This oil spill 'the bad one' -- recipe for disaster

May 01, 2010 By SETH BORENSTEIN , AP Science Writer
Brown pelicans and gulls fly in front of oil booms along the shoreline at Pass a Loutre, La., where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico Friday, April 30, 2010. Wildlife in the region is vulnerable to the looming oil spill from last week's collapse and spill of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP) -- What makes an oil spill really bad? Most of the ingredients for it are now blending in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts tick off the essentials: A relentless flow of oil from under the sea; a type of crude that mixes easily with water; a resultant gooey mixture that is hard to burn and even harder to clean; water that's home to vulnerable spawning grounds for new life; and a with difficult-to-scrub marshlands.

Gulf Coast experts have always talked about "the potential for a bad one," said Wes Tunnell, coastal ecology and oil spill expert at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

"And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened."

It hasn't quite become a total disaster yet. But it's hard to imagine it not being devastating, said Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for . The Louisiana State University professor has been testing samples of the spilled crude.

He compared what's brewing to another all-too-familiar Gulf Coast threat: "This has got all the characteristics of a Category 5 hurricane."

If conditions don't change quickly, devastation of the highest magnitude is headed for somewhere along the coast, said Overton, who works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More than 200,000 gallons of oil a day are spewing from the blown-out well at the site of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded April 20 and sank two days later. Crews are using at least six remotely operated vehicles to try to shut off an underwater valve, but so far they've been unsuccessful. Meanwhile, high winds and waves are pushing oily water over the booms meant to contain it. Besides BP, a slew of federal and state agencies are scrambling to minimize the onslaught of damage.

Experts in oil spills have drills every few years to practice their response for spills of "national significance." One of those practice runs took place just last month in Maine. The leak is a "combination of all the bad things happening" and makes it far worse than any disaster imagined in the drills, said Nancy Kinner, director of the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

"This is relentless," Kinner said.

Most Americans think of Exxon Valdez when it comes to spills. But the potential and likelihood here "is well beyond that," said University of Rhode Island ocean engineering professor Malcolm Spaulding. Because the Deepwater Horizon well has not been capped and may flow for months more, it should be compared to a bigger more dangerous one from a well explosion in 1979, said Tunnell. That was Ixtoc 1, off the coast of Mexico. It was the worst peacetime oil spill on record.

The current spill "is kind of a worst case scenario," Tunnell said.

What makes this spill relentless and most similar to Ixtoc 1 is that it's an active well that keeps flowing. The Exxon Valdez was a tanker with a limited supply of oil. The rig 40 miles from the Gulf Coast may leak for months before a relief well can be drilled to stop the flow, Kinner said.

And LSU's Overton said: "I'm not very optimistic that they'll be drilling a relief well in three months."

The type of oil involved is also a major problem. While most of the oil drilled off Louisiana is a lighter crude, this isn't. It's a heavier blend because it comes from deep under the ocean surface, Overton said.

"If I had to pick a bad oil, I'd put this right up there. The only thing that's not bad about this is that it doesn't have a lot of sulfur in it and the high sulfur really smells bad."

The first analysis of oil spill samples showed it contains asphalt-like substances that make a major sticky mess, he said. This is because the oil is older than most oil in the region and is very dense.

This oil also emulsifies well, Overton said. Emulsification is when oil and water mix thoroughly together, like a shampoo, which is mostly water, said Penn State engineering professor Anil Kulkarni.

It "makes a thick gooey chocolate mousse type of mix," Kulkarni said.

And once it becomes that kind of mix, it no longer evaporates as quickly as regular oil, doesn't rinse off as easily, can't be eaten by oil-munching microbes as easily, and doesn't burn as well, experts said.

That type of mixture essentially removes all the best oil clean-up weapons, Overton and others said.

Under better circumstances, with calmer winds and water, the oil might have a chance of rising without immediately emulsifying, but that's not happening here, Kulkarni said. It's pretty much mixed by the time it gets to the surface.

The wind and waves are also pushing the oil directly toward some of the most sensitive coastal areas: the marshlands of Louisiana and surrounding states.

And there are three types of beaches: sandy, rocky and marshy. Sandy beaches, like those in Florida, are the easiest to clean, Overton said. By far the hardest are marshlands and that's where the oil is heading first.

Marshes are so delicate that just trying to clean them causes damage, Kinner said. Once the oily mess penetrates, grasses must be cut. But it also penetrates the soil and that is extremely difficult to get out, she said.

The normal bacteria that eats oil needs oxygen to work, and in the soils of the marsh, there's not enough oxygen for that process, she said.

It's also the time of year in the Gulf of Mexico when fish spawn, plankton bloom and the delicate ecosystem is at a vulnerable stage.

Hurricane season is fast approaching in June and experts are sure the oil will still be flowing by then. Though it might seem counterintuitive, a big storm could help by dispersing and diluting the worst of the oil, Overton said.

"A hurricane is Mother Nature's vacuum cleaner," Overton said. Normally it cleans things up. But that's not a solution with a continuing spill.

Explore further: Monitoring heavy metals using mussels

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Ravenrant
4 / 5 (4) May 02, 2010
We need more offshore drilling, it's perfectly safe, just ask the republicans and their cheerleader Fox. They haven't been talking about it lately for some reason though. Seriously though, I thought I heard that BP decided that sea floor shutoff valves weren't necessary? If that's true some corporate heads need to roll, literally. The stupidity and greed of corporations never ceases to amaze me. As usual we wait for the disaster to react and no doubt this spill will institute changes that should have been implemented BEFORE the disaster. We will do the same with climate change.
GaryB
5 / 5 (6) May 02, 2010
The FOX heads just don't see the truth: 2 things do not work in this world: 1) Markets don't work, 2) Governments don't work. (1) ends either in stifling monopoly or in casino-like blow ups. It always ends this way. (2) Ends in tyranny or stifling bureaucracies.

The only solution is ... *balance* of powers. Remember the founding fathers. That was their great move. We need government to regulate, enforce, open up new areas such as the internet, we need markets to exploit existing areas. We need checks and balances to prevent excesses in both. But this is true: Government is necessary. Markets are necessry. This is the old conservative message which is very different than the current tea party nuts.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 02, 2010
They should have never drilled the Gulf. At least not with current technology. It's far too brutal an area with multiple extended periods of calm during which safety becomes lax and environmental concerns go by the wayside.

It's a tragedy.
This is the old conservative message which is very different than the current tea party nuts.

Not all of us. Then again, as the GOP becomes more entrenched in trying to steer the TEA movement, I find myself further and further from their aims.
marjon
1 / 5 (2) May 02, 2010
When the government listens to Luddites and stifle development of nuclear power and natural gas, what remains is oil and coal.
The US Navy develops nuclear reactors that sailors live and work next to every day.
This spill will cause damage, but nature will recover. Oil seeps from the ocean floor around the world and little critters eat it.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) May 02, 2010
Remember the founding fathers

They would not have supported the Fascist state that Teddy Roosevelt started and which we now 'enjoy'.
They supported limited government that protected property rights. Such a government should be the vehicle for injured property owners to use to recover any damages to their property.
The real power in a free market lies with the people, the consumers, those who are free to choose to buy, or not buy products others offer for sale. The government function is to prosecute theft and fraud, passive control, not active regulations that invite corruption.
otto1923
2 / 5 (5) May 02, 2010
Jesus the troll is everywhere.
They should have never drilled the Gulf. At least not with current technology. It's far too brutal an area
And yet there have been no serious accidents with over 1500 platforms and -what?- 60 yrs of drilling? Until now. Just when the pres has ok'ed drilling off the Atlantic coast, potentially supplying vast new amounts of crude and derailing the devt of alternative tech vital to space colonization (solar, fusion, batteries, materials, etc); all initiated by a mysterious explosion and a valve which 'failed' to close. The doomed sub-sea level city of new Orleans is sacrificed to delay the disruptive exploitation of this resource.

This smells as fishy as the shuttle disasters and the Hubble myopia. And 9/11. And 3 mile island/Chernobyl. No matter what the public sentiment, it is quickly and thoroughly changed by events of sufficient magnitude.' And pearl harbor. And the Lusitania.
otto1923
4 / 5 (3) May 02, 2010
The current spill "is kind of a worst case scenario," Tunnell said.
Couldnt have been planned that way, could it? Let's see what the hurricane season brings-
Bloodoflamb
5 / 5 (5) May 02, 2010
@otto:
The current spill "is kind of a worst case scenario," Tunnell said.
Couldnt have been planned that way, could it? Let's see what the hurricane season brings-
You're not suggesting that Hurricanes are ALSO a government conspiracy, are you?

@marjon:
They supported limited government that protected property rights. Such a government should be the vehicle for injured property owners to use to recover any damages to their property.
The real power in a free market lies with the people, the consumers, those who are free to choose to buy, or not buy products others offer for sale. The government function is to prosecute theft and fraud, passive control, not active regulations that invite corruption.
Let's go to our buddy Adam Smith:
Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) May 02, 2010
The explosion is quite a coincidence.

Civil government protects the property rights of all, rich and poor. One's person and one's labor are included in the definition of property rights.
The USA was designed to create the opportunity for the poor to obtain and keep the property they earn, unlike the European states they escaped.
Andrew Carnegie is one fine example among millions of others.
Shootist
1 / 5 (4) May 02, 2010
"And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened."

I'd hate to think how hyperbolic these folks would be if something really bad happened, like a volcano or meteor impact.
otto1923
3.5 / 5 (2) May 02, 2010
I'm saying Governments are a Conspiracy.
You're not suggesting that Hurricanes are ALSO a government conspiracy, are you?
I'm saying that the Timing of events can be used to great Advantage. What would a hurricane do with all that oil? Although:
http://www.wisege...ther.htm
-Who knows?
marjon
1 / 5 (2) May 02, 2010
"And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened."

I'd hate to think how hyperbolic these folks would be if something really bad happened, like a volcano or meteor impact.

These thoughts come to mind:
Survival requires practice. Improvise, adapt and overcome.
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger.
'A man's got to have his priorities.' Dirty Harry.
otto1923
5 / 5 (1) May 02, 2010
'Only the good die young' Billy Joel. What kinda shape you in? Would you sink or swim? The bodys a temple ya know.
marjon
1 / 5 (2) May 02, 2010
'Only the good die young' Billy Joel. What kinda shape you in? Would you sink or swim? The bodys a temple ya know.

"Be prepared." Boy Scouts
barakn
3.7 / 5 (3) May 02, 2010
Remember the founding fathers

...They supported limited government that protected property rights. Such a government should be the vehicle for injured property owners to use to recover any damages to their property.... The government function is to prosecute theft and fraud, passive control, not active regulations that invite corruption.

The founding fathers owned slaves. Judging by your statements, I'd have to guess that you're pretty pissed the government regulated that market out of existence.
Bloodoflamb
5 / 5 (1) May 02, 2010
Civil government protects the property rights of all, rich and poor. One's person and one's labor are included in the definition of property rights.
The USA was designed to create the opportunity for the poor to obtain and keep the property they earn, unlike the European states they escaped.
Smith was the father of capitalism, and proponent of the market system. But, when he spoke of a market system, he referred to a system where-by government leveraged their authority to prevent the formation of extremely large businesses, which would act to degrade the fairness of the market by reducing competition.

The fact is that Adam Smith was a capitalist. He was also a socialist. Unfortunately, too many people have a warped view of the former and think it incompatible with the latter. That's not to say that their PERSONAL definitions of capitalism aren't compatible with socialism. But such definitions are more properly regarded as corporatism.
Bloodoflamb
5 / 5 (3) May 02, 2010
I'd hate to think how hyperbolic these folks would be if something really bad happened, like a volcano or meteor impact.
Uh... Just because something else might be worse doesn't mean that this is NOT extremely bad. This is, perhaps, the biggest threat that has ever faced the Louisiana bayou, one of the most fragile and important ecosystems in the U.S.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) May 02, 2010
Remember the founding fathers

...They supported limited government that protected property rights. Such a government should be the vehicle for injured property owners to use to recover any damages to their property.... The government function is to prosecute theft and fraud, passive control, not active regulations that invite corruption.

The founding fathers owned slaves. Judging by your statements, I'd have to guess that you're pretty pissed the government regulated that market out of existence.

Not all. Had they insisted upon freeing all slaves, the USA would not have been created.
But they did create a Constitution with provision for amendment. 14th amendment ended slavery.
A significant effort on the part of Christians in Great Britain ended slavery around 1802.
How do owning slaves, which many did at the time, interfere with the government protecting the right to property? That is what Dred Scott did, upheld property rights.
marjon
May 02, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bloodoflamb
5 / 5 (5) May 02, 2010
When Smith speaks of the negative effects of taxation, he is speaking of taxation on those that cannot afford such taxation. Smith viewed the massive accrual of capital by any single entity as a threat to a healthy and viable market, by effectively reducing or outright destroying competition. Perhaps one should read The Wealth of Nations.
Bloodoflamb
5 / 5 (2) May 02, 2010
It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, cloath and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged.
When the toll upon carriages of luxury, upon coaches, postchaises, &c. is made somewhat higher in proportion to their weight, than upon carriages of necessary use, such as carts and wagons, the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to contribute in a very easy manner to the relief of the poor...
The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations ... generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. ... Of the great and extensive interests of his country he is altogether incapable of judging. ... in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) May 02, 2010
"Taxes upon necessaries, by raising the wages of labour, necessarily tend to raise the price of all manufactures, and consequently to diminish the extent of their sale and consumption."
"The high duties which have been imposed upon the importation of many different sorts of foreign goods, in order to discourage their consumption in Great Britain, have in many cases served only to encourage smuggling, and in all cases have reduced the revenue of the customs below what more moderate duties would have afforded.'
(Sounds like JFK and Reagan, lower tax rates increase revenue.)
"When the diminution of revenue is the effect of the diminution of consumption there can be but one remedy, and that is the lowering of the tax. "
http://www.econli...tml#B.V, Ch.2, Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society
stealthc
1 / 5 (4) May 03, 2010
This is a rigged excuse by the us government to nationalize oil.
Problem: Business cannot be trusted to manage rigs themselves.
Answer: Send over SWAT teams to secure control of rigs and secure oil for obama and his elitist cronies.

If they gave a crap about the problem, then they would be sending over engineers and people with talents in something other than law enforcement to deal with this stuff.

Of course this is going to be blamed on the terrorists, so that the government can make more of a police state out of where you live.

People are morons, they actually buy this crap? You actually think your benevolent government is sending in swat to fix something? LMFAO
marjon
1 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
RE: SWAT
I think the use of the term SWAT was a poor choice of words on the part of the govt to sound 'cool'.
A better term may have been a 'rapid response team' or something similar.
But your point is taken, no one is more motivated to stop the leak than BP.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
When Smith speaks of the negative effects of taxation, he is speaking of taxation on those that cannot afford such taxation. Smith viewed the massive accrual of capital by any single entity as a threat to a healthy and viable market, by effectively reducing or outright destroying competition. Perhaps one should read The Wealth of Nations.

My comments about Smith get deleted, but yours do not.
We know where the editors stand on economics and politics.
Yellowdart
3 / 5 (4) May 03, 2010
Who cares how large the business is, so long as it is responsible? Who cares how large the government is, so long as it is responsible?

The problem is not captialism or socialism, the problem is with men who abuse their power. The greatest check against this, is the power of the people to vote. What we've had has been termed "Crony Capitalism" where the government partners with the large businesses to line their own pockets...which is why you get a bailout for the failures.

So maybe if we as the poeple quit voting in politicians, and rather vote for responsible leaders, and maybe if we quit buying from the large evil corporations...we'd have real capitalism. Until then, its just greed.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
Regardless of Smith, if the government supports failures or extorts success, it brings volatility and eventual collapse to the market.

It is not regulation to be involved in either. It is regulation to protect the market against illegal activities, which is all that is really necessary from the government.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
Back to topic though...my understanding is that the line ruptured initially due to a natural gas pocket coming through the line...which either exceeded the safety guards or they failed upon pressure/expansion issues. Until that flow is shut off though, this wont get any better, especially if its mucking up like that. That is interesting especially if its still lighter than water and rising to the surface. Except why not stick a big hose to it, clamp it down, and tanker it off till you can get it sealed?
marjon
1 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
Who cares how large the business is, so long as it is responsible? Who cares how large the government is, so long as it is responsible?

How to hold anyone accountable is the question. As big as Eron was, it collapsed quickly. Governments not so quickly.
If BP suffers significant disasters, it too will quickly be out of business. The US government that approved BPs permits and methods won't be.
ormondotvos
not rated yet May 03, 2010
Remember, the blowout preventer is 40 feet tall and weighs fifty tons. And it's apparently covered/surrounded by a mile of ~20" pipe, which is still connected to the blowout preventer.

So, first, stop thinking about blowing the whole thing up. Second, send down a hydraulic smasher/cutter like they use in steel scrapyard, and flatten the pipe where it comes out of the BOP, then cut it and drop the collector tank over the whole BOP and smashed/cut stub, and pump to tanker or other well in the area.

There, I fixed that fer ya.
otto1923
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
my understanding is that the line ruptured initially due to a natural gas pocket coming through the line
Thats the working theory right? All witnesses are dead? How does a rig like that sink from burning with those big buoyancy tanks underwater? Why wouldn't it have safety features to keep it afloat (and prevent damage to the pipe) even if the platform is burned? Why isn't the steel fireproofed to maintain structural integrity? Why wasn't the dome prebuilt and waiting somewhere? Why didn't they boom the area off as a precaution?

Wouldn't a Plowshare-type nuke be effective in plugging the hole? Say with a shaped-charge device set off an appropriate distance away?
frajo
not rated yet May 04, 2010
Wouldn't a Plowshare-type nuke be effective in plugging the hole? Say with a shaped-charge device set off an appropriate distance away?
This happens if you read too much of the wrong SF. Ever looked into a good one, like Lem or Strugatzkij?
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
Wouldn't a Plowshare-type nuke be effective in plugging the hole? Say with a shaped-charge device set off an appropriate distance away?
This happens if you read too much of the wrong SF. Ever looked into a good one, like Lem or Strugatzkij?
Plowshare was not fiction. My question was, would it work or not? And implicit in that question was, why not consider nukes for practical uses? Why the stigma? Nukes can be used to free up oil and natural gas deposits (and probably already have been). They will certainly be used in space resource extraction. Why not?
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
Public perception in the least Otto, I would think as far as nuking. I'm not familiar with a plowshare nuke though either, what would be the radiation fall out and collateral damage to the ecology?

I've also heard they are using some powder to coagulate the oil, making it heavier, to itll sink....now what that does to the floor ecology...who knows.

It does seem like so many things went wrong, and at such a coincidental time, but until they can examine the wreckage, we just wont know.

I'm just hoping this doesnt ruin the ecology in the gulf or even the fishing industries that so many depend on.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
Sedan Crater: http://www.flickr...5638966/

You might be able to see it if you can fly over NV sometime.
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
Public perception in the least Otto, I would think as far as nuking.
-which was tailored to fear nukes, and can be re-tailored to favor them. Just depends on which way you point the cameras. Radiation is our friend.
http://www.nv.doe...f474.jpg
-Its in there somewhere.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 04, 2010
Public perception in the least Otto, I would think as far as nuking.
-which was tailored to fear nukes, and can be re-tailored to favor them. Just depends on which way you point the cameras. Radiation is our friend.
http://www.nv.doe...f474.jpg
-Its in there somewhere.

Blowing up a nuclear weapon adjacent to one of the world's major oceanic currents is a mistake I'd prefer the US doesn't repeat again.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
Public perception in the least Otto, I would think as far as nuking.
-which was tailored to fear nukes, and can be re-tailored to favor them. Just depends on which way you point the cameras. Radiation is our friend.
http://www.nv.doe...f474.jpg
-Its in there somewhere.

Blowing up a nuclear weapon adjacent to one of the world's major oceanic currents is a mistake I'd prefer the US doesn't repeat again.
Again? Specify. Also, why not?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) May 04, 2010
The 1952 "Bravo" experiments in the Atoll show that regardless of measures taken to prevent the spread of fallout, that fallout had contaminated 18 islands declared as "safe" to the point of beiung uninhabitable for long periords of time as according to the AEC report. This was confirmed in 75 by the US Department of the Interior which resulted in payments to the Bikinians.

In short, there is no known way to prevent contamination from the use of muclear weapons from propagating up the Eastern seaboard.
otto1923
1 / 5 (3) May 04, 2010
In short, there is no known way to prevent contamination from the use of muclear weapons from propagating up the Eastern seaboard.
Nukes can and have been designed to minimize the production of residual radiation, one of the results of Plowshare. Those used in the Pacific were not of this type. Another myth of the anti-nuclear track-sitter fringe.
http://en.wikiped...ct_Gnome
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
Frajo- youre too timid and myopic. Frajo- short for 'frajile'? The increased production, storage, manipulation, and application of ever greater amounts of raw power by the species is inevitable, and something we should look forward to. It defines our past and our future.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) May 04, 2010
Nukes can and have been designed to minimize the production of residual radiation, one of the results of Plowshare. Those used in the Pacific were not of this type. Another myth of the anti-nuclear track-sitter fringe.
http://en.wikiped...ct_Gnome

Oh no you don't. You're not going to quote a non-authoritative wiki article on this topic just to exemplify a poorly understood viewpoint. Plowshare nukes have never been tested or modeled for underwater use. Fallout has not been modeled in anything other than a ground or low tropospheric test under the plowshare project.

And you're not going to toss around the term fence sitter when speaking with nuclear proponents unless you want your "discussion ego-penis" sawn off in the process.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) May 04, 2010
never been tested or modeled for underwater use. Fallout has not been modeled in anything other than a ground or low tropospheric test under the plowshare project.
Ah but yes I am. You did see that the Gnome shot was 1800 ft below the surface? You and I dont know what the russians did but nukes have been set off underwater with spectacular results, and data taken. We can also drop our nuke down a shallow well on the seabed thereby saving months of drilling. Lets try to be a little proactive here; a little short-lived byproduct vs decades of recurring petro contamination throughout most of the gulf. For the Greater Good.
http://en.wikiped...xplosion
http://de.wikiped...lowshare
-The wiki article didnt mention that the Gnome void was essentially habitable after temps had dropped to tolerable levels.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 04, 2010
Ah but yes I am. You did see that the Gnome shot was 1800 ft below the surface?

Of the Earth, not the ocean. And you requote wiki. Go get a real source.
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
And you requote wiki.
But in German. I am not sure what info you are disputing sir, or whether it would carry any more weight from a website with .gov or .edu behind it. However I am confident appropriate sources could be found on wiki or even Bing. I would also have to assume that, since the US has used nuclear tech underwater for decades and they arm their subs with nuke torpedos for instance, that they would have a good idea what effects detonations would have in an ocean environment. Nicht wahr?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
If you hadn't detracted from opponents who quote wiki in the past I might let you slide,

However, I can go edit all those linked pages and have the result appear within your reference now if I so choose. This is why wiki is unacceptable, it is a volatile reference.
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
If you hadn't detracted from opponents who quote wiki in the past I might let you slide,

However, I can go edit all those linked pages and have the result appear within your reference now if I so choose. This is why wiki is unacceptable, it is a volatile reference.
Kool. See, humans love to use Power.
If you hadn't detracted from opponents who quote wiki in the past
I dont recall, but honestly since I use wiki all the time, its doubtful unless the page was obviously wrong. At the time I read it.
Caliban
3 / 5 (4) May 04, 2010
We seem to be drifting away from the fact that this well is pumping AT LEAST 5,000 barrels of oil per day, some sources estimate double, or even triple that.

In any event, this is certainly the most massive ecological disaster on record, and will make the Ex/Val look like a kitchen spill. Add to that the fact that as m uch as half of the seafood, freshwater fish, and shellfish/crustaceans consumed in the US have their origins in the American Gulf Coast, and we have a HUGE problem. This will send prices through the roof, and put more hundreds of thousands of people out of work, on top of the outright and longlived damage to the environment. The repecussions will persist for decades.
otto: these clowns at BP are not about to allow- and do everything they possibly can to prevent- any kind of leak-stop scenario such as you envision. There are billions of barrels of oil to be extracted for profit down there- so fuck the environment, the economy, and the US government- they (cont'd)
Caliban
4 / 5 (4) May 04, 2010
aren't going to let all that oil be removed from development, or superheated by a nuke into tar or otherwise rendered unextractable.
BP will stop the leak- that will happen- but they aren't going to be in any real hurry to do so. Every barrel that leaks out into the Gulf will have the effect of raising the price of a barrel on the futures market, so BP knows that it can actually CREATE the money to pay for this disaster(or at least, the portion which they INTEND to pay for)- so it is really a win-win strategy for them.

It has been known for at least TEN YEARS that the model Blowout Preventer valve used on this well had major performance problems. Clearly it was a "matter of time" scenario, which is just one more reason- and a compelling one- why off-shore drilling should be BANNED OUTRIGHT the world over- this shit keeps happening over and over despite all assurances to the contrary- not to mention all of the illegal dumping, processing, spilling, and discharging that occurs 24/7
otto1923
1 / 5 (3) May 04, 2010
A SMALL conservative nuke; precisely engineered to collapse the hole sufficiently to stop the leak. Jeez, someone mentions nuke and everybody starts to salivate like the little pavlovs Pudel. No fishies will be harmed in this exercise. But youre right- wont never happen. The evil stigma is too politically useful. Should Iran have nukes for peaceful excavation purposes? Of course not. Humans.

What youre calling for caliban is a total ban on petroleum. For even without offshore drilling, tankers would still haul it around the world and ships would still be leaking oil and gasoline. There have been suprisingly few accidents given the volume of use; and this one should make it even safer in the future.
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) May 04, 2010
Setting aside all the ineptitude and cheapest-is-best corporate decision making that is regularly deployed in pursuit of even the slightest increase in profitability, it is passing strange that this disaster occurred in the way in which it did.
The fact that EVERY thing failed, and that the Platform, pipeline, and pump were all lost is very suspicious- and the likelihood that it was the "perfect storm" of simultaneous factors is next to zero if BP was following even the relatively "stringent" Best Manufacturing Practices. And who would stand to gain from this "worst case scenario"?
What we can say for sure is that this is going to send the prices of food and fuel through the roof at the same time that it puts many people out of work, and ruins hundreds of miles of coast for decades to come.

BP won't be paying for all that.

WE WILL.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
And you requote wiki.
But in German.
So what? The German wikipedia page on "Operation Plowshare" is just a subset of the English one.
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
And you requote wiki.
But in German.
So what? The German wikipedia page on "Operation Plowshare" is just a subset of the English one.
Nice pictures though.
And who would stand to gain from this "worst case scenario"?
Those who care most about the Civilization and the species. This will only give more impetus to creating alternative energy-related technologies which will be essential to our colonization of space.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
otto,
I sincerely hope that you are right- because this is only just beginning to show tts real potential in terms of disastrousness. I'm afraid that the sad truth is that this entire incident will be largely forgotten(except by those directly affected in the gulf states) in 3 or 4 years, just as the Exxon-Valdez was forgotten(even if the damage is far from being gone).
As far as the nukes- I wasn't saying that they couldn't or shouldn't be at least considered as an option- I was saying that they WOULD NOT be used- because BP isn't going to risk having that oil rendered unobtainable or unuseable.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) May 04, 2010
just as the Exxon-Valdez was forgotten(even if the damage is far from being gone
Personally I tend to think that oil damage is also overblown:
http://www.scienc...0944.htm
-But youre right- this could be a major disaster.
they WOULD NOT be used- because BP isn't going to risk having that oil rendered unobtainable or unuseable.
It wouldnt be- engineers would see to that.
Caliban
3 / 5 (2) May 04, 2010

Personally I tend to think that oil damage is also overblown:
http://www.scienc...0944.htm

Oil seeps are a different animal than a catastrophic spill like this. a number of factors are at play: the type of oil, the amount released, where/when released, currents, temperatures, weather. Needless to say, Santa Barbara and the Alaskan coast of Prince William Sound are two very different places. The spill damage is still very pronounced along several hundred miles of the coast there.
Something that usually goes unremarked is whether or not detergents and dispersants are used-they can have a very long-term effect environmentally in that they can actually increase the persistence of the oil in the environment, and are reported as being used extensively in this recovery operation. There is an article on the very thing here on physorg today. Enlightening. [/blockquote]
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
Santa Barbara and the Alaskan coast of Prince William Sound are two very different places. The spill damage is still very pronounced along several hundred miles of the coast there
Sure. But this is the gulf, which is different still:
http://geology.co...l-seeps/
The valdez damage- is it preventing things from growing? Has it ended fishing? Or is it superficial discoloration and staining? Again I'm not saying it was a good thing, only not maybe as bad as it was made out to be.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
The valdez damage- is it preventing things from growing? Has it ended fishing? Or is it superficial discoloration and staining? Again I'm not saying it was a good thing, only not maybe as bad as it was made out to be.

The mechanics for oil flow over waters depends greatly upon the salinity and temperature. Hence why I'm not as opposed to drilling in Alaska, since the conditions are far more favorable for containment in addition to the currents not passing ANY major transportation beltways into the heart of other countries coasts.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
otto,
Try this for starters- a pretty good, objective overview of cause and effect, from beginning to present. While the effects may not be as noticeable 21 years later(and I expect a lot has gone undetected), there is still MUCH to be feared from a disaster like this. Not just the initial landfall of the oil, but the longterm and lingering effects socially, environmentally, economically, biologically, politically- you name it. It's impossible to say how this will compare to the e-val spill, but it is still very clear that IT IS GOING TO BE BAD.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
Sorry forgot the exval link:
http://www.eoeart...oil_spil

And just for good measure:

http://www.worldreports.org/l
otto1923
not rated yet May 04, 2010
otto,
Try this for starters- a pretty good, objective overview of cause and effect, from beginning to present. While the effects may not be as noticeable 21 years later(and I expect a lot has gone undetected), there is still MUCH to be feared from a disaster like this. Not just the initial landfall of the oil, but the longterm and lingering effects socially, environmentally, economically, biologically, politically- you name it. It's impossible to say how this will compare to the e-val spill, but it is still very clear that IT IS GOING TO BE BAD.
I agree. Just like Chernobyl and 3 mile island.
Bloodoflamb
not rated yet May 05, 2010
3 Mile Island was hardly bad. There were no perceptible health effects on anyone who lived near the reactor.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2010
3 Mile Island was hardly bad. There were no perceptible health effects on anyone who lived near the reactor.
Exactly, though it came very close to total meltdown, containment breach, etc. But it was a major game changer that pretty much ended construction of new facilities. What effects will this spill have on the oil industry?
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2010
Actually the molten salt reactor explosion in Detroit started the moratorium. 3 Mile island started the push for shutdown.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) May 05, 2010
Actually the molten salt reactor explosion in Detroit started the moratorium. 3 Mile island started the push for shutdown.
I the public don't recall any morton salt thing, but I do recall TMI, which is what turned public opinion against nukes, at the proper time and in the proper manner.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2010
Transocean actually operated the rig. BP foots the bill because they "own" the oil and thus the responsible party. If they wanted to be cheap, they could tie it up in court against Transocean.

They can also just walk a few feet next door (which is what they will do anyway) and redrill. Not only to help relieve the pressure on the busted well, but to collect the oil.

I dont think there is a conspiracy here, all agencies involved including BP are trying to get this thing plugged and cleaned up asap.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet May 05, 2010
Actually the molten salt reactor explosion in Detroit started the moratorium. 3 Mile island started the push for shutdown.
I the public don't recall any morton salt thing, but I do recall TMI, which is what turned public opinion against nukes, at the proper time and in the proper manner.

Now who's the troll. Molten, not Morton's, salt reactor. The reactor in question was the Fermi 1 FBR in Monroe, MI 30 miles outside of Detroit. It suffered a partial meltdown and massive sodium fire in 66.
otto1923
not rated yet May 05, 2010
Heehee SH you wouldn't know humor if it bit you in the ass I think. I the public recall that it was TMI and that commie machine what taught me that nukes was evil. Am I right or am I wrong? Are they still evil? No it's oil wells now.
Transocean actually operated the rig. BP foots the bill because they "own" the oil and thus the responsible party
I think they're still talking about who is gonna owe who what. Gas prices are already up, yo?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) May 05, 2010
Heehee SH you wouldn't know humor if it bit you in the ass I think. I the public recall that it was TMI and that commie machine what taught me that nukes was evil. Am I right or am I wrong? Are they still evil? No it's oil wells now.

Humor has a place and time, as does a declaration of idiocy. I think you've made your choice here more than once.

Secondly conspiracy theorists suffer greater delusions than religious fanatics.
otto1923
not rated yet May 05, 2010
Heehee SH you wouldn't know humor if it bit you in the ass I think. I the public recall that it was TMI and that commie machine what taught me that nukes was evil. Am I right or am I wrong? Are they still evil? No it's oil wells now.

Humor has a place and time, as does a declaration of idiocy. I think you've made your choice here more than once.

Secondly conspiracy theorists suffer greater delusions than religious fanatics.
Maybe so maybe so. But only 1 of the 2 is potentially true. Ever try prunes?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) May 05, 2010
But only 1 of the 2 is potentially true.

Just as with Pascal's wager, there're more than 2 options.
otto1923
not rated yet May 05, 2010
Actually, let me take a minute to clarify my remark. I had assumed for the moment the persona of a median member of the general public for the purpose of elucidating the popular perception of nukes and their danger. This charicature would have formed his opinions based on the most sensational disasters of the time, which certainly would have overshadowed any secondary occurances which I personally do not recall, being pretty median myself.

The majority of the public would have had these events in mind as they became aware of the billions lost in interrupted and cancelled power stations, and therefore would not be expected to balk quite so much at wasted taxes and increased electric bills. Was my point in using sarcasm as a legitimate point-maker. Klar?
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2010
Heehee SH you wouldn't know humor if it bit you in the ass I think. I the public recall that it was TMI and that commie machine what taught me that nukes was evil. Am I right or am I wrong? Are they still evil? No it's oil wells now.
Transocean actually operated the rig. BP foots the bill because they "own" the oil and thus the responsible party
I think they're still talking about who is gonna owe who what. Gas prices are already up, yo?


BP may seek to collect from Transocean at some point, but now isnt the time. And they are on public record accepting liability for clean up anyway.

It's May, gas prices go up in May as summer approaches. One oil well isnt enough to jack prices.

Now what it is already jacking, is the seafood. People are buying up whats already available pretty quickly. It may not be a pretty summer for the gulf fishing industry if the wind/current spreads this plume out.

otto1923
not rated yet May 05, 2010
Right you are YD. Hard to know what part of the increase is 'natural' and what part is recovery of anticipated damages. Re BP, I read in the news this morning? that the CEO or somebody was now expressing 2nd thoughts about culpability.
Caliban
3 / 5 (2) May 05, 2010
Add to that the fact that Transoceanic is a Swiss-owned concern, that began IPO activity the same day that the explosion occured, which seems likely to be linked to Halliburton's cementing of the borehole, and you've got a nightmare of litigation, which will probably result in very little actual reparations being paid- by any(corporate)body. I predict that American taxpayers will actually foot the bill. Have already begun, in fact.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) May 06, 2010
BP is on record though, stating they are taking clean up liability. Really at this point, they couldnt argue in court, there is no backtracking if you've publically taken responsibility. Only if they went under would you be able to carry the bill over to Transocean.

BP has already established a 25 mil block grant to reimburse local government expenses associated with clean up, at least in Mississippi.
Shootist
1 / 5 (1) May 07, 2010
Remember the founding fathers

...They supported limited government that protected property rights. Such a government should be the vehicle for injured property owners to use to recover any damages to their property.... The government function is to prosecute theft and fraud, passive control, not active regulations that invite corruption.

The founding fathers owned slaves. Judging by your statements, I'd have to guess that you're pretty pissed the government regulated that market out of existence.


moral relativism helps no one.
frajo
3.7 / 5 (3) May 08, 2010
moral relativism helps no one.
I don't understand the intention of your remark. If you want to defend the slave ownership of the founding fathers it's you who maintains moral relativism.

And, yes, moral relativism does help somebody. It helps to admire people with unethical behaviour. And it helps people with unethical behaviour to justify their behaviour.
rwinners
1 / 5 (1) May 09, 2010
Perhaps a really good size hurricane will scoup it all up and dump it on Dallas....