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Monday, October 17, 2016


First, I need to place into the record the one biggest day of this blog site:

The number of visitors was just under 12,000, beating my previous high by more than a factor of 3.  Clearly, one influential person alerting his/her readership made the difference.  Whoever you are, thank you.  While I'm at this, here are the current favorite blog entries today:


Oct 1, 2016
Sep 27, 2016

The top movies this weekend were:

          FILM                     ROTTEN TOMATOES  WEEKS  REVENUES
                                        Reviewers  Audience                     Millions
  #1  The Accountant          49%            87%               1          $24.7
  #2  Kevin Hart                   78%           73%                1          $12.0
  #3  The Girl on the Train  44%            56%                2         $46.6
  #4  Miss Peregrine's         65%           66%                3         $65.8
  #5  Deepwater Horizon     83%           87%                3          $49.3

I went to see The Girl on the Train and Deepwater Horizon.  The Girl was shown in a much larger theater, but I was surprised that DH had at least twice, if not thrice, the attendance.  My view of The Girl was along the lines of the Rotten Tomatoes ratings.  The script purposefully takes you on an emotional ride, until it later becomes obvious who is the murderer.  
The Girl on the Train is based on the 2015 novel by Paula Hawkins, starring Emily Blunt.  I like train movies, and in ten days invite you to join me on my Japan Rail Pass tour of the Fall colors in Japan.  The budget was $47 million, while the total revenues (add $33 million for international box office) of nearly $80 million means that in week two The Girl has already made a profit.  I found the production to be a bit confusing, as many times you really were not aware if this was flashback or today.  Okay, but not terrific.

Deepwater Horizon surprised me, in a very positive way.  This was a deep cast with Mark Walberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez and Kate Hudson.  Russell (left), in particular, was exceptional.  We all remember that horrendous 20 April 2010 Deepwater Horizon (built by Hyundai for Transocean,  a Swiss company, registered in Panama but with a Marshall Island flag, leased to British Petroleum and serviced by an American company, Halliburton) explosion and oil spill off the coast of Louisiana.  

Eleven were killed and over a three month period 5 million barrels (210 million gallons--worth $10 billion today) of oil escaped into the Gulf of Mexico. BP reportedly paid out $42.2 billion.  Like Fukushima, where this one nuclear disaster cost will far exceed all the electricity revenues ever accumulated from nuclear power in Japan, you got to wonder if it is cost effective to drill for oil in the ocean.

I personally identified with this incident, as I was one of the reservoir engineers for the drilling of Hawaii Geothermal Well-A more than 40 years ago.  Further, I spent 3.5 years of my life in Louisiana.  However, geothermal drilling occurs on land, and our well to a depth of a little over a mile found the hottest temperature (662 F) then for this technology and produced 3.5 megawatts of power at a cost of $7 million.  We suffered no "serious" incidents, and this was my first and, maybe even last, renewable energy initial success, for governments provide research money to universities to be the guinea pigs for next generation energy options.  Virtually nothing works well the first time.

In contrast, the Deepwater Horizon operates in the ocean, where the surface of the water was around a mile from the ocean floor, with a well depth of 3.5 miles.  Cost-cutting by BP was probably the primary cause of the accident.  While we had to deal with mosquitos, a complaining community and general ignorance (no one on our team had ever drilled a well), I was well able to place myself into this order of magnitude larger disaster at sea,  for I understood the well-drilling terms, and the accents reminded me of my days at LSU.

Well, enough of my life.  Good film.  Go see it. 

Typhoon Haima is up to 135 MPH and could well become a super typhoon.  The current path will take Haima over the tip of north Philippines:


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