Petroleum Industry Christmas Wishlist
Conservative pundits are quick to point out that no "new refineries have been built since 1976
", and even quicker to blame "environmentalists". But the facts just don't support that. Refiners have chosen the environment that they do business in, and in some cases have willingly contributed to it. (Plenty of data here
.) Here's why:
- The government has allowed the industry to merge, consolidate, and restrict refining capacity, thus impacting pricing, supply, and demand.
- The quest for profits has caused the need to run extremely lean supplies (ie. no stockpiles of crude - it arrives when you need it, not before) and has resulted in susceptability to wild volatility in prices, but has allowed refiners to operate at very high efficiency but with no margin of excess capacity for temporary shortages, disasters, etc.
- Oil refiners trimmed back capacity after the Oil Crash of the early 1980s and have been unwilling to reinvest in new technologies unless environmental restrictions and local fuel cleanliness mandates are reduced.
As one would expect, Bush's solutions nicely match up with the wishlists of OPEC
and US refiners
, who in the past few decades have largely undone the breakup of Standard Oil (via
) via mergers and joint ventures. Representative Joe Barton
, (R-TX), Chairperson of the Energy and Commerce Committee
, incidentally up for reelection and well funded
, by "the industry
" through various Political Action Committees
, has released a draft of the predictably named (to be found here
when released) Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005
(committee discusion and webcast are scheduled for 9/28 at 8 am.)
Given that new refineries are years away, there is still no solution for current prices or the (90%?) increase in prices since January of 2001
posted by rzklkng
on Sep 27, 2005 -
Closed Circuit TV and Data Confluence Qinetiq
is bringing their CCTV
confluence technology, codenamed Praetorian
, to the UK. "The system automatically tracks and stitches 3D images with CCTV video, maps and other real-time information. It automatically alerts operators to intruders, unusual behaviour, left objects or anything it is told to spot." And it looks more like a video game than a video feed. This new tech is perhaps not as controversial
as Qinetiq's Millimetre Wave Imaging System
that allows passive scanning through clothing
to detect guns, knives or bombs.
Yes, it is very Big Brother-esque but its also pretty amazing technology too.
Qinetiq previously discussed on MeFi here, here, here and here.
posted by fenriq
on Aug 12, 2005 -
"Israeli technology firm Blue Security has set up a scheme to batter spam websites
with thousands of complaints. The plan is to fill order forms...offering pills, porn and penile health tonics with complaints about the products advertised for sale in junk messages." I signed up
posted by JPowers
on Jul 23, 2005 -
Alarming Article on Security Procedures
What is alarming is not necessarily that there is a "no-fly" list, or that we have security measures in response to a percieved terrorist threat. What's alarming is that there seems to be no accountabity or due process demanded from public officials. Without accountability, what's to stop public officials from acting arbitrarily, or for some political endeavor? (See the Plame case.)
Combined with the Right's seeming position that the president is above the law in prosecuting a war, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 03-1027 (Rumsfield v. Padilla) and Case No. 03-6696 (Hamdi v. Rumsfield), (see also the recent DOJ position papers), and for the 1st time I am becoming nervous that America might devolve into something like a police state.
posted by JKevinKing
on Jul 7, 2005 -
Rocker Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes in National Security
• "Jeff Baxter played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has made an even bigger transition: Mr. Baxter, who goes by the nickname "Skunk," has become one of the national-security world's well-known counterterrorism experts."
posted by dhoyt
on May 25, 2005 -
Be afraid: The national threat-alert level today is yellow or "elevated
," with "significant risk of terrorist attacks," says the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the alert level has been elevated since December of 2003, when it was raised from orange. During the election season, the Fox News network flashed the terror alert level in their "crawl" as if there was breaking news -- the sort of thing that prompted some liberal wags
to ridicule the entire system. Now former DHS secretary Tom Ridge says that the Bush administration was "really aggressive" about raising the threat-alert level
during his tenure, even when the agency felt that the intelligence didn't warrant it.
posted by digaman
on May 11, 2005 -
Loose lips sink ships!!!1 (There be images, some quite big here)
I suspect a lot of MeFi shares my obsession with propaganda
(and propaganda-style) posters
, both domestic and foreign
, as well as the photoshops
that the Something Awful
crowds generate. CoolGov has a link today to the Office of the National National Counterintelligence Executive
and their Anti-Espionage poster collection
. Some are great
, some are almost pure propaganda
, and some show how obsessed with secrecy
our government has become. That lead me to Google to look for posters on the *.gov
domains. Check out the posters for "Venemous Snakes of Afghanistan and Pakistan"
, or what the well dressed airmen
is wearing (*note the "Essentials"), posters from the NOAA telling you that "lightning kills"
, the Code of Ethics for Government Officers and Employees
, and this one telling GI's why smoking could kill them
posted by rzklkng
on Apr 18, 2005 -
Think your Prox Card system is secure?
Guess again. Some Sophomores at Olin College reverse-engineered the prox card system on campus and built their own reader. Rumor has it they have a spoofer (self-contained copier/transmitter) too, but nothing on the site about it.
posted by Brockstar
on Mar 5, 2005 -
Want to know the hardware behind Echelon?
The other day I posted a book (Chatter) review about NSA. In this follow-up, the equipment used.
"Aside from using the system for industrial espionage and bypassing international and national laws to listen in on people, it is also used to listen out for people like Osama bin Laden and assorted terrorists in the hope of preventing attacks."
posted by Postroad
on Mar 3, 2005 -
Empty your pockets
before attending the Presidential Inauguration. Among items forbidden are pocket tools
, animals -- and in case they forgot to mention something, "any other items at the discretion of the security screeners that may pose a potential safety hazard
posted by ThePrawn
on Jan 16, 2005 -
Safe Personal Computing.
Bruce Schneier, cited frequently on Metafilter
, has a new article on his blog
in which he gives home users concrete actions they could take to improve security
. As the holidays come and I make the rounds to disinfect and repair all my family's computers, I'll be printing this out and sticking copies to their monitors.
posted by sohcahtoa
on Dec 13, 2004 -
French police on Sunday ended their practice of hiding plastic explosives in air passengers' luggage to train bomb-sniffing dogs after one such bag got lost, possibly ending up on a flight out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
WTF were they thinking? Isn't there a better way to train the dogs without making innocent people unwittingly carry plastique?
posted by Vidiot
on Dec 5, 2004 -
I feel safer already!
Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security
lowered the terror alert-level for the financial-services sector in the NY/DC area from orange to yellow, which has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with the election. "We don't do politics here at this department," days DHS deputy secretary James Loy. When the alert was jacked up back in August, some felt otherwise
posted by digaman
on Nov 11, 2004 -
GMail not-so-safe Mail.
So apparentley GMail has a major exploit that's been discovered by an Israeli hacker. "Using a hex-encoded XSS link, the victim's cookie file can be stolen by a hacker, who can later use it to identify himself to Gmail as the original owner of an email account, regardless of whether or not the password is subsequently changed."
And so the fun with GMail begins..
posted by mrplab
on Oct 29, 2004 -
Cat Stevens on NatSec watchlist.
"A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam
- formerly known as singer Cat Stevens
- was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said... Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. 'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday."
posted by mwhybark
on Sep 21, 2004 -
Use one of those heavy U-locks to secure your bike? You might want to think again
. It seems the barrel style lock mechanisms some of them employ can be opened by a Bic pen
posted by normy
on Sep 14, 2004 -
an american journalist wants to put the threat of terrorism into perspective, and elects to ride on a bus line in Jerusalem, the train line through Madrid, and a British Airways flight said to be a bombing target. He comes away with it unscathed but the stories he tells about the history of terror, especially in Israel, is chilling and daily life in some parts of Jerusalem sounds like scenes lifted straight out of Brazil
. [via the big K
posted by mathowie
on Aug 22, 2004 -
a letter to Thomas Kean, Chair of the 9/11 Commission
from Sibel Edmonds: Unfortunately, I find your report seriously flawed in its failure to address serious intelligence issues that I am aware of, which have been confirmed, and which as a witness to the commission, I made you aware of. Thus, I must assume that other serious issues that I am not aware of were in the same manner omitted from your report. These omissions cast doubt on the validity of your report and therefore on its conclusions and recommendations. Considering what is at stake, our national security, we are entitled to demand answers to unanswered questions, and to ask for clarification of issues that were ignored and/or omitted from the report.
A solid letter detailing many disturbing things reported to the Commission, yet not in the report.
More on Edmonds here.
posted by amberglow
on Aug 2, 2004 -
Eastasia plans attacks on Eurasia
"Efforts each of you make to be vigilant – such as reporting suspicious items or activities to authorities – do make a difference. Every citizen using their common sense and eyes and ears can support our national effort to stop the terrorists.
Thank you for your continued resolve in the face of the ongoing threat of terrorism. We must continue to work together – to ensure that the freedom we just celebrated continues as the hallmark of this great nation."
Are you scared
posted by skechada
on Jul 8, 2004 -
Secret world of US jails
The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began.
In the past three years, thousands of alleged militants have been transferred around the world by American, Arab and Far Eastern security services, often in secret operations that by-pass extradition laws. The astonishing traffic has seen many, including British citizens, sent from the West to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. Anything learnt is passed on to the US and, in some cases, reaches British intelligence.
posted by Postroad
on Jun 14, 2004 -
Is Bremer running scared? Chris Neidrich
was one of those who died on Sunday when a carefully planned ambush by seven vehicles attacked a Blackwater security convoy headed to Baghdad Airport, killing four and wounding three. Neidrich also guarded Bremer's motorcade
The day after the attack on Bremer, the following security bulletin was released:
Effective immediately and until further notice, all CPA ground movement to/from Baghdad International Airport is prohibited. Exceptions for mission critical movements may be requested from Force Protection at DSN.
Is the U.S. military incapable of securing 2 1/2 miles of road from the Green Zone to Baghdad Airport, or has a political decision been made to not guard the road, thereby reducing the risk of military casualties. In other words, is Bremer scared, or is Bush?
posted by insomnia_lj
on Jun 8, 2004 -
National Security Letters and John Doe
--once only issued against suspected terrorists and spies, NSLs now can be used, thanks to the Patriot Act, against all and any of us. John Doe, the currently gagged owner of a small ISP was targeted for the political speech of his customers and is fighting, along with the ACLU and others. More here
(and more inside)
posted by amberglow
on May 30, 2004 -
Microsoft and friends are proposing some major alterations
to the way that computers work, the ostensible goal being to increase security. But others say
that the real goals are much more insidious.
posted by bingo
on May 22, 2004 -
Advanced methods of bomb detection and investigation.
New equipment developed to scan cars and people, such as a parking lot device which quickly bathes the car's trunk in invisible neutrons, a procedure that makes materials inside the trunk emit gamma-rays
that would indicate the presence of explosives.
Also, a bomb disposal robot which take[s] fingerprints before blowing [a] package up
posted by mcgraw
on May 3, 2004 -
Buying biometrically into big brother?
Privium is an IBM-backed pay service at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport
that allows passengers to identify themselves by iris recognition and thus speed their way through security checks. This being the privacy-respecting Netherlands, the biometric information is not stored in a central database, but only on a card you carry with you; other countries may not be so enlightened. This could well become a standard form of identification. In the meantime, could the failure to buy this service qualify someone as a security or insurance risk?
posted by liam
on Apr 29, 2004 -
After all the hoopla about increasing security, it seems that the requirement for biometric data to be included in passports of those entering the US from visa waiver countries will need to be extended for two years
to allow other countries to catch up
with the technology, as it seems most countries are unable to meet the deadline
. Some countries have put on hold
the new technology, while others seem committed to going ahead
with it, despite doubts
about the readiness of the technology. Of course, if civil liberties groups get their way
, the biometric passports may never see the light
of day. Specific religious issues complicate
the matter to some extent, also.
Given that, if the technology to produce biometric passports is available, will it really be that hard for forged passports to be created? Unless a massive world-wide database containing the biometric details of every person was used for data-matching, it is hard to see how these new measures will really make much difference to anyone apart from the companies selling the technology.
posted by dg
on Apr 26, 2004 -
I feel safer already!
A US requirement for foreign visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed is being expanded to include citizens from America's closest allies, starting September 30th.
posted by johnnydark
on Apr 2, 2004 -
"The "Brief Safe"
is an innovative new diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you're traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses..." [via Aces
posted by bluno
on Mar 31, 2004 -
Kerry Calls on Rice to Testify
"John Kerry said Saturday the White House is committing character assassination with its treatment of former counterterror chief Richard Clarke to avoid responding to questions about national security. Kerry also said Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, should testify in public before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"If Condoleezza Rice can find time to do '60 Minutes' on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath," Kerry told reporters. "We're talking about the security of our country."...
posted by Postroad
on Mar 28, 2004 -