I have met the events of recent weeks in North Africa with great interest and a large degree of disheartenment. As former senior intelligence analyst for the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, assessing these kinds of attacks was part of my daily work.
No . . . it's got nothing to do with trees but an intriguing economic phenomenon that I have to admit I'd never come across until I heard it being discussed on a recent radio programme.
Getting enough sleep is important for our physical and mental health. When we are asleep our senses and motor activities are suspended and we experience total or partial unconsciousness with our voluntary muscles becoming inactive.
For those unfamiliar with EU-speak, the quite positive response from Oil and Gas UK to the news of political agreement on offshore safety legislation might have seemed a little surprising.
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the oil and gas industry have attracted a lot of publicity in recent weeks. Various bodies have produced reports on the number and value, which appear to have reached record levels in some respects.
Energy has reached a milestone . . . its 10th birthday. Launched in March 2003, it was the successor to the Press & Journal's Offshore Journal which was published semi-regularly throughout the North Sea big boom and monthly from 1992 until replaced by Energy.
Have you ever noticed how good ideas seem to come in waves? Blu-ray and High Definition DVD, Microsoft Windows and the Apple Mac, even the films in our cinemas seem to follow a trend with one box office hit sparking a flurry of similarly themed offerings which leave the audience unsure about if they picked the best one to spend their money on.
There are times when I seriously wonder whether the zoo that calls itself the UK Government has a clue about anything. As the carousel of time spins ever faster . . . or it seems that way . . . I become increasingly disillusioned about the manner in which we are governed.
If there is one thing that particularly annoys me it's journalists and economists who have little real knowledge of the energy sector, not just passing themselves off as oil industry experts, but being accepted as such by some politicians because the story they're being told by them just happens to fit their particular political aims.
There has been a lot of good news from the North Sea oil and gas industry over the last few weeks, notably the announcement of over £5billion investments in the Mariner and Western Isles oilfields.
Just about everyone, with the not-very-notable exception of Donald Trump, favours offshore wind farms - at least in principle.
The UK Government's long-awaited Energy Bill and concerns over its commitment to setting clear and challenging decarbonisation targets, has put energy policy firmly back on the agenda.
New requirements to ensure operators have resources to pay for well control incidents are now in force.
Ernst & Young's recent Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey found that 67% of oil and gas companies present in emerging markets expect to increase their presence by 2014.
Expectations within the offshore oil and gas sector have changed over the years such that exposure of staff to risk has become increasingly unacceptable.
As operators face the dual challenge of sustaining their production levels in mature regions while effectively exploiting the uncapped reserves in growth areas, the potential for subsea capital expenditure for the remainder of the decade has increased dramatically.
It wasn't that long ago that there was debated uncertainty surrounding the future of the North Sea and all the industries linked to its operation paid close attention.
On the macro front, crude prices were resilient in 2012 despite the extensive volatility that marked the broader markets as a variety of European and US debt crises played out and economists fretted over the sustainability of growth in China.
A scan of news from a variety of media sources over recent days provides interesting food for thought.
Energy readers are able to spot a mile off attempts to tell them black is really white.
Some say Scotland must make a choice for our future: pursue economic growth, or protect the environment. My response is simple - there is no contradiction in pursuing both. The only credible long-term economic strategy is to exploit Scotland's unique advantages - engineering excellence, research base, energy expertise and natural resources - to grow the economy, while reducing emissions long-term.
I was once told that if Moses had been a Lib Dem he'd have come down from Mt Sinai with ten "really jolly good suggestions".
It's the time of year when finding someone else to do the hard work makes sense. So in that festive spirit, I am delighted to defer to a recent speech made by Ian Taylor, president and chief executive of Vitol, the global trading company.
After more than 20 months of engagement and collaboration between industry and the Government, December 11 saw a further milestone reached in the almost Herculean effort to enable decommissioning security arrangements to move to a post-tax basis.
I last eluded to "The Man with No Name" in my September 2011 Energy column entitled The Good, the Bad, & the Indifferent.