"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This is an announcement for a talk tomorrow. I find it interesting at several levels, (not least the recent nonsense about how much atmospheric scientists are paid, if you lump them in with pertroleum geologists). There's much to think about here.
On Beyond Zebra: Moving from deep water deposit models to
successful integrated modeling of deep water deposits.

Dr. Lesli Wood
Quantitative Clastics Laboratory
Bureau of Economic Geology

The resource industry has struggled with how to develop heterolithic reservoirs for nearly 100 years. Today we continue to struggle with the same problems but the deposits are several 1000 meters under water, beneath 1000's of meters of sediments and, as if that is not complicated enough, beneath 1000 meters of salt or other image absorbing material. Today, more than ever we have to move beyond reliance on a single technology, or a single analog for addressing uncertainty, modeling flow and predicting resources in deep water deposits to a more holistic, integrated approach at understanding.

Professor Parke A. Dickey, University of Tulsa Petroleum Geology Professor, in September 1958 is quoted as saying "We usually find oil in a new place with old ideas. Sometimes, we find oil in an old place with a new idea, but we seldom find much oil in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought that we were running out of oil, when actually we were running out of ideas." The next generation of subsurface scientists will face increased challenges as we move into ever more hostile and foreign environments in search of energy. Knowing that development of new tools for this search are often few and far between we must teach individuals unique ways for new discovery using integrated approaches to problems utilizing the tools they have at their disposal today. However not all geoscientists are made equal. For geoscientists to be successful in this new hostile world they must be able to visualize and predict subsurface structure, rock and fluid properties. They must be able to seek out, organize and abstract answers from masses of data, and seek new ways to combine observations to gain insight where often there is nothing but darkness. Academics, industry and vendors all have a part to play if the endeavor for these geoscientists to produce an integrated model of the earth is to be a success. Academics must abandon their often Elizabethan approach to education, a system where professors educate students as a personal legacy, with hope for these students to carry on the sometimes abstract interests of their mentor in academia and government arenas. We must recognize that every culture brings a unique perspective and skill set to problems. Industry must find ways to incentivize integrated approaches to problems and devolve habits that constrict expression of new ideas. Vendors must live in the problems if they are to provide solutions.

It was Wallace E. Pratt who said "Oil is found in the minds of men." I would challenge that the next generation of oil-finders will be men who are able to think beyond Z, to discover a new alphabet and therein describe the world in new ways – ways that open new opportunities in understanding and predicting the earth. We all have a role to play in development of these oil finders. This talk will discuss the challenges and the role that we all play in this effort to integrate the future.

It amazes me how such inspirational and heroic talk comes effortlessly from the people slurping up the last drops of the milkshake, while the people who actually are thinking about a sustainable future have been driven to being whiny and defensive and tiresome.

The future is not yet written. Let's write it.

The world beyond oil and coal is found in the minds of human beings. Let's start looking for a really nice outcome.


Pangolin said...

Excuse me Mr. Tobis but the people with the solutions are NOT being whiny, defensive and tiresome. We are literally, throwing parties and having more fun than the people in their stupid, dangerous, petroleum fueled cars.

Let me introduce you to Rock the Bike. These fun folks have figured out how to have human powered, bicycle centered, bicycle music festivals. That are more fun than a basket of kittens and free pizza combined.

May I point out such fantastic bloggers as Cycle Chic, Velo Vogue and Riding Pretty that show that cycling will not crimp anyones style nor mess your hair. There are Tweed Rides that celebrate manners, style and fashion.

I could stuff this with links to sailors, builders, gardeners, vintners, ranchers and people of all walks of life who not only find solutions but celebrate them.

They are out there.

WE are out there.

We are planning a future and it is FUN!!

Michael Tobis said...

Your battle, my friend is not with me.

Pangolin said...

Apologies. I know people who work really, really, hard to present positive, fun alternatives. They literally do it by holding barn parties to raise the cash to pay for the permits, fliers, parts they can't scrounge, etc.

The guys giving the speech to the petroleum geologists conventions and the climate change denier conventions are paid very, very well. We aren't paid at all most of us. My sister works for the State of California to save endangered salmon runs and her life is barely middle class.

A lot of environmentalists are angry, some despair, but many, many work to make alternatives a celebration of life.

This is how you describe our efforts:
It amazes me how such inspirational and heroic talk comes effortlessly from the people slurping up the last drops of the milkshake, while the people who actually are thinking about a sustainable future have been driven to being whiny and defensive and tiresome.

Hey, we can't buy four minute infomercials on PBS. We're stuck with our bikes and our flyers and shouting on streetcorners. We, like you, get tired.

Michael Tobis said...

"Saul's interested in how to tell stories and educate people about the future in a way different to the traditional green movement – "the future is going to suck" – by showing what people can do, what they should be telling politicians to do, prevent greenwashing by corporations, and ultimately inspiring kids to get involved and excited about the future: teach them how to plan, design and make things, and be heroic in what they do."