For some reason, people think it is quite funny to order a “Whisky for Beginners” kit as a beginner to whiskey drinking.
If you look a bit deeper into it though, you will see that the kit is actually quite helpful.
Of course, we all know that there is no “best” or “perfect” whiskey – it is simply that there are many to choose from.
What I am talking about are this particular brand and their “hand-picked” best-selling whiskey.
While I think most people will agree that Johnnie Walker’s whiskey is indeed one of the best in the world, is there any way to make your drinking experience better?
Whisky for Beginners: Here’s How to Choose the Best Whiskies.
The main criteria that one should consider when purchasing a new selection of whiskey for beginners is – cost.
There is a general belief that the more expensive the selection the better it is – and there is some truth to it.
But that said, the cost should not be your only criterion.
Of course, price is not the only thing to look at.
After all, there is no point in buying something if you have to settle for the cheapest choice.
The selection here is actually quite wide.
You have Bulleit, Scotchford, Blended Scotch, Irish cream, whiskey barrels from around the world, and so much more.
Some people believe that price alone should determine what they buy, but I am here to tell you that this is not true.
If the price is high then it does not necessarily mean that the whiskey is of poor quality.
On the contrary, it can be that the distiller behind the brand has done a great job!
Of course, you will get more for your money when you buy good quality – so do not make the mistake of looking for the cheapest available choice.
Price, however, is certainly one of the most important considerations when choosing the best whiskey for beginners.
You must also consider the price when you are ready to make a big purchase.
You can buy a bottle of Whisky for beginners at a fraction of the cost of buying another bottle.
In fact, you may find that it is a lot cheaper – and this will be an excellent opportunity to try new blends.
At the same time, you can also save some money by not purchasing a single bottle.
In addition, prices are very important to newcomers because they need to set a budget, to begin with.
If you are a beginner, you must remember that there is no such thing as the perfect whiskey.
You must experiment to see which among the brands available is the best for you – and this can save you money and a lot of time.
When you are ready to make the choice of the best whiskey for beginners, one of the most important factors that you must look at is the aging process.
If you love Jack Daniels, you should check the label to see what the specific age statement is.
The younger the whiskey, the less aging it undergoes, so you might want to purchase the “younger” whiskies.
Whichever way you choose, keep in mind that quality comes before quantity.
Of course, we all know that there are some cheap brands as well as good brands.
There are even brands made from ingredients that are cheap such as palm oil.
This is why it is very important to check the label to see what the specific ingredients of the best whiskey for beginners are.
After you have chosen a good whiskey, always remember that good taste comes before an expensive price tag.…Read More
Here are the deal boys and girls, so listen up.
You’re on a planet, Natrolis, and it is populated by a bunch of primitive reptilian warriors and spell-casters.
It has just been invaded by humans, because, um? that’s what humans do.
Complicating matters is an ancient insect race that has just woken up within the planet and is itching to eat everybody.
Got it? Good. Let’s get it on!
This is about as deep as the story gets in Dark Planet: Battle for Natrolis, so if you don’t like to read or be drawn in by a gripping narrative, your game has arrived.
But seriously, many games without a story have gone on to be great experiences.
So, in a flooded real-time strategy market, with heavyweights like Warcraft 3 out there and less popular but still quality titles like Battlecry 2, should anyone plunk their money down for yet another iteration of gather, build, destroy gameplay?
Read on my RTS devotees.
The three races I mentioned above-Sorin, Human, and Dreil respectively-are the race players that will lead to global domination.
Gameplay is by-the-books RTS, though there are some small innovations I will mention.
The campaigns, one for each race, consisting of a few tutorials to get you started and then a string of scenarios with varied objectives.
Though there are three campaigns, each uses the same maps, so there is a lot of repetition if you simply must beat the campaign with each race.
It would have been nice to have an in-depth storyline experienced differently by each race.
It would also be nice if I won the New Jersey Big Game Lottery, so let’s work with what we have.
In the spirit of gathering resources that make no sense (Enemy Nations is the only RTS I know of that actually makes players refine coal and iron into steel-that makes sense), there are three that each race must acquire.
Humans need crystal, gas, and stone, Sorin’s need, wood, stone, and faith (acquired by praying at a temple), and the Dreil, being nasty insects, have to acquire wood, crystal, and cocoons, left behind after killing enemy units or neutral creatures roaming the maps.
As you can see, the three races couldn’t be more different, and this translates well into the combat aspects of the game.
The roster of units and upgrades for each race is pretty impressive and really distinguishes each one.
The Sorins have a nice lineup of lizard units to train, including Archers, Stompers (Hulk smash!), Dragons, or Zeppelins.
Their Priests are able to use a variety of spells to do everything from making the trees grow faster-such conservationists!-to calling down a rain of fire or undead army on the enemy.
The Dreil can breed a ton of huge bugs like the Mantis, Spitter, Winger, or Kamibees that can go on suicide runs.
In order to accommodate their need for fresh cocoons, there are a few different units that can collect them, including a giant worm that burrows beneath the ground.
The Human colonists are the most familiar, sporting Marines, Flame-Thrower troops, Jet Bombers, and mechs like the missile-wielding Koot.
A few neat additions are Aqua-Marines that can traverse rivers, Sniper Droids, and everyone’s favorite, nuclear missiles.
Thankfully, each one of these units and weapons looks fantastic.
Dark Planet runs on a 3D engine that is at times stunningly beautiful.
With the mouse or keyboard, you can quickly zoom in and out and rotate at will.
Zooming in allows you to admire the detail in each unit and building.
The animation is smooth, and the effects, such as spells and explosions, are a joy to look at.
Even the way the units die, with the souls of troops killed by the Sorin leaving the body or the Dreil exploding into a goopy mess, is intricate and eye-catching.
I was enthralled just by watching Sappers (human resource gatherers) call in a floating craft that beams down new buildings.
The engine also sports some nice lighting effects, and the battlefield can suddenly and rapidly turn a multitude of colors as missiles explode, spells are unleashed, or blood spills over the ground.
At times this literal rainbow of colors can distract more than entertain, but these instances are rare.
The sounds don’t fare as well.
Explosions, gunshots, and screams are in abundance to be sure, but the units lack real personality.
Why can’t I hear a few quips from marines as I order them about?
Natrolis is a pretty lonely place for a commander.
The interface tries to be more streamlined by containing everything on a bottom toolbar.
The problem with this is that the icons for different functions like building and researching upgrades are all on one line with no text description.
When you hold the mouse over an icon, a text description lines the top of the screen.
Not the biggest inconvenience, but it can be distracting to look up to read it when you’re trying to build up quickly.
Of course, this problem is alleviated after extended play when you memorize the icons.
One convenient feature is that when you go to build a unit or construct a building, the amount of each resource needed is displayed right next to your current stockpile.
This allows you to quickly assess and adjust your resource gathering.
There were a couple of interface quirks that shipped with the game, such as the camera immediately jumping to a selected group of units.
This made assaults consisting of multiple groups a chore, as you constantly had to scroll back to a waypoint after selecting each group.
This was quickly fixed with the first patch.
I’m hoping a second patch is released to fix the broken skirmish mode.
There is a nice selection of maps, but the AI is out of whack.
I was surprised at this, being that both the friendly and enemy AI in the campaign is pretty strong.
In skirmish mode, if you set the enemy AI to easy or medium, it is an absolute pushover.
If I tied a mouse to a squirming fish, the fish would dominate.
Put the AI on hard, however, and you are bombarded by the AI with a constant stream of units that doesn’t let up.
A balance has obviously not been achieved.
This leaves multiplayer, playable over Ubi Soft’s gaming service.
There is hardly anyone there, however, so if you don’t have friends willing to buy and play the game with you, you’re out of luck.
While many elements of Dark Planet are derivative and some are simply missing, I found myself enjoying the game at times.
At this point, it doesn’t have a lot of longevity due to frustrating skirmish AI and a repetitive campaign, but I would welcome a sequel that could remedy these shortcomings.
There are indeed elements that are simply fantastic, such as the graphics and unit variety, but this first outing to Natrolis simply does not hold up against other selections in the genre.
If you have an RTS obsession, or have already gobbled up other strategy games and are itching for something new, you might want to give the demo a shot.
It is both a compliment and a criticism, however, to say that I was left hungry for more.…Read More
Engineering is Elementary Lessons: EiE Teaches Students to Make Science Connections and Solve Problems
Engineering, the science that applies science and mathematics in order to solve problems and create tools of use to humankind, is more important than ever in the global, technological world. However, until recently, engineering topics have rarely been introduced to students before the high school or even college levels.
Engineering is Elementary Units for K-6 Classrooms
As a part of the National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL), the Engineering is Elementary team of scientists and educators at the Museum of Science in Boston aim to bring engineering lessons to K-6 classrooms.
Each unit includes preparatory lessons that act as advanced organizers and encourage young students to consider engineering, technology, and the Engineering Design process. Students investigate misconceptions about technology and learn about the engineers who design these technologies. Additionally, each topic in the series is introduced with an engineering story that promotes an understanding of how engineering is used around the world to solve everyday problems.
Follow-up activities and worksheets emphasize important vocabulary and encourage students to think about the factors that are incorporated into engineering planning decisions. Since the stories take place in a variety of cultures, students are also taught to recognize that engineering is a science that is important to agricultural and industrial nations alike. These lessons also allow students to think and act like engineers as they problem solve, design, and improve upon ideas. Furthermore, hands-on engineering activities encourage students to learn from mistakes as they troubleshoot design flaws.
Current Engineering is Elementary titles, which can generally be covered in eight to ten 40-minute lessons, cover mechanical, environmental, material, civil, industrial, acoustical, agricultural, bioengineering, electrical, chemical, geotechnical, package, and transportation engineering topics. Future units to be published in 2008 and 2009 will also include civil, aerospace, eco-systems, computer science, and biomedical engineering.
The units stand alone and include both basic and advanced levels of instructions so that teachers can differentiate lessons to meet science objectives at appropriate age and ability levels.
Teacher Educator Institutes
As well as providing lessons for elementary students, the EiE provides teacher training workshops to introduce educators to the series. Additionally, workshops provide participants with information for implementing professional development within elementary schools. The Teacher Educator Institutes are presented at a variety of levels, or strands, in order to provide a progressive program of study to interested teaching professionals.…Read More
Further education is never a waste – unless the student wastes the opportunity; picks a career without doing the necessary research first; or cannot realize its application to the real world. Everything one learns is another notch on the experience belt, and really does move one forward on the career path. However, a student could still end up with the wrong credentials to enter into a chosen field. The wise student/career enhancer follows these simple guidelines to ensure every penny and minute spent on education really is an investment.
Research to Ensure Employability after Graduation
Don’t ever just assume a certain title of degree or certificate really will make it easier to get a job. Investigate to find out what is necessary for the chosen path, and then if the institute really provides those qualifications. As well, make sure the institute has the authority or is recognized by the particular province or state you want to work in. Make sure the expectations are not just based on personal assessment. Do the research necessary to see what else is needed to get into that field. An ad stating “take this course and you could be a CSI in x years making $X” is just that – an ad. Get the real facts before enrolling. Do not just take the admissions officer word for any promises – ask for supporting research or documentation.
It’s also prudent to make sure there will be jobs available after graduation in the chosen field. A quick way to do this is to check out local employment news items and online sites. Indeed.ca offers job trends via industry which provides a fairly cohesive chart comparing the various industries. Clicking on the individual industry link will give a breakdown of the types of employment for that industry as well as top keyword searches and the top city locations for that job.
Full Time or Part Time; Online or Face-to-Face
Many believe education is just a matter of money. It’s not just cost that has to examined as one parameter to choosing an educational institute, but cost is a large part of the decision. The potential student needs to also understand and choose between style of institute and delivery of program. Face to face, or traditional education, involves going to a campus and attending classes. The plus side is the social aspect of being right there to ask questions and get support from fellow classmates. There’s also more perceived help available when dealing face to face, and more immediacy in problem solving. Online education though, allows the student the flexibility of deciding when to do the required reading and assignments – even if it’s at 2 am. This arrangement allows students to work either full time or part time, and fit in the education around the work schedule, as opposed to fitting in part time hours around class times.
The down side of online education for many is the perceived isolation, which can be overcome by participating in online forums and chats in the online classroom. Online education is great for mature or returning adults; meaning those who can motivate themselves. And there’s no travel time involved to get to the class. The cost though is much higher than for traditional education.
Pick the Right Type of Education for the Right Fit
Both methods of education allow for part time or full time studies; so it becomes a matter of personal preference weighed against cost and time; as well as feasibility.
Another important feature is the after-graduation support the educational institute provides. Many online institutes are geared to those already working the chosen field, and are providing a working way to be accredited. Traditional institutes such as University of Toronto or Sheridan College actually provide Career Counselling for students and Career Fair days within the professions – definitely a help for those trying to break into their new field.
Even if the education doesn’t get the job seeker the desired result of a new job, the education itself is not unworthy. All education can be applied to real situations – the student learned better study habits, learned how to learn, and how to do time management – definite pluses in today’s working world and job search.…Read More
Steiner schools alternative teaching system, follow anthroposophy and use a different approach to teaching children. The school’s philosophy, teaching training and the school curriculum are somewhat different to state schools. The general outline is a follows:
Steiner Lesson Structure
According to Yeuhdit Angres, author of, Impressions from Waldorf’ Education: Pedagogical Diary, 1990, usually, the day consists of three parts. In the morning the class remains together. During the first two hours frontal lessons are used to teach the main subject as children are more willing to listen and absorb in this period. Just before noon practising and drilling are the main elements of the lessons in which playing instruments and eurhythmics are included. Arts and crafts are left until the afternoon when concentration is at its lowest.
Steiner Pre-school – Lots of Copying
Until age 5/6 the school day blends structure and freedom in the form of creative play in an atmosphere comparable to a second home. The child learns respect for the natural world and one another and for his environment through healthy repetition. Copying is the main characteristic of this period of development; therefore, teaching subjects such as grammar are ineffectual. As copying is at the forefront, Waldorf teachers use it as an educational tool; for example, for disciplinary purpose, instead of reproof the children are taught through emulation. (Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Education.)
Steiner Lower School – Imaginative Thought
Around age 6/7 children enter the “Lower School”. At this stage of their education Steiner recommended children remain with the same teacher until the age of 14, since, continuity enables those responsible to follow and evaluate each child’s needs through the important developmental stages of childhood and youth.
During this period, development and encouragement of imaginative thought is at a premium. Much of the lesson is conveyed through the spoken word allowing the pupils freedom to exercise their imaginations. They make home-made textbooks in preference to commercially produced books, encouraging active rather than passive involvement in their education. (Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Education)
Steiner Upper School – Childhood into Young Adulthood
During the ages 13-18 great developmental changes occur and the child has to contend with the metamorphism from childhood to young adulthood. The teacher’s main task is to help the student adjust to the new demands of this period with the help of the sound base built in the formative years.
Steiner School Subjects
Following is a brief look at a selection of subjects taught in Steiner schools.
According to Angres, the ideal age for introducing musical instruments is between 7 and 14 when children need to fulfil their senses. In addition, music enhances listening and studying abilities. The recorder is a good instrument to begin with because it’s notes emphasise the contrast between sound and silence.
Angres mentions that since Steiner educators view language as the foundation of freedom and expression, therefore, children are exposed to foreign languages from class 1. For the first two years they learn mostly through songs, rhymes, and movements.
Reading and Writing
As mentioned above, until around the age of seven children are great imitators and copiers; however, in order to learn to read there has to be understanding. At this stage the child cannot relate words to pictures, therefore, Steiner education suggests that artistic aspects such as writing should be developed before the intellectual aspects of, for example, reading are focused upon. As children can only absorb one item at a time, anthroposophic teachers teach only one letter at a time. The child learns by repeatedly copying the letter and experiencing it in different ways. (Angres)
Painting and Drawing
Since the natural world is full of colour, anthroposophic painting and drawing deepens the understanding of form and colour. Pupils use a lot of water colours and learn the characteristics of each colour and shade evoking emotions and enhancing perception. Around age 13/14, the beginning of the adolescence, sketching becomes very important. At this stage emphasis is placed on contrasts between light and shade, in preparation for the contrasts and conflicts the teenagers may face. (Angres)
The daily story plays an important part in education as they help develop the imagination. There are different stories for every age group, for example, between age 8 to 10, The Bible, Vikings, and Greek mythology help children relate to the world and see things in proportion as they illustrate ways of dealing with difficulties and torments. (Angres)
One of Steiner methods of teaching maths is by using movement. For example, walking around and counting steps. Another way is to take a large number and reduce it to it’s components. This is useful for the future as it teaches children to face problems holistically and encourages analysis and investigation. (Angres)
Alternative System Focusing on the Child
Many of Steiner schools methods are based upon the child’s stages of development and use a different approach to learning that pays more attention to the develomental needs of the child. However, parents should check thoroughly any education system they are interested in before enrolling their children.…Read More
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I made horchata for the first time a few weeks ago. I’ve never tasted it before, so it’s hard to say if my version is authentic. I do know that mine is good, and I’d definitely make it again. I came up with my recipe by studying several horchata recipes on the internets. Horchata is a refreshing sweetened rice milk drink from Latin America. Some recipes call for milk, and others do not. I used milk in mine, along with granulated sugar and medium grain rice. Most recipes call for long grain rice, but the medium grain worked for me.
I used skim milk, but in the future I think I’d use two percent, or maybe even coconut milk for a creamier version. Also, I was thinking that basmati rice might be good in horchata, since it’s so nutty and flavorful.
Okay, to make horchata, you blend together rice and water in a blender for a few minutes until very finely ground. I stirred the mixture a bit, and then blended it again. You want to blend the rice as finely as possible. This would be great to do in a Vitamix blender, if you have one. Sadly, I do not.
The rice water soaks together for a couple of hours after it’s blended; the longer you soak, the better – it softens the rice, plus adds more rice flavor to the water. Then the rice gets blended again for a few more minutes. The rice water is strained into a pitcher (discard the rice), and milk and sugar are whisked in. I also added some vanilla and a pinch of sea salt, which I highly recommend. The salt balanced the sweetness… I couldn’t believe what a difference it made.
The horchata is finished at this point, but you should chill it down and let the flavors meld together. Drink as is, OR, blend it with ice and RumChata!
That’s what I did. RumChata is a horchata liqueur with rum, if you couldn’t figure that out yourself. It’s delicious!
Top the horchata with whipped cream and cinnamon.
If you don’t make this drink this summer, I will know, and I’ll be very upset with you. It tastes like rice pudding.
See you from Chicago! Be good.
3 cups water
1 cup medium grain white rice
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
Pinch of finely ground sea salt
Blend together water and rice in a blender for 2-3 minutes, or until rice is very finely chopped. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl, cover, and allow to soak 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Blend rice again for 2 minutes; strain liquid into a pitcher. Dispose rice. Whisk in milk, sugar, vanilla and sea salt until well combined. Chill until ready for use. Serve with cinnamon sprinkled on top, over ice.
To make the cocktail, fill a glass with ice. Stir in 1/4 cup RumChata and 3/4 cup horchata. Serve with whipped cream and cinnamon.…Read More
Since the advent of offshore oil drilling in 1887, offshore oil drilling platforms (drill rigs) have evolved along an exponential trajectory. The first offshore oil rig was built by H. L. Williams on a large pier known as a wharf in 1887.
It stretched 300 ft from shore and set the stage for an industry which would grow continually throughout the next century. Williams’ wharfs were a predecessor in many ways to jackup rigs – the most popular offshore drilling platforms in the world today.
The oil industry was eager to keep pace with the industrialized world’s thirst for oil. In order to increase production, offshore drilling rigs have needed to increase their distance from shore as well as the depth of water through which they can reach. These demands affect each of the five primary concerns of offshore oil drilling:
- Exploration requires technologies that can determine the wealth of oil deposits hundreds or thousands of meters below the surface of the sea. The capabilities of modern drill ships have enabled exploratory drilling at rapidly increasing depths.
- Drilling requires meticulous attention to competing physical and technical details. Namely, the platform must remain stable during a constant onslaught of waves, tides, and winds. Jackups provide an air gap between the surface of the water and the hull of the platform.
- Fabrication is increasingly specialized as depth (and consequently, pressure) increases. Semi-submersibles float atop pontoons which are located below the surface of the water.
- Transportation difficulties arise as the amount of oil and distance from shore increase.
- Production capacities must continue to increase in accordance with the quantities of oil extracted from the earth.
Jackup Rigs are Mobile Platforms Equipped with Jack and Pinion Systems
Jackup rigs consist of a barge and several legs which dig into the sea floor supporting the barge. The barge is often towed or pushed by a tug boat. Alternatively, it may be self-propelled into its position. Once in place, the rig utilizes its jack and pinion system in to lower the legs snuggly into the sea floor.
During “preloading” the barge takes on water in order to increase weight. This “ballast water” is used to aid in driving the legs into the sea floor with enough force as to ensure that waves, tides, and currents do not budge the legs from their position during drilling.
The jack and pinion system works much like the action of a car being jacked up to change a wheel. In the case of a drill barge, the rig must be jacked up by several enormous legs which penetrate several meters into the sea floor. In most cases, these legs lift the barge hull above the surface of the water leaving an air gap between the hull of the barge and the surface of the water. In the case of “mat-type jackups,” however, the hull is partially submerged.
Jackups are especially popular due to their endurance at sea. Certain rigs are rated with normal holding capacities in excess of 600 tons with storm holding capacities reaching 720 tons.
While jackups have long been used in the offshore drilling industry, they have only recently been incorporated into the offshore wind energy industry. This is just a single example of the technological advances of offshore drilling leaking across into other fields.
Drill Ships are Primarily Used as Exploratory Vessels
In order to drill in water deeper than the 120 meter reach of jackups, the platform must float on the water. Drill ships have the advantage of drill depths up to ten times that of jackups.
The first drill ship, CUSS 1, built in 1961 used four underwater propellers to keep it in place. It was able to stay in position while drilling a well off the coast of California at a depth of 948 meters.
While CUSS 1 used a complicated system of radar and buoys to stay in place, modern drill ships are equipped with dynamic positioning systems. Because of the dual advantages of loose tether to any point and their ability to self-propel, drill ships travel to and from oil fields at a relatively quick pace.
Generally a drill ship will only be used in specific circumstances. They may be utilized in drilling new deep water wells, maintenance, or finish work. Drill ships are robbed of their mobility advantage if they are maintained over one well for too long a period. They are the cavalry as the oil business fights its war against the seas.
Semi-Submersibles are Useful in On-sight Production
The pontoons of a semi-submersibles (also known as a semi-sub or simply a semi) are ballasted – loaded with water – so that the pontoons provide buoyancy from below the surface of the water. The actual operation deck is built high over the pontoons with a sufficient air gap so as to keep wave activity from affecting operations. Because the pontoons are located below the surface of the water, wave activity does not affect them as much as a vessel that floats above the water.
Like submarines, semi-submersibles can take on or release water from pontoons in order to raise or lower the vessel. This process is known as drafting. When the pontoons of the semi-sub are below the surface, the vessel is in a “deep-draft” when they float above the water, a “shallow-draft.”
The advantage of a semi-submersible over a drill ship is its stability. Semi-subs are not so prone as drill ships to be jostled by waves. After drilling semi-subs are useful for on-sight production. This is the oil industry’s version of killing two (sometimes more) birds with one ship.…Read More