Category Archives: Engineering

The Failure of Russian Projects

The Streetwise Professor writes about another ambitious Russian state project which has gone badly off the rails, this time the Vostochny Cosmodrome project.  As usual, the project is way behind schedule, way over budget, and workers haven’t been paid for … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Engineering, Russia | 11 Comments

Fallen Idols

A few nights ago a giant, 328-foot tall windmill came crashing down in a field in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  To say that questions need answering is an understatement.  Take a look at the photos. The failure mode here is buckling, … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering, UK | 17 Comments

Ah, so it was all bullshit?

This is long overdue: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says electronic devices such as mobile phones can be left switched on during flights. EASA says that electronic devices do not pose a safety risk. The restriction on using mobile … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering, General Observations, Travel | 22 Comments

The False Start of Electric Cars

I have noticed that there is considerable optimism in some quarters about the future of electric cars, and many people are pointing to Norway as a sign that the internal combustion engine may be on the way out: Norway may … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Economics, Engineering, Norway, Politics | 13 Comments

The Korean Ferry SInking

In the BBC’s report of the ongoing Korean ferry sinking, this line stood out (in the analysis, off to the side): The speed with which it flipped over and sank is a major concern. This is a well-known problem with … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering, Korea | 18 Comments

Forget the Medium Term

A Royal Marine officer friend of mine, who took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, explained to me how he coped during a particularly fierce action.  Paraphrasing: “Well, it was complete chaos and I didn’t really know what … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering | 3 Comments

The Best Business in the World

I have heard the following quote attributed to both J.D. Rockefeller and John Paul Getty, although I have been unable to verify its actual source.  Not that it matters, as it’s as true as true can be: The best business … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering, Oil & Gas, Recruitment | 6 Comments

Buncefield Incident Revisited

Anyone remember the explosion at the Buncefield fuel depot in December 2005?  At the time I wrote this: Being a risk engineer in the oil and gas business and all that, here’s my take on it: the root cause is a … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering, Oil & Gas | 4 Comments

If oil companies ran resturants…

…they’d be something like this. (A middle-aged couple emerge from a taxi, smiling, happy, looking forward to an evening of good food and fine wines in each other’s company.  They enter the door of the restuarant, over which is displayed a sign reading: “11,541 Dishes Served Without … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering, Oil & Gas | 5 Comments

Engineering Consultants’ Standing Orders

(Based on Rogers’ Rangers Standing Orders)  1.  Don’t sign nothing. 2.  Have your CV clean as a whistle, job market scoured, 30 days notice given, and be ready to quit the project at a minute’s warning. 3.  When you’re late … Continue reading

Posted in Engineering | 5 Comments