Monday, October 4, 2010

Of Chilean rescue progress, ASPO meetings and horses

The latest word from Chile is that the second of the three drills working to create an escape shaft for the miners may complete the wider passage within another 48 hours. The initial drill that was being used to drill an access hole, before reaming that to the required diameter has now been stopped, since although the initial hole is at 1,925 ft and about to break through with the smaller hole, it has had some problems with the drill, and with the other two drills so far ahead, is no longer considered necessary.

The second drill, once plan B, which is reaming its hole out to the desired diameter, is at a depth of 1,400 ft and is expected to reach the miner location by Thursday. Once the reaming is completed it is expected to take another two to six days to line the bore, before the men are brought out. There is, however, some debate as to whether the lining is necessary, given that without it the rescue could happen earlier. The President of Chile would like to have the men rescued before leaving for Europe, a trip currently planned for the 17th October.

The current back-up drill, originally plan C, which is drilling a single hole of the required size in a single pass, has reached a depth of 650 ft, but has to be repositioned to align with the intended target position down at the miner level

While I will post more on this story over the rest of the week, as the story unfolds, I will be travelling to Washington on Wednesday for the ASPO 2010 Peak Oil Conference which will take place from Thursday through Saturday. As has been my previous habit, I hope to be able to post some summaries of the different talks that I am able to attend (though giving a couple and moderating a session will limit which sessions I can cover). But it will restrict the posts that I can put up for the rest of the week.

I was planning on putting up a small story on the changes in France to re-introduce the horse, rather than relying on the more conventional garbage trucks. It took me back a number of years. Whether the idea is totally economically viable is not always certain, though on a limited scale I can imagine that it could be successful given the right location.

There are also other possible societal benefits. Growing up, as I did, in Northern England after the Second World War, there were a number of services that came via horse-drawn cart. Later some (milk being one) changed to where small electric-powered vans were used instead, but the clop of the horse’s hooves down the street would often be enough to get the kids in the house out into the street. (The manure was also prized as a good fertilizer for the garden, particularly roses, though it contained a lot of weed seed).

In the interim they have become a common sight as a way for tourists to get around the scenic parts of many cities. And along the way methods have developed for keeping the cities cleaner than the horses left them when they were more commonly used. That would provide a basis from which they could again expand their usefulness.

This is not a horse diaper (from Ben and Alonna)

However, while the French are hailing this as an innovative idea, it should be noted that in Israel it was only last November that the Mayor of Tel Aviv yielded to pressure and banned the use of horse drawn carts in the city. And in other parts of the world where horse drawn vehicles remain a common method of haulage and transport, the conditions of the horses can still give rise to concern, as for example, in Mumbai.

There are lots of little trails I fancied wandering down in writing a post about this, but unfortunately have run out of time, so I will leave you to conjecture. Remember that in some places animals are required to wear diapers Though it is also reported that these can cause some additional traffic problems.


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