May 09, 2012

Kudos to Microsoft

I'll gladly admit I am not a huge fan of Microsoft for a lot of reasons.

Never the less them committing to go carbon neutral in some kind of measurable way earns my respect.

I probably won't feel as bad using Microsoft products at work anymore, but I will still curse their products every time these blasted products seem like the wrong solution to a problem, that happens pretty much daily.
My job isn't to reform the IT structure of my workplace though, it is to gather good geophysics data, I don't plan to start any revolution from within but I might very well support it if some enlightened person should show up in the IT department :)

January 30, 2012

Slashdot on learning

This slashdot article and it's comments makes a very interesting read, lot's of stuff there I never really gave all that much thought before.

January 29, 2012

Not all geophysics fieldwork invovle that much exercise

Pulled array seismics being one of them, especially when I am the only one on the team to take care of the stuff up in the vehicle that we use to pull it all.

I have been trying to do a bit of exercise at the hotel rooms, can be difficult though to motivate yourself after a long day at work.

June 28, 2011

Positive enviromental activism

I think this initiative from Greenpeace is really good, trying to get in dialoge with WV to make them try and focus more on green technology might prove to be the way to go.

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Help me in my Jedi training as I confront Volkswagen's threats to Planet Earth http://vwdarkside.com/en/jedi/arne-bargheer-50480
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I kind of have lost faith ever more since some time in the late 1990'ies that we can prevent global warming from making our planet a place where we live and into a place where we survive.
In the last few years I have dispaired so much I have stopped doing anything, I guess the time for dispair is over for me ... time to get back to doing whatever little I can in my own little ways ... so guys (or whoever is reading this blog) come on, let's try and give WV that little push to do the right things.

March 13, 2011

Nuclear Plants in Japan

Well I used to be very much against nuclear power, lately I'm a bit more unsettled with it all. Global warming is upon us and far from enough have been done in the past years to stop greenhouse gas emissions. At the current stage of things I think nuclear power is a necessary evil that we have to live with if there is to be any hope left for mankind and life on earth as we know it to handle the global warming that we as humans are responsible for.

In that light I think it is important not to become hysterical about what is happening in Japan right now after the big earthquake. The nuclear plant that exploded is terribly old technology, as I understand it this is still pretty much the same design as the one on Three Mile Island ... it is close to 30 years ago that disaster happened!
I have a feeling that maybe it would be better for some of us environmental fanatics (I count myself one of them even though I am not as active as I once was) to spend our energy on opposing old fashioned nuclear power plants being build.

There exists nuclear power plant technology now that in my eyes makes them acceptable.
Wind energy, solar energy and other renewable forms of energy I far far prefer to nuclear energy, no doubt about that.
I do however prefer nuclear energy to coal power.

At presently I doubt that the political will is there to make the switch to total renewable energy sources. It could be done, only the political will is not there.
I don't know how to get that political will, I know it is worth fighting for, but it doesn't seem realistic to me that politicians should suddenly turn sensible.

*edit* if you want to know what is going on in Japan this is the best best explanation I have found yet *edit*

April 21, 2010

Would Roethlisberger have been suspended if NFL was played in Europe/Denmark?

I'm pretty sure the answer to that question is no.

(to all those who don't know what I'm talking about, maybe this article will help you a bit on the way)

Being a longtime Steelers fan from Denmark, I have dropped my jaw a few times seeing the things that has happened this off season.
Sure the public would have been hard here in Denmark too. They would have been even worse in England thinking of the incidents with their National team in football (soccer version), but as far as I know the only thing that these incidents in England have caused directly sports related is a change of who was captain for England, where being captain for a soccer team is, as far as I know, mostly of symbolic value.

Now Rothlisberger get's suspended for something like 1/3 of a season for something for which he has never been convicted?
I don't know what really happened, only Ben Rothlisberger and maybe a few others know that ... but this really seems a bit crazy to me.
It kinda scares me.

Steelers also traded another top player, Santonio Holmes, because of similar stuff. I am really very uncertain of if Santonio even did ... someone else has taken the blame for that someone being hit by a glass in bar (not thereby saying that he is actually the one who threw the glass ... I will probably never know for certain). Still Holmes is now suspended for the first 4 games and has been traded to the Jets for much less than what he is really worth as a football player (a fifth round pick in the draft as I recall it)
Another move of shear madness in my eyes.

I guess maybe not as much madness if you look at it from a financial perspective which I bet Rooney also does. They have to please the fans and it seems the fans want this madness to be happening.

Oh well I don't think I will ever really understand what is going on here ... I live in Europe. I leave the judging to those who do it best (judges) ... or at least I try to ;)

I really hope that the madness doesn't get any worse and they trade Rothlisberger ... I'd have a hard time figuring out if I should cheer for Steelers or Rothlisberger's new team if that was to happen.

April 18, 2010

Ash cloud slows global warming

In Danish media everyone seems to be complaining about this ash cloud. A geophysicist being a bit enthusiastic about the things happening in the eruption almost had to excuse herself. It does annoy a lot of people I'm sure, but I really think this ash eruption and the ash cloud is a great thing.
It might just help fight global warming in quite a few ways.

The first thing is that a big volcanic eruption in history always has had a cooling effect on the earths atmosphere. Two things that add to this is
- The ash cloud absorbing some of the sun's rays up in the higher layers of the atmosphere from where the infrared rays can much easier get out into space again.
- The particles released into the atmosphere increases development of clouds which also helps cool the atmosphere.

But then there is another effect, maybe not the first one that springs to mind, but perhaps the one with the biggest long term effect.
With people being forced to find other possibilities instead of going by plane these days, they will discover that some of the solutions they come up with these days are actually better than going by plane, thereby reducing the amount of plane travel.
For example people who have not really tried online meetings will be forced to try it now, I am sure quite a few of them will see that is actually has become a viable alternative to meeting in person, there's a lot of money saved using these kinds of meetings and I'm sure that just the fact that people try this out now will make online meetings more common when airspace is opened again.

So thank you Iceland for helping fight global warming :)

February 26, 2010

Apologizing is a good thing.

The Danish newspaper Politiken has brought what to me seems to be a very sensible apology to anyone they offended by bringing a certain drawing of a man with a bomb in his turban (according to the drawer he didn't even draw Muhammed, but I guess that's kind of isn't the point of this whole thing, people got pretty upset by it no matter what the intention of the drawing originally was).

What has me wondering is that quite a few danish politicians have already complained about this apology. That Dansk Folkeparti (the far right in danish politics) have complained was kinda to be expected, their propagandizing way of politics kind of demands it , but that other politicians do the same is a mystery to me.
Since when has it been a bad bring to apologize?
An apology here and there could have saved lots and lots of human lives and even more suffering through history.

I for one think that Politiken did a good thing.

Another press release about the apology and a bit of background

January 30, 2010

Off-road driving

Doing geophysics fieldwork often involves at least some degree of going away from the roads with different kinds of vehicles and/or equipment depending on what you are doing.

Off-road driving is something that you really don't learn well by reading about it, getting good at driving in the terrain is something you learn by experience, however this experience can be pretty "expensive".
I myself have spend many many hours reparing damages and getting stuck vehicles freed, I guess I have learned a bit in the process.

Here is a few tricks that might be of help:
  • Tire Pressure: Lowering the tire pressure is a help in many kinds of terrain, but not all. I have been amazed at how much it helped to keep a car afloat while driving in sand. Keep in mind that with lower tire pressure you also increase your risk of punctures and don't go out driving fast on tarmac in a vehicle with low tire pressure.
  • Speed: Often the best way to get through bad difficult terrain is to keep the vehicle moving at good speed, if you feel the vehicle is starting to get stuck don't take you foot of the gas pedal or you might not be able to get out again 
  • Stuck: If you have come to a stop in deep mud or something similar don't just spin the wheels, you will just bury them deeper, often what will get you out is moving the wheels very slowly or in bursts to make a rocking motion until you have the vehicle moving again. Use whatever you can get your hands on to free the vehicle: Sand, branches, stones etc. It all might help get the vehicle up where it again has something solid that the wheels can grab. Another trick to be used with great caution is to tie something like a long tough log to the wheels (especially if you have a vehicle with big rear wheels like a tractor) and rotate the wheels until either the vehicle is standing on the log or if more suitable until you have moved half a turn of the wheels.
  • Training: Getting out and driving on slippery winter roads is great training for driving in the terrain, so on days where the roads are particular slippery get out and have some fun. Big empty parking spaces and gravel roads do especially well for this.
  • Towing: Very much depending on the situation there is some point where trying to free a vehicle on your own is no longer the right way to go, sure you might be able to do it, but only at great risk to the equipment, personnel and costly hours spend, keep in mind that there is a time when calling for help is the way to go.
  • Topography: Everything gets a lot more difficult when you go uphill, try to use the terrain, find places to drive where the slope is less steep. In muddy terrain try to keep up on the high areas or close to drain channels and such where the ground is not as wet.
  • Trailer: Pulling a trailer or similar through terrain increases you risk of getting stuck and makes it a lot harder to free a stuck vehicle. Bring along chains or ropes and when stuck, unhook the trailer move the vehicle out and then tow the trailer from better ground.
  • Weight: A pretty obvious thing, but it really is worth cutting down on the weight as much as possible. More than once I have been able to free a stuck vehicle by unloading it.
These are just a few things from the top of my head, surely there's lots of better reading to do on the subject than this, but best way to learn off-road driving is by doing.
It's great fun by the way ;)

January 16, 2010

More pictures ~ now on plogger

I have recently started using a CMS called Plogger to store my pictures on my homepage.

I like to keep my pictures on my own domain, that way I am certain that I am not giving away rights of some kind to my pictures and also I am a bit better able to keep track of what they are used to.

Plogger is a nice and simple system, installing it was extremely easy and uploading my pictures, sorting them and putting a bit of text to them is as easy as anything else I have tried.

So feel free to go take a look at my new picture galleries, I even have added some pictures from recent geophysics work I've done.

May 25, 2008

Floating offshore windturbines

I just stumbled upon an interesting article on / (the discussion on /. as often is the case contains many interesting points, if you have the time to read through them).

I think this is a great idea, the concept has already been used on offshore drilling rigs and a company like Statiol who has extensive experience with this seems right to get this idea going.

Wind power really is something that really needs to become used as extensively as in any way possible and I think this might be a good step in the right direction.

May 24, 2008

SAS Survival Guide a book for fieldworkers?

This being the only survival book I have ever read I am not really in a position to judge if it is a good book or not, just surfing over a few reviews on the internet shows me that there are some people who think that there is some things in this book that is inaccurate, but also a lot of people who have a lot of positive things to say about it.

I myself have learned a whole lot of things by reading this book and among the things I have learned a lot of them have come in handy when doing geophysics fieldwork. I often take the book with me and try to learn to get better at identifying the different plants that it talks about when I am working outside in nature anyhow.
This is something I have found is a good way to avoid getting your mind all to much mixed up by being out working all day long every day for months in a row, setting myself a goal to learn something while being out there, something that perhaps is not all to related to the work I am doing. When I am out working with someone who has a lot of knowledge in some field, like for example a forester student who can teach me about trees or someone who knows a lot about birds, then it is a given what it is I am trying to learn. But quite often I am out working on my own or with someone who doesn't have any specific knowledge I am interested in. In such situations trying to get to know new edible or poisonous plants, knots or something like this of which there are plenty to get started with in the book that can be both very good skills to acquire while it also keeps me sane.
Often bringing a book into the field is not practical, but that doesn't keep me from bringing home small samples of plants and trying to identify them in the evening and such

I have found that it is generally a good idea to give it a bit of thought how I am going to stay "sane" if I know that I am going to be on a longer assignment, it actually makes it a lot easier to get the job done and do it well if you have something else to think about than the work itself.

March 28, 2008

Walking in plowed fields

Right now I am doing a MEP-project. I have shocked by how many plowed fields there are out there right now, which makes life for fieldworkers like me pretty unpleasent. One of my co-workers already had to be sent home because his ankle couldn't take any more.

To begin with I didn't understand why we had to struggle with these unusually many plowed fields, but I have by now found a couple of reasons for it.

First of the prices for grain on the world market are pretty high right now according to a farmer I talked to, especially the price on barley is high which makes it more rewarding economically for the farmers to plant crops on the fields instead of setting the fields aside and receiving compensation for this from the EU. Also the compensation for setting aside fields has been lowered quite a bit lately this also plays a big part I think.

At the same time we have a later winter here in Denmark which means that even though the fields have been plowed the farmers have not yet planted anything as it seems that barley needs some spring temperatures before being put into the ground.

So I am hoping for some higher temperatures soon to spare my legs from all of these plowed fields which is kind of rough to walk all day, planted fields are somewhat easier to handle.
I sure am going to miss all those nice set aside fields which are a joy to make MEP on, not only because it is not as tough for the body, but also because there is much more animal life there that makes it all the more enjoyable to do the work that I do.

January 27, 2008

Time to slow down on the multitasking

An article I read really has made me think a bit about my habits.

I guess I already knew this but the article really makes it very evident multitasking makes me stupid and slow.
Sure it might feel like a great thing to be able to do two or more things at once, but it always just ends up with two things done bad instead of one thing done well.

So from now on I am going to turn of the background music when doing stuff that takes concentration.
I am going to turn of the computer when working with "analog" stuff.
I am going to try and relearn to focus on one thing and only that thing for longer periods of time.
It has become more and more evident to me that this has become increasingly difficult in the past years.
I am going to turn of the cell phone more (sorry to those people who get annoyed by this, I already get complaints that I am difficult to get in contact with ... it's not going to be easier in the future I guess).

January 09, 2008

Dashing

This blogpost is an attempt to do what my little brother did and write a blogpost in dasher.
I am afraid this takes more time and training than I have right now, but I might try to continue the experiment in another post. It actually is quite fun.

January 05, 2008

Motorcycle training by Tux Racing?


I have been playing a bit of this game Tux Racer lately, it is a wonderful little game very well designed and shows nicely that open source software can do really neat things ... also I think it is one of the few things that pushes my overpowered system here to the edge, it is the only thing where I can feel a really big improvement after having installed 2 extra GB of Ram moving to 3GB of dual-ram on that this machine (P4 3GHz, 400 MHz FSB). Now this game is really floating along with all the graphical features turned on.

Playing this game gives me a little bit of the same feeling I have when riding my motorcycle "to the edge" of what I am able to ride it.
So I kind of tell myself that the time I am wasting playing tux-racer is good training of my motorcycle skills here in the winter where I don't get so many kilometers on the road ... I have been out a few times just to keep the engine oiled, the gasoline from going old and the battery from dying, but it really is freaking cold out there :)
Anyhow I just hope that I don't some day see a hearing on the road and do a dive to get to it on the motorcycle :)

January 04, 2008

The perfect keyboard

I have for a long time been looking for and trying many different keyboard but so far haven't been able to find the right one for me at an affordable price, but now I think I finally found it and since I am so happy about it and satisfied with it I thought I just wanted to write a blog post about it so that if anyone is looking for the same kind of keyboard that I have been then I can tell them that IBM's W95 is a really good shot at what you are looking for.

  • The most important thing for me about the keyboard I was looking for was that it didn't have this annoying loud click sound every time you click a key, it doesn't have to be totally silent either, but just not that loud click noise that annoys me when i sit and write in the late evenings.
  • I prefer my keyboards to be ... well just a keyboard, I prefer not having all of these fancy buttons for all kind of shortcuts ... they just annoy me.
  • It needed to be wired, I found quite a few keyboards with a nice feel about them, but they all turned out to be wireless and that made them a non-option for me. I don't move around with my keyboard and I don't want to replace batteries in my keyboard also I am not totally certain that there isn't some negative effects about having all of this wireless stuff around us all the time, so I see no reason for my keyboard to be wireless when it serves no practical purpose what so ever.

Actually I think that sums up my demands for a keyboard. It turned out much more difficult to find this keyboard than I had expected. Probably has to do with me going to so few stores and the first demand is something that I can't find until I have the keyboards in my hands.

Anyhow way to to go IBM/Lenovo I love your W95 keyboard

September 14, 2007

Drilling

Drilling's isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of geophysical methods and I guess it is more geology and geophysics, never the less that is something I work a lot with these days and it is a method that should never be ignored.

Drilling really seems quite straightforward and it basically is very simple. Making a hole in the earth with pretty much the same radius all the way down.

In general something can be said about drilling as such when compared to other methods:
- You only get information from one horizontal point (or maybe more accurately a small area with the radius of the drilling and perhaps with certain log-methods some information from the earth surrounding the drilling but I have yet to see a drilling to be used as more than a point information for all practical purposes) to the depth that you drill.
- You usually get extremely accurate information, when used with other geophysical methods drilling information is often used as very certain information which is used to check data and improve on the processing of data acquired through other geophysics methods.

There are many ways of doing drilling's, each with it's advantages and disadvantages.

One method is using a real drill head and turning/pushing that down the earth, the big advantage of this is that if you pull up the drill every time you have drilled the depth of the drill head you get a pretty undisturbed sample of the earth at that depth, that makes it possible to make very accurate description of the earth. One of the big disadvantages of this method is that it is far from always possible to do this, the harder the earth is the more force is needed to turn and push down the drill and the more strength is required from the drilling equipment.
This method is what is for example usually used for geotechnical investigations to check the underground before a building is build and to decide what kind of foundation is needed, for this purpose the drilling's need not be much deeper than to the layer which can carry the weight of the building which often here in Denmark means only a few meters for a normal house even though sometimes deeper drilling's are needed even for small houses depending very much on what is found in the drilling.

August 09, 2007

MEP also known as static DC-profliling

I thought I would write a bit about the things I work with, hopefully this will only be the first of a row of posts about different geophysical methods.

The geophysical method I work with the most is called MEP, Multiple Electrode Profiling, I think in some areas this is better known as static DC-profiling.
The idea behind this method is to send an electric current between two points on the surface of the earth and measure the potential difference between two other points which then will give you some kind of resistance measurement.
Now this resistance says something about what it is you are sending the current through. Of course you measure higher resistance the further apart the electrodes are, but when you do some calculations on this you find out that this can be taken out of the equation by dividing by something called the geometrical factor, you then have something that is measured in ohms/m, called relative resistance which if you stand on a "homogeneous halfspace" (a flat earth consisting of the same material) will give the same output no matter how you arrange the electrodes. Now the earth is not a "homogeneous halfspace" but this relative resistance that you measure says something about what it is you send the current through.
Another thing that is being used is that the further apart the electrodes are, the deeper the current will run into the earth. So this way you can get a lot of information about the resistance of the earth. By doing measurements with different configurations of the electrodes you get ever more information on the resistance structure of the earth.
There are almost always more than one resistivity model that will fit data, but if you also have some other geological information and put on some boundaries on what kind of model you accept (like for example the 1-d model which says that the earth is composed of horizontal layers, which often is close to true) you can get a pretty good idea of what is beneath the surface.

The way this is done practically is most often (at least in my experience) with some special equipment from a company in Sweden, Abem, the company is closely connected to the university in Lund.
Usually you lie out 400 meters of multi conductor cable, connect that cable to the ground using spears that you connect to the cables outlets and then let the machine in the middle send out current and measure potential differences on a lot of preprogrammed configurations. When it is done you move 100 meters of cable to the other end of the line, move the machine back to the middle and let it measure again, then move another 100 meters and so on and on.

One of the good things of this method is that you can measure in almost any terrain as long as the fieldworkers are able to lie out the configuration in a straight line (can be a bigger challenge than what you might imagine, but it is can almost always be done). All the equipment and work can be done by two men carrying the equipment.
With the 400 meters configuration you can usually get reliable data down to at least 50 meters depth and sometimes even 200 meters depending a lot on what structure the underground has. As with almost all of these method the deeper you get the less resolution you will have on the structures in the underground.

August 07, 2007

Gentoo and Daniel Robbins

I am an incarnated user of Gentoo Linux, for many years Gentoo has been the only operating system I have been using on the computers I own.
Ever since Daniel Robbins, the guy who created Gentoo, left the project because of money problems there has been a lot of problems finding the right structure within the Gentoo society, I think I will avoid commenting on it, lots of has been going on I hardly understand. My computers have been running as I wanted them to in the time I have been using Gentoo, and on the Gentoo Forums I have always found the help I needed to get the problems I had fixed, the problems seem to have been in "developer society" of Gentoo, not as much on the user level.
Anyhow it seems that Daniel together with others doing again is trying to find solutions to these problems after Daniel has been absent for some years. Daniels blog is quite interesting reading these days.