Archive for November, 2008

Crossover of medicine and energy

Pumps & Pipes Conference, Dec. 8, 2008, Houston

Pumps & Pipes is a unique collaborative effort between two of the nation’s largest industries – medicine and energy. Much like moving oil through a pipeline, the heart must pump blood through the body. Both need clean, well-functioning pipes (or blood vessels).  Both need to prevent blockages of those pipes.  Both must function with incredible efficiency.  Both are crucial to our nation’s economy and future.  However only in Texas could we do this, home to the world’s largest medical center and home base to the world’s top energy companies. 

The goal of the Pumps & Pipes conference on Dec. 8, 2008, in Houston, is to stimulate discussion, spark ideas and share new technologies between these industries that face similar challenges, even if on a very different scale. Hosts are the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, ExxonMobil and the University of Houston. 

Talks will focus on the use of robots in pipelines and in medicine, well imaging vs. intravascular imaging, membranes and filters, the use of nanotechnology across both industries, as well as other topics with potential crossover. The audience includes imaging specialists, computer scientists, researchers from medical device manufacturers, physicists and engineers from academia; geologists, physicists and researchers from the oil and gas industry; and vascular biologists, researchers and clinicians specializing in cardiovascular disease.

Program Directors:
Alan B. Lumsden, MD, Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, The Methodist Hospital and the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

Bill E. Kline, PhD, Manager of Wells and Materials Division, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company

Ioannis Kakadiaris, PhD, Eckhard Pfeiffer Professor, University of Houston

November 28, 2008 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

US Secretary of Energy Candidates

The Abraham Energy Report published by former U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham suggested a dozen potential candidates: (full details are available at
  —  Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Senate Energy Committee Chairman
  —  Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), House Energy Subcommittee Chairman
  —  Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
  —  Former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and former House Democratic
  —  Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)
  —  Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), House Energy Committee member and co-author of Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy.
  —  Kathleen McGinty, former Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental
      Protection, former Clinton Administration CEQ Chairperson and close
      advisor to Al Gore
  —  Ernest Moniz, Director of MIT Energy Initiative and former Clinton
      Administration Under Secretary of Energy
  —  Former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), Co-Chair of Ted Turner’s Nuclear Threat
  —  Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.)
  —  Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.)
  —  Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.)
McGinty??  Schwarzenegger???  Hell, no!!  I think Houston Mayor Bill White would put all of these candidates to shame, but I think he has an eye on the Texas Governor role.  Whaddyallthink?

November 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Should Obama have to give up his BlackBerry?

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times wrote that Barack Obama will have to give up using his BlackBerry once he becomes president for “security reasons.”
For the version that appeared in the Houston Chronicle, visit:
You would think that the same US government that invented the Internet (remember DARPA?) would be able to figure out some kind of way to let the President of the United States communicate using the device he is most comfortable with over a secure, virtual private network (VPN) and have his correspondence archived properly for posterity.
Perhaps he could have a few staffers screen his e-mail for crackpots, but I think having direct contact with the Internet just might keep him up-to-date and relevant. Why should he have to change how he communicates with family and friends? Why should he have all of his communications filtered through “handlers” ?
Maybe this is one of those Changes that needs to be made to bring the US President into the new paradigm.
What do y’all think?
Love, Jeanne

November 16, 2008 at 7:45 pm 1 comment

Texas Petroleum Industry OK Despite Economic Downturn

Declining oil and gas prices during September failed to discourage drilling and production activity in Texas, propelling the Texas Petro Index to a new high for the 20th consecutive month, according to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, the largest state oil and gas association in the nation.

“Independent oil and gas producers continue to drive activity levels upward, despite the fact that both crude oil and natural gas wellhead prices were lower in September than in either July or August,” said petroleum economist Karr Ingham, who created the Petro Index in 2003. “Other measures of upstream activity-drilling permits, well completions, the rig count, employment-remained very favorable compared to year-ago levels.  However, these indicators should be watched closely in the coming months, especially if prices fall closer to producers’ finding and production costs.”

A composite index based upon a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators, the Texas Petro Index in September reached 282.3, up from 279.6 in August 2008 and nearly 50 points higher than the composite score of 234.7 reached in September 2007.  Of special note:

The Baker Hughes rig count in Texas averaged 946 during September, 13 percent more than in September 2007; the year-to-date average through September was 902 rigs, about 9.5 percent ahead of the pace a year ago.

The Railroad Commission of Texas issued 2,235 drilling permits during September, up 63.3 percent from the 1,430 permit issued in the same month last year; permits issued year-to-date through September totaled 18,637, 23.4 percent more than during the first nine months of 2007.

About 226,000 Texans were employed in the Texas oil and gas industry during September, 8.7 percent more than during September 2007.  Industry employment in September 1995, the base year of the Petro Index, totaled about 149,300.

November 5, 2008 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

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