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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Proven Oil Finder*

One of the biggest achievements of an exploration geologist who works for an oil company is if his/her proposed well strucks oil or gas zones. This achievement may not happen once in a year, perhap even only once in 5 years of your career, because circumstances make your company not able to drill many exploration wells.

Drilling an exploration well is an expensive program, it can cost a company around U$2 million to drill an offshore well in the middle of nowhere ocean, perhaps more if it is remotely located. For some companies, spending US$2 million blindly certainly is not something they want to do. They often want to rank the proposed drilling proposal and compare the possibility of success of one well againts each other and then decide in which basket they want to put their corporate money in.

To get your well proposal considered, firstly you need to convince your direct line manager and then your colleagues from other departments and later on you also have to convince your local president of the company. If you are working for a company which is controlled from abroad (let's say the headquarter is in London, while you are working in Indonesia), then you will have to give the General Manager, Vice President of Global Exploration or whatever they are, the reasons why you want your well proposal approved.

So, the bottom line is, asking for corporate money to drill an oil well is simply not easy, therefore you have to prepare everything correctly and thoroughly to get support. When my ex-colleague told me his well proposal was approved and they were preparing to drill it, I was happy for him. Few days ago, the drilling result was released, here it is:

23 March - Drilling update - Lembu Peteng


Premier is pleased to announce a discovery on Natuna Sea Block A in Indonesia with its operated Lembu-Peteng 1 well.

The well targeted sands in the Arang, Pasir, Intra Barat, and Upper Gabus. Log data indicates the presence of 6 gas zones, and 1 oil zone.

A test has been completed on two of the gas zones, which has yielded 8.5 mmscf/d of gas plus 580 bpd of high quality condensate. A further test of the oil zone will follow shortly.

The Lembu-Peteng discovery lies approximately 14 km to the East of the producing KH field and there are follow-up prospects on the trend.

Premier is the operator of West Natuna Block A with a 28.67% interest, and the other partners in the block are Kufpec (33.33%), Amerada Hess (23%) and Petronas (15%).

A further update will be provided on completion of testing operations.

It has been confirmed that his well has got oil and gas zones, which means he is successful in making a discovery and adding more value to the company's shares. He should be proud of his achievement regardless the size of this discovery. At least, all his thoughts and ideas leading to choosing this location for drilling have been proven correct, whether or not it is economical, it will be somebodyelse' decission. My ex-colleague now can have this "Proven Oil Finder" tag on his shoulder.

* Celebrating the success of Doddy Yuliong BA in making Lembu Peteng-1 Oil & Gas Discovery for Premier Oil Indonesia.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Direct Marketing Trick

The sweepstakes I have entered since last December when I was browsing The Guardian's website has not taken me to anywhere at all. In fact, I still have to go through a lot of "place this sticker here or there to claim your reward and all that" steps.

It started with a small ad I saw on the top right corner of The Guardian website's main page. This ad says: "Enter this sweepstakes and take this luxury car" and it showed a flash of nice car, I think it was BMW. When I saw this ad, I thought, "Wow, enter a sweepstakes and get a car! I want it!!"

I clicked the ad then, and it brought me to a form, which I had to fill in to enter the sweepstakes and, in the same time, subscribe to an internationally recognised monthly magazine. This magazine is, let's called it "RD", the Australian version magazine. I checked the price for 1 year subscription, apparently it costs less than $60/year. So I thought I would give it ago, $60 for a year, I got the magazine sent to me every month, starting January to December 2006, and got a chance to win a car. Hey, who knows if I am lucky!

Fast forward to mid January, I started to receive my magazine, and not only that, but also some other "offers" including computer softwares and books. At first, it was only "normal" offer (in the sense I was sent a catalogue). A couple weeks later, I started to receive some "certificates" asking me to affix stickers to some boxes in order to enter the sweepstakes and I got only 7 days to reply. So I must act quickly. Now, this is the interesting part, some other stickers were actually related to another offer to buy something which accompanied the sweepstakes sticker. If I affix this sticker into its place, it means I say "Yes, I want to accept this offer to buy this book, or CD or cassette or whatever". I found out this trick, so I didn't accept their offer but I did send the certificate with incomplete stickers to enter the sweepstakes.

I got another envelope this month, asking me to put other stickers onto the "certificates of guaranteed payment by the sweepstakes organiser if I am selected as the winner". Apart from this instruction, they also offer a book (it costs less than $60). At first I didn't want to accept this book offer, but if I reply with "NO" envelope, it means I am not eligible to enter the sweepstakes to get the luxury car (I can still enter the sweepstakes to get some cash). So, if I still want to get that car (which is worth $90,000), I will have to reply with a "YES" envelope, which means I have to spend another $60 only for being eligible to enter the sweepstakes (and I get a book as well). I can imagine this book offer is not the last one, which means it will cost more and more in a few months time. The trick of modern direct marketing got me this time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Free Web Host with MySQL Database

My wish of hosting my own personal website which uses Content Management System (CMS) in a completely free web host finally became reality when I found Awardspace. This free web host gives 300 MB capacity, 5 GB bandwidth per month, 1 MySQL database, 2 domains hosting, 5 subdomains, 5 POP3/IMAP emails and much more. The set-up is instant, in no time at all, and more importantly they don't put a forced ad in our website.

The amount of diskspace and monthly traffic given are enough for those who use this webhost for their personal website, for example a web blog, but probably not for hosting a discussion forum or for those who want to put some files for others to download. Other things which can make certain people do not like it include a restriction on the maximum file size that we can upload to the web host, which is 500 KB only, and the SMTP/IMAP function which they disable so that we can receive emails but not sending. Another problem is, their MySQL database is sometimes down, due to DDOS attack (apparently).

Apart from all those problems, I have been reasonably happy with the web host, considering their system is still "Beta". Hopefully it will be getting better in the future, and the service will be kept free of charge (I wish). I have no hesitation to recommend this web host to you all. Sign up quick!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

What's Inside His Mind?

What's actually inside the mind of this young man? He was speeding and then tried to escape from the police who chased him, crashed the first car, then hijacked a jeep, speeding again, run out of petrol, carjacked another van and finally shot dead or killed himself (I think it is more likely he was shot dead either by accident or intentionally by the undercover drug police).

One of the passengers inside the jeep which the young man hijacked said "he was desperate and didn't want to got to jail" but he pushed beyond the boundary so that the authorities had no other option but to shot him. It is so naive to think he could have escaped from the chase, especially when he was driving a car, which is very easy to spot from above by the police helicopter. The outcome might have been different had he been on a motorbike. I have seen how a motorbike rider could escape from a police chase, simply because the rider could get into a narrow passage between buildings (which is enough for a bike path but not a car, but this happened in Indonesia not in Australia though).

The "logical" thinking of people who committs a crime is not sensible. Take an example from the young man in the story above. Had he stopped after he got caught speeding in front of a car rental, he would not have been committing two more crimes (hijacking 2 cars and speeding) and more importantly he'd still be alive now. "Logic" says the punishment for doing 1 crime should be less than it is for 3 crimes. So, the easier option is clear.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Geopolitics of Oil & Gas

The importance of securing petroleum supply for the future is not something we can underestimate. There is certain country which have already prepared themselves to face a possibility of petroleum supply shortage by stockpiling enough crude oil for emergency situation. United States (and its coalition) even invaded Iraq in the name of saving the world for Iraq's oil (it's all about oil mate!). US do need a lot of oil because all their war machines need fuel to run and of course their industries also need oil and gas to keep their economy growing.

Other country, such as China, also try to increase the reserves of their national oil companies by investing overseas. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) once even submitted a bid to take over Unocal for US$18.5 Billions, before the US Senate blocked the deal. The Senate's decission not to approve the deal was not purely related to business but it was more of a political reason due to the fear of "potential threats to US national security". It was alleged that China wanted to dominate oil resources for the benefit of their economy and military (as if United States themselves did not think alike).

Oil and gas business is more than merely an ordinary business. It is related to supplying energy, something we really need to live, for all kind of machines we're using at the moment. Energy will always be in demand, and the trend is ever increasing never decreasing. Apart from its importance for economy, oil is important for national defence, unless a war plane can fly or a tank can run without fuel. Therefore whoever have secured oil and gas reserves for the future will be the one who determine the prices of petroleum, making a lot of money out of it, and obviously have more power politically because they can keep their war machines running. On the other hand, countries who rely too much on fossil fuel but not securing enough hydrocarbon supply for themselves will not be independent.

Using renewable energy becomes very important for many countries in the future, not only because of air pollution and climate change due to fossil fuel but for the sake of saving oil and gas mainly for their own national defence. This may be like a paranoid thought but who knows. The fact is some countries didn't mind to start war for securing oil and gas supply to their home, and they can also force other government to allow their corporation operating in a particular country by some military-related deals.

Image taken from Offshore Technology

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Spectacular Opening Ceremony

Image taken from the official website of Melbourne 2006

The XVIII Commonwealth Games in Melbourne has been opened by Queen Elizabeth this evening in Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The opening ceremony was a spectacular one, with a lot of attractions such as the flying Melbourne tram, ballet dancing, live music, a lot of fireworks around the MCG and Central Business District of Melbourne and huge fish images along the Yarra River near the MCG spraying water. Delta Goodrem also appeared on the stage singing a song after the Queen's opening speech. There are 71 countries competing in this 2006 Commonwealth Games, nearly half of the world.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I watched a documentary film about WWASPS broadcasted by SBS this evening. Although I didn't follow the movie from the beginning, I still got some interesting stories about some parents who deeply regret their decisions to send their kids to the "school".

It was alleged that WWASPS is like a brainwashing programme and they "abuse" teenagers. What they do is to modify teens' behavior by doing "hard" (military-like) training. They have a "boot camp" in Costarica in Tranquility Bay.

I did some search on Robert Lichfield, the founder of this "teen-reform school", it came up with some websites such as:
Apparently Bob Lichfield is also a supporter of George Bush.

WWASPS = Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools

Monday, March 13, 2006

Is Picasso a "Thieve"?

Picasso "stole" his inspiration from African artists.
Click here to read.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Searching for Another Life

How did life begin? Did God really create life? If He did, then why didn't He create another kind of life somewhere else? If He didn't create it, then how did life evolve and why does life only exist on Earth (at the moment as we know it)? If life evolved from the "same thing", then why is there a species called Homo Sapiens with different races across the globe?

Image taken from http://www.seti.org

The origin and evolution of life is a very interesting topic, be it for debates between the followers of Creation vs those of Evolution or for some research scientists who try to search for another life in the universe. Bible told us, life was created by God on the third day of "Earth Creation". Human were created on the seventh day (opsst..hang on, I need to check my Bible first...I was wrong it should be the sixth day). While, scientists said life began in the form of the simplest micro-organisms such bacterias and protozoans and it started 3.5 - 4 billions years ago.

Recent theory by Prof. Paul Davies even proposed that life might have started in Mars and somehow "transfered" to the Earth in the rock blasts off the red planet due to comet impacts. Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in one of the scientists whose research interests are searching for the nature and origin of life. He is even going a bit further, by thinking we, human, may not be the only intelligent life in the universe.

Efforts to search for another life in the universe are now being done by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, a private, non-profit organisation dedicated for scientific research, education and public outreach in exploring, understanding and explaining the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. In a simpler statement, what SETI does is to send and seek for any "signals" of intelligence extra terretrial life out there or in other word they try to communicate with "alliens" by using sending/accepting light beams or listening to radio signals.

The idea behind this "we're not alone" theory is the "fact" that human life evolved from the simplest form in a right condition for a certain period. It means, in another universe, given a similar condition and simplest micro-organisms exist and in a similar period of evolution, there may be another life of our kind. Whether it is as "civilised" as us or worse/better, we don't know.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Crazy World

The world is going mad:
  • Mass suicides in Japan.
  • Woman avoids jail over abuse.
  • Teenager carries knive as a "protection".

Friday, March 10, 2006

Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak

One man has died because of Legionnaire disease in Preston, Melbourne and several others are now hospitalized. The disease is caued by bacteria called Legionella which can live in water drop-lets. The outbreak apparently came from the cooling tower of Optus building in Preston. Meanwhile in Monash University, one staff member in my faculty has been diagnosed with the disease and sent to a hospital. The cooling towers in the university have been checked and no indication of Legionella bacterias has been detected, as explained in the following email quote:
Following the global email of 1 March 2006 regarding a staff member at the Clayton campus who had been diagnosed with Legionnaire's Disease, the Department of Human Services has today provided the university with the cooling tower test results. The results have indicated *no Legionella* was detected in any of the cooling towers on campus.
So, how did the staff member get infected by the disease? Nobody know and no one tell us.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Geomorphology from Space

There are some nice features on our Earth's surface which are so large that it is impossible for us to recognise it unless we are flying high above it. These features I refer to are not man-made but they occur naturally, formed mainly by wind, water (river, lake, ocean), movements of large blocks of rocks and volcanisms or the combination of one or more of them. Thanks to current remote sensing technology, we can enjoy looking at these natural creations without physically sitting in an airplane.

In geological science, there is a branch which studies the shape (morphology) of Earth surface and possible processes which form it. This branch of geological science is called Geomorphology. Studying Geomorphology nowdays is certainly made easier by the application of remote sensing technology and the availability of satellite imagery, such as those archived in the NASA's website.

The Geomorphology from Space section of NASA website is a gallery of hundreds of satellite imageries taken from different landforms. Among others are tectonic landforms, which are formed by large rock blocks' movement; volcanic - by volcanisms; eolian - by wind blow; and fluvial - by river. More interesting imageries from different landforms can be found in the gallery. Take a tour!

It Has Ended!

The journey has to end at some stage. Liverpool's season is now on the brink of failure after the Champions League exit due to 0-2 lost to Benfica of Portugal at Anfield this morning (Melbourne time). It is hard to accept Liverpool got beaten by a team from Portugal but in a cup tie, anything is possible. My only regret is all strikers were not scoring in the two games, missing chance by chance. Welldone to Benfica for being more clinical than The Reds. Only one cup left to play for this season, that is the FA Cup.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Remnant of the Early Cretaceous Tree

These photographs show a petrified wood, part of a tree which has become fossil. It is outcroped on the Dinosaur Cove, Inverloch Beach (South Gippsland-Victoria). The tree lived in this region more than 135 millions years ago.

Blogging - Is it a Lifestyle?

I may be a bit late to realise it, but is it true blogging now a lifestyle?

This question popped up in my mind because yesterday I saw two blogs from two "celebrities". The first is a "celebrity" from Indonesia and the second is from United States (well at least he was once a rap singer and quite famous). The day before yesterday, I visited the blog of President of Taiwan (which all written in Chinese letters and I didn't understand a thing).

The celebrity from Indonesia I refer to is actually current member of House of Representative (HoR = the parliament) of Republic of Indonesia. She won Miss Indonesia in 2001, she is also a model (but not at the moment though because she is serving in the HoR) and an author of a book (Kecantikan Bukan Modal Utama Saya - Female Power Is Not Beauty).

Mind you, it was very difficult to get in touch with members of HoR of Indonesia in the past, unless you can get access through your connection or business. There are some parliament members whom you can contact easily but if you live in small towns, you may not often get a chance to speak to them directly or you don't know where to send your letters. It may sounds unsual because in some western countries you can visit the offices of members of parliament both local and national from your area and they publicise their contact address through printed media, etc. However it looks like things start to change for the better.

For a member of HoR to have a blog is "new" to most Indonesian, however I did expect the parliament members to have their own personal websites where we can contact them easily to lodge some complaints or encouragements.

The second celebrity or former celebrity I mentioned earlier is MC Hammer, once a rapper. His blog is hosted by Blogspot (the link to his blog is on the right column of my blog). His blog is well designed, it looks nice and tidy.

A possibility of these celebrities employing other people to look after their blogs or even to write the contents for them cannot be ruled out, because they must be busy with their works/daily life. Nevertheless it is good for the image of blogging if "famous" people now joining us ordinary blogger.

Back to the question, is blogging now a lifestyle? Yes?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How's Your Equipment?

A scientist met a soldier with his gun.

Scientist: "How's your equipment"
Soldier : "My gun works OK. How's your equipment?"

Scientist: "My planet is overheating, but the government keeps ignoring it."

The above conversation was drawn as a cartoon by Michael Leunig recently and it was published by The Age Newspaper in Melbourne.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Leunig the Big Nose

The March section of Leunig's 2006 Calender


Essence of fish and chips
  • Leunig is praying before having the fish and chips in front of him, his eyes shut, his head bowed and with his hands in front of his chest
Essence of shoe polish
  • Leunig is polishing his shoe, he is seated on a chair with his body bended forward and his nose very close to the shoe on the floor
Essence of wheat bag
  • Leunig is smelling a wheat bag from a crawling position, with his right hand touching the back of the wheat bag
Essence of wet dog
  • Leunig is standing in front of a wet dog, with his nose close to the head of the dog
Essence of burnt toast
  • The toaster is placed on a table , only one leg of the table drawn and Leunig's head is small in the upper right background
Essence of Saturday afternoon
  • Leunig is mowing his lawn, with one window, the corner of his house, fence, trees and shining sun as the background, and a table with a tea pot and two cups on it as the foreground.
Essence of clean sheets
  • Leunig is sleeping tight on the right side of his bed, his body is covered by an orange colour quilt.
Essence of sweetheart
  • Leunig is sleeping tight with his wife next to him, they are covered by pink quilt

For those who don't know Leunig, you can visit Curly Flat

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Reconstructing a Dinosaur

How do scientists reconstruct a dinosaur?

First of all, it is not that every organism can be preserved and found later as a fossil. Bones, the hardest part of vertebrates, have the highest possibility to to be preserved, however the preservation will depend on whether or not they were buried within sedimentary rocks that can prevent them from decaying. If the bones were buried in shallow sediments and exposed to living microbes or get oxidised, then the chance is small for it to preserve.

Secondly, scientists rarely can discover the complete bones of a dead organism which has become fossil. Sometimes they found the teeth only, or if lucky they can find more bones, such as limbs, back bones and ribs. Scientists do their best to recognise which fossil is which bone and how they relate to each other to form an organism in the past. They measure the sizes of the discovered fossils and based on these pieces of bones they try to imagine how big the animal was, how long their limbs were and so on.

Thirdly, scientists need helps from artists to visualize their interpretation of "an organism" into a three dimensional creature. A dinosaur displayed in a museum is a result of collaboration from scientists and artists, it is not the work of scientists alone.

So, if scientists want to put a smile on the face of a dinosaur displayed in a museum, they actually can do it. A smiling and friendly dinosaur. Cool!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Old Files - Sorrento Trip (3)

Last part of the photos:

View from Murrays Lookout Point, 247 m above MSL, looking toward Port Phillips Bay

This is Hotel Sorrento, nearby the beach

Old Files - Sorrento Trip (2)

The second part of some photos from Sorrento:

Bird-view of part of the Sorrento Beach

Again, Sorrento Beach

This is the Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry

Old Files - Sorrento Trip (1)

Not much to share today, so I thought I am gonna upload a couple old photos from my trip to Sorrento, Mornington Peninsula, (very) south-southeast of Melbourne. If you don't know where it is, check world map (I know this doesn't help either :p).

Here are the first part:

Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry

Sorrento Beach

Friday, March 03, 2006

Going Digital

Do you own a digital camera? Or have you planned to get one? Would you like to have one in the future?

Apart from mobile phone, digital camera and handycam are most likely at the top of personal's and family's wishlists nowdays. I think for those who like travelling and photography, a digital camera is very likely a "must-have".

It is understandable if people want to use a digital camera instead of the conventional one. A digital camera in average is most likely more expensive than the conventional one, however using a digital camera means better result regardless our photography skill. The camera can adjust things for us, what we need to do is choose a good scene to shoot, that's it! Obviously the pictures quality will depend on how good the camera used in taking the photos is, but if you have a good digital camera, the photos taken by amateur will look like the ones taken by the professionals.

The photographs stored within a digital camera can also be shared easily. Connect the camera to a computer, download the photos and send them by email to anywhere we like. The photos can even be manipulated by using softwares such as Photoshop or Photopaint.

With the world going for digital, all businesses related to producing photographs from conventional cameras need to change as well. Negative films are now not needed as much as they were a couple years ago. As the result of this drop in sales, some companies which produced negative films have to fire their employees, cut their cost of operations. In the past, we might often see Kodak and AGFA advertisements, but now what we see is Samsung or Sony.

The digital camera technology hit some conventional businesses very hard. Unfortunately, it is something they have to accept because the world want the latest technology.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Closing Down Sale

The huge sign has been there since more than 6 months ago, in fact, I think it has been there for nearly a year. This huge sign is the "Closing Down Sale" sign at the front of a shop near my house.

It is very likely that the shop owner tries to attract more customers by showing this sign. The shop is located at the side of a very busy highway, which means there is more possibility of first time passing-by drivers seeing the sign and thinking the shop is about to close down indeed. As people usually expect buying cheap stuffs, stopping by at a closing-down shop will be a good idea.

I think a false sign like this one should not be used to attract people coming to a shop. It is actually on the borderline of telling a lie because it gives a wrong message to the customers.

However, it is also possible that the owner indeed has planned to close-down the shop. Perhaps the owner wants to close down the shop next year, and the closing-down sale already started last year.

From Floppy Disk to External Hard Disk

Fifteen years ago, a floppy disk was used to store data from a computer. The floppy disk was such a sensitive stuff that we had to look after it like taking care of a baby. Today, we don't even use the 3.5" floppy disk, let alone the thin 5 1/4 floppy. Our data/images/files/etc are now stored in a CD or DVD, USB Disk, or even an external hard disk.

Gone are the days we needed 10 pieces of 3.5" floppy disk to store a file of 15 MB in size. Dividing a single big file into several smaller size files is not necessary anymore, unless this file is gigangous. One 256 MB USB Disk today is enough to store many files. If this is not enough, buy an 80 GB laptop's external hard disk. It's small and convenient because it doesn't use up a lot of space, even it can be put in your pocket.

USB disk is very useful to move files from one computer to another. Its small size makes it very easy to carry, just put it in the pocket. The hard external case of USB disk can protect itself, too, unlike the old floppy disk. Meanwhile, an external hard disk is usually used for backing-up data/project of large size. If you have a long term project and you are in the final year of this project, you don't want to lose anything of whatever you've done.

There was a case recently when a researcher's laptop stolen by a theft, he lost all his project data, results, papers and all his colleagues' works stored in his laptop. He never made a back-up of the laptop's hard disk so he made a plea to the theft by advertising in a newspaper. The theft probably doesn't read newspaper at all.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reducing Phone Bill

There are several ways which we can do to reduce our phone bill. Using voice messenger and webphone program among others are the answers, and now web call back technology like JAJAH and CALL2 also help.

For domestic purpose, the bill reduction perhaps is only small, however for international destinations, it will be a huge saving. Obviously it will depend on from where to where the call is being made.

Web call back tehnology allows us to move around while calling, because we don't use headset and only need computer when inserting phone numbers and it gives us more mobility. We can even call from anywhere using mobile phone because if we use CALL2 service because they provide "call back by sms" service, we send sms to a number, write down our call destination and wait for call back and connection. Quite simple and cheap as well.