Tag Archives: mining

Are we really the Saudi Arabia of coal?

I keep hearing the U.S. described as the “Saudi Arabia of coal.” This turns out to be half true. According to BP, China produced three billion tons of coal in 2009, or 46% of the world’s share. In second place was the U.S., with .97 billion tons, 16% of the world’s share. But in proven reserves, according to the World Energy Council (an NGO), we lead with 23% of the world’s supply, followed by Russia (14%), China (13%), and Australia (9%).

Awkwardly, a lot of the U.S.’s supply of coal is under stuff—you know, cities, homes, schools, roads, etc.—rendering it functionally inaccessible. China manages to export more with fewer reserves because they’re communist—property can be seized at any time—and because they mine with little regard for human life, running the world’s deadliest mines, in which thousands of people die every year, an average of six people every day. I’m not sure that we want to compete with that.

Links for September 12th

  • Wikipedia: Avondale Mine Disaster
    One hundred and ten workers died in this Pennsylvania mine fire in 1869. The mine owner wouldn't allow but one tunnel to be constructed, so when the fire started, anybody below that point in the mine was trapped and suffocated. The result was that the Pennsylvania General Assembly created the nation's first safety standards for coal mining.
  • Benjamin J. Balter: Analysis of Federal Executive .Govs
    This grad student had the clever idea to take the OMB's list of all federal domain names and inventory them automatically. He cataloged whether the domain works, if it's running a web server, if they use a CDN, what CMS they use, and a few other bits of information. Interestingly, 29% of domains don't respond, only nine support IPv6, 13 are cloud-based, and Drupal is the most common CMS. Great stuff.
  • Wikipedia: Tsar Bomba
    The most powerful explosion ever created by man was "Tsar Bomba," the hydrogen bomb tested in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in the Arctic Sea, north of Russia. The Soviet Union created this 100 megaton bomb, but realized that it would be so powerful as to be completely impractical, and cut it down to 50 megatons. The 1961 explosion was ten times more powerful than all explosives used in the whole of WWII. The heat would have caused third-degree burns in somebody 60 miles away from ground zero, and caused damage 600 miles away.