Monday, June 28, 2010

On the Surface

This is an animation from CNN that shows the oil that is on the surface and how that has progressed over time.

The big question of course is - how much oil is below the surface?  And where is all of that? The whole idea of "dispersants" (with names dripping in spin-doctoring like "Corexit") is to hide the mess by making the oil invisible to the public by making it no longer float.

If you look at the frame from June 8 in particular you will notice a large breakaway swath to the south-east, off of the coast of Florida.  Where did that go?  Did it retreat back to the main mass or did it "disperse"?

What exactly are the effects of 100 million gallons of oil - "dispersed" in sea-water?  Is that considered "cleaned up"?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Real Glimpses of What is Going On

The images that are now slowing coming out of the cleanup effort are horrific.

What is more, now we are getting revised estimates of the size of the leak that are between 2 - 4 times greater than previously released.

So to revise my previous math - it has now been 48 days.  A barrel of oil is 55 gallons.  Most people can relate to a gallon jug of milk or water more easily than to a 55 gallon drum that you could easily fit a human body into.  Maybe thinking of the drums as coffins is a better metaphor...  regardless:
Let us take the average number from the estimate.  That is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.  So we will call it 15,500 barrels a day.  15,500 x 48 days = 744,000 barrels x 55 gallons = 40,920,000

Try to picture 40 million gallons of milk in your head.... you can't do it.

So let's go back to bodies - the space required to hold all of that oil will roughly hold 750,000 people.  To put that into perspective - at my last count there were something like 130,000 US troops in Iraq and about 100,000 in Afghanistan.  So take all of our deployed forces and multiply it by three and you're still not there...

The worst part of all of this was knowing, not thinking, knowing what was going to unfold & not being able to do a damned thing but watch the Gulf of Mexico die in slow motion...

My next prediction is also just horrific - my best guess is that Manatees will be extinct in the wild in <5 years.  Where are they going to go & what are they going to eat?  They are doomed.

Last Chance to See...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

BP and Spin Control

What I just heard on the radio  is too damned upsetting... I had a disclaimer in place here as I researched the links in this post, which is about the people whom are being paid by BP as cleanup workers for the spill in the gulf.  But I have since pulled it as the information that I am finding not only backs these claims up, but adds weight to them.

As I understand it, to get hired you must sign a contract that prohibits you from talking to the media under penalty of being fired.  So right there - few of the cleanup crews are talking to the media.  These are the only people who are legally seeing the spill first-hand since you are otherwise not allowed to take a boat out in the effected areas of the Gulf.  In many cases BP is using the local police to chase media crews away from filming oil on the beaches.

The result is as BP intended: precious little first-hand information about the cleanup is getting out.

Secondly, Louisiana Shrimpers Association acting President Clint Guidry has alleged that  BP is prohibiting cleanup workers from wearing protective masks.  One can only assume this is intended to prevent pictures from being published with such masks being present.  While some cleanup workers have grown ill and are blaming it on contact with the chemical dispersants that are being used.
BP has stated  that testing has shown that "airborne contaminants are well within safe limits."

Adding credibility to the Guidry's claim after growing ill as a cleanup worker himself, shrimper John Wunstell Jr. has gone so far as to file for a restraining order to stop BP from seizing and destroying worker’s clothes and prohibiting the use of masks.  BP's CEO suggested that an alternate cause for his condition was food poisoning.