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The cyber-gasfield


Maybe you’re one of the millions who’ve discovered Facebook in recent years. You relish the deep connection to long-lost friends, and even neighbors, that only the Internet allows. Maybe you enjoy “friending” ex-lovers who wish you were dead, and high-school jocks who ignored you except to punch you out in the locker room. Or maybe you’d rather expand your social network, seeking fellow Christian roughnecks or oilfield wives.

Enter *Drillingahead.com*, the social network of oil and gas professionals. You can connect with other Directional Drillers and Oklahoma Mud Men or listen to Roughneck Radio, or visit *Roughneckcity.com* and buy oilfield jewelry. (I covet that pair of tricone drillbit pendants, myself.) You can even play the Virtual Oil Well game, but remember to get an EIS before drilling, or it’s GAME OVER).

Best of all are *the videos* uploaded by members. Some are downright silly. But others are more compelling, reminiscent of the digital detritus of a macabre postmodernist film workshop. Most are no longer than 30 seconds, and some titles combine the mundane with the morbid: “Matador 07 Accident Video,” “Lifeboat drill results in death,” “Confined Space Welding Explosion,” “Governor Palin State of the State.” And many share a common theme: It’s just another day on the 9 to 5. Until someone dies.

I prefer the Blowout music videos. There’s carnage galore here, too, but it’s mostly machinery that dies, not people. In the unexpectedly moving “Blowout,” viewers are treated to one rig after another exploding into flames, crashing down into crumpled heaps of steel or spewing earthly fluids and black smoke high into the air. It’s accompanied by the Eagles: “There’s a hole in the world tonight. There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow. There’s a hole in the world tonight. Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.”

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HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor