Saturday, May 23, 2015

Disney’s Research Lab Figures Out How To Put Words In Your Mouth | TechCrunch

Disney’s Research Lab Figures Out How To Put Words In Your Mouth | TechCrunch: "Here’s another absurd one out of Disney’s research labs. We’ve seen them build adorable robots to draw on beaches, 3D printers that make huggable objects out of felt, and make spinning tops out of seemingly impossible shapes. Their latest trick? Using algorithms to make people say things they didn’t actually say."

'via Blog this'

How one US Embassy staffer allegedly sextorted hundreds from his desk | Ars Technica

Why are people this dumb?????

How one US Embassy staffer allegedly sextorted hundreds from his desk | Ars Technica:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Easter Egg Hidden In Ex Machina's Source Code

The Easter Egg Hidden In Ex Machina's Source Code: "You cannot accuse Alex Garland’s Ex Machina for ignoring the details. Even a glance at a page of code was an Easter egg. Redditor Infintie_3ntropy was annoyed when some code that appeared on the screen had nothing to do with the actual film. But once the code was run in python2.7, the result was the ISBN for Embodiment and the Inner Life: Cognition and Consciousness in the Space of Possible Minds. Of course."

'via Blog this'

Leaked Emails Reveal Hooters CEO Orchestrated Bloody Motorcycle Battle At Rival Restaurant. | THE PUSH POLE

Leaked Emails Reveal Hooters CEO Orchestrated Bloody Motorcycle Battle At Rival Restaurant. | THE PUSH POLE: "Authorities discovered that Hooters CEO Terrance Marks caused a vicious biker bloodbath at a rival restaurant. His motive was to shut down Twin Peaks so that Hooters could remain the king of the sexualized eating establishments. Mr. Marks used fake email accounts to manipulate two angry biker gangs (The Cossacks and The Banditos) into a meeting at a Twin Peaks in Waco, Texas. Below are copies of said emails obtained by investigative journalists here at The Push Pole."

'via Blog this'

Houma Sells Bayou Gardens Reservoir To Drought-Stricken California. | THE PUSH POLE

Houma Sells Bayou Gardens Reservoir To Drought-Stricken California. | THE PUSH POLE: "In an attempt to generate revenue for Terrebonne Parish, the city of Houma has sold the Bayou Gardens Reservoir to the state of California, which is experiencing a water shortage."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Narrow Margin Drilling with BaraECD™ Fluid System

A video featuring some of my colleagues discussing the features and benefits of BaraECD(tm) to address Narrow Margin Drilling Challenges.

Narrow Margin Drilling with BaraECD™ Fluid System:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Study Reveals Louisiana Has The Most Affordable Congressmen In The United States. | THE PUSH POLE

Study Reveals Louisiana Has The Most Affordable Congressmen In The United States. | THE PUSH POLE: "A Forbs researcher recently ate his way into a Cheetos induced coma, but before he did, he reported that Louisiana had the 6th highest marijuana prices in America. What this report leaves out is that while marijuana prices might be high (no pun intended), everything else in Louisiana is relatively cheap, especially our politicians."

'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  Battered US Oil Firms Scramble to Delay Looming Retirement Wave  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Battered US Oil Firms Scramble to Delay Looming Retirement Wave  |  Rigzone: "After 20 years in the oil business, Craig Reed, 62, is thinking about winding down his career just as a second downturn in six years rocks the industry. Reed is part of the baby boomer generation that forms the backbone of the U.S. oil workforce and now weighs retirement as energy firms cut spending and shelve projects. That is a worrying prospect for company executives keen to keep their most experienced workers while they ride out the oil market slump. "Between the politics and uncertainty and cost cutting, a lot of people of my age are saying that it isn't worth it anymore," says Reed who draws up engineering and construction contracts for major energy projects worldwide. "Many of us could handle the downturn in 2008, but when the volatility comes back so quickly, and in a different form, it is difficult to take." For him, it is maybe two more projects and then retirement beckons, with a holiday home in Maine that needs work. The oil industry has been aware for years of a looming exodus of oil workers who joined in the 1970s in a so-called Great Crew Change. But a sharp drop in oil prices from June to January that triggered spending cuts and limited opportunities for senior technical staff, threatens to speed up their departures."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NEWS  |  Drilling To Start at Macondo Reservoir  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Drilling To Start at Macondo Reservoir  |  Rigzone: "Deep-water drilling is set to resume near the site of the catastrophic BP PLC well blowout that killed 11 workers and caused the largest U.S. offshore oil spill five years ago off the coast of Louisiana. A Louisiana-based oil company, LLOG Exploration Offshore LLC, plans to drill into the Macondo reservoir, according to federal records reviewed by The Associated Press. Harper's Magazine first reported the drilling plans late Tuesday. LLOG's permit to drill a new well near BP's site was approved April 13 by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which oversees offshore oil and gas drilling operations. The company's exploration plan was approved last October following an environmental review by a sister agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The company, a privately owned firm, will be looking to extract oil and gas deep under the Gulf of Mexico's seafloor, an undertaking that proved catastrophic for BP. "Our commitment is to not allow such an event to occur again," said Rick Fowler, the vice president for deep-water projects at LLOG. The drilling will be done by the Sevan Louisiana, a semisubmersible drilling rig owned by Sevan Drilling ASA, an international drilling company based in Oslo, Norway."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Captain America: Civil War’s massive cast rivals Age of Ultron | Ars Technica

Captain America: Civil War’s massive cast rivals Age of Ultron | Ars Technica: "Marvel has revealed the cast list for the third Captain America movie, and it's shaping up to be more of an Avengers 2.5 than a straight follow-up for the (surprisingly likeable) super soldier. The start of shoot notice for Captain America: Civil War unveiled by the publisher reveals that leading man Chris Evans will be joined by... basically everyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film loosely adapts the comics event of the same name. The official synopsis given by the studio reads "Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain." And yes, that is the new Avengers team established at the end of Age of Ultron, meaning the cast immediately balloons to include Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Paul Bettany (The Vision, arguably Age of Ultron's breakout character), Don Cheadle (Jim Rhodes/War Machine) and Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch). That's six cast members straight off. They won't be alone though..."

'via Blog this'

Equity Crowdfunding Platform FlashFunders Is Automating Securities Law For Seed-Stage Rounds | TechCrunch

Equity Crowdfunding Platform FlashFunders Is Automating Securities Law For Seed-Stage Rounds | TechCrunch: "Thanks to the JOBS Act, the world of equity crowdfunding is blowing wide open. FlashFunders, an equity crowdfunding platform, is announcing a new program that automates the process for entrepreneurs, making it entirely free to raise or invest in a seed round. Most crowdfunding platforms like AngelList and FundersClub are used for a small portion of the round, facilitated online, and usually allow for much smaller checks to go into an SPV. With FlashFunders, the company offers that same functionality alongside the ability to send the FlashFunders listing to a VC firm like A16Z or Union Square Ventures to participate or even lead the round with a larger (>$25K) check, meaning the entire round is facilitated online. And beyond that, FlashFunders automates everything that a securities law firm like Cooley LLP would normally handle through integrations with Lexis Nexus, DocuSign, IRS, and the SEC Edgar Portal. Going through a securities law firm for an early-stage investment can cost a company between $10K and $30K, according to FlashFunders founders Vincent Bradley and Brian Park, and some will spend up to $80K on the process. With FlashFunders, a company not only gets to execute on the newfound ability to solicit their smaller deals and crowdfund that equity, but they get to do so without spending a dime on a securities law firm."

'via Blog this'

Cops must now get a warrant to use stingrays in Washington state | Ars Technica

Cops must now get a warrant to use stingrays in Washington state | Ars Technica: "Law enforcement officials in Washington state will now be required to get a warrant before deploying a stingray, according to a bill that was signed into law by the governor on Monday after unanimously passing both houses of the state legislature. Washington’s law, which takes effect immediately, is not the first in the United States, but it may impose the most stringent requirements. A handful of states, including Virginia, Minnesota, and Utah have similar laws on the books. Washington’s, though, imposes extra requirements that compel police to describe the technology and its impact in detail to judges—presumably despite any nondisclosure agreement that those agencies may have with the FBI and the dominant manufacturer of the devices, Harris Corporation. Both the FBI and Harris have previously refused to respond to Ars’ direct questions. FURTHER READING ROBBERY SUSPECT PULLS GUILTY PLEA AFTER STINGRAY DISCLOSURE, CASE DROPPED "What's the point of gathering evidence if you're not going to use it?" The secretive surveillance devices are not only used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. During the act of locating a phone, stingrays also sweep up information about nearby phones, not just the target phone. Stingrays typically spoof a cell tower and force phones to connect to it, often by making the handset step down to 2G, which does not require encryption."

'via Blog this'

“I’ll never ask for another pain pill again”: ℞ database damage in Utah | Ars Technica

“I’ll never ask for another pain pill again”: ℞ database damage in Utah | Ars Technica: "For the most part, attorney Tyler Ayres practices criminal law in Draper, Utah. If you Google him, the first result reads “Utah DUI Attorney.” But recently, Ayres has grown into a de facto voice against the third-party doctrine and Utah’s drug database, a combination allowing authorities to access citizens' prescription drug histories nearly carte blanche. Ayres has represented at least a dozen people with unforeseen issues because of this arrangement. The worse abuse he’s seen involves two of his clients: Candy Holmes and Russell Smithey. FURTHER READING THE BIG DRUG DATABASE IN THE SKY: ONE FIREFIGHTER’S YEAR-LONG LEGAL NIGHTMARE Authorities dig through prescription med databases thanks to pre-digital age precedent. Both Holmes and Smithey have extensive criminal histories. In a recent interview, Smithey conceded that he was an intravenous drug user and has since completed a drug court program. In 2011, his partner, Holmes, was picking up her prescription at a pharmacy near their home in Vernal, Utah. Both Holmes and Smithey regularly took Oxycodone and Methadone. Ben Murray, an officer with the Vernal City Police Department, watched this Holmes encounter with the pharmacist, according to Smithey, and confirmed by deposition documents. Murray says that “she was so intoxicated that she couldn’t even get her money out.” Smithey tells the story differently. He says Murray saw Holmes take some of the medication and get into her car to drive home. It would have taken longer than the drive home for the pills to set in, he explains. Either way, the undisputed facts are that Murray contacted dispatch and Holmes was arrested in her driveway after failing a sobriety test."

'via Blog this'

The big drug database in the sky: One firefighter’s year-long legal nightmare | Ars Technica

The big drug database in the sky: One firefighter’s year-long legal nightmare | Ars Technica: "In May 2013, when an investigator called local firefighter paramedic Ryan Pyle down to police headquarters in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, Pyle guessed it had something to do with the morphine. Fire crews had recently discovered that drug vials had been tampered with at several different stations, the morphine removed and replaced with some other liquid. The find prompted a police investigation of all 28 Unified Fire Authority fire stations and the replacement of every narcotic stored in them, according to Jeremy Robertson, president of fire union local #1696. But Pyle hadn’t worked at the specific stations under investigation. What could he add? “Do you know why you’re here?” a police officer asked Pyle when he arrived. “I wish I did, but I don’t,” Pyle said. The officer explained that, during the investigation of the morphine theft, Pyle’s personal prescription drug records had been pulled from Utah’s Controlled Substances Database. Pyle was being accused not of stealing morphine but of prescription drug fraud. The allegation doesn't necessarily involve selling pills; instead, authorities believed that Pyle had visited multiple doctors in order to obtain narcotics. But the detective investigating the case had pulled far more than Pyle’s records; he had actually pulled the prescription records of all 480 employees of the local fire authority, sifting through the sensitive health information of firefighters, paramedics, and clerical staff, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Such prescription information could reveal whether the workers had anxiety disorders, chronic pain, insomnia, or AIDS. It could reveal if an individual identified as transgender or suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."

'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  CEO: Colombia's Ecopetrol Oil Output Rises Due to Fewer Bomb Attacks  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  CEO: Colombia's Ecopetrol Oil Output Rises Due to Fewer Bomb Attacks  |  Rigzone: "Oil output at Colombia's state-run oil producer Ecopetrol SA has been higher than expected so far this year due to fewer bomb attacks on its pipelines, Chief Executive Officer Juan Carlos Echeverry said on Monday. The average non-consolidated output of 722,000 barrels per day to date is above the company's target for 710,000 barrels in 2015. The output is also above the average 713,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter of last year, when the company posted an 844 billion peso ($353.88 million) loss. Ecopetrol reports first-quarter 2015 results on Tuesday after markets close. Average non-consolidated output, which does not include Ecopetrol's stake in other oil companies or subsidiaries, was 705,000 barrels per day for all of 2014. Echeverry said the company was benefiting directly from peace negotiations between the government and leftist FARC rebels, which he said had cut bomb attacks on its oil pipelines to four so far this year from 45 by this time in 2014."

'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  BP to Suspend Operations at Caspian Sea Platform  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  BP to Suspend Operations at Caspian Sea Platform  |  Rigzone: "British oil major BP will suspend operations at one of its platforms in the Caspian Sea for planned maintenance, a spokeswoman for BP Azerbaijan said on Tuesday. Operations would be suspended for three weeks at the end of May at BP's West Azeri platform, she said. A source at the Azeri state energy company SOCAR also told Reuters about planned maintenance at another platform in the Caspian Sea at the end of this month. Crude oil and condensate production in Azerbaijan rose to 10.6 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2015 from 10.4 million tonnes in the same period last year. Rising oil output at the main Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli (ACG) oilfields operated by BP had been the reason for the overall increase."

'via Blog this'

Monday, May 11, 2015

NEWS  |  EBRD To Extend Loan For Azerbaijan's Biggest Gas Project  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  EBRD To Extend Loan For Azerbaijan's Biggest Gas Project  |  Rigzone: "The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will extend a syndicated loan for Azerbaijan's biggest gas project, Shah Deniz II, EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said on Friday. The size and terms of the loan had yet to be decided, he said during a visit to Baku. Shah Deniz is being developed by a consortium led by BP, Azeri state energy company SOCAR and others, and will offer an alternative gas supplier for Europe as the continent tries to reduce its reliance on Russian energy. Shah Deniz I has been pumping gas since 2006 and has an annual production capacity of about 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas. Shah Deniz II is expected to produce 16 bcm of gas a year from 2019-2020, with 10 bcm earmarked for Europe and 6 bcm for Turkey. Bonds In Local Currency Chakrabarti also said the EBRD might issue bonds in the Azeri currency, the manat, this year."

'via Blog this'

Shell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration program

Shell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration programShell gets green light for Chukchi Sea exploration program: "The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s revised multi-year Exploration Plan (EP) for the Chukchi Sea. Among the conditions of approval is the requirement that Shell obtain all necessary permits from other state and federal agencies, including permits to drill from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and appropriate authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Another condition of approval prevents Shell from commencing drilling operations until all Biological Opinions under the Endangered Species Act have been issued and requires all operations under the plan comply with the terms and conditions included in those Biological Opinions. “As we move forward, any offshore exploratory activities will continue to be subject to rigorous safety standards,” BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said."

'via Blog this'

Crude-oil bulls threatened as shale patch revives drilling plans

Crude-oil bulls threatened as shale patch revives drilling plans: "The rally in crude oil is reviving the U.S. shale boom, threatening speculators who are the most bullish on prices since July. Money managers increased their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 3.9% in the seven days ended May 5, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. That’s a level last seen toward the start of last year’s price crash. Short positions declined to the lowest this year. A 37% rebound in WTI since March has encouraged companies, including EOG Resources Inc., to lay out plans to resume drilling. The shale boom had stalled amid a record decline in rigs seeking oil, and the government is predicting lower output this month. Any acceleration in drilling will raise concern that the U.S. supply glut could worsen. “We could soon see a second surge of production growth,” said Stewart Glickman, an equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ in New York. “EOG is a rather conservative company, so if they are willing to dip their toes back in the water, others will as well.” WTI futures gained $3.34 to $60.40/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the period covered by the CFTC report. The contract lost 16 cents to $59.23/bbl in electronic trading at 11:44 a.m. Singapore time. EOG, the biggest U.S. shale oil producer, said May 5 that it plans to increase drilling as soon as prices stabilize at about $65. Production Outlook Shale-oil explorer Pioneer Natural Resources Co. said it’s preparing to deploy more rigs as early as July, while Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc., Devon Energy Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. last week raised their full-year production outlooks."

'via Blog this'

Noble Energy buys into Eagle Ford, Permian with Rosetta Resources acquisition

Noble Energy buys into Eagle Ford, Permian with Rosetta Resources acquisition: "Noble Energy and Rosetta Resources have announced a definitive merger agreement whereby Noble Energy will acquire all of the common stock of Rosetta in an all-stock transaction valued at $2.1 billion, plus the assumption of Rosetta's net debt of $1.8 billion as of March 31, 2015.  Rosetta's liquids-rich asset base includes approximately 50,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford shale and 56,000 net acres in the Permian (46,000 acres in the Delaware basin and 10,000 acres in the Midland basin). Noble Energy has identified in excess of 1,800 gross horizontal drilling locations for development, providing net unrisked resource potential of approximately 1 Bboe.    Rosetta's assets produced 66,000 boed in the first quarter of 2015, and year-end 2014 proved reserves were 282 MMboe. More than 60% of Rosetta's current production and proved reserves are liquids. Noble Energy anticipates a compounded annual production growth rate from these assets over the next several years of approximately 15%, generating positive free cash flow on an annual basis. "

'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 7, 2015

NEWS  |  Cuba Insists It Has Oil; US Companies Still Uninterested  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Cuba Insists It Has Oil; US Companies Still Uninterested  |  Rigzone: "Cuba unveiled new data on Wednesday it said confirmed there were billions of barrels of oil beneath its Gulf of Mexico waters but admitted there was little interest in new exploration even with the thaw in U.S. relations. The United States and Cuba have vowed to restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of animosity, but the comprehensive U.S. trade embargo remains in place. While U.S. tourism, transportation and agriculture companies position themselves for Cuban business, oil companies have proven less eager since three exploratory wells came up dry in 2012. Low oil prices and new opportunities in Mexico's liberalized oil sector are also seen depressing interest. "Despite the opening we haven't encountered U.S. company interest," Pedro Sorzano, commercial director of state oil monopoly CubaPetroleo (Cupet), told reporters at Cuba's annual geological sciences convention."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Merger underway for leading remote communications firms

Merger underway for leading remote communications firms: "Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire MTN Communications (MTN), a leading provider of communications and content for remote locations around the world.  The combined entities bring together the most talented and experienced professionals in the remote communications industry, servicing land and maritime-based customers, with a transformative suite of network products and services for businesses and people, connecting in hard to reach places or on the move. The acquisition will benefit the organizations’ combined 1,600 vessels and more than 8,000 land-based customer sites in the most hard to reach places on all continents and in every ocean.  Customers will represent multiple verticals, including maritime, energy, cruise lines and ferries, yachts, non-governmental organizations, telecommunications providers, global enterprises and governments. The combined entity will be one of the largest independent providers of satellite connectivity services for both land-based sites and maritime vessels, worldwide. The company will also be the largest provider of connectivity services, in some of the most strategic verticals within the satellite industry, backed by ABRY Partners, a private equity firm specializing in funding some of the most successful communications companies in North America, with more than $42 billion of completed transactions."

'via Blog this'

Levee tax heads to voters Saturday | HoumaToday.com

Levee tax heads to voters Saturday | HoumaToday.com: "Voters will have the final say Saturday on a quarter-cent sales tax increase for levee and drainage improvements in north Lafourche. Money from the North Lafourche Levee District's proposed sales tax will be used to expedite drainage and flood protection projects for about 65,000 parish residents north of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Cory Kief, president of the district's board, said at stake is the district's ability to provide sufficient flood protection within a reasonable time frame. "The sales tax is important to us because we're here as stewards of the people," he said. "The choice is theirs.""

'via Blog this'

Monday, April 27, 2015

RIGZONE - Cybersecurity A Growing Safety Issue for Oil, Gas Industrial Plants

RIGZONE - Cybersecurity A Growing Safety Issue for Oil, Gas Industrial Plants: "The oil and gas industry is increasingly thinking about cybersecurity as a safety issue for industrial plants, officials with Honeywell told Rigzone on the sidelines of the IHS CERAWeek Conference this week in Houston. Just a few years ago, cybersecurity was viewed as an expense and an intangible problem; that thinking is changing. Growing interest by the hacker community in industrial control systems has made them a target for cyberthreats. "What you're seeing in the public corporate sector is a rising number of and severity of attacks; we're seeing the same type of things in the industrial environment," said Jeff Zindel, global business leader Cyber Security at Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), in an interview with Rigzone. Last year was a noisy year for cyberattacks against industry, with cyber-risks for a host of industries, including oil and gas, expected to keep growing."

'via Blog this'

SMBC: Eugenics is a GREAT Idea!

Zach Weiner nails it again...

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

'via Blog this'
There was an error in this gadget