoh to store up corn from the seven good years so that the Egyptian people
would not starve in the oncoming seven drought years.

The much-criticized Keynes gave much the same advice more recently. Our problem is that we
haven’t really tried Keynes: we persist in spending like mad in both good times and bad.

Many nations today have the needed wealth: thus we await breathlessly some sign of Josephean
wisdom to emerge in more places than Norway. Perhaps then, being wealthy enough, we can
try socialism. It may be a long wait.

Cheers,

F.

Productivity Improvement on “The Agenda” Oct. 16/15

Filename: ProductivityAgendaOct17
Date: 16 Oct 15
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.,
Burlington, ON L7R 2B5
905 634 9538
For: Steve Paikin
Re: “Productivity” last evening

GM Steve

I reject the ageism idea. I am 90 and have been an innovator all my life. You catch me experimenting with a new aerodynamics idea. I now do in my back yard tests which once required me to launch a 14-foot motorboat and go out on Lake Ontario. My boast is that I can do for one dollar what costs Boeing a million and me at one time a thousand. I am applying productivity improvement to productivity improvement!

Points re tonight’s program:

1. Cite a “rule” and explain how it promotes productivity. I don’t get it.

2. Behind productivity improvement lies innovation, and behind innovation lies creativity, which cannot, I think, be legislated or promoted by “rules”. Creativity is suppressed by the education system, a fact demonstrated by the U. of Southern California, decades ago.

3. Proposals re productivity improvement, when they struggle through, are often furiously opposed by folk who

(a) do not understand (e.g. 53% of Canadian adults are innumerate or illiterate – StatsCan), or

(b) fear change, are deeply committed to the status quo, or

(c) are smothered by bureaucratic inertia or

(d) are anti-science (as the current Canadian government appears to be along with growing numbers of media and other folk).

To illustrate #3 above: I converted the black art of scheduling production in a heavy-machinery manufacturing plant (Westinghouse Canada) to a mathematical base, proved it in a large factory, and wrote a book about it called in the profession “a breakthrough” (Increased profits through better control of work in process, Reston Publishing 1980). Improved profits, shorter cycle times, 50% inventory reductions, reduced scrap and rework resulted. The system has had only scattered use, and it has become clear that reasons (a) and (b) are mainly to blame, despite the fact that the “mathematics” involved is 20% simple arithmetic and 80% logic. Our education system must bear a heavy responsibility for this.

Steve, put the above before tonight’s experts and devote a program to their responses, particularly regarding creativity, and you will perform a notable public service.

Best,

Frank Gue