News of the week

Some news from the last fortnight or so. Things seem to be getting going again after the winter break. If you see anything you think our readers would be interested in, please get in touch

Shale education

Penn State University have put together an interactive infographic on the Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania. My first impression was that it was pro-industry. On reflection, I think it's quite objective, if idealized. As an industry, we need to get away from claims like "fracking fluid is 99% water" and "shale gas developments cover only 0.05% of the state". They may be true, but they don't give the whole story. Attractive, solid websites like this can be part of fixing this.

New technology

This week all the technlogy news has come from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It's mostly about tablets this year, it seems. Seems reasonable—we have been seeing them everywhere recently, even in the workplace. Indeed, the rumour is that Schlumberger is buying lots of iPads for field staff.

So what's new in tech? Well, one company has conjured up a 10-finger multi-touch display, bringing the famous Minority Report dream a step closer. I want one of these augmented reality monocles. Maybe we will no longer have to choose between paper and digital!

Geophysical magic?

tiny press story piqued our interest. Who can resist the lure of Quantum Resonance Interferometry? Well, apparently some people can, because ViaLogy has yet to turn a profit, but we were intrigued. What is QRI? ViaLogy's website is not the most enlightening source of information—they really need some pictures!—but they seem to be inferring signal from subtle changes in noise. In our opinion, a little more openness might build trust and help their business.

Detect and Deter: Can Countries Verify the Nuclear Test Ban? Dahlman, et al, December 2011, Springer, 281 pages, $129. I've been interested in nuclear test monitoring since reading about the seismic insights of Tukey, Bogert, and others at Bell Labs in the 1960s. There's geophysics, nuclear physics and politics in here. Deepwater Petroleum Exploration & Production: A Nontechnical Guide Leffler, et al, October 2011, Pennwell, 275 pages,$79. This is the second edition of this book by ex-Shell engineer Bill Leffler, aimed at a broad industry audience. There are new chapters on geoscience, according to the blurb.