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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Toe the Company Line

Amazing that someone was actually FIRED for completing an energy technology study which "pointed out obvious problems". Also known as the POOP outcome, managers just hate when this happens, thinking that the employee is responsible for the mess they got themselves into.

Typical rationale of the employer: "Instead of criticizing the current situation, Dr. Hirsch should have taken some initiative to solve these problems, like when he invented the Hirsch-Meeks Fusor in the 1960's"

This is a bit of old news but important given that Hirsch may be on a new crusade:

The presentation was given by Robert L. Hirsch who is the senior
energy program advisor for SAIC and who was a senior researcher at
Rand along with a long list of other accomplishments which I cannot
remember. I have three paper copies of his talk but I do not have
anything in electronic form to post here. However, I did take some
notes of sound bites that I thought might interest this group.

"Peaking will be catastrophic, beyond anything I have seen in my

Reports are out that Saudi Arabia has high water cuts in all of its

Russia has said that their reserves are the maximum possible that
they could come up with in their calculations.

"This whole situation (referring to the world energy situation) gives
me the creeps"

Fuel cells cannot work at this time because major inventions are
needed. People will not drive around in "hydrogen bombs". Note that
he was joking and knows that a hydrogen car blowing up would not be a
nuclear reaction. However, he completely dismissed the hydrogen
economy as being impossible in the foreseeable future.

"I think coal will be a major answer"

The Mexicans will want half of the LNG that comes into their import

During questions and answers, someone asked about methane hydrates.
His answer was that with methane hydrates, there is no cap rock so a
huge inverted saucer is needed and no one knows how to make one.

In referring to the whole energy situation, he said, "we are about to
drive the car over the cliff and say, `Oh my God, What have we done?'"

I cannot stress enough how shocking this presentation was. It was as
though he had been reading this group for the last 6 months (and
perhaps he has). He mentioned Campbell, Laherrere, and Simmons by
name. I will not say that I agree with everything that he said, but I
agreed with everything that mattered.

I asked him afterwards if reception to his message had changed and he
replied that he had only started working on this issue six moths ago.
I was also shock by the reception to his message. The audience was
full of DOE people, many of them senior, and they were buying most of
what he said. I even saw a lot of heads visibly nodding at key
points. In short, I have no doubt that the message is out in at least
Pittsburgh and the people are receptive.

Paraphrasing Triumph: the Rand Corporation is a good workplace ........ for me to poop on.


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