An observation on gasoline prices

An observation on Calgary, Alberta, Canada gasoline prices

Gasoline prices at the pump in Calgary are rising much faster than the price of crude oil as well as the average national Canadian or US gasoline prices. The chart below illustrates price increases over the past 5 months from 12-Jan-02015 through 12-Jun-02015, summarized as follows:

  • Crude oil prices up +- 21%
  • US gasoline prices up +- 23%
  • Canadian gasoline prices up +- 28%
  • Calgary gasoline prices up +- 50%

The Canadian refining sector picture as per the chart below does not explain the discrepancy between Canadian and Calgary fuel price increases, indeed it is difficult to pinpoint any market metric(s) in support of this obvious discrepancy.

Not only have Calgary gasoline prices risen at almost twice the Canadian national average, the price rose +- 25% in the two weeks leading up to the recent Calgary Global Petroleum Show 07-09.06.02015.

One has to ask:

  • A confidence booster for a declining and beleaguered industry in desparate need of some good news, however superfulous or manufactured? Possibly.

The 2015 Calgary Global Petroleum Show theme (arguably the most transformative/disruptive) in many years:

Reimagine, Reinvent and Reposition

One has to ask:

  • Non-market driven increases in localized gasoline pump prices support reimagination, reinvention and repositioning?
  • Why are the current and inevitable near term disruptions to the energy industry being hidden under a self-indulgent feel good story at the expense of the travelling public?
  • Are we the people that gullible?


A question on safeguarding humanity

A question on safeguarding humanity

A number of non-profit organizations in some way seek to safeguard humanity. Each organization will have its own set of perceived risks, whether or not supported by science, as to what humanity needs safeguarding from.

Two organizations very much on the science side of any debate on humanity’s future would be The Long Now Foundation and The Lifeboat Foundation. The Long Now Foundation takes a 10,000 year view, whereas the Lifeboat Foundation appears to focus on this century. Both organizations are populated by some of the brightest scientific and intellectual minds on the planet.

Yesterday, 01.06.02015, an advisory board member of the Lifeboat Foundation, posted a challenge to 800 or more colleagues in a members’ private forum. The challenge: to come up with new ideas for a “Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks”, the plan laid out in an easy to follow chart format.

Quoting author Alexei Turchin, ‘…anyone who can suggest a new way of X-risk prevention that is not already mentioned in this roadmap…’.

A case was made to, and accepted by, the author to allow this roadmap to travel outside of the halls of intellectuals and think tanks into the worlds of engineers, oil & gas people professionals, international viewpoints, grassroots artists, white and blue collar alike, for new ideas.

So there lies opportunity and question:

  • opportunity: to send one’s thoughts on safeguarding humanity to The Lifeboat Foundation;
  • question: what new ideas for safeguarding humanity are out there?

The Turchin Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks is pasted below and is freely downloadable and shareable. Comments and ideas arising will be directed to Alexei Turchin.

[Interesting that there does not seem to be much emphasis on near term risk, particularly the next decade as many exponential technologies come out of deceptive phase and into a disruptive phase, very disruptive. The risks to humanity’s future within a decade as the world changes from less than 3 billion occasionally connected souls to 8 billion hyper-connected souls as an example.]

What do you think?


A thought on jobs versus work in the oil patch

A thought on jobs versus work in the oil patch

Recently a LinkedIn colleague, let’s call him ‘Sloaner’, while expressing gratitude for birthday wishes, commented ‘now if I could only get a job’.

Many good and decent men in the oil & gas industry echo Sloaner’s sentiments. Men who wear the badge of honor ‘once a roughneck always a roughneck’ cannot find a job for love nor money in the patch.

Players in the energy industry who look out 10, 20 and 30 years from now realize that, while oil & gas will recover somewhat in the medium term, there will never again be jobs a plenty in patch. Exponential growth in technologies, particularly AI, robotics and alternative energies will ensure that.

As an example: the price performance of solar power and battery storage at scale continues to drop exponentially as depicted in this chart compiled by esteemed author, speaker and futurist Ramez Naam.


Saudi Arabian officials have gone on record with the understanding that in the not distant future, there will be a lot oil left in the ground and only a niche market (I.e. petrochemicals, derivatives, collector cars and Harleys) interested in it. In that context, their current policy of produce and sell all that they can, no matter what the price, makes some sense.

Robotics and AI are capturing the attention of the public square of the crowd for fear of losing jobs. Jobs will be lost, many jobs will be lost and that, while painful in the near term, is the good news.

Jobs are being replaced by work. Let’s look out just 10 years to ~2025. The chart above paints a bleak picture for oil being competitive, it gets worse fast as energy becomes less and less scarce.

Throughout recorded history, humanity’s economic model has been based around scarcity. Exponential growth in technology is changing that paradigm from scarcity to abundance.

Amongst many other technologies, hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical agriculture, solar energy, H2O recycling and 3d printing are all contributing to bringing abundance to what was once scarce. Just 8 years ago, the first iPhone sold for $600, now a smartphone can be purchased (without a plan) for $75. In 2025, if still around, a smartphone will be free to all.

This same exponential model applies to agricultural technology and energy going forward.

More visible, touchable and (feelable) change is coming to humanity in the next decade than has occurred in the last 4 decades at least. Disruption will be the norm however exponential growth in abundance will mean that more and more people will no longer will have use for a job. People will increasingly be able to work at the pursuit of their passions.

Work could look like: ‘Earthquake in Nepal, let’s grab some people and stuff and go help out. While there, may as well slip on the exoskeleton and climb to the top of Everest’, or…..

It will be a very different world in 2025. Jobs will still be around, maybe flipping burgers alongside a robot. Most of humanity will be pursuing their passions, sometimes known as work but not known as a job. Sometimes remunerated, sometimes not.

Increasingly, and by 2025 very noticeably, the pursuit of personal wealth will become so last century, the pursuit communal wealth will be far more enriching and rewarding. ~8 billion people connected and sharing in humanity’s knowledge, innovation and increasing abundance in 2025 means that there will be lots of work out there for anyone wants it. By then, jobs will no longer be an efficient way to put milk and bread on the table.

This new paradigm is already taking shape. Corporations, institutions, foundations and think tanks have begun looking for people interested in work, interesting challenging work, who are disinterested in a job but very interested in doing something meaningful for humanity using the exponential technology toolbox.

People are being offered an early look at the abundance of the future while doing some good to ensure that future is all that it can be for everyone.  ‘With family and loved ones are taken care of with modest comfort and dignity and in case of emergency, go out there, freelance, hook up with like-minded people and figure out how to create more abundance and communal wealth’.

Forward looking corporations thinking in these terms include oil & gas companies. Others are having to re-evaluate their 10, 20 and 30 year projections. Linear projections of the future are mostly wrong and fatal, exponential projections are the tools for survival in today’s business world and exponential technologies the toolbox for success.

Sloaner, dude. You will eventually find a job. Or you could take a real good hard look 10 years out, find that something that interests the hell out of you and then work your way back to today leaving a bit of a path to follow. With that kind of perspective, odds are that clarity and purpose will come when looking back out from 2015 for work.

A really good resource for helping in taking that longer view

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned roughneck.


A really good resource for help in taking that longer view:-

A thought on Bitcoin, sperm and nukes

A thought on Bitcoin, sperm and nukes

Bitcoin runs on an open digital platform and system called blockchain invented by Satoshi Nakamoto specifically to enable another invention of his, Bitcoin.

Bitcoin gets it speed, simplicity and efficiency of transaction from blockchain. Bitcoin gets its trust, transparency and global reach from the blockchain system because each transaction must be validated and authenticated by every identity or node in the system, worldwide. If one node says ‘something wrong here’, the transaction halts.

The open source Blockchain system is structured such that it incentivizes good behaviour and is intolerant of foul play and is very scalable.

Any digital asset, including other currencies can run on the Blockchain ecosystem!

The challenges facing humanity’s sperm bank are eloquently explained by science writer Steven Kotler in his book Tomorrowland, pages 249 – 262.

In order to survive and thrive as intended, humanity’s sperm bank appears to require 3 things:

  • cradle to grave traceability and authentication of pertinent data including genetic markers of donor and sperm and the donor process;
  • anonymity for the donor;
  • A trusted self-enforcing limitation of the quantity of individual donor sperm batches allowed into the system, to ensure diversity in the gene pool.

Blockchain achieves all of this simply and effectively in a single system of records, organization, trust and self governance.

A batch of sperm is not digital but it does have a unique digital signature, therefore the digital signature of the sperm becomes the digital asset that can be managed and tracked throughout its lifecycle with Blockchain.

When a batch of sperm enters the sperm bank, a digital transaction is created just as with Bitcoin. All of the data associated with that batch is digitized and super compressed into metadata or a hash.

This hash includes everything except the donor’s identity and also has a unique digital signature. The hash is attached to the transaction which is then time stamped, validated and authenticated by the entire open ecosystem.

At each sequential event in a sperm batch lifecycle (I.e. impregnation, birth, health complication, end of life) a hash is created with the relevant data and added to the transaction chain in a new block. Again time stamped, validated and authenticated. The chain continues until the donor sperm life cycle has been terminated.

Cradle to grave authenticated traceable and transparent data and tracking on each batch of sperm that enters the sperm bank is not a challenge with a blockchain system. Neither is donor anonymity or birth cap triggers forcing donor and batch retirement from the system and sperm bank.

Nukes. Batches of plutonium also have a unique digital signature……

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned roughneck.


California Cryonics:

Easy to understand audio-visual on how blockchain works:

Article on the invention of blockchain:

Article on blockchain and future of the global financial system:

Devon Gundy of being interviewed on blockchain:

A short thought on AI

A short thought on AI

The debate in the public square of the crowd appears to be less about the inevitability of powerful AI and more about who will be at the control levers of the future.

For those aware of AI and looking up and forward at it and the future, there appears to be two ways this can go:

  • the power of AI is going to be with the few or AI itself, screwed again; or
  • the power of AI will be in the hands of the ~8 billion strong crowd by 2025 and things might be alright after all.

Those that are able to look down and back at things largely concur, unless the crowd is involved and on board, things could get a bit ugly and time is short.

More disruptive change is coming in the next decade than the last 4 decades combined.

Only a small fraction of the crowd have heard of AI. How do you give people AI when they do not understand it, are not comfortable with it and are more concerned with putting food in their bellies?

The challenge then becomes, how to start a conversation and harness the power of AI to care and provide for the basic needs and dignities of the crowd thereby winning the debate.

Is that not what this conversation is about?

Anyhow, just a short thought from a seasoned old roughneck.

A thought about wearables in 2025

A thought about wearables in 2025

The technology gadget space has been increasing dominated by wearables. Newer faster better gadgets and apps are hitting the marketplace at an increasing rate. Particularly through rapidly growing crowdfunding platforms (I.e. Kickstarter).

These wearables appear to fall into 1 or 2 of 3 main categories:

  • capture surrounding data for external processing then analysis (I.e. GoPro) – entertainment mostly.
  • capture data from the human body for outside processing then analysis (I.e. Fitbit) – sort of sensory addition.
  • capture data from the outside world for direct processing and analysis by the human mind, often in innovative new ways. (I.e. Oculus Rift). – technology as human sensory substitution for the minority and sensory addition for the majority.

A decade from now, ~2025, wearables that capture data from the human body will condensed so much that they may become ingestibles. Morning coffee with vitamins of choice and a diagnostic tablet. The diagnostic tablet does a complete body diagnostic and data upload before time for the morning constitutional.

Oculus Rift today, hyper-capable multispectral multipurpose connected glasses in a decade.

David Eagleman gave an amazing talk at Ted2015 in Vancouver on sensory substitution and addition through wearables. Eagleman et al are developing a completely new type of wearable that taps into largely unused human sensory capabilities with a Sensory Vest. A highly recommended watch on the TED website.

If a deaf person can start to learn to hear in 4 days and can learn a new way to hear everything in ~3 months by simply wearing a vest, could a person with hearing be able to learn a new language in ~3 weeks or less? Read and write at the same time?

Education well and truly disrupted. Online and long distance learning re-defined. Learn directly from the internet?

A decade from now, ~2025, learning something new may take not much longer than making the decision and putting on a vest. Kickstarter Alert!

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned old roughneck.

A thought about a bionic eye simulator

A thought about a bionic eye simulator

Anyone having read Steven Kotler’s entertaining book Tomorrowland would know that there are at least 8 blind people, probably many more, on the planet that can now see using bionic eyes. Early generation bionic eyes, right now today.

These people can see the world much like tv, only in 3d. Amazing.

There are different groups of developers using different scientific approaches, the basic premise:  From the first flip of the switch to driving a car around a parking lot in ~3 days.

Very interesting, where and how fast science and technology are going with bionic sight is also very interesting.

How it works though, to see without eyes is the really interesting part, and conceptually simple. Sighted people can feel and understand how it works with a bionic eye simulator.

Bionic eye simulator in a nutshell:

A pair of VR glasses (Sony Glasstron or Oculus Rift or better?), screens on the inside, outside light blocked out and a small outward facing camera are worn. With early iterations, the camera feeds a pc with controlling software which in turn feeds the screens in front of the eyes.

All is dark….a faint image appears, fuzzy light to start but with time focus begins, lines appear. The mind is figuring out a new way to see in minutes. That was 5 pixels x 5 pixels….

….at 32 pixels x 32 pixels, the mind is figuring out how to watch a 1024 pixel resolution image without eyes, in 3d. That seems enough to drive a car and see the world in 3d tv, except that it is the real world in real time. That is reality tv.

This wants trying, practice really. Here’s why: 8 years ago Apple released the iPhone, now in 2015, ¼ of global population has a smartphone. Next year, 2 billion smartphone users. The technology and enabling tools are growing and disbursing exponentially.

In 2025, 10 years from now, those glasses are more likely to be ultra-high resolution, light weight, globally portable with designer frames if one wishes. The coolest part being micro cameras mounted discreetly capturing anything or everything in the electromagnetic spectrum: visible, infrared, ultraviolet, radio, etc.

With these glasses: normal vision, enhanced normal vision, night vision, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, auto zoom and focus, switch back and forth at will, share at will.

The night sky will take on whole new dimensions. More like feeling the night sky than seeing it.

During the coming decade, the versions and iterations developed along the road should bring loads of fun and plenty of new ideas, applications and uses.

By 2025 or so, having multispectral super vision or not will become nothing but a choice. Eventually blindness will become but a choice. Those that started out blind may end up with better sight than anyone else, glasses or not.

Phone calls to be made, people to see. Bionic eye simulators to be built and shared.

Anyhow, just a bionic thought from a seasoned old roughneck

A thought on LinkedIn in 2025

A thought on LinkedIn in 2025

Most people seem to have a favorite social media platform or two. LinkedIn is well liked because there is always a conversation going on. By and large, the place is about people helping people get stuff done.

Numerous studied and learned minds concur that 10 years from now, in 2025, everyone will be hyper-connected with global connectivity at speeds of 1 Megabit per second or more.

What does that mean? A question without a short answer.

A thought on how it might feel:

Any two or more willing and consenting people, anywhere on the globe, will be able to look each other in the eye and have a conversation, share a story and collaborate at will and on demand.
Anywhere, anytime, in private or in public. The connection, depending upon plan of course, can come complete virtual drawing and imaging tools, holographic imaging tools, advanced big / little data tools and tools not yet imagined.

Sort of Minority Report only way better because everyone has one. Everyone. Now that is powerful indeed.

Humanity should be able to achieve, fix and pretty much do anything it decides to with that kind of collaborate power.

Looking back at LinkedIn today with that perspective…..

……starts to look a bit antiquated technologically but the identity of being a place to go to get stuff done and have fun doing it seems sound enough.

By 2025, the number of people wanting to get together with others to make neat innovative things happen ought to be a growing majority. Fertile grounds for great achievement.

Will LinkedIn be one of the important cool places to hang out, a place for doers and achievers?

With its identity remaining strong, the odds would probably be pretty good if there is a plan happening to iterate and evolve its communication enabling technology at an exponential pace. New innovators certainly will be.

Anyhow, just a thought from and seasoned old roughneck.

Alberta Spring

I grew up in the 60’s in staunchly conservative Alberta, the son of forest ranger, himself the son of a coal miner from Mountain Park.

At the start of the 80’s, I took off to explore the world returning 3 decades later. Little change to be seen, Alberta was still staunchly conservative.

All of that changed big time in the spring of 2015.

I was not in Alberta at election time but sure did heard about it. Arriving a couple of days ago, I sat down with my extremely lucid and well-read 86 year old dad.

I asked Dad of the election. He was clearly shocked, shocked to his core!

Paraphrased: ‘This is Alberta, this is not where disruption happens, this is not where the people rise up just because they are tired of getting screwed over’.

Yet clearly it has happened. Canada is taking notice, the world is taking notice! This is not only disruptive, it is shockingly disruptive.

Let us leave Europe aside for the moment. Europe has been restive for a good while, its time will come.
The Arab Spring, the first real modern iteration of crowd powered disruption, began on the streets of Tunisia.

For someone that takes a 10, 20 and 30 year view of things, the next spring began on the farms, in the coal mines and on the idle oil rigs of Alberta. Yes the roughnecks did this.

Albertans, the next time you take a look in the mirror, give yourself a big ol’ wink, you deserve it. You have just set in motion a game changing disruptive process that may well change the world for the better.

This is a very impressed old roughneck watching where the Alberta Spring leads, closely.