Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy New Year


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To Listen

To listen is to collect information except for people from authoritarian societies where to listen is to follow orders.

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Filed under C'est la vie, General

Shell, CCS and Clean Coal

Shell are advertising their version of the energy future prominently in the NY Times as sponsors of NY Times Extra. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) figures prominently and have a nice write-up on it. CCS needs to be better understood by the public and all efforts are appreciated. Nevertheless, they haven’t got the artwork right on many levels….least of which is trying to catch a gaseous CO2 with a net.

Shell CCS Ad

Another thing which gets to me is using the term clean coal to indicate coal gasification with CO2 capture. Clean coal is a misnomer – coal can never be CLEAN. I work with coal gasification myself and believe that this a critical area in the near future – but selling it as clean is doing a disservice. It gives skeptics cheap shots at the technology, as can be seen at sites such as This is Reality and Coal is Dirty.

I do not agree with the main theme of either of these sites. Like it or not, coal will be the predominant fuel for the next 30-50 years and CCS is a viable technology for mitigation of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) . More on CCS and coal gasification in later posts.


Filed under CCS, Coal

The White Tiger

Earlier this week I read Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger – winner of the Man Booker prize for 2008. While a lot of reviewers have high praise for the novel, particularly the “new voice” it brings, I found the book to be quite ordinary. Though a fun read it is certainly not worthy of the Booker prizeĀ  in my opinion.

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Mirrors and fatherhood

For one of those gnostics, the visible universe was an illusion or (more precisely) a sophism. Mirrors and fatherhood are abominable because they multiply and disseminate that universe.

– Unnamed heresiarch of Uqbar


Mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number of men.

– Unnamed heresiarch of Uqbar

From Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius – a do-I-even-need-to-specify-short story in Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. It has been over 8 years since I read the book – my personal copy packed in a box somewhere in Metuchen, NJ. I bought the book at Stockholm airport this week for a friend and couldn’t help reading it over my evening cuppa.

I certainly can’t gift the book to my friend now. On the bright side, I get to read Borges again. Ha!

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Filed under Books, C'est la vie