30Apr2000 #0018.html


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Dear Paul, Melanie and Jared Wright, Bridget, Rob, Ben and Sarah, Sara, Heather and Nate Pace, Audrey, Rachel, and Matt via hardcopy,

cc: file, Tony Hafen, Pauline Nelson via mail, Sara and Des Penny, Claude and Katherine Warner, Lloyd and Luana Warner, Diane Cluff, Maxine Shirts via mail.

Welcome to "Thoughtlets." This is a weekly review of an idea, belief, thought, or words that will hopefully be of some benefit to you, my children, with an electronic copy to on-line extended family members. Any of you can ask me not to clutter your mail box at any time.

"About six months ago I was contacted by the AAPG's VGP (American Association of Peteoleum Geologist's Visiting Geologist Proggram) and requested to visit Iowa State University to give a couple of presentations. I was interested because the vendor who built our three theaters were graduates of ISU and set up their company about 40 miles from Ames, Iowa. Also, their professor, Dr. Carolina Cruez-Niera, is at ISU, and I thought it would be good to visit her. When I set up the VPG visit to ISU, I did it far enough ahead I was certain we would be through the financial crisis of start-up mode at Continuum. Little did I know, Continuum would still be going forward on a month to month cash flow injection from Mr. Finstad.

When I went in to the office last Saturday to prepare my presentations for the AAPG VGP presentations, I went to http://www.isu.edu. It was the wrong university: Idaho State University. It struck me that the Internet not only leveled the business playing field, allowing an individual to compete with a large corporation, the web also levels the education playing field. I wondered who at Idaho State registered the isu.edu domain name, and who at Iowa State did not register the isu.edu domain name first. I wondered if the Idaho person was an active member of the church, and if The Holy Ghost prompted their action. I wondered if The Holy Ghost even cares about things like Internet domain names. Then I went to a search engine and found out the correct domain name for ISU is http://www.iastate.edu.

Since maps are not yet obsolete (../9939.html, ../9940.html, ../9944.html, ../9945.html, ../9947.html, ../9949.html, ../9950.html, ../9951.html, 0005.html, 0006.html, 0011.html, and 0012.html), the first thing I did was to find a map of the ISU campus in order to locate where my meetings were (http://www.fpm.iastate.edu/maps/central.html). I captured three maps off of their web site and incorporated them into my talk: `The Impending Obsolescence of Maps.' This talk was scheduled for 4:00 on Tuesday. I also put together a presentation titled `Geoscience Careers,' scheduled for a noon talk, and which I mentioned last week Sara reviewed for me (0017.html). The more I think about it, and the more data I see, the more convinced I am that we are on the verge of another 1973 embargo induced boom in the oil industry. Like the Louisiana bumper sticker says: `Lord, Give me one more chance, I promise not to blow the next oil boom.' I wish I could always be so confident.

Monday morning I left for the airport at 6:35 AM, just after Matt's school bus left for work. That time of the morning it takes about an hour to get to Park 'N Fly at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. I got to Northwest's ticket counter at 7:55, little less than an hour before the plane left for Detroit. Detroit is on Eastern time, and so my layover to catch a flight to Des Moines wasn't quite as bad as I originally thought it would be. I just found a plug, plugged in my computer, finished rewriting the Geoscience Career's talk, based on insights from Sara, and worked on filing e-mail. In fact, I was so engrossed in what I was doing they called the flight for boarding while I was still working. Doesn't take long to pack up a PC. I got to Des Moines at dusk, put my Lexus keys on the GeoMetro rental car key ring, got directions and headed off to Ames and ISU. It took about 50 minutes to navigate to the hotel. Sort of like driving to the house from Intercontinental yet, yet there is still a lot more open farm space.

Tuesday morning Carolina met me at the hotel and we went to her favorite European coffee house for breakfast. Then she gave me a tour of their facilities at the ISU VRAC (Virtual Reality Application Center). They are just finishing a 260 person theater which will have passive stereo in it. She agreed to make the theater available for relayed broadcast of the RC-SIG meeting from London, Ontario on September 14-15th. Then we looked at the C6, the first six walled CAVE in the America's. It will have a door that pops out when it opens. There will be no wires in the C6. There will be stereo images rear projected on all six sides of the room. The floor is a single piece of plexiglass, which was developed by a group that sells plexiglass to marina's to allow people to watch fish and whales in large aquariums. She showed me some hardcopy they do, similar to my 3-D pictures I have taken all over the world. I met the department chairman, and he said anything Carolina agrees to he also agrees to. Then she took me over to the C2, which is a regular 4 wall CAVE like at Arco Research without the ability to open it up. It was my first time to be in the FireCave, and I actually found myself to be dizzy and disoriented because the flyer was going through the various rooms so fast. The first time I stepped off of the cliff and fell down into the hot molten lava was hard. The VRAC is in the college of Mechanical Engineering, and I know if I was in my 20's now, I would find a way to get a Ph.D. or at least a Master's degree under Dr. Carolina Cruez-Niera. Bridget, you might be interested to know she was a ballerina when she invented the CAVE at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She was inventing a better stage.

I got over to the Geology Department at 11:20 and set up for my talk on `Geoscience Careers.' My host was Dr. Igor Beresnev from Moscow. He had driven me crazy coming up to the talk. Everything had to be arranged just so, and it wasn't until I talked to him I realized he was a product of Soviet bureaurcracy. Paul, I mentioned your mission in Novosibirsk, and he was somewhat interested. He was more interested in the founding of Landmark, the risk entrepreneur's take, the liabilities associated with starting your own company, etc. There were about 30 people in my lunch lecture, and there was some discussion about the material. After the discussion and packing up the projector and the PC, Dr. Beresnev and I went to lunch at the cafeteria. I learned he has a son and a daughter about 12 and 6. His wife is in a medical internship in Kansas City. Her Father was helping with the kids, and he had to return to Russia because his visa ran out. Sounds like a tough period for him to me. I hope none of you ever have to go through the temptations associated with an extended separation from your spouse like this. He has been at ISU for two years. He spent a several years in Northeast Canada, and a couple of years in Taiwan before that. He also spent 10 years in a Moscow research institute as a seismologist, and has a patent in Russia on using seismic to predict lithology and fluid and specifically porosity. Hot topic in Houston these days and back in 1996 I put some of Sean McQuaid's work in this area on the Walden 3-D web site (http://www.walden3d.com/lfpltd).

After lunch I met with the Department Chairman. I guessed correctly he is from Australia. He said he learned two things in my lunch talk: (1) the impact of cement on global CO2; and (2) the age distribution of geoscientists since the 1970's. Then I talked to a peteoleum geology professor who worked for Pan American (Amoco) and Chevron before retiring in the mid 1960's and going to Ames to be a professor at ISU. He did not believe the title of my obsolescence talk, and said geologists will always use maps. I won him over pretty quickly. He is retiring, and still teaching the field camp geology. He also works each summer in Africa with Dr. Leakey and other's who found Lucy, and other early huminoids. There were about 50 people in the afternoon lecture. The questions were a little better. The talk went from 4-5:10. Then I walked back over and got my car and followed Dr. Beresnev to a Chinese Restaurant where 3 professors and 3 students and I ate dinner. All in all it was a very enjoyable day. I would like to do more of this type of proselyting/recruiting/mentoring.

On the way to the motel from the restaurant I stopped at an ISU off campus bookstore on Lincoln Way. I found two books of interest, which I bought: Iowa Stereographs (which is by my stereograph at the entrance to the Continuum Theater); and Anama, the history of one of America's most durable and enterprising communal experiments, which I had never heard about before. This was my first trip to Iowa, unless we passed through when I drove Mom to Bowling Green State University when she got her MBA and back to Utah back in 1968/1969. I sense it is about time to resurrect my consecration/hipee idea's, and was pleased to find the book. I read from Why in the evening, and watched a movie called `The Deep End of the Ocean' which I had seen before and which reminds me of Rob, and an episode of McGuiver. I usually don't watch TV when I travel, and I did this time.

I got up at 4:30 Wednesday, checked out of the hotel by 5:00, and was at the Des Moines airport about 45 minutes before my flight left. The delay in Detroit was not so long, and I was back in the office by 2:00. It is a long way to ISU from Katy Freeway. Rhonda Hartman, my assistant for several years prior to Continuum, was quick to ask how her alma mater was. She hasn't been back to ISU in many years. I got back in time for a meeting about our strategy with the investor and the MuSE executive who was visiting on Thursday. I left the meeting at 6:10 to come home and get ready to teach my Venturing Crew at 7:00. We had a good group out, and I went over the Intelligent Habitat slides Ray Gardner and company put together back in 1990 as part of my Walden 3-D project (http://www.walden3d.com/w3d/design/W3D89A). The material seemed to go over pretty good. I was tired when we got home at 9:00.

Thursday's Sales Forecast meeting was canceled. I had breakfast with Gary Crouse and Steve Joseph to get caught up on Vpatch. I was back in the office by 8:00 AM. We had a meeting with Pal Rulestad, the financial representive of our investor. At 10:00 I had an organization committee meeting for the GCAGS Workshop in October. Then we met with John Hough of MuSE. Curtis Gangi is no longer at MuSE. This is good news. John grew up in Manchester less than 50 miles from where Jeff grew up, and he started as a surveyor. It was sort of like meeting with Hume's older brother. MuSE will not acquire Continuum in the short term, and yet I was very positive about the meetings. It will be interesting to see what happens this next week or two. At 4:30 I had a meeting with Mike Treesh from Seattle, who is very interested in the Knowledge Backbone for a framework for training modulets. This conversation fits nicely with the Exxon-Mobil conversation. I left at 5:30, picked up Andrea, and we went to the Annual GSH Honor's and Award's Banquet at Lakeside Country Club. It was the second of these I had been to, the first being when they gave me life membership. I thought this was where the new officer's were announced, and since I am running for Secretary (not very hard), I mistakenly thought I was supposed to be there. It was very formal, a wonderful meal, and a very nice evening. We sat next to Gary Crouse, and Andrea let him take over as my adult supervision for the evening. I did receive recognition for being a GSH Section Representative and for being the Chairman of the RC-SIG for the GSH. We congratulated Bob Sherrif on his generous scholarship to the University of Houston, and I wondered if there was a way to get similar scholarships to ISU and other institutions who are truly doing worthwhile research and training. Andrea and I got home about 10:00.

Friday included the Developer's meeting at 9:00, catching up on e-mail, and working on call reports. At noon I went to pick up my new glasses from Sear's at West Oaks Mall. I like them. By far the lightest pair of glasses I have ever had. Christian Singfield called from Brisbane, Australia, and asked if I would be geotechnical support for documenting all of the geophysical data available in Papa New Guinea. I said sure. Ed Newman called about the Exxon-Mobil proposal. He conferenced in Kerry Joels, who is a Ph.D. Astrophysicist, and who is the senior trainer for the U.S. Government. He didn't study at ISU, and he did study a lot of other relevant places. It turned into one of those instant friendships, and wonderful conversations you cherish as you look back on them. Kerry is good. When he was getting his Ph.D. he was involved in collecting geologic specimens. He described breaking up a volcanic outcrop in Northern Arkansas with a sledge hammer to put in boxes for college and high school labs when a local lady, cigarette hanging off her lip drove by with her little boy standing next to her on the Pickup seat. As she drove past they heard her say, `Y'all look at that, 'cause that's what you is going to end up doing if you is bad!' He is good, and he is going to help Ed and I sell this Exxon-Mobil opportunity. This conversation lasted longer than it should of, and so I missed the CoReExchange, and was late getting Matt to the church to leave for the Scout Campout at Camp Strake.

I didn't take my guitar to Camp Strake because I can't play it with five stitches in the end of my left forefinger. A couple of the leaders and even one of the youth pointed out they also missed the guitar. I can read. So I took the book `Why?' Matt, I really liked it when you came over to me on Friday night and told me about your 5 million robots 2'x3'x6' that stretched in single file from Phoenix to Houston, and the 1,000 cargo ships, and the little transports. What a wonderful imagination. It was also nice to have a long discussion about steel and high quality iron ore with Greg Branning at Camp Strake Friday evening. It was funny when the possum got in Nathen Ostvig's tent, and I got him out with the patrol flagpole. He had big teeth, and was a little bit scary as he flashed them at me. For a minute I wished I was back at ISU. Matt, it was also nice of you to invite me sleep in the tent with you, even though you havn't been real happy with me lately. I finished reading `Why?' Saturday morning after the troop went over to the lake to fish. What a wonderful read. Really full of well thought out exciting concepts. I took a stick and using the logic of `The Laws of Form' (quoted extensively in Why?) I worked out the basic framework of the oil and gas industry on the ground in about a half hour:

------------------------------------------------+ Drill | ----------------------------------------------+ | Pressure | | --------------------+ ----------------------+ | | Volume Hydrocarbons | Temperature | | | -------+ --------+ | ---------+ ---------+ | | | Biotic | Abiotic | | Outward | Inward | | | | | | | Heatflow | Heatflow | | | | | + | | ----------------------------------------------+ | Migration Pathway | | --------------------+ ----------------------+ | | Reservoir Rocks | Fault Pathway | | | | + | | ----------------------------------------------+ | Trap | | --------------------+ ----------------------+ | | Stratigraphy | Structure | | | | | |

The words are not new. The Boolean Logic and the display formulation are. Who knows where all of this stuff will end up. In the terminology of Colin Johnson and Spencer-Brown, I am creating distinctions, dividing the universe into everything and nothing, what I perceive and everything else, a difference and everything else. I set out a long time ago to `continue to make a difference,' and it doesn't matter if it is with hydrocarbons, or iron, or virtual reality, Boy Scouts, church work, or something else. Sometimes I wonder if it even matters if I have ever, or if in the future I make a difference. Then I catch myself and realize this is what life is about.

We didn't catch any fish. We listened to a lot of birds. We had some time to think. We slept on the way home. We edged and mowed the lawns. We went to a 5:00 baseball game. Matt's team started out 5 to 0 against the number one team in the league, and ended up loosing 5 to 8, mostly because 4 of their team members were not there. We went to Dairy Queen for dinner, and met Andrea there. Melanie, Andrea really liked your shower. She thought it was a lot of fun. She is glad you are not going to school at ISU and that it was just Austin to drive to. Sara, Andrea mentioned how good it was to see you. She also had a nice dicussion with Marti. Rob, we are all worried about you.

Andrea and I went to see the 9:40 showing of `Frequency' last night. It is a murder mystery, with a Back to the Future flair. I liked it a lot better than the two movies we saw over Easter. I expect most of you kids would like it. Today was pretty much a normal Sunday. Rachel sang a solo in the Stake Youth Choir Production: The Temple is The House of The Lord. Rachel, I'm sorry it was scary. You did absolutely wonderfully. I love you immensely. Each of you that have done something scary or hard this week, remember it is preparing you to go to ISU (or some other life learning experience). I hope you each have a marvelous week."

I'm interested in sharing weekly a "thoughtlet" (little statements of big thoughts which mean a lot to me) with you because I know how important the written word can be. I am concerned about how easy it is to drift and forget our roots and our potential among all of distractions of daily life. To download any of these thoughtlets go to http://www.walden3d.com/thoughtlets or e-mail me at rnelson@walden3d.com.

With all my love,
(H. Roice Nelson, Jr.)

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Copyright © 2000 H. Roice Nelson, Jr.