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Delta Bid for Trainer Refinery Gaining Momentum (

When I first saw the news that Delta Airlines was looking at the former ConocoPhillips refinery in Philadelphia I had to do a double-take. An airline running a refinery is just that strange. At first I thought it was a move by Delta to stir up the market a bit but this most recent news makes me think the Atlanta based airline is very serious about buying the facility.

The Trainer refinery is configured to produce a higher yield of jet fuel – about 13 percent of its output, or 23,000 barrels a day (966,000 gallons). Delta could ship the fuel by pipeline or barge to New York, where it has a large presence at LaGuardia and JFK airports.

Delta would ostensibly receive all of the jet fuel from the facility, but would probably swap much of the gasoline and diesel for jet fuel in other locations near Delta hubs.

I am still trying to understand where Delta thinks they will save the money. They will still be buying oil at the market price, the difference now is that they will be a refiner of said fuel. Refining crude oil is not a “value-add” process, it is a necessity. You can’t fly a plane on crude oil.

“The objective would be to achieve a 10 percent price reduction on a large portion of its fuel needs – which, if were achieved, would represent significant savings,” reported Linenberg, the Deutsche Bank analyst.

How? How are they planning to achieve that much of a reduction? Are they simply offsetting their fuel costs by selling the jet fuel on the wholesale market? If so, then how are they financing the operation of the refinery? Refineries are not cheap to operate and certainly not cheap to maintain. As stated earlier, oil companies do not view them as moneymaking facilities but rather, as necessities to compete in the market. The margins in refining are so small that it is hard to make money from fuel alone. Now, maybe if Delta is going to sell chemicals from the facility they can make the revenue that the article hints at.

I would love to have a sneak peek at Delta’s game plan. They must have some kind of strategy up their sleeve to make this work, but they’re going to wait to make it obvious to the rest of us.

Patrol Car Recording Released After Officer Shoots Dog

The 911 call features a woman who said she was driving past a home in the 2600 block of East Fifth Street and saw a man who appeared to be drunk and a woman trying to get away from him. The video shows Griffin arriving about 4:45 p.m., and he can be heard trying to verify which home was referenced. Not long after leaving his patrol car, Griffin is heard shouting, “Show me your hands” and then, “Get your dog!” That was followed by Cisco’s bark and a single gunshot.

I can understand why the officer had his gun drawn, he was told there was a disturbance and did not know what he was walking into. However, he was at the wrong address. If I was the Austin Police Department I would want to know why the address was not verified by the officer before he left his car. He can be heard asking which apartment unit the disturbance is at. Clearly there was a breakdown of communication.

As a dog owner, I am well aware that spooked dogs are scary. Though they may not bite, a scared dog looks intimidating. It makes me wonder though, had the officer clearly identified himself while walking up to the house whether or not Paxton would have returned the dog to the back yard. The officer says, “Show me your hands” and then immediately “Get your dog!”. If I have a gun pointed at me and am being told to show my hands, my brain is trying to figure out whether or not I should actually get the dog.

I look forward to hearing what the investigation from the Austin Police Department reveals. I know that restraint is not always an option, but I would think a little restraint in instances like this would not be too difficult. It just sounds like the officer was a little on edge walking into an unknown situation (again, at the wrong address) and that adrenaline lead to the shooting of the dog.

There is a Facebook page for Cisco, if you’re interested in that.

Foxtrot for iPad announcement

Bill Amend, the author of Foxtrot, is going the self-publishing route.

I’m calling them FoxTrot Pad Packs, because I like the metaphor of collectable cards and how you build up your collection via booster packs. I made them myself using Apple’s free iBooks Author software.

My hope is to release new ones every couple of months or so. Assuming people like these first ones. This is all a big experiment for me.

I’ve always been a Foxtrot fan. I hope this venture is successful for Mr. Amend.

I had the chance to head to George Bush Intercontinental Airport during some really strong winds this past weekend. With wind speeds around 17-19mph and gusts to 35mph the landings were interesting. On this particular one, I decided to take a short video. It came out a little shaky since I was on top of one of the parking garages and feeling the effects of the wind myself. There is music, because I figured people didn’t want to hear wind blowing over the mic.

Around the 17 second mark is when the fun occurs. The pilot dips the right wing and kicks the left rudder to counteract the effects of the crosswind and keep the 757-300 on the center line.

United Boeing 757-300 Landing from Stephan Segraves on Vimeo.

I also grabbed a few pictures of landings, one of which is this Bombardier Q400 doing the same as the 757-300 above, dipping the wing and throwing in the left rudder to keep it straight.

Crosswind Landing - Q400

You can view the entire set of shots from Saturday here.

Alive Inside is a documentary that follows social worker Dan Cohen as he reintroduces music to those who are suffering from diseases involving degenerative memory loss. The results are fascinating (YouTube video).

Having experienced what memory loss can do to a person and their loved ones and knowing that many families endure such a challenge on a daily basis makes me want to go take iPod Nanos to every nursing home in the immediate area. Even if the results are temporary and limited, there is something uplifting in the knowledge that a loved one is still themselves, even when their memory may no longer be sharp.

(via swissmiss →)

A cool, crisp morning in Peru’s capital. I am up early after a late arrival from Houston the previous night. My goals start with the immediate future, find coffee, find food, and get my bearings in the nearby neighborhood. Little did I know, by the end of the day I’d be accosted by winged creatures while minding my own business.

The hotel I am staying in during this trip is the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, located pretty much smack dab in the center of Lima. The front desk suggested a cab to the historic center but after looking at a map over breakfast I opt to walk.

The fog has not burned off yet, making Lima feel a lot like San Francisco. The streets and sidewalks are alive. There are vendors selling the day’s paper, fresh squeezed orange juice, slices of pineapple or watermelon, and pastries. Oh the pastries. I can’t help but stop and grab a few of the items, one of which is a ring covered in cinnamon. Sure, I had already had breakfast, but how do you say no to a little sweet treat in the morning?

I continue walking northeast and reach Plaza de Armas where a large crowd has gathered to watch that day’s World Cup matches. Knowing I will want to explore this square and the surrounding area more, I decide to continue my journey northeast and end up at Iglesia de San Francisco. It’s a small church/convent and I am sad to learn that there are services going on all day and access to the interior is not allowed.

What catches my eye is the number of people gathered around the church. Not tourists, locals. They are enjoying the nice day as the fog finally starts to lift. What I did not notice was the massive amount of pigeons that had realized free food was a very real possibility in the immediate area. I lift my camera to take a picture of the church. As I am pushing the shutter release something jumps in front of me. I lower the camera to try and figure out what is going on and see every single pigeon headed toward me.

The Pigeons Always Win

It is over as quick as it started. The pigeons realize they are not getting any food from me. All except one. He continues to swoop down on me, following me away from the church and down the street for a block. To this day, I think that one particular pigeon is the one that incited the other pigeons to bring their winged vengeance upon me.