Correlation does not equal causation, but they do tend to tango on occasion

1 hour ago, Jan van Eck said:

Tom, you might be surprised to learn that the designer/builder of the Brooklyn Bridge never actually was an enrolled student in engineering school.  He (I think he was Austrian) simply sat in on some classes, emigrated to America, then convinced some railroad to hire him to oversee the building of railroad trestle bridges out in Ohio, and then using that experience showed up in New York and convinced the City Fathers to hire him to go build the Brooklyn Bridge.  Hey, it's still there, so looks like he figured out how to build your bridge, and never even made Grade "B".  

Jan, tip of the hat to your ability to get me to pause and rethink my preconceived biases.  Well done, again.

1 hour ago, Jan van Eck said:

This thread has gotten seriously deep, with its investigation of political thought, upon which I reflect, this is why I remain a committed Monarchist.  God Save King Willem Alexander!  (My comfortable way of retreating from the messiness of "democracy.")  Oh, well.

Here's a hint for when I hope that a thread I start will veer off into unexpected and uncontrolled directions...  When I start a thread entitled "Oil prices likely to hit $80 by Autumn" it's pretty obvious what the topic of discussion will likely be.  Although any thread can veer off in weird and wonderful directions, having a specific topic in the title tends to keep things on topic.

If you look at the title of this thread, it's providing no particular indication what the heck I'm planning to ramble on about.  It helps encourage open discussions on pretty much any topic.

Try it yourself sometime.  Start a thread with an open title, and see if others jump in and run with it like a playful herd of cats.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I love seeing a diversity of opinions, discussed logically and rationally.  If this forum becomes an echo chamber where everyone agrees on everything, then heck I'll call it a day and stay at home playing solitaire instead - which would be less boring than unthinking agreement.  Luckily, there is so far no danger of that happening here.

Cheers.

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12 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Tom, you might be surprised to learn that the designer/builder of the Brooklyn Bridge never actually was an enrolled student in engineering school.  He (I think he was Austrian) simply sat in on some classes, emigrated to America, then convinced some railroad to hire him to oversee the building of railroad trestle bridges out in Ohio, and then using that experience showed up in New York and convinced the City Fathers to hire him to go build the Brooklyn Bridge.  Hey, it's still there, so looks like he figured out how to build your bridge, and never even made Grade "B".  

This thread has gotten seriously deep, with its investigation of political thought, upon which I reflect, this is why I remain a committed Monarchist.  God Save King Willem Alexander!  (My comfortable way of retreating from the messiness of "democracy.")  Oh, well.

I would argue that this story is further indictment of the "B" student.  My experience was that the guys running off to do their own thing were better than the A students.  They leave after becoming frustrated with mediocre, stifling education systems.  So it's not that they're too lazy to get an A; it's that they're too motivated - and competent - to tolerate asininity. 

The B student, on the other hand, is the picture of laziness.  Doesn't care about excellence, doesn't care about the outcome, doesn't want to stand out.  Just wants to get the job and be comfortable. 

 

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7 minutes ago, mthebold said:

The B student, on the other hand, is the picture of laziness.  Doesn't care about excellence, doesn't care about the outcome, doesn't want to stand out.  Just wants to get the job and be comfortable. 

 

In Canada, it was my observation that the "B" students (and enough "A" students to make me squirm) had no ambition other than to go to work for the Government - preferably the Federal Government.  Good pay, some bureaucratic status, lifetime gig.  I recall this high-powered leftist agitator at McGill in Montreal who, upon graduation, immediately went to Ottawa and got a job with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  (CBC).  He's probably still there, a lifer for the bureaucracy.  So much for all that agitation stuff.  I would be surprised if Americans are all that much different  (although Canadians seem obsessed with government jobs, and buying life insurance. Why they all go buy life insurance is beyond me.).  The ambitious guys that showed up at my plant for a job were the immigrants. Those guys all were serious about working. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
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11 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Jan, tip of the hat to your ability to get me to pause and rethink my preconceived biases.  Well done, again.

 

Tom, from what I can make of it, American society back in the boom of industrialization was all commanded by guys who had this paucity of formal schooling.  Look at Carnegie, who became the richest man ever on the planet when he sold Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan, who in turn combined that with other steel plants to form U.S. Steel Co.   I recall Carnegie showed up on the immigrant boat from Scotland, with no education and no money.  Then you have Rockefeller, with his Standard Oil and his rail monopolies, and I don't think he went to college either.  When you look around at the fortune builders, the lumber barons, the railroad men, the Presidents, these guys were not exactly alumni of some Princeton Eating Club.  The Princeton crowd pretty much never left New York City and Newport, Rhode Island, and spent their time buying fancy wives and building mansions to out-impress each other.  But the builders were these scrappy immigrants who washed ashore in America and were hired for energy and talent. 

The whole idea of "The Diploma" as a place-marker for intellectual development (and thus employability) is a post-WWII construct, and I put that down to inherently lazy personnel officers who were using a Degree as a substitute for taking personal risk in selecting good management candidates.  From there it spread into the various bureaucracies, including into the FBI, where at one point you had to have a Law School degree to apply (!).  So, busting rum runners over the Canadian Border required a Juris Doctor.  Only a bureaucrat could come up with such nonsense.  When I hire guys, I don't even ask about college work, and I never ask for transcripts, not interesting.  What has this man done with his life?  That's what counts. (What I don't hire is people who drink, as those people are irresponsible and go do hit-and-run crashes, it never ends with drunks).  In my view, colleges should not issue grades, it demeans the quest for knowledge and understanding, and contaminates the education process. And they shouldn't issue diplomas, either, for the same reason!

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2 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

In Canada, it was my observation that the "B" students (and enough "A" students to make me squirm) had no ambition other than to go to work for the Government - preferably the Federal Government.  Good pay, some bureaucratic status, lifetime gig.  I recall this high-powered leftist agitator at McGill in Montreal who, upon graduation, immediately went to Ottawa and got a job with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  (CBC).  He's probably still there, a lifer for the bureaucracy.  So much for all that agitation stuff.  I would be surprised if Americans are all that much different  (although Canadians seem obsessed with government jobs, and buying life insurance. Why they all go buy life insurance is beyond me.).  The ambitious guys that showed up at my plant for a job were the immigrants. Those guys all were serious about working. 

I will give the office bound prairie dogs my respect.  It takes a certain kind of stamina to put a career in at some cubicle farm.  Of course, when I see it I literally have to swallow my vomit as I walk through.  It's like some kind of antibody inside me is warning me about poisons all around me and making me want to find the nearest exit.  (shiver runs down spine) Gulp...

Out in the field is the place for me.  Be a player that at least makes a difference once or twice a month! 😎  I'll never forget a call I got years ago.  I was in China and it was 3 o'clock in the morning.  The call was from Cincinnati and it was some guy in my company that I had never communicated with before.  He had received an order from my local airline customer for a mod kit and he just wanted to check on a bolt part number to see if it was correct!  I don't think he expected the earful I gave him.  Even then, you could check on time zones pretty easily.

Edited by Dan Warnick
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On 8/10/2018 at 12:52 PM, Dan Warnick said:

I hope my VPN is working properly, because your comment is spot on.  And the power you speak of is normally and frequently abused by those in power to cover almost anything said that is directed towards any part of the "leadership".  Hey, if the country is called a kingdom, anything said against any of its agents can grossly be said to fall under this rule.  Right?  Wrong.

... 

I understand, as do you Tom, that your comments down there prick some very powerful people, and others that may not be as powerful but at least have great sums of money to either lose or gain.  Be careful, my friend!  

For those of you in Western countries who tend to take Freedom of Speech for granted, note that simple trolling here in Malaysia is technically illegal.  Penalty up to RM 50 (around USD $12k) and 1 year in prison.

From an official Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission - government website:

What is MCMC's jurisdiction in addressing complaints about offensive content in the Internet?

Section 211: Prohibition on provision of offensive content
(1)  No content applications service provider or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person.
(2)  A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence is continued after conviction.
 

 

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And the penalty for publishing "fake news" (which is not defined) is RM 500,000 (around USD $120,000) and 10 years in prison.

So my gentle trolling tends to be pretty darn gentle.  Here's an example of me gently poking fun at an alarmist over on LinkedIn, who tried to scaremonger that global warming would cause oceans to rise 60 feet.  A few others chimed in as well : )

Knowing the harsh penalties here in Malaysia for using the internet for all out "offensive" or "annoying" or "fake news" posting, I'm generally forced to use some gentle laughing at absurdity rather than all out trolling.

Oooh goody, another global conspiracy theory on LinkedIn!

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3 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

And the penalty for publishing "fake news" (which is not defined) is RM 500,000 (around USD $120,000) and 10 years in prison.

So my gentle trolling tends to be pretty darn gentle.  Here's an example of me gently poking fun at an alarmist over on LinkedIn, who tried to scaremonger that global warming would cause oceans to rise 60 feet.  A few others chimed in as well : )

Knowing the harsh penalties here in Malaysia for using the internet for all out "offensive" or "annoying" or "fake news" posting, I'm generally forced to use some gentle laughing at absurdity rather than all out trolling.

Oooh goody, another global conspiracy theory on LinkedIn!

Ha-ha!  "It can buy me a boat"  Great song (link within the link Tom provided).  And I just realized it fits: Malaysia is set to auction off a small fishing boat, I believe.

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19 minutes ago, Dan Warnick said:

Ha-ha!  "It can buy me a boat"  Great song (link within the link Tom provided).  And I just realized it fits: Malaysia is set to auction off a small fishing boat, I believe.

Close, a super-yacht...

‘Equanimity’ will be sold to the highest bidder

The RM1bil “Equanimity” will be sold “ASAP” to the highest bidder to recover the stolen money used to buy the superyacht, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Spending an hour on board, the Prime Minister, who is no stranger to yachts, was awestruck by the extent of its grandiose luxury.

“It’s super luxurious. I have been on yachts before but nothing like this. Everything is superb, and bought with stolen money, by crooks. We’ll get the crooks,” he said after inspecting the yacht, berthed at the Boustead Cruise Centre at Pulau Indah here yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has assured Malaysia that the yacht belongs to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, bought using money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

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On 8/9/2018 at 7:46 AM, Tom Kirkman said:

One of these days my comments about oil & gas might land me in some hot water.  Over on LinkedIn, I tend to comment quite a bit about Petronas and Malaysia oil & gas & LNG.  That's simply because I have a lot more Malaysian connections on LinkedIn than I do here on Oil Price.  And some of my comments on LinkedIn have gotten "disappeared" in the past on "touchy" topics.

Anyway, my latest comment on LinkedIn may rile a few Petronas staff, but as many of you already know, I'm not a big believer in not speaking my mind.

So here's my latest observation this morning about the ongoing Petronas vs Sarawak dispute in Malaysia, which I posted on LinkedIn:

================================

Regardless of what Reuters or The Edge or any media say, I tend to think the abrupt slowdown in natural gas / LNG in Sarawak is due *at least in part* to the dispute over oil & gas (and LNG) rights and royalties, between Petronas / Federal government in Peninsular and Sarawak.

Malaysia is one of the largest exporters in the world of LNG.  And all of Malaysia's LNG exports come from MLNG in Bintulu, Sawarak.

The *timing* of the abrupt "problems" with natural gas & LNG in Sarawak happened at the same time as the very vocal oil / gas / LNG rights & royalties dispute between Petronas and Sarawak.  And mysteriously, approvals are not granted yet to resume production  < eye roll >

I remain unconvinced that the O&G dispute and the O&G slowdown are totally unrelated.  Just my opinion; as always, you are free to disagree.

Malaysia LNG exports hit 4-yr low on pipeline issues — sources

 

=============================

For a bit of background, here's one of my previous rants about this Petronas / Sarawak dispute:

Hey Petronas, Royalties are *not* the same as Profits

Ah well, it isn't just oil and gas that suffers from, hmmm lets call it "some degrees of opacity". A few years ago I uncovered a huge - and I mean huge - cartel that was milking humanitarian demining of millions of dollars annually, in a then, recently post conflict country. Moreover the cartel was also running a huge smuggling operation as well as creaming millions from the World Bank (reputed loss in 1 year = 7 million USD) and other major donors.  I actually went under cover with the world bank fraud investigation team to assist their investigations for a week or so.

I took the evidence of the fraud and corruption to the OHR. The Resident High Representative received me like a present of rotten fish. My own embassy staff treated me with derision and scorn. My office manager, a redoubtable lady was beaten senseless and I received a message to the effect that if I didn't leave the country concerned immediately I would be killed.

On returning to my own country I went to see the organisation responsible for handling foreign aid (at that time about 15 or 16 billion dollars worth a year). There I was treated  like a contagious disease and told that if I had any complaints I should have taken those complaints up with the people concerned. In other words I should have complained to the people who had told me they were going to kill me.

Later on - not very much later on, the politician responsible for foreign aid in my country wrote to my Member of Parliament, through whom I had channelled my information to the government and told him that there was no truth in my allegations.

My country? Oh thats the one with the "Mother of all Parliaments", you know, the one with one of the oldest judicial systems in the world. The country with the government that doesn't allow bribery and corruption. Did you guess it yet?

I am a UK citizen. The country concerned is UK and the government department is DFID. As an old friend of mine from MI6 once told me: "Dont believe anything about UK, the whole country is a mess of smoke and mirrors".

And they have the nerve to criticise Putin and his skulduggery.

Edited by Eodmatt
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On 8/10/2018 at 11:24 AM, Tom Kirkman said:

Intriguing idea there, Epic.  Meritocracy in action.  Every student gets a fair shot at a free education.

Sounds more workable than this idea:

Professors allow students to pick their own grade

A literature class at Davidson College this fall will use “contract grading,” allowing students to pick ahead of time their grade for the class and the workload they need to complete to earn it.

The offer is posed by Professor Melissa Gonzalez for her Introduction to Spanish Literatures and Cultures course, SPA 270, at the private liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina.

She is one of several professors across the nation who allow this pick-your-own grade method, billed as a way to eliminate the student-professor power differential and give students control of their education. But critics contend it is just another example of how colleges coddle students from the harsh realities of the real world, which includes competition and goal expectations.

... But not all students are convinced it’s a good idea, including Davidson College senior Kenny Xu, who is majoring in mathematics.

“It degrades trust in your achievement by outside authorities, including employers, grad schools, scholarships etc.,” he told The College Fix. “Imagine if an employer saw that you got an A not because you were truly one of the best in the class but because you fulfilled some requirement YOU personally set. Would he really trust that A? I think not.”

“Colleges are increasingly viewing themselves as a support system rather than an institution of learning,” Xu added. “Learning is not supposed to be easy, or comfortable. Excellence requires that you step out of your comfort zone and compete. Colleges are becoming shelters, which is not what this country nor what this generation needs.”

And in UK, yesterdays papers revealed that school examinations will be marked more "leniently" so as not to disadvantage some pupils. Namely, one supposes, the lazy and stupid. I mean please excuse me for asking, for I am but an old ignorant EOD engineer, wouldn't it be better if teaching methods were improved, if slower pupils were encouraged more, rather than lowering the standard across the board?

I taught EOD at advanced level at the NATO school for a few years and the pass marks were high (you cant really allow people to deal with bombs if they are only half trained), but the failure rate was low. The training was all about motivation and not about lowering standards so that all could achieve the same level.

Come to think of it, I may be wrong. I quite fancy being a professor of quantum physics. How hard can it be? Pas me an exam paper and I'll have a crack at it during my tea break.

Edited by Eodmatt
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On 8/10/2018 at 11:22 AM, mthebold said:

it costs me nothing to be considerate.

I wish more people thought like this.

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32 minutes ago, Epic said:

I wish more people thought like this.

Winston Churchill once said: "If you are about to kill a man, it costs nothing to be civil to him".

 

 

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