Category: News


Vulnerability

Reading: Power Problem at Toshiba Chip Plant via Interdependency

Apparently a power drop of 70 milliseconds can cause a loss of 20% of the flash storage production over two months. That’s just… wow. We seem to rely on very frail systems here.
This really should be changed, considering how unstable the world is.. even the climate of the last few centuries fluctuated a lot, let alone things like normal extreme weather situations or just social changes. If all it takes to loose a big part of production is a tiny power drop we could be in big trouble one day. At least our vital systems like food production are more stable – I hope…

edit 17.12.2010: The recent snow falls (just some snow, goddammit) in Germany have lead to a near break-down of transport. Some gas stations are out of petrol. It’s really the same situation here, the systems are not build robustly. This should be changed!

I have no enemies

Reading: Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Price speech, read in his absence.

Oily discoveries

reading: Alaska’s untapped oil reserves estimate lowered by about 90 percent

“The [U.S. Geological Survey] group estimates about 896 million barrels of such [conventional, undiscovered] oil are in the reserve, about 90 percent less than a 2002 estimate of 10.6 billion barrels.”

North America’s proven amout of crude oil was around 70 billion barrels (2007), the world’s amount around 1200 billion barrels. (72 billion / 1300 billion according to BP 2009. The CIA World Fact Book also has numbers, but they don’t always differentiate between conventional and unconventional oils. They give 21.32 billion barrels for the US alone.)

This means Alaska was supposed to hold another 50% of the discovered amount in the US and now only seems to have about 4% – eek. But then the US amount is only about 2% of the world’s reserves.
I cannot find numbers for undiscovered oil estimates right now, but as they change a lot depending on who is asked and are also guided by political intents they wouldn’t be too reliable anyway. However, there is an estimate of about 900 billion barrels for the OPEC countries (Data also from BP, via Wikipedia) who have the majority of oil fields on their territories, so it’s a difference of 1% vs 0.1% with the new Alaska number.

While this certainly is not too great an amount globally it might still be a big factor for the US who are so very petrol-hungry. I’m not an expert on these topics – what could the consequences of this discovery be?