Where have all the earthquakes gone? Kansas and Ohio.

This is a short blog by a geologist in New Mexico about quakes caused by injection in the Kansas /Ohio area

Of course frackquakes are part of the scaremongerers’ armoury in Lancahire


But this is typical damage from a Mag4 quake in Los Angeles and few caused by even injection are that big.


In Kansas, seismic activity dropped from 1,967 earthquakes to 668 earthquakes over two years when regulations on oilfield disposal wells were applied. How did they achieve this?

Source: Where have all the earthquakes gone? Kansas.


Dan Brown TheOrigin – a book for the wistfully educated sceptic


Dan Brown, The Origin

This is one of the best-selling novel  at present and follows the usual Dan Brown formula; easily written, a bit far-fetched, and chimes in with the upper end of pop culture. It’s a very easy read and you feel sucked into it. Yet here, as in the Da Vinci Code, Brown brings out his subtle and not so subtle misrepresentations of Christianity. In The Origin refers to the supposed conflict of science religion with various misunderstandings of Galileo and Darwin. This appeals to much of pop culture.

After all, it is God or science! Nobody ever told Galileo or Darwin.
Yet despite his rejection of Christianity and other religions he has some religious feeling but looks elsewhere than main churches encouraging odd spiritualities!!
There is more that we could write on the corruption and failures of the church. And so the book races on for 450 pages and culminates with a murderous encounter in the gaudy Gaudi Sagrada Familia in Barcelona!


Brown throws out so many half-digested ideas and despite his rejection of the corrupt old religions such as Christianity, he gives the impression there is something more than materialism and an anti-spiritual life. He never defines what that is, but seems to accept there is “something more”.
It ends with a climax and an anti-climax.

The climax is the way Artificial Intelligence is taking over, but that is presented in hyped-up manner. In other words, science has cruelly defeated religion.
The anti-climax is that all religions cannot cope with all these new ideas of science. That is simply nonsense as most scientists do not see the problem! But somehow Brown seems to imply there needs to be an unspecified spiritual dimension. But then he leaves his readers in the air, maybe to convince themselves that they are spiritual! But he leaves us with the thought

“The dark religions must depart, so sweet science can reign.”

It is clear that Christianity to Brown is a dark religion so we have his racy rejection, wrapped up in his pseudo-intellectual view that religion is opposed to science. The popularity of Brown’s books show how these ideas have pervaded our culture and result in a scepticism of the Christian Faith.
We need to ask WHAT a spiritual dimension could be and one which doesn’t just give us a cosy feeling, but actually helps us to live our lives in all its complexities, joys and sadness.
Here some ancient carpenter is far better a guide than a pot-boiling novelist. He never wrote a book, but said and did some good things.

Or was he a builder?

Why did Jesus die? Cosmic child abuse or the love of God?

We are coming up to Holy Week and Christians spend Holy Week thinking again of the events from Palm sunday to Easter Day.

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The hardest to grasp is Good Friday

Why did Jesus die?

I am quite often asked “Why did Jesus die?” One churchmember tackled me after church and I offer this as a very brief reply
It is not easy to answer and a short answer can be very trite. Yet Jesus’s death and the symbol of the cross has a very strong emotive power. (To some that weakens as humans are supposed to be rational not emotional. That is not true as we all have emotions, whether or not we wear them on our sleeves. We show our emotions over different things.) This can be seen in the symbol of the Red Cross and many World War graves.
We could answer the question medically, but that does not explain why Jesus’s death has meaning for so many.

In a sense there is a simple answer, summed up in the hymn “There is a green hill far away”;

He died that we might be forgiven
He died to make us good

In its simplicity this brings out two main things, first there is something wrong with humans as we are not good and need forgiving and Jesus enables that. This is summed up in the devalued word “sin”, which has lost its currency. However we need to consider human nature and sin. Francis Spufford in his excellent book Unapologetic sums this up as “the Human Propensity to **** things UP”. Earthy though that is, it is better than popular ideas which trivialise human badness as a “moment of madness” or similar euphemisms, or old ideas of breaking rules. There is something about all of us in that we have a knack of getting things wrong, even when we try to do them right. Unless we are self-righteous prigs we are aware that there is a sense of FAIL about us. Simply trying harder doesn’t seem to work.

So what about Jesus? Few would disagree that he was a good man and a great moral teacher, but the four gospels spend more words on his actual death and the main symbol of Christianity is the cross – one of the most ghastly means of execution ever devised. In a sense the Four Gospels do not tell us why Jesus died, but the accounts are incredibly moving and may reduce us to silence. Many composers have put them to music, and none are better than Bach with his St Matthew Passion and St John Passion.

At times explanations can be crude as with the view that God punished Jesus instead of us. This comes out with some popular preaching, but it makes God seem unreasonable. Far better is to see Jesus submitting to injustice on our behalf and showing that the way of suffering for and serving others is the way of hope..

Thus Paul in Philippians chap 2 vs 5-11.

1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Another one by Paul is to see Jesus as the reconciler and thus in 2 Corinthians 5 vs 16-21.

15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

These are two excellent passages to read.

Above all we see in the death of Jesus his sacrificial love for us and that we are to share that love. At best we only partially understand why Jesus died for us.

In Praise of the Corporation

May be big corporations aren’t that bad after all.

Perhaps you could spend a week using nothing made or sold by big corporations whether BP, ExxonMobil, Walmart/Asda, Sainsbury’s , Ford, or anyone else.

A good challenge

The Risk-Monger

You might be reading this on your laptop in a comfortably warm Uber you arranged on your smartphone via a website storing your data in the cloud. The car is a hybrid built with advanced polymers, chemicals and repurposed plastics. The coffee in your cup (recycled from used chewing gum) was freshly ground, with an attractive hazelnut aroma, paid for via an electronic payment system on your watch while you bite into a crisp apple (in March) that was perhaps three days off the branch. All of this is happening every day in cities like Manila or Shenzhen – something that could not have been dreamt of a generation ago.

You are benefitting from a large number of corporations that have made this moment possible. But before turning to read this blog, the last three messages you had received probably had focused an indignation towards industry, business and the corporations…

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Fracked Gas is worse than Coal. Whoops, another paper claiming that is retracted!!

Coal-power-plant-sunset-retire-XL_721_420_80_s_c1So often we are told fracked gas is worse than coal for emissions. Here is a peer-reviewed article which claims just that.

Oh dear, it has been retracted for errors which showed just the opposite

Retraction of Peer Reviewed Report Indicates Need for Smear Review
Posted on March 4, 2018 by Tom Shepstone
penneast pipeline – Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


A retracted study that had been peer reviewed indicates the danger in relying on it to ensure sound science when it comes to fractivist applauded reports.

Back in 2015, this is how an Akron, Ohio newspaper headlined some methane leakage research then being conducted by the University of Maryland:

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Natural Gas Wells
Are Increasing & Traveling Far Downwind



A new University of Maryland study shows a steep rise in greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas wells produced by fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The emitted gases travel far downwind from the producing states, suggesting the need for regional cooperation in monitoring and reducing emissions from natural gas production, say the authors.

The preliminary reporting turned into a study released in April, 2017 as a peer reviewed document. Now, the study has been retracted. It’s a lesson in the risk of depending on the words “peer reviewed” as a measure of credibility.



Here’s more from the early reporting on the preliminary research conducted by the same University of Maryland team that produced the subsequent retracted study:

Emissions linked to hydraulic fracturing, the method of drilling for natural gas commonly known as “fracking,” can be detected hundreds of miles away in states that that forbid or strictly control the practice, according to a new paper published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. The study, conducted at the University of Maryland (UMD), is among the latest data presented in the ongoing debate over fracking’s long-term effects on the environment.

The team used years’ worth of hourly measurements from photochemical assessment monitoring stations (PAMS) in the Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., areas to identify the sources of organic carbons in the region’s air. Starting in 2010, the data didn’t seem to make sense…

Preliminary research revealed that there was nothing happening in Maryland that could account for the steep increase. Maryland does not currently permit fracking, but when Ehrman’s team compared the rise in ethane to the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale play in neighboring states, they found a month-to-month correlation. After running a wind rose analysis – a tool used by meteorologists to track the wind direction, distribution and speed in a specified area – they felt even more confident that Maryland was receiving the tail end of emissions originating from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio…

“The question you start to ask yourself is, if ethane levels are going up this much, and it’s only a small percentage of all natural gas, how much methane and other, more reactive emissions are escaping from these wells?” says Ph.D. student Tim Vinciguerra, the paper’s lead author. “Following the fracturing process, the well undergoes completion venting to clear out fluid and debris before production. A substantial amount of hydrocarbons are emitted as a result of this flowback procedure.”

These new findings on natural gas emissions also are consistent with established findings by University of Maryland scientists showing westerly winds can carry power plant emissions and other pollution from states like Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to the Washington, D.C., region and elsewhere on the East Coast of the U.S.

Thus was a false story born. The University of Maryland team that effectively generated it went on to conclude, in the retracted report, the following (emphasis added):

We estimate the mean ± 1σ CH4 leak rate from O&NG operations as 3.9 ± 0.4% with a lower limit of 1.5% and an upper limit of 6.3%… Although recent regulations requiring capture of gas from the completion venting step of the hydraulic fracturing appear to have reduced losses, our study suggests that for a 20 year time scale, energy derived from the combustion of natural gas extracted from this region will require further controls before it can exert a net climate benefit compared to coal.

There was just one problem; the University of Maryland team had made a critical error, revealed, to their credit, by themselves in the subsequent retraction:

The article… has been retracted by the authors because of an error in wind measurements used to calculate methane emissions in the southwestern Marcellus Shale region. The error was discovered by the authors in October 2017 upon their installation of an improved, differential GPS, wind measurement system onto the aircraft used in this study. The original wind measurements led to an overestimate of methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations.

A reanalysis with corrected winds reduced the total estimated emissions by about a factor of 1.7, with a correspondingly larger reduction in emissions of methane attributed to oil and natural gas in the southwestern Marcellus Shale area.

This is expected to reverse a conclusion of the paper, which had asserted that leakage from oil and natural gas extraction in this region results in a climate penalty compared to the use of coal.

The authors are in the process of submitting a new manuscript based on an updated analysis that will describe the process to correct the erroneous wind measurements used in the original manuscript, provide a more accurate estimate of the methane emissions, and assess the implications of the fossil fuel production from the Marcellus Shale.

If your wondered whether the Akron Beacon Journal covered the retraction with the same enthusiasm as the original research, the unsurprising answer is a simple “no.” That almost never happens, of course. The public was told something that was blatantly wrong and it is now ingrained in memory as part of a big picture on fracking that is one gigantic distortion because of a rush to judgment in a mad dash for political correct publicity and research dollars. Correcting the false impression, as usual, is no easy task and will require years of explanation.

Who’s at fault? Well, we can blame lots of folks, but most of the discredit has to go those who gave the 2017 a peer reviewed imprimatur. Here’s how Tim Benson at the Heartland Institute summed it up:

Jordan McGillis, a policy analyst at the Institute for Energy Research, says with so much potential to affect public policy, it’s troubling the initial paper passed peer review.

“That an error of this magnitude made it through the publication process is unfortunate,” said McGillis. “It is not difficult to imagine the paper’s startling conclusions influenced the public against hydraulic fracturing, against gas infrastructure, and against gas generally.

“Misinformation perpetuates anti-energy bias in our culture and can result in real harm,” McGillis said.

McGillis says state governments in two regions near Marcellus energy operations have limited pipeline development because of environmental activists’ opposition.

“Consider the fact the New York and New England regions should be benefiting from the Marcellus Shale’s proximity but are instead hamstrung by pipeline opposition,” said McGillis. “Just this winter, ISO New England [the regional electric power transmission provider] produced a report citing insufficient gas infrastructure as a leading factor in their prediction of future fuel insecurity and operator-imposed blackouts.”

And, who were those peers? We’ll never know because their names aren’t provided. There’s no accountability with much of peer review today and these are the fruits of such lax publication and university policies. Peer review today now requires smear reviews to get to the truth.



Evolutions in Trust, Part 2: Blockchain (Citizen) Science

The serious problem of citizen science, when so often measurements are made by thosue who haven’t a clue

The Risk-Monger

In Part 1 of this blockchain series, the idea of “blockchain trust” was introduced. We no longer trust our experts, institutions and authorities but will happily get into a car with a stranger or rent out our sofa-bed to people we have never met based on widely shared reviews, believed to be transparent and objective. This is the world of blockchain trust – where everyone is watching and reviewing everyone else forming an anonymous, decentralised consensus (chain) of affirmation. Authority is determined by all parts of the chain who participate (and are allowed) on the chain.

The Risk-Monger has long ago been voted off the island.

As most scientists have also been voted off (or given merely one voice among the chain), we need to focus on how this blockchain trust tool functions for environmental health policy decisions that should be evidence-driven. This is the purpose of Part…

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