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Gulf Gusher Worst Case Scenario

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the many-car-years'-worth dept.

Earth 799

An anonymous reader writes "Here's a listing of several scientific and economic guides for estimating the volume of flow of the leak in the Gulf of Mexico erupting at a rate of somewhere around 1 million barrels per day. A new video released shows the largest hole spewing oil and natural gas from an aperture 5 feet in diameter at a rate of approximately 4 barrels per second. The oil coming up through 5,000 feet of pressurized salt water acts like a fractionating column. What you see on the surface is just around 20% of what is actually underneath the approximate 9,000 square miles of slick on the surface. The natural gas doesn't bubble to the top but gets suspended in the water, depleting the oxygen from the water. BP would not have been celebrating with execs on the rig just prior to the explosion if it had not been capable producing at least 500,000 barrels per day — under control. If the rock gave way due to the out-of-control gushing (or due to a nuke being detonated to contain the leak), it could become a Yellowstone Caldera type event, except from below a mile of sea, with a 1/4-mile opening, with up to 150,000 psi of oil and natural gas behind it, from a reserve nearly as large as the Gulf of Mexico containing trillions of barrels of oil. That would be an Earth extinction event."

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799 comments

Oh god. (5, Funny)

dlsso (1808390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198812)

We're all going to die!

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32198942)

We're all going to die!

Yes in fact we are all going to die. ... Most of us in 30 to 50 years but yes we are all going to die.

Re:Oh god. (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199274)

Yes in fact we are all going to die. ... Most of us in 30 to 50 years but yes we are all going to die.

You could write a song with those lyrics. Oh, wait ... William Shatner did.

Re:Oh god. (1)

LordBmore (1794002) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199204)

Don't worry, friend. I've put a call in to Bruce Willis and he assured me that he would handle any possible extinction event using nothing more than a case of Schlitz and a Louisville Slugger.

1st post ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32198820)

.. so, like, who cares ...

My Estimate ... (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198834)

According to my meticulous, scientific and unbiassed calculations, my estimate of the number of gallons of oil spewing from the ground in the gulf is: too many.

Re:My Estimate ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32198864)

I don't understand, how many in Library of Congresses?

It's volume, dumbass . . . (4, Funny)

93,000 (150453) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199010)

use Volkswagen beetles, not LOCs.

Re:It's volume, dumbass . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199114)

No no, its a rate. We need to know VW beetles of oil per fortnight.

Re:It's volume, dumbass . . . (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199118)

How many Jews can you put into a Volkswagen beetles?

50. Two in the seats and 48 in the ashtray.

Re:It's volume, dumbass . . . (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199206)

It's obviously a metric ass-load of VW beetles. (Note, this is % of a VW beetle that... well you get the idea.)

Re:My Estimate ... (5, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199258)

Well, lets see...

The Library of Congress contains roughly 1,199 kilometers of books. Assume that each shelf is roughly 30cm by 30cm, you get a volume of roughly 107,910 m3. To fill that volume with barrels of oil...

A barrel of oil is 42 US Gallons, or 0.158987294928 m3. So, you need 6.29 barrels to get 1 m3.

So we should need about 678,753 barrels of oil to constitute one library of congress.

So, at a rate of 4 barrels per second, there is a library of congress worth of oil being dumped into the Gulf about every 47 hours.

Re:My Estimate ... (2, Funny)

alanw (1822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199362)

So, at a rate of 4 barrels per second, there is a library of congress worth of oil being dumped into the Gulf about every 47 hours.

Can we have that converted to the Firkin/Furlong/Fortnight system of units please?

Re:My Estimate ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199250)

Insightful... good work mods, your absolute shitness at rating posts prevails!

Actually it wouldn't... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198910)

More's the pity.

"Extinction" is a very high bar to clear, except for losers like panda bears that are large enough to shoot and barely capable of reproducing without assistance.

However, "Ecological and social shifts leading to grinding, nigh-unendurable; but nowhere near fatal enough to kill you quickly and be done with it" is very much more common and plausible.

Unless we start fucking around with self-replicating strangelets, or largish black holes, or other really exotic stuff, "extinction" is not a serious risk. Even nukes would require some real doing. Unfortunately, though, pushing yourself into "and the living shall envy the dead" territory is typically easier than killing yourself off. Even fairly modest ecological disruption could do the bottom billion or so in(and one can hardly expect that they'll go quietly), and make things pretty unpleasant for the remainder.

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (5, Interesting)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199004)

Maybe you missed the part about Revelation 8:8. Clearly this guy has the scientific know-how to figure out whether or not we're all going to die.

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199030)

Sure, many species would survive. Most people would starve to death.

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199160)

Most people would starve to death.

The obesity epidemic cured in one blow! Thanks BP, Transocean, and Halliburton!

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199076)

except for tasty losers like panda bears that are large enough to shoot and barely capable of reproducing without assistance.

FTFY ;)

Even nukes would require some real doing.

I don't think you could kill off humanity with nukes. Humanity managed to survive a volcanic winter [wikipedia.org] without the benefit of modern knowledge or technology. What's the energy release of an super volcanic eruption compared to nuclear weapons?

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199310)

Prehistoric tech had the advantage of being rather infrastructure free.

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199084)


"Extinction" is a very high bar to clear, except for losers like panda bears that are large enough to shoot and barely capable of reproducing without assistance.

Barely capable of reproducing without assistance can refer to many slashdot readers. However, you do make one good point:

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

        'Why?' asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

        'Well, I'm a panda,' he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'

        The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. 'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots, and leaves.'

(source [wikipedia.org])

The moral: Pandas are SUCH assholes!

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (5, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199116)

It turns out humans aren't the only species. For example, there are many that live in the water. And a lot of those live exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico.

If it killed the vast majority of them, I'd consider it an extinction event. And it looks like it might just do that.

Re:Actually it wouldn't... (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199260)

Not necessarily; there were quite a few extinction events casued mostly by...change of environment by life itself. Don't forget that the true rulers of this planet are bacteria.

If such massive catastrophe, as described in TFS, were to happen - who knows, might get interesting. Is it so inconcievable that bacteria would remind yet again who owns this place? As a byproduct, changing the Earth enviroment to be unbearable to complex multicellular life...

Exponential rate (5, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198934)

We started at 5,000 barrels a day, then 20, 50 and 100,000 barrels a day. Yesterday I saw a figure quoted at 200,000, today I saw 210,000
 
But 1 million barrels a day? That's almost three full days ahead of schedule for the media. Didn't Slashdot get the memo?
 
Also whoever greenlighted this article needs to get fired for releasing such a panic-y and fear inducing article to the front page.

Re:Exponential rate (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199040)

Did you check the actual figures?

5000 BARRELS a day is about 200,000 GALLONS a day. These have been pretty consistently reported in the mainstream media for days.

Re:Exponential rate (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199238)

Foot, insert into mouth
 
Can you convert that into volumes of library of congresses for me? That's apparently the only metric I can understand.

Re:Exponential rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199348)

Did you check the actual figures?

5000 BARRELS a day is about 200,000 GALLONS a day. These have been pretty consistently reported in the mainstream media for days.

Except when the reporters don't grasp that a barrel isn't a gallon, and use the bigger number with the scarier term... I've heard "200,000 barrels" tossed out a few times. Sometimes corrected, but not always.

Re:Exponential rate (5, Insightful)

sirwchms (1811010) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199126)

Blarg! There is a difference between bpm (barrels per day) and gpm (gallons per day). The current estimated rate is 25,000 barrels per day, times 55 gallons per barrel, equals 1,375,000 gallons per day. Which isn't any less depressing, but at least it didn't fail 3rd grade math.

Re:Exponential rate (4, Informative)

jcwren (166164) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199198)

There are 42 gallons, not 55, in a barrel of oil.

Not that it makes it any less of a disaster, but it is the correct number.

Re:Exponential rate (4, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199372)

Also, someone with knowledge of what words mean should have proofread it, rather than just running it through a spell checker. By "disburse", he means "disperse", by "fractioning column", he means "fractionating column", and by "prophesy", he means "prophecy". For someone who is a supposed expert in this field, he has a surprisingly poor ability to use the relevant jargon (disperse and fractionating column) correctly.

Speaking of prophecy, the Biblical reference is pure fear-mongering. It is not salient to estimates of the amount of oil, nor to the ecological effects of the release of oil. It is unprofessional and weakens his case by causing him to sound like a scared crackpot with an conclusion reached independently of any of the evidence he presents rather than a dispassionate analyst attempting to evaluate things with as much honesty and accuracy as possible. We need more of the latter and fewer of the former.

Finally, I have difficulty believing that the ecological effects will be anywhere near as great as an "Earth extinction event", or even bad enough to register on geologic-timescale extinction event charts. It seems quite likely to me that normal geological processes in the last few billion years must have opened up much larger sudden releases of oil (even under the ocean) many many times. One would think that, if a large underwater oil release had massive effects on the world's ecology, paleontologists would be able to tell us about it. Of course, I could be totally wrong in several assumptions here, and it really could be that bad, but my intuition prevents me from believing it. Of course, since I'm not called upon to make any decisions relating to the spill, it doesn't much matter whether I believe it or not.

bad at math (2, Funny)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198936)

4 BPS*24 hrs/day*60min/hr*60sec/min = 345 600 barrels per day, not 1 million.b

Re:bad at math (2, Funny)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199052)

Shame on you, dont you know that there is no place for real science or math when fear-mongering an ecological disaster? Had you not pointed that out, thousands would be up in arms about the 1 billion Bpd filling the gulf of Mexico. Oh wait, it is 1 million this week, 1 billion is next weeks number.

Re:bad at math (3, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199058)

According to the summary, that is from the largest vent. I didn't read the actual article either, the summary was kinda long and seemed like it had a sad ending.

Reality Check (4, Informative)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198944)

Paul Noel, 52, works as Software Engineer

Hey, so do I, and I call bullshit fearmongering on the Yellowstone-like caldera unless someone else chimes in.

Re:Reality Check (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199324)

What, you mean to imply that software engineers aren't qualified to predict geologically driven doomsday events?

mother of god (4, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198946)

is there any other way to stress the outright critical nature of this disaster? scrubbing seagulls and dancing around in congressional hearings isnt working. We need to pick up the pace, or we risk an entire gulf coast with an ecosystem that resembles a wal-mart parking lot. Shrimp and seafood will become a rather distant memory for the states.

Re:mother of god (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199050)

I'm assuming that southeast asia's fish farmers are positively joyful at the prospect...

Re:mother of god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199148)

Because, of course, all that oil won't move with the water currents.

Re:mother of god (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199278)

From the gulf of Mexico(in the atlantic), all the way around South America or Africa, into the Pacific, and thence to the high-density freshwater and estuarial operations on the Pacific rim?

Long term, quite possibly; but we are talking decades of pure profit, during which time the gulf fishermen will be catching nothing but tarballs.

Re:mother of god (4, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199270)

Except that if you look at a globe, you'll see that most of the large blue areas are connected. It might take a while, but what leaks into the gulf blue area will eventually end up in most of the other blue areas.

However the short-term outlook for the SE Asia fish farmers is very good... good enough to plan an early retirement.

Re:mother of god (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199346)

A lot of their stuff is freshwater, in any case. As long as the levels of assorting organic carcinogens evaporating and floating around and coming down in rainwater don't get too high, that isn't going to be their problem.

OK, going to attack the source (5, Insightful)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198952)

From the cited web page:
Paul Noel, 52, works as Software Engineer (as Contractor) for the US Army at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He has a vast experience base including education across a wide area of technical skills and sciences. He supplies technical expertise in all areas required for new products development associated with the US Army office he works in. He supplies extensive expertise in understanding the Oil and Gas industry as well.

Born in Lynnwood Washington, he came to Huntsville Alabama, when his father moved to be part of NASA's effort to put men on the moon. Neal Armstrong may have gotten the ride, but his father's computers did the driving.

Paul is also a founding member of the New Energy Congress.

So..this guy has no training on physics, geology, chemestry. He __says__ he supplies extensive expertise in oil indusry, but how exactly? Software engineering?

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to get too freaked out by what this man says. If I can get some supporting information from a geologist I'll then worry.

Re:OK, going to attack the source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199066)

Don't forget he also quotes Revelations...

Re:OK, going to attack the source (4, Insightful)

joggle (594025) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199174)

I don't blame you, especially with quotes like this from TFA:

The biggest cost of the spill cleanup is being borne by the US Armed Forces such as the National Guard etc. None of these costs will ever be paid by BP. These costs will appear in taxes not in the price of oil. Alternative Oil is vastly cheaper and safer than this.

How the heck would he know how much the Coast Guard is spending on this? How does he know BP will never reimburse the federal government?

Also, what's up with his use of capitalization? Since when is natural gas a proper noun? Or alternative oil?

Re:OK, going to attack the source (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199256)

Oh, I don't know, I was going to agree with you, but then I read the article and noticed one of his primary cited works is the bible:

"The Gulf appears to be bleeding," which is chilling, considering the prophesy in Revelation 8:8: "The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze [appearance of the burning rig and slick], was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed."

We can always trust someone who uses the bible as their main source. Right?...........right? In any case, at least now you know the relevant bible prophecy.

Need some Libertarian clarification (4, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198958)

So, how come Laissez-Faire, don't-tell-corporations-how-to-run-themselves, deregulation didn't stop this from happening? It doesn't make any sense! I mean BP is an oil company. Can you guys help me blame this on Big Government?

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199042)

Aside from the fact that you're trolling, when did we try not regulating corporations? Last time I checked oil companies were regulated pretty heavily. And yet it didn't work.

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199218)

Last time I checked oil companies were regulated pretty heavily. And yet it didn't work.

Are you suggesting that this happened because they were regulated just heavily enough?

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (5, Insightful)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199224)

So....the solution is to regulate them less?

Color me skeptical.

Like the financial disaster, when there is a disconnect between the people who profit in the short term and the people who pay the penalty in the long term, then the market does not work. In the finance industry, people could focus on making really high profits by taking enormous risks, and when the highly leveraged bets worked, they made tons of money. And if the risks didn't work out, the government is there to make it all better. Here, the oil company (BP) has a history of cutting corners to improve profits and crossing their fingers that nothing blows up. When it does, the insurance company or government or the people themselves cover the damage. In this case, they just screwed the pooch more than normal, and it might really hurt the company. But the executives that made lots of money by cutting the corners and improving profits are long gone.

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199134)

MWRA Water Main Break Triggers State Of Emergency

"Failure to boil water rapidly for at least one minute could cause serious illness," [Governor] Patrick said, explaining that the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's backup water supplies were coming directly out of reservoirs.

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/23337764/detail.html [thebostonchannel.com]

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (2, Insightful)

y2dt (184562) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199170)

See limitations on liability from spills and years of subsidies (implicit and explicit) and other anticompetitive, discipline-weakening interventions. You describe the choice as between the free market and government oversight. In fact, the free market is not one of the choices offered, but the two main political subdivisions have an interest in making it seem that way.

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199252)

At least you can blame 'laissez-faire' on the French, that's almost as good as the govt.

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199314)

Tragedy of the commons.

And when did this deregulation happen? I'm still trying to figure out why some people think anything in this world is remotely libertarian, I mean they should look around some day. I think maybe it must be something to do with occasional mini-deregulations happening but as nothing else is fixed it inevitably does not do the trick and these events are just used as a scapegoat.

Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199330)

I am not a big fan of Laissez-Faire. But I am not sure a regulation could have solved that. Even with regulation accident still happens. All the regulation of the world limit the risk but they never reach the "no risk" point.

That much oil? (0, Flamebait)

slapout (93640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198972)

Wait. There's that much oil there? I thought the environmentalists said we needed to find other power sources because we were going to run out of oil soon.

Re:That much oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199152)

IIRC, the US uses ~12 million barrels a day. We only have enough oil for 10-20 years more. it takes ~10 years to transition off of oil.

Re:That much oil? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199210)

If we keep dumping it into the ocean, we'll run out...

(My sense of "this is a disgusting natural disaster that we need to take seriously and solve now" lost its battle with my sense of "I can be a smartass and make a joke". Sorry...)

Wait (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198974)

...from a reserve nearly as large as the Gulf of Mexico containing trillions of barrels of oil

hmmm..I thought we passed peak oil? Yes, this leak/accident is absolutely horrendous and should be prevented from happening in future at all costs.
But which is it...has it already peaked, or 'trillions of barrels' left?

Re:Wait (4, Informative)

GreatAntibob (1549139) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199162)

Both can be true, actually.

Peak oil doesn't mean we've run out or that we're nearly running out. It means we've reached the maximum yearly production. At some point, extracting additional oil becomes incredibly expensive, and our production falls off. After that point, there's still oil, but we can't extract as much as we used to. So, even if we've hit peak oil, there's decades of production left. And if we haven't hit peak oil, there's an additional buffer of several decades. But even in the most optimistic industry estimates, peak oil is happening within the next 50-70 years.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199182)

...But which is it...has it already peaked, or 'trillions of barrels' left?

It doesn't matter. In fact, if they discovered FREE oil for all and forever we would still be hooped. We absolutely need to find a clean source of power before we turn the entire planet into a very unpleasant place to live.

Re:Wait (5, Informative)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199186)

The current estimate for total world reserves is just over 1 trillion, so this guy is just a total idiot.

Re:Wait (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199340)

But which is it...has it already peaked, or 'trillions of barrels' left?

Maybe that depends on how fast they can stop the leak?

a prophecy fulfilled (3, Interesting)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198984)

what i like is how the linked article quotes the bible,

Revelation 8:8: "The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze [appearance of the burning rig and slick], was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed."

neat.

Who is this guy... (4, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 3 years ago | (#32198998)

...and what are his credentials? It says he's a SW engineer with expereince across many technical areas, but I still dont' see how that makes him an expert on estimating flow volumes, etc. He doens't provide sources or backup anything he says. It comes off more as fear-mongering than anything else, especially seeing as he even quotes bible verses.

This just doesn't make any sense... (4, Informative)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199002)

There aren't 'trillions' of barrels under this particular well. It's not like collapsing this well would cause all the other wells to collapse too. And as far as I know, the likelihood of this deposit collapsing is very, very low; unmeasurably low.

So far, oil isn't even washing up on beaches in any appreciable way. A huge portion of the area is an oxygen-depleted, polluted 'dead zone' anyway because of the Mississippi. Last I checked, only -two- birds had been collected for cleaning. Only about 4% of the gulf is blocked-off from fishing, and the larger fisheries aren't even expecting much damage, they're taking a 'wait and see' stance.

Still, (as of yet) clean beaches and untainted food seem to scare consumers away from vacations and shrimp, not because there's a risk, but because most consumers are total alarmist bozos, just like most career-environmentalists.

Re:This just doesn't make any sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199244)

Thanks for rationalizing your stupidity.

Re:This just doesn't make any sense... (3, Funny)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199296)

Still, (as of yet) clean beaches and untainted food seem to scare consumers away from vacations and shrimp, not because there's a risk, but because most consumers are total alarmist bozos, just like most career-environmentalists.

Agreed. Personally, my reaction to the situation is "Eh, whatever." and will likely remain such right up until there's a flaming cloud of shit hanging overhead. Freaking the hell out never improves situations.

Bring military in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199006)

I know this might sound like a funny and stupid rant, but I have to say it. This oil spill is such a major emergency of unprecedented scale and impact that Obama needs to act accordingly. The "defense" department is still spending our millions in that pathetic Afganistan conflict while we need every hand to get the leak situation under control. Even the gulf fisherman are volunteering and helping BP. Obama should bring in all the Navy, undersea vessels and surface support, from subs to that Nimitz class carriers to tame that f*** situation ASAP.

Re:Bring military in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199088)

To do what, exactly? Mentally masturbate like you?

Re:Bring military in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199146)

What exactly is a US naval carrier supposed to do to help with a situation 5,000 feet down? Or a fisherman? Apart from bringing hot coffee and snacks out maybe.

An interesting read, strangely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199054)

I expected it to end with Xenu's galactic space cruisers, but after a "small pond in yard" reference rather than cubic libraries of congress he threw in some bible and a bunch of hyperbole. Brilliant!

This post was a volcano of punctuation marks (5, Funny)

AtlantaSteve (965777) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199156)

I think that the second half of this post says that that the oil leak is bad, or could cause the end of the world, or something. However, it's such a gusher of spastic sentence fragments that I can't quite be certain.

Someone should drop a containment dome over this guy's keyboard until he's learned to organize his thoughts.

Horrible article (5, Insightful)

eison (56778) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199158)

This article is not 'reporting' and should not be presented as 'news', not even news for nerds, stuff that matters.

There are some very interesting details, things that might perhaps be facts, but after presenting a string of them they are always followed with utterly unsubstantiated wild ass guesses that claim to be absolute facts and firmly grounded in expert opinion etc etc. While the Wild Ass Guesses may actually be true, they aren't facts, and presenting them as facts makes it impossible to believe any of the other information presented. At the end of the article all of this much vaunted expertise that the guesses are based on turns out to be this guy is some random programmer with a pond in his back yard.

This topic definitely needs some real reporting, but this sort hysterical speculation (includes quoting Revelations and speculating on this being an "Earth Extinction" event under the general premise of "they said this couldn't happen but it did so this other thing that also can't happen is obviously worth speculating about now") is downright irresponsible. Even if the premise that the news is massively underreporting the size of the spill is true, this is not the way to correct it.

The leaking pipe isn't 5 feet in diameter (5, Informative)

reuel (166318) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199180)

The article seems to be inaccurate in at least one respect, and one comment calls the author on it: It's not a 5-foot diameter pipe. Various sources say it's either 12-inch or 21-inch, but not five feet. One source says the largest riser pipe made is 21-inches in diameter.

"Earth Extinction Event" (1)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199212)

This phrase strikes me as absolute and unnecessary FUD. The message is that if BP tries Russia's "mini-nuke" solution, which worked 5 out of 6 times tried, disregarding the fact that I don't believe it is currently even being considered, that we may all very well DIE. The oil spill is bad enough, let's not give a voice to "anonymous Chicken Littles".

Can I have some of what you're smoking? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32199242)

Seriously, it must be great stuff.

"it could become a Yellowstone Caldera type event, except from below a mile of sea, with a 1/4-mile opening, with up to 150,000 psi of oil and natural gas behind it, from a reserve nearly as large as the Gulf of Mexico containing trillions of barrels of oil. That would be an Earth extinction event."

Hard geopressure for that reservoir would be under 20,000 psi (~1 psi per foot of depth)

Caldera collapses are much more energetic than anything you can imagine even with what you're smoking. Try 100,000 times Mt St Helens.

Horrible summary (0, Offtopic)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199352)

Can we get a mod to do a grammar check on the summary? It's atrociously worded and nigh incomprehensible.

FAIL (4, Informative)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199378)

supports the estimates closer to 1 million barrels per day erupting from this hole BP popped in the ocean floor that contains trillions of barrels of oil and natural gas.

Anyone who starts an article out with a misstatement like that is immediately deemd not credible. If there were "trillions" of bbls of oil at that well (or even in the gulf of Mexico) we would never need to import a drop again and in fact would be the largest holder of oil in the world. S. Arabia has 270 billion bbl proven reserves.

I'll believe its an extinction level event (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32199380)

if we take the author of this tripe and put him on the bottom of the ocean then let him continue to blow the hot air out of his ass as he's doing here.

Seriously ... the whole gulf of mexico is going to explode into an oil gusher?

And people are believing it?

Seriously, when the hell did everyone turn off their freaking common sense?

The freaking math doesn't even add up in this story. Its claiming a million gallons a day gushing, but at 4 barrels per second, you don't get to a million in one day. You don't even get to the 500k that BP would be so happy about, you get 345.6k/day. So you need a good 6BPS from everything else to start hitting a million gallons a day. Not the case. Of course he contridicts himself in his own article with at one point saying 500k and at another saying 1m.

He refers to chemicals added to the well head the speed up the fracturing process ... to bad BP isn't pumping those chemicals into the head anymore so thats just complete bullshit.

He compares the oil slick to his back yard pond ... except it doesn't work that way. The oil spreads out rapidly to cover as much surface area as it can, thats what happens when you have a lighter liquid on top of a heavier liquid, it spreads out to get as close to the top as it possibly can. It doesn't stay in one little column. Thats why buoys can be left on the surface to contain it, cause its ON THE SURFACE ONLY.

So the current hole is spewing at 70k psi he claims ( I won't argue it, I'm too lazy to look for facts, just like him ) but when the entire thing 'releases' in his extinction event, its going to jump to 150k psi ... Someone doesn't understand hydrolics very well. The pressure doesn't get greater when you apply it to a larger area, it gets lower as the same force is spread out over a larger area. You have to increase the energy in the system to actually get more out, all you can do otherwise is exchange speed for pressure and vice versa

Imagine how much alternative energy work that would have produced.

A hell of a lot less than the oil would of, fractions of whats contained in the oil. He has no concept of how much energy is contained in oil and how efficient of a storage mechanism that it is.

I could go on, but whats the point. This is a retarded story written by an idiot rambling about stuff he doesn't know anything about. Is it an environmental disaster? Yes. Is the gulf coast going to suffer for a while and have a large loss of life? Certainly. Will I notice anything more than a higher gas price at the pump? No. Will it recover? Yes, in a few short years at most. Its bad that this happened, its bad that its still spewing oil, but any moron who buys into this article needs to lock themselves in a bomb shelter and wait for 2012 to kill as all cause thats just as logical and likely to happen.

Finally, I'm really lazy I admit, but can someone tell me if theres a way to ignore timothy and kdawson stories? Since they obviously are going to keep letting idiots qualify as editors I'd hope that CmdrTaco has given us an opt out method at least.

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