Posts Tagged ‘Holmenkollen’

enroute7/3: Tristan Mermin flew into Oslo from the Bay Area and we spent the week traveling the town and the surrounds, discussing our respective work, its limitations and possibilities.

It was an opportunity to speak endlessly.

We did more. We played tennis near our flat in Majorstuen, checked out the view from the top of Holmenkollen‘s championship ski jump, went swimming at Drøbak (40 minute drive from town), rented a car to catch a party in Farsund (nearly ten-hour drive to southern-est Norway), strolled the weekend flea market two steps from our front door, attended an Oslo party for Norway’s Miss Universe, toured the Viking and Kon-Tiki Museums and Royal Palace — and of course, hit restaurants and bars – dinners at Kafe Oslo Litteraturhuset, Hotel Havana, Olivia Hegdehaugsvei, drinks at Aku-Aku Tiki bar, Andy’s sportspub and pianobar, Bjoerungs, snacking in Marmaris Pizza & Grill Grunerløkka, Åpent Bakeri in Majorstua, Kaffebrenneriet, a bowl of cherries from Vestkanttorget after our tennis match, and Mabou nightclub where I always wanted to visit. clubIn one discussion, I was reminded of my drafted manuscript titled Eureka Moment as Knowledge-Event Product, from which I read several paragraphs to Tristan, because of our interest in the role of commerce in the delivery of inspiration. We laughed aloud.

I had suggested a new type of advisory service titled the Eureka knowledge-event or EKE. Eureka knowledge-events (EKE) are delivered personally to clients in the form of an idea to create entrepreneurial thought for seizing opportunity. Responses to EKE are expressions of sudden awareness (wow, I’ve got it!).

diningbreakfastThe EKE, I suggested, connects forms of expectation associated with commercialized labor to experiences associated with a personal calling or vocation.

Upon its reading I pulled the manuscript for revision.

Within several days and during our stay, I received a manuscript request from Journal of Business Anthropology, to which I suggested the planned revised article.discosculptI also had a chance to describe my recent attendance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the Davos of Russia. Describing how I capture the back-stage scene, Tristan pointed out the gravitational-pull creating activities that typify the event, including the concentric circle security patterns that define the heightened sense of excitement during attendance.

Attending keynote speeches, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, requires high security identification badges, without which, I noticed several slipping through the turnstile by walking alongside another attendee with the appropriate ID, a tactic for getting a closer look at the power holders.dinnerkontikiWe delved into recent activities of Tristan as owner of the brand Batiste Rum, an ultra-delicious, ultra-premium rum that he discovered during his travels throughout the Caribbean.

His stories of exploring the region, tasting, negotiating with different rum producers is fascinating, and I plan to invite myself to accompany him on a St. Barts Island adventure.vikingshipTristan reminded me also of the need for exercise and how all anxieties as toxins could be flushed through the system from just some running around, an life-balance reminder.

Did I mention how accomplished a tennis player Tristan has become, actually knocking me flat on my back with one of his first serves after I failed to dodge the ball. After the game, all things appeared to us even more cheery and clear.
cellarbalconWe spent considerable time talking of excellence and the importance of interrogating the epistemological core of one’s object to identify in full the points around which what governs survival emerges.

I could not help acting particularly intense, and referred to means-ends causality in the form of a quote by King Louis IX of France, cited in Norbert EliasCourt Society, “beware of hope, a bad guide,” which I carry with me at all times, as reminder of that science is politics by other means.
holmenKgardenWe went into depth on topics relating of charisma and reflexivity, of humility and of vanity projects and whether second acts can provide an authentic experience and of a shift from wealth creation to commodity flows, and of the importance of protecting cash flow over securing the stability of wealth coming under continued threat.

kon tikishotcourtWe referred to Oslo itself, as a town that reflects, in fact, a city-wide country club, with its public tennis courts and swimming pools, its Royal Palace, museums and gardens, with its street cars that directly take you past the city’s best restaurants and clubs, and the streets themselves, with domiciles that represent, in miniature, sections of various European cities.

It was perhaps Belvedere writ large and public –but with all the actual prices of participation reaching so far into the stratosphere so as to impose limits of entry for only those who can afford the city’s often outrageous cost of living.
clubracketsWe discussed the ecology of ignorance surrounding ethical practices perceived by others and whether or not it makes any difference to provide feedback upon projects in which others simply do not feel the same. I was reminded of my early work in Alaska on elites and land claims and how the work continues to stir debate long after I have moved on to more pressing questions about energy development and that what presses upon folks as the ethical may long after be forgotten by others whose actions represent casual markings within an arc of trajectory.
breakfastburgerschairWe discussed the lady in the forest.

We mentioned the power of denying helplessness by foregoing desire and rebuilding a life entirely without purpose within the overall structure of capitalism in which the peripheries are purposefully denied agency beyond their capacity to fuel the future through resources and labor.

pancakesfeet sangriaTristan pointed out the importance of “enjoyment” or “profit as you go” principle, to always recuperate the present within the strategic objective.

And here, I thought of Diogenes and the power of anecdote in corporeality of expertise, alongside all the stories in the news these days of workers in Europe living their entire lives through delayed gratification — only to wake up and realize that all their savings have vanished at the hands of  bankers who shored up their own assets by putting the accumulated labor of others on the roulette table.

The story reminded me of Henry Miller‘s mantra about the importance of pinning your last dollar to a calendar, to prove and provide a final date when destitution arrives, thereby, living fully and completely up until the last moment. moreplane tooplaneWe pointed to the notion of pattern recognition, especially in the context of iconography, for example, that on display at the Kon-Tiki museum, an image hangs on the wall of a photograph of a seated Kon-Tikier, wearing straw hat and strumming an acoustic guitar during their wild ride in the Ocean — suggesting some kind of leisure amidst the wild, and that this very same image, or a cropped version, holds a prominent place in the Aku-Aku Bar in Oslo, suggesting that to replicate (this) iconic form regards a marker of authenticity.

We spent time deliberating on the typology of markers that constrain and define any social field of trajectory.
coffeegardentikiIn connection, we discussed narrative structures and the importance placed on markers of distinction, the wholesale distraction that accompanies the blinding light associated with awards, research grants, peer-reviewed publications and the like, and the inability to reduce the complexity of the game, particularly in academia, to a logic of practice that could result in efficiencies by any other means than personal labor.

That was my argument, at any rate, even though what-that we had tested ideas about repackaging and kicking down the food chain research articles or the wholesale management of a career by the amount of money required during a budgeted year.
lakepolesWe mentioned the professionalization of professionals and of expertise, essentially — the bifurcation of intellectuals into those on the one hand that would come to represent a “standing reserve” and provide added value through quantitative values (numbers of publications) and, on the other hand, experts oriented toward research outcomes that would be qualitatively measured based upon the concept of an idea.
We departed as friends.

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I gave a talk at Det Norske Veritas (DNV) about my research on energy consulting, by invitation of Bradd Libby who works in an Arctic research section of the organization.

Bradd and I met in January at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø.

It was then that I first heard him mention DNV’s interest in Arctic specific research, from climate change impacts to practical experiments for determining the quantity of ice build up on ocean vessels in Arctic conditions.

In 2011, at the Oslo Energy Forum in Holmenkollen, I met DNV chief executive officer Henrik O. Madsen, PhD, businessman and engineer. Henrik, for several nights, was emcee to the delight of attendees. Here is a photograph of Henrik on stage delivering a summary of the days events.

DNV is a “classification society” serving as a foundation for “Safeguarding life, property, and the environment”. The organization evaluates technical conditions of merchant vessels and provides services for managing risk. The company was retained by the US government for investigating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 300 offices in 100 countries, 10,000 employees focusing on transport, energy, health care — its reach is comprehensive.

I had planned a talk on Historical Change in Visualization, when, over drinks the evening prior, Torild Nissen Lie, also of DNV, mentioned that my observations on how firms communicate would be of interest.

It was advice from a fortune cookie.

After drinks, I went back to the hotel and re-wrote my presentation to focus on how consulting firms create Communities of Interpretation.

A similar occurrence happened last week.

On the evening prior to my presentation before U. Tromsø faculty, Sidsel Saugestad, over a whisky, pointed out that I should drop the Visualization topic and lead with an ethnographic presentation.

Traipsing back to the computer keyboard, I reworked everything hours before presenting.

Thankfully, the two outcomes were the same. Both presentations turned out to be crowd pleasers. Phew!

But that is getting ahead of myself. On the morning of my DNV presentation, with travel directions from Bradd, I hopped a cab to Oslo central station suddenly realizing that I left my camera in the hotel room.

I hopped out and told the driver to circle the hotel and meet me at the entrance. Typically, I use the I-Phone camera, but had forgotten the charging cord in Tromsø, and would now rely on a point-and-shoot.

Lucky that I remembered.

There were so many interesting interior images I wanted to capture, including Bradd’s bricoleur constructions for carrying out experiments, which included assembling locally bought hardware store items (funnel, duct tape, screws, plastic pipe) into a capturing device for measuring sea spray — for placement on a research vessel.

But I refrained from taking photos as it was the first time we had all gotten together more formally.

The DNV “campus” — as folks including myself refer to the layout of buildings, is located on a knoll, that slides down into a cove located on the Oslo Fjord.

It is the site of an old glass factory, with the buildings now refurbished serving different purposes. The town is Høvik, a suburban center, west end of Oslo, in the municipality of Bærum, the latter noted for having the highest income per capita in Norway, highest proportion of university-educated individuals, and most fashionable residential areas.

During this time of year, autumn, the DNV campus is beautiful and reminded me of two other places, Belvedere Island, Tiburon, California, where I grew up, and Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York, where I visited friends while an undergraduate at Columbia University. These towns are located on inlets, surrounded by deciduous trees, and whose forms of artificiality and enlightenment contrast that of the university form.

One of the first persons with whom I was introduced was T. K., who among other duties, served as one of the lead authors of the Barents 2020, a 300-page report assessing international standards for safe exploration, production, and transportation of oil and gas in the Barents Sea.

Five years in the making, the report creates knowledge from a working relationship with Russian counterparts and Western European specialists.

Efforts such as the Barents 2020 impress.

It is a reference document for the sciences, as evidenced last week at U. Tromsø, where scientists submitting proposals to the Research Council Norway Polar Program, cited the report in requests for further study on oil and gas development, a point I conveyed to T.K.

But discussion of the report also offered an opportunity to discuss DNV’s working relationship with VNIIGAZ, the scientific research institute of Russian natural gas giant GAZPROM.

T.K. acknowledged that there is generally an issue over the lack of knowledge sharing with Russian counterparts. Yet, he also stated that the knowledge issue is not so difficult as long as you maintain continual contact over the long term and settle in and familiarize yourself with the data on-site.

I had a chance to meet with Bradd’s team members all of whom held science and engineering backgrounds and are for the most part in their 30s and early 40s.

Present at my talk were about 18 persons. That we had been discussing the techno-science role of DNV, I decided to begin my talk by paraphrasing a passage from Norbert Elias in which he points out that 18th century court society developed an extraordinarily sensitive feeling for the status and importance that should be attributed to persons on the basis of speech, manner or appearance.

My work deals with appearances, which serve as an instrument of self-assertion and social differentiation, the display of rank through outward form. As such, I wanted to prepare folks for what was coming.

Bradd was funny. He introduced me by giving his own stereotype of what cultural anthropologists do, describing us as wearing wide rimmed hats and hanging out in tropical villages (“but in this case Arthur studies people like us!”).

So we laughed and that was a good beginning.

I presented a combination of works, referring to recent manuscripts which can be accessed on my StudioPolar.com site.

A unique occurrence that took place, or at least I thought it was indicative of the general interest in my talk: at 2PM Fridays, the group typically meets for a wine bottle lottery and candy share. Whomever wins the wine bottle, brings candy the next week, or something of that design. At any rate, we began at 1PM and I was advised that nearer to 2PM — I could expect folks departing for the friday mini-celebration.

To my surprise — and I had hoped only to speak 40 minutes but actually ended at 1:55PM — most folks stayed and asked questions until about 2:20PM, which I found gratifying.

The questions were good. One question concerned whether I was making too many generalizations, based upon a case study of natural gas restructuring in North America. Or rather, whether my entire presentation was too general.

And this was an accurate critique, in the sense that I was introducing, ambitiously, at least 7 points in my talk, referring to a historical shift in visualization toward more abstract forms of interpretation; the role of energy consultants in creating consensus among competing parties; the role of government after the OPEC embargo in creating institutions that could collect data that would provide independent firms to thrive; the general point about a semantic collapse in national energy systems during the 1980s; and the overall collapse of 3 historical autonomous forms of Knowledge and Human Interests, as once laid out by Jurgen Habermas but which now represents, under environmental sciences, a combination of prediction, vision, and ethics — Really, quite a lot to cover in less than one hour.

Looking back, I should have stated that what I do is a combination of Historical Constructivism and Philosophical Empiricism and that a statement of such at the beginning would probably have cleared up things.

But instead, I responded by appealing to empirical grounds, stating yes, the European condition is quite different (regulation, technical aspects of pipes, marketing), but that in general, the Western European and American case can — as a general form, be considered unique, in comparison to, say, the Middle Eastern form, which still regards visuals as truthful when shown in an immediacy of the recognizable image, which, for those in the room at any rate, can only be grasped as falsity.

But it was a good point.

Another set of issues surrounded the performativity of visuals, whether consultants can do more than justify an independent stance over development or whether they can perform certain futures. Here, I demurred and provided a 3-point answer: all of the above.

There was a question over whether emancipation of the earth was simply anthropomorphizing the planet. Again, to speak otherwise would bring us back into a Weberian conception of science as a vocation (a separation of the current collapse of knowledge and human interests). That was my response at any rate.

Finally, there was a funny question about the Kantian aesthetic, and whether we would ever go back to the anti-Kantian aesthetic, in terms of visuals. I responded by pointing to Norbert EliasHistory of Manners, suggesting that we have been moving steadily across history toward an aesthetics of increased refinement and delicacy.

That likely, the shift from an anti-Kantian to a Kantian aesthetic reflects this trend, where today, instead of seeing the violence perpetrated upon the earth by reference to images of “pollution” (or such immediately recognizable images of environmental insult), we now prefer to look upon images of graphs– the relationship of surface temperature to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, as one example — as if prediction is now the only form of determining environmental remediation.

Overall, I thought the presentation went well.

Afterward, I had a final opportunity to convene with Bradd and his section leader M.W. We talked on a variety of issues, including unique areas of Bradd’s research on potentially disruptive (innovative) technologies for the Arctic.

Our discussion resulted in follow up themes that I am hoping to collaborate on with Bradd for developing a stronger relationship between my own research and the DNV Arctic research team. These include, communication and conveyance of risk; the formal system of networks in the Arctic; a social science exploration of identifying contours of proprietary knowledge; a topic I suggested, geoengineering, because I felt that once we identify ourselves as the purveyors of climate change, while it may result in political action, as Al Gore states in Inconvenient Truth, it most likely will result in, well, more scientific progress! (testing on the earth, knowing that we can now manage it).

Finally, it was time  to go home. Bradd and I walked down to the shuttle that would carry us to the train heading for Oslo.

Bradd lives in Norway with his family, but I told him, and not without some laughter, that he was still very much of the American Risk Taker ilk — placing me, as he did, a cultural anthropologist in front of his colleagues to see what happens, an experimental gesture to be sure, and I was grateful for the opportunity. We shook hands at Oslo central station and proceeded to our respective destinations.

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black empiricism

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No. 1 — Technology Transfer …

My current research in northern Europe and Russia, an approach different from what I undertook for the North American Arctic, began from email exchanges with the Russian natural gas guru, Director of Oxford Energy Institute, Jonathan Stern.

Actually, prior to this — as my initial purpose for contacting Stern — I stumbled across a curious set of quotes from his early work on the Russian natural gas industry development written during the late 1980s — fascinating for according to Stern’s telling, the corporeal body of Western expertise remained in “the West”.

And it transfixes because of the question the sentence raises: what form of Western expertise circulates into Russia on the topic of natural gas development prior to the 1990s, if it is not the body of the Western expert?

Stern states:

As far as the Soviet domestic industry is concerned, I would suggest that the Soviet authorities will be extremely reluctant to allow Western Personnel on Soviet soil, particularly for a project such as the construction of a large-scale pipeline” (124).

Today, Western experts travel through into Russia — on Soviet soil — and provide advice on various concerns of the natural gas industry. The corporeality of Western expertise, the actual body of the natural gas energy expert is the topic of my research, and its circulation within Russia. For this reason, I became fascinated by the kind of language used by Stern, to describe the circulation of Western expertise into Russia — without the body of the expert. Here are some examples:

It is argued that irrespective of current technology transfer, however, ‘more American exploration and exploration equipment for maximal development of the Samotlor fields in West Siberia and potential reserves in East Siberia onshore and offshore may be a critical requirement” (152, emphasis mine).

and again,

There are certain key areas in which Western technology does play an important role. For the gas industry, straight purchase of large-diameter pipe and compressor station units continue to be of immense importance…” (150, emphasis mine).


The imported technology and hard currency that such development would contribute to the Soviet economy was one incentive, and this was backed by the realization that, without Western assistance, ten to fifteen years would be added to the lead times for bringing the east Siberian deposits into projection” (117, emphasis mine).

In the following quotes, notice the emphasis on material technology transfer:

Italy has been receiving Soviet gas since 1974 in return for steel pipe deliveries from [the company] Findsider” (105, emphasis mine).

Many Western contractors are involved in the project, with much of the pipe coming from West Germany and Japan” (78, emphasis mine).

It is doubtful whether Soviet capacity to manufacture large-diameter pipe can expand at a sufficiently rapid rate to meet the increasing demand. The inference must be that in the future, as in the past, they will rely to a large extent on imports of these materials from the West” (74, emphasis mine).

All the gas currently exported to Western Europe is in exchange for deliveries of pipeline and gas field equipment” (49, emphasis mine).

In Short

      • technology transfer
      • key areas [of] Western technology
      • imported technology
      • Western assistance
      • steel pipe deliveries
      • pipe coming from West Germany and Japan
      • materials from the West
      • deliveries of pipeline and gas field equipment

…without the body.

No. 2 — To Paddington Station …

I remember quite distinctly the several hours before my first meeting with Jonathan, when we had just flown into London. A driver from Howard Swiss Hotel met us at the airport. Through to London, we passed the cheaper bed and breakfasts recalling my previous visits, either alone, with friends or with my father and now grateful that on this trip I was released from those shoddy rooms.

Settled, we walked up Victoria embankment along the river, past Cleopatra’s needle, then up through Trafalgar Square past the national museum through Piccadilly Circus and through China town, before finding a British pub for dinner. From there we walked through Covent Garden back to the Swissotel. The town was buzzing. A hot afternoon. We among the throng. I wondered how OS would respond to the crowds and architecture. There was no difference between our conversations from the office. A changed environment but still speaking about the same issues. Didn’t sleep much, waking at 4AM, watching a film.

We walked over the millennium bridge, past the Tate Modern Museum along the river to breakfast at the Roast on Stoney Rd. a recommendation from the Concierge.  Here is where our trip began. I could say that it began earlier, when the night before we departed, and instead of working in the office, we drove into P., having dinner on CB. But it was in the Roast, having coffee after breakfast, that I began to express my underlying motivations about the trip. That I began to unpack the style of my thinking about what expectations I did not have concerning research, data, and meetings with professionals.

I suggested that we were focusing on method, and especially our method. Learning was not important, or not as important as reflecting on our expectations about the context of learning and representing knowledge. That is, how up to that point, we could say: we flew, we rested and now we would be in meetings. But how instead, we had talked ourselves into a frenzy about what things could and could not possibly mean, and therefore, how the spaces in between the so-called real events could sink the entire project, and that I would like to see things nearly sink, because of my desire to emphasize everything.

We left breakfast toward the Tate Modern, and discovered the time was overdue, and we needed to head back to the hotel to prepare for our appointment with J. S.

We were seated in Café Rizzata at Paddington Station, and J. S. came up to shake our hands, and then stated he would grab something to drink from the vendor. As I watched him at the counter, I reminded myself that I had carried out this exact scene hundreds of times—meeting with someone to discuss my project. What is my project? The meeting itself, an experimental exchange in which a guest is invited to share some thoughts for which there is no determined outcome, and no result.

Which raises several points that OS and I talked about for the next 2 hours, after the end of the meeting. And then again in particular, during dinner over ramen with chopsticks and on the way back to the hotel past the millennium bridge where we decided to grab the last call on the embankment looking across the River Thames.

In a conversation between Shatov and Nikolai Stavrogin from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Demons, Shatov states: “Can’t I see by your face that you’re at grips with some awesome new thought?”

He continues, explaining to Stavrogin, about the power of an expression used by the latter several years before: “there was a teacher uttering immense words, and there was a disciple who rose from the dead. I am that disciple and you are the teacher.” Shatov continues: “It is hard to change gods. I did not believe you then because I did not want to believe… but the seed [the idea] remained and grew” (emphasis mine).

Stavrogin replies in various ways: “I was not joking with you then, either; in persuading you, I was perhaps more concerned with myself than with you.”  Stavrogin again: “If I had a belief, I would no doubt repeat it now as well; I wasn’t lying, speaking as a believer…but I assure you that this repetition of my past thoughts produces an all too unpleasant impression on me.” And finally, “On the contrary, with your ardent words you’ve revived many extremely powerful recollections in me. I recognize in your words my own state of mind two years ago…[which]…even seems to me that they were still more exceptional, still more absolute….”

I met with Jonathan two weeks later in Oslo, at the Petrosams workshop sponsored by the Research Council of Norway, and then nearly six months later at Holmenkollen, at the Oslo Energy Forum. Prior to all of these meetings, but certainly after reading his books, we had several exchanges over email where my topic of Western expertise in Russia began to take shape.

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Recently, I caught up with Energy Czar, Daniel Kammen — a Hero for our time.

Can you imagine?! He’s been invited to the 2012 Oslo Energy Forum as main speaker, along with Bob Dudley, current head of British Petroleum (who we have yet to catch up with), Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil (who we just met there a few months back), and Lee Raymond, Former CEO, Exxon Mobil, etc. and so on.

“Under no uncertain terms,” I informed the Energy Czar — while raising my forefinger skyward, “can you attend the Oslo Energy Forum 2012 without bringing me along.”

Good Grief! That’s StudioPolar‘s backyard!

Well, we’ll see. At $15K an entry ticket, to go once in my lifetime should be enough. And I should thank here the US Federal Government for thinking so highly of me to scoot me over there several months ago. But to go again. Now that would be the true test of the Paparazzi Ethnographic master.

Back to the Czar.

First, we chuckled over East Bay Express naming Dan Kammen Most Influential Cal Berkeley Energy Czar for handling the $8 billion portfolio for World Bank Group’s Energy Strategy

As a matter of fact, I checked in on Dan at the World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington, D.C., recently — to provide evidence that Dan was doing just that —  handling the WBG Energy Strategy.

The World Bank Group building is impressive and located in the heart of Washington, D.C.

I managed to get through security with only a raised brow.

Just as I got my feet wet, we were called back out again, for an early lunch with Paul Isbell, Senior Associate at Center for Strategic and International Studies

Paul is a gracious host.

Paul is entertaining at the table as well.

We ordered wine with the meal.

Ordering such a fancy meal — I got to use fancy silverware — a fork with three prongs, a knife without a serrated edge and a little dent and a spoon with a dent…

World Bank Group is a big castle. There is everything! Dining, Customer Service Center where you get your United Nation’s passport, Health Clinic for travel vaccinations, Mail Department, Graphics Shop, Latte Dispensers, Library, Dry Cleaners, Restaurants, Employee Banking. There is artwork everywhere, and the atrium must be a couple hundred feet high, similar to a cathedral.

It was an interesting experience for a guy like me, coming all the way from a small town called Berkeley. I almost felt like I was hanging out with the big boys. Hey, Wait a New York minute! That’s what we do here!

I attended meetings with a lot of VIPs.

After several days, I realized I could just live there, literally, inside the WBG. Without coming out.

I would not get bored. I could be like a house cat. Roaming, purring, sleeping. Eat late brunches with Dan, visit the Customer Service Center for services, and have plenty of lattes in the atrium. That’s where all the business takes place by the way, right there, sitting and chatting over who’s next in line for big power plant.

Oops! Silly me. I almost got so carried away the WBG lifestyle, that I nearly forgot the tag line of the main story:

WBG declined to allow the Energy Czar to participate in assessment of clean energy alternatives in Kosovo…and to Dan’s credit, the story was splashed all over the news: e.g.,
Battle over Ugly Coal

I guess that’s what makes Dan Kammen the Energy Czar. He’s more than just a fat cat purring in the WBG.

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Oslo Energy Forum

Holmenkollen. The hotel where 80-or-so bankers, oil executives and consultants gather for the Oslo Energy Forum to discuss — the future of oil and gas industry.

The first image hotel guests witness is a wall-sized video screen of female swimmers in bathing suits.

The next image is a hotel room.

The third image — a workshop brochure and participant details.

An image of yourself is next, as you are nearing toward entering into a room of participants and at the front or your consciousness appears the exorbitant cost of attendance, access by personal-only invitation, illustrious speakers about whom you gaze at with wonder on the internet prior to arrival, the secrets and closed curtain discussions, Chatham House rule — “what is said in the room, stays in the room”, etc. and so on — the emotional impact of an event that many in the industry place high on a pedestal, the descriptive importance of the Forum, gazes into the future, predictions of energy demands, cocktail introductions, the handling and exchanges of business cards, slight of hand gestures, Moet Chandon flutes.

All of this takes place as you straighten your tie or, as in this case, check to see the camera works.

You take your seat among the guests and listen to what will be in store.

You exchange Business Cards.

The next day, you find your seat — listen and engage:

You return to your room where cross-country ski boots await you, so that you can bond with executives on the fields above Oslo.

You unfold your napkin for dinner.

After several days of these activities, you leave for home.


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